Gqom OG, Griffit Vigo knocks out a killer definitive solo album including remastered version of his foundational ‘Rees Vibe’ banger - a big DJ Lag tune - and eight more darkside, technoid zingers naturally inspired by Zulu culture and modern South Africa
Straight-up, the new remaster of ‘Rees Vibe’ knocks colder and harder than the 2018 master, and is unmissable for the DJs, but skipping to the new gear there’s serious dancers’ tackle tucked into the cosmic-militant syncopated snares and bleeps of ‘Ups and Downs’, a super-tight percussive nugget in ‘Drumm Hand (Griffit Vigo’s Ancestral Mix)’ strongly recalling Pinch’s runs into UKF styles, and again with the lip-bitingly deft, pensile percs and chants of ’Shanga Dedi’. And If you aren’t going heads-down and dancing a hole in your rug after ‘Yasizwa Les’gubhu (Vigo Music Original Mix)’, then maybe lockdown’s got too bad for you. Swear down the best dancers we’ve ever seen were the South African crew at Nyege Festival, and we can only practice and pretend with these bangers that we’re even half as good at cutting shapes. Make sure to check the bangers on Housupa just in this week if you like this lark!
What a no brainer?
Actress returns with singers in tow for an ambitious but very real 7th album of greyscale and chromatic electronics - his first since the Ai project with Young Paint and 2017’s ‘AZD’.
On his definitive new opus Actress ushers in vocalists for the first time, allowing Sampha, Zsela, Aura T-09, and Rebekah Cristel to voice his music alongside additional keys from Italian pianist/composer Vanessa Benelli Mosell. The result is layered and spaced out to accommodate other souls in a hazy matrix of tenderised melodies and amorphous rhythms. If you’ve followed Actress' work thus far - since his cult beginnings in the mid ‘00s, or since the acclaim for his subtly game-changing run of LPs from ’Hazyville’ to ‘Ghettoville’ circa 2008-2014 - the crystalline intricacies of ‘Karma & Desire’ feel like a natural progression of his music into a form of dematerialised dancefloor/bedroom metaphysics that many others have tried to imitate, yet never quite executed with this sort of deeply enigmatic, dreamlike appeal.
Recent years have seen Actress incorporate classical and Ai inspirations thru his work on ‘Lageos’ with the LCO, and his Ai Jade Soulform on ‘AZD’ and the ‘Young Paint’ album. Now ‘Karma & Desire’ feels like the consolidation of all his work in this direction, achieving a unique sense of timeless, soul-burning immanence and detached, OOBE-like qualities that can safely be called Actress music. Sampha proves an ideal foil for his ideas on three of the albums’s quietest highlights; inhabiting ‘Many Seas, Many Rivers’ with the tenderest warbles, and almost channelling a tremulous Linda Sharrock in ‘VVY’, while found at his most vulnerable in the drizzly swing of ‘Walking Flames’, featuring Kara-Lis Coverdale on fliute. And likewise he finds the perfect sort of club music muses from Zsela in the deep blue house of ‘Angels Pharmacy’, Aura T-09 on the slackened garage of ’Loveless’, and Rebekah Christel on the LP’s jitty highlight ‘Loose’.
The instrumental arrangements here still ooze amorphous expression in every hiss, lop-sided drum and smudged chord, from the the scuzzy electro-soul swerve of ‘Diamond X’ to the air-stepping keys and bass wamp of ‘Leaves Against The Sky’, to what sounds like Coil’s studio ELpH’s emerging in the great matter probe ‘Reverend’, and a jaw-dropping masterstroke in the panoramic strings and funereal thuds of ‘Save’.
More than 15 years after we first heard his music, Actress still works our hearts, feet and minds like no other, we can’t wait to spend time entangled in this one.
Swingeing, daring, deep Afro-Latin jazz finesse from Irreversible Entanglement’s Aquiles Navarro & Tscheser Holmes on Chicago’s amazing International Anthem label - another gem that may well refresh and reaffirm views on modern jazz, and its place in contemporary music
"Heritage of the Invisible II" follows Navarro and Holmes’s rise to prominence as members of free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements. In March of 2020 in "The Nation" writer Marcus J. Moore said "Irreversible Entanglements’ fearless music takes to task the police, American politics, capitalism, and racism." The revolutionary ethos that drives Irreversible Entanglements is no less present in Navarro and Holmes’s duo work, though their duo finds them much more wholeheartedly and jubilantly embracing their Latin and Afro-Caribbean foundations.
The tracks flash by in a rapturous onslaught, crystalizing in incantations by Spanish poet Marcos de la Fuente (an apocalyptic fever dream on “Initial Meditation”), vocalist Brigitte Zozula (the bliss of bustling nightlife on “A Night in NY”), Navarro’s mentor and collaborator Carlos Garnett (the banality of economics on “$$$ /// billete”) and their own musings on friendship and community (the stoned soul picnic of “Plantains”). Of the album’s de facto anthem “Pueblo,” Navarro says “it’s a celebration of life, the coming together of the people, el pueblo, a celebration of who we are, where we come from, it’s our pueblo, our people, a feeling of openness, hope, and a future of unity from el pueblo, the people.” Identifying as active listeners and audience members as well, Navarro and Holmes step back on “M.O.N.K (Most Only Never Knew)” to shine a light on the solo improvisation of pianist/composer Nick Sanders. On the 8-minute duet “NAVARROHOLMES,” the two players reach a summit as they face off in spirited alliance, conjuring visions of legendary free jazz telepathics – Braxton and Roach, Coltrane and Ali, Cherry and Blackwell.
Navarro and Holmes never idle on "Heritage of the Invisible II," choosing instead to ponder their origins in a devout charge of ecstatic cooperation. Meditating on the unseen constructive forces of culture and rhythm as a cadence encoded in one’s heritage, with "Heritage of the Invisible II" they share a volume of their story in rich color – a brilliantly imagined testament to generations of memory, creation and existential joy.”
After 44 years, a rare piece of South American electronic music history resurfaces for first time, remastered at Berlin D&M after recently being highlighted by KFW’s Creel Pone CDr series
“MESÍAS MAIGUASHCA (b. December 24th, 1938 in Quito / Ecuador) is a composer of Neue Musik, especially electroacoustic music, who studied at the Conservatorio Nacional de Quito, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY (1958–65), with ALBERTO GINASTERA at the Instituto di Tella in Buenos Aires, at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne and, after a short return to Ecuador, attended the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt and the Fourth Cologne Courses for New Music in 1966–67 where he studied with KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN. From 1968 to 1972, MAIGUASHCA worked closely with STOCKHAUSEN in the Electronic Music Studio of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne and joined STOCKHAUSEN's ensemble for performances at the German Pavilion at the Expo '70 in Osaka. In 1971 he became a founding member of the OELDORF GROUP of composers and performers, and began work at the Centre Européen pour la Recherche Musicale in Metz, at IRCAM in Paris, and at the ZKM in Karlsruhe. From 1990 – 2004 MAIGUASHCA was Professor of Electronic Music at the Musikhochschule of Freiburg im Breisgau where he still lives today.
„Maiguashca … is part of the first generation of South American maverick sound explorers that in the 1960s paved the way for a tradition of innovation that persists in the present noise and psychedelic scenes of the continent. Along with Edgar Valcárcel, César Bolaños, Beatriz Ferreyra, Mauricio Kagel or José Vicente Asuar, he contributed to expand the possibilities of musical language beyond the dominant Western canon …“ David Jarrin / Kraak Festival”
After putting his yung sons to work, Mr. Mitch puts a strong dancehall shift in on his Gobstopper Records with four warped and grimy mutations of dembow and industrial strength ragga-tek
‘I’ll Be 20 when I’m 40’ is a proper bit of weirdo dancehall artillery, and likewise he can’t help but do the OG Jamaican sound with a warped UK spin in ’Stinky Leg’, shaking it out a way also reminding off STILL’s offbeat bangers. The tumbling toms and cold steel pan drum hook of ‘Raggatron’ sounds like a buckled take on DJ Python’s notion of dembow deep house, and ‘Flacon Paradise’ traces that idea one step further, like Ben Cenac doing cumbia, with its mystic flutes and bellytightening bass torque.
Shed scrapes your serotonin receptors for residual rave energies with rounds of bolshy breakstep, clipped wing IDM, and more thunderous tekkers for Tectonic
The Berlin producer’s first release proper for the Bristol bastion follows a tight rework of Peverelist’s ‘Junction’ 10 years ago with a see-sawing session taking in the proggy build of ‘Try’, beside a shoulder-rolling industrial breakstep killer ‘Box’, and a wooden techno slammer ‘Sweep’ landing somewhere between Blawan and some giddy DJ Rush tonker.
Neana back on the trak, dolo, with six shiny club trax following the ‘Steam Room’ EP with Leonce
Doing hard drum and grimy club in his vacuum-sealed, wipe-clean and spunky style, Manchester’s Neana teases out a weirder line of sloshing fluoro synth juice in ‘Trace’ that may well ruin your creps, but you’ll have fun doing it.
A big one is ‘Indigo’, presumably a tribute to the Withington rave basement, packing wonky gurn synth leads and jump-up hard drum pressure in the EP’s waviest highlight, up there with the grimy-meets-gqom style barks and parry of ‘Take A Step Back’, the drunkenly bullish ballroom antics of ’Stormy Maywether’, and a freakish, crunching dembow-trance sidewinder, ‘Dead Technik’.
Outstanding introduction to Amapiano, the hypnotic house sound of Guateng, SA with feet in Kwaito and deep house styles. Proper dancers’ gear, dead compatible the deeper ends of Gqom, and new London sounds on Housupa. Tipped by Tom Booigzm, Black Mecha, and us, at the least.
“The past five years have seen amapiano, South Africa’s electronic music movement born in the townships of the country’s Gauteng province, evolve from an underground sound to a nationwide mainstream staple. Even with its commercial success though, amapiano’s DIY ethos has continued to disrupt music creation and distribution in the country. Most amapiano commercial successes today began their careers on cracked versions of production software like FL Studio, distributed their work through file sharing platforms like datafilehost and marketed it using social media pages they controlled and influenced.
Amapiano is partly a tasting menu of South Africa’s musical history, a lineage that has been as much a backdrop to the times as it has been a catalyst for change in the country. South African jazz has thrived pre and post-democracy, contributing international stalwarts of the genre, notably Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela. Kwaito music—which itself borrowed from other genres like marabi, kwela, mbaqanga, maskandi, bubblegum and others—was created and proliferated in the 90s partly because of the newly accessible House music imported into the country. In the early 2000s, Deep and Afro House dominated, to be followed by the rise of diBacardi, a percussion—heavy electronic music genre most popular in the city of Pretoria and its surrounding townships.
Amapiano Selections, the debut album by DJ and producer Teno Afrika, gives listeners outside the movement’s online release economy an insight into the high-burn nature of amapiano that has spawned a distinct typology under its larger umbrella. Nineteen-year-old Lutendo Raduvha has spent the bulk of his life moving between different townships on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Pretoria in the Gauteng province. The palette of amapiano styles on the album reflect these influences.
But at first, South Africa’s youngest electronic music movement lived underground with a small, loyal following. “Amapiano is a genre that I chose because I have a passion for it,” says Teno “I started following amapiano in 2016 because I wanted to explore how it’s produced. It was not taken seriously in our country. By: Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi”
The first new Magik Markers album in six years is a great reminder why we always loved the psychedelic blues-sludge trio: this is mind-altering clatter-rock of the highest order that hangs out bumming rolling papers at the intersection of Neil Young, Popol Vuh and early Sabbath.
Elisa Ambrogio, John Shaw and Pete Nolan have always been a formidable trio, with a startling slew of material emerging in the mid-00s on labels like Ecstatic Peace!, Textile and even Dominic Fernow's Hospital Productions. But since 2009, they slowed down considerably; the trio's last full-length "Surrender To the Fantasy" appeared in 2013. "2020" is a blistering return to the spotlight, following July's short "Isolated From Exterior Time" EP, and finds the band stepping right back into their alluring, endless psychedelic groove.
Ambrogio's characteristic vocals and fuzzy riffs yet again anchor the tracks, fleshed out with Spectre Folk's Pete Nolan's assured drumming and additional elements (memorably Mellotron on chirpy album highpoint 'Born Dead') from John Shaw. There's something unshakeably American about this music - rooted in blues and then shaped by riot grrl punk, 70s psychedelia and basement noise. The title is almost a joke - the music never feels rooted in the present, and that might make it more 2020 than anything else.
Æthenor's Daniel O'Sullivan reclaims the library music genre with a deliciously spooky set of soundtrack-esque drones and tones that will stick in yer head far longer than you'd expect. One for Radiophonic Workshop fans and Death Waltz devotees.
The first in a series of three albums of "library music miniatures", "Electric Maya: Dream Flotsam And Astral Hinterlands" finds multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan grappling with the concept of library music. For a while now, the genre has come to mean a certain type of breaks record - one for the crate diggers to obsess over before sticking on discogs for ridiculous sums. So legendary library imprint KPM Music is working with an assembly of modern composers to breathe some life - and more importantly some variety - into the genre.
Daniel O'Sullivan's first entry does exactly what you'd expect, but does it so damn well it's hard to complain at all. There are dusty, giallo-esque sounds aplenty, but O'Sullivan's distant drones and evocative, exquisite near-orchestral compositions are so inviting we've been going back again and again for more. Tracks like 'Eagle Ears' will have u wondering exactly which Criterion-approved indie masterpiece it was snipped from, while 'Feathered Earth' sounds as if it was swept up from the cutting room floor after Brian Eno's 'On Land' sessions.
Hearing any artist rise to the challenge of working in short-form is a pleasure, and Daniel O'Sullivan appears to relish the limitations of the form. Each vignette is perfectly formed, whether it's plaintive solo piano, bizarre outerzone electronics, pastoral ambience, high-minded prog or spiritual drone. It's an odd mix but utterly enjoyable from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
Jan Jelinek takes on six great pop "standards" by the likes of Kraftwerk and Marcel Duchamp, dissected by sampler, stretched, compressed, and re-collaged with a rarely paralleled craftsmanship and playfulness.
‘Anthology of American Pop Music’ is the technically the 2nd full length statement from the semi-fictitious project’s HQ, the Federal Court of Justice, Karlsruhe, Germany. It is an arch example of Jan Jelinek’s fakelore approach to composition, demonstrating his deeply enigmatic style of sample dissection and reassembly in six collaged vignettes threaded with elusive ohwurms and “flashes of déjà vu and remote echoes that evoke the original”, all blessed with the cool curiosity of his most intoxicating, dreamiest work.
With a beguiling sleight-of-hand on the sampler perhaps matched only by the likes of Carl Stone, but much more delicate with it, Jelinek’s latest GES sees him tease uncredited, unrecognisable pop hits into spidery webs of thought that loop and fray in totally absorbing ambient geometries and rustling, jazzy fabrications. We advise shutting off all comms, closing the curtains, and allowing only a hypnic jerk or two get in between you and GES mesmerising, lissom suspension systems and blissed smirk state of mind.
Flaming Tunes was recorded by Gareth Williams (ex of This Heat) and his childhood friend Mary Currie and released on cassette in 1985.
If you spend any time at all on the Flaming Tunes website (in particular, it has some scans of letters Williams wrote to Currie in the early 80's), or read a series of interviews Tony Herrington made for The Wire magazine in 2009 with Currie and Andrew Jacques of These Records, you get a real feel for the personal nature of the recordings. As Currie herself describes it: "Flaming Tunes was a collaboration that came out of a friendship. Gareth and I would meet at 'Danger de Mort' Gareth's house in Balham usually during the daytime when my son was at nursery. Sometimes we'd be joined by others. A room full of instruments and things that could make noise. We made some of our own too and used available objects for percussion. Later on we had more sophisticated equipment - full size keyboard and 12 track recording facility. Sometimes things happened and sometimes we just indulged ourselves in making a bit of a racket. I can't begin to describe how Gareth put things together and this was often done well into the early hours of the morning. I'd go away and come back and what had started out as a fragment had become another flaming tune."
After a bootlegged version came out in the late 90's, Life & Living Records - an independent label operated by Williams' close circle of friends (Williams himself passed away in 2001 at the age of 48) - went back to the original master tapes and painstakingly restored and remastered the audio. As for the music itself - oh gosh, where to start? On one level - it's a hodgepodge of lo-fi pop songs, experiments and location recordings that sound like they were never intended for public consumption. And yet - these tunes just don't let go of you once you've spent any amount of time with them. Take "Breast Stroke" for instance - for many people the highlight of the album - it's just the most unforgettable, perfectly formed, eccentric, life-affirming three and a half minutes you'll ever spend with a piece of music. The fact that the percussion was made on a casio keyboard and what sounds like a peculiarly British variant of a human beatbox, well, it's just the icing on the cake. Really, words just do no justice.
An unmissable introduction to the waking dream-like music of Charlie Morrow, drawn from 50 years of archival material from all angles - classical, folk, jazz, tape music - with an abundance of colour and extended melodic thought of the rarest kind, following cameos and work on ace reissues/retrospectives of R.I.P. Hayman, New Audio Wilderness Audiographics, and Company in recent times. Really feeling this one
“America Lament is a panoramic musical survey of legendary experimental composer/event-maker Charlie Morrow’s eclectic works. At just over 40-minutes, America Lament is mysterious, beguiling, and jubilant, comprised of pieces employing everything from hand-made electronics to Irish lap pipes, ecstatic jazz to Schubert recompositions, ambient flutes, and a string quartet. Charlie Morrow and Recital’s Sean McCann excavated 50 years of Morrow’s bottomless archive, from 1970 to 2020, to present this follow-up to 2018’s Recital release Toot! Too.
Charlie Morrow (b. 1942 in Newark, NJ) is a composer, sound artist, performer, and innovator. With concert performances and ad jingles (including Hefty trash bags – “Hefty, Hefty, Hefty! Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy!”), city-wide events and film soundtracks, museum sound installations and hospital sound environments, Morrow’s work has been experienced by a wider audience than most creative artists can claim.
Charlie’s music has a melody and depth to it that I feel is absent from a lot of avant-garde music. His keen interest in all musical styles seem to inform this harmony. Charlie’s drive to interconnect people and ideas is contagious and affirming, and working with him has been one of the pleasures of my life. We have forthcoming releases in 2021 by Alison Knowles, Jerome Rothenberg, and a box set of the 1980 International Sound Poetry Festival.
-Sean McCann, Sept. 2020”
Plush first signs of new material from the legendary Detroit-Berlin axis; Carl Craig taking off on a cosmic hi-tek jazz mission, and Moritz von Oswald cutting fathoms deeper with a dubbier, swinging take letting the sax sing bittersweet
“Collaborators and close friends since the foundational years of Berlin and Detroit's spiritual and musical partnership, two undisputed pioneers of electronic music, Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald, continue to expand on a shared musical vision. "Attenuator" is the first production to emerge from a series of studio sessions in Berlin and Detroit over the past two years, with more material to come in the near future. Although originally produced in unison, this two-sided single sees both Craig and von Oswald deliver their own distinct take on the material, each fluidly expanding on their uniquely intertwined heritage.
For his take on "Attenuator", Carl Craig leans further into the fluid blend of track-led techno and warm musicianship that remain central to his work, building stifling tension as a prelude to a fervent brew of warm pads and celestial sax. Headstrong and deep, Craig embraces his dancefloor nous without sacrificing a moment of beatitude In response, Moritz Von Oswald bathes the brass and the bliss of "Attenuator" in the accomplished dub texture he's long been known for, unspooling layers of musicianship to roll forward a loose, fresh and equally fulfilling atmosphere, one that still maintains the arresting pulse established at the heart of the duo's sophisticated, futurist philosophy.”
Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, songs and instrumentals, out October 23rd on 4AD. songs and instrumentals are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to coronavirus. After returning to the states from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts.
"Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, ‘songs and instrumentals’, out on 4AD. ‘songs and instrumentals’ are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to the pandemic. After returning to the States from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts."
Seasonal synth-pop and shoegaze from Penelope Trappes on a new EP with Houndstooth.
The London-based Australian songwriter’s icy vox are wrapped in high tog new age synth arps in the wintry panorama, ‘Eel Drip’, whereas they turn into cottony clouds of reverb against the backdrop of slow, plangent shoegaze strums in ‘Break’ with sanguine effect that seeps into her Julia Holter-esque torch song ‘Afraid’, and the washed out choral vox and strings of ‘Berceuse’ surely recalls Tape Loop Orchestra’s paranormal ambient investigations.
Warehouse D&B ruination from Karim Maas, tagging in Outer Heaven on the massive lead tune, plus some Scorn or DJ Scud-style levels of hard pressure.
Shotting us right back to the dankest Manc warehouses and free parties circa early ’00s, Karim Maas generates serious darkside biz calling in reinforcements from Outer Heaven on the demonic strongback tech-step rollige of ‘The Force’, before letting the leash off on a gnashing beast ‘Mosquito’ for a cold rush of clattering breakbeat pressure and tormented distortion recalling Scorn, and Charlene lends possessed vocals to the reverberating noise of ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated’ like a female echo across the empty warehouse from Karim’s ‘Cassette A’ classic. What we would give for a night of this gear in a warehouse this weekend isn’t right.
For the second round in the series, the idea remains the same - Nina Kraviz announces the stream date and sends out a call to artists for their unreleased music to firstname.lastname@example.org, all genres are welcome.
"After the stream takes place, the favourite tracks are signed and a few weeks later a digital only 'hot steel' compilation is released. The second hot steel stream took place in Mykonos' Cavo Paradiso and results into another multitalented, high octane and unique 21 track compilation."
Minimal house producer Mathias Kaden steers to deep, strolling dub house in a plush full length for Echocord
Across an immersive hour long album Kaden firms up the styles of his 12”s in this mode for Raum…music, Mule Musiq, and Ornaments in a sprawling album format, elegantly weaving between Tomomi Ukumori’s hushed Japanese vocals and perfectly poised dub house motion in the likes of ‘Kioku’, thru to offbeat underwater steppers recalling T++ on Shao’, a splashy roller from the Substance playbook in ‘Asaka’, and the solemn dub chord reflection of ’Soso’. Very nicely done.
Beggars Arkive reissue of The Fall’s 10th studio album, 1988’s THE FRENZ EXPERIMENT.
"The reissue contains the original album, plus singles and B-Sides. The CD version also includes a previously unreleased 4-track BBC session and “A Day In The Life”, a Beatles cover recorded exclusively for the NME charity compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father in 1988, plus a 24-page booklet with new interviews. The LP version contains extensive sleeve notes with new interviews. The notes included with both formats contain brand new interviews conducted by Daryl Easley in May 2020."
Scuzzy no wave punk-rap blatz on Brooklyn’s emergent No Truce label, introducing Nora On Tape with 14 ratty gobs of brittle, broken drums and unmetered flows like a scrappier adjunct to dungeon rap styles, Black Haine, Sensational, Nappy Nappa, Carl Crack - tipped!
As far as we can tell, Nora On Tape also hail from NYC and they have some serious grievances with life, as they spell out across the bile-spattered bars and shattered swagger of ‘Dream About The Poison’. They certainly know how to hold your attention, and when to shut up, with 14 tracks that rarely go over the 2min mark while shapeshifting between patterns primed fractious, anxious listening.
The charred road punk of ‘Rotten Tress’ triggers a stream-of-consciousness taking in the fuggish-ruggish knocks and snarling vox on ‘Dent’, and unhinged drum loops on ‘White Flag’ and lashed to straightjacketed 2-step and phantasmic electronics in the title tune. ‘Running 1’ marks the album’s sorest down point with sickly production and a hauntingly pitched vocal sample recalling to our ears Carl Crack & Din-ST’s Firewire, and we can’t argue with the bitter sentiments of ‘I Hate Small Talk’.
XL’s Norwegian rave-pop curveballs Smerz tilt to jukin’ trancey synth-pop and wheezing folk strings on their follow-up to their sought-after 2018 collection
‘I don’t talk about that much’ is a scudding bomb gassed on searing trance arps and needlepoint footwork-techno rhythms, gilded with coldest Scandi pop vocal perfection. ‘Hva his’ is quite the contrasting comedown, leaving vocals aside for an instrumental folk drone-pop vignette that sounds like they’re using traditional Norwegian fiddles in the middle of a forest at dawn.
The untouchable Nyege Nyege Tapes turn up drivingly psychedelic visions of AfroLatin techno-meets-traditional-drumming by Portuguese/Uganda band HHY & The Kampala Unit, rendered in immersive widescreen dub and featuring special appearance of the Kampala Prison Brass Band for one of the wildest, heart-in-mouth rhythm trips of 2020
Helmed by Jonathan Saldanha of HHY & The Macumbas, and revolving ghetto activist Florence Lugemwa (trumpet) and percussionist Omutaba, ‘Lithium Blast’ is the latest, unprecedented collision of energies from the cultural fusion-accelerator of Nyege Nyege Tapes Kampala-based HQ. It follows the edits of HHY & The Macumbas’ ‘Camouflage Vector’ set, and the inventive examples of recent works by Metal Preyers, Villaelvin and Rian Treanor, with a cinematically scoped and body-conscious suite of 11 militant yet lush songs that surely prove Uganda’s capital city Kampala is a true epicentre of innovative new music in the modern day.
Committing a sort of futuristic, off-grid trance music for the ages, HHY & The Kampala Unit set out a penetrating vision of street-level cosmogony, intuitively mapping out zones between native drumming styles, techno, and astral electronics in a stunning suite of dubwise 4D starcharts. Guided by ancient, encrypted rhythms and a gripping sensuality, the album flows from its bolshy introduction to the Kampala Prison Brass Band in the fanfare of ‘Bursting Thru The Gates’, to thunder try the rocky rapids of ’Mesh Intensifier’ and chase sequence of ‘Fissure Core Fluid’ with a powerful sense of drama and magnetic dancefloor traction.
Shards of shatterproof ‘80s FM synth lace with swingeing polymetric percussion in the twin tub rinse-out ‘Catastrophism’, and Gazelle-legged rhythms synch with sweeping subs and soaring pads in the title track, but it’s possibly the ravishing electronic lushness of ‘Science of Dust’ and the familiar yet otherworldly hybrid of Florence Lugemwa’s trumpet with supple ambient dancehall backdrops in ‘Shining Star’ that will leave listeners most wide-eyed and mesmerised by HHY & The Kampala Unit’s strikingly natural but hyperreal sound.
A total doozy.
The sferic label add to a strong run of releases from Space Afrika, Perila, Echium and Roméo Poirier with a stunning new LP from Jake Muir; a fabrication of impressionistic cityscapes describing L.A. at dusk, and Berlin dawning, highly recommended if you’re into Pinkcourtesyphone, Gas, Philip Jeck, Jan Jelinek.
’The hum of your veiled voice’ was written by Muir in the wake of his transition from a life in Los Angeles to a new start in Berlin. It sees him transpose field recordings of his former home city into a hazier sort of mid-ground that subtly diffracts the difference with Berlin in summer, refining the shimmering production tekkers of his West Coast surf-pop tribute ‘Lady’s Mantle’ (2018) with a nuanced, lower case emotive tactility intended to arouse heady states of atmospheric tension between nostalgic sehnsucht and romantic promise.
Muir readily acknowledges influence from the more washed out, elusive textures, timbres, and spatial awareness of artists such as Philip Jeck, Richard Chartier, and Marina Rosenfeld, as opposed to the usual touchstones of AFX or Eno. But more implicitly he references a sense of queered ambience shared with Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone, and as such his music is seduced by the allure of “gay bathhouses and spas, club back rooms and decadent boudoirs” in a way that suffuses the whole record with an, intoxicating, aphrodisiac quality.
Supine and seductive in its illustration of an “endless night”, the devil lies in the album’s evocative intricacies, using a signature light touch and Akira Rabelais’ Argeïphontes Lyre software to ruffle locked grooves and dusty jazz loops into ASMR-triggering texturhythms and dematerialised, hea(r)tsick blurs between the ear-stroking ephemera of ‘fleeting touches’ and the way his music appears to waltz out of an open window over Berlin at night in ‘the dimness of the sealed eye’, and land on the pillow next to you ‘like sweet thoughts in a dream’.
Glorious third album by Call Super; his first for Anthony Naples’ and Jenny Slattery's Incienso, following the label’s amazing DJ Python side with an immersive suite of shapeshifting sound design and needlepoint rhythm programming that occupies a sweetspot somewhere between Beatrice Dillon’s knockout ‘Workaround’ album, Mark Fell’s pointilistic signatures, or Sylvian & Sakamoto’s ‘Bamboo Houses’.
In the works for three years, or roughly since ‘Arpo’, Call Super’s third album moves his production tekkers to the next level. It incorporates stronger influence than ever from prevailing outernational rhythm currents, as well as stark modern classical and post-rock styles, to feel out a lushly organic and emotionally personalised sort of ambient dance ecosystem, one teeming with detailed and bedevilling production which gives voice to his most curious and inventive musical urges.
The level of nanometer-tight, obsessively filigree detail to his work here is just dead impressive, leaving no second sparing for movement in 10 succinct parts that add up to an ingenious, fractal mosaic of all his previous ideas, and then some. This new approach can be summed in the title and aesthetic of album opener ‘An Unstable Music’, where shards of metal guitar, icy piano droplets and bursts of concète texture set scattered coordinates for what’s to follow; taking in crystalline 2-step in ‘Pleasure For Pleasure’, and a tight dembow mutation of shine-eyed ‘90s AI in ‘Opperton Swim’, before it turns deep with his murky collage of chamber-like strings and strung-out vox in the ‘Mouth Bank Bed’, and the likes of ‘Sleep All Night With Open Eye’ push into a gloomy but humid sort of phantasia that sweetly contrasts his radiant webs of insectoid patterns recalling Beatrice Dillon’s amazing ‘Workaround’ album in ‘Ekkles’, and the switch between deliquescent arps and frayed vocals that wrap up the album in a wickedly puzzling knot.
A 12 track album, an hour in length, recorded in the space of a week and - for our money - one of the most inspiring things we've heard this year, an intimate fever dream made real, a summoning of rich and complex spirits that reminds us of Dean Blunt x Hype Williams, Paris Texas, Ulla (who plays saxophone on two tracks under the Foamy alias), Grouper, Laurel Halo...
Beloved for her tapes and LPs with everyone from sferic to TTT and Motion Ward, as well as her role running Radio.syg.ma, Perila's productions and curatorial work have been central to the emergence of a new ambient rhizome in Berlin in recent years. The hushed but fractious patchwork of 12 cuts 'Everything Is Already There' speaks to the lowkey breadth and sensuous subtleties of her style, embracing opiated shoegaze, queasy concréte, and blushing ambient soul in a waking-daydream of a session that revels in the pleasures of locating and nourishing one's inner life.
'Everything Is Already There' arrives not long since Perila's action in Critical Amnesia's 'ambient supergroup' with her pals, Exael, Huerco S., Ol, VTGNike, and uon, and contains some of the most developed, free and textured work in her small but precious catalogue. She emerges like a ragged spirit from the viscous tronics of 'Time Swamp', and shapeshifts from urgent street-corner poetry in 'Pocket Full Of Nothing' to take in damaged ambient blues recalling Loren Connors on 'Riot In A Cornfield', with her descriptive sensitivities in lushest, illusive effect on the likes of 'On A Roof' and the gauzy aerial drift of 'Reality Scan'
Stunning, stunning album.
Canny debut album of quizzical, noirish pop with nods to drill, R&B, dubstep, and a crafty electronica and folk bent - think a gallic CS & Kreme, Laila Sakini, Coil. Strong stuff
“An extraordinary twilight world opens while listening to Organizatisya. Adventurous yet humble, they push the limits towards the unknown. One thing’s for sure, it’s fresher than the juiciest peach on a perfect summer day.
Organizatsiya hail from Lyon, France. Leo and Zoe clearly have strong roots in folk and acoustic music. These ‘old worlds’ blend in surprisingly well with more contemporary digital, futuristic sounds. Soothing analog recordings meet hyperdigital compositions reminiscent of IDM creations and peppered with spoken words that dance around in unexpected ways.
Seductive, intelligent and deeply hypnotic, this esoteric material delivers a dreamlike experience.
Like finishing a game and celebrating victory with cheap champagne in a neon light lit bubble bath with the end tune of The Legend of Zelda in the air.”
Bad belly, end-of-earth, avant rock clangour and surprisingly sparse, shimmering passages from the Kiwi kings of this style, still holding their ground out there in Dunedin, NZ. The blunted mumble of ‘Glitterness’ and ‘The Sky Above’ are the ones for us, recalling John Duncan’s wizened covers LP heard thru a haze of eternal teenage rock angst and melancholy
“Some bands struggle to transcend their initial mythos, those stories that introduce them to the public eye. But The Dead C is a notable exception. They appeared in 1986 under a cloud of mystery, their unconventional location (South Island, New Zealand) helping to fuel their erratic sound. Name-dropped through the nineties by groups like Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo, they gained influence and acclaim but never strayed from their original mainlined performing technique, which can sound like chaos to the casual listener.
What kind of a world greets them and their new album Unknowns in 2020? New Zealand culture is better known throughout the world, not to mention a low-virus paradise. Yes, isolated as in the past, but this time for being a nation of efficacy in tackling a public health crisis. But what about the rest of us? The music of Mssrs. Robbie Yates, Bruce Russell and Michael Morley endures, partially because their errant sounds, once so alienating, now feel like they’ve been made flesh in a large part of the modern day world.
Continuing to delve inwards for inspiration with tin ears towards trends, styles and technique, The Dead C forge onward. Unpolished, dusty and gritty, these three have again taken two guitars and drums, a combo which has less to say than ever, and leave us stunned. Unknowns has Morley slurring over spiraling dissemblance, with tracks ricocheting from intense to assaultive to drained, yet consistently magnificent.
As reliable as ever, The Dead C are firmly grounded as an unassailable Truth.”
First digital edition of Zazou Bikaye’s pioneering 1985 Afro-electro-pop album, reissued and expanded with singles and bonus unreleased cuts on Crammed Discs, including remixes by label boss Vincent Kenis + Marc Hollander (Aksak Maboul)
‘Mr. Manager’ is the 2nd album by Congolese vocalist/composer Bony Bikaye alongside French musician/producer Hector Zazou and modular synth wizards CY1 after their ‘Noir et Blanc’ debut in 1983, which saw reissue shine in recent years, along with their ’88 acid house funk turn, ‘Guilty!’.
Their follow-up feels very much of that swanging mid-‘80s era, just before computer grids took over, and captures a slick mix of soukous, synth-pop, and Afro-funk performed by a crack squad of Congolese and Belgian musicians/singers, including Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout on trumpet & harmonica, Vincent Kenis on guitar, three brilliantly soulful backing singers (Mwamba Kasuba, Nicole MT & M’Bombo K) and two percussionists (Chris Joris & Bigoune). Marc Hollander played a bit of sax and produced some of the recordings, alongside Hector Zazou, Vincent Kenis and engineer Gilles Martin. ‘80s groove fiends should be checking for slippery aces in the quicksilver rhythmelody of ‘Le Menteur (Mokosi)’, the brassy synth funk swerve of ’Sopa’, and the acid house remix of ‘Get Back (Longwa)’ by Per Martinsen (Symese, Mental Overdrive).
One night in 1975, a successful tax lawyer named Rafael Machuca had his mind blown in Barranquilla’s ‘Plaza de los Musicos’. Overnight he went from a high ranking position in the Columbian revenue authority to visionary production guru of the newly formed record label that bore his name, Discos Machuca, and for the next six years he devoted his life to releasing some of the strangest, most experimental Afro Psychedelia Cumbias ever produced.
"La Locura de Machuca is the story of one man’s bizarre odyssey into Colombia’s coastal music underground, and the wild, hypnotic sounds he helped bring up to the surface. The Colombian music industry was thriving in the mid-seventies, but while homegrown bolero and vallenato tunes were doing well on the charts, it was imported African records that were setting crowds on fire at the picos - the sound-systems that fuelled neighbourhood parties - and wherever those records were played there were always a handful of groups who were inspired to plug traditional Cumbia directly into the electric currents coming from across the Atlantic. It was these obscure bands, who fused Colombian and African rhythms with the swirling organs and psychedelic guitars of underground rock, that fired Machuca’s imagination.
While the label made its money releasing popular hits by legends such as Alejandro. Dur n and An bal Vel squez, that money was poured back into a unique run of experimental releases by fringe artists such as La Banda Africana, King Somalie, Conjunto Barbacoa, and Abelardo Carbono, one of the godfathers of Champeta Criolla. When Machuca couldn’t find groups to realise his particular vision, he simply created them himself. Drawing on a fearsome roster of musicians associated with the label, he assembled bands that lasted only as long as it took to record an album ,and unleashed the results - complete with arrestingly unusual album covers - under a series of different names such as Samba Negra or El Grupo Folcl rico. This unorthodox approach led his longtime recording engineer, Eduardo D vila, to describes Machuca’s productions as the “B-Movies of Colombian music.” The story of Doctor Machuca and his eccentric exploits tells of one of Colombia’s most atypical and peculiar record companies; a defining pillar of Afro- Caribbean psychedelia. His productions have come to represent the roots of Champeta and set the pedigree standards for Afro and Coste o avant-garde. The seventeen tracks on La Locura de Machuca, harvested from the darkest, strangest corners of the Discos Machuca catalogue, sound like little else recorded before or since."
Wonderfully bittersweet modern composition from Oliver Leith, who piqued our attention with an ace debut for Herbert’s Accidental, and grabs it again with his puckered melodies and keening tunings for SN Variations
Where his introductory EP was off-kilter lush, there’s a more aspartame flavour and rubbery harmonic feel to ‘Balloon’ that puckers up somewhere in our minds between The Automatics Group and Markus Floats on the first piece, and Entr’acte’s six swords enigma in the expressively sharp electronics of the second. ‘Balloon III’ is given to a more stately procession of curdled melodies and dead strange harmonics that appear to incrementally ascend across the track, and ’Slide’ drips with the prototypical algorithmic slime of Æ circa LP5 and EP7. 100% one to keep an ear on, this guy.
Crucial shots of dancefloor suss from original UKF don Apple on London’s Housupa Records - Supa D’s new stronghold for UK garage and Funky producers making up-to-the-minute new bangers
Apple’s early 12”s circa 2007-2009 were the epitome of percussive UKF, hitting right on the cusp of garage, grime and house with a proper UK style that’s properly updated and in effect on the ‘Bongoclart EP’.
The tempo is noticeably slower than his early joints, and the vibe is less grimy, more deep-tech, but still with the hardest, swingeing rhythms in the roto-bongo-led syncopation of ‘Inna Your Bongoclart’, while ‘Picky Head’ possibly betrays some slinkier influence from Nuyorican and Yoruban house styles in the boinging square bass and skidding cowbells.
It’s top to have Apple back in circulation! No napping.
DJ Mellowbone SA and Supa D finesse the sort of SA Gqom-meets-UKF styles rudely explored by Scratcha in a dead tight trio for Supa D’s Housupa Records
The confluence of deeper South African house pressure and current UK styles from UKF pioneer and Rinse resident Supa D comes to natural, ongoing conclusion in three killer cuts, tucking away militant trills and hypnotic cut-up vocal lead in the darker Gqom-like ace ‘Chifta’, along with breezier hustle in the wide-skied pads and percolated vocals and drums of ’Sghubu Somedantso’ leading to brooding bleeps in a way that recall another SA producer, Transmat’s Mbulelo, while ‘Cheese’ locks off a slower, shark-eyed swerve and droning, jabbing lead with results reminding of Geeneus’ Volume 1 set.
New UKF mutations from new players sourced by Rinse FM don and Housupa Records boss, Supa D
Last spotted by us on Cooly G’s Dub Organizer compilation in 2012, DJ IC returns with a sleek, tensile killer nagged with harpsichord riff, cold drums and shower bassline in his dub edit, while the original featuring Native Tribe is strapped with nastier neuro synthlines and recalls Addictive’s ‘Domino Effect’ classic, next to a bolshier, Dutch sounding rework from Hardihood.
Naggingly infectious UKF-meets-Gqom dancers from Truce on Housupa Records, run by UKF OG, Supa D
Truce follows super strong Black Atlantic and Caribbean links with the inch-tight shuffle, brooding square bass torque and ohrwurming flute riff on ’Sugar Cane Rum’, before ramping it with martial Kuduro-style canter and mean as fuck Gqom drones in ‘Capoiera’ to recall Nazar or DJ Chengz’ St. Lucien styles spun via São Paolo.
Top shelf tackle. Do not sleep!
The expert selectors at Soul Jazz survey the golden years of German electronic music with hairy works by Can, Amon Duul II, Conrad Schnitzler and more obscure acts from 1971-1983
Conrad Schnitzler’s evergreen ‘Ballet Statique’ is always a strong look, and sequenced here along with the lip-sniff poise of Emak’s arpeggiated zinger ‘Tanz in Den Himmel’; looser funk from Can with ‘I’m So Green’; rolling and splashy krautrock from Agitation Free; Kalacakra’s impish flute fantasy; the pastoral breeze of Roedelius and his overripe work with Harmonia; and a scuzzy driver from Günther Schickert.
Incredible album of bleeding-heart catharsis from cellist Oliver Coates, think Arthur Russell doing drone metal with Fennesz, and you’re not far off Coates’ capacity for tear-jerking genius here.
Acclaimed cellist, Oliver Coates’ tactile skills are in gloaming, distressed effect for his stunning 2nd side with RVNG INTL., showing why he’s sought-out for recording with everyone from Laurel Halo and Malibu to Mica Levi and Jonny Greenwood in recent times. Following the more frivolous urges of 2018’s ’Shelley’s On Zenn-la’, Coates keeps in step with the mood of 2020 with a definitive solo album that truly speaks to his credentials, but with an almost lyrically folkwise style of storytelling wrapped up in heathered and thistly textures and windswept dynamics
Working an exquisite tension between live playing, sampling and tempestuous storms of FX, Coates embraces his darker and more vulnerable side like his life depends on it, and maybe yours, too. The first half’s ‘Caregiver’ suite starts out broodingly ambiguous and sweeps from raging noise distortion to bittersweet keen and rawest, wasted harmonics, and the 2nd side sees us off with cinematic beauties like ‘Butoh’, the crushing riffs of ‘Reunification 2018’, and its tender kiss-off starring Malibu. Fans of high grade emotional punishment need to dive in with both feet.
W*tchouse OGs Salem continue their prodigal return for 2020 with satisfyingly bleak new signs of their first album in 10 years
In pursuit of their tornado-chasing promo for ‘Starfall’, Salem’s slimmed down duo of Jack Donoghue and John Holland trace a biblical downer vibe on ‘Red River’ with stacked choral pads and oxycontin-tempo trap heartbeat to help you wallow in the glorious misery of it all.
**One-sided edition of 100 including hand-numbered insert. Think quick - killer record!**
Stone-cold mutant techno ace from Italian producer Devianza, courtesy of London's Kapvt Mvndi.
Chances are these are already gone by the time you read this, but just to rub it in, both tracks approximate something like Donato Dozzy and FiS collaborating for Preserved Instincts. Aye, just like that.
Get one if you can.
Loscil's dreamy 2011 ambient classic "coast/ range/ arc/" gets the deluxe reissue treatment with a fresh remaster and an additional track.
Originally released in 2011, "coast/ range/ arc/" is a dense, evocative ambient record - the kind of album that set the stage for plenty of music that now clogs up playlists, but has rarely been done more effectively. Stylistic touchstones might be Thomas Köner, Angelo Badalamenti and Stars of the Lid (to a degree), but Scott Morgan takes things to shadowier, yet picturesque places - fitting, considering he is based in the quite lovely Pacific Northwest.
It's music that evokes its setting perfectly - bubbling streams haunt 'Fromme' before sub bass hints at larger, mountainous structures looming in the distance. 'Brohm Ridge' meanwhile sounds like troubling winds rushing through trees, with a haunted melancholy that reminds of Deaf Center at their finest. Unheard track 'Black Tusk Descent' has been added to fill out this reissue and concludes the album in a fitting mist of low-end drone and glassy anxious synth.
‘Sign’ is Autechre’s first new album-album proper since ‘Elseq’ and contains some of their most emosh compositions in eons, perhaps since ‘Tri Repetae’.
Practically pocket-sized in comparison to their sprawling torrent of live material and radio recordings in recent years, ’Sign’ is a return to the sort of concision found circa ‘Exai’ and their earlier albums. Effectively they’ve gotten better to grips with their live set-up, and the hyper ideas found in their work-in-progress demonstrations on the five volume ‘Elseq’ and 8hrs of ‘NTS Sessions’ have been refined into moments of crystalline ambient baroque beauty and liquid-limbed swag on ’Sign’.
After their music has undergone what could be called a growth spurt in recent years, the acrid plasma of their complex, hyper-inorganic systems feels to congeal, create more intricate snaps across the album, from the lush cosmic collisions of ‘M4 Lema’, to the rhizomic arp weaving on ‘F7’, while refining their tendons and muscle in the gyrostep of ‘au14’ and ‘such.mefd2’. The anthropomorphisation of their synthesis accelerates with the album’s 2nd half with the elegiac catharsis of ‘Metaz form8’ displaying a greater emotional intelligence, while their shapeshifting synthesis grows semblances of glowing hair and teeth and skin in ’th red a’, and even a plaintive human heartache in the systolic thud and bloo pads of ‘psin AM’ that rawly bleeds out in the album’s future classic closer ‘r cazt’.
This LP was hinted at by Autechre as one of two albums ready for 2020, so we’ll take it this is their “U Ok Hun?” one to some possibly more hardcore turns in the future. Have it.
Jeff Mills’ Axis grows older gracefully with this jazzy suite from Detroit player/producer Byron The Aquarius, following his work fro everyone from Wild Oats and Sound Signature to Eglo and Apron in recent years
In key with Axis’ shift toward cinematic and home listening styles in recent years, spearheaded by the likes of Mills own work with The Beneficiaries and Spiral Deluxe, Byron’s ‘Ambrosia’ fits the new skool Axis look with a hot blooded set of deep, soulful house and syncopated broken beats by drummer “Lil John” Roberts, trumpeter Dashill Smith, flautist Rasheeda Ali, guitarist Sheldon Ferguson, and bass player Chocolat Costa, in a fruity jazz fusion style. Trust its winks, vamps, and shimmies in all the right places for folks over a “certain age” who don’t like getting their trainers mucky anymore, even if clubs were open.
Or, as Mills himself puts it: “I figured that all the music lovers of past eras will grow older, move away from the physical response of dancing to music because the rest of their lives would need more attention, more time and management. However, the affection and love that once carried them throughout the long nights on the dance floors would not only maintain, but that relationship might actually grow more intense as time marches on and the asset of fond memories of our pasts would cherish and valued even more. Considering this type of music lover, I looked to electronic music to examine if the genre had produced enough non-danceable material that might accommodate such a person.”
Sublime suite of solo piano from Melbourne’s James Rushford, chasing his guest chops on the incredible CS + Kreme album with a bountiful 2.5hr dedication to the delicate style of shy, Catalonian composer, Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
“The imagery of musical forms emptied of earthly meaning, of solitude, and of a connection to the divine were irresistible to Federico Mompou. A desire to be alone had shaped Mompou’s early musical direction: as natural shyness ended his ambitions to be piano virtuoso, after studies at the Paris Conservatoire he turned to composition instead. His approach remained introspective – far removed from the overt and public expressions of the avant-garde, both before and after the Second World War – and pursued a line inwards, towards Catalan traditional music, idiosyncratic technique, and a spiritually clarified instinctivism inspired particularly by Erik Satie. The four books of pieces are considered by some to be Mompou’s masterpiece. Música callada creates a sort of musical negative space, in which presence (of external references) creates lightness, and absence (of formal complexity, of counterpoint, of thematic or harmonic development) creates weight and substance.
Metaphors such as these also lie behind James Rushford’s See the Welter, composed as a companion piece to Música callada in 2016. In See the Welter, Rushford introduces a concept of ‘musical shadows’. The aim is not a recognisable transcription or recomposition of Mompou’s twenty-eight pieces, but a sort of Proustian ‘sieving’, in which memories and sensations – such as finger pressures, resonances and harmonic rhythm – are projected across a new surface, in new forms, and as new memories. Just as a shadow both intensifies and diffuses the form of the object by which it is cast, so Rushford’s piece transforms and scatters the details of Mompou’s collection while intensifying its essence. Compositionally, the piece is the inverse of Mompou’s: a single block in place of a multitude of fleeting impressions; its long shadow. Expressively, however, See the Welter explores the same territory, if seen through the other side of the glass: resonances and absences, silences within sounds, luminosity and intensity, bodies within spaces.”
Unmissable introduction to Portmore, Jamaica’s G Sudden, riding hard and sweet on warped dancehall and soca rhythms supplied by Seekersinternational, sent in cooperation between the reliably rooted-but-fwd Duppy Gun Productions and London’s Bokeh Versions
The latest in DGP’s series of recordings pairing vocalists from the island with under-cover and far flung producers is a sterling example of their hybrid experiments and strongly tipped to fans of the crackshot Sikka Rhymes set or ‘I Jahbar & Friends’ soundclash from 2019, and anything blessed by Seekersinternational for that matter.
With vocals recorded at DPG’s studio in Spanish town, G Sudden is ideally placed in production settings by Manila/Canada’s Seekersinternational, who temper their more cut-up tendencies to roll out a mix of vibrant, deep fwd rhythms unafraid to switch up the dance, running a deftly heavy sound between the Equiknoxx-meets-Prince styles of ’Skin Get Bun’, a jukin’ soca killer in ‘Gran a Day’, and what sounds like a psychedelic Digital Mystikz on ‘Tings Hard Dub’.
Mexico City’s Umor Rex supply a warm reminder of Maatsethe’s cinematic post-rock styles in his various guises, including tracks as Fonoda, who recorded for City Centre Office’s Büro sublabel
“Maatsethe’s solo output is all about ambient and sound collage. Loads of processed guitars & samples meander between walls of sound, intimate harmonies and a kind of melancholic cinematic landscape. Stoic basslines are surrounded by soft and gentle spheres. There is a bit of post-rock feel every now and then, always wrapped up in a meditative monotony, slightly interrupted by small epic narratives to gaze up.
Maatsethe (Matthias Neuefeind, Berlin) curates the KeplarRev series with vinyl reissues of essential electronic albums from the 90’s and 00’s, he plays in the band Fonoda and is part of the project Washer, Zimmer & the Guitar People.”
Keith Kenniff’s output as Goldmund has established him as one of the preeminent composers of minimal piano-based music alongside peers like Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, who himself once described Kenniff’s work as “so, so, so beautiful”.
"His recordings tread sincerely along paths laden with dusty timbres, diffuse synthesizer, and soaring string textures tinted by the muted glow of a cloudy analog sky above. On The Time it Takes, Goldmund’s newest book of aural polaroids, Kenniff somehow manages to deepen the emotionality of his already affecting project, creating a space in which to unfold the sorrows of a troubling age and revel in the hope and beauty that follow thereafter. In this sense, The Time it Takes tackles grief head-on, unadorned by themes of escapism or pastorality, and marks another entry in an impressively consistent body of work.
From the first murmurs of its opener “Day in, Day Out”, The Time it Takes calls to mind the cascading nature of mourning. There’s the first tragedy, the loss itself, then the second one, the dissipation of the memory of the thing lost. We start out grieving for a loss directly; years later, sorrow reappears not only for that loss, but for the idea that its meaning is slipping away with each turn of the calendar page. An aged piano thumps gently just beyond an impassable moat of time, its operator’s presence is evidenced by the shuffling of pedals and the shifting of mechanisms, and seraphic choirs seep in from places unseen. It’s a miniature diagram of how the outer world transitions to the inner, and vice versa. “Memory Itself” follows suit with earthy textures that become slowly buried by celestial ones as the seconds pass. Kenniff’s kindling of piano is gradually set ablaze with synth, choir, and trilling strings provided by his equally emotive labelmate Christopher Tignor. The track is a crescendo that imparts an equal amount of dread and relief depending on the mood of the listener.
Like much of The Time it Takes, “Respite” is true to its title, but not because it leans on New Age aims of comfort and relaxation. Deeply fervent, it instead reflects the kind of emotional relief that can bring someone to tears if they’re lucky enough to stumble upon it mid-crisis. Conversely, the subsequent “Rivulet” crouches in subdued concern and uncertainty amid deteriorated synths that howl down darkened hallways. “The One Who Stands By” approaches a similar sense of subtle menace. With its lilting arpeggio, pulsing bass, and scraping drones, the piece anxiously marches toward some severe and unresolved dilemma. Earlier in the sequence, tracks like “For Old Times” investigate the serene sides of woe and yearning that form the core sentiments of the album: missed chances to share things with people who’ve passed on and are forever lost to the past; small internal battles quietly won or lost, but never spoken of; a heavy rain followed by sideways afternoon sunlight that imparts just enough awe to make you feel okay with your unnoticeable role in it all.
As if we needed convincing, Kenniff further proves his skill of crafting sound-design vignettes that are personal, private, and hushed, yet simultaneously grand, colossal, and profound. Nostalgia sometimes suffers the role of low hanging fruit for the marketing world, or worse, a symptom of the stunted development of a generation facing backward in a world that moves unrelentingly forward. But instead of engaging in reductive and culpable pastiche, Kenniff dispels any notions of nostalgia’s counterproductivity by using our collective memory as just another brush to paint with, thereby wresting his music from any linear cultural timeline. To that end there are few artistic voices as distinct as Goldmund’s. Magically conjuring grandeur from only a few simple ingredients (piano, synthesizer, reverb, and a little more) Kenniff’s sound has become so universal that you'd be forgiven for not knowing who it belongs to. Knock offs be damned, every Goldmund recording is cut from an inimitable fabric woven out of emotional realism, honesty, vivid imagination, and skillful restraint."
Properly engrossing and cataclysmic widescreen recordings of brass and percussion booming around a bridge in Köln on this wonder from NYC composer/sound designer Lea Bertucci for London’s emergent experimental music platform, SA Recordings. It sounds like a panoramic blade-runneresque fantasy, one of the most satisfying experimental records we've heard in a long time - huge recommendation.
Using the 14 second reverb in the hollow of the Deutzer Bridge that spans 440m of the Rhine in industrial NE Germany, Bertucci’s two ‘Acoustic Shadows’ remarkably recall some kind of Vangelysian brass panorama and Alvin Lucier’s ‘Chambers’ in their stunning widescreen scope and proprioceptive playfulness. Anyone typically seduced by the atavistic appeal of echoic caves, canyons or palatial spaces - grand and industrial - will be in their element here, utterly immersed in unfathomable spatial dimensions that can’t help but induce an intended sense of wonder.
Through a system of physical, instrumental performance and animist intent, Bertucci plays out into the space, records the results on microphone, and works back over sections fed back into the space via an 8-channel speaker array, accumulating disorienting feedback loops that explore the resonant frequency of the space and voice the characteristics of its internal architecture.
With the first piece she throws us back into some ancient or medieval state of mind, with long brass tones swept around the concrete surfaces and building in textural richness along with the road noise above, variously recalling states of amniotic lushness, first-person-on-the-moon isolationism, and Blade Runner panoramas streaked with towering gas flares. ‘Percussion’ on the other hand is initially more tentatively pointillist, with ricocheting woodblock hits that calmly then frenetically feel out the space but never quite gauge all its angles, before thunderous waves of bass instil impending panic and we somehow emerge blinking and dazed at the end while a pack of Swiss cows stroll by.
Properly stunning, stunning record.
Motorik, kosmiche bleeps and alien dissonance from Shapes, the solo project of Phantom Horse’s Niklas Dommaschk, landing somewhere in orbit of Felix Kubin and Harmonious Thelonious
“As one half of Phantom Horse, his long-serving electronic duo with Ulf Schütte, Niklas Dommaschk co-produces beautifully muted, Kraut-inspired jams that seem to soundtrack fictitious TV ads for wondrous imaginary household appliances, e.g. a calmly efficient, if slightly unsettling kitchen robot with an integrated lava lamp feature.
In contrast, Shapes cuts tracks down to size – nothing here is longer than five-and-a-half minutes. Also, Dommaschk has turned up the treble, the prominence of the higher frequency spectrum adding bite and menace to these deceptively simple synth polyrhythms.
Whereas opening track “Benzin” (German for “Petrol”) manages to conjure the paradoxical image of something or someone meandering with urgency, “Einzeller” (German for “single-celled organism”) channels a John-Carpenter-style pulse, complete with horror sound effects. “Interference” is a truly effective representation of the term, with piercing, but quiet tinnitus frequencies set above a beat as sparse as it is crunchy. “Two Stones”, by contrast, offers a kind of robotic wistfulness whereas closing piece “Energies of the mind” fizzes out like a jumble of toy keyboards attempting to score a science programme - and failing, but instead revealing some much grander emotional truth.
This is the sound of breaking some kind of inner lockdown, of turning inwards and then projecting parts of murky inner shadows outward, as well-defined and sometimes lurid shapes, individually clear, but still in the process of becoming organized into a complete whole. The unfinished is what excites us the most. May the shapes never find their slot in the jigsaw puzzle.”
Shamos takes his debut album bow on Youth with a classy set of furtive synths and sneaky drum machine swagger steering away from the ‘floor to your headphones and late night city streets
‘Music For Broken Adverts’ is biased toward the moodier ends of Shamos’ styles for Apron and two self-released tapes on Role Model, taking stronger cues from ‘80s/‘90s cinema and anime soundtracks, offbeat wave and ambient techno, to finesse a fine line of dark cyberpunk moods and grooves.
Dance trax are there if you need them in the staccato electro-breaks of ‘Baby Birds Flying to Satan’, and the scudding lowkey zinger ‘Try Taking To Water’, but they’re best taken as cogs in the machine or scenes in a broader narrative, from the gorgeous middle-distance gaze of ‘Advert 1’, to Caroline K-esque stately procession of ‘FFF’, and like Legowelt meets Pametex in the deep electro creme of ‘Rihiyil’, replete with ace credits sequence ‘Rethink That Conclusion’.