Slick, high pressure bass business from two of the UK’s baddest, Batu & Lurka, launched on the latter’s Fringe White label one year on from their debut sling.
Combining and parsing the best traits of both producers, the A-side steps and swings off 25 PSI pumped subs and hyaline hooks in a reticulated ice-snake riddim rent to the rafters with streaking dynamics before bringing it closer down with sublime, shivering pads saved for the most poignant moment.
In stark contrast, the B-side’s Struck yanks the tempo down and rubs the drums up the wrong way, swivelling heavy on a 110bpm tempo with cold, thistly, slamming drums and flat bass slaps stealthily opening out in swaggering UK style unconcerned with trends but firmly fixed on ’nuum roots and futures.
The band was born from late night jam sessions in singer / guitarist Fran Keaney’s bedroom and honed in the thrumming confines of Melbourne’s live music venues.
"Sharing tastes and songwriting duties, cousins Joe White and Fran Keaney, brothers Tom and Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie started out with softer, melody-focused songs. The more shows they played, the more those driving rhythms that now trademark their songs emerged. Since then, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever rode that wave from strength to strength.
‘The French Press’ levels up on everything that made ‘Talk Tight’ such an immediate draw. Multi-tracked melodies which curl around one another, charging drums and addictive basslines converge to give each track its driving momentum. Honed through their live shows, this relentless energy carries the record through new chapters in the band’s Australian storybook. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s songs have always had all the page-turning qualities of a good yarn and ‘The French Press’ is no different. Somewhere between impressionists and fabulists, lyricists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White often start with something rooted in real life - the melancholy of travel on ‘French Press’, having a hopeless crush on ‘Julie’s Place’ - before building them into clever, quick vignettes. The result is lines blurred between fiction and reality - vibrant stories which get closer at a particular truth than either could alone.
Blending critical insight and literate love songs, ‘The French Press’ cements Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever as one of Australia’s smartest working bands."
‘Watercolor’ is the long-awaited label debut from Seattle’s Porter Ray.
"Porter is a Seattle based MC who caught the attention of Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, who signed him to the label in 2014. ‘Watercolor’ is a snapshot of Porter’s life and the lives of his friends growing up in Seattle. The album captures a specific time period, before things began rapidly changing around their neighbourhoods and it delves into the experiences that shaped Porter, the situations he and his friends survived and how they overcame the adversity they faced. Porter’s influences - including hip hop classics like Nas’s ‘Illmatic’, Common’s ‘Be’ and Mos Def & Talib Kweli’s ‘...Are Black Star’ - shine through in both the beats and production and his deeply personal lyrics.
Porter was born and raised in and around Seattle’s Central District / Capitol Hill / Columbia City / Beacon Hill neighbourhoods. He wrote short stories and poetry before he began writing rhymes in middle school and early high school and started recording music towards the end of high school. ‘Watercolor’ follows a string of acclaimed, self-released mixtapes – ‘Electric Rain’, ‘Nightfall’, ‘Fundamentals’, ‘BLK GLD’, ‘WHT GLD’, ‘RSE GLD’ - all of which have been available as free downloads.
‘Watercolor’ was recorded in various studios in Seattle, mostly mixed by Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, Tacocat), with a few songs co-mixed by Vitamin D (Macklemore, Abstract Rude, Black Sheep). ‘Watercolor’ was produced by B Roc, with additional songs produced by DJ El Grande, KMTK and Tele Fresco."
Daemonic n0!se from the wrong don, Russell Haswell; conjuring 32 minutes of mutant scree and squabble for the ever uncompromising Bocian Records - some of his most fuqqed-up since his Conceptual n0!se  LP.
Constitutional captures Haswell at his most lacquer-buckling and invasive, triggering a seamlessly chaotic and endothermic chain reaction of sounds that seemingly suck in all energy around them to a null point between the eyes.
As with all Russell’s gear, it’s rendered in intricate free-hand guided by a fine tuned improvisational meter, one which appears to react to the smallest fluctuations in Russell’s own body temperature, psychic energy and the acidity of last season’s apple crop, which all serve to underline the piece’s narrative logic with an wildly, perfectly unpredictable nature that’s long been at the core of his practice.
Scaled from claustrophobically microscopic and lower case to pranging hard-stops and geyser like releases of eggy gasses, this is one of Haswell’s most dynamic, discombobulating demonstrations, right up there with his most chewy and satisfyingly uncomfortable work.
Who knew that Greek popular music had a real kink for Hawaiian steel guitar music since the 1920’s? Or that A. Kostis, the Rebetika legend behind Kaike Ena Sholio (A School Is Burned) and many more, was also the greatest exponent of that sound as leader of Kostas Bezos And The White Birds? Not us, that’s for sure, and this LP time capsule from Portland’s amazing Mississippi Records and Olvido Records is blowing our minds right now.
If we consider the connection between the guitar’s ancient arabic roots, and the way it mutated into lap steel and ukulele styles out in the middle of the Pacific during the 1800s before becoming absorbed into Greek middle class and popular music of the 1920’s, then Kostas Bezos And The White Birds pushes the concept of Greek folk music as a bridge between East and West to totally new, extreme degrees for any listener who has a taste for this sound unmatched by their knowledge of it provenance.
Effectively a playfully syncretic phenomena which even had its own genre name, Havagies, the sound recalls everything from Disney showtunes in the amazing opener The White Birds In The Mountains , to eerie early blues spirituals in Oh, Athens , but actually largely steers wide of the sorrowful Rebetika sound, aside from in the exquisitely moody instrumental pall of At Laïni’s Tavern , but it’s easy enough to hear the connective ligature of A. Kostis/Kostas Bezos’s wonderfully melodic turn-of-phrase tying it all together.
Demdike Stare and Hype Williams present sun-dazed, 180º revisions of the Shangaan Electro sound for Honest Jon's Records.
Landing in quick succession to those outlandish versions by Actress, both sets of artists here view the sound from detached, impressionistic perspectives, resulting in four richly psychedelic experiences. It's difficult to discern any original elements in Demdike's two versions; the first features ostensibly "tribal" percussions perhaps best suited for post-ritual hours, the party laid to waste and surveyed by a flock of cannibalistic gulls.
On the dub, all that's left is a lingering trace of dislocated spirit voices and gulls hovering for the morsel of rhythm trapped, stuttering in the sampler. Hype Williams' side is far removed still, flipping the beat to a skeletal jazz break while Ms Copeland lends a faded, Lynchian, chamber-pop vocal to 'My Love', and the hollowed-out, bass drowned dub...
First ever reissue of The Criminal Minds’ crunchy AF britcore hip hop classic, Guilty As Charged; an early piece of the UK ‘ardcore sound that influenced everyone from AFX and Autechre to Demdike Stare!
For a proper lesson in radgy suburban British life in the early ‘90s, look no farther than this set of tunes, from the party-ready Urban Warfare to the brittle killer Just Check It and the wild patchwork of A Taset Of Armageddon, thru to the first murmurings of their future ‘ardcore directions in Police State and road-ready dancehall in Rough Justice.
Back to the ‘00s on this one from Boris English a.k.a. Borai - a regular collaborator with October - who’s clearly intent on bringing back the early Subtext or Hotflush sound in two clattering Breakstep missiles, I’m The One and Hold It Down for E-Roy’s freshly minted In Fine Style label.
Seasonal Balearica from the White Isle on the latest Barrott missive.
The sunset hour at Ibiza venue La Torre continues to act as inspiration on Int. Feel boss Mark Barrott, with this clutch of horizontal cheek warmers inspired by the madness of the summer months slipping away for a more contemplative mood.
Leading out with the plucked, Suso Saiz-style new age of Schopenhauer's Garden, MB reveals a more reflective slant to his Balearica that seeps into the cosy, delay-addled saxbient of Emilé.
There’s a hint of the Japanese futurama Invisible Cloaks have uncovered on Mokushō, whereas Lysander tips into that realm of contemplative ambient Gigi Masin does so well.
Lovely stuff Barrott.
Ruff ’n tuff hardcore techno from NYC ’91 courtesy the legendary Lenny Dee for Caspar Pound’s equally legendary Rising High Records.
The front is given to Lenny Dee and Nikolai Vorkapich’s 303 tweaked slammer Potato Head (a.k.a. What The Fuck) and the gnashing techno of Rotation, both taken from The Industrial High E.P. for Sapho, whilst flipside is dominated by the slathering riffs and skull crunching kicks of The Trip.
R.I.P. Caspar Pound and big-up for the run-out inscription.
Acid-fired ‘ardcore madness outta Stockholm, Sweden 1993: throwing down the 303 laced pelter Smoke It and the heater skelter flex of As Fast As It Goes up top, and some serious bass pressure tucked into We Have 2 Live (In The Future) and the nutty roller Equal on the other.
The UK’s underground bass rhizome twysts up this jet black gem from Beneath and Bristol’s pivotal Hotline Recordings.
We’ve no doubt that the A-side Seeus is one of Beneath’s strongest rollers. A plaintive vocal slithers in and out of his most rugged, ricocheting drums and rug-pulling subbass with a helplessly physical effect for those susceptible to such stuff. It’s aching for the rub ’n tug with other platters in the dance. A big look for the DJs and dancers.
B-side; Ovaride, if we’re not mistaken, makes a firm nod to the percussive palette of Autechre circa Incunabula, as much as the sub-continental inspirations of early dubstep, stepping up with a killer sort of AI ongy bongy for the 2017 crew.
Hills 3rd album with Rocket Recordings.
"Hot off the Swedish Psychedelia revival of the past few years and after their hailed 2015 album ‘Frid’, Hills connect the dots to their countries rich and intoxicating past with a handful of new sepia-toned tunes. Like their predecessors unholy trinity of Pärson Sound, International Harvester and Träd Gräs och Stenar, Hills penchant to stretch out beyond, performing what feels like openly casual exhortations into intricate eastern tones and primal hypnotic rhythms, the band illustrates that their sermons offer rational derangements of all the senses.
These four tracks sit deeply buried in oblivion, bones, skin, sweat, grooved with fearless intensity with no diminution of the interplay, spontaneity and feeling onstage, the band are entombed in mantric repetition while the vapour trail of The Byrds ‘Untitled’ epic; ‘Eight Miles High’ descend into an Elysian Field, where the dead enjoy happy tranquility, until they come to life and rise up again.
Alive in Roadburn summons the spirits of Swedish Midsummer celebration, the welcoming of the light of the longest day, as a people who have endured the long dark winter, their celebration of light, steeped in pagan roots are absorbed into the bands psyche and these tracks sit like Cairns on the Swedish landscape, built as monuments to Hills. The Hills are very much Alive and Burning."
Back on his Version label Orson follows a busy 2016 with one For The Head and one for the pill belly stagger in The Past Is A Dream.
Both sides work at a lugubrious 128bpm halfstep, teasing out vocal duppies and tangy synth timbres on the sludgy subbass flow of For The Head and then taking it out of the box with the application of roadside field recordings on the heaving ‘step of The Past Is A Dream with a weirdly detached but physical, queasy effect.
Live performance brought out Throbbing Gristle's talents for improvisation and provocation, and it's no coincidence that most of their classic albums contain sizeable extracts and edits of their shows; the live arena - be it grotty club, gallery space, concert hall or even the band's own rehearsal space - is where the action and the innovation really happened.
The bulk of Heathen Earth documents one particular performance which took place in 1980 on "Saturday the 16th February between 8:10pm and 9.00pm"; the tracklist is filled out with two recordings from two separate performances in '78. It's a hugely enjoyable listen, arguably capturing better than any of the "studio" albums the tension between free-wheeling abstraction and structural discipline which defines the group. It's also probably the most obviously electronic TG album of its time, Gen's guitar and Cosey's cornet duelling with Carter and Sleazy's clipped, clammy minimal synth constructions: 'The Old Man Smiled', 'Something Came Over Me', 'Don't Do As Your Told, Do As You Think' and 'The World Is A War Film' are all breathtakingly, pulsatingly ahead of their time.
'Still Walking', first heard on 20 Jazz Funk Greats, sounds even more surreal and seductive in its live incarnation, Cosey's dour East Yorkshire vowels echoed to infinity, before P.Orridge presents a vision of paranoia and self-loathing purified in 'Sub Human' and 'Adrenalin' brings things to an oddly ecstatic, hi-NRG close, Carter fully indulging his arpeggiated Euro-disco inclinations.
Killer 2nd crop of definitive but often obscure digi-dancheall templates cooked up by King Jammys in his ‘80s heyday and into the ‘90s.
The vocals and melodies might be super sweet but the rhythms are super rugged and rude in every part, especially the run of five hard-to-find King Jammy digi productions, including the piquant tang of Nothing Don’t Come Easy and the barrelling, noisy pressure of Victim Of Babylon which goes on as ruff and distorted as a Muslimgauze riddim.
The title of his wicked Prince Jammy dub, says it all; Crucial Boy.
Twisted warehouse tackle from some mad scone called Kalla - the latest fresh meat from Glasgow’s Dixon Avenue Basement Jams.
It’s two parts madness to two parts sorta sexy. The recoiling slingshot of Slurrp tramples hard on a distorted techno sound and the grubby thwack of Klear That Path puts that vibe where the sun don’t shine.
Tyf is a bit sexier, shaking like a munted Martyn who can’t figure out what he just put up his hooter, and Slippers On The Dancefloor pursues that line along a bumptier Chicago angle.
Reinhard Voigt and Terranova draw out the tuffer side of each other in classy remixes.
Voigt turns their Labrador into a heads-down techno buzz underlined with four square kicks and searing leads; Terranova go colder, tighter with an electro-tipped techno remix of Husky riding on distended bass and nagging monotone riffs bound to oscillate jaws and fists in the club.
Sheer class from Chicago’s deepest son, stretching out on the 2nd part of his Humans, Drums & Machines trilogy with a patented, signature brand of house pressure.
The ridiculous low end and intimate vocals of Kinky City hit the vibe dead on and heads-down for the A-side, before he opens out the swing with rarely paralleled sensuality in the lip-smacking turn of Omi Tutu on the B-side.
Here’s looking forward to a full album of this sound in the near future…
The followup to Light In The Attic’s game-changing I Am The Center box set, "The Microcosm: Visionary Music Of Continental Europe 1970-1986" was 3 years in the making and is the first major overview of key works from cosmically-taped in artists needing little introduction — Vangelis, Ariel Kalma, Gigi Masin, Roedelius, Ash Ra Tempel, and Popol Vuh - plus unknown masterpieces by criminally overlooked heroes like Bernard Xolotl, Robert Julian Horky and Enno Velthuys...
"Whereas I Am The Center called for a reconsideration of an entire maligned genre, The Microcosm requests nothing more than an open mind to consider this ambient, new age, neuzeit, prog, krautrock, cosmic, holistic stuff, whatever one calls it — as a pulsating movement unto itself, a mirror refracting the American new age scene in unexpected, electrifying ways, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the universality of the timeless quest to express “the Ineffable” through music.
Drawing from major label budgets and homemade cassette distributed circumstances alike, The Microcosmdemonstrates a depth of peace profound to behold, and clearly expands the boundaries. Lovingly conceived and lavishly presented by producer Douglas Mcgowan (Yoga Records) and liner notes contributor Jason Patrick Woodbury (Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard), The Microcosm features stunning cover paintings by Étienne Trouvelot, and labels by Finnish savant Aleksanda Ionowa."
Honest Jon's spoil us with a sort of dream come true: Chicago gone Shangaan!
It's an international soundclash that had to happen, finding similar style and pattern in the high-speed velocities of each respective style with two distinctly different mixes from Footwork's meanest producers.
A-side, scene elders Rashad & Spinn augment Tshetsha Boys with welting 160bpm bass and locked-groove stabs, pulling no punches for the 'floor. Flipside, for us, is better yet; R.P. Boo shredding Shangaan signatures with inimitable dexterity and connecting deeply with the physical Afro-futurist sentiment. Fiyah.
Another shabby chic boogie dream drifts up from down under, laying out thick and greasy bass, twinkle-toed drums and a vintage-fresh balance of new age and electro-soul synth strokes in six parts. The sound of Sydney 1984, or is it 2017?
Best by far from a haul of reissued Skanna and associated productions is this belter with Thunderhead dating back to 1993.
Hardcore jungle tekno is order of the day, served in Toby Carvery portion on the slamming, spin-twisting madness of Lost In Time and at an even darker tilt with the B-side’s descent into utter raver’s paranoia/delirium, Untitled.
Newly unearthed Secret Squirrel jungle artillery, produced some time in the early ‘90s and only recently rediscovered on an old DAT.
A-side holds down the ravenous Commin On Dark (Remix) and the floaty rush of Come Rudeboy (Original); B-side is given to the spiky step and tumble of System Booster (Squirrel Dub Mix) and the turnt rufige of Mindwinder (Brain Squeeze Mix).
PTP commendably push against mediocrity and hackneyed ideas with Eaves’ future-shocking debut album of ballistic powerviolence, portentous dissonance and weightless sensations. RIYL Arca, Chino Amobi, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, Rabit
“With the combination of his academic history in architecture and long-time interest in the internet both being inextricable from his music-making, this album sees the Brooklyn-based producer placing a lens to the relationship we have with digital environments - operating in the uncanny valley in which we seem to find ourselves. Using last year’s GORILLA as a conceptual and sonic blueprint, Verloren, or “lost” in German, progresses from the former's four movements and examines our role as a detached audience on a macro level. These 16 tracks continue to explore the relationship between sound and physical structure. This time, Eaves drifts through fictional representations of our world in the future, finding that our present day seems to mimic them. Verloren exists in a liminal zone, where the screen tears and everything is greyed-out and blurry.
Although there is a sense of fleeting chaos throughout, each track seems to sonically map out a landscape within this cataclysmic sphere as Eaves travels across it. Ruin, memory, and the role speculative projections play in the way we interact with these concepts is central to Verloren, as is attempting to understand how we process all of this emotionally. Strings and synths swell over ominous beats, mysterious human-like sounds are buried under layers of sonic bombardments. Eaves also interprets Verloren as a warning - “if reality mimics our ominous, fictional projections of the future, it’s clear that our current systems aren’t resisting as much as they should be; or perhaps we will always follow the fictions we create.””
Author of Indian Talking Machine and Victrola Favourites presents his 1st solo LP on Alan Bishop’s Abduction label
“Robert Millis is known for many things - co-founder of Climax Golden Twins, Messenger Girl's Trio, and AFCGT; filmmaker and producer for the Sublime Frequencies label; co-producer of the Victrola Favorites book and cassette series. Now, thanks to The Lonesome High, he'll be known as a singer/songwriter.
After listening to his stunning debut album, you'll be wondering where the fuck this side of Millis has been lurking all along. He's been performing some of these tracks live for the past few years crafting them to where they are now - tilted perspectives lodged somewhere between the grittier climate zones of the the Rain Dogs (1985) plateau and a more psychotic trailer park way out on the Death Of A Lady's Man (1977) peninsula.
Millis really delivers the goods here. The songwriting has depth, stinging clarity and vaporizing ambiguity. The more upbeat tracks like "The Run Around", "Down In The Hold" and "Tricky" have an immediate classic familiarity - hear them once and you're hooked. But The Lonesome High becomes a monster statement thanks to "Marvelous Fool", "Charming Chisel", "Notes On A Scandal", and "Drowsy Sleeper". It's the stark cryptic beauty and detached awareness of these four ballads that define the heart and soul of this record.
So if you're looking for a contemporary troubadour who can actually deliver a solid 40 minutes of listening pleasure (not an easy task these days), you'll find it right here in spades. Features percussion by Dave Abramson (Diminished Men/Master Musicians Of Bukkake), backing vocals by Alan Bishop (Alvarius B/Sun City Girls). Front cover art by Jesse Paul Miller”
Theo Parrish and Burnt Friedman make good on the fourth edition of this inspired Shangaan remix series.
Frontside is a shocker from Chicago/Detroit's Theo P, folding, looping, kneading and spiking elements of 'Vana Vasesi' by Mancingelani for a proper psyched-out and jazzed-up revision which simply couldn't have come from anyone else.
Down under, nu-dub player Burnt Friedman meets Zinja Hlungwani's 'Ntombi Ya Mugaza' in a much slower, heavier version, teasing out the drums and melody into achingly tidy yet off-kilter patterns with his cryptic touch. The Theo's a beauty, well recommended!
If you're not aware of Shangaan Electro, you need to skip straight over to youtube right about now and cop an eyeful of the videos, but if you're a keener observer, you might recognise the harmonious quintet from their 'Vanghoma' song on the preceding compilation.
It stuck from the rest basically because it was slower than the standard 180bpm, lending itself to a few mixes we can recall, not least Ramadanman's Fabriclive session. These three are all of a more typically fast tempo, and again with the sweetest pop harmonies and some surprisingly mad synth stabs. If you can't tell, we love this stuff, and we're certainly not alone. Join in!
Reissue of the spellbinding Tomorrow's People album: Open Soul. Deep in South Chicago, a band of four brothers raised on doo-wop and flea-market instruments made a record during the mid 70s that did not only mark a seminal point in their youthful careers, but would go on to become a true collector’s favourite.
"Open Soul is quite simply one of the best examples of raw, stripped down soul in its purest form, and for this reason has become a highly sought after rarity. The album has been carefully reproduced and will be officially available for the first time in 40 Years, this time accompanied by an interview with one of the original brothers, various Tomorrow's People memorabilia and a number of other contributions from Melodies' friends around the world."
Anthony "Shake" Shakir and Oni Ayhun dissemble and rebuild highlights of the incredible Shangaan Electro comp with inimitable results.
Face up, Anthony Shakir reworks BBC's 'Ngunyuta Dance' as an electrified and tribalist House rhythm, amping the kicks and shaking the percussion with a more Latin shuffle, Detroit-via-Shangaan styles.
Flip it and you'll find Oni Ayhun shaping fragments of various compilation tracks into a skipping breakbeat House monster, twysted like some rude Shed riddim with a delirious case of sunstroke.
Understandably regarded as thee holy grail of Italian Minimalism, Giusto Pio’s totally sublime debut LP Motore Immobile (1979) starts a very necessary new life cycle, licensed and pressed on vinyl by new label Soave for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Produced by Pio’s then student, soon collaborator and massive Italian pop composer, Franco Battiato, the strikingly radiant masterwork Motore Immobile forms an impeccable distillation of what connected and separated Italian Minimalism from its American counterpart - namely an intimate sense of restraint, sound sensitivity and quiet ecstasy, as opposed to more grandiose landscapes or swelling communal gestures of the heavyweights from the west such as Riley, Glass or Reich.
Coming from a country of steeply progressive yet sometimes conservative musical traditions, Motore Immobile was realised and originally appeared amid an influx of innovative, spiritualised domestic recordings which took lessons from their American counterparts and mixed them with a typically hi-fidelity approach to recording and production which, by the late ‘70s, had made Italian studios famed as the natural choice for post-production on some of the biggest rock and pop recordings ever made.
It is somewhere between these points that we can locate the enigma of Motore Immobile’s tremulous, spectral beauty. Adapting the exploratory and perfectionist techniques of major studios, experimental ensembles and the classical avant-garde, Pio and Battiato imperceptibly, tactfully separate sounds from their sources, effectively removing the centre of attention out into ostensibly simple drones which shimmer with an incredible richness of harmonic timbral detail, mingling in weightless dimensions with dreamlike vocals and hot streaks of violin that linger like shooting stars on a completely still, balmy night in the 17 minute title piece, whilst the proceeding Ananta follows that curve even more gradually on a bed of weightless, floating organ tones dusted with precise and spine-tingling flurries of keys.
This is music that suggests transcendence in the most unhurried, timeless manner; a centre-less sound that gently encompasses and encourages the listener to find their personal locus thru the process of infinite diffusion, or travelling without moving. There’s no higher praise we can give than to say it’s music best consumed with eyes shut for optimal results and back-of-eyelid geometric projections.
It's quite uncanny that Pio (b. 1926) passed this mortal coil on February 12th, 2017, only weeks before this reissue now makes its overdue return from obscurity and serves to assuredly place him within the Classical Minimalist firmament.
After years of flirting with her, Kanding Ray properly commits to the dance floor on Hyper Opal Mantis for his ardent support group at Stroboscopic Artefacts.
Proceeding his split 12” with Rrose, and a slew of well-received albums for Raster-Noton, his 6th LP is destined for clubs, but still nuanced and sculpted enough for gloomy bedrooms and immersive headphone commutes alike.
Operating shades away from recent albums by Ø [Phase] and Sigha, Hyper Opal Mantis gives David Lettelier a.k.a. Kangding Ray room to show off his concrète sound design skills in abstract, yet rolling and heavily functional frameworks, with particular highlights to be discovered in the album’s scudding subaquatic probe, Rubi, as well as the throaty resonance and tight bass hits of Epsilon or the diffracted swang of Onde Mantis.
Stellar showcase for the virtuoso solo guitar and composer talents of Eric Arn; from coruscating sheets of noise to throat singing and phantasmagoric drone discord. RIYL John Fahey
“Near the end of his days, John Fahey told me he was sick and tired of solo guitar records. This statement was partly designed to take me aback (as was often his tact), but it was also true. He seemed genuinely bored by most guitar players, especially those who were traveling in the shoes he’d first worn on his own early records. That said, I’m pretty sure he woulda loved Eric Arn’s Orphic Resonance.
First time I ever saw Eric play was as part of the classic second line-up of Crystalized Movements. He was a monster of raunch-stun binary-functionalism, and this continued as he moved out of New England for forays with the LA/Boston/SF/Austin/Vienna-based Primordial Undermind and California’s Outsideinside. After that, he moved to Austria, where he lives today, and began performing and recording in a more overtly avant garde direction. The set I caught at 2015’s Festival of Endless Gratitude in Copenhagen was a lovely buzzing, shimmering web of sound. Parts of this new LP are like that, other parts are absolutely different.
On Orphic Resonance, Eric moves through vast style fields with absolute surety. He can generate massive drone-throbs that would make even that old crank Fahey smile. He can play with sound sheets in a way that moves even deeper into experimental realms. He can play acoustic fantasia sprawls that would have made Fahey swear. He can throat sing better than John ever did. Which makes for one hell of a dandy album, and one that has a surprised lurking around each and every corner.
This is the first of Eric’s solo sides to make it to vinyl, and we sincerely hope there are many more to comes. Discerning listeners are sure to say the same.
-Byron Coley, 2016”
Deeply unhinged, potent revisions of the Shangaan sound from the inimitable Actress.
Let's not beat around the bush here; these are two of the most out-there productions in his catalogue, venturing further between worlds than any of his peers dare, and at once resetting the consensual allowance for noise and psychoactive madness in what could still be called a "dance" track.
A-side sounds like a stray radio transmission picked up by alien receivers, buffering the groove with malleable white noise and psychedelic filter flux. B-side, the manic intensity of Shangaan Electro is funnelled tighter into the pocket, draining away any excess colour to leave a low bitrate marimba rhythm compressed within an inch of its life but still twitching and flickering with hypnotic electricity.
Devilishly hot final remix session from two of the dancefloor's most revered servants.
After the thrilling exploits of Actress, Oni Ayhun, RP Boo, Theo P, Demdike and many more, MMM close out with possibly the most faithful tribute to the source material. Although it's at a much reduced tempo, their rework of 'Nwampfundla' retains the tucked-in nuance thanks to loose swinging but ultra-precise drum programming and tightly clipped synths making for a pure booty weapon if we've heard one.
Flipside, the mysterious Old Apparatus shows he still can't be locked to any one style, trodding on a half-stepped Techno rhythm dubbed out to the very peripheries with a masterful touch which shall reveal itself fully on headphones. Big twelve.
After excellent instalments from Shake, Oni Ayhun and Mark Ernestus, it's the turn of the Villalobos / Loderbauer duo, and Bristolian bass maverick, Peverelist to re-imagine the Shangaan sound in divergent fashion.
With source material a million miles (well, maybe 6000) removed from their ECM collaboration, Max Loderbauer and Ricardo Villalobos give a fluidly controlled and trippily dynamic 9 minute bubbler, full of springy drums and oozing bass under a dub-smudged patina.
Peverelist meanwhile continues a trajectory into slower tempos with a magical, swinging House revision of Tsetsha Boys, picking out tiny fragments of the original in a lushly afro-cosmic dreamspace.
Hugely influential Berlin lynchpin meets Afro-Futurist Dance-Pop in the first of Honest Jon's Shangaan remix series.
Ernestus reduces the original's 180bpm ebullience to a suave, almost Kwaito-styled House tick layered with savannah gaze synths and teasing delays resulting in a lushly seductive groove. A version simply reduced this further, leaving traces of velvet-clad bass and scanning synth pads. Butterly lush. Highly recommended.
Aphex Twin's 1994 masterpiece Selected Ambient Works Volume II includes barely anything resembling a beat or any sign of typical song structure, yet the album continues to garner adulation generally reserved for holy music.
"People have been testifying on its behalf for nearly two decades, as if it were capable of curing ills or healing the soul. Its synthetic construction belies the intuitive, human, melancholic and uplifting nature of the music. Some have speculated the album was intended by Aphex Twin's Richard D. James as a farce, as if its über-minimalism was a joke played on an electronic community that relied so heavily on the beat; an expectation-defying statement from ambient-house's young hero. The album induces varied responses and often from the same person.
A listener may go from being incredulous to drenched in tears within the span of a single track. Music critic Frank Owen described the music as "veering between an eerie beauty and an almost nightmarish desolation." James himself described it as "like standing in a power station on acid." The album's raw emotional power is built upon the influences of Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Steve Reich and Terry Riley. Each of its tracks has an elegiac and desolate feel far removed from the tooth-rattling, drill-'n'-bass or abstract electronica for which James was originally known. The soft, nimble flow leaves one in a tranquilized state. Throughout the album, James resists the temptation to layer the sound with beats or samples. I
nstead, he relies on swathes of sound and harmonics and almost-implied pulses. When the music does incorporate subtle industrial sounds, rhythmic drums or muted samples, it is only to affect a menacing feel in the textures. Remarkably, for an album that is often perceived as difficult, Selected Ambient Works Volume II is quite accessible. Featured in films, commercials and video games, the music continues to offer an entry point for listeners new to the ambient genre while remaining a classic touted by connoisseurs."
No, spell-check; as much as you protest otherwise, this record is definitely by Vegyn, not Vegan. Who may be a vegan, but that’s really a personal matter, isn’t it, spell-check? Please stop drawing me into these ridiculous conversations.
Anyway, Janhui is Vegyn’s debut release of four non-standard grooves and spaced-out electronics, which some might find compatible with James Blake or Airhead productions.
Cancel Cancel is a playful thing built from whisked pointillist drum patterns and see-sawing electronics giving the dancers and DJs lots of options, whereas the keening cadence and frozen halfstep drums of BB feels more like early Japanese ambient music mixed with crispy minimal dubstep or trap. Smart shit.
On the flip he keeps the levels ticking high on Imran with a collision of louder, dynamic drums sparring with darkside B-more and Ballroom traits, enhanced by co-producer Iydes, and Trybl departs on a super clean, spare and punchy tribal parry.
Tom Ruijg, a veteran of the Amsterdam club scene, debuts his Tracey moniker on Tom Trago’s Voyage Direct series
Rolling with avian chimes, sublime strings and loping jack like some $tinkworx or early Ross 154 gem in Skyfall, whereas Earthrise adopts a more Larry Heard vibe with rolling square bass and jazzy electronics yoked to an insistent jack; the flipside is given to Tape Records founder Deniro and his ruder Mental acid remix of Skyfall, before properly putting his weight behind the wall-banging kicks of his Oude remix.
Tight but loose, freeform yet in-the-pocket jazz and electronic fusions from Cologne. RIYL Crewdson, Bass Clef, Polar Bear…
“Tak €2 are eight fusion-jazz and ambient tracks, recorded by different Cologne-based musicians, composed and arranged by Gianni Brezzo. The record comes in a crayon painted cover showing a holiday landscape with beach, sea, mountains and two sunshades.”
Posthumous collection of super cool Afrobeat-in-dub, country and traditional japanese music.
“"It is a great album! It sounds like he had passed through my lessons." (Tony Allen)
“Although I did not think deeply about it but I felt that a certain time had come for me and I decided to produce my solo album. It was 20 years since I first started playing drums and since then, out of all the brilliant artists who live in Japan that I played with, I wanted to freely enlist players who I really wanted to create music with. The initial catalyst was my strong yearning, wanting to know, what sort of creativity would result, if I produced my own album.” This is what Keiichi Tanaka says about his intention in making this album.
In 2014, Japan’s leading 8 piece Afrobeat band with a cast of characters, Kingdom Afrocks put a halt to their group activities. For the past 8 years, firmly maintaining their steady & indispensable rhythmic core to this band’s energetic live performance and music, their drummer, Keiichi Tanaka became the first member of this group who will be releasing a solo album after their split. He started working on his solo album entitled, KETA IICNA HIKA on October, 2014 and finished it at the beginning of 2015.
Kingdom Afrocks were a band whose sound centered around Afrobeat and also implemented various musical styles such as Jazz, Brazilian Music, Latin, Rock, etc. and cooked up their own distinctive musical style and also managed to release 3 albums. Their frenzied live performance encompassed the overground to Japanese club scene’s prestigious stages such as Fuji Rock Festival, Sunset Live, Gilles Peterson Presents Worldwide Showcase, Felabration Tokyo, Francois K.’s Deep Space which earned them a great reputation in Japan.
In addition to Kingdom Afrocks’ ex-colleague, Nao Ito, OKI of Oki Dub Ainu Band and several other artists who Keiichi has recently performed with, he has also enlisted legendary Japanese Jazz piano master, renowned for the Japanese Jazz masterpiece, Watarase, Fumio Itabashi who he wanted to previously collaborate with. Furthermore, Keiichi has enlisted many African musicians living in Japan. So, along with conventional instruments, traditional African instruments such as a banjo-sounding traditional string instrument popular in countries such as Mali and Guinea, N’goni, traditional Karafuto/ Ainu instruments that OKI plays, Tonkori, and a bamboo mouth harp, Mukkur, are superbly intermingled in natural fashion. It is as if Keiichi is trying to create a compelling, new style of music by collaborating with an assorted variety of different musicians who play their unique instruments living in Japan. Furthermore, not just confined to Afrobeat, Keiichi also includes various African music and traditions such as Benga from Kenya, a lullaby from Congo, inspiration from Somaliland and Mali. Keiichi intermingles it with dub from OKI, traditional Japanese music such as his own roots music of Tenjinbayashi and traditional Ainu sounds. Also, Keiichi undertakes a Jazz- flavored cover of Afrobeat founder, Fela Kuti who he deeply reveres. As a result, Keiichi has created a deep and an unparalleled, melting pot like album that only he was able to produce. He stubbornly insisted on recording each song “live” and as such performed with his collaborators mostly in one take.
Keiichi completed this album in 2015. The record was ready to go but tragedy struck and Keiichi was taken from us by a fatal accident. KETA IICNA HIKA represents Keiichi`s musical vision, a culmination of all he had learned in this twenty years as a drummer and musician. In tribute, his family and friends have worked determinedly since Keiichi`s death to ensure that his music will reach audiences, not just in his native Japan but also across the globe.”
In Aforemention, Italian drummer, composer, producer and selector Tommaso Cappellato cooks up some of the sweetest electronic jazz-fusion vibes we’ve heard out of Europe since Healing Force’s side for Firecracker or Jameszoo’s Fool for Brainfeeder. Mixed by Donato Dozzy and mastered by Neel for added assurance!
Oh my days, this is choice! Bureau B dive into Düsseldorf’s underground scene during the ‘80s and come up with an amazing collection of wayward, feral/ferric and deeply trippy electronic music that may have lain by the wayside without the label’s excellent efforts in preservation. We direct you to the likes of Konrad Kraft’s spikily playful F, the wind-powered kralutrock of The Beginning by Frigorex, and the downward spiral of Dino Oon’s Nr.6 and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Recommended to any and all fans of weird, whacked out and abstract ‘80s electronics
“Post-war apartments dominated the views of Düsseldorf in the early 1980s - cement slabs, the "art bunker" known as the Kunsthalle, and the elevated railway called "The Millipede". Yet reconstruction was in full swing - bank buildings on the "Kö" received postmodern interiors, the old town became stylishly retro-rustic, and advertising agencies displaced industrial companies. Music took all of this on. Punk was finished, but its pathos drifted through pubs and shared flats. At the same time, synthesizers, due to digital electronics, had become increasingly affordable. This music pushed ahead slightly in order to dock onto the electronic sounds of the 1970s krautrock. But most chose the detour via records by Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, or the more unfamiliar experimental sounds on the The Elephant Table Album compilation (1983).
Cassettes from labels, like Klar! 80, were available on Aachener Straße. LPs, like those found at Pure Freude on Derendorfer Straße, were also available. This shop served as an umbrella for the disparate strands of the electronic side of post punk. Almost all artists on this compilation could be seen there. Perhaps that is why the encounter with "Electronic Cassette Music" seems like a glimpse into a mysterious parallel world. Indeed, everyone knew of each other, but often only as a name. Kurzschluss was Catherine Ledit's project. Where her threatening pads had an almost meditative character, Dirk Grützmann's Le Petit Mort drew listeners into virtually occult scenarios, not far from Current 93. Ledit and Grützmann later collaborated as the duo Temps Perdu?. Trance, as propagated by Chris & Cosey, could have been the inspiration behind the duo Wooden Barrows.
Isolated searching found expression in forms of deviant sexuality - a leitmotif in those days. It's astonishing how subtly many of the pieces exemplify this movement. It's almost terrifying on the track by Strafe Für Rebellion when a voice whispers "the cashbox is empty" and a staccato rhythm replaces the ticking of a clock. Ralf Dörper, on his way to international success Propaganda, saw ADD preferring him trapped in a nightmare. The cassette generation did not bother crossing over to pop music. They were pioneers of a music which would develop into drone, ambient or hypnagogic. Features: Konrad Kraft, Deux Balaines Blanches, Ettlinger, Mentocome, Frigorex, Dino Oon, Pfad Der Tugend, Kurzschluss, Wooden Barrows, Le Petit Mort, Strafe Für Rebellion, Maria Zerfall, and ADD.”
Welcome to the further adventures of Bohren and his crew of axe carrying jazz deconstructionalists.
Another Bohren & Der Club of Gore classic seeps up from below, seeing its first vinyl reissue since the original 2002 pressing! Like its predecessor, Sunset Mission, the tone and feel of Black Earth is steeped in a smoky history of noirish soundtracks, European minimalism and the intensity of avant metal, all perfectly weighted for head-plunging midnight immersion.
It still beggars belief how they manage to play so slow without at least one of them nodding off during the session, which tends to be as effective as a xanax at those times when required. In their world everything operates at an opiated pace, with silvery solo piano, resonant double bass dabs and spectral voices seemingly curling off the wax into acres of negative space and taking your thoughts with them.
In terms of a sonic experience, basically everyone needs to undergo a Bohren album at least once in their life, and if you’ve never squinted into the distance of Sunset Mission or stared into the abyss of Black Earth, you genuinely don’t know quite what you’re missing out on.
Denmarks’ Paxton Fettel follows Greta Cottage Workshop’s first vinyl LP release, Everything Stays The Same, with the imaginative leap of Nothing Stays The Same; pushing farther into deep house zones with “tasteful” wobbly dubstep bits, streaks of ‘80s jazz-funk and a dollop of disco...