Dredging lost marbles from the trampled grass and mud of the festival scene circa 1986-1996, Spaced Out’ is a superb exploration of the UK scene that laid the groundwork for and paralleled the ‘90s rave movement
Scanning trax by titans of the scene such as Ozric Tentacles, Eat Static, and Magic Mushroom Band, Belgium’s DJ Athome yields a necessary primer on the sound of psychedelic dub, space rock, and early electronica that soundtracked a now near-mythical UK pastime. Much maligned over the intervening years, and commonly side-eyed by more mainstream types, this sound was the bridge between ’60s hippies, ‘70s psych-rockers, and their Crusty offspring who extended their principles into the free party scene of the ‘90s, which, to be fair, is still extant on the mainland continent, and even still in UK, although you’re less likely to hear this kind of gear nowadays. The sound effectively balances a sense of eldritch atavism with a new age consciousness, hybridising styles at will and always with a purpose - to induce altered states of mind and ween people off the teet of populism.
Depending your tolerance for acid, or people who have done a lot of acid, ‘DJ Athome presents Spaced Out’ will either be manna or muck. Many moons ago we might have fallen in the latter category, but the picks here are really piquing our interests and got us hankering for a mushy brew, especially the roiling swerve of ‘Secret Names’ by the Tentacles, and the mesmerising space rock chug of The Ullulators’ ‘Zulu Proons,’ with Magic Mushroom Band’s erogenous exploration ‘Squatter In The House’ neatly primed to slot into DJ sets beside PWOG cuts, and ‘Music is Magic’ delivering a classy dose of 303-like action ripe to entice disciples of the mage, Vladimir Ivkovic, while Extremadura’s ‘Epsilon’ may do the same for John T. Gast fans.
Proto-balearic bleep weirdness originally dropped back in 1990 by record store mates Adam Embleton (DJ Mad A) and Stevie Hewitt (Dr. Stevie The Ambient Guru). Lurches from Sueño Latino modes to LFO or Sweet Exorcist-style jackin' minimalism.
Skeletal but unashamedly funky, "The Mad Vibe" appeared as acid house was surging thru the UK and Ibiza was about to break into the mainstream consciousness. Embleton and Hewitt's take on techno is unashamedly nerdy and well-informed, clearly inspired by US techno innovation but unafraid to mash those elements into more psychedelic spaces.
Opening track 'Northern Echo' centers a loose guitar lick that isn't a million miles from Manuel Göttsching's noodly improvisation on the seminal "E2-E4". But next to crystalline FM plucks and chunky house rhythms it evolves into something uniquely eccentric and British.
'Communication' and 'System Shock' are even better, mirroring the stark and innovative run of 12"s appearing from Sheffield's emerging Warp stable at the time. Think (very) early AE or Sweet Exorcist, but touched with fuzzed out psychedelic guitar? Closing track 'Levitating Pharaohs' dribbles into more ambient-dub chill out zone territory, if that's yer thing.
Night Slugs boss Alex Sushon returns as One Bok with a drill-tipped style following in the vein of Nammy Wams’ album on NS sublabel, AP Life
A decade since Night Slugs came to dominate the club game, ‘Zodiac Beats Volumes 1 & 2’ sees the label’s head honcho and key producer pivot to drill with ease, adapting the sound’s flinty percussion, minor key motifs, and glyding bass with signature flair. Like the most of Night Slugs’ aesthetic, he keeps it all instrumental and ready for the rave in each part, but it likewise works just as well as a listen-thru mixtape format with a furtive shadowplay of vibes.
Working in the gaps between grime, drill, and rap, proper, the results are kin to Nammy Wams as much as Deamonds and the road level pressure of UK drill originator Carns Hill, with standout examples found between slippery cyber chassis of ‘Pisces,’ the wicked infusion of stuttering goth guitar licks on ’Nine Saturn,’ his rudely tuff bass torque on ‘Fifty,’ and the xanny numbed meditation of ‘When I Start.’
Turkish sonic alchemist Cevdet Erek continues the unique rhythmic experimentation of 2017's "Davul" with this latest release, a seismic rattle that echoes Emptyset's "Skin" or Jon Mueller's percussive meditations.
Like its predecessor, "Zincirli" is focused on the hyper specific sonic qualities of Erek's drum. Over almost half an hour, the composer uses his experience in sound design to sculpt an aural picture of the instrument, mapping its shape and the unusual tonal qualities. He plays a rhythm that seems to dip in and out of the sound field, it underpins the entire composition, but the booming sub tones seem to bob and weave between faster taps and scrapes.
It's a record that demands patience, and rewards close listeners with a trance-like meditative state. "Zincrirli" isn't easy going by any means, but it's a remarkable achievement that's struck through with historical weight and an ancient call to arms.
Don Zilla's debut long player is a DSP-heavy descent into transdimensional subspace electronix, ruptured rhythmic analysis and humid, muscle-tensing textures. One of East Africa's most curious musical minds, Zilla offers a fresh take on clanking, hi-NRG bass music: it's like Slikback, Emptyset and Dreamcrusher beamed into yer brain simultaneously.
Following 2019's ace "From the Cave to the World", "Ekizikiza Mubwengula" gives us a clearer picture of Don Zilla's musical vision. Only a few years ago, the producer was teaching himself how to make beats in FL Studio at an internet cafe. Now he runs Nyege Nyege Tapes' Boutiq Studios in Kampala, and has pioneered a dissident sound assembled from a global patchwork of dance and experimental flavors.
The album opens with 'Full Moon', a dense web of timestretched East African percussion and resonant drones. This brief intro establishes the setting, before 'Tension' stomps into view with Timbaland-esque string chops, machine-gun kicks and the kind of rasping analog synth noize that wouldn't be out of place on a Pan Sonic 12". 'Buziba' digs further into outer realms, linking gqom's sparse, ominous wobble with trap and halfstep rhythmic pulses and sheets of ear-splitting white noise.
Zilla is most successful when he lets loose completely, like on jackhammer rave belter 'Entambula' and amphetamine-addled gravity-twister 'Moving Space'. These tracks demonstrate Zilla's commitment to the dance, punctuating his challenging sonic landscape with loud, inescapable commands to move. Pure future sh*t, seriously.
Zelienople's Matt Christensen tills a fertile mid-point between dream pop and alt country on "Constant Green". Gauzy, nostalgic bliss that's like Neil Young or Johnny Cash produced by Tim Friese-Greene and Brian Eno.
Growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, Christensen fondly remembers the constant hum of country rock blaring from car radios. Nameless, long-forgotten songs would melt into each other as he drove - no seatbelt - thru the American Midwest. "Constant Green" is his attempt to bring this mood into 2021, filtering it through the catalog of influences he's been exploring both in Zelienople and as a solo artist for decades. Adding dream pop, ambient and post rock elements, his resulting concoction is dark, lingering and romantic, and it's more far more alluring than simple, empty nostalgia.
Opener 'I Listen To Country Songs' lays out Christensen's message with stark clarity. Slide guitar from Zelienople's Brian Harding and keyboard from Eric Eleazer sits beneath faintly strummed guitar and Christensen's familiar vocals. But the sonic environment studio whizz Christensen creates is more like Talk Talk's "Spirit of Eden", Arthur Russell's "World of Echo" or Slowdive's "Souvlaki". This is country music, of a sort, but sprinkled with the subtle electronic processes that Tim Friese-Greene made his calling card.
Lush, layered ambience builds slowly on 'I Had A Vision That I Could Move Anywhere' like a distant police siren; 'Tenement Square' uses negative space like another instrument, allowing words to echo like a passing car; 'Constant Green' is beautiful and restrained, with distortion suggesting rock but turning the amp to -1. It's ineffably charming music, that builds an unsentimental narrative rooted in the American midwest, warts 'n all.
Psychedelic post-punk goth grot from Southern Death Cult members Barry Jepson, David 'Buzz' Burrows, and Aki Haq Nawaz Qureshi, with Temple Ov Psychic Youth associate Paul ‘Bee’ Hampshire on vocals. These demos and unreleased tracks catch the band at their most barbed - think Psychic TV x Killing Joke.
While getting the fear initially sailed on a wave of interest in British post-punk and inked a deal with RCA, they were dropped swiftly after recording their debut single 'Last Salute' after a reshuffle at the label. This album collects the rest of the band's material, most of which has laid unreleased since it was recorded. There are demos ('Last Salute' is featured here in its original form) and unheard cuts that finally help fans piece together an accurate picture of a band obsessed with dreams, sex and Charles Manson.
The music still sounds relevant, if deeply a product of its era. Getting the Fear were more surreal than many of their contemporaries, sharing creative territory with their friends Psychic TV and bordering on the gothy low-light grit of Killing Joke.
More properly far-out transmissions from Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle. This time it's a 1982 tape release that shows off Dutch free improviser Remko Scha's madcap mechanical ensemble - five guitars were hung from a wall, with devices attached to hit and bow the strings. It sounds completely beamed from the outerzone, sometimes like Christian Marclay's seminal 'Guitar Drag' or an opium den Velvet Underground sesh, and others like Eli Keszler jamming with Bill Orcutt. OK!
A founding member of Dutch radical improv group The Maciunas Ensemble, computational linguistics professor Remko Scha was a crucial part of the Netherlands' art world in the late '70s and early '80s. Scha was particularly interested in generative music, and developed a mechanized system for playing electric guitars that was part sculpture and part robot. When set up, the ensemble played itself - all Scha could do was change the speed of the system.
"Guitar Mural 1" is four long recordings of the ensemble, highlighting the hypnotic power of the setup and Scha's dedication to the form. There's little interaction from Scha himself and no post processing, we just get to hear the instruments as they play themselves, and all the tiny changes and accidental harmonies and rhythms that creates. There are echoes of Eli Keszler's similarly automated arduino-controlled sound sculptures, as well as Glenn Branca's no-wave classic 'Lesson No. 1 for Electric Guitar', Sonic Youth's atonal shred clouds and Charlemagne Palestine’s dueling pianos.
But Scha's constructions feel scientific and rigorous. He's not making music to shock, as such, but to explore the possibilities of a formula. It's almost early algorithmic art in a way, bent around the limitations of its day and set against the scuzzy backdrop of rock 'n roll. Recommended listening.
Heavy tonker Blawan runs amok in his modular systems with six ruffshod techno screwballs for his Ternesc label
Not your usual hard techno, the ’Soft Waahls’ EP sees him working off and around the kicks in freakier permutations of his hardcore style. The bass drum diehards will get theirs in the offset, spongiform pressure of ‘Fizz City,’ while those open to wilder styles will get it everywhere from the syncopated rattler ‘Justsa’ to the supremely warped tackle of ‘The Sithe,’ the buckled, ratty funk of ’Silver,’ and the killer swivel of ‘Fourth Dimensional’ that makes the pads ’n bass style of Ilian tape seem as tame as they are. To be fair ‘Micro’s’ over eggs it into undanceable complexity, but the rest stands for some of Blawan’s most ingenious work.
Anaesthetising dream-pop from Kobe, Japan’s Haco, gracing Room 40’s rarely seen sublabel Someone Good with a sound somewhere between Grouper and Julia Holter
Depending how your tweedar is calibrated, ‘Nova Naturo’ offers either a blessing or a saccharine wince. It’s too much for these ears, but we can see how many others will fall for its charms, especially those who love it wipe clean and no grit between the record and you; leading from whispered late night lounge styles on ‘Frozen In Time’ to feathered airborne strums on ’Spinning Lantern,’ and the anime dream sequence styles of ‘Teardrops of Aurora,’ and with more success in what sounds like a vaporised Junior Boys on ‘A Mind Resort (Shiokaze Version)’ and the supine drift of ‘Myths and Facts.’
Black To Comm's spannered psychedelic inversions of Senyawa's percussive experimental trax might be our fave to emerge from the remix project so far. Overdriven, foamy noise built out of dissociated wind tunnel vox, granulated drums and tectonic plate shifting power ambient drones. Fucking massive.
The latest artist to take on Indonesian duo Senyawa's "Alkisah" album is Hamburg-based Marc Richter, aka Black To Comm. There have been a few different takes on the source material so far, but by working in long-form Richter manages to establish a fully-formed world, taking apart the original album completely and reconstructing it in his inimitable style.
Distortion is the key element here, and Richter pushes Senyawa's components full into the red, blurring drums and Indonesian instrumentation until it buckles and breaks into fragments of feedback and white noise. His treatments are harmonic somehow; while the original tracks were more stark, Richter's arhythmic, psychedelic approach is completely in line with the duo's process, and nothing about this version feels surplus to requirement.
Rather, it adds a completely new dimension to the original album - Richter feels like the third member of the band as he levitates disparate ingredients with the glee and serendipitous charm of an evil sorcerer. If you've already tracked down the wash of Senyawa remixes and are experiencing ear fatigue - rinse 'em out with soap and water.
More expertly-produced slippery, low-slung deep house goodness from the shockingly-reliable Galcher Lustwerk - there's even a slappin' synth-heavy remix from Midwestern techno legend Dan Curtin.
We don't deserve Galcher Lustwerk. With each release, he reminds just how good house music can be when you avoid the trappings of gear fetishism or fads and head straight for the groove. He follows up the 'Information Redacted' release with this new EP, playing to his strengths. Sultry vocals, simple and effective rolling bass and fluid, driving beatbox rhythms that just about remind us what dancing thru a cloud of blunt smoke at 3AM felt like. It sounds like underrated Chicago deep house legend Gemini given a fresh lick of paint and 4k remaster.
Galcher draws further parallels with the Midwestern scene by roping in Ohio OG Dan Curtin for remix duties. Curtin beefs up the kick, dragging the track into a parallel Detroit synthspace, with detuned chords and luscious, dreamy sequences. V good.
Chicago's Dance Mania legend DJ Deeon decamps to Teklife for a breakneck set of resolutely American bass music, all cycling TR-808 snaps, trunk-rattling sub drops and searing acid funq. Respect the master - this one's fer the dancers.
Are there many more house producers as agelessly reliable as Deeon Boyd? Since the early '90s, the DJ and prolific beatmaker has been churning out tracks that haven't just set clubs on fire, they've modified the musical DNA of Chicago itself. In particular, the footwork genre can trace its lineage to the sample-heavy oddball slide of Deeon and his acolytes, so it's fitting that "Destiny" is comes via genre nexus Teklife.
There's four new tracks here, all of them sounding fresh without losing the erotique heat that's made Deeon such an enduring force. 'Tek 57' is a rapid slap of percussive wobbles, autotuned moans and overdriven kicks; 'Living that TEKLIFE' meanwhile impacts rhythmic flips over dramatic horns, while 'Respect the fact' winds a tuff basement kick over a wobbly acidic bassline.
Closing track 'Herbal Grinder' might be the weirdest and most brain bursting of all: an echoing sand-blasted trance lead welded onto a classic Deeon sex dungeon kick pattern that sounds like the party anthem you never realized you needed. Pure dirt.
Smiling C scan the annals of Mexican experimental jazz artist Germán Bringas between 1991-2000, covering bountiful strains of sax and new age electronics
There comes a point in every earnest listener’s habits and tastes when new age possibly curdles into nuisance and, for this set of ears, that point has been achieved with ‘Tunel Hacia Ti.’ It’s flush with expressive multi-instrumentalist strokes, vamps, and vibes, but unfortunately they mostly aren’t landing well on the receptors today; it all sounds a bit cloying and nudges us to move on to something else. But anyone with a higher tolerance for sax and synths right now (tbf i just had my jab and aversion may be a side effect?) may well got lost in Bringas’ wistful world building and mazy narratives. Maybe we just need a sangria and some sun?
“Sixteen unheard works from Mexican jazz synesthete, Germán Bringas. Bringas plays with a delicate balance between experiment & pastoral spaciousness, sounding like Coltrane scoring a Tarkovsky film. To Accompany this release, we’ve made a documentary about Germán’s life. Tunel Hacia Tí (Tunnel Toward You) is a collection of early compositions by Germán Bringas of Portales, Mexico City. This album features songs from his lost cassette ambient jazz opus, "Caminatas" (Hikes), it’s spiritual successor, "Exposción Al Vacio" (Vacuum Exposure), and unreleased works created between '91-'00. Every instrument heard on this release was played by Bringas, and recorded in a studio in the back of his home.”
Nurse With Wound do us all a favour and sort the wheat from the chaff of their legendary “List” in a bountiful new trawl for their spiritual descendants at Finders Keepers, this time with a focus on German artists. Wigs will be flipped, we tell thee.
For the uninitiated; on the back cover of their 1979 debut album, ‘Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella,’ Nurse With Wound alphabetically itemised a stack of records that had influenced them, often for the inclusion of only one track on the record. The records were so rare and obscure that people who picked up the album thought NWW were having a laugh, but eventually realised they were real, obtainable things, leading them to become proper collectors’ items. After more than 40 years, and to the delight of many, NWW’s Steven Stapleton now dissects the pertinent bits of heart, liver and vital organs from those records, highlighting a shared consciousness of the ‘60s / ‘70s experimental, psych, and avant garde scenes in the years before record collecting of that voracity became a competitive pursuit and the fancy of hirsute record fair hunters.
This second volume examines Germany's inclusions on the list and is another precious haul of spannered, synapse popping prog 'n psych rawnesz thru to druggy, burned out eccentricity and ragged Prussian post-funk fuzz. It's a wild, narcotic voyage down the styx, all loose jazz rawk rhythms, ripped woofer bass and screaming detuned axe leads, everything assembled with a pre-punk middle finger to established ideas of order and genre. More importantly, it avoids the gilted critic-proof Kraut canon of Neu!, Can, Amon Düül, Popol Vuh and the like, mostly 'cuz if you've missed that you've probably not been listening very closely.
Instead, we get to experience the jagged, off-key improv splatter of Wolfgang Dauner's 'Output', that pulls us into the Deutsche smokescape kicking, screaming and frothing at the mouth. It sounds like musicians playin against each other rather than together: drums are an assemblage of occasional fills, guitar riffs are mangled, smacked and panned, oscillators squeal drunkenly like sick insects and piano rattles and rolls to underpin everything with nautical anxiety.
Avant legend Limpe Fuchs and her husband's Anima-Sound duo appear with 'It Loves Want To Have Done It', a haunted, sparse improvisation that pits screams and whispers against tidal free-wonk percussion and pinging left-bonk effex. Underrated Detroit x Stuttgart Kraut-funk oddbods Exmagma fight thru blotter breath with 'It's So Nice', drawing a clear line in Sharpie between Black US innercity innovation and German commune-adjacent anti-establishment experimentation. It all follows a line far beyond the usual krautrock and kosmiche culprits to perfectly demonstrate the Germans’ rhythm-driven and psychedelic urges in abundance, highlighting the way a generational wave of musicians sought to create a new music unshackled from folk music tainted by their fathers’ generation, or imitating British and American styles; broadening their horizons while cognisant of the need to make a music that was, after all, expressive of a new society. Trust Steven Stapleton has picked out the most virulent, enduring examples for a new generation to absorb while watching their hairlines recede and waists and beards bloom…
Raw deep house pressure, Berlin-Style, from the Acido MVP, rounding up more lost cuts from SVN’s archive
Shifting the dial from the first volume’s 2006-2014 timeframe to 2011-2014, circa is first workouts on SUED, the artists Sven Reiger (aka Ixus, and member of Dreesvn, PG Sounds, AU, Tase, XI ++) gives a loose red definition of deep house taking in the deliciously spongiform, rounded bass of ‘2013,’ the effervescent house stepper ‘2012,’ plus more pendulous moves with the swinging wooden drums of ‘2014.1,’ and a neat change of pace on the cosmic synth nose of ‘2011.1.’
Low-light, jazzy meditations and bleak, ominous textures that melt Feldermelder's ambient-experimental electronic techniques into Sara Oswald's inspired cello playing. Fennesz x David Darling = gut ja.
'Drawn' is serious nighttime music that's pitched as a meditation on time, or an attempt to emulate the memories that occur during a near death experience. Thankfully it's not too bleak - the duo use this starting point to create eerie soundscapes that stretch familiar elements into a haze of Swiss continental grandiosity that's interrupted by crunching noise and occasional rhythmic blasts.
It's almost like late-period Fennesz with cello instead of guitar and rooted in jazz instead of rock - all swirling cigarette smoke and digital bleakness. It ain't ambient, that's for sure; Miasmah, ECM, Touch and Rune Grammafon fans, take note!
Rare ‘80s pep and joy from German-in-London artist Roland Ray, seeing his sole album of new wave pop reissued by Henry Jones’ beaming label, Smiling C
Riddled with memorable hooks that never snagged upon original release in 1985, ‘Hot, Cold & Blue’ sees Roland ray pursue the glitter and grease of a life as full time musician in London. Hailing from Hannover originally, he apparently left the city after pimps attempted to kidnap his missus, and would end up living an itinerant lifestyle busking between Belgium and France until he was able to get legit access to the UK, where his girlfriend was from.
Then based in West Hampstead amid a fecund creative scene surrounded by likes of Thin Lizzy and Robert Palmer, his first group Loony Q disbanded after success thwarted them, leading Ray to pick up an auld 8-track from Brussels and embark as a solo artist. ‘Hot, Cold & Blue’ was the result, a highly melodic confection of ‘60s pop inspirations mixed with bedroom rock verve and bubbling disco that probably sounded bit out of place then as it does now, reminding the way Ariel Pink picked up the thread of ‘60s jangle and ran with it in his own way, resulting lost “hits” such as the charming ‘UK Chart Singles’ and the Blue Gene Tyranny-esque country rock pop of ‘Girl On My Mind’ scattered in the definition of an also ran album that still sounds strangely fresh decades later.
A sentimental trip into the world of Don and Moki Cherry's Organic Music Theatre, a collaboration proposed as an alternative space for creative music and art. "Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972" is a recording of the group's historic debut performance marks a joyful period in the Cherrys' lives.
Accompanied by musicians Naná Vasconcelos, Christer Bothén and Doudou Gouirand and Danish puppeteers Det Lilla Cirkus, Don and Moki laid out their life philosophy to French festivalgoers on this extended set. The performed outdoors and were joined onstage by a handful of friends, both adults and children, who danced and sang as the band played. The duo's message was clear: they wanted to bring people together.
This was the period that Don Cherry had rejected his former status as a jazz titan, jettisoning his career in favor of a more mysterious existence in rural Sweden with his wife and family. But as "Organic Music Theatre" illustrates, it wasn't a rejection of music, but of the art world's oppressive hierarchy, that was central to his decision. The music here, a frolicking fusion of Indian, African, South American and Native American forms that feel charged with an almost spiritual energy, is intimate but universal.
There's little of the avant/free jazz that Cherry cut his teeth pioneering here, rather it's a performance that celebrates the very act of playing in public. The band play challenging pieces - including tracks that would eventually make their way to Cherry's "Organic Music Society" and "Home Boy" albums - but inject them with so much positive energy that their context is shifted completely. It's a privilege to hear this performance from beginning to end and bask in its hopeful energy.
Newly unearthed bonanza of Don Cherry action, capturing an extraordinary free jazz tempest thrown down live in ’68 at a summerhouse south of Stockholm amidst a fecund epoch. Proper, third-eye dilating stuff rife with spontaneous possibility by players from Sweden, Turkey, USA
Part of a tranche of Don Cherry recordings that resurfaced recently from the Swedish Jazz Archive, ‘The Summer House Sessions’ now takes pride of place on its first vinyl pressing, accompanied on the CD by other recordings made the same day. For the first time they reveal a day of incredible energies improvised by Cherry with members of his Swedish ensemble, plus a Turkish drummer, at saxophonist and recording engineer Göran Freese’s summer house in late July, 1968. As many jazz heads will know, this is circa some of Cherry’s most legendary works, spanning a period after he’d cut his teeth playing with Coltrane and setting the template for free jazz with Ornette Coleman’s classic quartet, at a time when his creativity was unbounded and truly definitive of a searching, modal democracy of jazz music that drew from myriad sources.
The two vinyl sides and bonus material bear witness to a remarkable murmuration of sorts, with a swingeing rhythmic drive from the dual drummers underpinning a deeply psychedelic play of colours and pan-ethnic expression derived from Cherry’s pocket sax and flutes, and free-handed air shredding by likes of Bernt Rosengren (tenor saxophone, flutes, clarinet) and Tommy Koverhult (tenor saxophone, flutes). In effect, the recordings prove that Cherry’s preceding lessons for the players in extended forms of improvisations including breathing, drones, Turkish rhythms, overtones, silence, natural voices, and Indian scales had really hit home, triggering the massed ensemble to play with a ruptured, shearing unpredictability, but equally with a rapturous coherence that’s simply everything at once and then some.
We've no idea how Masami Akita continues to enthrall after literally hundreds of albums, but he's cracked it again with "Triwave Pagoda". This time he rakes thru early electronic stylings with his typically full-throttle amplitude level, shrouding oscillator shrieks and dissonant wails in 12-foot walls of burn'd out noise and chugging metal dirt. U already know, right?
'Triwave Pagoda' is a spiral of anti-synth music that celebrates the untamed oscillator by ripping it to shreds and flogging it publicly. Split into two bite-sized 20-minute chunks, the album expands on Akita's ongoing interest in early electronics, layering harsh feedback over brain-rupturing drones and jagged blasts of tempered white noize.
There's nothing easy about this record, but neither is it simply harsh noise wall endurance. For each blast of ear-splitting feedback, there's just as much bleating "Forbidden Planet" bleepage and pineal-prodding computer malfunction bizz. Well good, honestly.
Driving deep techno from Washington DC’s Jackson Ryland on 1432r, keeping it close to home following local don Max D’s ‘Many Any’ LP
Built deep and robust in a classic Detroit vein, the ’Stealth Mode’ EP wets pumping uptempo rhythms with underwater pads in four parts, going deep and dark with the Suburban Knight-esue pressure of ’Stealth Mode’ and the gruff heft of ‘Air & Space’, whereas ‘Aloe Vera’ is more expansive, lushed up, but still smacking, and ‘Blaze Freak’ swings out off-centre with warm jazz chords and ruff cut drums recalling DJ Spider or something Max D might play.
2020/2021 remasters of late ‘90s D&B rollers and steppers by Total Science
First plated up in 1999 by Goldie’s label, ’Silent Reign’ i buffed up in a 2021 master bringing its drums to the biting point and with nuff space for tense sci-fi pads. The Photek-fetishizing, tight roller ‘Colony’ appears in its 2020 master, and ’Shift’ brings that pre-millennial tension with grunting bass and icy pads skating over a brittle 2-step roll cage.
Why Eye pets Laurie Tompkins and Otto Willberg mint their canny new label with a radgy packet of avant follies - think a manic Ghédalia Tazartès jamming with Derek Bailey in Stewart Lee’s dreams.
Certifiably crazed, psychotomimetic; ‘Exorcise’ is the result of cabin fever experienced by these adventuourous composer/improvisors during lockdown. Once a native of geordieland, now based in London’s ‘burbs, Laurie Tompkins is well appreciated for his boundary oblivious approach to composition, as strewn across the ace Slip label he runs with Tom Rose and Suze Whaites, while Otto Willberg is a fearless bass guitar and string improvisor. Together they’ve provided some of the oddest releases in the past decade - check Laurie’s ‘45th Generation Roman & European Bob’ or ‘Heat, War, Sweat, Law,’ and tell us we’re wrong?! - and the two 10 minute works here push the levels to edges of insanity, but just short of being institutionalised.
They previously launched Yes Indeed via Willberg's Heavy Petting label in 2016, with a clump of shows to follow, with ‘Exorcise’ marking their first recording since 2018. The title piece is a demented dovish of freewheeling spinnet, stir-crazed vox and keys just about fused by roving jazz-funky bass, while their ‘Brainwatched’ side reels to see-sawing folk strings and guttural lyrical expression, erupting an spat out in theatrical manners reminding of the Slip label’s piece de resistance by Object Collection, as well as the unhinged turns of Yeah You, yet with a delirious logic of their own.
Proper, mad scones.
More neon-flicker'd glam rawk dirt from genre averse Warp-signed pop pinup Yves Tumor. Somewhere between Primal Scream, Babylon Zoo, Bowie and Prince, but like... good?
Sean Bowie's first new music since last year's acclaimed "Heaven to a Tortured Mind", 'Jackie' continues his mission to bring back sleazy glam pop and might be his most successful punt yet. With a clipped overdriven chorus and the kind of dusty beat tape drums Andy Weatherall was smart to gift to Primal Scream back in 1991, it's all fuzzy and anthemic, doused in more purple light than Nic Cage in "Mandy". It's the sort of track that actually makes us miss MTV. Really.
Released on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records in 1979, "The Bridge" was the only album from Glaswegian innovators Thomas Wishart and Robert Donnachie (aka Thomas Leer & Robert Rental), but influenced everyone from John Foxx and Art of Noise to Mute founder Daniel Miller and ABC. Seriously next level day zero DIY electro pop made in a bedsit with hacked together synths and reel-to-reel recorders >> end-to-end killer.
When "The Bridge" was released, there was almost nothing else like it out there. Leer and Rental were true pioneers, experimenting with sounds that just hadn't been touched before and changing the course of British pop music in the process. They had spent most of the '70s surfing thru squats and communes, but headed to London in the mid-'70s to write music, inspired by the growing punk movement.
Their take on punk was a little different - they only had access to the cheapest equipment, so a guitar was twinned with a kids' Stylophone keyboard and mangled with a home-made effects unit. Interestingly, their eerie, fwd-thinking sound did get traction at the time, and after a few acclaimed singles they recorded "The Bridge" for Industrial Records in two weeks using hired gear.
Unlike the surge of electronic pop records that would follow, "The Bridge" still sounds haunted and original. The duo's lack of experience with their instruments and clear interest in texture and noise leads them in constantly odd directions, following spiky punk splatter with shimmering ambience or crunchy noise. 'Fade Away' is like John Foxx thru a distortion pedal, while the seven-minute 'Interferon' sounds more like early BoC or Emeralds.
It's a stunning record that's far more than a mere curiosity of the era; you can clearly hear how its sounds reverberated across British pop music and beyond. Time to discover another forgotten classic then...
A big influence on the tropicália of Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé and Gilberto Gil; Swiss-Brazilian artist Walter Smetak is subject to reissue of his fascinating 2nd album, recorded and released in 1980 when the artist was in his late ‘60s
Accompanied by a band of microtonal guitars, aka Conjunto De Microtons, Smetak used ‘Interregno’ to move his musical ideas deeper into the strange tuning systems found on his seminal self-titled debut in 1974. Picking up where ’Smetak’ left off, he effectively positions himself like Brazil’s answer to Derek Bailey, getting right inside and messing with his chosen forms in an holistic, nose-to-tail style that he’d pursued since the ‘60s/‘70s, and which would play a pivotal role influencing the expressive freedoms and glorious wonders of the tropicália movement.
Guided by a personal mythology and religious-esoetric weltanschauung, the results speak clearly to a singular mind and conception of style, sounding uncannily like tropicália’s tropes are in the process of melting into air, unravelling and vaporising its mix of tradition and futurism into post-body, metaphysical forms with a visionary approach most obvious in the album’s longest work, the 12 minutes of twangs and whistles ‘Plágio,’ the pineal pinch of ‘Trifles,’ and coterie of instruments resembling avant-naturalistic, animal-like forms on ‘Ofício’ or the breezy ephemera of ‘Convite.’
A must check for fans of everyone from Annea Lockwood to Derek Bailey and Tom Zé!
Shanique Marie drops her debut long-player featuring collaborations and production from Gavsborg, Alanna Stuart, Michael Vincent Waller, Raging Fyah, Swing Ting & Exile Di Brave.
"The first woman of Jamaica’s favourite forward-thinking Equiknoxx crew, Queen of the Eternal Children, Shanique previously combined her Reggae, Jazz, R&B & Hip Hop roots on her critically acclaimed Uno EP which included the breakout hit Coconut Jelly Man. A talented and versatile collaborator she’s worked with a host of impressive acts both locally and globally including Krayzie Bone, Redlight, Flava D, Lex Luger, Finn, Aisha Devi, Masicka, Kabaka Pyramid, Sharda, Yaadcore, Addis Pablo, RTKal, Fox & Swing Ting. Marie’s recent singles Ring The Alarm, Freak, as well as collaborations Lifey/Movers with DJ Finn & Survey Says with classical composer Michael Vincent Waller signal a fresh direction.
Building on from this no-holds-barred space is what sets the tone for Gigi’s House, a masterclass in songwriting, storytelling and performance from Marie.
The set boasts a range of styles and sounds from eerie soul (Druggin', P3), sweet yet reflective R&B (Grow, Give Thanks), refreshingly candid one-drop (Government Name, Married Man), bubbling Jamaican dance music (Quality Time Sound System Freestyle) and a heart-stirring Ballad (Ballad). The production complemented by Shanique’s irresistible vocals shimmers throughout, largely handled by fellow Equiknoxx sparring partner Gavsborg, although Michael Vincent Waller brings his evocative piano to Druggin’ and Ballad with Manchester’s Swing Ting producing the affirming Lockdown hit Give Thanks. Alanna Stuart of Bonjay adds her haunting vocals to P3 and Druggin’ and Exile Di Brave brings his nasal tones to Government Name.
Shanique feels comfortably at ease and sure-footed throughout the project so it’s no surprise when asked to describe Gigi’s House she simply states: “I call this one home”.
Kenyan grindcore phenomenon Duma arrive on Sub Pop with a none more thrilling follow-up to their blinding 2020 debut album for Nyege Nyege Tapes
With their eponymous debut LP now on its 3rd repress, Duma are set for world dominance via Seattle’s legendary Sub Pop, where they pull no punches in a pair of beastly collisions of barbed breakcore and organ evacuating vocals for the end of days.
‘Cannis’ commits bloodcurdling shrieks to searing synths and bone-rattling rhythms with the unswerving conviction found on their album, literally leaving us a mass of quivering skin, before ‘Mbukinya’ brings forth the blast beats and guitars that link them back to European traditions, but grounded in an East African rhythmic nous.
Just fucking peerless.
Japanese pipe-organ builder and sound artist Yosuke Fujita provided us with one of the prettiest, weirdest records that passed over our desk last year, essentially a custom-built organ duet with a bat colony, recorded in a cave beneath Mt. Fuji. It’s now been remastsred by Rashad Becker (with whom Fujita will be collaborating on a performance for Issue Project Room next month) and captures a sound somewhere between Sarah Davachi, Eleh, Pauline Oliveros and Kali Malone's long-form organ dirges, with the bat calls sounding almost like a synthesizer piped thru an echo chamber.
Since 2009, Fujita has been recording almost exclusively with his custom-built pipe organ: a unique instrument made from 11 pipes and a blacksmith's air pump. All of his recordings are worth hearing, but "KŌMORI" is among the most unusual and rewarding - 40 minutes of alien, pensive organ drone that echoes around the repeating, reverberating squeaks of a colony of bats.
Inspired by the fact that bats were the source of many recent viruses - like Ebola, Nipah and Hendra - Fujita grabbed a Sunken CO-100K microphone that was capable of picking up their ultrasonic echolocation. These sounds, captured in a cave beneath Mt. Fuji, are totally alien, like chattering sine waves or wobbling modular business. It's the perfect foil for Fujita's well-worn courtly organ variations that mirror traditional Japanese 7th century gagaku forms.
The rhythmic click of the air pump guides Fujita's bellowing drones, drowning out the cave's uneven spaces. Sometimes the bat sounds are reduced to a whisper, at others - such as on the crushing third part - they're almost deafening. Fujita processes these sounds expertly, occasionally mirroring their fluttering tonalities, at others simply allowing the unusual frequencies to cascade through the empty caverns.
This is properly vital new music - sonically adjacent to Medieval church music, but also austere early electronics, spiked with a brilliantly asymmetric streak all of its own.
Synth legend Suzanne Ciani, Demdike Stare's Sean Canty & Finders Keepers' Andy Votel come together on this killer hour-long 2014 synapse popper of a collaboration pooling the occasional group’s esoteric collage-based approach into a remarkably foreboding session pregnant with a dread that’s never quite resolved. Think Vladimir Ussachevsky, Todd Dockstader, Spectre and Company Flow melted thru the Deutsch-Italo industrial DIY tape era and funneled thru an almost impenetrable fog of Ann Arbor basement noizze.
Hustling some of Neotantrik’s most amorphous gestures, ’241014’ is a four-segment movement of reduced Buchla treatments, destroyed vinyl loops and scraping foley suspense; like a cosmic dream diary layered into a collage of drones and clatters. Little in Ciani's extensive catalogue has hinted at what's on display here; the joyful lullaby-pop of "Seven Waves" or metallic alien soundscraping of "Flowers of Evil" are only hinted at. She instead paints new sonic vistas, allowing space for her collaborators to make themselves known; Votel's chiming toy autoharp and Bubul Tarang (a Punjab string instrument) add a distinctive flavor, while Canty's grimy drones and noise-soaked textures drizzle pitch-black molasses into the cracks and crevices. Together, the effect is a bit like hearing Philip Jeck improvising over Popol Vuh's peerless Moog-led debut "Affenstunde" or Demdike Stare knocking out impromptu reworks of Tangerine Dream's abstrakt early run.
Perhaps unusually, the trio have still never set foot in a studio together, exclusively maintaining their practice in-the-moment and on stage when schedules intersect. So it’s all the more remarkable that their improvisations naturally find a democracy of role and such a heightened level of intuition, beautifully converging their thoughts to mutual, open-ended conclusions that leaves billowing room for interpretation. In a most classic sense, it's like the sensation of sleep paralysis or dream/nightmare ambiguity, with a level of suggestiveness that’s disorienting from end to end.
For the first time the recordings are now available in high fidelity (there was a tape version a couple of years back) - now remastered by Rashad Becker to better represent the otherworldly scope of their actions on stage, from the NWW-like queues and drone of ‘Scanned Accents’ and keening silhouette of ‘Second Action,’ to new sections of subaquatic Porter Ricks-like murk in ‘Anti-Contraction’ and the levitating webs of synth and tactile, sampled textures in ‘Last Canción.’
Tape music and synth music have long shared a passionate embrace, and here turntablism coolly slides in on the action. Canty and Votel's background in beat tape assembly and crate digging pays off: they're keenly experimental creators but bring an unfussy sense of rhythm and performance that's miles beyond any facile repetition of a nostalgia for vintage glory. Combined with Ciani's delicate Buchla work - it’s a unique proposition.
Cold crushed electronics and tape noise by iDEAL faithful, Altar of Flies, returning to his native Swedish label with a 3rd album of possessed and unsettling tonal abstraction and psychoacoustic isolationism
Known to the reaper as Mattias Gustafsson, Alter of Flies is the Mjölby-based sound artist’s most prolific alias, responsible for dozens of tapes and LPs for Chondritic Sound and White centipede Noise beside his trio of turns for iDEAL since the mid ‘00s. ‘Bortom Reven’ sticks closely to what he does best, conjuring bleakly depressive atmospheres ripe for inhabitation by the harder-to-please followers of North European ambient and industrial musicks, with an alchemic application of field recordings, tape loops, and primitive oscillators that vividly brings his thoughts into the dark light.
‘Bottom Reven’ is perhaps reflective of a certain, ascetic and isolated Swedish characteristic, enacting solitary rituals that better connect Altar of Flies with his environment, or simply entertain him during long, cold, dark nights. With hints of CMvH’s EVP and John Duncan’s searching shortwave radio textures to ‘Hur regn uppstår,’ and more ruptured reception of scrambled ether voices in ‘Terapimusik,’ alongside the title track’s worn-out nub of intrigue, and the damp basement clangour of ‘Under vår livstid’; its not one for those who get shook by the sight of their own shadow, but a real treat for listeners of a lonelier disposition who get off on the sound of the house creaking at night.
Parisian house player Nathan Melja mints his Parodia label with a clutch of rolling deep house and techno, toe to toe with Flørist
Oscillating solo, duo and remixes, the pair trade vibes between Melja’s dolo deep house roller ‘Back and Forth’ and his effortless, proggy version of their collaboration ‘Wonderland,’ which Flørist duly takes for a rawer, cantering ride full of wooden drums in his version, beside the offset breaks of his original ‘Fade 2 Pink.’
Proper, deep broken beat chop-up from Awo Ajiji via Brussels’ Eclipse Tribez
Twisting up on the heels of his 2020 debut, Awo Ajiji goes dead crafty with the syncopated, technoid funk on his 2nd EP, ‘Nucleus Accumbens.’ Dressed in balmiest dub chords and cutting thru warm air, his three cuts switch shape between 2-stepping torque in the Dego-esque ‘Superconductor,’ to a wicked spin on jungle-juke dynamics with the clipped, agile drums and sweeping bass rolige of ‘Ridicoloum,’ before emphasising the junglist step with the air-stepping subs and playfully bubbling FX of ‘Quarantini.’
Neo-kosmische duo Golden Retriever continue their sparkling voyage into the clouds with this fluorescent intermingling of lifted modular synth and heavily effected bass clarinet. Twenty minutes of heaven for followers of Emeralds, Bee Mask, Terry Riley or Klaus Schulze.
Another banger from the Longform Editions stable, "Sense of Place" gives us a lengthy dip into the world of top class synthesist Matt Carlson and bass clarinet player Jonathan Sielaff. The duo have maintained a fathoms-deep run on Thrill Jockey in the last few years, as well as releasing records for cult outlets NNA and Root Strata, and this composition swells the canon effortlessly,
Fuzzed-out cascades of modular sparkle usher us into the duo's gilded zone, draping themselves around deep woodwind drones and subtle piano loops. About mid-way through the piece, we flip into surrealist euphoria as deep bass tones cut through the cloudy pads and Sielaff's clarinet dances with theatrical whimsy. It's moving, emotional stuff that links the '70s trippers with the '00s tape/cdr wave and adds a sprinkle of magic dust.
Lafawndah compliments last year's brilliant (and bizarrely overlooked) "The Fifth Season" with expressionistic remixes from Tirzah x Coby Sey, Moor Mother and Laurel Halo. Each artist pushes the source material into another creative zone, but Laurel Halo's 11-minute jazzbient version of 'You, at the End' really goes the extra mile.
Tirzah's contribution with Coby Sey transforms 'La Malentendu' into a whispered, tripped jazz miracle. If Lafawndah's original is a flickering candlelit meeting in some French alleyway, Tirzah brings it to London with a subtle shake and a puff of smoke.
Moor Mother meanwhile truncates 'The Stillness' into just two minutes, carrying over its central theme and adding raw poetry and fresh instrumentation. Laurel Halo finishes things off, stripping Lafawndah's voice from 'You, at the End' and drawing it out with fuzzy tones and dimlite drones.
It's an apt accompaniment to an album that wasn't exactly screaming out for remixes.
US synth-o-naut Naucke supplies Longform Editions a chilly sliver of kosmiche promise
With stripes earned for some of the best underground synth academies - Arbor, Spectrum Spools, Hausu Mountain, not to mention his Catholic Tapes label - Brett Naucke envisions the sound of a ‘Arctic Watch,’ mixing a sort of noirish spy film intrigue with sci-fi thriller esque tension and new age wonder for Preservation’s prolific digital series.
Around a core of glowing organ cadence, crystalline ice formations accumulate and tessellate, and a backdrop of dancing aurora borealis light shows play out beyond the confines of your research cabin, evoking a sense of being stranded thousands of miles from humanity and given to polar ghosts and experimental cold war creatures. Fans of classics from Tangerine Dream to Popol Vuh and Jean Michel Jarre need check.
'Torn Page' is a glacial 20-min slab of floatation tank ambience from enduring Japanese shapeshifter Eiko Ishibashi. Completely lifted material that's like Grouper x Stars of the Lid x Celer >> ie. xtra lovely.
It's frankly hard to keep track of Ishibashi - in the last few years the prolific singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer has released a slew of records and each one sounds completely different. "Torn Page" finds her at her most peaceful and meditative, working wordless vocals into dense harmonic synth clouds and almost orchestral drones.
The first half of the composition sounds like Grouper filtered through Stars of the Lid's pedal chain, but as the haze clears, the sounds degrade into resonant tones to levitational new sounds. Eventually, the Basinski-esque drones nudge against atonal bursts of fractured jazz - it's a peculiar blend that allows the composition to stop short of being too sugary sweet. So good.
Brothers Tessela and Truss work it up on a breakbeat garage tip for their Poly Kicks label
Paralleling the posh pads and breaks style of Ilian Tape in their own manner, the duo’s ‘BMW Track’ pivots filtered breaks around tasty woodblocks and rounded subs replete with a hazy breakdown for eye-fluttering 4AM moments. ‘So U Kno’ is the one, though, 2-stepping somewhere between El-B, Dem 2 and Burial with precision tooled snares, furrowed Reese bass and an infectiously choppy vocal motif.
Proper, doomy industrial techno traction from a new lamb to the churn on Kareem’s Zhark
Striking hard into Zhark’s most classic style, Derlich debuts with six tracks of hippo’s heartbeat kicks and possessive atmospheres that lock us right in the zone. Obviously benefitting from the best soundsystem you can lay hands on, the sound design is made to be played loud and all night long. The distanced pound of ‘Grey Area’ sets cavernous parameters where the chain-dragging beast ‘Rancour’ follows to the viscous churn of ‘In Your Black Eyes,’ plus the tunnelling industrial techno depths of ‘Ad Nauseum,’ the cold killing might of ’Shiver,’ and unsteadier trample of ‘Fight Response.’
Fax beckons to the horizontal with a free floating 20 minute work for Superpang’s series of dispatches from the pandemic years
As co-founder of Tijuana’s Static Discos and regular collaborator with Murcof, Ruben Tamayo’s work as FAX is a crucial contribution to Mexico’s small but fertile electronic music scene. For Italy’s Superpang he yields an hypnotic longform piece ‘Quicksand,’ lulling us into soporific state, but reserving the right to snag with percussive hypnic jerks and unexpected developments of guitar and synth that prickle its willowing synth contours and connote a strange sensation between serenity and a nagging alertness.
Acid techno tag team pressure from UK veterans Ruskin & Broom, getting back on the bosch after rugged turns as The Fear Ratio for Skam
‘Basement Jams 2’ catches the pair paying tribute to OG late ‘80s/early ‘90s Chicago styles in five parts, knocking the groove from heads down chargers (‘Latch’) to wobbly -jawed (‘Twister’), Mike Dunn-esque (‘Zone’), and fruity wiggle (‘Drive’), plus proper wall-banging business (‘Arc’.)
Gorgeous folk-fwd harp twinkle for fans of Joanna Newsom, Ayha Simone or Vashti Bunyan. Covers of Jeff Alexander, Donovan and Radiohead that have never sounded so gorgeous.
More goodness from the Leaving stable, "Quietude" is the latest offering from LA-based multi-instrumentalist Nailah Hunter, who impressed last year with the poetic "Spells". On this short release, she re-interprets some of her favorite songs, beginning with Jeff Alexander's unfathomably moving 'Come Wanter With Me'. The track was written for a "Twilight Zone" episode and sung by Bonnie Beecher, but was notoriously used by Vincent Gallo in the controversial "Brown Bunny". Here, stripped of its weird placement, it's never sounded more heartbreaking and magical.
Hunter also offers her version of Donovan's 'Guinevere' and Radiohead's 'Talk Show Host', stripping both songs down to simply highlight her effortless harp playing and confident voice. She has the range.
Cybergoth-tinted R&B, dancehall and dembow mutations from Xolot, the Mexican/French duo of Vica Pacheco and Apulati Bien, repping for the Brussels underground via a key Parisian label
In cool pursuit of Ragazza XXI’s dembow twysts and the weighty ‘Promesses Vol.1’ which they both starred on solo, Xolot’s debut shapes up as a song-based fantasy concoction lands darker shades away from efforts by Brussels’ natives Clara! & Maoupa, tending more towards a sort of heads-down in the dancehall effect, sweetly balancing melodic vox and heat-smudged grooves in six variations on a theme.
Seems like every other review we’re referencing Tricky these days but yet again it’s hard to deny here as that brooding Bristolian feel snakes thru ‘Xolot,’ from its unsettlingly slimy textures and detuned synths to the munted pacing and play of dark/sweet, druggily psychedelic feels. ‘Mi Gente’ quickly drags us into their fritve vibe with a sort of militant trip hop trudge, and ‘Amor al factus’ comes off like Zola Jesus’ reggaeton project, with that Apulati Bien’s slippery psychedelic production coming into its own on the greased up cyber dembow chassis of ‘Caliente continente.’
Young Marco’s Safe Trip shift frames of reference to early-mid ‘90s trance-techno, raking up gems from Paul Van Dyk, Holy Ghost Inc., Spooky, Oliver Lieb and many more after previous sojourns into Italian dream house and Belgian ambient techno
All exactly the kind of sprinkles you’d find in one of Marco’s lauded DJ sets, his forensic curatorial skills here highlight a golden era of dance music in the years after the Chicago/Detroit/NYC house phenomenon fused with prevailing new age currents to form an emergent ‘90s gnosticism. Arguably that spirit would end up mainstream by the end of the decade, and surely lost something in translation with it, but these cuts are all brimming with the optimistic promise and tentative melancholy of the early ‘90s.
There are some all-time classics on board, including Holy Ghost’s fizzy breakbeat trance ace ‘Mad Monks on Zinc’, and Paul van Dyk’s ‘Love Mix’ of Humate’s lip-sniffing peaker ‘Love Stimulation,’ while the rest are of equal quality waiting for their second wind; covering lesser know gems such as Spooky’s lush beat-less arps in ‘Orange Coloured Liquid,’ the offbeat acid traction of Damon Wild and Dan Morgan’s ‘Dionysian Dream Sacrament,’ and the brisk boost of ‘Lonely Casseopaya (Club Mix)’ from Oliver Lieb’s L.S.G. alias.
For our money the weirdest and most satisfying Regis record in a while, featuring stripped, slow, highly atmospheric & muscular productions that were recorded as part of that mad 'Let The Night Return’ feature film (regis, performing more or less alone in a 2000 year old, empty greek amphitheatre) here rendered in brilliant monochrome including contributions from Justin Broadrick, Ann Margaret Hogan and the music school chorus of Corfu. Trust, it’s a killer.
There’s something brutally bare and demented about this one, opening with the simmering choral drone ‘Epidaurus’ fizzing with whirring industrial components and rumbling subs, before 'Calling Down a Curse’ extends to terrifying dimensions with an intoxicating Ugandan Methods style percussive backbone and a slowed down voiceover by filmmaker Vasileios Trigkas, to our ears sounding like Burial as if rendered by Conny Plank as a kind of alternate version to his still entirely unclassifiable ‘Biomutanten’.
'The Blind Departing’ is a slow headmelter, all industrial synths and exposed percussion, every hi hat and kickdrum separated and pristine, like the toughest, most angular sort of bare-boned warehouse chugger slowed to a crawl. If you shut yr eyes you can almost imagine Alan Wilder and Martin Gore hitting sheets of metal with a mallet on that crazy old Depeche Mode footage that’s knocking about - played at half speed.
Perhaps best of all is the closing 'Temporary Thing’, featuring Regis, Anni Hogan and Justin Broadrick taking on a cover version of the Lou Reed classic, here extended to HD and sounding fucking ridiculously good. It's one of the most sought-after pieces of the Regis puzzle, finally available on vinyl here for the first time.
25 years since his debut LP, French house don Gilb’r’s 2nd album lands with a fragrant bouquet of modular synths and good vibes on his label, Versatile
Not shy of taking a minute away from production - there was a 12 year gap between 2001 and his 2013 return alongside DJ Sotofett - Gilb’r patently does things at his own pace, as with ‘On danse comme des fous,’ a 10 tracks confection dancing like crazy, and not so crazed, between mazy microtonal experiments, lushly drowsy jungle, strolling Afro-disco, and restless but beautifully poised broken beat permutations, with a few strokes of glyding ambient and pastoral electronic flourishes for good measure.
Longtime followers of Gilb’r’s style will know to expect the unexpected, and would be wise to have that in mind here. Like his choice collaborators over the years, such as Ariel Kalma, I:Cube, and DJ Sotofett, he strikes the finest balance of esoteric populism, elegantly moving from the microtonal arabesque ‘Plantlife’ thru nimbly tweaked out drum machine suss on ‘Changa,’ and Goan sand trample of ‘Triangle Days,’ with peaks in the rolling jungle of ‘Reaching’ and scuffed electro wriggler ‘Mr. Knockbottom,’ before getting hands on with his machines to headiest effect in the the album’s lusher 2nd half, particularly the gorgeous sequence from the circled patrol vision ‘Mishandel’ to Balearic Vini Reilly strums of ‘Café del Pip,’ and sultry lilt of ‘Chroea Lasciva.’
At this rate, mark 2046 in your diary for his 3rd album, if we haven’t all woken up in the matrix by then.
"Flaws are discontinuities that act as tiny fissures, allowing the dim and distant, diffused gem light of pre-creation to slip thru - it is this that music existed for - a signpost, a reminder, a note.” Rudy Tambala / A.R. Kane
One of those releases/events that makes you feel like no other music exists for a hot minute, Dean Blunt returns with a second Black Metal album for Rough Trade, delving deeper into his entirely unfathomable yet completely approachable and direct take on visceral x melancholic folk-pop.
Aided on most of the songs here by (we think) Joanne Robertson - though at the time of writing there are no sales notes so we're not 100% - these songs once again connect to AR Kane’s distinct approach to the avant grade thru imperfection. In effect, it feels like Blunt manages to squeeze all the sterile sheen out of overly tasteful music, leaving a throbbing mass of flesh, blood vessels, nerve endings - exposed and beautiful. It’s what AR Kane called ‘Kaning’ (see Dhanveer Singh Brar’s excellent 'Beefy's Tune’ book for more on this) - and effectively provides a vital riposte to a world in which so much “art" is presented and consumed as a form of numbing.
Black Metal 2 is as real as it gets.
Tweaky, bass-heavy Drexciyan electro and heady Florida breaks from Miami-to-Brooklyn transplant Jubilee. Heavy.
'Don't Play This' is a blistering two-tracker from Jessica Gentile that follows 2019's genre-bating 'Call For Location'. These two tracks are more skeletal and more focused, aimed squarely at the dancefloor and reflecting the prouducer's old stomping ground of South Florida more than her current base of Brooklyn.
'Peak' is a blink-and-you'll-miss it squelch of acidic synths and taught electro drum programming, all alien stabs and breaker's 808 womps. 'High' might be even stronger, augmenting a drill snare with the lewd shake of Miami bass, while dissociated vocals echo in the background.
FLUF boss tuuun tonks out four fast and infectious techno slugs on their first outing proper since 2018
‘the future made me hardcore’ picks up where the B-side of tuuun’s ‘AA0014’ left off with a 10min square acid techno banger, knocking out 4 x 10min tracts of quick, tunnelling techno purism for the all night crew.
It’s all about the nuanced modulations in each, keeping everything minimal as fuck but tweaked out to locked-in effect between the nano tight bleep techno of the title tune, to the nosedrip dissonance of ‘living in the disgusting now,’ thru the curdled synth voices of ‘it doesn’t need to be so complicated,’ and the bugged-out bounce of ‘may i trouble you for a rewind.’