A spoken word and music project by Belbury Poly, writer Justin Hopper and folk musician Sharron Kraus . Based on live performances of Hopper's 2017 book 'The Old Weird Albion', it’s a poet, autobiographical and psychogeographical account of his experiences at Chanctonbury Ring on the West Sussex Downs.
"The album is a blend of folk, electronic music, poetry, prose and environmental sound. Kraus’s electro-acoustic soundscapes and songs interweave with Hopper’s rich, intimate narration. Musically it moves effortlessly from the traditional to the avant-garde with Belbury Poly contributing music and production throughout and bookending the work with a memorable theme tune.
Finding its spiritual home on Ghost Box, the project is reminiscent of a lost era of poetry and music albums, like David Cain and Radiophonic Workshop's The Seasons. It comes artfully packaged in a style that recalls a poetry and music for schools LP, with a nod towards 1960s Topic folk anthologies."
Keiji Haino, one of the most influential figures to emerge from the Japanese psychedelic underground, teams up with Charles Hayward, British drummer and founding member of This Heat and Camberwell Now, on a new album.
"A loss permitted...comprises a live recording of the duo’s improvised performance at the Copeland Gallery in London in July 2016, presented as part of Thirty Three Thirty Three’s performance series Japan: London. The result is fascinating: a mix of air synths, distortions, improvised Japanese poetry and warped guitar sounds. Sedate harmonica and guitar sections give way to cosmic din or an equally unnerving silence, in a performance ALL ABOUT JAZZ described as having ‘no sense of logic, only silence where the tension seemed to build, then finally release’.
It’s not the first time Haino and Hayward have worked together – Hayward’s rare album Double Agent(s) documents their improvisational sparring live in Japan in 1998. Both are restless collaborators: Haino has played with Derek Bailey, Tony Conrad, Jim O’Rourke, Pan Sonic and Stephen O’Malley, as well as in his own groups Fushitsusha, Nazoranai and Nijiumu, among others; while Hayward’s collaborators have included Fred Frith, Thurston Moore and Laura Cannell. A loss permitted… sees these two visionary musicians revisit their partnership, creating a sound that is at turns contemplative and ferocious – and always completely compelling. Tracklisting Side A/Side B."
Berlin’s Felix Krone unfurls an hour of “ambient cinema” on the 4th Nullpunkt drop proper
Over two sides he coaxes out a glacial transition from icily melodic bleeps and streaking cosmic electronics into freezing-cold, isolationist dimensions in a barely perceptible segues between the pointillist and smudged designs that recalls Kareem’s two slabs of the dark stuff (Porto Ronco + The Garden of Time) as much as the haunted air of his namesake, Karim Maas. In other words; an arch Berlin ambient record.
One half of Red Axes, Dori Sadovnik becomes Kapitan for this woozy slow trip into mediterranean ambient dance music for his local label, Malka Tuti
Leading on from Malka Tuti’s strong sides by Decha, Tapan, and Cosmo Vitelli, ‘Alaska’ plays deep into the label’s stylish remit with a blend of effervescent electronics and feathered rhythms spread out between the space lounge vibes of ‘Berries’, the cool kosmiche drift of ‘Album Song’, and totally charming strains of radiophonic analog wist recalling Broadcast and Ghost Box themes in the likes of ‘Modi’ and the balmy, lysergic drift of ‘Sendi’.
Spiralling kosmiche synth plumes improvised by a trio of Dublin’s electronic explorers on classic analogue models
“The Lock-In is Conor Creaney, David Kitt & Tim Wheeler. The runic inscriptions of the ARP 2600's circuit boards foretold the coming of "three explorers" who will reveal the ancient truths that lie within the pulsations of its ever-shifting squarewaves. The result of weeks of intense exploratory sessions in an NYC celestial echo chamber, this record documents the efforts of Tim Wheeler, David Kitt, and Conor Creaney to fathom and harness the sounds emitted by the ARP, Minimoog, CS60, and Jupiter 4 in a strictly live fashion. No overdubs or editing took place, just the sound that filled the room as the jams emerged. The results are two extended, hypnotic synth odysseys that unfurl organically as their melodic layers reveal themselves over time.
Side A 'Locked In' opens with tranquil, sparkling synth chimes that give way to a pulsating (but largely beatless) Krautrock-meets-dub groove, anchored by an insistent bassline and interlocking layers of synth lines that unfurl over its 15 minutes. Side B ‘Locked Out’ takes us to the outer reaches of the cosmos with its quavering, otherworldly arpeggios and tempestuous asteroidal outbursts.”
Free-range punk and snotty wave gear from a gaggle of western Europe-hailing artists, variously treading between decelerated cyber-punk and hot-stepping electro
“Hailing from different places in western Europe, Luc Bersier, Low Bat, Leonard Prochazka and Ariel Garcia created this vibrant EP. Their synergy tells a story of creativity, freedom in sound and, above all, playfulness. Serious music while similarly not being to earnest.
Their venture evolved into a very original blend of cosmic music, utilizing instruments that fit into the neofolk Krautrock domain, vocal experiments into French chanson territory, infused in Berlinian cosmopolitanism. Expect an exciting minimal wave synth punk orgy, punk definitely being the defining trait underneath these layers of sound.
This is boundless music with attitude, capable of making us drift off and disrupt us in equal measure.”
Strategy returns to Bristol’s dandy Idle Hands label for a 3rd round of debonaire bass music
‘Tropical Storm’ rolls and swangs on a warped garage bass ballast with glancing 2-step drums and warmly dubbed-out nods to AGCG and 808 State, whereas ‘Evolu’ drops down a gear or three for a dusky, strolling sort of deep house swing.
Pessimist comes in from the dark with two dreadnoughts on his freshly-minted, self-titled label
The first proper follow-up to his ‘Pessimist’ album follows down dank alleys of crushing breakbeats and fetid drones in both parts. Think Rob D meets The Underdog in an abandoned warehouse kinda vibes.
A-side, he rolls out rugged and scowling drones for a proper into-the-‘00s feel on ’SPRTLZM’, before the B-side reinforces that aesthetic with a more gutted sound design, leaving ghostly traces of breaks mired in treacly subbass pressure, waiting for a DJ to blend in on the offbeat...
Manchester techno hero Claro Intelecto reflects on the city’s rave heritage with a mix of dewy-eyed nostalgia and deeply rugged heft
‘For Thunderdome’ gives it up for the OG Manchester hardcore club (not the Gabber holyland!) with typically gnarled acid and bruxist bass pressure; the crushed drums of ‘Sniffer Dogs’ nails the clenched tension of waiting in line; ‘Messages’ twirls feathered dub chords into ‘floor-swilling square bass; and ‘Sirens’ evokes the the effect of hearing the main room form outside, perhaps on approach to the club or locked in a K-hole inside.
Bella Vista was a one off project from Michel Esteban, founder of seminal New York Disco/Electro/New Wave imprint ZE Records. Originally released in 1982 ‘Mister Wong’ is a Pop oddity that sits between French Synth Pop and Leftfield Disco.
"The 12” includes the sought after Disco Dub version that lets the bassline work its magic alongside some heavy dub delays, on the flip Jura Soundsystem provide an extended version with added live percussion."
Anonymous French trio J-Zbel finally unveil their debut 2LP, a sprawling set of splintered rave anthems from hyper-trance to gabba, liquid D&B, hardcore and acid breaks, all packaged up in delirium...
"Delving in iconoclastic themes and pop culture at its most sketchy and accidentally inspiring, the enigmatic Lyon-based trio enters the melee all horsepowers roaring and laser-guns blazing - delivering twelve cuts that span the broadest sonic spectrum as they fracture their way across changing sonic reliefs, from trancey adrenaline rushes to 303-driven dance epics, through hyperfuturistic hardcore turns and further knee-buckling, breaksy manoeuvres.
Fruit of their trademark hybrid live and studio approach, some of the album's tracks were originally and exclusively conceived for live use, whilst another part has been produced in the studio from start to finish. The Easternmost-sounding jacking tune and album highlight 'Sebulba' feat. (faux-)Bristolian from a different mother Simo Cell was actually recorded last year during the latter's residency at Trempolino, in Nantes.
Layered with a richly hued palette of elements, J-ZBEL’s debut long-player melds choice samples of video-game soundtracks (check the Metal Gear alert noise and Mortal Kombat samples on 'Bertrand Au Mont D'Or' and 'Mortel Kombat'), playful polyrhythmic touches ('Le Riddim du Bardouin'), no-nonsense Goa trance inspiration ('Tunnel Vision'), but also liquid DnB and organically-grown junglisms ('Pardon Mouloud', 'Excremangue', 'Diablo Verde Part II') and - to top it all off in the most spectacular manner - the stadium-sized gabber madness of 'The J-ZBEL Anthem', sure to leave wisps of vapour in its wake."
Originally released in November 1981 on Les Disques du Crepuscule, Hommages was recorded in Leicester in February 1981 and produced by noted Belgian new music composer Wim Mertens. The album was conceived as a series of diverse homages to other composers, which include Bill Evans (My First Homage), Ferruccio Busoni and Gustav Holst (The English Mail-Coach and The Vespertine Park) and Percy Grainger (Hi-Tremolo).
The earliest of the pieces here (appropriately titled 'My First Homage') was penned in 1978 for a performance at The Kitchen in New York as a tribute to the work of jazz pianist Bill Evans, and features some beautiful harmonic exchanges across its captivating quarter-hour duration. Both 'The English Mail-Coach' and the quite stunningly beautiful piano and percussion of 'The Vespertine Park' were inspired by Ferruccio Busoni, and you can hear a certain neo-classical approach in these works, although they remain firmly rooted in the 20th century.
Significantly, this remastered edition of the album includes two bonus recordings: 'Out Of Zalieski's Gazebo' and 'Danse Dieppoise', both compositions drawn from the same period of Bryars' work.
Rare af 1994 voodoo ray sampling junglist classic that was bootlegged a couple of years ago from dodgy Youtube rips and now properly reissued...
"Sadly the DATs were long since lost in the midst of time. However a NM copy was sourced and a small fortune spent on restoration. The guy who does the restoration usually works on African Jazz music on Shellac records. So he is used to doing his magic on much worse audio. The upshot of the restoration is the 4 tracks sound almost as good as the original masters. Bear in mind it's a 25 year old record with all the crackle and pop that goes along with that. We've tried to polish these turds without ruining the original vibe too much.
The audio samples are the masters we used for production so you can hear them before buying.Sorry this one has to be a couple of quid more as we shelled out a small fortune on the restoration. You know the score if you want the original though. So hopefully you're not too miffed..."
Blissed-out and highly evocative widescreen layerings from Rafael Anton Irisarri on this beautiful new album for Room 40, an immaculately constructed series of apocalyptically angsty ambient dreamscapes that sound like a gauzy HDR composite of The Caretaker, Talk Talk, William Basinski and Slowdive. If you're into any of the above, this one will push all your buttons at once.
With each new album Irisarri has managed to tweak and fine-tune his production to the point where 'Solastalgia' finds his now perfected swells soar to new heights. Although it’s a sound that's been tried and tested numerous times over the last couple of decades, and by many artists, Irisarri here manages to assemble perhaps the definitive article for this kind of quietly epic late night melodrama; where liminal dream states nod to classic Shoegaze, while submerged, shimmering melodies remind us of both Talk Talk ('Kiss All The Pretty Skies Goodbye’) and Fennesz (Coastal Trapped Disturbance).
The album is essentially about the sense of sorrow and despair at the environmental and socioeconomic disaster we all face, but ‘Solastalgia’ is ultimately a deeply personal listen, one that attempts to slow down time so that we might savour the beauty around us, if even for just an hour.
Deliciously stoned and woozy instrumental funk with a winking Stereolab sensibility, from Toronto’s Badge Époque Ensemble - involving members of U.S. Girls, Blood Ceremony, The Cosmic Range, and Marker Starling, although you could swear they all hail from the ‘70s
“Flute, congas, bass, drums, guitar and clavinet; this unconventional arrangement of instruments intertwine to form the debut album by Badge Époque Ensemble - a group of creative improvisers assembled to perform new, largely instrumental compositions by Maximilian ‘Twig’ Turnbull (formerly Slim Twig).
Badge employs an eclectic cast of characters from the Toronto underground music scene, whose combined experience would take pages to spell out. It includes stints accompanying songwriters Andy Shauf and Marker Starling, outfitting heavies Blood Ceremony and Biblical, and respective careers spent gigging Django-jazz and the classical cannon. Badge’s distinctive sound arises from the diversity of these musical exploits, creating a palpable chemistry well captured on the live-tracked songs that form the group’s self-titled debut.
The record is a collection of densely packed grooves, arranged by committee. Dank set pieces culminate in album standout, ‘Undressed In Solitude’, which features the otherworldly r ’n b of guest vocalist, James Baley. Over 11 simmering minutes, the track defies the contemporary fixations of automated music to convincingly combine sensual and cerebral textures. While it may call to mind an improbable collision between psych-era Stevie Wonder and the whimsically dark, Fantastic Planet score, it is clear we are operating in a post Wu-Tang paradigm. The blocky beats and bit-crushed landscapes of the record at large make for tactile productions (courtesy of a collaboration among producers Steve Chahley, Tony Price and Twig) that can’t be comfortably ascribed to any one particular era of music making. If a crate of library, tropicalia, prog and electric jazz records were flattened into a single 12” and then fed into a sampler, we might approximate the process. Instrumental hip hop by reverse osmosis, a musical perspective where Madlib’s jazz excursions carry as much weight as his sample-laced productions.”
An impossible-to-find, ’95 Memphis rap tape surfaces on vinyl for 1st time via Gyptology, a new "Egyptian Archaology" styled re-issue label
Leading on from Shawty Pimp’s ‘Comin’ Real Wit It’  - which was dished up by Delroy Edwards’ L.A. Club Resource and sold out within days back in 2014 - its sequel, ‘Still Comin Real’ reprises that woozy slow drawl on 11 slurps of syrupy goodness.
As to be expected, noise artefacts carry over from the original, short-run tape edition, but it wouldn’t be a proper, OG Memphis rap session without that haze of tape grit. Safe to say that Gyptology know this, too, and see vinyl as the most faithful, sympathetic form of preservation.
Thus, you can trust the sound is raw as; a distinct adjunct to the prevailing NYC and LA hip hop styles of 1995’s golden era, working with rude, stripped down production values and vibes that have significantly withstood the test of time, and since laid the roots for a lot of contemporary southern rap, hip hop and R&B.
A joint release between Natural Sciences and FTP...
"Texas Terrotech volume 1 is a combination of hyper-frentic futurism with the gritty global sound of the streets, wherever it comes from. It's the pop music on the radio, combining that with innately adaptable, yet eminently absorbable form which evolved in these different little things, all compatible , yet closely related. When they are decoded from the genome of our global musical collective, their inter-relatedness becomes even more clear, and a new perspective can be gained.
The internet made everything smaller. It turned the territory into the map, destroying the physical borders between geography and genres, reducing it into digital code, breaking it into bite-sized bits. This is the sound of the phuture digesting the people.
This is the sound of the global underground"
Grandiose hybrids of Iranian noise complexity and operatic vocals from 9T Antiope & Siavash Amini following from their tape for PTP
“9T Antiope have made a name for themselves in the vibrant experimental music scene of Iran over the past years. Now based in Paris, Sara Bigdeli Shamloo and Nima Aghiani are expanding their stylistic scope and team up with long-time friend Siavash Amini for their debut release on Hallow Ground. After 2017’s »TAR« and »FORAS« the year after 2018, »Harmistice« is Amini’s third LP for Hallow Ground and his first in collaboration with other artists. Recorded in Paris and Tehran, the four tracks are the result of »all the long hours of speaking online, being kilometres away, it is a love child of those short times we actually got to be physically in one place.« Vocalist and lyricist Shamloo enters a dialogue with Aghiani and Amini’s sound art, which is from restrained but interlocks voice and noise with striking subtlety. »Harmistice« seamlessly blends the visceral with the sublime, the abstract with the oh-too-real.
From the very first second of »Blue as in Bleeding«, »Harmistice« evokes a sense of suspended terror. Shrill frequencies and aleatoric bursts of feedback give way to a hard-hitting bass drum until Shamloo’s voice arises from the chaos with an uneasy clarity. It’s the perfect opening for a record that is built upon stark contrasts like this one. Amini and Aghiani bring together synthetic sounds with acoustic instruments, creating a tangible tension on which Shamloo’s sometimes sensitive, sometimes emotionally detached delivery thrives. »It’s all based on a dream, a nightmare about war,« she says in regards to her lyrics that move between poetic abstraction and first person prose, blurring the lines between lived experience and sinister premonition. »Harmistice« takes inventory after the oneiric damagehas been dealt in real life.
As a whole, »Harmistice« is thus as ambiguous as its title suggests. As an all-too-lucid dream about unspeakable things that are being lent a voice it overwhelms the senses with an unheard-of volume. Drawn from the depths of the subconscious, »Harmistice« may just be the most challenging album in either 9T Antiope or Amini’s discography.”
Total pearl from the enigmatic Altkat, apparently a 70-odd year old Turkish-Armenian who has been recording since the 1960’s with an Anatolian saz, a two track tape recorder, and a fluegelhorn. Naturally we’re getting strong Abul Mogard / Jürgen Müller sonic fiction vibes from this one, but, nonetheless, 'Lakerda' is a' highly satisfying listen somewhere between Burnt Friedman, Jon Hassell and the pan pipe CD selection at Shared Earth in 1996. That’s a complement btw.
"Today, the saz is still there, the bugle is gone and the tape recorder has turned into a computer. Altkat, who spends most of his time working as a percussionist for sephardic and balkanic bands, is above all interested in the transformation of noise into music and does not shy away from using synthesizers and drum machines, along with his saz, to create his music.
Lakerda exists somewhere beyond the “traditional” and “non traditional” realms. It is marked by hybridity and the encounter of seemingly opposite notions, such as tradition and modernity, East and West, past and future, but also acoustic and electronic and more abstractly, here and there. This album takes the listener beyond these oppositions and invites him or her to approach Altkat’s music not on ultimately fallacious “either/or” terms, but simply to receive it as it is, a fourth world record, with each track on the album a palimpsest that encapsulates previously mentioned oppositions and transcends them in the process.
Full of morphing textures, metallic resonance, layered arrangements, plucked saz strings, pitch-sliding winds, shimmering melodies, bleeps and blops, peculiar samples and other disorienting sounds, this album seems indebted to the aesthetics of private press albums from the late 20th century. While some of these have recently been reissued by labels such as Music From Memory, Into The Light and Stroom to name but a few, Lakerda also feels more contemporary, and it is certainly not out of place in Banlieue’s catalogue."
Delroy Edwards deploys deep, classic House vibes for his second release for Funkineven’s Apron, 6 years on from his untitled first appearance.
This is Delroy at his best, embracing higher fidelities for the good of the dance. He starts off with the gentle, feelgood vibes of opener "Live and Let Live” and ends with the halfspeed robot jacker "How High is the Moon”, with the squashed drum mechanics of “Funny Styles” and the robust bassline machinations of 'Dubonnet' lifting off in between.
Deadly, classic vibes from one of the best in the game.
One of the year's most satisfying 12"s, featuring two killer, extended remixes of Equiknoxx by Mark Ernestus, containing perhaps the most Basic Channel-esque production from Ernestus in a decade.
Mark Ernestus dubs Equiknoxx to the moon and back for DDS with an irresistibly percolated take on Congo Get Slap backed with a jaw-dropping, Basic Channel style version of Flagged Up. We hardly need to stress that this one’s a doozy.
As a big fan of Equiknoxx’s teched-out take on up-to-the-second dancehall, it was perhaps inevitable that the venerable Ernestus, owner of Berlin’s Hardwax and one half of the legendary Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, as well as his most recent work with the brilliant Ndagga Rhythm Force, would eventually cross paths with Jamaica’s Gavsborg and Time Cow, two of the most exciting producers to emerge from JA this decade.
On both remixes the past informs the present in timeless fashion. The cloud-bursting chords and spaghetti western-esque tropes of Equiknoxx’s Congo Get Slap are deftly diffused in the echo chamber, giving the bass an elasticated recoil and sublimating the chords to scudding, skywards dabs with weightless effect for the dancers.
Flipside, Ernestus takes that aspect one step further, distilling the kinetic dub futurism of Someone Flagged It Up!! into a maze of diaphanous dub chords and rolling, sunken subs that inarguably measures up among his strongest post-Basic Channel works.
Like Shackleton’s dub of The Stopper by Cutty Ranks for DDS, the results here triangulate deep-rooted connections between Jamaica, Lancashire and Berlin, speaking to a mutual respect and reverence of style and pattern which has heavily resonated from sub-tropical Kingston into much colder, European climes over successive generations.
The Numero Group’s dive into the deep end of America’s private press continues. Having battled the witches and wizards of Darkscorch, the outlaws of Cosmic Americana, and traveled alongside Ladies From the Canyon and their Lonesome Heroes, it’s time to take it easy.
"With pop music’s volume knob adjusted for deflation in the early ‘70s, softness begat smoothness. Crewmen arrived from the worlds of jazz, folk, rock, and soul, all peddling a product that was sincere, leisurely, and lofty. A sound that was buoyant, crisp, defined. Sometimes classified as West Coast—and, later, Yacht Rock—the compass points of our Private Yacht expedition are the blue-eyed harmonies of Hall and Oates, the cocaine-dusted Fender Rhodes of Michael McDonald, and the combover strums of James Taylor.
Here, at the glassy apex of rock’s softer side, 20 strong swimmers are gathered together. An album for both relaxation and reflection, where listeners can enjoy the present, a cool breeze, and a taste of the good life."
Classic King Tubby recordings from the vaults of Tamoki-Wambesi-Dove.
16 unreleased dub mixes from King Tubby. All the original songs were written and produced by Roy Cousins from the Royals. Featuring a virtual who's who from the classic era - Sly & Robbie, Lloyd Parkes, Pablo Black, Lloyd Charmers, Ansel Collins, Earl Lindo, Tony Chin, Geoffery Chung, Ernest Rangin, Earl 'Chinna' Smith,Bobby Ellis, Tommy McCook and many more. With the voices of Prince Farl, I Roy, The Royals, and Baba Dread. Recorded between 1966 and 1979 at Dynamic, Channel One and Randy's studios, mixed and voiced at King Tubby's.
Epic, brilliantly weird and heavyweight new double album from Oliver Ho’s Broken English Club for L.I.E.S, the second release in his White Rats Trilogy. This one’s on a rugged and acidic industrial tip that’s like the more aggy, isolated and widescreen cousin to Silent Servant’s ’Negative Fascination’. Tipped!
"Broken English Club presents the second part in the White Rats trilogy, a full-length double vinyl album that focuses heavily on the dancefloor with droning techno, head banging acid and cinematic synth noise. This album continues Oliver Ho’s musical journey, fusing techno with industrial post punk and textures of death metal producing a unique electronic vision. Ideas and influences that went into the writing of the album was the dark soul of Wormwood scrubs prison in west London and the obsessions in the JG Ballard book Crash. White Rats II stands as a relentless and personal portrait of techno and all the things that feed into the creation of it."
Christian Wolff was a close associate of John Cage and his artistic circle, which included fellow composers Earle Brown and Morton Feldman, the pianist David Tudor, and the dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. Cage relates several anecdotes about Wolff in his one-minute Indeterminacy pieces. These two discs reveal Wolff as a composer fully exploring, in different ways, the continuum between music which is highly fragmented, embracing extended silences [composed or indeterminate], to that which is more progressive and seemingly driven, albeit taking in disarming and unconventional routes.
"As a body of repertoire, these works are remarkable for their freshness of musical thought and energy (John Cage considered Wolff to be the most 'musical' of the experimental composers).
In all my performances of Wolff's music i aim for interpretations that both interest and surprise me, allowing the notations to lead me to new ways of playing and thinking about music, whilst at the same time trying to lead the notations toward the unexpected..."
Delia Beatriz aka Debit gets down to rugged fundamentals on ‘System’, the bruising follow-up to her flashier ‘Animus’ album.
Asymmetric, astringent, aggy, ‘System’ finds Debit’s sound delacquered of gloss and delivered in gruff, textured tones in a wicked balance of gripping rhythmic sensuality and brutality, including a collaboration with footwork producer DJ Earl that stands up firmly next Jlin’s percussive ingenuity.
There’s barely any conventional melody throughout the album, but anyone with an ounce of bounce in their gruds will surely find lines to follow in the rhythmelodic cadence of Debit’s drum programming, where, in the classic style of computer-arranged reggaeton, she accentuates multiple snares and variants of other percussion that unfurl in reticulated tresillo rhythms.
In experimenting with these patterns, she often pushes her drums into pure, gravelly distortion, pointing to an effect that’s both atavistic and futurist between the primal growl and cold knocks of ‘The Alphabet’ featuring Javier Estrada and the outstanding churn of her ‘Numbering’ hook-up with DJ Earl, while giving up deadly strong highlights in the Slikback-compatible pressure of ‘My House’, and her knot of clenched rave stabs and sloshing groove in ‘Medicine.’
Levon on a roll.
This new one's on a slow and arpeggiated tip, from the bleary eyed opener to the classic House vibes of track two and the tempered trance motifs of track 3, closing with a spiritual square bass number bolstered by heavy kicks.
A Certain Ratio - who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year - a lavish box set, ‘acr:box’, via Mute, with all material remastered by Martin Moscrop at Abbey Road studios and featuring over 20 unreleased tracks from the archive.
"Following on from 2018’s compilation, ‘acr:set’, the box showcases the diversity of the singles, B-sides and alternative versions of tracks that A Certain Ratio have released but without repeating tracks recently made available. ‘acr:box’ collates everything that fans had been missing from the recent reissue campaign and compliments that with a selection found after a deep delve into the archive to find all the hidden gems that had been talked about over the years but never heard - even a few releases the band had forgotten about.
Looking to make the box set as comprehensive as possible, even the original tapes from the session they recorded for a collaboration with Grace Jones were uncovered and reworked. This session includes the cover version of Talking Heads’ ‘Houses In Motion’, using Jez Kerr’s guide vocals (pre to him becoming the band’s singer). Grace Jones never completed her vocal take after attending one of the recording sessions with the band.
The box set, which marks the 40th anniversary of A Certain Ratio’s debut release, the Martin Hannett produced ‘All Night Party’ (Factory Records’ first single release) was described recently by Record Collector as “a statement of future intentions: to set funk off against nervous angst.” They went on to be hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as ‘punk funk’ thanks to the success of their second single, ‘Shack Up’, represented here via a radio edit from Electronic, featuring Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr."
Tense interplay of grandiose prog noise and ascetic, Mika Vainio-esque minimalism
“New full length album by France’s most singular contemporary composer. Reflecting on ancient culture’s use and reverence for emblematic monuments which most often represent myths and stories, the album’s narrative has been infused with such symbolic and depicts an envisioned mythology, unfolding through it’s 10 aural pieces. Franck Vigroux‘s music is unique and comprised of tectonic tension, pulsating rhythms and abrasive analog textures like few can produce. Applying his own calculated personal signature in his sonic explorations his distinctiveness comes not only by his unique approach to sound but also by his incorporation of new media practices and performing arts into his A/V work.”
Unthank thaws down from a small cryogenic suspension and delivers it’s first 12”, RIYL Dream 2 Science, Autechre, Unit Moebius, μ-Ziq etc
"Tracks from the vault from DJ Guy (Other World Music/Cejero/All Caps) who’s been busy since 1992. All tracks designed to be played loud and with the dance in mind whilst taking in all sorts of melancholy, euphoria and pastoral, acid soundscapes."
The first authorised reissue of this hugely sought-after 1976 album of moog music for plants...
"Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him. In the mid-1970s, a force of nature swept across the continental United States, cutting across all strata of race and class, rooting in our minds, our homes, our culture. It wasn’t The Exorcist, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, or even bell-bottoms, but instead a book called The Secret Life of Plants. The work of occultist/former OSS agent Peter Tompkins and former CIA agent/dowsing enthusiast Christopher Bird, the books shot up the bestseller charts and spread like kudzu across the landscape, becoming a phenomenon. Seemingly overnight, the indoor plant business was in full bloom and photosynthetic eukaryotes of every genus were hanging off walls, lording over bookshelves, and basking on sunny window ledges. The science behind Secret Life was specious: plants can hear our prayers, they’re lie detectors, they’re telepathic, able to predict natural disasters and receive signals from distant galaxies. But that didn’t stop millions from buying and nurturing their new plants.
Perhaps the craziest claim of the book was that plants also dug music. And whether you purchased a snake plant, asparagus fern, peace lily, or what have you from Mother Earth on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (or bought a Simmons mattress from Sears), you also took home Plantasia, an album recorded especially for them. Subtitled “warm earth music for plants…and the people that love them,” it was full of bucolic, charming, stoner-friendly, decidedly unscientific tunes enacted on the new-fangled device called the Moog. Plants date back from the dawn of time, but apparently they loved the Moog, never mind that the synthesizer had been on the market for just a few years. Most of all, the plants loved the ditties made by composer Mort Garson.
Few characters in early electronic music can be both fearless pioneers and cheesy trend-chasers, but Garson embraced both extremes, and has been unheralded as a result. When one writer rhetorically asked: “How was Garson’s music so ubiquitous while the man remained so under the radar?” the answer was simple. Well before Brian Eno did it, Garson was making discreet music, both the man and his music as inconspicuous as a Chlorophytum comosum. Julliard-educated and active as a session player in the post-war era, Garson wrote lounge hits, scored plush arrangements for Doris Day, and garlanded weeping countrypolitan strings around Glen Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” He could render the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel alike into easy listening and also dreamed up his own ditties. “An idear” as Garson himself would drawl it out. “I live with it, I walk it, I sing it.”
But as his daughter Day Darmet recalls: “When my dad found the synthesizer, he realized he didn’t want to do pop music anymore.” Garson encountered Robert Moog and his new device at the Audio Engineering Society’s West Coast convention in 1967 and immediately began tinkering with the device. With the Moog, those idears could be transformed. “He constantly had a song he was humming,” Darmet says. “At the table he was constantly tapping.” Which is to say that Mort pulled his melodies out of thin air, just like any household plant would.
The Plantae kingdom grew to its height by 1976, from DC Comics’ mossy superhero Swamp Thing to Stevie Wonder’s own herbal meditation, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. Nefarious manifestations of human-plant interaction also abounded, be it the grotesque pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the pothead paranoia of the US Government spraying Mexican marijuana fields with the herbicide paraquat (which led to the rise in homegrown pot by the 1980s). And then there’s the warm, leafy embrace of Plantasia itself.
“My mom had a lot of plants,” Darmet says. “She didn’t believe in organized religion, she believed the earth was the best thing in the whole world. Whatever created us was incredible.” And she also knew when her husband had a good song, shouting from another room when she heard him humming a good idear. Novel as it might seem, Plantasia is simply full of good tunes. Garson may have given the album away to new plant and bed owners, but a decade later a new generation could hear his music in another surreptitious way. Millions of kids bought The Legend of Zelda for their Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1986 and one distinct 8-bit tune bears more than a passing resemblance to album highlight “Concerto for Philodendron and Pothos.” Garson was never properly credited for it, but he nevertheless subliminally slipped into a new generations’ head, helping kids and plants alike grow.
Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him. “My dad would be totally pleased to know that people are really interested in this music that had no popularity at the time,” Darmet says of Plantasia’s new renaissance. “He would be fascinated by the fact that people are finally understanding and appreciating this part of his musical career that he got no admiration for back then.” Garson seems to be everywhere again, even if he’s not really noticed, just like a houseplant."
Suzanne Ciani sets text by Baudelaire to wondrous Buchla synth tones in 1969’s ‘Flowers of Evil.’ Better yet are her three studies in shatterproof rhythms and spooky abstract electronics, ‘Glass Houses’ and ‘Token Spokes’. All newly excavated and issued by Finders Keepers
“As a genuine vanguard of electronic music composition at the forefront of the modular synthesiser revolution in the late 1960s, Suzanne Ciani’s forward-thinking approach to new music would rarely look to the past for inspiration, which makes this unheard composition from 1969 a rare exception to the collective futurist vision of Ciani and synthesiser designer Don Buchla. In choosing to adapt the controversial prose of French poet Charles Baudelaire, Suzanne would join the ranks of ongoing generations of pioneering musicians like Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Serge Gainsbourg, Etron Fou Leloublan, Celtic Frost and Marc Almond (not forgetting Star Trek’s William Shatner!), all equally inspired by the 19th century writer’s works of “modernité” (modernity), a self-coined term dedicated to capturing the eeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, best exempli ed in his symbolic, erotic and macabre ode to Parisian industrialisation, Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers Of Evil).
In her varied career that would combine art gallery installations, major lm soundtrackings and commissions for Atari, Suzanne Ciani’s earliest experiments remain some of her most challenging, beguiling and timeless... Flowers Of Evil ticks all the above boxes and icks switches that would power-up a new uncharted universe of her own musical modernité. For the many enthusiasts that have already drawn the parallels between Baudelaire’s writings and experimental/ electronic music (a relationship rivalled only by the likes of J. G. Ballard and Aldous Huxley) some might instantly recognise an unconscious sistership between this recording and another 1969 electronic adaptation of Flowers Of Evil by celebrated female electronic composer Ruth White. An interesting distinction of White’s excellent version of Flowers Of Evil (released via Limelight records, home to the likes of Fifty Foot Hose and Paul Bley) is that its dark tone generation and vocal manipulation was created with a Moog synthesiser, the commercially triumphant rival to Suzanne and Don’s Buchla Systems (Buchla and Moog’s historic, simultaneous, neck-and-neck synth developments are well documented.)
The fact that Ciani’s version was never intended for commercial release (not unlike her 1975 Buchla concerts, which could easily have taken Morton Subotnick’s Bull by the horns!) is also poetically re ective of the nature of Ciani and Buchla’s alternative perspective. The choice to present this extract from Flowers Of Evil in its intended French language further distances Ciani’s faithful reaction from some of its better-known variations. Having attempted to voice the poem herself, the multilingual Italian-American composer’s French accent did not meet her own standards, resulting in the request for a fellow unnamed French student who lived on campus at Mills College in Oakland to accurately verbalise the section of Baudelaire’s collection entitled Élévation.”
Stunning reissue of this long lost piece of post punk / industrial history from Spain originally released in 1983 in an edition of 300 copies and now reissued for the first time after changing hands for $$$ over the last few years. Heavy support from Ossia, Ron Morelli & Demdike Stare, highly recommended to anyone on that noisy/wave tip.
T was the brainchild of Caballero T, a key figure in Spain’s underground/industrial scene, enlisting the the studio wizardry of Señor Nada and the vocals of Tres, whose psychotic vocals imbue proceedings with a demented, post-punk asymmetry. Although spread through 14 individual tracks, 'Dark Fields’ was recorded in one continuous session in 1982 and unfurls from tripped out synth motifs to full-on industrial attacks and skewed wavy numbers that recall everything from Brian Eno’s early solo output to Joy Division, Suicide and into more abstracted, noisy territory and drum machine experiments somewhere in the region of Muslimgauze’s early work as E.g Oblique Graph and John Bender’s material from the same period.
T disbanded soon after 'Dark Fields' was recorded, leaving this LP as the sole document of their work. Reissued by Equilibrio, the same label that gave us that brilliant Randomize album '¿Cómo Se Divertirán Los Insectos?’, it’s an intriguing look at the Spanish underground scene that’s still a bit of a blindspot for us, and is a unique artefact from an era that has already been completely over-mined, but which still, occasionally, throws out pearls like this one.
Fabio Orsi really takes flight with the pulsating, iridescent harmonics of ‘Sterminato Piano’ following his more grounded, brooding OP collaboration with Brian Pyle for Entr’acte.
Returning to the embrace of his mate’s Backwards label (run by same guy who managed A Silent Space circa Orsi’s ‘Osci’ LP), the formerly Berlin-based Italian artist follows his nose down two extended sides of saucer-eyed arps imperceptibly layered with field recordings and distinctively suffused with the sort of tempered, cosmic feels that Orsi has come to specialise in.
“The new work "Sterminato Piano" settles among the best things of Fabio Orsi, but also in some ways, among the most unexpected and original. After eight years in Berlin, his return to Puglia (south of Italy) is restoring new life and new creativity and new energy. In fact, the new album is full of energy and warmth, with patterns, sequences and dancefloor beats of our dreams.”
RIYL Konrad Sprenger, My Cat Is An Alien, Conrad Schnitzler
Serenely arriving in SFV acid’s slipstream for Ekster, ‘Immute’ sees Chinatown, NYC’s Georgia at their most spacious, calming and meditative following their recent, mind-bending ‘Time’ LP It's among the subtlest examples of the duo’s fusion of tech and tradition, stripping right back to precisely melodic percussion, woodwind, vocals and electronics in six sparingly minimal and spacious arrangements.
The first half is concerned with exquisitely tender and melodic motifs in a 4th World Japanese style, pull of gently pitch bent tones, rippling flute and glowing percussive harmonies that arrive at lovely junctures of jazz-fusion and Japanese minimalism in ‘Teccmonc’ and endlessly reverberant choral composition in ‘Bendires Trasher’. However, the 2nd half gradually grows denser with the transition from spiritual jazz gestures to rushing tribal tresillo rhythms n ‘Endocrync (Museo De La Revolution)’, and that percussive itch spills out in more unpredictable, almost theatrical/operatic ways in ‘High Light’, to resolve in the refined ambient inceptions of ‘Aoesdawas’.
Into The Light take a 2nd swan dive into Dimitris Petsetakis’ divine archive and come up with a further 8 pearls of new age ambient wisdom and cinematic synth music recorded between 1980s and early ’90s, but unreleased until now. RIYL Vangelis!
“Buoyed by the success of Endless, their 2015 primer on forgotten electronic explorer Dimitris Petsetakis, Into The Light Records has worked with the Greek composer to compile a follow-up album that takes an even deeper dive into his archive of previously unreleased material. Like its predecessor, On Shores draws on music recorded in the 1980s and early ‘90s. It contains just two previous released tracks, the humid “Clearance (Part 2)” and poignant “On Endless Shores”, both of which first featured on Petsetakis’s cult 1991 album Missing Links.
On Shores offers another unparalleled insight into the picturesque and atmospheric soundscapes created in the Piraeus-based composer’s basement studio using a mixture of electronic and acoustic instruments, a wide range of global influences and a keen interest in both minimalism and new age ambience. Listeners will encounter a range of stunningly beautiful and beguiling compositions, from the creepy, slow-burn exoticism of “Pythia’s Dance” and rhythmic, otherworldly escapism of “Violated Asylum”, to the gentle bliss of “Like a Knife” and sun-bright joy of “Nearxi (Minimal Marimba Edit)”.”
Dank acid and grey area pressure from tireless man-machine ASC
Check ‘The Siren’ for a prime piece of weightless acid guile no a millions miles from styles on Logos’ ‘Imperial Flood’, and hear the acid flood out into murky techno rolige with ‘Currents’, while ‘Pyrrhic’ churns up slower halfstep ground under noxious black/blue skies.
Morning Trip rescue Brent Snyder’s gossamer fine ambient meditation ‘Cumulus’ from ferric obscurity with a newly remastered vinyl pressing following their lush Laraaji & Lyghte side
The epitome of an intimate ambient private pressing, ‘Cumulus’ was recorded in a Toronto apartment in 1984 and self-released in a hand-assembled tape run in 1985. Recording with a Fender Stratocaster, a harmoniser pedal, and a four-track tape recorder, the results are clearly in thrall to Fripp & Eno’s guitar loop ambience, but stand on their own as a beautifully serene hour of music that lends itself to meditation or sound-bathing.
Burial’s eponymous debut LP is a defining beacon of post-millenium dance and electronic music. Written between 2001-2006, the follow-up to his debut 12” South London Boroughs, further consolidated what were previously mutually exclusive strains of music with unprecedented guile, vision and emotive impact, done to mind-blowing and award-winning effect.
In 2016 it’s easy for folk to forget that prior to this album, aside from a select handful of producers such as Horsepower Productions, El-B or Kode 9, effectively nobody was writing tracks circa 138bpm and using this kind of palette of samples, textures and spaces to the same ends as Will Bevan, a.k.a. Burial. And still, even fewer of them were writing without the dancefloor or radio squarely in mind.
Enter Burial, whose impressionistic, unquantized soundscapes reset the neuroses of Teebee and Bad Company’s neo-D&B with a romance and swing better associated with Steve Gurley and El-B, whilst also listening to and channelling the atmosphere of his environment in a way better likened to the spaces explored by Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, but animated like a Massive Attack album produced and collaged by Chris Watson; albeit a Watson raised in suburban British sprawl and smoky bedrooms playing tense computer games and watching classic anime and thrillers on VHS, or whatever obscure foreign flicks Channel 4 had on late at night.
Honestly, nowadays that period seems eons away - especially in light of streaming services where you can find thee most obscure art at the touch of keyboard - but back on original release, this record nailed an atmosphere, even a lifestyle, that was lived by many souls on the peripheries who couldn’t be arsed with the menu offered by provincial high street clubs or cable TV, or a culture artificially inflated by major labels and the media.
It almost feels daft and futile trying to explain this to anyone under the age of 30 - or those cold hearted cynics who roll their eyes at the mere mention of his name - but, quite honestly Burial’s music nailed the vibe so heavily that it felt like déjà vu, uncannily weaving together the disparate strands of culture that meant so much to the artist, and by turns, us the listeners.
There are still tonnes of naysayers, but fuck ‘em - Burial’s music is hugely danceable and mixable by the right DJs, but there’s no denying that it probably sounds best in bedrooms or headphones where you can give it your full attention, or vice versa.
Despite the temporal dislocation, the 2007 smoking ban, and the sign-posted, rictus rigidity of too much modern dance music, we’d still love to think there’s a whole new generation out there who will get and love this record as hard as we did, and do.
Sorely gripping turn from Luke Younger’s Helm for TTT, written in response to the blockbuster tragicomedy, Brexit, and bolstered by the searching percussion of Tomaga and Raime’s Valentina Magaletti.
Following the ambient-rhythmic-noise course of his Olympic Mess LP and his heat-warped Rawabet instalments, World In Action finds Helm farther downstream at a turbulent confluence of both those sides’ aesthetics, sifting out a panicked and anxious sound where it feels as though he’s practically treading water to keep his head above the chaos.
Incorporating the vital, free-roaming percussive suss of Valentina, who props up what is perhaps one of the rhythmic achilles heel of Helm’s music, World In Action makes a nod to the ‘80s/‘90s current affairs TV programme of the same title in its sleeve artwork and centre labels depicting their ident, Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, perhaps amounting a sort of hauntological elegy for the British popular intellect and sense of proportionality.
An impressionistic distillation of the times, on World In Action Younger layers and interrogates a number of studio and field recordings made in East London, South-East Kent and at Snaresbrook Crown Court to form his own personal echo chamber of claggy clangour and worried sax scrabble, oscillating between impenetrable skronk and wistful spiritual jazz motifs in the opening Blue Scene, to dwell on a push-and-pull of vintage 8-bit sonics and deconstructed techno with Candy, whereas World In Action itself is a determined trudge through barbed and murderously noxious levels of polluted atmospheres, then effectively ripping the rug from under your feet and pirouetting in freefall with After Dark.
Geir Jenssen yields a most Biosphere of Biosphere recordings with this new album recorded on a Norwegian island within the arctic circle
Leading on from recent years’ ‘Departed Glories’ and ‘Petrified Forest’, the 66 minute long and 17-track wide suite of ‘The Senja Recordings’ arguably amounts to the most significant Biosphere outing of this decade. Taking its title from Norway’s 2nd largest island, where it was conceived, the album features outdoor sounds and improvisations made during Jenssen’s stays between 2015-2018 and finds the artist more porous than ever to distorted, granular textures along with his trademark palette of elemental electronics. It’s essentially the artist getting closer than ever to his surroundings and cutting down the space between there and your ears.
From the sounds of it, one can only imagine Jenssen had a quietly blissful time making this record. There’s the expected darkness for sure, but it always resolves with strong pangs of isolationist melody, cropping up Conet Project-like in ’Strandby’; glowing like a dawn aurora behind a granite cliff in ‘Berg’; or harmonising with the birds and air in ‘Fjølhøgget’ and the Aeolian harp-like tones of his ‘Bergsbotn’ trio, so named after the small village facing out to harsh North Atlantic. factor in the natural yet unearthly sounds picked up by his hydrophone in ’Skålbrekka’, and the gloaming solitude of his sublime closer ‘Hå’, and you have a top class Biosphere album, if you like this sort of thing.
Melody As Truth’s Jonny Nash and Suzanne Kraft make time feel precious, sublime yet impending with the slow urgency of their 2nd outing as MATstudio.
Aside from the pair’s more polished productions, both solo and in collaboration, their MATstudio output reveals more steeply psychedelic and abstract space between the notes of Nash & Kraft’s respective, mutually admiring styles. Across the two pieces it feels as though we’re hovering somewhere in the studio during the session, or even pulled into the slipstream of their FX contrails and gently toyed with, like a cat with a piece of fluff in weightless space.
“MATstudio was born out of the working processes of our Amsterdam studio. Many hours are spent here experimenting with new methods, tools and ideas. This process allows us to continue developing our interests in merging multiple production techniques to create a personal language.
MATstudio works are collages of improvisations, experiments and accidents. Many of the fragments are the results of filtering our ideas through new production techniques and tools. Some feature friends and collaborators. MATstudio works are an ode to the infinite possibilities that result in keeping a curious mind and a desire to learn.”
One to watch, Amsterdam’s upsammy jumps back on Die Orakel with four writhing examples of her mutant electro style
The whirring mechanics and dreamy pads of ’A Walk In Twilight’ easily ranks among the most original new electro workouts we’ve heard from the recent wave; ‘Bronze Goddess’ feels outs a quasi-speed, subaquatic electro zones; ‘’Shaky Limbs’ slides into space between early Laurel Halo and Batu; and ‘Branches On Ice’ pushes the meter up to get freaky with acidic Dolphin squeals and splashy electro-techno hydraulics in a distinctive style upsammy can safely call her own.
Air Max ’97 diversifies his bonds in collaboration with LOFT and TSVI on two tracks in the follow-up to his ‘Nacre’ album
Gwan dolo, the Aussie producer dives headlong into the sticky wormhole of ‘Turgor’ with its wild jazzy drum shrapnel and hyper-cubist bass shifts, while ‘Falling Not Walking’ reprises that jazziness within a sorta warped dubstep framework.
However, the best dancefloor tackle is in the collaborations. On ‘Paroxysm’ he teams with TSVI for a taut, swaggering spin on neuro D&B tropes, then on a reticulated, hyper jungle flex in tandem with LOFT on the fractious zinger ‘Xhrinicibles’ in a way recalling the needle-point programming of Rockwell’s ‘Reverse Engineering’.
Dark garage and dubstep skippers from Etch and north London MC, Nico Lindsay, also introducing Tranq Sinatra
Up top ’Don’t Wanna Know’ goes on dark and shadowy like an El-B rhythm with an early grime-style sing-song vocal, whereas ‘Predator vs Prey (Toxin)’ leans back on a gully sort of halfstep dubstep/grime lurch with Nico Lindsay’s delivery recalling Trim. On ‘Photosynthesis’ Zak Brashill aka Etch tags in Joe Naitsri aka Tranq Sinatra on a tight, triplet-metered garage/grime swing.
Knox-Om-Pax lets the light into his cavernous spaces with a light-footed album influenced by Berlin techno and L.A. sunshine and featuring cameos by Silvia Kastel and Nightwave
“On ‘Ways Of Seeing’ Konx-om-Pax has switched up the mood and hit gold. He has made an album that is filled with joy and sunshine, saturated with the classic feel of Berlin Techno. Tom Scholefield has moved on from the dark ambient and brittle rave of the first two Konx-om-Pax albums, which were a reflection of his hometown Glasgow's electronic music scenes. After a recent move to Berlin, the textures of Glasgow's musical strains have fused into an accessible and friendly mix of poppy melodic electronica built from a stricter 'less is more' sound pallete, closer in spirit to the music of his adopted city. It is also a record which was made in opposition to recent music he has been hearing, in particular the troubled, dark and noisy experimental music coming out of Berlin. Tom wanted to focus on more joyful qualities, making this a record imbued with warmth and happiness, a panacea to the darkness and disorientation all around in 2019.
Having a social scene full of producers has also influenced the album. The opening track 'LA Melody' came from staying with Ross Birchard (Hudson Mohawke) at his house in LA, hanging out in the glorious sunshine with him and Lunice working on tracks. "Initially Ross asked me to write some melodies to use in a project he was producing, but I ended up liking it so much I decided to keep the riff. I generally write music alone, but being around other producers gave me a certain excited energy that reminded me of after-parties back in Glasgow where Ross and myself spent our youth together. Spending time in Clark's studio also helped me improve my workflow and sequencing the album by seeing the way he does things". On 'Säule Acid' he collaborates with Silvia Kastel and in 'I’m For Real' the vocals of Glaswegian DJ/producer Nightwave filter around the track.
Stripped away to just the good bits, 'Ways Of Seeing' is a pleasure to listen to.”
Frank Timm’s 2016 collection of cut-up disco killers is now available to download officially
With his early 2019 debut album ‘Love Remedy’ still burning brightly, ‘Sound Sampler Vol.2’ is another fine reminder of Frank Timm’s dancefloor genius, jacking your body between the grungy acid disco of ‘Track 440’ in his Soundstudio guise, the staggered and filtered disco loops of ‘What You Feel’ under his Soundhack alias, and the percolated Chi-house doozy of ‘Relief (demo)’ under his Soundstore moniker.
Clay Rendering return with a majestically gothic trip to the west on their second LP for Hospital Productions ‘California Black Vows’. While their connections to Wolf Eyes are by now all but a distant memory, they here channel shoegaze and stoner vibes in that unique style, now aided by expanded personnel and production from Dylan Neal, who provides them with a widescreen sense of scale hitherto missing from their work.
"California Black Vows' chronicles the groups’ move away from the comfort zone straight into the dark heart of the west. Since their last album, the band relocated from the suburbs of the Midwest to the sinister shine of Los Angeles. The cover’s icicle is the last remnant of their time in familiar surroundings. More change was to follow. A duo for most of its existence, Clay Rendering’s core of Mike and Tara Connelly chose to invite two allies into their closed circle. The enlisted are Sera Timms of Black Mare on bass and Joe Potts of Sollilja on drums.
The album reveals itself slowly for the first minutes of “Blood Into Wine”, until the refrain opens wide and dives headlong into the deep. It’s a statement of intent. Whatever happens after this, we are in it together. From there, things rev up with uncertainty and a nervous edge. “Another Roll of the Iron Dice”...whose number is up? Tara takes on more vocals than previous records, haunting the nocturnal ocean with “Once in the Well,” “Black Vows” and “Take Hold.” Strangers come and go and dance and die in “We Wait.” Questions remain unanswered in “Don’t Understand You.”
With Dylan Neal (Thief) on production duties, Clay Rendering have delivered their fullest and most fleshed out album to date. The immediacy of the recording gives the feel that these songs are taking shape as you hear them. Guitars melt over the keyboards and synths throughout the proceedings. The record is filled with a noir life force that transitions back and forth from desperate wails to moonlit hymns. The vocals are clearer and more direct than ever, letting you know exactly where Clay Rendering stand. The bass provides the heartbeat of the mission. The drums ensure everything lands in its place. Insomnia, frantic flailing, body language, staring into the forced and artificial landscape, finding solace among the chaotic foliage...all these things play a role. The comfort has been shed. Foreboding stars in the western lands bring out the strangest parts in us all. “California Black Vows” is the howling cry to let those parts show their teeth and the soothing voice to let you know it will all be over in the morning.”