Serene suite by the Ultramarine dreamers and their vocalist of choice, ‘80s indie-pop starlet Anna Domino, and sax player Iain Bellamy (ECM), all mixed by Stereolab’s Andy Ramsey
“Signals Into Space is a brand new studio album by acclaimed electronic duo Ultramarine. SIS is their seventh album, having made their debut on Crepuscule with Folk (TWI 894) back in 1990.
The new long player was conceived by Ian Cooper and Paul Hammond over a three year period and features four songs co-written with North American musician Anna Domino, a firm favourite of the group since her leftfield pop releases on Crepuscule and Factory in the 1980s. "For this project we wanted to do something more ambitious and perhaps more accessible than our last album in 2013," explains Paul. "We were keen to start collaborating with other musicians again, as well as develop our method of performance-based writing and recording, which is partly improvised."
Signals Into Space also features contributions from saxophonist Iain Ballamy (ECM, Food, Loose Tubes) and percussionist & vibraphone player Ric Elsworth. It was recorded and mixed in London with Andy Ramsay (Stereolab) and mastered by Noel Summerville.
"To some extent Signals Into Space is an escapist record," reveals Ian. "Our rehearsal space is a small windowless room on an industrial estate in Essex. Possibly as a result we ended up with a collection of visually suggestive tracks, conjuring mental images of cities, deserts and tropical islands, which gradually came into focus as Anna's lyrical ideas developed. So while the music might have been conceived in a closed space it's imbued with a positive spirit - looking outwards, seeking contact."
Phillip Sollmann does his effortlessly rolling tech-house thing as Efdemin for Lucy’s Stroboscopic Artefacts
‘Wrong Movements (Circles)’ rolls on a fine line between hypnotic melancholy and something darker lurking below, while ‘Wrong Movements (Left)’ is more forcefully, melodically techno, and ‘Wrong Movement (Right)’ cuts the anchor and heads off on cosmic vectors along spiralling arps into acres of dusty, negative space.
The Boats finally relinquish a standalone CD of the ‘Lost Ideas (Expanded)’ piece of their super ltd and sought-after boxset, ‘The Boats Archive’
Touted as “a collection of forgotten fragments, abandoned building blocks, loops, live recordings, rehearsal tapes and orphaned songs 2003-2014”, it’s effectively a treasure trove of impossible-to-find material by the Lancastrian small sound specialists, spanning ephemera from their inception and up until they turned industrial circa ‘Abstraction’ .
The piece plays through as a single, hour long collage of half-thought melodies, heavy-lidded murmurs, and burbling electronic pops where each part blurs or bleeds into the next, forming a tremulous cats cradle of sentimental gesture and quiet whims to get utterly wrapped up in.
Addendum to Chris Carter’s first Chemistry Lesson, the ‘Coursework’ bonus offers a new original, ‘Bongo Glow’, along with remixes of album tracks by Radiophonic Workshop, Chris Liebing, and Daniel Avery
Carter’s unsettling synthetic vocaloid makes another appearance in the retro-futurist charms of ‘Bongo Glow’, crooning like a forlorn AI, before the highly active Radiophonic Workshop rework ‘Blissters’ to sound even closer to one of Akira Rabelais’ rewired renaissance pieces or a Jóhann Jóhannsson epic. Teutonic techno boschmaster Chris Liebing offers a stern, ‘Slow Burn’ techno overhaul of ‘Tones Map’, and Daniel Avery reworks ‘Uysring’ as a rolling big room heater.
A killer blast of Linekraft’s Japanese junk metal cut-ups and cyclonic noise, new on Hospital Productions.
Japan’s foremost exponent of ‘metal junk’ cut-ups transposes the nihilist energy of his notorious live shows into this devastating debut LP for Hospital Productions. Hailed by Prurient’s label as “the premier industrial performance unit arising from today’s contemporary Japanese underworld”, Masahiko Okubo a.k.a. Linekraft lives up to this mantle with a severely brutal suite of hacked and charred concrète noise.
Like his predecessor Kimihide Kusafuka’s K2 ventures in the same arena (we imagine a cage, a bit like Robot Wars or MMA), Linekraft rudely manhandles his recordings of percussion and vocals, pitching them into a morphing torrent of abusive clangour and analogue chicanery with Kafkaesque results.
Aggressively charged mutations of IDM, EBM, and EDM
“‘Calibrate’ proffers the highest of fidelity, with blockbuster sci fi levels of production value and bombast. Donoso channels sonic spirits across fluro pointillism, futuristic industrial tribalism and more serene moments of synthetic reflection.
Having never courted accessibility, Donoso remains as unbending as ever in his approach and unwavering in commitment to his craft. Calibrate takes Donoso’s polymetric abuse and sound design to all new extremes. Conflicting rhythms and swathes of electronic debris move in tandem, to create pieces that expand and contract in on themselves.
A journey through Calibrate is an exercise in instability and failure; its aggressiveness serves as a warning against the urge to seek safety on common ground, and its entire approach seems to display a hostility towards the increasingly homogenized nature of new electronic music.”
London’s Specimens convey a plangent sort of existential anguish with the sorrowed ambience and soundtracky feels of his debut album. File next to The Sight Below, Alex Zhang Hungtai, or indeed Lawrence English, who’s part responsible for the record’s subtly billowing scope
“‘In The Dust Of Idols’ is an album exploring mortality, Existentialism & the dread one can feel in the face of an apparently meaningless world. The journey you embark on when trying to create meaning where there is perhaps none. These initial senses of dread can be brought about by the insignificance you feel in the face of greatness (or perceived greatness), where others have seemingly found meaning and purpose in the face of your own wavering path. Often these can be expressed in grandness and can become historically significant human feats, the fact that they have stood the test of time can become in itself overwhelming when reflecting on your own journey. Whilst these moments in time may hold no specific meaning to you - despite their impressive nature - you are driven into senseless awe.
Accompanying the release of the record is a short film set to music from the album, produced and shot by photographer & director Lucie Rox. The film is a visual expression and representation of identity and the many ways this is challenged, perceived and adopted. Whilst taking forward the concepts explored throughout the album, the film looks to reduce the great vastness of confusion and self doubt put forward on the record & focus instead on a more intimate and personal perspective laid bare and shared by both director Lucie Rox & Specimens.
With a heavy focus on race & heritage of which both Specimens & Lucie are mixed - Caribbean & British / African & French respectively - the objective of the film is to show one of the many angles where an individual's search for meaning & identity can be expressed.”
Spread over a massive six discs and further bolstered by a pretty darn exhaustive book that interviews the surviving members (Williams passed away in 2001), 'Out Of Cold Storage' is testament to the unbridled virility of This Heat - with all the music very much rooted in its era, yet also utterly timeless. Comprised of their five studio albums ('This Heat', 'Deceit', 'Health and Efficiency', 'Made Available' and 'Repeat') plus an incendiary set of live action culled from their 1980/81 heyday, 'Out Of Cold Storage' allows everyone to get hold of these classic recordings in pristine form - a real treat given the eroded bootlegs and mp3s that have been doing the rounds for years.
Born out of the UK crucible that existed in the period immediately post punk (before it earned capitals and morphed into genre all of its own...), This Heat formed through the restless response of three twenty-somethings who felt impelled to document their corner of 1970's London. Already faces at the more severe end of the prog-rock scene, Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward were joined by non-musician Gareth Williams - a catalyst that would see them recording vast quantities of work then editing the results down into consumable chunks of aural fortitude.
Ranging in style from the avant-rock of their eponymous debut, through to the political polemic of 'Deceit', This Heat are spiky without the need to resort to high-kicking comparisons with the likes of Orange Juice et al., with their output always a couple of steps removed from their retrospective peers. Unafraid to disrupt their reputation through creative right-angles, the likes of 'Repeat' and it's central 20 minutes of looped drones and rhythms (think Can in a chiller cabinet) are seemingly at odds with 'Health And Efficiencies' melody etched high - yet rather than cause tension, these juxtapositions merely heighten the band's appeal and allow you a glimpse into moments of creative perfection.
Vast, comprehensive and thoroughly indispensable, 'Out Of Cold Storage' proves that the endless vault combing perpetrated by labels can sometimes come good. Six shades of fantastic.
Leaders of England’s hidden reverse, Stapleton and Tibet, compile four visionary highlights of their collaborations between 1991-1998, including a previously unreleased outtake of their ‘Musical Pumpkin Cottage’ album
First available at their NWW and Current 93 concert in London, late 2018, ‘The Threats of Memories’ unfolds across the minds-eye with all the lysergic quality that one may hope for. Ancient acolytes and wide-eyed ambient lambs alike will be enchanted by the unfathomable spatial dimensions and lurking intimacy on offer, all newly remastered and rendered on vinyl to thee most exacting standards, bringing anyone in earshot within touching distance of the duo’s original vision.
In the A-side ‘The Sadness of Things’ (1991) we can feel the spectral touch of Colin Potter applied to slow, curling strings, shivering hi-hat and stereo-strafing apparitions, bookended by haunting vox from Joolie Wood and Ruby Wallis at the front and David Tibet in the rear. ‘The Dead Side of The Moon’ features many more hands on deck to explore a proper sort of mountainside kosmiche revelation alongside ‘Bubblehead’, which maintains a motorik trajectory into more possessed, end-of-trip tremors that also leads down the Craig Leon-esque wormhole of ‘DreamBreath’, a previously unreleased ace of heavy breathing loops and chromatic chronics laced with Stapleton recalling a lysergic daytrip.
Objekt returns with Cocoon Crush, his first LP since 2014’s Flatland. Over the past four years he has continued to challenge conventions with his club output, while maintaining his reputation as a DJ who deploys impeccable technical finesse in crafting elaborate narratives from a diverse and challenging palette of electronic music.
"Written between 2014 and 2018 in Berlin and on the road, Cocoon Crush once again sees the producer jettisoning the functional requirements of the dancefloor. Marking a further evolution from the youthful exuberance of Flatland, Cocoon Crush explores a more introspective side, with themes of human interaction resonating throughout the record as it ruminates on a spectrum of complex moods rooted in 4 years of sometimes turbulent personal experience.
Cocoon Crush represents an aesthetic departure from Flatland’s largely synthetic tonality, drawing from organic source material and natural textures to illustrate perplexing and unfamiliar sceneries in photorealistic detail. In Cocoon Crush, Objekt diverges further still from his musical influences to craft the purest manifestation of his own musical personality to date: an intriguing and enigmatic album whose reference points are hard to pin down, in which ghostly synth passages weave through mind-bending, weighty drums, and ASMR-triggering foley collages scrape and sparkle.
Through meticulous sculpting, Objekt traces a rich and impressionistic journey through claustrophobia, hope, guilt, anxiety and joy, nested in layers of sonic detail which reward with every listen."
First ever repress of Luigi Nono’s dedication to Marx and the Paris and Venice ’68 riots, uncannily echoing the Gilet Jaune movement and current European politics precisely 50 years later - reissued for the first time by die Schachtel in collaboration with Archivo Storico Ricordi.
Alongside Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, Nono was an important innovator of tape music and one of the most important composers to emerge in the years following the Second World War – defining the zeitgeist, taking the his idiom into startling new territories, while standing decidedly apart. Unlike most of his peers, however, Nono was also highly political in everything he did - his music often described as a rallying call of the left. None of Nono’s works illuminate this radical consciousness and concern better than his seminal Musica-Manifesto N.1.
Commissioned and released in spring 1969, it ties all of the most important aspects of Nono’s work into a powerful political statement. Using recordings of the riots made in Venice, July ’68, together with recordings of Edmonda Aldini reading slogans painted on Parisian walls in Mai ’68, and the voices of communist leaders including Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao, Nono paints a plunderphonic collage evocative of the escalating struggle against the bourgeoisie.
Nono was a pioneer in the use and manipulation of magnetic tape, here providing a charged, disorientingly edited, unsettling and immersive record of the time, whose sentiments and inherent politics still ring true today.
‘Disappearer’ is Ron Morelli’s 4th album of grot for Hospital Productions.
The L.I.E.S. boss (and fellow Parisian resident Krikor Kouchian as co-pilot on a handful of cuts) produces his tightest, most hard-hitting material to date, from the gothic slime of ‘Narco Frq’ to the slurried ’Squeeze’, vacillating between heavy techno, kerb-crawling electro and passages of tonal terror with a persistent stare-down mentality, giving up highlights in primitivist knocks and coenobite chatter of ‘Laugh Taker’, the Prurient-esque squall of ‘Golden Oldies’, a recursive missile named ‘Hole In The Head’, and the gloomy creeper, ’Snow On The Headstone’.
At bleedin’ last, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s legendary solo album, Time To Tell  sees a proper, if edited, official vinyl reissue - MAGAZINE INCLUDED! - on her and Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International label. In fact, with Cosey’s utterly mind-blowing autobiography, Art Sex Music now in circulation, putting history to rights and stoking febrile interest around her inspirational, nonpareil oeuvre, the timing could hardly be any better to reissue her most sought-after and inarguably definitive solo release.
First issued on tape in 1983, some years after the initial demise of Throbbing Gristle and the start of of Chris & Cosey, and just prior to the emergence of their multimedia CTI alias, Time To Tell documents Hull’s greatest daughter, Christine Carol Newby aka Cosey Fanni Tutti, ‘fessing all about her long-running art praxis involving a deep penetration of the British sex industry - from nude modelling to striptease and transgressive performance art - all set to her signature, exploratory electronic sculptures and drily angelic delivery.
For this hugely important reissue of Cosey’s only solo record (yep, only!), she worked with husband and creative partner Chris Carter to edit the original two track release, trimming down some of the longer parts to optimise audio fidelity, and also incorporating The Secret Touch which was included on the Time To Tell (Special Edition) CD release in 1993/2000.
Thus the release spies three distinct strands or aspects of Cosey’s sound. The first, longest and most comprehensive is the LP’s title track, which, as far as we can tell, appears in a slightly abridged version, but still ties up all her key sonic themes, from pulsing, sensuous synths, sky-licking guitars and brittle drum machines to her achingly seductive Yorkshire accent, drily recounting her experiences and inside/out perspective in the sex industry. Tell us this isn’t one of the most alluring 20 minutes of the ‘80s ever recorded, and we’ll tell you to do one.
Ritual Awakening comes on the B-side. Here the drum machine drops away and Cosey’s hushed vocals take a new, diaphanous form, refracted in a diamond-cut prism of electronics with near-cinematic strings, feeling out unreachable edges of the lushest void. Then we’re stranded in The Secret Touch, where her sallow synth strokes hint at an aquarian sort of new age, melding with reverberating, Denny-esque guitar against an unfathomable backdrop of possible field recordings and almost raga-like drones on her signature Cornet.
We could hammer on about this one all day, but suffice it to say: this is a totally essential purchase!
Tirzah pursues the slowest-burning soul feels on Devotion, the London-based singer-songwriter’s humbly singular début album, produced by Mica Levi and providing us with total life affirming summer listening - most probably the record we've listened to most this year so far, and one that lingers on and on...
Since her first solo 12”s and thru frequent collaborations with Mica Levi - including the Taz And May Vids  for DDS - Tirzah has quietly blossomed into one of the UK’s most precious and peculiar artists working at the fringes of experimental pop, post-grime and R&B, and Devotion is set to bring her love to a wider audience.
Plaintive and low key, Devotion presents Tirzah’s vocal in the most evocative light, framed by backdrops of bleary-eyed and bent vibes and the kind of half-finished, permanently work-in-progress production style that's become a calling card of her music and her tight knit crew including Coby Sey, Mica Levi and Brother May.
Album of the year? Aye, quite possibly.
Although recorded on 8-track at the end of 2002/early 2003, 'Worn Copy' is a more complete and involving record than Ariel Pink's proper 2004 debut release 'The Doldrums'. As personal as Pepys, 'Worn Copy' is comparable to The Magnetic Field's '69 Love Songs' in terms of genre plundering and dogged intimacy making it easy to see why he has been causing so much fuss in our Willy Mason-era. Opening track 'Trepanated Earth' illustrates his style perfectly, beginning with a reedy synth led rock song that sounds like it's been recorded straight off the TV during a 1980's Hasselhoff show. This is then punctured by a flurry of overlapping and hotch-potch vocal samples, through which Pink emerges into some full-on operatic rock that sounds very much how Bobby Conn would were he to cover Queen's 'Flash Gordon' score. But we're not done yet, with Pink falling on a chrome-plated electro-pop close to shimmer us past the 10 minute mark. A bit like allowing your radio to keep searching out the strongest signal whilst on the move, 'Trepanated Earth' displays Pink's ADD syndrome through a patchwork of accomplished genre-bending segments that at no point descends into parody. Elsewhere we get the fantastic jingle-corruption of 'Credit', where Pink borrows a melody from Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' and cross-breeds the results with the Human League and Gary Numan, spitting "Credit, we win you lose, credit - our choices buy you, credit go buy something used..." whilst 'One on One' is a bit Lou Reed and a bit Adam Green, without the contradictions that should resonably imply. Fiercely unique and strangely beguiling.