Melbourne-based around artist Todd Anderson-Kunert plumbs the depths of a Moog System 55 Synthesizer in pursuit of a timbral truth and space for reflection, with results comparable to his influences; Pan Sonic, Eliane Radigue, Stephen O’Malley, Sarah Davachi...
“Every recording project explores a gap that exists between uncertainty and realisation. It can be a treacherous zone of investigation, one that can frustrate as easily as it can reward. In this expanse of possibility, artists and musicians traverse a particular set of variables within which the potentials for their chosen work are realised.
When Australia artist Todd Anderson-Kunert, commenced work on his debut edition for Room40, Conjectures, he was intent on approaching this zone of entanglement with equal doses of curiosity and strategy. Undertaking a residency at Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio, which is run by Room40 comrade Robin Fox and artist Byron Scullin, Anderson-Kunert began trawling through the vast array of synthesisers within the facility.
After some time, he began to realise the answer to the creation of Conjectures did not lie in some survey of modern electronics, but rather an interrogation of one machine. With this strategy in grasp, he sat at their Moog System 55 Synthesizer, one of only a few existing in the world and set about creating a delicate but richly timbral album of reductive electronics.”
London’s Black Merlin is your spirit guide for an exploration of gamelan-inspired field recordings and original productions made during and after a visit to Indonesia and the neighbouring island of Bali.
Hypnotik Tradisi transports us to ritual scenes resonating with the sounds of struck bamboo, gamelan and gong interwoven with the sound of the sea, cacophonous jungle atmospheres and vocal chants with a narcotic appeal that recalls the work of Black Zone Myth Chant or Düsseldorf’s Diskant crew., but perhaps with a more ominous sense of terror lurking in the background, like strong psychedelics slowly settling in whilst red-eyed primates watch from the undergrowth.
Deep bassbin massages from Lynch Kingsley, a yung Italian producer bitten by the jungle bug
Volleying the 5th release on Rua Sound’s Foxy Jangle sublabel following their reissue of Bones & Natty’s jump-up bangers, Kingsley shows off some classic chops between the roving subs and swirling rhythmic psychedelia of ‘Astral Pulse’ in a style early work by Photyek/The Truper, while the B-side run deeper into the jungle with flexing congas and smashing amens holding the tension before it comes with full raving mentasm torque and lush divas vox in the 2nd half.
Slompy, sultry dub-disco strutters from another Vancouver cat, Yu Su, chasing up her admission to Second Circle with a fruity punnet of fun for Technicolour
‘Watermelon Woman’ shows off Yu Su’s tactile dancefloor touch from three angles, firstly with the psychoactive dub-disco sashay of the original work, then in lax dub style peppered with jaws harp and reset to a slower shuffle, while the edit finds charmingly byzantine routes between these styles. On the remix Francis Inferno Orchestra gives a study tribal house overhaul heavy on the drums.
Martin Glover aka Youth produces violin player Violeta Vicci’s debut album for his Painted Word label.
"Debut collaboration for this young virtuoso violin and viola player. Violetta also sings and plays piano. Youth provides his vision and production experience to create a string laden ambient classic . Modern classical, atmospherically sublime. Euphoric as well as moody and melancholic.
Slow burning and hypnotic, with only a suggestion of melody. Wide screen cinematic soundscapes for your imagination. Minimal, organic and spacial. Imaginary road journeys with Youth helming production, mixing and co-writing."
Key UK grime engineer Boylan and Flowdan on a grinding big-man dubstep lean
Flowdan is on a f*cking rampage here, matched by the uncouth badness of Boylan’s production in a boisterous but shower-faced original - watch yourself on that breakdown - while the instrumental shows off like a nasty DJ Distance special or indeed, the classic ’Skeng’ riddim.
Prime collection of seething industrial dance hammers from Argentina’s Interplanetary, casting the net between local and European artists “with powerful personality under the same line”
No pussyfooting here; ‘Airs’ delivers dance music with stentorian conviction at every turn. Playing heavily to Interplanetary’s strengths, you’ll find a rave’s worth of body gratifying bangers including a number of leathered-up highlights.
Notable for another inclusion by Thessaloniki ace Penelope’s Fiance in ‘Out Planet’ that recalls Alberich or Klinik, the set mows thru massive cuts such as the bone-rattling brittleness of Marceas’ ‘Open’; the rippling bass arp flesh of ‘Deathwish’ by Niban; a bruxist mauler called ‘Driver 2020’ by Theorem; sickest noise techno by Draag; a metallic wormhole from Contacto; blown-out belligerence from Pravik; Furbo’s fizzy swagger; and, for good measure, more atmospheric moments in Jaaade’s ‘Snitchs Speak’, and a ferocious noise torrent by Enot.
Talc up and take your pick.
"Even those of you who are already familiar with our label's concept of rediscovering music which has unjustifiably been lost, overlooked or forgotten will be surprised by the reissue of the six-track-record 'Bruchstuecke' LP by Free-Jazz artists Phrydderichs Phaelda."
"This band was a short living school band project of the Gymnasium Voerde Mitte (West-Germany) led by pianist and music teacher Friedrich Schepers joined by other teachers and students (Hans Klimek on bass, Lutz Leonhardt on drums, Wolfgang Kulawik on guitar). In 1975 they went to the studio to record 6 instrumental tracks in a style that could be best described as jazz / fusion with hints of r’n’b and rock, which are brimming with crisp snare drums played in polyrhythmic and ever-changing patterns and tempos.
Alongside that the astounded listener gets to enjoy thrilling electric guitar lines and breathtaking electric piano excursions together with ultrawarm and elaborate bass guitar parts. All this is held together by the four musicians great overview and ability to improvise and react spontaneously to their fellows. This creates a kind of magic which is rare to hear in music these days.
Stefan Leisering and Juergen von Knoblauch, the two record digging members of Jazzanova have immediately understood the unique quality of 'Bruchstuecke' and decided to re-release this overlooked masterpiece. In the course of the original release of this album in the early 1980s only a small amount has been pressed. Now with this reissue on Notes On A Journey is the chance to make this gem available to a larger audience – to people who share a great interest in the remarkable development of underground Jazz in Germany during those exciting years."
Fauna Mapping is the lush result of Jonny Nash and Lindsay Todd’s jollies in Bali, 2017, where they immersed themselves in the island’s gamelan music, indigenous culture and abundantly diverse natural environments.
It’s essentially the Firecracker boss and Melody As Truth storyteller’s interpretation of the term Exotica, using a blend of strategies gleaned from ambient synth music and field recording to convey a sense of space and place, and in a way saying it without saying it.
The results call to mind the synaesthetic binds of David Ventura aka Suga’s Transflora A/V project, but sans the visual part (you can fill in the gaps though), as much as K. Leimer’s c. ’81/82 output and quite obviously the Hassel, Eno and Byrne classics. However the distinction lies in Nash’s grasp of up-to-date, gaseous electronic dynamic and the unique guidance of Lindsay Todd, a renowned set of ears who takes his first ever co-production and writing credits here, lending the set a psychedelic unpredictability that you don’t usually find in Nash’s work, and which sets this slab apart from the field.
'Codiaeum Variegatum' is Anne Guthrie's quietly striking solo debut opus seamlessly blending field recordings and instrumental composition into beguiling new forms.
With elemental alchemy and incredible sensitivity to the smallest, most unique sounds and textures, the Brooklyn-based composer and sound artist parses multiple dimensions of room and field recordings of French horn, violoncello and contrabass into truly captivating interzones bristling with microscopic detail and quiet, curious energy. Thanks to canny use of extended microphone placement - most likely stemming from her practice as a professional acoustician - Guthrie renders the recordings with sensitively fine-combed post-production into enchanting spaces subtly challenging our spatial and haptic perceptions with alternately dense, cacophonic dissonance and moments of clarity collapsing the boundaries between what we hear as acousmatic incidence and measured composition.
Honestly we could bang on about this record for ages, but it's probably easier to say that if you've been seduced, compelled or baffled by the furthest reaches of Julia Holter's productions, the most desolate, attuned works of Helge Sten, or the sound art emerging from Senufo Editions - Giuseppe Ielasi, Bellows etc. - or enchanted by Graham Lambkin and his Kye cohorts, we urge you to check this quicksharp.
Excoriating blasts of cyberpunk noise from Chicago’s HIDE. Wretched and pointedly politicised bile coughed up from the gut via well-honed industrial instincts. This sh*t stinks in the best way. Big RIYL TG, Pharmakon, Rabit, Croww, Prison Religion
“HIDE's second full length album Hell is Here on Dais sees the band's evolution pushed even further. The tone is sick and heavy. Using their previously established blueprint of complex drum programming, stomach churning sub bass and aggressive expressive vocals, Gabel and Sher poke and prod at the perception of musical context, and remind the listener that feelings of anxiety, pain, and discomfort are equally as important as those of resolution. Perhaps the strongest tool utilized here is the material’s dichotomy between the abrasive and the sterile. Beneath the crushing noisy exterior, sparks the familiar human voice. Divorced from their caustic counterparts Gabel’s vocals play a decisive role in cementing narrative for the material’s uncompromising assault on the senses.
Opening track “Chainsaw” immediately lays the groundwork for the excursion to come. Twisted, cold, and dry repetition soundtracks a one sided catcalling verbal assault. The theme of objectification carries through to the following track “999” with the use of a well placed vocal sample that declares “...when you depersonalize another person... it seems to make it easier to do things you shouldn’t do.”. This sentiment is expertly echoed throughout the rest of Hell Is Here and attempts to forcefully remind the listener of humanity’s absurd and animalistic nature. Nearing the end of the punishing trek we find“Pain”, which is arguably the record’s most formidable use of space. The call and response nature of both the harsh percussive elements paired with the impending vocals effectively induces a deafening anxiety that’s rivaled only by the lyrical content of Gabel’s shrieking voice.
"SSSD" (which stands for Self Self Self Destruct) calls for total destruction of the ego via empathy. Here Gabel instructs the listener "Become nothing, you can feel everything, become nothing, you can be anything" in an effort to destroy the societal constructs that dictate the way we view ourselves and interact with others/the earth. "Raw Dream" closes out the album with driving focus and a determination to calmly but not quietly move forward despite feeling beat down and powerless, as a response to it even. "Raw Dream" is an anthem for the disenfranchised's rising up, a long overdue and joyous recalibration of an imbalance of power.”
Black Merlin largely and unexpectedly drops the beats and commits to a cinematic, sub-tropical phantAsia with ‘Kosua’, a lush yet dread-filled album dedicated to the mystery of Papua New Guinea, the world’s 2nd largest island, and one of it’s most unexplored. A must check for fans of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement
“Back in 2015 George Thompson AKA Black Merlin started a deep love affair with the remote island of Papua New Guinea. After his first album ‘Hipnotik Tradisi’, released on Island Of The Gods; George was intrigued to find a place drenched in culture and untouched by the western world.
In 2016 George planned his first solo expedition, venturing out to meet the Kosua Tribe. Over the course of the next two years George would record the sounds of the Kosua people. From their daily lives, ancient dance customs and wildlife. During one of these trips he spent 14 days alone in the jungle, getting in and out of the Mount Bosavi crater and further 3 days inside recording and filming his experience. These recordings and experiences formed the basis of his second album, Kosua.
Enchanting, gorgeous works for solo piano, strings, organ and Eastern percussion by preeminent composer Leo Svirsky. Seeming to unravel and weave simultaneously in mid-air, ‘River Without Banks’ is a significant new opus that taps into a rich vein somewhere between Charlemagne Palestine’s sustained ecstasies, the phasing pulses of Steve Reich, and the beatific glory of Alice Coltrane...
““How to begin? No beginning... never ending reverberation,” Antoine Beuger writes in the accompanying notes to Leo Svirsky’s River Without Banks. Dedicated to his first piano teacher Irena Orlov, River Without Banks is a mesmerizing, emotional collection of pieces that are simultaneously complex and fluid. The title River Without Banks comes from a chapter of musicologist Genrikh “Henry” Orlov’s profound work Tree of Music. In said chapter, Orlov traces the history of sacred music from the Western and Eastern tradition and how the forms (of the chant, raga etc.) sought to eliminate the division between the physical and the spiritual--the bank and the river.
Arranged for two pianos with accompaniment from strings, trumpet, and electronics, this is Svirsky’s first piece to approach the history of the piano and the possibilities of the recording studio, and his deepest dive yet into exploring the instability of listening and its transformation of musical semantics and affect. Like Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas project, Svirsky overlays romantic musical gestures to create a lush unfamiliarity. No sooner than each track begins the next moment unfurls beneath it, cascading time and blurring perception of past and present.
Akin to a multidimensional Rzewski thematic interpretation, Svirsky’s music defies genre-classification or classical ideology while its virtuosity clearly stems from somewhere from within disciplined traditions. Continuously revisiting, revising, and renewing its emotional core, River Without Banks is less an album of songs than songs of a singular, unlocatable album. Performed by the composer with assistance from Britton Powell, Max Eilbacher, Leila Bordreuil, Tim Byrnes, and recorded by Al Carlson.”
Simbad (SMBD) and K15 skip back onto Kyle Hall’s Wild Oats for a wicked broken beat session
After a few years of dialogue behind closed studio doors, the like-minded soulboys arrived at the mutual conclusions found in ‘Earth State’ - a classically skooled blend of jazz-fusion synth vamps, swingeing drum playing, sampling and programming, for a deeply debonaire flex.
Colourful vignettes such as ‘Dry Mango Pt.1’ and the flyaway jazz notes of ‘Earth State’ bookend proper, low-slung dancing gear in the squirming dip of ‘Thursday’ and pendulous hustle of ‘Oceans’ up top, with a more introspective, grubbing number ‘Pace & Time’ and the percolated beauty ‘Dryt Mango Pt.2’ keeping it deep and moving on the flipside.
Selva Discos return with a reissue of this rare 2nd LP by “water maestro” Fernando Falçao following acclaimed salvages of music by Maria Stumpf and Barbatuques, and a reshuffle at label HQ.
‘Barracas Barrocas’ sees Falçao in pursuit of natural and supernatural Brazilian jazz spirits into experimental ambient interzones, using judiciously applied FX and layered synths to eke out lush, heady space between the acoustic and synthetic realms that sounds like an echo Tribo Massahi filtered thru Alice Coltrane, or at times, a precursor to the electronic 4th world fusions coined by Mitar Subotić aka Rex Ilusivii. Original 1987 vinyl copies now trade for nearly £300 on the 2nd hand market.
The “water maestro” moniker clearly comes into play on the intro to album opener ‘As 7 Filhas da Rainha Sumaia’, which soon enough blossoms into a strange, playful piece of spaced out Brazilian jazz peppered with naif choral parts that beautifully crop up throughout the album, electronically manipulated on the haunting but sweet ‘Disse Álguem’ alongside the brooding electronics and astral jazz of ‘Cançao Do Exilo’ starring a mix of plush and primitive vocal styles by Alceu Valença, and the stark transition from flighty solo keys and operatic vocals to avant-garde strings and a fluid rush of rhythm and flutes in the remarkable 6 minutes of ‘Elas (À Girges Ristum)’.
A real strange beauty of an album, this.
Brock Van Wey (BVDub) reframes his ambient D&B workouts from the ‘Broken Seas’ EP into the ‘Neverlasting Love’ EP
Originally found on his self-released 2017 EP, the heartsore rattler ‘Neverlasting Love’ appears next to the sped-up garage 2-step of ‘Broken Seas’ on an old skool Synkro tip, and ‘Hard Red’ follows like some D&B remix of Grimes.
From the backwoods of Wisconsin via Bank Records NYC, DJ Speedsick lives up to a fierce reputation with the noisy tape techno class of ‘Nothing Lasts’
Hammering around the styles found on Live Adult Entertainment and the likes of DJ Punisher and Vereker records, the EP kicks off with a nod to core influence Woody McBride in a sampled interview intro, before conducting a srsly hypnotic warehouse ritual from the schranzy slam of ‘Death Trip’, to the rictus jack of ‘No Euphoria (Russian Ghetto Version)’ and the vein-popping pressure of ‘Head Full of Hate and Acid’, saving a dose of scummy 6am sleaze for ‘Northside LSD.’ Nowt exceeds like excess.
Tight, shiny, swinging dance prangs from Chants, the funkiest operator outta Madison, Wisconsin
Back for a 3rd round on Astral Plane Recordings with ‘Seven Spheres’, Chants shapeshifts between tense, weightless shimmies in the title track to craftily stumbling tresillo patterns in ‘Kitka Rhythm’, and UKF compatible budge on ‘Burned All The Way Down’, while hitting a fine seam of Rian Treanor-esque 145bpm glyde ’n parry in ‘Assiah Dance’, and recalling DJ Haram’s percussive torque on ‘Muzzoline’, saving a straighter play of spring jackers beat in ‘Filament’ and a charming Caribbean flow for ‘Gulfs.’
Sickest acid dancehall and crooked soukous vibes straight from Kampala on this killer new EP from Rey Sapienz, returning to Hakuna Kulala (sublabel of Nyege Nyege Tapes) on the label's first ever physical release.
‘Mushoro’ packs twice as much material as Sapienz’ 2018 debut ‘Hakuna Kulala’ for a start, but the production is also detectably slower, more detailed and layered to express a wider range of moods and killer drum patterns stemming from the Congo, while the vocals are also more diverse and speaking to current club tastes.
Pairing acidic stabs with low-slung vox in the dark sidewinder ‘Mushoro’, he finely toggles the vibe between playful technoid and Terminator cold throughout the EP, shifting his weight on an off the beat with icy control in ‘Ngando’, while ‘Dancehall Pigmé’ turns out a gripping take on acid-hall styles shades away from Equiknoxx. ‘Anti Machine’ then start out super brooding but buoyed by psyched-out bleep melodies like some early Warp cut, before ’Nzela Mabulu’ cuts the lights for a proper piece of voodoo almost compatible with Gqom, and ‘Entaintenment’ rounds back to a rugged flip of soukous styles.
Mad, essential vibes on this one, strong looks for the dancers and DJs!
Alex Cobb, the soul behind the Taiga Remains alias and Students of Decay label, enchants with an expansive quartet of ghostly drone compositions in 'Chantepleure'. He sets a rarified, almost ecclesiastical air with the solemn poise of 'Prayer Ring', followed thru and expanded in the thicker layers of drone harmonics in melting from 'Anselin', whereas the more succinct arrangement of 'Disporting with a Shadow' acts as a sweeter, space-resetting palate cleanser for the intimate and glacially paced 16 minutes of shimmering harmonics in 'Path of Appearance'.
Redshape does speed garage/techno on a killer new razz for Running Back
Arriving in the slipstream of ‘Android Malfunction’, the ‘Rise’ EP delivers a deeply DJ/dancer-friendly session taking in the NYC-meets-Sheffield style warped Reese bass and skippy gait of ‘Rise’ in its classically sculpted original, a rudely stripped down ‘Bonus Beatz’ and handy ‘A Capella’ mix, whereas ‘Shape’ softens the mood with tactile old skool Detroit strings and square bass nodding to KMS, and ‘Motor Mix’ saunters off on a Carl Craig-style excursion.
-ous co-founder Feldermelder models a droning “ode to space travel’ in his 2nd longer-form release for the label
Across the 23 minute expanse of ‘Tall Rise’ he strafes into vast space pushed by pulsating bass frequencies to emulate the effect of G-force torque that will leave listeners pinned to the armchair with cheeks pulled back and hurtling thru the inky blacknuss.