Innovative approach and method generates naturally distinctive and driving electro-acoustic results in the début solo album by Jason Sharp - a regular collaborator and member of the scene surrounding Montreal’s Constellation. Imagine Colin Stetson recording for Cologne’s Magazine label and you’ve nearly got the measure of this one
“This music was performed wearing a customized heart monitor providing a single pulse to trigger analogue drums, sine wave patterns, controlled feedback, and synthesizers in real time. All electronic rhythmic material stems from this source…
Jason Sharp has emerged as one of Canada's most fascinating New Music composers in recent years. From his roots as a saxophonist in Montréal's fertile jazz and improv scene, Sharp developed as a soloist with drone-based durational music, circular breathing, and an increasing exploration of the body and technology.
His impressive 2016 debut A Boat Upon Its Blood was a molten and musically diverse work of modern composition inspired by a Robert Creeley poem, distinguished by Sharp’s use of a heart monitor and amplified breath to trigger various rhythmic and textural electronic elements – alongside his own saxophone playing and contributions from guest players on violin and lap steel guitar.
Stand Above The Streams expands on this approach, with Sharp having further developed his custom Midi and synthesis apparatuses, and most notably collaborating on these compositions with Adam Basanta, whose renowned practice in sound art, sound installation and autonomous sound systems makes for impressively immersive, layered and complex new work.
All sound sources on Stand Above The Streams originate with Sharp (with the exception of violin from the album’s co-producer and mixing engineer Jesse Zubot on one song): bass and baritone saxophones, heartbeat, pulse, and breathing are played/processed in real time through Sharp's own signal-bending synthesis rig and through Basanta’s bespoke 'controlled feedback' amplification system. The album's rhythms are generated wholly from Sharp's similarly controlled breathing and heart rate. The results are utterly gripping, with melodic and micro-tonal elements flowing amidst waves of atmospheric pink and brown noise, low-end modulation and calibrated distortion.
Through four parts each running in the 10-minute range, Stand Above The Streams conjures an evocative, abstracted survey of organic nature, perhaps from on high, like a satellite scanning and processing data across diverse and slowly changing landscapes. The album also sits very comfortably alongside the recent resurgence in synth-based soundtrack music (John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream et al) – though as alien as it can sometimes sound, there is an unmistakable human element and underlying warmth that courses through the tensile strength of this music, electrifying it with the viscera of the body.”
One of The Helen Scarsdale Agency’s most prized units, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project vent a cryptically elusive, hauntological suite of mid-fi compositions working on the cusp of ambient noise and avant-garde electronics in a way that should resonate with fans of the recent Pendant album on West Mineral Ltd, the romance of William Basinski’s knackered loops, or the shoegazing tinder of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. We warmly recommend shutting your eyes and wrapping yourself up this one for a properly gauzy and deeply synaesthetically heightened trip.
“The Fossil Aerosol Mining Project continues their post-industrial dialectics through their "songs of enhanced decay and faked resurrection." This cryptic ensemble from the American Midwest has been quietly producing such works since the '80s, with a deep catalogue highlighting a uniform brilliance in the exquisite reconstruction of exhumed cassette tapes and moldering 35mm film stock.
On August 53rd, Fossil Aerosol has collaged their reclamations of found sounds into an inquisitive, dynamic cinema of the ear. The tape loops and recombinant samples create elliptical orbits and vertiginous spirals. Down-pitched, disquieting rumbles form the foundations for much of Fossil Aerosol’s compositions, which mutate the fractured, crumbled, and mildewed artifacts into patterned yet shifting phrases. The result seems like hybrid, time-compressed mimicry of the evolution of our media-driven language.
The official statement from the ensemble reads as such:
"This album, arranged specifically for Helen Scarsdale, might be considered a prequel to The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971, featuring the damaged remains of certain pop culture pleasantries in a less decomposed state than found on the previous vinyl release. August 53rd, a month extended to accommodate a changing climate, predates the day 1982 contaminated 1971."
Such inquiries characterize the many non/fictions that contextualize the work of Fossil Aerosol. Through the process of decoding lost melodies and dialog of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, Fossil Aerosol intentionally or unintentionally deflates the vanity of consumerism while at the same time providing an archaeological view of contemporary culture.
These conceptual frameworks would be meaningless if Fossil Aerosol did not deliver on the aesthetics. And deliver the Project most certainly does. August 53rd harbors the rich enigmas of distressed sound collages found in the work of likeminded artists such as Philip Jeck, Felicia Atkinson, and of course Fossil Aerosol’s occasional collaborators :zoviet*france:.”
Japan’s fearless multi-instrumentalist and cultural provocateur Keiji Haino has made a career out of his free-form musical improvisations and diverse collaborations. Whether deconstructing American blues to a few rogue notes hanging across chasms of empty space in his solo endeavors, sparring with the nebulous fringes of psychedelia in Fushitsusha, or teaming up with musicians like Faust, Boris, Jim O’Rourke, Stephen O’Malley, John Zorn, and Peter Brötzmann for fleeting aural experiments. Haino’s work is never pre-planned or structured, but rather a completely spontaneous exploration of chemistry, texture, and dynamics.
"SUMAC’s tenure is much younger than Haino’s, though guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner has covered a similarly large swath of musical territory across numerous projects and collaborations, from the sedated drones of recent projects with Daniel Menche and William Fowler Collins to the modern compositions of Mamiffer and all the way back to the restless evolutions of post-metal stalwarts ISIS. With his cohorts Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists, Erosion) on drums and Brian Cook (Russian Circles) on bass, Turner has dissolved the rigid forms of heavy music, searching for a balance between disciplined precision and unhinged musical barbarism, crafting music that vacillates between meticulously detailed instrumentation and uninhibited forays into oblique abstraction.
For American Dollar Bill - Keep Facing Sideways, You're Too Hideous To Look At Face On, Keiji Haino and SUMAC met up in Tokyo’s Goksound recording studio to track a series of unrehearsed, completely non-premeditated sessions. Captured across several reels of tape, the collaboration harnessed Haino’s tension-inducing use of empty space on songs like “I’m over 137% a love junkie, and it’s still not enough” while pushing SUMAC’s dissident metal vocabulary on “What have I done (I was reeling in something white...)”. Throughout the course of its hour-plus length, American Dollar Bill pushes and pulls at the strictures of metal and bends the stylistic formalities of improvised music to create a sonic purge unencumbered by convention.”
DAF go balls-to-the-wall on their Conny Plank-produced Gold Und LIebe
Feat 10 strapping tunes including hi-velocity highlights in the hyper rock ’n roll swagger of Absolute Körperkontrolle and the earlier-written zinger Werschwend Deine Jugend, plus a popcorn-like charmer Liebe Auf Den Ersten Blick.
A massive influence on everyone from Powell to Helena Hauff, DAF are among the most important electronic artists of the ‘80s and a massive influence on electronic dance music ever since.
Kouhei Matsunaga swings the dance ass-first with the quantum funk of Parallel Tempo for excellent, emergent Swiss/Italian label -OUS.
Furthering his hot streak of releases that takes in Hallucinogenic Doom Steppy Verbs  for Diagonal, thru his Sparrow’s Garden for L.I.E.S., and the Exit Entrance LP for DFA in 2017, the Japanese producer/illustrator renders five bendy aces between the zig-zagging, pendulous form of Parallel Displacement, a masterful mutation of EBM and 2-step in Blue and Purple Horses, and the colourful, crisply weightless swingers dynamics of Universal Gesture.
“NHK yx Koyxen walks at any speed and on any surface he desires to trance-scend. His Parallel Tempo EP takes a mindful plunge into layers of rigorously murmuring gestures. Speed is relative to size. As they are streched and bent, the planes engage in parallel movement. this is an exploded drawing, unlocked from time.
The Japanese artist and producer NHK yx Koyxen has been unveiling his unique vocabulary through a continuous stream of sound for many years. Performing on electronic music's timeless DNA, he offers those who step in a resonating space, in which loose objects are bound to embrace each other.
Afro-Cubist house prophet Jamal Moss dons his Hieroglyphic Being robes for the most varied, layered and timbrally rich solo mission in his cosmic musical arc thus far. Think Sun Ra, Thelonious Monk, The Weather Report, Larry Heard, Marshall Allen, Pekka Airaksinen, Adonis, Miles Davis, Armando Gallop, Jon Hassell - but most of all think of deep Black musics and Chi house as a portal to other dimensions.
Armed to the gills and wingtips with the plushest hardware line-up we’ve seen on a Jamal Moss recording - organic flutes, piano, guitar, drums, alto sax, Hammond organ, Korg Triton, Linn drum, Korg DDD-1, DR 5 drums, Casio RZ1, Ensoniq Mirage Firelight CMI Series III, Moog Mother 32, Allen & Heath Zed 24 mixer - it’s perhaps understandable that the results feel more lustrous and grand than his usual, stripped and tracky results, seemingly pulling some influence from recent years work with instrumentalists such as Sarathy Korwar, Shabaka Hutchings, Orphhy Richardson and more.
In a subliminal and physical elevation and expansion of styles, the album shapeshifts thru 9 stages variously wrestling with and dancing around the ‘floor, making for one of the first Jamal Moss albums we’d genuinely say sounds as great on headphones, walking around absorbing sights, as it does on home stereos or jabbing you to dance.
INA-GRM’s Christian Zanési, artistic director behind the invaluable Recollection GRM archive reissues with François Bonnet and Editions Mego’s Peter Rehberg, cues up his own turn on the series with 1st ever download and vinyl editions of Stop! l’horizon ; his absorbing debut of electro-acoustic process for the Parisian institute’s nonpareil label.
Notching up Recollection GRM’s 20th release since the label started with Pierre Schaeffer’s Le Trièdre Fertile  in 2012, the two works Grand Bruit / Stop! l’horizon offer a grippingly fascinating insight to Zanési’s personal oeuvre and, by turns, the ears behind some of the most important, educational electronic music reissue series to emerge in the last decade.
Both works on offer are relatively modern, when compared with much of the Recollection GRM catalogue, which dates back to ‘60s. In that sense, they feel comparatively fresh, with Grand Bruit  recalling a densely layered and techno-psychedelic sci-fi soundtrack, like some extended scene from Alien 3 spent hiding from a xenomorph, while Stop! l’horizon  could just as easily be the accompaniment to a scene from Alien where Ripley gets utterly lost in the maze of air ducts on Nostromo.
Safe to say this is a must-listen for fans of sci-fi sonics and abstract electro-acoustic music. But of course that’s just one glib interpretation of these brilliant works, so we’ve included Zanési’s own notes for disambiguation below.
Moor Mother and DJ Haram roll their first 700 Bliss release into play with the ticking bombs of Spa 700 for Rabit’s Halcyon Veil - following up the label’s mighty Les Fleurs Du Mal LP and MHYSA’s widely acclaimed fantasii album late last year.
Both graduates of the Philadelphia house party scene, Moor Mother and Haram operate on a clearly intuitive and woke level, matching aggressive but agile lyrics and delivery with taut but dextrous fusions of Arabic drums and pumping Jersey bass. After débuting their 700 Bliss alias on the track 29th from Moor Mother’s The Motionless Present , the YY + YY pairing question club music’s fringes with the kind of razor sharp insight and direct yet freaky effect that we’ve come to expect from a Halcyon veil release.
Across the EP strings and drums intersect Moor Mother’s distinctive, urgent vocals and lean jabbing electronic production in a manner ripe for avant clubs, turning up strong highlights in their straight winner Ring The Alarm with its choppy Timbaland-meets-Mutamassik flex, and with a cold militancy on Scully, whilst Cosmic Slop is perhaps the most powerful example of their seething pressure.
Rezzett own that fuzzy mid-fi electronic sound on a cracking eponymous début album, landing nearly 5 years on from their self-titled EP, also issued on Will Bankhead’s TTT label.
In possession of a sound that feels like exotic birds nesting a vintage studio inside your ear, Rezzett, along with the likes of Jamal Moss, Actress, Terekke and Huerco S., have been responsible for redressing the fidelity of dance music with fairly radical yet subtle incision and insight over the best part of this decade.
Thru various process of attrition, they've made a virtue of purposefully muddy and unclear resolution, embracing and fetishising the infidelities of analog hardware noise for a sort of shabby chic appeal that lends itself to closer attention in headphones as well as a sort of psychedelic friction on the ‘floor.
It’s perhaps fair to say that Rezzett have really come to define that sound at its murkiest, most romantic, and diverse, pulling from house, jungle, garage and ambient noise paradigms to forge something viscerally affective and memorably their own, as experienced between the mottled VHS memory-bank shakes of Hala, in the squirming, sore but lush Sexzzy Creep, and the salty angels tears of Yunus in Ekstasi, with the rusty grime and jungle shanks of Gremlinz and Worst Ever Contender lending a cranky, rinsed out finale.
Abyss X follows a notable turn for Halcyon Veil with her steeply enigmatic début of mystic composition for Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire
“Taking its title from a Minoan legend that deals with rage, greed and destruction, the latest release from Abyss X expands and reconstructs conceptions of aural space and time. Out on Danse Noire, Pleasures of the Bull finds the multi-disciplinary artist and producer flirting with the sounds of hard jazz while mystifying the parameters of experimental music across several distinct movements, thus allowing the listener to break free from their sonic principles.
Intoxicating, ambient textures mesh with Abyss X’s own expressive vocals, as well as the sounds of the traditional Cretan lyra, played by Maria Skoula. Her sound modification creates a collage of temporalities – allow yourself to move outside linear dimensions, and her to confide in you. Prog rock guitar lines twist stolidly beneath warped vocal samples, and the timbre of the bowed lyra permeates the atmosphere in a thick, suffocating haze.
As the listener travels through space and time, so too does the artist. Abyss X delves into the fullness of her craft, drawing from her background in theater and performance, in addition to the frenzied energy of her live shows as a musician. The music throbs with a frantic yet unmistakably deliberate drama. Pleasures of the Bull feels like a gentle punch in the gut; a compelling auditory performance and a bold exploration of the narrative album format.”
Brilliantly invasive psychoacoustic probes from a new name to the Editions Mego hivemind. Imagine Florian Hecker making techno with Peder Mannerfelt and you’re not far off this one. Check ’23:59  off (Ping timeout:2sec)’, and if you like that you’ll go ham for the rest
“Jung an Tagen is practicing sonic animism on a molecular level. With ‘Agent im Objekt’ he confronts us once more with a form of highly abstracted electronic music - puristic clubsounds for an accelerated future.
Kicking off with an accumulation of high-pitched, psychoactive sounds, ‘Agent im Objekt’ takes us into a hyperreal sphere reigned by sonic entities. Playing with swarm-dynamics and singular signals, moments of distance and proximity and noise textures that stimulate our perception, Jung An Tagen transgresses the common syntax of clubmusic. His strategies resemble computer music composition and focus on timbre, texture and structure in an almost analytical way. The sounds filtered from his synthesizer are polished and bright, but behave in an astonishingly organic way, forming propulsive melodic sketches. Arranged in multiple layers of versatile polyrhythms, the tracks are nurtured by the forceful dialectics of precisely arranged chaos and ecstatic order.
With his titles, Jung An Tagen is further adding an enigmatic narrative to his tracks, transcending the actual sphere of the dancefloor towards fictional storytelling. Following the structure of a one-sided chatlog, they evoke associations from the X-file series or mystery novels, revealing a brainteaser that is drawn from mysterious coordinates and secret codes.
In addition the official video »20:03 [Y] HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?« underlines Jung An Tagen's interdisciplinary interest in synaesthetic processes. Developed in collaboration with the programmers JeongHo Park and Scott Sinclair the video visualizes particle explosion data from CERN - the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Inspired by Peter Kubelkas ‘Arnulf Rainer’, the resulting geometric figures are exposed to a ’complimentary stroboscope’ that glitches your receptors and stimulate your brainwaves with photo- and EEG-stimulation close to seizure, inducing a hallucinative reality.
‘Agent im Objekt’ is playful but analytical, uplifting but mentally disturbed. While the dynamic use of reoccuring motives forces your body to move, cerebral timbres provoke a series of stimuli to massage your brain. It is intellectual body music that might mark a poetic turn in progressive dance music.”
Fred Welton Walmsley III (Lee Bannon) completes his esoteric ambient metamorphosis with Dedekind Cut’s melancholic Tahoe album for arch American electronic drifters, Kranky Records - home to some of the some of the finest atmospheric ambient works of recent decades by Stars of The Lid, Loscil, Tim Hecker.
In key with Kranky’s heritage, Dedekind Cut very neatly plays to the label aesthetic on Tahoe with a widescreen suite of slow, windswept synths layered into expansive harmonics evoking cinematic and psychedelic sensations. They range from pop-ambient pockets of bittersweetness to more brooding tracts of durational immersion, with each connected by an overarching feeling of sadness or unresolved strife.
It’s all very much what you’d expect from a Kranky release, until you start paying closer attention. Where Kranky’s chorus of ambient angels have often spent decades on their craft, developing personalised timbral sensitivities and sound identities, the shapeshifting Dedekind Cut’s newness to this particular field is betrayed by the more elusive reach of his soundsphere, but the artist makes up for a lack of tonal richness by conveying his intent more directly thru the arrangement and overall feeling, or soul connoted by his compositions.
Such a madness, Ismo Laakso’s Ofelia comes off like a wild pre-echo of Mica Levi, Teresa Winter and Paavoharju on its long overdue release thru Sähkö’s Puu after languishing as a demo CD in a drawer for nearly 20 years, only to be rediscovered last autumn.
In a way that resonates with our most febrile musical dreams, Ofelia sounds like a scrambled radio transmission which modulates with jazz-wise logic and timing between myriad sources, juxtaposing their lopped ends in a spellbinding play of anticipation-baiting, oneiric logic.
One moment we’re listening to an almost machine-like english vocal serrated by radioactive electronics (Translucent), while the next we’re in the midst of sloshing, unsteady breaks and ambient soul vocals joined by angelic, Hassell-style chorales (The Favourites of the Emperor), or disoriented by fusions of Finnish monologues with field recordings and visceral electronics (Koskenhaltija). Soon enough we’re drawn into a surreal scene of baroque and jazz-wise chamber music (Smell), and then what sounds like Charlemagne Palestine duetting with Maja S.K. Ratkje (Ofelia), and never with any kind of explanation or reason for how we got from points A to B. For some folk, that actually probably sounds like a nightmare, but if you’re a bit of weirdo, we reckon that it’s all is going to spin you out in the best sense.
Very highly Recommended!
The avant-garde answer to a collab between Martine McCutcheon, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jools Holland, anyone?
“Privately pressed to LP in 1978 under the name J. Jasmine and made especially for the Ann Arbor Film Festival, with artistic collaboration from the festival’s founder and Once Group artist, George Manupelli, My New Music is the debut album by Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom. Featuring a cast of Mills College personalities like David Behrman and Sam Ashley on backup vocal duties, this song cycle is at every turn boundary-pushing and gender-busting, yet still hilarious, sweet, and genuine, all delivered in a post-genre, art-song, cabaret musical style that happens to boast some serious avant-garde chops, courtesy of Rosenboom. If it weren’t so spot on, you’d swear it was a guilty pleasure.
As J. Jasmine writes, My New Music is a collection of personal stories and private desires, exposed, articulated, performed and dedicated to the hope that one person's fantasies can contribute to another person's freedom. Get lost in J. Jasmine’s world for a little long while, and be free.”
The notion of rhythm and sound takes on mutant new meanings at the hands of meter-tweaking mavericks, YoshimiO (Boredoms/OOIOO), Susie Ibarra, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
‘Flower of Sulphur’ finds the trio working together for the first time after meeting in various other configurations, with results that loosely fall under the improvised free jazz banner, but hold back from the brink by way of an underlying, rolling funk logic and a defined clarity of rhythmelodic texture, rather than the expressive mayhem ‘free jazz’ suggests. Think falling down a tessellating MC Escher staircase for an hour…
“Susie explains the idea: "We had all performed in different configurations before but never together as a trio. I think actually I have met each YoshimiO and Robert at different times when collaborating on larger works with Tarek Atoui. But we had not performed together as trio. I was very happy with the prospect to play a trio concert, as I could imagine the sonic palette could be very interesting, being that we each come from different aesthetic backgrounds but enjoy crossing into various sonic territories.”
The resulting recording of their collaboration, Flower of Sulphur, is a transfixing piece of continuous improvisational work which explores the direct relationship between the artists and their individual configurations. The album takes the form of the trio each playing their principal instruments with no specific goal other than the exploration of the space in that moment.
This spontaneous composition showcases the freedom and musical immediacy of all three artists’ ability to interplay as well as their individual unique techniques to create engaging experimental sounds. Flower of Sulphur was recorded at Roulette in Brooklyn in front of an audience; the trio are hoping to make additional live performances throughout 2018. The hour long instillation builds to a captivating crescendo elegantly fusing immersive layers, rewarding the listener with a true emotive experience.”
One of the leading lights of Ethiopian music presents his first new material in an age on Lala Belu for Awesome Tapes From Africa - the label who were instrumental in showcasing his work to wider audiences with the compilation Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye in 2013, and later a reissue of reissue of his Tche Belew  album.
Comprising the virtuoso accordionist and keys player’s first new material since those reissues triggered a worthy career resurgence, Lala Belu catches fire in all six parts with a vitally tough and expressive sound that feels like Mergia has thrown off the more genteel jazz vibes of early releases in favour of a fierce, freer jazz and funk flex to proceedings.
The guy’s gotta be knocking into his 70s now yet shows no sign of letting up here, sounding utterly alive and full of feels from the opening cut’s switch from mellow sway to bustling jazz and blazing electric keys, thru the head-down funk chops of Addis Nat, to the swingeing organ lines and percolated percussion of Anchihoye Lene.
He chills out beautifully well on the sublime solo piano piece Yefikir Engurguro, which sweetly recalls the magic of Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Guebru, while Gum Gum sounds perhaps closest to his debonaire early recordings.
Lone gets it right on these rugged but lush UK ravers, nailing a crafty blend of dembow knuck and early ‘ardcore bruk spiralling to a widescreen, flute-led new age peak in Temples, then swanging out with the infectious rub ’n tug of ruffcut Detroit house and fluoro nEuro trance lines on Hyper Seconds.
NYC minimalist returns to Spekk with ‘Fallen’ some 14 years after he provided the label with its 1st release, ‘January’. Despite the time difference, the two albums share a lot in common...
“When I sit down to write an album I will usually come up with a technical and compositional concept to help focus my writing. Whether it is a restricted palette of instruments or a specific way of approaching the writing, this practice has helped me explore different processes and helps keep the album focused. My previous album Somi was such an album. Hyper-focused and very deliberate in creation. However, there are times where I want to be more relaxed and just write what comes freely. In a way Fallen is such an album.
When I began writing it the only strong rule I put on myself is that it would be my first album centered around the piano as the main instrument. There were times when I wanted Fallen to be an album for solo piano but the more I pushed and explored the more I was drawn to accompanying the piano with modular and Moog synthesizers, tape machines and the occasional guitar. Fallen was supposed to be, after all, a relaxed album, one that would come quickly, off-the-cuff, and with little regard to any rules or restrictions. It, however, ended up being one of the longest albums for me to create; well over a year and a half, as it had coincided with a particularly dark and difficult time in my personal life.
As the album progressed the thoughts of a freer, solo-piano sound quickly faded as layers of disintegration and noise came to the foreground. Half-broken tape machines and plenty of ghostly echoes helped hide the honesty of the piano as I hid myself, and my music, away under the cover of abstraction. In a way I feel that Fallen is most like my album Northern. One that was intended to be more free-spirited but became very much about a particular place and time.”
Terence Dixon and DJ Koze rework two Efdemin tunes of nearly 10 year vintage
Detroit’s Dixon taking America back to its African foundations with mellow, mid tempo flow of thumb piano-like melody and dubbed-out chants, whereas Koze edits Acid Bells for a tighter, driving effect.
Expertly researched survey of Japan’s golden age take on Jazz. Check for highlights in the nippy clip of ‘White Fire’ and ‘Unknown Polint’ for some proper dancers, or the likes of Takeo Moriyama’s ‘Kaze’ for a more sultry take on classic jazz tradition
“In the years following World War Two, Japan developed one of the most insatiable, dynamic and diverse markets for jazz. For a crucial period of little over a decade – from the late 1960s to the early 1980s – Japanese jazz culture progressed at an astonishing rate, producing an extraordinary array of artists, recordings and record labels that created some of the most forward thinking and impressive jazz to be committed to tape. This amazing journey is explored on ‘J Jazz’.
This compilation from BBE uncovers some of the most sought after and rare material from this period and pulls together key artists who shaped the post-war modern jazz scene in Japan.
‘J Jazz’ includes obscure and sought after rarities like the bass-driven power jazz of Koichi Matsukaze’s ‘Earth Mother’, the holy grail rarity of Aizawa Tohru Quartet’s ‘Dead Letter’ and the loping majesty of Takeo Moriyama’s ‘North Wind’. This collection takes the listener into deep spiritual jazz, post-modal impressionism and fierce dance-floor fusion with material from artists and composers whose names are generally only known to committed collectors of Japanese jazz. Fumio Karashima, Mitsuaki Katayama, Takeo Moriyama and Kiyoshi Sugimoto are among the names featured on an album aiming to shed a little light on the shadowy world of Japanese jazz clubs, tucked away in the neon backstreets. This music demands a wider audience and BBE are excited to deliver a landmark compilation, lifting the veil on this wonderful and mysterious area of the global jazz catalogue.
None of the tracks featured on ‘J Jazz’ have ever received an official release outside Japan before. The albums the tracks are taken from are extremely hard to find and often fetch huge sums on the collector’s circuit. Originally pressed in small numbers on independent and private labels such as Union, Johnny’s Disk, Whynot, ALM and VAP, these tracks are now available for everyone to enjoy.
Compiled by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden, both long-time collectors of Japanese jazz, ’J Jazz’ brings together the very best in modern jazz from Japan, recorded during a critical period of musical and cultural transition that saw composers and musicians not only assert a new artistic identity but also create a lasting musical legacy.”
Originally released in 1991 as a limited run of 100 self distributed cassette tapes.
The 5 tracks touch upon Ambient, Dub, House and Balearic styles and show an ambition to create timeless music in the vein of Ultramarine and The Orb. 25 years later these songs finally reach a wider audience....on cassette, again....
Dragon’s Eye Recordings proprietor Yann Novak unfurls a mesmerising, meditative suite of processed field recordings on Touch. Imagine the elegant protagonist of Richard Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone took a stroll at dusk with Biosphere in the L.A. ‘burbs…
“Yann Novak is an artist, composer, and curator based in Los Angeles. His work is guided by his interests in perception, context, movement, and the felt presence of direct experience. Through the use of sound and light, Novak explores how these intangible materials can act as catalysts to focus our awareness on our present location in space and time. Novak's diverse body of works – audiovisual installations, performances, architectural interventions, sound diffusions, recording, and prints – ask participants to reclaim the present moment as a political act.
His album Ornamentation was released by Touch in 2016. He also runs his own label, Dragon's Eye Recordings. In March 2018, Yann will be touring Europe, including dates in London, Berlin and others.”
Sweden’s spikiest, boundry-oblivious rock group give one last hurrah with this eponymous slaughter for Thrill Jockey. Following more than a decade of defying categorisation and relaxing on labels as far flung as Diagonal and Important, Joachim Nordwall and co take this opportunity to blast out eight jams tangoing from the xmas-ready combo of noisy dub and sleigh bells in A Brief History of Rhythm, Dub, Life and Death to the shark-eyed krautrock drive of The Beauty of Creation and Destruction, via the Suicide-al Clean Mind, and the punk chutzpah of All Thoughts Thought.
A Message from Joachim Nordwall: “Our new album, simply entitled The Skull Defekts, marks the death of the band and an important farewell to those who have cared. It holds many echoes of our history but it is music that is present and now, and it’s hopeful in its own darkness. It carries some kind of positive desperation knowing what we knew while recording it. We worked with Mariam Wallentin as our fourth member on this one, and she brought in something new; new creativity, new blood. Her contributions were important.
The stuff I wrote for it was of course colored by the fact that we were not comfortable as a band. I think Fagge’s stuff was too. And there in the studio, we realized how much we love creating together. We love playing together but it just had to stop. The Skull Defekts might be our strongest album musically. It is the album that might be the most composed one. It is well prepared musically and of course holds improvisational parts, but probably less than before.
This is our last album. The Skull Defekts has been an important part of our lives. It is no longer.”
Breathtaking works of electro-acoustic concrète abstraction dating to 1978-79 from the inestimable archive of INA-GRM, Paris.
One of INA-GRM’s pivotal figures, François Bayle is subject of a 2nd entry to the Recollection GRM reissue series with Tremblements , offering two works of alternately harder-edged electronic abstraction and enchanting, crystalline dimensions which have been unavailable on vinyl for more than three decades.
Apt as both an educational transmission for fresh electronic explorers, and a stunning example of the precision and clarity afforded by the legendary Group De Recherches Musicales facilty in Paris, Tremblements gives another mind-meltingly evocative plunge into exquisite other worlds of sound.
Nope, not the ‘90s house act, but rather Philadelphia’s original ‘80s synth trio, The Nightcrawlers, are subject of this revelatory compendium from Mexican Summer’s Anthology Recordings. Spanning 14 works in just over 2.5 hours, The Biophonic Boombox Recordings form a gateway to distant, lo-fi but fantastical dimensions
“Deep, diverse, and unheralded, the Philadelphia ambient electronic music scene of the 1980s is explored with The Nightcrawlers’ The Biophonic Boombox Recordings, an expansive archival collection documenting the hard-knuckled kosmische synthesizer trio’s home recordings self-released and distributed over 35 cassettes between 1980 and 1991.
Featuring the farthest reaching spacescapes of those cassette releases – improvised straight into the mic of a JVC Biphonic Boombox – none of these performances have been released beyond the original format, and essentially went out of print when Nightcrawler Peter D. Gulch got tired of dubbing them to blank tapes to mail-order through his Synkronos label and sell at live shows. Restored and recalibrated from the original cassettes, The Nightcrawlers’ music has never sounded better or so readily accessible.”
Nathan Fake leads a merry, if bittersweet, dance on Sunder, the follow-up to Providence, channelling that album’s mix of eldritch, gothic, cosmic electronics into five cuts firmed up for ‘floors both physical and imagined.
Colour and space are key to the styles exhibited on Sunder, as Fake manipulates his lustrous, chromatic harmonics into various states across five driving, undulating and tracky designs wending from the mesmerising, gaseous keen of Sunder and the more loping tilt of Arcaibh to lush, awning, widescreen synth washes and kosmiche triplets recalling Alessandro Cortini in Serotonin Drops, before dancing around the empty village hall psych rave of Cloudswept and flowing into the piquant vertiginous arp scales of Lea like some rustic english answer to Lorenzo Senni.
Hailing from England’s Old Coast, Mordant Music reminisces a long since evaporated Albion during 10 minutes of foggy, reverberating clag and eyes-rolling-in-back-of-’ead synth and flute solos.
The Baron sums it up better than we ever could:
“Internal side-tryp with a very blue Ray manning the turret, a digital lycanthrope stalking magnetic looms & a VHS salve lining KFC's toilets...it's all in the extras...IBM ::”
Zola Jesus joins the Adult Swim Singles Series with Blind
Following last year’s well received Okavi LP and the lead of Chino Amobi, The Body, Jenny Hval and many other before her to bless the series with one of her trademark gothic dance pop aces.
Even by Príncipe’s ridiculously high standards, this is jaw-droppingly good, fierce but soulful hybrids of kuduro with R&B, trance-techno, drill and jump-up jungle, in our view some of the most thrilling music made by anyone in the world right now...
Príncipe kick off 2018 in a big way with the remarkable début by P. (as in ‘Producer’) Adrix; a 22 year old artist originally from Lisbon, now based in Manchester, who is equally adept at crafting full tilt, teched-out bangers as effervescent electronic soul music. His first release, Álbum Desconhecido is a supreme example of the innovative scenius in Angolan-Portuguese music, ratcheting the thrilling dynamics of Lisbon’s ghetto bass sound with deadly edits and pressure highly compatible with the UK’s jump-up jungle, drill or soca grime vibes.
Building on ground-breaking work forwarded by producer/DJs Marfox, Nervoso, Nídia and Lycox in recent years, Álbum Desconhecido is jaw-droppingly fresh, delivered in 9 short sharp stings between the seasick drill of Zelda Shyt and the laser-guided trance lixx of Viva La Raça, trading in a mix of virulent, adrenalised energy and soulful rollige that sets fire to any ‘floor.
It’s clear and present in the turbulent, rug-pulling subs and febrile polyrhythms of Bola De Cristal, and to blinding degrees in the high-wire tension and bone-freezing edits of 6.6.6, whereas the zipping flutes of Ovni bind roots and future with breathtaking, needlepoint incision, leaving Sonhos to provide a dead sweet, even romantic contrast with the melancholic meditation of Tejo for fine measure.
It's a boldly expressive and immediately effective sound that drives listeners to a rare but timeless sort of rave ecstasy - thrillingly synthetic and infused with an unmistakeable lust for the dance. In the right hands, it’s dangerous stuff.
You’ve been warned!
Nurse With Wound’s Colin Potter hooks up with Alessio Natalizia (aka Not Waving) and Guido Zen for this new album for Ecstatic; a sublime trip by three highly skilled synthesists that comes highly recommended if yr into Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, John Carpenter or Eduard Artemiev.
After stranding listeners in deep space with Schleißen 4 in 2015, Potter, Natalizia and Zen regroup along the percussive vectors of Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out - three years in the making and taking cues from Kosmische, abstract EBM and obscure library sounds for seductive new horizons of pulsing rhythms and floating ambient dub tones.
The trio control the mission with masterful skill and sleight of hand, prompting routes for the user rather than signposting the way with cliché. Of course, it’s hard to escape some sense of homage or reverence for the original forms, but they do so with such sensitivity to the material and “the journey” that the results simply transcends that heritage, to arrive somewhere, timelessly, out there.
They chart a steady course, slowly melting from cryogenic stasis to map out free floating space in Articulated, then holding their course despite the gravitational pull from massive objects in Rhythm Did Not Change, and under pressure of slow disco G-forces in the pulsing beauty of Linda, leading to the interception of panicked bleeps in Chaosmosis.
Over on the B-Side When Time Stops Moving the mission becomes very Tarkovsky-esque and surreal, with those lysergic drones really coming into their own, before the upside down tonal sculpting of Unsystematic Waves re-aligns the user’s brain functions in preparation for the stunning dynamic proprioception of Che Osmosi, where the route ahead becomes scrambled in a delirious tangle of nagging arpeggio melodies and pill-belly pulses, emulating pretty much how you’d feel, lost but happy to be zillions of light years from terra firma.
Certain to claim its place in pop-loving hearts everywhere, ‘Few Traces’ is a glorious introduction to the admirable optimism and romance of Mark Renner’s American songcraft. Few Traces surveys a near decade of Mark Renner’s scarcely released and unreleased material from 1982 to 1990, embracing and evoking the timelessness of his artistic statement: a wordless translation of the individual’s musical experience, met with the poetic expression of being here.
"Mark Renner first encountered punk while a teenager in Upperco, a country town in rural Maryland. Growing up on his family farm, he became a young acolyte of the British exports hitting not-so-distant Baltimore record store shelves in 1979 / 1980 and was baited by an area musician-wanted ad declaring Ultravox a primary touchstone.
This nascent band and a pair of other group experiments flamed out under the typical totem of despotism. In their ashes Renner began recording independently around 1983 with a portable four-track, electric guitar, and classic Casio CZ101 synthesizer. Aside from John Foxx-era Ultravox, Renner’s process was inspired by the period’s electronic pioneers venturing into deeper, romantic pop pastures: Yellow Magic Orchestra, Bill Nelson, The Associates.
With his tools and teachers in place, the blueprints for Renner’s sound were laid out – metronomic, skeletal rhythms built on sturdy yet singular drum machines supporting luminescent guitar and synth lines, Renner’s reverent voice guiding the fables and construction.
Most directly influential, Renner’s enthusiasm for Days in Europa, the third album by Scottish new wave band Skids, would lead to a correspondence and long-distance tutorship with Stuart Adamson. Before Adamson would achieve worldwide success co-founding the group Big Country, a chance friendship with Renner would impart great confidence in the young musician from Maryland, who, after a visit in Edinburgh, would then travel to London to demo an early version of “Half A Heart” featured in its final form on Few Traces.
The sum of Renner’s music is one-part literary, one-part painterly. The artist cites the individualism of Herman Hesse as a guiding force, and there are overt references to W. B. Yeats and John Greanleaf Whittier among other authors. Lyrical themes evoke the presence of the ancient past, much like early Felt songs or the spiritual visions of Van Morrison. (Tellingly, Renner cites Morrison’s 1980s albums made between Inarticulate Speech of the Heart and No Guru, No Method, No Teacher as musical influences.)
Apart from his writing, Renner explored music as a complement to visual language: many of the dream-like instrumental passages presented across Few Traces were originally implemented as sound elements for exhibitions of his paintings. Renner pursued wordless music as a pure aesthetic in its own right, pristinely balanced segues and open-ended compositions that lead to pasture but not without shepherd.
Compiled three decades after the music was originally put to tape, Few Traces collects Mark Renner’s early music but strives not to simplify or reframe it. (Mark is still active making music and painting) The instrumental explorations remain on par with the great ambient adventurers of the period (Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Roedelius), while the vocal and guitar-centric songs crystalize across similar terrains being transversed by Cocteau Twins and The Chills.
Few Traces highlights in intuitive sequence gems from Renner’s scarce discography and archive: the self-released debut All Walks of This Life (1986), the aptly titled follow-up Painter’s Joy (1988), plus early singles, compilation tracks, and exemplary songs that saw no original release. The collection allows an intimate look at an artist growing into their sound and surroundings, finding the in between echoes and spirituality of the individual.”
Super infectious Forró from Northeastern Brazil - celebratory folk music for dance and drinking Cachaça
“In 1960 we received an invitation to play in Recife, a wonderful, exciting and dangerous place, often described as a “social jungle”.
The Forró party took place on the first floor of Caxangá´s neighbourhood theatre. With its high ceilings, wooden floors and balconies, the place was perfect for these kinds of events. When all the windows were wide open, there would be a wonderful breeze during the hot tropical evenings.
Since everyone was looking for amusement, the place was packed on weekends. People from all corners of society would arrive nicely dressed, animated and chatting loudly over the sound of clinking glasses.
Pernambuco´s Cachaça, considered by many, especially by the locals, to be the best in the country, had started flowing generously and the popular sugar cane based alcohol lives up to its reputation. We always had a few shots to warm up before performing and by the time the place was packed we were already in a very good mood.
Our local cachaça had loosened the bodies and minds of everyone in the room, people started to pair off and twirl around to the sound of forró music, smiling and sliding their feet off the floor - a reflex picked up from dancing in rural villages to avoid kicking up the dust”.
The people at Antinote are always excited to introduce new names to its roster and Sign Libra, its latest addition, makes no exception to the rule.
"Released under the moniker Sign Libra, Closer to the Equator is the work of Latvian artist and composer Agata Melnikova. Composed for a contemporary ballet at Latvian National Opera in Riga, the music on this record strongly relies on Melnikova’s appreciation of BBC-produced nature documentaries. Projecting the life of each creature that inhabits the British TV-program into her very personal and highly synthetized world, Sign Libra lends these microscopic beings her own voice. Each song works like a musical “tableau” in which the main protagonists – plants and animals – come on stage to play their part in a ballet carefully choreographed by the Latvian artist.
Sign Libra’s mental and musical incarnations of the microcosm of the rainforest have something to do with Software’s album populated by exotic insects and crawling plants, a “Carnaval des Animaux” released on Sky by a MIDI-addicted Hector Berlioz. These microscopic beings incarnate themselves in resonated melodies that echo through a technicolour rainforest, while winds blow through holographic ferns, vines and palms.
Closer To The Equator synthesizes visions panning treetops as the sun’s rays pierce through clouds nearby. Sign Libra takes you into a harmonic world that shines brightly wherever you stand, and offers a genuine synesthetic experience.”
Living Chicago house legend Steve Poindexter and Swiss newcomer Xzavier Stone give sharply contrasting spins on Martyn Bootyspoon’s deviant future funk session for Fractal Fantasy.
The weightless ballroom dynamics of Spread The Kat are retooled as a slamming ghetto jack track by Poindexter, who clearly has no time for Bootyspoon’s more playful characteristics, resulting something that’s only 50bpm shy of Monta Musica.
Meanwhile Xzavier Stone helms a bit closer to the original Steam, craftily resetting it with fluoro synth leads and a wildly processed and chopped-up vocal for peak time pressure.
Sharply contoured, inventive electro mutations from Maelstrom, a french producer with previous form for Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax, BNR, and Zone.
Again, CPU get the best out of their guy here, turning up some strong highlights with his fresh spin on Braindance tunings and ghettofunk pneumatics in the exquisite Lost Echoes, some filigree acid pirouettes on ALPH4, and pure electro/techno pressure on VZNIETIT and Praxis.
DJs, dancers - it’s yours.
Anthony J Hart (Imaginary Forces, Basic Rhythm) adopts the Hi Tek moniker as producer for East Man’s Red, White & Zero; a grime/dancehall/ project inspired by London’s vital relationship between mixed, working class cultures, inspired by conversations with theorist and academic Paul Gilroy - alumni of the late, great Stuart Hall. Features bars by Saint P, Darkos Strife, Killa P, Eklipse, Lyrical Strally, Kwan. RIYL The Bug, Blackdown, Alex Deamonds.
“London’s young people have been seen as a problem by governments for many generations now. Their distinctive street cultures stretch back into the nineteenth century when, just like today, a stylish public presence signified danger to respectable people. At that time, Britain’s class conflicts were being re-made amidst all the glorious fruits of a global empire. Divisions like class and sex had different shapes and tempos that hardly resemble the machinery of our increasingly networked and unequal world. Religion, racism and nationalism were all important, but work, exploitation and poverty supplied the fiery core of politricks.
These days, Britain’s imperial wealth and prestige are long gone. Today’s young people are excluded and marginalized, confined and criminalized, yet they remain at the heart of the vital, energetic best of our city. Their energy and imagination drive London’s convivial culture. They duck and dive just like their predecessors. They hustle, they suffer and they survive. Even where knives are common, most of the problems that come up get resolved without murderous violence. The defining experience of their precarious situation is more likely to be fear or anxiety than warfare between gangs. Their violence is more likely to turn inwards on to their loved ones and family members. There are many forms of self harm and self medication.
Yet the space in which those youthful lives unfold has contracted. The scale on which life is lived has shrunk. Moving around can be expensive. Surveillance is constant. Dignity and certainty are difficult to find and hold on to. It can be hard to feel comfortable outside the spaces and places you know best. Those familiar circuits are marked out by the roadside shrines of dead flowers that show just how vulnerable you can quickly become.
We have been losing London to Babylon but we are busy making a new place. The edges of the city have become fertile. The weeds grow up explosively between palisaded concrete boxes and the litter-strewn greenery. This is not zones 1 and 2 where houses and flats are capital rather than buildings to live in. The music that comes out of that edgy world isn’t what it was a generation ago, but it’s still fundamental--necessary for life.
These shocking sounds can be a part of healing and repair while staying faithful to the pressures that forged them. Musicians can’t make a living from their creativity, but their listeners can’t understand this historical moment unless they get to grips with its local rules, meanings and poetry. This is not America. Even without words, this music speaks for itself and tells a story. It calls out to be understood while seeking ways to escape interpretation.
We are always more than either this or that. We are more than either black or white."
Paul Gilroy 2017.
Tetine’s Bruno Verner revives Slum Dunk with a set of Film Tapes 1991 - 1995, written in São Paulo a long time before he was making mutant baile funk for Soul Jazz. Shares something of a strange, other or 4th worldly nature with experimental material written by Mitar Subotić aka Rex Ilusivii and recently issued by Offen Music, or even playful elements of that ace ‘Jan Zonder Vrees’ OST on STROOM 〰
“Film Tapes [1991-1995] is a collection of eight experimental pieces composed for film and video works. Written by Bruno Verner of Brazilian duo Tetine as he lived in São Paulo in the early 1990, these pieces were produced in an old four-channel Tascan tape-recorder in an improvised home studio, set in the living room of flat-share in downtown São Paulo.
Extracted from cassete tapes, these tracks were inspired by the humid climate and the concrete dystopian architecture of São Paulo's city centre. They are mostly tense, discordant and melodic (ambient) soundscapes, developed around rhythm & repetition structures and building orchestral and epic sonorities in conjunction with impressionistic, chromatic and atonal motives.
These pieces were also autobiographical impressions of the city's social architecture and its space (and time). In other words, an attempt to sonically 'translate' its viaducts and overpasses, street vendors, register offices, sex saunas, bars and clubs, bus terminals, modernist buildings, parks and old departments stores. This is made by a combination of electronics, cello, trumpets, saxophones, piano, flute and organ.”
Four track EP made up of new songs ‘Keep It Surreal’, ‘Cold Water People’ and apocalyptic closer ‘Catch You Dreaming’.
"A defiantly reflective, blissed out, yet wistful six minute zero gravity swirl, the track showcases yet another side to the reborn and rejuvenated Ride, who last Summer returned with their first new music in twenty years.
Catch You Dreaming’ was originally written during the ‘Weather Diaries’ sessions in Autumn 2016, and sees the continuation of their working relationship with Moulder and Alkan, the same combination who helped shape their richly layered and multi-faceted comeback album."
Obscure, sought-after French free jazz session led by François Tusque. Make sure to check the brooding title track for a dark, blue and funk-dusted hustle
“10 December 1974. 200 conscripts exit the casern of Draguignan in order to demonstrate in the streets of the city. They make part of those clandestine soldier committees multiplying themselves all over France with a view to unite the young activists of the extreme left with the anti-militarists. This dispute is a backwash of the student manifestations in spring 1973 against the Debré law reforming the military service.
The "Collectif du Temps des Cerises" founded by François Tusques, one of the pioneers of the French free jazz, decides to support the insubordinates. Denis Levaillant, 22 years old at the time, becomes the driving force of this discographical project. It’s with another big name in jazz, Jef Gilson in his studio Palm, the group records the compositions of Levaillant, appearing under the pseudonym Serge Igor, as well as cover versions of traditional Spanish music, among others the mythic "El paso del Ebro".
The young French jazz avantgarde scene of the early 70s participates in that session which brings together musicians like Jean-Jacques Avenel, Pierre Rigaud, Jean Méreu, Antoine Cuvelier, Gérard Tamestit, Guy Oulchen, Christian Ville, Robert Lucien, Carlos Andréou et Kirjuhel. The graphic designer collective Atarpop 73 creates the sleeve of the album which was released in an edition of 3000 copies and sold during the student manifestations.
This radical report of a rebellious youth raising from the still glowing ashes of May 1968 brings to our ears a jazz as spiritual as revolutionary. Attention, disc is burning!”
Your eyes do not deceive you! Ten years since leaving us all hanging with Two/Three, Tadd Mullinx a.k.a. Dabrye gives up Three/Three, loaded with guest spots from Guilty Simpson, Doom, Ghostface Killah, Jon Wayne, Shigeto, and many mo.
As one of the original architects of the instrumental “beat scene” which emerged from late ‘90s hip hop and morphed into more electronic-based structures during the ’00s, Dabrye forged a rugged, warped new sound which would predate the lurch of half-time dubstep and influence a stack of producers such as Hud Mo and Machinedrum who’ve become key, influential producers in their own right in the years since.
After leaving the Dabrye alias c. Two/Three in 2006 to focus on his JTC and Charels Manier aliases - which, in their own way, also triggered or predated sea changes in the wider dance/electronic scenes - Tadd Mullinx picks up like he never left us with Three/Three, reprising a natty, wonky style that pretty much ignores contemporary trap/drill trends in favour of super bass-heavy and psychedelically detailed productions that match the classic steez of his vocalists.
From first listens we’re most impressed by the woozy nudge of Dr. Shroomen feat G&D, and it’s hard not to get snagged on Doom’s hooks in Lil Mufukuz, definitely Ghostface Killah’s delivery on Emancipated, which sounds like a sharp update of some Dilla/Raymond Scott flex, and easily The Appetite feat. Roc Marciano, Quelle Chris & Danny Brown on some Clipse meets Kraftwerk vibe.
Giuseppe Leonardi pursues the heat-stroked balearic vibes of his jack Of All Trades 12” into this one for Second Circle
Resulting some devilishly debonaire Afro-synth-boogie on Unsinn, an oily downstroke into Giallo-esque soundtrack music with Kannibalentanz, and two strokes of pure sensual synth élan with Every Tree And Creature and All Blue.
File in your adult contemporary after-hours section.
We’ve never come across a music fiend who doesn’t swoon hard for vintage Ethiopian music when at its best. Ernesto Chahoud’s ‘Taitu’ compilation of “soul-fuelled stompers” is all killer-no filler, an unmissable introduction this special sound, or a further education for anyone already snagged on Mulatu Astatke, Tilahun Gessesse or those classic Ethiopiques sets. Grooves to own your booty, and vocals that send shivers down the spine
“Ernesto Chahoud’s ‘Taitu’ is a collection of soul-fuelled stompers straight from the dancefloors of 1970s Addis Ababa. A breathless journey through the unique Ethio sound that bands were forging at the time, the 24-track compilation is the result of the Lebanese DJ and crate digger’s decade long love affair with the ‘golden age’ of Ethiopian music.
Among the musical gems featured are 7"s by some of the heavyweights of the scene including the godfather of Ethio jazz Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, the vocalist dubbed the ‘Ethiopian Elvis’, alongside tracks by more obscure artists such as Merawi Yohannis and Birkineh Wurga.
For ‘Taitu’, Chahoud has selected 24 of his essential Ethio-Soul 7"s, that never leave his DJ box, and together they capture this opportune moment in Ethiopian music history that saw bands experiment with an armful of influences: gliding through R&B, rock & roll, jazz, funk, soul and boogaloo. What came out was a distinctly Ethiopian interpretation: pentatonic scales, horn-driven melodies and soul-shattering vocals sung in Amharic.
The songs are difficult to box in to one genre but they share a simplicity and rawness, added to by their lo-fi quality – with many recordings made in rudimentary studios with only a couple of mics for the entire band.
From the R&B stomper ‘Honey Baby’ by Alemayehu Eshete to Astatke’s swaggering ethnic-jazz instrumental ‘Emnete’ and the bluesy melancholic vocals of Hirut Bekele on ‘Ewnetegna Feker’, ‘Taitu’ is a window in on the exciting records being made in Ethiopia in the 1970s.“
Fast becoming UK music’s most unique entity, Mykl Jaxn and Elvin Brandhi’s improvised father-daughter schtick as Yeah You only gets freakier with each new release. Following two cultishly appreciated sides for Slip, they skid onto Luke Younger’s Alter with VHOD - one of the maddest avant pop records you’ll hear this year or the next.
Where their previous releases were eviscerating from start to finish, this time they adapt that strategy to more diverse ends, allowing more space, variation and even melody into their rickety matrix, resulting leaner, pointed potential in highlights such as the swaggering Autoimmune and the sharp metallic grind of If (newDom), while the second half of the album unexpectedly shifts into off-kilter ambient tones recalling a more feral Klein production in the likes of Remove In Line and the glithcing loops of suppress not root warning, before totally slipping down the wormhole in W/N/A Return False.
These guys simply make everyone else seem like preening, over-earnest snobs by comparison to the loose, noisy construction and immediate impact of their music. It’s maybe not for everyone, but if the idea of a seething young British female answer to MC Sensational making atonal punk noise rap with her dad gets you going, VHOD is an unmissable listen.
He may be a bit young for a Greatest Hits set, but that ain’t stopping Night Slugs, who’ve pulled together a stack of previously unreleased club constructions by USA’s Beau Thigpen a.k.a. DJ Vague a.k.a. Helix.
Built with dark, sweaty spaces clearly in mind, Helix’s Greatest Hits distill cues from a spectrum of modern club pressures into a forward moving and mutable style of his own, one as likely to encompass an industro-Funky flip of Tainted Love as take in hair-kissing synths on Techno Trak, and put a Linn snare on, well, frankly anything from grime mutations to ghetto house bullets such as Dick Track.
Roving electronic curveballs from Quicksails, including a mad remix romp from $hit & $hine!
“For the second installation of the limited catalogue GODCUTS, we are happy to present 5 original Quicksails' tracks with 3 remixes by Brett Naucke, Khaki Blazer and Austin favourite Shit&Shine.
Ben Billington aka Quicksails is a polyedric musician very active in the Chicago scene, with a stringful of releases on different labels, among them the mighty Mayville Dream on Spectrum Spools.
On side A he explores the world existing between electronic and acoustic, with very unique and interesting results, not actually comparable to other stuff we've already heard. Check the clips to listen to what we're talking about.
On side B his Spectrum Spools colleague Brett Naucke transforms My Moon in a cybernetic dream, while Khaki Blazer goes on a different direction, moving toward a 4-legs transgenic footwork.
Closing the ep is the remix version of Craig Clouse, who puts the original version in his special washing machine for a heavy laundry that gives you back everything way more dirty.”
Giant Swan’s Robin Stewart goes dolo for No Corner with a longform greyscale drone piece plus one moist pocket of textured clag.
"Some lucky Bristolian listened to the whole thing and reported back: “Enter the room, the centre of everything, in the middle of nowhere.
Moving at an undistinguishable pace, it feels as though the master clockwork itself can be challenged by entering the perimeters of this sonic field, stretched out into the strangest of new worlds, one foot still here, the other pulling towards that alluring light beaming out behind the creaks of that heavy wooden door, which is moving in unexplained ways.
Those distant sirens enter through the cracks above the curtains, lighting up the room like a desperate flare shot from a boat that has not long departed. In fact, if you take a minute, you will realise that the whole room is shapeshifting increasingly with each cycle of sound, like a circus of mechanised organisms, or like a fairground at night, on standby with only the ghosts of human joy residing in this place.
Indistinguishable forms of reality and obscured imagination are forming a kind of play with the senses. It's hard to figure out what is creating this increasing, unstoppable momentum. Could it be the woozy, warm bass that is rumbling beneath the floorboards, whilst the open electric snakes it's way across the ceiling in blue & white shapes, leaving concise trails of dark, charcoal smoke falling weightlessly above us? And who is operating these mechanics that whir around us? Is it something to do with the voices from outside? It feels too late to leave, too soon to go.
Time and our judgement of the surroundings are becoming harder to track, who knows how many times this door has opened itself to us now, gradually exposing that blinding light which momentarily changes the shape of our space into something wholly new, unexplainable.
Just before the door falls back into the void, these sharp lights play a dance with the blackest of shadows, and all options present themselves with new vigour once more. This is the moment in which we realise that we needed this delirium all along, we had been searching for it… The sound of solitary bliss, the sound that only exists with you.”
An abso-fxcking-lutely killer UKF banger from the original days finally sees official release via Goon Club Allstars.
As the story goes, KG was a 19 year old student at Nottingham Uni working with Fruity Loops back in 2007, around the time she made 808, which, despite her relative detachment from the UKF locus, became a staple of Marcus Nasty’s DJ sets, among others, who were lucky enough to own a copy of that precious file. It could be a figment of our imagination, but we’re pretty sure we remember hearing it crop up as one of dozens of unnamed but amazing tunes on radio during that era.
Fast forward 10 years and the virulent, Timbaland-gone-Funky pressure of 808 is primed for widespread dancefloor destruction along with a harder, stripped down rework from Bronx-based litefeet producer BSNYEA, and KG’s slinkier bubbler Midnight (Flute Riddim), which shows off a more sultry side to her sound, and also comes remixed by FDM king Hitmakerchinx on a rugged downstroke.
Unmissable dance music. You’ll be going off to this for years to come.
Already marked as one to watch with The Tide That Moves Me EP for Gobstopper in 2017, New York-based Orlando pays up on that promise with the 1st song from his imminent début on Local Action.
Teasing in his Orlando album, the exquisite Friends or Lovers? features a naif, angelic vocal by Buscabulla - whose EP II is also worth a check! - set to a dreamy backdrop of sublimated flutes, fluid trance arpeggios and the slightest reggaeton bumps with weightless, skyward effect. This album could be so lush…
Death Is Not The End turn their attention to Kosta Dousas on Greek Blues In America Vol. 2, following their excellent George Katsaros’ compilation. Again, as with most things Rembetika and Greek Blues-related, we’re transfixed by the mournful vocals and lyrical guitar lilt. Time to crack out the worry beads…
“Death Is Not The End present a two-part collection centred on two emigrant Greek artists recorded in New York during the 1920s and 1930s.
'Greek Blues in America' explores the recordings of George Katsaros and Kostas Dousas, who mainly recorded solo, accompanying themselves on guitar in a unique finger-picking style. This, along with the sub-cultural subject matter of the rebetiko, reflects somewhat of a cross-continental echo of the American blues - captured in the USA following a wave of immigration from Greece and Asia Minor, just as the new demand for regional and ethnographic music in the recording industry was beginning.”
With the quietly nimble ambient-cumbia-avant-pop of Tar, the all too seldom-heard but always-fucking-great Lucrecia Dalt preps the ground for Anticlines, her highly promising début album for RVNG Intl
It should finally afford her music the wider attention it deserves, cos without PR, yr invisible?