Life-giving music from L.A.’s Dublab and friends, revolving sun-kissed vibes from Gifted & Blessed, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Matthewdavid, Suzanne Kraft and more.
Cooked up in cooperation with Sunpress vinyl, ‘Peace Radio Dublab’ is for the good times, pairing a group of like-minded, sweetly optimistic sounds from best coast producers.
Leaving Records’ Matthewdavid smudges your 3rd eye with the intense boogie shimmer of ‘Be Honest’, and Daedulus doe iridescent footwork on ‘ReadToFall’. Bender chases up his ace Second Circle outing with the yacht ready trills and pleading panpipes of ‘(Songbird) Ajinomoto’, and Secret Circuit rolls slow and dusky on ‘Space In The Suitcase’ (for a big of xanax and edibles, maybe?).
The ever charming GB is at his colourful best adapting ‘Toccata (Movement VI From Ravel’s le Tombeau De Couperin)’, and Actualy Magic covers Moondog, Wendy Carlos-style in ‘Do Your Thing Switched-on’, and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith covers Sade’s ‘By Your Side’, modular synth style, beside the serene strings of Mary Lattimore’s ‘Wind Carries Seed’, and a wistful vignette from Suzanne Kraft.
Exael debuts on Huerco S’ West Mineral label with ‘Collex’, a deep, impressionistic album of ambient soundscaping recorded between Chicago and Berlin, reminding us of early Vladislav Delay, Robert Henke’s site-specific work as well as that excellent Pendant release that kicked this label off back in January this year.
Crafted over the two years since their first album,‘Collex’ finds Exael mining a finer and more elusive variant of ambient music, connecting dots between classic vapor-trail dub and hyper-modern inversions you’d more readily associate with 0PN or Kara-Lis Coverdale. With a richly refractive, iridescent quality, it marks the inward/outward distance travelled between concrète and electronic textures and spatial parameters, manipulating notions of stasis and kinesis with an unfathomable, gaseous quality that also reminds us of classic Vladislav Delay and Robert Henke’s site-specific work.
It follows an excellent split EP with likeminded producer, Ryan Fall a.k.a. uon, as well as a number of compilation appearances with Allergy Season/Discwoman, Physical Therapy and Carpet Group Recordings, the latter of whom coincidentally issued Exael’s self-titled 2017 album under the Naemi alias.
From the milky plumes of ‘Into Deep’, thru the scudding subaquatic electro-dub of ‘Split’, to the bristling gunk of ‘Choeo3’ and the Wanda Group-like subsidence of ‘Cart’, to the lushly fractious flux of ‘Glass In Plastic (with Arad Acid)’ and ‘Anc Alt’, Exael maintains a cool head despite the disorienting G-force and upended context, elaborating a form of simulacra that uncannily reflects the real world’s realigned ideas about gender, mental health, and emotional wealth.
Offering a modernist re-vision of classic Chain Reaction and early 00’s dub inversions, it’s an uncanny reminder of a relatively recent era in electronic music that seems far out of reach in the present climate, a perfect accompaniment to Huerco S' own excursion as Pendant. If you were into that, we reckon this one will rule your world.
Breathtaking bad dream of a second album by Teresa Winter for The Death of Rave; a uniquely allegorical study in female sexuality and occult, transgressive fascinations that comes highly recommended if youre into Cosey Fanni Tutti, Coil, Jani Christou or Jean Rollin.
Unfolding around recollections of a bad dream about being murdered by her boyfriend and hidden under a hotel bed, Teresa’s new side expands upon the morbid, psycho-sexual and occult fascinations of her cultishly acclaimed ‘Untitled Death’ LP in a singular and unpredictable style of composition where avant-classical, acid-house and ambient dream-pop collapse in a confounding and traumatic account of her hauntological reality.
Recorded in Northern England amid the socio-political tumult of 2018, ‘What The Night Is For’ is concerned with notions of liberation and repression, both sexual, psychic and political, which feel ever more impending in the nocturnal, criminal state of mind conjured by capitalism’s end times. Teresa’s music reflects this sensation of heightened alertness and near-psychedelic intensity with an abstract dramatic narrative implicitly referencing on the one hand, the convention-challenging feminism of Jean Rollin’s cinema fantastique and its soundtracks, and the charged atmospheres of Coil, as well as the sexually liberated writings of Amanda Carter and the Marquis De Sade.
In its unfairly weighted formation, the LP vertiginously drops into freefall with 7 minute of ‘marishly captivating dissonance in ‘Canticles of Ecstasy’, landing in 9 minutes of disquietingly lush ambient electronics and Teresa intoning “bestial, brutal” on ‘Heathen’s Gate’, which marking her descent into night, proper.
The other side is an entirely different affair. From the wigged-out pipes and cinematic intrigue of ‘Vulgaire’, Teresa plays out stark contrasts between the stellar acid-pop detournement of ‘For Murder’, the palpably eerie electro-acoustic aura of ‘Apostrophising the C*nt’, and a gut-wrenching one-two of Proustian fantasy in ‘Mother of Death’, and the piloerect tristesse of ‘From so High that I Might Die’.
Like Cosey Fanni Tutti’s seminal early artwork, created in the ‘70s against a backdrop of Yorkshire-based serial killers and the adult industry, Teresa’s music can be taken as a form of psychic self-surgery, as a way of parsing her own ideas from the inherent violence of heteronormativity and the lingering, insipid pall of Roman Catholicism and all its connotations of sexual repression. And like Cosey, Teresa obliquely acknowledges the female perspective defined in the Tarot card, “Eight of Swords” - she’s damned if she does, but also damned if she doesn’t.
So f*ck it, here it is. Deal with it.
Slow-to-mid tempo balearic froth, edited by Jan Schulte in his Wolf Müller guise for Young Marco’s label
“Over the course of his seven-year recording career, Jan Schulte has delivered countless revolutionary remixes under the now familiar Wolf Müller alias. Now, Safe Trip has gathered together some of his most celebrated and hard-to-find reworks on Sorry For The Delay: Wolf Müller’s Most Whimsical Remixes.
The collection includes a string of lauded revisions of the likes of Tolouse Low Trax, Africaine 808, BAR and Jose Padilla, all in a trademark percussion-rich, polyrhythmic style that joins the dots between the tropical rhythms of South America, the tribal musical traditions of Africa, the experimental electronics associated with Schulte’s home city of Düsseldorf and the sun-kissed Balearica of Ibiza.
Since making his debut at the dawn of the decade, Schulte has carved out a niche as one of European electronic music’s most distinctive artists. Under this best-known alias, Wolf Müller, the German producer has delivered a string of sought-after singles, two critically acclaimed collaborative albums (the most recent of which, produced alongside percussionist Niklas Wandt, was released earlier this year), and a swathe or radical remixes.
It’s the latter that’s showcased on Sorry For The Delay, whose apologetic title tips a wink to Safe Trip’s debut release, a compilation of Young Marco remixes called Sorry For The Late Reply. The majority of the eight included reworks are revolutionary in nature, with Schulte gaining inspiration from, or making use of, just a handful of elements from the provided source material. For example, the oldest remix in the collection, a 2011 rub of Mungolian Jet Set’s quirky disco cut “Prog Rocks and Moon Jocks”, made with Christian Pannenborg as Montezumas Rache, features numerous vocal and instrumental elements omitted from the Norwegian duo’s final version.
The collection naturally comes packed with deliciously percussive moments, including an undeniably heavyweight translation of Tolouse Low Trax’s “Jaidem Fall” – the first ever Wolf Muller remix from 2014 – a chiming, melodious and sun-kissed revision fo BAR’s 2016 cut “BAR Theme”, an inspired tweak of Africaine 808’s “Rhythm Is All You Can Dance” and a riotous take on “Ba Hu Du”, a never-before-released track from Schulte’s other headline-grabbing, club-rocking pseudonym, Bufiman.
Schulte’s ability to create mesmerizing, slow burn soundscapes can be heard across the compilation, too, from the druggy and psychedelic pulse of his krautrock-influenced version of Telespazio’s “Barrier” and the humid tropicality of the Deep Dub of Sound Species “Balafon Jam”, to the dreamy new age synthesizer lines, twanging Jews Harp and seductive beats of Jose Padilla collaboration “Oceans on the Moon”.”
About time! Drexciya’s seminal Afrofuturist album finally sees reissue with Clone Classic Cuts, regaling the recordings of four young sons of an electrician from Flint, Michigan, USA, who pay dues to the endless inspiration of Kraftwerk
When it was originally released in 1995 with the prefacing info about four brothers, ‘Elektroworld’ became a crucial part of the Drexciyan mythology. Prefaced by a promo sheet with the suggestive info outlined above, the album was quite easily detectable as a Drexciyan production, but it wasn’t until 2008 when Warpmart spilt the beans, that ‘Elektroworld’ was officially identified as a James Stinson production. For many disciples of the the late great genius, the album includes some of Stinson’s definitive cuts in the spine-freezing ‘Japanese Electronics’ and the elegant funk of ‘Mystery World’ and ‘Midnight Drive’. But that’s not discount the rest of the set - there’s pure Drexciyan gold in the vocodered ace ‘Future Tone’ and the heart-fluttering chord changes of ’Silicon World’.
It's that time of year again isn't it, and although we don't seem to get snow anymore in England (damn you global warming!) we are still just about capable of celebrating the birth of the guy who invented Coca Cola...
Stevens takes some of the classic traditional sounds of the season and places them next to compositions of his own to create something genuinely heart-warming and enjoyable without ever becoming cheesy or overwrought. Starting in 2001 and going to 2006 these songs have been pieced together with love by Stevens and his friends year after year, and that's what makes them so effective - his version of 'We Three Kings' might be heartbreaking, but his own composition 'That was the Worst Christmas Ever' is one of the most crushing pieces Stevens has ever put his name to, perfectly summing up the hopes and dreams of the season....
NYC’s Palto Flats catch Foodman at his coolest and grooving, tempering his wilder tics to slinkier effect in 5 weightless ambient-jazz-house charms.
One of the most striking sonic characters to emerge in recent years, Shokuhin Matsuri a.k.a. Foodman follows up a brace of ace releases with these beautifully spacious works, ranging from a mesmerising 6 minute stepper called ‘Miziburo’ that sounds like a frothier Shinichi Atobe, to delectable ambient-jazz fusions int escaping dub chords and fragmented jazz chops of ‘Nanika’, thru the deliquescent diffusion of floating keys, ultra-minimal percussion and playful harmonies in ‘Tokai Desu’.
If you’ve ever been intrigued by this artist and not checked him yet, this is the perfect place to build an appetite for Foodman.
Stockholm LTD captain Pår Grindvik works out pendulous, brooding techno styles bordering on IDM/electronica
‘Trails’ is the bluer of the two, scorching around and off a beat cloaked in sweeping, melancholic pads and keening dissonance to a kind of post-rock-y climax.
‘The Right To Be Forgotten’ is shadowier, but more aggressive, laving the drums to a seething syncopation driven by low low bass and almost neuro-style D&B synths.
Staggering volley of hyper junglist killers from Sophia Loizou on a new EP of pressurized subs, hoover and percolated vocals taking us somewhere between Lee Gamble’s classic Diversions, Metalheadz Blue Note Sessions and some forward Arca x EVOL collusion. TIPPED!!!
Sophia’s first release since the much acclaimed Singulacra [Kathexis, 2016], Irregular Territories provides a definitive example of Loizou’s sound as it firmly asserts her music in a rarified hauntological rave headspace that meticulously explores an exploded deconstructionist style that she’s developed since her 2014 debut Chrysalis.
With one foot in late ‘90s halcyon daze, and another toeing the future, Sophia combines a lust for the ruffneck with a sharp mind for complex structural integrity and inventive aesthetic. Synching fragmented beats with human gasps, choral synths and richly ephemeral textures, she bridges temporalities and dimensions in a way that recalls an auditory DeepDream composite formed from millions of eyes-shut moments at Metalheadz sessions.
Album opener Loop of Perception quite literally takes off like a jet engine in the rave, while Memories of Angels conjures and sustains a lump-in-throat suspense through unresolved pads and hide ’n seek breakbeat edits, before it all comes together, gelled by wide, pressurized subs in Shadow Box.
The brief vignette of hoover and percolated vocal motifs in Frozen Dust opens up the B-side like some Arca and EVOL collusion, and The Interior Life of Another feels like a jungle inception of 4Hero’s Parallel Universe, leaving the poignant Morphogenesis to sum up the metaphysical flux of her sound in febrile detail.
Ruddy EBM sleaze form Succhiamo, returning to Antinote with a 6-track dancefloor slap down
Leading on from their super rudimentary debut, there’s more glistening EBM flesh on show in ‘Mani In Fuoco’, firing off some strong dancefloor bullets in the scaly, serpentine writhe of their title track, and at a rapid tilt recalling Nitzer Ebb’s ‘Alarm’ in ‘Desiderio di violenza’, and what sounds like Marie Davidson meets Beau Wanzer in the clenched, metallic funk of ‘Vecchio’.
Hypnagogic, transportive collage and ambient composition from bod [包家巷], an L.A.-based A/V artist from the underbelly of “weird soundcloud”, here following up his tape debut for Knives with two durational works, plus remixes by Flora Yin-Wong and M.D. James
bod [包家巷], real name Nicholas Zhu, is part of a new wave of artists and labels including Nozomu Matsumoto and Quantum Natives who are shaping music and art from the virtual realm forward. In ‘The Recurrence of Infections’, Zhu terraforms layered electronics, melancholy chanson, Far eastern instrumentation and sci-fi cinematic tropes in the richly detailed, 38-minute title track, to offer something like the soundtrack to a scrolling tour of his Museum of Virtual Art, while the ‘Infection Supplement’ extends another 9 minutes of abstract, cinematic arrangement recalling the surreal, experiential feel of Kenji Yamamoto’s +you & space x album.
The remixers tactfully reduce ‘The Recurrence of Infections’ into equally strange but succinct knots of nonlinear, amorphous form, with Flora Yin-Wong suggestively limning a calm space at the edge of storm, whereas M.D. James homes in on certain aspects of the vocal and keys, rendering them in a milky ambient light.
Martyn grips YAK for a terrific trio of broken beat and D&B zingers following his standout cut on 3024’s recent V/A 12”
With the switch up from dry footwork-style toms and warm chords into drum funk D&B, ‘Rhodes Island’ brings 3024 right back to root in freshest style. The root-toms reappear as a sorta of leitmotif in ‘Ocean Floor’, but this time on a pendulous broken beat tip underlaid with ‘floor-engulfing subs, and ‘Don Gerno’ pushes that flex farther out for the brukkers, close to Martyn’s own sound, but with exacting edits and recoiling, ricocheting dynamic of his own.
Perdu does smart, rolling Italo-electro and broken house rolige for Optimo Music
Check for the punchy drums and entrancing arps of ‘Road To Yuzu’ for a killer Italo-electro style, and ‘Anxious World’ for a deep acid-Italo-breakbeat style, and ‘Phasing In’ for a stealthier, trippier, cosmic vibe.
Rude fusions of dry techno, hip hop swagger, and ‘floor-melting acid industrialism outta Kazan and Moscow, by the guys behind Opal Tapes’ ‘U S S R (Ur Social Staus Resistance) comp
Spearheading a new movement of icy, tuff dance music from Russia, Yung Acid lead the way with mutated takes on American and UK styles, generating strong moves in the ghetto banger ‘late’ for fans of White material, also with the head-swilling acid-electro flow of ‘Serpentine (Dirty master)’, and their NoLa 3-step electro twyster, ‘Jap’.
‘Wize Music’ is a jaw-dropping introduction to the new age electronic world of Dennis Wise - the missing link between Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rock-it’, Daevid Allen’s Gong and Bill Laswell’s Material, all of whom he contributed to in some form or other. Combine two rare as f**k LPs in one, including ‘Valhalla’ , which was pressed at Dynamic Sounds, Kingston, JA on the same day Big Youth were also cutting a record. If that backstory isn’t enough for ya, the music will send you reeling!
“Perhaps one of the most unique and unlikely exponents of the highly collectible genres of ambient electronics, experimental tape-music and PINA (Private Issue New Age) this English born Jamaican raised sound designer, artist and existentialist furrowed his own ublinkered path through lesser chartered electronic fields for many moons before eventually teaming up with Bill Laswell (with Material) and Daevid Allen in New York to bring self-taught synthesis to Gong during their most oblique periods. Creating two impossibly rare self pressed vinyl LPs of conceptual inner-visionary outer-galactic angular tonal-dronal alien-art soundscapes in the process, the man known under figure shifting guises such as Dennis Wise/Denis Weise/Dr. Wise etc, combined a culture of sound system circuitry and radiophonic trickery adding Tea-pot poetry and sci-fidelity future-folk to his magnetic mesh! Presented here as the first ever dedicated ize Music collection this record combines compositions spanning 1979-1984 in both a solo capacity as well as small-group projects featuring members of the Emerald Web band.
Imagine a comic book where a Funkenstein monster called “Laraaji-Scratch Perry” invaded your record shelf while Komendarek and Holger Czukay kept lookout… Dr. Dennis might be the only one Wise enough to outsmart all of them with his powerful amorphous anaesthetic.”
Another chance to pick up one of our favourite albums released this year; an hour of deeply inspirational House music for the ages that could have been produced 20 years ago, or earlier this year - we’ll probably never know.
Heat is a new double album from Shinichi Atobe for DDS. It follows on from last year’s “From The Heart, It’s A Start, A Work Of Art” set and continues a run of highly enigmatic, acclaimed and completely unparalleled productions that follow their own timeless logic. There’s no sonic fiction involved - this material really does just turn up on a CD sent by air mail from Japan to Manchester, sparse info, no messing, pure gold.
What’s that cover art about? prob something to do with the balmy material within. So Good, So Right, the 10 minute opener, will force you to forget about all the shite around you for a while. There are also several tracks called Heat; they’re all killer.
This music takes you elsewhere almost immediately; that fan on your desk is basically a summer breeze. In fact, this whole album is absurd; completely effortless; a total classic. Convince us that there’s a more life affirming electronic album this year and we’ll buy you an ice cream....
Temples of Jura roll out a synthy doozy with Fernando Pulichino’s cinematic debut as Filmico.
After releasing records for the past 10 years on modern disco labels including Bear Funk, Internasjonal and Gomma, Argentinian multi instrumentalist Flimico now commits to a classic late ‘70s/early ‘80s soundtrack style flush with warm analog synths owing much to the influence of Carpenter, Badalamenti and Johnny Jewel.
It's done with exacting amounts of emotive push and pull, coming riddled with evocative arps and bristling with bittersweet melodies that beckon eyes shut and a montage-like dream sequence to play out on the back of your ‘lids.
Techno’s arch, dark alchemist Juan Mendez rolls out a powerful 2nd Silent Servant album with ‘Shadows of Death and Desire’ , arriving some six years after his ‘Negative Fascination’ side triggered a sea-change toward EBM and gothic sonics in a way that’s never been felt more strongly. The album also features the unlikely reappearance of longtime collaborator and vocalist Camella Lobo of Tropic of Cancer.
Over the past two decades the storied, L.A.-based producer has made his presence felt both by stealth and frequency. From his earliest work on LA’s Cytrax thru his pivotal role on early Tropic of Cancer releases and as recording and visual artist with Sandwell District, then later as the go-to-guy for fusions of post-punk, industrial, EBM and techno with DJ sets and releases as Silent Servant, Juan Mendez’s myriad efforts have inarguably exerted an enormous influence over contemporary techno and dark electronics.
With his sophomore album Silent Servant presents an affirmation of his prowess with properly physical effect, wielding some of the most strapping arps, possessed vox and moody pads in his catalogue. In contrast with ‘Negative Fascination’, its influential predecessor, the seven tracks of ‘Shadows of Death and Desire’ are defined by a toothier drive and bite, moving with shark-like momentum thru ruggedest club functions while allowing little room for anything like beat-less reflection or downtime.
Locking in with ‘Illusion’, he pursues singular, writhing permutations of EBM, industrial and post punk moods; taking in slathering highlights with the agitated bruxism of ‘Harm In Hand’ and the rotor-jawed syncopation of ‘Damage’, along with the trampling drone-dirge of ‘Loss Response’, and the needling panic attack dynamic of ’24 Hours’, before drifting off centre with the glorious, swingeing torque of ‘Glass Veil’, and a swooning goth finale in ‘Optimistic Decay’ which sees mendez reunite with longtime collaborator and vocalist Camella Lobo.
Exquisitely rendered in-the-mix by Joshua Eustis, we can practically guarantee that if you fell for the first album, this one will push your buttons hard, too.
Gauzy brain massage from Wolf Eyes’ synthesist Nate Young, working viscous chords until they gently bristle with buzzing overtones in a sort of curdling, melancholic meditation for Lower Floor - Wolf Eyes’ sublabel of Warp
Richard Youngs and co’s Amor mount a full debut album of disco-not-disco with ‘Sinking Into a Miracle’, arriving 18 months after a couple of charmingly sore thumb 12”s. Imagine ACR entering the studio after binging on avant-folk and Liquid Liquid records
““Our time has begun…” Sinking Into A Miracle is the debut album by Glasgow’s AMOR, a quartet of musical travellers exploring the sonic open-ended-ness of dance music. Following two critically acclaimed 12” Single releases, Sinking Into A Miracle is a fully developed treatise on ecstasy and transcendence. Here, Richard Youngs, Michael Francis Duch, Paul Thomson and Luke Fowler are more honed, razor sharp in focus and timing, testing their instrumental prowess on condensed song structures and new, enlightened feelings of expansive hope and bliss.
From the outset it’s an ambitious yet ultimately inclusive journey they are embarking on. Recorded to 24-track tape at Chem 19 and mixed by Paul Savage and Richard McMaster (Golden Teacher), Sinking Into A Miracle retains the elastic grooves of Paradise and Higher Moment, the group’s previous single releases, but relinquishes the classic Philadelphia International tinged sound in favour of more looser rhythmic patterns. There are new depths to the compositions ; a more free-flowing approach to percussion and deft experiments in hybridity, making for a full and rounded, emotionally tinged record. Indeed, there are times when AMOR sound like the lost house band from David Mancuso's Loft parties: Richard Youngs’ uplifting, gospel tinged lyrics talk about moving beyond, universal truths, sailing through the horizon. It’s a wide-eyed optimism Mancuso would perhaps have approved of and which is embroidered with spectral details that begs to be auditioned on large, tweaked out sound-systems.
On Glimpses Across Thunder, Youngs’ piano chords echo early Blue Nile atmospherics before the band take the song into a funked, minor chord territory that feels endlessly searching, never to resolve. Opener Phantoms Of The Sun relies on Duch’s sublime bass line to drive a dubbed out track complete with a utopian flute refrain. Full Fathom Future stomps relentlessly forward on the back of Thomson’s percussion-heavy groove before collapsing into a moving three chord epilogue played on droning string instruments. Heaven Among The Days introduces a more robotic groove to the album, with a short bass refrain bouncing off stripped drum triggers, its dark rhythms reminiscent of the proto-House tracks that were trademarked by Chicago DJ Ron Hardy.
Whilst Youngs contemplates the prospect of heaven in our daily lives Fowler's gliding synthesiers chords underline the more devotional potential of AMOR's music. Sinking Into A Miracle ends with the sublime, Truth Of Life the most expansive and transporting of these compositions. Here the studio as instrument is used to full effect, with the rhythm section in full flow as the melodic elements are twisted, delayed, swaddled in tape echo, delaying gratification before a full, thrilling drop into blissful pleasure.”
He's still dead shy so he wears a red mask, but we won't hold it against him because he makes wicked techno. Redshape returns with the latest Present release; 'Alpha On The Rocks' is an extended groover, evolving with the grace and maturity you expect from Redshape, while 'The Box' on the flip is a tribute to classic Chicago abstractions with mutating drum machine permutations slotting into odd synthlines from big Red.
Sensuously modern soul beauties from Steve Spacek, one of the most distinctive artists combining Black Atlantic heritage with contemporary electronics and futurist vision
On his first Spacek album since 2005’s ‘Space Shift’, and expanding on the themes of his Beat Spacek LP ‘Modern Streets’ , Steve has us rapt from the opening nanosecs of ‘Natural Shift’ with his use of watery compression artefacts - the modern equivalent of tape hiss - which instantly acknowledges his sound as a product of its times. You might pardon our excitement at this sound when it soon comes into combination with his vocals and patented chord cadence, letting us all know that this isn’t some decadent attempt at reenacting old soul glories or slopping on the gloss to mask a formula - he’s speaking from here and now, seemingly singing a modern bluez down a Skype connection.
Most brilliantly, that fidelity also apples to the rest of the album, with Spacek’s trademark falsetto sweetly occluded in-the-mix, smudged with wickedly slouching, gunky bass funk and the “cheapest” sounding drums. As we said, the effect is felt best in his mesmerisingly unique opener ‘Natural Sci Fi’, but we’re also smitten with the album’s other standouts, such as the grubbing acid funk and in-the-pocket harmonies of ‘Carnival Nights’, and the combination of sloshing, off-key arps and languorous vox on ’Shout’.
There’s little mistaking that this is the finest UK soul record of 2018, and a subtly radical new look for the often conservative Eglo label.
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist / producer Scott Hirsch has recorded a follow up to his critically acclaimed 2016 record, Blue Rider Songs.
"On Lost Time Behind The Moon, Hirsch chronicles confronting ghosts of the past, acknowledging that darkness rides alongside the light, and avoiding the pitfalls of regret. The record was recorded and produced by Hirsch with the help of Mike Coykendall (M Ward), and features musical guests William Tyler, Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco), Orpheo McCord (Edward Sharpe), Jimmy Calire (America) and Jesse Siebenberg (Lukas Nelson, Supertramp). Scott Hirsch’s name is one you’ll find lurking in the liner notes of many admired recordings from the late 1990s to the present.
As a founding member of Hiss Golden Messenger, he was integral to the band’s first five records, lending his sonic imprint on their productions, as well as shaping the sound of the live outfit, having toured heavily through the formative years of the band. Much of this work is reflected on the forthcoming Merge Records box set entitled Devotion: Songs About Rivers And Spirits And Children. Along the way he produced and played on records by Kim Krans’ Family Band, as well as recording a Grammy-nominated record by the legendary folksinger Alice Gerrard. Having stepped off the demanding tour schedule of Hiss in 2016, new pathways opened up for Hirsch to fully engage in the craft of songwriting. On this second record, his production tones and songwriting talents are in full bloom. “I think of Lost Time Behind the Moon as Scott’s masterpiece, because everything I know about him is in these songs, the groove and the wonder.”—MC Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger)
Next on Wolf Eyes’ Warp subsidiary, Lower Floor, the group’s early incarnation face off their current guise
As Wolf Eyes, they anchor 16 minutes of brass and electronic graffiti and snotty vox with depth charge bass hits, nasty as you like for the trip metal fiends. In Universal Eyes mode, they pull back into regressive primitivism with shadowy, greyscale shapes looming out of the murk in ‘Civilised Two’, whereas ‘Civilised Three’ feels more like a surreptitious room recording of some early concrète master in his workshop.
Larry Heard ropes in Call Super and Duplex to remix a cut from his Mr. Fingers album, ‘Cerebral Hemispheres’
Mr. Fingers hisself chips in an floating alternate version of ‘Praise to the Vibes’, and a lounging extended version, leaving ‘Crying Over You’ in the hands of the remixers, with Call Super returning a hobbling groove and autotuned vox sealed with wet-eyed synth pads, and Duplex reworking the same elements as a sublime, deep blue acid house elegy to love lost.
Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert invite you to gather round the fire for ‘Ghost Stories For Christmas’.
"The album began with an idea for a song - ‘A Ghost Story For Christmas’. Originally intended as a one-off, seasonal release, it proved such fun to write that soon they had enough songs for an EP. “Then, on a nice, sunny, summer morning, I phoned Hubby and suggested we just do a whole album,” says Moffat.
The album also features their cover of Yazoo’s synth classic ‘Only You’, already a popular number in their live set. The cover versions are topped off
with a sombre rendition of Mud’s 1974 hit, ‘Lonely This Christmas’."
Smart and varied vibes from Martyn’s 3024, featuring himself alongside label debuts from Berlin’s lesser-spotted Juniper, UK stepper Yak, and Baltra - collaborator with DJ Boring
Yak plays up to the label’s ruder side with the crunching 2-step drums and percolated subs of ‘Lucid Nightmare’, and Martyn follows suit with the roguish Detroit/South London rave style of ‘Everything Is New’.
On the other hand, Juniper is on day release with the deeply in-the-pocket, writhing acid funk of ‘Constellations In You’, and Baltra rolls out the floating rave depths of ‘Bensalem Owls’.
Fallen Trees’ – the new album by Lubomyr Melnyk – known as ‘the prophet of the piano’ due to his lifelong devotion to his instrument.
"The album release coincides with Melnyk’s 70th birthday, but despite the autumnal hint in its title, there’s little suggestion of him slowing down. Having received critical acclaim and coheadlining the prestigious Royal Festival Hall as part of the Erased Tapes 10th anniversary celebrations, after many years his audience is now both global and growing. The composer is finally gaining a momentum in his career that matches the vibrant, highly active energy of his playing.
Cascades of notes, canyons and rivers of sound: there’s something about his music that channels the natural world at its most awe-inspiring. In ‘Fallen Trees’ the connection with the environment continues, taking its cue from a long rail journey Melnyk made through Europe. Glancing out of the window as the train passed through a dark forest, he was struck by the sight of trees that had recently been felled. “They were glorious,” he says. “Even though they’d been killed, they weren’t dead. There was something sorrowful there, but also hopeful.” That sense of sadness touched by optimism infuses the album, too: rarely has Melnyk made music so shot through with melancholy and regret, but which sounds so rapt, even radiant.
Drawing comparisons with Steve Reich and the post-rock group Godspeed You, Black Emperor!, Pitchfork praised his 2015 album ‘Rivers And Streams’ for it’s “sustained concentration and ecstatic energy”. That energy is present in ‘Fallen Trees’ too, but at points the tone is quieter, the mood darker and more wistful. At points elsewhere on the album, despite being rooted in the wonders of the natural world, there’s a kaleidoscopic quality in the fractal flurry of notes and the broad spectrum of colour they summon.
Critics have detected the influence of Ravi Shankar and other Indian styles in Melnyk’s music, along with the insistent, repetitive textures of minimalist pioneers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Melnyk himself cites his debt to the American composer Terry Riley, particularly the legendary 1964 work ‘In C’, which he says “opened the world for me”. But he adds that if you listen carefully, you’ll also be able to hear the lilting contours of traditional Ukrainian folk music."
Forward grime for the present state of affairs, from producer Shy One and MC Kwam
Kwan poetically chats about race, economics, family, police, and everyone’s favourite cheap pub on ’Spoons’, set to Shy One’s supremely inventive and daring grime productions, from the fleeting stabs and skittish beat of ‘Power’ to the cool yet powerful tale of harassment from the dibble set to a brilliant jazz/grime fusion in ‘The Raid’, and, our favourite, the properly wild but refined flex of ’Spoons’ with its spiralling keys and splayed 2-step. Surely one of 2018’s most impressive grime releases?!
Seductively depressive darkwave-pop from Seattle in the rainy North West of U.S.A. RIYL Cold Cave, Tropic of Cancer, Veronica Vasicka
“Bloom Offering is the synth-wave / blighted electronic project of Seattle's Nicole Carr. Having released a handful of well-received cassettes through Clan Destine, Aught Void, and Sinneslöschen, Bloom Offering presents her debut LP Episodes through The Helen Scarsdale Agency.
In her development as an artist and technician, Carr has steadily honed her abilities in sculpting sharply cold electronics and declarative vocals set upon propulsive spines of whipcrack snares and throttled kick drums. Episodes strikes us as the refinement and culmination of those motifs into a compulsive communion with bleak noise, dark-eyed melody, controlled rhythm, cathartic release and emotional drainage. The opening track "Swallow Me Whole" is one of many pyrrhic anthems of resolute disdain for the current social order with its frantic rhythms complicating the moody arrangements. "Venus Shrugged" maintains a stately almost haughty sequence of synth stabs, evoking the sexual politics of the male gaze and any woman who chooses to look for herself. The scornful "Out 2 Get U" was penned as a stark banger of unrelenting, industrial techno in the the wake of the panic and paranoia against the post-Weinstein groundswell of feminine rage; yet in the constant headlines of men behaving badly, Bloom Offering's curse remains necessary.
Episodes questions the positions of gendered power in mirroring back Carr's existential anxiety through her roughly engineered body music and minimal wave shadowplay. For ancillary listening references, Chris & Cosey, Lebanon Hanover, DVA Damas, and the rhythmic facets of Janushoved might of use.”
The brothers Overmono rave between tribalist and ambient jungle-tekno and stepping IDM on return to Whiities
‘Lil’s From’ works out natty, rolling breakbeat edits in a way recalling Peder Mannerfelt’s broken styles, whereas ‘Quadraluv’ rolls out on a flighty mix of ambient techno and rude jungle swerve, and ‘Yell0W_Tail’ swings out into breezy IDM dimensions.
‘Moment’ is a strong current statement of intent from Gudrun Gut, the Berlin veteran who has weathered sea changes from post-punk to techno and indie-tronmcs, and now turns electro-pop, glam rock and avant-electronics to her needs. Make sure to check her cover of Bowie’s ‘Boys Keep Swinging’
“German electronic originator Gudrun Gut’s latest solo collection distills a lifetime of persuasions and obsessions into a compelling 14-track statement: "Moment." Stark, somber, sultry, and clever, the sides slide between ballad and lament, synth-pop and spoken word, anthemic and abstract.
Gut’s background as a key figure in Berlin’s first-wave industrial uprising still casts an aura in the music’s mechanized rhythms and frozen emotional palette but decades of improvisation and collaboration have deepened her sense of composition and melody beyond any easy genre categorization.
If anything "Moment" finds Gut’s muse at its most enigmatic, threading shades of motorik hypnosis, technoid laboratory, coldwave pop, glitchy gauze, and even a gender-bent Bowie cover (“Boys Keep Swinging”) into its eclectic web. It also showcases the depth and detail of her voice, reserved but suggestive, intoning blunt truths and opaque poetry in both German and English.
This is music of history and heartache, modernity and desire, alienation and expression, by a singular creative committed to the complexities of sound. - Britt Brown
Gudrun Gut’s story spans many years, scenes, and sounds, from the “ingenious dilettantes” subculture of early 1980’s Berlin as part of Mania D, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Malaria! to her twilit industrial pop trio Matador into an expansive solo catalog of later work scoring films, videos, and radio plays. Her talents extend beyond musician, however, to include founding record labels (the influential imprints Moabit Musik and Monika Enterprise), club nights (progressive electronic pop collective Oceanclub), and experimental feminist collaborations (Monika Werkstatt).
Gut also works extensively in the technical sector of the recording industry, as a producer. Recent projects have included collaborations with Antye Greie (AGF) and Hans-Joachim Irmler of Faust, participating on the advisory committee for Musicboard Berlin, and performing at The Royal Albert Hall with Âme as part of an Innervisions label night.”
Remaster of a 2008 classic ten years after release.
"There's a beating heart buried in the cold landscape of Glider, a warm 4/4 pulse that enervates the album's echoing, looped drones and pulls the listener swiftly through the snow. By pinning barely-there electronic beats to his wisps of guitar melody, the Seattle-based producer turns ambient music into a hybrid strain of breathtakingly intimate, small-scale dance music.
There's a separation of elements in The Sight Below's songs that's almost meteorological in nature: Tendrils of treated guitar trail lazy patterns in the sky like the Aurora Borealis ("At First Touch"), flicker in the distance like heat lightning ("Dour"), or expand and contract like time-lapse cloud formations ("Life's Fading Light"); running along beneath, nearly obscured by the airborne phenomena, is an ever-present beat, which ranges from the mud-puddle throb in "Without Motion" to the tiny, insistent high-hats in "A Fractured Smile." The tracks evolve at a deliberated pace, but as the tones overlap and the rhythms build, time oozes to a halt and hangs in blissfully frost-bitten suspended animation. With Glider, The Sight Below has created a work of vertiginous sonic depth and exquisite melancholy: techno music for a dark, brooding night."
UK techno heavyweights Karl O’Connor & James Ruskin whip out a deadly new OVR session on Downwards
Arriving 2 years since their ‘Easy Prey’ 12”, OVR’s 3rd studio release is defined by its spacious mixing and layered detail in three powerful dancers plus two handy locked grooves.
‘The World Remade’ is a proper juggernaut, rolling thru pelting percussion on 18 wheeler bassline with a pile of jazz mags on the passenger seat. It could easily go on twice as long, but there’s two locked grooves isolating the crunchy bass and gritted drums for DJs who want to properly roll out.
The B-side’s ‘Reversing Into Tomorrow’ tucks into more aerodynamic, stripped down formation, before they cuts loose with foul waves of tarry synth and noise scree in the grim roil of ‘New Departures’ - more of this, please!
1st new Bitstream 12” in 10 years! The bothers Conner remerge one of the UK’s most cherished electro projects for a strong 4-track EP with the West Coast Dutch G’s at Frustrated Funk
Since their last 12”, ‘The Severed EP’  for Touchin’ Bass, Dave and Steve Connor bifurcated into the Uexkull and Adapta projects, respectively. While they’ve turned out some solid gear individually, their powers are arguably felt strongest when working together, as on the ‘Switch Halo’ EP.
In combo, they massively impress with the dissonant, bittersweet choral synth voices that open up ‘Stream Philter’ and infiltrate its slow, pendulous groove, while the richly detailed and rapid ‘Screens’ also benefits from more hands on deck in its sumptuous kneeing soundsphere. Again those synth voices make a crucial appearance, haunting the elastic, shapeshifting slosh of ‘Tactic’, while ‘Switch Holo’ works with powerful techno-electro hydraulics in a super tight update of their signature styles.
One of 2018’s most reliable labels, UVB-76 Music close the year with a killer quartet of industrial/D&B/techno apparitions by Karim Maas, Pessimist, Overlook and Talker
Titled in tribute to the seminal ‘70s sci-fi conjured by Nigel Kneale for the BBC, The Stone Tapes unleashes dark forces in all four parts.
Kicking off with the trampling, lunky pressure and sweltering spectral noise of ‘Removal Of DECC’ by Karim Maas, it finds Pessimist investigating haunted dancehall vibes with the grungy acidic bogle of ‘Ultranova’, while Overlook follows suit with the depth-charge halfstep bone-rattler ‘Purr’, and Chicago’s Talker twat out the tense industrial techno rolige of ‘Cross Purposes’.
There’s definitely something in the Bristol waters…