A proper wiggy pop/punk fiesta compiled by Andy Votel & Doug Shipton, with liner notes by Andrew Weatherall, including a skronky DAF-like zinger by a pre 808 State Graham Massey in Beach Surgeons, and the wonky arps of ‘Jeep’ from Jerry & The Holograms
“Greetings sisters and brothers. Let’s talk about reductionist revolution and the kicking in of doors. Let’s talk of iconoclasts and culture bombs. Let’s talk about moral panic and censorship. Let’s talk about punk rock.
On second thoughts let’s not bother. The white noise is already deafening and actually, thinking about it, the Sex Pistols were really a heavy metal band with a funny singer and the whole shebang eventually, as all revolutions do, succumbed to conservative dogma and self parody. And anyway, as Dr Cooper Clarke said, “punks were just hippies with zips”.
Instead, sisters and brothers, let’s talk about the dangerous counterrevolutionaries who went out and bought a cheap synth and a rudimentary drum machine. The ones that got what ‘punk’ was really about. The democratization of art. A democratization unhindered by rules concerning the means of production. A democratization forged in the blazing fire of unrestricted influence. A democratization free of perceived notions of “talent”. Sniffing Glue said learn three chords and form a band, Throbbing Gristle said why learn any chords at all… I am an artist because I say I am. More Marcel Duchamp than Malcolm McClaren.
So, sisters and brothers, who do you think led the counter-revolution? Well I’ll tell you. It was the man who stormed the Bastille and kicked the door down in the first place and he did it on the 16th July 1977. With the help of Tommy Vance. John Lydon’s playlist that night on Vance’s show included Tim Buckley, The Creation, Augustus Pablo, Bobby Byrd, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Peter Hammill and Can and put paid to any punk rock “year zero” claims. Meanwhile, locked out of the studio, Malcolm had to listen to the counterrevolutionary manifesto being broadcast across the metropolis. Mark that date in your diaries, sisters and brothers: 16th July, the anniversary of the birth of “post punk”. Just over a year later in October, Lydon rammed the point home with the release of Public Image, a personal and musical manifesto in 7” form.
The music on Plastic Dance 2 is the strangely coloured, distorted and frighteningly beautiful fruit of the seeds planted on that fateful day. Lessons learned and inspiration taken from the sonic aesthetics of dub, knowing that not all disco sucked and that even jazz was allowed. Music shaped by wonky approximation and appropriation. The artists on Plastic Dance 2 were artists because they said they were. Listen to their work and you’ll know they were. Listen in transcendent wonderment as George Attwell creates alchemical space funk in his home studio… as a future Mock Turtle and members of The Manchester Music Collective channel Robert Calvert and Bill Nelson… as Korzynski comes on like a Jeff Mills remix of Terry Riley. Listen in the wide-eyed joy of being as Stabat Stable’s drum machine runs amok to the accompaniment of discordant organ stabs… as a future founder of 808 State channels Albert Ayler alongside a galloping synth arpeggio.
I’ll stop right there, brothers and sisters, as crass comparison does this art no justice. Let it trigger your own parallel universe because the music on Plastic Dance 2 is the sound of yesterday, today and tomorrow. - Andrew Weatherall”
Insanely fresh, killer debut volley by 19 year old “veteran” of Lisbon’s virulent ghetto sound, recorded when he was just 14 and now remastered and released by the mighty Príncipe. It's a brilliantly weirdo, avant-garde fusion of portugese/angolan dance music styles championing an ideal of dance music as punkish & direct rather than overworked and generic.
Hot out of Lisbon’s ghetto sprawl, 19 year old Puto Tito breaks thru on Príncipe with 20 tracks produced when he was barely into his teens, all salvaged from an old Soundcloud account and newly remastered for the dance. The sound of ‘Carregando a Vida Atrás das Costas’ is patently influenced by Tito’s Angolan heritage, and faithfully employs the popular slow Tarraxho and tougher Kuduro rhythm styles. Yet, like the best of Príncipe’s releases, it’s the way he injects a playful, weirdo character and uncompromising, psychedelic vision to his trax that sets Tito’s music apart form the crowd, whilst being very much connected to it.
With a direct fervour and naturally experimental quality to his productions, the album scales from drowsy, red-eyed, to brightly coloured downbeats on one hand, while charging into jagged and nagging uptempo styles on the other hand. But whichever way he goes, it’s always with an off-the-cuff flair and rhythm-lead suss that works the dance to its best.
The 2LP highlights the full spectrum of Puto Tito’s early remit, diving in with the darkside drone and rasping rhythm of ‘Noite Magica’, to swerve from the celebratory, drop-top cruise of ‘Mestre Das Artes’ thru to wickedly screwed Tarraxho in ‘Malucao’ and the deadpan drag of ‘1 2 3’, while he can hardly suppress his brilliant, weirdo tendencies in the zig-zagging arps of ‘C L Prod’, the heat-warped funk of ‘OIHo JoOnAe’, and the heatsick, syrupy pressure of ‘Locura Tutal’. Further, the digital bonuses extend the wigged-out fun in seven short, sharp shots, slipping farther down the rabbit hole into a bittersweet beatless flex on ‘Melodia daquelas’ alongside the hypnotic uptempo styles of ‘ABuzaNtesS’.
Tito’s arguably and understandably naif approach speaks to an ideal of dance music as punkish, fresh and direct, rather than overworked and generic. It’s an approach that, in the past, has yielded some of the finest underground music, from the UK’s early ‘90s hardcore and jungle, to South Africa’s Gqom scene, Chicagoan footwork and the Singeli sound of Dar-Es-Salaam. More specifically, its possible to place Puto Tito in the same dare-to-be-different, bedroom producer category of grimy Kuduro, Batida and Afrohouse as young heroes Nídia or P.Adrix, as ‘Carregando a Vida Atrás das Costas’ vividly demonstrates.
Don’t miss this.
Following the primal, no-frills rock majesty of Rather Ripped, the great American juggernaut that is Sonic Youth expands on the formula with a more opened up, liberated album - their first for Matador.
The Eternal kicks off in a violent storm; an "out-of-the gate hardcore matinee track" as Thurston Moore would have it, fronted by an on-form, ageless Kim Gordon. The sublime proto-grunge riffology carries over into 'Anti-Orgasm'; a barrage of arch feminist-punk sloganeering that divides itself into two halves, the first presenting a snarling line-up of guitars while the second ebbs into a carefully poised kraut-surf rock soundscape.
Sounding every bit like a modern SY classic, 'Antenna' maintains sufficient abrasion via some nerve-jangling guitar manipulations, while surly Mark Ibold basslines prop up the Lee Ranaldo-fronted 'What We Know', and the excellent 'Malibu Gas Station' mires itself in a sinister sleaziness - "an ode to the flash moment of the camera as you knowingly step from your SUV sans panties" appropriately delivered with all the nervous confusion of a Britney breakdown.
Perhaps a testament to Sonic Youth's own longevity, and all-round status as elder statespeople of subterranean music, large chunks of The Eternal reference and eulogise alternative culture's departed: the sleeve is a painting by guitar great John Fahey, while NYC beat poet Greg Corso is commemorated on 'Leaky Lifeboat', and 'Thunderclap (For Bobby Pyn)' pays tribute to The Germs' frontman Darby Crash - though it could equally be taken as a broader eulogy for LA's post-punk scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Sonic Youth fulfill a great many roles, and in addition to persistently being one of the great bands of our time, The Eternal shows that they're also historians of the underground; a living, working museum to all the obscure bands, sub-scenes and musical tributaries they've come into contact with and drawn influence from (or for that matter, themselves influenced) over a lifespan. God knows where we'd be without them.
An incredible 80 minute wormhole into ritualistic, hypnagogic experiments from riveting dark ambient to freezing rave riffs and SAW II-like tone poems. Puts so much of this kind of music to shame - if you’re into the darker, more harrowing end of drone and Ambient - anything from Kevin Drumm to Dean Hurley or Thomas Köner, this will rule your world.
Key Hospital Productions artist Jim Mroz aka Lussuria ditches the synths for a holistically organic, analogue alchemy in ‘Scarlet Locust of These Columns’, anticipating the mighty shadow of his ‘Three Knocks’ album looming on the horizon. Assembled and executed in 10 days of October and finally realised at Merchant House, South Hampton, Long Island, New York, the album locates Lussuria in elemental and liminal states. Gathering a charged array of instrumentation including flutes made out of human leg bones and a drum made from a skull, he conducts ritualistic experiments that enable him to broach other dimensions and relay the what’s on the other side in a series of riveting dark ambient tales and hypnotic pulses.
It’s maybe wisest to take ‘Scarlet Locust of These Columns’ as an initiatory rite of passage for the upcoming ‘Three Knocks’ album. In structure and scale, its 17 tracks are perhaps surprisingly light on the ear, and as hypnagogic as they are impending, vacillating the pressure meter between sky citadel structures in the title track and the choking pound of ’Neo-Savage (Suspicions of Destiny)’ with heavy-lidded wormholes such as ‘With Bated Breath (Bird in Hand)’, segueing from somnambulant shoegaze in ‘Mondala (The Snell Of Power)’ to dry-eyed choral samples in ‘The Mondrian’, and sublime, opiated gauze in ‘White Ties To The Revolution’, or seemingly isolating and freezing rave riffs in meditative space on ‘Feather Duster Put In Place’, beside SAW II-like tone poems and exquisite palls of inclement gloom.
Albums of this kind of atmospheric calibre don’t come along so often. Don’t let it escape you.
Jay Glass Dubs and SKRS remix a pair of Jabu’s emotionally-consumed Bristol dub-soul songs from heir Blackest Ever Black LP ‘Sleep Heavy’, for their Young Echo breadbins.
Marking only the 4th release on Young Echo, following Rider Shafique’s cutting and hugely overlooked, Sam Kidel-produced ‘I-Dentity’, and of course the massive ‘Young Echo’ album, this plate sees the crew diversify their bonds, inviting international flavours and perspectives on their rooted but mutant dub styles.
Up top Jay Glass Dubs arrives in the wake of his acclaimed ‘Epitaph’ album to diffuse the blue sax and plangent vox of ‘Fool If’ into a floating, widescreen, out-of-body experience that becomes more disturbed, unravelled, losing its own thread as the beat emerges and refuses to find its feet.
SKRS’ follow on the downturn with a stark ‘2nd Cut’ remix of ‘Wounds’ that easily marks as the bluest track in their arsenal, teetering the tremulous vocal in a Burial-esque woodblock swing rhythm and puckered, reverberant chords.
A restless Slip deliver their fourth release of 2019 with Brad Henkel & Yoshiko Klein’s mercurial debut, tracing etheric lines from scrabbly haptic noise to wistful ambient via 4th world peals and midnight jazz vibes.
Unfolding in two durational halves, ‘Merry Peers’ appears to be an ironic moniker for the duo’s modest, coy and quiet style of composition. Using Henkel’s trumpet, plus synth, daubs of voice, and carefully applied FX, they form a microcosm unto themselves, one that takes in three minutes of visceral extended technique and piercing high register tones, before fading into the thing proper - a sublime arc of ambient synth pads infiltrated by blithe self-help slogans, and leading down the garden path to phosphorescing blooms of dubwise, 4th world jazz, Vangelis-like synth brass flares, and dilapidated ambient-pop song.
The effect is richly dreamlike comfortingly lonely, and smudged in all the right places for a perfectly elusive grip on the duo’s waking reality, stemming for the immersion in Berlin’s fecund underground. There’s no real big statement or difficult concept behind ‘Merry Peers’, just a wry expression of the strangeness and melancholy of the human condition that will surely resonate with daydreamers and lovers of anything from Felicia Atkinson or Teresa Winter.
PAN inaugurate Entopia, their highly promising, soundtrack-focussed sister label, with the tremulous beauty and dreamy ambient detachment of Tujiko Noriko’s ‘Kuro (OST)’
Realised alongside musicians Sam Britton and Will Worsely, experimental J-popstar and composer Tujio Noriko conceived the ‘Kuro’ soundtrack for the eponymous 2017 film which she wrote and directed with Joji Koyama, and in which she also plays the lead role. The film follows the tale of Romi, a Japanese woman living in the suburbs of Paris with her paraplegic lover Milou. Told through personal anecdotes and myths, the story soon turns ominous, reflected as the narrated story and the visual story diverge to reveal an ambiguous space which is subtly coloured and accentuated by the soundtrack’s suggestive daubs of ambient electronics and burnished instrumental tones.
The music was composed during the editing of the film, mostly by Tujiko, but with integral assistance from both Sam Britton and Will Worsely, and her co-director Joji Koyama. Perhaps glibly known as “the Japanese Björk” for her spellbinding, etheric touch, Tujiko brings a wealth of experience to helm in the soundtrack, steering fathoms wide of her pop-related output to work with filigree, layered electronics, organs that are occasionally and imperceptibly meshed with diegetic, rustling sounds from the film. The resulting atmosphere is intoxicatingly gentle yet elusive, evoking themes of claustrophobia and haunting beauty that also lie behind the imagery.
In the film, Tujiko is heard as the narrator behind Romi, but in this soundtrack release her voice is largely reserved to scant, poignant moments of glossolalia or breathy presence, save for one exquisite piece of ambient pop. Nested at the core of ‘Kuro’ is ‘Romi Sings’, where Tujiko appears to duet with the breeze from her window in the album’s most gorgeous vignette. Taken part of the whole, it’s a hauntingly realist denouement for the rest of the soundtrack, and just one of the subtly absorbing, contrasting components that make up the album’s dreamlike nature.
‘Kuro (OST)’ is an ideal first release for Entopia, the soundtrack-focussed offshoot of PAN. Taking its meaning in context of Ekistics - the idea of world-building - and in respect of creative communities both visual and music-oriented, Entopia proposes a promising new space - neither utopian nor dystopic - where the boundaries between installation works, theatre, dance and fashion will fall, just as they have with PAN the parent label.
Almighty sophomore album by industrial overload Kris Lapke aka Alberich - Hospital Productions’ mastering engineer, scene-defining producer, and right hand man to Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Vatican Shadow, RSE).
Where Alberich’s infamous, 3 hour long ‘NATO Uniformen’  series can be heard as a cornerstone for this decade’s tilt into noise techno experimentation, its follow-up is a bitterly refined and exquisitely crafted single disc bedevilled by increasingly excoriating detail via bombed-out rhythms and eschaton-limning atmospheres. Lapke distills and pokes his most potent ideas into their most succinct, brutalist forms, but also makes room for one durational pulverizer that is on its own worthy of the cost of admission.
A master of calibrating maximalist and minimalist scopes, Lapke has a gift for getting right in-the-mix and pulling sounds to the biting point or allow them to glisten in the periphery; emphasising their grotesqueness, stark beauty and visceral nature in the process. It’s an approach which has elevated him to the vanguard of modern industrial music, evidenced in production work and mastering for Prurient, The Haxan Cloak and Nothing, as well as audio restoration for COUM Transmissions and Shizuka, but rarely felt as strongly or as nuanced as in his solo work.
Between opener ‘Upper Mountains’, casting some of the gloomiest synth pads this side of Silent Servant’s ‘Negative Fascination’, to the entrenched techno of ‘Unity House’ with its asphyxiating, buried-by-mud effect buoyed only by drily resigned vocals, and the aching synth poignancy of ‘No Reference to The Absence of Allegory’ at the album’s charred heart, Lapke's sounds adopt a frightening meaning thru their manacled grip of reality.
But its the B-side that will really see off any half-hearted types, as he sucks us down the title track’s rabbit hole of collapsing techno and lo-NRG vox into the reverberating negative space of ‘Freeze’, and the masterfully dense yet wide open paradox of his closing ‘Radio Op’ transmission.
Music From Memory hail a keenly anticipated 2nd volume of their 'Outro Tempo' survey of electronic music from Brazil with this teaser revolving a massive pearl, Individual Industry’s addictive ‘Eyes’, and the worming funk of Bruhahá Babélico. We serendipitously stumbled across ‘Eyes’ via searches for Pink Industry some years back, and it’s a joy to now see it properly available. Written and released by Alex Twin and Lilian Vaz’ cult band in 1993, it’s a perfectly icy mixture of early trip hop, ambient-pop and shoegaze lit up with Lilian’s achingly spot-on vocal, which, for us, defines a dark ‘90s sexiness we can’t get enough of. 100% essential!
"In the lead up to part two of the highly anticipated Outro Tempo compilation, MFM drops this teaser EP with the never before heard cassette madness of São Paulo’s Bruhahá Babélico and Individual Industry’s ethereal electro pop on the flip.
Circling around the musical projects that emerged out of the art world in Brazilian cities during the late 1980s and 1990s, “Outro Tempo II: Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil, 1984-1996” takes anotherdive into the depths of the Brazilian underworld, exploring the rhythms that lurk beneath the Ipanema sunset. It shines light on more illustrious unknowns and on the genre-defying music that maintained asymbiotic, yet uneasy, relationship with mainstream popular culture."
Brawling breakbeat techno for the cranks, from Mick Harris wearing his Fret hat
Nearly 25 years since the 1st Fret 12”, and leading on from his Lp with Karlrecords and the ‘Silent Neighbour EP’, the indomitable Harris unleashes four foul torrents of gutter bass and rusted drums, hitting hard with the grubby slug of ‘Slowly Moving In’, rolling off the bone with shearing metal textures in ‘The Hill’, then trampling like an early ‘90s AFX bugger in ‘Pirates’, and slammign out the bolshy battery of ‘Walking With Cameras’.
50th anniversary edition of a real beauty by Harry Partch - newly expanded with candid bonus material - locating the endlessly explorative American composer and instrument builder at the peak of his creative powers in the mid ‘60s.
"'In late 1962 Harry Partch returned to California and began a project that would not only become the bones of a masterwork, Delusion of the Fury, but have a life of its own. In a too-small space within an abandoned Petaluma chick hatchery, Partch gathered the instruments he had designed and built -- new and old -- eager to once again expand the boundaries of his compositional fabric. He learned each individual part as he composed, establishing that it could be played.
And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma (1963-64, rev. 1966) was born of his exploration and assembled with that 'minimum of players' over a three-year period. In spite of rough conditions and meager resources Partch's dogged persistence, along with the efforts of his dedicated assistants, eventually succeeded in realizing the 34 verses of expanded duets. With this album we revisit an important work and turning-point, guided by the original 'Statement' Partch wrote for the first commercial release of the piece. Previously only excerpted, it is a voicing of his beliefs that transcends one project to illuminate an entire purpose. We also reprise exquisite notes by the late Bob Gilmore, who distills and explains the story of Petals so clearly and eloquently.
No one wants a dead reissue, so by digging into the archives, I am pleased to offer hidden gems. First, The Petals Sessions is an aural glance into the cramped quarters of the recording space, as composer and players labor to bring new notes to life, Harry himself giving direction. The montage ends with a 'test take' by Danlee Mitchell and Michael Ranta that could have easily been a keeper! Finally, we present the original Verse 17. In 1964 Partch wrote two duets that used the Adapted Viola; by the time the piece was finished in 1967, he had excised them. The ending track -- never before released -- brings Harry back to life, playing and recording Adapted Viola for one of the last times. I was completely unaware of this recording until I examined the outtakes and it glows, fifty years on. That Petals ever came to be, like much of Partch's story, stands somewhere between determination and miracle.' -- Jon Szanto, The Harry Partch Foundation"
Tommy Four Seven bookends this decade with his 2nd LP of tuffened techno in ‘Veer’, the follow-up to 2011’s ‘Primate’
Fair to say T47 has evolved his sound over the course of this strange decade where techno has noisily consumed itself, only to remain resolutely more economically viable as a worldwide dancefloor commodity. At the start of the decade Tommy was one of those artists pushing techno into crankier corners, and evidently by the end of the same decade he’s one of those souls still nurturing its mutant ends.
Across its 10 tracks he keeps the form bristling, spiky and misshapen with gauntleted sound design and crunching rhythms, churning up rugged highlights between the clenched jag of ’2084’ and the diesel-fuelled charge of ‘The Virus’, before swilling out something like Regis-meets-Shxcxchcxsh in the rotten hydraulics of ‘Neuromorph’, and running a sopping sort of halfstep D&B in ‘Feed’, along with the clubfoot trample of ‘Protocol 9’ and the brutalist lunge of ‘X Threat’.
Scowling industrial bad vibes from Frederikke Hoffmeier’s Puce Mary, mounting her debut LP with PAN after dishing out dozens of albums and oddjobs for Posh Isolation, Ascetic House, iDEAL under her own name and also as Amphetamine Logic, JH1.FS3, and Body Sculptures during the preceding decade
“Building from a reputation of arresting live performances and critically acclaimed releases Puce Mary breaks new ground with The Drought, evolving from the tropes of industrial and power electronics to forge a complex story of adapting to new realities. Remnants of noise still exist, sustaining the penetrative viscerality offered on previous records, however The Drought demonstrates an intention to expand on the vocabulary of confrontational music and into a grander narrative defined by technical and emotional growth.
Bringing together introspective examination with literary frameworks by writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, Puce Mary’s compositions manifest an ongoing power struggle within the self towards preservation. The traumatised body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss and control. The Drought presents both danger and opportunity; through rebuilding a creative practice centred on first person narrative and a deliberate collage of field recordings and sound sources Puce Mary injects an acute urgency across the album seeking resilience.
“To Possess Is To Be In Control” makes use of lyrical repetition as an ambiguity of two selves, or a divided self, attempting to consume one another, while “Red Desert,” named after Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film, portrays the individual subsumed by surrounding environmental forces. The seven-minute epic “The Size of Our Desires” acts as the emotional tipping point of the record; amongst the ominous drone and dense feedback flutters almost-beatific melodies, while the lyrics reveal a romantic call to be swept up in the midst of an increasingly uninhabitable world.
Rather than escape, The Drought dramatises a metamorphosis in which vulnerability is confronted through regeneration. Noise and aggression no longer act as an affront to react against but part of a ‘corporeal architecture’ where space, harmony and lyricism surface from the harsh tropes of industrial music. The Drought chronologises the artist’s transformation through a psychological famine, new ways of coping akin to plant survival in a desert – to live without drying out.”
Jeff Mills coughs up one of his finest - and our all time faves - with re-cut of ‘If (We)’ plus select gems from the Axis catalogue
A stone cold percy since we first heard it on DJ Bone’s ‘Subject Detroit II’ mix circa 2001, the breathtaking mix of jazz scatting vocal and haunting choral pads in ‘If (We)’ has lost none of its capacity to hypnotise and send shivers down the spine, and now comes prefaced on this 12” with a short clip of Jeff chatting about the tune’s conception. Still, the track remains all too short, so we’d advise picking up two copies to extend the pleasure in-the-mix.
Also worth mentioning that the others are all killer, neatly playing into Jeff’s minimalist and mysterious side between the iridescent scales and slinky groove of ‘As Soon As’, the deep space psychedelia of ‘G-Star’, and the bugged-out Detroit drive of ‘Cycle 30 (Loop4)’.
L-Vis 1990 does freaki Chi styles as Dance System for Modeselektor’s label
Check ‘Wind ‘Em Up’ for a bucking, bumpty Sneak style; ‘Heeez Baaad’ for a heavily infectious cut-up disco house jig; some loosey goosey saxy shiiiit in ‘That’s That Sh**’; and a hard-to-resist spin on Gherkin jerk styles in ‘Body’.
Gutter crust trashbeat from Kinlaw and Franco Franco, delivering the first wave of industrial trap and rancid punk rap for Avon Terror Corps. RIYL JPEGMAFIA, AGNARKEA, FUMU...
“‘Blunted church burner Kinlaw and bile spitting nomad Franco Franco savage through ten of their coldest cuts for ATC’s first sacrificial offering.
The LP opens with ‘Eric Draven’, an apocalyptic bombardment of mechanical disintegration and shouted nuclear alarm. Then follows with ’Cuore Molle Palle Mosce’, their alienated battle cry for the kingdom of Wessex, already weaponised in the dank chambers of Avon. ‘Cyborg Mc’ spouts the metalloid delusions of the dystopian preacher, arsenic utterings of the ego-centric android and ‘Fat Come’ is an ode to guttural subs of the Butter Gollem, birthed from Goram’s phlegm.’”
Ron Trent rides for the sunset in ‘Warm’, with a surprising new twist on his timeless styles.
A-side ‘Warm’ is still definitely deep house, but coming from a place inspired as much by Balearic disco and boogie as Cluster’s pastoral kosmiche, with sloshing bassline spilling over the bars under cosmic synth spumes and layered drums. B-side, he takes that dusky appeal one step farther with the slower heart rate and sparing psych-jazz-blues strums of ‘On A Journey’, and the creamy Santana flex of ‘Exhale’.
Joy O supplies 50 vocal loops and locked grooves to Overmono’s Poly Kicks series...
Following the lead of Haroon Mirza and Truss, Joy O’s edition revolves 50 loops for the crafty DJ, ranging from the core samples to ’Sicko Cell’ to snippets of Bernie Mac and stacks of diva stabs...
N1L wrenches out a thistly batch of bangers for Opal Tape with 山卂ㄒ乇尺 爪乇爪ㄖ尺ㄚ, serving a more aggressive follow-up to the Latvian artist’s releases for UIQ and Where To Now?
At the risk of playing up to stereotypes, this gear is just the kind of harsh, immediate and brutally emotive dance music we’d expect to hear in a Baltic warehouse surrounded by Soviet military ephemera and with Russian spy drones hovering overhead. Make sure to check the bone-rattling demands of ‘crawlspace’, the ice-cold and caustic thrust of ‘alpha fail’, and the bombed-out designs of ‘undo the anthropocene’ for the strongest, hellish feels...
“Seven chapters of anachronistic, lovecraftian horror & burning cold alien limerence brought forth through the advanced cauldron skills of N1L.
Vast, devastated terrain is covered here, burned down in psycho action-movie montages of tuned percussion and pacing, predating bass music. Viperous snatches of melody, of disembodied voice and the promise of calm rise through in tracks like “fernweh I,II,III” while dread-nought dub treads on for “ijsv.0gel”.
N1L dials up the INA-GRM gone Hammer Horror in the remarkable compositions of the closing 8 minutes. A maelstrom of pure, refined sound recalling Dhomont and Bayle at their most negative. Utterly enthralling and resolutely unflinching.
Stay alert while sleepwalking.”
Having co-founded Cairo's VENT along with Zuli, Asem Tag comes out with a set of murkier house investigations as $$$TAG$$$ on Opal Tapes.
The atmosphere is sodden with tape distortion but your boy manages to give each element fine room to swing and writhe in-the-mix, turning out some useful grooves in the grubbing techno-house shunt of Stuck In The Same Spot and the overstepping, palpitating dub techno flux of The Soft Centre of the Void.
Patricia plumbs murky, nervy strains of ambient house and dub techno, accompanied on one track by Mood Hut's Cloudface, for his return to Opal Tapes' fuzzy bosom.
Troddin' a fine line between melancholic despair and darkside resolve, 'Bem Inventory' works thru some heavy issues over 6 submerged grooves in patented Opal Tapes fashion. From the run-in,the stereo-strafing 'Mercury In Retrograde' stalks crepuscular noir between 154 and Legowelt, whilst Cloudface allows a chink of dub light into the stern buck of 'Just Visiting', and 'Life Is A hideous Thing' wallows in blunted, skunky house tones.
Flipside, 'Bed Of Nails' picks up the pace and energy levels, as the gloom clears to reveal pirouetting electronics and lamping bass drum in 'Need a Nap' and he finally gets over the bad sh*t with the optimistic, chords-driven and momentum of 'Hadal Zone'.
Sounds like taking a walk thru the docks at night, only to discover a rave full of doomcore zombies, which you continue to watch from one end of a gargantuan hangar...
“Following an earlier release on Opal Tapes, several releases through her Summer Isle imprint and a vinyl issue on the esteemed BANK Records NYC. Rita M's E-Saggila project returns to Opal for the most advanced statement of intent from her so far. Lux Campaign is an elegant union of industrial and rhythmic noise music with techno (Lux Campaign, Green Zone) Jungle + DnB (Stature and Scent) and as stand alone pieces of gothic abstraction. “
Luke Younger and Pat Murano, a.k.a. Helm & Decimus, perform a mutual trepanation in the lurching zombie techno and noise trips of We Will Meet At Other Human Parties; their debut collaboration for Opal Tapes.
Respetively, both artists have carved highly distinctive routes thru the nebulous noise fields up to now, to the point where this feels like a natural confluence of their shared tastes for head-long, psychedeliconcrètabstraction. It’s probably fair to say that Helm has subsumed his sound into Decimus’ tendency for sprawling jams, in the tradition of his numerous volumes for Kelippah, Planam and Further Records.
Both sides play thru as one long track; in the first instance, Any Surface Will Do they curl out a soggy, sloppy pulse rent with arrhythmic concrète apparition and voices that recall either operator’s work at their most fetid and creepy, rolling up to a final passage of gremlin-in-the-machine blackened metal techno.
On the other side they start out more opiated, with the sound of a reverberating bell chime summoning imagery of a lone buoy bobbing in the calm before a storm, which starts to come on with force before burying us at sea in a whirlpool of submerged techno and drowned howl.
Following his previous appearance as Gondwana on Opal Tapes back in 2015, Andrea Taeggi returns to the label with a new mini-album of spellbinding constructions from the outer-reaches.
"Taeggi is best known for his work alongside Koenraad Ecker in Lumisokea. It’s a productive partnership that has yielded numerous albums for the likes of Eat Concrete and ALTER as well as multiple Opal offerings, including last year’s Transmissions From Revarsavr. Under his own name, Taeggi also released the Mama Matrix Most Mysterious LP on Type two years ago.
The same intensive level of detail found in the Lumisokea productions permeates Miccaotli, with Taeggi’s distinctive rhythmic approaches and sound palette making this a release as engaging as it is adventurous. Clattering, mutant breakbeat flaring flirts with zippy synthesis on “Huehueteotl” before the more intimate shuffle and rattle of “Cipacti”, its kitchen sink percussion falling prey to crafty edits and FX swells. “Tlaloc” grows from sparse beginnings to meet with stark lead hooks that shine out amongst the razor sharp beat programming.
Hyper-modern breakbeat science looms once more on Side B opener “Quetzalcoatl”, and continues apace into the intricate roll of “Miccaotli”, where dazzling daubs of synths splay out between the urgent thrust of the drums. “Tezontle” closes proceedings with a snaking approach that equally champions infinitesimal sound design and hard-rocking, idiosyncratic groove.
There’s a consistent style that shapes out Miccaotli, and it once again demonstrates the great technical skill Taeggi is capable of deploying in the studio. Fortunately the results of his endeavours are as utterly thrilling to listen to as they are advanced.”
Acre presents a new digestion of technologically advanced cyber-grime on the ‘Hollow Body’ album, a ten track answer to the age old question “when will the robot kill me?”.
"Earlier music on Tectonic, Codes and Brainmath has solidified Acre’s music as a station of future ready bass music. This issue through Opal Tapes, takes the trans-humanist art of Stelarc, the rattling of kinetic sculptures and reductions of the grime sound palette into new direction entirely. Collectively ‘Hollow Body’ is both a warmer and more fleshed out face to Acre’s work while also taking the statuesque sound design and bone shaking bass of his productions into new spaces.
Opening track ‘Trial 6’ degenerates into error and computer pollution before huge sheets of brightly resonating plastic synth sail off like Steve Roach playing the most ambient of Eski-beat in some unknown void. Signatures of error and failed translation continue in ‘Android’, a signal sent to re-awaken an earlier version of your metal self. ‘Suicide Drone’ plays with sample-rate in a kaleidoscope of broken glass and blast a part-gabber, part-industrial jack hammer into your head. ‘Glow’ and ‘Direct Registering’ close out the first side with a Chain Reaction-esque procession of flickering zero points, stubbed out chords and fluttering visions recalling the plastic bins behind the call centre.
Something beings to unspool as b-side opens with ‘Hollow Body’, sub-wobbles under lay a stumbling loop of disembodied voice. Guns are out for ‘DNT’ as the metal body which was earlier awoken, dresses and arms itself. All the forward momentum of bass music is inverted into a lumbering swagger replete with cyborg horn. ‘Taking Over’ offers a soft relief of aliasing tones clashing into each other like fucking modems before ‘Second Escape’ stokes the fire once again in an obliterating crush of noise percussions and jewel like synths. Closing track ‘External’ is the desert, the dust of the universe. After the earlier crush everything has to settle and fall back down.”
In the beguiling, rugged geometries of Transmissions from Revarsavr Italian/Belgian duo Lumisokea reframe a palette of recordings made with pioneering, if little known, Russian sound equipment dating to the 1910s and 1920s.
Those unique instruments were recorded at Berlin’s Generation Z: Renoise exhibition in 2014 and form the basis for seven supple, dynamic constructions operating at the border between dance research, concrète sculpture and electro-acoustic experiment.
Thanks to Russia’s totalitarian government, which emerged in the 1930s and strove to erase or censor the endeavours of its experimental music community, we’ll never quite know how those early instruments were used.
But, in the hands of Andrea Taeggi and Koenraad Ecker, they’re boldly chopped and processed, along with the duo’s foundational influences - outernational drumming, dub, concrète - to resemble Shackleton or Photek-style percussive rituals crossing paths with Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s modular tangles, Lowjack’s tribal ciphers, or the tactile tonal explorations of Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.
No doubt it’s the most impressive record we’ve heard from Lumisokea and one of the most distinctive Opal Tapes issues in ages.
Body Boys are spoiling for a dance in their follow-up to the claggy nocturnes of debut album, 'Growth Window'. Two years down the line they're now packing throbbing techno muscle alongside the sallow ambient signatures, resulting the pounding drone techno of 'First Time' or 'Nosebleed', and softer ambient house padding of 'Alone' alongside the beat-less, pillow-diving chords of 'Yunnan' and jittery techno fundamentals somewhere between Phork and Blondes in 'Stutter'.
The undoubted highlight of Opal Tapes' 2nd batch, and quite possibly our year, 'High-Tech High-Life' is one of the most striking debut releases we've heard in 2012.
It's the first offering from the enigmatic 1991, a yung'un from Gothenburg, Sweden with a lushly endearing feel for the kind of misty-eyed ambient and new age nostalgia that makes Boards Of Canada, Oneohtrix Point Never and JD Emmanuel such evergreens on our bedroom shelves.
In the finest sense of an album, 'High Tech High Life' absorbs from start to finish, from the trickling shivers of 'High-Tech Low-Life' to 'Alaiyah''s angel's breath kiss off, traversing the sort of lump-in-throat melodies and gauzy atmospheres that dreams are made of in between. It really needs no further description, just check the samples and trust your instincts; they'll be paid off in kind.
Playfully spattered acid trax, freshly cranked in Sweden
Opal Tapes speak: “YPIN and Osynlig Fetma's Grafiti Tape #3 was one of my favourite listens of 2015. A funny, composed and truly odd mixtape. This is the same thing (post Cher "Believe" cover Top 10 success)...
Half narrated by YPIN, abrupt interludes of answerphone message paranoias jump in and out the mixtape which is a balance beam of bizarro acid sketches, dying gear memorials and outright tweaked club bangers. The tape is sold with a slightly different tracklist (there's more) than the digital in this situation so make your decision and/or keep your eyes peeled to nodata for the insta-rip (bastardos). CHEERS ARVID, GOOD BYE.”
Chrononautz’ D. Glare wrenches out nearly two hours of unyielding, howling drone techno and noise abstraction with the follow-up to his 68 Samples At 68 BPM For Phased Heads , also for the major cranks at Newcastle’s Opal Tapes.
The title may seem prescriptive but it’s as arbitrary as any when you get into it, as the Yorkshire-based mutant explores practically every integer of incendiary noise, atonal wow and flutter and off-centre drum placement within the titular set-up and meter.
In that sense it’s much closer to say, the OG noise churn of Merzbow than almost anything by his peers from the noise/techno scene, treating the ‘floor as a space where bones should be melted and tendons tied in a sort of cyberpunk Shibari.
It’s long, intense, but with a persistently morning quality that keeps our attention with a repellent yet compelling sort of hypnosis. It’s definitely D. Clare/Glare’s best work to date. We recommend making up a yoga routine to this album and seeing how far you get. Then post a video of it on YouTube for everyone else to give it a try.
Bittersweet noise sculpture with a signature Opal Tapes tang
“Following releases on Always Human Tapes and Panatype during 2018, Jordan Edge aka Red Hook Grain Terminal aka R.H.G.T. has broken out as an exhilarating live performer and composer. With a background in sound art, the texture of sound is of primary importance here. His work combines recordings of refined sound installation pieces (industrial fans, vibrating membranes) with savage digital rot and hyper-active, manic beat making reminiscent of some of the Hessle roster at their most unhinged.
Tracks like 'Expand Yourself' and 'Let Me Leave' detach themselves from reality through abuse of audio software, crushing any notion of tempo and key. While 'Rebuild Me' and 'Particle Dispersion' hold up a microscope and peer into audio phenomena such as the complex worlds within liquids or the interaction of spaces when two huge fans phase against each other and an audience. Savage, surreal and disorientating music.”
Cranky AF techno structure stress tests from Joe Higgins’ Metrist, mined by steampunk child slaves for Opal Tapes’ Black Opal series from vaults deep under the UK’s crusty, punk-tattooed epidermis.
Wilfully freeform, fucked-in the-ear, and hacking the back of your legs, This is For Sore Is Just There spreads out six pieces of maladjusted techno grumbling a cursing between the piercing hi- registers and guttural subs blows of Petrol Arses to the blown-fuse raver Sometimes Rubix Cube and broken spirits of Shit Patches, to explore anti-funk syncopations in Sundried Man and an arid inversion of hard step D&B with Knights of The Templar, Here Comes Neil.
Responsible for some of the deadliest techno 12”s on Jealous God, L.I.E.S. and Russian Torrent Versions, Italy’s Domenico Crisci pulls no punches with the bare knuckle styles of Body Punishment for the ballroom brawlers at Opal Tapes.
If Regis was a rag ’n bone man who ate scrap metal for the craic, his food baby would sound like Domenico Crisci. From the sour bleep coda and gear-grinding rumble of Black Roses thru the wall-bucking pound and flying hi-hats of EX to the early Psychic Warriors Of Gaia notes to Your Scent, and particularly in the juggernaut momentum of Knife and the techno Viking march of Body Punishment, this is an out and out wounder, on the hunt for blood until somebody stops it. And that’s not going to happen any time it’s playing.
Gird thy loins. This one’s a f**king ruckus.
Millsian techno pounders from Italian producer Domenico Crisci for Newcastle’s Opal Tapes
Pushing Jeff-styled 909 rhythms into the red, your man goes on hard between the rictus jag of ‘Velvet’, a bitterly distorted slammer named ‘Valzer’, the biting-point tribalism ‘You Are Hot’, and the schranzy knocks of ‘I Lost Myself’.
Opal Tapes get back to their noisier roots with a slaughtering session from Tokyo-based english harsh noise miscreant Kenny Sanderson a.k.a. Facialmess.
What to expect? Your innards, systematically removed, stomped on, and slapped against the cold walls of an abattoir before being fed thru your gran’s rusty mince maker, the pink mush then fed back into your still conscious head after you’ve watched the whole bloody ordeal take place before you. RIYL pain.
Wanda Group crawls inside your ear and plays out an abstract dramaturgy of haptic whorls and macrocosmic events with the bleeding ooze of Central Heating, his 2nd LP for Opal Tapes after 2013’s widely acclaimed Piss Fell Out Like Sunlight slab.
Like some metaphysical Eugene Tooms character from X-Files hybridised with salad fingers, the wiry blighter flosses your head with a frayed concrète ribbon of texturhythmic pattern and long, pointy digits that really get in there and fiddle around the grey goo.
A Bag of Warm Milk evokes the sensation of extruding your mind thru a nice, warm set of pipes in a haunted OAP’s home set on the moors, or maybe the boiler room of an ancient hospital, imagining you/him as particle convected thru time and space in state of amniotic bliss, not a f**king care in the world.
On the other hand, Easy in the Future is conversely warning and alert, vacillating passages of panicked dissonance and pensive ambience picking up the rumbles of distant traffic. Of course there is possibly some deeper meaning to it all, then again, it might just be meant to feel nice and trippy and make your teeth curl.
Chuff knows, but we like it a lot.
Alvin Curran’s outstanding mesh of soaring vocals, swooping subbass and glancing percussion in ‘Cante E Vedute Del Giardino Magnetico’  arrives as part of Superior Viaduct’s indispensable, educational reissue series for its first vinyl reissue since 1981. Bravo, SP. This is blowing our minds right now!
“American composer and multi-instrumentalist Alvin Curran has remained one of the great emblems of experimental music for the last half-century. In 1966, along with Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum, Curran co-founded Musica Elettronica Viva, a seminal gesture in collective free improvisation. In the early '70s, his solo work would become a crucial bridge between minimalist traditions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Canti E Vedute Del Giardino Magnetico, Curran's solo debut, was recorded by the artist himself and issued on Ananda, the small Italian imprint started by Curran and fellow composers Giacinto Scelsi and Roberto Laneri. The piece itself was put together in the winter of 1973 and presented for the first time at Teatro Beat 72 (Rome's The Kitchen).
Encouraged by the work of Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti, Curran binds the listener to aberrant notions of place and time: blending field recordings (wind, high-tension wires, beach waves, etc.) with simple and often primitive instruments. Across two sidelong tracks, Giardino Magnetico forms a lyrical collage of synthesizer, glass and metal chimes, plastic tubes, brass and the composer's alluring voice – converging in an immersive realm of Curran’s inner / outer experiences.
This first-time vinyl reissue is recommended for fans of Harry Bertoia, Michel Redolfi and Lino Capra Vaccina.”
Opal Tapes wrest an unusually emotive suite of studies in alternate tunings from Bálint Szabó (12z) in succession with their Leaper  release and his previous work for Nico Jaar’s Other People. Think Arthur Russell’s Tower Of Meaning unravelled and riddled by Ashley Paul and NYZ. It’s arrestingly impressive stuff
“It is profoundly moving and as compelling as anything you’ll find around at the moment." (Brian Morton - The Wire Magazine)
Following his widely-acclaimed record Leaper, Gosheven leaps again and continues the never ending quest he started, to share the hidden treasures of alternate tunings. Bivaq is a natural continuation of Leaper: it is still an utterly personal record that places vulnerability in the heart of the things while it shares end-of-the-world spirits and creates unusual atmospheres of parallel universes. It is an imaginary shelter where one can feel comfortable, far from the maelstrom of the outside world, and can take a rest, collect the intuitive and creative powers while gazing at the Earth.
Almost half of the tunes were triggered by the extensive work with a group of contemporary dancers-choreographers and later became the score of the group's still running performance "Deeper". Not surprisingly the music served as an essential part of this ungraspable visionary work.”
Opal Tapes hit it right with this grotty slewage from XCDVR.
They ain’t giving much away on this one, but we can tell you that there’s five Slabs of nerve-riding electronic riddems and biting-point noise inside, plus a technoid re-slam from Basic House, who chisels out a cavernous negative relief from the face of Slab 5.
Bomb EP from melbourne’s Cop Envy, debuting on Black Opal with a banging set of UKF-infected techno and deep tech styles.
Without a shadow of a doubt it’s the label’s funkiest EP so far, keeping the vibe relatively clean, straight and simple in pursuit of sweaty reactions on the ‘floor.
BGFT sounds something like Rhythmic Theory meets early Deep Teknologi, all rotund subs, soca snare patterns and sleek tech-house hi-hats with minimalist but banging synth progressions; the tribalism shunt of Inner Another could almost be from Roska’s 2011 folder; and Handle Broker comes off like Karizma meets Ben Klock at burger king, 7am.
Just to let you know it’s a Black Opal, though, Manse bakes BFGT with extra salt and juddering, distorted break for the noisy crew.
Slacker no wave punk-funk bridging the gap betwixt The Fall and Liquid Liquid
“The latest release from D.U.D.S. is a deepening of the sinister sonic territory they have been exploring, in various forms, since they formed. Bass lines and percussion lope through the undergrowth while jagged guitars pierce the ears. Then there’s the brass section, which works less as a means of driving home a song’s point, than as a warning that whatever comes next is unlikely to be anything you expect. Lyrics are still somewhat hard to make out, emerging from the rhythmic chaos at intervals, as though you were listening to the recording of an Old Testament prophet, preaching from the ruins of the twenty first century. I don’t know what kind of band D.U.D.S. are supposed to be. There are labels you could apply to them, terms like ‘wave’ and ‘punk’ with various prefixes designed to qualify the fact that they don’t really sound like anyone else. Immediate makes that fact all the more obvious and all the more compelling.
Sometimes you catch something unexpected which resets a switch, excites and engages. I caught D.U.D.S. a couple of years ago on a whim, they were visiting Newcastle supporting their debut album. I had never heard them or of them but the moment their perfectly disjointed music hit the room, I was all smiles. Warping brass shapes through the room entwined with guitars played as percussively as they are melodically, the whole sound coalesces into a rolling ball of spiked energy.
Their take on punk rock welds the caustic atonality of The Fall to the coiled funk of Liquid Liquid. Both drenched in negative information and loaded with dance floor impact. Lyrically themes explore the human condition a lurching dread and this dichotomy of no-wave funk and the lyrical creep is the hook the grabs me/you/us and forces a regular return.”
With Radiance and Instability for Opal Tapes, Brighton’s Cremation Lily blossoms into something far lusher than his previous streak of power electronics for Strange Rules might have lead you to believe.
The sputtering vocal rage has subsided, leaving behind a calcifying quartet of ambient expressions much like the dichotomy between Prurient / Vatican Shadow’s alter egos.
He tends to a moonlit garden of decaying roses in Presence of Light whilst the glum thump and sore feel As A Sea Creature Might Watch From The Aquarium prompts comparison with Lussuria and The Sight Below.
Radiance and Instability finds him reaching for the sweetest strains of eldritch neofolk synth music, and in heavenly electro-acid-dub realms with The Shelves of Gravel, which sounds uncannily alike moments from The Connection Machine’s Painless album.
Classic Huerco S.originally released in 2012, this was the release that first brought Brian Leeds to our attention - major tip if you’re into Actress or Newworldaquarium, even those moody Burial and BoC Ambient interludes ...!!!
A much needed new edition of the knockout ‘Untitled’ tape from Huerco S, originally issued on cassette by Opal Tapes in 2012 and blending the sort of smudge-house tropes found on NWAQ’s ‘The Dead Bears’ or Actress’s ‘Hazyville’ alongside an extended 20 minute/sidelong piece of smoked-out bliss on the flip.
‘Press On (Ruff Rub)’ oozes doped-up bass flesh alongside cracked Vangelis synth strokes, making for a proper scene setter, while the tense sensuality of ‘Elma (Ruff Rub)’ is House music at its most spectral, abstract, mixing elegant melodic pirouettes with coarse drums and druggy subs.
Drifting from the ‘floor, the exquisite, BoC-like boogie massage of ‘Hiromis Theme’ acts as a sort of new age interzone before the standout flipside which gives the EP its name; a 20 minute, blissfully evocative fever-dream hitting right between the eyes of early Emeralds and Huerco’s much loved later albums for Proibito and his own West Mineral imprint.
C L A S S I C.
Imagine vaping psychedelic goat saliva in a pitch black sauna with a squad of BM-loving goblins; you nearly have a whiff of this furry black jewel from the Opal Tapes vault.
“Nihilistic muscle-wasting drones and vapid acid from Funeral Fog Records leader Jurko Haltuu and his Död associate Benjamin Syra. A follow up from their totemic "Nike Sweatshops" release which first caught my ear with it's absurdly minimal and extended forms of acid techno... (JUST DÖD IT)...
Once again Död offer darkly humourous side-glances at patriarchal structure be that muscle culture or rigorous, repetitive and essentially meaningless musics. Where Nike Sweatshops considers the production line and true value of the product, Muscle Trax make sonic the waste of matter whether loosing or gaining. As Jurko made clear to me during the design of the tape... "More muscles on it."
The artist f.k.a. Cosmin TRG tests out textured ambient techno abstractions for Opal Tapes on his latest release as Cosmin Nicolae
“Over the last decade the work of Cosmin Nicolae has been a cresting force of forward thinking electronic music. His TRG alias formed the inaugurate release on the peerless Hessle Audio with the Put You Down / Broken Heart 12” (HES001). His music has featured across Tempa, ~scape, 50 Weapons, Hotflush, the list goes on. In essence he forms an important part of the story of the cross pollination of UK “bass” music with techno and his hard work and craft has seen him maintain his fixture as a sought after talent, both producing and as a DJ.
One element which always amplified his work beyond that of many other peers is Cosmin’s dedication to crafting interesting sound from scratch, a process which precedes his production and has it roots in home- brewed experimentation with instruments, electro-acoustic process and improvisation. With this debut release under his actual name, Opal Tapes has provided a space for Cosmin to have free reign to display another, looser and more experimental side of his repertoire.
Opening track “Semnal” peers slightly at the UKG influence he has worn in his early career, the track swings forward, percussions align, but the palette of sound at use here is one of moist rustic underfloor. A forested garage, humid and rotten. “Demolare” is the first of several pieces which constrain to use an ultra-simple motif, on this occasion a bone-rattling formant beat which convolves and vibrates as gaseous synths light the way. “Simultan” evokes the Clicks & Cuts comps of yore, randomising and rearranging itself as modular systems attempt to speak a common language. “Sector Acuamarin” see’s honey sweet trembles and pin- sharp percussion dot around the stereo in another rural retreat from the science lab the remainder of the album often conjures. “Distors Util” once again revolves around the one take, the idea, allowed to bleat and operate alone in a conjured malfunction. Auxiliaries flow out to spring reverbs enriching the mass. Our A side closes with “Autopilot Escapism” where metallic membranes pip and pop atop a gorgeous perfume of digital choir, certainly one of the albums highest points.
The B opens with “Secvente” where the factory is turned back on with just enough power to clear the damp. “Jos” thumbs an ugly beat of bleating module against a harrowed soundscape, pulling back the curtain just in time to see the machines start to really fry. Odd dub shapes are thrown around during “Vapori” before “Iele” bottoms out into a dread-scape of factory churn and gut-bumping delays as the whole damn Gamelan is thrown at hyper-speed into the blender to terrifying psychedelic effect. “Sulfuric” and “Swept” close the album out with a double down of acid-burn and defected skwee.
In many ways, an impossible album to classify, it feels as if it’s creating itself at points. The ideas therein are the genesis of so many fully “functional” songs but hearing them like this brings us so much closer to someone else’s mind and fingertips.”
Aja Ireland transposes the energy of her infamous live performances into this violent and bestially expressive shocker of a first album for Opal Tapes. Whichever angle you come at it, this one should leave you ragged and gagging for another go, if you’re of the mutant persuasion. RIYL Eartheater, Aïsha Devi, The Body
“Rarely does a debut release come with such a powerful impact as this, the self titled recording by AJA.
Maximal in approach, AJA deploys rhythmic noise, bomb heavy drum machine, convolving vocal utterance and a dedicated hell-scape of field recordings, abrupt sound design and blistering drone. These recordings feel expelled rather than composed, a lashing of energy captured. The unhinged nature of her recorded work is complimented in what are soon becoming legendary live performances wherein the AJA experience is fully realised.
As a collaborator with designer LU LA LOOP, AJA’s sounds have bruised the runway of Berlin Alternative Fashion Week. Her work within the LGBTQ community running workshops in sound art and as an advocate of promoting and increasing the presence of women in electronic music, has seen her work carry throughout Europe and more recently to Brazil. It is in within the context of transgressive art, sexual identity/ politic and grass roots teaching that AJA’s work is elevated into a neo-punk.
The self-titled Opal Tapes release opens with the swaggering, drunken lurch of “Rattles”. Claustrophobically building toward release but never achieving, AJA’s voice dominates the track in an almost wordless epiphany which is re-digested by digital bacterium. “Charge” resonates in golden tone as pylon-heavy drones fry away above, the beat, still present; remains leaden, dragging it’s weight forward. “Sweat Pearls” is arrhythmic and paranoid, stuttering kick patterns charge out draped in psychotic wailing. The A side closes out with “XLR”, a mixed resolution of glorious sound design, crunching and clunking like ancient calculators while AJA’s voice soars above.
“Tuck It, Tape It” offers minute respite before the immense energy of the B side begins it’s mission to excoriate. Breathlessly oscillating between high speed industrial ache and rubbered up cleaving, the track pushes toward palpitating levels of intensity. “Black Stain” gutturally digests to follow up, textured vocals push rich drones along while grim MS-20 sits low and stern rumbling the track forward. High energy reigns back in for closer “Marbles”. A seven minute flex over a delicate ambient backdrop which climbs up and over into a full on trance denial.
AJA is cementing her place at the front of confrontational, psycho-visceral, truly new music. Opal Tapes are enormously proud to work with her on this full debut release. Her previous work can be heard on Perc’s album “Bitter Music” (track title “Spit”) and on the recent Opal Tapes compilation “The Harvest Of A Quiet Eye”.
Sweden’s Varg and Celldöd make a marriage of grim, itchy techno inconvenience for Opal Tapes with the rasping roil of Brutal Discipline dispatched under their Vargdöd portmanteau. Trust this is some of the ruddiest stuff in either producer’s catalogue of late, picked right from the back of the nose and smeared into six tracks of toxic effluence and clammy greyscale drone.
The follow-up to their split tape Krig, featuring a side a piece from Celldöd and Varg under his Black Leather Harness alias - the 1st release on the former’s Brutal Disciplin label - yields a queasy, airless experience akin to industrial waterboarding, effectively drowning their spare, brittle and bony drum machine (machine drum?) rhythms under graded layers of granular silt, holding us under at the point where light only teasingly breaks through the surface.
In that submerged half light they parlez in a language of mutant dolphin chatter and against banking walls of noise in Kennel Murder Case, whereas Starved To Death offers a gulf stream of relief of warmer ambient techno relief and Bitten brings back the coldest industrial currents. Turn it over and Elite Dogs of War tramples water with an agitated sense of purpose, followed by palpitating rhythmic noise recalling The Boats’ swerve into this realm c. Abstraction and Nomenclature, before shoring up at the purgatorial intervene of No Dogs Go To Heaven.
Curious combinations of dry East Midlands vocals with mutant computer electronics by Dane Law...
“Gary Myles (Of Habit, Spoils & Relics) and Adam Parkinson (Dane Law, Quantum Natives) combine microphone, objects and computer in their first collaboration, Empty Gesture. Unsettling ambience is struck through with Of Habit’s monotone, almost demented spoken voice. Dane Law’s jittering software recycles and accumulates, offering patterned beats and digitally crusted soundtrack. It’s both welcome and unwell. Data everywhere and yet nowhere, just passing through us, warming.
Merge sort takes advantage of the ease of merging already sorted lists into a new sorted list. It starts by comparing every two elements (i.e., 1 with 2, then 3 with 4...) and swapping them if the first should come after the second. It then merges each of the resulting lists of two into lists of four, then merges those lists of four, and so on; until at last two lists are merged into the final sorted list.
Of the algorithms described here, this is the first that scales well to very large lists, because its worst-case running time is O(n log n). It is also easily applied to lists, not only arrays, as it only requires sequential access, not random access. However, it has additional O(n) space complexity, and involves a large number of copies in simple implementations.”
Sheela Rahman a.k.a. Xosar relinquishes her first LP of hypnotic analog techno to Black Opal.
Well versed in analog hardware craft, Xosar is responsible for a string of acclaimed 12"s on Crème Organization, Rush Hour and L.I.E.S. over the last three years. 'Let Go' is her most substantial offering to date, presenting seven cuts of faded house and psychedelic techno according to a mystic agenda. They could be underground classics in an alternate uchronia where they didn't get digital until much later in their species' evolution, leaving this notional race raving to future primitive drum machines patterns like the alien Chicago thunder of 'The Pit' or mirroring Millsian techno mystery in 'Sail 2 Elderon', while 'Prophylaxis' spins off axis into broken techno functions and 'Hades Gate' opens a mind-swallowing psy-trance wormhole. Excellent artwork by John Powell-Jones, too.