The Cinematic Orchestra are back with a new album.
"Founding member Jason Swinscoe and longtime partner Dominic Smith have enlisted album contributions from collaborators old and new: Moses Sumney, Roots Manuva, Heidi Vogel, Grey Reverend (vocalist on Bonobo’s 'First Fires’), Dorian Concept and Tawiah (Mark Ronson, Kindness), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Flying Lotus, Anderson Paak, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote) features on strings and photographer and visual artist Brian “B+” Cross collaborated with Swinscoe and Smith on the album’s concept. The record was mixed by multiple Grammy winner Tom Elmhirst (David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Adele) in Jimi Hendrix’s legendary Electric Lady studios. The album artwork comes courtesy of The Designers Republic™ (Aphex Twin)."
Anthoney J. Hart (Imaginary Forces, East Man) remoulds jungle, garage and grime influences into his ‘New Style’ for Hypercolour’s rave-ready Sneaker Social Club sublabel
Leading on from his 2018 Arcola 12”, the London-based producer scavenges and galvanises classic tropes into fiercely mutant riddims, pranging out from the clipped, in-the-pocket swagger of ‘New Style’ to the rare groove vacuum styles of ’Too Nuff’ up top, then throwing down the whipsmart electro-grime pneumatics of ‘London Warehouse’ and the nipped ’n tucked SND 2-step styles of ‘Ready Again.’
TJ Hertz’s first original release since 2014’s Flatland LP comes in the form of Objekt #4, a continuation of his club-focused white label series and a tribute to the sadly now defunct Basement Q, a formative and beloved haunt in Berlin’s Schöneberg district which quietly but profoundly shaped the musical identities of Hertz and several of his contemporaries until its final closure in 2012.
New Order’s 3rd single, and first to feature a sequencer, repressed for first time since 1987!
The A-side’s naggingly driven title tune was originally the B-side to ‘Procession’ [Fac 53, 1981], while this B-side is given to the puckered push of ‘Cries and Whispers’ and the bittersweet kiss-off ‘Mesh’.
Sim Hutchins & Dale Cornish furnish OOH-sounds’ Decouple ][ Series with alternately spaced out and clenched, driving strains of techno / electronica.
Arriving in the footsteps of Georgia/Bellows’ first instalment, two of the UK’s most playfully crafty operators play in a remit exploring “topics of increasing complexitiy, dependencies and miscommunication in a media-saturated digital era.
Both tracks can be taken as examples of the artist parsing sense from the chaos, sniffing their humanity amid the dank odour of current clusterfucks. Sim Hutchins’ brilliant ‘Druk Pak’ sounds like dub techno on strong muscle relaxants, or the echo chamber talking to itself after a big line of K, syntax turned to fractal mush. On the surface, Dale Cornish’s drier, jabbing approach is much different, with overpronating drum machine rhythms and asymmetric vocal samples tilted headlong forward, but under the surface he’s also mirroring the dissolution of economic linearity into a rabid all at once-ness.
A spiritual and thematic companion of sorts to PAN’s breathtaking 'Mono No Aware', this excellent artefact from highly promising Berlin/London collective, C.A.N.V.A.S revolves around curious new musics by Object Blue, Ben Vince, Flora Yin-Wong, Ashley Paul, Ausschuss, Xao, Michael Speers and others, a hugely absorbing set that veers from new mutations of ambient-pop thru to electro-acoustic terraforming and expressive minimalism.
The performance collective-turned-label’s 4th release surveys a broad range of ideas running the gamut from electro-ambient abstraction to percussive studies and wave songs, all underlined by a mutual, coherent search for novel sounds that question ideas of authorship in a shared pool of codified ideas and techniques.
Where the label’s first two releases by project coordinators Olan Monk and Lugh O’Neill established sprawling vectors crossing ambient-pop, Actress-style greyscale iridescence, and dreamily disembodied voices, here they both play into a bigger, more complex picture, highlighting a wide spectrum of subterranean thought and composition within the context of electronic music.
Listeners are encouraged to draw their own links between the disparities; Xao’s opening gambit ‘Quintal’ unfolds a beguiling translation from ghostly mechanical gulls and aerial turbulence to lush ambient and back, while Flora Yin-Wong’s ‘Murmures’ describes an ethereal, chamber-like mutation of traditional Chinese tones, while Michael Speers’ wormholing abstraction gives way to Ashley Paul’s bittersweet asymmetric ambient pop masterpiece ‘Sleep Walker’.
Label cofounders Lugh and Olan Monk are next, respectively, with an Oval-esque glitch meltdown ‘Hot Mess’, and the curdled minimal wave dirge ‘Seph’, before Ben Vince’s sky-searching beauty ‘Fading in Panoramio’ holds your breath until the rawly expressive minimalism of object blue’s ‘Fourteen Boulders, Fifteen Stones.’ closes the set with a glassy, uncompromising take on prepared and disfigured percussion.
’Cipher’ is one of those rare compilations that exceeds the sum of its parts, focusing on how artists hold their voice within increasingly borderless and shared languages in new music. Those of you looking to discover some of the most interesting tributaries flowing into the contemporary scene right now would be well advised to dive deep into this one.
Sarah Davachi serves her 2nd album of 2018 with ‘Gave In Rest’, offering a studio developed follow-up to her mesmerising album ‘Let Night Come On Bells End The Day’, which has quietly dominated our listening lives for months already...
As her beatific blends of early church, medieval and Renaissance musics have patiently and patently revealed over the past five years, Sarah’s works for piano, organ, synth, and woodwind demonstrate a unique gift for extracting and reworking the most affective spirits of church music to a secular appeal, effectively voicing a sort of metaphysical minimalism that could be explained as a result of deeply focused technique, but is perhaps better regarded as a timeless form of sonic alchemy.
Where her previous records were documents of a shorter time spent with her instruments, Sarah dedicated herself on ‘Gave In Rest’, spending a summer giving deeper consideration to how Renaissance musicians experimented with new instruments, forms and texture, and “how the quietude… and the openness of physical space, the stillness of altars“ in churches would have affected how they wrote. Subsequently recording with Howard Bilerman at Montreal’s hotel2tango (home of myriad, seminal Constellation recordings), Sarah brought those instrumental ideas to life with the modern addition of tape delays and chorusing effects to infuse and render shimmering new layers of timbral depth to her plaintive melodic gestures, and with a subtle yet unmistakably visceral impact.
In album opener ‘Auster’ she uses tape to slow down a recorder and open up its vibrating innards, revealing a tremulous, transfixing soul in the most humble of instruments, while the LP’s closer ‘Waking’ finds her locating elusive echoes of Baroque harmonies in that most soulful machine, beautifully realigning its putative purpose. In between, her tracks’ moods and titles chart a slow passing of day and night, from he ghostly elegance of ‘Third Hour’ to her sylvan ‘Evensong’, thru to the stately yet lip-wobbling beauty of ‘Matins’ at the album’s core, and perhaps best of all in the achingly evocative coruscation of ‘Gloaming’, a song we already know we’ll be returning to for many, many years to come.
The loaded, polysemous word ‘soul’ springs to mind, on the one hand connoting lofty notions of transcendence, contemplation and reverence, while on the other also helping to define a gentle, slow-burning modesty and broad appeal to practically anybody with ears and a functioning sense of empathy. But most of all, ‘Gave In Rest’ will strike a chord with anyone who listens properly and attentively. To use another loaded phrase, the devil is beautifully apparent in its gilded detail.
An exquisite showcase for Andy Bey, one of John Coltrane’s favourite singers, available on vinyl for the first time - includes delectable takes on Nick Drake’s ‘The River Man’, and ‘Get It Straight (Straight No Chaser)’ by Thelonious Monk.
"'Allegedly Coltrane’s favourite singer, Andy Bey recorded as vocalist for Max Roach (“Members, Don’t Git Weary”), Horace Silver (“Won’t You Open Up Your Senses”), Gary Bartz (“Celestial Blues”) and Stanley Clarke in the late sixties / early seventies. He released one solo album and then disappeared from view for 20 years, resurfacing in the nineties.
This 1998 album showcases his four-octave range, the intimacy of love songs and raw power of the blues on a mixture of standards (“Pretty Girl”, “Some Other Time”), Latin (“O Cantador”, “Drume Negrita”), modern (Nick Drake’s “River Man”), and a couple of original tunes. Available for the first time on vinyl, cut at 45rpm, it features Andy on vocals and on piano, with appearances from Gary Bartz and Geri Allen.'"
Knockout album of smoky jazz-pop, cinematic strings and filigree electronics from Eiko Ishibashi, who comes off like Japan’s answer to Julia Holter in the uneasy hauntology of her 6th album opus.
‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ finds Eiko delving into her family history, following the death of her father, coming to terms with the discovery that he came of age during Japan’s occupation of Manchurian China in the 1940s, when his father - Eiko’s Grandfather - worked as a railroad man in occupied territory. The album is about imagining a past she never knew, and about how that past can inform the future - in particular her own.
As a noted improvisor on percussion and piano, Eiko’s sense of intuition is key to her music, and ‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ would appear to be a study in locating or understanding the source of her core instincts. Over its 9 songs, she describes a journey of discovery and reflection in expansive, near-cinematic terms, loaning from her practice writing for theatre and cinema to shape an album enriched with subtle emotional cadence and tempered instrumental virtuosity.
From the anxious dawn of dissonant brass smear in ‘Prologue: Hands On The Mouth’, her journey wends from the rustling chug of ‘Agloe’ and its sweeping emotive arrangement, thru the inquisitive jazz chords of ‘Iron Veil’, to the reflective pool of hovering organ in ‘Silent Scrapbook’, and the fleeting feels of anger and sadness in ‘A Ghost in a Train, Thinking’, before her timelessly sumptuous title track comes off like the sonic denouement of a classic film, and the pulsating electronics of ‘Tunnels To Nowhere’ signify a rush to the future, and the melancholy resolution of ‘To The East’, and the ultimate uncertainty connoted by swirling, bittersweet strings and tentative double bass in her ‘Epilogue: Innisfree’.
Crooked electronica, twisting and flipping presets and samples into warped reflections and queasy arrangements, sometimes obliquely abstract, at other with a cinematic romance betraying Belp’s influence from classical music and film scores.
Balmy, slow disco pressure from South Africa, 1983, dishing up Kumasi’s charming and only album on its first reissue
Just like Smiling C’s previous treats from Morocco’s Shams Dinn and Czech act Karya, the label peer beyond the usual hotspots to find precious blooms in early ‘80s SA, which, to be totally fair, is hardly under-regarded for its contributions to dance music.
‘I Know You Feel It’ packs that South African zulu je ne sais quoi in each part, from the strolling bassline and natty drum fills of ‘Anomakoliwa’, thru the plush synth-funk chops and harmonised vox of ‘She’s A Queen’ and the soulful dip of ‘What’s On Your Mind’, to the warm embrace of the title cut and the winking, wobbly strut of ‘Picnic (Moger)’ with its pealing sax and saucy bassline.
The return of the Zanzibara series: first-time reissue of a Deep Taarab masterpiece from legendary Swahili singer Zuhura Swaleh, recorded in Nairobi in 1981.
"Zuhura Swaleh & Party initially rose to fame on the Mombasa scene in the early 1970s. Traditional taarab music – the Islamic music of Zanzibar and the East African coast – had for a long time been influenced by Bollywood soundtracks, but Zuhura & Party were instrumental in bringing the focus back onto classic Swahili styles, at the same time introducing a new fast-paced and electrically amplified style known as chakacha that revolutionized the scene.
Zuhura was not afraid of speaking out and her music - sometimes featuring risqué lyrics - dealt with contemporary issues from a female perspective, something of a rarity at the time and something that would pave the way for the new “modern taarab” sound that came to fore in the 1990s.
The group played across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania throughout the 70s, and while playing a wedding in Nairobi in 1981 they were approached by the local Polygram studio to record an album - one of the only full-length Taarab recordings of the period. The record did not catch on as the LP format was not suited to the tiny portable record players in use in Kenya back then, and the record industry as a whole collapsed in the wake of the 1982 coup d’état attempt and the resulting economic slump. Only a few records were pressed and have since become much sought-after collectors’ items. Locally the songs survived and remained popular as pirated dubs (first on cassette now on CDR)."
One of the year’s most crucial wave reissues, Stano’s debut LP ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is a seminal and sought-after Irish post-punk album starring two rare appearances by the near-mythical Michael O’Shea. Nothing less than an essential recommendation to anyone familiar with the Michael O’Shea LP, Finders Keeper’s ‘Strange Passion’ compilation, or early Dome experiments!
We can barely contain our buzz over this reissue. From its wild DIY drum machine programming to the appearance of O’Shea’s cymbeline-like home-built instrument and the cut ’n splice, layered song arrangements, ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is one of those blue moon reissues that, in hindsight, seem to blow away so much other, better known material from the era whence it came.
As spotted with ‘Town’, a highlight of Finders Keepers’ great Cache Cache compilation, ‘Strange Passion’, Stano’s mix of hands-on drum machine rhythms and bittersweet songcraft remain among the strongest examples from Dublin’s punk/post-punk scene of the early ‘80s. And judging from the 2nd hand asking prices of ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ in 2018, quite a few other listeners are patently aware of his prowess, too.
A former member of The Threat (also found on ‘Strange Passion’), John Denver Stanley or Stano recorded his first album in Dublin’s Alto studio, in the basement of late C.18th Irish Nationalist leader Robert Emmet’s house, where he made sublime use of the studio’s natural reverbs, inviting around pals and peers to work in a musique concrete-like method of playing, processing and editing to achieve the wickedly unpredictable, flowing chicanery of his first album.
The two appearances of Michael O’Shea and his Mo Chara (a self-built, 17-string, zither or cymbeline-like instrument with pick-ups) are noteworthy not just for their haunting beauty, but also their rarity, amounting to the near-mythical busker’s only known recordings outside an eponymous classic for Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis’ Dome Records. Whether meshed with Stano’s drum machine and echoplex FX in ‘Seance of a Kondalike’ or layered with his Sitar and Stano’s tabla-esque tweaks in ‘A Dead Rose’, the effect leaves us a shivering mess, to be honest and still scratching our heads why there’s no recent, significant reissue of O’Shea’s own work.
The rest of the LP is no less brilliant in it’s own way, roundly speaking to the diversity Stano, a self-described “non-musician”, and his intuitive way with sound. From the almost lusting funk of ‘White Field (In Isis)’, to the wild-pitching drum machine of ‘Blue Glide’, thru the icy elegance of the grand piano in ‘Out of the Dark, Into the Dawn’, to the sheer concrete sound design of ‘Melting Grey’ and again with that deadly machine swagger on ‘Emma Wild’ and ‘Room’, we’re left in no doubt this LP is a true, overlooked classic of its time.
Fleet-footed and heady deep house and techno from Denmark’s Central, committing his 2nd solo LP with Aarhus-based Help Recordings
Playing into classic deep house and techno styles in ‘Om Dans’, he comes nimbly straight-laced and soulful with ‘Doing This’, then quick and spaced-out in the ambient techno of ‘Milo’, while ‘Mix A’ works with insistent subbass and feathered chords; ‘Be Your Lady’ gives its some gauzy ‘90s garage nostalgia; ‘Fresh+’ catches a beautifully warm Detroit breeze recalling Claude Young, as do the mercurial, jazzy flex of ’T.E.M’, and the lush, hyper-latinate dancer ‘Upward Motion’.
Julius Eastman’s breathtakingly powerful ‘Nigger Series’, recorded in 1980, available on vinyl for the first time, correcting an oversight that goes to the root of conversations about race and politics in contemporary music. Compiling ‘Crazy Nigger’, ‘Evil Nigger’ and ‘Gay Guerrilla’ together for the first time, they form a long overdue showcase of Eastman’s genius, an unmissable portal for anyone intrigued by this hugely compelling artist and his music.
Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was a prodigious voice within the influential American avant-classical movement of the 1970s. As a composer, pianist, Grammy-nominated vocalist and dancer, he brought unique qualities to the downtown minimalist movement most commonly associated with Philip Glass and Steve Reich. But where their music has received no shortage of accolades, by the early ‘80s Eastman’s staggering compositional contributions during the same era were practically unknown beyond tapes circulated between his peers. As Bradford Bailey explains “His place within the context of American classical music - an uncompromising artist of inconvenient identity, rising on the tide of an unavoidable talent, was a threat to the institution’s walls. It’s no surprise that his efforts were forced into the shadows…”
Thanks to Mary Jane Leach, however, a wider reappraisal of Eastman’s work began with release of his ‘Nigger Series’ as part of the 3CD ‘Unjust Malaise’ [New World Records, 2005], and the trio of works now appear on vinyl for the first time.
‘Crazy Nigger’ is the first and longest part of the series. Its provocative title was shocking then and is perhaps now more than ever. However, as the composer explains in an introduction given at Northwestern University found on ‘Unjust Malaise’, his use of the term references the fundamental role of “field niggers” in the foundation of the American economy, as “not superficial, but elegant… at the ground of things”. From this perceptive base, Eastman radically adapts the instrumental language of classical music to his own, expressive ends, to challenge the restrictions of romantic classical music with more fluid and organically open-ended musical structures.
Composed in 1978, it offers a muscular parallel to the more mannered minimalism of the era. His keys attack in powerful flurries right from the start, cascading complex harmonies that arguably feel more immediate, gloriously voluminous and, heck, “crazed” than work by almost any of his contemporaries. By the track’s hammering climax and lofted conclusion, first time listeners will be under little illusion as to the thrilling power of Eastman’s playing and vision.
‘Evil Nigger’ follows suit with heart-racing intensity and blistering pace, with its four pianists, including Eastman, urged into spiralling frenzies by Eastman’s cries of “two, three, four”, while the piece escalates from tonal to multi-tonal colour with imperceptibly naturalistic quality, then decays into ether. ‘Gay Guerilla’ follows, relaxing the tension to connote a sense of the sublime, attempting to model in his music an empathy or kinship between downtrodden Gay and Black folk, and the PLO or Afghan army; people who were prepared to shed blood for what they believe in. The piece finds a devastating power in its relative reserve to the other two parts, with a finer, slower narrative quality pivoting around a musical quote from the Martin Luther hymn ‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God’, dramatically, and perhaps subversively, implying a call to arms.
It is a tragic fact that Julius Eastman died aged 49, just over 10 years after these totemic pieces were written and premiered. In the time between, his work was neglected and his genius overlooked to the extent that he fell into substance addiction, eventually losing his accommodation and with it the vast majority of his scores and recordings. It would be at least 15 years before his music became known and available again, with Mary Jane Leach posting his remaining scores to the internet, leading to subsequent performances by ensembles across the world, and important reappraisals of his work by Black Music scholars such Jace Clayton and Kodwo Eshun. After the Frozen reeds label issued his Femenine set for chamber ensemble a couple of years ago, the world and the press at large finally stood to attention, with numerous features in too many publications and radio stations to mention following since.
And as for these titles, perhaps Bradford Bailey puts it best: “You have to wonder, when titling his works - often deploying the vile language of racism and homophobia, if Julius Eastman was consciously forcing white, leftist music fans like myself to choke out words which we actively despise - to recognise polarising truths which are bound to his sounds and the context in which they reside - to see our complicity with unforgivable sin."
Ot to not to is the experimental RnB recording project of Virginia natives Ian Mugerwa and Noah Smith. In 2016, Mugerwa released the first Ot to Not to LP Goshen through Nicolas Jaar’s Other People imprint.
"Goshen was a very deliberate effort to create an RnB concept album that explored aesthetics and recording methods usually more associated with European experimental electronic music. More specifically, it was an effort to subvert tropes in pop RnB, whether those be the stereotypical, sterile cleanliness of radio RnB or the safe themes and song structures. While Goshen was undertaken primarily as a solo effort while Ian was casually homeless in Richmond, Virginia, the contributions Noah did make (namely the last track) served as the basis for the aesthetic shift seen in their most recent 2nd LP It Loved to Happen.
After releasing Goshen in 2016, Mugerwa did a series of informal experiments in laptop recording that resulted in his These Movements I & II double EP. The EPs, released through European ambient label ACR, served as an outlet for Mugerwa to explore genres like ambient, modern classical, IDM, and lo-fi R'n'B without the added pressure of being bound to a strict concept or narrative. Furthermore, these EPs afforded Mugerwa some familiarity with the styles and techniques he would explore with Smith on the next Ot to not to LP.
In late 2016, Ian joined Noah at his family’s cabin in the Virginia Appalachian mountains to record a follow-up to Goshen. Prior to this, both artists had been suffering the isolating effects of untreated mental illness, and retreating to mountains to record seemed to offer a desperately needed cathartic outlet. This sylvan setting inspired a shift from the more cold, abstract, electronics of Goshen to the more naturalistic, analog-focused, and guitar-driven aesthetic of the new LP. Artists like Talk Talk, Baden Powell, Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan and Phil Elverum were playing constantly in the cabin when the duo weren’t actively tracking, influencing the sound of the LP. Just as on Goshen, tape processing was heavily utilized as a way to collage and manipulate samples.
All instruments - even the orchestral parts - were performed by Ian and Noah. Subtle, but detailed sample-based sound design was utilized throughout the album for texture and, unlike their debut, no synths were used. Instead there was an emphasis on manipulating samples the duo would amass from hours of field recording. Throughout the recording session the duo adopted a religious reverence for the woods and mountains that surrounded them, and as a result the album took on themes of spiritual yearning and exploration that flowed under allegorical lyrics about isolation and lost love. Additionally, elements of ambient electronic music were explored on It Loved to Happen, with some tracks abandoning any song structure in favour of raw sound exploration."
After decades in the making Finders Keepers present the first-ever pressing of Serge Gainsbourg’s most elusive and coveted soundtrack studio recordings – co-written, arranged and orchestrated by the genius Jean-Claude Vannier (Histoire De Melody Nelson) during what many consider to be the dynamic duo’s most definitive creative period.
Its the first time on vinyl for this previously unreleased Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtrack to a saucy, psychedelic gallic classic starring Jane Birkin and Gainsbourg in leading roles. Interesting for its forays into traditional sub-continental styles, and one track of heavy petting, alongside the usual Gainsbourgian string arrangements and smoky winks.
Believed to have been lost in a studio fire by Gainsbourg enthusiasts for over forty years (a myth that also shrouds Morricone’s lost Danger Diabolik soundtrack) the misplaced master-tapes for the drug-fuelled/Mai 68 cash-in/road-movie Les Chemins De Katmandou have been widely considered the final audio jigsaw piece in an immaculate discography/filmography thus earning this soundtrack bone-fide Holy Grail status amongst the most avid disc detectives.
Featuring the original crack team of Paris based players now recognised as French library music royalty, this LP epitomises the inimitable musical direction and expert psychedelic pop musicianship that graced classic Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtracks like La Horse, Cannabis and Sex Shop. Laying the stylistic, future-proof foundations for subsequent decades of forward-thinking Gallic funk mastery. Comprising Vannier’s signature recipe of thick plucked bass lines, close-micced drums, biting Clavinet and Eastern influenced strings and percussion (and a sprinkling of subtle traditional French instrumentation) the soundtrack to Les Chemins De Katmandou (aka The Road To Katmandu or The Pleasure Pit) captures Vannier and Gainsbourg in the first year of their creative partnership capturing their unique embryonic energy.”
In 1997 Orlando Voorn delivered two tracks for the Get Lost and Past-Present+Future compilations, as well as the idea of a full length album for his Ultra moniker. This was completed in 1998 shortly before the initial shutdown of Multiplex. Some tracks were scattered onto other releases, but this Planet Ultra EP is compiled of five previously unreleased compositions from the Multiplex album of the same name, plus the Barwork track - finally on vinyl after more than twenty years.
"DJing since at the age of 12, he won the Dutch DMC championships in ‘86. Going on to produce a multitude of club bangers since the early 90’s. Spanning many genres, his short lived Ultra alias was reserved for a deep electro vibe.
On ice for two decade these classic electro tracks reference the early UK breakbeat of the 90’s as well as the obvious sci-fi connection. To that effect we kick off with "Teflon" and "Plasma", followed by the funky "In The Galaxy" which adds a touch of Herbie Hancock. On the flip side "Ultra Light" evolves to an all-encompassing, atmospheric trip, before the deep "Barwork" and finally "Open"."
Unseen Worlds follow their amazing Laurie Spiegel reissue with a captivating album of avant, shaggy dog stories by Robert Ashley collaborator Sam Ashley and German instrument builder Werner Durand
“I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good is a new recording collaboration of Sam Ashley and Werner Durand. Sam Ashley’s mystic parables imbued with benevolent humor are drawn from a lifelong pursuit of a present-day shamanism. Werner Durand’s wind work on invented and traditional instruments stems from the minimalist tradition, routed through his own unique studies of obscure world musics.
The two artists first met in Berlin in 1984 while Sam was touring Atalanta with Robert Ashley’s opera company, with whom he was a principle vocalist for many years. Sam Ashley’s work has appeared on other Unseen Worlds releases (J. Jasmine: My New Music) and in solo and collaborative performances alongside “Blue” Gene Tyranny and other artists across the world.
Werner Durand, also active since the late Seventies, performs music for saxophones, Iranian ney, and self-made wind instruments. He is a linchpin figure in the experimental music scene in Germany and abroad following formative studies with Ariel Kalma and Gilbert Artman in Paris, Indian Classical Music with Kamalesh Maitra, and Iranian Ney with Ali Reza Asgharia. He has worked notably with David Behrman (Music With Memory), Arnold Dreyblatt (Animal Magnetism), Muslimgauze, Henning Christiansen, Catherine Christer Hennix (Born of Six), David Toop, and Amelia Cuni (Ashtayama, Diasporagas). He also was a longtime employee of Ursula Block’s gelbe MUSIK (Broken Music).”
Upcoming Amsterdam-based DJ, producer and new kid on the block Relmer International produces atmospheric house with a keen eye for the dancefloor.
"His self-titled 4-track debut EP on Magnetron Music sounds both flourishing and refreshing due to its warm, lush and deeply layered sound. All of these factors combined connect the dots between the contemporary Amsterdam club sound, the quietness of Relmer’s origins in the Dutch meadows, and the sun-kissed beaches of Brazil.
Relmer International’s productions prove to be just as diverse as his DJ-sets. On his self-titled debut EP, he creates floor-fillers and balearic beach openers. Inspired and mentored by veterans like Fatima Yamaha, Rimer London and Tako Reyenga, and as one of the instigators of Amsterdam-based rave party and DJ-collective Noclubs, Relmer International builds a bridge between producers and DJs from now and then."
Surprise drop from Shackleton, his first of 2018, following up ’Behind The Glass’ on this Woe To The Septic Heart! label
There’s a discernible Far Eastern bent to both tracks, nodding in the direction of Indonesian percussive styles from Uwalmassa or Senyawa, but still with that outernational nous that also lends it to comparison with Ekuka’s Ugandan thumb piano recordings or Psychic Warriors of Gaia style tribal techno.
‘Furnace of Guts’ is a mercurial, polychromatic flow of stuttering voices, glinting high register percussion and wriggling bottom end feathered into increasingly noisy, knotted formations, while ‘Wakefulness and Obsession’ is more potently hypnotic, droning and viscous.
New music from old hands, fine blends of rumba and soukous recorded between Lisbon and S. Tomé by icons of the island’s influential musical heritage...
"Mar & Sol presents the new album of the legendary band África Negra,"Alia cu Omali". New songs and some popular classics recorded between Lisbon and S.Tomé. This album Its a reflection of the old rumba and soukous music that this epic band of São Tomé e Príncipe got us used to. They are an icon and one of the main bands of this island, representing in their music the authenticity and culture of the former Portuguese colony on the equatorial meridian. It is our mission to expand this culture and here it is the testimony in our series of Luso Afro music which could best represent São Tomé."
"Jessica Pratt’s self-titled 2012 debut has been much-murmured about. People respond to the austere, pristine clarity of the performances, the gentle strength, marvelling at how much comes from so little: just a voice and a guitar or two. They remark on the timeless nature of the songs and the voice, scrupulously informed by the folk rock of ages past but sung without bags (none in hand, nor beneath eyes). They speculate on just who is the personality behind this Jessica Pratt? It is hard not to respond to the sound of her music, not to want more right away. Two years on and Jessica’s very new ‘On Your Own Love Again’ is here for us, playing her further adventures in different pastures. If they feel removed from the first songs, it may help to know that the recordings of the first album were made some years back with no expectation of making an album. They sat quiet on the shelf for a long time, appearing on the internet eventually. It all seemed harmless but when Birth Records honcho Tim Presley rolled up in his long white limousine and began to spin tales of folk rock glory, who was she to say no? The nice part about learning that people dig your sound is that it gives you the chance to think of what else you’d do. After deep consideration, Jessica found new songs within her and an urgency to make another record, marked with a strong sense for rendering it exactly the way she heard it in her head, spending time with her tunes and crafting the smallest details. In this way, she truly was able to inhabit her own skin as a singer of her songs - and make ‘On Your Own Love Again’ the first Jessica Pratt album constructed to be an album."
Peverelist re-presses the mighty "Roll With The Punches" after Drake sampled it...
The track is essentially quite downcast, but the elongated synth that comes in, flailing and oscillating with no set agenda halfway through the track, elevates it into the company of the most treasured tunes in your box - tracks that don't entirely make sense on first listen but which eventually plaster themselves to your mind with stubborn determination.
"Die Brucke" clings to a 4/4 template straight out of Berlin and employing cushioned pads and lilting Sino melodies, it's a soft breeze of a track that once again achieves so much with the barest ingredients.
Soundboy supreme, Ossia sends us reeling with an immense debut album of technoid dub brutalism for his staunch allies at Blackest Ever Black. A massive RIYL Demdike Stare, Wasteland, Jay Glass Dubs, The Bug, Jon Hassel...
Long in the works and properly worth the wait, ‘Devil’s Dance’ is a deliriously strong summation of Ossia’s singular style. Dread-filled and fevered, it marks the Bristol/Berlin-hailing producer as a master at negotiating negative space and bending styles to his will, taking what he needs from grime & dubstep, jazz, techno and post-industrial music, and warping it all with an uncanny sleight of hand that only comes from proper dedication to dub craft.
Most brilliantly, nothing is square or regular in Ossia’s sound world. Edges are consistently smudged and slanted, sounds bleed into one another with organic form, but, like a backyard/spareroom ganja farmer, his skill lies in pruning punctuations, allowing his forms to grow wild, whilst knowing where and when to cut and splice. Now harvested, his crop is effectively a highly potent batch with a perfect balance of meditative and psychoactive content.
From the gauntleted noise sculpture of ‘Concrete’, to the weightless skank and skronk of ‘Radiation’, thru the heaving masses of his ‘Devil’s Dance’ and ‘Hell Version’, thru the spectral ephemera of ‘Inertia’ and the 23 minutes of perceptive chicanery in ‘Vertigo’, you have one of the strongest dub records you'll hear for time.
Weval return to Kompakt with their sophomore album, 'The Weight'
"Orbiting around that ever luminous yet wistful melodic halo that surrounds their music, this second full-length effort sweeps an extra-wide and languidly woven palette of emotions and moods, making for a uniquely ambitious and generously coloured mosaic of sound.
If the recording sessions "often started grumpy and emotionless" by Harm and Merijn's own admission, the pair was "surprised by the joy it gave us, which can be compared to the emotions we felt back in the first days of making music together"; subsequently reconnecting with that fresh, naïve feeling of "absolute creative freedom" they were after. The album is also the fruit of a whole new working process for them - more playful and unpredictable - which saw them switch from "guitars lying around to piano, onto our own synths and the most cheap quirky toys synths you can imagine", and involved "recording all of our own samples, voice and almost every instrument out of the box - which for us was a totally new way of working"
The new album Pastoral, by Gazelle Twin, exhumes England’s rotten past, and shines a torch over its ever-darkening present.
"Told through a troupe of multi-gender voices, in vernaculars old and new; from the shrill echo of folksong to tabloid-tinged jaunts, the artist aka Elizabeth Bernholz, presents the notion that “there is horror in every idyll, and danger lurking beyond the “quaint” ”. The village square - once host to centuries of public torture - becomes a floral framed postcard, dolled-up for the Summer Fête. A sunny, afternoon walk over the hills unsettles a cloud of angry flies feeding from unidentifiable remains. Bigoted vitriol gently murmurs amidst tearoom chatter, as the neatly framed pastoral picture dissolves into a solemn ennui."
Raw digi-dub killers from Jackson Bailey's Tapes project. Originally released a decade ago, it was our first taste of Bailey's unique take on soundsystem pressure, sounding something like an 8-bit Delia Derbyshire versioning classic Tubbys, dubbed straight to a battered old D90 and shrouded in a cloud of smoke...
'Hissing Theatricals' was originally conceived on the streets of Hackney, but properly finished in a Liepzig squat, coating six tracks of low-end rudeness with a ferric, 8-bit magic. All the tracks here have been transferred to tape, and back again, lending a textured, ferric depth to the Radiophonic synth tones of 'Lowry Dub' or 'Hackney Dub', and giving bite to the digi-dancehall vibes of 'C20 Riddim' and the iconic 'Ticker Tape'.
This is pushing so many buttons for us right now; recordings of flutes and electronics from Brooklyn’s John Also Bennett aka JAB on his debut solo album ‘Erg Herbe’, echoing a fine tradition of loft-based, downtown NYC minimalism and new age ambience that references classic work by La Monte Young and Laurie Speigel as well as quieter intimations of Dominique Lawalrée or Takehisa Kosugi and Bennett’s regular collaborator Jon Gibson. The results are deeply beautiful, in a manner everyone has by now come to expect from the wonderful Shelter Press.
A decade in the works, ‘Erg Herbe’ follows 2018’s enchantingly elusive CV & JAB album as John Also Bennett’s 2nd release for Felicia Atkinson and Bartolemé Sanson’s widely adored label. It finds the Brooklyn-based artist in gentle pursuit of a sound which best represents his sense of self, using an array of flutes and synthesisers to imbue a distinguished sense of character into his music in much the same way as the original downtown heroes whose footsteps he follows, with the humble yet ambitious goal to, in his own words; “…create nice, strange, and thoughtful music that reflects a genuine inner vision of self.”
In a patient and patently soulful manner befitting of those minimalist and ambient pioneers, Bennett physically breathes life into the album on a C flute, Alto flute, and rare Chinese dizi flute, suspended in space with the gaseous tonal hues of a Yamaha DX711-D, Yamaha CS Reface and Roland Super JV-1080, plus Farfisa Organ. The effect is intoxicatingly rich yet modest, eliding new age spiritual concerns with minimalism’s more scholastic approach - using modified Aphex Twin presets played with a just intonation tuning system, and oscillators “tuned to intuitive structures using intervals of 30Hz” to generate warm and deeply heady harmonic sensations.
Underlying and tying this all together is the album’s title, ‘Erg Herbe’, an invented turn of phrase - erg meaning a sea of desert sand dunes, and herbe being french for grass - mirroring the music’s dreamy imagery of rolling green landscapes and blue/pink/orange skies. From the radiant warmth of the opener, to the pastoral waltz of ‘Jacob’s House’, thru the 12 minutes centrepiece of ‘Distant Patterns’ with its raga-like flute and pillowy pads, to the chance midnight meeting of flutes in ‘Chanterai por mon coraige’, recorded in a decrepit mill near the Shelter Press HQ, we’re left zoned out and deeply tuned in to his gorgeous, transcendent music.
With ‘On Time out of Time’, William Basinski makes audible the sound of black holes decaying across 1.3 billion years of time and space.
It’s no mean feat, taking recordings made with the Interferometers of LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) at MIT and turning them into two sublime, voluminous and mesmersiing pieces - the 40 minute ‘On Time Out of Time’, and a more succinct, even beautiful 9 minute piece with the mouthful of a title ‘4(E+D)4(ER=EPR)’. They’re both strong visions from Basinski, but we reckon his 2nd piece is going to see most play.
“‘On Time Out of Time’ is a suite of works originally commissioned for the 2017 installations ‘ER=EPR’ and ‘Orbihedron’ by artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand (in collaboration with Jean-Marc Chomaz and LIGO) for the exhibition, ‘Limits of Knowing’ at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin by curator, Isabel De Sena.
These works utilise, among other things, exclusive source recordings from the Interferometers of LIGO ( (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) capturing the sounds of the merging of two distant massive black holes, 1.3 billion years ago."
Stellar transition from widescreen analog synth music to overdriven, motorik psych-pop by members of indie-pop bands The Bernard Lakes and Young Galaxy. RIYL Steve Moore/Zombi, Spiritualized, Panda Bear
“Long time friends Jace Lasek and Stephen Ramsay formed Light Conductor out of a mutual desire to create expansive drone, ambient, and electronic music. After fortuitously acquiring a trove of rare analog electronic gear and meticulously restoring it from various states of disrepair back into pristine working condition, the duo began to explore the creative territories that were opened by their new musical tools. Using their mutual admiration for the celestial wig outs of Spiritualized, the quiet majesty of Eno's ambient albums, and the experimental landscapes of William Basinski as a template, Lasek and Ramsay ultimately carved out a sound of their own, resulting in their debut album Sequence One.”
Perc puts his kicks where the sun don’t shine on a follow-up proper to his ‘Bitter Music’ album
Delivered in response to the copycats who bit his ‘Look What Your Love Have Done To Me’ anthem, here Perc strips away vocals or any trace of melody, leaving only gnashing, bare bones drum and noise tracks.
A-side he knuckles out the waddling triplets of ’Toxic NRG’, emulating the dance of that guy who came up too hard and fast and couldn’t make the bogs, while the B-side brings the schranzy skullduggery of ‘Driller’ and the ace, rictus reversed loops of ‘Pivot’.
Another corker from Sully, continuing his golden streak of lush, devilish jungle productions on Uncertain Hour
Pretty sure we’ve said it before, but each new Sully 12” sounds like it slipped thru a wormhole from c. ’94, or at he’s somehow spied the studio schematics of Photek, Dillinja and DJ Fokus in some underground junglist espionage.
On the A-side he comes with the sublime tension of ‘Porcelain’, firing amen shrapnel and sweeping subs into a headlong, flanging vortex with breathtaking effect, before the B-side’s ‘Run’ steps off into endlessly reverberant space urged by rolling subs and gibber-jawed but disciplined breaks to make you dance tighter, in-the-pocket.
Helado Negro returns with This Is How You Smile, an album that freely flickers between clarity and obscurity, past and present geographies, bright and unhurried seasons. Miami-born, New York-based artist Roberto Carlos Lange embraces a personal and universal exploration of aura – seen, felt, emitted – on his sixth album and second for RVNG Intl.
“Lange describes the album as the soundtrack of a person approaching you, slowly, for 40 minutes. In “Fantasma Vaga,” one of the first songs he wrote that set his approach for the album, a ghost wanders in from the low end, building a fuller form with each shaking step. Whirring, stops and starts of an eco espectral, may be musician trying to imitate, synthesize, the sound of a haunting, or a ghost itself trying to render the human voice. Lange often visualizes meeting strange beings, the odd encounters that occur in the creative process, a sound form of manipulation, in which who, or what is changing whom, becomes unclear.
This Is How You Smile invites listeners on a walk through the changing colors of early mornings and evenings, writing, recording, or hearing a friend, a figure emerges, and there you are.”
All three of Naked Lunch's 7" singles collated for the first time on one LP.
"Naked Lunch were an English band formed in 1979, by Tony Mayo. Later joined by, Mick Clarke. In preparation to play live further members were advertised for and Tim Yorke, Paul Nicholas Davies and Cliff Chapman joined and then, in 1981, by Mark Irving who replaced Tim. The band was one of the first fully synth based groups, and as such were featured on the Some Bizzare Album alongside, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Blancmange and The The.
A brief history of the band includes the fact that as early as 1979 they performed in a show alongside the likes of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, B-Movie and Clock DVA, organised by the band and Stevo Pearce (Some Bizzare Records). The band undertook the Naked Lunch's 'Electronic Indoctrination Tour' in 1980 which included a show at Leeds Futurama Festival. Naked Lunch then set about helping Pearce find artists and recordings to make up the Some Bizzare Album to which the band itself contributed "La Femme" (a song originally called "Le Femme" but Phonogram who released the album was licensed to change it to the grammatically correct French, missing the point of the androgyny of the electronic music scene and that the song was about that).
After a parting with Pearce, Naked Lunch became managed by Ramkup with the now 'infamous' single, "Rabies" being released, though it suffered from a ban on daytime radio play due to the title, it received good airplay and support from the likes of John Peel and Nicky Horne on their nighttime shows. Line-up changes continued before the band split in 1981 with Mayo retaining the name Naked Lunch."
Low Jack, Clara!, David Coquelin (DJ David Goblin) and the other nutters at PRR! PRR! throw down a glut of party trax on the 2nd Battle Breaks’ pack
Leading on from their feral ‘Ork Muzik’ CD, the crew spray pure bullets between the likes of Keiska’s reggaeton flip of The Prodigy (didn’t Endgame do this already?), and The Hobbeats’ skizzo hardcore in ‘Neighbourhood Joyride’, rounding up a cheeky minimix of legendary Euro label ‘ZYX’ from DJ Wolfi Bernreuther alongside a collage of ‘Reggaeton Signatures’ patched together by Clara! & DJ Coquelin, and the crunchy bogle of Low Jack a.k.a. B-Ball Joints’ ‘Dumb Reggae Rock Joint’.
Wayside & Woodland task the endlessly inventive Richard Youngs to riff on the overlooked, prosiac world around him...
While Youngs’ music perhaps remains an acquired taste (full disclosure: it took this writer years before he clicked, but when it did… it really did), his ‘Memory Ain’t No Decay’ statement is particularly accessible to both longer term disciples and newcomers alike.
Given a list by the label’s Ben Holten (Epic 45) which reflects their ethos - including; ”Degradation of memory, decay, change, loss, the beauty of abandoned buildings and places, post-industrial wastlelands, 'edgelands', 'unofficial countryside', grass verges, woodland between housing estates” - Youngs divines a pathos in those arguably mundane yet modestly evocative images which many of us in the UK and elsewhere pass thru or inhabit everyday.
Young sums up his approach most beautifully and succinctly as: “It’s about noticing the world, not trying to change it” and we could hardly agree more. While ostensibly mundane, prosaic, the listed zones and integers of transition have always prompted a fondness in us, and we hear that humble intrigue throughout the three works, from the plaintive, grey-skied krautrock-like repetitions littered with scudding, wistful vocals in ‘Edge of Everywhere’, to the strolling bluesy appeal of ’Still Learning’, and in the mesh of semi-pastoral strums and murky synthetic tones of ‘Not For My Eyes’.
'Body of Work' is the long awaited retrospective collection from electro-punk Gods Nitzer Ebb. Debuting in 1984, the band's influence is hard to over-emphasise, counting Depeche Mode, Richie Hawtin, and Nine Inch Nails among their countless devotees.
Nitzer Ebb began in Chelmsford, Essex in 1982, caught the ear of PWL producer Phil Harding in 1985 and soon after recorded two killer tracks: ‘Let Your Body Learn’ and ‘Warsaw Ghetto’. They came to the attention of Daniel Miller and recorded the classic proto-Balearic techno album ‘That Total Age’ (Mute, 1987), featuring classic tracks ‘Murderous’, ‘Join In The Chant’ and ‘Let Your Body Learn’. The album was followed by four more towering sonic and design classics ‘Belief’, ‘Showtime’, ‘Ebbhead’ and ‘Big Hit’.
Nitzer Ebb went on to sell over 100,000 records in the States alone, touring with Depeche Mode and influence pioneering DJs and producers such as Richie Hawtin, Darren Emerson, Sven Väth, Helena Hauff, Objekt, DJ Hell, Tom Stephan and Danny Tenaglia as well as bands such as Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails. They split in 1995, performing rarely after that dateand in 2010 released the album ‘Industrial Complex’.
Nitzer Ebb's proto-industrialism was constructed in such a raw, uncompromising way that listening to it now it has stood the test of time with a remarkable show of self restraint despite all the grandeur behind the cacophony at play. 'Join in the Chant', which is included on this record, is probably their most recognisable work and is still apparently a much loved Ibiza tune...go figure!
We detect a star is born with Maria Somerville’s outstanding debut album of dream-pop, drawing from traditional Irish folk themes and ambient electronics, and part recorded in the Gaeltacht - a Gaelic speaking area - and islands on the Irish Atlantic coast. RIYL Julia Holter, Casino Vs Japan, Broadcast...
“Building from a reputation of enthralling live shows, All My People is Maria Somerville’s self released debut. The music is a collection of works recorded across Dublin, Cornamona and Inis Óirr - a tiny island sitting off Ireland’s west coast.
Somerville draws on conventional folk forms alongside post-punk, traditional Irish motifs, starry eyed pop and hypnotic drones to create wholly original music that is a product of its environment. Somerville channels the wilderness of the Irish landscape through dense, ethereal soundscapes and bare boned percussion interspersed with ghostly vocals that are ever present and all encompassing, like crystalline glints of sunshine peeking through dark stormy clouds.
The duality of darkness and light is at play throughout the releases seven tracks - comfort is found in heartbreak, solace in despair and quixotic wonderment in the infinite melancholia. Somerville lays her heart bear and invites you into it with tales of doomed romance, bittersweet love stories and longings of ‘home’, in both the physical and metaphysical sense. All My People is a luscious entry into the world of Maria Somerville.”
Liv’ - which preceded ‘Minus’ by several years - is a previously-unreleased studio album
"Recorded over three days at Sarm West (Bob Marley, ‘Exodus’) live from start to finish (with additional vocals and saxophone added at a later date) by Daniel Blumberg on Steinberger guitar, harmonica and vocals; Billy Steiger on violin; Kohhei Matsuda on monosynth and Tom Wheatley on double bass."
Cinematically-scoped synth music with an intimate personality; the debut from Jachym Vandenbeele aka Aponogeton for Stroom. RIYL Heldon, Klaus Schulze, Eduard Artemiev scores for Tarkovsky
“This album is the result of some musings on what drives us in life and how we come to terms with our place in the world. I wrote it around the time I was finishing my philosophy degree. I had also come to a point where I wanted to make music that was more personal, emotional and conceptual than before.
The inspirational point of departure from which everything developed was Stalker, the Tarkovsky film. A personal favourite, which also happens to explore many similar themes as my studies came to focus on: meaning and purpose in life, existence and our relationship to reality, the emotions that steer our existence...
We are deficient creatures. Powerless and ignorant of reality as a whole, and unfortunately our characteristic existence makes us painfully aware of that. Reality is fundamentally hostile (or indifferent rather) and we are not well 'fit' to live in it. We try to deal with this through emotional means. We seek comfort for our deficiencies, a sense of purpose and belonging...
In Stalker people who have exhausted all other means of comfort seek for a room that is rumoured to manifest our innermost desires. They have to journey through a place that disobeys all of our notions of reality, a place both unpredictably dangerous and welcoming to those who find nothing worth living for outside of it. While evading our grasp it offers understanding to the lost and solace for the burdens of existence.”
New Order’s evergreen first single ‘Ceremony’ (technically a Joy Division song, but…) is available for first time since the ‘80s, and on heavy vinyl to boot
‘Ceremony’ was written and recorded as a Joy Division song, but tragic events lead it to become New Order’s first single, re-recorded by Martin Hannett for purpose, and subsequently acknowledged among the greatest of all time. Gloomier than winter skies over Hulme, B-side ‘In A Lonely Place’ only compounds the emotion.
Optimo do the right thing with AF Trax - Against Fascism Trax - serving an ace blend of Drexciyan electro, dub and Arabic influences from Al Jerry; the duo of Berlin’s Benoit B (Berceuse Heroique, Wisdom Teeth) and London-based Gohan (Peur Bleue Records).
Both artists share Middle Eastern heritage, and look to the region’s cultures for influence across their first Al Jerry EP, taking in five tracks ranging from the microtonal synth wormholes and hallucinatory rhythm of ‘Sana’a Riots’, to the excellent Drexciya-in-the-desert flex of ‘Tarlabaşı Snake’, the snap jawed 808 and sehtar vamps of ‘Qanun Sphere’, and gauzy slow electro mirage of ‘Last Syriac’.
First time reissue of a cult French private press rarity at the intersection of jazz, percussion and experimental sounds.
"Founded by long-time friends Gerard Kurdjian and Stéphane Olivier alongside compatriot Christian Berthier in 1983, Nakara Percussions was a trio from the south of France, fascinated with percussion instruments, rhythms and textures from across the world. Steeped in Jazz and ethnographic recordings, the trio designed and built their own instruments and played across the South of France throughout the 80s, recording a single album in the tiny village of Alliens in 1984.
Self-produced and mainly sold at gigs, the record reflects the inquisitive, experimental approach of the group and has become a cult album among DJs and music lovers for its blend of complex rhythms and organic soundscapes, taking in everything from Brazilian batucada to Indian tabla rhythms by way of West African thumb pianos and the drums of the Maghreb. The track “Balimba” has become a dancefloor classic, finding a home in the sets of openminded techno DJs as well as on the jazz dance and tropical scenes."
Felix Kubin works with rare and stubborn analog synths for V I S on an abstract, extended portrait of the Hamburg docks riddled with field recordings. RIYL Daphne Oram, Romanian spectralists, Hafler Trio...
Using the Max Brand synthesiser (a rare, modified Moog) on one side, and a Rob Hordijk modular system alongside sounds of the port of Hamburg on the other, the recordings render Kubin at his most explorative and experimental, as opposed to his usually heavily concept-driven output.
‘Max Brand Studie IV’ was composed for 8 loudspeakers, arranged in a circle, and was recorded in the former premises of the Institute for Media Archaeology, Donau, Austria. Working with what he calls “the egocentric and stubborn Max Brand” synth, Kubin rigs the machine in a way that allows it to speak and develop a life of its own, conjuring 19 minutes of ghostly spectral tones and beating pulses that haunt the vaulted recording space with a naturally unpredictable, analogue logic that’s fascinating to follow.
On the flip, ’T O P I A’ was composed for a 3-channel video installation by Josphin Böttger. Recorded at Hamburg’s Hammerbrooklyn Studios, it uses the Rob Hordijk modular system and sounds of the city’s massive port to concretely characterise a sense of space and place that resonates abstract-industrial-realism, following a similar logic of endless cycles of growth and collapse, sustain and decay, with perceptively poetic results.
“Brainiac blow every fuse in the seduction system with songs that hiss and spit and thrash about like live wires in an electrical storm” Melody Maker, 1996
"Brainiac began in 1992 as the basement experiments of Dayton, OH natives Tim Taylor (vocals, synth), and Juan Monasterio (bass), who first met playing cello in fifth grade. Upon completing the lineup with Michelle Bodine (guitar) and Tyler Trent (drums), they released two full-lengths and toured vigorously, establishing themselves as the latest peg in Ohio's diverse musical timeline. In 1994, Michelle left the band and was replaced by John Schmersal. After recording a 7" with Steve Albini for Sup Pop, the band recorded a handful of songs with Kim Deal (of The Pixies), which became their Touch and Go debut single Internationale.
1996 saw the release of their Touch and Go debut, Hissing Prigs in Static Couture, and saw the band use less Moog and more random electronic gadgets and noisemakers. Jim O'Rourke produced 1997's Electroshock for President EP, in which Brainiac continued their transition into a more electronic rock band. They began to receive serious intere st from major labels. On May 23, 1997, however, only weeks after the EP's release and the band's return from a European tour supporting Beck, Tim lost his life in a car accident in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He was 28."
Ikonika flips honorary Manc, Ariana Grande, in ruggeder fashion for Night Slugs
Giving Grande’s radio and club anthem ‘Into U’ a weighty redress, the ‘Kaka Bootleg’ underlines her multi-octave flights with wide, crushing bass pressure in a sturdy roll cage of EBM/trap drums riddled with trancey synth filament which are better revealed on the B-side instrumental.
Hot on the heels of DJ DR-660’s ‘Sex Music’, FTP’s German Jit squad spin out five crispy takes on the ‘90s Detroit ghetto style
Although the title ‘Elevated Jit’ is a bit dodgy, the music is ace, running from Finnish producer Sansibar’s Metroplex-styled bleeps and pneumatic bass in ‘Ghetto Of The Mind’, to the old skool call ’n response raps of Funkmasta Turk’s fix up of ‘Blow The Whistle’, and Frankfurt Bass’ slippery breakbeat acid hydraulics on the A-side, chased up by the triplin’ beats and slick chords of ‘D Playas’ by Will Web, and Kosmodod’s Stingray-esque acid-electro missile ’Skynsemi’.
Fine shades of deft, rooted and astrally inclined dub techno from Poland’s Ziemia label, debuting with a handful of cuts by Earth Trax, Private Press, and Newborn Jr.
Private Press provides the lion’s share with three pieces of scudding chords, airy ambient touches and kinetic basslines recalling Vainqueur and Substance, while Earth Trax rolls solo on an effortless dub house skank, then in a sloshing acid-dub style with Newborn Jr. reminding us of Andreas Tilliander’s TM404 or a Donato Dozzy workout..