Switzerland’s Androo joins Music From Memory’s Second Circle label with six smooth balearic moves.
Eclectic is the keyword, as Naya effortlessly shimmies from bossa boogie in 2000 & Universe to simmering psych-dub with the string-draped On Time (Long Version) and a spot of proto-bleep house steppers in London dub (Version), and then with the debonaire house of Naya II and TM404 style dub fudge with Slice Dub.
Nice and easy does it.
Strong debut album by one of China’s most distinctive new industrial/dance music producers, Tzusing, for L.I.E.S.; portraying the Shanghai-based artist’s full breadth of kinky darkroom rhythms and sleazy cinematic arrangements.
Under the title 東方不敗, meaning Invincible East, the record wraps an armoury of powerful percussion and native instrumentation around a narrative locus based on a swordsman character in a Jin Yong novel “who must make the ultimate sacrifice to attain knowledge and transform”. Coupled with the artist’s own observations on living in, and travelling around, Asia, it’s an urgent and gripping listen with a versatility and varied topography lending itself to DJ use and soundtracking industrial subterfuge alike.
日出東方 唯我不敗 starts out like ’05 sino grime or dubstep from a parallel dimension; Digital Properties trades in secretive choral code at a killer New Beta momentum which decelerates into the the wind-tunnel chug and pealing cyber-tribal chant of Esther.
His signature triplets last heard on A Name Out Of Place wickedly come into play against sheer electric blue synth tone in King Of Hosts; we’re put thru an intense, Americanised club drill in Post-Soviet Models; and Torque Pulsations both literally and physically lives up to its name with a belly and spine-twysting EBM tattoo.
An incredible suite of analog drum machine pop arrangements and tape experiments from the mid 80's selected and compiled by Not Waving and presented in this new edition with updated artwork.
Ecstatic resuscitate Daniele Ciullini's "sonic polaroids" of odd '80s pop, drone and drum machine workouts in the detached dimensions of 'Domestic Exile - Collected Works 82-86'. Compiling the Florentine artist's standout '83 cassette plus a whole other side of compilation obscurities on vinyl for the first time, it presents a series of brilliant, isolated self-portraits by a mail art & tape scene insider (also photographer, zine publisher) who operated on the periphery of electro-industrial and ambient zones.
His music is little known outside of Italy, so all credit is due to Alessio Natalizia for bringing his wide-ranging and prescient work to a broader audience here. As Ciullini's pal and bandmate in The Cop Killers (along with Masami Akita, no less), Vittore Baroni states on the liner notes that 'Domestic Exile' was produced when Ciullini was in his late 20s and therefore posseses a more measured, mature approach than many of his contemporaries who were also scrabbling around similar sounds.
Using the instantly identifiable Boss DR-55 and Roland TR 606 drum machines, plus a 303, Fender Stratocaster Electric and Yamaha CD-5 fed direct to TEAC tape deck, these are beautifully concise, dynamic glimpses of a sharpened mind at work, proving equally adept at nipping shifty industrial drum patterns as well as brooding proto-shoegaze with 'Soft Marble', or nEuropean synth expressions like 'Flowers In The Water'.
A massive recommendation for fans of Chris Carter's 'The Spaces Between', early The Human League or John Bender.
Dry your eyes, mate; if you missed out on the aRSeD vinyl edition, Metalheadz have you covered with this digital delivery of Goldie’s Inner City 2017 and its hauntological redress from Burial.
The 2017 rebuild from Goldie and Ulterior Motive is a nice idea but unnecessary if you’ve got the original already, but at the very least it pays respect to Diane Charlemagne’s soaring vocal - which surely remains a definitive, enduring highlight of ‘90s UK pop culture, up there with Shara Nelson on Unfinished Sympathy.
However, the Burial version is a massive bonus. Pretty much evacuating all original elements bar the vocal, which itself is pitched and processed to get right on the nerves of the Dilberts anyway, the prodigious one perfectly captures that ‘90s music video aesthetic of running-thru-tunnels and dark warehouses quite literally with a rush of running man breaks and sharp-cornered scene cuts held with a near-breathless tension, kinda like those few minutes before the garys kick in and you’re about to be sick/fly around the club, which basically kicks in with the final minute’s head-spinning pivot on the cusp of happy/dark ‘ardcore.
“But you can’t play it in a club?!” oh fuck off and do your hot-nobbing clown step where we can’t see you.
Matt Spendlove follows his Emergence series of Spatial experiments with a debut album on his own Infrasonics label.
‘A Music of Sound Systems’ expands on and deconstructs the algo-riddimic approach of Spatial’s classy Emergence series circa 2015-16, bringing forth a long overdue debut album steeped in meticulous attention to aesthetic detail.
Clearly paying dues to JA and UK system culture, Spatial also seeks out the artistic abstraction of El Lissitzky, a key figure in the geometrically-inclined Suprematism movement in early 20th Century Russia. He conflates concepts explored through musique concrète and the Darmstadt School, reducing their ideas down into a gloopy, amorphous whole that craftily creeps under your skin.
Implementing stereo panning to grant his music a tactile, structural quality, Spatial’s experiments have dub at their very root but he’s always looking to draw you in from different directions.
Each track here is like its own little microcosmic universe created by Spatial, whether it’s the chasmic void of sub bass and unsettling ripples of opener Doping Conductor or the deep Lissitzkian bleep abstraction of Proun. The latter is one of several extended productions where Spatial utilises the duration to really build a sense of escalating drama.
RIYL Lee Gamble, Mika Vaino, Alva Noto, Pole, Mix Mup.
Long before U.S.A.’s Discwoman, Denmark’s Apeiron Crew, or London’s Siren collectives formed, Gudrun Gut’s Monika Enterprise was pushing the idea of female solidarity within electronic music with expertly curated compilations and releases.
They introduced the world at large to a loose-fitting but like-minded spectrum of artists ranging from Lucretia Dalt to Julia Holter while providing a platform for hard-to-place artists such as Islaja and Natalie Beridze aka TBA - many of whom appear in Monika Werkstatt - but still left room for a few blokes such as Robert Lippok (To Rococo Rot) and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel), effectively well representing that strand of identity politics, but not letting it completely frame or dominate their music.
If you’re looking for highlights, check the mercurial numbers from the legendary Beate Bartel (CHBB/Liasons Dangereuses/Mania D), namely her haunting Feuerland and the curdled contours of M.B.T., and likewise the drowsy but anxious Blindholes from Lucretia Dalt, or the intangible audness of Finnish psych spirit Islaja in Sappho’s Gifts and Lainaa Lause, while Gudrun Gut also impresses with the palpitating avant-electro-pop of Repetition. But some of the strongest parts are those tagged to Werkstatt, where the crew pseudonymously subsume their egos in the name of collectivism to subtle ends with the psychedelic minimal house of Tag2Neu and the keening dark ambient spectre of Blue and a 16 minute electro-acoustic marvel named Wilderness, presumably recorded at their Werkstatt site in the countryside.
20 years since they peaked out with a seminal, eponymous techno album, Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig’s Porter Ricks return with a super robust, dynamic new LP of hydro-tech mutations for Tresor, following up the gritty example set on last year's Shadow Boat 12”.
Tough but deep whatever way you view it, Anguilla Electrica revolves around a signature Tresor sound in effect, toiling well into the trench between aerobic proprioception and psychoacoustic sound design with an immersive, sensational impact that’s just as bracing on headphones as when felt over a big rig - although we’d definitely recommend the latter!
Its six cuts are optimised to a pair of LP's, giving nuff room for the likes of their scowling, skudgy title track and the distended, subaquatic stepper Scuba Rondo to fully flex their thrilling dynamics over a side-a-piece, while elsewhere they perfectly reprise the elemental psychedelia of their early releases with the pendulous swang of Shoal Boat and the sloshing skanker, Port of Tangency.
But if we’re talking about techno psychedelia in terms of amorphous dexterity and elusiveness, then the most impressive examples are reserved to the breathtakingly intricate flux of Sandy Ground, and no doubt the near-weightless, water-treading abstraction and unquantised polymetrics of Prismatic Error.
Take it as a firm yet mutable reminder of what’s possible within the dub-tech-noise paradigm; a deeply smart way of consolidating keening experimental impetus with proper dancefloor pressure.
Stellar first part of an Afro-futurist concept album cycle from Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets) and Tendai Maraire’s Seattle-based Shabazz Palaces, propagating the sonic fiction of Quazarz vs The Jealous Machines through a poetic and elaborately psychedelic of suite of sci-fi Hip Hop. You’ll do well to try and penetrate the accompanying sleeve notes, but if you’ve ever read ‘More Brilliant Than The Sun’, and can follow the lines between Sun Ra - George Clinton - Rammellzee - Drexciya - Flying Lotus, this is the next chapter you’ve been waiting for… From the mind-bending typography and production to Butler’s psychopomp delivery, this one’s quite special/spatial. Chekkit!
“Quazarz came to the Earth from somewhere else, a musical ambassador from his place to ours. Somehow, through fire or through fury, the Palaceer of Shabazz Palaces caught wind of the tale, and it is through his prism that we hear the story.
The beach was there, and Atlaantiis, and chemical alterations and cell memories and Andre Norton, Richard K. Morgan, and always Octavia Butler. There were killings and there were votes, and brutality in both. There was sound and there were other worlds, and there was a vastness so participation sometimes came only at the edges. And the Palaceer coasted down with the alien notion, like Quazarz, and so became.
On Quazarz when they look at this place they see the inhabitants, the humans, but they don’t assess as we do. And so Quazarz was sent to meet a cat with vibration, a creative and courageous, caring, compassionate dude that stood out. The dude was a drug dealer, but that was neither here nor there, until his dealings squashed the rendezvous, leaving our alien alone to figure out what this place is really all about.
Coming from a simpler, more essential, innocent place, the hero could not make heads nor tails of most advancements. From an aerial view, he saw that a good percentage of earthly vibrations were on very small squares and it became his belief that this world was very disposable and the spans short. His opinion was not of anything good nor bad but simply the truth. The machines—he noted—though at the behest of their master’s voice, are scorned, and jealous as all hell.
And so the tale is told while surfing on the board of Shabazz Palaces, with its sturdy base angled for takeoff on a new trajectory. There is new blood and space and room to be different and have different assets and different art and different ways to talk and also open up some space inside to do something new. There are pages and there are drawings, and color and faces and inked dialogues written in ancient futuristic hieroglyph. There are scales and there is melody and there are Sunny days and there is Darkness, but that—it should be noted—to the Palaceer is not a lack of illumination or brightness. Maybe it is dark, but in it is always optimism and joy, a bright darkness and a full, hopeful one as well.
It comes in gold, and it comes for the night. And so Quazarz sang the Jealous Machines. And so too did the Jealous Machines sing the Gangster Star.”
The Automatics Group's dance-pop deconstruction, 'Summer Mix' is one of the uncanniest computer music releases of this decade - first issued as a limited CD edition by Entr'acte in 2011. In the time since then it’s quietly become a bit of an iconic reflection for a post-rave generation, presenting a non-trivial nostalgia trip that somehow sounds like a digitally diffused, skeletal take on Gas, Basic Channel or Ross 154.
It was created by applying a mathematical process known as a discrete Fourier transform upon a number of late '90s and '00s dance anthems, effectively sieving their contents for all its time data and discarding this half of the info, leaving behind the frequencies and noise from the original recordings. What remains is a haunting spectral impression: snare hits smeared as a thin layer of noise over the entire recording, single synth notes become pulsating chords spanning the whole track; rending anthemic metaphysics as a sublime murmuration of intangible memories and perhaps even simulating the effect of an MDMA-induced cultural amnesia, to our mashed minds at least.
Due to vinyl's inherent frequency limitations, the piece's unique, high-end timbral thizz sounds subtly altered on this version, with pulses pronounced just enough for adventurous DJs, and also features the bonus of a pre-installed 33rpm version if you really want to break it down. Whether considered as a critique of academic music's neurotically formal processes or as an arguably transcendent and tantalisingly emotive record, Summer Mix should serve as a fine primer to Theo Burt's practice in advance of his keenly awaited 'Gloss' album for Lorenzo Senni's Presto!? label.
'Summer Mix' has become a deeply valued part of our listening lives, and we only hope that more people will get as much enjoyment from it as we do.
Includes a Floating Points disco edit...
“A few years ago, Melodies family members Floating Points and DJ Red Greg got their hands on a couple of original 70s obscurities. While these standout records shone brightly in their own right, the two DJs saw the potential to create their own edits behind the scenes, finely attuning the original versions to modern-day dancefloor standards. Of these new recordings, they cut only five copies for themselves and a few DJ friends of theirs.
Today, Melodies International is very proud to bring you MEL006 and MEL007. Fully licensed, lovingly mastered to the highest possible standards and carefully edited to dial up that dancefloor enjoyment, these two ‘You’re A Melody’ classics weren’t originally meant to get official releases. But due to popular request, they are now available to play and share in very special moments at parties around the world.
MEL006 arrives as a 7-inch, with the original version and the edit on the flip. First released in 1979 as a three-minute up-tempo library recording, “Disco Baby”, one of 10 tracks off a record available to license for film, radio, television and other media, held some hidden magic that would only get uncovered almost four decades later. Informed by years of combined dancefloor experience, Floating Points and Red Greg have slightly tweaked the original material, realising that played in the right context, it can become a true disco anthem.”
Gnod's Tesla Tapes debut the steely, greyscale electronics of Anastasia Vtorova aka Machine Woman on 'Pink Silk'.
Inspired by "down beat minimal electronica" and "melancholic world wide cinema", the Russian-born Machine Woman's practice stems from live aktions performed on hardware and computers across the world, from Manc-y warehouses to New York basements and Parisian cafés.
Her recorded oeuvre begins with these five tracks ranging from brittle, awkward industrialism to roiling, primitive pulses and processed vocal invocations thru smashed rhythmic noise and grotty, malformed electronics.
Well-studied contemporary takes on ‘80s EBM
“Since the inception of Gregory Vand and Susan Subtract’s electro-punk outfit High-Functioning Flesh in 2012, the band has proven to be one of the most singular acts in years, defying the genre tag of “classic” EBM, as the creativity and fresh perspective they bring to the stage and studio has been instrumental in carving out a modern audience for the genre – elevating HFF into a category all their own.
Produced and mixed solely by the band in their personal studio during the Fall of 2016, Vand and Subtract felt the need to start the recording process on fresh footing, and composed “Culture Cut” using a variety of newly acquired vintage Roland and Oberheim equipment, creating entirely new percussion and synth samples to break out of familiar writing habits.
The result was an album written in the face of a world unraveling – with several tracks addressing the dynamics of life in our current political climate. Songs such as “Drawn Out” discuss the observation of projected failure in our daily lives while “Provoke the Wound” projects a vision of dystopian collapse. “Hands at Play” reveal the band’s more melodic sound, previously debuted on “Heightened State”, the b-side to last year’s “Human Remains” single. Regardless of this pliant approach, lyrically the band holds firm to its abstract doubt and disinclined sense of compromise. “Invoking Phantoms” was written as a dedicatory ritual in remembrance of friends lost to the Ghostship Fire in Oakland, CA during the Winter of 2016.”
Sublime electro-acoustic enigmas from Giuseppe Ielasi and Nicola Ratti’s Bellows, recombining their subtle sensitivities a few years on from the Rustl charm for our Boomkat Editions and a handful of acclaimed, respective solo excursions during the interim. Like Latency’s incredible recent dispatch from Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, the unmissable Kulthan, wager that this one will be on our spindle for some time to come.
Recorded by the duo over the course of days in Milan during February, 2016, the five tracks capture Ielasi and Ratti in their element, improvising with an expanded palette of hardware to coax their wonderfully nuanced small sounds into diaphanous but densely layered sonic ecologies of humus-like subbass-shifts, dancing dust particles and alternating atmospheric humidity.
There’s a more refined sense of poise and composure to Sander than the rugged, grubbing oddities of Rustl back in 2015, still maintaining the sense of daydreamy abstraction but, with totally compelling melodic developments in the opening part’s airborne strings and rising subbass percolations, whilst the 2nd part teeters Gas-like cloud structures and whiffs of wistful melodica on a plunging, plangent and steady dub bass that’s former, more pronounced that we’ve previously heard from them.
B-side, they again establish unique dimensions with starkly hollowed drone and slow staggering, reverberant dub pulses leading into the arid and quietly breathtaking waves of chords radiating into distant ether, before closing with what sounds like a melting digital clock in the final strokes.
A must for fans of the quiet things in life…
Killer Filtered disco-house nourishment from Apron Records
Pairing SSJJ’s ruff cut, Stevie-sampling swanger, KIM4SW on the A-side with the pendulous, Thriller-esque boogie peach, KLY (XXXX) from Devin Dare, the Brooklyn duo who linked with Funkineven for APRON10 back in 2014.
All shades of the lo-fi funk spectrum, from R&B swangers to New Jack flow and melancholy soul burners. Standardly PPU.
“We are gonna call this one Dwight's Baby... "On The Rocks" Written and produced by Dwight Sykes for L.U.S.T. Productions. The album he would have released in 1980 is complete. Cell phone shadow photography by Dwight Sykes.”
Hyper colourful and shiny modular synthesis and effected Clarinet ecstasies from the American contemporary avant garde...
“As the duo Golden Retriever, Matt Carlson and Jonathan Sielaff have explored an ocean’s worth of sound. Primarily working with the intersection of modular synthesis and amplified/effected bass clarinet, the duo has done eight releases for labels like Thrill Jockey, Root Strata, and NNA Tapes. Their music combines an intense emotional immediacy and meditative focus with strong melodicism and an organic, naturalistic approach to experimental electronic sound. Rotations features the duo expanding their sonic palette to incorporate a full chamber ensemble. The results of this stunning collaboration are meditative, lush, and emotionally arresting.
Rotations began when Golden Retriever received a grant from Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council to organize and perform new works. The public performances took place in October of 2015 at Portland’s historic The Old Church. For the performances, Golden Retriever created a series of pieces for an expanded ensemble that included piano, strings, wind instruments, percussion, synthesizer, and pipe organ, which became the foundation on which Rotations was built. While their duo recordings and performances are typically developed from studio improvisations that evolve into specific musical structures, in this case Golden Retriever began with simple acoustic compositions, improvisations and fragmented ideas between bass clarinet and piano and used them to develop melodic and harmonic themes. After transcribing the various parts into notation and adding layers of additional instruments, the result of their collage process creates the effect that Golden Retriever are playing the ensemble as their instrument, and through careful arrangements, have integrated improvisation and composition.
Through the course of the creative process of choosing, editing and arranging the pieces, the duo saw a clear theme: a meditation on the cyclical nature of life and on going through something difficult but emerging on the other side of it with hope. Pieces such as “Pelagic Tremor” tell the story of a tumultuous seascape, stormy and churning. “Tessellation” weaves a tapestry of overlapping patterns that are impenetrable and sifting. In contrast, the sounds of “A Kind of Leaving” (whose title is a reference to a Bei Dao poem) evokes quiet and contemplative imagery, and “Thread of Light” is perhaps Golden Retriever’s most minimal piece to date, finding beauty in simplicity. Within each piece, the instruments cycle together rhythmically, harmonically, and texturally. And the album itself forms a cycle made up by the ebb and flow of each piece that is both dynamic and engaging.”
The Photographs of Charles Duvelle: Disques Ocora and Collection Prophet focuses on composer and musicologist Charles Duvelle's pioneering field recordings, as well as his now-iconic photographs and graphic design. The material focuses on the five regions surveyed during his time with Ocora: West Africa, Central Africa, Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, and SouthEast Asia.
"Disques Ocora, a French label dedicated to capturing and publishing the sounds of folkloric culture from around the world, is held in the highest possible regard in the realms of professional and amateur ethnomusicology. Instigated in 1958 by Pierre Schaeffer, the founder of musique concrète, Disques Ocora's sterling reputation is largely built on composer and musicologist Charles Duvelle's pioneering field recordings, as well as his now-iconic photographs and graphic design.
Charles Duvelle's work is indisputably one of the most important contributions to the human understanding of the rich biodiversity of our planet's music and language. In 1977, his field recordings from Benin were selected by Carl Sagan for inclusion on the Voyager Golden Records, which were carried into outer space by the Voyager spacecraft to stand as an example of humanity's highest musical expressions for the universe's unknown listeners.
Sublime Frequencies' most ambitious project to date, this 296-page fine-art photography book comprises an exhaustive collection of Charles Duvelle's field photography from 1959 to 1978 (188 black-and-white and 58 color photographs), demonstrating that this master musicologist had an equally unerring eye for photography; Includes a photo index listing the details of each photograph. It also contains an exhaustive interview with Charles Duvelle by Hisham Mayet, detailing the history of the label and offering Duvelle's unique insights into the discipline of field recording (French and English facing text).
The package includes two full-length CDs of archival recordings (some of which have never been published) selected, compiled, and fully annotated by Duvelle himself. Most of the tracks on CD one (Africa) are complete versions of truncated tracks from OOP Ocora LPs. CD two, which includes performances by Sohan Lal, Kheo Oudon, and Madurai Ramaswami Gautam, is focused on material from Asia (music from India and Laos), with two long tracks that have never been released (a third track is a complete unedited version).
The material focuses on the five regions surveyed during his time with Ocora: West Africa, Central Africa, Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, and SouthEast Asia."
Timeless roots reggae volley
Sister Rasheda decries the oppressors in World Crisis teamed with Dougie Wardrop and Jerry Lyons’ rollicking dub on the A-side, then steps out on a more mellow, effortlessly driving UK steppers sound in Earthquake and the scooped out Dub produced by Tenastellin.
Leaving no stone unturned, Mannequin Records give up a sterling example of the early ‘80s Italian new wave with this expanded reissue of Atelier Du Mal’s sole, obscure release Noblesse Oblige cadged from tape and pressed to vinyl for the first time, replete with two bonus tracks.
With the original cassette release nigh on impossible to find, this will be many wave jumpers’ introduction to Atelier Du Mal, who nimbly trade in a spectrum of sub styles ranging from bittersweet synth-pop recalling Depche Mode in A Promise, thru to ruggedly stylish electro in Another Kind Of Madness, and gorgeous gothic torch songs such as Waiting For Someone, while the bonus bits highlights Lapo Pistelli’s canny drum programming and anguished vox in the hot stepper, Palau 2 and the aching DM-style perfection of Waiting For Someone (Someone’s Calling).
Osiris have the rare honour of hosting a typically sublime Burial remix on the B-side to Deep Summer, Simon Shreeve (Kryptic Minds) aka Mønic’s melancholic and dusky industrialullaby.
Perfectly measured for the pensive atmosphere of summer 2017 in a Brexiting UK, Mønic’s Deep Summer courses ghostly R&B/folk vocals thru an arid scene of knackered, worn-down drums and keening harmonic pads, barely but stoically keeping its head up against its impending conclusion in a cannily metaphorical narrative arrangement.
Trust Burial, then, to extract and amplify some sense of beauty from the reserved anguish of Deep Summer on the B-side, opening with a filigree collage of seagulls, windchimes and pads recalling the “better days” of ‘90s summers, before lone voices sardonically echoes the sentiments of Nigel Farage (say it like garage) in the recurring phrase ‘we don’t need noone else’ against a rhythmelodic moire of maribas, pealing sax and queasy subbass squirms, perfectly capturing the lucid sleepwalking momentum and frayed socio-cultural fabric of Britain right now in the gauziest, impressionistic terms, replete with an updraft of balearic guitar in the closing stages perhaps predicting our mass exodus to a Ballardian super-city along the mediterranean coast.
Benidorm, you’ve been warned.
Jóhann Jóhannsson returns with his first new solo album in 6 years, his first album for Deutsche Grammophon.
Multi award-winning composer Jóhann Jóhannsson - who was recently announced composer for the Bladerunner sequel score - presents his first solo work proper in six years with Orphée; a completely bewitching orchestral “meditation on beauty and the process of creation”, which takes its inspiration from various perspectives on the ancient greek myth of Orpheus and uncannily incorporates traces of the near-mythical Conet Project recordings.
Now firmly established as a preeminent composer of major film soundtracks thanks to his preternatural feel for atmosphere and sensitively emotive arrangements, Jóhannsson here takes the opportunity to transcribe his feelings on moving from Copenhagen to Berlin, and the process of saying goodbye, making new relationships, by caring to a deeply personal muse.
Tending to the seeds of ideas begun in 2009, he used an interpretation of the Orpheus myth - particularly Ovid’s version from Metamorphoses - to metaphorically unpackage themes of death and rebirth, the ephemerality of memory and the mutability of love and art with suitably magisterial, timeless appeal.
It’s worth reiterating that this is Jóhannsson working to his own, philosophical ends, and not at the service of visual elements or narrative requirement. And, in that respect, the personalised results are rendered for closest inspection, channelling the butterfly effect of Orpheus’ tales on the underworld, on love and music, on divine inspiration, with a sombre elegance and subtly intoxicating enthusiasm.
The addition of distant, elusive recordings from Irdial’s enigmatic Conet Project recordings - a nod to the title character of Jean Cocteau’s Orphée who listens to shortwave radio noise bursts of avant-garde poetry - forms the spectral spirit that binds it all together, perfusing the composition’s creaking strings, electronic timbres and airy dimensions like voices from another dimension, which for all intents and purposes, just like this record, might as well be.
Syrian/Egyptian artist Bosaina makes a delectable addition to Discrepant with the variegated ambient-pop and experimental strains of her debut double feature, combining the jazz-wise electro-acoustic collages of New York April - July 2013 and the airier ambient/neo classical space of Two Names Upon The Shore, respectively pressed a side per piece.
As a member of the Kairo Is Koming - or KIK - Collective which counts UIQ’s Zuli as a member, as well as her involvement in the VENT venue, Bosaina has been instrumental in creating the contemporary musical identity of her home city. However the sounds and themes of these two autobiographical EPs look beyond her city to conjure a broader palette of influences and references, incorporating and contrasting her experiences of the Big Apple with her roots in Syrian and Egypt and dreamscapes which link them all together.
Her New York April - July 2013 side is real charm, threading the listener thru an impressionistic, dèrive-like tour of New York in springtime framed by hovering jazz chords, refreshing downpours, wailing sirens and babies to a killer piece of Matana Roberts-like blues travelogue and tender, glitching electronica. But where that side is fragmented and at times febrile, the flip side’s Two Names Upon The Shore is cooler, collected and meditative, with expressive solo piano strokes embedded and swept thru field recording backdrops in the lush first part, then unpredictably introducing Gonjasufi-like distorted vox to the 2nd part, and inverting that into breathless hyaline highs in the final section, Abalone On The Grass with a startlingly assured hand.
We wager Bosaina will get a lot of attention around this record when it’s properly settled into a wider consciousness. Warmest recommendations!
Freezing modern coldwave from Montréal, delivered in curt, brittle rhythms, bright synths and acutely pop-wise arrangements. Check for highlights in their mesmerising ‘Ligne brisée’ and the slick, glamorous tension of ‘Feral’ .
“Montréal synth pop Police des moeurs are one of the finest and rawest bands in the minimal synth/wave and cold wave scene.
‘Dédales’, their third full length, keeps the pure energy of their previous efforts while leaving greater room for atmospheric and textural considerations. The album will lead you into the passage zone between civilisation and wilderness, a mysterious place where truth, lies, light and darkness collide.
For fans of New Order, Martin Dupont, Rational Youth, Xeno & Oaklander.”
Crack House (is that still a thing?) lad DJ Zinc duals with a gaggle of garage, deep tech and bass dons on the bingo gangbang of Full House.
Check for the chunky tribal trample of Gammy Elbow with Birmingham’s Chris Lorenzo, skip wide of the daft one with MJ Cole, and get madd get madd with the organ/bassline pressure of The Anvil.
Strong house soul transfusion from Byron The Aquarius to Eglo Records
Dancing from the pendulous pace setter Song For a Friend thru the ruder, jazzed-up jack of Mind Body & Soul to hit the downstroke with class on Blow Your Mind and S.S.D.P.
One of our favourite pairs of ears, sound artist/composer BJNilsen, makes a very welcome solo debut on Editions Mego with Massif Trophies; a richly evocative travelogue of his month long hiking trip in Gran Paradiso - site of the highest Alpine peak in Italy.
Originally hailing from Sweden but based in below-sea-level Holland for some time, you get the feeling this may be a sort of nostalgic effort for the artist to reconnect with vertical, rugged landscapes, as much as it is a personal challenge to give his own perspective on well worn and perhaps familiar sonic tropes.
In five parts, Massif Trophies represents an impressionistic portrait of ‘The Mountain’ as a psychological symbol of ardour or as “the accursed or sacred place” of myth and legend common to practically all cultures with a bump on their landscapes.
He does so with all the preternatural sound sensitivity we could wish, stealthily dissecting and layering his location recordings into five distinctly unique narratives variously ranging in length from 3 to 13 minutes, and with varying degrees of human presence and surreal natural interaction.
The success of the combined work possibly lies in the way Nilsen evokes his subject in enormous detail with only the slightest gestures and canny timings, as with the way he barely perceptibly infilitrates the thunderstorms of Alpe Djouan with thee subtlest synth drone which makes the appearance of sheep herders seem incredibly impending or even scary, and likewise the way he turns the jangle of cowbells into something like a windborn gamelan orchestra in Rough Grazing, or how he realises an immense sense of relief from the spectral tension of La Descente by the introduction of perfectly timed panting breathes and textural scree.
It’s an immensely satisfying listen for anyone who appreciates the elemental chaos of the natural world and the subtleties of great concrète or field recordings, right up there with your favourite Chris Watson or Jana Winderen releases.
This diamond of a 7” features the 1st and only known recording from arch goffs Karl O’Connor and Veronica Vasicka under their Kiss The Floor alias, as originally issued by Downwards in a measly edition of 30 copies at the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair, 05/10/13. Now shackled to a ferocious solo number from Karl and The Kurbcrawlers, Same Day (Again), and proffered by Oliver Ho’s Death & Leisure it’s finally available to us mere mortals on the shop/dance ‘floor.
As you may well presume, VV and KoC’s joint effort is just a little bit good. It sounds like Veronica is singing amid over some kinda of gaunt industro dub from Karl, all ricocheting rimshot embedded in distorted, monotone and bass licked with woozy melodica, although we couldn’t confirm/deny either way. Whatever, it’s exactly as potent as we’d imagined it to be, ripe for the dankest dance parlours.
Flipside, Karl and The Kurbcrawlers get a day pass for Same Day (Again), a diesel-stained full throttle deathrocker that’s kinda like the record equivalent of those fellas you see on a sunny day prancing their droptop kit car until the kids come home.
For the first time, Warp make B12’s seminal Electro-Soma - one of thee blueprints for ‘90s electronic and UK techno - available to download; packing the original LP - itself drawn from their earlier EPs - together with a stellar haul of rarities and early cuts.
A staple of ‘back to ours’ sessions and psychonaut’s playlists since the turn of the ‘90s, Electro-Soma I, as it’s now titled, was compiled by Warp’s Rob Mitchell from Michael Golding and Steve Rutter’s early EPs as Musicology, Redcell and 2001, all self-released by the duo between 1991-1992 on their B12 label.
It’s some of the lushest, visionary electronic music of its era, unfortunately titled IDM - as opposed to what?! - when it actually, faithfully, and patently ripped from the early styles of Detroit’s 2nd wave. But absolutely nobody is holding that against them, as the music they recorded offered a uniquely lush, even sentimental, and technically adroit spin on the 313 sounds they had clearly fallen in love with.
To this day, the emo electro of Hall Of Mirrors, the kaotic harmonix of Metropolis, and the AI bleep ’n bass of Telephone 529 still sound beautifully misty-eyed and have the capacity to freeze a spine on contact. And unless you were a bit of an super fan, the tracks forming Electro-Soma II are likely to generate a few surprises for those familiar with the original LP or EPs, especially in the mystic electro-stepper, Transient Pathways and the head-first ambient immersion Go With The Hiss.
Prins Thomas provides a thorough, kraut-ish, cosmic-styled overhaul of Dungen’s Häxan, a soundtrack to the 1929 animation film ‘Adventures of Prince Achmed’
“With ‘Versions By’ Prins Thomas takes Dungen on a journey down a new winding road; 17 minute epics, wide open spaces, Balearic ambience, psychedlia, all things cosmic and Kraut grooves. Or as the sleeve notes remark; "recorded, remixed, rearranged, chopped, screwed, glued and partially reproduced with love by Prins Thomas".
The record is woven together with the same stitch as his seminal mix-albums ‘Cosmic Galactic Prism’ and ‘Paradise Goulash’, creating the perfect flow, way beyond a mix. It’s obvious Prins Thomas has been enjoying himself with the original analogue tapes of the record.
“Dungen has long been one of my favourite bands. Their music is a daily staple in the house, so much so that even my 3 year old daughter recognises any Dungen record from the first few seconds playing. If there's any ‘dream comes true’s’ left, having Joakim (Smalltown Supersound founder) request a remix for them comes close. The tracks in question was the music for the 1929 animation film Adventures of Prince Achmed, the music that later became the Häxan album. With all the possibilities AND the limitations these tapes had it would be easy to get lost on the way… and of course, it DID get totally out of hand and I ended up with over an hour of recorded material. It has to be pointed out, this is NOT a ‘Dungen’ album, but more like an exploration of the raw material. In some places only using a single sound or two to construct something new, in other places just rearranging sections of songs. Hope you all enjoy hearing this record heard through a new set of ears.” – Prins Thomas”
Most recently compiled by Hospital Productions and heard on [adult swim], Brooklyn, NY metal band Sonnet cover dramatically scorched ground with cloven-hoofed drums and epic instrumental guitar arrangements hearkening back to original ‘80s goth as much as modern post-rock and atmospheric metal
“The cover of Sannhet’s third album, So Numb, features a mother shielding her son’s eyes with her hands - an allegory depicting the protection one receives from their parents, but it isn’t meant to be sentimental. As the mother shelters her child, she inadvertently creates a false sense of safety. The child, in turn, spends it's life seeking comfort and escape in temporary solutions.
Though Sannhet meditate on life’s imperfect escapes, So Numb’s nine songs showcase the band facing life’s pain and joy with their eyes wide open. The collection’s emotional landscape is one of existential dread, melancholy, and loss - ammunition for escapists. Despite these existential conundrums, So Numb has an uplifting, euphoric feel.
The collection was recorded and produced by Peter Katis, who’s known for his work with Mercury Rev, Interpol, the National, and Oneida among others. Working with Katis, the production illuminates a more open sound for the band. While Sannhet’s second album, 2015’s Revisionist, was bigger and harsher than their 2013 debut, Known Flood, they offer a more wistful, melodic approach here.
The first track, “Indigo Illusion,” opens with Christopher Todd’s eviscerating, but anchoring drums locked in with AJ Annunziata’s driving bass and John Refano’s clamoring, unexpectedly coaxing guitar melodies—the song, a muscular anthem that mixes feedback and space, ends up sounding like a million crystals shattering in a dark room. Alternately, the heavier, more solemn and cavernous “Fernbeds” finds added pathos from guest guitar leads by one-man shoegaze-metal artist, Planning for Burial’s Thom Wasluck.
As on past Sannhet albums, the song titles are evocative (“Sapphire,” the churning “Sleep Well,” “Fernbeds,” “Way Out”), but not prescriptive. By the time you’ve gotten to the drifting, airy “Salts,” it’s clear Sannhet has become a more patient, painterly band. The collection ends with the massive “Sleep Well” followed by the eerie, ambient “Wind Up.” Those two songs offer a good example of what the band does well: moving between extremes to create a dynamic that feels both climactic and anticipatory, dramatic and comfortably calm.
Sannhet have always been hard to classify. Since 2010, the Brooklyn trio’s played instrumental music that’s heavy and light, cinematic and intimate, dense but minimal. You could call them “post” something, “experimental metal,” or “math rock,” but none of that’s quite right and the band has thrown another wrinkle into the mix with So Numb. While they don’t write lyrics, they do write subtexts. They pen love letters, extended epistles, and suicide notes, all without words. With So Numb, Sannhet create a new world out of very few ingredients.”
Physical studies in cranky rhythms and ductile dub noise from the man behind 90 Day Men, Acteurs
“Only a year after his debut solo album with Hands in the Dark, Brian Case (90 Day Men, Acteurs, Bambi Kino Duo, Disappears) is back with Spirit Design. The record consists of ten new experimental tracks of concrete dub and electronic wizardry.
This sophomore solo record is drastically different from the Chicagoan’s first opus, Tense Nature. Case has added vocals and more beats to his compositions, putting together an album that promises and lends itself to a loud, moving live experience. Although in ways it is more experimental, listeners will find this follow-up more straightforward than his previous work. Nonetheless, one element of Case’s compositions that has been carried across into the new work is his signature ability to create a unique, self-contained sound sphere within each track. Each track in turn by turn transporting the listener into a different ambient universe, yet still all coming together to form a coherent whole. This is arguably Case’s trademark musical gesture.”