Re-press of the third single from Bristol's Punch Drunk imprint.
Heading away from the 4/4 crossover of "Erstwhile Rhythm", RSD comes to us from Bristol luminary Rob Smith (Smith & Mighty) here operating under the suitably abridged RSD moniker.
The Rootsy vibe has been retained, with A-Side cut "Corner Dub" shuffling into a steppas vibe with traditional stabs and echo-chamber vocals, although the bass and snare have definately been borrowed from the dubstep template circa 2007. "Pretty Bright Light" on the flip is much more robust and menacing, there's a breakbeat somewhere in the mix but it's obscured by enough bassweight and wobblestep to make it more or less unoticeable.
Shanti Celeste introduces hotly-tipped producer Chekhov with Rotlicht, the variegated 3rd EP on her Peach Discs label.
Where the label’s previous 12”s from Shanti and Fred have looked to Detroit, early UK techno and classic deep house for inspiration, this one draws from more greyscale styles of knackered industrial techno and salsa-spiced electro for flavour.
Bierce follows a rugged hunch of murky, oozing bass and curtly clipped shuffle that gets under the skin with hypnagogic stealth, turning the dancefloor to zombie marionettes and the DJ as puppet master.
Rotlicht picks up the energy levels with a squirming sort of electro-disco-dub flux in floating effect, and Toothru brings an icy cool swerve imagining Kraftwerk set adrift in warmer climes.
Sully’s golden streak continues unabated with two flash forward steppers for Rupture LDN
Rolling off the back of zingers for Uncertain Hour and Foxy Jangle and a remix of 2 Bad Mice, he synchs piquant arps with slow/fast footwork/halfstep patterns, virulent mentasms and achingly well-timed shockout breakbeat in the lethal ‘Dream Sequence’, whereas ‘Epoch’ commits to a proper ’96 techstep style with lip-bitingly strong vibes practically as good as anything from that original era, if not better - sacrilege to say, we know, but seriously this is breathtaking stuff!
Efficient Space offer an unprecedented survey of Australian dance music from the 1990s. Some real juicy peaches to be found inside.
“3AM Spares is a new compilation of Australian Electronic Dance Music selected by Andras and Instant Peterson, encompassing the darker sounds and later nights of the 1990s and beyond. Following on from forerunner compilation Midnite Spares, this double LP draws from local 12” releases, CDRs and the archives of community radio station 3RRR FM to make a diverse and pumping scene audible once more. No longer confined to beer barns and back rooms, this generation of producers, DJs, clubbers and ravers spilled out into pavilions, warehouses and paddocks, embracing a new culture of machine-metaphor and chemical love.
Future Sound of Melbourne’s warehouse triptych Resist The Beat embodies a time when the country’s youth united with juggernaut stamina, partying beyond the long arm of the law. Restored from the ARIA award-winning trio’s original DATs, this debut 12” incited label offers from Jeff Mills, Frank De Wulf and Carl Cox.
Released by the likes of Clan Analogue, Creative Vibes, Volition, DanceNet, Juice and Psy-Harmonics, this era’s material has evaded sufficient digital documentation until now, some lost in the decommission of Angelfire, Tripod and Geocities websites. Often these bedroom experiments and one-off collaborations existed solely for compilation inclusions, a plausible scenario for the mysterious Inner Harmony. In the case of Tetrphnm, graphic artist Jeremy Dower’s glacial sub-bass was digitised from the only known CD-R copy, preserved by the 3RRR FM library.
Many key figures of this narrative have deep roots in the DIY/post-punk family tree. Third Eye, the impressive evolution of Whirlywirld founder and industrial legend Ollie Olsen, finds common ground with I Will Go, a hypnotic concoction by Adrenalentil and Poets of the Machine associate Jandy Rainbow, a transgender artist whose liberated electronics trace back to 1978.
The most unique take on this new wave of dance music comes from Turrbal-Gubbi Gubbi woman and Stolen Generations survivor Maroochy Barambah. Recorded in New York, Mongungi incorporates two lines of a traditional Gubbi Gubbi song Gurri Nina Nami with the sound palette of tribal house, highlighting the broadening ways that identity and culture were being negotiated and manifested within club music.
A lesson in intelligent appropriation, Artificial’s Sobriquet remix bends one of the most looped samples of all time to fit a wired new generation’s interrogation of that thing called disco. Artificial’s ingenuity was vital impact to the scene, releasing three influential albums as one half of B(if)tek and establishing the WINK Awards - a music prize that recognised and encouraged subversive electronics. Her playfulness is mirrored in Blimp’s frisky garage house, recalling Paul Johnson, while Ian Eccles-Smith’s borrowing is comparatively more discrete on the chillout sampledelic collage The Slaughtering Eye.
Andy Rantzen returns to Efficient Space in two incarnations - as one half of Itch-E + Scratch-E ambient alias Screensaver, and in collaboration with General Electrik on Leather Lover, a cocked and loaded glimpse at the bottom end of Oxford street, originally recorded for the Club Kooky compilation Gay In The Life: Adventures in the Queer Underground. Reinventing himself as Hypnoblob, fellow Sydney Oz Wave artist Ian Andrews also gives us his pneumatic-drill-step Deep Down.”
Composed way back in 1979, 'A Red Score In Tile' eventually surfaced as a vinyl-only edition in 2003.
It illustrates Basinski's tape-loop technique perfectly and still stands as one of his most affecting pieces of music. If you've heard 'Melancholia' you'll likely know what we're talking about; piano notes transformed into tones by the slowly disintegrating tape, the loops become motifs all of their own.
Ectomorph’s debut EP, from back when Gerald Donald (Dopplereffekt) was a member, resurfaces, newly remastered and ready for deployment in the current electro resurgence, while also priming the path for their imminent debut album ’Stalker’
Originally transmitted in 1995, ’Subsonic Vibrations’ became a staple of the ‘90s electro circuit for solid reasons, not least because Gerald Donald was involved, but mostly because it rocks the club good and proper.
Between the massaged 808 pulse and warped bass of ’Subsonic Vibrations’, the stripped down writhe of ‘Parallax View’, the unmistakeably Drexciyan riffs of ’Skin’, and quaking bass and quicksilver jabs of ‘The Last days of Skylab’, you’re in the presence of solid gold electro.
Séance Centre serve an astonishing 2LP by L.A. composer and voice-over artist MJ Lallo, making good on the promise of her ‘Star Child’ 12” with a stellar showcase of wonderfully expressive glossolalia and bobbling drum machine patterns embedded in vast synth backdrops. What a find?! Big tip to fans of Jon Hassell, Laurie Anderson, Ramzi, Breadwoman, The Art Of Noise!!!
“Take Me With You is a revelatory voyage through the captivating universe of voice artist and poet MJ Lallo. The works on this 2LP compilation were all recorded in her home studio between 1982 and 1997, primarily using drum computer, synth and her own voice processed through a Yamaha SPX 90 digital effects unit. They range from wordless harmonizer mantras and primitive drum computer meditations, to psychedelic latin dance-floor anthems and synth-drenched end-of-the-nighters.
Lallo has created her own inimitable galaxy of sound where the human voice, liberated from the constraints of language and abstracted using digital technology, is able to explore the outer realms of human expression, like Joan La Barbara with an Eventide and a new-age sensibility. Although Lallo’s flight path is distinctly her own, her journey converges with other travellers as diverse as Jon Hassell, Laraaji, Stereolab, William Aura, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Gertrude Stein and even Terry Gilliam (whose film Brazil was a big influence on Lallo). Like something beamed in from another planet, Lallo’s work is both fascinatingly strange and strangely familiar, and will leave a lasting impression for lightyears to come.”
Autechre's classic third album from 1995, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Completing the triumvirate of early Autechre essentials, Tri Repetae was the duo’s cranky contribution to mid ‘90s electronic music, and, like its predecessors - Incunabula and Amber - a record that completely defines certain aspects of that era for many electronica nerds, us included.
It’s possibly best known for including the peerless electro-trance swerve of Eutow - which could literally kill someone prone to AMSR in the right situations (not a bad way to gan) - whilst the rest of the LP cements some of Autechre’s sharpest, neck-snapping hip hop beats.
If you’ve only heard this album via download or streaming, or are only aware of their later gear, you’re in for total treat.
Jim O’Rourke returns with his first physical solo album since 2015’s Simple Songs, following a relatively steady supply of download-only releases via his Steamroom Bandcamp (over 20 of them since 2015) and collaborations with John Duncan, Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi, Peter Brötzmann, Merzbow, Fennesz and others in the interim. Anyone familiar with his exceptional Steamroom output will have an inkling of what to expect here; this is Jim O’Rourke at his most meditative, absorbing and quietly subversive, making use of little more than synthesizer, pedal steel, piano and shortwave radio for one extended 45 minute piece (punctuated by a few moments of silence) designed to mess with contemporary notions of “Ambient” music.
Sleep Like It's Winter took O’Rourke two years to construct after being approached by the fledgling Newhere label to submit an Ambient album. As he explained recently in an interview with ele-king: "I didn’t set out to make an ambient record but it’s sort of about making an ambient record more than it’s an ambient record (laughing) you know? Pretty much everything I do is about what it is as opposed to being it. Just making any record in terms of “make a record in this genre” is anathema to me, but I decided to do it because it was such a revolting idea! (Laughs) Not that I dislike ambient music – I don’t mean that. That’s just not the way I think when I make things, so it was such a bizarre proposal that I decided to do it.”
Citing Eno’s Discreet Music (as opposed to Eno’s work after the word Ambient had been adapted ) as well as Roland Kayn as influences, he goes on to explain "Roland Kayn was the biggest guy for me. Someone could call his music ambient but it’s way too aggressive for that. The idea of his music is you create the system and then you just let it go. The challenge is how can you create a system that still represents the ideas even though you’ve let it go. If you look at some of the last decade or so of Cage’s scores, like the number pieces, they create these systems. These later Number Pieces of his are really interesting because, if you do them correctly, they’re really constraining even though they don’t seem to be. Whereas someone like Kayn and what Brian Eno were doing, especially in the 70’s, they still want a result but they want to be hands off about it.”
The result is a layered and complex piece that takes multiple listens to fully get to grips with, revealing layers of detail deployed within a structure that seems to evaporate into its surroundings. In that respect, Sleep Like It's Winter subverts its brief with an incredible sleight of hand; a piece of music designed to actively, deeply engage but which camouflages itself into the background. It operates within the grid, however faint and hard to define.
"For me, in making this record, the most important thing was, “Where is a line where you decide to give up on formal structures completely?” and, “Where is a line where formal structures can still be perceived but they’re not being shouted at you? For me, in that way of thinking of music, which I’ve been moving towards my entire life slowly but surely (laughs)…"
David Tibet pairs his apocalyptic prognostications with plush pastoral backdrops ranging from unsettlingly rose-tinted to beautifully melancholic, supplied by Andrew Liles, Ben Chasny, and various, nefarious associates of Coil, including bagpiper Michael J. York and Ossian Brown (Cyclobe)
““The Light Is Leaving Us All” is the new album from Current 93, everyone’s favourite Hallucinatory Cuneiform SuperGroup.
Three years in Her Making and Shaping, “The Light Is Leaving Us All” Spells WithIn Her 11 tracks.”
Highly anticipated official reissue of this album from Midori Takada’s MKWAJU ensemble, sourced from the original masters and available in two versions: a vinyl LP cut at Emil Berliner Studios (formerly the in-house recording department of Deutsche Grammophon) and a digipack CD.
"Originally recorded in February and March 1981 and released by fabled Japanese avant-garde label Better Days (home of Ryuichi Sakamato’s debut album, Yasuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi, Colored Music self-titled LP and many more) MKWAJU is the fruit of the collaboration between Takada’s crew and world-famous composer/musical director Joe Hisaishi, the man behind most of of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli anime soundtracks and over 100 other films scores, including Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine, Hana-Bi, and Kikujiro. The ensemble’s transcendental wonder is, in fact, the first-ever Midori Takada album and the first-ever Joe Hisaishi-produced album.
Historic. Led by Midori Takada on marimba, gong, vibraphone, and tom tom, MKWAJU is an inventive and riveting take on Eastern and Western minimalist traditions, African rhythms, and early electronica. Drawing from its jazz-rooted polyrhythmic improvisations in the most inventive ways, the album covers a wide spectrum of sounds, from colorful dance floor-ready percussion pieces that stand somewhere between proto-techno and experimental synth-pop, to cinematic ambient landscapes and ethereal drone delicacies. The feverishly sought-after full-length is a stepping-stone in Midori Takada’s career and an all-around pioneering album. Alongside Takada and Hisaishi (who not only produced the album but also played synthesizers), personnel on MKWAJU includes famed Japanese musicians Yoji Sadanari and Hideki Mats."
On her debut for Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs, Toronto-based promoter/producer/DJ, Cindy Li aka Ciel steps into the fray with two fine bits of melodic and bass heavy electro pressure
Running sternum-quaking subs and yearning, effervescent arpeggios and FX in Electrical Encounters, then pursuing a hunch for rolling breaks and floating pads in Elevate (Go Off Mix), and percolating a blend of rickety, vintage drum machines and worm-charming bass in Rain Dance.
‘5 Klavierstücke’ was recorded and produced by Gareth Jones in the South of France on Irmin Schmidt's two grand pianos. Schmidt partly prepared his Pleyel piano (in the way he was taught by John Cage himself) and the other piano - Irmin Schmidt’s 100-year-old Steinway - remained unprepared.
"Several pieces were recorded in one session on the prepared piano only, others contain recordings from both pianos. All ambient sounds were recorded on site - around Irmin Schmidt's studio - and there are no other instruments or electronics of any kind.
As a composer and one of Can’s founding members, Irmin Schmidt has scored more than one hundred soundtracks. Outside of his work with Can, he has released over a dozen solo albums and written an opera, ‘Gormenghast’, based on the novels of Mervyn Peake. In 2015, he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to art and culture, one of France’s highest honours."
Austin, TX’s Samantha Glass collapses hardcore techno, Carpenter-esque sci-fi themes and darkwave EBM dirge into a strong 2nd album for local label, HOLODECK
“Enigmatic Austin based producer/starlet Samantha Glass untangles their serpentine mind on the ambitious new full length Nine Memories Between Impression and Imprint. Since 2010, Beau Devereaux has chronicled their romantic and turbulent process of self-identification as Samantha Glass through the use of electronics, field recordings and a seductive, baritone voice. Abstract soundscapes rise and fall around addictively brooding ballads and introspective monologues as Glass deconstructs themself beneath the weight of their poetry and lyrics. Nine Memories Between Impression and Imprint unveils an allure through vulnerability, elegantly depicting the endless audition of becoming Samantha Glass.
Devereaux came from rural beginnings in the countryside of Wisconsin before spending most of their adult life engrossed in Madison’s noise, power violence and punk DIY scenes. They sought to create a balanced form of art representative of their ever fluid sexuality and gender identity while incorporating elements of dark wave, musique concrète and New Age music. Samantha Glass evolved into an outlet for drag-based performance art coupled with drum machines, cassette loops and down-tempo crooning. Through years of touring and a prolific discography, Glass came to be known beyond the Midwest as one of the most dense and multi-layered projects amongst experimental music spheres. This exploratory essence gives Glass a broad crossover appeal as they dive into new territory with each successive release. Narrating a uniquely nuanced perspective on life and art, Glass richly crafts each composition around deeply rooted biographical and contemporary themes, encapsulating a haunting and captivating portrayal of an elaborately creative mind.”
The second part of William Basinski's superlative 'Water Music' series
Seemingly touching on the idea of mathematical music (ciphers, durational ratios etc.) that surfaced on his 'Disintegration Loops' work, 'Water Music II' is more overtly active than the preceding tract. Spread over a single piece that tops an hour, 'Water Music II' has an undulating predilection that Basinski then goes on to obscure through diffused soundscapes of incremental intensity.
Shanti Celeste takes her cues from Detroit, West London and Chicago to forge the smart first release on Peach Discs.
She gets all misty-eyed and feverish with the sparking, effervescent hybrid of 313 house pads and motifs rolled up with brukken drums and maybe even a dab of early Manchester rave flavour in Loop One, whereas Selector is fully synched to Windy City styles with booty-driving bass and bucking claps softened by lustrous deep house vibes.
Bright, punchy jack trax from Videopath, following in the footsteps of Ciel, Chekov and Fred onto Shanti Celeste’s excellent Peach Discs
There’s no mistaking that the good times synth vamps and rugged swang of A Cure For Melancholy lives up to its name with giddy alacrity, while And So Do Eye follows suit with proper US happy house ’n garage burn, full of organ riffs and dreamy early ‘90s style vocals.
'The Garden of Brokenness' takes a recently discovered tape loop from Basinski's piano and tape experiments (c.1979) then transforms it into a hauntingly hypnotic compisition that clocks in at 50 minutes.
Jealous God call for EBM reinforcements with three new tracks from Pye Corner Audio, and a collab between Marcel Dettmann & Silent Servant.
Pye Corner Audio does it slow, grubby and inquisitive on Delay Gratification, teasing in a sort of industrial zombie cumbia, while Meet Me In The Void follows a muggier hunch into Carpenter-esque synth alleys, and The Future is a bleak as f^ck black knot of acid rolling with stygian function.
Dettmann subtly indulges his longheld passion and fascination for EBM in collaboration with Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant on The Bond, where they marry a strapping lead arp with floating, over-the-shoulder voices and booming kicks, all pinned into place by a reverberating snare that’s sure to ricochet around Berghain’s main hall like stay shrapnel.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore refine and expand their neon lit blend of midnight jazz and dark ambience, finding romance and a sort of redemption in the heart of the abyss.
Musically, the key reference point remains Angelo Badalamenti's scores for David Lynch; a combination of plaintive sax, ominous synth drones and electronic piano situated at the interzone between dream and nightmare. ‘Zombies Never Die (Blues)’ - the first of the three long, immersive pieces that make up the LP - is apt for midnight revelation at the Roadhouse or Club Silencio; but as well as Badalamenti we think also of Tom Waits at his most unhinged and atmospheric, and of The Caretaker's sweeping, serotonin-depleted excavations of memory.
‘Catch My Heart', an unrecognisable cover of German metal outfit Warlock, evokes the decadence and submerged anxiety of 30s Weimar cabaret; vocals come from the band’s longtime cheerleader Mike Patton, channelling Tuxedomoon, Bowie and even the Brinkmann of When Horses Die into a louche but tortured croon. The title track brings the suite to a close, unbearable tension wrought out of a sparse, repeated Rhodes motif and brushed drums, recalling early Tortoise, For Carnation and the desert-dried doom of Earth. For all these comparisons, Bohren really are like no one else around, and Beileid is the kind of otherworldly, out of body listening experience we live for.
Airhead comes off like PC Music doing jazzed tribal house and jungle with these two pearls for James Blake and Dan Foat’s 1-800 Dinosaur label
Stepping on from his ‘Kazzt’  ace for Different Circles, Airhead returns to site of his ‘Believe’ release with a cheeky glint in his eye and a wonky swagger on ‘Clatter’, winding up a carbonated and freaky sort of slosh-jack foe the A-side, before ‘Droplit’ straightens up yuh backbone on the AA-side for a wicked spot of tail-chasing jungle breakbeat chicanery.
Hinosch is a probing, minimalist collaboration between Koshiro Hino ov the amazing Goat group and YPY project, with Düsseldorf’s Stefan Schneider. Mazy rhythms and electronic chicanery in very curious and nimble effect...
“They first met and began their collaborative work of musical interaction and exploring contrasting possibilities in 2017. After a number of concerts in the EU and in Japan, they released their self-titled debut EP (TAL 005EP, 2017). Fully instrumental, their first full-length album Hands offers a more steeply focused approach than its largely improvised predecessor. Encouraged by the momentum generated during a number of on-the-spot recordings in Osaka, where Schneider had held a residency in April 2017, the overall sound of the album has been honed down through meticulous studio engineering.
One of the outstanding qualities of Hands certainly is an unprejudiced approach of sound and song structures. The instrumentation is confidently reduced to a small range of analog and digital machines. Snatches of tape-loops deliver lower-pitched vocal and drum machine samples. This characteristic technical set up soon proved ideal in order to define a tactile vocabulary of fully unsynchronized rhythm patterns. The word tactile perfectly conjures that quality which is the very essence of Hands. It is the result of the manner in which interdependent threads of rhythm units are deliberately disconnected to form a cohesive, soulful and flexible whole.
Most tracks on Hands are devoid of a central motif and examine an unpredictable dialogue. A fantasy of constant change and a search for musical suggestions is the most vital ingredient in this abstract environment. The album title Hands refers to physical aspects of electronic music production. Every live concert of Hinosch usually starts out with a hand shake between Hino and Schneider. The general process of collective music making, programming, button pushing, playing, recording, decision making, all-demand utmost concentration.
The image on the front of the album sleeve -- designed by Takashi Makabe -- reflects the general approach of Hands: layers of tucked fabrics confronting one another to articulate a form for themselves to no other end than their own orchestration. Koshiro Hino's solo activities as YPY and his involvement with the band Goat have already garnered him a favorable international reception. Stefan Schneider has over the years produced and collaborated with, amongst others, Joachim Roedelius, Arto Lindsay, Klaus Dinger, Dieter Moebius, Alexander Balanescu, John McEntire, Katharina Grosse, Bill Wells, and St.Etienne.
Optimo’s JD Twitch cherry-picks classics, rarities and percies from Germany’s original independent post-punk scene from 1979-1985, including necessary oddball grooves and songs ranging from Malaria!’s snotty ohrwurm ‘Your Turn to Run’ to Andreas Dorau’s NDW rocket ‘Fred Vom Jupiter’, an edit of Christiane F’s sleazy ace ‘Wunderbar’, and the killer disko mission of ‘Veb Heimat’ by Weltklang
“This was an era of particular artistic upheaval in Germany; emphasis was placed on expression rather than technical perfection, artistic impact rather than skill. Bands consciously abandoned the English-speaking mainstream with German band names and lyrics. “Although we had a small underground scene, it was very vibrant,” explains Gudrun Gut of Malaria! “Bands like Die Haut, our first band Mania D., Malaria!... we organised gigs ourselves, hung around together in a handful of clubs like Risiko or Dschungel and went to gigs at SO36. West Germany had other regional scenes too: Düsseldorf and Köln around Der Plan and the Ata Tak label and there was the Hamburg side with Abwärts. Germany didn’t have a real music industry like the US or UK back then.”
This new collection is a personal selection from JD Twitch: “The compilation is not designed to tell a definitive story of what was going on in Germany in this era; it is more an arbitrary collection of records I adore from a specific era with a specific attitude that hopefully together sum up some of the musical undercurrents in Germany at that time.”
The package features a host of rare and unseen photos from the period along with extensive interviews with artists including Beate Bartel (Mania D.), Gudrun Gut (Malaria!, Mania D.) Christoph Dreher (Die Haut), Michael Hirsch (P1/E, ExKurs) and Thomas Voburka (Weltklang).”
The Jealous Gods conscript Varg for their 17th number, harnessing his esteemed Scando techno energies in four hardcore, pounding missiles under the title of I’ll Hold You Till We Die.
A-side hurts the best with a pair of robust 140bpm bangers, getting into gear with the tense electro of For Milan/AMG and dispensing a proper bollocking with the stampeding groove of Skrrt (Music made To Listen To In A RS6).
Turn over and he drops the tempos slightly to go in with a class party piece in Donatella Forever and then the soaring hard techno élan of Last dance (I’ll Hold You Till We Die).
After a fancy flight with Arcola, Jamal Moss comes home to Mathematics for ‘The Language of Strings’, a 14 track collection of, in his own words; “Cerebral sonics sketched out in the form of body music for the home listener”
As always with the prolific Chicagoan, you may feel like you heard this one before, but pay closer attention and he still manages to keep us absorbed into his grooves with unique, natty sleights-of-hand applied to rhythmic variations and chromatic vamps that pop off across the record, serving to only draw listeners ever closer into Jamal’s parallel universe.
If anything, Jamal has only gotten more prolific in recent years, but his off-the-cuff tekkers feel more efficient with it, here giving 1:1 representations of the encrypted images and instinctive calculations that scroll thru his head, mutating from brittle, bare-boned jackers to louchely hypnotic house swingers and a haul of grubbing, brukken rufige, always with those glorious chromatic arp signatures, and keeping one spicy uptempo rocket tucked away at the end.
A dead faithful go-to for vintage wave compilations in recent years, Color Tapes’ Cold Waves Of Color Volume 5 extends the cherry-picked selections of minimal and new wave with 11 more aces from the likes of Beserk In A Hayfield, Modern Art (Gary Ramon), Lives of Angels and Silicon Valley, and including a natty rarity by The Good Missionaries, post Alternative TV. All material this time spans 1981-1985 and all makes first appearance on vinyl.
As with previous instalments, Volume 5 impresses with its depth and quality of variety, sequencing crisp electronic dance tracks on the same page as grainy, melodic synth-pop and hard-working dubs in a way that makes total sense as both a historic education as well as a heavily satisfying, play-it-again record.
On the front they add up Void’s punchy, bittersweet minimal wave jabber Isotope beside the soaring, romantic ‘tronics of Silent Sky by Echophase and the supple swang of Beserk In A Hayfield, leading up to some real gems in The Lord’s warped chromatic wormhole Production Line, and especially The Good Missionaries brooding beauty Bending A Border  which is pretty unmissable for fans of PiL or Officer!.
Flip over for more treats in the fluidly Chris Carter-esque electro dynamics of Continental Shift by Echophase, a New Order-y turn from Lives of Angels, and the dubbed-out NRG-disco deviation of Gary Ramon’s own Modern Art ace, Colliding World.
Piping hot from her knockout ‘Throne’ album, Heather Leigh joins the bellows-lunged Peter Brötzmann for a nerve-biting, romantic, and heavily arresting set of duets improvised on woodwind, brass and lap steel guitar .
“There is complexity in simplicity, and Sparrow Nights is Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh's most enduring record to date, and their first studio album. A series of emotionally rich and boldly elucidated tonal and timbral exchanges played like compositions on pedal steel and reeds, the tracks (released as a 6 track LP and 10 track CD) are cold-forged minimalist blues motifs dragged from instrumental laments.
After three years playing together Brötzmann/Leigh's connection and understanding is by now both cerebral and deeply invested in the physical and sensory possibilities of their combined sound, while retaining a melancholic distance. Within this duo there is fluidity – neither is the anchor – and these recordings sound with as much variety as the sea. At times Sparrow Nights carries the clarity and poeticism of still water and open horizon ("This Word Love"), and at others it contains the elemental and ferocious roar of white water breakers on black rocks ("This Time Around").
On their previous three live albums (Ears Are Filled With Wonder, Sex Tape, Crowmoon) the duo have developed an intimate and intense language that manifests here as a focus on power and control, where figures blasted of unnecessary decoration are drawn from the shadows and smoke of collapse. The studio setting also allows Brötzmann to bring a broader range of reeds than in live scenarios: where previously he has played primarily tenor, clarinet and tarogato with Leigh, here he delivers the heat of alto and the low pressure of bass saxophone and clarinet.
Brötzmann’s duo with Leigh continues to trace a fresh new arc in his trajectory, and this release also falls at a time when Leigh releases Throne, her most song-based record to date. Here as a studio duo they play a new-old blues for times of complexity, noise and chaos, continuing to redefine and re-sound possibilities for improvised music.”
Boy Harsher sate demand for their early gear with a new edit of Pain, backed with a mean remix by The Soft Moon in deadly EBM post punk mood.
The wickedly gaunt title cut from Boy Harsher’s sought-after 2nd EP is here nipped and tucked with classy back alley surgery for optimal drive and bite in the darkroom.
On the remix, The Soft Moon ratchet the intensity with stealthy force, giving the bassline more gnash and bite while bringing the drums forward with additional Linn cracks and a power surge of dissonant distortion that sends it stratospheric.
Blinding 12” of deep, earthy Detroit house inflected with jazz and psych vibes by Todd Modes, who’s flanked by Craig Huckaby (congas), Mike Mumford (sax) and Mike Severson (guitar) on the latest Fit sureshot.
Their A-face turns to a loose, rolling tribal flex with the frisked drums and melting, lysergic patina of voices - some friendly, some ungodly - in the wonderful Ariadne, before really taking the plunge into mystic jazz-house realms with the oily undulations and pealing, plangent sax of Knossos, which is about as close as you’ll find to Peter Zummo jamming with Theo Parrish and Morphosis.
On the upside down’s Native Visions he inverts the mixing balance giving it a really trippy sort of tunnelling trajectory, guiding us headlong thru patches of fiery psyche riffage on a lean double bassline and 360º swarming congas.
Epic 32 Track comp of exclusive tracks curated and compiled by Mumdance (also available as a limited edition 5-track vinyl sampler, and a mixed cassette) featuring a colossal haul of tracks from Space Afrika, Caterina Barbieri, Chevel, JK Flesh, Abyss X, Sleeparchive, Mumdance & Logos, Peder Mannerfelt, Nkisi, ZULI and many others...
Shared Meanings comprises 32 exclusive tracks, drawn from a panorama of contemporary electronic music—pioneers, emerging talents, brand new producers—brought together by Adams’ curatorial ear. It’s the natural next step from Radio Mumdance, the far-reaching radio project that saw Adams play back-to-back with some of his favourite artists: Nina Kraviz, DJ Stingray, DJ Storm, Surgeon, Ben UFO, Josey Rebelle and many others. Across a 97-minute session, Shared Meanings draws from the ideas and inspirations Adams’ gained across those 40 weekly shows.
The sampler 12” includes Mumdance & Logos’ massive ‘Teachers’ alongside zingers from Nkisi, Peder Mannerfelt, Caterina Barbieri and Space Afrika. On a dance tip, Mumdance & Logos pay tribute to a Chicago convention on ‘Teachers’, listing a roll-call of influential UK artists, DJs, labels and clubs in a style most famously deployed by Daft Punk, while Nkisi comes fiercely correct with the swingeing Congolese techno rolige of ‘Kinega’, and Peder Mannerfelt does his inimitable, mutant rave thing on ‘Over My Face’. But they’re only one aspect of the mix, leaving the plonging modular navigation of ‘Molecular Illusion’ by Caterina Barbieri, and the golden ambient deliquescence of Space Afrika’s piece to speak to the contrasts and breath of Mumdance’s mix and his lushly dark vision of modern dance music.
Mancunian flaneur Dan Dwayre a.k.a. Black Lodge knuckles out a 3rd volume of his ‘Kings Arms Sessions’, arriving at the dog end of the decade to his first instalments, and in the wake of his ‘MWR157’ cat# unearthed by Warp’s Arcola, and the ‘Bitter Blood’ collection for Disciples
Named after The Kings Arms pub in Salford, the gnarlier bit of Manchester which Black Lodge haunts when he’s not in the Northern Quarter, this is the 3rd and final part of triptych started by The Trilogy Tapes.
The vibe is pure grot, revolving 12 gobs of free-ranging, punkish groove soused in salty noise and prone to bouts of keening discord. In that sense, we can point to precedents for this sound ranging from Tony Conrad to Ron Morelli and Zoviet*France, but the best way to really get to grips with it is to spend 40 odd years in the belly of the Manchester beast, or at least neck some garies and a bockle of wine and spend a night rolling around the NQ.
Pivotal Detroit player Humberto Hernandez (DJ Dez, Andrés, The Rotating Assembly) continues his Drummer From Detroit series with another helping of good times latinate hustle after dropping Drum #1 in 2011, c. his much-loved New For U 12”.
The A-side packs some heavily infectious vibes with a conga-led rug-cutter in Part Three, before sidewinding into the lusher zone of tucked Afro-Cuban syncopation and Theo Parrish-like sprung synth and Rhodes in Part Four, while the B-side is reserved for a the vocal bounty of Part Five with cut-up soul vox on a broad and breezy showpiece for those who’ve got something to show.
The Higher puckers up a ravishingly rude debut for XL with ‘The Core’ - four lip-smacking love notes to the ecstasy of ‘Ardcore aerobics for fans of Mumdance & Logos, Demdike Stare, Rufige Kru, Zomby
Coming on lush out of nowhere, ‘The Core’ introduces itself arms open and dancing into the wind of the soundsystem. Rinsing out precision tooled rave tropes, Detroit taught strings and spine-tracing breaks for their purest essence and hardcore swerve.
’Stick 3’ goes on nutty in a burst of ravenous, darkside energy with bags of UK warehouse swagger, while ‘Submarine 99’ lets the sweat cool a minute, lean and gangsta with the k-dub, then coming loved-up and boisterous in ’Submarine ’95’, a deeply classy but rugged rollers vortex that twists timeless influences into inexorable, new, rave music that's keenly aware of the original ‘90s format.
Ambarchi and O’Rourke trek to distant horizons on synth and guitar, accompanied by tabla player U-Zhaan who lends a free buoyancy to the duo’s quick and slow running streams of sound...
“Hence is the third collaborative release from Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke, following on from 2013’s Behold. Building on the refined combination of electronics and acoustic instrumentation found on their previous releases, Hence presents two side long pieces combining synthesizers, heavily effected guitar tones, and tabla rhythms played by special guest U-zhaan. On the first side, an explosive opening chord sends out ripples of sparse, irregularly pulsing guitar and synthesizer tones, aleatorically changing in pitch and jumping around the stereo image. Combined with the tabla, which gradually builds in busyness throughout the side, the piece is like a dream collaboration between David Behrman and the Henry Kaiser of It’s a Wonderful Life, gradually overtaken in its second half by a swarm of lush live electronic sizzle.
The second side begins in a similar area, combining tabla, shimmering Leslie cabinet guitar tones, and a wandering melodic line. Undergoing a series of subtle variations, this initial area eventually builds to a climax of twittering synthesized birdsong reminiscent of Alvin Curran’s 70s work. As on the first side, Ambarchi and O’Rourke craft a piece that is both comforting and subtly strange, as the constantly shifting dynamics and changes of focus (which recall the flow of improvised music) refuse to allow the music to settle into any one moment for too long or to build in too linear a fashion. Combining influences from post-minimalism, the pioneers of live electronics, and eastern music into a unique sound world, Hence is a seductive work from two of the most singular sensibilities in contemporary music.”
Original soundtrack recording to the film Zerzura, the first ever Saharan acid Western, telling the story of a nomad’s search for a magic city of gold.
"Evoking the desert journey with free form guitar improvisations, the soundtrack is a meditation on the mysteries of the Sahara. Composed by writer and actor Ahmoudou Madassane, the instrumental score takes the familiar Tuareg guitar tradition into new directions, transforming desert blues into ambient soundscapes.
Recorded in studio while watching footage from the film, the score was recorded in live and spontaneous takes. Heavily based around the electric guitar, Madassane also plays a handful of other in-studio instrumentation (prepared piano, Moog, Timpani) and is joined by a number of collaborators, including guitarist Marisa Anderson.
A prolific and backing artist in a number of groups (Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad), Madassane is well versed in Tuareg guitar folk and draws inspiration from this tradition before veering off into uncharted territory. Pieces fluctuate in timing and break free from standard rhythm, moving from melancholic serenity to blurry psychedelic fury. An experimental foray for Tuareg guitar, Zerzura is the first of its kind.”
Le Frère debuts with a smudge of ambient and slow electro works on the Slow Glass 12” for Zürich’s Light of Other Days label.
Inspired by travelling the world for the past two years, Slow Glass forms a gauzily nostalgic trip into Le Frère’s mind, encapsulating snapshots or moments of memory in four parts ranging from the wistfully pastoral tones of Nice to more slanted strokes nodding at jazz and post-rock and even Lena Platonos in Candid, before the B-side gently coaxes in some rhythm with the drizzle on a warm day feelings of V1b1n’, and a sort of salty electro chugger called N8ttt that begs comparison with Low Jack or Krikor Kouchian workouts.
Kouhei Matsunaga at his chimeric best for Diagonal, delivering two jazzy, freehand concrète collabs with Japanese sound artist and Eartaker noise maker, Masayuki Imianishi, plus two dance-offs with himself as NHK yx koyxen and Speedy K.
Gelling Kouhei’s many sonic handles for a full spectrum showcase of style and pattern, the set is riddled with a singular mischievous genius at every fold and warp. Working with Masayuki Imianishi, he terraforms paper, radio, field recordings and synths into vivid alien ecologies of shimmering electronics and spheric melody with a highly visual quality that perhaps betrays Kouhei’s talents as an illustrator.
For virulent examples of Kouhei at the rave, NHK yx koyxen and Speedy K’s Step Move #01 is quite possibly the wonkiest peaktime juggernaut of the year, and the acid wormhole of Early Mellow Darkness sounds like the bald - as in bad - acid offspring of Luke Slater and Ed Rush.
Once again Kouhei makes us go mad at the rave, but this time with something to come home and melt into as well.
‘self*care’ is the keenly awaited debut EP by Sega Bodega, a none-more-hyped producer who’s already racked up credits for Quay Dash and Shygirl, and soundtracked the new Nike Jumpman advert and Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma runway show
Cyberpunk in a similar mode to Amnesia Scanner or SOPHIE, on ‘self*care’ Sega Bodega tweaks that definition to purpose across six tracks of morphing R&B and kinetic club music laced with gremlin-like vocaloids.
The result is a razor-sharp cross section of hypermodernity, stretching from the elusive, phthalocyanine blues of ‘Cowgirl’ to the bombed-out Baile of ‘hopeless!!!’ and the flesh-grinding ‘daddy’, before dancing on your nerve ends with the piquant trap pointillism and vaulted chorale of ‘maryland’, and the shiny beast of ‘gag reflex’.
Breathless fusions of club and computer game musics from Washington, D.C.-born, Köln-based artist Swan Meat, for Kamixlo and co’s Bala Club
Big on fiddly details and drama, but sorely lacking in grooves, ‘Tame’, while borrowing from club music, is more akin to sitting down and concentrating on completing the next level of your game.
Galcher Lustwerk introduces The Fock with a brace of dark, anxious techno, electro and ambient aces backed by a killer remix from Young Male in his Flood1 guise
In raving declension, the muddles vocals and clammy atmospheres of ‘Shat Pop’ appears as a rolling dark techno version (‘Saldes Mix’) along with a more laid-back acidic electro mix and the isolationist austerity of his ‘Ambient Mix’. But if you ask us the best cut is Young Male’s Flood1 remix, where he flicks on the EBM booster switch for a powerful club screamer.
Berghain resident Norman Nodge stakes out four tuff and sexy jackers on his 2nd 12” for Ostgut Ton - his first solo 12” since 2011!
As big fans of his super dry but funky early 12”s with Marcel Dettmann Records, the return of lawyer-by-day, DJ/producer-by-night, Norman Noczinski is entirely welcome around these parts.
The opener ‘Tacit Knowing’ is a wicked piece of physics-defying club gear, knitting splintered breaks into a rugged jackers groove in a way we’ve hardly heard before, or quite like this at least, whilst ‘Discipline’ is exactly the kind of gear we’d expect to hear at Berghain at daft O’clock and off our chops - haughty, pounding, drilling techno that makes you dance 15% better.
Perhaps needless to say, we’re also smitten with the swingeing tribal percussion of ‘Gathering’, primed to turn the floor into a lather of limbs and hips, while ‘Embodiment’ lends a stroke of breezy dub techno class to his robust, shifty undertow, building to a proper Basic Channel-style head of steam.
Baron Mordant’s latest, diaristic entry commits a heady mulch of location recordings and loud, salty electronics that leaves us dazed and disoriented
“Caffeinated Xbox-related coMMuter childcare cacophony…you can’t always get what you wanton..IBM”
Fit Sound get their kicks from Moscow, Russia, with two smart bumps of Detroit-flavoured breakbeat and house hustle by Oleg Buyanov a.k.a. OI, pursuing the vibes of his Meda Fury and Faces Records aces deep into debonair, late night styles.
Judging from the nuanced guile and textured haze of the recording, you’d be forgiven for thinking this record was produced by an original Detroit player. A-side he turns out the super loose and swanging Lada Passenger with discrete layers of melted bass and strafing drums knit in a deeply infectious syncopation with breezy chords out of the Theo Parrish handbook. B-side, he simmers down to the deadly, jazzier burn and shuffle of Study Drum and a lip-smackingly sweet bit of filter-disco-house in Life Span.
Suzanne Kraft beautifully paints outside the lines on ‘SK U Kno’, offering studio-rendered snapshots of material that gradually evolved into the pieces in front of you, drawing woozy connections between wistful ambient contours and more vaporous, hypnagogic loops, into unstable House and abstracted midnight Blues. One of the loveliest/smudged listens this year, huge recommendation...
On the A-side Kraft seduces with eight minutes of wilting chords and percolated synth voices in ‘Gaze’, before ‘Vast Mute’ breezes close to the kind of DJ Screw-style magick found in 0PN’s ‘Chuck Person’s Eccojams’, but to more abstracted, hazy effect.
His B-side follows with the beautifully mellow strums of ‘To Make A Stone Weep’ probing a Jim O’Rourke-like transition from acoustic balm to digital saltiness, and then we finally get to hear the full version of ‘Accelerate Me Wildly’, which now comes with an extra 12 minutes of astral synth-scaping and GRM-like electro-acoustics before it drops into killer, airborne funk trills and levitating chords with a proper West Coast US steez.
So good this one.
Erik Griswold coaxes charmingly off-kilter, rhythmelodic ribbons of sound from his prepared piano on return to Room40 with ‘Yokohama Flowers’, his 6th release for fellow Antipodean, Lawrence English’s label. RIYL AFX’s prepared piano works, Indonesian gamelan, African thumb piano music
“For over two decades, Griswold has been crafting a particular and utterly personal language around his instrument of choice. His preparations, which are in a state of perpetual refinement, are like a kind of lens; it is through them that a certain audio reading of his instrument is made possible.
It’s understandable then that Griswold would be inspired by the work of Australian experimental film maker Louise Curham. Like Griswold, she too reveals a very personal reading of her surroundings through a range of preparations and expanded techniques. Discovering her work through a series of collaborations hosted by Room40, Other Film and other groups, the pair slowly developed a strong approach to joint performance.
In many ways, these recorded works reflect upon those performances. Similar to her filmic works, which maintain an unfamiliar, yet tangible beauty; Griswold’s compositions remind us that the piano is never truly knowable, or known. Each composition collected here reveals another detail or way of knowing the piano. The preparations release something in excess of the instrument itself.
It’s in these extensions, these ruptures of familiarity, that the language of the piano is born and reborn. It is a state of perpetual discovery and resolution, framed in composition.”
‘The Last Days of Reality’ is a broodingly enigmatic Lionel Marchetti composition performed on acoustic and electronic instruments by Decibel, a new music ensemble from Perth, Western Australia. Concrète poetry in effect...
“From Cat Hope (Decibel):
I first met Lionel Marchetti in Australia during the Liquid Architecture Festival in 2010. Decibel were touring our Alvin Lucier program, and Lionel was on the same bill performing a live performance set manipulating electro-acoustic materials with dancer Yoko Higashi. I was so taken with Lionel’s performances and the resulting music, that I asked him if he would write a piece for Decibel.
I didn’t realise that he hadn’t done something like this before. The first work was “Première étude (les ombres)”, communicated as a text score, and premiered in 2012. I was asked by Lionel to make some recordings of ocarinas, harmonicas, and folk instruments – and I sent these to him for the creation of a ‘partition concrète d'accompagnement’– a fixed media part that is featured in the live performance. For this piece, the part comes from speakers beside each performer, and a bass amplifier beneath the piano. Like his own performances I had seen the year before, the work was naturally performative – with unique speaker and performer configurations, interesting and odd additional instruments. It was such a rich work, a remarkable combination of electronic, spatial, acoustic and textural music. The performers use the partition concrete as a score.
I visited Lionel in Lyon, France in 2014, recording flute improvisations in his studio. He used these as a basis for “Une série de reflets”, again communicating via text instructions and each performer having their own dedicated speaker to interact with. “Pour un enfant qui dort”, which again requested flute sounds that were this time part of the live performance as well as the partition concrète, was also written around that time. The next work saw a more ‘compositional’ collaboration - “The Earth defeats me" began as a graphically scored work written by me and recorded by Decibel in the studio. That recording was used to make the partition concrète which is now an embedded as part of the animated score file, thanks to the software we had developed to do so.
These works exist as live performances, but also as singular concrète works, when heard without the instruments. Working with Lionel has been remarkable: he has a singular way of thinking about sound and its relationship to works and images. Music concrete is a lifestyle for him, it is a way of thinking, communicating and being. These pieces enable the acoustic instruments to be part of that – extending the ideas in the partition concrete, using them structurally and texturally, as well as being part of them.
When I first met Lionel, I didn’t realise he was in Australia because it was originally planned he would be travelling with French composer Éliane Radigue, performing some of her electroacoustic works, as her preferred diffuser. I would commission a work for Decibel from Élaine (“Occam Hexa II”) in 2014 and it was during that process I realised the link between them. Decibel performed Lionel and Eliane’s music together – it is music that concerns itself with the incredible power of sound, but from the most delicate and dream like perspective.”
Cult scene-setter 1991 returns to the fray with four heavily worn-out bangers backed by a singed Rezzett remix
Patently a less-is-more kinda guy when it comes to the release schedule - after 3 releases in 2012, nowt until 2016, and now this - 1991 makes up for lost time with this knackered but energetic session for his No More Dreams label.
The OG 1991 tracks are all “up” in the mode of his ’Skogen, Flickan Och Flaskan’ 12”, as opposed to the airy drowse of his last No More Dreams outing or the gauze of his widely adored ‘High-Tech Low-Life’ and self-titled sides.
A-side brings three jacking drum machine workouts, each decayed to a mid-rangey nub of distorted recoil and splattered drums, yet able to juice a sweat from locked-in dances. On the B-side he follows suit with a shot of kinky NYC/Brum-techno swing, before Rezzett provides an EP highlight with the nimble, skippy Chicago flair of his cracking remix for the track, ’94’.
No wallowing here - just banging dance trax.
A collection of Jamaican doo wop & R&B records taken from the late 50s and early 60s.
"These records represent a period in which soundsystems were just starting to dominate the island, with Duke Reid and Sir Coxsone stepping up their rivalry by beginning to make and release their own records rather than rely on US imports for use in their dances.
Many of these records are definitely more-or-less imitations of the American records, as the uniquely Jamaican ska sound was yet to take hold - however many of the future stars of ska, rocksteady and reggae were beginning to cut their teeth in the industry on these records, incl. Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, Alton Ellis and more, and they provide a unique view into the fledgling independent record industry culture in Jamaica that would prove to be unbelievably proflific and unparalleled for an island of it's size."
The exceptional UNO NYC cough up a rude new one from Ian Isiah, arriving a mere 5 years since their last release, ‘The Love Champion’, and loaded with class production from Sinjin Hawke, Soda Plains, Juice Jackal and MORRIS
‘Shugga Sextape (Vol.1)’ is for the modern lovers, stirring 8 tracks of prurient R&B, dancehall and queered songs for sex in Anti-G. Fractal Fantasy’s Sinjin Hawke, a longtime collaborator with Isiah, provides the lion’s share of productions, with highlights in the bottle-popping giddyness of ‘Bedroom’ and the mutant dancehall banger ‘Killup’, while MORRIS also impresses with the early Arca-esque R&B slant of ‘Persistent’, and Wedidit Collective’s Juice Jackal makes it intimate with the beat-less strokes of ‘GOD’.
Stephen O’Malley & Peter Rehberg’s KTL find the darkest space between black metal and computer music - or presence and absence - with ‘The Pyre: versions distilled to stereo’; a score for french choreographer Gisèle Vienne.
Continuing Shelter Press’s on-going documentation of Gisèle Vienne’s work after Stephen O’Malley’s 2015 score for her ‘Éternelle Idole’ piece, ‘The Pyre’ also sees Gisèle paired with Peter Rehberg for first time since his ‘Work For GV 2004-2008’ album, serving to tie up their many, long-running and overlapping strands of practice into a mighty new KTL opus.
As almost anyone who’s heard O’Malley & Rehberg scores for Gisele’s work will surely attest, the french choreographer always brings the best out of her sonic familiars, and their work on ‘The Pyre’ is no exception. Some 6 years in the works, it has undergone multiple stages of processing since the initial seed recording made at IRCAM, Paris, 2012, with subsequent live stems overdubbed at Fennesz’s studio, and further mixing by Randall Dunn all aiding to bring the score to life as it’s own, standalone work of art.
At the service of Gisèle’s choreography - a play on the existential tension between presence and absence - KTL render some of the most pellucid and unfathomable sound designs in their considerable arsenal, layering up from near infrasonic-levels of subharmonics to filigree timbral thizz and sferic reflection, in the process creating an illusion of spatial depth and dizzy scale that beautifully spins our gauges...