Perhaps one of the least well-known, yet most sought-after Arthur Russell recordings, the orchestral Tower of Meaning (1981), conducted by Julius Eastman, was effectively the first long player to bear Arthur’s name at the top. Beyond the original edition of 320 copies and an inclusion on the First Thought Best Thought reissue in 2006, it has been out of print ever since, so this new Audika issue is pretty much essential.
The transcendent, fleeting original was written for, yet rejected by, Robert Wilson’s production of the opera Medea. Subsequently remixed for its 1983 release on Chatham Square Productions, Tower of Meaning was broken down to a side of six fragments, breathtaking in their near medieval, chamber-like economy and shocking punctuation, plus the seamless, slow-moving and beautifully entrancing 21 minute mix.
If you’re familiar with only Arthur’s disco works, and/or his chamber-pop pieces, you are very much primed to fall head over heels for this; which is possibly a more challenging listen, but richly rewarding in return. And for a lot of Arthur fans who’ve had this on their wants list, for like, forever: happy birthday!
Lampin’ techno blow-out from Brooklyn’s Miguel Enrique Alvariño, landing hot on the heels of Bookworms’ debut album with the Bank label.
Balanced between brute force and subtly kinked rhythm, Please Shut The Door locks four bangers into place, from the sparking, gut-kicking title cut to the thistly razz and chasmic dynamics of K-Town up top, thru the near arrhythmic calculations of People Talking a the filthy New York hardcore sound in The Laundromat.
Retrospective of Malaysia’s legendary Pop Yeh Yeh artist. Exciting Beaty, Psychedelic, Pop & Melayu tracks circa 1968-1971. 2LP housed in tip on-style gatefold jacket with 8-page colour booklet of text and photos
“The legendary Adnan Othman has long been a driving force in the Malaysian rock scene. As early as the 1960s his groundbreaking songs in the style known as "pop yeh yeh" (rock and roll sung in Malay) were attracting fans across Malaysia and Singapore. He has since gained many fans around the globe due to a renewed interest in rock music from Southeast Asia. Othman made his first recordings in Singapore in the early 1960s, when he was invited to record with highly popular backing band The Rhythm Boys. He produced innovative psychedelic rock well into the 1970s and continued to evolve as a musician and composer throughout his exciting career, but always stayed true to his rock and roll roots, even when many other artists were turning toward more predictable disco influences. Each track on this album, drawn from all eight of Othman's solo EPs and ranging from 1968-1971, reveals a different side of his personality. His forceful, gritty, and emotional lyrics and vocals are backed by such memorable pop yeh yeh bands as The Rhythm Boys, The Wanderers, The Flamingoes, and The Falcons.
This impressive collection includes rare photos from the artist's own collection and a detailed biography co-written by Othman himself. This is a rare and personal insight into the life of one of Singapore and Malaysia's most beloved pop yeh yeh legends, revealing the humble, generous, down-to-earth man behind the spotlight. It is clear that Adnan Othman cares deeply about preserving the legacy of his fellow pop yeh yeh musicians; he devoted considerable time and energy helping to develop the previous Malaysian rock-focused release on Sublime Frequencies, Pop Yeh Yeh - Psychedelic Rock from Singapore and Malaysia 1964-1970: Vol. 1 (2013). Again, for this album, he patiently answered the label's many questions about his life as a musician and artist, lending Bershukor his unique perspective; the label's indebtedness to Othman is reflected in the album's title, which translates to "gratitude." The 26 unforgettable tracks on these two records are soulful, electrifying, and beautiful. To the many fans of '60s Asian rock and roll around the world who have been waiting for an album dedicated solely to the music of Adnan Othman, here it is. Compiled by Carl Hamm (Pop Yeh Yeh - Psychedelic Rock from Singapore and Malaysia 1964-1970).”
Mutant, psyched-out jakbeat skewing the lines between Chicago, NYC, and Belgian EBM.
"The first release of Lux Rec this year comes from the infamous enfant terrible, synthesizers maker, known for his obscure statements, Gavin Russom. The man needs no further introduction, he’s quite a presence, although a ghostly one. As in those urban myths his music reflects all that is haunting, secretive, unspoken. Psychic Decolonization delivers four clairvoyant tracks for those who are willing to unravel them, don’t expect a happy end though.”
This Deluxe 7 disc DVD Collection showcases the phenomenon that was, and is now, Throbbing Gristle Live in Performance. Featuring 10 full shows, most never-before-seen, ranging from the fascinating beginnings in 1979, by way of the classic videos of Oundle and Heathen Earth, and including the notorious RE~TG “re-grouping” 23 years later at London’s Astoria Theatre in Spring 2004, as well as three more recent remarkable concerts, now available with a variety of newly mastered audio tracks including 5.1, binaural and conventional stereo.
The Collection includes, from 1979-81, shows at: Oundle School / Recording Heathen Earth at the Industrial Records Studios, Martello St. London / Sheffield University / Rafters Club, Manchester /The Lyceum, London / Kezar Pavilion, San Francisco plus Derek Jarman’s famous short film made as a tribute to TG: “Psychic Rally in Heaven” London From 2004-05: A short film of the Cabinet Gallery Exhibition “TG24” by Andrew Wheatley Rare footage of TG rehearsing at Mute Studios in February 2004 Shows at: RE~TG at the Astoria Theatre, All Tomorrow’s Parties at Camber Sands, Turin, Italy (both early and late shows!) Please note: This Collection is made available for purposes of the historical record, rather than as conventional ’concert’ footage. the shows from 1979-81 were shot on a single VHS hand-held camera, often in poor lighting conditions, reflecting TG’s guerrilla approach to live presentation, technology and documentation.
Glorious, colourful mix of disco, shoe gaze and psychedelic studio-as-instrument production from Sonic Boom.
“Cloudland Canyon's third LP, An Arabesque, was spearheaded by founding member Kip Uhlhorn but fleshed out with contributions from Memphis rock royalty such as Ross Johnson (Panther Burns, Alex Chilton), Lesa Alridge (Big Star) and Jody Stephens (Big Star), alongside collaborative accents by Ezra Buchla, M. Geddes Gengras, Kliph Scurlock (ex-Flaming Lips), David Scott Stone (ex-LCD Soundsystem), and Pete Kember aka Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum), who also co-produced the album. While past recordings on Holy Mountain and Kranky flirted with drone and krautrock modes, An Arabesque skews in a more rhythmic direction, with shades of naive disco and new age. This particular set of songs benefits from having been heavily road-tested over the last two years, resulting in greater distillation and focus.”
Imaginary Forces returns to Sweden’s mercurial Fang Bomb label with a batch of ruffed-up, working man’s noise-steppers after gracing Rabit’s Halcyon Veil and Type Recordings as Basic Rhythm in early 2016.
He’s particularly moody on this one, dosing out the distended bass and cyclone systems of Preternatural and the sarkily-titled dread techno lurcher, Enlightenment upstairs, and triggering stealthily swarming psychoacoustics tones with the glottal ‘ardcore diction of Visitation, before really putting the frighteners on ya with the dank space and over-the-shoulder delivery of Closed Circuits in (A Drift).
High plains drifter William Fowler Collins meets Wooden Wand’s James Jackson Toth beneath wide-open, inky-skied scapes superimposing Americana with raging noise and drones.
“Under Stars and Smoke is the soundtrack to an imaginary landscape wherein various “actual” locales are thematically superimposed atop one another to suggest new, alien terrain. Both the New Mexico-based William Fowler Collins and the Kentucky-based James Jackson Toth find a great deal of inspiration in their adopted home regions: While Collins translates via mighty drones the vast, occasionally unforgiving mesas of the American southwest, Toth bends and blends the sounds and textures of traditional bluegrass and mountain music. Complete with frame-worthy “pastoral psychedelia” cover art by visual artist Claudia X. Valdes, Under Stars & Smoke is an album as explicitly American and distinctly postmodern as the maverick artists who created it.
This is the debut collaborative release from the duo. James Jackson Toth appears under the moniker Wooden Wand, and in countless collaborations, on over a hundred records, and in 2015 founded, with his wife Leah, the experimental label Footfalls Records. William Fowler Collins is composer/musician and recording artist whose work explores and synthesizes both musical and extra-musical elements. Collins has released music on the SIGE, Type, Handmade Birds, Daymare, Digitalis and Root Strata labels. Current projects include collaborations with Aaron Bradford Turner and Raven Chacon (in Mesa Ritual).”
The Soft Moon’s Deeper album takes a wicked industrial/EBM beating from a ravenous horde.
Sill red hot from his Room 506 rework of Nico, Ancient Methods towers over everyone with the brute swagger of his Being remix, while Dave Clark also gets us by the throat with his steamin’ rework of Wrong. Blush Response trade in raging contemporary EBM with a rampant rework of Far, and Codex Empire turn Without into a railroading industrial techno pounder.
Teklife the label debut proper with the crowd-funded, posthumous vinyl issue of some DJ Rashad belters, written with his Teklife squad including DJ Earl, Traxman, Taso, Spinn, Paypal, Heavee, Manny, Taye, Tre, and Gant-Man.
Hyper Chicago footwork chops from end-to-end, from the album’s title cut feat. Rashad with, Spinn and Taso, thru the wavy acid minimalizm of Get Fuk’d Up with Gant-Man, to jungle-spliced R&B pressure in Come Close, the gangsta banger Tony Montana and the Makina-style Juke joint, Do U Wanna Be Mine, and a soulful send-off in Roll A Tree.
New 3CD set of all the Koola Lobitos recordings with a 14 page booklet including a full discography and essay by noted Fela scholar and author Michael Veal.
"This compilation traces Fela’s musical evolution in the decade before he formed the famous Africa 70, creating what would become afrobeat. Mapping out his steps from highlife (a genre considered to be a West African slant on jazz) to soul to the beginnings of afrobeat, this album gives a new insight into the hybrid of influences which became afrobeat.
The story of Fela’s recordings with Koola Lobitos begins in London where he studied trumpet at Trinity College. Upon returning to Lagos in 1963 Fela had aspirations of becoming a successful modern jazz musician and became the leader of Koola Lobitos, a popular dance band."
Born blind on June 15, 1880, in Floyd County, Virginia, Alfred Reed grew up on a West Virginia farm.
"In the 1920s, when radio became available in his area, Alfred listened to and enjoyed performances by several of the era’s popular singers. Alfred would purchase songbooks and hymnbooks, and his wife Nettie would read the lyrics to him. Because the songs he learned from others did not always express aspects of what he was thinking, feeling, and experiencing, Alfred felt compelled to compose his own songs, and he was exceptionally talented in this endeavor—a craftsman with many things to say. Relying upon his talent to generate money, he gave music lessons, performed at dances and various social and church gatherings, sold printed copies of his own lyrics, and, in 1927 and 1929, made the commercial recordings included on this set."
2016 reshapes of cv313’s Seconds to Forever (2010) from Intrusion and Deepchord.
The Intrusion dub is tuff stuff, driven by a dusty, pounding kick and bass prone to veers off axis, but the two Deepchord mixes are sweeter; drenched in drizzle and clipped for skanking momentum in Mix I and stewing in its own juices for the width of side B.
Icy drill and grime burns from dutch production pairing, Know V.A., pulled up for the Lowriders label.
Caves nails taut, stare-down trap bounce and spindly melody, streaked with technoid slashes and executed with a clinical precision that runs thru the whole record, into the wide-open, sweeping contours and near beat-less design of Echoes and an epic B-side called Clusters venting a suppressed aggression and poised, pointed melodic structures.
In the wake of Bok Bok’s Essentials mix of slowed suspension tunes, Night Slugs drop a squashed example of ruder, latinate Club Constructions from the Chi’s DJ C.
Vol.7 rounds up four cuts taking in the sparse, swampy wade of Capricorn and the dread hip hop instrumental Native up top, backed with the hard but sluggish drums and squawks of CC101 and whirring dancehall clapper CC202 dung below.
Superb Giallo-jazz and proto-Italo disco discovery starring stellar members of Goblin, The Braen’s Machine, and The Feedback. All hitters, no sh*tterz! Silver foil-blocked mirrored jacket.
Finders Keepers return with a pearler from the Italian cinema vaults that they - and a lot of other heads - hold so dear: collecting Bixio * Frizzi * Tempera’s near-mythical, aggressive, and perfectly furtive Magnetic Systems output.
Bar the feisty prog NRG of Escape (7” Version), the cold disco killer Godzilla, and the mellow buzz of Death’s Song (pretty sure we’ve heard this on a Sean Canty mix), it’s a hitherto unheard and unreleased set, pulled together by Andy Votel and Doug Shipton from behind the ear of Italy’s revered, fertile experimental scene via the Cinevox label circa ’72 thru ’77.
We should also point out highlights such as Sette Note In Nero (Seven Notes in Black) which riffs on the Suspiria theme, the sweeping synth ’n string beauty Concessioni Naturali and a bolshy film version of Escape as big highlights before handing over to Votel for the final say…
“Whereas the likes of Nicola, Morricone and Gaslini were the undisputed mastermind originators of the Italian soundtrack miracle, the Bixio, Frizzi and Tempera trio basked in their blaze, restoked, refuelled, keeping the fire burning brightly until the VHS revolution changed cinema forever. Pulled together like cosmic particles, drawing the attention of music fans for decades and changing the polarity of of Italian shock cinema at every turn, The Magnetic System has caught us all in its forcefield.”
Debut EP of variegated techno from a new Detroit producer, Evert Makila.
Beat-less opener, Esther could almost be mistaken for some Tim Hecker piece, whereas the sheer, twinkling tones and firm thump on Dyscalcula nods to Carl Craig at his most minimal, a sound that carries thru into the proggier Return to Find and mingles with ’00 Kompakt trance styles in Return to Find and the crisp, burning canter of Dark Horse.
One of our fave ‘90s D&B producers rolls with the new skool pack - Om Unit, Nomine, and Kiat - on Timeless Recordings’ Function sub-label.
Up first he reprises his production partnership with Spirit on the barrelling roller Stolen Desire before trapping a menacing half step beast and Blaedrunner brass with Om Unit in Skull.
Jungle Jaw with Nomine catches a fine mix of dubbed-out techno chords, flickering footwork inflections and ‘ardcore rolige, for War to commit a badboy brand of dancehall pressure.
Curious mixture of dusty country banjo twang, drone and creamy kosmische with a sun-baked antipodean sensibility...
Brisbane artist Andrew Tuttle has collaborated live or on record with artists including Matmos, Lawrence English, Blank Realm, Mike Cooper and Heinz Riegler; and shared concert lineups with Matmos, Julia Holter, Hauschka, The Soft Pink Truth, Forest Swords, Omar Souleyman, OM, Marihiko Hara and countless others. He now returns with a new album from Room 40's Someone Good offshoot.
Salty, byzantine techno abstractions by a new player hailing from the fertile SW bass portal.
R.O.S.H. debuts in fine style with a unique, mystic blend of styles, pirouetting feathered microtonal melodies over gritted bass heft and scratchy drums - not lof-fi, tho - with the top-side’s wigged out After Party (ring your boy, this one’s going on) before trimming back the saltiness to a more brooding, sub-sunken sound giving room in the mix for the EEK-y keyboard skills to blaze out overhead in the High Emotions magick carpet ride.
Looking forward to more from this dude and label.
A bouquet of night-blooming electronic flowers from Glasgow’s Becoming Real, arriving a year since 2015’s Pure Apparition with eight tenderly crafted vignettes intersecting hyaline IDM melodies and vaporous deep house chords with deft and supple acid, techno and garage bases.
Another definitive Afrobeat masterpiece from the Fela Kuti & Africa 70 archives, 'Alagbon Close' backed with 'I No Get Eye For Back' dating to the pivotal year of 1974. Recording at the Ginger baker-funded A.R.C. Studios and fuelled by their first major experience of police brutality - they'd searched in vain for weed at Fela's Alagabon Close compound, subsequently holding him in cells and the military hospital for seven days waiting for a swallowed joint to "pass" (more of that on 'Expensive Sh*t) - Fela and Tony Allen tuck dig deep in the pocket with simmering, flaring organ and the tightest polyrhythmic tucks seared by Fela's incendiary lyrics and blazing organ/horn combo. Flipside the shorter, sweeter 'I No Get Eye For Back' rolls out on a mostly instrumental groove, with some crucial contributions from Fela and chorus.
Druggy french jackers by Crackboy: Weapons of Steel appears in a floating-but-driving 2am sorta mix, plus a darker, reduced Faces Mix loaded with wigged-out, catlike synthlines for deeper into the night; Dreams of Water goes bashy and tribal with it, and Dumb Ass knocks it wonky (shouldn’t have had that last bump).
Mood Hut squad in beautiful, meditative effect, pooling their resources in a creamy suite of collaborations “dedicated to our freak friends across the world playing for peace in an era of fear and ignorance.”
The vibes are loose, sprawling, and laid-back on their first release of 2016, coaxing seven loved-up and lush groovers ready for hazy rug-cutting and dawning gouch-outs.
Sunny Dae kisses first with shuffling Afrobeat drums and vox under melting chromatic pads, ceding to the hypno-chug of Memories in Time and what sounds like a lost cue from Miami Vice in A Perfect Shift, plus a vivifying a zippy bit of celestial jazz-step in Meteor Connection.
Turn her over and Hymn to a Whale Talker hits a bonged-oot west coast new age feel, slipping into the luxuriant slow strokes of Bless the Weather and the smoky jazz fusion levitation Paul’s Blues.
For the lovers…
Contrasting aspects of cold, driven jak-beat and warm deep house from Todd Osborn (Soundmurderer) and Laurence Guy, who’s previously turned out on Church and Rose Records in the last 12 months.
Taking cues from his TNT buddy, JTC, the frontside finds Detroit outlier Osborn getting down with a vicious, thrumming acid sound in the self-explanatory We Gonna Jak and with a really nagging, nipping effect in the biting-point 303 slammer, On The T.
Laurence Guy’s bits are much friendlier, contributing the cascading keys and sexy ‘ouse shunt of Ubik and the wavy party swanger, One For You, Lou.
Another classic giallo score reissued, this time a momentous collaboration between two giants of the film scoring world with a soundtrack to Antonio Bido's Solemene Nero aka The Bloodstaimed Shadow aka Only Darkness. Composed by Stelvio Cipriani and performed by Goblin, it's an unsettling mix of eerie melodies with electronic effects that is guaranteed to keep out even the most boastful hardcore fan.
"Calling THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW dysfunctional is a bit like saying Jeffrey Dammer was a bit of a dodgy character. A lot of different styles are thrown at you, from the more obvious disquieting elements such as a lonely piano to French accordion to bubbling synths. It's not an easy listen, the discordant effect of the mishmash is quite powerful and there are several moments that are the musical equivalent of the jump scare. But there's some beautiful classical pieces and another awesome bass groove, although these are eventually overpowered by the ominous synths, clawing at you away from the serene. But getting too comfortable is not a good idea with THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW - it will terrify you. Guaranteed."
2nd up from Anthony Naples’ Proibito this week is Hi & Saberhagen’s 2nd single of warm, spacious, tripped out house following their debut on Huntleys + Palmers in 2015.
Tom Party wriggles with a wonky sort of tribal, tracky groove, but the other two are slower, trippy and intimate, working some hypnotic magic with the minimal slug Qyzyland and the grubbing, dawning shuffle of Jardinez on some Don’t DJ tip.
A wormery of evil Evil dutch acid styles from Klankman, who’s previously executed functions for Bunker and TH Tar Hallow.
The titular A-side is an 11 minute beast shackling rampant, chaotically delayed noise to a steady kick/hi-hat with foulest intentions that will either drive a dance to the limits of sanity or send them home crying. Either way it’s a winner.
B-side turns out a proper, weeviling bit of acid jak with a tangy finish that dark buggers will relish, and Fatal Morgana allows a modicum of respite with teasing pads and melted rhythm patterns in something of a signature style
12 tracks of tuff-as-nails techno, noise and spaced-out ambient deviation from various members of the Great Circles coven.
Marking the label’s 10th release, Mid Atlantic Death scans for mutant life at the fringes of established styles, picking up strange waves of roiling techno malevolence from the mysterious Hero/Victim and Dan Trevitt on side 1, before drifting from Chaperone’s feathered ambience to a superb piece of rolling deep acid from the lesser spotted RJ Valeo of Type fame on side 2.
Side 3 brings a muckier assortment of distended, queasy techno and noise from WOLF DEM, _moonraker, and Westov Temple, with some of the most outstanding material saved for side 4 in M//R’s cryptic rumbler and the bleached out abstraction of Radere.
Kode9 applies an experienced DJ's knowledge of dancehall dynamics and post junglist theory, attempting to create a quietly euphoric torque of rampant breakbeat science, basically without the breakbeats...
Utilising overwhelming bassline pressure and 'the drop' to advance 10 notches further along the hardcore continuum to a darkened corner behind the bassbins with an assured cyber-rudeboy stance, the album includes a track from each of the four 10" Singles with 10 new tracks ranging from dubbed piano interludes 'lime', dread subsonix 'Correction' or 'nine', and swinging off on sunny tangents with utterly infectious single 'Curious' - Kode 9 once again presents hyperdub as a force for the head, feet and stomach without making any compromises...
Impressive debut of instrumental trap orient-eering from the widely hyped Sami Baha, replete with a wicked Kuedo link-up for Planet Mu.
Originally from Istabnbul, but living in London for the last 12 months, Baha has quickly attracted a lot of attention to his Rinse FM and NTS radio shows thanks to a personalised mix of intricate trap and R&B arrangements that mirror both current Atlantan movements and the Arabesk sound of Turkey’s Ibrahim Tatlises and Muslum Gurses, with a heavy nod to DJ Screw for good measure.
Mavericks revolves six sheer, spaciously weightless sound designs; harnessing pointillist trap trills and gaseous harmonic hues divided by achingly well placed lacunæ that perfectly play with a sense of deferred gratification and lip-biting anticipation, much in the same way as Arca, Lotic or M.E.S.H - who was coincidentally one of the first people to place Baha in the wider consciousness with inclusion on his excellent Fact mix in 2014.
His night-vision-enhanced Kuedo collab, Cataphracts is a big highlight, as are the glassy trap prism of Dough and the glistening, slow-mo thizz of Tozko Paran.
Tonal computer dronescapes and ambient colour scales. 2nd release on Egyptrixx’s label
“Sign of the Cross Every Mile to the Border is an album of material sound and concrete emotion - tranquil, concussive electronics.
Seven meditations on optimism and faith through the prism of environmental cataclysm. Euphoric and dismal; partial survival as hypercolor swirls in fuel spills - econoline psychedelia. Conflicted, synthetic celebrations of the industry of human spirit // the malevolence of the human race; faith as optimism // optimism as escape.
The music is glacial, brittle and incomplete - low-key grandeur. Flippant scrolling through preset menus as virtuosity and casual anthems of indifference to bounty. Digital shatter is washed out by lucid drones and again by programmed noise, a reminder that advocacy builds itself on a foundation of prophecy but speculation can be crystallized in an instant. Dense sound mimics massive blankets of haze that clarify the primary forces: consumerism, institutional paternalism, genuine human resilience and ingenuity. Life on earth.
Active since 2014, Sign of the Cross Every Mile to the Border is the first official Ceramic TL release.”
Hank Jackson and Anthony Naples hustle a piquant split of buzzing drum tracks and haziest house contours.
HJ’s coiled, tracky throw-down Chicken Fried Shrimp should find its place in the dopest DJ sets - can really imagine Jon K shelling this one - and AN’s Pinuelas struts some warped, chromatic rhodes chords for deeper corners of the night.
Low Jack’s Gravats label returns with this limited vinyl-only LP featuring mind-smudging dancefloor edits of Black Zone Myth Chant’s Judgement Mixtape.
Essentially hybridizing DJ Screw’s slompy psychedelia with the cosmic tang of Hieroglyphic Being, the five cuts on Jimi W explore heavy-lidded junctures of refractive, oily rhythms and warped chromatic vibes in a bow to ancient, mystic dance spirits and the enduring inspiration of 4th world, new age musicks.
Homing in and expanding upon details of his deftly woven Judgement Mixtape tapestry, we’re offered a frayed flying carpet of ideas ready for the ‘floor, flipping from the frothing microtonal melody and mutant Ethio-jazz nudges of Reload Pain to the cranky cosmic bogle of Pitchblack on top, and carving across dimensions from the locked-in synth visions of Jail Love to our favourite, the percolated synth voices and tribal patter of Night Chicks - crisply edited by Low Jack - to the zippy steppers footwork of Zero to One.
Excellent EP, highly recommended if you’re into Jamal Moss, Low Jack, DJ Screw or indeed Black Zone Myth Chant’s excellent Mane Thecel Phares album from last year.
With Law of the Trapezoid, Bristol’s Sam KDC follows ASC’s lead on the Space Echo EP into roiling hafstep and hyper 170bpm zones.
Atonement churns up effluent sub grumbles with gloomy pads and clammy technoid drones; Summoned hammers a heart-racing sort of footwork/drone techno pattern recalling Devianza’s Tabvla Rasa sound, which also leaches into the B-side’s Vertex, before Clairvoyant hurtles an acid / experimental D&B sound like some Stay Up Forever-meets-Fis creation.
C & C's 'Heartbeat' is one of the holy grails of electronic music. Nearly 30 years after initial release on Rough Trade, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti's masterpiece is reissued on their CTI imprint, putting a mountain of recent dark/cold/new wave revisionism into much needed context. The album was the first of C&C's post-Throbbing Gristle missives which would define the electro and synthpop underbelly of the 1980s and cast a towering shadow of influence over so much machine made music to come, from Juan Atkins and Drexciya to successive waves of synth music ever since. 'Heartbeat' established the duo outside of TG, further developing the careening sequencer settings which Carter had welded into the band, and feeding into a new wave of post-punk pop with uncompromising minimalist aesthetics and a darkly crooked intent. Between the sinister baroque paean 'This Is Me' and the foundational electro of the title track, these eleven tracks form a shadowy cornerstone of unterwelt electronic pop and dance music, and should be considered as creatively important as Kraftwerk's 'Computer World' or Human League's 'The Dignity Of Labour'. We really can't overstate this - you NEED this album in your life.
Honking hard techno canter and darker club drills from Voiski, making a transfer from L.I.E.S. to their Russian Torrent Versions division.
The buzzing, stomping A-side Go Play Your Games falls in line with your noisier J. Tijn or Bintus bangers; With Someone Else is more nuanced, subtly invasive, strobing to a vision-blurring electro coda; I Would Not Be Logical goes for the late-night jugular with arpeggiated incisors and raw but stylish techno roll.
2nd in a class series of lush, grown up and trippy dancefloor treats associated with the Rush Hour gang, your guess is good as ours as to who’s behind them!
A-side, they hit a laid-back and sunny NYC garage-house stride with nectar chords, ambient pads and subtly trim swing in Fly in the House (You Should’ve Known).
The same strange synth tang lends itself to the B-side, Your Love is Tepid, but geared to a weirder sort of acidic psyche bounce recalling some freakish delight that you might find on a Light Sounds Dark compilation.
Lorenzo Senni's inspired Presto!? imprint presents one of 2015's most singular electronic albums with the solo debut proper from Theo Burt. Originally written circa 2009/2010, it's an album that was never really intended for public consumption but, thanks to Senni's efforts, is now presented here in all it's hugely individual glory. Perhaps best thought of as avant electro-pop or even some sort of Compute/R&Baroque composition, the Casio phase synth-sculpted arrangements of 'Gloss' elicit some of the strangest, most curious sensations, visceral melodies, harmonic convolutions and polymetric timings you'll likely hear this year. Using only a late '80s Casio phase distortion synth (and a Roland synth on one track), the eight tracks somehow manage to extract an emotive maximalism from a relatively austere, minimalist source by virtue of focussed, methodic research and tactility with the waveform, resulting in unconventional sounds such as the polychromatic slap bass plong in 'B3', or the curdled resonance in 'B1' that catches our sweet spot every time. The fact that it was left alone since 2011, only to be released into a 2015 scene full of producers exploring the integers of dissonance and arrhythmic syncopation - think Arca, Lotic, Gábor Lázár, Lorenzo Senni - goes some way to prove Theo's subtle genius; it really is one of our favourite albums released in 2015 and comes hugely recommended to any listeners drawn to genuinely innovative and forward-thinking electronic music.
Chris Carter & Cosey Fanni Tutti pay tribute to their departed TG comrade Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson with the completed versions of two works initiated by their close friend. Before he passed during his sleep on 25th November, 2010, Sleazy was at the stage of organising vocalists to suit his re-imagined version of Nico's classic (anti)rock LP 'Desertshore'. In tandem, he was also working on 'The Final Report' - which was to be Throbbing Gristle's last musical dispatch from the frontline of technology, art and performance - both from his Bangkok laboratory and with Chris & Cosey at their studio in Norfolk. It should be noted that Genesis P-Orridge left the group earlier in 2010. Duly, C&C shipped Sleazy's unique studio to theirs in order to pay tribute the best way they could, expanding upon his and their original ideas for the re-envisioned 'Desertshore' with vocals performed by a circle of close friends - Antony, Sasha Grey, Marc Almond, Blixa Bargeld, Gaspar Noé - providing them the opportunity to properly bid their friend farewell both individually and collectively on the last song 'Desertshores'. The completed result is heartfelt, sombre and bleeding with expression, a sound as slow and purposeful as a team of horses pulling an obelisk to its resting place. By this point, you feel they've rightly got something to note in their ultimate disc, 'The Final Report'. The culmination of nearly 40 years of research and practice, from Coum Transmissions through their numerous, fractious phases, Chris & Cosey develop their final recordings with Sleazy using both his "esoteric audio equipment" and their own to oscillate between ritualist drone, stygian sub-techno pulses and mind-expanding noise traversing the interzone of electro and acoustic, synthetic and human. At times it almost feels light-headed with redemption and resolution, but effectively it's ten tonne dark, an elementally powerful and absorbing testament to Sleazy and Chris Carter's restless technical innovation and Cosey's freeform sonic sensuality. No doubt, it's a fittingly special conclusion to this chapter, and an essential listen.
Boris and Merzbow have teamed up for their new collaborative double album Gensho, named after the Japanese word for "phenomenon" and running at over 150 minutes of new music spread across two CDs and four LPs, available as two separate double LP sets.
Japan’s noise/rock godzillas shell down a ferocious redefinition of collaborative conventions with one of their most daring, involving union/disjunctures to date: split over two parts and meant to be played individually or layered up to create new, unexpected gensho or phenomenon with each play.
Featuring a disc of beat-less re-recordings of classic Boris songs on one disc, plus four completely new, long-form Merzbow pieces on the other, the idea is to play both simultaneously and at differing volumes for potentially infinite variation of dynamic interplay and “total aural annihilation”.
Shorn of their percussive drive, Boris’ original songs reach for the stars, vaulting the likes of Farewell from their seminal Pink LP into abyssal cosmic headspace, or turning Huge from the classic Amplifier Worship into a plangent cosmic distress beacon, whilst Heavy Rain off the Noise (2014) album and the charred, subharmonic flux of Vomitself are left wide open and sore AF. On the other hand, Merzbow surely follows his own path across two unbridled long-form noise tracts, Planet of the Cows and Goloka Pt.1, plus the eviscerating psychedelics of Goloka Pt. 2 and Prelude to a Broken Arm on the other disc.
The rest is down to you.
We're over the moon to present the vinyl debut of Elysia Crampton with 'Moth / Lake' thru Boomkat Editions.
Formerly known by the moniker, E + E, this single marks the first chapter of her Shenandoah series, "a concept work that explores Virginian American history and brownness beyond culture, as geology - as mud, dirt, and mineral." Breaking with the artist's highly influential and formerly sample-rich arrangements, the material on both sides is entirely, uniquely original. With the breathtaking transevangelistic comedy, 'Moth', written for and featuring the compelling vocal of Money Allah, Elysia pays tribute to legendary Afro-American comedians Stepin Fetchit and Bert Williams against a sweeping backdrop of vapourous synths and strings perhaps best compared, in terms of sonics, with the deep synthetic topographies of TCF and Arca (or is it the other way around?). In the most striking sense, it's a song that will stick with you long, long after it's finished.
The immersive instrumental B-side, 'Lake', is Elysia's version of a Bolivian Saya, a work song/dance style which can trace its roots back to the original mixture of Andean and African traditions during the first days of slavery in South America, and also makes reference to John Bunyan's 17th C religious text, 'Pilgrim's Progress' and the Underground Railroad in the Shenandoah Mountains, Virginia, where the piece's crepsucular patina of field recordings were sourced. Quite simply, it's a hugely recommended record from a genuinely exceptional and incisive artist.
3rd and most whacked-out instalment of the Wah Wah Wino series emerging from somewhere between Ireland and Amsterdam if you follow the trail of crumbs…
Either the work of one schizzy mind or the an accumulation of group energies, this one is the deepest, blunted and dreamy of the lot so far.
A-side carves out a crisply dubbed sort of halfstep boogie, hingeing a supple B-line worthy of some Ndagga release around pinging Linn snares and ticking hi-hats woven with sparing psych-funk guitar and Moog licks, saving a killer final flourish to come off like cousins of Co La and Max D’s Lifted project.
On the other side, he melts the clarity with lysergic lushness, smudging a playful assortment of tribal drum patterns and chimes to resemble something from the Diskant camp.
Kicking off the excellent Wah Wah Wino series with a pair of psychedelic disco fruits from anonymous growers.
Up top, the honky cosmic Italo of Magpie packs all sorta squirrelly synths on a swaggering, rubbery baseline building up to some real, chewy funk primed for fans of Bullion or Heatsick by the track’s sloshing, polychromatic close.
On the other side, Buzzard hops along at a more blunted, sun-dazed pace strung out with steel guitar licks accompanied by avian, new age synth strokes with a melodic, colourful appeal to those who fell for Finis Africae’s mid-‘80s new age or the sort of smudged psyche dub sported by Sun Araw.
Shades-on, revved-up disco, house and acid from the west coast dutch gangsters at Viewlexx.
Tandy Ogmo’s head high Italo NRG belter Everybody is pick of the bunch for us, closely followed by Gesloten Cirkel’s munted acid banger Asleep, but that’s not to say the others aren’t ace, too: it’s maybe safe to presume that the sexy Panama Brown cut is something to do with I-F, and Roberto Auser’s The Force is primed for nights on the white.
Reissue of rare Australian library album from 1974. One for the lovers of spaced-out, jazzy exotica and unique synth sounds. Cocktails ‘round the barbie and pastel-coloured shirt vibes…
“Fresh from recording the legendary Inner Space soundtrack, 1974 saw Sven Libaek embark on Solar Flares, an amazing library recording for Peer International UK. Possibly best described as the companion piece to Inner Space, a polar vision in which this time the themes were inspired by the far reaches of ‘Outer Space’. A pioneering recording that featured the Australian designed synthesizer, the Qaser, a prototype of the first digital sampler, the Fairlight CMI. Although recorded in Sydney, it only saw a limited library issue in the UK and has since become a highly collectible LP. Expect Libaek’s trademark sound of sublime spacey jazz exotica. Featuring Australia’s finest studio and jazz musicians.”
Lakker, Throwing Shade, Mind:Body:Fitness and Killing Sound furnish respective remixes of Aïsha Devi’s striking debut album for Houndstooth.
Anatomy of Light becomes a dancing concrète techno skeleton at the deft hands of Lakker, whereas Throwing Shade sends Kim & The Wheel of Life spinning into a rubbled boogie tizzy.
Mind:Body:Fitness follows appearance on Kuedo’s superb Eyeless Angel Intervention with a pointillist footwork re-draw of Mazdâ replete with those ohrwurming Tori Amos-style vocal motifs, and Bristol’s dankest, Killing Sound version the same elements as a droning dread dub vocal led by Rider Shafique and Bogues.