I:Cube packs 6 serious heaters on the 120th release from Versatile, the long-running label he co-operates with Gilb’R.
LP 1 throws down a sort of demented cumbia-house style lit with see-sawing accordion in Flutes Souterraines, along with the chunky electro-house jaxx of Troglo Dance before curving into psychedelic slow acid a la Tin Man or The Analord in Bifurque.
On disc 2 he restlessly shifts the pattern again to a sort of brilliantly skewed gamelan dance with La Nuit Des Rats, then synking into viscous cosmic disco chug on Ramurc, and saving the googley-eyed 6am business of Fractal P for the most lip-smacking moments of the night.
Standardly grim and grizzled monotone techno from Shifted’s Avian
introducing Desroi to the nest with five stealthy cuts, at best ion the Miek Parker-esque hydraulics of Lines Of Sight, the undulating turbulence of A Glimpse of Bliss, and his steely but chattering roller Dwell In Motion.
West Coast synthesist M. Geddes Gengras yields a lushly meditative suite of ambient music inspired by his time on Hawaiki, the big island of Hawaii, paying particular attention to glistening high register tones and a sense of wide open Pacific space
“Recorded during a vacation on the big island, Hawaiki Tapes is somewhat of an anomaly in the M. Geddes Gengras music —A series of short, improvised sequences voiced by a small plastic digital synthesizer, minimally processed in real time & jacked straight into a handheld recorder. It was made at night, on a little hotel room desk. The internal sequencer of the volca greatly influenced the pieces, since it only goes so slow and is limited in it’s voicing.
It was windy and cold for most of the trip, and the sky was gigantic and filled with massive rippling clouds that flew between the horizons in minutes. The landscape was made of endless, black rock fields with little grassy spots where the lava hadn’t hit yet. In the process, Gengras had in mind some of the formative ambient music he had listened to in his early years: Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Aphex Twin, and his focus is in the interaction between the synth, the delay and reverb effects. A perfect album for sleepless nights —A new sound statement from M. Geddes Gengras.”
Finnish electronauts Morphology play to the Firescope brief with a 4th album of crystal clear, emotionally driven and itchily funked up electro sci-fi. Helena Hauff is a big fan of Morphology, and you may be, too
“The in-demand Finnish duo Morphology joins FireScope Records for their 10-track ‘Traveller’ LP — a vision of travel to destination unknown. After having released two albums on Zyntax Motorcity and EPs on labels such as Central Processing Unit, Cultivated Electronics, Emotions Electric and Abstract Forms, Morphology’s third album continues their intensive deep-space exploration at the intersection of electronic/electro music and scientific discovery.
Awash in the beautiful sounds of hardware-derived music direct from Morphology’s command center, the album takes listeners into their skilfully crafted universe. Each track is a new world in itself of crisp
beats, deep basslines and melancholic melodies. Interspersing the frenetic pace of hyper-speed travel with ethereal landings, ‘Traveller’ is an intergalactic trip without taking off your headphones.
The radio static of ‘Distant Signal’ mysteriously invites you to tune into an otherworldly frequency. You select ‘Y’ and hit enter to get to ’Second Light’, its fluttering arp work and foreboding bassline taking travellers to the next higher dimension.
You land on the planet ’Farthest Regions’ with a touch of the Orient and misty atmosphere surrounds. A contemplative mood settles in before you take off again with ‘Hidden Variable’, its haunting sustained pads and adrenaline-fuelled beats signalling both thrill and danger. The ambient atmospherics ’Memory Fragments’ flings one lost into space for a brief interlude, before ‘Detached’ and ‘Pod Bay 8’ gears back in warp speed mode. The combined energetics of Intricate breakbeat
drum patterns, fierce basslines and spacey cold atmospherics deliver the album’s dancefloor apex.
‘Bipolar Nebula’ soars up to further stratospheric heights and a soft landing while the intelligent brain dance ’Kernel Method’ gives one to the head-nodders. The lingering final track ‘Deuteros’ algorithmically skips, taps and signs out on what has been an out of this world sonic adventure — from faraway lands to abstract spatial dimensions and beyond.”
Only Now and Orogen depart terra firma in pursuit of habitable new zones, realising a stark, inhospitable sound that, in a Planet Of The Apes twist, turns out to be transmission from Urth, a parallel plane of existence practically indistinguishable from our own...
“"Unearth I and II" carves tunnels of resonance which mimic the cosmic proportions and monolithic movements of exoplanet existence. Slow, but unpredictable howls, lurks, and .00001 BPM rhythms visualize the life between the dust and atoms. Symphonies and loading docks echo a million miles away: slowed beyond belief, compressed into rhythmic ambience and flattened to unearthly oblivion. As the compositions grow on into side B of the cassette, the zero BPM landscape slowly transforms into cycles, distinctly organic and tribal, slipping out the very last, or the very first primitive signs of life on a planet, not of our own.
Only Now (Kush Arora) and Orogen (Lucas Patzek) grew up together in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have been collaborating on ambient and experimental sound projects for 19 years. In high school they began manipulating and arranging audio from minidisc field recordings, first-generation software synths, hardware samplers and FX pedals, and homemade contact mics. The sonic innovators that inspired their early work include Zoviet France, Brume, Lustmord, Alio Die, Haujobb, and Hafler Trio. They were drawn to the occult music scenes of California and beyond, and performed together from their teenage years through their 20’s at a variety of venues, from outdoor music festivals to artsy fashion shows.
Fast forward to 2015: the duo returned to the studio intending to craft some rhythmic compositions. They laid down some pummeling metallic drum work using physical modeling VST's and synths to create what can be described as WAX TRAX records meets Pole. They then decided to shatter and reform these on-time compositions, and the journey began into the aural nature of outer being, power music; drawing textures from the deep earth and subconscious.”
Sniffing at the heels of a smart début 12" for Interstellar Funk's Artificial Dance, Worries, Job Sifre slips into a grimier EBM mode for Amsterdam’s excellent Knekelhuis label.
Charged with a pharmaceutically-enhanced restlessness, the Bestaan 12” goes on darker, tuffer, kinkier than Sifre’s previous 12”, gradually bringing the energies to simmering point with the smudged EBM roil and blunted Dutch vox of Bestaan, then working a wicked ruts of White House White-styled jakbeat in Zodiak and the sourer, metallic recoil of Mars Express, and properly making your body wurk with the pendulous tattoo, Zeno Dicho before sloping off into the darkroom with the slower disco admission, At Least We Try.
Berlin’s Driftmachine expand their classic kosmische inspirations along dub-wise 3D vectors in a fine 4th LP for the Umor Rex label from Mexico City
“Shunter, the new album by the Berlin-based duo, is their most ambitious work to date. Although instantly recognizable, featuring their trademark Kosmische and Avant-garde sounds, it also presents a new journey into abstract and hallucinatory worlds. Filled with eerie textures, their electronic visions are darker and more vaporous than ever.
Driftmachine’s fifth album (also the fifth one for Umor Rex) offers a new perspective on their ample sound spectrum and systemic narratives. Shunter overlaps and mutates their post-industrial-dub motives. It was conceived and produced in search of a very different kind of imagery, with sections of noise and field recordings intersecting with analogue sounds; a mixture of contrasted fragments, where the usual creative process of modular-synthesis leads Gerth and Zimmer to the discovery of a dark, hazy and diffused experience. There is a protean quality to the rhythmic elements, with tempos constantly contracting and expanding, a departure from the mono-beat-rhythms of "Nocturnes" and "Colliding Contours". The first half of Shunter is made of four pieces named "Shift"; although individually separated, they are conceptually linked and can be understood as a sort of score. Imagine a late stage of the industrial revolution, with the interaction between heavy machinery and human beings. The second half of the album is not completely separated, but it has three other substantial melodic moments. Somewhere between the hauntological and the realms of archive-music, a huge range of subterranean beats and distinct patterns dotting the landscape of early electronic and post dub music.”
SOPHIE lights up 2018 with ‘Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides’, an exhilarating début album of upfront dance-pop, epic ballads and shocking electronic production that grasps the modern zeitgeist with jaws and both fists
Landing some 6 years since her ironically titled debut Nothing More To Say, over which time the artist has produced records for Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples (among others), Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides renders a full frontal experience that’s set to define the scene for years to come.
SOPHIE’s understanding of the links between avant-garde and pop cultures is dramatically in force across the album, matching the hyperreal pop stun of PC Music chop for chop, but also pushing the prism farther in favour of her own, equally hyperreal image. The results are comparable with Autechre and EVOL records as much as Taylor Swift or The Pet Shop Boys, veering from warped pop perfection to brutalist electronics and breathtaking rhythmic energy often in the space of a single track, brilliantly embracing contradiction as a tool of expression in a way that feels bang on the money right now.
Her trifecta of lead singles, It’s Okay to Cry, Ponyboy, and Faceshopping gild the album’s entrance with some of the strongest pop sensations felt in recent years, before matters take a dramatic turn with a plunge into the beatless trance ballad Is It Cold In The Water?, and the subsequent chest-bursting R&B gospel of Infatuation, which both appear to massage the senses in preparation for the album’s shock-out 2nd half.
In Not Okay, she pairs knock-out electronics with the sheerest rave mentasms in delirious 3D, before utterly gobbling your swede in the breathtaking, atonal wormhole of Pretending, and promptly spiralling into the vacuum-packed banger Immaterial, then embracing the Whole New World/Pretend World in a kill-‘em-all 9 minutes of endorphin-rushing dance-pop genius that’s effectively the 2018 anthem we were all waiting for.
Hesitation is a charmingly humble marriage of minds from Reckno boss Chris Catlin (Yard) and Kit Records overseer Richard Greenan (Devon Loch), documenting a blossoming friendship in seven conversationally paced and dreamy fusions of ambient-pop, jazz, and gauzy indie jangle
“HESITATION is the culmination of a slow-burning penpal friendship between Reckno founder Chris Catlin (aka Yaaard), and Kit Records honcho Richard Greenan (sometimes Devon Loch). Meeting in London in 2016, the pair recorded a woozy slab of improvs, using a battered organ, guitars, a saxophone and whatever else came to hand. These takes were then stitched together into a seven track LP over the following two years.
Veering from shoegaze to crystal clear electronics and fuzzed out jazz, the results pull two ways: slow and fast, meditative and exuberant. Here is a place where time bends and bubbles, drunk synthetic choirs follow an endless skywards pulse, and plaited melodies hover in warm air like motes of dust.
Recommended if you like the heart-on-sleeve whistle alongs of Tenniscoats, Zappa's befogged guitar serpents or the creeping black magic of early Sebadoh.”
Legendary ethnomusicologist and field-recording pioneer, Hugh Tracey founded the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in 1954. Today, ILAM preserves thousands of historical recordings and has become the greatest repository of African music in the world. Dust-to-Digital have partnered with ILAM to present “Listen All Around” – a compilation of newly-transferred and remastered recordings that Hugh Tracey made between 1950-1958.
"The recordings presented here were made in central and eastern Africa -- specifically, the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Kenya, Tanganyika and Zanzibar (now Tanzania). The genre of music Tracey documented, and the focus of this double album and book is rumba and its variations -- Congolese rumba, dansi and benga. The recordings, photographs and detailed liner notes included in this set provide a rich point of immersion into the mid-20th-century music of eastern and central Africa."
“"Lead track ‘All’ is an immediate statement of intent; a heart wrenching lamentation set to urgent, intricate percussion and soaring live strings. An early demo of ‘All’ caught the attention of Zane Lowe, who championed the unsigned Long Beach native, who was working as an understudy for some of the city’s most innovative soul producers at the time.
Following a deal with Black Acre and a reworking of the track, Pharrell Williams and Scott Vener debuted ‘All’ in their OTHERtone guest mix on the season two premiere of OVO Sound Radio on Beats 1.
Three further tracks will come together to comprise Copper’s astonishing debut body of work. From the cinematic awe of 'All' through the cold Vaudeville trap of 'Daemon' to the Fela swing of 'Requiem' and aching folk roots of 'Cure', Copper refuses to be pigeonholed. His unmistakable voice glides through expansive soundscapes, drawing influences old and new, from his Togolese heritage to artists as broad as Nina Simone and Thom Yorke, defying any labels that one might be tempted to impose upon the elusive up-and-coming artist.
Engaging and emotionally resonant, Copper’s innovative song craft is a force to be reckoned with, placing him firmly up there with the best of Black Acre's notorious debutants.
New York Jazz ensemble Onyx Collective release their debut album ‘Lower East Suite Part Three’
"Isaiah Barr, leader of Onyx Collective, has frequently collaborated with other New York musicians such as Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Nick Hakim, Julian Soto and Wiki (Ratking).
For fans of Nick Hakim, Ezra Collective, Yussef Kamaal, BadBadNotGood, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd."
Two years since his Mango Bay introduction (nearly 1 million views on YouTube and counting), Bojan Cizmic reprises a happy garage house sound for Hot Haus Recs
Running the debonaire nostalgic vibes of XTC IV next to Kornel Kovacs’ extra-swung and layered remix, and two well skooled stripes of deep NYC garage in Soft Touch and XTC II.
All you E’d up ‘90a mistake babies, eat your Kappa-plated hearts out right here, right now.
A killer selection of nine cherry-picked new wave, disco and rhythmic electronic experiments hailing from early ‘80s in The Netherlands, documenting a time when formulas weren’t set quite as rigidly they would become and artists weren’t afraid to mess around, see what happens.
Accompanied by sleeve notes from Knekelhuis’ Mark van de Maat and with input from esteemed diggers/lynchpins such as Frans De Waard, Kale Plankieren - Dutch Cassette Rarities 1981-1985 Volume I throws up some real gems primed for the ‘floor.
We’re talking Necronomicon’s fretless bass funk, cowbell tickles and louche vocals on The Top, catching the duo in dubby transition from earlier, noisier styles to disco proper - think Arthur Russell meets Ian Dury - and likewise the irresistible bounce of Don’t Forget Me by Plus Instruments, fronted by Truus de Groot around the same time she was playing shows at CBGB’s. Expect track ID requests if you’re DJing this out!
On the other hand, the more wayward bits are superb, too. Rotterdans’ Interference is a haunting piece of communal electronics full of scrapes, spectral vox and airborne pulses extracted from day-long psychedelic sessions; Boris Dzanek’s Dance is well tipped to the cold wave steppers; and Roy G. Biv really get to your back teef with the bittersweet dissonance of Ulloa’s Ring.
If you’ve been following Knekelhuis’ new and reissued releases from Smersh, Parrish Smith, De Ambassade and more, you need to check this out.
Darling deposits a dream sequence album of ambient electro charms on Young Marco’s Safe Trip after a couple of excellent 12”s
“After breaking out of our holding facility following his capture in the forbidden forest – see the top secret file headed “J P S” – in early 2017, the trail went cold. a recent tip-off led us to an Amsterdam bunker. While we were unable to gain entry, an operative successfully placed an eavesdropping device in the air vents. Through this, we were able to record eight musical compositions of varying lengths that the extra-terrestial lifeform had created using a range of analogue and digital electronic instruments.
We have called this collection “Tulipa Moves”. we enclose a copy for your anaylsis. You will note that the tracks utilise a variety of rhythmic patterns and percussive elements, explore a range of unearthly but attractive sounds and are capable of stirring different emotions in human listeners.
We direct your attention towards the lilting, softly spun melancholia of composition 03 (codename “So Did We”), which deeply effected many of those who heard it, the undulating and fluid, beat-free bliss of composition 05 (codename “The M Song”), and the up-tempo positivity of composition 07 (codename “Kiss The Glass”), whose chiming, intertwined melodies and snappy rhythmic energy reminded us of so-called “intelligent dance music”.
We were astonished by the quality and intricacy of these alien creations and those we have not described in detail. listened to as a whole, the collection tiptoes a fine line between poignancy and positivity. it confirms our analysis that “Darling” is a humanoid lifeform with higher intelligence and intense musical ability. We will keep the bunker under observation and report any future developments.”
Virtually clad in the best artwork of 2017, Sometimes The Going Gets a Little Tough is Finn’s unmissable volley of bittersweet dance music for “trying times”. As one of the sickest DJs in operation in Manchester, and a key member of its burgeoning new wave of producers, Finn’s rep has spread far and wide in recent years, bringing him to this, his definitive release to date.
Landing six months after the Late At Night pearl on his 2B Real label, Finn gives the dance a much needed dose of raw, rude and emosh dance trax, fully indulging his fetish for regional US club styles and classic UK ‘80s and ’90s vibes with devilish swerve and stacks of ear-worming hooks.
There’s flavours for all ravers inside, filtering the funk from your toes to ya nose in the Roulé-esque chops of Who This Is (It’s P), while Rider (Some Rules Mix) allows a trace of melancholy into the mix with wickedly contrasting and very Manchester-styled effect. Give Us A Hand brings the vibe gauge right back up with an irresistible blend of filter house, speed garage and Jersey Club funk, while Trying Your Best gives it up for the strugglers, initially blue and downcast but getting there with a strong 2nd wind of ghetto house rudeness, leaving the creamed R&B lixx of So Confused to speak for all of us.
Game. Set. Match. This is a proper Bobby Dazzler.
Weeed have presumably smoked so much that they’ve simultaneously reversed and advanced the ageing process to give them the wisdom of ancient herbalist druids and the primal force of heavy rock elders such as Black Sabbath and Sleep
“WEEED's debut for Imprec, titled This, has an expansive musical vision and an astonishingly mature sound from a young band. Despite their relatively young ages Weeed has been together for ten years – a fact made apparent bythe fluidity and unity of their sound. Labels such as stoner/psych/jam/alt/Krautrock seem to fall short as the band draws from a deeper pool of inspiration including gnawa, traditional folk, jazz, minimalist orchestras, overtone singing and much more.
This is the product of both a desire to make such influences more apparent as well as a desire to explore the boundaries of the members' abilities to connect with each other; to become, in essence, one mind. Though the skeleton of the album was written during practices, the dynamics and fullness of each song were often reconnoitered and spawned through the improvisations which occurred during live settings and tours. The idea was discovery through the act of being present, and This was the result.
Sonically, This is an outgrowth of their last release, Meta, which saw the band beginning to experiment with ambient & vocal looping, flutes, synthesizers. Those explorations are present here, as is the notable (and permanent) addition of a second drummer, which is defined through the mixtures of tight syncopations and pulsing polyrhythms present in these songs.Recorded & produced at Bear Creek studio in Woodinville, WA, This marks a shift in sound that will only lead to further exploration into new musical territory.”
Incredible wordless exercise in voltage control and psychoacoustic trippiness from the ever unpredictable and unfathomably visionary Richard Youngs.
On this one he provides a 30 odd minute tangle that sound like Nate Young hacking into and playing a street light next to a motorway underpass. Brilliant, natch.
Amsterdam’s Knekelhuis pull out some class, knackered dark wave/EBM pop nuggets from New Jersey's Smersh c. 1984/1989, backed with a gripping remix by the widely tipped Parrish Smith.
As key protagonists of the ‘80s EBM underground, Smersh pushed a rawly expressive sound which, with the benefit of hindsight, clearly paved the way for a lot of weirdos working int he gaps between industrial, odd ball house and screwy electronics nowadays.
The two tracks on the M Appeal EP are two of the most pop-wise we’ve heard from Smersh’s sprawling catalogue, with the slow, claggy electro waltz of M Appeal  making its first appearance on wax, following woozy lines of melodic thought over grubby, pendulous machine groove leading to a real peach in the corroded EBM galvanics and near-Latin Freestyle’d vocal of Kiss Me Stupid, which is guaranteed to get a lot of spins around our way. Funnily enough they both respectively recall aspects of Dirk Desaever productions from the same era, too.
If you need any more persuasion, Parrish Smith sorts that on the B-side with a remix of M Appeal, rendering the skinny, skizzy original with big-boned and dank industrial dubbing and lashings of salty noise to taste. Already a big one with Jon K, this.
Leon Vynehall trades in vicarious nostalgia on his new album, a record inspired by his grandmother’s tales of moving to New York City from south east England in the ‘60s. The results flirt with the ’floor but are generally better defined by their sweeping string arrangements and tender use of field recordings which lends a immersive sense of space and place to Vynehall’s jazz-wise piano strokes.
“Vynehall has released two extended EP's so far, his 2014 breakthrough Music For The Uninvited (3024) - a record inspired by the funk, soul and hip-hop tapes his mum used to play on car journeys which finished the year on a plethora of 'Best of the Year' lists including Pitchfork, FACT and Resident Advisor who called it "one of the most eclectic and rewarding house records you'll hear all year" - and 2016's Rojus EP (Running Back) which saw Vynehall building more layers and broadening the depth of his music to widespread critical acclaim including DJ Mag's 'Album of the Year' and 'Best New Music' from Pitchfork for fan favourite single 'Blush'. On both, he was crafting luscious grooves that were destined to dominate dancefloors. Nothing Is Still however, is defiantly atmospheric and textural, and finds him harnessing his passion for early contemporary minimalist composers such as Gavin Bryars as well as records like Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi and Terry Riley’s A Rainbow In Curved Air.
Written and predominantly performed by Vynehall with additional musicians including a ten-piece string section arranged by Amy Langley, Finn Peters (saxophone and flute), and Sam Beste (piano) whom completed the final recording sessions that took place at Konk Studio’s - Nothing Is Still was mixed by Blue May in London before making its own transatlantic flight to New York, where it was mastered at Sterling Sound by Greg Calbi.”
Versatile follow the lead of Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music to reissue these Selected Works by Serbian genius Mitar Subotić a.k.a. Suba a.k.a. Rex Ilusivii.
Since the 2015 issue of Rex Ilusivii’s In The Moon Cage and right up to the recent pressing of Suba’s Wayang, a whole wave of new listeners, us included, have been wowed by his imaginative electronic microcosm, and this new collection perfectly spills into ever more esoteric and experimental realms. Make sure to check for the kinky downstroke of Facedance and the 4th world dimensions of Niagara / Spomenici for something close to Conny Plank’s work on Les Vampyrettes, and definitely Fortirer et Reche for a killer sort of hardcore rave mutation. Big recommendation!
Versatile’s Gilbert adds: “It was Vladimir Ivkovic who introduced me to the world of Rex Ilusivii. A world where the spirit of a genius holds sway. I remember spending an entire night at Vladimir's house in Germany, listening to all those recovered pieces, and feeling like I had entered another space-time.
Mitar tragically left us, one November night in 1999 in Brazil, leaving behind an extensive body of work consisting of more than 500 pieces, for the most part never released. Being submerged in such a unique universe, so singular, brought me happiness. It also filled me with hope, because I tell myself that today there must be many other outstanding musicians who produce in the shadow of the traditional circuit, just for the pleasure of making music.
Listening to the music of Mitar Subotić makes you part of his world. He did not stop producing from 1983 to 1999, in different styles, but with an instantly recognizable touch.His music also marries the evolution of recording techniques with new instruments that have appeared over this time, from the TR808 to the digital samplers. It took me more than two years to select the music for this record, as each time I listened to the material it revealed other details and other possibilities.
I am extremely happy and honored to present this record to you, in which I try to do justice to the different, "versatile" facets of Suba.”
Husband/wife duo Shawn O’Sullivan and Katie Rose bang it right on the nose with Disparate Elements for the steadily expanding Knekelhuis label, chasing the style of their LPs for Cititrax and Robert & Leopold into dank electro, EBM and fugged-up technopop realms.
The pairing appear to bring the best out of each other in all parts. Rose’s vocals and synths vitally offset O’Sullivan’s cranky grooves, most delectably in the slippery gynoid sex tune It’s Later Than You Think, then pitched and diffracted into the mazy jacker Disparate Elements, and haunting the upper echelons of their grim brummie acid banger Aural Equivalent, whilst Central System is a pure, ‘floor knacking instrumental electro weapon.
Proper rave mutations from X-Altera, the killer new alias coined by Tadd Mullinx (J.T.C./SK-1/Dabrye/Charles Manier/X2/TNT).
Striking hot and delirious, but with razor cut production packing stacks of ideas into every track, X-Altera is instantly shaping up to be one of our favourite of Tadd Mullinx’s myriad projects.
Taking inspiration from the ‘ardcore phenomenon of 1990-1993, the sound effectively works in the pocket of years before the jungle references of his Soundmurderer & SK-1 duo, hearkening back to that fertile period when everything was in flux, as shards of Detroit techno clash with Ragga Dancehall, US garage, Lowlands techno, electro and boogie-jazz style vibes in a delirious style meant to make you dance better, harder, nuttier - facking ‘ardcore, innit?
In recent years, it’s a style that many, many have tried, but more often than not become lost in translation, or simply without the actual ‘hardcore’-ness. Safe to say X-Altera has it down pat, though, taking cues from classic early 4Hero and their Reinforced label, plus the likes of Foul Play, Mark Pritchard and a plethora of unsung heroes, to put a class new spin on the classic sound and legendary era.
There are too many highlights to mention, but take it on trust this one’s a must-check if you’re into 4Hero/Dego, A Guy Called Gerald, Goldie, Lone, HATE, Global Communications.
Haunting, enlightening, spellbinding; ‘Bush Lady’ is the definitive musical opus by Alanis Obomsawin. A member of the Abenaki Nation and one of Canada’s most esteemed and decorated documentary filmmakers, Alanis recorded ‘Bush Lady’ for CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, in 1985, but was unhappy with the lead song, ‘Bush Lady’. She re-recorded the song and self-released it as part of new edition, which the marvellous Constellation have now picked up for this reissue, some 33 tours later
Combining her knowledge of traditional Abenaki songs, learnt in her home community of Odanak, with lyrics in french and english, and more modernist arrangements drawing from jazz and classical, Bush Lady paints an engrossing and unforgettable portrait of the venerable singer, songwriter, and storyteller which has somehow managed to evade the attentions of reissuers until now.
The 2-part, 13 minute long opener Bush Lady, Pt.1 + II make a transfixing introduction with Alanis’ mix of traditional and modern vocals dancing free over a tumpin’ drum and expanded with searching fiddle that beautifully tails off with her vocals in the 2nd part. Meanwhile, Theo, Pt. I + II find Alanis singing/speaking in french over a central, steady drum motif joined by the kind of lush woodwind you might expect from a mid ‘80s CBC release (think BoC feels), while Odana reserves the album’s lushest arrangement till last, with Alanis in chanson mode against a fittingly plush, almost filmic backdrop of strings and wind, and Of the Earth and of the Sea remains a timelessly universal message.
We wager some ears are about to fall madly in love with this album…
Photay’s jazzy jazz remixed for the floor in six different ways;
Hubie Davison fluffs up Screens with bustling latin flavour; Sam O.B. turns Aura into a plush soul number; Outré Lux becomes a quicksilver jungle remix in Phil Moffa’s mitts; Yonsei takes Storm on a mid-tempo dub-house glitch ride; and Tatiana Heuman unravels Off Piste with warped R&B swing.
LFI yield the aural equivalent of a queasy mushy trip with Garland’s maiden voyage, Preludes #1
An intoxicating journey, guided by sloshing percussion and probing bass plongs thru lysergically dubbed-out electro-acoustic dimensions and keening microtonal ‘tronics.
On her Thrill Jockey debut, acclaimed guitarist Marisa Anderson’s music is boundless. Anderson is undeniably a master of the North American traditions of country, folk and blues on guitar. On ‘Cloud Corner’, Anderson expands on those styles as well as instrumentation.
"The solo guitar work of Marisa Anderson owes its familiar tones to her awareness of history and her mastering of her instrument, yet it is completely new. Marisa Anderson filters musical history through her own personal experiences, as a traveller in life and in music. A curious and gifted player, Anderson has spent over 35 years of performing forging her singular, instantly recognizable voice. Marisa Anderson’s ‘Cloud Corner’ is hopeful in the face of any discord, a resplendent diverse sound sanctuary that shines, a mirror of the horizon it looks towards."
Hugo Massien plays deep into and out of Tectonic’s signature sound with four brooding, bass-heavy cuts on the cusp of dubstep, garage and electro
Proceeding his 12”s for XL, 17 Steps and E-Beamz, Advanced Aerial Threat starts out with the hollowed but threatening half step techno of the title cut, switching to plush keys and brittle 2-step in Ursa Minor, and needling yet soothing electro on Candy Flip, before Divisions From the Start steps out like Batu meets Jon Hopkins.