Opal Tapes return to their roots in rock and metal with reissue of Sloth’s ‘Getting Ready for Christmas (It’s All About Malt Liquor)’
Bish speaks: “A true oddity, Sloth have worked peerlessly since 1994 covering a world of sludge rock, bizarro outsider pop and experimental noise musics.
"Getting Ready for Christmas" is a darkly comic collection of losercore in the vein of some of Twisted Village releases (Luxurious Bags, Major Stars) or maybe Sentridoh but charged with a painful pathos of lonliness and destitution and a dense heaviness. Released approximately in 1996 (Dom can't be sure exactly) these first four "Untitled" tracks are met on the flip with a pure wall, representative of Sloth's current output. A flipped switch and erasing of everything that precedes it.
Opal is very happy to reissue these recordings from an act who, along with their contemporaries and split partners, Floor, Fleshpress and Noothgrush, formed an important part in my early listening and introduction to the odd and extreme ends of music.”
Mesmerising peak time techno from the ancient Russian city of Tambov on Nina Kraviz’s label
Tracks from Vladimir Dubyshkin’s Trip debut ‘Cheerful Pessimist’ have turned up regularly in Nina K’s recent sets, and it ain’t hard to hear why.
Between the effortless acid missile ‘Bellissimo’, the skull-scraping vocal processing and pulsating bass of ‘Machines Behave Badly’, and the breakneck pelt of ‘Rooyggbiv’, one thing is certain - you won’t be sitting still.
Low grade piss-take of dance music. Mastered for loudness and harshness. No need
“Halo Acid re-appears on Dream Catalogue with ‘Nomads’, positioning himself as one of our new main event talents. The record was made through the distress of vagrant life in East London and captures a transformative time in the artist’s life. Personal love and heartache, confusion and anxiety all echoes in the sentimental touch of the record, with real emotion dripping through the cacophony of modern life in the capital, a flower growing in the cracks of cement.”
The big-lugged punks at Brooklyn’s Wharf Cat Records yank out 工工工, or Gong Gong Gong’s 2nd album of jangly no wave honk and trample with ‘DÌXIÀ BEIJING 地下北京’, recorded at the Xinyuanli Underpass, Beijing on 05/05/2017
The mid-90s were a period of going as far out in all directions as possible – and Luke Slater’s The 7th Plain tracks were certainly about exploration of the deep space of the imagination.
"Cosmic, analogue, orchestrated, they still represent some of the most emotionally intense music ever to come out of the techno realm. Whether built on percussive frameworks or sweeping nebulas of dissipated sound, Slater’s synthesizers still sing space-travelers’ tales compellingly and beautifully.
For this reason, Ostgut Ton sublabel A-TON launched back in 2016 with The 7th Plain’s Chronicles I, establishing itself as a platform for archive, ambient and art-related releases. This first eight-track compilation was split between classics from the albums My Yellow Wise Rug and The 4 Cornered Room on the one hand and previously unreleased tracks on the other, with the goal of providing a different, remastered framework for Slater’s futuristic visions from the past.
In contrast, Chronicles III is made up solely of music from the General Production Recordings label catalogue and stylistically skews less toward percussive techno-funk and more toward free-form broken rhythms – though tracks such as “Lost”, “Time Melts” or “Millentum” stand strong as hybrid pillars of both.
Luke Slater pioneered the UK's electronic landscape as Translucent, 4 Slots For Bill, Planetary Assault Systems, The 7th Plain, Clementine, and later as L.B. Dub Corp, by partly focussing on, partly bypassing the traditional, puristic values of techno. Together with Dave Sumner (Function) and Steve Bicknell he also operates as LSD.
Ultimately, when listening to all three parts of Chronicles, it’s apparent that 7th Plain music is cut from the same emotional cloth, one related strongly to the backroom, the chillout, the after-party, the solo headphone voyage. These weren’t and never should be considered separate zones from the dancefloor.
In other words, as Luke Slater puts it, in the mid-90s, they were “part of the night, part of the experience... where ideas could be shared.” And like Global Communication, Mira Calix, The Future Sound of London, the Artificial Intelligence generation, Slater's 7th Plain was a response to those hallucinatory, spiritual, but still social spaces at the heart of underground communities – and the magic is still strong in it."
In-depth 24 track survey of Luke Slater’s deep space techno project, heavily inspired by classic Detroit techno, ‘70s Teutonic kosmiche and the psychedelic experience of UK rave
“In the afterglow of rave's white heat, the mid-'90s were a period of going as far out in all directions as possible; Luke Slater's The 7th Plain tracks were about exploration of the deep space of the imagination. Cosmic, analog, orchestrated, they still represent some of the most emotionally intense music ever to come out of the techno realm. Whether built on percussive frameworks or sweeping nebulas of dissipated sound, Slater's synthesizers still sing space-travelers' tales compellingly and beautifully. For this reason A-TON launched back in 2016 with The 7th Plain's Chronicles I (ATON 001CD/LP), establishing itself as a platform for archive, ambient and art-related releases. With the release of Chronicles II (ATON 006CD/LP, 2018) and Chronicles III (ATON 007CD/LP, 2018), the journey continued further into outer and inner space.
Now, Chronicles I-III complies all three volumes in a special-edition. Chronicles II and I are divided between previously-released material, and four unreleased future classics. Chronicles III is music from the General Production Recordings label catalog and skews less toward percussive techno-funk and more toward free-form broken rhythms. Slater pioneered the UK's electronic landscape as Translucent, 4 Slots For Bill, Planetary Assault Systems, The 7th Plain, Clementine, and later as L.B. Dub Corp, by partly focusing on, partly bypassing the traditional, puristic values of techno. Together with Dave Sumner (Function) and Steve Bicknell he also operates as LSD. Chronicles is a three-part series of Slater's The 7th Plain project, including both previously released and unreleased material. Ultimately, when listening to all three parts of Chronicles, it's apparent that 7th Plain's music is cut from the same emotional cloth, one related strongly to the backroom, the chillout, the after-party, the solo headphone voyage. These weren't and never should be considered separate zones from the dance floor. Slater's 7th Plain was a response to those hallucinatory, spiritual, but still social spaces at the heart of underground communities; and the magic is still strong in it.”
Zoe McPherson’s standout ‘String Figures’ album remixed by Ben Vince, N1L, Strahinja Arbutina and more in decimated dancefloor styles
In Ben Vince’s ‘Perculator Mix’, Zoe’s ‘Sabotage’ is agitated and torn up over sunken subbass, whereas Sukitoa o Namau give it a more sloshing, spacious rework focussing on pranging percussion and guttural vocal sounds.
UIQ’s N1L gives a cement mixer treatment to ‘Komusar’, resulting some sorta Afro-concrète churn, and Bartellow kneads the same elements into a squashed tribal grind.
The most impressive transformation comes from Hester-1 with the ruggedly balletic plies and hi-wire tension of their ‘Hardingfele’ remix, and Strahinja Arbutina follows recent 12”s for Vivod and Natural Sciences with the cold woodblock punctuation and offset techno roil of his take on ‘Deep’.
New on Posh Islation.
“The story of the passenger liner MS Scandinavian Star stays adrift. Tragic and complex, the details are out there in the electronic ozone, still yet to find closure. From sea port to Ethernet port, Malthe Fischer's project navigates the themes of the narrative that unfolds to this day.
His debut album 'SOLAS' makes this journey with a series of heart-wrenching affairs in crisp detail. Appearing on Posh Isolation's recent compilation 'I Could Go Anywhere But Again I Go With You', Fischer's Scandinavian Star project here marked a long-anticipated return. Since his self-titled and widely loved cassette for Ascetic House, Fischer has been most prominent in the band Lust For Youth.
His hand is also across much of Posh Isolation, having mixed and mastered a number of releases. 'SOLAS' shares some of the floaty, melodramatic electronics of Lust For Youth's most elegant moments, but it's a different flavour of heartbreak and intrigue being pushed by Fischer in his solo work.
A symphony of disembodied voices trail across 'SOLAS'. Gesturing toward longing and hope, and occasionally struggling to get out of the misty collage of stumbling rhythms, it's as if we are listening to a form of wonder being mechanized before us.
The surface of Fischer's work is dense in detail, but falling for and fixating on the smallest thing often blossoms the most treasured effects. Minor acoustic instrumentation is precariously balanced against thickets of cut-up recordings and samples, the hybrid charge of the synthesizers holds everything together without letting anything recede.
As soft as 'SOLAS' feels, it stays sharp and bites at times, even through four-to-the-floor whispers. There's a memory of something communal in it all, and this is what holds on.”
Empty raves. We’ve been to a few, and even hosted some, and now Paper Dollhouse take the feeling of dancing by yourself as cue for their follow-up to albums with Finders Keepers’ Bird, and their recent(ish) side, ‘The Sky Looks Different Here’
“Brand new eight track EP of shadowy techno and Deckard's apartment nightside ambience from Paper Dollhouse, following the sold out in 24 hours Plutonic Rainbows cassette for her MoonDome imprint. Recorded in North London and acting as another quickfire prelude to the new, as yet untitled, Paper Dollhouse full length currently being produced with Asher Levitas of Old Apparatus/Planet Mu. Empty- Rave features eight tracks (with a hidden extra track on the tape) of mind-bending serotonin reduced rave trax stripped of the smiley facsimile and transported to the outer reaches of the city. The sounds divert between chewy synth (emerald)web's calling to mind the most frosty outer reaches of Legowelt and Hieroglyphic Being whilst continuing to tread down the tow path of more club focused sounds as found on the Chain Reaction style Sparrow. Inspired by a meeting with fellow Finders Keepers label mate Suzanne Ciani, Pudding Rain came to life while Empty Rave and Lumin carry the weight of the world across the end of the weekend blues, the falling dusk slowly swallowing whole the atmosphere of a post-daytime party laid bare.”
‘1929 - Das Jahr Babylon’ is Thomas Fehlmann’s soundtrack to a documentary about Berlin in 1929, a time when the effects of the Wall Street Crash and the Young Plan for WWI reparations begin to crumble the Weimar Republic, hastening the conditions for Naziism to flourish
Employing his signatures of dubwise repetition, crackle, and woozy polka rhythms, Kehlmann’s soundtrack mirrors the good times of the 1920’s Weimar Republic, but also connotes something darker, lurking, foreboding, with both subtlety and tact.
“To compliment the internationally lauded TV series "Berlin Babylon", German director Volker Heise has created a documentary about 1929, the fateful year during Germany's "Weimarer Republik" in which "Berlin Babylon" is settled. Heise's stirring documentary portrays Germany's sizzling capital that is faced with radical changes by the dark forces whom are about to toss the world into the abyss we know as World War II. This marks the second time that Fehlmann is partnering up with Volker Heise after 2010's marathon documentary "24 Stunden Berlin" which was released as "Gute Luft" (KOM211, KOMCD81) in the same year.
Fehlmann's composition for "1929" consists of sample material taken from the era and thwarts the exaggerated lust for life with threatening undertones that anticipate the dawn of mankind's darkest chapter so far. Although all the sounds breathe yesterday's atmosphere this soundtrack bursts with modernity. Fehlmann accomplished the daring feat to musically render the unsettling resemblance between the political situation 90 years ago and our current time.”
After 10 years of releases, Synkro mints his eponymous label with ‘Luminous’, featuring two signature slices of Autonomic/Ambient D&B, backed with a killer Paradox remix
Produced at his studio in the Peak district, ‘Luminous’ is a fine example of Joe McBride a.k.a. Synkro’s heart-on-sleeve style, marrying ethereal synth voices with drizzly drums and sloshing Reese bass in the title cut, whilst ‘Weakness finds him vulnerably melodic i9n a way recalling BoC interludes or Bibio dream sequences.
Remixing ‘Luminous’ on the B-side, Paradox is on top form with freely fluid and sinuous drum programming underlining Synkro’s emotive synth arrangements with suspenseful, breathtaking impact.
Bergsonist wraps up clanking mantras, knackered techno and acid industrial bogle in a heavy debut for Optimo
Leading from her albums, tapes and 12”s with Börft, Where To Now? and Clan Destine, the Brooklynite producer intuitively feels her way thru three slow and cranky dancefloor manoeuvres.
On ’Heat’ she works pendulous arps and playful percussive cadence into a swagger offset by an almost whispered vocal mantra “feel the heat/heat in the dark” and seeping acid lines. ‘Affiliation’ meanwhile feels like a Suburban Knight track on 33-not-45, again with a fine layer of gloomy, munted vox, and ‘Planetary Systems’ digs a murky rut of grubbing acid and Detroit-style night vision pads.
Techno producers Kwartz and Question merge as Body Unknown with a powerfully rolling grey area incursion for Horo
The kind of gear that will churn up a room properly, it contains serious highlights in the acidic hydrolixx of ‘Wound’ and the sloshing, dirty brownian motion of ‘Gestalt Perception’ with its squawking synth lead.
Sprawling selections of avant-synthpop, abstract bass music, hooligan rave and wild drum workouts from the likes of EVOL, N.M.O., Heith, Vaghe Stelle and Dave Saved on Turin’s Gang of Ducks label/asylum
There’s an unusually high quality and diversity to this compilation, giving up belting pieces such as N.M.O.’s frenetic drum, vocal and electronics exercise ‘Nonobstant Mais Oblique’ in the same space as Aniello Maffettone’s dissonant drone-pop pearl ‘Vco 2’, plus splatter core techno form Dave Saved, captivating modular madness from Omar Chapati, and Sense Fracture’s thunderous future hardcore torque.
Juan Atkins’ deep and moody ‘Skynet’  LP as Infiniti resurfaces for its 20th anniversary reissue on Tresor
Alongside his part in the 3MB album and on Model 500’s ‘Deep Space’, Juan’s work on ’Skynet’ ranks among his 3 crucial LPs of that decade. But where 3MB was very much a joint effort, and Model 500 rolled far out into jazzier, cosmic breaks, ’Skynet’ trades in pure techno and house in Juan’s patented style.
The results make for a slickly coherent album as well as a strong batch for the DJs, stretching out from the supple swang and floating voices of its title track, to the dub techno lave of ‘Walking On water’, a slinky percy named ‘Thought Process’, the deep techno-pop of ‘Postcard From The Future’, and the wicked, experimental arrangement of ‘Body Oil’.
Spectral songwriter Ekin Fil lends her musical voice to Preservation’s expansive catalogue of drone dreamers
‘Windblown’ is a single, 20 minute work of airy greyscale detachment perfused with a sylvan play of dying light that’s become one strong half of Ekin Fil’s signature sound, while the other half, her gauzy vocals, are detectable throughout the piece, albeit heavily smudged and glossolalic until the closing strokes, when the mist clears to reveal a wordless solo piano hymn.
Dark, inch-tight electro cuts describing objects in motion, from a pair of Sydney-based droids
With night-vision synth pads and distorted 808s, ‘Abstract Model’ gets the EP into gear, before it really take off with the rapid pulses of ‘Kinematics’ - an excellent word relating to “the motion of objects without reference to the forces which caused the motion.”
On the flip they switch gear again for the tuffer industrial torque of ‘Extraction’, and a properly Detroit-skooled electro-funk ace in ‘VR Escort’.
Giant Claw, Forest Drive West, Roly Porter and Object Blue remix mmph’s intricate ‘Serenade’ EP for Tri Angle
Columbus, OH collagist Keith Rankin a.k.a. Giant Claw whisks the title cut into a rapidly strobing drama verging on Venetian Snares-levels of programming intensity; London’s Forest Drive West tempers ‘Minuet’ into a spiralling peaks anchored in rolling techno bass; Roly Porter reworks ’Tragedy’ as a cataclysmic, cinematic epic; and hotly tipped newcomer Object Blue exerts a killer slow/fast spin on ‘Woodlawn’ in her “biochemical” remix.
London’s LMajor kicks it hardcore with loud, punchy brukstep drums and bass for WNCL
Also known as half of Local Group, LMajor’s 2nd solo 12” comes with a barrage of tightly coiled breaks and subbass hydrolixx in ‘The Power’, next to a Boxwork remix running at 2/3rds the speed and twice the swagger.
‘Engineer’ follows in fine style with a shot of booming ’91-style rufige, remixed as a rolling breakbeat garage ting by WNCL’s Bob Bhamra.
RIYL HATE, Overmono, Demdike Stare Testpressings
Luke Slater rifles his archive of 7th Plain riches for a 2nd ambient-techno survey with Ostgut-Ton’s A-Ton sibling
Scanning a golden seam of mid ‘90s material, ‘Chronicles II’ parses cuts from Slater’s classic album ‘The 4 Cornered Room’ beside a handful of other gems off his General Production Recordings (GPR) label, and no fewer than four previously unreleased pieces.
Still phosphorescing from the rave explosion, Luke Slater was one of the key UK players to channel that energy into new forms, transmuting the initial impetus from Detroit, Chicago, Berlin and British fields into his own form of tactile, psychedelically sensitive ambient techno.
From ‘The 4 Cornered Room’ we find the soaring night flight of ‘Astra Naut-E’, and off the ’Shades Amaze Concept EP’ there’s the spangled beauty ‘Big Field’, while his 1993 EP ‘To Be Surreal’ supplies the floating suspension system of its title track and the UR-styled funk bent of ‘Convex’.
The others four cuts are exclusive to this 12” and made during the same era. They include the warm Martian winds of ‘Wand Star’; a lush kosmiche mission titled ’Silver Chinook’; and the unmissable ambient portal of ‘I Think Too Much’, which is bound to light up old raver’s pleasure centres like a vintage mitsi flashback.