Northern UK-based artist Rian Treanor re-imagines the intersection of club culture, experimental art and computer music with a super smart debut for The Death of Rave.
Galvanising and accelerating garage and techno with cuttingly crisp tonal diction and pointillist percussive palette, ‘A Rational Tangle’ demonstrates Treanor’s adroit and finely-nurtured rhythmelodic instincts through a quicksilver syntax of kerned, polychromatic 2-step patterns and whipsmart, emotive jit music.
The EP’s four tracks vacillate ping-pong ballistics and recursive melodic motifs constructed in Max/MSP, dancing from pendulous, aerobic minimalism to taut, synthetic tabla grooves with grid melting nous, whilst also taking in gamelan-esque hypeR&B through wormholes of smeared and curdled harmonics, plus one dead lush section of Detroit-via-Yorkshire styled hi-tech funk.
The production is stainlessly dry and future-proof whilst Rian’s arrangements are considerately efficient, yet it’s all blessed with a pop or ’floor-ready turn of phrase that reveals new kinks, fills and twysts with each return listen.
Whichever angle you view it from ‘A Rational Tangle’ forms a rewarding introduction to the work of a very promising and distinct new voice in electronic music.
Optimo's home brewed label really comes of age with a reissue of six tracks from Throbbing Gristle's Chris Carter, recorded between 1974 and 1978 and remastered for their 1st ever vinyl pressing by the man himself.
Label co-owner JD Twitch is a notoriously avid TG fan and has hand-picked these tracks from a cassette originally released on Industrial Records in 1980 (and subsequently on CD by Mute in 1991). The work of Chris Carter will be known by many of you, but for those who don't, Carter was the musical and technical inspiration behind one of the UKs most important bands of all time, bringing art and rock music into the future with his mastery and early adoption of basic equipment like the 303 (he was the among the first in the world to use one on record), and the 808, which also makes one of its 1st recorded appearance here on bonus track 'Climbing'.
So, it's safe to say that this man has serious credentials. With this in mind, these tracks really occupy a seminal space in the history of electronic music, deeply imbued with the twin spirits of darkest misanthropy and experimental endeavour, and most importantly - they sound f*cking amazing! As JD Twitch himself says "There is a beauty, an emotion and an imagination present here that is lacking in a lot of modern machine music. This music is as vital and wondrous today as it was four decades ago". Amazing music.
Sam Prekop, John McEntire,Eric Claridge and Archer Prewitt reconvene for another fine album together as The Sea And Cake, the band's seventh since 1993.
'Aerial' opens up the album with a blast of energy, which only seems to gather more steam as it reaches a rousing, almost epic finale. Its anthemic scale seems all very at odds with Prekop's understated, aloof whisper, yet the two elements conspire to establish a mightily effective paradox, and however big their sound gets The Sea And Cake always seem to be maintaining a low profile cool. After the typically complex, skittery rhythms of 'A Fuller Moon' (one of the most archetypally Thrill Jockey-esque moments on the album) and the sparkling guitar jangle of 'On A Letter' comes a brief synth experiment: 'CMS Sequence' shows that the band can still plunge into the avant-garde when they want to; the electronics that colour 'Weekend', and the echoic steel drum routines of 'Mirrors' helpfully divert Car Alarm away from its guitar band mainframe. Highly Recommended.
A carefully curated journey through almost 20 years of Shawn's music productions.
"The tracks collected here--the majority of which have not been heard outside of Shawn's studio--showcase a producer with seldom matched knowledge of studio techniques, while also hinting at his world renowned live performances. Having access to a vault of hundreds of unreleased compositions, we believe this is an important step in documenting Shawn's contribution to Pittsburgh and American dance music."
Optimo Music serve a proper peach with reissue of three Ted Milton / Blurt aces from lesser-known nooks of UK jazz/post-punk/electronics on a fresh new double-AA side.
Ted Milton is a ground-breaking saxophonist and frontman of Blurt since their inception. This 12” documents his work under both names, giving up the killer swerve and Hammer-esque vocals of Love Is Like A Violence, and his frothy freakbeat It’s Only Recently That Stalins Have Begun To Roost (what a title!) both from 1984, on top, then a dose of Blurt on the B-side, namely the unmissable charms of The Ruminant Plinth , featuring wickedly off-the-cuff vocals woven into what sounds like Afrobeat skronk played in a massive silo.
This one’s bound to set a lot of heads on a Ted Milton tangent!
The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still finding solace in limitless creativity.
"In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings-not in Arizona, but on the Northern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House. Built from debris and shipyard-salvaged timber-and dubbed "The Phantom Ship" by the band-the grandiose house and its edgeof-the-world-like ambience soon made their way into the songs.
The specter of California also had a powerful effect: as both dream state and nightmare, its infinite duality is mirrored in the music, giving Calexico a new direction and new edge. With less polish and more grit than ever before, The Thread That Keeps Us both honors enduring traditions and reveals Calexico's confidence in songwriting, ultimately setting a whole new standard for the band..."
First ever vinyl reissue of Kebab Und Andere Träume 
A mad cross-pollination of new wave, punk-funk, Oriental rock and hip hop, organised by social worker Winifred Nacke, and played by students of the Weisbadener Jugendwerkstatt - a group of Turkish, German, Iranian, Polish, Moroccan musicians. Very obscure, now fetches fancy triple figure sums on 2nd hand market.
Mark Broom, Drvg Cvltvre and Mike Dred gets to grips with EVOL’s rave slime in slamming acid techno remixes of Presto!?’s Do These release for Alku.
With a combined age of well over 100, the three remixers bring some proper rave experience to the plate in a visceral, disciplined style that shows the whippersnappers how it’s done.
Up top Mark Broom teases out a burning gob of EVOL’s acid into a proper, tracky peak time slammer with percolated chords and bucking claps, leading to a pair of brain-swilling locked grooves by UK hero Mike Dred.
Down below, Drvg Cvltvre gets to work with a slompier sort of jack attack riddled with iridescent glissandi, again leading to some superb loops by Rephlex’s Mike Dred that we could happily listen to for ages.
Preston’s Stephen James Buckley wears a distant kosmiche look in his eye on The Impossibility, his 5th album as Polypores since A Shunned Place , and following a technoid turn as Tulketh in 2017.
In his own words: “The Impossibility was inspired by the destruction of the planet Earth by the human race, the early works of JG Ballard, Tarkovsky's Stalker, conspiracy theories, and places where the rules of time and space are brought into question.”
So, credible references in place, Buckley hurtles out an impending and often frenetic album that doesn’t really live up to its inspirations, but rather uses them as vague signifiers of mysticism propping up his rudimentary longs and arps. which are simply distracting from any sort of hypnotic vibe because of their rote homage conventionality.
Big, druggy club wobblers and Afro chug from a North London/Berlin cooperative; Jono Ma (Jagwar Ma) and Angus Gruzman (of Dreams, Die Orangen) a.k.a. “The Dreemas”.
The A-side’s A Love Trance Mission From Nk To 7s sprawls out with woozy, LFO-blown bassline and shoegazy guitars strokes opening with wide-eyed style for the duration. It’s one of those surefire Kompakt shots that will melt a room at the right moment.
Ruddy, off-kilter house wonk from Italian duo, The Barking Dogs.
Up top they rub out the strange barnyard disco sleaze of SWB, then tighten up a bit for the saddlesore electro swagger of Liquid Strategies, joined by a scatting loon and someone jamming out on a Farfisa.
Retro-vintage krautische drums meet EMS Synthi VCS3, Minimoog and Buchla Music Easel and Cristal Baschet synth drones and languid guitars from Frenchman Alexandre Bazin.
Think Silver Apples Of The Moon, Cavern Of Anti-Matter…
Two classic nyabinghi albums Rastafari and Kibir-Am-Lak onto one record
Squaring off the best Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus recorded with producer Tommy Cowan in the ‘70s, featuring heavyweight line-up of Peter Tosh, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Robbie Shakespeare, Robbie Lyn, Tommy McCook, Carlton “Santa” Davis.
Dat Laurence Guy leans on Mule Musiq with three dusty deep tech house plays
Unfurling the languorous jazz-house-breaks of All I See Is Her with some unfortunately pasted-on breaks, backed with the blue keys and nipped swing of Belong, and the effervescent jazz-house dancer Then Again, Maybe Not.
The crown prince of Japanese indie-prog-pop yields his Mellow Waves LP on vinyl, his first albumin over a decade, arriving some two years since his Ghost In The Shell Arise O.S.T.
"For the uninitiated, Cornelius is the brainchild of Japanese multi-instrumentalist Keigo Oyamada. A performing musician since his teens, Oyamada created his creative alter-ego (the name is an homage to the Planet of the Apes), in the early 1990s from the ashes of his previous project, Flipper's Guitar.
With the 1997 release of Fantasma, Cornelius gained international recognition for his cut and paste style reminiscent of American counterparts Beck and The Beastie Boys and was released internationally by Matador Records. Being called a "modern day Brian Wilson" for his orchestral-style arrangements and production techniques, Cornelius subsequently became one of the most sought after producer/remixers in the world, working with a wide range of artists including Blur, Beck, Bloc Party, MGMT, and James Brown.
With 2002's Point, Cornelius' music took a quantum shift, going from sampling "found sounds" to looping organic elements and creating lush soundscapes. Using water drops as the rhythmic backbone of "Drop" on his vocoder-infused cover of "Brazil", the album dazed and amazed fans and set the path for the next phase of his career.
2007 brought this philosophy to an even higher level with the release of Sensuous. Cornelius' live shows are known around the world for spectacular visuals (all perfectly synchronized to the performance), custom lighting that doesn't simply augment the performance, but becomes another instrument within it, and a full band of equally talented and diverse players.
The companion piece to the album Sensurround + B Sides, earned the nomination for "Best Surround Sound Album" at the 2009 GRAMMY Awards.
The summer of 2016 saw the release of Fantasma Remastered, on Lefse Records. The package, a 2LP reissue of his classic album, also included 4 additional outtakes and earned Pitchfork's "Best New Reissue".
Cornelius has recorded music for Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, scored the anime mega-film Ghost in the Shell Arise, performed as the backbone of Yoko Ono's reformed Plastic Ono Band, played the Hollywood Bowl with Yellow Magic Orchestra, and co-wrote and produced the Japanese artist salyu x salyu."
Psychoactive disco smarts from Sweden via Amsterdam:
Daniel Fagerström (The Skull Defekts, Altar of Flies) and Luciano Leiva (Jackpot, Puppetmasters) cook up a viscous disco stew from classic analg synths such as TR-909, Waldorf Microwave, Yamaha DX7, Roland Juno-60 and Akai MPC, all primed for cosmic high times. Imagine Klaus Schulze in a sauna with Patrick Cowley. It’s bound to get sticky.
Ostgut Ton cough up the customary accompaniment to Fiedel’s 120 minute Berghain 08 mix - the club and label’s first mix since Function’s Berghain 07 in 2015 - with four exclusive tracks by Electric Indigo, Stefan Rein, rRoxymore, and Boris with Fiedel.
Berlin mainstay Electric Indigo indulges a severely dark techno sound with Registers, which sounds like the dry clank of the till in the toll booth at Berghain taking a night off to dance and scowl with the rest of the punters. Stefan Rein contributes the furtively hypnotic dub techno of Panther, rRoxymore joins in with the pendulous bass and animalistic prowl of Tropicalcore, while Boris and Fiedel go twos up on the spunky acid wriggle ’n jak ov Div’hain.
Dommengang, the LA-based power trio of guitarist Dan ‘Sig’ Wilson, bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem, return with the desert cruiser’s dream album ‘Love Jail’.
"Dommengang have adapted to the arid climates and imbued their particular brand of rock with a heavy dose of the best of 1970’s rock aesthetics.
The album was produced by The Fucking Champs guitarist and engineer Tim Green (Joanna Newson, Wolves In The Throne Room, Fresh & Onlys, Earthless), who perfectly captured the band’s sound while creating the space of older analogue recordings.
‘Love Jail’ includes Dommengang’s most melodic and lyric-heavy songs to date - a great road trip record and a dynamic listen that is of the moment, organic and earthy with a heavy nod to the clear, lean recordings of a time long before any of its members were born."
DAF’s Conny Plank-produced 5th LP, Für Immer is the darker, stripped down follow-up to their better known early sides, Alles Ist Gut and Gold Und Liebe.
Like those LPs, it probes a fine, ambiguous line along fascistic imagery and lyrics with tracks such Kebab Träume reflecting on Germany’s relationships with Turkish immigrants, and EBM obsessions with health and beauty manifest in the title of Die Götter Sind Weiß. It’s possibly hard to think of how an act could deal with these topics in the modern day without an avalanche of social media pain.
Things were different back then, though. Or were they? Either way, check out the likes of Im Dschungel der Liebe or Verlieb Dich in mich for some proper danefloor rockets.
Heat-seeking tech-house-trance missiles from Brazil via Barcelona producer Anna.
A-side she rolls out the rutting Italo bass arpeggios and spongiform acid lines to a soaring breakdown and sawtooth-led reprise in no-nonsense, functional fashion.
B-side she cuts layers deeper with the stealthy darkside build of The Dansant, tempering hard-edged electro-trance lines into a nervy beast of a big room show stealer.
Charles Hayward does the bangs and Thurston Moore wrenches a racket from his guitar on this killer free improvisation session documented by UK’s Care In The Community Records.
Recorded at Lynchmob Studios, London, 2nd February 2017, the LP catches the duo stealthily warming up in the neck-snapping breaks and face-eating distortion of the first part, to really step on the gas with the tumultuous sparring session of the 3rd part, then climaxing with some squally helter skelter pelters on the B-side which should snag even the hardest to please fans of This Heat or Sonic Youth.
Members of Total Control and Grass Widow converge a mannered, almost eldritch-tinted style of synth-pop crossing lines with Group Rhoda, John Foxx, Carla Dal Forno, HTRK
“THE GREEN CHILD is the long distance musical collaboration of Mikey Young and Raven Mahon, who met in 2013 when their bands, Total Control and Grass Widow played a show in Oakland, California. They started writing songs together in Australia in 2014 and the project has been on a slow burn since. Their self-titled debut album is the culmination of few years of putting ideas together internationally and periodically recording in Mikey's home studio. Some of the lyrical content and the band's name was inspired by Herbert Read's 1935 utopian, communist, sci-fi novel called The Green Child.
With such a choice name, it's no surprise that The Green Child draw their sound from an illusory past as much as they stalk into pastures new. Broadly retro-futuristic in scope, verdant acres of lushly evocative synthesizers and blippy drum machines underpin most of their upbeat yet decidedly uncanny songs. Raven's calmly scenic and measured vocal flits like a will-o'-the-wisp throughout the tracks, proffering a guiding hand as she walks us through the often eerie, electronic concoctions.
'Traveler' opens the album all redolent, beat-minded and labyrinthine. Twisting melody lines swirl and envelop like a sandstorm, whilst Raven coolly projects on a "solitary man" lost to "green oblivion". Similarly, 'Her Majesty II' glistens with its playful yet plaintive vocal and iridescent arpeggios, whilst 'Bertha' slows things down with tumbling chimes and stately use of space.
The Green Child are adept at atmosphere, their songs are refined from gently unfolding ideas that never fail to realise and build to their potential. Tracks like 'Walking Distance' (featuring Al Montfort on saxophone) and 'New Years Eve' are exercises in evolved composition with ideas budding off and blossoming into truly resonant dimensions. The band's cover of 'Marie Elene' (by Keith Pearson) and closing track 'Destroyer' are further crowning achievements, both pieces subtly handled with poise and ample melancholic grandeur. The Green Child fix their sights on the heights they want to reach within their songs and much like the project itself don't want to rush to the finish line. When it becomes more about the unfurling journey, why not take the time to enjoy the trip and burn slower?”
After their knockout ‘Colón Man’ LP for DDS, Equiknoxx’s balmy ‘Fly Away’ bewt for Swing Ting now cut to 7” and backed with an outstanding new dub displacement exclusive to the B-side, following digital-only issues of the OG and Clean version in spring ’17. No messing, it’s worth it for the Gavsborg Dub alone!
Dem sip a red bull and fly away… Swing Ting catch an absolute belter from their longtime Jamaican fam, Equiknoxx Music ft. Alozade & Gavsborg, following a banner year which saw the crew tour UK, Europe and Japan in the wake of their incredible Bird Sound Power showcase on DDS.
Where Bird Sound Power acted as a retrospective catch up on the last five years or more of Jordan Ching and Gavsborg’s Equiknoxx output, Fly Away - like the Bubble ace snuck out at the end of 2016 - is cut fresh from the block and gives the strongest taste of their rooted but heavily current sound.
It’s a real showstopper; hair-kissing pads and heat-haze organ vamps fake left on the intro before running into mad slippy wine vocalled by veteran deejay Alozade and licked with some of the rudest, roving bass work and pointillist, technoid drums that we’ve heard in the dance of late.
The vibe is self-evident. Massive tip!
A substantial, hugely immersive release from a true drone shaman, 'Cocon & Oiseau De Nuit' is one of our favourite O'Malley releases and is here pressed (in updated form) for the first time on vinyl following a limited cassette release several years ago.
The album was originally created and explored as a thought experiment leading up to O’Malley’s work on SUNN O)))’s Monoliths & Dimensions sessions throughout 2007-2008; those recordings were then revisited and developed fundamentally in 2010 for the initial cassette release and again in 2017 for this vinyl edition.
It's similar in form to his 'Keep An Eye Out' LP for Table Of The Elements and the 'Salt' album for iDEAL, wresting the blackest sub-harmonics and inherent micro-tonal shifts from ultra-minimal guitar technique. The effect is utterly immersive whether experienced on headphones or speakers, saturating your surroundings in scarred and bruising amp feedback below dry, dull clouds of ferric interference.
As the piece evolves O'Malley generates ever-more hypnotic swells of visceral, churned feedback conducted with stoic, instinctive control, flooding the space with abstract shapes and ghostly apparitions.
Great ambient dub techno abstraction from uon, the newest moniker of Ryan Fall aka Caveman LSD and DJ Paradise, following superb pair of releases in the same vein for Barcelona’s Anòmia with this, his debut vinyl release - massively tipped if yr into Rhythm & Sound.
Stalking terrain familiar to Wanda Group, Pole, Xth Réflexion, DeepChord, the zlo EP captures a wickedly paradoxical sense of movement within static sound in four parts: meshing cooling pads with mercurial kinetics in the title cut, and pushing off into opiated, subaquatic zones with kosm, and hypnotically stumbling up/down an endless Escher staircase with the gravity defying dynamics of suB1, and diffusing your bone into deep space on kissing.
Prime material, all 35 minutes of it. Don’t sleep on this beauty!
Pendant is the artist formerly known as Huerco S, and this is the debut release on his new label West Mineral Ltd, following on from his acclaimed ‘For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)’ album.
The artist sometimes known as Huerco S. ushers a phase shift of sound on the shoegazing harmonic gauze of Make Me Know You Sweet, his immersive debut proper under the Pendant alias. In this horizontal mode he relays abstract stories from a headspace beyond the dance, placing his interests in the Romantic landscapes of JMW Turner, Robert Ashley’s avant-garde enigmas, and Indigenous North American philosophy at the service of a more expressive, oneiric sound that sub/consciously avoids the trapfalls of ‘chillout’ ambient cliché.
Across seven amorphous, texturally detailed tracks he establishes far reaching coordinates for both Pendant and the West Mineral label, which aims to release everything except commonly accepted, traditional forms of late 20th/early 21st century dance music, while also representing the work of his inner circle of friends, producers and artists. In that sense there’s a definite feeling of “no place like home” to his new work, but that home appears altered, much in the same way The Caretaker/Leyland Kirby deals with themes of memory and nostalgia.
It’s best described as mid-ground music, as opposed to the putative background purpose of Ambient styles, or the upfront physicality of dance music. Rather, the sound here billows and unfurls with a paradoxically static chaos, occupying and lurking a space between the eyes and ears in a way that’s not necessarily comforting, and feels to question the nature and relevance of ubiquitous pastoral, new age tropes in the modern era of uncertainty and disingenuity.
The results ponder an impressionistic, romantically ambiguous simulacra of reel life worries and anxiety, feeling at once dense and impending yet without centre. From the keening, 11 minute swell of VVQ-SSJ at the album’s prow, to the similar scope of its closer, Pendant presents an absorbing vessel for introspection, modulating the listener’s depth perception and moderating our intimacy with an elemental push and pull between the curdling, bittersweet froth of BBN-UWZ, the dusky obfuscation of IBX-BZC and, in the supremely evocative play of phosphorescing light and seductive darkness in the mottled depths of KVL-LWQ, which also benefits from additional production by Pontiac Streator.
Make Me Know You Sweet taps into a latent, esoteric vein of American spirituality that’s always been there, yet is only divined by those who remain open-minded to its effect.
Metro Area’s seminal, eponymous debut album of disco resuscitations struts back onto the scene for a 15th anniversary edition, having lost none of its lustre over the interim years.
Morgan Geist has been releasing records for years on numerous labels such as Metamorphic, Clear, and his own Environ imprint, hitting gold with the future-disco purpose built for his Metro Area label.
For a taste of the funk, head for ‘Miura’ with it’s handclap beats and accapella samples enhancing the good side of the 70’s dance craze, but with no brass section in sight. Synth’s galore and floor bound grooves litter the LP and it runs superbly as an album, but also as single tracks, hence the poularity of the 12”s.
Mumdance, Logos and Shapednoise remerge The Sprawl for a banging, incendiary second EP in their trilogy inspired by William Gibson’s Neuromancer - the 1984 sci-fi novel which uncannily presaged The Internet and aspects of AI which have since morphed from fiction into reality.
EP2 is about ‘Data Flow’ and thus catches the trio in flux between flashbacks of noise as information overload and brutalist techno chronics seeming to emulate the sensory obliteration of full frontal temporal sickness.
Each producer’s individual characteristics are parsed and consolidated in a fractious transfer of energies, placing themselves as cybernetic semiconductors in a quantum network of emerging AI consciousness, pooling corrupted memory banks of physical and pharmaceutical ecstasy, excess and synaptic muscle memory to manifest premonitory visions of future hardcore rave as hyperstitious, viscerally IRL.
The A-side picks up directly from EP1 with the invasive strategies of Burning Chrome - so titled in reference to Gibson’s short story which first coined the term “cyberspace” - fulminating pure sound designer noise in bruxist shockwaves punctuated by lush pads, before the cyberpunk terror of Black I.C.E. hacks into the nervous system with sickening, arrhythmic dynamic, strung out between chest bursting ecstasy and stomach churning panic.
That’s all seemingly in preparation for X System, a 150bpm bunker breaker lodged on the B-side with a cold fusion of lamping bass drum and slithering plasmic timbres sounding like some Dutch or NYC ‘90s techno bomb dialled in via a faulty ISDN connection, which makes for a stark contrast with the emotive pathos of Online Seance, a searingly transcendent vision of cinematic synth noise modelled on occult hivemind behaviours and redolent of moments from Leyland Kirby’s Intrigue & Stuff volumes.
Les Disques du Crepuscule presents an expanded edition of classic festive album Ghosts of Christmas Past, featuring favourites from the original 1981 and 1982 editions now joined by newer tracks by Crepuscule artists.
"Sometimes witty, sometimes melancholic, the original version of Ghosts of Christmas Past in November 1981 featured exclusive contributions from luminaries such as Tuxedomoon, The Durutti Column, Paul Haig, Michael Nyman, Aztec Camera, Thick Pigeon and The Names. Subsequent editions in 1982 and 1986 added songs by Antena, Mikado, The French Impressionists, Pale Fountains and Winston Tong.
For this new double CD version in 2015 Crepuscule have now added more chantons noel by Blaine L. Reininger, Section 25, The Wake, Marsheaux, Deux Filles, Stanton Miranda, Virna Lindt, B Music and Ultramarine.
“Crepuscule's Christmas cracker is here to rescue the festive season from the fogies and bores"(Melody Maker); "Aztec Camera's Hot Club of Christ is a busy, Django-esque run through a few well-known Christmas ditties, Michael Nyman's Cream or Christians is a silly but loveable fragmented organ collage in a typical English eccentric tradition, Tuxedomoon are in playful Residential mood” (NME)
Cover art by Jean-Francois Octave.
TGF’s End Of Times in Dub style, rendering their single’s title cut in a trio of alternate versions:
A radiant Golden Dub with eccie-triggering harmonic swells; the uptempo Silver Dub for peak dark room times; and a stark Drone-Apella featuring a cold but sensuous Penelope Trappes vocal for the cannier DJ and mindful dancer.
Tune-Yards counters her heavy lyrical subject matter with beats designed to make you dance
“I can feel you creep into my private life is Tune-Yards' fourth album. Thematically, the twelve new songs tackle race, politics, intersectional feminism and environmental prophecies head on. But in the billows of intense subject matter, the album arrives as Tune-Yards’ most immediate and upbeat music yet – this is music to dance to.
On I can feel you creep into my private life, Tune-Yards is officially a duo. Garbus is joined by long-time collaborator Nate Brenner who produced and wrote the album together with lyrics by Garbus. Tune-Yards worked with a mixer Mikaelin “Blue” Bluespruce (Solange, Kendrick Lamar). Much of the album was recorded at Tiny Telephone Oakland, in Oakland, CA and mastered in Harlem, NY by Dave Kutch (Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper).”
The Lasry Baschet duo’s pioneering mechanical instruments come to life on a reissue of their 1957 debut 7”, newly dispatched just over 60 years since release. Sounds remarkably electronic, but entirely made with acoustic means - glass rods, balloons, wet bows and metal sheets
“As a truly indispensable bookend to any listeners with the slightest interest in experimental music, French culture or the foundations of mechanical songwriting this inaugural release by these Parisian musical revolutionaries not only predicts the future sound of modern composition by almost 60 years but detangles the deepest roots of European popular culture celebrating an important historical family unison in the process. Combining the infant steps of Magma, the sonic blueprint of 1970’s TV theme Picture Box and the sculptural creations of Polly Maggoo this important and groundbreaking 3 track 7” EP takes us back to the very first aural glimpse of the future of pregressive Europe at the hands of physical sound sculptures glaring in the face of premature technology.
This EP and its varied three-pronged assault is the first step in the legacy of the Lasry Baschet unison uniting the husband and wife team of Jacques and Yvonne Lasry plus their son Teddy (who would later create Magma with Christian Vander) and hard material sculptors François and Bernard Baschet (who would later work with William Klein). It was this creative unison between visual art and experimental music, witnessing the Lasry family exchange their orthodox music skills in favour of crystal rods, balloons, wet bows and metal sheets, that would potentially change the course of European music which was already on the extreme verge of electrocution with the rise of tape music and embryonic synthesised instrumentation.
Promoting the phrase Instruments Non-électroniques (as celebrated on the sleeve of the Cacophonic full-length release 11CACKLP) the Lasry-Baschet collective’s humanistic music (an attitude upheld by composers like Michel Magne) would later spark the imagination of Jean Cocteau leading to installations at the Museum Of Modern Art leading to a huge shift in the way people approached experimental melodic music alongside the efforts of Harry Partch and other music machine makers. The appropriation of their music in art, theatre, ballet, film and television came closest to UK shores when their composition Manège was used as the long running theme for the children’s TV compendium Picture Box spanning three decades (rivalling both The Moomins and The Booktower for the most indelible and nostalgic spooky theme tunes in the history of British TV) by which time Teddy Lasry had independently become one of France’s most creative instrumental composers of all time.”
Heralding his ‘Yous’ album, Irish song-writer David Kitt (New Jackson, Tindersticks) rustles up a mixed bag of sleepy indie-pop-folk, krautrock electronics and psyched ambient downbeats on his latest for Dublin’s All City Records. RIYL Jose Gonzales, James Holden
“Describing his first solo record for nine years as “the most free I’ve felt making a record since my debut Small Moments”, David Kitt’s sense of freedom is bound up in themes of renewal, movement, and a constant reshaping of his musical preoccupations.
The last number of years have seen him touring and recording as a member of Tindersticks, producing other musicians’ work, exploring techno, disco, and house under his New Jackson moniker, remixing everyone from Shit Robot to The XX, and producing intriguing, eclectic DJ sets and radio shows.”
Necessary 1st vinyl edition of Laraaji’s 1984 new age devotional suite. Effectively gospel soul in the key of Om, written and performed on Casio keyboards, depending on your disposition it’s either worthy of comparison with Arthur Russell, or an extended Tim and Eric sketch. Take your pick…
“Vision Songs Vol. 1 (1984) is the LARAAJI album like no other, located at the intersection of new age and gospel, his outlier and magnum opus, the feel-good DIY tape of the century. Casio synth jams recorded at spiritual retreat guest rooms and a tiny bedroom on the Upper West Side, lysergically-spectacular anthems for a continually arriving new moment. “Channeled from the sky,” humbly offered as digital download for the first time, this is where this is going on, this is where this is taking place, this is how this is going on. Is this very clear?”
The Rapture’s rhythm section break away on a hi-velocity cosmic disco mission for The Ran$om Note. Hang on to your garys, this one’s got some serious thrust…
“Mother of Mars is the latest evolution of Vita & Druzzi, two New Yorkers who have provided the 21st century with some of its most innovative dance music. The duo first came to fame as the rhythmic backbone of The Rapture, NYC pioneers who found global fame with their angular post-punk and howling disco. Since then Vito & Druzzi have had a prolific career as remixers and producers, producing leftfield disco killers for a range of labels including Warp and Throne of Blood.
Their first release as Mother of Mars sees the duo fuse live krautrock drums with pulsating synth loops, creating two epics of space and rhythm that owe a debt to ‘70s kosmische pioneers like Tangerine Dream and are receiving support from the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Trevor Jackson and Francis Inferno Orchestra.”
‘The House’ is the third full-length album from New York musician Porches (aka Aaron Maine).
"The 14-song affair features contributions from (Sandy) Alex G, Dev Hynes, Okay Kaya, Maya Laner (True Blue), Bryndon Cook (Starchild & The New Romantic), Cameron Wisch (Cende) and Maine’s own father Peter Maine.
‘The House’ was written and recorded over an 18- month stretch, immediately following the completion of Porches’ breakthrough record ‘Pool’. Taking a diary-like approach, Aaron documents a period of time through the 14 gorgeous songs on this record."
Optimistic krautrock and balearic vibes featuring drum programming by Manual and Causa Sui’s Jonas Munk
“Nicklas Sørensen's second solo effort away from his main stint as guitar player in Papir is a more placid, blissful listen than his first solo venture from 2016. On this set Nicklas digs deep into his love for vintage new age music, Brazilian bossa nova and the electronic side of kosmische, while still paying homage to the guitar heroes that has shaped his playing throughout the years, such as Vini Reilly, Manuel Göttsching and Michael Rother.
Produced in collaboration with Causa Sui- and El Paraiso in-house maestro Jonas Munk in his Odense studio, the pair have conjured a set of tracks that are blistering and euphoric, yet relaxed and solemn. Sørensen's unique guitar sound, in combination with warm blankets of analog synths, vibrating filters and the occasional drum machine, paints colourful soundscapes that mediates the soul with both the ethos of new age and hints of classical minimalism and modern composition. Experimentation is at the heart of Sørensen's modus operandi, but he never forgets to keep his melodic guitar leads central to the proceedings.
In these times – with the world's absurdity reaching new levels daily – no one should feel ashamed about leaving the world behind, slowing down for a while, and seek a state where one can emancipate oneself from reality. Chilling out simply cannot be reduced to the guilty pleasure it once was, and the album's B-side is unashamedly immersive - with Munk wrapping bubbly analog synths sequences around Sørensen's guitar loop patterns and panoramic slide guitars. The album ends on Sørensen's most inward-travelling note yet, bathing expressive guitar lines in a tender ocean of processing and reverb. Get that incense burning!
Nicklas Sørensen is one of those artists who manages to filter ideas from the past through a modern, personal vision. ”Solo 2” is a piece of music for the present.”
Expansive new opus by one of the world’s leading film soundtrack composers...
“Cycles 7-16 is a natural progression from Matt Dunkley’s deubt solo album, Six Cycles, released on Village Green in 2016. Like the debut, it was recorded in Berlin with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. With this album, however, Matt pushed himself further, expanding his writing horizons.
As well as being almost double the length, this album boasts a broader sonic palette than its predecessor, such as the full symphony orchestra on ‘Cycle 12’ or the seven solo pianos used on ‘Cycle 14’. On others, Matt returns to his classical roots, using a string chamber orchestra on ‘Cycle 11’ and ‘Cycle 16’.
Touring and travelling over the last two years, influences arose from spending time in different cities and places. The wintry, tense ‘Cycle 7’ was inspired by an early morning in Berlin, while ‘Cycle 15’ was written whilst on a conducting trip to Norway.”
NYC Puerto Rican artist Joe Claussell commits a serpentine remix of Yambú to Gilles Peterson’s Brownwood, weaving Daymé Arocena’s commanding Cuban vocal to free-flowing latinate percussion and subtle dubbing in his mutli-part, 9 minute Sacred Rhythm Mix, so titled after his club events and label of the same name.
Hanz rakes over vintage hip hop, post punk and industrial ground with a cineaste’s eye to locate new mutations in the undergrowth of Plasty I, the North Carolina, US artist’s follow-up to the Reducer  LP for Tri Angle.
Lodging somewhere between the ears of BAT, a lo-fi MBM and the asymmetric designs of Co La, Plasty I breaks down to a ruffcut patchwork of processed and sawn-off samples wrapped up in dream-like electronic atmospheres and laced with a trippy experimental edge.
It’s pretty much a 2017 answer to the more frayed fringes of UK trip hop and NYC illbient vibes.
Prepare to be swept off your clogs for a 2nd time by Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen’s Time Is A Blind Guide contemporary jazz ensemble with sophomore side Lucus; here including Lucy Railton (Cello), Thomas Strønen (Drums), Håkon Aase (Violin), and Ole Morten Vågan (double bass), and now joined by Japanese improvisor Ai Tanaka (Piano) for a more free-flowing, open follow-up to the group’s eponymous 2015 debut, which was also released by ECM.
Recorded in the responsive acoustics of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017, Lucus renders a gravity-defying dialogue between virtuosic instrumentalists hingeing around band-leader Strønen’s finely honed spatial sensitivities and proprioceptions, and propelled in fluid, elastic form by the rhythmic engine of Strønen’s drums with Vågan’s Double Bass.
Around that amorphous locus, the group weave a precisely elusive web of gestures, coolly adapting the language, recording techniques and devices of classical music at the service of a much freer style nodding at spiritual jazz’s elemental orchestrations, and suitably, beautifully suspended in-the-mix by Manfred Eicher’s exquisite production. It’s worth noting that that production is a prime example of what contemporary electronic producers are now calling ‘weightless’ - that is to say, a music leavened of its anchors and inducing a feeling or intent common to both ecstatic dance music, Jazz, and classical styles, rather than rote stomp or walls of sound.
Between the tempered upward lifts of Release, Strønen’s percolated prompts in Lucus, the swooning syncopations and playful dabs of Wednesday, and the optimistic stretch of Weekend which brings the LP to a close, you’re in the presence of some delightfully light-hearted but never throw-away music.
At bleedin’ last, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s legendary solo album, Time To Tell  sees a proper, if edited, official vinyl reissue - MAGAZINE INCLUDED! - on her and Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International label. In fact, with Cosey’s utterly mind-blowing autobiography, Art Sex Music now in circulation, putting history to rights and stoking febrile interest around her inspirational, nonpareil oeuvre, the timing could hardly be any better to reissue her most sought-after and inarguably definitive solo release.
First issued on tape in 1983, some years after the initial demise of Throbbing Gristle and the start of of Chris & Cosey, and just prior to the emergence of their multimedia CTI alias, Time To Tell documents Hull’s greatest daughter, Christine Carol Newby aka Cosey Fanni Tutti, ‘fessing all about her long-running art praxis involving a deep penetration of the British sex industry - from nude modelling to striptease and transgressive performance art - all set to her signature, exploratory electronic sculptures and drily angelic delivery.
For this hugely important reissue of Cosey’s only solo record (yep, only!), she worked with husband and creative partner Chris Carter to edit the original two track release, trimming down some of the longer parts to optimise audio fidelity, and also incorporating The Secret Touch which was included on the Time To Tell (Special Edition) CD release in 1993/2000.
Thus the release spies three distinct strands or aspects of Cosey’s sound. The first, longest and most comprehensive is the LP’s title track, which, as far as we can tell, appears in a slightly abridged version, but still ties up all her key sonic themes, from pulsing, sensuous synths, sky-licking guitars and brittle drum machines to her achingly seductive Yorkshire accent, drily recounting her experiences and inside/out perspective in the sex industry. Tell us this isn’t one of the most alluring 20 minutes of the ‘80s ever recorded, and we’ll tell you to do one.
Ritual Awakening comes on the B-side. Here the drum machine drops away and Cosey’s hushed vocals take a new, diaphanous form, refracted in a diamond-cut prism of electronics with near-cinematic strings, feeling out unreachable edges of the lushest void. Then we’re stranded in The Secret Touch, where her sallow synth strokes hint at an aquarian sort of new age, melding with reverberating, Denny-esque guitar against an unfathomable backdrop of possible field recordings and almost raga-like drones on her signature Cornet.
We could hammer on about this one all day, but suffice it to say: this is a totally essential purchase!
Mississippi Records furnish a very necessary follow-up to Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru’s Spielt Eigene Kompositionen with the eponymous Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru including the remaining eleven pieces from her Éthiopiques 21: Piano Solo CD.
Beloved of almost anyone who has heard her meandering, rhythmically complex piano meditations, Emahoy’s music feels like she’s channelling gestures and sensations from another dimension, which probably makes sense when you consider that she was ordained a nun at age 19, before subsequently studying the sacred music of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and eventually fleeing to the Ethiopian Monastery of Jerusalem because of a conflict between her beliefs and the marxist regime of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
There is no pretension or conceit to Emahoy’s style; it is beautifully vibrant yet melancholy, comparable with the most affective American Blues yet, still, far out on its own plane of musical perception.
One to cherish.
Belter compilation of Arabic hip-house from late ‘80s Paris, courtesy the archive of Shams Dinn, as revealed to the world at large by new American label, Smiling C. If you’re into any form of late ‘80s electronic dance music, you need to hear this one!
What started out as an effort to reissue Shams Dinn’s only known release, Hedi Bled Noum, has flourished into this full compilation featuring seven tracks spanning three distinct eras of Shams’ career, which combined a deep knowledge of Sufi meditation (his grandfather was a Sufi master) with some of the earliest examples of rapping in Arabic that we’ve ever heard, at the least.
The production is natty and funky as fxck, highly comparable with lots of Belgian New Beat and the concurrent Euro House phenomenon as much as American house and boogie of the era, but clearly the one difference is the bloke rapping in Arabic! It’s maybe more common now, but back then Arabic influences weren’t much deeper than pasted-on samples used to spice up house tracks, but this guy has totally adapted to suit the style, and it works so well.
Friday Dunard proves a smart candidate for the misfits of Magazine with his ‘vocal trance’ session Gerade following from outings for local Kölnisch labels, Syff and Verein Freier Menschen und Musik, in the last few years.
The vibe is trapped somewhere between avant-garde composition, late ‘80s/early ‘90s Goa raves and the parallel dimensions of modern club music, starting out in the conservatory with Dunard’s blooming vocal and synth mantra Eine Gerade, then getting down to business with the sleek, drivingly hypnotic synthlines and sand-trample stomp of Keine Gerade, uniquely laced with Schwitters-esque gibber.
Flip it over for a stripped down Keine Gerade (Drum Tool) focussed on the expressively daft vocals and a swollen, slompy jack beat, before Tsintener goes on like some Gabi Delgado EBM/techno production, all taut, muscular and rolling arpeggios yoked to swaggering drums.
L.A.’s Bana Haffar joins Surachai’s modular synth label Make Noise Records - home to slabs by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Alessandro Cortini - with her two sides of complex, blossoming hyaline structures.
Clearly holding her own among the heavyweights who’ve already released on the series, especially when considering this is only her 2nd release, Bana yields an impressively controlled display of control on Endo, roiling from dense waves of viscous, guitar-like inharmonic distortion giving way to brighter, increasingly rapid and expanding frequencies with breathtaking impact and celestial scope.
On the other hand, Exo is literally and metaphorically the A-side’s inverse, as she uses the Make Noise Modular Synth to render cavernous spatial parameters embedded with precise, pointillist bleep flux and alien vocal processing at its core, precipitating a vividly colourful flush of harmonic chaos.
IVVVO conveys intense emotions in Prince of Grunge, leading on from Good, Bad, Baby, Horny with Rabit’s Halcyon Veil with a visceral suite that “explores conflicting truths and accounts of depression, social anxiety and fear in the name of progress” for NYX Unchained, a new label and event series based in London.
The Portuguese producer has picked a thorny and ubiquitously topical subject for examination, effectively tending to the psychological flipside of his favourite subject; Rave culture, its unfulfilled dreams, and the possible after-effects of toxic excess.
Where grunge emerged as dissatisfaction with the cheesiness and mainstream role of ‘80s stadium rock, we can take his Prince of Grunge mantle as metaphor for a unhappiness with modern rave culture and its rote rituals, and the perceived distance between the original object and subjective, contemporary iterations.
in six succinct pieces he trawls subcultural ephemera from black metal to hardstyle and mutant electronica, framing a blistering reverie or elegy for unity and self-expression in a crowd that takes in the unheimlich entry of Born, with its wailing baby and acid rain tones, alongside the screeching chorales and hardstyle peaks of Until I Die. With Prince of Grunge he inverts trance breakdowns somewhere closer to a black metal intro, and V convulses classical piano arpeggios in a techno panic, before the thought broadcasting intimations of I Don’t Know, and finishing on something like a Xyn Cabal track, or Lorenzo Senni reworked by Naked in the bittersweet trance blooz ov Fantasy.
Four Tet and Jamie XX remixes of The XX, limited vinyl only.
Jamie xx gives On Hold an uptempo french-touch house remix. Four Tet reworks A Violent Noise with a tech-house canter ready for the big room gymkhana. Tally ho.
A superb work of recondite sonic fiction, Blade Jogger is the palpably clammy tale of an erstwhile Salford doorman with a taste for ‘SWENDAB’ - a new drug of potent psychotomimetic efficacy - set to a backdrop of Brexit bruxism. Conjured by author and artistic director of The White Hotel, Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives at Tales of Mark E. Smith & The Myth Brilliant Summers), narrated by James Stannage, and set to a synthesised score by Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral) and By The Sea. Think Anthony Burgess meets Savoy with sound by Martin Hannett in Delian mode. The White Hotel’s shadow looms large over proceedings. Jog on…
“The place is England: a horrible electronic slum. The time is 22 minutes and 11 seconds into the future. A new drug - SWENDAB - is doing the rounds, sending everybody round the bend - as per. And as ever, here in this ‘less-than-United-Kingdom’, the rain must fall continuously. (It’s a wonder we haven’t all rusted by now.)
Rebelling against the drudgery of his surroundings, trapped inside his own fragile psyche - with no map nor money - meet GAZ-15: ex-bouncer/ex-lover/full-time-fuck-up.
Tonight, like every other night, he will go AWOL, lost in ‘the hallways of always’ of another SWENDAB-binge, searching for a meaning he knows he will never find. All those memories leaking into the eternal drainpipe. What a monster he’s made of himself. Not quite human. Oh to be a clone of others.
Evoking the underbelly of urban life, along with an even darker and deeper spiritual dimension, this bleakly-comic and moving musical collaboration between writer Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives & Tales of Mark E Smith & The Myth of Brilliant Summers) and By The Sea, is Blade Runner re-written and re-scored by two steam-punks waiting to see their Jobseekers’s contact, or Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape soundtracked by Delia Derbyshire, or simply War of the Words - a 22-minutes and 11 seconds ‘single’ that summons a feeling of medicated drift, of hearing beautiful sounds through some kind of filter, as time collapses in on itself.”