Innovative approach and method generates naturally distinctive and driving electro-acoustic results in the début solo album by Jason Sharp - a regular collaborator and member of the scene surrounding Montreal’s Constellation. Imagine Colin Stetson recording for Cologne’s Magazine label and you’ve nearly got the measure of this one
“This music was performed wearing a customized heart monitor providing a single pulse to trigger analogue drums, sine wave patterns, controlled feedback, and synthesizers in real time. All electronic rhythmic material stems from this source…
Jason Sharp has emerged as one of Canada's most fascinating New Music composers in recent years. From his roots as a saxophonist in Montréal's fertile jazz and improv scene, Sharp developed as a soloist with drone-based durational music, circular breathing, and an increasing exploration of the body and technology.
His impressive 2016 debut A Boat Upon Its Blood was a molten and musically diverse work of modern composition inspired by a Robert Creeley poem, distinguished by Sharp’s use of a heart monitor and amplified breath to trigger various rhythmic and textural electronic elements – alongside his own saxophone playing and contributions from guest players on violin and lap steel guitar.
Stand Above The Streams expands on this approach, with Sharp having further developed his custom Midi and synthesis apparatuses, and most notably collaborating on these compositions with Adam Basanta, whose renowned practice in sound art, sound installation and autonomous sound systems makes for impressively immersive, layered and complex new work.
All sound sources on Stand Above The Streams originate with Sharp (with the exception of violin from the album’s co-producer and mixing engineer Jesse Zubot on one song): bass and baritone saxophones, heartbeat, pulse, and breathing are played/processed in real time through Sharp's own signal-bending synthesis rig and through Basanta’s bespoke 'controlled feedback' amplification system. The album's rhythms are generated wholly from Sharp's similarly controlled breathing and heart rate. The results are utterly gripping, with melodic and micro-tonal elements flowing amidst waves of atmospheric pink and brown noise, low-end modulation and calibrated distortion.
Through four parts each running in the 10-minute range, Stand Above The Streams conjures an evocative, abstracted survey of organic nature, perhaps from on high, like a satellite scanning and processing data across diverse and slowly changing landscapes. The album also sits very comfortably alongside the recent resurgence in synth-based soundtrack music (John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream et al) – though as alien as it can sometimes sound, there is an unmistakable human element and underlying warmth that courses through the tensile strength of this music, electrifying it with the viscera of the body.”
One of The Helen Scarsdale Agency’s most prized units, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project vent a cryptically elusive, hauntological suite of mid-fi compositions working on the cusp of ambient noise and avant-garde electronics in a way that should resonate with fans of the recent Pendant album on West Mineral Ltd, the romance of William Basinski’s knackered loops, or the shoegazing tinder of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. We warmly recommend shutting your eyes and wrapping yourself up this one for a properly gauzy and deeply synaesthetically heightened trip.
“The Fossil Aerosol Mining Project continues their post-industrial dialectics through their "songs of enhanced decay and faked resurrection." This cryptic ensemble from the American Midwest has been quietly producing such works since the '80s, with a deep catalogue highlighting a uniform brilliance in the exquisite reconstruction of exhumed cassette tapes and moldering 35mm film stock.
On August 53rd, Fossil Aerosol has collaged their reclamations of found sounds into an inquisitive, dynamic cinema of the ear. The tape loops and recombinant samples create elliptical orbits and vertiginous spirals. Down-pitched, disquieting rumbles form the foundations for much of Fossil Aerosol’s compositions, which mutate the fractured, crumbled, and mildewed artifacts into patterned yet shifting phrases. The result seems like hybrid, time-compressed mimicry of the evolution of our media-driven language.
The official statement from the ensemble reads as such:
"This album, arranged specifically for Helen Scarsdale, might be considered a prequel to The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971, featuring the damaged remains of certain pop culture pleasantries in a less decomposed state than found on the previous vinyl release. August 53rd, a month extended to accommodate a changing climate, predates the day 1982 contaminated 1971."
Such inquiries characterize the many non/fictions that contextualize the work of Fossil Aerosol. Through the process of decoding lost melodies and dialog of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, Fossil Aerosol intentionally or unintentionally deflates the vanity of consumerism while at the same time providing an archaeological view of contemporary culture.
These conceptual frameworks would be meaningless if Fossil Aerosol did not deliver on the aesthetics. And deliver the Project most certainly does. August 53rd harbors the rich enigmas of distressed sound collages found in the work of likeminded artists such as Philip Jeck, Felicia Atkinson, and of course Fossil Aerosol’s occasional collaborators :zoviet*france:.”
Japan’s fearless multi-instrumentalist and cultural provocateur Keiji Haino has made a career out of his free-form musical improvisations and diverse collaborations. Whether deconstructing American blues to a few rogue notes hanging across chasms of empty space in his solo endeavors, sparring with the nebulous fringes of psychedelia in Fushitsusha, or teaming up with musicians like Faust, Boris, Jim O’Rourke, Stephen O’Malley, John Zorn, and Peter Brötzmann for fleeting aural experiments. Haino’s work is never pre-planned or structured, but rather a completely spontaneous exploration of chemistry, texture, and dynamics.
"SUMAC’s tenure is much younger than Haino’s, though guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner has covered a similarly large swath of musical territory across numerous projects and collaborations, from the sedated drones of recent projects with Daniel Menche and William Fowler Collins to the modern compositions of Mamiffer and all the way back to the restless evolutions of post-metal stalwarts ISIS. With his cohorts Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists, Erosion) on drums and Brian Cook (Russian Circles) on bass, Turner has dissolved the rigid forms of heavy music, searching for a balance between disciplined precision and unhinged musical barbarism, crafting music that vacillates between meticulously detailed instrumentation and uninhibited forays into oblique abstraction.
For American Dollar Bill - Keep Facing Sideways, You're Too Hideous To Look At Face On, Keiji Haino and SUMAC met up in Tokyo’s Goksound recording studio to track a series of unrehearsed, completely non-premeditated sessions. Captured across several reels of tape, the collaboration harnessed Haino’s tension-inducing use of empty space on songs like “I’m over 137% a love junkie, and it’s still not enough” while pushing SUMAC’s dissident metal vocabulary on “What have I done (I was reeling in something white...)”. Throughout the course of its hour-plus length, American Dollar Bill pushes and pulls at the strictures of metal and bends the stylistic formalities of improvised music to create a sonic purge unencumbered by convention.”
DAF go balls-to-the-wall on their Conny Plank-produced Gold Und LIebe
Feat 10 strapping tunes including hi-velocity highlights in the hyper rock ’n roll swagger of Absolute Körperkontrolle and the earlier-written zinger Werschwend Deine Jugend, plus a popcorn-like charmer Liebe Auf Den Ersten Blick.
A massive influence on everyone from Powell to Helena Hauff, DAF are among the most important electronic artists of the ‘80s and a massive influence on electronic dance music ever since.
Bursting at the seams with fusions of hip hop, jungle and garage with instrumental flourishes and deft electronics, South East London-style. RIYL Om Unit or Romare
“In late 2015, devastated and blindsided by the sudden, tragic loss of his mother, Daniel embarked on a grieving process more practical and inspired (and inspirational) than most of us can muster on our best day. Crossing the pond and immersing himself in the cultural hearth of Brazil, he would go on to assimilate the choro, the samba, the bossa nova and even touches of proibidão into his compositional vocabulary. Studying and collaborating with countless local talent, and then employing this collaborative elan back home as well, he meticulously accrued a truly holistic collection of works – furiously turbulent one moment, eminently soothing the next; blending the timeless humanity of virtuosic acoustic piano, strings and vocals, and the machinistic futurism inherent to jungle, breaks, grime and other incarnations of the UK hardcore continuum; engaging in both literal and figurative cultural exchange; and, lastly, but no less importantly, flirting with a generous injection of pop pizzaz. Few artists before Warsnare have attempted such ambitious cross-over endeavours, and even fewer have succeeded. We hold these few in well-earned reverence – Goldie, Roni Size, The Prodigy, Paul Woolford, etc. If Warchestra is anything to go by, he is well on his way to joining the pantheon.
The Intro starts us off with a titanic wall of sound, pitting simple waveform synth incursions against the might of a lilting string contingent - setting the stage for the titular war to come. Syndrome marries Charlie Stark's raspy baritone with a brooding, Zimmer-esque, never-resolving, ever-escalating ostinato string piece, and 130bpm junglism. Live Life keeps the jungle but pivots into more soulful melodic territory, punctuated by a luscious mantra performed by Vienna Shilling. Kairos recruits Mercury Prize nominated and Ted Hughes Award winning poet, playwright and rapper Kate Tempest for an arpeggio- and wordplay-heavy piece of orchestral grime. Beautiful Day then erupts as an ebullient piece of uptempo, bass-heavy, amen-laden, nigh-anthemic diva jungle... the diva in question being Vienna Shilling on her second album appearance. Chronos reiterates the mission statement of Intro, this time via xenoid vocal manipulations and dramatic, narratively-charged piano runs. Quanto Tempo enrolls Belo Horizonte songstress Laura Lopes (no, not the Duchess of Cornwall's progeny) for an intoxicating cut of bossa nova house. Tuner maintains the contrast thesis of the album via its juxtaposition of junglist ferocity and music box tenderness. Lastly, Without You re-enlists Charlie Parker for a profoundly touching, elegiac interplay of dulcet tones, string slurs, piano heartbreak and broken beat interjections – both fitting closer to the album and full-circle moment in its context.”
Kouhei Matsunaga swings the dance ass-first with the quantum funk of Parallel Tempo for excellent, emergent Swiss/Italian label -OUS.
Furthering his hot streak of releases that takes in Hallucinogenic Doom Steppy Verbs  for Diagonal, thru his Sparrow’s Garden for L.I.E.S., and the Exit Entrance LP for DFA in 2017, the Japanese producer/illustrator renders five bendy aces between the zig-zagging, pendulous form of Parallel Displacement, a masterful mutation of EBM and 2-step in Blue and Purple Horses, and the colourful, crisply weightless swingers dynamics of Universal Gesture.
“NHK yx Koyxen walks at any speed and on any surface he desires to trance-scend. His Parallel Tempo EP takes a mindful plunge into layers of rigorously murmuring gestures. Speed is relative to size. As they are streched and bent, the planes engage in parallel movement. this is an exploded drawing, unlocked from time.
The Japanese artist and producer NHK yx Koyxen has been unveiling his unique vocabulary through a continuous stream of sound for many years. Performing on electronic music's timeless DNA, he offers those who step in a resonating space, in which loose objects are bound to embrace each other.
Afro-Cubist house prophet Jamal Moss dons his Hieroglyphic Being robes for the most varied, layered and timbrally rich solo mission in his cosmic musical arc thus far. Think Sun Ra, Thelonious Monk, The Weather Report, Larry Heard, Marshall Allen, Pekka Airaksinen, Adonis, Miles Davis, Armando Gallop, Jon Hassell - but most of all think of deep Black musics and Chi house as a portal to other dimensions.
Armed to the gills and wingtips with the plushest hardware line-up we’ve seen on a Jamal Moss recording - organic flutes, piano, guitar, drums, alto sax, Hammond organ, Korg Triton, Linn drum, Korg DDD-1, DR 5 drums, Casio RZ1, Ensoniq Mirage Firelight CMI Series III, Moog Mother 32, Allen & Heath Zed 24 mixer - it’s perhaps understandable that the results feel more lustrous and grand than his usual, stripped and tracky results, seemingly pulling some influence from recent years work with instrumentalists such as Sarathy Korwar, Shabaka Hutchings, Orphhy Richardson and more.
In a subliminal and physical elevation and expansion of styles, the album shapeshifts thru 9 stages variously wrestling with and dancing around the ‘floor, making for one of the first Jamal Moss albums we’d genuinely say sounds as great on headphones, walking around absorbing sights, as it does on home stereos or jabbing you to dance.
Mamuthones transcend their roots in Italian prog and soundtrack work and shifting their modus operandi firmly in the direction of a distinctly New York-based headspace...
"Mamuthones may have originally taken their name from the death-masks used in rituals in their native Sardinia, and initially emerged from the Italian occult psychedelic movement alongside the likes of Father Murphy, Mai Mai Mai and their labelmates Lay Llamas. Yet now, in the wake of their Rocket Recordings debut album 'Fear On The Corner', the band find themselves undergoing a metamorphosis from mystical and ceremonial realms into a direct connection with the everyday, the personal and the political.
This vibrant reinvention also sees Mamuthones transcending their roots in Italian prog and soundtrack work and shifting their modus operandi firmly in the direction of a distinctly New York-based headspace - a realm of mirrorballs and black-clad basements both As the band's Alessio Gastaldello tells it, this is a groove-based. eclectic style that finds its metier in the realm of two albums which are paid direct homage in the record's very title - the bleak and kinetic 'Fear Of Music' by Talking Heads and the iconoclastic, heat-haze repetition of Miles Davis' 'On The Corner'.
"The songs deal with fear." he clarifies. "Fear of the present, of human situations, fear of the new political situation, but also fear of relationship breakdown, fear of not finding "a place in the world", fear of fear itself" Yet this is principally an aural landscape whereby the eclectic mischief of ZE Records, the sonic brinksmanship of 'Tago Mago' era Can and the post-punk songwriting flair of LCD Soundystem can happily form communion in a post-2AM reverie. "it is a big dance party for very sad events" clarifies Alessio, on the disparity between the serious nature of this record's subject matter and its distinctly hedonistic atmosphere. "We are a kind of Titanic orchestra playing and dancing while the ship goes down. The party must go on".
Surreal, coruscating psychedelic folk and lysergic pop. RIYL Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Sun City Girls, Bill Orcutt
“Ricochet Screen is the first proper LP from New York based TINT (aka Zane Morris). Encompassed as an overview of his solo recordings dating as far back as 2007, Ricochet Screen unfolds as a storied arc on the obsessiveness of composition, conception, and mechanism.
Culled from ad hoc recordings in vacant industrial buildings, lunchroom cafeterias, and bedroom studios, the record functions as a meditative associative collage regarding a rebounding from omnipresent glass monitors, intrusive security measures, and indeterminate barriers.”
INA-GRM’s Christian Zanési, artistic director behind the invaluable Recollection GRM archive reissues with François Bonnet and Editions Mego’s Peter Rehberg, cues up his own turn on the series with 1st ever download and vinyl editions of Stop! l’horizon ; his absorbing debut of electro-acoustic process for the Parisian institute’s nonpareil label.
Notching up Recollection GRM’s 20th release since the label started with Pierre Schaeffer’s Le Trièdre Fertile  in 2012, the two works Grand Bruit / Stop! l’horizon offer a grippingly fascinating insight to Zanési’s personal oeuvre and, by turns, the ears behind some of the most important, educational electronic music reissue series to emerge in the last decade.
Both works on offer are relatively modern, when compared with much of the Recollection GRM catalogue, which dates back to ‘60s. In that sense, they feel comparatively fresh, with Grand Bruit  recalling a densely layered and techno-psychedelic sci-fi soundtrack, like some extended scene from Alien 3 spent hiding from a xenomorph, while Stop! l’horizon  could just as easily be the accompaniment to a scene from Alien where Ripley gets utterly lost in the maze of air ducts on Nostromo.
Safe to say this is a must-listen for fans of sci-fi sonics and abstract electro-acoustic music. But of course that’s just one glib interpretation of these brilliant works, so we’ve included Zanési’s own notes for disambiguation below.
Moor Mother and DJ Haram roll their first 700 Bliss release into play with the ticking bombs of Spa 700 for Rabit’s Halcyon Veil - following up the label’s mighty Les Fleurs Du Mal LP and MHYSA’s widely acclaimed fantasii album late last year.
Both graduates of the Philadelphia house party scene, Moor Mother and Haram operate on a clearly intuitive and woke level, matching aggressive but agile lyrics and delivery with taut but dextrous fusions of Arabic drums and pumping Jersey bass. After débuting their 700 Bliss alias on the track 29th from Moor Mother’s The Motionless Present , the YY + YY pairing question club music’s fringes with the kind of razor sharp insight and direct yet freaky effect that we’ve come to expect from a Halcyon veil release.
Across the EP strings and drums intersect Moor Mother’s distinctive, urgent vocals and lean jabbing electronic production in a manner ripe for avant clubs, turning up strong highlights in their straight winner Ring The Alarm with its choppy Timbaland-meets-Mutamassik flex, and with a cold militancy on Scully, whilst Cosmic Slop is perhaps the most powerful example of their seething pressure.
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.
“Answer Code Request’s 2014 debut LP Code was an exciting moment for electronic music in Berlin – one that offered a break from the eternal hall and monolithic 4/4 kicks that ruled the city’s club landscape. As a hybrid gesture, the album’s spirit recalled an especially fruitful era in the German capital from the mid-90s to early 2000s, when dub and pad-driven Detroit techno cross-pollinated with Berlin’s industrial aesthetic to create one of the city’s most exciting musical chapters.
Today the musical vision offered by Berghain resident Answer Code Request, real name Patrick Gräser, has proved far-sighted. While at first glance electronic music in 2018 seems increasingly balkanized, borders between genres have once again become fuzzier. Now, on his follow up LP Gens, Gräser looks beyond the bass euphoria of Code toward darker horizons and a desolate atmosphere befitting of current global circumstances.
In a sense, Gens (Latin for tribe or lineage) reverses the notion of the hardcore continuum as proposed by music journalist Simon Reynolds: embedded in a tradition of US and continental European techno, Gräser seeks its disruption through hardcore outgrowths, from ambient jungle to later variations of British bass music and IDM. It’s an interesting twist when seen in the larger biographical context of Gräser who, born and raised outside of Berlin in early 1980s, jumped from East German youth radio DT64 to American hip-hop, acid and early UK hardcore – a radical shift of musical interest born of a radical shift in political circumstances.
On Gens, the unsettling atmosphere is established early on with the fading rave opener of the album’s synonymous title track, and continues through the scrambled military communications and post dubstep rhythms of “Sphera”. From there, sci-fi pads, heavy phasing and alien syncopation lead explorative third track “Ab Intus” out into space. A glimmer of otherworldly positivity arrives with the warm, distorted breakbeats and interwoven synth melodies of album standout “knbn2”, while Gräser’s most dancefloor- oriented melds jungle and techno, Amen and 4/4 kicks, on “Cicadae”.”
Abyss X follows a notable turn for Halcyon Veil with her steeply enigmatic début of mystic composition for Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire
“Taking its title from a Minoan legend that deals with rage, greed and destruction, the latest release from Abyss X expands and reconstructs conceptions of aural space and time. Out on Danse Noire, Pleasures of the Bull finds the multi-disciplinary artist and producer flirting with the sounds of hard jazz while mystifying the parameters of experimental music across several distinct movements, thus allowing the listener to break free from their sonic principles.
Intoxicating, ambient textures mesh with Abyss X’s own expressive vocals, as well as the sounds of the traditional Cretan lyra, played by Maria Skoula. Her sound modification creates a collage of temporalities – allow yourself to move outside linear dimensions, and her to confide in you. Prog rock guitar lines twist stolidly beneath warped vocal samples, and the timbre of the bowed lyra permeates the atmosphere in a thick, suffocating haze.
As the listener travels through space and time, so too does the artist. Abyss X delves into the fullness of her craft, drawing from her background in theater and performance, in addition to the frenzied energy of her live shows as a musician. The music throbs with a frantic yet unmistakably deliberate drama. Pleasures of the Bull feels like a gentle punch in the gut; a compelling auditory performance and a bold exploration of the narrative album format.”
Brilliantly invasive psychoacoustic probes from a new name to the Editions Mego hivemind. Imagine Florian Hecker making techno with Peder Mannerfelt and you’re not far off this one. Check ’23:59  off (Ping timeout:2sec)’, and if you like that you’ll go ham for the rest
“Jung an Tagen is practicing sonic animism on a molecular level. With ‘Agent im Objekt’ he confronts us once more with a form of highly abstracted electronic music - puristic clubsounds for an accelerated future.
Kicking off with an accumulation of high-pitched, psychoactive sounds, ‘Agent im Objekt’ takes us into a hyperreal sphere reigned by sonic entities. Playing with swarm-dynamics and singular signals, moments of distance and proximity and noise textures that stimulate our perception, Jung An Tagen transgresses the common syntax of clubmusic. His strategies resemble computer music composition and focus on timbre, texture and structure in an almost analytical way. The sounds filtered from his synthesizer are polished and bright, but behave in an astonishingly organic way, forming propulsive melodic sketches. Arranged in multiple layers of versatile polyrhythms, the tracks are nurtured by the forceful dialectics of precisely arranged chaos and ecstatic order.
With his titles, Jung An Tagen is further adding an enigmatic narrative to his tracks, transcending the actual sphere of the dancefloor towards fictional storytelling. Following the structure of a one-sided chatlog, they evoke associations from the X-file series or mystery novels, revealing a brainteaser that is drawn from mysterious coordinates and secret codes.
In addition the official video »20:03 [Y] HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?« underlines Jung An Tagen's interdisciplinary interest in synaesthetic processes. Developed in collaboration with the programmers JeongHo Park and Scott Sinclair the video visualizes particle explosion data from CERN - the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Inspired by Peter Kubelkas ‘Arnulf Rainer’, the resulting geometric figures are exposed to a ’complimentary stroboscope’ that glitches your receptors and stimulate your brainwaves with photo- and EEG-stimulation close to seizure, inducing a hallucinative reality.
‘Agent im Objekt’ is playful but analytical, uplifting but mentally disturbed. While the dynamic use of reoccuring motives forces your body to move, cerebral timbres provoke a series of stimuli to massage your brain. It is intellectual body music that might mark a poetic turn in progressive dance music.”
The gray area sound just jumped the shark with Von Grall’s clunky batch for Samurai Horo.
“Parisian producer Brice Groulier has built a reputation as one of the new guard of techno artists to watch closely with consistently high quality sub aquatic, rhythm shifting Techno for labels like Semantica, Midgar, Planet Rhythm, and Modularz. While looking for music that integrated with our Grey Area releases, we found ourselves blending more Von Grall tunes than any other artist, so a Horo release was requested. What originally began as a 4 track EP bloomed into an 8 track debut album that sees Von Grall expand his style beyond the muscular but hazy rhythmic mist he has become known for.
The title track Infinitum opens the LP like a contemplative bubble. Hyper Density and Inside are pensive, evocative jogs, while Emerald City and Disturbance ramp up the energy and will be the most favoured floor tunes from Infinitum. Antonym Allegory combines the Von Grall rhythmic bounce with an emotive pad that will echo in your mind long after listening. Motel closes the LP with a quirky, almost joyful flow.
Infinitum wanders confidently into new ground for Von Grall and cements him as a versatile and singular voice in Techno.”
Fred Welton Walmsley III (Lee Bannon) completes his esoteric ambient metamorphosis with Dedekind Cut’s melancholic Tahoe album for arch American electronic drifters, Kranky Records - home to some of the some of the finest atmospheric ambient works of recent decades by Stars of The Lid, Loscil, Tim Hecker.
In key with Kranky’s heritage, Dedekind Cut very neatly plays to the label aesthetic on Tahoe with a widescreen suite of slow, windswept synths layered into expansive harmonics evoking cinematic and psychedelic sensations. They range from pop-ambient pockets of bittersweetness to more brooding tracts of durational immersion, with each connected by an overarching feeling of sadness or unresolved strife.
It’s all very much what you’d expect from a Kranky release, until you start paying closer attention. Where Kranky’s chorus of ambient angels have often spent decades on their craft, developing personalised timbral sensitivities and sound identities, the shapeshifting Dedekind Cut’s newness to this particular field is betrayed by the more elusive reach of his soundsphere, but the artist makes up for a lack of tonal richness by conveying his intent more directly thru the arrangement and overall feeling, or soul connoted by his compositions.
Such a madness, Ismo Laakso’s Ofelia comes off like a wild pre-echo of Mica Levi, Teresa Winter and Paavoharju on its long overdue release thru Sähkö’s Puu after languishing as a demo CD in a drawer for nearly 20 years, only to be rediscovered last autumn.
In a way that resonates with our most febrile musical dreams, Ofelia sounds like a scrambled radio transmission which modulates with jazz-wise logic and timing between myriad sources, juxtaposing their lopped ends in a spellbinding play of anticipation-baiting, oneiric logic.
One moment we’re listening to an almost machine-like english vocal serrated by radioactive electronics (Translucent), while the next we’re in the midst of sloshing, unsteady breaks and ambient soul vocals joined by angelic, Hassell-style chorales (The Favourites of the Emperor), or disoriented by fusions of Finnish monologues with field recordings and visceral electronics (Koskenhaltija). Soon enough we’re drawn into a surreal scene of baroque and jazz-wise chamber music (Smell), and then what sounds like Charlemagne Palestine duetting with Maja S.K. Ratkje (Ofelia), and never with any kind of explanation or reason for how we got from points A to B. For some folk, that actually probably sounds like a nightmare, but if you’re a bit of weirdo, we reckon that it’s all is going to spin you out in the best sense.
Very highly Recommended!
A late pinnacle of the Drexciyan oeuvre, Storm 2 aka Transllusion's 'The Opening of the Cerebral Gate' is issued to download for the first time! This is the original CD track-listing, including 12 songs, as opposed to eight on the original 2LP. We're not quite sure what they were using on this one, but it's all remarkably bass-heavy, even saturated, compared with a lot of other Drexciyan workouts, resulting some of their most ruggedly stripped down electro-techno functions ranging from the pounding might of 'Transmission Of Life' to the militant march of 'War Of The Clones' and the funked come-on, 'Do You Want To Get Down'. On the other hand, it also features stacks of gorgeous Drexciyan melodies in the aquatic flux of 'Cluben In Guyana' and the twinkling keys of 'Unordinary Reality', and to darkest effect on 'Crossing into the Mental Astroplane'. Highly recommended to all aquanauts.
The avant-garde answer to a collab between Martine McCutcheon, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jools Holland, anyone?
“Privately pressed to LP in 1978 under the name J. Jasmine and made especially for the Ann Arbor Film Festival, with artistic collaboration from the festival’s founder and Once Group artist, George Manupelli, My New Music is the debut album by Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom. Featuring a cast of Mills College personalities like David Behrman and Sam Ashley on backup vocal duties, this song cycle is at every turn boundary-pushing and gender-busting, yet still hilarious, sweet, and genuine, all delivered in a post-genre, art-song, cabaret musical style that happens to boast some serious avant-garde chops, courtesy of Rosenboom. If it weren’t so spot on, you’d swear it was a guilty pleasure.
As J. Jasmine writes, My New Music is a collection of personal stories and private desires, exposed, articulated, performed and dedicated to the hope that one person's fantasies can contribute to another person's freedom. Get lost in J. Jasmine’s world for a little long while, and be free.”
The notion of rhythm and sound takes on mutant new meanings at the hands of meter-tweaking mavericks, YoshimiO (Boredoms/OOIOO), Susie Ibarra, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
‘Flower of Sulphur’ finds the trio working together for the first time after meeting in various other configurations, with results that loosely fall under the improvised free jazz banner, but hold back from the brink by way of an underlying, rolling funk logic and a defined clarity of rhythmelodic texture, rather than the expressive mayhem ‘free jazz’ suggests. Think falling down a tessellating MC Escher staircase for an hour…
“Susie explains the idea: "We had all performed in different configurations before but never together as a trio. I think actually I have met each YoshimiO and Robert at different times when collaborating on larger works with Tarek Atoui. But we had not performed together as trio. I was very happy with the prospect to play a trio concert, as I could imagine the sonic palette could be very interesting, being that we each come from different aesthetic backgrounds but enjoy crossing into various sonic territories.”
The resulting recording of their collaboration, Flower of Sulphur, is a transfixing piece of continuous improvisational work which explores the direct relationship between the artists and their individual configurations. The album takes the form of the trio each playing their principal instruments with no specific goal other than the exploration of the space in that moment.
This spontaneous composition showcases the freedom and musical immediacy of all three artists’ ability to interplay as well as their individual unique techniques to create engaging experimental sounds. Flower of Sulphur was recorded at Roulette in Brooklyn in front of an audience; the trio are hoping to make additional live performances throughout 2018. The hour long instillation builds to a captivating crescendo elegantly fusing immersive layers, rewarding the listener with a true emotive experience.”
One of the leading lights of Ethiopian music presents his first new material in an age on Lala Belu for Awesome Tapes From Africa - the label who were instrumental in showcasing his work to wider audiences with the compilation Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye in 2013, and later a reissue of reissue of his Tche Belew  album.
Comprising the virtuoso accordionist and keys player’s first new material since those reissues triggered a worthy career resurgence, Lala Belu catches fire in all six parts with a vitally tough and expressive sound that feels like Mergia has thrown off the more genteel jazz vibes of early releases in favour of a fierce, freer jazz and funk flex to proceedings.
The guy’s gotta be knocking into his 70s now yet shows no sign of letting up here, sounding utterly alive and full of feels from the opening cut’s switch from mellow sway to bustling jazz and blazing electric keys, thru the head-down funk chops of Addis Nat, to the swingeing organ lines and percolated percussion of Anchihoye Lene.
He chills out beautifully well on the sublime solo piano piece Yefikir Engurguro, which sweetly recalls the magic of Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Guebru, while Gum Gum sounds perhaps closest to his debonaire early recordings.
Lone gets it right on these rugged but lush UK ravers, nailing a crafty blend of dembow knuck and early ‘ardcore bruk spiralling to a widescreen, flute-led new age peak in Temples, then swanging out with the infectious rub ’n tug of ruffcut Detroit house and fluoro nEuro trance lines on Hyper Seconds.
NYC minimalist returns to Spekk with ‘Fallen’ some 14 years after he provided the label with its 1st release, ‘January’. Despite the time difference, the two albums share a lot in common...
“When I sit down to write an album I will usually come up with a technical and compositional concept to help focus my writing. Whether it is a restricted palette of instruments or a specific way of approaching the writing, this practice has helped me explore different processes and helps keep the album focused. My previous album Somi was such an album. Hyper-focused and very deliberate in creation. However, there are times where I want to be more relaxed and just write what comes freely. In a way Fallen is such an album.
When I began writing it the only strong rule I put on myself is that it would be my first album centered around the piano as the main instrument. There were times when I wanted Fallen to be an album for solo piano but the more I pushed and explored the more I was drawn to accompanying the piano with modular and Moog synthesizers, tape machines and the occasional guitar. Fallen was supposed to be, after all, a relaxed album, one that would come quickly, off-the-cuff, and with little regard to any rules or restrictions. It, however, ended up being one of the longest albums for me to create; well over a year and a half, as it had coincided with a particularly dark and difficult time in my personal life.
As the album progressed the thoughts of a freer, solo-piano sound quickly faded as layers of disintegration and noise came to the foreground. Half-broken tape machines and plenty of ghostly echoes helped hide the honesty of the piano as I hid myself, and my music, away under the cover of abstraction. In a way I feel that Fallen is most like my album Northern. One that was intended to be more free-spirited but became very much about a particular place and time.”
Terence Dixon and DJ Koze rework two Efdemin tunes of nearly 10 year vintage
Detroit’s Dixon taking America back to its African foundations with mellow, mid tempo flow of thumb piano-like melody and dubbed-out chants, whereas Koze edits Acid Bells for a tighter, driving effect.
Expertly researched survey of Japan’s golden age take on Jazz. Check for highlights in the nippy clip of ‘White Fire’ and ‘Unknown Polint’ for some proper dancers, or the likes of Takeo Moriyama’s ‘Kaze’ for a more sultry take on classic jazz tradition
“In the years following World War Two, Japan developed one of the most insatiable, dynamic and diverse markets for jazz. For a crucial period of little over a decade – from the late 1960s to the early 1980s – Japanese jazz culture progressed at an astonishing rate, producing an extraordinary array of artists, recordings and record labels that created some of the most forward thinking and impressive jazz to be committed to tape. This amazing journey is explored on ‘J Jazz’.
This compilation from BBE uncovers some of the most sought after and rare material from this period and pulls together key artists who shaped the post-war modern jazz scene in Japan.
‘J Jazz’ includes obscure and sought after rarities like the bass-driven power jazz of Koichi Matsukaze’s ‘Earth Mother’, the holy grail rarity of Aizawa Tohru Quartet’s ‘Dead Letter’ and the loping majesty of Takeo Moriyama’s ‘North Wind’. This collection takes the listener into deep spiritual jazz, post-modal impressionism and fierce dance-floor fusion with material from artists and composers whose names are generally only known to committed collectors of Japanese jazz. Fumio Karashima, Mitsuaki Katayama, Takeo Moriyama and Kiyoshi Sugimoto are among the names featured on an album aiming to shed a little light on the shadowy world of Japanese jazz clubs, tucked away in the neon backstreets. This music demands a wider audience and BBE are excited to deliver a landmark compilation, lifting the veil on this wonderful and mysterious area of the global jazz catalogue.
None of the tracks featured on ‘J Jazz’ have ever received an official release outside Japan before. The albums the tracks are taken from are extremely hard to find and often fetch huge sums on the collector’s circuit. Originally pressed in small numbers on independent and private labels such as Union, Johnny’s Disk, Whynot, ALM and VAP, these tracks are now available for everyone to enjoy.
Compiled by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden, both long-time collectors of Japanese jazz, ’J Jazz’ brings together the very best in modern jazz from Japan, recorded during a critical period of musical and cultural transition that saw composers and musicians not only assert a new artistic identity but also create a lasting musical legacy.”
Originally released in 1991 as a limited run of 100 self distributed cassette tapes.
The 5 tracks touch upon Ambient, Dub, House and Balearic styles and show an ambition to create timeless music in the vein of Ultramarine and The Orb. 25 years later these songs finally reach a wider audience....on cassette, again....
Dragon’s Eye Recordings proprietor Yann Novak unfurls a mesmerising, meditative suite of processed field recordings on Touch. Imagine the elegant protagonist of Richard Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone took a stroll at dusk with Biosphere in the L.A. ‘burbs…
“Yann Novak is an artist, composer, and curator based in Los Angeles. His work is guided by his interests in perception, context, movement, and the felt presence of direct experience. Through the use of sound and light, Novak explores how these intangible materials can act as catalysts to focus our awareness on our present location in space and time. Novak's diverse body of works – audiovisual installations, performances, architectural interventions, sound diffusions, recording, and prints – ask participants to reclaim the present moment as a political act.
His album Ornamentation was released by Touch in 2016. He also runs his own label, Dragon's Eye Recordings. In March 2018, Yann will be touring Europe, including dates in London, Berlin and others.”
Gang Fatale give a teasing taste of their latest group showing, Portal with the compilation/group album’s balmy but anxious title cut; vacillating breezy chords and yacht-boogie strums with picnoleptic flashbacks to long-forgotten slow dances, all filtered for acid faded effect.
Sweden’s spikiest, boundry-oblivious rock group give one last hurrah with this eponymous slaughter for Thrill Jockey. Following more than a decade of defying categorisation and relaxing on labels as far flung as Diagonal and Important, Joachim Nordwall and co take this opportunity to blast out eight jams tangoing from the xmas-ready combo of noisy dub and sleigh bells in A Brief History of Rhythm, Dub, Life and Death to the shark-eyed krautrock drive of The Beauty of Creation and Destruction, via the Suicide-al Clean Mind, and the punk chutzpah of All Thoughts Thought.
A Message from Joachim Nordwall: “Our new album, simply entitled The Skull Defekts, marks the death of the band and an important farewell to those who have cared. It holds many echoes of our history but it is music that is present and now, and it’s hopeful in its own darkness. It carries some kind of positive desperation knowing what we knew while recording it. We worked with Mariam Wallentin as our fourth member on this one, and she brought in something new; new creativity, new blood. Her contributions were important.
The stuff I wrote for it was of course colored by the fact that we were not comfortable as a band. I think Fagge’s stuff was too. And there in the studio, we realized how much we love creating together. We love playing together but it just had to stop. The Skull Defekts might be our strongest album musically. It is the album that might be the most composed one. It is well prepared musically and of course holds improvisational parts, but probably less than before.
This is our last album. The Skull Defekts has been an important part of our lives. It is no longer.”
Breathtaking works of electro-acoustic concrète abstraction dating to 1978-79 from the inestimable archive of INA-GRM, Paris.
One of INA-GRM’s pivotal figures, François Bayle is subject of a 2nd entry to the Recollection GRM reissue series with Tremblements , offering two works of alternately harder-edged electronic abstraction and enchanting, crystalline dimensions which have been unavailable on vinyl for more than three decades.
Apt as both an educational transmission for fresh electronic explorers, and a stunning example of the precision and clarity afforded by the legendary Group De Recherches Musicales facilty in Paris, Tremblements gives another mind-meltingly evocative plunge into exquisite other worlds of sound.
Trim, rolling, deeper house track from Galdoors boss, Junes.
A-side he works out the subtle swing and floating pads of Circuit Rift; B-side he gets a touch freakier with the avian electronics and ruder bass on Awake, and slinks under the skin with his stealthy ace Brass Hand.
Nope, not the ‘90s house act, but rather Philadelphia’s original ‘80s synth trio, The Nightcrawlers, are subject of this revelatory compendium from Mexican Summer’s Anthology Recordings. Spanning 14 works in just over 2.5 hours, The Biophonic Boombox Recordings form a gateway to distant, lo-fi but fantastical dimensions
“Deep, diverse, and unheralded, the Philadelphia ambient electronic music scene of the 1980s is explored with The Nightcrawlers’ The Biophonic Boombox Recordings, an expansive archival collection documenting the hard-knuckled kosmische synthesizer trio’s home recordings self-released and distributed over 35 cassettes between 1980 and 1991.
Featuring the farthest reaching spacescapes of those cassette releases – improvised straight into the mic of a JVC Biphonic Boombox – none of these performances have been released beyond the original format, and essentially went out of print when Nightcrawler Peter D. Gulch got tired of dubbing them to blank tapes to mail-order through his Synkronos label and sell at live shows. Restored and recalibrated from the original cassettes, The Nightcrawlers’ music has never sounded better or so readily accessible.”
Midori is a delectable, aqueous and phthalocyanine-toned piece of sino-electronica from Kwes, the London-based producer who’s worked with everyone from Micachu to Pusha T and Solange over the last decade.
Nathan Fake leads a merry, if bittersweet, dance on Sunder, the follow-up to Providence, channelling that album’s mix of eldritch, gothic, cosmic electronics into five cuts firmed up for ‘floors both physical and imagined.
Colour and space are key to the styles exhibited on Sunder, as Fake manipulates his lustrous, chromatic harmonics into various states across five driving, undulating and tracky designs wending from the mesmerising, gaseous keen of Sunder and the more loping tilt of Arcaibh to lush, awning, widescreen synth washes and kosmiche triplets recalling Alessandro Cortini in Serotonin Drops, before dancing around the empty village hall psych rave of Cloudswept and flowing into the piquant vertiginous arp scales of Lea like some rustic english answer to Lorenzo Senni.
A trio of fresh heads revisit classic C2 gear with diverse results.
Predictably, Beatrice Dillon impresses best with an uncannily smeared and insectoid abstraction on Darkness, while Antigone stays faithful to the ‘floor with a rolling version of At Les, but seriously what the eff has Benedikt Frey done with Domina?! Seriously, nobody needs a folksy neo-classical mix of a classic ‘90s techno banger, and they certainly don’t they need a Trentemøller-style goth-electro version of it either. do they?
Hailing from England’s Old Coast, Mordant Music reminisces a long since evaporated Albion during 10 minutes of foggy, reverberating clag and eyes-rolling-in-back-of-’ead synth and flute solos.
The Baron sums it up better than we ever could:
“Internal side-tryp with a very blue Ray manning the turret, a digital lycanthrope stalking magnetic looms & a VHS salve lining KFC's toilets...it's all in the extras...IBM ::”