Hypnagogic drone traction by a mysterious entity with cultish belief in aliens as saviours of humanity…
“The Aetherius Apreciation Society presents Accelerated Evolution Music by The Silent Group. A mysterious outfit from nowhere rooted in the extraterrestrial belief that intelligent experiences with ‘Cosmic Beings’ will ‘’help humanity solve its current Earthly problems and advance us into the New Age.
Vague notions of higher consciousness are matched by slowly evolving drones and tones eventually reaching an effect of Accelerated Evolution Music. Dialoguing electrical circuits and frictionless metals being be main conductor here to this so called new heightened state, we’ll leave you to decide.”
The exploratory don behind Discrepant, Gonçalo F. Cardoso is caught in flux between himself and his new alter ego, Prophetas in a worm-holing, dystopian collage of synths, samples, and original , far-flung instrumentation
“Having recently retired from his most prolific monicker Gonzo aka Gonçalo F Cardoso keeps busy and plowing ahead into an ominous 2020 with a new monicker/concept: Prophetas.
Inspired by visionary/paranoid cult figures, gurus with delusions of grandeur, lonely and indiosyncratic figures as symbols of hope/despair for the uncertain times of the new decade. Starting with ideas develloped in the mid 50’s: UFO paranoia, suburbia, lemuria, space race and going all the way to 80’s excess, mall culture, collective consumerism, future memories finalizing laying the ground work for the new fake prophets of the 21st century, in the guise of silicon valley type bosses, Apple, Facebook – the new cults – all filtered through an overused 80’s broken lens. Living and repeating the exact same age of dystopia paranoia as ever, Reveal, Accept, Remember – and Forget.”
Discombobulated electronic transmissions from an enigmatic Polish artist. May well induce mild but acute forms of psychosis...
“Ubek returns. The mysterious Polish duo digs out a new collection of degraded echoes, salvaged from authority. Galvanised as if lost to the shock of formal experiments.
Ubek II revises the present and takes us back to other versions of actuality. UBEK: UB + -ek, with UB being an initialism of Urząd Bezpieczeństwa (literally “Security Office”).”
Mind-fracking psychedelic collage veering between concrète exotica and plunderphonic lounge music
“The Dead Mauriacs return to Sucata Tapes. After Cocktails pour la fin des temps (Discrepant, 2016) and Beauté des Mirages (Discrepant, 2017) the mysterious (french?) artist recalibrates his/her tools into another head rush journey of concrete exotica and space lounge plunderphonics.
Lush vistas from broken verandas and confusing cocktail parties brush shoulder with the most original musique concréte experiments this side of the jungle.
‘Eléments d’une Diplomatie Fantôme’ does it again in brilliant eléctrique style, a mesmerising addition to a unique catalogue from an exploratory artist doing his thing!”
Non-Classical cast an ear over the expanding, contemporary wave of field recordists in a compilation to accompany the London event of the same name
Kate Carr yields a typcially transfixing piece in her recording of ‘Highway Bridge Drain Pipes, Saskatoon, Canada’, and Mark Vernon follows up the soundtrack to his ace-looking ‘Bait’ film with a alien sounds captured at ‘Risør Harbour’, while series coordinator Nick Luscombe offers enchanting documentary of ‘Tokyo Spring Birdcalls’, and D/BAM somehow gets a doomcore gabber track out of a ‘Mr Slush’ machine.
“The release reflects ‘a burgeoning area of sonic creativity that has gone from a very niche area of sonic art to something much more commonplace’.
It has been compiled by Nick Luscombe, Nonclassical A&R. Writing about Fieldwave, he says, ‘This rapidly expanding social phenomenon is exciting in that it both democratises the art of composition - with minimal barriers to capturing and creating new work “in the field”- and challenges how we view today’s role of a composer.’”
The conduit for Tongues of Light, aka Sam A McLoughlin (Samandtheplants, NeoTantrik), riffs on Lancashire’s world renowned alien abduction case in a spellbinding suite of studies for Kawai 100f synthesiser.
Inspired by the case of PC Alan Godfrey, who believes he was abducted by aliens from the Pennine town of Todmorden on November 28th, 1980 while investigating a herd of cows wandering a council estate, McLoughlin’s etheric tape charmingly dwells in a sort of speculative twilight that limns the atmosphere of a valley town widely recognised as an epicentre of paranormal and extra terrestrial activity. Lying on the opposite side of a big hill to Rochdale, to the north of Manchester, Todmorden is home and host to an interesting range of characters who’ve often gravitated there because of its unique psychic conditions.
In 2016 an exhibition on the town’s local history renewed interest in the Alan Godfrey case, leading to the formation of the “Todmorden UFO meet” at the Golden Lion pub every 3rd Thursday, which provided an inclusive space for locals to talk about their experiences of alien and hard-to-explain but interlinked experiences up in the bleak moorland, hills and gloomy ravines riddled with Victorian architecture that they inhabit.
Using a sole, monophonic Kawai 100f synthesiser made in 1980 - the same year of Godfrey’s potential abduction - in this tape Sam A McLoughlin follows the spectral, Radiophonic aesthetics of his ‘Natural Lancashire / Supernatural Lancashire’ LP and Tongues Of Light volumes to sensitively meditate on the idea of an unspoken, connected consciousness that underlies Todmorden and magnetically attracts folk the world over. Both Tod and this tape are no less than a portal to other dimensions, and the energy is only dark/light depending the user’s conception and application.
Andy Votel presents this beguiling sound poetry tape by Rick Myers, a prolific multidisciplinary artist involved with bringing that seminal 'Broken Music' compendium back to life. His books are held in special collections at the Library of Congress, MIT, MoMA New York, Stanford University, Tate Britain, and Yale University - and he has recently published trade edition artist books ‘A Bullet for Buñuel’ with Primary Information in New York, and ‘AbyssssybA’ with Nieves in Zurich. He is also Votel’s former partner in pioneering Manchester hip hop crew Violators Of The English Language, as things come full circle with Votel’s assistance publishing this work on tape. It’s an intriguing artefact, highly recommended to Milan Grygar and Fluxus fiends.
Now based in Massachusetts, USA and completing work on that Broken Music reissue, ’Obstacle #69: Sentences In a Magnetic Field’ catches Myers having a go at sound poetry himself with suitably head-scratching results. The A-side features Myers reciting lyrics into a mic, held just so that “pressure was exerted on my lungs and my voice was modulated by the text score”. The resulting recitation is hard-panned and haphazardly morphed by the medium itself, as the magnetic resonance builds in a strange hum and causes words to drop out.
On the B-side the recording follows physical impediments to drawing “An instrument held in the right hand obstructed by a device held in the left hand…” producing a hum that merges with haptic scrabble as the words fade into the background, like we’re privy to some cross-fade between magnetic fields. The resulting drawings appear on the inlay card, made in an edition of 100 and hand assembled by Votel for your pleasure.
The UK heatwaves of summer 2019 supply humid, sticky inspiration for this absorbing sort of docudrama by field recordist/collagist Kate Carr for Indonesia’s Hasana Editions.
On ‘Heatwave’ Carr gleans a slow and heavy sort of narrative from a wealth of recordings made on location during a long, hot weekend at a busy London intersection. Convecting the sound of police sirens, honking cars, distant dancehall, and flustered street chatter with the tinkle of ice in a glass and other attempts to keep cool, the album smartly and subtly epitomises Kate’s practice, centred on “articulating the relationship between people and place through sound.”
Pointing her microphones at the sky - or the source of all the bother (and literally everything) - Kate captures all the fuss of a sweltering London and its soupy soundsphere in a way that makes us feel like a mozzie on the wall, witnessing the daily struggle of people trying not to turn into Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’. The atmosphere is so thick you can practically smell doughnuts, weed and diesel fumes wafting off the tape. But festive nostalgia aside, there’s a more unsettling aspect to ‘Heatwave’ which, in key with the zeitgeist, points to the worrying frequency of these heatwaves and the underlying dread associated with them, thanks to her subtle use of low end tones and the elusive, heatsick feel of her mixing trickery.
This Instant classic solo debut of smoky vocal introspection and 808 heartbeats by Jonnine Standish (HTRK) really did stick in our head like nothing else in 2019. Featuring co-production from Nathan Corbin and guest input by Nigel Yang (HTRK), Conrad Standish (CS + Kreme), and Mona Ruijs, it's a properly stunning EP that comes with a massive recommendation if yr feeling Chromatics, Leslie Winer, HTRK...
Resoundingly adored for her ice cool poise and penetrative lyrics in noirish dub-pop duo HTRK, Jonnine's music has long provided a timeless, classic antithesis to modernity. She is a rare, anachronistic spirit within contemporary music and brings a signature sense of restraint and class to ’Super Natural’; her debut suite of solo recordings channelling the sass of Twin Peaks’ Audrey Horne as much as Leslie Winer’s elegant, druggy proto trip pop.
Recorded between Peru, Hawaii, and Jonnine’s native Australia, ‘Super Natural’ unfolds a succinct grimoir where she acts as liminal interpreter for immanent devotions that divine a poetic and romantic sense of mystery from the everyday. Encouraged by her therapist, who urged her to explore a solo identity for years, she here gives a confessional voice to ambiguous inner guides that have helped to prompt some of her best songwriting, as found here and on HTRK’s recent ‘Venus In Leo’ album.
In the deliciously woozy low pressure system of her opener ‘You’re Wanting It To Go This Way’, those spirits instinctively lead her down a path of self-reflective nihilism accentuated with curdled guitar and a thumping 808 heartbeat, before her partner and collaborator Conrad Standish (CS + Kreme) supplies backing vocals that tenderly accentuate the knackered tristesse of ‘I Don’t Seem Myself Tonight’, which is also buoyed by Mona Ruijs’ subtly plangent gong tones.
But it’s HTRK’s other half Nigel Yang that most distinctively underlines Jonnine’s mantric lyrics about the push/push of love in ‘You Can Leave The Vampires’ with patented, pensile sensuality in a manner we've honestly become totally obsessed with, before the EP shores up with ‘Scorpio Rises Again’, an instant classic framing Jonnine against stalking, plucked bass, finger-clicks and whistle by Conrad Standish, a denouement surely worthy of a closing scene in the next Lynch.
Untouchable DJ, Tom Boogizm shells 4 hours of seamless, wayward dancefloor suss in this crucial recording of his all-night set @ La Cheetah, Glasgow in 2019. it is tune-for-tune one of the baddest selections we’ve heard in eons, and surely serves its purpose as a showcase for one of the UK’s most vital - if unsung - record collectors and CDJ alchemists.
Becoming the first lick on Tom’s hugely promising new label, Shotta Tapes, the 4-hour selection testifies to a DJ of serious wingspan with skills to match. Hustling countless cuts ranging from drill instros to dub to rap, South African house, garage, grime, techno and jungle, all helmed in devilish dancehall anthems and obscurities.
Flawless in execution and pace the mix packs more blends than Kenco, and in a rudely dextrous style that’s seen Tom hailed among the UK’s most prized DJs with them that know. As ever he gives the club what it needs, not what it wants; toggling the vibe between classics and rarities - and always with a mind for the dancers - but never one to patronise them, and ever up for chucking a curveball. And it’s there where Tom’s talents and knowledge come into their own - properly distinguishing him from a groundswell of keen-but-green, social media-friendly DJs who, according to Tom’s swivel-fingering blurb, have attempted to “turn the underground into one big episode of Hollyoaks…”
Basically it’s 100% fire and thee very best advert for Tom’s Boogizm event this Friday 17th January, 2020 at The White Hotel with the All Hands On Deck firm, as well as a tease for his imminent new club night with crack DJ squad; Finn, Anz and Jungle Joe.
The haunting sound of 1930s to ’50s Greek Rebetika is subject of another spot-on compilation from London’s Death Is Not The End.
An ongoing concern for the label - and always welcome around these parts - Greek Rebetika is an often dark, melancholy style of folk/pop music that spread from the docks of Athens to a Greek diaspora across the world in the early 20th century. As the label correctly classify, these “songs of sorrow, poverty, loss and general end of this god forsaken planet” still resonate nearly a 100 years later due to their relative simplicity, which has future proofed their memorable melodies and unmistakeable feel for generations to come. OK, it probably sounds a bit old hat to youngers in Greece, but for us there’s just something eternally appealing to this style.
The famous Markos Vamvakaris appears on this set with the sarkily jolly but exasperated sound of ‘Those Who Are Rich’, and Stelios Kazantzidis contributes two highlights with the lamenting cadence of ‘Bleed Bleed’ and ‘The Leaves Fall From Branches’, while we’re also rapt with the pipes of Yiota Lydia’s ‘Badworld’, the coy strings of ‘I Want to Enjoy the World’ by Elli Sofroniou, and the ventricle-jangling riffs of ‘I Ached in My Heart’ by Marika Ninou.
Ambient healing music from Japan. The first in a series tending to the archive of prolific Japanese ambient music pioneer Fumio Miyashita, formerly of psych/prog-rock band Far Out/Far East Family Band.
"In 1969, he was an original member of the rock musical, ‘Hair’, in Tokyo. He formed the progressive rock groups Far Out and Far East Family Band, releasing ground-breaking albums and touring internationally. Always interested in oriental philosophy since studying karate at a young age (he became a black belt in high school), he became interested in oriental medicine after an injury on stage that only healed after undergoing acupuncture. In 1977, he immigrated to the United States, where he continued to study oriental medicine, philosophy, the Chinese Five Elements and also began, in earnest, to research music therapy.
In 1981, he decided to return to Japan, moved to Shinshu Iizuna Highlands and established Biwa Studio. One reason for choosing Iizuna Highlands was because it’s altitude is 1,250 meters and during his studies he learned that this is a very positive and healthy altitude for the human body to reside in. There he created numerous works, including music CD’s and image videos. His passion was for creating music that was helpful to people and his recurring theme in his works was relaxation and healing for the mind and body. He named his music ‘Healing Music’ and he established his own unique style of music therapy."
Prurient dispatches a bouquet of short, sharp noise shocks in a return to base forms following a series of increasingly ambitious long players.
In 20 snagging noise shards of high-register intensity Dominick Fernow bombards a form of “Airborne Electronics for the 75th Anniversary of Screaming Eagles Radio and 82nd Neptune Death Row”. What you need to know is ‘Garden of The Mutilated Paratroopers’ is proper, raw Prurient tackle, attacking in waves of powdered glass distortion, throttled CB comms, white-hot belligerance and chainsaw toothed power electronics rippers
There’s no fancy attention to detail in the mixing or any of that bourgeois stuff, just a terrifying episode of adrenalising energy and sensory mutilation that should leave lovers of this stuff satisfied and picking bits out of their teef and ears. Basically, just what we needed.
Peder Mannerfelt commits 70 minutes of locked-in hardware experimentation to the mixtape label department of Tokyo’s Cav Empt following killer action in the Asthma duo and on Fever Ray’s recent album cycle.
Treading in the footsteps of Jon K, Low Jack, The Gerogerigegege, X-Altera and many more before him on the tape series, Peder picks up the baton and runs deep into abstract modular techno matrices full of squirrelly and viscous rhythms swarmed with eerie but playful synth phantasms.
It’s not necessarily a dancefloor set. Rather, it finds Peder fully exercising his kit in a more cosmic-minded style that harks to his production in Roll The Dice with Malcolm Pardon or even his pivotal work for Fever Ray, essentially expressing a puristic take on electronic music that transcends techno, ambient, and contemporary electronic music.
On the A-side expect to be swept from bubbling modular bleeps, thru an immerisve passage of writhing kosmiche, and spat out in shredded flashcore and head-swallowing ambient vortices. With side B, he follows a hunch for chattering vocaloids into mutant ghetto-bass, cyber-tribalism and alien jazz noise, strafing abstract dub and convulsive, deconstructed sci-fi techno.
Jarra cedes control to his analog machines on a tape of absorbingly organic, coruscating drones that recall the work of Deathprod and Kevin Drumm.
Chasing up the recent first digital edition of his 2002 CDr releases for US avant stable, and/OAR, the three ‘IsoMonads’ effectively elaborate on the way Jarra transposed his abstract painting techniques into sound. In his paintings, Jarra worked towards a technique in which his role as painter was reduced only to the essentials, and in his music he attempts to do the same, leaving as much agency as possible with the machines.
The results found on ‘IsoMonad’ allow the sounds of his analog synths to breathe and speak their own language. Left unmastered and unaltered from the initial recording, the two sides resemble a dematerialisation into pure, Ur texturhythm swaddled in the inherent ferric vapour of the format. They’re the sort of sounds that occur where natural and manmade worlds elide, but when nobody is paying attention. On the surface they clearly have a connection to the abstract tonal wilds of Kevin Drumm or the hellish sonic ecosystems generated by Helge Sten a.k.a. Deathprod’s AudioVirus, and on another level they also render similarly alien sensation, if slightly more lo-fi parallel to the algorithmic composition of Roland Kayn and his peer Jaap Vink, likewise illuminating the way into frankly frightening zones of abstraction. Perhaps what the world sounded like before humans arrived, or even after we’re gone and the last one standing forgot to switch off the power.
The first physical edition on iDEAL’s mixtape series comes from Aussie-in-Amsterdam DJ, Steele Bonus with a spellbinding follow-up to his split mix with Nosedrip, aside to his visual designs for Efficient Space, Safe Trip and many others.
Neatly patched from tip-of-tongue picks of tape art, film samples, lysergic psych folk, dubbed-out post punk and the kind of charms you’d expect to find on Music From Memory, we can assure you it’s a killer selection that will leave heads guessing at every turn. There’s no tracklist, but we reckon the internet will see to that in due course when the spotters get their notebooks out and get to work.
Highly organic, kinetic concrete and reel-time ferric sculptures from Thomas Shrubsole, yielding almost 3 hours of lower case rustles resembling free jazz played by nature.
Working in a richly imaginative realm shared by everyone from Rashad Becker to Anne Guthrie, Ekoplekz to Decimus, ‘Tape Music’ is a significant batch of scrabbly abstraction from one of the North West’s most quietly unassuming and uncompromising operators. Working hands-on with his trusted reel-to-reel, found objects and 2nd-hand instrumentation, Shrubsole enacts a form of intimate animism that gives life to sounds lesser heard. Mixing skin with grit and machine, his improvised interventions coax out a plethora of almost anthropomorphic or bestial tones from things without a heart or brain, and effectively using his own body to better connect with the world around him and bring listeners to a granular, haptic level of musical perception.
Recorded in 2015 and left to mulch in the archive, the results are entirely analog from nose to tail, exploring a bio-organic feedback system that investigates, in his own words, “notions of the prosaic and the exotic, the personal as it pertains to the physically local and the distant, proximate and disembodied, the diaristic and the documentary: Kinetic performative physical improvisational concrete.”
Manchester catalyst John Powell-Jones fulminates thistly noise pierced with sky-clawing melodies in these bittersweet recordings made at an abandoned Topshop unit in Stockport.
The 2nd release on Jack Lever’s Open Tapes, ‘Open Circuit’ is perhaps the most grotesquely transfixing recording yet by JPJ, a multi-disciplinary artist whose work has previously blessed Sacred Tapes and also appeared on stacks of great record sleeves and posters. Following from the more modest rustles of his ‘’print-sound | sound-print’ tape with The Boats’ Craig Tattersall, this new JPJ side sees him return to familiar, scorched ground with a thick maelstrom of harmonic distortion and marbled by iridescent glints of melodic colour.
For 23 minutes he offers absolutely no respite from a blizzarding squall of white-hot distortion. While it may start up relatively sparse and dubbed-out, once it hits critical mass the piece sustains a stare-down intensity which, in the knowingly ironic nature of so much noise, actually results in hypnotic appeal for the listener - provided you’re of a certain, steely constitution. But once you’re in there it’s achingly lush. We advise placing the smoking incense in front of your speakers while the music’s playing, and become hypnotised by the smoke reacting to the sound.
Utterly absorbing new tape from Berlin’s Perila (aka artist, DJ, and radio.syg.ma co-founder Sasha Zakharenko) for LA’s Motion Ward, following the psychosexual intimacy of her exceptional 2019 debut for sferic and a cassette with TTT.
Lodging alongside uon and Brown Irvin on the Cali imprint, ‘Rust 22’ imparts its message by atmospheric inference rather than the more literal grip evoked by Nat Marcus and Inger Wold Lund’s vocals in Perila’s previous side, ‘Irer Dent’, which was surely among the most memorable of 2019. Save for some extra subtle, glossolalic murmurs, the session focusses on the Berlin-based Russian artist’s gift for conjuring a sense of ambient modernism that’s clearly steeped in classic vibes, yet doesn’t feel beholden to them, and neatly identifies her music amid a growing and boundary-shifting new field of atmospheric music operators.
The tape presents a 21 minute blissed smudge backed with a trio of studio cuts that share a feel a similar feel for sylvan synth strokes and hallucinogenic depth perception. That long cut is a reel beauty, conducting a subliminal transition from blue, subaquatic tones to shimmering chimes and a siltier sort of submariner’s melancholy, before concluding with an optimistic flourish in ‘Ripple22’. Her other three cuts, meanwhile, seep out of the edges to occupy a fuller soundfield, beautifully massaging tranquil new age influences with a more uncertain, underlying, textural anxiety in ‘Transient’, while ‘Distant’ sounds as though she’s turned location recordings of a metalworks into soft focus lushness, and the bass rhythms of ‘Perpetual’ move ever forward with a physics-defying dreaminess that’s hard to describe but a total pleasure to undergo.
We hardly need to emphasise it but this one’s a doozy.
Marking 10 years of The Tapeworm’s underground digest, Dale Cornish yields a patchwork of its odd charms cutting right across the label’s practically unparalleled catalogue from A-Z
Closely affiliated with the London-based label since the early daze of 2009, Cornish himself has issued two tapes on the main label and a handful on its sublabel Vantiy Productions, placing him in good stead to fathom its rarified and far-flung missives from the fringes of avant-garde, experimental composition.
The mix is suitably, sensitively arranged from fragments of some 26 works from Laura Agnusdei thru to Ziúr x Chateau Laut, taking in the concrète spectres of Howlround, Jay Glass Dubs’ echo-chamber inversions, the singular computer music of NYZ, and Dale’s own fractured rhythms during a gently but potently mind-bending trip.
Liminal, hypnagogic cold wave from the edgelands of London, marking up a strong new addition to The Tapeworm
For their 2nd long format trip as Middex, following tapes and 7”s for Polytechnic Youth and Makina Books, the drolly enigmatic protagonist conveys a sense of life spent under low flying planes, “where runways and canals are false exits” in a four-square set of barely-there songs which also come radically reframed by Oblex, aka the chimeric hybrid of Lindsay Corstorphine’s Oblate and Middex.
The original are drily puckered observations on the mundanity of suburban sprawl and about the periphery’s relationship to the centre, with Middex’s vox placed elusively in-the-mix against endless 2-storey drones and electronic metaphors for the meridian phosphorescence of the city at night.
On the B-side the Oblex versions short circuit the connection between edge and core, smudging out the vocals and a sense of self, dematerialise the songs in a more cryptic series of transmissions recalling the stubbed and nubby sound of Thought Broadcast or The Stomach on L.I.E.S. This is exactly the kind of weirdness tapes are ideal for.
Cherry-picking junglist DJ Persuasion shifts to 96-97 with killer results in the latest instalment of his studious mixtape series.
Chasing up volumes for Tape Echo and Id Mud in the last 12 months, the specialist DJ locks his crosshair on jungle’s transition into a colder, technoid form of hard-stepping D&B thru a ruck of classic and lesser known - but no less deadly - cuts from some of the scene’s vital architects and players.
The tracklist shall remain a mystery until you’ve got the tape in your machine, but we can confirm this is some prime top shelf business, caught in flux between gnashing amens, 2-step rollcages and darkside licks of jazz and sci-fi techno pads in a way that triggers our muscle memory like few other styles, casting these ears right back to early ‘00s warehouse raves in Manchester where this sound was still in effect.
The coldest rush. Highly recommended!
Ooooosh! Pirate radio recordings made in Bristol between the late ‘80s to early ‘00s - the latest tape from Death Is Not The End, issued as part of the cherry-picked Blowing Up The Workshop series. It's a fucking goodun..
Celebrated for their archival dives into historic musical blindspots of the past 100 years, Death Is Not The End this time focus closer to home (and within our lifetimes) with what they describe as "A trip across the frequencies of Bristol's pirate radio stations via cut-ups of broadcasts, taken from the late 1980s to the early 2000s ~ also a love-letter to my childhood, an audio document of the years I spent growing up in the city.”
Traversing the dial from raucous soundclash recordings to Blues Dance soul, and taking in mighty blasts of jungle, wafts of warbling Indian music, and, of course, a f*ckload of dub and dancehall, its all spliced with a mix of heartrendingly sweet and hilarious radio phone ins and jingles = supremely heavy vibes.
Jon K furnishes TTT with an exemplary, feature-length double mixtape five years on from his cherished ‘Loukanikos dance’ selection for Reel Torque. Trust us, gems galore on this one.
Doubling down on length and layering, Jon wraps up a huge haul of cuts with his usual sleight-of-hand, meaning we’re often lost for where one track finishes and the next begins. The notion of the elusive “3rd track” is fully in place as his blends add up to greater than the sum of their parts, most of which will no doubt remain a total, unshazzamable mystery.
Tracing lines from Afrobeat to punk, proto-hardcore to ambient, EBM into classic Dutch techno, ritual Indonesian percussion to beatless rollers and maaad industrial 2-step drone, it’s all there and more besides; simultaneously showing off Jon’s vast record collection and his nous of how to put it all together in a completely singular style.
Trust these will fly out. Quick clickers = winners.
The ears behind the brilliant Sham Palace and some of Sublime Frequencies’ greatest, Mark Gergis cues up a totally absorbing travelogue from the Middle East to South East Asia for Discrepant, who previously hosted his very witty Porest album.
“Mark Gergis aka Porest returns with a collection of 20 years old locational recordings, radio and TV intercepts, cassette excerpts, environments and street music all expertly all expertly meshed up into a vivid sound journey from places that were (and might) never be again.
Mark Gergis is a producer, musician and audiovisual archivist known for his radio and video productions, recordings and performances. His work has focused on regional folk-pop music from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, including choubi and dabke from Iraq and Syria. As an archivist, Gergis is currently working on the project Syrian Cassette Archives, for which he aims to restore, preserve, catalogue and share his large collection of Syrian media from what can be called Syria’s ‘cassette era’ (1970s–2010). As an artist, under his name and others (Porest) he has released music on Sublime Frequencies, Discrepant and Nashazphone to name just a few. It’s a wonder that amongst this hectic schedule he still finds time to present us with a new (old) collection of early century recordings (1999-2013).”
A collection of brand-new analogue recreations of songs from throughout Yann Tiersen’s career - 25 tracks including 3 new songs. Recorded in Yann’s home studio in Ushant with an array of collaborators: John Grant, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), Blonde Redhead and Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O)))
"All vinyl editions are packaged with an exclusive 7” single including alternative versions of ‘Comptine d’Un Autre Été (L’ Après-Midi)’ from the Amelie From Montmartre soundtrack and the title track from his debut album, Waltz of the Monsters. These versions are exclusive to the vinyl and not available anywhere else."
’American Flesh For Violence’ is the first major Vatican Shadow volley since 2016 (not including his one-off for Amazon) and comes steeled with exclusive remixes by Alessandro Cortini, Ancient Methods, JK Flesh, and CUB (Regis & Mønic)
Revolving all previously unreleased material, the set arrives in the midst of an ongoing reissue campaign for early, hard-to-find VS tape releases, with a range of prime, original material produced over the past decade. Of these, a handful really standout in the vein of classic VS material, namely the slow, opiated fatigue of ‘Inherit The Ruins’ and the bunkered tension of ‘They Always Fight The Last War’ on a beat-less tip, and the swivelling crunch of ‘Desert Father (Return To Desert Storm)’ and the Muslimgauze-like deep stepper ‘Peace Means Violence’.
The remixers also keep their end up with highlights in Ancient Methods’ martial techno trample over ‘Take Vows’ and the eviscerated, Dabke-like rhythms of CUB’s 14 minute take on ‘Jordanian Descent (Sharia Law)’, while JK Flesh brawls with ‘The House Of Followers’ in a slugging slow techno style and Cortini knuckles ‘Unknown To The Peacock The Serpent and Scorpion Conspire’ into bittersweet submission.
The first Turkish rap tape we’ve ever stocked charts the era before Turkey’s first ever rap crew, Cartel thru a mixtape collage of cuts circa 1986-1995, from sehtar-driven neck snappers to 808-powered electro, comedy raps and microtonal G-Funk licks.
“German/Turkish band Cartel’s self-titled debut album (1995), set the standards for Turkish rap, both in terms of production and lyrical content. This mixtape compiles rap music that came out before Cartel’s debut which are mostly studio projects. Lyrically this period is the era of covers & comedy rap. Topics include daily matters, politics, school, urban life and rapid changes in culture. Previously released as a short online mixtape, now finalised for Sucata Tapes as an hour long set with more tracks from the era.”
Manny dance dynamo Anz shells 20 of her in-demand grime/garage/jungle/juke dubs in a special tape edition for Finn’s 2 B Real
Cooked up circa the release of Anz’ wicked ‘Invitation 2 Dance’ EP in spring 2019, the session is testament to the pivotal DJ/producer’s rudegyal style snd energy, constantly switching up/down from bumping broken beats thru sparking 2-step electro, mutant ‘ardcore, bullish Bassline and nitro-injected Ghettotech. Properly primed for party season, the mix also serves as a warning shot for Anz’ upcoming manoeuvres with a Shaolin-level order of DJs set to dominate Manchester’s club life in 2020. More on that in due course.
End to end the mix is pure fire and pieced together with the skills that have earned Anz a deadly reputation over the past few years, as heard in her B2B sets with everyone from Finn and Tom Boogizm to DJ Q. The first side sees her limber up with a relatively slower slew of garage, broken beat and grime mutations with one foot in the ‘90s and the other in 2019, before she keeps toeing the gas to take in her special brand of R&G blends alongside Reese-powered proto-grime and a hot-footing Vince Staples edit, and eventually cutting the fuck loose with nutty mentasms, coiled jungle and an unmissable juke flip of Ella Mai.
Of course you trust us, but if not - 10K listens and 100 commenters on Anz’ soundcloud for ‘Spring/Summer Dubs 2019’ surely proves that this mix has got legs. It’s only her 2nd physical release, too, and thus a perfect stocking filler for your favourite raver (along with a few cinnamon-flavour Garys and a reusable Evian bottle).
Nyege Nyege Tapes kick off a crucial mix series with The Modern Institute’s blinding, 20-track razz; pelting thru unreleased collabs and remixes with Jay Mitta, Sisso and Errorsmith, along with 9 cuts to download individually.
In the two weeks after the 2018 edition of Nyege Nyege Festival, Tanzanian Singeli stars Jay Mitta and Sisso spent a lot of time hanging out and recording with The Modern Institute, Errorsmith and the extended Nyege Nyege family at their Villa HQ in Kampala, Uganda. The Modern Institute’s mixtape celebrates this period of unbounded creative energy, selecting and weaving together 20 highlights from some 50+ hybrids of Singeli with Soca, Makina and hardcore electronic dance music.
Across their frenetic 56 minute mix The Modern Institute offer an experience as close as you’ll get to the festival’s energy without actually touching down on the Equator. Documenting a totally unprecedented period of creative fusion, they rattle thru 20 tracks with an appropriately sense of unsigned joy, careening thru myriad strains of quicksilver drums and and hotfooting rhythms in a way that will light up any party of open-minded and up for it dancers, especially those with a thing for new electronic dance music from Africa.
The nine individual tracks form additional tools for the DJs. Errorsmith and Jay Mitta supply a huge highlight with the barrelling momentum of ‘Jam For Sisso’, while The Modern Institute also turn out the radical helter skelter pelt of ‘200 edit’ alongside seven groundbreaking collaborations with Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s Jay Mita and Sisso, including stellar zingers in TMI & Mitta’s mental ‘Rave Remix Final’ and the lightspeed syncopation of ‘Drill Remix’, plus the percolated step and tight, funky vamps of their jam with Sisso, ‘Biti 5 Sisso buildup’.
‘Early Works Pt. II’ lays out a hypnotic session of perceptive drone insights from our pal and erstwhile colleague Jo Montgomerie
Arriving not long after we watched her at The White Hotel in support of Sarah Davachi, Jo’s 2nd tape for nor’easterly english label Industrial Coast feels akin to being slowly immured in sand, gravel, and cement.
In five movements Jo patiently comes to dominate internal and external senses with finely graded layers of concrète viscera that settle and build with a natural, elemental logic only occasionally belied by evidence of human touch. It’s best to see Jo’s role in the music’s silty arrangement or de/composition as a liminal dark interpreter between the “real” world of field recordings and skin on plastic haptics, and the un- or lesser-known dimensions of negative energy and entropy.
Fans of Kevin Drumm need apply.
‘Behold Killers’ sees Pakistan-born Portlander Ilyas Ahmed return with an engrossing new full-length for the Geographic North label after a series of standout releases for Root Strata, Digitalis, MIE and Immune, as well as his work as a member of Grails and collaborations with Liz Harris (Grouper), Matt Carlson & Jonathan Sielaff of Golden Retriever, among others. Described by the label as "an aural yarn explicitly woven for the trodden…”, this beautiful new work extends from a somnolent flow of fingerpicking into more abstracted terrain, now and again offset by Ahmed’s quiet falsetto - highly recommended to followers of John Fahey, Sonic Youth’s extended b-sides, Talk Talk, Loren Connors and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma...
"Since embarking on an enchantingly forlorn run of musical activity, Ilyas Ahmed has remained incredibly active both as a visual artist and an incredibly versatile musician. 'Behold Killers’ is perhaps his most alluring and distantly seething work to date.
"Pass No Jazz" unfurls its tattered but tranquil tapestry over the entire A-side, tracing each step with unhurried care and curious composure. "Metal Freedom" leads the B-side in a synth-laden cloud of shimmering tragedy and seething hope. "Mad Love" dials things down for a modest symphony of gritted minimalism and soot-covered, negative space. Closing piece "Wild Violet" shimmers in a desolate dance of eerie weightlessness and wretched resolve. Best consumed in the dead of night or frosted isolation…”
Like an update of Lovely Music Ltd.’s avant-pop, NYC/Baltimore’s Sunatirene scratches a restless ambient dance pop itch with ‘Queen Sound’, her sweetly trippy debut for Berlin’s She Rocks! label
Gently bugged-out electronics and glistening melodies meet charmingly straight-played, naturally folksy vocals in 12 songs written and produced by Sydney Spann aka Sunatirene. Breezy with the sort of prevailing, psychedelic shimmer of early Julia Holter or Ka Baird, but also as elegantly loose as Maria Minerva’s slinky dance-pop or Laurel Halo’s imaginary hyperprisms, ‘Queen Sound’ yields a highly visual collection of arrangements and surreal scenarios linked by the “whetted femininity” of Sunatirene’s vocals and her absorbing, theatrically-set palette of samples and original, synthetic touches.
Opening with the Coil-like baroque whimsy of ‘Welcome To The Amber Inside Me’, her touch for textured, colourful synthesis really becomes apparent with the poetic sashay of ‘Knock Knock’, while ’Stay Safer Sister’ casts a mystic spell that appears to update Lovely Music-style avant-pop for her generation. ‘Tucked away at its core, big highlight ‘Cecily’ supplies a clear indication of her dancefloor suss with clipped, swinging Latin rhythms rendered with chirruping, pointillist avian melody, while ‘A rare Sound’ shuffles that formula to slower tempo with highly lysergic results, and the unsettlingly bittersweet balm of ‘Muttering, Fairly Dare’ follows in that vein with a mix of bleepy froth offset by whinnies and gurgling babies that half bucolic, half trippy, and ‘What Do I Know’ wraps up with twanging, discordant strings recalling Teresa Winter’s febrile, psilocybic dreams.
Drawing parallels between present day Britain and that of the turn of the 80s, Ekoplekz looks back to that era's industrial and post-punk soundtrack for inspiration.
"In a land increasingly brutalized by austerity and divided by nationalism, the tensions that informed some of the post-punk era's most important works (Red Mecca, Unknown Pleasures, Metal Box) haunt this collection of bleak postcards from the present. Recorded quickly on cassette tape recorders, combining live instrumentation (guitar, bass, keyboards) with programmed drum machine and sequencer, the album has a raw, spontaneous edge, drawing on elements of dub, funk and primitive electronics for musical direction. The album is dedicated to the late Mark Fisher, who's brilliantly insightful writing is sorely missed while trying to make sense of these insane times."
Nahawa Doumbia is one of Mali's defining vocalists of the last four decades. Her work journeys through progressive stages of musical evolution and sonic vogues, making it hard to summarize or even comprehend. She's played a part in popular music since the late '70s, as her version of Wassoulou music developed from vocals-and-guitar duo into full-scale touring bands packing a bombastic, electrified punch.
"As Doumbia puts it, "My music has changed multiple times to this day…The more I progressed in my musical career, the more instruments I have had accompany my songs." Awesome Tapes From Africa will release Doumbia's debut recording La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 1 this August, building on the success of the label's first-ever reissue back in 2011, Doumbia's La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3. This seminal classic, which is still sought-after in Mali today, will finally be available for the first time internationally with remastered audio on LP, CD, Tape and Digital formats. The recording looks back to the beginning of Doumbia's long career, when she was performing in a simple voice and acoustic guitar format. This was before she added bass and drums, and finally the electric guitar and synths for which she became known more recently. Released in 1981 by the excellent Côte d’Ivoire-based AS Records, the singer was barely 20 years old when it was recorded.
She was accompanied by her future husband N'Gou Bagayoko on acoustic guitar, whose style echoes the nimble runs of traditional kamele n'goni players. The stark simplicity of this highly intimate recording-the audible room acoustics, the occasionally in-the-red vocals-do not obscure the mature strength of her voice. On Vol 1 Doumbia performs her songs with the tenacity and hunger of a young artist on the cusp."When I think about it, first, I am reminded of how long ago it was. It’s one of the albums that I love most because it reminds me of my youth. I was so young and my voice was light and joyful. I still listen to some of those songs today. I am really proud of that first album because that’s where it all began.
It shows me how far I’ve come in my personal and artistic life; it gives me the courage I need to keep going forward, and makes me appreciate all the years of dedication and hard work I put into my musical career."These early songs are rhythmically built around Bagayoko's sensitive guitar, as his fingers brush the fretboard and gently outline the melodies. Although this record predates the singer’s use of percussion, the driving skeletal didadi rhythm is apparent in the songs. Later albums like Vol 3 further prioritize her hometown didadi beat and the result made her famous."
Gauzy, low-key, organically textured dub and wizened folk explorations from Thomas Shrubsole, reviving his Sub Loam alias with two ‘Excavated Relics’ from the archive circa 2009-2010.
The A-side’s Soil Surface’ speaks to Shrubsole’s signature grasp of slow-moving sonic murk with nearly 10 minutes of endearingly weary dub chords perfused with acidic percolations that appear to mimic a sped-up (but still very slow) time-lapse image of soil dynamics, while the other side’s 11 minute piece ’Stone Fragment’ catches him picking out coruscating guitar strings and against peripheral percussion and distant vocal droens in a style murkily resonating with the mystic appeal of Zoviet France. Both are assuredly swaddled in layers of ferric tape hiss. Both humbly worth your time.
Mosca unbuckles the dancehall thru a wicked modular prism on his shockout debut for Fluf
One of the UK’s unique dancefloor experimenters since his tempo shifting debut for Nightslugs in 2010, Mosca really pushes the envelope of his sound in mad ways with ‘Touchie Riddim’, seemingly spinning the dance in a haywire gyroscope to the nuttiest ends.
If The Sprawl and Tapes hotbed the studio, the result may sound a bit like the decimated Pt.1, while Pt. 2 sound like Russell Haswell going in with Joachim Nordwall as The iDEALIST, Pt. 3 resonates like a Chernobyl bashment, and Pt. 4 attempts to scrape out both your bassbins and your skull.
‘Count Zero’ is a fine album of Burial worship from Greek producer Spyridon Katagas aka SKRU
Not just another piece of apocryphal “future garage”, the 13 tracks of ‘Count Zero’ are clearly tattooed with the Burial’s influence, but classily so, finding the right balance of unquantised 2-step swing and parry with dramatic arrangements drawing from cinematic atmospheres as much as vintage ‘90s UK dance tropes.
Best Available Technology's beloved style of degraded hardware craft inhabits the latest tape from Bristol’s Plaque label
Filtered from the past decade of hands-on hardware action, ‘Old Haunts’ speaks to the amorphous diversity of Portland, OR’s Kevin Palmer aka Best Available Technology’s style, finding his range between spats of murky dub diffraction, disembodied abstraction, and gutted brukbeats on this follow-up to his ‘Enginetics & Plasmalterations’ LP for Glasgow 12th Isle and previous outings with No Corner, Astro:Dynamics and Opal Tapes.
For those who like it loose and scrappy in the most charming way, BAT delivers with bubbling, low key dancefloor moments such as ‘Pstimulation’ and the claggy swang of ‘Heavy Velvet’ woven into a ruggedly textured body of vibes that flops and staggers like a handbuilt cyborg, variously taking in moments of perplexed contemplation in the ambient balm of ‘Zen Resonator’, and the burned-out ‘Crimson Dew’, plus his signature grasp of knackered, collapsing rhythms in ‘Exoskeleta’ and the sleepwalking ambient techno of ‘Bone 2 Brick.’
‘No Sleep ’Til Avon’ surveys Bristol’s rabid underbelly in 2019 with 21 tracks of puckishly expressive noise and harsh rhythms from veterans and new lambs alike.
Roughly rooted in strains of dub as much as industrial musick, the set is a bloodied representation of the wild energy contained between pub back-rooms, semi-legit venues and sweaty clubs in the capital of Avon.
Displaying strength in numbers and shared vision, the music is most often spoiling for a brawl, or at least gnashing with an abrasive quality that says comes test at your own risk. Trust there’s little time for trip hop wallowing or dubwise dogma as each unit delivers with a mutant, anarchistic aversion to rote style or trend.
If we’re playing favourites, the bombed-out EBM crank of Narcissist Holocaust is right up there with the churning swell of ‘Cult Leader’ by Fever 103º, a howling hardcore battering ram by Missterspoon, plus the razing gabber weaponry of Neurosyphilis Spasmodic Duo, or the Moor Mother-esque intensity of Harrga, in terms of properly upfront gear. But that would be to neglect it’s broader purpose, serving a wide-angled look at the scene that also take in oblique, harder-to-categorise aces in the likes of label commander Kinlaw’s industrial mutant ‘Marine Squad Deploy’, the dry convulsions of Ekoplekz, and incendiary blatz such as Salac’s ‘The Poison’, while Dead Space Chamber Music nod to heavy industrial psych, and Child touches on burned-out shoegaze.
‘Meme Booth’ is a 100% must-check volley of algorithmic dance trax from Kindohm, returning as Conditional’s secret weapon with a tape follow-up to his 2016 vinyl LP - both big looks for fans of Rian Treanor, Gábor Lázár, Mark Fell, Beatrice Dillon, Rennick Bell!
Bossing our reflexes right now, ‘Meme Booth’ is a keenly playful taste of the future from internet recluse and Minnesota, USA resident Mike Hodnick aka Kindohm. Bending up-to-the-second dembow and footwork patterns with live-coding techniques and the TidalCycles environment (Haskell) in ten short, sharp, shocks, he’s arrived at some of the most thrillingly angular electronic music we’ve heard in years.
Despite the fact that he’s got some dozen releases to his name since 2013, ‘Meme Booth’ will be a memorable first introduction to Kindohm for many. As with his tapes and digi drops such as ’16s ‘RISC Chip’ for Conditional and last year’s ‘Decera’ C40 with Always Human Tapes, his new volley proves at every angle a real knack for distilling and advancing dance music dynamics into urgent and absorbing arrangements.
Animating your body like a fleshy puppet, he shoots from the hip with taser-like prods that aim to keep you on the ‘floor, not send you fleeing. His balance of sheer drive in the pointillist electro stings of ‘Disconnecting is an Act of Rebellion’, the laser-whipsmart lash of ‘Articulator’, and the full frontal footwork missiles such as ‘Meme Booth’ are thrillingly upfront, but also held in check with more romantic sci-fi strands of futurism in the lushly user-friendly trance pads on ‘Flexbox’ and ‘This Can’t Be It’, or The Sprawl-esque tonal morph of ‘Unfollowed Silence’ which even the balance and make this such a brilliant little album.
For The Tapeworm’s 10th anniversary batch Jay Glass Dubs commits a lush suite of dubbed-out sampledelia in a totally enchanted style nodding to his heroes Spacemen 3 and others.
Across 40 minutes of tape Jay filters samples of himself (lol), plus everyone from Costis Drygiannakis to Steely Dan, Laurie Anderson, Suicide, Duran Duran, ELO, Arlo Guthrie and Robert Wyatt into a free floating flux of voices percolated in elegant polka dub rhythms.
It’s intoxicating stuff, with Laurie Anderson providing a hiccuping motif that carries the A-side’s Wolfgang Voigt and Spacemen 3-styled cosmic saunter, while the B-side steps on the gas slightly to ride a dusty, cantering drum machine rhythm with scuffed, psychoactive electronics and swaying choral vocals that unfold with a deeply druggy, raga-like quality. It’s heavily gratifying to hear Jay Glass Dubs really grasp the potential of the long format with both hands here.
The amniotic grit of ‘Tough Cunt’ is one of Louis Johnstone aka The Hers’ (aka Wanda Group) most curious early releases, originally transmitted back in 2012 on a small-run tape release and now given new life on the excellent Death Is Not The End label for the first time on vinyl. Committed during his golden early phase that also generated ‘Piss Fell Out Like Sunlight’ and ‘My Grandad Never Died On A Boat In Russia And His Brother Not On Land In North Africa’, the 13 tracks of ‘Tough Cunt’ convey an uneasy, solitary state of mind held in atmospheric suspense between layers of peeling, lo-fi field recordings, tape loops and live, playthru performance mulched in a hypnagogic flux.
Like a slippery cyborgian cousin to Graham Lambkin and The Caretaker, or even Gas and Jan Jelinek, Louis operates on the liminal edge of familiarity with a rough grasp of (de)composition applied to arrangements that appear to drift in and out of consciousness, connoting the effect of a memory blipping from daily sensory overload and struggling to fill in the cracks with warm flushes of skull-scraped endorphins.
It’s pretty hard to argue with Louis’ techniques of seduction. From the Gas-like swell and the crepuscular creep of the first parts, he gets right under the skin and stays there, pulling into the golden glow of ‘Super 32’, keening to the stately drift of ’92 Inside an Escort’ and getting it right on the nose with his transition from the olfactory synaesthesic timbre of ‘Everyone Gets Everything he Wants’ into heavy Lynchian clag on ‘You Will Not Remove Shit’ in a way that beggars the question; why the fuck has he not been commissioned for a film soundtrack by now?
Cascading, pointillist, and bittersweet 12 string finger picking. Served warm, intimate and lowlit thru Slip
'Dawning On' is Australian, Berlin-based guitarist Julia Reidy’s Slip debut: a razor-sharp précis of pent-up, blazing melancholy on a lone 12-string guitar. Reidy’s playing is lucid and poised, teasing out elegant inflections from half-melodies, rugged strums, and curious tunings. Her compositions are lingering streams: barely-shackled attacks give way to introspective arpeggiations before resurging again, all spurred on by a yearning, nervous energy.
With the album’s single-track A-side clocking in at just under half-an-hour, this is by some measure Julia’s most comprehensive solo statement to date, and a luxurious listen which revels in the 12-string’s generous resonance. For our money, it’s up there with the finest work of her fellow Aussies The Necks, Anthony Pateras, and Jon Rose.
‘Art of Magic’ is Paper Dollhouse’s commission for the Folklore Tapes and The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic present… Art Of Magic Exhibition at The Horse Hospital London, Saturday 28 July, 2018
Droning, washed-out H-pop tropes suffuse the A-side’s ‘Folklore Tapes Live in London’ with a hazy state of mind emphasised by detached, fuzzy vocals and the distant screams of applause or protest (we’re not sure which) that give way to Astrid Steehouder aka Paper Dollhouse’s more typical, ghostly urges and eventually a bout of choral pads layered into eerie harmonic cadence. The B-side is a studio-based version of the first piece. Really good stuff...
Y is the highly influential and innovative debut album by The Pop Group, released in 1979. In the same year The Pop Group released their single She is Beyond Good & Evil / 3:38.
"The band went on to release 2 further singles, We Are All Prostitutes and Where There Is A Will (Split single with the Slits) and 1 further studio album For How Much Do We Tolerate Mass Murder, before splitting up in 1981.
Frontman, Mark Stewart embarked on a solo career releasing his pioneering album Learning To Live With Cowardice in 1983. Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith went on to form Rip Rig & Panic alongside Neneh Cherry."
Crest-swelling, crepuscular synth-pop with a strong hint of IDIB-esque ‘80s nostalgia - great stuff once again from Geographic North.
“Sandy is a Brooklyn-based trio comprised of Samantha Pathe (synths/vocals), Stephen Pathe (drum machines/samples), and Jeff Carter (synths/vocals). The trio arose from the devastation wrecked by Hurricane Sandy throughout the Jersey Shore in 2012. After the storm destroyed the house Jeff was living in and left him stranded, Stephen offered Jeff a room in his Manasquan, NJ house. Under the same roof, under unfortunate circumstances, the pair naturally started playing music together. They soon brought in Stephen’s sister Samantha to play and write music with them and Sandy – the band – was born.
Traces – the group’s first release since its self-titled debut on Night People in 2014 – is a work of duality. The band’s layered synths and beats build a richly woven tapestry of seemingly disparate and opposing forces that forge new ground in electronic music. The songs are both ambient and anthemic. And yet, they are anthems with restraint, always pulling back just before entirely breaking through the carefully composed tension. The lyrics are both mournful and hopeful, a binary that is embodied in the music itself.
Dreamy, overlapping synth parts wash over you while the songs take twists and turns that command your attention and get your foot tapping, if not your body moving. Specters and spirits abound, as drums appear and later disappear out of nowhere like an apparition, and haunting synth lines sound like they’ve been ripped out of a score to an eerie sci-fi film of your imagination. By Traces’ end, you feel like you’ve experienced something – something cohesive and whole, carefully built within the fabric of these four songs, as if Sandy has told the story they wanted to tell in the amount of time it took to tell it.”