Murlo’s Coil Records come on strong with his début as Sharda packing four mutant speed garage zingers
Manchester-based producer and Swing Ting affiliate Chris Pell a.k.a. Murlo a.k.a. Sharda is equally responsible for the rowdiest sections of the night at Swing Ting (best club night in the universe, hands-down) when him, Samrai, Platt and Joey B draw for the speed garage and turn the whole place inside out.
The Sharda EP is purely dedicated to that sound, but with the canny spin that Pell puts on everything he touches. From the helium vox and hyper bubble of Meet Me Halfway thru the piano-heavy rave skanker Chin Up, to a rapid fusion of ghetto-bass and speed garage on Gum, and the organ house donk of Nobody Else featuring a pitched up Gemma Dunleavy, the vibe is hard to resist.
Following dissolution of the Yussef Kamaal project, Kamaal Williams a.k.a Henry Wu spreads his jazz charms solo on a debonaire début The Return, delivered via his newly minted Black Focus label. The spectres of ‘70s jazz fusion are felt strongly on this one, but updated with a rugged South London vibe that will bring feet to the ‘floor and see some heads get hot under the collar. RIYL Dego, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson
“The Return is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.
Notable tracks for old and new listeners are ‘Salaam', 'Situations', 'Medina', 'LDN Shuffle' which features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message) and for those die hard Yussef Kamaal fans - they should hear the interpolated roots of 'Strings of Light' in the title track 'The Return’. And that signature Wu Funk can be heard on 'Broken Theme', and 'High Roller'.
The Return is the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records.”
Genuinely oddball, off kilter compositions from psychedelic backwaters of Finland, courtesy of Kemialliset Ystävät collaborator Marja Ahti a.k.a. Tsembla. RIYL Madalyn Merkey, Tomuttontu, NYZ
“NNA is thrilled to present ‘The Hole In The Landscape,’ the latest full-length album by Tsembla. Based in Turku, Finland, Tsembla is the solo alias of musician Marja Ahti, a frequent collaborator of the Kemialliset Ystävät musical collective and one half of the electro-acoustic duo Ahti & Ahti. As Tsembla, Ahti creates vivid, imaginative compositions of sound and rhythm using electronics and treated samples of recorded acoustic instruments, objects, voices, feedback, and environmental sounds.
Following up the 2015 LP ‘Terror & Healing’ on the New Images label, Tsembla’s fourth full-length album ’The Hole In The Landscape’ combines melodic and rhythmic narrative with rough-edged sound collage, creating a sense of gravitation, forward movement and friction by contrasting weightlessness with density. At the heart of Tsembla’s compositions lies a distinctive and diverse palette of sounds, electronically processed and filtered to create a signature sound and feel with a unique sonic personality.
Across the album’s eight tracks, a tension between electronic synthesis and sampled acoustic sounds creates an inventive mixture of colorful playfulness and meditative starkness. Tsembla’s roots can be traced back to musique concrete, early electronic music, and other rhythmic electronic subgenres, but the final product is in a class of its own. The simplistic yet elegant use of melody is implemented thoughtfully to carry the delicate layers of electronics and samples along their voyage, uniting them into an abstracted whole.
The frenetic, psychedelic density of Kemialliset Ystävät can be heard in these tracks, though Ahti’s solo approach is more restrained and deliberate. Sounds are given enough space from each other to exist harmoniously alongside one another, with a tasteful amount of layering that allows the listener to focus on intentional clusters of brilliantly juxtaposed sounds, without feeling overwhelmed or bombarded. A distinct influence of music from all across the globe can be heard, beyond the usual western scales and instrumentation; woodwinds, strings, percussion and ancient sounds from all corners of the earth are electronically synthesized to create unpredictable textural twists and turns. These incredibly dynamic resulting textures stimulate the brain in unexpected ways, and the metaphor of sonic texture for organic geological formations can be both heard and felt in the exquisite detail that Ahti is able to conjure in these compositions.
As a thematic starting point, ‘The Hole In The Landscape’ takes the deep time of geological processes in contrast to the fleeting lifespan of the human mind and heart - the light fluctuations and deep dents of personal or collective thought and emotion, from the perspective of the slow formation of mountains built by shells, dead organisms or fossilized bacteria, and then carried away by wind or water. The idea of a hole in a landscape can manifest as a hollow desert rock formation, or a sense of personal or collective loss. In either case, there is an absence surrounded by presence. Loss carves a gap in our mental landscape, but simultaneously transforms what is left and infuses it with new meaning.
In step with these thematic properties, Ahti successfully implements her personalized sound to remind us that the unpredictable natural processes of the universe’s activity cannot be contained or controlled. However, through the instrument of creativity, we can take time in our brief earthly human existence to appreciate the aesthetic beauty and artful juxtapositions that are created as a result of this mystifying chaos, reminding us that absence can tell as much of a story as presence.”
Stockholm’s Sissel Wincent returns to Peder Mannerfelt's eponymous imprint with five tracks of ragged gabber kicks and hypnotic electronic gloom, highly recommended if yr into Kablam, Nkisi, Frak, Fever Ray...
Following her recent remix of Fever Ray’s Wanna Sip, Sissel here draws further inspiration from the intersection of doomcore gabber, electronic minimalism and experimental techno to shape a rugged sound riddled with uncanny detail and unyielding arrangements, effectively articulating the idea of techno with a uniquely dry and biting attitude.
Ponytails kicks off the EP with roving kicks scanned by searchlight synths and a melody recalling an ice cold Nkisi cut, while Cynical holds that glaring sound in clenched suspense with a push and pull of jarring atonalities and shivering rhythms that resolve to a jagged, roguish trample.
On Yellow Lines Sissel swerves closer in effect to the primitivist bangers of Frak with unflinching style, but an element of trippy emotive pathos begins to creep in with the curdled synths smeared over militant steppers’ ballistics on Still Undetermined, before Distance As Distance holds her anti-banger stance with bruising, abrasive force, making for some of the grittiest and most unsettling techno you’ll hear in 2018.
Clipping.’s ear-gobbling cult noise-rap release ‘Face’ bubbles back up for a digital release...
Features the original trio of cuts, including the noise-rap-gabber onslaught Face, the salty blatz of Studio Frestyle, and the aggression of Block, backed with loadsa new remixes, at best in Youth Code’s industrialised version of Face.
Rolling off his ace Youth 12”, Shamos joins SZE for this ruffcut set
Dancing from the midsummer merry-go-round of R F T to salty electro sludge in DDB, a lushly trippy blatz of acid in NYNM, and some faded boogie nostalgia in Unusual Pictures.
A star of PAN’s Mono No Aware bliss-out, Malibu, makes a gorgeous inverted trance turn as DJ Lostboi with the balmy introspection of their Got Lost EP, a self-released ace.
Perfectly modest and beautifully emotive, Got Lost says its piece in quietly subtle but heart-wrenchingly melodic gestures that catch us out every time, and has become a go-to release for those moments when you don’t really want to think about or do anything other than let yourself be enchanted.
In its delicate and effectively abstract simplicity, Got Lost feels counter to the chaos of the world around us, breezily flowing from the spine-checking acoustic guitar and processed glossolalia of Little Prince to the shivering harp strings of D Major XO Life, before making us well up with the Ian Van Dahl nod of Love Spiral Downwards and slipping off into the kinda gesture that would make Boothroyd blush on If I Should Die, and the sadboy diamond Join Me (Raw).
Exclusive to this edition of the release is the jaw-trembling Torus remix of D Bonus Track XO Torus Llif3, featuring the Dutch producer whisking the OG into a neatly circumvented trance peak.
NPLGNN comes gnashing at the bit for Bristol’s Lava Lava label - a part of the rwdfwd fam - with a mean volley of acid dancehall punk entitled Sonico. Arriving in the wide-eyed wake his Eternal Flame session with Dave Saved and turns with Reel Torque and Where To Now? before that, NPLGNN shows a more rugged and hot-stepping side of his sound that we haven’t heard before.
A-side keels in with the gully dancehall slosh of Weaponized Riddim, whipping desiccated claps, kicks and snares into a militant bogle built for extreme daggering - come test! - whereas Dancing Under CS works with a crankier budge, spitting double timed hi-hats and slaty AF bass hits like a rogue Itinerant Dubs workout. B-side is where it really boots off with Sonic Guerrilla, an intensifying payload of squat party raggamuffin noise that seethes with pure malific rave intent. Play this at your next rave/rally/protest to increase the pressure.
Big RIYL The Bug, Ossia, DJ Scud
After a revelatory 1st volume, Mule Musiq supremo Kuniyuki Takahashi (Koss) digs deeper into his archive, comes out with some sweetly gauzy gems on Early Tape Works 1986-1993 Vol.2
Tessellating perfectly with Music From Memory’s catalogue of obscure riches, this set unfurls seven works ranging from the faded seaside scenery of Island to romantic, chintzy downstrokes on Your Home, and stripped down Sakamoto-esque gestures on Asia. At its apex, Echoes Of The Past blushes a totally sublime colour of Adult Contemporary synth-jazz, leading to the Lynchian atmosphere of Ai Iro, and cascading harps and water sounds in Sakura No Mizu, and closes out with the cinematic panorama of Imagination, which strongly recalls the finest moments of Ensemble Economique, or what he was referencing, at least.
Like the first set, we advise you not to sleep on this stuff.
West Coast psychedelic quartet Wooden Shjips release V., their fifth album, inspired by the tumult of the modern world, and the desire to offer a contrasting vision of peace, the band has created a record that filters their trademark hypnotic grooves through an optimistic lens, resulting in music that is bright and vital.
"Wooden Shjips, long-time leaders of the contemporary psychedelic movement, expand their sound with V. The quartet of Omar Ahsanuddin, Dusty Jermier, Nash Whalen and Ripley Johnson augment their already rich sound with laid back, classic summer songs. The songs were written during the summer of 2017 by singer and guitarist Ripley Johnson as an antidote to the pervasive anxiety both political and natural. As Ripley tells it, “We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.
The band’s members collectively share a love of classic rock from the Velvet Underground to Neil Young, as well as more overt love of the San Francisco scene of the 60’s. This commonality in their formative musical years binds them even as they live in different cities. V. finds Wooden Shjips embracing the emotions behind those sounds; peaceful defiance and opposition, while creating a sound and counter narrative to today’s hostilities that is wholly their own. Wooden Shjips has with V. created the most concise, laid back songs of their career. Their music is a balm of sorts, a respite from the insanity that, through its regenerative abilities, empowers continued, calm resistance. A reminder of the simple power of peace and beauty. Wooden Shjips, through V., have demonstrated the power of beauty and the power in creating it even while experiencing overwhelming dread. It is the perfect summer album, brimming with optimism and a peaceful energy, aptly timed for release at the height of spring."
After cocooning himself in modular electronics for the past few years, Surgeon emerges with the strongest batch from his new setup in Luminosity Device. We can’t place our finger exactly on what’s changed, but the nine new tracks on offer feel more organically kinetic, offering something closer to a 1-to-1 representation of the wriggling, eely organisms that have been incubating in his studio for the best part of this decade.
In terms of its hard-edged, stoically funked-up delivery and taste for off-kilter dissonance, the sound of Luminosity Device is still unmistakably Surgeon. But, as the album’s title implies, the sound is now either lit up or glowing differently, and meant to be received by dancers and DJs skin and eyes as much as their ears and inherent ballistic proprioceptions. In a way, he’s better acknowledging the systemic and synaesthetic connections between DJ, soundsystem and us - the dancing, feeling vessels which are ultimately the enduser of his potent sonic substance. And if you want to read into it on another level, the artwork’s clear nod to Bowie’s Changes LP also suggests a shapeshifting new skin to his sound, while the engine effectively remains the same.
If you’re after highlights, run clock the swollen charge of The Primary Clear Light withs its fibrillating trance chorales and prickling exoskeleton, also the wickedly elastic looseness of Courage To Face Up To; the pinging, T++esque hydraulic dynamics of earth-sinking-into-water; and the scaly iridescence of the The Etheric Body - then you’ll know exactly what to do next.
From the vanguard of London underground movements, Endgame presents a grubby mixtape of minor key, baroque drill hooks and ruffed-up dembow drums for Bala Club, the clubnight and label he runs with Kamixlo among others.
Consumed offers a definitive survey of Endgame’s style. Featuring guest appearances by Yayoyanoh, Uli & Blaze Kidd, Organ Tapes, and Rules, it’s a proper family affair and survey of their boundary-reforming scenius.
We direct you to the monstrous EBM dancehall burner Consumed, and the staggered, aggy R&B lash of Reina featuring Rules for two of the biggest bullets, and to the likes of his stealthier Hellhound Heart, the quick-stepping Caravan De La Muerte with Uli and Blaze Kidd, and the stark instrumental Violation for more atmospheric angles in.
Coil’s cultishly acclaimed Worship The Glitch features the group in dialogue with the ghost in the machine, an element they named ELpH and considered as much a part of the group as any physical member. Aye, you’d probably be right in assuming they were taking a lot of drugs during the creation of Worship The Glitch, and consequently the results stand out among their trippiest releases, comparable with the rugged space of early Pan Sonic and slightly later Mika Vainio releases as much as Philip Jeck’s ambient enigmas or a digital update of David Lynch’s Eraserhead OST. If you like this stuff, we highly recommend tracking down ELpH’s pHILM#1 10”, too!
“"Unexplainable" may well be the best explanation for the members of the UK based electronic outfit COIL. Making a radical shift from intentional accessibility, by means of traditional pop songwriting, to abstract happenstance, Coil had entered into a new phase in their career…uncharted waters utilizing what was then the newest computer technology, digital and analog synthesis and the newly formed ideas that something outside of themselves was steering the ship.
During the studio sessions that developed into what would become “Worship the Glitch”, Coil became aware of random compositions emitting from their gear, and were at odds with constant “accidents” that were perpetually plaguing the recordings. The band called these unintentional emissions "ELpH": a conceptual being that is one part physical equipment, one part celestial being… constantly playing the role of trickster, throwing a wrench into Coil’s methodology. Eventually, these accidents and mistakes were embraced by the band, and the process of misusing audio software to create intentional "errors" was adopted as a musical technique. The acceptance of the "mistake", and the use of discovered mistakes as intentional elements slowly became the drive and concept behind the album, thus birthing the title “Worship the Glitch.”
Originally released in 1995 on Coil’s in-house imprint Eskaton, Worship the Glitch was Coil’s first proper album-length attempt at conceptual ambient composition, with a radical focus on chance. Seamless vignettes of shattered electronics (though ebbing softly and in delicate balance with each other) provide an underlying uncertainty and discomfort to the listener.”
Ghost Box’s best loved project, Jon Brooks’ The Advisory Circle, unfolds a beautifully affectionate and absorbing hauntological study based around the theme of photography for his nostalgic fellows. Clad in some of the finest Julian House artwork to appear in the label’s 14 years so far, this is one instance where you can truly judge the record by its sleeve: It’s 24 carat synthy gold.
Where previous transmissions have been guided by prevailing to kosmiche whims and darker shades, Ways of Seeing arguably comes from a school of ‘80s inspirations; from the typography to the collaged snapshots and the beautifully poignant music itself, the feeling is less kitschy ‘70s and more cyber-sensual, with that key sense of English reserve and pastoralism, as opposed to say, the more ecstatic (read: cloying) aspects of US new age or the frivolity of Japanese 4th world styles during that era.
Sequenced in 12 succinct stages, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and often leave us wanting more, projecting a screen reel montage of imagery onto the mind’s eye.
Absorbing, jazz-fusion styled downbeats and mid-tempo hustle from Yoshinori Hayashi
Following in pursuit of 12” for Going Good and Gravity Graffiti with the extended, 3-part, 13 minute long 0208, which strafes from elemental abstraction thru underwater jazz to a balmy tribal shuffle, whereas 759 follows the wind on a slow-motion boogie dub budge, and 9828 sounds out a blunted sort of post-punk dub style.
Shy Layers’ Midnight Marker dances between darkness and light, discreet but assured music aware of an “other” self and the dream world which that vessel visits. Rich in symbolism, appearing as floating, formless reflections and poignant pop statements, musician and visual artist JD Walsh’s sophomore album offers new perceptions of time and transition, the emotional tides of experience, and the joy of the journey.
"Midnight Marker is dedicated in part to understanding these transitions. Like a coming-of-age story in reverse, the album explores the reorganization of time and space against a new now: a today imbued, rather than riddled, with the idiosyncrasies of yesterday. The album is not a wrought reality check, however; instead, a journey through genre, imagery, and meaning bathed in familiarity and ineffable emotion.
Throughout Midnight Marker, Walsh shares the joy of composing within the newfound space of Atlanta having lived in NYC for many moons. Apart from having more space to stretch out and create, Walsh cites modular synthesis as a muse for much of Midnight Marker. Using spontaneous modes to blossom chance beauty in favor of conventional composition, Walsh’s songwriting almost feels happy-go-lucky instead of happenstance. A perfect analog to Walsh’s affable, optimistic spirit beyond his music.
In a similar spirit a spontaneity, Walsh invited vocalists whom he didn’t know personally, but respected their talents, to perform on the album. The “let’s see what happens” expectation set an open tone while recording that reflects in the positively impressionistic lyrics and sense of shared experience that gives Midnight Marker its inviting glow. As with his visual art, Walsh’s sense of scale, texture, and color ensures these contributions and surrounding sounds work communally and considerately.
The slower, linear development of Midnight Marker’s songs suggests an organic sensibility that wasn’t quite as apparent on the patternbased compositions of Walsh’s 2016 self-titled debut album. Walsh cites the cerebral pop of Wally Badarou, Arthur Russell, and Another Green World as influences, but his equal love for Luther Vandross digs deep, reflective milestones throughout Midnight Marker. It’s sophisticated while being soulfully, through not righteously, self-aware.
So, while there is a softness, a shyness to Midnight Marker, there is clarity and wisdom, too. The layers of the past and the experiences which collect together to become age, place, and being are pulled back to reveal a different sense of self. A self able to dance between darkness and light."
Badboy weirdo Lord Tusk brings a deadly rude swerve to LAPS’ MIC label with big dancefloor highlights in the psychoactive purple flair of ‘Champion Lovers’, the super low riding ‘Beyond Limitation’, and a wicked blend of Memphis rap instrumental and proto-house in ‘Don’t Be Shy’
“Lord Tusk has associated with acts like Klein, John T. Gast, Dean Blunt, Yasiin Bey AKA Mos Def, and released on Jon Rust’s Levels, Funkineven’s Apron, Soul Jazz Records and Low Income $quad.
Communiqué is made of breathy, glossy Sci-Fi electro, bitcrushed drum samples and Minneapolitan funk feng shui, the hits and stabs of new jack swing and FM boogie, all pieced together with a one-take energy but a meticulous attention to detail. It’s songwriting for a miscellaneous kind of soundsystem music, body music, flamboyant across tempo, from the yearning thump of Shyne Eyed Gal to the puffed-up strut of Champion Lovers (sounding like a home-taped Electrifying Mojo opener), the staggered slink of Beyond Limitation’s unfiltered tones to the 4x4 uptempo skid of Don’t Be Shy or the veering slap-bass groove of Elevation. It’s a record that shoots around corners, conjuring lazy romances and smokey vistas, lit by the nocturnal shimmer of an electrified city, streaked with gargantuan, shrill, birdlike call-and-response riffs and visited by the astral bodies of Teddy Riley, Gerald Donald, Prince.”
Berlin’s Mechatok, one of the most nattered-about artists to emerge in recent years, caters to Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? label with four effervescent spins on melodic dancehall and PointillisticT.
Practically taking on Lorenzo at his own thing, Mechatok keeps it perfectly icy and low-key with the simmering hustle of 12 Years, then stealthily starts to come up with the layered trance arps and choral voices of Skies Of Tomorrow, until the big room coda of All My Time takes us by the hand to a hard trance wonderland, or something, where the barely-there dynamics of Flee trace out the phosphorescent afterglow of a trillion garys in the fashion of an avian murmuration.
Big RIYL to fans of rkss, Pavel Milyakov, Lorenzo Senni, Kamixlo
Actress & the London Contemporary Orchestra surpass expectations with LAGEOS, an ace full length showcase of their endeavours since collaborating on a live performance at the Barbican for Boiler Room in February 2016.
While we weren’t overly fussed with the album’s lead cut Audio Track 5, the rest of the album turns out to be a captivating and variegated exploration of the ambiguities between classical techniques and the electronic timbres and geometries of Actress’ music. They’re certainly not the first to try and reconcile the schism between acoustic and electronic spheres, but the collected results are some of the strongest we’ve heard beyond, say, Mica Levi, in terms of the modern field.
The LCO work at the limits of their perception and extended techniques to interpret as close as possible the timbres and colours of Actress’ electronics through acoustic means, using everything from plastic bags for white noise hi-hats thru to Blu-Tack to dampen the piano’s upper registers. Those acoustic gestures were then reshaped and arranged by Actress, who took inspiration from Iannis Xenakis’ sound for architecture/architectured sound in context of the Barbican, generating 10 uniquely hazy environments.
Two of the tracks are the LCO’s take on vintage Actress cuts, transposing N.E.W. from R.I.P. into the acoustic dimension with sublime effect, and also reanimating Hubble with wickedly keening strings to put a fresh spin a much loved classic. But our favourite cuts are split between those where they get weirder, abstract, as in the gauzy swells of white noise and underwater strings on Momentum or the spiralling, unmetered madness of Galya Beat, and the infectious smudge of electro pulses and phasing rhythmelodies in Surfer’s Hymn, a mesmerising take on Actress’ Panda Bear remix.
Eirini Pt1 is a soothing suite of electronics and process instrumentation by Alex Menzies (Alex Smoke)
Written as part of his music fellowship with the NHS, exploring the relationship between health and sound. Lovely beatless gear for fans of Ghost Box, BoC, feeling healthy.
Glacier Lustwerk pens an ode to one our most hated aspects of clubs and festivals with Wristbands
Set to a murky NYC house groove and piquant arps in a drawn out original, a nifty edit, and instrumental.
A Certain Ratio embraced the ethic and culture of the late Seventies post punk explosion but sounded like nothing else around them and refused to fit in.
"Formed in 1978, the band had various members throughout their career and a core line-up of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson. Hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as ‘punk funk’ thanks to the success of ‘Shack Up’ on both sides of the Atlantic, their sound is not easily pigeon holed and their influence can never be understated. The band introduced the avant-garde elements of funk, jazz, electronics, tape loops and technology to the pop song, wrapping it in a post punk aesthetic, adding great clothes and the coolest haircuts."
Night School get rowdy with the rearrival of Prostitutes on Aluminum Garage, offering a definitive, salty lash of big beat budge, jagged breakcore, blown out techno and aggy gabber from James Donadio’s globe-trotting project.
Still getting the most out of rudimentary equipment and ruff-cut samples, Prostitutes jams out a volley of styles ranging from the Strategy-esque beat juggling of Born Wanderer and the DJ Scud-style breakcore parry of Jah Elegant, before wrapping a post-punk disco bassline to singed techno hi-hats and wonky alarm signals on Errant Seagull, and rounding out with the proper Thunderdome gabber velocity of Shroud of Cellophane.
We might not be biggest fans of EP opener Spells, but the rest of Jenny Hval’s The Long Sleep is great, featuring a supporting cast of jazz players who sensitively bring her ideas to life and perfectly frame Jenny’s singular voice. The 10 minute title cut almost sounds like Supersilent doing pop ambient.
“The follow-up to Jenny Hval’s acclaimed 2016 album Blood Bitch is The Long Sleep, an adventurous new EP that sees the Norwegian multidisciplinary artist embracing an instinctive, even subconscious, approach to creating meaning. In contrast to Hval’s more explicitly conceptual work, The Long Sleep foregrounds the act of composition itself, letting the melodies and structures reveal the other elements of the songs. All of the songs on the EP recycle the same compositional motives, but manipulate them into very different shapes that take them further and further out of their original, "life-like" context.
Hval recorded The Long Sleep with longtime collaborator Håvard Volden and producer Lasse Marhaug, along with an ace new supporting cast of talented players from the jazz world — Kyrre Laastad on percussion, Anja Lauvdal on piano, Espen Reinertsen on saxophone, and Eivind Lønning on trumpet. Hval calls them some of her favorite contemporary musicians, and their musical background helps to give the songs on The Long Sleep their intuitive, improvised feel.”
Totally unexpected peach from Laurie Spiegel and Don Christensen ov The Contortions and wave pioneers impLOG
Catching Spiegel layering long arcing drones on an Electrocomp 101 over a rabid, itchy, stereo-shifting disco beat in Donnie and Laurie, surely primed to send the dancefloor spinning dizzy if used at the right time, whereas Patchwork (Alt Version) is a more typically lovely and nimble arp workout, which, in the right hands, could also make great DJ tool.
SUED dudes SVN and SW regroup at at an expressively jazzy and experimental ambient techno angle for their first release of original material with Apollo, proceeding from their reissue of The Album [2016/17] with a like-minded collection comparable to aspects of work by Move D’s Conjoint, Squarepusher, and Boxcutter.
Over six tracks they scale between amorphous, amphibian acid ambience in 10-10- nomix to crafty beat juggling recalling early ‘90s Tom Jenkinson on dx n-lip, melting out into totally charmingly ambient fuzz and layered field recordings on 11-10-17.1. The pranging breakbeat snap and soulful chords of la-400x jolts the EP back to the ’floor, where they cut looser with the tumultuous AI styles of tx 77 hinten, and slope off into the tranquil downstroke of tr.rd.
Gently textured and crackling ambient pop embers and cinematic downbeats from Rauelsson for Berlin’s Sonic Pieces. Following the intimate but epic Vora from 2013, his second full-length album for Sonic Pieces continues the lush landscapes of earlier times while moving his sound into a feast of organic beats and textural dynamism.
"Among the novel elements there's a great sense of joy and upbeat moments scattered throughout the album, mirroring its melancholic base. This combination feels very natural and merges perfectly with the overall majestic sound. Raúl also blends an impressive array of instruments and genres while still reflecting his personal and somewhat secretive presence. The producer lives on the Spanish coast in a rather detached way from any online presence, focusing on family life and the real sense of humanity. This feeling vibrates through the sound of Mirall making for a very emotional venture.
Expect to hear organs, synths, tape-loops, clarinet, strings, piano and percussion, just to name a few key sounds present on this record, all compiled and produced with a passionate taste for acoustic experimentation. This sense of sonic open-mindedness was skillfully amplified by Nils Frahm's studio work, who mixed and mastered Mirall. The album finishes off with a surprising unaccompanied lullaby, interpreted by Heather Woods Broderick. Rauelsson delivers another timeless album we already can't wait to re-visit again and again."
Mark Van Hoen presents a typically emotive swell of electronic bluster and filigree melody with Invisible Threads, the shimmering follow-up to his Mappa Mundi LP as Drøne with Miek Harding, and a collection of Electronic Music 1982-1987 for Wayside And Woodland Recordings.
Drawing on the experience of touring the US West Coast in 2016 with Philip Jeck, Simon Scott, Daniel Mensche, Lee Bannon, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Pye Corner Audio and Marcus Fischer, as well as taking literary inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s post-apocalyptic short story, The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion, and more practically from his day job editing film soundtracks; Van Hoen alchemically transmutes those memories, both muscle and more ephemeral, into a lush suite guided by nostalgia to a sublime, widescreen sense of renewed optimism and timeless romance.
In a fine tribute to the pivotal events of Mai ’68, Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu remix Soundwalk Collective’s collages of archival Jean-Luc Godard material in impressionistic ways for the ‘floor.
Across the front, Ricardo V smears the smoky, jazz-wise source material of Death is the Enemy into a bustle of splayed drums and voices with a Gauloises-wisp quality, gradually resolving into a rolling momentum that melts out into a more fractious, psychedelic experience.
On the back, Jan Jelinek takes the reins for a deeply charming play of hushed, noirish jazz notes, searching synth tendrils and smudged voices on his mix of L’Impossible Du Possible, and Petre Inspirescu reworks Death is the Enemy with a sublime, weightless tension that never breaks.
Remastered by engineer Josh Bonati and supervised by Coil's Drew McDowall, the double LP vinyl release is packaged in a beautiful matte 24pt stock gatefold jacket.
"During the transitional period in which Coil’s primary leadership (Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and John Balance) reorganized their creative direction by taking on new membership in the group through their inclusion of Drew McDowall, Coil took a drastic turn towards the metaphysical unknown. Employing the subtle handiwork of Coil’s “real life” members, as well as the cleverly guised aliases and spiritual collaborators, the band chose to filter their identity through a the nome de guerre, Black Light District, setting the precedent of Coil’s future exploration of otherworldly influence.
Recorded during the Winter of 1995/96, Black Light District reflects more on their formal avant-garde pursuits and academic interests rather than their industrial pedigree resume. Starting off with an obvious nod to John Cage with their introductory “Unprepared Piano”, the tone is prepared in exactly the same way… unpredictable. Conceptually abstract, Black Light District shows Coil’s old guard disregarding the pop rhythms found on previous albums, such as Love's Secret Domain, and fully embracing their experimental electronic trajectory.
Subtle patterns of looping melancholy and malaise are placed delicately underneath ghostly electronic timbre. Approaching their creative method as something from the beyond, another realm in which sounds blur and performers seemingly appear from the ether."
Batu’s Timedance gang up a first label showcase placing established artists such as Bruce, Ploy and rRoxymore alongside new names; Rae, Neinzer, Nico , Clerya.
It’s a full spectrum ting, taking in weightless tonal experiments with Bruce’s Let’s Make The Most Of Our Time Here, and gaseous ambient dimensions from Ploy, while newcomers make their presence subtly felt in the likes of Cleyra’s superb broken beat percolations and a grubbing Afro-dub winner from Nico called Soft Opening, with Simo Cell tending to more rugged ends on the gritty dancehall wine Consider The Internet, and Via Maris keening into a sort of Radiophonic techno on Side Effects.
Strong showing from some of the UK’s most crucial bass music innovators.
It was a musical cocktail born in a marketing meeting: Two parts easy listening, one part jazz, a healthy dollop of conga drums, a sprinkling of bird calls, and a pinch of textless choir.
"Serve garnished with an alluring female on the album jacket for best results. Exotica! The soundtrack for a mythical air conditioned Eden, packaged for mid-century, tiki torch-wielding armchair safariers.
Be it mosquito-bitten torch singers, landlocked surf quartets, fad-chasing jazz combos, mad genius band leaders, D-list actors, or a middle aged loner programming bird calls into a Hammond, Exotica was always more concerned with what geography might sound like over who was conducting. Captured across three albums are 48 (54 on the CD) curious examples of the short-lived genre’s reach, each summoning their own sonic visions of Shangri La, bringing their versions of the Pacific, Africa, and the Orient to the hinterlands of America. Technicolor Paradise is where one makes it, after all."
Perc & Truss are unravelled and restitched three different ways...
Ghost In The Machine kick the life out of Leather & Lace with destructive impact, Pinch tramples it with militant roguish force, and Mumdance & Logos reprise the momentum of their recent banger as The Sprawl, but with a trancey acid lift that sends it into orbit and back...
Murlo makes a slippery 2nd appearance on his Coil Records label with the bittersweet garage tanggg of Together
Going a few shades deeper with fluorescent, dissonant riffs and chipmunk-processed vox inna burning garage flex.
Midnight Shift draw cuts from Gramrcy & Hodge, Mark Forshaw, Harmonious Thelonious, INNSYTER, Terry Lamborghini, Amato, Thermocline and Knuttson-Berg for their latest label compilation.
It’s a mixed bag, chucking up some highlights via the Brazilian rufige of INNSYTER on A Last Time For and the pounding Gramrcy/Hodge number Barnohl, beside the giddy disco-tech of Mark Forshaw’s Power Grab and Knutsson-Berg’s bouncing acid-electro bomb.
Swing Ting and Gemma Dunleavy leave the club and tend to the bedroom/backseat for a minute (or four) on Addiction
A treacly sweet R&B ace featuring their most reserved and seductive production to date, also included as an instrumental and a booty-checking 147bpm remix from Brackles.
Techno/Power Ambient boffin Peder Mannerfelt appears on Cera Khin’s Lazy Tapes for a typically skizzy and brilliant session called The Screws That Hold The World Together.
The follow-up to Cera’s sought-after split mixtapes with Ossia and Christoph De Babalon gives up three original Peder Mannerfelt works oscillating from a mad, raved-up confection of hypnotic vocal loops, clanking drums and burning ‘ardcore strings in Shining Beacons of Light, to go all radiant and blissed out with the spatial-tonal metamorphosis of The Toad, and then diffracting dub chords and frazzled jazz drum breaks in Every Day Had a Number.
We’ll spare you another gush about the quality of Peder’s sound, but suffice it to say this one is heavily satisfying, as to be expected.
Grade A, nexx generation anthems from DJ Lilocox, scoring his fully fledged solo début on Príncipe with a handful of deep, rugged, and romantic Batida workouts compatible with tribal house, Afro-beats, UKF and Kwaito. If you crave the freshest syncopated dance music, this one’s properly unmissable.
Paz E Amor, or “peace and love”, is the solo début of deep, hypnotic Batida grooves by DJ Lilocox. A longtime core member of Lisbon’s Príncipe label, Lilocox is one third of the PDDG (Piquenos DJs Do Guetto) crew beside DJs Firmeza and Maboku, and accounts for half of CDM (Casa Da Mãe), also with Maboku. In solo mode Lilocox alloys sensuous atmospheres with rolling percussion in a widely appealing style that resonates with the slickness of the Sonhos & Pesadelos LP by his near namesake, DJ Lycox, but personalised by more spacious production values and a rugged vision of dancefloor romance and energy.
With the CDM project on hold for now, DJ Lilocox presents a more mature sound now characterised by his focus on rhythmelodic cadence and synthetic sensuality. Between the EP’s lusting highlight in the Ron Trent-esque Afrohouse of Fronteiras, to the starker, Gqom-Like tension of Ritmo e Melodias, Lilocox plays to the ‘floor’s timeless needs in a ruggedly forward manner, deftly shifting his weight from the pendulous footing of Vozes Ricas to the woodblock knocks and drones of Paz e Amor and the snake-hipped swinge of Samba with the dancer’s balance and emotions always a priority.
After the scorching début EP from P. Adrix, the first solo DJ Lilocox record perfectly demonstrates his depth and diversity whilst maintaining Príncipe’s rarely paralleled and flawless reputation for upfront, timelessly effective dance music...
Staggering volley of hyper junglist killers from Sophia Loizou on a new EP of pressurized subs, hoover and percolated vocals taking us somewhere between Lee Gamble’s classic Diversions, Metalheadz Blue Note Sessions and some forward Arca x EVOL collusion. TIPPED!!!
Sophia’s first release since the much acclaimed Singulacra [Kathexis, 2016], Irregular Territories provides a definitive example of Loizou’s sound as it firmly asserts her music in a rarified hauntological rave headspace that meticulously explores an exploded deconstructionist style that she’s developed since her 2014 debut Chrysalis.
With one foot in late ‘90s halcyon daze, and another toeing the future, Sophia combines a lust for the ruffneck with a sharp mind for complex structural integrity and inventive aesthetic. Synching fragmented beats with human gasps, choral synths and richly ephemeral textures, she bridges temporalities and dimensions in a way that recalls an auditory DeepDream composite formed from millions of eyes-shut moments at Metalheadz sessions.
Album opener Loop of Perception quite literally takes off like a jet engine in the rave, while Memories of Angels conjures and sustains a lump-in-throat suspense through unresolved pads and hide ’n seek breakbeat edits, before it all comes together, gelled by wide, pressurized subs in Shadow Box.
The brief vignette of hoover and percolated vocal motifs in Frozen Dust opens up the B-side like some Arca and EVOL collusion, and The Interior Life of Another feels like a jungle inception of 4Hero’s Parallel Universe, leaving the poignant Morphogenesis to sum up the metaphysical flux of her sound in febrile detail.
Prayers are answered with Vainqueur’s Reductions 1995-1997, a compilation of in-demand cuts from René Löwe’s seminal Chain Reaction 12”s and Elevations CD, including the vinyl premiere of Antistatic and first ever appearance of Antistatic II on any format, all available on wax for the first time in over 20 years!
For anyone who came thru during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Vainqueur records were required listening - beyond Maurizio’s M-Series and the Basic Channel catalogue, they’re some of the strongest dub techno trax in existence. Now, two decades later, they still appear regularly in the mixes of those in the know, but their 2nd hand prices have steadily crept up in parallel.
To newcomers and older fiends alike, this 3LP selection provides a perfect overview of Vainqueur’s most feted period (not withstanding his all-time banger Lyot , but that was a kinda one-off). The first disc revolves his banging Reduce 1 and the monotone brilliance of Reduce 2, whilst the 2nd disc renders the more tender gasps and dub chords of Solanus (Original) and the heady Elevation II - both masterclasses in German techno minimalism - while the 3rd disc significantly presents the flared chords of Antistatic, taken from the Elevations CD, on vinyl for the 1st time, backed with the exclusive-to-this-12” Antistatic II.
Boy wonder Bryan Müller a.k.a. Skee Mask comes of age with Compro, a dreamily sensual 2nd album tessellating ambient techno, jungle, IDM/electronica and breakbeat science for his Munich-based crew at Ilian Tape.
Cadging cues from classic Aphex Twin as much as Basic Channel, the 12 tracks on Compro cycle thru a plethora of styles with the innocent agility and explorative freedom of the early-mid ‘90s wave of producers who arguably established the patterns that we all dance in and around today.
However, with the benefit of hindsight and the relative ease and tactility of modern production methods, Skee Mask feels to evaporate and render those patterns with a finer grasp of spatial dynamics and layered textures, ultimately manifest in the vaporous designs of album opener Cerroverb, and resulting unique highlights in the cloud dynamic ambient ‘ardcore of 50 Euro To Break Boost, which sounds like Fennesz doing breakbeats, or in the sublime weightless percolations of Vi Sub Mids, and particularly on the elusive rush of Soudnboy Ext. and the very Tom Jenkinson-esque closing couplet of Kozmic Flush and Calimance (Delay Mix).
Betonkust & Palmbomen II revisit the domed artificial paradise of Center Parcs for a full album of claggy chug and knackered house following from their 2016 EP of the same name.
Like many who grew up join the ‘90s, we clearly remember the adverts for Center Parcs, and even visited once, so the backstory and vibe of this album rings particularly nostalgic for us. The pair of Betonkust & Palmbomen II visited the ‘Centre Parcs De Eemhof’ branch in the Netherlands for a weekend out of season, where they set up their gear and had free run of the subtropical waterpark. We can hardly imagine a more inspiring place to write a record, seriously, and it’s fair to say the results really capture something of the place’s artificial, manmade-landscaped fantasy features.
Across 12 tracks they run amok with giddy melodies anchored by rugged grooves, bringing a sense of playful innocence to the fore, with a lurking sense of artificial ickiness in the background. It’s a feeling exemplified in the clenched but lilting “tropical” funk of Verminkte Toekan and the balmy muzak theme of Troostprijs, while the acid boogie of Smerig Eland feels like an empty friday night party in the dome, and Skytronic Cola could be the soundtrack to chirpsing in the pines after a go on those big inflatable rings, and then there’s the boogie metal short circuit of Nintendo Pantera, and the badass freestyle electro chops of Achter Het Zwembad, which floods back memories of an overstimulated 13 year old at this first club, and the romance of Eindleader Videonet to seal the off-rose-tinted nostalgia.
Finally! A second part of the legendary African Scream Contest compilation which really put Analog Africa on the collector’s map back in 2008. Samy Ben Redjeb has done another sterling job in reviving these cuts from Benin & Togo for posterity and parties everywhere, not to mention officially licensing all the material on board; including heavy funk ’n soul fire in Les Sympathics de Porto Novo’s A Min We Vo Nou We, on the driving disco-funk bubble of Moulon Devia from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, some nerve-jangling funk from a clearly James Brown infatuated Super Borgou de Parakou, and the melting synths on Gnonnas Pedro and His Dadjes Band’s How Much Love Naturally Costs. Class is in session!
“A great compilation can open the gate to another world. Who knew that some of the most exciting Afro-funk records of all time were actually made in the small West African country of Benin? Once Analog Africa released the first African Scream Contest in 2008, the proof was there for all to hear; gut-busting yelps, lethally well- drilled horn sections and irresistibly insistent rhythms added up to a record that took you into its own space with the same electrifying sureness as any favourite blues or soul or funk or punk sampler you might care to mention.
Ten years on, intrepid crate-digger Samy Ben Redjeb unveils a new treasure- trove of Vodoun-inspired Afrobeat heavy funk crossover greatness. Right from the laceratingly raw guitar fanfare which kicks off Les Sympathics’ pile-driving opener, it’s clear that African Scream Contest II is going to be every bit as joyous a voyage of discovery as its predecessor. And just as you’re trying to get off the canvas after this one-punch knock out, an irresistible Afro-ska romp with a more than subliminal echo of the Batman theme puts you right back there. Ignace De Souza and the Melody Aces’ “Asaw Fofor" would’ve been a killer instrumental but once you’ve factored in the improbably-rich-to-the-point-of-being-Nat-King-Cole-influenced lead vocal, it’s a total revelation.
The screaming does not stop there, in fact it’s only just beginning. But the strange thing about African Scream Contest II’s celebration of unfettered Beninese creativity is that it would not have been possible without the assistance of a musician who had been trained by the Russian secret services to "search and destroy" enemies of the country’s (then) Marxist-Leninist president Mathieu Kerekou.
Already familiar to fans of the first African Scream Contest as a mainstay of ruthlessly disciplined military band Les Volcans de la Capitale, Lokonon André vanished in a cloud of dust at Ben Redjeb’s behest with a list of names and some petrol money, only to return a few days later having miraculously tracked down every single name he’d been given. The source of this Afrobeat bounty-hunter’s impressive people-finding skills - his training with the KGB - highlights the tension between encroaching authoritarian politics and fearless expressions of personal creative freedom which is the back-story of so much great African music of the 60s and 70s. Happily, in this instance, Lokonon was tracking the artists down to offer them licensing deals, rather than to arrest them.
Where some purveyors of vintage African sounds seem to be strip-mining the continent’s musical heritage with no less rapacious intent than the mining companies and colonial authorities who previously extracted its mineral wealth, Samy Ben Redjeb’s determination to track this amazing music to its human sources pays huge karmic dividends.”
The great Robert Lippok (To Rococo Rot) returns with his first solo album in seven years, Applied Autonomy for Olaf Bender's Raster. A survey of what he’s been up to, as much as a statement of intent for here and now, Applied Autonomy reprises the fine balance of tuff-edged minimalism, spatial illusion and melodic delicacy that emerged with Redsuperstructure , but ratcheting its effect with a renewed vigour for a frankly epic impact.
As the title makes explicit, Robert’s 3rd solo album is concerned with autonomy, which feels like an apt subject for the age of automation, when humans are increasingly negotiating their role in context of the machine and AI, and vice-versa. The systems Robert set up for Redsuperstructure now come into deeper relief, as he applies a greater understanding of their workings in order to eke out, sculpt their possibilities in his own image.
Much of the material came from improvisation and sketches made in preparation for his live shows. This quickfire process amassed a range of material which was then more considerately cut to shapes and layerd not applied Autonomy, which ranges from almost Rian Treanor-esque stutter drums mixed with dense yet wide atmospheres in his title track, and twisted across the album, from frenetic acid dancehall mutations in Varieties of Impact, to the meter-messing trance of Scene 3 which sounds like something Vladimir Ivkovic might play, and thru to the necessary, hoped for dose of emotive lushness with brimming optimism of All Objects Are Moving.
But he really saves some of the best for last in Samtal, a 14 minute piece recorded in duo - but not together - with Klara Lewis at EMS Stockholm, where we effectively hear two autonomous minds at work, making for a smart contrast with the singularity of the preceding tracks.
The master of enigma and virtuoso of vinyl ephemera, Philip Jeck presents Arcade, a follow-up recording to last year’s Iklectik, which was also recorded at the central London arts space of the same name. If you’re ever looking for a precedent to The Caretaker’s sound, check this out.
As ever, words generally fail us in properly capturing the fleeting beauty of Jeck’s work here, but fuck it we’ll have a stab, eh? For 32 minutes the multidisciplinary Liverpudlian artist coaxes an intoxicating, elusive cadence of crackle and harmonic swell from his modified turntable and treated vinyl loops. At a number of points within its windswept flux, we hear the BoC-like guitar streams rise to the surface, only to decay and deliquesce into the aether with a quality best described as mirage-like. Along with wizened traces of folk fiddles that blur distinctions between Celtic, Indian or Avant traditions, all infiltrated by the most gorgeous sylvan pads, this one is certain to leave a real lump in the throat and send shivers down the spine.
We’ve said it before about Jeck’s work, and it bears reiterating; we can’t help but feel his music is naturally informed by the play of light between the Irish Sea, the River Mersey and the roiling skies and topolography Merseyside. If you’ve ever visited, you’ll likely know what we mean, but if not then this sound is about the most acute, if impressionistic, allegory we can find. If you really want to understand it, we’d warmly suggest taking a folder of Jeck gear to the ‘pool for a headphone dérive.
A four track baroque masterpiece by Rian Murphy sharing vocals with his good friend Will Oldham.
Produced by Rian, with string arrangements by Jim O’Rouke and vocal harmonies by Archer Prewitt. Featuring a chorus of voices including BillCallahan, Laetitia Sadier, David Grubbs and Jim O’Rouke amongst many others.
Steeply abstract, mesmerising regressions of future-primitivist electronics inspired by archaeological sites in Indonesia and produced by Matt Shoemaker. Posthumously issued on the persistently searching Helen Scarsdale Agency. RIYL Zoviet*France, NWW, Jim Haynes
“fosil sangiran is the pseudonym for seattle polymath matt shoemaker (1974-2017). the two recordings that have been uncovered from his archives under this moniker were recorded during a lengthy sabbatical in java, indonesia between 2012 and 2013. though these works both operate very clearly within shoemaker's aesthetic, he choose to operate under this moniker to provide a clarifying distance from what he believed to be his commonplace birth name. sangiran refers to the unesco world heritage site in indonesia where numerous archeological discoveries have been made providing insight into the understanding of early human development. it's an apt metaphor to his churning arrays of psychotropic sound design, which give the allusion of being distressed from aeons of jungle rot.
khayal kuno represents one of several detours that shoemaker undertook over his career. instead of the long-now drone mutations, shoemaker turns his attention to an interplay between warbling cassettes and primitive rhythm-box sequencing. the minimal, proto-techno explorations suitably evolve slowly out an initial dispersion bloom from swarms of cassette splutter and insect mimesis. cast within his slinkies-as-spring-reverb contraptions that provided a signature kirlian glow to his work, shoemaker's foray into the realm of the rhythmic are masterful declarations of his under-recognized talents. through his brilliant aptitude for cross-hatched filtering, spatialized modulation, and electro-magnetic tricknologies, his stark pulsations take on organic qualities through a surging fluidity and a varispeed vortex of blank hypnosis. his motorik pulsations recall a rich if elusive vein of taut, industrially minded electronica sculpted by monoton, nord, omit, and conrad schnitzler at his most laser focused. published with the approval of the shoemaker family. all profits will be donated to the jack straw cultural center.”