rRoxymore leaves a smart 2nd mark on DBA with the harbinger house of Prodome and more mutant, tribalist electronics in Thoughts of an Introvert, Pt.1.
It’s really all about the 1st cut, building bendy funk on a tense, gasping refrain that lures the ‘floor into a malleable state where the breakdown’s vocal about the doomsday clock and impending apocalypse takes on a strange, juxtaposed poignancy.
Kosmische-toned techno momentum from Avalon Emerson
Following fluttering trajectories on One More Fluorescent Rush and rustling up some digital dust with the grubbing drums and squawking avian electronics of Finally Some Common Ground.
Exciting new label Lost Futures tap “into the inherent idealism of rave” with this killer 1992 techno session by Arno Peeters, Sander Friedeman and Richard van der Giessen aka CultureClash, who were originally conceived at the behest of Irdial Discs’ Akin Fernandez for an hour long live performance on his Kiss FM show.
For the first time, that show has been edited to individual tracks and made available on vinyl, some twenty five years after various failed attempts to properly release its seminal slice of dancefloor history. Fans of Psychick Warriors Of Gaia, Underground Resistance, Muslimgauze or Utrecht’s U-Trax need to check this one, pronto!
Originally converging under the moniker, The Awax Foundation, the trio from Utrecht recombined their vast, personal reserves of ethnic and traditional music samples from across the world with an Atari 1040ST, a cheap mixing desk, synths and FX to effectively assuage techno’s increasingly masculine stomp. The results essentially picked up where their fellow countrymen, Psychick Warriors Of Gaia left with 1989’s tribalist EBM templates, pushing farther along those lines to a loose, driving, hypnotic sound which swerved accusations of “ethno-techno” appropriation thanks to their sincerity and results which have evidently stood the test of time.
CultreClash thus stands a temporal crossroads which perhaps resonates more with our modern times than any other. In 1992, a decade after the swell of new age, and years after the future-primitive thrust of Chicago house, or even Detroit guys fetishising Japanese electronics and synth-pop, the techno movement was in full flow, cosign to the grasp of white europeans who, on the one hand, wanted to make it more commercial, for bigger raves and the charts, while on the other hand, others wanted to explore its esoteric, aerobic mystic potential, such as these Dutch dudes.
The results of their endeavour form a killer set of DJ tracks and a necessary time capsule from that era, hingeing all kinds of mad polyrhythms, chants and sampled instrumental tones around rolling kicks and natty electronics. In the wrong hands that could have come out terribly, but these guys got it bang right with tracks like the febrile, heatsick ace Bad Dream, or like a tuffer NAD with the brooding NYC-Nonplace vibes of Mystic (House Dub) or the mesmerising acid fuss of U.U Inlands (Halal Edit) and the rolling breakbeat bustle of Zitarz, while making room for more spacious, wistful rave kisses in the sloshing, Muslimgauze-like Mama Africa and Asian Approach, or the sufi-esque dervish, Yatiyaña.
CultureClash weren’t the first and won’t be the last to try this sound, but they did it with timeless style and effect that totally deserves this reissue, which we can’t say about many other similar attempts.
One for the dreamers of the dream.
Hyperdub serve a distinctive debut proper from Chicago footwork mutator DJ Tre following his appearance on their Afterlife tribute to DJ Rashad.
Joining a fine squad of head-hunted footwork aces on the label, DJ true keeps his end well up with five minimal, high-pressure missiles flexing out between the crunchy juke to jungle rush of It’s House Hybrid - imagine Tango & Ratty reworking vintage Chi house with DJ Funk - along with the tightly percolated organ vamps and bass of A Hammond Jam, the natty jazz chord chops of Get Dat Ass Up! and The Rhodez Jam!, and freakier cybernetic funk in The Robot Malfunction.
Ruthless D&B futurisms cherry-picked by Goldie for Metalheadz.
No doubt, Fracture is on a roll right now. Practically clipping the heels of his Junglist footwurkers for Astrophonica and that killer Digital & Spirit remix, this pair of cuts apparently caused Goldie to exclaim "I'm pulling my teeth out wanting to beat the guy next to me with a snare and 10" dubplate!!!!
Bicep dream of the ‘90s, again, with the next precursor to Glue, the Norn Iron duo’s debut album.
A-side is the album’s breaksy posh trance title track; B-side turns toward peaking electro-house on Metro, and fades out to the misty-eyed acidic trip hop of DLR.
After rebooting NovaMute with Nicolas Bougaïeff’s Cognitive Resonance bangers, Terence Fixmer joins their fold with the nerve-dancing prod of Dance Of The Comets, plus the scudding stealth missile Orion, and Ø or Aleksi Perälä-esque bleep techno purity in The Silence.
First ever vinyl edition of Justin Broadrick's crushing industrial turns as JK Flesh for Hospital Productions, combining the Suicide Estate and Antibiotic Armageddon releases for a greyscale spectrum of brutalist techno / abyssal acid dub / tramadol tribalism / noxious noise textures that's highly recommended if you're into Regis, Birmingham at night, Kareem...
It's an unflinchingly bleak representation of the world described in hard edged techno and shot thru with moments of affective, synthy pathos. In sonic and literal tone, the record forms a stark reflection on Justin K Broadrick Brummie stomping grounds, using demolished tower blocks as cues for some of the album’s most affective moments, such as the wrecking ball assault of Bayley Tower [New Mix], the rubbled rolige of Stoneycroft Tower, or the ‘marish zumby techno lurch of Bromford Bridge Estate, and all in a way that surely dovetails with the perceptions of anyone who has lived in a built up British area, or anywhere else with lots of concrete and little sunlight.
The other half of the tracks are taken from and titled in reference to Antibiotic Armageddon - the inevitable point when pill-gobbling citizens of the world are no longer protected against old viruses, and new ones. The tone of these cuts is understandably bleak af, too. Tamiflu dry-wretches a windswept passage of bummed-out dub techno breaks, where Squalene [New Mix] glumly follows suit with the clammy synth malaise of Ethylene Glycol and the knee-buckled crawler Thimerosal, which sounds like one of his Godflesh tracks in the process of terrifying itself to death.
Consummate collaborator Fred Walmsley aka Dedekind Cut tags in Mica Levi, Prurient, Elysia Crampton, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, Dirch Heather, and Zack Hill for a multi-tiered, heavily abstracted session following from the $uccessor album for NON, his American Zen album with Hospital Productions, and collabs with Chino Amobi and Rabit.
Yeh, he’s been a busy cat of late, and his latest self-released trip, recorded between fall 2016 and summer 2017 shows no sign of that creative energy abating. In almost palindromic form, The Expanding Domain rises and falls with absorbingly dramatic cadence, entering with the decompression chamber ambience of Cold Bloom and the escalating terror of Lil Puffy Coat in solo mode, to bring in Dirch Heather’s soured synths and Osborne-Lanthier’s deconstructed EDM palette on the unrelenting anti-banger Fear In Reverse II, then calving off into an electrical storm with Prurient on the title cut, and bringing us back to a numbed null point with Mica Levi’s silvery piano refrain and Elysia Crampton’s angelic touch in Das Expanded, Untitled Riff.
If you were in any doubt as to this guy’s breadth of vision, this EP will see you right.
Two rare tracks by Coil, commissioned by Sub Rosa. Never released on vinyl LP before.
Seeing as it’s now open season for Coil reissues, Sub Rosa understandably throw their hat in the ring with Another Brown World and Baby Food, taken from their two respective compilations, Myths 4 • Single Twilight In Çatal Hüyük , and Chaos In Expansion  - both released on vinyl for the first time.
Another Brown World catches Jhonn, Sleazy and Danny Hyde layering tape loops into slyding hyaline glissandi under-pinned by a gorgeous, percolated synth voice and organ refrain and perfused by vocals recorded by Sleazy at the Animist Monastery situated at the Summit of Mount Popa in Pagan, Burma. In Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson’s own words, “This is a live recording: hums, clicks from equipment etc. are an integral and intentional part of the music.” Save for that hoary electric guitar solo in the middle, it’s a sublime piece of Coil.
Baby Food makes its first ever vinyl appearance on the B-side. Recorded in a storm, the 12 minute piece is the first track to use Coil’s Sidereal Sound recording process, “a continuation and advancement of the deep listening theories as demonstrated on the album ‘Love’s Secret Domain’”. It’s a seductive display of plasmic chords and impish organ figures, tilting towards a whirligig mix of eldritch and outernational scales with psychedelic effectt
Batu’s Timedance shift into 2nd gear for 2017 with Ploy’s canny set of percussive studies, Intrigued By The Drum, following on from 2016’s Iron Lungs 12” which was key piece of the label’s influential banner year.
In four parts the London-based producer really gets into the mechanics of his thing while also flowering mor textured new ideas, manifest in the nuanced triplet wiggle and grafts-like atmospheric sculpturing of Intrigued By The Drum and to beautifully wistful ends with the ersatz tribal shimmy of Zoom with its elusive, bumblebee clarinet line.
Blow Poke is perhaps the EPs’ most rugged and dancefloor dedicated move, built around a fluid rhythmelodic cadence and rock solid bass pressure, before Bad Seed catches him tilting to a sort of sloshing halfstep wade rinsed with wicked FX and strings to sound like vintage Frictional Shake in hyperspace.
Jon Hassell’s entrancing Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) - the follow-up to his seminal Fourth World Vol.1 Possible Musics featuring Brian Eno - sees a much needed reissue, now expanded with a bonus track and available on any format for the first time since the early ‘90s.
Recorded at Bob and Daniel Lanois’s Toronto studio in 1981, Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) was titled after and inspired by a paper from visionary anthropologist Kilton Stewart, whose visits to a remote tribe, the Senoi of the Malay highlands, revealed a connection between their happiness and well-being and the tribe’s morning ritual practice of family dream-telling; sharing with each other and discussing the events of their previous night’s dreams, which they would also relay to other tribes in a process of mutual education and enlightenment.
Using this knowledge, plus samples of water-drumming by a tribe from the same region, the Semelai, and his patented, processed trumpet and electronics, Hassell created a definitively solo follow-up to his work with Eno, although as he points out in the liner notes, other personnel such as the Velvet Underground’s 1st drummer, Walter DeMaria also feature.
It all revolves around the central, 10 minute Malay, where a choir of his signature, warbling harmonics scat and flit over the sound of sloshing water drumming, cut-up and processed with soft gong hits in the kind of rhythms which Autechre would reprise algorithmically many years later. Either side of Malay is a series of lush postcards which come alive in your hands, ears, from the agitated fanfare of Chor Moiré to the lissom, plasmic regaling of Dream Theory’s bowl gongs and diffused hoots, thru mind-melting display of hypercoloured harmonic plumage in Datu Bintung At Jelong.
The only, beautiful, difference between the original pressing and this is the ending. Instead of passing out with the deftly genteel romance of Gift Of Fire, it’s now extended by inclusion of bonus track Ordinary Mind, relaying 3 minutes of windswept chants and glinting, liquid drumming that perfectly animates and articulates Hassell’s dream.
Quite literally the definitive and perhaps most complex of all post-rock albums is given a remastered reissue 23 years since its original release back in 1994. If you’re into Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock / Spirit of Eden and you don’t know this album - welcome to your new obsession.
Back in 1994 Hex sounded like a new kind of music - albeit one guided by foundations laid by Talk Talk on that pair of albums half a decade earlier, as well as by so much of what was going on in the electronic scene at the time - and especially electronic music’s fascination with dub (the Kevin Martin compiled Macro Dub Infection that came out the following year provides a good measure of this intersection, featuring everyone from Coil to Tortoise and 4 Hero). In hindsight it’s easy to join the dots from what was happening in Chicago around the nebulous web of artists revolving around Thrill Jockey and the more esoteric end of UK’s electronic scene, but at the time it really did sound like something completely alien.
Bark Psychosis suffered from the derision with which Post Rock was ultimately treated by the British music media at the time, but Hex has grown in stature over the years, and it has aged beautifully - a perfect marriage of stoned ambition, innovative recording techniques and a refusal to settle on one stylistic trajectory.
It laid foundations for so much of what was to follow over the following decade to the extent that it’s bewildering that it hasn't been given the accolades it so obviously deserves. Perhaps this new, gorgeously remastered edition will put that right.
'Versions' leaves out the vocal accompaniment and exposes the production as it drifts off into instrumental effervescence.
Look back at our archive of reviews for releases on the Burial Mix label and you'll probably realise that we've always had a reverential approach to what these people do. This second installment divides itself into Vocal and Instrumental "Versions" (the Vocal tracks are collected seperately on a second LP), displaying the last seven releases in their entirety, plus the newer "Mash Down Babylon" (a new take on the awesome, rare as hell "March Down Babylon"), and features a quite simply breathtaking collection of tracks that in their time have all been singles of the week for us here. Just thinking of the majestic exuberance of "King in My Empire", or the breathtaking midnight spaciousness of "Making Histroy" brings goosebumps to this already seasoned listener, and that's just an opening gambit.
On Lee Gamble’s stunning first major work since Koch , the rave dreamer reawakens to decode and interpret his hallucinations for Hyperdub, coming to terms with the idea of Mnestic Pressure - a confluence of individual and collective pressures on contemporary memory - in an astonishly febrile, vivid collision and projection of jungle and ambient structures.
With his move to Hyperdub following a string of modern classics for PAN, Lee Gamble has effectively reset his sound to realise a more intricate, restless matrix of ideas that seems to emulate the sound of a mind that’s too wired to sleep, rushing from an overload of inputs which it struggles to make sense of. In this case the struggle is perfectly sur/real, making the listener unsure of whether he’s awake or dreaming, or perhaps experiencing some combination of the two ostensibly opposing states of mind.
As with his previous releases, Mnestic Pressure finds Lee acting as a conduit or plugged in psychopomp, absorbing the physical and mental pressures of life in London and online, and then transmuting, firming up those feelings in an elusively abstract style that conveys the daily bombardment of the senses, and by turns the memory, in a way which the written word will never fully capture.
But in a marked departure from earlier releases, Mnestic Pressure reveals a subtle but decisive shift away from straighter 4/4 patterns towards a constant, broken flux of meters and velocities which can perhaps be heard to reflect the shift in popular perception of time as a linear sequence, to a more complex, difficult-to-grasp weave of timelines which expand and contract, sometimes folding in on themselves or short circuiting in a sort of Déjà vu or jolting hypnic jerks.
It’s really best consumed from front-to-back in order to really allow that tempestuous momentum to take hold, as it plays out like a live or DJ set in some of the more slippery passages, especially the psychoacoustic smudge between East Sedducke, 23 bay Flips and Swerva, and the deft transitions from You Hedonic’s amniotic suspension to the glancing arrhythmic ballistics of UE8, but the DJs will also find very useful parts to extract in the Rian Treanor-meets-Demdike Stare flex of Ignition Lockoff, and his absolutely deadly jungle bullet, Ghost.
For our money, it’s Lee’s most essential release since Diversions 1994-1996.
In August 1958, French producer Marcel Romano sent a telegram to Monk’s manager, Harry Colomby: “INTERESTED IN THELONIOUS MONK MUSIC. STOP. FOR MOVIE…” By the end of July 1959, Marcel Romano organized the recording sessions for the soundtrack of ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960’, the French movie directed by Roger Vadim. As yet, Monk’s major contribution to this movie - and only contribution to a full-length movie ever - has never seen the light of the day apart from its video form. Until Now.
"Thelonious Monk (1917-1982) was at the height of his powers when he entered Nola Penthouse Studios in New York City on July 27, 1959. The recording contains all the music utilized in the film, as well as some tracks which were not heard on screen. Sam Records / Saga celebrate the Centennial (1917-2017) of one of jazz’s greatest figures with the release of ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960’. "
Luke Younger's Helm returns to PAN with four vital incursions marking his first new material since the sessions that birthed his acclaimed 'Impossible Symmetry' and 'Silencer' releases these last couple of years.
Since those releases Younger has been hard at work building his Alter label into one of the most interesting imprints around whilst also honing a petrifying, improvised live set that's turned our bones to stone every time we've heard it. 'The Hollow Organ' delivers four tracks of spirit-grinding constructs gleaned from a visceral palette of tormented machine voices, sub-zero drones and rhythmic clangour.
The EP's opening gambit, however, is the real standout here - sounding quite unlike anything we've heard from him before; it's practically his concession to ambient pop in the first stages, revolving around padded chords, vocal and Gas-like thrum before devolving into manic tape spool and dank electro-acoustic treatments. 'Analogues' follows with glinting rhythmic tape loops churning forth to a pitch black climax, while 'Spiteful Jester' sounds like malfunctioning machinery, a blood-letting of iron drones and clanking percussion, before the title track finishes the EP off with a 10-minute drone piece that acts as a catharsis of sorts. What's so good about this material is that it holds so much back - there are moments that feel made for an obvious drop or a percussive blowout, but Younger keeps it taut to the end, the tension never quite abating.
Frieder Butzmann is a veteran of the Berlin underground, a former member of DAF, and Din A Testbild alongside Gudrun Gut, and collaborator with Genesis P. Orridge, Thomas Kapielski and Wolfgang Müller.
'Wie Zeit Vergeht' is his contribution to Pan's increasingly essential canon of experimental material, following incredible releases by Keith Fullerton Whitman, Evan Parker, and Joseph Hammer, among others. Influenced by aspects of Stockhausen's work and the influence of dadaist avant-garde composition which he first encountered nearly 40 years ago, Butzmann manipulates sounds created using the infamous 'Black Box' modular system made at STEIM in Amsterdam in 1995, together with cut-up and dismantled lyrics excerpted from Stockhausen's 'Telemusik' and 'Kurzweien' to create an intuitive and naively raw collage of acousmatic sound, electronics and vocals.
His work eschews technical finesse in favour of articulating his ideas through eccentric sounds. Both sides travel a diverse topography of cut-up concrete sounds, noise blurts and disorientating acoustics conducted with a knowingly unhinged aesthetic. Utterly unmissable.
Janus crew's M.E.S.H. unpackages a vast internal world across the ornate topographies of his incredible debut album.
Combining scything club dynamics and Hollywood sound design with a sample bank of archaic renaissance instruments, 'Piteous Gate' describes a hyperreal place-out-of-time framed by matrices of tessellating grids and vapour-trace contours rent in near-VR detail. Collapsing the stadium-sized structures of "festival trance" with oblique elements of baroque improv and jump-cut club tempos, his collages present an incisive critique of dance music's affect and perceived boundaries, especially in light of our current state of information overload.
Written quickly over winter 2015, it feels like M.E.S.H's attempt to parse the world around him thru the prism of his CPU - a world of flux variously informed by 24 hour news coverage, the unprecedented fingertip access of Youtube and google to unlimited culture, and one of increasingly fluid gender boundaries. Bearing that in mind, 'Piteous Gate' is an acute, if abstracted, benchmark of nowness; from the opener's cinematic rush; thru to the sim stim renaissance fantasies of 'The Black Pill'; the amorphous dancefloor ambiguity of 'Epithet''s worksite percussions or the rubber-necking structure of 'Methy Imbiß'; or the sparring computer gamers of 'Kritikal & X; he appears to turn the machine inside out, diffusing its exoskeleton to reveal the sheer noise gradients and writhing mechanical logic beneath, and, in the process, question the emotional value we now draw from these aesthetics and dynamics. That said, it could also be taken as proper sci-fi action joy ride, and comes hugely recommended to fans of his Janus crew (Lotic, Kablam, T C F), Autechre or Arca.
'Hecker Leckey Sound Voice Chimera' presents a radical mashup of works by two probing, multidisciplinary artists among the most vital of their generation.
First realised as part of a two day performance at Tate Modern called 'Push and Pull', it offers a mutant configuration of Leckey's vocal track from 'GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction' (the eerie inner monologue of a Samsung fridge, as heard on the B-side of his 'Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore' vinyl and viewable on youtube), scrambled, decomposed and modulated with Hecker's '3 Channel Chronics' - a sound installation also debuted in 2010, where distinct sounds from three suspended speakers were combined and altered by visitors movements.
The resultant combination, a piercingly abrasive sonic warp visually reflected in the album artwork, intersects both artists' work on a number of levels: the ideas of cultural transcendence core to Leckey's work, correlating with notions of chimerisation - the synthesis of genetically discrete elements; the 3-headed beast of Greek mythology - algorithmic chronics (morphing patterns) and psychophysical audition central to Hecker's practice. Ultimately it sounds utterly freakish, somewhere between the voices of T-1000's mimetic poly-alloy in T2: Judgement Day as he's lowered into molten metal by Arnie's T-800, and a seriously frustrating skype call to Polynesia, if you follow.
No doubt it's not easy listening, but it is deeply satisfying- both conceptually and aesthetically - if you like that kinda thing.
Perhaps best known for his Bird Show releases on Kranky, Ben Vida delivers a striking entry of psycho-acoustic trickery for PAN with 'esstends esstends esstends'.
In case you're wondering, the "psycho-acoustic trickery" we mention is an earwax-loosening and hallucinatory experimental technique of expanded and localised spatialisation while resonating at frequencies which stimulate the microscopic bones inside your ear into hearing things which might not necessarily be there. If you've heard recent releases by Florian Hecker, Marcus Schmickler or KFW and found yourself feeling a bit disturbed, you could attribute the fact to their use of these visceral processes.
Basically, that's what Ben is doing here, to extraordinary effect. As the label explains, "...using just intoned pitch combinations to produce difference tones and harmonic distortions, sound materials are created that emanate from both the playback speakers and inner ear of the listener. By engaging a sense of aural perception and sound localization in relationship to the compositional structure, these pieces act to reframe the listening experience and encourage an engagement with, not only the form and aesthetic of the music, but the sonic space a recorded piece of music projects. Higher amplitude will help to reveal."
Strongly recommended for all forward thinking lovers of electronic music - this is another wonderful addition to PAN's sprawling, always fascinating catalogue.
From behind your ear, PAN pluck a blink-and-miss exclusive: a 35 minute audio response by Mark Fell (Sensate Focus) to source material by Heatsick, somewhere between cover version, remix and deconstruction.
Along the A-side 'X' plane, tones are exploded, harmonies refracted with HD dissonance; time is extruded, made ductile yet intangible. On the B-side 'Y' axis hydraulic undulations and roiling tones expand and contract between kinetic kink and gyroscopic funk with the pointillist, freeform choreography of a Merce Cunningham piece. One for the dancers and the DJs that know!
Steven Warwick aka Heatsick cocks a unique and compelling perspective on contemporary dance music with his bold follow-up to 'Intersex', a gorgeous, layered work that those of you into DJ Sprinkles should check out without delay.
Now woven with leaner dancefloor muscle, the deeply funked views of 'Re-Engineering' are characterised by the artist as a "cybernetic poem". We can take this quite literally in his use of spoken word in pieces such as 'Re-Engineering' with its Chris Morris-esque wordplay, and the alliterative suppositions of 'Speculation', or in more abstract terms on his sound poem, 'Accelerationista', but it's maybe best understood as the artist taking license to dissect and distill the world around him. Making reference to the philosophies of Timothy Morton and Manuel DeLanda, his music implies connections between the microcosmic systems of dance music and the liquid ecology of emergent economies, cities, plants, populations and cybernetic feedback. We hear this as a mix of Brazilian samba thru Oasis covers on the U-Bahn to ambiguous field recordings meshed with the sexiest, sinuous house grooves synching spoiled sample textures with oily yet frictional rhythms bent for the corporeal. It's a visceral album that gets under your skin, sparking your bonce, beautifully balancing concept and effect with playful dexterity. We love it and reckon you might, too...
Luke Younger's Helm undergoes a captivating metamorphosis from noise agitator to industrial ambient alchemist with 'Olympic Mess', his new album for PAN.
Prompted by a period of personal turmoil and a chaotic lifestyle on the road playing support for Danish punks, Ice Age; Younger expands his sonic palette here with nods to the loop-based structures and textural sensuality of balearic disco, dub techno and industrial music. When filtered into his patented mix of hi-fidelity electro-acoustic process, field recordings and intricate noise, the juxtapositions seemingly consolidate the exhausting, narcotic highs of playing live night-after-night with the serenity of ambient come-down tones and suspended states of dance/noise music delirium.
Likewise, this aesthetic could be read to reflect his recording environments, folding in the flux of people, concrete, steel and electricity between New York, Berlin and London across its ten tracks, manifest from the schizoid warp of 'Don't Lick The Jacket' to the dense grind and explosive euphoria of 'Outerzone 2015', or the unsettling intimacy of found sound in the monologue of 'Strawberry Chapstick'. We'd also read a certain Ballardian element to the whole album, from the kinaesthetic crush of the record cover's car wreck detail, to the album's titular reference to London's layered, evolving skyline, and the visceral tang and vibration of blood, emotions and momentum inherent to transient life on the road and in the city.
RIYL Tim Hecker, Deepchord, Posh Isolation.
Kouhei Matsunaga's series of 'Dance Classics' arrives at a 3rd volume of deviant techno-tronics for PAN.
Slicker, bassier than previous episodes, the emphasis here is on rolling grooves rent with playfully crafty sound design, finding incisive balance between off-the-cuff rhythm jams and probing electronic timbres - music for both bodily function and mindful reflection. Over it's eight tracks he breaks down and refracts the groove from glassy, neck-snap hip hop into a range of technoid possibilities at once recalling the more spacious grooves of Æ's 'Quaristice' versions, the knotty rolige of recent Surgeon outings, and the tweaked experimental structures of Tobias. and Max Loderbauer's NSI project, obsessively switching tack with each new groove into ever perplexing but instinctively gratifying new shapes and textural wormholes.
It's freaky, funky, and a lot of fun in a way that Kouhei has made all his own over the last 20 years, most most importantly, in that classic avant B-Boy sense, it all feels f-r-e-s-h as you like.
Nexx-level club dynamixx from Berlin's M.E.S.H. for new music thunk tank, PAN.
As a co-founder and resident at the influential Janus club-night, M.E.S.H. is hard-wired to the core of Berlin's accelerated night scene and deeply connected to the global digital arts diaspora thru collaboration with contemporary artists, Aleksandra Domanovic, Fatima Al Qadiri, Arca and TCF, among others. Operating at the intersection of electronic hip hop, techno and chimeric sound design, the 'Scythians' EP motions a bracingly fresh sound modelling skeletal 808 patterns perfused with hyper-criss foley and thrillingly sheer synthetic textures.
From the tumbling gyroscopic vectors of its eponymous opener, the EP yields a series of proper future-shocks, streaming dazzling data bursts from the hyper-detailed, diffuse techno swing of 'Interdictor' thru the breathtaking fireworks and industrial-strength slowfast 808s of 'Captivated' to the ascendant choral arrangement of 'Imperial Sewers' and the chrome-plated ambient vortices of 'Glassel Finisher'. We'll make no bones about it: the 'Scythians' EP is one of our favourite releases of 2014 so far, and comes strongly recommended to fans of Visionist, Evian Christ, E+E, TCF, Sudanim, Total Freedom…
Mind-bending, phantastically dark and complex spectral music for 16 grand pianos, saxophone and electronics, from Romania’s Horatio Radelescu, originally issued on the crucial Edition RZ label in 1990 amidst their rather important early streak of releases. Includes bilingual (German/English) liner notes. RIYL Iancu Dumitrescu, Iannis Xenakis, Reinhold Friedl, Autechre
His solo debut LP upon issue in 1990, the two pieces on Clepsydra / Astray arguably amount to Radulescu’s definitive early works, following an impenetrably technical approach to achieve highly idiosyncratic and distinguished results which place him among the most important practitioners of the tricky-to-define spectral music - a form of computer-aided electro-acoustic composition that “foregrounds timbre as an important element of structure or language” and rooted in earlier ideas by Xanakis, Stockhausen, Varèse et al.
Like we say, by its nature, it’s as tricky to define the parameters of spectral music as it is to define the notion of timbre, but the composer himself has a very good stab at it in the sleeve notes, which are among the most literally technical and baffling we’ve encountered.
However, from what we can make out, the astonishing Clepsydra, written for 16 Sound Icons - or 16 grand pianos tilted on their side and played with bows - is conceptually based around the titular, ancient greek water clock mechanism, and explores a jaw-dropping, flowing spectra of glistening, garrotting and razor sharp strings creating a 22 minute experience akin to K-holing in a gyroscope around a hall of mirrors. Queasy as hell, but rewarding with it for those with a constitution for such stuff.
By contrast the dynamic of Astray, premiered in 1984 and written for identical duos of saxophonist playing six saxes (bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano, and sopranino) and another on Sound Icon (grand piano turned on its side), but with each duo playing at different speeds, explores another set of timbral integers with seemingly more space in the mix, to more inquisitive, coolly probing effect.
A remarkable slab by any standards. Recommended!
Black Sites' 'Protoype EP' debuts the rapidly ascendant DJ/producer Helena Hauff and her Golden Püdel pal, F#X in a proper rugged warehouse showdown.
From their base at Hamburg's unanimously adored nightclub they've brewed an uncut take on classic hardware funk importing inspiration from Drexciya to Unit Moebius and blending it with a direct dockside attitude demanding a physical response.
Their 'Prototype' is a reet jacker, kicking overdriven bass, gungy acid lines and a probing melody under tempestuous tape distortion to leave the dance drenched and begging for more. 'N313P' is even freakier, again finding a balance between kinky noise and loony jack, but with an even more frayed and infectiously delirious impact. They're killer DJ tools in the right hands and strongly recommended to anyone into Frak, Actress, MCMXCI, Metasplice or Bunker Records!
Max Richter’s soundtrack to Henry May Long, released via Deutsche Grammophon.
"Richter’s score dates from 2007 and comprises music for piano, strings, bowed glass and bells, together with electronics. The music is structured as a series of variations on two main themes, which accompany the narrative of the film.
“The string theme operates on the societal level, while the piano theme speaks more to the interior lives of the protagonists,” explains Max.
Although the music for Henry May Long was written for a relatively unknown film, its original release on Mute Records meant that the score had a notable impact on other composers working in similar genres."
'Intersex' is the brilliant debut vinyl LP by Steven Warwick (Birds Of Delay) in his Heatsick guise.
With a sack of cassettes and CDrs to his name for the likes of Not Not Fun and Alcoholic Narcolepsy, Steven explores the liminal, hypnagogic spaces of electronic music through lathered, loop-based compositions made on a shitty Casio keyboard and various guitar pedals. They're improvised meditations on primal, base forms of early electronics and dance music, borrowing from the Italo/Chicago axis of electrified body music - Roberto Cacciapaglia's new wave disco gynoid, Ann Steel, and the hip-locked repetitions of Ron Hardy - to create psychedelic, psychosexual vortices for the dancefloor of the mind.
This theme is made explicit by a titular reference to German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld "looking at how music and sexuality can operate in flux on a constantly sliding scale", and implied thru an emphasis on writhing, repetitious rhythmelodic resolution. It plays out as three main pieces; the grinding, dub-bassed oscillations of 'Ice Cream On Concrete', the entrancing disco-not-disco ellipsis of 'Tertiary' and the cosmic ambiguity of 'Von Anderen Ufer', all defined by a rare, hallucinatory, and seductive quality transcending the borders of experimental intentions and primal instincts. Fans of everyone from Hype Williams to Dracula Lewis, Maria Minerva and Pat Maherr NEED to check this out.
Beneath pulls up to PAN with a super forward platter of UK bass/techno dreadnaughts.
Combining archival rolige with up-to-the-minute missiles, PAN's 51st release operates at the crucial nexus of dubwise dancehall science and minimalist techno, pairing uniquely sculpted rhythm dynamics with a filigree feel for aerated electronic timbre. Most importantly it's aimed squarely at the 'floor with 20" rimmed riddims bound to bounce any stack, but it's his taste for spectral, holographic electronic modelling that really sets each track apart from the crowd. The roiling bass, freaky blips and EBM stabs of 'Bored 2' already have anthem status around these parts, finding the square root of bleep techno, hardcore and grime without ever feeling like an exercise in nostalgia.
'Occupy' is icier, sinuous, rolling like some decelerated Optical Prototype contoured to a Funky/Techno coda, and 'One Blings' opens up fathoms of cyber-dread space between 'floor-skimming subs and tantalising, mercurial motifs that flit and dart like digickal duppies. However, 'Stress 1' is the deepest, the darkest, refining the Sheffield foundations of Richard H. Kirk and Rob Gordon, or the lessons of Digital Mystikz, for a masterful, mid-air gyration. Ultimately it's a shocker for the dancers and a tease for the heads, or simply a vital 12" for anyone who doesn't make such distinctions.
Rod Modell (DeepChord) returns to Astral Industries’ elevated planes, this time with Chris Troy on a 20 year follow-up to their first Waveform Transmission; V 1.0-1.9 for Silent. With the 72 minute V 2.0-2.9, they present a supremely serene addition to their nebulous catalogue, paradoxically plumbing reverberant, expansive space to beautifully introspective effect.
Modell’s signature dub techniques are in effect, but only as part of a greater system of ambient processing, with having bass reserved to daubs of low end pressure in a swirling ecosystem of harmonious tone and abstract crackle that’s more widescreen kosmiche in its outlook, totally in key with the Astral Industries aesthetic that Modell has played a strong part in with DeepChord’s Lanterns and the Colours of Time (Re-Intrepreted) session with Wolfgang Voigt.
We warmly encourage pumping up your noumenal lilo and casting adrift in these epic realms.
Music From Memory blindside again with an unprecedented survey of Geoffrey Landers’ home-baked avant-pop-funk and more experimental dabs of ambient jazz, abstract electronics
“Music From Memory's final compilation of 2017 sees the release of the double album “1 by 1”, which brings together the works of American experimental musician Geoffrey Landers. During a period spanning from 1979 to 1987, this Denver, Colorado based multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer and engineer, conceived several solo albums. Only two of these, “The Ever Decimal Pulse” and “Habitual Features” along with the single “Breedlove” were ever released on vinyl.
.Being heavily involved in the local industrial/punk/new wave scene and wanting to create a recording studio “available to record artists regardless of their financial circumstances” Landers set up “The Packing House Studio” in 1981. This analog 8-track recording facility was located in a former slaughterhouse in the stockyards of Denver and was a place of significant activity for the next three years with the studio releasing recordings from numerous artists most notably Allen Ginsberg.
It was here that Geoffrey Landers also started his own aptly named “Cauhaus” label. Indicative of the underground/DIYculture, “Cauhaus” was a subsiduary of a label called Local Anaesthetics which was started as an in-store label by independent Denver record store Wax Trax. Typically Cauhaus releases were only pressed up in small quantities and independently distributed, making Lander's music essentially elusive to a wide audience. After relocating in 1984 to an art district of Denver Landers opened the “Cauhaus Institute of Recording” studio where he continued to produce music for soundtracks, art and multi media projects for the next three years, after which Landers stepped out of the music industry entirely. He currently creates and exhibits mixed-media glass art.
Throughout the twenty tracks of "1 by 1", of which six previously appeared on CD only, we are submerged into a wide diversity of musical approaches from Geoffrey Landers. From the proto-house track “Logarhythms” and the heart breaking New-Wave Boogie/Funk of “Say You’ll Say So” to the more contemplative pieces such as the oriental insprired “Nisei” and the drenched in sunshine dub/reggae track “Mack” Landers shies away from musical expectations again and again; searching continually for innovative and new forms of expression.”
Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving rides the wave of a lifetime on his magnum opus, Good Luck.
His second album for Diagonal is an emotional but fiercely optimistic LP of skewed cathartic dance-pop written in the midst of these dark and uncertain times, fine-tuning 20 years of recording and rave experience into a vibrant, pop-ready statement that’s never felt so necessary.
It abandons the sensitive streak hinted at on Animals, his debut LP for Diagonal, to pursue a creative hunch for concision and social unity. This new perspective drives the album’s flux of emotions and guides what some may find to be a utopian outlook, wrapping his trademark experimental urges, clever song arrangements and winking edits in a larger narrative: a new system, if you like, that offers a way out of the contemporary condition towards something pure, sweaty and wild. After all, rave ‘floors were conceived for many as a way to forget/abandon the dark undercurrents of late 80s political turmoil.
The record is constructed as an album proper and follows a novel narrative: from the ego-pinching computer punk of Me Me Me, which jabs it into action, to the new wave thrust of Tool [I Don’t Give A Sh*t] and the ambient flush of Roll Along With The Pain Of It All [I’ll Text U], Natalizia clearly delights in taking us on a frenzied ride, but he never forgets his fondness for contemporary club culture [see the fulminating iridescent EBM-pop of Where Are We — with Marie Davidson guesting on vocals — or the acidic punk jabs of Watch Yourself].
Good Luck is a thrillingly positive record — like a big slice of pink and blue sponge cake, it’s delicious, sweet, creamy and wonderful. And that’s the thing: even the title feels like a much-needed injection of optimism, a return to the utopian ideals of rave. Contemporary politics/culture/life/love/music/media seem to be infected by a feeling of impending dread — of fear, alienation, division. Perhaps it’s the job of artists to present an alternative vision for the world [and music] rather than simply to reflect one’s reality back into the echo chamber of their own lives.
30/70 are the latest collective to emerge from Melbourne's buzzing scene.
"Lovingly referred to as a community rather than a band, 30/70 is, at its core, a quintet made up of Allysha Joy, Ziggy, Henry, Thhomas & Jarrod that swells up to an 11 piece ensemble as and when the music calls for it. The sound of 30/70 is a cosmic mélange of boom-bap dynamics, neo-soul harmonies and jazz-funk licks, all steeped in a deep spiritual tradition reaching from Alice Coltrane to Kamasi Washington.
Despite their influences coming from across the pacific, the 30/70 sound is unmistakably Melbourne. The band came of age in the wake of Melbourne’s soul scene hitting global success, a local phenomenon which shone a light on the Northside community and paved the way for a new generation of bands to take this sound and make it their own. Melbourne’s relative isolation could in fact be a blessing in disguise. It's resulted in a pressure cooker of talent; a tight-knit, well practiced network of musicians who’ve put in the hours, paid their dues and are ready to explode into the wider global consciousness. 30/70 are leading the pack with their latest offering.
Working closely with and Paul Bender of Hiatus Kaiyote and Jamil Zacharia to produce the forthcoming record entitled ‘Elevate’. The resulting recording is a sublime statement; at once a cry for help and a call to arms, it balances delicate poetry and potent aggression with ease - all of this done with a beguiling pop sensibility. This collection of songs, their second studio effort after their debut LP, ‘Cold Radish Coma', is set to elevate them to the international stage. Under the management of Wondercore Island (Hiatus Kaiyote, Oscar Key Sung, Daniel Merriweather) and with the release set to drop on Bradley Zero's Rhythm Section Intl. (Al Dobson Jr, Silent Jay x Jace XL, Henry Wu), 30/70 are ready to take their message from Northcote to the world.”
The 10th edition of The Golden Ravedays album unveils two tracks that are distinctly different in zeal but both transmitting spooky and thrilling male voices adding a sense of humorous horror. These two tracks are testament of Superpitcher’s ability to skillfully merge depth and playfulness.
"Side A is Rock N Roll Baby. Could it be that someone with a curious but naïve mind had the courage to ask the scariest man in the club, no the world, about the origin of music? The answer rides on a tribal beat, escalates to Armageddon-like heights and an eerie voice repeatedly assures us that it’s all Rock N Roll Baby.
Side B features Shining. Don’t be distracted by the deep comfort this warm and fuzzy sound bath brings to your veins. Quite a surprise is waiting for you when you are heading down the dark hallway in your birthday suit just when your hand is anxiously trying to find the light-switch of your room. "
Pye Corner Audio's darkling synthetic transmissions had been hovering under the radar for a couple of years before 2012's Black Mill Tapes collection on Type brought them to a wider and grateful audience. Now, Martin Jenkins finds himself equally lauded by the likes of Sandwell District's Juan Mendez and Minimal Wave's Veronica Vasicka as by the UK hauntological set - a testament to the scope and adaptability of his stygian productions.
Nonetheless, this album release feels right at home on Ghost Box, and it follows Jenkins' contribution to the label's 7" Study Series last year. If The Black Mill Tapes focussed on the unheimlich but decidedly driving meta-techno side of the Pye sound, Sleep Games gives as much time to exploring its more abstract and oneiric peripheries. Nonetheless, rhythm is foregrounded throughout: from the woozy, tape-warped Boards of Canada-ism of 'Sleep Games', via the Xander Harris/Umberto-esque giallo-disco chug of 'The Black Mill Video Tape' through to the distant, dubby pulse of 'Palais Spectres' and the rolling toms of 'Underneath The Dancefloor'.
Eschewing the tweeness which has arguably softened the impact of recent Ghost Box releases, Sleep Games is refreshingly drug-hazed and zonked-out yet shark-eyed, minimalist and full of post-apocalyptic, cold-wave menace: you can more easily imagine this stuff soundtracking a car ride through the deserted industrial zones of coastal America than a ramble round the Belbury parish and its bucolic environs. At the same time, this feels like a Ghost Box release through and through: 'Print Through' is a radiophonic seance right from the grimoire of Eric Zann, 'Deep End' has the school textbook sci-fi sigh of classic Belbury Poly and 'Yesterday's Enemy' the occult public service broadcasting vibe of early Advisory Circle.
Exit Index combines the abandon of pop with the unease of American life in 2017, cloaking its hooks in a clamor of samples and distortion, its agitation expressed in its dreampoetry lyrics.
"The album as a whole is a study in contrasts—light meeting dark, ampli-er fuzz surrounding big melodies, sampled friction squaring o with fluidly played basslines. Album opener "The Directory" shrouds itself in synth-dappled mist until Johnson, backed by ghostly harmonies, asks with increasing intensity, "Where are my millions, my millions, my millions?" "Dietrich," meanwhile, pins itself on a steady bassline, its guitars whirling into a maelstrom as Johnson sings promises of fealty to a far-away target Grooms laid down the skeleton tracks for Exit Index, the Brooklyn band's ¬rst album since 2015's Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair, at the storied New York recording studio The Magic Shop—the last band to record there before its closure in March 2016. "It was the end," recalls Johnson. "We ended up bashing out 13 or 14 songs—of which we kept 10—in about six hours, because it was the last day. The engineer was like, 'I can't believe it.
This is like working on a record in the '60s, where the band comes in and they know everything super well, because they have to.'" Johnson, drummer Steve Levine, and bassist Jay Heiselmann had battened down in a Brooklyn recording studio for a month to write Exit Index, ¬guring out the bones of tracks like the pummeling "Magistrate Seeks Romance" and the tensely amorphous "Turn Your Body." The lyrics on Exit Index combine honest expressions of anxiety with heady imagery that elicits icy, barren landscapes and dead-end streets. ("There's so few things we can talk about/Our endless words, overheard/We're not dead, we're being straightened out/We're semi-tough, it's not enough," he sings on the swirling "Softer Now.") "It's a heavier record than I've ever written lyrics for," says Johnson. "I was writing it while I watched every single debate last year—I don't know why I did that to myself—and after my wife would go to sleep, I would stay up with headphones on, recording and making samples—synths and quiet guitar, stu like that. While I was doing that, I would also be zoning in and out of YouTube, and I was just so freaked out by how the debates were absurd, terrifying things to watch."
The heavy distortion on the group's guitars helps add to the gloom as well; Johnson, who has co-owned the Brooklyn pedal company Death By Audio E ects since 2008, made a limitededition distortion pedal to celebrate the album's release. "There's a lot of tremolo on Exit Index," he says, "so I made a fucked-up-sounding trem." Collin Dupuis (Angel Olsen, Lana Del Rey) mixed the album, adding a few ¬nishing touches to intros and song structures Exit Index is a portrait of unease, its abstracted poetry and sonic murk giving rise to a catchy, dense disquiet. "In a way, I feel like it's a really appropriate record for this time," says Johnson. "It feels unintentional, though—I wasn't thinking, 'I want to soundtrack 2017,' or anything like that. It's hard for me to listen to it now, because I'll listen to it and I'll be like, 'God, I wish that this were a fever dream, but it's not.' But that lines up with what's going on in the world, too."
Outrageous 1981 Italian sexploitation horror schlock from Joe D’Amato.
"A group of scientists land on a deserted island to discover a rather well endowed radioactive sex-crazed monster that takes a liking to the female scientists in the group. Loaded with X-rated sex scenes and generous amounts of blood and gore, it's sleazy enough to avoid showing your parents or loved ones. The score by Nico Fidenco is another one of his incredible blends of funk, moody synth and fuzzed-out disco. Easily up there with ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST and his EMANUELLE films."
Essential stuff from an unsung maestro. First time ever on vinyl.
Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, names that have turned heads in alternative Arabic music with solo albums and conspicuous collaborations.
"With Lekhfa they give birth to an off kilter sound where layers of grit and beauty intertwine in and around the dystopian poems of their contemporary Mido Zoheir, whom they've dubbed the fourth member in this creation and one of the most talented Egyptian poets of their generation. Mixed by Khyam Allami, Mastered by John Dent at Loud."
Limited 7” of tracks only available on CD Version of ‘Lekhfa’.
Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, names that have turned heads in alternative Arabic music with solo albums and conspicuous collaborations
"With Lekhfa they give birth to an off kilter sound where layers of grit and beauty intertwine in and around the dystopian poems of their contemporary Mido Zoheir, whom they've dubbed the fourth member in this creation and one of the most talented Egyptian poets of their generation. Mixed by Khyam Allami, Mastered by John Dent at Loud."
After a long hiatus, Hyetal comes of age as a dance-pop artist in the mould of Jam City with ‘Youth & Power’, incorporating synths and songwriting by Gwilym Gold and post production by James Ginzburg (Emptyset).
"Coming together over three years since his critically acclaimed last album, Hyetal completes his transformation from off-kilter dance music producer to futurist pop visionary on Youth & Power. 'Previously my approach to writing music was very rooted in escapism,' says David Corney aka Hyetal. 'I began experiencing a sense of detachment in my life which led me to question how healthy this approach was. I wanted music to help me feel connected again.' Wrenching his music free from the 'confines of computer grids' and pushing melody to the forefront, Youth & Power's texturally rich, psychedelic palette is littered with live played synths, electric guitars, drum machines, processed noise and 'some under-loved 70s home keyboards' recorded at Hyetal's South London home studio.
'I'd describe it as experimental pop music,' says Hyetal. 'the sound is in part a return to music I was listening to as a kid, more song- and instrument-based.' Youth & Power is Hyetal's debut as a vocalist, also scrapping samples in favour of live instrumentation and hook-laden songwriting laced with myriad influences. 'I took some time out to teach myself how to sing using an app on my phone. At first I found my vocals worked best for me when there was some distance from the natural sound of my voice so everything was abstracted through a few different processes.' he explains, 'As I became more comfortable singing I decided I wanted to contrast this approach and use some natural sounding vocals that embraced the imperfections'. The album strikes a balance between robotic Kraftwerkian simplicity and soulful organic pop, contrasting the various pitch-shifting and abstracting vocal effects with sharply concise lyrics. Semblances of Hyetal's origins in Bristol's early dubstep movement are still present too, deep inside the album's meticulous rhythm beds. Elsewhere chiming retro keyboard notes and drum machine beats at times recall the likes of Yellow Magic Orchestra contrasting against waves of guitars and noise which bring to mind the influence of Bauhaus and other post punk experimentalists.
Written as a form of catharsis for Hyetal in his search to return his music from detachment, Youth & Power seeps a sense of hope. 'I found from a distance the most immediate workings of humanity can appear extremely brutal', says Hyetal, 'but when looking through this lens you miss the beauty that happens in the moment.'
L.I.E.S. look closer to their Paris home with Krikor Kouchian’s ersatz OST, Pacific Alley, making a fine change of pace and mood from the producer known for a string of filter house and electro releases for Kill The DJ Records, Tigersushi and Crowdspacer under myriad monikers since over the past 20 years.
Following the sought-after Linn funk of Promo 45, this is Krikor’s 2nd release for L.I.E.S., and features both tracks from the 7” as part of an 11-track suite full of vintage drum machines and gauzy synth gazes suggesting the soundtrack to long drives at dusk along coast roads or cruising California’s less salubrious neighbourhoods.
That’s partly down to the fact that the artist spent time a s a youth in SoCal, soaking up the radio, the beach and American culture in a way which has informed his music ever since (check for his France Copland takes NWA and Bladerunner!), resulting now in something like a lo-fi parallel to Dam-Funk or a more playful Palmbomen II.
Moritz Von Oswald is a name that needs little introduction to anyone who has followed Techno, Dub or any kind of electronic music over the last 15 years. Since the early 90's he's tirelessly applied his discipline to a range of styles and genres with seminal work as part of Maurizio, Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound and his own name besides a mind blowing number of side projects, mastering jobs and engineering work.
His most recent project has attempted to consolidate the studio processes which have defined the majority of his output with a live or improvisational element as part of his "trio" including the capable skills of sound designers Vladislav Delay aka Sasu Ripatti and Max Loderbauer of Sun electric and more recently NSI fame. The trio have performed some dozen live shows over the last two years, featuring Ripatti at the drummers stool, Loderbauer contributing synths and live electronics, and Moritz in control of live mixing effects and organ.
'Vertical Ascent' is essentially the best parts of these live improv sessions, edited, tweaked and mixed to perfection by mixmaster Moritz (we hope this name doesn't catch on!) and the result is at once a clean departure from and a reinforcement of the sound you'd normally associate with each of the performers. Live performance and in-the-moment moods lend the set a fluid quality and the lengthy track times, between eight and fourteen minutes, allow the group to develop their ideas around groove based structures definitely informd by African percussive styles. It's no coincidence that Moritz is heavily involved with the ressiue schemes of African music from Honest Jon's. 'Pattern 1' initiates the ceremony with a slow heave of bass and tangled polyrhythms from Ripatti before blooming to reveal a menagerie of strange and unusual synth sounds with one ear on their Krautrock forefathers. 'Pattern 2' bobs into motion on a rich bed of subbass, providing a cushion for scratchy strings and metallic synth scrapes lending an uneasy and ominous feel, but also exploring the spaces in between with ultra-subtle mixing techniques and cleansing the space ready for elevation to the next level. 'Pattern 3' reintroduces more discernable and tangible rhythmic patterns, like the gaseous forms of '2' have coalesced into a gentle tropical downpour, with steel drums panned to the peripheries of auditory perception before a current of slow and delicate chords wash into view. The effect is sublimely lush and truly psychedelic.
The final 'Pattern 4' is the closest you'll come to any Reggae influences (bar the dub mixing techniques), resting upon a bulbous swell of subliminal bass shapes the group delve deep into their machines to eak out atonal organ motifs and head-swimming reverberations designed to resonate in your mind long after the CD has finished. Much like any project Moritz is involved in, the sounds will live up to intense scrutiny for years to come, with each listen revealing layers of minutiae created by his intricate mixing desk manipulations. I'm on my 10th listen and i'm still coming back for more.
Interstellar Funk kicks off his Artificial Dance label with Job Sifre’s debut volley of classy, Amsterdam-style sleaze
Swerving from taut EBM funk with cool, not cheesy, vocals in Worries and the bozing musculature of Intex Excursions, nailing some cranky Belgian industrial styles a la Dirk Desaever on Element, churning your body in Flotter’s molasses swang.
Kenneth Bager’s Music For Dreams release much needed new material from Dub Tractor - his first album in almost a decade and sounding as sublime as ever...
“The new album by Danish legend Dub Tractor. One of the founding fathers of electronica in Denmark in the early 90s, Anders Remmer has remained a reluctant beacon of Copenhagen's scene ever since, with his musical legacy still a work in progress. As well as being a member of Future 3, Remmer has released material under a number of different aliases, but his most frequent guise dating back to 1994 has been Dub Tractor. Under this name, he gently crafts complex yet warm and organic electronic music that flirts with ambient, dub and IDM.
With Hello Ambient Wash', the first Dub Tractor album since 2009, Remmer explores further the possibilities of Dub Tractor after the more pop-oriented & shoegaze-flavoured approach of his last album "Sorry". In addition to new material, the second half of Hello Ambient Wash' presents a retrospective of hand-picked tracks from his first three albums on Flex Records (the label which Music For Dreams founder Kenneth Bager ran with Ole Mortensen from 1994 to 2007). Two "Discrete Recordings" tracks from 1994 highlight the atmospheric dub origins of Remmer's sound, while the two tracks from the 1996 album "An Evening With.." see Remmer at his most accessible and funky. The four cuts from his seminal 2000 album "Delay" still sound as vibrant and fresh today as they did then, and perfectly add weight to this unique collection.
Back on the new material, we see Remmer experimenting further with the style he has become synonymous with. On tracks like "Wow" and Flutter', he plays with elements of distortion and layers of sound to create an atmosphere of fragility and nostalgic haze. Loops trapped in reverse over the delicate but intense humming of lo-fi ambient noise create a sense that these tracks could fall apart at any given moment, but still push forward at a cautious pace. The melodic side of Dub Tractor shines through on the opening track "C8 90", the title track "Hello Ambient Wash", and "A7 94". Coming off as crackly old cassette recordings of some lost Southeast Asian folk music filtered through the high-tech dub engines of Remmer, the sound of the new Dub Tractor proves a heady stew of influences that still sound wholly their own.
Stay Home' echoes more the shoegaze direction Remmer took on "Sorry" with a melancholic sway which layers ghostlike vocals over muted lingering chords. While on tracks like "SIne Song" and "Ltl" Remmer truly gives cause to the name Dub Tractor, as he ploughs down tight rhythms over sub-bass frequencies and a myriad of trickling effects. Like walking through a dense rain forest of sound, drum clicks stick to your body like moist leaves - these tracks conjure the sensation of a cannabis high or an ASMR episode (google that if you don't know it). Remmer must have tapped into some masterful technology of sine wave manipulation to push the listener into these mind altered states.”
First-ever fully licensed compilation of this music to be released outside Japan.
"There was something in the air in the urban corners of late ‘60s Japan. Student protests and a rising youth culture gave way to the angura (short for “underground) movement that thrived on subverting traditions of the post-war years. Rejection of the Beatlemania-inspired Group Sounds and the squeaky clean College Folk movements led the rise of what came to be known in Japan as “New Music,” where authenticity mattered more than replicating the sounds of their idols.
Some of the most influential figures in Japanese pop music emerged from this vital period, yet very little of their work has ever been released or heard outside of Japan, until now. Light In The Attic is thrilled to present Even a Tree Can Shed Tears, the inaugural release in the label’s Japan Archival Series. This is the first-ever, fully licensed collection of essential Japanese folk and rock songs from the peak years of the angura movement to reach Western audiences.
In mid-to-late 1960s Tokyo, young musicians and college students were drawn to Shibuya’s Dogenzaka district for the jazz and rock kissas, or cafes, that dotted its winding hilly streets. Some of these spaces doubled as performance venues, providing a stage for local regulars like Hachimitsu Pie with their The Band-like ragged Americana, Tetsuo Saito with his spacey philosophical folk, and the influential Happy End, who successfully married the unique cadences of the Japanese language to the rhythms of the American West Coast. For many years Dogenzaka remained a center of the city’s “New Music” scene.
Meanwhile a different kind of music subculture was beginning to emerge in the Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Far more political than their eastern counterparts, many of the Kansai-based “underground” artists began in the realm of protest folk music. They include Takashi Nishioka and his progressive folk collective Itsutsu No Akai Fuusen, the “Japanese Joni Mitchell” Sachiko Kanenobu, and The Dylan II, whose members ran The Dylan cafe in Osaka, which became a hub for the scene.
Even a Tree Can Shed Tears also includes the bluesy avant-garde stylings of Maki Asakawa, future Sadistic Mika Band founder Kazuhiko Kato with his fuzzy, progressive psychedelia, the beatnik acid folk of Masato Minami, and the intimate living room folk of Kenji Endo.
Nearly 50 years on, this “New Music” is born anew."