A few years back Galactic Zoo Dossier / Galactic Zoo Disk Svengali Plastic Crimewave stumbled on a colourfully-labelled 1975 Aurora, Illinois private press single by StumpWater, featuring the tunes ‘White Washed Afternoons’ / ‘Watcher’s Brawl’.
"There was a vibe here - rural folk rock that’d make David Crosby’s ’tache bristle; latenight unwashed laments that quirky / heady troubadours like Tom Rapp, Gary Higgins or even poor, jaded Phil Ochs could groove on. A search surprisingly yielded immediate results, as StumpWater were still
active and gigging. Peppering their concerts with CSN covers, StumpWater were still performing live, doing acoustic and electric sets (with a drummer, rock style) at the same gig (like the aforementioned supagroup would do back in the day) and still playing their 70s originals.
Crimewave interviewed the band members Joe Gloor and Dan Berg (Dan Haligas sadly passed shortly beforehand) and got their story for his Secret History of Chicago Music column in the Chicago Reader and some Earth-shattering info was gleaned: StumpWater had an unreleased 1973 LP. It’s a concept LP about the characters populating a smalltown hotel (think Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Trouble Is A Lonesome Town’ maybe) called ‘Motel In Saginaw’ (a place Mike Nesmith seemed to know too). To say the homespun album was a revelation is putting it lightly - gorgeous tunes about death that’d have Simon & Garfunkel crying in their cappuccinos, creepy Dylan-esque tales that David Blue would liked to have written, maudlin hearts of gold in every groove - basically a hazy, sepia-stained song cycle for all the Judy Blue Eyes in the world to get lost in while rolling a dirtweed joint."
"When London's Teeth Of The Sea set about recording their fifth album, there seemed to be more than just the familiar spectres of the band's collective and overactive imagination at their disposal - the unruly morass of '80s horror and sci-fi movies, industrial ballast, 2000AD terror, '70s-damaged experimental brinksmanship and atmospheric grandeur that they'd somehow conspire to sculpt into coherent structures - instead, these ghostly interruptions - or wraiths - were of a distinctly otherworldly nature.
In Soup Studios, located in the liminal zone of East India Dock on the Thames under the auspices of Giles Barrett, all such influences contributed to form a collection of tracks that represented a fearsome and transporting marriage of the ferocious and the melancholic.
Alchemised trash, kitchen-sink surrealism, out-of-order intensity and ritualistic overtones collides and colluded into a monstrous hybrid - this was a world where Tetsuo-The Iron Man would happily share space with Judee Sill, and where the acid guitars of Helios Creed would happily conspire with the Acid Rock of Rhythm Device.
Meanwhile, Erol Alkan helped sculpt a mixture of mariachi elegy and electro euphoria at his Phantasy Sound studios, whilst Valentina Magaletti (Tomaga/Raime), Chloe Herington (Knifeworld/Valve) and Katharine Gifford (Snowpony/ Stereolab) also willingly entered the fray to assist this unholy assemblage of inspiration, irreverence and otherworldly infiltration."
Slowdive's Simon Scott gathers recordings made during downtime from touring with his band, hashing out a wonderfully gauzy mesh of field recordings made across continents and woven with original strings and electronic arrangements...
“Soundings, his debut studio album for Touch (he previously released the live album ‘Floodlines’ in 2016 and re-issued “Below Sea Level” in 2017), finds Simon Scott, the composer and sound ecologist, using field recordings from various cities around the globe; modular synthesizer treatments; live strings and laptop electronics to create an album of transition and shifting time zones. The recordings were edited and composed in hotels rooms across the world as Scott was constantly on tour as the drummer for Slowdive, who successfully reformed in 2014.
Hodos, the album opener, begins with 85 mph Storm Barney recordings, ending with the fading sounds of bellbirds and cicadas recorded in Brisbane 2018. “I took a home recording I made of Storm Barney in Cambridge, listening to it on repeat when I was flying from continent to continent. I wanted this to be the starting point of the process of musically documenting how much travelling I was doing”. This album was created from the US to Asia, South America to Europe and the Arctic Circle back to the UK via California. “Working in hotel rooms and on flights, listening to and editing the recordings I’d made from all of these distant cities formed the basis of the album. It’s the soundtrack to four years of my life in flux with constant change, jet lag, excitement and the seeming perpetual motion of travelling”.”
Unmissable, cult Scottish punk zinger from 1986, returning 33 revs later via Good Energy, a new label from Jennifer Lucy Allen (Arc Light Editions) and Kevin McCarvel (Nyali Recordings). Imagine Einstürzende Neubauten in kilts, playing in a cow shed, and punking up Robbie Burns…
“Raw as hell record from the 1980s Scottish underground by Nyah Fearties, who toured Arran in kilts, who built a percussion setup from scaffolding and oil drums, who appeared on The Tube on the back of a moving lorry, and recorded this, their first album, in a cow shed in Ayrshire with just a car’s cassette deck as a monitor.
Don’t expect this to sound soft or slick because it isn’t, and therein lies its glory. Released on vinyl 1986, and later circulated under the counter as an unofficial CD-R, it’s bounced around the Glaswegian underground for decades. The master tapes went missing but with the approval of Davy Wiseman it’s been dragged kicking and screaming back into the world as a limited LP run and digital release, and contains perhaps the most chaotic detournement of a Robbie Burns folk ballad ever laid to tape.
Nyah Fearties are from the village of Lugton, and created a near-unique brand of anarchic modern folk in the 1980s and 1990s. “Simple Minds, Orange Juice and The Jesus And Mary Chain were from Scotland but Nyah Fearties are about Scotland” said one review. Their feral Celtic punk is influenced by industrial groups like Einsturzende Neubaten, who inspired a scaffolding and scrap metal percussion setup that became known as ‘the blatter cage’, making them unwelcome wherever they went. Fearties are a duo of brothers Davy and Stephen Wiseman, and this record also includes, “the Entire Company on anything they can lay their hands on” according to original sleevenotes. The brothers toured, appeared on TV, and later supported The Pogues on tour, and these successes allowed them to release better recordings under improved conditions.
Originally released in 1986 and reissued now by Good Energy, a co-production between Jennifer Lucy Allan (Arc Light Editions) and Kevin McCarvel (Nyali Recordings). Good energy thanks all involved, especially Cal Wiseman and the one with the best energy: Davy Wiseman.
To be Feart is to be scared, but you better be
because A Tasty Heidfu’ is back and it’s coming for you.”
Discrepant survey fringe, regional styles of atypical Portuguese music on a killer 2nd volume of their ongoing Anthology series - part 1 was a proper hidden gem.
Like many others, it’s fair to say our knowledge of this region’s musical history is patchy, at best. But we can all trust Discrepant’s Gonçalo F. Cardoso to guide us in this often fascinating and arguably overlooked arena, with emphasis placed on deconstructing its putative clichés in order to re-assemble and re-think preconceptions of Portuguese music.
Taking his cues from Michel Giacometti, a french ethnomusicologist from Corsica who made important field recordings in Portugal, Gonçalo unfurls an enchanted and enchanting sequence zig-zagging from Síria’s creaking, droning folk music in ‘Por Riba’, thru the trampling drums and possessed chants of Random Gods, before checking the asymmetric jazz clank of Bruno Silva’s Ondness, which has previously released on Where To Now? and here kinda recalls the unique rhythms of Mark Fell performed by Drumming Grupo De Percussão.
Live Low, a group directly inspired by Michel Giacometti’s studies of the portuguese folk repertoire, then play directly into the remit of ‘Antologia’ in the eerily plangent, elegiac beauty of ‘Montemor’, while the like of Banha De Cobra head in more abstract, elemental-instrumental directions, and Fantasma’s vocal dervish vignette gives way to the sticks n’ stone sampler chops of Gonzo, and also what sounds like a wax cylinder recording of pastoral scenes in ‘Pastagens Sonoras II’ by Luis Antero.
Excellent, ear-opening gear.
Belgian synth boffin Yves De Mey (Sendai) loops back to Richard Chartier’s label with ’Sueda’, a beguiling suite that short-circuits perceptions of analog/digital tones, neatly mirroring the results of ‘Lichtung’, his 2009 debut LP for Line
Another sterling example of the endless variety and unique, viscous coherence of De Mey’s output, the filigree digital craft of ’Sueda’ uncannily emulates the nature of analog material and “real” space in a way that resonates with respectively exceptional electronic musics from Rashad Becker and Cam Deas, and the exploratory, avant-jazz-wise tactility of Oren Ambarchi. Basically; stuff to properly get your ear-teeth into!
“On 'Sueda', De Mey explores the fundamentals of FM and Modal synthesis, and combines them in a confined and sparse space. Although the majority of the material is generated digitally, 'Sueda' sounds, at times, surprisingly acoustic. Because of this, the album bears more resemblance to De Mey’s 'Lichtung' for LINE than his more recent work released through other labels.
'Sueda' sounds as if it were composed and played on one singular instrument, and every track on the album figuratively represents a new alloy of resonating pulses in a tight feedback network.”
The Tenderlonious-led Ruby Rushton ensemble pipe up with positive jazz vibes
“Ruby Rushton kicked down the door for the UK jazz renaissance back in 2015,and continue to lead the way in 2019 with this new genre-defying recording. The music is rooted in the spiritual concepts of jazz heroes such as John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, whilst adopting influences from hip hop, Afrobeat and the UK underground culture.
“Eleven Grapes” is a song that was first conceived back in 2013. Its catchy time signature and playful melody fit together perfectly. The intricate interplay between Tenderlonious’s flute and Aidan Shepherd’s keys transport you back to the heyday of Bennie Maupin and Herbie Hancock.
“One Mo’ Dram “is a tune reworked from an early Tenderlonious studio production. The groove is deeply rooted in traditional West African rhythm.Tim Carnegie’s tough drum break builds and wraps itself around a slick trumpet solo from Nick Walters, before rolling back into the intricate melody that binds the track together.”
‘Suspiria Unreleased Material’ follows Thom Yorke's soundtrack for the remade Italian horror classic
There’s seven short cues and themes on offer with interesting material strewn between the growing threat of ‘Unmade Overtones’, the keening shape of ‘A Conversation With Just Your Eyes’, and the excellent trio of psychedelic electronic pieces, ‘Volk Spin Off’...
Robert Hood’s Floorpan anthem reworked by Mark Broom and the blessed Detroit one himself
Mark Broom’s a bold one for even daring to touch the might of ‘Never Grow Old’, but he pulls it off with sublime tension in his clipped ‘Dubplate Mix’, bringing it to the boil with adroit filter chicanery and wickedly teased vocal.
Broom also supplies the tribal knocks of ‘Jungle’, but your attention is better directed to the B-side and Floorplan’s Re-Plant of the gospel techno banger ‘He Can Save You’ from their ‘Victorious’ album.
One of those rare artists who gets better with each release, Susanna is joined again by partner and producer Helge Sten (Deathprod), and a new band of Norse whippersnappers - The Brotherhood of Our Lady - for a soaring suite inspired by Hieronymus Bosch. While Susanna’s vocals and song-writing channel Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Tori Amos and Diamond Galas, the musical palette is wonderfully singular, with sophisticated piano and string arrangements riddled by Helge Sten’s unconventional details. In the loveliest sense this is an album both my folk-loving mother and I could enthuse about.
"The incredible, ahead-of-its-time art of medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch bears strong comparison with the music of Norwegian artist Susanna. Visionary, disturbing, spiritual; vivid images of darkness and light, good and evil, heaven and hell and the folly of mankind. Like her songs, Bosch’s iconic images range from the panoramic to the intimate, and express bliss, torment and tortuous inner conflicts.
On Garden of Earthly Delights, her 13th album, Susanna takes a selection of Bosch’s paintings as starting points for a fervent, poetic rosary of fantastical songs and stories. Tracks like ‘Gluttony and Lust’, ‘Death and the Miser’ and ‘Ship of Fools’, reflect Bosch’s depictions of sin and human weakness, while ‘Wayfarer’, ‘Ecstasy’ and ‘Beautiful Life’ suggest the transcendent search for spiritual rewards.
Originally a commissioned work for the Vossajazz Festival 2017, Garden of Earthly Delights ranges from soul searching balladry to sonorous electronic expanses. Some listeners might catch echoes of the melodic range of Joni Mitchell, the confessional darkness of Nina Simone and the traumatised intensity of Diamanda Galas, filtered through a medieval folk and modern experimental sensibility. But there’s no mistaking the powerful, questing clarity of Susanna’s distinctive voice, and the core of symbolic imagery she draws on from ancient mythology via medieval mysticism to present-day consumer society.
Accompanying her own wanderings on vocals, piano and electronics, Susanna assembled The Brotherhood of Our Lady, a new group (named after the religious organisation that sponsored Bosch) drawn from Norway’s current dynamic, young and open minded music scene, with members of bands like Skadedyr, Stina Stjern, Listen to Girl and Propan. The album was recorded in the extraordinary Ocean Sound Studio on the Northwest coast of Norway, a fully equipped wooden hut that sits on a rocky outcrop at the edge of the sea. All programming and production was done by Susanna and regular partner Helge Sten (Supersilent, Deathprod), with mixing by Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Lana Del Rey, First Aid Kit, etc). The team and the wild location extract some of Susanna’s spookiest and richest sonic performances to date, with a vivid range of colours to match Bosch’s extravagant imagery.”
‘The Route To TheHarmonium’ was almost entirely recorded by James himself, in the small Scottish fishing village of Cellardyke, where he lives.
"Yorkston’s studio is a ramshackle old loft space, originally used to repair fisherman’s nets and now stuffed full with the antique instruments James has collected throughout his life as a musician. Having created hours of recordings, James called up his old collaborator David Wrench - the mixer and producer who has worked with the likes of Caribou, Four Tet, Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs and David Byrne - to help make sense of the sessions.
‘The Route To The Harmonium’ (or, ‘the search for peace’) is the sound of home, of undisturbed craftmanship. Listen closely and you can imagine him putting it together. Friends and family past and present swim all over his songs. Remembering them - and those you’ve shared life with - is the strongest thread running through these affecting, extraordinary songs. “When a friend jumps ship it’s always a haymaker to the gut, you know? And this album is about them, but it’s more about us, us who are left behind...” he says."
Toresch vocalist Viktoria Wehrmeister becomes Decha with a superb solo debut suite of minimalist, mirage-like songs for Berlin’s Malka Tuti label
Also known for her role in La! Neu? with Klaus Dinger during the late ‘90s, Wicki Wehrmeister is the Mexican-German sculptor and artist acclaimed for her schizzy vocals on Toresch’s amazing ‘Essen Für Alle’ EP, where she variously barked, purred and and spat in tongues over Tolouse Low Trax’s sidewinding productions.
On ‘Hielo Boca’ however, Viktoria a.k.a. Decha is shorn of beats, allowing her playful character to really come thru in myriad ways while revealing a true enigma at work in the process. Across the album’s nine songs Viktoria wears as many hats, vacillating snarling, punky personas with more naif, airy stylings and seductive croon, and always unafraid to play around with the frayed, natural imperfections and textures of her voice.
To cut to the chase, there’s one really big standout, ‘Voy A Very’, where Decha multitracks herself in plaintive harmony over a sluggish, decapitated house riff and smeared brass with transfixing effect, but we reckon it’s best heard in context of the full album, after you’ve witnessed her parse and recombine her various voices and sides between the gurning/puckered glossolalia of ‘Nonja’, the layered acapella cadence of ‘Soy Yo’, where she’s alternately rapper/folkalist, and the likes of ‘La Nena’, where she melts into air like a Cucina Povera or Paavoharju hymn to dreamy whimsy.
In the best sense the music on ‘Hielo Boca’ feels in flux, frayed and off-the-cuff, yet highly considered. It’s this play of instinctive and detached nous that makes us sure we’ll return over and again.
Birthed from the seminal 1980s post-punk band Maximum Joy, MXMJoY is the dramatic reimagining by founding members Janine Rainforth and Charlie Llewellin. Their brand new album, ‘p.e.a.c.e.’ is a limited edition vinyl release via Janine’s own label, London Field Recordings.
"A pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, Pitchfork compared Maximum Joys sound to “one of the Slits backed by the Gang of Four”, while PopMatters said, “Musically, the group’s use of complex percussion, horns, danceable bass lines, and overtly English female vocals built a bridge between the worlds of Afrobeat, reggae, avant-garde jazz, funk and pop”.
Returning with a new line-up and all new material, MXMJoY have crafted an album that remains faithful to their roots but showcases an expanded experimental direction into dark electronics and expertly used samples and effects. An immediately enchanting album, ‘p.e.a.c.e’ also explores lush synthscapes, deep house hooks and a pop sensibility partnered with that unmistakable and bewitching vocal.
Across ten masterfully produced tracks you’ll hear an epic amalgamation of their wide scope of influences, and as ever tied up into the unique MXMJoY package. The title track and entrancing ‘Daughters of Tomorrow’ open the album with fittingly trip-hop beats and gloriously catchy choruses while songs like ‘Can Man Conquer It All’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ dwell in darker spaces melodically, with dreamlike washes of keys and delicate guitars. Elsewhere album highlights ‘Archetype’ and ‘We Breathe’ boast some of the strongest songwriting of MXMJoYs career with unforgettable vocal performances and lush electric guitar tones.
Rainforth continues; “As a collective band Maximum Joy and as individuals and now as MXMJoY – we have always shared the drive to evolve and keep looking for and finding new sounds & grooves that inspire, challenge, and maybe even soothe! The musical landscape today is exciting – there’s so much out there – I love all the sounds & textures & voices coming through, and Charlie shares that embracing of the new. The things that informed us then – free jazz; hip-hop; synth pop; disco; soul; funk; reggae; punk; world music – have not changed – but inevitably things have been, and always are being, added to those influences.”
The new album from Brock Van Wey's bvdub project.
"Van Wey's previous n5MD album Heart- less found him harnessing the turmoil around him to create something vast, emotive, and brooding, yet somehow comforting, allowing you to cradle in its weight. Months after Heartless' release Van Wey moved from turbulent times of his native California home to the chilling winter of Warsaw Poland. A divergence. Alone against the icy cold, confined to the indoors in search of protection against the world outside, Van Wey channeled, as he always does, his surroundings as they coalesced with his self-imposed aberration. The outcome of this move, and period of near total isolation, is Explosions in Slow Motion.
Featuring four long-form songs accompanied by four “ember” vignettes, Explosions in Slow Motion is quite possibly Van Wey's most mournfully isolated work in his massive discography to date. Filled with swelling arcs of spectres from the past appearing then slowly drift away. Foggy memories of friends, loved ones, and even adversaries seem to achingly sweep across Explosions in Slow Motion's eighty-minute runtime. There is a forlorn thread of shrouded nostalgia throughout the album which by album's end leads to catharsis, acceptance and the finality of progression."
Donna Regina have more or less made the same record over and over for the best part of three decades now, but their first new album in 5 years is a reminder of just how good that record is.
They trade in a distinct variant of downtempo, melancholy but sugary pop, one that's as much informed by the electronic templates of Matthew Herbert (an early supporter) as much as Julee Cruise and classic bubblegum. When their definitive 'A Quiet Week In The House' album came out in 1999 it already sounded like a lost classic, but with the passage of time all those nostalgic feelings have only been multiplied.
If you're looking for a bit of solace and warmth, this is just the ticket...
Regno Maggiore poetically outlines a singular sound world somewhere between kosmiche songcraft and offworld ambience in ‘Astroveliero’, their debut for Turin’s Gang of Ducks following a brief spot on the wild 2018 set, ‘Paradisia V’
Hand or lathe-cut to wax by the label, and swaddled in future-proofing surface noise, the intently grainy results of ‘Astroveliero’ resemble a musical time-capsule from 2018, disinterred after 30 years in the ground.
In six parts Regno seems to relay a sort of avant-folk music to ears that haven’t yet been realised, using keys and ambiguous acoustic kit to conjure a suite of elegantly enigmatic expressions of emotions without any context other than its transparent medium.
Whether you’re in the here and now of 2019, or perched on higher ground in 2049, when saltwater swamps encroach up to a hundred miles inland, ‘Astroveliero’ will sound equally enigmatic and evocative of another place and time, but still distinctly human in its appeal, when compared with the detectably AI-composed music/propaganda of Neo-Europa’s syndicated centrist leaders.
Berlin’s fonkiest blighters return with Flohio, Tommy Cash and OVS in tow on ‘Who Else’, their 4th studio album, following from 2011’s ‘Monkeytown’ and their Modeselektion mix volumes
Again proving that Berlin isn’t just all monochrome clothing and rote techno, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary chuck hip hop, electronica, house, jungle and dembow rhythms into their rave hotpot on ‘Who Else’, with signature, playful and emosh dance-pop results ripe for the biggest stages.
“This is the new album by Modeselektor. It has been in the works for two years and was made within a month. It’s a record offering essential Modeselektor, a record formed by experience, self confidence and the usual madness. It raises a question and answers it straight away. “Who Else” is yet another counteraction to boredom and formulaic approaches. Hear Modeselektor casually kicking against the pricks. Somebody’s gotta do it. Who else?
Technical knowledge and craftsmanship have improved their creative process, but in the studio they are driven by the same old things. It’s the quest for the beat they haven’t made yet, the eternal hunt for the perfect mix. No bass drum sounds like the other on this record, no snare repeats itself in a different track. Each hi-hat is tailor-made, no synth sound recycled on another occasion. This isn’t one of those predictable techno records, and that’s what makes it such an effort: the endless search for new sounds while always bearing in mind that less is more.
“Who Else” represents the sound of Berlin in all its ambivalence. It is a record freed from outside pressure, only driven by a personal ambition to once more put out a great album.”
A first time for everything: The lord of lo-fi has a “proper” studio make-over with puckered results featuring guest spots by Ariel Pink, Jason Falkner, Irwin Chusid and Lane Sternberg
“Since R. Stevie can't make a decent living on his music, he's trying to accomplish the task in the Afterlife. This album is an upgrade from the lo-fi, damaged-equipment home recording process for which RSM has become legendary. With a career-long sweep, R. Stevie took some of his best home-recorded lo-fi songs and re-recorded them with full-studio sparkle. All recordings were made in the past 15 years, with tracks captured in five U.S. states. Some compositions date from the 1970s to the 1990s, and there's a few newer tunes. The album lacks one thing: filler. Lou Reed famously said about his final Velvet Underground album: "I gave them an album loaded with hits," then he walked away. Afterlife is R. Stevie's Loaded—an album full of hits. He's walking away with a cane, a bum knee, and cataracts.
Afterlife was compiled and produced by Irwin Chusid (who oversees the musical estates of Sun Ra, Raymond Scott, and others). Chusid, a WFMU DJ since 1975, has been a compatriot of RSM since they met in 1978 after R. Stevie relocated to New Jersey from his native Nashville (to which he returned in 2010). It's often been pointed out that RSM's daddy Bob played bass with Elvis. But we won't dwell on that here.”
Just over a year after the release of sophomore album Origin and Echo, Snow Palms return with a new two-track 12”.
"A-side ‘Everything Ascending’ sees Snow Palms mainstay David Sheppard’s signature glinting electronics and crystalline glockenspiels augmented by modular synths, tapes, piano and soaring vocal flights. Over ten minutes in length, this is an undulating, inexorably unfurling odyssey, oscillating seamlessly between passages of mesmeric electronic pulse, choral-enhanced minimalism and immersive, gamelan-like ambience.
While there may be echoes of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Steve Reich and Midori Takada’s Mkwaju Ensemble along the way, ultimately, ‘Everything Ascending’ proffers a uniquely rapturous sonic realm that is pure Snow Palms. AA-side ‘Circling’, meanwhile, is a bold orchestral reimagining of one of the highlights from Origin and Echo. A response to their own remix of ‘Cycle 12’ by fellow Village Green artist and renowned film music arranger/orchestrator Matt Dunkley, this is a brilliant repositioning of Snow Palms’ music in the emotion-soaked cinematic idiom."
Grime freaks Scratcha DVA X Gage deliver a weird and wired batch for Keysound
Apparently produced during a studio session where Scratcha turned up half-cut, straight from an after-party, the tracks catch a wickedly smudged vibe between the choppy weightless madness of ‘Piffd’, with Scratcha shooting the title amid curdled chords and plasmic electronics, while ‘Flytnurse’ stumbles, druinken master-style, with a rudely sozzled swagger, also appearing in a slightly more collected ‘Darqmix’ recalling various Mumdance & Logos productions.
Glacial Industries get loose and weird with Cork-born, Berlin-based ELLLL, hustling three parts of tribal drums and screwball synth skidmarks under queasy atmospheres.
Working in space somewhere between Batu, Beatrice Dillon and Kowton, the ‘Confectionary’ EP is a strange set of rug-cutters ranging from the swanee-whistle-weilding wraver ‘Pepsi’ with its wood cut drums and sweltering textures, to the dubbed-out flux and wraithlike writhe of ‘Skittles’, which eventually straightens out as a rugged roller, before leaving behind the desiccated skeleton and shivering theremin-like tones of ‘Jawbreaker’.
‘Arithmetic in the Dark’ is the first solo album by British avant-garde pioneer Anthony Moore since the ‘90s. It’s hallucinogenic stuff with a strong synaesthetic appeal, short-circuiting perceptions of sound as language, as visual content, with visceral, unsettling, and challenging results
“I like to imagine a time and place where arithmetic is done in a natural way by simply experiencing the unique possibility offered by sound, that of distinguishing simultaneous differences; the non-displacing waves of either AND both. Despite the observations of cool cats like Bill Sethares on the subjective nature of the octave´s perception, one fact remains unfailingly true. An octave is a doubling of frequency - the higher octave has exactly twice the number of vibrations per second than the lower. I am imagining a planet without the invention of writing, even of symbols and scratchings in the sand where, on hearing the sound of a child and an adult singing together, a listener is doing a multiplication by two in a mathematics without signs; arithmetic in the dark.
The album consists of a set of 10 works which focus on repetition and change. The pieces evolve mostly through the active perception of the listener. Saccades and oto-acoustic emissions are evidence that perception is far from passive reception. The transmitting ear determines much about what it takes in. [Anthony Moore, Arles, November 2018]”
‘Dolos’ is the hyper shiny debut album by Murlo, a UK garage/bassline/grime obsessive beloved for his lucent melodic arrangements and animated rhythms
The physical variant comprises of a graphic novel and corresponding 15-track album (downloaders will have to make do with the tracks only), ‘Dolos’ ties together Chris Pell a.k.a. Murlo’s audio and visual practice into a compelling sort of gesamtkunstwerk where each chapter of the novel relates to a track on the album.
Murlo’s music has always had a sort of playful, even naive charm to his melodies and lean grooves, and, whilst explicitly digital and synthetic in tone and feel, the canniness of his productions lies in their filigree tactility, and the way he extracts an almost natural, fluid sense of movement and instrumental virtuosity from virtual plugins.
At 15 tracks wide and 51 minutes long, ‘Dolos’ is practically feature length, allowing all the time he needs to weave an emotive narrative between the giddy anime themes of ‘Evaporate’, thru the intricate choral pointillism of ‘Breeze’, and evocative titles and music such as ‘Watching The Sun Through Eyelids’, to proper dancefloor drama in ‘End Of The Road’, and the long closing sequence of ‘Furies Call’ into the 4th world reggaeton of ‘Goodbyes’, and the winky plushness of ‘Peace;.
Parisian producer Bambounou debuts on Whities with a fine follow-up to the rhythmelodic aces of 2018’s ‘Parameter Perkusja EP’
Working again with a percussive palette especially concocted for his set at Freerotation 2017, he turns out three super slinky and mesmerising workouts, tilting in with a mix of dry and fluid gamelan drums embedded in creamy atmospheres and choral pads on ‘Temple’, then with grubbing low-register hits and claggy atmospheres in ‘Tour’, before inducing trance states with the hazy shimmy of ‘Seize-Sept’.
Bonobo opens the ‘fabric presents’ series that pledges CD, digital and vinyl releases on a quarterly basis.
"His highly textural aesthetic translates into an ethos that looks to introduce a more open musical palette without losing sight of its past.
The 2LP package features 15 of the 22 tracks from Bonobo’s opening mix for the new fabric presents series. They are the full unmixed versions, including both Bonobo’s exclusive tracks, ‘Ibrik’ and ‘Flicker’, plus his ‘Boston Common’ cut, previously limited to vinyl only."
Sleaford Mods release their fifth studio album, ‘Eton Alive’
"The new album, which features 12 new tracks from the prolific artists, was recorded in Nottingham. The record will be the first release on Jason and Andrew’s newly formed label ‘Extreme Eating’ and their first album since parting ways with Rough Trade Records.
“Eton Alive speaks for itself really. Here we are once again in the middle of another elitist plan being digested slowly as we wait to be turned into faeces once more. Some already are, some are dead and the rest of us erode in the belly of prehistoric ideology which depending on our abilities and willingness, assigns to each of us varying levels of comfort that range from horrible to reasonably acceptable, based on contribution. "
M.E.S.H., Karen Gwyer, Basile3, and Clip remix cuts from Deena Abdelwahed’s widely acclaimed ‘Khonnar’ album
The tense technmoid sandstorm of Deena’s original ’Tawa’ is included for reference alongside its pendulous, red-eyed reduction from M.E.S.H., while Karen Gwyer turns ‘Ken Skett’ into a percolated froth of micro-tonal melodies and hiccuping vocals, and Clip impresses with an offset, sidewinding techno rework of ‘Tawa’ to close.
Pharmaceutically effective folk drone excursions conjured by accordion, cello and voice
“Evolving the long-form, doom laden prophetics of his debut 'Sorrow', David Terry and accordion are joined by Eye Spirit's voice and cello for four, near half hour; expressions of desolate spiritual drone.
The music is caressed by voice and strings, sometimes seemingly plain in approach, just two instruments, two microphones and a room with a 4-track, but beatific and glorious in execution. 'The White Horse Of The Sun' ascends its form into moments of ecstasy struck through a landscape of the bleakly grandiose and opiated.”
Majestic Redshape material from 2011. On 'In Trust We Space' we're glad to hear he's still a proper melancholy spirit, capturing the 'floor's imagination with gorgeously twinkling, starlit melodies and lapping layers of machine rhythm expertly spaced and rubbed with his special brand of space dust for that gritty Detroit slide. Turn over and 'Laser!' is more tensely driven, defined by taut, punchy kicks and a squashed acidic bass rumble while subtly demented synth loops hypnotise and astral strings elevate the mood. Slick as.
Arch minimalist Neel gets the most of his machines for One Instrument Sessions
“In a scenario of overwhelming number of instruments, musicians often do not take the time to deepen and explore the creative possibilities of each gear they possess. One Instrument aims at counter-acting this tendency by challenging and limiting each artist in producing a composition by using only one instrument of their choice.
One Instrument presents "One Instrument Sessions”, a new format on which each artist shows a more personal narrative of the sound experiments they compose.
Neel opens the series with a solo record including “Aria”, a 20 minutes long piece made with the E340 Cloud Generator of Synthesis Technology, and “The Morning After”, composed with the Roland SH-01A.
The E340 Cloud Generator is an oscillator which Neel says has always been a fan of. It has eight sines and sawtooth VCOs with unique modulation capabilities. “Aria” came to life while he was preparing for a live techno set: when he stopped the recording the oscillator kept running producing the sound and tones audible in the composition.
The Roland SH-101 is Neel’s favorite synth. “The Morning After” is one of the 9 experiments he created while using the boutique version of the machine.”
Rush Hour did it again, pulling out MBO & Klein’s all time anthem, and its little known South African cover version!
Repeating the trick after excavating Teknokrat’s ‘What Did She Say’ and its Congolese rework, this time Tony Carrasco & Mario Boncaldo’s eternally influential ‘The MBO Theme’ - a staple on ‘floors from Rimini to NYC and the Chi - is placed on one side, and backed with a killer vocoder-heavy version by Warrior, which isn’t so much a remix as a cover version, ‘cos records - even huge ones like ‘The MBO Theme’ - weren’t allowed in culturally embargoed South Africa in 1983, so Warrior made do and did with killer results!
Declassified militaritulist ambience from Vatican Shadow, finding Dominik Fernow (Prurient) donning his desert fatigues for a mesmerising follow-up to his technoid outings with Ostgut Ton and Ancient Methods.
‘Opium Crop’ makes a return to what we’d term a vintage Vatican Shadow sound, steeped in nods to Muslimgauze and modern geopolitics and fringed with an aura of clammy, atmospheric terror, just how we like it.
The title piece pushes off across the front with a sort of stately, waltzing rhythm and druggy synth pads recalling John Foxx and DJ Screw as much as Bryn Jones. ‘Hellfire Hidden Tribes’ sinks into the B-side with lagging Dabke rhythm embedded in oily black backdrops, occasionally lit up with vaporous synth stabs mirroring the arc and flash of distant artillery, and leading to an exquisite ambient devotional, ‘Loyal To The Deceased’.
Front & Follow present the fifth in a series of split releases bringing together some of their favourite artists. Volume 5 features Dunning & Underwood, aka Graham Dunning and Sam Underwood.
"Dunning and Underwood’s collaboration for The Blow focuses on recordings made using The Mammoth Beat Organ. They describe their machine as "a modular, mechanical music contraption" and that it is "designed as a two-player, semi-autonomous musical instrument, it plays unusual, sometimes erratic compositions drawing on drone music, minimalist repetition and fairground organ techniques." The organ made its live debut at Supersonic festival in Birmingham in summer 2018, with more live performances planned for 2019."
Sim Hutchins & Dale Cornish furnish OOH-sounds’ Decouple ][ Series with alternately spaced out and clenched, driving strains of techno / electronica.
Arriving in the footsteps of Georgia/Bellows’ first instalment, two of the UK’s most playfully crafty operators play in a remit exploring “topics of increasing complexitiy, dependencies and miscommunication in a media-saturated digital era.
Both tracks can be taken as examples of the artist parsing sense from the chaos, sniffing their humanity amid the dank odour of current clusterfucks. Sim Hutchins’ brilliant ‘Druk Pak’ sounds like dub techno on strong muscle relaxants, or the echo chamber talking to itself after a big line of K, syntax turned to fractal mush. On the surface, Dale Cornish’s drier, jabbing approach is much different, with overpronating drum machine rhythms and asymmetric vocal samples tilted headlong forward, but under the surface he’s also mirroring the dissolution of economic linearity into a rabid all at once-ness.
Claudia Anderson rolls out a hypnotic sort of tribal techno minimalism for Tresor following introductions made on Tresor’s ‘Dreamy Harbour’  compilation
In three cuts, ‘Structure’, ‘Involvement’, and ‘Synthesis’ she hits a smart vein of rugged tribalism compatible with classic Porter Ricks or the hypnotic attraction of Donato Dozzy.
She also makes room for more spaced-out, beat-less explorations in ‘H-1 A.P.’, and a cranky little number named ‘Momentum’ recalls the class of Torsten Pröfrock’s Dynamo gear.