This is Thurston Moore’s seventh solo album, and features musicians Deb Googe (My Bloody Valentine) on bass and backing vocals, Jon Leidecker aka ‘Wobbly’ (of Negativland) on electronics, James Sedwards on guitar, and Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, as well as Jem Doulton, alternating on drums.
"‘Hashish’ is the ﬁrst single from the album to be released and is described by Moore as “an ode to the narcotic of love in our shared responsibility to each other during isolation." The song includes a video with footage from The Thurston Moore Group’s tour in early 2020 in Europe, as well as footage of Thurston quarantined in his home during the past few months “with respect to the sacred healing truth of nature.” Prior to isolation during the COVID pandemic, Thurston worked in recording studios in North London until the third week of March 2020 to complete this album for release on September 5, 2020.
While the musicians may not immediately tour, Thurston was adamant to release BY THE FIRE in 2020, and with Daydream Library, has released this quote: BY THE FIRE is music in ﬂames. 2020 is our time for radical change and collective awareness and Thurston Moore has written nine songs of enlightenment, released to a world on ﬁre. Taking a cue from Albert Ayler's "music is the healing force of the universe", this recording offers songs as ﬂames of rainbow energy, where the power of love becomes our call. These are love songs in a time where creativity is our dignity, our demonstration against the forces of oppression. BY THE FIRE is a gathering, a party of peace—songs in the heat of the moment. Some of the songs feature all of the musicians whist a few are solo guitar and vocals. Thurston is working on the ﬁnal cover and sleeve art with London-based artist Radieux Radio who also scribed lyrics for a few of the tracks."
Khruangbin has always been multilingual, weaving far-flung musical languages like East Asian surf-rock, Persian funk, and Jamaican dub into mellifluous harmony. But on its third album, it’s finally speaking out loud.
"Mordechai features vocals prominently on nearly every song, a first for the mostly instrumental band. It’s a shift that rewards the risk, reorienting Khruangbin’s transportive sound toward a new sense of emotional directness, without losing the spirit of nomadic wandering that’s always defined it. And it all started with them coming home.
By the summer of 2019, the Houston group—bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, guitarist Mark Speer, drummer DJ Johnson—had been on tour for nearly three-and-ahalf years, playing to audiences across North and South America, Europe, and southeast Asia behind its acclaimed albums The Universe Smiles Upon You and Con Todo El Mundo. They returned to their farmhouse studio in Burton, Texas, ready to begin work on their third album. But they were also determined to slow down, to take their time and luxuriate in building something together.
Musically, the band’s ever-restless ear saw it pulling reference points from Pakistan, Korea, and West Africa, incorporating strains of Indian chanting boxes and Congolese syncopated guitar. But more than anything, the album became a celebration of Houston, the eclectic city that had nurtured them, and a cultural nexus where you can check out country and zydeco, trap rap, or avant-garde opera on any given night.
In those years away from home, Khruangbin’s members often felt like they were swimming underwater, unsure of where they were going, or why they were going there. But Mordechai leads them gently back to the surface, allowing them to take a breath, look around, and find itself again. It is a snapshot taken along a larger journey—a moment all the more beautiful for its impermanence. And it’s a memory to revisit again and again, speaking to us now more clearly than ever."
The master of the tape loop returns with "Lamentations", yet another collection of eroded drone for low-light dreamers, captured and constructed from tape loops and studies from Basinski’s archives – dating back to 1979 – Lamentations is over forty years of mournful sighs meticulously crafted into songs. They are shaped by the inevitable passage of time and the indisputable collapsing of space – and their collective resonance is infinite and eternal.
Those familiar with Basinski's catalog won't find a lot new here - not a complaint - like the molasses-slow shots that made David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" so eerily affecting, Basinski's spine-chilling repetition drags u into a state of near-hypnosis, focusing on the tiny details as they crumble in and out of view.
"Lamentations" is the perfect title; we've been spinning this on repeat as the constant chatter of apocalyptic news bubbles thru social media and every newsreel across the planet. It's hard to tell exactly what Basinski is lamenting but it doesn't really matter - each track sounds like a fragment of our past slowly fading from view. As "The Disintegration Loops" mourned a New York City that had been lost, "Lamentations" feels like a memorial for something else huge and all-encompassing. Nostalgia's a hell of a drug.
Luke Vibert's first Wagon Christ release in nearly a decade...
"Vibert has been key in pioneering and developing the “trip-hop” or “downtempo” genre of electronic music over his long, storied career. Creating, sampling and using various instrumental hip hop and funk riffs, found electronic sounds, rare breakbeats, outlandish spoken word samples, and carefully mined sound bites, along with LUKE’s signature sample pack of sounds. All mixed up and bound together with those thick WAGON CHRIST grooves."
Wolfgang Voigt's Pop Ambient series of compilations turns 21 with another selection of wistful/drift tunes from Joachim Spieth & Pepo Galán, Max Würden, Leandro Fresco & Thore Pfeiffer, Yui Onodera and more.
"As with many other Pop Ambient compilations, Pop Ambient 2021 offers a welcome platform to contributions from both old friends and new faces. It opens with the gorgeous, slo-mo drift of “Of A Vessel”, from new Kompakt signings Blank Gloss. Sending their music out into the world from their home in Sacramento, this duo makes music that’s featherlight and luscious, the muted chime of a guitar over here, the steady hum of a halatial drone over there; everything in its right place, and nothing overdone. The poise is all. Neozaïre and Seventh World are our other two new voices, the latter closing Pop Ambient 2021 with a long, lambent dreamsong, Neozaïre offering us two gaseous, morphing driftworks, “In Verschwenderischer Fülle” etched across with bell-like arpeggios.
Pop Ambient has always felt like a field for play for the KOMPAKT cognoscenti, and 2021 is no different, with Joachim Spieth collaborating with Pepo Galán on the sidereal visions of “Libration”, while Leandro Fresco teams up with Thore Pfeiffer on the lovely “Abejorro”. Pfeiffer also contributes two lovely solo miniatures of abstract longing. Yui Onodera calls in again, long distance, for their fourth Pop Ambient running, with the refracted, glinting lightscapes of “Cromo 5” and “Monochrome”, while there are also star turns from Max Würden, both solo and in Reich & Würden, and Morgen Wurde, who drops by with the ‘ethereal drama’ of “Mittsommer”.
Pop Ambient gets the balance right: visions and soundscapes, long-distance communications and intimate asides, sweetness and light, drama and dreaming, all wrapped up in floral abstractions – a most beautiful distraction."
40th anniversary reissue of Young Marble Giants’ jangling, wiry, killer post-punk pop groundbreakers from the early days of Rough Trade and the hayday of british DIY music
Originally issued in 1980, this edition of ‘Colossal Youth’ is now available on vinyl for first time, spanning the pioneering band’s debut album plus selections from the unreleased ‘Salad Days’ and various singles, adding up to a definitive survey of a band at the crest of their classic, puckered style.
Depending your tolerance for sweet-toothed hooks and chops, YBG’s sound is either mana or aspartame, but nobody can deny they’ve got a way with nagging riffs and nifty grooves, as you’ll find strewn between the likes of their droll stroller ‘Searching For Mr. Right,’ the reggae-lite dab of ‘Eating Noddemix,’ a Wire-y minimalist jag ‘Constantly Changing,’ and the tight punk-funk wiggle of ‘Wurlitzer Jukebox.’ At the time, this sound ran against the grain of noise punk posturing, effectively helping to birth a style or definition of post-punk which endures to this day, but it’s worth checking their singles and album demos for ‘Salad Days’ to catch their more experimental urges in action.
"Rising through the queer American DJ circuit, Eris Drew and Octo Octa, co-owners of dance label T4T LUV NRG, share multiple decades between them actively participating within the dance music community and are currently both weekly residents on BBC Radio 1."
"The CD compilation was mixed from all-vinyl in their log cabin home and studio in the woods of New Hampshire, taking in cuts that span house, bassline, UK hardcore and trance. It includes exclusive tracks from both Octo Octa (‘River’, a trancey and euphoric house classic) and Eris (‘Reactiv-8’, an electro selection with Eris’s own vocals), as well as many rare 90s house gems previously limited to the collections of vinyl-heads. Released alongside the CD is a double vinyl plus digital download code format featuring ten full length tracks from the mix."
Negativland’s mirror image sequel to last year’s True False, The World Will Decide turns the focus away from the very human inability to accurately define reality, and towards the technologies being built to do a better job at it.
"But if sorting true from false seemed like a full time job track of was one’s own mind, life alongside the machines built to connect everyone only seems to multiply the uncertainties. On The World Will Decide, those uncertainties are made almost deliriously danceable: a netweb of densely sampled voices melting speech back down into music and back again, into what everyone can agree are the real questions—did that firefly really land on your finger? Would you like to be arrested? Does this app connect you to people, or replace them? Is this post an example of inauthentic behavior? Do people have to die? Or, as one of the many sampled voices on this work assures the listener: we can really feel like we’rehere."
Composed and arranged by Fermata Ark between November 2018 and April 2019 (UK/Iceland). Extra processing at Greenhouse Studios (Iceland). No extraneous instrumentation was utilised within these recordings. All sonic manipulation of a captured improvisation, all first takes. Instrumental source material from Spencer Grady and Mark Wastell recorded by Rupert Clervaux at Studio 3, London, October 2017. Produced by Mark Wastell.
"Harry Smith’s work is always looking in two directions at once: towards sound, and towards process. Listening to ‘Thus’, we are clearly immersed in both of these: it is a glorious celebration of sound, spinning a world of glittering textures, hovering drones, and fractured kaleidoscopes; but we are equally caught up in the unfolding of the work, with the riveting feeling that we are discovering the work at the same time as its maker is, with a shared sense of discovery and rapture. The soundworld evoked by Smith follows its own inevitable path, with Smith perhaps serving more as host or catalyst than calculating composer. But this image is deceptive: there is impeccable mastery and control here – control of his sounds and materials, but more importantly, an effortlessly masterful control of the shaping of time – that mark Smith as an artist of remarkable insight and talent. ‘Thus’ is a work that rewards headphone listening. No background music this; it is a work to lose yourself in. It is by turns intoxicating, hypnotic, ominous, serene, profound. It is a world of space and of texture, moving effortlessly from the gentle fluttering of insect wings to the dizzying swirling of primordial masses.
Occasionally, the curtains part, to reveal a fragile and human world behind; before we can quite reach it, the fog rises, the clouds close, and we are lost once again in a sea of sound. It is difficult not to be moved by the music on this album. It is a tactile and bodily experience, music to be felt as much as heard. The feelings it evokes, the imagery, the sensations, are all fleeting, transitory, evading any attempt to take hold of them and draw them into the light. Give yourself up to this music. You will not come away unchanged. (James Andean)"
"Directly following an ambient collaboration with modular synth master Alessandro Cortini (Illusion of Time) and a club 12" with Roman Flügel as Noun (Meeting of the Minds), Daniel Avery finished a solo LP and spontaneously decided to release it with no advance hype.
"Love + Light touches on several sides of Avery's personality, delivering propulsive dance tracks as well as reflective experiments, and diverting into other modes that he hasn't explored as frequently. "Dusting for Smoke" and "Dream Distortion" are prime examples of the type of hissing, hazy techno he excels at, with heavy, pounding beats and tense, dreamy synth textures, all fine-tuned for major club impact. "Darlinnn" keeps up a steady beat but builds much more gradually, working up to a frothy peak and then simmering down. Surrounding all these tracks are experimental pieces like the distorted drone of "London Island" (echoing his work with Cortini) and the gentle, floating harp interlude "Katana." "Searing Light, Forward Motion" takes things in a much harsher direction, with clattering, distorted breakbeats reminiscent of Christoph de Babalon or DJ Scud, and furious acid synths sounding like an angry robot on the rampage. "Infinite Future" is much more serene, with shoegazey synths gliding over a slightly jittery post-dubstep beat, and other tracks like "Into the Arms of Stillness" and "A Story in E5" dip into swirling, tenderhearted downtempo IDM in the vein of Casino Versus Japan or Freescha. "Fuzzwar" is in a similar vein, yet somehow it's one of the least fuzzy-sounding tracks on the album. Wrapping it all up is "One More Morning," a light, shimmering electro piece perfect for greeting the sunrise. While Love + Light feels a lot rougher than Avery's first two solo albums, and initially takes a few more listens to fully appreciate, it's just as inspired and creative."
Low-frequency, high-impact events such as earthquakes and tsunamis are not preventable, three bodies in a room sonically engaging are even less so. Beresford’s architectural narrative drives Magaletti and Martino’s rhythmic interventions into compelling short stories about dancing, dressing in rags, dreaming, swallowing, flight, famine, transformation, and dystopias/utopias.
"Frequency Disasters are pianist, improviser and composer Steve Beresford, percussionist Valentina Magaletti and bass player Pierpaolo Martino. The trio offers a carnivalesque approach to improvisation, where high and low culture, drama and irony 'speak' to each other, constantly redefining themselves and where normative approaches to frequency and sound are necessarily escaped. Mixing free jazz, noise, avant-garde and library music, the trio creates an imaginary soundtrack to a narrative nourished by literary suggestions of authors such as P.G. Wodehouse, Jeanette Winterson and Italo Calvino."
Neuzeit, which German electro-acoustic composer J. Peter Schwalm views through his new duo outing with the Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen, is generally taken to refer to the modern era that began in the 16th century and witnessed the rise of Western Civilization.
"Schwalm chooses to take the term on its face, however; the fusion of “new” and “time” he defines as a period marked by sudden and drastic change. To borrow another word from the German, it ably yet dauntingly captures the zeitgeist of our tumultuous moment, one in which political upheaval, global pandemic and catastrophic climate change seem poised to usher in an uncertain new existence."
Autonomic synth-pop by Donato Dozzy and Eva Geist, expanding on the retro-futurist allure of Dozzy’s Men With Secrets album with a full LP of needlepoint arps and laser-guided grooves landing somewhere between IDIB, dBridge, and Italian potpourri.
“Raster presents »Il Quadro di Troisi«, a project by Andrea Noce (Eva Geist) and Donato Scaramuzzi (Donato Dozzy). The record is a colorful ode of an Italian scented vision, overflowing of details and profound intensity. The contemporary world condition, the pandemic in Italy and around the world define »Il Quadro di Troisi« as a unique and right-on-time release.
This record is a enigmatic collaboration between the two Italian natives Andrea Noce and Donato Scaramuzzi. Andrea Noce takes lead on the vocals, with Donato Scaramuzzi carving the dreamlike soundscapes of the record. The record was born with a correspondence between the two artists about the late actor and director Massimo Troisi, and this exchange soon became an inspirational source of identification. Andrea Noce’s lyrics are sensitive and multi-faceted, they perfectly cling to the musical phrases and flow like a filmic monologue from the oeuvre of that very Troisi.
In a highly creative and confident manner, entire decades of national music history are comprehended and transformed into the here and now. The record takes its cue from the italo-disco, synth pop tradition corroborated by the contribution of artists such as the legendary Twilight Music co-founder, Paolo Micioni, as well as Stefano Di Trapani who wrote »L’ipotesi«. With »Il Quadro di Troisi«, Noce and Scaramuzzi prove their eclecticism, and passion for their home country.
»Il Quadro di Troisi« is a collaboration between Raster and the Milan-based festival Terraforma. With this release, the first with a purely Italian focus on the label, Raster celebrates its long standing relation with Italy and the Italian audience, encapsulated in the label's project ›Electric Campfire‹ held in Rome for ten years. Terraforma is an international experimental and sustainable music festival taking place since 2014 in the park of Villa Arconati, where Dozzy has been invited at every edition in different forms, DJing, live performing both in solo and with Voices from the Lake (together with Neel).”
'Translate' is the first solo artist album in six years from Norfolk synthesizer specialist Luke Abbott: a strikingly direct and assured return to the solo music-making game following a productive diversion into live improvisation with his experimental jazz trio Szun Waves.
"At times dark and ominous, others bright and welcoming, these eleven electronic vignettes form a dramatic and undeniably cinematic body of work which functions as a fitting widescreen soundtrack to our new now.
The lumbering rhythms, strident synths and distinctive touchstones of 'Translate' represent a musical reconciliation with the directness of the wave-making rolling synth-kraut of Abbott’s forthright debut 'Holkham Drones'.
Newly-reinvigorated and with a new sense of musical purpose, this is Luke Abbott’s sound fully realised and never so sure of itself."
‘Love’ is the quietly stunning debut album by John Bence, following his thrilling vocal works for Yves Tumor’s label with a penetratingly expressive solo piano suite for his new home, Thrill Jockey. RIYL Terre Thaemlitz, Morton Feldman, Sun Ra
After making a shocking entrance with the ‘Kill’ 12” in 2018, all bets were on Bristol-based composer John Bence turning in a singular debut album, and expectations have been met, flipped, smashed with this low key extraordinary album of instrumental works. Clearly steeped in the classical world, but unstuck by convention, Bence proves an uncanny knack for nailing fleeting, ephemeral emotions in ‘Love’ with 10 succinct works that speak at the speed of thought; diffracting the pace and mood from rushing flurries of arpeggios to ponderous, Feldman-esque downturns with a striking profundity and timelessness that makes it difficult to even accurately place where or when it was made, if we weren’t told as much.
Drawing upon personal struggles with alcoholism and addiction, Bence deftly transmutes his life’s experience into an achingly sombre but ultimately life-affirming set of arrangements, each performed with such natural effortlessness and directness that it’s almost unsettling to be placed so deep in someone else’s thoughts, and especially so when held against the cold hard light of clarity that comes with sobriety. Trust one needs only a passing interest in piano music to become snagged by Bence’s train of thought, so make sure to act on instincts if the samples appeal, and you’ll be rewarded with a richly quizzical, ephemerally existential articulation for these self-reflective times and far beyond. Unmissable stuff.
Senyawa stir primordial spirits in the cosmically heavy doom and psych explorations of ‘Sujud’, the Indonesian duo’s stellar debut with Sublime Frequencies.
Since arriving to global underground acclaim in 2015 with the ‘Menjadi’ LP on Rabih Beaini’s Morphine Records, Senyawa have established themselves among the most beguiling acts in circulation right now by meshing traditional Indonesian music with elements of doom metal and free improvisation to realise a sound truly without precedent.
Judging by what we’ve previously heard from Rully Shabara Herman and Wukir Suryadi’s duo, ‘Sujud’ is unmistakably their definitive and most powerful album yet. Across seven tracks they explore phantasmagoric scenes of throat singing and abyss-staring doom guitars on the incredible ‘Tanggalkan Di Dunia’, alogn with paralysingly haunting psych-folk on the title track, before jamming gibber-jawed vocals and churning metal riffs on ‘Perjuru Menyatu’, and rounding out with the possessed vocals and grunting guitars of ‘Kembali Ke Dunia’.
“Sujud, their premier release on the Sublime Frequencies label, is the latest chapter of this very special and singular sound of the past, present, and future. The basic theme of the record can be summed up with one extremely powerful Bahasa Indonesian word, Tanah, which translates to "soil-ground-land-earth". Shabara's vocals are an expressive force, conjuring spirits from the soil with a deep humility and respect for the land and their existence in the universe. Suryadi has built a new guitar for these tracks and pushes the Senyawa sound into new territory, utilizing delay, loops, and other effects creating grounded backdrops of folk metal, punk attitudinal, and droning earthscapes - providing Shabara the perfect context to explore his whispering poetry and jagged, sharp-as-a-kris animistic powers. There is simply no other sound like it and Sublime Frequencies is thrilled to present this new direction in their discography.”
Official reissue of Richard Band’s soundtrack for horror fantasy classic Troll (1986).The limited edition yellow-colored 180g vinyl LP is housed in a heavy gatefold sleeve with full movie gallery, obi strip, and video store stickers.The album is also available on CD house in a classic jewel case with cavalier and video store sticker. Both versions contain liner notes by Richard Band himself.
"The infamous Troll score is its very own kind of monster: an extended five-movement symphony conducted by Richard Band in full sorcery mode, creating exhilarating moments of excitement and seat-gripping intensity. At the center of the magnum opus lies the incredible "Cantos Profanae" and its chorus sung in a mix of old English, Gaelic, and Latin - an irresistible magic rhythm, an anthem of fantasy, a true cult classic. Richard Band often cites Troll as one of his favorite works - no wonder, it’s absolutely amazing!
This is released in conjunction with the soundtracks of Empire Pictures’ Ghoulies and TerrorVision, also out on WRWTFWW Records November 20th. Established by producer and director Charles Band in 1983, Empire Pictures quickly became notorious for the horror-comedy classics made during its brief but legendary lifespan. With wild special effects, outrageous humor and over-the-top horror action, Ghoulies, Troll and TerrorVision were three of Empire’s finest works, and each movie featured an unforgettable score by Charles’ award-winning composer brother Richard Band."
The Bug darkens Hyperdub’s doorstep proper for first time since ’Skeng’ with a dead strong new album of mutant dancehall and dread trip hop voiced by Dis Fig.
Currently in fecund form after a series of superb solo albums, Zonal with JK Broadrick, and his modern classic with King Midas Sound, Kevin Martin aka The Bug now finds another ideal foil in Felicia Chen aka Dis Fig, who appears to leave her production hat aside in favour of intimately hushed, almost opiated vox that provide the perfectly possessed counterweight to the musick’s low frequencies and noctilucent timbres.
For the majority of the album Dis Fig is a central, if elusive, presence strongly channelling a certain sort of late ‘90s trip hop and pop ennui that can’t help but remind us the tone to classic Massive Attack, Depeche Mode or Sneaker Pimps from that era, while The Bug’s production subtly elides the aching poetic, liminal nocturnal space of KMS into his more typical dancehall-mowing rhythms with irresistible effect.
The 12 tracks play out like a hymn book for the deserted, haunted dance floors of 2020, tempering the subs and drums to a ghostly, just-outta-reach middle distance, rather than in-your-face, and leaving acres of room for Dis Fig’s vocals to haunt, variously radiating from the core into infinity as on ‘End In Blue’, or hidden in a psychedelic stereo haze of ‘Forever’, while the ohrwurming cadence of ‘Destroy Me’ will likely be echoing in your head for days, weeks after, and you can find K. Martin at his instrumental best on the nerve-gnawing grine of ‘Blood’.
Call us fanboys, but the whole album is just fucking outstanding, really. Bravo.
Sheffield’s industrial music legends returns with a first album in 25 years, shaking up a classic style that has come to influence countless others, from Regis and Powell, to NIN and Mark Fell, since the band first emerged in the late ’70s
Cabaret Voltaire now revolves sole surviving member, Richard H. Kirk, but mostly sound just like they did in their ’80s heyday, mixing agitprop samples with cranky mechanical grooves and sparky synths in a sulky SoYo style they have exported to record collections across the globe. You probably already know they’ve become a byword for this sort of music, and ’Shadow of Fear’ is definitive Cab’s, like.
RHK’s longheld latin kinks come out to play in the cyberpunk soirée opener, and ‘The Power (Of Their Knowledge)’ shows the hordes of drum machine/synth wielding scuzzers how to do it. With a level of sort of psycho-dub sorcery that’s become RHK’s signature, he properly get his hands in there and twists structures like an avant metalsmith or mad scientist, creating strange temporal distance in the ruptured breaks of ‘Microscopic Flesh Fragment’, and panel-beating out 10 mins of factory line disco in ‘Universal Energy’, plus some dodgy Goan techno in ‘Vasto’, and a throwback to Cab’s (and his own) influence over early acid house in the cuboid bass and chattering bleeps of ’Night of the Jackal.’
Glorious turns from ‘90s Chicago staple Rob Mazurek and the superstar Exploding Star Orchestra, revolving members of Tortoise in their stellar number.
For the stats fans, Mazurek has written more than 400 compositions and features on more than 70 recordings, including IARC’s first, and has co-lead or lead ensembles including Chicago Underground, Pharaoh and the Underground (feat. Pharoah Sanders) and São Paolo Underground; just in case you needed confirmation of his truly heavyweight status in the contemporary field. On ‘Dimensional Stardust’ he fronts the free spirited jazz murmurations of the Exploding Star Orchestra through swooning turns, fully making use of orchestral colour in the album’s 10 works, and allowing male room for improvisation which becomes integral to the set’s lush, maximalist tension and release.
“"Dimensional Stardust" showcases the intricacy and complexity of Mazurek’s compositions but in their most potent, most compacted forms. Opting to focus on tight ensemble orchestration over passages of open improvisation, Mazurek distills a maximal orchestra of explosive improvisers into a beautifully restrained, graceful group exercise in melodic minimalism. The album features almost no “soloist” moments, excepting Jeff Parker’s other-worldy guitar meltdown on “The Careening Prism Within,” and when Nicole Mitchell’s flute floats to the front of the barrage on “Sun Core Tet.” Mazurek himself is sparsely present as instrumentalist, only occasionally joining the ensemble with his piccolo trumpet (notably on “Parable 3000,” where he shares leads with Mitchell’s flute and Joel Ross’s vibraphone, and his trills and textures haunt ghostly around Jaimie Branch’s trumpet counterpoint). Even Damon Locks’s voice is employed more like an ensemble instrument than a lead vocalist. Locks’ distinctively dry, abstract narrative flow beams in intermittently – sounding almost like fragments of Deltron 3030 through an Orson Wells-style radio transmission – climaxing in the album-closing poetry of “Autumn Pleiades.” And all the way through, the electro-acoustic poly-rhythmic percussion section (Chad Taylor, Mikel Patrick Avery, and John Herndon) churns, thrusting the music forward as the harmonic instruments collectively bow between frenzied, futurist chromaticism and soaring, pan-humanist pentatonic anthems.”
The Necks’ pianist Chris Abrahams furnishes Room 40 with his quietly devastating first suite of solo keys for the label, some 35 years since his debut ‘Piano’.
Aside from duties in beloved trio, The Necks, Chris Abrahams has combined his skills as a consummate and versatile collaborator with everyone from Mike Cooper to Melanie Oxley and Lucio Capece over the decades, but his solo albums are of rarer, personalised substance, exploring a wide range of electro-acoustic, concrète, and free improv, as last heard in 2016’s ‘Fluid To The Influence.’ Here, however, he strips right back to just him and the piano for an album of palpably vulnerable, instrumental laments that loop back to the haunting atmosphere of his first record for Room 40, ‘Thrown’ (2005), but expressed via a more restrained palette with profound, even cathartic results.
Fair to say, for us at least, that instrumental and acoustic music has taken on a new significance or meaning during 2020’s lockdown, and thus we receive ‘Appearance’ in a slightly heightened state of sensitivity. That state could also be down to the fact I’m listening and writing this from my teenage bedroom (long story), but Chris is simply flooring us with every stroke of the keys, following hypnotically repetitive, grippingly melodic lines of thought that seem to spiral ever deeper into themselves, and us, with deeply transfixing effect that will surely bear up to many return listens. Trust there’s nothing “difficult” here, but also no frilly fromage; just the quintessence of modest, beautifully personal music.
The Acid Lands, created by the Prague-based Opening Performance Orchestra, was first heard in public in 2014 at the Movement-Sound-Space festival in Ostrava, to mark the centenary of William S. Burroughs's birth.
"The piece was performed live by Opening Performance Orchestra and their guests, the theremin player Martina Potucková, and the poet, musician and performer Pavel Z as the narrator. The studio version of The Acid Lands was made in late 2019/early 2020 in collaboration with Bill Laswell and Iggy Pop, who undertook the role of the narrator. The piece, which pays tribute to William S. Burroughs, features fragments from the novels The Western Lands and Junkie. In addition to the title composition, The Acid Lands, the record contains Bill Laswell's instrumental remix, as well as the collective piece Naming Seven Souls, featuring samples of William S. Burroughs reading his own work."
First new LP in 14 years by Kosmische pioneer Michael Rother (Neu!, Harmonia, Kraftwerk), painting elegant pastoral scenes and lolling synth-pop accompanied by a new vocal muse
Like the soundtrack to an air-conditioned bar at a Goan retirement village for krautrock kosmonauts, ‘Dreaming’ may well please the happiest old hippies but may taste a bit too like specialist German cheese to others, depending your tolerance for milky arps, motorik chug and breathy valium vox.
Composer, musician and producer Angèle David-Guillou’s third album, ‘A Question of Angles’, is her most ambitious project to date, its multi-ensemble compositions forming a dynamic cinematic counterpoint to her contemplative lockdown EP ‘Sans Mouvement’, recorded on the organ at the Union Chapel.
"‘A Question of Angles’ is an album of vivid instrumental music. Centred around two main ensembles, a saxophone octet and a string septet, which strut and glide in rhythmic dances, its textures are inspired by the interplay between illusion and reality, particularly the magic realism of Jean Cocteau’s films. “I was interested in translating this idea into music, that I could make something big and bold, but where you might also be unsure of what you’re hearing,” the composer explains. This concept was extended to the album cover, which includes a multi-portrait image that at first glance appears to be a faked composite but was in fact carefully shot for real. On title track ‘A Question of Angles’ a Theremin sings with an uncannily human-like keening voice in conversation with the bombast of rumbling bass trombone and staccato strings. The bold opener, ‘Valley of Detachment’ enters with effervescent saxophones in pulsating phrases, followed by ‘Akrotiri’, where a solo cello moves like a courtly dancer, time signatures switching in interlocking patterns. ‘Forgetting Trees’ also plays with rhythm but speaks in sentences that ebb and flow, with repeating phrases on bassoon and flute, before ‘Quid Pro Quo’, with its layer choir and bass trombones, soars to a rousing finale.
Saxophones and bass trombones are paramount to the album’s sound - David Guillou’s use of these instrument draws parallels with Michael Nyman’s most exuberant compositions as well as Moondog’s dynamic neo-baroque rhythmic patterns, while the handling of unconventional time signatures echoes soundtrack composer Giovanni Fusco’s unsettling atmospheres for Alain Resnais. ‘A Question of Angles’ is David-Guillou’s third album for Village Green, with whom she’s also released two much admired EPs of her unique instrumental music. Hers is a music that rejects the density of ambient mood music, with strikingly animated compositions that recall in sound the bright movement of Matisse’s La Danse, offering an audacious addition to the landscape of contemporary composition."
You may have heard of Gentle Fire, but could be forgiven for not knowing much about them. They were a 6, then 5 member group of composers/improvisers/performers based in London and Yorkshire. Most of the writings that cover the pioneers of experimental, electronic and improvised music have given them scant attention. In addition to this, their recorded output is slim, the main item being a long out of print LP (for EMI Electrola), featuring their interpretations of graphic scores by Cage, Earle Brown and Christian Wolff. Despite recordings for BBC Radio 3 and many German radio stations, it seems extraordinary that there were no other substantial releases of their repertoire, or any of the 6 Group Compositions they created.
Most of the existing Gentle Fire archive was kept privately by Hugh Davies, a member of the group. After Hugh died in 2005 it was shared between various institutions. This release owes much to Hugh’s meticulous record keeping as well as the archives at the British Library and Special Collections at Goldsmiths, University of London. Listening sessions at the British Library were a revelation, it was like discovering a missing link in the evolution of experimental music, but above all it sounded so undated and fresh.
The release is divided into 3 sections. The first CD, recorded between 1970 and 1971 contains 4 studio and 2 concert recordings of graphic and text scores: 2 parts of Stockhausen’s Aus den sieben Tagen, and one piece each by Earle Brown, John Cage, Toshi Ichiyanagi and Christian Wolff. Gentle Fire were active between 1968 and 1974 and were especially active during the early 70s, appearing at numerous European avant garde festivals, playing their own Group Compositions and a wide variety of experimental scores. They even ended up in Iran playing in Stockhausen’s Sternklang, and improvising at dawn at Hafez’s tomb. The text and graphic scores that they were innately drawn towards have large elements of interpretive freedom to them, where the composer provides a skeleton and steps back allowing the players to give it flesh. They were in regular communication with the composers of these piece, so it’s no surprise that their interpretations were sought after by concert organisers and composers alike. There are very few examples of groups working at this time with direct contact to the composers, which makes these recordings especially precious.
CD2 and 3 focus on their own works, CD2 dates from 1973 and was recorded during a 2 day residency at Radio Bremen. The 5 pieces on this disc cover a wide variety of styles and include a 23 minute version of Group Composition VI which is their only text based piece and uses processed and filtered speech.
CD3 is a recording of their appearance at ICES 72, a legendary festival that took place at the Roundhouse in London. Over the course of 2 chaotic weeks a vast number of the world’s experimental musicians took to the stage. Miraculously the whole of the Gentle Fire concert has been preserved. It consists of a performance of their Group Composition IV, centred around a large metal sculpture that all members of the group could play at the same time. The piece actually had its première the previous year on the original pyramid stage at the first Glastonbury Fair. There are several photos of the event included in the booklet that accompanies the CDs.
At last it is possible to assess the importance of this group’s work, both their own work and their interpretations of scores, and to give them their proper place in the history of live experimental/electronic music."
Darkside D&B reflux from the Christoph De Babalon vaults, snaring seven cuts produced 1993-1998 and absolutely essential for fans of late ‘90s/early’00s breakcore rufige a la DJ Scud, Venetian Snares, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Digital Hardcore
Cold-rushing back to the styles circa CDB’s classic album ‘If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It’, A Colourful Storm follow their previous archival excursion ‘Exquisite Angst’ with another clutch of wraithlike darkside phantasms from Hamburg, which, while not quite the centre of D&B during the era, still produced one of the sound’s most prized bastard sons with De Babalon’s take on the UK-born genre. Away from the scene’s quick moving trends, De Babalon forged his own take equally inspired by bleak classical scores and black metal atmospheres, but retaining the rhythmic innovations - if with his own, bone-clacking and gutted DIY style - in a way that escaped many other producers outside the main hotspots.
It’s unmissable for the 9” masterwork of darkcore strings and skeletal hardcore breaks in ‘No Man’s Land’, while ‘Toteninsel’ and ‘Blkue Hours’ are deadly strong pieces of gloaming BM ambience, and the likes of the title track’s ravishing bladesaw breaks and the vintage Ambush-style pressure of ‘Combine’ are straightup essential checks for the hardcore doom ravers.
Brand new album from Colorado’s freewheelin’ melodist Josephine Foster. Revolving between her adopted Spain and her native American West, Josephine was stationed this spring in Nashville with maverick guitarist and comrade-in-arms Matthew Schneider. The result: ‘No Harm Done’, a spacious and enveloping love letter of an album.
"Eight new slow-burning songs branch forth from idiosyncratic country folk blues, sung with sibylline wit and a hint of the absurd, awash in sensually anachronic lyricism. “The Wheel of Fortune”, nearly a title track by virtue of its refrain: 'No harm will come/if there's no harm done', are words of a homebound wanderer finding refuge in healing stillness with her beloved, having 'time to kill' in the midst of 'hard times to feel at home'. All delivered with calm sagacity upon the pedestal of Mr. Schneider's pedal steel and underscored by a knowing trebled chorus in Foster's lower register. Going nowhere never felt like so righteous of a destination before.
Devotion in all its permutations, spiritual to carnal, are seamlessly explored. In 'Conjugal Bliss', overtones of the 12-string and autoharp gently interplay, sounding like some unearthed Carter family wedding hymn (it bears the subversive subtitle '69' ) while 'How come, Honeycomb?' bounces low in the hips like a sultry old music hall number à la Harry Nilsson. The obliquely sapphic 'Leonine', it's unquiet harp scaling right out of ancient Lesbos, dreams of a kingless land; in 'Sure Am Devilish', a stargazer humbly confesses to a lowercase lord. 'Old Saw', the mesmeric album closer, is a medium's petition to cross the threshold and merge with the holy spirit.
Josephine's enigmatic voice captured once more by frequent co-producer Andrija Tokic in his analog Bomb Shelter studio, where layers of her guitar, piano, organ entwine with Schneider's 12-string, pedal steel and electric bass to rouse a spectral yet full blooded band. The ensuing cycle of songs pulse and glow within the ruins and deep fundamental roots of American song."
Ana Roxanne follows up the short-and-sweet "~~~" with this devastatingly beautiful full-length for Kranky, joining the dots between the label's past and present with heartbreaking sounds that remind us of Labradford, Windy & Carl, Grouper and beyond.
The album was written over the last five years, when the LA-based, Oakland-raised artist released that debut EP. While that record was initially dropped quietly, it was eventually picked up and reissued by Matthewdavid's Leaving Records last year, bringing her almost spiritual vocal-led sounds to a much wider audience.
Ana Roxanne grew up obsessed with her mom's collection of 80s and 90s R&B CDs, singing along to them obsessively while simultaneously training her voice more rigorously as part of a church choir. Years later, she was introduced to Hindustani classical music and her connection to her voice and its potential shifted drastically. When she returned to Oakland, she began to refine her craft studying at the prestigious Mills College, learning to work with synthesizers and becoming obsessed with the deep devotional music of Alice Coltrane. And all of these sounds - these connecting threads - are present on "Because of a Flower".
The album is remarkable in its sublime coherence. Roxanne blends styles, influences and cultural reference points so seamlessly it's almost like reading a diary or a book of poems. From the beginning of the album, which opens on a spoken word piece snipped from a harmony textbook, we're transported to a different world. As billowing drones drift peacefully into view, Roxanne's voice echoes above like kisses from a distant reality. This is deeply personal music, and Roxanne is unafraid to bear her soul and assuredly reflect her identity as an intersex person, imbuing her sounds with a vulnerable sincerity that's impossible to fake.
From there, we're ushered lovingly through songs that unify different elements (muted guitar phrases, fragile drum machine loops, disintegrating film snippets) beneath Ana Roxanne's spine-tingling vocals but retain a rare cohesion. Each track is markedly different, but the album hangs together so perfectly it's almost impossible to separate a single moment from the sublime whole.
It is many things and one complete entity simultaneously. Anyone who's been enthralled by Kranky's classic sounds, from Labradford to Windy & Carl to Grouper, absolutely needs to grab this immediately; utterly unmissable music and one of the best records of its ilk we've heard this year.
Stunning dream-pop/post-punk side from New Orleans’ MJ Guider, galvanising her shoegaze sound with industrial rhythms sounding out between Cocteau Twins, Tropic of Cancer and Seefeel in an amazing sophomore album for eternal dreamers at Kranky
Arriving four years after her ‘Precious Systems’, which benefitted beautifully from studio mixing rendered by Turk Dietrich and Josh Eustis ov NIN/Second Woman esteem, ’Sour Cherry Bell’ channels a more pronounced sense of southern Gothic mystique and late ‘80s industrial noir for Guider’s follow-up. We’re not certain who’s behind the mixing/mastering this time, but it certainly sounds like Second Woman’s spacious sensitivities come into play, perfectly suspending the vocals in endlessly diaphanous reverbs and giving special attention to the percussion and synths in an electronic/ambient-techno sense that’s seamlessly incorporated and feels like a subtle, but necessary update and mutation of its influences, rather than straightforward homage.
From the cavernous introduction of ‘Lowlight’ through to its supine closer ‘Petrechoria’, the album really comes alive with amplivication, tactfully enveloping the senses with sheets of processed guitar, or set against starkly booming drums in ‘The Steelyard’ and ‘FM Secure’ that conjure the steepest sense of dread, surely recalling Elizabeth Fraser and her amazing meeting with Seefeel’s Mark Clifford, while ‘Body Optics’ and ’Simulus’ feels like a gutted HTRK, and ‘Quiet Time’ could almost be mistaken for Tropic of Cancer, but that keening production is just something else.
Autechre drop ‘Plus’, the ruder counterpart to their brooding ’Sign’ album, rinsing squashed drums and harsher textured tones in a newly aerated, noisier sort of sound design.
If you were left glowing but still hungry for some rufige after ’Sign’, this album’s for you. Their staunchest North Manc C++Boy attitude is in spine twisting, neck snapping effect on nine unusually raw cuts that bleed dank air and squeeze melody from scuffed and scaly surfaces. It’s definitely still AE, but allowing for more space and finer graded textures in the mix, from their juiciest sloshing basses, to the rusted drums and iridescent, aerosolised timbres in a subtle new mutation of their sound.
As we commented with ‘Sign’, it feels like they're haunted by their older forms on ‘Plus’, but still inexorably pulled toward a futuristic unknown. We can feel those opposing forces at action in the stunning hyperstep dynamics and almost nostalgic ken of ‘X4’, which is one of the album’s durational highlights along with the totally absorbing concrète setting and avian chirrups of ‘ecol4’, and the quicksilver techno slipperiness of ‘TM1’, while the likes of ‘7FM ic’ deliver sharper shocks of impossible limb movements, and ‘marhide’ epitomises a noisier approach with straight-jacketed electro extruded thru some kind of imaginary airlock, saving bittersweet touches for the extended melodic thoughts of ‘lux 106 mod’ and the aspartame flavour tang of their beatless roller ‘ii.pre esc’, which is bound to become a favourite.
London-based trio Quest Ensemble present a distinctive twist on the traditional piano trio format.
"A collaboration between three powerful performers/composers, ‘The Other Side’ sees musical styles woven together into a lyrical tapestry of sound, blending improvisation with co-created original compositions. A truly unique ensemble in compositional process and performance style.
With nods to influences as broad as the contemporary minimalism of John Adams and Steve Reich, the experimental melancholic textures of Radiohead to the progressive jazz precision of Brad Mehldau, ‘The Other Side’ inhabits its own soundworld somewhere in the gaps between chamber, jazz, folk and contemporary classical music. From the emotive ‘Moments’, the elasticated melodies of ‘Pendulum’, to the fluid lines and compelling urgency of ‘The Boatman’ and ‘Pedal Down’, Quest Ensemble’s compositions fuse layered melodies and rhythmic patterns to create contrapuntal webs of sound. The process involves sharing improvised ideas, building up layers of music on each instrument to create a patchwork of musical themes with a rich vein of surging Reichian rhythms underpinning each."
Ben Frost’s menacing soundscapes have provided a foreboding backdrop to the surreal German thriller for three seasons. In this third and final cycle, Frost’s score evolves beyond the sharp string orchestrations of the first and the percussive distortion of the second, towards a sea of disintegrated brass and woodwind arrangements and Eno-inspired ambience.
"In the third and final season, DARK reaches its mind-bending conclusion, moving beyond the concept of space and time. Upon arrival in a new world, Jonas tries to make sense of what this rendition of Winden means for his own fate, while the ones left behind in the other world are left on a quest to break the loop that now not only bends time but also space. Two worlds. Light and dark. And in the center a tragic love story of epic proportions.
Ben Frost is a Composer, Producer, Sound Artist and Director. Born in Melbourne Australia in 1980 and based since the early 2000’s in Reykjavík Iceland, Frost was mentored by Brian Eno in the Rolex Arts Initiative. His work includes the studio albums Theory of Machines (2007), By The Throat (2009), A U R O R A (2014) and The Centre Cannot Hold (2017) and spans an array of other forms including installations, live performance, scores for dance, theatre, and various studio collaborations. He has composed several scores for film including the Palme d’Or nominated Sleeping Beauty, the TV series Fortitude and Dark. Most recently he composed the score for Raised By Wolves with director Ridley Scott."
First everl release of Richard Band’s full uncut soundtrack for cult horror comedy classic Ghoulies (1985).The limited edition pink-colored 180g vinyl LP is housed in a heavy gatefold sleeve with full movie gallery, obi strip, and video store stickers.The album is also available on CD house in a classic jewel case with cavalier and video store sticker. Both versions contain liner notes by Richard Band himself.
"One of the most sought-after soundtracks from horror/sci-fi/fantasy film scoring master Richard Band, Ghoulies is finally getting the full official release it deserves. Packed with 16 tracks, plus two bonuses by Fela Johnson (including the fan-favorite "Dancing with a Monster", a true disco…monster!), it beautifully flows, covering all aspects of 80s b-movie horror music, from eerie vibes to palpable tension, full on satanic darkness, epic momentums, and just the right amount of wackiness. Band has a true talent for subtle tones and precise moods, fully capable of taking you on an uninterrupted magical ride/listening experience - one that feels like a trip to a 1985 video store and a whole world of mysterious treasures to discover!
This is released in conjunction with the soundtracks of Empire Pictures’ TerrorVision and Troll, also out on WRWTFWW Records November 20th. Established by producer and director Charles Band in 1986, Empire Pictures quickly became notorious for the horror-comedy classics made during its brief but legendary lifespan. With wild special effects, outrageous humor and over-the-top horror action, Ghoulies, Troll and TerrorVision are three of Empire’s finest works, and each movie feature an unforgettable score by Charles’ award-winning composer brother Richard Band."
Quietly gripping and unmissable solo debut from cellist Judith Hamann, following a side of oneiric collages with her strikingly definitive chamber opus, including pieces written for her by Sarah Hennies and Anthony Pateras. RIYL the patient music of Kali Malone or Sarah Davachi, the interworld insights of Pauline Oliveros, or Anna Homler’s glossolalia
‘Music for Cello and Humming’ truly marks the emergence of a vital solo talent, as Judith Hamann segues from behind the scenes as player of note with everyone from Alvin Lucier to Oren Ambarchi, Lori Goldstone and CS + Kreme, to limn her most intimate self-portrait through a suite of works for cello and wordless humming. It smartly includes two works written for her that subtly, and not so subtly, challenge her range, and thus present the Australian artist at her most vulnerable, and, likewise, quietly confident. And coming to you from Blank Forms Editions, home to some of our favourite avant-classical records of recent years (Catherine Christer Hennix, Maryanne Amacher) you can take it on trust this one’s equally worthy of attention.
On five original compositions, Hamann intuitively distills her interests in psychoacoustics, shaking, just intonation, and “the voice in relation to the femme presenting body in performance” with the hauntingly natural accompaniment of cello and voice, which are known to closest resemble each other’s range. These work, while clearly requiring concentrated skill to sustain the string notes, also work to a simpler physical pleasure of humming along to drones, creating a vibrating interference that’s felt s much as heard, and coolly controlled with a shatterproof fragility between the tremulous title piece and absorbingly smudged timbres of her Humming Suite centrepiece, ‘Harmonics étude for one cello and one voice.’
The two works written for Hamann provide complementary contrasts, with Pateras’ ‘Down to Dust’ calling for Hamann tp render her strings and voice more slanted, shimmering and dreamlike, while the album’s unsettling 28 minute final work ‘Loss’, written by Sarah Hennies, demands she hum outside her range, resulting an uncomfortable tension that resolves into near silence, but with a powerful sting in the tail that sends it over the edge and leaves us agog for her next.
A new entry into Thomas Fehlmann's lengthy catalogue, Gute Luft collects music from The Orb member's score to the 24-hour documentary film 24h Berlin.
The productions assembled here sound boldly modern and executed with Fehlmann's familiarly expert ear. This being a documentary about Berlin, it's inevitable that the depth charge low-frequencies of dub-techno play an important part in the soundtrack's narrative, but there's so much more to the tracks here: you'll encounter some Pop Ambient style material - as on the heavily compressed string sections of 'Falling Into Your Eyes' - and lots of textured melodic content, something you'll hear spiralling around within virtually every corner of this album.
'Wasser Im Fluss' is a highlight, at once bringing to mind Pole, Biosphere and Basic Channel, yet there's something about the way it's all put together that's specific to Fehlmann. The same could be said of 'Speeding', with its neon-lit deep bass convulsions and gaseous, swirling ambient details, or the heavily layered, spongy shuffle of 'Cityscape'. Gute Luft flows brilliantly as a fully fledged full-length, and despite being conceived as a soundtrack it probably ranks as one of Fehlmann's finest solo albums.
Cleared is the Chicago-based duo of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, formed in the latter part of 2009 as a project to focus on repetition and patience as central elements of composition. Hess and Vallera have previously worked in various contexts of improvisational, long form and experimental music (Hess contributed to Fennesz’s Seven Stars, released on Touch in 2011). Cleared is an effort to take the knowledge both have gained from these arenas in order to build hypnotic patterns of sound and rhythm.
"The Key was recorded in the spring of 2019 at Electrical Audio in Chicago Illinois with engineer Greg Norman. After a silence of several years, Cleared went into the studio with a set of drawings and notes describing the arcs of various systems for the creation of soundscapes and rhythmic patterns. There was no rehearsal, demo recordings or any other preparation besides theses diagrams which were designed by both Hess and Vallera in tandem. The logic behind this strategy was to erase the confines of previous releases and return to the origin of the project, which simply began as an open improvisation between the two musicians, centering a focus on slow, gradual changes and a meditative sensibility.
The recordings were made with a specific attention to sonic detail and fidelity, resulting in hours of material that was arranged and mixed over the next year by Michael Vallera in his home studio.
The resulting four tracks were further investigated and reimagined by Philip Jeck, Christian Fennesz, Bethan Kellough and Olivia Block, adding another form of The Key as a collection of discreet and weighted sonic explorations."
Blackberry is Peter Broderick's first vocal album in five years, since 2015’s Colours of the Night. The entire album was recorded in Peter’s bedroom in London during the summer of 2019, hence Peter’s description of it as “Experimental-Bedroom-Folk-Pop”. All instrumentation is by Peter with additional vocals on the last track by his wife, singer Brigid Mae Power, and his stepson, Seán Power.
"The subject matter of Blackberry is wide-ranging. He touches on family and on the connection we all need as social animals. He writes about technology and whether it will save or doom us. And of course, he writes about nature, about foraging, about the importance of engaging with the outside world in cities and in the country. Peter and his family recently returned to Co. Galway as they have a great love for the Irish countryside, having lived there before their move to London in 2019."
The sophomore release from Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) and Australian composer Anthony Pateras.
"‘Necroscape’ synthesizes a lot of territory: odd-time rock, musique concrète, otherworld grooves, soul, industrial noise, microtonal psychoacoustics… seemingly strange bedfellows on paper, yet in the ears they surprisingly coalesce into 13 songs which playfully challenge our notions of sonic logic and make you move at the same time.
Five years in the making, ‘necroscape’ mushroomed organically from Pateras’ production based on tape loops, analogue synthesis and rarified keyboard instruments in combination with Patton’s dense vocal arrangements, Erkki Veltheim’s exploratory violins and drummer Will Guthrie’s unique percussive strategies. The result is a handmade, kaleidoscopic tour-de-force which re-imagines songwriting as something other."
Justin K Broadrick is best known as a founding member of Godflesh, one of the first bands to combine elements of extreme metal and industrial music, but has also maintained a parallel career as a producer, producing records and remixes for groups such as Pantera, Isis, Mogwai and Pelican. Since 2012, he has been releasing hard techno music under the solo moniker JK Flesh.
"He has also been creating slow, hazy, and deafening music under the moniker Jesu since 2005 and here he returns with 'Terminus', the first full length stand alone album from Jesu since 2013's 'Every Day I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came', and follows the experimental Jesu EP 'Never'.
Terminus thematically was inspired by the concepts of rejection, dependency, nostalgia, and ultimate loneliness. Musically exploring the entire gamut of the Jesu oeuvre since it's initial inception; dream pop, shoegaze, electronica and non aligned/non genre specific heaviness."
Neuzeitliche Bodenbeläge is the musical vehicle of Niklas Wandt and Joshua Gottmanns.
"They released asingle - Ich verliebe mich nie - in 2018 and an EP entitled Leben in 2019 on the Düsseldorf label ThemesFor Great Cities. Now the time has come for the Berlin duo’s long-awaited debut album. The 7 trackscomprising Der große Preis distil the inimitable NB sound which blends velvety synth-pop and crystallinedigi-dub, basslines like cubes of glass and whiplash snares. The album title certainly lives up to its name:The Grand Prize. This is adventure time, from wild romance to petty crime – it’s all waiting for you righthere."
Laura Cannell invites Stewart Lee, foghorn fetishist Jennifer Lucy Allen, Irish cellist Kate Ellis, and musician/writer Polly Wright to the table for a suite of haunting, real and imagined musical lanndscapes
Laura’s follow-up to her superb ‘Sing As The Crow Flies’ album with Polly Wright, and unexpected synth-pops as Hunteress for our Documenting Sound series, ‘These Feral Lands, Vol.1’ tells tales recorded in the respective isolation during lockdown. It notably features Lee finding his voice as a folk story teller and possessed scarecrow, nervily set to bleeding raw string dissonance and black country blues, and wickedly contrasting with the more dreamlike and lamenting works, all brought to life by Cannell, Ellis, and Wright’s remarkably descriptive instrumentals.
Writer and researcher Jennifer Lucy Allen recites a poem to Laura’s swirling fiddle on a highlight, ‘Vessel’, and we’re rapt by the two solo instrumental pieces, Kate Ellis’ keening elegy ‘Inhabited: The Last Wild Wolf In Ireland’, and the A Field In England-esque doom to Polly’s ‘Gather The Villagers’. But it’s really all held together by Stewart Lee’s turns with Cannell & Ellis, shapeshifting from Wyatt-like, to spoken word, and Worzel-ish across the album, reflecting on his roots in the Welsh marshes and the Norfolk/Suffolk borders, with equally were-like backing.
When Brexit kicks in and we’re down to 2 hours of leccie a day, we can only hope people start making more music like this.
New Amsterdam and Nonesuch Records release Tristan Perich’s Drift Multiply as part of the partnership between the two labels. Drift Multiply, Perich’s largest work to date, is performed by fifty violins and fifty loudspeakers and is conducted by Douglas Perkins.
"Scored as one hundred individual lines of music, the piece blends violins and speakers into a cascading tapestry of tone, harmony, and noise. The violins perform from sheet music, while the speakers are each connected to custom-built circuit boards programmed to output 1-bit audio, the most basic digital waveforms made of just ones and zeroes. “I am interested in the threshold between the abstract world of computation and the physical world around us”, Perich explains.
New York–based composer Tristan Perich’s work is inspired by the aesthetic simplicity of math, physics, and code. The Wire describes his compositions as ‘an austere meeting of electronic and organic’. 1-Bit Music, his 2004 release, was the first album ever released as a microchip, programmed to synthesize his electronic composition live.
As a composer, he has received commissions from Sō Percussion, the LA Philharmonic, Vicky Chow, and more, as well as an award of distinction from Ars Electronica for his work for violins and 1-bit electronics, Active Field. As a visual artist, his audio installations, video works and machine drawings have received commissions from the likes of Rhizome and L’Auditori in Barcelona, and his artwork has been exhibited internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, VOLT Festival, the San Diego Museum, and bitforms gallery."
Funky arithmetics from NZ’s mhz, turning mathematical functions into crispy glitch techno with a severely ascetic but playful style of computer music RIYL Ryoji Ikeda, CoH, Powell, Rian Treanor, NYZ, Sote
Mo. H Zareei is an Iranian artist/reasearcher making electronic music in Wellington, New Zealand, where they use custom-built software and hardware to explore the limitations of their mediums in a range of compositions, kinetic sculptures, and audiovisual installations. On their debut for Important, mhz expresses the mathematical ‘Function’ of the album title in eight brittle tracks that thankfully don’t box our heads like a maths class.
Rather, for all their dryness and austerity, MHz’s rigorous tekkers results in hypnotic patterns and dancefloor traction that should light up fans of the purest electronics; from the insectoid pulses of ‘y = -1/x’, to CoH’s like cone-testing techno in ‘y = x’, the pinched electroid syncopation of ‘y = 1/x^2’, Ikeda-esque micro-shuffle in ‘y = sin(x)cos(x)’ and the pointillist jabs of ‘y = cos(x)’.
Shadowy UK label ANA cough up a proper bedsitter special debut from Bearer full of damp towel ambience and bong-bubbling rhythms after smart work by Gamba, Beyaz, Rezka, and kru
Weighing up as the label’s most significant solo outing after 2019’s ‘Diktat’ compilation, ‘Precincts’ extends a dank invitation to Bearer’s twilight world where low-flying beats scud and ricochet below cobwebbed atmospheres stained with licks of nicotine jazz. Like the rest of the styles on ANA, Bearer achieves a quality of mood with minimalist means in a way beyond their young years, drawing on a latent, hypnagogic downbeat vibe that’s permeated the best UK trip hop, dub techno/dubstep and offbeat mutations since the late ’90s.
From the malfunctioning air vent of ’Sig Int’ to the blank eyed white-out of ’Sig Ext’, it’s the sound of urban decay and stoner paranoia creeping in and up the walls, settling heavy in the air. Spindly guitars pick out desert bluesy figures from the smoke in ‘Pinhul’, and ’Torpa’ beckons toward a mouldy pillow vibe, while sultry rhythms and hazed jazz chords creep across the scene in ’Sur’. He gets right under the skin like a Kevin Martin dub geist in ‘Blu’, with ’Sion’ beautifully recalling Raime at their most sylvan, jazz mag romantic, before passing out into Pessimistic voodoo on ‘Bone’ and the more fractured designs of ‘Rife’ prang off at more intriguing new sci-fi-industrial angles.
A strong look for isolated wintery times.
‘A Mythology of Circles’ is the new album from Brooklyn-based composer and musical artist Faten Kanaan, her first to be released on Fire Records. Cyclical patterns and 'variation through repetition' are central to Faten’s music. Harmony and counterpoint are composed intuitively and treated as narrative tools- with sound, silence, and the resulting mystical relationship between notes used as gestures to tell a wordless story. The album is separated into a ‘dusk to evening’ side, and an ‘underworld/dream-state’ side; highlighting the myths of Ishtar, Inanna, Orpheus, Persephone, and others.
"Inspired by cinematic forms and mythological story structures: from sweeping landscapes and quiet romances, to patterned tensions and dream sequences; Faten brings an earthy, visceral touch to electronic music. In symbiosis with technology is an appreciation for the vulnerability of human limitations and nuances. All the sections are played in real time, neither looped nor sequenced- allowing for subtle changes to unfold. The use of VST sampled choral voices in this album embodies the forlorn state of technological acceleration, and the desire to return to a vulnerable human sound. The album art also explores a complicated relationship with technology: the statue comes from a series of digital replicas, returning in its last stage to a more intimate and handmade feel.Composed, produced and mixed by Faten Kanaan, the album was mastered by Heba Kadry (Bjork, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Julianna Barwick)."
“Strangely haunting yet beautiful bouquet of nocturnal, electronic blooms ranging from poignant ambient vignettes to chamber-like pop, from Brooklyn’s Faten Kanaan- a gifted musical story-teller” Boomkat
Strut present the 4CD edition of Sun Ra’s ‘Egypt 1971’, documenting Sun Ra’s first trip to Egypt with his Arkestra in December 1971.
"In the years leading up to 1971, Sun Ra wrote many compositions and poems specifically inspired by the ancient African Kingdoms and many others with associated mythological and heliocentric connotations. As such, a visit to Egypt and the opportunity for the Arkestra to play there was a matter of necessity. Ra’s first ever concerts outside of the US had occurred in late summer and autumn of 1970 with performances in France, Germany and the UK and a second European tour was arranged for late 1971. At the end of that second tour, Ra caught wind of cheap flights from Denmark to Cairo.
This release comprises recordings made by Arkestra member Thomas “Bugs” Hunter made in December 1971 in the streets around the Mena House Hotel, Giza, from a concert held at the house of Goethe Institute ex-pat Hartmut Geerken in Heliopolis, from a live Cairo TV channel broadcast and a concert at the Ballon Theatre in Cairo.
The impact and significance of these few weeks upon Sun Ra can be measured by the growth and development of his output over the next few years; the immediate post-Egypt period included new studio and live recordings on the Saturn, Blue Thumb, Atlantic and Impulse labels and the ‘Space Is The Place’ movie. Ra also edited the three LPs of the ‘Live In Egypt’ series which were subsequently released on his Saturn record label and its affiliated twin, Thoth Intergalactic: ‘Dark Myth Equation Visitation’, ‘Nidhamu’ and ‘Horizon’.
These three albums are now reissued as single LP editions in their original artwork. The 4CD set features these albums alongside previously unreleased material from the December 1971 recordings. All tracks are remastered from the original tapes and the CD set also features a 24-page booklet featuring new sleeve notes and rare photos by Hartmut Geerken and background information on the recordings by Paul Griffiths."
Room40 follow an absorbing 2018 introduction to L.A.’s Geneva Skeen with an enchanted suite of pulsing drone techno and ambient experiments laced with spectral vocal glossolalia.
Geneva has since released a tape for Crystalline Morphologies, ‘Dream State’ (2019), and a few digital tracks for Touch, but ‘Double Bind’ is her most significant release to date, collecting her thoughts over the last year into an elusive but strongly evocative 2nd album, proper. The interdisciplinary artist draws inspiration from a “bleak but transformative period of time” when the world radically changed to provide what she terms “an extra verbal expression of my interior experience,” supplying sympathetically etheric space for heads to wander and perhaps lose themselves for the duration.
Her 7 pieces unfurl with a certain sort of Lynchian L.A. noir, arriving with the clammy-palmed ambience and systolic drone techno thrum of ‘Mirror Glimpse’, and luring us into waking dream back-alleys between the textured concrete ambience and headless voices of ‘Leveled Ground Bottomless Pit’, reverberant drones recalling Delia Derbyshire’s dreamworks, and more physically powerful demonstrations of minimalism that recall Eleh via Marina Rosenfeld in the 11 minute centrepiece ‘Urstomtal’, thru to proper, post-apocalyptic panoramas ‘There Is A Universe Where Time Flows Backwards’ which calls to our mind what it must have felt like to experience California’s hellish wildfires.
People On Sunday is an original soundtrack to the 1930 silent film variously known as Menschen am Sonntag, Les Hommes le Dimanche and People On Sunday. The film is a key work of interwar German cinema, based on a screenplay by Billy Wilder.
"Like Domenique Dumont’s earlier albums, Comme Ça and Miniatures De Auto Rhythm, People On Sunday evokes a more innocent, carefree time conjured by wistful electronics full of warmth and melody. Touching on the hazy exotica that made those two records so alluring, here Dumont draws on his love of classical music, library music and early electronic experimentation to create a timeless, optimistic sound. If his past productions possessed a certain Mediterranean quality, across these 13 new pieces Dumont’s shimmering synth-pop has an enchanting simplicity.
Part documentary, part fiction, the film People On Sunday follows a group of characters going about their business in Weimar-era Berlin over one weekend and shows normal life in Germany before dictatorship.
“The film shows people and their surroundings shortly before all of it was destroyed,” says Dumont. “Ironically, watching this movie with the eyes of today, it looks more surreal than documentary. And I can’t help but think and reflect about the times we are living in now. We might have similar desires people had a hundred years ago, but we now have a completely different approach to life."