Zola Jesus, Naked, M. Lamar and Gazelle Twin leave their mark on Blanck Mass’ World Eater album tracks
Resulting highlights in Naked’s masochistic pulverisation of Rhesus Negative and the darkroom excesses and drama of Gazelle Twin’s The Rat revision.
Natty jack attacks, wonky ghetto bass and mutant hi-tek jazz from Secret State on CPU.
Like music from some parallel, skewed 313 dimension, Zero Zero One locates a familiar yet subtly altered reflection of Detroit styles between the tweaky jacker CIA UFO Google Search, some percolated Jit business in De-Pattern and the spheric harmonics of The Sleep Room, both recalling an Urban Tribe from different mothers, while Weep For Joy leans on a sort of off-Red Planet vibe.
Firecracker’s elusive Gavin Sutherland (Fudge Fingas) relays a mystic house doozy with Pattern Transform under his Other Lands alias, as last heard on the Mac-Talla Nan Creag  compilation.
Framed as “occupying the space between alien-revisited exotica, classic jacking house workouts and a BoC 'Chromakey Dreamcoat' kinda vibe” by the Edinburgh label, its a trustworthily deep end trip finding its maker taking his beloved house music to new limits of the style.
A-side; he comes off like Carl Craig taking a trip around Orkney island stone circles with Julian Cope on Descent Into Nasqueron, which is worth it for the outta-nowhere drop alone, whilst Chapel Perilous Closed practically usurps Actress at his own game with a mid-fi swirl of synth-brass and strings in smoky electro-acoustic air driven by a well-cladded kick drum. B-side is just as strong, catching a breezier spring in his step with the gaelic plies and Detroit jazz pivots of Late Feeling Yourself, then giving it those come-tae-beed bucky eyes on A Paddle Around The World, which riffs in the same warm, alien waters as Sun-Ra, Jamal Moss, or Les Gracies.
Yo La Tengo return with their first proper full-length since 2013’s ‘Fade’.
"There’s a Riot Going On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken. While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling “shoo-bop shoo-bop.” Even if your mind is not unclouded - shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time - you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries and above the sound.
For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of ‘Shades of Blue’, will involuntarily hear ‘She May, She Might’ on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and ‘Let’s Do It Wrong’ late at night. While there’s a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork.
In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly And The Family Stone released ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair."
Carsten Nicolai concludes Alva Noto’s UNI-prefixed release cycle with UNIEQAV, the 3rd and most dancefloor-focussed instalment of the series. The follow-up to Unitxt  and Univrs  pairs pendulous minimal techno and electro rhythms with wide, sheer electronic drones in a way that strongly recalls recent Monolake output as well as Ilpo Väisänen in full swang. Comparisons aside, though, it’s unmistakably Alva Noto.
Pursuing the project’s roots in the dancefloor of Tokyo’s UNIT club to a satisfyingly logical endpoint, Nicolai rolls out 12 typically mercurial yet gripping sound designs defined by their fluid dynamics and seemingly fathomless dimensions intended to render the club or your head underwater, thanks to a still remarkable grasp of purified tonal minimalism/maximalism and studied sensitivity to proprioception.
The results are filigree yet robust, firmed up for deployment on the sickest sound system you can lay your hands on, but also highly pleasurable in a headphone or sofa-inclined context, keeping us rapt and twitching from the dubwise plong and looming pads of Uni Sub and the Robert Henke-esque pressure systems of Uni Mia.
The nervous skeleton of Uni Version flows into singular Alva Noto sounds in the jabbing pointillism of Uni Clip and the staggering scale of Uni Normal, with major highlights in the widescreen drama of Uni Blue, and footwork-like rapid movement join Uni Edit, while Anne-James Chaton’s vocal lend a sharp contrast in Uni Dna.
Kohl is the dub-based project of New York City artist and musician Nathaniel Young.
"With Kohl, Nathaniel focuses on enveloping melodies and sounds that are often contrasted with subtle and evolving minimal textures and the rhythmic patterns generated from them. The resulting music is contemplative and warm, invoking reflection while maintaining a sense of motion/evolution. The Kohl project is an outlet for personal transformation; it is Young rewiring his understanding of morality and ethics.
Interpretations of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Musically, Learned Ethics / Imposed Ethics is a fine collection of ultra-textural ambient pieces with minimal changes like "The Possibility Of The Infinite", slow tempo tracks like "Moral Supposition", the dance-floor focused "Resolution (Empathy)", and "The Inquisition", which displays Kohl’s signature dub-techno style."
Brainfeeder present a special ‘chopped not slopped’ mix of Thundercat’s ‘Drunk’ album (2017) by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C of Houston DJ collective The Chopstars. Slowed down and chopped up , the mix has been appropriately re-titled ‘Drank’. “If you got ‘Drunk’ it’s only right that you get ‘Drank’. I feel like they go together,” declares Thundercat.
For fans of Flying Lotus, BADBADNOTGOOD, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Screw.
Halcyon Veil present Renick Bell’s debut long-player, the follow up to his 2016 release for Lee Gamble's UIQ imprint.
"The 10 tracks on Wary come from Bell's practice of live coding in the algorave tradition; a distinct technique that involves manipulating a vast library of samples with text-based editing software. The album is an improvisatory gesture that sets him well apart from the DAW preset crowd, and one that draws equal influence from free jazz, King Tubby, Mark Fell, and Pan Sonic.
Still, as the musician points out in a paper he authored in 2014, live coding isn't a genre; it's simply a performing method. To focus on the technique is to lose sight of the huge amount of flex and funk that's contained in these tracks, from the vivid, elastic bass of opener "Root of the Light," to the blissed-out dub pads and FX of "Recognizing Conditioning," or the racecar-fuel lead synth in "Cyclical Forces."
These tracks, while constantly intricate, are just as often tuneful and memorable. "Resolute in Shedding" is a perfect example of Bell's disparate musical ingredients cohering into something with enough swagger to tear up a sound system or turn a dancefloor on its head. "Cliff-face Growth" similarly underpins its frantic high-register synth work with a staggering sub-bass kick that immediately pulls the listener into the club.
The artwork, a bubbled hive of play buttons, comes courtesy of Jesse Osborne-Lanthier. The overlapping and swarming aspect of the art reflects the disorienting barrage of sounds that Renick Bell's tracks can throw at you, such as the pummelling percussion drive in "Fluid, Open." The uncanny, synthetic replication of the stippled buttons brings to mind Bell's own musical and technical replication. Although the patterns might be obscured they are never truly absent; everything is held together at all times by Bell's precise sense for what is genuinely striking.
Renick Bell has made legitimately new-sounding music here. Filled with breathtaking percussive bombs, icy needlepoint synthesis, and a defiant refusal to conform or relent, Wary speaks a complex and consistent language that's deeply rewarding to those who take the time to learn it."
Jamal Moss turns to his brightest moniker for the astral trajectories of The Anticipatory Organization on Pedro Vian’s Modern Obscure Music
These are some of the more intense, freaky Jamal Moss workouts in recent memory, gettign into orbit with the acidic glissandi and head-warping phasing of The Things We Don’t Know, then staying out there with the oddly bass-less and heady pressure of The Disbelief Habit, until you’re suitably prepped for the blinding white light jackers intensity of The Achievement Factory, one of those real golden moments in the Jamal Moss canon.
Four cracking Sun Ra pieces, roving from the possessed tongues and earthy hustle of Island In The Sun, thru more astral, free vectors in New Dawn, to the wonky big band vibes and growled vox on Unmask The Batman, and amazing Afro-Astro hustle in I’ll Wait For You.
"Strut and Art Yard present another exclusive from the vast catalogue of cosmic jazz pioneer Sun Ra: a previously unreleased radio session most likely recorded at the WXPN FM radio studios in Philadelphia, 1974-5.
This newly discovered session features a new version of Ra’s earlier ‘Island In The Sun’, a romping, raucous rendition of ‘Unmask The Batman’ and the first studio recording of ‘I’ll Wait For You’ There is no bass player on the sessions and Ra’s left hand beats out a rhythmic bass pattern on the piano. All tracks are remastered directly from the original tapes. The album package features a newly commissioned painting by legendary Bristol urban artist Guy Denning and new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths.
Recently discovered in the Sun Ra archive, the recording forms part of a series of sessions that Ra and the Arkestra recorded for WXPN-FM between 1974 and 1980. The ‘Antique Blacks’ album was recorded there in ’74. Based on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, WXPN’s station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner were instrumental in the exposure and recording of The Arkestra in their broadcast production studios. Geno Barnhart, founder of The Empty Foxhole concert collective, Jules and Russ broadcast an on-going series of jazz concerts covering a wide spectrum. The Arkestra performed at The Foxhole in Philly many times from 1974.
Personnel: Sun Ra: Piano John Gilmore: Tenor Saxophone Marshall Allen: Flute, Alto Saxophone Danny Ray Thompson: Baritone Saxophone, Percussion Atakatune: Oboe, Congas Eddie Thomas: Drums Elo Omoe: Bass Clarinet, Hand Claps Akh Tal Ebah: Trumpet, Vocal James Jacson: Congas, Vocal"
Adroit, UK-compatible bass and breaks pressure from Brooklynite Kellen303, working in a smart double refraction of influence, vibes and intent between transatlantic ‘floors for London’s Keysound.
These are dark, broodingly gothic works, stained with an innercity anxiety and trimmed for hard-working club economy, yielding highlights in the ballroom bruk of Planet X and its weightless, devilish remix Planet X (Interstellar), and in the harshly textured and rugged budge of Big Shot! with its machine gun snares and clawed surfaces.
Geir Jenssen a.k.a. Biosphere yields the results of a field recording project on a Dutch farm, commissioned by Incubate festival.
Imperceptibly melded with Biosphere’s signature synthetic palette, the field recordings are effectively reanimated as dreamlike sequences, variously incorporating the sounds of a distant helicopter with shepherd’s calls and windswept choral synth voices in t’Schop, focussing in on insectoid minutiae with Pipistrellus, or indivisibly meshing the real and the unreal in lush pieces such as Audax and the pastoral bliss of Icoon.
Leslie García and Paloma López (Mexico City) have been working for several years around the intersection of music, art-installation and science, with sound being the primary objective of their analysis, acting their roles as composers/creators and observers of the physical phenomenon.
"Their work ranges from experiments with bioelectrical sounds created by living organisms like bacteria and plants, to the use of custom-made sets of hardware they call ontological machines. They usually operate within their own platform Interspecifics, and FRGL is their second release under the moniker: LogarDecay. The sounds contained in FRGL might be their more musical work to date. It is not far from sound art, yet the bright accidents coming out of their improvisations seem to exist in the limits between harmony, rhythm and pure noise as a construction. Its tension sometimes soothes, sometimes mutates into a state between drone, ambient and abstract techno. FRGL is an exercise in transparency that does not seek to hide their errors but to maximize them and turn them into an aesthetic statement."
Mellow but insistent London broken beat and soul vibes on Rhythm Section International
“Long time friend of the label, Neue Grafik, steps forth with his most fully realised offering to date. This record has been a long time coming, born out of a encounter in Paris back in 2016. This meeting of minds led to a blossoming friendship between Fred (Neue Grafik) and Bradley (RS INTL) which has taken them across 3 continents, countless dance-floors and finally crystallised onto this 12”.
The record itself takes cues from the broken-beat sound of London while paying homage to the Parisian house dance scene. Largely sample based, but also employing much more live instrumentation than ever before, Neue Grafik’s music is informed by movement and in turn offers so much for Dancers to respond to.
The EP begins with the lysergic ebbs and flows of ‘Innervision’, ( in which Wayne Snow graces the record with a sublime vocal performance) and moves effortlessly to the uplifting bruk of ‘Dance to Yemanja’ via the staccato of ‘ to Peckham Rye’( a homage to the labels origins) , before finishing on the hauntingly melancholic tones of ‘Aulnay’s Tears’ - an homage to the victims of police brutality in the Parisian Suburb in 2017.”
Byron Westbrook is an artist and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. His work focuses on dynamics of perception using sound, lighting and video to interact with architecture and landscape, often pursuing routes that involve social engagement.
"Confluence Patterns is an eclectic collection of recordings, containing both the sharpest and most pastoral material Westbrook has released. The pieces range from the textured drones of "Vanishing Action" to the Tony-Conrad-plays-Black-Sabbath riffing of "Perception Depth" to the Maggie Payne-influenced "Fractal Shift II”. Westbrook is interested in how sharp contrast can shape the perception of a sound. Working with texture and frequency in relation to listening duration, he considers sonic analogies as to how an afterimage affects the experience of sight.
For example, the pillowy "Drifting Well" has a particular softness after experiencing the fatiguing frequencies and activity of "A Continuous Slip"; and the density and detail of "Glorious Mess" plays in a particular way after the static textures of "Vanishing Action". Westbrook considers these sequential contrasts as integral elements of the work and has performed this sequence as a live set numerous times in recent years. Confluence Patterns is his third music release –after previous works in Root Strata and Hands In The Dark– and his first one in Umor Rex."
The NY-based producer returns to Umor Rex with a new album, in which the musical discourse and the physical form of the release have an equal, crucial importance.
"Sirimiri is made of four long and mid-length pieces, each composed of different perspectives, processes and identities. However, Rafael seeks to blend subjective time with the listening experience. A sort of loop and repetition, sub-sequence-based sound. Following Eno, nothing happens in the same way twice, perception is constantly shifting, nothing stays in one place for long. The sum of the four pieces is 36 minutes; the cassette edition lasts 72 minutes in total, since both sides have the same four songs joined together.
Physically, the format allows us at least two automatic repetitions. In the digital version the songs are independent, but we also include a bonus track made of the 36-minute loop. The desolation and despair (in a sort of positive way) that we got to hear in The Shameless Years (Umor Rex 2017) is present in Sirimiri, but the impression is concrete, with cruder, less rhetorical landscapes. If The Shameless Years was located between beauty and active tragedy, Sirimiri travels inside the beauty and melancholy of an observing eye, a quiet rebel insurrection. Another substantial difference is the distance from general and globalized concepts; in these unfortunate times, Sirimiri looks for personal sorrows, and places its focus on the particular.
Even the names of the songs evoke this in small ways, like in "Sonder", the feeling of realizing that everyone, even a complete stranger, has a life as complex as one's own. Rafael has two guests in this album; Taylor Jordan in "Mountain Strem", and Rafael's hero Carl Hultgren (from Windy & Carl) in "Sonder". Sirimiri means 'drizzle' in Basque, and we cannot find a better word to describe its content."
Villa Åbo in the alternative solo project of Swedish musician and producer Jan Svensson, who has been making electronic music for the better part of 30 years as the artist behind such aliases as Frak, Studio SS and Alvars Orkestra.
"Svensson also runs legendary Swedish dance and experimental music label Börft, the product of a mutual appreciation for Severed Heads and Terse Tapes. As Villa Åbo he released two records in 1997 on Börft and remained inactive for 17 years until the Dutch label Bio Rhythm coaxed him into revisiting the project and released a double 12″ in 2014. Jan has since followed with a steady stream of 12" singles for Kontra-Musik, Noise In My Head and Radio Lundberg.
"Magnetic Moves" is Villa Åbo's debut album, originally released in an limited edition of 65 hand-numbered cassettes by Funeral Fog in 2016. Clocking in at over 46 minutes, this first-ever vinyl edition spreads the 8 ragged techno tracks across four sides for maximum loudness. Some songs are aggressively potent, with cyclical synth riffs and razor-sharp acid lines riding a heavy, funk-fuelled techno groove. Others tracks are more fluid, vintage Underground Resistance or Derrick May with killer drum machine workouts that come in handy as DJ tools. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley."
Grandiose synth compositions from the Posh Isolation barracks...
“Cut from the same cloth as last year's double-cassette, 'Like All Mornings,' Vanessa Amara's new album trails shorthand piano pieces and wilted strings through magnificent, electro-acoustic surrounds, often settling into buzzing, syncopated reveries.
'Manos' takes its name from an abbreviated term of endearment. Spoken in this form, it's an affectionate and inclusive gesture from friend to friend, or indeed from gang member to gang member. Vanessa Amara seemingly take their cues from either usage. Their new album feels hesitant to reveal its parts, and is perhaps a document of the limits of what can be revealed, a memorial to its own process as it winds itself in and around its delicately hued landscape.
Though beginning with a morose gait, the album quickly turns over. And revealing its softer self, the clarity of the moving string arrangements hang in the air like fine mist. Everything settles against surfaces as the day breaks, opening up the space, though eventually condensing into the unnerving crescendo of the album's final piece. A recurrent, gentle whirring, much like a gramophone’s needle, tracks through much of 'Manos.' It carefully steadies the listener into a mode of measuring duration, a meditative self-awareness that delivers Vanessa Amara's world.
Always intricate, and effortlessly tender, 'Manos' is an album as textural as it is melodic, and it is certainly the most exquisite suite of works to have been presented by Vanessa Amara thus far.”
Character Collapse, Ian Hicks’ hotly anticipated follow-up to the VIY  EP, and its massive highlight False Awakening, finally lands heavy on JD Twitch (Optimo) and co’s So Low label, sprung from the Glasgow club night of the same name.
With only a necessary inclusion of False Awakening on So Low’s Now & Then EP to tide us over in the meantime, this set is seriously welcome, delivering exactly what we need with the arcing widescreen drag of Character Collapse, then properly putting the boot in on his power anthem Depths of Psyche, while the acid churn of Chemical Environments will quite literally eat the ‘floor from under ya feet, and the chronic dissonance of Continuous will send eyes and bodies spinning in strobe-lit rooms full of smoke.
Birmingham’s deep and rugged house producer Jayson Wynters follows his début for Mr. G’s label and the head-turning Double Standards EP with a 2nd EP for DBA delving into more experimental structures along with his patented darkside house styles.
On three of four cuts Wynters explores a sophisticated blend of vibes from NYC, Chicago, Detroit and Berlin mixed with a ruggeder UK flex, resulting something like Batu meets Kareem in the scowling synths and dark swagger of Beta (Version), or with a more roguish swingjack momentum on Into The Void, and like Ron Trent meets B12 in the lush, sub-heavy roller The Kansei Method.
However, the palpitating pressure of One Hundred N Forty is the one for us, reminding of some classic Chain Reaction reshuffled by The Detroit Escalator Company, or something.
15 hours of recorded sounds are condensed into a vivid sound portrait depicting the way funerals and burials are lived in the Caribbean island of Haiti.
"Recorded in Port au Prince by sound artist Félix Blume in early December 2016, Death in Haiti plunges the listener into a world of pain, loss and solemn celebration as each funeral comprises of its own live jazz band as well as a plethora of characters like the joker (le blaguer) who cracks jokes and tales about the recently deceased. A beautiful document of a thriving tradition, a counterpart or updated version of those famous Dirge Jazz records such as the New Orleans’ Eureka Brass Band on Folkways.
About the artist: Félix Blume is a sound artist and sound engineer. His personal work is based on field-recordings and uses sound as a raw source, in sound pieces, radio plays, videos, actions and installations. A particularity of his work is that the audio and visual aspects are closely intertwined. As a sound collector, he has a large sound library recorded from different parts of the world that he freely shares on the Internet. His work as sound engineer focuses on sound recording, sound design for documentaries, feature films and video art, collaborating with different directors and visual artists.”
Pivotal techno pioneer Susanne Kirchmayr a.k.a Electric Indigo presents a filigree detailed début album of high-end techno electronica with 5 1 1 5 9 3 for Robert Henke’s Imbalance Computer Music label.
Mainstay of the Berlin scene since she moved there from Vienna and took a job at Hardwax in the early ‘90s, Electric Indigo’s name and output is synonymous with the city’s leading edge of clubs and sound art thanks to her uncompromising aesthetics and vital work with the Female:Pressure group, which she established in 1998.
After some dozen 12”s with her name at the top, including a recent turn on the Berghain 08 EP, Electric Indigo now offers a definitive cross-section of her sound in 5 1 1 5 9 3, combining her praxes in the ostensibly opposing but often interrelated spheres of academic sound art and club music, in 10 uniquely twisted permutations of computer music, electro-techno and electro-acoustic styles.
While unremittingly greyscale in tone and minimalist in structure, 5 1 1 5 9 3 still possesses a depth of colour and striking variation of pattern within those parameters. The result is Berlin techno music at its probing, icy best, especially in the rhythm-driven highlights such as the recursive electro-noise vortex of Excursion, the purist pressure of 4.31Hz and quite strikingly in the Anne-James Chaton-esque rhythmic vocal cut-up of Trois, and to neck-cricking degrees with the immense spatial proprioceptions of The Landing.
For their 2nd Transformations meeting, DeepChord & Fluxion work to a more subtle shadowplay of vibes
Starting with the stealthy roll of Bona Fide Pt.1 recalling Moritz von Oswald’s memorable remix of 2raumwohnung, but sans the vox and pads, while Pt.2 melts out into more languorous and dusky balearic styles.
Techno, Berlin style, from a relatively new guy on the ‘floor; Somewhen.
Where Ostgut Ton’s previous release, Answer Code Request’s Gens album, worked a really cheesy mix of Breaks and IDM electronica, this guy makes up for that misstep with five shots of driving, twysted, fresh techno in the EBM-toned banger Ryte, on the lusting darkwave swagger of Undress, and the lockjawed pounder AFL.
Wisconsin’s electronic gremlin Chants reenters The Astral Plane with a taut, stripped down brace of bangers dilated and porous to trends in new and far flung rhythms.
RED (Off My Chest) establishes Chant’s dancing room with a catty, claustrophobic vocal by BE3K set to bolshy ballroom knocks; Diptych finds him feathering solo piano gliss into cavalcade of roiling Batacuda drums; Airtight follows on with pranging percussive dynamics like Rian Treabor doing it for Príncipe, and likewise Madh made comes off like a strobing DJ Nigga Fox piece. Gage is prime nomination for the remix of Red, turning in a pent-up and asymmetric rework cut-up with scything chops.
Will long returns with a second volume of 'Long Trax' following that incredible first run alongside DJ Sprinkles.
Following his sterling run of raw, politically-charged deep house releases for DJ Sprinkles’ Comatonse, Will Long (Celer) pairs samples of Afro-American figureheads with sublime, rolling grooves in a beautiful extension of the Long Trax series.
Nothing’s Changed features sparingly used snippets of Barack Obama on a lean, simple, and deliciously smooth 11 minute groove gilded with signature chord cadence, while B-side he treats Jean-Michel Basquiat to a swim in deepest house water on the hazy 10 minute movement.
Also featured is a sensitively raw and low key spin on the style with gauzy samples of Angela Davis laced into the 12 minutes of keening float in The Struggles, The Difficulties and Richard Pryor and leading Black Panther Ericka Huggins in two more signature, raw, extended deep house grooves.
Marie Davidson & Pierre Guerineau’s Essaie Pas duo pay tribute to PKD’s classic sci fi novel A Scanner Darkly with a dark, suspenseful cinematic and driving suite of electro and synthscapes for DFA.
New Path finds the duo mirroring the book’s themes of mass surveillance, voyeuristic technology and drug culture thru a range of evocative strategies, both literal and oblique.
From insectoid rhythms emulating the effect of narcotic psychosis in Les Aphides to the record’s titular reference to the New-Path rehab clinics, the results are riddled with inference and explicit nods to the book, resulting in some superb highlights in the duo’s nerve-riding hot-stepper Les Agents Des Stupas, where they make great use of the Ensoniq ESQ-1’s sharp tones, and also the pendulous, shadow-strafing killer Substance M, with the cinematic depth of New Path providing neat closure to their short story.
Advanced UK soulboy Steve Spacek keeps it flowing for Eglo on four classically-rooted but forward-leaning aces
Awanging out the hi-tek-jazz duet of Mov Clsr, the SND-esque pointillism of Garage Days, a fudgy bleep ’n bass number named Boo Boo Step, and the starry-eyed footwork flux of Nano Nights.
Deaf Center and Svarte Greiner’s Erik K Skodvin has long been perfecting the kind of music that's tailor made for cinema, and here he does just that - providing a score for Danish film "Darling" (2017), alongside a collection of outtakes from it.
Made in collaboration with Raúl Pastor Medall (Rauelsson), the pair were commissioned by director Birgitte Stærmose to score her film about life as a dancer. The resulting material is remarkably cohesive, especially so considering it’s made up of pieces Skodvin and Rauelsson made in collaboration, as well as individually. You can imagine the sort of sounds the pair create - if you’re into the work of Jóhann Jóhannsson you’re in the right ballpark - but what differentiates A Score for Darling is the unique use of low end rumbles and pulses that anchor these recordings and imbue proceedings here with a cohesive, album-like feel.
Generally, the material here is brimming with dynamics and diversity, featuring violin by Christoph Berg, cello by Anne Müller as well as a mass of other sounds like church organs, synths, guitar amp violation, electro-acoustics, piano and more, all layered together into 15 beautiful mood pieces. The final piece of the album Breathe - featuring Otto A Totland on piano and Katinka Fogh Vindelev on voice - can be seen as their own lamenting end-title to a longer period of work with this album, finally finished. It’s also, hopefully, a glimpse of what new material from Deaf Center might sound like, if we’re ever lucky enough to get to see that happen.
Hospital Productions return with Dual Action's Industrial mutations of Techno, D&B and electronic variants smudged with clammy ambience, compiling the hard-to-find 'Babe Beer Bar Car' tapes released between 2014-2016. If you’re into John T. Gast, Christoph De Babalon, The Haters or Frak, this one’s for you.
Compiling some of Matthew Folden, aka Dual Action’s most sought-after material, this set of forays into distorted Ambient, mutant House and Jungle - even weird sorta Grime and Footwork variants - was originally released on his hard-to-find Babe Beer Bar Car tapes, issued between 2014-2016 - and compiled here onto vinyl for the first time.
A core figure on Prurient’s label, affectionately described by Fernow as an “uninvited guest sort of figure who travels around fxcking shit up on the lonely”, Folden has appeared on numerous and seminal Prurient recordings including the demo version of the groundbreaking Bermuda Drain album, the final tape recordings made at the original hospital productions brick and mortar store as Prurient’s ‘Oxidation’ and the new released 7LP of doom electronics Rainbow Mirror which arrived in 2017 to commemorate the 20 years of the project.
Babe Beer Bar Car takes in signature sluggers that sound like The Haters gone house, thru to rolling D&B and footwork rhythms fringing on the grey area, each half-lit by patented atmospheric pollutants.
The set builds a murky picture of a character who spends long nights with his drum machine - it’s hard to shift the feeling that this is the kind of music - numbly expressive, rudimentary and bluntly driven by urges - that someone befitting of the great American lounge-lizard/drifter stereotype might make, or at least listen to, after dark.
Its a quintessentially Hospital Productions sound - deeply satisfying in its mix of black humour laced with flashes of demonic genius.
T H I S album - jesus. Stunning collection of torch songs and electro-acoustic dramaturgy - hugely recommended if you’re into Scott Walker, Élg, Félicia Atkinson, Ghédalia Tazartès or Mica Levi. Easily one of the most striking, rewarding albums of the year so far.
The King is a remarkably absorbing collection of enchanted orchestrations and abstract torch songs by Cee Haines aka Chaines, a Manchester-based artist in possession of a starkly singular sonic language, who has collaborated extensively with the London Contemporary Orchestra and had their work performed at The Roundhouse, Union Chapel, Printworks and Tate Modern.
Leading a thematic expansion of Chaines’ OST debut from 2015, their 2nd solo release yields a phantasmic and richly evocative soundtrack-esque series of works written over the past three years, including exclusive versions of commissions by the LCO and Union Chapel, all serving to frame an intimate yet beautifully elusive portrait of a unique artist coming into their own.
In eight parts, Chaines draws a mercurial line that connects the almost bestial intimacy of purring strings and whispered vocals in For Your Own Good to something like Scott Walker-invoking-Fantasia in Eraserhead, conjuring a mutably surreal and mystic atmosphere that keeps listeners teetering between knife-edge suspense and sublime relief as they scale from delectably detailed avant-garde psychedelia in Knockturning to a bout of Grouper-as-spectral-Jazz diva styles of Population 5120, and all in a way that makes the exploded hyaline castles in the sky dimensions of Airship seem totally feasible next to the cavernous avant-techno impulses of Carpathia. Never following a linear path, Chaines are as likely to incorporate doom-laced chamber motifs and asymmetric techno rhythms as operatic vocals and microscopic sounds, always with a sensitivity to the metaphysics of space and spirit which coolly sets their work apart.
Chaines find themselves amid exemplary, boundary-morphing company on the Slip label, whose diversity finds a common strength in the will to express something of a pathos beyond easy comprehension, yet which can be felt and understood immediately and instinctively by anyone with an open mind and a thirst for the new.
Seven years ago, Max Tundra sent Daphne and Celeste a tweet, asking if he could write and produce their comeback single. Four years later their song You & I Alone ripped through the internet. Today they announce the forthcoming release of the most unlikely comeback album of 2018.
"Three years after their comeback song, ‘BB’ arrives online as their new album’s appetiser, an uncompromising takedown of the anodyne and anonymous. “BB stands for Basic Busker,” explains Max, “any one of countless identikit instigators of mundane melodies that have brought the mood down in recent years. Pop music should lift the spirits - so why are the airwaves full of these mundane strummers?”
The world has changed a hell of a lot since Daphne & Celeste stormed up the charts with their effervescent earworms U.G.L.Y. and Ooh Stick You, back near the birth of the 21st century. So you’d be forgiven for failing to predict the fruitful union of D&C with a maverick electronic producer known for his records on Warp and Domino Records. But Max Tundra has long held an ambition to become a pop producer, and this new album is an addictive combination of the eccentric, creative and melodic.
After an initial sharing of tracks and ideas around the release of that first single in 2015, Max Tundra set about writing an album’s worth of material, inspired by the unique kinship, born of shared experience, between Daphne and Celeste, and his own unexpected part in their story. Last year, Tundra brought his suitcase full of songs to a desert retreat near Joshua Tree, where he joined D&C for the ‘working holiday’ that produced Daphne & Celeste Save The World.
A full-length album of giddy, ridiculous, genre-bursting pop, ‘Daphne & Celeste Save The World’ finds our friends in fine, soaring, melodic voice, with Tundra's restlessly inventive production a toothsome, chordy, maximalist feast. These 13 songs touch on subjects as varied as time travel, succulents, pipelines under the ocean, cabins in the wood, unadventurous guitarists and different regions of the brain, but above all the sweet, enduring friendship of those two people who, long ago, told us all to Ooh Stick You."
Forest Swords’ Dense Truth embraces another Mersey-haunting artist, Dialect, with the bittersweet emotional tang of One Day Our Phones Will be Rocks, which heralds his full length Loose Blooms on the horizon.
Dialect is a name that stuck in our memory since the remarkable Ghost Of Red Hook offa his debut album, Gowanus Drifts [1080p, 2015], and, if this track is anything to go by, his sophomore LP promises to be special.
One of the freshest new spins on classic ‘80s NRG/freestyle/EBM/synth styles we’ve heard in years. All the other disco freaks need to pack in imitating and start innovating like this guy!
“Dark Entries is proud to release the debut album from Bézier titled ‘Parler Musique’. Bézier is Taiwanese-American musician Robert Yang who is also part of the Honey Soundsystem crew. A multi-instrumentalist, Robert grew up in Southern California then planted his roots in San Francisco in 2005. Over the years in SF he has built an impressive analog synth-based studio, which also serves as the creative hub for his riveting live performances.
Parler Musique clocks in at over 52 minutes with 8 tracks are spread across four sides for maximum loudness. The album title is a French transliteration on the phrase “Parlor Music” and is evening music for a meeting of minds in a drawing room or a literary salon. To ‘talk about music’, the actual translation of the title, the album is a hotbed of ideas. Different genres are crisscrossed: punk, synthpop, jungle, new romantic, industrial and new wave. Airy melodies, surging arpeggios and symphonic breakdowns counterpoint cold digital drum sounds to convey beauty within inescapable and impending daily processes. The track titles for ‘Parler Musique’ zoom in on Romantic preoccupations with mystery, unknowns, depths–where themes combine to form an occult revelatory experience.
All songs have been mixed by Mark Pistel (Meat Beat Manifesto, Consolidated) at Room 5, San Francisco and EQed for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios.
“Is the drum the successor of human sacrifice or does it still sound the command to kill?” Adorno, Motifs (1951)”
Hypnotic, shadowy EBM and post-industrial pressure systems from Romania via Berlin
““A Body” is a deeply poetic work in which again and again you will hear Borusiade’s voice, sometimes dissolving and recreating meanings in mantra-like repetitions, sometimes layering itself to pagan choirs of smooth ecstasy. Then again you will also hear that voice close to you, singing, sharing an experience or a thought. It is always soft, effortless and unpretentious, but always strong, clear and precise, like the voice that speaks to you in an altered state of consciousness. It seems to come from the same person that is holding your hand, when everything else seems to fade into uncertainty while wandering through strange times and places…”
We're not sure what's triggered the influx of classic Thai Luk Thung music compilations (ZRMs bamboo-cased 'The Roots of Thai Funk' and various Sublime Frequencies, Finders Keepers' and Subliminal Sounds volumes), but it's certainly opened our ears to a beautifully altered mode of music that seems famiiar, yet so exotic and alien.
The latest appears on Parlortone's ace Dust-To-Dgital series, preserving "fourteen funky, down-home songs from the 1960s, the Golden Age of Thai Country Music" accompanied by extensive, full colour fold-out sleevenotes. To give a glib overview of the sound, it's essentially a syncretic form of folk-pop previously played extensively in one of the most Westernised countries in Asia absorbing elements of imported pop and spicing it to local tastes with traditional Thai melodies and distinctive accents.
There are 14 tracks included here, each a precious example of soul-tugging, grassroots music from a fascinating and endearing part of the world.
Superb selection of Bubblegum Soul & Synth-Boogie dialled in from 1980s South Africa by Miles Cleret and DJ Okapi for Soundway, who cannily survey the roots of what would become Pantsula, Kwaito, and Gqom. You can take it on trust this is an all killer no filler set, but then again you could just use your ears and feel the heat on Stimela’s rude boogie play ‘Mind Games’, Joshiba’s brimming ‘Gloria’, or the super woozy strut of Zasha’s ’Arrow Dub’.
“In 1980s black South Africa a local form of pop music evolved as the disco boom died down and slowly mutated. It was often ubiquitously described as Bubblegum - usually stripped-down and lo-fi with a predominance of synths, keyboards and drum-machines and overlaid with the kind of deeply soulful trademark vocals and harmonies that South African music is famous for.
Compilers Miles Cleret (Soundway) and DJ Okapi (Afrosynth Records) present a selection of 16 rare, handpicked 1980s cuts that highlight the period that nestles in between the ‘70s (where American-influenced jazz, funk and soul bumped shoulders with local Mbaqanga) and the ‘90s when Kwaito and eventually house-music ruled the dancefloors of urban South Africa.
Alongside French-Caribbean Zouk this kind of music has slowly been making its way into the DJ sets of many of the most open minded selectors around the world. This compilation is in many ways a sister release to the hugely popular compilation of Nigerian boogie and disco that Soundway released in late 2016 : “Doing it In Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria”.
The album takes its name from the band Ashiko’s track of the same name Gumba Fire that features on the compilation. The term is derived from gumba gumba, the term given to the booming speakers of the old spacegram radios that broadcast music into South Africa’s townships and villages. The phrase later evolved into Gumba Fire to refer to a hot party.”
Majeure is the alter ego of A.E. Paterra, drummer for seminal sci-fi prog explorers Zombi, and Timespan was his debut release. Taking the term full-length quite literally, the album is made up of three epic, side-long journeys through time and space. This is a A completely new mix and master of the long out-of-print debut.
"Merging the darkness of Vangelis' Blade Runner-era Moog-driven scores and the stately minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass with the relentless drive of Can and Silver Apples, Timespan delivers inspiring sci-fi disco of the highest caliber. Written, recorded and painstakingly produced by Paterra over an 18-month period, Majeure is unique in its careful collaboration of live and electronic sounds.
Anchored by Paterra's sturdy, propulsive live drums, each song uses layers of analogue synthesizers to masterfully craft extended compositions that virtually stop time before speeding it up, culminatingin countless moments of genuine majesty."
Surreal, coruscating psychedelic folk and lysergic pop. RIYL Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Sun City Girls, Bill Orcutt
“Ricochet Screen is the first proper LP from New York based TINT (aka Zane Morris). Encompassed as an overview of his solo recordings dating as far back as 2007, Ricochet Screen unfolds as a storied arc on the obsessiveness of composition, conception, and mechanism.
Culled from ad hoc recordings in vacant industrial buildings, lunchroom cafeterias, and bedroom studios, the record functions as a meditative associative collage regarding a rebounding from omnipresent glass monitors, intrusive security measures, and indeterminate barriers.”
Superb selection of haunting, cranky, romantic, playful and entertaining Greek music from 1st half of the 20th century, all compiled by Tony Klein, who’s behind some of our favourite compendiums from the region and era, such as the ‘Mortika’ set and the A. Kostis’ LP ‘The Jail’s A Fine School’. Considering they’re so old, there’s a remarkable amount of life inside. Immerse yourself.
"Like many others, we were first seduced to the pleasures of this epoch by the book's researcher and compiler, Tony Klein's previous incursion, 'Mortika - Rare Vintage Recordings from a Greek Underworld', compiled with Charles Hayward in 2005. And, while the emphasis here has shifted from the lyrics of gangsters and the dispossessed to purely instrumental recordings, the emotive sentiments still carry as much weight as the lyrics which we never understood anyway. Aside from the appearance of Rebetiko forefather, Markos Vamvakaris, who featured prominently on 'Mortika…', all players are new to us and each lends a personal and rhapsodic inflection to their instrumental tales, with each disseminated in detail in the book beside extensive further reading on their instruments and a rich historic background.
We still can't exactly place our finger on what it is the endears this music to us so much, maybe it's the minor key phrasing, its proud working class elegance, or perhaps the syncretic blend of European and minor Asian nuance. Maybe its the ghostly, opiated atmospheres or the swaying rhythms, but whatever it is, it hits the spot like no other.
We welcome Malmö, Sweden’s FLUF label to these pages with their newest release, featuring Phil Julian on a cochlea-scrubbing session of illusive electronics made on the HP Pulse Generator.
For listeners of a more hardcore disposition, there’s some real grit to get your mental teeth into with the swarming buzz of 0010A, whilst 0010AA is a trippier blighter probing our spatial perceptions with foregrounded density and cold sharp snaps buried away in the background. You could dance to this one, if the mood takes ya.
D&B turned techno producer Dan HabarNam rolls out two grumbling swingers for Idle Hands
Firstly with the grinding bleep ’n bass shut of High Pass Rambo, then the mazy dub-techno/garage mutation Draw Your Pattern. Wicked blends of function and abstraction. Need to hear these in the dance.
Hotly-tipped producer Orlando crystallises his blend of ambient pop, dancehall and contemporary club music to exquisite degrees in his self-titled début album for Local Action. As heard on his EP, The Tide That Moves me for Gobstopper, and his remix of D∆WN’s Lazarus that same year, Orlando’s music possesses a broad dance-pop appeal that he properly taps into on this album.
Working with a flock of vocalists and co-conspirators including Mr. Mitch, Yayoyanoh, Octo Octa and Buscabulla, and assisted by exquisite engineering from Jeremy Cox and Sam O.B., Orlando has realised an enchantingly bright and breezy sound riddled with filigree production details which are always at the service of framing his songs in their own environs, rather than showing off or being weird for the sake of it.
In each song he sweetly conveys a new scene that builds up to a lush landscape. But rather than nostalgic in the usual sense, this feels like the nostalgia of someone in 2030 for the sound of 2018, as his naif melodies and wipe-clean surfaces feel entirely in the here and now and free of retro references. That results in a sublime rush of highlights between the properly optimistic opener An Early Morning Rush of Euphoria, the James Ferrao-esque modernist composition of Rock, Shells & Some Fossils, a fluid swerver named Nasty feat. Yayoyanoh and Mr. Mitch, and thru to the pirouetting instrumental figures of Explain With Your Hands, and his unmissable dancehall winner Position starring Nemesis, before the romantic couplet of Friends or Lovers and the weightless beauty Free 2 B Whoever see you off with a very satisfied feeling.
Poppin’ electro-boogie produced by Melbourne’s Benny Badge, with a Astral electro-soul rerub by his alter ego, Freekwency featuring your RDA of sax harassment by Jack Doepel.
Backed by the wobbly strut of Midnight Run and the chromatic grease slick of Korea Town.
Pivotal member of the Montréalais musical fraternity, Eric Chenaux gets right under the skin and in your head with the intoxicating, jazz-wise chops and strikingly classic-sounding vocals of Slowly Paradise; an instant modern classic if we’ve never heard one! Chenaux generates a genuinely bewildering sound which lives up to easy comparison with Arthur Russell and even Thom Yorke, balancing sweetness with a more off-kilter style that also gets to the point, yet from beguiling, perpendicular angles maybe better compared with Richard Youngs' approach to folk and post-punk/pop paradigms.
“Eric Chenaux makes conceptual music that’s not meant to sound conceptual. He operates among various 'traditions' but perhaps most broadly, Chenaux's records grapple with the relationship between improvisation and structure in very particular, unique, idiosyncratic ways – and quite without irony or cynicism, through love.
Because fundamentally, Chenaux writes love songs, which he sings in a voice honeyed and clear, while his guitar gently bends, frazzes, chortles, diverges and decomposes. This juxtaposition of his mellow, dexterous crooning and his highly experimental (and equally dexterous) guitar explorations, explodes even unconventional notions of singing and accompaniment, of tonal and timbral interplay between guitar and voice.
As a solo artist, Chenaux's improvisation methods are in certain literal ways solipsistic: as a singer-songwriter, he plays his guitar around and against his voice, challenging easy notions of harmony/harmoniousness, improvising 'with himself' in pursuit of surprising himself (and his listeners) as he unfurls ribbons of voice and instrument often to the point of seeming independence, all the better to capture – and be captured by – unforeseen, intimate moments of interdependence: a definition of freedom, as a profoundly intentional state of openness, presence and play.
Even within avant-garde currents of folk and jazz balladry, Eric Chenaux feels like an outlier. Yet his music remains wonderfully warm, generous and fundamentally accessible in spite of its irrefutable iconoclasm. While the constitutive elements of Chenaux’s solo work in recent years might suggest some underlying devotion to asceticism, the opposite is much more true: his musical reveries resist, critique and counteract austerity (in all its forms) in a joyful abandonment to the improvised space where playfulness and light-heartedness are taken seriously, and where love is invoked and expressed, without reductive or facile sentimentalism, in a full, nuanced, clear-eyed suspension/rejection of the cynical life.
Slowly Paradise is Eric Chenaux’s new solo record – a lovely collection of mostly long songs guided by soothing, buttery singing and bent, fried fretwork. It is arguably Chenaux’s most assured and essential solo work, expanding upon the critical acclaim his previous releases Guitar & Voice and Skullsplitter have rightly garnered.”
Denmark’s GOHV seem to have coined a tantric new sort of EBM techno with AA0008 for crucial electronic label, FLUF.
On 0008A they hit a mesmerising line of cloven-hoofed rhythms and intently fixed drones that gets right in your bones, up the nose, making your eyes wobble. With 0008A they only intensify the effect with more typical 16th note EBM patterns locking into a viciously unrelenting yet somehow playfully daft tattoo.
One for fans of EVOL or the Aught label.
Highwire techno pelters from Calum Gunn, member of the excellent FLUF label whose forward catalogue is now available on our site and totally worth your time.
In good company among the label’s rogue rhythm explorers, Gunn goes hard and freaky with the fast-paced kicks and scrabbling chromatic electronics of 0003A, and then like SND on a techno bent with the sheer, pirouetting top line shackled to a boshing bass drum in 0003AA.
David Burraston or Dave NYZ makes some of the most fascinating electronic music in circulation right now.
The last few years have seen a spate of uniquely beguiling releases from NYZ on multiple labels, and now we add the ace FLUF to that list with AA0009, whose 0009A sounds like a cyborg big cat purring inside your skull, alongside the microtonal drone attrition of 0009AA. If you aren’t familiar with NYZ already, we urge you to check everything this guy has done, and without delay.