Holden outdoes himself on this latest psychedelic voyage, combining his latter-day kosmische flirtations with his breakout shoegaze-trance experiments. At its best, it sounds like Cluster doing 808 State, or Göttsching doing Shpongle.
James Holden has had a wild ride of it. As a teen he was fascinated by the pirate radio stations he'd just about be able to tune into from his dull West Midlands village, and before he'd hit 20 he was already producing major label dance music and touring relentlessly. In recent years, Holden has attempted to distance himself from the dancefloor energy he cut his teeth on, but 'Imagine this...' reconciles his two decade career, using the lysergic synth experimentation of his more recent material to spruce up his beloved early progressive trance patterns.
The best example of this is 'Trust Your Feet', a track that's blessed with the fluttering, chorus-heavy texture of Cluster's 'Zuckerzeit' era but launches into triumphant, euphoric organ rave so fluidly you barely notice it happening. Holden's clearly a keen listener as well as a confident engineer, so while the blend might seem clunky on paper (despite trance's established roots in German electronic music) Holden provides the authenticity it needs in order to work.
Elsewhere 'In the End You'll Know' is a cinematic conglomeration of Klaus Schulze and pacy, progressive electro, and 'The Answer is Yes' sounds like Popul Vuh after a weekend at a psy trance festival. Even just as a collection of fetishistic synth demos, they're so well produced that the album would be worth a peep for that alone, but Holden not only knows his history but is able to create material that's just inarguably joyful. We'll take it.
Hood co-founder Richard Adams most impressively emulates Mark Hollis’ godly solo work with a jazz and folk-tinged post rock beauty in his beloved guise as The Declining Winter - do not skip without checking the heavenly catharsis of ‘This Heart Beats Black’! RIYL Talk Talk, Rachel’s, Sam Prekop, Hood, Red House Painters, Bark Psychosis, The Notwist, Sandro Perri...
“For over 30 years Richard Adams has been quietly documenting his own particular corner of the English countryside both with Hood, the post-rock band he formed with his brother in 1991, and since 2007 with The Declining Winter.
Recorded over a five year period and inspired by rustic English alternatives such as Talk Talk and Robert Wyatt, The Declining Winter’s latest work ‘Really Early, Really Late’ is a collection of beautiful songs, immersed in a richer sonic spectrum incorporating strings, horns and lush electronic textures, alongside Adams’ own unique guitar tones and characteristic dubby bass.
Though it retains the homespun scratchiness of previous The Declining Winter records, ‘Really Early, Really Late’ is also their most ornate. A remotely collaborative effort, the record is scattered with decorative embellishments from violinist Sarah Kemp (Brave Timbers), cellist Peter Hollo (Tangents), and guitarist Ben Holton (epic45), among many others. Adams’ distorted whisper of a voice has never been more exposed leading to a brutally emotive and intensely personal song-suite, both raw and beautiful in equal measure.
The storybook curiosity of Mark Hollis’ work is a particular influence. Like Hollis, this music is imbued with magical realism: beholden to nature, it hints at the mysteries lurking in mundane local landscapes and the more remote Yorkshire moors and valleys. A record to hold close to your heart, ‘Really Early, Really Late’ sees Adams and his collaborators emerge from the shadows with their most complete work to date.”
Sound designer and producer Katie Gately's newest is an examination of childhood energy inspired by the birth of her first child that blends the Animal Collective's psychedelic abstraction with the quirky, anthemic quality of kids' TV themes.
"When I got pregnant, I started to get creative again," explains Gately. The process of pregnancy and childbirth, and the young life that created is the driving force behind "Fawn/Brute", Gately's fourth album. Her previous album was a solemn affair that addressed the death of her mother, in contrast its follow-up is joyful and unpredictable.
A devoted sound designer, Gately uses cartoon sound libraries to build unusual elements that suggest kids' TV without being too obvious. Hovering between polar pop formalities, she captures the chaos of childhood perfectly, singing erratically over typically inventive electro-acoustic structures. It's not easy music to listen to, but it's not supposed to be - Gately's innovative song forms wheeze from gassy post-punk to overblown, Kate Bush-informed pop, and her wide scope reflects her complicated, personal theme accurately.
Deerhoof do their genre-oblivious thing with renewed alacrity and freedom signified by Satomi taking the opportunity to sing entirely in her Japanese mother tongue.
Riddled with hooks and verve that can’t help but raise a massive grin on longtime followers or newcomers alike, ‘Miracle-Level’ is their latest in a fruitful relationship with the fittingly titled Joyful Noise Recordings, placing 30 years of honing thee tightest, most unpredictable chops at the service of a joyride between angular skronk and more tender, jazzy moments of indie-pop whimsy.
Perhaps an acquired taste for some (hands up here), once bitten by their grasp of nerve jangle discord and puckered, bittersweet melodies it’s hard not to be charmed by their conviction and vigour in shattering generic forms. On their 19th studio album, recorded by Mike Bradavski at No Fun Studio in Winnipeg, Manitoba, they patently entertain themselves as much as their listeners as each song hops between frameworks and feels with a preternatural dexterity that never comes off as showy or virtuoso.
The ecstatic, hacking guitars and drum kit bustle of ‘Sit Down, Let Me Tell You a Story’ nods to Afrobeat via talking Heads and anime soundtracks, beside a sort of psych-blues sugared by Satomi’s vox, and ‘Poignant Melody’ does just that on one of the album’s more hushed highlights, along with the brushed downstroke of its title piece, and the Brazilian-Japanese lilt to ‘The Little Maker’, and ‘Wedding, March, Flower’, that make a fine contrast with the rowdier shape of ‘And The Moon Laughs’ or the motorik mathiness to ‘Momentary Art of Soul’.
Sublime fingerpicking guitar tekkerz and meditative keys on the edge of folk blues and minimal modern classical by a pair highly regarded for respective collaborations with Mike Cooper, Kim Gordon, Bill Nace, and in 4AD’s Bing & Ruth.
“Steve Gunn and David Moore’s Let the Moon be a Planet is a volume of improvisatory exchanges between classical guitar and piano, and a meeting place where two artists become acquainted through instrumental dialogue without a single expectation distracting them from the joy and open field possibility of collaboration.
A project enveloped by an aura of reciprocity, Let the Moon Be a Planet unfolded from an invitation to connect between two New York-based musicians who admired each other’s work but had never intersected: guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn, whose solo, duo, and ensemble recordings represent milestones of contemporary guitar-guided material, and pianist and composer David Moore, acclaimed for his minimalist ensemble music as the leader of Bing & Ruth.
The exchange began remotely as Gunn and Moore responded to one another’s solo improvisations, embarking on a synergistic progression of deep listening and connection through musical conversation. “We were both fans of each other’s music and this was a chance to try a different process which was much more open,” says Moore. “It felt like something I needed personally as an artist, to not be so controlling over the final output, and to truly collaborate with somebody else.”
Similarly for Gunn, who was exploring new pastures and passages in classical guitar when the dialogue began, the project was an invitation for pure conversation and exchange, creating space for him to revisit foundational forms with his playing: “I was trying to break out of what I was doing, to have something that just pulled away all the elements of usual structured things.”
Let the Moon Be a Planet intertwines the trajectories of two musicians acclaimed for pushing the boundaries of their instruments, unified by a shift away from what they recall as more “detail-oriented” approaches to composition. Fueled by the magnetism of their call and response exercise, Gunn and Moore set out on a nomadic songwriting venture without an intended destination.”
Using the low-lit atmosphere of Medieval church music and the fluctuating tonality of folk music, Eden Lonsdale stretches avant classical forms into textured drones pregnant with mystery and magick. We're floored by this album - highly recommended listening if yr into Morton Feldman, Tongue Depressor, Arvo Pärt, Jakob Ullmann.
One of the most startling releases we've heard on Another Timbre in ages, Eden Lonsdale's debut is a dizzying mutation of Quiet music and classical minimalism that's buoyed by its remarkably perceptive sonic complexity. There's no shortage of contemporary composers challenging the hegemony of equal temperament with xenharmonic scaling and ancient methodology, but Lonsdale's approach is so even-handed and sensitive that it's never merely a flex, rather he uses a modified language to embed an artistic message in music that sweeps up centuries of European history.
Now based in Berlin, the composer grew up in London and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he developed an obsession with Simon Reynell's Another Timbre label. A few years later and his inspiration has fed back into the imprint's canon; ‘Clear and Hazy Moons’ reflects and channels work from Olivia Block, Lance Austin Olsen, Catherine Lamb and others, bringing a clear-sighted view of recent experimental-classical history to music that sounds almost completely out of time. 'Billowing' is as light and airy as Celtic folk music, but as exacting and ornamental as baroque, slowed to an inebriated crawl so we can hear not just the rubbery, elongated notes but the distinct resonance of each instrument and the measured spaces in-between.
Piano and bells echo into eachother on 'Oasis', with filigree frivolity casually thrusting against pious logic. Apartment House meet these foundational sounds with aerated, vacillating strings and gaseous woodwind that form light clouds around Lonsdale's punctuating clangs. The composer bravely resists the temptation to veer towards high drama: his compositions are animated by yearning and restraint, whenever they threaten to crescendo, they're pulled back from the precipice with a flourish.
Rothko Collective take over from Apartment House on the generous 20-minute title track, realising Lonsdale's cautious, slow-motion tones with grace. It's a piece of music that captures the stillness of an Edward Hopper painting, lit with woodwind that flickers like a gas lamp and hesitant strings that trace out the shape of an abstract, physical space. There's drama but it's not broadly cinematic music - Lonsdale's tonality is too suggestive and insurgent for that.
‘Clear and Hazy Moons’ is an essential listening experience, one that demands your full attention. We've been spinning it for days and still attempting to fully unravel it.
‘Avenham’ finds synth-pop pioneer John Foxx in oneiric, world-building form comparable to the ‘My Lost City’ LP or work with Harold Budd, stirring synths and strings into evocations of his home town Preston. Listen after a Rainy Miller album for historic perspective on emotional Lancastrian romance...
“Avenham is inspired by a place John Foxx knew as a young man but it’s more than a location. It’s less defined, more dispersed and mysterious than that. As Foxx says of the album which has echoes of his London Overgrown recordings, Drift Music with Harold Budd, Ghost Harmonic and the My Lost City album: “I think the point of music is to remain open enough for everyone to invest with their own experiences and memories, so I’m not going to explain too much.
“Avenham is a real place, that’s also as mythical as the gates of Eden. So the music is likewise nebulous and impressionistic - a view from here to a time which occurs in almost everyone’s life, when the world becomes a radiant place of infinite mystery and promise - and everything seems possible.”
Synth-pop godfather John Foxx takes to the piano stool solo after decades of collaboration with Harold Budd and Ruben Garcia. Of course he doesn’t forget the electronics, wreathing keys in resplendent shimmering pads and FX for a quiet dérive...
“This latest work has a fresh sense of wonder, as if returning to the instrument after the raging analogue noise of his last major work, 2020’s Howl (by John Foxx And The Maths) necessitated a further retreat into quiet, minimal music. The half-light, atmospheric flow of the album recalls the artist’s own series of short stories, The Quiet Man (published by Essential Works in 2020).
However, as Foxx writes in an essay to accompany the album, there’s another text - by Walter Benjamin - that provides some of the inspiration, as well as the title for the new record. Foxx explains how he first came across the book, ‘when I was at art school, in the mid 1960s a number of obscure books were discussed and dog-eared copies often circulated. Among these ‘The Arcades Project’, by Walter Benjamin, was especially tantalising. It was often referred to, but its existence seemed no more than a rumour. In those days before the internet, you could never find a copy. Of course, all that elusiveness and mystery lent the book a legendary status.”
He continues: “The book itself is a sort of stroll through new ideas emerging from the city life of Paris in the 19th and early 20th century. It was also concerned with what the French poet Baudelaire had termed flâneurism. The flâneur enjoys walking randomly, drifting with the tides on the streets, taking great pleasure in a dreamlike state of coincidentalism - being open to all the unfolding daily events of a great modern city.” The glass-roofed Parisian arcades that are described in Benjamin’s The Arcades Project, offered its citizens a chance to “meander, dream, gather impressions” through the rows of shops and elegant apartments.
Foxx in turn - “with the piano and the help of some old electronics” - set out to create “immediate, often imperfect, gestural fragments of music and atmosphere that might allude to some momentary experience - a chance meeting, a glimpse into a garden, a coincidence, a life behind a window revealed at twilight, someone indistinct. And it all comes from walking.”
Pioneering psych rock deity Dorothy Moskowitz ov The United States of America genuinely wows with her extraordinary, expansive first LP, proper, since the late ‘70s; teaming with Italian electronic musician and collaborator of Martyn Bates & Simon Fisher Turner, Francesco Paladino, for a visionary side that recalls elements of Cyclobe’s work with Shirley Collins, Current 93, Lonnie Holley’s cosmic blues, Leonard Cohen’s ‘You Want It Darker’, and late-stage Marianne Faithful
“Under An Endless Sky represents the interchange that took place between electronic composer Francesco Paolo Paladino, composer and writer Luca Chino Ferrari, and the legendary Dorothy Moskowitz, an icon of underground culture who broke all kinds of new ground as a member of The United States of America. Led by the charismatic composer Joseph Byrd, the band released their lone eponymous album on Columbia Records in 1968. It has taken on a mythic status that has grown through the years, sampled by Diplo and Mac Miller and widely acknowledged as a visionary psychedelic classic.
Francesco Paolo Paladino, an avant-garde Italian composer contacted Dorothy, inviting her to sing on some of his compositions. When she heard his 2021 CD release of Barene & Other Works, she recognized that they shared a similarly experimental point of view and she accepted his invitation. Paladino is known for his collaborations with Martyn Bates, Allison O'Donnell, Simon Fisher Turner, and other world-renowned contemporary composers, as well as his own sought-after 1985 debut LP Doublings and Silences Volume 1.
Francesco has long collaborated with Italian writer Luca Chino Ferrari, author of biographies of Nick Drake, Third Ear Band, Captain Beefheart, Tim Buckley and Syd Barrett. He submitted lyrics to Dorothy and together they began a profound and unique collaboration on the adaptation of lyrics to music, delving into words and meanings, phonetic properties and their singability. “Lyrics that have the audacity to deal with complex themes of human existence, real philosophical cutaways that look at reality and question it, often without offering answers,” says Ferrari.
Moskowitz's extraordinary voice and modal melodies float over Paladino's magical musical textures. There are no guitars, bass, drums or other technological devilry, but only virtual sounds (sometimes without even keyboards) upon which are grafted some acoustic interventions: violins and violas, woodwinds and percussion entrusted to excellent musicians such as Italians Riccardo Sinigaglia, Angelo Contini, Stefano Scala, Trio Cavallazzi and Gino Ape, and English folker Sean Breadin.”
Invaluable reissue of the debut collaboration between La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, popularly known as "The Black Album."
Originally available in a private pressed edition in 1969, the duo's earliest joint release presents two sizeable drone compositions, each performed and recorded at the precise date and time given in each track title.
Side 1's '31 VII 69 10:26-10:49' for voice and sine wave drone is a mesmerising and exotic projection recorded at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munchen, and manifesting a sub-section of the even larger work, 'The Tortoise, His Dreams And Journeys'. Side 2, '23 VIII 64 2:50:45 - 3:11AM The Volga Delta' on the other hand, is a purely instrumental piece for bowed gongs, engulfing us in a sound bath of sonorous, multi-dimensional harmonic complexity achieved using varying extended technique. Make sure to dive in head first.
"La Monte Young was born in Bern, Idaho in 1935. He began his music studies in Los Angeles and later Berkeley, California before relocating to New York City in 1960, where he became a primary influence on Minimalism, the Fluxus movement and performance art through his legendary compositions of extended time durations and the development of just intonation and rational number based tuning systems. With his collaborator since 1962, artist Marian Zazeela, they would formulate the composite sound environments of the Dream House, which continues to this day.
Seeing reissue for the first time since its initial 1969 release, Young and Zazeela's first full-length album is often referred to as "The Black Record" due to Zazeela's stunning cover design, complete with the composer's liner notes in elegant hand-lettered script.
Side one was recorded in 1969 (on the date and time indicated by the title) at the gallery of Heiner Friedrich in Munich, where Young and Zazeela premiered their Dream House sound and light installation. Featuring Young and Zazeela's voices against a sine wave drone, the recording is a section of the longer composition Map of 49's Dream the Two Systems of Eleven Sets of Galactic Intervals Ornamental Lightyears Tracery (begun in 1966 as a sub-section of the even larger work The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys, which was begun in 1964 with Young's group The Theatre of Eternal Music). According to Young, the raga-like melodic phrases of his voice were heavily influenced by his future teacher, the Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath.
Side two, recorded in Young and Zazeela's NYC studio in 1964, is a section of the longer composition Studies in the Bowed Disc. This composition is an extended, highly abstract noise piece for bowed gong (gifted by sculptor Robert Morris). The liner notes explain that the live performance can be heard at 33 and 1/3 RPM, but may also be played at any slower speed down to 8 and 1/3 RPM for turntables with this capacity."
Damn we weren't expecting this - Joachim Nordwall matches Mats Gustafsson's horns with doomsayer synth dirt on 'Their Power Reached', a frighteningly good marriage of free jazz skronk and psychedelic industrial weirdness.
Nordwall's been a reliable source of cross-genre entertainment for decades, both as a producer and unstoppable collaborator (as part of The Skull Defekts, Organ of Corti and more), and as a curator. Gustafsson is equally important in Swedish musical lore, having been involved in literally hundreds of projects and having worked with artists as diverse as Sonic Youth, Merzbow and Neneh Cherry.
'Their Power Reached' is a relatively restrained back-and-forth that doesn't need to show off either of its collaborators' estimable skillsets. Nordwall's gloomy synths are stripped back to a grim wheeze on opener, while Gustafsson joins with sustained breaths that grow into harmonic tones.The emotions shift as distortion encases Nordwall's dying toy bleats and Gustafsson flips from phlegmatic hums into manic squealing without so much as a warning.
The duo navigate dangerous waters with a middle finger to expectation. Industrial electronic music and free jazz might seem like fine bedfellows but the amalgamation is often too fussy and heavy handed. It works here because both Nordwall and Gustafsson appear to be completely at ease with not just each other but themselves; Nordwall's brooding electronics are minimal but never lifeless, and Gustafsson doesn't need to show us how quickly or fluidly he can play, he's able to instead concentrate his efforts on finding the best possible tone to slip into a groove that's got us dizzy with excitement. Really good this.
Haela Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix continues to disassemble black metal's rigid structures on her confounding new long-form incantation.
If you've come across Liturgy before you'll probably know that since the late 2000s the project - that's flitted between being a solo endeavor and a full band - has sought to recontextualize black metal, using the frenetic Northern European template to examine ideas about history, identity and transcendence. "93696" is a lengthy two-disc sprawl of ethereal choral vignettes and fuzzed minimal-maximal expressions that pierce the genre's impenetrable veil, spiking oppressive atmospheres with hope and wyrd magick.
Hunt-Hendrix's skill is in orchestrating music that's as ambitious and high-minded as early Genesis but as visceral as Darkthrone. And if black metal has been an easy petri dish for growing fascist ideology, her usage of it to provoke alternative concepts is vital and life-giving.
Eliane Radigue’s first ever work for organ, composed at a sprightly 86 years of age and performed by Frédéric Blondy over an extended 45 minute session that will turn your insides out, opening from gut-wrenching microtonal subs or “bass pulsations" to ever-present higher frequencies to thee trippiest effect. A gorgeous package housed in an oversized/tall digipak including a 14 page booklet with photos and words by Radigue. Stunner.
In 2018, Claire M Singer’s experimental music festival Organ Reframed commissioned Éliane Radigue to write her first work for organ, 'Occam Ocean XXV'. Radigue worked closely with organist Frédéric Blondy at the Église Saint Merry in Paris before transferring the piece to Union Chapel for its premiere at Organ Reframed, with the recording here made at a private session at Union Chapel on 8 January 2020.
'Occam XXV' is the latest chapter of Radigue's broader series of works Occam Ocean which she has been composing over the last decade. For these recordings she collaborated with pianist, organist, composer, improviser, artistic director of the Orchestra of New Musical Creation, Experimentation and Improvisation (ONCEIM) Frédéric Blondy, their second collaboration in the Occam Ocean series. As Radigue explains:
"We live in a universe filled with waves. Not only between the Earth and the Sun but all the way down to the tiniest microwaves and inside it is the minuscule band that lies between the 60 Hz and the 12,000 to 15,000 Hz that our ears turn into sound. There are many wavelengths in the ocean too and we also come into contact with it physically, mentally and spiritually. That explains the title of this body of work which is called Occam Ocean.The main aim of this work is to focus on how the partials are dealt with. Whether they come in the form of micro beats, pulsations, harmonics, subharmonics – which are extremely rare but have a transcendent beauty – bass pulsations – the highly intangible aspect of sound. That's what makes it so rich.
When Luciano Pavarotti gave free rein to the full force of his voice the conductor stopped beating time and you could hear the richness in its entirety. Music in written form, or however it is relayed, ultimately remains abstract. It's the performer, the person playing it who brings it to life. So the person playing the instrument must come first. I've always thought of performers and their instruments as one. They form a dual personality. No two performers, playing the same instrument, have the same relationship with that instrument – the same intimate relationship. This is where the process of making the work personal begins. The purely personal task of deciding on the theme or image that we're going to work from. Obviously, because this is Occam Ocean, the theme is always related to water. It could be a little stream, a fountain, the distant ocean, rivers. Out of the fifty or so musicians I've worked with no two themes have been the same. Each musician's theme is completely unique and completely personal. The music does the talking. This is one of those art forms that manages to express the many things that words aren't able to. Even at an early stage, all those ideas need to have been brought together.”
Roland Kayn’s extraordinary cybernetic firmament is brought into sharper focus by Jim O’Rourke’s sensitive remastering on the 2022 edition of ‘Infra’, some 41 years since it was generated at the Institute for Sonology, Utrecht.
Highlighting a true landmark by one of the c.20th’s legendarily unsung pioneers, this first reissue faithfully represents one of the handful of boxsets that brought Kayn’s peerless solo vision to the world between the recently reissued ’Simultan’ (1977) and ‘Tektra’ (1984) sets. Filling in a vast section of Kayn’s known, early cosmos, ‘Infra’ imparts the feeling of a millennia-wide, time-lapsed image of deep space condensed into 3 hours of astronomic roil and intergalactic sturm und drang with uniquely breathtaking results.
On its unfathomably panoramic electronic canvas, shearing masses of modular synth contours calve away to orchestral shock outs and what sounds like Cocteau Twins riffs slowed 1000%, provoking atavistic swells of emotional response as well as pangs of dread-filled futurism from its incredibly lush whorls and monstrous mechanical mastications. In terms of scale and scope, its might is matched by few others in the electronic music field, with forebears in the early electro-acoustic enigmas of Stockhausen and Éliane Radigue, and a lone contemporary in Jaap Vink, all paving the way for descendants such as NWW’s ’Soliloquy for Lilith’ and Jim O’Rourke’s ‘To Magnetize Money And Catch A Roving Eye’, but yet few open the mind’s eye so wide as Kayn.
Marking just over 10 years since Roland Kayn’s passing (1933-2011), it’s great to see the late, great composer receive his overdue flowers in recent years, as fascination with his previous band, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (ft. likes of Egisto Macchi and Ennio Morricone) has given way to obsessions with Kayn’s uniquely uncompromising solo pathways. With thanks to the archival endeavours of his daughter Ilse Kayn, and Finland’s frozen reeds label, Roland’s visions of a music unanchored from time, space, and - as much as possible - from human input has finally found its audience with a world edging ever closer to the brink his music describes.
Listening to ‘Infra’ it truly feels like Kayn has peered into the abyss, skirting the event horizon of a black hole in order to relay its terrors and beauty to our fleshy messes back on earth. It’s no quick fix experience, but one that needs requisite time and space to become properly immured in its jaws, but when given, the experience wholly swallows ones mind and transports somewhere completely else; subliminally suspending a sense of disbelief and recalibrating one’s proprioceptions in slow-burning, soul-combing and mindblowing form.
First release of Éliane Radigue’s spellbinding 1980 live session for the Bay Area’s KPFA radio, including what she considers to be the best versions of’ Chry-ptus’ and parts to ’Tryptych’
Featuring full in-studio performances of ‘Chry-ptus’ and the world premiere of parts one and three of ‘Tryptych’, both remastered for posterity and optimal immersion, ’11 Dec 80’ is a most auspicious example of Radigue’s minimalist microtonal compositions for synth and tape. The recording hails to a time when Radigue’s music was the preserve of academic archives, with her only properly released recording to date ‘Vice - Versa, Etc…’ (1970) available on a self-released edition of 10 x Reel-to-Reel tapes, and three years before ‘Songs of Milarepa’ (1983) appeared on Lovely Music, Ltd., although she had makign personal recordings since the ‘60s, such as ‘Jouet électronique’, that would only emerge many decades down the line.
While nowadays she works exclusively with acoustic instruments, back in 1980, as on these recordings, Radigue was still eking out thee eeriest, introspective liminal spaces from an ARP 2500 synth and tape, keenly developing the tape feedback techniques that she honed during years working as Pierre Henry’s assistant at Studio Apsome, and later in the NYU studio she shared with Laurie Spiegel. By 1980, she had also become fascinated by Tibetan Buddhism, which would directly inspire the creation of ‘Adnos II’ (1979), and subsequently ‘Adnos III’ as well as ‘Songs of Milarepa’ the same year as this radio performance.
For KPFA, Radigue gave what she now considers to be one of her finest realisations of ‘Chry-Ptus’, with 24 minutes of pulsing microtones arcing practically imperceptibly, incrementally across the harmonic spectrum and calling to mind an abandoned space station humming a tone poem to itself. Likewise, the 63’ performance of ‘Tryptych’ depicts Radigue in masterful control of her machine, initially evoking a calming loneliness from elemental filter manipulation and purling bass, before the near-static centring of part II’s quivering harmonic partials play like light-spot hallucinations on the mind’s eye, and part III pulses and rings like intergalactic alien signals.
Italy’s eminent experimentalists and drone alchemist Paul Beauchamp distill a four hour installation ritual in Turin to a pair of phantasmic drone dub ecologies recalling The Hafler Trio, Peter Strickland’s Flux Gourmet, or Æthenor
‘Golden Leaf’ documents Larsen in collaboration with artist and sculptor Alessandro Sciaraffa, and chef Gabriele Gatti, during a secretive performance in an undisclosed Turin location, 2021. Intended as an alchemical rite involving crucial audience participation, and the use of interactive sound totems and exclusive food (uncannily pre-echoing ideas explored in Peter Strickland film, Flux Gourmet), the installation’s feast for the senses appears here condemned from four hours of sights, smells and sound to 47 minutes of mesmerising music edited by Turin’s Paul Beauchamp, a drone musician who also operates the O.F.F. Recording Studio frequented by Larsen.
Firming up as the band’s 19th album since they began in 1995 on the European avant-garde circuit, ‘Golden Leaf’ gives a potent flavour of the band’s durational endeavours in two contrasting sections. The first banks up as a fearsome mass of mulched drone, looming and dread-filled in its murky swill of guitars, modular synth and source material from Sciaraffa’s sound totem. The keening density of its first 10 minuyes induces a seasick queries to these ears, resolving into flattering high register tons and percussion, only to return to pan-slosh dynamics with heady results by the end. However their 2nd part is more sublime, quietly plangent, layered with distant voices and church bells that make us feel like we’re smashed on sunday morning, before Stephen O’Malley esque solo guitar strokes take over and dissolve the air to greyscale thizz.
In physical stature and imaginative scope, Luc Ferrari’s 10 x CD / 11 Hour selection for INA GRM’s series presents a poetic building block of C.20th electronic music from the founding director of the GRM in 1958, presenting a unique art history spanning six decades of ingenious, beguiling soundcraft.
Part of a legendary series including titles by concrète pioneers Pierre Schaefer & Pierre Henry, plus weighty surveys of Bernrad Parmegiani, Éliane Radigue and François Bayle, this lavish boxset of Luc Ferrari’s work is a masterclass exploration of avant garde form and function that charts experimental music’s research and development during a radical phase. While even the notion of such a large storage device for sound was unimaginable when Ferrari began making his cut-up musical collages and sound poetry in the ‘50s, his ‘L’Œuvre Électronique’ covers the progression of musical technology and thought from its most laboriously executed origins, working with tape and raw blocks of sound, to the grander digital staging of his ‘90s and early ‘00s radio plays, plotted for multiple voices and spatialised landscapes.
Collected, this set forms an incredible deep dive into art-music history where the materiality of sound is questioned and reconsidered in relief of its musical connotations, creating in the process a peerless body of work that better approximates the texture of dreams or the audness of waking life than any song, and has long informed the approach to sound organisation by a host of progressive artists, effectively bridging the conceptual precedents of Varèse and Cage and the contemporary futures projected by Lee Gamble or Valerio Tricoli.
The 98 tracks from 31 releases, clocking up just over 10 hours of recordings, delineate across decades following Ferrari’s studies with Messaien and Honegger in the mid ‘50s, and a period of illness that made him better acquainted with the radio receiver, and pioneers such as Schöneberg and Webern, to his co-founding of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales with Schaeffer and François-Bernard Mâche in 1958, and thru his landmark transformation of field recordings made on a Yugoslavian beach, and the ravishing abstractions of later electronic works.
Until his passing, aged 76 in Arezzo, Italy, Ferrari remained ceaselessly active both in his own practice and teaching, and was revered as the poet of musique concrète. He bought a particularly gallic purview to the paradigm, especially when considered against the more hard-nosed academic pursuits of his peers, making singular use of vocals as an elusive or sometimes literal presence in his works in a way that others didn’t, and as such his works all hare a certain liminal quality that appears richly seductive to fans of fantasy storytelling as much as psychedelic soundtracks and sound as dreamfood imagery.
Epic 16 hour François Bayle retrospective, an unparalleled document of the key C.20th electro-acoustic and concrète pioneer and director of the hugely influential GRM institution from 1966-1997, where he was instrumental in bringing the Acousmonium speaker array and INA-GRM label to life, among many important, enduring innovations
This 10 year reissue of ’50 Ans d’Acousmagique’ joins INA-GRM’s quintessential boxsets of Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry, Parmegiani, Radigue, and Xenakis in a rare, stellar microcosm of works by twentieth century groundbreakers. At 16 hrs long, and including 228 tracks, it offers a comprehensive overview of François Bayle’s unfathomable catalogue of work between 1972-2012. During this time Bayle was pivotal in altering perceptions of music’s materiality and purpose at the most fundamental and philosophic levels through his work in developing the Acousmonium diffusion system - an “orchestra of loudspeakers” which has become key to the GRM’s facilities in Paris - as well as supporting technological developments (Syter, GRM Tools, Midi Formers, Acousmographe) which are vital to his own remarkable compositions, and his endeavours organising radio broadcasts and events.
Deeply informing and paralleling the history of recorded electronic music during its formative golden years, Bayle’s recordings render an embarrassment of riches for the discerning and explorative listener and historians of vanguard C.20th music. Between the flighty electro-acoustic staging of his avian dreams on ’72’s ‘Trois Rêves D'oiseau’ to the sensually lathered cosmic delirium of 1978-80’s ‘Erosphère’ works, to his beguiling latter tributes to his tutors at the Paris Conservatoire and Darmstadt summer courses, Messiaen and Stockhausen; the overwhelming scope of Bayle’s work, and thus the boxset, is brought into clearer focus by its chronological sequencing, offering a logical pathway thru his incredible projections of imagination.
It bears reflection that figures such as François Bayle created, and then opened, doors of perception for music in the past century that have come to mirror and shape the soundsphere we now inhabit. His innovations in sound spatialisation and the embrace of an acoustic unknown, or acousmagique, underline some of the most fascinating expressions of pathos thru art in our lifetimes, and this boxset is more than enough to send heads reeling into deep time for eons to come.
At a ruminative, resting breathing rate Bulgarian composer Biliana Voutchkova and slow music maestro Sarah Davachi adapt Ernstalbrecht Stiebler's solo violin composition 'Für Biliana' for strings and reed organ to sublime effect.
Recorded at Arts + Archives in LA, ‘Slow Poem for Stiebler’ extends a series of short gestures from Stiebler’s 2015 composition into slowly expanding harmonic suspensions with the intent to highlight the simple beauty and fragility of the intervals and chords.
Voutchkova most uncannily harmonises her violin and vocals in gentle cadence with the glow of Davachi’s reed organ, seducing attention rather than demanding it, and rewarding patience with a truly skin-quivering resolution and blossoming in the piece’s final quarter.
Artist and occasional cellist for FKA Twigs, Stars of the Lid, Helm and Sega Bodega; Lucinda Chua chases her breakthru solo EPs with a masterful debut LP of solo piano torch songs gilded with chamber string arrangements and Susanna-like vox.
“Lucinda Chua is a singer, songwriter, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist based in South London. Primarily using her voice, a cello, and an array of effects units, Chua writes ambient pop songs that are intimate, atmospheric, and totally enchanting.
Born in London and raised in Milton Keynes, Chua has English, Malaysian and ancestral Chinese roots. Having learned music by ear from the age of three using the Suzuki method (whereby young children are taught music in the same way they would a native language), Chua regards music as a natural form of non-verbal self-expression.
YIAN (燕), means swallow in Chinese, and is part of “Siew Yian,” the name given to Chua by her parents to preserve her connection with her Chinese heritage. Just as the migratory songbird lives between places, so did Chua, the artist living in the in-between of the English, Malaysian and Chinese cultures that make up her heritage. In the absence of Mandarin as a mother tongue, music became a way to express the parts of herself that couldn’t be described in words; YIAN emerged as a way to heal.
A deeply introspective and fully realized vessel of creative expression (Chua self-produced and engineered eight of the ten tracks), YIAN emerges as less an album than a worldview, a commitment to learning and uncovering one’s own selfhood honed over Chua’s lifelong reconciliation with her own personal history and identity.
Through this process she found new language through which to express her experiences, language which lay in the practices she developed and the creative community with whom she built solidarity along the process: co-authoring visual identities with main collaborators Tash Tung, Jade Ang Jackman and Nhu Xuan Hua and set designers Lydia Chan, Jonquil Lawrence and Erin Tse. Chua also constructed the album’s physical language through dance with movement directors Chantel Foo and Duane Nasis, this expression shown most vividly through the short film made for 'Echo’.”
Motion Ward’s ambient incubator drop shimmering shoegaze dream-pop and smudged downbeats for lovers of HTRK, A.R. Kane, Perila - issued in a limited CD edition.
Pairing Kiwi musician Ike Zwanikken with vocalist Brooklyn Mellar, Hysterical Love Project subtly muddle the foggy memory banks of late ‘80s/early ‘90s shoegaze/dream-pop with prompts from Balearic downbeats and canny compression techniques that lend it a patina of micro-dosed psychedelic sensuality.
Perfectly strung out on a late night tip, it flows from the bed-ways lullaby pop and back-combed partials of ‘Miracle-Mouthed’ to the beautifully out-of-reach gauze of ‘Cement’ via delectable highlights of ‘90s trip-pop in the slow-motion acidic lather and forlorn vox of ‘Ionian Sea’, and dreamily headlong wind-tunnel motion of ‘Boyracer’, while ‘Come 2 Me, My Baby’ and ’Sever/Strike’ are unmistakably redolent of HTRK, and likewise the weightless strums of ‘Lavender’ that show they can transfix attention without the beats.
Definitely one to watch.
Max Syedtollan makes a memorable debut introduction with his avant mazza mashing art-pop and no wave in gonzoid blatz like The Shadow Ring meets This Heat, Laurie Tompkins’ gurning troubadour, or the c.a.n.v.a.s. label’s hybrid possibilities
“Morbid gimmicks, throwaway polaroids, creaking piles of last season’s rubbish – Max Syedtollan rakes through the detritus on Disposables, his new album for 33-33.
Languishing in the opiated wake of a freak accident (awaiting major surgery for a shattered radial head) Syedtollan confronted tedium with a reinvention of his artistic process, a sprawling and unhinged stylistic U-turn that casts aside classical intricacies in favour of a homemade, back-to-basics approach the composer terms “decomposition”.
Across these twelve tracks, such musical staples as metre and key are subverted or ignored; with Syedtollan’s new method functioning as a form of creativity through refusal. Scuppered toy electronics punctuate derealised blasts of daytime radio; diaristic snippets mutate into hallucinatory psychonarratives. It’s a singularly fucked up offering, like The Shadow Ring meets This Heat – while at the same time, apparently, Max Syedtollan’s ‘pop album’.
But it’s yet to be seen if Disposables will make any Radio 1 playlists – these are anti-songs that chart the psychedelic mundanities of recovery. Things get pretty dark, but there are lols to be had amid the narcotic gloom. There are even moments of almost beauty. It’s a trip; and Max Syedtollan plays the companionable if slightly worse-for-wear trip sitter.”
The Necks regroup on a staggering first new LP in three years, switching between skittering jazz to widescreen rollers with a breathtaking momentum - somewhere between classic Verve label, MvO Trio, This Heat and Oren Ambarchi's ensemble jams.
The Necks’ Chris Abrahams (piano, Hammond organ), Tony Buck (drums, percussion, electric guitar) and Lloyd Swanton (bass guitar, double bass) re-ignite a mesmerising minimalism on ‘Travel’. Now in their 34th year of playing together, the Aussie unit’s fine-honed intuitions are fully apparent across four durational parts totalling 77 minutes sprawling across seemingly endless soundscapes that collapse into myriad genres.
Perfectly framed and suspended with beautifully buoyant mixing and engineering by long time collaborator Tim Whitten, ‘Travel’ is a swaggering statement by the modern masters of long-form jams. The elements are knit with a particularly smoked-out verve and swingeing flex in each part, stretching from what sounds like MvO Trio haunted by Jackie Mittoo on the extraordinary ‘Signal’, to an uncanny, streamlined echo of Ndikho Xaba and the Natives’ South African free jazz on ‘Forming’, before resembling Can emulating Brazilian jazz on ‘Imprinting’, and arriving at the heart-in-mouth tempest of snare rolls, escalating organ vamps and roving low end that brings the LP to a thunderous climax like some extended Alice Coltrane breakdown that leaves u tossed in mid air.
Sounding as lean and potent as they did on 1989’s debut LP ‘Sex’, they’re frankly showing off here, with ‘Travel’ registering as good a place as any to kick off your infatuation with one of the world’s greatest experimental units.
35th anniversary reissue of Rudimentary Peni’s 2nd album of punk snot and spunk, conceptually indebted to H.P. Lovecraft
Rather than repeating the revved-up gothic deathrock styles of their legendary debut ‘Death Church’ (1983), Rudimentary Peni took another five years before they came out with 1988’s ‘Cacophony’, whose 34 tracks paid homage to the life and foundational horror aesthetics of Lovecraft - no doubt a huge influence also on the artwork of RP’s Nick Blinko.
The results are still as short, sharp and fierce as their predecessor album, but also weirder and more narrative-based, with Blinko switching between possessed snarl and spoken word as the music fulminates gothic horrors of pranging, gurning, distorted guitars and pummelling drums next to stranger detours into dirgey gothic prayer on ‘Beyond the Tanarian Hills’ and the manic gibber of ‘American Anglophile in the World Turned Upside-Down’.
Visions Of John Clarke was a little thrown together for its original release in 1979. Still, its sleeve carried a ringing endorsement from Bullwackies himself -'President of the John Clarke Fan Club - and the album attracted the interest of no less than Studio 1 boss Coxsone Dodd, whose bid for distribution-rights was thwarted when the Brooklyn label Makossa quickly put in for a full licence.
Out soon afterwards, the new version - entitled Rootsy Reggae - duplicated five tracks, but with markedly different mixes, fresh edits, and sometimes new instrumentation. This CD presents both albums complete with the original track order. The singer - not to be confused with Johnny Clark - had been running with the Wackies operation for six years, ever since moving from Jamaica to New York. He'd cut memorable sevens with co-founder Munchie Jackson for the Tafari label - like In Search of The Human Race and Recession - and with Lloyd Barnes for such Bullwackies imprints as Versatile and Wackies.
Several are collected by these two albums, with another layer of modification: for example, on Wasn't It You Lloyd Barnes and Prince Douglas give a new treatment - adding guitar - to the Jumbo Caribbean Disco twelve; on Pollution they remove the horns from the Wackies seven (though generally Baba Leslie is in full effect here). The tracklisting rounds out with a Johnny Osbourne cover; several New Breed jams, featuring the likes of Jah Scotty, Clive Hunt, Harold Sylvester, Jah Hitler, Jerry Johnson, the Love Joys, even Mickey Mouse apparently; and on a handful of done-over rhythms Clarke takes the mic from brethren like Joe Auxumite, K.C. White and Wayne Jarrett.
Outstanding formative works by inimitable polymath Harry Bertoia, getting familiar with his metal rod sculpture-cum-instrument at an early curve of his peerless oeuvre in 1970 at the Sonambient barn
Plucked from his vast archive of recordings, the newly unveiled works on ‘Hints Of Things To Come’ hold among Bertoia’s most unique and melodic discoveries. Ever since first encountering his work in the ’Sonambient (Complete Collection)’ survey of his private press label, admirably collected and issued by Important in 2016, Bertoia’s mastery of abstract, resonant sound has had us utterly rapt for the best part of a decade now. While we’re familiar with the series’ range of cavernous live recordings, often made without overdubs in his workshop barn in Pennsylvania, we’ve never heard his touch applied quite so sensitively and yet intensely as on these works.
With remarkable patience and finely attuned to the instrument and the acoustics of the space, Bertoia’s haptics generate slow, purposeful climaxes of shivering metallic tone and shimmering reverberation in the first three works, including a utterly immersive 30 minute title piece, before arriving at an historic standout in his catalogue with ‘7 ½ & 7 ½ Combined’, rendering one of his earliest example of overdubbing a playback of previous recording with a live-performance. If you’re also familiar with and favour Bertoia’s work, we can practically assure you that it’s vital listening and nothing less than a seminal, if previously unheard, part of his singular gift to experimental music.
Call it ambient, drone, sculptural sound art, or whatever the fuck you like; this is just amazing music to get lost inside, dialling up the rarest atavistic sensations certain to leave one reeling in imaginary space. Massive RIYL anything from Roland Kayn to Jim O’Rourke’s Old News works or Pauline Oliveros Deep Listening trips.
Epic new collection from Sarah Davachi, intended as a companion to her AOTY contender "Two Sisters". A heady suite of long-form material recorded using organ, strings and electronics, it's deep listening experimentation at its absolute best.
'Two Sisters' was a timely reminder of everything Sarah Davachi does best, a study of instrumentation and duration that ignored the strict hierarchy of the past to gaze into the future, reframing tired associations. "In Concert & In Residence" extends that vision past its outermost fringes; where "Two Sisters" was measured and easier to digest, this collection pushes Davachi's durational instinct to another level, teasing out all the subtleties from her composition and instrumentation to vast depths. There's no better example of that than on the 36-minute opening track 'In the Grand Luxe Hall', a recording of a commission by Western Front New Music that features Davachi and Richard Smith on dual EMS Synthi AKS synths and Marina Hasselberg on cello. If "Two Sisters" excelled in highlighting the mutability of acoustic and electronic instruments and their inherent similarities (when treated cautiously), the piece magnifies that concept in minute detail. It's hard to accurately pull the sounds apart from each other mentally; Davachi and Smith both use the Synthi to generate sine tones that waver gently but purposefully against the expected fluttering tone of the cello. With half an hour of concentration required to let the music seep in completely, it's a demanding listen but one that repays in kind, offering a level of detail that's all too rare in contemporary drone.
'Stile Vuoto' was recorded last year at Québec's Chapelle du Séminaire and commissioned by Organ Reframed. Here, Davachi reconfigures sounds often cloistered in sacred spaces, playing slow organ drones (performed by Jocelyn Lafond) against E27 Musiques Nouvelles' reduced strings. Rubbing against its predecessor's hybrid of synthetic and acoustic sources, the piece highlights the similarities and differences between the pipe organ and the sine tone generator. Anyone who grew up hearing church music will no doubt struggle to unhook the pipe organ from its cultural weight, and Davachi works to envelop the expectation with the same soft power she exudes on "Two Sisters". The strings' fluid tonality contrasts the pipe organ's comparative solidity, and it's within this difference where the magic appears, harnessing energy from folk, church and baroque music. Recorded in Spring this year at Berlin's Emmaus Kirche, 'Harmonies in Grey' strips down Davachi's sound to organ alone, and it's here where her interest in tuning and timbre is really put into sharp focus. At almost 24-minutes, it's a piece of music that allows us the opportunity to bathe in not just the instrument's unique tonal qualities but the reverberation of the sacred space itself, detecting how the building responds to Davachi's minuscule changes in resonance and pitch.
The most ambitious suite on the album is 'Lower Visions', a four-part epic recorded last year at Calgary's National Music Centre using Hammond Novachord, Hammond B3, Gerrit Klop chamber organ and EML Electrocomp 101 synthesizer, and E-Mu modular. By capturing each instrument in the same space and performing a similarly developing composition each time, Davachi makes it easier than ever to hear the instrument's unique flavor and tonality. It's as if she's pulls apart the elements that made "Two Sisters" such an invigorating listening experience and isolates them completely, allowing us to visualize each strand separately and completely. Over the course of an hour, she encourages us to listen to sounds we're familiar with, but not completely accustomed to.
Solo organ piece 'Harmonies in Green', recorded this year at Vancouver's Pacific Spirit United Church, finishes off the lengthy set, driving the purity of 'Harmonies in Grey' into cloudy, reverberating bliss, and playing on the organ's scraping, metallic resonance in the second half. Throughout, Davachi attempts to coax us into considering pure sound outside of cultural trappings. It isn't some new age posturing or pretentious medieval aestheticism, it's an attempt to package philosophy into music that can be absorbed by anyone with the inclination, and it's one that positions Davachi at the very apex of her craft.
The eternally evocative notion of a nightclub in your dreams prompts unusually muffled and groggy tapestries Timothy Brown aka TKB, who has never been to a club.
Where too much dance music nowadays sounds like it was made from watching YouTube or TikTok videos of raves and clubs, and not actually visiting them, at least TKB is honest enough to admit as much, and so the results of his ‘Dream Nightclub’ only become more intriguing because of it.
Recorded while living in a shack on a floodplain on Wurundjeri Country, Coldstream, Australia, the 11 parts here loosely resemble traces of 4th world ambient, On-U Sound experiments and the fantasies of Jan Jelinek, but at an oblique remove where only the smudged residuals bleed thru onto his gauzy canvas, leaving the impression of being xannied to the eyeballs and offering a calming, womb-like experience that clubs once offered, before a smoking ban and impatient indie-rock chumps had their way with it in recent decades.
So yeh, ‘Dream Nightclub’ is not club music in any putative sense but, squint your ears enough, and make sure you’re comfortable, and its a surprising trip that’s bound to play out on the back of yr eyelids and transport you somewhere warm, amniotic, soothing.
Music From Memory excavate a forensic selection of works from the prolific Japanese producer Dream Dolphin, who released 20 albums in just eight years, 1996-2003.
Known just as Noriko, Dream Dolphin was only sixteen when she started releasing her idiosyncratic back-room music, a weird blend of Artificial Intelligence-era IDM, dance pop, trance and d&b. 'Gaia' is assembled by Eiji Taniguchi (who also put together "Heisei No Oto - Japanese Left-field Pop From The CD Age (1989-1996)"), and has been pared down from Noriko's discography to map out her ambitious creative vision. If you've not come across her music before, Noriko was classically trained but it was an interest in movies like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and experimental records from KLF and Yellow Magic Orchestra that made her want to produce her own music. It's easy to work out where here head was at: watery electronics suggest Japan's beloved environmental music, but Noriko's voice lends the composition its own character entirely.
The album develops to show the breadth of Noriko's musical influences, from good-natured downbeat slinks like 'Tour 5 Modern Blue Asia' and the dubby 'Healing Moon' to rave-pop cuts like 'Voyage (Dive to the Future Sight)' and 'Rain'. Noriko's voice is the light in the darkness that, for the most part, pulls us through each composition and lets us know there's an element linking the disparate sounds. Because while her music sticks to a certain sluggish tempo, the instrumentation veers off in all kinds of directions. "Gaia" is a sprawling set, that's as likely to appeal to collectors of off-kilter video game music as it is to entice fans of gooey Japanese trip-hop like Major Force or DJ Krush.
Necessary reissue of the Ethiopian nun’s stunning 1963 debut of blues-jazz-classical solo piano works, as also found on the Éthiopiques 21: Piano Solo compilation - truly incomparable music that every home should own!
Currently approaching her 100th year on earth, Emahoy Tsegue Maryam Guebrou (born December 12, 1923 in Addis Ababa) is an Ethiopian nun renowned for a preternaturally fluid, visionary and expressive style of piano playing. Nowadays she is cared for in a home for nuns in Jerusalem, suffering from dementia, but still regularly plays the piano. ‘Spielt Eigene Kompositionen’ is the earliest document of her remarkable talents in action, drawing on decades of performance since the age of 10 (and her schooling in violin, then piano, in 1920s Switzerland) and experiences as a nun, a prisoner of war in southern Italy during WWII, her studies of St. Yared’s religious music, and years working for Emperor Haile Selassie’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Imperial Body Guard, in his captivatingly passionate and beautiful recordings.
‘Spielt Eigene Kompositionen’ was recorded when Guebru was 40, and first issued in Germany with the help of Emperor Haile Selassie. All five parts have since found heir way onto the seminal Éthiopiques series, and more recently repressed on vinyl via the stewardship of Mississippi, who commendably deliver this reissue just shy of her 100th birthday. Descending forth effervescent blues of ‘The Homeless Wanderer’ to the trills and quick-slow elegance of ‘Presentiment’, the ineffable elegance of her music belies a rhythmic complexity that bridges African,Afro-American and European traditions quite unlike anything we’ve previously heard. We’re not religious types but my word it surely sounds like she’s talking to God on the windswept blues of ‘The Last Tears of the Deceased’, and it’s a rare wonder to follow her fingers across ‘A Young Girl’s Complaint’ to the dizzying intricacy and cadence of ‘The Mad Man’s Laughter’,. Trust one needs no knowledge of solo piano or jazz/blues/classical paradigms total massive enjoyment from this record.
Billed as "the definitive Unknown Mortal Orchestra record", 'V' combines AOR and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music, strangling the songs with up-to-the-minute indie rock production techniques.
Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, disco, Captain Cook, drone metal and pop, Ruban Nielson has plenty to say on his fifth UMO record. So much in fact that it's a double album that takes Nielson's unmistakable production style to its logical conclusion. If the band's combo of vintage mic/FM transmitter vocals and redlined instrumentation has helped define an era of indie rock, 'V' pushes everything the Kiwi band stands for to its limit, sculpting their songs into crumbly remnants of a soon-to-be distant aesthetic. For the moment, it's still novel and serves the band well, elevating their quirky songs in the same way a film camera might boost the emotional resonance of a set of holiday pics.
Opening track 'The Garden' is based on Bosch's 'Garden of Earthly Delights' but isn't nearly as horrific as that might sound. Nielson's vocals are squashed into a helium shriek, accompanied by Marr-like riffs and drums that'd be lo-fi except for the fact that it's obvious they've been thru numerous processes to sound so rickety. But the sound Nielson is able to approach is quite marvelous, mimicking vintage US AOR while simultaneously critiquing its excesses by leaning on distortion, saturation and compression. 'Meshuggah' is another highlight, sounding like Michael Jackson (or Michael McDonald?) dubbed to a rotting cassette tape. It's a lengthy album, but packed to the gills with purposefully grotty, perfectly manicured pleasures.
Rose-tinted retro pop elegance by Malmö trio Death & Vanilla, one of Fire Records’ modern day MVPs and a must check for anyone into Nouvelle Vague, Stereolab, Au Revoir Simone, Laura Groves.
Equipped with an enviable arsenal of analogue gear, and more importantly the nous to put it to great use, Death and Vanilla trail their darker 2019 album ‘Are You A Dreamer?’ with a more subtly optimistic outlook on 5th studio album ‘Flicker’. Song to song they oscillate pastoral and space age whims with a real feel for ohrwurming hooks and sultry grooves that reference a wealth of ‘60s/‘70s library music, gallic Ye-ye pop, psychedelia and kosmiche in their cool stride and verve. At tej risk of stereotyping, they’ve definitely got that Swedish thing for immaculate pop on lock.
Opener ‘Out for Magic’ evokes vintage-clad pretty people bopping with a Gauloises in hand, and ‘baby Snakes’ strolls off on a moonlit adventure. The chiming guitar lead and swaying vocal to ‘Find Another Illusion’ secretes the balmiest feels, and ‘Perpetuum Mobile’ takes a clean leaf from Stereolab’s kosmiche-pop, next to the motorik drive of ‘Looking Glass’. At its most romantic point, ‘Mercury’s Rise’ shimmers with a star-kissed lysergic quality, contrasting sweetly with the dusky ‘Fearless’ and the fading horizon of ‘Transparent Things’.
Thomas Köner's eighth dark ambient tome was originally released in 2002, and is now pressed on vinyl for the first time, including a 12 minute bonus track.
Sporting a title that means "coldest" in Japanese, 'Daikan' is almost an hour long and plumbs the depths of what might be best understood as dark ambient and into electro-acoustic atmospheres that are filled with dread. Like his legendary trilogy of albums - "Nunatak", "Tiemo", "Permafrost" - 'Daikan' sounds as if it's been made with gongs recorded at the bottom of the ocean, with resonant tones that feel ancient. There's a Lovecraftian intensity to this one in particular that would send shivers down the spine if it wasn't so well engineered - if anything, the bass tones lift 'Daikan' into another territory entirely, a precursor for later material from artists like Lawrence English and Ben Frost.
Bonus track 'Banlieue Du Vide' comes from a video installation Köner presented in 2013 at Paris's Musée national d'art moderne. And while it's not as weighty or grim as 'Daikan' (it's got more in common with 2009's "La Barça"), the track's fusion of iced winds and pitch-black tones evokes a similar ancient, impressive tundra.
London hyper-connector label Accidental Meetings hustle exclusive work by Jay Glass Dubs’ Wild Terrier Orchestra, Rupert Clervaux, Susu Laroche, Bruce, Luke Lund, FUMU, Ausschuss, Dijit, memotone, Giant Swan’s Robin Stewart and more in aid of charity for victims of the Pakistan floods
Converging from myriad disciplines, the artists on board all channel a certain mix of self-reflective solemnity, intensity and optimism into their musics here. We’re particularly struck by the cold tonal abstraction and grind of Bruce’s away day ‘Self Doubt’, and likewise the haunting shape of Abu Ama’s trampling Arabic drums, charred drone and ululations on ‘Away With You’, the anxious grapple of FUMU on ‘Tougher than Dartmoor Tundra’, and a pair of meditative wonders pivoting around Dimitris Papadatos in the autotuned dub prayer ‘The Creatures in Defence’ as Jay Glass Dubs with X. YPNO, or the radiant microtonal ritualism to ‘Osman Takas’ by his Wild Terrier Orchestra.
Egypt’s Youth affiliate Dijit also charms with the sitar-laced illbient downstroke of ’Sharq’, MAL’s Ausschuss lays down gravelly drill shades away from Mobbs in ‘True Partner’, and Angel Hunt serves a set highlight of Arabic-inflected 2-step on ‘Rainham Steel’, chiming with club-adjacent tackle in Luke Lund’s Beau Wanzer-esque grinder ‘Imposter (Bristol Action)’, the Muslimgauze-like percussive rattle of Rupert Clervaux an HMOT’s ‘Zum F/F’, plus Livity Sound paralleling rhythmic workout from Saskia and the restless uptempo slug of Robin Stewart .
A box set collection of the first five albums released by the celebrated Factory Classical imprint in 1989, featuring modern classical works composed by Benjamin Britten, Elliott Carter, Paul Hindemith, Theodore Lalliet, Gyorgy Ligeti, Steve Martland, Olivier Messiaen, Francis Poulenc, Dmitri Shostakovich and Michael Tippett.
As Tony WIlson himself explained in an interview with the NME, 1989
"One of the best things about Factory starting a classical label is that as a pop label we pioneered the classical look of record covers without pictures of the groups on them. Now, as a classical label, we can pioneer the pop look of records with pictures of the musicians on the front. The idea that I had in mind was people like Peter Saville, the Factory designer, and his girlfriend - art school kids brought up with Bowie and Roxy Music, into punk, maybe they find acid house interesting, but they're looking for something else. For people like them or younger, there is no easy way into classical music, because it's all quite exclusive, they're scarcely likely to read Gramophone magazine, or make head or tail of it if they did. Ideally what I'd like to do is establish some setting in which people like the Kreisler Orchestra could play, that would suit them better and the circuit they get involved in, because there is such a limited sense of contemporary classical music in this country. If you go anywhere else in Europe, classical music is much more central to the culture than it is in England. Here there are so many barriers of class which prevent people from simply appreciating it. If we can break some of those down, I think we will have done a good thing."
This edition comes in a clamshell box set that includes a 24 page booklet featuring the original Factory commissioned liner notes from 1989, as well as a contemporary essay by writer Stuart Huggett and an interview with Tony Wilson. Each individual CD is housed in a card wallet which reproduces the original artwork by designers Peter Saville, Trevor Key, Ben Kelly, Mark Farrow, Neville Brody and Trevor Johnson. The 5 CDs have been newly re-mastered in 2022 by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works. Curated by Durutti Column viola player John Metcalfe, the performers include the Kreisler String Orchestra, German pianist Rolf Hind, The Duke Quartet and oboist Robin Williams, with Steve Martland’s material performed by Residentie Orkest Den Haag and pianists Gerard Bouwhuis and Cees Van Zeeland.
From Bill Seaman
"I got a note from Stephen. As the consummate archiver he had inherited a tape of an interview with me in 1985 done with Kevin Concannon, in particular about my music production. He points out that in it I mention “a device called a digital delay” that I had been exploring. A Deltalab Effectron II Digital Delay, which let you make little short 1 second loops and manually inject other sounds among other things – nice kind of kluge aesthetic. We knew each other through Electronic Arts Intermix where Stephen worked for some time. I had started out as a Video Artist exploring Image/Music /text relations. I had liked Stephen’s work in the past with Molly Berg called “Between You and the Shapes You Take.” I also enjoyed “Captiva” with Taylor Deupree. More recently I had started a collaboration with Michael Grigoni (who lives here in Durham, NC) that was put on pause due to his course schedule. Stephen sent me his lovely album with Grigoni – “Slow Machines.” So I wrote Stephen a note and asked “Would love to collaborate with you if you ever feel like it!” and he responded “Sure, I'd be happy to work on something together. Let me know what you're thinking - or when something feels like a time and idea to start. I can generate some material and send it your way, or just as happy if you want to send me something.” He sent me some things.
I had just completed working with a very good recording engineer on some new piano recordings, which I edited into short sample libraries, which I in turn sent to him. I often use these to build up my tracks in a very physical manner in Ableton live, often exploring chance relations and juxtapositions, then choosing what I feel “works”. Later I sent him some other things – DX7 and analogue synth.
We started working on both our own linear tracks with the materials and others, and also exploring the re-arrangement of each other’s work samples juxtaposed with some other parts of the library of materials. Stephen also began to include some found sound that was quite lovely. I was hoping he might convince Molly Berg to contribute – I really love her sound.
Stephen sent me acoustic guitar, some ebow which I love, and some experimental abstraction of guitar. Later he sent some tracks with Molly on them. We both went at the material and did a series of back and forths. Stephen arranged some of my Piano samples into a lovely repetitive long work which is the center of our digital release. I went back in and further arranged the arrangement and added some new layers. Stephen added Banjo in one case to the album material…in any event we seemed to find a good method of sending, experimenting and responding to each other – then moving forward with the best of those digital volleys."
Fever Ray returns, flanked by Vessel, Nídia, Olof Dreijer, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Aasthma and Johannes Berglund on a 3rd solo album full of odd tunings and warped glam-dancehall-electro swag.
Karin Dreijer aka Fever Ray’s ‘Radical Romantics’ continues the queered outernational pop weltanschaaung of its predecessor across 10 songs that squirm with a brilliant blend of Scandi-pop chops and sexy, propulsive, offbeat club meter.
Now 22 years deep into their thing since debuting with The Knife in 2000, Dreijer is one of very few active artists equidistant to original late ‘70s synth-pop and experimental glam of, say Kraftwerk, YMO and John Foxx - or Roxy Music and Kate Bush - and their hyperpop offspring such as Hyd or SOPHIE. It’s not hard to hear how their work since ‘Plunge’ continues to keep that lineage alive by balancing a fresh influence of producers Nídia and Vessel with the timelessness of Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross or the uncanny symbiosis with sibling, Olof from The Knife, resulting in a sort of hyperpop-adjacent sound sealed by those inimitable vocals and songwriting.
At the time of writing this we’re not privy to most of the production credits, but we can identify Olof’s tweaky Oni Ayhun-esque touch on the pensive opener ‘What They Call Us’, and that’s clearly Vessel’s razor-plucked harpsichord on the instant club ace ‘Carbon Dioxide’. An educated guess tells us Príncipe’s Nídia is behind the squeaky batida groove to ‘New Utensils’ and possibly the tarraxho slunk of ‘Kandy’, and we’d wager Reznor & Ross are responsible for plangent synth ache of the album’s mantric closer ‘Bottom of the Ocean’.
Elsewhere your guess is as good as ours as to who did the goth glam trample of ‘Even It Out’, or the nithered tang to ‘North’, but it will all become clear in due course. It remains to be said that ‘Radical Romantics’ is class; an affective ode to queer love that prizes synth-pop’s perhaps unique capacity to express the ambiguity of gender fluidity and strength in vulnerability, while having a great time doing it.
Striking debut of skilful, yet kinda unhinged, a cappella operatic tributes to Cathy Berberian executed with careful abandon by Belgian soprano Sarah Defrise.
"The disk features exclusively a capella pieces which were written for Cathy by some of the most prominent composers of her time. Berio's Sequenza III, Cage's Aria and Cathy's own Stripsody have become new music 'hits', but 'For Cathy' also presents lesser known repertoire such as Henri Pousseur's Phonème pour Cathy, Bussoti's fragment from Passion selon Sade and Entretien, a piece for electronic tape composed by Sarah Defrise as a tribute to Berberian. Sarah took an active part in the editing process of the disk in order to create a coherent sound object, displaying the endless possibilities of the human voice. Cathy Berberian (July 4, 1925 - March 6, 1983) American mezzo-soprano and composer based in Italy.
She worked closely with many contemporary avant-garde music composers, including Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, John Cage, Henri Pousseur, Sylvano Bussotti, Darius Milhaud, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati and Igor Stravinsky. As a recital curator, she presented several vocal genres in a classical context, including arrangements of songs by The Beatles as well as folk songs from several countries and cultures. As a composer, she wrote Stripsody (1966), in which she exploits her vocal technique using comic book sounds (onomatopoeia), and Morsicat(h)y (1969), a composition for the keyboard (with the right hand only) based on Morse Code."
From Philip Samartzis
"Atmospheres and Disturbances registers the changes in high altitude ecologies caused by increasing global temperatures. The composition is based on field work undertaken at the High-Altitude Research Station at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland where for four weeks I deployed various recording devices around the station, and in the surrounding alpine environment to register natural, anthropogenic and geophysical forces. The project provides new encounters of an endangered alpine environment to enhance the way we perceive and engage with notions of place, community, and environmental dissonance.
During fieldwork I used different microphones to record a variety of acoustic, spatial, atmospheric, and vibration-based phenomena. Omnidirectional microphones registered wind, snow, and ice as well as social, material, and industrial sound emanating from the nearby train terminus and viewing platforms. Hydrophones were placed within water and ice to record geophysical sound resonating within the frozen environment of Jungfraujoch and the adjacent glacier. The recordings capture the pervasive presence of anthropogenic sound permeating throughout the landscape produced by tourists, transport operations and recreational sports. Accelerometers were attached to various surfaces and structures to record solid vibration generated by high-velocity wind, and the process of melting and freezing. The recordings produced by the accelerometers clearly express the stress and fatigue occurring within the material structure of buildings and infrastructure.
Atmospheres and Disturbances is designed to place audiences deep inside an extreme environment to afford embodied experiences of an alpine ecology under duress."
Glacial keys and drones from arid Western Australia, shaped into introspective domestic hush and more epic post-rock scapes for Lawrence English’s Room 40
Aussie sound artist Matt Rösner uses an upright piano to form the basis of reverberating electronic compositions that don't sound a million miles from Alva Noto's collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto. 'Empty, Expanding, Collapsing' started life as a sequence of piano improvisations that Rösner proceeded to overdub with guitars, synths and percussion that were "aged with sounds of the surrounding dune systems seeping through the wafer thin studio walls".
Jewelled Antler Collective lynchpin Loren Chasse teams up with AKTI Records boss Juho Toivonen on this levitational set of bubbling environmental recordings and clouded ambience.
Loren Chasse is one of those artists who we feel never got his due. Based in Portland, he's been responsible for too much music thats reverberations are felt but not always seen clearly. While everyone and their dog might be slapping Zoom-recorded twig crunches over detuned zithers and conch shell improvisations in 2023, Chasse was setting the standard back in the late 1990s, shoehorning free-thinking abstraction and deep listening concepts into the New Weird America movement. "ACLOD" retains that spirit completely, and here Chasse is working alongside young Finnish musician Toivonen who sounds like not only a devotee of Chasse but also of his related local scene. Toivonen re-released Chasse's 1998 field recording album "Synthesis of Neglected Places" on his AKTI label, and the two began to shuttle music back and forth, processing recordings from Washington and Finland and developing this lengthy, pillowy composition.
The good news is it's a masterclass that doesn't grandstand in any way, it simply shows us what so many contemporary artists that attempt this style (and there are a lot) miss so unvaryingly. As might be expected, the environmental recordings are sublime. Not iPhone notes clippies of backyard frolics, they're detailed captures of fascinating outdoor sounds: rushing water, submerged clunks, sticks, stones and cracking bones. And the more musical elements the duo fold into their narrative are subdued and effective. Diaphanous drones are hard to come by in these trying times, but Chasse and Toivonen know that magic happens when you restrain yourself and cut sounds down to the bare minimum. The chiming sine waves sound as if they're growing out of nature itself, electronic but completely biological somehow. If yr into Sugai Ken, Lieven Martens, christina vantzou or crys cole, you'll need this one.
YOUTH are back in town on a 3rd Sports volume packed with exclusive chops from Michael J. Blood, Rat Heart, Sockethead, pigbaby, FUMU, and Iueke, plus new cats Craig Birrel and Zesknel among many others.
Programmed by footie-mad graphic designer/DJ, Andrew Lyster, ’Sports 3’ casts a wide net over work by Youth label friends and extended family with results limning a dead cranky conception of club music and blooz/beatdown pressure. All sharing a taste for texture that sounds like the masters were left to decompose for winter, the 16 cuts map odd gooches and ginnels of the contemporary soundsphere from the washed-out jazz reminiscence of Zesknel next to harder-to-place works such as the metallic cyborgian slug of ‘Driesh’ by Craig Birrel, or the groggy breaks of ‘Cocaine’ from HR For Drug Dealers.
Pigbaby plays the game with a highlight of midnight keys on ‘Far From Home’, and we spy a zinger from Sockethead on the feral yowl of ‘Coarse Ground’, while Dave Saved keeps it slanted on ‘Abisso 66’ and into a super glum one by the still enigmatic Yugen Disciple. That sense of entropy also infects the set’s more energetic bits, as with the PointilisticT arp flight of ’T’ by S, and the drowning struggle of ‘When It Rains (It Pours)’ from Significant Other complementing the worn out acid trample of Iueke’s ‘Videoslash’ and Jessic*nt’s murky stealth bomb ‘Manic/Panic’. Rat Heart, Michael J. Blood x Sockethead unsurprisingly steal the show on the slow cymbal-crash blooz of ‘True’, and the album ends with Lyster’s own VIP of NW / HR tripped & screwed hardcore submersion.
Taut jazz-techno improv from London’s experimental underbelly, teasing apart and resolving in real-time the strictures of conventional style and pattern.
“теплота is the London-based duo of Grundik Kasyansky & Tom Wheatley. Their work interrogates the haptic, social and liberating relationships with technologies old and new; using feedback synthesizer and computer-acoustic bass, they fuse a spontaneous interplay orthogonally over cyclical structures, with techno as perpetual fulcrum.
Following their debut HEAT/WORK on Cafe Oto’s TakuRoku label and the monthly ЭС research series, Skynned land on Accidental Meetings. Half techno, half free jazz, the music is both hypnotic and open-ended, relentless and ephemeral.”
Singular blues journeyman Lonnie Holley returns, flanked by acolytes Moor Mother, Michael Stipe, Bon Iver, Sharon Van Etten, Rokia Koné, and Jeff Parker for a significant new album.
Marking just over a decade since his late-blooming music career kicked off with the incredible introduction ‘Just Before Music’ (2012), Holley gathers his strengths alongside a stellar cast of pop, folk and jazz musicians who’ve understandably become smitten by his style of blues emoting over the past 10 years.
Born into an Alabama whiskey house in 1950, Holley had a tough upbringing that has been covered extensively in interviews and elsewhere, famously leading him to become a genuine “outsider” artist by his late 20’s, with a practice spanning sculpture, drawing, painting, photography, and, most pertinently here, musical performance. Drawing on a wellspring of lived experience and hard-honed intuition, his mostly improvised music expresses a timeless pain and depth of emotion that practically snags any new set of ears on first listen, recalling everyone from Linda Sharrock to Scott Walker in a humbling and inimitable style that’s ultimately peerless in the contemporary field.
A vestige of old worlds, Lonnie’s deep fried croon feels like the final croak of a blues music that began began more than a century and a half ago. Thanks to Holley’s improvisational nous, ’Oh Me Oh My’ exemplifies how his naturally avant blues mutably bridges the old world of blues, gospel spirituals, country-folk and the modern worlds of pop, rock and its experimental offshoots. As such he’s sort of a psychopomp for the ages, letting us know things don’t change as quickly as we like to think, and that there’s still magick to be found int he old ways.
Always most powerful solo, as with the spittle-inflected holler of ‘Testing’, thru the sparking psych-rock-blues of ‘Mount Meigs’, and the remarkable closer of Burroughsian growl and pulsing flutes in ‘Future Child’, the album’s collaborations faithfully play to Holley’s style with rewarding results. Michael Stipe provides a Jason Pierce-like gospel counterpoint in the ether of its title tune, and Moor Mother is at her best on ‘Earth Will Be There’, while mutual spirit and contemporary Chicago jazz don Jeff Parker beautifully chimes in with guitar and atmospheric texture in ‘I Can’t Hush.
DJ Sprinkles' classic Midtown 120 Blues, self-released by Terre Thaemlitz through their Comatonse imprint and finally available again.
Bringing deep house back into contact with its club culture roots, Terre Thaemlitz created one of the most essential house albums of the last two decades with 'Midtown 120 Blues'. Terre was originally working as a DJ under her Sprinkles alias in the gay clubs of midtown Manhattan and New Jersey in the late 80's when deep house began to blossom. It's this early period of House history which Terre has beautifully recreated over 10 tracks, making a pointed comment with the intro track taking shots at Strictly Rhythm for becoming 'Strictly Vocal' and pulling no punches towards "Most Europeans who think deep house means shitty hi-NRG vocal house".
With the intentions made clear, Terre develops a masterpiece of serene melancholy and sublime deep house crafted with the skill and dedication of someone who you know lived this music through every fibre of their being. From the rich subbass driven tones of 'Midtown 120 Blues' with plaintive pianos slowly encircling one another, to drag queen monologues over the deepest ambient brushed rhythms on 'Ball'r (Madonna-Free Zone)' or head-meltingly warm chords and caressed percussion of 'Brenda's $20 dilemna' - this will suck in and swallow you whole - transporting you to another place, another time.
A total pleasure.
please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long's original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles' versions.
As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.
Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll likely ever hear, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.
Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.
To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.
It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
Queer deep house pioneer Terre Thaemlitz hustles her entire DJ Sprinkles solo catalogue beyond the seminal ‘Midtown 120 Blues’ album in a crucial 19-track set of NYC-via-Tokyo gold, including many tracks popping their digital cherries for the first time.
‘Gayest Tits & Greyest Shits: 1998-2017 12-inches & One-offs’ sums up twenty years of action deep in the bowels of house with a precious suite drawing from rare and hard-to-find pearls scattered between the late ‘90s and end of the last decade. They span the specificities of a sound rooted in the gay scene of NYC from the late ‘80s onward, testifying to the minimalist, bass-heavy style that Sprinkles played at DJ residencies in transsexual clubs and would later take to Tokyo after moving there at turn of the millennium. For our money they’re some of the strongest, most distinctive deep house cuts of our time, holding true to the fundamentals of a style that would become mistranslated, misunderstood, and coopted by successive waves of deep house dilettantes.
Newly collected and presented in tandem with the ‘Midtown 120 Blues’ reissue, the 19 heavyweight club grooves still kill the old way, focussing on proper jackers drums and sphincter-tickle levels of subbass sparingly ornamented with samples in purist integrations of function and politics that don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. From the earliest Sprinkles cuts in ’Sloppy 42nds’ (1998), a tribute to the 42nd St. transsexual clubs destroyed by Walt Disney’s buyout of Times Square, and 2001’s ruddy nods to that classic Adonis motif in ‘Bassline.89’, thru to proper red-lit basement pressure in ‘Glorimar’s Whore House’, puckered darkroom suss in ‘Kissing Costs Extra’ or ‘Masturjakor’, and up to the heart-punching 10min+ reworks of his Terre Thaemlitz material, it’s a totally unmissable set for proper house heads and far beyond. It’s a document of phase-shifting times helmed by one of the most interesting and important artists of our age.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
DJ Sprinkles & Mark Fell compile their collaborative 12-inch releases alongside a second disc of previously unreleased material for over two and a half hours of absolutely timeless, deadly productions from two masters of their respective forms.
Rooted in the duo’s passion for foundational NYC-skooled deep house and contemporary social politics which has inspired their artistic briefs in very different but often overlapping ways over the decades, ‘Incomplete Insight (2012-2015)’ extends the pleasures of DJ Sprinkles & Mark Fell’s original sessions with a bounty of alternate edits and unreleased productions from the vaults
In a sublime-to-rude back ’n forth, they open with tracks from their 'Complete Spiral' sessions, pairing purring, tuff basslines and naked drum machine rhythms with samples of Arthur Scargill and Tony Benn, before really getting inside their thing on the unreleased bits, shifting from buoyant expansions to more angular dubs by Mark Fell (“something like the chords stabs on “big fun” but more messed up and weirder”) that dial up his peerless Sensate Focus workouts. It’s the first time most of this material has appeared on any formats at all - with the previously released work only ever available on vinyl - so it should be considered absolutely crucial listening for deep house connoisseurs and experimenters - or basically anyone with any interest in electronic music of the early 21st century.
Now of a decade long vintage, the tracks’ original release marked over 20 years since the deep house phenomenon first hit from Chicago via NYC in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, when its sleek studio-as-instrument engineering and focus on rolling drums, vibes and bass pressure would irrevocably influence UK dance music, in particular the rugged heft of Sheffield and South Yorkshire bleep ’n bass. As a jobbing DJ in the queer bars of downtown NYC, DJ Sprinkles was there at the sound’s inception, while Mark Fell absorbed it via US import 12”s, with both artists rapt by the form’s effortlessness and, ultimately, its irresistible effect on the ‘floor.
This raft of unreleased mixes sweetly dovetails and diverges the pair's appreciation of the style, with Sprinkles really getting inside the groove on the likes of her 11min Alt.mix render of ‘Fresh’, and a “personal favourite for mixing on the dancefloor” in the lush expansion of ‘Incomplete Spiral’, while Mark Fell effectively hustles his tightest gear since the Sensate Focus days with the liquid-hipped latinate tekkers of his ‘MF Dub’ parts and the ’Spiral Focus’ vignettes. It’s all supremely rich and deeply satisfying gear with a balance of immersive, tactile immediacy and emotional intelligence for the ages.
please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
Terre Thaemlitz’s paradigm-challenging, uniquely unsettling meditation on the nuclear family and its effect on democracy, as heard thru a smudged lense of gay porn and Japanese incest porn, is their latest to be respectfully, meticulously performed by Zeitkratzer Ensemble, led by Reinhold Friedl - word of warning: NSFW.
A reunion of the incredibly sound sensitive artist and leading performers of new, and avant garde musics after ’Super-Superbonus’ (2002) and ‘Electronics’ (2008), the 90 min execution of ‘Deproduction (Live)’ serves to deepen the piece’s frankly haunting effect with nothing short of a difficult but crucial listen. Recorded at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, March 19, 2018, at MaerzMusik: Festival for Time Issues 2018, the original piece’s blend of reflective string arrangement and samples, plus Regina Ryan’s YouTube video “How not to react when your child tells you that he's gay”, and the "Chick-Fil-A" comedy routine by Paul F. Tompkins, it's a uniquely challenging manifestation of Thaemlitz’s queer politics.
Revolving Terre’s thoughts on how the heteronormative nuclear family effectively negates democracy and progressive politics, ‘Deproduction’ is one of the most significant works in her considerable oeuvre of some 30 years. Originally released on an 8GB SDHC including an 87 minute video, the piece artfully dissects the matter with Terre’s typically insightful approach, stemming from his status as a queer man with extensive heritage as a DJ (Sprinkles) at gay and transvestite bars in downtown NYC in the early ‘90s, and in the years sice as a leading thinker, writer and authoritative voice dealing with contemporary queer politics. For both obvious and implied reasons, this piece really struck a nerve when we first heard it in 2017, especially in light of those years’ unprecedented political flux (Brexit, Trump), and five years later it’s clear the ideas she proposed have only calcified into today’s intransigent politics, particularly ideas on low birth rates and population decline, trangender issues, and the distorting dominance of religion in the Western world that have been weaponised by right wing conservatives.
A 10 piece Zeitkratzer, including Terre (vocals), have admirably taken up the challenge of performing ‘Deproduction’ as faithfully and achingly as possible here, replete with performance of domestic violence and its deeply unsettling range of infant and adult vocals, as heard from a room next door. We’ll suffice it to say its effect is immensely powerful, and no doubt one of the most affective works in either Terre or Zeitkratzer’s catalogues; an unflinching, but completely respectful reading of contemporary queer politics that should resonate with open-minded, deep listeners, whatever way they identity.
The most vital art shouldn’t be easy, and we make no bones about it, this one is a hard listen, but wholly recommended if you’re prepared to properly invest. Run check Terre’s site for its full, disambiguated background.
please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
Terre Thaemlitz rips it right back to the start with a first ever compilation of her earliest productions, including her 1993 debut ‘Raw Through a Straw’ and its bass-heavy ambient B-side plus all the other releases under the Comatonse.000 banner, making for another indispensable 80 minute dive into one of the most satisfying and great catalogues in all of electronic music.
Delving deep into the years when Terre shifted from DJing deep house and disco at downtown NYC queer clubs to making her own music, ‘comatonse.000.R3’ seamlessly integrates and manifests her queer-rooted politics in effortless form, using the templates of deep house as a springboard for ideas on identity politics and queer philosophy and history - it’s sheer brilliance throughout.
Making up the first release on Terre’s label, Comatonse, and also found on her debut album for Instinct, ‘Raw Through A Straw’ is a real NY Loft classic, deploying the seminal Scorpio break against a gently jaw-dropping backdrop of blushing ambient pads and bluesy piano vamps, also in its previously unheard ‘Double Live’ take, which imagines a utopian ideal of deep house.
In lush contrast, her debut 12”s B-side ‘Tranquilliser’ speaks to Terre’s downbeat side with sublimely contoured subs and ultra subtle electronic timbres that exemplify that prized sound sensitivity which delineates into her interests in digital jazz and neo-expressionist piano music on the ‘Tranquilliser (Live in the North)’ mix, and its shimmering ‘Demo Version’. Also of particular interest are the two rare cuts from her one-off Social Material 12”, crafted in 1997 and rolling off the example of ‘Raw…’ with the swooning subs, heart-gripping keys and clipped breaks of ‘Class’ and the return of that snaking Scorpio break swept into ‘Consciousness’.
It’s all so good dammit.
please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3