Longtime friends and now the most simpatico of collaborators, ‘Comet Meta’ finds David Grubbs and Taku Unami fully in third-mind territory as they start the conversation anew after their touted 2018 debut, ‘Failed Celestial Creatures’ (Empty Editions).
"‘Comet Meta’ grew out of concerts in Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo, with ground broken for this recording on a plane 35,000 feet above the East China Sea and in a tiny Risograph studio in Tokyo where they had to be extremely quiet.
Those familiar with Grubbs’ and Unami’s extensive discographies know them as folks who like to think and to make on their feet and on the run, with situation and surroundings profoundly generative.
The sound world of ‘Comet Meta’ ranges from pindrop twin-guitar focus (‘Comet Meta’ and ‘Nothing Left to Hear but the Night’) and Grubbs’ piano manoeuvring in Unami’s electroacoustic forcefields (‘Mirror Auction at Echo Décor’ and the horror homage ‘Walking Corpse in an Old House’) to unclassifiable throbs, ceiling fans and the distant exultation of the crowd at the New York City marathon.
Taku Unami’s work is influenced by science fiction, supernatural horror and weird fiction. He’s the composer of film scores for directors including Isao Okishima and Takeshi Furusawa, is one-third of the group Hontatedori and has collaborated with, among others, Annette Krebs, Radu Malfatti, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Jarrod Fowler, Toshiya Tsunoda and Graham Lambkin.
David Grubbs has played in Gastr del Sol, the Red Krayola and Squirrel Bait and performed with Tony Conrad, Susan Howe, Pauline Oliveros, Will Oldham and many others. He’s the author of the books ‘The Voice in the Headphones’, ‘Now that the audience is assembled’ and ‘Records Ruin the Landscape’."
Breathtaking first new album in 15 years from Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heemann’s cult duo Mirror, debuting on La Scie Dorée - home to their respective adored projects with Timo Van Luijk (Elodie, In Camera). A total gem for Jim O’Rourke or Kassel Jaeger fiends!
Both hugely regarded in their shared fields of exploration between improvised, low key noise, ambient and experimental composition, Chalk and Heemann have followed their nose for this sound since the early 80s alongside dozens of underground dons and their empathic level of musical comms really shows across this beautiful album. Most particularly we’re struck by the electro-acoustic mixing and recording, which comes close to the levels of subtly disorienting proprioceptive fuckery executed by their peer Jim O’Rourke, making them seemingly dialled in from different distant axes of floating suspension on the first side, before achieving immanent states of intimate meditation amid swirling ambient noise on the B-side.
’Some Days It Rains All Night’ introduces itself with tantalising timbral thizz and murmuring nudges of surreal acoustic space that soon start to slip out of time and place, inducing keening sensations and a slippage of light that give the scene a laggy glow, where their daubs of piano keys appear like glinting lights in a mist of bowed cymbals and rumbles of gong thunder, immaculately rendered in-the-mix for deeply disorienting effect. In other words, it’s dead trippy, and the other side takes the vibe yet further out into the dream swamp, holding off to more tentative gestures for a more uncanny sense of stasis and shrouded in electro-acoustic apparitions that richly recall similar interzones explored in Kassel Jaeger’s recent ace for Shelter Press.
With their first LP in over three years, Californian psych-dub duo Peaking Lights return with a kaleidoscopic collection of lo-fi, escapist-electronic pop.
"Over their illustrious twelve-year-plus career, the husband and wife duo of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis have set themselves apart with their characteristic dreamy, and melancholic sound that blends together elements of dub, and delicate-but-quirky electronics. E S C A P E, Peaking Light’s sixth album, and first for Dekmantel, finds them at their finest, replete with atmospheric landscapes crafted out of homemade-percussive loops, that sit alongside wondrous electronic pop and krautrock-like hooks, all tied together by Indra Dunis’ composed and hypnotic vocal charm.
Now based out in Amsterdam, and having firmly established themselves on Dekmantel with their 2018 EP Sea of Sand, Coyes and Dunis’ unique brand of indie-synthwave yet further explores their ongoing delve into transcendental, psychedelic music. With E S C A P E, the production duo illustrate their pragmatic use of instrumentation and dubbing to create more heady and celestial avant-pop. From the very outset on opening track ‘Dharma’, the band’s iconic retro-dub aesthetic kicks in, before being accompanied by a litany of drum machines, sweeping compressed effects, and Dunis’ hypnotic serene vocals. Coyes, somewhat of a connoisseur and collector of varying studio gear adopts his steadfast dynamic approach to production, playing with new mixing techniques, tape loops, compression and effects throughout. It’s this freedom to indulge, and create new instruments, processes and sounds that have made Peaking Lights unique; an ever-present industriousness that characterises E S C A P E, whether it be on the deep textures of ‘Change Always Comes’, to the cathartic 80s pre-rave-wave of ‘The Damned’.
E S C A P E is a vibrant moment full of multi-spectral melodies crafted in an aesthetic the group have excelled in and made their own; a style exemplified by their breakout 2011 LP 936. And throughout E S C A P E, whether it’s on the esoteric ‘Eyes Alive’ to the mesmerising beach rhythms of ‘Dreams’, Peaking Lights’ rich and reverberated sonic palette shines through. For both dreamers and dancers alike, the latest offering to Peaking Lights’ illustrious catalogue is a true mind-expanding and fantastical listen full of passion and catharsis."
The composition Radio Music Extended, performed by Opening Performance Orchestra, draws upon the concept John Cage brought to bear in his piece Radio Music from 1956.
"In collaboration with the Tesla Museum in Trest, whose collections include unique exhibits of radio electronic and audio-visual devices, the 72-minute piece Radio Music Extended came into being during a private live performance in July 2018. The seven members of Opening Performance Orchestra and two alternating guests operated 13 historical radio sets, dating from between 1935 and 1961. Over the past 60 years or so, the content of the broadcast band of the airwaves has significantly changed, yet the acoustic environment has remained highly variegated, providing a novel quality of sound."
After seven years, the second release of Max Loderbauer on Non Standard Productions arrives again in his style of post - german - electronic - avant garde.
“Donnerwetter” is the perfect blue print of modern reduced electronic adventures. Carefully chosen out of a pool of recordings produced by Max in the last years, slightly edited and arranged into a full length album."
Following last year’s incredible, all-vocal 'Sing As The Crow Flies' collaboration with Polly Wright, Laura Cannell returns with a new album improvised and recorded in single takes inside Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, London, over two days in February & March 2019. Cannell does something special here, re-contextualising riffs on early music within cavernous, industrial surroundings and somehow managing to tap into a well of suppressed emotion where there could so easily have just been hollow formality. Some of the most quietly moving and aesthetically provocative records in this field we’ve heard for a while - huge recommendation.
"In late 2018 composer, performer and improviser Laura Cannell was commissioned by The Wapping Project to capture the resonance of their former building through her improvised music, it would be the final project in response to the iconic space that defined their commissioning for over two decades. Entering the cavernous building armed with violins and recorders, Cannell had no preconceived ideas and The Earth With Her Crowns emerged from the conversations with the space itself. The recording came at a time of personal grief after the sudden loss of a loved one. Overwhelming feelings of loss and anxiety were charged into sound inside the resonant power station: "The cold air of the power station felt alive with a nervous energy. It felt like an opportunity to express something at a time when talking had been useless," she says.
The Power Station is beneath London flight paths and alongside the Thames, and Cannell explored the Boiler House, Coal Store and Filter House, standing in the centre amongst walls of glazed and raw brick, with freezing breath, in a vast space below water level. Double recorders, voice, violin and the drone of overbow violin filled the cathedral-like space, which captured, amplified and resonated their sounds, bringing them alive and sculpturing moment by moment, note by note. "Standing on thresholds in the archways between spaces and under the suspended stairs with low notes and high notes flying I played in the moment, allowing the sound to branch off like ancient waterways, I was led by the acoustics of the space to sounds that were self-sustaining, free flowing and changeable. Clear glass panes reflected and returned my offerings of string and air, uttered from fingers and lungs.Tonnes of water once passed through here to power London, and the space is never silent, the sound of the living city outside occasionally entering through porous brick, steel and glass. I found it to be a proud structure, and it was an honour to hear its responses to my questions.” Laura Cannell, March 2019"
"I made this release to commemorate 10 years of Novel Sound. It features a track from my Resident Advisor Podcast called "WKO" which people have asked me to release many times over the last decade." - Levon Vincent
Needs member Lars Bartkuhn digs into his extensive archives for this one.
"Ever since his first releases as part of the Needs (Not Wants) collective (with his older brother Marek and DJ Yannick) Lars Bartkuhn has been one of the brightest lights in the international deephouse scene, but simply calling his music ‘deephouse’ wouldn’t do him any justice.
A multi-instrumentalist by ear and a jazzcat by heart, Bartkuhn always infuses his house compositions with enough musicality to stand out from the crowd of modern deephouse producers - broken beat, jazz, funk, fusion, ambient influences, it’s all in there somewhere without ever sounding contrived or passé. Bartkuhn has a natural gift for natural sound setting him apart from the rest."On ‘Lost Tracks Part 2’ (the follow-up to 2003’s first part that was just credited to ‘Needs’) he delves deep into the archives to come up with a beautifully sultry house scenery that easily ranks among his best work to date - warm pads, swirling melodies and hypnotic percussion sounding like a sunlit ride to a secret beach on a remote island somewhere.
A breathtaking, ancient-sounding and otherworldly suite of electronics from Timo Van Lujik in his Af Ursin garb - the first entirely electronic record made at his Kulta Saha studio. It’s ear-watering stuff that crosses lines between early Oramics, the sheer gradients of Jaap Vink’s algorithmic tape recordings and the subtlest, classic deep/inner space soundtracks of Tarkovsky films or Vangelis interludes, but even still, those comparisons stop short of capturing the intoxicating, abstract enigma at work.
Written in respective dedication to Eric Faes (with whom Van Lujik collaborated as part of Noise-Maker’s Fifes in the ‘90s) and Xavier Bastiaensen, this is music for cutting the cord, severing communications and drifting off at tangents to the known world. Of course that’s always a nice thought and probably at the back of the mind for many sonic astronauts, but it’s one that’s impeccably explored and brought to life with unfathomable grasp of depth perception and deliquescent harmonic colouring here.
Aside from Van Lujik’s work in the Elodie duo with Andrew Chalk, we still vividly recall his Aura Legato [2005/2016] release which was brought to our attention on a Blackest Ever Black reissue. Safe to say, then, that this one sounds naught like the parallel acoustic world suggested by Aura Legato, and much closer to what we’d imagine as deep space music, setting spatial parameters at the very limits of our proprioception in a way that encourages us to think of the universe in 3D. Sounds appear above, behind, between and beyond the ears in headphones, and likewise project filigree starmaps of sound from the speakers - meshing pointillist glimmers into sweeping, moire contours that fascinate and suspend the listener from every angle.
What a record.
The enigmatic Ando Laj’s latest full-length excursion—9-tracks of heady sonic explorations that define neat categorization, a plethora of textures & forms arranged with the producer’s signature attention to compositional minutiae.
"Bad Mist is a series of personal recordings in an inimitable sound world that once again sees the producer taking their esoteric style into new territories. Resolute, mechanized thump is brought to gradual equilibrium by weightless cascade on “Soj Alm”, while skeletal opening number “Aal Tn” rattles into chrysalis, unravelling itself out of murky depths over its duration. A shrouded collection of slow-to-evolve melodic & rhythmic feedback loops, plucked from a haze of nostalgic familiarity—sound sources of indeterminable origin, sequenced & processed to mystical effect. Another intriguing & devotional experience from the Toronto artist."
Few artists make listeners as aware of their own being as Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Luijk’s Elodie, as the experience of listening to Le Manteau d’Etoiles uncannily makes us acutely aware of our breathing and the slightest movements when in the presence of the immaculate near-stasis and fragile ephemerality of their sound.
Working beyond trend and convention, Elodie make a sound that feels like it comes from a dreamlike and surreally etheric place. In effect, we’d compare it to the way the atmosphere, pacing and mise-en-scene of arthouse cinema (or even TV) and fiction can somehow connote a sense of reality which literal representations tend to fail to grasp.
Joined by Tom James Scott on the piano stool, and the clarinet of Jean-Noël Rebilly, the quartet seduce us with every turn of Le Manteau d’Etoiles, beautifully upholding a sublime tension from the first icy breaths of Cristaux de Lumière to the solitary, hovering notes of Le Temps Suspendu and the air-bending deliquescence of Le manteau d’Etoiles at its close, and in a way which lingers privately with the listener long after the record stops.
Impossible to convey in words just how beautiful and quietly evocative this music is.
Let’s just call it magick, shall we?
Anthony J Hart (East Man, Imaginary Forces) turns his attention to hybrids of stumbling, cranky Detroit beatdown and knackered broken beats on the 2nd Raw Basics shot
The crooked latinate hustle of ‘Cha’ gets deep and itchy in the space between Andy Stott and NWAQ on the top side, with ‘Drifting Clouds’ coming off like Demdike on a Theo Parrish tip with overblown subs and smokers chord progressions leading down dusky alleys. Good to hear him diversifying his stylistic bonds without treading too far from source.
The Kenyan music scene is one of the most diverse and vibrant in Africa. However, ask any Kenyan which pop music style truly represents Kenya as a nation and there is only one possible answer: benga.
"Benga is a pop style with its roots in traditional rhythms, instruments, and melodies. Luo musicians from western Kenya brought the style to prominence in the late 60s but other cultural/linguistic groups in other parts of Kenya quickly developed their own localized variants. With its pulsing beat, interlocking guitars, extended solos, and rapid-fire bass, benga music has dominated the Kenyan music scene over most of the post-colonial period.
Kakai Kilonzo is one of only a handful of benga artists to attract a broad following across Kenya. He opened up his music to others outside his Kamba language and background by singing in Swahili, which is widely understood throughout Kenya. At the same time, with catchy melodies and engaging lyrics, Kakai sang about subjects that all Kenyans can relate to: songs on all aspects of love and marriage, on social responsibility, societal ills (like drinking and witchcraft), moral guidelines, national unity, economic development, and more.
The songs on this compilation are taken from across Kakai's recording career, spanning from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, shortly before his illness and untimely death in early 1987, aged only 33. No Wahala Sounds are proud to present this selection of hard-to-find 45s from Les Kilimambogo Brothers, which are being released on vinyl here, for the first time outside Kenya."
Mutant rhythm fiends Itinerant Dubs step out on a grimy, old skool strut in crispy OG and deep-fried dub mixes
Thinking Mantronik via Diamond Ice and Loefah, the mysterious production outfit cold rock the ‘80s hip hop drum machines with some killer slow/fast switch ups on the A-side, while the B-side dub pushes into the red with trunk-troubling levels of bass distortion.
The third, and final part, of Luke Vibert’s entertaining and infectious cavort through some of dance music’s key motifs, delivers a singular collection of tracks that the creator defines as Rave Hop.
"Luke Vibert presents Rave Hop finds the British producer and musical trail blazer kick back on a bunch of lazy hip hop breaks and breezy samples. Soulful vocals, suave raps and buoyant riffs are expertly infused with dope as fuck beats and booming basslines.
‘Rave Hop’ concludes Vibert’s trilogy of albums for Hypercolour that has gifted us absorbing musical dispatches from the breakbeat and rave frontlines. With an enviable recording career that has taken in countless projects for labels like Ninja Tune, Warp, Planet Mu and Rephlex, Luke Vibert still holds the crown for king of the beats."
Punched out as the dub companion to Junior Delgado’s hugely successful ‘One Step More’ album, the release of ‘One Step Dub’ couldn’t have been better timed coming on the back of a hugely successful tour of Europe with Delgado.
Recorded at Channel One, Tuff Gong & Dynamic and engineered by Pablo, Soldgie, Steven Stanley & Tony Kelly One Step Dub included dubs to some big hitters from Jux including ‘Hanging Tree’ & ‘Riot In A Juvenile Prison’.
Three is the magic number! Following recent remixes by Morgan Geist and Four Tet for Caribou’s single NEVER COME BACK, Sam Shepherd completes the holy trinity. Sam outdid himself adding a dash of motor city oil to NCB and throwing in an extra remix for Caribou’s ’Suddenly’ album opener ‘Sister'.
Dark and clanging industrial drone and field recordings inspired by and about the Lebanese civil war, with slightly heavy-handed Muslimgauze-aping artwork, but still - if you’re into anything from Bryn Jones to Demdike Stare, John Carpenter to early Vatican Shadow - you’ll be feeling this.
"BEIRUT, Lebanon — a haunted city. The dead look out from the bullet holes which scar the public squares and back streets, presided over by the monumental ruin of the Holiday Inn, overlooking the city from its seafront cathedra.
Broken Britain Cassettes advances its World Service campaign eastward with an anatopic release from Frenchman Couronne de Merde, who became preoccupied by the Lebanese Civil War after repeated visits to Beirut. Recorded over a week in Paris, these tracks are an exorcism of the ghosts who followed him back.
Spectral voices lurk behind the shell-shocked synths and an urgent battery of percussion. Proceedings move forward and backwards in time - at once observing the event and recalling it afterward. Disparate scenes and incidents are conflated in a trans-historical bloodbath, underscored by a sorrowful ambience which longs for meaning in Sacrifice.
اتمنى لو ان الریاح .Couronne de Merde casts an unflinching gaze at theocratic and political contradictions is a poetic documentation and dramatisation of a modern conflict, this late iteration of ancient تجلي الرماد struggles between Religion and Secularity, Christianity and Islam, Dominance and Freedom."
Hot from his Serwed side with Flaty for West Mineral Ltd., OL does downbeat and moody vibes on his tod for local Moscow label Gost Zvuk
Again we’re strongly reminded of vintage DIN in the Dynamo or Pole-esque dub wise shuffle of ‘Block24’ and the fuzzed-out steeper ’Skepsys’, and ‘morph_16+’ or recalls the crunching, humid and abstract fuked edits of Low Jack’s work Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement , Demdike and Iueke gang gang, with possible nods to Push Button Objects and Miami’s Metatronix out in the skudgy low slung crack of ‘Blacksiris’, and ‘Trial Dub’.
‘The tenth, jubilee release of ‘Instrument’ series is a sudden turning point and immediately changes the rules of the game, anticipating emerging trends. Oleg Buyanov – one of the main GOST contributors responsible for prominent records ‘True White’ and ‘Height Difference’ makes his debut in ‘Instrument’ framework. OL’s new release creates a path of complete diverseness - a unique mix of ambient, dub and mutational electronica, though the author’s hip-hop DNA is still recognizable.
The release title as well as its symbol flirts with the privacy of communication in the context of its facilities and tools of the present world. Music acts as the info-channel, which provides unseen and coded data to a person from aside. The vagueness of mood, recurrent rhythm changes, and order of arrangement seem to rhyme with the feeling of being wiretapped. OL (along with another ГОСТ ЗВУК resident Flaty) recently had a similar experience of sound synthesis with their Serwed project whose recent LP was released via West Mineral Ltd. The groove of ‘SORM’ is swirling, distorted and sometimes ‘disengaged’; sound guided by its waves exists in a constant process of decomposition, dissolution and then reassembles in new configurations.’
Avant-garde composer and student of La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and Jung Hee Choi, Ellen Arkbro renders sustained and harmonically opaque chords on her stunning second solo album for Subtext. More minimal and extended than her 2017 debut ‘For Organ and Brass’, 'Chords’ is a focussed study in a gradual manipulation of acoustic timbres, using subtle synthesis of organ and guitar through two extended pieces bound to generate uncanny sensations to anyone familiar with the conventional tone of her chosen instruments.
Although underpinned by mathematical rigour, Arkbro draws direct connections to sacred music through a strict method of reduction, stripping away elements in a process she likens to a sculptor chipping away at stone. What’s left is primed for a kind of mind-altering osmosis, where the listener gradually fills in the gaps, or as she tells the most recent issue of The Wire “…what you pay attention to will change what you hear”.
Influenced by her teachers and the spirit of New York’s 1960’s Downtown scene, Arkbro is meticulous in her process and use of unusual tunings to reveal strange, sustained sounds that seem to continuously change shape. This pursuit of a kind of sonic “emptiness” belies the often unearthly spatial dimensions she manages to conjur, making highly perception-based sounds that have an almost supernatural quality.
The results sit somewhere between sacred and industrial music, a listening experience with highly meditative, spiritual, sometimes disturbing qualities - quite a remarkable achievement.
Burial’s eponymous debut LP is a defining beacon of post-millenium dance and electronic music. Written between 2001-2006, the follow-up to his debut 12” South London Boroughs, further consolidated what were previously mutually exclusive strains of music with unprecedented guile, vision and emotive impact, done to mind-blowing and award-winning effect.
In 2016 it’s easy for folk to forget that prior to this album, aside from a select handful of producers such as Horsepower Productions, El-B or Kode 9, effectively nobody was writing tracks circa 138bpm and using this kind of palette of samples, textures and spaces to the same ends as Will Bevan, a.k.a. Burial. And still, even fewer of them were writing without the dancefloor or radio squarely in mind.
Enter Burial, whose impressionistic, unquantized soundscapes reset the neuroses of Teebee and Bad Company’s neo-D&B with a romance and swing better associated with Steve Gurley and El-B, whilst also listening to and channelling the atmosphere of his environment in a way better likened to the spaces explored by Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, but animated like a Massive Attack album produced and collaged by Chris Watson; albeit a Watson raised in suburban British sprawl and smoky bedrooms playing tense computer games and watching classic anime and thrillers on VHS, or whatever obscure foreign flicks Channel 4 had on late at night.
Honestly, nowadays that period seems eons away - especially in light of streaming services where you can find thee most obscure art at the touch of keyboard - but back on original release, this record nailed an atmosphere, even a lifestyle, that was lived by many souls on the peripheries who couldn’t be arsed with the menu offered by provincial high street clubs or cable TV, or a culture artificially inflated by major labels and the media.
It almost feels daft and futile trying to explain this to anyone under the age of 30 - or those cold hearted cynics who roll their eyes at the mere mention of his name - but, quite honestly Burial’s music nailed the vibe so heavily that it felt like déjà vu, uncannily weaving together the disparate strands of culture that meant so much to the artist, and by turns, us the listeners.
There are still tonnes of naysayers, but fuck ‘em - Burial’s music is hugely danceable and mixable by the right DJs, but there’s no denying that it probably sounds best in bedrooms or headphones where you can give it your full attention, or vice versa.
Despite the temporal dislocation, the 2007 smoking ban, and the sign-posted, rictus rigidity of too much modern dance music, we’d still love to think there’s a whole new generation out there who will get and love this record as hard as we did, and do.
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be.
From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
DJ Marcelle takes on Discrepant, Souk and Farsa Discos' formidable decade-long catalogues for this chaotic 3-turntable mix that starts off like three open tabs playing completely discordant stuff, and then funnels into a proper, kaleidoscpic trip.
There is ample and rich source material too, if you know any of the three sister labels you'll have a good idea; Pierre Bastien, Mike Cooper, Sugai Ken, Carlos Casas, People Like Us, Tiago Sousa, Ondness, Mutamassik and countless others feature alongside a world of field recordings from the label's vast archive. This shit belongs on tape - complete with a huge handwritten tracklisting it'll probably take you a couple of hours to decipher for continued digging.
Osiris have the rare honour of hosting a typically sublime Burial remix on the B-side to Deep Summer, Simon Shreeve (Kryptic Minds) aka Mønic’s melancholic and dusky industrialullaby.
Perfectly measured for the pensive atmosphere of summer 2017 in a Brexiting UK, Mønic’s Deep Summer courses ghostly R&B/folk vocals thru an arid scene of knackered, worn-down drums and keening harmonic pads, barely but stoically keeping its head up against its impending conclusion in a cannily metaphorical narrative arrangement.
Trust Burial, then, to extract and amplify some sense of beauty from the reserved anguish of Deep Summer on the B-side, opening with a filigree collage of seagulls, windchimes and pads recalling the “better days” of ‘90s summers, before lone voices sardonically echoes the sentiments of Nigel Farage (say it like garage) in the recurring phrase ‘we don’t need noone else’ against a rhythmelodic moire of maribas, pealing sax and queasy subbass squirms, perfectly capturing the lucid sleepwalking momentum and frayed socio-cultural fabric of Britain right now in the gauziest, impressionistic terms, replete with an updraft of balearic guitar in the closing stages perhaps predicting our mass exodus to a Ballardian super-city along the mediterranean coast.
Benidorm, you’ve been warned.
Key Kompakt player Jörg Burger plots out a sort of imaginary soundtrack compilation spanning his own mix of Marcus Schmickler’s Pluramon thru to shuffling trips from Superpitcher, the peyote-buzz psyche trek of Rebolledo and Paulor, and spaghetti western-sounding chug from The Novotones
“With Velvet Desert Music Vol. 2, curator Jörg Burger has intensified his vision for this new series of compilations on Kompakt. The music he’s collected here has a unique vibration, perhaps an audio equivalent to the legendary ‘acid Western’ films of the 1960s and 1970s, when the wild frontier logic of the western met the consciousness-altering psychedelia of the counterculture.
‘Velvet Desert Music’ is Burger exploring possibilities: what happens when you extract the essence from genres as diverse as spaghetti Western soundtracks, moody lamp-lit pop, downtempo, Krautrock, minimalism, classic ‘60s psychedelia, and more, and let their scents intermingle, Des Esseintes-style?
On Velvet Desert Music Vol. 2, Burger welcomes back old friends – Fantastic Twins, Sascha Funke, Paulor, Rebolledo, Superpitcher, The Novotones – and also introduces some exciting new names, such as Golden Bug and The Limiñanas, Mount Obsidian (aka César Urbina / Cubenx), and Lake Turner. Marcus Schmickler’s Pluramon project appears, remixed by Burger, and Michael Mayer makes his first appearance with “Not So Far Away”.”
Third volume of "The Encyclopedia of Civilizations", a collection of split LP's where selected artists offer their own insight into fascinating ancient cultures. This volume features Jonathan Fitoussi, audio restoration engineer at INA GRM, and legendary New Age conduit, Ariel Kalma, for a cosmic and spiritual journey inspired by one of the greatest ancient civilizations: India.
"On the A-side, the 22 minute long Veda was composed & performed by Jonathan Fitoussi at Gesu Church, Toulouse, France using the 1864 church pipe organ and an EMS SYNTHI synthesizer. The track was inspired by readings about the ancient sacred Hindu texts known as the Vedas. A sustained, warm and deep float supported by the centennial pipe organ and the the church’s natural reverb.
“Yin Yang” was conceived by Ariel Kalma in 1975 while taking music lessons in India. It brings into a lovely meditative state with those long, long ‘pranayama’ breathing notes. “Flute Meditation” is actually two Kalma pieces blended together. The first part was recorded in 2017 and played on a floating xaphoon mini sax. The second part is from 1979, recorded with an Indian bamboo flute, saz, electric piano. It was originally much longer, adapted here for one side of the LP.
Wind melodies, polyphonic color, ambient space, setting modal flute melodies and nature field recordings. The results collapse distinctions between “electro-acoustic”, “biomusicology” and “ambient” categorization."
After a 7 year gap, E.M.M.A. drops a stunning 2nd album of drill-tipped chamber synth music that advances on her recent soundtrack work for Gucci and Chanel to really tap into a dreamy, darkly romantic-cinematic vein shared by Caroline K, John T. Gast, Novo Line, Kuedo, and arguably even Talk Talk or Kraftwerk.
Acutely aware of up-to-the-second rap and R&B styles, but stylized with a timeless and melancholic ’80s futurism, ‘Indigo’ renders the sharpest definition of E.M.M.A.’s already crisp style while finding new room in-the-mix for ever finer expressions of machine soul. Splitting the difference between Dungeon synth and drill instrumentals, mid-late ‘80s synth-noir soundtracks and puckered classical chamber tropes, E.M.M.A.’s compositional chops have arrived at a new apex of her style and arranged in a none more achingly evocative way that’s pushing all our buttons right now.
Aside from working on notable runway soundtracks in recent years E.M.M.A. has also been dead busy helping to run workshops for females getting into electronic music. While maybe best known for a unique variant of melodic UK club bangers, on ‘Indigo Dream’ she tends more to the melodic side with remarkable results, following extended lines of mellifluous thought across 9 tracks that make a pretty much perfect album.
Emotionally contoured and shaded with a masterful melancholy/negative ecstatic ambiguity from the tentative fanfare of ’Into Indigo’, thru the stoic grandeur and cheeky daftness of ‘Ryan Gosling In Space’ and the hair-kissing finale ‘Ballad Of Janet’, she’s nailed the best blend of deadpan, curbed enthusiasm and cold trance rushes, turning up vital spins on UK drill in ‘Gold’ and ‘Shell’, and chin-up classic pop chuftiness in ’Echo’ and ‘Glitter’ that all tie this into a real gem of a headphone listen, ideal for pondering modernity back-pedalling into a new medieval age.
Basic Channel heads Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald keep the burial mix series going with its most ambitious release to date - a collection of one-rhythm tracks featuring vocal contributions from Basic Channel collaborators old and new.
"See Mi Yah" is a classic collection of one-rhythm tracks, typical format and production approach in Reggae, featuring ten vocal versions and one instrumental of the See Mi Yah rhythm (an additional 3 are only available on the 7" collection), strictly roots!
After Paul St. Hilaire (formerly known as Tikiman) had lent his voice to quite a few Rhythm & Sound releases over the years, the starting point for this project was to work with him once again and also with his brother Ras Perez, their fellow Berlin based Dominicans Koki and Ras Donovan (also known from his collaboration with Mapstation), the Berlin based Jamaicans Freddy Mellow, Walda Gabriel, Bobbo Shanti, Lance Clarke as Rod Of Iron and Joseph Cotton aka Jah Walton.
With a toasting style heavily influenced by the legendary U-Roy, Cotton was a central figure in the jamaican DJ scene of the 70s and 80s. To cap it all off, on a visit to Berlin, the great Sugar Minott and Willi Williams (famous for Studio 1 classic Armagideon Time) did their versions in the Rhythm & Sound studio!
For each tune the rhythm is arranged and mixed differently. The legacy and genius of Basic Channel and all its myriad offshoots seems more relevant and important now than ever before, they have a knack of creating music that lives on in the listener's head long after voices, rhythm and sound have long gone. Highly recommended!!
Principe's sibling label Holuzam returns with a provocative exploration of western exoticism and all its romanticised and questionable aspects. It’s the work of Venezuelan native Alexander Molero, here playing on sounds familiar from the works of Martin Denny, Jürgen Müller, Andrew Pekler and Mike Cooper, as well as Venezuela’s own electronic pioneer Alfredo del Mónaco’s pastoral wonderings.
Now living in Barcelona, Molero has experienced first hand how his own cultural heritage has been romanticised by people he’s met in Europe. Taking inspiration from "the tropical lowlands to eternal snow”, a book written by German naturalist, painter and graphic artist Anton Goering (who spent several years in Venezuela in the late 19th century and who is perhaps best known for his drawings of Venezuela’s native birds), the music on 'Ficciones Del Trópico’ is a sort of meta work of sonic fiction, an artist from the outside looking in to his own culture.
Using a Yamaha CS-60 Synthesizer, a space echo and a world of midi flutes, pipes and nature sounds, Molero imagines a utopian voyage inspired by the tropical and exotic desire of European traveller's first contact with foreign and unexplored lands, creating soundscapes evocative of travellers that faced the vast unknown of the Amazon forest in the 19th century. Of course, all of that has a world of connotations; colonialism, appropriation, slavery - making this not only an absorbing and highly evocative listen, but also a multi-faceted and thought provoking one.
AYA's latest roller is the first taste of the Houndstooth label's new collection of global experimental sounds "Alterity" and is, almost predictably, a fluorescent banger.
There's something for everyone here: pineal-gland-expanding cyberkore kicks, sensual breathy vocal snips, wobbly mind-gargling synths, ASMR sleigh bells, druggy rushes. Really it's like hearing jungle meticulously reformed in a distant space prison by possessed nanobots in a "Jason X" scenario but without the threat of imminent death from an immortal fictional serial killer. Who can argue with that, honestly?
Darren Cunningham turns in a stunner here with a phantasmagorical take on LEYA's otherworldly harp-and-vocals fizzer "Wave".
The original was already stunning, and Actress transports its root elements to parallel worldz by slathering dissociated loops with white noise and fuzzy radio static. It sounds like memory, but not nostalgia; it's the soundtrack to the Peter Greenaway movie that never was; it's poetry beamed thru aging quantum machinery from distant futures. It's techno, period.
'Echos Pastoraux' documents the enchanted first meeting between Timo van Luijk and Andrew Chalk under their Elodie alias.
Introduced to us in the same stroke as their most recent - and relatively moodier, nocturnal - side, 'Traces Ephémeres', this one is blissfully pastoral and wishfully oneiric, framing a natural ecology of field recordings, strings and wheezing, far-flung folk drones across its 13 tracks. Rather than many pastoral-minded releases which can be located by their musical make-up, 'Echos Pastoraux' seems to convene a sort of pan-pastoral aesthetic, hinting at stately Korean classical strings, as well as what we'd possibly identify as eastern gypsy music or Klezmer tones, along with wistful baroque and raga-like drones.
The common, unifying aspect is a hazy sense of shared space and intention, resulting a richly enigmatic trip that's meant to be absorbed deeply and slowly, preferably with the windows open and birds joining in from outside.
This was Actress' first release for Honest Jon's, arriving in the aftermath of his landmark 'Hazyville' album dropped in 2008.
The move signified a subtle but essential development in his sound, preparing the ground for a hugely promising album with two aces. 'Paint, Straw And Bubbles' untethers his Detroit dream from terra firma, percolating his ethereal sound through a system of camouflaging filters until the joins dissolve and we're left with a feat of intangible spatial dynamics viewed with unique depth perception. It's electro-acoustic dance music for Afro-futurist stoners. The near absence of any bass only enhances the weightlessness, creating a heady sensation of an overcast day between pressure systems when everything doesn't feel quite as it should.
On 'Maze (Long Version)' Actress looks to early 80's synth wave and the cold industrial pulse of groups like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, pinpointing the influences of Detroit music from Model 500 and Shake which in turn so heavily informed his sonic outlook.
DeepChord’s Rod Modell meets Walter Wacasz for a brain-massaging 3rd album of sanguine ambient bliss under their Shorelights alias
Inspired by the Great Lakes of North America and the “psychotropic and interstellar activity surrounding them,” Shorelights limn a sferic soundsphere glowing with a gently decaying/departing but phosphorescent energy. Rod Modell’s celebrated, organically natural sound design talents are clearly on display, and guided by a conceptual and spiritual guidance from Wacasz.
The piece unfurls over two sides that faithfully lend a pillowy, aerated level of tog to the listener, as orange/pink hued timbral horizons form the backdrop to the sound of shore-lapping location recordings and distant, half-heard voices that swirl across the foreground, drawing the user into a gauzy mid ground by the half-way point, where we’re beautifully reminded of BC’s ‘Radiance’ or classic Vainqueur, but fizzling away like a campfire in drizzle.