Steven Hitchell rekindles his Phase90 alias with an absorbing reshuffle of its debut album, 'Infinitati' including unreleased and remastered material.
This is arguably some of the strongest material from any of his myriad pseudonyms, mostly thanks to an sort of frayed, agitated approach to his rhythms, preferring knotty, sparking shuffles and delicate dub bounce rather than his patented heavy trodders.
The atmospheres too are dealt with a nimble hand, full of organically diffused melody and dusty chain reactions occurring around the sound-sphere with dreamy, elusive quality.
If you've ever needed a place to dip your toes in Deepchord/Echospace's oceans of sound, this is it.
Glass mastered CD housed in 4-panel, letter-pressed Somerset cotton covers with 20 x Polaroid style prints by Nieves Mingueza printed on luxury 250gsm card, hand-numbered 35mm photo slides, and patchouli scent. All packaged inside sealed matt-black darkroom negative envelopes
Funereal levels of adult contemporary melancholy for fans of Bohren Und Der Club of Gore, Svarte Greiner, Julien Neto…
“The Epiphanies sees Bill Seaman in fine fettle, driving along phosphorescent-lit roads marked by the heavy dew of mystery and slow-to-develop intrigue. Delayed secrets are now only coming to light. The setting sun is the glorious backdrop as The Epiphanies coasts along a deserted road, its dark road-trip music glinting like the lightless, metallic chrome of the car’s body. A pack of coyotes come out to play, and further down the road some lusty, post-jazz musings at a local bar hint at dark dislocations. Nothing is right – the neon sign is too bright and things are a little off-kilter. Reality slips slowly away, like water through the fingers, drained as if from the last bottle of whiskey, until it can’t be grasped at any longer.
The sick, cloying perfume of cigarette smoke hangs in the air like a tired apparition. The lingering, too-wide smile of a cute bartender with a string of strange tattoos along her back and an old episode of Tiny Toon Adventures (circa 1990) rather than the latest game from the NHL graces the television’s pulpit, adding to the subtle sense of dislocation, and the music only gets darker, its dying light duelling with the fading sunset. The headlights are a lonely splash of colour at two in the morning, and as the music enters the long hours a velvet-smooth carpet of asphalt spreads out before the listener, the unfolding ambient textures helping to shape a smooth, virgin-pure road.
Dark wet trees and swaying branches are illuminated as the car drives through an eerie, sleeping town, with nothing but a slumping, somnambulant piano strolling up and down the dark, leaf-strewn sidewalk. Distant notes seem to croon into the space, somehow filtering in through the dead radio that needed replacing months ago, luring you into its monochromatic musical world.
You are the first visitor. You are also the last. There isn’t any other traffic…”
A long-awaited collection of Jon Wozencroft’s photography, accompanied by a 33-track CD of exclusive music from Mika Vainio, Wire, CM von Hausswolff, Chris Watson, Jana Winderen, Claire M Singer, Hildur Gudnadottir, Philip Jeck, Simon Scott, ELEH, Russell Haswell, Heitor Alvelos, Johann Johannsson, Mark Van Hoen, Fennesz, Sohrab, Jim O'Rourke, BJ Nilsen, Peter Rehberg, Oren Ambarchi and more. After more than 35 years defining the intersection of sound, art and design in the modern avant-garde, Movements elegantly maintains Touch’s impeccable reputation.
“In a 24/7 world there is no greater challenge than “to be in command of one’s own time”. Is it true that the ability to download anything, at any moment, constitutes freedom? Has the ‘value’ of music, art and design been stripped bare? “I Google, therefore I am”...
Touch MOVEMENTS has been compiled over the course of 3 years. It is a response to many requests for Touch to publish a fuller account of Jon Wozencroft’s photography for the cover art of the project. The book follows the music, which was compiled step-by-step, like a jigsaw – there was not an “open call” to the artists, rather a sequential development which gives the CD a special narrative quality. And since our last Touch 30 compilation in 2012, the accuracy of the music has grown and rises to the challenge of what sound can do to transform perceptions about the immediate emotion of musical work and its more difficult, longer term evolution.
Following Touch Folio 001 in 2015, this series is a dedication to finding new ways of audiovisual publishing, somewhere between the twin peaks of a jewel-cased CD and a lavish box-set. The two elements of sound and the visual work in parallel to create the idea of an “Ear-book”, whose interdependency reveals itself over time, and allows the richest of listening and viewing experiences. The music and the photography is fully annotated, alongside a rarely-seen manifesto by the Surrealist film-maker Jan Švankmajer which celebrates the spirit of the creative act.”
Amazing collection of Disco Music released in the 80s (1980-84) on the Nigerian label Duomo Music Ltd. and reissued here for the first time.
"The late 70s, the thrust of mainstream music had changed from the indigenous highlife to a more international funky disco sound. Keyboards and drum machines were the key components of the new sound, and this shift in style saw Bunny Mack, Chris Okotie, Christy Essien and Jide Obi replace Osita Osadebe and the Oriental Brothers on the charts. It was in this effervescent climate that Duomo Sounds Ltd was established by Mr Humphrey Aniakor, a business man with no prior investment in the industry.
It was simply the in-thing for a young monied businessman at the time. The name suggested European sophistication, modernity and a little abstraction. D U O M O Sounds, the kids loved it. The first release was Bassey Black’s “Someone to love” (DSL 001) which sold over a 100,000 copies, a big hit at the time. The success of the album attracted several artists the most influential of which was Mike Umoh. He aimed for the pop market with accessible, funky arrangements, however his affinity for funk and disco has made him a reference for collectors worldwide. His LP entitled, “Honey, Honey” (DSL 002) was the label’s second release and his most successful album and he also produced the labels 19th release, Bindiga’s, “No More Starvation” (DSL 019), an afro-boogie funk masterpiece. The album in its original format is very sought after by collectors and djs and changes hands for huge sums. Its been described by many as cosmic funk at its finest. Christy Ogbah´s disco soul/highlife records on Duomo are also very highly sought after. This new Livingstone Studio release presents the best of Duomo Sounds Ltd. for the first time.”
Experimental Italian guitarist, electro-producer and sound designer Eraldo Bernocchi joins forces with percussionist FM Einheit (a founder of the influential German industrial group Einstürzende Neubauten) and London-based cellist Jo Quail on Rosebud, a compelling mix of tranquil ambient sounds and pummeling industrial onslaughts.
"From the opening “Bloom,” an 11-minute suite that travels from evocative ambiance to caustic crescendo, to the closing theme “The Inquirer,” which emerges gradually over a haunting drone and builds to a hellacious distortion-laced guitar climax, Rosebud carries a dark, foreboding undercurrent while showcasing the trio’s uncanny group-think in the throes of organized chaos.”
From storied composer Jim Copperthwaite comes the debut album ‘Ballroom Ghosts’. As a soundtrack artist in his own right, Jim’s tracks recall the work of Danny Elfman in their haunting, choral refrains.
"However, Jim has also always had an affinity for the avant garde and his music box orchestrations are driven through with the repetitive, percussive iterations of Steve Reich, calling to mind Jamie xx’s most recent collaborations with Wayne McGregor and the Royal Ballet.
This debut album from Jim Copperthwaite stands out as his most intimate and personal work to date: a fantastical demonstration of a composer at the peak of his abilities. It is an invitation to a world that exists beneath the one we see. Close your eyes and come walk these halls. Experience the atmospheric beauty of ‘Ballroom Ghosts’."
Erased Tapes reissue the original Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s last ever studio album Union Cafe to coincide with the 20th Anniversary of founder Simon Jeffes’ passing in 1997.
It was 1972 in the South of France when Simon had an unfortunate experience with food poisoning which lead to a much more fortunate circumstance when a vivid dream, induced from his illness and depicting a dystopian future, conceived the Penguin Cafe; a charming place where solace, harmony, and the orchestra’s unique music could be found amidst brutal concrete structures and darkness. For the following 25 years, Simon carried out this vision bringing brightness into a world full of noise. Sadly, after his passing, the original orchestra disbanded, but the doors to this happy place reopened when his son Arthur decided to continue his father’s legacy under the name Penguin Cafe.
The continuation of the PCO began at London’s Union Chapel in 2007 when Arthur and the original musicians commemorated Simon 10 years after his death. Another 10 years forward, 2017 will see Penguin Cafe pay tribute to him once again at the Union Chapel on December 11th where they will perform Union Cafe in full – a union from all corners of this magical world.
Union Cafe was the fifth, and the last studio album by Penguin Cafe Orchestra. It was initially released in 1993 merely on cassette and CD, and will now be given a new breath of life, and another chance to reach old and new fans alike.”
Reissued just after the 30th anniversary of its cinema and LP release, Angelo Badalamenti’s classic soundtrack for David Lynch’s surreal small town crime thriller Blue Velvet is now placed back in circulation via Fire Records.
All the hallmarks of Badalamenti and Lynch’s soundtracks are here, from orchestral string arrangements such as the magisterial Mysteries of Love [Instrumental] and Julee Cruise’s sylvan synth version, thru to Isabella Rossellini’s smoky blues cover in Blue Velvet/Blue Star - Montage and ’50s/’60s influences from Roy Orbison and Bill Dogett, with a choice piece of surreal Lynch/Badalamenti collage in Lumberton U.S.A./Going Down To Lincoln - Sound Effects Suite to boot.
Jezus the Julee Cruise piece is just golden...
Echospace is proud to announce a brand new, three-part project culled from sounds created nearly 20 years ago. Radius's "Interpolation Tapes" (Restoration One) is the first part in a series of three releases featuring future classics from the vault of Stephen Hitchell's (cv313/echospace/intrusion) Radius project, a rich analog tapestry made in the heart of Detroit, Techno City.
"The music stems from cassette recordings conducted from 1994-2001 with nothing but analog/digital hardware, no computer in sight. The Radius project has been virtually absent since the final vinyl release in 2001, the first 12" appearing in 1996 (limited white label run of 100 copies pressed at Acme pressing in Canada) after revisiting these works we realized there was truly some magic here which came to form with a double CD album, "Obsolete Machines" back in March, featuring beautiful reworks and reshapes from cv313. These were also part of the original tape sessions for a project initially sent to Rod Modell & Mike Schommer (for consideration for release on their brilliant deepchord imprint) back in 2001. Given their imprint was a home for their own personal recordings, this entire project has never seen the light of day. This work has been collecting dust in our cassette rack for nearly 20 years now and we've finally brought it all back to life.
The original source tapes had aged, warped and degraded and as a result we've preserved the best segments, sampled and reprocessed with a vintage prophet 2000 sampler, studio 440 and various Linn samplers to add depth and range to the original source material. We've spent nearly an entire year restoring and interpolating over 100 hours of music, processing sound and redesigning the blueprints of this long forgotten project. Every track was originally recorded down to an old Tascam 688, an 8 track cassette recorder purchased and abused since 1992 and to our ears still sounds quite impressive even by modern standards. We've had nearly every component replaced and re-calibrated to bring this obsolete machine back to life. It's been a truly nostalgic experience re-visiting and re-arranging these masters, regardless of the time passed, there's so much depth in sound design, raw emotions and when considering the limitations of hardware in the era these were recorded, they've truly aged like a fine wine...
We hope you enjoy this magical time in music, as we are very inspired by all that was happening in those years, there's undeniably something in the air, a mystifying energy, long may it live on…”
Robert Haigh, who is perhaps better known as D&B legend Omni Trio, reprises the solemn, autumnal contemporary classical styles heard on his V-O-D retrospective and early releases for NWW’s United Dairies, this time in the esteemed comapny of Laurie Spiegel, Carl Stone, Lubomyr Melnyk on Unseen Worlds
“A new album of piano driven ambient music from British composer Robert Haigh. Following in the path of his albums for the Japanese Siren label, Creatures of the Deep is an underground vantage of a meeting between the musical worlds of Harold Budd and Erik Satie. With a storied musical career that has ranged widely in style — from his industrial-avant-garde works on Nurse With Wound’s United Diaries label as SEMA to his legendary ambient drum and bass records as Omni Trio on Moving Shadow — Robert Haigh's work occupies a space between music and mystery.
With Creatures of the Deep, Haigh is at the peak of his powers. Among noir, minimal, neo-classical landscapes are robust scatterings of bright reflection and a musical expression that is subtle and elusive yet uniquely Haigh’s in its voice and masterful execution. The closer we examine, the more is revealed, and the less is defined.”
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
New Energy is Four Tet’s first album in two years
Leading on from the Morning / Evening set to a new age-inflected sound encompassing hang drum pieces with Tom Baker thru to modular synth input from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, all produced on a laptop computer using Ableton Live software to control and mix VST plugins as well as manipulations of audio recordings.
Tokyo’s Kouhei Matsunaga with a lucidly crisp set of breakbeat techno an electro tricks for DFA Records continuing his world tour of labels after 12”S with PAN, Important, Raster-Noton, Diagonal, L.I.E.S.
The prolific multi-monikered artist covers a usual breath of nuance across the 8 tracks of Exit Entrance, weaving between Rian Treanor-esque, avian electronic mixed with crunchy garage in Meeting to fiercer, grungy pressure recalling Diamond Version in Dignity, taking in a glassy beatless apex with Notice and a killer lash of bendy acid techno with Dented.
Scorching Afro-psych-funk fuzz ’n grub from outta Cameroon, c. mid ‘70s, picked and dusted down by Samy Ben Redjeb’s ever-dependable Analog Africa label. Those drums, that vocal - liable to take yer eyebrows off, or at least set your ass on fire.
“I remember the day clearly. I was searching for treasures in a record shop in Yaoundé, the Capital city of Cameroon, when suddenly I came across a 7-inch record with a picture of a young man wearing a traditional hat and bearing the marks of several imposing vertical scars on the side of his face, carved when he was just a boy as a reminder of his heritage in the Musgum tribe of the northern part of the country.
The record contained two songs – ‘Gandjal Kessoum’ and ‘Touflé’ – by an artist I had never heard of before named Hamad Kalkaba. Both cuts were raw classics of fuzzed-out bass, pin-sharp horns, built upon the unshakable foundation of Northern Cameroon’s mightiest rhythm: the Gandjal. The shop owner - who noticed that I was listening to the same record over and over again - mentioned that ‘There is another single with a green cover of the same artist’.
Over the next six years I searched for that ‘green cover’ and finally found it in a record collection belonging to an old bar in Parakou in northern Benin. While most of the records had been beaten and worn by a life spent in the jukebox, this one had been sitting in its paper sleeve for forty years, untouched and unplayed, seemingly waiting for us to pick it up and rip the two soulful Gandjal tunes from it, the masterpieces ‘Fouh Sei Allah’ and ‘Tchakoulaté’.
These two records, plus a third simply named ‘Nord Cameroon Rythms’ constitute the entire discography of Hamad Kalkaba. Neglected for decades by all but the most devoted collectors of Afro music, Hamad Kalkaba and the Golden Sounds at long last gathers together the body of work of one of Cameroon’s forgotten geniuses.
But unlike many musicians who emerged from nowhere, recorded a few singles and vanished again, Kalkaba hadn’t disappeared. Far from it. He was a distinguished public figure, a retired Colonel in the army of Cameroon, and a former member of Cameroon’s Olympic Selection Committee. When we tracked him down he was serving as president of the Confederation of African Athletics. And Although Kalkaba’s job kept him busy, and he seemed initially dismissive of the music he’d made as a young man, he turned out to be an enthusiastic ally in this project. He arranged interviews, helped fill in the blanks and, when we finally met him in Yaoundé in 2016, provided us with photographs, lyric sheets and notes.
During the interview Kalkaba explained how the songs recorded in the mid 1970s were part of a movement, a movement initiated by musicians from all around Cameroon who, with the help of keyboards, drum kits and electric guitars, had started to modernise the traditional rhythms of their regions. For Kalkaba it was no different and backed by his band the Golden Sounds, devoted himself to the promotion of the sounds of northern Cameroon.
One of the aims of Analog Africa is to showcase the colourful diversity of styles that exist in Africa and its diaspora and today we are very proud to be able to give these Gandjal tunes their first worldwide release.”
Playful neo-classical works for piano and electronics, recorded by Brian Eno.
“Finding Shore is the sound of Tom distilling the essence of what he does after a protracted musical journey from childhood until now. He took the traditional route of music lessons and learning notation before starting composing “properly”. As a 17-year-old he had the odd contrast of being taught by the composer Harrison Birtwistle but also working as lounge pianist in a dilapidated hotel in Peterborough. He spent some time in New York playing jazz, recording with Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus, and had a successful career with post-rock group Three Trapped Tigers, yet however enjoyable that experience was, he admits it was “definitely a diversionary tactic”. Everything seemed to be an escape from the classical world or, as Rogerson himself puts it, “falling out of my ivory tower very slowly”.
Fabric 96 is a mesmerising, needle-point techno mix by DVS1
Flowing thru 29 tracks in 78 minutes with an unfeasibly tight appreciation of tonal modulation and pressure control. We’ve not heard this style so stringently applied since Hawtin’s DE9 | Closer To The Edit, but DVS1 does it with a finer, uptempo flow of his own that firmly represents what he does in the club. Sheer class.
The follow up of the acclaimed first volume of this compilation, a real discovery for many DJs and music lovers worldwide who didn’t know that much about Zouk or DIY electronic music of the french west indies. The selectors Julien Achard and Nicolas Skliris continue the excavation of French Antillas vinyl from the 80’s and the 90’s and for this second volume, they found some really exciting new references which should be soon « classics » on the dancefloors.
The selectors Julien Achard and Nicolas Skliris continue the excavation of French Antillas vinyl from the 80’s and the 90’s and for this second volume, they found some really exciting new references which should be soon « classics » on the dancefloors.”
HRH Prins Thomas caps a busy year in the disco with the 5 album, following on from his Square One collaboration with Bjorn Torske, the Principe Del Norte album before that, and a healthy handful of 12”s and remix work int he meantime.
It’s chugalug central right here, serving 12 tracks of sidestepping dad disco basslines, real ‘live’ drums (some electronic, too) shackled to wobbly Moog and Arp lines, a dash of guitar here, and a spot of acid there, all readied for the discerning scando disco fiend in you.
Arch isolationist Richard Skelton presents the riveting sonic results of a five year project in Iceland on Towards a Frontier, unfolding a 66 minute aural impression that masterfully renders the putative atmospheres conjured by Iceland’s famous volcanic panoramas and subarctic glaciers. It's a deeply absorbing return from Skelton, who has exclusively released his work under The Inward Circles moniker for the past three years.
Skelton is at his soul-ravishing best here, layering and abstracting his signature bowed strings to diaphanous and gloriously elusive effect in a keening, swoon-worthy play of light and dark, dissonance and harmony.
Over the course of the piece Skelton subtly refocusses the ear’s eye between vast, widescreen vistas, windswept veils of shimmering grey-blue harmonies, and close strokes of his favoured cello. In the process, the sonic quota of a broader project taking in photography, texts and videos - serves to metaphorically mirror Iceland’s ever changing weather patterns and cruel switch between interminably long hours of daylight and darkness, doing so with a geologically-timed patience and cosmic narrative arc that perhaps reveals its nature in a more visceral, affective way than any literal or visual representation ever could.
For fans of feeling like they’re thousands of miles from any other human being, or as an impassioned - yet never prescriptive - missive from an endangered ecology, Towards a Frontier is a significant work of timeless appeal.
First ever reissue of a fiyah space-age funk record from Nigeria, 1978. Worth it for the big, synth-riven cut Bad City Girl alone. 2nd hand copies are known to trade for an absolute packet, so don’t sleep on this one!
Livingstone Studio present the first official reissue of Grotto's Grotto II: Wait, No Hurry, originally released in 1979. "Odion Iruoje was the A&R manager at EMI at the time,' Benson says, 'and he auditioned us, liked the material and signed us.' Odion Iruoje of course had groomed and produced Ofege. Now he was looking to repeat the formula with other high school groups such as Tirogo, Apples and Question Mark. Grotto's deep rock would be a welcome addition to this 'schoolboy rock' series.
Work on their album started immediately, with Iruoje in the producer's chair. Adapting to the tastes of the times -- as well as their own maturing musical sensibilities -- Grotto started transitioning from acid rock towards sleeker, more dance floor-friendly grooves. 'As I grew older I think I got a bit jazzier,' Benson says. 'I also listened to Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Isley Brothers, Prince and a lot of funk groups from that era.' 'Hard rock was the content of the first album,' Amenechi agrees, 'and funk/jazz/R&B the focus of album number two. Especially with the late Toma Mason Jr. joining as bassist.' The group's second album, Grotto II: Wait, No Hurry (released in 1979) reflected the growing sophistication of its members' musical outlook. Fat, funky bass grooves rubbed shoulders with jazzy flute lines; space-age synthesizer tones punctuated good, old-fashioned crunchy rock riffs."
Faust’s Hans Joachim Irmler meets Carl Oesterhelt ov F.S.K. for an orchestral dedication to Isidore-Lucien Ducasse’s poetic novel, Die Gesänge Des Maldorer, with each piece corresponding to the novel’s six cantos.
LEF comes off like a raging David Sylvain, flanked by Bill Laswell, Nils Petter Molvær, Ståle Storløkken and others.
“LEF's debut as a leader, the intriguing multi-media project HyperSomniac, is easily his most ambitious and impressive undertaking to date. LEF’s music serves as the companion soundtrack for a breathtakingonline interactive graphic novel based on dystopian tale written by LEF himself, featuring drawings by Nana Octopus Dalla Porta, animated and ported to the web by LEF and Italian software engineer Pier Luigi Rocca.
The music is performed by an all-star band featuring American bassist Bill Laswell, Norwegian guitar visionary Eivind Aarset, Norwegian future jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, thunderous Norwegian drummer Kenneth Kapstad (of Motorpsycho), British saxophonist Rebecca Sneddon (of Free Nelson Mandoomjazz) and Norwegian organist Ståle Storløkken (of Supersi-lent, Motorpsycho and Reflections In Cosmos).”
Björk blooms her most impressive album in a good while with Utopia, featuring co-production by Arca and even a guest spot by Rabit, who both aid in buoying her astonishingly lush and romantic new song cycle. As sincerely optimistic as the title may suggest, Utopia is, by Björk’s own description, her “tinder album”, projecting a positive answer to the tortuous soul-searching of Vulnicura.
We can take or leave a lot of Björk on most days. But this one got us right thurrr. Whether that’s due to the seamless integration of Arca’s virtuosic flourishes, it’s difficult to say. However, the embrace of space and nature, both real and emulated, within Utopia lends an intoxicatingly out-of-body sensation to its songs which beautifully leavens her sometimes overwrought delivery, serving to free up her spirit in the most literal and fascinatingly intangible terms.
Where Arca was brought in at the late stages of Vulnicura to warp its edges, their working relationship immediately spilled over into the recording of Utopia, forging a symbiotic and hugely fruitful relationship with the artist he formerly called his idol. Now creative partners, their powers are multiplied, manifesting the longest single piece of work in either’s catalogue, and arguably their most seductive.
You can literally hear her beaming while she sings over swooping subs, gamer FX and pirouetting harps in Awakening My Senses, whilst the folk phrasing and prettiness of Blissing Me perfectly counters her operatic tendencies. Conversely, the adroit looseness of Arca’s rhythms acutely mirror the expressive meter of Björk’s classical inflections in Body Memory, one of the album’s longest, most immersive highlights, and equally in sweetly fractious form to giddy effect on Losss, which benefits from Rabit’s push ’n pull production.
And even when talking frankly about the darker side of that tinder life in the couplet of Courtship and Sue Me, she pulls off delirious, rugged - but not overbearing - rhythms and skyward-zipping flutes keeping her spirit decidedly up and forward-looking in a way that also informs the album’s heart-cupping conclusion, Future Forever.
Butterz kingz Elijah & Skilliam wrap up the sound of Grime 2017 with a 28-track rinse thru big vocal hitters and instrumentals by all the scene’s top dogs.
In case you’ve been sleeping all year, consider it a grimy digest of the tracks you need to catch up on; taking in a slew of party and club winners ranging from Blay Vision and JME’s admittance that it’s all Gone Mad at the top, thru to the aggy crouch of Skepta’s No Security at the back, and turning up bombs from Preditah, Mr. Mitch, Champion, Sully, Scratcha DVA + Killa P + Sinjin Hawke + Zora Jones, The Bug, Newham Gens & Wiley, Big Zuu, AJ Tracey, Jammz and Dizzee that spell out a detailed and diverse roadmap of the UK’s definitive homegrown sound.
Re-enter a world of sinister whimsy and oneiric eccentricity with Moon Wiring Club’s YDA of weirdness in Tantalising Mews, a conceptual double album that unfolds as part of snakes & ladders-like boardgame based on a dream by the artist involving decayed discount carpet shops and missed trains. Think ‘90s VHS boardgame Nightmare/Atmosfear, but based in a unchronic steampunk UK town populated by spectral chocolatiers and anthropomorphic apparitions.
The typically surreal sounds on the two discs are intended as a background musicke for the game, with 2hr 11mins of smeared ambient inference and twilight tones that directly correspond to the mysterious Mews of the title - “one of those streets or lanes that you pass every day… the architecture doesn’t quite fit in and it probably looks a bit too swanky for the postcode” - with track numberings designed as integral to the game, whilst also adding a lot of psychedelic complication.
Moon Wiring Club imagines the musicke as a sort of Eno-esque Music For Boardgames which underlines and enhances the gameplay, before subtly increasing the tension in line with the game’s own timeframe. While this has long been a central theme and structure to myriad computer games, it’s fairly safe to say that this is the first time a PS1 Playstation has been used to make the music for its archaic antecedent.
Over the 2CD’s 44 tracks, you’re in for a genuinely beguiling treat, something akin to being dropped off in Royston Vasey at midnight with a mission to find some fancy gateaux, and all the Spars are shut. What ensues is ultimately up to you, as the game may offer some clues, but it’s maybe best to just wander its foggy ginnels of Basic Channel pre-echoes and Philip Jeck-like airs without a map, and simply follow your nose where the vapours take ya....
Dirty Songs is David Toop (bass, guitar, digital electronics, VCS3 synth), Phil Minton (voices), Evan Parker (soprano and tenor saxophones), Steve Beresford (Farfisa organ, VCS3 synth) and Mark Sanders (drums). The album is released by Audika Records, best known as custodians of Arthur Russell's archive.
"Directed and produced by David Toop, this album reacts against our poisonous present, inspired anti-nostalgically by similarly reactive records and live performances from the 20th century: The Soft Machine and Pink Floyd 1967-68, The MC5’s Kick Out the Jams, The Stooges, Sun Ra’s Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy and The Heat Is On by The Isley Brothers.
It's the musical offshoot of a project conceived by artist Maxime Rossi, originating in (among other things) speculations on the (then unreleased) legendary Pink Floyd "John Latham” recordings (1967) and FBI investigations (1964) into subversive and obscene messages supposedly buried within the recorded lyrics of The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”.
Developed through conversations between Maxime Rossi and David Toop and through support from Fondation Fiminco & MRAC, these ideas metamorphosed into the band and recordings known as Dirty Songs, existing both as audio recordings and audio-visual elements of Maxime Rossi’s installation Christmas On EarthContinued, exhibited at MRAC in November 2017."
Judging by he cover, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is Andy Stott’s vinyl pressing of live recordings made at the 2nd of two New Order live shows in 2015, performing in support of their Music Complete album.
Includes True Faith, Restless, Singularity, Blue Monday, Love Will Tear Us Apart, 586, a guest vocal from La Roux on Tutti Frutti and People On The High Line, and even a snatch of Wagner’s Das Rheingold.
The Greek collaborator of Arovane and Dictaphone stakes out his most wide-appealing solo side to date, turning inspiration from Arvo Pärt and Max Richter into rich cinematic soundscapes...
“Seductive and cinematic soundscapes between ambient, drone and indie-neoclassical music: these are the best words to describe Hior Chronik's style. A style that captures ears and soul, bringing you into an imaginary world, arousing emotions, making the mind wander to distant places. This is the goal of the Greek musician, now living half of the year in Athens and the other half in Berlin.
You can hear it in his new record "Out Of The Dust", produced by himself, mixed by John Vallasis and mastered by Francesco Donadello at Calyx Studio, Berlin. I tried to combine ambient and drone sounds with strings and piano following a harmonic direction", Chronik explains. I wanted to make a soundtrack for a movie that was never shot'. The mood is melancholic, but not only that: There's a dark side, but I made it run parallel with bright soft melodies', Chronik continues.
And on the topic of his music influences: It's hard to specify what exactly they were, but I think I'm close to Max Richter and in some ways to Arvo Part. Besides that, true inspiration comes from my life experiences, even the small little things: books, films, people I meet, travels. And being close to nature: I would say that's the base of everything'. After three solo records and two in collaboration with Arovane, Chronik is now ready to launch his new work Out of The Dust'. The title is a political quote about how we can fight against the crisis, but also against the existential anguish of surviving. A movement of no fear and the beginning of a new life', he explains.
On how he developed the songs, he says: I recorded piano, trumpet and strings in their analogic sound, then I used effects as I always do for the ambient and drone sounds'. Out Of The Dust' shows a personal and unique style that brings Hior Chronik's music to a wider audience. His sound is able to embrace at the same time the delicate piano themes and the dark ambient/drone tones, while at the same time searching for new territories to explore in the neo-classical scene.”
This latest instalment in Soul Jazz Records’ Deutsche Elektronische Musik series delves deeper into the German nation’s vaults to bring a fascinating new collection that again brings together a selection of classic German electronic and rock groups, including Neu!, Cluster, Popol Vuh, La Düsseldorf, Agitation Free, alongside a host of rare tracks by lesser known artists which includes Michael Bundt, Bröselmaschine, Dronsz, Achim Reichel and others.
"The music of Deutsche Elektronische Musik 3 ranges from the introverted pastoralism of Hans Joachim Roedelius and Bröselmaschine, to the angular and futuristic electronic experimentations of Klauss Weiss, Pyrolator, Deuter, Michael Bundt and others, to the proto-punk of La Düsseldorf and the heavy space, progressive and cosmic rock of Missus Beastly, Niagara and Dyzan.
The music on Deutsche Elektronische Musik 3 was all recorded in the 1970s up to the early 1980s, at a time when forward-thinking German electronic and rock groups were searching for a new musical identity in order to separate themselves from both the cultural legacy of post-world war two Germany as well the ‘cultural imperialism’ of USA and UK rock. In this process German groups created some of the most unique and inspired music, the defining motorik beat alongside a host of ethno-musical influences from far afield – including Turkey, India, Brazil – as well as the musical and futurist possibilities of developments in electronics and technology itself.”
Tigersushi fill a particular, serene niche in contemporary French music with ‘Musique Ambiante Francaise’, a serenely seductive suite of ambient or beatless works spanning their esteemed roster; from I:Cube to Etienne Jaumet, Mondkopf, The Mole, and Essaie Pas (Marie Davidson + Pierre Guierineau).
“It all started when Apollo Noir, Tigersushi’s latest signing came to me with a split 12” he wanted to release, including his own track “Inspiring Images & Visual Power. Chosen With Love & Dedication” and Glass’ “Heart”. I loved the tunes but wasn’t convinced that releasing a 12inch for those 2 songs only was relevant, so I proposed we extend this split EP to a full French Ambient compilation and we all got excited by the idea. There’s never been one although there’s an undeniable interest in that genre from a broad spectrum of French musicians. A few days later, me, Apollo Noir and Charlotte (Tigersushi’s lieutenant in chief) compiled a short list of names we were interested in and within just a few weeks we put together this compilation. Amazingly, 95% of the artists we contacted agreed to participate.
Another surprise is how those 18 tunes come together in such a homogenous way, this stroke me the first time I listened to the whole record. Maybe it’s a result of the fascination for old and new analog machines shared by most of the musicians featured here. Maybe it has to do with a long French lineage of experimental electronic music (Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry, Jean Michel Jarre, and all the lesser known synth library music and score composers...).
Anyway we couldn’t be happier with the result and we’re already excited to work on the second chapter.” Joakim”
Superb debut album by one of the UK’s more distinctive new pop voices and producers. After cutting her teeth with idiosyncratic releases on No Pain In Pop and Kassem Mosse’s Ominira, Throwing Shade adopts her birth name, Nabihah Iqbal for a more personalised set of songs, adapting influence from ’80s goth, Egyptian mythology, and Teutonic psychedelia to realise a striking, unexpected sound, especially when judged against her early work.
Weighing Of The Heart finds Nabihah firming up and expanding upon her identity as a female British Asian artist in a way that doesn’t play into cliché or expectations. There’s no discernible sonic correlation between her heritage and the music, but that’s most likely symptomatic of her London environment more than anything else. Immersed in the great NTS radio station and busy with myriad art and film projects, her sound is better considered in terms of a sense of pop-wise unity and appeal, as part of a greater sum than herself.
Her vocals alternately lend themselves to comparison as much with The Streets as Teresa Winter, whilst the gated ‘80s snares are a common hinge between stripes of synth-pop, rare groove and proto house, essentially forming a mesh of dream-pop that neatly and knowingly exists within and outside of its temporal context. From our perspective, it sounds like a very London album, and maybe that’s the point; that London is a world or identity unto itself, inextricable from her own.
Invada present the soundtrack to Stranger Things 2, produced by S U R V I V E’s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein.
Expect plenty shlocky ‘80s FM synth cues and themes bound to yank your nostalgia nozzle.
Ut is a radical rock group founded by Nina Canal, Jacqui Ham and Sally Young in NYC in Dec 1978. Originating in the downtown No Wave scene and inheritors of the collision between rock, free jazz and the avant-garde, Ut exploded the rigidity of conventional rock, constructing songs through collective improvisation, swapping instruments and rotating the role of singer/director.
"Migrating to London in 1981, Ut played with bands like The Fall and The Birthday Party and released music on their own label, Out Records. Ut became a favorite of BBC's John Peel and recorded sessions for his show. Joining forces in 1987 with the label Blast First, they released the critically acclaimed In Gut's House in 1988 and made the NME ‘Top 50 Albums’ that year. As The Washington Post exclaimed, “With In Gut’s House, Ut has scraped and droned one of the finest underground rock albums of the year... The tightly interwoven, firmly focused sound... is rich, spooky, urgent and quite unexpectedly beautiful.”
The album Griller followed in 1989, engineered by label mate Steve Albini, who shared Ut's raw aesthetic and captured the band’s intensity. Ut disbanded in 1990 and began performing again in 2010."
ECM present a breathtaking, remastered collection of Arvo Pärt classics on occasion of his 80th birthday.
Parsed and sequenced by Manfred Eicher from one of the late 20th century's most revered musical archives, 'Musica Selecta' is both a celebration of Pärt's timelessly transcendent music, and also of his long-standing relationship with Eicher's ECM New Series, which was forged with release of what is arguably Pärt's best known composition, 'Tabula Rasa' in September, 1984.
For all intents and purposes, it's thee "best of" his work for the label, with a few obvious pieces (such as the aforementioned) left out in favour of a concise dramaturgical sequence inviting familiar listeners to hear the music anew, and likewise preparing a sensitive entry point for anyone intrigued by this rarely paralleled and luminous corpus of contemporary classical composition. With no overstatement, every home would benefit from owning a copy of this CD; even if it were to lay untouched for years, to simply have a reminder of something so powerful, life-affirming within reach. Please be warned, though - listening to this collection in public may make one susceptible to uncontrolled displays of emotion.
Arvo Pärt has become something of a yardstick by which all modern classical should be measured, and 'Alina' is arguably his most beautiful piece of work. If you're into Max Richter, Johann Johannsson, Nils Frahm etc - this is perhaps the single most influential piece of music on any of those artists and has come to define the contemporary genre. When you realise this music was composed between 1976 and 1978, it's evident just how ahead of the game Pärt has really been.
'Spiegel Im Spiegel' and 'Fur Alina' have both been used in countless films, the former being perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of contemporary classical music compoised in the last half-century, rendered with nothing more than piano and violin, captured on this definitive ECM version from 1999 featuring Vladimir Spivakov, Sergej Bezrodny, Dietmar Schwalke and Alexander Malter providing alternate versions.
Pärt's ability to distil so much emotion and spirituality into his work really is quite hard to fathom, regardless of how many times you've heard these magical pieces. If you're new to Pärt, this is really the best place to start.
Haunting new renditions of renaissance chamber music, interpreted with vocals and acoustic and electronic instruments. One to check if you liked Akira Rabelais’ Spellwauerynsherde or indeed any of Chauveau’s sublime releases for Type or Fat Cat etc
“All pieces of the Renaissance Repertoire come from Cancionero de Colombina (around 1470) or Cancionero de Palacio (around 1510). Both sources are well known for their typical Spanish repertoire of this period. Electronic music artist Sylvain Chauveau did new versions of several tracks and added also some drones to the program. Daniel Manhart did the compilation and the additional sound design and mixing. All pieces on this CD are hardly ever performed or recorded -- a fine, sensitive, interesting crossover between early music and contemporary electronic music with a repertoire mostly unknown.
Sylvain Chauveau has made solo records on labels such as FatCat, Type, Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier, and Brocoli: very minimal compositions for acoustic instruments, electronics, and vocals. His music has been played in John Peel's show on the BBC and reviewed in The Wire, Pitchfork, Mojo, Les Inrockuptibles, Libération, The Washington Post, and many others. One of his tracks was published on the compilation XVI Reflections on Classical Music (2009) alongside pieces by Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. He has played live around the world (Europe, America, Asia), performed in museums and art galleries, and was artist in residence at the Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto, 2011), Fundacao Serralves (Porto, 2011), and Lieu Unique (Nantes, 2004 and 2014).
Chant 1450 Renaissance Ensemble sings and plays the sacred and secular repertoire of the 15th and 16th century. Including musicians trained at the widely renowned college for early music Schola cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, chant 1450 appeared live in January 2005 and then sang for a highly acclaimed first tour in Switzerland with La contenance angloise -- sacred music of the 15th century, followed by more than 150 live performances in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, and Switzerland until today. Chant 1450 was invited to major festivals like the Rheingau Festival (Germany), the Montalbâne Festival (Germany), Festival for Early Music Zurich, and many more. Artistic Director and responsible for all programs and recordings, including sound design, is Daniel Manhart, a tenor born in Switzerland.”
The Wanda/Ono co-op deposits Dice Miller and Michael Holland’s curious, improvised collage, Saints of Cinema as their 7th release following enigmatic instalments featuring Fith, Enir Da, Andreas Reihse (Kreidler).
Saints of Cinema was improvised to a 4-track tape recorder “over one intensive, improvised burst” at the Islington Mill, Salford, on January 28th, 2017. Dice Miller reprises her narrative protagonist role with coolly poetic poise on a trio of hard to place pieces, alternately trading in grubbing, dead lo-fi electronics and elegiac organ keys with Sermon Remix, then with a denser thicket of layered location recordings, news reportage and distorted electronics in I Can See No Reason Not To, and a coldly echoic invocation of stark drums and ghostly vocals samples recalling some mix of The Stranger and Pinkcourtesyphone on the unheimlich deisgns St Valentines.
File in your outer limits/imagined avant garde film soundtrack shelf.
‘Always Then’ was the debut album of The KVB, originally released in 2012 on Clan Destine Records. It was written and recorded in 2011 on a Fostex tape machine by Nicholas Wood, with Kat Day joining him to form a duo later that year. This anniversary edition features the re-mastered full-length debut album and includes bonus tracks known as ‘Always Then Revisited’, four brand new reworked and rerecorded songs from the original album.
The original cover art featured a photo of a building in the centre of Mexico City, taken by friend and fellow musician Ela Orleans. The anniversary edition features new artwork with an updated cover photograph of the same building taken by the band in 2017.
First ever vinyl reissue of ACR’s 4th studio album, catching Wythenshawe’s most daring group of the ‘80s in full on jazzdance mode with buff fretless bass vamps offset by their moody Manc pop chops. A mid-career highlight, Force was the Manchester band's fifth album, originally released on Factory in 1986.
"Described by Donald Johnson as 'the Mike Tyson of funk', Force marked a convincing return to form for Ratio, mixing the robust funk grooves of single Mickey Way with downtempo tracks, as well as Si Firmi O Grido, the percussive tour de force which provides a reliable climax to live performances. In addition to pin-sharp rhythm and groove the album also displayed real consistency, and even a pop sensibility, courtesy of guest vocalist Corinne Drewery of Swing Out Sister. The album was also one of the first to utilise the brand new Akai S900 sampler."
This is the first collection of all the Fall singles recorded across a multitude of labels: Step Forward, Rough Trade, Kamera, Beggars Banquet, Cog Sinister, Permanent, Artful, Action… oh, and Cherry Red.
Edited 3-CD set which features all of the A-Sides.
This is the first collection of all the Fall singles recorded across a multitude of labels: Step Forward, Rough Trade, Kamera, Beggars Banquet, Cog Sinister, Permanent, Artful, Action… oh, and Cherry Red.
Compiled here in a 7-CD box set with a full illustrated discography by renowned Fall expert Conway Paton. The discs have been re-mastered by Fall engineer Andy Pearce and come with a newly designed book in a box.
The seven brothers embrace a spiritual jazz sound, sans percussion, on their first album since the group’s father, Philip Cohran, passed away in February 2017
“With its cathedral-like, richly resonant acoustics, the new Hypnotic Brass Ensemble album Book Of Sound is a brilliant expression of interplanetary principle. The album is by turns urgent and contemplative, funky and reflective, varied in its textures; but entirely of one piece. Underpinned by concepts of earth's place in the cosmos, held in place by meditation, swirling with notions of history, science, theology, ancestry, there is a rich conceptual brew here.
The album rings with what back in the 1950s the jazz critic Whitney Balliet called "the sound of surprise". Book Of Sound makes you believe again in the validity of "spiritual jazz". Talking to Cid, one of the Ensemble's two trombonists, one phrase recurs: "back to the beginning". "We wanted to go back to the beginning, when we were kids, real young, and our father would wake us up at 5AM to practice for two hours before breakfast."
One outcome -- initially unplanned but subsequently embraced -- is that unlike their two previous albums on Honest Jon's, this is an album without a drummer. "When we started, as Wolf Pack, just brothers on the street with our horns, there wasn't a kit in sight." Book Of Sound retains plenty of rhythmic heft, but the absence of a drummer opens up space for a notably varied instrumental palette. Acoustic guitar, piccolo, synthesizer, alto sax -- all have their place on the album.
Most striking perhaps are the vocal lines that thread through the album and give it a palpable warmth. Sessions were recorded in Brooklyn and Chicago, and brilliantly mixed at Abel Garibaldi's studio in the Loop, and it's the Hypnotic's hometown that permeates. For Cid this is a deeply Chicago record: "It's got the vibe of the lake, the vibe of the prairies opening up to the west." It also has the vibe of those Sun Ra Arkestra albums recorded in Chicago in the 1950s, and -- of course -- the Phil Cohran albums from the 1960s.
It's Phil Cohran (the father of all seven members of the Ensemble and their first teacher, and not just in music) who is the album's guiding spirit. For Cid it's a major regret that, in the months before their father's death early in 2017, Phil was not well enough to play on the album. But Book Of Sound is a magnificent testament to their Cohran legacy”.
Martin Hannett’s classic production for Wythenshawe’s funkiest post punks, ACR, To Each…  bubbles back up for reissue more than 35 years since original release on Factory Records.
Cosign into play as ACR’s 1st album proper after a string of then well-received dance singles, To Each… found the group marrying them rhythmic sensibilities, influenced by American disco and Afro- latinate styles, with a gloomier, atmospheric sound, effectively imagining a more danceable adjunct to Joy Division - a fact no doubt consolidated by Martin Hannett’s signature, super spacious production.
This new set of duo improvisations marks the second meeting of composer and electronic musician Adrian Corker (SN Variations) and multi-instrumentalist Jack Wyllie (Portico Quartet, Szun Waves).
"Wyllie is best known for the ornate melodicism of his work with Portico Quartet and the more recent project Szun Waves – an ambient improvisation trio with Luke Abbott (Border Community) and Laurence Pike (PVT). While, Corker recently provided the soundtracks to Rowan Joffe's Tin Star with Tim Roth and The Have-Nots, the second film by German director/cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister.
The pair first meet in 2013, when they collaborated on Corker's 2013 album Raise, the pair reconvened for an open-ended series of encounters spread over eighteen months, replacing the piano used on their previous outing with a pair of 60s audio oscillators. The resulting recordings explore a very different sound palette to their first encounter: an expansive, stormy confluence of Wyllie's trademark lyricism and Corker's coarse-ground atmospherics."
Second ever vinyl reissue of ACR’s first record
A collection of early demos and live recordings from 1979 gig also starring Joy Division and The Distractions. Produced by Martin Hannett, mixed by Tony Wilson.
Sophisticated, jazzy rare groove vibesing from Dego (4Hero) & Kaidi (Tatham) on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature bastion.
As broad as it is deep and plush, A So We Gwarn catches 14 prime examples of the long-running duo in irresistible effect, turning their hand to myriad variations on a soulful broken beat hustle, flanked by loads of their mates and regular collaborators; Mr. Mensah, Nadine Charles, Sarina Leah, Yelfris Valdes, Ray Carless, Wayne Francis.
We spy highlights in the swinging, Afro-cubed shuffle of Decide What You Choose, and the Mala-in-Cuba-esque roll of Nyabinghi Warriors, with the chrome squirt boogie of 18.1096 N 77.2975 W showing all the new boogie cats how it’s done, and Don’t Put Your Hat Where Your Hand Can’t Reach finishing up on a live-o jazz-fusion flex with double deadly percussion.
After 25 years in the game, Detroit’s original Norm Talley commits a stonking debut album to F.X.H.E., giving the label boss a run for his money with some of the rawest, deepest, soulful 313 gear we’ve heard since the last Omar-S LP. No messing, this is one of the strongest house albums you’ll hear all year!
Since emerging from the mentorship of Ken Collier as a member of Detroit’s West 6 Mile Crew, Norm Talley has remained true to the artform of Detroit house, factoring its disco touchstones into the modern day in much the same way as Anthony Shakir, Omar-S or KDJ, but perhaps never really receiving so much recognition outside the city.
Bringing a timelessly direct, burning sound to the fore in all 14 tracks, we’d like to wager that Norm-A-Lize is set to garner Talley the wider love he deserves from newer, younger generations and veteran heads alike. Seriously, this is the kind of gear you don’t hear every day - from the on-point sampling to the rugged knock and swang of his drums and bass, this is totally prime, irresistible dancing gear that works miles away from precious tech-house bodgers and delivers more ecstasy in your pants than any ‘90s trance anphem.
Just watching the EQ on our mixer, we can see the acres of space and dynamic in each groove, from the peak-time disco-house peaches of Get It Right and the Shake/Soundhack-esque chord chops of Dub Station, thru the Roulé burn of Alright with L’Renee, to the way those toms and rimshot just bang thru the mix on The Dream, then you’ve got the pendulous, sub-swung aerobics of Earth Vabrations, the mean-ass Afro-cubist techno swerve of Cause I Believe, those jazz funk riffs on Paradise Garage, Stingray-ready techno in The Body, and some proper, grumbling dub techno in The Rise.
Seeeeriously, all dancers, DJs, this is just 100% essential!
An expanded dition of the classic album from Tuxedomoon member Blaine L. Reininger, originally issued by Crepuscule in 1984 and now newly remastered from the original analog tapes.
"Night Air was recorded in Brussels in 1983, shortly after Reininger left Tuxedomoon, in collaboration with former Sleepers guitarist Michael Belfer. Other guests include Steven Brown and Winston Tong of Tuxedomoon, and Marc Hollander of Aksak Maboul. The final mix was supervised by Gareth Jones, famed for his work with Depeche Mode, Einsturzende Neubauten and Wire.
The part-instrumental album offers a sequence of bittersweet expatriate vignettes. "I suppose I should be grateful to the capital of Europe for providing the seed around which so much of my spleen could crystallize for so many years," explains Reininger, who hailed from Colorado via San Francisco. "Brussels provided me with such a rich source of melancholic poetry."
The 10 core tracks on Night Air include popular single Mystery and Confusion, as well as Birthday Song (originally performed by Tuxedomoon), the elegiac Ash and Bone, and the exquisite baroque pop of A Café au Lait for Mr XYZPTLK. The 6 bonus tracks on Disc 1 include Windy Outside (a collaboration with Mikel Rouse), The Sea Wall (performed with Durutti Column) and two versions of Crash, written by Reininger and Belfer in 1980 for Tuxedomoon, and subsequently remixed by The Residents.
Disc 2 preserves a previously unreleased live recording from Bologna, Italy, on 19 March 1984. Billed as the Spiny Doughboys Review, the 14 song set includes songs from Night Air and Broken Fingers."
Christophe Guiraud uses old instruments such as the Hotteterre flute, the viola da gamba or the viola bass, combining them with electronics.
"Born in Toulouse (south of France) mid-seventies, he lives between Brussels and Paris. His early works come from alternative rock, free jazz and harsh noise (Tellemake, 2 records on Angström Records). His more recent pieces mixed the beauty of the polyphonies of Ars Nova (XIVè century) and noise. This nonesuch hybridation creates a music easily recognizable, at the same time harmonious and deeply intense.
Christophe Guiraud composes for a few important ensembles and performers like Ictus, Ensemble 21, Sturm und Klang, Kwartludium, Musiques Nouvelles, Fractales, Stephane Ginsburgh, Tom Pauwels. Regularly invited at festivals Sonar, Le printemps de Septembre, Loop, Nuits du Beau Tas and Ars musica."