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.
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.
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.”
Spencer Clark (The Skaters, Monopoly Child) brings his daemons to life on the 3rd, hyperstitious instalment of his Typhonian Highlife project inspired by the late ‘80s movies; Hellraiser II (Hellbound) and PIN (A Plastic Nightmare).
From the outset, this is clearly some of Clark’s most pellucid and detailed work, albeit utterly whacked out in a way that’s key to everything he does. On a basic level, the record has more than two tracks - as opposed to his usual side-long jams - but on another level, those eight, discrete parts are also rife with expressive information, allowing us to better make out the morphing, abstract silhouettes of the unearthly characters unleashed from his zzz’s.
However, unlike, say Coil’s The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser, the music isn’t necessarily dark, per se; it’s better located in the uncanny valley between dream and waking life, and perhaps more acutely, it’s an attempt to replicate the strangeness of memory recollection, and the curdled feelings associated with being an wide-eyed adolescent absorbing the mainstream occulture of the late ‘80s, but probably at a later date sometime later in the ‘90s.
In that sense, its hauntological aspects should properly resonate with anyone over the age of 30 who can still remember the musk of video rental shops and those titles your folks would never let you rent (fucksake mam, i’m not watching Home Alone again!). But, it should also resonate with anyone digging the roots of rave and ambient culture, as the films he references were ubiquitous to youngers back then; a bank of imagery, ideas and sounds which were constantly referenced, sampled and osmotically absorbed into the popular psyche.
And then again, if you factor in Clark’s nods to classical aquarium fusion and some possibly apocryphal pseudo-science/poetry (depending your perspective) and maybe it’s not all as clear as it seems. In fact, probably not.
Mono's much loved debut album available on vinyl for the first time ever. Remastered for vinyl by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. Features all-new cover art .
"Under The Pipal Tree is the debut album by now-legendary Japanese experimental rock band, MONO. Released in 2001 on avant-garde icon John Zorn's Tzadik label, Under The Pipal Tree showcased a young Japanese quartet whose wide range of influences - most notably Sonic Youth, Mogwai, The Velvet Underground, and Neil Young's Crazy Horse - were on ferocious and ambitious display.
Though Mono would eventually become known for their expert marriage of metal and classical genres, Under The Pipal Tree highlights the band's psychedelic roots. Long stretches of hypnotic, melodic washes give way to scorching guitar freakouts that evaporate into haunting silence. It's remarkable not just for its earnest exploration, but for its startling execution. Fifteen years and eight albums later, Under The Pipal Tree stands as one of the great debut albums by a seminal underground band.
Finally released on vinyl for the first time ever, Under The Pipal Tree has been remastered for vinyl by longtime friend and tour mate, Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service."
Raster-Noton bring the excellent, erratic Unun series to a close with some of Jesse Osborne-Lanthier’s most reactive and ‘floor-penetrating productions; bringing elements of EDM, trance and hooj room choons to the boil with a steadfast tolerance for dancefloor/electronic extremity and physicality.
Since 2010, the Berlin/Montreal-based musician has steadily carved a niche between the eyes of modern styles in an almost exponential exploration of styles, persistently short-circuiting dancefloor conventions with a combination of avant-garde strategy and extreme sonics which has lead to some of the most fascinating electronic music in recent years for the likes of Rabit’s Halcyon Veil and Shapednoise’s Cosmo Rhythmatic.
Make no mistake, though: Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night is Osborne-Lanthier’s most direct and up-for-it material; a masterful, off-the-cuff demonstration of how to mess with modern templates, using online production tutorials as the jump-off for a quartet of dancefloor mongrels riddled with EDM’s most virulent, effective tics.
At the front Blackwell Dynonetics’ tight, fractal knot of spasming dub chords and footwork spatter comes off like Second Woman linking with Rian Treanor, before The Zika Slam revs ups like some visceral Powell and EVOL collaboration, and the crushing swagger of Integrated Sensor Is Structure sounds like Lurka duelling with Byetone, leaving the dembow bounce and escalating hardstyle synths of Lick And A Promise to ramp like some fierce Kamixlo or Florentino winner.
This one is lands hard on all the right buttons. Can’t wait to hear them loud in the club.
Songs From The Other Side Of Emptiness is a necessary compendium of Life Garden’s multifarious, sui-generis aesthetics, exploring the space left behind after ‘80s post-industrial music ran out of conceptual steam.
Life Garden is the main preserve of David Oliphant and his partner Su Ling, who were previous members of Maybe Mental, a wicked, if overlooked part of the post-industrial milieu, who included Sir Richard Bishop in their number at one point - and with whom David more recently collaborated on the brobdingnagian disc, Beyond All Defects (2012).
Despite only being in operation between for the first five years of the ‘90s, the band released a dozen recordings on CD and cassette, headed up by their debut Caught Between The Tapestry Of Silence & Beauty, and ending on Ahitanaman (1995). Material from both releases appears here, along with further material off the impossible-to-find Worlds Whirl Beneath The Sun (1991) tape, plus the Pry Open My Mouth With The Red Knife of Heaven (1992) and Seed (1993) albums.
While Life Garden’s previous incarnation, Maybe Mental, was a sprawling affair, ranging from delirious post-industrial psychedelia to power electronics, you can hear the roots of their subsequent Life Garden sound in the far eastern fascinations and eerie tones of Lotuses On Fire (1987), especially in its more spectral, loosely improvised drones and ritual percussions.
I’m pretty sure that Su Ling Heydrich-Oliphant just sang uvavoo - Rick Veeves style- on Zhen, so it’s got our approval at the least.
An all time killer classic from Wackies.
This 12" features 3 cuts of Lee Perry's immortal Tight Spot Rhythm featuring searing vocals by Leroy Sibbles and the great Stranger Cole, together with an instrumental version by the Bullwackies Allstars. Yum.
Dial place last year’s Lawrence peach, Yoyogi Park in the hands of Giegling’s Kettenkarussell, Roman Flügel and Lake People for a suitably trim, involving suite of remixes.
Kettenkarussell’s sublimely pensile Yan Mirror rework of Illuminated takes us right back to the heyday of ‘00s minimalism and the taste of mandy on lips, while his Yan Mirror brings the dawning vibes on the flipside.
Roman Flügel also makes nice with a gently percolated take on Clouds & Arrows, and Lake People does a snappy Braindance electro thing with Simmer.
Ssaliva offers the tantalisingly ephemeral dynamics of We Never Happened on his follow-up to Be Me, also for Ekster. Operating almost exclusively in the higher registers, Saliva’s newest piece proceeds a string of lush releases for Vlek, Leaving Records and Bepotal to leave us light-headed and floating 3”s above our chair.
Bearing no small resemblance to the flawlessly cute motifs of Motion Graphics’ eponymous debut, as much as the sheer dynamics of Arca or 0comeups One Deep - which both share a fascination for hyperlucid Japanese ‘tronics - We Never Happened unfolds like a hyaline hyperprism of virtual chamber pieces for a sophisticated manga space-lord.
The atoms of its frozen tones and wide, plasmic basses are seemingly caught in transmutation between states of crystallisation and sublimation, contracting and expanding between the vertiginous pinch of Panel and the Autechreian dimensions of Scope at the front, to the chromatic freefall of Oxy and the alien jazz moods of Protection4 at the record’s core, before matters become detectably frayed, unsettled at the edges in I Appreciate Your Concern and the cold acidic blatz of Gone, whilst a turn toward Rashad Becker-esque tonal curdle in Surge and the sinking mini string symphony of Amo resolve the album at a more ambiguous angle.
This one really needs wider attention. Check!
This one's incredible; bowed strings, double bass, synth, vibraphone, piano, percussion and field recordings reduced to a totally immersive durational study, huge recommendation if you're into Mohammad, The Necks or Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore...
It’s the Australian composer’s 6th solo album since his debut, Ink On Paper (2008) and possibly the strongest demonstration of his innovative extended technique, deployed in two subtly contrasting yet equally hypnotic sides. Using rapid bowing technique to paradoxically generate ostensibly static, sine wave-like tones, coupled with analogue synth, vibes, piano, percussion and field recordings, Majowski explores the perceptions of “stillness” and “movement” which give dynamic form to the content of musical composition.
Effectively, he makes his main instrument sound electronic, yet due to the acoustic harmonic richness it’s capable of, the results render a much lusher, immersive, and subtly chaotic spectrum of spectral sonics than one might typically expect from purely electronic sources. The B-side, Structure and Posture dissipates the tension into slow, swooning contours giving rise to a glowing aurora of consonant overtones, which, once you’ve settled into their shadows, begin to deeply recall the doom jazz introspection of Bohren Und Der Club of Gore or the exquisiteness of Elodie stretched into the horizon.
In-depth 2LP compilation of Colombian folk and dance music, accompanied by the compiler, Sanjay Agarwal and Ivan Higa’s documentary, Colombian Gold - “400 Years of Music from the Soul”
“Huge Colombian Felito Records compilation! Includes bonus DVD of the Colombian Gold documentary, which digs deep into the heritage of Colombian music. . Tucked away deep in the heart of Barranquilla’s infamous city center stands the remains of one of the most important record labels of Colombia’s Musica Tropical scene: Felito Records. Selected and dug up and out by Sanjay Agarwal. TIP!
This best of compilation features a blistering set of heavy cuts with deep indigenous undertones expressed in a stellar array of hybrid tropical sounds…. Established in the late 1970s by Don Felix Butron, Felito records became a powerhouse for the recording and preservation of afro indigenous rhythms in Colombia’s Caribbean coast. From its conception to its heydays in the 1980s and ‘90s, Felito Records produced and recorded some of the most prolific music at the time, pioneering a new and innovative sound that captured the rich diversity existing in Colombia’s Caribbean region. “
Achingly strong Sugar Minott platter comes ‘round again on Wackie’s, packing the synth-buoyed roots reggae burn of Minott’s International Herb hustle on the top deck, and an exothermic International Dub on the B-side, bringing fwd the instrumental’s dazzling moire of psychedelic synth riffs and glimmering melodies on a tight but wide skank.
Deadbeat at his rolling, effortless best on these two for Echocord; going long and deep with the tunnelling, suspensfully balanced ten minutes of acid dub techno in Put On Your Red Shoes And Trance, whereas Just Jackin Around Man plays into that drily fruity, wiggly Berlin tech house sound.
Creeping up on you like 3am on a work night, when you should be falling asleep but the moon is too bright and your flat starts is contracting with the cold, Naaahhh’s deeply blunted Themes for Blackest Ever Black nails that feeling of transition between worlds, of spirits dissolving into the ether and ready to chuck a few coins to the sandman.
In circulation since early this year, they are as effective as these homemade valium that are knocking around Manchester right now for setting you in that drifty wonky state of soma, coursing the lushest pads thru Blooz, and melting away like a decaying plant in Vini Reilly’s flat with Empty Rituals, whereas My Theme dredges Cthulhu-like dread bass from deep below, and Theme 2 seems to feel out the uncanny valley between Leyland Kirby and his The Caretaker alter ego.
Or, as BEB eloquently put it: “Five tracks of darkside slither from somewhere under London. Sidereal downers for all hardcore ravers. The dread energy of grime and bleep techno distilled into pungent electro-acoustic ooze. Paranoid street music meets the cosmic disturbances of musique concrète, the MDMA spine-freeze of isolationism and England’s hidden reverse. Staccato string stabs, murmured voices, black holes of reverb and pulverising, body-numbing bass. Drums optional. Unwanted side-effects include nosebleeds, earaches, stomach cramps, and nausea. Just say naaahhh.”
Pedigree house modernist, Rajko Müller a.k.a. Isolde undresses the dance with three lip-bitingly sexy plays for Mano Le Tough’s Maeve label - his first release in two years!
The OG architect of microhouse laces lessons learnt from 20 years of that style into three mesmerising, plush aces here, using his powers of vinyl psychokinesis and house hypnosis to wriggle right under the skin and control your bones with he slippery organs and trills of Pisco, whereas L5 Syndrome cuts deeper with wide, monotone dub bass offset by tingling electronic diffraction, and Mangroove marries distant chants with a heaving, powerful sub in perpetual pendulation.
The revered, Yorkshire-based journeyman celebrates 50 years on the road with this badger rough and satisfyingly bittersweet collection.
“After five decades of recording and touring, veteran British songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman has finally made what he calls his “American record,” and the aptly titled 50 now stands as his late career masterwork, a moving legacy statement by a legend. Backed by a collaborative group of friends and acolytes—Steve Gunn (who also produced), Nathan Bowles (Pelt), James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy), Jason Meagher (No-Neck Blues Band), Jimy SeiTang (Rhyton), and fellow UK songwriting luminary Bridget St John—Chapman tears into both bold renderings of new songs and radical reinterpretations of material from his revered catalog, the crack band adeptly scaling the same rarefied sonic heights of classic Harvest albums like Fully Qualified Survivor, guided by a true survivor’s instinct, wit, and wisdom.
The result is a sublime chiaroscuro self-portrait, more shadow than light, as an invigorated Chapman wrestles with weighty themes of travel, memory, mortality, and redemption, his world-weary whispers assuming the incandescent power of prophecy.”
NYC's foremost tape loop digger is back with a gorgeous album based around his highly-acclaimed show of the same name.
After a run of much-need archival issues based around Basinski’s seminal The Disintegration Loops series, the New Yorker finally delivers some fresh material for Temporary Residence in the shape of A Shadow Of Time. Formed of two extended compositions, the album has origins in the performances of the same name Basinski gave throughout 2016 and finds him exploring themes of fatality through the decaying medium of his trusty reel to reel players.
The title track finds Basinski again working with his unwieldy Voyetra 8 - a synth he last used on his 2001 LP Watermusic - on a composition dedicated to a friend who took their own life. A year in making before debuting at London’s Union Chapel in February last year, the 23-minute A Shadow Of Time recalls the best moments of The Disintegration Loops, as Basinski wrings out a captivating assemblage of plaintive drones and exquisite melodies.
Face down, For David Robert Jones is obviously a eulogy to the Thin White Duke and was originally commissioned for a performance at LA gallery Volume in the weeks following Bowie’s passing. Here Basinski cannily incorporates some ancient tapes loops chewed up by his “roommate’s cat in New York, this big fat motherfxcker,” with elements of Bowie’s work including his saxophone playing from Low closer Subterraneans.
Wake in Fright, the second full-length by the New York City duo Uniform, is a harrowing exploration of self-medication, painted in the colors of war.
"Following the Ghosthouse 12", whose A-side Pitchfork called “their most relentless track yet,” vocalist Michael Berdan and guitarist/producer Ben Greenberg return with a new batch of even more punishing songs that incorporate elements of industrial music, thrash metal, harsh noise, and power electronics.
“This record is primarily about psychic transition,” Berdan explained. “The distress that these songs attempt to illustrate comes from a place of stagnation and monotony. This is what happens when old ways of thinking become exhausted and old ways of coping prove ineffective. Something must change or it will break.”
The characters Berdan brings to life in his lyrics quit using but have ruinous relapses (“Habit”) or struggle as their resolve crumbles (“Bootlicker”); they use alcohol to ease their insomnia but and are helpless when they get sober and stop sleeping again (“Night of Fear”); they’re existential misanthropes trapped in dead-end lives (“The Lost”).
Greenberg sets these stories to menacing guitar and samples of literal sounds of war — the kick drums are bombs going off, the snares are gunshots. He drew the record’s immense sample library from action movies, Foley sound packs, field recordings, and more, and the result is devastating. The guitar is also as crucial as ever, and now as indebted Slayeras it is to Big Black. Greenberg conjures up massive riffs and shredding solos, pushing the band deeper into the metal world whose borderlands they’ve long stalked.
“We are surrounded by war and the whole world is burning and it doesn’t seem like there are any appropriate reactions or responses left anymore,” Greenberg elaborated. “This music is our response to and our reflection of the overwhelming violence, chaos, hate, and destruction that confronts us and everyone else in the world every day of our lives. When we play, I don’t feel powerless anymore. I hope this record can help others transcend their anger and frustration.”
It has taken 20 years for Mick Harvey to resume his project of translating Serge Gainsbourg’s songs into English and following the release of Volume 3 - ‘Delirium Tremens’ in June, Mick Harvey now delivers the final in the series, Volume 4 - ‘Intoxicated Women’.
‘Intoxicated Women’ contains many duets and songs written by Gainsbourg, mostly during the 1960s, in a period where he was focusing his songwriting on singers such as France Galle, Juliette Greco and most famously, Brigitte Bardot. Here Harvey has enlisted the talents of guest singers Channthy Kak (Cambodian Space Project), Australian singers Xanthe Waite (Terry, Primo), Sophia Brous, Lyndelle-Jayne Spruyt and Jess Ribeiro and the German chanteuse Andrea Schroeder plus a special appearance by Harvey’s son, Solomon.
A main fixture of the house scene for over ten years, Leopoldo Rosa a.k.a. Lerosa commits four stylishly diverse, dub-toned electro, acid and house plays to Bristol’s Idle Hands after 12”s served on Uzuri, D1 Recordings, Ostgut Ton among many others.
There are some real gems in this one, especially the wickedly hypnotic steppers’ house momentum of Subcouture and the Bristol-style boogie-dub-house hybrid of Line Bass, but also in Maryelen’s diffractive electro-acid swerve and the seductive beatdown shimmy of Scruffy.
First ever reissue of Marcello Giombini’s sought-after Computer Disco session, re-entering orbit 35 years since original release to the relief of Italo and cosmic fiends everywhere.
Before turning his hand to these simmering, perky beauties, Marcello Giombini was behind a long string of recordings since the ‘60s, mainly in the area of religious and folk music and spaghetti western soundtracks. However his interests in electronic music inevitably led to this deadly cute - some may say cheesy - batch of disco and synth-pop bubblers.
There’s eight tracks on offer, each as charming as the next, from melancholy to popcorn Italo melodies and some of the most exquisite electronic hooks this side of Kraftwerk, all scaled between buoyant chuggers to wiggly waltzers and strutting peacock themes.
Twenty two tracks on this 2LP set of Lloyd Parks finest work. Including a couple of productions featuring Dillinger and singer Wally Bucker.
An absolute must for roots fans for the bass playing alone. Lloyd Parks has been one of the pivotal session musicians for many years and is still highly in demand today. Time a go dread comes with sleevenotes by Diggory Kenrick and photos from LLoyds personal collection. A must have set!!
On his long-awaited 2nd LP for Houndstooth, Ross Tones a.k.a. Throwing Snow takes influence from the cyclical nature of life itself as the diving board into a dreamy album of elusive and emotive electronica themes and razor-sharp drum programming.
Divining complexity from simplicity, across Embers Throwing Snow uses a variety of production techniques - electronic, acoustic, aleatoric - to grow relatively elemental sounds into more intricate structures, which he neatly proposes as a model, or allegory, for the processes of pattern evolution and cycles of birth and decay fundamental to the laws of nature.
In effect he’s produced Throwing Snow’s defining opus; a lushly colourful batch steeped in eldritch whirligig melodies and curdling harmonics, grounded in earthly rugged rhythms, but with billions of years of starlight twinkling in its eyes.
Streamlined big room pumpers from Fjaak.
After introductions made five years ago on Baalsaal Records, Fjaak have refined their sound to the slickest big room templates here, aided by Rødhåd on Offline and teaming with their Monkeytown label bosses, Modeselektor, on Fjkslktr.
We’ve seen their name all over the place, and now finally hear what Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs sound like on record with Feed The Rats.
To be honest we were under some misguided assumption they’re a raucous, freeform punk band, when it’s actually just revved-up psych posturing. Less Hawkwind, more turkey boff.
Foxygen is the Big Bang of two combusting minds: Sam France and Jonathan Rado. ‘Hang’ is Foxygen’s third album for Jagjaguwar and their first proper studio record, recorded in Los Angeles at Electro Vox Studios.
‘Hang’ features Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, as well as Brian and Michael D’Addario of The Lemon Twigs. ‘Hang’ features a 40+ piece symphony orchestra on every track. Trey Pollard from Spacebomb arranged and conducted the orchestral parts, with additional arranging from Matthew E.White.
Listen to ‘Hang’ and take in each new melody that threads forward from the fingertips of one of this generation’s finest pianomen in Jonathan Rado; fall in line behind Sam France’s sprawling and reckless lyric.
Groove-driven psych-rock from the Montreal stronghold of Constellation Records.
“Psychedelic rock, krautrock, desert rock, punk rock, noise rock, afrobeat, experimental pop, post-rock, electronic; all are touchstones for Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche. Their multi-movement durational music arguably combines trance rock and audio collage above all - a diced and spliced approach to longform multi-movement groove music played by a stripped down quartet of two guitars, bass and drums, synched to pre-recorded electronics and musique concrete.
The band's unique restlessness and inventiveness seduces with shifts, turns and dovetails, consistently destabilizing its own inexorable musical logic in highly satisfying fashion. Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche deploys a panoply of buoyant musical ideas, subtly sumptuous sonic treatments, and joyous stylistic nods - while remaining fundamentally devoted to working the groove from a kaleidoscope of angles. Their sound always seems to be escaping overt homage or retro tendencies; neither freighted with reverence nor weightless with irreverence, the music of Avec le soleil routes and uproots itself along its own refreshingly untrodden path.
Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop that sounds like no other. Quite literally: the needle drops on “Trans-pop express” with Avec le soleil in full swing, playing a musical theme that had been submerged at the end of Zubberdust’s closing track, now developed in the full kaleidoscopic light of day. Unfurling over 10 minutes of sinuous bass, chiming guitars and wordless vocals, “Alizé et Margaret D…” opens with naive melody lines played on dry staccato guitars, peppered with ragged vocal calls, before transitioning through some unison riffing into one of the band’s signatures: clean, methodical, exuberantly layered grooves perhaps most reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads.
Nothing the band has recorded to date quite drives home the fascinating sonic identity they’ve forged from their overflowing toolbox of techniques and influences more than “Tourner incessamment dans l’éclatement euphorique…”, the 20-minute tour de force that comprises Side Two of Pas pire pop.This is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop the likes of which we can honestly say we’ve not heard before.”
Lord Of The Isles returns with Parabolas Of Neon for his mates at Firecracker.
Arriving in the wake of his debut album In Waves, Parabolas Of Neon spins six iridescent gems refracting elements of new age, Detroit and ‘90s Warp-styled electronics in tightly organised, classical structures.
Sunrise 89 sets the EP off at an angle between swanging NYC garage and thee lushest techno rave dimensions - breathlessly beautiful stuff - leading up to the panoramic peak of Beatha and the ancient-futurist vignette An Stuc.
Flipside he inverts that formula to cushion your head with the seductive ambience of Brtye, and a lightshow of ecstatic harmonics in Tocpe 28, saving the elegiac, slow-motion elegance of his title track for the perfect come-down.
The cherry-picking Second Circle subsidiary of Music From Memory canter up the wavey, Afro-latinate disco swerve of Don’t Get Me Wrong by Dazion, an alias of Dutch producer, Cris Kuhlen.
Lean, infectious rhythms are embedded in subtly plush synthetic atmospheres, arriving with the cowbell-driven 727 shuffle and humid pressure of Be A Man, given voice and extra percussion by Ebou Gaye Mada, whereas Rigola dips down to a muggy boogie bob, like it’s running on depleted batteries, before Dancing In The Future marries the John Foxx-like vox of Ljubisa Arsenovic to chiming pads and prickling machine drums, and lets them flex out on the instrumental.
With the resurgence of interest in folk music it's hardly surprising to see countless compilations showing up week after week, but compilations this moving and this important are rarely chanced upon. This disc puts together the lesser heard folk tracks, songs recorded by artists who weren't sponsored by major label money, artists who simply made music because they were desperate to make music, artists free from poisonous delusions of grandeur.
You will likely not have come across one of the fourteen ladies on this disc, but each one has a distinct voice and will have you aching for more - that's the power of this unique compilation. Like last week's sequel to 'Folk is not a Four Letter Word' and the recent Finders Keepers releases, this is music you already love, you just don't know it yet. From heavenly strumming of Linda Rich's 'Sunlight Shadow' to Jennie Pearl's tear inducing piano-led 'Maybe in Another Year' these are tracks which simply make you wonder why you haven't heard them yet.
The voices are so distinct and the songs so powerful that at some point you have to think how odd it is that the records haven't had more publicity, but there we have the power of the major label, and when these gorgeous lullabies were pieced together the independent music scene had little or no power at all. We have to thank Numero for finding and repackaging such essential tracks and treating them with the respect they deserve.
After spending the early ‘60s playing in groups with Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp, trumpeter Bill Dixon recorded his singular and visionary masterpiece in 1967.
"Intents And Purposes remains not only Dixon’s defining statement as a composer, but also one of the most luminous moments in the history of avant-garde jazz. Combining orchestral timbres with free jazz intensity, Dixon leads a ten-piece ensemble including such heavyweights as Byard Lancaster, Robin Kenyatta, Jimmy Garrison and Reggie Workman. Closing each side of the album, “Nightfall Pieces I” and “Nightfall Pieces II” are evocative duets featuring Dixon’s flugelhorn accompanied by flautist George Marge. With Intents And Purposes, Dixon creates a work focused as much on sculpting and defining space emphasizing moments of resonant stillness around which the compositions thrum and swell as on purity of expression. This first-time vinyl reissue is recommended for fans of Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton and Henry Cow."