Highly respected drummer and prolific composer Bobby Previte continues his Terminals trilogy with Rhapsody, a song cycle on the subject of transit and migration.
"Subtitled In Transit: Terminals II , Previte's newest work was scored for acoustic sextet and features fellow composer - improvisers in guitarist Nels Cline, harpist Zeena Parkins, pianist John Medeski, vocalist, alto saxophonist Fabian Rucker and vocalist - erhu player Jen Shyu. This latest major work, released on RareNoise Records in February 2018, comes on the heels of Previte's powerful prior RareNoise release, Mass , a nine-part work scored for choir, pip organ and heavy metal trio. Rhapsody was commissioned by the Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida and had its world premiere on
April 21, 2017 at New College in Sarasota."
Like fuggin’ busses, nowt for years then two Pittman’s in a month?!
We can’t hear anyone complaining though, cus the A-side’s a a reel sultry winner, bringing the lights down low on elusive soul vocal licked thru the hazy chords and elliptical bass hop of Can’t Forget You for the A-side, whilst the B-side brings with it the Afro-Cuban clave hustle and keening New Age jazz chords of Love Is All, then the pinched, glassy keys and grubbing bass rudeness of Creepy Crawlers 2.
Special edition of one of the year’s standout releases (the limited edition new vinyl pressing comes with an Exclusive bonus CD featuring an additional 50 minutes of music - ‘for harpsichord’ and ‘for pipe organ and string trio’). Having lived with this amazing album for best part of a year, we can confidently say it’s among the strongest in its field, full of radiant joys - we urge you to make some time for it.
On her captivating 4th solo album, Montreal’s Sarah Davachi - highly regarded for her majestic, coruscating synth compositions - divides her attentions equally between a purely instrumental palette of strings, piano, voice and organ with an enveloping, often ecstatic and mystic effect recalling Áine O’Dwyer’s recent Locusts wonder as much as Ellen Fullman’s works for long stringed instruments. We're completely blown away by it.
Rather than mining ancient synth hardware for its unique tones, in All My Circles Run, Davachi applies the same exploratory approach to acoustic instruments with glacially tense results that quietly light up the liminal borderland between the spheres of electronic and acoustic practice when contrasted with her previous recordings. As the title suggests, you can consider these new pieces as discrete strands in a sort of diffracted spectral venn diagram of her sound.
The results will ring true with anyone who has heard her previous releases, while also offering another perspective on her tonal ontology, pin-pointing her acute feel for pealing, plangent overtones in For Strings, which opens out with a raw beauty and scale reaching heights vaguely reminiscent of Áine O’Dwyer’s recent LPs, or by Charlemagne Palestine for that matter, whereas For Voice is a deeply sober, sombre piece again precisely focussed on those fluttering points where consonance/dissonance are near indistinguishable.
The solo piano piece, Chanter follows that slope into lower tones, slowing the heart rate to the point where we can almost perceive the notes as gauzy, keening and candle-flickering blurs, before her sound starts to coalesce in lustrous, upward facing drone in For Organ, burning with a quiet optimism which is sublimated into the exceptional parting passage of For Piano, where the pensile strings, gently cascading keys, and floating organ ebb and flow with a magic intensity redolent of an imagined, smudged meditation by Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru and Pauline Oliveros.
After leaving us with a Kylie Minogue collaboration in 2013, múm return 5 years later with a batch of quietly endearing recordings made in Berlin.
“Returning to Berlin for the third installment of their acclaimed live-score performance to accompany silent film classic Menschen am Sonntag (1930), múm present a 10" vinyl comprising material that was recorded during previous installments of this extraordinary film/music event. Arriving with shimmering sounds and ambient layers, "Cards" eventually bursts into a mix of live drums and massive beams of electronica.
Whereas "Evaporate" includes great piano miniatures, "Cycle Boats" boasts a melody that perfectly reflects the leisurely coming and going. "My Claws" is a wildly dense, unstoppable force of nature, that's catchy like an '80s pop tune.”
Super infectious Forró from Northeastern Brazil - celebratory folk music for dance and drinking Cachaça
“In 1960 we received an invitation to play in Recife, a wonderful, exciting and dangerous place, often described as a “social jungle”.
The Forró party took place on the first floor of Caxangá´s neighbourhood theatre. With its high ceilings, wooden floors and balconies, the place was perfect for these kinds of events. When all the windows were wide open, there would be a wonderful breeze during the hot tropical evenings.
Since everyone was looking for amusement, the place was packed on weekends. People from all corners of society would arrive nicely dressed, animated and chatting loudly over the sound of clinking glasses.
Pernambuco´s Cachaça, considered by many, especially by the locals, to be the best in the country, had started flowing generously and the popular sugar cane based alcohol lives up to its reputation. We always had a few shots to warm up before performing and by the time the place was packed we were already in a very good mood.
Our local cachaça had loosened the bodies and minds of everyone in the room, people started to pair off and twirl around to the sound of forró music, smiling and sliding their feet off the floor - a reflex picked up from dancing in rural villages to avoid kicking up the dust”.
Shelter Press’ remarkable run of 2017 releases ends in deep contemplation with this beautiful exploration of traditional Northern Indian classical music recorded with an experimental emphasis, carrying out the aural equivalent of zooms and close-ups, weaving between the minute details of sound and the more expansive effect on the listener. Recorded by artist Darren Almond, each of the pieces here corresponds to imagery from his eponymous video installation, shot in Rajasthan, 2012.
Revolving around recordings of Fateh Ali (Santoor, Manjira), Ghulam Gouse (Tabla), Roop Singh (Manjira), and Zakir Hussain (Bansari), All Things Pass seeks to connect the ancient Indian artform of the raga, whose time-based structures link the movement of the stars to earthly events, with the individual player’s emotions.
In this complex feedback loop of cosmic information and terrestrial expression, Almond operates as a sensory relay or transducer, using a shotgun microphone to document the instruments and synaesthetically offering a sort of sensory lens that regulates the liminal link between the macrocosmic, or universal, and the molecular, more human level of existence.
From its meter-melting Tabla drum pulses, to the refractive metallic shimmer of dulcimer-like Santoor and the Maniira hand cymbals, threaded with airborne stripes of flute-like Bansuri, the naturally fluid but closely disciplined results can be heard as a prism for realigning our Western-based and shaped perceptions of time. It’s really only when you fully comprehend how closely these things are linked in Indian classical culture that you may realise how restrictive and naive so much Western instrumental music, with its minor and major modes, and reliance on fixed time signatures, can be.
By that token, it’s not difficult to hear why the plasmic, meter and scale-dissolving possibilities of electronic music - when applied inventively - appeal to listeners who’ve become bored with the arrogance of Western convention. Effectively, All Things Pass ties all these ideas in a way that is self-evident, requiring the listener to simply allow themselves to interpret its expressive mathematics in their own way, and real unto themselves maths as the universal language.
It offers a soothing, thought provoking end to a tumultuous year, and marks Shelter Press as one of the most rewarding and diverse labels on the contemporary scene.
Actress comes correct on a 5th album proper for Ninja Tune following a period of creative fecundity which has seen him DJ almost every corner of the globe and collaborate with the London Contemporary Orchestra at The Barbican on a project inspired by Xenakis, among many other things.
Taking its title from the moniker of his home-built studio, AZD forms a deep cartography of the new dimensions discovered between the wires and amid the haze of his equipment, modelling a suite of noumenal dancefloor extractions that could only come from one mind and place.
Turning up nearly a decade since his debut album Hazyville  effectively set in motion a phase-shift of fidelity which has arguably affected an entire spectrum of electronic music, on his 5th album Actress effectively parses a murkier selection of textural clag and heavy-lidded hooks with a more fluid secretion of internalized rhythms and in-built ruggedness.
It’s like he’s gotten deeper into the machines, or the machines have gotten deeper inside him - by turns dragging us, the listeners, farther into that zone of inseparable melancholy/ecstasy and stylishly writhing, sweat-burnt and THC-grained rhythms - of the sort that make you dance better no matter your actual capabilities.
He’s totally locked that vibe with the humid, Thriller-esque crystals and heads-down but dandy slam of Fantasynth and will send you reeling with the weightless steppers inversion of Blue Window, whereas Cyn neatly resets to a vintage, crunchy neck snap, before the up-tilt of X22RME intriguingly calves off into short monologue about semiotics sure to catch out the DJs.
Runner sounds naggingly familiar, like a flashback from a post-club Uber ride, and Falling Rizlas is his most attractive chamber-jazz since the R.I.P. phase, leading to a final run that really gets it right between the hardcore-sampling darkside buzz of Dancing In The Smoke, the noctilucent thizz of Faure In Chrome, and the romantic/voyeuristic ambiguity of There’s An Angel In The Shower.
And there you have it; an agitated, emotional, caustic and wickedly lush dispatch from the UK’s most important avant dancefloor mind.
Glasgow’s wonderfully fickle Happy Meals kicks off So Low, a new label from Optimo, so called after their new wave/EBM club night, with a naturally variegated suite veering from tonal hypnosis to pulsing krautrock and levitating kosmiche themes and back again in Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony Volumes IV-VI.
As it was originally intended for release on tape, and to be heard as one long continuous piece, you’re recommended to do the same with the digital. But , it neatly breaks down into five discreet parts, too; in palindromic formation entering and closing to the purified, La Monte Young-esque frequencies of 432hz Resonant Activation Zone and 528hz Full Heart Vibration, and flanking the swirling raga-like vocals at the centre of Full Ashram Emerging Theme with whirligig krautrock in May You be Thje Mother - May You Be The Sun and its kosmiche inversion Every Moment Is A Birth,
“Full Ashram is the name of Happy Meals’ recording studio. The Devotional Ceremony is Happy Meals connecting with their cosmic inner selves. They realise their Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony on vinyl (and digital) banishing demons, devils and ill will. Devote your soul to the positive forces before the misguided, suffering spirits pull you down and wipe you out.”
Messrs Coupe and Watson reconvene with B Zero’s RSI for another collection of restless South London House ‘ems FYI Chris-style.
Russian Woodpecker is rife with tension and unease, FYI Chris implementing odd spoken word samples amidst skittering drum paths and queasy siren-like hooks in a manner that recalls STL. Repeater peels off into lopsided jazzy house territory, all buffed up kicks, tickling toms and urgent string samples topped by irregular calls of “where the bass drum at?”
How to Ruin the World pairs scuffed low end a la Theo with some blushed harmonics reminiscent of Nathan Fake in his pomp, whilst Low Star rolls out cheeky sampled vox over a rusted house groove that never sits still.
First time available on vinyl in this format, Arthur Russell’s prized Instrumentals [1975-1980] suite is now served in full on newly remastered platters also including the absorbing noise excursion Sketch For ‘Face of Helen’ and the liminal, minimalist jazz gesture of Reach One along with some of the late, great composer’s finest avant-chamber-pop pieces and sections performed by the CETA Orchestra and conducted by Julius Eastman, claimed by the artist as some of his personal favourite work.
Taking cues from his studies in Buddhism, and Indian and Western classical and folk music in San Francisco, combined with a growing awareness of the American pop consciousness and the wide-open possibilities of minimalist composition, Instrumentals forms an early and timeless testament to Russell’s syncretic consolidation of myriad styles which would have been considered mutually exclusive back then, but which are now thought of as malleable components of a whole thanks to his pioneering, border-crossing principles and refusal of the putative distinctions between ‘low’ and ‘high’ art in music.
To start at the beginning, the rare Instrumentals, 1974 Vol. 1 was written by a then 23 year old composer in response to photos of landscapes and cloudy skies taken by his West Coast pal, a Shingon Buddhist priest named Yuko Nonomura, shortly after Russell’s move to New York City, where he was staying on the sofa of Allen Ginsburg and curating important downtown hub, The Kitchen.
It was there, at The Kitchen where he recorded Instrumentals with an ensemble of legendary luminaries - Ernie Brooks (electric bass), Rhys Chatham (flute), Jon Gibson (alto and soprano saxophone, flute and clarinet), Peter Gordon (piano and organ), Garrett List (trombone), Andy Paley (drums) and David Tiegham (percussion) - all working to his loose commands and gestures, leaving lots of room for aleatoric happenstance and improvisation in a way that blurred the lines between avant orchestral, communal (folk), easy listening and disco/dance ensembles in a way that pretty much nobody else had tried before, perhaps predictably leading some audience members to claim he was diluting proper serious music with pop (groan).
However time has honoured the results as just magic; eternally optimistic in that big-skied Iowan farm boy manner, but with an underlying sense of melancholy to match, while also betraying a rhythmelodic suss rooted in his all-encompassing studies of world musics, much like Reich was doing with African music around that era. It’s heart-melting stuff. Open the windows and let it in!
Likewise, Instrumentals - 1974,Volume 2 holds some of his most sublime, quietly yearning works, which were issued on an unsatisfactory edition on Another Side in 1984, and features here in all its languorous glory.
The other two pieces, meanwhile, play into Russell’s more experimental side, making a noisier, textured departure from the bittersweetness of Instrumentals with the fusion of tone generators and field recordings made on a tugboat in Sketch for ‘Face Of Helen’ - predating and recalling to an extent, Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes - before Reach One completes the set with a meditatively cool, playfully lower case, side-long piece for pianists and stethoscopes rendering one of the quietest compositions in Russell’s canon in the process.
As with most everything to do with Arthur, context is key to fully understanding these works in light of musical history, but no prior knowledge is required to sit with and immerse yourself in the iconoclast genius’s presence.
Sterling first volley from Bristol’s Young Echo Records, featuring Sam Kidel (Killing Sound) and Amos Childs (Jabu) backing Rider Shafique’s incisive, intimate reflections on I-Dentity in modern Britain.
Perhaps best received as a clear response to the divisive, race-baiting politics our times, in both parts Shafique presents an ice-cool yet impassioned dissection of the state of playlucidly channelling his thoughts in a rooted, low-key style that resonates with the delivery and impetus of classic dub poetry from Linton Kwesi Johnson and Mutubaruka.
However, this being the first release from one of the UK’s most conscientious, variegated and distinctive outfits, don’t expect them to play to convention. This is most apparent in I-Dentity, where Shafique’s ennui and haunted ontological observations intersects Sam Kidel’s miasma of coruscating strings and insectoid inflection, creating a weightless, pensile and abstract space where Shafique ruminations on the stubborn hangovers of the colonial mindset and the semantics of its redundant taxonomies resonate in a wholly unique manner, similar to the way Kidel’s juxtaposed materials in his amazing Disruptive Muzak LP for The Death of Rave.
For a smart contrast, in the flip side’s Freedom Cry, Shafique spells out a more positive, stately message, hailing the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement against Jabu’s unfathomable, melting backdrop of slow, celestial jazz swoon, with the lyricist holding tight to his message at the centre of it all. If we’re totally honest, on previous records Shafique’s delivery has seemed slightly over earnest or, conversely, even too droll to us. But here it makes complete, affective sense.
The people at Antinote are always excited to introduce new names to its roster and Sign Libra, its latest addition, makes no exception to the rule.
"Released under the moniker Sign Libra, Closer to the Equator is the work of Latvian artist and composer Agata Melnikova. Composed for a contemporary ballet at Latvian National Opera in Riga, the music on this record strongly relies on Melnikova’s appreciation of BBC-produced nature documentaries. Projecting the life of each creature that inhabits the British TV-program into her very personal and highly synthetized world, Sign Libra lends these microscopic beings her own voice. Each song works like a musical “tableau” in which the main protagonists – plants and animals – come on stage to play their part in a ballet carefully choreographed by the Latvian artist.
Sign Libra’s mental and musical incarnations of the microcosm of the rainforest have something to do with Software’s album populated by exotic insects and crawling plants, a “Carnaval des Animaux” released on Sky by a MIDI-addicted Hector Berlioz. These microscopic beings incarnate themselves in resonated melodies that echo through a technicolour rainforest, while winds blow through holographic ferns, vines and palms.
Closer To The Equator synthesizes visions panning treetops as the sun’s rays pierce through clouds nearby. Sign Libra takes you into a harmonic world that shines brightly wherever you stand, and offers a genuine synesthetic experience.”
Hard-to-resist compilation of Bajan bangers from waaaay back in the day. “Jamaica got Mento, Trinidad got Calypso, the Bahamas got Goombay!”.
“Just off the Florida coast, Bahamian Goombay music is a succulent hybrid, somewhere between rhythm and blues, Trinidadian calypso and Jamaican mento, yet it comes from The Bahamas, where it lives on as a separate style. The presence of world-class composers and performers Blind Blake Higgs, George Symonette or Charlie Adamson made the sounds of Nassau a Golden Age, filled with unique charm and tropical dreams. This music is finally available again on vinyl after 60 years!”
Living Chicago house legend Steve Poindexter and Swiss newcomer Xzavier Stone give sharply contrasting spins on Martyn Bootyspoon’s deviant future funk session for Fractal Fantasy.
The weightless ballroom dynamics of Spread The Kat are retooled as a slamming ghetto jack track by Poindexter, who clearly has no time for Bootyspoon’s more playful characteristics, resulting something that’s only 50bpm shy of Monta Musica.
Meanwhile Xzavier Stone helms a bit closer to the original Steam, craftily resetting it with fluoro synth leads and a wildly processed and chopped-up vocal for peak time pressure.
Killer set of exclusive tracks from Pye Corner Audio, Silent Servant and Not Waving for a faultless dancefloor session prizing one peach per artist on a limited plate. DJs and dancers can trust they are in very safe hands with deadly material supplied by all three operators...
Catching each producer at the apex of their respective games, they demonstrate the difference between original forms and their idiosyncratic, modern antecedents in alternately optimised and augmented distillations of EBM, acid, and techno, using finely honed instincts to parse the best bits from each style and leave the rest to rot.
Not Waving sets the example with a twanging and typically irregular disarrangement of EBM robo-funk, railing a lean and potent stripe of clambering machine pulses and barely-harnessed arpeggios with fragments of anti-racism activist Jane Elliot that lend it a recontextualised, determined impetus.
Martin Jenkins aka The Head Technician aka Pye Corner Audio follows with a slowly tempered, supple piece of analogue magick, coaxing out a sublime twine of helical basslines and a soaring top line of the rarest kind, one completely destined to trigger stunned and loved-up reactions in the right situations.
Silent Servant’s impeccable B-side tallies his first release of original material in 2017 with a sleek signature turn of fine-tuned 5/4 techno powered by nagging EBM bass and spaced out within a morphing sound sphere, with intercepted narrator who becomes fully revealed into the dramatic climax.
Heavyweight. essential gear.
Rescued from defunct formats, prised from dark cupboards and brought to light after two decades in cold storage…
"OKNOTOK features the original OK COMPUTER twelve track album, eight B-sides, and the Radiohead completist’s dream: “I Promise,” “Lift,” and “Man Of War.” The original studio recordings of these three previously unreleased and long sought after OK COMPUTER era tracks finally receive their first official issue on OKNOTOK.
All material on OKNOTOK is newly remastered from the original analogue tapes."
MC/Producer Rocks FOE draws strength from the everyday struggle between internal and external forces, tells you all about it on a set of blocky UK hip hop big beats and more up-to-date trap and rap beats, with highlights in Fight The Good? Fight and the slow soul stroke of Red Hand of Ulster, saving best for last with Into My Own Hands.
“Rocks FOE returns to Black Acre with new, eight-track project ‘Fight The Good? Fight’ — a dark and conceptual record built around the notion of, according to Rocks himself, “everything being an internal and external battle”.
A powerful lyricist and complex story-teller, Rocks’ sound combines hyper-fierce spitting with his own, abstract beat sketches. Having released his impressive debut EP, ‘Legion’, back in 2015 — a raw, self-produced grime-rap hybrid — he has since remained dormant to the outside world, bar a quick-fire feature on Commodo’s ‘How What Time’ LP in 2016.
Written over the course of that period and entirely self-produced, ’Fight The Good? Fight’ digs deeper than ever before into Rocks’ psyche, drawing on both religious elements — “I was more or less force fed it when I was younger” — and his own experiences for much of its lyrical inspiration. He talks money, love, confusion, happiness and ambition to tell the story of his own every day battles.
Musically, ‘Fight The Good? Fight’ also broadens horizons, with Rocks widening his scope to take in sounds from beyond the sprawling urban landscape of his home town of Croydon. On tracks like ‘Nitty Gritty’ and ‘Into My Own Hands’ for example, the two tracks that bookend the record, he flows at trademark lightning speed over crunchy rap beats, but its on cuts like ‘Downpour’ and the wandering spoken-word of ‘Red Hand Of Ulster’ that he unmasks a new, more vulnerable guise. Toning down his flow to reflect and take stock, it is in these solemn, inward moments that Rocks shines the brightest.
Comfortable spitting acapella, off-beat or even in spoken word — over straight-up rap beats or woozy Commodo instrumentals — he has long been considered one of the UK’s most compelling young lyricists, but on ‘Fight The Good? Fight’, Rocks addresses his demons, calls out bullshit and comes of age proper.”
Avery goes slower, lower and moodier on Slow Fade for Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound.
The booming, 100bpm 808s and slunking acid of Slow Fade comes off like Alessandro Cortini reworking Plastikman’s Korridor; After Dark is a bittersweet tract of blurry shoegaze; Radius leans on a sort of early AI vibe reminiscent of B12 and Æ with wicked percolated hi-hats and breathy choral sync voices; Fever Dream finishes strongly on a commanding deep and dark techno trajectory.
Er, yeh. The best music we’ve ever heard from him, as it goes.