Extended Version - Hauntingly tender solo debut LP from London’s Kelly Lee Owens, delivering on the promise of her excellent Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery collaborations/remixes in a full album of sylvan tech house and synth-pop beauties.
Prefaced by the head-turning single, Oleic - which featured a smart rework of Jenny Hval’s Kingsize - Kelly Lee Owens’ eponymous album introduces a well rounded yet subtly detailed sound to the world at large, one brimming with the rare promise of an artist who wants to extract something more precious, personalised from the dance music and pop prisms which clearly enthral her music.
There’s probably always going to be something about ethereal, floating vocals and the sensual contours of European tech house, when at its best, which will eternally grab our attention. And this album delivers strongly on both counts - striking an impeccable balance of classic, timeless pop songwriting and purring, contemporary electronic grooves that places it in an exulted space on the shelves.
Collaborators Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery appear on the record’s highlights; Jenny lending her poised delivery and lyrics, framed by KLO’s breathy gilding, on the baroque pop-house dream sequence of Anxi., with Avery assisting on the Fever Ray-meets-Liz Fraser stylings of Keep On Walking; whilst the rest is subtly aided by the mixing and engineering treatments of James Greenwood, who’s best known as Ghost Culture on Erol Elkan’s Phantasy Sound.
That combination of KLO’s chamber-like arrangements and Greenwood’s rendering results a string of other pearls in the strung out balearia of S.O. at the front, thru the gorgeous Arthur - which is surely a play on that library record Aphex Twin sampled on Xtal?! - whereas Evolution flexes some properly toned dancefloor muscle, and Throwing Lines could very nearly be mistaken for a cut from Grimes’ Halfaxa period.
Björk blooms her most impressive album in a good while with Utopia, featuring co-production by Arca and even a guest spot by Rabit, who both aid in buoying her astonishingly lush and romantic new song cycle. As sincerely optimistic as the title may suggest, Utopia is, by Björk’s own description, her “tinder album”, projecting a positive answer to the tortuous soul-searching of Vulnicura.
We can take or leave a lot of Björk on most days. But this one got us right thurrr. Whether that’s due to the seamless integration of Arca’s virtuosic flourishes, it’s difficult to say. However, the embrace of space and nature, both real and emulated, within Utopia lends an intoxicatingly out-of-body sensation to its songs which beautifully leavens her sometimes overwrought delivery, serving to free up her spirit in the most literal and fascinatingly intangible terms.
Where Arca was brought in at the late stages of Vulnicura to warp its edges, their working relationship immediately spilled over into the recording of Utopia, forging a symbiotic and hugely fruitful relationship with the artist he formerly called his idol. Now creative partners, their powers are multiplied, manifesting the longest single piece of work in either’s catalogue, and arguably their most seductive.
You can literally hear her beaming while she sings over swooping subs, gamer FX and pirouetting harps in Awakening My Senses, whilst the folk phrasing and prettiness of Blissing Me perfectly counters her operatic tendencies. Conversely, the adroit looseness of Arca’s rhythms acutely mirror the expressive meter of Björk’s classical inflections in Body Memory, one of the album’s longest, most immersive highlights, and equally in sweetly fractious form to giddy effect on Losss, which benefits from Rabit’s push ’n pull production.
And even when talking frankly about the darker side of that tinder life in the couplet of Courtship and Sue Me, she pulls off delirious, rugged - but not overbearing - rhythms and skyward-zipping flutes keeping her spirit decidedly up and forward-looking in a way that also informs the album’s heart-cupping conclusion, Future Forever.
This new set of duo improvisations marks the second meeting of composer and electronic musician Adrian Corker (SN Variations) and multi-instrumentalist Jack Wyllie (Portico Quartet, Szun Waves).
"Wyllie is best known for the ornate melodicism of his work with Portico Quartet and the more recent project Szun Waves – an ambient improvisation trio with Luke Abbott (Border Community) and Laurence Pike (PVT). While, Corker recently provided the soundtracks to Rowan Joffe's Tin Star with Tim Roth and The Have-Nots, the second film by German director/cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister.
The pair first meet in 2013, when they collaborated on Corker's 2013 album Raise, the pair reconvened for an open-ended series of encounters spread over eighteen months, replacing the piano used on their previous outing with a pair of 60s audio oscillators. The resulting recordings explore a very different sound palette to their first encounter: an expansive, stormy confluence of Wyllie's trademark lyricism and Corker's coarse-ground atmospherics."
Second ever vinyl reissue of ACR’s first record
A collection of early demos and live recordings from 1979 gig also starring Joy Division and The Distractions. Produced by Martin Hannett, mixed by Tony Wilson.
Haunting new renditions of renaissance chamber music, interpreted with vocals and acoustic and electronic instruments. One to check if you liked Akira Rabelais’ Spellwauerynsherde or indeed any of Chauveau’s sublime releases for Type or Fat Cat etc
“All pieces of the Renaissance Repertoire come from Cancionero de Colombina (around 1470) or Cancionero de Palacio (around 1510). Both sources are well known for their typical Spanish repertoire of this period. Electronic music artist Sylvain Chauveau did new versions of several tracks and added also some drones to the program. Daniel Manhart did the compilation and the additional sound design and mixing. All pieces on this CD are hardly ever performed or recorded -- a fine, sensitive, interesting crossover between early music and contemporary electronic music with a repertoire mostly unknown.
Sylvain Chauveau has made solo records on labels such as FatCat, Type, Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier, and Brocoli: very minimal compositions for acoustic instruments, electronics, and vocals. His music has been played in John Peel's show on the BBC and reviewed in The Wire, Pitchfork, Mojo, Les Inrockuptibles, Libération, The Washington Post, and many others. One of his tracks was published on the compilation XVI Reflections on Classical Music (2009) alongside pieces by Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. He has played live around the world (Europe, America, Asia), performed in museums and art galleries, and was artist in residence at the Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto, 2011), Fundacao Serralves (Porto, 2011), and Lieu Unique (Nantes, 2004 and 2014).
Chant 1450 Renaissance Ensemble sings and plays the sacred and secular repertoire of the 15th and 16th century. Including musicians trained at the widely renowned college for early music Schola cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, chant 1450 appeared live in January 2005 and then sang for a highly acclaimed first tour in Switzerland with La contenance angloise -- sacred music of the 15th century, followed by more than 150 live performances in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, and Switzerland until today. Chant 1450 was invited to major festivals like the Rheingau Festival (Germany), the Montalbâne Festival (Germany), Festival for Early Music Zurich, and many more. Artistic Director and responsible for all programs and recordings, including sound design, is Daniel Manhart, a tenor born in Switzerland.”
The Wanda/Ono co-op deposits Dice Miller and Michael Holland’s curious, improvised collage, Saints of Cinema as their 7th release following enigmatic instalments featuring Fith, Enir Da, Andreas Reihse (Kreidler).
Saints of Cinema was improvised to a 4-track tape recorder “over one intensive, improvised burst” at the Islington Mill, Salford, on January 28th, 2017. Dice Miller reprises her narrative protagonist role with coolly poetic poise on a trio of hard to place pieces, alternately trading in grubbing, dead lo-fi electronics and elegiac organ keys with Sermon Remix, then with a denser thicket of layered location recordings, news reportage and distorted electronics in I Can See No Reason Not To, and a coldly echoic invocation of stark drums and ghostly vocals samples recalling some mix of The Stranger and Pinkcourtesyphone on the unheimlich deisgns St Valentines.
File in your outer limits/imagined avant garde film soundtrack shelf.
Time Machines is widely ranked among the most important releases by arcane sound chemists Jhonn Balance, Peter Christopherson and Drew McDowell. Now remastered and reissued for the first time under the collective Coil moniker, their classic chemical songbook is primed to irrevocably intoxicate a whole new batch of listeners twenty years since original release.
The now-classic chemical songbook Time Machines is one of the most focussed yet dilated works in all of Coil’s sprawling catalogue, and perhaps one of their definitive releases. It faithfully attempts to emulate or describe the effect of their favourite, mind-expanding psychedelic drugs in sonic terms, conveying their putative virtues thru the abstract contours and complex harmonic definition enabled by modular synths and electronics.
In no small feat of imagination, they take as long as needed for the effect to take hold in each part, with 7-Methoxy-β-Carboline- (Telepathine) modelling the slow, transportive effects of what is commonly known as yage or ayahuasca, and again taking over 26 minutes to really fall under spell of 4-Indolol,3-[2-(Dimethylamino)Ethyl],Phosphate Ester- (Psilocybin), in attempt to reflect the tweaky course of a magic mushroom trip.
Likewise, they reflect the relatively brief effect of 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyl- (5-MeO-DMT) - DMT, my mate Dimitry, or HD goggles as Tony Twitters calls it - with scarily realistic clarity and timing, while 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Ethyl-Amphetamine- (DOET-Hecate) relays something like the buzzing tone of what is better known as Mcat or khat, or some similar derivative/substitute of speed.
Like the chemicals themselves, the music is best taken under caution, and while results will vary from user to user, the outcome is likely one that will leave its mark on you for a while.
‘Always Then’ was the debut album of The KVB, originally released in 2012 on Clan Destine Records. It was written and recorded in 2011 on a Fostex tape machine by Nicholas Wood, with Kat Day joining him to form a duo later that year. This anniversary edition features the re-mastered full-length debut album and includes bonus tracks known as ‘Always Then Revisited’, four brand new reworked and rerecorded songs from the original album.
The original cover art featured a photo of a building in the centre of Mexico City, taken by friend and fellow musician Ela Orleans. The anniversary edition features new artwork with an updated cover photograph of the same building taken by the band in 2017.
Martin Hannett’s classic production for Wythenshawe’s funkiest post punks, ACR, To Each…  bubbles back up for reissue more than 35 years since original release on Factory Records.
Cosign into play as ACR’s 1st album proper after a string of then well-received dance singles, To Each… found the group marrying them rhythmic sensibilities, influenced by American disco and Afro- latinate styles, with a gloomier, atmospheric sound, effectively imagining a more danceable adjunct to Joy Division - a fact no doubt consolidated by Martin Hannett’s signature, super spacious production.
Geir Jenssen offers a very handy scan of hard-to-find Biosphere cuts c. 1991-2004 on his Biophon label, the latest in a comprehensive reissue agenda which has turned up some real charms so far.
The set ranges from his earliest dalliances with bleep techno rave, superbly so in the sub-loaded killer Hypnophone  off an obscure Norwegian rave compilation, thru to the coruscating ambient loops of Reef  for the Gonzo Circus magazine, taking in gorgeous Lynchian ambience with The Third Planet  and floating ambient structures redolent of X-Files atmospheres in The Seal & The Hydrophone , while catching him at his most wistful and cinematic with Bird Watching , and his subsequent, post-2000 turn toward textured ambient neo-classicism, such as the spectral interceptions of Vi Kan Tenka Digitalt, Vi Kan Tala Digitalt , the stark but sensuous lushness of Valchirie , and his organ work, Visible & Invisible  for Touch.
Definitely not just for the fans, this is a discreet slice of ‘90s ambient history for lovers of icy electronic romance.
First ever vinyl reissue of ACR’s 4th studio album, catching Wythenshawe’s most daring group of the ‘80s in full on jazzdance mode with buff fretless bass vamps offset by their moody Manc pop chops. A mid-career highlight, Force was the Manchester band's fifth album, originally released on Factory in 1986.
"Described by Donald Johnson as 'the Mike Tyson of funk', Force marked a convincing return to form for Ratio, mixing the robust funk grooves of single Mickey Way with downtempo tracks, as well as Si Firmi O Grido, the percussive tour de force which provides a reliable climax to live performances. In addition to pin-sharp rhythm and groove the album also displayed real consistency, and even a pop sensibility, courtesy of guest vocalist Corinne Drewery of Swing Out Sister. The album was also one of the first to utilise the brand new Akai S900 sampler."
This is the first collection of all the Fall singles recorded across a multitude of labels: Step Forward, Rough Trade, Kamera, Beggars Banquet, Cog Sinister, Permanent, Artful, Action… oh, and Cherry Red.
Edited 3-CD set which features all of the A-Sides.
This is the first collection of all the Fall singles recorded across a multitude of labels: Step Forward, Rough Trade, Kamera, Beggars Banquet, Cog Sinister, Permanent, Artful, Action… oh, and Cherry Red.
Compiled here in a 7-CD box set with a full illustrated discography by renowned Fall expert Conway Paton. The discs have been re-mastered by Fall engineer Andy Pearce and come with a newly designed book in a box.
The seven brothers embrace a spiritual jazz sound, sans percussion, on their first album since the group’s father, Philip Cohran, passed away in February 2017
“With its cathedral-like, richly resonant acoustics, the new Hypnotic Brass Ensemble album Book Of Sound is a brilliant expression of interplanetary principle. The album is by turns urgent and contemplative, funky and reflective, varied in its textures; but entirely of one piece. Underpinned by concepts of earth's place in the cosmos, held in place by meditation, swirling with notions of history, science, theology, ancestry, there is a rich conceptual brew here.
The album rings with what back in the 1950s the jazz critic Whitney Balliet called "the sound of surprise". Book Of Sound makes you believe again in the validity of "spiritual jazz". Talking to Cid, one of the Ensemble's two trombonists, one phrase recurs: "back to the beginning". "We wanted to go back to the beginning, when we were kids, real young, and our father would wake us up at 5AM to practice for two hours before breakfast."
One outcome -- initially unplanned but subsequently embraced -- is that unlike their two previous albums on Honest Jon's, this is an album without a drummer. "When we started, as Wolf Pack, just brothers on the street with our horns, there wasn't a kit in sight." Book Of Sound retains plenty of rhythmic heft, but the absence of a drummer opens up space for a notably varied instrumental palette. Acoustic guitar, piccolo, synthesizer, alto sax -- all have their place on the album.
Most striking perhaps are the vocal lines that thread through the album and give it a palpable warmth. Sessions were recorded in Brooklyn and Chicago, and brilliantly mixed at Abel Garibaldi's studio in the Loop, and it's the Hypnotic's hometown that permeates. For Cid this is a deeply Chicago record: "It's got the vibe of the lake, the vibe of the prairies opening up to the west." It also has the vibe of those Sun Ra Arkestra albums recorded in Chicago in the 1950s, and -- of course -- the Phil Cohran albums from the 1960s.
It's Phil Cohran (the father of all seven members of the Ensemble and their first teacher, and not just in music) who is the album's guiding spirit. For Cid it's a major regret that, in the months before their father's death early in 2017, Phil was not well enough to play on the album. But Book Of Sound is a magnificent testament to their Cohran legacy”.
Sub Rosa extend an invitation to peruse the dreamlike parallel dimensions of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film soundtracks - a quietly transportive and transfixing blend of field recordings made on location in Thailand, interspersed with pop and folk songs, ambient electronics and incidental sound.
“Apichatpong Weerasethakul is recognised as one of the most original voices in contemporary cinema today. His seven feature films, short films and installations have won him widespread international recognition and numerous awards, including the Cannes Palme d'Or in 2010 with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Compilation album 'Metaphors' contains 14 soundworks carefully selected from his past cinema and other visual works since 2003, which includes Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Syndromes and a Century, Fever Room and more.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul has regularly worked with the same sound designers since 2003 and has always given importance to the personality of on-location sounds giving his films a sense of continuity. In post-production, he's fascinated by the manipulation of these 'live' sounds in order to express 'reality'. This reality doesn't necessary represent the actual sound of the places, but more a representation of the world in layered memories. Similar to the way he treats images, Apichatpong sometimes calls attention to the physicality and the fragility of the audio (and its apparatus) and to the process of audio manipulation itself.
In his cinema, Apichatpong prefers natural sound sources over music. Nevertheless, he often boldly incorporates popular songs that were persistent during the shooting. He doesn't shy away from using tunes that relate to his own personal memories. In this sense, Apichatpong values the spirit of authenticity much more than rigid manipulation of audio and weaves a complex and dreamlike soundscape in his cinematic repertoire.
Born in Bangkok, Apichatpong grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He began making films and video shorts in 1994 and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998 and is now recognised as a major international visual artist. His art prizes include the Sharjah Biennial Prize (2013) and the prestigious Prince Claus Award (2016), the Netherlands. Lyrical and often fascinatingly mysterious, his film works are non-linear, dealing with memory and in subtle ways invoking personal politics and social issues.”
Kompakt’s moving feast of Pop Ambient returns with a 2018 edition spelling out twelve languorous and lofty definitions of atmospheric music by veteran hands - the Orb, Triola, Jens-Uwe Beyer - as well as recent additions to the series - Chuck Johnson, Yui Onodera, T. Raumschmiere.
Trust there’s no sharp edges or harsh textures inside, more the sort of music one can listen to in your birthday suit with windows open, or equally blanketed after the party, and the effect will remain as welcoming, user friendly.
Look out for lovliest moments in this volume from T. Raumschmiere’s epic stargazer, Eterna, and the amniotic cradle of Kaito’s Travelled Between Souls.
Robert Haigh, who is perhaps better known as D&B legend Omni Trio, reprises the solemn, autumnal contemporary classical styles heard on his V-O-D retrospective and early releases for NWW’s United Dairies, this time in the esteemed comapny of Laurie Spiegel, Carl Stone, Lubomyr Melnyk on Unseen Worlds
“A new album of piano driven ambient music from British composer Robert Haigh. Following in the path of his albums for the Japanese Siren label, Creatures of the Deep is an underground vantage of a meeting between the musical worlds of Harold Budd and Erik Satie. With a storied musical career that has ranged widely in style — from his industrial-avant-garde works on Nurse With Wound’s United Diaries label as SEMA to his legendary ambient drum and bass records as Omni Trio on Moving Shadow — Robert Haigh's work occupies a space between music and mystery.
With Creatures of the Deep, Haigh is at the peak of his powers. Among noir, minimal, neo-classical landscapes are robust scatterings of bright reflection and a musical expression that is subtle and elusive yet uniquely Haigh’s in its voice and masterful execution. The closer we examine, the more is revealed, and the less is defined.”
San Fran’s Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem double down to release a final set of Patrick Cowley’s gay porn soundtracks in Afternooners. Not so much Hi-NRG as happily knackered and in need of a ‘bine, the vibe is mostly dreamy, mid-tempo and strutting but with a few early hours disco struts in Jungle Orchids, the kinky throb of take A Little Trip, and a charming romance theme on Love Come Set Me Free with its signature, flared synth that sounds like a prototype of Drexciya and so much electro-disco to come.
“In 1979 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick’s songs in-sync with the film scenes. The result was the VHS collections “Muscle Up” and “School Daze” released in 1979 and 1980. “Afternooners” is the third collection of Cowley’s instrumental songs, recorded in between 1979 and 1982. Some of these recordings are demos from the album “Mind Warp”. All songs were originally untitled, so we’ve used the titles from Fox Studio’s 8mm film loops.
This compilation also includes three bonus tracks found in the archives of fellow Megatone Records recording artist Paul Parker and the attic of teenage friend Lily Bartels. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, and Giorgio Moroder, Patrick crafted a singular sound from his collection of synthesizers, percussion, modified guitars, and hand-built equipment. The listener enters a world of forbidden vices, evocative of Patrick’s time spent in the bathhouses of San Francisco. The songs on “Afternooners” reflect the advances of the equipment available at the onset of the 1980s. Cowley’s unadulterated electronic forms are stripped down and dubbed up. Lush electronic percussion, soaring synthesizer riffs and low slung funk grooves comingle on these magnificent soundscapes.
For Patrick’s 67th birthday, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records present a glimpse into the futuristic world of a young genius. These recordings shed a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.”
Sophisticated, jazzy rare groove vibesing from Dego (4Hero) & Kaidi (Tatham) on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature bastion.
As broad as it is deep and plush, A So We Gwarn catches 14 prime examples of the long-running duo in irresistible effect, turning their hand to myriad variations on a soulful broken beat hustle, flanked by loads of their mates and regular collaborators; Mr. Mensah, Nadine Charles, Sarina Leah, Yelfris Valdes, Ray Carless, Wayne Francis.
We spy highlights in the swinging, Afro-cubed shuffle of Decide What You Choose, and the Mala-in-Cuba-esque roll of Nyabinghi Warriors, with the chrome squirt boogie of 18.1096 N 77.2975 W showing all the new boogie cats how it’s done, and Don’t Put Your Hat Where Your Hand Can’t Reach finishing up on a live-o jazz-fusion flex with double deadly percussion.
After 25 years in the game, Detroit’s original Norm Talley commits a stonking debut album to F.X.H.E., giving the label boss a run for his money with some of the rawest, deepest, soulful 313 gear we’ve heard since the last Omar-S LP. No messing, this is one of the strongest house albums you’ll hear all year!
Since emerging from the mentorship of Ken Collier as a member of Detroit’s West 6 Mile Crew, Norm Talley has remained true to the artform of Detroit house, factoring its disco touchstones into the modern day in much the same way as Anthony Shakir, Omar-S or KDJ, but perhaps never really receiving so much recognition outside the city.
Bringing a timelessly direct, burning sound to the fore in all 14 tracks, we’d like to wager that Norm-A-Lize is set to garner Talley the wider love he deserves from newer, younger generations and veteran heads alike. Seriously, this is the kind of gear you don’t hear every day - from the on-point sampling to the rugged knock and swang of his drums and bass, this is totally prime, irresistible dancing gear that works miles away from precious tech-house bodgers and delivers more ecstasy in your pants than any ‘90s trance anphem.
Just watching the EQ on our mixer, we can see the acres of space and dynamic in each groove, from the peak-time disco-house peaches of Get It Right and the Shake/Soundhack-esque chord chops of Dub Station, thru the Roulé burn of Alright with L’Renee, to the way those toms and rimshot just bang thru the mix on The Dream, then you’ve got the pendulous, sub-swung aerobics of Earth Vabrations, the mean-ass Afro-cubist techno swerve of Cause I Believe, those jazz funk riffs on Paradise Garage, Stingray-ready techno in The Body, and some proper, grumbling dub techno in The Rise.
Seeeeriously, all dancers, DJs, this is just 100% essential!
An expanded dition of the classic album from Tuxedomoon member Blaine L. Reininger, originally issued by Crepuscule in 1984 and now newly remastered from the original analog tapes.
"Night Air was recorded in Brussels in 1983, shortly after Reininger left Tuxedomoon, in collaboration with former Sleepers guitarist Michael Belfer. Other guests include Steven Brown and Winston Tong of Tuxedomoon, and Marc Hollander of Aksak Maboul. The final mix was supervised by Gareth Jones, famed for his work with Depeche Mode, Einsturzende Neubauten and Wire.
The part-instrumental album offers a sequence of bittersweet expatriate vignettes. "I suppose I should be grateful to the capital of Europe for providing the seed around which so much of my spleen could crystallize for so many years," explains Reininger, who hailed from Colorado via San Francisco. "Brussels provided me with such a rich source of melancholic poetry."
The 10 core tracks on Night Air include popular single Mystery and Confusion, as well as Birthday Song (originally performed by Tuxedomoon), the elegiac Ash and Bone, and the exquisite baroque pop of A Café au Lait for Mr XYZPTLK. The 6 bonus tracks on Disc 1 include Windy Outside (a collaboration with Mikel Rouse), The Sea Wall (performed with Durutti Column) and two versions of Crash, written by Reininger and Belfer in 1980 for Tuxedomoon, and subsequently remixed by The Residents.
Disc 2 preserves a previously unreleased live recording from Bologna, Italy, on 19 March 1984. Billed as the Spiny Doughboys Review, the 14 song set includes songs from Night Air and Broken Fingers."
Christophe Guiraud uses old instruments such as the Hotteterre flute, the viola da gamba or the viola bass, combining them with electronics.
"Born in Toulouse (south of France) mid-seventies, he lives between Brussels and Paris. His early works come from alternative rock, free jazz and harsh noise (Tellemake, 2 records on Angström Records). His more recent pieces mixed the beauty of the polyphonies of Ars Nova (XIVè century) and noise. This nonesuch hybridation creates a music easily recognizable, at the same time harmonious and deeply intense.
Christophe Guiraud composes for a few important ensembles and performers like Ictus, Ensemble 21, Sturm und Klang, Kwartludium, Musiques Nouvelles, Fractales, Stephane Ginsburgh, Tom Pauwels. Regularly invited at festivals Sonar, Le printemps de Septembre, Loop, Nuits du Beau Tas and Ars musica."
Jeff Mills’ tribute to the Planets finally takes shape as a 2CD set housed in one of those clunky dual CD cases that used to house Now! compilations.
Suffice it to say that we’re not huge fans of this classical-meets-techno trajectory Mills is has been taking for the past decade - although, mind you there have been some highlights such as the Free Fall Galaxy album - but don’t let that put you off from checking this out, especially if you’re a sucker for Carl Sagan videos or retro-futuristic fetishism.
An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music Vol. 1 begins in the 1920s, with the Russolo Brothers, and looks at each decade in turn -- Varése, Cage, Schaeffer, Xenakis, the great pioneers -- and shows the first traces of a music that was necessarily revolutionary: electronic music, created from nothing (and hence to be entirely invented).
Some pieces on these CDs are certainly classics, but there are others, which, though old, were distributed informally or never even released. The more contemporary pieces are, wherever possible, previously unreleased. In fact, more than the half of the tracklisting is unreleased and unpublished.
Artists include: Luigi & Antonio Russolo, Walter Ruttman, Pierre Schaeffer, Henri Pousseur, Gordon Mumma, Angus Maclise, Tony Conrad & John Cale, Philip Jeck, Otomo Yoshihide & Martin Tétreault, Survival Research Laboratories, Einsturzende Neubauten, Konrad Boehmer, Nam June Paik, John Cage, Sonic Youth, Edgard Varése, Iannis Xenakis, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, Pauline Oliveros, Ryoji Ikeda.
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
The complete work by Luc Ferrari for films from 1960 to 1984 including electronic pieces, concrete music made in GRM and some hybrid including traditional instruments. An In-depth survey of the concrète poet/artist/thinker’s works for films, comprising eight durational pieces, and including the 73 minute ‘Chronopolis’
“This 3CD set gathers the complete work by Luc Ferrari for films from 1960 to 1984 including electronic pieces, concrete music made in GRM and some hybrid including traditional instruments.
Very rare pieces, most are unpublished (with collaboration with Jean Cocteau ou Jean Tinguely...), this is for the very first time the complete scope of one of the most innovative composer of the XX century.
Including 2 lighting texts by two writers and critics Philippe Langlois (Les Cloches d'Atlantis) and Guillaume Contré, some rare photograms from films and some handwritings notes by Ferrari himself.”
The urban myth of Grindah, Beatz, Steves and Decoy’s fabled mix becomes hyperstitious with Kurupt FM Present the Lost Tape on XL **cue flurry of fivers and shower faces to camera**
One of the best shows on British telly (to be fair they haven’t much competition), the cast of People Just Do Nothing come into their own with a rudeboy/rudegyal selection of garage and early grime classics speckled with their own, excloosey dubplates and original pirate material.
Spicy bhangra lover Chabbudy G opens with an advert for his music management/minicab services, before the crew touch mic on a 23 track rinse thru bimmers from Scott Garcia, DJ Zinc, Wookie, Agent X, Sia, Youngstar, Jon E Cash, Wiley, Dizzee and everyone else - basically the sound of London and British inner cities circa the millennium, and every student house party in the UK over the last five years.
In case you were in any doubt; it’s bare fun.
The new album from Peter Broderick.
"They say music takes you on a journey, and this collection of commissioned work by Peter quite literally does that. From a ferry boat ride in Istanbul, to walking down the aisle at a wedding, these songs were created for particular situations, yet Peter found a way to work without any sort of limitations and on his own terms. The result is an assortment of works from the past ten years, coming together as one: Peter’s new album.
Words from Peter, October 2017:
Ever since I started releasing records in 2007 (10 years ago now!), people have contacted me periodically to ask if I’d be interested in making music to accompany their projects. Most of these projects have been things like films, dance pieces and theatre plays . . . but every so often I get the odd request for something a little different. Peter, would you write a song for my wedding? My one year anniversary? A ferry boat ride?
In early 2015 I was asked to perform 12 minutes of music during a runway show as part of New York Fashion Week. I agreed and began composing a 12-minute piece which I could perform on my own with a few different instruments and some looping pedals. I made a recording of the piece and sent it over to my contacts at the fashion show . . . but a few days before I was to fly out to New York, they wrote back and told me they actually just wanted me to play a few older songs that they were already familiar with. Feeling slightly disappointed, I shelved the other piece, giving it the title If I Were A Runway Model.
It is with great pleasure that I now present this piece in a collection of commissioned works spanning the last decade . . . it’s All Together Again. This group of oddball works does indeed include a couple pieces written for weddings (Our Future In Wedlock and The Walk), and a song someone asked me to write as a gift for his wife on their first year wedding anniversary (Emily). And indeed, there’s a 17-minute piece written to accompany a ferry boat ride in Istanbul (A Ride On The Bosphorus). A few of the pieces were written for films (Robbie’s Song, Atlantic and Seeing Things), and one for a kind of interactive installation (Unsung Heroes).
In my early days of recording, I took pride in playing all the different instruments myself and doing the recording myself as well. And then at some point I started branching out, working with other musicians and recording engineers. But this record is very dear to me in that it’s a return to that original approach . . . playing all the different instruments myself, working with my limits on each one, and my own limits in recording and mixing. I’ve always held a broad curiosity for all different instruments and all different styles of music, and if nothing else I hope this record will portray that curiosity, and my pure love for this thing we call music. Can you dig it?
The cover art was made by Peter himself in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, by cutting and sticking different coloured paper fragments to depict the individuality of each track. ".
The Body and Full of Hell are both unique and influential forces in heavy music.
"Both artists welcome challenges and eschew self-promotion. Each artist seems driven to take risks and push boundaries of what is considered heavy. A clear example being that on recent tours The Body have performed without any live guitar or drums. Both artists enjoy the creative growth and music and good times that come out of collaborations. Each has collaborated often with other unique but like-minded musicians such as Thou, The Haxan Cloak, Krieg, Merzbow, The Bug and the list goes on. Despite their obvious differences in songwriting, The Body and Full of Hell are unified by their shared aesthetic, catharsis through the manipulation of emotions transformed by visceral noise and fueled by an inescapable sense of dread. They have returned to collaborate again not because of their commonalities but because of their differences and what those differences yield in performance. With Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light, The Body & Full of Hell have integrated a love for electronic noisescapes with abrasive, precise sonic assaults into a sound unlike anything either has produced before.
Written and recorded in one week at Machines with Magnets in Providence, the music of Ascending draws from unexpected sources such as reggaetón and jungle (“Master’s Story”). There are some familiar guests to The Body fans, namely vocalist Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir) and Ben Eberle (Sandworm), as well as first-time collaborator drummer Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt, Black Pus), whom both bands share a strong aesthetic of individualism. Samples, synth, saxophone, and a drum orchestra all throb, and sputter, coagulating under the weight of the two bands. Programmed drum patterns and loops taking cues from hip hop are bent and twisted throughout, flawlessly emboldening the distortion drenched guitars and howling vocals. Each element, though meticulously crafted, is visceral, as the exhilaration of improvisation has not been curtailed by editing.
Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light casts aside the dogmas of heavy music. Extremity in The Body & Full of Hell’s music is not based on macho musings or competitive trendiness, but rather is an integral tool to exploring the anxieties of modern life and the bridges between personal and political strife. As leading voices in DIY and underground music communities, The Body & Full of Hell, along with peers such as Thou, are expanding the possibilities of extreme music by shaping worlds of sound with a palette of diverse influences seldom seen in “heavy music” today.”
João Paulo Esteves da Silva, Mário Franco and Samuel Rohrer together combine all the qualities that are currently making this most classical chamber-music format of jazz so successful.
"Intuitive understanding, transparent flows of communication between the musicians, their actions and reactions, soloistic sequences that continue the balanced flow of sounds, as well as musical culture and noblesse. This trio does not boast but trusts the spaces between the notes. Yet its music develops a pull, gently insisting, that becomes ever more plausible.
Nobody in this trio acts in an authoritarian way. Everything breezily interlinks following a collective thought; catchy, sometimes almost song-like and always of iridescent beauty. The trio is not defined by melodic bliss, melancholy or the pure pursuit of harmony. It searches in the openness of improvisation, dispensing with ready-made intentions for a piece or composition. It transforms what is found into concise sonic images, which maintain rigour and concentration because they do not become unruly under the musicians’ fingers. Themes are illuminated without being overworked. Subtle free flights of fancy are interwoven.
There is lyrical introspection as well as an intricate groove, and everything occurs far away from routine. The catchy never descends into the banal, it always retains this beautiful openness to the ideas of the other. This balanced music has no need to pound or harass. It develops its strength from congenial casualness. Improvised bagatelles add together to form an unobtrusive bath of sound because no-one feels the need to exhibit their virtuosity. This creates a magical triangle.
The playing of pianist João Paulo Esteves da Silva is shaped by the worlds of jazz and fado, classical and folklore. Virtuosity yes, but soulful depth is even more important to him. He sensitively lets the genres metamorphosize into each other and sometimes acts withdrawn, to then celebrate sensitive eruptions again or allow his lines to effervesce. For him, emotionality has nothing to do with volume. His publications range from solo CD to big band. He is always looking for interconnections to other arts, to film, to t heatre and is publishing regularly his own books and poetry.
In such contexts, bassist Mário Franco is also an ideal choice for the line-up. As a musician at home also in the classical repertoire, his warm, smooth sound is now enormously in demand, which has made him a playing partner of well-known jazz musicians. He also performs as a dancer and composes for ballet, theatre and film.
Playing in comparable trios, the Swiss citizen of the world and urbane nomad Samuel Rohrer is one of the influential improvisational musicians of his generation and has gained the experience required for this intuitive communication with double bass and piano. He once again proves to be a sensitive listener who, as an actively intervening player, can increase and comment on the flow of ideas and keep it going.
This album is not an umpteenth variant on the plethora of piano trios but leaves the pure jazz idiom to stride across further territories: wide awake and lost in dreams."
David Sheppard returns with his second Snow Palms album, Origin and Echo. Two years in the making, it builds on the foundations of its predecessor, 'Intervals' with a heavy quotient of metallophones, glockenspiels and marimbas at its core, but largely eschews the latter’s chamber arrangements in favour of soaring synth-scapes and a palette of spectral ambient and electronic textures.
"Despite that, 'Origin and Echo' is a more performative record than was Intervals, its eleven organic, kinetic pieces meticulously constructed by David Sheppard from initial percussive skeletons largely essayed instinctively, in free time, without click-tracks and with almost no guitar. The album is loosely predicated on themes of mirroring and rebounding, whether physical or metaphorical, inspired by everything from the gravity-defying parabolas of space flight to patterns of human migration and feelings of déjà vu summoned by nostalgic journeys.
While the album is mostly the work of David Sheppard working alone or in tandem with producer Giles Barrett, it also features cameos from previous Snow Palms collaborator Christopher Leary (synthesisers), alongside Emma Winston (Omnichord), Lauri Wuolio (cupola drum) and Village Green label-mate Angèle David-Guillou (keyboards)."
Hyperdub make their first ever reissue foray with Diggin In The Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music (Original Game Soundtrack), presenting the premiere release of all the material beyond their original cartridge homes.
The collection is a partner piece to the RBMA documentary series of the same name, researched, written and co-directed by Nick Dwyer and Kode9, the latter of whom is well known as a total fiend for vintage computer games and sino-futurism.
For anyone with a sweet, 8-bit tooth, this is a goldmine of goodies; packing in 34 brief bursts of hyper-coloured energy with not a millisecond or bit spared from future baroque complexity or funk between the cascading arpeggios of Konami Kukeiha Club’s BGM 3 (Motocross Maniacs), the darkside Carpenter style grind of An-Un ‘Ominous Clouds’ (Xak II) or the squirming techno-phonk of Hiroyuki Kawada’s King Erekiman, and what sounds like an uncanny, early precedent of Kode 9’s own sound in Tadahiro Nitta’s Metal Area.
For anyone intrigued by the roots of modern dance and electronics music, particularly the ‘ardcore continuum and the relationship between Anime, new age electronics and western musics, this one’s a must check!
Desire is an electronic music band from Montreal and Portland, Oregon. Their debut album, II, was originally released in June 2009 on the Italians Do It Better label. The band is made up of vocalist Megan Louise, producer Johnny Jewel (also a member of the IDIB bands Chromatics and Glass Candy) and Nat Walker (also a member of Chromatics) on synthesizer and drums.
'Montre Moi Ton Visage' rips us back to some concert venue in the early 80's with disingenuous crowd noises and heavy reverbs setting an epic scene before 'Mirroir Mirroir' turns on dark charms with lo-fi and deadpan vox from Megan Louise. It's all to his credit that you'll be beating yourself up thinking "where the f**k have I heard this before" when of course it's all original material. Following this, the simple but beautifully executed developments of 'Dans Mes Reves' will leave few heads blind to his talents, but it's the darker American allure of 'Colorless Sky' that you should be playing to your friends that need convincing.
Get closer to the resounding magic of Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient sculptures with this revelatory film and a CD containing the last ever recordings made by Harry with his brother Oreste and their sister Ave. Whether you’ve encountered Bertoia’s work via his modern furniture design, his Sonambient scuptures, or their recordings, consider this necessary viewing and listening!
“The DVD, a film titled Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture of Harry Bertoia, by Jeffrey & Miriam Eger, was shot in 1971 and follows Harry Bertoia in performance and interview throughout his Sonambient barn deep in the Pennsylvania woods. This film offers a rare opportunity to follow the artist in practice, listening carefully as he moves contemplativelythrough his sculptures and gongs. Interview footage offers rare insight into Bertoia's inspiration and process.
A separate CD contains four exclusive, recently discovered audio recordings. Included are thetwo earliest known collaborative tapes from Harry and brother Oreste, morning and evening sessions dated October 12, 1969, as well as a collaboration between the Bertoia brothers and their sister Ave who sings in careful unison with the overtones being produced by the sculptures. With the passing of Oreste Bertoia in 1972, these recordings mark the last meeting of all three Bertoia siblings.”
Philosopher, musician and anti-art activist, Henry Flynt has long foregone the academicism often associated with “serious music” in favor of a uniquely intuitive, emotional approach to composition.
"In the 1960s and 1970s he was a part of NYC’s vibrant avant-garde scene, studying with Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath and developing his own proprietary technique on violin. You Are My Everlovin’, Flynt’s first published musical work, finds the composer in peak form at a lower Manhattan loft in late spring 1981. Featuring solo electric violin and pre-recorded tambura, this sinuous performance elegantly brings together disparate vernaculars—Southern blues, modal jazz, Appalachian fiddle, North Indian raga— into a new and bracing whole.
As Flynt writes in the liner notes, “The electric violin timbre is crucial; it allows me to crush the diverse styles into a unity. I imagined the genre as open, radiant improvisation…an open plain that could absorb anything.” Incorporating themes and melodic phrases from his earlier work, Everlovin’ becomes Flynt’s own Gesamtkunstwerk—a work that is at once rooted in and liberated by the drone, revealing the profound mutability and utter singularity of this American iconoclast."
Classi Dust To Digital comp exploring Cambodia’s vibrant pop music scene from the 50's, 60's and 70's..
"40 years ago: April 17, 1975, Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian rock and roll was no more. Its star musicians were targeted and killed, record collections were destroyed, clubs were closed, and Western-style music-making, dancing, and clothes were outlawed. The deaths of approximately 2 million Cambodians and the horrors of the Killing Fields have been well-documented; add to this John Pirozzi’s fascinating tale of Cambodia’s vibrant pop music scene, beginning in the 1950s and ‘60s.
'Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten' pays homage to the country’s rock legends who paid for their creativity with their lives. Through the eyes, words and songs of its popular music stars of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll examines and unravels Cambodia's recent tragic past, the sequencing and newly-remastered audio transport the listener through the rock and roll history of Cambodia in a similar fashion as John Pirozzi’s documentary film. It is both entertaining and essential to hear so many tracks that are available outside of Cambodia for the very first time."
Among the most distinctive artists working between classical and improvisational paradigms today, Vancouver’s Ian William Craig affords a rare, intimate glimpse of his live practice with Durbē, which arrives via Sean McCann’s Recital Program after some gentle arm-twisting.
Not originally intended for wider consumption, Durbē came into being as a a night’s worth of recordings made in a 14th century Latvian church, and as such is imbued with a stately, even religiose melancholy that plays frictionally at odds with the artist’s abstract leanings.
Thanks to Sean McCann, who has purportedly fallen asleep countless times whilst listening to this, day and night (and not ‘cos it’s boring, but ‘cos it’s so hypnotic), the private recording is relinquished to a wider audience - all of us earthly mortals - revealing what sounds like plainsong ripped from a shredded palimpsest of a songbook and recited by a chorus of tattered digital poltergeist.
Mannequin get a grip on Nigel Ayers and Caroline K’s massive body of Nocturnal Emissions work with this cherry-picked rifle thru their catalogue, containing 22 highlights - from industrial grinders to wonky disco and daft pops - alll spanning recordings made 1980-1989. RIYL TG, Chris & Cosey, Caroline K, Bourbonese Qualk, Foetus.
“Nocturnal Emissions has been one of the best kept secrets of the industrial genre since the 1970s. Led by Nigel Ayers, the band was one of the first to use tape cutting, avant-garde art, and underground video works to create a stage experience that was being cultivated by like-minded artists like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire.
The band moved on to using samplers and electronic noise in their early 80’s work, creating a twisted funk souncthat would go on to influence everyone from Foetus to Negativland. They still utilized their former tricks, upping the ante with extremist performance art and more professional video displays. The group avoided signing to a major label, instead focussing on releasing their own music more effectively.
They followed this path into the 90’s when they started earthlydelights.co.uk, an incredibly detailed website that promotes their various ideologies (they are strongly against the British monarchy and believe that citizens should have unlimited access to space travel) and constant release schedule. The band has released countless tapes and CDs of their material, and continues to unleash their noise through their website.”
Utterly spellbinding survey of John Cage’s late works, mostly focussing on orchestral pieces performed and recorded circa his 1990 visit to East Berlin, and including a stunning rendition of Some of The Harmony of Maine  performed by Edition RZ’s Jakob Ullmann, who coincidentally write the box’s lucubrate liner notes. If you’ve ever been intrigued by Cage but can’t see a way into his crenelated catalogue, we strongly recommend checking this set for some of the late, great thinker and composer’s most accessible and gratifying work.
The three discs of Klang Der Wandlungen feature five full pieces written between 1948 and 1992, just before the composer’s death at 80 years of age. By this point in the early ‘90s, Cage was already long established among 20th century avant garde heavyweights, having studied under Arnold Schoenberg - the inventor of serialism - and an extensive background in writing for modern dance with his longterm partner Merce Cunningham, as well as pioneering the prepared piano and penning the seminal 4’ 33”, perhaps one of the most important works of the 20th century.
Following an interest in eastern philosophy and anarchy from the late ‘40s, his work became defined by aleatoric music, or chance-based composition from then on, which came to define the sphere of Amercian avant-garde in opposition to the ‘new music’ coming from Darmstadt in the ‘50s, or European traditions and their focus on technicality or artisanship. These Cageian ideas had seeped into East Germany before reunification, and, in 1990, Cage was invited to East Berlin in the newly reunified German state at the behest of the IGNM (International Society for Contemporary Music).
The recordings in Klang Der Wanderlung were part of the programme or related to this visit, and, with historical context, came to show how his ideas had, over the preceding decades, become absorbed into European practice. We can hear striking similarities with the tension of Giacinto Scelsi in the remarkable opener Seventy-Four, and with Luigi Nono’s use of intangible quietness in 103, whilst the breathtaking Postcards From Heaven - here performed on harp by Gabriel Emde - is comparable with the feather-touch minimalism of Morton Feldman. Really, not what you may expect if you’ve only heard Cage’s famous, atonal early pieces such as Cartridge Music , a prototypical piece for adapted vinyl turntables, for example.
Another of Cage’s famous, early Imaginary Landscape compositions, makes up one of this set’s two biggest highlights. Gabriel Emde performs harp on a utterly gorgeous rendition of In A Landscape , a Satie-esque piece for dance presented here for the first time, whilst Jakob Ullmann’s organ performance of Some of The Harmony of Maine, renders the pioneer of Quiet Music at his loudest, performing Cage’s work in bold, striking gasps shattered by passages of near-silence.
Jakob Ullmann’s liner notes offer a lot more to sink your teeth into, alongside the music, which as always, is up to Edition RZ’s uncompromisingly high standards. Together with the delectable packaging, it makes up a perfect entry point to one of the most fascinating wormholes ever opened by art or music.
Riveting compendium of stark, raw blues by an erstwhile sparring partner of Loren Connors, recently salvaged from an old shoebox of tapes, restored by Taylor Deupree and mastered by Carl Saff.
"I would go as far as to say that the few recordings that exist of these Robert Crotty sessions are among the finest and most beautiful blues documents of all time." -- Loren Connors
In the years 1978 to 1981, Robert Crotty would show up on Loren Connors’ doorstep in New Haven, Connecticut with his tiny, almost toy guitar. The two would then spend hours playing acoustic blues, the likes of which was absolutely staggering in its truthfulness.
Robert Crotty with Me: Loren’s Collection (1979-1987) is the first anthology of the late bluesman’s work, as selected by his former playing partner. These are the unheard tapes of Crotty and Connors communing with the spirits of Delta and County Blues through their own revisions of standards and tingle-inducing improvisations. These also some of the legendary Connors' earliest available recordings showing the development of iconoclast guitar style and vocal moan.
Crotty was a New Haven lifer and linchpin of the region’s blues scene yet, he never achieved much recognition outside local bars and house parties — until now. The album features never before heard recordings, unseen photos, liner notes by Connors and Crotty’s brother plus a bonus CD: the first-time reissue of Crotty’s ultra rare sole LP Robert Crotty Blues and Prove It! 7-inch -- both released on Connors’ private St. Joan imprint in the late 1980s.”
First-ever fully licensed compilation of this music to be released outside Japan.
"There was something in the air in the urban corners of late ‘60s Japan. Student protests and a rising youth culture gave way to the angura (short for “underground) movement that thrived on subverting traditions of the post-war years. Rejection of the Beatlemania-inspired Group Sounds and the squeaky clean College Folk movements led the rise of what came to be known in Japan as “New Music,” where authenticity mattered more than replicating the sounds of their idols.
Some of the most influential figures in Japanese pop music emerged from this vital period, yet very little of their work has ever been released or heard outside of Japan, until now. Light In The Attic is thrilled to present Even a Tree Can Shed Tears, the inaugural release in the label’s Japan Archival Series. This is the first-ever, fully licensed collection of essential Japanese folk and rock songs from the peak years of the angura movement to reach Western audiences.
In mid-to-late 1960s Tokyo, young musicians and college students were drawn to Shibuya’s Dogenzaka district for the jazz and rock kissas, or cafes, that dotted its winding hilly streets. Some of these spaces doubled as performance venues, providing a stage for local regulars like Hachimitsu Pie with their The Band-like ragged Americana, Tetsuo Saito with his spacey philosophical folk, and the influential Happy End, who successfully married the unique cadences of the Japanese language to the rhythms of the American West Coast. For many years Dogenzaka remained a center of the city’s “New Music” scene.
Meanwhile a different kind of music subculture was beginning to emerge in the Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Far more political than their eastern counterparts, many of the Kansai-based “underground” artists began in the realm of protest folk music. They include Takashi Nishioka and his progressive folk collective Itsutsu No Akai Fuusen, the “Japanese Joni Mitchell” Sachiko Kanenobu, and The Dylan II, whose members ran The Dylan cafe in Osaka, which became a hub for the scene.
Even a Tree Can Shed Tears also includes the bluesy avant-garde stylings of Maki Asakawa, future Sadistic Mika Band founder Kazuhiko Kato with his fuzzy, progressive psychedelia, the beatnik acid folk of Masato Minami, and the intimate living room folk of Kenji Endo.
Nearly 50 years on, this “New Music” is born anew."
"Say what you wanna say, but you have to give Strahil Velchev this: the man's a powerhouse. Recording and playing live under the KiNK alias, he went on to become one of finest purveyor's of funk in techno and house. What it is, by definition, ain't exactly clear. And that is the beauty of it.
KiNK's music is unifying in the best possible way. Channeling the spirit and feeling of a time where it didn't really matter who the faces behind the music were, KiNK plays with the elements of genres and sub-genres as if the future of it all is still wide-open. At the same time it could be accused of retro-fetishism, as much as the Pope himself is infallible.
The pure need to recreate moments, feelings and experience - rather than carbon copies of existing designs - was what started KiNK's production work. Hailing from Bulgaria, it was nearly impossible to get your hands on all the records and music that fed into a system of raves, clubs and record shops that seemed far away from Sofia, and financially it might as well have meant another galaxy. Wanting to DJ without having access to the tracks that spun the carousel meant that you had to create them yourselves. So, here we go with a private bootlegger gone public mastermind and one of the loudest voices in house, techno and beyond.
From KiNK's early productions with Neville Watson to his smash-hit for Ovum, a cerebral album for Macro, tons of remixes & tracks and his mind-bending live act, Playground seems to take all that into a blender. Simultaneously a sound-summary, the harvest of a field of ideas, and the exhibition of an artist in his prime, it also works as a sort of KiNK dictionary: avant-garde soundscapes stand next to boisterous bangers, classic club tracks and peak time emotions find their idiosyncratic and contemplative counterparts – all of it coming down like a torrent in a drought."
Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) metamorphosize into The Belbury Circle, incorporating their pal John Foxx on two tracks of Outward Journey.
Pulsing with proggy soft trance riffs and draped in nocturnal atmospheres, it’s one for driving your car late at night thru the conurbations, commuter villages and gentrified docklands of a pensive Brexit Britain, turning up two standout moments in the John Foxx-led highlights of Forgotten Town and the beautifully wistful Trees, with plenty of time of reflection over your milky tea on Café Kaput and the twinkly gaze of Departures Inc, with a wistful guitar solo worthy of an Alan Partridge-style despairing breakdown in a lay-by.
Richard Chartier ponders another poignant predicament as Pinkcourtesyphone with Indelicate Slices, the project’s ninth full length, arriving after sojourns to The Tapeworm and Champion Version in recent seasons.
This is contemporary ambient music at its most opulent and intoxicating, sashaying rococo corridors of gold and red velvet smudged to shimmering pink hues, spinning solipsistic thru a permanent twilight zone of pharmaceutical haze, self-medicated and shielded to an omnipresent darkness that lurks beyond the rose beds.
It’s immaculately smashed and illusive music that slips under the skin and stimulates the imagination with uncanny efficiency, emulating none-more-rarified feels between the old world elegance of Romantic Threat and the digital drizzle of In Voluptuous Monochrome, secreting some stunningly sensitive, psychedelic passages in the 24 minute piece Minimumluxuryoverdose and the 12 minutes of OOBE like plasmic suspense of Above Chandeliers, with the systolic pulse of Problematic Interior rendering something like a recording of an anechoic panic room.
35 song set which is also being released via three single LPs. We were gonna write summat on these but decided to copy/paste these sales notes cos they're just too fucking funny. nice one Alan.
"If you really want to know more about the music, search for the LP version descriptions online (I'm sure they were copy/pasted across many websites) where you'll discover a treasure of valuable assessments contained within. This two-CD edition is primarily being made available to facilitate 41 of my 133 'fans' who will be thrilled that it comes out on Compact Disc -- and at an affordable price in comparison to what buying all three LPs would cost. I think I pressed at least 172 copies of this two-CD so there is room for another 39 'fans' to climb aboard my champion ship. I keep hearing that many of the CDs you've acquired in the past don't work anymore. CDs are supposed to rot, scratch and die after a few years and have therefore become a flawed medium. Sounds more like a pragmatic description of humanity to me. But I have thousands of CDs. Some are commercially manufactured discs and the rest are CDRs and every single one of them works.
Yep, I hired a bearded guy from New Hampshire to check them all and many are 10, 15, or 20 years old. But my mother always told me I was blessed. Or perhaps I have a magic CD player? But people used to say the same about cassettes and now tapes are the cat's fuckin meow. In fact, I know a record store owner who recently sold an entire car full of cassettes. So don't bring your CDs when you jump aboard Julijonas Urbonas' suicide roller coaster (which hopefully gets built soon in order to facilitate plenty of you imbeciles) -- leave them behind for others to enjoy. Getting back to my new album, go find my sampler on YouTube if you want to know what it sounds like. It's better than your new album, that's for sure. Maybe I'll have to do a cassette version of this record in the future so that I can write another one of these fuckin' promotional sheets."
Never previously issued on vinyl - a super rare Library Music LP from Japan - the sublime soundtrack for a 1986 runway show of Japan’s Mitsuhiro Matsuda’s Nicole brand.
"Jun Fukamachi’s highly coveted Nicole (86 Spring And Summer Collection - Instrumental Images) album, originally recorded in 1986 for celebrated fashion designer Mitsuhiro Matsuda’s Nicole clothing brand and never officially available before.
Only ever distributed as a limited promotional item offered to attendees and participants of the 1986 fashion show for the Nicole brand’s Spring and Summer collection, Fukamachi’s moody magnum opus has become a sort of Holy Grail for fans of Japanese ambient, jazz, and synth music alike…and rightly so!
Meticulously conceived, smooth and subtle, Nicole sounds like it came from an ethereal land where Erik Satie and Art of Noise lived together, a sublimely cinematic listening experience perhaps best described by renowned Japanese music writer Masaharu Yoshioka aka The Soul Searcher:
If you are driving down the Autobahn at 160 km/h, or even 80 km/h, and Jun’s music starts playing on the car stereo, the windshield will instantly turn into your own personal silver screen.”
Expanded (with 8 new tracks) version of Princess Nokia’s self-released debut mixtape, 1992 including the recently released single G.O.A.T. along with standouts such as the haunting, sharply pointed Brujas and the brassy bang of Kitana.
Assuming you’re cool af and already know the original mixtape, we’ll step right onto the new cuts, covering golden era hip hop in ABCs of New York and the backpacker beats of Goth Kid, plus a pure heat-seeking missile in the stuttering keys and drill bounce of Flava, and checking out on a deep south party flex with Chinese Slippers.
Heads will roll for this one!
What does the sun sound like? L’Orange, L’Orange, Gregg Kowalsky’s (Date Palms) first solo album in eight years, might have the answer.
"Its vivid music – sourced from analog synths and mixed on a laptop – arrives in rays of sound that shine skyward. There are many moods in each track, but the overarching aura is one of brightness and optimism. Hence the album title, which nods toward the radiant hue of our life-sustaining star.
The warm atmospheres of Miami (his birthplace) and Los Angeles (his home of 3years) infuse the luminous ambience of L’Orange, L’Orange. Kowalsky points to the album’s second track, “Maliblue Dream Sequence.” Its lapping synth waves mirror the time he spent working on the record at a friend’s home in the beachside city of Malibu. But you can hear echoes of blue “Tuned to Monochrome,” to the rising rhythm of “Pattern Haze,” to the sandy layers of “Ritual Del Croix.”
L’Orange, L’Orange isn’t just about brightness and bliss. It’s also about engrossing your mind – creating an omnipresence not unlike that shiny orange orb whose ubiquity defines our days and whose absence fills our nights. For Gregg Kowalsky, music can have that same kind of overpowering effect. The sounds of L’Orange, L’Orange can calm your nerves, warm your mood, and maybe even enlighten your mind."
Definitive compilation drawing together the original Digital Soundbwoys of Jamaican Dancehall culture, compiled with the help of Steve Barrow.
Reggae music is made to be played in the Dancehall, it is a functionalist music of the highest order and in the early 1980's when producers started switching onto digital instrumentation, and found they could produce far more powerful and effective sounds to play on their friends rigs, the whole culture of Jamaican music changed irreversibly.
This first volume of the two part vinyl set collects a wicked selection of out-and-out classics from Yellowman's 'Bam Bam', Tenor Saw 'Pumpkin Belly', Chaka Demus & Pliers' international 1992 hit 'Murder She Wrote', Junior Murvin's nut crackin' 'Cool Out Son', Ini Kamoze's Taxi sound special 'World A Music', Cutty Ranks' 'Chop Chop' and tonnes more nice-up sounds. Of course there's the obligatory and massively interesting liner notes too from Steve Barrow and the glorious full colour picture sleeves in classic Soul Jazz style. If you're into any form of dance music today, you really have to pay your dues and invest in this wicked set of pure dance history.