Epoch is the final album in the trilogy beginning with 2011’s Dive, 2014’s Awake and culminating with this year’s Epoch.
"Epoch hones the sonic aesthetic of Dive while drawing on the kinetic energy of Awake, it explores darker themes and new musical territory. Earlier this summer Tycho released their first single “Division” and just last week released their second single and title track, “Epoch.” The surprise album is available digitally today and for physical pre-order now.
When discussing the surprise element of this release Hansen said, “I've never been fond of the ‘hand in the album then wait 4 months for it to come out’ release schedule and with the prevalence of streaming and digital distribution it felt like the right time to step outside that way of doing things.” He continued, “I wanted to be more connected to the people consuming the music. There is a kind of visceral fulfillment you get from sharing something that you've just created with other people. We just finished mastering the album in late august so it will barely be a month old when people hear it. That's a very satisfying feeling as an artist.“
Epoch was produced and recorded by Hansen predominantly in his home studio in Berkeley, California. The album was arranged alongside long time collaborator and partner in the project, Zac Brown. Brown contributed bass and guitar parts to the songwriting process. Rory O’Connor performed drums on the album. Hansen sees Epoch as a multi-dimensional artistic vision at the confluence of his graphic design work via ISO50 and music with Tycho. The graphic presentation of album artwork is as important as the music itself. The keystone is the central image of Epoch and the colors scheme red and black. This is a stark contrast to the almost rainbow palette of Awake."
Première release of a pivotal piece by important American composer, Julius Eastman.
After more than 40 years, Julius Eastman’s Femenine - a euphoric, colourful, and inventive work by the brilliant but criminally overlooked composer with the S.E.M. Ensemble - finally sees the light of day thanks to Finland’s Frozen Reeds, bringing to life a wondrous iteration of the highly fertile 1970s north american minimalist/modern classical nexus for a whole new generation of ears.
Notable not least as the only known recording of Femenine, recorded live in 1974 at Composers Forum in Albany, New York - which makes it only the 2nd CD with Eastman’s name at the top - this release also documents the composer on piano (whilst wearing a dress, as it goes) and features his unique innovation, a set of mechanised sleigh bells, rattling throughout the 72 minute performance, which, in a way, neatly characterises the artist’s wide-open, pioneering idiosyncrasies and dichotomies for anyone new to his work.
Un/fortunately, depending your perspective, far too many folk will be new to his work or even unaware of Eastman’s involvement in some true totems of the time; whether that’s as lead vocalist on Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs For A Mad King (1971), playing keys on Dinosaur L’s disco-not-disco classic 24→24 Music (1981), or conducting Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning (1983). And we say too many folk, because, all considered, until quite recently, Eastman has been long overdue the shine afforded to many of his peers and contemporaries.
As a Gay, Afro-American new music composer, pianist and vocalist in the ‘70s, Eastman’s work was innately politicised and exceptional by the nature of its provenance, not to mention the music itself, which pulled from his personal history as much as wider social movements to represent a uniquely fluid perspective on minimalist music’s rigid process and presentation right up to his untimely death, aged 50 in 1990.
With that in mind, Feminine stands at a crossroads between Eastman’s earlier chamber work Stay On It, and later pieces such as his iconic, majestic Evil Nigger and the ambiguous flux of emotions in Gay Guerilla; sounding quite unlike any of them thanks to its sense of communal joy (there were somewhere between 12 and 15 players) and the polymetric meter of his mechanised sleigh bells, coupled with a display of massed, pitching tonal colour that moves with the kind of deliquescent, flighty optimism that’s hard not to be wowed by.
Ultimately, it genuinely lives up to the mantle of “new music” and presents its ideas in a deeply refreshing, insistent, yet never-cloying manner.
A huge recommendation.
Definitive performance of an 88-minute piece for trio written in 1983, recorded in 2000.
"In 2000, Eberhard Blum (flute, alto flute, bass flute), Nils Vigeland (glockenspiel, vibraphone) and Jan Williams (piano, celesta), Morton Feldman’s close friends and collaborators, came together once more as “The Feldman Soloists” to perform Crippled Symmetry, the trio Feldman composed for them, on the 25th anniversary celebration of June in Buffalo, the festival he founded.
The recording of this concert is now finally available on CD, and is destined to become the reference recording of this work. It is required listening for all fans of Feldman's rich, hypnotic world of enigmatic harmony and mnemonic echo. Mastered by Denis Blackham, and presented in a card package which unfolds to reveal the musicians' "butterfly-like" arrangement on stage. "This turned out to be one of the best performances that we had ever given together. The rare and indescribable ‘magic moment’ of occasion and ambience seems to have inspired us. T
he recording of the concert belongs to my most valued sound documents. When I listened to it for the first time, my immediate reaction was: this performance ought to be available on CD. Now, ten years later, it is.” - Eberhard Blum"
Trust Wiley the Godfather to set grime’s levels in 2017 with his most intense, bruising album for years, even ever?
It’s an unmissable return to root, with a frankly starving Wiley flanked by practically everyone - Frisco, Devlin, Jamakabi, Manga, Footsie, Flowdan, Pres T, Ghetts, Ice Kid, a.o. - all demanding your attention over fierce AF production from a mix of veteran producers - JME, Scratchy, Rude Kid, Maniac, Dot Rotten - and a sharp-shooting yung squad; Darq E Freaker, Predate, Swifta Beater, Morfius, Teeza +++.
At seventeen tracks and just under an hour long, Godfather is quantitatively substantial. And the quality? It’s got that in buckets; a firmest balance of OG grime aggression, gyal tunes and bubbling club trax that lends itself to earbuds, German whips and raves alike.
We’re alllll over the rabid Bang, featuring a barking Ghetts over cutthroat production by Maniac, and likewise the blazing future-shock of Bait Face, crafted by Roll Deep lynchpin, Scratchy, whilst the ‘round-the-block baroque of Like It Or Not sets killer new levels for UK grime/trap, and then you’ve got the dizzy highlight of Laptop, produced by Morfius, and utter gutter business from Wiley, Flowdan and Jamakrabi on Pattern Up Properly, plus foundational business in Birds N Bars, and straight up killers for club and radio in Back With A Banger and the soul flow of U Were Always, Pt.2.
This is the CD that every grime fiend needs - from the freshest cadets to time-served roadmen and lapsed, Volvo-toting elders - if just to prove an argument in years to come that Wiley made and shaped grime like nobody else. And if this actually is his last album (who the fxck knows with him?), then he’s effectively shut down the game, ‘cos the new generation really have to step up to this one.
Essential UK music.
New music from Simon Green aka Bonobo.
"A contemporary of artists such as Four Tet, Jon Hopkins and Caribou, Bonobo also counts among his famous fans the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, Disclosure, Diplo and Warpaint. His 2013 album “The North Borders” went Top 30 in the UK and was number 1 in the electronic charts in both the US and UK. In support of that record, the 12-piece band Green runs played 175 shows worldwide, including a sold out show at Alexandra Palace. Bonobo has built a large, loyal and engaged global fanbase: over half a million album sales and over one hundred and fifty million streams on Spotify point to the levels of success achieved by this quiet, self-effacing man.
It might be difficult to imagine it, but “Migration” will take his beautiful, emotive, intricate music to an even bigger audience. “My own personal idea of identity has played into this record and the theme of migration,” Green explains. “Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around?” The personal, it seems, can also be universal.”
Arch minimalist Thomas Brinkmann presents A Certain Degree of Stasis in two parts of variably “fierce digital textures” and “sustained crystalline calm” in counterpoint audio response to Agnes Lux’s starkly monochrome visual work, which is reproduced on the cover artwork. The work is intended to be played individually, in conjunction, or together with previous releases on the Frozen Reeds label.
Disc 1 tends to the “fierce digital textures” quota with 40 minutes of sustained guitar feedback heard in an ether dream, dissolving into acres of free-floating space like Oren Ambarchi or Keiji Haino caressing a wounded axe in the dying moments of its existence, its life coruscating and calving away before its eyes.
On the other disc he subtly inverts that aesthetic, reducing the lead to a discordant ember flickering below layered drone harmonics pregnant with anticipation for a haunting sound image that only reveals itself through duration.
Its mesmerising, uncompromising stuff.
At last, a chance to hear the debut album of motorik jags from Stereolab’s Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth, together with Holger Zapf as the Cavern of Anti-Matter power trio - originally issued on Berlin’s Grautag Records, now reissued on Duophonic.
Revolves a heady rush of references to Bowie’s Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family, Mahogany Brain’s Bloody Hide and Seek in The Rain and Hot Elbow, and the front cover to Heldon 6 shaped into 16 high velocity, high sheen rockets bound to ignite the tastes of classic kosmiche and psych fiends.
Two years after the release of his debut album ‘Tremors’, SOHN is back with ‘Rennen’.
"In between records, the London-born artist has traded Vienna for the warmth of Los Angeles but the influence of his former home still lingers (Rennen is a German verb meaning ‘to run’). Resuming a nocturnal schedule - as he did with ‘Tremors’ - SOHN spent a month writing alone in northern California, recording until the morning most days.
Including singles ‘Signal’ and ‘Conrad’, the ten songs of ‘Rennen’ are confidently direct and focused. Consciously exercising restraint, SOHN has used only a handful of musical elements on each track, eager to allow the spotlight to shine onthe vocals, melodies and rhythms. An ambitious exhibition of both his personal and artistic growth, ‘Rennen’ confidently displays the evolution SOHN has undergone in just two short years.
It’s also a starter’s pistol ringing out loud and clear with an unmistakable message: it’s time to run again and he’s ready."
Debut album of melancholy electronica. Recorded at Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Greenhouse studio in Reykjavik, Iceland (home to his Bedroom Community).
“A ‘soft error’ is computer language for a faulty occurrence in a digital memory system that changes an instruction in a program or a data value. When associated with music making, it’s a name that inevitably suggest the notion, or even celebration, of happenstance and serendipity, and that’s certainly part of the spirit evoked by Mechanism. A largely electronic pairing, Soft Error are otherwise known as Tim and Rupert, both of whom have musical backgrounds in dance music / DJ culture and composition for film, theatre and TV respectively. Soft Error, however, represents a thrilling new artistic beginning rather than being simply another musical ‘project’.
Mechanism offers a fresh and singular brand of musical intrigue by reaching back and forward simultaneously – drawing from the innovative, propulsive thrum of 1970s Krautrock and the grainy textures and tonalities of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop on one hand, the symphonic, futuristic soundscapes of composers like Cliff Martinez, John Carpenter and Jon Hopkins on the other.That said, there is also something wonderfully timeless about the nine, finely wrought essays on Mechanism, across which synthesisers, keyboards and drum machines are deployed for their sonic and emotive possibilities, rather than as a nod to any particular niche or trend. Indeed, Soft Error demonstrate a facility for fashioning both intimate textural detail and strong melody, often in the same song.”
The xx’s anticipated third album, ‘I See You’, is the follow up to the band’s two previous albums ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’.
‘I See You’ marks a new era for the London trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, both sonically and in terms of process - while ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’ were bothmade in relative isolation in London, ‘I See You’ was recorded between March 2014 and August 2016 in New York, Marfa TX, Reykjavik, Los Angeles and London and is characterised by a more outward-looking, open and expansive approach.
Produced by Jamie Smith and Rodaidh McDonald, ‘I See You’ is The xx at their boldest yet, performing with more clarity and ambition than ever before."
Without question, some of the most beautiful and arresting quiet music you'll likely ever hear, compiled in a 4 hour-long triple disc set.
'Fremde Zeit - Addendum' collects five pieces of engrossingly etheric, liminal composition by Jakob Ullmann (1958), the widely acknowledged master of quiet music and cover star of The Wire magazine.
For us, as we'd imagine many others, this is a striking first introduction to the devoted German minimalist's very particular body of work. Comprising 4 hours of barely-there strings, percussions, wind instruments and voices prefaced by the instruction "Please choose, for each piece, the volume settings of your sound system so as to just barely mask the ambient sounds in the room", this is music made for concentrated listening, recorded and specifically designed to give listeners "the opportunity to hear more, and better" by the simple but essential notion that "We hear better because we make an effort to hear better."
With this is mind, we're invited into a sound world which actively, yet effortlessly and sublimely challenges our perceptions of space and time with a compelling, transcendent effect akin to that of listening to music by, say, Eliane Radigue or Morton Feldman, yet with an alien, detached appeal entirely its own. Due to their extended durations - no piece is shorter than 34 mins, and over an hour at the longest - we form temporal impressions which blur the boundaries between our immediate space and the apparent vastness of the recording, teasing our sixth sense to wander on a knife edge of trepidation and somnolence.
Yet, musically, it covers a far more subtle spectrum of emotions and cabalistic atmospheres casting metaphoric allusions to "…antiquity, to the Middle Ages, to the Baroque, to the 20th Century and to the present" by means of its extreme dilation of space/time and anticipation, and relegation of distortion or any untempered gestures.
Once you've heard this music it should come as little surprise Ullmann studied sacred music in Dresden from 1979-1982 - his music could be the lingering resonance of an Arvo Pärt piece played in a huge cathedral, and it carries the weight of history - spanning over 18 years of work, the results are duly, deeply considered.
A revelatory package, whose impact will surely emerge and manifest as slowly, yet powerfully, as the music itself.
Deliciously uncompromising sound design from Gábor Lázár, performing a sort of virtuosic hyper-rave bondage on your ears with Crisis Of Representation; his first release for Shelter Press after a pair of releases with The Death of Rave - including his acclaimed collaboration with Mark Fell, The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making - and the ILS album for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? before them. If you're into mad sound design, this one comes highly recommended.
Mostly pieced together in 2015, but utilising material made as early as 2011, Crisis Of Representation forms a direct continuation of Lázár’s increasingly incisive composition techniques, offering 7 pieces (+1 bonus on CD) which unknot the same nasal drip motif in myriad permutations of possibility. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to draw an economically short line from his to Mark Fell’s music, but where Fell’s Linn grammar and SoYo accentuation tends to clip itself, Lázár’s compositions ribbon off into unnaturally fluid flights of mercurial, polychromatic acrobatics.
We could imagine that this deeply abstract yet soberly conceived techno sound is antithesis to casual listening. But, if you’re game enough to follow Gábor into the wormhole, and have the head for intense, elusive sonics, then you’ll be embraced by a unquantifiably psychedelic experience quite unlike any other, where notions of “proper” musical convention are upended and rhythm, pitch and tone become fused by your head into scintillating psychoacoustic formations of perpetual tension and amorphous resolution.
A Winged Victory For The Sullen, the otherworldly collaboration between Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran, commence the New Year with their third full-length.
"Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran first met the director Jalil Lespert after he had discovered A Winged Victory For The Sullen on a music search online. After listening to their music, he immediately knew: "it was the sound of my new film". With an excellent cast of France’s finest actors Romain Duris, Charlotte Le Bon, and the director himself, plus a script filled with tension, sexuality and darkness, they knew there was a lot of musical territory to mine. It was agreed that they wanted to explore more analogue electronique experiments as well as working with a large string ensemble, to create something that felt very modern and still cinematic.
“Despite A Winged Victory For The Sullen being associated with film score type music, trying to survive the process of creating the modern film score is not for people with fragile egos. It requires those who arethe most responsive to change. The director and the film presented a new set of challenges, so we decided to stop thinking about cinema as an object, and moved closer to using the film’s images as triggers for experiences. The more we were able to let go, and see the music as something that happens, like a process – not a quality, the more we were able to reach a place that sounded like us. It was as if we were making our first record all over again, except being filtered through another language littered with dead metaphors”, the duo elaborate.
The recording sessions began with their long time sound collaborator Francesco Donadello in the form of some modular synth sessions in Berlin. Dustin and Adam began working from the script in their own studios, and after filming commenced they continued to create music that could be used for first edits of the film – each day getting new scenes that triggered ideas that would become the base of the film score. Over the course of the next few months the two slowly crafted the music with weekly discussion from their studio to the editing room.
The final sessions to what is now the score of Iris were recorded with a 40-piece string orchestra at Magyar Radio in Budapest.Upon label founder Robert Raths' request the over sixty minutes of material were then edited down to a concise album listen at forty-one minutes with a physical release set for January 13, 2017. The digital bonus track edition includes two solo pieces by Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie entitled The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 2 and The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 3, as well as tracks by Petite Noir, dOP, DJ Pone and The Shoes which feature in the film. The artwork was created by Berlin based illustrator Stephanie F. Scholz who also created the iconic cover for Nils Frahm's Music for
The Motion Picture Victoria."
"The best ambient album i've heard in an ice age, an album of terrifying, desolate and all-enveloping beauty" David Stubbs, Melody Maker, 1997
Biosphere's 'Substrata' is a rarely topped pinnacle of the '90s ambient canon. On its 18th birthday, the album's producer Geir Jenssen's Biophon label treats it to a subtle facelift at Pole's mastering desk, reanimating the still-mindblowing likes of 'Sphere Of No-Form' in all their captivating and frost-bitten wonder.
As far as end-of-the-world isolationist music and sound design goes, this album remains one of the most affective we've ever heard. Essential listening for fans of the cold, life-affirming music of Thomas Köner, Mika Vainio, or Deathprod.
Not for the first time, but arguably the most significant, Pye Corner Audio crosses paths with Ghost Box for his first LP of 2016; a narcotically hypnagogic and dystopian trip entitled Stasis.
At least one leap year cycle since his last album with the GB’s, Sleep Games, right now this one feels like a stygian trudge into bleakest futures, operating at such a stoned pace that it moves slower than actual time, and by submitting to its temporal warp we’re allowed to regress back into a pre-digital epoch of paranoid cold, or even civil war atmospheres and paranoia.
It could almost be the soundtrack to a Ben Wheatley flick (low budget, not the over-glossy high rise) about British time travellers, forgoing Dr. Who queso for a more hard-boiled, furtive vibe about anachronistic assassins sent back to kill Nigel Farage at birth, only to uncover that he’s part of an exceedingly dangerous non-human race with ties to Johnson, Cameron and all the other pebble-people, so they round them all up and lock them in a hostel in Middlesbrough with a broken kettle and packet of poisoned monster munch between the lot.
Of course, that fantasy is all set to a soundtrack of wistful electronic mists and pulsating arpeggios that could be right out of some late ‘70s / early ‘80s synth library, and ultimately shows that whilst technology has advanced in the meantime, that ostensibly archaic music still reflects an underlying eldritch darkness contemporary and relevant to both eras, then and now.
Gideon Wolf offers a trip to the staggering wilds of Scotland’s NW Highlands on this beautiful, bespoke edition for Fluid Audio's Facture label. If you're into Richard Skelton, Max Richter, Rachel's etc - you'll love this.
Intended to be taken from the comfort of your armchair, the windswept strings and neo-classical gestures of Year Zero capture the almost ineffable beauty of that region’s dramatic topography and timeless nature.
Gideon Wolf enlists a multi-instrumentalist ensemble to assist him for this set of rich, melodic drone pieces with incredibly detailed packaging to boot.
The PAN label's premier purveyors of “chamber doom” return with a new cycle for longtime alibis, Antifrost, following their acclaimed folk trilogy of LPs between 2014-15, and the still-resonating tones of Som Sakrifis (2013) for PAN.
If you’ve encountered any of the aforementioned, you will have a very good idea of what to hope for in the 3-part Pèkisyon Funebri; namely a majestic sense of struggle against the flattening feeling of despair and fatigue that haunts our times.
This is music which appears to carry the weight of the world on its shoulders whilst wielding a cello and bow in its heavy limbs, dredging the psyche for signs of life which are found and coaxed from their holes to emerge as churning low-end gestures who reinforce their dual resonant frequencies in slow, wide vortices aimed at centring and quaking your thorax.
Subterranean in their prostration but sidereal in hope against the frustrations that we can only imagine must be felt in Greece right now, Pèkisyon Funebri is a masterful reminder that even at the lowest ebbs there is solace and resilience to be found if one remains faithful to the search.
Experimental suite of monochord songs intended to push new players to pick up the six string and have-a-go. Stars various members of Glasgow’s indie firm
“Chord changes are a luxury made possible by technical competence.
Back in 1977 when I picked up a guitar the first chord I learnt was E minor. I could’ve stopped there and written this album. All I needed was a capo and some lyrics. But, tethered by notions of song craft and aspirations of virtuosity I learnt to play the instrument with greater complexity. Now middle-aged, I would like to think myself able to transcend such considerations.
The first song you hear on this record is in E minor. In fact, it is E minor and nothing else. The next song is F minor - made possible by placing the capo on the first fret and forming the same shape with my fingers one fret up. The song after that is F sharp minor. You see a pattern. It’s a series all the way to the 12th fret and full circle back to E minor, except one octave up. It’s high concept, low technique. fleshed out with vocal melodies and added instrumental flourishes from friends and family.
Learning E minor at the same time as me was Pete Aves. We were the guitarists of pre-teen acoustic punk band The Rejects. Subsequently he has worked with Petula Clark, Lee Hazlewood, Jarvis Cocker, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the High Llamas. Now he’s back working with me.
Madeleine Hynes was one quarter of the avant primitivist Leather Mole.
Frances McKee is still one half of the legendary Glasgow band The Vaselines.
Andrew Paine is a Glass Redux recording artiste and bassist for The Flexibles.
Classically trained violinist Jane Sayer has produced techno records as Johann Sebastian Barking.
Sorley Youngs is the singer and guitarist of The Flexibles.
Guest appearances aside, this remains a collection of songs that can be covered by anyone within hours of picking up a guitar. Liberated from dexterity, all that is required is the holding down of two fingers and a steady strum. At the core of each is one chord. The rest is scenery. Richard Youngs 2016”
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis present a suitably epic, wondrous soundtrack suite for Mars, a fictional TV series telling the story of the first astronaut crew on a mission to Mars in 2033.
The follow-up to Cave and Ellis’ score for the Hell or High Water approaches that most classic Martian muse thru varying strategies ranging from their atypical doomy croon to sweeping string panoramas, sparkling keys and pensive electronic minimalism, with room left for unexpected turns of noisy drums and distorted textures recalling shades of Scott Walker’s The Childhood Of A Leader soundtrack.
The followup to Light In The Attic’s game-changing I Am The Center box set, "The Microcosm: Visionary Music Of Continental Europe 1970-1986" was 3 years in the making and is the first major overview of key works from cosmically-taped in artists needing little introduction — Vangelis, Ariel Kalma, Gigi Masin, Roedelius, Ash Ra Tempel, and Popol Vuh - plus unknown masterpieces by criminally overlooked heroes like Bernard Xolotl, Robert Julian Horky and Enno Velthuys...
"Whereas I Am The Center called for a reconsideration of an entire maligned genre, The Microcosm requests nothing more than an open mind to consider this ambient, new age, neuzeit, prog, krautrock, cosmic, holistic stuff, whatever one calls it — as a pulsating movement unto itself, a mirror refracting the American new age scene in unexpected, electrifying ways, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the universality of the timeless quest to express “the Ineffable” through music.
Drawing from major label budgets and homemade cassette distributed circumstances alike, The Microcosmdemonstrates a depth of peace profound to behold, and clearly expands the boundaries. Lovingly conceived and lavishly presented by producer Douglas Mcgowan (Yoga Records) and liner notes contributor Jason Patrick Woodbury (Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard), The Microcosm features stunning cover paintings by Étienne Trouvelot, and labels by Finnish savant Aleksanda Ionowa."
The union between two august figureheads of UK electronic experimentation continues as Eno’s latest long player for Warp waves in the New Year.
Since singing to Warp back in 2010, Eno’s musical output has taken on many shades, from the highlife instigations of his work with Karl Hyde to the occasional deviations into dubstep and techno with Rick Holland. Reflection continues Eno’s return to focussing on ambient music, casting aside some of the conceptual aspirations (and the sea shanties) that featured on his last Warp long-player, The Ship, in favour of one near-hour generative composition.
In contrast to the rather murky self-portrait that adorns the cover art, there is a glistening clarity present throughout Reflection, a becalming exercise in classicist ambient exploration that feels wholly satisfying through its 54-minute duration
Gorgeous solo harp recordings of pieces by John Cage, Hans Otte and Lou Harrison from Gabriele Emde, who debuts with the most excellent Edition RZ label in the same week as their debut from Clara Iannotta. This is the sort of album you came here to look for… Warmest recommendation!
“Gabriele Emde-Hauffe was born in 1953 in Darmstadt, Germany. She received a humanistic education at a local grammar school in Darmstadt and started studying the harp after her A-levels, first in Darmstadt and finishing in Cologne. Conducted by Péter Eötvös, she worked out modern chamber music and modern improvisation by J. G. Fritsch and Vinko Globokar. Passing her exams in 1980 and 1981, she continued her studies of musical science at Cologne University, based on her thesis, "The Harp between Myth and Reality." From 1981 to 1983 she was a member of Die Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and Ensemble Modern, and collaborated on productions of contemporary music with Ensemble-Köln and Ensemble 13, as well as the NDR-Sinfonieorchester Hamburg. She has performed the solo harp at various international festivals, among them many premieres and international radio, TV, and record productions. At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut, she toured North America in 1982, presenting Walter Zimmermann's works, and also performed in South Korea; her career as a performer has included performances of contemporary music by Berio, Boulez, Cage, Globokar, N. A. Huber, Schönberg, Stockhausen, Webern, I. Yun, B. A. Zimmermann, and W. Zimmermann. Until 1992 she taught harp classes in Cologne and Düsseldorf. Since 1991 she has been teaching her private harp class in Darmstadt. This CD contains recordings from 1985-'87 of pieces by John Cage, Hans Otte, and Lou Harrison.”
This 1997 release by the great Edition RZ label documents a pair of site specific performances by Akio Suzuki, a Japanese musician, inventor, instrument builder and shaman, recorded on the volcanic northern coast of Takano, Kyoto.
They first part is a durational piece, 53 minutes in length, the other is 6 minutes long, and composed/performed 3 days later in late October, 1997. In both pieces the sound of wind “breathes” in and out by caves, accompanied by the distant chirrup of crickets from the meadows above and the sparse presence of shrill whistles, rubbed glass tones and softly blown bamboo pipes, really not a lot else.
In a sense it’s an exercise in listening to nature in its unprocessed, natural state, and zen-like, meditative in effect; providing rarified time and space for contemplation.
This is one of the few instances of Korean Classical Court music that we’ve stocked, and every time it stops us in our tracks. To our native western sensibilities the music is captivatingly slow and dissonant, and with a measured, stately quality of its own. These recordings of compositions made in the 15th century are totally fascinating, maybe an acquired taste, but arresting any way you hear them.
"Yŏmillak is the most extended piece of orchestral court music surviving in Korea and it has for many centuries been used for royal processions and at banquets. Yŏmillak is the piece notated in the oldest surviving Korean score - a score contained in the Annals of Sejong, written in 1454.
The piece originally consisted of ten movements, but three were discarded over time, leaving just the seven movements heard here, and different variants evolved, distinguished in terms of orchestration and size; two of the later (19th century) versions, Kyŏngnokmugang Chigok and T'aep Yŏngch'un Chigok are contained here. The final piece, Sŏilhwa Chigok, is an additional orchestral suite."
One of only two CDs to bear his name at the top, Edition RZ’s Michael Von Biel collection presents a hardcore haul from the nebulous 1960s avant garde, including one blinding, 13 minute piece of electronic composition commissioned from Von Biel by Karlheinz Stockhausen - his tutor at Darmstadt - which resulted in him repeatedly breaking the sliders on the desk during its creation! No messing, it’s worth it for that one alone - you won’t find it anywhere else! (just checked youtube and discogs) - but his patent taste for noisy dynamics and twist on convention elsewhere on the CD also make this a bit of a must, if you’re into that kind of thing.
“2004 release. Michael von Biel's musical production at the beginning of the 1960s was clearly marked by the expansion of the musical material. "Quartet No. 1" (1962) and even more, "Quartet No. 2" (1963) are noise compositions whose expressiveness rests essentially on the discovery of new sonic possibilities and performance techniques. Bowing with excessive pressure, playing behind the bridge, leading the bow in a diagonal direction, hitting the tip of the bow on the body of the instrument -- these are the techniques with which the sound of the strings enters into the realm of noise. Whereas in the first quartet, the areas of musical sound and instrumental noise are still largely set off against one another, in the second quartet, the concept of a music based solely on noise is realized without compromise. Both of the compositions Quartet with Accompaniment for string quartet and cello (1965) and "Jagdstück" ("Hunting Piece") for 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 horns, 2 tenor tubas, contrabass, tape, e-guitars and electronically amplified barbecue grills (1966) are based on the contrast of divergent sound worlds. Before attending the composition courses of Karlheinz Stockhausen in Darmstadt for three years in a row starting in 1961, von Biel studied one year with Morton Feldman in New York where he met David Tudor and John Cage. Earlier than for most European composers, approaches in aesthetic thinking which couldn't have been more different from one another collided in his consciousness, and this occurred at a point in time when their music-historical consequence could not yet be foreseen.”
Italian ambient maestro Gigi Masin wins our hearts again with this sublime, impressionistic soundtrack to Il Silenzio Dei Tuoi Passi (The Silence of your Steps), Stefano Gentile’s photo book focussed on Venice at night.
Venezia is certain to strike a chord with anyone lucky enough to have visited the city, and even if you haven’t, it’s a beautifully evocative package, marrying Masin’s balmy drift of solo keys and chiffon synth pads with absorbing imagery of the city’s narrow ginnels and, all softly lit by lone street lamps that mirror the music’s plays of light and shadow.
Unfortunately our Italian is beyond mediocre, so we can’t really tell you much about the liner notes, but the symbiotic images and music convey far more than we could ever spell out here.
Angular, difficult experiments in new composition, symbolically framed around subconscious repression and the flux of fantasy and reality. Yeah, it’s not easy listening, but there are some fantastic, clattering and delirious ideas contained within.
“Edition RZ presents a performance of French composer Clara Maïda's work In Corpore Vili. Performers (Studios): Ensemble Resonanz, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Arditti String Quartet, Heather O'Donnel (Elektronisches Studio der Technischen Universität Berlin; Studio für Elektroakustische Musik der Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
"During the first years of my compositional research, my goal was to mark out, in my music, the flux of the psychic energy at work in the unconscious and its underlying structure. At the time, I was going through an analytical process favoring access to this unconscious activity, and my readings in the field of psychoanalysis were helping me in the effort to elaborate a musical thinking likely to account for this psychic complexity, which only appears through unintentional acts and words, or in fantasies and dreams. A whole structural and formal model for a potential music was emerging then, since only the plasticity of the world of sound seemed to be able to suggest this mobility and instability, which endlessly alter the configurations of the components of the unconscious." --Clara Maïda”
Haunting chamber invocation by the Austrian organist, composer and academic; written for flute, voice, percussion and viola. The quietly minimal, single, 50-minute piece is intended for reflection and altered, heightened states of sonic perception. RIYL Jakob Ullmann.
“Through concentration on listening or concentration on what we are listening to we can enter a state of simplicity of mind which is a state of the highest inner clarity or inner silence. In other words:when concentrating on the flow of music we can reach an inner state: The inner silence which is the simultaneity of stasis and flow. This paradoxical situation poses the question: Is the flow of music passing us, is music flowing through us thus evoking this inner stasis or is it not a state at all what we experience: should we not most seriously take into consideration the possibility that it is us who are flowing through the sound?”
Editions RZ collect ten early works by the late Morton Feldman (1926 - 87).
They're largely his shorter pieces, spanning compositions made between 1952 and 1959 alongside esteemed peers including David Tudor, Cornelius Cardew, John Tilbury, and János Négyesy. ""In his compositions for piano, which make up a central part of his oeuvre and in which all of his experience is accumulated, it is the play of Feldman's hand whose touch is intended precisely for the 'untouchableness' of sound. The clear character of the 'attack' thus displays the paradox of such playing: it is just as much about concealing the idiosyncrasy of the piano sound, the precise point of attack while, at the same time, the structure and tension of those sounds are formed by the hand." --Stefan Schadler.
Typically nice RZ packaging. Includes the following works: "Piano Three Hands" (1957, performed by Feldman & Tilbury); "Intermission 5" (1952, performed by Feldman); "Vertical Thoughts 2" (1963, performed by Janos Negyesy: violin & Cardew: piano), "Extensions 3" (1952, performed by Feldman); "Four Instruments, 1975" (1979); "Intermission 5" (1952, performed by Tudor), "Piano Piece 1956 A" (1956, performed by Tudor); "Piano Piece 1956 B" (1959, performed by Tudor); "Intersection 3" (1953, performed by Tudor); "Instruments 1, 1974" (1975, 24 minute piece performed by Eberhard Blum: flute, Nora Post: oboe, Garrett List: Posaune, Joseph Kubera: celesta, Jan Williams: drums)."
"Giuliano d'Angiolini is a positively unique figure in contemporary music. His profound, well-conceived and stubborn take on music has led him to what he calls "impersonal" music -- music that has fully abandoned the idea of development or form. Through successive states of presentation, which aim to elucidate, d'Angiolini wanted to "leave place in sound so that music could become less voluntary." This led him to favor the surface and present an approach that was by no means superficial: the surface as the immediacy in the propositional content of sound and the present as the very surface of the criterion of time. In his work, musical process and material are but one and are completely laid bare. What we are to hear is non-discursive, deliberately lacking formal organization. We are even free to turn away and come back of our own will -- as if the composer wanted to make positive use of the negative metamorphosis of today's urban listeners, listeners who are constantly assailed with stimuli." --Gérard Pesson”
Debut solo release of intimately compelling avant-garde minimalism from Michael Reudenbach, collecting nigh on two decades of distinguished works which may well pique interest from fans of Jakob Ullmann, Morton Feldman or John Cage
Strings, keys, woodwind, vocals and small percussion sounds form the acoustic foundations of these 12 hugely spacious pieces, running to just over two hours between them and commonly bound by a rigorous exploration of the spaces between the notes, and their carefully placed, barely-there presence within the arrangement.
Signposts are fascinatingly few and far between here, leaving his soundfield wide open to exploration and resonant reflection.
“"it has become taken for granted that nothing concerned with art is self-evident any more, neither in it nor in its relationship with the whole - not even its right to exist." it is with these words that adorno begins his "aesthetic theory". "
Instrumental compositions by "post-minimalist" John McGuire who took classes with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig, among others.
"Each of the compositions of American composer John McGuire describes, in its own way, a multi-dimensional sonic space which the listener can take in from various vantage points and, in so doing, experience the very same sound in different guises. Disc 1 - 1. Cadence Music for 21 instruments (1982-85, Ensemble Modern, Director: Ernest Bour) 2. Exchanges for string quartet and soprano (1998-2002, Julia Rempe, soprano; Pellegrini-Quartett); Disc 2 - 1. Decay for eight horns (1967-70, musikFabrik: Christine Chapman) 2. Frieze for four pianos (1969-74, musikFabrik)3. Music for horns, pianos and cymbals (1981, musikFabrik)"
Impossibly rare, recent NWW vinyl releases compiled on CD for first time. Housed in deluxe 6-panel digicase
“Available for the first time since being issued privately as a limited vinyl, United Dirter present the CD issue of this ultra-rare 2014 two track LP, The Great Ecstasy Of The Basic Corrupt. The additional track "Circles Of Confusion" comes from the equally rare Silver Bromide LP (2013). Indulge yourself in these three immersive, ocean deep and intensely powerful tracks of sinister whimsy for the wretched. Yet another classic from the timeless and ever evolving Nurse With Wound.”
Sterling, synth-heavy soca mutations from Trinidad & Tobago, 1984! A far ahead-of-its-time fusion of calypso/soca and disco rhythms with electronic instruments. Somewhere in orbit between Claude Rodap and Francis Bebey. Includes unmissable zingers in the irresistible bounce of Let’s Get Together and D’Hardest. Highly recommended!
“Shadow is a man of understated magnitude. A truly enigmatic artist, he first emerged in Trinidad and Tobago during the 1970s, becoming a part of the tapestry of Caribbean music and reinvigorating calypso at the time. Calypso, the indigenous folk music of Trinidad and Tobago, has roots in West African kaiso rhythms, French Creole influences, and the hardships endured by the African slaves brought to Trinbago, whose descendants still use it as a tool for satire, self-expression, and social commentary. Calypso has also given birth to several other music genres, including soca, with its uptempo beats and festival context. Shadow effortlessly moves between both.
Shadow came from a humble but musical family and started writing songs as a youth while tending cattle in the fields. To his family’s initial chagrin he chose calypso over church music but his talent and drive were undeniable. In the early days of his career Shadow’s style was cramped when working with some of the more conservative music arrangers who felt that calypso and soca should fit a mould. But after a while Shadow teamed up with more innovative arrangers, including Arthur “Art”de Coteau, who followed their and Shadow's intuitions resulting in a long line of hits.
Sweet Sweet Dreams was recorded at the legendary SHARC studios, located on a hill in Chaguaramas (near Port of Spain) and despite a fantastic sound and monster Soca-boogie tunes like “Lets get it together”, “Lets Make it Up” and “Way, Way Out” the album was a commercial flop, probably due to the fact that it didn’t sound like anything else coming out of Trinidad & Tobago at the time: It fused a range of different rhythms and new sounds, primarily heavy synth riffs.
Shadow took the album’s lack of success in his stride with usual aplomb:
“When I did Sweet Dreams I expect something could happen. But nothing big happen because I have no big market and no distribution and all this thing now. So I just cool myself and move on to another song. I wasn’t doing just one song. I used to always have plenty songs at the one time. And be writing music”.
What Shadow didn’t realise back then was that the proto-electronic cocktail he had mixed in 1984 would only find the recognition it deserved three decades later. Life has swung full circle: Sweet Sweet Dreams has come true and been elevated to holy grail status becoming one of the most sought-after Caribbean disco records in existence. Asked about this turn around Shadow mused “I’m trying to understand that part. A lot of people ask me for it over a few years now. But I never give anybody it. That music wasn’t for then. It’s for now”.”
Welcome to the further adventures of Bohren and his crew of axe carrying jazz deconstructionalists.
Another Bohren & Der Club of Gore classic seeps up from below, seeing its first vinyl reissue since the original 2002 pressing! Like its predecessor, Sunset Mission, the tone and feel of Black Earth is steeped in a smoky history of noirish soundtracks, European minimalism and the intensity of avant metal, all perfectly weighted for head-plunging midnight immersion.
It still beggars belief how they manage to play so slow without at least one of them nodding off during the session, which tends to be as effective as a xanax at those times when required. In their world everything operates at an opiated pace, with silvery solo piano, resonant double bass dabs and spectral voices seemingly curling off the wax into acres of negative space and taking your thoughts with them.
In terms of a sonic experience, basically everyone needs to undergo a Bohren album at least once in their life, and if you’ve never squinted into the distance of Sunset Mission or stared into the abyss of Black Earth, you genuinely don’t know quite what you’re missing out on.
Marking up five years in the game, White Peach throw down 28 original instrumentals from the grime new school, smartly given context in a scything mix by Score5 on the bonus disc.
It’s the first time for most of these cuts on CD, spanning the breadth of White Peach’s remit from bellicose to blunted, aggy to sweetlad, with highlights on Disc 1 including Lington’s fierce Bounty, the body-checking turbulence of Shudan by Arctic Garms, and a bullet-riddled bruxist spesh from Impey, running amok on Youngster’s Bongo; whilst highlights from the 2nd disc touch down from Sorrow’s highly-strung Skengman Tantrum, the razor-sharpened electro prod of Kahn & Neek’s Bongo remix, a mauling Trends mix of Zha’s Southampton Lengman, and a canny inclusion of Youngstar’s grime cornerstone, Pulse X.
All new, unheard material culled from a 3 hour live PA in Hawaii.
“An epic affair of gentle soundscapes and field recordings, all captured and recorded on the mystical, "Road To Hana" in the land of the low lying clouds, Maui, Hawaii. A near hour long transmission (culled from a near 3 hour live performance) of sonic immersion, sub-aquatic bass, spiralling atmospherics and dubbed out harmonics tugging right at the heart strings, leaving one in a state of acidic dreams... A true exploration of the most mystical of lands... We'll meet you there. “
Corking Volume 1 (where is Volume. 2?!?!) of obscure Khmer Folk and Pop Music dug out by the Cambodian Cassette Archives. Sounds range from Ariel Pink’s sweetest fantasies to Darkie’s ecstatic folk disco bangers and the heroic gamer themes of Golden Dragon Band’s Golden Draagon ST and jaw-dropping echo chamber experiments. Trust: you’ve never heard anything quite like it!
"Cambodian Cassette Archives is an unbelievable collection of dynamic Cambodian music recorded between the 1960s and the 1990s, both in Cambodia and in the United States. A truly Khmer blend of folk and pop stylings - cha-cha psychedelia, phase-shifting rock, sultry circle dance standards, pulsing Cambodian new wave, haunted ballads, musical comedy sketches, easy-listening numbers and raw instrumental grooves presented in an eclectic variety of production techniques. Male and female vocalists share the spotlight, embellished by roller rink organ solos, raunchy guitar leads and midi defying synthesizers. Culled from over 150 ageing cassettes found at the asian branch of the Oakland public library in California, these recordings showcase a pre and post holocaust Cambodian musical lineage that can't be ignored."
Just shy of two hours of chasmic ambience and opiated throb by Echospace’s Stephen Hitchell a.k.a. Variant. Two years in the making.
“Over 2 years in the making and 10 years of synth programming and development, Variant's "Aurora's Dream" is reawakened. The inspiration stems from a new method of seeing and hearing thru re-synthesized harmonic tables and new algorithmic structures creating an analogue ocean of unexplored sounds. In search of sonic slivers beneath the surface, variant taps into something that breaks the mold; where the culmination of light and sound can reveal a new panoramic world. Painstakingly developed sound design, paying close attention to every finite detail, the original is revisited in search of sonic existence within the mind, capturing the essence of brain waves thru sound -- vibrational healing.
With Light, apparitions appear and disappear. Just as sound can interrupt and influence a dream. One lamp can light a hundred thousand lamps in the darkness. These ideas combined are the reveries into the reawakening of aurora's dream. Epiphanies towards enlightenment. Foreboding, yet distorted. Ominous, but inviting.. not for the faint of heart."
Immersive hour-long drift by Echospace’s Stephen Hitchell a.k.a. Variant: meshing fire-pit field recordings and modular synths in a heady atmospheric pressure system.
“Variant's albums invoke various celestial phenomena ranging from comets, to stars, to the aurora borealis. The cosmic preoccupation plays out in the music too, which ranges from warm analog space ambient infused with field recordings to more rhythmically active synthesizer loops and drones.
Pyralis is a collaboration, inspired by coniferous Michigan, lost in the flames on a dreamy starlit night, it was quite majestic. Live recordings took place last fall for a small bonfire event on the night of the harvest moon, limited to a small amount of people to contact the spirits.”
For 60 minutes, Echospace’s Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell a.k.a. CV313 tap into channels of haptic paranormal communications thru a vintage trident desk, all hands on board for a tactile diffusion of bass in unfathomable space.
6CD box set including the original three CDs included in the limited edition 1997 CD-box set version, a disc of rarities, B-sides, oddities and live material, and two discs containing the Deathprod and Motorpsycho gig from March 14, 1997 at the Rockefeller in Oslo in its entirety.
Project yourself floating over Shibuya like the departed spirit of the character in Enter The Void…
“Hypnagogia is a word that describes the experience of transitioning from wakefulness into deep sleep. Mental phenomena that occur during this "threshold consciousness phase” include lucid thought, lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.
“Shibuya Hypnagogia” is a 61-minute generative-music composition designed to induce the shift from full awareness into a state of deep delta. An alien transmission from the threshold of perception. A tool for introducing shifting gradients of consciousness. Trans-dimensional voices drift in and out over an ocean of gentle sonic-cascades. Sonic lifeforms hover weightlessly in your listening space. Sounds of ghosts in the wires. Nocturnal field recordings from Tokyo (Shibuya / Shinjuku) combine with prototype generative-music composition software to form this otherworldly audio landscape.
Mastering curves optimized for low-level playback. Tokyo recordings captured via Sound Devices 702 + Core Sound High End Binaural Microphones (DPA 4060 capsules). Mixed in real-time to a Tandberg TD20A recorder.”
Alchemy-remastered edition of an Echospace classic, newly available on CD with Lindsay Todd’s excellent artwork.
At long last, Echospace's CV313 project, 'Dimensional Space' finally sees the light of day on CD. So the story goes, the original masters recorded 1996-2010 were submerged underwater due to a flood in the duo's home studio, with many reels never recovered.
The ones they did manage to salvage have been painstakingly restored to form CV313's debut album proper. The original material comprises eight nebulous pieces of perfectly detached dub techno intended for healing, meditative purposes. The average length of each piece is 10 minutes, allowing the duo plenty time to feel out fathomless bottom end and vaulted reverb structures, bobbing on slow churning ocean of dub noise.