oh my dayz this is unreal, keeling levels of radio and rave nostalgia with a cherry-picked volley of adverts from London pirate radio 1984-1993 somewhere between Mark Leckey’s Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, Lee Gamble's 'Diversions' and Sublime Frequencies’ best radio surveys, except focussed much closer to home to capture an era that now seems like an entirely alternate reality.
Scanning the airwaves of a golden era in London history between 1984-1993 when dancehall soundsystem culture fostered the early stirrings and full rush of hardcore, Death Is Not The End turn their beady ear to one of the epicentres of UK rave music with stacks of raggo vignettes advertising everything from Greek salons to school reunions, video shops, datelines, drug helplines, and dances, each set to backdrops of contemporaneous club, rare groove, jungle and house.
As much as anything, the set speaks to London’s inimitable, cultural variegation, charting the myriad voices and flavours that make up the city’s stylistic mosaic, and would go on to deeply inform British pop and dance culture for decades to come. It’s as thrilling as Sublime Frequencies’ best radio surveys, but with an extra layer of familiarity for UK listeners, not just those who lived thru that era, but anyone who had the radio crackling as ambient wallpaper during that era. Unfortunately I can only recall RTE or jingles for South Cleveland Garages on radio from this era in our gaff, but if you allow for some vicarious nostalgia, this tape documents a rich slice of the collective cultural memory that we’ve all come to share.
Skin up, kick back with a killer 90 minute mixtape collage culled from the archives of DJ Stryda, a bastion of Bristolian dub - a big look for fans of Death Is Not The End's pirate radio tapes!
Stringing together a mosaic of chat, tunes, and radio jingles from the airwaves circa 1994, the results are a properly intoxicating dose of nostalgia for another place and time, throwing back to an era when it felt like everyone had a radio playing drowsily somewhere in the house, the street, from cars passing by.
The results clearly resonate with the pearls dug out by Death Is Not The End, and obviously with their Bristol Pirates session. But, where those sets were produced post fact, this tape was recorded, pause-button style, back in the day for sharing between pals, and was only recently discovered during a chance loft-digging session by Stryda, who has been a long-standing pirate radio veteran since the late ‘90s with his Sufferah’s Choice show.
Now dusted down and given a lick of TLC at Dubkasm’s studio, the tape is presented as is, sans edits or fuss, and ready to be prized by anyone in need of a vibe. All of us, basically.
Bursting at the seams with 31 exclusive and previously unreleased works by Félicia Atkinson, Fennesz, Malibu, Christina Vantzou, Takagi Masakatsu, JAB, Oliver Coates, Zelienople, Meitei, Clarice Jensen, Mary Lattimore, Alex Zhang Hungtai, iIlyas Ahmed, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Louise Bock and many others, consider ‘A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions’ your home listening class of 2021 group portrait.
Spanning over two hours across two cassettes, 'A Little Night Music…’ unfurls itself in a literary horror structure, appearing and disappearing through a stirring Prologue and Epilogue by London-based cellist Oliver Coates, with each side of the cassettes introducing its Chapter with a chilling dirge courtesy of the inscrutable Geographic North House Band. Taking the pulse of offbeat ambient, avant-classical and cranky modern composition 2 years after their smart ‘Don’t Look Now’ compilation, Geographic North’s latest one goes deeper and further with a broader selection of label regulars and names both new and familiar.
Oliver Coates and the Geographic North House Band are prominent, with the former providing poetic prologue and epilogues, and the latter marking the chapters with beautifully sore synth vignettes, while the main body invites the romantic ambient pop sentiments of Malibu, Meitei, Félicia Atkinson, and a must check head-ringer from Alex Zhang-Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Trouble), plus scuzzed Viennese grandiosty from Fennesz, all sequenced with highlights of their label catalogue such as cellist Louise Bock’s furrowed ‘Flummox’, a sort of wintry string mirage from Clarice Jensen, and the gently weeping guitar of Ilyas Ahmed.
Lilting, melodic Malian pop by one of the most popular singers from Wassalou region, highly regarded for producing some of the best signers in Mali
"The meaning of “Kanawa” is so simple. We see our children trying to cross the ocean all the time. I said that many of our children die in the ocean and some of them while crossing the Sahara. Some climb over the wires across the borders and they have gotten shot. We have asked them not to leave and instead stay home. But I ask them why do they leave their country? Why do they decide to go? They said that they leave because of the family situation or problems, poverty, and unemployment. We told them if ever they are to leave, they should privilege legal ways.
They should abide by laws vigorously when they are to emigrate. That’s better than hiding in boats or adopting other illegal means. I ask them to stay and work in their country. So that we can help each other find a solution to this problem. I call on the UN and African leaders so that we can coordinate our efforts to find a solution, to create jobs for them so that young people stop leaving. This song is about that message and I chose it as the title of my album because I like it. My choice is because it is very meaningful and it is something we see on a daily basis. I chose it in order to alert and sensitize everybody about this question of illegal immigration. To sensitize our brothers and sisters. It is a message. That’s why I chose it as the title of my album so that everybody can learn from it and also so that there is a reduction in the number of people emigrating. To sensitize them so that some can stay home and grow the land. Leaving is not the only solution. That’s my message."
Covert operations from some v. notable figures/producers/artists working under the cover of anonymity (for now), following a banner year for Manchester’s YOUTH after doozies from Sockethead, Dijit, Kassem Mosse and many more in 2020 - highly recommended if yr into Mica Levi, John T. Gast, FKA Twigs, The Dead C, Derek Bailey.
Remer Cier is quite a proposition; hustling a roll call spanning figures from the very pinnacle of experimental, contemporary pop, R&B, new age rave, cinema and TV, and spearheaded by one of the most notable A&R/producers of the last decade, the group speaks to a shared political leaning, which is disseminated literally by samples of Bajan PM, Mia Mottley; Steve Biko (as played by Denzel); and Trevor Noah.
Over the past few years, the project has evolved from a thought bubble into reality during lockdown, taking inspiration from London’s fecund, familial jazz and avant-improv scene to sketch out a witted stream-of-consciousness take on pressing issues, ranging from immigration, post-colonialism and racism to Covid-19, and inarguably lands at a critical point as the conscious world reassesses, well, practically everything.
‘Le Dernier Discours du Trône’ on the A side sees Bajan PM Mia Mottley’s cool-headed praise of her nation’s response to the 2020 pandemic layered over an array of prickling and languid strings that appear to channel Company via Miles Davis and The Dead C, creating an uneasy sense of tension with no real relief. On the flip ‘La Tonalité et La Teneur’ they lean in heavier and swaggering, with yanked strings, buzzing microtonal synths and a crispy drum machine underlying barbs of wisdom from Trevor Noah, who asks what white westerners would do without the food n spice immigrants brought with them, taking aim at historic atrocities carried out by the divs of the British empire, effectively still carried out in the dog-whistle politics of the Tories, and by the big ol’ Flump on the other side of the Atlantic.
Teresa Winter lays her soul bare on an incredible new set of raving, UK dubwise styles to rudely and beautifully recommence our Documenting Sound series, bridging some imaginary gap between Maria Minerva, Saint Etienne and Chain Reaction’s Hallucinator.
The half hour / six songs of ’Love Crime’ were recorded by Teresa during the first month of the 2020 lockdown in her bedroom at home on “the ridge” in Woodhouse, Leeds. Typically hand-built with her array of knackered boxes and secretive 4-track tape tekkers, and trading in some of her lushest vox, the album also belies Teresa’s newfound influence from classic dub spirits - as inspired by Edward George’s brilliant podcast series on ‘The Strangeness of Dub’ - which are evident in her judicious application of bass and FX, and quite literally firmed up in her outstanding cover of The Skatalites and Margarita Mahfood’s ‘Woman A Come.’
The recordings palpably pine for better times, distilling romantic and raving urges in Teresa’s patented style of lo-fi electronic mystique. But, as with all her work, any sense of beguiling breeziness is surely counterweighted by more pressing themes of Feminism and proper, feminine pressure. From the temporal melt of her instrumental opener, Teresa appears at her most honest and upfront throughout; meditating on new relationships over proto-jungle styles in her title song and the quietly devastating slowness of ‘It Isn’t My Game’, while her take on ‘Woman A Come’ is intended as prayer of solidarity for victims of domestic abuse (the song’s writer, one of reggae’s first female artists, Anita “Margarita” Mahfood was murdered by her husband, Don Drummond of The Skatalites.). Yet, for levity, the dream ‘ardcore of ‘M-O-E-T’ and the bittersweet ruggedness of ‘fn’ serve to cast more positive spells for a world in psychic distress.
Promesses player Apulati Bien transmutes iPhone sketches made on Parisian trains into natty bass trax starring Haitian MCDomoreless Zoekila, and Mexico’s Vica Paheco
Following directly from his 2017 album ‘OO:NÉ’, the original sketches for ‘RER Tracks’ were made on the titular train that same year, and polished up more recently at his current residence in Brussels. They feel immersed in the transitory madness of daily life in a big city, and yet detached from it, like a fever dream recollection of the olde world.
The deft collage of opener ‘Zaco’ portrays a sort of waking dream state, with scurrying melodies and vaporous flattering evoking the feeling of going with the early morning rush hour flow, into the reverberant dimensions of ‘Garedunord’, and an ace ambient dembow parry with Vica Pacheco in ‘Ouest.’ The EP’s other vocal cut ‘Oz’ is a major highlight, chopping Haiti’s Damoreless Zoekila into something like a wonky Slikback workout that shares a needling, dissonant oddness with ‘Fon du quai’ that feels very 2020.
Immersive experiments in synthetic tonal colour, space and rhythm from Italy’s Sebastiano Carghini, arriving as the 2nd in the EN X PL series minted by Nick Klein’s Psychic Liberation and Maine’s Enmossed imprint.
Working shades away from the likes of Giuseppe Ielasi and Nicola Ratti’s solo and Bellows projects, Carghini explores the sonic semantics and sentiments of blue-ness in a fine tradition of artists “engaging a word that is never just a word, the color that’s never merely a color.” Caraghini’s efforts have previously appeared on the likes of the ace Second Sleep and New York Haunted in recent years, and this one follows aesthetic suit; using a stripped down palette of tape loops of old studio hardware fed thru multiple tape decks and FX, to locate an uncertain ferric mid-ground where the sounds take on a quietly unpredictable life of their own.
Over the eight tracks of ‘Blue’ Caraghini diffracts the idea of blueness into myriad connotations. The lower case nuance of ‘Ice Stream’ suggests a sensation of ice-forming, and ‘Impromptu Temper’ explores a more agitated sort of blue-as-grumpiness, contrasting neatly with the contemplative conception of ‘Emotional Part’. ‘Daydream Loopy’ is perhaps closest to the absorbing, between-worlds fissures explored by Bellows, and there’s a clearly jazzy sort of blueness to the set’s closing statement that may get right under the skin of Mica Levi heads, too.
Incredibly absorbing studies in ambient-textural tension/release from Parisian artist Isham Kouidri on the EN X PL series initiated by Nick Klein’s Psychic Liberation and Maine, USA’s Enmossed labels
In a humbly innovative fashion, ’All I See Is Blue’ sees Kouidri juice the most from a single piano loop, creating a string of interrelated but fizzing sonic environments from tactful, sometimes brutal manipulation of minimal input. ‘Through The Window’ wrests three parts of abraded textures that wheeze and sing with buckled, keening dynamics - think Thought Broadcast meets Tape Loop Orchestra at Philip Jeck’s gaff - while the further trio of parts to ‘Now He’s Gone’ explore more rhythmic impulses with rotted bass hits and needlingly bittersweet melodic shards collapsing into off world DMT-blast visions of a rarer kind.
Don’t sleep on this. A doozy for fans of Bellows, Thought Broadcast, Basic House.
Coby Sey, Mica Levi and Brother May’s Curl collective huddle an intimate new compilation introducing us to a whole ruck of new artists on the label’s first group showing since a blink and miss CDr in 2018. This one features exclusive new music from their extended posse inc Daisy Moon, Akinola Davies Jr, Olivia Salvadori, Roxanne Tataei and Coby Sey, Wu-Lu plus a bunch of what we can only assume are either new artists or pseudonyms for core label protagonists. Like everything to do with this lot; expect the unexpected.
‘Curl Compilation 2’ covers a cross section of low key London styles embracing everything from Roxanne Tataei and Coby Sey’s air-spun jazz dirge, to absorbing ambient poetry by Steph Kretowicz and Ben Babbitt that sounds something like a meeting of Wayne Phoenix and Perila drifting on a cloud. Factor in teasers by Akinola Davies Jr, frayed ambient jazz notes by Wu-Lu, Daisy Moon’s melancholic broken beats, and Pelin Pelin’s aching avant-soul, and you’re in properly out there DIY zones.
Perhaps best of all, the set introduces a bevy of new names who are all worthy of further exploration, aside from Roxanne Tataei and Coby Sey’s hauntingly gutted ‘With Fade', the label bosses are either absent from the credits, or else operating incognito, preferring to shine a light on the likes of Olivia Salvadori with her spellbinding chamber drone vocals in ‘An Invisible Ode’, and the pastoral cello vignette of Suny, beside the breezy rap crud of PK Brako and MIC in ‘Curl It Like Cass Pennant’, while Sissy Fuss turns in an electrifying bit of psych blues hollering in ‘Pale Moon Melts’, while Baby___ASL’s Klein-meets-Tirzah-esque burner ‘Bloom’ has already been on a constant loop here for a weeks. Magic bag of tricks this one.
Nick Klein’s Psychic Liberation and Maine, USA’s Enmossed joins forces for the EN X PL series, debuting a gloomy, disciplined synth suite by Sweden’s Jin Mustafa and Robin Smeds Mattila
Not Kasabian Drone, as our eyes keep telling us, Karabasan Drane are a drily absorbing, minimalist prospect from Stockholm’s fecund underground. They’ve previously played the likes of Norbergfestival and Herrensauna in Berlin, and now commit mixed media experience in DJing, visual arts, and live music production/performance to their first collaborative album, sounding to our ears like a distant echo of 1991’s ‘Hi Tech Low Life’, Joachim Nordwall’s isolationist industro-dub, or CM Von Hausswolff’s EVP recordings.
Described by the label as “exercising abstention and reduction”, there is something decidedly minimalist monk-like about their recordings, which eschew any form of spectacle in favour of slow-shifting tones and rhythmic structures in a style that highlight their interests in liminality, and the way memory can be channelled through technology. The results should be properly convincing to connoisseurs of electronic isolationism, holding the finest line of icy stoicism between the Lussuria-like churn of ‘Ornamental Wave’, to the empty-belly ambience of ‘Array’, and sound-sensitive timbral intricacies of ‘Serpentine Rift.’
Killer session from Simo Cell B2B Skee Mask, shifting gears between 125-160BPM over a hugely diverse tape landing as the second release on the TEMƎT label after E-Unity’s up-for-it debut.
’TemeTape1’ is effectively the label’s mission statement, covering all poles between New Beat, electro, Manc punk and darkroom EBM sleaze in the first half, and fully twysting out between ghetto tech, breakbeat hardcore, footwork, and gnashing acid tekkers on the rushing 2nd part - including a killer haul of juke-juiced flips of classic ‘80s synth-pop.
Nose to tail, it’s a proper party session. The opening 45 minutes see them follow a hunch for grubbier, industrialised styles, warming up with handfuls of dank sleaze ranging from a trilling new beat nugget to fluid hydroelectric dynamics and slippery night slugs, leading to a highlight from Manchester’s “Iron” Mike O’Neill, before the candy kicks in for a run of puckered Italo-disco and EBM.
However, they really let fly on the B-side, seamlessly highlighting links between hardcore rave of all colours, from early ‘90s UK varieties to serious Chi and Detroit crud, culminating in sped-up spins on Depeche Mode and New Order that's quite honestly worth the cost of admission alone.
Hard, sweet and shiny fusions of Afrobeats, drill and grime cooked up by Manchester’s Fallow and Bristol’s Griz-O for their debut album with Tom Boogizm’s sought-after Shotta Tapes series.
Fallow is perhaps best known around Manny as co-founder of Chow Down, the grimy club incubator for the likes of Anz and Finn, and he brings lots of Chow Down flavour to this, his most significant work, broadly cleft between grimy Afrobeats with lots of colourful synths vamps, and more boisterous strains of grimy UK club styles.
Griz-O’s vocal cuts are stand-outs, from the brooding minor key drill/grime zoner ‘Time Is Now’, to the sion-dancehall sidewinder ‘Real Spice’ and a trilling ace ‘Rum Inna Mi Glass’, and a nastier, straight-up grime bullet ‘Darker Again.’ But that’s not to discount the instrumentals, where Fallow lets the melodies and samples do the talking between the summery bop of ‘Hus In The Park’, his scudding chromatic jackers ‘Bedlam 1’, and ‘Killin’ Me’ making great use of helium pitched vox, and the fructose boosted Afrobeats of ‘Elephant n Everything.’
Totally absorbing new album flush with ambient-jazz-electronic touches from Vegyn, following their production chops for Frank Ocean, Travis Scott and JPEGMAFIA with an ear-snagging new showcase on London’s PLZ Make It Ruins.
Affiliated with James Blake and Frank Ocean and known for work on some of the most prominent, boundary-probing rap releases of recent years, Vegyn brings a refreshingly optimistic, laid-back, dreamy aesthetic to the table in ‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’. If this album had reached ears this summer it would have bene among the season’s most played, but as it stands it’s going to keep us warm all winter with its collaged mosaic of fleeting field recordings, Satie-esque melodic wist and sparingly used but super crispy R&B/hip hop snap.
A big, big look for fans of Klein, Gila, BoC, Oli XL.
Pivotal NYC figure Gavilán Rayna Russom pays homage to the sacred and the profane in a heady suite inspired by Bernini’s C.17th sculpture, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
Their follow-up to last year’s ‘The Envoy’, which re-introduced Russom to the world under her new name, ‘Transverberation’ stems from the artist’s enduring obsession with Bernini’s sculptural rendering of St Teresa’s experience of being penetrated by the Holy Spirit. The resulting album is steeped in nostalgia for her uni days and art classes - “She often spent most of that class sitting next to her girlfriend so they could fondle each other in the darkened lecture hall; the mix of religious ecstasy, sexuality and attention to detail in the sculpture lodged deeply in her consciousness” and works as a sort of ontological anchor for rediscovering her sense of spirituality in this new phase of music writing and composition, where the dancefloor is mostly left for dust in favour of loftier and psychedelic themes.
“As a deeply spiritual and often extremely solitary and private person, her love of the story that animated Bernini’s hand has continued to grow throughout her life, especially after multiple visits in the late 90’s and early 2000’s to the chapel of Santa Maria de la Vittoria in Rome where the sculpture is currently kept. Transverberation sees her returning to that story as a sober woman in her mid 40’s, initiated into several spiritual traditions that specifically work with the energy of saints. The 9 works that comprise this release are also informed by her experiences of quarantine and social distancing. In an environment of enforced solitude and ramping collective horniness, the idea and practice of sexual intimacy with god became deep, complex and necessary.”
Hybrids of grimy machine wonk and plangent ambient pads from NYC’s Ephemera, going on like the rudest/sensitive ends of Filter Dread or Tom Boogizm
Arriving on Fixed Rhythms in the wake of Russell Butler and Hypervigilance, Ephemera’s debut shot fuses southern rap hi-hats with swooning synths and roving kicks in six amorphous parts. ‘Another Roach’ sets out his stall in rambunctious ambient-tek country, and follows thru with variations on stepping grime in ’SNL Tears’ and ‘Worms’, beside the sighing sino-choral motifs of ‘Vocal Interlude’, and more soft focus far eastern fetishism on ‘Preserves’, before rounding off with the smushed seasonal harmonics of ‘Jet Fuel.’
Magnum opus-weight album from organist and electro-acoustic composer Anna von Hausswolff, the entire record consists of just one instrument - the pipe organ, and represents absolute liberation of the imagination. It's a masterwork of gothic classical beauty - a must check for fans of Kali Malone, Kara-Lis Coverdale.
‘All Thoughts Fly’ was recorded at Gothenburg’s Örgryte New Church and is heavily infused with the space’s atmospheric nuance, which renders the theatric richness of Anna’s compositions at their most billowing and melodramatic. As her 6th album, it’s also her most confident and strikingly original, following the slow steady procession of her sides for Kning Disk, Touch and City Slang with her most sepulchral and steepled refinement of black metal atmospheres and sacred dirges pronounced with an apocalyptic classical grandeur and iconoclastic experimental daring.
“Notes on the recording process: The organ on All Thoughts Fly is situated in Gothenburg and is a Swedish replica of the Arp Schnitger organ in Germany. It is the largest organ tuned in Quarter-comma meantone temperament in the world. With it’s four manuals, one pedal and 54 stops, it was built as part of a ten-year research project reconstructing 17th Century North German organ building craft. The tuning temperament is an important detail to note here, as it deeply affects the sound and tuning, and thus radically changed the process of creating this album. Anna speaks of a pleasant surprise during recording, the organ's ability to create beautiful "pitching" notes through its stops and air supply system. She remarks “We took advantage of this so most of the pitching sounds and notes that you hear on the album comes from the mechanics of this organ, effects made entirely acoustically." The organ was recorded with two room mics for atmosphere and two pairs of close mics placed inside the organ to capture nuances and detail for further organ sound processing by Filip Leyman in his studio.”
Manchester’s Queen of Clubs comes with her 5th annual production showreel, throwing down 35 unreleased dubs in just under 1.5 hours of fresh rave frolics - proper jawmelter.
The last 30 years of rave music are fair game for Anz’s magpie eye, whirling thru styles from deep soulful garage to boisterous electro, Jersey-meets-Afrobeat jams to whistle-blowing hardcore and UKF mutations, ghetto-tech and jungle, all with the quicksilver flow and focussed, yet polygamous style she’s come to own over the past few years.
As anyone who has raved to an Anz set will testify, she simply doesn’t know when to let up, and that force of nature is in full effect again on ‘spring/summer dubs 2020’, stirring up a spectrum of sweaty rave feels bound to bring baying hordes to her agent to book her when those scuzzy temporary autonomous zones finally reopen their doors in 2021.
The cult compilation primer on Dungeon Rap is mercifully available again via the underground ruff riders at Manchester’s Natural Sciences after the 2nd hand prices just went silly - will fly out, quick hands!
“Making moves out of Ukraine, DJ Sacred is the project of Alex Yatsun. An ex Doomshop Records affiliate whose debut release "Introduction to Dungeon Rap" on Natural Sciences ushers in a new movement in underground hip-hop with a sound pulled from war time machinery, rituals and ancient runes.
Split across three different aliases, and a host of collaborations (including MC Holocaust, Rita Keen & Devilish Trio), the record draws on the sounds of Norwegian black ambient, DJ Sound, Immortal Lowlifes and old school dungeon synth. Anti-establishment campaigns which are morphed and screwed into a sixteen track record that spans lo-slung hip hop, doom electronics and nightmare breaks. It's the sound of a new tormented world. A guttural vision of social media decay, celebrity status and virtual simulations. An introduction to the new wave of darkness.”
Kali Malone shares the rehearsal tapes for what became ‘The Sacrificial Code’ - our AOTY 2019 - with her quiet brainstorm of elemental expression in ’Studies for Organ’ .
Self-released earlier in 2020 and now impossible to find, this new edition of the ’Studies for Organ’ tape should sate fiends and provide a captivating glimpse behind the curtain of Kali’s lowkey//weighty pipe organ music. In Kali’s own words, the six works were recorded as “a form of note taking during the compositional process, not thinking of the recording as a final form but as a documentation of an evolving practice” and as such they feel looser than the precisely chiselled body of work they informed, tending to float in lolling transitions between notes with a slow burning, real time, stream-of-consciousness brilliance.
Kali explains she was “Fascinated by the transmutability of the musical material” that was captured during these formative sessions, whose richness of minimalist ornamentation and introspective expression would lend itself to be scored for other organs and instruments. But here it’s left uncut and wide open, overlapping in elegant mid-air geometries and with the sounds of buttons and keys gently punctuating the radiant stillness of her style in a way that was absent from the subsequent album’s more austere results. Trust Kali’s work here will turn whatever space it’s received in, into a resonant chamber for reflection.
'Into the Traffic, Under the Moonlight’ is a new set of songs woven from the same fibre as Laila Sakini’s stunning ‘Vivienne’ album - one of the records we listened to - and loved - most this year, expanding its minimalist palette of piano, voice and effects to include some percusive samples, cello, bass clarinet, flute and hand claps. Listening to that album, followed by this one, feels a bit like emerging from a small room - curtains drawn - into the outside world for the first time in a while.
The quietly suggestive presence of Sakini’s music once again evokes ciné-rich scenarios and vignettes from a careful paucity of ingredients to limn scenes of lonely existential angst and hypnagogic dreaminess that contrast with ruffer cuts of late night trip hop and nerve-bitten breakbeats that resemble a makeshift coffee table strewn with bits of baccy and weed, mug stains and unpaid bills, rather than unwieldy art books and pot pourri.
It pays to start at the back here, as the creaking cold space and aching vox of ‘Night Emotion’ really seems to sum up the wistful sensuality of the whole release, but - to do it properly - the album unfolds as a total artwork, looping from the plaintive vocals - and flute - of ‘Talk My Way’ in succinct turns thru the dust-mite dance of her instrumental ‘Wade High’, to the opiated night flight of ‘Into The Traffic’, while curled-lip smackers in ‘Easy Does’, and her restlessly cranky ‘Metro’ help play out a flux of feelings, ambiguous and determined - that remind you that no one ever really knows what goes on inside people’s heads.
In a world of overly produced and controlled music, this here is yr antidote - Laila Sakini is producing some of the most vital and brittle music of our time.
Fresh from “sampler” contributions on the amazing Oï les Ox album for The Death of Rave, Furtherset blesses -ous with an immersive suite of tantalising, expressive synthesis landing somewhere between Lorenzo Senni, Pita and 0PN
‘To Live Tenderly Anew’ is the Italian artist’s first solo shot since 2018 and most substantial since a 2015 album written circa his time at the RBMA classes in Rome. It’s not hard to hear how his music resonates with classical Italian renaissance music in the same way as Lorenzo Senni, but there’s also more bite and nervy energy to his music that we’re keen to hear more of after ingesting this one.
The rushy flux of ‘The Logic of a Secret’ is a great place to dive in and find your feet upended, while ‘The Expanding Drama’ betrays an absorbing taste for edge-of-dissonance tunings, and ‘A Prelude to Infinite Directions’ could almost be an expanded detail of an 0PN tapestry. We’re also really feeling the weightless, beat-less rave roller ‘Uncoordinated Delicate Perfection’ calling to mind Pita meets AYYA, and the adrenochrome energy of ‘Choirs of Deception and Truth’ points to much grander ideas on the horizon.
One to keep a close ear on!
Famously tagged by Low Company with "File under: Eh?!” It’s safe to say that instrument builder, playwright, musician and general mad genius Wojciech Rusin’s 'The Funnel’ album pricked up basically everyone’s ears last year, its completely inimitable line of occultist chamber music and electronics sounding something like László Hortobágyi and Hildegard Von Bingen on a jolly.
No surprise, then, that we weren't the only people to have tasked Rusin with a kind of lockdown project, his excellent 'Meat For The Guard Dogs' for Cafe Oto’s TAKUROKU series landed earlier this year and featured Hannah Aspinall & Ben Vince for a set of "fermented memories captured on a portable recorder…”
For Documenting Sound, Wojciech provides two extended cuts, “Inside” and Outside”, inviting us into his wildly colourful headspace complete with all the tangents you might expect if you’ve followed any of his work thus far. Above all else, there’s introspection and beauty here; piano and choral motifs drowned out by the sea, walking at night, voice, tape manipulations, those 3D printed reed instruments, squawking crows on a thermal drift.. every scene lined with an intangible shimmer.
Life, as someone said, is elsewhere.
One for lovers of the Conet project, Jim Haynes with a set of often bizarre shortwave recordings including Soviet-era Buzzer signals, a Romanian language lesson, Morse code transmission, a WWCR / Alex Jones broadcast, Radio Damascus and a conspiracy theorist speaking about fluoride and water fluorination. Totally our kinda shit.
"I acquired my first shortwave radio back in 1998 or 1999. Living in San Francisco at that time, I found a wealth of signals being broadcast from across the Pacific towards the US. This was before cellphones became ubiquitous, so the radio spectrum was relatively free of interference, even living in a city. I quickly found that when I got out of any urban environment, I could receive more signals and with better clarity. So with every opportunity for travel, I took a shortwave. By 2000, I had upgraded by then to a smaller Grundig portable with a wind-up antenna and a MiniDisc recorder in tow. I held out acquiring a flash-drive digital recorded until the summer of 2012, with the technology of the MiniDisc already obsolete by then. This collection represents some of the more interesting finds from that collection of MiniDisc recordings." –
Jim Haynes, Northern California, 19 August 2020.
Many hours were spent surfing the airwaves, with often surprising results...
"No synths were used during the making of this album. The mysteries of the ether continue to enthral and provide. venoztks is one of the original founders of The Tapeworm."
To Rococo Rot’s Robert Lippok delivers an album of new material recorded over a 10 day period for our Documenting Sound series in Berlin this spring, a sprawling 70 minute/13 track excursion into some of the most wildly affecting and uncontrolled brilliance we’ve heard from him in years.
On ‘Zehn Tage Im April’ the revered producer, composer and visual artist reflects the surreality of 10 days during the first lockdown, when he observed that the city was “empty like back in the 90s”, but nature continued its perennial cycle unabated. We’ve long been fascinated by the melancholic nuance and meditative space of Lippok's music, and his work here duly pays testament to his almost peerless, dreamlike feel for musical dramaturgy, intuitively incorporating talents as a set designer and visual artist to arrange an immersively descriptive but elusive suite that reflects the magic of Berlin as the seasons change, but with an added frisson of intangible oddness.
For quite a controlled musician, Lippok for once didn’t force the creative process here, instead preferring to amass a kind of sketch book of ideas that mirrored his wandering ear and mind. The results were then ripped and shaped into these 13 tracks, spanning over an hour of lucid-dreaming field recording manipulations such as the hyperreal 9 mins of ‘Nordbahnhof Havel Lyra Cycle’, angular prang outs like the benched but lush ‘Kick2test’, and gritty chromatic techno pulsers such as ‘Nacht’, before really sprawling out in two durational works that feel like he’s mapping a deep topographical trip between the city’s U-Bahn stations and patchwork of blossoming parks surrounded by construction sites and a sferic maze of psychic energies.
Washed & screwed ambient lushness by someone going under the name Romance, distilling reference points ranging from Tarkovsky soundtracks to the emotional grandiosity of Whitney Houston & Celine Dion smudged into something like Burial and The Caretaker’s hauntological ephemera for a session of pillow-kissing nostalgia. If yr into 0PN’s Eccojams, The Caretaker, Pinkcourtesyphone or The Disintegration Loops, don’t miss this.
We can tell you absolutely nada about the artist - whoever he or she may be - but what we can tell you is that ‘You Must remember This’ offers a slow-burning session smearing traces of new age pop ballads and amorous Hollywood nuggets into half an hour of faded glamour. The style is patently redolent of Pinkcourtesyphone’s L.A. noir sensuality or the elusive good times elegance of The Caretaker, evoking atmospheres and altered states of consciousness with a soothing, emotive tactility carefully minded of our wyrd new world.
The set is split into two languorous dream sequences that slip time from its moorings; windswept strings signal a cineaste’s ear at work from the outset, luring listeners into a balmy twilight world aglow with ‘80s fantasy FM synth pads and given to bouts of syrupy screwed soul like one of 0PN’s Eccojams.
At its gauziest point in the 2nd half, the music’s silvery iridescence can’t help but remind us of Basinski’s decayed tape ambience, but the vibe is more palpably pulpy, like one of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s 500% slower edits of pop classics crafted as personal sleep aids; a purpose for which this tape is surely destined.
Tape Loop Orchestra’s live set at The Talleyrand, Levenshulme, becomes the 3rd release on Stockport’s Open Tapes following examples by label head Jack Lever and artist John Powell-Jones
As it happens, we were lucky enough to be in attendance for this show - one of the last we witnessed before lockdown - but it feels like a lifetime ago. That’s partly due to the brain foggy quality of TLO’s music, which reveals itself in slow strokes of whistling moorland ambience, feathered guitar tones and sparse daubs of classical soprano across the 44 minute course of ‘Liminal Live.’
Tape Loop Orchestra’s subtle power totally shushed the room for the duration, with only background chatter noise from the bar, and perhaps a few cars trundling down the A6, to distract from TLO’s trance-inducing nuance and skinprickle textures. Listening to it now it reminds us the all too rare effect of being one in a crowd, but totally in your own space, allowing the figure at the front to coax out and suggest slowly fleeting trains of thought. It still works on that level in your own space, though, with Andrew Hargreaves’ balance of pre-prepared material and improvisational wits allowing for the random factor of warbling tape fidelities in a way that may reveal extra layers and spirits in the mix to anyone willing to pay closer attention and not get distracted by the need to top up your glass. Heck you can even smoke a jazz-fag while doing so in your own space and not feel like a low-key criminal, if the mood takes you.
Proper doomed "Brexit gush" sonic detritus from Discrepant boss Gonçalo F Cardoso and Alex Jones (not that one). Sound collage, drones and industrial waste - what more do you want?
Gonçalo F Cardoso might be prolific, but the Discrepant and Sucata Tapes figurehead is so reliable it's actually hard to keep up. This latest jammer finds him again teaming up with Alex Jones to splice together bizarre news recordings, piano loops, field recordings and radio static, overlaying the sort of pitch-black synth drones you'd expect to hear on a Hospital Productions tape (5 copies only).
It's somehow just anxious enough to make perfect sense in these isolated times. Described by the label as "Brexit gush", we're not 100% sure what that means but we agree wholeheartedly. Fans of decaying ferric noise and industrial private press bizzniss should pay attention.
Multidisciplinary NYC artist Gavilán Rayna Russom launches her own label Voluminous Arts, dedicated to highlight electronic and experimental artists whose work challenges fixed categories of genre and categorization.
"Her aim is to create a platform for multidisciplinary work and events. The inaugural release being her second solo album as Gavilán Rayna Russom 'Secret Passage', following up last years 'The Envoy, an homage to the East Side Rail Tunnel in Providence, Rhode Island, and the friendships she made there."
After releasing one of the year’s most remarkable records with ‘iki', Japanese pipe-organ builder and sound artist Yosuke Fujita returns with this remarkable 40 minute contribution to our Documenting Sound series, recorded in a cave at the foot of Mt. Fuji and featuring his custom-built pipe organ in duet with a colony of bats indigenous to the area. It’s a beautiful, quietly extraordinary trip.
Traditional Japanese gagaku, the slow and elegant form of classical court music extant since the 7th century, is once again at the heart of this material, but this time in a modulated, interwoven tapestry with what Fujita calls the "inaudible sounds” of nature around him. ‘KŌMORI.’ Named after the Japanese word for bats, revolves around three long pieces, including one for organ and bats, an organ solo, and one created solely from bat calls, all neatly captured using a Sunken CO-100K microphone capable of recording up to 100kHz, and therefore able to net the bats’ ultrasonic echolocation tekkers.
Furthering Fujiiiiiiiiiiita’s fascinations with sounds on the threshold of perception, in the first piece he presents a duet for organ and bats, tones turn to near silence, and then a strobing attack on the senses, while the 2nd part features organ solo around plaintively enchanting motifs, and the third, perhaps most moving part, commits 15 mins of totally otherworldly bat sounds ready to be deciphered by the keenest ears.
For anyone who copped ‘Iki,’ this will no doubt be a buy-on-sight item, and for everyone else, welcome to a world of utterly enthralling, surprising new sounds.
"I'm always looking for new sounds. That desire is at the heart of my life, so it remained the same in the turbulence of the coronavirus. And, I’m also looking for inaudible sounds, so it's natural for me to focus on the bat's echolocation.
Bats were the source of the viruses causing Ebola, rabies, Nipah and Hendra virus infections, Marburg virus disease, and strains of Influenza A virus. Interestingly, coronaviruses and bats are locked in an evolutionary arms race in which the viruses are constantly evolving to evade the bat immune system and bats are evolving to withstand infections from coronaviruses. My music also has to evolve."
The final volume of Jamaican 1950s/60s doo-wop and R&B excavated by London's Death is not the End imprint to shine a light an an often overlooked period of the island's rich musical history.
Back in the 1950s and 60s, before the rise of ska, rocksteady and reggae, Jamaican soundsystems were desperate for home-grown records to challenge the rising popularity of US R&B and soul that was taking the island by storm. London's Death is not the End label has assembled an impressive selection of records from this era, as local performers (some, like Alton Ellis, Derrick Morgan and Derrick Harriott who would go on to have long careers) cut doo-wop and R&B tracks to rival those coming from across the water.
This third selection of tracks is another porthole into an era that's often skipped. It provides historical context for what would come next, but it's also a charming, dusty selection of lilting romance that's almost impossible not to love. It highlights a time when Jamaica's independent industry - one whose global influence is still impressively outsized - was in its infancy, and while the sounds are familiar near-pastiches of American songs of the era, there's plenty to enjoy here.
CS + Kreme follow their incredible ’Snoopy’ for TTT with this epic 3-hour double-mixtape of myriad folk, ambient and deep techno - a joyous, spirited, heart-grabbing mix covering everything we wanna hear right now. But u already know it’s gonna be ridiculous…right?
If you don’t know by now, the Melbourne duo’s debut album ’Snoopy’ is a clear contender for AOTY 2020 - one of the most sublime, affective LPs we’ve heard in years - so their Reel Torque session is required listening for anyone seeking to learn more about the influences and tastes that make up the CS+Kreme microcosm.
They previously supplied their patrons at TTT with a mixtape in 2018, and this one doubles down on the length and vibes, taking an extended walkabout between Indonesian folk, lysergic techno visions, a face-freezing cover of Yazoo, Japanese tabla music, ambient dembow, seminal AI and totally otherworldly gems that will have keener heads scrambling for the IDs.
Take it on trust this one is a real no brainer, plotting escape routes into the life-affirming wilds of ancient and modern traditions in a way that allows for myriad voices to harmoniously coexist, and with a real knack for unpredictable but cogent turns of phrase that keep us rapt from start to finish.
Unreal début from French musician, artist, writer and dramaturge, Oï les Ox; basically one of the craftiest albums we’ve heard all of this damned 2020 - riddled with melodic ohrwurms - a massive RIYL Trevor Duncan’s La Jetée soundtrack to the most enigmatic oddities from Broadcast to Julia Holter, Teresa Winter to Nozomu Matsumoto and Rian Treanor’s disruptive rhythms.
Oï les Ox is the stage name of Aude Van Wyller, and ‘Crooner qui coole sous les clous’ (translation: A crooner that sinks under nails) is a sci-fi opera about an anonymous civilian consumer and a totalitarian governor who forces people to dance to broadcasts of strange pop ballads and mutant electronics. The hour-long, four part album revolves a libretto written by the Brussels-based artist in her native French, and performed in shapeshifting guises, all set to incredibly crystalline yet mercurial synth arrangements and truly devilish drum programming. It encompasses nods to everything from coldwave to chamber music, æther folk, chanson and synth-pop in thee most beguiling style, all woven together by a spellbinding vocal presence and needlepoint arps that patently place her music in a déjà entendu-familiar, but exceedingly rare, other dimension.
Across its four parts, field recordings elide with original synthesis and multiple vocal personas to spell out a flux of fleeting emotions with breathtaking subtlety and sensuality. Each part contains an album’s worth of ideas, persistently altering the scenery, lighting and style with inimitable deftness between passages of puckered songcraft, sound collage, and dance music abstraction that betrays a shockingly keen reading and transmutation of classic and contemporary vernacular into a singular, cinematic/operatic whole.
Just as the rave gods commanded exeunt the dance at the start of 2020, ’Crooner qui coole sous les clous’ arrived to us like a dream demo, quickly becoming a go-to album that totally absorbed and distracted from the needling ambient anxieties outside. By the time summer came around, though, the album weirdly recalled the trauma of first lockdown too palpably, and we genuinely couldn’t listen to it any more. However with autumn’s 2nd lockdown, and a renewed optimism, we had better come to terms with isolation, and the hypnotic, inquisitive nature and elusive beauty of Oï les Ox’s music, and her captivating story-telling now finds its place in the world as a life-affirming expression of modern eeriness that’s dead hard to shake once experienced.
Killer tape from YPY, group A, Kohhei Matsuda(Bo Ningen), Kenichi Iwasa + Tot Onyx(group A).
"Group A's charity compilation series "NO Recording" spotlights on over 1000 unreleased tracks, improv sessions and random recordings from our past. In order to act fast to emergency campaigns, fundraisings and people who are in need of help, the strict "no additional recordings" rule is set and instead we challenge ourselves to cook with what we have in our fridge. Rough edges and unfinishedness are left partially unintentionally; most of the demos and jam sessions were recorded direct to stereo, hence the mixing is limited, and partially intentionally as a part of the process of chance operations (we also just like it rough). This method allows us to break our own preconceptions and discover new comprehensions.
Vol.2 features YPY(goat), Kohhei Matsuda(Bo Ningen), Kenichi Iwasa, Tot Onyx(group A) and group A. This time all of us naturally took a more bricolage way of composing, which gave us a lot of new inspirations and comprehensions. It's going to be limited to 150 cassettes with hand-made covers (incl. digital DL code). This release celebrates 75years anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing and we will donate all the proceeds to ICAN, The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
About "NO Recording"
We started this charity compilation series this year in order to keep donating to communities in need of help, while we ourselves are having a financially difficult time due to the cancelation of tours and shows. We don't have money to spare but instead plenty of time. Vol.1 was self-released digitally on our Bandcamp page on Juneteenth, all the proceeds were/are donated to NAACP. Vol.1"
Lo-fi gabber-pop from Glasgow/London’s Moe Moede - think PC Music’s rambunctous wee sister
“New Gorbals Gabber is monstrous and glorious. Informed by goblinzed cave dwelling nu metal aesthetics, cheap ‘n’ nasty instrumentation but above all, peeking like an elvin proboscis around the corner of your mind, is an unstoppable knack for hooks that elevates these compositions to channels for new planes of ecstasy.
Mostly performed live using an Electribe sampler/sequencer with synths, New Gorbals Gabber feels like a live recording at the rave in the final circle of Dante’s Inferno. How much fun does that sound? We’re talking Lucifer’s Manumission, Hanger 666. Meade-as-Neptune is an impish presence, Jekyll and Hyding from dirt-eating goblin to glacial pop supernova Number 1 Angel. Revolution’s bass riff and obscure crowd samples build with a arpeggiated bass synth that swirls around the Hardcore beat, threatening a Bloody Fist-style production yet staying within a dub sound world, heavy delays fading out into the first Pop moment. Twizt introduces Lady Neptune’s vocal processing technique and an unashamed, massive trance synth riff that reeks of foam parties and festivals no one pays into. It falls into Number 1, which borrows from PC Music tropes for a breakneck treatise on self-confidence. It feels deceptively simple, but the music is so intuitive and perfectly executed – mostly honed by playing parties and raves around Glasgow, the drops tease and fall off, it’s just so relentless. Relentlessly, unstoppably, powerfully fun.”
Sheffield’s industrial music legends returns with a first album in 25 years, shaking up a classic style that has come to influence countless others, from Regis and Powell, to NIN and Mark Fell, since the band first emerged in the late ’70s
Cabaret Voltaire now revolves sole surviving member, Richard H. Kirk, but mostly sound just like they did in their ’80s heyday, mixing agitprop samples with cranky mechanical grooves and sparky synths in a sulky SoYo style they have exported to record collections across the globe. You probably already know they’ve become a byword for this sort of music, and ’Shadow of Fear’ is definitive Cab’s, like.
RHK’s longheld latin kinks come out to play in the cyberpunk soirée opener, and ‘The Power (Of Their Knowledge)’ shows the hordes of drum machine/synth wielding scuzzers how to do it. With a level of sort of psycho-dub sorcery that’s become RHK’s signature, he properly get his hands in there and twists structures like an avant metalsmith or mad scientist, creating strange temporal distance in the ruptured breaks of ‘Microscopic Flesh Fragment’, and panel-beating out 10 mins of factory line disco in ‘Universal Energy’, plus some dodgy Goan techno in ‘Vasto’, and a throwback to Cab’s (and his own) influence over early acid house in the cuboid bass and chattering bleeps of ’Night of the Jackal.’
Pivotal computer musician Calum Gunn cogitates on information overload with patently expressive and diverse results scraped from his HD and parsed into hyper techno screwballs and playful aeorganisms
“By intervening on different strands of work—mostly small experiments that were filling up his hard disks in considerable amount—Berlin based computer musician Calum Gunn experiments here with what psychologist Barry Schwartz coined as the ‘Paradox of Choice’ effect: the dramatic explosion in choice and information have become so increasingly extended, biased and complex—from the mundane to the profound—to paradoxically turn into a problem rather then a solution, and lead to greater anxiety, indecision and dissatisfaction.
Instead of the "blank slate" problem, Gunn’s challenging take is quite the opposite: how to fit a large amount of pieces together to form a cohesive whole and keep many different combinations of sounds and textures in focus, avoiding decision-making paralysis. Whether it’s algoritmic destruction (LOCUS, TWELVES), synthesis techniques (ASSUMPTION, WALL OF FULL-STACKS) or awkward electro rhythms and future-dark-ambient-dub-ish sounds (INVARIANT, OFFSHOOT, SOLVED PROBLES XII) Gunn manages to glue his big-data-archive via a ‘sympathetic filter’. He works on common elements and physical properties of sounds, coagulating and enhancing unnatural timbres and weird architectures into an enthusing organic whole by playing with sound processing, effects and his signature coding steroids—techno-angel’s share for the ‘big picture’…”
Formed in Chicago in 2009, Apiary brought together four of that city's most versatile and prolific musicians: David Daniell (guitar), Steven Hess (drums), Joseph Clayton Mills (electronics), and Jason Stein (bass clarinet). Together, Apiary interwove disparate strands of Chicago's improvised music community, seamlessly incorporating their influences—ranging from jazz to minimalism to noise—into a whole that was dense and hypnotic.
"Having developed a reputation for the intensity of their live performances, Apiary entered the studio in the spring of 2010 in an attempt to document their unique sound. These recordings, uncovered and revisited a decade later, have lost none of their power or immediacy. If anything, the intervening years provide a sense of perspective and insight into how vital Apiary's music—grounded in collaboration and possibility—remains. Apiary was reworked and brought to completion in 2020; it provides a fascinating window into a crucial moment in Chicago's musical history, one that still vibrates with startling urgency."
Recorded earlier this year in Kingston, Jamaica by Jordan “Time Cow” Chung of Equiknoxx fame, "Live Prog Dancehall From Home” features two heavyweight, long-haul sessions totalling 45 minutes of deep and tripped-out psychedelic dancehall science. It’s properly heady and forward gear from a producer who usually deploys his wares in short, sharp bursts, here essentially making the most of time standing still with a long-form study of continuous forward motion and abstracted, slow motion gyrations. aye.
Jordan is a part of the engine/makeup of Equiknoxx’s weirdest, tightest productions so is already well versed in throwing the wildest shapes in the dance, but here he takes an inward turn with an opening that could just about work as a fractal/sunrise trance arp intro, before glyding into a steppers formation. Trust that from here on in it develops into whirling gear of the highest calibre, something like an extended Villalobos-does-dembow session.
On the flip; a more upfront and angular energy - an 18 minute trip into clipped jacking body movements, like the most engrossing Equiknoxx heater stretched into oblivion, with slowly eviscerated, simmering pads fading to nothing...
“The last few months have been a blur. My headphones are broken, my earphones have a short, i’m in just my underpants on the couch pretty much all the time and it’s very hot. I do however occasionally visit construction sites, livestock farms and the hills. Mr. Kat asked me to document my sound from this time period. Since I’ve been doing next to nothing music related, and uncertain about what live performances might look like in the near future I decided to create two of my own. The higher tempo track I used Maschine for the backbone and the lower tempo Track I used TRK-01. Both tracks also use Komplete. Hope that was insightful, nerds. Play them loud and have sex to them.” Time Cow, 2020
Trinovantes is a new collaboration between old friends Franz Kirmann and Stuart Bowditch, who originally met in 2007 at the Multivitamins events in Shoreditch.
"The body of work on Hidden Codes employs a new approach. Songs by metal bands were interpreted by algorithmic functions into MIDI. The extracted data was then edited and played through a variety of software and synthesisers to generate warm, ambient layers that, whilst removed from the original songs, retains a sentiment of the original ideas. The layers were then arranged and further processed to form new pieces."
Intriguing suite of 1920-30s recordings sung in Finnglish - Finnish/English - by an émigré to America, playing up to his fellow workers when he was secretly a republican…
“Hiski Salomaa began his life in 1891 in Kangasniemi in the Southern Savonia region of Finland, emigrating to the USA after the death of his mother in 1909 - travelling via Hanko, to Hull, Liverpool, Ellis Island, Manhattan, and finally to a Finnish American community in the South Range of Michigan.
After taking to writing and performing songs as a young boy, Salomaa saw a demand amongst the growing Finnish immigrant set for music performed in their own language, and indeed in the Finnglish dialect common at the time. With his unique vocal, he told stories of immigrant life and society which resonated with his intended audience, particularly in the shadow of the labour movement that had strong support in immigrant worker communities. Through the mid 1920s through to early part of the 1930s Salomaa became a popular attraction at the Finnish Worker's House in Manhattan, and would cut these 18 sides for Columbia during this period, though his recording career seems to have been stymied by the great recession. By the end of the 1930s he had moved to New York, where he ran a bar, where he enjoyed the company of Finnish-American carpenters and railway men, and entertained them with a song once in a while. He died in New York in 1957.
The recordings Salomaa made for Columbia found favour in Finland toward the end of World War II after being picked up by left-wing athlete (and later singer and actor) Tapio Rautavaara for airplay on Maaselä Front Radio, and later gained attention on Finland's national radio YLE. This enigmatic Finnish American performer would come to be adopted into some hearts as the country's answer to Woody Guthrie, and became somewhat of a talisman for the Finnish left.
However, it has been uncovered in Markku Salomaa's recent book on the life of Hiski that this ideal is somewhat far from the real truth. Despite having once apparently been an IWW member (indeed the IWW commissioned the title-track of this collection, Vapauden Kaiho), a picture emerges of Salomaa having merely been playing to the views of his crowd - and taking the corresponding cheque - without holding those views himself. Worse still, it's alleged that he was a card-carrying republican.
Still, hopefully you will enjoy these recordings nevertheless!”
Birmingham’s legendary master of darkness Justin K Broadrick unleashes a tranche of demonic techno doom from his JK Flesh archive
Hospital Productions are being coy with the dates, simply calling them “older tracks”, but the material is grained with a detectably old skool vintage in that cold, brittle, but shatterproof style of Brum’s best, from Regis, Surgeon and Female to Mick Harris and that.
Conjuring the illest tension between dissociated drone atmospheres, skin-crawling textures, and primitivist urgency, they’re all strapped up and ready to boot off in a dark room with your mates, or by yourself for that matter, delivering some right brain rotting bludgeonry in ‘Two Dimensional’ and ‘Dissociation’, plus proper rictus coffin-door-jackers gear with ‘Is This Me’, and the doomcore skullduggery of ‘The Body Is Not Real’.
Dark and heavy nutters; you know what to do.
DJ Plead switches gears for a more infectious, slow and deadly percussive whirl on this killer 40 minute session for our Documenting Sound series, mostly recorded on a Yamaha ‘Oriental’ keyboard and inspired by the likes of CS + Kreme’s ’Snoopy’ album and Felix Hall’s dancehall mixtapes. Proper spacious, all-tension-no-release gear from one of the best in the game.
Recorded and sent from his home in Sydney, ‘Relentless Trills’ sees Jarred Beeler aka DJ Plead dismantling his much-loved hard drum club style. Dropping the tempo and conserving energy levels across a suite of smoky, tense works, he matches the waviest microtonal vamps with the signature, rhythmelodic lilt of his drums in a properly hypnotic style.
Equally influenced by vintage dancehall riddims and the inspirational glow of CS + Kreme's psycho-ambient heartmelters, the results sound to our ears like an offshoot of Mutamassik releases for DJ/Rupture’s Soot, or Shackleton slowed to a hash-smoking drift and heading on a Mahraganat tip. A hazy introductory piece of autotuned vocals and digital bass prodding seduces from the front, with the vibe spilling out into deep, spaced-out dancehall pressure with deliriously strong works almost nodding to Timbaland and The Neptunes in ‘RT5’, closing on a mesmerising beatless highlight in ‘RT6’ to seal the deal.
Parisian nutter, Emma DJ knuckles out 13 gristly chunks of mutant dance and gurning industrial electronics somewhere between DJ David Goblin and Low Jack on a cranky batch for Brother From Different Mothers
Like their tapes for L.I.E.S. and Collapsing Market, and collabs with VTSS in recent months, expect flavours for all ogreish ravers without a floor to call home right now, trampling around the no-mans-land between frenchtek, rap and dembow beats, and grimy warehouse steppers welding barbed digital glitches and teeth-grinding noise.
Brilliant, baroque midi trippers from Bass Clef on this new one for Slip, highly recommended if yr into owt from Theo Burt to Kara-Lis Coverdale, best we've heard from him yet we reckon!
Ralph Cumbers makes a welcome return to Slip with the sweet drive and unguarded lyricism of 'Orezero': a smiling-through-the tears chaser to 2019's majestic '111 angelic MIDI cascade'. Says Clef:
"'Orezero' is both the prequel and sequel to '111 Angelic MIDI Casacde' in that I'm not sure which ones is Wonderland and which one is through the Looking Glass. So it can stay unresolved as both and neither?
Feels like a strange time to be releasing what might be the most joyous Bass Clef record. Certainly 'One Tree Island' and 'Heavy Lifting Light Wave' are two cuts of happiness, but the kind of happiness that acknowledges and incorporates all the unhappiness that came along the way. Other tracks are a more rarefied kind of joy I guess, I find myself stripping back layers on these tracks to an extent I never would have dreamed was possible for me.
These tracks were recorded in 2019 over quite some time, although each track itself takes no more than 3-4 hours and are recorded live. Editing clears the clutter to reveal the intent, not always obvious at the time of recording. I was pushing myself, again, to focus on harmony, and melody, the two things I think I am worst at, rather than returning to rhythm and texture, the playgrounds I always felt most comfortable in.
Instrument restrictions helped as always – most of the sounds heard are from two ROMplers, much-loathed relics of pre-computer music, loaded with largely un-tweakable samples of acoustic instruments, samples you have heard on a billion records, but hopefully stacked in new combinations this time around. Backed up with Microkorg, a resolutely and extremely popular, yet deeply uncool, digital synthesizer.
The tracks here were originally intended for two different records (maybe that's why the prequel/sequel feeling persists) but thanks to excellent old school A&R in the form of an evolving conversation with Laurie from Slip, together we eventually uncovered one record that I think manages to weave all these threads together. I hope it will bring some smiles to some people.”
Mor Elian dives into ambient techno waters under her new Alloy Sea alias, with a gorgeous 50 minute session constructed over a year and finalised during lockdown. Strong recommendation if yr into owt from classic Chain Reaction/Din vibes to Shackleton’s sprawling knew age bass experiments.
The first release on Syn Syn, a sublabel of Fever AM, ‘Petrichor’ sees Elian read the room’s need for more sensual pads and looser rhythms across a sumptuous suite of submerged depth-charge basses, systolic thrums and sky-limning synth dynamics that bring her sound design skills to the fore, and out to the peripheries.
In four parts split between two tape sides, ‘Petrichor’ flows seamlessly in long sections like a mixtape, radiating from the start like some meeting of Hallucinator and Jay Glass Dubs, and spinning out into nimble but woozy ambient steppers rhythms a la Vladislav Delay, before puckering into more crystalline new age electronics reminiscent of Selten Erdene, and sprawling out into imaginative ambient techno interzones strewn with alien, Arca-esque choral pads in acres of synthesised room.
File under knew-age dance simulacra.
A 12 track album, an hour in length, recorded in the space of a week and - for our money - one of the most inspiring things we've heard this year, an intimate fever dream made real, a summoning of rich and complex spirits that reminds us of Dean Blunt x Hype Williams, Paris Texas, Ulla (who plays saxophone on two tracks under the Foamy alias), Grouper, Laurel Halo...
Beloved for her tapes and LPs with everyone from sferic to TTT and Motion Ward, as well as her role running Radio.syg.ma, Perila's productions and curatorial work have been central to the emergence of a new ambient rhizome in Berlin in recent years. The hushed but fractious patchwork of 12 cuts 'Everything Is Already There' speaks to the lowkey breadth and sensuous subtleties of her style, embracing opiated shoegaze, queasy concréte, and blushing ambient soul in a waking-daydream of a session that revels in the pleasures of locating and nourishing one's inner life.
'Everything Is Already There' arrives not long since Perila's action in Critical Amnesia's 'ambient supergroup' with her pals, Exael, Huerco S., Ol, VTGNike, and uon, and contains some of the most developed, free and textured work in her small but precious catalogue. She emerges like a ragged spirit from the viscous tronics of 'Time Swamp', and shapeshifts from urgent street-corner poetry in 'Pocket Full Of Nothing' to take in damaged ambient blues recalling Loren Connors on 'Riot In A Cornfield', with her descriptive sensitivities in lushest, illusive effect on the likes of 'On A Roof' and the gauzy aerial drift of 'Reality Scan'
Stunning, stunning album.
Marc Richter turns Twitter’s infinite scroll of lockdown horrors and mindfarts into a sort of concrète mixtape collage mixed up with reworked materials and unauthorised edits.
Ahead of his next LP, entitled ‘Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens’, this 44’ suite captures the uncanniness of 2020 lockdown, when Black To Comm was metaphorically “paralyzed just like everyone else”, and would often turn to Twitter for a source of info and other people attempting to assuage their miseries.
Captured snippets of “people playing their instruments at home (in *their* kitchens), anti-vaxxer car demos, people shouting & swearing at each other in streets & supermarkets” thus become raw materials for Richter to pebbledash his noumenal canvas, colliding fragments of unfinished projects and older recordings in convulsive gobs cranked out quickly and unfussily, veering from bouts of sore jazz discord to fleeting new age synth promise and scenes of aggy, needling frustration and even Arca-esque alien hymns.
Yeah, proper good this.