Black Mass do cybergoth industrial metal for Sacred Bones
Launching the full pelt beats of Odd Scene and Shit Luck to fling us back to the back-rooms of metal club-nights in the early ‘00s, soaked in brown ale and the musk of metalheads. They’re not pissing about.
Back to roll up and smoke your chakras, Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program found more state funding for their esoteric equivalent to NASA, with Stargate Music relaying their research from a hotboxed studio mission to far out cosmic coordinates.
Unfortunately their research has been dismissed by NASA, but that’s just because the suits were all too uptight to really attune to the subtext of their recorded findings, which, if you listen close enough, and in the right mental state, actually provide the grid references to myriad stargates on earth which could save NASA a lot of money on rocket fuel. Then again they could just read the following press release:
"The womb is The Stargate of Humanity” says Ras G, relating to the concept of his latest proper full-length - an astral ode to woman. "Stargate Music is a record that I livicated to the Womb-man...to the Vagina, The Stargate from which beings emanate life on this planet. I gathered these sound pieces and presented it as a reflection of the life cycle of beings on this planet."
G has always been more to us than an influential L.A. beatmaker, but rather the luminary with an infectiously heartfelt zero-fucks-given philosophy towards raw experimentation in the Los Angeles underground producer scene since the early 2000’s.
"From The Primordial Water Formation we flow thru The Stargate....and one's great journey reconnecting and returning to the sweet nectar that is The Stargate....and this is the soundtrack to the journey." -Ras G”
Reissue of prime Afrobeat cuts by Mushapata, a former boxer whose later experience as bodyguard for Bob Marley’s summer 1980 tour of France lead him to covert to Rastafarianism and start making music.
Saba-Saba Fighting or “fight for peace” was recorded between 1980 and 1984, and draws on Mushapata’s longhand love for the Blues, Soul and Rocksteady he grew up listening to in The DRC, before moving to Lyon in 1975 to pursue career as a boxer.
Up top he comes off like a possessed Fela Kuti over the swingeing drums, horns and guitars of his Afrobeat ace Muanago Yé-Ye, then the reggae influence comes in on the Afrobeat-reggae hybrid Kambere Mushimbe, and much stronger on the lilting Reggae-soul of Mudongo Wangu, which is gilded with some really sweet On-U style digital inflections, and at a loping, sexy Reggae-disco title on Zambe Aponiyo.
Second Woman chase the mutable dynamics of their killer EPs with Spectrum Spools into four grid warping new works for Tresor. If the idea of Basic Channel meets Gábor Lázár in deep space floats your boat, this 12” is an essential purchase!
Comprising Turk Dietrich (Belong) and Josh Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv), Second Woman have forged headlong new tangents for techno over the past 2 years with an acclaimed début album and 12” which pushed the techno envelope at captivating new angles comparable to work by Mark Fell, Gábor Lázár or Rian Treanor as much as Basic Channel, Vladislav Delay and Jlin.
On the pair’s 4th release, their first for Tresor, Second Woman work in flux between warped and relatively conventional styles. The pendulous electro-dub of Instant I kicks up a blinding fuss of over-pronating rhythm and glassy dub FX tending to their experimental side, which they also explore from more spacious perspective in the weightless, unmetered dub matrix of their closing shot, Apart II.
The other tracks are patently techno in design, but unafraid to f*k with the format. On Instant II they anchor in deep dub techno terrain best compared with Porter Ricks’ seminal early work, but with addition of sweeping, balletic hi-hat trills, while Apart II smudges dub techno contours with an intoxicating brownian motion.
‘Innerland’ is the first ever solo album by Engineers co-founder/songwriter and Ulrich Schnauss collaborator Mark Peters.
"It was originally released as a low-key limited-edition cassette late last year, but it sold out immediately through word of mouth and the backing of BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and Gideon Coe, Uncut magazine and Caught By The River, whose Robin Turner said it was “impossibly beautiful, evoking a bird’s-eye view of its own landscape, one untarnished by the blots and the palettes and the Tescos of the real world”.
It has now been relandscaped into a larger-scale, eight-track album and will get a full release on vinyl, CD and digital on April 20. A collection of instrumentals, with nods to Brian Eno, Talk Talk, Richard Thompson, Vini Reilly and Felt’s Maurice Deebank, ‘Innerland’ highlights Mark’s incredible musicianship, positioning his guitar rather than his voice as the focal point of the music. It also finds him reconnecting with his youth and rediscovering a sense of place, following a move back home to northwest England in late 2016, with all the songs named after local places and landmarks."
Last year’s altered mind opus, Sapa Inca Delirium, showcased The Cyclist at his most eclectic, spanning ayahuasca break-beat and rave jungle pop, but his latest EP returns to the uniquely kinetic and shredded mode of churning electronic rhythm he both named and perfected: “tape throb.”
"Alabaster Thrones collects four of Andrew Morrison’s recent and most vibrantly blasted house constructs, tracked at his home studio in Birmingham, UK during “the height of mania – a time when I had no time.” The context translates: this is urgent, accelerating music, shifting gears at high speed in dim twisting tunnels. The title is “a deflation of grandiosity” cribbed from Ulysses (“…a noble race, rulers of the waves, who sit on thrones of alabaster, silent as the deathless gods”), though Morrison’s meaning is more personal: “It’s a reminder to level yourself and think of all those around you.” A captivating capsule of ravaged forward motion for a ravaged forward-moving age.”
The collaborative venture of Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones, Belong inhabit a sonic territory that seems perpetually out of sight - giving the same effulgent warmth as standing with your back to a sunset, or glimpsing a blizzard through a frosted window.
Spectrum Spools scan back to the early work of Second Woman’s Turk Dietrich with reissue of his and Michael Jones’ first album together as shoegaze duo Belong. While there’s maybe no obvious connection between the hyper dance music of Second Woman and the romantically sore, heavily textured tones of October Language, look a little further and it’s possible to locate a shared lust for keening transcendence and a lush tension between freeness of expression and discipline of intent between the two projects.
But no worry if that’s not apparent. Just think of it belong as a sublimated MBV or echo of Fennesz and you’ve got the measure of this abrasively beautiful album.
DIV rope in heavyweights Silent Servant and Rudolf Klorzeiger (Heinrich Mueller/Dopplereffekt) to remix You Disco I Freak...
...with hypnotically slick, rolling results in the Silent Servant remix, and to more nagging, psychotomimetic effect in his Version, whereas your mann Rudolf renders Mercury Box as 10 minutes of diaphanous, deliquescent harmonic shifts and spine-tracing arps.
Gramz joins Youngsta’s Sentry label with two distorted half step payloads
Dispensing the bitter tang and growling subs of Dip Dip Potato Chip on top, then emerging from a messed-up abstract intro into a lockjawed, chattering killer called Illa on the other side.
Wild mix of free jazz and avant-garde pop by a bold new voice; Eve Essex. RIYL Ka Baird/Sapropelic Pycnic, Sun Ra, Diamanda Galas
“Here Appear is an invocation, a salutation, and a celebration — of past and perfect lives, forgotten and remembered, exchanged and borrowed.
Eve Essex’s solo debut is a multi-instrumental fea(s)t combining synthesizer, drum machine, alto saxophone, piccolo, electric organ/harpsichord, harmonica, slide whistle, bells, guitar pedals, and voice— composed, arranged, and performed by Essex herself. What began as an improv set at Berlin’s Harlekin bar developed, over the past two years, into a complete body of work evoking multiple time periods, genres, characters, and sonic landscapes. The seven tracks that make up Here Appear harness elements of classical, drone, avant-jazz, and distorted pop, coupled with an ambitious vocal delivery that draws on the phrasing and articulations of Essex’s own woodwind playing, to create a quasi-narrative mélange retaining the vulnerability of live performance.
On the opening track “Grind Away,” otherworldly harmonica strains set the stage for lyrics citing Chinese sci-fi novel The Third Body Problem as source material. Saxophone and piccolo interludes “Immediate Communicator” and “Colorless Stone” move between medieval-tinged melodic inventions and textural noise, recalling a Pharoah Sanders-influenced fever dream, while the linguistic abstractions of Russian conceptual poet Lev Rubinstein guide the looped, layered, and textured vocals of title track “Here Appear.” The album closes with a languid take on Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom’s 1978 composition “Clear Light” from My New Music, recently reissued by Unseen Worlds.
Here Appear owes its minimal production to the conditions of its genesis, evidencing the restrained process of the solo artist; instrumentation is confined to what can be played simultaneously. True to the album’s avant-garde roots, each song involves an element of improvisation, often taking the form of prompts or variations on a melody rather than explicit compositions. Even its most structured pieces make use of live-sampled loops, which inject a spirited unpredictability into the songwriting process and subsequent performance.”
Richard Chartier (Pinkcourtesyphone) pays tribute to the late, great Mika Vainio in the best way he knows how; one piece stressing a closer listening of subtle timbral shifts, and a blistering noise storm quite unlike anything else in Chartier’s catalogue.
“I think about the work of Mika Vainio almost every day since his sudden and untimely passing on April 12, 2017.
His work as one half of Pan Sonic and his solo work under his own name and as Ø and Philus were and are incredibly influential to me. It was partly one of the reasons I began working with sound again in 1997 after stopping for almost 4 years, central to the evolution of my own listening.
His sounds and arrangements were always elusive, otherworldly, unreal, strange, unsettling, often abrasive, and at the same time expressed a sheer unrelenting beauty. They seem to represent a push and pull between states, warmth and cold, silence and fury, future and past, life and death.
I was fortunate enough to perform with and for him (in the audience) and despite his being a man of very select words, to share conversations with him. The prospect of a new release by Mika always thrilled me. I am still saddened to think that there will not be more of his work to be heard each year.
These two pieces pay homage to Mika and the subtle and unquiet gifts he gave all listeners.”
A six song sidekick to The Cyclist’s latest extended play offering, Alabaster Thrones, these two magnetized sides span nine years of hermetic hardware experiments conducted in itinerant living arrangements across Derry, Liverpool, and Birmingham.
"From toy tape loops and echobox gauze (“Diorge Grian” – Irish for “Derry sun”) to shredded soul (“Lucille”) and tightly coiled dub noir (“Cologne Halls”), Beat At The Heart Of The City showcases Andrew Morrison’s singular ear for vibrantly damaged dancefloor energies. Tensions and raptures rev and unravel in intuitive asymmetries, evoking cold clubs, deserted streets, dazed gardens – bleary beauty for crumbling kingdoms. Of the feverish rhythm delirium “One Day In The Life Of Ivana” Morrison even credits illness as muse: “I deeply remember being extremely sick at the time.” It’s grim up north.”
Bright Sounds prove Burnt Friedman has long been ahead of the game with these 1994 productions only now seeing light of day.
It’s genuinely hard to believe that the percolated pulse and flecked micro-rhythms of Knick are nearly 25 years old - it could be a new T++ cut - while the jerky funk of Platintundra and Echokammer coolly predates micro-house styles developed by Matthew Herbert and Villalobos by a good few years. If any label passed these up at the time, shame on them!
Deep, monotone, wormholing techno trips from Japan’s Igarashi, back on The Bunker NYC.
Check for the sensuous tone and effortless momentum of Train Of Thought and the crafty triplets of Broken Telephone.
Trust Fade To Mind to rep the freshest club mutations with BE3K’s infectious batch of slow Ballroom bangers.
Close in tempo and movement to the FDM sounds that’s currently breaking out of NYC, Exoneration serves 5 killer vocal works and corresponding instrumentals, teeing up very strong tracks in Space Trip and How I Like It, which both uncannily remind us Arca’s early EPs for UNO NYC, and also in the shrieking flounce of CKUNTIE 2.0.
A very strong look for fans of Jasss, Fatima Al Qadiri or Paul Marmota: Animus is the superb début album of cyber-gothic atmospheres and mutant dembow drum patterns from Debit, a crucial member of Central America’s strongest new dance music label: Mexico City’s NAAFI.
Conceptually exploring the intersectionality of gender, sexuality and consciousness, Delia Beatriz a.k.a. Debit marries panoramic and introspective ambient aspects with stylized rhythms that connote the album’s ideological impetus in a suggestively ambiguous manner.
While the dembow rhythms which drive much of the album are unmistakably located to South and Central American traditions, the melodic and tonal content steers wide of any folk tropes, resulting a mutably plasmic and amorphous sound that lives up to Debit’s ideas about a fluidity of gender and the brackets imposed by socialised sexuality.
If we’re playing favourites, then the strongest examples are found strewn, on the one hand, between the bass tumult and arcing sound designs of Remain, or in the stunning breakbeat ructions and surging pads of Audacious, while from an ambient perspective, she really impresses int he 2nd half with the unfathomably wide dimensions of Realist, the lush harmonic swells of Inflection, and the chamber-like concision of Anamnesis, but in the most classic sense this is an album that demands to be consumed in one go.
Lil Jabba gives up six gurning mutations of footwork, grime, drill and 2-step in MiZO, continuing the freakish styles of his Local Action releases for London’s Getme! (Hello Skinny, Lixo, Kit Grill).
The results are something like the modern soundtrack to a graphic novel set at an early ‘00s pirate radio station, with six tracks that variously morph from fractured, phantasmic early grime animations in WICKeT to stark, brittle 2-step strafed with static and set in acres of negative space on DisTilleR, while Hot Bloc comes off like tres demented Horsepower Productions piece, and Forest Edge finds him dwelling in more fringe-like suburban headspace a la Burial, and MiZO brings it all together with a more positive flush compatible to FaltyDL gear.
The Trilogy Tapes get the best out of J. Albert in the Envy Turned Curiosity EP with four deadly cuts of coiled, Afro-cubed breaks and gloomy synth pads.
Picks of the bunch are the beautifully brooding hybrids of B-More, Dark Garage and UK Broken Beats with cinematic strings on Money Between Friends and the haunted swang of Envy Turned Curiosity, while Deepstate Riddim goes rude and rugged on a dubbed out breakbeat flex and Designer Life recalls the meditative blue pressure of Parris.
Dekmantel crack the deeply rugged garage-house of Leo/Mirjam off Betonkust & Palmbomen II’s Centre Parcs EP, and repackage it with a high-velocity Legowelt remix riddled with virulent acid lines and snappy electro drums at 140bpm.
Krystal Klear flexes out on a Latin freestyle-house/NRG tip for Running Back
Commanding hands-in-the-air for the Bobby Orlando-styled Neutron Dance, then with he strutting Italo synth-pop peacockery of Division Ave, before tilting to escape velocity with Shockzoid, and calling off with the breezy Italo piano house and choral synth lines of Moonshine Miner.
Sami Baha links with Dimzy ov London drill dons 67 for the Discreet killer on Planet Mu.
Following from Turkish/British producer Baha’s solo debut in 2016, and subsequent remix of Kingdom in 2017, Discreet makes strong moves at the edge of drill and vaporous electronica with a smart twist on Drill’s minor key chords and hollow-tipped snare crack conventions, leaving Dimzy to keep it menacing AF from the shadows.
Christian Jay pivots on a dubby garage 2-step again for Idle Hands
Following his Contrail début with a nimble number called Katalox remaining us of Tender Love era SND, and from a moody blue angle somewhere between early Prefuse 73 and Herbert in Del’s Kicks.