New album from Richard who seven influential albums as the leader of French space-rock pioneers Heldon in the 70s, with a further five solo records before his six-year break from music in 1982.
Since returning to the form in the 90s he has been prolific, collaborating with such luminaries as Merzbow, Yoshida Tatsuya, Oren Ambarchi, Barry Cleveland, and Wolf Eyes.
First-generation American Primitive guitarist Richard Osborn studied with Robbie Basho in the late 60's. 40 years later, Osborn finally recorded, appearing on Tompkins Square's 'Beyond Berkeley Guitar' comp in 2010.
'Endless' is his first widely available solo guitar album. "[Osborn has] an unhurried, quiet spirit of adventure, a love of ringing strings and slowly revelatory meditations on the natural world."- Acoustic Guitar "He's a student of mine and he's better technically than me or Fahey." - Robbie Basho
Soul Jazz’ new journey into the mighty vaults of Clement Dodd’s Studio One steps once more into the fertile musical environment of Jamaican music in the late 1960s and early 1970s, from the sweet harmony vocals of seminal 1960s Rocksteady right up to the nascent birth of Reggae and Roots music at the start of the 1970s. Sleevenotes to this album are by Steve Barrow, author of ‘Rough Guide to Reggae’ as well as Soul Jazz Records’ own ‘Reggae Soundsystem Cover Art’ books.
"While Ska at the start of the 1960s had taken American rhythm and blues as its main influence, Rocksteady focused on the emergence of American Soul music – with Jamaican vocal harmony groups such as The Gaylads, John Holt & The Paragons, Carlton & The Shoes showing a particular fascination with the close harmonies of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions and other US soul acts. Here The Heptones even feature with a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’.
The influence of Soul music on Jamaican rock steady and reggae is almost palpable, so much so that one wonders how much more successful singers like Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, Slim Smith and John Holt would have been had they been born in Chicago, Detroit or Memphis
Artists such as Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson and Owen Gray defined the era – a slowed down beat as Jamaican political and social heat slowly increased as the 1960s progressed into the start of the 1970s – and the music evolved further from rock steady into roots reggae.
Complementary to D∆WN’s Redemption album, Fade to Mind proffer the expansion pack for her Infrared EP, exclusively produced by Kingdom and bolstered with remixes from the full label roster.
The four originals sit pretty with highlights locked in on How I Get It and the free-floating R&B-jungle hybrid, Baptize, and all provide prime source material for the remixers: Leonce absolutely wins out with his rugged re-bounce of How I Get It and likewise Byrell The Great, following his killer RiRi rework with a sticky, raving ballroom reboot, whilst Divoli S’vere goes in on a junglist/ballroom mutation of Honest, Ikonika alloys scooping subs to Paint It Blue, and Kingdom skilfully turns his own work inside out with his Honest VTX take on Baptize.
Ostgut come full circle on their 100th release which sees Berghain heavies Dettmann and Klock team up for a double pack of spectral techno.
Way back in 2006, a fresh-faced Marcel and Ben stepped up to deliver Dawning, the very first Ostgut Ton release as Dettmann | Klock, laying the foundations for a style of techno that has come to define the past decade.
Forever a label with a sense of ceremony, Ostgut commemorate a centenary of records with the first Dettmann | Klock productions in ages on this Phantom Studies double pack which for the most part delivers on their knack for crafty techno tools to delight the faithful. There are, however, a couple of exceptions here that refreshingly poke fun at the stern Berghain techno stereotypes.
On The Room, Dettmann does his best Darth Vader impression against some faltering electronics that sound like a modern-day CH BB, whilst Klock advertises his ‘knob tweaking’ capabilities (amongst other things) on the deliciously tongue-in-cheek spoken word acid fumble of “Prophet Man”.
Fresh from his duties on the new Shirley Collins album, Cyclobe and Coil’s Stephen Thrower meets David Knight (Arkkon, Shock Headed Peters) on their 4th album as UnicaZürn, luring us into deeply abstracted ambient dimensions following the themes of two self-released albums on uZu Music in 2009 and 2013, and more recently Omegapavillion (2016) for The Tapeworm.
In two seamless parts, breaking down to three movements each, the duo source inspiration from their local environments - Knight on the banks of the Thames, Thrower on the East Sussex coast - to conjure a lop-sided parallel dimension plotted out along uniquely dissonant scales and melted meters which are perhaps best described in terms of brownian motion and laws of alien, otherworldly physics.
The distant glow of classic deep-space sci-fi soundtracks decays in the background against stereo split dimensions of amorphous mystery, cleaving the head between searching tendrils of plasmic synth in the three parts of Breath the Snake, or, in the sections of Pale Salt Seam, like the schizoid mind of a character in Jeff Mills’ recent album cycle who’s attempting to come to terms with the fact they are trillions of miles from any form of life.
Formed while members of pop noise group Golden Grrls, Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers release their debut album as Sacred Paws through Glasgow’s Rock Action Records.
The album features 10 short but very sweet infectious guitar pop tunes.
Clarian toes the finest line between euphoric optimism and blue, melancholy feels in his partner piece to the playful tech house styles found on Mission To Bars (2015).
Ankh goes chin-first into the night with camp, strutting bassline, sparkling synth-pop leads and lush pads to the ‘floor beam; Old Miami is more brooding, twisted and shifty, like a blue inversion of what came before it; Alienated finds him stretching out on a kinked and supple swing compatible with current London deeptech, but much plusher, almost baroque hooks.
Ariel Pink makes an ever-welcome return to the fray in collaboration with Weyes Blood - the ethereal, operatic vocalist and former bass player for Jackie-O-Motherfucker - in a quartet of impeccable chamber pop and AOR aces for Mexican Summer.
Make sure to check the medieval Enya vibes of Morning After!!!
This summer, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Editors’ Justin Lockey and his brother James came together to release their debut album as Minor Victories. Currently in the midst of a run of live shows throughout Europe, the band are pleased to announce their utterly stunning instrumental interpretation of the self-titled record, entitled Orchestral Variations.
Aksel Schauffler a.k.a. Superpitcher delivers the first instalment of his 12-part album, The Golden Ravedays - which is just 12 singles really, isn’t it?
Swollen concepts aside, he pulls off a mean mix of burbling Silver Apples psychedelia and Hailu Mergia vibes in the ten minutes of Little Raver, then puts a slow, velvet-clad donk on it with fourteen minutes of effortless, hypnotic chug in Snow Blind.
On a war-footing for 2017, Michael Wolkenhaupt’s Ancient Methods swangs three devastating wrecking balls of industrial EBM techno on the first sacrifice to Persephonic Sirens.
The First Siren remorselessly sustains AM’s golden streak of 2016, kicking off with an ambient pause for reflection before committing the breathtaking torque of pendulous bass drums and sky-collapsing noise with Born Of Ashes, then locking off to the rictus darkwave riffs of I Am Blazing Sound for the mission-heads, and cantering like a mechanised Arabian steed over crushed skulls and spattered intestines with Now Come Closer.
Cop a copy and insert your own fantasy. This is so fxcking strong.
Six classic Giallo and Italian film nuggets on one “pitch black” disc.
“WRWTFWW Records is feverishly thrilled to announce the first ever vinyl release of the soundtrack for Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s critically-acclaimed Belgian-French giallo Amer (2009), filled with superb compositions by Italian movie score legends Ennio Morricone, Stelvio Cipriani, and Bruno Nicolai, all remastered for hardcore audiophile appreciation.
Described by The New York Times as "a surreal cinematic tone poem that pays slavering homage to Italian giallo horror films of the 1970s", Amer finds its influences in the films of Dario Argento, Luis Buñuel, or Mario Bava and makes for a truly visceral cinematic experience, thanks notably to a perfectly curated soundtrack compiling some of the best songs from cult Italian movies of the past.
Amer includes 3 songs by the great Stelvio Cipriani, well known for the marvellous soundtrack of poliziottesco movie La Polizia Sta A Guardare (1973) whose main theme was reborn in 2007 on Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, as well as music for countless cult spaghetti western and giallo movies. He received a Nastro d’Argento award for best score for The Anonymous Venetian (1970).
The legend himself Ennio Morricone also shows up on the soundtrack with a sexy and melancholic jazz number, while his longtime collaborator Bruno Nicolai delivers the hypnotic strings that carry the eerie and erotic mood of the film. Last but not least, the beautiful voice of beloved singer Adriano Celentano cements what is a must-have album for 60s and 70s Italian soundtrack fanatics."
Really feeling this trio of gritty jackers, from new beat and acid house to Faces Drums-styles rasp, courtesy of Rawmance + Security for Rome’s burger and techno stronghold, Knick Knack Yoda.
Working in some cranky blindspot between OG ‘80s Chicago, Belgian and Italian templates, Bad Coke Jerk rides a clammy groove of percolating drum machines and searing psych guitar licks into denser, messed up acid noise accompanied by a whispering vocal for the duration. Trippy and wicked with it.
Fuggi Dalla Notte is more fugged up, writhing to salty, stumbling sequencer patterns under a chorus of rave angels, and Seine St Denis Rhythm Trax goes stripped down and rugged on a Jamal Moss/Steve Poindexter/Alessandro Novaga flex.
Expanded reissue of Biosphere's 2000 album for Touch.
'Cirque' was originally released by Touch in 2000, and they have finally seen fit to re-issue the record so those of us who missed it first time around can hear what all the fuss was about.
This is where Biosphere really began to experiment beat structures and the framework of 'dance' music, yet he submerged the rhythmic elements so far beneath his expertly crafted drones and field recordings that it's difficult to place this in the same genre as more dancefloor oriented work.
Take the Basic Channel influenced 'When I Leave'; vinyl crackle and dissonant pads float around gloriously before being punctured by a pulsating bassline and then a simple, minimal 4/4 thud to bring the track together perfectly. Elsewhere 'Iberia Eterea' takes a jazzy hi-hat rhythm and pushes it through a haze of lo-fidelity noise and buzzing synthesizer drones giving it the quality of an ancient movie seen through the eyes of David Lynch. It's easy to see on this album where acts such as Deaf Center managed to mine so much inspiration - Geir Jenssen's work has served to influence so much modern electronic music that it is almost crucial to re-visit everything the man has to offer.
Glenn Jones’ debut album ‘This Is The Wind That Blows It Out’ was originally released in 2004 on CD only by Strange Attractors Audio House. Thrill Jockey are proud to give this timeless classic a first time vinyl issue.
"Glenn Jones is a master of American Primitive Guitar, a style invented in the late 1950s by John Fahey, whose traditional fingerpicking techniques and wide-ranging influences were used to create modern original compositions. Jones, who led the post-rock ensemble Cul de Sac, brings his own made-up tunings, the use of custom-crafted partial capos, and a highly skilled picking style on both banjo and guitar, to create personal compositions that are lyrical, emotive and elegant. What sets him apart from the myriad guitarists playing today is his ability to tell stories with the guitar and banjo and to convey a range of emotions. This process starts with the compositions themselves and carries through to his selection of recording environment and engineer.
‘This Is The Wind That Blows It Out’ stands the test of time in today’s avant folk movement with Glenn Jones emerging as a clear leader. His pensive sentimentality and playful spirit, not to mention his innovative technique, have become just as ingrained into the style’s DNA as any hallmarks of the original Takoma school. Opening with the title tune, ‘This Is The Wind That Blows It Out’ meanders with heady grace, Delta-delica slide guitar as intoxicating as it is mournful. ‘Fahey’s Car’ bounces and shimmers like some of Peter Lang’s classic Takoma sides and ‘Linden Avenue Stomp’ is an alternate take of an old-timey duet with the late great Jack Rose. Jones turned away from standard tuning years ago, inventing tunings as a way of escaping the known, his 2016 album ‘Fleeting’ gained much critical acclaim and his convivial live performances prove him to be a compelling storyteller as well as an outstanding musician."
John Cameron’s jazz-funky psych score to British teen satanist biker flick, Psychomania (1973). Now with black instead of white cover
“If KES was the best film I ever wrote music for, PSYCHOMANIA was the most bizarre. Jazz and session musicians playing pre-punk 'trash-rock' for a tale of supernatural gore and mayhem, on a Shepperton recording stage more suited to the the LSO than a rock line-up, complete with 'suit-and-tie' recording engineer is one of my more unexpected memories. In a pre-synthesiser age every trick was used: Musser vibes through phase and wah-wah pedals, phased bowed bass, drumsticks inside a grand piano, electric harpsichord through a compressor, Hammond organ fed through a phase unit and Leslie speakers, and wordless solo voice.
I know the flautist was Harold McNair, the vibes player/percussionist was Bill Le Sage, and the drummer was Tony Carr. I'm pretty sure the bassist was Spike Heatley , the bass guitarist was probably Herbie Flowers, and the guitarists were likely to have been Alan Parker and Colin Green. As far as the voice is concerned, it was almost certainly Norma Winstone who sang on my 'Marlowe Private Eye' recordings in 1980. Sorry my recollection is a little blurred, hell, it was the 1970’s!” - John Cameron
Death Waltz exhume another classic soundtrack from the world of horror cinema with Bruno Nicolai's incredible score to the 1981 Emilio Miraglia giallo The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (aka La Notte Che Evelyn Usci Dalla Tomba).
"The film is as mad as its title; Evelyn is dead before it starts and her previously institutionalized husband Alan, who has begun to murder strippers as a form of therapy, is duped by his cousin who wants to rid of his heir. Oh, and there's the matter of Evelyn's resurrection and a whole dose of other murders - it's unreal.
Adding to the surrealism of the situation is Nicolai's deranged score that mixes super effective jarring orchestral with electronic effects and speed jazz that has truly disconcerting time signatures. It's absolutely creepy and utterly terrifying with queasy quivering synthesizers that sound like an entire waves of insects and the juxtaposition of a fantastic bass line with a sawing string effect that is just sickening. And then there's the beautiful typical romantic giallo melody that really stands out, with vocals courtesy of the iconic Edda Dell'Orso. (Charlie Bridgen - Editor: Films On Wax)"
Engrossing slab from the Argentinian guitarist and Brooklyn-based British drummer swapping their usual kit for anything from grand pianos and balaphons to metal lampshades and wooden staircases.
'Bring Us Some Honest Food' is the processed document of Courtis & Moore's congregation at The Fish Factory, London, on 22nd March, 2014. The A-side breaks down to three shorter pieces "blended" by Aaron Moore in Brooklyn, breaking unique new ground between the gloaming, out-of-body avant-rock extraction, 'Portions Of Honesty'; the chamber-like meld of blackened synth strokes with acoustic guitar in 'The Honest Waitress'; and amorphous, space-shaping concrète recalling Jim O'Rourke' or Smegmas farthest in 'Honest Pork Pie'.
In the hands of Alan Courtis back in Buenos Aires on the B-side, 'Dishonest Desert' patiently unravels a side-long scape of lower case, haptic improvisations giving way to chiming texturhythms and reversed tape loops before rolling tribal drums, lonely sax and agitated cello usher in a brooding climax, all rent in the trippiest, pensile mixdown. TIP!
Pontiak is made up of three brothers from the Blue Ridge farm country of Virginia, Van (guitar, lead vocals), Lain (drums, vocals) and Jennings Carney (bass, organ, vocals). Their music is swaggering guitar rock that straddles the line between a power trio and something far more expansive in sound and scope.
Their broad song structures allow ample room for three-part vocals, drums, organ and stellar slide and lead guitar to stretch and captivate. Songs roll along with an effortless synchronicity despite their extremely varied textures." Sun On Sun is the band's second full-length, for which they've played a bit of a Bon Iver, holing themselves up for recording in a log cabin out in the wilds of Virginia.
Instead of incubating a pared down evocation of intimacy however, Pontiak reach for ambitious, experimental rock textures, culminating in the Crazy Horse-do-shoegaze marathon of the title track, the barbed organ blues of 'Tell Me About' and even a spot of eerie dark ambience on 'Swell'. Excellent.
Ego grease the ‘floor with a rainbow slick of boogie by Tokyo’s Noboyuki Suzuki a.k.a. Sauce81.
Authentic late ‘70s vibes boogie-soul bumps on the full vocal version of Dance Tonight, with a stripped and wiggly Disco Dub on the other one.
Taut, grinding and jabbing techno trax from Romania’s Dan HabarNam on a hard, bruxist clench for Selectie - his 2nd shot for the German-based label.
In all four cases HabarNam keep the groove tucked tight-in-the-pocket and moody af; getting into gear with the grimy, shifty lockstep and weightless chorales of 4AM Rattle, before smearing the strings into the tiger registers over wide burly Reese bass and needling drums in The F.P. Beat.
Juno Birdcall sits in a stranger place between original UK bleep, swanging house and ambient techno on the flipside, and The Blue LED Ban buckles down to a nervy, shivering Bristol bass-techno style recalling Rhythmic Theory or Livity Sound.
Pivotal Belgian synthesist André Stordeur serves Sub Rosa another pinnacle of their Early Electronic Series with a first-ever vinyl pressing of three pieces - the expanding harmonic scape of Chant 10A (1980) and two which aren’t necessarily ‘early’, but are no less brilliant, with the c.2000 parts of Nervous and Tablas.
Realised at IRCAM, Paris, between 1980-81 on a Serge series 79 and bespoke Serge prototype 1980 Modular synthesiser - built especially for Stordeur by Serge Tcherepnin himself - the record’s most striking feature is the A-side Chant 10A, where Stordeur used a DEC VAX 11/60 CPU running ‘Music 10’ and ‘Chant’ softwares to process his Serge sketches into a beast, gloaming shadow of a piece embedded with ghostly choral swells which really come to the fore in the final section. It’s frighteningly strong stuff, and kinda exactly what we hoped for - safe to say those countless hours spent waiting for his behemoth CPU to do its thing were not in vain.
The other two date much closer to the modern day: Nervous (2000) swivels between head-swallowing black holes and sustained sourness, like a chorale of keening angels, before spiralling the super crisp, pointillist rhythms of Tabla (c.2000) - a purely rhythmic piece peppered with ace trills and intricate pattern shifts that draws upon his travels in New Dehli around 1963, and his subsequent, in-depth studies of modular synth process, to sound almost like some Ø or Plastikman experiment from the same era
Spangled techno misfits from the Power Vacuum
Dr. Skime slings the elasticated electro-techno madness of RX5 Jams 8, 9 & 7; Pan Daijang forces out the bruxist charge of Very Uncomfortable, Please;Beau Wanzer tees the boisterous Up Chuck’s; Bristol’s Inca Pax slugs home the messy electro of Transfer Function; and Bleaching Agent does his job with cutthroat effect.
Prime balearia from down under, or Melbourne’s Tornado Wallace to be precise.
His follow-up to the Falling Sun 12” with Music From memory’s Second Circle follows that 12”s vibe with a clutch of dusky dancers, at best in the richly layered atmospheres of Lonely Planet and the pseudo-ethno feels of Voices, but carrying itself beautifully, elegantly throughout. Even the most sun-leathered balearic type will have to concede; it’s pretty damn lush.
Svelte, proggy, posh-trancing techno from Voiski; rolling the effortless subbass swang and organically modulating trance leads of Let Down Disco, backed by the pumping, bittersweet groover 5th Dolphin Transmission.
Grippingly dense and roiling collaboration between improv god Keiji Haino and and a rupturing Belgian rhythm section. Flashes of curdled baroque, avant-jazz scuttle, rock rage and primitive electronics. Recorded, mastered and mixed in Tokyo by Joe Talia between 2015-2016.
“Japanese legend, Keiji Haino, meets two of Belgium's most active and valued musicians, keyboardist Jozef Dumoulin (Lilly Joel) and drummer Teun Verbruggen (Othin Spake). The Miracles Of Only One Thing is a deep and intense testimony of this meeting. Keiji Haino, without any doubt one of the most important musicians from the Japanese underground scene, is at his best, Teun Verbruggen and Jozef Dumoulin did a three-week tour in Japan in September of 2015, playing concerts as a duet, but also solo and with local musicians.
One of those musicians was hero Keiji Haino, whose work has spanned rock, free improvisation, noise, percussion, psychedelic music, minimalism and drones. Besides his legendary bands Fushitsusha and Lost Aaraaff, he has worked with artists and bands like Boris, The Melvins, Jim O'Rourke, Oren Ambarchi, Peter Brötzmann and Steve Noble. As for Dumoulin and Verbruggen, they are both known for their always refreshing and groundbreaking work that breaks the barriers between free improvisation, electro, jazz and more. Jozef Dumoulin is part of the duo Lilly Joel appearing recently on Sub Rosa with What Lies in the Sea (SR 416CD, 2015). The three teamed up for a studio recording and a recorded live-show.
Out of all the material, they distilled an album that reflects both the excitement of the new bond as well as the deep and vast sonic landscapes that their joined forces laid bare. Personnel: Keiji Haino - guitar, vocals, flute, gongs; Jozef Dumoulin - Fender Rhodes; Teun Verbruggen - drums, electronics.”
Firecracker’s sister label, Unthank, embraces a “micro-cosmic opera” from Italian producer Raffaele Arcella a.k.a. Whodamanny, the Early Sounds Recordings affiliate and capo of Periodica Records.
Not gonna lie, we could spot an Italian electronic vibe from the first ambient section iris Primum and certainly in the pulsating disco track indigo Auctoritas that follows, and all before we’d clocked his name. Not sure what that says apart from an assurance of high quality electronics recalling the innovations of legendary Italian library producers and reams of go-to studio heads.
The rest follows in suit, conjuring giddy library style animations in the playfully wigged-out Crystal Aestus, and a spot of tropical synthesis with Iris Secundum, saving the cosmic canter of Wise Glaciem and natty Alessandro Novaga/Jamal Moss/Faces Drums flex on Neuter Gyrum.
Techno virtuoso Aybee follows a similar recent trajectory as his fellow Deepblak traveller, Afrikan Sciences, to present some of his strongest material, bar none, on his latest opus The Odyssey.
His follow-up to the Sketches Of Space collaboration with Afrikan Sciences pursues 10 lines of cosmic techno enquiry intersecting the ‘floor, the head and farthest flung star systems in a journey of discovery and subtle experimentation.
There’s no radical change to his sound, more a firm consolidation of the classically-rooted but forward-looking ideas that were previously there in his sound; resulting highlights in the hydro-electric techno charge of Down The Rabbit Hoel, and an inimitably crimped Afrobeat dip in Ank and Asteroid Lust, or with superbly fluid electro-trance synth leads in The Professor and the Kassem Mosse-like Build Them.
Pretty unmissable reissue of Brugnolini and Carnini’s obscure blinder, Beat Drammatico Underground Pop Elettronico - a hugely prescient blend of funked-up Italian soundtrack themes and industrial electronics juiced from an ARP 2600 in 1973, which arguably presaged the sound of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn by a good year. Imagine a soundtrack to the sleaziest, bloodthirsty and drug-fuelled Giallo. Check Omicidio Bianco and then pick your jaw off the ‘floor! A must for fans of John Carpenter, Demdike Stare, Heldon, early Kraftwerk. Impossible to find original copies…
“This session was recorded in 1973 in a very small studio called “Axon” in the centre of Rome, which was well equipped with unusual electronic instruments and headed by Ogando – a skilled sound engineer with great musical taste. These tracks are a rare example of how some protagonists already experimented with the use of avant-garde electronic instruments in “commercial” music production in a period when, from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to the rock music explosion, they were completely replaced by electric guitars. At that time, these sounds were considered eccentric by most of the critics and the public. My background was in jazz music and I was working as a composer of movie and TV soundtrack.
Along with the pianist-organist and classical musician Giorgio Carnini, we decided to take a risk and release our library music merging acoustic sounds and modern vibes. We did it while experimenting with the sounds of the fabulous ARP 2600 synthesizer – maybe that was the first time it had been used in Italy for commercial purpose. It was the main rival of the more famous Moog, the instrument behind great music of those days. We delivered part of this library to Fonit, the centre of Rai TV music production of the time, for the Usignolo edi- tions. As Brugnolini-Carnini, we recorded two albums of library music with over 20 tracks each. One of these, the one including the more dramatic tunes, was released as “Fonit Usignolo 7010”: a record we both agree, is being wisely appreciated again, now after over 40 years its original release. The remaining tracks were released under our monikers Narassa and Zanagoria. For the sake of cohesion, the tracks I wrote appeared on the A-side, and Giorgio’s ones on the B-side… Sandro Brugnolini
Those were amazing years. We were excited to experiment new sounds and had extraordinary instruments at our disposal. In thew first moment, synthesizers didn’t allow polyphony, and we worked hard just to connect the various modules, generators, and filters. Sometimes it was necessary to cut several tiny pieces of tape and paste them together to obtain a few seconds sequences: a lot of work, but what a bliss! What a genuine sound! I remember one track we called “Brandenbourg Generator”: a sort of bold electronic concerto where I had to play, one by one, all the symphonic parts in following takes and then try to synchronize them with the other tracks. Needless to say, hours of work!
Nowadays everything is simpler: polyphonic instruments, computers, and every kind of automation. However, we’re talking about limited systems, even though they may seem perfect. All sounds are available on digital sound banks, you just need to choose them. It’s a kind of a default stock of sounds, so it’s hard to find some novelty and creativity. Nostalgia? No, I think this is a rather pragmatic judgment – it was a different age, with a different semantic field, we could explain the difference through the analog versus digital opposition. The same old story: progress often implicates some sacrifices... Giorgio Carnini”
Berlin’ hybrid D&B/dub techno specialists, DB1 and Felix K, step deep into the echoplex with a full round-up of their Elemnt experiments collected as Elemnts.
Initially emerging as a series of mysterious white labels sold thru Berlin’s Hardwax, the spirit of Elemnt’s output vacillates between the structures of rolling, half stepping D&B and the amorphous, subaquatic pressure of dub techno proper, nimbly trading one’s tropes for the other in a taut exchange of ideas and offering a multitude of possibilities for the DJs and dancers in the process.
Tala AM (or Tala Andre Marie to give him his full and proper name) was born in Bandjoun in Cameroun in 1950. Talas life initially wasn't easy, he becomes blind at an early age and has lost both his mother and father by the age of 12. He then went on to make his first guitar by hand and form his first band "The Rock Boys" by the age of 17. Shortly after he meets the powerhouse of Camerounian music at the time Manu Dibango, a pivotal moment. With help, he re-locates to Paris and signs a contract with Fiesta Records. The first fruit of those labours is his debut album "Hot Koki".
"The lead track (and highlight of this compilation) is "Hot Koki" it is a powerhouse of funk guitar, soul and infectious afro rhythms. Fast forward to 1974 and the famous "Rumble In The Jungle" fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The story goes a little something like this... At an accompanying musical event we find James Brown and Tala AM. JB Hears Hot Koki and creates a remarkably similar sounding track "The Hustle" (check it out side by side if you have the time). Tala sued.. and won.
Fast forward another 40 years. Time to take a look back on the funkier moments of Tala. This is not a "best of" Tala, that has already been done. Want to get into Tala's famous Tchamassi sound or do some "bend skin" beats... well check out the other compilations. Here at Africa Seven (and in this case) we are headed for destination funk. The musical topic inevitably leads us to the 70's and we borrow our super slick source material mainly from the albums Tala made for Fiesta Records from 1973 to 1978.
We open up the bombastic brass, swinging basslines and all out groove of Hot Koki (well after a little intro ditty gem). Then its on to the one of the highlights of "Arabia" album "Black Gold". This track swoons groove. Layers of picked and choppy guitar and on point drumming. "Sugar Lump" is next which sticks to the formula of the previous track but adds in catchy vocals.
Mining into the cave of delights that is the 1978 "Black Woman" album we then follow up with the driving afro beat grooves and stabby brass of "Gotam" and the boogie flowing grooves of "Black Woman" and the frenetic and driving grooves of "Ma Ka La". We round things off with the stabby clavi-funk of "Nom Te Ma" and the ultimate groovy funk-riff closer (and ear worm) Tcham Tcham."
Foundational techno business from 1993, documenting Mark and Moritz pelting ‘em out live at 145bpm at Waschhaus, Potsdam and setting the template for a whole genre.
Phylyps Trak is the one for the DJs.
Totally bewitching, zonked electronics and spectral pop glossolalia from Nadine and Tanya Byrne aka Ectoplasm Girls, the long-awaited follow-up to their incredible TxN album from 2011.
Ectoplasm Girls sound like the progeny of some ancient, mythological creature as opposed to anything of this earthly realm. Their music distills traces of post-techno, doom metal and esoteric electronic pop into a skin-crawling residue that strongly resonates with their name.
As with the aforementioned TxN - a unique highlight of the 2011 schedule - their follow-up spells out a mostly wordless grimoir of slow, writhing rhythms, bittersweet tones and phosphorescent texture incomparable with almost anyone else we can recall, bar maybe Coil or the that ghost band who soundtracked your dreams last night.
Perhaps more so than on TxN, in this instance they feel more faded, detached from the listener, drifting thru 15 stages of séance-like ambience with an incorporeal presence belied only by their clammy sleight of hand and vaporous traces of breathing.
It’s all dark as you like, but crucially with a sense of ambiguity that allows for interpretation depending on your mood and ability to discern between poltergeist-like trembles and the spirits of two possessed artists never afraid to head down whatever musical rabit hole the mood takes them. It's surely one of the most absorbing and mysterious electronic albums you'll hear in 2016 - think of it as sitting uncomfortably somewhere between Grouper, Coil and Rashad Becker.
Colleen's beautiful debut album finally reissued on vinyl - a magical zoetrope of ramshackle mechanics and improvised vignettes...
"Everyone Alive Wants Answers" is the haunting work of 26-year-old Parisienne Cecile Schott. Her debut album release, she has previously released a gem of a 7" single (Babies) on Active Suspension, which brought her to the attention of The Leaf Label. An effortlessly charming album, naive instrumentals filled with warmth , melody and soul, played on a broken music box, a glockenspiel or a guitar. The recordings seem pieced together from an array of field recordings and home tapes, melodies and aroma's slowly infused to create a homespun exercise in delicacy, beauty and a joyously moving appeal to nostalgic sensibilities and abandon. Gorgeous stuff..."
Rawest, illest hip hop/dub mixtape from '98 by Wordsound capo, Skiz Fernando Jr a.k.a. Spectre, feat contributions from sometime Madteo collaborator Sensational, Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin’s Techno Animal alias, Bill Laswell’s Dubadelic project, Godflesh’s Ted Parsons and more.
This is a fine history lesson for many yungers, and a red-eyed flashback for many heads who came thru in the '90s. Originally released on cassette in edition of only 100 copies, it documents late night sessions recorded in New York during the formative era of abstract and experimental beats - a natural progression from more gangsta and hardcore styles to someplace more esoteric, smoked-out, and featuring contributions by non-rhyming MC Sensational, the earliest iterations of Kevin Martin (The Bug) as Techno Animal, and The Jungle Brothers. I
n the parlance of the day; it's a trip, boy. Most of the tracks were produced or "reduced & jinxed" by Spectre, including a number of on-the-fly basslines and drum loops lending it a really frayed and lop-sided quality that producers have tried to recreate since, and definitely sounds leagues away from the last half decade or so of trap trills. But it's also weird for the inclusion of pitched-down, spoken word intros for each cut, framing it closer to a radio show than typical mixtape. Ultimately it's a heady shot-to-the-dome from late '90s New York, which sounds like a different world altogether from our 2015 perch. RIYL vintage Mo'wax, DJ Screw, Company Flow!
Intrepid, cinematech intrigue from Samo DJ and Max Stenerudh (Maxxxbass), reprising their KWC92 duo on a 2nd night-flight with L.I.E.S. in pursuit of the sought-after Dream Of The Walled City (O.S.T.) LP.
This is some proper, international espionage business, expanding their scope from Stockholm via Hong Kong to a mysterious Iran over an eight-part series of furtive, noirish synth motifs, all separated by colourful, almost cartoonish interludes and pulsating techno themes.
It’s all clearly inspired by the emotive, dramaturgical genius of Giorgio Moroder and Tangerine Dream’s definitive ‘80s soundtracks, but also with a streak of, perhaps, slightly lower grade made-for-TV or VHS themes, which is actually a large part of its charm - recalling hazy cues and feels from more indistinct reference points and leaving the script loosely open ended for nocturnal mind-drift.
Basically; if you loved the last one as much as everyone else, you’ll be all over this one, too.
The xx’s anticipated third album, ‘I See You’, is the follow up to the band’s two previous albums ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’.
‘I See You’ marks a new era for the London trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, both sonically and in terms of process - while ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’ were bothmade in relative isolation in London, ‘I See You’ was recorded between March 2014 and August 2016 in New York, Marfa TX, Reykjavik, Los Angeles and London and is characterised by a more outward-looking, open and expansive approach.
Produced by Jamie Smith and Rodaidh McDonald, ‘I See You’ is The xx at their boldest yet, performing with more clarity and ambition than ever before."
Oblique, intense and spirit-gnawing electro-acoustic exercises from The Skull Defekts founder / Ideal head honcho Joachim Nordwall, presenting a brilliantly stark album of direct and gnarly Machine energy that comes highly recommended if you're into anything from Pan Sonic to Alessandro Cortini, Deathprod or Emptyset. So good.
Working with a bunch of tone generators fed thru a massive wall of amps at Elementstudion in Gothenburg, Nordwall isolates and fearlessly homes in on the recording space’s resonant frequencies until you can physically feel the room grinding, whining and shuddering in the kind of spasms that arch the spine and set your back teeth on edge. And he does it relentlessly for the whole record.
It’s what Nordwall in December, 2016 described as “…my ideal black. A place I enjoy to place myself in” and, by turns, appears to be a place we enjoy inhabiting, too. There’s really a lot to be said for the unadulterated pleasure of sustained atonal assaults, and feeling like you’re about to be asphyxiated from the sheer pressure of it all.
The only steady variable in this elemental organism is the sense of rhythm; a metric, pulsing heave that keeps each piece’s tangibly immense weight pushing forward from the crack’d slap of a drum that pins The Ideal Black into place, to the quasi-step lurch of Great Mind of Fire, thru the Alessandro Cortini-Like impulse of Extreme Solution for a Simple Problem to the palsied, cog-ground rattle of System For Psychic Expansion and Black Out at its nether limits.
In the rarest way, thanks to Joachim’s direct approach, the mixing of Linus Andersson, and Heba Kadry’s master at Timeless Mastering, Bushwick, The Ideal Black is about as close as you’ll hear to a 1-to-1 representation of pure, crushing tonal terror. A character-building exercise strongly tipped if you like the biting point sounds of: Kevin Drumm, Alessandro Cortini, Emptyset, Gottfried Michael Koenig
Playful cabaret featuring spoken word over mutant glam grooves by Berlin legends Gudrun Gut (Malaria!) and Beate Bartel (Liaisons Dangerueses, CH-BB), issued by Gudrun’s long-running Moabit Musik label
“Sirens is the new album from Canadian spoken word poet Myra Davies, with music by Berliners Gudrun Gut and Beate Bartel. Myra Davies is back with a new packet of witty stories and poetic reportage in a dynamic current of electronica by Berliners, Gudrun Gut and Beate Bartel. Movement is a major theme. Davies's eye, insightful yet detached, wanders assertively over land to sea to outer space, through time; past to present to future. Her observations and reflections on art, culture, convention, capitalism, express instability and the contingent, even conjectural, nature of existence. Yet, they suggest (without promising) the possibility of optimistic resolution. For Davies, the personal is political and art is more so.
The album includes a three-track riposte to Götterdammerung, the final opera in Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle. Two tracks tell the story. The third, "Do Ya", links the epic to us. Wagner was called "the great seducer" because he aimed to "take" his audience in an emotional gut grab that's been described as "artistic rape". No invitation here to sink hypnotically into the dark ambient tones Gut and Bartel provide for Davies, who, in telling the story, frequently pops out of it to comment. Indeed, the point of revisiting this end time for übermenschen is to draw attention to the eagerness with which people give themselves to art, politics, love, war, consumption, work, religion, pop culture, technology, vanity, and thus to bondage. Fortunately, the message is delivered in a tempestuous roil of words and music; This is a Pandora's box of biting zeitgeist - past, present and future - propelled by beats, contrapuntal dynamics, broken rhymes, scraps from here and there, and fragments of great white dead men.
A personal note from Myra Davies: "The word 'siren' contains both allure and danger warning. Come hither. Stay away. Such isometric emotional dualities can drive a person around a post like a work donkey. I question such 'native' impulses and the romantic notion that emotion is the seat of authenticity, our true core. Our minds - amygdala included - are colonized. Yet the human brain is flexible. It's possible to take territory, to write our own code. 'Your mission, if you choose to accept it.' Thanks for listening." Davies and Gut have worked together since 1991 on several releases, notably Miasma 1 (1993), 2 (1997) and 3 (2002), and multi-media performances.”