Sci-fi bass/techno tribalism from Australia via Canada’s Infinite Machine
“The concept for the 'Terran' EP is centred around a lone human drifting through space, planet to planet. Who this person might be is irrelevant – it can be anyone, any gender, any race. What is important is that this person is undergoing a treacherous journey deep into the unknown. They are alone on this journey and it is no easy task, but their resilience and determination to carry on is what drives them forward.
The premise within this is based around the idea of each individuals own suffering, each person who walks this earth faces their own obstacles, which ultimately at its core is beyond their control. Much like the Terran drifting through space, the unknown of space parallels the unknown future of life, and the endless possibilities that perpetually arise throughout it.The EP is presented as a sense of hope – encouragement to all that even though they often drift through their spiritual life alone, they are not alone on this journey. Each Terran faces the blackness of space in their own way, and they too can choose how they perceive this arduous, yet immensely worthwhile experience.
What might seem like a crushing, over encumbering existence, at times, only adds to the worth of life. Life is a challenge – and it should be – as overcoming the challenge and powering on, despite the odds, makes each day and each moment (a keepsake if you will) innumerably more valuable.
There is no real sense of completion within this journey too, as 'home' is something that the Terran will not experience again. 'Home', or 'Earth' in many ways is birth through this allegory, and every moment from this point becomes the struggle of existence. One can never step backwards to another moment in time that has already passed, as the world will not allow you to return to your previous spiritual self. The only true and just way is forward, further into the abyss of the universe.”
Metasplice return an absorbingly elusive, minimalist shadow of their former, noisy selves with ‘Mirvariates’ for Will Bankhead’s The Trilogy Tapes
Following a slight hiatus and a canny rethink of their sound, Metasplice’s first new studio album in five years, Mirivates defines the Philadelphian duo’s acute inversion from noisy roil to shimmering lower case sounds across seven tracks embracing negative space as a vital new part of their music.
Gauging by the skinny, barely-there aesthetics of Marinates, one would be forgiven for thinking that Metasplice only submitted the scrubbed stems of the album to TTT. However, closer listening reveals a series of oblique, abstract electro-acoustic ecosystems that bristle with virulent energy, perhaps emulating the varied ambiences of a space station (“Mir”?), the coded inner dialogues of stressed out machinery, or the sound of the Internet of Things plotting their take-over of humanity in encrypted electro-magnetic chatter.
Over the course of seven tracks they pay special attention to volume dynamics and texture, with fathomless abstract shapes looming from the darkness in persistently reorienting and amorphous style, as the imagined “walls” of each piece seem to dissolve and establish new dimensions within each cut, from the tentatively perilous explorations of ‘Cirrension’, to the free jazz-like squabble of ‘Teleric’, thru the clipped gamelan resonances of ‘Vase Weight Re-Route’, and the Xth Reeflexion-liek fuss of ‘Aridtaq’, and up to the parting, side-long denouement of ‘Speculen’, where a melodic spirit seems to be seductively struggling thru their finely graded textures and airborne sediments.
It’s all effectively and undoubtedly a radical break with past Metasplice releases, reeling away from the ‘floor to somewhere much more abstract and difficult to properly fathom with words. It’s best to just treat these recordings like seashells scavenged from the liminal shores of perception, awaiting your close ear inspection and interpretation.
Featuring tracks by rkss, Joane Styler, Gramercy, Filter Dread and more, the Ceramics label’s 1st compilation is finally with us on digital format
As to be expected, the set serves a varied frolic around the fringes of electronica, turning up some mutant highlights in the nervously skeletal grime twitch of Filter Dread’s ‘Tribal Cyborg’ and the odd tension between drily funky rhythms and salty noise blatz in RKSS’ ‘Rim’, while 1127 also leaves their mark with the convulsive computer music reflux of ‘PAT TWIFT’. You’ll also find Gramrcy on apulsing, glassy, beat-less tip with ‘Tree Noise’, and a daft, bendy winner from Joane Styler in ‘Bisque’.
Lee Gamble jacks directly into a latent stream of electronic wonder with his dream-like 'Koch' opus for PAN.
Running to 76 minutes over 16 tracks, it's Gamble's most substantial and arguably definitive work, following the beautifully effective 'Diversions 1994-1996' and 'Dutch Tvashar Plumes' releases for PAN in 2012. Where those records deconstructed the elusive, enigmatic timbre of '90s electronic dance music - jungle, techno, ambient - 'Koch' (pron. 'Cotch' - UK slang for relax) is a sort of 'Pataphysical reflection and projection of what lies beyond; a symbolic, imaginary solution to what could be perceived as a dearth of "soul" in modern electronic dance music, searching for a feeling that's all too often forgotten in current styles. And quite crucially, 'Koch' provides considered answers from a singular, if ever-shifting perspective, at once uncannily detached yet incredibly intimate, with the acute ability to recalibrate the mind's lense between abstract dimensions.
To pick individual tracks apart would be beside the point. The album works as a wormhole, or perhaps how we've come to imagine what a wormhole is from VR representations in movies, TV, and computer games - seeming to dissolve us between first and third person narratives, club and home listening environments, and the fleeting waves of emotion (narcotised or not) which perfuse and colour the hallucinatory spaces between. It's a very timely reminder of electronic music's efficacy in expressing the alien and a contemporary "otherness", and comes with a huge recommendation for immersive heads and dancefloor freaks alike.
David Holmes channels Angelo Badalamenti in fine style...
“50 minutes of new, original music from David Holmes soundtracking Steven Soderbergh’s six part tale of passion, intrigue and deception.
Initially released as an interactive app in which the viewer directed the narrative - Mosaic is a six-part HBO series conceived and directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Sharon Stone. Mosaic is a twisting tale of passion, intrigue and deception focusing on the disappearance of a high-profile resident of picturesque Summit, Utah and the four-year effort by law- enforcement and civilians to discover the truth behind the crime.
With that in mind, Mosaic’s original soundtrack weaves as intriguing a tale. Recorded between Belfast and Los Angeles by Holmes, the album features a modern-day Wrecking Crew of musicians. Echoes of Maestro Morricone abound alongside the influence of avant-garde pioneers and Holmes' current soundtrack contemporaries in a selection of deep listening tracks.
To quote Mark Kermode, 'Mosaic' outlines Holmes’ expertise at “ratcheting up the tension” with strings, horns and synthesizers swelling throughout. As this tension peaks there is inevitable release - in rhythmic and harmonic tracks such as ‘What I Want Is The Red Room’ and Badalamenti-esque lounge eeriness in the likes of ‘Four Years Later’ - guiding the 20 cues presented on this release into a cohesive, full and nuanced album that reveals subtle and rewarding intricacies on each repeated listen. ‘Mosaic’ once again outlines Holmes as a modern master of the original soundtrack.”
Godfather of the current Peckham sound, Wbeeza turns out three deep warehouse jams for London’s Troy Town label and party series...
Landing 3 years since his 12”s for Arma and Secrtesundaze, ‘The OD’ is built for dirty, decadent nights in scuzzy joints, packing the deeply hypnotic acid momentum of ‘The OD’ alongside the lip-smacking garage swang and wavy lead of ‘Grove Park’ and the party-ready Detroit burn of ‘Bizzle Boogie’.
Merzbow goes beak-to-tail with Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) and Lawrence English’s HEXA duo, producing each other’s sides to find a noisy black hole at the centre of their putative styles. Don’t miss the whooping ace, ‘Merzhex, Pt.4’!
“The esoteric noise duo known as HEXA is the sonic union of Xiu Xiu’s focal point Jamie Stewart and sonic provocateur Lawrence English. Forged out of a mutual interest in exotic birds and the decaying charms of the post-industrial age, their collaboration explores the physicality of sound and its abilities to infiltrate and occupy the body. Their collaborative work has been described as being possessed by cascading low frequency pulses and tectonic plates of sound, suspended in cavernous cathedral-like spaces.
Legendary noise artist Merzbow needs no introduction, given his prolific output and notorious experiments within the realm of human endurance and audible extremes. While Merzbow has remained a solemn figure within the canon of noise, and he is no stranger to the members of HEXA. Jamie Stewart and Merzbow worked together as a duet on a collaborative Merzxiu LP in 2015. On the other side of the spectrum, Lawrence English has curated numerous concerts for Merzbow across his native Australia.
A partnership of these three artists was born out of the collective goal of framing their work against particular sonic and visual architectures. HEXA’s initial utilization of this idea, Factory Photographs, was a commissioned piece to soundtrack the photography of film maker David Lynch. HEXA approached Merzbow with the idea of a collaboration that sought to collide their particular approach to physical sonics against Merzbow’s resoundingly ontological noise practice.
The result of this collision turned into a full length album, aptly titled Achromatic. Focus laid on the severe reverberation of relative noises, brandishing extreme frequencies familiar only to Merzbow and coupled by HEXA’s brutalist pulsation. Each side of the album is produced and mixed by the other, making their audio interpretation of Achromatic a sort of reverse exquisite corpse. A true snapshot afterthought from the decay of the modern age.”
An ace addendum to 0PN’s ‘Age Of’, including album cut ‘The Station’ with two brand new productions and the brilliant, previously Japan-only bonus level, ‘Trance 1’
Daniel ‘0PN’ Lopatin’s voice makes a smart appearance, albeit heavily autotuned, in the hyper-modern blues of ‘The Station’, whereas ‘Monody’ finds him plumbing a sort of proggy IDM uchronia, where the mid ‘70s folds in to mid ‘90s and mid-WTF we call this decade, and ‘Blow By Blow’ follows that logic to sound like a bastard organism imagined by Autechre and Steve Vai making its first tentative steps into a VR world.
Best of the lot is ‘Trance 1’, which previously appeared on the Japan-only edition of ‘Age Of’ and now blazes out on this release like the view of planet exploding in the rear window of an escape shuttle headed for new solar systems.
Highland electro and deep techno hustle from Neil McDonald’s ever-charming Lord Of The Isles project
Like a distant Scottish cousin to Texan Gerard Hanson (Convextion/E.R.P.), LOTI trades in a most poignant sort of sort of synthetic emotion inspired by big panorama and classic electronica.
On the A-side he rolls out two electro beauties in the poignant pads and chrome plated patterns of ‘Irafas’ and the nimble, fluidly woven arps of ‘W5 Alpha’, whereas the B-side tends to subtler sensations with the dark skied tone and tactile subbass movements of ‘Q-bit’ and a lovely kosmiche flight in ‘Three Times Eleven’ to close.
Dead lovely gear, also sounds great on 33rpm!
Benoit B follows his ‘Japonaiserie’ 12” for Berceuse Heroique with a classy ride between bass-heavy electro and smoky Gallic downbeats for Wisdom Teeth
For the ‘floor, Benoit tees up the lush electro suspension system of Vague à l’Âme and a beautifully crafty mix of whirring trills and Martian woodwind in Kimono coming off like a mutant Red Planet number.
In between those cuts he explores a more sultry style in the Far Eastern-inspired sashay of Gyvenimo Tékmé featuring vocals from Dália, then with the nimble, hyaline designs of Ice Valley landing somewhere between Jay Glass Dubs and Invisible Cloaks.
Modular synth botherer and multi-instrumentalist Ralph Cumbers takes it to the ‘floor for Happy Skull
Up top he drops the quirky, clipped strut of his acid wobbler ‘Charnel House’ and downtown he riffs on Adonis’ ‘No Way back’ in a style primed to mix with Gescom’s own take on those same elements in their ‘D1’  chop-up. One of the best we’ve heard from Bass Clef.
Burbank appears to takes cues from FIS’ geologic structures and Autechrian warp in ‘Botanical Clipboard’, his first record for Kinlaw’s Bristol-based Ceramics label
Check for heavily abstract electronics in the technoid roil and sputter of ‘Powdery Mildew’ and the swaggering, distended beast called ‘Stame’.
Rodrigo Amado: tenor saxophone Joe McPhee: pocket trumpet, soprano saxophone Kent Kessler: double bass Chris Corsano: drums
"Great dedicated music by four strong individual players, brought together by Portugese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado – intense communication with room for outbreaking solo-parts but always held together through a vision of playing together, exiting and interwoven with beautiful melodies!"
Nyege Nyege Tapes return with their third ever vinyl release; an amazing collection of thumb piano recordings by Ekuka Morris Sirikiti, a legendary Mbira player from the Lango people recorded from Ugandan radio c.1978-2003. Heavily textured with radio static and ferric distortion, think Konono Nº1 or Honest Jon’s East Africa sets relayed by The Conet Project...
Hailing from the Langi tribe of Lira, Northern Uganda, legendary local griot Ekuka Morris Sirikiti performs his music in various situations - festivities, market days, and other gatherings - on a homemade foot/drum contraption coupled with the Lukeme; a small, handheld thumb piano that produces flurries of metallic rhythmelody under deft digits, and is maybe best known as an Mbira in its heavily distorted use by the DRC’s amazing Konono Nº1, as well as myriad other recordings from the vast Central and East African region.
Entirely comprising recordings of the original radio broadcasts made on various devices, the music on ‘Ekuka’ is distorted to differing degrees, resulting in a broad spectrum of fidelities that are both unavoidable and inherent to the music, its reception, and its perception by those who didn’t catch the broadcast as it happened.
The 12 songs selected zig-zag across the timeline 1978-2003, with an alternating patina of ferric noise that camouflages their chronology - it’s difficult and unnecessary to discern their recording dates, as the songs serve a timeless social purpose, from everyday reminders to be a good husband; take your kids to school; and don’t disturb the wife of your son; to Government commissioned warnings about venereal diseases, drinking alcohol and paying taxes.
Considering this all took place against the backdrop of tribal warfare and cattle raids by rebels, the raucous laughter on ‘In Boloney For Ayinet’ demonstrates the humour and pathos behind the songs in a way that may literally escape listeners elsewhere. And in that context ‘Ekuka’ is quite unlike most other vintage recordings which resurface outside of Africa beyond, say, Honest Jon’s ‘Something Is Wrong’ and ‘Bellyachers, Listen’ sets, which admittedly document a much earlier period c. 1938-1957, but were also selected from recordings not specifically or even vaguely conceived for the international market.
As with Nyege Nyege Tapes’ previous dispatches from modern day Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, ‘Ekuka’ provides a genuinely street-level, unfiltered perspective on unfathomably long-rooted traditions in a way that sounds incredibly fresh, unfamiliar and hugely interesting to keen ears the world over.
The desire to discover and delve into new and unexplored areas of music has turned attention on the Japanese jazz scene of the 1970s, often regarded as its gilded age.
"The recent compilation J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1984 threw much needed light on this fascinating era and presented a range of artists and music that surprised and delighted all who heard it. A key track on the compilation was one of the rarest and least known: Dead Letter by the Tohru Aizawa Quartet, taken from an album that was so elusive, some pondered whether it even existed.
The album, Tachibana, was recored in 1975 and, until included on the J Jazz compilation, was unknown except to a small group of obsessive Japanese jazz collectors. The privately pressed record was the only album made by the Quartet, four amateur musicians who were university students at the time. The session was financed by a local businessman, Ikujiroh Tachibana, who pressed up a few hundred copies to use as a business card. In the intervening 40 odd years since its recording, few copies have surfaced, making it an in-demand yet elusive artefact from the golden age of Japanese jazz. BBE Records are honoured to present a fully authorised reissue of this holy grail, licensed directly from the band themselves.
Tachibana has all the necessary components of a cult album: pressed in small numbers, a few mysterious and vague details about its origins, languishing in obscurity for decades and, above all, superb musical craftsmanship and skill. It can now be enjoyed by a new audience around the world. The album opens with the dynamic percussion workout Philosopher’s Stone written by the then law-student and drummer Tetsuya Morimura. It propels along with the band at full pelt, showcasing Morimura’s well-developed drumming style. For a teenage amateur player to compose and perform such an accomplished and impressive piece is a testament to the talent that the band contained. Philosopher’s Stone is followed by Sacrament, an epic modal composition by saxophonist Kiyochiro Morimura that fans of Wayne Shorter, Pharaoh Sanders and late-era John Coltrane will appreciate. After an extended intro the band drop into a heavy, churning groove, Morimura’s saxophone scorching above the volcanic rhythm section. Dead Letter, written by Aizawa himself, is an epic piano led symphony of spiritual jazz. Think McCoy Tyner at his imperial finest and you’ll get a favour: impact, emotion and power all suffuse to create a overwhelming experience. Amazingly, this is still the only Aizawa composition yet to be recorded.
The Tachibana album also includes two cover versions, both Latin favoured numbers delivered with élan and brio: La Fiesta by Chick Corea and the classic Samba de Orfeu by Luiz Bonfá. So, just five tracks in total, the sole existing evidence of an astonishing band, the Tohru Aizawa Quartet."
Freakish, high-impact techno missiles from Bjarki on Nina Kraviz’s Trip
Check for the wide-eyed 150bpm pounder ‘Oli Gumm’ with its shattering breakdowns, and the mash den trample and avian squabble of ‘Hatann Satann’.
‘Serious Time’ is Joane Skyler first album of canny, natty electronica for Bristol’s Ceramics
Like Joane’s memorably charming side for Boomkat Editions, ’Sssssssss’ , his ‘Serious Time’  album is bewitching batch of clipped hip hop, garage and mutant dance rhythms spliced with tantalising melodies and a real knack for off-kilter harmonics that reminds us of Mortal & Chemist as much as early Pendle Coven and those frayed Unknown and Untitled editions from Cotton Goods.
Poetically politicised house from Rupert Clervaux - Beatrice Dillon collaborator and remixer of The Radiophonic Workshop - with a blend of sampled dialogue and collaged dance rhythms for Berceuse Heroique, including a killer final cut that sounds like A Guy Called Gerald c. 1990!
“Marx’s famous assertion that history would repeat itself first as tragedy, then as farce, seemed to come to its full predictive fruition in 2017. Perhaps––in the case of the Euro-Atlantic democratic project––as a result of our systems of governance becoming so comprehensively untethered from the ancient idea whose name they continue to use and abuse. The parasites of neoliberalism are killing the democratic host… Plutocracy is thriving…
In this third instalment of the Zibaldone series, Rupert Clervaux’s CVX alter-ego impulsively fills his audio notebook with musical settings for those ideas––namely sortition and anarchism––that present real alternatives to the dire political landscape of our time, and for the words of some who have made it their life’s work to challenge the foundations, assumptions and presumptions of the status quo. As with its predecessors, Zibaldone III draws freely from a wide span of performance and production techniques––tapping, for what it’s worth, creative roots before they can be grouped together into a stylistic formula.
Explosive percussions pay homage to the anarchists of Argentina; Malcolm Muggeridge syllogises the grim logic of government, power and tyranny into a mantra of dissent, driving a stream of electro-jazz drums and synths to its rapturous disintegration; a saturnine piano improvisation leads the way to clattering protest drums as David Graeber shrewdly inveighs against the absurd but sadly pervasive neoliberal illusion that creativity and ingenuity are dependent on economic incentives; then, as a dancefloor footnote, a withering Gore Vidal wryly warns against the strict conflation of artistic methods with political theories in a smartphone-produced rafter-shaker that echoes Joey Beltram’s Orbital-sampling classic…
Ultimately though, this record is a dedication to the work of one person, a musical wreath to be laid at the grave of the great thinker (and doer), Simone Weil––tragically so young in death, but thankfully so active in the brevity of her life. Here, as a looped fragment of another late-great ‘Simone’ reminds us that change is inevitable, unfolding piano and double-bass elaborations set the stage for Coline Cornélis to recite two key excerpts from Weil’s scathing and brilliant valedictory essay, ‘On the Abolition of All Political Parties’ (1943). Seventy five years later, the farcical horror of egregious corruption, misguided referenda and prevailing post-truths surely serves to strengthen the thrust of her prognosis and prescription––both of which are as sensible as they are radical.”
Reissue of proper keys-in-the-pot boogie disco
“Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the Sophisticated Ladies’ sought-after 1980 New York disco single ‘This Ain’t Really Love’, backed by a Mighty Zaf extended edit of their 1977 release ‘Check It Out’, and accompanied by interview-based liner notes. Here, the single will be available in its true 12” format, saving collectors and DJs alike from spending triple-digit figures on an original copy.”
Blondes’ Sam Haar goes solo with the richly textured deep electronica dives of ‘Euso’, his début solo album with Barcelona’s Modern Obscure Music
In ‘Euso’ Haar draws on his practice as an art technological consultant to diversify his bonds into more abstract and experimental electronic music designs than previously heard in his leftfield house-oriented work with Blondes.
“Modern Obscure Music welcomes Sam Haar to the imprint for the first album released by an artist other than label founder Pedro Vian. The album is entitled Euso. Sam Haar is a New Jersey born producer and sound artist. Influenced by both experimentalism and traditional dance music, Haar’s music is something uniquely his own. He is best known as being one half of musical hardware loving duo Blondes with Zach Steinman (neither of them are actually blonde). They famously favour machines over computers and provide hypnotic live shows. Blondes have released the majority of their discography for Rvng Intl., before jumping to R&S in 2017 for the more danceable Warmth album.
Euso is an intense exploration of sounds, textures and feelings, with field recordings laid over coarse soundscapes. Haar’s compositions are woven patchwork-like from the fabric of the sounds that he uses. There is a real feeling that his music is alive, due to the fluidity of his compositions and how the tracks mutate.
The album opener Paradiso offers colourful synthetics alongside running water and bold sounds. Hal (the Slip) features urgent percussion and hypnotic bass sounds, whilst Gold Coast sees vibrant synths do battle over emotive strings. Radial splits sounds and reforms textures in an ever-changing manner and Stabilis snatches lost dialogue over machinery type misshapen beats and poised synths. Awatsa is bathed in watery synthetics and is lifted higher by combo of strings and punched beats, as Hive offers wonderful synth based confusion. Plegadas rounds off the LP with eerie strings, ghosted vocal forms and enveloping synths. The Euso album is a powerful musical statement from Sam Haar.”
Optimo pull out and edit some '88-'90 dancefloor peaches from legendary Aussie industrial unit, Severed Heads.
The tuff and ecstatic proto-trance drive of 'Greater Reward' (1988) is given a 'Piano Power' edit by Optimo, riding killer kicks and flickering rimshots with slick keys and swarming tribal voices chopped at crucial points beside the original 12"'s irresistible dub mix.
The more exotic, chattering tribalism of 'Big Car (Crash Dub)' (1990) conjures images of stomping, tanned and nearly-naked Goan revellers, while 'All Saints Day (Saints Day Dub)' swings to ruddy industrial bass funk laced with lush ecto pads. Quite simply; they don't make 'em like this any more.
Highly recommended for your 'floor!
Chevel steps from his Different Circles LP back into his Enklav. to explore deep ambient techno frameworks with ’In A Rush And Mercurial’
The sound here emphasises texture and tone rather than the skeletal rhythms of his preceding album, Always Yours, a silty flux of chaotic ambient dynamic and steadier, yet offset rhythms and stabs nodding to electro as much as weightless grime.
We advise checking out the proprioceptive chicanery of Another Dimension for something like a gentler take on The Sprawl, or Mercurial for a rugged sound compatible with your Night Slugs bangers, or the frothing arps of Polyphonic Love and the pop inception of Always Yours Amended for much sweeter examples of Chevel working with melodic arrangements.
“Last time we heard from the Growing Bin, Basso was sat at the water‘s edge, trousers rolled up, toes in the tide, savouring a Falanghina while Eleventeen Eston went with the wave. Now we move from the shoreline to the ocean shelf, led on an underwater adventure by young Parisian Shelter. Where previous releases have seen the synth-obsessed Frenchman take his inspiration from Caribbean rhythms or Balearic attitudes, this marine missive sees Shelter turn to the lavish world of the library, creating his an alternate score to Jean Faurez’ 1960 documentary short.
More submersible than snorkel, our journey begins in the very dark of the deep, mystical harp trills echoing through the inky blackness, picking up the bioluminescent shimmer of an Abraliopsis Squid. Gradually we make our way into the light, cruising past shoals of silver scales and underwater forests. ‚Immersion’ offers a placid, percolating rhythm and billowing pads, providing sonic symmetry for the dancing leaves, while the spheric soundscape of ‘La Vie A L’Ombre’ bubbles away like an underwater volcano. The optimistic ambience of ‘Plenitude Azotee’, brimming with delicate melody and glistening sequences, perfectly captures the wide-eyed wonder of a reef dive, before drifting into the serenity of ‘Parade’, an aquatic acquaintance of A.R.T. Wilson’s ‘Overworld’. A brief foray into shark fin funk sees out the A-side, before we’re back amid the beauty of the ocean floor; ‘Variation Abyssale II’ echoing the album opener but with even more poetry. The exotic and otherworldly sine waves of ‘Dans La Jungle De Varech’ simultaneously sound like a rainforest canopy, alien landscape and coral microcosm, expanding our horizons nicely ahead of the adrenaline rush of ‘Hors D’Haleine’. Shelter then sets us at ease with the tidal tonality and subtle shuffle of ‘Fumeurs Noirs’, a sublime synthetic suite, then leaves us to marvel at the soft focus splendour of ‘Synthii Outro’.
This is Jules Verne by way of Vangelis, just grab your goggles and take the plunge…”
Antony Naples & Jenny Slattery’s Incienso follow DJ Python’s Dulce Compañia - one of the albums of 2017 - with the debut LP of hypnotic ambient reggaeton pressures by Bailey Hoffman a.k.a. Beta Librae - co-founder of NYC’s Technofeminism events with Umfang.
Moving farther along the same line that gave us DJ Python’s unmissable album, Beta Librae smudges her vibes to a more mutable flux of feelings in Sanguine Bond, traversing beatless froth and pendulous dembow shuffle in the first side, thru to the intimate deep house humidity of Cosmic Machines, and deeper into underwater sonics on Urras, cosign up for air with the trickling Afro-Cuban lilt of Canis Major, and melting out into new age dimensions with Pink Arcade and closing on a surprisingly ace jungle/dembow mutation New Feelings.
Very safe to say: if you loved the DJ Python album as much as us, you’ll be allllllll over this one, too!
‘1/1’ is the soundtrack to Jeremy Phillips’ directorial debut, the film submerges the viewer into the mind of Lissa, a 20-year-old girl in rural Pennsylvania and her struggles with sex, drugs, love and loss. Liars have created an electronic soundtrack that reflects the film’s use of mixed media abstractions and multi-film formats, which undoubtedly stands up as an album in its own right.
"Created soon after Liars’ 2014 album ‘Mess’, these are the last recordings by Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill before Hemphill amicably left the band. In 2017 Angus Andrew released ‘TFCF’, Liars’ eighth studio album and Aaron Hemphill recently released Nonpareils’ ‘Scented Pictures’, his debut solo album. (Both albums are out on Mute, Andrew and Hemphill’s label since Liars’ debut, ‘They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’.) Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill were given the script for ‘1/1’ and, after reading it on a flight from LA to NY, immediately decided to take it on. “It was very heavy, it was very intense and by the time we got to New York, we’d read it. At that point, we hadn’t seen anything but we were on board just from reading the script,” explains Angus.
Soon after, Liars rented a space in Copenhagen and started work on the film’s soundtrack. The director, who up until that point had been using temp music to mark out where the score would go, gave the band descriptions for each of the cues. Instead of giving musical direction, he gave them emotional and descriptive language to describe what he wanted, such as “imagine you have a 100 piece puzzle, but you have 1000 pieces - what would that sound like” or “the character is submerged in water at 4am” or “an alarm clock won’t stop ringing.” Liars were delighted, “This was the perfect thing for us to hear, that allowed us to explore that feeling. At this point we still haven’t seen the film, we were going off the script and a few sample scenes. These descriptions were really helpful for us, and even though they were abstract, they allowed a lot of interpretation.”
Hemphill goes on to say, “We tried to find ways to take it off the grid. We would watch it, read the script and try to get a feel for the plot development and then base the music off of our memory.” The result is a fractured, emotional response to characters within the film. Without using visual cues that might allow the music to simply mirror emotion, Liars have delved deeper into the reality of some of the more complicated themes of ‘1/1’. Director and writer Jeremy Phillips has explained that the film was originally created in response to watching the films of John Hughes for the first time - after the director’s death in 2009 - and wondering what a Molly Ringwald film would look like now. Highly personal, he explains that it “started to connect me with the past, and dealing with depression and anxiety.”
Phillips has described the film as very much a joint production between all of the artists involved (he himself found specific inspiration in Liars’ single ‘No. 1 Against The Rush’) and some of the film was edited to work with the music, an unusual technique. The director explains, “I view this movie as ours, and that goes for everyone involved in the production. I wanted there to be give and take between everyone working on it.” This is particularly evident as the film was actually changed in some sections to adapt to the music.
Phillips goes on to say that “The music, how it functions in the film, is really the access point to the main character’s thoughts/feelings. It's a coming-of-age story, she’s very distant and the music guides you through the emotions, as both she and the visual language of the film keep maturing.”
Virgo’s seminal début LP comes back around on Trax for the first time, following the 2010 reissue on Rush Hour
First things first - there’s nae worries about the pressing; it’s loud and clear like most of the recent Trax releases. Secondly, do we even need to stress how good this album is!? From their balmy all-time classic ‘Do You Even Know Who You Are’ and the bleeping sonar depth of ‘In A vision’, thru to the lush suspense of ‘Take Me Higher’ and the lusting opulence of ‘Ride’, this is Grade A++ classic Chicago dance music.
Sextet is the second studio album by Manchester postpunk funk group A Certain Ratio, originally released by Factory Records in January 1982.
Self-produced at Revolution Studio, Sextet saw the original Ratio quintet of Donald Johnson, Jeremy Kerr, Martin Moscrop, Simon Topping and Peter Terrell joined by co-vocalist Martha 'Tili' Tilson. Written and recorded following a transformative sojourn in New York at the end of 1980, the album reflects Latin, samba and even jazz influences (eg Skipscada; Day One), while still retaining Ratio's signature brittle funk textures, heard in full effect on Lucinda, Gum and trancelike floor filler Knife Slits Water.
Jay Glass Dubs diffracts Sade thru his inverted prism with delicious results for Berceuse Heroique following the dispatch of his immense ‘Dubs’ comp on Ecstatic and the ‘YMFEES’ collab with Leslie Winer...
Perfectly timed for summer in the northern hemisphere, The Safest Dub yields three deep ’n rugged takes on a definitive ‘80s soul anthem, swiping away the vocal to refocus the groove in a patented, fluid and spectral style of dub process that’s brought so much attention to Athens-based Dimitris Papadatos a.k.a. Jay Glass Dubs in recent years.
Uptown, he synchs trickling marimbas with slippery bass and balmy synth voices in The Warmest Dub to lush, radiant effect, before the night comes in properly with the vaporous brass and groggy, red wine-soaked slosh of The Safest Dub. Downtown, he opens the groove out to 9 minutes of sun-dazed breeziness, sounding like a stray studio take where Sade smoked a blunt and could barely get her words out in the booth, leaving Jay as the man behind the glass, dubbing the groove something sublime.
First time vinyl reissue of Alice Coltrane’s last LP for Impulse! - remastered from original tapes...
“Originally released in 1972, Lord Of Lords was Alice Coltrane’s final album for Impulse! and the last installment in her awe-inspiring trilogy that also included Universal Consciousness and World Galaxy. While all three records featured strings alongside a jazz ensemble, Lords Of Lords stood apart from its predecessors due to the sheer size of the orchestra (12 violins, 6 violas and 7 cellos, arranged and conducted by Coltrane herself) and its refined, blissful performances – shining a vital light on the devotional path that she would follow for the rest of her career.
On the first two pieces, "Andromeda's Suffering" and "Sri Rama Ohnedaruth" (titled after the spiritual name for her late husband), Alice’s dazzling piano and harp blend perfectly with the blanket of strings, while the haunting rhythm section of Charlie Haden and Ben Riley and a magnificent, droning electric organ emerge immaculately on the title track and closer "Going Home." Coltrane's musical vision is bold in its imagination and cosmic in scope, yet remains intensely personal and immediate. Lord Of Lords points inward as much as to the beyond, recalling her classical roots and recasting Eastern modes to radically invert the American avant-garde and spiritual jazz traditions.”
Mesmerising dream house with a lush, pastoral aura from Linkwood of Firecracker Records fame
Making his welcome first move in three years, the Edinburgh-based producer unfurls the rolling, gauzy beauty of ‘Mine Meld’ with its panoramic pads and effortlessly cushioned groove reaching Ron Trent-style levels of soul-warming subbass by the track’s end.
On the other side ‘Nae Drama’ bristles with rawer electronics and simmering tribal drum patterns laced with a swell of field recordings and wilder FX bound to bring the crowd to a frisky fever pitch, recalling some transfixing blend of Carl Craig and Ra.H sensibilities.
Another ace addendum to 0PN’s ‘Age Of’, including album cut ‘We’ll Take It’ plus two brand new productions and the brilliant, previously Japan-only bonus level, ‘Trance 1’
‘We’ll Take It’ finds 0PN in full-blown industrial sci-fi mode with some of his deadliest drum programming and churning synth torsion emulating the motion sickness of time travel, accentuated by additional production by James Blake.
‘Monody’ hears him plumbing a sort of proggy IDM uchronia, where the mid ‘70s folds in to mid ‘90s and mid-WTF we call this decade, and ‘Blow By Blow’ follows that logic to sound like a bastard organism imagined by Autechre and Steve Vai making its first tentative steps into a VR world.
Best of the lot is ‘Trance 1’, which previously appeared on the Japan-only edition of ‘Age Of’ and now blazes out on this release like the view of planet exploding in the rear window of an escape shuttle headed for new solar systems.
Bonus points for the ‘spliffy’ jeans-style avatar on the jacket!
One of the rarest records in the world, by ‘Os Mutantes’ before they were ‘Os Mutantes’, copies have changed hands for $5000...
"‘O’Seis’ are the core members of the mighty and legendary ‘Os Mutantes’ - namely Rita Lee and brothers Arnaldo and Sergio Baptista, accompanied here by Raphael Vilardi, Maria ‘Mogguy’ Malheiros and Luiz Pastura.
The record features anthemic, heavyweight, psychedelic rock on ‘Suicida’ b/w deeper, tripped-out MPB-folk on ‘Apocalipse’. Both tracks were written by Rita Lee, assisted by Tobe and Vilardi respectively. The term ‘holy grail’ is a little overused these days perhaps, but this definitely is one. Originally pressed and released by the band themselves in 1966, apparently only a handful of copies are known to exist (sources/numbers vary)."
"Nothing can stop a flutist. We can do whatever we want, whatever we feel. My flute, is a mirror of myself. I express feelings more easily with the flute than with language." This is what Jean Cohen-Solal said on the cover of his first album, Flûtes libres, renowned for its adventurous overdubbing of alto, piccolo and bass flutes, in treble or in C and ocarina.
"Mentioned on the famous Nurse With Wound list, the path followed by Jean Cohen-Solal included many exciting adventures in the 1970s, from his participation in the cult animation series Les Shadoks where his voice can be heard alongside the actor Claude Piéplu, to his proximity to the GRM where he worked alongside Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle, Luc Ferrari, Guy Reibel and Béatrice Ferreyra, or his involvement in progressive music with Captain Tarthopom (1973), an album very much in the same style as that featured in Europe on the Vertigo label, but in an instrumental form, and even more audacious, without turning its back on the same classical influences as everyone else.
It is impossible to pin a label on Jean Cohen-Solal, he is the equal of his anglo-saxon counterparts Bob Downes, Harold McNair, Jon Field (Jade Warrior) and Jeremy Steig, just to mention the most creative of the bunch. His affinity with strings, already heard in his work with Serge Franklin, (author of the the ineffable Free Sitar) on Flûtes libres, is perfectly echoed here by the work of Jean-Claude Deblais, himself author of one of the little-known summits of sound illustration and French underground music: Le Miroir du fantastique."
Freerotation’s Duckett rolls out a mixed bag of Afro-inspired, bittersweet and gritty grooves for Berceuse Heroique
The rhythms are all a bit too regular and pedestrian for us, especially when compared with the crookedly attractive drum workouts of Don’t DJ already released by BH, but adherents to the cult of "Freero” will surely find some nice moments inside...
L.A.’s Deb DeMure, a.k.a. Drab Majesty, captures the heart ache and glamour of his home city in the purple neon-lit wave pop of Careless, his debut album with NYC’s Dais Records and also his highest profile release to date.
Inspired by the range of characters on his childhood bus trips from “home in crumbling Hollywood to his grandmother’s apartment, nestled in the pastel pristineness of Beverley Hills”, as well as later troubles with drugs and the death of a loved one, Drab Majesty packages nostalgia and emotion with a sincerity that’s equal parts timeless pop romance and late ‘80s/early ‘90s Californian ennui, and it works a treat.
His candy flossed guitar reverbs are undoubtedly debted to The Cure in the best way from The Foyer thru Entrance And Exits, while the vocal harmonies float and flit between Robert Smith-style naval gaze and pure Paddy McAloon swoon, vaulted to sky-kissing levels of MBV sehnsucht in Unknown To The I, or like a less laconic John Maus produced by Cliff Martinez in the The Heiress, whilst Foreign Eye clearly salutes classic dancefloor Depeche Mode.
Really classy stuff. Tip!
No nonsense acid techno and lush ambient dance music from Oslo’s André Bratten
On the first in a trilogy of 12”s, Bratten really impresses on both sides, first with the stonking warehouse welly of ‘Un’ at a clenched and unrelenting 145bpm tilt recalling Bjarki and Caustic Window era AFX, then to the contrary with a wide, beautiful tract of floating pads and percolated techno pulses in ‘Pax Americana’, whose whirring rhythms also sound great at 33rpm rather than the recommended 45.
Sun dazed Antipod-earia from Danny Wild’s Low Slung on Aussie label, Ken Oath Records
Marking his 2nd move on the label after the ‘Coastal Garden’  single, ‘Blow waves’ expands on Low Flung’s hackneyed definition of ambient downbeat music over a whole LP, resulting in a slowly congealing blend of analogue synth sources spread on drum machine grooves...
Coyote Records launch a class début from VIO_L3T into orbit of UK drill, grime and weightless styles, backed with a signature, playfully moody remix by E.M.M.A.
Hailing from not-so-grimy Somerset, VIO_L3T fidns a balance of inner city tension and more spacious, widescreen synth feels to his first release, scanning the expansive synth intro and cold drill drums of Cloud-Tech next to the teetering dembow break structures and spiralling arps of Sentinel and the clipped, airy bump of Fragment.
E.M.M.A. gives Cloud-Tech a more immediate appeal, curtailing the intro so she can get busy with slugging bass and a more psychedelic, less glum synth arrangement in signature style.
In advance of felicita’s eagerly awaited album, ‘hej!’...
PC Music give a tart taste of its upfront thrills with the combo of squeaky clean baroque motifs and strange vocaloids underlined by glutinous subbass on ‘coughing up amber’, whereas ‘shook’ goes hard with burned out kicks squeezed into a sort of cyber-dancehall pressure cooker riddim.
Lithuania’s Patrica Kokett swivels on a mean, slow groove in four bugged-out ways for the excellent Knekelhuis label
“Patricia Kokett’s sound is shrouded in a veil of mysticism. The brainchild of Lithuanian Gediminas Jakubka, Diabel’s metallic heartbeat underlies a magical superstructure that evokes some kind of DMT infused trip. Or possibly even some kind of ancient ritual, where one is intoxicated by serpents blood. Guided by repetitive drum patterns, it creates a slow joint dance that opens the path towards transcendence.”
Big room/family-size chunks of Detroit house, revolving around Carl Craig’s ‘C2Back2ThaBasicsEDIT’ of ‘Heavy’ full of happy piano chops and Steffanie Christi’an’s soulful vox, along with the stripped down ‘Dub’, and the brooding build of Inner City’s own ‘Dark Side’ mix loaded with KMS’ lustrous Reese bass.
Copenhagen’s regenerated Multiplex dispense a long overdue 3rd ‘Tivoli Trax’ volume of leftfield house cuts
Kicking off with the crunchy IDM breaks of Hüebsch Originators’ ‘Merchants of Venice’ from the ’Tivoli Trax’  CD, then switches tack into subaquatic deep house in ‘Bodies’ by Vassdrag, along with the cruise control swing of B From E’s ‘No Memory’, and the hubby bubble of ‘Nightwave’ from Dennis Bøg a.k.a. Reissue a.k.a. Dennis Uprock.
‘Thirst’ is the exquisite début of diamond-cut dance music from Xzavier Stone for Fractal Fantasy
Two years in the works, Thirst follows Xzavier’s appearance on Visceral Minds 2 and a crackshot remix of Martyn Bootyspoon with a blinding portrait of the US producer’s intricately detailed style, where he leaves no nanosecond wanting for colour, heat and dynamic movement.
Xzavier’s vocals feature prominently, refracted and warped like an autotuned light beam thru its myriad dimensions, accentuating the album’s highlights and cushioning its downstrokes while also acting as another rhythmic element within its tightly packed atoms.
It’s a sterling summation of where US club music is at right now, a breathless mixture of R&B, dancehall, reggaeton and bass-heavy regional styles, all lacquered with the shiniest production imaginable. For DJs and dancers, you could do a lot worse than checking for its strongest moments in the likes of Stone’s lush yet highly-strung oddity XYLT, with its ear-worming R&B vocal riding rock hard drums, or equally in the intoxicating deep blue tone and mercilessly tight percussive prangs of Oud.
Steve Poindexter & Traxman boot off their Factory Music Chicago label with a banging pack of hard-to-find and exclusive Chi house bangers
Windy City pioneer Poindexter percolates the dance proper with ‘Return to the Ghetto’ from his ‘Demolition Man’  12”, beside the dusty, tracky exclusive of his ‘911’ banger with Armando featuring killer synth sirens and maaad subbass.
Down below, Traxman brings up the filtered jack of ‘1990’ in classic style, before reworking Armando’s classic ’We’re On The Move (Snare Yo Azz Off)’ with a tight, simmering jack beat.
DJ Protein pipes up with a ruddy ghetto-house flip of Destiny’s Child b/w a pendulous deep house ace
Fabio Monesi a.k.a. Hissman - a.k.a. DJ Protein for purposes of this 12” - gives the club what it wants with the A-side’s gritty call + response spin on ‘Say My Name’, while the B-side is rolled out raw but plush for the swangers.
While Kevin Drumm has a reputation as a harbinger of doom, he also possesses an instinctive gift for quieter and meditative tones which are deployed to sublime, melancholy effect on this epic new double album. It generates a phosphorescent shadowplay of electro-acoustic tones and timbres comparable to his landmark releases Imperial Distortion and Tannenbaum in terms of their palpable yet somehow barely-perceptible spectral presence.
The first LP in the set is a special addition to the Drumm oeuvre. One of the most varied slabs in his catalogue, it moves in four parts from the keen of hollowed/hallowed resonance in The Forthright Fool to a transfixing pair of works entitled The Loop A + B, with the former sounding like Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement meets AFX’s SAW II ambience, and the latter deploying a gauzier sound sphere of coruscating tones and genteel chaos intensifying to a swarming panic attack, before the B-side-long Old Connections smears that tension with a paralysing, eviscerating force like being buried and slowly dissolving within a glacier.
From that subtle departure of the new paths of Disc 1, the 2nd plate returns us to more familiar Drumm terrain in all three sections. The longest, A Blind Spot hearkens to the supremely rare effect of Imperial Distortion, somehow coruscating yet amniotic - a proper metal ambience - while the final side’s Social Interaction feels like a smothered, internalized expression of Aaron Dilloway’s grotesque body gurns, and the near-static shimmer of Reverse Osmosis lends a suitably ambiguous close with an unyieldingly slow yet somehow lush strokes of genius.
Details of Gustave Doré’s wood-engraved illustration from The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge adorns the sleeve and firmly hints at the poetic tempest and grain of Drumm’s work inside, which fixes its gaze not on the drama of the situation, but the tension and anxiety which frames it.
Absolutely aching with soul, Mississippi’s vinyl distillation of Clinton Walker’s acclaimed ‘Anthology of Aboriginal Country Music’ is a truly revelatory set of country music made by native Australian artists, almost guaranteed to open and plug a unique gap in collections everywhere...
Coincidentally arriving only weeks after the Efficient Space reissue of Waak Waak Djungi’s blend of synths and native Australian folksong in ‘Waak Waak ga Min Min’, this typically amazing Mississippi LP shines a light on a spellbinding, often unsettling, niche of music which is perhaps understandably unknown to listeners outside of Australia, yet should be instantly familiar to anyone with even a basic appreciation of blues and country songcraft.
From the mesmerising lilt and buzz of Black Allen Barker’s ‘Take Me Back’ to the heartbreakingly humble delivery of Jimmy Little’s ‘The Coloured Lad’ and the distinctively NSW-twang and bluesy rasp of Maisie Kelly’s ‘My Home In The Valley’, this is an incredible set of songs that will resonate with listeners far beyond their original home.