Giuseppe Ielasi themed this album around the idea of rhyhmic grids, something illustrated in a helpfully literal fashion by its artwork: the colourful, closely knit and highly organised construction provides a visual signifier for the sort of musical developments captured inside.
Ielasi does something quite remarkable with Aix (so-called because the album was made in Aix-en-Provence): he's used all the tricks in his microsound arsenal to fashion warm, strangely jazzy 4/4 music from delicate conrete sound sources. The narrative unfolds according to Ielasi's largely improvisational sequencing skills, stacking up a wealth of location-based acousmatic events - forming beat patterns from the strangest of sampled noises. What makes all this so intriguing is the use of space; Aix feels like such an immersive, well poised experience beacuse it avoids cluttering, allowing you to gauge the depth and scale of Ielasi's digitally-assembled grid environments according to the interplay between booming low frequencies and the more microscopic, higher range timbres.
The fifth piece, for instance, is sprinkled with close-up, brittle percussive gestures and spacious clatter emanating from the middle distance, and it's all pinned together by deep, rotund bass plunges that sound as if they've been snipped from a Farben 12". The spread of natural echo across the stereo field is another key ingredient here, and moving onto track eight, the gloomily reverberant clacks and shuffles start to sound like noises from the same empty construction site depicted on the sleeve, suggestive of space, and proportion.
At times, the end result of all this electroacoustic toil might reasonably be described as 'techno concrète', but inevitably any such soundbite fails to do this record justice - it's a far more musically rich experience than that, in no way enslaved by its own conceptual origins.
Ike Yard’s minimalist NYC post-punk masterpiece arches its spiny drum machine rhythms and ghoulish sonics for a necessary reissue reminder with Superior Viaduct
Now approaching its 40th anniversary, ‘Ike Yard’ has held untold influence on successive waves of droll industrialists and rhythm-bitten electronic music makers ever since its release by Factory America in 1982. It is also known as ‘A Fact A Second’ due to the slightly confusing album artwork, but whatever it’s called, it’s a total classic in terms of stripped down, mutant machine music from the early days, harnessing drum machines, synths and guitars in a darkly rugged way that was also heard in work by SPK and Swans, but here galvanised with a singular sort of NYC cyberpunk sleaze and brutality.
Defined by the droll, icy vocals of Stuart Argabright, who would also collaborate with Rammellzee in Death Comet Crew, and drive sci-fi project Black Rain, and urged by cranky, spitting and jabbing rhythm section, on their debut - and what would for a long time be their sole - album Ike Yard sounded like a a gang of mongrel street tuffs from the future, lead by a savant cultish brainiac mumbling prophetic, drugged-up proclamations. Check out the razor-sharp stepper ‘Loss’, which made prime remix fuel for a classic Regis remix, or the possessed cyberpunk voodoo of ‘Kino’ and the straightjacketed, Suicide-al no-wave funk of ‘NCR’ and you’ll know exactly what they’re about.
Vladislav Delay’s Chain Reaction masterpiece resurfaces for a remastered 20th anniversary edition. Answering the prayers of dub and electronic fiends everywhere, this long overdue vinyl edition of ‘Multila’ acts both as a reminder of Sasu Ripatti’s pioneering work and a primer on his early practice.
Technically the Finnish artist’s 3rd album, 2000’s ‘Multila’ offered a looser limbed, sensuous take on dub techno as much informed by the Finnish climate and landscape as the templates of Basic Channel, SND, and the deep house styles established between the late ‘80s and during the ‘90s.
It’s an immensely immersive work that prizes the qualities and infidelities of analogue production nose to tail from hardware to tape and D&M’s revered all-analogue mastering facilities, which up until this reissue has only previously been available on vinyl spread across the 'Ranta' and 'Huone' 12"s. Anyway, the Keplar label remedy that issue right here with Rashad Becker’s remaster which faithfully combines to present the album as it was perhaps always meant to be heard.
Between the submerged, coruscating crackle of ‘Ranta’, the soothing tone of ‘Raamat’, and the 22 minutes of semi-organic, lissom swing and ambient smudge in ‘Huone’ on the first disc, to the water-logged tumescence of ‘Karrha’ and the 16 minutes of head-swilling textural abstraction and saline buoyancy in ‘Pietola’ on the 2nd disc, you’re in the presence of pivotal, peerless material that effectively splits the difference between the GRM, King Tubby, and Huerco S.
Fluxion beautifully drifts focus from quietly cinematic scenes to signature dub house rollers in his dustily nuanced style.
‘Perspectives’ is the Greek’s 8th album following a few years from ‘Ripple Effect’ and some choice ‘Transformations’ with mutual spirits Deepchord over the interim. Now 20 years since his ‘Vibrant Forms’ placed him in the Chain Reaction calibre of dub techno producers, he describes ‘Perspectives’ as a more “personal… intimate” record that his previous, and that personality comes out stealthily thru his quiet elision of frayed dub house chords with more jazzy smoky rhythms and lonely coffee atmospheres in the album’s title track and the cooing angelic chorales of the intro ’Schism’, while the luxuriant scapes of ‘Within’ and ‘Promise’ also recall Moritz Von Oswald’s turns toward kosmiche jazz dub space.
Fascinating compilation offering unprecedented access to Anthony Burgess’ personal life via the first and last known recordings of the late, great writers’ voice alongside domestic incidents, rehearsals and answering machine messages, plus “remixes” by Chris Watson, Vicky Clarke, Scanner, David Birchall, and Guy-Marc Hinant a.o.
The ‘Archives’ LP reveals Burgess’ gifts as a linguist and musician, as well as his engrossing views on everything from The Beatles to Stanley Kubrick, while the ‘Remix’ disc finds him chopped into a disarray of styles, including highlights in Roy Claire Potter & Kieron Piercy’s ‘Adjrust’, Marion Harrison’s witty cut-up ‘Janet and Howard Are In the Audience’, and the gauzy collage of Scanner’s ‘Whilst his piano gently sleeps’.
“Anthony Burgess's second wife Liana carried a cassette recorder with her at all times to capture her life with the author and their son Andrew. This extraordinarily intimate audio archive of over 1,000 cassettes now sits with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and artist Alan Dunn has been granted access to select excerpts from it and curate sonic conversations from others.
Born in Manchester in 1917, Anthony Burgess was educated at Xaverian College in that city and at Manchester University. He served in the army from 1940 to 1946 and as an education officer in Malaya and Brunei from 1954 to 1959. He published more than 50 books (including 'A Clockwork Orange' and his masterpiece, 'Earthly Powers')
and composed around 250 musical works. He was created a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by President Mitterrand of France and a Commandeur de Mérite Culturel by Prince Rainier of Monaco. He died in London in 1993. His books are still read all over the world.”
Amazing excavation of early ‘80s DIY minimal wave pop from The Netherlands, clad in a spot-on homage to his collaborator Annie Sprinkles and totally primed for fans of John Bender, Chris Carter, Maria Zerfall and thee most enigmatic bedroom-built songcraft.
“Tucked away in the Dutch underground of the early 80’s a young Hessel Veldman created his own music world in the small industrial sea town of IJmuiden. It was a world recorded on tapes and reels. A world where things happened according to personal logic based on sonic exploration, electronic sounds and improvisation. The approach was intimate, at times light-hearted, but often following deep inner contemplation and total immersion in the creative process. Above all, music was made according to the Do-It-Yourself principle of the home-taping culture.
The home-taping network established itself globally during the late 70’s and kept blooming throughout the 80’s. It was a self-exploring, self-sustained music culture of people sending each other home recorded music material on cassettes. No external music industry was interfering with the musical works. The making of the music, the different releases and the labels were all self-managed. Wonderful international cassette compilations were created that showed the intensive musical exchange at play between the home-tapers. Cassettes were often accompanied by all sorts of printed matter and resulted in little pieces of individual artworks. Hessel Veldman played a protagonist role in the Dutch home-taping network while also maintaining a large international network of contacts.
Under the moniker Y Create (Why create? or Ymuidense creations) many cassettes were recorded at home as well as in collaboration with others. Simultaneously, Veldman created his own cassette label Exart with his wife Nicole Veldman on which their own and other artists productions were published. The label was created to spread and exchange experimental and improvised music made in home-studio’s. The Exart home-studio was the place where compositions, recordings, radio-programs, mixes and remixes were made. Veldman has stated that out of hours of home recordings a few tracks would derive that had captured rare and special tracks or rare sonic atmospheres that would be selected for a release. Most pieces could never be reproduced exactly because mistakes and uncomfortable settings were of great importance during the recording process. Aside from the many Y Create recordings, Veldman was member of the improvisation group Gorgonzola Legs and kept working intensively with other artists like Fluxus artist and Dutch underground cult-figure Willem de Ridder. With De Ridder, De Ridder’s wife Cora and Nicole hours of spontaneous improvisation, field recordings and radio plays were created. They recorded deeply shared intimate experiences with each other but also used theatrical storytelling.
Hessel Veldman’s diverse music practices have been traversing several decades by now and he continues to play music according to his own insights and intuitions today. Nevertheless, the home-taping era has played a key role in the shaping of his free approach to music. Eigen Boezem is a collection of tracks gathered from different cassettes from his body of work that capture moments of magical home recordings. Eigen Boezem displays the versatility of his musical output and creativity, ranging from industrial experiments to new wave - from trance inducing avant-pop to synthetic minimalist funk. The selection of the different tracks on Eigen Boezem is done in such a manner that a new cohesive album is created.
The first release from Erotek in 15 years, he joins the FTP family, along with DJ Nasty aka Detroit’s Filthiest. Other heat on this heavy electro comp is coming from artists from Frankfurt, Ukraine, and Texas.
One of 2020’s most distinctive new dance and electronic soul LPs, ‘Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes’ sees Kuduro auteur Nídia come into her own with a strikingly fresh, deep and original showcase of Afro-Portuguese dance music. TIPPED!!!!!!
Five years on from Nídia’s debut 12”, and notable recent production and remix work for Fever Ray, Kelela and Yaeji, the Lisbon/Bordeaux-based wunderkind’s 2nd album lays out a supremely supple and crisply defined sound placing a critical, dare-to-be-different spin on elements of the African Zouk, Kuduro, Tarraxho and US R&B sounds she grew up with. Now after becoming something of a cult one-to-watch, and still only barely in her 20’s, Nídia’s sound has patently matured in terms of its emotional levity and pacing, but at no expense to the thrilling, rude angularity of her early 12” and 2017 debut LP ‘Nídia É Má, Nídia É Fudida’. Nídia’s music is now just cooler, concentrated and on-point stylish in a remarkable way that uncannily matches the mood of the times.
Showing off sharply honed melodic sensibilities and nudging her drums into singular syncopations, Nídia’s subtle but radical alteration to her sound now calls to mind beats by Timbaland, Lenky, The Neptunes or Equiknoxx (even LL Cool J) as much as her label mates on Príncipe. By stripping her sound down to its essence, rather than cluttering with FX or bait sounds, she’s arrived at a raw dancefloor blueprint that’s tough playing but sensitive, unafraid to go slow, heavy and heads-down in the club while also packing combustible peaks of excitement.
With effortless suss, Nídia shifts from an ‘Intro’ of experimental rave minimalism comparable to Rian Treanor, to a mix of Arabic wind motifs and clipped Deep South bounce recalling Virginia Beach’s best on ‘Popo’, while a trio of ‘Rap’ instrumentals tilt the game from mutant drill to 3-step sickness and a super strong nod to LL Cool J’s ‘I Need Love’. Zipped in with the a bubbling 8-bit slow banger ’Tarraxo do Guetto’ and grimy shockout eruption of ‘Capacidades’, Nídia’s cool hand on the pressure gauge keeps interest rapt until the finalé fanfare of ‘Emotions’, which surely matches the likes of Lex Luger or The Dream’s brassy mini-symphonies for emotive grip, but in a less muscular, more sensitively ambiguous way that Nídia coolly owns.
Estonia’s Porridge Bullet crew fire at will with five deep gems by local artists and international friends following the label’s reissue of a class Martin Rev 7”
Neuronphase impresses with two highlights, locking off ‘It’s Yr Groove’ somewhere between Actress’ Thriller killers and Theo Parrish’s ugly edits, before pushing into deep, swinging NYC house on ‘I Have None’, while RuutuPoiss holds it down with the warmly chords and shuffly budge of ‘Mjau’, Madis Puuraid stretches out on a dreamy broken beat house hustle, and Budapest’s AIWA rustles up the simmering early hours vibe of ‘Wakeywalk.’
Killer, beautifully scorched noise guitar and amp séances for the connoisseurs right here from improv catalyst Bill Nace (Body/Head) at his most crudely tactile and feverishly slow-burning. Highly recommended if you're into Wolf Eyes, Dilloway, Nate Young, Sonic Youth.
It’s got some real spirit to this one, not to mention the sweat, hair, muscle and bones that Nace feels out with his guitar and amp, coaxing phantasmic noise chorales and just intonation drones alongside Nate Young-esque trip-metal excursions and washed out works redolent of Two Daughters and The Caretaker at his most frayed, beyond, but swapping out the eldritch for a lysergic, moon-drunk shimmer of backwater Americana.
“Free guitar for the new age: improv with intention, construction and destruction, all with the grain and air of performance captured and telescoped in a sonic particle collider. Makes sense, and not just because of the chaotic times. With Both, terminal collaborator Bill Nace (Body/Head, Thurston Moore) has found a stimulating, chiaroscuro-stubbled path back to the electric guitar's anarchic promise, drawn through eight colorful pieces that are equal parts sound, noise and music.”
A richly meditative tonic of sitar and electronics for the times from Ami Dang, beautifully conceived as musical prayers for family members who contracted Covid19. We maybe didn’t expect the breathtaking ecstasies of Dang’s ‘Parted Plains’ to lead us here, but she surely turns that album’s magick to a mellower and contemplative purpose here.
“While working on other songs in quarantine, I was inspired to create this album after my aunt and uncle became very ill with coronavirus. My family held a virtual prayer and service to commemorate the Sikh holiday Vaisakhi, and my mother asked me to perform a shabad, or Sikh hymn, for our online gathering. I probably sing hymns at family occasions at least a couple of times a year, but every time, I forget how much the music and my voice move and uplift people.
Prayer (and moments of internal reflection) feel more important during this time--for too many reasons. We’re living in an unprecedented time of change: it’s difficult to plan anything this year, and a dark shadow has fallen over the world. Whether you or a loved one are ill, you’ve lost work, or are feeling general anxiety about the state of the world, these meditations are for you.
“Tension, Tension, Release” is a vocal meditation. Feel free to sing along with my voice and find the moments of tension in the syllables “ni, ni” and allow them to fully release when you sing, “sa.” These syllables are solfege (like do, re, mi) in Hindustani classical music. Fully experience your breath when you fill your diaphragm and lungs with air and then lean into that release when you sing (or listen to my voice and breathe along with the track if you don’t wish to sing). Even if you don’t commit to sitting silently for a few minutes, you can find moments of peace to “meditate” while you do ordinary things--maybe you are stirring a pot of stew, brushing your teeth, stretching after a workout or doing yoga.
My goal is to fully engage my mind in these quiet moments and try to push out the nervous, upset, or worried thoughts. In the process, re-evaluate your relationship to the material goods (your stuff!) around you and remember that the only thing that is going to get us through this is love, belief in humanity and lifting up everyone. Together, we are divine, and to feel truly peaceful and secure (on the individual level), we must have a society that treats everyone equally and where everyone is uplifted.”
Phthalocyanine gamer lullabies and neon-etched elegies for the death of dancing in reality, embracing a gently melancholic, retro-nostalgic vision for the future of nightclubs. RIYL Hatsune Miku, Lena Raine, Yamaneko
“Temple OST is the soundtrack to an unreal nightclub: a space filled with ethereal dance anthems, haunting Vocaloid refrains, and soundscapes of the near future. Created for Lek’s acclaimed installation at central London art space 180 The Strand, the album acts as a sonic gateway to his ongoing series of virtual worlds that explore the future of memory in an age of simulation.
Born in Frankfurt, Lawrence Lek is a Malaysian-Chinese multimedia artist who unifies diverse practices—architecture, gaming, video, music and fiction—into a continuously expanding cinematic universe. Always questioning the boundary between fine art and mass entertainment, his virtual realities reflect on the geopolitical dimensions of contemporary culture, labour, and technology. His works include the video game ‘Unreal Estate: The Royal Academy is Yours’ (2015 Dazed Emerging Artist Award), the influential video essay ‘Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD)’, the AI-coming-of-age story ‘Geomancer’ (2017 Jerwood/FVU Award), and ‘Nøtel’, a simulation of a fully-automated luxury hotel in collaboration with Kode9 (ICA, London; Art Basel). As a musician, Lek composes soundtracks and conducts live audio-visual mixes of his works, often incorporating live play throughs of his open-world games. Temple OST is his fourth album.”
Arriving via a triangulation of Athens, Crete and London, yet existing at a psychic intersection between the ruins of crumbling infrastructure and an intimidating future dystopia Kooba Tercu have seen fit to take arms as only they see fit.
"‘Proto Tekno’ is their mission statement writ large - a potent and pulverising collection of incendiary jams fuelled by the modern age yet transcending it with vicious style. Equal parts groove-driven mantra, red blooded freakout and experimetnal onslaught, this is the sound of a fearless band raging against the dying of the light. Confident that all formulas are fundamentally there to be mercilessly rearranged, and that a sheer force of will can easily transform the ridiculous into the sublime. ‘Proto Tekno’ seamlessly travels from a fuzz-bass headbanger like the opener ‘Benzoberry’ to the mantric blowout of ‘Qasan’ (assaulting CAN-esque dimensions equal parts caustic and cinematic) and from the sleazy swagger of ‘Cemento Mori’ (redolent of the suave machinations of Girls Against Boys) to the polyrhythmic drive of the ceremonial centrepiece ‘Fair Game’, while maintaining their unique full-throttle intensity and generosity of character.
There’s Melvins-style groove to be had on ‘Proto Tekno’ (Kamehameha’) ‘just as much as Beta Band-style songcraft (‘Puppy Pile’) yet these disparate influences coalesce vividly into an invigorating and intimidatingly confident assault on the senses. Inhabiting a modern era in which creating art, as the Fluxus group originally proposed, is more than ever a revolutionary act in itself, ‘Proto Tekno’ stands as much as formidable monument to insurrectionary spirit as it does the furious clanguour of six heads in an overheated rehearsal room. It’s a weapon of psychic defence just as much as a love letter to the three ‘R’s of repetition, repetition and repetition. Yet as the ongoing battle against adversity gathers momentum, one thing is for certain - you’ll want Kooba Tercu on your side."
Legendary pop experimenters and genre-hoppers Aksak Maboul channel classic chanson and smoky jazz in a subtly mould breaking-and-reshaping style reminiscent of their classic 1977, 1980 sides - maybe hard to believe this lot comes from the guys who brought Konono No.1 and Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) to the wider world, but all will become apparent in wonderful style on ‘Figures’ which somehow sounds like Sterolab getting down with Miles Davis at Jon Hassell’s gaff.
“Figures is a double album containing 22 tracks and interludes, resulting from the flow of creative ideas which arose after a gap of over thirty years (see the Aksak story overleaf). Drawing again from the multiple sources which have always inspired the band (from electronic music and pop to experimentation, jazz, minimalism, contemporary classical etc), Aksak Maboul transcends and reconfigures them with its inimitable style, to create an impressive, rich and unclassifiable piece of work.
Seamlessly weaving electronic and acoustic instrumentation, improvisation and programming, songs, beats, found objects and sound collages, the album works as a labyrinth, full of secret passages and interconnections. Figures clocks in at 75 minutes, thus deliberately shunning the laws of instant gratification and the myth of today’s reduced attention span: the Aksak Maboul aficionados will surely be happy to engage in an immersive session of deep listening (in two halves), in order to enjoy the album’s many layers and details.
Véronique Vincent & Marc Hollander wrote the album together, by following parallel courses with their own respective internal logic, while remaining closely connected. Enigmatic and finely chiseled, feeding on her love for painting and literature, Véronique’s texts form a dense fabric which mirrors the sonic kaleidoscope assembled by Marc, who wrote and arranged all the music (aside from a track co-written and sung by Véronique and Julien Gasc). Véronique also made the drawings and paintings which illustrate the cover and inserts.
The two protagonists recorded most of the album in their own studio, with contributions by the young members of Aksak Maboul’s current live line-up: Faustine Hollander (bass, vocals, co-production), guitarist Lucien Fraipont and drummer Erik Heestermans. Also featured are performances by several friends and guests, including revered improvisor Fred Frith, Tuxedomoon’s Steven Brown, members of Aquaserge (Julien Gasc, Audrey Ginestet & Benjamin Glibert), former band members (including Michel Berckmans and Sebastiaan Van den Branden), and several others.”
Lo-fi, loop-based innovations from Turin, IT-based DJ/producer Camarades Breton; hacking and splicing bits of ambient techno, hardcore, grime and psychedelic electronics in a ruffneck style recalling Filter Dread and Seekersinternational
“The album has been entirely recorded by the artist at home, using only a CMX-5000 CD-J, a twin CD-mixing system rack distributed by Pioneer at the beginnings of the 2000s, and an old two-channel mixer he has been using since childhood.
Recordings started in a very instinctive and naif way, by simply putting together two very short loops taken from two different sources, just for the fun of it. Quite soon however, this extremely simple technique turned into a proper method highlighting a constant struggle between two different forces. As a result of a constant shift of tempo and pitch, the two inputs rarely fit together perfectly.
This conflict awakens the producer's vision, turning this clash of sounds either into an emotional struggle, in tracks such as Stella, or into a political struggle, like in the B-side opening track NoTav which, through the costant tension between the two audio sources, evokes the recent fight against the construction of theTurin-Lyon high-speed railway line that is causing huge social and environmental damages.
The sounds get hijacked and given a new meaning, mostly in a contradictory way, giving life to the sounds beyond their original sources.This method can be compared to that of the détournement, as Situationist Guy Debord named it.
The choice of using old material has political reasons as well. Feeling unconfident in producing new sounds in a consumerist and over- polluted Western world where culture has reached a saturation point, the artist decides to recycle some of the sounds recorded in the last fifty years, randomly picking bargain second-hand CD's or taking them away from the dust at people's places.
The artwork of the album, made by the artist himself, integrates the conflictual contrasts of the record, juxtaposing a photograph of the 1962 Algerian women's demonstration for Independence with a photograph of the May '68 Paris streets riots – two different struggles with a common revolutionary feeling.
French director Jean-Luc Godard once said that "you need to put together two images to let things happen". This is probably the best explanation for how this album has been recorded, treating two sound sources as if they were images, waiting for something to finally happen.
The album will be released in a cassette format to encourage an uninterrupted listening, as suggested by the producer. For the same reason it will be released into just two continuous tracks in the digital version as well.
Born in 1989, Stefano Murgia alias Camarades Breton is a producer and D.J. from Turin, Italy. Overly bored by the musical theory lessons he took as a child, pretty soon he starts experimenting with tape recording in his room and playing in a band. Deeply rooted into the underground scene of his hometown, he is currently working on different projects concerning music, film-making and editorial stuff, with a DIY approach.”
Porridge Bullet slinger Ajukaja encourages you to skip sunday school and get down to his organ-driven grooves
Following from the label’s wicked Martin Rev 7”, their latest little disc is loaded with soulful organ vamps and rippling melodies synched to natty machine rhythms in a charming style that bridges a stylistic gap between Tapes and Mrs Mills, Omar-S and Klaus Wunderlich.
Exceptional, humid tarraxho beatdown pressure from Lisbon/Bordeaux-based wunderkind Nídia, accompanying her killer 2nd album.
Spinning off from the slower highlights of her album, ‘Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes’, Nídia’s 7” perfectly displays the subtly radical advances in her productions style on two achingly squashed and rude swivels that set her sound head and shoulders apart from the crowd.
Initially soft and tentative, but ultimately hard and freaky, ’Tarraxoz Academy’ plays out a heavy, druggy tension between its burning, biting point electro-leads, wavey organ refrain and dragging drums that recalls a screwed take on an imaginary DJ Stingray & Nkisi joint.
The modern rare groove of ’Cheirinho’ on the other hand comes marks a leap forward, or even sideways, from what you may expect from her early work, draping velvet chords on a natty swing beat like Omar-S gone broken beat or Dego doing Angolan R&B.
The people at Malka Tuti felt it was the time to continue pushing the name Shari Vari to new realms & territories... A Remix Pack was born.
"For the remix pack, Malka Tuti chose a few close friends of the family to give new life and new interpre- tations to the now “instant classic” songs by the Hamburg duo....
The EP begins with Fantastic Twins’s mid tempo, Coil inspired, break-beat groove, slowly building up in emotion with warm pads and 90’s vibe acid lines to- wards an epic catharsis. Benedikt Frey takes it from there, remixing a personal favourite - New York City, turning it into a dark trip- hop inspired journey, cleaning those distinct vocals, echoing Beth Gibbons’s smokey high tones....
On the B-side we find Black Merlin’s 11 minute trippy mid tempo dance floor banger. Cuts and slices from the original vocals of the song Dance Alone, laid carefully on top of a repetitive modular bass line, and sprinkled on top - those out-worldly sounds and FX that makes the track simply HUGE. Last but not least, Düsseldorf’s very own Lucas Croon’s Dub Version, released digitally last year, final- ly sees its day on wax. 90’s Break beat beats, gated vocals and everything else that takes to make a dance floor hit the roof."
Over the years, Rafael Anton Irisarri has become ubiquitous within the spheres of ambient, drone and electronic music. Whether it’s through Irisarri’s celestial long-form albums or his lauded audio engineering credentials for countless artists and labels, Irisarri’s consistent dedication to his craft never wavers from the forefront.
"While Irisarri’s compositions typically field an array of modern ambient overtones threaded through oceanic symphonies with tape loops, bowed electric guitar and vast washes of overdriven sound, his recent debut album for Dais Records, Peripeteia, portray these common themes giving way to metal and classical influences that emphasizes Irisarri’s melancholic tendencies. These unique overtures, coupled with his signature layering of distortion and bleached-out textures, fabricate an audible environment that would seemingly be at odds with, yet gracefully complement each other. In Irisarri’s own words, “My previous works internalize any exterior forces or circumstances, while trying to make sense of the world. Peripeteia reverses that approach, focusing on the personal in order to tell a wider human story.”
The emotional depth found throughout Peripeteia is impeccably on display with the track, Mellified. A collaboration with Spanish composer Yamila, the choral arrangements bring to mind the sacred music of Arvo Pärt, while her voice combines the Andalusian “Cante jondo” style with medieval modes, almost drowning in layers of octave fuzz distortion and dystopian synths patterns. On Arduous Clarity, the bright arpeggiating melody that churns throughout, offers the initial glimmer of optimism in an otherwise decaying tale of personal turmoil. This encouraging glimpse is short lived however, as the song Refuge/Refuse seemingly plummets into the mourning depths of somber despair. A chorus of voices steadily crawls from its desolate terrain – a sea of broken spirits, eternally resigned to strain and bellow their final lament. Fright and Control, a piece which is equally soul churning, seems to possess a satisfying resolve, as if after years of searching, one’s very salvation has been laid to rest through the acceptance of mortality and the enlightenment in death. Irisarri’s complexity is utilized to a forcible success, slowly pulsing throughout the foreground of his audience, further emphasizing the impending dread of resolve."
Hamburg-based Love-Songs' newest output Nicht Nicht continues the band's striving to mesh defined grids with improvisatory snapshots to create their very own take on organic electronic music. Since 2012, the electro-acoustic trio were able to explore the possibilities of their free-flowing interplay through the course of several EPs and the mini-album 'Inselbegabung', which was released on Kame House. Now they are ready to submit their debut album Nicht Nicht on Bureau B.
"Meandering through its seven tracks Nicht Nicht contains the Trios most aerially shimmering tracks to date flanked by tribal bouncers. Form, deform and somewhere in between. ÑDas Labyrinth in dem allesóallesóalles verschwimmt.ì (Das Labyrinth) The record begins with a live recording of the band. The transparent and crisp 'Proxy I' almost sculpturally rotates through the space it occupies.
Sublime ripples. Meditative clusters of Chinese cymbals define the percussion, delayed waves of bass break, as gently pulsating synths weave their way through the sonosphere. 'Selbstauflˆser Teil II' and 'Das Labyrinth' are percussive bouncers and serve a contemporary club appeal that has always been a feature in the bandís oeuvre. Love-Songs have found their way into the setlists of DJs such as Phuong Dan and John Talabot and also live their music works in clubby situations. The reprise 'Nicht Nicht' takes the intensity level down a notch, nervously, restlessly lurching towards the A-sideís runout groove. 'Tisch mit drei Weinen' is the pop song on the record. Staccato bass, pumping arpeggios and, again, Chinese cymbals, but this time processed and treated, roll out a canvas for Thomas Korf¥s lyrics.
The lyrics are often described as dada and surrealist and function beyond their literal meaning. Somewhere between instrument and narrative Korf, with his dark timbre, plays with language and shifts perspectives, sometimes humorous, sometimes odd but always serious. ÑDu bist ein Krug und schenkst mir ein, ich bin ein Glas und voll mit Wein.ì (Tisch mit 3 Weinen) 'Proxy II' begins with dotted, open jazz drums before unraveling in a meditative rumble. Frothing up without losing its pulse, the track ends abruptly in a shimmering clangour. Synthetic choirs at the end evoke the processed, outernational sounds of so called ìfourth world musicî, an influence that can also be ascertained on the final track, the dubby 'OG'.
An organic groove runs through the albumís closer, switching up to an atmospheric, jazzy vibe. Woodwind instruments swell beneath the surface as Nicht Nicht ends with a tribal, percussive rattle behind frosted glass. The album is more permeable, but at the same time concrete than the bandís previous output. With the work on Nicht Nicht, Love-Songs continue to place more emphasis on the studio itself as an instrument. The foundations are still based on a tried and trusted combination of bass, percussion, electronics and vocals, but less readily identifiable as the tracks oscillate between the lines. Ideas continue to be elicited from live improvisations, then processed and arranged on the computer, not infrequently translated back into an intimate interplay of instruments and yet the individual elements display a disciplined awareness of the whole: the bass earths the tracks stoically, ascetically, percussion is in the realm of man and machine, the vocals serve the songs primarily as an instrument without surrendering their expressive imagery.
Electronics assume dual roles in terms of structure and ornamentation: rendering form and embellishing with melody and noise. Ultimately, it is the sum of these parts and the production thereof, which allow Nicht Nicht to shimmer and foam, jangle and roll, billow and rattle. Jetzt wo ich unbegreiflich bin, macht die Selbstauflˆsung Sinn.ì (Selbstauflˆser Teil 2) TheeLove-Songs line-up has been a constant since their inception: Thomas Korf (electronics,
vocals), Sebastian Kokus (bass) and Manuel Chittka (drums, percussion). The band recorded and produced Nicht Nicht in their Elbkrautstudios in Hamburg. Mastering was taken care of by Fabian Tormin/Plaetlin Mastering. As always, the bandís own design studio Total Eclipse Of The Heart came up with the visuals."
First new album from Landstrumm in four years, following the Mark Leckey-sampling 'Montesa' EP. Neil follows the old adage, "if ain't broke…" to the letter on 'Dragon Under', delivering 16 tracks of signature bleeps, beats and bass in his well-skooled fashion.
The first solo release from Christopher Bear, drummer and multi-instrumentalist of the much loved ’Grizzly Bear’, pivoting to lushly electronic dream pop somewhere between Art of Noise, later period Prefab Sprout and Enigma - we ain't complaining.
"Often finding the structure and form of a more traditional ‘song’ and the concept of an album too restrictive, Christopher finally set aside a six week period in the summer of 2019 to explore the possibilities of jamming alone and seeing where it took him: recording each instrument himself and then responding through improvisation to his own recordings, Whilst doing most of the recording in a digital set up, he also set out to capture some of the same mental and sonic space from his time recording on 4-track.
The results of these Fools’ sessions, he explains, feel “almost more like a mixtape than an ‘album’ per se” to him. With a sense of the dichotomy between nostalgia and the future, ‘Fools’ Harp Vol. I’ seeks to transport the listener to a world both familiar and comforting, exploring something undiscovered while maintaining a deep sense of openness and curiosity."
Mind-bending and keenly primitive techno splat from Ajukaja's Estonian house enclave, Porridge Bullet - home to Maria Minerva and some of the freakiest Afro dance edits out there.
It's a retrospective focussed on the output of Aivar Tõnso a.k.a. Hypnosaurus, the "legendary and unclassifiable Estonian techno act that proved to be very influential throughout its somewhat reclusive career." Inspired by late '80s sounds from Cabaret Voltaire to TG and early Detroit techno, his output evidently worked in a similar vein to Joel Brindefalk a.k.a. Ü's 'Great Dose of Monotonous Techno' (1991, Börft Records) from the same era and relative geographic location, turning old soviet synthesisers and rusty drum machines into shimmering vortices of droning, mesmerising dance music with a boldly experimental and wayward edge. Imagine Frak testing out an early Goa trance prototype in a psilocybin-infused sauna…
Ruffest, reeelest dance music from “The undisputed king of home-disco”, Nebraska’s Neville Lawrence a.k.a. Superstar, maintaining Porridge Bullet’s 100% record of wigged-out disco/house oddities.
The label sum up Superstar’s original Keep On Rocking best as; “what Jamie Principle's father’s lullaby might have sounded if (he) had tried to put his son to sleep with his best impression of Michael Jackson and Leroy Burgess”.
On the flip, DJ Im Sorry’s mix basically sounds like the original was recorded thru a soggy towel with a dictaphone from the adjacent room, coincidentally picking up the distant sound of someone loudly soloing a synth in another building.
Soul Jazz apply keen ears to the ingenious era of UK rave, hardcore and jungle and its unprecedented stylistic shifts of the early ‘90s with a haul of seminal, obscure and killer cuts.
Archivists of the most crucial Black and Latin music, Soul Jazz know what they’re on about, and rack up some proper knowledge here from a unique phase of UK music when ragga and nutty rave styles collided and accelerated to produce one of the UK’s most distinctive, enduring genres.
Following the emergence of digi-dub dancehall and the house phenomenon of the late ‘80s, the 2nd generation offspring of Caribbean migrants pushed those styles to breaking point, and then some, in the early ‘90s, ramping the tempos, going ruthlessly heavy on the subs, and chopping up amen breaks in a mean advance of rugged US hip hop UK fast-rap.
These innovations were the result of a tight feedback loop of influence between dancers and DJs, who effectively egged each other to greater ecstasies (perhaps amped by some pills and powders), and producers followed suit with tracks that sounded ever more like two or three tunes being mixed by a DJ at +6 on the decks.
The 12 tracks of ‘Black Riot’ are all a result of this innovative rush of form and function, and range from the nutty jazziness of DJ SS’ 1994 ace ‘The Smoker’s Rhythm’, to the foundational hardcore pressure of ‘Durban Poison’ by Babylon Timewarp, Leviticus’ all-time burner ‘Burial (Lovers Rock Mix)’, and Trip’s darkcore ’93 glyder ‘The Snowball’, alongside absolute murder in DJ Krome & Mr. Time’s lighter tune ‘Ganja Man’, plus more experimental obscurities in the nano-tight edits of ‘Way Of Life’ by New Vision, and overlooked but deadly rude ragga bleep rave by Nu Jacks.
Estonia’s wayward Porridge Bullet cough up this gnarled, expressive ace from Mihkel Kleis aka Ratkiller, a proper outsider music type who previously turned up on these pages with his rogue black metal project, Edasi, and now takes this opportunity to commit his highly idiosyncratic music to vinyl for the first time.
While Porridge Bullet are hardly known for being the straightest label around, Meltdown of the Highest Order is a cranky oddball even by their standards, seeming to smudge chopped ’n screwed hip hop noise with buckling tape FX, frazzled electronics and convulsive cut-ups in way that recalls Aaron Dilloway getting messy with Tomutonttu or Pat Maherr’s Indignant Senility in a demented face-off with his own Diamond Catalog alias, for example.
It’s one of those rare examples of an artist who can listen to and absorb myriad other sounds and transduce them into something of his own. It may bear up to the aforementioned influences - and tonnes more beside - but ultimately Meltdown of the Highest Order is distinguished by its freakiness and the way that Kleis uses that knowledge of outsider music to either sidestep and mess with convention, as with he 18 minutes of warp and slurred temporalities in the A-side’s No Need For Reason, or choose to compound and play into it with 14 minutes of uneasy, blown-out ambience in the B-side’s Delicate Toast and what sounds like a nerve-fried BoC with Flat & Decomposed.
Part 3 of the ongoing "We Jazz Live Plates" series documenting the label's live activity, "Lonna 2019" features inspired performances by Aleksi Heinola Quintet, Antti Lötjönen Quintet East and Oaagaada. Drummer Heinola's quintet and the Hämeenlinna-based quartet Oaagaada make their We Jazz Records debut with this release, while Lötjönen is releasing his debut as a leader on the label in April.
"Lonna 2019" captures the easy-going feeling at the island series fittingly. Aleksi Heinola Quintet swings with their natural ability of making no-nonsense hard bop sound fresh in the contemporary setting. Antti Lötjönen leads his star-studded Quintet East through a high-spirited rendition of Don Cherry's "Art Deco". Oaagaada charm with their deep DIY spiritual jazz. And somewhere just above the music, a seagull screeches, echoing a perfect sunny day at Lonna."