After shots fired on Antony Naples’ Proibito and Mister Saturday Night, Hank Jackson gets bendy on new label, anno
Three tracks swerving from frayed electro rhythms and floating pads recalling early Laurel Halo in Gacx, thru a dense thicket of distorted electronic noise in Snake Pit, to something recalling the emulsified ‘tronics of Huerco S’ Pendant alias.
A Piece Of Beyond is the 2nd DJ Bone album and follows quick at the heels of his Good To Be Differ-Ent [DBA, 2017] LP as Differ-Ent. It touches down just over 20 years since DJ Bone first made his name in Detroit, and subsequently Europe, as one of the most badass DJs on the circuit, now with his trademark production style of hard, tracky and soulful bombs to boot.
Where his Differ-Ent album twisted between electro and techno, this one is strictly a showcase of Bone’s pumping Detroit techno-house style with some electro to taste. It’s exactly the sort of gear you’d expect him to deploy in one of his tearing sessions, teeing up some strong highlights for dancers and other DJs between the jazzy beauty R.I.P. featuring an archival Aaron Carl vocal, thru to the peaktime chord-rider Tell The Story, his soaring beauty All My Heart, and the powerful breakbeat techno momentum of The Chase.
Eomac goes in like a possessed Cut Hands on Reconnect
Committing a rush of frenetic percussion, percussion, and more percussion in patterns intersecting footwork, traditional tribal rituals and hardcore techno.
We’ll keep it simple: if you’re into Nkisi, Cut Hands, Xth Réflexion - you need to check this one out.
Tresor’s experimental commission from trans-atlantic techno pioneers Thomas Fehlmann and Terrence Dixon proves to be greater than the sum of its parts in the strongest way on We Take It From Here.
Both artists bring the very best out of each other on all six cuts, resulting a chimeric sound that neither could really claim as their own. They’re not reinventing the wheel, but they are doing some really crafty things with the inter-dimensional shifts between tribal patterns, zig-zagging acid and jazz chords in Dreaming Of Packard, while Experiment 3 comes off like a proper Jamal Moss trip, The Corner works out a belting sort of Detroit techno-meets-Italo disco groove, and Landline sees them cut the anchor and drift out into deepest synth space.
DJ Spun and Jonah Sharp (Reaganz) romp on a psyched-out no wave house sound as The Loose Control Band
Pairing their Trevor Jackson-esque grinding title cut I Don’t Understand with a more rolling but still grizzly Radio Slave remix on the front, backed with a driving psychedelic trance workout in Ryan James Ford’s Akihabara remix, and a wickedly offbeat and roguish Hope remix.
Fluxion seamlessly meshes dub techno and film score styles in a sublime 7th studio album, Ripple Effect, dispatched via his Vibrant Music label in the wake of two sublime Transformations excursions with Deepchord. Unfurling a glacial sequence of noirish vibes and barely-there electronic inference evoking classic cinematography and out of body experience, it’s a sound that could be effectively summed up as Mamangakis meets Moritz Von Oswald in Athens at midnight.
While usually considered mutually exclusive paradigms, in Fluxion’s hands film music and dub techno make perfect bedfellows, with the evocative cues and gestures of the former beautifully melded into the latter with no disservice to either. The end results form an ambiguously malleable narrative that we’d imagine is perfect for headphone-dwelling flaneurs and wandering old cities on balmy evenings, as the album drifts from filigree detailed dub bass and sylvan keys in Train Incident, to moments of Bohren-like jazz noir in Momentum, to what sounds like a clarinet line from the Heimat soundtrack mixed with contemporary MvO grooves in Another Side, before stretching out over 11 minutes of gloriously subtle scenes in Tipping Point, the album’s denouement, into the windswept slow motion rendering of Fortitude and the sorrowful closing title of Moving On.
Bonny sings Susanna, to simply try and save the world.
"Sonata Dwarf Mix Cosmos is an old companion of his and with the Chijimi house band +1 they bring it all back home again, this time to the space in Bonny’s place.
“As other practitioners are leaving the room in favor of novel forms of recording and distro and consumption, PALACE, fantastical and real
structures and practices. Like we are allowed into the museum at night. We can make a great essentially live record with great songs and great players because nobody else is? ‘Wolf Of The Cosmos’... is about, as much as anything, direct engagement with recorded music. So step right up to the replicant.” -
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is joined by musicians Emmet Kelly (bass guitar, voice, acoustic guitar), Cheyenne Mize (violin, slide ukulele, voice), Chris Rodahaffer (banjo, voice, acoustic guitar) and Elsa Madeline Oldham (juice harp)."
John Roberts explores experimental jazz and electronic frameworks alongside Maxwell Sterling (double bass) and Peter Evans (trumpet) on Spill, in a style that crosses paths with work by Jon Hassell, Peter Zummo and Emptyset.
The follow-up to Plum finds NYC composer Roberts expanding and continuing that record’s experimental bent in three diverse parts. The first and best of those is a raucously unpredictable title track starring Maxwell Sterling on his first outing since the amazing Hollywood Medieval album, lending radioactive double bass vamps and doom strokes to a calamity of polymetric percussion, scrabbling electronics and extended trumpet tekkers by Peter Evans. If Arthur Russell and Emptyset made a track together, it may sound a bit like this.
On the B-side Roberts chills out. Working solo, he comes off shades away from Peter Boothroyd in the charmingly emotive weightless melodies of Wrecked, before Peter Evans pipes up again on Fluid, lighting up Roberts’ keening electronic dissonance with a range of sharp, smeared and spiralling trumpet gestures that share space with huge blasts of sculpted distortion, reminding in some ways of recent Dialect material.
This is absolutely belter: a genuinely never-before-heard collection of punk-funk oddballs by Stretchmarks, the short-lived but dead good Manchester band fronted by Matt Wand and Rex Casswell of plunderphonic pioneers Stock, Hausen & Walkman and fuelled by a rhythm section with previous form for both Nico and Blue Orchids. It’s the kinda stuff Manc-y wet dreams are made of - funky as f*ck, feral and devilishly effective, and totally set to light up a lot of grins on those familiar with Mancunia c.1989-1991 as much as classic Material, Pere Ubu, ACR, ESG.
Pulled together from live recordings of shows at The Millstone, basement sessions down in Withington, and from various rehearsal sessions in rooms across the city, The Stretch m-ARKhives contains the best of this bunch’s efforts during the period that everyone putatively associates with baggy kids and ecstasy pipes. Basically, Stretchmarks were a sort of antithesis to what they called “the ‘baggy plague”, and it’s fair to say with hindsight that their live-wire mix of funk chops, punkish vocals and electronic blatz succeeded in creating an excellent alternative to the usual suspects. Only thing was, at the time, only a few people gave a flying fxck about Stretchmarks and they never made a proper record to prove their anti-thesis.
Fast forward nearly 30 years to now, and, by all rights, Stretchmarks should find their audience in a scene that’s been primed to tell wave goods from wave bads after a decade absorbing YouTube rips, blog posts and a deluge of reissues. Hence it should be easy to detect their flashes of devious genius inside, from the mad mix of upclose whisper and distant holler on the roiling Puddle Of Love, thru to the nipped Afrobeat-punk meter of All The Same, the free jazz mind splash of No Way, and the helpless madness of Let’s Get Weird with its bestial grunts and instantly memorable lyrics intoning “let’s get weird/you and me/in my kidney shaped swimming pooooool.”
Ultimately, The Stretch m-ARKhives is yet another example of how history always favours the winners, in this case The Cranky Tuesdays and The Bony Losers, at the expense of the interesting crud that happened beyond the sight of scenesters and there mainstream, of which this LP is a perfect example.
Legendary hardcore label Praxis revive their 5th release, Bourbonese Qualk’s techno onslaught Autonomia, for a necessary reissue on the occasion of its 23rd birthday.
One of a handful of genuine post-punk/post-industrial survivors who’ve consistently held their underground mettle since the late ’70s, Simon Crabb’s Bourbonese Qualk are a vital example of the intersection between politics and music which generates the best records and raves in the UK.
Autonomia catches Crabb’s unit in 1993 going nuts for hardcore and acid techno, just like the rest of the country at that time. However, unlike a number other producers who has made the traversal from ‘80s punk and wave style to electronic dance music in the ‘90s, BQ also brought with them a scuzzy squat attitude ripe for hardcore techno warehouse raves.
That attitude comes out in no uncertain terms in the oblique, hard edged and psychedelic styles on Autonomia, which scales from full-on skull-bashing hardcore to more hypnotic styles reminscent of Psychick Warriors Of Gaia and even sounds like prototype tracky Jamal Moss gear in parts.
It’s pretty much worth it for the orange/black came jacket alone!
Shapeshifting Whities artist Quirke reels between clattering and assymetric strains of ambient techno for Nic Tasker’s label.
Vatied City sounds like ‘90s AI techno played on wood drums and jawbones by some ancient peoples; Transport is more faded, elusive and ghostly, a sort of after-image of the real thing, but still with a strong bass presence; and Hydraulic Deer reminds of 154’s smoky deep techno detachment in a similar way to Actress and Lee Gamble.
NYC/Berlin’s Hayden Payne aka Phase Fatale extends his Redeemer album tracks for proper ‘floor pressure on Hospital Productions.
Order Of Severity lives up to its mantle across the entire A-side, expanded and cut deeper for bass frequency response and allowing the growling mid-range guitars to really cut the the mix, whilst Silent Servant’s input really shows int he 2nd half.
Operate Within hunts down a more typical EBM sound accentuated with clenched snares and raging bass torque on the B-side, next to a cold, killer, blank-eyed augmentation of Spoken Ashes.
SUED’s SVN and SW scale between deep, rolling house and more opiated, ambient styles for the connoisseurs.
On SVN’s side he rolls out a thick, lustrous bassline with breezy pads and shivering percussion in classic NYC/Chicago/Detroit style on Mechine 5, along with a palate cleansing weightless vignette, Dark Plan 8.
SW’s side is slower, duskier, as he shuffles out with the NWAQ-like shimmy of Deepmix on a 111bpm bump, before transmitting a Vainqueur-esque piece of percolated dub chords in Latenightmix.
For their first multi-artist compilation, Music From Memory take us on a trip to the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1978-1992 is a double LP that explores the outer reaches of Brazilian music, where indigenous rhythms mix with synthesizers and where MPB mingles with drum computers.
"As Brazil faced the last years of its military dictatorship and transition to democracy, a generation of forward-thinking musicians developed an alternative vision of Brazilian music and culture. They embraced traditionally shunned electronic production methods and infused their music with elements of ambient, jazz-fusion, and minimalism. At the same time they referenced the musical forms and spirituality of indigenous tribes from the Amazon. The music they produced was a complex and mesmerising tapestry that vividly evoked Brazilian landscapes and simultaneously reached out to the world beyond its borders.
.The product of extensive research, this compilation is a unique introduction to this visionary music and features many fresh discoveries in a country well trodden by record diggers. It gathers tracks from obscure albums that have for too long been neglected by even the most avid collectors of Brazilian music. It includes now highly sought after music by Andréa Daltro, Maria Rita, and Fernando Falcão, as well as unknown gems like those of Cinema, Carlinhos Santos, and Anno Luz. This is an essential release that reveals a broader spectrum of Brazilian music, striking a unique sonic signature that is full of innovation, experimentation, and beauty.
Compiled by John Gómez and featuring extensive liner notes, Outro Tempo showcases this overlooked corner in Brazil’s rich music history for the first time."
Never before pressed on vinyl, IBM 1401, A User's Manual, is one of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s most loved works. Released in 2006, the decade since its release has seen Jóhann establish himself as one of the most important composers in the World today, most notably scoring movies such as Arrival, Sicario and The Theory of Everything.
:Inspired by the work his father did in the sixties when chief maintenance engineer of one of Iceland’s first computers, Jóhann originally wrote IBM 1401, A User's Manual to accompany a dance piece by long-standing collaborator and friend, Erna Ómarsdóttir. For this album release, he rewrote it for a sixty-piece string orchestra, with a new final movement (built around a poem by Dorothy Parker) and incorporating both electronics, and reel-to-reel recordings made by his father and friends in 1971 of an enormous IBM 1401 mainframe computer singing the hymn Ísland Ögrum Skoriðby Sigvaldi Kaldalóns as it was being decommissioned.
The first ever pressing of IBM 1401, A User's Manual comes in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, having been reworked by Chris Bigg (v23) from his original design. Pressed on clear vinyl, two album tracks recorded in 2010 with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra at the Rudolfinum, Dvorák Hall in Prague have also been added and are exclusive to this release:
For their first solo outing since 2015, Rrose plumbs the depths of the technosphere in three parts for the Eaux label.
We can think of few other artist so persistently, intently pushing the prism of modern techno as Rrose does right here, firstly exploring the body boneless with the jellyfish form of The Smallest Footprints and then with the chokingly immersive brownian dynamics of The Ends of Weather, before slicing into the ‘floor proper with the martial whirrs and plasmic propulsion system of Nest Of Queens across the B-side.
This one’s strong. No messing.
June round up Svengalisghost, Bruce Roach, Manie Sans Délire, Zodiac Arts Club, Trenton Chase and R.R. Hearse & Furnace Miskin for the Greek label’s 2nd multi artist compilation.
It might be called Trap Configurations, but we assure you there’s not a single track related to it inside. Rather, all artists converge on a particularly slimy and swaggering EBM sound, turning up highlights in the swaggering torque of Svengalisghost’s Cyberdreams, on Bruce Roach’s distended slo-mo creeper Zoblin 07, and two classy EBM stings from Trenton Chase, firstly in the Manie Sans Délire drop with June on Static Control, and also solo on the pulse-quickening Hand Of God.
Finders Keepers fork out two previously un-pressed gems by Martin Hannett (Joy Division, ESG) and Steve Hopkins a.k.a. The Invisible Girls - a grooving sci-fi soundtrack piece and a perkier, chuffed-up Manchester pop instrumental
“From the shrapnel of the unlikely collision point where Mancunian post-punk royalty collides with sci-fi cinema and art house animation, this obscure diamond in the rough shines a new light on the Northern DIY era providing disc detectives with a whole new punk funk perspective. Recorded in 1976 by Invisible Girls’ Steve Hopkins and Martin Hannett for a truly bizarre stop-motion animation called All Sorts OF Heroes, this hard edged funk instrumental theme reveals another side to this versatile production team joining the hidden dots between Hannett’s own discoid experiments with ESG, Gyro, A Certain Ratio and the mythical Afro Express recordings from the same year.
Embodying as much in common with 1970’s bass heavy European funk soundtracks by bands like Goblin and Placebo, as the expected parallels with John-Cooper Clarke’s backing tracks or early Happy Mondays, this early 1976 session is the perfect example of Hannett and Hopkins’ under-the-radar artistic commissions working to a storyboard brief in what has now become recognised as a fertile arena for lost lmic funk.
Drawing historic parallels with Leeds-based Graeme Miller and Steve Shill’s home recorded DIY soundtracks for The Moomins animation and accentuating the connection between Manchester based animation house Cosgrove Hall (Dangermouse/Chorlton And The Wheelies) and its employees Bernard Sumner, John Squire and members of Gerry And The Holograms, this lost recording adds kudos to a quirky micro-niche and reveals another dimension to Northern anti- pop’s snarky personality.
Pressed here by Finders Keepers for the first time on vinyl, in close accordance with the wishes of Steve Hopkins himself, this custom-composed track originally appeared on the short lm by Rick Megginson and Steve Hughes which was shown at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 1976 where it might have otherwise remained, preserved in an 8mm lm box up until now. As relevant today as it was then, this closely recorded, cosmic cartoon, slappy funk theme provided the films backdrop for a workshop montage scene where an aardvarkian spaceman constructs a giant metal face robot which might well leave fans of Madlib and MF Doom fans pondering time travel?! Like much of the lost and unreleased projects that stalled on the peripheries of early proto-Madchester, including the disco-pogo music of Spider King, Gerry And The Holograms, The 48 Chairs, Naf and The Mothmen, this record has been frozen in time waiting for the wider marathon of independent pop to catch up!
Presented here faithful the 45 format of choice, this 7” might well be another missing link between your Rabid, Absurd and Factory records, backed with another lesser- known Invisible girls recording Scandinavian Wastes which has also been begging for its first vinyl outing since its recording in the early 1980’s. Another historical bucket list release for Finders Keepers Records outernational discography, leaving zero stones unturned, even the ones under our own doorstep.”
Drift is the seventh full-length by NYC rock polymaths The Men. The band’s last album, the self-released Devil Music, was the sound of a band who had been through hell hitting reset and looking to their roots to rediscover themselves. On Drift, The Men return to their longtime label Sacred Bones Records and explore the openness that Devil Music helped them find.
"The immediately evident result of that exploration is the experimental quality of much of the material on Drift. Songwriters Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi chase their muses down a few dozen thrilling rabbit-holes over the course of the album’s nine tracks. The songs on Drift veer in a number of directions, but notably, almost none of them feature a prominent electric guitar. The lone exception, “Killed Someone,” is a rowdy riff-rocker, worthy of the finest moments of the band’s now-classic Leave Home and Open Your Heart albums. The rest of the album drives down stranger highways. “Secret Light” is an improvisation based on an old piano riff of Perro’s. “Maybe I’m Crazy” is a synth-driven dancefloor stomper for long after last call. “Rose on Top of the World” and “When I Held You in My Arms” are paisley-hued, psyched-out jams with big, beating hearts.
The album was recorded to 2" tape with Travis Harrison (Guided by Voices) at Serious Business Studios in Brooklyn. A whole pile of instruments was involved — synths, strings, sax, steel, harmonica, tape loops, on top of the usual guitar, bass, and drums. Unlike recent releases from The Men, there aren’t many overdubs on Drift — a reflection of the personalities of its makers becoming less frantic, Chiericozzi suggests. In fact, the band removed a lot of the additional parts they tried adding early on, giving the final product a bit of a ghostly feel. The songs on Drift took giant leaps and trips from their beginnings only to find the band returning to the first spark of creation."
Some make-your-own-pizza business from Fxck Punk aka APE (Vessel) and Chester Giles paying dues to their local 24-hour Asda (Walmart for Americans) in Bedminster, Bristol.
Obfuscated yet direct-to-the-dome, the session combines off-the-nut poetry from Giles with some of Vessel's most burned and turnt production. Bowling red-eyed and lo-fi from industrially reclaimed grime, 'Spud-U-Like' to mucky pockets of stress-testing noise and lyrics about sniffing glue on 'Trash And Reapy', the session takes an unexpected about-turn on the B-side with a washed out piece of witching hour ambience, spectral SAW voices and gongs clocked around Giles in 'Bells'. RIYL Hype Williams, El Kid, Charcoal Owls.
Denver-based trumpeter-composer Joshua Trinidad makes an original statement on his RareNoise Records debut, In November.
"Recorded in Giske, Norway, this highly evocative trio outing features the adventurous Norwegian guitarist-composer and ECM recording artist Jacob Young and drummer Stale Liavik Solberg, a central figure on Oslo’s improvising music scene. Brimming with deep and winding lyricism, Trinidad’s elegiac seventh album as a leader is a compelling mix of bold long tones on trumpet, atmospheric guitaristry, fluid melodic invention and daring group improvisation, all delivered with rare authority by the three intrepid improvisers.
From the minor key rubato opener “Beside” to the melancholy soundscape “Bell (Hymn)” to a darkly entrancing “The Attic” and the stirring title track, Trinidad and his empathetic crew of deep listeners show respect toward space and silence on these spellbinding nourish numbers."
Laid-back ambient tech-house pop, Berlin style
“To those familiar with the output of Cologne-based imprint Firm from back in the early ‘00s, the name of Geiger, alias Nass, shall undoubtedly ring a bell. Herald of an hedonistic melange of funk-soaked electro pop and guitar-riddled synth music, sitting somewhere close to acts like Ween and Junior Boys, Alexander Geiger is about to break a eight-year hiatus with the drop of his debut album under the newly-founded moniker of Fahrland.
A release that both encompasses a healthy dose of the discoid tropes from the Firm era but also aspires to split with a segment of it, geared towards exploring further undisclosed fringes of his shape-shifting sound universe, ‘Mixtape Vol.1’ is the fruit of a decisive move from the sleepless Berlin to the peaceful countryside landscapes of Fahrland – a lushly forested area near Potsdam which you’ll have understood played an essential role in Geiger’s longed-for return.
Versatile and inclusive, the album sweeps a polyamorous gamut of styles and tempos like an answer to the virtual prisons that inhibit us on a daily basis, straying away from normative standards and classic full-length calibration as a result. Instead weaving a singular narrative course, clear from all type of shackles and chains, Geiger navigates on sight, reflecting on notions as wide and universal as freedom, friendship and love across a multiversal patchwork of sounds and feels.
From the languid sexy vibe of ‘Beggin’, ‘Plastic People’ and ‘Yesterday’ – all three featuring the sensual whispers of multi-talented vocalist and artist MZ Sunday Luv, through the heavily vocodized, chip-implemented groove of I AM ROBOT - reminiscent of Telex and Space Art, balearic jazz & rap shine of ‘Sky So High’, smokey lounge ambience of ‘L AND H’ onto broader ambient-friendly spans such as ‘Suspension’, ‘Windshield Gently Wipers’ and the smooth, sun-basking closer ‘Get Down’, each track holds a fragile cocooned world at its heart.”
Dating back to 1957, The Story Of Moondog followed up the previous year's More Moondog LP, setting its course for adventurous new sounds and homemade percussion meditations.
The music is never a slave to any one fixed agenda and much of the material here sounds as if its gathered from some undiscovered culture - it's all-but impossible to compare this with anything else from the era, but when the longer-form pieces arrive they augment the more primal, outsider aesthetics with visceral, jazzy arrangements.
'Up Broadway' is an urgent and thorny construction combining the rhythmic complexity found elsewhere with aggressive horns, while 'In A Doorway' lets a little of the outside world into its recording, embracing the street sounds that so influenced Moondog's early works and intermingling them with instrumentation. It's a curious combination of musical improvisation and concrete sound which, once again, you simply would not associate with this era.
Originally released in 1956, More Moondog was the second album by Louis Thomas Hardin, followed the next year by a further LP, The Story Of Moondog. The tone of this fragmented, wildly eclectic body of work tends to rest its focus on percussion, exploring the Eastern-influenced, gamelan-styled sounds developed by homemade instruments like Moondog's famed "trimba" and "oo".
The majority of the compositions here are brief, often very intricate miniatures, which within the space of a mere minute or two instantly place you in Moondog's singular sound world, structured with difficult time signatures and populated by sounds that are quite unlike anything you'd hear anywhere else. It's hard to imagine how alien this music must have been back in the 1950s. When the longer-form pieces arrive they embellish upon this primal, outsider aesthetic with visceral, jazzy arrangements. 'Up Broadway' is an urgent and thorny construction combining the rhythmic complexity found elsewhere with aggressive horns, while 'In A Doorway' lets a little of the outside world into its recording, embracing the street sounds that so influenced Moondog's early works and intermingling them with instrumentation.
It's a curious combination of musical improvisation and concrete sound that you simply would not associate with this era. The album is completed with a selection of strange avant-garde pieces drawing on speech recordings and more lyrical, solo recordings played on keyboard instruments, including the almost ragtime 'Fiesta Piano Solo' which demonstrates the lack of agenda in this composer's canon. Moondog's outsiderness ensures an approach to modern composition that doesn't ever establish any single, fixed identity, which is of course what makes this man such an alluring figure in 20th century music.
Classic Huerco S.originally released in 2012, this was the release that first brought Brian Leeds to our attention - major tip if you’re into Actress or Newworldaquarium, even those moody Burial and BoC Ambient interludes ...!!!
A much needed new edition of the knockout ‘Untitled’ tape from Huerco S, originally issued on cassette by Opal Tapes in 2012 and blending the sort of smudge-house tropes found on NWAQ’s ‘The Dead Bears’ or Actress’s ‘Hazyville’ alongside an extended 20 minute/sidelong piece of smoked-out bliss on the flip.
‘Press On (Ruff Rub)’ oozes doped-up bass flesh alongside cracked Vangelis synth strokes, making for a proper scene setter, while the tense sensuality of ‘Elma (Ruff Rub)’ is House music at its most spectral, abstract, mixing elegant melodic pirouettes with coarse drums and druggy subs.
Drifting from the ‘floor, the exquisite, BoC-like boogie massage of ‘Hiromis Theme’ acts as a sort of new age interzone before the standout flipside which gives the EP its name; a 20 minute, blissfully evocative fever-dream hitting right between the eyes of early Emeralds and Huerco’s much loved later albums for Proibito and his own West Mineral imprint.
C L A S S I C.
Alga Marghen present this new edition - a vinyl-only first release of Eliane Radigue's pivotal, previously unreleased 'Opus17' - her last work made with feedback material.
It's one of the strongest, if not definitive, examples of Radigue's tactile and meditative approach to composition, an engrossing, intuitive refinement of the techniques and practice she honed over prior years at RTF's Studio d'essai under the guidance of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry's Studio Apsome, and later at the New York University School of the Arts. Created at the Fête en blanc - White Festival - in Verderonne on May 23, 1970, 'Opus17' breaks down to five pieces making up a voyage to the heart of the drone. Using various early tape techniques, Radigue meticulously peels the source samples in a discreet microcosmos of morphing, moebius-like loops and shimmering overtones, rendering their vibrational energy and unique accents with a poetic, dreamlike quality.
It opens with a shock on the 19 minute self-portrait of 'Etude', where she gradually transforms a looped passage of Frederick Chopin into an opiated, howling ghost of itself using practically identical microphone and tape feedback procedures to those on Alvin Lucier's 'I Am Sitting In A Room' (although it should be noted that she wasn't aware of this at the time), whilst 'the shorter 'Maquette' applies the same technique using a part of Wagner's 'Parsifal', but this time with the sample subtracted leaving only a spectral trace of grandeur.
Following this, we're floored by the roiling pulsations of 'Epure' - a sort of rudimentary pre-cognition of industrial and minimal techno building palpitating throbs into a dense yet delicate and ferric-rich flux, sharing rhythmic similarities with the aptly titled trip of 'Safari', where elliptic bass patterns melt and congeal in morphing shapes and curdled overtones with an alien, otherworldly quality presaging the like of Rashad Becker. Yet, the ultimate exposition of Eliane's time-dilating technique is found in the 22 and a half minute panoramic excursion 'Number 17', examining her sonic phenomena at microscopic level, homing in and expanding on its globular bass shapes and radiant harmonics.
Even by Radigue's standards, this is a breathtaking body of work, opening up whole worlds of sound from so little.
Surlendemains Acides is the second full length from Xavier Paradis’ project Automelodi.
"As with Automelodi’s past efforts, this sophomore LP does offer a nod to obscure ‘80/’90s European electronic music ---artists such as Trisomie 21 and Grauzone among others--- but the main focus of the arrangements, melodies and production on Surlendemains Acides is to frame and carry the album's very dense and personal lyrical universe: a bittersweet, angular path, haunted by shades of anxiety and disenchantment.
These themes translate especially well through Paradis’ cold, yet shimmering French vocals, to create a listening experience with both unusual depth and levity. As Paradis clearly moves towards straightforward songcraft on this latest effort, the Automelodi project is elevated beyond a brilliant work of post modern electronic music to become a true stand-out within the broader context of popular music."
“British producer Ross From Friends aka Felix Clary Weatherall is the newest signing to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder family. The 24 year old has a fistful of releases under his belt, the distillation of myriad influences from hip-hop cut ’n’ paste culture, 80s Eurobeat, Hi-NRG and Italo into lithe, irresistible, raw dancefloor trax. He made his debut on Breaker Breaker in 2015, followed by outings on Lobster Theremin and sister imprint Distant Hawaii, Lone’s Magicwire and recently: Molten Jets.
“It’s honestly an absolute rush to sign to Brainfeeder,” he explains. “It has always been pushing such a forward thinking sound, one that constantly grabs my attention with every release. I put these 4 tracks together with Brainfeeder in mind; I wanted to explore the music that I’ve been developing over the past 7 years as Ross From Friends whilst trying to explore the explosive sound that the label is best known for.”
Up first, ‘John Cage’ encapsulates both his desire to experiment but also maintain a sense of fun. “It originally began life as a tune for this goofy hip-hop project that me and my pal Guy from back home always do when he’s in London,” explains Felix. “I’d be making the beat and he raps. It’s always a refreshing approach making tracks in that atmosphere because we’re both always on such a spontaneous tip. When I’m making music alone, I’m obsessive and everything takes hours, whereas with Guy, we’d try and get as many tracks finished as possible in like a few hours. That’s him freestyling a relaxation tape in the intro.”
R&S newcomer Karim Sahraoui delivers an EP of deep, emotive techno that draws on the rich legacy of Detroit while staying relevant for the modern era.
"Sahraoui is a globetrotting seeker of musical truth spending time in Malaysia, Italy and Spain as well as his native France, he recorded in the early 2000s to some acclaim as Djinxx, releasing prolifically for Delsin, Cocoon, F-com Bedrock, and Ovum amongst others. In 2009 he took a couple of years out from the industry, travelling to Malaysia to find himself. In 2011 a chance meeting reconnected Sahraoui with Derrick May, who he originally met in the late 90s. May was reactivating Transmat and persuaded Karim to let him release his music, but on the condition it be under his own name. The resulting pair of ’Eternal Life’ EPs in 2014 and 2016 marked his rich return to form – glorious melodic, contemplative techno in the classic motor city mode.
HIs Plenitude EP for R&S builds on similar positive themes – from the percolating arpeggios and mystic melodies of ‘Spy Of The Desert’, to the anthemic jazzy techo paen of ‘Born Again’ or the aching symphonic build of ‘Before The 2nd Coming’ its clear that after decades in the business Sahraoui’s talent is only growing rather than diminishing.
“I wanted to give it more spirituality, musicality and roots with the choice of the sounds. Going back in the past and transcribe everything with visionary fusions,” Sahraoui explains.”
Christina Vantzou follows her role in the superb CV & JAB album for Shelter Press with the starkly haunting No.4 in her chrono-numeric series of albums for Kranky.
Her JAB foil, John Also Bennett (Forma) also assists on this one, as do Angel Deradoorian, and members of Belgium’s Echo Collective, all sensitively incorporated into her signature dimension of smoky dream sequence logic and texturally rich electro-acoustic timbres. A strong look for lovers of Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch soundtracks, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Global Communication - in other words: night time music.
“Belgium-based composer Christina Vantzou’s fourth full-length for Kranky ventures further into the uniquely elusive and evocative mode of ambient classical minimalism which has become her signature: a fragile synthesis of contemplative drift, heady silences, and muted dissonance. In regards to the new album she speaks of focusing particular attention on the effects of the recordings on the body, and of “directing sound perception into an inner space.”
No. 4 took shape across roughly two years, incorporating a diverse array of musical and conceptual collaborators, including fellow Kranky artists Steve Hauschildt and John Also Bennett (of Forma) as well as Angel Deradoorian (ex-Dirty Projectors), Clarice Jensen, Beatrijs De Klerck, and members of Belgium’s Echo Collective. During the creation process Vantzou wanted to “blur lines of hierarchy,” and thus allowed all ensemble members and technical assistants to add or delete elements. Despite such a spectrum of input the eleven tracks feel distinctly cohesive, weaving elegant textures and resonant open spaces within a twilit landscape of eclectic instrumentation: piano, harp, vibraphone, voice, strings, marimba, synthesizers, gong, and bells.
Vantzou describes the recording process as one of prepared spontaneity: that is, “having plenty of ideas ready to explore going into the session, but with enough time to depart from those ideas and see what happens.” This mindset of premeditated exploration informs the album’s emotive textural intuition, with hushed drones and delicate gestures eliding in the periphery of the mix. She cites sleep and “the loosening of time” as two formative practices in her private and professional life, which manifests in the quietly hallucinatory properties of Vantzou’s music. No. 4 feels both endless and ephemeral, immersive and immaterial. It’s a music of horizon lines and half-light, mapped with feeling and foresight.”
Erstwhile Factory Floor member Richard Smith ploughs out three ruts of wonky acid noise as L/F/D/M, backed with a crafty remix by Nick Dunton ov 65D Mavericks.
L/F/D/M’s original range from the body-swilling EBM acid of Sixteen Snakes and the atonal roiler X-Enter-O to a sizzling and slippery 303 workout named Silver Grain, whilst Nick Dunton tidies up Silver Grain in an infectious remix featuring smoother acid contours and mutant blue vocal on the D-56M Poverty remix.
Dominick Fernow meets Patrick O’Neal (Skin Crime) in Hanged Mans Orgasm mode for a vocal companion to the epic 7LP Prurient opus, Rainbow Mirror. Fernow shares vocal narration with DC Comics story-writer Scott Bryan Wilson (who’s also credited with writing on Frozen Niagara Falls) set to bleak backdrops of atomic radiation textures and field recordings of Hanged Man’s Orgasm, the début ‘90s project of Patrick O’Neal from cult death electronics unit Skin Crime.
The label compare Unknowns with “the american counterpart to Nurse With Wound set in the decaying rural fields of new england” and, for us, the combination of low key vocals and textural attrition could also be compared with John Duncan’s efforts in that arena, as the density of atmospheric pressure inside better recalls Duncan’s esoteric experiments with shortwave radio on Riot, but, in the case of this A-side, mixed with the kind of vocal delivery heard on Duncan’s surreal Bitter Earth songbook.
The notorious Kris Lapke a.k.a. Alberich lends his haggard touch in production to bring both sides to life with unflinchingly stoic and visceral force, most powerfully in the B-side’s burial by rubble in a shallow grave.
BFTT, Chekov, Lack and Howes deliver low key and shifty UK bass and electro-techno mutations on the latter’s Cong Burn - the label which introduced Lanark Artefax to the world back in 2015.
In suit with Cong Burn 01, which featured Howes alongside Perfume Advert and Amxd’s Haddon & L. Pearson on a subliminal house and bass tip, the 2nd Cong Burn vinyl keeps the vibe late night and smoky between the hydraulic electro action of BFTT’s Public/Private and the vintage Dynamo styles of Absent by Leeds-based Lack, while Chekov induces a canny halfstep skank with the cranky Celeste, and Howes checks out on a smudged dub house bent.
STROOM 〰 serve a compilation of dreamlike works by Brussels-based collective Pablo’s Eye drawn from their catalogue circa the early-mid ‘90s. There’s some lush passages to be found...
“Pablo’s Eye is the science of studio pressure, when engineer becomes artist. Appropriating left and right as well as front and back, Pablo’s Eye uses the mixing desk to examine and exhaust the possibilities of moments. Pablo’s Eye is a record of that examination and exhaustion, but it is also a record of its own inner space. By means of depth placement, psychoacoustics and spatial fug, Pablo’s Eye is experienced in the deeper reaches of the body, bypassing the conscious part of the mind entirely.
Pablo’s Eye is the turning of recorded music inside out to show its seams. It interrogates a song, stripping down the body of the song to reveal its bones. Pablo’s Eye is in the interstices of music, it plugs the gaps, fills the holes. Pablo’s Eye seeks out the concealed mechanisms, it is a song’s hidden agenda.
For this compilation, it was decided to present the softer air-beatings of Pablo’s Eye. More than anything, Pablo’s Eye is a temporary atmosphere, like a taste or a dream…”
Diverse, colourful psych-house, breakbeat and ambient plays from Earth Trax & Newborn Jr, following the form of their Rhythm Section Intl and Echovolt releases with this 5-track bewt for Dopeness Galore.
Working in two distinct halves, the first side dances to a cantering acid ace called Maze with stealthily building acid harmonies spiralling into a lush sort of proto-trance sound, while Where There’s A Will There’s A Way tilts to a hazy and charming breakbeat roll set off with polychromatic synth plumes.
The B-side dips deeper, shedding the beats to leave lushly suspenseful bassline and choral percolations with levitating effect in Acid Burn, then bathing in new age dub on Technoir, and swooning out into the Carl Craig-like Diamond Edge.
Brian Mcbride and Adam Wiltzie's "Stars Of The Lid" are another one of those bands, alongside Windy and Carl, that seem to typify Kranky's quiet exuberance perfectly.
Their ability to create drifting shimmers of sound that veer from hushed, whispered soundscapes to disturbed crescendo's utilising nothing more than a couple of guitars, some basic effects pedals and whatever found sounds happen to be lying around has allowed them to progress slowly from one album to the next with the sort of intuitive, masterful command of minimalism that's quite hard to fathom in one sitting.
"Gravitational Pull" was originally released on the Sedimental label, eventually reissued by Kranky back in 1998, including extra material. Amazing stuff.
UKF king Roska rolls out heavy but nimble on Byrd Out, a new label who’ve previously released everyone from Mark Archer to Mad Professor and Evan Parker.
Up top he meshes bolshy brass to double-dipping subbass and slippery congas in classic Roska style (actually, where’s the Roska! Roska! Roska! stabs?) before tucking simmering organs to a more clipped and swaggering groove called Warming, punctuated with bright samba whistles on the pivot.
Levon Vincent offers two deep cuts from his Paris  album on vinyl; Only Good Things and Kissing.
Only Good Things trades in a reserved but optimistic line of mellow technohouse stealthily developing choral synth voices and floating pads on a shifty, minimalist groove. On Kissing a stronger, undulating bass anchors some of his sweetest phasing string chords, overlapping and building to frothy pizzicato peaks in a way that resonates with his schooling by a former engineer of Steve Reich’s.
‘Innerland’ is the first ever solo album by Engineers co-founder/songwriter and Ulrich Schnauss collaborator Mark Peters.
"It was originally released as a low-key limited-edition cassette late last year, but it sold out immediately through word of mouth and the backing of BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and Gideon Coe, Uncut magazine and Caught By The River, whose Robin Turner said it was “impossibly beautiful, evoking a bird’s-eye view of its own landscape, one untarnished by the blots and the palettes and the Tescos of the real world”.
It has now been relandscaped into a larger-scale, eight-track album and will get a full release on vinyl, CD and digital on April 20. A collection of instrumentals, with nods to Brian Eno, Talk Talk, Richard Thompson, Vini Reilly and Felt’s Maurice Deebank, ‘Innerland’ highlights Mark’s incredible musicianship, positioning his guitar rather than his voice as the focal point of the music. It also finds him reconnecting with his youth and rediscovering a sense of place, following a move back home to northwest England in late 2016, with all the songs named after local places and landmarks."
Peacers / Sic Alps lead singer Mike Donovan steps out from behind the ash-stained curtain for his second solo album in the past five years, ‘How To Get Your Record Played In Shops’.
"How To Get Your Record Played In Shops’ is a tribute to the streets where you find the shops that play the records. To pin down this increasingly imagined place, Mike DIYs it to the max, recording everything himself and playing most of it too, basing it largely on piano riffs, which is something different, especially with adding touches of other keys and notes of whatever fits into the scape. The combination of these colourful backings with Mike’s synapse-shifting lyric wit leads us into new odd corners, where the only option seems to be the mirror and eyes looking back deadly at us. Yet, in the chilly sling of SF, the legend of communal lifestyle rules on and, with help from the lads in spots and a Bo ‘Bozmo’ Moore cover to boot, this record can be stowed safely beneath the Peacers umbrella - even in the solo-ist of moments, when Mike’s hand on the piano is delightfully blurry among the reverbs, his voice listing along the falsetto borderline, smile frozen, as a feeling of aloneness and absolute nothing becomes poignantly alive.
Despite (no, because of) all the carnage, ‘How To Get Your Record Played In Shops’ is something to make you really happy when you stumble upon it in the bin, a secret communication outside the lines of corporation entertainment, news media and the rest of the contemporary corruption influences."
Gramz joins Youngsta’s Sentry label with two distorted half step payloads
Dispensing the bitter tang and growling subs of Dip Dip Potato Chip on top, then emerging from a messed-up abstract intro into a lockjawed, chattering killer called Illa on the other side.
Shrouded in mystery, the Hermetica are a series of Egyptian-Greek didactic texts, meant to help the willing student better understand the cosmos, divinity and nature. On her debut album for DFA Records, German producer Perel takes the listener into deep space and explains it all.
"Over the course of nine tracks, she shares a striking amalgamation of house, new wave and kraut motifs that crystallize to form a unique sound. The early 80’s sounds of a Eurythmics cassette Annegret Fiedler listened to at a young age prove influential on many tracks, where Perel combines her love of dance music with the stark vocal delivery of Annie Lennox.
The album is a focused, sonically adventurous work, where the DJ also happens to play every instrument, write every song and intone words of prophetic wisdom on every track."
Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley pour the aural equivalent of an old fashioned in a repurposed jam jar for Drag City
“A month spent in an old mill, river swimming, scorpion fear. No wifi. Night sounds, used frogs. Broken music, a crumble, a mysterious place. An album made for each other by one another with no piercing the bubble, the opposite of a typical recording experience. Tim and Cate serve Drinks again!”
Blinding technoid fusions of flashcore and Techno at 130bpm on the surprise 7th release on Mumdance & Logos’ Different Circles label, RIYL Sleeparchive, La Peste, Shed, Chevel...
Different Circles round off two techno killers nearly 10 years since Szare’s coded conception as 22.214.171.124.5 for Horizontal Ground to reaffirm their unique position within experimental bass/techno dimensions.
Bringing a mongrel sense of Manchester dance music to the plate on both sides, Szare morph rolling big techno with deft traces of flashcore to scintillating impact on Kodiak with its searing paso doble breakdown and bleep coda best compared to Sleeparchive going in double hard with La Peste.
On the other side, Translocated figures a rugged calculation of staccato jacking UK warehouse dynamics rudely compatible with Mumdance & Logos’ FFS/BMT bangers and the wider Different Circles catalogue, but with a hypnotic, industrialized dance energy that is Szare to the core.
Theo and pals stretch out at jazzy angles on Gentrified Love, Pt.4
Bubbling uptempo with the burning hustle of Leave The Funk To Us feat. Amp Fiddler & Ideeyah on a P-Funk house flex, whereas Be Like Me hits the downstroke on a well-tucked boogie jazz turn starring Paul Randolph and Kathy Kosins.