The influential Janus Berlin incubator gives up the debut LP collaboration between Backtearer and Why Be.
Presented in the form of an oneiric ‘mixtape’ suite recorded in Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Berlin, dc keens through a series of beatless, vignette-like snapshots that blossom from the duo’s collaborative track found on Backterarer’s Swear tape for YYAA into passages of far eastern strings, etheric voices and ambient etudes, covering vast conceptual distance within a relatively short space of time.
Remember The Sun Can’t Compare? Course you do. Well, Larry Heard gets it damn right with Mr White again, curling up the Afro-cubist electro-house hustle of Virtual Emotion, and the slunky darkroom cruise of Supernova.
On Virtual Emotion he comes buoys Mr White on a burning bass tug and pensile woodblock claves holding the lip-biting sensuality with masterful skill, also available in a starry-eyed dub.
Supernova is more blunt about it; with Mr. White riding a cantering monotone bass and hoofed percussion in protein-guzzled, processed vox, likewise included as a dub to expose the groove’s gritty depth.
Avian’s most enigmatic avatar commits their 2nd batch of cryptic electronic patterns, following the primitive, hypnotic pulses of 19805. -_ 19905, with a sparser, pensive and menacing suite that feels out space between Black Mecha and SAW II-era AFX.
Opening with a death knell carillon right out of a Clive Brker flick, the session keens on from charred rhythmic electronics to passages of exquisite, nerve-dancing dissonance, impish folk-techno and the sort of mechanical melodies you’d hear at a fairground run by The Chapman Brothers, before finally shuddering with kidney stone piss shivers and ending up with you prepped for the sacrificial slap if you’ve come this far.
Gorgeous new album from Teresa Winter, an uncanny collection of ambient / dream pop / entheogenic reveries that comes highly recommended if you're into anything from Grouper to F Ingers to Leyland Kirby to Delia Derbyshire to early AFX.
Teresa Winter’s LP debut Untitled Death is a hallucinogenic wormhole of sensuously ambiguous pop and electronic experiments primed for the after-after party and altered states of reception. Realised thru a mesh of strategies from live, lo-fi tape recordings of synths, samplers and vocals to nascent experiments with algorithmic software, it's both a divine revelation of new aspects to Teresa’s sound and and expansion of The Death of Rave’s as-yet-unidentified aesthetic, which should come as a very welcome surprise to anyone who fell for her remarkable post-rave reverie, Oh Tina, No Tina, released on tape by Reckno in early 2015 to cult acclaim.
Where the artwork and collaged sound of Oh Tina, No Tina signified a serotonin-soaked pastoralism and MDMA thizziness, Teresa’s zoomed photos of magic mushrooms spattered in popping fluorescent oils which adorn the cover hint at her change of focus to a more personalised, entheogenic insight and psychoactivity, or basically a proper, lush trippiness. And just like the putative psilocybic experience, Untitled Death naturally comes on in waves of synaesthically-heightened sensuality, from strangely libidinous stirrings to utter, eat-your-heart-out euphoria with a spectrum of hard-to-explain and unexpected sensations in between.
We can hardly recall a more seductive album opener than oh, which blossoms from plaintive drum machine and chiming pads to a half- or mis-heard beckon “I really like it / when you let yourself go / I really want you inside me / I want to make you my own”, before curdling into bittersweet partials and deliquescent hooks as earworming as anything from AFX’s SAW 85-92 classic. It’s devastating in its simplicity and almost blush-worthy in effect, and is soon enough lopped curtly into the soundtrack-like enchantment of Untitled Death, which could almost be a cue from some '60 Polish or Czech art-house film, serving to neatly set up the prickling, windswept scene of romantic introspection and dereliction in Pain Of Outside - perhaps Teresa’s most accomplished and affective pop turn to date; think Maria Minerva awkwardly blissing out at 9am in the corner of a successful sesh/campsite/free party.
From that perfectly damaged side closer, the instrumental นรก and earth opens the B-side to a different sort of spine-freezing beauty and sense of abandonment with plangent, dissonant harmonics describing rugged Yorkshire wolds and coast as much as a radiant lightshow on the back of flickering eyelids. She then calmly follows the lie of the land into the uncanny valley of anatomie de l’enfer, where her signature coos and French whispers are swept in updrafts of distant, processed orchestral strings that come alive with staggering effect in her parting missive, สวรรค์ and earth, whose scale and impact appears like a vertiginous but digitally crumbling sky city fata morgana over the North Sea, possibly projected by some mad Dutch pharmacist-cum-holography genius, or just her own imagination.
In fidelity and emotive pull, Untitled Death is a properly amazing, ambiguous and spirit-beguiling record; one which treads the finest line between anxiety-inducing tristesse, lushly uncomfortable introspection, and life-affirming oddness. Play it to a garden of turnt gurners or a bedroom of quiet souls and its effects will only become magnified, more wondrous.
Yasuaki Shimizu’s Music For Commercials  is here given a much needed first ever reissue some 30 years since it appeared on Crammed's Made To Measure library music series, which also included editions by Tuxedomoon and Hctor Zazou. Very safe to say that if you were enchanted by Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage LP or their Fairlights, Mallets & Bamboo mixes, this one is a must!
In 24 parts Shimizu unfolds a tightly packed lattice of crystalline gems and vignettes crafted for TV commercials, plus the 15 minute Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu piece for a Computer Animation Video which is practically worth the price of entry alone.
Presumably titled after the corporations who employed him, you’ll find stacks of super sweet, pastoral 4th world emulations patched from keys, sax, gamelan, drum machines and electronics for the likes of Seiko, Ricoh, Sharp, Honda, Knorr and Bridgestone, each as exactingly cute and piquant as the last.
Known for his numerous albums, soundtracks, and collaborations including with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Bjork, this is perhaps Shimizu's most sought-after and influential work and one that perfectly encapsulates our collective yearning for peace and quiet in an increasingly commercialised, chaotic world.
Running Back marks its fifteenth anniversary with the release of its first label compilation, the Running Back Mastermix.
"As befitting the celebration of a landmark year in the life of Gerd Janson's widely adored imprint, Janson has invited one of house music's original & greatest proponents of the Mastermix, NYC's Tony Humphries, to curate and mix the CD & digital editions of the compilation, accompanied by an unmixed double-LP which features a handful of the compilations rare & exclusive cuts.
Beginning with Todd Terje's blockbuster 'Ragysh' and traversing tracks from across the label's history, it includes contributions from long time label regulars alongside more recent additions and reminders of some of RB's best reissues.
Label mainstays Tiger & Woods, Matthew Styles, Redshape and Leon Vynehall all appear, alongside Mr G, Paul Woolford and recent breakthrough artists Shan, Jex and Roy Camanchero. Tiger & Woods's 'Don't Hesitate' appears on vinyl for the first time, while the Dixon edit of Precious System's anthem 'The Voice From Planet Love' will be available on wax again after only appearing on a super limited 12" run the first time around.
The choice of Tony Humphries to mix the compilation is a significant one. Having received his break in the early 80s as an understudy for the legendary Shep Pettibone's Kiss FM show, Humphries went on to become one of the defining DJs of house music's formative years with his residency at New Jersey's Club Zanzibar and London's Ministry of Sound. His previous mixes illustrate his continuing ability to bridge dance music's past & present, with prior contributions to Resident Advisor and Fabric's respective series in addition to label compilations for King Street Sounds and West End Records.
"It's truly an honor to partake in this special anniversary Running Back imprint. Gerd Janson's extraordinary palette of releases are unique - it was a privilege to be involved with this project." - Tony Humphries
Los Angeles’s prodigal songwriting son Ariel Pink shares his eleventh studio album, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson.
"The album’s title makes a direct and heartfelt reference to a real-life L.A. musician, long presumed dead, who resurfaced online in 2007 after 35 reclusive years to pen his autobiography and tragic life story in a series of blogs and YouTube tirades. “His book and life resonated with me to such a degree,” Pink states, “that I felt a need to dedicate my latest record to him.”
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson begins at the end and ends at the beginning. “We follow the protagonist through a battery of tests and milestones, the first of which sees him reborn into life out of death,” Pink explains, referencing the opening track “Time To Meet Your God.” “From there, he seesaws his way between the innocent love and the rock-solid edifice of childhood-worn trauma that together constitute his lifelong initiation into the realm of artifice and theatrical disposability.”
Building upon his singular vision of pop songcraft, established by such seminal records as The Doldrums, Worn Copy, House Arrest, Loverboy, Before Today, Mature Themes, and pom pom, Pink revisits themes that have haunted his sonic cinemascapes since the late 1990s: mismanaged dreams, west coast mythologies, itinerant criminals, haunted boulevards, Hollywood legends, the impermanence of romance, bubblegum artifice, movie stardom, childhood terror, acceptance of self, and narcissism projected through a celluloid filter of controversion.
Standout tracks from Dedicated to Bobby Jameson include “Feels Like Heaven,” a lovelorn insta-classic paying tribute to the promise of romance, “Another Weekend,” which encapsulates the lingering euphoria of a regrettable weekend over the edge, “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson,” a rah-rah psych romp paying homage to L.A.’s punk history, and “Time to Live,” an ironic anti-suicide anthem that promotes survival as a form of resistance before devolving into a grungy, “Video Killed the Radio Star”-style breakdown that supposes life and death as being more or less the same fate and embraces the immortal anarchy of a rock song as an alternative to the prison of reality.
Alternately contained and sprawling, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is a shimmering pop odyssey that represents more astonishing peaks and menacing valleys in the career of a man who, through sheer originality and nerve, has become an American rock and roll institution. The album marks his first full-length release with the Brooklyn-based independent label Mexican Summer.”
‘Electric Trim’ was recorded in New York City and Barcelona in collaboration with producer Raül ‘Refree’ Fernandez and extends the work of Ranaldo’s solo canon, the most recent being his 2013 album, ‘Last Night On Earth’.
"Through his collaboration with Fernandez, Ranaldo moves into some rich new sonic territories and production techniques, experimenting with electronic beats and samples alongside live players.
Ranaldo is a co-founder of Sonic Youth, a visual artist, producer and writer. In addition to Fernandez, he worked with several special guests on ‘Electric Trim’, including Sharon Van Etten, who sings on six of the tracks and duets on ‘Last Looks’ and Kid Millions (aka Man Forever), as well as longtime friend and collaborator Nels Cline (Wilco). In addition, the album features Ranaldo’s band The Dust (fellow Sonic Youth member Steve Shelley, guitarist Alan Licht and bassist Tim Luntzel).
Ranaldo collaborated with award-winning New York author Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn / The Fortress Of Solitude) for lyrics on six of the songs. American artist Richard Prince, who previously painted the sleeve for Sonic Youth’s 2004 album ‘Sonic Nurse’, created the artwork for the album."
Carla Dal Forno, Sam Karmel and Tarquin Manek return to F Ingers’ noumenal haunted house slightly older, lusher and with a more detached, dub-filtered gaze in Awkwardly Blissing Out, which has to be one of the most evocative album titles we’ve heard all year.
With the damaged, water-logged audness of their Hide debut still lingering like a smell you can’t get out of the curtains, F Ingers’ 2nd grimoir reprises that mildewed nostalgia with a dusky/dawning appeal, capturing the air of hours lost in a pharmaceutical haze or a slow, gradual comedown, metaphorically manifesting residual gurns flickering on twisted lips and from wayward eyelids, clammy fingertips and glowing pores.
Since their debut collaboration, each member of the trio has issued respective solo LPs - Carla with You Know What It’s Like, Karmel in the magnificent CS + Kreme, and Manek with the ace LST and Tarcar outfits - but here they beautifully subsume all individual egos to a common theme that’s testament to their group familiarity and shared status as outsider Melbournians recording both there, and stationed thousands of miles from home in Berlin.
In a sense, listening to Awkwardly Blissing Out is like eavesdropping on the trio’s telepathic comms, intercepting relayed messages about love, like the plasmic bleep lullaby of My Body Next To Yours, or losing yourself in big cities as with the mild dread of Your Confused, and dealing with reminders from home, both positive and negative as in the sun-dazed All Rolled Up and the nerve-bitten post-punk dub jolts of Awkwardly Blissing Out, which all seem to inhabit a more indistinct, smudged place in their collective imagination.
Our imposed ideas aside, though, this is a captivatingly uncertain, ambiguous album that slowly, voyeuristically sums up those glimpses of a parallel world we all escape to at times.
Denmark’s Amalie Bruun (Ex Cops, Minks) mounts her 2nd and most impressive album as Myrkur with the atmospheric metal melodramas of Mareridt (trans: Nightmare) produced and mixed by the inestimable Randall Dunn (Sunn 0))), Earth, Marissa Nadler) between Copenhagen’s Black Tornado studio and his legendary Avast recording facility in Seattle. It basically sounds like Enya via Burzum!
With a background in indie-pop units Ex Cops and Minks with Brain Harding for Captured Tracks, Amalie arrives as something of a marmite artist to the black metal scene. Since 2014 her handful of releases for Relapse have prompted perhaps predictable responses from the scene - her riffs aren’t strong enough, the vocals aren’t proper enough etc etc - but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Billy Corgan and Chelsea Wolfe signing up to her fan club, with Chelsea even appearing on this album’s bonus track, Funeral.
Make of all that what you will, but your reception of Mareridt will basically come down to a tolerance for epicness; we’re talking proper Whitby Goth Weekend styles, all crushed velvet dresses and frilly white blouses in windswept scenes, with a dash of Riverdance-like folk heritage in the vintage instrumentation and choral sections, plus daubs of candle-dripping synth atmosphere sexiness for good measure. Plus we can hear the etheric space of Randall Dunn in its strongest, most affective moments, which, funnily enough mostly come in the closing track.
Proceed with caution/a little bit of fake blood in corner of your mouth.
Anachronistic tangle of early ‘90s-inspired breakbeat house and proto-hardcore styles from P.O.I. for the badboys at UTTU.
Crush rolls out on a bumpy 4/4 snaked with running man breaks and angelic synth voices; Ex and Actual Freak step out with wilder, twisted vortices of breaks and psychedelically-diffused hardcore tropes; Down for Your Fantasy gives it up for the swingers in a sort of acid-snagged garage house groove.
Everyone’s favourite psych-pop charmer Matthew Mondanile aka Ducktails gives a necessary dose of late summer pop vitamins with Jersey Devil, his first new album in two years, written in his mom’s Jersey basement where “…Everything felt right: the mini mall across the street, the stock brokers walking their dogs, and the sweet summer smell in the air.”
Under a title evocative of late night X-Files binges and nostalgic boogeymen, Jersey Devil is, as you might expect, conversely a sort of fluffy comfort blanket for tender pop souls; very easy on the ear and blessed with the kind of breezy flow that makes Mondanile’s music so widely appealing. Honestly, if you’ve never been snagged on one of his effortless, wistful hooks, you might need to see a doctor, or exorcist, or something.
After clearing his cache with the Daffy Duck In Hollywood compilation earlier this year, the material here is all new and all-American in the most classic way, sashaying from the flute-led yacht boogie gilding of Map To The Stars to the buoyant bob of Rising Sun with an near ineffable magick that can’t be denied.
It’s ultimately American in the utopian, but knowing, way that Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon picked up on, aware of its cheesiness but equally in thrall to it; as with the fuzzy romantic burn of Light A Candle and the over-easy distortion that barbecue Keeper Of The Garden’s perfect pop chops, while Solitary Star licks in some lush Paul Simon influences, and Wearing A Mask sees thru it all with lines like “Stuck on the road looking at your phone, i know you’d rather be anywhere else” and “wearing a mask with a smile on / deep down you’re an angry little boy” playing bittersweetly at odds with the mid-tempo, bayside boogie vibe that carries us to the cruising, heavy-lidded disco beauty of Shattered Mirror Travel.”
It’s a brilliant, pretty much flawless album. A family bucket of soft focus pop.
This is Amateur Childbirth’s Christian Rock album.
"The previous LP from Ivan Matthew David's solo project, 2015’s Pripyat, concerned itself with the blighted belief systems of UFO worshippers, Your Afterlife Is Cancelled expands this compelling solo project’s field of enquiry to look at a wider array of “religious anomalies” – cults, for want of a better word. Each song is about a different such anomaly.
To call Hicks' vision apocalyptic would be to underplay its cruelty. The Bible’s rampant sadism pales in comparison. This is a world where faith – in a god or gods, in astrology, morality, or any meaning whatsoever - is merely a prelude to punishment. His lyrics are vivid glossaries of pain, abjection and indignity; the songs’ protagonists swim in blood, piss, shit and ejaculate. Eschatology and scatology are indivisible here. Drugs are rampantly abused, albeit to little benefit. There are scalpel-flashes of humour in David’s wordplay, rhyming and dour Brisbane diction - but this offers scant consolation for the songs’ embattled subjects, who wait, in vein, for salvation, while crows peck out their eyes, blood pours from their ears, and psoriasis ravages their skin.
These words, for all their pessimism and body-horror, are cradled in minimalist, folk-rock arrangements that are quite dazzling in their beauty and grievously earned simplicity: Hicks' monochord strum embellished with subtle violin, synthesizer and percussion shading. Amateur Childbirth’s caustic end-times worldview inevitably prompts comparisons with Current 93, but also a wider (non-)tradition of caustic and disturbed loner psych that includes Simon Finn, Patrik Fitzgerald, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Jefferies and Roy Harper.
Your Afterlife Is Cancelled is a depressive tour de force from one of the most crushingly eloquent voices in the Australian underground.”
Hundebiss bossman Simone Trabucchi - a pivotal figure of the Italian scene - debuts his STILL alias on PAN with a batch of banging, multi-layered dancehall tracks inspired by the complex historical links between his hometown, Vernasca, with Jamaica, and Italy’s colonial past in Ethiopia.
Part of a wider visual arts project, Invernomuto, helmed alongside Simone Bertuzzi, and comprising a series of sculptures, installations, a book, and a long-feature experimental documentary under the title ‘Negus’‘, Simone takes cues from a “cleansing counter-ritual performed by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in the Vernasca square where 80 years earlier, an effigy of Haile Selassie I was burned” to cook up a madd set of dancehall tracks voiced by six Milan-based, African-Italian vocalists and singers.
The results weigh in remarkably close to the colourful, plugged-in dancehall art/science of Equiknoxx, effectively pulling together the diffracted aspects of his project into a direct yet psychedelically-charged set which strongly reverberates with its roots.
Keener observers will be quick to identity the amazing Nazenet (Wasp Rhythm) as a vocal version of STILL’s uncredited Untitled riddim from Halcyon veil’s Conspiración Progresso compilation, but unless you’ve been listening to Bill Kouligas DJ sets, the rest is all new and exclusive, taking in the weightless prayer of Haile Selassie Is The Micro-Chip, wobbly acid hall knocks in Bubbling Ambessa, and the meter-messing flux of Rough Rider along with style recalling that Vipra ace on Presto!? in Banzina, plus the warped Bionic Ras bumps of Gozpaal and some seriously salty dubbing in the plasmic squeeze of Mangrovia
Ilian Tapes’ not-so-secret weapon rolls out four deep and supple breakbeat techno peaches on his very own Ilian Skee Series, in suit with the 2012 plate from earlier in 2017.
This is the most impressive thing we’ve heard from SM or the IT gang in ages. Striking a fine balance of depth and diversity that’s hard to ignore, he stealthily elevates the pressure from the rippling, amphibious sidewinder Inti, thru the dry and nervy jungle techno shake-down Kappelberg Chant, to heart-rending lushness in the thick synth strokes and eddying bass of Routine.
But if there’s any one track that you really need, it’s the magnificent Street Lvl Dub, where he pushes the tempo up to proper jungle techno tempo with a breathless flux of footwork informed hi-hat shivers and Lee Gamble-esque junglist geometries.
Slick updates of tuffer ‘90s dancehall, cut with traces of dembow and fresh electronic palette. Swing Ting straight killing it again
“Flex Dance Music producer Epic B lands on UK-based Swing Ting imprint with his first full EP. The New York native's four tunes show off his technical prowess as a producer of tough dancehall-ready club weapons.
Born and raised in Brownsville, East New York, Epic B is a producer, DJ, vocalist, and visual artist. Initially known for his work as a hip hop producer — along with production for the likes of Vybz Kartel and Popcaan back in 2009 — he's now a fundamental member and pioneer of the Flex Dance Music scene. Epic is also the music director for FlexN, a show which the New York Times called part protest, part dance party, part collective autobiography.Late Night FlexN is Epic's first solo release showcasing his unique artistic versatility.
The EP begins with One Time a bittersweet burner where lush arpeggiated synths sit atop a rolling dembow beat, co-produced by fellow FDM boy Uninamise and featuring Epic's own vocals. Be With Me - aided by a guest appearance from Eddie Hill - moves into tougher territory with tight percussive drum patterns, ruff fills & skewed vox chops building into a euphoric club banger. Eazy dives deeper and darker into the dancehall as brooding pads, snare rolls, subs, sirens & skittering hats collide in a deadly fashion. Rounding off the set, FDM throwback Serenity Riddim channels raw, bashment minimalism fused with Epic's signature flourishes to prime the cut for maximum dancefloor energy."
Boxcutter raids the archive again for this pack of ‘earthy synth jams, made between 2009 and 2013’ on his Kinnego label.
Cannily titled in gaelic, these are some of his smartest tracks we’ve heard for a while, stripped and not too fussy, allowing a tempered electro-jazz soul to come thru in the detail and ‘floor friendly IDM-garage swing of Talamh Na Foraoise, and like a not-too-distant cousin of AFX in the wriggling acidic gem Algéadach, along with a fine braindance stepper Tuar Ceadth, and the nimble space disco of Solas na Gealaí.
Hans-Peter Lindstrøm goes deep and lush with Tensions, backed by the 1st ever remix from Will Long (Celer), in suit with the sterling examples of his Long Trax sessions with DJ Sprinkles.
Tension catches Lindstrøm working at a particularly MDMA-triggering vibe with spiralling arpeggios underlined by a bubbling disco-garage-house bass and gently escalating keys primed for lip-smacking moments.
Will Long’s remix distills the essence of Tension to sublime degrees on the flipped. Much like the seven examples found on his Long Trax for Comatose, he trades in thick strokes of subbass and stark, hardly-treated drum machines, doing it with delicacy and patience in a way that will really sink in during early doors slots or in the after-hours.
Björk gives fa irst taste of her ‘tinder record’ with the chamber-like elegance of The Gate, framed by Arca’s synthetic woodwind chorales for the first half, transforming into sweeping airborne dynamics and resolving somewhere not quite happy, slightly fearful.
Signature wonky and cosmic electro-techno from A Sagittariun: hitting turbulent techno vectors in Stingray and An Infinite Number of Possibilities, then cruising with the lush electro of Burning Crystal, and the nervy, B12-style jitters of 720 Degrees.
Tri Angle give a leg up to Compton White’s eponymous debut of Clams Casino-esque hip hop arrangements, which was originally issued via Sweetboy Records in summer 2016.
Raised between London and the Isle of Wight, Compton’s music is apparently informed by this dichotomy, and it’s perhaps possible to hear in his mix of suburban back-packer beats and almost post-rock emotive pull with Track 2, whereas Hounslow nods to noisy dubstep and trap, and Double Diamond has that Clams Casino loner bedroom vibe.
However, for strongest tastes we’d advise skipping to he last two cuts for crankier rhythm mechanics and sweeping gestures that best feel like a collision of pastoral and urban, and also best show off his barely harnessed sound.
Sublime, subliminally effective deep house archetype from Holy Ghost INC, originally dispatched to loved-up dancers c.1990, now seeing its 1st ever digital and vinyl reissue via Australia’s Isle Of Jura, including two previously unreleased dubs!
It’s the kinda gear older heads will eulogise about for days, and it’s easy to hear why; the Walk On Air (Sun & Moon Mix) is a beautifully paced, subaquatic swirl of arpeggios and orca calls with a walking bassline that begs dancers to pucker up and go down with it.
The Amphibious Carbine Mix is a notch or two faster, with a ruddy industro-dub budge ripe for stomping the sand in Ibiza, Goa or Croatia at 6am, and the two Unreleased Dub mixes follow that line to fluid congas and aquatic textures in the first, then with a bruxist clench in the tuffer 2nd.
Very John Bender-esque minimal wave pop primitivism c. 1981-1984. Check for the naggingly funky and freaky jag of ‘Utopia’!
“Hand-picked selection of tracks by UK’s Negative Response in this initial limited run of 300 discs. Negative Response is a DIY minimal synth project that formed in 1980. They self-released 3 cassettes from 1981-1983 as well as playing a number of gigs from 82-85. The tracks embody a very melancholy atmosphere reinforced by their arsenal of early electronic analogue equipment. This collection will certainly appeal to fans of early bedroom synth artists such as John Bender and other DIY home recording moguls of the era. All tracks remastered from cassette by Martin Bowes at the Cage, UK.”
Dauwd and Loscil on the buttons for contrasting remixes of Lusine’s Sensorimotor album tracks.
On the upside, London’s Dauwd percolates Chatter as a floating deep house swinger riddled with a slight old skool hip hop swerve. On the downer-side, Loscil weathers Tropopause with digital drizzle and strings to a bittersweet tang.
Reinhard Voigt heads upriver into cavernous darkroom styles with the polka pumpy pumpy of Apocalypse Mau, then racks up a numbed minimal techno sound with the bony drums and nagging buzz of Seven Lines.
FaltyDL picks a sympathetic quartet of remixers to lend a fresh spin on his Heaven Is For Quitters album.
London-based The Cyclist douses D&C in his patented, shabby-chich jackers sauce; O’Flynn flips Frigid Air as a fruitier electro-house-boogie sparkling with chromatic harmonies; Palms Trax redoes Neeloon in a louche, swinging Chicago house style with lush choral synth voices; one of FaltyDL’s biggest influences, Kaidi Tatham dices Drugs with hi-tech neo-soul flair.
Full spectrum grime instrumentals from grime soldier P Jam, including a collab with Terror Danjah for the bossman’s Hardrive label.
Check for strength in the sparse, sub-heavy depths of Fire Lion on the cusp of UKF, dubstep and grime, and agin for the clipped torque of Panther and percolated break step pressure of Fresh (2017 Edit).
Much anticipated and tipped debut LP from JASSS; a measured, rugged blend of industrial dub, African and dark jazz inspirations that comes highly recommended if you’re into more abstracted and experimental electronic/dancefloor excursions or the work of Christoph De Babalon, Toresch, Mecanica Popular, Throbbing Gristle etc.
Jasss makes her head and body-turning album debut with Weightless, an absorbingly stark and spiky set of productions following a trio of acclaimed 12”s for Berlin’s Mannequin and Amir Alexander’s Annunaki Cartel since 2016. Her full length debut has allowed Jasss room to consolidate and expand her grizzled dancefloor structures to a full length episode that brutally dovetails with Joachim Nordwall and co’s unforgiving but compelling take on contemporary noise and industrial musics.
Very much an antecedent of Spanish industrialists such as Diseño Corbusier, Xeerox / Krishna Goineau, or Mecanica Popular/Randomize, Jasss firmly builds on that heritage with a uniquely pensive balance of percussive suss, synthetic bite and reverberating spatial dynamics that makes her music heavy-as-sin and deliciously deft with it, patently forgoing Industrial music’s angry guy glare in favour of far more feminine and latinate pressure systems.
She does so with an aching patience in the opener, Every Single Fish In The Pond, escalating from a lone cymbal motif and location recordings to a pulsating darkroom boldness by the end of an incendiary scene-setter, before really getting her fangs in with the clenched but driving EBM torque of Oral Couture, recalling a spiked Toresch or CTI hovering at the darkroom’s entrance.
From here on in a dream sequence of events take place, morphing from febrile, hash-induced triplet pirouettes in Danza thru the martial free jazz/industrial cut-up of Cotton For Lunch, to a definitive apex of sprung, stepping cybergoth in Weightless, with a pause for Alberich-like reflection on Theo Goes Away, before the voodoo rises once again with the druggy swagger of Instantaneous Transmission of Information, and her stoic, blunt-edged mauler, To Eat With Dirty Hands.
It’s rare to hear industrial music done with such variation and individual distinction as Weightless, making it shine in a field so often associated with greyscale and monotone signatures.
Low key electro with an ‘80s japanese FM synth slant from Minor Science, doing it again for Whities.
On the A-side, he plays out smoothly contoured synth cadence and clipped electro glittered with stardust, gradually getting more robust until a knot of recursive synths wake it up properly.
B-side, Another Moon catches him mixing micro-rhythmic shifts and avian chirrups with wide, arcing pads in something like a feathered YMO groove, saving a neat-trimmed Afro-cubist coda for the final flush.
Cripes, they’re back: Mykl Jaxn and Elvin Brandi cough up a 2nd lump of improvised pop gristle as Yeah You for Slip, making good on the groundwork of Id Vendor (2016) and various acclaimed live shows thru another pebble-dashed batch of yelps, beats and salty noise.
Known to authorities as a father and daughter from Newcastle, Yeah You make some of the most feral, unhinged music we’ve heard in years, and most often make it in unusual places such as their black Renault Clio on the weekly drive to yoga, for example.
Krutch is the fieriest testament yet to their convention-bucking sound, swarming on the listener like an army of alley cats armed with freshly dried blackboards and led by Brandhi, who spits like a possessed Sensational in unmetered non-sequiturs over her dad’s haywire backing tracks.
We could equally construe that caterwaul as a nod to the hi-pitched hypnosis of Black Metal as much as a glimpse at genuine speaking-in-tongues mania, as the pair convey an energy and psychomimetic effect that can only be described as an extreme form of music.
Recorded while on the road to gigs in Holland, Germany, and at Aurora, Budapest this stuff lacerates senses and precedents with genuinely disarming power, dashing from the convulsive madness of Fall Freed to the DHR-style techno-pop of Skin (I Have Only Lived Once) and the festering BM cadence of SOIK CHAT video via charred bubblegum pop in Pace with a style and off-the-cuff flair that’s just utterly compelling, no matter how you look at it.
Another taste of Four Tet’s upcoming New Energy album, Scientists catches him tweaking African instrumentation to sound electronic, or vice-versa - we’re not sure which - with results ripe for the new semester.
Cavernous, thrumming, shark-eyed techno pulses from Michal Wolski on Boddika’s Nonplus Records.
The New World rumbles below the belt with sticky, toiling bass drums sunk below swarming subaquatic disturbances; Moment by Moment keeps the pressure down there for something like a sea slug rave.
Polar Day drops the temperature to a fraction above zero, with an icy film developing over sloshing undercurrents; Unfinished Transaction gets some firmer EBM-style traction, but offset with glacial melodies that make it feel much slower.
Ionia is the 2nd single from Ben Frost’s forthcoming studio album, The Centre Cannot Hold, following the Threshold of Faith EP which included a rework by the album’s recording/mixing maestro, Steve Albini.
Coruscating melodies fulminate from keening harmonics with a panoramic, cinematic appeal expanded for sequestered immersion, saving a swell of bruised bass and anxiously clammy textures for final throes.
Proper, dirt-under-the-needle house and EBM music from Miltiadis Merentitis aka Outermost, playing faithfully to the Echovolt aesthetic with four drily salty shifters on the Intruder EP after a string of 12”s as Miltiadis for Synapsis and Nous..
We’d direct you straight to the B-side for a killer, titular stripe of EBM grind peppered with vocals from venus Volcanism that split the difference between Toresch and Lena Platonos. Theres’ also some filthy grubby gear in the decayed, underwater electro of It’s In There, and the most worn-down Jamal Moss styles in J’S Shadow World.
Following the much needed reissue of his classic Loop-finding-jazz-records earlier this year, Jan Jelinek returns to his Faitiche label to launch a new Acoustic Surveillance Series, allowing him to further develop the sonic fiction surrounding his occasional alter egos Ursula Bogner and Gesellschaft zur Emanzipation des Samples, aka G.E.S.
The series aims to present a historical system for acoustic surveillance, and for the first in the series Jelinek Reactivates his field recordist pseudonym G.E.S. and looks into Uguisubari - special floors in Japanese temples and castles. As he explains:
"And this" – he pointed to the stretch of bare floor ahead – "is what the Japanese call a ‘nightingale floor'. Relic of the old days when people wanted to be warned of intruders. Serves the same purpose here. Imagine trying to get across here without being heard." They set off, and immediately the cunningly sprung boards gave out penetrating squeaks and groans. Ian Fleming,1964
This is how Australian agent Dikko Henderson explains the principle of the nightingale floor to his British colleague James Bond. They are on their way to the headquarters of the Japanese secret service. The notion that it might still have been using this traditional warning system in the 1960s belongs to the realm of fiction – but the actual existence of such floors is undisputed. In fact, it is surprising how seldom this early form of intruder alarm has been used in literature. Even in Japanese literature, or so I have been told, uguisubari has gone largely unmentioned. In a poem by Takehisa Yumeji, walking over a nightingale floor becomes a measure of gracefulness:
"Like a Grace whose shining heels make no sound while walking on the veranda with its nightingale floor (...)" Takehisa Yumeji, 1976.
In the Edo period, the nightingale floor was a popular acoustic warning system. The principle was very simple: when someone stepped on the floorboards, the nails holding them in place rubbed against metal clamps mounted on the underside of the boards, raising the alarm by creating a squeaking noise that resembled the chirping of the Japanese nightingale.
Thanks to the country's painstaking reconstruction of temples and castles, these floors can still be walked on and heard today. During a residence of several months in Japan in 2014, I had the opportunity to mic and record nightingale floors at Nijo Castle and at the temple of Nanzen-ji. In my makeshift studio in the basement of the Kyoto Goethe Institute, I then made numerous pieces – all using the same sound sources: an oscillator and an audio sampler with recordings of the chirping floorboards. Two of these pieces are included here – they are both journal entries and tributes to the uguisubari.
Jan Jelinek (G.E.S.), Berlin 2017
Zomby makes a compelling change of tack with the ruggedly direct techno rolige of GASP!, finding him carving somewhere between Actress’ hazy funk and fog and Regis’ techno swagger in his first new dispatch since the Ultra album for Hyperdub.
It’s really all about the exclamatory title track GASP!, a proper deep club cut if we’ve ever heard one, built around booming, offset kicks and pendulous metallic bleeps against acres of suggestively foggy, negative space before slowing to a crumpled, whiteying heap in heavily satisfying style.
The frictional electro-funk and fizzing detail of ZKITTLEZ is perhaps closest to Actress, but definitely Zomby in terms of its in-the-pocket economy and effect, while ZPRITE finds him veering off into really bombed out zones among the most abstract in his catalogue.
Violence seemingly refreshes the proggy, avant chops of John Zorn and Mr. Bungle for the PTP gang and post-genre, anti-banger kids in 2017
“Olin Caprison, a visual artist and multi-instrumentalist originally hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, composes and performs all aspects of the VIOLENCE project. Compositionally, each of their songs fearlessly disrupts any notions of genre division – creating a universe that is equal parts at-home in the realms of noise, rap, industrial, and the more extreme deviations of metal. Lyrically, VIOLENCE meditates on the oppressive nature of history, and explores ideas of archetypal memory and the stigmas which come with those memories.
"The focus of 'Human Dust to Fertilize the Impotent Garden' is the overwhelming quality of history's perpetual occurrence. My palette consists of the shattered micro-architecture of an unprejudiced, undiscerning, cosmopolitan, anti-culture massive music archive. A piece of this, a piece of that. The shattered remains of the ‘genre’, utilizing the mythopoeia behind each cultural movement to fight for meaning, schizophrenic terror, where you can’t tell which real aspect of a life coincides with which narrative, which model, or which came first. This music is a struggle. It is a struggle from within this anti-history vacuum, a struggle against the all-embracing, multicultural, ahistorical ecosystem of contemporary music that renders all hierarchies impotent and null.””
Hodge does his rugged thing for Hemlock
Pulling no punches with the granite carved techno slog of Swing For The Fences, then with a thumping, bittersweet tang in Aomame before bulking down the bendy acid zigzag and sirens of Medway on a more reserved but shark-eyed tip.
Idle Hands roll Bristolian with laid-back, buoyant electro-dub and swinging funky house rides for their longtime supporters over at Disc Zero Shop in Tokyo, Japan..
Local legend Rob Smith (ov & Mighty fame) restes Outboxx’s Lost Soul as a well balanced mix of slyding garage bass and ghosted divas on a timelessly seductive UK skank, whereas old skool Werk Discs alumni Atki 2 fills in all the space that Smith leaves with a smart fusion of authentic, natty soca snares and debonaire keys for the swingers on He’s Royal.
This one’s large, end of summer vibes!
High energy footwork whipcrack from DJ MC, stoking the circle with a debut album of 11 missiles
Turning yup strong highlights in the sweeping pressure of Lowend Sex, on the rave techno momentum of Mindflow, and the sticky sour bleep buzz of Ovaseas Gutta. Ironically enough, there’s not a jungle break in sight, in case the title was misleading you.
LA’s Nosaj Thing pursues a more elusive, ambient and cinematic muse in 4th LP, ‘Parallels’, ranging from neo-classical piano meditations to Johnny Jewel-like late night trip hop in ‘How We Do’ starring Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, thru to the glitchy ambient-pop ident of ‘TM’ and creamy silicon romance with ‘IGYC’, and fringing on 4th world japanese ambient in ‘Sister’.
“Parallels is the fourth full album released under Jason Chung’s distinctive moniker, Nosaj Thing. Masterfully dimensional, Parallels represents the acclaimed Los Angeles-based electronic producer/composer/performer’s most diverse, vital work yet. As such, Chung sees Parallels represents a kind of redemptive rebirth. The album’s compellingly elusive, uncategorizable sonics developed out of what he terms a personal & musical “identity crisis.”
According to Chung, working with a group of collaborators on Parallels that combined both longtime friends and new creative partners added “new energy which pushed me not to limit myself. Everything felt fresh and alive.” The title Parallels in fact evokes the intense, intimate duality Nosaj Thing and his collaborators share. Chung is known specifically for his innovative, unexpected musical pairings: Kid Cudi hit up on Nosaj Thing via his MySpace page in
2006, resulting in Chung producing Cudi’s autobiographical classic “The Man on the Moon.” Kendrick Lamar flowed over Nosaj’s ethereal boom bap to create the YouTube gem “Cloud 10”; Chance the Rapper, meanwhile, freaked a Nosaj beat for his 2013 breakout masterpiece “Paranoia” and appeared on Nosaj Thing’s previous LP, 2015’s Fated. Chung and Blonde Redhead vocalist Kazu Makino are also longtime creative partners on each other’s work; her voice appears on Parallels as an otherworldly spirit animating the icily ‘80s-synthetic “How We Do.””
On his absorbing 2nd album for Planet Mu, Canada’s Antwood becomes the latest artist to take cues from the world of ASMR (Auto Sensory Meridian Response) after making sampled references in his debut LP, Virtuous.scr.
However, with Sponsored Content, do not expect an album of soothing tones and pleasing haptic rustles; rather it is a fractious, uncomfortably sensuous set written in response to the artist’s dissatisafaction with a popular ASMR YouTuber incorporating sponsored content - advertisements - into her videos, which Antwood was then using as a sleep aid.
Sponsored Content is therefore on the surface an album about, in his own words “the ubiquity of ads and commodification of online content”, but ultimately as he came to realise, it was just as much about “intentionally devaluing the the things i’ve invested myself into, and over-complicating my work”. Simultaneously serious in concept but playful with it - as any record dealing with ASMR has to be, really - the result is a strangely hyperreal sort of avant-pop experience, quite explicitly so in the extreme autotune application of closing track, Human or with a sort of James Ferraro meets 0PN at Visionist’s aesthetic for the majority, with highlights in the fibrillation designs of ICU and the grimy trap tang of Commodity Fetish Mode or the sublime thizz of Don’t Go.
Zola Jesus lets it all bleed out on Okovi, a typically grandiose new album of towering gothic opera-pop and embittered electronic textures.
Save for a few guest appearances on records by Jozef Van Wissem and Run The Jewels that displayed her artistic mutability, Nika Roza Danilova has arguably been conspicuous by her solo absence since Taiga for Mute in 2014, and corrects that in a big way inside Okovi, which relocates her sound to the clash of aching pop and experimental instincts that made her early sides so memorable.
We could largely put that switchback down to a rekindled relationship with Sacred Bones, site of Zola’s Stridulum sides, Conatus and hook-up with Dean Hurley. In this safe space for her tortured sound she’s clearly more comfortable to express personalised styles, as opposed to the radio-ready pop of Taiga, teaming up with Stridulum producer Alex DeGroot and also working with like-minded dark soul, James Kelly aka Wife to properly realise her potency.
Underlined by a sextet of strings, electronics and percussion, Zola mounts some of her most impressive work in years with a big highlight in the industrial thunder and pealing vocals of Exhumed, while benefitting from Wife’s sore gothic trap tics on Siphon, and really sharpening her taloned industrial instincts in the warped, glum thump and arena-sized escalation of Veka and, by contrast, the poised restraint of Wiseblood.