Nathan Fake unveils one of 2016’s most unexpected collaborations in DEGREELESSNESS feat. Prurient, backed with a more typical sort of woozy, wood-cut stepper called Now We Know.
With DEGREELESSNESS Fake takes a sharp left right turn deep into undulating dub noise threaded with ghostly techno pulses and Dominick Fernow a.k.a. Prurient’s unearthly mutterings. The results aren’t a million miles from Fernow’s Vatican Shadow output, but differ in the fact that he’s hardly, if ever, used his own vocals in that context. And, in that sense it effectively lands somewhere between VS and Prurient’s still sore dancefloor incursions such as Through The Window or his hook-ups with Ugandan Methods for Downwards.
On the other hand, you’ll find a more familiar Nathan Fake sound in the glancing, wooden swing and feathered chords of Now We Know, which are much more compatible with your Four Tet or Gold Panda records.
Strange but true.
Ghostly International reissue Fahrenheit Fair Enough, the intricate debut album from Telefon Tel Aviv.
Telefon Tel Aviv produced 5 original releases prior to the accidental death of the bands' Charles Cooper in 2009, including this, their first release for Chicago-based Hefty Records. TT converge their interests in modern/contemporary electronic music, carefully crafted & passionate compositions/arrangements, lush fragile melodies & harmonic interplay. Always seamlessly managing to keep their instrumental music equation full of life (organic, if you will) and ever-changing, achieving impressive results along the way. On Fahrenheit Fair Enough, the duo often blends elements of atmospheric sounds & synths that echo, ebb & swell, melodies that float & flutter, while hi-end percussion/beats, slip, slither & stomp with a calculated lubricious flow.
Title track 'Fahrenheit Fair Enough', pulls together many of the themes of the record, with warm resonant Rhodes keys loop a longing tone melody, live-sounding percussion morphs with an affected downtempo electra beat stutter. Eventually this slips into a swift, glassy rhythm with slick precision, a bass guitar keeps things grounded & grooving, while guitars hold beautiful cyclical & soaring melodies, all of this building up to 4 1/2 minutes into the song at which point, unexpected hand claps enter the mix, sending things off to blissful heights. A near perfect song, if we ever heard one.
Fahrenheit Fair Enough is a signal accomplishment that is endearing for it's vast colors, graceful qualities, fluid cohesion and inviting accessibility. If you're partial to the more electronic side of Tortoise, then this is lush.
Gunnar Hallam and Tin Man’s jewel in The Bunker New York’s bonnet, Romans return with a full album of deep tissue acid rubs and rolling Roland drum machines in Valere Aude, their debut album following two well received 12”s.
Grime OG back on road after that ace Track And Field (London 12” with the squeaky fresh spice of Pepper Pot and a ruthless soundsystem collaboration with the one and only Champion.
On Pepper Pot it sounds like P Jam’s caught a mechanical bird and reprogrammed it to squawk on a grime beat, turning up one of the maddest UK instros of the year whilst we can definitely hear some ’07 dubstep influence creepin’ in with the Coki-style mid-range shockwaves and dancehall stabs of Chalice, like due to the nasty influence of Champion.
Killer, rhythmelodic breaks and absorbing downbeats from DIY instrument builder Andreas Oskar Hirsch and percussionist/field recording “perfectionist” Richard Eigner of Ritornell, who has drummed for Flying Lotus, Dimlite and Patrick Pulsinger among others.
Both sides are smart: Stalker approximates something like AFX’s computer controlled instruments rearranged by Fishli & Weiss into a fluid mechanics of Hirsh’s self-built Electric Palm Leaf and the Carbophon, “a kind of super-kalimba” played with the rudest swing by Eigner; whereas Swoop is better defined by its exploration of minimalist acoustic space, convecting the soundfield with a mix of swirling snare rolls, keening drones and splintered jazz breaks with a certain late night quality somewhere between Lynch/Badalamenti and experimental Italian library sounds from Gruppo.
Gargantuan slingshot from one of 2016’s definitive artists, putting down the cold-ass kicks and mentasms of Equality Now backed with a smart bit of tribal minimalism and a pocket of tender ambience.
Thanks to its super-minimal, unyielding construction and the stoic, stentorian repetition of its message, Equality Now is one of the strongest dancefloor hammers in its field right now. We’ve recently tried and tested it at the business end of a warehouse party and can fully attest to its ‘floor-dominating strength on a proper soundsystem, or even MacBook speaker for that matter.
The other tracks are fine examples of Mannerfelt’s versatility, swapping the rigidity of Equality for drily supple tribal drum friction and dissonant electronics in Breaking Pattern, and evaporating into ambient abstraction with Rules, Rope & Strings.
Dark Entries double our knowledge of Greek avant-pop and electronic music pioneer Lena Platonos with reissue of her charming 4th solo album - the first to feature her own words and vocals - following their reissue of the amazing Gallop (1985) LP, whose Bloody Shadows From Afar has become a cult hit in recent years.
Μάσκες Ηλίου or Sun Mask was realised and released one year before its better known antecedent, and, whilst she professes the record was inspired by minimalism, “I began to revise my thought process, to let melodies fade out”, it’s a lot rawer, fleshly and woozy around the edges than that (ironically) loaded term might suggest.
Using a palette of Yamaha C60, Roland 808 drum machine, FX boxes and her own vocals to paint her songs in thick, free and skilfully applied streaks, Lena modulates her poetry about “the futility of love, the gap of human relationships, consumerist alienation in the bourgeois lifestyle of the 1980s” between hushed deadpan seduction, cartoonish animation, Kate Bush-like soprano flights and deeper, almost masculine tones with wonderfully curious results.
It doesn’t matter that we can’t directly understand what she’s saying, as the lyrics are included with english translations, but even still, it’s preferable to ingest the album on its purely surreal sonic terms, which offer more than enough to get wrapped up in.
NYC’s Palmetto Arts wrest the best from Eric Copeland (Black Dice) and his buddy Rusty Santos in the psychedelic dancefloor prods of Brooklyn Banks - Copeland’s 10th and arguably most accessible album after a slew of haywire aces for DFA, Paw Tracks and L.I.E.S over the last decade.
We’re not sure what he’s been taking or which clubs he’s been hanging out in, but there’s a distinct sharpness to these cuts feels more driven, jutting and insistent than Copeland’s more unhinged workouts.
OK, his sound is definitely still tapped and puckish in the best way, but there’s a craftier, DJ-friendly definition to these grooves which work equally well in both the context of an album and as dance tools in a similar way to head-spinning LPs by Moon Pool & Dead Band or Black Zone Myth Chant.
The way he traverses styles with freeform agility is never not entertaining; whether channelling deep house into distorted wormholes with Mr. Mic, warping it with lysergic subtlety in Bear Country, or hacking into sloppy filter disco loops with Synching Cycles, he’s always got one eye on the floor and the other spinning in the back of his head.
The heavy metal zom com is currently airing on Netflix.
"Deathgasm. Death-gasm. DEATHGASM. Death Waltz Recording Company are proud to present the soundtrack to the greatest fusion of heavy metal and horror since 1985: DEATHGASM. A 2015 homage to the Kiwi splatter of Peter Jackson directed by newcomer Jason Lei Howden, DEATHGASM itself is a band formed by social outcasts in a New Zealand high-school which unintentionally summon a horrific demon via a cursed sheet of music. As you'd expect, the losers must set aside their D20's and become the heroes their school needs, soundtracked by a ton of screeching vocals and demonic riffs.
Shredded through the record are some of the greatest metal bands ever that you've never heard of, straight from the underground. Thrill to the skull-crushing fury of Axeslasher, Beast Wars, Nunslaughter, Elm Street, The Wretched End, and legendary Norwegian black metal act Emperor. Also leading you through the album's narrative is dialogue from the film, making it like a really fucked-up version of those books on records we all had when we were little bastards. DEATHGASM is a brutal tribute to the combined power of the greatest musical and film genre in history, and if you're not devil-horning while listening, GWAR may just show up and crowbar your rabbit's head off. And remember: lowercase is for pussies!"
Totally haunting gems from the ends of the earth (depending your perspective), drawn up from Flying Nun’s legendary well of early ‘80s Kiwi rock and post punk by the knowledge at San Fran’s Superior Viaduct.
This Kind Of Punishment revolved Peter Jeffries (whose Electricity was reissued as SV055, 2014), his brother Graeme, and Brett Jones and Gordon Rutherford, who also made up Nocturnal Projections when they weren’t making exquisite hybrids of raga drone and chamber-like songwriting like these two songs.
Making its first ever outing on wax, the A-side’s Radio Silence is a beautifully strung-out but concise piece of post punk drone pop locked to an eyes-in-back-of-‘ead groove that could almost be a pre-echo of Om’s stoner mantras.
On the B-side, The Deux Filles-like delicacy of Reaching An End makes its first appearance on vinyl since the Killing Capitalism With Kindness compilation in 1991, handing on this ghostly beauty to the pleasure fresh ears.
First new Chromatics album proper since 2012’s trio of LPs and numerous inclusions on movie soundtracks over the interim, thanks to Johnny Jewel and the gang’s position as Hollywood’s de facto, in-house synth-pop band.
Dealing in 100% exclusive, new and original material, and working away from the glare of Hollywood lights, in Cherry the band freely drift between a blend of experimental song-writing, chiming downbeats and signature, bittersweet cover versions of their key influences, making for a more intimate, rounded portrait of the band doing their thing with no other reason than to do their thing.
It’s quite notable for the group’s shimmering cover (the record’s only cover) of Joy Division’s Ceremony, replacing the moody Manc classic to a pharmaceutically smudged, dusky LA scene as only they can, whereas the rest of the LP touches on their most alluring aspects between the disco élan of Cherry at the front, thru the distorted talk box and life-support bleeps of Candy, to the Fleetwood Mac style cocaine blues of At Your Door, and the beautiful balance of pensive, weightless ambience and the ennui of Ruth Radelet’s lyrics and delivery in I Can’t Keep Running.
Necessary reissue of Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis’ sole, sought-after side as Cupol, marking the period before they started Dome with a spellbinding tribute to The Master Musicians of Jajouka’s trance-inducing harmonies and driving percussion.
After spending their energies on Wire’s trio of taut post-punk classics, Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154, and inspired by listening to the Master Musicians’ recordings, Gilbert and Lewis took this opportunity to work with more open-ended templates under a name that referenced the architectural features - a rounded dome or turret - found in many Moroccan villages, and which would literally be translated into their subsequent project, Dome.
However, these track sound like quite unlike anything they made before or after, with the A-side’s suite of four parts conjuring a discordant miasma of nervous, grinding grooves and possessed vocals swarmed by kinetic noise, with some outstanding punkish thrust to Anchors and the gristly jag of Quicken Your Step.
Still, the biggest attraction is no doubt their 20 minute B-side - almost a lifetime compared to the 2 minute shots of their previous records - where Gilbert & Lewis get totally locked into a rickety, hypnotic chug layered up with whirligig noise and sloshing, unquantised rhythms that sound like a melting, prototypical Muslimgauze piece.
Burial makes his semi-traditional annual sacrifice to Hyperdub with his first new release proper in 3 years featuring two spine-icing reminders of why we love his records so much. Both Young Death & Nightmarket are relatively short when compared with his extended mini meta-dramas like Rival Dealer or Come Down To Us, but still pack all the well seasoned feels you’d hope for.
A-side; Young Death is one of his sweetest treats, a sort of daydreaming R&B/gospel elegy riddled with celestial harps, crackling embers and a beautifully seductive bleep lead and velvet coated kicks that suck and push us right into his hypnagogic simulacra with utterly heartwarming effect.
B-side; Nightmarket is set to become an instant fan favourite. Really not sure what’s going on here but it’s something akin to the characters from Metal Gear Solid featuring in a ‘90s trance video; cue gorgeous, sylvan trance licks threading their way thru beat-less scenes of slithering, insectoid textures and street scene bustle, an occasional voice reminding “i’m here”, whilst that trance lead is prone to Senni-esque turns of phrase, leading up to a stunning peak recalling Tangerine Dream’s OST for The Thief.
For what ails you...
Deerhoof return 4 months after their new LP 'The Magic' with a brand new 45rpm heatseeker.
“I thought We Were Friends” was born between tour dates, self-recorded, mixed, and mastered in the band's Brooklyn practice space and Greg's basement. On the A-side we have the mesmeric pop gem “Risk Free” featuring the vocal duet of SATOMI and Greg. The flip side gives us “Delight,” Deerhoof’s own victory march. Think the “Brass Bonanza” pumped through the nastiest, most shredded PA system you’ve ever heard."
Coinciding with his surprise drop on Ultimate Hits, Peder Mannerfelt explores more abstract, personalised terrain with a 3rd set of studio inquiries on his private label.
Five tracks cover a range of heavily textured and morphing spaces with the sort of flow and touch that comes from focussed, confidently on-the-fly hardware manipulation - you get the feeling he could do this blindfolded, or maybe even was.
A running theme to the EP is vocal samples, which appear central to the phasing, mulching dimensions of Acid Drop; as sawn-off syllables wandering darkside murk in dB at Holger; or used as dubbed-out percussive hits in the Word Clap Bass.
Elsewhere, unstable electronics haunt and infect like a ghostly, airborne virus in Mach 2 and The Limits of Control floods the space with oncoming waves of blistered, squealing white noise in a manner recalling the dynamics of The Automatics Group’s Summer Mix.
Hypnotic, Basho-worshipping solo guitar works with a few enchanting runs of Gurdjieff-like, eastern-influenced harmonium (?) playing
“Joseph Allred fits the guitar soli realm perfectly, fully embodying the guitar loner typecast. From what I’ve read about Robbie Basho, he was a bit of a loner himself with his focus set firmly on spirituality and religious practice. Allred falls in line with Basho not only in his 12 string playing that clearly has a leaning towards eastern musical traditions and droning free form raga that flows out in such a natural uninhibited way but also in his educational background in Philosophy and Religious studies.
Many acoustic guitarists who work in the American Primitive tradition also delve into avant-garde and experimental music. Jack Rose and Glenn Jones both started out in bands heavy into improv, Marisa Anderson played in a free jazz group, and Ben Chasny punishes his electric guitar—and listeners—as often as he finger-picks. Sir Richard Bishop has an album called Graviton Polarity Generator that sounds like its title. Jim O’Rourke has made just about every kind of noise you can imagine, and on and on.
Allred has lived in Knoxville off and on over the last decade or so; attending the University of Tennessee, he moved to the small mining community in Overton County, outside of Cookeville. Having grown up in nearby Jamestown, he’s now inhabiting land that’s been in his family 200 years. He says he’s trying to find his place in the family legacy. Even without knowing his history, you can recognize a searching, if not spiritual, quality to much of his music.
Joseph Allred has more musical integrity than any artist I’ve ever encountered. He’s been very quietly putting out records for years, never self promoting any of them and painstakingly designing and hand priniting most of the packaging for the LP’s and cassettes he puts out. He also hand painted the covers for Fire and Earth while the back covers were letter pressed by Dylan G. Aycock. There’s a sincerity in Allred’s music and way of life that has been missing from modern life for a long time. "Leitmotif" is one of the most beautiful guitar songs I've ever heard and made putting this out an easy decision.”
Chromatics’ 2015 life-boost, Just Like You comes up again for 2016, formerly availed only to label subscribers, now to the world at large.
Just Like You spans six songs of impeccable synth-pop virtues, cruising in with the disco filip, I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around, slowing to a dry iced temporality with Just Like You and sneaking in a freshly embellished instrumental version of their classic, Hands In The Dark to round off the A-side, before committing the slinky shuffle of Lady Night Drive, and lighting up the ‘floor again with an instrumental of I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around for the DJs, dancers, and lovers.
Sublime covers of Cindy Lauper’s handbag classic from Johnny Jewel and co’s Chromatics, originally issued to label subscribers in 2015, now relinquished to the world at large.
This is genius at work, dissolving the perfect ‘80s pop classic into six canny mixes ranging from airborne a cappella to slow-mo trap and, best of all, a number of rolling house versions riding on the sleekest 115bpm chassis and primed for making eyes on the ‘floor.
How can you resist?!
Celebrating 10 years of Moon Wiring club with this new LP 'Exit Pantomime Control', featuring 12 new tracls composed with the guiding vision of a Pantomime Sphinx from a curdling reality. There are rock-solid beat tracks, weird 'uneasy' vocalisms, beautiful multi-echo ghost-thought drifts, cronky interludes and a disturbing ending that sounds like you're on hold with TicketMaster for eternity...
On occasion of their 10th birthday, Moon Wiring Club boots up the PS2/time machine to revisit key ideas and themes of the series so far; gathering the ghosts for an eldritch dramaturgy of anachronistic hip hop and ether dream atmospheres inspired by subversive, experimental ‘70s theatre, all taking the form of a good ol’ Panto (surreal popular comedies/tragedies beloved of olde england) held at The Clinksell PlayHouse.
You might have guessed already, but Exit Pantomime Control sounds little like any panto that anyone outside of Clinksell (perhaps Burnley, too) has ever seen or heard. Written by Mr Paris Green and Dr Lettow-Vorbeck in the Curtain Draped Studio, 1896-1976, it unfurls a frayed and abstract narrative helmed in loping hip hop loops, which are practically the only thing nailed down on its weightless stage where voices and melodies bob and drift according to MWC’s cryptic direction.
The Motley Supplement kicks the evening off with everything in ‘easy listening’ mode, establishing a somnambulant pace and smoky atmosphere that perfuses the whole play, from what sounds like a lo-fi take on Arpanet’s percolated chorales sung by the Swingle Singers in Temporarily Engaged, to a frosting of steampunk-like FX in the eerie set design of Marvellous King Nonsense.
By this point you’ve probably imagined outlandish outfits and wigs for the intermittent characters, and, after a short intermission for the ghosts to take a leak, the play recommences with the propulsive momentum of Harlequin Escapes Audience, changing scene to a medieval mock-up of harpsichords and crows in 7 O’Clock In The Park, and dialling up the tension with a flurry of dancing Ghosts All Around, and leaving the play perfectly unresolved with the decaying curtain drop of Unsurpassed Novelties.
Beyond the mind of lucky Ian Hodgson, music like this doesn’t really exist, but thanks to his precious imagination we have some glimpse of a beautifully stubborn world where the usual rules don’t apply and anything can happen, provided it’s pretty weird and leaves you feeling strange; always a recommended experience!
Exceptional, 15 minute long dancer from Beatrice Dillon, blessing the 12 x 12 series with a concatenated ‘nuum sidewinder Can I Change My Mind?, where the London-based artist nimbly finds the square roots of jungle, techno, noise and minimalist dance music firmly anchored in steppers’ dub and West African percussive tradition. If you’ve ever been snagged by Sotofett, DJ Krust or Shackleton’s devilish dubs, this one’s for you!
Since first emerging with a highly regarded monthly NTS radio show, a reel of widely-praised mixtapes for The Trilogy Tapes, Blowing Up the Workshop and, most recently, a mix with Ben UFO for Wichelroede, Beatrice’s uniquely focussed solo works - including two excellent EPs for Where To Now? and a split with Karen Gwyer - along with two acclaimed LPs with Rupert Clervaux and her recent remix for Helm on the PAN label, have all come to define a curious juncture of worldly rhythm studies and probing electronics which arguably exists in a long lineage of avant-garde experimentation done at the service of ‘floors both real and imagined.
Can I Change My Mind? is Beatrice’s most tracky solo production to date, and also the most singular, adroit demonstration of what makes her tick, combining and parsing the most affective, tactile parts of Black Atlantic percussive patterns with a learned appreciation of dub-style economy and concrète texturing.
Across 13 minutes of morphing, fractious rhythm, Beatrice renders clear the prismic and rhizomic dub binds and syncopations that connect original, rolling African drum traditions with Afrobeat and highlife, and likewise between proper UK roots steppers, house and ‘90s jungle, or, for that matter, the mosaic of modern antecedents which continue to be informed by those styles - from the rites of Shackleton to Tessela’s visceral techno swerve and the mercurial grooves of Rian Treanor or her sometime collaborator, Kassem Mosse.
Urged by the intuition of a helpless riddim fiend and premo DJ, Beatrice nimbly synchs swollen, globular bass, needlepoint hi-hats and shocks of flinty amens at 150bpm in a deadly, mutating bogle, effectively exploring every interstice of half, double, and triplet-timed calculation with devilish sleight of hand and cadence; never letting the ball drop whilst suggesting myriad points of interpretation for the dancers and DJs.
It’s a singular work of experience, intuition and technique, and perhaps surprisingly only her 3rd solo release proper. But its daring ruggedness and stringency is a clear indication that Beatrice Dillon is only just warming up and coming into her own. There’s only one side, one track. But it’s all you need.
Techno mutant Via App joins Break World Records - who’ve released ace LPs by James Feraro and Elysia Crampton in the last 12 months - with a strikingly individual sound in Sixth Stitch, the Brooklyn native’s 3rd and strongest album.
From a background in the Boston noise scene, Via App approaches the outer, avant edges of techno with a gleefully free style coming off like the abstract thoughts of an AI rendered in tensile, ribboning compositions of unstable rhythm, biting-point noise and glistening high register timbres.
If you’re after dancefloor cuts, we’d advise checking her pitching rhythms in Far She for a start, and also the warped chromatic techno of Get In Line or the wildly swung, unpredictable and caustic burn of Con Artist. But, if you’re partial to stranger sensations, you’re recommended to check the head-melting harmonic radiance of Fevered Proviso and her the curdled tang of Withered on the Vine for some strong flavours.
Severely blunted lo-fi psychedelia from Helena Celle, making her debut introduction via Glasgow’s fringe caretakers, Night School.
If I Can’t Be At My Best wallows at the murkiest end of the avant-house pool, using barely discernible acid and splintered drum machine grooves to buoy her fuzzy, tactile gestures with a barely conscious momentum.
It’s the sound machines make when you’re not listening or looking, when they begin chattering amongst themselves in a language of plasmic bloops and avian chirrups indecipherable to all but those with the patience or capacity to at least try to understand their baffling dialogue.
They could almost be intercepted Conet Project broadcasts or the ghosts of new age jams found on skip dumped cassettes; strangely animated little motifs and spooling, cybernetic melodies that morph with a psilocybic logic somewhere between natural organism and metaphysical entities.
Forlorn, rustic, almost stately meditations from a real down-home voice and his six string
“The satisfaction of an unadorned room, a field without buildings. We hear austerity espoused in rhetoric, yet encounter it less in the flesh. The restraint required to forgo excessive overdubs or fussy arrangements. Don't throw it all against the wall then fix it in the mix. Just play the damn thing and have some big ears ready to react. Then walk away from it.
On Black Wind, songwriter/guitarist Wes Tirey makes the case for quality over quantity. After a stream of well-received cassettes, Tirey assembled a reserved trio and laid down the soft law on a single night in September. Whereas his previous releases were turned inward, Black Wind opens out like Malick meditating on prairie grass. The words and imagery are stark, broad strokes while the arrangements are spacious, simple structures of Tirey's voice and acoustic guitar, with sparse backing from a telecaster and a trap kit. Opener "All the Livelong Day" comes on like Karen Dalton dressed-down to parched bone, window-lit dust and old chairs, while the final and title track flutters in bursts, unfurling heavy-lidded at daybreak.”
First time on vinyl for the 3rd volume of Sub Rosa’s seminal series, An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music, collecting 23 important iterations of the electronic avant-garde recorded between 1952 and the year in which the compilation was originally released, in 2004.
A fantastic selection (yet perhaps rather male-dominated, unfortunately par for the course?) revealing, at its earliest points, Herbert Emert + Robert Beyer’s frothing, otherworldly Klangstudies II (1952) and Hugh Le Caine’s humorously surreal A Noisome Pestilence (1958), and bringing us right up to the psychoacoustic incisions of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s Stereo Music for Serge Modular Prototype (2004) and Masami Akita’s surprisingly varied Birds and Warhorse (2004), via a wealth of obscurities such as the early work of Peter Rehberg, a 13 minute motorik drone pulsar from CM Von Hauswolff + Erik Pauser and Phauss, and some staggering, canonical electro-acoustic works by Ilan Mimaroglu and Bernard Parmegiani.
A perfect primer for anyone looking to dive deep into these waters!
The master is in session. RP Boo hits Planet Mu with his freshest, most powerful material in the follow-up to his archival Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints, keeping the levels ticking high as ever.
These are lip-bitingly tight examples of Chicago footwork at its most insistent, disciplined, yet porous to influence, flinging bodies from the belgian techno-influenced hooliganism of The Ultimate to the slashing riffs and centripetal torque of Electric Energy via the strobing, bucking jazz dancer, Bang To The Funk and the burly, undisputed claim of The King and, best of all, in the rasping, glancing force of his bruxist bass and sparking snares on What Am I?.
Hyper-chromatic grime and trap mutations from Dublin - sounding like it could be from Atlanta or London - courtesy of Sean Cooley and Kevin Feeney's Clu duo, making a ripe fit for Gobstopper's forward, dreamy aesthetics.
Moulding trance, grime, R&B and industrial tropes into sparkling weightless productions, Clu's carefully constructed debut is synaesthetically visual and emotive; luring us in with the yearning autotune pains and clipped trance wings of MOOD2098, before stroking Triton synths and leanest cloud rap feels into Okami and penning one of Gobstopper's most beautiful cuts with the cathartic elegy, Long Lost Motion, and creeping up the spine with with their Arca-like Trance Lament.
Beneath shells down three tracks of “self-indulgent sound system muzik” on the 6th No Symbols 12” written, produced, engineered and hand-stamped by the man hisself.
His 2nd and presumably final dispatch of 2016 sticks firmly to the roads he knows, seeking out nuance and new angles along an axis of 120 bpm bass music.
Up top on Lifted he still sounds like nobody else, carving thru UKF, dubstep and techno templates with knife-artist skill and rave-ready torque, before the flipside calves off into dankest sort of acid bashment grime with Cack, and then gets loose in his signature, swaggering style on Fuck Ya’ll.
In a field of mimetic copycats, Beneath stands out a mile.
A volley of soul-fuelled footwork artillery from Chicago’s DJ Taye: licking lingering, blue clarinet into the taut frenzy of Burning Ya Boa with DJ Manny; messing with the senses in his hypnagogic burner Go 2 Sleep; belting out the soul vox on raft of raving bleeps and hammering subs in I Need I Want; laying the G-funk with proper, squealing G-force in Move Out.
Johnny Jewel and the Chromatics gang give up their previously subscriber-only peach, Shadow, for the rest of us mere mortals, slipping down very easily with five mixes of the bluish, somnambulant night-glyder feeling out a tender space between Joy Division and Julee Cruise.
Shadow is subtly carved to fit a fine spectrum of uses, from xmas disco-ready original, to a more spacious Michel’s Runway Edit and over to an expansive nine minute Last Dance of the Night Club Edit for when the original’s just too short, plus the beat-less End Credits and Michel’s dreamy Runway Instrumental.
Deep, ruddy house mutations from Shamos, charging up his 2nd 12” with Funkineven’s Apron after the ace Road Works Part 1.
This ain’t Road Works Part 2, but the vibes are a fine follow-up to that 12”, testing out sub-sprung and squirming grooves in Palace Pavillion and a strange slug of slow-mo acid momentum in Crisp Biscuit, before carrying thru that waking life oddness to the breezy shuffle and avian chatter of Real Dreams, and simmering smart breakbeats in Bound For Borders.
Berlin’s Soviet-built cyborg Machine Woman finds her groove with For Sweden on Peder Mannerfelt’s private imprint.
Following a period of quarantine in Salford’s Islington Mill, where she released a cassette on Gnod’s Tesla Tapes, Anastasia Vtorova a.k.a Machine Woman draws upon her foundations in ‘90s Leningrad and the hardest edge of her new home city’s industrial scene to forge a raw, buzzing, and brutalist style working on the cusp of dance functionality and avant-garde, tonal exploration.
Lovely, sun-kissed balearia and boogie downbeats outta Malmö, Sweden, making up the debut of Free Arts band, who already sound like experienced hands.
The refreshingly piquant hooks and burbling groove of Cool Grey starts up like some early ‘80s Japanese disco oddity, giving way to what sounds like Arthur Russell or Savant in the sweetly sprung Afro-electro bounce of KADK, kinked with coiled reverbs and melt on the mind synth motifs.
With Inhouse they take the groove right down to a charming 90bpm shuffle pinned in place with loping boogie claps and snares, but bubbling upwards with woozy melodica and choral loops to a heady space where Cool Grey II dreamily expands on the opening elements with a certain E2-E4-meets Sylvian and Sakamoto appeal.
Tight and raw garage house pressure from DJ Octopus (Austerity, Die Roh) for his most consistent supporters at Hot Haus recs.
Levels are set with he nipped, fidgety swing and warm but anxious chords of Hong Kong, and Stay Away From The Naked Girl cracks out a pendulous, wickedly abrasive sort of broken house ‘step.
Our money is on The Chi Frontier, though; from the scratchy rimshot to the murky, double-dipping bass and shark-eyed reversed synth loops this will get right under the ‘floor’s sweaty epidermis.
Among Antinote’s finest artists, Geena presents Mental DJs Land Vol.2; a varied follow-up volume of dusky ambient dancers.
Floating somewhere between Paris, Ibiza and Goa circa 1989, the suite unfurls a dream sequence of entrancing tonal float and kinky swerve, coming up with the weightless atmosphere of Natural High, and getting right in the bones with the luscious deep house trance flux of KG Voice.
La Isla is a sweet balearic interlude giving way to the early Psychick Warriors Of Gaia-style tribalism, Keep, whereas Blue Transfer hearkens back to Elbee Bad or NAD’s more exotic ends.
Federale is a seven-piece ensemble based in Portland, OR. Spearheaded by longtime Brian Jonestown Massacre bassist Collin Hegna, the band was conceived as an outlet to channel inspiration from 60’s & 70’s European soundtracks, particularly those from Italy made famous by the Spaghetti Western & Giallo genres.
"Their fourth album, “All The Colours Of The Dark” finds Federale entering new territory. Though the new record contains cinematic instrumentals that the band is known for, it also sees Federale expanding its vision to narrative songs in the baritone driven style of heroes Lee Hazelwood, Scott Walker & Nick Cave. Murder, revenge, regret, power and corruption are the lyrical themes of this collection.
In 2014 Federale contributed several songs to Ana Lily Amirpour’s acclaimed gothic vampire film noir, “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night,” as well as the director’s 2016 film “The Bad Batch."
Deepspace disco trips from Breakplus and Mr Beatnick a.k.a. two halves of erstwhile production duo, Thieves of Time, strutting up on the latter’s Mythstery label.
Breakplus goes heads down on a dubbed-out, raga-esque chuggernaut called Le Train Enflamé, receiving vocoder distress calls and hitting a peak of symphonic ‘70s disco strings en route.
On the other side of the wave, Mr. Beatnick conserves the tempo to a determined 100bpm, wading thru viscous acid and heatsick electronics to some freaky-ass electro riffin’ and thundering drums redolent of Burundi Black.
Tracky avant-Chicago house aces from Jamal Moss and Steve Poindexter’s Faces Drums duo, hitting the groove loose and freaky over three new productions leading on from their Muzique bomb and two new 2x12” volumes in 2015.
These are some of the jazziest, freest numbers in their catalogue, much more colourful than their pure drum tracks, taking in the chaotic harmonies and asymmetric groove of Hunger, Passion & Pain Pt.1, and the more distorted, cranky lean of Pain, Hunger & Passion Pt. 2, before channelling the sublime, seesawing melodies and outernational rhythmic cubism of Passion, Pain and Hunger Pt.3.
Grubbing, rumpy acid pushes from the Paranoid London duo; going frisky with the nipped 303 tweaks and trills of Give Me The up top, and running a classic 303 rub into the hunched, heavyweight swang of Our Man Though down below.
Lovely late ‘90s electronica for the ‘floor, salvaged from the archives of Erik Jong a.k.a. RX-101.
Six tracks of cute melodies and fluffy, nostalgic harmonies alloyed with minimalist grooves, stretching out from lush night gliders to pinched electro, slow-mo acid and braindance tangos.
Sounds a lot like AFX’s recent soundcloud dumps…
With a title that uncomfortably lodges in the mind, What You Get For Being Young is a beautifully blue-tinged ambient meditation from L.A.’s Suzanne Kraft, notching up their 3rd vinyl for Jonny Nash’s excellent London-based label.
Like everything on the exquisite Melody As Truth label, What You Get For Being Young trades in a humbling and all-too-rare sort of ambient subtlety that’s practiced only by a blessed few nowadays.
With the deftest touch and appreciation of spatial nuance, Kraft’s seven compositions grow with a sincerely serene, night-blooming quality that’s really hard to ignore if you’re susceptible to such stuff.
Entering with what sounds like a valium-smudged Peter Zummo performance in the melted brass tones of Body Heat, the record drifts from the moth-on-bulb percussion and evaporating pads of Bank to what could almost be a super minimalist Detroit Escalator Company cut in One Amongst Others, to wilt like a late summer Japanese garden soundtracked by Morton Feldman with Zé, and loll out into the rolling curves of Scripted Space and Further’s strangely unsettling, palsied structure and anaesthetised atmosphere.
Excellent 8-track LP from sometime Rabit/Shapednoise collaborator and cellist Emanuele Porcinai aka WSR, recorded using self-made string instruments and electronics. Highly Recommended if you’re into Colin Stetson, JK Flesh, Sam Kerridge.
On its return to the Kerridge’s Contort label, Emanuele Porcinai’s WSR project renders a dense, gut-wrenching session combining self-built string instruments and field recordings in a sort of shoegazing noise-techno stress test.
Chambers was written over the course of the last three years between Manchester, Florence and Berlin, and pursues the themes of structural decay and melancholic ambience from his Stainless debut into a more coruscating, haunting zone of hypnagogic sound design and textural expression. Porcinai’s self-built string instruments, guitar and field recordings are processed and layered with additional cello and double bass by Thomas Griffiths in a seamless movement of eight parts cleft over two sides, giving ample room for the sometime techno artist to thoroughly, systematically draw out and exasperate his instrument’s character in a way that recalls Colin Stetson beasting his sax as much as some sore as f*ck JK Flesh recording or his label mates, SØS Gunver Ryberg or Sam Kerridge, for that matter.
It feels like music purpose built for the transition of seasons and darker, longer nights where there’s nowt to do but get your head stuck right in the jaws of a slab like this.
Wickedly unhinged, incredible 1981 jams from an early NWW member, Heman Pathak with his pals John Grieve and Dave Hodes as Hastings of Malawi; a heavily beguiling session of dadaist lo-fi concrète, coruscating haywire synths, the speaking clock and lots of acousmatic clangour, all recorded in one night with very little idea of what the f**k they were up to.
Strikingly future-proofed by way of its outlandish, disclocated temporality and punkish disregard for convention, Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth was Hastings of Malawi’s one and only release, and original copies are purportedly rarer than they should be because one of the band members’ parents binned 300 of them. Ouch.
Given that Heman Pathak was one of the three “untrained” or total novice musicians behind Nurse With Wound’s classic debut, Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella (1979) and its corresponding list of avant-garde obscurities, commonly known as the Nurse With Wound List, it’s not difficult to draw a line between the impetus of that radical record and the wild cacophony of the one in front of you.
If you subtracted the freewheeling guitar solos of Chance Meeting, and imagined the rest played by a gang of restless poltergeists tooled with drums, clarinet, synth and piano, and anything else within reach, and then played it down the phone to random, unsuspecting recipients who would become part of the recording (presaging Sam Kidel’s Disruptive Muzak by 30 odd years), you’ve almost got a grasp on this album’s untrammelled, explorative madness.
We’ll leave the rest for your indigestion and dilated discovery, but you can trust that it’s one of the wildest records you’ve never heard before.
Rugged, jazzy Detroit beatdown from Theo Parrish, with Kitten Kuroi and John Douglas vocals on A Ghetto Proposal, and Amp Fiddler jumping in with bonus vibes on the instrumental.
A Ghetto Proposal goes deep with wigged-out keys and brokken percussion laying the bed for uniquely harmonised, stereo-smudged male/female duet and a sax player in his own world in the original version, whereas the B-side instro is more tempered and opened up with fluid, almost scatting synth and rhodes jabs.
Can see this wrong-footing all the house jocks in the best way.
The Second Volume of the ‘Stranger Things’ OST.
"Volume Two seamlessly wanders through the 80s world of ‘Stranger Things’, breeding an unthreatening serenity with a gentle shift toward a darker mood. Floating between sweeter moments which temporarily blossom amidst the danger and decay, VolumeTwo is the second part of the ‘Stranger Things’ score, reaching climactic highs as the series comes to an end.
This soundtrack is instantly reminiscent of works by John Carpenter (‘Halloween’, ‘The Thing’), Tangerine Dream and Vangelis (‘Blade Runner’), whilst also delving into the ambience of Aphex Twin and more modern composers such as Cliff Martinez (‘Drive’, ‘Solaris’)."