Ambient house don Anthony Naples rolls his soul out in ‘Fog FM’, the NYC producer’s 2nd album proper following 2015’s ‘Body Pill’ and last year’s ‘Take Me With You’ mixtape.
While Naples own releases have been thin on the ground in recent years, he’s kept his hand in behind the scenes for the Proibito and Incienso labels, and clearly devoted good times to this lush 10 track set swimming between bubbling strains of deep, electroid, and dubbed-out house and techno.
Over the course of 61 minutes Naples trades in his most hypnagogic styles in a stealthily deliquescent manner that melts from the fuller bodied silhouette of ‘A.I.R.’ into deliciously illusive, psychedelic swing by the end of the album with ‘Aftermath FM’. What happens in between is a sweetly dazed dream sequence taking in the Shinichi Atobe-esque dub-house thizz of ‘Fog FM’ and pulsating, sexy techno on ‘Purple Iris’, along with desiccated but sublime ambient pockets in ‘Channel 2’ and ‘Channel 3’, as the album begin to gently wilt into its final state with the serotonin-infused bath of ‘I’ll Follow You’.
File in your summer 2019 folder for hazy good times.
George & Glen Miller’s 1979 hit “Easing” - encapsulating late 70s New York in its blend of disco, soul and Caribbean soca. Restored, remastered and cut loud for the dancefloor, the 12” single features the original vocal on the A-side and the essential instrumental on the flip.
"The Miller brother’s musical journey began in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 70s. During their teenage years they formed The Groovy Millers - a five piece band made up of George, Glen and their three siblings. After a chance meeting with Lord Shorty, they went on to collaborate with one of the Soca stars of the time and firmly plant their feet in the Soca scene of the musically rich Caribbean island.
Of the five siblings it was George and Glen that pursued a career in music, and in the late 70s the two brothers made the move to North America to develop their music style. Disco dominated the airwaves at the time and a studio session with the prolific Frankie McIntosh resulted in the masterpiece that is ‘Easing’. Drawing influence from the blossoming disco and soul scene, George and Glen added Caribbean flavour to the New York sound to startling effect. Soft, subtle keys and guitars are punctuated with layered trumpet and violin riffs, complimenting George’s silken, restrained vocal. Frankie McIntosh’s arrangement shines through with what might be his finest work, placing this track on the mantle with other New York classics of the time."
Grandiose hybrids of Iranian noise complexity and operatic vocals from 9T Antiope & Siavash Amini following from their tape for PTP
“9T Antiope have made a name for themselves in the vibrant experimental music scene of Iran over the past years. Now based in Paris, Sara Bigdeli Shamloo and Nima Aghiani are expanding their stylistic scope and team up with long-time friend Siavash Amini for their debut release on Hallow Ground. After 2017’s »TAR« and »FORAS« the year after 2018, »Harmistice« is Amini’s third LP for Hallow Ground and his first in collaboration with other artists. Recorded in Paris and Tehran, the four tracks are the result of »all the long hours of speaking online, being kilometres away, it is a love child of those short times we actually got to be physically in one place.« Vocalist and lyricist Shamloo enters a dialogue with Aghiani and Amini’s sound art, which is from restrained but interlocks voice and noise with striking subtlety. »Harmistice« seamlessly blends the visceral with the sublime, the abstract with the oh-too-real.
From the very first second of »Blue as in Bleeding«, »Harmistice« evokes a sense of suspended terror. Shrill frequencies and aleatoric bursts of feedback give way to a hard-hitting bass drum until Shamloo’s voice arises from the chaos with an uneasy clarity. It’s the perfect opening for a record that is built upon stark contrasts like this one. Amini and Aghiani bring together synthetic sounds with acoustic instruments, creating a tangible tension on which Shamloo’s sometimes sensitive, sometimes emotionally detached delivery thrives. »It’s all based on a dream, a nightmare about war,« she says in regards to her lyrics that move between poetic abstraction and first person prose, blurring the lines between lived experience and sinister premonition. »Harmistice« takes inventory after the oneiric damagehas been dealt in real life.
As a whole, »Harmistice« is thus as ambiguous as its title suggests. As an all-too-lucid dream about unspeakable things that are being lent a voice it overwhelms the senses with an unheard-of volume. Drawn from the depths of the subconscious, »Harmistice« may just be the most challenging album in either 9T Antiope or Amini’s discography.”
Enter a world of post-IDM, ambient and reggaeton, with a progression of deep synths, reverb, and percussion whose rhythms are born from the southern hemisphere. This is the world of DJ Python, a.k.a. New York based producer Brian Piñeyro, who also sometimes goes by Dj Wey, Deejay Xanax, and Luis. Making his Dekmantel debut with an extended EP of contemporary electronica, fashioned in his cult unique style, Python brings his deep-reggaeton style to the Dutch imprint.
"With his first LP Dulce Compañia released in 2017, Python extended his cult status in the electronic music sphere with motives of ambient, and tropicale, all the time keeping his music deeply rooted in classic underground dance music. Along with a Breaking Through feature on Resident Advisor, an almost legendary appearance on Boiler Room — in which he ignited the room in Santiago with bellowing reverbs —, extensive touring, and a residency at New York’s Nowadays (healthy programmed by the team behind Mister Saturday Night), Python has dutifully snaked his way in today’s cult artist category. Making his next step with this six-tracker on Dekmantel, Python aggrandises his prestigious drum sequencing, merging the world’s of drone-driven electronica, cerebral synths, and steely out-of-this-dimension-dancehall.
The EP’s pening track 'Lampara' snakes and twists, like a rugged 90s London broken-beat, electronic exploration, evoking nostalgic feelings a la Boards of Canada. The retro aesthetic flows through with second track 'Tímbrame', where the tropical reggaeton percussion floats through wafty, deep synth melodies and chimes, like a vibey, emotive, come-down, get-down, post-party dancefloor filler. 'Cuando' steps up a gear, as the digital percussive rhythms go into overdrive, while 'Espero' goes all Gaussian, by offering a transportive, meditative expression. 'Be Si To' pulses into full Phython territory, chops-and-cuts-and-slices across a sleuth of Warping, proto-drones. The record’s final track 'pq cq' is a singular question mark about darkness, feeling, and trans-dimensional thinking, as the track shifts in-between kicks that feel one and the same between past, present, and the dub."
Komodo Kolektif return with the follow-up to their 2017 EP “Sumantras”.
"With “Sundada” we see the group delve even deeper into hypnotic territory with an even stronger focus on their Indonesian gamelan instruments, wall-shaking basslines and trance-inducing percussion. A dual focus on tribal primitivism in parallel with a futuristic vision of the possibilities provided by their vast arsenal of electronic gear and processors, the overall outcome has produced something beyond 'world music' that is positively ritualistic.
Again aided by veteran Seattle-born multi-instrumentalist Jon Keliehor (James Brown, The Doors, Peter Murphy/Bauhaus, The Daily Flash, Emotional Response, Optimo Music) on suling (Indonesian flute) and percussion, Komodo Kolektif seem to have explored even more meditative and profoundly esoteric avenues than they did with “Sumantras”.
Much of the material is a refinement and distillation of what has been featured in their live shows for almost a year and a half and which has been met with rapturous applause at the likes of Convenanza festival in France to Sonic Cathedral & Ulrich Schnauss' Ambience Chasers in London.
Other pieces are the result of improvisations; experimenting with the Indonesian sarons, gendèrs and kempul at their disposal (courtesy of Gamelan Naga Mas of which two of the group are long term members) to create new patterns that resonate to both eastern and western ears.
Komodo Kolektif have received praise and plays from Hardy Fox (The Residents), JD Twitch (Optimo), Andrew Weatherall, Peter Power (Multi Culti / Voodoohop) and many more."
Melody As Truth’s Jonny Nash and Suzanne Kraft make time feel precious, sublime yet impending with the slow urgency of their 2nd outing as MATstudio.
Aside from the pair’s more polished productions, both solo and in collaboration, their MATstudio output reveals more steeply psychedelic and abstract space between the notes of Nash & Kraft’s respective, mutually admiring styles. Across the two pieces it feels as though we’re hovering somewhere in the studio during the session, or even pulled into the slipstream of their FX contrails and gently toyed with, like a cat with a piece of fluff in weightless space.
“MATstudio was born out of the working processes of our Amsterdam studio. Many hours are spent here experimenting with new methods, tools and ideas. This process allows us to continue developing our interests in merging multiple production techniques to create a personal language.
MATstudio works are collages of improvisations, experiments and accidents. Many of the fragments are the results of filtering our ideas through new production techniques and tools. Some feature friends and collaborators. MATstudio works are an ode to the infinite possibilities that result in keeping a curious mind and a desire to learn.”
One to watch, Amsterdam’s upsammy jumps back on Die Orakel with four writhing examples of her mutant electro style
The whirring mechanics and dreamy pads of ’A Walk In Twilight’ easily ranks among the most original new electro workouts we’ve heard from the recent wave; ‘Bronze Goddess’ feels outs a quasi-speed, subaquatic electro zones; ‘’Shaky Limbs’ slides into space between early Laurel Halo and Batu; and ‘Branches On Ice’ pushes the meter up to get freaky with acidic Dolphin squeals and splashy electro-techno hydraulics in a distinctive style upsammy can safely call her own.
Clay Rendering return with up a majestically gothic trip to the west with 2nd LP ‘California Black Vows’ channelling ‘90s grunge, shoegaze and stoner rock in their unique style...
"California Black Vows' chronicles the groups’ move away from the comfort zone straight into the dark heart of the west. Since their last album, the band relocated from the suburbs of the Midwest to the sinister shine of Los Angeles. The cover’s icicle is the last remnant of their time in familiar surroundings. More change was to follow. A duo for most of its existence, Clay Rendering’s core of Mike and Tara Connelly chose to invite two allies into their closed circle. The enlisted are Sera Timms of Black Mare on bass and Joe Potts of Sollilja on drums.
“California Black Vows” is the follow up to 2015’s “Snowthorn,” also on Hospital Productions. The warning bell sounded with their inclusion on Vatican Shadow’s Berghain mix, released this past March. A couple of EPs surfaced since the the last full length, but the band has spent most of that time molding the new 4 piece incarnation from the ground up and discovering the sounds and directions that new blood brings, while also acclimating to their new surreal setting. The result is a dimly lit journey into the wild nightside, where nothing is for sure. Where everything is tantalizing. Where Peg Entwistle appears thru a distant haze. Where the small hours creep by, never to return. Masks are off. A hypnotic trek into the center of Clay Rendering’s unique brand of gloom rock commences.
The album reveals itself slowly for the first minutes of “Blood Into Wine”, until the refrain opens wide and dives headlong into the deep. It’s a statement of intent. Whatever happens after this, we are in it together. From there, things rev up with uncertainty and a nervous edge. “Another Roll of the Iron Dice”...whose number is up? Tara takes on more vocals than previous records, haunting the nocturnal ocean with “Once in the Well,” “Black Vows” and “Take Hold.” Strangers come and go and dance and die in “We Wait.” Questions remain unanswered in “Don’t Understand You.”
With Dylan Neal (Thief) on production duties, Clay Rendering have delivered their fullest and most fleshed out album to date. The immediacy of the recording gives the feel that these songs are taking shape as you hear them. Guitars melt over the keyboards and synths throughout the proceedings. The record is filled with a noir life force that transitions back and forth from desperate wails to moonlit hymns. The vocals are clearer and more direct than ever, letting you know exactly where Clay Rendering stand. The bass provides the heartbeat of the mission. The drums ensure everything lands in its place. Insomnia, frantic flailing, body language, staring into the forced and artificial landscape, finding solace among the chaotic foliage...all these things play a role. The comfort has been shed. Foreboding stars in the western lands bring out the strangest parts in us all. “California Black Vows” is the howling cry to let those parts show their teeth and the soothing voice to let you know it will all be over in the morning.”
Seth Troxler & Phil Moffa’s sci-fi storytelling project fully spreads its wings on the full LP canvas of ‘Lost Souls of Saturn’, their debut album for R&S following a string of 12”s since 2017
“R&S present the eponymous, debut, full length album transmission from Lost Souls Of Saturn. Epic in scope, time and space, this multidimensional mind trip is for fans of Mark Leckey’s ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’, David Morales’ Red Zone dubs, Don Cherry’s ‘Organic Music Society’, The Orb’s ‘Ultraworld’ and KLF’s ‘Space’ and much more besides.
This ambient house masterpiece combines flavours gathered from across the galaxy, stewing them up into a delicious primordial soup. Old sci-fi soundtracks, acid, free jazz, avant garde, musique concrete, world music and more all whirl around an underground-dance-music axis.”
Air Max ’97 diversifies his bonds in collaboration with LOFT and TSVI on two tracks in the follow-up to his ‘Nacre’ album
Gwan dolo, the Aussie producer dives headlong into the sticky wormhole of ‘Turgor’ with its wild jazzy drum shrapnel and hyper-cubist bass shifts, while ‘Falling Not Walking’ reprises that jazziness within a sorta warped dubstep framework.
However, the best dancefloor tackle is in the collaborations. On ‘Paroxysm’ he teams with TSVI for a taut, swaggering spin on neuro D&B tropes, then on a reticulated, hyper jungle flex in tandem with LOFT on the fractious zinger ‘Xhrinicibles’ in a way recalling the needle-point programming of Rockwell’s ‘Reverse Engineering’.
Precision tooled melodic IDM/electronica from Ochre with a reissue of a Toytronic LP from 2004.
"The third release is from Christopher Scott Leary, who over the last two decades has produced a plethora of material under his pseudonym, Ochre. 2019 marks 15 years since the original release of “A Midsummer Nice Dream” in 2004; on British label Toytronic, which pushed Leary to the forefront of the experimental electronic music sphere. To celebrate the release’s fifteenth anniversary, Lapsus Records will reissue a special collector’s edition of this IDM classic in the form of a double tri-colour vinyl release, remastered by John McCaig (panicStudios). It will also include a full-colour print of the new artwork, redesigned by Portland (Oregon) illustrator Nathaniel Reeves, who has worked alongside Ochre for over ten years.
This special deluxe reissue entitled “A Midsummer Nice Dream (15th Anniversary Edition)”, features unreleased material from the same period and includes three bonus tracks on its vinyl version, six on its digital version, making it a truly unique release. It therefore offers a golden opportunity to rediscover an album that navigates through several genre domains such as ambient, IDM and experimental electronica in its purest form, stylistically reminiscent of the likes of Autechre, conveying a sound considerably ahead of its time. In its entirety “A Midsummer Nice Dream” is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable electronica glitch albums to be released in the 2000s, when the genre experienced its zenith, largely thanks to the advent of significant breakthroughs in digital production tools.”
L.A.’s mndsgn yields a hypnagogic hip hop doozy on Stones Throw, making strong nods to J Dilla at his loosest with 14 ’Snaxx’ that satiate any listeners’ taste for woozy and red-eyed downbeats
““I think of all the posthumous Dilla leaks, and how I’ve always been just as, if not more inspired by the stuff that was never supposed to come out. Albums should be proper meals, but every now and then a snack can really hold you over.”
Album cycles come around about once every two years, but Mndsgn, aka Ringgo Ancheta, is constantly making music. He wanted to do justice to his prolific creativity, so rather than let unreleased tracks wither and die on his hard drive, he decided to put out two records ahead of his next studio album, and the concept of Snax was born.
Snaxx (2 ‘x’s) follows with beat-heavy production including favorites from his hybrid live/DJ shows like “Deviled Eggs” making an appearance. On his Boiler Room TV show Breakfast with Ringgo, he welcomed artists like Anderson .Paak, Knxwledge, Swarvy and Ahnnu to jam and/or converse in his studio. Snaxx has a similar vibe of having friends come visit, an atmosphere Ringgo compares to inviting friends round for dinner and providing “something to chomp on” while preparing the meal. A few of those friends include close collaborators, Pink Siifu and Jon Bap.
Though Mndsgn’s sound always has one foot in the world of hip-hop, it never sticks with a single genre. His 2014 debut Yawn Zen’s dreamy atmospheres and languid beats felt ambient, even psychedelic, and 2016’s Body Wash took a different approach entirely, repurposing influences from 1970s and 1980s boogie and R&B into a conceptual, cosmic epic.”
Dark garage and dubstep skippers from Etch and north London MC, Nico Lindsay, also introducing Tranq Sinatra
Up top ’Don’t Wanna Know’ goes on dark and shadowy like an El-B rhythm with an early grime-style sing-song vocal, whereas ‘Predator vs Prey (Toxin)’ leans back on a gully sort of halfstep dubstep/grime lurch with Nico Lindsay’s delivery recalling Trim. On ‘Photosynthesis’ Zak Brashill aka Etch tags in Joe Naitsri aka Tranq Sinatra on a tight, triplet-metered garage/grime swing.
Knox-Om-Pax lets the light into his cavernous spaces with a light-footed album influenced by Berlin techno and L.A. sunshine and featuring cameos by Silvia Kastel and Nightwave
“On ‘Ways Of Seeing’ Konx-om-Pax has switched up the mood and hit gold. He has made an album that is filled with joy and sunshine, saturated with the classic feel of Berlin Techno. Tom Scholefield has moved on from the dark ambient and brittle rave of the first two Konx-om-Pax albums, which were a reflection of his hometown Glasgow's electronic music scenes. After a recent move to Berlin, the textures of Glasgow's musical strains have fused into an accessible and friendly mix of poppy melodic electronica built from a stricter 'less is more' sound pallete, closer in spirit to the music of his adopted city. It is also a record which was made in opposition to recent music he has been hearing, in particular the troubled, dark and noisy experimental music coming out of Berlin. Tom wanted to focus on more joyful qualities, making this a record imbued with warmth and happiness, a panacea to the darkness and disorientation all around in 2019.
Having a social scene full of producers has also influenced the album. The opening track 'LA Melody' came from staying with Ross Birchard (Hudson Mohawke) at his house in LA, hanging out in the glorious sunshine with him and Lunice working on tracks. "Initially Ross asked me to write some melodies to use in a project he was producing, but I ended up liking it so much I decided to keep the riff. I generally write music alone, but being around other producers gave me a certain excited energy that reminded me of after-parties back in Glasgow where Ross and myself spent our youth together. Spending time in Clark's studio also helped me improve my workflow and sequencing the album by seeing the way he does things". On 'Säule Acid' he collaborates with Silvia Kastel and in 'I’m For Real' the vocals of Glaswegian DJ/producer Nightwave filter around the track.
Stripped away to just the good bits, 'Ways Of Seeing' is a pleasure to listen to.”
Frank Timm’s 2016 collection of cut-up disco killers is now available to download officially
With his early 2019 debut album ‘Love Remedy’ still burning brightly, ‘Sound Sampler Vol.2’ is another fine reminder of Frank Timm’s dancefloor genius, jacking your body between the grungy acid disco of ‘Track 440’ in his Soundstudio guise, the staggered and filtered disco loops of ‘What You Feel’ under his Soundhack alias, and the percolated Chi-house doozy of ‘Relief (demo)’ under his Soundstore moniker.
Widely praised saxophonist/producer Ben Vince channels classic No wave, post-punk and jazz in the follow-up to his acclaimed ‘Assimilation’ album and hook-up with Joy O. Features guest input from Jacob Samuel, Kenta Sekine, Rupert Clevaux, Bianca Scout ++
“Following on from last year’s rapturously received Assimilation, London-based saxophonist, improviser and producer Ben Vince returns with Don't Give Your Life. Over the last few years, Vince’s solo saxophone and electronics performances, along with his work in the clattering post-punk troupe, Housewives, have helped him quickly establish a considerable reputation among those in the know.
Where his first releases under his name honed in on his meditatively layered and looped saxophone lines – placing him in a lineage beginning with the Time Lag Accumulator works of Terry Riley and stretching into the icy expanses of John Surman’s 1980s recordings and the hypnotic riffing of Gilbert Artman’s Urban Sax – Assimilation saw Vince branching out to work with high-profile collaborators such as Micachu and demonstrating his deep love of the outer reaches of club music (also evident on last year’s collaborative 12” with UK bass music bigwig Joy Orbison).
Don't Give Your Life is the strongest work yet from an artist whose work demonstrates a risk-taking, omnivorous appetite for the new while also digging deeper and deeper into a unique sonic sensibility.”
Errorsmith, Kyoka, Renick Bell, Nene H, Dylan Henner and more remix Eomac to bits
With the frantic original ‘Transmutation, Redemption, Forgiveness’, Errorsmith extracts and tightens up the groove with teetering, stilettoed kicks while emphasising the vowels of the vocal in wildly daft style. It’s one of the big highlights along with Renick Bell’s hyper-angular algorithmic decimation of ‘Lower Your Gaze’, Okkre’s gnashing hardcore techno ‘rush RISE’ remix, and Eomac’s own, pendulous VIP of ‘Being, Not Object’.
Youngsta’s dubstep stronghold displays heavy wares from across the scene, ranging from Drill-influenced styles to cold halfstep
If we’re playing favourites, Nomine is right up there with the tightly sprung ‘Judas’, and Taso smacks it with the icy drill hybrid of ‘Air’d Out’, and Youngsta brings a deadly swagger to ‘The Last Judgement.’
As Chocolate Hills, ambient elders Alex Patterson (The Orb) and Paul Conboy (Metamono) play up to a fluffy conception of olde English atmospheric music
Still dreaming of gently bucolic electronic utopias while the England of younger generations slips into droog-like ultra violence and numbing torpor, it’s perhaps a blessing that they still have enough residual MDMA in their system from the early ‘90s to keep their vision sparkling and positive.
Over the two sides of ‘A Pail of Air’ Patterson and Conboy use samples of English voices to lend a perceived elegance and humour to their music that might go amiss by some. The results are a milky boomers’ dream sequence of sonic head rubs and pats on the back, connoting a sort of keep calm and carry on vibe.
A Lovely Music touchstone, ‘Trust In Rock’ is what happened when the ‘70s West Coast experimental avant-garde made rock music. Now issued for the first time, this is a proper piece of history that would come to inform Lovely Music’s earliest releases...
“Trust in Rock documents the last evening of an epic concert series held at Berkeley’s University Art Museum in November 1976, featuring an all-star ensemble of the Bay Area’s most unclassifiable musicians performing works by “Blue” Gene Tyranny and Peter Gordon. Tyranny’s cycle “No Job, No Warm, No Nothing” contains songs “concerned with influence, trust, self-reliance, and having to re-do what is true for you;” three songs by Gordon, with lyrics by Kathy Acker, are complimented by two earlier instrumental works. Their combined band crossed styles and institutions and time, and was assembled from the effervescence of the Bay Area scene in the 1970s. It included Gordon on saxes and the RMI Synthesizer; Tyranny on the piano; local video-performance artist Patrice Manget on vocals; Carl Young on saxes; composer-performer-guitarist Paul Dresher, who played in Tyranny’s band Edge of the Road along with percussionist Gene Reffkin; Steve Bartek of the Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo on bass; and Mills College student Janet Cuniberti on the funky Clavinet and RMI Synth. Though some of the works on Trust in Rock also appear on Gordon’s Star Jaws and Tyranny’s Out of the Blue, many others are available here for the first time. Trust in Rock contains nearly two hours of what Ear magazine called “NEW MUSIC FOR ROCK BAND.”
Except: by 1976, the idea of a capitalized “New Music” had increasingly lost its punch for Tyranny and Gordon. Rock and Roll, likewise, was nearing an apparent generational expiration. The way out of this impasse was trust in rock, which was both description and command. Rock, for this all-star cast of Bay Area heads, became a perpetual revolution that could be serious, playful, polemic, focused, technical, and lovely. And you can hear it in the music: Tyranny’s songs swing from intimate and profound to blissful and joyous, with solos on saxophone, piano, synthesizer, and electric guitar over interlocking rhythmic and melodic cells; an ecstatic performance of Gordon’s “Machomusic” gives a single pitch the real Rock’n’Roll treatment; and Acker’s lyrics on “God’s a Man,” “When Baby Gets Wet,” and “Cloves and Cinnamon” pulse with transgressive sexual energy. This is neither New Music nor Rock as anybody had previously understood those terms, but something else entirely—a kind of transcendent synthesis that audibly reveled in its newfound energy.
On Trust in Rock, Tyranny, Gordon, and their band played at, with, and through not only the generic boundaries of New Music and Rock, but also the stylistic boundaries of minimalism, jam bands, and punk. Tyranny had quit Iggy Pop’s band in 1973; Gordon had already moved to New York and began playing with Arthur Russell and Rhys Chatham. That night in the University Art Museum, playing saxophones and and synthesizers, they were not afraid to trust in rock to get them where they needed to be. This was a band that was not afraid to “listen to the interior state of something,” as Tyranny later put it: they put their trust in rock, and this album lets us hear what happened.”
Endearingly naif Aussie art-school/post-punk pop from Melbournian J. Macfarlane’s Reality Guest, finding an ideal home on Glasgow’s Night School
““Ta Da” is the debut full length from J. McFarlane's Reality Guest - aka the solo music of Australian artist Julia McFarlane. As a member of the group Twerps, McFarlane has traversed guitar-centric, melodic pop music for some years while honing a highly unique, personal musical language. Ta Da is the first recorded unveiling of McFarlane’s affecting, oblique songwriting panache. Originally released in her native Australia on Hobbies Galore, Ta Da will be released worldwide by Night School in June 2019.
Wheezing into view with a troubled reed instrument set against a s of whoozy synth lines, Human Tissue Act is a foggy curtain the listener is invited to peel back. The dissonant notes are left to dance entwined, with clarinet heralding a Harry Partch-esque mallet percussion interlude. It’s a mood. With no resolution in sight, an audience dragged closer into uncertainty is suddenly drenched with the light of inter-weaving wah wah synth and saxophone. I Am A Toy introduces us to McFarlane’s vocal, an effortless and matter-of-fact, accented statement that quietly takes the reins. While McFarlane’s previous work in Twerps might reference 80s UK and antipodean guitar pop, Ta Da showcases a different influences immersed in psychedelic music and synths. It’s a brilliant, deft concoction swimming in Young Marble Giants-type minimalism washed with bare pop and harmony similar to Kevin Ayers making sense of a Melbourne suburb full of faces half-recognised in the blanching sun.”
Written and recorded over a two year period where ideas and arrangements were allowed to slow-cook and develop over time, in contrast with the last album "The Dragon Flies Away" which came together relatively quickly for the duo.
"The music comprises the usual (for Bamboo) mix of Horwood's flawlessly resonant folk cadence and Carlisle's pristine synth production, whilst TR808 drum machines and samples lock together with acoustic drums, themselves often given the "Tony Visconti" Eventide Harmoniser treatment of Berlin-era Bowie albums. Ancient ARP synthesisers and Mellotron flutes and horns sit next to contemporary digital sounds and samples in a hauntological tapestry over which Horwood can intone her sometimes mournful, often uplifting vocals.
The first single taken from the album, "Weeping Idols", released March 29th reflects upon a recurring theme of religious dogma and spiritual entrapment, and is accompanied by a stunning video shot by Jack Barraclough around the North Coast of Northern Ireland, taking in the Giant's Causeway and the Kinbane Castle ruin. Carlisle's infectiously colourful synth riffs and pop production, featuring sun-burst harp playing from Brighton-based singer/multi-instrumentalist Emma Gatrill, contrasts sharply with the darker tone of Horwood's lyric, jarring in a way reminiscent of "You Have Placed A Chill On My Heart" by The Eurythmics."
Charles Duff and Daniel Fisher have known each other since well before their respective forays into dance music.
"They serendipitously crossed paths at some point in the early 2010s with mutual friends in the NYC club kid scene. Shortly thereafter they realised they both were keen to ditch the vapid hipster bullshit that had fueled their early careers thus far in order to pursue something pure: techno. Mind you, this was at a time when it was not terribly cool to be into underground dance music. If anything, they both were greeted with massive skepticism from their peers but that didn't ultimately deter them. Both went from relative obscurity to regular slots at Berghain. And for two American kids musing in a pathetic bedroom studio, this was nothing short of a dream come true. A prophecy had been fulfilled.
The two tried their hands at numerous attempts at collaboration over a 5 year period but nothing seemed to stick. Most of it sucked horrendously according to them. But not on this occasion. The stars finally came into alignment and they were able to execute a concise group of tracks that finally made sense together. Which brings us to Threads.
Threads, an homage to the uber-dystopian BBC docudrama from the 80s, sums up their dynamic approach to tracks. It's an alienating, sinister take on techno that somehow manages to not fully lose faith in dire times. Much like life today."
With his fully rounded debut LP ‘Origin’, Jordan Rakei dishes up some of the sweetest nu soul since Sampha’s ‘Process’ album
“Soulful, intimate and expansive all at once, Jordan Rakei’s third album, “Origin”, cuts straight to the point, in every sense of the word. The melodies are brighter, the sound is bigger and the vision behind it more finely-tuned. Switching up from the highly personal and intimate portrait he painted with 2017’s “Wallflower”, which was a way of grappling with his experience of anxiety and introversion, “Origin” is overtly inspired by dystopian visions of our future - notably Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. “I’m worried that we’re losing a sense of connection,” explains Jordan, with many of the album lyrics exploring technological growth, and how it affects our sense of humanity. For example, new single ‘Say Something’ is “about speaking up for what you believe in”, a call to arms for future humans to stand up against the AI systems which govern a now-dystopian world. It follows recent single ‘Mind’s Eye’, which envisions a future world where malfunctioning tech implanted in the human body has flooded the users mind with projections of chaos. He meditates daily, something he adopted partly in response to his issues with anxiety, and something which has shaped his worldview and informed his writing and production process.
On “Origin”, Rakei has scaled up his ambitions, and is more confident in the way he goes about achieving them. Making tracks that speak more confidently, in brighter colours, and which deal with something bigger than himself. He channeled the classic songwriting and musicality of his heroes Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan, striving to surprise and delight with the form of his work, and always infusing it with the same effortless swing and human feel that he fell in love with listening to A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock and 9th Wonder.”
Hypnotic Brazilian percussion studies for the dance, built from recordings of Berimbau, Guica, Conch Shell, Atabaque and other instruments for Optima’s righteous label, Against Fascism Trax
“In a world in which culture policies (incl. music) win nationalist tones, Brazil has lessons to give with the catastrophic failed experience of the last government and the teletubbies talk on Culture from the current one. As one sometimes feel as if one is on a time-warp from time to time, most often taken there by music, songs like March of The Berimbau here, could easy make for the perfect soundtrack for the political history of Brazil, country in which Auntie Flo got his inspiration and recorded this tracks.
From the military regime that gave Brazil bossa nova in the 60’s, the tropicália sounds of the 70’s to the pop rock era of the 80’s all the way from the rave scene of the 90’s to todays Bahia Bass, music in Brazil has always been instrumental in helping shape the political scene. One thing about the Brazilian music ’scene’ is that rarely it lends itself to extreme political views, via lyrics or otherwise, after all, carnival must be kept a happy time! The number of different cultures living in peace, side by side in Brazil has strengthen the country disapproval of hate talk in music since I can remember growing up in the interior of São Paulo state.
As per wiki: Fascism is a form of radical ultranationalism, characterised by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition… Children bedtime reading if you follow the past 15 years in Brazilian politics and the rise and fall of Brazil’s Labour Party, together with its disastrous polices on culture and synergy with de definition above; including the views of a important cultural Party branch that continuously 'preached' that Authors should need no rights over their works. That couldn’t bit music in Brazil.
Fast forward to the first 5 months of government of an unfortunate retired army officer, whose every word sounds like Trump, and whose views on culture is to extinguish the Culture Ministry and cut low the state incentives to the sector, that, so far, is not bitting music in Brazil. Hope that Auntie Flo’s music inspired everyone as the place where it was made and recorded inspired music in Brazil, as a beacon of light against any hate talk darkness.
Written by Afonso Marcondes (Sync Originals, Sao Paulo) May 2019.”
Following on from last year's debut with Erased Tapes, Californian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Allred returns with The Cell.
"Meant as a companion piece to The Transition, The Cell picks up where The Transition left off, with David continuing the search to find his place in the world. “The Cell is about warmly acknowledging the darkness in our individual lives as a strategic method of gaining a deeper understanding of how to move forward in a vastly dissonant world with optimism, harmony and light.”
Opening with the title track, The Cell immediately draws us into David’s unique world of storytelling, displaying his peculiar skill of weaving feelings and characters with wandering melodies. The five-minute opener peaks with David’s emotional falsetto repeating “In the mind”, acting as an alarm call for himself and his surroundings. Lead track Nature’s Course finds David delving deeper into existential questions about the human condition and its relation to nature, set to a gentle, melancholy piano ballad.
“Nature’s Course is a feeling pertaining to the way our subjective human experience is subconsciously directly related to the slow steady pace of nature and our ability to cope with our inner struggles accordingly” explains David.
The Cell further cements David’s place among the American songwriting tradition, from the slow methodical spacey instrumental Mandatory Soul to the poetic solo piano number Family and the dense and continuous Lexington Hills. With each piece we are transported to David’s unusual but rich and textured little world."
‘The End of Radio’ collects Shellac’s two previously unreleased Peel Sessions, recorded 10 years apart in 1994 and 2004
“The 1994 session was recorded at BBC Maida Vale Studio 3 and originally aired on John Peel’s BBC Radio One show in July of 1994. The four songs were recorded to 24-track and then mixed to stereo on the same day. While a studio version of “Crow” was released in October of 1994 on the band’s debut album At Action Park, studio versions of “Canada”, “Disgrace”, and “Spoke” would not appear on any Shellac albums until much later (1998’s Terraform and 2007’s Excellent Italian Greyhound) - making the 1994 Peel Session recordings the only official recordings of these songs for several years thereafter.
The 2004 Peel session is a “Live From Maida Vale” session recorded live to stereo in front of a small audience at BBC Maida Vale Studio 4. It originally aired in December of that same year. As with the 1994 session, this recording includes songs that were previously unreleased and would not appear as album versions until years later. (Album versions of “The End of Radio”, “Steady As She Goes”, and “Paco” were released in 2007 on Excellent Italian Greyhound.)”
Ten years, a hundred releases and countless tracks: Monkeytown is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a compilation of new and exclusive productions by the artists that shaped the label.
"These artists represent electronic music in all its shades, from more experimental to dancefloor focused approaches. Monkeytown has always tried to combine both spheres simultaneously, never neglecting fun nor freethinking. The 12 tracks from the likes of Shed, Mouse on Mars, FJAAK, Redshape, Anstam and many more showcase and celebrate the label’s continuing mission: to explore new sounds and to seek out new bangers.
Monkeytown was launched in 2009 by Modeselektor. Originally conceived as a means to release music by friends and Modeselektor’s own records, it soon developed into much more. The label and its offshoot 50Weapons became key players in connecting the various strains of dance and bass music, the scenes of Berlin, London and everyone affiliated to these. This compilation unites artist that stick with the label since the very beginning, like Siriusmo or Anstam, and newer family members like Catnapp or FJAAK.
Over the years, some renowned producers found their way to Monkeytown, among them Shed and Redshape. These two of course provide the techno and house part of this collection, while Gajek’s kraut-influenced electroacoustic piece or Alex Bank’s blissful opening ambience show that it’s not necessarily all about beats. We got a lot of beats though: Dark Sky and Robot Koch like them rolling and sweetly broken, Mouse on Mars smartly frenzied, and Modeselektor themselves contribute a multidimensional track in honor of the famous Roland Space Echo, the device which lent them their name. There’s also a world premiere inhouse collaboration by Otto von Schirach and Catnapp, a weirdo match made in heaven. Next to releasing great records, the best thing a record label can achieve is to have a sound of its own."
Leading on from last year’s ‘A Sole Game’ album, Redshape rounds back to Delsin with a simmering batch of breaks-driven techno and electroid house
The big one is the title track, a writhing piece of techno chicanery sparked off with wobbly bass and rolling breaks, while ‘Passengers’ catches a breezy sort of Detroit house swing, and ‘Bishop’ hearkens back to his early vintage with patented, dissonant synth blushes and nagging drum programming.