Whaaaa? Mark Ernestus vs Equiknoxx?? Two killer, extended remixes on this limited, hand-stamped whitelabel - containing perhaps the most Basic Channel-esque production from Ernestus in a decade.
Mark Ernestus dubs Equiknoxx to the moon and back for DDS with an irresistibly percolated take on Congo Get Slap backed with a jaw-dropping, Basic Channel style version of Flagged Up. We hardly need to stress that this one’s a doozy.
As a big fan of Equiknoxx’s teched-out take on up-to-the-second dancehall, it was perhaps inevitable that the venerable Ernestus, owner of Berlin’s Hardwax and one half of the legendary Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, as well as his most recent work with the brilliant Ndagga Rhythm Force, would eventually cross paths with Jamaica’s Gavsborg and Time Cow, two of the most exciting producers to emerge from JA this decade.
On both remixes the past informs the present in timeless fashion. The cloud-bursting chords and spaghetti western-esque tropes of Equiknoxx’s Congo Get Slap are deftly diffused in the echo chamber, giving the bass an elasticated recoil and sublimating the chords to scudding, skywards dabs with weightless effect for the dancers.
Flipside, Ernestus takes that aspect one step further, distilling the kinetic dub futurism of Someone Flagged It Up!! into a maze of diaphanous dub chords and rolling, sunken subs that inarguably measures up among his strongest post-Basic Channel works.
Like Shackleton’s dub of The Stopper by Cutty Ranks for DDS, the results here triangulate deep-rooted connections between Jamaica, Lancashire and Berlin, speaking to a mutual respect and reverence of style and pattern which has heavily resonated from sub-tropical Kingston into much colder, European climes over successive generations.
Fatima Al Qadiri follows her Brute album with fine bind of queer, Arabic culture and Durban taxi techno in Shaneera, whose title refers to the english mispronunciation of the Arabic word, shanee’a (شنيعة), literally meaning "outrageous, nefarious, hideous, major and foul."
Referencing South African Gqom in a similar way to Zomby of his Gasp! single or Kode 9 in the Ø album, Fatima veils that sound’s signature cold drum patterns with filigree laters of microtonal synths across the EP in a style which has developed since her astonishing Ayshay 12” and the Genre-Specific Xperience EP in 2011.
As with those releases and everything in between, Shaneera pokes the underbelly of convention in Arabic cultures, using putatively, mutually exclusive styles to heighten and warp the effect: hybridising sounds and their meanings in a way that’s both pleasingly direct for the ‘floor, but also cutting sharp in concept; folding in lyrics about Grindr chats, online drag and femme comedy skits in a context not usually heard beyond those areas. Although unless you speak Kuwaiti or Egyptian Arabic, or know your Iraqi proverbs, the joke is slightly squandered on non-Arabic speakers.
But the one language we all understand is bass-heavy dance music, which she excels in here. From the militant swagger of Shaneera to the panic-trance of Is2aleeha, thru the shades-on, laser-shotting Aljkahaf and searing synth heat of Galby, this one will be lighting ‘floors for time to come.
Consummate collaborator Fred Walmsley aka Dedekind Cut tags in Mica Levi, Prurient, Elysia Crampton, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, Dirch Heather, and Zack Hill for a multi-tiered, heavily abstracted session following from the $uccessor album for NON, his American Zen album with Hospital Productions, and collabs with Chino Amobi and Rabit.
Yeh, he’s been a busy cat of late, and his latest self-released trip, recorded between fall 2016 and summer 2017 shows no sign of that creative energy abating. In almost palindromic form, The Expanding Domain rises and falls with absorbingly dramatic cadence, entering with the decompression chamber ambience of Cold Bloom and the escalating terror of Lil Puffy Coat in solo mode, to bring in Dirch Heather’s soured synths and Osborne-Lanthier’s deconstructed EDM palette on the unrelenting anti-banger Fear In Reverse II, then calving off into an electrical storm with Prurient on the title cut, and bringing us back to a numbed null point with Mica Levi’s silvery piano refrain and Elysia Crampton’s angelic touch in Das Expanded, Untitled Riff.
If you were in any doubt as to this guy’s breadth of vision, this EP will see you right.
Gegen die Zeit documents Phillip Sollmann (Efdemin) and John Gürtler in polite but piercing and discordant aural conversation, playing live beneath a highway bridge in Offenbach, Germany. It forms their 2nd appearance in duo for the Hamburg-rooted, Berlin-based Sky Walking label - an offshoot of Dial Recs - following release of an extract of these recordings on the 41’36”  compilation.
The set breaks down to a pair of durational extractions 20 minutes and 12 minutes in length, respectively, rendering a sort of hall-of-mirrors electro-acoustic dialectrics in the first, and a passage of floating tones and noise disturbance in the second, saving the highlight for last with the more succinct section of Zeitgeist, which is almost a sort of ambient-electro-jazz-pop by comparison, where they neatly and coolly trade in a language of pastoral kosmiche murmurs that flare up in quizzical gestures and pool in reflective pauses.
Kablam, Meat Beat Manifesto and Yilan take apart and reassemble tracks from Spatial’s debut album, along with his own exclusive contribution
Spatial’s stripped and nervy electro-garage swanger 111020 is the canniest on offer, zapping lazered chords on raw, bouncing toms in a sort of anachronistic style recalling Mark Fell’s Sensate Focus twists on deep house.
Janus Berlin’s Swede, Kablam plays out a sort of noisy techno recalling Michael Forshaw’s Blackpool bangers, and Yilan tends to the deeper end with wide dub chords and fractured 2-step.
Jay Glass Dubs melts Guerrilla Toss’ hyperactive post punk styles into air on this killer overhaul of tracks from the Boston band’s GT Ultra LP with DFA, resulting a spellbinding sound holding etheric space between Maximum Joy and Golden Teacher, for example.
If you know anything of either act, you’ll be aware of the gulf between their respective styles. And while it’s maybe fair to say that Guerrilla Toss have refined their sound slightly for the new DFA release, when compared with the zaniness of their Tzadik, NNA Tapes and Feeding Tube Records releases, Jay Glass Dubs has radically diffused their mad energy into something practically unrecognisable, far more elusive here.
Like Mad Professor with Massive Attack or Dennis Bovell with Golden Teacher, the selected song structures of GT Ultra are progressively dissolved and and sublimated in the echo chamber in a woozy declension from the D&B-style intro and thunderous pressure of Skull Dub to the nagging, almost Forest Swords-like plangency and steppers roil of String Dub, then coming to pool in the horizontal scan of TV Do Dub, and letting it all ride out for ten minutes of reclined trip-hop in Can I Get The Real Dub.
The master of Italo house, Marco Passarani, meets NYC yung gun, Evan Michael, for a party-ready jackers’ duel on Cin Cin.
Passarani absolutely bosses the A-side with his percolated Linn drums, wiggly bass and virulent acid lines on I C U, then with pill-belly rave burn in the escalating rave chords and mean 303s of Bravocuore.
Brooklyn’s Evan Michael keeps his side up with some canny, feathered drum programming and intricate harmonic arrangement in the warehouse-primed Granite Cradle, and also at a slightly slower tempo with the nagging bleep coda and precision tooled sound design of Auxilio.
Archie Marshall aka King Krule oscillates between channeling strung out jazz crooners and mucky denim wearing rockabillies on a long-come follow-up to his 2013 debut.
“One of the most celebrated figureheads on the independent British scene, Archy Marshall returns with the dense, sprawling “The OOZ”, the much anticipated follow up to his debut “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”. Drifting and seeping through the cracks of South London like the album title, King Krule casts an unflinching eye over his kingdom, transforming his observations of all the disorientation and heartbreak of his youth into piercing narratives and poetry that are both startlingly honest and brutally beautiful. With “The OOZ”, Marshall finally takes the crown as poet laureate for the dazed and confused generation, painting a bleak and sometimes harrowing picture of a rapidly splintering city.
“The OOZ” is released October 13th on XL Recordings, preceded by the raucous new single “Dum Surfer” as well as a brilliant Brother Willis directed video. This autumn also sees Marshall hitting the road for a worldwide tour this autumn
Where “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”, released in 2013, was a rigorous, rambling excavation of Marshall’s expansive body of work to date, “The OOZ” snaps into focus quickly and sharply, his modus operandi coming into view almost immediately. Over jazzy curlicues and guitars, the opener “Biscuit Town” sets out its stall irresistibly as Marshall sings about rapidly disintegrating romance and personal dissolution with acute, almost painful detail. These wrenching themes of self-annihilation and fraying relationships seem inextricably linked in Marshall’s eyes – once you lose yourself to someone else, you inevitably wind up losing yourself completely when they leave – and recur in other tracks. “Why’d you leave me? Because of my depression? You used to complete me but I guess I learnt a lesson” he spits on the roiling “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)”, and, even layered with the warm vocals of Okay Kaya, “Slush Puppy” is an unsparing dissection of a couple with nothing left to give, like a Gainsbourg and Birkin ballad gone toxic. Elsewhere, things only get darker, as Marshall desperately tries to find safe harbor in the city he knows and loves, only to be thwarted constantly, as on “The Cadet Leaps” and first single “Czech One”. Not even the synthetic high of chemicals, as shown in “Emergency Blimp” and “A Slide In (New Drugs)”, can stanch the suffering.
Although seeming at first abstract, “The OOZ” as a title proves oddly fitting. There are references littered throughout about its physical manifestation, or as Marshall himself says, “about earwax and snot and bodily fluids and skin and stuff that just comes out of you on a day to day basis”. But it works on a more figurative level too, with the OOZ also representing the unknown depths or horizons the solitary mind can travel to, whether it’s sinking into the deep sea or soaring through the night sky. It may be messy, unwieldy, even unsightly, Marshall seems to say - but we need The OOZ in order to exist.”
Idle Hands get the best out of local Bristol figure, A Sagittariun with the cosmic techno percolations of Pseudo Science and a proggy trance bloom, Heavy Manners...
“We've been closely watching the rise of A Sagittariun ever since he first popped up with his consistently excellent Elastic Dreams label back in 2011. What started out as an anonymous project has since been revealed as the handiwork of Nick Harris, a long time champion of the Bristol house and techno scene since before most of us were even hitting the dance. His music has been flying out with a no nonsense approach – self-released, minimal promo, just cracking club-ready 12s that tap into the fierce-but-fun spirit of Detroit techno and albums loaded with smokers delights to appease his West Country roots.
Pseudo Science wastes no time in imparting a message of bristling kinetic energy for peak time situations. This is maximal techno of the highest order, firing off a body-popping beat, a dazzlingly bright set of chords and a delirious lead that cuts through like the house lights being thrown on in a darkened basement four hours before closing time. There's a confidence that bursts out of this track that could only come from someone who has earned his stripes in the cut and thrust of what can at times be a fickle dance music scene.
Heavy Manners plays a foil to this boisterous A-side without dipping the energy levels. Sagi still has his pedal to the metal, but this time he winds through mystical, filter sweeping pads that hark back to synth rich early 90s trance séances of the highest caliber. The bubbling 303 only further fuels this sense of psychoactive flashback, and the hypnotic film sample provides the perfect icing on the cake. Leave your functional subtleties at the door, this is loud and proud body and mind music transmitting from the part of a soul still stomping in a field somewhere near the M25 orbital.”
Lakker venture a steeply brooding, stripped and future-primitive sound on their Eotrax label following the conceptual suite of Struggle & Emerge.
Effectively, for Eris Harmonia they went blindfolded in the studio, intuitively feeling out shapes and tones that would form the five tracks of Eris Harmonia, which takes its title from two Greek Goddesses - Eris, Goddess of disorder and strife, and Harmonia, Goddess of harmony and concord.
Between these poles of reference they built a rugged to and fro, floating the ghostly stepper Song for Ratlin beside the evil animist skeleton dance of Extinct Peoples, with the lump-in-throat euphoria of Empress at the EP’s apex, none of which will prime you for the ten minute onslaught of atonal nastiness in Eris Pt.1 and its bittersweet resolution in Eris Pt.2, which finds their sound design skills pushing much farther into the void, fathoms away from safer ‘floors.
John Daly blesses Dublin’s All City Records with a seductive full album of West 2 West material after making an incognito appearance as West 2 West on their 1st Jheri Tracks Compilation sampler, and exploring similar vibes on last year’s well received album, The Smoke Clears.
The boogie slouch is in fuzzy effect on 12 gauzy, offbeat grooves married with wavey synths and new age atmospheres, hardly troubling the ‘floor but still with enough momentum to get you swaying at least, with results best filed somewhere between Actress’ Thriller bits, Leatherette at the most stoned, or the kind of 313-based beats built by DJ Dez, Detroit Escalator Company or Urban Tribe.
John Maus yields the first taste of Screen Memories - his first new album in six years - with the teasingly brief Teenage Witch
Revealing the subtle new synth timbre he’s been working on all this time, factored into one of his signature, intricate avant-pop beauties. Yes, it does sound a lot like early Ariel Pink, but that’s probably because he worked with Pink a lot back then. Great, as always.
Fade 2 Mind boss Kingdom expands the 11/12 tracks of Tears In The Club with 8 bonus VIPs, instrumentals, and remixes by Sami Baha and DJ J Heat.
We’ll skip to the new bits: Into The Fold (Remix) features a moire upfront yet still ghostly R&B vocal; the percolated club pressure of Down 4 Whatever gets a lot of attention, first in Kingdom’s VIP Chop, then on the downstroke by Sami Baha, and ramped up for the Jersey crowd by DJ J Heat.
Timex (Remix) places a new vocal on the stripped down instrumental, while Nothin, originally vocalled by The Internet’s Syd, also appears as a useful Club Mix Instrumental.
Key Posh Isolation player Christian Stadsgaard (Damian Dubrovnik, The Empire Line) gives a vinyl life to his Vanity Productions alias with debut album Only The Grains Of Love Remain.
“This latest work from Vanity Productions is a turbulence steadied to rest with care, and marks a critical high point in the project's evolution.
As the nom de plume of Posh Isolation's co-founder Christian Stadsgaard, there is a deeply private yet fiercely empathic quality to 'Only the Grains of Love Remain.' Pirouetting between his collaborative work with Loke Rahbek as Damien Dubrovnik, as well as The Empire Line with Varg and Iron Sight, to name just Stadsgaard's most recent activity, the inwardness reserved for Vanity Productions is perhaps a necessary step. That the emotive experimentation should generate such a touching soliloquy is an arresting watermark, presenting 'Only the Grains of Love Remain' as the most eloquent work of the project to date.
Following on from 'Mardini' last year, 'Only the Grains of Love Remain' takes a delicate and determined route through the terrain of Vanity Productions. Mapped with musique concrète's metrics, there is an uneasy sensation between guilty revulsion and cosmic longing captured in the moments of harmony. Dissolving these small bursts of clarity-through-agony is however not a matter of exploring intensity with volume, or other such devices and motifs. With an almost bitter precision, Stadsgaard continually spikes the grounding compositional elements with unnervingly distant patterns of crisp synthetic alloys. Where weighted, gothic passages are undone into peaceful plateaus, and there is a sense of coveted respite from the body's adrenal chemistry. Temporality is suspended, enough to solicit reflection.
As the work coasts the mesh of decision/indecision, witness/actor, falling/flying, however it strikes, one gets the sense that the after-image of noise being articulated is in the end giving way to a greater cathartic broadcast that 'Only the Grains of Love Remain' documents: life, love, and thought.”
Paul Woolford presents the definitive Special Request opus with Belief System, a brobdingnagian reflection upon his early years raving in Leeds, using samples from tapes dating back to 1993, diffracted thru the prism of up-to-date production aesthetics to visceral effect.
It’s pretty much the last word in Special Request’s coming-to-terms with nostalgia for the golden days of hardcore, jungle, rave, looking back to a time of rapid stylistic mutation and innovation from the relative safety of rose-tinted 2017 filters.
Rather than reviving the rabid energy and naive invention of rave proper, however, Woolford spends the first half of the album turning his sample pack into a UK Breaks and wonky techno set full of line-dancing grooves and electronica, before sparking off some breaks on pretty much the same base rhythm with the big room styles of Make It Real and the Amen Andrews-esque Brainstorm.
To be fair, the ruffneck Leviathan fares better with its boisterous tech-step barrage, and Replicant (Nexus 7 VIP) nearly grasps the nuttiness of hardcore proper, but the finale of Light In The Darkest Hour is a hybrid of Chicane and DJ Trace that never needed to happen, and people probably would have laughed off in the late ‘90s.
The wonderful Bokeh Versions present outernational, radiophonic dub excursions from Osaka’s 7FO. Imagine Delia Derbyshire on a scuba-diving holiday in the Caribbean with Joe Meek; this is what they might make during nights ashore. Francesco Cavaliere features on Water Vapour!
“BKV013 is infectious, Osaka-matured, aquatic dub from 7FO. 7FO-san has been in touch with Bokeh for over a year and kindly showed them round Kyoto on the BKV Japan world tour (we ate a baby squid that had a boiled egg where the brain used to be - crazy).
This is 7FO's first proper wax outing after homegrown albums made local waves with his fusion of Japanese new age and dub miniatures. Previous albums also had mastering credits by Bokeh alumni and Osaka mixing desk alchemist Kabamix.
2016 saw 7FO reach wider audiences with Water Falls Into A Blank, a cassette and multi-media project via RVNG Intl's Commend See series. Bandcamp user Standard Greysummed it up best:
If Joe Meek lived on to collaborate with Harry Hosono and Inoyama Land and make idiosyncratic dubbed out Japanese Minyo and off-world colony exotica...
'Water Vapour' features the enigmatic Sea Urchin - the duo of Francesco Cavaliere (on FX) and Leila Hasan (on otherworldly vocals). They've released an LP for Belgian imprint Kraak and Francesco notched a 2016 highlight with his solo LPs on Hundebiss.
These is the 4th Bokeh release to come out of Japan…..”
Brighton’s K-Lone helms the next chapter on Parris’ Soundman Chronicles label, backed with an oxidised dub remix by Bristol’s O$VMV$M.
Apparently a year in the works, Old Fashioned convects 10 minutes of silty chords, subtle beachside atmosphere and exhaling dynamics, leading up to a levitating dub bass in classic, or should we say Old Fashioned Berlin style. Schmoke a bowl a drift off styles. In The Dust Of This Planet brings that vibe closer to the UK lean of Parris or Batu, but more low key, furtive, and O$VMV$M seemingly leave Old Fashioned to the elements, returning a wizened, saltier version.
Swiss jazz drummer Samuel Rohrer ropes in fellow sticksman Burnt Friedman and tech house maestro Ricardo Villalobos for remixes of his most recent album.
Burnt Friedman takes the brief of Microcosmoism and runs its microtonal electronics and squirming groove to the nonplace, feeds it special gasses and returns a loose, slompy groove in patented style.
On the other hand, Villalobos strips the same elements right down to bare essentials for nearly ten minutes of swivelling drum hits wrapped up in sticky syncopation with glutinous subs and ricocheting electro-dub-steppers dynamics.
E-Unity rides oblique, fresh electro/bass vectors on a smart debut for London/Bristol’s Oscilla Sound.
Perihelion works on a weightless electro flex with bubbling 808s anchoring a glittering lightshow of diffracted, hyaline tones and laser beam lixx. Morty is more emo, thanks to its creamy swirl of harmonised pads, but still with kinda dancehall/dembow grit in the pants, and A Wormhole In The 4th Wall percolates those vibes with more delirious pressure recalling cuts from the killer DJ Python album.
The Desdemonas are a 4-piece band, fronted by Aguayo (who sings and plays a variety of instruments).
"It’s also a fictional story about a group of teenagers in a dystopian world (the story will be told in the lyrics, and in cartoons and videos based on Aguayo’s drawings). And it’s of course an album, in which Matias digs deep into some dark forms of rock music which inspired him as a teenager, and brilliantly revisits them in a moody, compelling, post-electronic 2017 style.”
JD Twitch ov Optimo’s Autonomous Africa serve a mellow, buoyant session of dubbed-out grooves recorded by Tafi Allstars and Mr TC between Ghana and Glasgow.
Too often these cross-continental projects can sound like spiced up tech-house, but not this time, as they find a fine, loose balance of vibes hingeing on the international language of dub, turning up heady vibes in the sloshing rhythms and echoic space of Gormedzedze, strutting punk-funk-disco with gorgeous vox on Deka Wor Wor, and a superb mesh of live drums and minimal electronics in Cantata.
Turn to the B-side and the EP really comes into its own with more psychedelic expressions in Outside Rhythm and the Sordid Sound System dub of Cantata, as dusk passes in richly evocative fashion with the star-gazing electronics and Regina Egbeako’s fragile lullaby are carried off into dreamscape on Agbe Me Nya Wo.
Ron Trent tests out a rawer, dub-wise tribal house sound under his new moniker; Blak Punk Soundsystem.
Vibes are laid down thick and humid in the A-side’s Red Cloud, which strongly reminds of an overgrown take on those recent DJ Sprinkles dubs of Will Long, mainly due to its huge, grubbing baseline and exquisitely spacious mixing treatment.
The B-side’s BPS Dub however feels out balmy space somewhere to the mediterranean south of Rhythm & Sound, melding lilting guitar with growling vox and spumes of dub FX for the first half, before the breeze takes it on a more stepping 4/4 trajectory. Save this for the late hours…
Move D, Benoit Bouquet, Marco Wallenberg are L’Amour Fou.
Following a pair of excursions on Smallville, they give up a full EP of melancholic deep house with Dujuan, so named after the typhoon in Taipei which forced the three into a studio with a cask of wine and resulted these sweet treats, taking in the deep Detroit pressure systems of Sunday Haze, a drizzly, impending beauty called Dujuan, and sublime downstroke of The Last Call, making nicely spaced out use of location recordings.
Mesmerising instrumental blues duets from Toronto’s Kevin and Patrick Cahill, whose symbiotic, fraternal connection is beautifully self-evident on this, their 2nd tape for the UK’s blues obsessives at the Death Is Not The End label.
On Fayet the brothers regale a quietly captivating narrative or dialogue in two extended parts, gently stereo panned - or just recorded that way - in a hushed but urgent back and forth that leads us upriver, across mountain trails and inside the log cabin of their shared mind.
One for autumn days with the rambleman.
MoM hit the ‘floor with Jesy Lanza, Sepulchre and Modeselektor in tow.
Expect bolshy broken techno/electrobass pressure in Jack Is Out (Arson Only Edit); a bendy volley of footwork rhythms and Errorsmith-alike screwball electronics on Blue Screen, featuring Jessy Lanza and chopped by MDSLKTR; while Machinedrum and Praveen Sharma pulls out their shiniest hyper chords as Sepalcure alongside Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner’s gilded inputs.
On a roll right now, UNO NYC dispatch Blue Angels’ dreamy fusions of techno and ghetto bass rhythms with gauzy ambient tones in Vaces, which is, as far as we can tell, their debut release.
At the front, they mesh flyaway harp lines with claggy techno in a way recalling Actress productions on View From, while Coils pushes a sort of AFXian techno merry-go-round swaddled in noise, and, best of all, the jitting pulse and flanging pressure system of Sam’s Club springs to mind a mix of Burial Hex and Palmbomen II.
San Fran’s HNYTRX give a shady house taste of what to expect from Octo Octa’s Where Are We Going? album with the brooding minor key figures and darkroom canter of Adrift
Backed with a more adroit, square-bassed remix dripping with late night feels from Sweden’s Dorisburg, and a heavy-lidded, keening house rework from Avalon Emerson.
The lesser-spotted Joe jumps back on Hessle Audio with Tail Lift and MPH, his first new productions heard since Thinking About for Four Tet’s label in 2015. Trust that he’s got the party in mind, as ever, with slinky samba and jungle power drums playfully dubbed out and tweaked up for loose-limbed times.
They’re both a little better fed than his previous, skeletal rhythms, with the loping samba hustle of Tail Lift operating in a lush sound field of hooting macaques, cicadas and creamy DX7 synth pads in a way that recalls Pekka Airaksinen on his jollies in Rio with Kaidi Tatham.
MPH meanwhile finds him dicing with jungle breaks and almost Prince-style Linn drum crack, feathered in swooping design with strobing chords to recall the pitching cadence of Klein’s recent Tommy EP reworked by Jameszoo, or something.
Frankfurt’s minimal house and electronica statesman steers Fabric 95 on slinky trip
Starting with a blend of Psychic TV with his and Ricardo Villalobos’ RiRom track, RoRic, thru the Metalheadz-esque breaks and synths of Koehler’s Oblivious Pool (Invisible Dub), to the Italo-house dream of Come Home by Pale Blue, foundational Chicago house from two of a Kind, the aerial breaks of Lanark Artefax, and even Sam Kidel’s Kachinja under his El Kid alias for Left Blank.
Addendum to Ruinism, Lapalux expresses intense emotions thru vaulted electronica complexities in The End of Industry for FlyLo’s Brainfeeder
Coming off like a soundtrack to one of Neil Blomkamp’s sci-fi shorts with a compositional efficiency that means each track twists and flips in a series of acrobatic emotive gestures.
Sadar Bahar & Ben 'Cosmic Force' team up and come correct with these two direct disco jams ... Artwork by Cosmo Knex.. TIPP!
"The two tracker arose after Sadar Bahar discovered Ben's Utrecht based studio (housing 60 synths!). Electro fiend Ben was charmed by the electronic elements in Sadar's funk and Sadar loved Ben's ideas. Nuff said, a new NL based project was born. Nothing sampled for these tracks... only stabbing guitar, bass, sax and pounding drum programming for dance floor heat!"
Metalheadz buff up those state-of-the-art 1996 feels for 2017 with remasters of Ed Rush’s Skylab single.
Skylab is a proper darkside tech-step bombswanging off scratchy breaks and edge of chair atmospheres with a proper amen payload, all tension and no relief. Density catches him on a stressed breakbeat swagger, and The Raven locks into rictus 2-step with growling reese before an almighty roll out. That bells sound still sends shivers down the spine.
Cantering late night house music by Berlin’s Fort Romeau
Building up nagging acid lines to a frothy sorta Detroit peak in Untitled II, then following that proggy structure with more energy in the driving hi-hats and subtle light/dark shading of A Familiar Place.
Lamont follows Chunky’s smoked-out and killer Threats EP with a gully clash of Slowie’s grimy bars and Lamont’s gloopy house in Ar Kid
Then coming off like one of James Blake and Trim’s collabs with Ships featuring Kwam on the back.
Redeemer is the brutally seductive debut album by Phase Fatale, a key player in the recent charge of EBM and post punk-informed industrial techno infecting ‘floors from his home city, NYC to his DJ residency at Berghain, Berlin.
In Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions, Phase Fatale finds a fitting home for his personalised brand of clinical, rictus rhythm programming and searing synth and guitar lines, adding a vital streak of black and blue electric energy to the legendary label in its 20th year of cultish operation.
In seven parts (and a trio of extended Silent Servant mixes due to come), Redeemer follows the direct, jagged lines of his 12”s for Jealous God and Unterton to a deeply personal realisation of weaponised sonics, upholding a strong tradition of techno as a prophetic exercise or ritual to gird dancers and listeners for the onset of future war. It presents Phase Fatale as an ultimate emissary of electronic violence and domination in the process, steeling the limbic system and muscle memory thru a fine-tuned disciplinarian approach to pharmacokinetics and biomechanics.
Picking from the leather-bound cadaver of industrial dance music past, he reanimates his influences with pointillist precision and unapologetic force. Alloying muscular bass and metallic percussion with wire-combed 16th note synthlines and a barbed perimeter of guitar distortion, his sound can be heard as a metaphorical representation of holding your line against the attrition of a degenerated present.
Each track dances concisely around the 5 minute mark, unfolding a series of densely packed and subtly rendered minimalist/maximalist structures. The shuddering tension of Spoken Ashes opens with banks of rotted chorales against a coalface of hacking stabs, establishing a pent vibe that vacillates precariously thru the adrenalised battery of Operate Within, to the clenched funk of Human Shield and the bombed-out, Alberich-alike Interference, seeming to resolve slightly with the supple roll of Order of Severity, before Beast bottoms out into immolating synth distortion, and Redeemer brings up the rear with a coolly-tempered, stoic form of industrial ecstasy.
Haunting new renditions of renaissance chamber music, interpreted with vocals and acoustic and electronic instruments. One to check if you liked Akira Rabelais’ Spellwauerynsherde or indeed any of Chauveau’s sublime releases for Type or Fat Cat etc
“All pieces of the Renaissance Repertoire come from Cancionero de Colombina (around 1470) or Cancionero de Palacio (around 1510). Both sources are well known for their typical Spanish repertoire of this period. Electronic music artist Sylvain Chauveau did new versions of several tracks and added also some drones to the program. Daniel Manhart did the compilation and the additional sound design and mixing. All pieces on this CD are hardly ever performed or recorded -- a fine, sensitive, interesting crossover between early music and contemporary electronic music with a repertoire mostly unknown.
Sylvain Chauveau has made solo records on labels such as FatCat, Type, Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier, and Brocoli: very minimal compositions for acoustic instruments, electronics, and vocals. His music has been played in John Peel's show on the BBC and reviewed in The Wire, Pitchfork, Mojo, Les Inrockuptibles, Libération, The Washington Post, and many others. One of his tracks was published on the compilation XVI Reflections on Classical Music (2009) alongside pieces by Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. He has played live around the world (Europe, America, Asia), performed in museums and art galleries, and was artist in residence at the Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto, 2011), Fundacao Serralves (Porto, 2011), and Lieu Unique (Nantes, 2004 and 2014).
Chant 1450 Renaissance Ensemble sings and plays the sacred and secular repertoire of the 15th and 16th century. Including musicians trained at the widely renowned college for early music Schola cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, chant 1450 appeared live in January 2005 and then sang for a highly acclaimed first tour in Switzerland with La contenance angloise -- sacred music of the 15th century, followed by more than 150 live performances in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, and Switzerland until today. Chant 1450 was invited to major festivals like the Rheingau Festival (Germany), the Montalbâne Festival (Germany), Festival for Early Music Zurich, and many more. Artistic Director and responsible for all programs and recordings, including sound design, is Daniel Manhart, a tenor born in Switzerland.”
Compiling the first 3 albums in the 'Everywhere At The End Of Time' series - two and a half hours long, each album reveals new points of progression, loss and disintegration, progressively falling further and further towards the abyss of complete memory loss and nothingness...
Embarking on the Caretaker’s final journey with the familiar vernacular of abraded shellac 78s and their ghostly waltzes to emulate the entropic effect of a mind becoming detached from everyone else’s sense of reality and coming to terms with their own, altered, and ever more elusive sense of ontology.
The series aims to enlighten our understanding of dementia by breaking it down into a series of stages that provide a haunting guide to its progression, deterioration and disintegration and the way that people experience it according to a range of impending factors.
In other words, Everywhere At The End of Time probes some of the most important questions about modern music’s place in a world that’s increasingly haunted or even choked by the tightening noose of feedback loops of influence; perceptibly questioning the value of old memories as opposed to the creation of new ones, and, likewise the fidelity of those musical memories which remain, and whether we can properly recollect them from the mire of our faulty memory banks without the luxury of choice
Pivotal A’dam players, Juju & Jordash move beyond the themes of Techno Primitivism  and Clean-Cut  to arrive in serene, Far Eastern and African-facing house-not-house zones with Sis-Boom-Bah!
The vibe is assuredly home-listening, leaving the club in pursuit of coolly introspective dimensions, guided by gently rolling deep house impulses and populated with myriad synth voices in a most sublime version of the devilishly detailed, hardware-driven style they’ve honed since 2004.
Ok there are tracks you could dance to, if the mood takes you with the deep (inner) space techno of Attack The Crwod, and the buoyant, chromatic twirl of Back Tuck Basket Toss, but the biggest attraction iOS the way they weave those tracks into he album’s warp and weft, in equilibrium with more etheric, esoteric gestures such as the rippling gamelans of Herkie at the front, or the 4th world rhythmelodic cadence of Paper Doll, and the quietly deliquescent charms of hanging Pyramid.
Dark Entries present a welcome reminder of Group Rhoda’s art-pop delicacy with Wilderness, the Oakland artist’s first release since her Max + Mara side and the sublime couplet of Out Of Time [Night School, 2012] and 12th House [NNF, 2013] which first brought her to our attention.
Pairing poetically abstract, observational lyrics with exquisitely adroit drum programming and lissom synth contours dripping with hooks, Wilderness forms a subtle refinement of what we remember from Mara Barenbaum aka Group Rhoda’s earlier releases. There’s a fluid, direct simplicity to her work here which betrays its elaborate construction in a way similar to the best Heinrich Mueller productions, with intricately evolving rhythmic calculations blossoming sleek and infectious arrangements certain to spark imaginations at home or on headphones, as well as seduce bodies on the ‘floor.
And just like Heinrich Mueller, Group Rhoda effortlessly remains true to original ‘80s machine styles while patently refreshing their templates with timeless effect. One can hear it in the supple, acidic bent and deliquescent starburst dynamics of Trespass, in the almost digi-dub budge of The Ice House, and like Suicide in Detroit on June, while Mexi Meri is like a perfectly measured mix of Gina X Performance and Arpanet, and sea or Be Sea hints at a certain Patrick Cowley-esque subaquatic electro sensuality.
The curious label arm of Lucerne’s zweikommasieben magazine, Präsens Editionen introduce local artist Bella Winnewisser and Berlin’s L. Zylberberg with this trippy little split tape, making up the label’s 10th release after scattershot releases ranging from a Raime lathe cut to a C60 by Robert Turman.
Both artists are new names to us, at least, and PE-010 gives a subtly enigmatic account of esoteric sounds that should lure listeners you farther down their respective rabbitholes.
Lucerne’s Belia Winnewisser blesses the A-side with a brooding three part suite of concrete electronics and vocals that speak to her background in goth unit Evje as well as the darkwave duo a=f/m with Rolf Laurels, who has previously released on Präsens Editionen. Belia’s Mattress of Wire is a dank display of bruised toms, keening drone and eerie strings, like Bourbonese Qualk at a tea dance with The Caretaker, whereas the percolated ambient steppers drums and choral motifs of Voices comes across like Karen Gwyer meets Kara-Lis Coverdale, and the stark mix of industrial and new age elements in My Life Is Your History feels like a blissed out Burial Hex piece.
The B-side is taken by Chatter from L. Zylberberg, a regular at Berlin parties; Sameheads, Griessmühle, O Tannenbaum. Hers is 15 minutes of ethereal kosmiche electronics with a certain sylvan quality, like strolling a secret garden of artificial flora under synthetic moonlight.
The amazing Sandro Perri brings the likes of Brandon Hocura (Invisible City Editions) and various Constellation personnel on board his Off World vehicle for the 2nd part of an ongoing, esoteric saga which started with the Rashad Becker-meets-Pekka Airaksinen styles of 1.
This time it feels like they’ve located and touched down in the goldilocks zone of some distant solar system, reflected in their turn toward a sort of amorphous space age exotica and kosmiche folk for a whole other notional species.
Clad again in Karl Sirovy’s evocative artwork, this time dating to 1923 and 1931, and geared up with banks of vintage synths including Juno 106, VC-10, EMS Synthi and the krautrock staple, a Syntorchestra farfisa organ, among lots more, the eight players and engineers of Off World generate a sound quite literally dripping with classic reference, tended to with an economy and sound sensitivity that means it could have feasibly been made any time between the late ’60s and modern day.
Out of time and place, the squad embark on recon missions in teams of no more than four on any of the album’s ten tracks, returning with vivid, if abstract, descriptions of imagineered landscapes and cultures that resemble familiar earthly tropes, but somehow different, each according to stranger hybrid scales and rhythmic syntax that fluidly defy our meagre homo sapien powers of perception.
We recommend any daring or budding space cadets simply sign up for a one-way ticket andOff World’s uncanny parallel dimension open up before your keen ears.
Teklife’s DJ Manny steadily ups the footwork ante on his 4th album
Swerving from soulful samples and sweet vibes in Way You Move, to a rush of jungle footwork zingers in You Looking Good and the rumbling torque of Like That, thru intense hyperboogie pressure on Zancrash with DJ Taye to a scintillating 2nd half rush of fresh styles, most notably in the stark darkside flex of Ghost Out and the curdled chromatic warps, Life In This Bitch and If U Want It.
Proper club ammo.
Blasting outta Berlin, Ziúr reps a new wave of artists claiming the ‘floor as a space for freedom and experimentation. It’s a sound that would broadly fall in with an ‘anti-banger’ aesthetic, meshing cues from brooding post-rock electronica, snarky punk and J-pop with spare, deconstructed, spasmodic rhythms nodding to the ghetto styles of Lisbon as much as club music’s avant grade. In effect it’s more like a smart drug than traditional dancefloor/drug analogs; alert and focussed, assuaging ‘easy’ rhythmic gratification or the psychedelic sensuality of rooted dance music which preceeded it.
“Ziúr is one of the most exciting producers to come out of the fringes of Berlin club music in the last few years. A new generation is breaking out of the techno mould and creating in a spirit of freedom and experimentation, taking seemingly incompatible influences and balancing them into a new and exciting sound. Ziúr is also the founder and resident DJ of 'Boo-Hoo', a night championing diverse lineups, reflecting it's creative audience, bringing through the cream of the experimental dance underground. Planet Mu are proud to release Ziúr's debut album 'U Feel Anything?' in collaboration with Objects Limited, a label run by Lara Rix-Martin which releases music by women and non-binary people.
For someone who has previously released just two EPs, the vision of Ziúr's music is advanced and precise. It's music which beckons you into an alternate world; wonderfully alien pop music that eschews conventions. She creates eldrich atmospheres that balance gentle melody and warm pop, in which strange elfin voices sing from other worlds and spiralling rhythms feel like entire structures moving. In the latter half of the record these harden into a pounding, martial symphony of steel, and introduce the kind of rough electronic riffs and guitar samples that betray her background in punk.
'U Feel Anything?' was written as a way to think about music as a tool of enlightenment, a de-conditioning force and the kind of yin and yang that can be summed up in the title of one of the songs 'Laughing and Crying are The Same Things', a track which features Swedish pop singer Zhala, whose vocals straddle twisting beats, space and staccato strings. The album also features a collaboration with Aïsha Devi on the epic 'Body of Light', in which Aïsha's vocals are pitched up and down, manipulated and distorted into wispy angelic tones, setting the tone for the first half of the album. There's a process to Ziúr's music that's informed by this wish to get beyond the small things. She says Putting a relation on what's big and small and certainly meaningless behind our existence; how nothing is everything at the same time etc... it's something that I try to explore again and again by putting myself into a thought process, rather than having everything already formulated.
It's a record of powerful, emotional twists and turns and mind-flipping contrasts that resonate with depth. As Ziúr says I believe you can only tell that something is harsh when you have a soft side to compare it to. If everything is amazing then nothing is, right?”
For fxck’s sake, Ste Spandex mind-dumps his debut album on Cerberus Future Technologies: the home-baked label home to his myriad, nefarious disco activities involving Licking Mirrors, The Zest and Montauk Boys (which could get you locked up in some countries if done at the same time).
The Video Collection follows Spandexedrine’s pair of EP’s for Red Laser Records, and one for Tusk Wax, with 17 tracks harvested from recording sessions at The Brown House and The Boneyard over the last 5 years, including a handful of guest vocals by his bae Sarah Bates and pal Crispy Duck.
Huffing influence from Detroit, Chicago, New York and Brescia, as well as the last 30 years of Manchester club/disco history, he turns gold into potent crud, most often improvised on banks of vintage (read: a bit knackered) hardware and all recorded direct to VHS - Jamal Moss style - for that crudest, shabby chic crunch.
That said, these are some of the smartest, punchiest cuts in his special medicine cabinet, roving from the Italo/dub techno hybrid of Mother Tiger, thru strapping EBM torque in Untitled, to bandy-legged cosmic dub in Orgone Matrix Material and with two highlights in the aforementioned vocal pieces, namely the DMT-affected whorl of Ducky’s First Blast, and particularly Sarah’s spot on the chugging boogie flare, Got To Give The People (Album edit).
Rugged, trance-inflected techno for the thick of the rave from Avatism for Boddika’s Nonplus
Rolling out like a Skee Mask or Zekner Brothers play with the hunched breaks and curdled trance leads of Killign The Hour, then with lethally stripped down drum work in the DJ tool They Should Have Sent a Poet, before bringing it down to darkroom vibes in Assimilation Ritual and the sleazy slug of Things To Do In New York.
Retro-futurist prog-pop made on modular synths.
“In 2017, the musical term “electronic” is nearly obsolete given the ubiquity of computerized processes in producing music. Even so, the prevailing assumption is that musicians working under this broad umbrella must be inspired by concepts equally as electrified as their equipment. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has demonstrated in her still-blooming discography that this notion couldn’t be further from the truth, and that more often than not, rich worlds of synthesized sound are born from deep reverence of the natural world. Smith (who by no coincidence, cites naturalist David Attenborough as a contemporary muse) has embodied such an appreciation on The Kid in as direct and sincere a way as possible by sonically charting the phases of life itself. The album, which punctually follows up her 2016 breakthrough EARS, chronicles four defining cognitive and emotional stages of the human lifespan across four sides of a double LP.
The first side takes us through the confused astonishment of a newborn, unaware of itself, existing in an unwitting nirvana. Smith’s music has always woven a youthful thread befitting of the aforementioned subject. Here she articulates it in signature fashion on the track “An Intention,” which serves not only as a soaring spire on The Kid, but on her entire output. There is playfulness here, but it's elevated by an undertone of gravity into something compelling and majestic that is fast becoming Smith’s watermark. The emotional focus of side two is the vital but underreported moment in early youth when we cross the threshold into self awareness. The subject is profound enough to fill an entire album, but rarely makes its way into a single track, indicating Smith’s ambition to broach subtler and deeper subjects than the average composer. This side offers up another highlight in the form of “In The World But Not Of The World” which serves its subject well with epiphanic, climbing strings and decidedly noisy textures over a near-Bollywood low end pulse.
Side three emphasizes a feeling of being confirmed enough in one’s own identity to begin giving back to the formative forces of one’s upbringing, which is arguably the duty that all great artists aim to fulfill. This side ends with the exploratory album cut “Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am” recorded in a single take without overdubs on the rare EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer. This humble piece of sound design serves as a contrast to side four’s verdant orchestral moments, all written and arranged for the EU-based Stargaze quartet by Smith herself. This final side represents a return to pure being, the kind of wisdom and peace that eludes most of us until the autumn of life. On “To Feel Your Best” this concept is voiced in the bittersweet refrain “one day I’ll wake up and you won’t be there” which Smith intended to be a grateful acknowledgement of life rather than a melancholy resentment of loss. The song has both effects depending on the mood of the listener, and both interpretations are equally moving.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith belongs to an ilk of modern musicians who are defined by their commitment to creating experiential albums despite the singles-oriented habits of modern listeners, and here she represents her kind proudly. The subjects on The Kid are not simple to convey, and yet through both emotional tone and lyrical content, Smith does just that. There is a similar gravity to both birth and death, and rarely is that correlation as accurately and enthusiastically mapped as it is here. As Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores her existence through music, she guides us in gleefully contemplating our own.”
Pete Swanson and Jed Bindeman's Freedom To Spend label return with probably our favourite on the label thus far (and that really is saying something - each one has been a peach) - Richard Horowitz’s incredible suite of electro acoustic 4th world music, ‘Eros In Arabia’ ; written for flute and Prophet 5 and rife with mercurial, avian flights of fancy. This one is a proper find - especially if you’re obsessed with Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s more or less peerless Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar, or indeed Byrne & Eno’s ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’ or Craig Leon’s ‘Nommos’.
Horowitz has had something of a dual career - on the one hand via this little known but pioneering kind of work, and on the other scoring films in Hollywood (including work on Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky). The cinematic quality of his material is evident here, but the subtle interweaving of Eastern influences with Western production techniques is incredibly rich with detail and imbues proceedings with an alien, fourth world quality that’s hard to place. Just like Dolat-Shahi managed to intersperse traditional Persian instrumentation with modular overlays in a way that didn’t ever feel contrived, Horowitz’s application of technique comes across as completely intuitive. As the label explain:
"Working in natural succession from end to beginning, “Elephant Dance” demonstrates the central synth and ney node to explore energetic sound patterns Horowitz imagined to be played in the 16th century on the island of Java, around the time Sufi’s may have arrived in Indonesia. Delicately trampling the twenty minute mark, the piece offers an immersive climate of microtones that might, with the primordial matter of love, alter DNA. “Baby Elephant Magic” is “Elephant Dance” but sped up— producing digital baubles that sound less like an Indonesian forest, more like an urban hive of mechanical insect interaction.
The piano on “23/8 for Conlon Nancarrow,” with John Cage technique at play, is played “as fast as possible by a human.” The sounds are driven to derail from the space time continuum. On “Never Tech No Foreign Answer,” a cheap cassette recorder microphone captures the Prophet-5 left to the devices of its master’s inner clock, taking on a frenzied sound form that vibrates in place before bouncing off the tape case walls. Chaos is concentric.
“Queen of Saba” incorporates the vocals of long-time collaborator, Sussan Deyhim. Described as one of Iran’s most potent voices in exile, Deyhim’s work is in both the tradition of Sufis and the late feminist poet, Forough Farrokhzad. Recently Deyhim and Horowitz worked together on a multi-media performance based upon Forrokhzad’s Iranian New Wave film, The House Is Black. Here Deyhim performs a taḥrīr where vocals go low to high without any semantically meaningful words. Horowitz’s associations with great cultural icons of the Middle East, like these women, soften (in)appropriations.
Less aggressive than its predecessors, “Eros Never Stops Dreaming” introduces the bendir frame drum, the feathery wind of the ney floating above its bowing rhythm with effortless mathematics. “Bandit Nrah Master of Rajasthan” begins where the album ends, an ode to Shakuhachi flute players known to indulge in both trance-inducing circular breathing and espionage.
Horowitz is linked with the worldly sound seeking circles of minimalist and avant-garde New York City musicians, especially Lou Harrison and La Monte Young, with whom Horowitz shared Shandar as a record label momentarily. He recorded and toured with Jon Hassell and collaborated with David Byrne and Brian Eno, Jean-Philippe Rykie, and Bill Laswell. Along his travels he befriended Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles, the latter whom mentored Horowitz over decades of correspondence, some of which documents the making of Eros and comes quite literally with this edition.
A record of physical and intellectual love for Arabia, FTS extends this flowing forward and backward – a shimmer that reverses the backward spelling of Ztiworoh. Eros is presented in the ever present. To borrow from a song title, Horowitz remains gainfully employed as an “inter-dimensional travel agent.””
The modern duchess of lo-fi dirge pop presents a sort of partner piece to her widely adored debut LP, You Know What It’s Like with four wistful songs distilling the spirits of post-punk and eerie chamber music.
We’ll cut to the chase, it’s pretty much all about the title track, The Garden, which operates shades away from the much cleaner output of CS + Kreme, but shares much in common with their dusky beauty, and of course distinguished by her sylvan vocals, phosphorescing from a lapping haze of tape noise and distant, quietly breathing synth figures that could happily loop off for twice the length.
The rest is lovely, too but we strongly recommend starting at the back and working your way in.