Yowling, sleazy industrial EBM from Barcelona, knocking between the styles of Jade 4 U, Jasss, and Toresch
Going down lowlit, gritty greased alleys of inquiry for Valencia’s B.F.E Records (O Yuki Conjugate, Самцы Дронта, De Fabriek) the six songs on ‘La Soluzione É Una’ steer the livewire spirit of classic industrial styles into modern day basement club-ready slugs, at best in the druggy cruiser ‘La Notte É Odscura’, a New Beat-y ‘No Sabes’, their sludgy title banger channelling similar daemons to Pharmakon, and the batacuda-like blow-out ‘Çamur’.
The group Evritiki Zygia was founded in 2007 by five musicians who played mostly in local festivals, their main concern being the preservation and evolution of the Thracian musical tradition.
"The name was selected as the album title due to its delicate cultural and geographic status: Ormenion coincides with the borders of three different countries (Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey) and its history counts several waves of immigration that gave way to cultural and even linguistic exchange -elements that obviously left their mark on the group.
The collaboration with Teranga Beat helped this project evolve even further. Forms of arrangement different than the ones used in local feasts and festivals, were introduced giving more space to the dynamics of the instruments and allowing musicians to show both their improvisational and compositional skills. The distinctively psychedelic element of Thracian music was enhanced with the introduction of the CRB-Diamond 800 organ and the Moog, giving the whole project a hybrid sound with a unique identity. The album contains both covers of traditional songs and original compositions."
Marking the 40 year anniversary of AK79; a defining record that captured a raw snapshot of punk subculture in Auckland during the late 70's.
"To mark this very special occassion, Flying Nun Records pays tribute to those ragged and rambunctious years by presenting AK79 40th Anniversary Edition Reissue, due in-stores throughout New Zealand on December 13th. Presented in a myriad of forms; on limited edition red vinyl, standard black vinyl and CD, we can celebrate this iconic cornerstone of alternative kiwi rock history with this special anniversary edition. Featuring new liner notes written by Ripper Records’ Bryan Staff, the 2019 reissue will feature all songs ever featured on any version of AK79 for a complete look at its recorded history.
About AK79 Raw, unfiltered, shambolic madness. The vision to capture the Auckland scene began with Bryan Staff (Head of Ripper Records and Radio DJ at the time) who saw reason to capture the music coming out of the local punk venues of the time such as Windsor Castle and Zwines. Originally released by Ripper Records in December 1979, bands that featured on the original pressing included The Swingers, The Scavengers, The Primmers, Proud Scum, Toy Love and The Terrorways. The musical movement captured on record was an abrasive, empowered response to the overindulgent progressive rock and glam era of the 70s. The initial pressing, with its iconic black and white cover designed by Terence Hogan was limited to 500 copies, to be later reissued on vinyl and cassette through CBS. During the 40 years since AK79’s first release, the record took on a life of its own. Those original 500 pressings became a rare and coveted collectors item, and somewhat of an “urban myth” on the vinyl market. So the story goes, when the original master recordings of AK79 were discarded in 1982, it only created further demand for this enigmatic record. Responding to the call, an expanded version of AK79 arose, released on CD by Simon Grigg and Roger Shepherd as a joint release by Propeller Records and Flying Nun Records in 1993.
This time there were some late additions, including tracks from The Suburban Reptiles, The Spelling Mistakes, The Features and The Marching Girls, along with additional tracks from the original bands on the first pressing. This particular reissue was remastered and mixed by Grigg, and came bundled with additional liner notes by Grigg, Staff and The Terrorways’ own Kerry Buchanan. In November 2008, a bootlegged 2 LP version would come to life for a very special reunion gig in Auckland which involved The Scavengers, The Spelling Mistakes and the first performances from The Terrorways and Proud Scum since 1980 in a rare event. At the time, it was sold at the show with unreleased tracks and a 20- page booklet. Six years later, the AK79 compilation was honoured in its many forms with the IMNZ Classic Record award, presented at the Taite Music Prize ceremony. 40 years on, the spirit of the AK79 still packs a punch and the feeling captured in these recordings are as relevant as ever. "
Pure nether-pop magick from Glasgow-based Maria Rossi, chasing up her LP ‘Zoom’ with a return to studio-based sorcery after 2018’s ‘Hilja’ worked its way into a lot of AOTY lists.
Arriving in close proximity to Cucina Povera’s split tape with Haron for BAKK, the freeform mix of semi-melodic synth noise and humble, hymnal vocals in ‘Tyyni’ recaptures the appeal of her first album across eight steeply hypnagogic songs that sound as though she’s put a bit of time in researching (doing) mystic substances to our ears, but may just be proof of her porous link to other dimensions.
While taking its title from the Finnish for “still, serene weather”, the music offers a canny contrast of gently precipitous and heady sound pressure systems that sound like field documentary evidence of natural events and scenarios rather than anything more laboured. That gently organic effortlessness carries the album on fantasy wings, breezing from sweetly haunting psychedelic projections in ‘Salvia Salvatrix’ to tie in gauzy rhythmic knots on ’Teerenpeli’.
She vacillates a barely-there presence with air-carving vocal calligraphy on ‘Varjokuvatanssi’, and the slow techno-punk lullaby ‘Pölytön nurkka’ calls to mind early Grimes penning an elegy with Suicide, and the curdled lysergic textures of ‘Haaksirikkoutunut’ give way to pristine digital revelations in the FM synth sculpture ‘Saniaiset’, wrapping up with her spine-tracing, beat-less synth-pop beauty ‘Jolkottelureitti’.
Debut album from Genoa-based multi guitar collective Port Royal, a band so eager to spread their sound that they stretch the 78 minute CD recording limit to breaking point. Very much in the Manual school of grand post-rock, Port Royal seem to have a dizzyingly expansive remit that will appeal to anyone bewitched by Sigur Ros, Jonas Munk or even Ulrich Schnauss, fashioning gloriously hued sunset music which positively bursts with aural paroxysms. Opening with the ambient hearted 'Jeka', Port Royal draw you deep into their horizon-less world through gauze coated vocals that sit just out of reach before treating us to a 10 minute open vista on 'Spetsnaz - Paul Leni'. However, Port Royal save their truly epic visions for two compositions that consist of three movements each, straddling as many tracks. The first of these ('Zobiong') is a genuinely grin-inducing journey that suggests a similar recording dictum to that of Triosk, but with wildly differing aural results. Encompassing electronica, IDM, post rock and any other stravaig movement you like to mention 'Zoboing' combines the kinetic optimism of Mogwai's 'Rock Action' with Cocteau drums and crackling machine beats into a confection that is neither too sweet nor too bitter. It’s just occurred to me yet again what a great label resonant is – and this is a simply fabulous release. Highly Recommended.
Strong one for Broadcast fans - classy, active cosmic pop zig-zagging from swoonworthy to heady, motion sickness of time travel-psychedelia, conjured by members of Russian Baths, Grooms, and a disciple of PTV.
“Activity are an avant four-piece featuring Travis Johnson, and drummer Steve Levine, both from the band Grooms, bassist Zoë Browne from Field Mouse, and guitarist Jess Rees from Russian Baths. Produced by engineer Jeff Berner of Psychic TV, their debut forms a casually menacing framework for lyrical themes of paranoia, exposed character flaws, and the broader human capacity for growth when an ugly truth is laid bare.
Lead single “Calls Your Name,” establishes the record’s spectral aura with nauseated electronic bells, and a relentless Geoff Barrow-esque drum beat beneath a half-sung, half-spoken lyrics inspired by C.S. Lewis’s 1945 novel The Great Divorce. In the novel, characters stuck in a grey, joyless conception of hell repeatedly deny opportunities to be taken into heaven, instead making excuses as to why they should remain in their embittered purgatory states. Allegorically, this speaks to the kind of opportunity for metamorphosis and positive change that’s possible when the depths of disillusionment are reached, an idea which permeates much of the album. Despite recurrent aches of discontentment, each track glows with radiant waves of catharsis while elegantly evoking jubilation and anguish within the same breadth, showing that the two are always around the corner from one another."
The sixth release in BBE's acclaimed J Jazz Masterclass Series: ‘Stop Over’ by Hideto Sasaki - Toshiyuki Sekine Quartet +1. Released at the height of the electric fusion era, ‘Stop Over’ is an all-acoustic hard bop killer, sounding like the Jazz Messengers on speed.
"When it was originally issued on the private Smile label in 1976, only 100 copies were pressed, making ‘Stop Over’ one of the most sought after and rare LPs in the J Jazz canon. Trumpeter Hideto Sasaki tears it up as if he’s Kenny Dorham on a classic late 50s Blue Note session. He also provides the breakneck title track to the album, the one stunning original that sits next to solid covers including Bobby Hutcherson’s modal classic ‘Little B’s Poem’ and Denny Zeitlin’s ‘Carole’s Garden’.
Pianist Toshiyuki Sekine is also on top form with his deft touch and fluid keyboard runs, playing Horace Silver to Sasaki’s Dorham. If you dig that late 50s/early 60s breathless hard bop sound, you’ll love this. Licensed and released with the approval of Toshiyuki Sekine himself, ‘Stop Over’ will be available for download and streaming, as a CD and double vinyl LP, the first vinyl reissue of this amazing album since originally slipping out to family and friends in 1976. With a deluxe packaging and translated sleeve notes, there will also be new notes and an interview with Toshiyuki Sekine. The BBE J Jazz Masterclass Series is personally curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden and is dedicated to presenting the very finest in Japanese modern jazz."
Timely reissue of The Birthday Party songwriter/guitarist Rowland S. Howard’s ‘Pop Crimes’ (2009), presented just after the 10th anniversary of his passing, aged 50
Notably starring guest input from HTRK’s Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang, then under Howard’s mentorship, ‘Pop Crimes’ is an aching swansong for the brand of doomy, boozy, literate post-punk and rock that he pioneered over years with The Birthday Party, Crime & The City Solution, and alongside Nick Cave.
The aforementioned hook-up with HTRK opens the album in a dedication to the band’s Jonnine, ‘(I Know) A Girl Called Jonny’, and makes up one of the album’s highlights with his grinding take on Mark Hollis’ Talk Talk classic, ‘Life’s What You Make It’, which, alongside his dust-kicking cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Nothin’’, and the elegiac ‘Ave Maria’. only take on a new levity considering that they were recorded while Howard knew he was dying from a liver cancer. And in that sense, the swagger of closing number ‘The Golden Age Of Bloodshed’ sees him firmly saddled up to go out in style.
Members of Sun City Girls and Land Of Kush unleash free jazz-rock spirits on the Paris-based Akuphone label, shapeshifting from psychedelic jazz squall to exotic, fractal deliquescence and one devilish rhythm trip in ‘Bent, Black, and Red’ sounding like Mohammad Reza Mortazavi meets Oren Ambarchi
“The Dwarfs of East Agouza are back with « The Green Dogs of Dashur » ! Once again, the prolific American-Egyptian trio composed of Alan Bishop (Acoustic Guitar-Bass/Alto Sax), Sam Shalabi (Electric Guitar) and Maurice Louca (Organ/Synthesizers/Beats) breaks off all constraints and reveals a resolutely free album offering the listener variations of seductive melodies and unhinged improvised trance. The hot embossed metallic double-headed dog designed by the Lebanese artist Lynne Zakhour perfectly illustrates this album that blurs the boundaries of rock and jazz. A new album that will certainly delight fans of Sun City Girls or Land Of Kush.”
Swish, romantic and gallant synth-pop instrumentals channelling Satie, Dopplereffekt and Air, whose Nicolas Godin appears.
“Musique Sans Paroles is the debut solo offering from Pierre Rousseau. A careening Parisian police siren provides a melodic set and setting for a newly fashioned brand of romantic instrumental music to illuminate. Breezing between earnest orchestration and radiant dance tracks, Musique represents a return to Rousseau’s creative fountainhead; the influences, the instruments, and the city at the doorway of the artist’s origin story reopened.
Musique follows the trajectory of compositional innovators Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel, whose influences color, if not carry, so many sixties French film scores, Japanese Synth-pop and late 20th century Belgian, German and UK sounds, before reaching Rousseau. Through this maze we feel the profound impression of Gerald Donald’s dynamic, aqueous and stingingly emotive influence, and the drifting mystique of Air, whose Nicolas Godin wrote the bassline for “Souvenir” during an early session.
The album includes contributions from additional people and places: the opening title track features a short vocal recording by Mana Haraguchi introducing the album, and field recordings from the streets of Paris and Tokyo. “Pastorale” features a drone improvised by sound engineer Zak on his EMS Synthi at his Studio St-Robo. Pristine mastering from Adrien Pallot and Joseph Bird’s videos, or “photographs with a pulse,” provide the final touches.
Intent to create emotive music without lyrics and “retain the elegance of minimalism, with the ambition of maximalism,” these outer, and inner, communions allow Musique Sans Paroles to speak volumes without speaking at all.”
Satisfyingly deep, rugged and raw ambient techno rave, from Buttechno-like bangers to Actress or Grungerman-like techno steppers.
"Matt Karmil is British born – growing up in the rural town of Salisbury, near Stonehenge. Suffering a prolonged illness as a child, he spent much time indoors whiling away the long hours by playing with a classical guitar. Eventually he was well enough to see the world that had almost left him behind, and he spent his early twenties as an international traveller, DJing, record collecting and working as a producer-engineer in London, Paris, Stockholm and Berlin. In 2012 he decided to settle on Cologne – a city famed for its excellent club scena and ultra-minimal take on techno via the collective of artists and producers around the Kompakt label.
With a studio established in Cologne, Matt made his LP debut with the well received (but hard to Google) ‘----‘, combining dusty samples and elegant tape hiss with scuba-diving grooves and minimalist vibes. In the same year he released the jubilant club anthem ‘So You Say’ on Tim Sweeney's Beats In Space label and remixed John Talabot and Axel Boman's (Talaboman) single ‘Sideral’. Recent years have seen a raft of new releases from Matt, remixing XPress 2 for Skint, the albums idle 033 and ++++, as well as 12”s for Yumé Records, Idle Hands, Endless Flight and Studio Barnhus."
The Swedish four-piece fronted by vocalist Yukimi Nagano, with multi-instrumentalists Håkan Wirenstarnd and Fredrik Wallin on keyboards and bass respectively and Erik Bodin on drums and percussion - return with their sixth studio album, ‘New Me, Same Us’, their first album release since signing with Ninja Tune.
"Entirely self-produced and recorded at their long-time studio base in Gothenburg, the album represents another chapter in the continuing evolution of Little Dragon, finding new direction in their unique style of unhurried, off-kilter r’n’b, pop and electronics, they sound as rejuvenated and energised as ever.
The album is accompanied by the release of a photographic book by David Uzochukwu (has worked with FKA Twigs, Pharrell and Ibeyi) called ‘Yerba Mates’. Shot during their latest US tour, David captures his journey with the guys in a surrealistic style."
Smersh’s Mike Mangino does it dubby and deep house-styled for his longtime fans at iDEAL, big recommendation if yr feeling Huerco S., Ilpo Väisänen’s Liima dubs, The iDEALIST!
Pivotal ’80s proto-techno-punk Mike Mangino ov Smersh coughs up an ace bunch of dark dub and house grooves in a patented livewire style for Joachim Nordwall’s iDEAL
As half of New Jersey’s prolific, grooving industrial unit Smersh alongside Chris Shepard (R.I.P), Mike Mangino’s efforts in the ‘80s and early ‘90 have exerted a vital influence on the past decade of DIY noise techno and lo-fi operators thanks to a string of prized Smersh reissues via Dark Entries and Knekelhuis. iDEAL founder Joachim Nordwall has followed Smersh since their cannily titled 1986 album ‘The Part of The Animal That People Don’t Like’, and more recently has been obsessing over Mangino’s SoundCloud page, which lead him to get in touch and promptly receive this hypnotic batch of deep house and moody machine dub workouts.
Judging from the seven trax of ‘Coisas’, it’s safe to say that Mangino’s music is still very much relevant to the underground and fringe electronic music communities. Like his early work, Mangino’s music still moves perpendicular to dub, noise, industrial and synth music, and since the late ‘80s it’s taken form as a sort of slanted house and brittle dub sound that indeed echoes with Joachim Nordwall’s own efforts as part of Börft Records in the early ‘90s, and nowadays as The iDEALIST.
Trustingly hand-picked by Nordwall, the set highlights Mangino’s tastes for cranky textures, melancholic atmospheres, and a personalised brand of sideways futurism. ‘Local Dub’ gets it going like one of Ilpo Väisänen’s killer Liima dubs, and the night crawling dub slug ‘Ramona Corner’ very cannily pitches up with very trippy effect. ‘The Way You Are’ follows with a full bodied, raw and sleepy dub house stride that’ tucked away Nu Groove style in ‘Slowly I Turned’, while ‘Nothing Changes’ returns to dwell in dub contemplation, and the whisked piano house of ’Solitaire’ gives way to something like a smudged Huerco S. dub in ‘Amphetamine Jitters’.
Alex Paterson steers The Orb on mission calling for common sense and set to a lushly widescreen backdrop taking in cinematic beat-less works alongside throbbing ambient house and newer strains of pop funk, expanding a style he’s helped shape for 30 years.
“Abolition Of The Royal Familia is the 17th album from Alex Paterson and his rotating roster of collaborative cohorts. The album forms part two of a pair – a continuation of the same “anything goes” ethos as the previous, critically-acclaimed long player No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds. This new offering marks the first album with Paterson and Michael Rendall as main writing partners.
‘Abolition…’ features guest turns from Youth, Roger Eno, Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy (from Gong and System 7), Gaudi, On U-Sound’s David Harrow, Alex’s dog Ruby, a 17 year old trumpeter called Oli Cripps (who was working a Saturday job in Alex’s local record shop when the pair met), his cousin Leyton on whistle, real strings courtesy of Violetta, and a whole lot more.
With it’s provocative, mafia-alluding title, Hogarth/Chapman Brothers inspired cover by artist Pure Evil and a no-longer-present sample of Prince Charles (removed for litigious reasons), ‘Abolition..’ continues The Orb’s recent run of records which protest against the establishment, albeit in their own roundabout and idiosyncratic way.
The album is in part inspired by and in retrospective protest of the royal family’s historical endorsement of the East India Company’s opium trade, which was hugely damaging to India and caused two wars with China in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Humour, samples, deep ambience, cerebral throbbing dub, classic house, the white island, hip hop, psych and heartbreakingly beautiful contemporary composition are recognisably present, as is, perhaps less expectedly, a proudly pop element.”
Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP was originally released in early 2009, hot on the heels of the beloved album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’. The EP was a harbinger of a new sound for Bon Iver: a movement away from the acoustic guitar-led instrumentation of the debut and the beginning of an exploration into the experimental sounds that have evolved but defined Bon Iver ever since. The reissue of this seminal EP is coupled with brand new live renditions of all the EP tracks:
A reflection on the Blood Bank EP by Ryan Matteson:
"When I reflect on the songs that make up the Blood Bank EP, I am drawn to mantras, both musical and lyrical. The driving and pulsating rhythm of the title track is held steady by the repeated refrain, I know it well, before it eventually yields to a beautiful array of guitar distortion and noise. These moments are significant through all four songs. When the steel guitar makes its entrance on “Beach Baby,” it’s transportive. A blissful, breezy feeling sweeps into the room and that puts you within the moment. Close your eyes and you can feel it. “Babys” follows perfectly. A piano guides your mind to the new beginnings that come with the changing of seasons. The awareness of time passes and makes way for another day. Then there’s “Woods.” A flawless finale. Foreign and new. Not just a new direction but a new beginning entirely. A place where boundaries don’t exist. It was a signal change of things to come, laying the groundwork for new collaborations. A decade later, the song says so much in just three lines. Most significant to me are the words, “I’m building a sill to slow down the time.” Time doesn’t slow down, it races."
Few do cinematic sorrow quite like Poland’s Jacaszek and ‘Music For Film’ spans 20 years of his bleakest, most seductively sad and spectral works for film in 10 pieces that patently make for a beautiful album.
Epitomising a certain, haunted nature and emotive clout we’d associate with soundtracks for bleak Polish and Eastern European cinema, Jacaszek’s various strands of work for documentary, fantasy and TV drama seep together in the creepily paced sequence of events and spectral apparitions that unfold within the ambient-classical-concrete interzones of his ‘Music For Film’.
Etched in chiaroscuro over broad canvasses from a palette of field recordings, acoustic sampling, poetry and baroque instrumentation, his music trustingly evokes the dark fairytales and hardbitten dramas he’s been sought out to score, but removed from those contexts and replaced into an album sequence, the suggestive essence of Jacaszek’s music becomes more versatile, lending itself to your own swoon-worthy scenes and perhaps most acutely, often as a crushing elegy for the times.
RIYL Deathprod, Deaf Center, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and this one’s among the most convincing examples of his chilling abilities.
Avant garde, electro-acoustic pearl from the GRM archive 1981/2017, drawing the ear’s eye into richly illusive fractal patterns with heavily psychedelic effect. The first one is quite uncompromising in its vision, while the later 2nd piece is more naturally textured and absorbing with it...
“FRACTALS (1981), 21’26: Composed at the GMVL from December 1979 to September 1981, this work was commissioned by Fnac. Fractals are mathematical oddities that, when crossing our path, turn the smallest island into an immensity to be explored. FRACTALS is a series of short studies, all based on the same sound source. Seeking in the sound and its very logic a proposal upon which a construction is elaborated, each Fractal remains open and is a mere fragment of itself. FRACTALS, music pieces sculpted in four dimensions, are vast microcosms that can only be inhabited by the mind. Each Fractal can be approached from several angles, far, near, etc. Some can be listened to at different speeds, forwards or backwards.
FRACTALS: amorphous and endless music pieces whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere.
Brain Fever (2017), 18'00: Wherever you may be in the forest of South India, the Brain Fever bird, together with the Seven Sisters, literally gets into your head. Whether it be early morning, daytime, or nighttime, amidst the stridulations of insects, its song utterly reflects Indian life: sonorous, noisy, insistent, dense, overcrowded, mobile, swarming, frantic, overheated, deprived of rest and sleep. Brain Fever echoes sonic images caught in the Aurovillian forest, near Pondicherry, and rich fragments of improvisations made in Lyon on analog sound synthesis or feedback devices, the kind I used to do in the first GMVL studios. Brain Fever is dedicated to Sofia Jannok, a musician and sàmi singer.”
Sensurreal live ambient manipulations rich with uncanny spatial sensitivity and etheric timbral qualities
“Folding the paper of reality: Sara Oswald and Feldermelder present a live album that reveals hidden timbres by the means of accoustic and electronic improvisation and signal processing.
Sara Oswald's cello, Feldermelder's electronics and a set of signal paths and fractal algorithms serve as the corner points of their delta-like setup. As a result, their music is a mixture of improvised figures that are processed and extrapolated, before feeding them back into the mix. The musicians shape, echo and (de-)harmonize their fragments, creating a dense and ubiquitous music. Both raw and rich in detail at the same time, Sara Oswald and Feldermelder's play unveils hidden sounds as if they were broken through prisms, creating an ever-evolving, shapeshifting musical journey.
Trained in baroque cello and advocating improvised music, Sara Oswald is the perfect match for sound artist and electronic musician Feldermelder. She plays solo, composes for film and theatre and collaborates with musicians like The Young Gods, Pascal Auberson, Sophie Hunger and Julian Sartorius.Feldermelder's influences range from the works of old pioneers of Electronic Music to classical Jazz, electronic and analog music from the now, before and tomorrow.”
Ethio-jazz keyboard wizard Hailu Mergia weaves his magic in a crisply modernist but dubbed-out style on follow-up to ‘Lala Belu’, deepening his partnership with Awesome Tapes From Africa, who brought his 40 years of recordings to overdue international acclaim since nearly a decade ago.
"From a young musician in the 60's starting out in Addis Ababa to the 70's golden age of dance bands to the new hope as an emigre in America to the drier period of the 90s and 2000s when he mainly played keyboard in his taxi while waiting in the airport queue or at home with friends. More recently, with reissue of his classic works and a re-assessment of his role in Ethiopian music history, Mergia has played to audiences big and small in some of the most cherished venues around the world. With 2018's critical breakthrough "Lala Belu" Mergia championed himself and consolidated his legacy, producing the album on his own and connecting with listeners through the sheer creative power of his version of modern Ethiopian music. His subsequent performances revealed an artist who is in no way stuck in the nostalgia for the “golden age” sound. The press agreed, including the New York Times, BBC and Pitchfork, calling his music “triumphantly in the present” in its Best 200 Albums of the 2010's list. Mergia's new album "Yene Mircha" ("My Choice" in Amharic) encapsulates many of the things that make the keyboardist, accordionist and composer-arranger remarkable—elements that have persisted to maintain his vitality all these years, through the ebb and flow of his career.
The rock solid trio with whom he has toured the world most recently, DC-based Alemseged Kebede (bass) and Ken Joseph (drums), forms the nucleus around which an expanded band makes a potent response to the contemporary jazz future "Lala Belu" promised. "Yene Mircha" calcifies Mergia's prolific stream of creativity and his philosophy that there is a multitude of Ethiopian musical approaches, not just one sound. Enlisting the help of master mesenqo (traditional stringed instrument) player Setegn Atenaw, celebrated vocalist Tsehay Kassa and legendary saxophone player Moges Habte from his 70's outfit Walias Band, Mergia enhances his bright, electric band on this recording with an expanded line up on some songs. Mergia produced the album which features several of his original compositions along with songs by Asnakesh Worku and Teddy Afro.
An artist still reinventing his sound every night on stage during his marathon live sets, this 74 year-old icon refuses to make the same album twice. The album feels as urgent and risky as his concerts can be, pushing the band to the outer limits of group improvisation and back with chord extensions during his exploratory solos. "Yene Mircha" captures this live experience and fosters an expansive view of what else could be in store for this tireless practitioner of Ethiopian music. "
Ten incredible albums culled from the deepest, weirdest co-op of record enthusiasts ever gathered under one banner.
"We’ve spared no expense packaging these, pairing the idea of the Art of Compilation with living and breathing art, creating little fortune cookies baked in a factory of forgotten dreams. Video games, pyramids, trading cards, matchbooks, mazes, lottery tickets, film canisters, yearbooks, and various other exercises in design absurdity.
A lounge in the Poconos located just inside a Holiday Inn, 1973. The smoky haze clears to reveal a middle aged couple on a one-foot high stage, prattling on about the weather or Watergate before launching into a serviceable cover of Burt Bacharach’s “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” Tens of thousands of such combos littered restaurants, cruise ships, casinos, lobbies, and cocktail bars throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but far fewer cut a record worth buying from the stage, much less listening to on the home hi-fi. Gathered here are 14 lounge originals from across the entire easy listening spectrum. A spent matchbook’s worth of crooners, bossa nobodies, seafood jazzers, and Donca-Matic enthusiasts all in search for their ticket out of a red leather booth hell."
Fuel for the mentalist ravers, Volruptus does braindance and naughties breaks on Bjarki’s bbbbbb.
While there’s a sense of humour at play recalling the PRR! PRR! lot, we’re really not sure about the return of the sound palettes and patterns of very late ‘90s and early ‘00s breaksy electro, but it sounds like he’s having fun here and you might too, especially with highlights in the deeper electro pressure of ‘Algorithm Society’ and the scudding Singeli ghetto-tech steez of ‘Fótafimi’.
Lo-fi, loop-based innovations from Turin, IT-based DJ/producer Camarades Breton; hacking and splicing bits of ambient techno, hardcore, grime and psychedelic electronics in a ruffneck style recalling Filter Dread and Seekersinternational
“The album has been entirely recorded by the artist at home, using only a CMX-5000 CD-J, a twin CD-mixing system rack distributed by Pioneer at the beginnings of the 2000s, and an old two-channel mixer he has been using since childhood.
Recordings started in a very instinctive and naif way, by simply putting together two very short loops taken from two different sources, just for the fun of it. Quite soon however, this extremely simple technique turned into a proper method highlighting a constant struggle between two different forces. As a result of a constant shift of tempo and pitch, the two inputs rarely fit together perfectly.
This conflict awakens the producer's vision, turning this clash of sounds either into an emotional struggle, in tracks such as Stella, or into a political struggle, like in the B-side opening track NoTav which, through the costant tension between the two audio sources, evokes the recent fight against the construction of theTurin-Lyon high-speed railway line that is causing huge social and environmental damages.
The sounds get hijacked and given a new meaning, mostly in a contradictory way, giving life to the sounds beyond their original sources.This method can be compared to that of the détournement, as Situationist Guy Debord named it.
The choice of using old material has political reasons as well. Feeling unconfident in producing new sounds in a consumerist and over- polluted Western world where culture has reached a saturation point, the artist decides to recycle some of the sounds recorded in the last fifty years, randomly picking bargain second-hand CD's or taking them away from the dust at people's places.
The artwork of the album, made by the artist himself, integrates the conflictual contrasts of the record, juxtaposing a photograph of the 1962 Algerian women's demonstration for Independence with a photograph of the May '68 Paris streets riots – two different struggles with a common revolutionary feeling.
French director Jean-Luc Godard once said that "you need to put together two images to let things happen". This is probably the best explanation for how this album has been recorded, treating two sound sources as if they were images, waiting for something to finally happen.
The album will be released in a cassette format to encourage an uninterrupted listening, as suggested by the producer. For the same reason it will be released into just two continuous tracks in the digital version as well.
Born in 1989, Stefano Murgia alias Camarades Breton is a producer and D.J. from Turin, Italy. Overly bored by the musical theory lessons he took as a child, pretty soon he starts experimenting with tape recording in his room and playing in a band. Deeply rooted into the underground scene of his hometown, he is currently working on different projects concerning music, film-making and editorial stuff, with a DIY approach.”
The first release on Optimo Music founder JD Twitch’s new compilation-focused label Cease & Desist will be a collection of pioneering turn-of-the-90s British “Bleep & Bass” techno tracks curated by author and music journalist Matt Anniss.
"Join The Future: UK Bleep & Bass 1988-91 is a partner product to Anniss’s critically acclaimed book on the foundations of British dance music’s ongoing love affair with sub-bass, Join The Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music. The book, which was published by Velocity Press in December and features a foreword by JD Twitch, documents in vivid detail the previously untold story of the Yorkshire-pioneered style and the impact it had on the development of UK dance music.
The compilation is the first to focus on Bleep & Bass since the sound’s heyday in the late 1980s and early ’90s. It features a mix of historic cuts, period classics, overlooked gems and unreleased material. It was mastered for release by Warp Records co-founder and Forgemasters member Rob Gordon, a producer, remixer and studio engineer who arguably did more than anyone else to define the sub-heavy sound of the style.
Gordon also contributed a previously unheard version of Alfanso’s “Dub Feels Nice”, a near mythical track he produced in 1991 that has never received a proper commercial release. The cut has been a secret weapon for a handful of Sheffield DJs for almost 30 years, most notably Gordon’s fellow Forgemasters member Winston Hazel. Fittingly, the compilation also includes the original unreleased instrumental version of Tuff Little Unit’s Steel City classic “Join The Future”.
Many of the other tracks on the compilation are rare, hard to find or have not been issued on vinyl or digital since their initial release. It opens with Unique 3 and the Mad Musician’s “Only The Beginning” – the 1988 A-side of the first ever Bleep record – and also includes tracks and remixes from fellow scene pioneers Ital Rockers (an early alias of dub hero Iration Steppas), Nightmares on Wax, Cabaret Voltaire and DJ Martin and DJ Homes, the previously unheralded Chapeltown duo behind the influential Leeds-based studio and record label BASSIC.
Elsewhere on the compilation you’ll find Birmingham producer Demonik’s sought-after debut single “Layrinthe”, a hard-to-find cut from Bedford-based men of mystery Original Clique, two classic cuts from the vaults of influential Midlands label Network Records and a glassy-eyed slab of Bleep/deep house fusion from 100 Hz."
Immersive, transporting and deeply arresting music from the revered autodidact and audio oddity. If you've never encountered Ghedalia before, this is an excellent place to start, welcoming you to a whole other world of exotic, electro and acoustic sounds, composed between 1979 and 1987 according to a genuinely far reaching and individual agenda.
"More than 5 years after the CD edition of Eclipse totale de soleil and Transportes, Alga Marghen finally decided to also reissue the first and forth LP by Ghedalia Tazartes including both on one CD. Ghedalia Tazartes is a nomad.
He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. He paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker. He traces vague landscapes where the mitre of the white clown the plumes of the sorcerer, the helmet of a cop and Parisian anhydride collide into polyphonic ceremonies… The greatest trips were made in the deep end of the throat: the extra-European music open the ear to Ghedalia's intra-European exotism. Where was music before music halls? Where was the voice before it learned how to speak? Ghedalia is the orchestra and a pop group all in one person: the self is multitude and others.
The author and his doubles work without a net, freely connecting the sounds, the rhythms, his voice, his voices. The permanent metamorphosis is a principle of composition, it escapes control, refuses classification. To hell with the technocrates of noise and the purists of synthetic culture. All art like all true mythology use a double clavier, playing nature and culture, feeling and the distance of the flesh, death. Off limits!"
Divine, endlessly reverberating dream-pop from the much loved Windy & Carl, reprising and refining their very special brand of shimmering shoegaze vistas on their first album proper since 2012.
Born in dream-pop’s second wind, when it shifted further into etheric margins after 4AD brought it to near mainstream acclaim during the ‘80s, Windy & Carl were at the eye of a slow moving sound emerging from Chicago and centring around the Kranky label in the ‘90s, whom they’ve become synonymous with over the years.
With ‘Allegiance and Conviction’ Windy’s vocals are again an elusive, poetic presence, drifting in and out of focus to channel Nico at her smokiest, or even one of the alien spirit voices collated in the gorgeous Tongues Of Light sides, and all typically bathed in their deeply anaesthetised sound, smudging the guitar style of Robin Guthrie into imaginary infinity.
Windy & Carl have been crafting inner space electric guitar and bass vistas for nearly three decades now, but their latest feels as vital and vaporous as any peak opus in their vast catalog. Subtly more succinct than their previous albums, ‘Allegiance and Conviction’ finds Carl Hultgren’s guitar amassed in pillowy layers of bass and cirrus timbral iridescence, feeling out sound stage settings for Windy that shift from the chthonic, sepulchral drone-pop majesty of ‘The Stranger’, and the breezier pastoral relief of ‘Recon’, to the densely forested fug that mask her in ‘Alone’, while the shimmering instrumental hope of ‘Will I See the Dawn’ pays up in quietly cathartic effect up in the romantic guitar strokes and decaying angelic chorales that cradle Windy’s fading spirit on the closer ‘Crossing Over’. Lend an ear and you’ll be richly rewarded.
For the fifth entry in the Collector's Series, Music For Dreams enlist the skills of Japan-based musical connoisseurs, Ken Hidaka, Max Essa, and Dr. Rob. Their compilation Oto No Wa sets out to map the evolution of chilled Japanese sounds across 3 decades.
"Collecting 14 tracks, produced by a wide range of artists. From ambient pioneers to dance-floor veterans. Roping in 9-piece reggae band, Little Tempo, percussionist Kazuya Kotani, and organic, psychedelic collective, Olololop.
Beginning in the late 1980s, the era when “environmental music” became prevalent, there`s Yoshio Ojima's cool computer-generated Sealed. The compilation also includes later work by his contemporaries Takashi Kokubo, and Yoshiaki Ochi. Theirs are compositions designed for art galleries and museum installations. “BGM” built from emerging technology, and / or counterpoint tapped out expertly on sticks and stones. The 90s give us the seminal electronics of Susumu Yokota, and the solar-flare strut of Scha Dara Parr - Japan's answer to The Beastie Boys. Here, remixed by the legendary Major Force. Moving into the 21st century we have the post-house productions of Flower Records. Kentaro Takizawa's oceanic Gradual Life, and Little Big Bee's colourful coral reef-diving Scuba. Fellow traveller, Kaoru Inoue`s “Kyushu kosmische”. Representing the next decade are Flower Records' current rising stars, Coastlines, who calmly combine classic fusion, library music, and gentle nova bossa nova rhythms. Alongside them are the sun-baked electro-acoustics of Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu, plus Chillax' previously unreleased epic analog / modular jam.
All of these selections are the result of some serious “digging” but more importantly they represent physical connections made during Ken's 20-plus-year career in the “Biz”, Max' decade of DJing all over Japan. Music made by folks interviewed by Rob at the websites, Test Pressing and Ban Ban Ton Ton. Friendships forged at Lone Star - the trio's long-running party, which takes place every month at Bar Bonobo in Harajuku."
Bittersweet electro nerve tweaks from Annie Hall on her 2nd EP with the non-stop CPU label
‘Fum’ comes 4 years since her ‘Tenured Positions’ and sees her sleek mechanisms whirring from Bitstream-like electromance in ‘Verd Mar’ to piston-pumping 808s and taut FM synth bass in the wickedly off key harmonic developments of ‘D’un Altre Planeta’, with the title track swanging out into Detroit style electro-funk and the clinically cold sci-fi scenes of ‘Promises De Fusta’ betraying her links to the Gerald Donald-helmed Daughter Produkt.
Avery and Cortini feel out emotionally raw synth circuitry across an album of rolling topographies strongly comparable to Blanck Mass, Abul Mogard, Tim Hecker.
“The album is a beguiling and unexpected collusion of two sounds. Beginning as a collaborative experiment before the pair had even met, Avery and Cortini then worked remotely and free of concept or deadline over several years. The result, finally completed when both artists were touring with Nine Inch Nails in 2018, is a quietly powerful album rooted in trust, process and experimentation.
The first fruits of their labour were unveiled last year when ‘Water’ and ‘Sun’ appeared online, subsequently released as a very limited 7” run that was sold at FYF Festival, Mount Analog in Los Angeles, Phantasy's online store and Phonica Records in London. Both tracks are included on the album.”
One of Australia’s greatest musical storytellers at his best on one of the best albums to come from down under during the ‘90s, including his classic take on Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’.
Rowland S. Howard’s solo 1999 debut arrived in a dramatic lineage of The Birthday Party, who he co-founded with Nick Cave and took to indelible acclaim circa post-punk years 1978-1983. ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ saw him saddle up with fellow TBP member Mick Harvey for a now canonically classic trek into the depths of his soul, setting ripping yarns of despair, romance and alien affectation to the sort of swaggering, sozzled, classic but fucked-up alt.rock sound he helped establish in the first place.
Ever since it was released ’Teenage Snuff Film’ has cast a long shadow of influence over everyone from The Horrors to HTRK |(who collaborated with Howard just before he died, on 2009’s Pop Crimes’) and remains a totally definitive record in its field.
Sorry release their debut record ‘925’ on Domino.
"Together with co-producer James Dring (Gorillaz, Jamie T, Nilüfer Yanya), best friends Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen have woven ‘925’ like a dreamscape in which idyllic and hellish scenes intermingle, forcing the question of what is real and what is make believe.
Inspired by everything from Hermann Hesse to Aphex Twin and old-school crooner Tony Bennett, their experimental and holistic approach marks them out as a thoroughly 21st Century band; from their open-minded approach to genre to their creativity allowing them to self-produce the music and direct accompanying videos."
Deliciously strung-out psychedelia steeped in gnostic desert rock vibes and possessed by exceedingly strange vocals. A distinctive wonder from deep West Texas for fans of Sun City Girls, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sun Araw
“The Totemist marks a new direction for the mysterious group. Equipped with studio quality recordings and a (somewhat) lighter tone, opposed to the oppressively lo-fi sound the group is known for.
This is a deep psychedelic-folk album with hints of mysticism, some of which was written and recorded in a ghost-town in the Chihuahuan Desert in far West Texas - a place where the dead outnumber the living. Various overdubs and field recordings were captured in the historic Terlingua cemetery : an ancient burial ground filled with small grottoes and graves made of sticks and stones. This being the final resting place for miners who succumbed from illnesses derived from the toxic rare-earth element known as mercury.
Ak’chamel, The Giver of Illness are fourth world post-colonial cultural cannibalists circumcising the foreskin of enlightenment. Performing in homemade costumes and masks, they have played festivals in various cities around the U.S gaining international attention from Vice, The Wire, Tiny Mix Tapes, Consequence of Sound, and many more. Enter the fourth world now!”
Broad, Afro-soulful and disco-dancehall-rooted picks from Stockport’s own Mr. Scruff on the long-running DJ-Kicks series, taking in tracks from Iona Fortune to Equiknoxx, Errorsmith, Seiji, and DJ Nervoso, among many others, in his party-ready stride
Serving a 31-course taster platter of his persistent parties at Band on The Wall in Manchester, and literally everywhere else in the world, where he tends to play from start to finish, this mix testifies to Scruff’s slow-burning style, slinging far-flung burners from West Africa to the Caribbean via Brixton and Berlin with a faithfully winky wiggle and schwag. Good stuff.
Beautifully immersive avant-ambient sound sculpture from the peerless Simon Fisher Turner for renowned ceramicist Edmund De Waal - truly unmissable stuff from a living legend of the British art world.
We could be here for days on SFT’s illustrious past, but Google can sort that so we’ll focus on the glorious, immanent present of ‘A Quiet Corner of Time’, where the artistic polymath wears his sound design hat for a return to his sort of dream-like soundtrack work that enriched Derek Jarman’s films including, among others, ’Caravaggio’, which poetically presages this new piece in collaboration with contemporary artist and master potter Edmund de Waal.
Hailed as “the first time de Waal has collaborated so closely with a musician”, the sonic results were first heard installed at the Schindler house in LA, in a piece that used de Waal’s materials and architectural interventions to link his own history to that of the building, and its famous residents including John Cage.
Standing alone as its own object to be admired, immersed in, Fisher Turner’s album is a richly evocative environment in its own right, weaving in material also recorded and swapped with Ryuichi Sakamoto to create a rarified air of introspection and meditative drama that lends a strange, animist presence to whatever respective environment it’s used in.
It’s totally required listening for followers of everyone from John Cage to Terre Thaemlitz, Jim O’Rourke, Leyland Kirby and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Allow a wee bit of pop whimsy from Dirty Projectors, channelling Steely Dan and David Byrne in winsome way on first new EP since 2018
Their first new material since ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ offers anachronistic balm for the times lilting from the folk-pop blossom of ‘On The Breeze’ to the kind of harmonious ohrwurms in ‘Overlord’ that have seen their music prized by Beyonce and Kanye, while ‘Search for Life’ best shows off the effervescent string arrangements of Oliver Hill (Vagabon, Dust Rider), and ‘Guarding The Baby’ sees Maia Friedman effortlessly slip into a timeless folk blues mode.
Fatima Al Qadiri, Jasss, Florian Kupfer, Ben Frost, and Luis Da Silva reorganise highlights of Alva Noto’s 2018 album, ‘Unieqav’
The artists variously expand on the album’s brooding cinematic and dancefloor themes in a mixture of anticipated and unexpected ways. Fatima Al Qadiri turns ‘Uni Sub’ into a stately transition from brassy fanfare to rolling electro, whereas Ben frost surprises with a driving techno take on ‘Uni Normal’ powered by an increasingly unruly core of pounding bass. Jasss arguably serves the biggest highlight, turning ‘Uni Blue’ into a staggering, hair-kissing breakbeat electro epic recalling late ‘90s Ae, while Florian Kupfer turns the same elements into a squeaky techno slammer.
Warm, breezy Atlanta heat from vocalist Taves on the city’s Harsh Riddims, rounding up her enchanting early demos and their brawnier, developed iterations
Where the demos capture a sort of soulful innocence in highlights such as ‘Abject (Demo)’ with its fragrant birdcalls and faded but bucolic allure, the full version supplies her with proper bass perhaps to the detriment of the atmosphere, and likewise what ‘Decant (Demo) lacks in body, it makes for in a dreamier spirit that’s maybe lost in the final mix. That said all the tracks stand up in their own right, although we’re not sure why ‘Dissonance’ doesn’t contain any. Ultimately ’Thumo’ is the one for us; a beautifully buoyant mutation of footwork and R&B that makes nuff room for the atmospheres and some ace, unique trap drums.
Following 2017’s Rotlicht EP, Shanti Celeste & Gramrcy are very happy to welcome back Chekov for the first Peach release of 2020.
"The Aerated EP collects four tracks built from the heart, made for the head and body."
KIller Afrobeats hustle from Kenya’s rising star Nah Eeto and London’s Sumgii, dealt by Loefah’s 81 label
Already a big name in Kenya, the louche flow of Nah Eeto is set to find more traction in UK with ‘Wanawake’, with bars switching between Swahili/English and set to a very road friendly swagger in a style recalling crossover heat by Okzharp and Manthe Ribane,
Beat builder for Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$, Knxwledge comes correct with his first new album since 2015, a decade on from his debut with Dublin’s All City Records
Holding tight against the ubiquity of trap music, Knxwledge sticks to his guns (samplers) in a vintage-soul licking hip hop style on ‘1988’, tiling 22 tracks of deep and rugged MPC knocks alongside shroomie skits and a couple of joints featuring his NxWorries homie Anderson .Paak (Itkanbe[Sonice]) and Durand Bernard & Rose Gold on the slick boogie soul downstroke ‘Minding_My Business’. It’s a proper hip hop album in a really old skool, ruffkut MPC sense, sure to appeal to backpack dads and their ilk.
Nico Jaar chases up his production for FKA Twigs with his 4th solo album, landing nearly a decade since his head-turning debut ‘Space Is Only Noise’
The result is a typically slow moving batch of nocturnes enhanced with very sensitively detailed atmospheric touches, entwining nods to his Chiléan heritage with nods to ’70 spiritual jazz, psychedelic rock, classical music, and the kind of timeless but futuristic ambient pop balladeering also explored by the likes of Elysia Crampton and Arca.