Holuzam is a new label from Prícncipe Discos co-founders José Moura and Márcio Matos. The second release on the label is a sublime disco missive from Macau, China, recorded between 1989 and 1993, bubbling up from a blindspot to offer a stunning package of sounds lesser, or even never, heard beyond private archives or Portugal’s borders...
Dwart has been the vessel for journalist and musician António Duarte and his sometime musical partner, Manuela Duarte, since 1985. They played gigs at home in Portugal with Telectu in support, before moving to Macau - then a Portuguese territory in China - in search of new sources of inspiration. They would find it everywhere from Macau’s karaoke bars to the discos of Ghangzhou, over the border in the hot, humid megatropolis of South East China. The three tracks on ‘Taipei Disco’ are their best recordings made during this era, rendering a mouth-watering bounty of exotic late ‘80s dance music heavily inspired by Canton pop, and patently compatible with everything from kosmische disco and proto-Goa trance to the current swell of suave, retro-futurist styles from Pye Corner Audio and Legowelt to L.I.E.S.’ KWC releases.
The original ‘Taipei Disco’ is a 12 minute disco dream named after the only Guangzhou club which would play Anglo-Saxon pop and rock alongside the Canton pop standards.The club’s DJ would end up playing Dwart’s tune, and eventually invited him to play live keys over its backing track at the club. In 1993 Dwart recorded the exquisite ‘Taipei Disco (Live)’ track at the China Pop venue in Macau, replete with solos and extra strings, to a frontline of can-can dancers on the ‘floor.
Completing the story and this superb record is ‘Red Mambo (Impromptu)’, a balmier jam with members of legendary Cape Verdean group Os Tubarões, recorded in a packed studio on the 19th storey of a Macau tower block overlooking the water. A perfect ending to an exotic, coolly entrancing record spritzed with character and charm.
No rest for the wickedest Analog Africa, bustling retro-futurist with Gyedu-Blay Ambolley’s volley of electrified Ghainain highlife, from the disco beeps of ‘The Message’ to the dubbed-out ‘Simigwa Soca’ and the unmissable synthy disco heat of ‘Burkina Faso’. Impossible to find in any original form, this is just unmissable for the Afro-disco fiends!
“Prepare yourself for new directions in Afro-funk. During the 1980s, ghanaian bandleader Gyedu-Blay Ambolley began to experiment with electronic instruments, and the result was a potent cocktail of highlife, funk, exploratory synths and righteous vocals, the sound of a restless genius intent on pushing the traditional sounds of highlife into a brave new future. On July 20 Analog Africa will release a 12” containing four of Ambolley’s hardest-driving excursions to the outer limits of eighties funk.
By the end of the 1970s, Ambolley was already a legendary figure on the ghanaian music scene. A drummer, turned guitarist, turned bassist, turned lead vocalist, he rose to prominence during the late 1960s, serving with countryman Ebo Taylor in the Stargazers and the Uhuru Dance Band before launching his own career with ‘Simigwa-do’, the 1972 hit that propelled him to West African stardom. As a founding member of the Apagya Show Band and the Complex Soundz, he stretched the boundaries of highlife with electric instruments, funky rhythms and socially charged lyrics in Fante and English.
If he had retired in 1978, Ambolley’s place in the history of ghanaian music would have been secure. Instead, he dissolved the Complex Soundz and embraced the synthesizer. With a new band, Zantoda Mak III, he recorded ‘The Message’, a seven minute funk workout built on a highlife foundation, and decorated with shimmering synths. Recorded in 1980, the song became a hit that would change the direction of Ambolley’s music: over the next decade, electronic instruments played a much larger role in his sonic experiments.
‘The Message’ receives a long overdue re-release on this 12" along with three other peaks from Ambolley’s eighties output. The futuristic funk of ‘Akoko Ba’ strips down the rhythm, raises the intensity of the vocals, and adds a dose of serpentine saxophone. On the B-side, ‘Simigwa Soca’ sets classic highlife horns against an unshakable bass groove, while the incredible ‘Burkina Faso’ is Ghana’s great lost electro-funk gem, a sleek construction of robotic bass, call-and-response vocals, and fat stabs of slippery synth.
Difficult, if not impossible to find for decades, Analog Africa is proud to make Gyedu-Blay Ambolley’s extraordinary eighties recordings available to a wider audience.”
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.”
Jai and Anup Paul pluck out this deep pop pearl from Hira, one of the newest recruits to their Paul Institute label...
Cut from similar, purple cloth as label CEO Jai Paul, ‘Red Light Drive’ finds yung Hira glowing in the middle of sparking Linn drums and cruising cyber-bass strokes, working a proper classic yet futuristic pivot that puts a lot of contemporary boogie into stark relief.
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.
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.