Jo Tongo (born Joseph Ekambi Tongo Mpondo) was born and raised in Douala Cameroon. In 1964 he headed off to Paris to begin Pharmaceutical studies. Somewhere along the way the music in his soul eventually won out and he embarked on a life of music.
"The album opens up with stunningly catchy Jangolo. Jo's awesomely funky bass and percussive "jangly" guitar. The track is underpinned by African drums, funky stabs and 70s nascent synthesiser string machines. Next up we take a trip to 1979 and "Funky Feeling" from Jo's "Those Flowers" album. Here the beats are big, the strings are sweet and the clavi is into overdrive. We then jump back to 1976 for the evergreen, horn-puncher, funk stomper "Piani". Before the sweet smooth funk of "Those Flowers".
Next up is "American Lady" with the bright strings, jangly guitars and driving keys. All locked on to maximize the groove. We then take a trip back to 1968 for Jo's second single the ever so funky and ever so ahead of its time, "Dig It Babe". Soul, horns, groove and punch all in two perfect packages. Part 1 and Part 2. Next up it is the funk boogie afro swingers "Ewande".
Bringing things up date we jump forward to 2017, present day. Jo has been making music more or less non-stop and here we are lucky to premier three brand new tracks. The drums are punchy, the guitars ooze the funk and the locked on keys tie the tracks together in one tight-as package. Jo is on the production and at the controls for the mix. "Lion Roar" is first with its driving clavinet and all-out-assault funky drums. The brass is big and this song is Bold with a capital "B". "It's The D Day" is next with swinging soul style groove before "Mystic Power" features a ballsy brass-laden beat and jazz funk overtones."
Born Free’s bosses, Baba Stiltz and Samo DJ, take the reins with two slices of earthy house and filter-disco.
Kling Party rolls out all melancholy and tender with drizzly ferric atmosphere clagging around toiling bass until the warm chords precipitate a glowing lead trance line and the whole thing rub-a-dubs out into a grittier tribal bump.
Denzil Adventure is more up for it from the front, juicing a loop of bumping, bobbling percussion into a loping, gauzy filter-disco groove for the wee small hours like a stoned Soundhack or Theo Parrish piece.
Featuring a spaced-out remix by Jlin, Ionia is the 2nd single from Ben Frost’s forthcoming studio album, The Centre Cannot Hold, following the Threshold of Faith EP which included a rework by the album’s recording/mixing maestro, Steve Albini.
Coruscating melodies fulminate from keening harmonics with a panoramic, cinematic appeal expanded for sequestered immersion, saving a swell of bruised bass and anxiously clammy textures for final throes.
On the remix Jlin isolates fragments of the original in a tense build up and release of tumbling avant-footwork patterns.
Volume 4 of deeper, boogiefied Welsh 'Dream House' from the Crow Cuts-affiliated Blind Jacks Journey gang. Heko gets down with some romantic '80s laser synths and rolling bass arpeggios on 'Mercury Seven' and Lock Eyes step up the hypnotic technohouse of 'Living In A Cup'. Marius Varied brings the vibe back to bayside boogie house with the lapping waves and silky bass line of 'Artur Beach Miks', and Gnork gives a lovely kiss off with a warm house swinger called 'The Unofficial Chords Of Planet Ee'.
Fourth in this charming, collectible series of minimal, melancholy Deep HouseA-side holds an elegant blue House groove by Luv Jam 'Turnipple', and the smooth inward glide of Schmitt Trigger's 'Bethesda Bison'. Flipside is the highlight - a warm, swinging number from Mr. Tophat & Adam Strömstedt called 'Tingeling' - and the delicate chords of Cy's 'Valle Crucis Radio Party'.
A totally unexpected and absorbing side of electro-acoustic-jazz and dark electronics from this new 8 piece ensemble; reaching into bass depths and pop dimensions via microscopic miniature sounds and widescreen vistas. A huge recommendation if you’re into Supersilent, Arve Henriksen, Deathprod, Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Luigi Nono, Rashad Becker!
Basic calculations tell us that eight players are more than Supersilent's three, but like the Norwegian trio, this ensemble's music sounds much greater than the sum of its parts. This becomes especially evident once we factor in their 9th player - Matthias Erb manning the Klanggestalter; a semi-organic array of amps, filters and live algorithms used for “neutralising the difference of acoustic and electric instruments” in a manner comparable with the ‘Audiovirus’ deployed by Supersilent’s Helge Sten (Deathprod).
The nine players here each bring a fluency in pop, jazz, or contemporary musics to the table, as well as a couple of technical and post-production roles, in effect dealing with a democracy of pluralities and diversity. The way they consolidate them within morphing psychoacoustic parameters is nothing short of compelling.
The unfathomable dimensions of their sound are gradually revealed in the unfurling sound field of Erster Teil (First Part), morphing the sound stage from the hushed glow of electric guitar and Richard Koch’s Henriksen-esque trumpet to the spatter of extended techniques against shifting backdrops which become the foreground, only to recede and leave the listener suspended in a sublime state, unsure of where they are or what to expect next. In this sense, Martyn Heyne of Efterklang’s “mix fuzz and fairy dust” comes into play in a way comparable to the lighting guy’s role in film or opera dramaturgy.
The 2nd movement, Zweiter Teil finds those experimental urges in dizzier flight, veering with almost schizoid form between the animalistic tussle of skillful abstraction and more urgent, controlled swells of percussion and vibes with an effect recalling Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza at full, psychoactive flex, whilst a 3rd movement Dritter Teil affords the widest angled perspective, zooming out to a melancholic plateau rendered in sliding, oily streaks of pitching trumpet strewn with windswept percussion which coalesces into a febrile scuffle sounding something like one of Rashad Becker’s noumenal Dances turned tempestuous, with drinks thrown, tables overturned and tents burned in the cranky finale.
Hodge does his rugged thing for Hemlock
Pulling no punches with the granite carved techno slog of Swing For The Fences, then with a thumping, bittersweet tang in Aomame before bulking down the bendy acid zigzag and sirens of Medway on a more reserved but shark-eyed tip.
Première release of a pivotal piece by important American composer, Julius Eastman.
After more than 40 years, Julius Eastman’s Femenine - a euphoric, colourful, and inventive work by the brilliant but criminally overlooked composer with the S.E.M. Ensemble - finally sees the light of day thanks to Finland’s Frozen Reeds, bringing to life a wondrous iteration of the highly fertile 1970s north american minimalist/modern classical nexus for a whole new generation of ears.
Notable not least as the only known recording of Femenine, recorded live in 1974 at Composers Forum in Albany, New York - which makes it only the 2nd CD with Eastman’s name at the top - this release also documents the composer on piano (whilst wearing a dress, as it goes) and features his unique innovation, a set of mechanised sleigh bells, rattling throughout the 72 minute performance, which, in a way, neatly characterises the artist’s wide-open, pioneering idiosyncrasies and dichotomies for anyone new to his work.
Un/fortunately, depending your perspective, far too many folk will be new to his work or even unaware of Eastman’s involvement in some true totems of the time; whether that’s as lead vocalist on Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs For A Mad King (1971), playing keys on Dinosaur L’s disco-not-disco classic 24→24 Music (1981), or conducting Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning (1983). And we say too many folk, because, all considered, until quite recently, Eastman has been long overdue the shine afforded to many of his peers and contemporaries.
As a Gay, Afro-American new music composer, pianist and vocalist in the ‘70s, Eastman’s work was innately politicised and exceptional by the nature of its provenance, not to mention the music itself, which pulled from his personal history as much as wider social movements to represent a uniquely fluid perspective on minimalist music’s rigid process and presentation right up to his untimely death, aged 50 in 1990.
With that in mind, Feminine stands at a crossroads between Eastman’s earlier chamber work Stay On It, and later pieces such as his iconic, majestic Evil Nigger and the ambiguous flux of emotions in Gay Guerilla; sounding quite unlike any of them thanks to its sense of communal joy (there were somewhere between 12 and 15 players) and the polymetric meter of his mechanised sleigh bells, coupled with a display of massed, pitching tonal colour that moves with the kind of deliquescent, flighty optimism that’s hard not to be wowed by.
Ultimately, it genuinely lives up to the mantle of “new music” and presents its ideas in a deeply refreshing, insistent, yet never-cloying manner.
A huge recommendation.
Inga Copeland collaborator John T Gast’s narcotically seductive Invocations is (as far as we’re aware) the 2nd Blowing Up The Workshop session (Project 34, 2014) to see a welcome vinyl release, following in the footsteps of that much-loved 100% Galcher Lustwerk set.
Arriving in the wake of his Sisters of Control 7” with Inga Copeland, this one is a real melter from run in to run out, nourishing last night listening needs with a sublime shadow play of gauzy pads, ambient motifs and submerged rhythms strewn with miasmic R&B/rave vox.
One of the most impressive facets of Gast’s music is the patient sleight of hand and attention to tone, managing to gel a range of tempos and ostensibly disparate strains under the same, personalised street-lamp glow with a sense of mise-en-scene and lighting that’s practically Lynchian in effect, and almost unmistakably eldritch with it, too.
Of course, you can fully make up your mind whether you like the record by checking his mix online before purchase, but if you’re feeling trigger happy and willing to get lead down an unknown, yet strangely familiar path, we’d recommend buying this blind for optimal returns. It’s a real bewt.
Blinding 3rd volume of wave obscurities sourced from hard or impossible-to-find tapes originally issued in the early-mid ‘80s! Color Tapes again reveal a hitherto unheard slice of British garage cold wave recordings ranging from certifiable dancefloor aces to synth escape pods and integers between.
We’re spoilt for highlights, taking in Duke Of Disrespect’s taut, jabbing electro stunner You Tell Lies (Banging Away) alongside the Hypnobeat-style drive of Disintegrators’ Oscillations and the cold, emotional pull of Silicon Valley’s abstract instrumental Holborn Station 3 am 3rd January 1982 on the front, whilst the other sparks up killer dancefloor material in the razor sharp 808s and synth voices of Club Paris by Beserk In A Hayfield (big stars of the first 2 volumes), and the roiling analogue psychedelia of Stereo Machines & Kinesis.
No mistake; this is bona fide essential business for fans of early wave music.
The multifaceted Max Ravitz wears his Patricia mask to hustle a trio of slamming to heavy-lidded pieces for Sleeperhold’s boutique vinyl series, proceeding smart examples set by HTRK, ToC, Moon Duo, and Croatian Amor.
In a sort of emotive and energetic declension, Autotomy scales from the kind of nimble, slamming techno-house native to Mid-West US warehouses in the ‘90s with Learned Behaviour, before bringing the vibe down a notch or two for the elegant yet visceral combo of bruxist bass grind and floating ambient strings in Diminished Feeling that perfectly nails that heart-cooled but head-buzzing post-MDMA effect, which he disperses with effortless touch in the glowing downbeats of Looking Outside.
Fred P finds his jazziest techno-house headspace in a sequential partner piece for Mule Musiq.
As night follows day, 6 follows 5 (2015) with an expansion of its conscientious aims - “6 represents the number of man and his or limitations, weakness and imperfections. This body of work examines and looks towards one awakening. Adapting to a new way of being creating an alternative and raping a higher state of mind and being. Enhanced by love and serenity, satisfaction and joy. 5 presented the possibility of manifestation 6 is the manifestation taking place. The journey continues…”
Take that breeze with a pinch of salt, but take these tunes to ‘floor for some proper vibes, from the frictional minimalism of Awakening Co Creator to what sound like Mike Parker gone jazzy in Learning Process, to the sublime deep garage hustle of Reap Love and the broken, free-floating swing structures of Alternate Reality.
Fatima Al Qadiri follows her Brute album with fine bind of queer, Arabic culture and Durban taxi techno in Shaneera, whose title refers to the english mispronunciation of the Arabic word, shanee’a (شنيعة), literally meaning "outrageous, nefarious, hideous, major and foul."
Referencing South African Gqom in a similar way to Zomby of his Gasp! single or Kode 9 in the Ø album, Fatima veils that sound’s signature cold drum patterns with filigree laters of microtonal synths across the EP in a style which has developed since her astonishing Ayshay 12” and the Genre-Specific Xperience EP in 2011.
As with those releases and everything in between, Shaneera pokes the underbelly of convention in Arabic cultures, using putatively, mutually exclusive styles to heighten and warp the effect: hybridising sounds and their meanings in a way that’s both pleasingly direct for the ‘floor, but also cutting sharp in concept; folding in lyrics about Grindr chats, online drag and femme comedy skits in a context not usually heard beyond those areas. Although unless you speak Kuwaiti or Egyptian Arabic, or know your Iraqi proverbs, the joke is slightly squandered on non-Arabic speakers.
But the one language we all understand is bass-heavy dance music, which she excels in here. From the militant swagger of Shaneera to the panic-trance of Is2aleeha, thru the shades-on, laser-shotting Aljkahaf and searing synth heat of Galby, this one will be lighting ‘floors for time to come.
After a searing run of releases and remixes, Ancient Methods makes the natural move to working with vocalists in The Asking Breath Comes To Each, teaming up with Tropic Of Cancer, Huren, Zanias, and Azar Swan for a distinctive new addition to AM’s carefully expanding catalogue.
The sole preserve of Michael Wollenhaupt for some years now, in the last few years Ancient Methods has carved towards working vocals to deadly effect on a number of remixes for everyone from The Soft Moon to Wolfsheim, beside his own edits as Room 506.
All this has clearly fed into the stonking original material found on The Asking Breath Comes To Each, which royally boots off with the harpy screech of Azar Swan over the scorched earth gallop of Swallow The Screw, before trimming back to the acidic darkroom canter of The Standards Will Come And Go feat. a possessed Dave Foster aka Huron - arguably summat of a wet dream for anyone who needs talc to help get their duds on.
Tropic Of cancer executes a perfect, pensive and floating counterpoint to the razor sharpened 16th note serrations of It Won’t Take Me on the B-side, and we’re feeling pangs of guilty glee towards the borderline cheesy/lush epicness of Zoe Zanias’ vocal on the restrained pulse of Andromeda.
Gegen die Zeit documents Phillip Sollmann (Efdemin) and John Gürtler in polite but piercing and discordant aural conversation, playing live beneath a highway bridge in Offenbach, Germany. It forms their 2nd appearance in duo for the Hamburg-rooted, Berlin-based Sky Walking label - an offshoot of Dial Recs - following release of an extract of these recordings on the 41’36”  compilation.
The set breaks down to a pair of durational extractions 20 minutes and 12 minutes in length, respectively, rendering a sort of hall-of-mirrors electro-acoustic dialectrics in the first, and a passage of floating tones and noise disturbance in the second, saving the highlight for last with the more succinct section of Zeitgeist, which is almost a sort of ambient-electro-jazz-pop by comparison, where they neatly and coolly trade in a language of pastoral kosmiche murmurs that flare up in quizzical gestures and pool in reflective pauses.
Kablam, Meat Beat Manifesto and Yilan take apart and reassemble tracks from Spatial’s debut album, along with his own exclusive contribution
Spatial’s stripped and nervy electro-garage swanger 111020 is the canniest on offer, zapping lazered chords on raw, bouncing toms in a sort of anachronistic style recalling Mark Fell’s Sensate Focus twists on deep house.
Janus Berlin’s Swede, Kablam plays out a sort of noisy techno recalling Michael Forshaw’s Blackpool bangers, and Yilan tends to the deeper end with wide dub chords and fractured 2-step.
Jay Glass Dubs melts Guerrilla Toss’ hyperactive post punk styles into air on this killer overhaul of tracks from the Boston band’s GT Ultra LP with DFA, resulting a spellbinding sound holding etheric space between Maximum Joy and Golden Teacher, for example.
If you know anything of either act, you’ll be aware of the gulf between their respective styles. And while it’s maybe fair to say that Guerrilla Toss have refined their sound slightly for the new DFA release, when compared with the zaniness of their Tzadik, NNA Tapes and Feeding Tube Records releases, Jay Glass Dubs has radically diffused their mad energy into something practically unrecognisable, far more elusive here.
Like Mad Professor with Massive Attack or Dennis Bovell with Golden Teacher, the selected song structures of GT Ultra are progressively dissolved and and sublimated in the echo chamber in a woozy declension from the D&B-style intro and thunderous pressure of Skull Dub to the nagging, almost Forest Swords-like plangency and steppers roil of String Dub, then coming to pool in the horizontal scan of TV Do Dub, and letting it all ride out for ten minutes of reclined trip-hop in Can I Get The Real Dub.
The master of Italo house, Marco Passarani, meets NYC yung gun, Evan Michael, for a party-ready jackers’ duel on Cin Cin.
Passarani absolutely bosses the A-side with his percolated Linn drums, wiggly bass and virulent acid lines on I C U, then with pill-belly rave burn in the escalating rave chords and mean 303s of Bravocuore.
Brooklyn’s Evan Michael keeps his side up with some canny, feathered drum programming and intricate harmonic arrangement in the warehouse-primed Granite Cradle, and also at a slightly slower tempo with the nagging bleep coda and precision tooled sound design of Auxilio.
Archie Marshall aka King Krule oscillates between channeling strung out jazz crooners and mucky denim wearing rockabillies on a long-come follow-up to his 2013 debut.
“One of the most celebrated figureheads on the independent British scene, Archy Marshall returns with the dense, sprawling “The OOZ”, the much anticipated follow up to his debut “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”. Drifting and seeping through the cracks of South London like the album title, King Krule casts an unflinching eye over his kingdom, transforming his observations of all the disorientation and heartbreak of his youth into piercing narratives and poetry that are both startlingly honest and brutally beautiful. With “The OOZ”, Marshall finally takes the crown as poet laureate for the dazed and confused generation, painting a bleak and sometimes harrowing picture of a rapidly splintering city.
“The OOZ” is released October 13th on XL Recordings, preceded by the raucous new single “Dum Surfer” as well as a brilliant Brother Willis directed video. This autumn also sees Marshall hitting the road for a worldwide tour this autumn
Where “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”, released in 2013, was a rigorous, rambling excavation of Marshall’s expansive body of work to date, “The OOZ” snaps into focus quickly and sharply, his modus operandi coming into view almost immediately. Over jazzy curlicues and guitars, the opener “Biscuit Town” sets out its stall irresistibly as Marshall sings about rapidly disintegrating romance and personal dissolution with acute, almost painful detail. These wrenching themes of self-annihilation and fraying relationships seem inextricably linked in Marshall’s eyes – once you lose yourself to someone else, you inevitably wind up losing yourself completely when they leave – and recur in other tracks. “Why’d you leave me? Because of my depression? You used to complete me but I guess I learnt a lesson” he spits on the roiling “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)”, and, even layered with the warm vocals of Okay Kaya, “Slush Puppy” is an unsparing dissection of a couple with nothing left to give, like a Gainsbourg and Birkin ballad gone toxic. Elsewhere, things only get darker, as Marshall desperately tries to find safe harbor in the city he knows and loves, only to be thwarted constantly, as on “The Cadet Leaps” and first single “Czech One”. Not even the synthetic high of chemicals, as shown in “Emergency Blimp” and “A Slide In (New Drugs)”, can stanch the suffering.
Although seeming at first abstract, “The OOZ” as a title proves oddly fitting. There are references littered throughout about its physical manifestation, or as Marshall himself says, “about earwax and snot and bodily fluids and skin and stuff that just comes out of you on a day to day basis”. But it works on a more figurative level too, with the OOZ also representing the unknown depths or horizons the solitary mind can travel to, whether it’s sinking into the deep sea or soaring through the night sky. It may be messy, unwieldy, even unsightly, Marshall seems to say - but we need The OOZ in order to exist.”
Idle Hands get the best out of local Bristol figure, A Sagittariun with the cosmic techno percolations of Pseudo Science and a proggy trance bloom, Heavy Manners...
“We've been closely watching the rise of A Sagittariun ever since he first popped up with his consistently excellent Elastic Dreams label back in 2011. What started out as an anonymous project has since been revealed as the handiwork of Nick Harris, a long time champion of the Bristol house and techno scene since before most of us were even hitting the dance. His music has been flying out with a no nonsense approach – self-released, minimal promo, just cracking club-ready 12s that tap into the fierce-but-fun spirit of Detroit techno and albums loaded with smokers delights to appease his West Country roots.
Pseudo Science wastes no time in imparting a message of bristling kinetic energy for peak time situations. This is maximal techno of the highest order, firing off a body-popping beat, a dazzlingly bright set of chords and a delirious lead that cuts through like the house lights being thrown on in a darkened basement four hours before closing time. There's a confidence that bursts out of this track that could only come from someone who has earned his stripes in the cut and thrust of what can at times be a fickle dance music scene.
Heavy Manners plays a foil to this boisterous A-side without dipping the energy levels. Sagi still has his pedal to the metal, but this time he winds through mystical, filter sweeping pads that hark back to synth rich early 90s trance séances of the highest caliber. The bubbling 303 only further fuels this sense of psychoactive flashback, and the hypnotic film sample provides the perfect icing on the cake. Leave your functional subtleties at the door, this is loud and proud body and mind music transmitting from the part of a soul still stomping in a field somewhere near the M25 orbital.”
By the 1970s Studio One and Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd had already proved himself to be the defining force in Reggae for almost two decades. From running the Downbeat sound system on the lawns and yards of Kingston in the late 1950s to opening Studio One at 13 Brentford Road at the start of the 1960s, ushering in ska and rocksteady and establishing the careers of most of Jamaica’s artists - everyone from Bob Marley and The Wailers, Ken Boothe, Toots and The Maytals, The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo and more - Clement Dodd had until this point dominated the Jamaican musical world.
"And yet, incredibly, Clement Dodd was barely halfway through his musical path, maintaining Studio One’s number one position in the Jamaican music scene throughout the 1970s with a combination of musical and creative innovation and an endless capacity to adapt and create new musical fashions. By the end of the 1970s dancehall had become the defining sound on the island. Dancehall was essentially a tribute by other Jamaican producers and artists to the classic music of Studio One created in the 1960s as young artists across the island created new songs, while musicians recreated these original classic foundation Studio One rhythms. As on other occasions, Clement Dodd rose to this new musical challenge by producing a whole new era of classics for Studio One.
The roots of dancehall begin with the DJs of the early 1970s, who were the first to sing new material over earlier classic rhythms. Early DJ pioneers such as Dillinger and Prince Jazzbo both feature here toasting over classic songs - The Mad Lad’s ‘Ten To One’ and The Eternals’ ‘Queen Of The Minstrel’ - but it is the new wave of artists who arrived at Studio One at the onset of dancehall which enabled Studio One to maintain its number one status as the whole of Kingston’s rival music producers - Channel One, Joe Gibbs and many others - attempted to challenge this position.
Sugar Minott, Michigan and Smiley, Willie Williams and Lone Ranger had all grown up listening to the classic Studio One music of the 1960s and were able to pay the greatest compliment to the label by creating the defining new music of this new era with songs that combined all the musical and technological developments of the 1970s - dub, deejaying, discomixes, syndrums, synthesizers and more - into the sound of the future: dancehall.
Throughout this era Clement Dodd also continued to work with a number of original and returning artists, such as Alton Ellis, Horace Andy, Freddie McGregor and Johnny Osbourne, updating old rhythms and creating new ones while employing the in-house band variously known as The Brentford All-Stars / Rockers / Disco Set to update these sounds in order to maintain Studio One’s number one position as the defining force in reggae."
Remastered from the original tapes, Double Cut is the second album by electronic music legend Dieter Moebius and bassist Gerd Beerbohm, originally released in 1984. For this collection of recordings, the two musicians honed in on the most elemental aspects of their music - in particular its rhythmic constituents. From our current historical vantage point it's not too hard to think of Double Cut as a premonition of what was to yet come in the field of electronic music. As the album develops through 'Narkose' and especially the twenty-two minute epic, 'Doppelschnitt', you get the sense that this is a form of proto-techno, exploring the minimalist rhythmic concerns that have defined the genre's most essential ingredients in all its incarnations, from Detroit to Finland to Berlin. Beginning with the dark, motorik autobahn sounds of 'Mnimotion', the album seems to become increasingly radical, and certainly, by the time 'Doppelschnitt' fires up it'll feel like you've been transported from 1984 right up into the 21st century. The vintage analogue synth edits that lend this 4/4 monolith detail are perhaps the only real indication that this isn't a contemporary work - it's quite a revelation.
Lakker venture a steeply brooding, stripped and future-primitive sound on their Eotrax label following the conceptual suite of Struggle & Emerge.
Effectively, for Eris Harmonia they went blindfolded in the studio, intuitively feeling out shapes and tones that would form the five tracks of Eris Harmonia, which takes its title from two Greek Goddesses - Eris, Goddess of disorder and strife, and Harmonia, Goddess of harmony and concord.
Between these poles of reference they built a rugged to and fro, floating the ghostly stepper Song for Ratlin beside the evil animist skeleton dance of Extinct Peoples, with the lump-in-throat euphoria of Empress at the EP’s apex, none of which will prime you for the ten minute onslaught of atonal nastiness in Eris Pt.1 and its bittersweet resolution in Eris Pt.2, which finds their sound design skills pushing much farther into the void, fathoms away from safer ‘floors.
John Daly blesses Dublin’s All City Records with a seductive full album of West 2 West material after making an incognito appearance as West 2 West on their 1st Jheri Tracks Compilation sampler, and exploring similar vibes on last year’s well received album, The Smoke Clears.
The boogie slouch is in fuzzy effect on 12 gauzy, offbeat grooves married with wavey synths and new age atmospheres, hardly troubling the ‘floor but still with enough momentum to get you swaying at least, with results best filed somewhere between Actress’ Thriller bits, Leatherette at the most stoned, or the kind of 313-based beats built by DJ Dez, Detroit Escalator Company or Urban Tribe.
Fade 2 Mind boss Kingdom expands the 11/12 tracks of Tears In The Club with 8 bonus VIPs, instrumentals, and remixes by Sami Baha, Bok Bok, Leonce and DJ J Heat.
We’ll skip to the new bits: Into The Fold (Remix) features a moire upfront yet still ghostly R&B vocal; the percolated club pressure of Down 4 Whatever gets a lot of attention, first in Kingdom’s VIP Chop, then on the downstroke by Sami Baha, and ramped up for the Jersey crowd by DJ J Heat.
Timex (Remix) places a new vocal on the stripped down instrumental, while Nothin, originally vocalled by The Internet’s Syd, also appears as a useful Club Mix Instrumental.
Key Posh Isolation player Christian Stadsgaard (Damian Dubrovnik, The Empire Line) gives a vinyl life to his Vanity Productions alias with debut album Only The Grains Of Love Remain.
“This latest work from Vanity Productions is a turbulence steadied to rest with care, and marks a critical high point in the project's evolution.
As the nom de plume of Posh Isolation's co-founder Christian Stadsgaard, there is a deeply private yet fiercely empathic quality to 'Only the Grains of Love Remain.' Pirouetting between his collaborative work with Loke Rahbek as Damien Dubrovnik, as well as The Empire Line with Varg and Iron Sight, to name just Stadsgaard's most recent activity, the inwardness reserved for Vanity Productions is perhaps a necessary step. That the emotive experimentation should generate such a touching soliloquy is an arresting watermark, presenting 'Only the Grains of Love Remain' as the most eloquent work of the project to date.
Following on from 'Mardini' last year, 'Only the Grains of Love Remain' takes a delicate and determined route through the terrain of Vanity Productions. Mapped with musique concrète's metrics, there is an uneasy sensation between guilty revulsion and cosmic longing captured in the moments of harmony. Dissolving these small bursts of clarity-through-agony is however not a matter of exploring intensity with volume, or other such devices and motifs. With an almost bitter precision, Stadsgaard continually spikes the grounding compositional elements with unnervingly distant patterns of crisp synthetic alloys. Where weighted, gothic passages are undone into peaceful plateaus, and there is a sense of coveted respite from the body's adrenal chemistry. Temporality is suspended, enough to solicit reflection.
As the work coasts the mesh of decision/indecision, witness/actor, falling/flying, however it strikes, one gets the sense that the after-image of noise being articulated is in the end giving way to a greater cathartic broadcast that 'Only the Grains of Love Remain' documents: life, love, and thought.”
London-based French composer Angèle David-Guillou makes audacious music that explores the interaction between rhythm and melody, structure and emotion, permanence and change.
"Her work is one of incessant dialogue between these elements, creating hypnotic compositions whose mutable internal architecture and shifting melodic accentuations immediately draw the listener in, while constantly, almost imperceptibly, disorienting auditory perception. It’s a compositional process that is central to the eight compelling essays on the aptly titled ‘En Mouvement’, David-Guillou’s new album, the second under her given name.
Informed by a rich and eclectic tapestry of cultural stimuli, including Philip Glass’s ‘Glassworks’, the music for movement of Thomas De Hartmann and George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Alvin Curran's compositions for the piano, French and Spanish Baroque music, the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Jean Cocteau, Sufi writings, Sumerian art and contemporary dance, the pieces on ‘En Mouvement’ are the work of a reflective, intellectually engaged yet delightfully instinctive modern composer who has made the limitless mutability implied by the concept of ‘movement’ a thing of personal transformation and mesmeric musicality.
“Very early on in the process of working on the compositions for this album, the idea of ‘movement’ became my central point of focus,” David-Guillou confirms. “The word seemed to encapsulate all my obsessions. En mouvement literally means ‘in motion’, but the word in French, as in English, is extremely rich and suggests an array of ideas such as motion, gesture, dance, musical parts, clockwork, repetition, displacement, emotional confusion or excitement. In fact, I realise now that this concept has been present ever since I started listening to and making music; I just hadn’t quite understood how important it was to me.”
With her second album of modern composition, Angèle David-Guillou’s career is palpably en movement and, excitingly, it feels like the beginning of a long and thrillingly creative musical journey."
Paul Woolford presents the definitive Special Request opus with Belief System, a brobdingnagian reflection upon his early years raving in Leeds, using samples from tapes dating back to 1993, diffracted thru the prism of up-to-date production aesthetics to visceral effect.
It’s pretty much the last word in Special Request’s coming-to-terms with nostalgia for the golden days of hardcore, jungle, rave, looking back to a time of rapid stylistic mutation and innovation from the relative safety of rose-tinted 2017 filters.
Rather than reviving the rabid energy and naive invention of rave proper, however, Woolford spends the first half of the album turning his sample pack into a UK Breaks and wonky techno set full of line-dancing grooves and electronica, before sparking off some breaks on pretty much the same base rhythm with the big room styles of Make It Real and the Amen Andrews-esque Brainstorm.
To be fair, the ruffneck Leviathan fares better with its boisterous tech-step barrage, and Replicant (Nexus 7 VIP) nearly grasps the nuttiness of hardcore proper, but the finale of Light In The Darkest Hour is a hybrid of Chicane and DJ Trace that never needed to happen, and people probably would have laughed off in the late ‘90s.
The wonderful Bokeh Versions present outernational, radiophonic dub excursions from Osaka’s 7FO. Imagine Delia Derbyshire on a scuba-diving holiday in the Caribbean with Joe Meek; this is what they might make during nights ashore. Francesco Cavaliere features on Water Vapour!
“BKV013 is infectious, Osaka-matured, aquatic dub from 7FO. 7FO-san has been in touch with Bokeh for over a year and kindly showed them round Kyoto on the BKV Japan world tour (we ate a baby squid that had a boiled egg where the brain used to be - crazy).
This is 7FO's first proper wax outing after homegrown albums made local waves with his fusion of Japanese new age and dub miniatures. Previous albums also had mastering credits by Bokeh alumni and Osaka mixing desk alchemist Kabamix.
2016 saw 7FO reach wider audiences with Water Falls Into A Blank, a cassette and multi-media project via RVNG Intl's Commend See series. Bandcamp user Standard Greysummed it up best:
If Joe Meek lived on to collaborate with Harry Hosono and Inoyama Land and make idiosyncratic dubbed out Japanese Minyo and off-world colony exotica...
'Water Vapour' features the enigmatic Sea Urchin - the duo of Francesco Cavaliere (on FX) and Leila Hasan (on otherworldly vocals). They've released an LP for Belgian imprint Kraak and Francesco notched a 2016 highlight with his solo LPs on Hundebiss.
These is the 4th Bokeh release to come out of Japan…..”
Foom presents the new Peter Gordon & Love of Life Orchestra EP, Condo.
"Condo" (the title song) is a little-known gem from Peter Gordon's catalog, pairing David Van Tieghem's motorik drum programming and found percussion with the transparent and vibrato-free vocals of Rebecca Armstrong (Armstrong was also a member of Steve Reich's ensemble, and contributed vocals to the definitive ECM recordings of Steve Reich's Music For 18 Musicians, and Tehillim). Prior to them working together, Nik Colk Void (of Factory Floor) wrote to Gordon that: "(Condo) completely catches my personality and when I feel disillusioned or need comfort, I always put it on, and it makes me feel good and strong." Their correspondence culminated in the Peter Gordon & Factory Floor collaboration, Beachcombing.
The EP is comprised of a remastered version of the title track, "Condo" (which originally appeared on 1981's Casino EP), along with 3 previously unreleased tracks from the same 1981 sessions. "Neighbors" uses “Condo” as its foundation, with Peter Gordon's solo on top; “Candy Store” sees the full band iteration of the Love of Life Of Orchestra, including Rebecca Armstrong on vocals, Fred Maher on guitar and Bill Laswell on bass; "East Village" relies only on synthesizers and electronic percussion, with a chorale layered upon a deep groove. The EP closer, "Condominium," is a nod to those DJs who would play the title track at a slower tempo. The EP’s titles are a comment on the gentrification of NYC’s East Village, which began in the early 1980’s and continues to this day, driving out low-income residents, including artists, writers and musicians, such as Gordon, Van Tieghem and Armstrong.
[Background: In 1981, Peter Gordon joined up with video artists Kit Fitzgerald and John Sanborn to form Antarctica, a label devoted to releasing new video music work. The Bologna-based Expanded Records label released the CASINO EP (on which Condo originally appeared) with the Antarctica imprimatur, in 1982. Gordon and Van Tieghem returned to Aquarius Studios in Geneva in (where they had recorded Peter Gordon & Love Of Life Orchestra's Genevaalbum the year before). Some of the tracks from the Geneva II sessions appear on the Antarctica videos, NEW MUSIC FROM ANTARCTICA LP and CASINO. The Antarctica label was unable to sustain itself, however, which left a few tracks from the Geneva II sessions unreleased until now.]"
Narcotised synth scapes by a duo with previous form for Hippos In Tanks and Pendu Sound, now on Richard Fearless’ (DIV) Drone label
“Drone pursues new resonant frequencies with its twelfth release, a tonal, penetrating, and experimental album from long time Fearless collaborators, Von Haze.
VII is a nod to the tradition of ragas. Each song written for a specific power centre in the body and to engage both active and passive effects of sustained and concentrated sound.”