Switched-On Eugene documents the Eugene Electronic Music Collective and some of the many synthed-out gures in and around Oregon’s iconic hippie stronghold during the 1980s.
"Whether connected by membership, geography, or the tape trading scene, the artists in and around the EEMC shared compelling visions of the future we now inhabit, vividly captured on home-recorded tapes and distributed via zines, classi eds, and local radio. Switched-On Eugene is a deep dive into a heretofore forgotten sonic microcosm unlike any other."
Forever developing her ‘Music as Art’ aesthetic into a meeting point between technically brilliant Plunderphonic technique, and ludicrously funny Toilet Humour, Vicky Bennett’s ‘People Like Us’ project reaches another zenith with the release of this excellently titled ‘Recyclopaedia Britannica’,
It's a compilation of selected works recorded between 1992 and 2002, utilising an array of distinctly british quirks in the construction of mock-lounge music intercepted by gaffs, blips, and narrative absurdities. Vicky has become a master of malladjusted social commentary. Fans of John Oswald, Stock, Hausen and Walkman, Negativeland and Matmos will want to check.
Phantasmagoric sci-fi soundtrack styles from Swedish synth-fondler Johan Öhman Sollin, landing square between the styles of early 0PN, Hype Williams, and James Ferraro.
Marking his debut for iDEAL after more than a decade of trading as Johan Rohbau, Time Deleters, Knife and Ape, Minimen, and Sphinxes for a handful of secretive labels, J.Ö.S. draws from classic pulpy ‘80s cyber-goth and video nasty horror soundtracks for a personalised and totally immersive suite of home-brewed, synthy hauntology.
Essentially relaying the sound of loooong Scandinavian nights where there’s not much else to do other than frighten yourself to sleep, ‘Ultra’ perfectly connotes the clammy feel of ‘80s horror/sci-fi soundtracks and their fixations with body horror, technology, and the occult, figuratively using tape recording techniques and embracing the infidelities of decay to conjure 10 bittersweet, poignant scenes that could have feasibly accompanied the imagery of ‘Decoder’ or some John Carpenter knock off...
Optimo Music serve your disco with five ‘80s-styled bobby dazzlers by Noo
Primed for peak times in red-lit rooms, ‘EP4’ turns out handy jams in the full beam chug of ‘Just Can’t Give It Up’ and the S’Express-esque acid-Italo-house of ‘Tripchild’.
CAVE are kind of beyond time. You might feel like it’s been a while since you’ve seen or heard them but when you see or hear them again, that moment will feel like ‘Allways’.
"During the making of the last album, ‘Threace’, CAVE was in the process of becoming a quintet. They toured the world afterwards, playing on four continents and eighteen countries - as close to everywhere as they could get. Then they took a minute. They recorded it over time, in Chile and then Chicago. You can hear all of this, the energy of liveness, the reps, and consolidating expanded possibilities within their new alignment, the time away, the distance and the freshness of returning to recorded sounds, everywhere on ‘Allways’.
In the past, much has been made of CAVE’s use of particular compelling tropes but their inspiration comes from everywhere - Miles, psych, beats, exotica, library music, rock, punk, the Germans, the New York guys too, minimalists, the Dead, music from India, everywhere. This is a bunch of guys playing rock-based music in a way that pushes them forward from everything they’ve experienced. When you listen to the new CAVE you hear guitars - lots of them - bubbling under, scratching, fanning, locking in and taking off, soaring on acid-washed wings, with keys that pump, burr and whoosh in and out of the rhythms.
Half-speed mastering of ‘Allways’ at Abbey Road has allowed the activity at all frequencies to present with a liquid fullness and ripe detail. ‘Allways’ is a blueprint for your ears to read and a map for CAVE to follow through the world."
Imaginative, impressionistic reframing of field recordings, intended for close listening
“From Geneva Skeen - As I’ve tried to understand what is happening now without judgement––a collapse of systems, boundaries, and symbols that crumble faster with each forcible attempt to reinstate them––I am finding equal failure in streamlined, singular methodologies for both comprehension and composition. Outside, reason and rationale wane in heft and clarity. Representation in a world that refuses fact is uncertain and deceptive. Time is complicated by the failure of the linear. Inside, what we see is not what we hear, what we hear is not what we think, what we think is not what we feel, and so on.
The dread incited by this precarity is difficult to interpret without announcing failure: the anxiety of watching our own hourglass is palpable and demanding. I feel existence in this moment has required a move away from my own humanity in order to simply live in it, live through it, live with it while refusing to release the idea of environmental recovery. It is to request your humanity to unwillingly shift, to mutate toward something sharply resilient and relentless. The sounds on this record embody this sense of mutant consciousness. It is, for me, a representation of a vigorous sprint towards complexity, towards the interdependencies that serve as stop-gaps, towards freaky, slippery, compounded stacks of reality.
The title, A Parallel Array of Horses, is derived from a geologic phenomenon in which a block of a specific type of rock has been completely separated by mineral veins from its counterpart within another body of rock, and then stacked upon multiples of others like it. Sounds on this record are both recorded and produced: the album opens with recordings of a Mojave wind storm and closes with the world’s largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats departing their cave to roam the summer night air of Southeast Texas. Both scenes are landscapes of precarity, politically or meteorologically or otherwise. Interspersed are a variety of electronic instruments and processes, and compositional techniques that are variously clear-cut or intentionally buried by digital processing. Tracks three and four are composed entirely with my own voice––my own body as the original playback mechanism for experiencing the world, but manipulated, elaborated upon, and layered to express a more complex interpretation of that subjective reality.
Through listening, I find myself able to retrace my steps back to a sense of decentered, porous presence––the present is still here, with all of its shifts and confusion and valuable interdependencies. No matter is created or destroyed, only new forms arise.”
The songs of Will Oldham have been written most often for the aliases of Palace or Bonny. Their identities, kept necessarily separate from Will’s, the songs were written to create a singular encounter, to be shared among those who choose to listen.
"‘Songs Of Love And Horror’ is a rare entry in this oeuvre: a Will Oldham album, with the writer taking a turn as singer. As befits the nature of this project, the songs are sung and played by Will alone, in a setting enjoyed by fans of his music - that of one voice and one guitar, the better to savour the spare changes and starkly-cut lyrics, operating in quiet tension and ultimate collaboration.
Will brings to the songs all that he has learned from his stage-crafting fellows over the years, singing new versions that quiver like fresh young things in the air of today."
Freaky garage-techno minimalism from Deadboy, providing Trule’s wicked first release
Intently focussed on the groove rather than melodic or harmonic aspects, see find Deadly at his very best between the scissoring micro-funk of ‘Klint’, the almost Herbert-styled parry of ‘Pack It In You Two’, and an outstanding workout named ‘Nomos’, where he really goes in with whirring, techy twysts and freaky, spaced out synth jabs perfectly offset with hiccuping 2-step vocal edit.
Restless sound explorer James Ginzburg (Emptyset) commits his definitive solo opus with debut LP ‘Six Correlations’, an immersive trench of dense harmonic expression consolidating influences ranging from Gaelic folk music to Iranian and Indian classical styles and generative composition techniques.
Originally composed for a commissioned performance in Berlin and recorded in early 2018 over three days, ’Six Correlations’ considers the relationship between the organic and the digital world as a meditation on whether modernity implicitly represents a long slow goodbye to nature: to everything that is not integrated into the networked world.
Rather than a eulogy to the Anthropocene, Ginzburg renders an optimistic, imaginative solution to the disappearance of nature and non-digital culture, seeking out new, harmonious relationships between organic instruments and technological process. Using a hand drum, piano, voice, shruti box and Roland SH-101, he beautifully puts that idea into practice on 6 tracks that short circuit and play around with conceptions of consonance as organic bliss and dissonant noise as chaotic malevolence.
Between the undulating box drone of ‘Light, Timed - A River’, and the swelling gust of bagpipes in ‘Above Water, Inside’ he locates and conveys a mercurial, bittersweet soul at the biting point where consonance and dissonance dissolve into pure sensation, conjuring a harmony of feelings that transcends time, space, light and sound with the lushest yet, crucially, humble and broad appeal.
Swooning, melt-on-the-mind solo piano studies from Shida Shahabi, an Iranian-Swedish composer in possession of a sublime grasp of melody and airy meter, as revealed across eight pieces clearly inspired by Erik Satie and warmly recommended to fans of AFX’s prepared piano works, or the melancholy of Goldmund and Dustin O’Halloran.
“Shida Shahabi is a Swedish-Iranian pianist / composer, currently based in Stockholm. The beautiful, intimate and homespun piano of ‘Homes’ marks Shida’s debut release and the fourth in a row of new albums by female-fronted artists released on 130701 this year.
The entirety of the album was recorded at various home locations. During the writing process, Shida was renting a one bedroom appartment which she used as a studio space, before moving to a new house in the midst of the recording. So the music was actually written in one home studio and recorded in two different living rooms, hence the title, ‘Homes’. A sense of this homeliness and unpressured ease is clearly audible across the album – something utterly natural and unforced. There are no whistles and bells attached here, no big name guest performers or hired studio hands. Absolutely beautifully played and composed, it is a deeply charming record that exudes a confident warmth and an emotional depth and honesty in every note. Its production eschews the prioritising of cleanliness, with a warm, fuzzy noise floor audible from the very first track immediately immersing the listener into this sublime yet imperfect reality – as though the whole existed beneath a layer of dust. It posits comfort over obsessive cleanliness. Living comfortably with traces of wear and decay, the recording makes audible intimate acoustic details and imperfections – creaking and hissing; tiny distortions; the pressure exerted by fingers and feet against the piano’s pedals and keys.”
‘Kontrapoetik’ is a tumultuous and cinematically absorbing suite reeling from dark ambient to burning organ and Buchla 200 synth fanfare, all laced with samples of field recordings and archival Swedish radio recordings. More specifically it is a lament for peripheral communities and also a hymn to satanism. It’s a lot, aye, but highly considered and powerfully sculpted in a way that will appeal to fans of Kali Malone, as much as Emptyset or Stephan Mathieu.
“Kontrapoetik is a very personal and simultaneously historical investigation, tackling the deceivingly serene, yet turmoiled past of composer Maria W Horn’s home region Ångermanland in the North of Sweden, and her own counter-exorcism project thereof. Drawing from archival material in the region she taps directly into the conflict of this bastion for the worker’s movement with the Swedish military in the 1930’s that left 5 dead and nearly triggered a revolution. Even before that it was the site of Sweden's largest documented execution of women accused of witchcraft in 1674 in the form of burnings and decapitations. Constituting two thirds of Sweden's total area, Norrland is sometimes referred to as "the colonies" because of the uneven distribution of the wealth generated by the natural resources of northern Sweden, a small portion of which is reinvested in the area. Since the 1970's it has seen increasing depopulation and disintegration of the welfare state. The piece Ångermanländska bilder is based on material from a collection of Super-8 films that depicts the environment of Ångermanland from 1930-1940; the manor houses of the rural community, the steamboats transporting timber along the river that runs through the landscape, the power plants and sawmills.
The musical territories explored by Horn on Kontrapoetik are vast, but at the heart of each piece is a strong fundament of reductionist technique no matter how maximal the results may sound. Deceptively simple harmonic progressions are refractured through the means of inversion and repetition, presented either in a pure state or being crushed and deformed by layers of distortion. Coupled with this is an almost tactile relationship to texture as well as an immaculate sense of the physicality of sound. This work, while saturated by an almost overbearing sense of longing and loss, never gives in, but stands steadfastly defiant.”
Plangent , minimalist isolationist ambience from the high planes drifter, William Fowler Collins.
“A fluid dream logic runs deep in William Fowler Collins’ Field Music. The New Mexican composer of dark minimalism has long centered his practices upon the slow burn of the drone through guitar, electronics, etc. That remains the case for Field Music, with Collins extending his strategies through compositional exercises into rhythm and a diverse array of conceptual signposts that push his work along unfixed, sometime oppositional directions. The idea of ‘field music’ can relate to the archaic use of military drum corps in battle, whose patter Collins has intermingled with the polyrhythms associated
with Voodoo ritual.
Collins also proposes that the ‘field’ be defined as the physical self as gleaned from his secular readings of the Bhagavad Gita. The ‘field’ as the fabric of time and space also becomes a possibility when Collins literally wraps this album in the history of the atomic bomb, as the cover photo portrays the humble ranch where the first nuclear weapon was assembled.
Field Music grounds itself upon sustained tones that churn through controlled oscillations as the fundamentals to activate a trance-state in the listener. Out of this, Collins introduces hypnotic machine-looped convulsions and almost EVP-like disembodied voices on “Contact Is A Mother” as well as those those aforementioned polyrhythms that ripple across the title track. He pushes a motorik thump to the foreground of “They Wept Together” to the glowing dilation of foreboding ambience, running parallel to the restrictive strategies of Wolfgang Voigt.
The subtle complexities of Field Music address the primal nature of rhythm in connection with the body and the building blocks of energy, matter, and consciousness. Fans of Eliane Radigue, Christophe Heemann, and Demdike Stare would be well served to investigate Field Music.”
Lone stepper Orson persists with the halfstep sound on his Version label
Gwan like it’s still 2006, the German producer simmers the vibe in ‘Life Gamble’ with a fine balance of dankness and light coming from the levitating pads and keys, whereas ’12:09’ fully commits to bassbin dread with seismic bass wobbles.
Joachim Nordwall and Henrik Rylander pound out a powerful new Saturn And The Sun album on the former’s iDEAL Recordings, following up an album for The Tapeworm and the death of their band, The Skull Defekts, with a monotonous, harsh missive from the cold North.
Recorded at the legendary Gothenburg Sound Experiment in 2017, ‘In Love With The Extreme’ finds the duo explorating core influences, consolidating everything from ‘60s minimalism to early techno and tribal musics into a densely textured, future-primitive sort of rhythmic noise possessed with mesmerising traction and troubling distortion.
With brute force and admirably unrefined, intuitive intent, the pair palm out four hot streaks of molten electronics, fulminating tarry basses and noxious clouds of buzzing metallic overtones with pineal-pinching effect. This approach manifests stealthily in the subliminal transition from viscous atonal roil to undulating noise techno on opener ‘In Love With The Extreme’, while the bitter thizz and grungy bass distortion of ’Saturn War Chant’ feels like a slowed-down, ancient Viking battle cry to alien foe.
On ‘Cross The Line’ they invoke the elemental might of Mika Vainio in a hauntingly gutted and head-engulfing tract of high-register stress and sickly subharmonics, and again the charred electronics of ‘Pleasure Is Relief’ clearly nods to their departed peer’s Pan Sonic output.
Killer, mutant jungle and Bristol bass functions from Rhythmic Theory, including a seriously strong remix of Pessimist
Originally issued in 2017, the EP somehow escaped our full attention until recently, when we encountered the full might of RT’s ‘Choppage’ mix of ‘Empty House’ by Pessimist. Hewing close to Pessimist’s ruggedly stripped down sound, RT injects his own flavour with patented bass drum clout and tail-chasing, smoke-curl breakbeat edits that really set it apart.
The rest of the EP is smart, too, from the Batu-esque rolige of ‘Outlawed From Reality’, to the dank lean of ‘Cyclic Motion’ and the cavernous stepper ’Rachael’s Theme’, but to be fair the first track is the one!
Tymon and Ansome rework neo-gabber/hardcore techno trax in brutal fashion
Sydney, Australia’s Tymon brings his industrial strength class to a bushwhacking doof mix of Perc’s ‘Hyperlink’, and Ansome executes rugged skullduggery on Manni Dee and Ewa Justka’s ‘London Isn’t England’.
Hospital Productions invoke ancient arcane sensations with Old Tower’s Dutch dungeon synth trip
“Hospital Productions presents: emerging from the nether regions of times not spoken and lands raised with blood Old Tower pays homage and servitude to the drachen. moving away from the streams of modern decay and following the ancient path laid bare by cold meat industry, metgumbnerbone and tangerine dream ‘drachenblut’ shows the synthesized pact of organized ancient electronics. hail the spirit of feudal darkness and clotted blood coagulating in the shadows!
arriving on the nearly extinct 7” format for the first time but make no mistake dear mortals, 'drachenblut' presents 3 of the most intricate and hypnotic tracks from the specter. short in length like the life span inside the drachen’s breath this archaic ep will leave the forsaken listener into a trance of self destruction honoring the horrific mythology returning to revenge our time.”
Susie Ibarra’s feted percussive skills mingle with the the DreamTime ensemble for a heavy-lidded, melancholy, and contemplative album of jazz, folk, avant-classical and world music themes...
“Susie Ibarra is one of the most significant female percussionists and composers of our time, known for her work as a performer within contemporary, avant-garde, jazz, classical, and world music, having worked with the likes of John Zorn, Yo La Tengo, Mamadou Kelly, Marc Ribot, and many more. Perception, self-released in December 2017 and now being distributed through Thrill Jockey, is a beautiful piece of art, layering sound and centered around the way one perceives the world around them, and how this dictates one’s reality. Ibarra also released an album earlier this year on Thrill Jockey, Flower of Sulphur, with multi-instrumentalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO, SAICOBAB) and artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens, OM).
Perception was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Olivier Chastan and performed with the DreamTime Ensemble, consisting of Claudia Acuña (vocals), Jennifer Choi (violin), Yves Dharamraj (cello), Jake Landau (piano and guitar), Jean-Luc Sinclair (electronics). While processing grief and loss in her life, Ibarra found her senses more vivid and channeled those heightened feelings into dynamic, expressive pieces, from melancholic contemplation to percussive bombast to jagged grooves. Ibarra crafted the detailed arrangements of the album to reflect varied impressions and perspectives of the album’s musicians as well as the listener’s. The range of sounds and emotional artistry on the album are bolstered by Ibarra’s own unique perspective as a practitioner of traditional Philippine Kalinga music, jazz, and contemporary composition.”
El Deux is the Swiss electro-pop trio of Gutze Gautschi (guitar, vocals), Steno Onetz (bass), Martin Kraft (vocals, drum machine). Formed circa 1981 in Aarau by Gutze and Steno who played together in punk/New Wave band Fresh Color aka Frische Farbe featuring a pre-Yello Dieter Meier.
"Gutze’s minimal electronic compositions did not fit the concept of Fresh Color, so they formed a new project with their live mixer, Martin Kraft, on vocals. The group was quite successful with many concerts, mainly in southern Germany and various TV appearances in Germany and abroad. Between April/September 1982 they recorded and mixed their debut album ‘Nur Für Mädchen’ in 15 days at Powerplay Studios, Zurich. The LP was released later that year on Gold Records.
Influences at that time were of course the NDW “Neue Deutsche Welle'' movement and also from Gutze’s time as a musician & guitarist since 1965. Their step up for recording was a Moog Prodigy, Korg Rhythm 55 (KR-55), Simmons Drums, Casiotone 202, Guitar and Bass. We’ve added a bonus track “Video King” that was originally released as a follow up single in 1984 before the group disbanded. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios."
The third in Low Jack’s much sought-after Les disques de la Bretagne 12” series features the first new material from Antinote co-founder Iueke in years, following a series of archival releases and pair of brilliantly unhinged mixtapes for the DDS label. For this one he opts for a complex and hard-hitting crackpot dancefloor style, something like a squahed take on T++, Dynamo,, Autechre, Gescom...
The last original productions we heard from the Antinote co-founder was on a series of archival 12”s for his label issued between 2012 and 2015, but Champion features his first new recordings in perhaps over a decade and, true to form, they’re not at all what we were expecting.
Champion (Version) deploys a a super rugged swing and recursive digital noise coming off like T++ and Gescom programming daggering robots, while Zonck brilliantly recalls Autechre's remix of Lexis’ Hypnotise - all achromatic, dense, percussive madness that also recalls T++, or more specifically, his Dynamo gear.
Dem A Burning is more glacial and spacious, swilling the dance with caustic acid noise and sloshing subbass in deadly, futurist style recalling Timeblind's much overlooked but completely ageless Rastabomba session, before Polxat expends his restless energy in a properly Autechrian madness.
Purest Tokyo disco luxury from Dip In The Pool’s Miyako Koda, covering Yumi Murata’s Ambient J-Pop classic ‘Face To Face’ is two delectable mixes
On the front is a respectful extended edit feathered with sonorous bass and electric guitar and kissed with Miyako’s gently whisked vox, all seemingly arranged for those moments when you feel like Bill Murray sipping expensive whiskey in a 30 storey bar.
On the other side they tease out a delicate, mouth-watering ‘Ambient’ mix for those times when you dive out of said window in a Gaspar Noe-style DMT trip over the rooftops below, searching for your new corporeal host.
L.I.E.S. look closer to their Paris home with Krikor Kouchian’s ersatz OST, Pacific Alley, making a fine change of pace and mood from the producer known for a string of filter house and electro releases for Kill The DJ Records, Tigersushi and Crowdspacer under myriad monikers since over the past 20 years.
Following the sought-after Linn funk of Promo 45, this is Krikor’s 2nd release for L.I.E.S., and features both tracks from the 7” as part of an 11-track suite full of vintage drum machines and gauzy synth gazes suggesting the soundtrack to long drives at dusk along coast roads or cruising California’s less salubrious neighbourhoods.
That’s partly down to the fact that the artist spent time a s a youth in SoCal, soaking up the radio, the beach and American culture in a way which has informed his music ever since (check for his France Copland takes NWA and Bladerunner!), resulting now in something like a lo-fi parallel to Dam-Funk or a more playful Palmbomen II.
Californian electronic pop duo Peaking Lights make a splash on Dekmantel with 'Sea of Sand', the band’s first release this year. It’s a kaleidoscopic melting-pot of dainty dub, experimental and leftfield beats, with wondrous sunny soundscapes that blend together the unconventional home-fashioned electronics, and windswept vocals that have defined Peaking Lights to date.
"'Sea of Sand' is the band’s first record in three years not released on their own imprint. With six tracks, exceeding 30 minutes in total, the extended EP is a prelude to a forthcoming LP. With a DIY aesthetic and approach to analogue instrumentalism, Peaking Lights retro-digital sound is one that sits perfectly with Dekmantel.
Already with a string of highly acclaimed albums across their ten year production history, the husband and wife duo that is Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis have carved out a niche of quirky electronic, and psychedelic pop sounds. 'Sea of Sand' once against sees the act once again teaming up with an international label, having released on some of the most integral and pioneering imprints in the scene. The band, who founded themselves on innovative technology, and a pragmatic approach to sound and composition recorded the EP together in their home studio, Dreamfuzz. The result, 'Sea of Sand' feels more like a mini-LP, with a diverse mix of experimental beats, and extended electronic, pop-dubs. As ever, Dunis focuses primarily on vocals, along with synths, piano, and live electronic drums, with Coyes on synths, drum programming, and dubbing on a mixing console. Recording the vocals live in the studio, the band worked a lot with tape, using tape scratching effects to the give the record an even more dubbier feel. The record kicks off with the quirky, upbeat pop track 'Blind Corner', followed by slower Italo-like 'Hypnotized'. There’s a wavey-krautrock sound on 'Shift Your Mind'; a glowing romanticism on 'Read your mind'; and a celestial ambience embedded through 'Noise of Life. The record concludes with the sonically divine harmonic piano track 'Sea of Sand', perfectly setting the template for the EP.”
Akio Suzuki : kikkukikiriki, stone flute, small stones, pan pipe, ireba, silent toy David Toop : flutes, bone whistle, dog whistles, stones, whistling pot, organic materials, feedback device Recorded at Sound 323, London on March 15, 2003 by Akinori Yamasaki.
"Breath-Taking is the result of one of Akio Suzuki's rare visits to England. Suzuki's music proceeds from meditation and transforms quotidian objects (a stone flute, small stones, a "silent toy") into fragile means of communication. David Toop makes a very compatible sound-mate. Here he uses an assortment of flutes and whistles, along with a whistling pot and "organic materials" (a vague enough description to allow the listener to imagine at will).
Upon first listen, one may think of two serious men making childlike music, but the level of contemplation found in this single, 37-minute piece dispels this first impression. The performance is not particularly striking, even from the point of view of such a quiet form of improvisation, but it is obvious that the music doesn't intend to strike or compel. It is born out of such simplicity that it simply exists -- it is there, discreetly inhabiting your listening space, and its sole presence is a marvel. One finds an interesting level of interaction between the artists and inventive, creative sound-making at play.” (François Couture, All Music Guide)
The caretakers of contemporary psych lay down acidic improvs recorded in Houston in 2017 in two sessions with no overdubs - dosing it direct to tape and your ears for optimal, slow-building, lysergic potency.
“Charalambides founders Tom & Christina Carter follow a vision of iconoclastic music as transformative force. Touching on the outer limits of acid folk, psych rock, and improvisation, their sound remains uniquely personal & consistent. Since 1991, Charalambides has released many recordings on labels like Siltbreeze, Kranky & Wholly Other.
Despite Tom and Christina Carter’s prolific solo careers and numerous other projects, Charalambides has existed in an unbroken trajectory for over two-and-a-half decades, outlasting the genres that critics and other yardstick-makers have tried to cram them into. Their recent performances and recordings retain the directness and delicate menace that mark their early releases, even as they explore an interlocking musical telepathy honed by years of artistic collaboration.
Aptly tilted "Charalambides: Tom and Christina Carter", the newest album from Charalambides furthers the duo’s deep psychic understanding of music. Laid down in two sessions with no overdubs, the album entwines their best known approaches into a raw, fragile, wordless and hypnotic whole. It’s definitely the duo at their most exquisite.”
Laidback to rude garage pressure systems from Soundbwoy KIllah inna mid ‘90s London fashion
Eazing in with the dreamy R&B snippets, ginger drums and booty-cradling subs of ‘Yours’, it gets suffer with the ragged drums, freewheeling spin backs and old skool rave stabs of ‘Come My Selector’, before shaking out the breakbeat garage ruff & tumble of ‘Abra Cadabra’, and rounding out on a Reese-fuelled 2-step with ‘Turn Off The Lights’.
Cold Beat is a San Francisco-based quartet fronted by Hannah Lew (synths, vocals) with Kyle King (synths, guitar), Luciano Talpini Aita (synths) and Sean Monaghan (guitar).
"Formed in 2013 the band has released three albums and two EPs. ‘A Simple Reflection’ is a 7-song collection of Eurythmics covers, yet feels just as personal as any of their original material. While digging through a collection of 12"s for her record shop Contact Records, Lew stumbled across the earliest Eurythmics B-sides and was floored. This lead to the discovery of their debut album ‘In The Garden'. Annie Lennox’s abstract and poetic lyrics really struck a chord with Hannah. What had started out as a single cover quickly snowballed into a full blown obsession.
The synth and drum programming resonated with her songwriting process, so reimagining them was very creatively fulfilling. The covers on this EP are simultaneously dynamic and atmospheric post-punk that plays to Lew's ethereal vocals and King’s crystalline guitar. All songs have been mixed by Mikey Young (Total Control) and mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in a jacket designed by Eloise Leigh, which features pink and purple clouds that evoke a dreamy softness and DIY playfulness and photos Lew in her best Lennox-inspired drag."
Steve Albini’s Big Black classic - listed in the top 100 records of the ‘80s, according to Pitchfork - comes around for its umpteenth reissue
Driven by a Roland drum computer, Albini and his cohorts slash and burn thru 13 songs about fucking, Colombian execution techniques, bread that gets you high, and humanity’s inevitable descent into darkness, along with a blistering cover version of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’. What more could you ask from a record?
Avant-garde poetry from mid-‘70s Canada, full of extended vocal techniques. First ever vinyl reissue - original copies trade for high double figures if you can find one
“The Four Horsemen was a sound poetry group of Canadian poets composed of bpNichol, Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, and Steve McCaffery. They started performing in 1970 and quickly moved from radical improvisation to the use of a notational system, with an effort to develop a scoring method adequate to the group's dynamic and visceral sound show. The four-piece soon became a living workshop with regular weekly rehearsals leading to the best refined group-conceived and group-written compositions.
The third volume in a series of sound poetry coordinated by Luca Garino, Nada Canadada, nine outbursts of controlled madness dedicated to the memory of Hugo Ball is indeed one of the highest examples of poetry as product of a community. "The number of words we still use in our poetry comes as somewhat of a surprise to us, especially in the light of this album. Strictly speaking we cannot call what we do sound poetry if by it is meant that poetry which has its basis in non-verbal, vocal, and sub-vocal elements of sound. Nor are we into the electronic ramifications of sound in any sense beyond doing a record. We are in fact reluctant to pin the aesthetic continuum on which we operate to the first wall available. Still, perhaps the best name for what we do is what it always has been: poetry". --Rafael Barreto-Rivera.”
On ‘Salvaged Space’ UK-based sound designer Fermata layers and filters field recordings into emotive electronic narratives riddled with myriad voices and details
“Written and recorded between 2014-2018 in many different places, the sound collage // field recordings and noise improvisations on this tape were constructed entirely out of phone and handheld recordings of quiet moments, street performers, instrumental improvisations, and noise pollution; Salvaged Space is a document of the last few years that I've spent experimenting with different methods of arrangement and composition.
I aimed to prevent myself from overthinking the musical material, instead focusing on shaping and warping sound so that it shared the same alive/imperfect nature of the recorded soundscapes each piece is inspired by.
The captured moments that drive this record hold great value to me when remembering significant days and nights over my time at university (DMU). Including many social occasions, trips abroad, projects, performances, and mental states. I hope it can bring you some kind of respite during these interesting times.”
Manchester/Bogotá charmer Florentino throws down four killer reggaeton edits of modern dancefloor anthems for Mixpak
All four cuts are staples of his DJ sets and have been featured on Florentino’s monthly NTS show - a goldmine of tunes bridging Latinx and UK bass sensibilities.
Up top you’ll catch a masterful balance of UK grime and bashy dembow rhythms in ‘El Sonido’, along with a rude AF flip of Timbaland beats in ‘Colombian Flute’. Down below, he tips out a wicked edit of the ’Diwali Riddim’ on ‘Agarrate’ and another classic Timba production in ‘Eres Un Romantico 2.0’.
Electro-tipped swingers and wrigglers from Planet Euphorique proprietor D. Tiffany
Volleyed outta Vancouver, Canada, the ‘Feel U’ 12” yields four hyperactive yet rolling workouts between the Detroit ghetto-break styles of her sweetly vocodered title track and the floating 808 suspension system of ‘AK’ up top, with the subaquatic rufige of ‘Sip & Savour’ and the Dan Curtin-esque developments of ‘Northern Light’s occupying the B-side.
Properly Entrancing recordings of Eliane Radigue’s ferric alchemy come to light again on vinyl, this time on a better vinyl pressing with calmer surface noise allowing for a finer grasp of her pulsing, filigree microtones and pealing timbral partials. Also, that new cover art is....!!!
Stunning Alga Marghen issue of two previously unreleased masterworks by Eliane Radigue recorded at Pierre Henry's studio between 1967-68. At this time she was working for Henry at his studio, given the enviable task of organising his vast sound library according to different criteria for use in his future compositions and also helping edit his masterpiece 'L'Apocalypse de Jean'. During downtime she had access to an unrivaled array of equipment and created these two compositions. Jouet Electronique' (1967) or 'Feedback on magnetic tape' features two Studer and two Tolana reel tape machines - Radigue would set one to record another and manipulate the discrepancies of phasing feedback loops, or "larsens" with delicate, fine-tuned pitching, "slightly caressing certain potentiometers" to elicit a range of low pulsations and very high pitched sounds as though she were playing a rather unwieldy instrument. The results are ethereal and often alien, yet conducted with an uncannily restrained and human sleight of hand.
Even more visceral is 'Elemental I' (1968) or 'Feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape' comprises four movements associated with the four basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. Thanks to her former employer, the artist, Arman, she now had a small, portable Stella Vox which she used to record sounds in open air during walks around her home in Nice, capturing the sea, the wind, the rain and fire to form a small sound library. The sources in each section are discernable, but transformed into breathtaking abstractions at her home studiio.
A genuine holy grail of Italian post-industrial music, The Cop Killers’ sole, eponymous tape is remastered and issued on vinyl for the first time via Alessio Natalizia’s Ecstatic label. Fetching triple figures on the 2nd hand market (there’s a copy on scogs atm for £300) this is an indispensable slice of ‘80s Europe’s underground experimental rhizome.
An important release for Ecstatic and one very close to their heart, ‘The Cop Killers’ was originally released in 1982 on the legendary Trax label and features the industrial power trio of Trax co-founder Vittore Baroni and label regular Daniele Ciullini assisted by UK’s Mark A. Phillips (Five Times of Dust) in supposing a sci-fi narrative set in a not-so-distant future society.
While clearly drawing influence and literary license from classic sci-fi by Orwell, Ray Bradbury and William Burroughs, the trio also take cues from the not-so-distant history of Italian fascism to offer a subtly coded and subversive warning against right-wing ideologies. In the process The Cop Killers distinguished themselves by preferring to plants seeds of hope amid the rubble of their peers nihilistic/apocalyptic visions, implicitly turning the album into a sort of “pacifist parable”.
The political aspect wouldn’t be half as crucial without the music, though. A coarse blend of Italian-accented english vox with backing tracks ranging from jaunty synth figures to cloven drum machine malfunctions and noisier wig-outs, it was mixed on a dual cassette deck and mixer from numerous tapes in just over 90 minutes, and successfully carries the narrative and its message to the point it’s become such a sought-after classic - not just for its obscurity, but also its charged energy, a condensation of candescent anger focussed into a pointedly oblique yet smartly allegorical condemnation of fascism.
Vittore Baroni: “As a music journalist and fan of radical and avant-garde audio researches, at the start of the 80s I was becoming increasingly bored by the mannerism of so many industrial and noise bands, and also annoyed by their gratuitous and stereotyped use of images of death, Nazism, war, with titles and texts soaked in right-wing ideologies. I wanted to produce an antibody to this depressive trend, with seeds of hope well concealed under a nihilistic-apocalyptic “industrial” camouflage."
Brilliantly cut-up soundtrack to Lena Willikens & Sarah Szczesny’s audio-visual drama; ‘Phantom Kino Ballett’ smartly blurring the lines between soundtrack and mixtape in a way recalling the best Demdike Stare mixes, but taken to a more purposeful level of arrangement, with a whole side of original material by Willikens & Szczesny on the b side.
Salon Des Amateurs' Lena Willikens has already carved out a reputation as one of the most interesting and varied selectors around, fuelled by years of experience DJing on the radio and at her residency at Salon Des Amateurs, together with a rarified knowledge of outernational rhythms and weirdo techno. We’ve been waiting for a proper follow up to her Phantom Delia EP for Cómeme back in 2015 - a properly unique, brilliant EP of darkside dancefloor mystique heavily influenced by '80s wave heritage, and she now comes good on this collab with Sarah Szczesny (with whom she studied at the Dusseldorf Art Academy) for this mixtape/score for audiovisual performance piece Phantom Kino Ballett, incorporating elements of video art and dance.
It would spoil the surprise to give away too much of the tracklist, but suffice to say this is the first tape we’ve ever heard that transitions between Bowie, Amanda Leer and Silvia Plath, or makes such brilliant use of Liz Taylor, one of many strong female presences telling a “story of domestic dissociation, public scrutiny and suffering”on the tape’s A-side.
The B-side, however, is the real prize here, unfurling a 40 minute soundscape called "Passage Transkript" created by Willikens & Szczesny inspired by their time in Kyoto, Japan during autumn 2017 and tapping into the most evocative turns of abstract soundscaping imaginable.
All Commend proceeds from this release will be donated to agisra e.V., a non-profit organization advocating on behalf of migrant women and against sexual and racist violence. agisra is based in Cologne, Germany, and was chosen by Lena and Sarah. — agisra.org.
After returning to resounding acclaim with The Thing in 2012 and then solo on 2014’s ‘Blank Project’, Neneh Cherry channels her timeless soul into the Four Tet-produced ‘Broken Politics’, her 2nd solo album for Smalltown Supersound.
“Following the release of her first earth-quaking single in 4 years at the beginning of August, counter-culture pop icon Neneh Cherry announces her fifth solo album Broken Politics, produced in its entirety by Four Tet.
Continuing her blurring and conflation of the personal and the political, the second single Shot Gun Shack tackles the link between violence and deprivation using poetic logic. The track deals with the ever-present and always-global issue of gun violence in society. The track's name was the result of inspiration that sprung from a half-remembered conversation Cherry had at the funeral of late jazz great Ornette Coleman.
Broken Politics pointedly asks the question; how do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood? It searches for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It’s a record that’s equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent music.”
Some time around 20 years ago, Dub Surgeon made an absorbing album of beautiful dub infused with ambience, found sounds and horizontal rhythms. 'The Lost Future' was recorded at the former Amsterdam Film Academy, engineered and mastered by Ricardo Villalobos who put it through several vintage mixers and recorded it to 2 inch tape. Then, tragedy struck: a storm surged and ignited a fire that ravaged the studio. The master copy was thought to have been lost forever.
Dub Surgeon stopped making music and disappeared into the shadows after just two EPs on Future Dub in 2002/3. But one day, 15 years later, and totally out of the blue, he received a demo of The Lost Future. "Pay attention to this," it said.
Attached was a demo version of the long lost album which now, finally, has found a home on Dubai's Ark to Ashes imprint, so named in homage to the story of Lee "Scratch" Perry burning down his Black Ark studio to rid it of demons.
Newly mastered by Rashad Becker, the album adopts its full form as a killer dub excursion which, with hindsight, can be marked up next to other electronic dub classics of its era, arguably right up there with the first two Pole albums, but also wickedly prescient of wilder, out-of-the-lines styles to come from Jay Glass Dubs to Seekersinternational, and even flashes of Hyperdub and Burial’s more abstract, introspective moments.
Dean Blunt keeps everyone guessing with the 'Black Metal' follow-up to his widely acclaimed LP, 'The Redeemer' (2013).
Let's get it out of the way: it's not black metal, in the cold, Northerly sense, at least. Musically, its palette actually bears more resemblance to early Factory or Rough Trade records by The Durutti Column or Scritti Politti - or even Serge Gainsbourg - than anything remotely connected to Bathory or Burzum. And taken in light of his oeuvre, both with Hype Williams and solo, it's actually a canny appropriation of the term, subverting pre-conceived and connoted ideas of genre, race, and sub-culture on their tired heads.
The production is unfussy, dry and lo-fi - but by no means limited to any one sound or bank of sounds: across 13 tracks in 53 minutes he touches on string swept pop-soul, dust bowl panoramas, synth music, dub and noise with equally profuse and diffuse results. Alongside previous single tracks, '50 Cent', 'Mersh' and 'Grade', there's big highlights in the hushed duet, 'Molly & Aquafina', the drifting 13-minute centre-piece 'Forever', and the Badalamenti-esque 'X', but they're all part of a unified body which needs to be explored in its entirety.
Cliff Martinez teams up once more with the producers of ‘Drive’ for the first time since collaborating on the now-classic soundtrack.
"Reminiscent of his work on ‘Drive’, Cliff Martinez’s score to ‘Hotel Artemis’ is a tense, dark synth masterpiece. The soundtrack also features brand new song ‘Gilded Cage’ by Father John Misty written exclusively for the film, plus music by The Mamas & The Papas, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Elyse Weinberg."
An Island In The Moon is the perfectly conceived minimal ambient project from Italian composers Pier Luigi Andreoni (Doubling Riders, ATROX) and Silvio Linardi. Andreolina being a mix of the names of the two musicians who were both deeply involved with the label Auf Dem Nil on which the album was originally released in 1990.
"The duo stick to a disciplined and simple palette using only two synthesizers and a Roland S50 sampler. They are joined by fellow electronic journeyman Riccardo Sinigaglia who contributes piano and samples on two tracks. Taking influences from Italian minimalism while adding some jazz hints Andreolina sprawls, weightless instrumentals that never stay soporific for too long on this singular rare album. Auf Dem Nil or ADN was one of the most adventurous Italian record labels of the 80's and early 90's with releases by De Fabriek, Riccardo Sinigaglia and Pierre Bastien. Leaving their mark on the experimental music scene back than and influencing musicians worldwide up until today."
DIY home recordings of ambient synth and modern classical solo piano, meandering with a lovely, day-dreaming quality that feels like a lower-fi, subtly crazed adjunct to Dominique Lawalrée’s genteel ambient flocking
“Le Raccourci is a welcome introduction to the world of modern classical identity Sebastian Gandera. The impressionist landscapes of a sensitive soul self-reflecting, these miniature compositions alternate across a rudimentary set up of piano, field recorder, sampler and four track. Melancholic utterings hastily captured some 100km east of Paris.
Classically trained by the same teacher as his parents, Gandera first began recording in the confines of his university dorm room, inspired by a C60 from friend and future collaborator Bernard Odot (A Gethsémani). Humbly existing without sparing a thought to music industry or career, Gandera’s personal effects surfaced via the European and US cassette networks from 1988 to 1994. Impressively accomplished for the DIY scene they orbited, these tapes were issued in scant quantities, rendering his pieces as private secrets shared and duplicated in small concentric circles. Aside from a sole, avowedly traumatic performance, the material was never shared in a live context.
Selected by Sky Girl co-conspirer Julien Dechery, Le Raccourci culls 15 tracks from Gandera’s extensive cassette discography, discarded DAT recordings, and split CD with Lyon toy music project Klimperei. These sentiently charged compositions only hint at his larger catalogue, but act as a compelling cross section of the artist’s oeuvre. The identity is further detailed by archival images, Glen Goetze penned liner notes and original artwork from Perks and Mini’s Misha Hollenbach.
While Gandera’s nostalgic melodies incidentally parallel with the piano key manoeuvres of Pascal Comelade, Robert Haigh and Dominique Lawalrée, Le Raccourci could only stem from the escapist desires of one Eric Morin.”
Neil Landstrumm began producing in the early ‘90s after moving to Edinburgh from Inverness. Initially producing within a variety of groups often with Christian Vogel, he began his solo production in 1993 influenced by the Sheffield school of bleep as well as electro and Miami bass.
"Landstrumm’s unique sound soon caught the ears of a wide variety of some of the worlds finest electronic labels and he went onto record for Tresor and Planet Mu as well as his string of EP’s and album for Peacefrog. His playful sense of humor and penchant toward unpredictable song structures and bizarre sounds have continued to offer humour in a world often dominated by serious minimalism.
Threesome features Landstrumm’s three Peacefrog EP’s originally released between early 1995 and 1996. Highlights include the minimalist Chicago jack track Takks, dancefloor destroyers such as Swing / Jerk and Blam The Target, along with the off kilter raw stomping funk of Sniff And Destroy. To this day Landstrumm remains one of the true innovators in UK techno."
UUUU features Edvard Graham Lewis, Thighpaulsandra, Matthew Simms and Valentina Magaletti.
"Individually these humans have implanted feathers in caps such as Coil, Dome, Wire, Tomaga, etc. Collectively they form UUUU, a powerhouse construction of fierce and free sonic exploration, as liberating as it is frightening, resulting in, the richly rewarding. The artists united present a project of exquisite curiosity and confident chaos where the individual thumbprints mesh into a gloriously muscular frenetic free sonic soup. It's Going All Over The Floor presents itself as a terse meeting between dance, ambient, abstraction and improvisation. The Latent Black Path Of Summons Served proceeds in a tense energy field where random elements bounce around until locking into a fourth world pattern designed to fall into a dense mass of ecstatic noise. Boots with Wings is classic Lewis - a pop tune from the other side of the mind.
UUUU is a schizophrenic seething/soothing masterpiece of a past/present hybrid equally at home in the club, the home and the mind.”
Slow techno guy Positive Centre and D&B producer Overlook merge styles as Carrier for the darkside inception of ‘47017’ on Tommy Four Seven’s label
In one of the few instances we can recall where these parallel style have crossed over, Carrier nail a mutant sound that can’t be accused of techno or D&B, but rather sits heavy in a noisily textured and highly pressurised no-person’s-land of the rave.
Up top they work out the crushing torque and divebombing dynamics of ‘Blue Nine’ beside the galloping grey area rolige of ‘Counter Illumination’. On the flipside they open out into more spacious, fluidly rhythmic terrain with the cold knocks and streaking underwater scenes of ’Suggestion’, and eaze off on the halfstep with the serious steppers techno rufige of ‘Foreshadow’.
Deep, direct and puckered US house, electro and techno from Brooklyn’s Acemo, on vinyl cut and pressed in Detroit
Glyding in with the satin pads and wistful arps on the nagging swang of ‘R.E.M. Dance’, he turns up a super peachy garage-electro piece laced with ohrwurming Korg hook in ‘Get It From The Sound’.
On ‘The Essence’ he makes great use of entrancing garage-house bleep riffs and needling electro patterns, and ‘Speedn N Smokin’ catches him cruising on a rugged, nocturnal, 313-style house ride.
RIYL Omar-S, J. Albert, Person Of Interest.
Men of many monikers Jordan Czamanski and William Thomas Burnett cover a spectrum of styles with the rapidfire rhythmelodies, choral synths and dank ambience of ‘Setting The Scene For An Island Battle’
Adding up to something like a short-film soundtrack, the pair shape up a progressively pensive episode travelling from the fluttering, ritualistic charge of ‘Krazy Kalimba’ and the mesh of pygmy-esque electronics and bubbling choral voices in ‘Island Life’, to the reflective ambience of ‘Pitter Patter’, before matters take a dark turn into the Giallo-ish strings and slunking groove of ‘Incoming Fire’, and the cold palpitations of ‘Survey The Scene For Survivors’.
Spiritual jazz meets ambient tranquility midair on Matthewdavid’s blessed Leaving Records
‘Wilkes’ is the title track and lead single off the debut from Sam Wilkes, an L.A.-based jazz bassist, multi instrumentalist and producer for Knower, Pratly, Jacob Collier.