The continuation of the audio trilogy concerning the Darkness of Aegypt: the shadow stuff from whence dark dreams come. The Triad: dark, light and the animating serpent power are delineated by the Egyptian Gods Set, Horus and the Apep serpent.
"The second parting of the ways, lord of the crossroads, the double horizon, the xroads of day and night, the mauve zone, the death posture. We brought back: a twilight mechanism, and hymns to the charnel ground, ashes, jackals and the bulto hyaena, pacing the departure lounges of abandoned airports."
Ana Roxanne exerts a gently intimate and singular spin on new age ambient tropes on her beautiful new LP, sounding something like Julee Cruise via Maggi Payne. Surely among this year’s finest quiet listens...
“Ana Roxanne is an intersex Southeast Asian musician based in Los Angeles. Born & raised in the Bay Area to immigrant parents, Ana's love for music and singing began through her mother's cd collection of 80's/90's R&B divas. Raised in the catholic church, she became a devout choir nerd and found any opportunity to sing, whether for religious mass, the jazz ensemble of her catholic high school, or karaoke at family gatherings. Her commitment to singing led her to a brief stint at a vocational jazz program in the cornfields of the midwest; in a remote town of 7,000 people, she began a formal study of jazz and classical music. During these years she would tour with various ensembles to beautiful old cathedrals in nearby cities and became enamored with the sacredness of choral music, as well as the enveloping sound of harmony. A near death experience, too, served as a connection between music and spirituality, and music as a healing art after facing tragedy.
In 2013, Ana was also fortunate enough to spend a few months in Uttarkhand, India where she met an incredible voice teacher who introduced her to classical Hindustani singing. Living and studying with this teacher deeply impacted her outlook on the voice as art. It was there that she began to see the singer - the Diva - as a symbol of divinity; that the unique power of one's voice comes from the vulnerability of using the body as an instrument. Be it romance, love, or worship of a deity - in order to access such depths of emotional expression, one must be willing to be intensely vulnerable, lay one's heart in the open air, expose what is kept hidden. This brief study was the catalyst that led her to finish her music study at the experimental Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she began to combine all of these influences into her current self-titled project. This album ~~~ was created during her last years residing in the Bay Area, a tribute to the great musicians who inspired her and the landscape where she spent her formative years.
In addition to the worship of R&B and pop divas, Ana's current practice explores themes of gender & identity. In October of 2018, she decided to come out publicly as intersex, and is dedicated to being a voice for her community and speaking out about social justice for intersex youth.”
Pure Serge Modular magick from Thomas Ankersmit, emulating the peerless sonic phenomenology of Maryanne Amacher recordings on a remarkable release with Bartolomé Sanson and Félicia Atkinson’s Shelter Press.
Maryanne Amacher (1938-2009) is an icon of 20th century experimental music who studied with Stockhausen and collaborated with Cage, and is regarded among electronic music’s most distinguished pioneers. ‘Perceptual Geography’ is a concept developed by Maryanne and here articulated by Thomas Ankersmit on the Serge Modular synth system that she introduced to him around 2003, when the nascent artist was getting to grips with an EMS Synthi.
The Serge Modular system, invented by Serge Tcherepnin - a close friend of Maryanne’s - has since become Ankersmit’s machine of choice, with his take on ‘Perceptual Geography’ - referring to a 3D diffusion of otoacoustic (sounds that appear to emanate from inside the ear) and other sonic phenomena - manifest as a compelling tribute to Maryanne’s research into non-musical, psychoacoustic phenomena and proprioception - which is also known as the way human gauge and engage sound within space.
Like Maryanne’s peer, Eliane Radigue, her work was known to a rarified few during the 20th century, but Ankersmit’s interest in her work is indicative of a new generation who have encountered and become enthralled by Maryanne’s probing studies and practice since the early ‘00s, often via presentations of her work in Berlin during that period that lead to Ars Electronica awarding her their highest honour, the Golden Nica, in 2005.
On ‘Perceptual Geography’ Ankersmit emulates Amacher’s combination of scientific rigour and avant pursuit with 40 minutes of physically powerful subbass textures and pealing sirens-in-your-head, connoting a sense of the unknown and the unknowable that’s surely life-affirming to listeners of that certain, foerever-searching disposition.
Editions Mego supergroup Innode tear through Krautrock forms with surgical precision, coming off like a siesmic collision of Radian and Alva Noto.
'Syn' is the second album from Innode, a project originally intended as a solo venture for Austrian veteran Stefan Németh. Now it's been expanded to include innovative experimental percussionists Steven Hess and Bernhard Breuer, whose rhythmic duels work as the album's foundation. Both drummers appeared on Németh's Innode debut (2013's "Gridshifter") but here they're a central facet, focusing each track to allow Németh to build a noisy, but razor sharp, backdrop of crackles, whines and glitches.
There are similarities that could be traced to Austrian band Radian - who Németh performed and recorded with early on in their career - but here Innode travel more pointedly into darker spaces. Guided by the kind of icy electronic minimalism that Raster Noton were pushing until they splintered, the album is as propulsive as Kangding Ray but with an organic drive that ties it to Tortoise and the wider Chicago post-rock canon. It's gloriously abstract stuff, without distracting riffs or melodies to divert your attention from texture, pulse and atmosphere.
25 years since ‘Gore Motel’, Bohren & Der Club of Gore hold their smoky line of doom-jazz in a sublime, haunting 10th album that once again taps into that interzone between classic Lynchian motifs and fizzing gothic undercurrents.
The sylvan intimacy of ‘Patchouli Blue’ is a Bohren's ineffable skill at lulling listeners into richly hypnagogic states. As ever they prize a deep sense of cool yearning that hearkens back to the slow burn atmospheres of classic film noir as much as David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtracks, dark ambient and the bluest jazz, plus the doom metal of Black Sabbath, Gore, and their dusty echoes in Earth. It’s surely a velvet cloak for the senses; essentially a heavily tranquilising sound, but one fraught with an existential angst that’s won them a captive audience over the years, and is fully in effect here.
As ever, ‘Patchouli Blue’ is a strictly all instrumental affair and was recorded in Cologne and Mülheim An Der Ruhr - site of all their recordings (bar ‘Mitleid Lady’) since the seminal ‘Sunset Mission’ (2000). It was composed by core members Christoph Clöser (Tenor Saxophone) and Morten Gass (Piano, Engineer, Producer) and is performed by them along with longtime member Robin Rodenburg’s plucked, stalking bass lines in a classically sulky, gratifying way bound to make your glass of single malt taste smokier, sweeter. As such, the album is really meant to be taken in one sitting, but if we’re to point out highlights, the slow rise of slinking drum machine and creeping arps of ‘Vergessen & Vorbei’ is just masterful, as is the distant, burnished, Vangelis-like synth glow and elegiac brass of their last call, ‘Meine Welt ist schön’. Basically it’s dead good for what ail’s ya.
Transcendent, next-level pedal steel recordings that refuse to stay still, embellishing the instrument's country roots with mind-altering infusions of Indian classical music, free jazz and drone.
Susan Alcorn began playing music as a toddler, helping her mother recite church songs. She developed quickly, picking up a few different instruments before settling on the pedal steel guitar and she's gradually become one of the world's most renowned players, channeling the instrument's ethereal twang through vastly different prisms of influence. On "The Heart Sutra" she enlists cellist and composer Janel Leppin, who arranges fleshed-out near-orchestral versions of Alcorn's originals, giving them a levity that's tough to describe: you really have to feel it.
The recording, from a 2012 performance at NYC's Issue Project Room, has an air of devotional music, as sacred vocal tones and strings swirl around Alcorn's unmistakable pedal steel drones. American primitive folk music still lies at the base of these pieces - just listen to 'Suite for Ahl', that twins almost banjo-esque strums with fiddle and makeshift church-cum-sea shanty vocals - but each is fashioned by Alcorn's wealth of knowledge and experience. Her interests range from Pauline Oliveros' deep listening philosophy to the wide spectrum of folk traditions, and each piece betrays an enthusiastic, passionate mind.
Fans of Arvo Pärt's sacred minimalism, Eyvind Kang's next-level collabs with Earth and Sunn O))) (he even appears here on viola) or even Christina Carter's genre-averse American folk explorations owe it to themselves to dig into this one, providing a level of soul nourishment apt for these times.
More bizarre and brilliant outsider funk from fine artist and latter day renaissance man Lonnie Holley.
Modern Americana pioneer Matthew E. White teams up here with sculptor, educator and later-life musical hero Lonnie Holley to rock through a set of eccentric psych-funk-gunk that should appeal to anyone who has been fascinated by Holley's last few records. Holley's idiosyncratic lyricism is the draw here, as he deconstructs the issues du jour - selfies, reality, outer space, psychedelics - with wit and undeniable style. But White's musical contributions make this more than just an odd aside, if you've enjoyed Holley's recent run ("MITH", "National Freedom") then "Broken Mirror" shows that Holley has more mileage yet. Not bad for someone who released their debut album at the age of 62 eh? Southern funk at its weirdest and wildest.
Blackest Ever Black draw a line under their tenure as preeminent label of the decade with a typically affective compilation that perversely introduces new acts to their fold(ing).
Not to overstate it, but for many avowed fans it’s possible to measure a block of our lives by BEB’s existence. When they first emerged with Raime’s stark debut, they were a breath of dank but necessary air to the British music scene. Staunch in their tastes but also wide open with it, they continued to draw a jagged line around the music that they loved, and a ruck of disparate loners, ravers and weirdos were more than happy to follow their lead between mutant forms of UK dance musick, eldritch psychedelia, smoky French avant-garde, incredible mixtapes, and indie-pop also-rans rewarded with a necessary 2nd wind. They left us with a bold yet sensitive and singular catalogue that precipitated all sorts of salty fluids from their legion followers, and will go down as one of the definitive labels of the 2010’s.
Rounding up 10 ghostly vignettes ranging from funereal pop to liminal ambient ’A short illness from which he never recovered’ sees the label off in a poetic fashion that has served them beautifully well thus far. Carla Dal Forno’s gently fevered dirge ‘Blue Morning’ (a cover of ‘The Kiwi Animal’ by Julie Cooper) is an obvious highlight, as is the plangent strain of Bridget Hayden’s ’Solace’, along with the watery, strumming-by-an-open-window vibe of ‘De Dröigen Blaar’ by Hypnotic Sleep, and the strung-out beauty of Scythe’s ‘Flower, Drop’, but you can rest assured that the whole LP perfectly plays thru like a heart-breaking, personal mixtape compilation from a friend who you’re never going to see again.
Please allow the sentimentality, though, ‘cos BEB will live on both thru their catalogue and in their metamorphosis into Low Company, who have evidently picked up the baton and are continuing to run with it into greener pastures fertilised by new and old wavers and ravers alike.
Top shelf lovers rock and soul downstrokes from the always trustworthy Tapes, here moonlighting on Melbourne’s Research Records
Delving deeper into a sun-kissed vein shared by last year’s ’Summer jam 10”, the vibes on this one are mutually made up for good times and fine weather, coaxing out the blushing pads and dry-iced lovers rock sway of ‘Sauna Research’ for fruity Scandinavians and South Londoners alike, before donning oxygen tanks and going deep in the soul pool with the carmine chords and air-bubble bassline of ‘Aquarium Trousers’ to extend the pleasure.
Inimitable jazz/ambient doom troupe Bohren and der Club Of Gore dimmed the lights back in 2014 for their first full length LP in more than half a decade.
After 20 years in operation, the quartet are essentially peerless in their shadowy field and the exquisite 'Piano Nights' is a perfect example of their slow-cooked cinematic soundscapes. Steeped in oneiric, Badalamenti-esque atmospheres and played with the opiating potency of Earth, their music is a rarified experience, a real mood-intensifying trip.
Dirk Dresselhaus's Editions Mego debut is a post-dystopian electronic pop concept album that deals with reality and illusion, human and machine. Alright then!
Since the mid 1990s, Dresselhaus has been analyzing the relationship between pop and experimental electronic spaces, sometimes diving headfirst into one side or the other and sometimes finding a comfortable mid-point. "The 8 of Space" is his poppiest album for years, and uses familiar forms to reflect a "trans human sound world where biological and technical elements compliment each other".
So with modular synth, drum machines, guitars and vocals, Dresselhaus assembles slender songs that reflect his long, varied catalog and interests in heady sci-fi concepts. Using a robot voice he's named iBot, he gives a humorous lightness to proceedings, dipping in and out of electro-pop formula hinting at the past and the future simultaneously.
Joseph Kamaru aka KMRU compiles works from several years of self-releasing for this excellent new LP on Injazero.
"KMRU is uniquely positioned between the rarely-married cultures of ambient and African musics, entwining his compositions with field recordings from his native Kenya and the surrounding countries of East Africa. Though the deep, tectonic slowness of his music can be compared to the work of Lawrence English, William Basinski, Stars of the Lid (i.e. Western musicians), Kamaru’s core culture shines through in a pure and singular way. Found within Logue’s pieces are radiant melodic antiphony commonplace in African music, and huge, spacious drones that reveal his love for ambient soundscapes, held effortlessly together by field recordings and analogue synthesis. “Every track reflects an event, space or location,” Joseph writes. “The pieces are developed from field recordings, improvisation and spontaneity.”
Formed of tracks written from 2017 to 2019, Logue represents an artist not only in command of his form but also willing to develop and evolve, ready to deconstruct and radically refocus his music to explore new contours of experimental and ambient sound-design. Some of the earliest compositions found on Logue - 2017’s “Jinja Encounters”, for example - represent Joseph’s first trips outside his homeland and the experience of new sights and new climates, full of discovery and wonder. The synth line of 2018’s “Argon” pops and bubbles, mimicking bright African melodic vibrancy while a churning, static distortion threatens to breach the surface, revealing a sophisticated, measured understanding of texture and timbral interplay. “OT”, from late 2018, jumps with joyous calls and deftly panned arrhythmic percussion, a new subtlety of light and dark gained from experience and experimentation. Consistent across the entire album is intensely personal and powerfully intuitive expression, crossing continental divides with a singular elegance."
"One would think that after the “Gullvåg Trilogy” - two double and a single album in a mere three years - this ultra productive trio might be in need of a break of sorts... but on the other hand, riding a golden wave like never before in their 30+ year existence, why stop now? Especially when constantly upping their own quality standards.The bulk of the album was recorded in France back before the pandemic, but was added to, expanded, tweaked and eventually finished last year. The initial idea was to collect big riffs on one album and do a pure hard rock record, but the objective changed along the way as they rediscovered their folkish bent and how this lighter touch gave it all a nice contrast. That said, the main musical thrust is pretty full-on, even by Motorpsycho standards.Kingdom of Oblivion was mixed by Andrew Scheps and produced by Bent Sæther.Reine Fiske guests on several tracks.Cover art is by Sverre Malling and cover design is by Håvard Gjelseth."
Tirzah pursues the slowest-burning soul on Devotion, the London-based singer-songwriter’s humbly singular début album, co produced with Mica Levi and featuring Coby Sey, providing us with total life affirming summer listening - most probably the record we've listened to most this year so far, and one that lingers on and on...
Since her first solo 12”s and thru frequent collaborations with Mica Levi - including the Taz And May Vids  for DDS - Tirzah has quietly blossomed into one of the UK’s most precious and peculiar artists working at the fringes of experimental pop, post-grime and R&B, and Devotion is set to bring her love to a wider audience.
Plaintive and low key, Devotion presents Tirzah’s vocal in the most evocative light, framed by backdrops of bleary-eyed and bent vibes and the kind of half-finished, permanently work-in-progress production style that's become a calling card of her music and her tight knit crew including Coby Sey, Mica Levi and Brother May.
Album of the year? Aye, quite possibly.
Tranquil but somehow entrancing harp, temple bell and vocal transformations. Seriously next level business.
Christina Vantzou is on a roll right now; last year's "Multi Natural" was one of 2020's beatless highlights and this LEYA rework is just as enthralling. There's nothing out of place here and no element overwhelms another. The original track's harp is placed between pitch-bent strings and chattering electronics, with wordless vocals left to whisper in the background. It sounds like a deepfake rendering of music from the Middle Ages, as the AI slowly corrupts itself realizing the crippling horror of self awareness. Hauntingly brilliant.
Sandblasted freeform dembow weirdness that harnesses the ramshackle energy of Clara!, the blunted atmospheres of Kelman Duran, and Demdike Stare's genre-shifted audio excavation. Next level.
The latest release on Special Request DJ and D. Tiffany's xpq? imprint, "Rico!" continues their quest to chart club music's outsider fringe. It's the latest set from Dan Rincon and Michael Red's La Fe project, and documents a productive weekend at Rincon's Montreal studio where they realized the studio was haunted. Every time they'd make a banger, the lights would flash uncontrollably.
On opener 'Alta', the duo bend dembow rhythms around a mess of sirens, offworld chatter and detuned synths. It's chopped 'n screwed dancehall, sounding chemical as f*ck without ever losing the fwd motion. From here the sounds dissolve into a fractal froth of acid-dipped rhythms and hotknived drones. 'Axtal' is a syncopated surrealist dub cave excursion that sounds like Vladislav Delay on a particularly messy weekend, while the flip returns to blazed reggaeton territory.
'77' is particularly absorbing, with dubstep wobbles filling the gaps between dancehall thumps and modular gurgles. It's not a million miles from Low Jack or Equiknoxx's skeletal island experimentation, and manages to sound painstakingly oblique without ever losing that club-ready throb. Must be the ghosts.
Ingenious Greek composer Chondropoulos coins his 2nd suite of imaginative folk arcana and electronic atavism on Glasgow’s 12th Isle after 2020’s standout ‘On Nature’ - RIYL Novo Line, Black Mecha,
Once again Chondropoulos warps timelines of ancient Greek culture, itself a syncretic amalgam of myriad archetypes that were once part of its sprawling empire, to create an amazing, maze-like album of possessive melodies and finely disciplined grooves guided by uchronic logic and his background in avant-garde percussion performance.
The results could be called new age, in a sense that applies to much of 12th Isle’s roster, but there’s also something devilishly uncanny, unheimlich about his music that buzzes our tiny minds like few others around right now, drawing impressionistic lines between early computer techno monks, aching Rebetika, and much, much older middle eastern and Eurasian scales.
Central to the music’s appeal is its execution of folksy purpose, as in it’s made for dancing and merriment and likely to induce altered states of mind like some modern Gurdjieff or time-travelling bard, regaling semi-apocryphal tales revolving themes of maternal love and “robotic societies in post-human harmony.” New to this release and his sound is the inclusion of Sofia Sarri, whose Greek language vocals reward listeners in six uniquely penetrating acapella phrases woven into the album’s absorbant fabric.
RAMLEH return with The Great Unlearning: four sides with downbeat electronic leanings making a complex and bold follow-up to 2015's Circular Time.
"Produced by Anthony Di Franco and Gary Mundy and also featuring Philip Best, Stuart Dennision, Sarah Fröelich, and Martyn Watts, The Great Unlearning represents the most complete artistic statement from this incarnation of Ramleh, and possibly of the band's entire career. With their new album, Ramleh map out a vast musical and psychological terrain which they use as a base to simultaneously critique, satirize and ultimately warn against the perilous limits of human megalomania. Recording sessions engineered by Danny Cross and Thom Ashworth. Audio mastering by James Plotkin. Artwork by Jonas Delaborde and Hendrik Hegray. A Broken Flag production for Nashazphone."
Exquisite neo-folk from Kiev Ukraine, 1995, dropping on the mind’s eye like freezer-fresh LSD to conjure bucolic imagery fraught with a frazzled, hyaline tension that could snap either way. So good this one.
"Svitlana Nianio and Oleksandr Yurchenko are musicians with a long history in the still-mysterious Kiev Underground. Nianio’s first group Cukor Bela Smert [Sugar, The White Death] were active from the late 80’s through to the early 90’s, and following an intense period of touring, collaboration, experimentation and a string of mixtapes and self-published recordings, Nianio’s first official solo album ‘Kytytsi’ was released in 1999 by Poland’s Koka Records. Oleksandr Yurchenko, a longtime collaborator and a pivotal figure in the Kiev music scene, was instrumental in creating the Novaya Scena, a loose conglomerate of artists who encouraged each other to excavate both the sounds of the West and Ukrainian tradition. ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ (‘Know How? Tell Me’) is the duo’s most fully realised collaboration, an enchanting, complete world in which Yurchenko’s instrumentation and playfulness with form frames Nianio’s otherworldly soprano, recalling Liz Fraser steeped in contrapuntal melody and hymnal improvisation. Originally made available on a self-released cassette in 1996 (re-issued in 2017 by Ukraine’s Delta Shock label) where the album was twinned with ‘Lisova Kolekciya’ (re-issued on LP in 2017 by Skire) this is the debut release of ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ outside of Ukraine.
Recorded in an abandoned park in Kiev during a fertile period for artists and musicians following the collapse of the Soviet Union, ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ sees Nianio and Yurchenko combine Casio keyboard, hammered dulcimer, percussion, and Nianio’s unmistakeable soprano vocalisations to create music sympathetic to the specific locations in which they chose to record. Yurchenko’s contribution is perhaps more present on this recording than anything else we have heard from the duo. His percussive dulcimer playing provides the basis on which Nianio can weave delicate keyboard lines while playfully contorting her voice, shifting from a low register reminiscent of Nico to what could be perceived as the call of a bird or an animal in distress. Whatever the intent, the effect is haunting and beautiful in equal measure. There’s a prevailing earthiness on the recordings, found in the warm hiss of the lo-fi means of recording or the grinding, unspecified sounds that occasionally accompany the melody, like drones created on the fly by hands trying to keep warm in the ice. A prevailing mood of fragility and beauty seeps from these melodies, delicate moments of clarity spun by the two musicians. ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ is a dream spun in twilight, a crystalline, private world where the listener feels both alien and welcome.”
Raed Yassin: Turntables, Electronics, Synthesizers, Zither, Double Bass. Composed by Raed Yassin.
"Archeophony takes us on a journey through time and space where traditional instruments and voices meet experimental electronic sounds in the most unique way. Raed Yassin has created the soundtrack to a psychedelic science-fiction movie that will unravel in your brain like a time travel machine from the future looking into the past.
In a similar vein to an archeologist, Raed Yassin’s new album Archeophony takes us on a journey through sounds and voices excavated from collected sonic archives from the past, rearranged and reproduced through electronics, distortion, sampling and assembly. Drum machines, synthesizers and electronic sounds merge with solo traditional voices and instruments recorded in different parts of the world, coming together to create a contrarian yet magical sound unlike any other. Based on so-called ‘ethnic’ music recordings conducted between the 1950s and 80s by Western ethnomusicologists in true colonial fashion, the album attempts to achieve an archeology of sound that reflects both the course history and its continuous distortion by the powers that be."
Potent cosmic drone rituals from Argentina’s vlubä, distilling atavistic visions of the future thru lower case electronics, free percussion and finely attuned mental energies
A paranormal art project conceived by Müriscia Divinorum and Aphra Cadabra in 2001, vlubä’s music has extensively travelled between dozens of underground psych and weirdo labels and appeared on countless compilations, splits with the likes of Uton, Futurians and Alan Courtis over the years. Their spiralling flight path now intersects with Egypt’s brilliant Nashazphone for this slab of contrasting sides, pairing one heavy hypnagogic induction with a more wigged-out side of free psych spatter and blatz.
The sidelong spiral of ‘A-Mu-Kia (Fur Future)’ projects a vast tract of slowly unfolding drone on the A-side recalling a smudged take on La Monte Young/Marian Zazeela’s ‘The Theatre of Eternal Music’ but imperceptibly keening into tribal drum patter and ultimately dead creepy, quivering microtones recalling the Decimus series. Their B-side however is more shapeshifting, one minute like Smegma with the sucked spittle and curdled tones of ‘Flower Vimanas’, then like an NWW aetherdream in ‘Grape Nation’, while ‘DlenQnnerv Ffwd!’ sounds like Teresa Winter trapped in a Noz loop, and ‘Mü Camel’ could almost be a waterlogged Spencer Clark piece. In other words it’s all trippy af.
Rezzett own that fuzzy mid-fi electronic sound on a cracking eponymous début album, landing nearly 5 years on from their self-titled EP, also issued on Will Bankhead’s TTT label.
In possession of a sound that feels like exotic birds nesting a vintage studio inside your ear, Rezzett, along with the likes of Jamal Moss, Actress, Terekke and Huerco S., have been responsible for redressing the fidelity of dance music with fairly radical yet subtle incision and insight over the best part of this decade.
Thru various process of attrition, they've made a virtue of purposefully muddy and unclear resolution, embracing and fetishising the infidelities of analog hardware noise for a sort of shabby chic appeal that lends itself to closer attention in headphones as well as a sort of psychedelic friction on the ‘floor.
It’s perhaps fair to say that Rezzett have really come to define that sound at its murkiest, most romantic, and diverse, pulling from house, jungle, garage and ambient noise paradigms to forge something viscerally affective and memorably their own, as experienced between the mottled VHS memory-bank shakes of Hala, in the squirming, sore but lush Sexzzy Creep, and the salty angels tears of Yunus in Ekstasi, with the rusty grime and jungle shanks of Gremlinz and Worst Ever Contender lending a cranky, rinsed out finale.
Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force lick another deadly shot of tumbling, tucked-up senegalese mbalax, making their 1st outing of ’16 and a 3rd 12” together in this line-up since 2015.
We’re all over the sloshing Walo Walo Version something rotten. It’s an utter joy to reprogramme yourself to its tangled syncopation, picking out and anticipating particular patterns with uncertain limbs, revelling in its wickedly stumbling, uniquely resolved meter. If, like us you’re nuts for drums, that lone, hingeing clap will leave you equally rapt, and then there’s a locked groove…
Flip side is also amazing: Ndiguel Groove resets the rhythm to a loping, shoe-laces-tied sort of house bustle sprinkled with lissom guitar and suspended in Mark’s mixing trickery, before turning up a denser original mix of Walo Walo Rhythm riding that Prophet 5 bassline and talking drums ‘aaaard.
Exclusive aces from Kelman Duran, Banshee, Estoc, DJ Lycox, Felix Lee, Hajj, DJ BeBeDeRa and many more make up a strong 30-track compilation of hybrid club musics, as defined by Parisian label Promesses. 105 minutes long, pro-duped and printed tape with an instant download of the album dropped to your account.
Take your pick; wherever you look there’s an abundance of expressive energy clashing rootsy tradition and keen futurism, chaining links between the tresillo rhythm diaspora, Angolan-Portuguese Kuduro, Baile Funk, mutant breakbeat torsion, and smoking cloudrap pressure. It’s a true representation of the Promesses label’s curation and narrative sequencing, itself stemming from their key role as DJs in the fecund Parisian scene that’s temporarily on hold like the rest of the world.
The club’s may be on ice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a darnce. If you’re up for it, there’s upfront motor gear in DJ Sustancia’s reggaeton mosh ’Sucio y Duro’ ft. Sassyggirl, the swingeing hardcore mutation of ‘_!’ by UK’s Banshee, and the agitated flex of ‘Babu Frik’ from Kelman Duran, plus De Grandi’s soaring sort of trance/footwork twiss-up, and the banging baile funk/grime hybrid of AKA AFK’s ‘Dez e Faiza (Alvva Remix)’, and steaming rave number from Amor Satyr and Boe Strummer.
However, if you’re more about the downstrokes, they’ve got that covered, too. Dawn Records boss Hajj hits slow, hard and emosh on ‘Purifying Water… It’s Your Blood’, and Felix Lee coughs up a gruff nugget in ‘Lungz’, beside blown out drill pressure from err walou, the irresistible dembow grind of ‘Baixeiche a Lúa’ from Ragazza XXI, and the sultry swivel of Lisbon-via-London’s tarraxho don, DJ BeBeDeRa, or the bruised romance of ‘Hauntology’ by u.o.
Debut album by the new creepy and romantic basement organ project of Romain Perrot.
“The other night I dreamt about a parallel universe in which Klaus Schulze had some sort of government-paid job installing contact mics and analog synths (which I suspect was mainly to annoy Tangerine Dream) in all the big European cathedrals to "modernize" the pipe organs. I told him how they used to make cobwebs in the early Dracula movies; you punch a small hole in a yogurt pot full of liquid latex attached to an electric drill, point roughly where you want the cobwebs to go, shut your eyes and hit the trigger.
This got ol' Klaus drooling, and pretty soon every church (not to mention cemetery) ceiling in France was dripping with stringy latex goo. He also decided to add more gargoyles (inside, on the altar) and impose a black metal warpaint dress code for Sunday mass. Roro worked part-time as the Hunchback (every church had their own, so as well as Notre Dame there was The Hunchback of The Sistine Chapel, The Hunchback of Unarius, and even, controversially, The Hunchback of Scientology) and also hung out in front of Pere Lachaise trying to get people to sign a petition to change the name of the cemetery to "The Dario Argento Museum".
Reclusiveness aside, Romain and I sometimes like to meet up near Notre Dame at a Japanese restaurant run by one of the members of Les Legions Noire, serving "necro-sushi" and so on... One sunny afternoon, sighing as he removed the fake Quasimodo teeth and the cushion stuffed into the back of his shirt, he handed me the new Trou Au Rats LP, cursing the backache which was the result of his job. "Give this to Klaus" he said, in a deep voice a few octaves lower than usual. Now, dear reader, let me assure you, I don't know and I don't want to know what kind of entities he'd done deals with in his basement catacomb, but a few days after Klaus heard that album, Roro got to lay down his hunch for the last time, and scored his dream job as full-time organist. Mind you, dream job or not, he does still have to wear the plastic vampire fangs, somehow managing to remain the perfect gentleman, even if they do make him talk funny. Now, if you are aware of his other projects (Vomir being one), chez Roro there's no such thing as a coincidence, and there's always a lot more going on that meets the eye... That might explain why, shortly after his promotion to organist, as if by majic(k), weird record shops called things like "Bimbo Tower 2" started opening up all over Europe in the tiny streets round the backs of cathedrals or near to old cemeteries (and even inside pyramids, or so I was told), right next to where the crazy old witches sell gory upside-down crucifixion dioramas and Free As Dead tshirts in the most happenin' European cities. Which must be why you are reading this right now”
Andy Bolus (Evil Moisture, Royal Sperm) Paris January 2018
Beyond the samples, your guess is good as ours? Don’t consume on an empty stomach...
““Porest's fourth long-player, Modern Journal of Popular Savagery is a damning collection of parallel realities told in song and sound. Following 2006's masterful Tourrorists, MJoPS pits post-globalized hate pop, cabalistic text-to-speech drama and violent tape music against soapbox anthems and swirling barbed-wire psychedelia -- sometimes within the same track. The result: a terrifying and ridiculous audio shakedown that both avoids and completely indulges the inherent trappings of art and politics. Fuzzed out guitars and keyboards, epic modulated grooves, "samples" and far-out fucking field recordings index the colonization of our consciousness. You're already dead -- and none of your intellectual friends can save you. Guests include Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls), Peter Conheim (Negativland), and Jake Rodriguez (Bran?Pos). Recorded between California, Syria, Vietnam and points in between.
Across decades, Porest (aka Mark Gergis) has issued a trail of confounding agitprop sound art, tilted pop, diabolical radio dramas and carefully rearranged realities on the Abduction, Seeland and Resipiscent labels. Porest's blatant embezzlement of human syntax and cultural misunderstanding broadcasts vital mixed messages. Collaborations have included: Aavikko (Finland), Sun City Girls (USA), and Negativland (USA) among others. Gergis was a co-founder of the long-running experimental Bay Area music and performance collective Mono Pause -- as well as its offshoot Neung Phak, performing inspired renditions of southeast Asian musics. Since 2003, with the Sublime Frequencies label, an ethnographic music and film collective out of Seattle, Washington -- and more recently, with his own record label -- Sham Palace, Gergis has shared decades of research and scores of archived international music, film footage and sound recordings acquired during extensive travels in the Middle East, South East Asia and elsewhere.”
Sterling first volley from Bristol’s Young Echo Records, featuring Sam Kidel (Killing Sound) and Amos Childs (Jabu) backing Rider Shafique’s incisive, intimate reflections on I-Dentity in modern Britain.
Perhaps best received as a clear response to the divisive, race-baiting politics our times, in both parts Shafique presents an ice-cool yet impassioned dissection of the state of playlucidly channelling his thoughts in a rooted, low-key style that resonates with the delivery and impetus of classic dub poetry from Linton Kwesi Johnson and Mutubaruka.
However, this being the first release from one of the UK’s most conscientious, variegated and distinctive outfits, don’t expect them to play to convention. This is most apparent in I-Dentity, where Shafique’s ennui and haunted ontological observations intersects Sam Kidel’s miasma of coruscating strings and insectoid inflection, creating a weightless, pensile and abstract space where Shafique ruminations on the stubborn hangovers of the colonial mindset and the semantics of its redundant taxonomies resonate in a wholly unique manner, similar to the way Kidel’s juxtaposed materials in his amazing Disruptive Muzak LP for The Death of Rave.
For a smart contrast, in the flip side’s Freedom Cry, Shafique spells out a more positive, stately message, hailing the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement against Jabu’s unfathomable, melting backdrop of slow, celestial jazz swoon, with the lyricist holding tight to his message at the centre of it all. If we’re totally honest, on previous records Shafique’s delivery has seemed slightly over earnest or, conversely, even too droll to us. But here it makes complete, affective sense.
Electronic narratives from Hungary’s Laurine Frost, poetically setting the life of his fictional daughter Lena to gently sculpted fusions of jazz, dub and cottony ambient pads.
"The thematic focus of this album draws from multiple sources. A utopistic self-revelation that has the purpose to paint imaginary landscapes and surreal scenes, to talk about past and future that never occurred and never will, to describe the pure human nature in its most honest and instinctive form – much like in our dreams.” – Says the original guide that is meant to help the listener understand the structure and the basic idea behind this series, which is a portrait that meant to illustrate a naive artistic narrative of a whole life of a woman, since childhood to her old age.
NIMFA steps few years forward, where LENA grew up to a young woman. Defining her divine phenomenon, the overall tone of the album is way more closer to nature than in any of my previous works. I intentionally force the listener to see and observe her innocence and solitude from a certain distance. A beautiful and untouchable creature of creation whose glowing mirage is fragile and wayward, just as nature itself. These 8 evolving and still-standing landscapes tend to characterize the chastity, sensitivity and bashfulness of a virgin soul that is bound to its surrounding nature - meanwhile to hint that a phenomenon like this often holds witchcraft within itself."
5599 is a new duo featuring France's electronic improvisation giant Jean-Marc Foussat on EMS Synthi AKS and Augustin Brousseloux on electric guitar and alto saxophone.
"Heureusement que le sang seche vite features 3 tracks where guitar and saxophone interplay with analog synthesizer to create psychedelic, dense and textured soundscapes of aggressive noise onslaughts and moments of bliss. Born in Oran (Algeria) in 1955, Jean-Marc Foussat played in several experimental rock groups before he started a career as a sound engineer in diverse studios which progressed towards recording live improvised music around 1979. He has collaborated with labels such as Incus, Hat Hut, Po-Torch, Rift, Rec Rec, and Celluloid where he recorded a number of songs for Bill Laswell's seminal Massacre on the album Killing Time in 1981.
In 1983, he self-released the groundbreaking Abattage which deserves its position on a pedestal amidst the greatest French improvisation records. Since the 1990s he returned to playing in improvisation groups such as Marteau Rouge, alongside Makoto Sato and Jean-Francois Pauvros, and Aliquid with Sylvain Guerineau. Born in 1999, saxophonist and guitarist Augustin Brousseloux is a young prodigy currently storming the French improvisation underground. At the age of 16, he has already collaborated -- live and on albums -- with heavyweights such as Noel Akchote, Costes and Jean-Marc Foussat."
First vinyl reissue of an rare and sought-after Sunroof! album documenting Matthew Bower's! featuring Mick Flower (Vibracathedral Orchestra and Flower Corsano Duo) on their European tour in 2003.
The original was issued on Bower's Rural Electrification Program (REP) and is hailed as Sunroof!'s "rock record and its tribute to Neil Young and AC/DC (hence the title)."
Finally, Regis lets his rhythmic noise opus out into the world, a bruising and hauntingly absorbing new album - his first since 2001 - recorded in Berlin with Einstürzende Neubauten’s engineer/producer Boris Wilsdorf and an absolute must if you want a dose of highest grade industrial rhythmic noise or into anything from British Murder Boys to Test Department, Jeff Mills and Cabaret Voltaire.
On a masterful twenty-year followup to ‘Penetration’, Karl O’Connor yields a definitive solo LP that distills his passions for sonic brutalism and bastardised Chicago tracks with syncopated UK swagger and reverberating warehouse ballistics. Its lip-bitingly gripping effect is testament to a resounding reputation as one of Industrial music’s most influential producers, and sees the artist bring his own influences - from Test Department to Jeff Mills - into line with his potent palette of narcotised tones.
Recorded in Berlin with Einstürzende Neubauten’s producer/engineer Boris Wilsdorf, the album’s supple, spartan, and rhythmic gymnastics notably benefit from acres of icy room to roll around and lash out. Snagged around muscular bassline revs, and caressed with keys and vocals by post- punk catalyst Annie Hogan (whose recent turn for Downwards was a total revelation), the 9 tracks portray Regis at his leanest and most mesmerising, which is all the more impressive coming from an artist who’s deliberately held his line through Industrial mutations for more than 30 years.
Between the razor-sharp electro of ‘Everything is Ahead of Us’, and the pure voodoo of ‘Calling Down A Curse’, he sharply carves a uniquely UK and shark-eyed style that lets on to influence from tech-step D&B and dark garage rolige as much as Test Department’s seminal ‘Beating The Retreat’ or 23 Skidoo and ‘Crackdown’-era Cabaret Voltaire.
Highlights such as the swingeing 11 minutes of swordplay drums and bubbling acid in ‘The Sun Rose Pure’, and the straightjacketed funk of ‘I See Fire’ epitomise the rudeness at play, and together with the viscerally personalised sound design virtues of ‘Another Kind of Love’, the immaculate noirish vignette ‘Alone of All Her Sex’, and the lush tristesse evoked by ‘Eros in Tangiers’, this album effectively defines Regis as peerless in his field, and is essential to fans of the artist’s solo classics and with British Murder Boys, Sandwell District, Ugandan Speed Trials and CUB.
Olivier Brisson lives in Lille and has been involved not only with sound experimentation but also with psychiatry. The latter is not just a detail but an important fact here: this is a work about frames and boundaries. But who (or what) are inside/outside those frames?
"That’s not easy to say. The sound collage brings us to a continuous flow where everything seems mixed: “professionals” cataloguing “mental illness”, voices of “patients”, tape failures, suggestive music passages, anomalous noises, field recordings from everywhere and several rivers of sounds sailing together along with the listener. The trip is intense and compelling. Beautiful and terrifying.
The horizon might be a cushion but it might be also something else. We’re culturally trained to believe that something is “normal” or not and we put a lot of effort in trying to make the world fit in those categories. But in the end who is “normal” enough to say what is “not normal”? This is what this record is about and Beware! Sound can easily brake barriers, even those you didn’t notice were present."
Anla Courtis Buenos Aires, Argentina December 2017
If Ghédalia Tazartès, GG Allin and Ariel Pink ever made tunes together, they still wouldn’t even sound half as mad as this record. I mean, just look at the cover with its blood spattered body and artwork of demons escaping a wizard’s sleeve?!
“"Costes has caused me so much trouble. Even today, 25 years after the last time I performed with him, I still have a hard time booking shows because he has not mellowed as I have and the venues are afraid, because of my past association with him, that there will be piss, shit, violence, genitalia, racial tension, cops, etc. Costes has caused himself so much trouble. He’s been taken to court five times over his art, received countless death threats. When’s the last time you can think of that ART has been taken so seriously… as a life and death matter? And he perseveres. I think Costes is extraordinary. He ostentatiously thumbs not only his nose, but every single body part external AND internal, at any authority there is. Pas Encore Mort, a re-release of a 1997 CD, is uncharacteristically introspective, pretty, and sad. It is unsettling to see the man behind the gross warrior exposed, vulnerable, alone. I love and hate this album." Lisa Carver - Maine, U.S. 2 April 2016.
Born in 1954, Jean-Louis Costes is possibly France’s most transgressive and independent artist. He is a musician, singer/songwriter, performance artist, painter, writer, actor and director. His highly expressionist trash style is instantly recognizable no matter which mode of expression he adopts. A unique and uncompromising artist, Costes has released over 70 albums since 1986.
His songs are mostly recorded in his home studio and display very raw explicit lyrics, with music alternating between rock, pop and noise. He is renowned for his infamous “Porno-Social” Operas, which can be described as an explosive mix of live music, theater, violent actions, sex, noise, chansons, romanticism, mysticism and social issues.
He has toured Europe, North America and Japan. In the late 1990s, he began publishing his own texts, and since 2003, has authored four novels.”
Çaykh, the enigma behind that all-time killer 'Au Revoir, Mogadishu' mixtape of Somalian obscurities back in 2015, is back in a tripped-out mood, layering traditional music in an attempt to draw parallels with house and techno.
Nicolas Sheikholeslami is best known for his curatorial skill. DJ and producer even notched up a Grammy nomination for his work on the "Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa" compilation, and now uses his advanced knowledge of traditional song forms to engage in his first solo production project. "Où" is a short but tight exploration of dance prototypes, making use ofthe sort of fuzzy loops you might expect to hear on a Sublime Frequencies comp or a Madlib beat tape to explore the links between folk music and contemporary house and techno forms.
This isn't a completely unfamiliar concept, but Çaykh approaches the project with subtlety, almost creating an ambient mood rather than accenting the sounds too heavily. The looping and phasing is in an almost Riley/Reich-ian mode, creating what the press release calls "4th-world disco pulsations". Trippy, fuzzed to perfection and properly good for the mind-spiral.
Dubplates and Mastering admirable assistance in reissuing this series of beautiful Wackies music can really be seen in all its glory on this 6 tracker.
Killer Pallas pressing of some understated but still sublime three part vocal harmonies. The mood is well dread with four cuts resembling prime period Black Ark Perry productions and the heartical pull of two Marley inflected numbers, making this another fine addition to the swelling back catalogue of joy emanating from Lloyd Barnes New York based Bullwackie vaults.
Killer 12" from Mark Ernestus Ndagga Rhythm Force.
Featuring all members of Jeri-Jeri plus the Basic Channell/Rhythm & Sound boss under a new moniker, 'Yermande' yields some of their strongest material to date, making the connections between Senegalese Mbalax, Jamaican dub and Berlin minimalism ever more inseparable. Comes in a stripped-down 'Kick and Bass Mix' featuring Mbene Diatta Seck dubbed to sound uncannily like Tikiman in parts, and backed with the achingly dextrous instrumental. Better yet, the 'Prophet 5 Mix' introduces the legendary Sequential Circuits model to the blend with hypnotically technoid effect.
Stunning example of abstract electro-acoustic story-telling. RIYL Luc Ferrari, Ghedalia Tazartes, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson & BJ Nilsen, Smegma
Mauve is a blinding dispatch from the far side of the modern avant garde, courtesy of indomitable sonic explorer Laurent Gérard a.k.a. Élg upon his return to Cairo’s Nashazphone - site of the French artist’s Captain Present 5 (2009) LP, and more recently home to hits from EEK/Islam Chipsy.
Whether as a solo artist or collaborating with the likes of Bill Kouligas and Ghédalia Tazartes - or even Alan Bishop and Dylan Nyoukis in this instance - Élg has amassed an amazing catalogue of sounds in varying states of derangement, persistently hitting wide of the mainstream with a vision and skilful craft that’s both hugely impressive in its consistency and wide-angled, all-encompassing aim, and vitally necessary amid an all too often conservative electronic music scene.
With his 10th solo album Élg continues to pursue that dilated weltanschuaang in a disciplined yet freeform style, juxtaposing GRM concrète traditions with French chanson, oblique interjections of sampled dialogue and angular turns toward ambient composition; always keeping the listener on their toes with a playful, unresolved balance of naivety and knowing form.
There may be an underlying logic to Mauve but we’re buggered if we can pick it out. It’s much more fun to just marvel at the way he imperceptibly transitions from cavernous, stereo-phasing moebius loops to some bleakly funny Scottish monologue and glimmering, lower case sound poetry by the end of side 1, whilst side 2 totally messes with the senses in a psychoacoustic dream featuring Alan Bishop on Burroughsian rant duties.
Quite crucially, it’s not lo-fi; the production is first-rate, super wide and layered, making full, spacious use of the frequency spectrum to really bring his wild imagination to life. It’s a mad, heavily compelling listen.
Collaboration piece between two major players in the contemporary Italian electro-acoustic music scene.
"Alberto Boccardi has studied composition and music theory at Milan's Music Civic Academy and has frequently collaborated with Lawrence English, Nicola Ratti, or Maurizio Abate among others while Stefano Pilia is a prolific guitarist and electro-acoustic theorist with a massive body of work and compositions. He has collaborated with Mike Watt, Nico Vascellari, David Tibet or Valerio Tricoli to name a few. I love this new album "bastet" by alberto boccardi and stefano pilia right from my first listen I decided I would go to the sea (my pedro town is in the harbor of los angeles) to write my thoughts about it cuz the sea is what I first thought of when I heard the first sounds of it coming - I figured it was the sea cuz I had feelings from the music I had these sensations cuz I felt I was in the ocean - on a boat... actually not just on a boat but in the bottom of it - down in the bilge. the musical interaction between alberto and stefano is seamless and whole, free of potentially encumbering static structures, I'm drawn into the pitch and yaw, the port and starboard, the heave and ho.
The piece is made of two parts ("bastet" and "dayira") w/each of those parts being made of likewise two parts. the longes of these bookend the shorter ones but still it is a journey. by the middle I feel lower in the bowels of the boat and in fact, this boat is now feeling like a submarine and so not only am I deep down up in the vessel itself, the world I feel around in is ALSO deep down in it, deep down beneath the waves and so I feel the pushing of currents, the pressure of the depths compressing the bulkheads. on the very bottom of the hull's inside, over the keel I place my head so the vibrations can pass right the bone of my skull. the last part of the voyage for me is a surprise cuz now the sub feels more like a train. we're still moving but everything is no longer wet and there are many gifts falling into my eyes and I survey the passing landscapes. the mechanized sounds throughout the piece by now only confirm my suspicion they were only coincidences of chance and not purpose-built reels of barbed-wire to enforce fake borders. maybe this "railroad" in my head actually was the sea becoming a river and I got confused. whatever, alberto and stefano created and preformed a whole and beautiful work that I feel we are very lucky to get to share w/them. music connected by imagination to let the spirit flow true. no wonder I read somewhere the cat-headed old egypt deity of bast was considered the guardian of the dream world. I am inspired. grazie, fratelli. mike watt san pedro, california january 2018 The sounding worlds of Boccardi and Pilia meet in quasi-narrative paths. Immediately, from the first glance at the tracklist, something seems to thematize the encounter in its two-faced nature: two dedications (Bastet and Dayira, the birth), each one in two parts, but also an encounter between electric guitar and percussions.
The guitar being itself already an encounter between acoustic and electric sounds. Yet again, organic and electronic soundscapes are coupled down into introspection and vision. While Bastet is set to follow an inner voyage along memories and ambiences where Popol Vuh and Robert Rich seem to faintly appear, it is Dayira that is given the mission of projecting the inner vision into vast emotional landscapes. And at the very end something new is birthed, a minor chord that apparently has nothing to do with the drones and patterns preceding it, along the sound of the entire album. An intriguing surprise that is driven by an electronic, floating aura to a quasi-interrupted ending. Functioning as a promise that this voyage has yet to be finished.
Notorious Swiss artist Anton Bruhin uses Fruity Loops presets to create absurdist videogame music and bizarre, robot poetry that exploits the limitations of the DAW's rudimentary speech synthesis. One of the weirdest records we've heard this year, like James Ferraro or Oneohtrix Point Never minus the cynicism.
Bruhin has been working as a visual artist, musician and poet since the 1960s, and is best known for his mastery of the jew's harp, his tape music collages and his witty pixel art drawings of European landscapes and architecture. His art is varied, but unified by a few simple themes - humor, surrealism and a distinctly DIY aesthetic. "Speech Poems / Fruity Music" is no different, and the 26 vignettes presented here were made between 2006 and 2008, making use of Fruity Loops' quirky, user-friendly sequencing capabilities and its barely-used text-to-speech synthesizer.
Bruhin quickly realized that the synthetic voice was programmed to understand English, so to make it speak German he had to train it using English phonetics. On 'aughntone brooheene', we hear the artist challenging the program to say his name correctly, and the rest of his speech poems continue to explore the limitations and quirks of the robotic voice. Many of the poems are gibberish - collections of sounds and syllables that force the voice synthesizer to make almost human-like sounds and errors. It's an inventive way to emphasize the link between the human programmer and the workhorse binary tool, and doesn't need to invent an overblown AI PR campaign in the process.
The musical portion of the album is even better, as Bruhin pushes Fruity Loops away from its intended function, making use of extreme pitch bends and tempos to accentuate the artificiality. By his point in his career, Bruhin had already explored human music, so this feels like an attempt to fully grasp (and subvert) the synthetic. The songs are cute, using synthesized accordion and harpsichord sounds that end up mimicking early-1990s RPG soundtracks. It's light hearted, but makes solid points and deductions about computer music, synthesis and the cultural shifts of the last few decades. It's also genuinely funny, which is way too rare.
Blazing Electro-Shaabi outta Cairo's Studio Sardena, featuring a host of local Mahragan MCs including Salsa El-Ageeb and Halabessa.
The energy levels are high on this one, from the polychromatic synth cadence and rush-up drums of 'Baheya' - played out long enough for the dancers - thru to the skanking punch of 'El-Malaab' and euphoric autotune of 'Ayn Asha'y'.A must for anyone feeling that EEK and Chipsy Islam madness!
Semtek’s Lost Futures label chase their ace Culture Clash debut with a necessary introduction to Egypt’s PanSTARRS; Cairean peers of Zuli, in possession of a wickedly brooding and concentrated post-punk/shoegaze style recalling The Birthday Party, Suicide, Lydia Lunch, Yves Tumor
Quite the switch up from Culture Clash’s early ‘90s techno hybrids, PanSTARRS plot a path thru dense guitar textures and stygian machine rhythms guided by the flickering light of Youssef Abouzeid on a slow, bristling handful of songs from the recent past. The songs hark to a time when, as Youssef writes “I was actively occupied by arguments on the fusion of culture in creative context, specifically between western and arabic elements”, and the music follows with a scorched blend of brittle machine pulses and keening guitars picking out piquant, distorted melodies that contrast with the haunted, strung-out vox.
Landing on the sweet ’n sore spot between Arabic and Western traditions, ‘Ghaby Ghaby Ghaby’ presents a decidedly unique proposition from his neck of the woods, hustling an experimental, mid-decade sound that joins the dots between stylized ‘80s rock experiments and a wave of recent song-writers and producers from Cairo testing new fusions of electronics and traditional themes. Pardon our prejudices but It’s really not what we’d expect from Cairo, although it’s not hard to draw lines in the sand between PanSTARRS and The Birthday Party’s desert goth in ‘Men Gheir Wa7da’ in that heat-struck sort of way.
Flanked by Hazm El Shamy on drums and Ismail Arafa on bass, Youssef cuts a timeless classic swagger on the Suicide-like charge of ‘Tomtit Nami’, and even recalls Zelionople with an Arabic accent on ‘Sahla Ya Khaifa’, while ‘7omar 3ala 7osan’ could be compared with a burned out Yves Tumor, striking a strong balance of grit and expressive contemporary soul that gets under the skin.
Prolific Los Angeles beat scene / jazz scene staple Carlos Niño calls up friends Sam Gendel, DNTEL, Laraaji and others for a many-headed celebration of spiritual jazz. Absolute zoners for fans of Alice Coltrane, Matthewdavid, Dilla or Kamasi Washington.
'More Energy Fields' is yet another full-length from Niño and friends, following last year's "Actual Presence". Yet again, Niño calls on regular contributors Jamael Dean, Randy Gloss, Devin Daniels, Sam Gendel and Nate Mercereau, making room for DNTEL on modular synthesizer and new age legend Laraaji on zither and voice.
If you've heard Niño's previous recordings you should know broadly what to expect. He's an expert bandleader, and his particular brand of heady beat scene-doused spiritual jazz is a well-worn, proven concept at this point. "More Energy Fields, Current" is Niño's most confident material to date, and its high points - the giddy 'Nightswimming', Laraaji-touched zoner 'Ripples Reflection Loop, or lifted beatbox jammer 'Now the background is the foreground' - are worth the asking price alone.
Classy jazz fusion from the lads behind Max D, Motion Graphix, and Co La, getting back in the Lifted zone after a pair of ace albums for PAN, and now back to Future Times. We've no label notes on this one so not 100% who else is featured...
‘3:2’ is their subtlest and perhaps most classically authentic take on this style, foregrounding lithe, live-sounding instrumentation over the slippery electronic dynamism of earlier outings. The electronics are still there in the zapping, Moogy synth lines and Fender Rhodes vamps, and more craftily subsumed or rendered in the studio-as-instrument mixing trickery, but the emphasis is clearly on showing off their vibesome instrumental skills.
In that sense they nod to Miles Davis as much as his seminal producer Teo Macero in the 10 mins of shapeshifting groove on ’Cushion Push’, before getting skronkier, odder in ‘Purplelight Beat’ with something like a fractal Afrobeat jazz turn, and bringing it with lip-smacking, heads-down swang in ‘Cushion Beat.’
Berlin mainstay Ziúr shatters her musical glass ceiling with this completely essential, exalted, airlock dub pop masterpiece. Jagged, genre-bleached instrumentals that sound like John Carpenter, Talk Talk and AFX mucking with the dials at Black Ark Studios.
Sometimes it takes a period of dramatic change to truly channel the creative mind. For Ziúr, lockdown meant winding down the momentum she'd been building for years running game-changing events in Berlin and regularly touring as a DJ. Facing the anxiety of endless time and missing the affirming validation of social space, she retreated inwards, configuring a sound-world that's part biography and part escapist fantasy. "Antifate" is a concept album of sorts, but built around a place rather than a specific narrative. Ziúr uses sounds - clattering off-world percussion, booming subs, whimsical instrumental snatches - to texture-map a 4k, widescreen image of the world of Cockaigne, the medieval land of plenty.
In 14th-century European folklore, Cockaigne was a peasant's dreamland, where gluttony and laziness was encouraged, sex was readily available and food was free and luxurious. Ziúr fleshes out this oddly contemporary anarchist concept by spiking her music with aural opulence, engineering it for sensual pleasure and bathing it in reverberating excess. The tracks map out a personal journey that's seen Ziúr shape-shift through various scenes and sounds over the years, from death metal and aggy hardcore punq to deconstructed club and shimmering abstract electronics. This openhearted storytelling has always been present in her DJ sets, but on "Antifate" resides far outside the club.
'Orange Cream Drip' sounds like a no-wave "Assault On Precinct 13" beefed up with tin can percussion and rolling kicks; the title track is a dreamy psychedelic shuffle that reminds of '90s back-room head-fuzz and Seefeel's electrically enhanced shoegaze; and 'Fringe Casual' is Talk Talk's "Spirit Of Eden" fragmented and rebuilt from damaged circuit boards. But Ziúr saves the best for last, closer 'The Carry' might be her most unashamedly elegant track to date, with lilting fairytale flute loops splayed over gut-wrenching bass and malfunctioning electronix. It's a fittingly theatrical finale to one of the deepest records we've heard this year.
Latest Warp signing Squid cobble together angular post-punk shards and drone rock fuzz.
Post-punk is one of those genres that never ceases to inspire young minds. Brit five-piece Squid sound curiously out of time with eight-minute drone funk rawk workouts that straddle shouty Television-cum-Public Image Limited universes and betray a youthful obsession with LCD Soundsystem. It might seem like odd move for Warp somehow, but should please anyone whose entry point into the label was Maximo Park or even before that, !!!.
Remember when people were banging on about Brexit and Tory rule being the touchpaper for a new creative explosion in the UK? Well, about that.
Two eternal shoegazers render their first collaboration after many years in orbit of each other, resulting in a swoon-worthy suite of vaporous vignettes and loner strums textured with immersive field recordings
Presented as a kind of collection of short stories, ‘You Can See Your Own Way Out’ sees the longtime pals finally combine their talents - Ahmed’s explorative guitar/synth work, and Cantu-Ledesma’s enigmatic electronics and field recordings - in strokes of strung-out heartache and pastoral bliss that holly transcend the sum of their parts. It’s a rich romantic album, evocative as a decaying photograph and full of tristesse that, considering it’s their first recording together, ironically feels like the soundtrack to a break-up.
The curt title of ‘You Can See Your Own Way Out’ signifies a sense of malady that diffuses throughout the recording, with their mostly instrumental songs variously connoting fleeting feels of grief, regret, and introspection, yet tenderly balancing their sombreness with a sort of redemptive promise. The rustling midnight restlessness of ‘Never Sleep At Night’ sets the mood, and their elision of bruised synth pads with murmuring guitar in ‘Dark From Daybreak’ evokes a sort of Lynchian blueness, while at its core the likes of ‘Mr. Sophistication’ allows for gorgeous glimmer of hope that they build upon to the peripheries of ‘City Walls’ and shores up in ’Shining Sea.’
Intoxicating ambient R&B vapours from Jio, the tenderest alias of J. Albert, landing in gauzy ground between that recent John F.M. ace and The Wkend
Reviving an aegis first birthed for Quiet Time Tapes in 2019, Jiovanni Nadal presents his most vulnerable, sensual work as Jio, quite literally personalised with the inclusion of his sparingly used vocals. Like we said, it really calls to mind the soulache of that recent John F.M. joint, but dialled down to pillow talk degrees and practically smudging out the drums, leaving only watermark traces of percussive inference.
The three songs really do not outstay their welcome, and in fact could easily be twice as long and still have our attention. ‘Ride or Die’ has nowt to do with DMX (RIP) and everything to do with gently rubbing your temples and sweetly singing from the ether, while ‘4D4U4MEP’ sees him quietly express his woes on chiffon keys and new age pads, before the barely there touch and tip-of-tongue vocals in ‘HME~out’ takes this sound to a naturally faded conclusion.
Don’t sleep until you’ve got this cued up ready to drift off with.
Swiss artist Magda Drozd follows 2019's acclaimed "Songs For Plants" with a dedication to the apartment building she called home for several years. Blending skeletal pop elements with field recordings and subtle ambience, she makes an avant garde statement about the home and its sacred space.
Built from field recordings Drozd made in her building, she expands them into spine-tingling ambient drones, or layered vocals, pads or drum machine rhythms. 'Over Exposure' sounds like a nauseous alternative "Drive" soundtrack with synths echoing around deep, reverberating clangs and ghostly pads. 'Pink Chimney' meanwhile is a subtle pop charmer, with hints of Jenny Hval's surrealist lyricism.
As the album dips into its second half, the environmental recordings - gurgling pipes, scraping machines, buzzing light fixtures - are pushed to center stage, enhancing the general feeling of anxiety. At times, it feels like an unusually fitting soundtrack to the harrowing, realist work of Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. If that doesn't pique your interest, go watch "Dekalog" immediately.
Manchester psych/sludge rockers Gnod traverse alternate universes on this trippy latest slab. One for the Les Rallizes Dénudés obsessives or the Can fan club.
'Easy to Build, Hard to Destroy' is the latest blessing from long-running Manc outfit Gnod, finding the band yet again diving into the sludgy psych rawk dungeon, fusing lysurgic feedback passages with the kind of motorik rhythmic push you'd more readily expect to find on a Neu! album. Rock 'n roll is the backdrop, and not the kind of rock that's been steadily sterilized each year, but the recorded-in-a-basement rock that birthed the punk revolution in the early 1970s. Everything on the album sizzles with an energy that seems to welcome failure - you get the feeling that at any point the power could be cut and everything would be lost, and in a digital world, that's refreshing.
From the magickal opening clank of 'Elka', through the wall-of-sound Grateful Dead-gone-Stooges frazzled of 'They Live' to the haunted spoken word and drone horror grime of 'Deadbeatdisco', there's a dazzling scope to the album. Gnod refuse to stay moored in one particular genre or other, they're dedicated to grit, and seem completely nonplussed about where that grit might take them. One moment the band is in Dusseldorf, the next NYC circa 1982, but the texture is the same - Gnod make sludgy jammers, and that's something to celebrate.
A excellent primer on claire rousay’s filigree detailed and perceptive compositions, demonstrating their transition from drummer to composer of musique concrète and new music across 2 hours of recordings made prior to the new album ‘A Softer Focus’
Quietly questioning the nature of music and arranged sound,, ‘A Collection’ scans back over some five years of recordings made by rousay between San Antonio, TX and Saint Louis, MO, to present an engrossing introduction to their wonderfully elusive and allusive work. The first half is given to their earlier recordings as a drummer, with 67’ of sprawling improvisation spanning concrète-like scrapes and jazzier, free meter thru to barely-there inference and in depth explorations of gamelan-like minimalism, each defined by a sparse crispness and attention to detail.
On the 2nd set that sharp focus is found in transition to a more layered, composed style of concrète, proper in ‘things i doubt you’d care about’ and get increasingly more interesting. Liminal vocal intimations elide in filigree forms with location recordings and hints of percussion, finding a sort of languorous poetry in domesticity on ‘for theo, erik, meghan, alex’, and their previously issued work ‘a moment in st. louis.’ And if you’re still here, 100% make sure to check for the candid text-to-speech revelations of ‘I’m Not a Bad Person’ that close the album with a series of therapeutic confessions alternating between uncomfortable and laugh out loud funny and set to keys and drones in an uncanny way recalling Terre Thaemlitz’s best.
Screaming hardcore from Donny rave dynamo India Jordan, with five hi NRG and deep hits following accolades for their 2020 EP (Resident Advisor’s #1 Best Track of 2020, Crack Magazine’s #2 and Pitchfork’s #21)
Maintaining the momentum of their hugely praised ‘For You’ EP, India slaps the peak-o-meter between nutty breakbeat rave levels and slamming Bassline garage with flavours for all ravers. The first couple were created at the behest of India’s close DJ spar, Finn, who tasked them with making some proper hardcore belters, à la the 1991-style breakbeat ‘ardcore tussle and red-faced diva screams on ‘Only Said Enough’, and the rolling jungle tekno pressure of ’Watch Out!’
We can’t imagine anyone will not be on their feet for those two, but India’s restless groove also takes in percolated techno mutations on ‘You Can’t Expect The Cars To Stop If You Haven’t Pressed The Button’, beside their signature line of SoYo-styled Bassline garage in ‘Feirabend’ inspired by their daily cycle commutes and so titled after the German word for feeling relief at the end of day’s work, before rolling off the hair-kissing garage goodness of ‘And Groove.’
Musical Willy Wonka JG Thirlwell returns to Editions Mego for his second Xordox album, using an array of synths to conjure up '80s OST jammers that remind of John Carpenter, Giorgio Moroder and Vangelis.
Widely known for his influential work as Foetus, industrial pioneer Thirlwell has barely stopped creating music since the early 1980s. In recent years, he's been most notable for his musical contributions to Adult Swim animated series' "The Venture Bros" and "Archer", aside from that he's channeled his remaining energy into the Xordox project.
'Omniverse' follows 2017's 'Neospection' and again hinges around Thirlwell's love of sci-fi synth soundtracks. Like John Carpenter's recent albums, these records blend the old and the new in a way that's not as nostalgic as it is fun. In fact, this run of tracks reminds us more of video nasty soundtracks than it does the more credible fare - at times it sounds like the accompaniment to some gruesome melt movie that hasn't aged nearly as well as you'd have liked.
Thirlwell recorded some of the material on EMS Stockholm's Buchla and Serge modular synthesizers and blends these recordings with software and hardware in his NYC studio. His expertise working on TV soundtracks sings loud; the press release describes "Omniverse" as "Kraftwerk scoring a video game" and, yeah, that's pretty spot-on.
High grade rhythmic inventions from club don Max D on Dawit Eklund’s unique label, 1432 R
If Max D’s Dolo Percussion alias is an experimental - yet properly functional - testing ground for his craftiest drum programming, then the ‘Many Any’ LP is where those ideas gain musical muscle mass and really come out to play. Metrically scaled between 90bpm boogie swangers and 160bpm razz-outs, the album spurts its dancefloor juice in nine natty shots including detours into evocative field recordings alongside his inimitable, rug-cutting rhythms, all sequenced for a totally immersive vibe.
Coming at 2020 with a fresh but timeless sound, Max works up a singular spin on Juke and current East/central African styles in the hot-stepping psychedelia of ‘I Think Our Souls Are Other People’ and the frenetic, scissoring syncopation of ‘Many Any Dolo Brush’, before sweetly cooling out with the pendulous, breezy blend of Nu Jack swing and deftly jazzy chords in ‘Fly Around the Room’. Further in, he gives a sweet nod to the offset drum suss of Mark Clifford in ’Shoutout Seefeel’ on a tight, latinate pivot, before bringing the vibe closer in with the final run between his feathered stepper ‘Lullabiological’ starring Dawit Eklund on keys, and the Major Force West-like breaks of ‘Cuz It’s The Way’.
Quirky melodic (early?) electronics for fans of Mort Garson, Plone, Raymond Scott and Pauline Anna Strom.
Well this is a bit lovely. Los Angeles-based artist Olive Ardizoni first appeared last year with their debut "Six Songs for Invisible Gardens", a record designed as a communication between both plant life and the people who care from them. "Music For Living Spaces" is yet more sound with purpose, crafted to elevate our homes at a time when we're seeing almost too much of them. Ardizoni's music is unashamedly retro, crossing delightful vintage electronic bleeps and wobbles with proggy electronic folk sounds and elements of '80s new age tape music that should be familiar to any regular Leaving Records listeners.
On tracks like 'Sunflower Dance' and 'Royal Fern', they flesh out delicate riffs with Mellotron flutes and brassy synth sounds that sound like they could have been snatched from Vangelis's studio. Elsewhere on 'Soft Coral' and 'Birds of Paradise' the mood is more in line with an eerie wildlife documentary or psychedelic children's TV theme. Basically it's "Plantasia" 2.0, but this hardly matters - it's lovely stuff, and should raise the quality of life in any drab, airless living space.
Masterful melange of choral cut-ups, wizened strings and pulsing, keening electro-acoustic sculptures from Italian native Pilia (3/4HadBeenEliminated) and resident Duncan, reprising a relationship ongoing over decades
Latest in a streak of genius releases starring Duncan’s inimitable vocals finds the duo plumbing the depths of an avant soul space between man and machine. Both based in and around the industrial nether region of Bologna, Italy, and its meridian wilderness, Pilia brings a stark avant rock energy to Duncan’s brittle vocals, which have gripped and uniquely entertained us most acutely on a stack of releases for iDEAL in recent years - not to mention his catalogue since the late ‘70s.
’Try Again’ is prefaced by the command “Try Again / Lie Again/ Deny Again”, which does sound a little like something Roger Stone would say, and speaks to the dark forces at work inside. Of course we’re sure they’re not trumpy, more understandably grumpy with the state of things, and working in line with Duncan’s abstract grasp of transgressive matters. He’s really more like a sort of psychopomp for Pilia’s music; a visionary medium whose work crosses so many boundaries of time, politics and space, which Pilia renders remarkably malleable between his sweeping transition from night-flight to sepulchral depth in the album’s towering opener ‘Try Again’, and the guttural lament ‘Fare Forward’ at its peripheries, while nesting more knotted ideas in the album’s hexed core of ‘The Reprisal’, and unsettling keen and croon of ’The Sellout.’
Bleakly life affirming stuff.
Carter Tanton has been performing and recording music since the age of 15. Over the years, Tanton has toured and recorded with numerous artists including Marissa Nadler, Strand of Oaks, Lower Dens, and The War on Drugs.
"In 2012, he assembled Freeclouds, his first collection of songs for Western Vinyl. A couple of years later, Tanton moved to England where he wrote all of the songs on his sophomore solo album Jettison the Valley, which featured Nadler and Sharon Van Etten. On his new ST album: "I recorded these songs in 2017 in my childhood home which had been sitting empty on the market for nearly a year when I first brought over a microphone and laptop, guitar and piano. From the start an allegorical quality ran underneath any surface level pragmatism I told myself was guiding things. "During the year and a half prior, I had finished two discarded versions of the record. On the first, I played a slew of instruments to build up a band sound while the other was finished with help from friends in the War on Drugs. I had been growing disillusioned as to what music production actually accomplishes in the digital space and my old studio tricks didn't have the same punch anymore.
Mark Fisher once wrote 'technology has been decalibrated from cultural form' and likewise, I felt a flat disconnected drift disaffecting both prior versions. "A few friends had often told me how they wanted me to strip it all back and record just voice and guitar. The further I slipped down technological rabbit holes the more the concept of recording in the simple way the Carter Family once had freaked me out. However, similar to re-entering the sun filled room with quiet grounding, the dark familiar soundhole of my Martin D-18 eased out a new and unexpected hypnotic sound from the very beginning. "The records which haunt me are the ones which have a definitive feeling of time. 'Plastic Ono Band', Cat Power's 'Covers Record', 'Seventeen Seconds', The Blue Nile's 'Hats' and Lewis' 'L'Amour' all seem chiseled from one continuous strain of expression. A cosmic timestamp on a spiritualized totality salvaged by and blooming through prismatic specificity. After nearly two years of listless work, each of these nine songs was written and recorded within one day, respectively.
Any more time spent only weakened the original weight of the moment. few songs center around racism in America, especially framed by what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. "Steep Angles" quotes Sinead O'Connor's song "Black Boys on Mopeds" and I hope it can serve as a Trump era sequel. "Out Fayette" is a fragmented love letter to my hometown Baltimore, using the panoramic sprawl of Fayette Street punctuated by the then recent murder of Freddie Grey as moral axis. Two ambient pieces made with a field recorder and sampler, "V Rose" and "Honey in Tea", remain from the previous versions of the record. They were both created in single days and carried the same uncanny presence as the others. "Uneven High Places" was the first song I put down in the new improvisatory way. It's a distinct stylistic break from my earlier songwriting, heavy on mood and only sometimes stumbling into structure or hooks. "Five Pound Cheques" was recorded on my phone in a rush the day the piano movers came after the house had finally sold."
Anti Pop Consortium’s Beans on the beat for patten, fronting their first single in four years, back on home-brewed label 555-5555
The instantly recognisable Beans (now ex-APC) lights up ‘eat Smoke’ with angular, intricate wordplay working anti-clockwork to the skittish slowfast drama of patten’s tightest production. ‘Crystal Pacific' scrambles through killer diced syllables, before the burned out drill mutation ‘Mood Ring’ shots a sort of eviscerated take on road rap instrumentals.
Dusty, Dilla-esque beat nuggets from London’s Eahwee, starring Scouse MC Lee Scott and local spitters Melanin 9 and the more mellifluous Ninjah Aragniz
“Astral Black welcome Eahwee (pronounced errr-wee) to the fold for his 'Solitude' EP. Through his production work with MC's such as Mutant Academy's Koncept Jack$on & High Focus' Coop, a handful of releases on Dallas-based label Sunday Dinner and a flurry of bandcamp beat tapes - the London-based producer has quietly made a name for himself on the international beat scene.
Across the 12-tracks here on 'Solitude', Eahwee contorts a gold-mine of 70's soul samples into a psychedelic reflection on the experience of isolation in the human experience, presented in the form a life affirming 17-minute long mixtape. From the exultantly ethereal sounds of 'Duuduu' & 'Windough' to the heart string pulling 'Naybahuud' & 'Rarecandy', Solitude is a testament to how Eahwee has developed his craft into an effortless touch. Though largely instrumental, peppered along the way are a handful of vocal performances in the form of guest appearances from Blah Records commander-in-chief, Lee Scott, the mafioso memoirs of extra terrestrial MC Melanin 9 and neo-soul sage, Ninjah Aragniz – who closes off proceedings with the infinitely loop-able summer anthem 'yah yah’.”
Epic, rare disco/new wave wonk from NYC Downtown mainstay Mark Freedman, with Arthur Russell on cello! Historical, effortlessly weird and delightfully funky.
Freedman was a key component of the Downtown scene, heading up the Battery Sound studios where Arthur Russell worked on some of his most classic material, including "World Of Echo". Working under the Powerman alias, Freedman used a synth pop and disco framework to map out a slippery vision of early 1980s NYC, with off-kilter drum machine loops, deadpan vocals and of course, Russell's unmistakable cello.
Thirteen-minute epic 'Lost Tribe' is the go-to here, but noisy new wave jammer 'Love Whisperings' is a jaw-dropper, with its scraping oddball synth blurts and singalong vocals. Extended closer 'Loving Was Easy' is worth a peep too, all naked machine funk and robot romance. Well good.
Emptyset's james ginzburg grapples with dense Celtic drone on this gargantuan deep listening tome. Think Catherine Christer-Hennix, Ellen Arkbro or Laraaji, but lost somewhere chilly in the Scottish highlands.
On 2018's 'six correlations', the Subtext boss and bass music veteran set his sights on Gaelic folk music, using electronic and acoustic instruments to reflect his heritage and build those sounds into something completely new. ginzburg revisits the concept on 'crystallise, a frozen eye', fleshing out his meditations using instruments such as the Appalachian dulcimer, the psaltry, the shruti box and a special drum custom made for Emptyset's "Borders" album.
These luscious acoustic sounds are arranged into rich orchestrations, elevated by ginzburg's engineering prowess, and widened with thick bass tones from his trusty Octave Cat synthesizer. That instrument might be best known around these parts for forming the memorable riff on Joker and Ginz's 'Purple City', but here it's used to create a low-end rumble that's more comparable to Sunn O))) or ELEH.
On opener 'light evaporates', gut-churning bass anchors a flutter of airy strings that combs across the pineal gland with pleasing ASMR softness. 'the eyes, behind' sounds like Laraaji's most off-world dulcimer experiments being stretched like a drum skin over a creaking wooden frame. ginzburg's music creates a magical universe that's out of time, part historical and part completely contemporary; 'a gate left open disappeared' is a prime example of this, with twinkling strings that sound like faery dust being blown into a collapsing wormhole.
Anthony Naples’ Incienso grip Aussie raver Big Ever for a tightly coiled and restless quartet of electro, garage, breaks and deep house sidewinders
Previously known as half of Cop Envy, and more recently for their work with Logic1000, Big Ever strikes solo with his own brand of daring dance music, testing out harddrum-adjacent twysters and slippery offbeats that will work a treat in-the-mix with other mutant grooves.
The hiccuping electro roil of ‘Rolled Into’ sets out his style with needlepoint arps weft into a pendulous swang somewhere between Simo Cell and Ciel, whereas ‘Burst Dial’ switches tack to nervy, tracky minimalism with lurking but driving bass. ‘Apt’ is the set’s craftiest oddball, working trim tresillo rhythms into a other recalling Call Super’s album on Incienso before him, and ‘Otto’ evens out the groove on an earthy, trippy deep house tip shades away from DJ Qu.
Coiled hard drum pressure from NYC’s Significant Other, riding reticulated rhythms for Hank Jackson’s anno label.
Putting some grungy NYC muscle in it, Significant Other follows shots on Spe:c and Oscilla Sound with some of his darkest gear here. ‘Every Night A Dtream Visits Us’ works a lather of sidewinding, sinuous arps and drums under Ghost In The Shell atmosfear, and the scaly ‘Gomek’ drags us down an alley to chew our bones and spit ‘em out in a sort of slompy cumbia dance. ‘Oblivion’ allows for some more brooding, beat-less introspection continuing his narrative style, and ’Second Skin’ crawls out on swingeing, snag-toothed tresillo rhythms lodged somewhere between DJ Python and Nick Klein.
Strange, enchanted confections of folksong and computers from first generation Estonian-Australians - file somewhere between Maja S.K. Ratkje, Fonal Records, and Paul De Marinis
“There is an overarching hypothesis that music and place are inextricably linked. Where the ancient folksong may be regionally grounded, migration and modernity have confused this notion. Who owns what is by definition the music of the people and not of the composer? Passed down by generations and subject to revision, reappraisal and re-telling, music develops over time in the public domain; new routes providing new understandings.
In the words of Charles Seeger this is the concept of the folk process. ‘Creak Whoosh’ is a collection of choral ballads originating in the Finno-Ugric regions of Estonia and Ingria, electronically adapted predominantly by Olev Muska and Mihkel Tartu, based around the contemporary arrangements of Veljo Tormis. Originally established as ‘Kiri-uu’, the project was undertaken by the children of Estonian refugees, most of whom grew up over 8,000 miles away in the metropolis of Sydney, Australia. With the majority having never visited the land of their ancestors prior to the tour of 1989, the first generations reshaping of these ancient folk tales conveys Seeger’s process amidst displacement and its subsequent fringe-culture. Fusing modern recording technologies and synthesised instrumentation with themes of nature and eternity, for a short time the Kiri-uu choir dictated their own unique reading of Estonian music for the Australian market. Love and family, swamps and forests, seasons and desire.
‘Is it the moon or the sun or a rainbow, or are they the stars in the sky?’
It is my strange inclination for Nordic music(s) perhaps explained by my Scottish family history and geographic proximity to the Northern countries that made the appeal of Olev Muska’s vision so immediate. From Gaelic psalms to Finnish kantele recordings and Swedish children’s songs (Hårgalåten!), there is often a degree of comfort to be found in their coldness. Much like Kiri-uu’s initial subversion of music and place, it is ironically the height of Australian summer when I meet Olev to share a pint of beer or two, unaware that the album is to become the definitive soundtrack of my time there. Heat stroke and sunburn, perspiration and transit, fantasy beaches and suburban homes.
In collaboration with STROOM, the fundamental messages of the old Estonian bards are carried forth this time into the 21st century, a revised selection of the original 1988 recordings accompanied by ‘Tšimmairuudiralla’ allowing for new perspectives and, perhaps crucially, a truly global audience. After all, in Finno-Ugric folk song it is perhaps only the strictly functional that remain unchanged, such as herding calls or Sami joik. - Fergus Clark, Glasgow 2021”
Basic House's Sähkö Recordings debut is a bleak, noisy voyage into greyscale industrial ambience. A fitting accompaniment to our troubled times, then. One for fans of Prurient/Hospital, Dilloway, Justin Broadrick et al.
Steven Bishop is usually busy heading up the Opal Tapes label, but found enough time in his day to bolt together a seething slice of industrial ambience for the legendary Finnish imprint. The result is his grimmest plate to date - "Crown Ever Remain" reminds of peak '80s DIY industrial tape culture, with half-heard vocal snips, crashing over-saturated bass and properly psychedelic synth whines.
'Mechanical Nudes' is our fave here, bringing to mind Sähkö's own dearly departed folk hero Mika Vainio with its heaving glitchy rhythm made from a bare, distorted bass womp. The record closes on 'Alphabet (Swallowing Gold)', inching windswept drones and cracking ambience over degraded answerphone messages that sound just mundane enough to be completely terrifying. Good stuff.
Red Axes’ Nic Arizona turns out a sizzling breakbeat bustler backed with playful remix muscle from Lena Willikens
The rug-cutting drums and jagged synth arps of ‘Floating the Flood’ are just the ticket for sand-trampling festival scenarios and sweaty basements alike, but it’s the Lena Willikens remix for us, phasing the original’s wobbly-jawed vocals into a Dego-like broken beat hustle and adding her own snippets of what sounds like some rosy cheeked ‘90s Manc raver intoning “top atmosphere” and “having a good time” that are giving us the chuckles right now.