Sum To Infinity is the second release from Gamut Inc, the retro-futuristic ensemble around composers and curators Marion Wörle and Maciej Śledziecki.
"The sum to infinity of a sequence is the sum of an infinite number of terms in the sequence. It is only possible to compute this sum if the terms of a sequence converge to zero. This second album by Gamut Inc combines custom-built autonomous music machines with haunting classical synthesiser sounds to create a dense musical kaleidoscope.
The core of the album is formed by Risset rhythms – cyclic accelerations and decelerations, in which rhythmic layers repeatedly fade in and out, setting in motion a seemingly endless process of rhythmic movement. The motifs are taken from geometric and arithmetic series that create urgency and restlessness. The rigour of the construction is obscured by an orchestra whose timbres are reminiscent of a retro-futuristic indigenous ensemble.
Gamut Inc translate strategies of electronic music like pulse-width modulation to music machines such as automated accordion, automated percussion or glockenspiels and create an intense atmosphere that is idiosyncratic, original and modern at the same time."
Awanto3 (also known for his work with Aardvarck and Kid Sublime on Rednose Distrikt) returns to Rush Hour with Party Volume 1.
"Moody and rolling MPC work outs with live accompaniment from a solid cast (Jos De Haas (New Cool Collective) on percussion and Stefan Schmid (Zuco 103) on keys).
Broken Beat heads look out .... this really smacks."
Roger Doyle's mythical 1981 debut, a Nurse With Wound-approved tape collage classic, and a handful of the Irish vanguard's best Fairlight-powered electro-pop. Essential, obviously.
Doyle composed "Rapid Eye Movements" when he was just 19. Inspired by the GRM set and recorded between Ireland and the Netherlands, Doyle wanted to create an audio representation of the REM sleep cycle using field recordings and improvisations. He read that during REM sleep the eyes move around beneath the eyelids, and captured this sense of place between dreaming and waking by using disorienting electronic effects and repetitions intended to give the listener a sense of aural deja vu. Released in 1981 on the NWW-affiliated United Dairies label, it's technically a Doyle solo album but the Operating Theatre moniker, a name Doyle used to his ensemble electro pop project, was used all the same. The record is still a dizzying piece of work, true vortex-level tape music material that takes the basic blueprint from artists like Luc Ferrari and Bernard Parmegiani and infuses it with Irish humor and surrealism.
Even just this album would make the reissue worthwhile, but we get a bundle of Doyle's quirky electro-pop productions too. In the 1980s he teamed up with actress Olwen Fouéré, who added a little bit of theater to the mix, and Spanish singer Elena López who handled vocals. Doyle managed to get his hands on a Fairlight sampler, an expensive and rare bit of kit for the time - it was famously used on Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" if you need a reference. So the brittle, characteristic sound gives his productions an era-specific bite that's hard to recreate. All of the tracks appeared on EPs and singles at the time, including one on the U2-affiliated Mother Records, but the group weren't well promoted and splintered. These tracks are a testament to the era and to Doyle's drive as a boundary-pushing producer - who else can pivot from grungy electro-acoustic tape collage into pitch-perfect electro pop so seamlessly? Crazy, good.
Outstanding formative works by inimitable polymath Harry Bertoia, getting familiar with his metal rod sculpture-cum-instrument at an early curve of his peerless oeuvre in 1970 at the Sonambient barn
Plucked from his vast archive of recordings, the newly unveiled works on ‘Hints Of Things To Come’ hold among Bertoia’s most unique and melodic discoveries. Ever since first encountering his work in the ’Sonambient (Complete Collection)’ survey of his private press label, admirably collected and issued by Important in 2016, Bertoia’s mastery of abstract, resonant sound has had us utterly rapt for the best part of a decade now. While we’re familiar with the series’ range of cavernous live recordings, often made without overdubs in his workshop barn in Pennsylvania, we’ve never heard his touch applied quite so sensitively and yet intensely as on these works.
With remarkable patience and finely attuned to the instrument and the acoustics of the space, Bertoia’s haptics generate slow, purposeful climaxes of shivering metallic tone and shimmering reverberation in the first three works, including a utterly immersive 30 minute title piece, before arriving at an historic standout in his catalogue with ‘7 ½ & 7 ½ Combined’, rendering one of his earliest example of overdubbing a playback of previous recording with a live-performance. If you’re also familiar with and favour Bertoia’s work, we can practically assure you that it’s vital listening and nothing less than a seminal, if previously unheard, part of his singular gift to experimental music.
Call it ambient, drone, sculptural sound art, or whatever the fuck you like; this is just amazing music to get lost inside, dialling up the rarest atavistic sensations certain to leave one reeling in imaginary space. Massive RIYL anything from Roland Kayn to Jim O’Rourke’s Old News works or Pauline Oliveros Deep Listening trips.
Visions Of John Clarke was a little thrown together for its original release in 1979. Still, its sleeve carried a ringing endorsement from Bullwackies himself -'President of the John Clarke Fan Club - and the album attracted the interest of no less than Studio 1 boss Coxsone Dodd, whose bid for distribution-rights was thwarted when the Brooklyn label Makossa quickly put in for a full licence.
Out soon afterwards, the new version - entitled Rootsy Reggae - duplicated five tracks, but with markedly different mixes, fresh edits, and sometimes new instrumentation. This CD presents both albums complete with the original track order. The singer - not to be confused with Johnny Clark - had been running with the Wackies operation for six years, ever since moving from Jamaica to New York. He'd cut memorable sevens with co-founder Munchie Jackson for the Tafari label - like In Search of The Human Race and Recession - and with Lloyd Barnes for such Bullwackies imprints as Versatile and Wackies.
Several are collected by these two albums, with another layer of modification: for example, on Wasn't It You Lloyd Barnes and Prince Douglas give a new treatment - adding guitar - to the Jumbo Caribbean Disco twelve; on Pollution they remove the horns from the Wackies seven (though generally Baba Leslie is in full effect here). The tracklisting rounds out with a Johnny Osbourne cover; several New Breed jams, featuring the likes of Jah Scotty, Clive Hunt, Harold Sylvester, Jah Hitler, Jerry Johnson, the Love Joys, even Mickey Mouse apparently; and on a handful of done-over rhythms Clarke takes the mic from brethren like Joe Auxumite, K.C. White and Wayne Jarrett.
Ambient pioneer K Leimer follows soundtracks for How To With John Wilson and a Netflix documentary with filigree interplay of live improv and generative inputs .
Since a revival in interest around his formative ambient recordings of the late ‘70s with Savant, as found on RVNG Intl’s ‘A Period of Review’ and V-O-D’s acclaimed boxset retrospective, K Leimer’s music has continued to flourish in the cracks between ambient, contemporary classical home-listening, and soundtrack forms. ‘LUYU’ or ‘Listen Until You Understand’ sees him ever-refining a systems-based approach of prepared piano, guitars and synthesisers with computer software to see where his imagination might take him.
If we weren’t already informed by the promo, we would have suggested that this music sounds ripe for Netflix, hitting a mark somewhere between custom library music and an AI-emulation generated from prescriptive keywords. The results feel as though they occupy an uncanny valley between human emotion and function, at times crossing across like Oren Ambarchi or The Necks on the post-rock jazz machines of ‘Insistence (The Missing Singer)’, or readied for a lingering shot on ‘Strewn’, while ‘Speech Pattern’ evokes images of machines achieving sentience and ‘Numbering of Laws’ is an off-the-shelf romance cue.
Bubblegum Perfume compilation by Felt.
"Following a run with Cherry Red Records that featured a potential major label jump, guitarist Maurice Deebank quitting and rejoining multiple times, several pop stardom carrots just out of reach, mixing battles with Robin Guthrie, and a shocking entry into the record charts, Lawrence (just “Lawrence”, like “Cher” or “Madonna” thank you very much) knew he would be making a change with his band Felt. He would be seeing out his plan of ten albums and ten singles in ten years alongside a new partner in Creation Records.
This compilation beautifully captures those years. Creation was beginning a rapid ascent at the time, with Alan McGee serving as its hyperactive mouthpiece and focal point. McGee was all in on the band. “Lawrence achieved pop perfection, a breathless rush of sensitivity and intelligence. It was too understated to be commercial, too art to go pop, too pop to go art—in other words it was a perfect combination of all the music I loved at the time.” McGee was thrilled to have what he considered a real star on the label, and Lawrence was equally thrilled to have such an enthusiastic cheerleader. He funneled that enthusiasm into some of the most focused songwriting of his career, as well as some of his wildest experiments, all of which are on display here."
Soul Jazz Records' Space, Energy and Light is a collection of music by early electronic and synthesizer pioneers (from the 1960s through the 1970s), mid-1970s proto-new age gurus and 1980s guerrilla D-I-Y cassette-era electronic artists, spanning in total over a near 30-year time frame.
It's hard not to fetishize the era when electronic music seemed full of hope, promise and mystery. From the 1960s up until the 1980s, artist who were lucky enough to get hold of synthesizers, computers or drum machines were able to paint on a virtually blank canvas - the sounds hadn't yet been absorbed completely into cultural history. Soul Jazz helps map out the development of electronic music in the deep underground, mining the DIY cassette/private press scene for gems like Baffo Banfi's opening blur of arpeggios and brassy waves 'Gang (For the Rock Industry)'.
Elsewhere we get a charmingly breezy new age jam from IASOS, a fascinating synth improvisation from Laurie Spiegel, a blunted, proggy burner from Richard Pinhas and another placement for Beverly Glenn-Copeland's well-known 'Ever New'. The comp closes on its most brief but most precious track - 'Piece #1' from tape scientist Tod Dockstader. That's the stuff!
Epic new collection from Sarah Davachi, intended as a companion to her AOTY contender "Two Sisters". A heady suite of long-form material recorded using organ, strings and electronics, it's deep listening experimentation at its absolute best.
'Two Sisters' was a timely reminder of everything Sarah Davachi does best, a study of instrumentation and duration that ignored the strict hierarchy of the past to gaze into the future, reframing tired associations. "In Concert & In Residence" extends that vision past its outermost fringes; where "Two Sisters" was measured and easier to digest, this collection pushes Davachi's durational instinct to another level, teasing out all the subtleties from her composition and instrumentation to vast depths. There's no better example of that than on the 36-minute opening track 'In the Grand Luxe Hall', a recording of a commission by Western Front New Music that features Davachi and Richard Smith on dual EMS Synthi AKS synths and Marina Hasselberg on cello. If "Two Sisters" excelled in highlighting the mutability of acoustic and electronic instruments and their inherent similarities (when treated cautiously), the piece magnifies that concept in minute detail. It's hard to accurately pull the sounds apart from each other mentally; Davachi and Smith both use the Synthi to generate sine tones that waver gently but purposefully against the expected fluttering tone of the cello. With half an hour of concentration required to let the music seep in completely, it's a demanding listen but one that repays in kind, offering a level of detail that's all too rare in contemporary drone.
'Stile Vuoto' was recorded last year at Québec's Chapelle du Séminaire and commissioned by Organ Reframed. Here, Davachi reconfigures sounds often cloistered in sacred spaces, playing slow organ drones (performed by Jocelyn Lafond) against E27 Musiques Nouvelles' reduced strings. Rubbing against its predecessor's hybrid of synthetic and acoustic sources, the piece highlights the similarities and differences between the pipe organ and the sine tone generator. Anyone who grew up hearing church music will no doubt struggle to unhook the pipe organ from its cultural weight, and Davachi works to envelop the expectation with the same soft power she exudes on "Two Sisters". The strings' fluid tonality contrasts the pipe organ's comparative solidity, and it's within this difference where the magic appears, harnessing energy from folk, church and baroque music. Recorded in Spring this year at Berlin's Emmaus Kirche, 'Harmonies in Grey' strips down Davachi's sound to organ alone, and it's here where her interest in tuning and timbre is really put into sharp focus. At almost 24-minutes, it's a piece of music that allows us the opportunity to bathe in not just the instrument's unique tonal qualities but the reverberation of the sacred space itself, detecting how the building responds to Davachi's minuscule changes in resonance and pitch.
The most ambitious suite on the album is 'Lower Visions', a four-part epic recorded last year at Calgary's National Music Centre using Hammond Novachord, Hammond B3, Gerrit Klop chamber organ and EML Electrocomp 101 synthesizer, and E-Mu modular. By capturing each instrument in the same space and performing a similarly developing composition each time, Davachi makes it easier than ever to hear the instrument's unique flavor and tonality. It's as if she's pulls apart the elements that made "Two Sisters" such an invigorating listening experience and isolates them completely, allowing us to visualize each strand separately and completely. Over the course of an hour, she encourages us to listen to sounds we're familiar with, but not completely accustomed to.
Solo organ piece 'Harmonies in Green', recorded this year at Vancouver's Pacific Spirit United Church, finishes off the lengthy set, driving the purity of 'Harmonies in Grey' into cloudy, reverberating bliss, and playing on the organ's scraping, metallic resonance in the second half. Throughout, Davachi attempts to coax us into considering pure sound outside of cultural trappings. It isn't some new age posturing or pretentious medieval aestheticism, it's an attempt to package philosophy into music that can be absorbed by anyone with the inclination, and it's one that positions Davachi at the very apex of her craft.
Calisthenics is the first album by Institute for Certified Nomadic Illicit Sonic Practices (ICNISP), the Berlin-based duo of Brazilian musicians Marina Cyrino (flute) and Matthias Koole (el.guitar).
"With a mixture of electronic and acoustic sound sources, objects and preparations, inside amplification and no-input mixing, the duo leads guitar and flute towards a common hybrid terrain. Sound perspectives are shifted, instrumental identities are displaced. The piccolo can function as a noise generator and a percussion instrument, the guitar can sound like a bird, the alto flute can be played by an external balloon that moans. Partly inspired by drawings of the Handbook of Calisthenics and Gymnastics: A Complete Drill- book with Music to Accompany the Exercises by J. Watson, first published in 1864, ICNISP came up with a series of musical exercises to stay healthy and fit during the several lockdowns over the past few years. In a playful way, the title Calisthenics also translates an agitation present in many of the duo's energetic playing modes.
On Side A, Calisthenics comprises 7 tracks - or exercises - of different lengths, with a focus on specific instrumental materials or preparations. Side B consists of one track in which a larger form unfurls, with elements of the exercises concatenated into a Full Arch."
Felt's Gold Mine Trash, originally released on Cherry Red Records in 1987.
"This compilation collects material from Felt’s Cherry Red period of 1981 to 1985, kicking off with a confident start, assembling numerous high points, and closing with their biggest hit, “Primitive Painters.”
This phase of the band is defined by the songwriting partnership and unique interplay of Lawrence Hayward and guitarist Maurice Deebank, with Deebank’s stylish and confident playing the envy of many of their counterparts. He delivers a constant string of shimmering hooks that wrap themselves around and over top of Lawrence’s more traditional beat combo song structures, as if trying to fit four songs worth of ideas into a pre-set radio friendly cutoff time. It works wonderfully as Lawrence always counters with a solid bedrock."
Previously unreleased extended mixes of Tyrone Evans 'Rise Up' on Wackies.
"Sensational mixes of this boogie-down call-to-arms, first sighted on the Paragon’s 1983 Bullwackies LP, For Lovers Only. Spaced-out, dubwise, sick, well-charged, epic."
Pretoria, SA amapiano dynamo DJ Black Low weighs in a vocal-heavy and triple deep suite of log drums and sultry vibes on his 3rd and definitive album for Awesome Tapes From Africa
Flagged as one of amapiano’s most distinctive producers since 2021’s ‘Uwami’ album, DJ Black Low’s sound is subtly distinguished by a multi-instrumentalist palette puckered into memorable melodies. On his 3rd and most substantial album yet, he plays to amapiano’s deepest house inspirations with a dozen aces, almost all vocalled by a panoply of local artists who share the mic over plush variations elevated by his harmonious arrangements of keys, synth pads and string samples alloyed to that deadly, signature amapiano bop.
Where we had been initially attracted to the mix of dark but playful instrumental hooks and grooves of ‘Downfall Revisit’ and Alone in a Dark’ off his first LP, here we’re seduced by an abundance of vocals and the woozy, dusky, jazz suss of ‘Impumelelo’. Meaning “success” in Zulu, the title signifies a cool confidence in Black Low’s style this time, resulting an effortlessly breezy sequence of aces between the full bodied vox of Black R, K. Dalo & Lah Presh on the ambient-ampiano house of ‘Thando’ thru the concentrated funk of ‘Akulalwa’, to the brooding tension of ‘Bo Mbali Leboh Palesa’ or ‘Mekete’, and weightless-to-rugged ace ‘Lepiano’, with pitch-bent melodies recalling DJ Mujava's ‘Township Funk’ on ‘Lovey’, and plucked syn-strings even echoing earliest Irdial in ‘Drive Through’.
Manna for BM fiends, D&D players and RPG questers; the next NTS compilation surveys the fetid bedroom-scape of dungeon synth music with a dozen gems plucked from obscure early ‘90s records.
‘Ascend’ holds a torch to black metal’s most atmospheric urges with exquisite, cherry-picked cuts compiled by Sam Strang with Bruno Halper (Emotional Rescue, NTS) and Will Dickson. Leading on from their expert surveys of private press folk, amapiano, and singeli, they turn sharply, bitterly inward with an icy grip of hard-to-find aces that can be hailed as the roots of what is now known as dungeon synth music.
The sound is surely familiar to dimples of black metal’s 2nd wave, and the sort of scene-setting, Midi-eval intros favoured by likes of Mortiis or dodgy cunt Burzum - particularly their inspiration from Tangerine Dream’s Conrad Schnitzler and Klaus Schulze that also leaches into ‘90s RPG computer games such as Diablo or indeed Skyrim in the modern day. Sniff your pits; you’ll know if that’s you: and if so, this set is another good excuse not to leave the house for as long as possible.
The fantasy begins with a stately invitation to join the kingdom of darkness extended by Evol (the Norwegian one), and proceeds from the enchanted pads of Corvus Neblus to the pulsating form of Asmorod, thru toens evoking flashbacks to kids TV gameshow ‘Nightmare’ in ‘Vindalv’s ’Swærfl Stimma’, taking in immersive durational wonders by Apeiron, Lunar Womb and Neptune Towers, beside the lustrous strings of Secret Stairways, and the wheeze of Kadotus609 primed to soundtrack alchemical experiments with Gatorade and Oreos or turn your next garage raid for rizlas and bacon into a gauntlet of suburban zombie NPCs and local hell-hounds.
Czech artist Tomáš Niesner shifts over to Warm Winters for "Bečvou", a frosty and cinematic meditation on localized climate collapse that combines Takoma-style guitar and zither shimmers with gorgeous modular textures.
'Bečvou' was inspired by Werner Herzog's 'Of Walking in Ice', a diary the German director wrote in the winter of 1974 when he walked from Munich to Paris with only a jacket, a compass, and a backpack. Herzog was motivated by the news that Lotte H. Eisner, a film historian and close friend, was dying - he convinced himself that taking this journey would stave off Eisner's illness. Niesner took a similar journey, walking 100km down Bečva, a river in Czechia that was poisoned by chemical leaks in 2020. The artist had grown up next to the river and felt personally affected by the environmental disaster, so this journey was an attempt to connect with Bečva - and maybe to aid its survival.
The diaristic quality is represented by Niesner's swelling field recordings that capture the river's rushing intensity, and over this the instrumentalist plays windswept fingerpicked guitar, developing a widescreeen grandeur that sounds like James Blackshaw jamming with Caterina Barbieri. On 'Chladná Voda' Niesner's orchestral synthesizer drones almost drown out the guitar completely, frothing into near power ambience. But Niesner pares it back again on 'Pod Lipami', reverberating his gentle plucks to offer us the feeling of what it might be like traversing an empty landscape, considering a tragic catastrophe.
It's pensive music for deep consideration and deeper reflection; there are no shortage of albums relating to climate disaster right now but the Czech composer has used a vivid, personal story to illustrate an emotional response to a world that's changing in front of us.
Guy Brewer revels in the cruddiest ambient noise and messed-up rhythms on his compelling debut as Carrier for The Trilogy Tapes.
Adding to his carousel of pseudonyms (Alexander Lewis, Commix, Covered In sand, Pacific Blue, Shifted), Brewer’s Carrier project explores a more loose-limbed and freeform formula than his usual, bloody-minded focus on a singular thing such as corrosive techno or greyscale noise. Here, granular detail is sprayed into more abstract shapes, underpinned by tight subs and a percussive swing that’s anything but rigid.
The seven bits of ‘Lazy Mechanics’ are alternately hard-nosed and sentimental, brittle and gunky, immersive and OOBE-like as he transitions from the astringent atonalities of ‘Chlorine’ to Thought Broadcast-like elegiac ambient of the title tune, and more nervously switches from the gob of bilgy slow techno in ‘Harsh Features’ to a razor-stepping zinger ‘Product of Environment’, and a superb piece of radioactive nasal drip dissonance in ‘Lost on Me’. ‘Ten by Ten’ sounds like T++ on a slower pulse - all snapped, rattling drums and tight subs, and album closer ‘Biger Skies’ fractures a dose of dappled euphoria for the warmest fuzz.
Definitely the most forward facing and enjoyable Brewer productions we’ve heard in years, trust TTT.
DJ Girl with prime Planet Mu gear, a death-defying mashup of footwork, IDM, Miami bass and electro that couldn't have come from anywhere other than the Midwest.
If you've kept a beady eye on the US dance scene in recent years then you're likely to have spotted DJ Girl. The co-founder of Eat Dis Records, she grew up in Detroit and began building up a reputation for chaotically brilliant productions before relocating to Austin, Texas during the pandemic. "Hellworld" lays out an uneasy blueprint for her sound, swerving brutally from brittle footwork ('Get Down') to foul-mouthed electro ('Opp Pack Hittin') and gurgling, k-hole inducing acid ('Technician') within a few short minutes.
As the press release notes it's not unlike a lot of Planet Mu releases from the early 2000s and feels right at home with its greasy production tweaks and cut-n-paste samples you could shake a stick at. But DJ Girl doesn't make music that's drowning in nostalgia, her bizarre - but dancefloor-charmed - musical viewpoint is hybridized and feels curiously fresh. There's a refreshing dissociated havoc to 'Gallery' that sounds as if DJ Assault, Soul Oddity, Ariel Zetina and fellow fresh-faced Mu signing Nondi_ are playing simultaneously. And Irish Twitter comic Lighght steps up for a tight five on 'When U Touch Me', helping DJ Girl to bend skeletal electrical vamps into a hyperpop electro template that sounds as current as 220v to the brain.
Powerfully trippy timbral meditations by unsung synth pioneer Gregory Kramer, bought to the attention of Important by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who opines “Greg is one of the pioneers of electronic music and these pieces are unique opportunities to discover how intricate and dynamic early synthesizers are.” - RIYL Éliane Radigue, Alvin Lucier, Kevin Drumm, Basil Kirchin, Coil, Carl Michael von Hauswolff
Perceptively investigating the materiality and quality of sound, Kramer’s methodically meticulous ’70s works exist in the space between composition and noise. Like the hard-to-define allure of Éliane Radigue’s longform transitions between particular tones, or likewise her enigma shared with Alvin Lucier’s psychoacoustics, Kramer’s four pieces here showcase a mix of deep research, Buddhist spirituality and technical ingenuity placed at the service of psychoactive effect. Trust there’s no fireworks or spectacular “transcendent” virtuosity, but an intently focussed arrangement of sound that exerts a powerful effect on the senses when given concerted time and space to absorb and experience.
“Kramer developed a musical language focused on continuous transformation of timbre, yielding a continuity of attention. This musical language, formed of timbral change, is a compelling aesthetic in its own right and a source of meditative experience. The four works on this album share a deep sense of order derived not from organizing pitches or rhythms, but from the evolution of timbre itself.
The four compositions collected here each represent Kramer’s unique approaches:
The structure of Meditations on 32 Parts of the Body (1978) is derived from the means of its production. Recording 5 people chanting an ancient meditation text, then layering to gradually achieve more than one million voices. The layering was all done using analogue tape recorders. The decomposition of the sound reflects the anomalies of tape machines out of sync, and the build up of artifacts from the audio tape itself, such as uneven response curves and tape hiss, are all engaged as musical materials.
Role (1972) was generated using one complex patch on a large hybrid Buchla 200/100 system. Emerging from a zeitgeist that valued pure synthesis as a combined artistic and technological research. At the time this piece was realized its as exceedingly difficult to produce electronic sounds that were internally complex.
Blue Wave (1980) is built on Kramer’s timbral development technique Veils Of Transformation which allows for disparate timbres to be woven into a continuously developing sound.
Monologue (1977) is a virtuosic performance of a massive patch on a Buchla/Electron Farm hybrid electronic instrument. Built into the patch is a pathway for continuous transformation of voice and voltage-controlled synthesizer. The blunt, raw and sometimes harsh sounds of this piece reflect an attitude prominent among composers that music can, or even should, be difficult, contrary to what’s already been done and, by all means, new.”
Created between Palm Springs, California and Hilo, Hawai’i, V is the first double album from the Hawaiian-New Zealand singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra band.
"Designed to play as one continuous movement and road-tested on dry California freeways, V is the definitive Unknown Mortal Orchestra car record. It’s also the fifth full-length album Ruban has released in twelve years.
Across fourteen sunbleached songs - written solo or with his brother Kody - Ruban draws from the rich traditions of West Coast AOR, yacht rock, weirdo pop and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music. Over a laidback blend of singalong anthems and cinematic instrumentals, he evokes blue skies, afternoons spent lounging by hotel swimming pools and the alluring darkness that lurks below perfect, pristine surfaces."
Darling of mid-‘80s Belgian synth-pop and indie-rock, Anna Domino’s debut LP and corresponding singles come neatly packaged as a primer on her classic early work.
Holding all five song songs of ‘East and West’ (1984), augmented by the likes of her Luc Van Acker-produced ‘Zanna’, debut single ‘Repaeting’, and the noirish swag of ‘Rhythm’, this is an ideal place to star fascinations with Anna Domino. Showcasing a sultry skew on pop standards born of her background int he arts and travels across the US in the ‘70s, these are the songs that first brought Anna to wider attention and subsequent collaborations with everyone from Matt Johnson of The The, Tuxedmoon, Virginia Astley and Ultramarine, ever since.
We reckon the best place to start here is her infectious industrial bossa groove ‘Zanna’, produced by ‘80s legend Luc Van Acker (Front 242, Ministry, Revolting Cocks), and then dim the lights to get into her vibe on the sexy stroll of ‘With the Day Comes the Dawn’, and the atmospheric finesse of ‘Land of My Dreams’, with captivating harmonies on ‘Review’ and Antenna-like class in ‘Trust, In Love’. Dripping with curdled melodic charm, the closing 1984 demo ‘Dreamback’ is a cherry on the pudding, going on like a lysergic ‘60s bop or unused theme to a kids TV programme.
Lukid & Tapes aka Rezzett’s sick 2018 début album lands on cassette years after the vinyl edition sold out.
In possession of a sound that we described at the time as something like exotic birds nesting a space echo inside your ear, Rezzett, along with the likes of Jamal Moss, Actress, Terekke and Huerco S. were responsible for re-balancing the fidelity of dance music in the 2010’s, with radical insight over just how much scuzz and fuzz u needed in the dance.
Using various processes of attrition, they made a virtue of purposefully muddy vibes and steered clear of anything like proper resolution, embracing the infidelities of analog hardware noise for a sort of shabby chic appeal that 5 years on sounds prescient and normalised.
Rezzett essentially came to define that sound at its murkiest and most romantic, pulling from 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.
Haitian six-piece Chouk Bwa join forces with The Ångströmers for a second furious collision of Caribbean 'ardkore pressure.
The first volume of "Ayiti Kongo Dub" EP was a revelation - one of this year's sickest club weapons - and its sequel doesn't disappoint, building on the the trance-inducing dub hypnotics and pushing further into spiraling, cavernous abstraction. Musically we're dropped into atavistic future territory, with Chouk Bwa curving Haitian traditional styles into jagged Bad Brains-esque punk fusion, and The Ångströmers chiseling the results into whirling, electronically assisted pulsemuzik.
We could make stylistic links to HHY & The Macumbas, Nihiloxica and Mark Ernestus's Ndagga Rhythm Force, but with their two "Ayiti Kongo Dub" EPs, Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers expand their landscape with each production. Their controlled, chaotic rhythmic blasts sound as just as sonically in line with African Head Charge's blunted psychedelia, and harmonize perfectly with Nkisi's deadly forays into phantasmagorical secret rhythms.
Just clap yr ears around 'Petwo Raboday', a jerky mind-milt that ruffly assembles lysergic tuned hand drum resonances into swirling passages of fwd-reverse illusory hypnosis. It's still dancefloor gear, just about, but fully cut, fully advanced, befuddling in the best way. Fire.
The eternally evocative notion of a nightclub in your dreams prompts unusually muffled and groggy tapestries Timothy Brown aka TKB, who has never been to a club.
Where too much dance music nowadays sounds like it was made from watching YouTube or TikTok videos of raves and clubs, and not actually visiting them, at least TKB is honest enough to admit as much, and so the results of his ‘Dream Nightclub’ only become more intriguing because of it.
Recorded while living in a shack on a floodplain on Wurundjeri Country, Coldstream, Australia, the 11 parts here loosely resemble traces of 4th world ambient, On-U Sound experiments and the fantasies of Jan Jelinek, but at an oblique remove where only the smudged residuals bleed thru onto his gauzy canvas, leaving the impression of being xannied to the eyeballs and offering a calming, womb-like experience that clubs once offered, before a smoking ban and impatient indie-rock chumps had their way with it in recent decades.
So yeh, ‘Dream Nightclub’ is not club music in any putative sense but, squint your ears enough, and make sure you’re comfortable, and its a surprising trip that’s bound to play out on the back of yr eyelids and transport you somewhere warm, amniotic, soothing.
Serious techno traction from Surgeon on his sleekly powerful first album in five years, sounding like the Brummie dynamo has properly got to grips with the modular array he’s built over the past decade.
A true hallmark of great electronic music producers is the ability to sound like yourself no matter the kit. On ‘Crash Recoil’ Surgeon stamps his signature on every tune via a crisply refined touch on his modular set-up, wresting eight tracks of chewy, roiling momentum with a militant discipline and crafty turns of phrase. Surgeon albums have long been the place to go for his more experimental works, especially the likes of ‘Basictonalvocabulary’ (1997) and ‘Breaking The Frame’ (2011), and this new one finds him balancing urges toward freakier, brutally sensual sound design and the steeliest yet supple club rhythms in a subtle upgrade and redefinition of his sound that still bears traces of the lithe, hands-on tekkerz that have driven his work since the mid ‘90s.
The trax are held in taut flux between electro and techno, proper, vacillating on/off the beat in restlessly rolling forms. ‘Oak Bank’ spends the first half plumbing deepwater electro, resolving to tunnelling techno pulse midway and building a heady velocity. The rest of thallium swillers around this style, from entrancing hydrodynamics on ‘Second Magnitude Stars’ to the outstanding grind of ‘Metal Pig’, and the sinuous, dark sidewinder ‘Leadership Contest’, with hypnotic effect on ‘Masks & Archetypes’ giving way tot he trance-techno of ‘Subcultures’ in a flow not dissimilar to a DJ or live set.
Manna for Ndikho Xaba & The Natives fans from its offshoot, Juju, propelled by Babatunde’s drums and lit with Plunky Nkabinde’s sax fire - proper deadly free jazz business, out of sight on vinyl for 50 years!
Strut do us another solid with first ever reissue of Juju’s utterly compelling 1973 debut, forged in the highly politicised Bay Area against a backdrop of an active Black Panthers and rising Afro-American consciousness during the civil rights era. That energy fed directly into the intense recordings of ‘A Message of Mozambique’, the first output by Juju, who first met as members of The Natives - backing band to South African pianist Ndiko Xaba - and would continue their journey together on its 1974 follow-up ‘Chapter Two: Nia’. The album shares some material with the 2019 pressing of Juju’s ‘Live at the East 1973’, and likewise captures a unique band in full flight at a crest of their collective powers.
It’s not hard to hear their links to the incredible ’Ndiko Xaba & The Natives’ LP from the striking blast of sax and tempered percussive tempest in ‘(Stuggle) Home’, and the also the achingly discordant blues of ‘Soledad Brothers’ that follows (both also on their 1973 live side), but the differences can be felt in the disciplined frenzy of wind and Afro-Latinate polymetric percussion in ‘Freedom Fighter’, and the more concise ‘Father Is Buck’ that shows how they were also influenced by the broader cultural landscape of the Bay Area, while ‘Make Your Own Revolution Now’ is practically proto-Afro-punk in its 11 minutes of thrashing free jazz foment, and ‘Nairobi/Chants’ locks it right down to swingeing fundamentals ripe for the daring DJs.
Mich L.'s debut solo album, air near silence.
"Truly intrigued as a kid by the weird sounds his DIY electronica building kit could make, Mich L. (aka Mich Leemans of Paper Hats and curator of AB Salon) never stopped his quest for more beauty in hidden frequencies and harmonics of modular synths and old tape recorders.
His search into the deep mysterious sound spectrum unexpectedly made a surprising u-turn after a seizure of increasing tinnitus and enduring nausea. The concept of listening, as stated by Pauline Oliveiros as 'the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary, selective nature of listening' took focus in his being. These new insights, together with a studio rearrangement and the purchase of the EMS Synthi A are the keystones which shaped the contours of 'air near silence'.
A precious, fragile and ultra personal sonic exploration of the inner self translated in carefully constructed synth and tape compositions : a microscopic auditive dissection of time and soul. Slow burning stripped down shifting patterns, patched and wired straight from the heart, crawling steadily under your skin, with no plans to leave. Hushed analogue splendor for patient music lovers who dare to be surprised."
Vladislav Delay’s tempestuous footwork tekkerz in full effect on his 2nd set of ‘Dancefloor Classics’, rinsing classic ‘00s R&B, ‘60s soul and chuff-knows what else into wild tips for fans of Rian Treanor, RP Boo, Jlin
With typically febrile alacrity Sasu Ripatti sustains his fecund streak of recent years in all four bullets here. ‘Got Your Money’ shreds up a ‘00s club staple into stuttering footwork ballistics rife with wayward drum patterns that recoil out-of-the-lines, and ‘Didn’t You Know’ appears to flip a ‘60s soul vocal and tear it to tatters in his strong-back centrifuge, like Panda Bear rushing his tits off with DJ Rashad.
‘Two-Door’ snaps back to more conventional footwork with typewriter rhythms and icy electronics in a DJ Paypal style of rhythmic psychedelia, and ‘Memory Lane’ upends in grey RAM matter into a sloshing barrage of machine rhythm attack and yelp like RP Boo in Larry Heard’s washing machine on full cycle.
Necessary reissue of the Ethiopian nun’s stunning 1963 debut of blues-jazz-classical solo piano works, as also found on the Éthiopiques 21: Piano Solo compilation - truly incomparable music that every home should own!
Currently approaching her 100th year on earth, Emahoy Tsegue Maryam Guebrou (born December 12, 1923 in Addis Ababa) is an Ethiopian nun renowned for a preternaturally fluid, visionary and expressive style of piano playing. Nowadays she is cared for in a home for nuns in Jerusalem, suffering from dementia, but still regularly plays the piano. ‘Spielt Eigene Kompositionen’ is the earliest document of her remarkable talents in action, drawing on decades of performance since the age of 10 (and her schooling in violin, then piano, in 1920s Switzerland) and experiences as a nun, a prisoner of war in southern Italy during WWII, her studies of St. Yared’s religious music, and years working for Emperor Haile Selassie’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Imperial Body Guard, in his captivatingly passionate and beautiful recordings.
‘Spielt Eigene Kompositionen’ was recorded when Guebru was 40, and first issued in Germany with the help of Emperor Haile Selassie. All five parts have since found heir way onto the seminal Éthiopiques series, and more recently repressed on vinyl via the stewardship of Mississippi, who commendably deliver this reissue just shy of her 100th birthday. Descending forth effervescent blues of ‘The Homeless Wanderer’ to the trills and quick-slow elegance of ‘Presentiment’, the ineffable elegance of her music belies a rhythmic complexity that bridges African,Afro-American and European traditions quite unlike anything we’ve previously heard. We’re not religious types but my word it surely sounds like she’s talking to God on the windswept blues of ‘The Last Tears of the Deceased’, and it’s a rare wonder to follow her fingers across ‘A Young Girl’s Complaint’ to the dizzying intricacy and cadence of ‘The Mad Man’s Laughter’,. Trust one needs no knowledge of solo piano or jazz/blues/classical paradigms total massive enjoyment from this record.
A new vinyl edition of this exquisite LP of home-brewed electronic meditations that speak directly to lonely, heavy-lidded, nicotine-stained experiences.
It feels like a bluer adjunct to the sort of woo you might expect on Spencer Clark’s Pacific City Sound Visions, or the gloopy drift of RAMZi’s meandering new age, but with Pacific breezes swapped out for a Baltic chill and a serotonin-depleted lack of lustre that’s begging us to reach for the 5-HTP right now.
Moody spods and bedsit dreamers, you know the vibe.
After delivering one of this decade’s early classic LPs, Naarm’s brilliantly incomparable CS + Kreme morph into modal jazz electronic mutations on a deadly cool but restless new album exploring the fissures of Detroit beatdown, early ‘00s electronica, contemporary midnight jazz and ambient rituals, featuring contributions from Bridget St John and James Rushford.
Adored around these parts since their 2016 debut 12” with Total Stasis, Conrad Standish & Sam Karmel’s duo really dominated our listening lives during the pandemic with ’Snoopy’, a heady elision of downbeat styles that crossed borders between lysergic Coil rites and illbient trip hop with a snug intimacy and emotive grip that rewarded deeper with every listen. One of their last live shows before the pandemic was held at The White Hotel in Salford, where the formative, physical experience of performing their music on a finely tuned sound system stuck with the duo as they caught one of the last flights back to Australia, where they endured one of the harshest lockdown protocols in the world; not allowed to travel more than 5 miles from home, and only for limited amounts of time.
During lockdown the residual glow of the preceding months buoyed their spirits and prompted a new slant on CS + Kreme music, urging them to get deeper into it, with melody taking more of a backseat to texture and groove as the recordings manifested a more built-in, metaphoric and circular, organic quality that feels very much in-the-present, but also gently dissociative, evoking the interstitial states of mind of natural highs and nostalgic reminiscence
‘Orange’ arrives as the ideal sibling to ’Snoopy’, blessed with a touch-sensitive emotional intelligence and sensuality that oozes therapeutic vibes. The swirling energies of their first LP here feel settled into a quietly profound psychedelic experience, with longer track lengths allowing their feelings to grow and slosh over the senses with a groggier suspension of disbelief from the snaking rustle of ‘Baseline’ thru the extraordinary 20 minute depths of oily ambient invocation to ‘Storms Rips Banana Tree’ featuring James Rushford on portative organ, Wurlitzer and harpsichord.
The spirit of Arthur Russell's "World of Echo" looms over 'Shred', as moody, viscous strings roll over reduced, machine-gun drum machine patterns and deranged lite-jazz electric piano. Any links the mind makes are inevitably blotted into surreal shapes almost immediately; just as you think you have an idea of where the track's coming from, bizarre vocals and unsettling flute blasts wrench you into a different locale. Even on the relatively austere 'Voice of the Spider', what starts as a baroque minimal techno slowly mutates into glassy FM modernism, with vocal chants and delirious, curvaceous instrumentation that plays like Kemetrix and Detroit Escalator Company on a dank one.
If there's one element that lashes each disparate composition together, it's CS + Kreme's use of voices. On each track there's inevitably a wordless breathiness that roots us in the duo's sonic philosophy; their instrumentals might flutter between vastly different forms of expression, but their transient principles are moored by the most human expression of all. The whisper turns into a murmur (sung by legend Bridget St John) on 'Would You Like a Vampire', and lyrics form a near-song, sounding like Hood's rainy electro-indie variations supplanted into CS + Kreme's psychedelic headspace. It's as close as the duo get to pop, and they follow it by embarking on the album's most uncompromising moment, a 20-minute finale that lurches from transcendent ritual drone into jerky electronics, freeform doom jazz and growling basement noise. If you've made it this far then you've been initiated into Standish and Karmel's musical coterie, and this final mutated gesture feels like a gift from the duo to their most dedicated listeners.
Music From Memory excavate a forensic selection of works from the prolific Japanese producer Dream Dolphin, who released 20 albums in just eight years, 1996-2003.
Known just as Noriko, Dream Dolphin was only sixteen when she started releasing her idiosyncratic back-room music, a weird blend of Artificial Intelligence-era IDM, dance pop, trance and d&b. 'Gaia' is assembled by Eiji Taniguchi (who also put together "Heisei No Oto - Japanese Left-field Pop From The CD Age (1989-1996)"), and has been pared down from Noriko's discography to map out her ambitious creative vision. If you've not come across her music before, Noriko was classically trained but it was an interest in movies like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and experimental records from KLF and Yellow Magic Orchestra that made her want to produce her own music. It's easy to work out where here head was at: watery electronics suggest Japan's beloved environmental music, but Noriko's voice lends the composition its own character entirely.
The album develops to show the breadth of Noriko's musical influences, from good-natured downbeat slinks like 'Tour 5 Modern Blue Asia' and the dubby 'Healing Moon' to rave-pop cuts like 'Voyage (Dive to the Future Sight)' and 'Rain'. Noriko's voice is the light in the darkness that, for the most part, pulls us through each composition and lets us know there's an element linking the disparate sounds. Because while her music sticks to a certain sluggish tempo, the instrumentation veers off in all kinds of directions. "Gaia" is a sprawling set, that's as likely to appeal to collectors of off-kilter video game music as it is to entice fans of gooey Japanese trip-hop like Major Force or DJ Krush.
Rose-tinted retro pop elegance by Malmö trio Death & Vanilla, one of Fire Records’ modern day MVPs and a must check for anyone into Nouvelle Vague, Stereolab, Au Revoir Simone, Laura Groves.
Equipped with an enviable arsenal of analogue gear, and more importantly the nous to put it to great use, Death and Vanilla trail their darker 2019 album ‘Are You A Dreamer?’ with a more subtly optimistic outlook on 5th studio album ‘Flicker’. Song to song they oscillate pastoral and space age whims with a real feel for ohrwurming hooks and sultry grooves that reference a wealth of ‘60s/‘70s library music, gallic Ye-ye pop, psychedelia and kosmiche in their cool stride and verve. At tej risk of stereotyping, they’ve definitely got that Swedish thing for immaculate pop on lock.
Opener ‘Out for Magic’ evokes vintage-clad pretty people bopping with a Gauloises in hand, and ‘baby Snakes’ strolls off on a moonlit adventure. The chiming guitar lead and swaying vocal to ‘Find Another Illusion’ secretes the balmiest feels, and ‘Perpetuum Mobile’ takes a clean leaf from Stereolab’s kosmiche-pop, next to the motorik drive of ‘Looking Glass’. At its most romantic point, ‘Mercury’s Rise’ shimmers with a star-kissed lysergic quality, contrasting sweetly with the dusky ‘Fearless’ and the fading horizon of ‘Transparent Things’.
Theatrical and eccentric stuff from the Belgian duo of arch outsider Dennis Tyfus and percussionist Jeroen Stevens. One for fans of Ghédalia Tazartès and we don't say that lightly...
If you've spent any amount of time poking around the Belgian experimental world, you should have come across Dennis Tyfus. Based in Antwerp, the influential illustrator heads up Ultra Eczema, the legendary label that released classic plates from artists like Hair Police, Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt, among many, many others. Each disc adorned with some of the best album art we've encountered, betraying Tyfus's wicked sense of humor and aesthetic mores. As Jeugdbrand, Tyfus approaches his music with the same mentality and resolve, chopping up phrases and vocalizations to express pure emotion rather than anything resembling coherent thought. He's met musically by Stevens' uncanny accompaniments made from drums, concert bells, organs and other soundmaking devices, dramatic passages of sound that capture a level of intensity that's surprisingly minimal.
'We mogen het toch vragen?' is unashamedly ragged, twisting Jandek's freeform expression with Ghédalia Tazartès' wild vocalizing. Tyfus is on peak form here, gasping and wailing as if he's completely isolated from view, while Stevens haphazardly stamps organ flutters over slow-moving sustained drones. It'd be easy to suggest a connection to South Asian musics but that's too obvious somehow - if Tyfus and Stevens are making a conscious reference, it's to parody its application in contemporary experimental music. 'Do you want to move in with all of us' is more ghostly and batshit, with deranged whistles, banged up piano and peculiar glockenspiel twinkles forming illusory walls around Tyfus's haunted house shtick. It all builds up to 'We hadden het haar al eens gezegd?' that sounds something a like a childrens' song played by an art brut school band fronted by the Judderman from the banned Metz advert. Think that was an obscure reference? Try listening to this.
Electro-acoustic composer Ted Reichman used a discarded box of rare organ vinyl as source material for "Orgelwerke" transforming sounds using tape and broken amplifiers to create glacial drones fit for a cathedral. It's somewhere between Kali Malone and Philip Jeck.
First collaborating with Anthony Braxton in the 1990s and curating the program at legendary NYC venue Tonic, Reichman has built up a reputation for film music, improvisation and electro-acoustic music. He's released music on Tzadik and Skirl, worked alongside artists like Wendy Eisenberg and Steven Long, and has been a professor at the New England Conservatory for over a decade. This level of engagement makes "Orgelwerke" far more than an exercise in contemporary organ fetishism. We know, there are plenty of artists right now clamoring for pipe, desperate to make that all-important link between church music and contemporary drone forms. "The church was the first club space," they scream. And although Reichman's story of picking up a box of rare organ vinyl is a little quaint and convenient - the stuff of press release fiction aka lazy journo catnip - his results are top notch.
Reichman's chiseled, reshaped samples still retain their sacred timbre, and his thoughtful compositions never over egg the cake, moving slowly but never staying static. Gentle tape manipulation and hot, saturated distortion brings animation to the loops, and Reichman's thick drones sound as if they'd fill a space just as readily as the source material might have way back when. If you're interested in what Kali Malone, William Basinski and Philip Jeck might sound like if they were buzzed up in a blender, here's a fairly accurate answer.
"I Got'Cha b/w No Other Life Without You" from Greenflow on Numero Group.
"Languid yacht-soul from the mind of L.A.-native A.J. Greene and his Greenflow collective. Originally issued as a QCA-custom job in 1977, the group's lone album appeared after years of performing their brand of Sausalito-friendly, seafood AOR up and down the west coast. The LP's standout track is "I Got'Cha," with Greene's sister Eleanor providing innocent "doo-doo-doo-doo-doos" around funky keys, muted trombone, and come-hither whispers."
Not Waving & Romance turn heads into candyfloss with this sublime full-length opus, a keenly awaited follow-up to that Romance tape of mottled modern classical loops that sold out in an hour at the end of last year. If you’re looking for a smudge of blissed ambient in the vein of The Caretaker’s ‘Persistent Repetition Of Phrases', classic Stars Of The Lid, or even Arve Henriksen’s sublime ‘Chiaroscuro’, this is it.
Identified as a consummate collaborator in recent years on records with Jim O’Rourke, Mark Lanegan and Jay Glass Dubs; Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving is now found at his most amorphous alongside Romance - an enigmatic figure who appeared from outta nowhere with that stunning ‘You Must Remember This’ tape in late 2020, and now lends their midas touch to the nine immaculate pieces on ‘Eyes Of Fate.’ It’s ambient music of a genuinely rarified, elevated calibre, or what the duo tongue-in-cheek term “mythological, Old Testament ambient”, a phrase which signifies a pointedly classicist approach comparable with seminal records by The Caretaker/Leyland Kirby, Brian Eno and SOTL, but with results that also coolly resonate with the modernist realm of castles in the sky ambient inhabited by the likes of Malibu, Kareem Lotfy or AYYA.
The duo’s first recordings explore the fertile territory between secular and religious music that has long fascinated them, and perhaps most poignantly in an age when allegories of the divine and existential bliss and terror are felt most acutely. Using a palette of choral voices looped and diffused into the ether, they recall The Caretaker’s dank parlour ambience in ’Tropic of Desire’, but equally make room for more grandiose statements in ‘While My Heart Is Still Beating’ and ‘Visions of Light’ reminding of GAS at his stateliest, while vignettes such as ‘Sleepers, Awake!’ are redolent of the intervals to Carl Craig and Derrick May’s ‘Relics.
Cincinnati’s experimental ambient incubator Soda Gong chase aces by Mister Water Wet, Exael and Flaty with James Emrick’s sublime debut album gush of bittersweet, generative expressionism.
“"Actoma" is the new full length record by New York–based musician James Emrick. Emrick may be best known for his work with Kinet Media, handling sound design and scoring for a number of their projects. He utilizes an array of granular and feedback processes within Max/MSP environments to arrive at an idiosyncratic form of computer music that feels willfully opposed to operating within the sediments of the genre.
Techniques such as real-time granulation of samples, Shepard tones, grain diffusion, and complex windowing allow Emrick to dramatize his source material in fascinating ways, and each moment of "Actoma" teems with widescreen textural allure. Perhaps Emrick’s greatest accomplishment is creating a music that remains rigorously committed to severe levels of abstraction while avoiding sterility and coldness entirely. It is a strange and otherworldly landscape indeed, but there is a consciousness there to perceive and record it.”
Coolly intricate jazz-fusion pop, Brainfeeder-style, from LA singer-songwriter/producer Artadi (Pollyn, Knower), effortlessly contouring stacked chord changes with properly enchanting vox
Known to us for her ohrwurm vocal beautifully deployed by Moodymann on his overlooked remix of Pollyn, Genevieve Artadi is a keen part of the LA scene, regularly collaborating with likes of Louis Cole (Knower) and appearing on LPs by Thundercat, Jacob Collier, Sam Wilkes, and players across the spectrum of Brazilian, Afro-Latin, and future jazz musics. ‘Forever Forever’ is her 2nd album for Flying Lotus’ label after 2020’s ‘Dizzy Strange Summer’ and switches up the styles of that album in a more ebullient, effusive bevy encompassing ‘60s psyche soul, Stereolab-like lounging bops, electro-jazz aces and superb broken beat bits recalling 4 Hero. It’s a lot, but never overbearing, and we could happily listen to her deft, honeyed tones all day.
“Genevieve hails from the scarily talented crew that includes Louis Cole, Pedro Martins, Sam Gendel, Sam Wilkes, Jacob Mann and Chiquita Magic, bearing a similar foundation of classical and jazz traditions offset with a healthy punk attitude and passion for musical hybridity and fusion. She admits that being surrounded by these talented individuals is motivation to create in and of itself.
Drawing on the spiritual teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh – the Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk known as the “father of mindfulness”; Ram Dass (guru of modern yoga); Eckhart Tolle and Jiddu Krishnamurti, Genevieve reflects on her relationships, growing up and her adventures in life on this new album. “‘Forever Forever’ is an album about the love I have for the people in my life, attempting to express with a lot of care different sides of it: reassurance, acceptance of change, ruptures, joy.”
Genevieve also emphasizes the importance of anime in her life: “It has inspired me to adopt a bold, full-hearted attitude to my music but also my life more generally,” she acknowledges, referencing a few favourites: Naruto (“It’s changed my life”), Attack on Titan, Rurouni Kenshin, Hikaru No Go, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures.
Half of the songs for “Forever Forever” were originally written for big band, with Genevieve having struck up a relationship with the Grammy-nominated Norrbotten Big Band from Sweden with whom she has been a composer in residence and performed live many times. Consequently, she says that she listened to Duke Ellington and Gil Evans with Miles Davis in pursuit of a creative spark. “The rest I think is just everything from my past that is in my subconscious,” she says. “Random flashes of inspiration from Chopin, Bach (I was learning some 2-part inventions during the lockdown), Debussy, Nancy Wilson, Björk, Ryan Power, Nobukazu Takemura, The Beatles, Dionne Warwick…”
Plugged-in jazz-funk fusion steez from Cherry and co in ’77, back on a timely reissue in step with the chronology of Cherry’s prolific archival programme in recent years.
“After bursting on the scene with Ornette Coleman, trumpeter Don Cherry went on to make some of the most interesting and collectible albums in modern jazz, particularly during the ‘70s, when he incorporated world music motifs into a singular style of jazz fusion.
Produced by Narada Michael Walden, 1977’s Hear & Now was the only solo album Cherry recorded for Atlantic, and while it’s probably the most rock-heavy of any of the albums in his catalog, it still displays his signature eclecticism, incorporating Indian drones on “Mahakali” and African drums on the dazzling, album-ending suite “Journey of Milarepa/Shanti/The Ending Movement - Liberation (from Welkin of Infinity).” It also boasts a fantastic supporting cast with Michael Brecker, Collin Walcott, Marcus Miller, Tony Williams, Steve Jordan, and guitarist Stan Samole, who particularly shines.”
Sasu Ripatti's second 'Hide Behind the Silence' EP is the most subtle and experimental material we've heard from the Vladislav Delay project in years.
The first installment marked a return to the hazy minimalism of Ripatti's legendary 'Anima' and its predecessors, and the second shows an even greater desire for the Finnish producer to lurch into blurred industrial creaking and upended rhythmic complexity. 'Reflections On The Failure' sounds as if it's about to explode into a flurry of beats at any moment, but retains its composure, rattling and popping like a steam train tugging a cargo of live electrical wiring. The core of the track is a lolloping kick drum, but Ripatti surrounds his rhythms with layers of feedback and grit, pushing them into the background with so much force it disappears almost entirely.
'No More Times' is better, growing slowly from an alarm-like pulse into stormy electrical noise and overlaying polyrhythms that grow into a beat that's fast, but so minimized that it sounds like a washing machine wobbling itself across a nearby room. And that's a good thing.
Low End Activist’s Bruk host Lårry’s dank D&B shadowboxing on a strong plate for fans of Mark, Christoph De Babalon, Felix K, Basic Rhythm
In suit with his unpredictably mutable, subterranean manoeuvres for Super Hexagon, Awkwardly Social and BleeD in recent years, Lårry leans into minimalist forms of D&B replete with the sort of spacious, ghostly sound design that defined his previous excursions between techno, electronica and beatdown.
He holds to a razor-stepping line of halfstep minimalism sealed in resonant spheric tones on ‘In water’, and descends to dank level of D&B rolige on ‘Angela’s Knife’, next to a standout piece of tech-step pugilism on ‘Uniform Uninform’, and cleanly vanquishes the drums for the weightless first half of ‘Yargachin’, then launches into Nico-style step in its latter part.
Japanese no wave legends NON BAND with two unreleased tracks that were recorded before they released their acclaimed debut album.
NON BAND were formed in the early 1980s, from the ashes of the Japanese punk rock movement known as Tokyo Rockers. Bassist and vocalist NON had been in a number of bands before going solo and then reconsidering her choice; NON BAND was the eventual concession, a three piece that placed NON with Kinosuke Yamagishi on violin and clarinet and Mitsuru Tamagaki on drums. These two tracks were recorded with engineer Yasushi Konichi in 1981 at the Mod Studio only shortly before their self-titled debut album, and it gives an insight into their process.
'Vibration Army' is angular but not completely slick - it's still on the cusp of no wave, with NON's punk roots shining through the janky drums and rudimentary bass. NON's quirky vocal performance and Yamagishi's violin is what sets this one apart, giving the track a level of originality that's no doubt given NON BAND their enduring acclaim. 'Silence-High-Speed' is a more trackable move away from punk, and sounds like a Japanese answer to Wire with car engine guitars and drums that sounds as if they're about to burst into funk.
Ruffneck junglist x footwork blow-out backed with a spine-coiling rework by Dwarde & Tim Reaper
Working shades away from the vintage jungl/D&B styles stewarded by Droogs and the likes, Pugilist and Tamen run ’95 styles into the red on ‘Lithium’, and give it a memory update with nagging footwork patterns, dub techno chords and moody electronica pads on ’Synaesthesia’, beside the rolling jungle tekno pressure of ‘Myth’. Darlo radge Dwarde links regular sparring partner Tim Reaper (fresh from listing on Forbes’ 30 under 30) on a choppier cut of ‘Lithium’ that benefits from both sets hands on the scalpel with devilish swerve.