The rarely paralleled trio reconvene for an engrossing fourth album also featuring esteemed company Charlemagne Palestine and Eiko Ishibashi, the core trio spread out further and more succinctly than ever before, oscillating assuredly between ghostly minimalism, feathered jazz fusion and gnarled "cave-man rock".
The album opens with Palestine stirring spectral tones from wine glasses, soon joined by the floating vocal presence of Haino and Ishibashi communing in midair until Haino cuts through with pealing guitar chords and a subbass looms, seemingly from nowhere. Next, Haino picks up his flute and they change shape to a quietly spirited jazz fusion sound almost defined more by the space between their notes than the notes themselves, and soon enough they converge on the heavy stuff, O'Rourke swangin' serious bass heft under the tensest drum crashes and claw-handed riffage.
We could maybe do without the "funkier" mid-section bit, 'A new radiance springing forth from inside the light', but that small issue is resolved with the stomach-tightening ten minute swagger of 'Even That Still Here And Unwanted Can You And I Love It? Just Like Us It Was Born Here Too', and a brief but poignant doom ambient close.
There are few contemporary musicians who have had as much of an impact on us as Mika Vainio, so each new release is always cause for celebration. Whether exploring the grim underbelly of the electric guitar on ‘Life (… It Eats You Up)’ or haunted minimalism in his collaboration with Kevin Drumm and friends on ‘Venexia’, Vainio somehow manages to throw us into a state of awe consistently time and time again.
‘FE3O4 – Magnetite’ manages to uphold this quality but takes a stylistic about turn, exploring the two poles of noise and silence, finding Vainio explore distortion and contrast in a way he hasn’t for many years now. Radio static emerges from almost nothing, sounds appear for a second and are gone and cables are established and removed without warning. This dynamic is offset by Vainio’s well-documented expertise with very loud drones, and the drones we’re treated to on ‘FE3O4’ are louder and more intense than you’re likely to find almost anywhere else. Sub bass tones tear through the silence heralded only by small pops, and wavering, distorted oscillators cut and slice like a lone machete in a dark night.
This is often terrifying music, but thanks to Vainio’s calm hand it never devolves into mere theatrics. Rather the sounds are so well paced and expertly handled that you feel like you are being treated to the work of a pioneer, and someone whose work is a direct descendent of Bernard Parmegiani, Luciano Berio and Throbbing Gristle. Incredible music, and yet another totally unmissable full-length from Mika Vainio.
Remastered from original DAT reissue of sought-after, vintage hardcore jungle killers from 1993 off the Underdog Recordings label
Delirious hardcore trax patently penned with clammy gary hands and swinging jaws in the hours and days after raves at Dreamscape and Outer Limits. Seriously you can hear these guys were off their chops in the studio. Brilliant!
“So, in 1992 whilst living in Tottenham, Paul (Chalke) and his best pal Longers came back from a Dreamscape rave fully 'beaned up' on ecstasy being 'proper on one' Chalke got into the studio, while Longers carried on the party vibes by being the 'cocktail maker' for that studio session as it rolled into Saturday daytime and into the following night. The outcome of that long drug-fuelled session would be 'The Resurrection'.
A little while later, with Chalke now MCing for Mr. C of The Shamen at his Brain Club residency in Soho, London, Chorks wanted to get a flipside done to 'The Resurrection'. So he called in Longers 'The Vibes Man' and the pair went out to an Outer Limits rave in Milton Keynes for inspiration. On their arrival back in Tottenham, Chalke hit the studio again, with Longers by his side as always and the creativity flowed, the amens rolled and the session bubbled over into two versions of 'The Future' - ('The Future Original / The Future Now').
RIP Gary 'Longers' Church. 1966 - 2002.”
Tim Hecker returns with a companion piece to his recent Konoyo album.
"Anoyo (“the world over there”) draws from the same sessions with members of Tokyo Gakuso which led to the 2018 work Konoyo, but rendered starker, solemn, and stripped back, with more of a naturalist tint. Hecker’s processing here moves in veiled ways, soft refractions and whispered shrouds woven within improvisational sessions of traditional gagaku interplay, evoking a sense of vaulted space, temples at dawn, shredded silk fluttering in the rafters.
This is boldly barren music, skeletal and sculptural, shaped from wood, wind, strings, and mist. Modern yet ancient, delicate and desolate, Anoyo inverts its predecessor to compellingly conjure a parallel world of illusion, solitude, and eternal return."
Ghostride The Drift is a highly promising new smudge-ambient project dreamt by Huerco S, Exael and Special Guest DJ aka uon, for his and D. Tiffany’s new label.
Their extended self-titled debut finds the trio’s shared tastes consolidated and mutated in 5 parts of spiralling, psychedelic and elusive dub forms that evoke the sensation of floating in a fog-choked rave at 5AM. Finding range between pockets of noisy dub ephemera, tracts of scudding, weightless hyper-dub, and seductively dragging downbeats, the EP speaks to each producer’s sound in turn and all at once.
The opening blast of fathoms-deep, gaseous iridescence and buried but pelting kick drums is a huge highlight, recalling Xth Reflexion joints for Aught, while moments of Basic Channel-esque abstraction colour the downtime between beats, variously rolling out with brownian motion, and then a sluggish ruggish ’90s ambient appeal one can imagine soundtracking a thousand dawns this summer and beyond...
Reissue of a highly sought-after, early ‘90s Japanese house gem on Studio Mule’s impeccable domestic series
First dished up in 1991, this is one of two unique 12”s cooked up by Hiroshi Matsui, mixing J-pop melodies and arrangement quirks with proper, full-bodied acid house workouts.
A-side this results the piano house pep of ‘Samba De’ and the almighty, swinging acid lines of ‘Crazy Dub’, and the B-side puts it somewhere deeper with Chez Damier-style chords and saucy bass swivel of ‘Woo-ah The World’, and the new jack swing playfulness of ‘So Happy!’.
"The best ambient album i've heard in an ice age, an album of terrifying, desolate and all-enveloping beauty" David Stubbs, Melody Maker, 1997
Biosphere's 'Substrata' is a rarely topped pinnacle of the '90s ambient canon. On its 18th birthday, the album's producer Geir Jenssen's Biophon label treats it to a subtle facelift at Pole's mastering desk, reanimating the still-mindblowing likes of 'Sphere Of No-Form' in all their captivating and frost-bitten wonder.
As far as end-of-the-world isolationist music and sound design goes, this album remains one of the most affective we've ever heard. Essential listening for fans of the cold, life-affirming music of Thomas Köner, Mika Vainio, or Deathprod.
Max Richter is at his brooding, majestic best on the soundtrack to ‘Never Look Away’, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Academy Award-nominated 2018 German drama film
Now firmly established as a go-to guy for films in need of sensitive soundtracks, Richter here follows his work for period dramas and TV series with a theme closer to the German side of his dual German/British heritage, which he capably and carefully handles with signature class.
Solomun and Moodymann exchange chops of Noir & Haze’s woozy 2011 tech-house strutter
Solomun’s tweaky vocal version circles the front, before Moodymann makes his b/s more palatable on the B-side edit with bags of Detroit suss, and Chicken Lips join the party with the ruddy, dubbed-out electro-disko of ‘He Not In’.
Debut volley of breaks by Data Room, backed with tight jump-up remix by none other than Jumping Jack Frost
Data Room’s original ‘Laugh Track’ stretches out full breaks in clean, spacious atmospheres, whereas rave legend Jumpin Jack Frost accelerates those particles into a cool, rolling jungle chassis, and Data Room round up with two floaty breaks/techno hybrids.
‘bblisss’ comp contributor Ulla Straus diffuses herself into the sublime, gauzy ambience of ‘Big Room’ for Quiet Time Tapes
Arriving in the glistening wake of instalments by Kareem Lotfy, Debit, and peer Huerco S, ‘Big Room’ is Ulla’s definitive statement to date, convicting a sublime soul through 8 gaseous, harmonised dimensions with sweet highlights in the milky flow of ‘Sister’, and the vertiginous scale of ‘Net’.
Half a decade since the DMT-inspired ‘You’re Dead’ LP, Flying Lotus is cooking on gas with ‘Flamagra’, another concept-driven spectacular, this time featuring notable guest turns from Solange and David Lynch, among many, many more.
At 27 tracks wide and 67 minutes it’s a heavy serving by modern measures, likely inspired by the arms-race for epics established by Kamasi Washington, and like Kamasi, Flying Lotus favours a rich and densely woven blend of classic soul, jazz and P-funk flecked with the kinda jazzy IDM turns-of-phrase you might expect from Squarepusher, and the sorta wonky hip hop that was big 10 years ago.
'In Demons In!’ offers a transfixing peek behind the curtain of pure black hole drone dynamics by visionary collaborators Jim O’Rourke & CM Von Hausswolff, meeting on common ground after 26 years of international correspondence. It amounts to a vitally definitive entry in both artists’ catalogues, marking right up there with the most engrossing wonders of O’Rourke’s Steamroom volumes, while manifesting some of the most fascinating results from Von Hausswolff’s ongoing investigations into drone music’s paranormal properties. In other words: it’s Grade A+ zoner music, essential listening for followers of Roland Kayn, Jaap Vink, Deathprod.
Initiated in Tokyo 2016 and completed over the proceeding two years in Japan and Sweden, the uncompromisingly adventurous results are galactic in scope and visceral in presence, conjuring scales of abyssal bass and diffused, atomised, abstract dark matter that make the listener feel like a speck of stardust floating in infinity.
Using sound as a magickal tool for psychic transport and to finely model notions of the metaphysical that typically elude human comprehension, these two extended pieces feel to collapse billions of years into a glacial moment. Location recordings made in Kathmandu lend a barely-there iridescence, like microbial filaments flickering in the endless darkness, to their plunging, subharmonic basses and vaporised mid-upper registers, where spectral forces comb thru the piece to very gradually alter the weightless keen of our perception.
It’s a masterclass in Cybernetic drone, a universe of sound created in a closed system gradually shifting within its own parameters, mutating into infinity.
Abyss X follows a notable turn for Halcyon Veil with her steeply enigmatic début of mystic composition for Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire
“Taking its title from a Minoan legend that deals with rage, greed and destruction, the latest release from Abyss X expands and reconstructs conceptions of aural space and time. Out on Danse Noire, Pleasures of the Bull finds the multi-disciplinary artist and producer flirting with the sounds of hard jazz while mystifying the parameters of experimental music across several distinct movements, thus allowing the listener to break free from their sonic principles.
Intoxicating, ambient textures mesh with Abyss X’s own expressive vocals, as well as the sounds of the traditional Cretan lyra, played by Maria Skoula. Her sound modification creates a collage of temporalities – allow yourself to move outside linear dimensions, and her to confide in you. Prog rock guitar lines twist stolidly beneath warped vocal samples, and the timbre of the bowed lyra permeates the atmosphere in a thick, suffocating haze.
As the listener travels through space and time, so too does the artist. Abyss X delves into the fullness of her craft, drawing from her background in theater and performance, in addition to the frenzied energy of her live shows as a musician. The music throbs with a frantic yet unmistakably deliberate drama. Pleasures of the Bull feels like a gentle punch in the gut; a compelling auditory performance and a bold exploration of the narrative album format.”
Adroit sound designer/producer J.G. Biberkopf makes a fine addition to Aïsha Devi and co’s Danse Noire label with Fountain Of Meaning, offering a far more mannered and dreamlike follow-up to the deadly fwd cyber-punk-techno of his two LPs for Kuedo’s Knives. Make sure to check ‘Dance of Relating’!
“Fountain of Meaning is a new sonic fiction from sound artist J.G. Biberkopf following last year’s Ecologies II: Ecosystems of Excess released on Knives. Emerging out of a situation of overflow, the record burrows deeper into his practice of palpable audio theater with a study of object and relations across space-time specific sounds.
The Fountain as a theme reflects a spouting and spilling of information, an erotic gushing of imagined aural history. “The Fountain was the source of water in the public space in cities,” J.G. Biberkopf explains. “Now it’s pretty much a sexualised architectural gesture of both beautification and the spectacle of dominant ideologies.”
The western classical musical canon, much like the perpetual coming of the fountain, flush the headphone space with stimuli. Reflex and memory guides the listener through a semiotic architecture of processed recordings of masses in Catholic churches and contemporary performances of pre-medieval music. A liquidity of structure has an anxious influence and is a closed system approach to form and imagination. When water flows, it fills every space, then spills over to claim more. History is equally abundant and alive. We have never had as much history as we have now. We have never been able to see ourselves as we can now.
A knowledge of a grander architecture of knowing and recalling oppress the ecologies of human decision-making.The nature of the archive has transformed into a total and panoptic intelligence. A life is a gamble as the inventory of the world overflows into the production of a spectral third, an other, a confrontation. Fountain of Meaning offers a dynamic tension and release. A molecular tragedy, our abject recovery into a collaborative reimagining of a trauma long forgotten. “
Berlin’s Réelle commits their first physical album to Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire, offering claustrophobia-inducing insight to states of schizophrenia thru a palette of tense, explosive percussion, astringent electronics and unsettling vocal processes
“Following their debut release with Danse Noire Réelle releases their second album entitled Ghamccccxc vRR, expanding upon the painterly melodies and ornamental sound design of Kissing Myself. Rather than focusing upon deep psychological aspects of schizophrenia, Ghamccccxc vRR explores key moments before and during Réelle’s first schizophrenic psychosis as well as the lateral state of mind caused by this condition.
“Schizophrenia is said to limit a person’s abilities overall. My discovery was that it opened a gate to limbic realms not accessible under normal circumstances – at least not to me.”
The Cuban – German artist’s approach to schizophrenia as xenopraxis leads them to explore avant garde methods to composition, such as focusing on a key technique within their work of painting melodies via Image Synthesis, rather than inputting binary values or manipulating sound through skeuomorphic methods such as knobs and sliders. The painted melodies also featured in the gorgeous “Floating” and “All I Have Left” evoke alien soliloquies through damaged soundscapes.
“Most of these sounds, as well as the album title, were created during psychosis without me consciously knowing what I’m doing. Therefore I also can’t remember when or why I wrote down Ghamccccxc vRR on a piece of paper.”
Ghamccccxc vRR questions how one navigates with authorship within and beyond one’s control. Gargling textures and vocal artefacts oscillate between the erotic and the eerie (“Hybris,” “Fluid Metals”). Between Kissing Myself and Ghamccccxc vRR Réelle dissolves the real and illusion, reassembling their relationship between body and mind.”
Danse Noire introduce Portugal’s Random Gods with a debut EP imagining “a post-apocalyptic future without the internet, where information is being gathered, and regathered, through fragmented data.”
Through three original projections and a crankier, schizoid Vaghe Stelle remix, that world takes shape as a series of amorphous techno rituals encompassing blunted traces of worldly rhythm and iridescent tonal scales, melting from the layered groove and swirling ambience of Malsano into a quagmire of molten bass and beatdown groove emitting choral electro-acoustic fumes with Jabuka, and a toiling, miasmic piece of dread dubstep and folk melody recalling Gantz productions in Milito.
That last piece is given to Vaghe Stelle for remix, returning as a labyrinthine arrangement of triplet techno, hiccuping synth voices and knackered drill trills anchored in head-swallowing darkside bass.
Boxed and Gobstopper don Mr. Mitch does his blue thing in two technoid rollers
In ‘Need More Fashion Friends’ his synths exasperatedly sigh at the state of shrill, posh twunts in the club while he dances and they check their phones and all wear the same fucking puffa jacket and big daft creps. ’Shirley Temple’ follows with a darker, more intense groove leavened by Mitch’s signature, wistful grime melodies.
Mad Decent’s “baby cuzzin”, Good Enuff, turn out cumbia/reggaeton/tarraxho/kuduro compatible pressure from Cuyo. Think this is what they used to call moombahton?
We advise heading straight to the warped slosh of their title cut, then the rapido remix of ‘Amazon’ by DJ NJ Drone for the strongest highlights.
Mutant electro-acid-tribal-breaks from Sophie Sweetland (D. Tiffany, DJ Zozi) in Ambien Baby mode alongside Dan Rincon aka Nap for her Planet Euphorique label.
Extending Sophie’s prolific run of the last 12 months into ruggeder zones of the ‘floor, opener ’El Kesh’ nods to Adrian Sherwood and co as much as Shackleton in a sidewinding transition from grubbing percussion to tart trance lines and gully UK bass, whereas ‘Manimoto’ clocks an early ‘90s sort of goa trance compatible with PWOG and CultureClash, ’Stab Me’ runs a sort of vine-swanging, ruddy acid electro agility, and ‘Sacrifico’ checks out with a kinkier electro swerve recalling J Saul Kane productions.
Tint is an intently focussed showcase of the sound sensitivities which have made Joe Talia a cult figure in contemporary electro-acoustic and avant garde circles. If you’ve ever been caught by the work of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Andrew Chalk, John Duncan or Jean-Claude Éloy, you need to clasp ears on this album!
“Tint is the first new solo recording from Joe Talia in over a decade. Australian-born but now based in Tokyo, Talia is known to many listeners as a drummer (frequently collaborating both live and in the studio with artists such as Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke) and as a recording and mixing engineer responsible for dozens of releases across the fields of contemporary experimental music, wayward pop, and jazz. Alongside James Rushford, he is also responsible for one of the most legendary releases in the Kye records catalogue, the creaking electronic morass of Manhunter (2013). Lovingly crafted over many months in his tiny Tokyo studio, Tint is an album-length electroacoustic suite that brings together Talia’s expertise as percussionist, studio engineer, and performer on analogue electronic instruments (primarily modular synth and Revox tape machine).
Ranging from minimalist austerity to kosmische lushness, Tint refreshingly refuses the dark and moody sonic palette of much contemporary electroacoustic music in favour of an airy, at times almost weightless sound-world of gliding tones, skittering percussion, and burbling field recordings. Drawing inspiration from Jean-Claude Eloy’s epic concrète love letter to Tokyo, Gaku-No-Michi, Talia makes extensive use of his own recordings of his new home, but removes any sense of audio verite, abstracting them into transparent glosses of outdoor ambience or unidentifiable chimes and creaks. Flowing seamlessly between distinct episodes, Tint is compositionally controlled while retaining a sense of played spontaneity, eventually building to a maelstrom of analogue synth zaps and tape manipulated percussion that reflects Talia’s deep engagement with the relentless yet constantly shifting dynamics of free jazz.”
‘Songs Without Throats’ is a large dose of zany brilliance from Paul DeMarinis - a Robert Ashley collaborator and member of The League of Automatic Composers - featuring work exclusively selected and compiled for Oren Ambarchi’s leading edge label, Black Truffle
Paul DeMarinis is a graduate of the famous Mills College, where he studied composition with Robert Ashley and Terry Riley, leading to his formative role in the world’s first computer “band” - The League of Automatic Composers with David Behrman and co - and his credit playing Moog on Ashley’s legendary album, ‘In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women.” Those credits aside, DeMarinis is also a wildly creative composer in his own right, with a body of work that probes perceptive schisms between natural and synthesised sounds in the most playful, beguiling manner.
Drawn from material found on compilations, together with stacks of work previously unheard in any form, ‘Songs Without Throats’ is a very necessary introduction to DeMarinis’ charming soundworld. Focussing on his output between the late ‘70s and 1995, it presents a hugely playful demonstration of digitally manipulated speech sounds, simulated pastoralism, and clinically sharp tones all threaded together with a mean sense of humour and adventurousness to provide a first time peek behind the curtain of his studio in the ‘80s.
Much of the work was produced off-the-cuff in the process of developing structures that began in live rehearsals. As such they’re relatively stripped down and shy of FX, yet they remain fascinating on merit of DeMarinis’ nascent naivety and explorative nature, abundant with the type of sounds that make your ear crease and pucker: from the way he turns a rare 78rpm sample of Stalin into birdsong using the formants of his voice; to the speak ’n spell froth of his catalogue highlight ‘Kokole’ ’ to his canny balance of natural and synthetic speech with longterm collaborator Anne Klingensmith; and his dotty, proto-chiptune, dance-pop rhythms in the likes of ‘R4T’, ‘Eenie Meanie Chillie Beanie’, and ‘Yellow Yankee.’
Fascinating turn of incredible, private electro-acoustic designs by Italy’s Massimo Toniutti - brother of Giancarlo, of ‘Broken Flag’ LP fame - originally self-released in 1991 and now sniffed out, expanded with a bonus album’s worth of gear, and reissued by Oren Ambarchi’s faultless Black Truffle. To our ears, this little known masterpiece bridges a gap between Gruppo and Giuseppe Ielasi, rendering freely disciplined and brilliantly unpredictable arrangements of detailed field recordings and mechanical sounds that happen and unfold with a naturalistic quality that’s totally key to its immersive allure. Big RIYL Nurse With Wound, Roland Kayn, Giuseppe Ielasi, Gruppo D’improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.
"Massimo Toniutti was active in the vibrant underground industrial/noise scene of the 1980s, contributing to releases on legendary labels such as Broken Flag and RRR and self-releasing a series of cassettes between 1984 and 1988. Existing in a private world apart from the noise and dark industrial tropes of many of his contemporaries, Toniutti’s Il Museo Selvatico is an entirely singular work of domestic electro-acoustic exploration. Made up primarily of what Toniutti calls “small and rare noises” or sonic “knick-knacks” recorded between 1987 and 1990, the five pieces that make up the original LP usher us into a crepuscular space populated by mysterious traces of everyday life.
Toniutti weaves a loose net of distant clanks, dull thuds, metallic resonance, and skittering percussive sounds, allowing the sounds to breathe against a backdrop of near-silent atmosphere. Although the haunted ambience recalls the work of contemporaries like Organum, Toniutti generally steers clear of long tones and drones, preferring to arrange brief, sometimes staccato sonic objects into patterns of repeating figures and isolated events whose overall compositional shape remains somehow ungraspable. Although glimpses of recognizable location recordings and instrumental sounds can occasionally be made out, for most of the record the sources of the sounds you hear remain teasingly mysterious, an abstracted memory of everyday actions and atmospheres.
Il Museo Selvatico is accompanied here by an additional LP of material recorded at the same time, arranged especially for this reissue into two side-long suites that inhabit the same haunted space as the original LP while occasionally making use of more maximal compositional strategies. Essential listening for fans of Organum, Nurse With Wound, Christoph Heemann, and the tradition of outsider musique concrete.”
Round 5 of the fearsome trio’s massed gatherings in Japan is also one of their most diverse. The passages of Haino on bulgari are spellbinding, recalling Jozef Van Wissem or a more gothic Dariush Dolat Shahi
“The remarkable series of releases from the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi continues with I wonder if you noticed "I'm sorry" Is such a lovely sound It keeps things from getting worse, which presents the entirety of an 80-minute set performed at Tokyo's SuperDeluxe in March 2014. While the trio's 2012 performance was divided into two releases (BT 011LP (2014) and BT 012LP (2015)), the single extended performance presented here ranges widely over terrain both new and familiar, from acoustic strings and collective chants to thunderous power trio moves. Throughout all of its transformations, the music here is some of the riskiest and most abstract the trio have yet committed to record. Beginning with chiming percussion reminiscent of Haino's 1995 classic Tenshi No Gijinka, the first side is dominated by Haino's impassioned vocals and performance on the bulgari, a traditional Turkish string instrument.
The end of the second side presents a special treat: Haino's first recorded outing on the contrabass harmonica, from which he coaxes bizarre, wheezing textures against a backdrop of spacious bass and percussion. O'Rourke and Ambarchi rarely adopt here the classic rock roles essayed on earlier releases. O'Rourke's bass, which takes center-stage surprisingly often, is sometimes so heavily processed by his array of pedals that it becomes a shifting electronic mass; at other times his roving chromaticism suggests a sort of fuzzed-out free jazz. Ambarchi spends much of the set exploring areas of tumbling free pulse; and even when he locks into a constantly repeated figure on the set's third side, he gestures as much toward Ronald Shannon Jackson's stuttering marching band funk as toward any classic rock moves. When the trio finally moves in the final quarter of the performance into an extended passage of rock riffing, the payoff is immense, as they craft a thudding one-chord epic reminiscent of some of the early Fushitsusha classics before Haino returns to the bulgari, bringing the set back to where it began. Continuing to explore new instrumental and dynamic possibilities while remaining grounded in the trio's previous work, this set also brings with it a unique pleasure for the non-Japonophone listener: for the first time Haino sings many of his metaphysically brooding lyrics in English.”
Ryuichi Sakamoto expands on ‘Async’ album track ‘FF’ , along with a brand new piece ‘School in Paris’ on this audiophile quality 12”, cut at 45rpm for optimal sound representation (and time-slowing 33rpm options)
Picking up where the tremulous hyaline harmonics of ‘FF’ left off, ‘FF2’ coaxes trembling timbres from woodwind and synths into an intoxicating high register drift recalling shadowy moments of ‘SAW II’ or even the ghostly melancholy of David Lynch’s Eraserhead score.
‘School in Paris’, is, as you may infer from the title, a field recording of kids at play, albeit processed to lend a starkly detached quality, as though the kids are off out of sight somewhere while Sakamoto performs alchemical experiments or bumps into things in his kitchen and a synth piece plays from another room.
Foundational, 1989 UK house pressure from Tony Thorpe’s Warriors Dance posse, reissued 30 years later for the good of the dance
Leading on from the equally crucial reissue of No Smoke’s ‘International Smoke Signal’ LP compilation, ‘The Tuffest of the Tuff’ leans back to 1989 and a time when UK soundsystem culture was splicing dub dynamics with soulful deep house, rugged breaks and acid, birthing a uniquely mutant sound that laid the roots for hardcore rave and jungle.
The 8 tracks of ‘The Tuffest of the Tuff’ are kicking testament to the irrevocable Afro-Caribbean influence on British dance music and popular culture since the 2nd half of the 20th C. From the effortless, swinging soul flow of ‘Africa’, starring ace vox by Sharon Hammend & Allison Gray, thru to Addis Posse’s acid breakbeat rave killer ‘Let The Warriors Dance’, to the New Beat-compatible electro of ‘Je T’Aime’ by Housemaids, in their subbass-heavy spin on Larry Heard-like Chi-house in James Harris’ ‘Tuffest of the Tuff’, and the beautifully prescient vision of new age flutes, vocals and rolling lushness in Watts Noize’s ‘It’s My Life (Dub Mix)’ classic, this is pretty unmissable gear for anyone tracing the Afro-futurist roots of UK rave and techno beyond Warp and back to source.
'Lonely At The Top' is a suitably bleary-eyed awakening, feeling as if it's attempting to comprehend the rapid glut of information in the waking world, and failing to do so - opting for a massive spliff instead and allowing it all to smudge in by osmosis.
Ok, so in the intervening years Lukid did usher out two singular 12"s of deconstructed House and Techno on his Glum label, both marking a distinct shift from his previous productions and which, in turn, clearly inform the deceptively freeform feel of this LP. And we say "deceptively" because there's a genuinely crafty pair of hands pulling the strings behind the abstract, distorted daubs of soundcolour and rhythmelody.
But, like Actress's 'R.I.P', what separates this from becoming a mush of avant-garde texture and timbre experimentation is the instinctive and coherent sense of narration to 'Lonely At The Top', one which expands and contracts between dusted blobs of haunted swagger like 'Manchester' and the heat-sick title track through to 'Southpaw''s rugged bounce or the compelling emotion of 'USSR' via poignant vignettes like his OPN-esque 'The Life Of The Mind' or the achingly cute 'Snow Theme'. Easily Lukid's finest work to date and a strong counterpoint to the overly-emosh post-whatever albums doing the rounds at the moment.
Unmissable reissue of Joey Beltram’s darkside NYC electro/techno peach as Open Mind!
Originally dished up in 1990, right at the midst of a flux between Detroit techno, NYC electro, Belgian New Beat and UK hardcore, ‘The Trance’ distilled all the above into a super rugged, haunting, perpetual grooves that still kills it 30 years later.
The titular cut swaggers across the A-side making class use of a drums from Reese’s ‘Grab The Beat’, while ‘Trance Machine’ locks to a more direct jack attack with strong nods to Reese’s ‘Rock To The Beat’ synths, and ‘Body Force’ brings the cold rush with nagging choral voices and ruff-cut breaks in a classic 1990 blueprint.
Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi present their 5th annual collaboration, as always recorded at SuperDeluxe, Tokyo.
While the previous session was a proper face melter, this one, made in March 2013, is a far more subtle and diverse session. It starts up with a beautifully delicate duet between Keiji's vocals and Finnish Kantele and O'Rourke's lyrical 12-string haunted by Ambarchi's wine glass tones (rubbing not drinking), before letting Jim take the lead with nimbly fluid improvisation and scaling up into twsted electronic noise and globular subbass pulses by the mid-way point.
The three climax naturally as the noise energy dissipates to leave them seemingly enervated, Haino's post-tristesse wail cutting through the room like a wounded animal and baiting a 2nd wind of modular freakery and tribal ecstasies.
Synth se’er Steve Moore presents his first non-soundtrack work since 2013 with the cosmically scoped ‘Beloved Exile’ - a must check for fans of Abul Mogard and Pye Corner Audio...
"Beloved Exile is the new studio full-length by Steve Moore, his first non-soundtrack album in over five years, and his first for Temporary Residence Ltd. A prevalent figure of the modern synth era, Moore cofounded the influential synth- prog duo, Zombi, and has scored more than a dozen feature films and TV shows, including The Guest, Crunch Time, and Mayhem.
Composed and produced by Steve Moore in his home studio in upstate New York, Beloved Exile is a collaboration with internationally-renowned Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, visionary harpist Mary Lattimore, and veteran percussionist Jeff Gretz. Drawing influences from vintage ambient synth libraries, New Age/spiritual music, and menacing horror film canon, Beloved Exile proves to be simultaneously exquisite and deceptively unsettling. It is appropriate, then, that a literary treasure like John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats), would provide the song and album titles – his masterful mind most fitting to put moniker to this mercurial triumph.”
Nyege Nyege Tapes deliver an unmissable volley of hyper-fast, breathless Singeli from Tanzania, this time the vinyl debut of Duke showcasing the sound of Pamoja Records, following multiple zingers from the scene’s core Sisso Studios.
Yet again making practically all other dance music seem pedestrian and tepid by contrast, Duke’s take on Dar Es Salaam’s Singeli style is ruthlessly fast and rugged, crammed with colourful samples and, quite crucially, loaded with a pair of blistering vocal tracks starring MCZO & Don Tach, and Dogo Lizzi, respectively.
In ‘Uingizaji Hewa’ the tempos thrillingly tilt over the 200bpm mark, but they’re held in check with a clutch of slower instrumentals written in Duke’s newer Hip Hop Singeli style. When he goes fast, dancers will know about it in the likes of ’Naona Laaah’ featuring machine gun rapid rhythms somehow matched for pace by MCZO & Don Tach, and again in the pedal-to-the-meckle recklessness of ‘M Lap’ starring Dogo Lizzi switching up from dancehall bark to fasssst-chat styles that put Daddy Freddy to bed.
But those hi-NRG bombs are only half the story. The rest of the LP shows off Duke’s wicked way with a hook and the diversity of his drum programming in highlights ranging from the PC Music-compatible bounce of ‘Sing4444444’, to the cascading chromatic licks and slow/fast suss of ‘Duke 4’, the joyful dervish of ‘Duke Bit Puyo’, and two dizzying pieces with spiralling, Bollywood-style vocal samples that close the record with a blinding flourish.
Amsterdam’s Japanese label, Sound of Vast mark 5 Years up in it with the first in a series of anniversary 12”s
Cosmic TRG renames himself Com Sin for the sub-heavy, crystalline techno minimalism of ‘Glass Harp ‘; The People In Fog slip on the offbeat with he sloshing groove and palatial dimensions of ‘Chapter Zero’; and Yard One roll out the filigree Japanese deep house of ‘Dream Travel.’
On his debut album “Scattered Memories”, the composer, musician and true master on the Iranian spike fiddle kamancheh SABA ALIZADEH blends his instrumental virtuosity with spherical electronics, samples of Persian music instruments and field recordings from his hometown Tehran.
"Born in Tehran in 1983 as son of the world renowned Tar and Setar virtuoso HOSSEIN ALIZADEH, SABA ALIZADEH studied the Iranian spike fiddle with SAEED FARAJPOURY and KEYHAN KALHOR plus photography and later experimental sound art with MARK TRAYLE at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles. His musical activities that lead him all around the globe for performances (a.o. at Carnegie Hall) branch into 2 different areas: on the one side ALIZADEH is a highly reputed virtuoso on his traditional instrument, on the other he likes to approach music from a more experimental / technological aspect in his electronic / electro-acoustic pieces. This not being enough, he founded Noise Works in 2014, a platform and label for organizing experimental concerts and for the transfer of knowledge of music technologies among young Iranian musicians which makes him a central figure at the forefront of the current, very vivid Persian music scene that gained a lot of attention through artists like SIAVASH AMINI, PORYA HATAMI and of course SOTE who included a track by ALIZADEH on the compilation “Girih: Iranian Sound Artists” that he had curated.
In 2018, ALIZADEH self-released his debut “Scattered Memories” on CD in Iran which now, in a reworked version, sees its deserved world-wide release as LP and DL. Over the course of 10 tracks ALIZADEH melts his 2 musical worlds into 1: tradition meets modernism, eastern sounds meet western production, folklore meets contemporary electronics. An album that will appeal to an open-minded “world music” audience as well as fans of current streams like ambient or drone in its most subtle forms.”
150 minutes of previously unreleased material from Coil, strewn with parts that would eventually metastasise into ‘Backwards’, and ultimately ‘Black Light District’ and ‘Musick To Play In The Dark’. We hardly need to stress that ’Swanyard’ is a bounty for Coil nuts out there, but equally a fascinating listen for anyone attempting to get to grips with their unfathomable catalogue - especially DJs and listeners currently digging into the underbelly of the ‘90s.
The material was all written and recorded between 1993 to 1996 and was selected and assembled by Danny Hyde (Electric Sewer Age, ex-Coil, ex-Psychic TV, ex-Black Light District) from the studio archives. As he outlines in the liner notes, these 23 tracks offer unforetold snapshots of Coil’s constant work-in-progress during an important phase of exploration. Tracks were usually seeded in Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson’s dreams, and rendered thru the prism of his myriad sample bank, with Jhon Balance pulling from his notebooks for lyrics, and Danny Hyde would aid in engineering, editing and mixing, animating their studio gremlins and mental apparitions to an almost complete form.
The ’Swanyard’ is effectively as close as you’ll get to being in their notorious studios during the pharmaceutically-fuelled peak of the ‘90s, at the point where dark ambient, electronica and dance music were mutual bedfellows, and mutated the framework for where we are today.
Shed wears his bruk-up garage/techno hat for 6 tracks of deep ’n rude Head High action.
Weaving cues from classic ‘90s UK, US and Euro rave styles into gritty textured yet richly emotive grooves, Head High plays up to his deepest, ruggedest instincts in six parts.
He comes Head High but eyes down with the vertiginous pads and scuffling breaks and bass of ‘Higher The Break’ recalling a bird’s eye scale of Shed’s classic ‘ITHAW’ (ye ye we’re obsessed with that LP and what?!), before Virtual Girl’ steers the vibe into free-floating Detroit soul and ‘Depth’ takes it right into early Urban Tribe or Detroit Escalator Company styles. He’s back on a full wingspan breakbeat house tip with ‘What You Want’, again making cracking use of puckered Diva vocals, while ‘Set Me Free’ goes on like a fantasy collab between Carl Craig and 4Hero, and the sublime rufige of ‘Hardcore’ is a perfectly sweaty, body-gurny kiss-off.
Outernational Sounds presents a cornerstone document from the Los Angeles jazz underground, Flight 17 -- the first appearance on record of the legendary Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, led by their founder and mastermind, Horace Tapscott. Available on vinyl for the first time in 40 years.
"The Arkestra would allow the creativity in the community to come together, would allow people to recognize each other as one people. Horace Tapscott's Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (P.A.P.A.) was one of the most transformative, forward-thinking and straight-up heavy big bands to have played jazz in the 1960s and 1970s. If P.A.P.A. doesn't have the interstellar rep of that other famous Arkestra, and if the name Tapscott doesn't ring bells like Monk or Tyner, there's a reason why: in an industry dominated by record labels, a band that doesn't record doesn't count. And the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra didn't record for nearly twenty years. But recording success was never their concern -- they weren't about that. First formed as the Underground Musicians Association in the early 1960s, Tapscott always wanted his group to be a community project.
From their base in Watts, UGMA got down at the grassroots. The group was renamed the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra in 1971, and soon after they established a monthly residency at the Immanuel United Church of Christ which ran for over a decade, while still playing all over LA and beyond. But they never released a note of music. It was the intervention of fan Tom Albach that finally got them on wax. Determined that their work should be documented, Albach founded Nimbus Records specifically to release the music of Tapscott, the Arkestra, and the individuals that comprised it. The first recording sessions in early 1978 yielded enough material for two albums, and the first release was Flight 17.
From the surging avant-gardism of Herbie Baker's title track to the laidback summertime groove of Kamonta Lawrence Polk's "Maui", or Roberto Miranda's up-tempo Latin jam "Horacio", Flight 17 showcased the radical voices of the Arkestra's members. Led out by Tapscott's hard-swinging piano, this is the first flight on wax of the West Coasts' foundational community big band -- energized, hip, and together. Contains two tracks previously only available on the 1997 CD edition: "Coltrane Medley" and "Village Dance", recorded live at the Immanuel United Church of Christ.”
Killer Afro-Germanic grooves from Mark Ernestus Ndagga Rhythm Force. Featuring all members of Jeri-Jeri plus the Basic Channell/Rhythm & Sound boss under a new moniker, 'Yermande' yields some of their strongest material to date, making the connections between Senegalese Mbalax, Jamaican dub and Berlin minimalism ever more inseparable. Comes in a stripped-down 'Kick and Bass Mix' featuring Mbene Diatta Seck dubbed to sound uncannily like Tikiman in parts, and backed with the achingly dextrous instrumental. Better yet, the 'Prophet 5 Mix' introduces the legendary Sequential Circuits model to the blend with hypnotically technoid effect. Truly outstanding gear.
Alt-rock icon Josephine Wiggs is best known as bassist in The Breeders, rising to superstardom in the '90s and continuing to draw crowds and critical acclaim in the wake of their 2018 album All Nerve. But over the years, Wiggs has released several of her own albums, all of which delightfully defy genre. Her new solo record, We Fall, is both a departure and a distillation of an enduring personal aesthetic: moody and spare but also melodic, at once contemporary and nostalgic.
"Some influences are clear: We Fall is reminiscent of the experimentalism of Brian Eno’s Another Green World and recalls the delicate, languid minimalism of Harold Budd. The album’s classical inflections, sharpened by a dialog with electronic elements, evoke Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto. This is an album of juxtapositions: minimalist at moments, richly layered in others; ambient while also sharply focused; melancholy yet resolute.
There's something both dreamy and scientific about We Fall. Wiggs, an enthusiastic amateur mycologist, has an impressive collection of mushrooms she’s photographed in her travels. We Fall could be the soundtrack to what can’t be captured in a single photo—the growth and decay of miraculous creatures that a less astute and sensitive eye might overlook entirely.
Composed, performed and recorded by Wiggs, with drums and electronics by her longtime friend and collaborator Jon Mattock (Spacemen 3, Spirit , We Fall is a lyrical, bucolic album with an undercurrent of disquiet. Think of a wintertime walk in the woods as dusk falls too soon. True to the classic album form, the 10 almost entirely instrumental tracks on We Fall form a compelling whole: a crystalline meditation on paths not taken and words unspoken, an elegy for moments lost and last embraces."
Ultra-purist electronic brilliance from the elusive Elizabethan Collar, now known as Eliza B.C., following tapes in 2014-15 for the cult (now defunct) Aught label with a debut LP for its spiritual successor, Chained Library
Mesmerisingly ascetic to the Nth, Eliza B.C.’s eponymous LP is a masterclass in stringently stripped down and visceral hardware craft. As with their two handfuls of material for Aught, their follow-up explores devilish permutations of rhythm and texture with a strong taste for variegated repetition and noisy - but not distorted - tones, with results that echo Hamburg’s enigmatic Werkbund crew as much as aspects of Sote or Hecker & Haswell’s music.
In each of the 5 parts the artist gives voice to their machines in the uncanniest ways. The A-side opens with what sounds like a ELpH that crawled out of Coil’s studio to warn of future catastrophe, if only we could fully comprehend its fractal garble, while the proceeding two parts commit to pulsating, keening techno minimalism, and deviant, asymmetric automations that open out with a darkly melodic cadence on the B-side, before ultimately arriving at a freefall of piquant, shatterproof arps with discreet modulations sustaining the suspense to weightless, static, yet urgent effect.
The feminine pressure of Maurizio’s ‘M4’  is another perfectly enduring example of ‘90s dance music
Seductively balmy and aqueous, the A-side’s subbass purrs with pure, refined ecstasy along with sweetest acid trickles and those scudding chords for hedgiest over 6 minutes, while the B-side’s bassline lusts under a haze of analog ephemera, teasing the chords in for the kill with sublime effect.
100% essential in any collection.
Unspeakably beautiful dub from Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald’s Round Five, starring Tikiman, on the Main Street Records series.
Na Fe Throw It was the final instalment of the series, which ran concurrently to their Rhythm & Sound project, and presents brought Main Street Records to a sublime finish with nearly ten minutes of utterly blissed-out, magnetically attractive dub bass and lamenting vocals, also included as a starker dub.
Evergreen music. Every home should own the full set!
One of the bluest of Maurizio’s seminal M-Series, ‘M7’  is a true, original blueprint for dub house that’s never been bettered
Both sides features 12 minutes of barely there ingredients adding up to an incredibly immersive experience - grooves to get utterly lost in, for both dancers and DJs. Deep house in effect, techno in motion, and dub in essence.
The video installation Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) is one of the best known and loved works by Turner Prize-winning artist and Northern English emigre, Mark Leckey. It's a hugely influential piece, and the soundtrack itself has been sampled endlessly, most notably by Jamie XX on “All Under One Roof Raving”. It was the first release on The Death of Rave label back in 2012 and is now finally back in print, this time on clear vinyl.
A phantasmic and transcendent collage of meticulously sourced and rearranged footage and sound samples spanning three decades of British subculture - from Northern Soul thru '80s Casuals and pre-CJB Rave - it may be considered an uncanny premonition of the Hauntological zeitgeist which has manifested in virulent sections of UK electronic dance and pop culture since the early '00s.
This record severs the sonic aspect from the moving image, offering a new perspective on what rave culture maven and esteemed author Simon Reynolds calls "a remarkable piece of sound art in its own right." Detached from its visual indicators, Leckey's amorphous, acephalic cues are reframed as an ethereal, Burroughsian mesh of VHS idents, terrace chants, fragmented field recordings and atrophied samples cut with his own half-heard drunken mumbles.
At once recalling and predating the eldritch esthetics of Burial or The Caretaker; it's an elegiac lament for an almost forgotten spirit; an abstracted obituary to the rituals, passions and utopian ideals of pre-internet, working class nightlife fantasias, now freeze-framed forever, suspended in vinyl.
It's backed with an edit of another soundtrack to a Mark Leckey video installation: 'GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction' (2010). In stark contrast, the original video features a black Samsung Bottom Freezer Refrigerator stood in front of a green screen infinity cyc, recounting its contents, thoughts and actions as narrated by the artist in a radically transformed cadence. Taken as a wry comment on cybernetics and the ambient ecology of household appliances which permeate our daily lives, it's an unsettling yet compelling piece of sound design whose subtly affective dynamics reflect the underlying dystopic rhetoric with visceral and evocative precision. The piece has since been used in a collaboration with Florian Hecker for the Push and Pull exhibition at Tate Modern in 2011.
A study in friction and sublimity, transitioning from gritty airborne textures to droning, somnolent songcraft...
“Two Words is the debut release from the duo of Canadian sound artist crys cole and Australian songwriter Francis Plagne. Building on a series of experimental live performances in which the pair toyed with possible common languages for their seemingly unrelated approaches to music, the LP's two sides present a single piece that brings together abstract texture and slow-motion song in a sonic space where genre cedes to the logic of dreams. The piece begins with a long, nearly static sequence built primarily from rubbed surfaces, using movement in the stereo field and changing mic placements to create a unified but unstable sonic environment that mimics wind, water, and breath, opening an impossible space between nature and artifice. This artificial outdoors ultimately makes room for Plagne's electric organ, which sounds a series of melancholic chords to accompany a wandering Wyatt-esque keyboard line as cole's intimate contact mic textures sizzle and pop in the foreground. From here the piece makes a surprise detour into song, as the majority of the second side finds Plagne intoning a series of obtuse two-word phrases (from a text by Berlin-based poet Marty Hiatt) to an austere organ accompaniment.
Working closely with engineer and producer Joe Talia, cole and Plagne extend the studio-as-an-instrument tradition of Teo Macero and This Heat, introducing subtle yet unexpected production shifts that lead the listener from the initial austerity of the organ and voice to an oneiric space of asynchronized vocal doubles, creaking textures, and distant whistling, ultimately arriving at something like an imagined meeting of Organum and Arthur Russell. Packaged in a suitably mysterious sleeve featuring a lush work by Australian painter Anne Wallace on the front and text by Hiatt on the back, Two Words is both comforting and strange, a disorienting blend of seemingly discrepant elements.”
Renowned Japanese vocalist Phew meets fellow sonic alchemists Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi on ‘Patience Soup’, pushing her envelope even further than last year’s admirably uncompromising hook-up with The Raincoats’ Ana Da Silva.
“Patience Soup presents the entirety of a live performance from the trio of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, and Japanese underground legend Phew that took place at the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center on November 4th, 2015.
Known to many listeners outside Japan primarily for her early collaborations with members of Can, Phew has been undergoing something of a creative renaissance in the last few years, prolifically recording and releasing a body of work that strips away the band arrangements present on most of her past releases to focus solely on her raw DIY electronics and possessed vocal stylings. Forming a perfect companion to 2017’s well-received Voice Hardcore, a series of pieces composed of only her processed voice that saw Phew push her work into the most abstract terrain yet, Patience Soup finds the trio inhabiting an uneasy landscape of moans, howls, and smeared electronic sonorities.
Presented in atmosphere-enhancing room fidelity, the set begins in crunching textural abstraction and Phew’s vocal asides, set against a backdrop of Ambarchi’s shimmering Leslie-cabinet guitar tones and O’Rourke’s synthetic slivers. A testament to the risk-taking prowess of these three master improvisers, the performance moves organically from ecstatic crescendos powered by Phew’s processed wails to moments of near-silence in which a translucent veil of lingering electronic tones is gently punctuated by O’Rourke’s chiming piano chords. Constantly shifting, both harmonically and dynamically, Patience Soup is suffused throughout with a haunted energy and shows these three established figures continuing to venture out into uncharted territory.”
'Signals Bulletin' is the new album from Jan Jelinek, made in collaboration with Japanese organist Asuna aka Naoyuki Arashi. It’s vintage Jelinek; immersive scapes fizzing with colour, anchored by determined organ drones, primed for achieving bliissful, contemplative equilibrium.
"Watching the Japanese sound artist Asuna playing the organ, some people might be surprised. Asuna is no virtuoso flying over the keyboard in a rage. Instead, with the calm gestures of an office worker, he cuts strips of adhesive tape to the correct length before sticking them onto the keys of his instrument. In this way, large clusters of keys are held down, creating a dense and sustained range of frequencies, while the sound artist continually prepares further sets of keys or removes tape again. I have rarely seen a more convincing performance concept, with such a power to fascinate.
I first met Asuna when we both gave a concert at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, his home city. He performed the organ drones as described above and I immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with him. Six years and five meetings later, we completed 'Signals Bulletin'. The album includes both joint improvisations and compositions, recorded in Berlin, Kanazawa and Kyoto.
Whether using prepared organ, Casio keyboards or mechanical plastic toys, Asuna creates rich textures of sound that barely change over long stretches of time. It is a music without breaks. For a while, I was unsure how my loops made using modular synthesizers and live sampling fitted here – until I realized the role I had to take in this duet: I would provide the rhythmically pulsating foundation over which his dense continuums could unfold.
The result is harmonically drifting superclusters that put us into a meditation-like state. It can perhaps be compared to Automatic Writing – a mode of creative expression floating somewhere between concentration and distraction. Both the structure of our pieces and our approach to our instruments allow a similar “absence”: we let the machines play and repeat themselves – while we, in a mild form of trance, adopt the role of observers, intervening only occasionally.
It is no coincidence that Asuna owns a collection of Doodle Art – drawings jotted down during conversations or while talking on the phone. It is said that works made like this point to the unconscious and reveal pet motifs – because a doodler always inadvertently returns to his or her favourite themes. The artwork for Signals Bulletin features pictures from the collection, in this case sheets of paper from the pads provided in stationery shops to test out pens. The special quality of such doodles is that the jumble of drawings is the work of a collective whose individual members do not know each other. Layer by layer is added, by someone different each time – until it becomes a dense cluster of lines and symbols ..."
Jan Jelinek, Berlin 2018
John Duncan and Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio) explore the greyest areas of psychoacoustic and psychosexual drone noise back in 1991, newly remastered for this reissue on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
“Black Truffle is thrilled to announce the first reissue of legendary performance and sound artist John Duncan's forgotten gem Klaar, originally released by Extreme in 1991 and partly created in collaboration with Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio). Duncan is perhaps most well known for his notorious early performances pieces, which explored violence, self-denial, and the establishment of extreme psychological and physical states in both artist and audience. Alongside these transgressive experiments, Duncan began to create audio works primarily using short wave radio. Where some of Duncan's earlier recordings are composed of magnificently sculpted but abrasive walls of noise, Klaar, recorded while Duncan was living in Amsterdam, occupies a more meditative territory.
Opening with 'Delta', which layers long tones seemingly sourced from slowed down voices over a distant, watery field recording, the remainder of the first side is occupied with the epic title piece, which arranges shortwave radio abstraction, vocal experiments, and field recordings (street sounds, fireworks, monastic chants) into an episodic cinema for the ear. The second side is dominated by the long, brooding 'The Immense Room', where layers of shortwave interference and field recordings are gradually built up into a pulsing, wavering bed of sound infused with a subtly disturbing sense of psychological unrest. This rises to the surface near the end of the piece as sexual moans and ominous rumbles crisscross the stereo image before being abruptly brought to a halt.
A singular work of electroacoustic composition, Klaar is both compositionally sophisticated and infused with a sense of mystery and a vital reality often lacking in more academic experimental music; it sits proudly alongside contemporaneous recordings by Duncan's friends and collaborators Jim O'Rourke and Christoph Heemann and is a must for anyone interested in their work.
- Francis Plagne”
A shocking debut of knife-edge, hypermodern, dance music dramaturgy by Athens-based Xyn Cabal on The Death Of Rave, highly recommended if yr into Arca, TCF, Æ, AFX, Croww, Jani Christou, Tzusing...
Years in the works, the 5-track ‘Perfect Oracle’ EP finds Xyn Cabal poetically turning the pressures of life in Athens and the modern world into diamond-cut but deliquescent future club music. It’s a cuttingly critical exploration of dance music dramaturgy, crystallising fluid tessellations of dembow, gqom, weightless grime and kuduro rhythms with emotive, bittersweet melodic arrangements influenced by a timeless and deeply rooted conception of the syncretic, fractious culture and politics that plays out in his everyday life in between his studies of mathematical logic and the riots which occur on exactly the same city streets most weeks since the 2008 financial crash.
On the A-side his 9 minute blinder ‘Ǝ’ traverses a post-apocalyptic playground of brittle but shatterproof dembow drums, minor key synths and black hole trance breakdowns, before ‘Nowei’ unfurls a grimy cinematic elegy for the dispossessed. On the B-side, his permutations of Arabic vocals and subbass loops synch with upended drums in the EP’s titular highlight, while ‘Veil Ordnance’ pushes his rhythm programming to breathtaking, spiralling im/possibilities begging to be interpreted by contemporary dance companies, and ‘MSF Venom’ sounds the riot with slow motion Molotov drops turned into a noisy reggaeton beast.
The results resonate with music from TCF and Æ thru to Total Freedom, Arca and Croww, but crucially and uniquely, Xyn Cabal’s music strives to consolidate a much broader set of reference points, navigating mathematically psychedelic, emotive, and remarkably meta routes between hyperlocal, rhizomatic, and cosmic nodes of the world’s dancefloor.
Watch the video for Perfect Oracle here.
UIQ follows up the Zuli and Nkisi albums with a debut 10” of industro-dancehall pressure from London’s HXE (fka HEX), where mechanically reclaimed samples meet pum-pummelling bass and screeching vocaloids, to deadly effect.
Lee Gamble signs up HXE (fka HEX) for a tightly coiled, hard-edged quartet of deco-rave recces in the space between sound designer techno, mutant Latinx styles, and polluted megatropolis vapour noise. Run out 3 years since the London-based duo’s debut with Liberation Technologies, the ‘INDS’ EP is loosely structured around the practice and aesthetics of modern, large scale industry. Its 4 tracks are brutalist in resolve and construction, but each derive a sense of (perhaps perverse) pleasure and sensuality from the warped virtual/physical tension and crunching industrial intensity of their sounds.
‘Rozay’ opens the A-side with an alarming sort of Industrial dancehall smackdown, all panic-station strings and pummelling, off-kilter bass with unyielding effect, while the reticulated writhe of ‘Worm’ synchs breathless synthetic gasps with mechanically reclaimed rhythm with ‘floor-flailing force, and ’Spill’ alternately sustains and vents the tension with lurching, gnashing dembow dynamics.
A fierce new addition to UIQ’s gang of dancefloor mutants.