Philippe Hallais aka Low Jack returns to Modern Love with a debut album under his own name, this time round unfurling a deeply seductive and opaque mixture of squashed dream pop and ambient shimmers, sounding something like Badalamenti/Lynch doing Shoegaze except a lot more weird and beautiful...
It’s an album in the tradition of great records by Hype Williams, Leyland Kirby and, more recently, Yves Tumor; inhabiting a sonic world where not everything is quite what it seems. It offers familiarity and warmth one moment, dread and transformation the next, with an aesthetic that can basically be defined by that iconic image of the trophy cabinet in Twin Peaks, slowly zooming in on Laura Palmer’s framed face.
Divided into four sides (and eleven tracks) acting as parts in a greek tragedy, the album delves into the dislocations of the mythology of sports and its achievement in mass entertainment; whereby the hero becomes a dispensable and mimetic body. It delves into this unusual portrayal of triviality and disaster, naivety and cynicism that make the real life and ordeals of the hero indistinguishable from their scripted form on TV.
And so the narrative flows from the introspective ambient fizz of the opening Theme (Trophies) - sounding like the Cure’s All Cats are Grey as heard through the cracks, shrouded in several layers of auditory fog, through to the goosebump inducing Angela (Square), complete with punctuated snare/bassdrum crashes, to the Thriller-esque/Actress vibes on Fantasy (4U).
Feel (Storm) is like Jóhann Jóhannsson’s brass masterpiece Virðulegu Forsetar looped, phased and slowed down, before the album closes on the daytime tv vibes of Hero (Theme); a sound to get immersed in, mimicking life with its transition from the tragic to the sublime.
Life is short, seize the moment.
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma follows-up the hazy shimmer of his masterpiece ‘A Year with 13 Moons’ on his most overtly accessible album to date ‘On the Echoing Green’. This is Jefre’s unabashed Shoegaze album, enlisting the help of Evan Caminiti and Byron Westbrook on Guitar, while Maxwell August Croy, Honey Owens and Sobrenadar supply occasional vocals.
The album opens where ‘…13 Moons’ left us off on “In A Copse”; a short, slowed down vignette bleached out by the sun, before A Song of Summer provides the album’s most joyous, anthemic moment. Making few concessions to the classic Shoegaze template for its first 4 minutes, it sounds like it could have been lifted off Slowdive’s Souvlaki, while the section that follows gives away its provenance with an immersive line in bass distortion that slowly erodes and kicks back into the track’s main refrain before closing out.
As Ledesma explains: “I was interested in trying to bring out more overt pop elements, to let them come to the front and be present. I also have more trust now in letting things happen – trusting other people’s musicianship, and being open to people’s ideas. Eventually, things emerge.”
The rest of the album deftly balances those classic Shoegaze references with Ledesma’s by-now perfected drum machine and tape delay arrangements, gradually dipping into more experimental terrain as the album progresses, especially on the beautiful Autumn interlude, and the closing field recording treatment Door to Night, effectively taking us away from the abundance and glee of the first half and into the introspective tristesse as the seasons pass.
Mannequin dig into the ruined foundations of ‘90s industrial rhythmic noise with reissue of Orphx’s debut cassette couplet and previously unheard 4-track tapes.
Scrolling back to early ‘90s Ontario, Canada - the site of Orphx’s first doings - Archive 1993-1994 reveals the noisy, abstract genesis of a unit who are maybe best known nowadays for their steely techno productions and valued modular synths skills, has released on Adam X’s Sonic Groove and heard alongside synthy collaborators ranging from Junior Boys’s Jeremy Greenspan to dark techno overlord, Dave Foster aka Huren in recent years.
Taking their cues from then contemporary European and Japanese noise scenes, Orphx hatched a feral and fucking busted sound that stirred improvised elements of power noise, electro-acoustic process and the notion of ‘death industrial’ into a crushing cacophony at their erstwhile member, Aron T’s basement studio named The Pit, wresting a guttural and unheimlich sound that wouldn’t be out of place on the Harbinger Sound catalogue or even Hospital Productions, who are coincidentally behind an expanded CD version of this collection.
The first disc of this set corresponds to their debut tape, 01 [Excretia, 1993], which was originally issued in edition of only 100 copies. It’s severely dank and distended stuff, akin to being pulped by a slow blowing sandblaster, prone to buckle and collapse under its own weight and undergo fits of spasming death gargle, with the’ rhythmic’ component pretty much reserved to the percussive detonations and metal-shearing screech of Excruciate and the bombed out hulk of Monophilia, which both make a mockery of much modern noise techno.
Disc two contains the gear off tape 02 [Excretia, 1994] along with unheard material, bookending the systematic immolation of Exposure and the very Prurient-esque Reservoirs of Infection with a much broader sound in the dive-bombing drone formation, Veil Of Dream and finally spewing up the black bile of the Wolf Eyes-like Beautiful Wreckage and a palpitating, cloven beast of Live Fragment 21/10/94, which is uncannily close to fellow Canucks, Wold/Black Mecha, but twenty years earlier.
It’s all basically as rare as chalky white dog shit (which we’ve not seen since the ‘90s; coincidence?!?!) and totally aches for the attention of noise grotbags everywhere.
Race To Zero’ is the new album by musician and composer John Matthias and producer, musician and composer Jay Auborn, via the Village Green label.
"The album’s starting point was a series of acoustic improvisations recorded in a variety of locations, from a 700-year-old chapel in the Devon countryside to a basement studio in Reykjavík, Iceland.
In an attempt to create a fractured sense of space reflective of the digital condition, the duo found themselves working within a place that could only exist in the digital landscape. By crushing the recordings through a hundred different virtual rooms of reverb and other chaotic digital processes they collided, soared and splintered into sweeping new rhythms, melodies and drones.
Pushing the computer’s processor beyond its limits threw up sonic ‘errors’ that wouldn’t be easily possible to create through standard methods. In response, these outcomes created new and unplanned inspiration for further composition. Elements of the album were then produced binaurally adding a three dimensional listening experience. The outcome is a unique landscape that blurs the line between the virtual and physical worlds."
Rivers collects in album form the two recent 12" vinyl releases (Retina and Iris) from Swedish duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums.
For this new venture, Swedish duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums expand their singular, percussion-heavy sound with the recruitment of the Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir, who have previously worked with Bjork on her all-vocal album, Medulla. In fact the Icelandic connection doesn't end there: the EP features arrangement from Hildur Guðnadótir, recording by Ben Frost and production from the latter's Bedroom Community pal, Valgeir Sigurðsson. The outcome of all this is a brilliant five-song release that hopefully gives some indication of the direction this band might head in next. As ever, vocalist Mariam Wallentin leads the way with a bewitchingly charismatic performance, and Andreas Werliin imposes a structural backbone via his drums, but the choral elements really add to the duo's music. It might be said that the ordinarily very fulsome and versatile percussive elements are ever so slightly impoverished by this new direction, but it's a trade-off that works well, particularly on 'Fight For Me' which locks onto a memorably mighty thud.
While Retina was recorded in a Reykjavik church with the Schola Cantorum Chamber Choir, this release sees Wildbirds & Peacedrums reverting to their conventional duo line-up, with Andreas Werliin playing drums and percussion while Mariam Wallentin undertakes some fairly major multitasking: singing while playing steel drums and an organ bass pedal. Once again, Bedroom Community mainstays Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost are in charge of recording and mixing duties, but this time it all takes place within the facilities of Greenhouse Studios. Despite the more controlled production environment you really get a sense of this duo's stunning presence as a live act, and Wallentin's ability to carve out a strong, melodically coherent song using such minimal and often abstract accompaniment is truly something to behold. The strongest entries are the songs bookending the EP: 'The Wave' establishes a memorable chorus from the vantage point of a slow tempo and methodical bass intervals, while closing track 'The Well' has real urgency and kinetic energy about it, building to a climax full of thrashing cymbals and flurrying steel drum work.
Exquisite new recordings from preeminent avant-garde trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Arve Henriksen for his spiritual home, Rune Grammofon, arriving over three years since his Chron | Cosmic Creation  LP and a handful of collaborations with Supersilent, among others, over the interim.
By now you should know this guy is in possession of a genuinely wonderful sonic wanderlust, the sort of spirit that is instinctively guided by emotion and prone to lead him into the most enchanted and enchanting headspaces - and if you don’t know, we recommend you do a lot of catching up!
That said, you’d do well to start with Towards Language, one of his most accessible ports of call, rendering a ninth solo LP instalment of magickally wistful themes lead by his virtuosic lines of flight and underlined by an array of live-sampling, electronics, synths, guitars and vocals.
From first listens we’re most snagged by the gently pulsating, airborne elegance of Vivification with its sublime Reichian phasing and bubbling undertow, and likewise a little smitten with the deep blue tone of Demarcation Line, but we’re sure deeper listens will reveal even more alluring aspects.
Dive in and drink deeply.
Completing the haul of unreleased albums by the inventor of the motorik beat, drummer for Neu! and La Düsseldorf
"Previously unreleased Klaus Dinger Material. The upcoming millennium inspired Klaus Dinger, legendary co-founder of NEU! and La Düsseldorf, to look for new collaborative opportunities with other musicians. His ambition was to create new music, to “re-sound” the impending millennium and to find new forms of artistic production. Klaus Dinger had been joined by Kazuyuki Onouchi, Andreas Reihse (Kreidler) , Viktoria Wehrmeister (Toresch), Nakao Masaki , Thea Djordjadze. “Turning documentary into art” would indeed be the best way to describe this album."
‘Boombox 2’ is a new selection of early rap music from the period 1979 - 83, with barely a household name in sight. Featured here are some the earliest hip hop records that came out of New York City following the enormous commercial success of the first ever rap record, ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugarhill Gang, in September 1979.
"Artists and producers alike tried to jump aboard the new commercial possibilities of hip hop. By the end of the year there were 30 hip hop singles, all released by independent New York labels. The following year there were over 100 more and so on.
‘Boombox 2’ tells the story of how hip hop went from its evolutionary roots in the Bronx through DJs Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa through to its second phase where veteran music producers - Paul Winley, Peter Brown, Joe Robinson and others - all based in Harlem, began to put rap on vinyl for the first time.
Harlem is also where the separate worlds of disco and hip hop met through the styles and influence of earlier ‘uptown’ DJs - DJ Hollywood and Eddie Cheba. In similar fashion these veteran Harlem-based producers instinctively tapped into a long lineage of African-American rhythm and blues, soul and disco."
The long-in-the-works Glitter In My Eyes is a work of quietly understated beauty from sound artist Janek Schaeffer, conceived to mark the 20th anniversary of his debut release. With the dopplereffekt of whizzing cars still lingering in the memory from his Lay-By Lullaby  CD for 12k, his latest effort offers a firm reminder of Schaeffer’s elusive, rarified compositional brilliance and knack for weaving unexpected and fascinating layers of detail into his work. If anything it’s arguably his master opus. Bravo!
“Glitter in my tears’ marks the 20th anniversary of Janek Schaefer’s career as a recording artist, having now released 30 albums. His music is best comprehended through examining his time as an architect, and how that forged his innate sense for constructing tactile atmospheres, that navigate through unknown structures and forgotten spaces, creating profound new places. Over his career he has placed focus on the relationship between body, medium, and sound, creating a field of work that defies easy definition. An architect of foundsoundscapes.
For Schaefer, the medium plays as great a role as the message itself. He creates music that exposes the marks and memories of a variety of media, as presented in the 26 tracks on ‘Glitter in my tears’, an eclectic album that celebrates the sense of overwhelming desolation held in the music. A subdued cathartic opus.
Each piece is a microcosm of haunted memory, that unites to create a record of melancholic vignettes, and is easily his most critical recorded work to date.
It’s a record that reflects Schaefer’s obsession with texture, atmosphere, and emotive acoustic states. Multiple interludes, like active memories, lace into one another. Their relation is temporal, and shaped very much by the settings in which they are encountered. Like the very best ambient music, ‘Glitter in my tears’ is an acoustic reflector of sorts, rebounding off the places and spaces within which it is experienced. This process means the record is never static, but in a constant state of discovery and rediscovery.
Schaefer comments, “The album was composed over the last decade, in moments when most people are asleep in the dark, while the lucky ones are still dancing in the lights. It’s a record of delightful dark emotions evolving from the evocative dreams we yearn for, with our feet firmly on the floor, always wanting more. An unfolding compendium of motifs and repetitive fragments, fading from the memories of our emotions. Sparkling lights glisten in the hidden shadows of our feelings, with outpourings of love falling through the depths of despair. It is based on a true story”.
Ikonika’s third album ‘Distractions’ builds on 2013’s ‘Aerotropolis’, and the title answers the question “Why has the album taken so long?” In the last few years she’s been building up a strong CV of remixes, from Chvrches to Dawn Richard, Austra and Junior Boys, as well as DJing and working on this album.
"‘Distractions’ distils the character of Ikonika’s music productions across a wider set of styles than previous albums, and she subtly fuses and switches elements from contrasting genres, giving the whole set a uniqueness and consistency that puts it in its own lane. Furthermore what sits at the centre of ‘Distractions’ more than ever is her love of R&B and hip hop, in all its forms, which has opened the door to bring in a selection of guests in a way she’s not fully explored before. From the full throttle blend of grime and 80s synth soul ‘Noblest’ with Andrea Galaxy, to the reflective ‘Sacrifice’ with up and coming MC Jammz, a slowjam that merges dubstep with hip house drums. The final vocal track is the languid ‘Hazefield’ co-produced with Sweyn J and featuring Jessy Lanza on vocals. Its mix of mechanic clunk and minimalist, lulling funk could only happen in 2017.
The LP artwork takes its inspiration from West London’s Golden Mile, a stretch of the Great West Road where the A4 meets the M4, and the road takes on the character of the arcade game Poll Position, with art deco factories and illuminated, hi-tech signage selling lifestyle products. It’s this kind of mix of futuristic and industrious with a touch of gentle glamour that the album exudes.”
Stockholm native Demen delivers a striking statement of intent on this Kranky debut, coming across like a lost artefact from 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil at the height of their powers, and without doubt heavily indected to Cocteau Twins' masterpiece Head Over Heels.
This latest Kranky offering comes wrapped in mystery and elaborate intrigue, the Chicago label apparently receiving ‘Nektyr’ out of the blue several years after the elusive Demen first made contact with some anonymously-submitted demos. Seemingly based out of Stockholm, this most talented if slow-working of musicians has crafted quite the debut album, sounding more like a hermetically sealed archival discovery from the glory years of 4AD rather than any modern-day counterpart.
Listening to this album, it is clear Kranky have stumbled upon quite the musical talent in Demen, or Irma Orm as she is apparently known. Each track here seems to be telling its own story, and Demen’s supple mastery of understated composition and instrumentation is evident throughout. The way she creates drama through sudden silence and unannounced sonic swerves suggests the work of a seasoned professional musician.
It’s the interplay between this ghostly musical backdrop and Demen’s shimmering voice that makes this such a powerful listen however. An otherworldly and evocative whisper, Demen doesn’t form words, but rather intones emotion through sheer yearning power.
A gothic opera of the highest ethereal order. RIYL Cocteau Twins, Tropic Of Cancer.
Tumultuous techno topography - from full throttle pelters to rugged electro and barely there ambient pieces - from a L.I.E.S. regular moonlighting on The Bunker NYC
“The latest transmission from the world of Gunnar Haslam, Kalaatsakia wildly sprawls across the intersections of techno and more abstract sounds to take us on a wide-ranging journey from the subterranean to the coastal, from blown-out dub tones through fractured rhythms. An incredible work that is not easy to pigeonhole, Kalaatsakia is a full length album that navigates and sketches landscapes where new languages are created from old, dead ones to emerge as the lingua franca of interconnected immersive zones.
Haslam is an avid home listener of dub, dancehall and calypso, and that influence is quickly felt as Kalaatsakia launches with a tight electro snap and dubwise crash. Kalaatsakia advances and retreats seasonally, tightening up for the floor with the chrome-plated “Broadcast” and “Kjolle” while splintering apart on “Kalapuyan” and “nxbound”. Its constituent parts are often left to collapse in on themselves, smearing themes into residual trails. As the narrative of the album disintegrates and unfolds into more deconstructed territory, it stretches out even further with a striking skittering mental tease, settling into burbling sub-audible vocals and resonant spaces that all form a part of Haslam's self-created subconscious language.”
Deluxe, expanded edition of Domo Arigato which followed on the heels of ambitious ‘modern classical’ album Without Mercy a year earlier, and saw composer/guitarist Vini Reilly and percussionist Bruce Mitchell augmented by John Metcalfe on viola and Tim Kellet on trumpet.
"Their show-cum-recital at the Kan’i Hoken Hall on 25 April was recorded digitally and filmed on two 35mm cameras. ‘Mixing down was fun,’ recalled Durutti manager/mentor Anthony H. Wilson. ‘We were on a flight out next morning so Nippon Columbia hired a mobile studio recording truck and we mixed from midnight to 6 a.m.’
In fact the group always considered this rather hurried mix imperfect, and therefore for this greatly expanded 2017 reissue Factory Benelux have returned to the original soundboard tapes and remastered the entire 90 minute performance, in the process restoring the original running order.
Disc 1 of the 4 CD set presents the original digital mix from 1985, while Discs 2 and 3 include the 2017 soundboard remaster plus a previously unreleased gig from Tokyo Loft Club on 29 April 1984. Disc 4 is an NTSC format DVD featuring a pristine transfer of the original Japanese laserdisc edition of Domo Arigato, which is the filmed version of the show with the 1985 digital mix.
A double disc vinyl edition is also available with a bonus 7" single, Dedications for Japan."
Warm and fuzzy house nodding to classic Detroit beatdown from a UK perspective for Technicolour. Check for excellent weightless ambient dimensions in Murmure and his best Theo P vibes on Analogische Memories
“These days, to leave even the briefest of imprints on the ever-increasingly saturated orbit of dance music can be considered a feat in itself. To make a lasting mark, however, one that manages to cut through the onslaught of new music and artist profiles on spotlight each day, is another accomplishment entirely. Cue Dauwd, the US-born, Wales-raised artist who’s been releasing music for nearly 6 years on such noted labels as Ghostly International and Kompakt, and whose debut album Theory of Colours is released via Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour Records.
An integral member of the Berlin night and radio show African Acid Is The Future, Dauwd Al Hilali’s releases have been met with as much expectation as they have intrigue. Spending the last few years out of the limelight and in his Berlin studio, Dauwd’s music has continued to ripple through clubs as his singular, sometimes thrillingly uncertain process of experimentation has continued. Pulling inspiration from electronic music legends like Terry Riley, Raymond Scott, and the seminal Radiophonic Workshop period in the late 50’s and 60’s, Dauwd’s 2017 LP draws a unique line between influences as disparate as hazy Detroit house and early German Krautrock.
A skilled musical engineer, Dauwd’s ability to balance between such sprawling genres is, paradoxically, an exercise in restriction, finding creative freedom in limiting his own gear. It’s clear he’s no stranger to focus; sonically, Theory of Colours runs tightly wound, its loops intentional and layers meticulously built. Spanning a succinct forty minutes across seven tracks, Dauwd’s fondness for delays and love for vintage synthesizers characterize much of the album, which was recorded over the course of a year primarily in the Utrecht based Sonar Traffic studio that houses one of the largest collections of vintage synths and other modular equipment in all of Europe. The result is an intricate, scintillating journey that hovers between familiar and strange. For many artists, that enigmatic gap is one that’s anxiously avoided-- the fear of misidentity as a musician more important than the music itself. Throughout Theory of Colours, it’s a space Dauwd comfortably renders as his own.”
Japanese composer/demi-god Ryuichi Sakamoto presents an exquisitely oneiric and elusively spiritual new album inspired as much by the sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia as the magic of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal septet of celluloid classics.
It’s been some years since Sakamoto has placed his name at the top of a solo album proper - as opposed to his swathes of collaborations and film scores - and we can promise that the results herein are definitely worth the wait.
Imagined and realised after a period of fright with his health, Async captures Mr. Sakamoto at his most wistful and wonderful, meditating on the existentialist, ontological themes and atmospheres of Tarkovsky’s work from both a gauzily impressionistic aspect, and a quite literal one, employing readings of Tarkovsky’s poetry (poem transcribed in the liner notes) in a variety of languages from a coterie of contemporaries including long time collaborators David Sylvian, Bernardo Bertolucci (for whom he composed the OST for The Last Emperor) and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), among others.
Embracing both the fluidity and flux of Tarkovsky’s water analogies as well as the harmonic chaos of Harry Bertoia’s lush metal rod clangour, Sakamoto melds feather touch acoustic keys with field recordings, shimmering electronic patinas and signature synthesiser flourishes in a suite that beautifully lives up to and even transcends its influences, revealing some of the most achingly emotive yet often abrasive and abstract work in a catalogue now spanning over 40 years of exemplary work.
Beyond maybe Scott Walker, we can hardly think of another artist who has continued to expand their oeuvre over such a long period of time, and with an appeal quite like this, albeit respectively unique to their work. But Sakamoto really is in a league of his own here, utterly absorbing us with the dappled keys, organ haze and stereo starting doom synths of Andata, thru the stark Sonambient emulations of Disintegration to the romance of ZURE and the almost Toshiya Tsunoda-esque sensitivity of his field recordings woven into Walker or Honj, with humbling moments to be discovered in the switch from disorienting cinematic dialogue in Fullmoon to the legit Ligeti style violence of Async, and again in the curdled chromatics of FF and the Gas-eous swells swirling about Garden.
Conscientious retro-chic pop music steeped in ‘80s synths, balmy tropical influence and wrapped around pointed lyrics. RIYL endless Swedish reverb and diamond cut hooks.
“That we live in a world changed is beyond question. Since 2015’s Zenith, Berlin-based songwriter Molly Nilsson has surrendered to the world, traveling from Mexico to Glasgow, observing the changing socio-political landscape and imagining a better world. For an artist who has so successfully created her own environment and gradually let others in, her 8th studio album Imaginations sees Nilsson directly engaging with her surroundings, engendering change and allowing love in. Imaginations dreams big, recasting storming, stadium-sized pop into the internal language of the solo auteur. Imaginations is not escapism, it’s a kaleidoscope and an alternative view, an agent of change.
Opener Tender Surrender encapsulates Imaginations, a tango on the ruins of the past, like many of Nilsson’s best songs a collision between the political and personal. Though potentially a love song, there’s a glowing anger in the lines “I want your ruin, I want destruction, I won’t be through until we mend this…” this is rapturous transformation, order and chaos. Molly has built an almost 10 year career on perfectly summing up how we feel and this is no different… Who else could write a song about privilege (Let’s Talk About Privileges) and make a heart-rending chorus of “It’s never being afraid of the police, it’s expecting every thank you, every please.” The artist’s vision on this album is perhaps more forceful than the emotionally fragile moments of previous album Zenith, at times exemplified on songs like Memory Foam, a bright, driving pop song that belies themes of nostalgia and the past, reminding us that Molly alone can make us feel so welcome in loneliness. If there’s overt anger in songs like Money Never Sleeps, an anthem for a post-capitalist utopia if ever there was one, there’s also seams of optimism sewn into the album’s genetic code. Any revolutionary will tell you that anger alone achieves nothing - Nilsson’s mission on Imaginations is to offer some alternatives we can hold close. Not Today Satan is a song about accepting love as the agent of change; “Don’t be sad, but do get mad at all the small men who act so tall, in the end they always fall; there ain’t no sin in giving in to love, that’s just how we’re winning the fight.” Love can be visceral, a weapon with which to fight the power.
On Imaginations Molly is recasting her interior monologue as a prism through which to see the world, a means to live differently and to reject the status quo. We can Think Pink, change our destiny together. This is an optimism about the future when we need it the most. “New boys, new girls.. give me your smile and I’ll give you mine” Clearly, we are living through a transformation but with alchemists like Molly Nilsson, we’re never alone in the process.”
The Skatalites brought the sound of Jamaica to the world. At the start of the 1960s, in the space of just a couple of years Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Jackie Mittoo, Ernest Ranglin, Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, Lloyd Knibbs, Lloyd Brevett and others defined the exciting beat of ‘Ska’ as the sound of newly independent Jamaica.
"As the house band at Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd’s newly launched Studio One Records at 13 Brentford Road, the group comprising the finest jazz musicians on the island played on literally 1000s of recordings – Bob Marley and The Wailers, Toots and The Maytals, Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis and many, many more.
During their existence (1963-65) The Skatalites also recorded 100s of their own songs, released either under their own name, or The Studio One Orchestra, or that of band members Drummond, McCook etc. This is the first collection on Soul Jazz Records to bring you some of their finest material – from classics such as ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘El Pussy Cat Ska’, ‘Christine Keeler’ through to some serious rarities such as Dizzy Johnny and The Studio One Orchestra’s ‘Sudden Destruction’ and Don Drummond’s ‘Coolie Boy’.
The Skatalites’ ska sound brought together aspects of jazz, latin, rhythm and blues, proto-Rastafarianism (tracks such as ‘Full Dread’, ‘Beardsman Ska’) and more. The intensity and energy of their sound was matched by the experimentation of the troubled genius of Don Drummond whose ‘far east’ modal trombone sound added a complex melancholy to the music of the Skatalites (the group split-up after Drummond was charged with murdering his wife, dancer Margarita Mahfood)."
IDM by a master of that style..
“Skam Records are very proud to announce the return of Bola. After 10 long years hidden away in the hills, huddled in the Bolamachine - at long last Bola awakens, delivering an album of power, elegance and beauty...
All tracks composed and performed by the Bolaman. Kappafects co-composed and performed by Dennis Bourne. No humans were harmed during the making of Evensong. While every care was taken, slight but unavoidable human abuse was endured in the making of Kappafects.
Art and design: Michael England”
New edition of this very rare deep spiritual jazz album first released as a private-press album in 1969 on flautist Lloyd McNeill’s own Asha Record label in Washington, DC.
"Lloyd McNeill is an African-American flautist, painter, poet, and photographer born in Washington, D.C., in 1935. His multi-disciplinary creative life led to encounters and friendships with Nina Simone, Picasso, Eric Dolphy, Nana Vasconceles and other legendary cultural figures. McNeill grew up through the era of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and his life and work is a reflection of those ideals. ‘Asha’ was the debut album by the Lloyd McNeill Quartet released on his own private-press record label, echoing the Civil Rights and African-American themes of the era - black economic empowerment and self-sufficiency – as well as a beautiful spirituality to the music.
In the mid-1960s he moved to France where he became friends with Picasso, working with a number of émigré-jazz musicians whilst living in Paris.In the late 1960s he taught jazz and painting workshops at the New Thing Art and Architecture Center in Washington. In the 1970s he travelled throughout Brazil and West Africa studying music and taught music anthropology in the US. This album is released as a limited-edition 1000-copies worldwide LP (including download code), and limited-edition 1000-copies worldwide CD edition and also as a digital album on Soul Jazz Records. This album is released in conjunction with the album Lloyd McNeill – Washington Suite (1970) which was released last month also on Soul Jazz Records."
Preditah crams 32 tracks into his humid UK house, garage, grime and baseline-navigating FABRICLIVE 92 mix; swerving between prime, natty cuts from himself, DJ Q, C4, Swindle, AJ Tracey, Solo 45, Mr. Virgo, Joker and more.
Sophie Hutchings: Compared with the likes of Michael Nyman, Max Richter, Dustin O'Hallaron and Nils Frahm, Hutchings has garnered much critical praise worldwide.
"Sophie’s compositions move from the disarmingly spare and elegant to the romantic and epic, managing to be both unfussed and exquisite and in a constant state of creative evolution. Sophie has released four albums, with last year's Wide Asleep being listed in the top 30 for The Australian Music Prize. She was also nominated in the top five live instrumentalists of the year for the National Live Music Awards and is currently preparing for her European tour to promote what will soon be her fifth album Yonder.
Hutchings has proven a striking live presence in Australia and Japan either solo or accompanied. With her streaming audience stealthily growing and her work gaining attention at a rapid pace, she is finding new fans - most notably in the neo-classical and ambient genre abroad. Her popularity is growing exponentially in the UK and Europe, allowing Hutchings to reach further with her music than ever before."
Art-funk pioneering siblings ESG’s 2002 ‘come-back’ album returns on vinyl to celebrate 33 1/3 years of Fire LPs.
Originally issued some 20 odd years after their massively sampled DJ ’s favourite, Come Away With ESG album, this one catches the Scroggins sisters barely changed from their original sound, still dealing in super tight and infectious hybrid of disco, new wave and funk.
At last Deadboy mounts his debut album proper with Earth Body on Local Action, catching him at full wingspan and paying up on the promise of his score of singles and edits since 2009 with a pop-toned collection of ambient R&B songs underpinned by industrial percussion and fronted by his own, processed vocals. RIYL Arca, Croatian Amor, Palmistry
“Deadboy is one of UK underground music’s most influential and respected artists. His early singles ‘U Cheated’ and ‘If U Want Me’ predicted an entire generation of dance music, bringing much-needed r&b, house and dancehall influences to a landscape dominated by grime and dubstep and helping to pave the way for a new age of UK club music.
After developing his unique attitude to the club across longer EPs like Blaquewerk and Here, 2015 saw Deadboy usher in a new phase of his career with his deepest record to date, White Magick - which saw elements of new age, meditational and ambient music that had always existed in Deadboy’s music find their way to the surface of his sound. After launching the ambient club night New Atlantis, he then re-located from London to Montreal, where he wrote Earth Body.
Written and recorded entirely during Montreal’s winter, Earth Body is not only Deadboy’s first album, but the first time his own vocals have been front and centre of his music rather than simply sampled. Although this is clearly an album by someone who's done their time in the clubs - as evidenced by the clattering drums of ‘Caballero’, for instance - it’s ultimately an pop record, inspired by Deadboy’s long-standing love of Scott Walker, Sade, Drake and the Beach Boys and filled with bold choruses and multi-tracked harmonies.
It’s a record that features stark, uncomfortable moments of cold isolation, but ultimately is hopeful and full of love.”
Peverelist does Peverelist on his 3rd album of Bristolian bass techno prisms, Tessellations; his first for the Livity Sound label, forming a typically stripped, acute treatise on the flux of dub, techno, D&B and ambient electronics that make up his soundsystem DNA.
Rooted in the ‘90s but curved and toned for 2017, Pev’s sound is economically functional but not without a crucial sliver of emotive, sensual/textural pressure that bleeds thru in each cut. It’s hardly hands-in-the-air material, yet his slow-burning vibes are arguably more satisfying and subtly impressive in the immediacy of the dance and for the long run.
Across a neatly plotted 48 minutes he systematically investigates and consolidates all stripes of the Peverelist sound in a way that builds on the experiments of 12000 Seconds  whilst reprising and refining the heft of Jarvik Mindstate .
The roiling modular tones of opener Burning Seas offers a rare, beat-less iteration of his sound before the session properly gets under way, vacillating the pressure between Under Clearing Skies dense electro-bass pulses and strobing dub chords, and the wide open lushness of Still Early, then twisting into the latinate shimmy of Sheer Chance Matters and the spiralling trills of Wireframes, which sounds almost like Plastikman meets Unique 3.
Further Inland brings a lot of originality and feeling with a misty-eyed mesh of airy Detroit/Berlin arpeggios and serpentine house swang, cooling down into the tribalism patterns of Brinks and Limits and closing on another rare, beat-less vision, Plateau from which to survey his rolling topography and then dive back in again.
Demolition 9 is a remarkable album mosaic of 34 concise, discrete tiles from the archive of Suicide legend Martin Rev, relinquished via his former producer Craig Leon’s newly revived Atlas Realisations label.
In Rev’s own words, Demolition 9 is informed by “a yearning for joy and the unattainable perfection of the artistic ideal”, and takes shape as a hugely variegated, almost schizoid suite of themeslasting between 30 seconds and just over 2 minutes in length. Never outstaying their welcome, and often leaving us craving more.
It boots off with the incendiary fulmination of Stickball and cycles wildly therein from choral work in Salve Dominus to distorted drugstore cowboy canter in My Street and bolshy Hollywood drama with Now, taking in the clammy ‘phet-clench grunge of In Our Name, airy MIDI chamber etudes such as Vision of Mari and Warning, thru to glam industrial stomp on Creation and reverb-laden percussive workouts with Back To Philly and She.
It’s pretty fxcking mental to be honest, and needs to be checked out by anyone who’s gotten into Powell or 0PN since start of this decade.
Snap on your lycra - Kraftwerk are back with their first release since 2004; across-section of live performances captured in world-renowned museums and galleries across the world between 2012-2016. OK, it’s not a new album, per se, but it does feature new recordings of total classics rendered in all new psychoacoustic 3-D to sate the fan’s thirst for something, anything after ten years of no releases from the world’s greatest man-machine band.
So, the 3-D thing, a sales gimmick or additional dimension to Kraftwerk’s sound? Listening on headphones right now, it’s definitely not a gimmick; the sound is super wide and lustrous, vividly swirling the head along multiple planes of geometry, making us involuntarily do that thing with our eyes, trying to pick out where the sound is coming from, just like someone trying to do mental arithmetic or retrieve forgotten information from your clump of grey matter between the eyes.
Like we said, there’s no new material, but every track is an alternate take on their, by-now, very familiar song structures, re-cycling the internal mechanisms of each piece into dynamic images of themselves, ranging from an abridged, 14 minute version of Autobahn and a glorious rendition of Radioactivity to hyper crisp, almost DJ style transitions between Trans Europe Express - Metal on Metal - Abzug - The Man-Machine on disc 1, and then strafing another ruck of classics from he Numbers-Computer World one-two, thru the ricocheting, extreme panning applied to the Boing Boom Tschak-Techno-Pop-Music Non Stop jabs, and finally onto a reorchestrated mix of the strings for the Prologue to the original Tour De France and its breezy, gear-shifting components from the 2003 release.
Volume 1 of Mac Quayle’s synth-based score for ‘Mr. Robot’ Season 1.
"Quayle is well respected for his soundtrack work alongside Cliff Martinez on ‘Drive’, ‘Spring Breakers’ and ‘Only God Forgives’ and has written music for over 40 films and TV shows. Quayle’s score brings to mind works by composers such as Cliff Martinez, Cabaret Voltaire and Vangelis but it is ultimately its own dark, unnerving beast; at times strange, dreamy and atmospheric, whilst being almost unbearably claustrophobic at others."
Kompakt proprietor Michael Mayer does his louche but ecstatic thing on the DJ-Kicks series for the latest addition to his illustrious haul of official mix CD stretching back thru various Immer and Speicher volumes.
However, unlike those mixes, this one is closer to his Fabric 13 selection, inasmuch as it looks beyond the sprawling Kompakt catalogue for a slinky sequence drawing for cuts from Peter Zummo to I:Cube and Simon Ratcliffe’s remix of Throbbing Gristle’s Hot On The Heels Of Love, and coincidentally a fine reminder of Chris & Cosey’s take on Death In Vegas’ Consequences Of Love, which seemed to slip our attention on release last year.
Naturally, there’s a healthy number of Mayer’s own remixes and an exclusive cut, The Horn Conspiracy, in there, too.
“Aaron Burr’s attempt to seize the Texas Territory for his own dominion has beguiled composers ‘n bands for ages. Allegedly Aaron Copeland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ was originally entitled ‘Blennerhassett Spring’ til Martha Graham had a snit & threatened to tell his socialist pals he was active in the Lavender Mafia, the f*ckin’ witch. But hey, it went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Lowell George supposedly had a concept album in the can (aka, ‘Carolina Parakeet’) what was all about it, then Neon Park said he refused to draw a bird sportin Burr’s noggin, so George ended up makin ‘Thanks I’ll Eat It Here’ instead. Then died not long after. Now that’s just a damn shame! And so this fascinatin’ tale of (alleged) treasonous expansion would end up in limbo until Endless Boogie took up the quill & recorded this new, inspired masterpiece entitled, ‘Vibe Killer’. It’s like a history lesson plundered deep outta the archives of Straight/Bizarre.
“Our story opens w/a jowly narrative enunciated by Top Dollar (as Aaron Burr) callin’ out all them sissy Dem-Rep blaggards, letting ‘em know he’s on his own path. Naturally what follows is some tasty sun zoom riffage a’tween TD ‘n The Governor and the wiley Sweenhound, backed solidly by the Razo/Druzd rhythm union. In fact, through the whole of this opus, Druzd effortlessly marshals through the sonic undertow while Razo rudders his bass like a brilliant pulse in a spasmodic vortex. Top Dollar, the aforementioned Herr Sween & The Governor gnash, morph, crystallize while the jams flow; it’s ‘Mirror Man’ bum-rushin’ ‘Pretties For You’. Before ya know it, we’re at track 5 (‘Back In ‘74’) where the plot ostensibly takes us to a memory’ve Burr enterin’ college, but is surreptitiously more about the year Top Dollar gave up on Grand Funk in favor of Josefus. You’re followin’ all of this, right? So as we amble into the ether of this brilliant opus, we can surmise by title 6 (‘Jefferson County’) the end is near. Burr (aka, Top Dollar) reflects on everything from Wilkinson’s betrayal to the excellent meals while in captivity at Fort Stodden, then suddenly, NO, it’s him, Top Dollar-with full Endless Boogie heft-soarin’ high above the hobo fires that flicker along the bank’ve the Ouachita River, drownin’ out forever the simperin’ harmonica bleats’ve tryranny. It’s almost enough to make you wanna smoke a ham. Friends & collectors, Endless Boogie have never not occupied the Catbird Seat. Winners gonna win, yo. They, like Aaron Burr himself, understand manifest destiny & no amount of port nor Madeira will take them down. Shit, might as well bring the sherry too. Who knows, maybe your mom’s a fan.” - Roland Seward Woodbe, Burr, Texas (Wharton County) 2017
Igniting interest with her eponymous debut album released just two years ago, Auckland’s Aldous Harding has become known for her sinister torch songs, gentle laments and eerie odes delivered with a charismatic combination of hubris, shrewd wit and quiet horror.
"Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse) in Bristol, a world away from her New Zealand home, ‘Party’ introduces a new talent to the stark, dramatic realm where Kate Bush and Scott Walker reside.
As well as contributions from Parish, Perfume Genius’s Mike Hadreas also lends vocals to the aforementioned ‘Imagining My Man’ and album closer ‘Swell Does The Skull’."
Excellent, Barely-there micro-minimalism
“In 2000, The Wire wrote of Chartier's work: it's worth stretching the ears in search of Chartier's sequences of exquisitely sculpted sonic events, as gorgeous detail bodies forth out of the shadows...; the same holds true today.
Formed over the course of 5 years, Removed was a process of removal/erasure. Only trace elements appear from what was. Their interactions merely a ghost of a composition - subtle echoes across the sound spectrum. A glacially paced progression of discreet relational sonic events and flows. Inspired in part by the rigorous line drawings of American visual artist Linn Meyers, whose 2011 untitled drawing graces the cover, Removed draws the listener in to follow patterns. Meyers often creates large scale on-site works that transform a space into durational installations of seemingly endless lines.
Seen from a distance these lines appear as almost natural ripples in a wall surface, but deeper, upon closer inspection, the delicate echoes and fluctuations of the artist's hand arise from the density of details. Chartier's precise sound compositions work in a similar manner. Austere and shimmering, the two compositions of Removed beg for careful listening on headphones. Or let these 2 compositions play quietly amplified across your space. Either way, a physically captivating dimensional experience.
Removed is a continuing reflection on major aesthetic elements of Chartier's artistic language as it has evolved through the years. This is Chartier's first new solo studio album since 2013's field recording exploration Interior Field and 2012's purely digital Recurrence, both released on LINE, US.”
‘Shake The Shudder’ is !!!’s way of saying “shake it off and dance your cares away.” For them, the sound of protest can be a march or it can be a sick groove paired with some short shorts.
"‘Shake The Shudder’ is a product of !!!’s DIY punk roots presenting a harder edge lyrically and sonically, while incorporating trans-Atlantic electronic music influences. The new record opens with ‘The One 2’, diving right into experimentation. “We’ve always admired this style of dance music from afar and were curious if we could add our twist to it, our twist being a plotline and some attitude.” Immediately segueing into the soon-to-be live favourite ‘Dancing Is The Best Revenge,’ which premiered on US TV show Last Call With Carson Daly, the record starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up till the closing groove ‘R Rated Pictures’.
For years !!! have run the dance band gambit and become New York City legends. From their start in Sacramento to Brooklyn house party staples and now delighting festival stages from Primavera to FYF, they’ve cemented their place as part of the live dance scene - while others have drifted into the history books."
Patron of dancers the world over, Jerrilynn Patton a.k.a. Jlin delivers a devastatingly strong 2nd album with Black Origami. Incorporating input from Indian dancer/movement artist Avril Stormy Unger, as well as William Basinski, Holly Herndon and vocals from Dope Saint Jude and Fawkes, the North American producer has realised a transcendent, body-unlocking sound that’s effectively peerless in her field and shapes up an early contender for one of the albums of the year so far, just as its predecessor Dark Energy was in 2015.
Jlin smartly uses the metaphor of Black Origami to describe her art and the process of unpackaging and refolding Black Musical heritage at expressively complex, innovative new angles, eloquently articulated in a language of clipped, pointillist gestures swirled into a singular yet mutable rhythmelodic cadence.
Above all it’s about moving you differently, both emotionally and physically, and perfectly highlights the symbiosis between those two aspects which are all too often heard as mutually exclusive. For Jlin, the rhythm is the melody is the harmony and vice-versa in a manner which connects everything from African talking drum traditions to avant-garde minimalism thru to Kraftwerk and Chicago house and the rhythmic psychedelia of ‘90s jungle.
She has clearly, intuitively reached that same conclusion some years ago, and used it as the bedrock from which to, thru painstaking counter-intuitive process - pushing blocks on a screen - manifest a music which consolidates time and space within a radically personalised temporality.
With a uniquely spirited approach that acknowledges “the beauty of darkness and blackness” her disrupted style of syncopations forms a remarkable solution to notions of conceptual stasis within contemporary dance music much in the same way that Powell has unlocked rock and industrial music thru a process of complex editing and arrangement at the service of an immediate, direct simplicity. Perhaps no wonder that AFX, one of the world’s foremost electronic rhythmaticians, was squashing their tunes together in his Austin, TX DJ set last year, then.
With tracks such as the the lush, gyroscopic rolige of Holy Child featuring William Basinski, in the ravenous mix of militant pliés and vicious mentasms in Hatshepsut, or the turbulent urgency of 1% with Holly Herndon, Jlin flips and inverts conventions with stunning effect, resulting a sound which helplessly commands the body to new rhythmic sensations, re-programming our biology and psychology in real time with a deep focus on the corporeal aspects of dance music which many other dance music producers simply aren’t aware of, or don’t acknowledge as acutely as she does.
It’s supremely exciting, challenging and deeply gratifying music - a pinnacle of contemporary electronic music and club cultures.
T. Raumschmiere returns a more mellowed out figure with his 8th album, Heimat; presenting a matured collection of ambient techno themes on Kompkat that hearken back to the label’s early releases, as opposed to his saw-toothed rave tackle for NoveMute and Shitkatapult. Expect plush strings, polka pumps and shuffling triplets with a direct appeal on headphones or at the rave...
“Berlin's own Marco Haas, aka T.Raumschmiere, made an irreparable impression globally in the '00s as a saw-toothed, anti-rave radical, thanks to his immense stage antics and larger-than-life releases on Novamute. Since then, Haas has established himself as a contemporary with emotive, dark ambient tales on his own imprints Shitkatapult and AlbumLabel. Kompakt's love affair with Haas goes back to their earliest days.
Some of his first tracks were released on Kompakt in the form of two raw EPs entitled Bolzplatz (KOM 021EP, 2000) and Musick (KOM 037EP, 2001). These two formative releases elevated the "Schaffel" sound to raw and shameless places never before imagined. The results set a tidal wave in motion that to this day remains one of Kompakt's most infamous legacies. In an off-chance reunion with Haas in his studio, Kompakt learnt about what he'd been doing since the "Monstertruckdriver" days. It turned out he's been ever so busy outside of the mainstream working with the likes of Dieter Meier of Yello, Caspar Brötzmann, Andreas Dorau, Fraktus, Ofrin, or Barbara Morgenstern, and his recent work with Ulli Bomans, aka Schieres, as SHRUBBN!!.
Kompakt present T.Raumschmiere's new, epic solo full-length Heimat. It presents another side of his work which was always there, but never got that much airtime: the artist, the author, the composer with the crystal-clear sound. Heimat is a stunning techno album that neither excludes ambient, nor gets reduced to constant ass kicking. It's perhaps the best recording so far from this man who asks so deeply, so extensively, so much. And at some point even answers.”
The Toronto post-rock troupe reunite for their first album in almost a decade.
Inspired to rekindle the magic for another album after the band reunited for Constellation’s 15th anniversary tour in 2012, DMST eventually conceived ‘Stubborn Persistent Illusions’ after two years of studio sessions between 2014-16. Extra creative inspiration was gleaned from a short Buddhist poem about boundlessness and recurrence.
So much for DMST being the torchbearers of non-pretentious post-rock? Despite the time spent apart, the band have clearly lost none of their well-honed instrumental harmony and penchant for swooping drama, delivering another album that is best experienced as a whole.
The two authorized recordings presented on Konzerte 1972/1977 vividly conjure up the atmosphere, perhaps even the magic, of a Cluster performance back in the day.
"One took place in 1977 during a science fiction festival in Metz (France). The other dates back to an earlier show in Hamburg's Fabrik venue. Cluster played three gigs in the city in 1971/1972, including the one partially included on 1972's Cluster II (LR 335LP).
Cluster shows routinely lasted six hours or more, luring both the band and the audience into a state of intoxication, no doubt acutely enhanced by the intake of certain substances. The buzzwords of the moment were: psychedelic, magical, ritualistic, corresponding more or less to the Dionysian hedonism which pervades certain styles of contemporary music culture today. It is worth noting this context as useful background when listening to the live recordings presented here. In the beginning, Cluster's music was rough, brutal, and spontaneous, created with the most rudimentary tools. Unlike many of their colleagues in this pioneering age, Cluster did not use any synthesizers, sequencers, or high-end amps. But this proved to be their strength, rather than a disadvantage.
Roedelius and Moebius played in the truest sense of the word, untroubled by mechanical processes. They used their machines but were not dependent on them. Intuition was the dominant force, the risk of potential failure was readily understood to be as much a part of their vibrant art as success. Perfection had become a concept associated with convention. Indeed, anyone who was lucky enough to witness Cluster play in the 1970s will testify that things sometimes went badly wrong. But mostly they did not, and then the real magic was tangible.
A utopian, previously undiscovered world of sound was created in the presence of the beholder. The sound quality of these two documents is average. A successful performance was considered more important than a perfect recording thereof. As listeners, this should be accepted today. Konzerte 1972/1977 provides a short journey into the nascent heart of Cluster's creative universe, just after the big bang.”
Burials In Several Earths is a brand new work by the legendary Radiophonic Workshop. Nearly two decades after the Workshop was decommissioned, original members Peter Howell, Roger Limb, Dr Dick Mills, Paddy Kingsland and long-time associate composer Mark Ayres are back working together, featuring guest appearances from Martyn Ware and Steve ‘Dub’ Jones, creative an evocative suite of synth improvisations.
At first glance a new album from The Radiophonic Workshop may be viewed as something of a surprise, arriving long after the pioneering group’s last long player together. But it does make sense. A fair chunk of modern day archivalism has rightly focused on the group’s work for the BBC, after the workshop was established by Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram in the late ‘50s and crafted soundtracks that were well ahead of their time. This renewed interest led to core original members reconvening The Radiophonic Workshop in 2012 to undertake a series of live performances.
From this we now have ‘Burials In Several Earths,’ released on the group’s own Room 13 label - the name a canny nod to the BBC Maida Vale studio where they did so much great work. Recorded with celebrated engineer Steve ‘Dub’ Jones and Human Leaguer Martyn Hare, this album finds the veteran work shoppers freed from the constraints of working to a script and expressing their creativity in a spontaneous manner. The resultant five tracks occupy a strange – but totally alluring – place; sat somewhere between the Workshop’s own iconic work and a cadre of modern day practitioners who have undoubtedly been profoundly influenced by them, such as Pye Corner Audio, and Alessandro Cortini.
Coldcut and Adrian Sherwood team up on this album-length reaffirmation their joint status as elder gents of UK system culture.
Further reviving their pre-Ninja Tune label, Ahead Of Their Time, Coldcut make an interesting move with this album-length collaboration with On-U Sound don dada Adrian Sherwood. The UK dub pioneer has rightly been feted in recent years for his services to the advancement of electronic music, with On-U Sound undertaking an extensive reissue and compilation programme. As Coldcut, Jon More and Matt Black have arguably had a similar level of impact but aren’t viewed with the same reverence outside of the feverish community that fosters the Ninja Tune roster of labels.
Might this album’s title be a barbed reference to that? As you’d expect with an album written and produced in cahoots with Sherwood and featuring On-U Sound mainstays Skip McDonald on guitar and bassist Doug Wimbish, ‘Outside The Echo Chamber’ is at its core a tasteful celebration of UK Soundsystem culture skewered with the odd touch of maverick electronics.
Sherwood’s iPhone contacts list ensures the calibre of contributing JA artists is high, led by with the inimitable Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, whilst fans of Coldcut’s classic JBJ mix will be pleased to see Junior Reid also guesting. Even the presence of fidget casualties Dave ‘Switch’ Taylor and Toddla T doesn’t spoil matters.
Deluxe 2CD edition including 26 extra tracks - 36 in total - including the ‘Re-Works of Art of Noise (version 5) cuts. Also features a 18-page booklet of liner notes, artwork and credits. Entirely remastered from original tapes
2017 remasters of the 2nd album by pioneering avant-pop group, The Art of Noise, expanded with stacks of alternate versions, singles and previously unreleased material, and working as a prime entry point for anyone looking to delve deeper into their influential catalogue beyond their Moments In Love classic.
Originally issued on China Records in the wake of their departure from the ZZT label, who’d previously released their debut album, Who’s Afraid Of The Art Of Noise , and also now shrunken to a trio following departure of their image creator Paul Morley and producer Trevor Horn, In Visible Silence finds Fairlight wizard J.J. Jeczalik, Anne Dudley and Gary Langan pursuing the group’s playful sense of humour across a melange of dance-pop, sampler-jazz and chart-bothering pop songs starring infamous avatar, Max Headroom.
On the first disc you’ll find the original album in its entirety, including the slackened, slashed rock ’n roll swagger and twang of Peter Gunn featuring Duane Eddy on axe, plus bonus features in the aforementioned Paranoimia (7” Mix) starring a glitching Max Headroom on vocals, and the decadent lushness of A Nation Rejects and Backbeat (Reprise) with its freaky fake-outs, among others.
The 2nd disc goes wild in the archive, drawing for no less than 11 previously unreleased pieces and including a killer haul of 12” single mixes. Of the unreleased material, you’re advised to check for highlights int he prototype of The First Leg and their hard industrial funk cut-up Panic, plus the jabbing Trumpton Boogie and another dash of debonaire in A Nation Regrets (an uncanny anthem for these times?), while the 12” mixes turn out handy new masters of the extended version and dynamic Twang Mix for the daft jag, Peter Gunn, along with natty bonus versions of Paranoimia.
Basically it proves they still had something going without the assistance of Paul Morley and Trevor Horn, and, while it may sound very much of its time, that’s likely because they pretty much defined the sound of that era.
Death Waltz Recording Co.present the soundtrack to RAW. You may have heard Williams' work in Field In England & Sightseers but RAW will certainly see him breakthrough to a wider audience.
"Williams mixes mellow acoustic tracks filled with violin and piano that are serene and beautiful with huge baroque organ led tracks that are intense and powerful. From minute i saw the film I knew we had to release the soundtrack on vinyl. I’d like to thank Focus Pictures & Back Lot Music for letting us partner with them on this release and the amazing Candice Tripp for absolutely nailing the artwork."
Deluxe edition - the first to feature the now almost impossible to find original mix of the album, unavailable since producer Lee Perry withdrew the set in 1977. Also includes the more well-known re-mix, dubs, disco mix, seven and twelve inch versions.
No reggae album more obscure than the Congos' Heart of the Congos is as rich, and no richer album is as obscure. The Congos were just a duo, airborne falsetto Cedric Myton and tenor Roydel Johnson, who got together in 1976 and approached old acquaintance Lee 'Scratch' Perry about recording an album at his Black Ark Studio. This was in a two-year period when Black Ark (along with King Tubby's) offered the most exciting, unpredictable facilities on the island and attracted top hands like guitarist Ernest Ranglin, organist Winston Wright, and percussionist Noel "Skully" Simms.
During the sessions, unrepeatable chemistry resulted in Perry's finest production of a vocal group and a body of songs more vivid than anything else by the Congos. Oddly, Island Records passed on The Heart of the Congos. Perry put it out under his own Black Ark insignia. Then the Congos released in themselves. The British Go-Feet label reissued it in 1980. It has popped up several other times, each edition muddy sounding, incomplete, or both. The handsome Blood and Fire reissue package gathers every snippet; vocal renditions and their dubs, extra Perry-Congos numbers and a second CD of 12-inch remixes.
This is a full-length revival metting in the Promised Land of the Rasta faithful, though nonbelievers can still revel in its fervent activist force. Perry knots electronic and handmade beats with consummate ease while Ranglin and Wright deliver unobtrusive solos that etch like slow acid. The album swims in hazy tones, shot through with mammoth bass rumbles and slow sweet moans from background singers, most often the silky Meditations. The sound that bursts out immediately is Cedric Myton's falsetto. On "Can't Come In" and "Solid Foundation" he seems to breathe the same air as Curtis Mayfield. Roy Johnson puts the vocal dignity and assurance he learned as a member of of all-Rasta bands into his tenor work on tunes like 'Open up the Gate'. The snaps and rumbles that power 'Congoman' make it a party natural, as does the jocular mood of 'At The Feast" Passover plus ganja). Poetically twisted Biblical metaphors add mystery to 'La La Bam-Bam' and especially 'Ark of the Covenant', which fuses that ark and Noah's into a militant salvation granted to 'Even the ants / Safe in a Noah sugar pan.' Still, compassion for humans shines on Heart of the Congos.
The mysterious images of 'Fisherman' flow around and around from Jah Rasta/Jesus as a fisher of men, to a provider of spiritual food, to a symbol of the congregation voyaging to redemption. All that is certain is that those who would save their souls must row to reach higher ground. No one sings the parable better than the Congos." Milo Miles - Spin (US), June '96
Awesome Tapes From Africa return from the far southern extremes with another SA belter; Umoja’s politicised, vocoded, electroid late ‘80s ace, 707. Lovers of synth-dripping, bubblegum-flavoured dance music are going to melt for this one! The sound is immediate, but read the promo notes for important context which belies the buzzing music.
“A monumental career in pop music isn’t easy when the system is built against you. But South African songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist “Om” Alec Khaoli managed to do just that. As apartheid reached its violent peak, Khaoli pursued an escapist form of dance music that resonated across his complicated country, influencing countless legends and releasing recordings across the world.
Khaoli first made his name as bass player in the Beaters and later Harari—both legendary, scene-defining Afro-rock and soul outfits. The Beaters played a very late-60s blend of worldly pop and folk, building a scene for creative and experimental rock made by blacks. Their affect on South African popular music cannot be exaggerated. The Beaters evolved into Harari, which played big shows across Africa in the late 1970s, from Namibia to Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe. They had a deal with A&M Records in the States and their records were available in Europe and elsewhere. But it wasn’t until that group eventually birthed Umoja that Khaoli met with multi-platinum success, growing into his own as a creative production powerhouse in the synth-drenched South African pop music of the 1980s and 90s.
Starting in 1982, Umoja recorded a succession of hugely successful recordings that reached a crescendo with 1988’s 707. Every song on the short album reached #1 on the South African pop charts and the record went double-platinum. The band changed personnel over the years but Khaoli remained producer, bass player and chief songwriter. Whereas Harari was an all-star group, Umoja was an evolving manifestation of Khaoli’s creative ideas with band members working more as sidemen than collaborators.
A white South African woman named Di Burkin was their manager. “It was very helpful having a white manager and she was a very dedicated person. She was very young and really believed in our music. Di made us popular to the white people, to everyone, to all the people who were not black. But it was very difficult for her. She saw herself as one of us and she didn’t look at herself as a white person in South Africa. And we would forget that she was white too and we would be traveling with her in the black townships and when the police would see us they'd say, ‘Where are you going!?’ And she would say to the police, ‘These are my bosses.’ And the police would go crazy! ‘We are escorting you out right now!’ And so on.”
“There was apartheid in the studios as well. We used to record our albums during lunchtime at Gallo recording studios. 30 minutes or one hour was all we got. Our first album I think we did in 30 minutes. We couldn’t even do overdubs. Some of the songs were unfinished but they were released anyway, that’s what they used to do. Recording under pressure was hard. You couldn’t fix bad notes. If you wanted to go back and do overdubs, they would say, ‘Oh, you’re not a good musician, it’s your fault.’ So before a session, we would really sit down and work out how we were gonna do it. Once our albums were selling, Gallo decided to actually respect us, they started to give us more time.”
Just one recording in a career of myriad hits, 707 is a brief but compelling window into Khaoli’s significant contribution to the sound of 80s South Africa.”
If we’re not mistaken, this is the first LP release of a score from Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series, offering Geoff Barrow (Portishead) and Ben Salisbury’s original music for the Men Against Fire episode from Season 3 following their joint work on the Ivor Novello-winning Ex-Machina score.
String orchestrations from Koenraad Ecker (cello) and The Bristol Ensemble, conducted by Elizabeth Purnell meet Barrow and Salisbury’s widescreen electronics to match the grim themes of the government induced xenophobia and military drug testing; think Jacob’s Ladder meets District Nine.
Viiiiiibes for eons on this one: Strut rightly give new life to Mulatu Astatke’s debut. Deadly cool blend of wavy Ethio melody and achingly tight US funk and soul grooves on this reissue of his eponymous debut LP which has become increasingly out of reach on the 2nd hand market.
You probably know Astatke from the signature, smoke-curl licks of his many seminal inclusions to the Ethiopiques compilation series, or perhaps you were even lucky enough to be aware of him before then, due to his reputation as one of the most influential and respected musicians from Ethiopia for nearly half a century.
With the recording funded by Ethiopian Airways, Mulatu Of Ethiopia distinctly differs from Astatke's later work because it was recorded in Brooklyn, America, 1972 and it’s easy to hear the strong influence of the styles that would have surrounded him at the time, in that place. Instead of the elegant, percolated sway of Ethiopian rhythms proper, Astatke plays against super slick grooves in all seven parts, seamlessly applying filigree Ethio-Jazz flourishes on vibraphone, keyboards and organs in an imitable, syncretic fusion of Afro-Latin-Jazz.
Mulatu just oozes smoky cool, whilst the snaking bass and floating lounge melodies of Mascaram Setaba are to die for, and Dewel allows X amount of intoxicating, spiritual freedom into the arrangement, and Kasalefkut-Hulu melds the baddest 16th note shuffle breaks and woozy horns beside the dancefloor section of Munaye and then you get that head-melting lick at the start of Chifara…
This is one worth getting really excited over. All killer, no filler. Just vibes.
Modern Kosmology sees Jane Weaver's melodic-protagonist channeling new depths of creative cosmic energy within.
"After the critical acclaim of 2012's “Fallen By Watchbird”, followed by 2015's exploratory "Silver Globe" LP winning her unanimous "record of the year accolades" and hefty measures of radio play-listing Jane Weaver's conceptual trajectory has sent her neo-kosmische penchants to the point of no-return. Jane Weaver's unwaning yearning for psychoactive pop energy has just reached a new level of magnetism.
As snowclones go, Modern Kosmology is the new Silver. Another Spectrum to add to the tension."
"Revelation For Personal Use" is an ode to her native town and region, with all the songs being based on lyrics by local cult poet Arvid Hanssen and translated to English by artist and writer Roy-Frode Løvland.
"Anneli has written the album's eight lovely songs, plays piano and keyboards and has produced the album. It largely moves in the same musical landscape as the previous album, with the Arctic Philharmonic present on six tracks and string arranger Sindre Hotvedt, guitarist Eivind Aarset and drummer Rune Arnesen on board again. If anything, a couple of the tracks show a slightly sharper rock edge than its predecessor. Anneli Drecker's magical voice first became known through the music of her band, Bel Canto back in the 80s.
At age 17, Anneli left her Arctic hometown of Tromsø with band members Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere) and Nils Johansen, for the pulsating indie scene in Bruxelles. Signed to the legendary Belgian label Crammed Discs, Bel Canto captured the Zeitgeist of European electronic music in the late eighties. Their two first albums, "White Out Conditions" and "Birds Of Passage" were released internationally in most territories. They won the Norwegian Grammy award “Spellemannprisen” three times, and are regarded as pioneers on the Norwegian electronic pop music scene.
With her characteristic singing style, often compared to other wonderful singers such as Lisa Gerrard, Kate Bush and Liz Frasier, Anneli has had the possibility to collaborate with many great artists. She participated in projects with Hector Zazou, Jah Wobble, Gavin Friday, DJ Krush, Tim Simenon, Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins, and Guy Sigsworth. Anneli has also co-operated with ECM artist Ketil Bjørnstad and recorded three albums based on poems by John Donne and Hart Crane. Few can claim that they have been singing duets with Morten Harket, but Anneli joined A-ha on two world tours as their guest singer. She also toured the world for more than 10 years singing with Röyksopp and co-writing a number of songs with them."
FIS’ restless soul meets Maori sound artist Rob Thorne for a viscerally engaging suite of textural wrestles in Clear Stones, which documents the results of their recording sessions made in Berlin using a rich palette of traditional Maori instruments undergoing electronic augmentation. If you like the idea of music that emulates the copulation of Orks or sounds like Rashad Becker’s notional species at an afterparty in uncharted wilds, this record will light up your mind.
Employing the lesser heard likes of the taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments translating as singing treasures) - including the pūtātara (conch horn), pūrerehua (bullroarer), tumutumu kōhatu (stone percussion) and pūtōrino (both flute and horn) - the results represent an often surreal augmentation of their usual tonalities, with accentuation of certain elements uncannily defying the recording space and taking on encrypted new meanings when divorced from their conventional modes.
It would appear that FIS’ contributions are often barely perceptible but crucial to the transformation of the instrument’s use, persistently evading perception of the source of the sound that we’re faced with. It’s a dizzying and immersive experience to thread yourself thru, one that neatly dances around and plays into preconceptions that come with FIS’ music whilst rendering it at its most porous, naturalistic and open to elemental influence.
Yes, Young Marco! The cultishly appreciated Dutch DJ and producer traces the links between Lowlands wave oddities, EBM, disco and US house in a prime double pack for Dekmantel’s Selector series.
We just came over all funny after seeing Force Dimension 200FA (Extended Mix) on the tracklist, which turns out to be Marco’s own edit of this stone cold ’89 EBM peach, and to be fair the original would cost about the same as this whole LP, so you’re winning from the start. You can trust he’s done a smart job on the edit, too!
The rest of the compilation is great, too: the percivals keep coming in the form of Green Baize’s slunky ace Spick and Span; Personal FX’s treacly roller Objects In Mirrors; a wavey late ‘80s Belgian beauty Televisiewereld by Gerrit Hoekema; and overlooked Larry Heard diamond, Dolphin Dream, a.o.