Aahhh yes, another classic Bohren album reissued.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore’s vital reissue scheme looks to Geisterfaust (2005) after giving Sunset Mission and Black Earth much needed vinyl lives. Very safe to say that if you fell for either of those, this one will keep you right down there.
Nerds will need to know that the tracklisting has been reshuffled for the purposes of this vinyl edition, now still kicking off with the 20 minute sorrow, Zeigefinger but deviating the sequence in favour of Ringfinger, Mittelfinger, Daumen, and Kleiner Finger, for your information.
The effect remains the same, though; sublime, pensile, deeply evocative of Lynch & Badalamenti as much as doom metal and the most poignant, lonely moments of your life.
25 years since ‘Gore Motel’, Bohren & Der Club of Gore hold their smoky line of doom-jazz in a sublime, haunting 10th album that once again taps into that interzone between classic Lynchian motifs and fizzing gothic undercurrents.
The sylvan intimacy of ‘Patchouli Blue’ is a Bohren's ineffable skill at lulling listeners into richly hypnagogic states. As ever they prize a deep sense of cool yearning that hearkens back to the slow burn atmospheres of classic film noir as much as David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtracks, dark ambient and the bluest jazz, plus the doom metal of Black Sabbath, Gore, and their dusty echoes in Earth. It’s surely a velvet cloak for the senses; essentially a heavily tranquilising sound, but one fraught with an existential angst that’s won them a captive audience over the years, and is fully in effect here.
As ever, ‘Patchouli Blue’ is a strictly all instrumental affair and was recorded in Cologne and Mülheim An Der Ruhr - site of all their recordings (bar ‘Mitleid Lady’) since the seminal ‘Sunset Mission’ (2000). It was composed by core members Christoph Clöser (Tenor Saxophone) and Morten Gass (Piano, Engineer, Producer) and is performed by them along with longtime member Robin Rodenburg’s plucked, stalking bass lines in a classically sulky, gratifying way bound to make your glass of single malt taste smokier, sweeter. As such, the album is really meant to be taken in one sitting, but if we’re to point out highlights, the slow rise of slinking drum machine and creeping arps of ‘Vergessen & Vorbei’ is just masterful, as is the distant, burnished, Vangelis-like synth glow and elegiac brass of their last call, ‘Meine Welt ist schön’. Basically it’s dead good for what ail’s ya.
To mark this year’s Piano Day Nils Frahm released eight solo piano pieces.
"Conceived of just before Nils broke his thumb and composed the similarly intimate solo piano album Screws, Empty is a soothing vessel of eight simple and serene pieces originally recorded as the music to a short art film he shot with his friend and film director Benoît Toulemonde. Drifting through emotions from the stark and sobering opener ‘First Defeat’, to the gently euphoric ‘No Step On Wing’ and the contemplative but hopeful closer ‘Black Notes’, with its poignant minute of silence, Empty is a comforting score for these turbulent times.
“When I came back from the hospital with a broken thumb and listened to the recordings, I felt they were unfinished. I decided to put them aside and started to work on my small album, Screws. Many many other notes of the piano have been struck since these days, and before we all forget about this, I thought it would be a good moment to share these lullabies with you. I hope they help you stay all strong and calm in these days of solitude – despite the hardship, we can discover introspection and reflection unexpectedly. Who knows what it is good for.
Much love, Nils”
Actress returns with singers in tow for an ambitious but very real 7th album of greyscale and chromatic electronics - his first since the Ai project with Young Paint and 2017’s ‘AZD’.
On his definitive new opus Actress ushers in vocalists for the first time, allowing Sampha, Zsela, Aura T-09, and Rebekah Cristel to voice his music alongside additional keys from Italian pianist/composer Vanessa Benelli Mosell. The result is layered and spaced out to accommodate other souls in a hazy matrix of tenderised melodies and amorphous rhythms. If you’ve followed Actress' work thus far - since his cult beginnings in the mid ‘00s, or since the acclaim for his subtly game-changing run of LPs from ’Hazyville’ to ‘Ghettoville’ circa 2008-2014 - the crystalline intricacies of ‘Karma & Desire’ feel like a natural progression of his music into a form of dematerialised dancefloor/bedroom metaphysics that many others have tried to imitate, yet never quite executed with this sort of deeply enigmatic, dreamlike appeal.
Recent years have seen Actress incorporate classical and Ai inspirations thru his work on ‘Lageos’ with the LCO, and his Ai Jade Soulform on ‘AZD’ and the ‘Young Paint’ album. Now ‘Karma & Desire’ feels like the consolidation of all his work in this direction, achieving a unique sense of timeless, soul-burning immanence and detached, OOBE-like qualities that can safely be called Actress music. Sampha proves an ideal foil for his ideas on three of the albums’s quietest highlights; inhabiting ‘Many Seas, Many Rivers’ with the tenderest warbles, and almost channelling a tremulous Linda Sharrock in ‘VVY’, while found at his most vulnerable in the drizzly swing of ‘Walking Flames’, featuring Kara-Lis Coverdale on fliute. And likewise he finds the perfect sort of club music muses from Zsela in the deep blue house of ‘Angels Pharmacy’, Aura T-09 on the slackened garage of ’Loveless’, and Rebekah Christel on the LP’s jitty highlight ‘Loose’.
The instrumental arrangements here still ooze amorphous expression in every hiss, lop-sided drum and smudged chord, from the the scuzzy electro-soul swerve of ‘Diamond X’ to the air-stepping keys and bass wamp of ‘Leaves Against The Sky’, to what sounds like Coil’s studio ELpH’s emerging in the great matter probe ‘Reverend’, and a jaw-dropping masterstroke in the panoramic strings and funereal thuds of ‘Save’.
More than 15 years after we first heard his music, Actress still works our hearts, feet and minds like no other, we can’t wait to spend time entangled in this one.
On December 26th, 2018, Emily Cross received an excited email from a friend: Brian Eno was talking about her band on BBC radio. “At first I didn’t think it was real,” she admits. But then she heard a recording: Eno was praising ‘Black Willow’ from Loma’s self-titled debut. He said he’d had it on repeat.
"At the time, a second Loma album seemed unlikely. The band began as a serendipitous collaboration between Cross, the multi-talented musician and recording engineer Dan Duszynski and Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg, who wanted to play a supporting role after years at the microphone. They’d capped a gruelling tour with a standout performance on a packed beach at Sub Pop’s SPF 30 festival, in which Cross leapt into the crowd and then into the sea, while the band carried on from the stage - an emotional peak that also felt like a natural ending. “It was the biggest audience we’d ever had,” she says. “We thought, why not stop here?”
Following the tour, Cross went to rural Mexico to work on visual art and a solo record, while Meiburg began a new Shearwater effort. But after a few months apart (and Eno’s encouraging words), the trio changed their minds and reconvened at Duszynski’s home in rural Texas, where they began to develop songs that would become ‘Don’t Shy Away’. Loma writes by consensus and, though Cross is always the singer, she, Duszynski and Meiburg often trade instruments. Meiburg compares their process to using an Ouija Board and says the songs revealed themselves slowly, over many months. “Each of us is a very strong flavor,” he says, “but in Loma, nobody wears the crown, so we have to trust each other - and we end up in places none of us would have gone on our own. I think we all wanted to experience that again.” The album that emerged is gently spectacular - a vivid work whose light touch belies its timely themes of solitude, impermanence and finding light in deep darkness. “Stuck / beneath / a rock,” Cross begins, as if noticing her predicament for the first time. Then she adds: “I begin to see / the beauty in it.”
A series of guests contributed to the absorbing soundscapes of ‘Don’t Shy Away’, including touring members Emily Lee (piano, violin) and Matt Schuessler (bass), Flock of Dimes/Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and a surprisingly bass-heavy horn section. And then there’s Brian Eno. Loma invited him to participate in the mantra-like ‘Homing’, which concludes the album and sent him stems to interact with in any way he liked. He never spoke directly with the band but his completed mix arrived via email late one night, without warning and they gathered to listen in the converted bedroom Duszynski uses as a control room. “I was a little worried,” says Cross. “What if we didn’t like it?” But it was all they’d hoped for: minimal but enveloping, friendly but enigmatic, as much Loma as Eno - a perfect ending to an album about finding a new home inside an old one. “I am somewhere that you know,” Cross sings, above a chorus of her bandmates’ blended voices. “I am right behind your eyes.”
The first new Magik Markers album in six years is a great reminder why we always loved the psychedelic blues-sludge trio: this is mind-altering clatter-rock of the highest order that hangs out bumming rolling papers at the intersection of Neil Young, Popol Vuh and early Sabbath.
Elisa Ambrogio, John Shaw and Pete Nolan have always been a formidable trio, with a startling slew of material emerging in the mid-00s on labels like Ecstatic Peace!, Textile and even Dominic Fernow's Hospital Productions. But since 2009, they slowed down considerably; the trio's last full-length "Surrender To the Fantasy" appeared in 2013. "2020" is a blistering return to the spotlight, following July's short "Isolated From Exterior Time" EP, and finds the band stepping right back into their alluring, endless psychedelic groove.
Ambrogio's characteristic vocals and fuzzy riffs yet again anchor the tracks, fleshed out with Spectre Folk's Pete Nolan's assured drumming and additional elements (memorably Mellotron on chirpy album highpoint 'Born Dead') from John Shaw. There's something unshakeably American about this music - rooted in blues and then shaped by riot grrl punk, 70s psychedelia and basement noise. The title is almost a joke - the music never feels rooted in the present, and that might make it more 2020 than anything else.
Jan Jelinek takes on six great pop "standards" by the likes of Kraftwerk and Marcel Duchamp, dissected by sampler, stretched, compressed, and re-collaged with a rarely paralleled craftsmanship and playfulness.
‘Anthology of American Pop Music’ is the technically the 2nd full length statement from the semi-fictitious project’s HQ, the Federal Court of Justice, Karlsruhe, Germany. It is an arch example of Jan Jelinek’s fakelore approach to composition, demonstrating his deeply enigmatic style of sample dissection and reassembly in six collaged vignettes threaded with elusive ohwurms and “flashes of déjà vu and remote echoes that evoke the original”, all blessed with the cool curiosity of his most intoxicating, dreamiest work.
With a beguiling sleight-of-hand on the sampler perhaps matched only by the likes of Carl Stone, but much more delicate with it, Jelinek’s latest GES sees him tease uncredited, unrecognisable pop hits into spidery webs of thought that loop and fray in totally absorbing ambient geometries and rustling, jazzy fabrications. We advise shutting off all comms, closing the curtains, and allowing only a hypnic jerk or two get in between you and GES mesmerising, lissom suspension systems and blissed smirk state of mind.
Lake Turner was introduced to Kompakt by his sometime collaborator Yannis Philippakis of Foals. He’d previously made music in post-punk and indie groups Great Eskimo Hoax and Trophy Wife, but Videosphere is the first time he’s fully articulated his own vision of electronic music, aside from one limited lathe-cut 12”, 2018’s Prime Mover EP, on Algebra.
"The lush ambient-disco-techno dreams of Videosphere were constructed and completed in his London studio and at his parents’ arable and sheep farm in Worcestershire, which might help explain the hazy, unhurried pastoralism of the album.
Across its brief 109 seconds, it manages to traverse evocative terrain – something mythopoetic, something both humble and grandiose, a glimpse of the other behind the sky’s curtain. “I wanted to conjure up something resembling an ancient ceremony or death procession,” Turner nods. “Like a hymn to the surroundings of a faraway hill.” It’s both sky-bound and earthen, a ritual incantation to call in the music of the spheres.
Turner was introduced to the Kompakt family by his sometime collaborator Yannis Philippakis of Foals. He’d previously made music in post-punk and indie groups Great Eskimo Hoax and Trophy Wife, but Videosphere is the first time he’s fully articulated his own vision of electronic music, aside from one limited lathe-cut 12”, 2018’s Prime Mover EP, on Algebra. The lush ambient-disco-techno dreams of Videosphere were constructed and completed in his London studio and at his parents’ arable and sheep farm in Worcestershire, which might help explain the hazy, unhurried pastoralism of the album.
“There was a slight bittersweetness in finishing the record (in Worcestershire) as my parents were in the middle of selling my childhood home,” he sighs, before quipping, “on the plus, I ended up shearing a lot of sheep over the summer.” A student of archaeology and ancient history, Turner is no doubt carefully attuned to the twisting cogs of history and memory, and it’s no surprise that Videosphere has a nostalgic, melancholic cast; much of its beauty rests in the way it tugs, gently, at the heart strings – see the tear-stained cheeks of the lush, dappled “Honeycomb”, or the sweetly sad electro-roundelay of “No Way Back Forever.”
It’s not all drift-dream hypnosis, though – Videosphere is very much grounded in the now. ““No Way Back Forever” is a nod to the linear nature of time,” Turner explains by way of example, “and the tipping point of the world climate crisis that scientists have now declared.” Jayne Powell’s vocals are sent spinning through the song, wound like candyfloss; she takes centre stage on the techno hymnal title track, too. Throughout, there’s a sense of forward movement, despite the life stasis we find ourselves collectively bound by in mid-2020; there’s also a yearning for the communal, for community, that’s captured in the album title, a nod to an object Turner encountered at London’s Geoffrey Museum, “a television set in the shape of a spaceman’s helmet from the 1970s.”
“The vision I loosely had was to make an electronic record that had a communal warmth and almost ceremonial or ritual feel. I wanted to examine the relationship of our archaic minds in the trappings of the modern world,” Turner concludes. “What the Videosphere also symbolizes for me is the oneness of humanity and community, prevailing.”
John Frusciante releases the first instrumental electronic album under his own name on Aaron Funk's Timesig label. The record is dedicated to his cat Maya who recently passed away, a fellow traveller in his otherwise solitary music making sessions.
"He says "Maya was with me as I made music for 15 years, so I wanted to name it after her. She loved music, and with such a personal title, it didn't seem right to call myself Trickfinger, somehow, so it's by John Frusciante."
'Maya' is inspired by his favourite music: '91 to'96 UK breakbeat hardcore and jungle. It’s a varied and personal take with sophisticated, authentic production balanced against John’s acute sense of melody, an inspired blending of machines and samples infused with a joyful energy.
After discovering early UK rave music, John started dancing at drum & bass club nights in Los Angeles. He then got into Venetian Snares' music at the Autechre curated ATP in 2003, eventually becoming friends with Aaron resulting in the Speed Dealer Moms collaboration which boosted his confidence in making electronic music.
The process of making his tracks changed over time as John explains; “For a full year before I started this record, I worked within self-imposed limitations and rules that made the music-making process as difficult as possible, programming for programming's sake. After a full year of that, I decided to make things easier, to the degree that I could regularly finish tracks I enjoyed listening to, while continuing many of the practices I‘d developed. Throughout the recording of Maya, I would prepare to make each track very slowly, but would finish tracks very quickly. I'd spend weeks making breakbeats, souping up a drum machine, making DX7 patches, and so on. By the time an idea came up that seemed like the beginning of a tune, I had a lot of fresh elements ready to go."
John says his solo music has changed; "I don't have that interest in singing or writing lyrics like I used to. The natural thing when I'm by myself now, is to just make music like the stuff being released this year. I really love the back and forth with machines and the computer." The fun he’s having on 'Maya' is infectious."
Originalitos’ is the follow-up to the 2016 album ‘Boleros Valses y Mas’, which featured a minimal and emotional take on Latin American standards. ‘Originalitos’ uses the same technological limitations as ‘Boleros Valses y Mas’ but features all original compositions.
"Throughout eight nostalgic original compositions created on the analogue Oberheim synthesizer, Frankie Reyes draws on his Puerto Rican heritage and the sounds of everyday life. Influenced by the traditional music of Puerto Rico and the music of Latin American and synth-based composers, Reyes’ compositions bring together traditional and modern styles, combining ancestral sounds with contemporary technologies. Reyes is best known for his work as Gifted & Blessed. He also releases music as The Abstract Eye and one half of duo The Steoples, who will release their second album ‘Wide Through The Eyes Of No One’ on Stones Throw soon. For fans of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Dorothy Ashby, Mort Garson, Raymond Scott, Hailu Mergia, Sylvia Rexach."
Colombia-born and raised musician Ela Minus wrote, performed and produced the collection entirely alone. Self-made and punk in spirit - Ela puts her own spin on traditional electronic music.
"She designs and builds hardware synthesizers and, as a self- imposed rule, no sound in her work is generated inside a computer. Creating complex, technical electronic music that exudes a vibrant warmth and a stark, celebratory affirmation that our breaths aren’t infinite. A collection of songs about the personal as political and an embracing of the beauty of tiny acts of revolution in our everyday lives. Throughout, a sense of urgency and a call to arms is mixed with this love and appreciation for reality - because even revolutionaries need to leave space for simple human interaction."
Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, songs and instrumentals, out October 23rd on 4AD. songs and instrumentals are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to coronavirus. After returning to the states from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts.
"Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, ‘songs and instrumentals’, out on 4AD. ‘songs and instrumentals’ are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to the pandemic. After returning to the States from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts."
Seasonal synth-pop and shoegaze from Penelope Trappes on a new EP with Houndstooth.
The London-based Australian songwriter’s icy vox are wrapped in high tog new age synth arps in the wintry panorama, ‘Eel Drip’, whereas they turn into cottony clouds of reverb against the backdrop of slow, plangent shoegaze strums in ‘Break’ with sanguine effect that seeps into her Julia Holter-esque torch song ‘Afraid’, and the washed out choral vox and strings of ‘Berceuse’ surely recalls Tape Loop Orchestra’s paranormal ambient investigations.
Warehouse D&B ruination from Karim Maas, tagging in Outer Heaven on the massive lead tune, plus some Scorn or DJ Scud-style levels of hard pressure.
Shotting us right back to the dankest Manc warehouses and free parties circa early ’00s, Karim Maas generates serious darkside biz calling in reinforcements from Outer Heaven on the demonic strongback tech-step rollige of ‘The Force’, before letting the leash off on a gnashing beast ‘Mosquito’ for a cold rush of clattering breakbeat pressure and tormented distortion recalling Scorn, and Charlene lends possessed vocals to the reverberating noise of ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated’ like a female echo across the empty warehouse from Karim’s ‘Cassette A’ classic. What we would give for a night of this gear in a warehouse this weekend isn’t right.
Minimal house producer Mathias Kaden steers to deep, strolling dub house in a plush full length for Echocord
Across an immersive hour long album Kaden firms up the styles of his 12”s in this mode for Raum…music, Mule Musiq, and Ornaments in a sprawling album format, elegantly weaving between Tomomi Ukumori’s hushed Japanese vocals and perfectly poised dub house motion in the likes of ‘Kioku’, thru to offbeat underwater steppers recalling T++ on Shao’, a splashy roller from the Substance playbook in ‘Asaka’, and the solemn dub chord reflection of ’Soso’. Very nicely done.
Beggars Arkive reissue of The Fall’s 10th studio album, 1988’s THE FRENZ EXPERIMENT.
"The reissue contains the original album, plus singles and B-Sides. The CD version also includes a previously unreleased 4-track BBC session and “A Day In The Life”, a Beatles cover recorded exclusively for the NME charity compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father in 1988, plus a 24-page booklet with new interviews. The LP version contains extensive sleeve notes with new interviews. The notes included with both formats contain brand new interviews conducted by Daryl Easley in May 2020."
The untouchable Nyege Nyege Tapes turn up drivingly psychedelic visions of AfroLatin techno-meets-traditional-drumming by Portuguese/Uganda band HHY & The Kampala Unit, rendered in immersive widescreen dub and featuring special appearance of the Kampala Prison Brass Band for one of the wildest, heart-in-mouth rhythm trips of 2020
Helmed by Jonathan Saldanha of HHY & The Macumbas, and revolving ghetto activist Florence Lugemwa (trumpet) and percussionist Omutaba, ‘Lithium Blast’ is the latest, unprecedented collision of energies from the cultural fusion-accelerator of Nyege Nyege Tapes Kampala-based HQ. It follows the edits of HHY & The Macumbas’ ‘Camouflage Vector’ set, and the inventive examples of recent works by Metal Preyers, Villaelvin and Rian Treanor, with a cinematically scoped and body-conscious suite of 11 militant yet lush songs that surely prove Uganda’s capital city Kampala is a true epicentre of innovative new music in the modern day.
Committing a sort of futuristic, off-grid trance music for the ages, HHY & The Kampala Unit set out a penetrating vision of street-level cosmogony, intuitively mapping out zones between native drumming styles, techno, and astral electronics in a stunning suite of dubwise 4D starcharts. Guided by ancient, encrypted rhythms and a gripping sensuality, the album flows from its bolshy introduction to the Kampala Prison Brass Band in the fanfare of ‘Bursting Thru The Gates’, to thunder try the rocky rapids of ’Mesh Intensifier’ and chase sequence of ‘Fissure Core Fluid’ with a powerful sense of drama and magnetic dancefloor traction.
Shards of shatterproof ‘80s FM synth lace with swingeing polymetric percussion in the twin tub rinse-out ‘Catastrophism’, and Gazelle-legged rhythms synch with sweeping subs and soaring pads in the title track, but it’s possibly the ravishing electronic lushness of ‘Science of Dust’ and the familiar yet otherworldly hybrid of Florence Lugemwa’s trumpet with supple ambient dancehall backdrops in ‘Shining Star’ that will leave listeners most wide-eyed and mesmerised by HHY & The Kampala Unit’s strikingly natural but hyperreal sound.
A total doozy.
Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.
"Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.
Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.
Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss."
Canny debut album of quizzical, noirish pop with nods to drill, R&B, dubstep, and a crafty electronica and folk bent - think a gallic CS & Kreme, Laila Sakini, Coil. Strong stuff
“An extraordinary twilight world opens while listening to Organizatisya. Adventurous yet humble, they push the limits towards the unknown. One thing’s for sure, it’s fresher than the juiciest peach on a perfect summer day.
Organizatsiya hail from Lyon, France. Leo and Zoe clearly have strong roots in folk and acoustic music. These ‘old worlds’ blend in surprisingly well with more contemporary digital, futuristic sounds. Soothing analog recordings meet hyperdigital compositions reminiscent of IDM creations and peppered with spoken words that dance around in unexpected ways.
Seductive, intelligent and deeply hypnotic, this esoteric material delivers a dreamlike experience.
Like finishing a game and celebrating victory with cheap champagne in a neon light lit bubble bath with the end tune of The Legend of Zelda in the air.”
First digital edition of Zazou Bikaye’s pioneering 1985 Afro-electro-pop album, reissued and expanded with singles and bonus unreleased cuts on Crammed Discs, including remixes by label boss Vincent Kenis + Marc Hollander (Aksak Maboul)
‘Mr. Manager’ is the 2nd album by Congolese vocalist/composer Bony Bikaye alongside French musician/producer Hector Zazou and modular synth wizards CY1 after their ‘Noir et Blanc’ debut in 1983, which saw reissue shine in recent years, along with their ’88 acid house funk turn, ‘Guilty!’.
Their follow-up feels very much of that swanging mid-‘80s era, just before computer grids took over, and captures a slick mix of soukous, synth-pop, and Afro-funk performed by a crack squad of Congolese and Belgian musicians/singers, including Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout on trumpet & harmonica, Vincent Kenis on guitar, three brilliantly soulful backing singers (Mwamba Kasuba, Nicole MT & M’Bombo K) and two percussionists (Chris Joris & Bigoune). Marc Hollander played a bit of sax and produced some of the recordings, alongside Hector Zazou, Vincent Kenis and engineer Gilles Martin. ‘80s groove fiends should be checking for slippery aces in the quicksilver rhythmelody of ‘Le Menteur (Mokosi)’, the brassy synth funk swerve of ’Sopa’, and the acid house remix of ‘Get Back (Longwa)’ by Per Martinsen (Symese, Mental Overdrive).
Well, this is just lovely; Hiroshi Yoshimura’s soothing electro-acoustic ambient suite, Music For Nine Postcards  is made available outside the Japanese market for the 1st time, unfurling the Tokyo-based artist’s delicate, minimalist masterwork inspired by Satie, Schaefer and Eno to whole new generations in need of blissed sonic respite. Unless you’re a bit wadded or simply helpless to the charms of early ‘80s Japambient records and bought a dead expensive original, it’s maybe likely that you’ll only get to hear this one via YouTube otherwise, so the opportunity to hear this beauty in full fidelity, at a reasonable price, is not to be missed!
"Despite his status as a key figure in the history of Japanese ambient music, Hiroshi Yoshimura remains tragically under-known outside of his home country. Empire of Signs–a new imprint co-helmed by Maxwell August Croy and Spencer Doran–is proud to reissue Yoshimura’s debut Music for Nine Post Cards for the first time outside Japan in collaboration with Hiroshi’s widow Yoko Yoshimura, with more reissues ofHiroshi’s works to follow in the future.
Working initially as a conceptual artist, the musical side of Yoshimura’s artistic practice came to prominence in the post-Fluxus scene of late 1970s Tokyo alongside Akio Suzuki and Takehisa Kosugi, taking many commissioned fashion runway scores, soundtracking perfume, soundscapes for pre-fab houses, train station sound design – all existing not as side work but as logical extensions of his philosophy of sound.
His work strived for serenity as an ideal, and this approach can be felt strongly on Music for Nine Post Cards. Home recorded on a minimal setup of keyboard and Fender Rhodes, Music for Nine Post Cards was Yoshimura’s first concrete collection of music, initially a demo recording given to the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art to be played within the building’s architecture.
This was not background music in the prior Japanese “BGM” sense of the word, but “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyō ongaku given to Brian Eno’s “ambient” music when it arrived in late 70’s Japan. Yoshimura, along with his musical co-traveler Satoshi Ashikawa, searched for a new dialog between sound and space: music not as an external absolute, but as something that interlocks with a physical environment and shifts the listener’s experience within it.
Erik Satie’s furniture music, R. Murray Schafer’s concept of the soundscape and Eno’s ambience all greatly informed their work, but the specific form of tranquil stasis presented on releases like Nine Post Cards is still difficult to place within a specific tradition, remaining elusive and idiosyncratic despite the economy of its construction. This record offers the perfect introduction to Hiroshi’s unique and beautiful worldview: it’s one that can be listened to – and lived in – endlessly."
After that blink ’n miss 'Trip To Knowhere’ tape a few months back, Good Morning Tapes pulse out a hypnotic 40 minute LP of chopped & screwed Goa trance from Parisian shamans Alexis Le Tan and Joakim, aka Full Circle.
Continuing in keen pursuit of the heat-seeking sound of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Goan beach parties and Balearic terrazzos, Full Circle commit six sensuous, balmy edits to their first tape/digital collection, serving hypnotic highlights of their ‘Trip To Knowhere’ mixtape in extended cuts for the DJs and dancers to blend into their own fantasy trips, mirroring Vladimir Ivkovic’s Goa trance played at 33-not-45rpm specials.
Future London sounds from the past resurface in slippery dub plasma on ‘Here No Evil’ alongside the whirring bliss arp mechanics of ’Standing Horizontal’, with ‘Out Hear’ drawing upon On-U Sound ambient dub voodoo and ‘Beauty Fuel’ spins off a dusky pads and sand-trampling sort of jeep beat breaks, while they unzip in glorious fashion with the yoghurt-weaving ambient erotica sentiments of ‘Save The Planet, Save Yourself’ .
In 2020 Full Circle’s style can be taken as an ideal response to a real need for psychedelic lushness in the dance. ‘From Knowhere’ extends the vibes of their cult 12”s released between 2014-2019 with an immaculately stoned set that leads on perfectly from Good Morning Tapes’ ‘All Welcome’ compilation and D.K.’s esoteric ambient house session.
The sferic label add to a strong run of releases from Space Afrika, Perila, Echium and Roméo Poirier with a stunning new LP from Jake Muir; a fabrication of impressionistic cityscapes describing L.A. at dusk, and Berlin dawning, highly recommended if you’re into Pinkcourtesyphone, Gas, Philip Jeck, Jan Jelinek.
’The hum of your veiled voice’ was written by Muir in the wake of his transition from a life in Los Angeles to a new start in Berlin. It sees him transpose field recordings of his former home city into a hazier sort of mid-ground that subtly diffracts the difference with Berlin in summer, refining the shimmering production tekkers of his West Coast surf-pop tribute ‘Lady’s Mantle’ (2018) with a nuanced, lower case emotive tactility intended to arouse heady states of atmospheric tension between nostalgic sehnsucht and romantic promise.
Muir readily acknowledges influence from the more washed out, elusive textures, timbres, and spatial awareness of artists such as Philip Jeck, Richard Chartier, and Marina Rosenfeld, as opposed to the usual touchstones of AFX or Eno. But more implicitly he references a sense of queered ambience shared with Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone, and as such his music is seduced by the allure of “gay bathhouses and spas, club back rooms and decadent boudoirs” in a way that suffuses the whole record with an, intoxicating, aphrodisiac quality.
Supine and seductive in its illustration of an “endless night”, the devil lies in the album’s evocative intricacies, using a signature light touch and Akira Rabelais’ Argeïphontes Lyre software to ruffle locked grooves and dusty jazz loops into ASMR-triggering texturhythms and dematerialised, hea(r)tsick blurs between the ear-stroking ephemera of ‘fleeting touches’ and the way his music appears to waltz out of an open window over Berlin at night in ‘the dimness of the sealed eye’, and land on the pillow next to you ‘like sweet thoughts in a dream’.
Another Bohren & Der Club of Gore classic seeps up from below, seeing its first vinyl reissue since the original 2002 pressing. Like its predecessor, Sunset Mission, the tone and feel of Black Earth is steeped in a smoky history of noir jazz x avant metal, all perfectly weighted for head-plunging midnight immersion tipped to all Lynch/Badalamenti freaks.
It's impressive Bohren manage to play so slow without at least one of them nodding off; In their world everything operates at an opiated pace, with silvery solo piano, resonant double bass dabs and spectral voices seemingly curling off the wax into acres of negative space and taking your thoughts with them.
In terms of a sonic experience, basically everyone needs to undergo a Bohren album at least once in their life, and if you’ve never squinted into the distance of Sunset Mission or stared into the abyss of Black Earth, nows the time.
Half of Deaf Center, all of Svarte Greiner, and boss of the Miasmah label, Erik K Skodvin has long flirted with cinematic sounds and now he's turned in his first solo film score - a chilling, drone-heavy accompaniment to Mo Scarpelli's Ethiopa-set "Anbessa".
Erik K Skodvin was probably always meant to make film scores. Since Deaf Center's 2004 debut EP "Neon City", the Norwegian producer has been taking influence from composers like Angelo Badalementi, Clint Mansell and Cliff Martinez and juxtaposing these cinematic elements with the kind of low-end drones fellow Norseman Deathprod made his calling card. Skodvin's solo material as Svarte Greiner was doomier still, hinting at noise and metal but never losing the magical glow of the silver screen.
Now, Skodvin has turned in his first solo score for American director Mo Scarpelli's "Anbessa", a documentary feature set in Ethiopia, about a young boy whose family are displaced from their agricultural community as Addis Ababa becomes quickly urbanized - and gentrified. Skodvin's treatment won't initially surprise fans of his Svarte Greiner or Deaf Center material - those calling-card shadowy, wavering guitar drones and melancholy strings are all present - but the scope, sound and additional elements in the material make this a very different kind of record.
Recordings from the movie are folded into Skodvin's music, like distant animal sounds or children talking, giving the record a narrative quality even without the visuals. Eventually percussive elements are introduced: sparse, clattering sounds on the terrifying 'Dream of Becoming an Animal' and bass-heavy East African percussion on the title track. It's not a fusion we expected, but it works. Brilliant stuff.
Sister album to the dreamlike ‘Ashiata’ ace for Black Truffle, ‘Ashiato’ features Eiko Ishibashi’s enigmatic flute, keys, and electronics woven into billowing drone ambient tapestries by revered Japanese drummer, Yamamoto. Mastered by Jim O’Rourke.
“Tatsuhisa Yamamoto is a drummer from Yamaguchi, Japan, well known throughout the country for his work in Jazz, Improvisation, Rock, and more. He performed on the acclaimed Drag City records "The Dreams My Bones Dream" by Eiko Ishibashi, "Simple Songs" by Jim O'Rourke, and his wide interests have led him to be the drummer of choice for Free Jazz legend Akira Sakata. Yamamoto has also performed with Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi, and Phew among others. He has toured extensively throughout Europe and is also known in the world of theater for his work with the internationally renowned Japanese troupe "Mum & Gypsy."
Recently, Yamamoto is actively releasing solo and collaborative electronic music and experimental works. Now, he's releasing two completely different albums born from the same concept, from two labels in two different countries. ashioto from "Black Truffle Records" a label run by Oren Ambarchi that has attracted much attention in the electronic, experimental, and improvised music scenes. And ashiato from "NEWHERE MUSIC" a Japanese electronic music label that's released work by Jim O'Rourke, the Japanese edition of an album by Phew & Ana da Silva (Raincoats), and more.
"Music fans around the world might come across these two at a record store somewhere." In 2020, with the world cut off by distance, this simultaneous release from two labels in different lands and with different cultures teems with a playfulness for the enjoyment of music. The artwork for the two albums also incorporates a surprise you can discover when handling the records.
What happens when you apply different directorial approaches to the same script at the same time? This was the impulse that set production of the albums in motion. In addition to playing drums and percussion Yamamoto also takes on electronics, synthesizer, piano, and field recordings to produce the entire work by rearranging the guest musician's superb improvisations. He is making a crucial leap from drummer to a musician with a strong will.
Several keywords beat a path to this work: drone, ambient, improvisation, etc. But this music represents a world born from Yamamoto's unique fluency with sound dynamics and the acoustic and electronic in the context of live performance.”
bdrmm follow their debut album 'Bedroom' with 'The Bedroom Tapes', a new seven-track EP rounding up remixes and sessions.
"The EP features bare bones versions of ‘Gush’, ‘A Reason To Celebrate’ and ‘Forget The Credits’ from the album, plus a version of their 2019 single ‘Question Mark’. Originally recorded at home by the band’s Ryan and Jordan Smith for various radio sessions, these fragile versions expose the feelings that are often obscured by the noise of Bedroom.
“They were recorded over a three-day period at the height of our lockdown anxieties,” explains Jordan. “They are intentionally stripped back and loose, juxtaposing what we set out to do with the album.” He continues: “We pulled together a small recording studio in my bedroom; there were cables everywhere and it was all quite a mess. As a result, these versions are more reflective of the times they were recorded in: suppressed, uncertain and alone.”
The EP is rounded out with three radical reworkings of songs from Bedroom: Andy Bell’s take on ‘A Reason To Celebrate’ under his GLOK guise, which explores the previously uncharted middle ground between the late Andrew Weatherall and underrated 4AD outfit Ultra Vivid Scene; Ditz’s dynamic deconstruction of ‘If….’ (which you can listen to below); and International Teachers Of Pop’s almost obscenely cheerful ‘de-mix’ of ‘Happy’."
William Basinski’s Sparkle Division drop this sexy bomb of an album for optimum distraction from the world outside, properly surprising this one.
Working closely with his studio guy, Preston Wendel, Basinski reveals a whole other side to his vibe, cracking out his sax in sultry and free-jazzing style over killer rhythm tracks tilting between footwork, disco and lounge lizard swerve. And you can trust that coming from a guy who can rock a snakeskin shirt, he’s packing nuff swagger in every cut, proving Wendel’s input as the ideal foil and catalyst for the sexiest record in his 20 year wide catalogue of exquisite washed out classics.
As Basinski so eloquently puts it, “Lotta babies gonna be born from this one” to the ravishing footwork jazz of ‘Oh Henry!’, the feel of the whole album is just smoky and full of moxie, from that ridiculous cover art, to Basinski’s lowdown sax shredding on ‘You Ain’t Takin’ My Man’, thru lushest ambient loop jobs reminding of Co La and 0PN in ‘To The Stars Major Tom’, purest duvet diving ambience with Basinki’s sumptuous touch in ’To Feel’, and an unmissable outro sounding like Tender Love SND jamming with Angel Bat Dawit in ‘No Exit’. Whew. Time for a cig.
Yeah this one’s a little bit special. Sonic Pieces have long set themselves apart from the plethora of home-spun, hand-made, overly-serene imprints out there, both in terms of their exquisite packaging but more importantly via their patient, hand-picked selection of some of the finest avant-classical, drone and experimental yet accessible music out there.
And this new release - from the largely unknown Jasmine Guffond - really stands out as their best release yet. You may or may not have come across Guffond's other projects - Jasmina Maschina or Minit - but this debut album under her own name is something else entirely. in the space of the opening 20 minutes Guffond takes us from utterly brilliant drone/bass-treatments reminiscent of Jim O’Rourke’s finest, most dense electronic work, to the kind of lump-in-the-throat bare-boned songs Grouper has more or less made her own these last few years.
The production here is just incredibly good - an absolute masterclass in restraint through the arrangements, and fearlessness through her use of frequencies - taking you through emotional and sonic highs and lows without ever sounding contrived. It takes us back to Julia Holter’s early material for NNA Tapes, weaving in and out of field recordings and intense bassline oscillations through to the gentlest lullabies - a fully formed suite of songs that we’d be really surprised if we didn't hear much more about over the coming years. It really is a remarkable debut this - keep ‘em peeled for this one.
Last Halloween, Los Angeles experimental rap mainstays Clipping ended their three-year silence with the horrorcore-inspired album 'There Existed an Addiction to Blood.' Daveed Diggs, and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson return with an even higher body count, more elaborate kills, and monsters that just won’t stay dead.
"Visions of Bodies Being Burned is less a sequel than it is the second half of a planned diptych. It turns out, Clipping took to the thematic material of horrorcore like vampires to grave soil. Before the release of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, Clipping and Sub Pop Records divided the material up into two albums, designed to be released only months apart. However, a global pandemic and multiple cancelled tours pushed the release of the project’s “part two” until the following Halloween season. Visions of Bodies Being Burned contains sixteen more scary stories disguised as rap songs, incorporating as much influence from Ernest Dickerson, Clive Barker, and Shirley Jackson as it does from Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Brotha Lynch Hung. Clipping’s angular, shattered interpretations of existing musical styles are always deferential, driven by fandom for the object of study rather than disdain for it. Clipping reimagine horrorcore—the purposely absurdist hip-hop subgenre that flourished in the 1990s—the way Jordan Peele does horror cinema: by twisting beloved tropes to make explicit their own radical politics of monstrosity, fear, and the uncanny.
The album features a host of collaborators: Inglewood’s Cam & China, fellow noise-rap pioneers Ho99o9, Tortoise guitar genius Jeff Parker, and experimental LA drummer Ted Byrnes. The final track, “Secret Piece,” is a performance of a Yoko Ono text score from 1953 that instructs the players to “Decide on one note that you want to play/Play it with the following accompaniment: the woods from 5am to 8am in summer,” and features nearly all of the musicians who appeared on both albums.
Since their last album, Daveed Diggs—the group’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning rapper—has starred in the TNT science fiction series, Snowpiercer, voiced a character in Pixar’s Soul, and portrayed Frederick Douglass in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird. Writer Rivers Solomon’s novella based on Clipping’s Hugo-nominated song “The Deep” has been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards, and won the Lambda Literary Award for best LGBTQ SF/Fantasy/Horror novel. Clipping’s song “Chapter 319”—a tribute to George Floyd (AKA Big Floyd) the former DJ-Screw affiliated rapper who was murdered by police officers in May of 2020—was released on Bandcamp on June 19th and raised over $20,000 for racial justice charities. A clip of the song also became a popular meme on TikTok, generating over 50,000 videos in which teenagers rapped the song’s lyrics (“Donald Trump is a white supremacist, full stop…”) directly into the frowning faces of their conservative parents. The band also contributed a Skinny Puppy-esque rework of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy” to Save Stereogum: An ‘00s Covers Comp."
Second album for Blakk Harbor, a prolific sound designer at Native Instruments.
"Waves of noise and advanced sound design through pattern repetition and pulsating percussive blasts. Fairly terrorizing yet hypnotic with flashes of raw electricity and feedbacks riding on thick grainy waveform textures. Broken hardware transmissions and in-depth manipulated signal processing tamed to craft filmscaping monolithic sub-techno structures.
Staying devoted to his cinematic approach in music and darker narrative storytelling "A Modern Dialect" is an edgy backlash on our modern dehumanized declining society, a harsh uncompromising "dialect" against an ever-deteriorating globalization"
Glorious third album by Call Super; his first for Anthony Naples’ and Jenny Slattery's Incienso, following the label’s amazing DJ Python side with an immersive suite of shapeshifting sound design and needlepoint rhythm programming that occupies a sweetspot somewhere between Beatrice Dillon’s knockout ‘Workaround’ album, Mark Fell’s pointilistic signatures, or Sylvian & Sakamoto’s ‘Bamboo Houses’.
In the works for three years, or roughly since ‘Arpo’, Call Super’s third album moves his production tekkers to the next level. It incorporates stronger influence than ever from prevailing outernational rhythm currents, as well as stark modern classical and post-rock styles, to feel out a lushly organic and emotionally personalised sort of ambient dance ecosystem, one teeming with detailed and bedevilling production which gives voice to his most curious and inventive musical urges.
The level of nanometer-tight, obsessively filigree detail to his work here is just dead impressive, leaving no second sparing for movement in 10 succinct parts that add up to an ingenious, fractal mosaic of all his previous ideas, and then some. This new approach can be summed in the title and aesthetic of album opener ‘An Unstable Music’, where shards of metal guitar, icy piano droplets and bursts of concète texture set scattered coordinates for what’s to follow; taking in crystalline 2-step in ‘Pleasure For Pleasure’, and a tight dembow mutation of shine-eyed ‘90s AI in ‘Opperton Swim’, before it turns deep with his murky collage of chamber-like strings and strung-out vox in the ‘Mouth Bank Bed’, and the likes of ‘Sleep All Night With Open Eye’ push into a gloomy but humid sort of phantasia that sweetly contrasts his radiant webs of insectoid patterns recalling Beatrice Dillon’s amazing ‘Workaround’ album in ‘Ekkles’, and the switch between deliquescent arps and frayed vocals that wrap up the album in a wickedly puzzling knot.
Never released outside South Africa, and out of print even there since its original release in 1974, Outernational Sounds reissues one of the most sought-after international jazz records ever to appear on South Africa’s famous Gallo imprint – the spiritual and outward bound Habiba.
"As the archives of South Africa’s premier record labels steadily give up the treasures that were hidden in the darkness of the apartheid era, the incredible heritage of South African jazz is gradually finding the international audience it always deserved. And while most of the laurels are naturally for South Africa’s own overlooked musicians, the South African discography contains a few sparkling, nearly unknown jazz sessions by visiting players. Habiba is the greatest of them – a raw, impassioned set led by bop pianist Kirk Lightsey, who had been a regular sideman for Chet Baker and Sonny Stitt, and saxophonist Rudolph Johnson, a key player at the storied West Coast indie Black Jazz. Visits to the apartheid state by respected Black musicians were hardly a common occurance during apartheid’s darkest years – so how did a crew of crack American jazz players end up in the Gallo studios?
The story starts with the now almost forgotten crooner, Lovelace Watkins. Sometimes billed as ‘the Black Sinatra’, the Detroit-born Watkins sang standards, show tunes and ballroom classics on the Las Vegas circuit. Though he never made it big in the US, in his 1970s heyday he was a huge star in the UK and in southern Africa, where he toured regularly. In 1974 he hired a jazz big band to accompany him on a tour of South Africa – and among their number were Lightsey and Johnson, as well as Mastersounds bassist Monk Montgomery, West Coast trombonist and Doug Carn sideman Al Hall Jnr., and Marshall Royal, musical director of the Count Basie band. The tour was a huge success, and during downtime from performing, members of Watkin’s group managed to independently record no fewer than three albums. Two of these LPs appeared on the IRC label, billed as the Mallory-Hall Band – the third, which appeared on the more prestigious Gallo, was Lightsey and Johnson’s stunning Habiba.
Three tracks deep, the album is a heavy duty excursion into post-Coltrane spiritual modernism, ranging from the modal, cerebral intensity of the side-long title track ‘Habiba’, to the downhome breakbeat groove of ‘There It Is’, and the dark glitter of minor key waltz ‘Fresh Air’. Long one of the most desired global jazz LPs, and never before available outside South Africa, Habiba is a forgotten masterpiece of its era. With this fully licensed reissue, Outernational Sounds is proud to restore it to its rightful place in the canon of spiritualised modernist jazz."
Stomping, rollicking gospel music, intermingling with raw soul, searing blues, hard-rocking doo-wop and jazz, and storming r&b.
"Volume three: seventeen gems of fierce funk, rapturous soul and transcendent disco and boogie, super-charged with celebration and affirmativeness, loaded with roaring choirs, rocking horns and popping bass guitars, from the years leading up to Savoy’s acquisition by Malaco. Some seriously rare cuts here; for instance, the stupendous opener by Edith Moreno only appeared as a blank-label promo, in a tiny run."
Embryonic Free-Psych-Funk recordings from Parisian teenage improv-prog-combo (including members of French No-No Mod-Rockers Unity
"One of the most underrated and misunderstood directors to emerge from the rising smoke of the 1968 Parisian social explosion, Jean Rollin - a director with early links with the Paris underground, The Letterists, The Surrealists, improv theatre and the free-press - is best known for his films in the fantastique genre, producing the first French vampire film (Le Viol Du Vampire, 1968).
To celebrate the launch of (the) new Rollinade series, documenting some of the finest musical moments of the director's career as an avant-gardener, counter-culture vulture and Gallic vamp-tramp, Finders Keepers presents the entire unreleased soundtrack from the ultimate French vampire hippy flick 'Le Frisson Des Vampires' for the first time." "Imagine an early Gong/Ame Son/ Soft Machine session fuelled by a 1000 year old acid infused blood transfusion".
One night in 1975, a successful tax lawyer named Rafael Machuca had his mind blown in Barranquilla’s ‘Plaza de los Musicos’. Overnight he went from a high ranking position in the Columbian revenue authority to visionary production guru of the newly formed record label that bore his name, Discos Machuca, and for the next six years he devoted his life to releasing some of the strangest, most experimental Afro Psychedelia Cumbias ever produced.
"La Locura de Machuca is the story of one man’s bizarre odyssey into Colombia’s coastal music underground, and the wild, hypnotic sounds he helped bring up to the surface. The Colombian music industry was thriving in the mid-seventies, but while homegrown bolero and vallenato tunes were doing well on the charts, it was imported African records that were setting crowds on fire at the picos - the sound-systems that fuelled neighbourhood parties - and wherever those records were played there were always a handful of groups who were inspired to plug traditional Cumbia directly into the electric currents coming from across the Atlantic. It was these obscure bands, who fused Colombian and African rhythms with the swirling organs and psychedelic guitars of underground rock, that fired Machuca’s imagination.
While the label made its money releasing popular hits by legends such as Alejandro. Dur n and An bal Vel squez, that money was poured back into a unique run of experimental releases by fringe artists such as La Banda Africana, King Somalie, Conjunto Barbacoa, and Abelardo Carbono, one of the godfathers of Champeta Criolla. When Machuca couldn’t find groups to realise his particular vision, he simply created them himself. Drawing on a fearsome roster of musicians associated with the label, he assembled bands that lasted only as long as it took to record an album ,and unleashed the results - complete with arrestingly unusual album covers - under a series of different names such as Samba Negra or El Grupo Folcl rico. This unorthodox approach led his longtime recording engineer, Eduardo D vila, to describes Machuca’s productions as the “B-Movies of Colombian music.” The story of Doctor Machuca and his eccentric exploits tells of one of Colombia’s most atypical and peculiar record companies; a defining pillar of Afro- Caribbean psychedelia. His productions have come to represent the roots of Champeta and set the pedigree standards for Afro and Coste o avant-garde. The seventeen tracks on La Locura de Machuca, harvested from the darkest, strangest corners of the Discos Machuca catalogue, sound like little else recorded before or since."
Intrepid collagist Gonçalo F. Cardoso adopts the Lagoss alias for a humid and dread-filled cyber-tropical fusion of field recordings, indolic atmospheres and glitch mulch. Think Metal Preyers jags on NNT meets Faitiche fakelore...
“Introducing a new project by Discrepant label boss Gonçalo F. Cardoso (Gonzo, Visions Congo, Papillon, Prophetas) and Tenerife electronic stalwarts Tupperwear (Mladen Kurajica and Dani Tupper).
Diving deep into various phantom island mythologies (the elusive St. Brendan’s island being a recurring motif) Lagoss borrow from the exotica playbook of ideas and twist it inside out into a bubbling melting pot of sounds, shapes and patterns that eventually confuse, wonder and (occasionally) scare the inattentive listener.
Built like a schizophrenic booklet of moods, with 50+ vignettes describing the various habitats and moods of the local (imaginary) archipelago, LAGOSS VOL1 offers grand visions of brave new old worlds, independent from the obvious, atypical lines of thought. There’s no such thing as a break from mother nature here, fauna and flora take it all, a constant buzz of local predators, big and small, preying on everyone and anyone, constantly - humans are just temporary guests here.
A nautical almanac of remote notions from a forsaken land, built and rebuilt upon layer and layer of green and blue death - forget Martin Denny, no armchair xylophone grooves here.”
12” of ‘Valleys’ featuring remixes from Confidence Man and Graham Massey.
"‘Valleys’ is taken from Working Men’s Club’s self-titled 10-track album. Talking about the track, Syd from the band said: “‘Valleys’ is probably the most honest song on the record and I guess sets a premise for the rest of the album, growing up in a small town and trying to escape. It was one of the last songs we finished, we couldn’t quite get the right string sound despite layering up about 4 synths up then Ross brought in his fixed LE string synth and it sounded perfect for the song. It’s the first track on the album and one of the last songs I wrote before going into Sheffield to finish off the record. Having been in lockdown since the end of Winter in Todmorden it seems like there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to release this song.”
Sound artist Jasmine Guffond and composer Erik K Skodvin bring the best out of each other in a masterfully moody, unpredictable collaboration featuring sylphlike guest vocals by Finnish psych spirit Islaja.
Brought together by Sonic Pieces’ Monique Recknagel for the label’s 10th anniversary show in 2019, Guffond and Skodvin’s live performance was so strong that an album was commissioned and ‘The Burrow’ is the brooding result. Named after Kafka’s unfinished short story, written six months before his death, and revolving “a small creature who builds a burrow that's anxiously fortified in an attempt to protect against perceived attacks”, the album unfolds with a quietly immanent, intimate procession from stately classical minimalism gilded with haunting glossolalic vox by Merja Kokkonen (Islaja), before nesting in a prickly lush haze of cymbals and subbass on ‘White Eyes’, and further exploring that cocooning sub bass into ‘The Burrower’ and ‘Cozumel Trasher’, but somewhat threatened by anxious outside forces with a masterful grasp of quiet/loud dynamics.
The album gives both artists a mutual, inspired platform for summoning their ability to conjure uncanny, emotionally charged sensations and totally enveloping, abstract narratives.
The wood-fired analogue synths and drum machines of PCA return to Barcelona’s Lapsus with John Talabot in tow for a smoky proto-technoid séance with the spirits of Delia Derbyshire and John Carpenter.
Pye Corner Audio coaxes out his furriest arps in earshot of Alessandro Crotini and BoC on ‘Phase B’, before putting some fuel to the floor with the sleek Goan disco heft or ‘Weather The Storm’ recalling Novo Line with shorts on and stomping the sand, and ’Self-Synchronise’ works toward a duskier IDIB disco horizon. John Talabot keep it sleazy and Californian with a taut, burning 8 min remix of ’Resist’ full of writhing arps riveted into place by tweaky electro power drums. Killer!
Originally released in 2011 on cassette on the Magic+Dreams label.
Here's some words from Bass Clef:
"2010-2011, I’d quit my job to try and do music full time, it never really worked out but there were great highs and lows to make up for that. In a kind of chaotic freefall, I was in between labels, looking backwards and forwards at the same time. This record was made very quickly and was very personal, really just made for me and for a few close friends, some of whom I’d grown up with.
I feel very differently about sampling now than I did at that time, and am not sure I would make a record like this again. I wanted to use very familiar sounds, sounds that had been all over the records I loved as a teenager, and along with the vocal samples, to tell a story. Of the sense of freedom that dance music had brought to me, and of the mental costs of living that kind of life, and of the beautiful joys too.
Some of my most vivid listening experiences in my late teens were always walking home coming down after parties or nights out, so Inner Space was intended as a reverse time capsule - a retrospective soundtrack for those early mornings. It was dedicated to the tunes, DJ’s, soundsystems, noisy neighbours and pirate stations that inspired me and repeatedly turned my head inside out"
An extensive, sumptuous survey of surely the mightiest Gospel label of them all, Savoy. Drawn from nigh-impossible-to-find 78s, sevens, twelves and LPs, hardly any of these recordings - perhaps none - have been reissued since their first release. Co-curated by Greg Belson, compiler of Divine Disco; with deep, extensive notes by Robert Marovich, author of A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music (University of Illinois), and host of the award-winning radio show Gospel Memories.
"The second volume brings sublime crossings of gospel with the soul, funk and jazz of the Black Power era. Twenty rapturous cuts dot dazzlingly between Muscle Shoals soul, screwed breakbeat, Mizells-style fusion, disco and proto-house. Triumphant re-workings of Sly Stone, Donny Hathaway and Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters will have listeners throwing their pew cushions into the air."
The first of three volumes: stomping, rollicking gospel music, intermingling with raw soul, searing blues, hard-rocking doo-wop and jazz, and storming r&b.
"Infused and incandescent with the hurting, surging indignation of the Civil Rights movement, here are twenty-four precious scorchers by giants like the Staple Singers and Jimmy Scott, alongside devastating sides by less celebrated names like the Harmonising Five of Burlington, North Carolina, and teen-group the North Philadelphia Juniors, culminating triumphantly with slamming, sanctified versions of Hit The Road Jack and Wade In The Water."
Tightest techno, 2-step and swanging downstrokes from Two Shell, supplying the 2nd shot on their London based Mainframe Audio - big RIYL Peverelist, Artwork, DJ Python, Pessimist.
Sidewinding from their 2019 debut with Livity Sound, ‘Touchpad’ lays out the duo’s influences from deep techno to UK garage and electronica in subtly updated and augmented forms, gyring the hips and feet like some tranced out Artwork/Grain minter in ‘Touchstone’ - serious anthem this! - and pivoting off killer Burial-esque woodblocks before the electro-trance arps take over in his low-bitrate banger ‘Oil Slick’. On the other hand, they also nail a slower style with rudest techno swag recalling CUB and Pessimist, but with heir own glaze of disaffected tronics in ‘Fracture’, and a grubby darkroom slug ‘Force’ that could almost have crept out of Coil’s studio circa early ‘90s but sounds ripe for now.
Heads up, UK dance fiends.
Bolshy Bristol bassbin business from Lamont, astray from duties for Loefah’s 81 with a first shot for Orson’s Version
‘Dominant’ lurks up with drill-style minor key intro and finds its groove on a half step skank with plunging subs and cruddiest drums. ‘I Won’t Ask’ leans off-kilter on a wonky, darkside 2020 mutation of UK bleep techno steez.
Wonderfully bittersweet modern composition from Oliver Leith, who piqued our attention with an ace debut for Herbert’s Accidental, and grabs it again with his puckered melodies and keening tunings for SN Variations
Where his introductory EP was off-kilter lush, there’s a more aspartame flavour and rubbery harmonic feel to ‘Balloon’ that puckers up somewhere in our minds between The Automatics Group and Markus Floats on the first piece, and Entr’acte’s six swords enigma in the expressively sharp electronics of the second. ‘Balloon III’ is given to a more stately procession of curdled melodies and dead strange harmonics that appear to incrementally ascend across the track, and ’Slide’ drips with the prototypical algorithmic slime of Æ circa LP5 and EP7. 100% one to keep an ear on, this guy.
Kelly Lee Owens crisps up and expands her melodic synth-pop style on a well anticipated follow-up to 2017’s breakthrough debut LP - including a smart Radiohead cover and guest feature by John Cale.
'Inner Song’ sees London’s Kelly Lee Owens hone her sound to a fine blend of sleek, late ‘00s melodic minimal techno and timeless, shine-eyed synth-pop with neatly tempered nods to her home city’s rude club swing.
Going deeper on the sound of her debut LP, she stakes her tastes for classic and experimental pop between the album’s two key reference points: a nimbly stepping cover of Radiohead’s ‘Arpeggi’ from ‘In Rainbows’; and the husky guest appearance of Velvet Underground’s John Cale over her dreamy electronics on album highlight ‘Corner Of My Sky’.
In between, she recalls everything from a moonlit meeting of Four Tet & Julee Cruise with the synth-gilded 2-step of ‘On’, to Fever Ray doing R&B in ‘Re-Wild’, or some Mathew Jonson tech house twirler from the mid ‘00s in ‘Jeanette’, and a sweet piece of Sally Shapiro-esque dry iced synth-pop in ‘L.I.N.E.’
Brooding synthy introspection from Linja, making his debut album turn on Tel Aviv’s Malka Tuti with a hypnotic set of arpeggiated arabesques and night flights
Shades-on, cig lit, Linja goes into the night with a furtive sound drifting between the bittersweet modular synth tang and smoky jazz notes of ‘Into The Nowhere’, and crepuscular scenes of ‘Echoes Of Nothingness’, roll out like a lost Legowelt number with ‘In The Darkness of the sleeping streets’, before the trip turns more acidic, byzantine with the mazy shape of ‘Reflection’, and ‘Koda’ rounds the album up in desert-psych guitar strokes, but leaves his story open-ended for future volumes.
MFM return to a precious strain of their interests with a second volume of ‘Music For Dance & Theatre’ packing dreamy and slinky treats from another batch obscure artists.
Delving deeper into their shelves for music “initially created for or inspired by dance and performance” they highlight the porous borders between avant garde art, theatre, and music, lulling us into hypnagogic states with the almost Ethiopiques-esque keyboard lilt of Craig Kupka’s ‘Electric Piano, Vibraphone and Percussion’, the infectiously slinky, metallic rhythmelodies of Ray Lynch’s ‘Cooking Till It’s Hot’, and the expansive freeform movement of Scan Lines, dancing on some mutant, liquid-limbed early Autechreian tip.