Stephen O’Malley & Peter Rehberg’s KTL find the darkest space between black metal and computer music - or presence and absence - with ‘The Pyre: versions distilled to stereo’; a score for french choreographer Gisèle Vienne.
Continuing Shelter Press’s on-going documentation of Gisèle Vienne’s work after Stephen O’Malley’s 2015 score for her ‘Éternelle Idole’ piece, ‘The Pyre’ also sees Gisèle paired with Peter Rehberg for first time since his ‘Work For GV 2004-2008’ album, serving to tie up their many, long-running and overlapping strands of practice into a mighty new KTL opus.
As almost anyone who’s heard O’Malley & Rehberg scores for Gisele’s work will surely attest, the french choreographer always brings the best out of her sonic familiars, and their work on ‘The Pyre’ is no exception. Some 6 years in the works, it has undergone multiple stages of processing since the initial seed recording made at IRCAM, Paris, 2012, with subsequent live stems overdubbed at Fennesz’s studio, and further mixing by Randall Dunn all aiding to bring the score to life as it’s own, standalone work of art.
At the service of Gisèle’s choreography - a play on the existential tension between presence and absence - KTL render some of the most pellucid and unfathomable sound designs in their considerable arsenal, layering up from near infrasonic-levels of subharmonics to filigree timbral thizz and sferic reflection, in the process creating an illusion of spatial depth and dizzy scale that beautifully spins our gauges...
Kassem Mosse and Lowtec mint their Kolorit duo for Workshop with six tracks of frayed percussion and wigged-out rhythmelody in a ruffcut cosmic house style.
Littered with surprising twists and turns, Kolorit’s ‘Workshop XXI’ catches both producers at their loosest, jazziest and rawly psychedelic, with stacks of sloshing rhythms and woozy licks that lead dancers right down the rabbtihole.
If we’re playing favourites, the jiggy jazz parry of ‘D1’ gets us dancing like boneless marionettes, and the teetering percolations of their C-side get right under the skin, but the best of the lot is their lysergically frazzled Afrobeat fuss scrawled across the A-side.
Sega Bodega lends his unique touch to Shygirl’s ‘Cruel Practice’ EP, self-released on Sega’s Nuxxe label, site of his new ‘self*care’ EP
Shygirl comes cold AF and gynoid-like on five tracks that sound like the cyberpunk cousins of PC Music. ‘Rude’ hits hard and slow with a payload of screeching string stabs and dembow bumps; ‘Nasty’ wriggles on a crumpled drill style with killer double-timed bars by Shygirl; Dinamarca jumps in for additional production on the squeaky but rugged madness of ‘Gush’; and ‘Asher Wolfe’ brings it UK on a deft, darkside 2-step.
Anthoney J Hart a.k.a. Imaginary Forces a.k.a. Basic Rhythm a.k.a. East Man pushes a scowling Hi Tek take on hardcore ‘nuum styles for his newly minted label.
It’s basically instrumental grime pushed into the red, working between the 8-bar swerve of ‘Twilight’ and the aggressive jaws of ‘Future Tek’ on the front, before the boisterous Breakstep lash of ‘Nose Bleed’, and rounding out with the dank presha of ‘Mash Head’.
‘Sfumato’ marks the long-awaited return of BLOOM to the club and instrumental grime style he was instrumental in shaping with his pivotal, early EPs, ‘Quartz’ and ‘Hydraulics’
The Belfast-based producer has been notable by his absence from the release schedule since 2015, when he notably remixed a pair of tracks from Björk’s ‘Vulnicura’ LP. He now vaults back into the fray with ‘Sfumato’, which takes its name from a technique of painting where colours and tones bleed into one another - a smart metaphor for Bloom’s productions; frantic, multi-layered tessellations of cinematic FX and collaged rhythms spun with delirious dynamic.
“Sfumato is the most transportive expression of Bloom’s sound to date, and also his most extensive project, clocking in at six tracks. By far his most beautiful record, it features trademark crashes of gun-metal and nimble sample work, but juxtaposes them against romantic synths and ascendant pads, resulting in something as emotional as it is impactful.”
Fit Siegel and Sotofett galvanise their S & M Trading Co duo with Metal Surface Repair, a labyrinthine acid beauty, backed with a trackier version and a very handy beat-less version.
The A-side’s title cut is a real midnight bloom, flowering from an intro of mystic Eski flutes and layered subs into a 303-gilded masterpiece meant for deployment at the most crucial times of the dance. B-side, DJ Sotofett takes the lead on a chunkier Acid Mix emphasising the 303 and percussion, saving the floating pads for the final strokes, whereas the Synthetic Mix lets the synth and acid lines move in lush avian formation, leaving the drums aside to be dropped as a proper palette cleanser where needed.
Truly excellent work.
Shelley Parker churns up a strong mix of concrète and bass music styles in her ruffneck debut for Hessle Audio
Marking the final Hessle Audio 12” of 2018, Shelley synchs bare bones breaks with seismic subs and field recordings of Carnival and her work for choreography to serve a hyperrealistic sensation of London in flux.
From her construction site stepper ‘Red Cotton’, uncannily recalling Nomex & Scud’s ‘Piling Machine’ , thru the spectral convolutions and ricocheting echoes of Notting Hill Carnival laced into ‘Angel Oak’, and the clash of smooth pads and bagging textures in ‘Masonry Pier’, Shelley’s soundsphere is impressively unique and subtly suggestive, while the remix finds Ploy bringing the groove forward with patented percussive chops and fine-tuned dancefloor suss.
Throbbing, avant-house music by artists Sabisha Friedberg and Tyler Wilcox, aka Golden Mean for the purposes of their debut 12”, Resonance with Detroit’s Fit Sound.
A blend of droll spoken word and absorbing, pulsating subbass, Resonance is prepped in three mixes; the dry darkroom pound of the original Resonance and an unprocessed A Capella room recording of Sabisha’s stark vocal, plus a Resonance (Toxic Mix) where the elements have much more room to move, in the process recalling Jay Ahern’s slunkiest Cheap & Deep Productions.
A proper piece of post-punk history: the studio session for Bauhaus’ classic ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ available on vinyl for the 1st time! Includes early version of the dancefloor evergreen plus a haul of previously unreleased aces
“The Bela Session is a full release of Bauhaus' first studio session from January 26 1979, where the iconic "Bela Lugosi's Dead" was recorded. This is the first and only official reissue of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on vinyl, and the first time 3 of the 5 tracks have been released. This EP has been produced directly by the band with Leaving Records, in advance of the band's 40th anniversary.
Bauhaus are a four-piece from Northampton, England, composed of Peter Murphy (vocals, occasional instruments), Daniel Ash (guitar), Kevin Haskins (drums), and David J (bass). Venerated and highly influential, the band emerged from the post-punk alternative music scene of the early 80s with a string of innovative albums and a powerfully dramatic live presentation. Their music embodies a minimalistic, disconsolate style of post-punk rock unlike any other.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was originally released by Small Wonder Records, 1979. "Harry" was originally released by Beggars Banquet, 1982. "Some Faces," "Bite My Hip," and "Boys (Original)" are previously unreleased.”
Parris pushes off on Idle Hands again with ‘Puro Rosaceaes’, a sublime follow-up to his ‘Burr’ 12”, loaded with devilishly good Gunnar Wendel a.k.a. KMOS remix.
Vibes for days and days on this one, catching London’s low-key lynchpin Parris at his very best with the air-stepping deep house shuffle of ‘Puro Rosaceaes’, and again on a lip-bitingly deep downstroke called ’Soft Touch’ that recalls Anthony Shakir’s ‘Mr. Shakir’s Beat Store’ classic.
Proving the perfect nominee for remix duties, Gunnar Wendel a.k.a. Kassem Mosse a.k.a. KMOS feathers ‘Puro Rosaceaes’ with frayed claps and laved chords insisting a slinky dip and parry from everyone within earshot when it’s playing.
London/Bristol’s Laksa leans back to Batu’s Tiemdance with pair of swaggering aces after recent turns for Ilian Tape and Whities
Ever more eazy in his own groove, he tramples into humid, sub-tropical tribal styles on ‘The Amala Trick’, sloshing his drums on a grittily fluid downstroke with heaving subs and bristling atmospheres gelled together by lush ambient pads for a hypnotic late night blues sound, Bristol style.
‘In The Middle’ is far more up for it, wielding swivelling drums and dank duppy stabs in a percolated sort of dark garage/tribal techno trouble.
STILL’s killah dancehall riddim pack gets remixed by prime producers including Kenya’s Slikback, Príncipe artist Nídia, Low Jack outta France, and Dominican Republic/LA’s dembow badboy Kelman Duran, a.o.
Simone Trabbuchi a.k.a. STILL’s original riddims from the ‘I’ album prove to be mutably fecund source material for the remixers. Kelman Duran, whose brillaint ‘1804 KIDS’ was issued by Tabucchi’s Hundebiss in 2017, serve a big highlight with their spaced-out inversion of the virulent ‘Nazenet Riddim’, while hakuna Kuala’s Kenyan rep Slikback also hugely impresses with a hot-stepping twyst on ’Shikorina’.
Nídia nimbly feathers ‘Haile Selassie Is The Micro-Chip’ as a hypnotic Kuduro swanger, and ake sure to also check for Low Jck’s roguish cyber-dancehall version of ‘Rough Rider’.
‘Toe In The Bardo Pond’ is Rabit’s remix extension of his Jodorowsky-inspired ‘Life After Death’ album
Peering thru the Halcyon Veil into vast, imaginative, psychedelic dimensions, Rabit further projects the experimental designs of ‘Life After Death’ to suggest and invoke surreal non-places and sites of metaphysical investigation.
While it’s not made explicit anywhere, it’s possible to gauge the influence of DMT and its putative effects inside the ‘Toe In The Bardo Pond EP’, who title likely refers as much to the Tibetan Book of the Dead as the US psych band who also borrowed it for their name. Heck, the EP length is even the same as most DMT trips.
In this context, rabbit supposes a fractured, fractal trip in 5 stages, emerging with the digitised exhalation and surprisingly lush revelations of ‘Rebirth (Smoked Out)’, and un/furling inward/outward thru the origami fractals of ‘Rebirth II’, the screwed sensuality of ‘Rebirth 33’, and the percussive tumult of ‘Rebirth 4’, to culminate in the serene ambiguity of ‘Rebirth 5 (Voidness)’.
Sun-sozzled slow grooves conceived on and dispatched from the white isle
“Nature Sounds Of The Balearics is Mark Barrott's debut LP on Running Back Incantations. Mark Barrott is the man behind International Feel, Rocha, and Future Loop Foundation, as well as being a founding member of the Balearic boy-band Talamanca System alongside Gerd Janson and Lauer.”
In the glistening wake of his ‘Age Of’ album, 0PN despatches a highlight of his MYRIAD live show with the title cut of ‘Love in The Time of Lexapro’.
On that standout cut, the preeminent synthesist uses his FM programming nous to connote the putative feeling of synaptic smudge and truncated emotive cadence that comes with antidepressants - in this case one of the most commonly used in the USA. It’s a unique skill, to be able to so finely and perhaps accurately limn such sensations in sound, and inarguably one of 0PN’s most appealing, and perhaps uncanny traits. A big reason why his music appeals to so many.
The Ryuichi Sakamoto rework of ‘Last Known Image Of a Song’ is another highlight, taking the original somewhere colder, more isolated, for a stepper sense of reflective introspect, while ’Thank God I’m A Country Girl’ recalls EP7/LP5 era Æ, and ‘Babylon’ sounds like an Alexander Tucker offset.
The Golden Filter kick off their 4GN3S (Agnes) label with the tight ‘80s synth-pop of ‘Talk Talk Talk’ and corresponding remixes from Kaspar Bjørke & Colder, Cooper Saver, and Fantastic Twins
TGF’s Penelope Trappes and Stephen Hindman channel classic Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke and stacks of Italo disco aces in the original belter, whereas Bjørke and Colder dry off the more sentimental aspects for a rasping, swaggering EBM sound, Cooper Saver takes it to the darkroom with thrumming bass arps, and Julienne Dessagne brings the vocals back in for a frothier fantastic Twins remix.
Intriguing electronic studies in strange meter, greyscale tone, and elemental techno from Taiwanese artist Jing for Steve Bicknell’s 6dimensions
Make sure to check the psychoactive techno abstraction of ‘Videodrome’ and the bristling electro of ‘Malentonion’.
Lazer-guided electro precision from Djedjotronic, leaving his debut mark on Sheffield’s CPU
Following link-ups with DeFeKT, Douglas McCarthy and Miss Kittin for his regular home at Boysnoize Records, this away-day sees Djedjotronic skilfully navigate Detroit-style alleys of the mind between the Kraftwerk/Cyborton flex of ‘Cruising’ and the Heinrich Mueller-esque ‘Celular’ ace on the A-side, and then like some rogue Ultradyne creation in the cranky, hard-ass drive of ‘Tunnel’.
I Hate Models bares his teef on the backbreaking EBM techno of ‘Spreading Plague’
Perc serves a drier remix reduction, and I Hate Models sticks with the ceramic soundspshere for the cold, ricocheting dynamics of ‘Martial Order’.
DJ Nigga Fox pushes Príncipe to new conceptual limits with the remarkable 15 Barras - a four-part movement of virulent acid, screeing strings and crowd noise unfolding over a seamless 20 minute arrangement. It’s just mad on so many levels, right up there with the Afro-cubist abstractions of Jamal Moss and Nolan Reusse at their best.
Originally conceived as the soundtrack to an installation but ultimately arriving on this one-sided piece of wax, 15 Barras trades in Nigga Fox’s usual dancefloor intensity and immediacy for something more slow burning and experimental in structure and duration.
An elasticated 303, or 303 emulation, is the glue that holds the piece together, coming in sticky waves of jabbing, writhing rhythm, accreting diced chants and swells of clamouring crowd noise that eventually hinge around a splintered claps and trills of hollow, wooden blocks of percussion at ruggedest angles.
Drop this at the right point in the dance and you’ve got at least enough time for a really leisurely slash, and maybe even roll a zoot before returning to the dance and finding everyone melted in some kind of Cronenbergian amorphorgy.
Super crackly but captivating recordings of a school group made in Niger, near the same region as the ‘Guitars From Agadez’ albums
“I first came upon this cassette at Djadje’s market stall at the Grand Marché in Niamey in 2014. The tapes were not for sale (Djadje sells dubbed copies) so I spent the good part of a day sitting on a wooden bench in the crowded market, digitizing with a cheap walkman and ZOOM. The results weren’t pretty. Someone’s cellphone, probably my own, was sending radio interference, and the tape was distorted with staccato noise. When I heard it, I was already thousands of miles away. A few months ago, while back in Niamey, I did like any good video store patron in 1993 and left a friend’s driving license and a hefy non-refundable deposit. We brought the tape to France, digitized it, and returned it to Djadje in a months’ time.
Djadje was surprised to see the tape again. And for good reason. The tape is rare, the only copy I’ve ever seen. The recording comes from a school group from the village of Tudu, in the region of Agadez, led by a guitarist and professor Barmo. The style that would become a popular in Niger throughout the 1980s and 90s, with many similar schoolgirl groups, like the one in Tchirou (and what would go on to form the basis and genre of Sogha Niger). The guitar playing is minimal, recalling early Ali Farka Touré, answering and mimicking the lilt of the song.
The cassette also stands out with the mysterious logo and catalog number – “HASADA” – maybe something only I would obsess over. But the only other cassette from the label I’ve found was Mamman Sani’s first and signature recording that went on to become the re-release La Musique Electronique du Niger. Rumour has it that Hasada was from Nigeria, and made a few of these tapes to distribute around Niamey. He had a good ear, whoever he was.”
NYC’s Kiki Kudo inhabits breezy, simulated dancefloor/headspace in the ‘Splashing EP’ for Anthony Naples and Jenny Slattery’s Incienso label
Like Dj Python, Beta Librae and People Plus before her, newcomer Kiki Kudo’s expressively off-centre, uniquely piquant productions charmingly follow their own path thru parallel club dimensions.
Also echoing the flighty new age jazz sentiments of Hieroglyphic Being and Black Zone Myth Chant as much as her label mates, Kiki is in command of a seductively free style, first drawing us in with the playfully chaotic, melodic tumult of ‘The Secret Bedside Track’, then rolling off into unmetered electro-jazz with ‘U Are Awake’, and flying high with the colourful avian synth chatter of ‘Gadget & Go’.
But if you need a kick drum anchor to get your bearings, make sure to check off the fluid pulse of ‘Interactive Gee’ for something like Young Marco meets Patricia, and get a grip on the strobing, rolling ace ‘City Neo Neon’ to light up your ‘floor/bedroom/car.
Príncipe knock us sideways once again with a debut EP showcase of Batida and Tarraxo by RS Produções’ DJ Narciso & Nuno Beats; a set of piquant, wavey club zingers from Lisbon’s hottest yung squad following acclaimed 2018 releases by P. Adrix, DJ Lilocox, and Niagara.
RS Produções are the next, thrilling young unit to emerge from Lisbon’s fertile club scene via Príncipe. Produced by core members DJ Narciso and Nuno Beats, ‘Bagdad Style’ supplies a crisply rugged, bittersweet taste of the crew’s hyperlocal sound, spanning electro-compatible Batida bangers alongside wonky, slower semi-tarraxos and deep, wavey house mutations. If you were snagged by Príncipe’s P. Adrix, DJ Lilocox and Niagara releases already in 2018, we guarantee this one’s unmissable.
Formed in 2014 as a close group of pals from Rinchoa, Rio de Mouro, on the edges of Lisbon, RS Produções grew wings when, in 2016, a then 17 year old Narciso knuckled down and relaunched RS as a proper crew with DJs, producers and an MC in the same model as pivotal Lisbon posse, Piquenos DJs Do Guetto. The crew have since become regular fixtures at Príncipe’s famous monthly residency in Lisbon’s Musicbox club, and their debut showcase is certain to send them spinning around the globe.
The EP is fronted by two unmissable Batida heaters from DJ Narciso in the bare bones electro percussion of ‘Caipirinha’ and the kinked metallic cargaa of ‘Constipacao do Poco’, before the slinky interplay of dissonant organ riffs and flighty pipes in ‘Guerreiro’ highlights a wicked taste for sour, battery-tang lixx that comes to inform the rest of the EP, courtesy of Nuno Beats’ slower tarraxo styles in ‘Lingrinhas’ and the super wavey spesh, ‘Futuro’, while Nuno & Narciso come together with ruder, uptempo torque in the hypnotic electro-house swang of ‘Aberturu’ and the sensuous deep Kuduro contours of ‘Hino RS’, which should leave listeners in no doubt as to the duo’s breadth and quality of club music.
Unique psychedelic killers from Niagara, mounting a sterling debut album with Lisbon’s Príncipe five years after their first 12”, ‘Ouro Oeste’ . Trust that they have lost none of the weirdness that’s endeared them to freaks around the world ever since they emerged. If anything they’re stranger, more spaced-out and porous to wild influence...
Outlining Niagara’s definitive description of contemporary exotica, ‘Apologia’ limns a frayed, buzzing sort of “Fourth World PLUS” sound, where the “PLUS” refers to their embrace of noise as an agent of chaos. But it’s not necessarily malefic chaos, and should be taken as a smart acknowledgement of the overlooked yet crucial role that roughness of grain and construction play in contrast with so many clinically smooth and even anodyne efforts from the same, imagined arena of worldly music for a new age.
In allowing for the entropy of time and the inevitable infidelity of attrition to enter their soundsphere, Niagara’s organic machine music keenly reflects a natural world order without the need for algorithmic process. Their world is a fertile interplay of acoustic and electronic sources rendering hazy, fata morgana-like glimpses of musical possibility, practically triangulating the visions of likeminds such as Jamal Moss/Hieroglyphic Being and Dolo Percussion with the explorative precedents of Portugul’s Telectu to realise a fine expression of anachronistic modernism.
Most of the tracks loosely work around 3 minute timeframes, lending a zig-zagging mosaic quality to the tracklist in between its longer parts. Richly colourful spiritual jazz arps and raw machine grooves spring from opener ‘França’, triggering a cascade of ideas that bends between acidic kosmiche in ‘6:30’ to the heatsick boogie gliss of ’40’ and the stark emptiness of ‘Senhora Do Cabo’, to give up the gorgeous, extended flute and acid meditation ’Siena’, and mess with Vangelis-style synth majesty on ‘Via Garibaldi’, before spending their coolest energies in the drowsy Afro-latin swagger of ‘Cabo Verde.’
It’s hard to ignore the fact that Alberto, António and Sara a.k.a. Niagara have distilled their sound to imperfection on ‘Apologia’, resulting one of 2018’s most crucial and vital electronic albums.
Smart selectors Cera Khin & Ossia run their 3rd killer mixtape together following their ‘Blue Baboon Mix’ for JSMË and a shared side on 2017’s ‘Guided Meditation’ tape.
Dedicated to Skully the cat (RIP), the mix was recorded on a lazy summer night in Berlin, 2018, and features a far-flung haul of music ranging from Bristolian styles by Andy Mac, ASDA and Dubkasm thru to Japanese ambient vibes from Haruomi Hosono and Yasuaki Shimizu, and avant audits by Coil, Daphne Oram and Iannis Xenakis, all held together with dub from Tapes, Disrupt and 7Fo.
Though we're currently listening to it at close to zero, Skully Mix is really ideal midsummer music, conjuring a sense of hazy headiness through both the sections and the way they’re mixed: sometimes layered; sometimes dub smudged; and sometimes in jump cut edits - all serving to make a winding, outward-looking yet intimate, and psychedelically romantic narrative...
Colin Self’s joyously diverse and fiercely singular debut LP ‘Siblings’ takes its place among the year’s most thrilling introductions for fans of Arca, SOPHIE, Autre Ne Veut, Björk, Amnesia Scanner, or Panda Bear...
Both advance cuts, ‘Emblem’ and ‘Stay With The Trouble (For Donna)’ appear on ‘Siblings’ lodged amid a remarkable sequence that simultaneously unravel and entangle Self’s decadent, queered and singular definition of dance-pop and operatic soul. Totally in key with the times, it’s everything at once and then some, but somehow manages to keep its head in spite of its density of information.
“Colin Self’s Siblings is a proposal for interdependence, critical joy, and an expansive sense of being. As the lyrics beam, “I used to live as an anomaly... no explanation biologically,” so siblings share hidden language, lore, and identity. On Siblings, ecstatic voices and sound knot to form new ideals of kinship, emerging as horizontal relations for multi-species flourishing.
Colin Self challenges boundaries of perception with his art, music, and performances. Inspired by the work of Donna Haraway (Cyborg Manifesto, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene), Siblings is the final segment of the six-part opera series entitled Elation. Informed by Self’s exploration of the ways of knowing, Siblings places a non-biological family at its center. The characters, bonded by curiosity and caring, generate ways of collectively coming together on a damaged planet. Self uses Siblings to define this familial experience through sound and its soundmakers.
On “Story,” Siblings’ opening moment, breath and beats emerge as echoes within a vast, heaving chamber, sound conjured and cajoled into a new, blistered terrain. “Foresight” urges us toward a worlding - a break from the planet we’ve disregarded: “I see on my screen all the doubt, where it comes from, why you trust in no one. I see a new light.” While the unhinged form of “Ante-Strategy” lays the sonic compost for a Belurusian political poem, written with Tanya Zamirouskaya and Anastasia Kolas, Self tends toward elaboration and excesses in a “joyous rendering of survival.”
Siblings splits sides with “Transitions,” a pluri-vocal burst called forth from interstellar margins to put uncounted bodies in motion. Repetitions of “I commit to you” end with “We commit to you.” Self utilizes theoretical vocabulary to encourage germination of a new language. “Research Sisters” will make their own myths and forge their own families, the work’s fire sparking frenetic, ecstatic voices flashing back and forth in stereo. The gathering of choral voices lift up the melancholic words of “The Great Refusal” over pillowy layers of strings and stumbling, sputtering showers of keyboards.”
Vessel returns to Tri Angle with ‘Queen Of Golden Dogs’, offering a crazed leap from ‘Punish, Honey’  into wild fusions of chamber music and outernational rhythms.
Crafted over the course of one and half years while sequestered in rural Wales, ‘Queen Of Golden Dogs’ is a logical, if somewhat hyper, steroid-fed, progression from Vessel’s previous album, his 2016 turn with Immix Ensemble for Erased Tapes, and interim joyrides with Chester Giles in ASDA (the band, not the supermarket).
If one could accuse previous Vessel outings as gothic or darkside, there’s a much finer play of light/dark, texture, pace and space in Vessel’s 3rd album, demonstrating in no uncertain terms an artist in hot, active pursuit of pushing his sound in new directions, and without losing sight of himself.
Riven with heart-bleeding ecstatic noise from nose to tail, the beats are also up-for-it in a way recalling North African dervish traditions or a playfully aggressive, boisterous Shackleton, with strong examples given in the opening clash of dissonant strings and pranging clatter on ‘Fantasma (For Jasmine)’, the restless razz of ‘Glory Glory (For Tippi)’, an escalating trance whirligig named ‘Paplu Love That Moves The Sun’, and the Art Of Noise on crystal meth styles of ‘Argo (For Maggie)’.
On the other hand, his choral arrangements and chamber music proclivities lend an exquisite contrast and relief between those prang outs, ranging from precise vignettes such as the tantalising ‘Good Animal (For Hannah)’, and the sore yelps of ‘Zahir (For Eleanor)’ to the elegant harpsichord aggression of ‘Arcanum (For Christalla)’, and most impressively on the cracked, off key cadence of ‘Torno-me eles a nau-e (For Remedies).
A star of Yussef Kamaal’s ‘Black Focus’ album, Mansur Brown is to the guitar what Thundercat is to the bass, and Robert Glaspar to the keys: a modern jazz innovator refreshing the timeless sound...
’Shiroi’ is the debut LP by London-based player Brown, showcasing a melodic and rhythmic sensibility far beyond his 21 years of age. It follows his key appearance on ‘The Return’, and other turns for Harvey Sutherland, Little Simz and Toshio Matsuura Group, with a classically late night sound, slickly brought to life with additional production by Henry Wu and Richard Samuels.
Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Cotton Goods) returns with the Tape Loop Orchestra’s final 'Instrumental Transcommunications' volume, a sublime, extended trip into degraded, blissed-out shoegaze and slowed down, shimmering drone works. Once again, if yr into Ian William Craig, The Caretaker or Jóhann Jóhannsson we reckon you’ll love this.
Poignantly timed to coincide with the first gusts of winter in Manchester, the loop bard’s latest missive unfurls two durational, diaphanous sails for mental transport, pushed by prevailing emotions to drift off into lush yet decayed echelons of sonic respite and reflection.
In ’Lead Us’ he slowly telescopes out from a murky refrain recalling The Caretaker or Akira Rabelais, and into slow moving night air, seemingly dissolving miles high into the ether, above the clouds where dawn breaks before hitting the surface below.
‘Into The Light’ follows with a dewy mist of crackle and surface clag obfuscating a vocal from Beth Roberts, who also collaborates with Andrew as The Mistys, and here lends an elusive soul to the side’s golden aurora of diffused strings and warbling synths.
Sizzling, psychedelic soul blinder from 1984, highly coveted for its deeply unusual soundsphere and use of drum machines and lysergic synths. One of the maddest experimental funk reissues since Starship Commander Woowoo? Ayeeee! 2nd hand copies trade for astronomic asking prices… if yr into the weirdest corners of Prince's vault - this ones a doozy.
“Synth chutes, synth ladders, popcorn 808 beats, dirge-y chants and busted sub-woofer hums from inner-galactic soul pioneers Nathaniel Woolridge and Anthony Freeman intertwine to create this hypnotic, mythical 1984 LP from Newark, New Jersey. The most damaged party record ever set to black, or the most partied cry of the heart ever howled into personal space. Probably both.”
‘Soul Of A Nation: Jazz Is The Teacher, Funk Is The Preacher’ is a powerful new collection of radical jazz, street funk and proto-rap made in the era of Black Power (1969-75).
"This is the second ‘Soul Of A Nation’ album released by Soul Jazz Records to coincide with the exhibition ‘Soul Of A Nation - Art In The Age Of Black Power’, critically acclaimed and enormously successful when it opened at the Tate Modern in London last year (as was Soul Jazz Records’ accompanying first album ‘Soul Of A Nation: Afro-Centric Visions In The Age Of Black Power 1968- 79’). The blockbuster international exhibition is now at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, travelling to Los Angeles in 2019.
This new album features a number of important and ground-breaking African-American artists - The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Don Cherry, Funkadelic, Gil Scott-Heron and more - alongside a host of lesser-known artists all of whom in the early 1970s were exploring new Afrocentric poly-rhythmical styles of music - radical jazz, street funk and proto-rap - while at the same time exploring the Black Power and civil-rights inspired notions of self-definition, self respect and self-empowerment in their own lives.
During this era African-American jazz musicians ripped up traditional definitions - rejecting the term ‘entertainer’ to redefine themselves instead as ‘artists’. They worked outside of the mainstream music industry perceiving this artistic relationship to be fundamentally exploitative and politically flawed. Artists instead formed their own pan-arts community-centric collectives, set up their own record labels, ran concerts in alternative performance spaces - art galleries, parks, lofts, community centres - all as a way of taking control of their own creative destinies.
At the start of 1960s jazz musicians had embarked on an intense period of musical experimentation as artists John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry sought to dismantle the traditional definitions of jazz by creating new music that broke free from its establishment shackles. By the end of the 1960s, forward-thinking African-American jazz musicians had absorbed the ideas of this radical and avant-garde path but also began to introduce many new elements - not just civil rights concepts of freedom but also black power ideas of self-respect, righteousness and anger.
Their music developed into a radical and intense Afrocentric mix of jazz, funk, soul and street poetry, all in search of a new musical language that could better represent artistic African-American cultural expression. All of the featured artists here were involved in this search in different ways; A shared sense of Afrocentric collectivism joined the dots between the deep avant-garde experimentalism of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago (here featuring soul singer Fontella Bass singing the powerful ‘Theme de Yoyo’) to the hyper funk psychedelia of George Clinton’s Funkadelic.
The poetry of Gil Scott-Heron and Sarah Webster Fabio performed with a backdrop of street funk and heavyweight percussion laid down the template for the birth of rap. The Har-You Percussion Group, a group of young Harlem teenagers, showed how government-sponsored social initiatives helped great art and music. Gary Bartz and The Oneness of Juju offer spirituality and cosmology. Collectives like The Pharaohs and Detroit’s Tribe add deep jazz and street funk in equal measures."
Life In Sodom’s killer, cult, gothic Miami club hit of 1990 resurfaces, backed with Alessandro Adriani remix and the gloomy ace ‘Phantasmagoria’
It’s a total pleasure to finally tick this one off our wantslist, as the YouTube video has been a go-to anthem for years in these parts. Pretty sure we stumbled across it some years back as a Freestyle Electro oddity via the remix - a unique blend of patently Miami-styled pneumatic drum machines with kink club industrial vox that really pushes our buttons every time.
Unfortunately the label don’t provide any info about the remixer, and the info isn’t coming easily online, but it really is the crucial factor in the success of ‘The Stains’, lending a tight latinate undertow that was arguably missing from much goth rock before it, and ever since, but here works like a wet dream for those who like to properly bump and swoon.
The shorter original mix, first intended for a video, is also included for comparison, along with a slightly unnecessary, duller remix from Alessandro Adriani, and what sounds like a gothic Kraftwerk in ‘Phantasmagoria’, the lead cut from Life In Sodom’s 2nd single.
A must have!
Necessary new reissue of Chandra’s cult 80's new wave obscurities, including her sought-after 1980 debut EP plus later recordings, all adding up to the definitive Chandra release.
As the daughter of famed conceptual artist Dennis Oppenheim and an equally open-minded mum Phyllis Jalbert, Chandra Oppenheim was born in the midst of ‘70s NYC at a time when punk, mutant disco, hip hop, no wave and Madonna were all emerging. By the age of 9 she had already opened for a Laurie Anderson performance and formed a band with Eugenio Diserio and Steven Alexander of Model Citizens and The Dance. After a year of rehearsals, Chandra’s finely honed improv skills and ahead-of-her-years lyrics would front ‘Transportation’, the group’s first EP of wryly razor sharp guitar, discoid bass and wonky dub-style melodica. It was issued to widespread acclaim from the music and art media - described as “Delta 5 meets the Jackson 5” by David Ma - yet Chandra’s decision to focus on school meant that her 2nd EP recording lay unreleased until 2008.
This record contains both her cult debut and it’s follow-up, plus two bonus songs written during the same period. With few exceptions in the history of music, the collected ‘Transportation EP’s’ frame a unique mesh of ideas that arguably could not have emerged at any other point in musical history. Chandra was effectively the starchild of an era in which cultural, socio-economic and political conditions created the space where a 10 year old could express herself quite like this, with lyrics about climbing up 6 storey buildings and exploring themes of mind control, multiple personalities and missing the train, all set to music comparable with arch examples of the era, from France’s Lizzie Mercier Descloux to Y Pants.
It’s perhaps harder than ever to imagine an artist such as Chandra emerging today. That’s not to say that there aren’t youthlings making interesting music right now (check NON Worldwide’s Safa compilation for starters!), it’s hard to see any adult taking them seriously enough to form a band with them, never mind let them front it and even invite all their wee pals to join. Taking that all into context, the ’Transportation EP’s’ recordings are truly remarkable, and enduringly so, from the evergreen perk of ’Subways’, which was recently sampled on The Avalanches comeback album, to the naturally forward lean of the two bonus songs, recorded in 1983 and full of future popwise promise that still shines over 35 years later.
Saharan guitar fire from Northern Mali, tending to a near extinct style of trance-inducing riffs and pounding, offbeat drums. 10 burning variations on a theme.
“Tallawit Timbouctou are champions of takamba, a hypnotic traditional music from Northern Mali. Built around the tehardent, the four-stringed lute and pre-cursor to the American banjo, takamba’s droning distortion comes from signature handmade mics and blown out amplifiers. Accompanied by percussion pounded out onto an overturned calabash with mind boggling time signatures, the combined effect is trance inducing.
This is the music that long ruled the North of Mali, performed at festivities, blasting out of dusty boomboxes, and beaming out from village radio stations. Its origin is shrouded in mystery, and though purportedly dating back to the Songhai Empire of the 15th century, takamba’s heyday was in the 1980s, with the introduction of amplification. Musicians found a lucrative circuit, performing in elegant weddings, creating cassettes on demand, and writing songs for their wealthy patrons. Today takamba has fallen out of popular fashion with the youth but continues to thrive in a small network of die-hard traditionalists.
Band leader Aghaly Ag Amoumine is one of the remaining renowned takamba musicians. Descended from a long line of praise singers, he spent decades traveling across the Sahel, performing in remote nomad camps and crowded West African capitals. His compositions continue to circulate today and have become part of the folk repertoire. His group Tallawit Timbouctou, based in the city of the same name, continues in the family tradition and has featured both his brother and nephew as accompanying members.
Recorded at home in Timbouctou, “Hali Diallo” is a relentless and non-stop recording, true to the form of takamba. Tracks blend seamlessly into one another, instruments are tuned mid-song, and Aghaly only pauses singing long enough for the occasional shout-out or dedication. Unfiltered and direct, as it's meant to be heard, Tallawit Timbouctou is a shining example of one of the last great takamba bands.”
Outstanding, mesmerising, modern takes on traditional Moroccan music, home-recorded at the feet of the Atlas Mountains with autotuned vocals, burbling drum machines, lush synths and cosmic, micro-tonal guitars
Giving us all the buzzes right now, Moulay Ahmed El Hassani’s ‘Atlas Electric’ is an edifying introduction to the singer-songwriter famous in his native Morocco for faithful yet modern spins on the country’s deeply rooted guitar traditions.
Urged by slinky rhythms and gilded with extra synths, the results are strung out with spellbinding spirals of effected guitar and autotuned vocals to charge the magic carpet of your mind for an unforgettable trip into scared geometries and enlightening psychedelia of a whole other calibre. Psych heads take note - this is how it’s done.
Essential purchase to fans of Sahel Sounds, followers of DJ/Ruptures global music travels, or Iraqi and Kurdish Chaabi styles.
It’s 35 years since the release of Daniel Johnston’s cassette recordings ‘Hi, How Are You’ and ‘Yip/Jump Music’. Now available for the first time ever as a combined double album (across three discs).
His fifth full-length album, released originally in 1983, Yip/Jump Music remains one of Daniel Johnston's most beloved albums. Much is made of Kurt Cobain's love for the record, and whenever you come across any promotional text, there's always some mention made of the Nirvana songwriter having named Yip/Jump music as his thirty-fifth favourite album of all time (similarly, you can't mention Hi, How Are You without acknowledgment of Cobain's T-shirt at the 1992 MTV Awards). The quality of Johnston's songwriting manages to cut through any such marketing hyperbole, just as it does the technical restrictions that meant the album was committed roughly to tape using unconventional instrumentation like a chord organ and the occasional ukulele. None of that matters because Johnston's lyrics and melodies are on top form, and the likes of 'Speeding Motorcycle', 'Casper The Friendly Ghost' and the wonderful, genuinely moving closing track 'I Remember Painfully' remain highlights of Johnston's discography. This may or may not be the thirty-fifth greatest album of all time, but certainly, it's eminently worthy of a place in anyone's record collection.
Hi, How Are You provides classics from the Johnston catalogue like 'Walking The Cow' and 'Hey Joe' while Continued Story yields slightly more hi-fi treats like 'Casper', the nervy new-wave of 'It's Over' and the ramshackle rock & roll of 'Ain't No Woman Gonna Make A George Jones Outta Me'. Much as with the Yip/Jump Music reissue, these recordings come from a time in Johnston's career when his creativity seemed to be at its freest, sounding relatively unburdened; there's as much joy here as there is heartbreak.
Not gonna lie, we’ve been obsessed with this record and its Shinro Ohtake’s drawn cover since 1992 when it was released. Alongside Pod, this is the best Breeders record and for us one of the finest EP’s of the 90’s.
It’s all there if you watch the video clip for ‘Safari’ - a gloriously lo-fi green screen travesty (oddly reminiscent of Prince’s Alphabet Street video) that captures the era and the genius of this band so well. Much like Pod, the material on Safari has aged so well; guitar, bass and drums stripped bare and augmented by Kim’s unique vocal style, complete with staggered breathing chorus on the title track, reaching an apex on ‘Don’t Call Home’ - at once anthemic and deadpan, so damn good.
Kevin Palmer unravels a suite of dusky, strolling groves and claggy, weathered electronics for 12th Isle’s 6th release, after gems from Ramzi, Cru Servers, Palta & Ti, and X.Y.R.
Spotted on a handful of strong underground labels such as Opal Tapes, No Corner, and Astro:Dynamics since the start of this decade, BAT has consistently brought a low key and economic yet distinctive style of hardware-derived music to the table, variously testing his chops in mutant configurations.
On ‘Enginetics & Plasmalterations’ we find his wandering vibes directed into some of his straightest-playing grooves. It starts up gingerly with the stumbling ephemera of ‘Vivi-Q Flight Path’, but finds it feet in slow, rolling structures that drift from soggy dub in ‘Orbitiara’ to the blunted, crackling jag of ‘Nick and Kev Set Controls for The waning Moon’ with Mr. Beatnik, and brilliantly shapeshifting into more asymmetric structures with the vaporous yet angular swang of ‘Unfathomed States’ and a pulsating abstract named ‘Extinct Song’.
The result is evidently BAT’s most rounded and smartly sequenced LP to date, if you ask us.
Chances are anything you’ll listen to after sitting through this half hour masterpiece will sound a bit lifeless - El Mal Querer is the most vibrant, layered and forward facing album of the year.
Rosalía Vila Tobella is already something of a sensation in her native Spain, but this new album looks certain to propel her into the stratosphere with its immediately accessible but multi-layered fusion of traditional flamenco with the swagger of modern R&B, a kind of minimal pop variant underpinned by what feels like an almost endless succession of clever hooks.
The opening Malamente is the most immediate and hard-hitting of the 11 tracks here, but the album is basically wall-to-wall brilliance, from the subtle, almost Theo-parrish inspired EQ cuts on Que No Salga La Luna to the super fwd juxtaposition of flamenco, auto-tune, pulsing subs and motorbikes revving on De Aquí No Sales to the ultra-ohrwurm Di Mi Nombre. Even the more traditional a cappela tracks edge into deviance - the eerie, layered vocals on A Ningún Hombre closing the album on a nervy, uncompromising note.
El Mal Querer really is a perfectly formed, hyper-modern vision of pop music; structurally daring, endlessly catchy, melancholy, introspective, bursting with charisma and more ideas than any other record we’ve listened to in 2018. Apparently there’s new music in the works from Rosalía with Pharell and Arca, you should keep a v close eye on this one...
Composer, multi-instrumentalist and mixed-media artist, Takehisa Kosugi has stood on the forefront of the Japanese avant-garde for over six decades. In the 1960s, he was part of Japan's first improvisational music collective, Group Ongaku, and contributed to Fluxus in New York. In 1969, he founded the influential, experimental ensemble The Taj Mahal Travellers, and in 1975 he would release his first solo album, Catch-Wave.
"Mano-Dharma '74" features improvised violin drones and voice with various oscillators, echo delays and layered tape experiments that the artist made in New York in 1967. While Kosugi's continuously changing spectrum of sound shifts gradually (almost imperceptibly), photocell synthesizers create ultra-low frequencies to disturb the crestless sound waves. The brighter the light is, the harsher the noise becomes.
Catch-Wave's second sidelong piece, "Wave Code #E-1," is a three-part performance for solo vocalist. As Kosugi describes in the liner notes (translated into English for this edition), the concept of onomatopoeia played an essential role in the type of sounds he generates with his voice, manipulated through customized electronic circuits and at times recalling Gregorian chant, throat singing and cosmic soundscapes."
Suara Semara yield a sublime new spin on traditional gamelan music. We’ll never tire of immersing in this music, and this one has only refreshed our palette no end. Highly recommended!
“This is the first professionally recorded non-reissue of Balinese gamelan to be pressed on vinyl in over 30 years.
Featuring hauntingly beautiful vocals sung in kidung style that float above the ensemble's adventurous but well grounded compositions, this album points to ritual associations while skillfully navigating new sonic and symbolic territory. As such, this album can be seen as representative of creativity that permeates the arts on Bali today.
This collection of new works for gamelan Saron Luang performed by Sanggar Alit Semara Dahana (est. 2013) of Desa Ubung Kaja emerges from one of the many junctures at which longstanding gamelan traditions meet new creativity. I Ketut Sujena skillfully navigates this crossroads by exploring new sonic and symbolic territory without abandoning performance styles recognizably derivative of the Saron Luang repertoire, which provide much of the foundation upon which subtle and more creative departures rest. The hauntingly beautiful vocals in kidung style composed by A.A. Ngurah Oka that float above these textures point to Saron Luang’s ritual associations, while choreographies by A.A. Ngurah Bagus Supartama that were inspired by ritual rejang dances point to the religious undertones permeating much creativity on Bali today.”
Part rigorous history, part insightful commentary, and part memoir, Mad Skills tells the story behind MIDI, through the twentieth century’s kaleidoscopic lens.
"Guiding us across one hundred years of musical instruments, and the music made with them, it recounts the technical and creative innovations that led to the making of the most vital, long-standing, ubiquitous, and yet invisible music technology of our time."
Aussie producer Yaws fires a slew of playful, hot-wired and wonky dance music on Alien Jams
Constructed at home in Australia while dealing with UK Visa fuckries, the ‘New’ EP follows the lead of Yaws’ 12” for Purely Physical records with six tracks ripe for ruined nights on’ tiles.
The two faster joints naturally attract our attention, namely the rabid, whooping bang and parry of ‘WDB’ on a Rian Treanor-compatible flex, and the jukin’ acidic slug of ‘Hollow’, while the rest test out various jakbeat mutations, from the acid canter of ‘Burner’ to the stiff, recursive funk of ‘Reflekt, and a whipsmart percolator, ’Red Clock’.
Sames Waves is L'ALTRA's Lindsay Anderson and John Hughes of Hefty Records fame.
"Hughes first crossed paths with Anderson in 2002 when she recorded vocals for Telefon Tel Aviv's 12" single, "Sound In A Dark Room" which would appear on his Hefty Records imprint. Hefty went on to release work from her group L'Altra as well as additional collaborative vocal work with Telefon Tel Aviv and Hughes' own projects under his name and aliases such as Slicker.
Same Waves represents their first collaboration from the ground up. Anderson, a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist and Hughes, a producer and electronic musician, create a beautiful and strange hybrid of synthesized and organic elements on Algorithm of Desire. The album, equal parts pristine and weathered, lyrically and sonically explores themes of human connection, algorithmic technology, desire and artistic creation, all within the confines of a surrealist landscape. The album was recorded outside of Chicago at HFT Studio and includes several players from the Chicago jazz and improvisational scene, like Charles Rumback aka Colorlist, Macie Stewart (Ohmme), Bill MacKay, Nick Macri (Euphone), and Matt Ulery."
EOMAC tags in Demian Licht for the 3rd in a smart series of experimental collusions after 12”s with Paula Temple and Sean Carpio
On top with the cryptically mantled ‘VV Cephai’ they invoke tumultuous techno rhythms and stray, possessed voices in a buckling matrix of sagging, swampy subbass and spatialized percussion - like foot working aliens running amok on an abandoned space station - while the other side’s ‘Algol’ gyres and scuttles in polymetric hyperspace, eventually locking into a slow chugging Autonomic formation recalling styles on the new dBridge album.
This record encapsulates the life’s work of William Ferris — an audio recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and teacher with an unwavering commitment to establish and to expand the study of the American South.
"Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, William Ferris toured his home state of Mississippi, documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the roots of the blues. This LP features blues and gospel field recordings made by William Ferris between 1966 and 1974. All tracks are available on vinyl for the very first time."
Utopian pop nous from Free Love, the Glaswegian pairing of Suzanne Rodden & Lewis Cook who were previously known as Happy Meals
Back on their Full Ashram label following Happy Meals’ ‘Apéro’  and 12”s for Optimo and Night School over the interim, the duo reprise a psychedelically enriched style of songwriting aimed at lounging dancefloors and pop romantic longing for a new fix.
Their 8 songs bubble with colour and breezy warmth, fanning out from the woozy charms of their Johnny Jewel-esque lead single ‘Playing As Punks’, to take in Night Jewel-alike balmy boogie in ‘Pushing Too Hard’, along with the classic synth-pop brim of ‘Et Encore’ in a way recalling Premiere Classe’ ‘Poupee Flash’, and wending on thru the Peaking Lights-like ‘Et Avant’, and proper Italo disco class in ’Tomorrow Could Be Heaven’ and ’Synchronicity’.
Very canny neo-soul steeped in vintage styles of Afrobeat, dub, calypso, broken beats
“Voiced by the band’s saxophonist Nick Richards, ‘Tell It To Me Slowly’ is an instant soul-jazz winner, with lyrics speaking about inner turmoil and a search for the truth. On the flip, ‘Sugar Cane’ features the unmistakeable vocals of Nubiya Brandon singing of harsh life lessons over an increasingly chaotic groove.
The tracks are taken from the band’s forthcoming album, ‘Jungle Run’ which effortlessly weaves together elements of jazz, soul, hip hop, African styles, Latin, dub, hip hop and electronics in a flow of thought-provoking and life-affirming music.
The single and album mark another important chapter for a band that has been consistently developing and evolving their sound since their formation in 2015 at Leeds College Of Music.”