Vestiges of ’90s trance surface in strange, elegiac and unusual forms thru Friday Dunard’s debut album for Köln’s Magazine.
Hailing from the motherland of trance, Friday Dunard is somewhat qualified to riff on its lingering after effects, which emerge as residual traces of rushy arps and nostalgic melodies amid the impressionisic fog of memory across ‘Rhenus Aeternus’. While it starts up with propulsive electro-trance pulses, breakdowns and ecstatic vamps for the club in ‘Aeternus’, the thread of inspiration becomes progressively frayed in a manner recalling Lorenzo Senni via Mark Leckey’s collages as the tracks proceed, variously suggesting the form with the uneasy luft of ‘Ultra Citron’ and threaded into playfully syncopated breaks on ‘In McFit’, or congealed into club-teasing strictures with ‘Lower Beach’. The centrepiece ‘Rhenus’ comes closest to Lorenzo Senni at the afters, and by the time of ‘Upper Beach’ it’s full strung out and dreamlike, with a final flourish of escalating, beat-less, near baroque arp arrangements in ‘Latus et Altus’ surely recalling T C F’s legendary YYAA tape.
Perhaps this makes matters clearer? Then again…: “Friday Dunard pulls the sawtooth from trance. Now he whistles elegiac prayers to mystical rivers on it. He lets it bubble out of battered cans of Monster Energy. He sings a protestant canon with it. And in the end it's trance again. Just like when we were guessing track intros with Ben.K on cue point.de. When Fruity Loops was the actual homework. When PvD appeared on Stuttgart's Schlossplatz, or James in a basement a little further on. Duni shares the river with Karlsruhe, the harbor with the Cologne label Magazine. There, not far from a SPA, the "Gerade" EP docked a few years ago.”
Esteemed synthesist Tom Mudd articulates an uncanny valley between guitar and software with sober but subtly mindbending-and-retuning results on the Glasgow/Manc label run by software developer and composer Marcin Pietruszewski - think an AI emulating Tashi Dorji, Derek Bailey or Bill Orcutt
“With sound synthesis in general and physical modelling in particular, there is a deliriously tempting urge to push every parameter to materially impossible extremes as part of a broader effort to enter a kind of floating realm freed of the shackles of history. While this approach can certainly be generative, in Guitar Cultures Tom Mudd is ultimately more concerned with the unavoidable rootedness of sound, the place of the instrument as tool in a complex network of social relations; there is something more subtly profound about treating synthesis as a warped mirror in which is reflected our actual mode of being, which itself bears the obscured histories and origins of the sound-making apparatuses themselves.
In this framework, the material being unfolded—code—is certainly synthetic, easily loaded and transported on a thumb drive; at the same time, that material is already a distorted representation of a “real” object—in this case, the acoustic guitar—itself synthetic in its own way. It is in the tension and interplay between these two poles that the power of the music emerges: this is the sound of one tool actively impersonating another, establishing not so much a glossy uncanny valley as a deceptively intimate self-portrait.
There are shreds and scraps of the recognizable in these sketches: Bailey and Fahey runs, Nancarrow vortexes, and LaMonte Young’s famed piano. However, there is no trace of a flashy “look what I can do” gimmickry here; rather, Mudd seems intent on unfurling the experiment and its sounds in a most clinical and neutral manner—precisely to demonstrate the impossibility of true neutrality
for a tool that is embedded in a particular social metabolism, the very human ideas injected into and fixed within all tools and technologies.
It is in and through this firmly social and historical context that Mudd’s work distinguishes itself from its surface-level compatriots. To establish a tenuous spectrum, Guitar Cultures is neither a study of abstract sound-as-sound nor a milestone in a breathless technical quest for a yet more accurate and “realistic” sound-representation. Rather, in these etudes I hear both the comical absurdity and deeply serious potential in the collective efforts behind these algorithms—which then makes me consider that same dialectic embedded in more tangible instruments, and ultimately even music itself. In the pockets of unexpected beauty that emerge from these digital plucks and twangs, I hear, in distilled form, the joy we have all felt in observing real organization, ideas, emerging from a primordial sou —still in that gelatinous state, just before they ossify and become familiar, even ignorable, once again. Sunik Kim.
EBM/industrial pioneers Esplendor Geomtrico meet Chilean-German boffin Atom TM in a dream-fusion of their respective electronic muscle and gristle as ASA for Raster. They are not fucking-about here!
Named for an acronym of their first initials, Arturo Lanz, Saverio Evangelista, and AtomTM, aka ASA, form a recombinant beast with ‘radial’, the result of pitting their energies in a reflux of vintage industrial thrust with a thirst for modernist production. The album sits among the heaviest, rudely funked on Raster with a superb clash of textured samples dissected in hyper-crisp digital angularities certain to trigger and reprogram well tested muscle memories. The approach and final product speak directly to shared roots in ‘80s industrial body musicks, and likewise a Latin provenance that that can be heard and in their cyborg-sexy offbeat syncopations and feel for physically grinding machinery, resoundingly rent in imaginary workshop/warehouse space.
Too often the old guard of industrial music can return to the fray sounding dated and cliché, but not ASA. ‘Radial’ sounds classic but fresh, or as the label astutely put it “outstandingly atemporal… even meta-contemporary”. With little recourse to the timestamps of melody, they finely twist sine waves and panel-beaten percussion into compelling rhythmelodic forms that prompt the most crooked movement from dancers in the most classic sense of industrial musick, and likewise give the shadow dwelling types something to really chew on while they scowl at those who do get down.
They keep it playfully obtuse between highlights such as the militant stepper ‘Modernizacion Acelerada’ and the convulsive funck of ‘We Need a Medic’, jamming divebombing synths and cattleprod percussive blows into the hard-working ‘Trabajador Radial’, and mechanically reclaimed brawn of ‘Kreise’ or the jaw-disclocating gurns of ‘Enredando’, and like a scuzzy answer to Alva Noto meets Emptyset in ’Spazio’.
Helena Hauff trots out a fabric mix studded with crunchy electro bombs
After a decade dominating Euro ‘floors and beyond with her patented direct drive muscle, Hauff parades 19 tried and trusted bangers of a ruff cut and drily emotive electro-techno variety after heading more line-ups than we can count, both solo and in b2b with likes of Eris Drew, Marcel Dettmann and DJ Stingray, and hosting her own BBC Radio 1 show.
It kicks off with one of her own, ‘Turn Your Sights Inward’, and shells down lethal cuts including Clarence G’s pre-Drexicya zinger ‘Data Transfer’, a walloping Slam x Optic nerve juggernaut ‘Machine Conflict’, Radioactiveman’s murderous ‘Night Bus to Nowhere’ and Autechre’s remix of D-Breeze off MASK 500 (jeez, the nostalgia!), while highlighting a raft of newer names and obscurities.
All hitters no shitters.
Soul Jazz Records Presents : Holy Church Of The Ecstatic Soul - A Higher Power: Gospel, Funk & Soul at the Crossroads 1971-83.
"Soul Jazz Records’ Holy Church of the Ecstatic Soul: Gospel, Funk and Soul at the Crossroads 1971-83 draws upon the extensive links between black American gospel music and soul music, showing how the sensibilities of gospel artists such as Shirley Caeser, Dorothy Norwood, Andrae Crouch and others crossed over into secular soul music during this period.
Many of the most successful soul artists - from Aretha Franklin to Al Green, The Staple Singers to Sam Cooke - all drew upon their upbringing in the church for their musical inspiration. This album discusses how important the links between the black church and soul music were in creating soul music and spotlights some of the many important (and also little-known) gospel artists who walked this line between sacred music and soul, funk and disco in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Holy Church of the Ecstatic Soul shows how sacred gospel music was at home with Stevie Wonder, Blaxploitation-style funk and produced music celebrated both in New York’s underground discos (The Paradise Garage, Studio 54, etc) and later sampled by the likes of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Mary J Bilge."
Dubstep choirboy James Blake gets back to his club-adjacent roots with a 6th studio LP balancing tremulous vox, burnished trap and UK rave inspirations, including co-production by Mount Kimbie and interpolations of The Ragga Twins, Snoop Dogg and The Neptunes
Proceeding a slew of recent work with pop and rap notables such as K*nye West, Rosalía, Bon Iver, Metro Boomin, Frank Ocean, and Travis Scott, ‘Playing Robots Into Heaven’ locates James Blake surrounded by partner Jameela Jamil, and longtime pals Mount Kimbie, for a grown-up take on the naïf melodies and heart-flutter UKG/dubstep beats of his early works with Hemlock and Hessle Audio.
Set in place by Matt Colton’s mix/master, Blake’s signature, forlorn falsetto lights up an 11-song suite of twinkling electronic motifs and padded rhythms ornamented with classical keys and samples plucked from classic rave and R&B. As one of the few dubstep-deriving artists to really transcend the sound and “break” the US, Blake has inevitably come in for flack from the diehards who think he diluted the sound. But likewise he’s arguably at least partially responsible for translating it to international pop as much as rave audiences, and ‘Playing Robots Into Heaven’ is patently his clearest attempt in years to consolidate the two.
Allowing for the romantic, schmaltzy waltz of ‘Asking to Break’, a co-production with Jameela Jamil, and return influence from his pop spars across the album, he’s not breaking any molds, but does leave his imprint on them, at best in the playful rudeness of his Ragga Twins-sampling ‘Big Hammer’ and the Burial-esque flip of The Neptunes’ production for Snoop’s ‘Beautiful’, in ‘I Want You to Know’, with sweet highlights in the aerial glyde of ‘Night Sky’ and the lissom swing to ‘Fall Back’ that make it the sort of record we’d bite our tongue at if fancied by a younger sibling or wean who didn’t know better.
Legendary Afro-futurist jazz pioneer Idris Ackamoor regroups The Pyramids at drummer/producer Malcolm Catto’s studio for a typically deep and tuff new session that speaks to their 50 years of heavily rooted jams adjacent to Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders.
"Recorded between San Francisco and London and brought together by the genius of Malcolm Catto at his analogue Quatermass Studio, the new recording represents another bold step in Ackamoor’s ever-evolving journey in jazz, adding full, intricate scores including string sections and choral elements to the Pyramids’ trademark spiritual Afro-jazz sound.
Driven by the core Pyramids members Ackamoor (sax, keytar, organ), Margaux Simmons (flute), Sandra Poindexter (violin) and Bobby Cobb (guitar), tracks range from hard-hitting commentaries about police brutality (‘Police Dem’) to celebrations of the ancestors and departed loved ones (‘Requiem For The Ancestors’, ‘Re-Memory’) and hazy cosmic journeys, including the album’s title track and the sparkling, experimental closer, ‘Nice It Up’.
‘Afro-Futuristic Dreams’ is mixed by Malcolm Catto and mastered by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works. The superb cover artwork illustration is by David Alabo."
30th Anniversary edition of The Breeders' Last Splash - remastered from the original analog tapes.
"A defining album of the 90s, Last Splash by The Breeders turns 30 in 2023. Recorded by the ‘classic’ Breeders line-up of Kim Deal, Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson, and featuring the infectiously appealing ‘Cannonball’, Last Splash immediately became an alt-rock classic, achieving platinum status in the UK and US, and is ranked in Pitchfork’s Top 100 Records of the 1990s.
Entitled Last Splash (the 30th Anniversary Original Analog Edition), this special edition will span two 12” 45rpm vinyl discs, plus an exclusive, one-sided etched 12” disc containing two forgotten tracks from the original Last Splash sessions: ‘Go Man Go’, a track that Kim co-wrote with Black Francis, and ‘Divine Mascis’, a version of ‘Divine Hammer’ with lead vocals provided courtesy of Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis.
For this special edition, the original, iconic sleeve art by the late visionary designer Vaughan Oliver has been gloriously reimagined by his long-time design partner Chris Bigg."
As La Planète Sauvage celebrates its half-century, Cam Sugar presents a deluxe edition of the soundtrack, mixed from the recently discovered multi-track tapes, including 7 previously unreleased tracks and 3 alternate mixes.
"At the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, a feature-length animated film caused a sensation and won the Special Jury Prize: La Planète Sauvage by René Laloux, with phantasmagorical drawings by Roland Topor. For this philosophical tale of anticipation, where men are used as domestic toys by blue giants, the Draags, the celebrated composer Alain Goraguer unleashes his inspiration with a haunting main theme of great melodic clarity, soaring and hypnotic atmospheres, but also pursues funky rhythms with wah-wah on guitar, as if reaching out to Isaac Hayes from Shaft.
Over the decades, the acclaim of La Planète Sauvage has been growing in crescendo, both the film and its score, revered by new generations as a psychedelic summit, an Everest of French pop. Artists from the new world, from rap and hip-hop cultures, such as A$ap Mob, Madlib, Mac Miller and many others, have dipped into it for samples or remixes."
Laurel Halo's long-in-the-making debut album for her newly minted Awe label is dazzling; a mix of weightless jazz, orchestral and drift energies that’s both elusive and engrossing; just when you think you have the measure of it, it shapeshifts into something else. Made of rarified material; it bends the contemporary “ambient” template into something almost entirely new, creating a blanket of pure atmosphere that wafts over you like a cloud, but which fully comes to life with closer, deep listening.
A real AOTY contender; featuring contributions from Bendik Giske, James Underwood, Lucy Railton and Coby Sey, highly recommended if you’re into anything from Pharoah Sanders to Gavin Bryars, GAS to Klein’s brain curdling ‘Harmattan’ album.
“Currently based in Los Angeles, Laurel Halo has spent over a decade stepping into different towns and cities for a moment or more, to the point where everywhere almost became nowhere. Atlas, the debut release on her new imprint Awe, is an attempt to put that feeling to music. Using both electronic and acoustic instrumentation, Halo has created a potent set of sensual ambient jazz collages, comprised of orchestral clouds, shades of modal harmony, hidden sonic details, and detuned, hallucinatory textures. The music functions as a series of maps, for places real and imaginary, and for expressing the unsaid.
The process of writing Atlas began back in 2020 when she reacquainted herself with the piano. She relished the piano's physical feedback, as well as its capacity to express emotion and lightness. And when the legendary Ina-GRM Studios in Paris invited her to take up a residency the following year in 2021, she spared no time to dub, stretch and manipulate some of the simple piano sketches she'd recorded over the prior months; these subtle piano recordings and electronic manipulations would go on to become the heart of Atlas. In the remainder of 2021 and 2022, with time spent between Berlin and London, Halo recorded additional guitar, violin and vibraphone, as well as acoustic instrumentation from friends and collaborators including saxophonist Bendik Giske, violinist James Underwood, cellist Lucy Railton and vocalist Coby Sey. All of these sounds were shaped, melted, and re-composed into the arrangements, their acoustic origins rendered uncanny.
In short, Atlas is road trip music for the subconscious. With repeated listens, it is a record that can leave a deep sensorial impression on the listener, akin to walking at dusk in a dark forest. Its humor and sharp focus would dispel any notions of sentimentality. Completely distinct from the rest of Halo's catalog, Atlas is an album that thrives in the quietest places, rejecting bombast and embracing awe. Fitting that it's the debut release on her new recording label, whose slogan parallels the mood and atmosphere of the album: Awe is something you feel when confronted with forces beyond your control: nature, the cosmos, chaos, human error, hallucinations.”
Deaf Center co-founder and key Scandi ambient artist Erik Skodvin dims the lights on his quietest and arguably strongest solo album in years - RIYL early The Caretaker, Deathprod, Kreng, Korea Undok Group
Erik K Skodvin’s music has always been defined by its play of light/dark, yet the negative space has rarely consumed his music as much as in ‘Nothing left but silence’. Following from his ‘Schächten’ (2022) LP and this year’s ‘Devolving Trust’ under the cloak of Svarte Greiner, he really amplifies the background noise and allows only the finest glimpses of gently reverberating guitar to light the way. Its a logical extension of his musick’s nuance, prising a portal to the peripheries where flickering shadows and apparitions of the subconscious lurk.
“'Nothing left but silence' is Erik K Skodvin’s third solo album for Sonic Pieces and his most quiet to date. Subtitled as "Musical improvisations and quiet collages from the subconscious”, Skodvin reduces his instruments to guitar, reverb and amp - and creates a skeleton of eight hypnotic ragas that meanders in an eternal loop between ephemeral and singular.
Only on the horizon it’s possible to sense that Skodvin has also touched the neoclassical terrain in earlier productions - on Nothing left but silence, however, he acts as a twilight player who is not afraid of the coldness of endless space and who knows how to subjugate the shadowiness of the visible world. Carried by the noise of the amp and the occasional click of the effects pedals, a monolithic, reduced blues emerges, whose mediumistic quality nevertheless reveals that Skodvin's music always comes from the body - and as such is always searching for space. A space that - in this case - blends the vastness of the Norwegian steppe with the brittleness of American wasteland (as if Deathprod and Loren Connors were one and the same person), creating a persistent state between deceleration and absence of presence - that leads Skodvin ever closer to the inner essence of sound.
Initially recorded at Saal 3, Funkhaus, Berlin by Nils Frahm in 2015, the album has itself been subjected to silence as a forgotten relic, re-found and now released in a time where it might connect more with the contemporary state of mind. Welcome to the entrance to the periphery.”
Deutsche Grammophon handles this posthumous world premiere recording of the late Icelandic composer's triumphant 'A Prayer to the Dynamo', bundling it with suites compiled from his acclaimed scores for 'Sicario' and 'The Theory of Everything'.
Jóhannsson's fascination with technology is one of his compositional hallmarks. He memorialized an obselete computer system on 'IBM 1401, A User's Manual', and with 'A Prayer to the Dynamo', he wrote the piece after being inspired by field recordings he captured at Iceland's Elliðaár power plant. These sounds are woven into the fabric of the four-part piece, played with requisite skill by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Daníel Bjarnason. It's hard to know exactly how Jóhannsson might have treated the material, but this recording shines some light on the composition, and it's filled with Jóhannsson's expected melancholy flourishes.
To bump up the release, it's bundled with selected cues from 'Sicario' and 'The Theory of Everything', also rendered by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.
A double disc anthology of singles, radio sessions and live tracks by cult Manchester group Crispy Ambulance, all recorded between 1980 and 1982.
"Disc 1 is forceful live album Fin, comprising live performances mix-desk recorded around Europe and the UK during the winter of 1981-1982. Most of this material was never recorded in the studio and captures the band at their most powerful and hypnotic. The CD closes with three bonus studio tracks, including both sides of the debut 7” single on Aural Assault Records from 1980 (AAR 01), as well as Black Death, the b-side of 1982 single Sexus on Factory Benelux (FBN 18).
Disc 2 is archive collection Frozen Blood, which includes both sides of the 10” single released on Factory Records (Fac 32) in 1980, all 8 tracks from radio sessions recorded for Piccadilly Radio (July 1980) and John Peel (January 1981), plus 7 more live songs taped in 1982 but never studio recorded at the time.
All 32 tracks have been transferred from the original analogue session tapes. 142 minutes of music in total. Cover portrait by Harry Papadopoulos. Updated liner notes by James Nice."
Bureau B profile the fertile DIY tape scene of East Germany prior to the wall falling on their latest compilation.
Picking up on the themes of Mannequin’s under-rated 2016 KlangFarbe primer, Bureau B widen the scope to profile 14 bands active in East Germany’s DIY tape scene in the last few years before the GDR was dissolved in 1990.
The strict State measures in place demanded these musicians flirt with prosecution to establish the self-distribution networks that proliferated their work on cassette, and it also cultivated the disillusion and despair that resulted in some startlingly creative work. The seeds of so much to follow are evident throughout ‘Magnetband’ as Bureau B highlight work by musicians that largely released on cassette but would go on to form Raster Noton, Rammstein, Kuntskopf, To Rococo Rot and Tarwater.
The various KlangFarbe projects of Raster Noton founder Frank Bretschneider feature prominently throughout, with the hushed guitar freakout of his A.F. Moebius track Böser Traum the sort of thing you’d find in a Beau Wanzer mixtape. Beyond Bretschneider there is plenty to enjoy for the avid archivalist. Stoffwechsel’s Fly, Fliege, Fly sounds like John T. Gast after a weekend on the sensimilla, the brilliantly-named Choo Choo Flame deliver one of the shortest but most unnerving moments in the creeping ambient of Nein and Aponeuron’s Jab Gab Hej is a bracing slab of gurning EBM with added wookie screams.
Best of all perhaps is Gesichter’s SK 8 Gesichte which offers a dizzying frenzy of primitive sampling you’d mistake for early Hype W from Inga and Dean.
Pure ecstasy from a living deity: 78 minutes of ineffably blissful, deferred drone gratification of thee highest order. Massive RIYL Pandit Pran Nath, La Monte Young, Alice Coltrane, Angus MacLise, Tony Conrad, being human
Writing thru tears of joy here, ‘cos ’Solo for Tamburium’ has just turned us to a vibrating mass of mush. Taken from a 2017 performance at MaerzMusik in Berlin, the piece is perhaps the most intimately generous, radiant manifestation of C.C. Hennix’s devotion to her craft. As far as we can tell, it is the first release to feature her solo since the 1976 recordings of ’Selected Keyboard Works’, and depicts the septuagenarian Swedish musician, poet, philosopher, mathematician and visual artist at a crest of her powers; cascading an eternal stream of sustained drone and cosmic iridescence from a just intoned, custom-built tamburium - a version of the Indian long-neck lute instrument she studied under Indian classical music master Pandit Pran Nath, which is crucial to performing the ancient music’s drone chronics.
In Hennix’s hands, the results are simply blinding, bringing a rare intensity and beauty rarely found in Western musics beyond the blues and psychedelia, but commonplace for millennia in modes of the subcontinental raga and Arabic maqam that she references. Hennix knows this from her roots in jazz and the fabled ‘60s NYC minimalist scene, that led to an in-depth, lifelong study of modal practice, developing, under Pandit Pran Nath, a system of precision-tuned preparation and intuitive, devotional performance that syncs mind-body and opens the gates for a staggering, singular sense of expression. As with all her solo and ensemble-based works, the spice flows with a preternatural effortlessness, but we’ve never heard it quite so glorious and glittering with utopian promise as here, with Hennix utterly locked into her own mode.
Oceanic, cosmic, corporeal, and spiritually resonant, the music stunningly feeds forward Hennix’s earliest urges into a timeless here and now. It is both immediately gripping, and yet unfolds its fathomless layers with durational immersion, ebbing with elemental logic to reveal dynamically shifting harmonic intensities and shearing timbral intricacies that reprogram perceptions and radically home in on music’s psychophysical effects. Quite honestly, if pushed, we’d happily live on a desert island with only C.C. Hennix’s catalogue and a decent rig for company, and never get bored. Just imagine supping coconuts, slapping midges and quivering to her cold rushes under tropical sun. That’s how we feel right now.
Compiling the first 3 albums in the 'Everywhere At The End Of Time' series - two and a half hours long, each album reveals new points of progression, loss and disintegration, progressively falling further and further towards the abyss of complete memory loss and nothingness...
Embarking on the Caretaker’s final journey with the familiar vernacular of abraded shellac 78s and their ghostly waltzes to emulate the entropic effect of a mind becoming detached from everyone else’s sense of reality and coming to terms with their own, altered, and ever more elusive sense of ontology.
The series aims to enlighten our understanding of dementia by breaking it down into a series of stages that provide a haunting guide to its progression, deterioration and disintegration and the way that people experience it according to a range of impending factors.
In other words, Everywhere At The End of Time probes some of the most important questions about modern music’s place in a world that’s increasingly haunted or even choked by the tightening noose of feedback loops of influence; perceptibly questioning the value of old memories as opposed to the creation of new ones, and, likewise the fidelity of those musical memories which remain, and whether we can properly recollect them from the mire of our faulty memory banks without the luxury of choice
Room 40 celebrate cult Japanese duo Tenniscoats' fab 'Totemo Aimasho' full-length with a remastered, beefed up 15th anniversary reissue, adding some extra variations and demo versions that weren't included on the original version.
Since 2000, Saya and Ueno Takashi have been releasing music that defies conventional logic; on the surface it feels like folk or stripped-down pop, but the songs unwind unexpectedly, fraying into wyrd ambience or abstract minimalism. Collaborators and guests come and go, but Saya and Ueno's core philosophy is always present, always flickering at the forefront. Lawrence English originally released 'Totemo Aimasho' on Room40 back in 2007, having been introduced to Tenniscoats by John Chantler, who had come across the duo in Tokyo and been inspired to work with them. Chantler plays drums, tape and synths on the album, and his partner Carina Thorén plays flute, while English himself contributes synths, electronics and field recordings. Additional drums are handled by Yoshinari Kishida, and Koji Shibuya plays melodica, leaving Saya to work on vocals, piano, keys and bass, and Ueno to play guitar, sax, unisynth and backing vocals.
For this special anniversary edition, English didn't just work on a "more faithful" remaster, but went back to the archive of recordings he'd collected at the time. He found some demos of 'Cacoy', one of his favorite tracks, and a few other variations and experiments, blessing the album's original 12 tracks with four extra pieces. The new version stands as a definitive edition of a record we already loved, and it still sounds singular years later. Saya and Ueno's passion for experimentation and improvisation lifts each gentle composition into the clouds, from the hypnotic, synth led 'Jitsurei' to the rattly folk jam 'Midori'. There's a rough, DIY quality to the music, but it's not sketchy; the duo's vision is self-contained, and their intermingling of lilting, softly-sung vocals and adventurous instrumentation is psychedelic and challenging enough to keep us engrossed after hearing it countless times. Just beautiful, timeless music - if you haven't heard it before, now's yr chance.
Justin Broadrick & Kevin Martin’s singular ’95 illbient dub trip starring Jon Hassell and Kingsuk Biswas (Bedouin Ascent) returns, remastered by Broadrick and reissued for first time in a generation - RIYL Om, Spectre, Andy Stott
Originally a part of Virgin’s Ambient Series, the 1995 release of ‘Re-Entry’ then followed the Kevin Martin-programmed ‘Ambient 4: Isolationism’ and ‘Macro Dub Infection Volume One’ sets on the label with a deep plunge into the murky backroom and bedroom sound of a mid decade UK. Where the duo of Kevin Martin (The Bug) and Justin Broadrick’s (Godflesh) first album as Techno Animal, ‘Ghosts’ (1991) still betrayed their mutual roots in radical industrial metal swag, their 2nd album paralleled the rapid development of styles during that era with a paradoxically sludgier, layered and textured form of mutant industro-dub menace that ran counter to the grain of club and rock musicks. Smelting aspects of everything from King Tubby to Killing Joke and Godflesh into a potent stew of dub bass, brain-curdling acid and noise swelter, ‘Re-Entry’ remains a momentous standout in either’s catalogue and of the era itself, prompting new directions for subsequent threads of post rock, and experimental hip hop and soundsystem music.
For 2.5 hours they take possession of your listening space with a full bodied transposition of studio-as-instrument black magick into mildewed housing stock and smoke chambers across Blighty and beyond. Like the ‘Macro Dub Infection’ series’ dissemination thru Virgin’s worldwide web of shop placements, the 2CD reached myriad ears spellbound by its heavyweight conviction and depth of sound, with most of the dozen tracks taking over 10 minutes to execute their functions and leaving no body in doubt to their dreadnought momentum. Between the 4th world trumpet peal of Jon Hassell on opener ‘Flight of the Hermaphrodite’ and hypnagogic plangency of ‘Needle Park’, the album follows a logic of dense and seething pressure in the first half’s ‘Dream Machinery’ with standouts on the acid-woven trample of ‘Mastadon Americanus’ and 14 minute salvo ‘Narco Agent Vs Medicine Man’ ft. Kingsuk Biswas, to the 20 minute psych-dub blow out ‘Demodex Invasion’, while the 2nd half’s ‘Heavy Lids’ induces sensations of sleep paralysis and doom that ran counter to putative perceptions of the ‘90s as one shiny rave orgy, between the outernational dub drone of ‘Evil Spirits / Angel Dust’, and bleakness of ‘Resuscitator.’
The last part of Yann Tiersen's Kerber project, Kerber Complete; a CD box set including a brand new Solo Piano version of Kerber, the original album, Kerber Remixes with bonus material, and Tiersen’s live translation of Kerber, 11 5 18 2 5 18.
"Kerber was initially released in 2021 and was very much a new chapter in the Breton artist’s work. Although there is piano at the core, the album was the most overtly electronic material he had presented to date. It was recorded in The Eskal, the studio he built on Ushant where he lives, and was named after a Chapel in a small village on the island. This was followed up by Kerber Remixes (a 12” of remixes from Terence Fixmer, Beatrice Dillon, Laurel Halo, Iku Sakan and remix competition winners) and 11 5 18 2 5 18 (a record of reprogrammed, resampled and reimagined tracks from Kerber and additional tracks from his catalogue that serves as the perfect insight into Tiersen’s live interpretation of the original album).
This CD box set exhibits the full evolution of the Kerber story, moving from its origins of stripped back piano into its electronic resolution, 11 5 18 2 5 18. It also see Kerber Remixes available for the first time on CD, featuring a new Terence Fixmer remix of ‘Ker al Loch’, a variety of Yann Tiersen’s remixes of tracks by NEU!, Keeley Forsyth, Michael Price, and Simon Fisher Turner and Edmund de Waal, as well as a brand new song titled ‘Nivlenn’."
Rare Funk & Soul From Miami Florida 1967 - 1974. The good folk at Soul jazz dug through the everglades, and in their continuing 'places i've been' tour of american black music hotspots and highlights, cull seventeen gators for you to wrestle.
TK studios was eventually to spawn the biggest disco crossover numbers of all in the latter part of the seventies, but all you boogie obsessed fiends will just have to wait for volume two for this part of the story. Focussing here on the output of the plethora of small labels handled by TK: Alston, Glades, CAT, Marlin, Deep city, Saadia and several more small, great ones, there's plenty to admire here - Willie 'little beaver' Hale has one of the most singing guitar sounds of all, Timmy Thomas of 'Why Can't We live together' fame in astral shock out mode, the awesome '90 % of me is you' by Gwen McCrae, the heavy 'I Get Lifted' by husband George, Clarence Reid the man who would be Blowfly, and that's just the best known names covered. You just know this is sheer goodness from start to finish, so all brother funkers, soul sisters, crate diggers and breaks' casualties - get stuck in.
To The God Named Dream by Nathan Micay for LUCKYME®.
"To say a lot has happened to Nathan Micay since the release of ‘Blue Spring’ is an understatement. Since the Canada-native turned Berghain-regular made the short jump from Berlin to Copenhagen after the pandemic, he’s been holed-up in a derelict studio complex to immerse himself in consecutive acclaimed soundtracks: multiple seasons of HBO/BBC award-winning drama ‘Industry’, the upcoming post-Trump feature ‘Reality’ starring Sydney Sweeney, and the highly anticipated HBO Original Documentary 'Time Bomb Y2K. His meteoric rise in the world of scoring has forced a break from the DJ circuit, but new tracks have debuted as VIPs through the sets of respected DJ peers Peach and Avalon Emerson. Having sharpened his proverbial sword he returns with his most ambitious offering yet.
‘To The God Named Dream’ takes inspiration from classic RPGs to present a haunted library record for the large language age. No longer solely gearing his music for clubs has proven a revelation for Micay. The result is a record equally at home in earphones as a PA. From the title down to every detail of the artwork, ‘To The God Named Dream’ represents a cursed library record, possessed by an interdimensional intelligence ripping though the sleeve. The vinyl art contains an original multiplayer board game, designed by LUCKYME® to accompany the album. “Jumanji meets Hellraiser.” "
Floating Points’ Melodies International shine overdue light on Mad Professor’s rawly dubbed 1984 lovers rock reggae album, newly remastered from tapes by Matt Colton .
Mad Professor ranks among the world’s leading dub masters since the early ‘80s. He’s renowned for a classic, hands-on-desk approach to dub since founding his studio in 1979, leading to a series of legendary ‘Dub Me Crazy’ albums and UK household staples such as his reworks of Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’ album in the ‘90s, plus countless live performances. Named for his eponymous London studio, ‘Ariwa Sounds: The Early Sessions’ (1984) is a delectable snapshot of his work with lovers rock artists in the mid ‘80s, nestling his work for likes of Deborah Glasgow, Ranking Ann, Errol Sly and Sergeant Pepper in a truly heavyweight style.
A relatively recent encounter with ‘Ariwa Sounds: The Early Sessions’, and its timeless mix of soulful reggae vocals with rawly upfront dubbing, led Floating Points and co’s Melodies International to give it some love on reissue, where it stands tall alongside classic work by everyone from Womack & Womack to Mood II Swing and many more, and is likely to become a new fixation with new generations raking over dub reggae’s hot embers. The sultry but thunderous ‘Moonlight Lover’ is a massive flex, as is the nice ’n easy ‘My Thing’ by Deborah Glasgow, and no doubt the ricocheting instrumental ‘Sitting Room Dub’ depicting Mad Professor deep in the echo chamber,
The label say: “When we finally had the pleasure of meeting Neil at his recording studio, he revealed that this album was one of his earliest works. It was born out of a birthday gift from his wife—a four-track recorder that inspired him to venture into music-making after years of repairing and building electronics and audio equipment. When we asked him if he would be making music if not for that gift, he confessed that it was highly unlikely (!)
Mad Professor further explained that this album, originally released in 1984, is a compilation of tracks recorded between 1979 and 1981, representing the nascent stages of his recording and production career, when the idea of establishing a studio and the Ariwa label were just beginning to take shape. He set up all his gear, including his first homemade four-track mixing desk, in the front room of his house in South London. With no prior studio experience, he positioned microphones where he thought they should fit and invited local musicians to collaborate. Errol Sly, Ranking Ann, Sergeant Pepper, Deborah Glasgow, Victor Cross, Sister Audrey, his backing band the Sane Inmates and a host of other talented local artists, some of whom would go on to become stalwarts in their respective genres, all contributed to this album, capturing the raw essence of Mad Professor and Ariwa's early sound.”
End is the seventh album by Explosions in the Sky.
"End is perhaps the “grandest” Explosions in the Sky album – melding the quiet restraint and crushing feel of their early releases with the sonic texturing and ornate experimentation of their later releases, and their increasingly deep film and television scoring catalog, influenced by personal tastes stretching from classical to soul to experimental ambient music.
The title “End” furthers a story arc reflected in the album titles that started with the “innocence” of their first album (How Strange, Innocence), progressed through the idealism and romanticism of their second and third albums (Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever and The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place), followed by the introspection (All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone and Take Care Take Care Take Care) and big-picture focus (The Wilderness) of their most recent albums."
In 1972, trumpeter Baikida Carroll and some of his colleagues from the Black Artists Group (more precisely saxophonist/flutist Oliver Lake, trombonist Joseph Bowie, drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw and trumpeter Floyd LeFlore) took the advice of their friends in the Art Ensemble Of Chicago and left their native Missouri to come and discover the bright lights of Paris for themselves. The following year they would even get the chance to record their only album which would rapidly attain mythical status and a collector’s item: “In Paris, Aries 1973”.
"Therefore, it was not surprising that they crossed paths with Jef Gilson in the capital. He was always on the lookout for new artists for his recently formed Palm label and had been active on many fronts in jazz since the end of the 50s. The French bandleader / pianist / composer / sound engineer had already recorded, in the preceding months other American musicians who would go on to have great careers: Byard Lancaster, Keno Speller, Clint Jackson III, Khan Jamal... Gilson therefore offered Baikida Carroll the chance to record his first album under his own name, which would be the 13th release on the label. Carroll logically asked Oliver Lake to join him. He also recruited Manuel Villaroel, a young Franco-Chilien pianist from the group Matchi-Oul, who had already released an album on Futura in 1971 and would release another on Palm in 1976. The group was completed with the addition of Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, who had just released a well-received album on the Saravah label. They were ready to enter the studio for the 3rd, 4th and 5th June 1974.
The first side of the album is divided into two long tracks which send free jazz back to its long-lost African roots. The opener “Orange Fish Tears” indeed rolls out a jungle of percussion of all sorts and sizes -the whole group is involved- which weave and mix together reaching a point where all bearings are lost, lending a sense of wonder to the majestic entry of the brass and woodwinds, flying suddenly out from the undergrowth. “Forest Scorpion” (sic) is a real voodoo ceremony where a venomous percussive groove backs the fiery solos from keyboards and saxophone in a furious trance. A warning; after these two tracks listeners are physically and emotionally wiped out!
The other side is more introspective. Deliberately using dissonance and repetition, “Rue Roger” -the only composition by Oliver Lake- in a long dialogue between trumpet and saxophone, could almost remind us of Terry Riley in his favourite ballpark. “Porte D'Orléans”, the fourth and final track on the album, has the group back to their old tricks in a long hallucinatory jam which owes as much to the contemporary music of György Ligeti as to the most angst-ridden Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack music (remember the heavy chords which beat through “Planet of the Apes»).
With these two sides, and in under 45m, Baikida Carroll and his musicians show just what they can do, from cerebral to charnel without ever simplifying things. This is an essential album if you are a fan of free-wheeling avant-garde music from the Art Ensemble of Chicago to Sonic Youth and including Shabaka Hutchings and Rob Mazurek. For those with good taste, in other words."
Bowery Electric's classic 1996 sophomore album "Beat" finally reissued; a hypnotic set of sampled breaks and shimmered guitar and vocal textures that split the difference between DJ Shadow and MBV.
After releasing their acclaimed self-titled debut in 1995, Bowery Electric's Lawrence Chandler and Martha Schwendener were left without a drummer after Michael Johngren's departure, and a callout for a replacement just didnt work out. In came samplers and drum machines to fill the void, as the band stumbled on a new signature sound in the process. The title "Beat" is an inside joke, but focuses on the element that gives the record its lasting appeal, pre-empting the wave of electronic shoegaze revivalists in the mid-00s like Ulrich Schnauss, Casino Versus Japan and M83, harmonizing with peers like Seefeel, Loop or Windy and Carl.
The heavy-knit shoegaze that guided Bowery Electric's debut is broken down into its component parts here; there's looping dub bass and downsampled breaks - basically the kind of thing you would have heard on Mo' Wax's "Headz" comps, evoking minimal trances that sound like shoegaze, trip hop and backroom ambient all at once.
If you're into that messy zone where shoegaze and trip-hop intersected - think Third Eye Foundation, Flying Saucer Attack, Bark Psychosis or Seefeel - Bowery Electric are an essential piece of that puzzle, and "Beat" is their finest moment.
For their fourth album, indie avant-pop supergroup Spirit Fest make a virtue of distance, with group members split across Europe, and recording sessions taking place after a brief 2021 tour of Europe. The six songs illuminate different aspects of the transnational quintet’s character – lovely, heart-rending pop songs; melancholy chants; the joys of simple repetition – with the group’s guitar pop tended by gentle flourishes of piano and electronics.
"Some of those flourishes were spirited onto »Bear In Town« across the waves, with Mat Fowler (Bons, Jam Money) contributing from Britain, while the body of the music was recorded in a small apartment studio in Munich by the other members of Spirit Fest: Saya and Ueno (Tenniscoats), Markus Acher (The Notwist) and Cico Beck (Joasinho, Aloa Input). »Bear In Town« is concise and powerful, the infectious joy of the spirit communicated, beautifully, by melodies that balance the heartfelt with the melancholy. Reflecting on those sessions, Acher says, »I think the album captures how well we played together at that time.« It’s all the more impressive given this material was put down live in the studio, with a few vocal overdubs. The depth of feeling at the core of Spirit Fest’s music is evident from the opening notes of »Bear In Town«.
»Kou-Kou Land«, the first song on the album, recalls several earlier Tenniscoats songs, like »Baibaba Bimba«, in the way the musicians weave gentle complexity around a simple, repeated chant; the stop-start structure of »Kou-Kou Land« builds anticipation, while Saya’s simple melody is lovely, delivered in an absent-minded hum that’s deeply affecting. »Lost & Found« revolves around a delightful descending chord change that breaks up the swaying, folksy verses, gorgeous electronic whirrs and purring winds floating through the song. The following »In Our House« possesses such sweet sadness, it’s one of Spirit Fest’s most moving songs yet.
»Like A Plane« repurposes a song that Markus Acher originally wrote and recorded for his solo EP of the same title, released on a 2022 10-inch single on Morr Music. The original was a gentle, introverted lament, but the version on »Bear In Town« has a widescreen tenderness, its melancholy framed by raindrop piano. The album concludes with two moments of playful splendour, the bossa-inflected »Hill Blo«, and the driving title track, both led by Saya, who is in stunning voice on this album; on »Bear In Town«, her awestruck wonder perfectly captures the sense of possibility in the song’s capacious chords. Like the rest of the album, it’s full of kindness, rich with psych-pop splendour… a balm for troubled times."
Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother) leads the Irreversible Entanglements quintet on a cool, swaggering 4th album of punk soul-inspired free jazz jams.
In Irreversible Entanglements’ adaptations of ‘70s jazz fusion and spiritual modes, the band tacitly acknowledge that on some levels many things haven’t changed over the past half century. They continue to mine a vitality from tried and trusted combinations of styles that still bleed with expression, moving as one between the sinuous, dubbed out roll of ‘Free Love’ to an brilliantly up-stepping album highlight ‘Protect Your Life’, and thru to the more pent, dread-heavy closure imparted by ‘Degree of Freedom’, with Camae Aiwa’s vocals reserved to her most pointed lyrics and deliberate delivery.
There’s a bustling wild one for the most dextrous jazz dancers in the crazed ‘Soundness’, and we’re well snagged on the intensely low-key groove and spiralling synths of ‘root⇔branch’ and the simmering anguish of ‘Sunshine’ channelling Sonny & Linda Sharrock.
Clear Pond Road by Kristin Hersh on Fire Records.
"Kristin Hersh’s Clear Pond Road is a cinematic road trip; a series of personal vignettes from a fiercely independent auteur, sitting plush with layers of all-consuming strings and mellotron. It’s a watershed moment in a career overflowing with creative firsts and inspirational thinking; an elegant piece of personal reportage, a home movie caught in time.
Previously, the juxtaposition of light and dark has been essential to the drama of Throwing Muses and 50FOOTWAVE, but this solo set is something of a departure; more inward looking, quieter but outspoken, underpinned by background noise for ambience and awkwardness.
‘Clear Pond Road’ is a life-affirming statement, a further part of the jigsaw, a very personal memoir, from street signs to snapshots; a late blossoming and coming-of-age from a true icon of independence. The record is both intimate yet expansive, written largely within the confines of Hersh’s home, making the proceedings ever more personal."
Anjimile's sophomore full-length is described by the artist as "an album of curses" that explores what it means to be a Black trans person in America. Features appearances from Sam Gendel, Big Thief's James Krivchenia, Brad Allen Williams and Justine Bowe.
It's hard to believe that almost every sound on 'The King' comes from Anjimile's voice and his acoustic guitar. On the opening, title track, he sings a confused lament over choral echoes that get more and more chaotic as the song develops. His guitar plucks are mutated into Philip Glass-inspired rollercoaster prangs, and the dissonance between the elements adds a level of tension that perfectly captures the concept.
Anjimile's Sufjan Stevens influence is clearly visible on 'Mother', as he sings softly over looped voices and fluttered strums, and on 'Genesis', his vocals snake in-and-out of musicbox chimes and sensitive gospel cries. It's a disarming muddle of influences that speaks to Anjimile's formative experiences singing in choirs and listening to his dad's Oliver Mtukudzi CDs in the car. On 'Father', tightly coiled acoustic guitar phrases dance beneath Anjimile as he sings "where is your father." And as the album evolves, darker elements rise to the surface: 'Black Hole' is a gloomy blend of distorted percussion and theatrical vocals, and 'I Pray' is a breezy gospel meditation that descends into pitch-shifted doom.
Bad Seed and Aussie journeyman Mick Harvey meets Mexican singer Acevedo in a lush, dusty dream sequence, adapting Spanish ballads to English-language duets, and covers of Tim Buckley and Pat Benatar, with quietly captivating results
As the story goes, erstwhile Bad Seed and The Birthday Party guitarist-songwriter Mick Harvey met Amanda Acevedo while he was on tour with PJ Harvey, and a creative union blossomed over the course of 2020/21. They prove an ideally timeless match, with Harvey’s gravelly baritone leavened by Acevedo’s lilt for a drifting hour of romantic torchsong, solemn reflections on mortality, and finding meaning in the mythical.
Underlined by additional guitar and instrumentation from the likes of Rowland S. Howard (Harvey’s bandmate in Crime & the City Solution and The Birthday Party), and set in place by recording engineer Alain Johannes (QOTSA, Mark Lanegan), the album simply drips with a classic lustre that is as much testament to the the old soul of young Acevedo, as it is to Harvey’s legendary calibre. Their take on Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to the Siren’ is a standout, simmering down the vocals and allowing the string arrangement to carry them more rustically, while previous single ‘Milk & Honey’ also grips with its sublime quiet/loud tension, and the late night blooz of ‘The Decadence of Lust’ reminds to Harvey’s Melbourne offspring HTRK in its rapt hush. Acevedo also sounds hauntingly beautiful when singing in her native tongue to Harvey’s english on ‘The Blue Unicorn’.
Annea Lockwood’s 1970 avant-garde evergreen is a masterpiece of concrète innovation defined by a sound sensitive curiosity and poetic imagination, now back in circulation via Room 40, on a newly remastered edition that comes with a bonus artist book. Essential listening for all and any disciples of Pauline Oliveros, Christina Kubisch, Ruth Anderson, Madalyn Merkey, Tomoko Sauvage, claire rousay, Alvin Lucier.
‘Glass World’ is the resoundingly classic debut by a pioneering American artist whose tactile, holistic approach to sound craft has been crucial in blurring distinctions between academic, sound art, and experimental musics for half a century. The album’s 23 vignette-like pieces derive from hands-on experiments with the form and function of glass in a musical context, using various techniques to stimulate and animate glass objects and revel in their familiar yet peculiar acoustic resonances and ringing overtones. Over the decades the album has achieved legendary status as one of those records that has found its way to curious ears one way or another, and has sparked the imaginations of so many sound dreamers in the process.
Born in New Zealand in 1939, Annea moved to England in 1961 to study at the Royal College of Music, London, and followed courses under post-serialist pioneer Gottfried Michael Koenig (an influence upon everyone from Roland Kayn to AFX) which honed her playfully intuitive fascination with the malleability and endless strangeness of acoustic sound vibration and resonance. ‘Glass World of Annea Lockwood’, as it was originally known, most beautifully made audible her vision in 1970 with something like a sound map to an archipelago of imagined, ethnomusicological sounds that resemble rudimentary gamelan as much as the sounds of liquid water music or domestic chores, each twinkling and chattering with a recognisable yet otherworldly character that leaves an indelible imprint on the listener.
With all but ‘Water Gong’ and ‘Deep Water Gong’ lasting under 3 minutes, the purely instrumental parts flow over the user in an effortlessly enchanting passage of time, future-proofed by their plaintive simplicity but riddled with the sort of detail that snags on first listen and rewards with repeat returns. It’s not hard to hear analogs with Annea’s recordings in work by her contemporaries such as longterm partner, Ruth Anderson, or the deep listening strategies of Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Lucier or Christina Kubisch, but also likewise in the modern world with the direct similarities of Tomoko Sauvage and claire rousay’s small sound experiments, or the between-worlds electro-acoustic sensitivities of Teresa Winter and Madalyn Merkey.
Essential listening for the curious ear, no less.
Sarah Davachi provides a shortcut to the sublime with 90 minutes of head stroking quiet music - simply unmissable for acolytes of Éliane Radigue, La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela, Kevin Drumm, Andrew Chalk, AFX’s 2nd ambient set
The 10-part retrospective ’Selected Works I & II’ is an ideal way to mark 10 years of releases by composer Sarah Davachi, whose blessed run of recordings of rare, quiet intensity hold among the past decade’s definitive lowkey works. As her legion followers will surely attest, Davachi’s music is possessed of a deeply uncanny potential to mesmerise and transport the mind to other places, following extended lines of melodic and harmonic thought, rooted in early music, chamber classical, and C.20th American minimalism, to the gauziest, most seductive new horizons of timbre and psychoacoustics.
As with her live shows, Davachi’s recorded music operates at, or just below, the speed of resting thought, with a life-affirming ability to sync one’s senses to hers, prompting the imagination to follow its own nose to wherever it goes. To attentively listen to her work can result in genuine, unfettered zen-like or immanent experience, untroubled by the musical clutter that can distract or more plainly signpost emotions, and give listeners a thruline to the sublime, as felt strongly on ‘Selected Works I & II’,
Drawn from material that predates her debut ‘The Untuning of the Sky’ (2013), and also hail from it, as well as excerpted from subsequent live recordings, tape and CD releases, and a precious trove of unreleased work; it all adds up to the sort of release we would direct newcomers as a perfect primer or portal to Davachi’s world. The calming course of ‘Alms Vert’ opens this set, as it did her debut, staking out her fluency of ancient instrumental tongue in contemporary vernacular, while the just intoned drone of ‘In Grand Luxe Hall’ places her in a live context, exploring links between architecture, psychoacoustics, and spirit that ideally reveals the teeth to her music, somehow akin to the drone chronics of Catherine Christer Hennix. The ‘Gathers’ parts from her lockdown tape for our Documenting Sound series characterises a contemporary porousness to noise and natural world, while the incremental shifts of ‘Neustadt’ proves how her music benefits from durational immersion, but likewise enchants in short form on the exquisite ‘First Triad’ and the beatific ‘A Woman Escapes Cue 4’.
Developed from bandleader and poet Alabaster DePlume's collaborative sessions that led to last year's 'GOLD', 'Come With Fierce Grace' paints outside of the lines with additional vocal contributions from Momoko Gill (aka MettaShiba), Falle Nioke, and Donna Thompson.
When Alabaster DePlume recorded 'GOLD', he invited a sprawling ensemble of talented players to join him at London's Total Refreshment Centre hub, where he worked for weeks composing music and developing the unique sound that powered the album. And it turns out that power has spilled over into another completely new record - 'Come With Grace' began to take shape when DePlume revisited the material earlier this year, pruning a handful of stark instrumentals and a few particularly gripping vocal tracks, featuring guest vocalists this time. Musically, the album features the same rich orchestration as 'GOLD', but feels pared down somehow; the instrumentation is particular, with percussion, synths, woodwind, guitar, bass, piano, cello and various voices, helping create a very modern jazz momentum.
But it's the vocal tracks that provide the most focus here. Margate-based Guinean singer Falle Nioke wakes up DePlume's sleepy, cheeky 'Sibomandi' with throaty chants, and Momoko Gill gives a soulful, smoked-out energy to 'Did You Know'. Singer-songwriter Donna Thompson turns up on clear highlight 'Naked Like The Water', wailing wordlessly over Spaghetti Western guitars and obtuse drones. Elsewhere, Tom Skinner makes his mark on the funky 'Greek Honey Slick', augmenting DePlume's lyrical horn curls with a rugged, electronically-assisted thump. Good stuff.
Music for KIDS by The Folk Implosion via Domino.
"Nearly 30 years after Kids’ seismic release, Music For KIDS – a deluxe reissue of The Folk Implosion’s original compositions that soundtracked Larry Clark’s and Harmony Korine’s 1995 cult classic film – compiles for the first time all of the songs the duo of Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr.) and John Davis wrote for the movie, newly remastered, including the surprise Top 40 hit single “Natural One,” B-sides and previously unreleased tracks."
With Oren Ambarchi on guitar, Chris Abrahams on piano and Robbie Avenaim on drums, 'Placelessness' is a testament to the trio's effortless collaboration, a free-flowing tide of tonality, texture and unexpected rhythm.
Ambarchi and Avenaim have been friends and collaborators for over 35 years, and they distinctly remember going to see The Necks together in the late '80s, being stunned by Abrahams' characteristically unique piano playing. It wasn't until 2004 that the trio managed to perform together, improvising at Ambarchi's own touring What Is Music? Festival. 'Placelessness' is their first studio album, two side-long pieces that demonstrate their knowledge of each other's strengths, their obsession with durational composition, and their boundless passion for experimentation.
The first side is split into three segments, with '1.1' led by Abrahams' instantly recognizable piano motifs. Ambarchi creeps in with subtle, elongated tones and gentle guitar licks, while Avenaim coaxes wavering scrapes from his extended kit that gradually splinter into minuscule glitches. These sounds become steadily more dense in the second segment, assembling into an unstable, pattering beat that sounds almost random until the drummer punctuates it with ride hits. Abrahams' piano almost melts away into Ambarchi's drones and Avenhaim's mechanical rattle - aided by his SARPS (semi automated robotic percussion system), that helps him break through the limitations of his instrument. And in the third segment the quasi robotic patter is couched by organ-like hums from Ambarchi that play us into the sunset.
Entirely improvised, the second piece is split into five chunks and immediately captures a different energy from its predecessor. Here, Abrahams' playing is rapid and florid, and Avenhaim accompanies with spirited, jazzy flurries that only occasionally betray their mechanical assistance. Ambarchi works on the mood itself, sculpting heaving drones that lift up Avenhaim's machine-gun kicks, matching their energy and dipping like broken oscillators. As the side evolves, Ambarchi's treatment becomes more orchestral, swelling to bring out the beauty from Abrahams' ornate runs. Avenhaim provides the dirt, rumbling and whirring and ratcheting up the tempo until it's just a wash of metal and skins.
An entrancing longform piece for shō, Hammond organ and cello, ‘Fragments of Reincarnation’ is ostensibly a study of the differing tuning systems inherent in each of the three instruments, but with results that simmer and sooth in a way that most immediately recalls Kara-Lis Coverdale’s ‘Grafts’.
Michiko Ogawa is a Japanese composer and player of the clarinet, Hammond organ and "sho" - a Japanese bamboo organ. She is a prolific collaborator who has worked with James Rushford, Sam Dunscombe, Klaus Lang among many others, and is also a member of Berlin’s Harmonic Space Orchestra. Lucy Railton needs little introduction in these pages, she is best known for her solo work for Modern Love and her years-long collaboration with influential EMS co-founder and computer music legend Peter Zinovieff (RIP). Lucy was also the founder of London Contemporary Music Festival (LCMF) and has worked with countless artists from Kit Downes, Stephen O’Malley and Kali Malone to Huerco S and Britton Powell as PDP III.
Fragments Of Reincarnation was recorded in Berlin and finds the duo in meditative form, with Lucy’s cello given an almost levitational quality by the sustained notes and slow progressions of the Hammond. Ogawa’s shō weaves around these elements with a breathless, almost wheezing quality that imbues the piece with a fallibility and warmth so often lacking in longform experimental music. In fact, although the expressive dimension of those different tuning systems at points converge into sections of perceived dissonance (especially as the sho grows in intensity towards the end of the piece), the overall effect is one of complete harmony and - dare we say it - one that packs quite an emotional punch.
Jim O’Rourke and Robert Ashley collaborator Thomas Buckner contributes source material for drone alchemist Phill Niblock’s 2001 Touch debut, a true meisterwerk resounding with canonical pieces by La Monte Young, Éliane Radigue, Phurpa, Yoshi Wada, Harley Gaber
‘Touch Works, For Hurdy Gurdy And Voice’ arrived at the cusp of the new millennium as Phill Niblock’s follow-up to the immense ‘Ghists and Others’ (1999), which was recently reissued by Room40. The three part album is cleft between instrumental and vocal works that, despite differing origins, ideally illustrate the singular results achieved by Niblock’s ascetic process of sampling, editing and layering acoustic sources into breathtaking microtonal drone chronics. It’s works such as this one, and reaching back to his 1982 debut, ‘Nothing To Look at Just a Record’ that firmly established Niblock among the pantheon of c.20th drone great and beyond, and remains a powerful example of transcendent art music in effect.
According to his typically no tricks approach and inarguable results, ’Hurdy Hurry’ features a Jim O’Rourke performance on the titular, hand-cranked instrument, renowned for its ability to produce sustained tones, alchemised by Niblock into 14 minutes of glacially shifting harmonic registers peaking out with searing top end dissonance and swollen low end. The effect recalls Yoshi & Tashi Wada’s work with reed organ, harmonium and bagpipes as much as the sound of a foghorn dying, and we’re fully here for it. ’A Y U’ on the other hand, is the meat of this release, pitching American baritone vocalist Thomas Buckner in a transfixing exploration of vocal drone chronics producing psychedelic overtones as more commonly heard in Tibetan throat singing or the likes of Phurpa. For some 40 odd minutes over two parts he opens a portal to other dimensions.
The 23rd edition of Kompakt’s annual compilation series Total 23.
"It’s impossible to look at this number without thinking of William S. Burrough’s Captain Clark anecdote, the Illuminatus trilogy and the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. But don’t you worry, we’re not giving in to eikositriophobia. We’re enlightened folks, after all.
The lively dance begins solemnly with KOLLMORGEN’s deep-subtle minimal gem “Muddy”. Making her debut is the wonderful ARGIA with the somewhat misleading title ‘No Concept’ – the Madrid native indeed has a very precise plan. Also, number one hit guarantor, JÜRGEN PAAPE, is represented here with his brand-new super hit ‘Alone In Italy’. His colleague MICHAEL MAYER is also in top disco spirits with ‘Talmi’. One of the secret weapons of the current season comes from STEPHAN BARNEM & FUTURISTANT. ‘Don’t Cry’ is a passionate New Wave belter for eternity. JÖRG BURGER proclaims a new, trippy genre: Cinematic Dance, before C.A.R. & PATRICE BÄUMEL slowly raise the energy level in the ‘Four Down’ Club Mix.
JOHN TEJADA then cruises calmly at the desired cruising altitude while the cabin crew serves refreshments. ‘Duration’ by BARNT/MAYER pays tribute to an artist formerly known as Prince with grand rave romanticism, and about REX THE DOG’s summer smash hit ‘Change This Pain For Ecstasy’, there’s really nothing more to say. The Thuringian force of nature ROBAG WRUHME must not be missing here, of course. ‘Fire’ once again shows him in top form, with one of the dirtiest basslines in techno history. Joining us from London is HARDT ANTOINE, who spells u n d e r s t a t e m e n t with ‘All We See’. And finally, REINHARD VOIGT feat Eduard Weber bring it all together – live from the grand Comedy Barn of folk music."
Supremely heavyweight 3+ hours of Phill Niblock’s immense instrumental slabs - essential listening for disciples of Éliane Radigue, Tony Conrad, Kevin Drumm, Sunn 0))), Eleh
First presented in 2006, ‘Touch Three’ showcases 9 pieces, 3hr 33min of material recorded and processed by Niblock between 2003-2005. Aside to its ‘sax Mix’, all works were produced from the sound of one player, on one instrument, into a sole mic, whose recordings were edited of breathing spaces with a Powerbook G4 to leave only the natural decay and attack of their tones. All straightforward enough, but the results are powerfully transcendent, producing sustained microtones that uncannily resemble electronic sources yet are entirely acoustic in nature.
In effect the works induce an acute sense of suspense on the cusp of calm and dread, favouring the sort of resonances that one recognises from the “real” world, although exaggerated. In the process his organised sounds connote the feel of horror films as much as the hypnagogia of riding heavy machinery such as a bus or more pertinently a motorbike, the latter of which, along with the music of Morton Feldman, initially inspired Niblock - a photographer and pioneering Intermedia artist by trade - to start arranging sound in the ‘70s.
It’s safe to say that Niblock’s music effortlessly aids one in achieving rarer states of mind. Given due attention (it more often demands, not requests it), it holds great potential to inspire sensations of synaesthesia and short circuit audio-visual, spatio-temporal perceptions like few others.
Electroacoustic explorer Erik Enocksson consolidates his raging industrial noise and choral ambient urges with a manacled grasp of quiet/loud dynamics and mournful melancholy, recommended listening if you’re into Tongue Depressor, Kevin Drumm, Beatriz Ferreyra, Maja S. K. Ratkje, Vainio.
‘Räkna evighet som intet’ (‘Count eternity as nothing’) pits Enocksson’s mettle at the service of a palindromic transition from ethereality to phantasmic facemelt terror and a choral sublime on the first part, into atonal metal-on-metal wondering on the 2nd. It follows a course of releases for the Kning Disk, Release the Bats, Posh Isolation and Irrlicht labels since 2007.
The choral sound du jour has been flung in every conceivable direction over the last few years, but is here handled by an experienced hand, able to transition from hushed reverence to clanging brutality with conviction and purpose. On the A-side, the sombre mood is gradually elevated by phased and pitched transitions that grow with an urgent, metalic intensity, recalling recent work by Henry Birdsey and Zach Rowden’s Tonge Depressor. On the flip, the mood is more industrial and aggressive, landing somewhere between Kevin Drumm’s ‘Sheer Hellish Miasma’ and Mika Vainio’s analogue terror zone.
Witness a master at work with the black hole drone traction of Phill Niblock’s 2003 opus, newly available again on its 20th anniversary. Essential RIYL Éliane Radigue, Stephen O’Malley, Reinhold Friedl, Charlemagne Palestine, Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros
Phill Niblock is one of few artists to have a Sunn 0))) track named in their honour, which speaks volumes to his prowess and uncompromising avant approach to thee heaviest drone music. 2003’s ‘Food’ is hugely powerful example of his ascetic process at work, with four pieces deriving a mesmerising, sustained microtonal drone pressure from acoustic recordings made by Ulrich Krieger (baritone sax), Carol Robinson (bass clarinet, basset horn, clarinet), and Reinhold Friedl (piano). Sunn’s mantra, “maximum volume yields maximum effect” applies acutely to Phill’s music, and never more so than on this 2.5 hour motherload, in which he implores listens to play “VERY LOUD” in the liner notes.
‘Sea Jelly Yellow’ opens the account with an oceanic deposit of smeared baritone sax, layered up and held in place like the intro to a cataclysmic riff that never comes, but nevertheless fixates attention for the duration. ‘Sweet Potato’ follows with an exploration of higher register tones knit in gnawing discord that may leave one unsettled, before ‘Yam Almost May’ supplies some sense of resolution as it recedes into subharmonic mire producing intoxicating overtones. However, the meat of this session is ‘Pan Fried’, a five-part stunner rendering Reinhold Frield’s prepared piano tekkerz at an astonishing, galactic scale of billowing resonance and speaker-worrying low end that just gives and gives.
Touch Five from Phill Niblock.
"Phill Niblock writes: "These CDs include pieces made in two different ways. Traditionally (since 1968), I recorded tones played by an instrument (by an instrumentalist), arranging these single tones into mutli-layered settings, making thick textured drones, with many microtones. In the early days, I prescribed the microtones, tuning the instrumentalist, when I was using audio tape. Later, I used the software ProTools, and made the microtones as I made the pieces. FeedCorn Ear and A Cage of Stars were made this way. In 1998, Petr Kotik asked me to make a piece for orchestra, so, I began to make scores for the musicians to play from. The form of that piece, and the subsequent six scored works, were patterned after a piece in 1992-94, where the musicians were tuned by hearing tones played from a tape through headphones. These are the instructions for the scored piece on the second CD, Two Lips. The score was prepared by Bob Gilmore, from specific directions by me. TWO LIPS, aka Nameless, is conceived as two scores, A and B, to be played simultaneously, lasting 23 minutes. Each score consists of ten instrumental parts. The twenty separate parts should be distributed randomly amongst the musicians of the ensemble; the 'A group' and the 'B group' are not separated spatially.""
This amazing triple album features a six suite work featuring Requiem For Dying Mothers, Austin Texas Mental Hospital, Broken Harbors, Mullholland, Piano Aquieu, Ballad Of Distances and A Lovesong (For Cubs)+. Two hours 5 minutes of absolute spiritual elevation...R.I.P Brian McBride.
Their usual minimal sound palette is expanded this time with the inclusion of strings, horns and piano in addition to guitars and field recordings. A personal innerspace that's relaxed, poised and breathtakingly beautiful.
Berlin-based British composer and performer Abigail Toll came up with 'Matrices of Vision' when she was studying electro-acoustic composition in Sweden, using 70 years of data sets detailing educational trends to inform a long-form drone poem that features Lucy Railton on cello, Evelyn Saylor on vocals and Rebecca Lane on woodwind, while Toll handles electronics and flute.
'Matrices of Vision' interprets trends in Swedish higher education, and Toll uses the data to inform a graphic score, mapping the numbers to frequencies using a technique she developed with Rebecca Lane. Toll's point is to use the musical output to prompt further investigation into the subject matter, so as we listen to the curious tonal variations and psychoacoustic processes, we're able to consider how categorisation impacts our relationship with the wider world and its biased, often invisible systems.
A single 40-minute piece, 'Matrices of Vision' is cautious and slow, but never dull. Railton's expert cello tones provide an immediate anchor, deviating tonally against Lane's quartertone bass flute and concert flute breaths and Toll's own flute notes and subtle oscillations. Saylor's vocals emerge later, vacillating whisper-quiet and melting into the thrum of drones before disappearing completely. Roxanne describes the piece as "an emotional sonic meditation" and it's hard to disagree; within a few minutes we're captivated by its tottering character, a beguiling concoction of abstract minimalism, pensive drone and thrumming electronics. As the piece evolves, its idiosyncrasies are harder to ignore and its unusual tonal palette pulls it further and further from its influences.
Magical stuff, and the more you observe it, the more fascinating it becomes. Essential listening whether you're into Robert Ashley, Mary Jane Leach, Sarah Davachi or Alvin Lucier
Sigur Rós’ ÁTTA on BMG.
"Few bands cut through the noise and distractions of the world to bring you a pure elemental truth or feeling like Sigur Rós. As you hear on ÁTTA, there’s a new compulsion and drive to the band that comes with the new formation of the line up. Multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson is back in the fold – having left the band in 2012 – to join frontman Jónsi and bassist Georg Holm.
Recorded across multiple continents - in the band’s Sundlaugin studio in Iceland, the legendary Abbey Road in the UK and a number of studios in the US - ÁTTA leans heavily towards the orchestral, and touches on everything that has made Sigur Rós one of the most ambitious and acclaimed bands of recent times, with close to ten million albums sold, whilst signposting an exciting and expansive possibility for their future. ÁTTA prominently features the London Contemporary Orchestra conducted by Robert Ames, alongside brass performed by longtime Icelandic collaborators Brassgat í bala. It is mixed and co-produced by another frequent collaborator Paul Corley, alongside the band."
A slept on 2004 wonder by ‘70s folk-jazz singer turned new age visionary, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, returns on a 2nd pressing, somehow recalling everything from the queer operatics of Anohni and theatrics of Kate Bush, to the dilated weltanschauung of László Hortobágyi, ‘90s Massive Attack and kids TV soundtracks.
The diversity and emotional register of ‘Primal Prayer’ ideally characterises the sort of playful spirit that’s been lurking in Beverly’s catalogue of the last 50 years. Since the 2016 reissue of ‘…Keyboard Fantasies’ (1986) it’s become clear that the world was sleeping on a real one with every new archival dispatch, and most recently in the new recordings of ‘The Ones Ahead’. 2004’s ‘Primal Prayer’ was first issued under the Phynix alias but is for all intents and purposes a key part of the Beverly Glenn-Copland canon, weirdly bridging ‘80s new wave and new age, with aspects of Massive Attack-like ‘90s trip hop in a way that, with benefit of hindsight, would have placed it out of kilter with 2004 trends, but now sounds peculiarly attractive and hails a unique place out of time.
Classic ‘80s soul sashays with new age Afro and soaring opera vocals in opener ‘La Vota’ to signal a fantasy feats ahead, turning from the moody minor key majesty of ‘Back to Bachland’ and thumb piano trip ‘On the Road’, thru to gospel-soul in ‘This Side of Grace’ and killer deployment of the Apache break in what sounds like the intro to a wigged-out ‘90s kids TV show with ‘In The Image’ (Beverly played a character on Canadian kids TV for 25 years!). We find the rhythmic urges also guiding the ace tabla breaks of the title tune, and bringing the album to a superb close with the beatdown beauty ‘Between The Veils’ and ‘A Song and Many Moons’ reminding of Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel.
The DG Avantgarde vinyl series (1968-1971) turns 55, and is compiled on a 21 CD box set for the first time to celebrate the occasion.
"The Avantgarde series serves as a historical document for a time of radical change in musical thinking and the breaking of artistic boundaries. The question "What is music?" confronted many of the composers and musicians involved in the series, and the anti-authoritarian spirit of the 1960s and 1970s was a palpable influence. Deutsche Grammophon's Avantgarde Series reflects all the currents that thus arose, without aesthetic demarcations and across genres and instrumentations: large orchestral works stand alongside chamber music and solo forms, electronic music and improvisations.
The edition is presented in its original colourful designs by renowned graphic designer Holger Matthies, accompanied by a 186-page booklet with original commentaries (available in English & German) by composers and experts as well as photos of the artists from the DG archive.
Highlights include canon works by György Ligeti such as his choral work "Lux aeterna," Luciano Berio's "Sequenza V" with Vinko Globokar on trombone, a simultaneous recording of three works by John Cage, and some groundbreaking and monumental electronic works such as Luigi Nono's "Contrappunto dialettico alla mente" and Leo Küpper's "Automatismes sonores."
WITOLD LUTOSŁAWSKI: String Quartet
KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI: Quartetto per archi
TOSHIRO MAYUZUMI: Prelude for String Quartet
MAURICIO KAGEL: Phantasie für Orgel mit Obbligati
JUAN ALLENDE-BLIN: Sonorités
GYÖRGY LIGETI: Volumina
Etüde Nr. 1 (»Harmonies«)
DAVID BEDFORD: 2 Poems for Chorus on Words by Kenneth Patchen
GYÖRGY LIGETI: Lux aeterna
ARNE MELLNÄS: Succsim
MAREK KOPELENT: Matka
VINKO GLOBOKAR: 1-5 Discours II
LUCIANO BERIO: Sequenza V
KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN: Solo für Melodie-Instrument mit Rückkopplung
CARLOS ROQUÉ ALSINA: Consecuenza op. 17
MAURICIO KAGEL: Match für 3 Spieler
Musik für Renaissance-Instrumente
IMPROVISATIONEN: »... e poi?«
Ancora un trio
BERND ALOIS ZIMMERMANN: Présence
JOHN CAGE: Atlas Eclipticalis & Winter Music
electronically amplified after Cartridge Music
DIETER SCHNEBEL: Glossolalie
MAURICIO KAGEL: Hallelujah
DIETER SCHNEBEL: für stimmen (... missa est)
GOTTFRIED MICHAEL KOENIG: Terminus II
ZOLTÁN PONGRÁCZ: Phonothese
RAINER RIEHN: Chants de Maldoror
MAURICIO KAGEL: Der Schall
GYÖRGY LIGETI: String Quartet No. 2
EARLE BROWN: String Quartet
WOLF ROSENBERG: String Quartet No. 3
LUC FERRARI: Presque rien No 1
LUKAS FOSS: Paradigm (“for my friends”)
LEJAREN HILLER: Algorithms I, Version I
Algorithms I, Version IV
ELLIOTT SCHWARTZ: Signals
ROLAND KAYN: Cybernetics III
LUIGI NONO: Contrappunto dialettico alla mente
FRANCO EVANGELISTI: Die Schachtel
HEINZ HOLLIGER: Der magische Tänzer
CORNELIUS CARDEW: The Great Learning
ROMAN HAUBENSTOCK-RAMATI: Symphonie “K”
VINKO GLOBOKAR: Étude pour Folklora II
HEINZ HOLLIGER: Siebengesang
KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN: Spiral
SYLVANO BUSSOTTI: Cinque frammenti all’Italia
NICOLAUS A. HUBER: Versuch über Sprache
LEO KÜPPER: L’enclume des forces
Slowdive's fifth album and second since reforming is an impeccably-produced delight that captures the blown-out beauty of their beloved 'Souvlaki', bringing it into new territory with fractal, psychedelic textures and stacked analog synth cycles.
It's so rare for cherished, trailblazing bands to reform and retain their OG energy that it's almost easier to believe it never happens. Slowdive have always had knack for sidestepping expectations though; even when they were releasing their most influential material, the music press were desperate to tear them down. It took many years before they received the recognition they deserved, and they've repaid fans by continuing to refine the genre-defining mood they nurtured early on, teasing it into fresh spaces without losing momentum.
'Everything is alive' started life as a more minimal electronic record, with Neil Halstead writing demos that reflected his interest in experimental modular synth music, later fleshed out with a more recognisable 'Slowdive' sound when the band reconvened in full. This alloy of ideas is evident on 'shanty', opening with dramatic synth sequences and pads before bursting into a wash of reverb-drenched guitars, into Rachel Goswell and Halstead's tranquillised vocals. There are any number of bands who have tried to hijack this sound over the last couple of decades, but the Slowdive's sound is evidently impossible to replicate: Simon Scott's driving drums and euphoric electronic treatments, Christian Savill's weightless riffs, Nick Chaplin's low-slung bass plucks. Everything contributes to a muggy whole that's immediately recognisable, without feeling mired in nostalgia.
The album is dedicated to Goswell's mother and Scott's father, who both died in 2020. So this time round the band's sadness turns to palpable grief. Halstead mentions that it didn't feel right to make a dark record, so the songs trace a mountainous emotional topography without resorting to doom and gloom. Lead single 'alife' is a saccharine, uplifting reminder of 'Alison', and 'kisses' might be the band's poppiest recording to date, blessed with a hooky chorus that's romantic and utopian. But elsewhere the mood is more ambivalent; 'chained to a cloud' is dusky and low-lit, assembled around a stepped analog synth pulse that wouldn't sound out of place on an electro-pop record, and closing track 'the slab' is saturated, noisy and strangely uplifting, Halstead and Goswell's vocals buried under an avalanche of distortion.
Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long's original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles' versions.
As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.
Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll likely ever hear, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.
Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.
To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.
It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3