Wobbly, mid ‘80s UK dub wonders, including a daft take on the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Dr. Who theme. Check for the infectious, propulsive stepper North Of The River Thames, a riff on Augustrus Pablo’s East Of The River Nile.
“Hauntological dub taking the mystical eastern melodica scales pioneered by Augustus Pablo and applying them to a unique mix of re-versioned cult themes and roots rockers.
Doctor Pablo was a key member of Creation Rebel as well as contributing to such canonical albums as Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Volume 1 and some of the early Hitrun Records sides, a pre-cursor to On-U Sound. It is also the third album appearance by the Dub Syndicate. Features the much-loved dub re-rub of the theme tune to classic British science fiction show Doctor Who.”
Natty, rickety dubs with psychedelic boogie flavour; thunk of it as balearic music for the banks of the Mississippi
“Left Ear re-introduce another ten lost tracks from Nicholas Georgieff and Virgil Work, St Louis' basement electronics duo Workdub.
The release spans material from 1989-95 and includes recordings from their sole LP and both cassette albums. Workdub’s music hardly fits into a vacuum and some might even say it’s otherworldly. Tracks like “Reach for the Stars” and “Lunar Module” reflect dreams of space-age exploration, all the while their investigation into drum machines, synthesizers, samples and digital fx’s matched with their organic live instrumentation work to create a unique atmospheric dubbed out sound.”
On his 2nd EP for Tresor, BNJMN refines his sound to a sort of keening, grittily textured greyscale techno.
Body Reflections Pt.2 steadily scales his sound from expansive, booming techno ambient techno recalling earliest AFX in Undulations, thru the slower, decayed techno bulk of Lyra to a Ben Frist-like sore point of tectonic noise quake and noise in Earth Shock, expelling any reserves of energy in the heavy-lidded but still-driving Severance, to the anxious resting point of Ghost Faction, which is arguably the most impressive ambient work in his catalogue.
Digickal mysticism from 1985 London, helmed by the master Adrian Sherwood, starring highlights in the steppin’ sino-dub ov Forever More, on a tuff but mellifluous soul flex with Forever More, the sharp-edged, recursive ricochets of Wellie, or those mad sliding chromatics in Out and About.
“Increasing access to new studio technology resulted in this splicing of dub reggae DNA with cut-and-paste sampledelia. Anticipating the later work of labels such as Def Jux, Wordsound and Anticon, this 1985 album paired crack Jamaican session musicians such as the Roots Radics’ drummer Style Scott (by this point the instrumental leader of Dub Syndicate) and The Congos’ Ashanti Roy with Public Image Limited’s Jah Wobble and Keith Levene, not to mention the restless mixing desk boundary-pushing of producer and de facto member Adrian Sherwood. A more reggaefied take on the industrial funk Sherwood was making with Tackhead during the same period, lovers of digidub, outernational sounds and even the wilder reaches of 80s hip-hop will find much to get lost in here.”
Mica Levi’s original soundtrack to an animé by acclaimed artist and Turner prize nominee Phil Collins - the film was illustrated and designed by the revered Marisuke Eguchi and is a follow-up to Levi’s award winning work on 'Under The Skin' and ‘Jackie'. Trust, this one’s a bit special.
This is Mica’s first musical accompaniment for animation, once again using her signature palette of dissonant strings and combustible electronics that just completely get to us every time. She paints a series of sweeping backdrops to the film's blend of classically-schooled anime and up-to-the-second CGI designs in a way that we find it hard to imagine any other contemporary soundtrack producer could have managed - somewhere between Arthur Russell, John Carpenter and Johann Johannsson.
The film is set in a near future where carbon-based energy is outlawed and supposes a paradoxical scenario, one where fossil fuels - the ostensible accelerator of humanity’s progress and decline - become energy for the toil against state oppression and enforced inequality. In doing so, it resonates with anime’s strong tradition of exploring eco-feminist themes and power dynamics, both socio-political and technological.
The central Delete Beach theme, a diaphanous section of airborne synth-string contours and charred guitar distortion carved in pirouetting turns-of-phrase, appears in Japanese and English-narrated versions as well as an Instrumental mix. They are divided by the beat-driven Interlude 1 and interlude 2 - which is perhaps the standout piece on the whole score and possibly in Levi’s impeccable oeuvre generally - a mix of string slashes mixed with opiated chopped ’n screwed rhythms comparable to her breathtaking deconstructions with the London Sinfonietta.
After her work underlying and exploring complex characters in Jackie, a biopic of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and the alien-woman metaphors of Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, Delete Beach follows suit with an impendingly tense, viscerally affective sound that reflects and conveys a sense of independence in the face of uncertainty, of a struggle against imposed forces or control systems.
It’s another beguiling testament to Levi’s role as one of the most original and eminent composers of her generation and, once again, leaves us convinced that she's more or less peerless in this field...
Ambient shoegaze duo Aris Kindt launch the new Kingdoms imprint with their second album, Swann and Odette.
"Picking up where their first record (2015â??s Floods) leaves off, Swann and Odette is an evolutionary leap forward for the duo. The sonic palette is deeper, the grooves more sparse and the melodies are given more room to seep deep within a mix so expansive it feels almost tactile."
Creamy acid house trax from Norway’s Tom Ace and Bejjer, buffed up for release by Ulli of Ullis Tapes.
Tom Ace is a N.A.T.O. fighter pilot by day, but makes lushly balanced, gently insistent acid dream such as this 12”s A-side, Return To Pollyland, by night.
Wingman for this mission is Bejjer, who keeps up his side with a simmering ambient waltz called Idiopathic Brain Modulations recalling the vibes of Moon Wheel or 1991 at their most tranquil.
The 1st iteration of Adrian Sherwood and co’s Dub Syndicate, born 1982 with The Pounding System (Ambience In Dub), prior to the crucial arrival of sticksman Lincoln “Style” Scott. Check out the splashing, sozzled dub of 10K at 0VU - 60HZ - Mind Boggles! and their spicy bubbler, Gather at the River.
“The debut Dub Syndicate set from 1982, pre-dating the involvement of mainstay Style Scott. This features various members of Creation Rebel and African Head Charge turning out a wild dub set, with hard-hitting rhythms and FX-mutated melodies phasing in and out of the mix.
Recorded quickly with track titles cheekily poking fun at the contemporary series by The Scientist which pitted him against various b-movie foes. The tunes themselves however are deadly serious, with version excursions on some classic On-U vocal cuts such as “Bedward The Flying Preacher” and “Across The Red Sea”, and a continuing commitment by producer Adrian Sherwood to take his love of reggae and filter it through his exploratory and uniquely English approach.”
Dark Entries and Emotional Rescue team up to tap Psychic TV’s legendary vein of ersatz acid house, resting the virulent acid swagger of Dave Ball’s Blue Pyramid production
Featuring middle eastern-style violin by Virginia, alongside a whirring EBM acid re-lick by Bucharest’s Khidja, plus Bezier’s breakbeat electro-acid version, and the chunky funk of MBM’s Mark Pistel.
Brooding, clunky club shot from Miruna Boruzescu, a Romanian DJ based in Berlin
Returning to Cómeme with the droning, blank-eyed industrial drama of Silent, which Berlin’s Khidja duly tucks away as a throbbing, jagged EBM tool for the DJs.
Fine-tuned and urgently punkish EBM from Japan, making up the first release on Claudio Mate and Francesco Mazzoco’s Dub Ito outlet from Italy.
Nasty late ‘80s sensibilities are subtly updated with precision and guile in 7 parts, ranging from the biting-point 8-bit chiptune inflections jabbed into their spiky missile Idiot Idiot, to the mad stop-start propulsion system of Futei, onto sludgy 110bpm variations in Mae e Narae, nimble nods to DAF and Liquid G on Pulsewave, and a seriously infectious piece of EBM weaponry in Shinigami Horimono’s remix of Idiot Idiot.
Ed Davenport joins Adriatique’s Siamese label with a batch of hypnotic acid house modulations.
On the first disc Ed squeezes out some mad harmonic overtones from his 303 on a louche but proggy groove called Festnetz, backed with the darker, sleekly rolling battery of Severance.
Meanwhile the 2nd disc veers down a tribalist path with the layered percussion and lustrous bass warp of Rain, and brings back to acid root with the Tin Man-like Inner Senser.
Various, incongruous styles from Isolated Lines SBIRE label
Crossing lines from the bright, spacious club deconstructions of Riven by La Vie C’est Facile, to a trio of murky, snaking techno plays taking in the lunky swagger of GDLM by Larson, the clunky rolige and upward tilting synths of Isolated Lines’ Lift, and, term, some chunky, swanging house by Ockham & Soloporunbesso.
Pete Swanson and Jed Bindeman's Freedom To Spend label return with probably our favourite on the label thus far (and that really is saying something - each one has been a peach) - Richard Horowitz’s incredible suite of electro acoustic 4th world music, ‘Eros In Arabia’ ; written for flute and Prophet 5 and rife with mercurial, avian flights of fancy. This one is a proper find - especially if you’re obsessed with Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s more or less peerless Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar, or indeed Byrne & Eno’s ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’ or Craig Leon’s ‘Nommos’.
Horowitz has had something of a dual career - on the one hand via this little known but pioneering kind of work, and on the other scoring films in Hollywood (including work on Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky). The cinematic quality of his material is evident here, but the subtle interweaving of Eastern influences with Western production techniques is incredibly rich with detail and imbues proceedings with an alien, fourth world quality that’s hard to place. Just like Dolat-Shahi managed to intersperse traditional Persian instrumentation with modular overlays in a way that didn’t ever feel contrived, Horowitz’s application of technique comes across as completely intuitive. As the label explain:
"Working in natural succession from end to beginning, “Elephant Dance” demonstrates the central synth and ney node to explore energetic sound patterns Horowitz imagined to be played in the 16th century on the island of Java, around the time Sufi’s may have arrived in Indonesia. Delicately trampling the twenty minute mark, the piece offers an immersive climate of microtones that might, with the primordial matter of love, alter DNA. “Baby Elephant Magic” is “Elephant Dance” but sped up— producing digital baubles that sound less like an Indonesian forest, more like an urban hive of mechanical insect interaction.
The piano on “23/8 for Conlon Nancarrow,” with John Cage technique at play, is played “as fast as possible by a human.” The sounds are driven to derail from the space time continuum. On “Never Tech No Foreign Answer,” a cheap cassette recorder microphone captures the Prophet-5 left to the devices of its master’s inner clock, taking on a frenzied sound form that vibrates in place before bouncing off the tape case walls. Chaos is concentric.
“Queen of Saba” incorporates the vocals of long-time collaborator, Sussan Deyhim. Described as one of Iran’s most potent voices in exile, Deyhim’s work is in both the tradition of Sufis and the late feminist poet, Forough Farrokhzad. Recently Deyhim and Horowitz worked together on a multi-media performance based upon Forrokhzad’s Iranian New Wave film, The House Is Black. Here Deyhim performs a taḥrīr where vocals go low to high without any semantically meaningful words. Horowitz’s associations with great cultural icons of the Middle East, like these women, soften (in)appropriations.
Less aggressive than its predecessors, “Eros Never Stops Dreaming” introduces the bendir frame drum, the feathery wind of the ney floating above its bowing rhythm with effortless mathematics. “Bandit Nrah Master of Rajasthan” begins where the album ends, an ode to Shakuhachi flute players known to indulge in both trance-inducing circular breathing and espionage.
Horowitz is linked with the worldly sound seeking circles of minimalist and avant-garde New York City musicians, especially Lou Harrison and La Monte Young, with whom Horowitz shared Shandar as a record label momentarily. He recorded and toured with Jon Hassell and collaborated with David Byrne and Brian Eno, Jean-Philippe Rykie, and Bill Laswell. Along his travels he befriended Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles, the latter whom mentored Horowitz over decades of correspondence, some of which documents the making of Eros and comes quite literally with this edition.
A record of physical and intellectual love for Arabia, FTS extends this flowing forward and backward – a shimmer that reverses the backward spelling of Ztiworoh. Eros is presented in the ever present. To borrow from a song title, Horowitz remains gainfully employed as an “inter-dimensional travel agent.””
Low key electro with an ‘80s japanese FM synth slant from Minor Science, doing it again for Whities.
On the A-side, he plays out smoothly contoured synth cadence and clipped electro glittered with stardust, gradually getting more robust until a knot of recursive synths wake it up properly.
B-side, Another Moon catches him mixing micro-rhythmic shifts and avian chirrups with wide, arcing pads in something like a feathered YMO groove, saving a neat-trimmed Afro-cubist coda for the final flush.
Available officially for the 1st time this decade, Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s dramatic Symphonic Suite Akira arrives just ahead of the seminal sci-fi animation’s 30th anniversary. This is a facsimile reissue of the original Symphonic Suite Akira album, featuring original unremixed and complete versions mastered from same files as the 1988 release. This is not the version with dialogue and all the madness!
The ten track Symphonic Suite Akira essentially documents the film’s sonic architecture - a magisterial blend of musics from around the world, meshing the disparate systems of Bulgarian choral music, Buddhist Temple chants and Balinese gamelan in a lushly complex alliteration of sounds which framed the film’s post-apocalyptic Tokyo backdrops and cyberpunk themes.
It took Shouji Yamashiro and the 200 musicians, engineers, scientists who comprise Geinoh Yamashirogumi over six months to make Symphonic Suite Akira, apparently recording with an effectively limitless budget, and it shows. At the time of release this was an ambitiously proggy effort in consolidating various harmonic systems, building on the technologically enhanced examples of YMO and early ‘80s 4th World styles in the grandest style.
It may not contain anything quite so immediate as, say, Kenji Kawai’s OST for Ghost In The Shell, but it’s a different thing really, with a different story to tell, and it does so beautifully.
Perhaps the most ambitious and absorbing album yet from Lawrence English, featuring a whole host of friends and collaborators including Swans’ Norman Westberg, The Necks’ Chris Abrahams and Tony Buck, Mats Gustafsson, Werner Dafeldecker and The Angels of Light’s Thor Harris. It’s an arctic, ice-cold meditation rendered in the most beautiful drone and semi-orchestral variants - think somewhere between William Basinski, Akira Rabelais and Badalamenti at his most terrifying. A huge recommendation.
Lawrence English carries the weight of the world in the emotive blows of Cruel Optimism; his tortuous yet somehow triumphant follow-up to the Wilderness of Mirrors (2014) LP, which was conceived prior to the present socio-political sh*tstorm, and attempts to present “a meditation on these challenges and an encouragement to press forward towards more profound futures”.
Inspired by the title of a critical text by American theorist Lauren Berlant, whose analysis of the contemporary crisis points to the elusive promise of neoliberalism - particularly its inherent sense of hauntological trauma - Cruel Optimism is offered by English as a reflection “on how power consumes, augments and ultimately shapes two subsequent human conditions: obsession and fragility”, and does so in a way that viscerally resonates with the long-standing, recurring themes of his work: deferred ecstasy, textural decay and the way they affect perception.
Galvanising strength through collaboration, as opposed to the solo introspection of Wilderness…, English elected to work with a number of his peers for this record, who all gauzily serve to enrich these recordings, which each carry the subtle, if distinct presence of plural spirits in the mix. Object Of Projection is especially hard-hitting, recalling Deathprod’s life-changing Treetrop Drive with its looped refrains, albeit here submerged underneath a tonne weight of sonic detritus that triggers nostalgia and dread in the most evocative manner imaginable - perhaps the most astonishing 5 minutes in all of English’s by-now sizeable catalogue of work.
English carefully consolidates every element on this album within the democracy of the soundfield; we may be able to discern the crucial gestures of Norman Westberg’s clanging chops in Hammering A Screw or smudged into the soberly grand dimensions of Requiem For A Reaper/Pillar Of Cloud and the waking dread of Somnambulist, but, in effect, thru English’s enigmatic processing, his ego is properly sublimated into the ether and as vital as any other to the record’s sense of swelling, aching communal pathos.
KLO straight up kills it on a cover of Aaliyah’s More Than A Woman, nailing the classic vocal on a rebuilt, nearly identikit version of Timbaland’s acid-fuelled R&B instrumental. Listen, tell us we’re wrong?!
On the remix, KLO opts for a breezier, chamber-like reduction, distilled to pointillist syllables, 303 jabs and a sparing swing beat begging to go in-the-mix.
Brusque, Ballardian EBM techno and industrial clangers from Oliver Ho in his Broken English Club style.
The A-side’s Accidents & Romance clamps down with rottie-toothed 16th note synth snarls and back-breaking kicks whilst the owner chats like a man possessed, somewhere above the escalating madness.
B-side, Country Life bucks up some recoiling and lustrous EBM funk that burns on contact, backed with a descent into crushing industrial torpor with Private Death.
Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax serve a previously unheard document of Karl O’Connor aka Regis in his late ‘90s prime - only months after the release of his classic LP, Gymnastics - with five excepts from a live performance at The New York Film Academy on Union Square, Manhattan, January 4th 1997.
That info should be getting a few techno nuts hot under the collar, as will the five trax inside, documenting the shark-eyed and toothed bite of Regis at his most stripped down and deadly between the tangy klang and drive of Untitled I, the funked up acid chew of We Said No (Alt. Version) and a needling take of Translation, backed with the basic tonal language and infectious shuffle of Untitled II and, best of all, the bruxist pitbull clench and singing 909 of Careless Pedestrian.
Delia and DFA appoint a broad selection of dancefloor and avant-garde artists to rework the Horse Follow Darkness album
Turning in highlights such as an unexpectedly lush and rolling take on Hidden Song by Jay Glass Dubs and Raul DeNieves, a typically kinky, playful remix of In Through The Light by Steven Warwick aka Heatsick on an itchy Afro tip, and a rolling progressive house/soft trance version of In Through The Light by Bryce Hackford.
An unmissable introduction to unsung American composer Mary Jane Leach with Pipe Dreams, astonishingly her first ever solo vinyl release. Despite playing an instrumental role in NYC’s pioneering Downtown avant-garde community since the ’70s, Mary Jane is, unbelievably, little known beyond the US avant-garde. Now, following her production input to the issue of Julius Eastman’s Feminine for Frozen Reeds (and her liner notes for Unjust Malaise in 2005 for that matter), the two powerful longform pieces contained in the cannily titled Pipe Dreams are set to attract a raft of new ears to her absorbing psychoacoustic explorations.
Recorded between 1984 and 1989, Pipe Dreams is only Mary Jane’s 3rd full solo release, arriving nearly 20 years since Ariadne’s Lament [New World Records, 1998] and 24 after Celestial Fires [Experimental Intermedia Foundation, 1993]. With a paucity of precedents to compare it to, it effectively forms the first time many will clasp ears on her music, and simultaneously illustrates the range of her sound - one side of spellbinding church organ interplay; one of gripping tonal discord - while also placing it within historical context amid the searching Downtown milieu of Julius Eastman, Arthur Russell, Arnold Dreyblatt, Ellen Fullman, Philip Corner, Daniel Goode, and Peter Zummo - most of whom she’s collaborated with at one point or another, either in Downtown Ensemble or guesting on their records.
That communal spirit, a sort of antidote to the capitalist realism of individualism, feeds deeply into these two solo works. On the A-side, Pipe Dreams (1989) finds her communing with psychoacoustic spectres in a way that strongly predates Áine O'Dwyer's more recent investigations into acoustic phenomena for Penultimate Press, as well as resonating with the drone work of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Amid her precise, baroque figures, pulsing air and pealing microtonal partials, listeners are witness to the presence of plasmic atmosphere and sub-harmonic frequencies that flux and disperse in sublime antiphony, likely to turn your chosen zone of reception into a discrete, floating antechamber.
In stark contrast, Mary Jane’s B-side, 4BC (1984) is a more visceral, biting piece for four clarinets, employing long drones within a constrained tonal palette, combining their raspy dissonance in a thick body of resonant sound that speaks to the idea of discord as its own sort of harmony - a way of appreciating the friction and difference between sounds as much as people, and recalling to some extent the pitching grip of Harley Gaber’s The Winds Rise In The North, or the grind of Tony Conrad.
Hard to believe it’s taken until now for Mary Jane to receive at least some of her dues, but a real pleasure to finally immerse ourselves in her heavily meditative, distinctly singular world.
Also referred to as SW’s Untitled debut LP, The Album is a deeply attractive showcase for Stefan Wust’s distinguished and timeless takes on hi-tech funk and jazz techno, the culmination so far of his deft experiments and findings since 2011 on the cultishly appreciated SUED label.
This is some seriously stellar gear, collecting 11 tracks of weightless, unquantised breakbeats and bass jabs that impeccably work deep into their own pockets of funk, but if you step back a touch, they also form a perfectly mazy mosaic or bigger, impressionistic picture of Detroit techno, UK brokebeat, AI, acid and electro-jazz themes.
We recommend diving in and picking out your own pearls; there’s a multitude to choose from.
A hauntingly spirited minimal/progressive/new age classic from 1978 with liner notes by the author and Kieran Hebden.
"Lino Capra Vaccina's immense 'Antico Adagio' was originally intended to be a double album, but was eventually scaled back to a single disc, self-released by the author in 1978; and thanks to the breadth and scope of Die Schachtel's excavations, the second unreleased album from the 1978 session is now available.
"Before an aberrant idea of progress and workaholic ethic ludicrously sped up our daily lives, even in the hectic city of Milan it was possible to "play slowly" – with no pressure, simply following the path your art was showing you. After a classic artistic journey and an experimental stint with Aktuala and other brilliant fellow musicians (like Franco Battiato, above all), Lino Capra Vaccina, near the end of the 70s, recorded Antico Adagio. It was an amazing album, anticipating countless future experiments in the field of new age and world music but also in avantgarde and electronic music.
Apart from a few violin parts and the extraordinary vocal lines (sung by Vaccina himself and Juri Camisasca), Antico Adagio is an album fully built on percussions. But, at the same time, it's the farthest thing from the typical idea of percussions. You won't find a single trace of African or primitive beats: instead, this is a collection of rather long, subtle and thoughtful compositions, crafted with vibraphones, marimbas and gong. Together they create a work which will remain unique – both in Capra Vaccina's discography as well as in a more general sense."
Erstwhile Deaf Center member Erik K. Skodvin aka Svarte Greiner returns with a brilliant, solemn new work a year on from the Moss Garden album for his own Miasmah imprint.
Apart is essentially a suite of pieces for prepared Cello and location recordings, recorded in an abandoned industrial space in Bern, Switzerland, complete with all the aural artefacts you would imagine. As Skodvin explains:
"In autumn 2015 I was invited to perform and stay for a week at the – as it turned out one off - Rebirth Festival in Bern, Switzerland. I was staying at an abandoned farm in the hills, half an hour outside the city with the group of young people responsible for the festival. My room was equipped with a mattress on the floor, some strange paintings, and a lot of spider webs. The view outside was straight into an open field with mostly hills, a forest, and some tents, all of which would be covered in fog every morning. By night I was driven to the venue - an unused industrial building slightly outside of central Bern. Three of the nights there I was given a cello, a sleeping bag, full access to the building, and especially its big open basement space for recording. Something that ended up as both a fruitful and an uneasy experience. The walls were spray painted and the space was scattered with bizarre, elaborate tree / steel sculptures. Most of the rooms were made into some kind of surreal art object, often recalling a sort of Mad Max post-apocalyptic feel.
I realised that getting a clean recording here would be nearly impossible, as the building had a tendency for strange noises, clicks and sounds, seemingly turning itself on and off at random. It was also located right next to the train tracks, which meant I had about 10 minutes of quiet in which to record in between the thunder of passing trains - a lot of recordings were ruined. However, all these off elements somehow had their charm. Having such a big empty space for myself, filled with strange installations and sculptures set up for the festival, was both inspiring and eerie. When not playing and just sitting still, it was unnerving. The lights were on motion detectors and would automatically turn off after 5 minutes without movement, leaving me alone with nothing but a small lamp and my thoughts. Sometimes I wished my imagination would be less vivid, as I´d have an easier time not imagining all kinds of obscure happenings in the shadows. Then again, this is also something that intrigued me so much that I felt no choice but to investigate closer. Spurred by this intrigue/paranoia, I would often walk around the empty building to soak up the atmosphere and check if someone was there.“
That intense sense of isolation seeps through every pore of these wonderfully evocative recordings, situating them somewhere between avant garde composition and minimalist horror, something that’s long been a speciality of the Miasmah label and, indeed, Skodvin’s work - here taken to its most austere, stripped down and rewarding extreme.
Prodigal avant synth-pop star John Maus - an important early collaborator with Ariel Pink (who guests here) - returns to the scene he was instrumental in setting with Screen Memories, marking up his first album since We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves  and one of the most addictive records of the year thus far.
The palette remains mostly unchanged from his chain of previous Maus classics, as written for and released by Upset! The Rhythm and Ribbon Music during the ‘00s. But the tone, timbre and layering of his synths, drum machines and vocals in Screen Memories are discernibly tweaked for emphasised flavour and emotive affect. The results find Maus better expressing his contemporary concerns thru the prism of outmoded equipment, giving voice to the truth of timeless, absurd matters in an ever-more personalised style of pop articulation.
Under the wonderfully evocative header Screen Memories, a title which simultaneously conjures reflective, nostalgic imagery and possibly suggests a sort of picnoleptic reaction to the hypermodern narcissistic condition, Maus parses his own image and sense of self from the TV ‘snow’ or distortion of reality. It appears as a self who can’t escape the formative digital tang of the ‘80s which underlines so much of the modern world, yet a one who lives and dreams in the here-and-now.
It’s a supremely smart demonstration of avant-pop as playful metaphor, with Maus merging/duetting ever closer to his fine-tuned synth as a form of basic AI, occupying a strange harmonic uncanny valley of phosphorescing shadowplay between his probing hooks, bathing in the plasmic timbre or temporal and cognitive dissonance of late capitalism.
Tom Ware is a Grammy nominated engineer, producer and musician from Omaha Nebraska.
"Throughout the 70s and 80s Tom was the drummer for many bands, including Norman & The Rockwells, Toy boat Toy boat Toy boat, and Hit N Run. Because of his love for electronics, mechanics, and machines of any kind, he was always the only one who truly knew how pa systems worked. Tom got an entry level job at a Rainbow Studios and would work at the recording studio during the day, play evening gigs till 2 in the morning, then go back to the studio and work on new ideas all night. During these teeth cutting sessions, Tom worked by himself, following his instincts and creating sounds he loved to listen to.
His reckless abandon approach and thrill to learn was a high octane fuel that resulted in his first solo self-titled album. The album’s 10 songs were recorded and mixed between August & December of 1983 and self-released in early 1984. The album would be re-released in 1985 by independent Krautrock/Kosmische Musik label Sky Records in Germany and re-titled ‘The Fourth Circle’. Some of the instruments used on the LP were a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, & Pro One, Simmons SDSV electronic drums, Roland TR-606 drum machine, & Hammond B3 organ. While recording this album Tom was influenced by new wave sounds of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools of pulsing synth music and the celestial realms of Jean Michel Jarre.”
Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss is the mixtape which established Mykki Blanco as a pre-eminent queer hip hop MC upon its release thru UNO NYC in 2012.
Framed by production from Gobby, Brenmar, Matrixxman, Le1f, Gatekeeper and Flostradamus, ao., Mykki owns his sound with fierce style, giving voice to non-binary concerns and his sexuality in a way that doesn’t just prize subject over style, but rather makes a bold new style out of subjects that he’s lived and needs to represent. It’s still an authentically unique and outstanding dispatch five years later.
SHXCXCHCXSH slop out another bucket of stranger techno creations on Rösten 2
Ranging from what sound like Stanislav Tolkachev filtered thru a wet sock in Stämma 5; or Phurpa at Tresor in Stämma 6; then with a lush but salty sort of psychedelic delirium in Stämma 7; and the elegant attrition of Stämma 8 letting it decay gracefully.
Subtle, class grooves from Joseph Deenmamode
Daring the dubbed-out, bifurcating syncopation of High Spirits, next to arabesque vignette Purim, a heat hazy bazaar scene called Axum, and the elasticated kick drum slips of Kick Pattern.
Ineffably stylish avant-punks Toresch pursue the shark-eyed swerve and bite of their Essen Für Alle debut - one of our most-played records of 2016 - with a 2nd batch of skulking aces for Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music outta Düsseldorf’s Salon Des Amateurs.
Again, Detlef Weinrich (Tolouse Low Trax) tills the groove for Viktoria Wehrmeister, a Mexican-born German sculptor and artist with previous form for Klaus Dinger’s La! NEU? troupe. However, this time the vibe is more concentrated, low-key, burning with dark blue hues for red lit basements to leave listeners in a purple twilight zone, hypnotised by Weinrich’s reticulated rhythms, commanded by Viktoria’s pidgin, made-up Spanish lyrics, and subconsciously tripping to the plasmic mix magick of Gordon Pohl, whose sleight-of-hand was crucial to the success of Toresch’s debut.
In EP opener Guayabame we hear echoes of their addictive Como Para Todos, but contracted and numbed to a tighter, frozen buzz with Viktoria stalking the stage front and centre, less raging, more snarling. On Las Locas they tuck the rhythm somewhere darker and more fetid with the kind of snake-hipped shuffle that unlocks the psyche in devilish ways, vocals reserved to a sort of druggy and wickedly illegible slur.
The highlight this time is their lip-bitingly strong, noirish beauty El Fuego, where Viktoria Jekyll & Hyde’s herself in whispers and curling, orientalist plumes amid a maze of slow, smoky electro-dub draped in midnight jazz keys, before rearing up like a mutant, melted New Beat or proto-techno zinger in the clenched, simmering pressure of Tocar, which subtly benefits from Gordon Pohl’s fathomless dub mix sphere.
Trust it’s a total beauty!
Brilliant album from Marcus Fjellstrom returning after a 5 year absence with an oneiric masterpiece that strongly recalls the low key brilliance of his strings of pearls released by Lampse and Miasmah between 2005-2011. It's a tense, highly atmospheric take on modern classical, highly recommended if you're into Kreng, Nate Young or Deaf Center.
Fjellstrom's natural abilities in narrative detailing and layered sound design seem to have grown exponentially, but with no sacrifice to his music’s ghostly, intangible appeal. He’s spent the last several years working intently on an A/V opera, Boris Christ whose necessary dramaturgical elements and sense of direction are central to the rich array of sound imagery conjured up across Skelektikon - impish funny-bones characters, mythical fauna, backdrops of dark green velvet, grasping forests and carmine lighting.
It’s the sort of music you play late at night, in solitary mouse-catcher mode, to encourage those moments of what the fxck was that over in the corner? whilst you drift off into reveries about pagan things until the hypnic jerks kick in, or don’t, and you’re either petrified, awake, or unconscious and on the other side.
If you’ve ever been seduced by the eyrie worlds of Nurse With Wound, or like the idea of melting into your favourite noir score, Skelektikon is shivering with expectation for you.
One of L.I.E.S.’ most minimalist industrialists presents his most impressive, and we daresay emotive work yet with Eris, triangulating a sound somewhere at the dank, raw root of Tolouse Low Trax, Dopplereffekt and Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement.
The production is big boned and raw, but not lo-fi or distorted, stealthily moving from spheric dark ambient harmonics in Sanctuary to the slow, grimacing electro lurch of How To Build Cathedrals and something like Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement dubbing Laid Back on the broody romance of The Room Tonight, and an immense piece of shifty, Muslimgauze-like electro-dub in Bilocation Drift.
His Concrete Message cannily messes with the linear narrative in a style reminding of Demdike Stare’s GRM dubs, and Invasion Threat gives the record’s most thistly passage, before melting out into the subbass cess pilot of I’ll Take That One and again with the cone-worrying bass warped under the slow, cold electro pointillism of Eleventh Night.
Best known as one half of Deaf Center, Erik K. Skodvin's work as Svarte Greiner has been described as "acoustic doom" by those with a genre-delineated filing system, and his best known work 'Knive' is now made available on vinyl for the first time since its original release over a decade ago.
"11 years since it´s inception, the surreal and darkly romantic Knive still sounds like a mystery and something that´s hard to pin down. Svarte Greiner´s debut album feels like a trip into the forest at midnight, with all the sounds and impressions that comes with it. Spiritual, horrific and fragile in essence, it´s melancholic core is hard to shake off, and feels as present today as it did back then.
While starting off the sub genre of “Accoustic doom” back in 2006, it´s difficult to say what else to name it now, with it´s inspiration and elements from countless genres. The record flows through the dissonant cello´s and washed out vocals of “Ocean out of Wood” past the introverted church organs of “The Black Dress”, distorted guitars and wooden beats of “The Dining Table” to the operatic finalé of “Final Sleep”. Everything scattered with field recordings from crows, branches, walking, sleeping, rain, wind and who knows what. Knive stands on many feet, wherever they may be.
Erik K Skodvin´s path as Svarte Greiner have since been dwelling more and more into this world, picking each element apart to focus on them, stretching them out or cutting them down, looping, experimenting and flooding with reverb - trying to make time stop and night fall. But for now a re-visit to where it all started seems appropriate.
'Knive' sees Skodvin plundering a record collection evidently stacked with the likes of Earth, Badalamenti and Volcano The Bear - coming out the other side with a record that is inky black without becoming oppressive or claustrophobic. Opening with the melted-wax drones of 'The Boat Was My Friend', Svarte Greiner presents an inky arena to experience his music - as crepuscular cello and detached vocals coalesce to forge an ethereal and otherworldly aesthetic. Flecked with pathos and a genuine sense of foreboding, 'The Boat Was My Friend' signals the coming record in a dipping style which evokes images of a late night radio signals heard through a haunted woodland. Moving on from here, 'Ocean Out Of Wood' is a mealy and waterlogged affair, wherein Skodvin allows creaking percussion and pregnant chords to seep into the conscious with just the right balance of light and dark to ensure the textures never become too abrasive or oppressive. Bringing to mind a tarnished copper-rub, the likes of 'My Feet Over There', 'An Ordinary Hike' and 'The Black Dress' all inhabit a musical sphere where shadows are encouraged and light is shunned to piquant effect. Elsewhere, the stunning finale of 'Final Sleep' is heaving with operatics that scar the conscious through cavernous organs straight from Badalamenti's secret chest, 'The Dining Table' lays on a spread of syrupy percussion, whilst 'Ullsokk' allows haunting vocals to chide at the skittering rhythms beneath."
A dervish bewt from Stefan Schwander’s Harmonious Thelonious for TTT, Apakapa catches the Düsseldorf-based explorer meeting the moroccan flute of Ghazi Barakat for one of the project’s jazziest, moodily hypnotic episodes.
Apakapa initiates the session with a bright, pointillist geometry of thumb piano and grubbing, pendulous bass where Schwander gets freely harmonious with Barakat’s buzzing, expressive flute jabs in Sufi-esque style.
That all cools down to a bluer sound with Low Beat, where Schwander’s swingeing bass pulse underlines and buoys the low key smoke plumes from Barakat’s flute, subtly processed into vaporous tendrils and smeared on the mix.
And the DJs are left spoiled for choice with the B-side’s Whirling, which works equally brilliantly at 33 or 45rpm, with the kinda Photek style drum cadence also used by Don’t DJ, this time working beautifully as an opiated hip-charmer, or as an infectious sort of dancehall-techno bubbler.
Exciting new label Lost Futures tap “into the inherent idealism of rave” with this killer 1992 techno session by Arno Peeters, Sander Friedeman and Richard van der Giessen aka CultureClash, who were originally conceived at the behest of Irdial Discs’ Akin Fernandez for an hour long live performance on his Kiss FM show.
For the first time, that show has been edited to individual tracks and made available on vinyl, some twenty five years after various failed attempts to properly release its seminal slice of dancefloor history. Fans of Psychick Warriors Of Gaia, Underground Resistance, Muslimgauze or Utrecht’s U-Trax need to check this one, pronto!
Originally converging under the moniker, The Awax Foundation, the trio from Utrecht recombined their vast, personal reserves of ethnic and traditional music samples from across the world with an Atari 1040ST, a cheap mixing desk, synths and FX to effectively assuage techno’s increasingly masculine stomp. The results essentially picked up where their fellow countrymen, Psychick Warriors Of Gaia left with 1989’s tribalist EBM templates, pushing farther along those lines to a loose, driving, hypnotic sound which swerved accusations of “ethno-techno” appropriation thanks to their sincerity and results which have evidently stood the test of time.
CultreClash thus stands a temporal crossroads which perhaps resonates more with our modern times than any other. In 1992, a decade after the swell of new age, and years after the future-primitive thrust of Chicago house, or even Detroit guys fetishising Japanese electronics and synth-pop, the techno movement was in full flow, cosign to the grasp of white europeans who, on the one hand, wanted to make it more commercial, for bigger raves and the charts, while on the other hand, others wanted to explore its esoteric, aerobic mystic potential, such as these Dutch dudes.
The results of their endeavour form a killer set of DJ tracks and a necessary time capsule from that era, hingeing all kinds of mad polyrhythms, chants and sampled instrumental tones around rolling kicks and natty electronics. In the wrong hands that could have come out terribly, but these guys got it bang right with tracks like the febrile, heatsick ace Bad Dream, or like a tuffer NAD with the brooding NYC-Nonplace vibes of Mystic (House Dub) or the mesmerising acid fuss of U.U Inlands (Halal Edit) and the rolling breakbeat bustle of Zitarz, while making room for more spacious, wistful rave kisses in the sloshing, Muslimgauze-like Mama Africa and Asian Approach, or the sufi-esque dervish, Yatiyaña.
CultureClash weren’t the first and won’t be the last to try this sound, but they did it with timeless style and effect that totally deserves this reissue, which we can’t say about many other similar attempts.
One for the dreamers of the dream.
James Holden and pals converge on a raucous psych-folk-tronica sound presumably meant for cider-soaked harvest festivals and grazing thru fields of magic mushies. Ecstatically giddy and eldritch-tinted stuff.
“Let yourself be transported to a magical other world of instinct and intuition with this bold new set of synth-led folk-trance standards from electronics guru James Holden and his newly-expanded band of fellow travellers The Animal Spirits. A wild ride that unites the characteristic propulsive melodic vigour of his custom-made modular synthesizer system with an unlikely supporting cast of brass, wind and live percussion, the expansive and transformative psychedelic journey of The Animal Spirits is certainly eternal outsider Holden’s most ambitious work to date – but surely also his most direct and accessible.
Since the release of 2013’s epic pagan saga The Inheritors, the kraut-tinged synth-and-drum core of the live touring outfit assembled by Holden to spread his alternative electronic message around the world has picked up several additional members along the way. Legendary jazz band leaders Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders provided the blueprint for this quest to assemble “something like a spiritual jazz band playing folk / trance music”, but here cornet (Marcus Hamblett) and saxophone (Etienne Jaumet) function as the complement to the star soloist of Holden’s ever-strident synth. Meanwhile drummer Tom Page’s is inextricably bound to Holden's synth care of self-coded interactive drummer-following software, keeping pace with the almost imperceptible – yet unmistakably human – micro-errors in timing which lend live drums their natural magical groove. Thus Holden’s drummer is liberated from the brutal tyranny of the click track and a new organic symbiotic relationship between human and machine is unlocked. Producer Holden’s creative control over the project is absolute, from building his own synth and software, writing the musical backbone and steering his players, to self-recording, self-mixing and eventually also self-releasing the finished collection on his own imprint.
This heady blend of the electronic and the acoustic came into being during the hot and sticky summer of 2016 under the direction of fledgling band leader Holden at his Sacred Walls studio in London. In a bid to capture what he calls the unfakeable “psychic communication” of a group performance, The Animal Spirits was recorded live in one room together in single takes, no overdubs, no edits, in accordance with his own self-imposed dogma.
What has emerged out of these sessions is a genre-blending new form of universal music that feels inherently fluid and alive. Just one example of the record's wide-ranging influences, the relentless, elastic and hypnotic polyrhythms of 'Pass Through The Fire' grew out of Holden’s 2014 trip to Morocco to work with legend of Gnawa music Maalem Mahmoud Guinia. The first song he wrote for the band, 'Pass Through The Fire' took shape over months of pre-show dressing room practice, as Holden set about transmitting the distinctive Gnawa rhythm to drummer Page. It soon made its way into the pair's live shows, adding Jaumet's on-the-hop improvised sax contributions further down the line. Holden says, "This was where I got the idea that songs are just backbones or seeds and the strong ones teach/reveal themselves to the players rather than the other way round."
As promised, Throbbing Gristle cough up what is essentially their Best Of… on vinyl for the first time, repackaging and expanding their 2004 CD, The Taste of TG (A Beginner’s Guide to the Music of Throbbing Gristle), with Almost A Kiss, taken from the Part Two - The Endless Not album, which serves to now bookend the collection between 1975-2007 and offer a broader, truer picture of the nonpareil, infinitely influential group’s jagged timeline.
There’s nowt we can add to the mountain of writing already on Throbbing Gristle. But, in context of the release, for the uninitiated, afeared, or just plain ignorant listeners out there who haven’t a clue what TG are about, we advise cupping this album with both hands and drinking deeply, then deciding which of their bloods tastes the strongest, and pitching yourself down the rabbit hole of their corresponding catalogue. Then read Cosey Fanni Tutti’s Art Sex Music to put it all in historic context.
You’ll thank yourself for it soon enough, even if the neighbours don’t.
Surely the UK’s most prized punk-funk group, Golden Teacher tighten the screws to loosen your hips with No Luscious Life, an instant-classic debut album of seven incredibly infectious tracks getting to grips with all of GT’s worldly influences, and then some.
Since emerging on Optimo Music to a round of acclaim in 2013, the band have revealed their Green Door Studios home to be an unparalleled hotbed of creativity for themselves and Glasgow’s finest freeks, but arguably keeping a neck ahead of everyone else thru their untamed diversity and skill at refreshing vintage aesthetics.
No Luscious Lie is the strongest, well-rounded testament yet to their sound, kicking off with the ESG space bounce of Sauchiehall Withdrawal to cycle thru influences ranging from Senegalese talking drums - think Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force on bucky - with Diop, before cooling out with the preppy Detroit funk of Spiritron and the heat-warped Afro-disco soul strut of The Kazimier, reprising the dubby depth of their Dennis Bovell hook-up with Shatter (Version), and playfully bending time ’n space like some Bruce Haack-meets-Craig Leon screwball on What Fresh hell Is This?
Beautiful new album from longtime Room 40 friend and collaborator Ueno Takashi
"I confess to being in a state of ceaseless awe when it comes to Tokyo guitarist, Ueno Takashi. I have had the pleasure to know Ueno now for well over 10 years. In that time he has remained a source of constant curiosity and surprise. Just when I think I have the man pegged, he throws out some unex-pected musical gesture that completely catches me off guard. Whether it be his work with Saya in Tennis-coats, or his almost endless stream of solo releases, many of which exist in very short run editions, his mu-sic typifies a tireless desire to explore. Recently Ueno’s curve ball has been his project Off Strings with Vice Japan, where he talks to leading Ja-panese guitarists. It’s an incredible series of interviews, which I heartily recommend checking out.
The re-sults have been quite extraordinary and his session with Haino Keiji a personal favourite of mine. Yet an-other pleasant surprise from this maestro. Over the course of his previous solo recordings for Room40, Ueno has tested very reductive compositional approaches. Each of the records has created a precise and unique approaches to guitar. Sui-Gin, his first solo for us, almost 10 years old, remains one of Room40’s most individual sounding recordings. It’s a col-lection of alien tones, uneasy yet beautiful. To this day I still can’t quite imagine how he drew so much harmonic richness from such a limited palette; one instrument and one pedal. Smoke Under The Water, a title I can only assume maintains at least a little humour about it, is easily the most beautiful record Ueno has made in recent years. Here, the lushness of his playing meets head on this is minimalist compositional heart. This record bares a close attention to detail. That is not to say it is fussed over or seeking some kind of state of perfection. On the contrary this is a record about perfor-mance, about taking a beautiful compositional idea and seeking to document it with the life and breath that is so critical to solo instrumental works. I implore you to listen to one of Japan’s true master’s of his craft."
Lawrence English, October 2017
Bibio makes his most affective move in a while with the wistful, nostalgic reflections of Phantom Brickworks; an elegant ambient meditation on the intangible aura or spirit that people imbue places with, and vice-versa.
Over the years since Fi, Bibio’s BoC-like (or lite) debut for, we’ve variously heard Bibio as ambient dreamer, soft-boogie whiz, and folktronica bard. However, by swiping away the beats entirely and following his improvisational instincts, Phantom Brickworks seems to dwell at the square root of all those styles, divining and calling forth a ghostly, melancholic spirit which lingered in the background and between the cracks of all his previous releases.
In terms of its autumnal, decayed pallor and silty sense of depth perception, not to mention to obvious themes of nostalgia and memory stimulus, Phantom Brickworks operates in very similar realms of the imagination to The Caretaker, conveying a very particular, elusively eldritch brand of sehnsucht or hiraeth; a feeling that defies concrete description, but you know when you feel it.
No hyperbole; Phantom Brickworks is the loveliest album Warp have released in a while.
Severely killer gothic darkwave volley from Norn Iron’s Autumns, proceeding the examples of Terrible Tuesday for Downwards and a clutch of tapes and LPs for Clan Destine with their fiercest material yet
A jagged ramp called Self Consumed that sounds like Silent Servant on meth; the jabbing 16th note synths and EBM shunt of Headache Tablet; bitterest wave sentiments in You’re A Right Useless Cunt Aren’t You; and supremely messed up drum machine fizz in City Secrets and Distorted Thinking.
RIYL Factory Floor, Powell, Not Waving, Marie Davidson.
Arthur Russell collaborator Steven Hall reprises the Nirosta Steel alias in a reissue of his album, Dry Ice, comprising tracks witten between ‘80s and ‘90s which he originally issued on his Buddhist Army label, and is now remastered for this edition and the digital age.
We’d recommend checking out the concrete disco of Atmo, the dubbed out disco of Heaven / List Of Boys (Medley), and the super sub-heavy yet effervescent house-pop ditty Lite Nite for that authentic downtown NYC sound that we’d wager you’re looking for.
Bristol’s No Corner celebrate 5 years of singular-minded dub mutations with a killer gangbang of classic and new, exclusive gear from El Kid (Sam Kidel), Asda, Seekersinternational, Spiritflesh, October, Jabu, Andy Mac & Ossia, Lurka, Lily, Hodge, October, O$VMV$M, Mark, Japan Blues and more.
Since its inception in 2012, No Corner the label has been a wide open meeting place for contemporary dubbers of all stripes, setting a rooted yet loosely mutable precedent that strongly echoes Bristol’s sound system heritage and is best defined as a product of that city’s post-punk, house and dubstep-drenched environment.
At 28 tracks wide, there’s a lot to take in, so we’ll head to our highlights. The Asda tracks by Seb Gainsborough (Vessel) and Chester Giles (Jabu) exemplify the breadth and dilated focus of the label somewhere between dub poetry, chamber music and concrète, best in the wist of The Desire for Light and Stars and Jubilant Songs, and no less in Japan Blues’ cracking, dub-weighted remix. Filter Dread’s Oddity meanwhile renders lushly vaporous traces of techno and up-to-the-second electronica, and Vessel’s Psychosis remix of We Need Mirrors by El Kid (Sam Kidel) spies a lesser heard, cranky niche of their industry-dub aesthetics, whereas Seekersinternational dub it hauntological on TekWeh.
However, the main thrust of the set leans towards recent, new and upcoming No Corner sounds, taking in the elusive smoke curls of Hodge’s Body Drive along with new introduction to the label such as Kinlaw with the hall-of-mirrors chords of d.3 Hash and Lurka on the weightless pressure of Friday Night Sit In The Dark, plus highly promising new projects in Spiritflesh’s echo chamber excursion, Ever Impending Doom, an exclooosey SKRS dub, TroubleRoundDiCorner, a steeply abstract one from Robin Stewart (Giant Swan), and the gully drill of Wu-Yen’s Splurge.
Best yet from Tessela on his Poly Kicks label, substituting stilted 4/4 and breakbeat patterns for a slinkier, supple and hypnotic style with little concession to his proper techno drive.
In Sorbet it sounds like this transition is occurring before our ears as his syncopated drums gradually grate their cogged teeth into a a sort of coarsely fluid swing smoothed out with contrails of diva vocals subtly contoured into rave peaks.
By the time we get into Diving on the B-side his drums have worn down to a frictionless roll of B-More breaks underlined with brooding Reese bass pressure like some early ‘90s KMS ace.
Career-spanning retrospective of Matthew Puffett’s Detroit-inspired Future Beat Alliance output, drawn from 20 years of releases on Tresor, Delsin, Void Records and Eevonext, plus a few unreleased archival joints.
Henrik Schwarz’s Between Buttons label is pleased to announce its second release, Aphorisms, is a six track debut record from Syrian musicians Khaled Kurbeh & Raman Khalaf Ensemble.
"Raman Khalaf and Khaled Kurbeh are now based in Berlin but hail from Syria, and that shows in the music they have been making together since 2015. The years since have seen them perform at the likes of CTM, at the BBC Arabic Festival in London and Potsdamer Tanztage as well as on Piano Day at Funkhaus. Their sound mixes up Raman’s oud playing and vocals with Khaled’s piano and synthesisers, and ranges from largely acoustic, such as on this EP, to more electronic when performing live.
This new record was written by Khaled and Raman and was later recorded with an ensemble of Berlin based musicians. They have diverse backgrounds that range from formal classical studies at conservatories to virtuoso jazz musicians and include Tom Berkmann on bass, Moussa Coulibaly on djembe, Ashraf Kateb on violin, Matthias Ruppnig on drums and Nora Thiele on percussion.“The record was written over the last two years and blurs lines between written music and improvised playing,” says Raman. Khaled then adds, “The pieces articulate our reflections on different topics such as solitude, absurdism, the simple man, and despair in a fictional musical narrative, hence the title Aphorisms.”
The music itself fuses ambient, jazz, minimal and world styles right from the off. Opener ‘Toska’ is an epic cinematic opener. It’s warm and gentle with oud and violins making for their own little chapters in the overall story.
‘Interlude’ is an absorbing passage of piano, double bass and synth and then ’To Kafranbel’ is nimble and dynamic as keys and oud sounds dance about. ‘Al Baseet’ is another upbeat number with hand claps and oud bringing a nice sense of groove to the Iraqi-style vocals up top, while ‘Shamal’ is a snippet of a long, bass driven studio live jam with claps, djembe and percussion before the pensive pianos of ‘Einsamkeit Impromptu’ round things out in tender fashion."
One of footwork’s original architects - among those who saw its transition from booty-jukin’ ghettobass to the style we know it as - Traxman claims his spot on Teklife with the inimitable Tekvision
Percolating the pressure in eight parts between the weightless turn of Be Gagen with DJ Earl, to go solo with killer work in the booty-cubing Drop It Down, to James Baldwin-Sampling funk minimalism with Control Ya Bitchezzz, chopping MJ into footwork style on Gone Girl, and straight killing it with the staccato ear worm of Twist Da Party Out, and his freaky AF Whop Line.
CPU hail the 2nd album by retro-futurist ‘bot, AB2088, previewing two LP tracks on his first ever vinyl release, following their issue of his Sagittarius album and Natural Sciences’ recent release of NXPCHOIR.
A-side, All The Eyes dispenses a rudely swung piece of Red Planet electro funk laced with curious, probing melodies, strangely enough sounding shades away from certain sections of instrumental UK grime.
B-side, on TX0 he follows that line down a sino-electro-grime wormhole, hingeing off cold woodblock drums and sparse, arcing arpeggios in a dark space somewhere between Arpanet and Scratchy.