The video installation Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) is one of the best known and loved works by Turner Prize-winning artist and Northern English emigre, Mark Leckey. It's a hugely influential piece, and the soundtrack itself has been sampled endlessly, most notably by Jamie XX on “All Under One Roof Raving”. It was the first release on The Death of Rave label back in 2012 and is now finally back in print, this time on clear vinyl.
A phantasmic and transcendent collage of meticulously sourced and rearranged footage and sound samples spanning three decades of British subculture - from Northern Soul thru '80s Casuals and pre-CJB Rave - it may be considered an uncanny premonition of the Hauntological zeitgeist which has manifested in virulent sections of UK electronic dance and pop culture since the early '00s.
This record severs the sonic aspect from the moving image, offering a new perspective on what rave culture maven and esteemed author Simon Reynolds calls "a remarkable piece of sound art in its own right." Detached from its visual indicators, Leckey's amorphous, acephalic cues are reframed as an ethereal, Burroughsian mesh of VHS idents, terrace chants, fragmented field recordings and atrophied samples cut with his own half-heard drunken mumbles.
At once recalling and predating the eldritch esthetics of Burial or The Caretaker; it's an elegiac lament for an almost forgotten spirit; an abstracted obituary to the rituals, passions and utopian ideals of pre-internet, working class nightlife fantasias, now freeze-framed forever, suspended in vinyl.
It's backed with an edit of another soundtrack to a Mark Leckey video installation: 'GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction' (2010). In stark contrast, the original video features a black Samsung Bottom Freezer Refrigerator stood in front of a green screen infinity cyc, recounting its contents, thoughts and actions as narrated by the artist in a radically transformed cadence. Taken as a wry comment on cybernetics and the ambient ecology of household appliances which permeate our daily lives, it's an unsettling yet compelling piece of sound design whose subtly affective dynamics reflect the underlying dystopic rhetoric with visceral and evocative precision. The piece has since been used in a collaboration with Florian Hecker for the Push and Pull exhibition at Tate Modern in 2011.
Blinding, deliriously trippy reggaeton bumpers & humid spirituals wrapped around pitched autotune vox about unrequited love and the Haitian revolution. A properly forward, balmy classic, highly recommended if yr into anything from Rosalía to DJ Python to North African arabic devotionals and DJ Clara!
This debut album from LA-based Dominican Kelman Duran was picked up Simone Trabucchi’s fantastic Hundebiss label - home to Lil Ugly Mane, Francesco Cavaliere and Jaws, among other notable outliers. Revolving around themes as diverse as unrequited love and the Haitian revolution, delivered in pitched-up and heavily reverbed autotuned vocals, the set expresses a sort of patriotism from an outsider perspective - both from the position of a Black guy in the Dominican Republic, and as a Dominican in the “sanctuary” city of LA during the Trump era.
That aspect follows thru in the “spiritual” tone of the album, with autotune and acres of reverb used to heighten the effect in a way recalling the use of autotune in North African arabic devotionals and street music and balancing out his rhythms’ putative prurience. In other words it’s a killer set, emotive and heavily rugged where it matters, with fierce club gear such as the blown-out CULO, DEMBOW SUENA, the militant drill of Mobb Deep and the straight-sluggin’ Matarnos jostling shoulders and hips with Kamixlo or Florentino-like sweeties like 1984, PRIMERO, ULTIMO, the hymnal 6 De La Mañana and the tender burn of La Pared.
Ellen Arkbro uses a rare renaissance organ to emulate a sort of slow, gauzy blues music in the gently compelling organ and brass of her debut album. Arguably one of the most striking, drone-related records of recent years, ‘For Organ and Brass’ should be unmissable to anyone following Ellen or her peers and collaborators, Caterina Barbieri and Kali Malone, or indeed the exalted tones of her Just Intonation tutor, La Monte Young .
Unfolding in two meditative, durational parts written for 17th century organ, horn, trombone and microtonal tuba, Ellen’s debut side puts her studies at the Royal College of Music in Sweden to enchanting use in the titular piece’s 20 minutes of glacial movement, and to beautifully smudged, gauzy and intimate appeal recalling Arthur Russell’s ‘Tower Of Meaning’ in the shorter span of ‘Three’.
They were both recorded in St Stephanskirche in Tangermünde, Germany, which was specially sought out by Ellen for its Sherer-Orgel, a rare 1624 model with a specific kind of historical tuning known as meantone temperament, as she explains; “Hidden within the harmonic framework of the Renaissance organ are intervals and chords that bare a close resemblance to those found in the modalities of traditional blues music…The work can be thought of as a very slow and reduced blues music.”
While the religious links between 17th C Germany church music and early blues are historically implied, it’s maybe trickier to imagine their aesthetic links until you’ve heard ‘For Organ and Brass’. And while they may not be immediate, there’s something of a lingering, spectral link between the two, as though she’s transmuted the blues into slowly intoxicating airs, firstly with the funereal pace and cadence of her title part, and then in a way that perhaps draws links from blues thru country, to Arthur Russell’s earliest chamber-like arrangements found on ‘Tower of Meaning’ and ‘Instrumentals, 1974 - Vol. 2’.
Meditative, brilliant work.
A study in friction and sublimity, transitioning from gritty airborne textures to droning, somnolent songcraft...
“Two Words is the debut release from the duo of Canadian sound artist crys cole and Australian songwriter Francis Plagne. Building on a series of experimental live performances in which the pair toyed with possible common languages for their seemingly unrelated approaches to music, the LP's two sides present a single piece that brings together abstract texture and slow-motion song in a sonic space where genre cedes to the logic of dreams. The piece begins with a long, nearly static sequence built primarily from rubbed surfaces, using movement in the stereo field and changing mic placements to create a unified but unstable sonic environment that mimics wind, water, and breath, opening an impossible space between nature and artifice. This artificial outdoors ultimately makes room for Plagne's electric organ, which sounds a series of melancholic chords to accompany a wandering Wyatt-esque keyboard line as cole's intimate contact mic textures sizzle and pop in the foreground. From here the piece makes a surprise detour into song, as the majority of the second side finds Plagne intoning a series of obtuse two-word phrases (from a text by Berlin-based poet Marty Hiatt) to an austere organ accompaniment.
Working closely with engineer and producer Joe Talia, cole and Plagne extend the studio-as-an-instrument tradition of Teo Macero and This Heat, introducing subtle yet unexpected production shifts that lead the listener from the initial austerity of the organ and voice to an oneiric space of asynchronized vocal doubles, creaking textures, and distant whistling, ultimately arriving at something like an imagined meeting of Organum and Arthur Russell. Packaged in a suitably mysterious sleeve featuring a lush work by Australian painter Anne Wallace on the front and text by Hiatt on the back, Two Words is both comforting and strange, a disorienting blend of seemingly discrepant elements.”
Renowned Japanese vocalist Phew meets fellow sonic alchemists Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi on ‘Patience Soup’, pushing her envelope even further than last year’s admirably uncompromising hook-up with The Raincoats’ Ana Da Silva.
“Patience Soup presents the entirety of a live performance from the trio of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, and Japanese underground legend Phew that took place at the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center on November 4th, 2015.
Known to many listeners outside Japan primarily for her early collaborations with members of Can, Phew has been undergoing something of a creative renaissance in the last few years, prolifically recording and releasing a body of work that strips away the band arrangements present on most of her past releases to focus solely on her raw DIY electronics and possessed vocal stylings. Forming a perfect companion to 2017’s well-received Voice Hardcore, a series of pieces composed of only her processed voice that saw Phew push her work into the most abstract terrain yet, Patience Soup finds the trio inhabiting an uneasy landscape of moans, howls, and smeared electronic sonorities.
Presented in atmosphere-enhancing room fidelity, the set begins in crunching textural abstraction and Phew’s vocal asides, set against a backdrop of Ambarchi’s shimmering Leslie-cabinet guitar tones and O’Rourke’s synthetic slivers. A testament to the risk-taking prowess of these three master improvisers, the performance moves organically from ecstatic crescendos powered by Phew’s processed wails to moments of near-silence in which a translucent veil of lingering electronic tones is gently punctuated by O’Rourke’s chiming piano chords. Constantly shifting, both harmonically and dynamically, Patience Soup is suffused throughout with a haunted energy and shows these three established figures continuing to venture out into uncharted territory.”
'Signals Bulletin' is the new album from Jan Jelinek, made in collaboration with Japanese organist Asuna aka Naoyuki Arashi. It’s vintage Jelinek; immersive scapes fizzing with colour, anchored by determined organ drones, primed for achieving bliissful, contemplative equilibrium.
"Watching the Japanese sound artist Asuna playing the organ, some people might be surprised. Asuna is no virtuoso flying over the keyboard in a rage. Instead, with the calm gestures of an office worker, he cuts strips of adhesive tape to the correct length before sticking them onto the keys of his instrument. In this way, large clusters of keys are held down, creating a dense and sustained range of frequencies, while the sound artist continually prepares further sets of keys or removes tape again. I have rarely seen a more convincing performance concept, with such a power to fascinate.
I first met Asuna when we both gave a concert at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, his home city. He performed the organ drones as described above and I immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with him. Six years and five meetings later, we completed 'Signals Bulletin'. The album includes both joint improvisations and compositions, recorded in Berlin, Kanazawa and Kyoto.
Whether using prepared organ, Casio keyboards or mechanical plastic toys, Asuna creates rich textures of sound that barely change over long stretches of time. It is a music without breaks. For a while, I was unsure how my loops made using modular synthesizers and live sampling fitted here – until I realized the role I had to take in this duet: I would provide the rhythmically pulsating foundation over which his dense continuums could unfold.
The result is harmonically drifting superclusters that put us into a meditation-like state. It can perhaps be compared to Automatic Writing – a mode of creative expression floating somewhere between concentration and distraction. Both the structure of our pieces and our approach to our instruments allow a similar “absence”: we let the machines play and repeat themselves – while we, in a mild form of trance, adopt the role of observers, intervening only occasionally.
It is no coincidence that Asuna owns a collection of Doodle Art – drawings jotted down during conversations or while talking on the phone. It is said that works made like this point to the unconscious and reveal pet motifs – because a doodler always inadvertently returns to his or her favourite themes. The artwork for Signals Bulletin features pictures from the collection, in this case sheets of paper from the pads provided in stationery shops to test out pens. The special quality of such doodles is that the jumble of drawings is the work of a collective whose individual members do not know each other. Layer by layer is added, by someone different each time – until it becomes a dense cluster of lines and symbols ..."
Jan Jelinek, Berlin 2018
John Duncan and Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio) explore the greyest areas of psychoacoustic and psychosexual drone noise back in 1991, newly remastered for this reissue on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
“Black Truffle is thrilled to announce the first reissue of legendary performance and sound artist John Duncan's forgotten gem Klaar, originally released by Extreme in 1991 and partly created in collaboration with Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio). Duncan is perhaps most well known for his notorious early performances pieces, which explored violence, self-denial, and the establishment of extreme psychological and physical states in both artist and audience. Alongside these transgressive experiments, Duncan began to create audio works primarily using short wave radio. Where some of Duncan's earlier recordings are composed of magnificently sculpted but abrasive walls of noise, Klaar, recorded while Duncan was living in Amsterdam, occupies a more meditative territory.
Opening with 'Delta', which layers long tones seemingly sourced from slowed down voices over a distant, watery field recording, the remainder of the first side is occupied with the epic title piece, which arranges shortwave radio abstraction, vocal experiments, and field recordings (street sounds, fireworks, monastic chants) into an episodic cinema for the ear. The second side is dominated by the long, brooding 'The Immense Room', where layers of shortwave interference and field recordings are gradually built up into a pulsing, wavering bed of sound infused with a subtly disturbing sense of psychological unrest. This rises to the surface near the end of the piece as sexual moans and ominous rumbles crisscross the stereo image before being abruptly brought to a halt.
A singular work of electroacoustic composition, Klaar is both compositionally sophisticated and infused with a sense of mystery and a vital reality often lacking in more academic experimental music; it sits proudly alongside contemporaneous recordings by Duncan's friends and collaborators Jim O'Rourke and Christoph Heemann and is a must for anyone interested in their work.
- Francis Plagne”
"The project began as an experiment. Haley switched digital audio workstations, rebuilt his palette of sounds, and tasked himself with simply trying it out. The exercise freed him of expectations and permitted a process that echoed the tones of more immediate external environments. A gravity had seeped in; resulting material shifts between bleakness and sublime suspense, awe at the expanse of existing, in looking back and letting go. “It’s a sort of sad smile and a wave goodbye but at the same time hello, a 'welcome to your life’ moment,” Haley says. Take the storm pattern sequence from “Gaussian” to “Ultraﬁche of You”: a queasy, contemplative vignette rests on a single soft-synth cloud before the latter’s percussion ripples across the sky. With trademark stutters and swells, the composition conjures the sensation of searching in the afterglow. “It’s a love song, and I don’t write many of those.”
That duality — melancholy + optimism, then + now — permeates this widescreen collection. “Existence Schematic” takes ﬂight at night, “looking down at the landscape,” explains Haley, “seeing the lights in a schematic sort of way, wondering who or what is looking back up at me wondering the same things I am, the impact of a single existence, the end, the beginning, where it’s gone and going.” These are observations from this existential Persuasion System, and Haley hopes the music yields more, for others, that listeners may search for their own tension and release."
A shocking debut of knife-edge, hypermodern, dance music dramaturgy by Athens-based Xyn Cabal on The Death Of Rave, highly recommended if yr into Arca, TCF, Æ, AFX, Croww, Jani Christou, Tzusing...
Years in the works, the 5-track ‘Perfect Oracle’ EP finds Xyn Cabal poetically turning the pressures of life in Athens and the modern world into diamond-cut but deliquescent future club music. It’s a cuttingly critical exploration of dance music dramaturgy, crystallising fluid tessellations of dembow, gqom, weightless grime and kuduro rhythms with emotive, bittersweet melodic arrangements influenced by a timeless and deeply rooted conception of the syncretic, fractious culture and politics that plays out in his everyday life in between his studies of mathematical logic and the riots which occur on exactly the same city streets most weeks since the 2008 financial crash.
On the A-side his 9 minute blinder ‘Ǝ’ traverses a post-apocalyptic playground of brittle but shatterproof dembow drums, minor key synths and black hole trance breakdowns, before ‘Nowei’ unfurls a grimy cinematic elegy for the dispossessed. On the B-side, his permutations of Arabic vocals and subbass loops synch with upended drums in the EP’s titular highlight, while ‘Veil Ordnance’ pushes his rhythm programming to breathtaking, spiralling im/possibilities begging to be interpreted by contemporary dance companies, and ‘MSF Venom’ sounds the riot with slow motion Molotov drops turned into a noisy reggaeton beast.
The results resonate with music from TCF and Æ thru to Total Freedom, Arca and Croww, but crucially and uniquely, Xyn Cabal’s music strives to consolidate a much broader set of reference points, navigating mathematically psychedelic, emotive, and remarkably meta routes between hyperlocal, rhizomatic, and cosmic nodes of the world’s dancefloor.
Watch the video for Perfect Oracle here.
UIQ follows up the Zuli and Nkisi albums with a debut 10” of industro-dancehall pressure from London’s HXE (fka HEX), where mechanically reclaimed samples meet pum-pummelling bass and screeching vocaloids, to deadly effect.
Lee Gamble signs up HXE (fka HEX) for a tightly coiled, hard-edged quartet of deco-rave recces in the space between sound designer techno, mutant Latinx styles, and polluted megatropolis vapour noise. Run out 3 years since the London-based duo’s debut with Liberation Technologies, the ‘INDS’ EP is loosely structured around the practice and aesthetics of modern, large scale industry. Its 4 tracks are brutalist in resolve and construction, but each derive a sense of (perhaps perverse) pleasure and sensuality from the warped virtual/physical tension and crunching industrial intensity of their sounds.
‘Rozay’ opens the A-side with an alarming sort of Industrial dancehall smackdown, all panic-station strings and pummelling, off-kilter bass with unyielding effect, while the reticulated writhe of ‘Worm’ synchs breathless synthetic gasps with mechanically reclaimed rhythm with ‘floor-flailing force, and ’Spill’ alternately sustains and vents the tension with lurching, gnashing dembow dynamics.
A fierce new addition to UIQ’s gang of dancefloor mutants.
At the behest of NYC producer and John Zorn collaborator Marc Urselli, some of the world’s finest avant musicians, and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, are paired together for the first time, with results that probe the gooch between free jazz and avant rock
“New York based producer Marc Urselli had the idea to bring people together who had never met before and let that meeting of minds create beautiful soundscapes. Film director and musician Jim Jarmusch, Sonic Youth co-founder and guitarist Lee Ranaldo shared space with versatile drummer Balázs Pándi for a night session at Urselli's EastSide Sound studio in downtown NY.
These are the unfiltered results. Absorbing instrumental patterns of cinematic sounds and improvised rhythms. No overdubs, no editing. All was recorded live and analog, produced and mixed by Marc Urselli. The front/back coverfotos were taken by photographer William Semeraro in Norway. That is why Marc Urselli gave all the songs titles inspired by Norwegian mythology.”
Siskiyou returns from a four-year hiatus with Not Somewhere, an album that finds band leader Colin Huebert (ex-Great Lake Swimmers) essentially in solo artist mode, writing and self-recording this new collection of tunes on his own, playing all the guitar, bass, keyboard and drum parts himself.
"Not Somewhere harkens back to Siskiyou’s magical and understated 2010 self-titled debut in this and other ways: the album’s production rekindles a homespun intimacy, where plain-spoken lyrics grapple with portraits of quiet quotidian despair, fragile existential horizon lines separating perseverance and defeatism, honest and unremarkable lives trapped in cultures of false consciousness, impossible desire, self-analysis and self-medication.
Following Siskiyou’s Polaris-nominated third full-length Nervous released in early 2015, Huebert was commissioned by New York-based artist/designer Stefan Sagmeister (of Sagmeister & Walsh) to write the theme song for The Happy Film, a feature-length movie accompaniment to “The Happy Show” installation project that had toured galleries in the mid-2010s – the art show and film themselves being ruminations on happiness that strongly echo Huebert’s own tone and sensibility. Sagmeister wanted the direct, unadorned aesthetic of early Siskiyou for the film music, leading Huebert to often write and record songs in the same day, in diaristic sketchbook form, without a thought towards the more ornate structures and developments of material he had just finished up with Nervous. This commission yielded the album’s title and the opening track “Stop Trying”(the eventual theme song for the movie) which includes a short looped clip of film dialogue repeating the line “trying is the problem; you’re trying to get somewhere as if you’re not somewhere”.
Huebert ended up with a dozen songs written under this influence, but shelved the recordings while real life took over: driven from Vancouver by skyrocketing rents and zombie capital that was increasingly leaving the city a shell of its former self, he relocated to Toronto with his young family. Returning to the material once resettled, Huebert finished up the record with contributions from various guest musicians on strings and horns (including cellist and labelmate Rebecca Foon from Saltland/Esmerine, and Destroyer regulars Joseph Shabason and JP Carter on horns and woodwinds). The result is a beautifully restrained and unvarnished song cycle of tunes anchored by acoustic guitar and brushed drumming, detailed with delicate textures, spartan melodic overdubs, and Huebert’s distinctively forthright, whisperingly confidential vocal delivery. From the austere Velvets-chug of “What Ifs” to the Elephant 6-inspired looseness of “Her Aim Is Tall” and “Stop Trying (jubilant reprise)” and the sparkling hush of atmospheric twilight folk-inflected pieces like “Temporary Weakness” and “Silhouette”, Not Somewhere is delicate and discreet yet wonderfully assured – a profoundly humble, wistfully observational and meditatively personal return for Huebert’s Siskiyou project.”
Burial’s sophomore LP, originally issued in 2007 only a year after his pivotal debut, is another masterpiece of urban UK composition and innovative imagineering whose sense of melancholic space, pop-wise dexterity and dancefloor yearn has rarely been explored or surpassed since its release.
Where its predecessor was starkly paranoid, mostly instrumental, Untrue was gilded with gorgeous, cut-up R&B and UKG vox, and interspersed with segments of nocturnal reverie that played out like the OST for a yung UK romance that replaced posh, gurning actors with real life road characters and focussed on the spaces between - between the club and home; between night and day; masculine and feminine; waking life and dream life; Maccy D’s and alley doorways; being high AF and coming down.
It was and still is Burial’s love note to UKG and R&G, and by turns gave context and validated those genres for a lot of listeners who arguably wouldn’t have touched that sound, or at least dismissed it as pop pap or with some snide, racist undertone before Burial’s revivalist instincts hybridised it with trip hop and snarling D&B memes.
More positively, however, depending on which way you look at it, this album also opened the endorphin floodgates for a whole raft of f****e garage producers to get in touch with their feminine side, especially in contrast to prevailing, laddish dubstep rave trends, and, since that sound has faded away, it’s not hard to hear this album’s influence in the vocal processing of Mssingno, in the uneven, off-kilter swing and parry of Zomby, the patch-worked constructions of Jamie xx or Evian Christ, or in Deadboy and Murlo’s more boundary-pushing creations.
As with any album that gets a lot of attention beyond its putative scene, Untrue was an unintended red rag to the cynics and rockists - and even garage purists - but for almost anyone who recognises and appreciates that more modest, aching sort of electronic, UK street rave soul, it remains a really transcendent album that still grips like few others.
Istanbul’s international DJ, Baris K meets multi-instrumentalist Cem Yildiz for a wholly immersive, 45 minute trip that seamlessly blends Anatolian psych rock and cosmic disco
Unfurling 2 uninterrupted sides of ribboning guitar lines and subtly amorphous, acidic bass, ‘Demedim Mi’ is perhaps best considered a slower, lysergic answer to Villalobos’ ‘Fizheur Zieheuer’ played by a duelling Derdiyoklar İkilisi and Manuel Göttsching just after the hash kicks in. Put it on, forget what you were doing, lie down and let it take you on a proper magic carpet ride.
Luke Younger yields his most engrossing work as Helm with the sorely romantic dynamics of ‘Chemical Flowers’, his follow-up to 2015’s ‘Olympic Mess’. Bolstered by J.G. Thirlwell’s rich string arrangements, it’s a hugely ambitious work that extends from whirling, panoramic vistas to insular, pulsing dynamics, somewhere between Earth, Oren Ambarchi, Keiji Haino and Actress.
Recorded in long, sustained sessions in the Essex countryside, giving him breathing room from the choke of London, ‘Chemical Flowers’ feels more elusive and ambitious than anything we’ve heard from Helm recordings in the past. While typically concerned with the nature and sound ecology of urban life, the Helm sound now feels more edgeland, drawing on a sense of marshy menace and concrete-meets-country dread limned so evocatively in classic J.G. Ballard novels, and surely recognisable by anyone in the UK beyond off-grid folk in Pembrokeshire or the Scottish highlands, perhaps.
Given the luxury of space and time, Younger detectably reflects on past experience touring and playing live, as ambiguous nods to the strings and tones used in his Egyptian ‘Rawabet’ recordings subtly colour and marble the eight tracks, thanks to string parts arranged by J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus/Manorexia/Xordox, The The), plus saxophone from Karl D’Silva and Lucinda Chua’s cello. These acoustic touches lend human sweat and grease to proceedings which Younger uses sparingly but crucially in his electronically sculpted stagings.
In effect, Helm pulls something hallucinatory from the mundane and prosaic, akin to viewing other dimensions refracted and projected into the dark from within a brightly lit bus or train carriage during a long commute, when the mind slips into the realm between reality and waking dreams. As we pass under the flight paths and neon, microtonal ephemera of ‘Capital Crisis (New City Loop)’ this nocturnal mindset plays out in the most absorbing ways, slipping from Yves Tumor or David Axelrod-like symphonic soul strokes and trip hop drums in ‘I Knew You Would Respond’ then the ambient noise qwheeze of ‘Body Rushes’, while ‘Lizard In Fear’ captivates with its hyperrealist electroacoustic evocation of a drowned Thames estuary, and the title and gnawing tone of ‘Toxic Racecourse’ could be an allegory for London itself.
But Younger makes sure to keep that view of London ambiguous, at arms length, by returning to hypnotic rhythms like the doomy pulse of ‘You Are The Database’ that glumly precedes ‘Chemical Flowers’, a majestic widescreen synth piece that poignantly manifests the allure and promise of the city as much as its isolating qualities.
slowthai speaks up for an articulate, proud, British working class youth in his cracking debut album, featuring production by Kwes Darko and guest bars by Skepta
Hailing from Northampton in England’s rolling Midlands, slowthai raps about his place in society as a young, mixed race man who grew up raised by his mother during Tory-imposed austerity. While raging vitriol would be totally warranted for his background, and is a key part of his lyrics (usually aimed at the heads of Teresa May and Brexiters) slowthai handles his subject matter with a head that’s wiser than his years might suggest, possessing a crucial ability to look beyond himself and how he relates to his generation and community.
To date most of slawthai’s singles and an EP were capably self-produced on FL Studio, but for ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ Kwes Darko handles much of the production and mixing, with slowthai supplying only a couple of co-production credits alongside JD Reid and Slaves. Left to the mic, he clearly resembles a yung Dizzee Rascal, and even acknowledges this fact in the album’s titular opener, but make no mistake he’s not a clone; the album proceeds to roundly beat Sleaford Mods at their own game in the punkish trample of ‘Doorman’, while ‘Grow Up’ and ‘Inglorious’ exert his own spin on drill, the latter starring Skepta, and ‘Northampton’s Child’ shuts it down with a a type of minor key lament about never-ending 12 hour shifts, drug-addicted parents and punching you ’til his hands turn blue, that you won’t hear from any other MC this year.
West Coast G-funk specialist Dam-Funk beams a 2nd volume of ‘STFU’ for the sunny side
Nice and greasy vibes from top to tail, with neon-glittering diamonds awaiting your glyde in the heat haze of ‘Compos Mentis’, the rude late night squeeze of ‘Hood Biz’, and an unmissable uptempo swerve, ‘Deeper’ pretty much compatible with deep house and electro-soul flexes.
Batu hauls ass on a wriggly, bassy electroid house flex with ‘False Reeds for his Timedance institute
Going more low key and tucked than his previous string of bangers, he comes over all coy with the simmering, cut-up synth voices and eazy swang of ‘False Reeds’, and even slower, going for Parris’ slow-don crown with the woozy trills and trickling melodies of ‘Statin (Dub)’, all loosening your limbs for the deliquescent cyberdub dynamics of ‘Shiritani’.
Deep and rugged bruk-funk and acid parries from Human Resources, minting the Body Action Music label
The rusted breakbeat chops of ‘Desilu [U Edit]’ twyst like a frazzled Dolo Percussion workout on the top, nagged with sloshing, jazzy carillon licks but mostly all about the drums and nothing but.
Underneath, ‘Safe It Fits On Your Plate’ swerves into darker, undulating acid terrain in a style recalling Altered Natives at his nastiest with torrents of tarry acid and drum kit-down-a-staircase breaks.
On ‘No Keys’, Dommengang channel the wailing, psych rock abandon of their previous work into a lean, darkedged record coloured by loss. Guitarist Dan ‘Sig’ Wilson, bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem have grown closer even as they live further apart. Shared personal loss and experience playing and touring has made time together both an escape and a release.
"‘No Keys’ was recorded with guitarist and engineer Tim Green (Joanna Newsom, Howlin’ Rain, Sleepy Sun, Fresh and Onlys, Golden Void) a close friend of the band. Dommengang captures their spontaneous energy by recording live with minimal overdubs. Skittering reverb lends Sig’s guitar solos a cosmic quality, while rippling distortion add depth and weight to Markham and Bulgasem’s hypnotic grooves.
Guest vocals from Camilla Saufly-Mitchell of Golden Void on ‘Jerusalem Cricket’ add a perfect counterpoint to Markham’s cries of “No Keys”, while Adam Parks added buzzing organ overtones to album closer ‘Happy Death (Her Blues II)’. ‘No Keys’ finds rock’s primeval power alive and well and answers its call. It is a soundtrack to a personal journey or to your next road trip. It speaks to the explorer, and to the abandon of those willing to go all in. It is for the rocker giving it all, living out of a van, without a key to a permanent home."
Lightly spread Balearic smarm and pastel-shaded ambience recorded in Perth, Australia, 2015
“Spring might not yet have sprung, but the Growing Bin is always in bloom. After brightening our days with the opiate beauty of Barthel, Bohm and Bauer and the dusky grafts of Moon B last year, Basso’s well tended imprint begins 2016 with an antipodean gem. The green fingered, or thumbed, among you might recognise A.R.T. Wilson from his time in the Growing Bin a while back, when he soothed our cares with the drifting dreamscape of ‘Overworld’. Now the sometime club menace returns to Hamburg’s finest label in the company of numerical pioneer Eleventeen Eston AKA John Tanner for another journey into the heart of the horizontal.
Setting up camp where the Swan River meets the Indian Ocean, Wilson and Tanner tuned into nature, translating the warm sun, sea air and blue sky into a postcard from paradise. Lithe clarinet dances around tranquil piano, relaxed guitar decorates velvet synth textures and unhurried percussion makes an occasional appearance, as if to remind us that time’s still passing. Employing an innovative alfresco recording technique, Andy and John invited members of the local animal community to join their jam sessions, saving a Blue Swimmer Crab from the flames of the barbecue and encouraging him to claw the ivories.
Drop the needle and drift away on the distant ocean of “Pilot”, freefall into the soothing ambience of ‘Further Than Your Headlights’, and let “Sun Room” guide you gently back to terra firma. The dream team of Australian musicians (not to mention a very talented crustacean), come together on one vinyl – and it’s better than you could possibly imagine.”
You’ve definitely seen their name on a poster over the years if you live in the UK, and now, if the mood takes one, Hey Colossus can be heard on vinyl for Luke Younger aka Helm’s Alter label
“Coming out of London and the South West of England, Hey Colossus are one of Europe's great live bands. Since 2003 the 6-piece has been driving around the continent with their “pirate ship” backline of broken amps and triple-guitar drang, elevating audiences in every type of venue imaginable; a doctor’s waiting room in Salford, an industrial unit in Liege and a vast field next to a river in Portugal. Wherever they may roam.
Four Bibles is their twelfth studio album and the first to be released by London label ALTER, whose sole proprietor (the electronic producer Helm) encountered the group at their first gig in 2003. Recorded by Ben Turner at Space Wolf Studios in Somerset, it's their most direct album yet and follows a well-documented trajectory of evolution that began (in the truest sense) with 2011’s RRR for Riot Season and continued across three albums for Rocket Recordings. Lead vocalist Paul Sykes sounds more in focus than before, dialling down the effects and using reverb / delay to carry his lyrics rather than smother. The band has also fine-tuned to leave some room for extra depth. Piano, electronics and violin (by Daniel O'Sullivan of This is not This Heat / Grumbling Fur) all find a way in amongst a familiar mesh of interlacing guitars, wrapped round a taut rhythm section. Like every other Hey Colossus record before, the line-up has altered and the sounds reflect this.
From the weight of “Memory Gore”, to the subtlety and swag of “It's a Low”, via the sonic extremes of “Palm Hex/Arndale Chins” this is exactly as the band are live; raging & rail-roading but somehow in control. Grooves for those who want to dance or for those who want to hug a wall and nod...bleak dystopian imagery submerged in relentless rhythms and low-end rattle. The songs breath life and soul - Hey Colossus have never sounded fresher or more on point.”
First issue of a funky Afro-disco and reggae classic from Nigeria, 1979, plucked out by Australia’s Isle of Jura Soundsystem. That stepping title track is a peach!
"Isle Of Jura digs deep going back 40 years for the reissue of Harry's 1979 album which is something of an undiscovered gem that touches upon Disco, Funk, Boogie, Soul and Dub. Harry passed away in 2012 and we’ve worked closely with his son on the reissue.
Harry Mosco is best known as the founder of legendary 1970s Nigerian Afro-Funk band The Funkees. Originating as an Army band after the Nigerian Civil War they lead the wave of upbeat music produced by young artists in Nigeria in response to the darkness of the recently concluded civil conflict. Following a notable hit single ‘Akula Owu Onyeara’ the band split in 1977 and Harry pursued a solo career.
‘Peace & Harmony’ was Harry’s third LP continuing the rich vein of form found in previous albums ‘Country Boy’ and ‘Funkees’ (For You Specially). He was a visionary who wrote, arranged and produced each song on the LP assisted by Mark Lusari on engineering duties (P.I.L, Jah Wobble & Prince I), whose Reggae and Dub influence can be felt on title track ‘Peace & Harmony’ and ‘Peaceful Dub’. The LP contains two certified floorfillers of Studio 54 era Disco Funk in the shape of ‘Sexy Dancer’ & ‘Step On’ and two slow jams, the soulful ballad ‘She’s Gone’ and horn lead album closer ‘Do It Together’. Mr Funkees was printed on the cover to help record buyers make the connection between Mosco and his former band"
The first release on Chained Library, an icily minimal and pointed suite of industrial ambient electronics recalling the styles of Werkbund, Litüüs, The Radiophonic Workshop
Recorded 2012-2013 and first issued on tape in 2014, [..(].’s ‘Unnamed’ session feels only half-human in the best way, as simple gestures appear to become automated and spiral out into slinky permutations of their minimalist parameters, with only the slightest nudges giving variation to their hypnotic shapes. That applies to much of the tape, form the singed gauze of ‘A1’ thru the pulsing arps of ‘A2’ and the criss-crossing liens of ‘A5’, thru the Delia Derbyshire-like tones of ‘B1’, but if you’re still paying attention tot he end you’ll be rewarded with the fuller phrasing of ‘B5’. Enigmatic is the word.
Karen Marks’ remarkable ‘Cold Café’ gem with its proto-Sleng Teng bassline heads up this compilation of lesser known archival cuts by the Aussie post-punk singer
Appearing on both Efficient Space’s ‘Sky Girl’ comp in 2016, and Minimal Wave’s ‘The Bedroom Tapes’ set, Efficient Space now package the stunning oddity ‘Cold Café’ with its original, country folk-styled B-side, ‘Won’t Wear It For Long’, plus the smeared brass and tremulous vocals of ‘You Bring These’ off the ‘Terra Australis’  compilation, and rawer, previously unreleased demo of ‘Cold Café’ and the scuzzy, Vazz-like pop of ‘Problem Page’.
Seriously, ‘Cold Café’ is right up there with Berntholer’s ‘My Suitor’ or Dome’s ‘Cruel When Complete’ in terms of addictive, ghostly early ‘80s “pop” songs
First reissue of a rare, heat-seeking Highlife classic from Ghana, 1982, primed to liven up any party, BBQ, or any under-the-weather types. OG copies trade for a stack, you do the maths!
“Hard-to-obtain, vintage highlife from three true giants of the sound; Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas & Uhuru Yenzu. Originally released in 1982.
In 'Hitsville Re-Visited', the mighty trio add a dose of uptempo funk into traditional highlife grooves.
The legendary Ebo Taylor was involved in many funk and highlife records to emerge from Ghana in the 70's and 80's. He worked with bands such as Apagya Show Band, C.K. Mann as well as Pat Thomas, on this, and several other records.
Taylor recorded another album with Uhuru Yenzu in 1980 – 'Conflict' – which is also available on Mr Bongo.
Pat Thomas career began in 1969 with the ‘Broadway Dance Band’, leaving a year later to join the ‘Uhuru Dance Band’. He then played with Ebo Taylor’s ‘Blue Monks’ and finally formed the ‘Sweet Beans’ in 1973 where he really made his name.
Thomas and Taylor's careers span more than 50 years now and they both still tour to play around the world.”
NYC-based Ravi Binning’s cult “post-noise” project Thought Broadcast transmits its first significant release in 4 years with the magnetic pull and static torpor of ‘Abduction’
With his eponymous 2012 debut with Olde English Spelling Bee still fondly remembered like a psychedelic fever dream you can’t get over, Thought Broadcast has intermittently projected everywhere from BEB’s Krokodilo Tapes to Editions Mego and his Hierodule Editions label over the years, but there’s been nowt since 2016.
‘Abduction’ makes up for lost time with half an hour of severely worn-down mechanical rhythms and stone-rubbed ambient texture that sounds a bit like Alberich or Black Mecha recorded from across the street during a heavy fog. It’s misanthropically unsociable and ultimate loner bedsit gear, revelling in negative ecstasy in a way that dilettantes to this sound often miss.
Fresh from his highlight of Svbkvlt’s ‘Cache 01’ comp, Gooooose drops a killer flux of IDM/jungle/New beats in their 2nd album proper, backed with remixes by Sote, Sam Kerridge, and Nahash
Brilliantly following his nose along ribboning routes of rhythmic investigation, Gooooose plays on a sweet spot between the sort of frenetic late ‘90s/early ‘00s breaksploitation of V. Snares, AFX of Hrvatski, and the kind of clipped, hypermodern computer music you’d expect to find on FLUF or from Co La.
Their seven original cuts buckle and warp with an infectious tension between looseness and precision, serving dancers with myriad options for interpretation in each cut, from the hyper-jungle vortices of ‘Plasma Sunrise’ and ‘Integer’ at the front, thru to more rotted drums and Plaid-like melody in ‘Rusted Silicon’, and onto Jlin-esque balletic proprioceptions in ‘Resort’ and the dextrous tribalism of ‘Along The Synthetic River’, while allowing for more enigmatic space in the mix with ‘Uncanny’, and the shimmering keys that perfuse ‘Lab White’.
Currently also exploring mutant 160bpm terrain, Sam Kerridge proves an apt choice to remix ‘Integer / Along The Synthetic River’, tying a Photek-style drums in Autechrean knots, while Nahash reorganises ‘Plasma Sunrise’ with a sack of gabber bass hits, and Sote impresses most with a Persian Electro-Acoustic rework of ‘Lab White’, diffused into glorious hyperspace harmonics.
Rich, multi-layered vocal studies and shortwave electronics from avant-garde polymath John Duncan (LAFMS, collaborator with Pan Sonic, Chris & Cosey, Jim O’Rourke and countless others), bolstered by synths, drum machines and arrangements by Joachim Nordwall. Highly recommended if you’re into anything from Scott Walker and Pere Ubu to Jay Glass Dubs, Coil and Ilpo Väisänen’s classic Liima Versions.
Venerable avant-garde composer John Duncan follows his prized cycle of cover versions ‘Bitter Earth’  with ‘Conventional Wisdom’; a truly beguiling suite of original, stony avant-blooz songs produced in collaboration with iDEAL boss Joachim Nordwall, and marking another high point in both of their respective catalogues. After coming out as a vocalist to memorably striking effect in 2016, Duncan compounds the effect by placing his original lyrics in stark arrangements ranging from shortwave radio-streaked dark ambient settings and Mika Vainio-esque isolationism, to deathly dubs driven by Nordwall’s rugged rhythms in a style that heavily recalls Jay Glass Dubs’ recent ‘Epitaph’ LP.
An original and close associate of LAFMS co-founder Tom Recchion, and collaborator with everyone from Chris & Cosey to Asmus Tietchens, Merzbow and Andrew Mckenzie (The Hafler Trio), Duncan is well versed in the art of f*cking with music. Doing so since the ‘70s, it’s only in recent years that more “typical” song structures have crept into his style with most transfixing effect, gathering the attention of many who previously weren’t necessarily exposed to his music. Whether stemming from a perverse pleasure in twisting popular music, or a matter of changing with age (dude is 65), we’re just not sure, but either way Duncan is now coming out with some of the most appealing, yet incomparable work in his 50 year-wide catalogue.
Aided by Joachim Nordwall, the pair convene a set of songs every bit as fascinating and eerie as the cover image of a birdcage mask bound in barbed wire. The title track emphasises the stark mystery with nothing more than meditative vocals, gamelan strikes and daubs of shortwave, before ‘Hard Swallow’ catches him huskily channelling Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry at a spooky distance, while the disembodied dub tropes of ’Soft Eyes’ come uncannily close to aspects of Jay Glass Dubs, and ‘Say No’ says it in the bluntest, most bluesy terms.
The most desiccated, strung-out material however is saved for the B-side, with the sferic resonance and stereo-strafing vocal of ‘The Joke’ planing out into the cracked hush of ‘The Beautiful Attempt’, before he and Nordwall effectively duet in the finale ‘The Red Hot Alternative’, where Nordwall also supplies pranging percussion and Coil-esque synth abstraction.
Recorded during time spent in upstate New York with Dave Fridmann, the five songs that make up ‘A Fine Mess’ gradually emerged as a body of work with a narrative and flow unto itself. The title track, the BBC 6 Music-playlisted ‘Fine Mess’, then received further production from Kaines and Tom A.D. and mixing from Claudius Mittendorfer, who had first worked with Interpol as engineer on ‘Our Love To Admire’.
"The resulting set is a living, breathing postcard from the band to their fans as they tour the world throughout 2019 and a linear continuation of the visceral and contagious energy set loose with ‘Marauder’.
Echoing its title, the artwork for ‘A Fine Mess’ is illustrated by a series of lost images, recovered from an abandoned police station in Detroit, MI. Amongst the rubble in a crumbling evidence room an undeveloped roll of film, dated ‘1-20-96’, featured latent images of a breaking and entering scene, the rooms in chaos. From the beguiling refrain of the title track, to the soulful topsy-turvy of ‘No Big Deal’, cathartic chorus of long sought-after live favourite ‘Real Life’, anthemic swell of ‘The Weekend’ and angular shades of ‘Thrones’, ‘A Fine Mess’ is a bracing and distinct entry in Interpol’s oeuvre."
The mini album Wild Chamber by upsammy.
"In many ways Spring seems to the perfect seasonal match for upsammy: no matter the tempo nor intensity, her style is colourful, restorative and carries a tangible promise of new beginnings. So Wild Chamber arrives at the right time, but it is an evergreen package – eight songs to slot into different situations, to speak to different moods, yet come from the same heart.
A mini-LP that captures dawn mist, reflecting-pool shimmer, and occasional flashes of brilliant blue light. Swells of bass sag and yawn, time signatures switch up and break down, drums stutter and charge, and gossamer melodic trails are traced like ice skates atop a thawing lake. Innumerable shards of ideas are present, yet the music is airy and uncluttered. Wild Chamber is upsammy at her most pure, sketching sonic miniatures with a precise eye and an inquisitive ear quite unlike anyone else’s right now"
Members of Hills & Goat loosely vacillate free and spiritual jazz, psychedelia and pastoral kosmiche as Djinn
“Neither inherently good nor evil, the DJINN have been heralded in Arab culture since the Pre-Islamic period, located somewhere on a spiritual plane between humanity and the realm of deities. A mysterious force, their influence - essential between angel and demon - has subsequently extended to mythos, religious belief and folklore far and wide, from the malevolent spirits that originally haunted deserts and inspired poets to the archetypal Western genie in a bottle.
Yet also, the DJINN’s name has been interpreted as meaning “beings that are concealed from the senses”. This makes the word a fitting moniker for an album which, despite being shrouded in mystery, manifests an unknowable yet intense spiritual force. Their first release - also the first ‘proper’ jazz record to see released on Rocket Recordings - is manifested as equal parts hidden and otherworldly influence.
Formed by the talented musicians of Swedish bands Hills and GOAT, DJINN foray into numerous quarters on a far-reaching metaphysical quest lasting the course of this record. It’s a psychic travelogue which frequently encompasses full-throttle free jazz - as in the blistering ‘My Bank Account’, with its echoes of the transcendent extrapolations of Albert Ayler, and the more loose ‘Algäbannem’, which nods to the demolition derby that John Coltrane and drummer Rashied Aliengaged in via ‘Interstellar Space’.
Yet this is an album of a wild and wilful variety of textures and headspaces - whether entering into astral jazz or new age ambience akin to the later devotional work of Alice Coltrane, as on ‘Le Jardin De La Morte’ ,or entering into Don Cherry-style small-hours auras as on the reflective and hallucinatory thumb-piano-assisted bliss of ‘Fiskehamm Blues’, all excursions into the unknown are marked by potency of delivery and singularity of intent. Titles such as ‘Djinn and Djuice’ might make the listener suspect that a certain levity is present here, yet such self-deprecating tones are entirely belied by the modus operandi of creators who engage with a rare sensitivity and sensuousness in their playing - nodding to the traditions and stylistics of the records they love whilst using them as a springboard into dimensions unknown.
It’s a record made with deftness and restraint where necessary, yet also one unafraid to jump in the deep end in search of rich atmospheres and intoxicating soundscapes. “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper” - thus once remarked Bertrand Russell, he whose very name is bastardised by DJINN to moniker the drifting, hallucinatory ‘Rertland Bussels’. A mighty array of such things on offer within these eight tracks, amidst a soundworld that any intrepid psychic explorer should be delighted to sharpen their wits for.”
Blawan & Pariah’s Karenn kick off their Voam label with 4 grizzled and hardass techno functions
Noticeable by an absence of duo recordings since 2014, Karenn spent the past five years pursuing solo projects; Arthur Cayzer aka Pariah most notably with 2018’s ambient album ‘Here From Where We Are’, and Jamie Roberts via his Ternesc label with last year’s ‘Wet Will Always Dry Album’.
On ‘Kind of Green’ they reprise the direct but twysted aesthetic of early Karenn recordings, gearing up with the tunnelling pressure and slithering acidic layers of ‘Rek’, then keening offroad with the title trak’s warped swing and deliquescent contours. Flipside they really bare their fangs with the nagging grind and sprung buck of ‘Salz’, before rounding up with the drily skeletal but big-boned stepper ‘Newt’.
Still one of the best techno albums out of Berlin in this millennium so far, Shed’s seminal debut LP, Shedding The Past is finally and necessarily reissued on his own label, The Final Experiment - newly expanded to include all 12 tracks from the CD edition, and cut to heavier vinyl than the original 2008 pressing!
Thanks to the timeless cues and intent it was built on, Shedding The Past still sounds amazing today, working to an effortlessly adroit, light-footed and dynamic schematic that makes much of his subsequent work feel a bit clunky and overdone by comparison.
On release in 2008, it was a seriously big album for a techno world in flux between classic Detroit house, echoes of UK dubstep, broken beat and Braindance, and traces of tuffer Frankfurt sounds - all components of the Soloaction sound he’d developed for years prior.
Fair to say that Shed distilled those styles perfectly in his début album, as proved in its most impressive highlights such as the balletic gait of Another Wedged Chicken, the misty-eyed beauty of The Lower Upside Down and the breakbeat seduction of ITHAW, but most powerfully in its spine-freezing eternal anthem, Estrange.
Trust us: no techno collection is complete without a copy of this album.
Folk-Blues trooper Mike Cooper and French rock band Hifiklub present a craggy psyche-rock soundtrack setting music to a 1907 text and the images of Robert J. Flaherty’s silent film ‘Man of Aran’ 
Filmed over two years on the inhospitable islands off the Irish west coast, ’Man Of Aran’ was 3rd documentary feature film made Robert J. Flaherty following ‘Nanook of the North’ - in 1922 the world’s first commercially successful documentary film in 1922 - and ‘Moana’, which was set in the south seas. While the latter film may seem the most natural choice for Cooper, whose work often revolves the south Pacific, the Aran Isles clearly provide a colder streak of inspiration for Cooper and Hifiklub, who describe the Atlantic-lashed rocks with salty licks of psyche guitar and starkly primitive drums, while Cooper hollers John Millington Synge’s text ‘The Aran Islands’  with a conviction that brings the words to life and takes listeners right there.
Bolshy electro and concrete tuff bass swag from Bonka, a new artist on Semtek’s Inta label
The debut Bonka 12" opens with ‘Pootek’ featuring Solpara, whose shuddering 808 bass weight tremors are a result of the two Uni mates reuniting after 10 years apart and getting so raucous in the studio that the neighbours came down to complain. While ‘whendialupbecomeform’ turns cues from a Lana Del Rey song into a more laid-back sort of electro-soul with dreamy pads, before they piss off the neighbours again with the dry percussive clout of the B-side’s granite-cut swagger, sitting somewhere between Modern Love’s G.H. and the badboy Beneath.
After a two year pause, Tom Dicicco returns to the ‘floor with a set of slompy, swanging acid and offbeat electro joints for M>O>S sublabel, Cos_Mos
With distinctive swagger he cooks up the dazed, sloshing acid bumble of ‘Varykino’ next to the jelly-limbed acid-electro swing of ‘Laser Life’ up top, before really showing off his acid chops with the warehouse charge ’99 Rising’, tweaking it out from gunky bass up to nose drip tang, leaving ‘Quiet Theory’ to dance out a trickier formula of air-stepping, Arpanet-like electro syncopation.
Devilish jungle-dub-techno and 2-step ballistics from René Pawlowitz (Shed, Wax) in Hoover mode. Ordarrrrrrrr!
Following in the slipstream of his wicked outing as The Higher for XL, the Hoover tracks are a more aerodynamically tucked and efficient, synching razor-cut breaks, reverberant dub chords, guttural sub and sparing diva stabs on the A-side, whereas the B-side steps off like a freshly trimmed and faded El-B, Menta or Steve Gurley pushing the tempo to 160bpm, or even Errorsmith and I-Sound’s Disco Consultant alias when the piano chords come clambering in, before delivering a scything roundhouse of mentasms, Photek-style drums and even samples of John bloody Bercow seckling the rabble over more pianos. Who says Germans don’t have a sense of humour?
Unmissable for that one at the least!
Issued just as Bala say goodbye to their cult club night, Rulez’ ‘Hyper.Puteria’ epitomises the label’s current, grimy indie-pop/R&B/reggaeton aesthetic
Leading on from highly enigmatic EPs by 2 Mothers and label co-founder Katie Vick, Rulez follows his ‘Intentions’ production with a tightly wound sound landing somewhere between early Timbaland’s late ‘90s/early ‘00s R&B eccentricities, fashion party fetish pop and dead cold dembow rhythms, turning out choice moments in the ohrwurming vocal and dragged down dembow of ‘Loba’, the heavyweight traction of ‘Beg’, and the razor-sharp arrangement of ‘Diva’.