Rhythm and Sound freaks, take note - this album contains the original Chosen Brothers / Prince Douglas version of “March Down Babylon” - one of the heaveiest dubs ever made...
Engineer Douglas Levy was part of the original Wackies set up from 1974-75, alongside Lloyd Barnes and Jah Upton. For a while he would have his own label - Hamma - within the Bullwackies group; but besides Sugar’s International Herb, this 1980 dub album is his finest work. Wackies’ fans have been clamouring for its reissue ever since Rhythm & Sound began making the catalogue available again. Many of the rhythms are derived from a tape given to the studio by Sly and Robbie, containing their versions of recent Joe Gibbs hits. And there are brilliant treatments of Tribesman Dub - the rhythm for Tyrone Evans’ Black Like Me - and Wayne Jarrett’s definitive interpretation of Every Tongue Shall Tell.
Elsewhere Jah Batta takes deejay duties - likewise Prince Douglas himself. But the deadliest cut of all reworks another gift, Steel Pulse’s “Handsworth Revolution”, which arrived in a parcel of records from England the same weekend as the session: March Down Babylon Dub, with Bullwackie himself at the microphone in his Chosen Brothers guise, as steely and apocalyptic as Douglas Levy’s fabulous production.
Antithesis is taken from Keith Fullerton Whitman archives, featuring ensemble works featuring instruments played by Whitman himself with no computer interaction.
Each piece was recorded in one of the different apartments Whitman has rented since he lived in Boston and broadens the instrumental and compositional base of 'Playthroughs' with fender rhodes piano, viola, guitar and percussion.
The four tracks on the album verge from straight up drone to what sound like lost krautrock classics.
This amazing triple album features a six suite work featuring Requiem For Dying Mothers, Austin Texas Mental Hospital, Broken Harbors, Mullholland, Piano Aquieu, Ballad Of Distances and A Lovesong (For Cubs)+.
Their usual minimal sound palette is expanded this time with the inclusion of strings, horns and piano in addition to guitars and field recordings. A personal innerspace that's relaxed, poised and breathtakingly beautiful.
Brian Mcbride and Adam Wiltzie's "Stars Of The Lid" are another one of those bands, alongside Windy and Carl, that seem to typify Kranky's quiet exuberance perfectly.
Their ability to create drifting shimmers of sound that veer from hushed, whispered soundscapes to disturbed crescendo's utilising nothing more than a couple of guitars, some basic effects pedals and whatever found sounds happen to be lying around has allowed them to progress slowly from one album to the next with the sort of intuitive, masterful command of minimalism that's quite hard to fathom in one sitting.
"Gravitational Pull" was originally released on the Sedimental label, eventually reissued by Kranky back in 1998, including extra material. Amazing stuff.
Juan Atkins and Rick Davis’ debut Cybotron album is the ground zero of Detroit electro
Available on the original format for 1st time since 2013, ‘Enter Cybotron’ is a true evergreen, a non-more-futuristic hybrid of Kraftwerk and Prince whose peerless influence has reverberated throughout the last 35 years of electronic dance music.
Egyptrixx adopts the ACT! moniker for an imaginatively free fusion of jazz, new age synth music and deconstructed trance. RIYL Lorenzo Senni, Maxwell Sterling, 0come ups, T C F
“Universalist is the first album by ACT! Baroque, kaleidoscope electronics; material sound for a disembodied world. The energy is optimistic and posi - even naive - a statement of unity in the age of psychic dislocation.
10 Tracks of phosphorus midi and brittle digi textures feel indebted in spirit to the masters of psychic jazz as much as the physical euphoria of the club. Above all, this album belongs to the catalogue of Halocline Trance, yet subtle references connect it to a larger lineage of free sound. The empty, divine heaviness of songs like Ecstatica / On Patrol invokes Yusef Lateef’s Little Symphony, while the computerized spontaneity of Lava Valley feels somehow connected to Yasuaki Shimizu’s Music for Commercials. Non-musical sounds and evocative melodies sit side-by-side - new psychedelia for love and life in the digital jetstream.
ACT! is a project from Toronto-based musician David Psutka. Building on a diverse body of releases as Egyptrixx, Ceramic TL, Anamai and various other collaborations, ACT! denotes a new chapter of creative output from Psutka and the Halocline Trance label. Universalist follows a prolific string of releases in 2017 with Anamai - What Mountain; Ceramic TL + Ipek Gorgun - Perfect Lung; and Egyptrixx - Pure, Beyond Reproach, and synthesizes recurring themes of materiality and the unifying potential of sound.”
An all time killer classic from Wackies.
This 12" features 3 cuts of Lee Perry's immortal Tight Spot Rhythm featuring searing vocals by Leroy Sibbles and the great Stranger Cole, together with an instrumental version by the Bullwackies Allstars. Yum.
NYC’s Lori Scacco (Seely, Storms) recalls the work of Suzanne Ciani, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Laurie Anderson with her lushly colourful synth suite, ‘Desire Loop’
“"I think of myself as a naturalist no matter the palette," says Lori Scacco, the New York multi-instrumentalist, composer, and electronic musician whose new album, 'Desire Loop,' is Mysteries of the Deep's third full-length LP.
Natural indeed: Scacco's music effuses warmth, enveloping listeners like a gentle embrace. Her first album, 'Circles,' was released in the early aughts on Eastern Developments, an imprint co-founded by Guillermo Scott Herren, aka Prefuse 73. She spent much of the interim period composing music for performance, film, and classical ballet, influences audible throughout 'Desire Loop.'
Flush with incandescent scree, bubbly synthesizer, and easygoing dulcet tones, the album's simplicity belies its emotional impact. At times — "Cosmographia" and "Other Flowers," for instance — Scacco's songwriting approaches a therapeutic purity that feels nearly virtuous, immaculate. This is by design: she wrote this album as counterpoint to today's destructive political landscape. "I had to create an empathic means of access for myself, and in turn, for the listener, using the core of all that I value as my way into the music,” she explains.
"I wanted to provide a vehicle for the listener to impart their own emotional experience without imposing my own meaning. I found myself returning to that space over and over again.” After listening to 'Desire Loop,' we expect that you will, too.”
Sim Hutchins follows up his well-received ‘Clubeighteen2thirty’ album with new cuts and remixes by LOFT, Rennick Bell, and Object Blue
The new bonus tracks pursue moody lines of enquiry in the soured electro-garage roll of ‘Pissing WKD Blue’ and the melancholy swing of ‘Like Herding Cats’, but the best bits here are the remixes.
LOFT rearranges ‘Bath Salts in the Saccharin’ with a blue, emosh dembow swagger in their ‘Artificially Sweetened Luv Mix’, and Rennick dissects + inverts ‘Baby You’a Drug’ with proper, proprioceptive chicanery. Object Blue, meanwhile, wanders out for a sharpened, atmospheric, properly luxurious fluid banger in half motion - prob the best of the bunch 'ere and one well worth returning to.
Enchanting introduction to the exquisite, smoky melancholy of a Japanese jazz and blues singer/songwriter/composer who collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto and penned some 30 solo albums, yet is scarcely known in the West.
Born in 1942 in a small, northern Japanese fishing village, Maki grew up during the era of American occupation and cultural imperialism, eventually moving to Tokyo and nurturing a passion for the records of Billie Holliday and Mahalia Jackson, which would lead her to perform on US military bases and cabarets and subsequently cover many US traditional folk and blues for the Japanese market.
With her distinctive voice she's seemingly possessed by the spirit of her heroes - Billie, Nina, Mahlia among them - and apparently had the mysterious countenance to match her unusual aesthetic.
We'll have to take that for granted from Hitoshi Jin Tamura's photos and Alan Cummings' enlightening liner notes, but Maki's music remains the best gauge of her character, taking in big band experiments along with an amazing, sitar-lead psych-out, plus runs into modal, spiritual jazz and the kind of lounge styles that prompt imagery of Bill Murray or some lonely salaryman clutching a single malt in the shadows of a Tokyo bar.
Another blinder from Basic Channel's Wackies re-issue programme finally gets its long awaited release.
Between stints in Jamaica for legends like Glen Brown and Junjo Lawes, Wayne Jarrett travelled from his Connecticut base to record this album during the same weeks as the sessions for everyone's favourite - Horace Andy's Dance Hall Style.
These are two of the great vocal reggae LPs of all time - no questions asked. With Clive Hunt in full effect, Showcase Volume One follows the six-track dub-showcase format and Wayne never sounded more like Horace with his yearning throaty gargle! Blues afficionados might even want to discuss the influence of the late, lamented Bobby 'Blue' Bland on reggae vocals, but that's by the by.
Including four unmissable Studio One versions - Azul's deadly Rockfort Rock, Sleepy's Every Tongue Shall Tell (with outrageous Isley fuzz), yet another Heptones cut via Leroy Sibbles, and a killer Drum Song.
Basic Channel heads Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald keep the burial mix series going with its most ambitious release to date - a collection of one-rhythm tracks featuring vocal contributions from Basic Channel collaborators old and new.
"See Mi Yah" is a classic collection of one-rhythm tracks, typical format and production approach in Reggae, featuring ten vocal versions and one instrumental of the See Mi Yah rhythm (an additional 3 are only available on the 7" collection), strictly roots!
After Paul St. Hilaire (formerly known as Tikiman) had lent his voice to quite a few Rhythm & Sound releases over the years, the starting point for this project was to work with him once again and also with his brother Ras Perez, their fellow Berlin based Dominicans Koki and Ras Donovan (also known from his collaboration with Mapstation), the Berlin based Jamaicans Freddy Mellow, Walda Gabriel, Bobbo Shanti, Lance Clarke as Rod Of Iron and Joseph Cotton aka Jah Walton.
With a toasting style heavily influenced by the legendary U-Roy, Cotton was a central figure in the jamaican DJ scene of the 70s and 80s. To cap it all off, on a visit to Berlin, the great Sugar Minott and Willi Williams (famous for Studio 1 classic Armagideon Time) did their versions in the Rhythm & Sound studio!
For each tune the rhythm is arranged and mixed differently. The legacy and genius of Basic Channel and all its myriad offshoots seems more relevant and important now than ever before, they have a knack of creating music that lives on in the listener's head long after voices, rhythm and sound have long gone. Highly recommended!!
Broken English Club flashes his industrial gnashers on the 1st part of a new LP trilogy for L.I.E.S.
Otherwise known as Oliver Ho, Broken English Club has become the bloodied ground for his most unrepentant, grotesque and personalised productions, a place where the bones of EBM/acid/techno rest in pieces beside the desiccated batteries of power electronics and the ghosts of late ‘70s/early ‘80s post-industrial styles.
Leading on from last year’s ‘The English Beach’ LP, Ho focuses his energies into 9 bitter cuts in ‘White Rats’, ranging from the coruscating noise guitar wizardry of the title cut and the clenched industrial strength force of ’Funny Games’ on the front, to thoughts about modern day Brexit Britain in ‘Animal Town’ - “barking nazi’s in plastic tracksuits” - along with the skudgy acid EBM burn of ‘Let’s Play’ and blown-out power electronics of ’Stab Boy’ on the other side.
RIYL Throbbing Gristle, Parrish Smith, Sandra Electronics...
Incredible recordings of tropical birdsong from Venezuela, made by French ornithologist Jean C. Roche c. 1969 and often referenced by David Toop
“Sub Rosa present a reissue of Jean C. Roché's Birds Of Venezuela, originally released in 1973. The bird on the cover is a potoo; this metal-looking bird is one of the sonorous curiosities of this mad nature, the sound that he produces essentially is a death song that David Toop heard on his 1978 expedition, but was unable to record, amazement playing its role.
Jean C. Roché on his recordings: "The bird songs which I had recorded in the West Indies in 1969 made me inclined to find out more about those of the nearby South American continent, and convinced me, moreover, that musically speaking, they possessed an unquestionable originality in comparison with those of Africa and Europe. I therefore decided to carry out a series of ornithological trips on this continent, starting in the north with Venezuela. With this in mind, I disembarked at Caracas on 27th May, 1972. The unusual musical volume of this tropical country made its impact known to me on my arrival in town, where the unbearably shrill chirping of the cicadas overwhelmed me each time I passed under a tree. At night fall, around even the meanest of ditches filled by the daily rain, myriads of toads and frogs struck up a concert, which, through its sheer intensity, muffled all other surrounding noises. When I penetrated the forest, I could hear bird species literally by the dozen and individuals by the hundred, all calling and singing together at dawn and at dusk."
David Toop on Jean C. Roché: "Jean-Claude Roché (b. May 11, 1931) is a French ornithologist and wildlife field recordist. Roché recorded bird songs worldwide for over 30 years and has released over 130 records out of his recordings. Among many of his amazing records, I came across Birds of Venezuela, a beautifully produced LP of birdsong. I began to plan a trip to Amazonas, to record for myself the unearthly song of potoos and Yanomami shamanism."
Remastered first vinyl edition of This Heat’s seminal live LP, compiled from Euro gigs in Tilburg, Nijmegen, Ärhus, Apeldoorn, Vienna and Rheims between 1980-81, right between their classic debut LP and its follow-up ‘Deceit’
Officially sanctioned by original band members Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward, this is the vinyl edition of the CD release, ‘Live 80/81’ . It was all recorded on cassette using a stereo microphone placed near the sound desk, capturing the performance and incidental sounds with an unflinchingly raw quality.
For the shows, This Heat comprised Charles Bullen (guitar, clarinet, voice, tapes), Charles Hayward (drums, kazoo, melodica, voice, tapes), and Gareth Williams (organ, tapes, guitar, bass guitar, voice) running through the entire track-listing of their tour in the Netherlands.
Material from both ‘This Heat’ and ‘Deceit’ appears in the set, which opens with the twisted metal screech and stop-start drums of ‘Horizontal Hold’, and takes in a high tension rendition of ’S.P.Q.R.’, along with the throttled No Wave tribal jangle of ‘Makeshift Swahili’ and ‘Twilight Furniture’, plus a mighty parting shot with their raucous version of ‘Health and Efficiency’.
Richard D James' classic album from 1992, re-pressed countless times but still sounding as vital as it did way back when. Still probably the most uplifting and nostalgic thing in the AFX catalogue...
Best electronic music album of the late 20th century. A proper gateway drug to the myriad microcosms of Richard D. James a.k.a. Aphex Twin. 100% essential in any collection.
Carl Stone and Miki Yui meld minds, voice and circuit boards in the surreally imaginative ‘Realm’ for Meakusma following their 2017 digital debut for Cafe Oto’s Otoruku label...
“Realistic Monk is the new performance project from Carl Stone in collaboration with artist and composer Miki Yui. Carl Stone is one of the pioneers of live computer music and has been composing electro-acoustic music almost exclusively since 1972. The Village Voice has famously hailed him as 'the king of sampling'. Miki Yui is an artist and composer who develops pieces of music, drawings and sound installations that start from a perception of the faintest sounds and noises and subtly reference existents.
Realistic Monk has previously released the recording of their 2017 live performance at Caf Oto, making Realm their de facto debut album. Over the course of five pieces, they focus on small sounds, often at the edge of perception, aiming at a deeper listening and perception of their musical stance and technique. Soundscapes that play with enchantment and disenchantment, emerging out of voices, noises and field recordings and acoustic feedback, their work is as subtle as it is fearless. Realm's play with musical and other signifiers make the album into a highly relevant and even outspoken take on electronic music today.”
Young Marco tweaks out two South African house gems for his Safe Trip label
Uptown, he pays attention to the rolling, percolating breaks and piano house keys of Madlak’s ‘Dance Forever’, and downtown he reworks the funky mid-tempo budge of Hot Slot Machine’s ‘Rhythm’ .
The cult Australian trio align with Stephen O’Malley’s label for a fine new album.
After delivering a trilogy of albums for their own Fish Of Milk label, Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck resurface with a new long player as The Necks on Ideologic Organ. Few other bands can grapple three decades of genre-defying musical innovation and still sound fresh, but The Necks do it with supreme class on Unfold, a four-track album pressed up on double vinyl and gifted the mastering touch of Rashad Becker at D&M.
The label state these four tracks are not numbered deliberately, leaving the listener to navigate Unfold from whatever angle they choose. All four approaches are, as you would expect, a delight; be it the arresting musical symbiosis of Rise to the brushed percussive drama and crystalline piano motifs of Blue Mountain via the clockwork free-jazz skitters of Timepiece and Overheard, perhaps The Necks’ most accomplished slice of melancholia.
Shxcxchcxsh smartly mess with their mutant techno sound on ‘Shulululu’, marking their return to Avian after their self-released Rösten 12”s in 2017
Making few concessions to convention, the Swedish act plough deeper into their sound with unsteady, sloshing, pebble-dashed effect on all five tracks. They impress most with the hyperventilating rhythm and groggy synth voices on ‘SHULULULU’, before ‘SHUDUDUDU’ holds listeners right under the waves with choking effect, and ‘SHUMUMUMU’ sinks into Emptyset-like tonal subsidence, and the bone-splintering torque of ‘SHUBUBUBU’ shores us up with severe coral rash and spitting salt water and gravel.
Chicago’s Tevo Howard rounds up 11 personalised and ace cover versions of classic ‘80s disco, synth and electro-pop
His dry but groggy take on New Order’s ’Sub-Culture (ElectroVain Mix)’ is a big highlight, as are his gentle spin on Madonna’s ‘Holiday (Full Accommodations Mix)’, and the electromance of ‘Moments In Love (Electro Micro Moment Mix)’.
Berlin’s Driftmachine expand their classic kosmische inspirations along dub-wise 3D vectors in a fine 4th LP for the Umor Rex label from Mexico City
“Shunter, the new album by the Berlin-based duo, is their most ambitious work to date. Although instantly recognizable, featuring their trademark Kosmische and Avant-garde sounds, it also presents a new journey into abstract and hallucinatory worlds. Filled with eerie textures, their electronic visions are darker and more vaporous than ever.
Driftmachine’s fifth album (also the fifth one for Umor Rex) offers a new perspective on their ample sound spectrum and systemic narratives. Shunter overlaps and mutates their post-industrial-dub motives. It was conceived and produced in search of a very different kind of imagery, with sections of noise and field recordings intersecting with analogue sounds; a mixture of contrasted fragments, where the usual creative process of modular-synthesis leads Gerth and Zimmer to the discovery of a dark, hazy and diffused experience. There is a protean quality to the rhythmic elements, with tempos constantly contracting and expanding, a departure from the mono-beat-rhythms of "Nocturnes" and "Colliding Contours". The first half of Shunter is made of four pieces named "Shift"; although individually separated, they are conceptually linked and can be understood as a sort of score. Imagine a late stage of the industrial revolution, with the interaction between heavy machinery and human beings. The second half of the album is not completely separated, but it has three other substantial melodic moments. Somewhere between the hauntological and the realms of archive-music, a huge range of subterranean beats and distinct patterns dotting the landscape of early electronic and post dub music.”
In the 15+ years that have elapsed since 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' first shuffled out of his ambrosially dusty speakers, Jan Jelinek's most famous album has acquired an almost mythical status. Originally released via Pole's defunct Scape imprint, it now finds new life via Jelinek's own Faitiche label, for a new generation to marvel at one of the finest examples of loop-based electronic music typical of the early noughties.
Taking what reads like a pretty austere set of ingredients, Jelinek's technique revolves around a trio of elements which consist of second long cuts of 1960's-70's jazz recordings, the loop-finding modulation wheel (do your homework!) and the Moiré effect; albeit rendered in the acoustic as opposed to the image and spectral domains.
If all this sounds a bit academic, be assured that on record it is anything but; as crumbling edifices of mealy rhythms slowly pulse into life and swirl around your head like snow storms clashing with a dust devil. Taking sediments of fathom deep static then skimming the best stuff from the top, Jelinek opens through the dampened echoes of 'Moiré (piano & organ)' wherein a slow-motion thrum of spiraling clicks, rustles and analogue tones conspire to give the impression of recondite perspectives that extend well beyond the constituent elements.
Elsewhere, 'Rocky in the Video Age' instills a gratuitously optimistic blush to the aquatic micro-sound ebb, 'Moiré (Strings)' is a perfect companion to Basinski's disintegrating tape archive, whilst 'Them, Their' represents an aural crease so sleight you can only catch its distinctive gleam from the corner of your eye.
An excellent Arvo Pärt primer...
"Arvo Pärt creates music of deceptive simplicity, and listening to his work can be a transformative experience. Imagine taking your ears on a retreat, and you’re some way to understanding why his work is so popular.
The Estonian composer underwent his own transformation in the 1970s, having explored dense avant-garde music in the early part of his career. He put himself through an eight-year creative exile, and emerged with a new, purer voice. The Arvo Pärt that many people are devoted to today (including R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Björk) creates music that cleanses. A sonic detox."
Reissue of Charly Kingson’s hot disco platter, produced by Klaus Weiss in Germany, 1982, and shifting for triple figures on the 2nd hand market...
A-side is the horny Afrobeat funk fuss of ‘Born In Africa’ with its slithering bassline and call ’n response vocals, while B-side is juicy ace named ‘Nimele Bolo’, working a squirmign synth bass with chicken scratch guitar and horns for pure late night heat.
The beautifully trippy ’Don’t Look Away’ is the first new solo material from psychedelic songwriter Alexander Tucker since ‘Third Mouth’ in 2012. While he’s hardly been lazy in the meantime, turning out a handful of LPs with Imbogodom and Grumbling Fur with Charlemagne Palestine, ‘Don’t Look Away’ is a really lush reminder of Tucker’s hauntingly singular brilliance.
Cradling plaintive vocals in glowing webs of eldritch psych folk and free krautrock, Tucker sounds every bit like some time travelling bard or a psychedelic prophet returned from the mountains in ‘Don’t Look Away’. Recorded in London and Zurich, with mixing trustfully handled by his Grumbling Fur bandmate Daniel O’Sullivan, and guest vocalist Nik Colk Void drifting into album highlight ‘Gloops Void (Give It up)’, the result are arguably Tucker’s most delirious, diversely avant and pop, and yet definitive. Dare we call it his master opus? Well aye.
Taking off with what sound like a lysergic folkrock take on Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’ in ‘Objects’, the album willows and shapeshifts between the bittersweet, poignant acoustic strums on ‘Sisters and Me’, opening out into gorgeous, drum machine driven kosmic pop with ‘Visiting Again’, and lulling us into serenity with ‘Ghost On The Ledge’. But as with any trip worth the effort, the vibe can change in a split second, as it does with Nik Void’s entry on the roiling, darkside vision of ‘Gloops Void (Give it Up)’, but the moment passes into treacly strums on ‘Behind The Shoulder’, and the rest of the LP emotes more gently, with genuine magick to be discovered in the closing couplet of Tucker’s melting vignette, ‘Yesterday’s Honey’, and the stereo phasing, glossolalic vortices of ‘Ishuonawaylshanawa’ that’s just left us wide-eyed, clammy palmed, and waiting for the next wave.
‘Don’t Look Away’ could have been made at any point int he past 40 years, but it’s still a modern masterpiece, no less.
Kompakt’s ‘Total’ series comes of age with an 18th edition featuring 25 vocal-heavy and disco-ready tracks of minimal techno and tech-house from friends and family.
Standout moments come from Tom Demac & Real Lies, with the gentle ecstasy of ‘White Flowers’ sounding like Underworld meets The Streets; a sharp cut electro-house winner from John Tejada in ‘Detector’; the tight electro-trance mission of ‘Crasher’ by Rex The Dog’; the effortless acid techno glyde of ‘Hidden Beauties’ by Anna; some swaggering techno by the Voigt bros; and a squashed acid floater from Ghost Vision, ‘Zulu Passage’.
Turbulent, tortuous, impressionistic homage heard thru the angular prism of math rock, just for the sake of it. Recorded and engineered by Randall Dunn...
“Like the resonant African-American traditions that long precede them, the Black Spirituals are equal parts choreographed and improvisational, containing simultaneously measuredly deliberate and frenetically urgent sonicities.
True to name, the Black Spirituals evoke and produce a Black spirituality in the sonorous tradition of Black flight calling us to follow the North Star and any and all other pathways to freedom. It’s the choreographed and synergistic spontaneity and improvisation with clear inspirations drawn from jazz traditions, indigenous African drumming, and anti/de-colonial musico-theological and ritualistic traditions across the Afro diaspora; and it’s an expression that constitutes the kind of musical fugitivity most organically and innately produced by Black Americans in our “post-emancipation” captive state. It’s a music for music’s sake, and it’s a feverish cathartic expression of freedom dreams with true liberatory capacity.
The Black Spirituals, like their musical forebearers, are fugitive planners enacting, per Harney & Moten, “ruptural and enraptured” soundscapes and offering a space of refuge within which enlightenment can be understood and, thus, enacted. But this is not music alone. The Black Spirituals are a transdisciplinary and genre transcendent epistemic framework that exists both in itself and in complement with other artists. Black Access Black Axes is a project expressing Black vernacularity as a solo-duetting avant-garde musical technology driven by clear need to contain and articulate both the world in which we live and the dire need to flee and imagine and create another. The album’s core are the drone-like meditative frequencies recalling an ever-present sounding alarm: a state of emergency, an alarm signaling the need for and actualisation of Black escape, a Black articulation of futurity only accessible through distortions and conversing-duelling guitar and drum.
Though this is the last joint project with which Zachary James Watkins & Marshall Trammell will bless us, the beauty in their music is their dynamism together as well as apart. So/but before we continue to be blessed with their respective solo workings (made evident in this and all the group’s work), this is an invitation to revel in this deeply affective creation born out of their wellspring of love for Black people and our deservingness of freedom. From my head to my DNA, I felt this. I hope you will, too. - Zoe Samuzdi”
A big one for techno ‘spotters and completists, Modeselektor’s 1994 debut release as Fundamental Knowledge resurfaces on their original label, Seilscheibenpfeiler, which is now incorporated as an offshoot of their Monkeytown empire
To our knowledge only ever available as an expensive 2nd hand release, and not even available to listen on YouTube, we can all stop imagining what this one sounds like and finally get our lugs around its frolicking AI electro and acid styles.
Under the Fundamental Knowledge moniker they turn out a strong piece of acid electro in the mould of classic AFX and Link, quite derivative but still charming in its own way, while the 2nd cut slows down to a floating sort of AI techno-house, like a simpler AE or B12 production.
However, the biggest surprises are saved under their Dr. Rhythm alias, as they set sights on the horizon for a dark and long acid trek at 120bpm spooked with proper moody synth voices for 8 minutes, while the last cut twists off into a sort of new age acid techno trample layer with what sounds like a load of bruxist cenobites.
So, yeh, finally, that’s what this one sounds like!
One of Belgium’s premier sound artist/designers shapes up the remarkable Bleak Comfort as his 3rd solo album, and first with discerning Parisian label Latency, who’ve previously proffered aces by Bellows, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Nuel, Madteo a.o.
In Bleak Comfort, as the title suggests, De Mey takes solace from aesthetic. It locates the arch sound explorer pushing his interdimensional electro-acoustic praxis in probing new ways, finer entangling their putative dichotomy of dynamics to an indistinguishable, light and space-bending blend of immersive viscosity and visceral, psychedelic effect that leaves the listener heavily disoriented and quite possibly motion-sick.
In badder hands and to sicker minds that could mean some proper deviant dancefloor business, while to others it’s serious brainfood for your ears to masticate, or vice versa. Either way, it’s just highly impressive electronic music, spelling out an uncommon complexity of spatialized rhythm and geometric proprioception that makes each part of the set indivisible from the whole, yet strongly applicable as dancefloor melters, as with the post-techno spine curvature of Stale, the sloshing Autechrian steps of Wearing Off, or the morphing electrollcages of Vecto and Bleak Comfort.
RIYL Autechre, Cam Deas, Dalglish.
Frankly evil doings from Clan Destine bossman Carl ClanDestine and Richard Fairgrieve (Pull Rank)
With immodest measures of distortion, methodically slow percussion and killer stare-down vocals, ‘Know Your Place’ single-handedly makes many others in this scene sound like part time dilettantes with a mouldy chip on their shoulder.
Grade A industrial EBM noise for discerning c*nts.
Hugo Massien on a deep ’n rugged UK flex for E-Beamz following trips with XL, Tectonic and 17 Steps
Carving his own path thru the scorched ground of rave’s past, Massien keeps the pressure simmering and potent between the brooding breakbeat hardcore of ‘Where Your Body Begins’ and the beautiful weightless rave thizz of ‘The Only Constant Is Change’ on the A-side, while the flip brings a sort of pendulous acid-electro style in ‘Alien Shapes’, along with the pirouetting arp vignette ‘Circles (Going In)’, and the floating acid stepper ‘Faith In Chaos’ with its perfectly poignant vocal for the negative ecstasy crew.’
Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) embraces the lush maximalism of ‘70s ’Process Music’ and mannered ‘80s pop minimalism as Beast, making a radical but logical departure from his atomically-detailed modular synth recordings released by Type, Thrill Jockey and Umor Rex over the past decade.
Joining the Pre-Echo label for this stylistic change of wind, Holtkamp presents the most rhythmically focussed material in his catalogue of solo and collaborative works. The dreamy fluidity of his more granular, diaphanous sounds is now shaped into cascades of mind-melt harmonic contours urged by piquant, pointillist patterns with mesmerising results.
This change in direction stems from a finer realisation of live light-to-sound techniques, using 3D lasers to represent every aspect of the performance - from modular synth to VSTs and the shifting patterns of his “Color Phase” light installations - in a way that artists have been pursuing since Tony Conrad’s earliest experiments and far beyond. However, it’s really only now that Holtkamp has managed to exert such a filigree level of control over his instruments, and with deliciously, synaesthetically sound effect.
On the first of two Beast volumes we hear this ‘Process’-oriented approach at its rawest and most hypnotic in three parts edited from real time performance; firstly in Yesterday with a gloriously effervescent yet precise side of chattering Reichian percussion and brownian electronic squabble that precipitates Can-like rolling breaks and beautifully moody bass synth swells with ‘floor-reedy urgency, then with the more pastoral swell and bustle of Today, and in a duskier projection of creamy harmonic washes and needling rhythmelody called Tomorrow which distinctly resonates in the air with Crepuscular ’80s belgian pop-classical gestures.
There’s no doubt Holtkamp is entering a crowded field with this sound, but the clarity of his execution and naturalistic development of each piece’s symbiotic, synaethestic bind of rhythm, harmony and spatial dynamic is little short of breathtaking and self-evidently worthy of your time, even if you think you’ve heard it all before.
The master of breezy but heavyweight modern soul smackers, Devonte Hynes a.k.a Blood Orange’ racks up a terrific follow-up to his ‘Freetown Sound’  LP, loaded with guest spots from Puff Daddy, A$AP Rocky and Georgia Anne Muldrow, a.o., but undoubtedly revolving Hynes as the star of his own show
Where ‘Freetown Sound’ found Hynes singing from his parents’ perspective, its follow-up comes from Hynes’ formative experience growing up in England, rendering, in his own words; “an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color.”
Instant standouts step forth in the deftly rugged swang of ‘Chewing Gum’ feat. A$AP Rocky and Project Pat, as well as the the fusion of ‘90s R&B and adroit soul-jazz touches in ‘Saint’; the jiggy but tender R&B of ‘Runnin’’ with Neo-soul queen Georgia Anne Muldrow; and the killer Linn drum programming on ‘Out Of Your League’; but it’s really sculpted for seamless, absorbed listening in one sitting.
If Colins Potter and Stetson made music together, it may come out something like Nova Scotian artist Joyfultalk’s 2nd album ‘Plurality Trip’ - a drivingly ecstatic and frayed début of warped kosmische coordinates for Canada’s excellent Constellation.
“From a secluded outpost on Nova Scotia's mystical South Shore, the junked-analogue sounds of JOYFULTALK conjure micro-climate trance music. The brainchild of instrument builder and alchemist Jay Crocker, joined by multi-instrumentalist Shawn Dicey (Ox, Lab Coast), JOYFULTALK offers up instrumental compositions that flow like wordless rivers and glitching fields of electric grass, through a bric-a-brac vocabulary of handmade electronics. Their music channels a sonic regionalism influenced by the craggy treelines and babbling brooks of Lunenburg county, with gnarled jamscapes rendering natural spaces in a hazy parallel universe, navigating the astral plane by way of their rugged Maritime environs.
Following a fabled career as an avant-improv regular and go-to homespun producer in Calgary throughout the early aughts, Crocker relocated to a grandiose, piecemeal residence tucked into the treeline along the Petite River in Crousetown, a blink-and-you-miss-it Nova Scotia hamlet, in 2011. Without a social outlet or music communit,, Crocker began inventing his own musical partners (The Pink Dolphin, The Cheadle): a cast of modded synths and cobbled instruments to salve his isolation and elicit his sense of creative unbalance. The resulting sonic conversations became JOYFULTALK's acclaimed 2015 debut full-length MUUIXX, (released on the essential and adventurous Drip Audio and Backward Music labels) - a record lauded for its unlikely Cluster-meets-RZA grooves.
Following these smatterings of high praise, various Canadian and European live dates alongside such acts as Micachu & The Shapes and Holy Fuck, a couple of home plumbing jobs, some gnarly car repairs, the creation of the Planetary Scoring System (Crocker's own conceptual scoring methodology) and the construction of BIBELOT (a custom-built, gallery-ready set of sixteen ceiling-mounted music boxes), listeners are now graced with Plurality Trip, the second offering from JOYFULTALK.
Plurality Trip is an extension and refinement of the duo's junkshop practices, drawing from contemporary dark trance and techno, while rooted in the outré swamps of krautrock and the refracted webs of noise and dub. Though heavier than its predecessor, the weight is never debilitating - Crocker and Dicey roam the shadows with rugged tones that reveal an expansive core. Pulled into a half-sped ghettotech mirage, woozy on new-age overdose, the listener may be lulled into a key-run reminiscent of Mahmoud Ahmed before eddying into a whirlpool of industrial jank. Heady and skitteringly kinetic, Plurality Trip unfolds like a fever dream shot through with dappled forest light and darkening skies. The result is a superbly idiosyncratic and invigorating take on avant-trance music with few comparisons. Thanks for listening.”
On the 2nd of two entrancing Beast volumes, modular maverick Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) further distinguishes his new, rhythmelodic velocity in four studio-based iterations, making a subtle contrast with the live performances of Volume 1, and beautifully exemplifying the distance travelled from his earlier works released by Type, Thrill Jockey and Umor Rex since the late ‘00s.
Hemming the finest line between the ‘Process Music’ approach of ‘70s minimal/maximalists Jon Gibson and Steve Reich, and the kind of breezy, lush pop minimalism gestured by Wim Mertens, Holtkamp has conceived a wonderfully absorbing bind of rhythm, melody and harmonic dynamics that seems to defy gravity and may even suggest dancing for certain souls, which is something we would never have remarked about his earlier, tonal-based compositions.
Like Volume.1, this 2nd LP derives from Holtkamp’s audio-visual performances centred on the physical properties of light via 3D laser projections. Using a system that models the sonic syntax of his modular synth and VSTs in constantly shifting projections, he has arrived at a richly synaesthetic bind that takes the early A/V experiments of Tony Conrad and many others since into his own, unique world.
The four parts of Volume. 2 were generated and edited in the studio and are arguably bound tighter than their predecessor, resulting more crystalline structures and a more pinched, puckered sort of elegance that subtly contrasts with Vol.1’s free-flowing blooms. That’s clearly in effect with the lissom curves and clipped, airborne waltz of Look Out, while the glittering cascade of Chase Scene sweetly define that paradoxical feeling of poised stasis within a rapid flux, harnessed only by its dembow-like rhythm, before the lofty brass of False Bottom seems to describe a sea cruise where you see the cosmos reflected in a nocturnal lagoon, and Taipei Hideaway gives breathlessly ecstatic close recalling the black MIDI rushes of TCF or Lubomyr Melnyk meditating on a particularly strong swedger.
It all adds up to an impeccable example of that rare effect when listening to electronic music, of glimpsing an underlying code or pattern of transcendence that’s pretty much life-affirming in its revelation. Proper trance music, in others words.
Staggering slab of ambient techno futurism from Canada’s William Jourdain a.k.a. Automatisme, sloshing and glitching in multi-timbral, polymetric formations recalling everything from Pole to Second Woman, Vladislav Delay and Porter Ricks. Big recommendation!
“Reclusive glitch artist and electronic music producer William Jourdain has been keeping busy since the release of his acclaimed 2016 debut Momentform Accumulations for Constellation under the moniker Automatisme. From his home studio in the Quebec town of Saint-Hyacinthe, alongside his day job at Fréquences (one of the country's leading indie record stores), Jourdain has continued churning out quality tracks, adding to his excellent and formidable Bandcamp discography. The Post-Landscape collaboration with Erinome came out on Neologist in spring 2018 (alongside their re-release of the pre-Momentform album Automatisme 2) and the self-released E.T.I. Space, Transit Et Individu (Reshape & Restoration) from December 2017 demonstrated various evolutions in the post-Momentform trajectory. Rare Automatisme performances have included Inductive Prism VI (documented in a live recording) and MUTEK 2017 (documented in a live video premiered by MUTEK and Resident Advisor).
Building out his modular synthesis racks and amassing new field recordings, Jourdain has plunged Automatisme deeper into experimentation with Transit, his second full-length for Constellation. Once again the sonic material is all sourced from the field, with recordings captured in the forests and caves of rural Quebec, along with ex-urban "non-places", and various waiting rooms. A simulacrum of what Jourdain calls "the architecture and landscape of supermodernity" is rendered through generative and probability-based digital patches, creating a partially randomized ecosystem for his soundworld to unfold.
The through-line on the Transit album is an oscillating tempo that rises and falls like a shifting heart rate or ocean waves or a warped clock - heightening attention to the micro-sampled glitch topography and white, pink and brown noise fields of these immersive, pointillist compositions. The pieces are never the same twice: Transit codifies one iteration of these exploratory and temporally unstable works, yielding a superb album of cerebral, enveloping, de-territorialized electronica that occupies a liminal space at the boundaries of ambient, glitch, dub and environmental sound.”
DBA show off canny matchmaking skills with ten fine remixes sifted from the last few years of their catalogue
For some of the strongest moves, check out DJ Bone’s banging-but-floating Differ-Ent remix of ‘Carduelis’ by comeback; the pendulous shut of Big Strick’s take on ‘Oral Suspension’ by Ikonika; Beautiful Swimmer Max D’s wildly cut-up ‘Snares Down The Stairs Mix’ of Adjowa; and the deep jit of D.I.E.’s ‘Resignal’ for Wheelman.
Æ weigh in volume 2 of the labyrinthine, 8 hour ‘NTS Sessions’, parsing the guts of their hard drives for gold and other precious materials dating back to 2011
The duo were initially commissioned to do a DJ residency on NTS, following their show from early 2016, but what transpired is closer in approach and results to a super extended Peel Session, featuring stacks of reworked material along with exclusive new notions generated by their infamous ‘System’ of software patches.
‘NTS Session 2’ revolves 12 cuts across 3 plates for 2 hours. It features some deadly dancefloor tackle in the hyper-stepping scuffle (hyper-skiffle?) of ‘Gonk Tuf Hi’, along with more wrong-footing gear in the alien torsion of ‘e0’ and ‘Violvoic’, while the 21 minute ’Turbile Epic Casual, Stpl Idle’ projects staggering deep space dream state images comparable with Roland Kayn visions.
Glenn Jones at his most vivid, exploring memories old and new through beautifully woven threads of melody.
"His unparalleled skill and creativity exhibits the mastery Jones possesses of his craft, further cementing his position as a pillar in American Primitive guitar music. Recorded in New Jersey by Laura Baird and mixed by Matthew Azevado, ‘The Giant Who Ate Himself And Other New Works For 6 & 12 String Guitar’ makes for an exceptional evening of listening."
Herbert dishes up his patented, minimalist deep house session ‘Part Two’  for a necessary reissue
‘Deeper’, which was reissued b/w a Basic Soul Unit remix in 2016, works itself into a pendulous lather across the front, and the B-side give a new lease of life to the monotone jack of ‘Non-stop’, and the low-key, swaggering funk of ’Shuffler’.
Serotonin-depleted house and rave from Stratton, chasing up 2017’s ‘White Punks On E’ with Natural Sciences.
Up top he rocks out the horny house swang and shunt of ‘Out There’ with its aggressively frisky drums and rave chords, beside the skull-scraping rave scrap of ‘Handled (Dealt With mix)’.
Down below, his ‘Fump’ slugger gives the people what they want, with an extra helping of delayed chords, and ‘Wet Witch’ tags in Harshaw for some hard, scratchy, tracky business.
At freaking last Slimzee gives a taste of the near-mythical slow jungle/proto-grime style he hatched with Wiley in the late ‘90s on two new productions with As If Kid under the E3 Breaks alias
Going ruff and tuff on a jungle-at-33rpm +8 vibe, the sons of Bow take aim with deadly style in the scowling jungle/girme hunch of ’The Curse’, then with crushing rudeboy torque in ‘Bakcroads’. Both are satisfyingly dirty as fuck and quite possibly the closest we’ll get to what Slim and Wiley were up to in the mid-late ‘90s.
A stargazing electro-techno session from Barcelona’s Lone Romantic label
Levels are set astronomic with the Doppleffekt-like arps and bone-rattling electro breaks of ‘Hohenheim’ and its ‘floor-engulfing 2nd drop, while the bilgy hydraulic pump of ‘Shimano’s Tribute’ comes off like a rogue Ultradyne transmission, and ‘Edelweiss’ twists off into E.R.P.-alike deep electro territory.
DBA raid the cabinet to highlight ten original bangers from their swelling catalogue
If we’re playing favourites, then Samrai’s romantic broken beat swanger ‘Khadi’ is up there, as is D-Malice’s mesmerising UKF play ‘Indian Time’, Ikonika’s pranging ‘Oral Suspension’, and the dreamy slow-motion heft of ‘Memory Jacket’ by Lily.
Big boned house from the Marquis of Hawkes, including guest vocals by Ursula Rucker and Jamie Lidell
Ursula Rucker lends a touch of class to the velveteen pads and greased up square bass of ‘Don’t U’, and Jamie Lidell does a keen croon thing with the blithe sentiments of ‘We Should Be Free’.
Listen out for highlights in the slow, blue, Twin Peaks-gone-deep house vibe of ‘The Matrix’, a smart touch of acid in ‘Hope In Our Hearts’, and the dutty pump of ’Tough Love’.
Sizzling psych garage rock and dream-pop scorched to tape and digitized for Clan Destine.
Features Balam Acab in their number. Make sure to check their strung-out bewt ‘Walken’ and the bleeding heart overdrive of ‘In Gloom’
Don’t DJ’s infectious rhythms run amok on the 50th Bercuese Heroique, backed with a slow but incredible Newworldaquarium 451 Dub that’s worth the cost of admission alone...
So yeh, that NWAQ dub is a gunner for Which? magazine’s Kickdrum Of The Year competition, coming with nearly 10 minutes of recoiling, stumbling bass drum pressure that ricochets your swede in headphones and rattles the chest properly on a good rig. Factor in fathomless choral pads and those daubed toms and you’ve got a winner worthy of the BH50 cat#.
Trust the rest is mint, too, though. The original ‘Veles’, which is so ruggedly redone by NWAQ, is a more humid, bestial thing swarmed by an orgy of subtropical animalculæ and hypnotic choral synth drones, while ‘Reapercussion’ also deploys prize-worthy syncopated swagger, and ‘Two Of Pentacles’ rounds out with a mesmerisingly measured smudge of elliptical rhythms with nanoscopic electronics and Phurpa-esque extended vocal gestures.