The mothership has landed! Unseen Worlds finally deliver a premiere edition of Laurie Spiegel’s rare 1991 follow-up to ‘The Expanding Universe’ , filling a gaping hole in electronic music collections across the known world
The jaw-dropping ’Unseen Worlds’ was first released on CD in 1991 by Scarlet Records, but the label went defunct soon after, leaving Laurie seeing to any further pressings. She issued a 2nd CD edition on her Aesthetic Engineering label in 1994, but since that sold out, her amazing album has become very hard to find. Perhaps understandably, that scarcity is probably because nobody wants to sell their original copy, making this new pressing an invaluable window onto ‘Unseen Worlds’ in all senses of the phrase.
In the years between her debut and sophomore sides, Laurie moved away from the New York new music scene to focus on other projects, most notably the MusicMouse software; an “intelligent instrument” allowing for greater real time automation of her equipment. MusicMouse for Macintosh, Amiga and Atari gained a lot of traction with rock artists and paid her bills, and effectively allowed Laurie up to focus on the aspects of music which interested her the most - improvisation and artistic process.
Freed from the more laborious constraints of electronic music composition, Laurie’s artistic-technological breakthrough gave her greater tactility and control in the composition process. The result is some of the lushest and vivid electronic music you’ll ever hear. In the impossibly smooth pitch gradients and timbral complexities of the opening ‘Three Sonic Spaces’ trio, and the hallucinogenic harmonics of ’Sound Zones’ we hear the MusicMouse in blinding action, while the rest of the LP is no less impressive; leading us thru breathtaking black hole sonics on ‘The Hollows’; into mind-bindingly vast noise scapes on ‘Two Archetypes: Hurricane’s Eye - II’; while the shimmering beauty of ‘Riding the Storm’ are right up there with classics by Jean Claude Risset or Roland Kayn; and moments of exquisite beauty like ‘Strand of Life (*Viroid*) and ‘From a Harmonic Algorithm’ give way to the rarely paralleled scope of ‘Passage’, one of those epic electronic music works that makes wading through all the other stuff truly worthwhile.
Mirage-like new age and early-techno synth groves from Nigeria’s Hama on Sahel Sounds, the amazing label behind that sublime Luka Productions album and the ‘Music From Saharan Cellphones’ sets
Neatly summed up by the label as a re-appropriation of 4th world ethnoambient music, ‘Houmeissa’ lands on the mind’s eye like a lysergic dose. Hama’s ten instrumental songs re-voice traditional nomadic herding ballads, ancient caravan songs and ceremonial wedding chants with colourful synthetic means to resemble something like “a Saharan 1980s sci-fi soundtrack or score to a Tuareg video game.”
We advise running straight to the pulsating, ruggedly elegant charge of ‘Bororo’, the flooding chromatics of the title track, or the deeply trippy, off-key cascades of ‘Takamba’ for the strongest flavours. You’ll know exactly what to do next.
Massive tip for fans of Rizan Sa’id, Black Zone Myth Chant, early B12!
Wolfgang Voigt’s ambient techno evergreen mercifully reissued as a standalone release for the first time since 1997, and its inclusion in the sumptuous Gas ‘Box’ set, now remastered.
Right up there with ambient techno’s greatest slabs, ‘Zauberberg’ is a classic balm for overworked minds and stressed bodies. As the 2nd Gas album, following the project’s eponymous debut, it pressed deeper into a uniquely dense yet diaphanous mixture of ambient and modern classical themes, exploring a breathtakingly lush, Black Forested adjunct to the sort of ambient/dub/techno austerities explored by other contemporary German producers such as Basic Channel, Monolake and the rest of the Berlin cabal surrounding Chain Reaction/Hardwax.
As with all GAS releases, It’s possibly difficult to provide any definitive description of ‘Zauberburg’, as we’ve usually fallen under its spell and towards the pillow, or at least drift off into a half-lidded reverie before it finishes. In that sense, we can only limn it from sub- or unconscious recollections, but the two effectively merge into one, as Voigt’s patented, distanced kicks mirror the soft throb of arteries heard muffled in a pillow, and the strings feel to descend with the inevitability of nightfall, all leading to the same conclusion - your head caressed by the sandman.
For obsessives fiending a fresh copy, or those lucky noobs about to pop their Gas cherry, this album is 100% essential.
We’re all stardust, innit? Jeff Mills acknowledges this matter with ‘Str Mrkd’, his banging first chapter in the Star Marked odyssey
Taking the project’s cues from ‘Abali’, which first appeared on ‘Confidentials 5-8’ [AX-009b, 2006] and now opens this 12”, Mills spins his concept out into three new cuts; opening out into the slow, sylvan Detroit ride of ‘Patterns In Nature’, then locking into mind-bending, phasing minimal techno rhythmelodies and drones with ‘Helix Nebula’, and drifting off course into potently hallucinogenic electro with ‘Aquarius’.
Mills fans - miss this at your peril!
Following a trio of sprawling, planet-gargling double-LPs, 2013’s self-titled LP on Skrammel, and Second Launch (2015) and Eclipsed (2017) on Blackest Ever Black, Bremen – J. Tiljander and Lanchy, previously best known for their contributions to Brainbombs’ long rapsheet of genius-and-brutality, but latterly exponents of a rarefied cosmic melancholy – return with Enter Silence, their most concise, and powerful, album to date.
"Once again the Uppsala multi-instrumentalists combine elements of trogged-out psychedelic rock with a deadly serious Arctic minimalism and weeping modal improvisations that owe more to the outer limits of jazz and burnt-out free music from Japan. It’s connoisseur’s space music, grown-up and grievously honed; outwardly inclined towards the epic but studded with details that reward attention and introspection.
There’s always been a strong undercurrent of sadness animating Bremen’s work, and that existential burden is present and correct on Enter Silence, culminating in the all-out cosmic anguish of ‘Palladium’. Even ‘The Middle Section’, whose ragged chords are nothing if not the sound of optimism and defiance, sounds like it’s navigating some kind of unsayable trauma. But this band has always allowed plenty of room for bonehead slash-and-burn as well: see here especially the Stoogeian/39 Clocks-ish rock’n’roll of ‘Aimless Cruising’ and the pulpy quasi-cinematic tension of ‘Sinister’, or the brilliant ‘Too Cold For Your Eyes’, a blast of voidal motorik that sounds like a cranked-up Clean. "
We might be drowning in a sea of re-issues right now (not least ones from long-forgotten synthesizer pioneers) but ever so often something comes along that’s really very special indeed.
Laurie Spiegel’s ‘The Expanding Universe’ is hardly a forgotten or lost gem, but this new re-issue is without a doubt one of the finest things we’ve heard (and no doubt will hear) this year. The album managed to supplant itself in the subconscious of electronic music ever since its release in 1980, and in recent years it has gone from strength to strength forming the building blocks that gave us Emeralds, Oneohtrix Point Never, Rene Hell and so much more. Spiegel’s use of the interactive compositional software GROOVE formed the backbone of her works, and little did she know at the time that the fusion of live and software would become the norm in 2012.
That’s enough history though, the extensive liner notes should be able to reveal plenty to satiate that appetite, the fact of the matter is that it’s Spiegel’s music itself that has stood the test of time. Not quite as reckless and ominious as the blippy sci-fi of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop pioneers and far more exact and economical than the oft-compared Terry Riley, Spiegel produced electronic music that was both fun to listen to and incredibly deep. It’s no surprise that Bach is mentioned on the record cover as an influence, as while the tracks are electronically composed and performed there is a clear backbone of traditional classical composition that gives her music the power to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.
On top of the original tracks that formed the 1980 release, Unseen Worlds have done an incredible job of scouring the archives to provide a veritable treasure trove of additional material. So often the bundled tracks with reissues are simply a collection of crap demos and live performances, but not so here – there’s almost too much to go through and every single little bit is worthy of as much praise as the original record itself.
Highly promising newcomer Nazar gets down to bassbin business on Hyperdub after introductions made on Kode 9 & Burial’s ‘Fabriclive 100’ mix.
From phthalocyanine grime to blown out techno and distorted drill, the ‘Enclave EP’ is one of the freshest/crankiest sessions you’ll hear from London in 2018. It’s unmistakably Hyperdub, repping fractious madness that’s compatible with Gqom, Príncipe styles and loads of deconstructed club musics, yet patently distinguished as UK rave.
Opening with the virulent weightless synths and cold bass knocks of ‘South Border’, the EP delivers a deadly payload of non-standard club pressure with the mutant Gqom of ‘Warning Shots’, and a severely blunted sort of Burial-does-drill sound in ‘Airstrike’ featuring Hyperdub’s secret weapon Shannen SP on vocals, along with the swerving murder of ‘Enclave’ on a killer Angel Ho-styled sci-fi flex, plus the Dutch Bubblers’ troubles of ‘Konvoy’ and a very smart cinematic closer with ‘Ceasefire’.
This may well be the strongest Hyperdub debut since Burial’s seminal ‘South London Boroughs’, or at least since Doon Kanda’s first entry. A must check!
Merzbow, Nyantora and Duenn’s 3 Rensa trio churn up Grade A+ improvisations for Entr’acte with the first vinyl edition of their ‘Redrum’ recordings.
Leading on from Nyantora & Duenn’s collaboration on the ‘086-087 Area’ CD for Entr’acte in 2017, on ‘Redrum’ introduces Merzbow as a vital, variable catalyst in their next venture for Antwerp’s finest. Recorded at Red BullStudios in Tokyo on 3rd August 2017 over the course of three hours, the results are edited for length in six parts to reveal a deeply uncanny intuition and amorphous nature to the trio’s music.
It’s maybe not what you might come to expect from a record involving Merzbow. Tempered by his collaborators’ leanings towards sound art and electronics, they triangulate a steady but swirling mid ground where free jazz notions collapse into noise and industrial musicks. We’re not entirely sure why each track bears one of their names after the title, i.e. ‘Redrum Session 1.1 Merzbow’ or ‘Redrum Session 2.1 Duenn’, as we were under the impression each track is a collaboration. But never mind, as the results each smudge space-time in fascinating new ways, from the oxidised electro-acoustic fulminations of the first, thru the spheric ceramic roil of the 2nd, to arcing space rock-outs in the 3rd and 4th, thru to abyssal black hole sonics in the 5th, and an exhilarating transition from pummelling percussion and noise squall to vaporised conclusions of the 6th.
Ric Kaestner’s impossible-to-find, esoteric ambient gem surfaces on vinyl for first time, taken from one of only 2 known copies of the original tape. Happy endings for all collectors of obscure new age and under-the-radar ambient music! RIYL Dominique Lawalrée, Brian Eno, JD Emmanuel...
“Recorded and released in 1987, the original cassette bore a minimalist plum tree design on the cover and music soothing to match. There are only 2 confirmed copies of the original cassette, one of them was used in the restoration and revival of this classic new age album.
Five years after the New Age cult-classic album Music For Massage hit the shelves, it’s sequel was silently released. Never intended for consumer sale, Music For Massage II was only known to a select few masseuses and tape collectors. The very definition of esoteric. Musically, it’s both an homage to how far the genre had come in those five years and served as a predictor of what was to come. Comprising elements of Folk, Drone, Ambient, Ethereal, Minimal, Modern Classical, the recording is quintessential of all things New Age. These are sounds meant to induce healing, therapy, and relaxation. Hand crafted by Ric Kaestner and inspired in part by an encounter with one of the fathers of modern music, John Cage, for actual massage or for casual listening, it holds its own almost four decades later.”
Crackshot 12” of electro-dub jazz-fusion from London’s Lunch Money siblings, backed with an almighty Equiknoxx remix - one of their very best!
Doing it the right way, under their own steam and laying down proper roots, Lunch Money’s 1st 12” is a beguiling introduction to their style of future jazz first mooted on the ‘Flashing Neon Signs’ 7” in 2016.
On the A-side they cook up a wild brew of strings, double bass and perpendicular brass parts spun out in roiling dub with ‘Living 3000’, before going all ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ with ‘Informant’, and leaving us wondering wtf just happened.
Equiknoxx’s remix of ‘Living 3000’ caps another banner year for JA’s most fwd squad, with Time Cow and Bobby Blackbird turning out the bolshiest, most psychedelic, and powerful turns in their whole discography. They aren’t messing yano!
Two masters of very different string instruments, Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee, colour in ‘The Air Around Her’ with beguiling microtonal timbres at a time-melting pace for John Chantler’s 1703 Skivbolaget, Stunning, highly absorbing recordings.
Setting up her famous long string instrument in the 26 metre length of Stockholm’s Kronobageriet - Sweden’s former royal bakery - Ellen Fullman brings a lifetime of dedication to her unwieldy and uniquely resonant instrument, while preeminent improvising cellist Okkyung Lee acts as a more agile counterpoint, subtly contrasting Ellen’s glacial cadence with a broader range of quicker strokes and pointed extended technique.
Produced by John Chantler and recorded by Maria Horn during the First Edition Festival for Other Music, Stockholm on 20th February 2016, ‘The Air Around Her’ takes its title from a quote in ‘Vermeer Interiors’, a poem by Margaret Rabb, from her book ‘Granite Dives’. In both parts, Ellen and Okkyung play with sound as light, conducting a tonal shadowplay of inherently vast scope and ambition that comes with any recordings of Ellen’s long string instrument, as it always requires a good deal of time and space to properly tune and set up.
The results are swept around the space of the old bakery, captivating in their keening swoons and nimble plies, and also the smoothness and friction of their flux of overtones, seeming to coruscate and bend in mid-air in tingling ecstasies, always pulling the ear to the full extent of the room’s parameters.
With "Smells Funny" being their sixth album in seven years, this explosive and expansive trio have gone from strength to strength, gathering respect from both rock and jazz camps.
"Although there is enough riffing here to satisfy the headbangers, with "Smells Funny" the trio are venturing into the more free and open landscapes explored on their previous album, "Black Stabat Mater". This new album also sees Mollestad truly coming into her own as an amazing lead guitarist as well as a dependable riffmeister. But let´s not forget how important the rhythm section is to make it all work so well. Ellen Brekken is an accomplished bassist, equally comfortabel holding down a groove and taking off on technically complex runs.
Then there´s Ivar Loe Bjørnstad, not your typical rock drummer, not your typical jazz drummer, but very comfortable in both areas and in possession of that loose swagger Nate Chinen mentions in his writing about "Black Stabat Mater in JazzTimes, and thus in many ways defining their common ethos: Her trio, which has Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad on drums, caught my ear then with its audacious style references: the loose swagger of early Black Sabbath; the density and prowl of peak Led Zeppelin; the expeditionary urge of Jimi Hendrix; the incantatory fervor of John McLaughlin."
Shadowy Berlin techno stalwarts Pom Pom sell up to Ostgut’s A-TON with a typically enigmatic album of murky ambient, industrial and electronica
For years the preserve of techno neeks and anyone intrigued by the racks of identikit black labelled and sleeved 12”s in X-Berg’s Hardwax and Space Hall racks, Pom Pom has done well to maintain its anonymity in a the current, hyper-commercialised and surface level state of things in techno right now.
Still, nobody has a clue who’s behind the label, apart from maybe A-TON, who bring the artist(s)/label to a wider audience with ‘Untitled II’, which, to our ears, sounds like the work of more than one person, as it ranges from comedown drones to purring electro offcuts and arpeggiated nightflights with a subtle shift in accents that, to be fair, could be the work of one as much as many.
After no-wave legends Liquid Liquid broke up in 1984, singer Salvatore Principato took some much need to time to revaluate his musical direction. Renting a studio on the Lower East Side with Ken Man Caldiera. It was there that they started their next musical project, Fist of Facts.
"In 1985 Ken Man showed up in the studio with this IBM AT computer. It had a 1/2 MB of RAM and some Voyetra software that could sequence music, becoming the duo’s backing band. Fist Of Facts contributors included Mark Cunningham from Mars, Felice Rosser, Genevieve De Monvel Boutet, Carlos Vivanco, Scott Hartley from the Liquids and a whole host of others.
Fist of Facts expand the natural groove that Liquid Liquid established over their quick career, with a strong political message combined with abstract dub soundscapes."
Preeminent sound artists William Basinski and Lawrence English roll out the quietly breathtaking ’Selva Oscura’ as the first fruit of their collaborations spanning the past half decade and more.
Mantled in reference to Dante’s Inferno, ‘Selva Oscura’ literally translates to ‘Twilight Forest’, a title which serves as metaphorical device for the way Basinski and English’s lives in transit have serendipitously crossed paths over the years between Zagreb, L.A., and Hobart, in a variety of situations. On another level it also speaks to the nature of losing one’s way in place and time, which is beautifully reflected in the music’s disorienting, otherworldly ebb and flow flux.
Using a palette of sounds broken down, magnified and inverted from macro to micro scales and vice-versa, and mailed to each other between L.A. and Brisbane, the results map out vast tracts of psychic terrain that shift like the sands of time, with sounds perpetually rearranging themselves on the granular level to render a broader, slow moving tapestry of sublime, anaesthetic quality.
The A-side’s ‘Mono No Aware’ (Japanese for “the pathos things” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”) is a captivatingly transient and hypnagogic work of sferic tones and sprawling wide bass, lulling listeners into a state of lushest melancholy with the allure of a time-lapse video of autumnal weather patterns. ‘Selva Oscura’ follows with a discernibly darker and submersed appeal, as though the clouds have come down to us (or us to them?) and we’re left wandering the firmament, initially swaddled in a creamy grey-pink expanse marbled with pealing partials, before crossing oceanic basses and gently touching down to pinch ourselves.
Amazing record! Avant-pop enigma Leslie Winer slinks the plasmic, recursive matrices of Jay Glass Dubs in a brilliant but unexpected marriage of husky trip hop and psyched-out dub styles on Your Mom’s Favourite Eazy-E Song for Bristol’s excellent Bokeh Versions.
Finding common, scorched ground between Jay’s gutted structures and Leslie’s abyssal, esoteric insight, YMFEES serves to perfectly highlight the similarities and mutabilities common to both artist’s oeuvres, which have previously shared label space on The Tapeworm, and both share a keen lust for the dankest ends of the dub pool.
With Winer’s lyrics reprinted in swirling ellipses and contoured kerning on the inner sleeve, and presumably (and smartly) designed to mirror the elusive structure of Jay Glass Dub’s arrangements, the listener is offered some kind of star chart thru their no-man’s-land mental dub scapes of ricocheting riddims and droll reportage from the brink of consciousness.
In a dancefloor situation, we’d imagine these tracks to trigger some healthy bewilderment, as bodies get snagged on Jay’s cranky churn and heads spun by Leslie’s stream-of-non sequiturs in Woodshedded, or likewise bullied by the blown-out bass and genuinely spooked, over-the-shoulder vocal of About The Author. However, it’s most likely to be consumed in solitude, which is probably the most appropriate for really getting into the album’s strangest nooks, such as the deliciously OOBE-like detachment of No Famous Actors featuring Winer as HAL-like ghost in the machine, or the masterfully heavy-lidded drowse of Cogged featuring a barely-there Winer suspended above Dubs’ murkiest, hypnotic strokes.
What a beauty?! Don’t sleep!
Ethereal house track on white label from uncredited but possibly well-known sources, out via Floating Points' Pluto imprint.
From a golden haze of harmonised chords emerge teasing bleeps, floating organ cradling a purring bassline, unfurling and reading with palindromic structure right back where it came from.
Our guess is as good as yours.
The collaborative venture of Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones, Belong inhabit a sonic territory that seems perpetually out of sight - giving the same effulgent warmth as standing with your back to a sunset, or glimpsing a blizzard through a frosted window.
Spectrum Spools scan back to the early work of Second Woman’s Turk Dietrich with reissue of his and Michael Jones’ first album together as shoegaze duo Belong. While there’s maybe no obvious connection between the hyper dance music of Second Woman and the romantically sore, heavily textured tones of October Language, look a little further and it’s possible to locate a shared lust for keening transcendence and a lush tension between freeness of expression and discipline of intent between the two projects.
But no worry if that’s not apparent. Just think of it belong as a sublimated MBV or echo of Fennesz and you’ve got the measure of this abrasively beautiful album.
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.
Redeemer is the brutally seductive debut album by Phase Fatale, a key player in the recent charge of EBM and post punk-informed industrial techno infecting ‘floors from his home city, NYC to his DJ residency at Berghain, Berlin.
In Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions, Phase Fatale finds a fitting home for his personalised brand of clinical, rictus rhythm programming and searing synth and guitar lines, adding a vital streak of black and blue electric energy to the legendary label in its 20th year of cultish operation.
In seven parts (and a trio of extended Silent Servant mixes due to come), Redeemer follows the direct, jagged lines of his 12”s for Jealous God and Unterton to a deeply personal realisation of weaponised sonics, upholding a strong tradition of techno as a prophetic exercise or ritual to gird dancers and listeners for the onset of future war. It presents Phase Fatale as an ultimate emissary of electronic violence and domination in the process, steeling the limbic system and muscle memory thru a fine-tuned disciplinarian approach to pharmacokinetics and biomechanics.
Picking from the leather-bound cadaver of industrial dance music past, he reanimates his influences with pointillist precision and unapologetic force. Alloying muscular bass and metallic percussion with wire-combed 16th note synthlines and a barbed perimeter of guitar distortion, his sound can be heard as a metaphorical representation of holding your line against the attrition of a degenerated present.
Each track dances concisely around the 5 minute mark, unfolding a series of densely packed and subtly rendered minimalist/maximalist structures. The shuddering tension of Spoken Ashes opens with banks of rotted chorales against a coalface of hacking stabs, establishing a pent vibe that vacillates precariously thru the adrenalised battery of Operate Within, to the clenched funk of Human Shield and the bombed-out, Alberich-alike Interference, seeming to resolve slightly with the supple roll of Order of Severity, before Beast bottoms out into immolating synth distortion, and Redeemer brings up the rear with a coolly-tempered, stoic form of industrial ecstasy.
An excellent Arvo Pärt primer...
"Arvo Pärt creates music of deceptive simplicity, and listening to his work can be a transformative experience. Imagine taking your ears on a retreat, and you’re some way to understanding why his work is so popular.
The Estonian composer underwent his own transformation in the 1970s, having explored dense avant-garde music in the early part of his career. He put himself through an eight-year creative exile, and emerged with a new, purer voice. The Arvo Pärt that many people are devoted to today (including R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Björk) creates music that cleanses. A sonic detox."
Raw but balmy recordings of electrified desert blues from Agadez, Niger south of the Aïr Mountains in the Sahara
“Etran de L'Aïr play a style that captures the contemporary sound of Agadez, incorporating vastly different musics into their repertoire. While Tuareg guitar follows a predictable format, Etran breaks convention and throws a third guitar into the mix. The two lead guitars solo on top of one another, in constant dialogue, with a crashing response from the drum. There is a bubbly underwater warble that emerges from reverb and crackly amps. It's electric party music, surf rock, from a place that is all beach. They differentiate themselves from the other wedding bands: "We play our own folklore, not like the other artists in Agadez. Our music is based around traditional Takamba...and we listen to a lot of Malian music. Not Tinariwen, but musicians like Ali Farka Touré and Oumou Sangaré."
Etran de L'Aïr is not just a musical group, but a family collective. The group was formed in 1995. Agadez was much smaller then, few homes were electrified, and guitars were rare. "When we first started to play in weddings," Abindi explains "we only had one acoustic guitar, and for the percussion, we hit a calabash with a sandal." As new technology found its way to Agadez, they band adapted, amplifying the acoustic guitar with a transducer microphone, acquiring electric guitars, and finding a drum set. As the family grew, so did the band, integrating the younger siblings into the musical group.
There is an established hierarchy in Tuareg society, and this is reflected in the wedding scene. The best wedding contracts are awarded to musicians with social standing, tribal affiliations, and family connections. Suffice to say, Etran does not belong to the upper class. "They make music for people who don't have money," says manager Madassane. "If a wedding can't afford the expensive musicians, they hire Etran." So while the band continues to gig constantly, outperforming all other bands in Agadez, they still find themselves in dire straits, confined to a DIY aesthetic of out obligation. Their drum kit is dented and the cymbals are cracked, with bites taken out of them. The amplifiers could just have well have been excavated from desert sands. Nevertheless, the band not only makes the equipment work, they make it sound amazing.
This is Etran's debut record. They claim to have written over 40 songs, but none of them have been released until now. This session was recorded live, outside of their family compound in the outskirts of Agadez. The impromptu performance drew the entire neighborhood out of their houses - eliciting the audible clapping, shouting, and ululation. It is here as it was played, outside, with all the enthusiasm and passion of an evening at the end of the raining season one day in Agadez.”
Sunn 0)))’s entrancing, crushing doom metal totem ’White1’, entirely remastered by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, including the beastly rarity ‘Cut Wood(ed)’ from their rare-as-heck ‘White’ box
Notably featuring guest appearances from Julian Cope and Joe Preston, White1 is an exceptional highlight of Sunn 0)))’s near-sacred catalogue of doom metal drone recordings. Originally intended as an acoustic album, the recording session took a different route towards psychedelic electronic experimentation, with the results originally issued in 2003 on CD and as a now sought-after 3-sided LP packaged in a pillowcase and including a sleeping pill.
In the same year of its release, this reviewer popped their Sunn 0))) cherry at Autechre’s ATP, which was nothing short of a life-changing revelation, seeing Julian Cope prostrate, front of stage, surrounded by candles and dry ice, flanked by axe-wielding druids clawing the most monstrous riffs this teenaged bean had ever heard.
On disc, you might not get the full visual glory of O’Malley, Anderson, Ritter, and Cope on stage, but provided you crank it loud enough at home, you can now come closer than ever to the void of White1, from Cope’s foul mouthed induction in the 26 minutes of My Wall, to the brainfeezing blend of traditional Norse vocals and the super rare appearance of Joe Preston’s achingly tight drumming on The Gates of Ballard - one of scant few Sunn 0))) cuts to feature percussion, and which still makes us want to knock down skyscrapers - and right thru the subharmonic ritual of A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You.
Always pushing it one step farther, this release also now includes the abyssal dimensions of Cut Wood(ed), their 2003 collaboration with Ulver which didn’t make the original LP, later found on the White box in 2006, and now retrospectively added to this definitive edition of a staggering masterpiece.
It's been nearly five decades since Joe McPhee assembled a group of musicians to perform the weekend concerts that would become Nation Time, his debut LP.
"It was December 1970, thirty-one-year-old McPhee was inspired by Amiri Baraka's poem 'It's Nation Time,' and the students at Vassar College didn't know what hit them. 'What time is it?' shouted the bandleader. 'C'mon, you can do better than that. What time is it?!'
"The music on Nation Time came out of the fertile, but little-known creative jazz scene in Poughkeepsie, New York, McPhee's home base. Two bands were deployed, one with a funky free foundation featuring guitar and organ, the other consisting of a more standard jazz formation with two drummers and the brilliant Mike Kull at the piano. Across the concert and the next afternoon's audience-less recording session, the band was ignited by McPhee's passion and his gorgeous post-Coltrane / post-Pharoah tenor. On 'Shakey Jake,' they hit a James Brown groove filtered through Archie Shepp, while the sidelong title track is as searching and poignant today as it was during its heyday.
"Originally released in 1971 on CjR, an imprint started expressly to document McPhee's music, Nation Time has a sense of urgency and inspiration. Additional material from those December days would later appear on Black Magic Man, Hat Hut's first release. In fact, the first four records on this seminal Swiss label all featured McPhee.
"Nation Time was largely unknown a quarter century or so later, when it was first issued on CD through Atavistic's Unheard Music Series. On Corbett vs. Dempsey, we reissued the album along with all known tapes leading up to and around it as a deluxe box set, but the standalone LP has long remained incredibly rare. Now is the time for a new generation of freaks to lose their shit when settling into the cushy beat of 'Shakey Jake' and answer McPhee's call with the only appropriate response: It's NATION TIME."
– John Corbett
On Bloodline, Steven Julien a.k.a. Funkineven explore a charmingly personalized sonic ontology under his own name for the 2nd time following 2016’s self-titled album, coming into his own with a wickedly expressive meld of jazz-fusion and machine music.
Bloodline is concerned with paying dues to Steven’s ancestral roots, but it’s also an acknowledgment of influence of new age synth styles, Japanese electronics and the history of East London raving, adding up to a sound that’s brilliantly timeless and distinctly his own.
It’s a sort of hauntological soundtrack, if you will, traversing in a range of jump-cuts and fades from the filmic synth atmosphere of Hunt to a killer 303 + Linn drum combo in Roll Of The Dice, and ruggedly debonaire electro-bass on Bloodline, before swerving hard into mutant jazz-funk with Apache. The vibe then takes a super sweet turn with the percolated electro-funk of Queen of Ungilsan, and wraps up with the classicist ‘80s boogie-meets-new age strokes of Temple Rd.
The trio of Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli, and Kamran Sadeghi,aka the Soundwalk Collective, are based between New York City and Berlin, their efforts span fine art and music, digesting anthropological, ethnographic, and psychogeographic study, through the lens of electronic sound - recording, processing, and synthesis. Marking the debut of the new imprint Dischi Fantom, Transmissions - a four LP anthology, gathers four previously unreleased studio compositions into a single sprawling set.
"Transmissions is a distillation of sonic worlds - its source material and recordings linked to specific locations, natural or artificial, collected by the trio over long periods of investigation, travel, and field work in the Mediterranean basin, the Black Sea, the Rub’ al Khali Desert, and the region around Odessa. Cacophonous and often chaotic, images drift in and out of view - the sounds of nature, captured frequencies, ambience, radio intercepts, voices, music, archival recordings - the list goes on. A careful ordering of chance encounter, captured in the search for beauty the chaos of the world. Across Transmissions' works - Ulysses Syndrome, Medea, Empty Quarter, and Bessarabia, emerges a startling post-modern realm. A sonic bubble of non-linear narrative, where concrete meaning eludes the ear - continuously changed by the listeners themselves. Published in an edition of 300 copies, and accompanied by a booklet (amazingly designed by Fabrizio Radaelli) which includes Black-Winged Night, an essay by David Toop, as well as a conversation between the Soundwalk Collective and Dischi Fantom founder, Massimo Torrigiani. A stunning start for the label, and a brilliant effort by one of the most interesting projects in the contemporary scene, this is one not to miss.
“I hear this displacement of refrains. I am not fixed within signs but adrift within signals. Like a bat or a dolphin, I hear scanned frequencies otherwise inaudible to my human limitations and these voices and tones captured from the aether seem to me to be our equivalent of those voices of gods who spoke ‘words that flew’; music asserts its regional and cultural affiliations and yet at the same time it drifts unmoored in the ocean of sound.” David Toop
Perhaps the most ambitious and absorbing album yet from Lawrence English, featuring a whole host of friends and collaborators including Swans’ Norman Westberg, The Necks’ Chris Abrahams and Tony Buck, Mats Gustafsson, Werner Dafeldecker and The Angels of Light’s Thor Harris. It’s an arctic, ice-cold meditation rendered in the most beautiful drone and semi-orchestral variants - think somewhere between William Basinski, Akira Rabelais and Badalamenti at his most terrifying. A huge recommendation.
Lawrence English carries the weight of the world in the emotive blows of Cruel Optimism; his tortuous yet somehow triumphant follow-up to the Wilderness of Mirrors (2014) LP, which was conceived prior to the present socio-political sh*tstorm, and attempts to present “a meditation on these challenges and an encouragement to press forward towards more profound futures”.
Inspired by the title of a critical text by American theorist Lauren Berlant, whose analysis of the contemporary crisis points to the elusive promise of neoliberalism - particularly its inherent sense of hauntological trauma - Cruel Optimism is offered by English as a reflection “on how power consumes, augments and ultimately shapes two subsequent human conditions: obsession and fragility”, and does so in a way that viscerally resonates with the long-standing, recurring themes of his work: deferred ecstasy, textural decay and the way they affect perception.
Galvanising strength through collaboration, as opposed to the solo introspection of Wilderness…, English elected to work with a number of his peers for this record, who all gauzily serve to enrich these recordings, which each carry the subtle, if distinct presence of plural spirits in the mix. Object Of Projection is especially hard-hitting, recalling Deathprod’s life-changing Treetrop Drive with its looped refrains, albeit here submerged underneath a tonne weight of sonic detritus that triggers nostalgia and dread in the most evocative manner imaginable - perhaps the most astonishing 5 minutes in all of English’s by-now sizeable catalogue of work.
English carefully consolidates every element on this album within the democracy of the soundfield; we may be able to discern the crucial gestures of Norman Westberg’s clanging chops in Hammering A Screw or smudged into the soberly grand dimensions of Requiem For A Reaper/Pillar Of Cloud and the waking dread of Somnambulist, but, in effect, thru English’s enigmatic processing, his ego is properly sublimated into the ether and as vital as any other to the record’s sense of swelling, aching communal pathos.
Clarice Jensen, artistic director of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), makes a gripping first solo mark on the cello with 'For This From That Will Be Filled', an expansive suite of Cello recordings alongside filigree electronics and tape loops designed to highlight and perceive the instrument’s unique fidelities. It notably features one striking work conceived with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Ushering in Miasmah’s 12th year of operations in the nether fields of modern composition, Clarice’s début is exemplary of the intense, slow-burning aesthetic which connects many of the label’s releases. It unfold in four parts of languorously void-touching ideas, scaling and sustaining a sublime tension said to “explore the variable differences between acoustic and electronic sound as well as depiction of the simulated and the unconscious.”
Using an array of methods ranging from FX pedals to multi-tracking and tape loops, Clarice both gently and ruggedly severs the sound from its source and contrasts it against its own grain, conjuring a contemplative effect akin to gazing out of a bus or train window at night, with light reflecting and scattered at odd angles, distorting the view and providing fleeting, surreal glimpses of new dimensions in the process.
The effect really first comes into play on BC when the string cycle gradually disintegrates with the wilting warble of a GAS or Basinski work, whilst her performance of Cello Constellation, a work for multi-tracked cello and sine tones written for Clarice by Michael Harrison patiently shows her ability to distress the instrument, make it keen like a choir of cosmic banshees, before the staggering title track occurs on the B-side, from a glacial traverse of icy dissonance and cascading borealis light to something like the drone of a sub arctic seed bank nestling humanity’s future in the deepfreeze of For This From That Will Be Filled (B).
Beatrice Dillon & Call Super toy with the dance in two supple, slinky riddims in a killer collaborative push ’n pull for Hessle Audio.
With both producers really coming into their own over the last few years, Beatrice with an acclaimed run of 12” and LP issues for our 12X12 series, The Trilogy Tapes and Alien Jams, and Call Super for Dekmantel and Houndstooth, these two new collaborations firm up the strongest dance moves in either artist’s catalogue.
Inkjet is a proper UK-meets-Berlin gem lodged somewhere in the system between T++’s dynamic steppers and the kind of grubbing grooves explored by Batu and the Timedance lot, persistently mutating with a darkside dancehall-techno science that recalls a synaesthetic analog of PKDick’s scramble suits.
In sweet contrast, Fluo works with a more tempered sort of deep garage swing, dialling in hovering jazz chords on the nimble first half before unexpectedly switching into a rolling tribal house groove with cascading bleeps and lovely resolution.
Chris Carter plugs a large gap in his discography with ‘Miscellany’, containing a previously unreleased batch of cosmic ‘70s synth abstractions, plus the first ever vinyl pressings of ‘‘Disobedient’ and ’Small Moon’, as well as a new edition of his classic ‘Mondo Beat’ . For any self-respecting fan of Throbbing Gristle, X-TG, Carter Tutti, or CTI, this is a genuinely essential motherload direct from source.
Arriving in the wake of the influential synthesist’s ‘Chris Carter Chemistry Lessons Vol.1’, this boxset extends a necessary catch-up to many listeners, as well as a salve to collectors who can now complete their Chris Carter vinyl collections. Between the four respective albums inside, Mute survey the years prior to Carter’s pivotal debut ‘The Space Between’ , which was recorded in the run-up to TG’s original demise, and the years post his participation in the short but extremely bright early phase of the world’s most notorious band.
The ‘Archival Recordings’ disc is perhaps of greatest interest, historically and artistically. Spanning 1973-77, it covers the years just before, and after, Throbbing Gristle’s conception, when Carter was clearly in thrall to kosmische and psychedelia, but not beholden to them. Across 13 parts, Carter’s take on space music and pulsing early electronics is definitely less whimsical, much darker than other music of that period, progressing chronologically over the LP to reveal a full embrace of electronic music’s dark allure by the time we get to the hellish miasma of ‘See Sick’ .
However, if we follow that chronologic logic beyond his years spent in TG (1975-1981), it’s clear to hear that Carter’s music becomes less dark and more sensual, funked and melodic with the languid lines and supple rhythms of ‘Mondo Beat’, including the classic ‘Moonlight’ which would become a dance anthem around Europe and the US (and reissued by Optimo in 2011). Skipping a grip of classic CTI and Carter Tutti material, that logic also extends to ‘Disobedient’ and ’Small Moon’, issued over 1998 and 1999, and exploring inquisitive strains of sound design more mystic/etheric, than outright dark, noisy or “Industrial” - all quite symptomatic of late ‘90s PMT.
Surprise drop from Shackleton, his first of 2018, following up ’Behind The Glass’ on this Woe To The Septic Heart! label
There’s a discernible Far Eastern bent to both tracks, nodding in the direction of Indonesian percussive styles from Uwalmassa or Senyawa, but still with that outernational nous that also lends it to comparison with Ekuka’s Ugandan thumb piano recordings or Psychic Warriors of Gaia style tribal techno.
‘Furnace of Guts’ is a mercurial, polychromatic flow of stuttering voices, glinting high register percussion and wriggling bottom end feathered into increasingly noisy, knotted formations, while ‘Wakefulness and Obsession’ is more potently hypnotic, droning and viscous.
With production work included from Thomas Knack (Opiate), Matthew Herbert, Matmos and Console, and even a sample lifted off Oval’s groundbreaking Systemisch LP, Vespertine is without doubt one of Bjork's most loved albums.
Wonderful suite of archival gamelan minimalism from Bay Area practitioner Daniel Schmidt.
Recital dip into the personal archives of Daniel Schmidt, an integral scholar in the development of American Gamelan. After studying Javanese gamelan at California Institute of the Arts in the early ‘70s, Schmidt set about creating a West Coast movement based around an aluminium version of the instrument – the Berkeley Gamelan - forged of his own design. He’s since gone on to build numerous gamelan instruments, theorise on it’s compositional qualities, collaborate with Lou Harrison, Jody Diamond, and Paul Dresher, and currently teaches at Mills College San Francisco.
‘In My Arms, Many Flowers’ captures the American Gamelan movement in its nascent state, the result of a personal invitation for Recital boss Sean McCann to rifle through three boxes of Schmidt’s studio and live recordings committed to cassette between the late ’70s and early ‘80s. What’s immediately striking here is how Schmidt deviates from the traditional Javanese style of gamelan composition, instead seeking out the minimalist movement of North America for guidance.
Making use of a primitive sampler borrowed from Pauline Oliveros (RIP), lead track And the Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn pairs a sumptuous looped string arrangement with Schmidt’s delicate caresses of the Berkeley Gamelan which build with quiet melodic complexity into something quite wonderful. The title track sees Schmidt augmenting the mysticism of his Berkeley with the bowed strings of a rebab, another traditional Indonesian instrument, deployed to signify a bird that “calls from far away.”
Ghosts is one of two compositions done solely with the gamelan, Schmidt leading a procession of players using traditional techniques on a detailed 14-minute recording of percussive dexterity and intricacy that highlights the spiritual powers of the instrument. Faint Impressions offers a sombre finale, the ringing melodicism of the Berkeley gamelan set to a backdrop of an understandably captivated audience.
BOC's much loved second album proper.
The blueprint is similar, with short interludes scattered across and in between the 'full tracks', starting with the opening 60 seconds of 'Ready Lets Go' - a distant wildlife documentary soundtrack in glorious childhood technicolour.
'Music Is Math' features spoken fragments, a vocoded refrain, simple and evocative melodies, '1969' is another spine-tingler, ever so slightly out-of-tune and drenched in sweetness.
Geogaddi also offers up some new developments - 'Gyroscope' features an uncharacteristic tribal rotation of drums put through the BOC system, sounding like a lost tape unearthed and carefully restored, retaining the mark of nostalgia that directs BOC tracks so instantly to that part of the brain reserved for its earliest memories.
'The Devil Is In The Details' also follows new turns, bringing to mind Autechre's 'Overand' : subliminal use of rustling found sounds over a single delayed synth progression.
Whacked-out techno fresh from Seoul, South Korea - perhaps the first techno 12” we’ve ever stocked from that region?!
I.M.J.U.S. or IchMariaJesusUnsereSchuld to give them their full title, venturesa flighty mix of techno sub-styles on their debut 12”, ranging from a glassy beatless etude thru the pulsing, spectral abstraction of Welcome To Scientology and the hardcore techno tristesse of After Orgie, and seeking out more abstract vectors in a grungy piece of electro, and one strip of escalating bleep techno.
Spellbindingly gentle and atmospheric acoustic recordings of two Tuareg ladies from rural Niger singing and playing guitar, then joined by their pals for a joyous 17 minute dance piece. Really no need to describe this any further, it’s just perfect
“Sublime recordings from rural Niger. Two very different sides of Tuareg music - dreamy ishumar acoustic guitar sessions, and the hypnotic polyphonic tende that inspires it. Guitarist Fatou Seidi Ghali and vocalist Alamnou Akrouni lead the troupe, named after the village. Recorded in the open air studio of the desert.”
Fellow dark and heavy techno souls, Paula Temple and Lakker’s Eomac shell down two unruly and schizzily emotive techno tools on Eotrax
In tandem they roll out rudely offset rhythms and aching melodies lashed with distorted synth snarl on ‘Gestirn’, before ‘Kralle’ catches them socking it to the big rooms with screeching harpy synth streaks and bone-crunching kicks that collapse into thee sickest, noisy breakdown.
Agent of disruption, Sam Kidel simulates a free party in a Google data centre and baffles Amazon’s Alexa on ’Silicon Ear’, his superb follow-up LP to our AOTY 2016 ‘Disruptive Muzak’
The Bristol-based composer and music teacher now turns his subversive “analytical artistry” towards global corporations. Where his ‘Disruptive Muzak’ piece adapted the early hacking technique of “phreaking” - manipulating telephone exchanges - his two new works logically follow with a signature mixture of mischief and uncanny insight, suggesting super crafty ways to subvert AI voice recognition and simulate a rave in a server centre.
“First exhibited at EBM(T) in Tokyo, Live @ Google Data Center trespasses in Google’s data centre in Council Bluffs, Iowa to perform electronic music amongst the humming banks of servers and endless cable runs, without actually breaking in. In a process he describes as “mimetic hacking,” Kidel used architectural plans based on photos of the data centre to acoustically model the sonic qualities of the space. The resulting acoustics on Live @ Google Data Center simulate the sound of Kidel’s algorithmically-generated notes, rhythms and melodies reverberating through the space, as though a bold illegal party was being held in the maximum security location.
The generative audio patch Kidel used to make the B-side, Voice Recognition DoS Attack seeks to disable the functionality of voice recognition software by triggering phonemes (the smallest units of language). The project, first developed for the Eavesdropping series of events in Melbourne, exploits a weakness in voice recognition that cannot distinguish between individual voices. When you speak while the patch is playing, the cascading shards of human expression mask your speech and thus protect you from automated surveillance, questioning our vulnerability in the face of global data giants. In amongst these displaced sounds, Kidel fed additional musical elements into his patch to create the version of the project heard on this release.”
Killer, bittered SM Electronic salvos from the early ‘00s, pinning down a thistly Prurient and a rare sacrifice by Texan noise maker R Mason a.k.a. Autoerotichrist.
Prurient’s ‘Beheading of St. John the Baptist’ is an eviscerated noise prayer or “black medieval grind” recorded in 2001, Providence, moving through the stations in the style of ‘Mater Dolorosa’ and his 7” with Mindflayer Cult.
AWOL since 2004, Autoerotichrist is the alias of R. Mason, who did a classic trio of 7”s in the ‘90s with Richard Ramirez, Japanese Torture Comedy Hour and Incapacitants. His A-side ‘Benediction’ sounds like a death metal track recorded down a plughole from the next floor.
Madridian techno master Mulero takes a leaf from the Vatican Shadow playbook on two maudlin techno and electronica pieces for Hospital Productions
Leading on from the gothic Iberian feel of Mulero’s ‘Perfect Peace’ [Semantica, 2018] album, he channels a pensive, sullen vibe with purring bass roll, ricocheting snare and glacial synth contours of ‘Adavre’, and eases off into colder, blue IDM sound designs with the clipped electro torque and sighing synth cadence of ‘Leence’ on a vintage Skam tip.
Sähkö’s Jazzpuu sublabel reissue a superb piece of post-Soviet “free jazz” electronics by Vladimir Tarasov, part of his long-running ‘Atto’ series
Originally dispensed by state label Мелодия in 1990, the 4th ‘Atto’ volume features Vladimir effortless rolling out on a 35 minute piece in two parts built from pranging percussion, hunting horns and electronics.
It’s a hypnotic study in sublime tension and spatial perception, with low-lying, distant bed of waltzing arps in the background, and sparing, pranging percussion in the foreground organically building to a pensive thunder and precipitous chime tree shivers in the first, before the rhythms double and triple up in the 2nd part, reminding us of Oren Ambarchi’s recent rhythms excursions with Ricardo Villalobos and co in the process.
Killer, deconstructed dance music from the late ’00s, dug out by Elon Katz (Streetwalker/White Car) for his Zero Grow boutique
Written in 2007 and released on his website in the same year, the 10 tracks that have become ZG004 were arguably ahead of their time, effectively doing to B-More what Lorenzo Senni has done with Hard Trance, and likewise Mark Fell with deep house and garage, or The Automatics Group with trance pop and electro-house anthems: extracting their essence and homing in on the styles’ structural tics and aesthetics.
However, perhaps a more acute comparison would be Co La, who has also also taken B-more as bedrock for some of his strongest, decimated workouts, but they differ in terms of sound design, as Zucconi’s work takes the rough along with the smooth, resulting in dead canny dance tracks on the likes of his jagged ‘Glasshouse’, the crumpled buck and strolling chords of ‘A.P.I.’, and the warped rave intensity of ‘In My Arms’.
Nocturnal Emissions’ dark ambient archetype and master opus sees light of day on its 30th anniversary reissue with Alessandro Adriani’s Mannequin.
Starting a very welcome programme of Nocturnal Emissions reissues, ‘Spiritflesh’ offers a steeply absorbing blend of field recordings, concrète and analogue electronics recorded in London Zoological Gardens, the Derbyshire Dales and various sites in Great Britain between January and May 1988. With sleight of hand and near magic realist intent, the eldritch, future-primitivist results beautifully and brutally evoke a strong sense of time and place, and confirm Nocturnal Emissions position at the vanguard of post-industrial exploration.
Written in the first half of 1988 and self-released by Nigel Ayers’ Nocturnal Emissions in 1989, after a decade of veering between noise, synth-pop and multi-disciplinary A/V performance, ‘Spiritflesh’ found the group perversely avoiding the acid house phenomenon and heading to the outer limits of sonic perception. Combining the indigenous, British sounds from the bleak Derbyshire Dales with Church harmonium, Car Wipers, and the relatively exotic sounds of Chimpanzees and African Wildfowl, the ten tracks speak to an idea of GB as a node, criss-crossed by eons of people, cultures, and their beliefs and occult ephemera. In effect, the music feels like a detached, psychic reading of the country at that time, when contemporary folk were engaged in technologically and pharmaceutically enhanced reveries that related as much to ancient African and pagan Indo-European traditions as up-to-the-second advancements in science and technology - effectively reading the aura of a country and culture tilting from analogue into the digital dimension.
Schizoid jungle/juke tuffness from Germany’s Dispondant, exerting clinical/soulful Teutonic torque on OG Chicago and UK styles
Smartly dividing his energies between dancefloor dichotomies, one side shows off his whipsmart technoid chops in the palpitating subs and frozen drums of ‘Death’ and the zig-zagging 303 epic ‘Warehouse Acid’, while the flipside plays it cooler with the fluidly jazzy metrics of ‘Acid Jazz’ and the smoky late night Tokyo atmospheres of ‘Sanctum’.
Mac DeMarco sweetly covers Harry Hosono in lilting japanese, backed with the YMO-guy’s original, inaugurating a promising new series of covers/originals.
“The series launches with Mac DeMarco covering one of his biggest musical idols, Haruomi Hosono. Having referenced him in numerous interviews and on his album covers, DeMarco now pays direct homage to the Japanese legend with his sincere take on “Honey Moon,” originally released on Tropical Dandy in 1975. DeMarco effortlessly sings the original lyrics in Japanese, while maintaining his own unmistakable cool.
Haruomi “Harry” Hosono is a towering figure in the history of modern Japanese music. From the groundbreaking folk rock of Happy End and the pioneering techno pop of Yellow Magic Orchestra, to the countless influential solo works that have touched on exotica, funk, country, electronic, ambient, and everything in between. Fresh from his celebrated solo London debut at the Barbican Center for Light In The Attic’s ‘Sweet 16’ celebration, Hosono will see his key works reissued by Light In The Attic starting this August – the first time these highly influential and sought-after albums will be available outside Japan.
This batch of covers follows our popular Light in the Attic 10 Year Anniversary series from 2012, which included Ariel Pink and Dam Funk covering Donnie & Joe Emerson’s eternal anthem “Baby,” Mark Lanegan covering the melancholy folk of Karen Dalton, and Iggy Pop with Zig Zags transforming Betty Davis’ dirty funk into a heavy Sabbath grind.
Upcoming highlights from the covers series include acclaimed singer-songwriter Julie Byrne covering Nico, and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker making his own unique selection from the Light In The Attic archives.”
Nyege Nyege usher in the new year with the hyper blaze of Jay Mitta’s debut LP ‘Tatizo Pesa’, kicking off a trio of searing Singeli albums from the sound’s ground zero - the Sisso Studios of the Mburahati ghetto, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Proper 180bpm+ headmelters taking traditional music into orbit of contemporary, accelerated styles ranging from Grenedan Jab Jab/Soca to Chicago footwork, hardcore UK rave and French flashcore...
A breathtaking boost of frenetic rhythms, syncopated loops and nagging hooks, ‘Tatizo Pesa’ notably introduces 14 year old MC sensation Dogo Janja alongside nine knockout instrumentals that make much western dance musics seem prissy and pedestrian.
Despatched by the acclaimed Nyege Nyege Tapes outta Kampala, Uganda; it presents the raw, untrammelled energy of Tanzanian Singeli with immediate effect. Like his peers, Bamba Pana, DJ Balotelli, and DJ Longo, Jay Mitta combines traces of older, local folk melodies with elements of ‘Bongo Flava’, or up-to-the-minute Swahili rap music, but at breakneck tempos that give the sound its inexorable energy and verve.
Jay Mitta’s debut offering renders the lushest, variegated spectrum of Singeli since the style emerged in its current form only a few years ago. On the one hand he plays up to pure rave needs with outright steamers such as ‘Don Bet’, and the ratchet tension of ‘Mwakidimba’, but they’re balanced with hip hop swagger in the standout title tune featuring 14 year old Dogo Janja, and the deep south bounce-esque of ‘Masera’, while the mercurial quickstep of ‘Dura’ and ‘Mchuma Bet’ are bound to snag wider-eared ravers with their so-fast-they’re-weightless string and key arrangements.
It’s very hard to ignore that with ‘Tatizo Pesa’ Jay Mitta has produced a new and unmissable high-water mark of the ancient yet up-to-the-second East African music bound to translate directly to all willing bodies.
Raw and original house music from Mix Mup, leading on from his MM/KM link-ups with Kassem Mosse
Up top he herds the Detroit-modelled hustle of ‘Clear Drive’ with its wooden kicks and recursive FX opening out into lush synth pads and rude bassline, whereas ‘Flair’ is all about gritty, hypnotic motion in a Marcellus Pittmann or Howard Thomas style, and the B-side’s ‘Pa Toppen’ puts some strut in your pipe.