Reissue of killer Clock DVA-related gear from Adi Newton’s industrial dance project TAGC, including two exclusive Richard H. Kirk remixes, freshly dubbed by Newton
Perhaps best known for the extended 12” mix of saucy classic ‘Big Sex’ - included in its original form here - TAGC were extant between mid ‘80s and mid ‘90s, when this Side Effects compilation marked their departure with a collection of highlights from 1985’s ‘Ha - Zulu’ EP, 1986’s ’ShT’ mini album, 1987’s ‘Big Sex’ 12”, and 1989’s ‘Broadcast Test’.
It’s worth checking for the Cabs or 23 Skidoo-esque industrial-funk fusion of ‘Zulu’, then the grim cut-up collage of ‘Further & Evident Meanings’ and the cold dubbing of ‘New Upheavil’ off ’ShT’, and the prickly electro oddity of ‘Broadcast Transmission 1.’ We’d probably advise tracking down the ‘Big Sex’ 12” for a better, longer version of that cut, and Adi Newton round things up nicely with a slippery, extended dub of RHK’s ‘Zulu’ remix.
Old skool Chicago acid belters from Hot Mix 5 Records, racked up for a re-release by Still Music
Strictly 1988-89 vibes inside, rounding up the slinky swing of ‘Dream Girl’ by Pierre’s Pfantasy Club next to the rude grab of Pierre’s ‘Can You Feel The Bass’ and ‘Jiggawatts’ jackers with Roy Davis Jr and co’s Phortune, plus the head-swilling churn of Armando’s ‘151’ (a staple of Jamal Moss DJ sets), the deeper touch of Coom McCool’s ‘World Turns Around’, and two tried ’n tested slices of 303 genius by Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers, ‘The Juice’ and ‘Ecstasy.’
Thom Yorke yields his most enjoyable solo record yet with ‘Anima’, shapeshifting back into avant-pop mode after last year’s OST for the remake of cult horror ‘Suspiria’.
Bridging experimental pop songwriting and electronic dance music dimensions, Yorke and his trusty studio partner Nigel Godrich yet again sneak classy contemporary rhythms and ideas into the diet of traditional songwriting. The nine songs of ‘Anima’ also find Yorke porous to a modern Afro-Latinate phase shift, embracing slinky permutations of dembow tresillo patterns and needle-point electroid 2-step in an ever finer balance of melodic conventions and the inexorable thrills of electronic music. Most crucially, acknowledging those rhythmic accents that come from beyond mostly white, western rhythmic hegemony.
That slinky drive and flow gives the album an effortless appeal, carrying it from the pendulous, schizoid vocals of ‘Traffic’, thru the writhing ‘Twist’, before catching Yorke at his most endearingly scuffed, bluesy and soulful with ‘I Am A Very Rude Person.’ The halfway point is marked by a real future classic in his catalogue with ‘Not The News’ laying a fine seam of Autechrian reggaeton and phasing riffs for some of his patented, dramatic flourishes, while the in-the-pocket shuffle of ‘Impossible Knots’ highlights a canny link with Scritti Politti’s early ‘80s balance of post-punk and new pop, before ‘Runwayaway’ feels pulled between psychy Tuareg desert blues, krautrock, lilting eldritch folk and AFXian acid in a way that perhaps only Yorke could nail quite like this.
'Dawn Chorus', perhaps the album's centrepoint, places the vocal high and up front in the mix for an open encounter with the sublime. There's nothing really to it - like all the best songs.
Looky look - we’ve got a handful of the Japanese edition for M.E.S.H.’s ‘Scythioans’ EP, bulked up with accompanying remixes from Lotic, Logos, Grovestreet, and J Heat
As a co-founder and resident at the influential Janus club-night, M.E.S.H. is hard-wired to the core of Berlin's accelerated night scene and deeply connected to the global digital arts diaspora thru collaboration with contemporary artists, Aleksandra Domanovic, Fatima Al Qadiri, Arca and TCF, among others. Operating at the intersection of electronic hip hop, techno and chimeric sound design, the 'Scythians' EP motions a bracingly fresh sound modelling skeletal 808 patterns perfused with hyper-criss foley and thrillingly sheer synthetic textures.
From the tumbling gyroscopic vectors of its eponymous opener, the EP yields a series of proper future-shocks, streaming dazzling data bursts from the hyper-detailed, diffuse techno swing of 'Interdictor' thru the breathtaking fireworks and industrial-strength slowfast 808s of 'Captivated' to the ascendant choral arrangement of 'Imperial Sewers' and the chrome-plated ambient vortices of 'Glassel Finisher'.
On the remixes, M.E.S.H.’s Janus pal, Lotic diffuses the elements in a dazzling display of polymetric acrobatics and complex, sweeping synth shapes; Logos sublimates its structures into widescreen weightless gases and noirish strings with late night, gazing-from-the-30th storey appeal. Grovestreet impresses with a fine display of percolating Ballroom-Techno pressure systems hewing close to the original; New Jersey's DJ J Heat follows suit with a slickly reduced, hypnotically sexy Jersey Club version.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Brian Eno’s classic ambient excursion with his brother Roger, and studio whizkind, Daniel Lanois, re-enters the vinyl orbit for the first time since 1983, bolstered with booster pack of previously unreleased material.
Conceived as a soundtrack to Al Reinert’s 1983 documentary, ‘For All Mankind’, the wide-eyed wonder of ‘Apollo’ has taken on a life of its own as one of Eno's best loved and most influential ambient trips, especially for the divine choral of ‘An Ending (Ascent)’ which also made its way onto movie and doco soundtracks (28 Days Later, Traffic, Trainspotting) and was sampled by Burial in ‘Forgive’. Out of print for too long, the original LP is now remastered for this edition and extended with a new re-do of the soundtrack by Eno and his original co-pilots
Frankly worth it for ‘An Ending (Ascent)’ alone, ‘Apollo’ is also flush with key ambient themes that would strongly influence its antecedents, and it’s not hard to hear how its dusty, sanguine country themes would influence The Orb or the likes of Calexico and a thousand other starry-eyed wanderers in the ‘90s. Eno would go on to state that he was influenced by country music as a child, received from an Armed Forces radio station in Woodbridge, was used to “give the impression of weightless space”, and while it’s maybe not the first thing it connotes for us, Eno’s use here has made floating country & western guitars a key part of the classic ambient music makeup.
So to the bonus disc, a “reimagining” of the original Apollo soundtrack that sees the Eno’s and Lanois reprise that gently awe-struck feeling of watching Apollo 11 land on the moon. It starts off with the super slowed weightless smudge of ‘The End of a Thin Line’ along with the elegant deep space waltzer ‘At The Foot of a Ladder’, and future classic material in the tremulous beauty of ‘Under The Moon.’
Ultra-classique disco sophistication, heavily mined for samples and compiled for the good of the dance in 2019
“Strut present the first definitive retrospective of an icon of 1970s and ‘80s soul, jazz and disco, Patrice Rushen, covering her peerless 6-year career with Elektra / Asylum from 1978 to 1984.
Patrice Rushen joined the Elektra / Asylum roster in 1978 as they launched a pop / jazz division alongside visionaries like Donald Byrd and Grover Washington, Jr. “The idea was to create music that was good for commercial radio / R&B,” Patrice explains. “We were all making sophisticated dance music, essentially.”
Early classics like ‘Music Of The Earth’ and ‘Let’s Sing A Song Of Love’ were among Patrice’s first as a lead vocalist before her ‘Pizzazz’ album landed in 1979, featuring the unique disco of ‘Haven’t You Heard’ and one of her greatest ballads, ‘Settle For My Love’. Slick dancefloor anthem ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and the ‘Posh’ album in 1980 led to her landmark album ‘Straight From The Heart’ two years later.
Receiving little support from her label, Patrice and her production team personally funded a promo campaign for the first single from it, ‘Forget Me Nots’. It went on to peak at no. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was later Grammy-nominated, while the track became a timeless anthem and popular sample.
Patrice’s final album for Elektra, ‘Now’ kept the bar high with sparse, synth-led songs including ‘Feel So Real’ and ‘To Each His Own’. It concluded a golden era creatively for Patrice which remains revered by soul and disco aficionados the world over.
‘Remind Me’ features all of Patrice Rushen’s chart singles, 12” versions and popular sample sources on one album for the first time.”
Scowling industrial bad vibes from Frederikke Hoffmeier’s Puce Mary, mounting her debut LP with PAN after dishing out dozens of albums and oddjobs for Posh Isolation, Ascetic House, iDEAL under her own name and also as Amphetamine Logic, JH1.FS3, and Body Sculptures during the preceding decade
“Building from a reputation of arresting live performances and critically acclaimed releases Puce Mary breaks new ground with The Drought, evolving from the tropes of industrial and power electronics to forge a complex story of adapting to new realities. Remnants of noise still exist, sustaining the penetrative viscerality offered on previous records, however The Drought demonstrates an intention to expand on the vocabulary of confrontational music and into a grander narrative defined by technical and emotional growth.
Bringing together introspective examination with literary frameworks by writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, Puce Mary’s compositions manifest an ongoing power struggle within the self towards preservation. The traumatised body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss and control. The Drought presents both danger and opportunity; through rebuilding a creative practice centred on first person narrative and a deliberate collage of field recordings and sound sources Puce Mary injects an acute urgency across the album seeking resilience.
“To Possess Is To Be In Control” makes use of lyrical repetition as an ambiguity of two selves, or a divided self, attempting to consume one another, while “Red Desert,” named after Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film, portrays the individual subsumed by surrounding environmental forces. The seven-minute epic “The Size of Our Desires” acts as the emotional tipping point of the record; amongst the ominous drone and dense feedback flutters almost-beatific melodies, while the lyrics reveal a romantic call to be swept up in the midst of an increasingly uninhabitable world.
Rather than escape, The Drought dramatises a metamorphosis in which vulnerability is confronted through regeneration. Noise and aggression no longer act as an affront to react against but part of a ‘corporeal architecture’ where space, harmony and lyricism surface from the harsh tropes of industrial music. The Drought chronologises the artist’s transformation through a psychological famine, new ways of coping akin to plant survival in a desert – to live without drying out.”
PAN's first ever CD release was also the first collaborative output by respected electroacoustic sound artists Thomas Ankersmit and Valerio Tricoli. Their five tracks on 'Forma II' were composed and recorded in Berlin from 2008 to 2010, and include four shorter electroacoustic pieces based on experiments with a Serge Modular Analogue synthesizer and one long-form tract of overdubbed saxophone exploring the timbral extremes of Ankersmit's instrument.
The four hyper-sensitively detailed electroacoustic pieces range from 6 to 13 minutes in length and move between ultra-vivid blizzards of textural detail to plangent drone and vast atmospheric diffusions. Through deft computer and tape processing coupled with almost tangibly "real" sound sources such as metal foil floating on ultrasonic soundbeams or the man made resonance of the radar domes at Teufelsberg outside Berlin, the pair create a kinetic space which challenges our perception of simulated, or virtual shapes and spatial settings, and non-virtual, acoustic tangibility.
In particular, the thirteen minute 'Plague #7' is an immersive passage of deep, thrumming bass tones and glassy hi-frequencies with the potently surreal effect, while the longer finale, 'Takht-e Tâvus' builds a swarm-like cluster of sumptuously discordant saxophone tones amassing a slow, gripping intensity and uncannily natural detailing. The CD is really brought to life by Rashad Becker's mastering at Clunk, and comes housed in one-tone silk screened pvc sleeve with interweaving geomteric designs, with artwork by Kathryn Politis and Bill Kouligas. Another exceptional transmission from PAN, a label that's fast attained buy-on-sight status.
Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.
"Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.
Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.
Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss."
So what more can we add to the mountains of praise lavished on one of thee best loved and lived electronic rock albums of all time? Not a lot, really, but listen in and read on if you need reassurance that this is a truly pivotal, essential record...
The birthplace of and inspiration for so much that we hold dear, Suicide's self-titled album is the very definition of future-proof, and its perfectly articulated vision of electronic punk minimalism seems more potent and prophetic today than it ever has before.
Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized owe their entire careers to the soaring, deconstructed VU ascent of 'Cheree', the tough-guy technobilly dynamism of Sandra Electronics and Powell can be traced back to 'Ghost Rider', and the exquisite 'Che' is everything minimal wave promises but invariably falls short of delivering.
Martin Rev's emaciated but propulsive drum-machine rhythms and fiendishly deployed shards of synthetic noise are of course impeccable, but listening back to this album we're reminded how much Alan Vega's utterly unique, utterly committed vocals make Suicide what it is: whether shrieking like a Times Square vagrant possessed on 'Frankie Teardrop' or coming over like a post-nuclear Elvis on the mighty 'Rocket USA'.
Really words can't do justice to the purity and straight-up magnificence of this album: it isn't just a record that everyone should hear, it's a record that everyone should own, listen to often, and know inside out.
"Ypsilon" is the second collaboration between Uwe Zahn (Arovane), Porya Hatami and Darren McClure .
"The trio have also worked together on numerous collaborative projects between each other as duos, and "Ypsilon" album finds them back together, ever expanding their shared aural ideology into new territories. Their 2016 release, “Veerian,” [eilean rec.] focused on free-flowing soundscapes, whereas this new album incorporates more overtly melodic sequences and rhythmic elements to widen its horizon. As on “Veerian,” Zahn, Hatami, and McClure paid meticulous attention to sound design for “Ypsilon.” The inclusion of subdued beats adds a swing to the textural layers, and arpeggiat- ed sequences imply rhythm and momentum.
Other tracks remain blissfully ambient, taking time to unfold and breathe without any rhythmic framework. This balance between gentle propulsion and beatless sound- scapes, melodic and ambient, lends the album a unique character and takes it into fresh new areas of experimentation for the trio. "
Funky Thai psych fanciers Khruangbin dub up their ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ LP.
“Globetrotting Texan trio Khruangbin present ‘Hasta El Cielo’, the band’s glorious dub version of their second album ‘Con Todo El Mundo’. The full album has been processed anew along with two bonus dubs by renowned Jamaican producer Scientist.
The band’s exotic, spacious, psychedelic funk aligns with the dub treatment particularly well. Indeed, keen fans won’t find this a surprising release. Dubs of tracks from their first album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ appeared on limited vinyl releases of ‘People Everywhere’ for Record Store Day 2016 and ‘Zionsville’ on the BoogieFuturo remix 12”. The especially eagle-eared will have caught a dub of ‘Two Fish And An Elephant’ playing over the credits of the track’s celebrated video.
“For us, Dub has always felt like a prayer. Spacious, meditative, able to transport the listener to another realm. The first dub albums we listened to were records mixed by Scientist featuring the music of the Roots Radics. Laura Lee learned to play bass by listening to Scientist Wins the World Cup. His unique mixing style, with the emphasis on space and texture, creates the feeling of frozen time; it was hugely influential to us as a band. To be able to work alongside Scientist, a legend in the history of dub, is an honor. This is our dub version of Con Todo El Mundo.””
In June 2017, New Order returned to the stage at Manchester’s Old Granada Studios where Joy Division made their television debut on Tony Wilson’s So It Goes programme in 1978. For the celebrated show ∑(No,12k,Lg,17Mif) New Order + Liam Gillick: So it goes .., New Order deconstructed, rethought and rebuilt a wealth of material from throughout their career: familiar and obscure, old and new.
"Featuring tracks such as Disorder, from Joy Divisions Unknown Pleasures and not played live for 30 years, up to 2015’s Plastic from New Order’s critically acclaimed Top 5 album Music Complete - this is the perfect document of those magical 5 nights. Listen to ‘Sub-culture’ live now: http://smarturl.it/No12kLg17Mif
The album was recorded live on 13th July 2017 and includes the full show and encore plus 3 additional tracks recorded over the residency to give listeners a full representation of the breadth of material performed. This special series of intimate shows took over Stage 1 of Manchester’s iconic Old Granada Studios for five nights in June 2017. Created in collaboration with visual artist Liam Gillick, who has previously presented solo exhibitions at venues such as Tate Britain and MoMA in New York; and orchestrated by composer-arranger Joe Duddell, a fellow son of Manchester and a frequent collaborator with the band, the live show was performed by the band with a 12-strong synthesiser ensemble from the Royal Northern College of Music. "
Stylized new wave produced by Josh Eustis and revolving guest appearances by Jasamine White-Gluz (No Joy) and Justin Meldal-Johnson (NIN, Beck, M83, Air)
“Since the 2015 release of Drab Majesty’s debut “Careless”, and the release of the acclaimed sophomore album “The Demonstration” the following year, artist Deb Demure and collaborator Mona D. have firmly established themselves amongst the pantheon of dark synth-pop greats, establishing a devoted fan base worldwide with their singular hypnotic sound and mysterious, constantly-evolving presence.
Following intense and extensive touring in support of the first two albums, Drab Majesty escaped to the inspirational landscapes of Athens, Greece to channel the songs for their most ambitious album creation yet: Modern Mirror.
Blowing the dust off the antiquarian myth of Ovid’s “Narcissus”, Drab Majesty uses its premise as groundwork for a modern reinterpretation. Each song tells a piece of the story, in which the listener’s own self-identity has become warped and dissociated through rapidly expanding technology, losing touch with the origins of their own personalities. Setting the stage as a romantic saga of antiquity, “A Dialogue” asks the listener if they are truly in love amid a building wash of guitars and reverb. Elements of classic tragedy weigh heavily in the reflection of Modern Mirror in songs like “The Other Side”, possessing a fundamental sound that is energetic, luminous and hopeful. Fusing the sonic aesthetics of predecessors like New Order and The Cure within the cautious instruction of Greek mythology and modern science fiction, Drab Majesty has birthed a hybrid of dreamy malaise, captured for a future moment.
The first single, “Ellipsis”, romantically plays up the distorted concept of courting through modern technology in a world that has yet to adapt, while on “Long Division”, Deb’s resounding guitar cascades around the chorus shared with No Joy frontwoman Jasamine White-Gluz, wistfully warning us against our vanity and self-obsession. Even when hope for everlasting love peeks through in “Oxytocin”, a sparkling and stoic track sung by Mona D., we are firmly reminded our fleeting existence.
Modern Mirror is a journey of self-reflection, nostalgia, love, beauty, and heartbreak told across eight addictive and emotional synth pop anthems – a seemingly classic tale delivered unblinkingly through the frame of the modern world.”
Etheric excursions into new age ambient and folk underlaid with woozy drum machine rhythms and perfused with field recordings
“Following 2017’s Infinite Avenue and 2013’s Sleeper, Both Lines Will Be Blue is Carmen’s first full instrumental album. A 7 track collection of cosmic excursions and dubby ambient-jams, the album is written, recorded, played, produced and mixed by Carmen in her Oslo studio. The soothing atmospherics are made up of tapestries of field recordings, synths, piano, drum-programming, zither and modular sounds. Throughout, Carmen’s music is colored by experimenting with different sounds and learning new techniques or by adding new instruments to the mix.
"I’ve been playing around with instrumentals for a long time, and it was something I wanted to do more with after I finished Infinite Avenue,” says Carmen. “Leaving out my voice and lyrics got me out of my own head a bit, which I needed. Working with sound is to me the ultimate meditation and is a more unconscious way of expressing whatever is going on inside.”
The flute, played by Chilenean-Norwegian Johanna Scheie Orellana (formerly of Sassy 009), is a central part of this new album. Carmen got her in to the studio to both record melodies that she had written, as well as making plenty of room for impro/freeform. Prins Thomas also appears on the record, playing percussion on “I Could Sit Here All Day.”
“I made this track based on a Roland SH-101 sequence run through various processing,” says Villain. “The whole thing came together kind of like a jam, I wrote the flute in one take, and it just felt right. I wanted real flute on this, so asked Johanna if she'd like to come in, and we've been collaborating ever since.””
This is f×cking amazing - a second volume of desolate, ambient themes from David Lynch’s sound designer and mixer of choice Dean Hurley, one of those behind-the-scenes guys whose work most subtly colours the popular imagination. If you’re into anything from Deathprod to Badalamenti to Mica Levi’s 'Under the Skin’, the more ascetic end of work from Leyland Kirby / The Caretaker, or Aphex Twin’s ’Selected Ambient Works Vol II” - this will rule your world.
Having operated and managed David Lynch’s Asymmetrical sound Studio for 13 years, Dean Hurley only appeared on our radar a couple of years ago with his sound design for the third season of Twin Peaks, and the first volume of his Anthology Resource which collected some of that work. During those 13 years - a period that began just before ‘Inland Empire’ - Hurley was basically there to create, mix and edit any sound artefacts Lynch required - a process that evidently allowed him the freedom to innovate through pretty much limitless experimentation. As a result, Hurley is now without question one of the most striking sound designers and supervisors working in film & television right now, steering well clear of overly emotive/manipulative cliche and instead focusing on the minutiae of sound in a way thay recalls the classic, pre-digital era.
His Anthology Resource is an ongoing series curated from his work for film and television in the library / production music tradition, as well as a series of albums in their own right, with this second volume 'Philosophy of Beyond’ collecting 12 pieces made in residency for Art Gallery of New South Wales’ event Masters of Modern Sound, and contributions to Eddie Alcazar's feature film ‘Perfect’ - mostly assembled from tape loops and field recordings.
While it’s fair enough to wheel out a usual list of ambient/atmospheric comparisons with ‘SAW II’, Brian Eno, Leyland Kirby, and indeed David Lynch’s own early work with Badalamenti, that’s really just to show what class Hurley is operating in - his music clearly possessing its own, menacing magick that stays with you long after the music has stopped, just like the imagery he is so highly adept at scoring.
Totally infectious Gnawa funk and psych-edged rock from Morocco, 1973, legit licensed and issued for the first time on any format! Yet another fuzzy peach on Habibi Funk.
Leading on from the labels plates of Afro-Cuban Jazz and the Afrobeat of ‘Muslims & Christians’, this is the first pressing of gripping, heavily soulful recordings by three generations of the same family, headed up by the distinctive cry of Attarazat Addahabia. Addahabia was schooled between Casablanca and Paris in the ’60s and brings some serious calibre to the record, commanding the mic in Arabic against female call and response vocals and a crack backing band throwing down thick electric guitar fuzz and driving blend of rhythm from Western rock and Moroccan tradition.
Running in the same circles as Moroccan legend Fadoul (star of Habibi Funk’s ‘Al Zman Saib’ reissue and ‘An Eclectic Selection of Music From The Arab World’ compilation), Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah were one of the first rock bands in the Arab-speaking world and they patently knew how to rip a cool groove. Nearly half a century later their tunes will still light up clubs from Casablanca to Paris.
Skull Disco reaches it's final catalogue number with the final nail in the coffin on 'Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals', collating the final few 12" releases on the first CD, and a selection of accompanying remixes from the likes of T++, Rupture, Geiom, Brendon Moeller, and Bass Clef on an additional second CD.
Over the course of three years the label has come to define a very dark corner of the dubstep related universe, finding fans in unexpected places, from Ricardo Villalobos and Cassy at the housier end of the spectrum and T++ showing love from the techno end. The first CD opens with the dystopian classic 'The Rope Tightens' by the maverick Shackleton, with a horrific echo chamber lockdown featuring vocals from longtime Skull Disco affiliate Tenfold Vengeance, and moves onto later collaborations between Appleblim and Peverelist on their lauded 'Circling'.
Shackleton's smacky voodoo dancer 'Death Is Not Final' is included, alongside the undulating drum workout 'You Bring Me Down' as well as Appleblim's now classic 'Vansan' making it's first appearance on CD. The second set is about as fresh as it gets, starting with T++'s techno enhanced remix of 'Vansan' and further cementing the Berlin connection with Pole's spatialized dub-scape version of Shack's 'Shortwave'. Peverelist's remix of 'You Bring Me Down' is surely one of the finest dubstepXtechno tracks of the year and is also included alongside the stunning T++ revision of Shack's 'Death Is Not Final', surely one of the tracs of year full stop! The most surprising remix comes from badawi, with a previously unreleased rethink of 'The Rope Tightens'. Raz Mesinai sticks with the original's extended format, but rewires it with a technofied yet meditative version that sounds like 'Polaroid' or 'Cern' era Monolake mixed with sound design approaching Peter Rehberg's frosty scapes for the KTL project. The depth and scope on this one can only be fully appreciated at home on a good system with all the lights out, or equally in a dark warehouse setting, this is riddimic futurism at it's finest.
A final mention must be given to the terrific artwork from the mind of Zeke Clough beamed directly from a tower somewhere in deepest darkest Salford, applying the final but essential touch to a stunning package.
Out of print for 30 years, Airto Moreira’s Brazilian jazz-fusion masterpiece is now reissued for the first time. Moreira was key member of Miles Davis’ ‘electric’ group, notably playing on ‘Bitches Brew’
“The impact of Airto Moreira in both the world of American jazz and in Brazilian music is unparalleled. At the start of the 1970s Airto was invited to join Miles Davis’ groundbreaking ‘electric’ group, which with albums such as the seminal ‘Bitches Brew’ helping Davis regain his title from John Coltrane as the most important jazz artist of all time.
Two years later Airto helped establish two of the most important jazz fusion groups of all time: Weather Report, with Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vituous; and Return to Forever, with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Flora Purim. Airto Moreira also began his solo career in the USA in 1970, and alongside his wife, the singer Flora Purim, and Brazilian artists such as Hermeto Pascoal, Sivuca, Deodato, Raul de Souza, Azymuth, all played a major part in the Latinised sound of American jazz fusion throughout the 1970s.
By this time Airto established himself in the USA in the 1970s, he had already had a formidable career back in Brazil in the 1960s as an important figure in the Bossa Nova movement, which soon after spread throughout the world. Airto played in a number of important groups during this time – Quarteto Novo Sambalanco Trio and Sambrassa Trio (all of with Hermeto Pascoal) – which proved to be three of the most ground-breaking groups of this era.
The album ‘Samba de Flora’, including the seminal jazz dance title track, is a masterpiece of jazz and Brazilian fusion and features Airto Moreira alongside Flora Purim, fellow Brazilian artist Raul de Souza and heavyweight USA jazz musicians Alphonso Johnson, percussionist Don Alias (from Stone Alliance), Cuban conga player Cachete and Argentinian pianist Jorge Dalto.
The album was originally released on the small independent Montuno Record label (which was run out of the unassuming Record Mart record store situated in the Times Square underground subway station!) and has been unavailable for many, many years.”
Post-metal sludge avantgarde powerhouse SUMAC around Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom) follow up their collaboration with legendary japanese guitarist and singer/performer Keiji Haino on Thrill Jockey (American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You are too Hideous to Look at Face on) with another monolith - heavy and experimental at the same time!
Keiji Haino – Guitar, Voice, Flute, Taepyeongso
Aaron Turner – Guitar
Nick Yacyshyn – Drums
Brian Cook – Bass
Recorded: Soh Ki Moon at Fever, Tokyo. July 3rd 2017
Mixed: Randall Dunn at Avast, Seattle, December 2018
Mastered: James Plotkin, Bethlehem, December 2018
Exterior Photographs: Miki Matsushima
Interior Photographs: Kazuyuki Funaki
Titles and lyrics by Keiji Haino. Title translation by Alan Cummings.
Reissue of ‘MZUI’, the audio document of an A/V installation by (then ex-) Wire and (current) Dome members Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, and artist Russell Mills, whose illustration and designs adorned records by Eno, Japan, Yazoo ++
‘MZUI’ the installation was held at Waterloo Gallery in central London between 8-31st August, 1981. This was one year after Wire disbanded for the first time, and Gilbert and Lewis had spent the interim constructing the Dome studio at the legendary Blackwing facilities. They had met Russell Mills during the Wire days and invited him into their Kupol performances, leading to his participation on ‘MZUI’, where the trio made use of a 5000 sq. feet former meat-packing warehouse space, turning its detritus into artworks including a meadow of smashed glass, and also installed a PA and recording equipment to capture and use any public interaction. It was all in near pitch darkness and so risky that visitors had to sign a disclaimer before entry.
The music contained on ‘MZUI’ the release is not intended as a direct representation of the installation, rather it’s presented “as a landscape, as articulating a sense of place” according to Kevin S. Eden’s liner notes. In that respect, the album’s two 20 minute+ pieces offer a spectral tour of the warehouse, its contents and the installation’s attendees, with spare, aleatoric clangs, muffled voices, distant percussion and industrial eruptions occurring in acres of billowing negative space. It’s not hard to hear the vast dimensions of the space in the recordings in the first piece, which is compelling enough, but it really gets interesting in the 2nd part where they hold to longer, coherent section of curdled carnival music and noise, or particularly the mid-section of sepulchral choral drones and its transition into a looped quote of Marcel Duchamp intoning “in spite of myself, I’m a meticulous man.”
More than a curio, this is a fascinating example of the Dome guys at their loosest and most intuitively experimental.
New edition for 2019.
"In November 1975 I had initiated a concert at the RIAS Studio 10, entitled “Futurum 3”, with ASH RA TEMPEL performing. Apart from the guitars there was also an EMS Synthi A on stage. And an old Farfisa Compact Organ that Manuel played and of which I was especially proud: I was able to buy this instrument in 1964 after a summer job at a steel drill factory. This Farfisa was on stage when I performed with my band the Team Beats Berlin, as support act for the Rolling Stones at their legendary concert in September 1965 at the Berliner Waldbühne.
Somehow this instrument had survived the riot, and ten years later Manuel bought this organ from me. He had played this Farfisa in many concerts and recordings in the following years, and it can be heard also prominently here on “Dream and Desire”. Originally, the two tracks “Dream” and “Desire” had been conceived for my one-hour radio feature at RIAS Berlin in summer 1977. Then, although being broadcast only once in Berlin and Belgium, they soon became cult amongst listeners, who taped, multiplied and distributed the tracks throughout Manuel's fan base.
But it was only in 1991, after 14 years, when Manuel decided to make it an “official” release on CD. Something like that is unusual at times when only the new things count - until it is dismissed by the new and gets dumped. The revival of Dream & Desire is not nostalgia but an indication that the present will only be appreciated after acknowledging the past. Applies also to art. The bonus track “Despair” was not part of the original radio-feature, but was composed and recorded around the same time in 1977, and the track fits perfectly in style and sound. Manuel's music has been with me for now almost 50 years. I own a superb LP and CD collection of him. Dream & Desire is beautiful - what more can I say ..."
Olaf Leitner, 2019
A comprehensive remastered collection of all of the Television Personalities’ ground-breaking single releases from the Peel-approved 14th Floor through to the effervescent Salvador Dali’s Garden Party EP.
"Includes the super rare Creation flexi, the TVPs as The Gifted Children, and the even rarer Caff 45 where the band tackle Stock, Aitken And Waterman. Purists will also find two shelved 45s for the Dreamworld label plus their take on Syd Barrett’s Apples And Oranges from the Beyond The Wildwood tribute album. Features the seminal Where’s Bill Grundy Now and the self-effacing Part Time Punks alongside a host of pop culture-bating gems. A celebration of the songwriting of Dan Treacy."
A comprehensive remastered collection of all of the Television Personalities’ ground-breaking single releases from the Peel-approved 14th Floor through to the effervescent Salvador Dali’s Garden Party EP.
"Includes the super rare Creation flexi, the TVPs as The Gifted Children, and the even rarer Caff 45 where the band tackle Stock, Aitken And Waterman. Purists will also find two shelved 45s for the Dreamworld label plus their take on Syd Barrett’s Apples And Oranges from the Beyond The Wildwood tribute album. Features the seminal Where’s Bill Grundy Now and the self-effacing Part Time Punks alongside a host of pop culture-bating gems. A celebration of the songwriting of Dan Treacy."
Expanded reissue of one of the most fascinating Japanese ambient/environmental albums ever made, NOVA + 4 by Yutaka Hirose. The package includes the album known as Soundscape 2: Nova, sourced from its original masters, as well as 50 minutes of never-released-before recordings, yielding dreamiest synth tones swaddled in richly detailed environmental recordings that conjure a beautifully soporific non-place for drifting minds.
“Initially released in 1986 as part of the Soundscape series* commissioned by Misawa Home Corporation for use in their prefabricated houses, Yutaka Hirose’s NOVA has grown to become a mythical piece of the Japanese minimalist/ambient/environmental scene of the eighties. Initiated around the enchanting landscapes of the two first tracks recorded for the project, "Nova" and "Epilogue", Yutaka Hirose’s magnum opus serenely blends vintage synth with nature sounds, exploring soothing palettes and organic backdrops. For "Slow Sky", Hirose explains he "went for a pointillism-like sound, and tried to express a scenery of awakening, where the portal of a heart is opening up", while on "Humming The Sea", he "tried to compose a kind of music that expresses the daily, lazy life of child-like innocence in a summer vacation in some small town."
The bonus LP gathers four long unreleased pieces created around the same period of time for installations, described by Yutaka Hirose as "not music per se but rather sound sculptures", and including the haunting "Shadow Of A Water Droplet" which was recorded for an Ikebana exhibition.
All in all, NOVA + 4 is a transcendent experience of nature in the urban context, an oeuvre which, much like Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass or Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way, holds the power to appease the soul in turbulent times. As one inspired YouTube commenter once said when describing Yutaka Hirose’s masterstroke: "I can't tell if the birds are singing inside or outside! Thank you! "
Michael O’Shea’s sole, breathtaking album ranks among our favourite of all time - yet hardly anyone seems to have heard of it. Produced by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis at the Dome studio in 1982, it’s an utterly singular work of magick meshing myriad, worldly modes into music that rarely fails to reduce us to tears. It’s one of those albums that basically sounds like nothing else - the only record we can draw some parallels to is Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s life changing 'Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar’, despite it coming from the other end of the world.
First brought to our attention by Blackest Ever Black at the start of this decade, we’ve gradually developed an obsessive fascination with its sublime, rapid dervishes and warbling rhythmelodies, so it’s a pleasure to see it finally made easily available to everyone who we’ve ranted about it over the years (2nd hand copies have been historically pricey and hard to come by!), and especially replete with its enlightening new sleeve notes by archivist and writer Failed Bohemian.
A busker among other trades, O’Shea was an itinerant soul who, after a childhood and formative years spent between Northern Ireland and Kerry in the south of the country, and extensive travel between Europe, Turkey and Bangladesh, created his own instrument - an electrified dulcimer known as Mó Cará (Irish for ‘My Friend’) - which he performed on at Ronnie Scott’s, before later playing on bills with everyone from Ravi Shankar to Don Cherry, and also recording with The The’s Matt and Tom Johnson.
Aside from his two contributions to the Stano album, ‘Content To Dine In I Dine Weathercraft’ (also recently reissued by Dublin’s Allchival), O’Shea’s first and only album is the main point of reference for this unique artist. Like some eccentric expression of ancient Indo-European voices channelled thru a Celtic body, Michael O’Shea’s improvised acousto-electric music intuitively distills a world of styles into singularly hypnotic works. Using his self-built instrument; a hybrid of a zelochord and a sitar, made on a wooden door salvaged in Munich, and with the crucial addition of electric pick-ups and the ‘Black Hole Space Box’, O’Shea would absorb sounds from his travels like a sponge, and relay them back thru the instrument with effortlessly freeform and achingly lush results as elaborate as a Celtic knot or elegant as Sanskrit text.
The mercurial flow of syncretised styles in 15 minute opener ‘No Journey’s End’ catches your breath and doesn’t give it back, leaving us utterly light-headed and feeling something akin to religious experience, before his ’Kerry’ vignette most beautifully limns the epic coastline he hails from. The plasmic swirl and phasing of ‘Guitar No. 1’ is perhaps the one piece that time dates the LP to the post-punk era, even if it could have come from ancient Mesopotamia, while the album and artist’s underlying metaphysics bleed thru most hauntingly in the timbral shadowplay of ‘Voices’, and the rapidly tremulous, animist voodoo of ‘Anfa Dásachtach’.
Noted in his lifetime, not least by himself as; “…joker, transvestite, inventor, psychonaut, actor, catalyst, community worker, musician, traveller, instrument maker,” Michael O’Shea’s life was, by all accounts, every bit as colourful as his music, which only makes his untimely death in 1991 all that more tragic, as we’d practically give an arm to hear what he could have made in the early techno era, as he was purportedly getting heavy into London’s rave scene before he was taken.
Honestly no other record has cast such a strong spell over us in recent memory - to the extent of sending us on wild goose chases on the wrong peninsula in Kerry - so please pardon the gush ‘cos we can’t help but share love for this life-affirming disc and Michael O’Shea’s beautifully transcendent music.
10 Year Anniversary Edition of Mono's most inconic studio album. Beautifully remastered from the original analog master tapes.
The outcome of a period of hibernation, spent ferreted away writing. A well-deserved hiatus from the band's incessant touring, this album might well rate as their most ambitious offering to date - and that's saying something. If you're in anyway likely to object to post-rock in all its outlandish pomp and grandiosity, Mono might just win you over where their peers could not.
As lavish and crammed with symphonics as Hymn To The Immortal Wind may be (this album saw the band enlisting the biggest orchestra they've ever played with) there's a heartfelt rawness to it all that's above and beyond the creative range of so many other bands in the field. Some of that rawness is surely attributable to the presence of producer Steve Albini who keeps the core unit of the band firmly grounded, drawing viscerally effective performances from the assembled players and never being overly dependent on that chamber orchestra for Mono's scope and power. A huge sounding record, full of soaring melodies and maxed-out levels of bombast.
Slow, methodical organ recordings on this major new work from Kali Malone; a quietly subversive double album featuring almost two hours of concentrated, creeping organ pieces governed by a strict acoustic and compositional code with ultimately profound emotional resonance. Featuring additional organ pieces performed by Ellen Arkbro and mastering by Rashad Becker, you’re gonna wanna spent time with this one.
‘The Sacrificial Code’ takes a more surgical approach to the methods first explored on last year’s ‘Organ Dirges 2016 - 2017’. Over the course of three parts performed on three different organs, Malone’s minimalist process captures a jarring precision of closeness, both on the level of the materiality of the sounds and on the level of composition.The recordings here involved careful close miking of the pipe organ in such a way as to eliminate environmental identifiers as far as possible - essentially removing the large hall reverb so inextricably linked to the instrument. The pieces were then further compositionally stripped of gestural adornments and spontaneous expressive impulse - an approach that flows against the grain of the prevailing musical hegemony, where sound is so often manipulated, and composition often steeped in self indulgence. It echoes Steve Reich’s sentiment “..by voluntarily giving up the freedom to do whatever momentarily comes to mind, we are, as a result, free of all that momentarily comes to mind.”
With its slow, purified and seemingly austere qualities ‘The Sacrificial Code’ guides us through an almost trance-inducing process where we become vulnerable receptors for every slight movement, where every miniature shift in sound becomes magnified through stillness. As such, it’s a uniquely satisfying exercise in transcendence through self restraint - a stunning realisation of ideas borne out of academic and conceptual rigour which gradually reveals startling personal dimensions. It has a perception-altering quality that encourages self exploration free of signposts and without a preordained endpoint - the antithesis to the language of colourless musical platitudes we've become so accustomed to.
Features production by Catnapp, Modeselektor, El Plvybxy, and Doxxed.
“Break follows last year’s EP Fear and No Cover single and sees Catnapp capturing the jaw-dropping energy of her live shows as well as further refining her characteristic blend of rap and heavyweight electronic beats. She challenged herself with exploring more complex emotions and subjects for this album, which is more than a collection of love songs, as she explains: „With so much happening in our world today, I feel incomplete telling only love stories. I want to give people inspirational tools that work like fuel. Songs that can make one hop out of a bad and complicated situation in order to move on and up with confidence.“
Catnapp is the guise of Argentinian artist Amparo Battaglia. Long before signing to Monkeytown in 2018, the Berlin based producer, singer/rapper and striking performer already (self-)released a couple of records full of boundless creativity and originality, taking whatever she needed from every electronic genre as well as pop and rap music. Amparo cites classic influences like The Prodigy, Aphex Twin, OutKast or Beyoncé, while her productions also draw from today’s post-internet and post-rap sounds. Break combines these diverse influences in a very distinct sound.
The album’s opening track „Down In The Basement“ is an ode to the underground, dealing with how to grow as an artist whilst staying true to your roots. You can take the artist out of the underground, but you cannot take the underground out of the artist. As she is playing big stages more frequently than gritty basement clubs, Catnapp tackles the beautiful contradictions of going her own way. Next up is „The Mover“ featuring Modeselektor, a slow burning, bass-heavy song about standing up for yourself and showing strength. It opens with the line „Don’t you tell me what to do“, an eternal credo for both Catnapp and Modeselektor, two generations of maverick electronic artists. „Fight For A Fight“ is inspired by the repression the LGBTQ community is facing all around the world. It came about when Amparo was invited to perform at the Pride March in Buenos Aires in 2018, its lyrics are aimed at supporting the ongoing fight against patriarchy: „My knife is sharp, my mind is bright, you’ll never stop my will to fight.“
Still, love and heartbreak are essential elements of Catnapp’s songwriting and thus appear in songs like „Thunder“, „Lengua“ and „Give It Back“. The latter is about leaving a toxic relationship behind and regaining control about one’s life. Musically, these tracks show Catnapp alternating fierce raps and booming beats with liquid R&B vocals and melancholic, dreamlike electronica.
Catnapp has been compared to electroclash artists like Peaches, her blend of modern rap and electronics may also evoke likeminded artist Tommy Genesis. There’s leaders and there’s followers – you already know which this girl belongs to. Break is no less than her most accomplished musical statement to date.”
Caspar Brötzmann is one of the most unique and innovative guitarists of the last 40 years. With his Berlin-based trio Massaker, he evolved a whole new autonomous approach to writing rock songs, starting from sounds that were widely considered ornamental if not detrimental ‘sonic waste’, such as shrieking feedback and droning overtones. This plethora of sounds were arranged into tracks to sound like breaking concrete, grinding metal, or bursting glass, at once monumental and threatening, impenetrable and hermetic, yet also archaically tender and loving.
"Even today, as the art of noise has reached a level of sophistication that no one could have imagined 30 years ago, Caspar Brötzmann Massaker’s music is resoundingly singular. Ultra heavy riffs and beats, ominous tribal chants and a raw physical force is conjured up by these three sinister and proud minds of their era. Their unhinged, unified stream of energy is captured on these remastered reissues and the results are thrilling.
Originally released in 1992, Der Abend der schwarzen Folklore is the third Massaker album, released by Rough Trade Germany. According to Caspar Brötzmann, the title track and “Bass Totem“ are the band’s most accomplished songs. It’s certainly the most sonicly refined of their albums, recorded during a residency over several weeks at the pastoral site of Conny Plank’s studio near Cologne, and produced by Ingo Krauss and Bruno Gebhard, who had worked with the famed Krautrock producer until his death in 1987.
Not least, ...Schwarzen Folklore also features their new drummer Danny Lommen, whom Caspar and bassist Eduardo Delgado had headhunted at a concert with Lommen’s Dutch prog-core band Gore. Lommen shared their tastes in sheer volume and presence, and “has a completely unique sound to his drumming“, as Caspar marvels, “he plays ultrahard and clear, with authority and no compromise, nothing, not even the most turbulent and speedy beats, sound fuzzy - a statement.“ This, he adds with a smile, would sometimes lead to intense moods during rehearsals, when he overpowered - no small feat - competing with the sounds of Caspar’s guitar.
The Tribe and Black Axis were still if very loosely rooted in some kind of heavy rock. Der Abend der Schwarzen Folklore erases these residues from their genetic make-up - evolving into a free-form noise, strangely motionless like an earthquake rumble, that sounded like nothing else at the time. The opening title song gives the best example with its densely shifting chunk of howling and screaming guitar shreds and grimly determined rumbles from the bass, accented by heavy single beats or massively rattling, yet transparent outbursts from the drums. An impenetrable sense of threat fills the sound, interrupted only by breaks of skinny brooding, giving way to Caspar’s throaty growl evoking a lonely march through hostile wastelands under flaming sunsets. Culminating in an archaic choir chanting about black walls rising - a monstrous cloud of thick high-voltage tension.
Caspar speaks of the heavy nature of the lyrics, inspired by 19th century artist Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Das Eismeer“ (“The Sea of Ice“) which depicts a shipwreck the icy shores of Antarctica. It deals, of course, with ideas of the sublime in nature - but also “the end of hope“, as the painting was known until the sixties. And indeed, Caspar credits his dark and brooding sounds to the uneasy times. With the wall down, the Eastern block broken, East and West Germany were politically united but emotionally didn’t share much more than a certain angst and uneasiness with respect to the future - which erupted in ugly right-wing riots and violence. Caspar felt the rise of a black folklore that he wanted to address, though he never admitted to it at the time because, he said, he didn’t want to sound like “some naive romantic“. Not underestimating the music‘s gothic values - a weird idea, once you’ve listened to “Schwarze Folklore“.
Southern Lord announce the next Caspar Brötzmann Massaker reissues in the ongoing series, continuing with Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore and Koksofen this July. Read on for more insight into these albums, and for information about incoming live dates supporting Sunn O))).
"Caspar Brötzmann is one of the most unique and innovative guitarists of the last 40 years. With his Berlin-based trio Massaker, he evolved a whole new autonomous approach to writing rock songs, starting from sounds that were widely considered ornamental if not detrimental ‘sonic waste’, such as shrieking feedback and droning overtones. This plethora of sounds were arranged into tracks to sound like breaking concrete, grinding metal, or bursting glass, at once monumental and threatening, impenetrable and hermetic, yet also archaically tender and loving.
Even today, as the art of noise has reached a level of sophistication that no one could have imagined 30 years ago, Caspar Brötzmann Massaker’s music is resoundingly singular. Ultra heavy riffs and beats, ominous tribal chants and a raw physical force is conjured up by these three sinister and proud minds of their era. Their unhinged, unified stream of energy is captured on these remastered reissues and the results are thrilling.
Koksofen (which translates as blast furnace), originally released in 1993, has become one of Massaker’s most popular albums. Like it’s predecessor, ...Schwarzen Folklore, the album took shape in Massaker’s rehearsal room below the Berlin subway station Schlesisches Tor, and was recorded at Conny Plank’s studio near Cologne, with Plank’s former associates Ingo Krauss and Bruno Gephard producing. There’s a different kind of intensity to Koksofen. The features of Massaker’s sound are in full bloom. Mountainous noises tower up and crash down, and tormented sounds rise from ominously seething grounds, haunting the entire song-scape. The feel of doom and dread hangs heavily over the five songs, and the title song rumbles, shrieks and wails, plagued by Caspar’s guttural growls of war, suffering and death.
Caspar recalls one anecdote from shortly after the original release whereby Bassist Edu Delgado called him asking to turn on the TV, thus discovering that “Hymne“ was being used as background music to a report about the death penalty in the US. A different kind of intensity indeed. Reflecting on the album to this day Caspar remarks “Koksofen is still a mystery to me,'' he continues “I can still feel the troubled times in these songs.” - the effects are certainly potent for the listener too. And the album undoubtedly affirms Massaker as the fiercely original and compellingly raw musicians that they are.
French beat maker Debruit meets Kinshasa, DRC’s Kokomo! for an energetic sound compatible with Kuduro but leaning towards dance-pop influenced song structures. Issued by the same label behind SOPHIE’s debut album
“You can trace the seeds of Fongola back to so many different places. It began in Kinshasa, in the Ngwaka neighbourhood where DIY experimental musical instruments are made, and the Lingwala neighbourhood where Makara Bianko sings every night on electronic loops with his dancers and where the band first met. We spent our tours across Europe dreaming about what we wanted to tell the world. It was recorded in makeshift studios we built out of ping pong tables and mattresses in Kinshasa and Brussels. Finally, I spent months putting it all together in Abattoir, Anderlecht like a giant electronic puzzle with pieces that don’t fit and no blueprint.” - Débruit
Signed with independent label Transgressive (Flume, SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma), KOKOKO!’s distorted polyrhythms and spontaneous lo-fi sounds provide a chaotic soundtrack to their home country. When most people think of culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s The Rumble in The Jungle fight of Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman and the accompanying Soul Power concert with James Brown in the 70s, Mobutu in his abacost and leopard print hat, les sapeurs in their elegant tailoring, and the king of Congolese rumba Papa Wemba. A faded vintage postcard. KOKOKO! represent the antithesis of tradition, and their debut album Fongola - which translates to “the key” - is a torrid, anarchic, youthful journey smashing a new path through modern life in Africa’s third most populous city.”
DeepChord’s Rod Modell lists and tilts at 140bpm+ in his banging solo debut LP for Tresor
Landing 20 years since his 1st Rod Modell release, ‘The Autonomous Music Project’ for Lunar, the ‘Captagon’ album finds Modell breaking his usual 120bpm sound barrier to go headlong for a classic early Chain Reaction style, nodding to a mid-late ‘90s era when the likes of Monolake, Matrix and Erosion (T++) kept pace with the rest of techno, but also kept it deep and hypnotic as fuck. While it’s quite possible this uplift in energy may leave some of DeepChord’s older audience out of wind, for many others it’s a breath of fresh air to his exhaustively explored style.
Through a simple gesture of pushing the tempo, Modell’s sound instantly becomes more urgent, as though woken from its sluggish reverie and now properly up for some aerobic mysticism. Along with the Chain Reaction nods, there’s clear reference to classic Detroit and related gear, from Mike Grant’s Black Noise to full flight Mills trax and Convextion at his paciest. However, Modell’s grasp of layered, subaquatic dynamics really places ‘Captagon’ in a league of its own, with a rinsed out and rinseable dynamic and traction brilliantly transposed from his fathoms deep catalogue of cv313, Echospace, and DeepChord productions with inexorable velocity.
Best thing he’s done in years, basically.
What the fuck is going on with this? Apparent private reels from the radiophonic workshop’s Delia Derbyshire (but with a picture of Suzanne Ciani on the cover?!) & Joy Division producer Martin Hannett.
That’s a picture of Suzanne Ciani on the front cover, not Delia Derbyshire. Big LOL, and seemingly in keeping with Ozit-Morpheus/Dandelion Records’ loose definition of quality control. Anyway, the 34 tracks inside offer a peek at Derbyshire and Hannett’s tape exchanges during the ‘70s, when a young Hannett, obsessed with Delia’s work on the Doctor Who soundtrack, struck up a long-running dialogue, swapping their electronic experiments with a mind to eventually releasing them one day. Sadly they’ve both departed before this release was OKayed, and with that glaring mistake on the jacket, we’re not even 100% sure that the material is by the artists listed.
While the pieces could have feasibly come from either artist’s arsenal of experimental oddities, we’re not entirely sure they would have sequenced them quite like this CD. It’s supposedly a back and forth, one track from Delia then one by Martin, but the sequencing feels arbitrary and a bit of a mess, skipping from Hannett’s baroque twils to dark blasts of sci-fi analog electronics and back, over and again. There are some intriguing moments tucked away in there, but they are mostly very short and perhaps really only of interest to hardened fans of Hannett and his idol.
Kyoka and Eomac (Lakker) forge a restlessly rugged style under the fictional moniker Lena Andersson in a striking debut for the Raster stronghold.
Merging their respective styles Kyoka and Eomac patently make a strong studio pairing under their imagined avatar. Stemming from a back and forth session on the Buchla modular synth system at EMS Stockholm, the project has really come into its own with Eomac exacting razor sharp edits on Kyoka’s blend of spiky, freeform textures, sugared vocals and broad palette of field recordings.
There was previously a degree of familiarity between them as Kyoka remixed Lakker’s ‘Tundra’ for R&S in 2015, but here transcend their respective solo work to realise a wickedly sinuous, amorphous body of experimental electronica and crunchy dance trax which, if we weren’t told otherwise, we may never have guessed was made by these two artists.
Taking strong cues from prevailing dembow rhythm trends, the duo work out a range of spiky, crimped dancehall-techno mutations, getting into it alongside Seiki & Mike Watt with the brittle but squirming shape of ‘Middle of Everywhere’, and running thru big highlights in what sounds like Batu and Low Jack getting gritty on ‘Bazu’ and ’37 Years Later’, tucking it where the sun don’t shine in the dark grind of ‘Con Un Cuchillo’ and the cyber-bogle of ‘Anarchy - Joy’, or like some hyper-clipped Amazondotcom or Paul Marmota piece in ‘I Want Her (You) To Call Me Baby.’
Seminal 1998 showcase from Rhythm & Sound feat Tikiman, aka Paul St Hilaire...
Amazing just how good the material on this compilation still sounds, featuring the first five Burial Mix 10"s plus a 'Version' for each and including the mighty "Why?", "Ruff Way", "Never Tell You", "Spend Some TIme" and "What A Mistry" - all featuring the vocals of Paul St Hilaire, better known as Tikiman. So damn good...
This year celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Ágætis Byrjun, the band expand their breakthrough album with demo and archive versions of songs from the album, plus never-before-heard newly unearthed material from the time, rare b-sides and the full 95 minute concert played in Reykjavík on the day the record was released.
An all-time classic, production masterclass - it doesn't get any better.
The hallmarks are all there; Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald have already set the world ablaze once, twice, three, four times with their work as Basic Channel and the splintering into microscopic, heavyweight offshoots by way of the M series, Main Street, Chain Reaction, Rhythm and Sound and, of course, Burial Mix.
This is, in fact, the second Burial Mix compilation, the first "showcase" concentrating on the label's collaborations with Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, for its opening set of releases. This second installment divides itself into Vocal and Instrumental "Versions" (the instrumentals are collected seperately on a second release), displaying the last seven releases in their entirety, plus "Mash Down Babylon" (a new take on "March Down Babylon"), and features a by-now totally classic collection of tracks.
Lifechanging, foundational bizz.
Sound poet and multidisciplinary artist Félicia Atkinson follows 2017’s cherished ‘Hand In Hand’ album with this spellbinding study on loneliness and intimacy, crafted while pregnant and on tour. Félicia notably draws Sunn 0)))’s Stephen O’Malley into her meso plane on the collaborative 19 minute closing cut ‘Des Pierres’, a quietly startling end to another captivating album from one of the most interesting minds working on the contemporary scene, perfectly encapsulating a sense of uneasy calm in the midst of so much global uncertainty.
To enter any Felicia Atkinson album is to give yourself up to another world where perceptions of time and space subliminally become short-circuited and synaesthetic. Combining illusive electro-acoustic process and meticulously tactile vocals reciting poetry, Felicia’s music rarely fails to provide anything other than an intoxicating experience, and her powers of perception appear to be uniquely attuned on ‘The Flower And The Vessel’. As she states; “this is not a record about being pregnant, it’s a record made with pregnancy”, and as such the results are more ambiguous, riddled with a cosmic web of references to musical memory and onotology, as much as nature and the strange subtleties of the everyday.
The album’s theme of loneliness while touring has historically provided much grist to the artistic mill over the years, but rather than tales of excess and depression, Félicia handles her subject matter more meditatively, using small gestures such as “recording my voice, recording birds, a simple melody” to locate her place in the foreign worlds around her, and in the process answer the questions “What am I doing here? How can I connect to the world?”.
The first 10 tracks are barely watermarked with her presence, with opener ‘L’Après-Midi’ acting as a poetic diary entry, where she fills in subsequent pages with a mix of notes both metaphorical and musical, from the unsettling intimations of ’Shirley to Shirley’ inward-spiralling vocals of ‘You Have to Have Eyes’, to the micro-to-macro contemplation ‘Linguistics of the Atom’, while album highlights ‘Lush’ and ‘L’Enfant Et Le Poulpe’ speak to a elusive sense of the pastoral, perhaps as viewed form a distance.
When she finally does meet another tangible soul, Stephen O’Malley, in the 18 minute finale ‘Des Pierres’, it’s testament to both her own vision and O’Malley’s tactile range that his harmoniously strung-out contribution is so seamlessly woven into her parallel dimension, that you may need to be reminded he’s there, sublimated in-the-mix.
Endearingly naif Aussie art-school/post-punk pop from Melbournian J. Macfarlane’s Reality Guest, finding an ideal home on Glasgow’s Night School
““Ta Da” is the debut full length from J. McFarlane's Reality Guest - aka the solo music of Australian artist Julia McFarlane. As a member of the group Twerps, McFarlane has traversed guitar-centric, melodic pop music for some years while honing a highly unique, personal musical language. Ta Da is the first recorded unveiling of McFarlane’s affecting, oblique songwriting panache. Originally released in her native Australia on Hobbies Galore, Ta Da will be released worldwide by Night School in June 2019.
Wheezing into view with a troubled reed instrument set against a s of whoozy synth lines, Human Tissue Act is a foggy curtain the listener is invited to peel back. The dissonant notes are left to dance entwined, with clarinet heralding a Harry Partch-esque mallet percussion interlude. It’s a mood. With no resolution in sight, an audience dragged closer into uncertainty is suddenly drenched with the light of inter-weaving wah wah synth and saxophone. I Am A Toy introduces us to McFarlane’s vocal, an effortless and matter-of-fact, accented statement that quietly takes the reins. While McFarlane’s previous work in Twerps might reference 80s UK and antipodean guitar pop, Ta Da showcases a different influences immersed in psychedelic music and synths. It’s a brilliant, deft concoction swimming in Young Marble Giants-type minimalism washed with bare pop and harmony similar to Kevin Ayers making sense of a Melbourne suburb full of faces half-recognised in the blanching sun.”
Eminent avant-garde/experimental explorer Oren Ambarchi opens a rewarding new avenue to embrace the warmth and mystic psychedelia of Brazilian music with assistance from celebrated percussionist and Downtown luminary Cyro Baptista. Arriving just after Ambarchi’s 50th birthday, and Black Truffle's 10th, ‘Simian Angel’ sees him yoke back from the forward tilt of his rhythm-driven outings over the past decade in order to focus on his electric guitar playing, with utterly sublime results.
Keening sideways from the unyielding percussion of his last outing ‘Hubris’ , he divines a floating space that recalls the beautifully pensile cats cradle of his early classic ‘Grapes From The Estate’ , only this time with fleshlier, more inviting arrangements. The first half’s ’Palm Sugar Candy’ is pure star-gazing material, with Baptista’s hand-played, self-built percussion drawing us into a horizontal headspace while Ambarchi’s glowing notes gently colour the sky above. Ambarchi gradually opens up a glorious space between that dissonant murmuring and an awning, harmonic meridian, where a voice whispers into the space to gently recalibrate our depth perception, before seemingly turning his guitar into a MIDI-triggering aeolian harp in the piece’s spellbinding, levitating 2nd half.
’Simian Angel’ follows with a more gripping rhythmic pull from the twanging Berimbau, just one of myriad percussion mastered by Baptista (who has previously played with everyone from John Zorn to Derek Bailey, Herbie Hancock and Robert Palmer), before Ambarchi glydes into view like a chorus of the sighing Simian Angels, drawing the piece upwards into thin air, where his guitar melts into piano and columns of warm air carry distant vocals from below. The drums rejoin to mark the work’s final avian swoops in strokes and dashes, triggering MIDI keys in a beautifully colourful sort of jazz fusion call and response, located amid and above a subtropical canopy.
Arriving at the apparent apex of a long and sprawling career in which he's had countless collaborations and gone down a seemingly endless series of creative rabbit holes, 'Simian Angel’ is quite possibly Oren Ambarchi’s most open and generous album to date - a perfect entry point into, as well as highlight of, a recorded catalogue that over the course of more than twenty years has been one of the most unpredictable and rewarding in the game. Bravo.
Ms. Kanenobu billed as Japan's first female singer-songwriter, and Misora is her debut album from 1972.
Originally released on Japanese independent label, URC, the album was produced by the legendary Harry Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Happy End. The songs themselves all sound like they've come from an American folk-rock background, with 'Leave It To Time' for example, sounding very Judee Sill complete with some vintage slide guitar bolstering its FM-friendly country rock aesthetic.
The production here is surely a key to this album's enduring appeal, especially in the way the rhythm section is recorded: 'Blue Fish' achieves something close to that Harvest-era Jack Nitzsche sound that Jim O'Rourke (understandably) spends so much of his career chasing. Importantly though, producer, Hosono has found enough different ways of recording a stripped-down acoustic guitar and vocals combo to reinforce each song's individuality. Oddly, science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick was one of Kanenobu's biggest fans, not only encouraging her to restart her music career in the '80s but actually executive producing her 1981 comeback single, which was planned as a precursor to a full album with Dick at the helm, a plan eventually thwarted by the author's death the following year. Nevertheless, Kanenobu's long-delayed sophomore album was eventually released in 1992. There seems to be so many albums branded as 'lost classics' getting reissued at the moment, but Misora might just be that.
Killer - Raw, direct Electro-Funaná from West Africa’s Cabo Verde Islands, via Europe. Strongly percussive and melodic, synth-driven dance music sharing roots with the Principé label’s kuduro styles - tip!!!
“Synthesize the Soul, Ostinato Records’ second compilation, revealed chapter one of the Cabo Verde cultural story in Europe, zooming in on visionaries like Paulino Vieira who made Lisbon the headquarters spearheading the musical revolution taking place within Cape Verdean emigre communities across Europe in the 1980s. Musicians from across the diaspora would eagerly travel to the Portuguese capital to record.
Grupo Pilon represents the second chapter of the Krioulu diaspora story. In smaller pockets, second generation musicians were independently contributing to one of the most lush periods of cultural innovation by immigrants in Europe. In Luxembourg, in 1986, a group of teenagers formed the largely unknown (outside of Cape Verdean circles) but consistently brilliant band named after the blunt instrument used in the islands to pound corn for Cabo Verde's national dish, cachupa.
With only five members, Pilon combined searing estilo Krioulu drumming and the hybrid ColaZouk style with blissful synth work and rugged guitar licks, creating a stripped-down, addictive sound that masterfully straddled two worlds. The band drew from the inspiring political changes of the day: the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The right to democracy became a constant theme in Pilon’s songs.
With access to better opportunities than their parents’ generation, Pilon’s roster were part time musicians. Music was not part of their academic upbringing nor a full-time gig. Their rhythm and style were wonderfully imperfect, made out of rawer skills and inexperience. Pilon did not follow the templates established by revered Cabo Verde bands. Keyboard player Emilio Borges played off beat and the band preferred arranging their songs to start from the beat normally heard in the middle of a composition rather than the beginning. These two elements made Pilon’s music simple, unique, and inimitable.
This LP, drawing from the six most powerful songs from Pilon’s three-album catalog, is the serving of still fresh leite quente to spice the summer and maybe even fuel the next generation of musicians in the Krioulu corners of Europe. Pilon are back in the studio refining their sound to revive their journey that looked all but lost to the world's ears two decades ago.”
Paul Woodford’s Special Request diversifies his bonds into moody IDM/electronica after spending his rave energies on the ‘Vortex’ album
The ‘Bedroom Tapes’ is the sound of Yorkshireman blues; the type of ‘tronica they reach for when there’s no tea bags left and shop is too far uphill, or when chippy’s ran out of scraps. In eight parts he speak to the sundays after, the tuesday mornings when grey matter seeps out of lug’oles onto yer desk as you kling to a kernel of residual happiness from the weekend.
Between the spooling electro bleeps and satin pads of ‘Panaflex Sunrise’, his floating electro scapes in ‘Pineal Gland’, and the muddled harmonic reverie of ‘Entropy’ on the first disc, and thru the sidelong keen of ‘Xenopsin’ to the frazzled, Actress-esque tic of ‘Double Rainbow’ and the shine-eyed twinkle of ‘Phosphorescence’ on the 2nd plate, the ‘Bedroom Tapes’ crucially acknowledge a tender flipside to SR’s usual exuberance.
Full spectrum flex from Peggy Gou, offering a guided trip around her record collection for the long-running DJ-Kicks mix series
Running from 90 to 150bpm and down again across 19 tracks in 73 minutes, the mix fans out from an ambient classic by Jonah Sharp’s Spacetime Continuum to cranky drum trax by Kyle Hall and ends up at I:Cube’s ‘Cassette Jam 1993’, taking in ultra classics such as Aphex Twin’s masterful ‘Vordhosbn’ and Carl Craig’s Psyche/BFC zinger ‘Crackdown’ along with total fluff by Dorisburg, Hiver, and Deniro which hardly deserves to be in the same list as the rest.
Ace new collection featuring music influential to Keith Haring inc Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yoko Ono, Larry Levan, John Sex and George Condo (The Girls), as well as healthy dose of rare disco, early electro and New York art punk/dance tracks.
"The art of Keith Haring is today one of the most recognisable of any visual artists of his generation, defining 1980s New York during an intense period when downtown artists and musicians collaborated like never before. Haring’s musical inspiration took in the punk/dance downtown sounds of clubs like The Mudd
Club, underground disco at Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage, as well the early days of hip hop and electro.
The album is released to coincide with the opening of the first major exhibition in the UK of Keith Haring’s work at Tate Liverpool, which runs for the next six months. Haring’s many friends included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Fab Five Freddy, William Burroughs, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, Grace Jones, Larry Levan, Futura 2000."
Next in Coil’s archival excavations is their soundtrack to a pre-internet, VHS-only sex ed documentary released in 1992. Released from masters with the blessing of Danny Hyde (Jhon and Sleazy’s right hand man and go-to engineer), this first proper edition of the soundtrack features a newly reworked “sexy” edit of the main theme along with bonus reworks of ‘Nasa-Arab’ and ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’ which appeared in the soundtrack to ‘Gay Man’s…’ as well as on 1992’s CD-only ‘Stolen And Contaminated Songs.’
In a way that Coil would shed with later recordings, ‘Gay Man’s Guide to Safer Sex’ sounds very much of its time, melding downtempo rhythms with smoky atmospheres in a way comparable to fellow ambient travellers such as The Orb and FSOL as contemporaneous material by Lynch & Badalamenti or even The Wildbunch, essentially nailing a sort of Balearic backroom or afterhours style.
The big highlights are the EP’s balmiest and jazziest bits, namely the dusky blue strut of ‘Alternative Theme From Gay Men’s Guide To Safer Sex’ that opens the EP, along with the iridescent shimmies of ‘Exploding Frogs’ and its rework ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’, which could almost be a fantasy collaboration between Japanese Electronics-era Heinrich Mueller and Angelo Badalamenti at his most snake-hipped and winking.
While we’re not certain of the soundtrack’s efficacy in its purpose - it remains a unique piece of the impossible jigsaw puzzle that is Coil’s catalogue, and a fine throwback to early ‘90s ambient/downtempo styles.
Titans of UK rave culture, Fabio & Grooverider look back on ’30 Years of Rage’, their seminal London club night, with the four volumes charting the ultra-classic and hard-to-find foundations of hardcore, jungle and D&B - the UK’s greatest gift to the world of the past generation.
It’s impossible to overstate the influence of Fabio & Grooverider on UK music and rave culture since they began DJing in the late ‘80s acid house phase. For a generation of UK yoof they are practically household names, and we very fondly remember tuning in to their (now defunct) BBC Radio 1 show to catch D&B before we could legally get into clubs. It’s also probably fair to say they’ve done more for race and cultural relations in the UK than any politician ever has, with their earliest, unprecedented fusions of Belgian techno with UK fast rap, Yorkshire bleep, US house, Caribbean soundsystem culture and London rare groove hustle laying a template that frankly revolutionised dancefloors across the country, bringing people together in the same space who were, to a much greater extent than today, largely, mutually exclusive. We could bang on about their importance all day, but suffice it to say they are the OG’s of UK rave.
As the label explain, their RAGE night was arguably the ground zero for Jungle. "The party was started at London's cavernous Heaven club by Fabio & Grooverider in 1988, at the height of Acid House fever that was making it's way up and down the motorways, slip-roads, fields and warehouses of the M25 and further beyond every weekend, troubling the nation, the police, your parents and the press as it went. RAGE was a different beast, it certainly channelled some of that Acid energy but pitted it against the new and exciting sounds emanating from Belgium, Amsterdam, Detroit, Sheffield, Essex and Hackney and in turn created a new style, a new sonic attitude and energy in the process. Rumbling bass-lines, narcotic synth rushes and roughly chopped and sped-up breakbeats all merged into a style that we now know as Jungle."
This first volume is a tour de force of early rave pressure, charting a course from Leftfield’s deep 1990 bass massage ‘Not Forgotten’ thru Lennie De Ice’s all-time jungle cornerstone ‘We Are IE’, the London mash-up styles of ‘Dubplate’ by Wots My Code, Foul Play’s artful jungle masterpiece ‘Being With You’, and the bawl fwd hardcore of ‘The Future’ by Noise Factory, saving Fallout’s lip-smacking classic ‘The Morning After (Sunrise Mix)’ for dessert.
On volume 2 of 4, ravers are spoilt for choice with a selection running from Derrick May’s metallic Detroit funk in ‘Emanon’ to Q Project’s jungle foundation ‘Champion Sound’, taking in Richie Hawtin’s hoover techno classique ‘Technarchy’ as Cybersonik, Ecstasy Club’s acid house anphem ‘Jesus Loves The Acid’, Nightmares On Wax’s Yorkshire bleep ’n bass staple in ‘Aftermath’, and the deadly feminine pressure of ‘Just 4 U London (Kuff Mix)’ by Bodysnatch.
Part 3 starts with Landlord’s foundational anthem ’I Like It (Blow Out Dub)’ - responsible for the heavily-sampled “Landlord” riff - is locked and loaded next to the eccie-triggering Detroit classic ‘Straight Outta Hell (Hellhound Mix)’ by Tronikhouse, and the ruddy swagger of 33 1/3 Queen’s bugged-out killer ‘Searchin’’, which Fabio & Grooverider call “One of the best tunes of the ‘90s. Superb”
We head to a deeper flex with the tucked hustle of Richie Rich’s spooked ‘Salsa House’ and the crispy, breaks-driven rave soul of Debbie Malone’s ‘Rescue Me (Club Mix)’, before rounding off with Neon’s Belgian rave staple ‘Don’t Mess With This Beat (Instrumental Mix)’, which would come to serve ‘core elements to 2 Bad Mice, while FSOL’s ‘Papua New Guinea’ surely brings a tear to the eye.
There’s some outright all-time classics on the knockout one-two of Brainkillers’ deeeep jungle bullet ‘Screwface’ and an early appearance from Basement Jaxx’s Simon Ratcliffe as Tic Tac Toe with ‘Ephemerol’, while the final side leaves us a mess with Ability II’s seminal ‘Pressure Dub’ into the pie-eyed innocence of ‘Don’t Go’ by Awesome 3. Factor in the Detroit galvanic of the Mayday mix for De-Lite’s ‘Wild Times’, and the bolshy brass of ‘Living In Darkness’ by Top Buzz and you have a definitive taste of an unprecedented time and place in UK culture. To use an old Manc term, it’s the fucking lick.
Salute Fabio & Grooverider each and every.
One of the boldest artists merging uncompromising computer music and experimental club music right now, Jung An Tagen returns to Editions Mego with a a thrilling batch of oblique electronics and agitated polyrhythms
Claiming space between Florian Hecker, Rian Treanor and Cam Deas’ styles as his own playground, ’ProxyStates’ brilliantly swings between emulations of big-bang sonics in ‘Spill (False)’ thru to parrying electro-techno patterns in ‘Wreath Products (C#, D#)’, and more regular, sleekly rolled out techno pulses on ‘Wreath Products (D#, F#)’, with the strobing knots of ‘Wreath Products (F#, G#)’, and the absolute polychromatic chaos of ‘Compressions in a Chamber of Hard Light’ bound to shred you mind to ribbons in the best way.
“All of this is done with his usual fearless but mindful approach. His unique exercises with structure, time and sound create an ecstatic familiarity with the sounds while at the same time inducing a creeping physical alienation. In other words, some parts may be rhythmically infectious, others will give you no chance to immerse. The stimulation is astute and continuous, encouraging an out-of-this-world experience.
The main arc of “Proxy States” consists of a 16 against 17 poly-rhythmic synth line that through different intonations of the kick drum always transforms its syntax. This synth line always scales up 1 key, in the middle of the track, foreseeing the upcoming structure. While these tracks (3, 4, 5, 6: “Wreath Products”) follow an almost obsessive-compulsive order, the remaining tracks seem to blow up the structure entirely like the last scenes of the 1970 Michelangelo Antonioni’s film “Zabriskie Point”, creating an event inside the event.
“Proxy States” was impossible to press on vinyl but the fast, sharp and wild grooves of Jung An Tagen’s new album are incredibly synched with the concept of an ever accelerating future.”
The patron saint of maudlin romantics, Liz Harris (Grouper) adopts the Nivhek alias for this suite of freeform, glossolalic elegies, featuring a brief guest turn by Kiwi rock legend Michael Morley (The Dead C, Gate), and jointly dispensed between her Yellow Electric label and Superior Viaduct’s W.25th
In two main movements comprising nine titled parts, Harris typically conjures a sense of stately calm underlined with menacing drones. However, the feeling is less bleeding heart and soporific, and perhaps better defined as floating and airily introspective. It’s a subtle but crucial distinction that resonates with her change of moniker and the widely reverberating dimensions and dynamics of the Nikhek sound.
While the aforementioned guest Michel Morley is notable in his own right, and joined by Gabie Strong and Christopher Reid Martin on the two minutes of ‘Crying Jar’, the work is primarily by Harris, who alternates between steepled choral harmonies and long, plangent sections of gristly synth drone, spindly guitar and instrumental, melodic percussion (maybe marimba or gamelan?) that colours the air with a beaten gold quality. In many ways it sounds like Liz was left to her own devices in an abandoned church and she captured the results, as is, Áine O’Dwyer style, replete with external sounds of birdsong, possible distant road traffic and her visiting friends all detectable in the meridian.
For anyone at this point overly familiar with Liz Harris’ style (hands up, obsessives), this album practically opens a new window to her world, letting fresh air and space diffuse her feels into a more elusive, ponderous way that’s as refreshing as it is uncannily familiar, especially when she drops the vocals for long periods, but one can still imagine their trace there, lingering in the air.