Sunn 0)))’s Stephen O’Malley takes us to an exceedingly quiet and sublime place on Öst-Väst Sommaren, his full length contribution to the MMXX series of original works that’s already featured releases from Jim O’Rourke, John Duncan, CM Von Hausswolff and more.
Recorded in Ostermalm & Orust and subsequently mixed at EMS, Stockholm last summer, O’Malley sheds his doom robes for an extended session of anxiety-easing drone bliss in a style that we simply haven’t heard him do before.
Arriving with a chorus of cicadas, the work takes shape as a sustained, wavering organ drone of warm, gently radiant hues that flicker like slow candlelight in a spectrum ranging from almost bruised purple subharmonics to softer pink timbres in the higher registers. It barely shifts in appearance, save for the fade out and reemergence of the cicadas (perhaps the same ones attributed to sonic warfare attacks on the Cuban embassy?), but completely holds our attention for the duration with a sallow cadence that only becomes apparent with closer, involved immersion.
It’s an engrossing study that requires very little effort for total immersion, highly recommended for the good of your health.
The French young composer is the link between the most accomplished scholarly music and some radical aspects of noise. Born in Toulouse mid-seventies, he settles in Brussels - which becomes the crossroads of a continuous creation. Currently works and has been collaborating since several years with numerous European ensembles and musicians such as Ensemble
"Unfinished Altar His most recent pieces intimately mix instrumental timbre and sound hybridization, cultivating a certain secrecy around this alchemy. Here more than everywhere else, Christophe Guiraud's new compositions create a dialogue between the times, from the polyphony of Ars Nova to Spectralism, while integrating his noise heritage.
Resolutely an-historical, the last pieces presented here unfold in a trembling stagnation. Performers The ensemble of the pieces creates coherence across a wide range of musicians coming from different places and traditions and from different ensembles - everything is woven together towards a rather spectacular conclusion."
Leone is the first meeting of electric guitarists Loren Connors and Oren Ambarchi.
"It’s somewhat surprising it’s taken this long as these two are connected by ongoing collaborators, like Jim O’Rourke and Keiji Haino. Connors, for more than 40 years, has continued to develop an iconic sound tethered to radical permutations of the blues. Ambarchi’s own multi-decade transfiguration of the guitar inhabits a rarefied realm of abstracted tones and dissonance pitched between improvisation and composition.
This album, like its title, is a sum of parts: solo performances by Connors and Ambarchi bookend a duo. On “Lorn,” Connors unravels an aggressive ternary form, with an opening section wrapped in distortion and extreme phasing that contrasts against ghostly, distant single notes. This side-long piece is a dramatic six-string reimagination of Connors’ beloved vocal arias. Ambarchi’s “Nor,” supplants a guitar performance with melodic, shifting organ-like tones that are swallowed into a fluttering, glitchy squall. The harmonics and pace is similar in complexity to Ambarchi’s most recent album, Simian Angel (Editions Mego).
On “Ronnel,” the duo, each audio landscape created by the two slowly rotates and overlaps the other. Connors’ lightly traced blue and black notes are boldly punctuated by Ambarchi’s bright bass-like pulses and ebullient synthy colors. It’s as if each is drawing the others’ portrait on opposite sides of a translucent sheet."
For fans of Four Tet, The Chemical Brothers, Jamie xx, Bonobo, Caribou / Daphni, Aphex Twin.
"Belfast-born London-based duo Bicep (Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson) release their hotly anticipated ten track second album ‘Isles’, via Ninja Tune. Two years in the making, ‘Isles’ expands on the artful energy of their 2018 debut ‘Bicep’, while digging deeper into the sounds, experiences and emotions that have influenced their lives and work, from early days in Belfast to their move to London a decade ago. Lead track ‘Apricots’ is steeped in a shimmering bath of warm synths, its spare percussion and arresting vocals bring big room chills while still evoking something lost or forlorn."
First original Kode 9 trax since 2015! The Hyperdub boss makes up for lost time with two sharp shots of mutant juke chicanery at the front of 2021
To be fair he’s not been quiet over the intervening years, issuing everything from remixes of classic computer game music to rare dubs off his Katasonix label (run with Mark Fisher), but ‘The Jackpot EP’ firmly makes up for a lack of new solo gear with two upfront and elusive workouts that read the pulse of the times.
His title cut is a full frontal raver, channelling 30 years of futurist dancefloor energy into a bucking form of ghetto-tech that rolls off-the-bone between slamming 4/4 and drill-style swag, twysted with shearing chromatic synths. However, ‘Rona City Blues’ is the one for us, applying vapourized synth thizz to skeletal percussion and heart-racing subs in a wickedly tense, but barely there, mutation of early footwork-juke and the up-to-the-second styles also explored by Rian Treanor or 33EMYBW.
Mind-expanding cello experiments for brave listeners: Judith Hamann approaches her instrument in completely unique ways, shifting expectations completely.
'Shaking Studies' is Judith Hamann's latest as a solo performer, and she uses this opportunity to examine the sonic possibilities of shaking. Channeling her body's rhythm in innovative ways, she expresses her own vibrations through the cello, allowing it to influence the shape of the sound completely. This is head melting stuff, music for anyone sick of the seemingly-endless drip drip of contemporary cello music that's about as gripping as a Hallmark card. There's no manipulative melancholy or awkward storytime cinema here, it's an exercise in sound and the body's impact on that sound.
Hamann's exploration of the cello is shockingly rigorous. She takes readings of the pulse of the cello, using them to shake against the strings, creating alien tones that create a backdrop for the entire listening experience. This isn't a record that can be classified easily - Hamann rejects the order of Western musical logic, instead searching for a sound than can only be described as fully human.
Distant twists industrial and EBM styles with latin dembow swerve and salty noise for Argentina’s Interplanetary, reinforced by bad-headed remixes.
Check for the Blade-esque club scenes of Distant’s original ‘Rakya’ with hip-shot leader stabs, plus Black Propaganda’s industrial dembow club remix, a pendulous Magnum Opus mix channelling Liaisons Dangereuses, and Boudhicca’s thrumming EBM techno take.
'Endlessly strange and formlessly mesmerising' — The Quietus.
"'on the feet of a wind' is a wild assemblage of carbonated synthetic music from Powell and a sister record to ‘flash across the intervals’ and ‘multiply the sides’ — two albums already released in 2020. Recalling Xenakis, Parmegiani and Hecker but with the smile/smirk of vintage Powell, the record is released via a folder, a new music and film platform created by Powell, Michael Amstad and Marte Eknæs that bundles up music, film, image, text and other forms of madness into folders that are shared/expanded online.
a folder is a collection of disorienting works of experimental film, ambiguous texts, and other assorted media set to the most brazenly strange and formlessly mesmerising musical structures of Powell’s career. It’s also a work of artistic assemblage, without fixed notions of time. Tarkovsky once described his filmmaking as “sculpting in time,” and a folder exists in a similar kind of “zone;” it is a project continuously added to, subtracted from, abstracted, and injected into the glut of cyberspace like a slow moving pathogen that refuses to be defined or categorised. Shunning titles in favour of oblique category markers, films like aƒ34 present a mosaic of images of biological forms and sublime landscapes set to super-synthetic, carbonated compositions. All of this signals an artist liberated from the confines of the narrow branding signifiers an electronic musician can find themselves in. While it is aware of its place in cyberspace, this project also connects to something primordial and awesome. “Xenakis talked about creating universes with sound,” says Powell, “and we are all free to create our own worlds in life, art — whatever. This is what happened to me in a way: I have been in this world for three years or something, and I don’t really want to leave. The folder is a refuge."
Bursting at the seams with 31 exclusive and previously unreleased works by Félicia Atkinson, Fennesz, Malibu, Christina Vantzou, Takagi Masakatsu, JAB, Oliver Coates, Zelienople, Meitei, Clarice Jensen, Mary Lattimore, Alex Zhang Hungtai, iIlyas Ahmed, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Louise Bock and many others, consider ‘A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions’ your home listening class of 2021 group portrait.
Spanning over two hours across two cassettes, 'A Little Night Music…’ unfurls itself in a literary horror structure, appearing and disappearing through a stirring Prologue and Epilogue by London-based cellist Oliver Coates, with each side of the cassettes introducing its Chapter with a chilling dirge courtesy of the inscrutable Geographic North House Band. Taking the pulse of offbeat ambient, avant-classical and cranky modern composition 2 years after their smart ‘Don’t Look Now’ compilation, Geographic North’s latest one goes deeper and further with a broader selection of label regulars and names both new and familiar.
Oliver Coates and the Geographic North House Band are prominent, with the former providing poetic prologue and epilogues, and the latter marking the chapters with beautifully sore synth vignettes, while the main body invites the romantic ambient pop sentiments of Malibu, Meitei, Félicia Atkinson, and a must check head-ringer from Alex Zhang-Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Trouble), plus scuzzed Viennese grandiosty from Fennesz, all sequenced with highlights of their label catalogue such as cellist Louise Bock’s furrowed ‘Flummox’, a sort of wintry string mirage from Clarice Jensen, and the gently weeping guitar of Ilyas Ahmed.
New album from Mali’s Nahawa Doumbia, via Awesome Tapes From Africa.
"The meaning of “Kanawa” is so simple. We see our children trying to cross the ocean all the time. I said that many of our children die in the ocean and some of them while crossing the Sahara. Some climb over the wires across the borders and they have gotten shot. We have asked them not to leave and instead stay home. But I ask them why do they leave their country? Why do they decide to go? They said that they leave because of the family situation or problems, poverty, and unemployment. We told them if ever they are to leave, they should privilege legal ways.
They should abide by laws vigorously when they are to emigrate. That’s better than hiding in boats or adopting other illegal means. I ask them to stay and work in their country. So that we can help each other find a solution to this problem. I call on the UN and African leaders so that we can coordinate our efforts to find a solution, to create jobs for them so that young people stop leaving. This song is about that message and I chose it as the title of my album because I like it. My choice is because it is very meaningful and it is something we see on a daily basis. I chose it in order to alert and sensitize everybody about this question of illegal immigration. To sensitize our brothers and sisters. It is a message. That’s why I chose it as the title of my album so that everybody can learn from it and also so that there is a reduction in the number of people emigrating. To sensitize them so that some can stay home and grow the land. Leaving is not the only solution. That’s my message."
Fifth studio album from Still Corners.
"Building on 2018’s SLOW AIR, Still Corners return with an album about the myth and folklore of the open road. In a world where everyone thinks all the corners of the map are filled in, Still Corners believe there's something beyond what we see and feel, something eternal in the landscape of those never-ending drives.
With the shimmering desert noir sound the band has become known for, THE LAST EXIT takes you on a hypnotic journey, one filled with dilapidated towns, mysterious shapes on the horizon, and long trips that blur the line between what’s there and not there. Greg says, “We found something out there in the desert – something in the vast landscapes that went on forever."
THE LAST EXIT consists of eleven beautifully crafted songs with organic instrumentation, clean-toned guitar, spacious drums and the smoky croon of Tessa Murray. Album highlights include “The Last Exit”, “White Sands” and “Shifting Dunes” all of which evoke the vast space of the desert and rolling unconcerned skies."
Sublime nocturnal compositions from Amir Abbey’s Secret Pyramid, tracing a secretive route thru the dub ether with solemn ambient strains that in places reminds us of Mark Nelson’s Pan American, and at others of Anthony Manning’s peerless Irdial pearls, making for a stunning debut for the always watchable Geographic North.
Recent years have seen the Vancouver, BC resident issue music on Ba Da Bing! and a handy catch-up comp with Gailur, beside production on Loscil’s ‘Equivalents’ album. His first collection of new work since 2017, ‘Embers’ now gathers his thoughts in a significant new suite that’s set to glow like a night light or localised aurora borealis in bedrooms and listening rooms across the world.
Using a typical but fairly rarified set-up of Ondes Martenot, sampler, Space Echo, two tape machines, and a computer, he develops glacially time-lapsed, hauntingly suggestive sceneries that feel like the ephemeral after-images of Ian William Craig, Deathprod or Tape Loop Orchestra.
In his own words, “It’s a reflection of the impermanent, shifting, and fleeting aspects of our lives, both the good and the bad, that often spark something inside of us. Aspects of our daily existence, and the self (whether our emotions, surroundings, relationships,) that are constantly morphing, disappearing, reappearing, burning out, reigniting, and so forth, metaphorically like flares or embers.”
Spend some time with this one and its misty apparitions will draw you right in.
Featuring collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Yo La Tengo, Shara Nova, Mouse on Mars, Francis and the Lights and others...
"The music of CARM features horns in roles typically reserved for drums, guitars and voices, while also escaping the genre categorizations reserved for music featuring an instrumentalist as bandleader. It is not jazz or classical music, nor is it a soundtrack. This is contemporary popular music that features a sound normally used as a background colour and texture as the unabashed lead voice. According to CARM, aka CJ Camerieri, “It started with the question: ‘What kind of record would my trumpet-playing heroes from the past make today?’ I believe they would want to work with the best producers, beat makers, song-writers, and singers to create new, truly culturally relevant music, and that’s what I sought to do with this project.”
Produced in Minneapolis by Ryan Olson (Polica , Lizzo) and featuring collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Yo La Tengo, Shara Nova, Mouse on Mars, Francis and the Lights and many others. This is a completely unique sound that additionally serves as a survey of the collaborations that have come to define the artist’s career thus far. Says Justin Vernon, “I truly believe there isn’t a more accomplished brass player in the entire world of music. And this is way more than a ‘horn’ record. It’s a discovery of new heights with what is possible in creating music.” The album begins with an orchestral brass choir of French horns, which quickly gives way to a piano sample from Francis, as Stevens and Lupin combine voices over a lush bed of horns to sing ‘Song of Trouble’. The album bookends with the same piano sample used as a springboard to an iconic lyric by Vernon in the album closer ‘Land’. Between these two generation-defining artists we have upward sweeping melodies and fanfares reminiscent of Ennio Morricone.
The acutely original sound of Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo in ‘Already Gone’ give way to the virtuoso sound of Nova’s voice. A more experimental path emerges before the strings from Music bring us back to the piano sample that started the record. Instead of recycling well-trodden sounds, CARM offers a respite for those seeking an original voice."
Utterly fab off-world lo-fi pop construxions assembled using DX7, TR-909 and early samplers from Italian minimalist Tiziano Popoli. Imagine Visible Cloaks rescoring "Liquid Sky" and ur there.
Freedom To Spend's latest rifles through the catalog of Italian minimalist composer Tiziano Popoli, unearthing a series of unreleased recordings for soundtracks, radio and installations made between 1983 and 1989 with a modest studio setup. Influenced by glittery radio pop music, Popoli used the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer along with the Roland TR-909 drum machine and some early sampling technology to belt out a series of surreal cues and themes that sound almost frozen in time.
The distinctive FM sound of the DX7 was relegated to bargain bins for too long after practically defining the mid 1980s and early 1990s, but it's received a well overdue resurgence in recent years. Now the familiar sound (smooth, shimmering pads, plasticky stabs and bumping distorted basses) is easily available inside or outside the box, and it's become ubiquitous once again - hearing it here though, struck through with possibility, is an all-too-rare treat. Popoli uses these sounds without cynicism or reference, crafting angular pop forms from a backdrop of funk, prog rock and disco.
'Minimal Dance N.1' sounds like a long-lost Goblin cue, with fractured synths following eerie piano loops. Elsewhere, album centerpiece 'Mimetico Erettile' develops over fifteen minutes, blending paper-thin pads with marimba sounds that buzz lovingly like Steve Reich in an isolation booth. Each track sounds as if it could rattle off the hinges at any moment and that's exactly what we love about it.
Fantastic music that sings loud from a place of innovation and discovery.
Autechre, aye, casually flip SOPHIE’s ‘BIPP' heater into a sort of freestyle pop diamond to get 2021 off on the right foot. We’re massively feeling this...
Way back in 2013, the addictive electro-pop additives of ‘BIPP’ helped position SOPHIE among the decade’s thrilling new talents after introductions made on the ‘Nothing More To Say’ 12”. SOPHIE has since admitted to a formative love of Autechre in interviews, so a certain circle is closed with Æ’s mix of ‘Bipp’, 5 years in the works and emphasising the original’s latin freestyle pop essence with sizzling hi-hat trills and that ultra vocal hook, but here deployed slower and with a rugged assymetry - more goretex than latex? Quite honestly it’s the best thing we’ve heard from Autechre in ages - properly forward, blunted business with a squashed Gescom vibe that pushes a lot of our buttons all at once. Oh and, over on the flip (vinyl-only), a SOPHIE rarity that for the moment shall remain unnamed.
"In 2015 when potential remixes of BIPP were first floated the unequivocal response from SOPHIE was “No remixes..” a long pause followed “..unless it’s Autechre”. We asked, and five years later an email from Autechre arrived “sorry this is so late, hope it's still of some use”. An Autechre live show recording from a Numbers show in 2005 had first inspired SOPHIE to source the equipment used to craft new music including BIPP, LEMONADE & more. The BIPP Autechre mx is 3 minutes 33 seconds long, stripped back and loose. Sounding like Autechre paying tribute to some serious late 80’s influences. The duo's interpretation channels an imagined transition point between NY electro and UK street soul, that pitched down SOPHIE vocal reconfigured into a wanna-be Latin Freestyle Natasha King, jiving over a deep slice of TR-606 funk technology.”
Herself is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti, also known as JuJu in more recent years (Fuzz Club) or as part of the psych project LAY LLAMA’S. Herself’s work was described by critics as the harmonious meeting between Sparklehorse, Gravenhurst and Will Oldham.
"Valenti’s songwriting takes inspiration from low-fidelity apocalyptic folk, crooning and pop; boasting a rather extensive discography. Well rooted in tradition, his music often ventures in the realms of subtle experimentation. His new album “Rigel Playground” prepares the listener for a journey through cosmic folk, in which traditional Brit Pop flirts with an alt vein, as if the Beatles and Sparklehorse would meet the torments of Nick Drake and the intimacy of a Mike Scott.
Continuing a long list of illustrious collaborations (Amaury Cambuzat of Ulan Bator, John Fallon of The Steppes,Capra Informis of GOAT, among others), the prestigious guest on this record is Jonathan Donahue from MERCURY REV, a group of absolute prominence in the international indie panorama, which in addition to having lent his voice to the single “The Beast of Love” – as Herself says – informs the essence of the entire record.
Not surprisingly Mercury Rev chose Herself to support them during their Italian tour last year."
In his essay ‘The Meaning of My Avant-Garde Hillbilly and Blues Music’, Henry Flynt talks about how his music should be analysed as an intellectual tribute to the music of the autochtone, setting aside plain folk references, but adopting academic insights to mold the music one makes as a folk creature.
"Much of Flynt’s discourse applies to the music of Glen Steenkiste’s Hellvete. Over the past twenty years he has been thoroughly investigating both the ethnic musical language of various regions as well as the contemporary pioneers that preceded him as a drone musician, internalizing concepts such as e.g. deep listening or just intonation. Casting off any redundant ideas or sounds, and stripping down the focus to develop singular concepts, his working method lead to pieces such as ‘Droomharmonium’, in which he shapes the endless variations on a theme, emphasizing detail and nuance rather than multitude. The Indian harmonium here serves as the main device to worship ancient ghosts and masters, and to preserve a continuum in a tradition that touches both folk and avant-garde culture. The materialisations are sustained tone compositions which become a means of appreciation of the people and cultures that paved the way for forms of mutual escapism. This might well be the core of what Hellvete’s music is about. As much as it is a form of self-entertainment – like folk music in the old days – it also invites the listener to a shared experience of sonic reverie, it is a casual gift to the community.
This is certainly true for the pieces presented on this album. They were first presented in a smoke filled and darkened art space in Ghent, Steenkiste surrounded by only a couple of candles and just enough stage light to see him erratically moving to the rhythm of the piece, occasionally twiddling the knobs of a Doepfer synth that processed the prerecorded harmonium tracks. Unlike most of his other performances this piece embraced the audience in a trance that was similar to that of an old-school rave club. Flynt writes: ‘The music should be intellectually fascinating because the listener can perceive and participate in its rhythmic and melodic intricacies, audacity of organization, etc. At the same time, the music should be kinesthetic, that is, it should encourage dancing.’ ‘Voor Harmonium’ does exactly that; it builds on the artistic ideas that have long been established in Hellvete’s oeuvre, but the ecstatic nature of these pieces merges the usual spiritual transcendence with one of determined physical bliss. It encourages both mind and body to step into the sound, to be enraptured, to celebrate."
Lovely Music’s cult chamber classic by the late, great “Blue” Gene Tyranny, cosmically coinciding with his recent exit from this mortal coil (*January 1, 1945 - † December 2020).
Robert Nathan Sheff, aka “Blue” Gene Tyranny, was a pivotal figure of the late 20th century US avant-garde whose catalogue joined the dots between the likes of John Cage, David Behrman, and Robert Ashley on one hand, and the likes of Peter Gordon, Iggy Pop and Laurie Anderson on the other; a spectrum of diverse composers and musical dynamos whose stylistic breadth speaks to the versatility and singularity of Tyranny’s instrumental talent and conceptual vision.
Tyranny’s 1978 solo debut ‘Out Of The Blue’ remains a perennial cult favourite, existing on the sweetest, inventive edges of rock, pop and avant-garde composition in a manner that was entirely characteristic of the amazing Lovely Music, Ltd. label, with whom he’s most closely associated. Quite simply, there’s little out there that matches ‘Out of the Blue’ for sheer charm, placing a deep knowledge of experimental and pop music’s internal workings at the service of a ripely melodic and dreamlike suite with results awaiting discovery by new ears.
Classy debut album of horizon-scanning but intimate chamber compositions by Elori Saxl, seamlessly weaving a range of classical orchestration with field recordings and electronics
‘The Blue of Distance’ sees Elori draw listeners between the Adirondack Mountains in summer, and the middle of Lake Superior at the depths of winter, for a cinematic album that expresses a palpable sense of nostalgia and hope. Its title is inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s observation that faraway mountains appear blue due to light particles getting lost over distance, as outlined in ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’, and Elori uses that phenomena as metaphor for the music’s curious sense of physical detachment/immersion and elusive familiarity, meshing recordings of a 6 piece ensemble (Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet, Flue, Oboe, Bassoon) made in summer, with their re-sampled images, re-recorded thru the foot of ice beneath her on Lake Superior, to create an absorbing blur between place and space, and between physical gesture and artificial resonance. A quiet-minded one for fans of Ian William Craig, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, or the evocative, descriptive powers of Goldmund.
Numero’s reissue timeline reaches ‘90s jazz house with reissue of Endangered Species’ infectious turns for UMM/Strictly Rhythm
Endangered Species effectively rewired ‘60s jazz for the halcyon daze of ‘90s house, flipping Gene Ammons’ ‘Jungle Strut’ into the bumpty syncopation of the title tune, beside the bustling good times swing of ‘Just A Memory’, and swanging looser again with the samples of Art Blakey Band’s Wayne Shorter paddled into ‘Ping Pong.’
Timelash is the freshly erupted synthesizer & SFX duet of Embassador Dulgoon (Nonlocal Research) and Corum (Psychic Sounds / Million Brazilians).
"Together they reveal new sound forms by playing with primeval motifs contrasted sharply against unfolding futuristic developments. The result is a simultaneous listening experience of ancient and alien settings told through their unique rhythm of language by mood-driven atmospheres, exotic tones, and electrifying sci-fi Cumbia jolt."
Kode 9 collaborator Lawrence Lek ventures into a fantasy soundtrack sequel to ‘Geomancer’, exploring ideas about love and pop soul in post-human, algorithm-driven AI musics
The full A/V project ‘Aidol’ was previously installed at one of Hyperdub’s acclaimed Ø “club”-nights, and naturally the label deliver its sleekly synthetic soundtrack components as a standalone release that clearly taps into their fascinations with computer game and Far Eastern musics, and emergent forms of sonic fiction. For aesthetic reference points, think neo James Ferraro and Local Action’s Lena Raine releases, Chinese karaoke, and everything from Kenji Yamamoto’s playful melodramas and Nozomu Matsumoto’s uncanny ambient sound design.
““Beware your fans, Diva. First they need you and then they’ll delete you.” AIDOL is the sequel to 2017’s Geomancer. This feature-length CGI fantasy follows a fading superstar, Diva, who enlists the AI Geomancer as a ghostwriter for her comeback performance at the 2065 eSports Olympics. Featuring a soundtrack by the artist, AIDOL revolves around the struggle between humanity and AI for dominance of the entertainment industry. Diva’s quest for fame is set against the contradictions of a fully-automated world, one where originality is no more than an algorithmic trick and machines have the capacity for love and suffering.”
Tim Gick's already-warped patchwork editing of the entire Crazy Doberman output thus far turns increasingly glitched out across the splattered quiltwork of a nine track LP on Aguirre. Any coherent sense of time departs early on the A-side; kicked off with the familiar sound of the Dobes' synth throb and Love-cry woodwinds on top of completely fried electric guitar squiggling, all suspended in spiritual foam; then battered to bits on the greasy flat top of the record's b-side.
"Ringing modular synth sirens evoke alarmingly huge Southern watersnakes swimming on top of Oconee river. Total trip zone across two sides: brownouts in the sequence of events, dubby fadeouts, and bright jump cuts in space. Teases of cartoon barrlehouse tickling on the keys of a farmhouse piano and tape melt psychedelia. The recording session in Athens, Georgia was a total "CHUGFEST" recalls Frank Hurricane, the Appalachian juggalo folkie king, who joined the session with the Lafayette, Indiana crew. The presence of Hurricane's own "Life is Spiritual" mirth bulworks the record with a muddy, barefoot hippy hopefullness, steadying the log flume through the notcturnal psychic murk toward the holy morning dew. (J. Russ) "
Outstanding, enigmatic “technopagan” sorcery and vocals from Egyptian-French artist Susu Laroche, with guest production by Oxhy, for the ace Primordial Void label who co-released that amazing Oï les Ox debut
Despite only emerging in 2020 with a trio of releases, Laroche possesses a clear and distinct aesthetic vision that already sets her apart from the milieu. Coming from a background in film and photography, she draws on dabke rhythms and, for the first time, singing in Arabic to explore ideas of ritual mysticism relating to her heritage, as well as references to 19th century occultist Madame Blavatsky, in a dramatic but not overly so) set of driving dune-dance grooves and synth textures ranging from needling and microtonal, to gloaming, Muslimgauze-esque pads.
The results remind us to a spectrum of music from Aisha Devi’s esoteric pop to Omar Souleyman or the atmospheric industrial tekkers of Bryn Jones and Bourbonese Qualk, charting a head-down and spiritually satisfying trek between the bellicose trample and pealing horns of ‘Yonder Brother’ with Oxhy, to the churning drama of ‘Incivility’, a Zola Jesus-like ‘Traba’an’, and thru to the aching cadence of ‘Nar’with its textured nose and crafty temporal mechanics, while channelling Cocteau Twins-like onomatopoeia in ‘Holy, Sad & Sly.’
100% Laroche is one to keep a beady ear on.
Sheffield’s self-proclaimed Kings of Stadium Ambient™ posit themselves as the apocryphal sons of The KLF in a superb, out-of-the-blue album purportedly recorded at their mid ‘90s zenith and recovered from “lost” DATs
“Everyone is interested in a story or an angle when it comes to music and nothing is more intriguing than a mysterious band thought to be lost in where are they now files of musical history. Who were the The NRG? Did they even exist? The forgotten men of the 90s rave scene?
After they ended their career in late 1994, at the absolute peak of the power, and deleted all of their catalogue everything was thought to be lost forever... but then... In the unassuming town of Kansas, Independence, USA a bunch of DAT tapes were recently discovered when safety deposit boxes were cleared out of an old vault. Amongst gold, cash and classified government documents, the missing piece of The NRG’s history was uncovered. These "live" recordings have been lovingly restored and compiled to create the Live ‘94 LP.
Live ‘94 is the apex of The NRG’s history—simply because there is nothing else. With ticking clocks and alarms littered throughout the album, it becomes clear that the passing of days, hours, and minutes was the actual crux of the band. It was only a matter of time until The NRG would dissipate as quickly as they appeared, like a comet across the night sky—a moment which, if not looking directly at it, is gone. Just like that.
In fact, The NRG never existed, the band, the tour, the album - just a figment of imagination. All created in the modern dis-information and alternative facts world.Born out of a product of fun, ambition and a love for the 90’s, the conception of Live ‘94 - a make believe live album with added crowd sounds transports us back to a time that once was. Now in the pandemic this release has a whole new meaning; no longer is it a nod to the 90’s, but a nostalgic nod to a time when we were once able to experience live music. This album draws from all of the above elements, giving us the ultimate fake dream stadium experience.”
North Californian landscapes supply a rich influence to the solo debut by Marcel Sletten, writing in a self-termed style of “Zen Americana” for his label, Primordial Void
Arriving in the wake of PV’s stellar Oï les Ox album (joint released with The Death of Rave), Sletten’s solo debut proper takes its cues from the spiritual energy of the Bay Area, California Delta, and Sierra Nevada for a charming EP oscillating plaintive, floating drones and more expansive, ecstatic synth flights steeped in the new age suss of the West Coast’s promised land.
Treating his synths like the acoustic guitars of folk, Sletten evokes the wonder of an old new world with strong winks toward 0PN via, perhaps, the likes of J.D. Emmanuel, with a shifting play of light and spatial scale unfolding in his transition from ‘Morphine’, to the arpeggiated vistas of ‘Amador City Blues’, the gushing light streams of ‘Mount Diablo Sunset’, and ‘Transmat Memories’-era Oneohtrix Point never-style bittersweetness of ‘Grace.’ Definitely one to keep an ear on.
Oh my jeffing days, it finally happened! The Japanese edition of RZA’s seminal OST for ‘Ghost Dog’ finally lands to answer our prayers.
One of our most sought-after albums never to appear on vinyl (aside from a sneaky edition you could find at Hardwax if u were sharp-eared), RZA’s first soundtrack, for Jim Jarmusch’s mystic assassin thriller starring Forest Whittaker, has been top of our list since the day we walked out of the cinema after watching it in 1999 as a wide-eyed scrawny 16 y.o. That cinema has since been demolished, but our love for RZA’s score has never diminished, and we’ll happily sit with the looped-up 1 hour version of its ‘Ghost Dog Theme’ that was uploaded by some absolute G to YouTube on given day of the week.
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s not hard to hear the album as punctuating a whole epoch of music and culture, practically executing the final word on sample-driven, old skool beatcraft at a time when rap and hip hop were phase-shifting into the whole jiggy era of Timbaland and The Neptunes, and the old analog world of comic books and Kung Fu flicks on VHS were on the cusp of being consumed into the nostalgia industry - an idea perhaps neatly reflected in the film’s story about an assassin who prefers to follow ancient samurai codes of honour in an era of modern gangsters.
As many have discovered to their annoyance, it’s only this, the Japanese version, that carries the full soundtrack, where other versions were full of crap filler from Wu Tang affiliates. We’re talking some of RZA’s crispiest drum chops, soul stabs, and the most atmospheric work in his catalogue; 35 minutes of lethal neck snappers from the top shelf of ’90s hip hop, and we couldn’t be any more gassed to finally clutch a copy that will be coming to the grave with us.
(RZA voice) Raise your swwwords! Ultimate tip!