The master of shifty, kinky slow-motion dance music deposits his 2nd volume of lean and eerie joints with Antinote.
Hardly ever getting out of first gear, but totally making a virtue of it, Decades, Vol.2 stalks four discreet lines across the ‘floor, hovering into view with lethargic lope and haunting chorales of Calirough, and swanging from the hip into the Muslimgauze-like maze of Hyroglyph, before Wooden wands cranks into 2nd gear, accentuating the strut with swooping subs, for the shadowy Monia to fall back into a dark, heads-down wind-tunnel chug ripe for soundtracking a dream montage in some carmine-stained Italian horror classic.
And all it takes is an MPC, a small synthesiser set up and some effects to get you going. Or “Limitations offer lots of liberties” as Detlef Weinrich a.k.a. Toulouse Low Trax puts it himself. A lesson many could learn from…
Frighteningly fxcked-up and compelling slab from Schimpfluch-Gruppe participant Dave Phillips, whom with Rise arguably establishes a crucial bridge between the continuum of radical European outsider art and NON or Halcyon Veil’s politically-charged, hyperreal soundscapes.
Accompanied by some of the most fascinating sleeve notes we’ve read since, ooh, Pauline Oliveros’ Primordial/Lift, Dave Phillips’ Rise conveys a starkly impending warning about human greed and the tendency toward anthropocentric worldviews and “extractivism”, as opposed to stewardship, all rendered thru seven scenes scrolling from convulsive hyperviolence to detached, abyssal drone and clawing cacophony.
We really couldn’t say whether Phillips, a tireless “purveyor of radical sound since the mid ‘80s” has heard or is even aware of the NON phenomena or Halcyon Veil’s abrasive aesthetics, but the textural and political similarities between those vital new labels and Phillips’ cranky ass are just too striking to ignore.
Face first, he sucks us into the peristaltic paroxysms of We Know Enough To Know How Much We Will Never Know with a sense of arrhythmic chaos and trepidation that feels like Rabit and John Wiese imagining a world where feral populations fight over the last food and goods on the shelves, before Rise steps outside into a bombed out scape strafed with buzzing flies, and Culture Of Ethical Failure sinks into a fetid mire of soggy textures and deeply unpleasant torture chamber wretches dappled with minor key piano motifs.
The Construct farther gnaws at the simulacra’s shaky resolution with visceral, unsettling white noise distortion, and Solastalgia / Ohnmacht feels like the infinite intro to a Venetian Snares calamity which never manifests, instead serving up grindcore rage in Only The Cockroaches Shall Survive To Rule The Earth, and leaving us petrified at what may come with the primordial orgy, A Grain of Salt (Goes a Long Way).
OK, there’s definitely a distinction to be made between Phillips’ extreme angled weltanschauung and the hypermodern consciousness of NON and their affiliates, but it’s surely better to hear their relative similarities and, if you’re a DJ or listener who likes to mess around with their records, to crash and layer ‘em together in the mix where we’d imagine they’ll really come alive together.
Stellar mix of French-only psychedelic experiments collected and sequenced by Editions Gravats proprietors Jean Carval and Philippe Hallais (Low Jack), the latest in a sought-after series which has already seen reggaeton picks from DJ Clara! and a bonkers gabber comedy by DJ David Coquelin.
It’s a right melter in that breezy, louche way that you might hope from a mix of pure Gallic suss, traversing a colourful, yet low-lit spectrum from ‘70s psyche experiments thru to free jazz, obscure ‘80s synth-pop and acoustic folk music from Brittany, where Editions Gravats share roots.
If anything it shows up our knowledge of this area as the only names we recognise are Anne Gillis Jacques Berrocal and Pascal Comelade, while the rest - including Francois Koekelare, George Rodi, Brume, Guy Skronik, Francesco Semprun and Alesia Cosmos - effectively form a whole new sphere of sounds, to our ears at least.
A bit like visiting and drifting around an unfamiliar city without a map at dusk, the mix forms a sort of rambling dérive for the open-minded listener, inviting us down strange alleys, thru the old quarters, to side street psych jams, cafés playing eerie chanson and to haunted bars where the player piano cranks itself up.
One can only imagine what the original crowds who saw George Méliès classic, prototypical sci-fi film adaptation of Jules Vernes’ A Trip To The Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune) in 1902 would have thought of Jeff Mills new, all electronic score.
“When Georges Méliès created A Trip To The Moon in 1902, the world was just beginning to feel the tightening, yet exciting effects of another giant leap in modern civilisation with the Industrial Age. It was a place in time that was transformable and in all dimensions of an evolutionary process: social, economic and political revolutions were buzzing. And man worked hard under the Sun, exposing his efforts and determination, it was the Moon that hatched his dreams. It was a time of realisation and a time of romance.” Jeff Mills
Conceived and produced by Mills in order to soundtrack the newly discovered and restored hand-coloured print of the film, his score fits the film’s fantastical nature with a blend of hi-line, weightless electronic tones and immersive, abstract gestures directly inspired by its imagery but taking license to jetpack off along new techno trajectories.
If you were into Mills OSTs for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Woman In The Moon, or Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage, this one will take you there, too.
Newly availed as a download, Permissions was written and recorded by ambient innovator K. Leimer in 2012, with crucial input in the edit, mix and post-production by 12k’s Taylor Dupree.
Compared with what we know of Leimer’s explorative early work, Permissions feels like a sublimated expansion of his electro-acoustic textures, rendering 16 tracks, 71 minutes of shimmering tonal mingle and diffusion best consumed in low lit and laid-back conditions, especially if you like 12K or Home Normal releases.
Collaborative compilation album of absolute essentialness. Featuring: Morgan Buckley, Olmo Devin, Dark Delight, Davy Kehoe + more. Sound of the Rathmines industrial estate ... weirdo wagon dance music. Huge Tip!
Pivoting around Morgan Buckley and OD, whose acclaimed Shout Out To The Weirdos Of Rathmines 12” (No ‘Label’, 2014) can been heard as a clarion call for this compilation’s roster - Dark Delight, Who’s The Technician, Little Movies, Lee Eel, Plop - the crew assemble from all corners of Ireland to leave you with a fuzzy taste of the isle’s contemporary dancefloor undercurrents.
Their shared style is anachronistic, playfully freestyle and equally at home in packed basements or smoked-out afters, bookended by a wickedly mucky rut of rolling post-punk dub, 7,000 Years by Gombeen & Doygen which sounds like Dennis Bovell dubbing Die Dominas, and a slompy gang-bang in Teen - Romp - Hoe - Down, you can expect anything to happen in between, so long as it’s rude, smudged and off-centre.
That means Afrorhythmic sensibilities in OD’s Super Secret Office Party, and barnyard boogie woogie in Paco’s Ode, whilst Who’s The Technician whips out a mint quickstepper called Tractor Troubles (Part I), and Little Movies sets square between the eyes with Gregory(an) Wah, with the motorik, boot-cut set dance of Morgan & Davy’s Craudrock for the craic, plus a natty electro-pop wriggler called Sligo B from Plop.
The much-cherished Boats/Cotton Goods affiliated Tape Loop Orchestra make a blissful start to the year with an hour long excursion into string-laden ambience suffused with field recordings, traces of ghostly sound and phenomenological overlays in keeping with the Electronic Voice Phenomenon theme. It's soaring, beautiful stuff - highly recommended if you're into Stars Of The Lid, Tim Hecker, Grouper.
For some, EVP is nothing more than a relic of the analogue age, a pseudoscience built on pareidolia or apophenia and “disturbed” people tuning into the voices in one’s head. For others, it presents a richly syncretic field of study combining psychology, parapsychology, metaphysics and the chuff-knows-what, forming potential communication bridges to other dimensions. In any event, it makes for a useful subject matter for this kind of music; you're never quite sure what you're listening to or how it was made, but become increasingly aware of its disorientating effect the more you listen.
In TLO’s hands, Instrumental Transcommunications provides a deep well of inspiration behind this seriously heady album, which unfurls as a gauzy tapestry of original samples from Raymond Cass, among others, woven with signature synthetic diffusions, sorely emotive cues and Beth Roberts’ cirrus pop wisps in the most magical, elusive convections.
This project just gets better with every release; if you’re a fan of genuinely moving orchestral reductions and tempered Ambient music free of heavy-handed/manipulative emotive signatures - this one’s for you.
Bitter Earth is the much anticipated, long-in-the-making new album from John Duncan joined by a broad cast of adroit collaborators; Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Smegma, Chris Abrahams, Joe Talia, CM Von Hausswolff, Eiko Ishibashi, France Jobin - all written in dedication to Mika Vainio (who, for avoidance of doubt, is not dead!). It's a remarkable suite of cover versions - from The Gun Club to Nina Simone and Iggy Pop - and original material by an arch experimenter who continues to explore unfamiliar territory...
We’re no experts on Duncan’s oeuvre, but this record flips our previous assumptions on their fleshy bonce, taking in a sweltering, almost cinematic psych version of The Gun Club’s The House On Highland Avenue along with his own original, gospel-like spiritual Red Sky and capped off with an achingly intimate solo piano twist on The Four Tops’ Reach Out.
The effect is most often shocking in the sweetest way, especially if you’re more familiar with his esoteric work mapping the Nazca Lines for Planam or the indescibable breadth of his First Recordings 1978-85 V.1.2 box set, for example.
Perhaps it’s an exercise in catharsis after so many years of heavy drones and outsider experimentation, or perhaps it’s intended to draw a perpendicular connection between that work and pop/folk/jazz idioms. But, either way, his cracked, naked voice is utterly captivating, whether accompanied by shivering tambourine in a take on Pere Ubu’s Dark or transporting Jefferson Airplane’s Comin’ Back To Me to a scene of cicadas and lilting, metallic drums and electronics somewhere between Tel Aviv and Bologna.
A timeless record we reckon you’ll return to over and again. Highly recommended!
Six classic Giallo and Italian film nuggets on one “pitch black” disc.
“WRWTFWW Records is feverishly thrilled to announce the first ever vinyl release of the soundtrack for Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s critically-acclaimed Belgian-French giallo Amer (2009), filled with superb compositions by Italian movie score legends Ennio Morricone, Stelvio Cipriani, and Bruno Nicolai, all remastered for hardcore audiophile appreciation.
Described by The New York Times as "a surreal cinematic tone poem that pays slavering homage to Italian giallo horror films of the 1970s", Amer finds its influences in the films of Dario Argento, Luis Buñuel, or Mario Bava and makes for a truly visceral cinematic experience, thanks notably to a perfectly curated soundtrack compiling some of the best songs from cult Italian movies of the past.
Amer includes 3 songs by the great Stelvio Cipriani, well known for the marvellous soundtrack of poliziottesco movie La Polizia Sta A Guardare (1973) whose main theme was reborn in 2007 on Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, as well as music for countless cult spaghetti western and giallo movies. He received a Nastro d’Argento award for best score for The Anonymous Venetian (1970).
The legend himself Ennio Morricone also shows up on the soundtrack with a sexy and melancholic jazz number, while his longtime collaborator Bruno Nicolai delivers the hypnotic strings that carry the eerie and erotic mood of the film. Last but not least, the beautiful voice of beloved singer Adriano Celentano cements what is a must-have album for 60s and 70s Italian soundtrack fanatics."
Really feeling this trio of gritty jackers, from new beat and acid house to Faces Drums-styles rasp, courtesy of Rawmance + Security for Rome’s burger and techno stronghold, Knick Knack Yoda.
Working in some cranky blindspot between OG ‘80s Chicago, Belgian and Italian templates, Bad Coke Jerk rides a clammy groove of percolating drum machines and searing psych guitar licks into denser, messed up acid noise accompanied by a whispering vocal for the duration. Trippy and wicked with it.
Fuggi Dalla Notte is more fugged up, writhing to salty, stumbling sequencer patterns under a chorus of rave angels, and Seine St Denis Rhythm Trax goes stripped down and rugged on a Jamal Moss/Steve Poindexter/Alessandro Novaga flex.
Expanded reissue of Biosphere's 2000 album for Touch.
'Cirque' was originally released by Touch in 2000, and they have finally seen fit to re-issue the record so those of us who missed it first time around can hear what all the fuss was about.
This is where Biosphere really began to experiment beat structures and the framework of 'dance' music, yet he submerged the rhythmic elements so far beneath his expertly crafted drones and field recordings that it's difficult to place this in the same genre as more dancefloor oriented work.
Take the Basic Channel influenced 'When I Leave'; vinyl crackle and dissonant pads float around gloriously before being punctured by a pulsating bassline and then a simple, minimal 4/4 thud to bring the track together perfectly. Elsewhere 'Iberia Eterea' takes a jazzy hi-hat rhythm and pushes it through a haze of lo-fidelity noise and buzzing synthesizer drones giving it the quality of an ancient movie seen through the eyes of David Lynch. It's easy to see on this album where acts such as Deaf Center managed to mine so much inspiration - Geir Jenssen's work has served to influence so much modern electronic music that it is almost crucial to re-visit everything the man has to offer.
The Grey Catalog departs from Leimer’s typical obsessions with understatement and homogeneity to range freely across rhythmic, melodic, and disassembled forms.
"Incorporating percussion, electric guitar and bass as well as found sound, digital and analog synthesis and sampled instruments, The Grey Catalog spins off multiple intimations of some earlier works; particularly Closed System Potentials, The Neo-Realist (at Risk) and The Useless Lesson. Compiled over a two-year period, as diverse as the pieces are, they are also related by a shared generative technique and a shared library of voices and processing. The result is an album of highly personal music, restless and shifting forms, with melodic passages drawn over sets of self-regulating sources and shaped by approaches refined over decades of occasionally stumbling across something that might work."
John Cameron’s jazz-funky psych score to British teen satanist biker flick, Psychomania (1973). Now with black instead of white cover
“If KES was the best film I ever wrote music for, PSYCHOMANIA was the most bizarre. Jazz and session musicians playing pre-punk 'trash-rock' for a tale of supernatural gore and mayhem, on a Shepperton recording stage more suited to the the LSO than a rock line-up, complete with 'suit-and-tie' recording engineer is one of my more unexpected memories. In a pre-synthesiser age every trick was used: Musser vibes through phase and wah-wah pedals, phased bowed bass, drumsticks inside a grand piano, electric harpsichord through a compressor, Hammond organ fed through a phase unit and Leslie speakers, and wordless solo voice.
I know the flautist was Harold McNair, the vibes player/percussionist was Bill Le Sage, and the drummer was Tony Carr. I'm pretty sure the bassist was Spike Heatley , the bass guitarist was probably Herbie Flowers, and the guitarists were likely to have been Alan Parker and Colin Green. As far as the voice is concerned, it was almost certainly Norma Winstone who sang on my 'Marlowe Private Eye' recordings in 1980. Sorry my recollection is a little blurred, hell, it was the 1970’s!” - John Cameron
Death Waltz exhume another classic soundtrack from the world of horror cinema with Bruno Nicolai's incredible score to the 1981 Emilio Miraglia giallo The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (aka La Notte Che Evelyn Usci Dalla Tomba).
"The film is as mad as its title; Evelyn is dead before it starts and her previously institutionalized husband Alan, who has begun to murder strippers as a form of therapy, is duped by his cousin who wants to rid of his heir. Oh, and there's the matter of Evelyn's resurrection and a whole dose of other murders - it's unreal.
Adding to the surrealism of the situation is Nicolai's deranged score that mixes super effective jarring orchestral with electronic effects and speed jazz that has truly disconcerting time signatures. It's absolutely creepy and utterly terrifying with queasy quivering synthesizers that sound like an entire waves of insects and the juxtaposition of a fantastic bass line with a sawing string effect that is just sickening. And then there's the beautiful typical romantic giallo melody that really stands out, with vocals courtesy of the iconic Edda Dell'Orso. (Charlie Bridgen - Editor: Films On Wax)"
With Beneath the Mirrored Surface, Marc Barreca continues his quest to create deep and shifting aural spaces by merging the abstract rhythmic warmth of early analog synthesis with the complexity and timbral beauty of acoustic instruments and natural sound.
"For this release, Barreca extracted and reshaped rhythms and textures from field recordings, decades-old world folk recordings and acoustic instrument loops. These sources were first converted into MIDI data using Ableton Live and then transformed and manipulated with Max/ MSP. Hundreds of these source clips were then blended and arranged with layered and looped digital synthesizer and sampler tracks. The result is a dense, rich world of refracted light and shifting shadow. Mastered by Taylor Dupree.”
Kazakh violinist Aisha Orazbayeva presents her latest album Telemann Fantasias, works by German composer G.P. Telemann published in 1735.
"Orazbayeva's performance of these pieces range from personal and stylistic interpretations to versions marked by the distortion and fragmentation of the material through the use of contemporary violin techniques.
The variety of extreme colours, sounds and tones illuminates the polyphonic character and phrasing of the music, while also adding unfamiliar and distant qualities. This approach to interpreting old repertoire reflects her work in improvisation and as a performer of new and experimental music.”
Pontiak is made up of three brothers from the Blue Ridge farm country of Virginia, Van (guitar, lead vocals), Lain (drums, vocals) and Jennings Carney (bass, organ, vocals). Their music is swaggering guitar rock that straddles the line between a power trio and something far more expansive in sound and scope.
Their broad song structures allow ample room for three-part vocals, drums, organ and stellar slide and lead guitar to stretch and captivate. Songs roll along with an effortless synchronicity despite their extremely varied textures." Sun On Sun is the band's second full-length, for which they've played a bit of a Bon Iver, holing themselves up for recording in a log cabin out in the wilds of Virginia.
Instead of incubating a pared down evocation of intimacy however, Pontiak reach for ambitious, experimental rock textures, culminating in the Crazy Horse-do-shoegaze marathon of the title track, the barbed organ blues of 'Tell Me About' and even a spot of eerie dark ambience on 'Swell'. Excellent.
Ego grease the ‘floor with a rainbow slick of boogie by Tokyo’s Noboyuki Suzuki a.k.a. Sauce81.
Authentic late ‘70s vibes boogie-soul bumps on the full vocal version of Dance Tonight, with a stripped and wiggly Disco Dub on the other one.
Taut, grinding and jabbing techno trax from Romania’s Dan HabarNam on a hard, bruxist clench for Selectie - his 2nd shot for the German-based label.
In all four cases HabarNam keep the groove tucked tight-in-the-pocket and moody af; getting into gear with the grimy, shifty lockstep and weightless chorales of 4AM Rattle, before smearing the strings into the tiger registers over wide burly Reese bass and needling drums in The F.P. Beat.
Juno Birdcall sits in a stranger place between original UK bleep, swanging house and ambient techno on the flipside, and The Blue LED Ban buckles down to a nervy, shivering Bristol bass-techno style recalling Rhythmic Theory or Livity Sound.
Pivotal Belgian synthesist André Stordeur serves Sub Rosa another pinnacle of their Early Electronic Series with a first-ever vinyl pressing of three pieces - the expanding harmonic scape of Chant 10A (1980) and two which aren’t necessarily ‘early’, but are no less brilliant, with the c.2000 parts of Nervous and Tablas.
Realised at IRCAM, Paris, between 1980-81 on a Serge series 79 and bespoke Serge prototype 1980 Modular synthesiser - built especially for Stordeur by Serge Tcherepnin himself - the record’s most striking feature is the A-side Chant 10A, where Stordeur used a DEC VAX 11/60 CPU running ‘Music 10’ and ‘Chant’ softwares to process his Serge sketches into a beast, gloaming shadow of a piece embedded with ghostly choral swells which really come to the fore in the final section. It’s frighteningly strong stuff, and kinda exactly what we hoped for - safe to say those countless hours spent waiting for his behemoth CPU to do its thing were not in vain.
The other two date much closer to the modern day: Nervous (2000) swivels between head-swallowing black holes and sustained sourness, like a chorale of keening angels, before spiralling the super crisp, pointillist rhythms of Tabla (c.2000) - a purely rhythmic piece peppered with ace trills and intricate pattern shifts that draws upon his travels in New Dehli around 1963, and his subsequent, in-depth studies of modular synth process, to sound almost like some Ø or Plastikman experiment from the same era
Spangled techno misfits from the Power Vacuum
Dr. Skime slings the elasticated electro-techno madness of RX5 Jams 8, 9 & 7; Pan Daijang forces out the bruxist charge of Very Uncomfortable, Please;Beau Wanzer tees the boisterous Up Chuck’s; Bristol’s Inca Pax slugs home the messy electro of Transfer Function; and Bleaching Agent does his job with cutthroat effect.
Prime balearia from down under, or Melbourne’s Tornado Wallace to be precise.
His follow-up to the Falling Sun 12” with Music From memory’s Second Circle follows that 12”s vibe with a clutch of dusky dancers, at best in the richly layered atmospheres of Lonely Planet and the pseudo-ethno feels of Voices, but carrying itself beautifully, elegantly throughout. Even the most sun-leathered balearic type will have to concede; it’s pretty damn lush.
Svelte, proggy, posh-trancing techno from Voiski; rolling the effortless subbass swang and organically modulating trance leads of Let Down Disco, backed by the pumping, bittersweet groover 5th Dolphin Transmission.
One-off Japanaese pressing of this limited CD compiling both of Burial's 'Steet Halo' and 'Kindred' EPs, originally produced exclusively for the Japanese domestic market.
All six tracks in their full length versions, totalling 50 minutes of music not previously available on CD, packaged in full size jewel case with Japanese obi-strip overlay.
Pretty unmissable reissue of Brugnolini and Carnini’s obscure blinder, Beat Drammatico Underground Pop Elettronico - a hugely prescient blend of funked-up Italian soundtrack themes and industrial electronics juiced from an ARP 2600 in 1973, which arguably presaged the sound of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn by a good year. Imagine a soundtrack to the sleaziest, bloodthirsty and drug-fuelled Giallo. Check Omicidio Bianco and then pick your jaw off the ‘floor! A must for fans of John Carpenter, Demdike Stare, Heldon, early Kraftwerk. Impossible to find original copies…
“This session was recorded in 1973 in a very small studio called “Axon” in the centre of Rome, which was well equipped with unusual electronic instruments and headed by Ogando – a skilled sound engineer with great musical taste. These tracks are a rare example of how some protagonists already experimented with the use of avant-garde electronic instruments in “commercial” music production in a period when, from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to the rock music explosion, they were completely replaced by electric guitars. At that time, these sounds were considered eccentric by most of the critics and the public. My background was in jazz music and I was working as a composer of movie and TV soundtrack.
Along with the pianist-organist and classical musician Giorgio Carnini, we decided to take a risk and release our library music merging acoustic sounds and modern vibes. We did it while experimenting with the sounds of the fabulous ARP 2600 synthesizer – maybe that was the first time it had been used in Italy for commercial purpose. It was the main rival of the more famous Moog, the instrument behind great music of those days. We delivered part of this library to Fonit, the centre of Rai TV music production of the time, for the Usignolo edi- tions. As Brugnolini-Carnini, we recorded two albums of library music with over 20 tracks each. One of these, the one including the more dramatic tunes, was released as “Fonit Usignolo 7010”: a record we both agree, is being wisely appreciated again, now after over 40 years its original release. The remaining tracks were released under our monikers Narassa and Zanagoria. For the sake of cohesion, the tracks I wrote appeared on the A-side, and Giorgio’s ones on the B-side… Sandro Brugnolini
Those were amazing years. We were excited to experiment new sounds and had extraordinary instruments at our disposal. In thew first moment, synthesizers didn’t allow polyphony, and we worked hard just to connect the various modules, generators, and filters. Sometimes it was necessary to cut several tiny pieces of tape and paste them together to obtain a few seconds sequences: a lot of work, but what a bliss! What a genuine sound! I remember one track we called “Brandenbourg Generator”: a sort of bold electronic concerto where I had to play, one by one, all the symphonic parts in following takes and then try to synchronize them with the other tracks. Needless to say, hours of work!
Nowadays everything is simpler: polyphonic instruments, computers, and every kind of automation. However, we’re talking about limited systems, even though they may seem perfect. All sounds are available on digital sound banks, you just need to choose them. It’s a kind of a default stock of sounds, so it’s hard to find some novelty and creativity. Nostalgia? No, I think this is a rather pragmatic judgment – it was a different age, with a different semantic field, we could explain the difference through the analog versus digital opposition. The same old story: progress often implicates some sacrifices... Giorgio Carnini”
Another thuggish-sluggish session from J M S Khosah & Brassfoot’s NCA, this time presenting Black Void Smith or BVS working out 60 minutes of slompy grot threaded with excellent samples from celluloid, TV, animations and heck knows where else.
Alloying neck snap beats with raw string slashes and mottled acid bass in a rugged flow of decaying, rasping, rotten-round-the edge productions, it’s absorbing and disorienting in equal measures, maybe best considered as occupying ground between Black Zone Myth Chant, NYC’s Spectre and blunted UK trip hop from Moon Wiring Club.
Your guess is as good as ours as to who’s behind Holograms & Hypnosis - one head, or two? And from what ill quadrant? - but that’s also part of the tape’s allure; a series of unidentified offbeats that leave you sunk low and with unresolved questions that are bound to evaporate by the next track or toke. And yes, we’d definitely recommend doing this one with something sticky, smelly and green between your lips.
Tala AM (or Tala Andre Marie to give him his full and proper name) was born in Bandjoun in Cameroun in 1950. Talas life initially wasn't easy, he becomes blind at an early age and has lost both his mother and father by the age of 12. He then went on to make his first guitar by hand and form his first band "The Rock Boys" by the age of 17. Shortly after he meets the powerhouse of Camerounian music at the time Manu Dibango, a pivotal moment. With help, he re-locates to Paris and signs a contract with Fiesta Records. The first fruit of those labours is his debut album "Hot Koki".
"The lead track (and highlight of this compilation) is "Hot Koki" it is a powerhouse of funk guitar, soul and infectious afro rhythms. Fast forward to 1974 and the famous "Rumble In The Jungle" fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The story goes a little something like this... At an accompanying musical event we find James Brown and Tala AM. JB Hears Hot Koki and creates a remarkably similar sounding track "The Hustle" (check it out side by side if you have the time). Tala sued.. and won.
Fast forward another 40 years. Time to take a look back on the funkier moments of Tala. This is not a "best of" Tala, that has already been done. Want to get into Tala's famous Tchamassi sound or do some "bend skin" beats... well check out the other compilations. Here at Africa Seven (and in this case) we are headed for destination funk. The musical topic inevitably leads us to the 70's and we borrow our super slick source material mainly from the albums Tala made for Fiesta Records from 1973 to 1978.
We open up the bombastic brass, swinging basslines and all out groove of Hot Koki (well after a little intro ditty gem). Then its on to the one of the highlights of "Arabia" album "Black Gold". This track swoons groove. Layers of picked and choppy guitar and on point drumming. "Sugar Lump" is next which sticks to the formula of the previous track but adds in catchy vocals.
Mining into the cave of delights that is the 1978 "Black Woman" album we then follow up with the driving afro beat grooves and stabby brass of "Gotam" and the boogie flowing grooves of "Black Woman" and the frenetic and driving grooves of "Ma Ka La". We round things off with the stabby clavi-funk of "Nom Te Ma" and the ultimate groovy funk-riff closer (and ear worm) Tcham Tcham."
Foundational techno business from 1993, documenting Mark and Moritz pelting ‘em out live at 145bpm at Waschhaus, Potsdam and setting the template for a whole genre.
Phylyps Trak is the one for the DJs.
Totally bewitching, zonked electronics and spectral pop glossolalia from Nadine and Tanya Byrne aka Ectoplasm Girls, the long-awaited follow-up to their incredible TxN album from 2011.
Ectoplasm Girls sound like the progeny of some ancient, mythological creature as opposed to anything of this earthly realm. Their music distills traces of post-techno, doom metal and esoteric electronic pop into a skin-crawling residue that strongly resonates with their name.
As with the aforementioned TxN - a unique highlight of the 2011 schedule - their follow-up spells out a mostly wordless grimoir of slow, writhing rhythms, bittersweet tones and phosphorescent texture incomparable with almost anyone else we can recall, bar maybe Coil or the that ghost band who soundtracked your dreams last night.
Perhaps more so than on TxN, in this instance they feel more faded, detached from the listener, drifting thru 15 stages of séance-like ambience with an incorporeal presence belied only by their clammy sleight of hand and vaporous traces of breathing.
It’s all dark as you like, but crucially with a sense of ambiguity that allows for interpretation depending on your mood and ability to discern between poltergeist-like trembles and the spirits of two possessed artists never afraid to head down whatever musical rabit hole the mood takes them. It's surely one of the most absorbing and mysterious electronic albums you'll hear in 2016 - think of it as sitting uncomfortably somewhere between Grouper, Coil and Rashad Becker.
Reissue of DJ Sprinkles' classic Midtown 120 Blues, self-released by Terre Thaemlitz through his own Comatonse imprint
Bringing deep house back into contact with its club culture roots, Terre Thaemlitz has created one of the most essential house albums of the last few years with 'Midtown 120 Blues'. Terre was originally working as a DJ under her Sprinkles alias in the gay clubs of midtown Manhattan and New Jersey in the late 80's when deep house began to blossom. It's this early period of House history which Terre has beautifully recreated over 10 tracks, making a pointed comment with the intro track taking shots at Strictly Rhythm for becoming 'Strictly Vocal' and pulling no punches towards "Most Europeans who think deep house means shitty hi-NRG vocal house".
With the intentions made clear, Terre develops a masterpiece of serene melancholy and sublime deep house crafted with the skill and dedication of someone who you can truly believe lived this music at that time. From the rich subbass driven tones of 'Midtown 120 Blues' with plaintive pianos slowly encircling one another, to samples of drag queen monologues over the deepest ambient brushed rhythms on 'Ball'r (Madonna-Free Zone)' or head-meltingly warm chords and caressed percussion of 'Brenda's $20 dilemna' - this will suck in and swallow any deep house lovers in one go.
A total pleasure.
Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long's original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles' versions.
As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.
Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll hear in 2016, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.
Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.
To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.
It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.
Colleen's beautiful debut album finally reissued on vinyl - a magical zoetrope of ramshackle mechanics and improvised vignettes...
"Everyone Alive Wants Answers" is the haunting work of 26-year-old Parisienne Cecile Schott. Her debut album release, she has previously released a gem of a 7" single (Babies) on Active Suspension, which brought her to the attention of The Leaf Label. An effortlessly charming album, naive instrumentals filled with warmth , melody and soul, played on a broken music box, a glockenspiel or a guitar. The recordings seem pieced together from an array of field recordings and home tapes, melodies and aroma's slowly infused to create a homespun exercise in delicacy, beauty and a joyously moving appeal to nostalgic sensibilities and abandon. Gorgeous stuff..."
'ZA86' presents reporter Nigel Wrench's remarkable documentation of South Africa under apartheid in 1986, using tapes unlocked for the first time from a Cape Town cellar.
Released to mark the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison, 'ZA86' offers a detailed portrait of a critical point in the regime's final and most oppressive years, built using extracts edited from nine tapes out of the unique cassette archive of Turnstyle News. From street level perspectives of white right wingers and 19 year old platoon leaders to the funeral of TV cameraman and a May Day call to arms by Winnie Mandela, it's an unswerving reflection of a real hell on earth. Highly recommended.
Rawest, illest hip hop/dub mixtape from '98 by Wordsound capo, Skiz Fernando Jr a.k.a. Spectre, feat contributions from sometime Madteo collaborator Sensational, Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin’s Techno Animal alias, Bill Laswell’s Dubadelic project, Godflesh’s Ted Parsons and more.
This is a fine history lesson for many yungers, and a red-eyed flashback for many heads who came thru in the '90s. Originally released on cassette in edition of only 100 copies, it documents late night sessions recorded in New York during the formative era of abstract and experimental beats - a natural progression from more gangsta and hardcore styles to someplace more esoteric, smoked-out, and featuring contributions by non-rhyming MC Sensational, the earliest iterations of Kevin Martin (The Bug) as Techno Animal, and The Jungle Brothers. I
n the parlance of the day; it's a trip, boy. Most of the tracks were produced or "reduced & jinxed" by Spectre, including a number of on-the-fly basslines and drum loops lending it a really frayed and lop-sided quality that producers have tried to recreate since, and definitely sounds leagues away from the last half decade or so of trap trills. But it's also weird for the inclusion of pitched-down, spoken word intros for each cut, framing it closer to a radio show than typical mixtape. Ultimately it's a heady shot-to-the-dome from late '90s New York, which sounds like a different world altogether from our 2015 perch. RIYL vintage Mo'wax, DJ Screw, Company Flow!
Oblique, intense and spirit-gnawing electro-acoustic exercises from The Skull Defekts founder / Ideal head honcho Joachim Nordwall, presenting a brilliantly stark album of direct and gnarly Machine energy that comes highly recommended if you're into anything from Pan Sonic to Alessandro Cortini, Deathprod or Emptyset. So good.
Working with a bunch of tone generators fed thru a massive wall of amps at Elementstudion in Gothenburg, Nordwall isolates and fearlessly homes in on the recording space’s resonant frequencies until you can physically feel the room grinding, whining and shuddering in the kind of spasms that arch the spine and set your back teeth on edge. And he does it relentlessly for the whole record.
It’s what Nordwall in December, 2016 described as “…my ideal black. A place I enjoy to place myself in” and, by turns, appears to be a place we enjoy inhabiting, too. There’s really a lot to be said for the unadulterated pleasure of sustained atonal assaults, and feeling like you’re about to be asphyxiated from the sheer pressure of it all.
The only steady variable in this elemental organism is the sense of rhythm; a metric, pulsing heave that keeps each piece’s tangibly immense weight pushing forward from the crack’d slap of a drum that pins The Ideal Black into place, to the quasi-step lurch of Great Mind of Fire, thru the Alessandro Cortini-Like impulse of Extreme Solution for a Simple Problem to the palsied, cog-ground rattle of System For Psychic Expansion and Black Out at its nether limits.
In the rarest way, thanks to Joachim’s direct approach, the mixing of Linus Andersson, and Heba Kadry’s master at Timeless Mastering, Bushwick, The Ideal Black is about as close as you’ll hear to a 1-to-1 representation of pure, crushing tonal terror. A character-building exercise strongly tipped if you like the biting point sounds of: Kevin Drumm, Alessandro Cortini, Emptyset, Gottfried Michael Koenig
Intrepid, cinematech intrigue from Samo DJ and Max Stenerudh (Maxxxbass), reprising their KWC92 duo on a 2nd night-flight with L.I.E.S. in pursuit of the sought-after Dream Of The Walled City (O.S.T.) LP.
This is some proper, international espionage business, expanding their scope from Stockholm via Hong Kong to a mysterious Iran over an eight-part series of furtive, noirish synth motifs, all separated by colourful, almost cartoonish interludes and pulsating techno themes.
It’s all clearly inspired by the emotive, dramaturgical genius of Giorgio Moroder and Tangerine Dream’s definitive ‘80s soundtracks, but also with a streak of, perhaps, slightly lower grade made-for-TV or VHS themes, which is actually a large part of its charm - recalling hazy cues and feels from more indistinct reference points and leaving the script loosely open ended for nocturnal mind-drift.
Basically; if you loved the last one as much as everyone else, you’ll be all over this one, too.
The xx’s anticipated third album, ‘I See You’, is the follow up to the band’s two previous albums ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’.
‘I See You’ marks a new era for the London trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, both sonically and in terms of process - while ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’ were bothmade in relative isolation in London, ‘I See You’ was recorded between March 2014 and August 2016 in New York, Marfa TX, Reykjavik, Los Angeles and London and is characterised by a more outward-looking, open and expansive approach.
Produced by Jamie Smith and Rodaidh McDonald, ‘I See You’ is The xx at their boldest yet, performing with more clarity and ambition than ever before."
'Live Knots' presents two immersive live recordings of Oren Ambarchi playing the epic 'Knots' from 'Audience Of One' (Touch, 2012) in Tokyo and Krakow's Unsound Festival.
Captured with alternately intimate and widescreen fidelity, the original elements of cyclonic guitar harmony and quicksilver percussion are twisted different ways across the two performances, exploring and testing every nuance of the track's framework. 'Tokyo Knots' intimately documents their show at SuperDeluxe in March 2013, Ambarchi cautiously stalking Joe Talia's prickling, Dejohnette-esque percussion with viscose bass tone and heady harmonic incense, progressively whipping up a free form storm of buzz-saw guitar attacks and crashing drums, organically resolving to a lean motorik groove flecked with spring reverb.
By contrast, the twice-as-long performance of 'Krakow Knots', featuring Sinfonietta Cracovia led by Eyvind Kang on viola, presents a more expansive reading of the same structure, adding a prelude of sliding string dissonance before swelling against Talia's adroit patter with a burgeoning tension, ratcheting the mid-section squall to blistering barrage of buzz-saw flares and strobing fuzz, before burning out to reveal a captivating resolution of string glissandi swept against Joe Talia and Crys Cole's skittish percussion objects and retching spring reverb. The applause at the end is very well earned.
Siaya County, Kenya meets the German underground on this killer grip of Ogoya Nengo And The Dodo Women's Group revisions from Lena Willikens, Tolouse Low Trax, Don’t DJ and more.
Sven Kacirek and Stefan Schneider’s TAL label returns for a second release that revisits last year’s wonderful On Mande album of Luo standards from Kenyan ensemble Ogoya Nengo And The Dodo Women’s Group. On Mande Versions is a decidedly Düsseldorf affair with Salon Des Amateurs regulars Lena Willikens, Tolouse Low Trax and Don’t DJ all involved alongside Version boss Orson.
The Orutu Run Version from Willikens is an ambitious undertaking, pilfering sound samples from various songs on the album to deliver a cacophony of serotonin-rushing percussive textures. By contrast, Detlef Weinrich opt for a typically less is more approach with his Tolouse Low Trax reduction of Mix Zwei, and Don’t DJ’s Sorbe Pekingese remix employs some of the intricate sonic trickery he used as part of Durian Brothers.To close Orson further embellishes on the spacious vibes explored by Weinrich, twisting some Ohangla drum patterns into a taut, fizzing stepper on Bunde Dub.
Groove-driven psych-rock from the Montreal stronghold of Constellation Records.
“Psychedelic rock, krautrock, desert rock, punk rock, noise rock, afrobeat, experimental pop, post-rock, electronic; all are touchstones for Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche. Their multi-movement durational music arguably combines trance rock and audio collage above all - a diced and spliced approach to longform multi-movement groove music played by a stripped down quartet of two guitars, bass and drums, synched to pre-recorded electronics and musique concrete.
The band's unique restlessness and inventiveness seduces with shifts, turns and dovetails, consistently destabilizing its own inexorable musical logic in highly satisfying fashion. Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche deploys a panoply of buoyant musical ideas, subtly sumptuous sonic treatments, and joyous stylistic nods - while remaining fundamentally devoted to working the groove from a kaleidoscope of angles. Their sound always seems to be escaping overt homage or retro tendencies; neither freighted with reverence nor weightless with irreverence, the music of Avec le soleil routes and uproots itself along its own refreshingly untrodden path.
Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop that sounds like no other. Quite literally: the needle drops on “Trans-pop express” with Avec le soleil in full swing, playing a musical theme that had been submerged at the end of Zubberdust’s closing track, now developed in the full kaleidoscopic light of day. Unfurling over 10 minutes of sinuous bass, chiming guitars and wordless vocals, “Alizé et Margaret D…” opens with naive melody lines played on dry staccato guitars, peppered with ragged vocal calls, before transitioning through some unison riffing into one of the band’s signatures: clean, methodical, exuberantly layered grooves perhaps most reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads.
Nothing the band has recorded to date quite drives home the fascinating sonic identity they’ve forged from their overflowing toolbox of techniques and influences more than “Tourner incessamment dans l’éclatement euphorique…”, the 20-minute tour de force that comprises Side Two of Pas pire pop.This is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop the likes of which we can honestly say we’ve not heard before.”
Deadbeat at his rolling, effortless best on these two for Echocord; going long and deep with the tunnelling, suspensfully balanced ten minutes of acid dub techno in Put On Your Red Shoes And Trance, whereas Just Jackin Around Man plays into that drily fruity, wiggly Berlin tech house sound.
Creeping up on you like 3am on a work night, when you should be falling asleep but the moon is too bright and your flat starts is contracting with the cold, Naaahhh’s deeply blunted Themes for Blackest Ever Black nails that feeling of transition between worlds, of spirits dissolving into the ether and ready to chuck a few coins to the sandman.
In circulation since early this year, they are as effective as these homemade valium that are knocking around Manchester right now for setting you in that drifty wonky state of soma, coursing the lushest pads thru Blooz, and melting away like a decaying plant in Vini Reilly’s flat with Empty Rituals, whereas My Theme dredges Cthulhu-like dread bass from deep below, and Theme 2 seems to feel out the uncanny valley between Leyland Kirby and his The Caretaker alter ego.
Or, as BEB eloquently put it: “Five tracks of darkside slither from somewhere under London. Sidereal downers for all hardcore ravers. The dread energy of grime and bleep techno distilled into pungent electro-acoustic ooze. Paranoid street music meets the cosmic disturbances of musique concrète, the MDMA spine-freeze of isolationism and England’s hidden reverse. Staccato string stabs, murmured voices, black holes of reverb and pulverising, body-numbing bass. Drums optional. Unwanted side-effects include nosebleeds, earaches, stomach cramps, and nausea. Just say naaahhh.”
Pedigree house modernist, Rajko Müller a.k.a. Isolde undresses the dance with three lip-bitingly sexy plays for Mano Le Tough’s Maeve label - his first release in two years!
The OG architect of microhouse laces lessons learnt from 20 years of that style into three mesmerising, plush aces here, using his powers of vinyl psychokinesis and house hypnosis to wriggle right under the skin and control your bones with he slippery organs and trills of Pisco, whereas L5 Syndrome cuts deeper with wide, monotone dub bass offset by tingling electronic diffraction, and Mangroove marries distant chants with a heaving, powerful sub in perpetual pendulation.
Juju & Jordash are back with their first studio productions in a long time on this fine three track exercise in improv house and techno wiggles.
Amidst plans for global festival and podcast domination, Dekmantel are smartly maintaining the quality control of their long-running label operation and we're always happy to see some fresh material from master curmudgeon Jordan Czamanski and Gal Aner’s Juju & Jordash. After recently minting another new Dekmantel offshoot dedicated to capturing live performances, Aner and Czamanski score this brilliant three-track studio excursion for the first Juju & Jordash original material in 18 months.
As wilfully improvised and experimental as you’d imagine, What About Tuesday? canvasses the various moods Juju & Jordash are capable of. Monday Mellow kicks off on a gentle Downbeat-style vibe, billowing deep house vibes nudging you suggestively whilst distant synth wiggles mimic a whale’s mating call.
Wednesday Something nails what we love about Juju & Jordash; expanding out from rugged drum machine hits into a full blown, improvised intergalactic jazz-tech stomper, the tracks twists in all sorts of freeform directions before it’s done. To close, Thursday, Heavy throws down chilling synth manipulations over a satisfyingly crunchy house groove with plenty of trademark Juju & Jordash rhythmic unpredictability.
Kink Gong chases that excellent Gonçalo F Cardoso LP and Mike Cooper reissue on Discrepant with a suite of Buddhist prayer loops lifted from various Chang Fo Ji - small, battery-operated speaker boxes similar to the popular FM3 model - around China between 2006 and 2011.
There are some 30 tracks by our reckoning, ranging from vocal chants to tinny electronic instrumentals, and including a randomly scattered handful of locked grooves for those who really want to get into it. Perhaps predictably, the fidelity of most pieces is fairly cruddy at best but, save a five year journey across China, it’s likely the only way you’ll get to hear these bittersweet meditational aids.
Timely and highly incisive, A Study Into 21st Century Drone Acoustics is an engrossing project conceived and beautifully executed by London’s Discrepant label boss, Gonçalo F. Cardoso, and Ruben Pater, author of The Drone Survival Guide.
Between an 18-track LP and a 12-page book of diagrams, map, notes and poetry, replete with bibliography, we’re presented an in-depth survey of the encroaching influence and affect of unmanned drone aircraft and their military, commercial and civilian applications.
The vinyl contains an unprecedented archive of 17 evocative recordings from a range of drones on the A-side - from the swarming buzz of a light and nimble QAV400 quadcopter (four motors) right up to face-melting jet propulsion of a Northrop Grumman X-47B - all introduced by the voice of Emmet O’Donnell.
Meanwhile, on the B-side, the project starts to come into its own with Gonçalo F. Cardoso’s 23 minute concrète composition, The Life and Death of a 21st Century Drone Machine. Here the study shifts from cold hard fact and into a form of speculative sonic fiction not dissimilar to Steve Goodman and Toby Heys’ AUDiNT project.
Taking cues from Nasser Hussain’s Phenomenology of a Drone Strike, Cardoso posits a electro-acoustic narrative of figurative connections between bird calls and streaking drone sonics, whilst also attempting to find the human in these unmanned craft; whether thru the scrambled comms of their operators thousands of miles away at the other end of a satellite link, or, perhaps more affectingly, with the Tuareg drone song of Mali singer Fadimoutou Wallet Inamoud - used with permission of Sahel Sounds - who hails from a Saharan region often surveyed and attacked by drones.
We’re certain you’ll agree, this is a fascinating record and, quite importantly, one approached with a considered sensitivity to its subjects.
Manchester’s legendary, pivotal post-punk unit comprising Linder Sterling and Ian Devine, a.k.a Ludus, are subject of this long overdue anthology from Les Disques Du Crepuscule, collecting all tracks from their early compilation, Nue Au Soleil (Complètement) plus stacks more single, album, Peel Sessions and rare live cuts in the same place, for the first time.
The undoubted locus of Ludus is Linder Sterling; originally an art school student from Wigan who came to study in Manchester, Linder was there at The Sex Pistols 2nd show at The Free Trade Hall where she met Pete Shelley and subsequently became a main muse for Manchester’s punk scene, becoming instrumental to the inception of New Hormones for her definitive collage cover art on the Orgasm Addict 7”, later contributing to Factory with her Menstrual Abacus (Fac 8) and a part in Factory Flick (Fac 9), before her notorious meat-dress made from discarded chicken meat debuted at the Haçienda in 1982 - at the end of the period under review here - decades before Lady Gaga copied her.
But that’s not to discount Ian Devine input to Ludus, too. Moving from Cardiff to Manchester in 1979, he quickly expanded the Ludus remit from punk via the improvised musics of Evan Parker and Derek Bailey, and played foil to Linder’s remarkable vocal range, which variably referenced Meredith Monk, Annette Peacock, Yoko Ono, Urzula Dudziak.
So it may well come as a happy surprise that Ludus don’t really sound like any of the above, at all. As you’ll cop across these 29 songs, they excelled in making a loose yet compact form of avant-pop equally open to punk’s melodic spikiness and the freeform clatter of improvisation, and wherever the feeling takes them - for example, from the mesh of rolling tribal drums and Linder’s soaring operatics in How High Does The Sky Go? or frolicking no wave jazz skronk in Howling Comique, thru to svelte, lilting palm wine guitar and Antenna-like bossa pop in The Escape Artist, to pieces which recall a prototypical Mr. Bungle in Mother’s Hour, or e subversive disco-pop on Little Girls - perhaps most definitely in the Peel Session recording of Vagina Gratitude - with Linder’s always pointed lyrics exhorted and puckered in styles ranging from yelps and shrieks to piercing extended technique and animalistic or orgiastic glossolalia.
It’s maybe baffling that Linder isn’t better known by the generation who followed her, but thanks to the fact her son, Maxwell Sterling, is now making brilliant music of his own, including collaboration between the pair, this anthology will serve a necessary introduction, where needed, to this pioneering, challenging and important artist and her band.
Arid, greyscale electronics laced with subs and processed instrumentation from Melbourne’s Lost Few; taking the example of last year’s split tape with Necking - also for Resistance/Restraint - into more abstract, uninhabited corners with the slow motion vacuum of Beneath The Sky
It uncannily recalls Matthew P. Hopkins Fog Study, whilst the scraped strings and worm-charming subbass Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone feel like a particularly nerve-jangling FiS cut, all prepping you for a B-side-long immersion called Of The Dear Names That Lie Within.
The revered, Yorkshire-based journeyman celebrates 50 years on the road with this badger rough and satisfyingly bittersweet collection.
“After five decades of recording and touring, veteran British songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman has finally made what he calls his “American record,” and the aptly titled 50 now stands as his late career masterwork, a moving legacy statement by a legend. Backed by a collaborative group of friends and acolytes—Steve Gunn (who also produced), Nathan Bowles (Pelt), James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy), Jason Meagher (No-Neck Blues Band), Jimy SeiTang (Rhyton), and fellow UK songwriting luminary Bridget St John—Chapman tears into both bold renderings of new songs and radical reinterpretations of material from his revered catalog, the crack band adeptly scaling the same rarefied sonic heights of classic Harvest albums like Fully Qualified Survivor, guided by a true survivor’s instinct, wit, and wisdom.
The result is a sublime chiaroscuro self-portrait, more shadow than light, as an invigorated Chapman wrestles with weighty themes of travel, memory, mortality, and redemption, his world-weary whispers assuming the incandescent power of prophecy.”