Almost 25 minutes worth of extended versions of tracks from the Negative Fascination album...
If we've got any gripes with Silent Servant's stunning debut album 'Negative Fascination', it's that some of the dancefloor tracks were just a touch short. He's heard our collective prayers and corrects that with these extended mixes, due out on 12" shortly. Album closer 'Utopian Disaster (End)' is now nearly 2 minutes longer and primed for hypnotic DJ use with a Sunn 0)))-like outro.
'Strange Attractor' is nearly twice as long and with a more subtle, building sense of tension and release, while 'Invocation Of Lust' is slightly extended for DJ play (and this only just occurred to us - doesn't it sound a bit like Maxi Jazz is about to come in with "I can't get no…"?). DJs, dancers, you know what to do… TIP!
Japan’s highly collectible City-2 St. Giga label return with this string of rugged ambient house pearls by Anthony Naples.
For his 2nd EP of the 2017 so far, Naples cooks up a very satisfying breadth of variation and vibe in Love No Border, roving from swung deep house with nagging acidic synths and tropical drum machine hits synths in The Vision (Mix NY) thru the reverberating acid house coordinates of Uforia, and a lush vignette named Glo on the A-side, to the rudderless disco loop froth and grind of Moon on the Beach on the B-side, following into a cold wave pinch entitled Age, and the Shinichi Atobe-esque floating strut of Speak To Me More.
Think quick if you’d like a copy…
Thunderous EBM tumult from Spoiled Drama, a new name to the fray on the Fleisch label outta Germany.
Check it for body-grappling highlights in the steaming charge of Another Death Experience, the strapping, churning bulk of Axiom, and the snotty banger Kisses Are Out Of Fashion, especially if you like Nick Klein, An-i or Broken English Club.
Expanded (with 8 new tracks) version of Princess Nokia’s self-released debut mixtape, 1992 including the recently released single G.O.A.T. along with standouts such as the haunting, sharply pointed Brujas and the brassy bang of Kitana.
Assuming you’re cool af and already know the original mixtape, we’ll step right onto the new cuts, covering golden era hip hop in ABCs of New York and the backpacker beats of Goth Kid, plus a pure heat-seeking missile in the stuttering keys and drill bounce of Flava, and checking out on a deep south party flex with Chinese Slippers.
Heads will roll for this one!
Charmingly loose and dusty jazz-house chops from Max Graef on Schwarz 12
A new label related to the Oye Record shop in Berlin. Check it for a smart twist on the STL-via-Theo Parrish aesthetic in Thrillhouse + Bonus Beat, for a neatly damaged piece of percolated ghetto jazz in Unbiskant, and a pair of tricksier dancers’ specials in 2 Cool For You and Really Graef Bro.
We were gonna write summat on these but decided to copy/paste these sales notes cos they're just too fucking funny. nice one Alan.
"This is Volume Two of my new three LP set, and it's called A Mark Twain August. Now don't go asking me what the fuck that title means but I will say that it may be my favorite of the three. My 'fans', all 133 of them, are pretty smart. I used to think only 67 people mattered on earth, now it could be far less, but it's beginning to trouble me how I've actually accumulated 133 fans. So if you're not a moron, I don't mind if you buy this record. I made more copies than I have fans so I need to expand on the audience a bit but I don't want fucking idiots buying my albums. A brand new car loses value the moment you drive it home, but my records will always go up in value (like my Dodge Ram Van which tripled in value when I drove it off the lot) so this is also an investment opportunity. If you were to walk slowly on a hot bed of coals you may discover that Don McLean never actually drove his Chevy to the levy and that the singer-songwriter is dead, just like all the poets.
What do contemporary poets and the entire Indonesian population have in common? Most of you cannot name even one of them. Homo Sapiens now love to complain and act as if they know how the world works by 'expressing' themselves on their social media networks -- that's become the new poetry. And I think there are only nine people writing songs today that I respect, I'd have to check to make sure. And the Thinking Fellars were a great band -- I could name a dozen more from the past 30 years that I'd call contemporaries, but that's about it. . . . And I almost forgot to mention that Mark Twain's old banjo appears on this record. Oh and this is better than that Wolf King of LA album by Papa John Phillips, for all those who got mesmerized by it 30 years after it came out. There's only three or four good tracks on that and A Mark Twain August has six great tracks on it, at least. "
Yamaneko, aka Talbot Fade, bravely tackles a most painful subject in the best way he knows how: the emotional, metaphysical transcendence of organised electronic sound.
Written in the year following the death of his mother, and mantled in reference to Meiro Koizumi’s succinct and quietly traumatising video installation, My Voice Would Reach You can be taken as a bardo or form of keening music, rendering a beautifully elegiac lament for a beloved soul, described in diaphanous ambient chorales, textured field recordings and oceanic drones with often gut-wrenching effect.
Broaching a subject that still, unusually, prompts uncomfortable reactions in the western world, My Voice Would Reach You conversely seeks to offer comfort and solace through an abstract exploration of “grief, acceptance, dreams, maternal influence and communication across astral planes.” Drawing on the titular installation, as well as his mother’s record collection and the immersive depths of RPG computer games - specifically FromSoftware’s range of Souls and Bloodborne titles - Talbot Fade suggests space for reflective mediation. But, like those games and the album’s subject matter, don’t expect it to be an easy experience.
In its four movements, My Voice Would Reach You occupies wide-open yet elusive ambient terrain with Gas, Tim Hecker and The Sight Below, yet when taken with the album’s themes of loss and nightmarish conditions, its isolationist detachment adopts a sincere gravity of meaning in the plangent pall and cinematic strings of Red Jeweled Brooch and chokingly so by the time you catch windswept tears in Forgiven by the Light of Spring, whilst the entire B-side’s is spent on the arcing consolation of Depths of Spring, “ushering lost souls into a new childhood”.
Kenny Dixon Jr's 'Forevernevermore' was his third album and is perhaps his definitive opus - a pure, deep, late night Detroit classic that has birthed countless immitations since its release in 2000.
It really is pretty definitive - and it holds up beautifully almost 20 years later, from his take on Chic's 'Don't you want my love' to 'The thief that stole my sad days' - there are just too many certified classics here to mention. Quite apart from anything else, Forevernevermore manages to sound experimental, sophisticated, fucked and joyous all at once - making reference to classic Piano House one moment, and deepest Techno the next, his vocal narrative offsetting pure euphoria with a sharp dose of Motor City realism.
In terms of classic House music, few have come close to anything you'll find on this album - a perfect distillation of light and shade from one of Detroit's greatest ever.
Sugai Ken follows in the vein of RVNG Intl’s Visible Cloaks release with an exquisite meditation on traditional Japanese percussion and 4th world electronics ruptured by unpredictable runs into more abstract terrain. RIYL YMO/Haruomi Hosono, Visible Cloaks, Foodman...
UkabazUmorezU works like a stage set or a variegated series of sonic scenarios, at once smartly demonstrating his compositional versatility as well as a dilated vision of the connections between Japanese tradition and western-rooted electro-acoustic practice. In a way it resonates with Visible Cloaks’ perspective on Japanese electronics as much as Foodman’s dextrous mutations of Chicago footwork, but still it’s weirder and more enigmatic than either of them.
In his own words, UkabazUmorezU is intended to reflect a “style that conjures [the] subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan.” Arguably, for someone who has never visited or experienced night in Japan (us), it does so as richly as a Murakami novel, sensitively using electronic instruments and process to emulate and evoke an intimate sense of the spiritual, supernatural recalling the effect of, say, Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST, but again, with a more elusive, amorphous and playful quality of his own.
Ultimately it’s a beautifully and subtly suggestive album, skillfully making use of pregnant lacnuæ and negative space, but also riddled with flighty melodic figures, and prone to wonderfully disorienting jump-cuts that ping us from serene garden and temple scenes to stranger, bestial ginnels of the Japanese mindset with an effortless sleight-of-hand.
With this pair of challenging, longform vocal works - including a recording of Kurt Schwitters’ Ur Sonate which has long been banned from being recorded by his estate - restless sound explorer John Duncan steers the vocal themes of his beguiling LP, This Bitter Earth, into the avant dimensions he’s best known for occupying since the late ‘70s.
Mantra is a 33 minute exposition of extended vocal technique where Duncan’s own vocals are layered and faded across the stereo field in an hypnotic, glacial escalation of density, calving away into a passage of fiercely tempestuous noise and back to the vocals. To be fair, it sounds nothing like the straight-played This Bitter Earth songs, but a transcendent appeal is mutual to both works.
We’re not entirely sure why the state of Schwitters banned recording of his classic, dadaist sound poem Ur Sonate, but Duncan either does/doesn’t give a fuck and so here it is in its psychotomimetic glory, 23 minutes of alien tongue joined by a 14 -part chorus, produced by Yelena Mitrjushkina for Narkissos Contemporary Art Gallery, Bologna, in Duncan’s adopted home city.
Daft, haywire, hardware techno jams. Clifford Sage’s artwork is great, though.
“Alien Jams presents a new release by Wilted Woman called Home Listener. After releasing the amazing "Diary of a Woman" on She Rocks! earlier this year, WW is back with this sublime 5 track EP. From the onset, playful synth patterns mingle and coalesce, spiralling towards dizzy culminations. At times wobbly and disjointed, WW creates stunning compositions that would work magic on the dancefloor. Each track of Home Listener feels like its own paranormal entity, living organisms that develop and grow as the music unfolds.”
On-U Sound compile the first four albums - plus a bonus disc of unreleased dubs - from Adrian Sherwood and Lincoln “Style” Scott’s Dub Syndicate nearly 20 years since any were available on CD. Packaged in fine style with a 24-page booklet of archival photos and notes by On The Wire host and font of all dub knowledge, Steve Barker, consider it a definitive survey of early Dub Syndicate.
Disc 1 fixes up The Pounding System  with extra cut, Gather At The River (Bonus Track); Disc 2 features One Way System , including Blood Shed Dub as a bonus; Disc 3 is North Of The River Thames  with Doctor Pablo’s Pablo’s African Blood addendum; Disc 4 is Tunes From The Missing Channel ; and Disc 5 holds Displaced Masters, a collection of entirely Unreleased Versions From The Vault.
Brooding but ecstatic electronic fancies for fans of Posh Isolation, Lettre D’Amort’s Chams is the 1st release on Parisian label, Abîme.
“Lettre D’Amort is a deeply personal collection of songs that were born out of transcendental experience Chams had during his teenage years. Growing up surrounded by the Alps and raised by an alpinist father, he always felt like those high mountains looming over him were "sacred places where the beauty and fear of nature merge to shape a unique atmosphere of vulnerable plenitude."
A few years ago, he went on a solo journey across the Alps and came back a changed man. His solitary journey had compounded his view of the Alps as a place of beauty and fear, and that nature is to be admired from a wary distance. From then on he started making music with the aim to translate the epiphany he had in those high altitudes into a work of art. This EP, which features on the front cover a photograph taken by his father on one of his expeditions across the Himalaya, is the first accomplished result of this project.
In terms of the sonics Chams has created, what is striking is how the EP is one of contrasting impulses. On the one hand, Chams employs bright and minimal sonics and upbeat melodies that have something of a childhood naivety to them. On the other hand, these sounds compete with darker impulses which refuse to give over to the optimism that we are initially presented with. Nowhere is this more evident than on 'Ultraviolence', where agonised screams compete with a beautiful synth melody. These two contrasting impulses evoke the childhood and upbringing of Chams, who recognises that nature is something to be both admired for it's beauty, and feared for it's tempestuousness and inability to be tamed. Despite Chams holding these two impulses in a tension with one another throughout the EP, the work as a whole is unified and coherent in its aims, and serves as a wonderful introduction to a producer wrestling with the fundamentals of life.”
Reginald Omas Mamode IV follows last year's self-titled debut album with 'Children Of Nu'.
"The 20 track album draws influence from the world around us, everyday life. As we witness rising poverty, global events, political and ethnic divisions - these factors prompt some of Reginald's themes and call for humanity to recognise we are all interconnected. We are all related. We're all brothers and sisters with common ancestry, common history and a common origin regardless of race, geographic location or belief systems. Love and compassion are universal feelings/practices we all should embrace and apply to all aspects of our lives, our interactions and our relationships, regardless of the kinship'. - Reginald Omas Mamode IV Children Of Nu' encompasses Reginald's musical and sonic influences - Afro Roots music through to jazz and soul. It draws from Africa as much as the west, an attempt to make a record that can exist in many contexts, the present, the future and past.Recorded with freedom - most tracks remain from the first take - the process of creating 'Children Of Nu' was an open ended development from a natural, intuitive, starting point. Made with minimal thought of how tracks would end up, the music was led through the creative process. Born of a moment, each track is an attempt to capture that instance, mood, feeling or subject.
Last year's self-titled debut album was warmly received, collecting critical success including Mojo ( A brand-new-retro delight'), Mixmag ( Peckham beat brilliance'), Record Collector ( Equal parts D'Angelo to J Dilla'), The Wire ( Soul music turned all the way inward') and a Bandcamp Album of the Day ( Breathing lifeforms that are equally steeped in hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz'). It was also nominated for 'Album of the Year' at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards 2017. Along with Mo Kolours, Jeen Bassa, Henry Wu, Al Dobson Jr and Tenderlonious, he's helped forge in the 22a co-operative what The FADER calls a kaleidoscopic patchwork of hip-hop, house, and groove investigations bound by one thread: a timeless belief in rhythm as a universal language’.”
Joachim Nordwall’s iDEAL catch Bob Bellevue, sound guy for NYC’s ISSUE Project Room, working hard at the biting point of electro-acoustic feedback with Yamaha Deluxe - a continuation of the powerful, element beauty contained within his Damned Piano 2CD for Anarchymoon Recordings.
Using the Yamaha CFIIIS PE Grand Piano alluded to in the title as a sort of resonant tone generator, Bellevue applies a matrix of speakers, amps, pickups, contact miss, microphones, pedals, and a laptop running SuperCollider, to render the instrument as hardly heard before, wrenching out something more akin to a Stephen O’Malley solo guitar performance, or even an imagined O’Malley duet with Reinhold Friedl.
The session breaks down to five uncompromising live performances, banking a mass of complex, reverberating harmonics from shearing hi-register tones to guttural subduction in the 1st part, then with a more patient temperament in the 2nd, making the grand joanna sound like a primeval, wounded beast in its dying minutes. The 3rd section expresses 20 minutes of liminal, Drumm-like tone control calving into cavernous growls and thunder, and the relatively brief part 4 transitions from barely perceptible bass presence to bone-rubbed shudders, with the 5th track expanding that aesthetic to sound like a location recording made in the bowels of sunken warship.
The first of 2 x 10”s, The Spectacular Empire I features Gaika coming from a noisy, abstract intro to square up alongside Miss Red on a piquant, sepulchral dancehall mutation, Battalion
Then merging from billowing Ben Frost-style digital scree to emote autotuned on a beat-less streak of Reese bass and finger-pop percussion, descending into a trap-trance blowout.
1st ever international vinyl release, newly re-cut over 2 x LPs for optimal frequency response. Now also includes Blood Shed Dub from the classic disco plate series, with sleeve notes by Michael “Dub” Shore and Steve “On The Wire” Barker. Check for the synthy squeeze of Displaced Master and pre-echoes of radge UK ‘ardcore and dubstep in the wild Drilling Equipment.
“Originally issued as a cassette on the ROIR label alongside the likes of Bad Brains, Suicide and The Contortions, this second album from 1983 is an uncompromising collection of heavy dub manners and experimental studio soundscaping. Dreader than dread roots rhythms sit alongside delay-baked post-punk instrumentals such as “Drilling Equipment” and “Synchroniser”.”
A smart handful of synthesists take Texas’ S U R V I V E to the ‘floor for Relapse.
Salon Des Amateurs’ Lena Willikens reshapes Cutthroat with a sleek, slow-rolling kosmiche-disco chassis; Not Waving accentuates the Ballardian sensuality of High Rise with a writhing tangle of acidic synths, oil-smear pads and purring, gear-shifting groove mechanics; Blondes’ Sam Haar revises Wardenclyffe as an increasingly ecstatic sort of dissonant techno traum; and Justin K Broadrick leans in on Other as JK Flesh for an insistent, stygian industrial chugger, morphing into seething jungle pressure by the close.
Torn Hawk hitches his wagon to UTTU for a tightly packed EBM session called Worm Quest, taking the examples of his Men With No Memory 2x7” down wilder back alleys of industrial dance music.
The four tracks fall somewhere between Gatekeeper’s EBM maulings on their Giza 12”, and the hi-energy Swedish EBM of Cats Rapes Dog, packing as much hi-tech funk torque into every second between the robocop dancer Wormquest and the new beat-nodding promo sample stabbed into Drain The Club on the A-side, then strangely recalling early ‘90s AFX in the taut clatter and martian melodies of Homeschooled Weirdo, saving something like a VHS Head sound with angular DX7 twang and tense techno ructions in The Paramus Achievement.
Reissue of a rare and prized Sun Ra live recording, notably starring the first ever appearance of Pharaoh Sanders on wax, and a scarce outing by Black Harold.
“"To understand the significance of the word 'featuring' on Featuring Pharoah Sanders And Black Harold, consider how infrequently Sun Ra used it and the exact way it had been used.
The October Revolution in Jazz, organized by Bill Dixon in the West Village in 1964, presented a vivid cross section of approaches to the new music, including a sextet led by Ra. For the October Revolution’s continuation, titled Four Days in December, held at nearby Judson Hall on the last days of 1964, the Arkestra performance presented Pharoah Sanders as well as a flautist (who was and remained obscure thereafter) named Harold Murray, nicknamed Black Harold.
“It wasn’t until long after Sanders had achieved worldwide acclaim with John Coltrane that Ra and manager Alton Abraham decided to issue the music they’d recorded at Judson Hall. After its first release in plain or handdecorated covers in 1976, Featuring Pharoah Sanders And Black Harold remained an exceptionally rare item in the El Saturn discography, known to a few lucky collectors. “We’re lucky to have this glimpse of what Sanders sounded like in such a different context, galvanizing the large group and in turn being inspired to make his first significant contribution on record.”
- John Corbett (excerpt from the liner notes)
Blurring the lines between time and space, Ko Shin Moon mixes acoustic instruments from various regions of the world, analog devices, traditional music, electronic arrangements, sampling and field recordings.
"As the soundtrack of a patchwork journey, the band’s first LP conveys one along a succession of hybrid territories, imaginary sound landscapes, multicolored collages: Acid Dabke, Turkish-Greek Disco, Cosmic Raï, New Beat Molam, Tibetan Ambient, Synth Wave Hindi Filmi, Rickshaw Dance Music…"
Wobbly, mid ‘80s UK dub wonders, including a daft take on the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Dr. Who theme. Check for the infectious, propulsive stepper North Of The River Thames, a riff on Augustrus Pablo’s East Of The River Nile.
“Hauntological dub taking the mystical eastern melodica scales pioneered by Augustus Pablo and applying them to a unique mix of re-versioned cult themes and roots rockers.
Doctor Pablo was a key member of Creation Rebel as well as contributing to such canonical albums as Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Volume 1 and some of the early Hitrun Records sides, a pre-cursor to On-U Sound. It is also the third album appearance by the Dub Syndicate. Features the much-loved dub re-rub of the theme tune to classic British science fiction show Doctor Who.”
Natty, rickety dubs with psychedelic boogie flavour; thunk of it as balearic music for the banks of the Mississippi
“Left Ear re-introduce another ten lost tracks from Nicholas Georgieff and Virgil Work, St Louis' basement electronics duo Workdub.
The release spans material from 1989-95 and includes recordings from their sole LP and both cassette albums. Workdub’s music hardly fits into a vacuum and some might even say it’s otherworldly. Tracks like “Reach for the Stars” and “Lunar Module” reflect dreams of space-age exploration, all the while their investigation into drum machines, synthesizers, samples and digital fx’s matched with their organic live instrumentation work to create a unique atmospheric dubbed out sound.”
On his 2nd EP for Tresor, BNJMN refines his sound to a sort of keening, grittily textured greyscale techno.
Body Reflections Pt.2 steadily scales his sound from expansive, booming techno ambient techno recalling earliest AFX in Undulations, thru the slower, decayed techno bulk of Lyra to a Ben Frist-like sore point of tectonic noise quake and noise in Earth Shock, expelling any reserves of energy in the heavy-lidded but still-driving Severance, to the anxious resting point of Ghost Faction, which is arguably the most impressive ambient work in his catalogue.
Digickal mysticism from 1985 London, helmed by the master Adrian Sherwood, starring highlights in the steppin’ sino-dub ov Forever More, on a tuff but mellifluous soul flex with Forever More, the sharp-edged, recursive ricochets of Wellie, or those mad sliding chromatics in Out and About.
“Increasing access to new studio technology resulted in this splicing of dub reggae DNA with cut-and-paste sampledelia. Anticipating the later work of labels such as Def Jux, Wordsound and Anticon, this 1985 album paired crack Jamaican session musicians such as the Roots Radics’ drummer Style Scott (by this point the instrumental leader of Dub Syndicate) and The Congos’ Ashanti Roy with Public Image Limited’s Jah Wobble and Keith Levene, not to mention the restless mixing desk boundary-pushing of producer and de facto member Adrian Sherwood. A more reggaefied take on the industrial funk Sherwood was making with Tackhead during the same period, lovers of digidub, outernational sounds and even the wilder reaches of 80s hip-hop will find much to get lost in here.”
Mica Levi’s original soundtrack to an animé by acclaimed artist and Turner prize nominee Phil Collins - the film was illustrated and designed by the revered Marisuke Eguchi and is a follow-up to Levi’s award winning work on 'Under The Skin' and ‘Jackie'. Trust, this one’s a bit special.
This is Mica’s first musical accompaniment for animation, once again using her signature palette of dissonant strings and combustible electronics that just completely get to us every time. She paints a series of sweeping backdrops to the film's blend of classically-schooled anime and up-to-the-second CGI designs in a way that we find it hard to imagine any other contemporary soundtrack producer could have managed - somewhere between Arthur Russell, John Carpenter and Johann Johannsson.
The film is set in a near future where carbon-based energy is outlawed and supposes a paradoxical scenario, one where fossil fuels - the ostensible accelerator of humanity’s progress and decline - become energy for the toil against state oppression and enforced inequality. In doing so, it resonates with anime’s strong tradition of exploring eco-feminist themes and power dynamics, both socio-political and technological.
The central Delete Beach theme, a diaphanous section of airborne synth-string contours and charred guitar distortion carved in pirouetting turns-of-phrase, appears in Japanese and English-narrated versions as well as an Instrumental mix. They are divided by the beat-driven Interlude 1 and interlude 2 - which is perhaps the standout piece on the whole score and possibly in Levi’s impeccable oeuvre generally - a mix of string slashes mixed with opiated chopped ’n screwed rhythms comparable to her breathtaking deconstructions with the London Sinfonietta.
After her work underlying and exploring complex characters in Jackie, a biopic of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and the alien-woman metaphors of Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, Delete Beach follows suit with an impendingly tense, viscerally affective sound that reflects and conveys a sense of independence in the face of uncertainty, of a struggle against imposed forces or control systems.
It’s another beguiling testament to Levi’s role as one of the most original and eminent composers of her generation and, once again, leaves us convinced that she's more or less peerless in this field...
Ambient shoegaze duo Aris Kindt launch the new Kingdoms imprint with their second album, Swann and Odette.
"Picking up where their first record (2015â??s Floods) leaves off, Swann and Odette is an evolutionary leap forward for the duo. The sonic palette is deeper, the grooves more sparse and the melodies are given more room to seep deep within a mix so expansive it feels almost tactile."
Creamy acid house trax from Norway’s Tom Ace and Bejjer, buffed up for release by Ulli of Ullis Tapes.
Tom Ace is a N.A.T.O. fighter pilot by day, but makes lushly balanced, gently insistent acid dream such as this 12”s A-side, Return To Pollyland, by night.
Wingman for this mission is Bejjer, who keeps up his side with a simmering ambient waltz called Idiopathic Brain Modulations recalling the vibes of Moon Wheel or 1991 at their most tranquil.
The 1st iteration of Adrian Sherwood and co’s Dub Syndicate, born 1982 with The Pounding System (Ambience In Dub), prior to the crucial arrival of sticksman Lincoln “Style” Scott. Check out the splashing, sozzled dub of 10K at 0VU - 60HZ - Mind Boggles! and their spicy bubbler, Gather at the River.
“The debut Dub Syndicate set from 1982, pre-dating the involvement of mainstay Style Scott. This features various members of Creation Rebel and African Head Charge turning out a wild dub set, with hard-hitting rhythms and FX-mutated melodies phasing in and out of the mix.
Recorded quickly with track titles cheekily poking fun at the contemporary series by The Scientist which pitted him against various b-movie foes. The tunes themselves however are deadly serious, with version excursions on some classic On-U vocal cuts such as “Bedward The Flying Preacher” and “Across The Red Sea”, and a continuing commitment by producer Adrian Sherwood to take his love of reggae and filter it through his exploratory and uniquely English approach.”
Dark Entries and Emotional Rescue team up to tap Psychic TV’s legendary vein of ersatz acid house, resting the virulent acid swagger of Dave Ball’s Blue Pyramid production
Featuring middle eastern-style violin by Virginia, alongside a whirring EBM acid re-lick by Bucharest’s Khidja, plus Bezier’s breakbeat electro-acid version, and the chunky funk of MBM’s Mark Pistel.
Brooding, clunky club shot from Miruna Boruzescu, a Romanian DJ based in Berlin
Returning to Cómeme with the droning, blank-eyed industrial drama of Silent, which Berlin’s Khidja duly tucks away as a throbbing, jagged EBM tool for the DJs.
Fine-tuned and urgently punkish EBM from Japan, making up the first release on Claudio Mate and Francesco Mazzoco’s Dub Ito outlet from Italy.
Nasty late ‘80s sensibilities are subtly updated with precision and guile in 7 parts, ranging from the biting-point 8-bit chiptune inflections jabbed into their spiky missile Idiot Idiot, to the mad stop-start propulsion system of Futei, onto sludgy 110bpm variations in Mae e Narae, nimble nods to DAF and Liquid G on Pulsewave, and a seriously infectious piece of EBM weaponry in Shinigami Horimono’s remix of Idiot Idiot.
Ed Davenport joins Adriatique’s Siamese label with a batch of hypnotic acid house modulations.
On the first disc Ed squeezes out some mad harmonic overtones from his 303 on a louche but proggy groove called Festnetz, backed with the darker, sleekly rolling battery of Severance.
Meanwhile the 2nd disc veers down a tribalist path with the layered percussion and lustrous bass warp of Rain, and brings back to acid root with the Tin Man-like Inner Senser.
Various, incongruous styles from Isolated Lines SBIRE label
Crossing lines from the bright, spacious club deconstructions of Riven by La Vie C’est Facile, to a trio of murky, snaking techno plays taking in the lunky swagger of GDLM by Larson, the clunky rolige and upward tilting synths of Isolated Lines’ Lift, and, term, some chunky, swanging house by Ockham & Soloporunbesso.
Pete Swanson and Jed Bindeman's Freedom To Spend label return with probably our favourite on the label thus far (and that really is saying something - each one has been a peach) - Richard Horowitz’s incredible suite of electro acoustic 4th world music, ‘Eros In Arabia’ ; written for flute and Prophet 5 and rife with mercurial, avian flights of fancy. This one is a proper find - especially if you’re obsessed with Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s more or less peerless Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar, or indeed Byrne & Eno’s ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’ or Craig Leon’s ‘Nommos’.
Horowitz has had something of a dual career - on the one hand via this little known but pioneering kind of work, and on the other scoring films in Hollywood (including work on Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky). The cinematic quality of his material is evident here, but the subtle interweaving of Eastern influences with Western production techniques is incredibly rich with detail and imbues proceedings with an alien, fourth world quality that’s hard to place. Just like Dolat-Shahi managed to intersperse traditional Persian instrumentation with modular overlays in a way that didn’t ever feel contrived, Horowitz’s application of technique comes across as completely intuitive. As the label explain:
"Working in natural succession from end to beginning, “Elephant Dance” demonstrates the central synth and ney node to explore energetic sound patterns Horowitz imagined to be played in the 16th century on the island of Java, around the time Sufi’s may have arrived in Indonesia. Delicately trampling the twenty minute mark, the piece offers an immersive climate of microtones that might, with the primordial matter of love, alter DNA. “Baby Elephant Magic” is “Elephant Dance” but sped up— producing digital baubles that sound less like an Indonesian forest, more like an urban hive of mechanical insect interaction.
The piano on “23/8 for Conlon Nancarrow,” with John Cage technique at play, is played “as fast as possible by a human.” The sounds are driven to derail from the space time continuum. On “Never Tech No Foreign Answer,” a cheap cassette recorder microphone captures the Prophet-5 left to the devices of its master’s inner clock, taking on a frenzied sound form that vibrates in place before bouncing off the tape case walls. Chaos is concentric.
“Queen of Saba” incorporates the vocals of long-time collaborator, Sussan Deyhim. Described as one of Iran’s most potent voices in exile, Deyhim’s work is in both the tradition of Sufis and the late feminist poet, Forough Farrokhzad. Recently Deyhim and Horowitz worked together on a multi-media performance based upon Forrokhzad’s Iranian New Wave film, The House Is Black. Here Deyhim performs a taḥrīr where vocals go low to high without any semantically meaningful words. Horowitz’s associations with great cultural icons of the Middle East, like these women, soften (in)appropriations.
Less aggressive than its predecessors, “Eros Never Stops Dreaming” introduces the bendir frame drum, the feathery wind of the ney floating above its bowing rhythm with effortless mathematics. “Bandit Nrah Master of Rajasthan” begins where the album ends, an ode to Shakuhachi flute players known to indulge in both trance-inducing circular breathing and espionage.
Horowitz is linked with the worldly sound seeking circles of minimalist and avant-garde New York City musicians, especially Lou Harrison and La Monte Young, with whom Horowitz shared Shandar as a record label momentarily. He recorded and toured with Jon Hassell and collaborated with David Byrne and Brian Eno, Jean-Philippe Rykie, and Bill Laswell. Along his travels he befriended Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles, the latter whom mentored Horowitz over decades of correspondence, some of which documents the making of Eros and comes quite literally with this edition.
A record of physical and intellectual love for Arabia, FTS extends this flowing forward and backward – a shimmer that reverses the backward spelling of Ztiworoh. Eros is presented in the ever present. To borrow from a song title, Horowitz remains gainfully employed as an “inter-dimensional travel agent.””
Low key electro with an ‘80s japanese FM synth slant from Minor Science, doing it again for Whities.
On the A-side, he plays out smoothly contoured synth cadence and clipped electro glittered with stardust, gradually getting more robust until a knot of recursive synths wake it up properly.
B-side, Another Moon catches him mixing micro-rhythmic shifts and avian chirrups with wide, arcing pads in something like a feathered YMO groove, saving a neat-trimmed Afro-cubist coda for the final flush.
Available officially for the 1st time this decade, Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s dramatic Symphonic Suite Akira arrives just ahead of the seminal sci-fi animation’s 30th anniversary. This is a facsimile reissue of the original Symphonic Suite Akira album, featuring original unremixed and complete versions mastered from same files as the 1988 release. This is not the version with dialogue and all the madness!
The ten track Symphonic Suite Akira essentially documents the film’s sonic architecture - a magisterial blend of musics from around the world, meshing the disparate systems of Bulgarian choral music, Buddhist Temple chants and Balinese gamelan in a lushly complex alliteration of sounds which framed the film’s post-apocalyptic Tokyo backdrops and cyberpunk themes.
It took Shouji Yamashiro and the 200 musicians, engineers, scientists who comprise Geinoh Yamashirogumi over six months to make Symphonic Suite Akira, apparently recording with an effectively limitless budget, and it shows. At the time of release this was an ambitiously proggy effort in consolidating various harmonic systems, building on the technologically enhanced examples of YMO and early ‘80s 4th World styles in the grandest style.
It may not contain anything quite so immediate as, say, Kenji Kawai’s OST for Ghost In The Shell, but it’s a different thing really, with a different story to tell, and it does so beautifully.
Perhaps the most ambitious and absorbing album yet from Lawrence English, featuring a whole host of friends and collaborators including Swans’ Norman Westberg, The Necks’ Chris Abrahams and Tony Buck, Mats Gustafsson, Werner Dafeldecker and The Angels of Light’s Thor Harris. It’s an arctic, ice-cold meditation rendered in the most beautiful drone and semi-orchestral variants - think somewhere between William Basinski, Akira Rabelais and Badalamenti at his most terrifying. A huge recommendation.
Lawrence English carries the weight of the world in the emotive blows of Cruel Optimism; his tortuous yet somehow triumphant follow-up to the Wilderness of Mirrors (2014) LP, which was conceived prior to the present socio-political sh*tstorm, and attempts to present “a meditation on these challenges and an encouragement to press forward towards more profound futures”.
Inspired by the title of a critical text by American theorist Lauren Berlant, whose analysis of the contemporary crisis points to the elusive promise of neoliberalism - particularly its inherent sense of hauntological trauma - Cruel Optimism is offered by English as a reflection “on how power consumes, augments and ultimately shapes two subsequent human conditions: obsession and fragility”, and does so in a way that viscerally resonates with the long-standing, recurring themes of his work: deferred ecstasy, textural decay and the way they affect perception.
Galvanising strength through collaboration, as opposed to the solo introspection of Wilderness…, English elected to work with a number of his peers for this record, who all gauzily serve to enrich these recordings, which each carry the subtle, if distinct presence of plural spirits in the mix. Object Of Projection is especially hard-hitting, recalling Deathprod’s life-changing Treetrop Drive with its looped refrains, albeit here submerged underneath a tonne weight of sonic detritus that triggers nostalgia and dread in the most evocative manner imaginable - perhaps the most astonishing 5 minutes in all of English’s by-now sizeable catalogue of work.
English carefully consolidates every element on this album within the democracy of the soundfield; we may be able to discern the crucial gestures of Norman Westberg’s clanging chops in Hammering A Screw or smudged into the soberly grand dimensions of Requiem For A Reaper/Pillar Of Cloud and the waking dread of Somnambulist, but, in effect, thru English’s enigmatic processing, his ego is properly sublimated into the ether and as vital as any other to the record’s sense of swelling, aching communal pathos.
KLO straight up kills it on a cover of Aaliyah’s More Than A Woman, nailing the classic vocal on a rebuilt, nearly identikit version of Timbaland’s acid-fuelled R&B instrumental. Listen, tell us we’re wrong?!
On the remix, KLO opts for a breezier, chamber-like reduction, distilled to pointillist syllables, 303 jabs and a sparing swing beat begging to go in-the-mix.
Brusque, Ballardian EBM techno and industrial clangers from Oliver Ho in his Broken English Club style.
The A-side’s Accidents & Romance clamps down with rottie-toothed 16th note synth snarls and back-breaking kicks whilst the owner chats like a man possessed, somewhere above the escalating madness.
B-side, Country Life bucks up some recoiling and lustrous EBM funk that burns on contact, backed with a descent into crushing industrial torpor with Private Death.
Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax serve a previously unheard document of Karl O’Connor aka Regis in his late ‘90s prime - only months after the release of his classic LP, Gymnastics - with five excepts from a live performance at The New York Film Academy on Union Square, Manhattan, January 4th 1997.
That info should be getting a few techno nuts hot under the collar, as will the five trax inside, documenting the shark-eyed and toothed bite of Regis at his most stripped down and deadly between the tangy klang and drive of Untitled I, the funked up acid chew of We Said No (Alt. Version) and a needling take of Translation, backed with the basic tonal language and infectious shuffle of Untitled II and, best of all, the bruxist pitbull clench and singing 909 of Careless Pedestrian.
Delia and DFA appoint a broad selection of dancefloor and avant-garde artists to rework the Horse Follow Darkness album
Turning in highlights such as an unexpectedly lush and rolling take on Hidden Song by Jay Glass Dubs and Raul DeNieves, a typically kinky, playful remix of In Through The Light by Steven Warwick aka Heatsick on an itchy Afro tip, and a rolling progressive house/soft trance version of In Through The Light by Bryce Hackford.
An unmissable introduction to unsung American composer Mary Jane Leach with Pipe Dreams, astonishingly her first ever solo vinyl release. Despite playing an instrumental role in NYC’s pioneering Downtown avant-garde community since the ’70s, Mary Jane is, unbelievably, little known beyond the US avant-garde. Now, following her production input to the issue of Julius Eastman’s Feminine for Frozen Reeds (and her liner notes for Unjust Malaise in 2005 for that matter), the two powerful longform pieces contained in the cannily titled Pipe Dreams are set to attract a raft of new ears to her absorbing psychoacoustic explorations.
Recorded between 1984 and 1989, Pipe Dreams is only Mary Jane’s 3rd full solo release, arriving nearly 20 years since Ariadne’s Lament [New World Records, 1998] and 24 after Celestial Fires [Experimental Intermedia Foundation, 1993]. With a paucity of precedents to compare it to, it effectively forms the first time many will clasp ears on her music, and simultaneously illustrates the range of her sound - one side of spellbinding church organ interplay; one of gripping tonal discord - while also placing it within historical context amid the searching Downtown milieu of Julius Eastman, Arthur Russell, Arnold Dreyblatt, Ellen Fullman, Philip Corner, Daniel Goode, and Peter Zummo - most of whom she’s collaborated with at one point or another, either in Downtown Ensemble or guesting on their records.
That communal spirit, a sort of antidote to the capitalist realism of individualism, feeds deeply into these two solo works. On the A-side, Pipe Dreams (1989) finds her communing with psychoacoustic spectres in a way that strongly predates Áine O'Dwyer's more recent investigations into acoustic phenomena for Penultimate Press, as well as resonating with the drone work of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Amid her precise, baroque figures, pulsing air and pealing microtonal partials, listeners are witness to the presence of plasmic atmosphere and sub-harmonic frequencies that flux and disperse in sublime antiphony, likely to turn your chosen zone of reception into a discrete, floating antechamber.
In stark contrast, Mary Jane’s B-side, 4BC (1984) is a more visceral, biting piece for four clarinets, employing long drones within a constrained tonal palette, combining their raspy dissonance in a thick body of resonant sound that speaks to the idea of discord as its own sort of harmony - a way of appreciating the friction and difference between sounds as much as people, and recalling to some extent the pitching grip of Harley Gaber’s The Winds Rise In The North, or the grind of Tony Conrad.
Hard to believe it’s taken until now for Mary Jane to receive at least some of her dues, but a real pleasure to finally immerse ourselves in her heavily meditative, distinctly singular world.
Also referred to as SW’s Untitled debut LP, The Album is a deeply attractive showcase for Stefan Wust’s distinguished and timeless takes on hi-tech funk and jazz techno, the culmination so far of his deft experiments and findings since 2011 on the cultishly appreciated SUED label.
This is some seriously stellar gear, collecting 11 tracks of weightless, unquantised breakbeats and bass jabs that impeccably work deep into their own pockets of funk, but if you step back a touch, they also form a perfectly mazy mosaic or bigger, impressionistic picture of Detroit techno, UK brokebeat, AI, acid and electro-jazz themes.
We recommend diving in and picking out your own pearls; there’s a multitude to choose from.
A hauntingly spirited minimal/progressive/new age classic from 1978 with liner notes by the author and Kieran Hebden.
"Lino Capra Vaccina's immense 'Antico Adagio' was originally intended to be a double album, but was eventually scaled back to a single disc, self-released by the author in 1978; and thanks to the breadth and scope of Die Schachtel's excavations, the second unreleased album from the 1978 session is now available.
"Before an aberrant idea of progress and workaholic ethic ludicrously sped up our daily lives, even in the hectic city of Milan it was possible to "play slowly" – with no pressure, simply following the path your art was showing you. After a classic artistic journey and an experimental stint with Aktuala and other brilliant fellow musicians (like Franco Battiato, above all), Lino Capra Vaccina, near the end of the 70s, recorded Antico Adagio. It was an amazing album, anticipating countless future experiments in the field of new age and world music but also in avantgarde and electronic music.
Apart from a few violin parts and the extraordinary vocal lines (sung by Vaccina himself and Juri Camisasca), Antico Adagio is an album fully built on percussions. But, at the same time, it's the farthest thing from the typical idea of percussions. You won't find a single trace of African or primitive beats: instead, this is a collection of rather long, subtle and thoughtful compositions, crafted with vibraphones, marimbas and gong. Together they create a work which will remain unique – both in Capra Vaccina's discography as well as in a more general sense."
Erstwhile Deaf Center member Erik K. Skodvin aka Svarte Greiner returns with a brilliant, solemn new work a year on from the Moss Garden album for his own Miasmah imprint.
Apart is essentially a suite of pieces for prepared Cello and location recordings, recorded in an abandoned industrial space in Bern, Switzerland, complete with all the aural artefacts you would imagine. As Skodvin explains:
"In autumn 2015 I was invited to perform and stay for a week at the – as it turned out one off - Rebirth Festival in Bern, Switzerland. I was staying at an abandoned farm in the hills, half an hour outside the city with the group of young people responsible for the festival. My room was equipped with a mattress on the floor, some strange paintings, and a lot of spider webs. The view outside was straight into an open field with mostly hills, a forest, and some tents, all of which would be covered in fog every morning. By night I was driven to the venue - an unused industrial building slightly outside of central Bern. Three of the nights there I was given a cello, a sleeping bag, full access to the building, and especially its big open basement space for recording. Something that ended up as both a fruitful and an uneasy experience. The walls were spray painted and the space was scattered with bizarre, elaborate tree / steel sculptures. Most of the rooms were made into some kind of surreal art object, often recalling a sort of Mad Max post-apocalyptic feel.
I realised that getting a clean recording here would be nearly impossible, as the building had a tendency for strange noises, clicks and sounds, seemingly turning itself on and off at random. It was also located right next to the train tracks, which meant I had about 10 minutes of quiet in which to record in between the thunder of passing trains - a lot of recordings were ruined. However, all these off elements somehow had their charm. Having such a big empty space for myself, filled with strange installations and sculptures set up for the festival, was both inspiring and eerie. When not playing and just sitting still, it was unnerving. The lights were on motion detectors and would automatically turn off after 5 minutes without movement, leaving me alone with nothing but a small lamp and my thoughts. Sometimes I wished my imagination would be less vivid, as I´d have an easier time not imagining all kinds of obscure happenings in the shadows. Then again, this is also something that intrigued me so much that I felt no choice but to investigate closer. Spurred by this intrigue/paranoia, I would often walk around the empty building to soak up the atmosphere and check if someone was there.“
That intense sense of isolation seeps through every pore of these wonderfully evocative recordings, situating them somewhere between avant garde composition and minimalist horror, something that’s long been a speciality of the Miasmah label and, indeed, Skodvin’s work - here taken to its most austere, stripped down and rewarding extreme.
Prodigal avant synth-pop star John Maus - an important early collaborator with Ariel Pink (who guests here) - returns to the scene he was instrumental in setting with Screen Memories, marking up his first album since We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves  and one of the most addictive records of the year thus far.
The palette remains mostly unchanged from his chain of previous Maus classics, as written for and released by Upset! The Rhythm and Ribbon Music during the ‘00s. But the tone, timbre and layering of his synths, drum machines and vocals in Screen Memories are discernibly tweaked for emphasised flavour and emotive affect. The results find Maus better expressing his contemporary concerns thru the prism of outmoded equipment, giving voice to the truth of timeless, absurd matters in an ever-more personalised style of pop articulation.
Under the wonderfully evocative header Screen Memories, a title which simultaneously conjures reflective, nostalgic imagery and possibly suggests a sort of picnoleptic reaction to the hypermodern narcissistic condition, Maus parses his own image and sense of self from the TV ‘snow’ or distortion of reality. It appears as a self who can’t escape the formative digital tang of the ‘80s which underlines so much of the modern world, yet a one who lives and dreams in the here-and-now.
It’s a supremely smart demonstration of avant-pop as playful metaphor, with Maus merging/duetting ever closer to his fine-tuned synth as a form of basic AI, occupying a strange harmonic uncanny valley of phosphorescing shadowplay between his probing hooks, bathing in the plasmic timbre or temporal and cognitive dissonance of late capitalism.
Tom Ware is a Grammy nominated engineer, producer and musician from Omaha Nebraska.
"Throughout the 70s and 80s Tom was the drummer for many bands, including Norman & The Rockwells, Toy boat Toy boat Toy boat, and Hit N Run. Because of his love for electronics, mechanics, and machines of any kind, he was always the only one who truly knew how pa systems worked. Tom got an entry level job at a Rainbow Studios and would work at the recording studio during the day, play evening gigs till 2 in the morning, then go back to the studio and work on new ideas all night. During these teeth cutting sessions, Tom worked by himself, following his instincts and creating sounds he loved to listen to.
His reckless abandon approach and thrill to learn was a high octane fuel that resulted in his first solo self-titled album. The album’s 10 songs were recorded and mixed between August & December of 1983 and self-released in early 1984. The album would be re-released in 1985 by independent Krautrock/Kosmische Musik label Sky Records in Germany and re-titled ‘The Fourth Circle’. Some of the instruments used on the LP were a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, & Pro One, Simmons SDSV electronic drums, Roland TR-606 drum machine, & Hammond B3 organ. While recording this album Tom was influenced by new wave sounds of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools of pulsing synth music and the celestial realms of Jean Michel Jarre.”
Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss is the mixtape which established Mykki Blanco as a pre-eminent queer hip hop MC upon its release thru UNO NYC in 2012.
Framed by production from Gobby, Brenmar, Matrixxman, Le1f, Gatekeeper and Flostradamus, ao., Mykki owns his sound with fierce style, giving voice to non-binary concerns and his sexuality in a way that doesn’t just prize subject over style, but rather makes a bold new style out of subjects that he’s lived and needs to represent. It’s still an authentically unique and outstanding dispatch five years later.