DJ Nozaki a.k.a. ZZZ pumps the box for L.I.E.S.
Extruding the churning 303’s and 808’s of Psychic Agony Ov Session (Original Mix) across the A-side, and slanging it Santos style with the rushing waves of percussion in Psychic Agony Ov Session (Grave Master Yardie Mix), along with the Legowelt-like square based roiler, Pelectrique.
The music of Australian artist Thembi Soddell resides in a zone of unrelenting darkness and physical affect. Working at the nexus of raw emotion, sound design and musique concrete, she creates sound worlds that are effortlessly dense and abyss-like. In her performances, she explores sonic environments which swallow the audience. By utilising intense sound pressure and varying dynamics she creates profoundly unsettling, but fulfilling, experiences for her audiences.
"Love Songs, her latest work, is easily the clearest articulation of her methodologies. A work of extreme dynamics and intensities, the record is one of the most fierce sonic expressions to be delivered from an Australian artist in recent years.
“The title Love Songs,” Thembi explains, “is a little dark humour on my behalf. As the compositional process evolved the work became a meditation on the lived experience of insidious forms of abuse within supposedly loving relationships, in connection to certain forms of mental illness. These experiences are ones of extremes and emotional intensities; the tensions between horror, beauty, rage, desire, confusion, love and perceptual annihilation. Also, a good deal of the source material for the album is voice. I asked Alice Hui-Sheng Chang to vocalise perceptual collapse, which I sampled and manipulated into expressions of these themes. So, these are my love songs.”
Published alongside an extensive book, outlining more literal readings of her ideas of sonic affect, contemporary relationships and the nature of becoming, Soddell’s Love Songs is an utterly personal and compelling listen. It’s equal parts horror, anxiety, relief and exhilaration, often in the same instant. A truly remarkable rendering of sound that extends the possibilities for how we are embraced and engulfed by the acoustics we encounter.
Thembi Soddell (b. Australia 1980) is a sound artist and electroacoustic composer with an interest in psychology, perception, subjectivity and affect in relation to intense encounters with sound. Her distinct approach to composition exploits dynamic extremes, creating volatile, evocative sound experiences with a disquieting edge. She creates works for recording, installation and performance — including three solo CD releases, presentations at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and City Gallery Wellington, and two European tours in a duo with cellist Anthea Caddy. Since 2010 she has been engaged in practice-based research at RMIT University, focusing on the articulation of firsthand experiences of mental illness, trauma and psychological distress using sound art practice. She also works as sound designer and dramaturg for theatre and dance and has guest curated for the National Gallery of Victoria. Her work has been described as “extremely accomplished” (Diffusion) and inducing of "psychological terror" (Real Time Arts). Soddell lives in rural Victorian town, Clunes."
Outstanding hybrid of classical orchestration and electronic sources from Portuguese composer Joana Gama and regular collaborator Luís Fernandes, with José Alberto Gomes arrangements for the 15-piece Orquestra De Guimarães, and production by Room40 caretaker, Lawrence English.
Whatever we were expecting, it wasn’t this: a stately transition from stark, pounding percussion to brilliantly soured strings in Neither Flesh nor Fleshless, thru stirring experimental techno vectors in Perpetual Possibility, to the staggeringly windswept dynamics of The Pattern Is Movement and Through The Vibrant Air, to a the glorious, minimalist resolution in Shaft of Sunlight. Trust us, this is one of the mot arresting Room40 releases in an age. RIYL Lawrence English, Jani Christou, Zeitkratzer Ensemble, Transflora...
“Joana Gama and Luís Fernandes’ new offering At The Still Point Of The Turning World, borrows its title from T. S. Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton. It is a record of restless motion, lilting and pulsing with a sense of gentle determination. Born out of a period of mutual loss, the works carry a bittersweet sentiment. Bitter in the sense of loss; sweet in the sense of lingering memory and influences recognised of those departed.
It is also a record that, like the poem from which it takes its title, mediates on the nature of time and the way music must be explored as temporal art. The very nature of the compositions, their meaning and structural qualities unfold across the record with a particular and measured temporal gesture. This sense of measure is the result of musicians involved, guided by Gama and Fernandes, working for and against one another within each of the tracks.
Pieces such as ‘Neither Flesh Nor Fleshless’ and ‘Lucid Stillness’ capture this essence. The sharp attack of their rhythmic spines, create macro environments within which instruments float into and out of focus. Rather than simply acting as anchor points for the pieces, these markers become buoyant amidst atmospheric layers of strings, percussion and horns. The music swells and breaths.
Commissioned by Câmara Municipal de Guimarães and A Oficina / Westway Lab Festival in 2017, At The Still Point Of The Turning World, is the most considered output from this duo to date. Informed by a shared interest in the timbral connections between piano and electronics, these pieces extend outward from Gama and Fernandes and in combination with Orquestra de Guimarães and arrangements from José Alberto Gomes, they create a charged collection of minimalist inspired sound fields.”
S. Craig Zahler (‘Bone Tomahawk’) returns with his sophomore feature, ‘Brawl In Cell Block 99’.
"An exhilarating exercise in analogue violence, ‘Brawl In Cell Block 99’ follows the brutal exploits of a former boxer who finds himself incarcerated after a drug deal goes wrong. Trapped in a maximum security facility, he must fight to stay alive and to protect those he loves. Composed by directors S. Craig Zahler and Jeff Herriott, the score is performed by soul musicians / bands. “Conceptually, I approached each tune much as I would a novel or script by beginning with a basic character - the protagonist. From this seed, I grew the music, working with co-composer Jeff Herriott, with whom I grew up and made heavy metal albums (as Realmbuilder), synth music (as Binary Reptile), and the score to my first film, ‘Bone Tomahawk’.
For these songs, I focused on character first and story second, adding essential, world-building details everywhere. Jeff and I composed, orchestrated, and arranged the core elements of these seven tunes in an intense six-day period, which took place between my marathon editing sessions of the film itself. Some of these tunes were conceived to complement scenes in the movie, and others were written to serve as a direct counterpoint, but all were to be heartfelt journeys from the perspective of the songs’ protagonists.” - S. Craig Zahler."
A Colourful Storm’s Mark ravages the ‘floor for Unterton with three bleeding-edge industro D&B cuts likely to trip up the techno kids looking for another dose of 4/4.
Like his ruffneck volley Integrier Dich Du Yuppie issued at the start of ’18, The Least Likely Event Will Occur In The Long Run calibrates a mix of strongback D&B and dark, ritualistic electronic atmospheres with runs into more mutant forms.
Know No Out Only In kicks it off with a dense, pensive intro precipitating a recoiling hardstep coda right out of the Doc Scott playbook, whereas the amorphous, beatless sound design of Veiling Hazards feels lifted straight out of a sci-fi soundtrack, but with a very canny surprise in the closing strokes, while the crooked half step dip of See In Symbols feels like a sparring partner for Raime goods.
High quality reissue of the monumental work August 1974 by Japanese experimental music ensemble Taj Mahal Travellers.
"In April 1972 a group of Japanese musicians set off from Rotterdam in a Volkswagen van. As they crossed Europe and then made their way through Asia they made music in a wide range of locations. They also paid close attention to the changing scene and to differing ways of life. Midway through May they reached their destination, the iconic Taj Mahal on the bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, India.
The Taj Mahal Travellers had fulfilled physically the promise of the name they adopted when they formed in 1969. But their music had always been a journey, a sonic adventure designed to lead any listener’s imagination into unfamiliar territory. The double album August 1974 was their second official release. The first July 15, 1972 is a live concert recording, but on 19th August 1974 the Taj Mahal Travellers entered the Tokyo studios of Nippon Columbia and produced what is arguably their definitive statement.
The electronic dimension of their collective improvising was coordinated, as usual, by Kinji Hayashi. Guest percussionist Hirokazu Sato joined long-term group members Ryo Koike, Seiji Nagai, Yukio Tsuchiya, Michihiro Kimura, Tokio Hasegawa and Takehisa Kosugi. The enigmatic Takehisa Kosugi, whose soaring electric violin was such a vital element in their music, had been a pioneer of free improvisation and intermedia performance art with Group Ongaku at the start of the 60s. Later in that decade, before launching the Taj Mahal Travellers, he had become known internationally through his association with the Fluxus art movement. During the mid-70s the Travellers disbanded and while his colleagues more or less stopped performing as musicians Kosugi continued to reach new audiences across the course of several decades as a composer, regular performer and musical director for the acclaimed Merce Cunningham Dance Company. August 1974 captures vividly the characteristic sound of the Taj Mahal Travellers, haunting tones from an unusual combination of instruments, filtered through multiple layers of reverb and delay.
Their music has strong stylistic affinities with the trippy ambience of cosmic and psychedelic rock, but the Taj Mahal Travellers were tuning in to other vibrations, drawing inspiration from the energies and rhythms of the world around them rather than projecting some alternative reality. Films of rolling ocean waves often provided a highly appropriate backdrop for their lengthy improvised concerts. This is truly electric music for the mind and body."
A wonderfully mystic midsummer episode of free improv jazz recorded and reworked in Tokyo, 1976, now rendered and wrapped up for reissue by Belgium’s Aguirre. Original copies trade 2nd hand for the price of a small hatchback with a few miles left on the clock. This one will travel, we promise (no dodgy car dealer chat!)
“Thelonious Monk, Mal Waldron, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Derek Bailey, Musica Elettronica Viva – saxophonist Steve Lacy played with them all. Renowned for remarkable solo concerts that confirmed his mastery of the soprano horn and that carried its instrumental language into previously unexplored regions, Lacy also loved to collaborate with musicians who could inspire him to stretch the boundaries of his own artistry.
During the summer of 1975 Lacy toured Japan, and on June 24th he entered a Nippon Columbia studio in Tokyo with Yuji Takahashi and Takehisa Kosugi, two adventurous kindred spirits, guaranteed to fire Lacy’s creative imagination. The fascinating outcome of that dynamic session is Distant Voices, an album without parallel in Lacy’s extensive discography.
Composer Iannis Xenakis was so impressed when he heard Yuji Takahashi playing piano in 1961 that he later wrote music especially for him. The Japanese virtuoso rose to that formidable challenge and many others as he rapidly established himself as one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary composed music. His repertoire extends back to Bach and Purcell yet for Takahashi music has remained an open quest and a process of discovery.
Takehisa Kosugi on the other hand has been a legendary figure in the international avant garde since the mid-1960s when his work was endorsed by the Fluxus movement. In Japan he was by then already well established as leading practitioner of experimental music and intermedia performance art. At the time Distant Voices was recorded Kosugi had also developed a following for his electric violin playing with the Taj Mahal Travellers, a group whose sound had strong stylistic affinities with psychedelic rock and space music. Subsequently other audiences worldwide came to know Kosugi through his long association as a composer, performer and musical director with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
On 24th June 1975 Takahashi sat at a grand piano, with celeste and vibraphone alongside him and small bells attached to his hands. Kosugi was equipped with violin, flute, mouth organ, an electronic modulator, porcelain bowls and at times he used his voice. Lacy played soprano saxophone, of course. Now and then he pressed the mouth of the instrument against the skin of a kettle drum. He occasionally fiddled with a transistor radio, and also found uses for a stepladder, a toothbrush and a spinning wheel. This was in no sense a routine musical session. Distant Voices preserves a unique occasion when three singular musicians joined together to embrace the unknown.”
Quietly revered Japanese artist Miki Yui makes a shimmering lower case outing with ‘Mills’ for Sam Weaver’s excellent, roving Cusp Editions. Verging on the sound sensitivities familiar to David Toop’s music, and blessed with the kind of filigree attention to detail which haunts Bellows or Elodie’s miasmic small sounds, Mills is a totally absorbing and ultimately psychedelic experience - but read that as slow, waking dream psychedelia, rather than mind-melt headf*ck. Listen with your windows open for lushest effect!
“Boundless solar oscillations in exquisite cycle; this new record from Miki Yui is as playful as it is mesmerizing.
Cuspeditions warmly welcomes Japanese artist Miki Yui to the label, with a work delicately crafted from field recordings, synthesizer, solar oscillator and sampler. Yui is known for the unique nature of her music (apparent also in past collaborations with Rolf Julius, Rie Nakajima and Klaus Dinger), and whilst Mills retains the subtlety and sensuousness of her earlier works, these new coherent and lucid compositions are charged with a narrative tension we’ve not heard before.
Dial Sun opens the album as an early morning call. Sounds flicker and flop, not a care in the world, amidst scraping and intimate electronics, escalating toward a frenzied outro. The subdued unwind of Granite follows on in a laminose exploration of metallic samples upon fragmented melody, fleeting and windswept as a lost memory. The hollow-sounding language of sputtering synthesizer and warped samples creates a rhythmic strangeness in the album’s shortest piece, Salute.
Otherworldly overtones with a cooler feel characterize Mica where long elegant feedback slides between dissonant swells, thick and granular as though emerging from electronic canyons. Solareo is the album’s major work at 13 minutes long, and invites the listener to meander through dense almost reggae like chord-beds, slow pulses and a raucous of bizarre synthetic glitches. The cyclic reprise of Dial Moon returns to the playfulness of the opening track with dancing rhythms and turbulent hooks. Tones like whispers fade into quietude, toward a silence warm and balsam.
Miki Yui’s harnessing of solar energy, both materially and symbolically, feels like a joyous salute to the sun in all its manifestations."
Rare and brilliant music as used in the late 1960s Amazing animated series we are not allowed to mention for legal reasons.
"Way back in 1967, an animated superhero cartoon was released into the world. It was created by Grantray-Lawrence Animation and was based on a web-spinning, crime fighting blue and red dressed character that had originated in1962, in Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. This amazing series (that we’re not allowed to mention the name of for legal reasons) ran on ABC TV in the USA, then Canada, then a few years later started to spread its web further, running here in the UK throughout summer holidays, after school and possibly early mornings at weekends in the late 1970s. The series then got released on VHS video (and probably Betamax too) in the mid 1980s and still continues to spin its animated magic around the world through further broadcasts, YouTube and DVDs.
The series was notoriously low budget, with animated errors everywhere and numerous scenes, sequences and backgrounds being re-used all the time, often across the same episode. Even a certain spider logo on a costume would appear with six legs, then eight legs later on, then back to six again in the same show. Series One opened with a newly written spider theme, a classic, hooky song all about doing whatever spiders can, and had, as Big George (RIP) once pointed out to me, a set of session singers falling slightly out of time with the backing track after the first verse. Series One also featured background music by jobbing composers Bob Harris and Ray Ellis but these cues and master tapes are now believed to be lost.
After Series One the company Grantray-Lawrence went bankrupt, so the amazing spider series (that we’re not allowed to mention for legal reasons) was taken on by producer Steve Krantz. He brought in new talent, including animation director Ralph Bakshi who later went on to turn a Robert Crumb strip cartoon into the feature Fritz The Cat. Krantz also slashed the already cripplingly small spider budget, and brought in the idea of using economic library music. Here, thanks possibly to an independent sync agent (it has been suggested that a company called Music Sound Track Services may have been the one) production turned to the KPM catalogue. This was one of the few really established library catalogues around at the time with a modern edge; it was full of fabulous, modern dramatic music tracks – often all on the same LP. But more importantly all the tracks were far longer than the one minute musical cuts that many of the fledgling USA library companies were issuing at the time. Not only would this KPM music be efficient, affordable and very easy to use, it would also mean syndication worldwide would not be held up by any future musical issues. Krantz produced two amazing spider series (that we’re not allowed to mention for legal reasons), and both were smothered with KPM music. In fact barely a spider second goes by without music playing in either the background or foreground.
For many years I – and many nostalgic others - have been thinking about putting this vinyl album together. For many enthusiasts this really is formative music – a junior foray into hip swinging crime jazz and esoteric musical grooviness. I’ve also read on line accounts by DJs from WFMU on the trail of original spider master tapes, and there’s even a whole forum dedicated to “Spidey-Jazz”. Then recently I was looking at an old spider tracklist and realized that several of my favourite KPM cues were there including Syd Dale’s “Hell Raisers” and “Walk And Talk”, both from one of the most elusive and desirable KPM albums of all time (yes, you just try and find yourself a copy of KPM 1002 right now), so I decided to push on and get the album made.
So, what features on this Spider-Jazz Lp? Well it’s music from the amazing TV series we are not allowed to mention for legal reasons, BUT, not music from Series One. No, but it is all from Series Two and Series Three. From looking at archival cue sheets, over 50 tracks from various early KPM 1000 series albums were used across episodes. I’ve distilled this down into one exciting and enthralling LP, and if this works a further Spider Jazz album may well swing in to production. If you’re interested (and I’m sure you may well be) cues here came from KPM1001, KPM1002, KPM1015, KPM1017, KPM1018 and KPM1043 and were composed by master library composers of the era – Dale, Hawkshaw, Hawksworth, Mansfield etc.
And if you are listening over there in the USA, you may well recognize many of the cues here not just from the amazing TV series (that we’re not allowed to mention for legal reasons) but also from classic 1960s and 1970s NFL highlight shows that we are allowed to mention."
Two years since his Mango Bay introduction (nearly 1 million views on YouTube and counting), Bojan Cizmic reprises a happy garage house sound for Hot Haus Recs
Running the debonaire nostalgic vibes of XTC IV next to Kornel Kovacs’ extra-swung and layered remix, and two well skooled stripes of deep NYC garage in Soft Touch and XTC II.
All you E’d up ‘90a mistake babies, eat your Kappa-plated hearts out right here, right now.