Paul Rose (Scuba) fixes trax from Isaac Reuben, Bleak, Markus Suckut and Antonio Ruscito on the first release for his Who Whom label.
Following his entry on Scuba’s Fabric 90 mix and smaller 12”, Isaac Reuben opens affairs with the misty-eyed strings, deep surging chords and driving kicks of Machines, and Bleak tests the big room ‘floor reflexes with the palpitating techno footwork of In My Soul.
Markus Suckut’s Acid Landscape proceeds to ice the room with glacial 303 modulations and glancing rimshots, and deep Italian techno specialist Antonio Ruscito glides on deepest systolic pulses to the the edge.
Bank Records NYC enlist an Unknown Artist (purportedly Lyubocha, who was last spotted on Opal Tapes’ Contemporary Dance compilation) for their 10th volley of grotty dance trax.
Abakan feels out murky techno space between 154 and Lee Gamble which gets more acidic in the proceeding Krusheniye, whilst Novaya Kalami drags that vibe underwater with soggy bass hits and mottled brown acid flow, and Trauma rolls off the bone with a more rugged swang.
Crafty little shot from Gonçalo F. Cardoso, who was last spotted on A Study Into 21st Century Drone Acoustics  and now presents two beguiling short form pieces
Firstly the bubbling metallic polyrhythm and heat hazy summers day field recordings which give way to skronky abstract ‘tronics, acousmatic chat and eventually a downpour of static in the A-side’s Radio Kampala; then a recording of what sounds like a sliced up boxing match sprayed with machine gun fire and electronic shrapnel on the other side’s Skull Cave.
A proper oddity.
Deep but up-for-it disco house bangers from Florence, Italy’s Marco D’Aquino a.k.a. Dukwa for the purposes of this 12” with the Glaswegian Italophiles at Numbers.
Well versed in Anthony Shakir style chops, the four cuts on Shattered In A Thousand Places cook up solid US styles with an extra hint of Italian gourmet, resulting the strobing chord delicacy of Thoughts feat. Mar G on all-night-long vox, plus the pumping sasturday night pressure of Fries Friends, a skipper slice of John Swing styles in Illusory Dreams, and a rugged Frictional downstroke on Lazy.
Berlin’s Laura ODL and Eva Geist a.k.a. As Longitude carve out five grubby ruts of dubbed-out acidic chug for Amsterdam’s venue-turned-label Knekelhuis; pulling the ‘floor along at 100bpm pace thru the wavy oddity Black Rice to the piquant percolations of Pink Is Orange on the A-side, and then from the stumbling triplets of Kalte Füße to the Colin Potter-esque kosmiche hypo-dub of Blauer Part and share an analog bubblebath with Sharks Are Coming.
Steve Rutter keeps modulating his style with the latest B12 seemingly looking to Tricky and late period dubstep for inspiration in the vocal-fragranced downtempo trips of In Vain, at least his 10th release since remerging c. 2015.
Feels like 9am Sunday in a musty Chorlton flat surrounded by empty Oranjebooms and you can’t fight the feeling any more; it’s time to go home.
Reeko, Blawan, Stenny and Shifted weigh in heavy duty remixes of London’s Pris for his Resin label
Blawan goes on brute and monotone with a rumbling, knotted remix of Dodeca and Stenny keeps it flowing off centre in a nervier rework of Reef. Shifted impresses with the intricate scree and recursive rolige of his take on Devil In The Detail, and we catch Reeko at his most sullen on a gravelly version of Reef.
Lushly sentimental nostalgia for early-mid ‘90s electronica; like Special Request reworking B12 in the epic, rolling breakbeat hustle of Lost Illusions; or a long-lost FSOL archive salvage in the majestic Aura 96 (Kino Mix); then with Jesus arms for the sunrise in Gaia’s Requiem.
Who else but Andy Votel and co’s Cache Cache could dig up Gerry & The Holograms’ near-mythical post punk oddity - Frank Zappa’s mum’s favourite, apparently. Trust that they’ve gone all-out with the mirriboard jacket and typically in-depth liner notes, but it’s the other 10 NEVER BEFORE-HEARD tracks that should have you moist with anticipation. Because let’s face it, nobody knows any other tracks apart from their eponymous zinger?! Moist we tell ya!
“Gerry And The Holograms were well documented as one of Frank Zappa’s favourite ever groups and instantly recognisable as the blueprint of 80’s Mancunian electro pop, the inflated alter egos of Gerry & The Holograms (and their unrivalled brand of conceptual sarcastic synth pop) successfully remodelled, ridiculed and redefined plugged-in punk before hitting the self-destruct button and burying the evidence under a pile of hand mutilated microgrooves.
Having risen from the electronic embers of Manchester’s first genuine psychedelic band, via Vertigo commissioned prog and experimental theatre, then refined through the musical mind behind the most inspired vinyl moments of Martin Hannett, John Cooper Clarke and Jilted John.The discography of Gerry & The Holograms remains unrivalled as the most idiosyncratic and enigmatic pivotal post punk artifact from the first electronic entrenchment of pop.
A consistent inclusion on record collector wantlists, transcending both decades and musical genres, the first and only listenable two track record by this masked art rock studio duo, entitled ‘Meet The Dissidents’, originally appeared in record racks in 1979, selling out instantly only to be sequelised by a totally unplayable situationist inspired follow up which was glued into its own sleeve destroying the grooves in the process (rivalling that of Peter Saville and Durutti Column’s Debordist sandpaper re hash by at least three years).
With a lifespan shorter than the hours on their studio bill, the band would find bedfellows amongst other incognito groups like Naffi Sandwich, The Mothmen and Blah Blah Blah within the Absurd Records stable, a daring Mancunian imprint that sat awkwardly between older and younger half sister labels Rabid and Relentless. With a release library of mostly non returning faceless atonal electronic punk DIY industrial bands Absurd would spearhead and pre empt the subsequent decades of Mancunian independent record labels that followed in the footsteps of the more commercially successful Factory Records (while also drawing comparisons with Spiral Scratch, Test Pressings, Object Music and Throbbing Gristles’ Industrial Records).
Despite just one official title to their name however, the true identity behind Gerry & The Holograms would unify those sister labels and collectively play an important supporting role in Manchester’s independent music history with a story which goes back as far as most rain soaked memories can attempt to forget.”
On vinyl for the 1st time - a superb cross-section of romantic new wave funk, post-industrial and minimal synth tracks originally collected and released together in 1984 by Danielle Ciulini; a pivotal member of the Italian and European tape scene who conceived Nouances as a showcase for the breadth of underground Italian music culture, combining articles by the scene’s leading ‘zine writers and editors, together with strong musical proof .
Looking for all intents and purposes like a Crepuscule compilation, but sounding closer to something you might expect on Music From Memory or Ecstatic (who were coincidentally behind Ciulini’s Domestic Exile Collected Works 82-86), the songs on Nouances are balanced in a half light between hacking Gang Of Four funk in The Tempest’s Abc, and Minox’s exquisitely low key new wave slide into Purgatoryo on the front, whilst the other swerves from 23 Skidoo or Cabaret Voltaire styles with Rinf’s Tropical Nacht / Spass Muss Sein (live at Tenax) to a very canny stripe of gloomy gothic minimal wave from Belgium’s Twilight Ritual, I Never Called You A Dream, and not least, Danielle Ciulini’s icy hot-stepper Silences.
Visual artist Jesse Kanda (FKA Twigs, Arca) makes his musical debut with the compellingly bittersweet introspection of his Heart EP for Hyperdub.
In key with the off-kilter harmonies of his peer, Arca, but willing to pursue more abstract angles of expression, the ostensibly tart sharpness and distorted exoskeleton of Doon Kanda’s sound belies the inspirations at its core, “love, compassion, empathy” in a very similar way to which his hyperreal visual work also gets under the skin, right to the core of it.
While relatively simple, linear in construction when compared with, say, Arca’s output, the five tracks of Heart ache with a pent romantic yearn that hits home from the off: Axolotl - described by the artist as “like a chant for giving it your best try” - exemplifies that raw emotive effect with ruggedly thuggish drive and searing hook juiced for all it’s worth, but the beats barely return over the next four songs; leaving his licks lingering in wide open space like a rhythmic gymnast’s ribbon that never falls to the floor in Womb, or percolated in a curious call-and-response of evaporating bass hits and chiming strokes in Wings, before claggy trap trills infiltrate Heart’s starkly contoured chromatic dimensions.
We sense the start of a very promising musical streak from this artist. Check it!
Throbbing Gristle's second album, remastered - making for markedly superior sound quality to some previous editions - and reissued on Industrial Records.
This finds the band at their sleazy (no pun intended) and savage best, reaching an apogee of apoplectic rage on 'We Hate You (Little Girls)', and has to rank as one of the most brilliant British evocations of decay and dysfunction to appear in any art form, ever. For all the P.Orridge-helmed murk, you feel Chris Carter's presence more firmly on this album - as on the the steam-powered, laser-striped synth-wave of 'Dead On Arrival' and especially 'AB/7A', reminiscent of his recently canonized solo set The Space Between.
For all its electronic innovations, DoA also captures TG's oft-forgotten ability to rock, as heard on 'I.B.M.', 'Hit By A Rock' and 'Blood On The Floor', which locate and update the essence of the Stooges and Gen’s beloved Velvets. 'Five Knuckle Shuffle' is as disconcertingly, flagellatingly funky as it always was, and in 'Walls Of Sound' you see the roots of Whitehouse and pretty much all P.E. and harsh noise that's come since.
Never mind the bollocks, you've got Throbbing Gristle.
Moss Garden is a stunning dark ambient opus from Erik Skodvin (Deaf Center) aka Svarte Greiner: collecting his soundtracks for two installation pieces commissioned by Marit Følstad, perfectly distilling the space between waking life and nightmare as uncannily as anything else you’ll hear this side of a David Lynch flick, or that recurring dream where you’re trapped going the wrong way down an escalator into an icy fjord. If you're into Mica Levi's unique string arrangements, this one's a must.
The album marks the return of Skodvin’s most prized solo alias, trailing in the smoky wake of a recent reissue of his Deaf Center classic, Pale Ravine (2005) to effectively resolve the three year wait since he left us dangling with Black Tie, which was also released thru his label; Miasmah.
As any avowed follower of dark ambient music will likely acknowledge, there’s a fine line between numbing tonal drift and genuinely enchanted sound, and it’s one which Skodvin is patently aware of both as a listener/consumer and producer/alchemist operating within those parameters, allowing him to skilfully navigate the sound’s most subtle aspects without ever being accused of being one-dimensional, as could be applied to many others in that field.
Crucially, like the best of Greiner’s work, Moss Garden strikes a balance of almost academic stoicism and expressive pathos, using rarified technique at the service of an instinctually guided tension. He commits something more akin to one of Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient recordings, revealing a widescreen, mazy field of convulsive, recursive metallic shockwaves that open out at unfathomable, horizontal angles whilst the centre ground gains a mass of blackened drone energy, as though we’re moving ever deeper into a space as long as it is wide until we’re greeted by a frost of sylvan timbres that seem to mimic the vocal tone of its translucent inhabitants.
K Leimer’s 4th LP Land of Look Behind is a genuine ambient pearl from the early years of his Palace Of Lights label. Remastered (by Greg Davis) and reissued on vinyl for first time since 1982!
It was originally conceived and deployed as the soundtrack to Alan Greenberg’s film of Bob Marley’s funeral, taking the film’s location recordings of crowds at the funeral and Rastas in Cockpit County - high in JA’s mountainous interior - as cues and raw source material for a sublime, rhythmelodic suite of 4th World Ambient themes. The result are totally absorbing, some of the most enduring music in Leimer’s revered cache.
Opening up the process-oriented approach of his then-previous album, Closed System Potentials (1980), Leimer’s 2nd side for PoL is a beautifully ethereal, pensile thing which bears an intrinsic link to the film, which, like the soundtrack, isn’t just a straight-ahead match of sound and image; rather it’s dreamily immersive yet detached, hovering between enigmatic and sublime thanks to the use of sampled and reframed dialogue, and most subtly, in the way Leimer and his quartet of drummers - Steve Fisk, Kevin Hodges, David Keller, James Keller - also use the dialogue and street noise as cues, trigger points for syncopated patterns and weightless tones.
Like his best work with Savant, both prior and post this album, the meeting of swaying, pointillist percussion and floating electronics is key to the magic of this one, too. At many times between the chiming instrumental call-and-repsonse of Two Voices and the mix of grubbing bass, pealing synths and patina of glossolalia in The City Far Below, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the midst of an Eno & Hassell record, but the distinction is clearly made by Leimer’s grooving suss and unfathomable sense of space, at its most compelling in the slow, crisply rolled Nyabinghi and keening pads of Testimony and Honor, or its widescreen partner piece, The Cockpit.
Colour us enchanted. This is a properly lovely record.
Hardcore techno pelters from NYC industrial survivor Collin Strange
Private Room is a straight-up, gristly wall-banger fuelled on bone-melting acid, thuggish kicks and razoring hi-hats; Private Lies throws down massive inverted kickdrums and 303s right between the eyes; Private Thoughts polishes you off with a kinkier sort of darkroom acid canter.
Smart survey of productions by members of New Order, including classic tracks released on Factory Records between 1982 and 1985. Bonus material on the CD includes the full 22 minute version of Video 5-8-6 and a Section 25 song produced by Ian Curtis and Rob Gretton in 1979!
New Order Presents Be Music is a compilation of productions by members of New Order, including classic dance and electro tracks released on Factory Records between 1982 and 1985, as well as more recent remixes for current artists such as Factory Floor, Marnie, Tim Burgess and Fujiya & Miyagi.
"The generic tag Be Music was first used in 1981 and covered studio production work by all four members of New Order: Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert. Sumner often teamed with Donald 'Dojo' Johnson of A Certain Ratio, including the pioneering electro cuts featured here by Quando Quango, 52nd Street, Marcel King, Paul Haig and Surprize. Morris and Gilbert worked with Thick Pigeon, Life, Red Turns To and also 52nd Street. Although more rock orientated, Hook proved he was no slouch on the dancefloor either with the mighty Fate/Hate by Nyam Nyam.
'Producing was a really important sideline,' recalls Bernard Sumner of the Factory era. 'It's OK doing it because although all the groups are skint, you learn a lot and you're helping somebody.'
After 1985 the band focused more on producing their own records, both as New Order and solo projects such as Electronic, Revenge, The Other Two, Monaco and Bad Lieutenant. However in recent years Stephen Morris in particular has remixed several newer artists, notably London industrialists Factory Floor, as well as former Factory workers A Certain Ratio and Section 25.”
Scott Morgan’s Loscil hovers back into view with a decidedly moody album of his patented dub and ambient productions for Kranky some two years since Sea Island.
Monument Builders is a nerve-riddled and unpredictable thing and perhaps not exactly what you’d expect from him. Where once there was a sense of blue optimism to his music, there is now a brooding pensiveness manifest in its minor key arrangements and bruised, textured tone.
The album perhaps betrays a return influence from his day job as a sound director for the video game industry, as Monument Builders could soundtrack a bleak first person immersion in some dark parallel world not too dissimilar to our own, patiently plotting a course thru the resonant, widescreen space and cracked ice patterns of Drained Lake to ascend a vertiginous vortex of throbbing synths - among the most kinetic piece in his whole catalogue - in the anxiously melancholy Red Tide, pausing for murky reflection in the title track, and raising the tension again with the frosty brassy swells of Straw Dogs and coolly baffling the senses with the headlong techno velocity and strangely static poise of Anthropocene, leaving with us the OOBE, swarmed by deliquescent, dying angels in Weeds.
You don’t usually expect an artist’s most powerful piece of work to arrive fifteen years into their game, but that what Loscil has arguably achieved with his 10th solo album.
Regis compiles a killer Downwards label survey for 2017 featuring excluisve new material from DVA Damas, Autumns, Grebenstein, Sefried and Layne, veering from dank EBM to collapsing industrial structures.
Downwards send their new vanguard on road with The Immortal Eye; the mood is intensely depressive and pessimistic throughout, but, in the classic sense of gothic industrial music, the impeccably maintained atmosphere conversely acts as comfort or redemption to those need it.
Berlin’s Jan Grebenstein remerges with Seefried on the tunnelling Wufferfraction only months after their excellent Strong Proud Stupid and Superior 12”. Imagine an anxious HTRK or ToC have just run out of downers and the technoid tension becomes palpable… before, the uncomfortably stark, empty-stomach concrète churn of Layne’s Love will put you back face down again.
Autumns have flirted with Clan Destine and CF Records since their Downwards debut of eviscerated shoegaze in 2014, but they enter the B-side with a markedly different silhouette, framing spectral electronics and unheimlich voices in acres of negative, miasmic space before slipping into a pulsing techno trajectory, whilst LA’s DVA Damas clear up with the erotic asphyxiation of Shortcut To X, which is effectively a crushing reduction of by now familiar sound...
Warm, spacious deep house trax from Vancouver’s Flørist and his alter ego, V. Rosso.
Classic import house vibes here, from the romantic yearn of Windows On The World and its sublime Moving Day Dub hustle to the weightless, Martyn-meets Chez Damier-esque swing of Down & Out, to the nifty, faded pressure of M-80.
Levon Vincent caps his most productive year since 2009 with the brassy club fanfare of Berlin and NYC’s deft minimalist sound design on NS 15.
Berlin is by far one of the brightest, most optimistic club plays in over a decade of LV’s productions, simultaneously drawing on his classical/minimalist studies and Berlin’s history of economic hedonism to hypnotise with a patented blend of subs-driven pressure, martial trills and heady lead horns that nod toward Steve Reich as much as Moritz Von Oswald’s reworks for Deutsche Grammofon.
Likewise, NYC links with a fertile history of downtown experimentation and deep Black dance music roots in its intricately pointillist, pizzicato top line whilst the pounding bass is physically fierce, irresistible in the right situations.
Hauntingly tender solo debut LP from London’s Kelly Lee Owens, delivering on the promise of her excellent Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery collaborations/remixes in a full album of sylvan tech house and synth-pop beauties.
Prefaced by the head-turning single, Oleic - which featured a smart rework of Jenny Hval’s Kingsize - Kelly Lee Owens’ eponymous album introduces a well rounded yet subtly detailed sound to the world at large, one brimming with the rare promise of an artist who wants to extract something more precious, personalised from the dance music and pop prisms which clearly enthral her music.
There’s probably always going to be something about ethereal, floating vocals and the sensual contours of European tech house, when at its best, which will eternally grab our attention. And this album delivers strongly on both counts - striking an impeccable balance of classic, timeless pop songwriting and purring, contemporary electronic grooves that places it in an exulted space on the shelves.
Collaborators Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery appear on the record’s highlights; Jenny lending her poised delivery and lyrics, framed by KLO’s breathy gilding, on the baroque pop-house dream sequence of Anxi., with Avery assisting on the Fever Ray-meets-Liz Fraser stylings of Keep On Walking; whilst the rest is subtly aided by the mixing and engineering treatments of James Greenwood, who’s best known as Ghost Culture on Erol Elkan’s Phantasy Sound.
That combination of KLO’s chamber-like arrangements and Greenwood’s rendering results a string of other pearls in the strung out balearia of S.O. at the front, thru the gorgeous Arthur - which is surely a play on that library record Aphex Twin sampled on Xtal?! - whereas Evolution flexes some properly toned dancefloor muscle, and Throwing Lines could very nearly be mistaken for a cut from Grimes’ Halfaxa period.
After years of plaudits from all corners, Jacques Greene distills the ecstatic/melancholy sentiment of modern electronic house music within Feel Infinite, his debut album for LuckyMe.
Throughout the album’s 11 tracks, the Montreal-based producer synthesises the see-sawing feels of a night with pals, fingers tasting like acrid saffron and skin flush with water retention, using a range of contemporary house, R&B and electro-pop conventions to convey the warmest, user-friendly vibes.
Tom Krell (How To Dress Well) is partly responsible for one of the album’s highlights with pleading vocals on the swinging soft trance R&B gesture, True, and an uncredited female (or processed male) voice sparkles as an instrumental element across many other, with ear-snagging style in the filter-disco chops of Real Time, and cooing from the snappy 2-step structure of Afterglow.
Bambooman wickedly freshens up his palette to ear + booty-snagging effect on this winner for Matthew Herbert’s yung Accidental Jnr label.
Stepping out of the garage/hip hop paradigm and into a more inquisitive, new zones of polymetric measures and of kilter harmonics, yet without losing the subtly swung charm of his earlier releases, Bambooman embraces the present future with style in the four tracks of Shudder.
The title track lives up to its mantle with a lean display of nipped, recursive rhythms that sounds like a Beatrice Dillon groove filleted by Gábor Lázár. The combination of rude swagger, vocal stabs and slicing chords in Grasp is a little more conventional, perhaps closer to recent Joy Orbison gear, for example, whilst M1 turns back to the kind of fresh, metallic shimmy also explored by Björk producer, Spaces, and Kyrian also impresses with a bittersweet broken beat twyster that sounds like Dego with a ear-infection; all unbalanced swang and perfectly dissonant chord combos.
After an eight year break from releasing music, Scott Kannberg (founding member of Pavement and Preston School Of Industry) AKA Spiral Stairs releases his new album ‘Doris & The Daggers’.
"‘Doris & The Daggers’ was recorded over a batch of short sessions at Exactamundo studios in Eagle Rock, California. The band features Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff on drums, Kevin Drew sang on ‘Emoshuns’, Kelley Stoltz lent guitar to the summery chime of ‘AWM’ and The National’s Matt Berninger lends vocals to the bittersweet, zephyr-light ‘Exiled Tonight’."
Two celebrated veterans - anticon. co-founder Doseone and the esteemed underground rapper Mestizo - come together.
"A7PHA is the culmination of years of radical thought, lives lived on the knife's edge. Their self-titled debut record (anchored by production from Alias) absorbs that left-field energy, splinters it into component parts, and re-assembles it into something uniquely human.
Listen to "At The Altar": a song built on steely, industrial instrumental pieces, but in its final form, you can practically hear the track inhale and exhale. The breaths are strung together by Doseone and Mestizo's vocals, which flit back and forth from staccato and precise, to formless and gothic. Or check "99 Point Static," where the track builds such steam that when the bottom falls out on the coda, you get transported through to the end on raw adrenaline. A7PHA does this over and over - building massive tidal waves of raw, immovable emotions, then turning on a dime, and leaves you scrambling to keep up.
Few boast the pedigree to forge something so simultaneously listenable and invitingly bizarre. Doseone has spent two decades as one of hip-hop's most inscrutable talents, working with a who's-who of underground legends and establishing himself as one of the most dazzling technical MCs, chimerical lyricists, and creative visionaries. His contributions to A7PHA find him flexing all his undeniable vocal gifts: razor-sharp, rapid-fire cadences, an elasticity that unspools a vertiginous array of emotions. As a writer, he marries his cryptic strings of imagery to a frenzied search for something deeper. He pushes
A7PHA as far as possible into uncharted territory. For his part, Mestizo grounds the proceedings, filling the songs out with flesh and blood. His vocals on "Sicked" set the tone for the rest of the album: dense, punishing, and propulsive. If Dose is busy sliding around the seams of a beat, Mestizo cuts directly through. The Philly resident is the stone-eyed center of the record, the steady hand on the wheel while everything around him burns. But as "Hater Hate It" makes abundantly clear, he's not above some verbal acrobatics of his own. A7PHA isn't made for upscale bars or low-key gatherings. It's about shattering the facades around you, then staring, unflinching, and what's left behind. It's supposed to soundtrack minor mental breakdowns and house parties that permanently fuck up your security deposit. Doseone and Mestizo have something highly combustible on their hands, but for the time being, it seems that they know just how to handle it."
Two of the heaviest c*nts on the planet pit their wits on Concrete Desert, with Kevin Martin a.k.a. The Bug framing Dylan Carlson ov Earth’s deathly axe chops in a deeply strung out and apocalypse baiting clash of the titans.
Coming from distinctly idiosyncratic backgrounds - one steeped in generations of doom metal, grunge and bleakest country music; the other saturated with Jamaican dub, shoegaze noise and the ‘ardcore continuum - they evidently find common ground in terms of sheer heaviness on Concrete Desert, with Carlson’s glacial but sprawling gestures harnessed and sublimated in 13 super wide and crushing riddims from Martin’s triple-locked top drawer.
Making good on the promise of their Boa/Cold  hook-up, which was effectively an addendum to The Bug’s Angels & Devils LP, this fully fledged collaboration locates their sound between the eyes, overhead, all around you in plangent sheets of harmonised soreness and jellying waves of subbass pressure at a lugubrious pace that’s faithful to both artist’s individual sound.
The standout moments ring clear and true in the likes of Dog, which comes on like a rabid, overweight Raime who just swallowed Rapeman, or in the almighty, sky-collapsing keen of American Dream and the knackered halfstep slugger Hell A, but you can simply take it on trust that the whole thing is as heavy as your life.
Perc & Truss trample all over two bangers from Mumdance & Logos’ Proto LP, commanding Move Your Body to a nail-biting and noisey industrial techno agenda, then steaming thru Hall Of Mirrors with bullish, wall-banging form.
Proper mucky ruts, these.
The veteran mutant noise unit mint their new Lower Floor label with the 100th Wolf Eyes album.
Hurtling ever closer to their 20th anniversary as a band, albeit in various iterations, ‘The U$A’s longest-running homemade primitive electronic poetry & vibes trio,’ offer a semblance of hope 2017 will be alright after all with the arrival of their own label, Lower Floor Music.
Leading by example, this label - or ‘scotched taped nuclear audio radioactive front on humanity’ as they refer to it - is heralded by a new Wolf Eyes long player, ‘Undertow,’ which doubles up as the trio’s one hundredth album release by our estimations.
This is a real ugly bastard of an album, with Nate Young, James Baljo and John Olson intent on shredding minds from the off, adopting a free jazz approach to mangling discordant guitar beyond all recognition on Laughing Tides. From there, Empty Islands sounds like the heroic Pod Blotz attacking the classic shred metal sound of America and Texas spangles further, deeper into abstracted, wailing noise.
The metallic textures and Lou Reed-esque vocal mutterings of the title track are set to an irradiating metronome, setting you up for the near-fourteen-minute finale Thirteen which is Wolf Eyes at their absorbing, decimating best.
Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss pitch up on Planet Mu with a belated third Teengirl Fantasy album.
First surfacing at the turn of the decade with the naive paean to Chi-town euphoria of Cheaters, Teengirl Fantasy duo Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss have seemingly been chasing their own sound and sidestepping dodgy genre tags ever since. A prolonged bout of label hopping took the pair from indies like Milo Cordell’s trendjetting Merok and True Panther to a second album campaign for R&S in the label’s awkward A&R phase circa 2012. You know when they put out Vondelpark and Egyptian Hip Hop records….
8AM is Teengirl Fantasy’s latest creative statement, finding them back on a major electronic player in Planet Mu after a brief dalliance with North Carolina’s smartly-named Break World Records. Attempting to overlook their undercooked R&S LP Tracer, this 12-track collection picks up on the lineage of TGF’s 2010 debut album, 7AM, and veers off in a more introspective and abstracted direction.
8AM is a more confident glance into the Teengirl Fantasyverse, picking away at the burning embers of dance music history reinterpreting them in their own voice.
Masterful producer and mastering engineer, Stefan ‘Pole’ Betke, is next up for a creative undertaking of the Schnitzler archives.
By his own admission, a late adoptee to the sizeable canon of Conrad Schnitzler’s work, Stefan Betke is a fine choice to rework the late Kraut icon’s deep tape archive for the latest ‘Con-Struct’ album. Largely occupied with mastering duties since his most recent Pole LP, ‘Wald’, this six-track undertaking is perhaps the best ‘Con-Struct’ yet, offering a sharply-poised exercise in dub dynamics.
Betke coaxes you in with the first two tracks, Wurm and Sieht Hoch, which share the same lazy-eyed string refrain whilst subtly implementing an upwards shift in momentum. From here there is some real head-crushing moments. Lacht is a largely beatless affair that squeezes plenty of unease out through the queasy, sinewy dub FX, and the tripped-out Drachenbäume sind friedliche Wesen has a unique sense of continually fraying at the edges.
The brief Und fängt den Vogel! offers an interlude-shaped lesson in maximal sound design before Betke ends on an extended palate cleanser with a slab of classic Pole dub techno in the shape of Wiegenlied für Katzen.
The Macro man brings some mutant strains of tech-house to D-Edge subsidiary Olga.
Stefan Goldmann’s wayfaring spirit finds him pitching up on the OLGA offshoot of Sao Paolo’s D-EDGE with a pair of frisky, expertly-crafted minimal purrers.
Goldmann sounds like he had plenty of fun in the studio on Radiolarian, kicking out with a mucky dub techno groove then laying it on thick with fizzling pads and snaking pitch bent melodies. Streams offers a trippier side to the Berlin producer’s palette, the sort of thing you can see Ben UFO laying waste to a stadium-sized festival with.
Another icy Nordic beauty from one of Posh Isolation’s more broad-minded acts.
“'I Musik' is the third piece from Kyo, a duet of Hannes Norrvide and Frederik Valentin. With each release the pair make a shift in the project's aesthetic equilibrium, forcing a new constellation of resonances, handing us a new beauty.
'I Musik' presents another wondrous movement in the narrative, like discovering a secret escalator that passes everything you want from a new angle.
The melodramatic pause that their previous album circled with enthusiasm is now considered from a greater distance. Perhaps it is because we have now arrived somewhere? There is a hopeful melancholia that has come with this distance, and it is put to use to describe a scene that feels as human as it is synthetic, as if the world you know is now behind glass. Futures imagined are being recalled, futures undiscovered are being explored—Norrvide and Valentin manage to encode a sense of endlessness to such processes quite casually. The acoustic surfaces brush electronic reflections with an understated sincerity, all of which feels whispered to you by a familiar voice in familiar phrases.
There is such a quiet future being invoked on 'I Musik,' yet we don't know what this quiet may come to be defined against, or if it will come to be defined at all. It's a stillness that isn't fully grasped, and it needn't be. This is its beauty.”
Loke Rahbek’s Croatian Amor pulls together a disparate, motley crew of remixers to dissect and re-stitch some of his best solo work to date: Love Means Taking Action.
Packing ‘em in there, it yields no less than eight new perspectives on the record’s deeply human themes; ranging from the subbass-gilded but weightless new age dimensions of Brynje’s take on Värmland thru the fractured 2-step of Age Coin’s Refugee (ACCA version) and a balmy moment in Why Be’s Love 13 (Island Step) and the rattled jungle prang of Any Life by Yen Towers on the front.
Turn over for what sounds like an underwater Julia Holter in CTM’s Octopus Web and the unmetered pulse and whispers of Ma Langue La Premiere from Felicia Atkinson, which perfectly segues into the Lynchian miasma of Drew Mcdowall’s Love and the candescent ambient romance of Kyo ft. Health & Safety in An Angel.
Hatti Vatti is one of the Polish underground's most vital figures. He is known for his analogue focused interpretations of an array of sounds, from ambient to footwork.
"While working on SZUM (noise or hiss in Polish), his first longplay since 2014, he was invited by Polish National Audiovisual Institute to join RE:VIVE - a project curated by the Netherlands Institute of Sound & Vision that already resulted with a strikingly original LP from Lakker in 2016.
Having already been inspired by the pioneering work of artists from the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio, founded in 1962, as well as by animated film scores of the 60s, 70s and 80s, RE:VIVE presented Hatti Vatti with the unmissable opportunity to delve with unprecedented access into the vast archives of the Polish National Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw.
Here, he took the original, sometimes fractured yet melodic compositions he had been working on, and injected with a haunting layer of Iron Curtain era psychedelia. Far beyond a typical 'sampledelic' excursion, SZUM is the sound of a cutting edge electronic craftsman, reimagining his forward thinking work alongside the pioneering ghosts of the past. Album offers a typically bold, retro futuristic exploration of Poland's rich history of sound experimentation, one that simultaneously corresponds closely with contemporary issues and events in the country.”
A rare, beguiling solo outing from Swedish composer and electro-acoustic expert Mats Lindstrom, the current studio director of the revered Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) Stockholm, arriving some five years since release of МИГ, a collection of archival recordings released by Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ in 2012.
If you have any knowledge of the Scandinavian avant and electronic firmament, there’s every chance that you’ve intersected Lindstrom’s name or even his work on your auditory travels. For those unaware; he’s been integral to that region’s experimental scene since the ‘80s, applying his background as an industrial technician to the construction of unique instruments, and also in pivotal role as producer and directors Fylkingen society for new music and the Stockholm New Music festival. The EMS studio he hells has played hosts to reams of releases which pass thru these pages.
This 7” gives two captivating snapshots of his live electronic practice recorded at GRAD Belgrade in a One/Scratch Memory performance with Anna Koch. They result in two succinctly precise, air-slicing movements captured with the sort of clarity and stereo depth of field that sends eyes rolling around the head when consumed via headphones; eliciting an experience akin to hearing water falling upwards in an enclosed metal space, whilst one of the sentinel bots from the matrix scans for your presence. Funnily enough, that’s the sort of place and situation we dream about near nightly.
It’s only when listening to pieces such as this that you can properly appreciate the difference between composers who think and work in 3D, using every angle of the sound field available to them, and those who paint on 2D canvasses.
Japan’s Ena cuts loose into the grey area between noise, techno and D&B with four tracks taken from his Divided: Mind 12” on Horo.
As heard in the mulched dynamics of his Soil EP, the producer is now exploring more abstract, uncertain zones of inquiry, with what sounds like Wolf Eyes doing caveman techno on the front, plus a piece of Scanio-Style hypo-noise, and a head-swallowing cut of pure atonal abstraction.
Nuel, Yves De Mey, Orphx and Shawn O’Sullivan tease Wata Igarashi’s Ciphers EP into altered shapes for Berlin’s Midgar.
Noel supplies the biggest highlight with the grittily fluid, pendulous hydraulics of his take on Ciphers; Yves De Mey gives something for your body to chew on with a crooked and bendy remix of Hailstones; Shawn O’Sullivan rolls out for the blackout moment of the night with a grumbling monotone version of Mantle; Orphx reduce Lucifero to a writhing acid lead and glumly persistent bass groove.
First new Letitia Sadier album since Something Shines . Crammed with glittering Gallic pop suss
“Another New Year, and new shapes are forming — if only we are fortunate enough to notice them! As we spin through this world, we are witness to all manner of combinations unfolding before us — familiar arcs and breaking waves alike, upon all of which it is our choice, our chance and our challenge, to possibly ride. Find Me Finding You, the new album from the new organization called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, manages to strike new chords while touching familiar keys in the song of life.
From its percolating opening beat, Find Me Finding You locates new systems within the sound-universe of Laetitia Sadier. This in itself isn’t a surprise — Laetitia has relentlessly followed her music through different dynamics and into a variety of dimensions over the course of four solo albums since 2010 (not to forget her three albums with Monade and the long era of Stereolab)—but the nature of the construction here stands distinctly apart from her recent albums. Laetitia was inspired by a mind’s-eye envisaging of geometric forms and their possible permutations. As she sought to replicate the shapes in music, this guided the process of assembly for the album.
Part of the freshness of Find Me Finding You comes from working and playing within the Source Ensemble and exploring new sound combinations via a set of youthful and evolving musical relationships. Laetitia recognized the energy of the tracks in their initial form, and sought to preserve their vitality by not retaking too many performances — instead, the rawness in the tracks was retained and refined at the mixing stage, maintaining an edge throughout. When we hear synth lines diving, lifting and drifting, unusual guitar textures, the plucked sound of flat wound bass strings or the bottomless pulsing of bass pedals stepping out of the mix with an exquisite vibrancy, this is the sound of the Source Ensemble.
Expressing great compassion and expectation with startling immediacy, as well as an abiding belief in an underlying unity that permeates and intimately binds all things and beings, Find Me Finding You combines a rigorous process for music-making with a deeply invested mindset, making captivating music that promises many stimulating spins to come!”
Dead sought-after Library slab of wild and hairy disco drum rhythms and electronics from 1978. For use in pornos, sleazy bars, churches...
“The first ever repress of this Klaus Weiss musical masterpiece. And it's the first of the all new Trunk library series that is a coming this way. Time Signals is an incredible thing on many levels and for many reasons, and you will not find an original without a mortgage.
It's classic German experimental sounds and rhythms that only Klaus can really get away with, and over the years cues have turned up all over infamous hardcore porn as well as sports programming and maybe some sinister wildlife documentaries too. This is electronic, rhythmic, peculiar, and will make your brain hurt at times.”
Thrumming techno polymetrics from the Grey Area already bigged up by Mumdance; recalibrating your roll with four monotone and undulating rhythms that teeter between needlepoint hi-hats and pulsating hydrolicks, cavernous reverbs, and underwater steppers.
RIYL Sigha, ASC, Akkord…
Sun Araw totes one of his most surreal, daftest fancies with The Saddle Of The Increate, despatching the band’s first new recorded material on Sun Ark Records since the psychedelic excursion, Belomancie .
With only a few trips made on Sean McCann’s Music For Public Ensemble and alongside Laraaji on Professional Sunflower and the S. Araw “Trio” XIII to quench our thirst in the meantime, this loosely strung and sprawling set renders Cameron Stallones and the gang at their most ir/reverent and dare we say, North American; delivering a subtly funny and playful suite that’s more Billy Crystal on magic beans than Alejandro Jodorowsky on mescaline, as far as desert trips go.
Incorporating a phalanx of drummers including Butchy Fuego, Jon Leland and Caitlin Mitchell, plus Dave McPeters on pedal steel, Sun Araw come off like a gang of cattle-ranchers who lost their herd a long time ago and subsequently decided to follow old dirt tracks deep into the desert, navigating their way by the stars and with only a batch of turnt haricots for sustenance. What ensues is a progressively light-headed and sorta-mystic journey of discovery following an unstitched narrative which leads them right up to a sincere yet lysergic cover of Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released - as previously worn by Jef Buckley, Joan Baez, The Deftones, Nina Simone.
As you might expect from a trip to the desert with Sun Araw, you’ll lose your own herd quite quickly, and mirages, fata morganas and the like become commonplace; with expectations perpetually teased and thwarted from the fusion of heat-warped synth strokes and pitch-bent steel licks in A Golden Boot thru the quicksilver clip-clop of A Chute, and the tropical, latinate influences that creep over the border into Orthrus, which also features McPeters’ pedal steel at its most plangent; with Campfires framing a charmingly ludicrous scene of quiet, acousmatic rustle pierced by parping modular spurts, and even allowing for a spot of sun-dazed native folk dance in the jerky boned jig and processed croon of 40 Hooves, serving Sun Araw at his most alien and yet uncannily familiar.
This is exactly what psychedelia should be for us; weird, silly, cryptic, inexplicable - not earnestly unimaginative and derivative. It would take a fool to accuse Sun Araw of the latter, and this album should hopefully be a smoke signal to all those pedestrian churners who call their music “psychedelic”.
Amsterdam-based Japanese label Soundofvast hosts the return of Romanian producer, Sorin Rastoaca under his Vid alias with the rolling tech-house minimalism of Sunshineset and a bittersweet ambient interlude backed with the darker, rugged house heft of What Do You.
Joy Orbison makes up for five years of no solo releases by starting his own label, Toss Portal, with a brace of four sticky, bouncing UK techno experiments.
It’s hardly like he’s been asleep for the last five years - he’s kept his workmate up both in collaboration with Boddika on SunkLo, and with Herron as CO/R - but the last we him solo was on Ellipsis way back in 2012, so you can consider this one a tad overdue.
We can hear traces of the SunkLo sounds riddled all over the Toss Portal EP, but it’s also possible to see where Boddika’s Breaks-ier styles were holding him back, as the reticulated funk of Rid cuts loose with a proper feminine pressure that recalls his earliest Joy O work, while the grumbling, cranky Walworth Window morphs with a more messed-up, kinkier appeal of his own, and Rite Ov even introduces a lilting reggae vocal, Main Street or Rhythm & Sound style, on a sloshing steppers groove.
You need this one for the original "Produzione", originally released in 1973 on Piero Umiliani's LP "Problemi d'oggi", an amazing mix of acoustic percussion and electronic experimentation, considered by some as the first example of techno / trance music ever recorded.
The newer reworks by Gerardo Frisina are completely unecessaery.
Wonderful side of spare piano airs, south Pacific instrumentation and field recordings from Lieven Martens (Dolphins Into The Future), based on the writings on Robert Louis Stevenson...
“After two sold out concerts in Tokyo and Osaka, we treat ourselves on a trip to Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands. After spending a little time in the main city of Naha we took a ferry to Tokashikijima, a small island surrounded by coral reefs, mother-of- pearl farms and infested by an aggressive and poisonous snake. Aharen, a classic small beach town stuck in a fabricated memory of 80’s surf movies, was to be our home for just a few days. While walking through its snake infested bush and through its lagoon, while photographing, the Tombeau De Robert Louis Stevenson, a composition I was hinting at in live environments, became reality inside a patchwork of history, of coral reefs. While walking on the beach, more or less solitary since tourist season was just a few months away, while listening to the gorgeous sound of a small motoric fishing boat working on the reef – an ever-pleasing sound -, and to beautiful synthesized steel drum music coming from the local junior school.
In the end the piece became so simple, an almost clinical exhibition of sound, that it became a difficult world entangled in meaning. Like a coral reef that is so pretty, yet dangerous, vibrant, endangered, complex, slow, fast, all at the same time. (…) Since I already figured out how to present my idylls – in a possible dark sense of the word – in the various forms, presented as a storytelling collection in four parts. Being a portrait (which could be a secretive self-portrait), a comment on ethnography, an exotic illustration and a ritual.
The latter used in the most mundane sense ever, since I’d like to stay far away from a sensational bubblegum approach to (religious) pseudo-ethnography, to the copying of ethnic behaviour, or to approaching it as something odd or weird. These behaviourisms unavoidably invoke the end of all rituals, thus making the world a duller place.”
The Salford collective return with an album length rebuke at the ever-growing shit-stain that is the current political regime.
With many modern day musicians content on stockpiling social media kudos or chasing sync money, leave it to Tesla Tapes antagonists Gnod to offer up a dissenting voice against the post-Brexit, alternative truth-heavy, fascist malaise 2017 is currently descending into. Never a band whose sound you should second guess, the clear anger and intentions of this album’s title is more than matched by the politicised fury and antagonism unleashed within.
“It seems like we are heading towards even more unsettling times in the near future than we are in at present.” reckons Gnodder Chris Haslam. “2016 was just the beginning of what I see as the establishment’s systematic destruction of liberalism and equality as a reaction to the general public’s loss of faith in their system.”
With this renewed creative focus driving the band, ‘Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine’ embellishes their hard-edged rock repetition and heavily-dubbed out underbelly with a darkly-satisfying new hue.
Music From Memory follow up the enchanting Suso Sáiz retrospective Odisea with a far more recent survey of the Spanish ambient and new age pioneer’s contemporary output, Rainworks; spanning wistful ambient vignettes to mind-engulfing drone, brittle concrète and drifting solo piano studies commissioned and written in 2016.
Highly regarded for his work with Orquesta De Las Nubes and Música Esporádica for Grabaciones Accidentales (home to Finis Africae, Luids Delgado, Randomize) in the early-mid ‘80s, Sáiz has followed that path ever since, resulting collaborations with Steve Roach and dozens more releases over the interim.
Rainworks finds him still feeling out a sublime, etheric otherness, bringing to life a series of atmospheric pressure systems with a deft, elemental touch in key with the original commission from Hidraulica, Tenerife (Canary Islands), gradually expanding and contracting in ambition from the opening arabesque to the abstract yet richly evocative tract of A Rainy Afternoon at the album’s perimeter.