Without a club to pummel, Anthony Child (Surgeon), Luke Slater, Lady Starlight, Speedy J, KMRU, and Tom Moth (Florence & The Machine) commit a series of quieter correspondences for Berghain’s A-Ton sublabel
Hashing out a ‘Dialogue’ between artists from disparate scenes of techno, electronica, and pop, the four long tracks were begun at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and finished in early 2021, each using a common language of rhythmic ambient electronics in long, winding conversations that arrive at mutually brooding conclusions. There’s an overarching sense of dread and gloom to proceedings, but not without a glimmer of hope that comes thru in their slow, driving persistence, holding to a meditative tension that’s techno at its core, but ambient in effect.
Luke Slater appears as the helmsman or common denominator for each track, flanked by a rotating ensemble whose input keens the cuts in various directions. With KMRU and Speedy J, they improvise a 24’ trek into slow burning pos-industrial zones à la Alessandro Cortini, while Anthony Child and Tom Moth (harpist for Florence & The Machine) help shape up a steeply psychedelic wormholer, before dropping the pulse and coming over all star-eyed in their 2nd work. Finally Lady Gaga’s DJ, Lady Starlight chimes in beside Child and Slater for an exploration of stark, reverberating drone dimensions and iridescent cosmic noise rent with spectralist magick.
Beautifully feathered French fancies from Domenique Dumont for the Antinote crew outta Paris.
Using a mix of vintage analogue machines and burbling synths, Domenique draws upon a rich Parisian heritage of African dance music, Caribbean dub and achingly cute Gallic pop in 'Comme ça', blending effete, deliquescent vocals with Upsetters-style dub magick and the sort of drum patterns you might hear in a Francis Bebey record.
It's at best in the mesmerising percolations and deft dub moires of 'La basse et les shakers', in the shimmering, late evening allure of the title track; the creamy sunset exotica of 'Un jour avec Yusef'; or heady Black Ark vibes of 'La Bataille de neige'. An utterly delectable release, RIYL Antena, Colleen, High Wolf.
Carsten Nicolai is hardly a slouch in terms of his release frequency, but it feels like a rare treat to hear the Raster Noton boss exploring the jerky rhythmic variations he does so well. ‘Univrs’ is a followup to 2008’s ‘Unitxt’, and has an equally lofty and academic sidestory,
The gorgeous humming melodies of ‘Xerrox’ and the serene experiments of his collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto are nowhere to be seen, instead we’re treated to rugged industrial barrages of beats, violent noise and occasional glassy tones. It’s like Pan Sonic or Sleeparchive thrown through the corroded guts of Ted Hughes’s Iron Man then fed into Bill Gates’s nightmares, trust me on this one. There are elements of the long-gone clicks ‘n cuts scene Nicolai helped create, echoes of Einsturzende Neubauten, and a sly wink to the current crop of gloomy 4/4 operators, but Nicolai’s sound is really all his own.
He’s been perfecting these rhythms for so long that it feels he’s operating inside his own genre, and mercifully without any of the self-indulgence you might expect from someone of his stature. ‘Univrs’ is a record made for enjoyment - sleazy, basement style, rusty enjoyment. It’s the record we’ve wanted him to make for far too long and it delivers.
DJ Sotofett plays out a pack of deepest house aces on his debut album, accompanied by Gilb'r and Phillip Lauer, plus some jazzy Finns and an angleic voice from The Ivory Coast.
As you might expect, there's no fuss and no fight to 'Drippin' For A Trip (Tripp-a-Dubb-mix)'; it's a laidback, party-friendly showcase of Sotofett's seductive charms and easy way with a collaboration, whether keeping the sun up with the tribalised drums and colourful bird calls of his 'Drippin' For '97' side with Gilb'r (a.k.a. Chateau Flight), getting his deepest New York smush on with the weightless beauty of the 'Space Dub' and Nimbus Mix' with Phillip Lauer (a.k.a. Tuff City Kids), or linking with Jaakko Eino Kalevi for the New Age-meets-Afrobeat sweetnuss of the 'Ibiza Dub' and 'Main Bar Mix' side.
Morning Trip & Yoga Records reveal a lost work of new age music: Alice Damon’s "Windsong".
"Gently propelled by Damon's haunting breath-of-life vocal winds reminiscent of Joan La Barbara underscored by field recordings and Damon's fretless bass sound calling to mind mid-70 Joni Mitchell, Windsong is traveling music, for the roads or for the skies. Instantly moving, it conjures vistas both romantically familiar and cosmically mysterious — waterfalls and wind, the voice of the earth, as heard through heavenly prisms.
Damon attended college in Massachusetts, where she formed and fronted the all-female garage band called The Moppets in the late 60s. The band began to garner national attention, but Damon moved instead to the wilds of northern Vermont to homestead and raise a family. In 1981 or thereabouts she was able to gain use of an early Sony digital home recorder, and created her masterwork, Windsong.
But Damon waited until 1990 to release a packaged version of this album, now titled "Windsong II", and sent samples to regional distributors like Vermont’s fabled Silo-Alcazar, where a copy of the album was first discovered, but little evidence exists of a proper commercial release. Alice Damon passed on in 2011 and remained essentially unknown until the landmark I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America 1950-1990 first revealed her genius to a wider audience two years later. Now, just in time for the recording's 40th anniversary, Alice Damon's Windsong may at last be heard as one of the most singular, moving and profound examples of new age music's psychedelic essence."
Understandably regarded as thee holy grail of Italian Minimalism, Giusto Pio’s totally sublime debut LP Motore Immobile (1979) starts a very necessary new life cycle, licensed and pressed on vinyl by new label Soave for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Produced by Pio’s then student, soon collaborator and massive Italian pop composer, Franco Battiato, the strikingly radiant masterwork Motore Immobile forms an impeccable distillation of what connected and separated Italian Minimalism from its American counterpart - namely an intimate sense of restraint, sound sensitivity and quiet ecstasy, as opposed to more grandiose landscapes or swelling communal gestures of the heavyweights from the west such as Riley, Glass or Reich.
Coming from a country of steeply progressive yet sometimes conservative musical traditions, Motore Immobile was realised and originally appeared amid an influx of innovative, spiritualised domestic recordings which took lessons from their American counterparts and mixed them with a typically hi-fidelity approach to recording and production which, by the late ‘70s, had made Italian studios famed as the natural choice for post-production on some of the biggest rock and pop recordings ever made.
It is somewhere between these points that we can locate the enigma of Motore Immobile’s tremulous, spectral beauty. Adapting the exploratory and perfectionist techniques of major studios, experimental ensembles and the classical avant-garde, Pio and Battiato imperceptibly, tactfully separate sounds from their sources, effectively removing the centre of attention out into ostensibly simple drones which shimmer with an incredible richness of harmonic timbral detail, mingling in weightless dimensions with dreamlike vocals and hot streaks of violin that linger like shooting stars on a completely still, balmy night in the 17 minute title piece, whilst the proceeding Ananta follows that curve even more gradually on a bed of weightless, floating organ tones dusted with precise and spine-tingling flurries of keys.
This is music that suggests transcendence in the most unhurried, timeless manner; a centre-less sound that gently encompasses and encourages the listener to find their personal locus thru the process of infinite diffusion, or travelling without moving. There’s no higher praise we can give than to say it’s music best consumed with eyes shut for optimal results and back-of-eyelid geometric projections.
It's quite uncanny that Pio (b. 1926) passed this mortal coil on February 12th, 2017, only weeks before this reissue now makes its overdue return from obscurity and serves to assuredly place him within the Classical Minimalist firmament.
Timely reissue of a milestone in electronic music, Roedelius' 'Selbstportrait'.
Recorded to a Revox A77 reel-to-reel in 1979, these are the often heartbreaking sounds of a man and his Farfisa organ, capturing the essence of something just so refined and beautiful that it doesn't bear writing about it. Pure, simple, stunningly effective electronic music.
William Basinski's gorgeous 2003 album reborn on a remastered edition.
Rightly considered one of his finest works, 'Melancholia' employs similar techniques used on his now legendary 'The Disintegration Loops' to another stash of short tape loops he created in the early '80s. Across 15 short form pieces, his beautifully sparse and solemn piano figures become seductive silhouettes and haunting, recurring motifs rent in entropic relief, inception-like passageways into worlds within worlds, dreams within dreams, supernal memories coaxed from celestial bodies. Imbibe deeply and infrequently for optimal effect.
Music From Memory present a spiked, fuzzy peach of a compilation focused on the unsung downtown NYC dude whose only solo album inspired the label's moniker.
Drawn from a handful of rare cassettes and the aforementioned LP, 'I Was Crossing A Bridge' fathoms oceanic, phasing string drifts alongside pulsing minimal drum computer workouts, avant-garde sound poems and unplaceable cinematic synth scenes; framing a widescreen sonic vision that was richly and inevitably informed by its proximity to the locus of punk, jazz and experimental music circa 1983-1985. During this period he worked with luminary musicians such as Rashied Ali, Byard Lancaster, Peter Zummo and Yousef Yancey, and participated in a range of performances - from spoken word to punk shows at CBGB's and The Mudd Club.
]And, in the best sense, he transmuted all that experience into a idiosyncratic sound perhaps best considered in terms of No wave's anything goes aesthetic yet guided by a meditative sensibility clear to hear in the shimmering zither flock of 'Deep Felt Music' or the melancholy synth inquisition, 'Inferno - Part 3', whilst the ruddy boogie groove of 'I'm At That Party Right Now' and the corkscrewing electro-funk swerve of 'Cross-Court (Get It)' prove he was anything but po-faced. Fans of Arthur Russell or K. Leimer's more experimental works are bound to fall hard for this set - a huge recommendation!
'Yuen Shan' (Round Mountain in Chinese) is a deeply meditative percussive suite first conceived in Taiwan, 1973 and realised in 2014 using pre-recorded tape sound and live percussion recorded over the interim. It's the first new Ranta release in 25 years, and reminda us the hypnotic brilliance of his 1970 'Mu' collaboration with Conny Plank and Mike Lewis, which was reissued in 2010 by Metaphon (who're also behind those excellent IPEM collections).
We're dealing with highly esoteric and complex material here, manifesting an expansive consolidation of the artist's long-standing interests in tai-ji-quan (the internal Chinese martial art) and Chinese philosophy - in particular Taoism - together with the cosmic cycles of ancient Greece and ancient India and his almost preternatural percussive instincts. It breaks down into four parts (around 20 minutes apiece), each representing the four phases of human life according to Taoist thought and forming a compelling, dramatic sound story of multi-tracked, multi-dimensional rhythms, electro-acoustic spaces and shimmering drone tones. In the works for more than 40 years, 'Yuen Shan' is a staggering opus; a rarified corpus that defies any easy grasp of the nebulous reference and meditative focus at its core, yet one one that works on a sublime, transcendent level that seduces with subliminal effect.
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.
After establishing herself as one to watch with debut LP, Ett, Editions Mego’s brightest young artist, Klara Lewis, follows extensive touring since that 2014 release with the deeply focussed, multi-dimensional sound designs of Too.
It’s no secret that Klara is Graham Lewis ov Wire’s daughter, and therefore not difficult to draw a line between her investigations of laptop-as-loom for creating vast, enveloping tapestries of field recordings and electro-acoustic process, and her dad’s exploratory, studio-as-instrument work with Dome in the early ‘80s.
Klara clearly has a keen ear attuned to the nuance of texture, tone, and spatial dynamic within electronic and organic spheres, underpinned with a rhythmic subtlety that integral yet not overbearing within Too.
She finds a democracy of sound within the mix giving equal attention to all parts of the stereo field, from the whirring micro-organisms of View thru the whisked rhythmic torsion and distant bird calls of Twist, or the loping freedom of trip hop and avant-classical movement in Too.
Yet, from initial listens our favourite parts occur with the vast, drifting sense of scale rent from multiplying sound sources in Beaming and the very canny sleight-of-hand applied to the near-collapsing rhythms and vaulted dream dimensions of Us.
Mammane Sani Abdullaye's 'La Musique Electronique Du Niger' is a spellbinding side of organ pieces written and released on cassette in 1978 and plucked from obscurity a few years back by Sahel Sounds' Christopher Kirkley.
Born to a relatively well-to-do family in Niger, Mammane was previously a UNESCO functionary and during one of his meetings came in contact with a Rwandan delegate with his Italian "Orlo" organ. He managed to persuade the delegate to sell it and came into possession of the first electronic instrument in Niger, soon starting to write interpretations of Niger folklore classics using its warbly, woozy timbre. The results were released in an edition of 100 tapes with help from the ministry of culture yet slipped into obscurity despite Mammane becoming one of the country's leading composers for TV and Radio.
Now over 30 years old, they form a hazy and elegantly driving body of 8-bit audio soundscapes; a set of bizarre and dusty mirages recalling early computer game soundtracks and sonically located somewhere between a rudimentary Frances Bebey and the Heatsick's casio meditations. Proceeds from this release will go towards getting Mammane a new computer and software, and we can't wait to hear what he makes with them.
Haunted, noirish tape loops, field recording and guitar ambience from Wavering Hands’ Laurin Huber, gloaming in zones and tones shared by Lynch/Badalamenti scores, Ashley Paul, Dean Hurley.
Effectively transposing the possessed air of Twin Peaks to the Swiss Alps and remote European, Huber’s 2nd solo release pursues the vibe of their 2020 debut LP ‘Juncture’ into slowly unsettling and introspective headspaces, using a less-is-more approach and appreciation of negative space to evoke a mysterious mountain air, like we’re perched in a wooden cabin miles away from civilisation.
Their opening statement of sallow guitar strokes and Korg MS20 tones in ‘Raja’ is named after the Northern Sami and Finnish for ‘Border’ and acts as a liminal threshold for the EP, which progresses from the vaporous ghost dance and hypnagogic grogginess of ‘Nickel’ to deliciously noirish neo-gothic synth pads on ‘A Town Is Not A Town,’ and appears to pass out into foggy mountainside drone scenes hashed with radio comms and EVP pheneomena bouncing off granite cliff faces in ’Storskog-Borisoglebsk,’ which is aptly titled after the northernmost land border between Schengen-Europe and Russia.
Livity Sound mark a decade of skin in the game with a comp pulling focus on their roster of rhythmic misfits in 2021.
Originally founded as an outlet for Pev, Kowton, and Asusu’s like-minded soundsystem techno oddities in 2011, the label’s scope has gradually expanded over the intervening decade to embrace an emerging movement of non-standard bassbin operators such as Batu, Hodge, Bruce and Simo Cell via the Reverse label (Dnuos Ytivil), and nowadays stands at a busy intersection of globally related styles loosely termed hard drum, or bass music.
Brittle boned breaks and gothic atmospheres from D&B renegade CDB, crossing paths with AD 93 for the first time
The follow-up to De Babalon’s ‘Teyas’ collaboration with WIDT picks up in equally bleak and dramatic terrain, following his instincts for a sort of theatrical breakcore style comparable with early Venetian Snares on Zhark.
There’s nowt like a bit of German opera to get the blood up, as with the scene setting chorale that gives way to gnashing breaks in ‘Kein Bild Machen’, while ‘Hung on a String’ comms with pebbledash drums and deathly, keening strings beside the bone-clacking breakbeat churn of ‘Swimmer.’ We’re best reminded of V Snares circa the ‘Salt’ EP on the EP highlights ‘Cool Priest’ and ‘What’s Wrong With Tomorrow’ while ‘Ether’ hits with more deviant drum funk a la a gothic Nucleus & Paradox.
Utterly unmissable first ever reissue of SND’s god-tier triple pack, cruelly out of print since 2008, now finally available to discerning dancers/DJs - packing a pinnacle of avant-dance beat science certain to connect with fans of garage, UKF, footwork and experimental techno. If yr into owt from Beatrice Dillon to Timbaland, Ryoji Ikeda to El-B, Autechre to The Neptunes - this is a must have... and an education.
A peerless masterclass in nanoscopic funk editing, ‘4,5,6’ has never been bettered in our books. It originally arrived as a limited pressing of 300 x 3LPs in 2008 but has been sorely notable by its lack of availability ever since, often leading us to offer wild handed descriptions to bewildered mates, who, even if they looked for 2nd hand copies, would still be stumped as nobody in their right mind is selling a set. However that is all corrected with this new edition, representing one of the most crucial reissues of the decade and an unmissable opportunity to revel in some of Mark Fell and Mat Steel’s finest work, bar none.
When it landed in 2008, a decade after SND’s seminal early trio of self-releases, ‘4,5,6’ frankly took our heads off. It marked a leap in form from their self explanatory ‘Tender Love’ LP of 2002 with a return to their early EPs’ avant club focus, but drawing on processes and tekkers they had sharply refined over the interim. Aspects of the deep house, garage and computer music that originally inspired them are rendered inside out, revealing and recalibrating their mechanics in something like an iridescent Haynes manual one could dance to, or simply marvel at if the legs weren’t willing.
It stood out a mile from the rote minimal techno and dubstep of the time, which had started moving in the “future garage” direction by 2008, and effectively gave the sharpest side-eye to that sound, innovating-not-imitating in order to update and galvanise the original ‘90s forms with visionary mix of pointillist and mercurial flex. But, no mistake, for all its radical restructuring of garage and related styles, the results aren’t intended for chin stroking: they’re a direct, physically urgent extension of Mark and Mat’s deeeep love of dance and electronic music, itself rooted in original synth-pop/industrial and the first wave of US deep house/garage/techno that took their generation, and cities such as Sheffield, by the balls.
In 2021, the ten tracks of ‘4,5,6’ are effectively (give or take) equidistant from the original wave and now, and uncannily stand futureproofed by their vacuum-sealed reductionism and metallic lustre. However in many cases they’re still too much for DJs who all too often patronise their crowds with predictable pap. But if you’re a rare one, the likes of ‘C1’ are utterly primed to get fader chopped with early Roska riddims, and ‘E1’ is waiting to be threaded with Autechre and El-B’s most advanced funk, while the rest offers myriad options for interpretation at the craftiest hands. Basically, if you don’t already know this stuff; no excuses.
Enchanting, expert guided 24-track tour of Ecuador’s Caife label circa the ‘60s, flush with suave fusions of jazz and indigenous traditional styles running counter to post-colonial, Eurocentric styles. A real holiday for the ears
“A dazzling survey of the last, bohemian flowering of the so-called Golden Era of Ecuadorian musica national, before the oil boom and incoming musical styles — especially cumbia — swept away its achingly beautiful, phantasmagorical, utopian juggling of indigenous and mestizo traditions.
Forms like the tonada, albazo, danzante, yaravi, carnaval, and sanjuanito; the yambo, with roots in pre-Incan ritual, and the pasillo, a take on the Viennese waltz, arriving through the Caribbean via Portugal and Spain. Exhumations like the astoundingly out-there organist Lucho Munoz, from Panama, toying with the expressive and technical limits of his instrument; and our curtain-raiser Biluka, who travelled to Quito from Rio, naming his new band Los Canibales in honour of the late-twenties Cannibalist movement back home, dedicated to cannibalising other cultures in the fight against post-colonial, Eurocentric hegemony. He played the ficus leaf, hands-free, laying it on his tongue. One leaf was playable for ten hours. He spent long periods living on the street, in rags, when he wasn’t in the CAIFE studio recording his chamber jazz-from-space, with the swing, elegance and detail of Ellington’s small groups, crossed with the brassy energy of ska — try Cashari Shunguito — and an enthralling other-worldliness.
Utterly scintillating guitar-playing, prowling double bass, piercing dulzaina, wailing organ, rollicking gypsy violin, brass, accordion, harps, and flutes. Bangers to get drunk and dance to. Slow songs galore to drown your sorrows in, with wildly sentimental lyrics drawn from the Generacion Decapitada group of poets (who all killed themselves); expert heart-breakers, with the raw passion of the best rembetica, but reined in, like the best fado."
Awe-inspiring sedated slowcore meditations from prolific British underground legend Richard Youngs. Using trombone, organesque sine waves, a snare drum, and vocals, Youngs conducts an atmosphere that straddles the tranquil midnight chime of Bohren & der Club of Gore, Low, Alice Coltrane, Andrew Chalk or Black Truffle boss Oren Ambarchi. Monumental material, honestly - one of the must-hear albums of 2021.
‘CXXI' is Youngs' 121st album, and also the number of chord changes on 'Tokyo Photograph', the record's funereal opening rumination. Since the 1980s, Youngs has been a reliable presence on the British outsider circuit, licking thru pastoral folk, abstract drone, free improv and dense psychedelia while maintaining a level of quality that's seen him hoisted to exalted status. Only earlier this year, Jagjaguwar celebrated Youngs' 1998 album "Sapphie" with a 25th anniversary cover album that featured sparkling nu versions from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, with Moses Sumney, Perfume Genius and Sharon Van Etten.
But ‘CXXI' is a markedly contrasting proposition. It's a conceptual piece that employs a randomly generated set of minor chords, played by sine waves and spiked with a brushed snare on every change. Over this backbone, Youngs fleshes out a genderless body using wordless notes and expressive abstract electronics, fading in Yorkshire DIY mainstay Sophie Cooper's tape-damaged trombone tones. His resulting Vitruvian form is potent, purposed and proportioned in a manner that's only truly apprehensible after chewing over disparate artistic ideas and practices until the flavor has been completely vaporized - committed to memory for eternity.
There's a stylistic link to the Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise's 'Sycamore Trees' or the lounge jazz mutations of beloved German outfit Bohren & der Club of Gore, but sans any flourishes that would lead you towards the doom canon. Similarly, it feels lashed to Alice Coltrane's masterfully-paced meditation "Turiya Sings" (especially this year's controversial minimalist reissue) and Oren Ambarchi's breakout Touch-released opus "Grapes From the Estate". But Youngs sounds as if he's out on an island all of his own, etching his modest epics with a yawning knowledge of the wider world, but not with the expectation of reverence or relevance.
Really we can't get over how affecting ‘CXXI' is; it's a simple idea that's been executed with such skill and artistry that we're charmed all over again with every subsequent listen. It's classic minimalism, haunted jazz, low-key ambient, inebriated drone and none of this mess simultaneously. Youngs has sculpted an album that's like Michaelangelo's marbles: on the surface it looks almost simple, but that simplicity is deceptive, captivating and unforgettable. There's no doubt in our minds that it's one of the best of his career, and certainly among the best we've heard in 2021.
Kondi Band return with their sophomore album, ‘We Famous’ as Sorie Kondi, Chief Boima (INTL BLK) and Will LV join forces once more for another dose of Freetown freestyle.
"Following on from their ‘Salone’ album in 2016 and the massive single ‘Yeanoh’, the new recordings further hone the group’s unique fusions of Sorie Kondi’s inimitable vocals and the kondi thumb piano with intricate dancefloor electronics. The album was gradually recorded over a period of four years with Sorie on the road in Belgium, Spain and Canary Islands with the main production collaboration between Boima in Los Angeles and Will in London. The result is a varied and colourful set of tracks infusing Boima and Will’s wide-ranging dancefloor influences.
Infectious first single ‘She Doesn’t Love You’ features guest vocalist Mariama Jalloh speaking home truths about rejection while future 4/4 dancefloor anthem ‘It’s God’s World..’ features a mighty bassline from prolific L.A. musician / producer Sweatson Klank. ‘Sweetness Don Don’ ramps up the dub and sound system energy while ‘How Will It Be For Me In This World’ sparkles on a bed of electronic textures and kondi lines."
Optimo dig out the early ‘90s acid experiments of Khan (Can Oral) and Roger Cobernuss (Kerosene) for a reminder of more wigged out, innocent times
The H.E.A.D. project locates Khan in his NYC years, prior to moving back to Germany and becoming instrumental in the minimal house scene. Working with another prolific ‘90s producer, Soberness the pair cook up some tart and tangy acid mutations not really meant for the ‘floor, or at least peak times preferring a style of low burning and psychedelic exploration that loops the acid house sound back into a ‘60s sort of loose psych freedom.
Heady by name and nature, the eight tracks progressively gouch out from the cosmic interceptions of ‘EFS 3’ to a pair of extended trips tilting over the 17min mark in ‘EFS 5’ and ‘EFS 1’, by which point you will probably be rolling on the carpet. They very much like Vladimir Ivkovic’s Goa trance on 33-not-45 styles, especially in the longest work’s distorted and dubbed out acid gurgle, and do eventually brim up to a full acid house charge with the wonky strut of ‘EFS 6’, before slipping into what sounds like Plastikman meditating at Charanjit Singh’s altar in ‘EFS 2.’
Kompakt's 'TOTAL' series reaches its 21st Volume.
"TOTAL turns 21 this year, and Kompakt’s venerable compilation series couldn’t have asked for a more auspicious coming-of-age collection. If TOTAL 20 was consolidation against the odds, the Kompakt crew producing for a dreamt-of dancefloor in an uncertain future, then TOTAL 21 feels abuzz and alive with possibilities. Significantly, it’s the first TOTAL in some time that’s streamlined down to a single disc; this makes TOTAL 21 even punchier than usual, a joyous, reflective, and always thrilling 75-minute audio scan of the world according to Kompakt.
As with every instalment of TOTAL, there’s a deft balancing here of Kompakt regulars and new blood. Of the latter, there’s a first appearance by KOLLMORGEN, remixed by PATRICE BÄUMEL into an astral torch song; Amsterdam’s NICKY ELISABETH, offering up ROMAN FLÜGEL’s pulsating, arpeggiated remix of “Celeste”; and CAPTAIN MUSTACHE swoops down into view, PLAY PAUL in tow, with the dream-like electro lift-off that is “Everything”. JONATHAN KASPAR also drops by with a new track, “Von Draussen”, a stealthy and lethal floor-hugger with prowling bass.
Elsewhere, there’s the lead track to MICHAEL MAYER’s astonishing recent EP, “Brainwave Technology”, which not-so-gently spears the tech-futurist babble of AI, transhumanism and posthumanism, soundtracked by one of Mayer’s typically lush, glimmering soundscapes. JOHN TEJADA reaches back to the heyday of glitch and dub techno with the gorgeous “Spectral Progressions”, while the brothers VOIGT & VOIGT, on “Nicht Mein Job”, seem reinvigorated by the interwoven patterns and funky minimalism of the Profan days. Not to be outdone, JÜRGEN PAAPE kicks TOTAL 21 with “La Guittara Romantica”, a chiming and lilting lullaby for woozy late-night reflection.
Throughout, it feels as though Kompakt are taking a moment to both breathe in the dust of the past and look forward to a bright future. Perhaps that’s why, on “Fasson”, SASCHA FUNKE seems so confident, with pinprick melodies bouncing around a hall of audio mirrors, or why THE BIONAUT returns with “Blue Sky Motor Lodge”, a song so moistly melancholy, so enduringly lovely, it’ll make you weep tears of joy. ROBAG WRUHME gets a little delirious on the ticking, twisting “No”, and then GUI BORATTO mops everything up with the bubbling, bumping glam-stomp “Wake Up”."
NYC shapeshifter Hiro Kone is joined by Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown Jr), travis (ONO), and Muqata’a for a more fluid navigation of electronics, dark ambient sound design, and chamber classical.
Crafted during lockdown, ’Silvercoat The Throng’ is Hiro Kone’s most personalised set of recordings yet, written under the title’s poetic directive to create “possibility, rescued from darkness” and also “resist the urge to fill the space". The results oscillate through cinematic routines and into weightless sensations that largely eschew the chewy rhythms that have typified her previous records.
Without a club or gig space to attend to, Hiro Kone has travelled inward to discover and better articulate her own sound, with results cloyed with horror/thriller motifs. However, those looking for her whirring rhythmic mechanics will find them lurking toward the 2nd half of ‘Mundus patent’, and in the insectoid detailing of ‘Reciprocal capture’ featuring DeForrest Brown Jr’s Speaker Music, and abstracted like a Muslimgauze dub on the title track starring Muqata’a.
Atlantic coast trio Niagara tend to their prevailing current of enigmatic, windswept ambient structures on a return to their Ascender label after 2020’s ‘Pais & Filhos’ album with Príncipe.
‘Veneza’ is perhaps the Portuguese group’s quietest and most intimate statement in six years of unpredictable movements. It revolves around a mix of seven succinct and sprawling works that find Alberto Arruda, António Arruda, and Sara Eckerson at their most low-key, eschewing their grittier dancefloor charms for an absorbingly textured and contemplative sort of slow burn sound; hashing briny new age synth exploits and playfully curdled kosmiche arps with sparkling contemporary classical strokes in a wandering style that has served them well thus far.
The effortless allure of their sound is in sweetest effect on the likes of ‘Dia 3, Parte 1, Música 5’, which recalls earliest 0PN synth meditations, while their knack for tactfully evocative textures and synaesthetic sensation is most appealing in the mise-en-scene of crisp, breezing air and distant, crashing waves that frame the melancholy analog synth wist of ‘Dia 2, Parte 1, Música 2.’ The avian chirrups and sylvan classical piano lines of ‘Dia 1, Parte 2, Música 3’ lead our mind to comparisons with CV & JAB’s lines of thought, which also applies to the album’s standout 14 minute closure, where they invite us into a serene room recording of a lonesome piano and sparing, aleatoric electronics, all subtly enlivened with incidental sound.
Essential hard drive dump from Istanbul sample scientist Grup Ses, who follows up 2011's "Beats and Pieces from Turkish Psychedelia" with a sepia-toned collage of dub'd funk drums and slippery Anatolian electronix. Fans of Madlib's Beat Konducta series should invest.
Since 2007, when he was cutting together breakcore mashups and assembling ruff 'n reddy V/Vm-style edits, Istanbul-based producer Grup Ses (Group Sound) has been developing a unique fusion of beat scene hip-hop and Turkish psychedelia. "Beats from the Vaults (2008-2021)" charts the beatmaker's development from then until now with a loose, chaotic joyride thru his archives, featuring snappy low-slung sketches ('Malikane'), developed bumping psych-folk-hop bangers ('Büyüleyici, Pt. 1') and woozy electro experiments ('Planet Ses, Pt. 2').
There's so much ground covered here it's hard to get into everything, but the unsettling early BoC via ATL rap styles of 'Mono' and the Selda-esque psychedelic bump of 'Damar Operasyonu' alone make this an essential purchase. Finders Keepers regulars or crate diggers/beat miners looking for fresh bleeps 'n breaks, don't sleep.
The Invisible’s lynchpin, Dave Okumu steps out with a suave solo debut album of jazz-sparked hip hop neatly incorporating piano chops by his peer, Duval Timothy and strong nods to J Dilla
After more than a decade of supplying his talents to records by everyone from Amy Winehouse to Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Tony Allen, Theo Parrish and Jessie Ware (he co-produced/co-wrote her Mercury nominated album, Devotion); Okumu plays it deadly cool and beatdown on his definitive personal statement to date. ‘Knopperz’ wears its influences proudly, with Timothy Duval’s slinky keys, and slompy drums and sirens patently hailing Dilla, but the rest is all him, hustling a hypnotically low-key and smoked out sound slanted to the twilight hours and beyond.
Keeping it fully instrumental and allowing his melodic personality to ooze thru the grooves and moods, the pacing is effortless, luring us in with the balmy bump and lyrical piano turns of phrase in ‘Son of Emmerson’ and coolly accommodating attentions between the groggy jazz-blues of ‘Ballpark’ to the melancholic sign-off ‘Don’t Die’, with his Dilla worship in evidence on the red-eyed nod of ‘Trouble’ and wickedly stumbling drums of ‘RTN.’
"Mark Hawkins has dug deeper on ‘A New Normal’ representing a landscape of electro-funk, body-rocking house, experimental electronica, euphoric pop and reflective chill out all underpinned by his melodic sensibility."
Quietly unmissable for new age and folk types, Michael Masley’s iridescent expo of Hungary’s national instrument lands gently lysergic on the 3rd eye, somewhere between Laraaji and Michael O’Shea
Dug out for its first vinyl edition with Morning Trip, ‘Cymbalon’ follows an ’85 tape, and a CD in 2000, to radiate its rhythmelodic and harmonic beauty for a new generation of ears who probably weren’t even born when it was made. Working out of Berkeley, California since ’82, Masley made the ancient Hungarian cymbalom - a sort of dulcimer or zither dating to 3500 BC and played with mallets in both hands - the object of his fascinations and his employment, playign for personal purposes and street busking around Berkeley when he needed to. This is where he met Barry Cleveland, a producer who became snagged on one Masley’s street performances (just like Dome with Michael O’Shea in Covent Garden) and proceeded to work with him on this sublime collection, recorded with minimal overdubs but subtly benefitting from his timely studio technique - and also in the same year that Cleveland recorded Kat Apple & Bob Stohl, who would later be reissued on Dead-Cert Home Entertainment.
Where the cymbalom is traditionally played with two hammers, or mallets, Masley innovated with a remarkable technique of what he called “bowhammers”, small mallets fitted to the end of each finger (not sure about thumbs?), each with a small 3” section of violin bow attached. The resultant sound shares much in common with Michael O’Shea’s complex, shimmering tones, but the difference lies in O’Shea’s use of electric pick-ups, where all Masley’s intricacies come from his finger work on both the cymbalom, and xylophone, kalimbas, panpipes, flute and clock chimes. Piece to piece he dextrously weaves aspects of Eastern-European classical, 20th century minimalism, celtic/folk and kosmiche into fluid streams of consciousness, naturally channelling a sort of music of the spheres with his lissom touch and collapsing centuries, even millennia, of practice into a refreshed new form.
Zbigniew Preisner’s super influential soundtrack to Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 'La Double Vie De Veronique’ available on vinyl once again. No schmaltz/overly produced tug-at-the-hearstrings Netflix nonsense here - 100% real deal brilliance.
At one point in time we had the VHS copy of La Double Vie De Veronique stuck inside an old player and subsequently ended up watching it many many dozen times - so its influence here is no doubt magnified, but nonetheless - what a record. If you’ve not seen the film - go do so at once - but irrespective, this score features some of Preisner’s best work, from the mythological 'Van Den Budenmayer’ choral pieces to the exquisite, dappled solo-piano melancholy of 'Les Marionnettes’ and the austere, mournful energy that seeps through each of the ’Theme’ works.
Cinematographer Slawomir Idziak famously used many different shades of yellow filter to elevate the un-real mood of the film, and it translates perfectly to this score - in our opinion an absolute modern great to file next to work by Goran Bregović for Emir Kusturica, Alberto Iglesias for the films of Julio Medem and Nikos Mamangakis’ sprawling work on the Heimat films.
The first Documenting Sound release to appear on vinyl (we’re just doing a handful of them on wax) is this obsession-forming fever-dream recorded in Kallista, Dandenong Ranges / Autumn 2020 by Jonnine Standish of HTRK, newly mastered and featuring completely genius new meta-artwork/painting by Gian Manik. Anyway, you either altready know how good this one is, or else yr about to find out…
The other week we dreamt that we asked Jonnine aka Jonnine Standish of f#cking HTRK to make some music for a tape series. She ended up sending us what was essentially a 9 track album of new songs featuring Jonnine on bass guitar, a Mopho synth, a wave drum and an electric wind instrument, plus her vocals, clicks and garden chimes, and contributions from Conrad Standish (of CS + Kreme) and mixing by Tarquin Manek. Oh wait…
We approach all of Jonnine’s music with caution cos - hooks - she warned us about them. When her last record 'Super Natural’ was released last year the ohrwurm wasn’t for leaving us in peace, for real it was almost too much - and this time, if you can believe it - it’s worse.
You get 9 songs - 9 - songs - there are chorus pedals and strings and endless atmospheres. The opener is a dream, blurred vision - heartache. The title track - pan flutes - this is basically The Cure’s ‘Dressing Up’ remade. Except Jonnine has never heard ’The Top’. It’s all v weird and auspicious, a complete heartmelt. Also, somehow, real?
Having appeared and sold out in a flash earlier this year, we’ve finally got a decent haul of Lea Bertucci’s stunning 'A Visible Length of Light’ suite for bass clarinet, alto sax, manipulated tape, organ, flute and field recordings, released via her own Cibachrome Editions. It’s an immersive and multi-layered rendering of allegorical americana/drone landscapes that comes very highly recommended if yr into Mary Jane Leach's Flute pieces, Neil Young’s ‘Dead Man’ OST or Bendik Giske’s whirling/humid sax treatments.
‘A Visible Length of Light’ follows the remarkable, lonngform 'Acoustic Shadows’ - for our money one of last year’s standout albums - with a more concise and traditional structure spirited with ephemeral inspiration from folk, bluegrass, jazz, and gospel. Recorded at home in New York City and during a residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska, with additional field recordings made in Rio de Janeiro, the Cali coast, and Dead Horse Bay, Brooklyn; the results speak to a mind pulled between torpor and the natural urge to explore - refining and sounding out her feelings with an expressive quality and compositional concision that’s unusually direct compared with the elusive nature of her previous works.
Intended as a contemplative salve for the collective experience of the past year, the 11-part album feels poignant and mindful, deploying alto saxophone and bass clarinet fed through FX matrices to describe fleeting impressions of emptied streets, ancient liminal spaces, and the sprawl of the US Midwest, vacillating parts of cathartic, extended melodic thought and soothing harmonic richness with a series of more haunted ‘refrain’ pieces and textural abstractions such as ‘Threshes’ that help create a holistic sort of ecology for a topographical reading of her homelands. The scope of Lea’s music is timeless in a manner that reminds that the world is ever the same, forever changing.
Written just a week after 2018's iconic "Make Me Know You Sweet", this surreal, tripped-out sequel from the headier alter ego of Brian Leeds (Huerco S.) is darker, dubbier and more alien than its predecessor >> over an hour of ultra immersive, brain-fluxing hybridized sounds somewhere between Chain Reaction vapourtrails and concrète dream-building.
Captured in one take shots during the weeks following the last album sessions in 2018’, Leeds’ second Pendant album treads a similar netherworld path, channeling a stygian dream-sick effect that effectively explores a flipside to the sunnier prairies of his Huerco S.’ works, shoring us somewhere gauzily redolent of early Wanda Group and the starkest Bellows emissions, but better defined by eerily processed vocals and Lynchian sensibilities that locate it to North America’s dis/possessed lands.
Ritualistic in craft and scope, the six extended tracks of ‘To All Sides They Will Stretch Out Their Hands’ are all titled in reference to indigenous American poetry and thus take shape as elusive, dream-like projections of Leeds’ subconscious and subvocalised thoughts. With a defocussed grain and swirl that perhaps emulates the effect of intoxication thru special herbs, the music acutely suggests altered states of mind, triggering meditations on memory and process reflected by a haphazard and impromptu recording technique. Leeds is a skilled producer, and working instinctively highlights a more fallible, arresting side to his sound - recording and processing vocals on the fly to control his machines less like a conductor and more like a sculptor. When the process hits complications - the DAW failing or outboard gear glitching out - his choice to leave these moments in the final cut allows us to consider the messiness and fallibility of art.
Leeds isn't interested in making aesthetically perfect potted ambience. His narrative is rough and expressive, just as focused on texture as it is tone or rhythm. It's a technique that suggests the heady cut 'n paste sound of musique concrète, but doesn't attempt to recreate it or position itself alongside that canon for academic gold stars. Firing his convulsing collages thru an array of effects gives his music the lively heartbeat of vintage dub, hidden under a fleshy DIY basement noise that could be traced back to Coil or Throbbing Gristle, mediating on memories with haptic strokes and a sense of inseparability between his layers of fuzz and physical actions that most beautifully speaks to a sort of interconnectedness that comes with mescaline, for example.
We’ve been spending considerable time guided by its dream logic - we strongly recommend you do the same, immersing yourself in its spongiform negative space, ruptured raptures and dank bliss.
On Maza Gusu, Mikado Koko transforms into Mother Goose, hissing Charles Perrault's fairy tales in her native tongue.
"Her unsettling, regressive voice is backed up by a subtle and chilling electronic soundscape sprinkled with traditional Japanese instruments, creating a realm of sound that feels both weirdly familiar and deeply unknown. Mother Koko hurls you deep down the rabbit hole, back to your darkest childhood anguishes, before gently leading you by the hand to a joyful catharsis. As you slowly get used to its disturbing familiarity, Koko’s music feels like waking up in the pale morning light, shaky but relieved after a feverish dream. In summer 2017 Mikado Koko started her solo career as a club music producer with the elements of Japanese traditional music. After many releases, remixes and compilations such as Seitō: In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun (AKU1016), she now focuses on avant-garde poetry reading related to feminism and gender equality."
Don Letts selections for Late Night Tales.
"Cultural polymath - pop star, filmmaker, radio broadcaster, commentator, Grammy winner. Oh and DJ, too. Take your pick from the many coats worn by our selector, Don Letts aka The Rebel Dread.
Born in Brixton, a child of the Windrush Generation, Letts’ slippery and unorthodox career is somewhat hard to define, without taking a few detours around London, New York and Jamaica. He began his working life managing the dauntingly hip Acme Attractions on Chelsea’s Kings Road, where he made a mark with his attitude, dress and, especially, the pounding dub reggae that vibrated the shop’s walls. His first gig as a DJ at the short-lived Roxy in Neal Street, became mythical for turning a generation of punks on to reggae. They in turn hipped him to their DIY ethos resulting in his reinvention as a filmmaker. This led to a shed-load of music videos (Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Clash, Bob Marley) not to mention documentaries on the likes of Gil Scott-Heron, George Clinton and Sun Ra.
There’s a diverse mix of classic and new, with legendary figures like John Holt, The Tamlins and Cornell Campbell, mixed in with British veterans Mad Professor and the irrepressible Dennis Bovell, while (relatively) young striplings Kiko Bun, Emily Capell and Prince Fatty deliver the goods, with laidback Texan groovers Khruangbin also offering an exclusive bass heavy-delight.
The song choices are diverse, from French dubsters’ OBF’s renditions of ‘Sixteen Tons’, the miners’ paean popularised by Tennessee Ernie Ford in the 1950s, to Ash Walker’s refix of Omar’s ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ and ‘All I Do Is Think About You’, immortalised by the ill-fated Tammi Terrell and preserved here by Quantic (the latter two both exclusives). Being a Rebel Dread compilation, there’s a cover (by Wrongtom Meets The Rockers) of The Clash’s ‘Lost In The Supermarket’ while Don’s exclusive, naturally, is a rendition of Big Audio Dynamite’s debut hit, ‘E = MC2’.
“Truth be told I’ve wanted to work with the Late Night Tales crew from the get go. We’re talking nearly two decades such was the allure of their musical aesthetic typified by curators like Nightmares on Wax, The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Trentemoller, Khruangbin and countless others. Now being as old as rock n’ roll (born in ‘56) and having nearly 20 years of Culture Clash Radio under my belt I figured I was tooled up to musically juggle with the best of ‘em. But I wanted to carve out a space that was distinctly my own - something that reflected my musical journey and the culture clash that’s made me the man I am today.”"
Billed as one of Australia's most mysterious jazz albums "Singing Dust" was originally released in 1986 and bolts together global new age sounds, FM disco, fourth world ambience, Cambridge folk and the spirited solo piano of Keith Jarrett - uh, yep. Properly out there.
Masterminded by Queensland-based jazz pianist Robert Welsh, "Singing Dust" is one of those rediscovered cult classics that's actually worthy of a reissue. And while it's 35 years old, the album shows as much disregard for genre trappings as you'd expect to hear now; sure, Welsh retains the loose skeleton of jazz, but stitches a sonic tapestry that's so expansive and vibrant that it's impossible to categorize.
Influenced by Arab writing, Welsh used Ghazal devotional poems translated by Aussie poet Francis Brabazon for lyrics, and fleshed those out into bizarre electro-acoustic songs. At times the album sounds (understandably) proggy, but Welsh's treatment is so unusual that there's no obvious comparison. 'Involution' is wobbly global disco, 'Let Me Take Your Name' fourth world solo piano, 'Song of the Reed' is a new age flute jam, while 'Love Flower' is electronically enhanced folk pop.
Incredibly weird, sincere music.
Steven Ellison's first feature-length anime soundtrack is an endlessly satisfying jeweled box of delights, with Vangelis-esque vintage synth sparkles rubbing up against carbon-blasted trap, dusty tape warped funk and psychedelic electro-jazz.
It makes complete sense that Ellison would end up scoring a project as idiosyncratic and ambitious as LeSean Thomas’ anime show about a lone Black samurai in feudal Japan. The Los Angeles beat scene innovator cut his teeth doing short bumps for edgy US TV animation channel Adult Swim - home of Ellison's beloved "Afro Samurai" - so surely a project like this was always on the cards. And he's knocked it out of the park, blending a lifetime of nerdy musical influences, from the spiritual jazz of his aunt Alice Coltrane and the bouncy early electronic weirdness of Raymond Scott to the neon strip club pulse of Mike Will and the MPC-fried swing of Mobb Deep's Havoc.
There are 26 cues on the extended album, and while the tracks might lack the duration of those on his proper albums, their heart and mood speaks volumes. Ellison sounds completely untethered, like he's finally got the chance to pay tribute to a life spent jamming tunes and watching cartoons. He's in his element, and that gives the project a warmth and honesty that's hard to ignore. Fans of everyone from Adrian Younge and Emeralds to Ricci Rucker and Tangerine Dream should investigate immediately.
A vinyl-only collection of classic singles by iconic Scottish post-punk guitar group Josef K issued between 1979 and 1982.
"As well as the three legendary 45s on Postcard Records (Radio Drill Time, It’s Kinda Funny and Chance Meeting), the album also includes both Crepuscule singles (Sorry For Laughing, Missionary) as well as the original Absolute version of Chance Meeting from 1979. B-side tracks are also included, plus a digital download coupon.
“Josef K were The Sound of Young Scotland, together with Orange Juice, whose guitars were also radiant and brittle, whose rhythms were also scrubbed and blunt, whose vocals were also proud and serious, but who sounded like another group entirely” (Paul Morley); “Josef K was about the heroic Outsider suavely surfing across the fraught surface of their albino funk fracas. Haig sounds high on anxiety, finding an odd, giddy euphoria in doubt.” (Simon Reynolds)"
Not Waving meets Silvia Fendi - 3rd generation matriarch and creative director of Fendi - on a primo LP of Italo pop élan, offering a rich counterpoint to his run of more introspective sides with Mark Lanegan and with the likes of Jonnine and Marie Davidson.
The project began in January when Not Waving was commissioned to compose the soundtrack for Fendi’s FW21-22 Men Fashion Show. Fendi supplied voice notes explaining the themes and inspirations which were then fed through Natalizia's battery of FX and arcane processes to create a modernist eulogy to elegance and drama.
There’s a sort of perverse art-meets-commerce theme running through the title track that reminds us of those gauche Kompakt rooftop pool parties that were all the rage with pitchfork writers back in the mid-late 2000’s, but once you get passed that you feel Natalizia twisting the brief to his own ends - be it on the padded/morose downstrokes of the gorgeous "Rainbows Appear” or the more funereal 'An Infinite Spectrum’, like some schaffel monster deployed at half time.
On 'I Wanted To Talk To You’ Not Waving’s full pop chops come out at their most delirious and best, chanelling the camp majesty of Pet Shop Boys via Villalobos’ Sei Es Drum gems, before closer 'And Darkness’ casts a shadow with its pining pads, angelic chorales and slow arpeggio - as Fendi ponders wistfully over the top.
A proper curio.
Smiling C scan the annals of Mexican experimental jazz artist Germán Bringas between 1991-2000, covering bountiful strains of sax and new age electronics
There comes a point in every earnest listener’s habits and tastes when new age possibly curdles into nuisance and, for this set of ears, that point has been achieved with ‘Tunel Hacia Ti.’ It’s flush with expressive multi-instrumentalist strokes, vamps, and vibes, but unfortunately they mostly aren’t landing well on the receptors today; it all sounds a bit cloying and nudges us to move on to something else. But anyone with a higher tolerance for sax and synths right now (tbf i just had my jab and aversion may be a side effect?) may well got lost in Bringas’ wistful world building and mazy narratives. Maybe we just need a sangria and some sun?
“Sixteen unheard works from Mexican jazz synesthete, Germán Bringas. Bringas plays with a delicate balance between experiment & pastoral spaciousness, sounding like Coltrane scoring a Tarkovsky film. To Accompany this release, we’ve made a documentary about Germán’s life. Tunel Hacia Tí (Tunnel Toward You) is a collection of early compositions by Germán Bringas of Portales, Mexico City. This album features songs from his lost cassette ambient jazz opus, "Caminatas" (Hikes), it’s spiritual successor, "Exposción Al Vacio" (Vacuum Exposure), and unreleased works created between '91-'00. Every instrument heard on this release was played by Bringas, and recorded in a studio in the back of his home.”
Montreal art rockers Suuns follow last year's hazed and phased EP "Fiction" with a more substantial, electronic and skeletal collection of timewarping sounds and ideas.
'The Witness' might be Suuns' chilliest, most anxious set yet. Its 7-minute opener sounds closer to a Radiophonic Workshop jam or a 1970s documentary soundtrack than anything from the band's back catalogue, with talkbox vocals only breaking the squishy wall of analog synth at the midway point. It's a curious choice, but works well, coming across like a prog rock power move rather than post-Radiohead avant electronic posturing.
The band's stoner rock cred is still more than intact. Vocals are rubbery and harmonized, often slapped across inverted rhythms or over slithering industrial synth arpeggios, sounding like Jean-Michel Jarre or John Carpenter, but lifted into Beach Boys territory. The sloppy noisiness of their previous records is still present in spirit, but now a DIY electronic spirit is the primary focus, and on angular, druggy tracks like 'Timebender' and 'Go To My Head' it really works.
‘Sex’ is the 2nd exhibition soundtrack release by internationally acclaimed artist Anne Imhof, with Eliza Douglas and Billy Bultheel, following their soundtrack to the Golden Lion-awarded ‘Faust’ exhibition at the 2017 Venice Biennale
Combining dark, piano-led lieder, industrial prang outs, and grungy harpsichord works, the soundtrack to ‘Sex’ is every bit as strange and beguiling as ‘Faust’, again utilising Imhof’s Nico-esque vocals in ravishingly emotive, stately yet punkish style. The soundtrack was conceived in 2019 as one aspect of a much larger exhibit including paintings, sculptures, objects and architectural elements, and appears here reworked to spec for release, prior to its premiere performances at Imhof’s first dedicated Italian installation at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Turin, and later in Rome.
Part of a trilogy with ‘Angst’ (2016) and ‘Faust’ (2017), the soundtrack to ‘Sex’ occupies similarly lofty ground between polyphonic antiquity and the fractious complexity of the modern day, building an imaginary world where Imhof’s innovative vocals can best express her disenchantment with social meditation and the alienation of an atomised society obeying physical distancing, but still narcissistic and needy.
With proper poetic clout Imhof and her collaborators construct an ambitious staging for the songs, which aren’t necessarily “sexy”, but are rather brooding and lamenting, sweeping from the elegiac keen of ‘Helmet Waltz’ to the stark bombast of ‘Pretty People’ via standout parts of grungy chamber music in ‘Bullshit Song’ co-produced by Ville Haimaia (Amnesia Scanner), and the industrial eruptions of its ‘Moshpit’ parts, with striking choral arrangements in ‘Prince Waltz’ and Anne at her most poised in ‘Dark Times.’
A bit of a missing link in Low’s discography, 'Bombscare' has been unavailable for almost two decades, originally released in late 2000 on Tugboat (Glen Johnson’s Rough Trade subsidiary), it’s now been reissued on vinyl by John Coxon and Ashley Wales’ remarkable Treader imprint and provides a bit of context for last year’s roundly acclaimed 'Double Negative’.
It’s mostly about the title track here really, Coxon and Wales’ (aka Spring Heel Jack) provide the sublime, electronic backdrop, offsetting Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk’s vocal harmonies and Ed Coxon's strings in a way that, 20 years on, feels woven from the same fabric that made 'Double Negative’ so striking, but which at the time felt disconnected from much of what we knew of the band. Listening to it two decades on - it’s a total revalation, and a testament to Spring Heel Jack’s prescience.
The other three tracks are vintage Low - especially the harp-adorned, morose 'So Easy (So Far)’ - a real heartstopper, in the vein of their finest, hushed tearjerkers.
Human Impact are a supergroup of sorts featuring Chris Spencer (Unsane), Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop), Phil Puleo (Cop Shoot Cop, Swans) and Chris Pravdica (Swans). The EP features eight songs, four of which are singles that have been released over the past year, including ‘Contact’, which raised thousands for COVID-19 relief in NYC. The lyrical content about an airborne virus with no vaccine was eerily written in 2019. The other four songs, including focus track ‘Recognition’, were written in the same sessions but never released.
"March 12th, 2020: The world prepares for lockdown. March 13th, 2020: Human Impact release their self-titled debut album with lyrical content about a dystopian world. March 14th, 2020: - The band play a record release show at the legendary Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, which turns out to be the last show at the venue (and probably in NYC) before lockdown. March 12th, 2021: Almost a year to the date of their fulllength release, the band put out ‘EP01’, a new digital EP of songs recorded around the album sessions. And now: ‘EP01’ is pressed on clear vinyl."
Seam's "Headsparks" reissued on vinyl.
"In the wake of Bitch Magnet and current of Superchunk, Sooyoung Park and Mac McCaughan formed a raw version of Seam in the summer of ’91. With bassist Lexi Mitchell, the trio banged out an album and two singles worth of shambolic dream pop in the sweltering Chapel Hill heat. Ten songs of talk-whispered vocals, sloshing guitar solos, scattered snare rolls, Velocity Girl’s Sarah Shannon, and the original version of Codeine’s slowcore classic “New Year’s,” on LP for the first time in 30 years."
The architect engineer of Industrial music, Chris Carter (TG, X-TG, CTI, Chris & Cosey) turns classic early works inside out in an Electronic Ambient style on the first of reissued volumes with Mute.
Effectively rendering his seminal solo debut album ‘The Space Between’ in hyperspace, Carter measures distance travelled between the end of the ‘70s and 2000AD with ‘Electronic Ambient Remixes One.’ Originally issued under the CTI alias that he shares with creative and life partner Cosey Fanni Tutti, the album exemplifies his switch from angular manipulations of bespoke hardware to a mixture of hardware and computer-based systems, practically melting the tensile hard edges of his early classics with infinitely smooth gradients and more sensual pulses that reset their meaning from club and living room laboratories to a headier abstract metaspace.
For anyone familiar with Carter’s 1980 debut album, it’s all the more remarkable to hear those tracks utterly transformed and transposed into their reflections here. Unrecognisable from the originals, Carter translates their original post-Industrial vernacular into an alien language of vaporous signs and suggestive textures, dematerialising any semblance of fixed structure in favour of sheer amorphousness and floating amniotic sensation somewhere between lush and unheimlich. But for anyone unfamiliar with the originals, we’d even advise doing them in reverse chronology to hear what were once deeply futuristic forms emerge from Ur flux and vice versa.
A real score for the sample library nuts and soundtrack lovers; Roger Webb’s previously unreleased music for a 1970 film adaptation of Herman Melville’s ‘Bartelby’ surfaces via Trunk
Ripe for ripping up in the MPC by hip hop types, Webb’s early work features proper neck-snap breaks set to pastoral string orchestration and funky jazz B-lines in the most classic way, setting out a style that he would later use on arrangements for likes of Bette Davis, Johnny Mathis, Shirley Bassey, Rex Harrison and more beside. Fans of everything from Madlib and Dilla to David Axelrod and International Anthem Recording Company will be in their element here.
For its 30th anniversary, Pixies 1991 album "Trompe Le Monde" is reissued on limited marbled green vinyl.
"‘Trompe Le Monde’ bookended a golden run of landmark records - a mini-album followed by four albums, released in quick succession - that cemented Pixies as one of the best for a generation. Translated from French to mean ‘fool the world’, ‘Trompe Le Monde’ showed the band still restless to push their sound forward. Recorded between Burbank, Paris and London, with producer Gil Norton again at the controls, their fourth album is arguably their most playful, with Black Francis’s lyrics on UFOs and conspiracy theories keeping things weird while power pop creeps in to amplify the space rock established on predecessor ‘Bossanova’.
Featuring singles ‘Planet of Sound’, ‘Alec Eiffel’, ‘Letter to Memphis’ and a flawless cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Head On’, ‘Trompe Le Monde’ goes full throttle with 15 tracks coming in a quickfire 40-minute salvo. Receiving critical praise at the time and being supported by a huge tour that included playing stadiums with U2, it also proved to be the end of Act One for the band, with them taking over a decade before returning to the stage together."
Killer Hardy-esque edits created by the Jak >> made In Chicago.
The A-side is all drums and soulful vox in a classic style while the flip deploys militaristic snare rushes like some lost version of Dj Rush's Crazy Hardy Edit.
The real ish.
My Jazzy Child aka Damien Mingus releases his latest album with Parisian label Akuphone.
"« Innéisme » : The title alone sums up perfectly the 8th album of French artist My Jazzy Child. Inspired by Noam Chosmky's "universal grammar", it refers to man's innate ability to develop language. It is that English, Occitan, French patois, Hindi, Pygmy or French cohabit on this record, juxtaposing on rhythms and beats that appear as a fantasized primordial tradition.
If My Jazzy Child, questions languages about Innéisme, he also questions musical languages, mixing Asian rites and free jazz, electronic wanderings and traditional percussions. A virtuoso and experimental collage that nevertheless knows how to remain melodic and, in the end, strangely pop."
ISIS' third-full-length album, "Panopticon", one of the most sought-after post metal records of the 2000s - now available again.
"'Panopticon' is considered as one of the greatest albums in the field of post-metal, post-rock's much heavier and riffier cousin. With frontman and guitarist Aaron Turner at the helm, ISIS broke further and further away from the sludge metal of earlier releases into much more atmospheric and dreamy territories, featuring textures lent from shoegaze, dream pop, and prog. Thematically, 'Panopticon' concerns surveillance and the government's role in implenting such technologies. Tool bassist Adam Jones guests."