Jai Paul gets the best out of another new artist with Fabiana Palladino’s ‘80s FM synth pop nugget ’Shimmer’ following up her work with everyone from Laura Groves to Jessie Ware
On ‘Shimmer’ Fabiana works a sweetly tender sound blending naif computer game idents with big, gated snares, crashing syndrums, keys and electric guitar on an inch-perfect late ‘80s pop sound riddled with filigree detail engineered by Jai Paul...
Chilly Gonzales kinda puts everything else into perspective with this time-stopping solo piano delicacy
Delivered on his personal imprint, Gentle Threat, Chilly’s ‘Pretenderness’ teases out fleeting emotions with each flurry of keys, sure to seduce anyone who’s still smote by his now classic album, ‘Solo Piano’. All points to the full ’Solo Piano III’ suite becoming another Gonzales ace...
Very canny pop pomp from Reinen, a new character on the Paul Institute, produced by label CEO, Jai Paul
Orchestral synth strings and squashed drum machine underline a magnificent mix of percolated chorales and elegant verses, like Annie and Kate Bush performing at a grand ball, with the incidental sound of captains of industry and wankered toffs cropping up in the background.
Jerman Gazz guys Max Graef and Julius Conrad on a super fruity fusion flex for Funkineven’s Apron Records.
Max Graef and Julius Conrad are Ratgrave. Electronic P-Fusion from earth. Recorded over a period of 3 years in different locations. One for fans of Tom Jenkinson, Kaidi Tatham, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Tenor.
Icy, ethereal dream-pop, like an amorphous, chimeric hybrid of Grimes, Kate Bush, and Julee Cruise. Highly intriguing…
“Hard to Please is the debut Sacred Bones 7" release by Bay Area artist Chrystia Cabral, aka SPELLLING. She released her first full length Pantheon of Me in September 2017 and it was self written, performed and produced in her apartment in Berkeley, California. SPELLLING’s powerful vocal range dances over compositions that vary from rhythmic and ethereal to crunchy and hypnotic, while all remaining singularly cohesive to her distinct and enveloping sound. Pantheon of Me was Bandcamp’s #4 record of the year in 2017 and they raved: “Cabral has it, from her careful sense of composition to her charismatic presence to her ability to communicate with her music straight through to the listener’s heart.”
Her newest tracks "Hard to Please" and "My Other Voice" (a cover of Sparks’ 1979 symphonic disco track) pair together to reflect on bittersweet passions of an obsessive romance. "Hard to Please" presents as dance music but journeys through a swirling climax to something more spiritual. On "My Other Voice" the power of SPELLLING's voice elevates this cover beyond an homage and to a unique vision entirely its own.”
Karim Maas debuts in commanding style on UVB-76 Music, backed with a sick Huren remix
A new vent for Ruffhouse’s Tom Cooper, the Karim Maas sound operates shades away from Ruffhouse’s D&B missiles, edging a style of rolling D&B that’s equally porous to influence from noise and industrial techno.
The rolling steppers juggernaut ‘c_c_e_d’ gives a solid footing for subsequent departures into crushing sci-fi sound design on ‘Lizzard King’ and an obliterated remix of the dread rave scenes in ‘Cassette_A’ by industrial techno pioneer, Dave Foster a.k.a. Huren a.k.a. Teste.
Deeper in, ‘Zombissim’ works a murkier rut of pendulous grey area techno grit echoing the dread sentiments of Pessimist, and ‘Civilize’ takes that momentum to a logical conclusion with brute, bone rattling force.
Proper chicanery from Copenhagen’s Mads Kjeldgaard on the excellent, Berlin-based Conditional label
Inspired by scenes of a burning car outside their flat in Paris, Mads takes a conceptual leap to emulate a state of emergency - or ‘Undtagelsestilstand’, literally; state of exception - in sound, opening a mental space where logic and known physics fly out of the window and leave the listener in a bewildering flux where “…all laws are foldable, perspectives may be modulated and time reversed in a deep, zen-like void.”
Definitely one for more intrepid listener and fans of rollercoasters, ‘States of Emergency’ sustains that sensation of suspended disbelief for 14 minutes of complex, unravelling rhythm dynamics and elusively mercurial tones in ‘DAF342wregsf’, whereas ’874uHD’ feels as though in transition from viscous plasma to intoxicating ether with a mind-bending quality that recalls recent Autechre or Meyer’s ace ’Struggle Artist’ side for Shelter Press.
Keeping himself admirably busy over recent times, Will Oldham returns with yet another new full-length for Drag City/Domino, a studio-recorded follow-up to last year's acclaimed Beware. For The Wonder Show Of The World, Oldham is joined by his frequent collaborator, guitarist Emmett Kelly, who on this occasion steps up to the position of "first mate and then some", as the album credits would have it. The album starts impishly with Oldham hinting at some nefarious nocturnal activities: "I once loved a girl, but she couldn't take that I visited troublesome houses" he laments during the opener, with a very capable Kelly performance at his side. Kelly features more prominently still on 'Teach Me To Bear You', which comes with wonderfully fluid, bluesy guitar soloing and reverberating vocal harmonies. After the comparative expanse of albums like Beware and The Letting Go, this record reverts to a more self-restrained instrumental palette, concentrating on the song at hand and the two central performers; their voices and guitars. Consequently there's a ramshackle, intimately lo-fi country feel to the recordings, with just a couple of extra players cropping up: Mt. Eerie's Phil Elverum assists on vocals during 'Go Folks, Go' and 'Kids', while prolific session player Shahzad Ismaily provides bass and occasional percussion. The lyrical, pared down arrangements serve these songs wonderfully well, and the tirelessly high quality of Oldham's writing seeps through every measure of mournful rustic ballads like 'Merciless & Great' or 'Someone Coming Through'. Although it takes a different angle on Oldham's music, The Wonder Show Of The World continues with the same strength of form that made Beware such a highlight of last year.
Techno don Dave Foster (Teste) follows his fecund form with a 2nd Huren mauling dispatched on Clan Destine
Physically and emotionally guttural, ‘Shitpusher Sinfonie’ finds Foster pulling away from techno proper and into more unpredictable, strung-out styles that play up to his noisy, gothic moody c*nt side.
Arriving two years after his ‘CHANGE R00M VI0LATI0N$’ tape, Huren’s latest batch is one of his most varied in memory, keening from the chopped & screwed styles of ‘[Endlostonband]’ to turgid rhythmic noise in ‘Balalaika Crypt’, and what sounds like Salem or Mark Hollis slowed 200% in the extruded blooz of ‘Immobilien Kosmiche’.
‘Spank Mag Disposal’ is a filthy black hole of head-squashing distortion, constrastin smartly with the prolapsing relief of ’Temirtau’, while ‘Поп 3итĭt¥’ comes off like a severely blunted mix of the ‘Lyubov’ bewt which closed his recent Teste 12”.
mhah mos hit square between the ears of Lord Tusk, Black Zone Myth Chant and John T. Gast on their mystically frazzled debut EP with Kinlaw’s Ceramics label
In ‘loot’ they traverse a steeply psychedelic 10 minutes of sawn-off and slowed-down voices, lysergic synth licks and whirligig rhythms that black out and collapse into mystic ambient dimensions with an abstract but absorbing logic.
With ‘gov’ mos pursues a soggier rut of slow techno chug into an increasingly thick and hazy maze of strobing chords and noisy decay that eventually breaks down under its own density to a whimpering synth voice.
Continuing a home run of zingers on Jai and Anup Paul’s Paul Institute, Rutheven lets his soul flow on the memorably infectious ‘Hypothalamus’...
The kind of tune that will call to mind a dozen others that you can’t place a finger on, ‘Hypothalamus’ is an instant anthem of the kind that should be A-listed on commercial radio in a perfect world, and makes up for so much overblown, too-many-cooks soul currently in circulation.
Funky and f**ked-up studies in DIY dance music and noise from Gunnar Wendel (Kassem Mosse) as DJ Residue for TTT
Recorded over the course of “five days in summer in an apartment with no AC in New York with random instruments found inside the apartment (a moog radioshack synth & two zildjian cymbals).”, the results are a testament to Wendel’s ingenuity and economy in making the most of what he’s got to hand.
The results resemble Powell oddities as much as the worn-down grooves of Shamos or the stoic minimalism of Thomas Brinkmann, except more lo-fi. On the A-side he roves from blank-eyed and muggy drones in ‘Blackline’ to the off-centre pump and patter of ‘Hand-Crafted Among The Stars’, and a sort of salty, needling electro-acid on ‘Triple-Arched Gateway’. On the B-side, he tramples from the discordant triage of ‘Meditation Fee’ to the pulsing slug of the title track and a sort of free jazz blatz to finish with Shallow Bowl.
Deeper, jazzier tricks from LT, carrying the vibe to RSI from earlier appearance on YAM Recordings
It’s pleasant, summery stuff with noteworthy cuts in the jazzy NYC house sensibilities of ‘Untitled (Chesney)’, and, better yet, the gauzy jungle dream sequence of ‘Forest Floor’, which sounds like a melted LTJ Bukem.
Bradley Zero and Mali Baden-Powell offer extra production on the other two tracks, a jazzy breakbeat number named ‘Mesosphere’, and ‘North Circular’.
White Ring aid in the current Witch House reflux with ‘Gate Of Grief’, a bittersweet nod to classic Salem, o0o00 and the Tri Angle cabal, spliced with zeitgeisty EBM and industrial memes for effect
“WHITE RING were originally formed by Bryan Kurkimilis and Kendra Malia, before they were joined by Adina Viarengo, with Bryan and Adina currently touring as a duo. One of the most acclaimed proponents of the "Witch House" movement, WHITE RING blend heavy, distorted electronics with eerie, unsettling vocals. However, their new material, created over the course of seven years, pushes the boundaries further, subverting genre ideas and mashing them all together, with industrial, metal, rave, chopped and screwed, rap, grunge, neo folk, post punk and new wave all in the mix.”
London-based label and studio Speedy Underground catalogue their 3rd year of operations
Roving between Warmduscher’s scuzzy garage rock, spiky indie-pop from Melt Yourself Down, hip hop from Guilty Simpson, and a swell of psyche rock from Flamingods.
Sci-fi bass/techno tribalism from Australia via Canada’s Infinite Machine
“The concept for the 'Terran' EP is centred around a lone human drifting through space, planet to planet. Who this person might be is irrelevant – it can be anyone, any gender, any race. What is important is that this person is undergoing a treacherous journey deep into the unknown. They are alone on this journey and it is no easy task, but their resilience and determination to carry on is what drives them forward.
The premise within this is based around the idea of each individuals own suffering, each person who walks this earth faces their own obstacles, which ultimately at its core is beyond their control. Much like the Terran drifting through space, the unknown of space parallels the unknown future of life, and the endless possibilities that perpetually arise throughout it.The EP is presented as a sense of hope – encouragement to all that even though they often drift through their spiritual life alone, they are not alone on this journey. Each Terran faces the blackness of space in their own way, and they too can choose how they perceive this arduous, yet immensely worthwhile experience.
What might seem like a crushing, over encumbering existence, at times, only adds to the worth of life. Life is a challenge – and it should be – as overcoming the challenge and powering on, despite the odds, makes each day and each moment (a keepsake if you will) innumerably more valuable.
There is no real sense of completion within this journey too, as 'home' is something that the Terran will not experience again. 'Home', or 'Earth' in many ways is birth through this allegory, and every moment from this point becomes the struggle of existence. One can never step backwards to another moment in time that has already passed, as the world will not allow you to return to your previous spiritual self. The only true and just way is forward, further into the abyss of the universe.”
Metasplice return an absorbingly elusive, minimalist shadow of their former, noisy selves with ‘Mirvariates’ for Will Bankhead’s The Trilogy Tapes
Following a slight hiatus and a canny rethink of their sound, Metasplice’s first new studio album in five years, Mirivates defines the Philadelphian duo’s acute inversion from noisy roil to shimmering lower case sounds across seven tracks embracing negative space as a vital new part of their music.
Gauging by the skinny, barely-there aesthetics of Marinates, one would be forgiven for thinking that Metasplice only submitted the scrubbed stems of the album to TTT. However, closer listening reveals a series of oblique, abstract electro-acoustic ecosystems that bristle with virulent energy, perhaps emulating the varied ambiences of a space station (“Mir”?), the coded inner dialogues of stressed out machinery, or the sound of the Internet of Things plotting their take-over of humanity in encrypted electro-magnetic chatter.
Over the course of seven tracks they pay special attention to volume dynamics and texture, with fathomless abstract shapes looming from the darkness in persistently reorienting and amorphous style, as the imagined “walls” of each piece seem to dissolve and establish new dimensions within each cut, from the tentatively perilous explorations of ‘Cirrension’, to the free jazz-like squabble of ‘Teleric’, thru the clipped gamelan resonances of ‘Vase Weight Re-Route’, and the Xth Reeflexion-liek fuss of ‘Aridtaq’, and up to the parting, side-long denouement of ‘Speculen’, where a melodic spirit seems to be seductively struggling thru their finely graded textures and airborne sediments.
It’s all effectively and undoubtedly a radical break with past Metasplice releases, reeling away from the ‘floor to somewhere much more abstract and difficult to properly fathom with words. It’s best to just treat these recordings like seashells scavenged from the liminal shores of perception, awaiting your close ear inspection and interpretation.