‘Travelog’ was the third EP released by Mat Steel and Mark Fell as SND, arriving in 1999 just before the release of their influential debut album ‘Makesnd Cassette’ on the Mille Plateaux label.
Of the three EP reissues in the series, ‘Travelog’ contains the most developed and satisfying work from the pair, edging their reduced production palette into more fully-realised dimensions, colouring-in those instantly recognisable bass notes and isolated percussive elements with a slow, sublime trickle of melody. The 6 extra tracks included are indispensable - extending the original EP into an hour of mesmerising, slowly immersive rhythmic pulses that still sound pretty much unlike anything you’ll have heard before - a perfect bridge between House, Techno and UKG re-imagined within a stripped structure that should act as a masterclass for a new school of producers trying to balance-out rhythmic complexity with space.
The opening ‘A1’ encapsulates this asymmetry brilliantly, bare swing and shuffle riding chiming chords that add warmth and space to an already intoxicating blueprint, while A3 takes those same elements and sharpens them into a slow, undulating alignment bolstered by that immaculate mastering treatment from Rashad Becker. ‘B3’ takes things deeper - a slow percussive edit slowly drowned-out by a growling analogue drone, while the closing side joins the dots between this EP series and that trio of albums for Mille Plateaux that would soon establish SND as the most forward-thinking and still resolutely original producers from an otherwise largely-forgotten musical era.
Jeff Parker is a member of the genre-splitting outfit Tortoise and has also played in the Chicago Underground Quartet/Trio, as well as the fusion leaning Isotope 217. Parker is one independent jazz's most in-demand guitarists He is widely considered it's most versatile guitarist and is gigging constantly throughout the world. The Relatives is Jeff Parker's first solo record on Thrill Jockey, but his second solo record to date. The first was released on legendary Blues and Jazz label, Delmark. This is a gorgeous record, opening up with the wondrous "Istanbul", most reminiscent of the backing to Sam Prekop's amazing self titled debut album. Although the jazz sequencing here is often the central focus, there's enough of the quiet post rock tradition to remind you of Jeff's dayjob - something that imbues this album with the cross-generic appeal Thrill Jockey so often excel at. Lovely home listening, recommended!
Mark Fell and Mat Steel’s second EP as SND was released in 1999, a year after their debut ‘Tplay’. It continued to explore their distinct, highly individual take on electronic minimalism, House and UK Garage stripped to its bare bones.
This extended reissue features the original 6 tracks of ’newtables’, plus 6 previously unheard recordings from the same sessions - all fully remastered by Rashad Becker from the original DAT tapes. The tracks more or less split themselves into three distinct categories: the first detailing the brilliant swing and shuffle of their reduced UKG mutations, with ’22’ in particular perfecting the balance between academic reduction and kinetic, feminine motion.
The second outlines a more linear approach utilising reduced House and Techno templates, while the last includes more experimental works such as the proper fwd bass-pulse arrangements on the previously unheard B2 and the frequency fxxckery of closing track D3. This excellent reissue and the series as a whole really is a massive eye-opener for anyone unfamiliar with this incredible, important early material.
The scene: the welsh mountains, remote and harsh, a good place to produce a special album. Volker Bertelmann on pianos as well as bass from Stefan Schneider of Mapstation and To Rococo Rot, and a deftest trace of processing, barely discernible. This is tender, highly personal music, simply because it has always been there in some shape or form, because it has always been important. Think Satie, 'Koln Konzert' or perhaps even Bill Evans at his most european and romantic. The title points to the fact that this luscious album deals with the big stuff, not just finger exercises or background muzak. “Substantial” is based upon improvisation - each track is based upon an opening sequence, the theme of which is extended, modulated and varied, with no specific objective in mind. What emerges is music of substance: eleven atmospheric pieces allowed to break into consciousness, gently searing images with narrative depth unfold; double bass or vibraphone appear, at once lending a hint of pop, but at no time detracting from the central instrument. Sultry, tactile, candlelit music. Big recommendation.
Soundway come with a very necessary reissue of Jay U Experience’s Nigerian psych-funk-reggae blinder, Enough Is Enough after building dancefloor intrigue with his Some More peach on the Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound Of The Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79 compilation.
First appearing on EMI Nigeria in 1977 and now available to the world at large, it’s clear that Some More wasn’t the only belter this LP has to offer. From the most infectious stripe of swaying reggae soul in Reggae Deluxe to the funky horns and disco strut of Get Yourselves Together, thru the hard bitten psych-funk of Enough Is Enough and the plangent, distorted flares of Baby Rock, this is 100% dynamite.
Heads are seriously going to light up for this one!
Italy’s Mondo Groove give a bonus life to K. Bytes’ 8-bit disco bonanza, I Adore Commodore, which was originally recorded and issued in 1983, one year after he released Computer Disco as Marcello Giombini.
Everything from the screenshot artwork of a robotic bloke and pals, to the LP’s jaunty, energetic tunes, is inspired by Giombini’s love of computers and video games, as he was a proud early owner of an Apple II Europlus before converting to the Commodore 64 model which inspired this LP, largely due to the fact it provided him with three independent music generators enabling him to realise his elaborate sound.
So what better way to express your love of video games and computers than a suite dedicated to their soundtracks, taking the names of his favourite games such as Le Mans and Space Invaders as cues for a bleep fest of the funkiest kind with bubbling Italo treats such as Solar Fox, the cosmic tension of Jupiter Landing and an absolutely wigged-out piece of cascading arpeggios in Sea Wolf.
Weird World popster Jaakko Eino Kalevi and fellow Finn, Sami Toroi aka Long Sam reprise their Man Duo for the first time since Totuuden Rakastajat / Amateurs De Vérité  with a well fermented batch of screwball yacht boogie, krautrock whirligigs and nippy electro-pop kissed with a debonaire Euro/Detroit élan.
Landing somewhere between Junior Boys and Marie Davidson in terms of modern artists, or Ned Doheny and latter Klaus Schulze in classics terms, Orbit turns up some really disco-friendly gems in the scudding synth-pop of What If It Falls with the memorable refrain “push-ups / shaving / moisturiser” and again with the ruder boogie of Vanessa, while you’ll also find low key highlights in the late night grease of Unter Vier Augen and the dry iced gylde of Tanyan Teema and The Middle.
Sombre solo piano introspection fleshed by strings and subtly gilded with field recordings of a stormy Yorkshire
“Following his celebrated moogmemory project, Matthew Bourne returns to the piano for Isotach. Once again, spontaneity is the keyword where Bourne is concerned, catching on tape that pregnant moment when a piece begins to form.
Skeletal piano motifs, an aching use of space and sparing cello arrangements are deployed to devastating effect. Recorded in his rural Yorkshire home, Bourne’s piano placed to overlook the moors while he works, the album title is a nod to the weather, which played a part in its creation. The recordings took place during what Bourne describes as “extreme weather”. If you listen carefully you can hear the wind and rain picked up on the microphones, the sparse instrumentation providing the calm in the eye of the storm.”
CPU pay dues to their local roots with two rebuilds of obscure bleep techno aces by Sheffield’s Detromental, originally issued on their own label, Rave, in 1991.
Move is real beauty melding misty-eyed pads and chattering bleeps with massive subbass and lagging, swinging drum machines. Love that rusty-chopped Power House sample, which is presumably kept dead trim, as per the original sampler’s tiny memory bank.
Rewind is a more stripped down and ruder example of steel city styles, clearly showing the roots of the bassline garage/niche forms which would later emerge around South Yorkshire.
Equal parts brittle rhythmic drive, angular contortions and monochrome minimalism...
"The band shows no sign of compromise whatsoever, being as stark, harsh and stubbornly inhospitable as the strobe-haunted, feverishly kinetic live shows that have earned them a fearsome reputation beyond the rumoured West country of their origins or the urban environs of their adopted home.
Split into seven excerpts and built on powerful repetition, it’s a mind-melding travail into abstraction and abjection which draws on post-punk, jazz, drone, electronic and avant-garde tropes to create an unclassifiable assault that feels oddly timeless - innovative, invigorating and bare-boned yet tapping into a uniquely English lineage that extends back to the 1970s and forward, into the unknown. Nonetheless, whilst some may be able to detect influences like This Heat (whose Charles Hayward approvingly described their sound as redolent of “a barely controlled anger, hypnotic and building from the simplest elements”) or Einsturzende Neubauten, Housewives are carving out their own unique place in the darker quarters of the underground, motivated by a fearsome intensity of conviction and a fearlessly experimental approach.
‘FF061116’ is the latest in a series of transmissions from a collective mindset whose manifestations are as richly rewarding as they are relentlessly intense. Wherever they go from this aural outpost, all intrepid avant adventurers would do well to buckle in for the ride."
Dense, heavy yet deft dub techno from Edinburgh’s Stephen Brown
Serving the Mike Dehnert-esque heft of Sandtext’s gruff subs, gravelly drums and clipped chords across the A-side, then squeezing out the tight, squirmy skank of Wet and the Detroit techno refractions of Back Strobe on the flip.
Iceland’s Bjarki hits a vein of icy trance techno and braindance on his 6th release with Nina Kraviz’s трип label.
On the A-side he reins in the braindance tics of recent releases to get back on the boom boom with moody, deriving effect in Thodn Med Skit a Master and then at an old skull AFX angle with the brooding, off-coloured harmonics of This 5321.
Turn over and you’ll find him mashing those styles with breaks and grumbling acid a la Astrobotnia on Galopinn Muninn, before erecting the steepled braintrance dimensions of Fimmtudgur 16-2 to sound like a a night lost in the smoke at Havoc or in some Hackney warehouse.
Finders Keepers and Demdike Stare’s Dead-Cert label unearth a record that has evaded collectors and online discographies for over 40 years - perhaps the rarest artefact they have reissued thus far. It's an impossible-to-find Italian library music oddity from semi-mythical producer and Fabio Frizzi collaborator Giuliano Sorgini, aka Raskovich, with a spellbinding collection of obscure and mind-bending oddities, Minimalist tape experiments, mechanical noise and musique concrète.
Best regarded for his groundbreaking electro-acoustic and concrète sound design input to The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue and Zoo Folle, Raskovich is also linked to a wealth of impossible-to-find cult LPs with Alessandro Alessandroni’s Braen, Giulia Alessandrini’s Kema, and their mysterious supergroup The Pawnshop, all amounting to a catalogue which assures his place in the pantheon of library music greats.
Going deep into their under-the-counter channels, Dead-Cert have again outdone themselves with this outing, salvaging Science & Technology from total obscurity to reveal an innovator working at the full extent of his avant imagination in a sort of cybernetic symbiosis with his studio-as-instrument. Keening between sounds as much suited to a blood-lusting horror as a psychedelic, drug-fuelled thriller or some esoteric sci-fi, he penetrates and opens up vividly magnetising realms of abstraction that just beg to be explored by listeners who think they’ve heard it all before.
Erring closer to the kind of minimalist negative space and fractured dynamic favoured by Belgium’s IPEM, or even pre-echoing the atonality of Maurizio Bianchi, for example, as opposed the fluffier lounge tendencies found on many recent reissues from his field, Science & Technology lives up to its title with impressionistic depictions of industry and plugged-in life evocatively animated under titles such as Fissione Nucleare and Biochemica, or accurately modelling processes in the mutant, polymetric patterning of Germinzione.
It really takes albums like this one to remind us of the prescient collective and individual genius of the Italian library music scene, especially at a time when the quality levels, in terms of musical intrigue and uniqueness, not just presentation, is being called into question by a swell of inferior, or just plain unnecessary library music relics. As Andy Votel explains; "this release is quite unlike the many projects that have recently flooded the reissue market and stands up as one of the truly unobtainable and wholly original records to come from this important era of European studio music by a composer whose reputation is slowly approaching monarchial status."
Simply, it’s an engrossing example of the innovative technique and inventive imagination which made Italy a most legendary crucible of experimental music.
Classy new takes on classic rare grooves. RIYL Dego, Kaidi Tatham, Herbie Hancock
“22a017 has arrived and it sees two of London’s most celebrated underground producers enter into album territory.
Comprised of ten cuts ‘Brick City’ takes the listener on a journey through Afro-House, Funk, Rare Groove, Boogie and Broken Beat to name a few. Tunes like ‘Brick City (4am)’ and ‘Butterfly’ groove effortlessly whilst synth leads interject over tasty chords, all the while being supported by solid bass lines – these two will undoubtedly set a strong pace on the dancefloor. ‘Funky Booda’ does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a straight Funk classic! Its infectious groove and soaring leads are sure to have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet. ‘Be Ur Friend’ is a fiery Afro-House number - reminiscent of one of Tenderlonious's early releases ‘Bob’s Riddim.’ With a slow build, the listener is teased until finally the drums drop and all hell breaks loose – another dancefloor winner! There’s also more hip-hop inspired selections like ‘Brick City (4pm)’ or ‘Pepe’s Walk,’ which bump hard and have strong traces of Sa-Ra and J Dilla influence.
The record comes complete with quirky skits like ‘Bootsy’ and ‘Ferndale Gateaux,’ which blend in and out between the other tunes allowing the record to flow effortlessly from beginning to end. There is something for everyone on this album. It’s the kind of record you can play at home from start to finish or take out to the club as an essential dancefloor filler. It pays homage to the 22a ethos, it has mass appeal and yet still maintains a high level of quality! In short this album solidifies the duos ability to make great music with their own signature sound, unique to their world and lifestyle.
2017 is all about 8R1CK C17Y!”
Strong house soul transfusion from Byron The Aquarius to Eglo Records
Dancing from the pendulous pace setter Song For a Friend thru the ruder, jazzed-up jack of Mind Body & Soul to hit the downstroke with class on Blow Your Mind and S.S.D.P.
Nachthexen are a band - possibly a coven - from Sheffield making fresh, fiery and eminently danceable synth punk.
"This record follows on and includes re-released songs from their excellent sold out cassette The Other (2015) and self-titled 7" (2016). Touching on themes of social anxiety and isolation, feminist protest, and sanctuary in sisterhood, the witch is a fitting figure for this sound. Striking, minimalist artwork based on lunar cycle imagery in the band's signature yellow and black adds to an aesthetic of outsider occultism that complements the lyric sheet perfectly.
Filter that eeriness through the ferocity of classic punk, and the catchiness of 80s post-punk and new wave - and you start to arrive at somewhere near their sound. Tight and taut drums and bass anchor the songs with sustained rhythms, while the synth soars above and the great, in-your-face vocals push at the forefront. At times the interplay between rumbling bass and gothic synth takes things to a dark magical place where Goblin's Suspiria, Gary Numan, and post-punks Siekiera might also converge, which I think is pretty remarkable.
On the other hand, something of the punchy attitude and ear-worm hooks recalls the spirit of women pushing punk forward in the late 70s and 80s - Kleenex springs to mind, or the rowdy vocals of Suicide Squad. However, I have the feeling that no attempt to settle on an accurate historical comparison for this band could be successful."
Specially cut to 7” for all the DJs with fat fingers, Kyle Hall follows up Speed of Life with the psychedelic beatdown swang of Teacher Plant and a scuffed soul nudge called D.S.P. (Dear Sweet Potato).
An educated guess would assume that Teacher Plant is Hall’s ode to the putative lushness of ayahuasca, giving up four minutes of earthy breakbeats and sweeping synthwork with a sweetly psychoactive effect.
D.S.P. (Dear Sweet Potato) on the other hand, slumps into a more laid-back state with crumpled drums and pitch-bent chromatic key strokes projecting a sort of arabesque, geometric lightshow for the back of your eyelids.
At long f**king last, DJ Bone’s stone cold Metroplex classic sees reissue on Anotherday for its 18th birthday, putting one of the deadliest Detroit electro-techno 12”s back into circulation for a new generation and those who’ve worn theirs to the bone (pun intended).
Riding The Thin Line notably features two cuts that were integral to DJ Bone’s seminal and incredible Subject: Detroit Volume 2 mix, namely Shut The Lights Off, a slamming tribal tool with stentorian vocals and utterly spine-freezing pads that get us every time, and the body messing acid-electro hydraulics of The Funk, which is pretty much a definitive answer to the question, what is Detroit electro?
Factor in the floating peak time pressure of The Haunting, pitch it all to about +4, and you’ve basically got an unmissable 12” for any self-respecting Detroit fiend.
Rafael Anton Irisarri unveils his latest sublime panoramas, presenting his first major solo work since 'A Fragile Geography' for Room 40. If you’re into GAS, Tim Hecker, Lawrence English or Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - this one comes highly recommended.
Mantled in reference to the socio-political upheaval it was borne in, The Shameless Years was written in a flurry of creativity at the end of 2016 when Irisarri booted up some old software in addition to his trusted palette of guitar, pedals, amps and analogue processing at his Black Knoll Studio. There, he rediscovered a mean sense of purpose that lends these recordings a thematic cohesion producing his strongest work in ten years of releasing material under his own name as well as The Sight Below, Orcas, and collabs with Slowdive’s Simon Scott, among others.
In typically gauzy vision, the album starts off from an elevated perspective with stately melodies masked by impenetrable fields of noise harmonics on Indefinite Fields - perhaps a poignant metaphor for hope thwarted by terror and confusion. It passes on into the glum marching rhythm buried beneath RH Negative’s banking walls of shoegaze distortion and the expansive lost-at-sea feel of Bastion, sustaining and building a symphonic melodic defiance against the swell, before sublimating himself to the lushness of Sky Burial, which on one hand is a deeply serious mediation on his own mortality, and on the other somehow sounds uncannily close to a shoegaze version of Careless Whisper. Such is life.
To perfectly compound and heighten the impact, Irisarri shares the weight of emotion with Tehran-based composer Siavash Amini in the LP’s final, and arguably most affective, two parts. In a subversive gesture to the travel ban on Iranians imposed by La Naranja, which is only made sweeter thru its release by a Mexican label, the pair worked remotely to realise a fitting diptych with the tempestuous glower of pealing harmonics and apocalyptic low end rumbles in Karma Krama, then tempering and moderating that rage in a palindromic passage from doom jazz to majestic harmonic clusters and back in The Faithless with a crushing sense of controlled rage that reminds us of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore at their most subdued and devastating.
Italian composer Sandro Mussida follows up a pair of probing Mark Fell collaborations with the exquisitely enchanting minimalist Classical suite, Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibili - translating to Twenty-One Invisible Constellations in english - offering a beguiling, meditative iteration of 21st century Italian avant-garde as the debut release on Alfredo Scotti’s Metrica label.
Making up the first record with Mussida’s name at the top, Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibili ventures a beautifully suspenseful play on perceptions of time and space rendered in two distinct, electro-acoustic pieces, each making sublime use of an ensemble comprising the artist as director and looping strings, alongside Enrico Gabrielli (clarinet), Yoko Morimyo (violin), Susanne Satz (piano), Alessandra Novaga (electric guitar), Giulio Patara (triangles, celesta, tam tam), Sebastiano De Gennaro (triangles, glockenspiel, chinese gongs), and Giovanni Isgrò (sampler).
In both parts the piece references a graphic score which looks like the schematic for a teepee, but in fact describes a “transfiguration of perceptual time” in its triangular design, prompting the performers to play pitches at differing speeds, with musical “cells” generated by the rotation of triangular figures in time and space. While we may not be able to correlate exactly what we’re hearing on the record, it’s at least easy enough to see where the precision of its underlying structure stems from.
In the first, ten minute instance, this manifests an incredibly delicate display of pointillist percussions and levitating, sustained string tones which establish the spatial parameters, before shards of guitar and piano light up the space with a pensive emotional ambiguity which reveals itself as increasingly blue, melancholy and strung out by the pinch of the closing notes. In contrast, its 14 minute counterpoint is more radiant, but not necessarily optimistic, striking a balance of nervous tension and chiming harmonic resolution that soon enough slips into something like a lucid dream state with an almost theatric interplay and agenda that crosses soundtrack, avant-garde and classical sensibilities in a mannered, poised way that’s key to so much of the strongest Italian music, clearly inheriting from the likes of Giusto Pio and Franco Battiato, and cleanly resonating with modern works by Oren Ambarchi or Elodie.
All that said, there’s something totally captivating about this LP that can’t be explained in terms of its technique or theory. It’s a record whose crafty metaphysics encourage a sublime, unknown state which must be experienced to be understood.
Jason Fine follows a five year break from new releases on FXHE and Kontra-Musik with a full spectrum display of Detroit house for the deeply rooted DBA label, following up his earthy remix of Typesun’s Make It Right.
As one of a small handful of people not called Omar-S to release on FXHE, Jason Fine evidently possesses the kind of gritty soul that cuts it in Detroit. The Moonscapes EP shows off that soul in four parts, getting into motor city gear with the hazy, sylvan swang and murmuring synth voices of Amalthea, then cruising the other side of the tracks with Dione - whose strapping acid bass strongly recalls Big Strick’s Armed & Dangerous - before bringing it back to the debonaire with his glassy, skippy Elana, and meditating on sweet new age vibes somewhere between Jamal Moss and Mika Vainio in Larissa.
From Peckhm’s rooted hotbed of dancefloor fuss, the FYI Chris duo follow up up 12”s for Rhythm Section and Lionoil Industries with the skewed house hustle of Spirit Animal
Twisting from Afro-psyche-funk inspirations woven into Captains Patilla and the grubbing, glinting shimmy of Dance Bebey to more pendulous percussive heft in Silk, neatly balanced by light-footed flutes and bleeps.
For the early evening/late morning dancers!
Wigged out, grubbing dub and rooted outernational styles from Mo Kolours, landing square between Ras-G and Clap! Clap! vibes
“Side A opens with ‘Cerasee Doctor,’ a classic Mo Kolours production. Hip Hop meets Dub Reggae, with a catchy vocal loop throughout, equipped with a healthy dollop of dub sirens – this one is sure to grace many a soundsystem worldwide! ‘Margoze’ follows and takes the listener on a journey to West Africa where cowbells and syncopated rhythms take lead whilst the distant sound of local dialogue blends seamlessly in and out of the mix, rooting it deep in its African foundation.
Side B begins with ‘Goya,’ which brings about a fusion of traditional Vietnamese folk mixed with snippets of slap bass to create a collage of worldly sounds – a technique synonymous with the acclaimed producer. The EP finishes with the title track ‘Meroe,’ where Mo Kolours once again effortlessly fuses ancient and modern sounds to create a dancefloor winner. Its up-tempo rhythm keeps heads nodding with it’s low pulsing bass line rumbling beneath, whilst tribal chants bring euphoric moments to the mix leaving the listener feeling positively uplifted.
In conclusion it’s a mini EP that packs a big punch! And most importantly it sees the return of a heralded music maker.”
Fresh product from Peckings Brothers
Burning four new vocals on The Gatherers’ Black Ark roots riddim Words; with Ras Charmer’s Hard Knocks on a jam rock tip, next to the sweetened lovers / R&B inflections of Carolene Thompson, and a woozy, horn-led Patrick Matic mix, plus the OG dub.
Amos & Sara’s wickedly twisted post-punk dub session, Invite To Endless Latino [War Boys, 1983] sees its first ever vinyl cut thanks to the efforts of Alga Marghen’s Emanuele Carcano, who deserves a pat of the back for effectively pressing up one of his favourite tapes to share with the rest of us...
Comprising all tracks from the cultishly coveted original cassette by The Homosexuals affiliates Jim Welton & Chris Gray, from the nutty nattiness of Mr. Sinister to the keening disco-not-disco of Insomnia Samba and the ragged hustle of Pain Mambo, it’s not hard to hear why this LP is such a cult classic.
It just drips with playful innovation and tongue-in-cheek ambiguity, putting together a mad mixture of authentically sensuous swerve and nagging pop hooks under relatively crude conditions that recalls some concoction of colourful pills in a wine-soaked barm bought from Brenda Naffi’s butty bar.
Peckings Brothers nice up the dance with fresh vocals on Carole Kalphat’s immense African Land roots rhythm.
Teddy Dan gives the soul aching Jah In Glory; Troublesome kills on Oh Jah; The Emererians make it lush and mystic; Peckings Allstars treat the original riddim with the respect it deserves.
Sam Binga and Danny Scrilla go twos-up on a ruddy bass mongrel for Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge
Launching tribal drums, barrelling subs and virulent acid lines in the high-pressure jungle-footwork of Frolic In Brine, then with a hard-nosed half step D&B juggernaut spiced with glitches and screwface noise in Further Peaks for fans of Pessimist or Ruffhouse.
At long last a reissue on vinyl for this long lost and scarce UK Hardcore punk classic.
"Originally self-released in 1993 in a very small run. Original copies now command £100 upwards on the collectors market. This reissue collects that original material alongside tracks from that same period released in Japan only.
This new edition was put together by the band themselves. It features an extensive collection of unseen photographs and sleeve notes housed in a swanky gatefold sleeve. The same iconic front cover used on the original album graces this edition too."
Prince Jammy dubs the Augustus Pablo production for Hugh Mundell’s Africa Must Be Free by 1983 in heaviest style at King Tubby’s studio, turning Mundell’s signature falsetto and Pablo’s melodica into an echo chamber maze of smoke and mirrors.
Stone cold superb.
A beguiling historical dispatch from post-’68 Paris, Jacques Thollot’s radical free-jazz/psychedelic rock enigma Intra Musique receives its first ever airing thanks to the wonderful Alga Marghen.
Recorded in 1969 in the Faculty of Law at what was then the Sorbonne, now the University of Paris, Intra Musique documents a remarkable collision of energies as much informed by the freedoms of American jazz and psychedelia as its European analogs, capturing a driving, anarchic chaos in the 22 minute A-side, and a more fractious diffusion of ideas, from swinging jazz to more damaged and percussive onslaughts on the B-side. Now appearing 50 years since the events of ’68, Intra Musique uncannily intersects another turbulent point in history while still sounding as vital, urgent as ever.
“There are records that stimulate curiosity to the extreme, records that make you want to dissolve yourself into the intense and beautiful surprise this music will bring. It is undeniable to the delighted ear that this exhumed document contains all the assets of the historical output, of the record that one would dream of waiting for long if one had known it existed. This rough edit, done within urgency by Jacques Thollot, testifies of a unique experience: the concert of Intra Musique at the Faculty of Law in Paris, an uncertain evening of 1969. The devastating gab of the two acolytes Jacques Thollot and Eddie Gaumont made the concert take place, on the ploughed earth of May '68, in the same faculty where so much was discussed and, thanks to the success of the previous concerts of the association of students, that allowed the risk of hiring the thundering dream team. Unique because there will never be another replica of what Jacques Thollot called "a movement", involving Michel Portal (tenor sax), Mimi Lorenzini (guitar), the rare Daniel Laloux (tambour), Jacques Thollot (drums and tapes of recorded experiments, those that would build the skeleton of the magnificent Quand Le Son Devient Aigu Jeter La Girafe À La Mer LP on Futura (1971)), and Eddie Gaumont (guitar, piano), the instigators of this journey. Captain Eddie Gaumont will capsize shortly after, sunk by a too intensely dark life; sad coda putting an end to the project.
There is also the undeniable whirling of the mentors and companions' spirits of Jacques Thollot, such as Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Bernard Vitet, and Jean-François Jenny Clark, and the hard to describe succession of precious moments: that oblique spiritual-jazz, that other staggering ballad, or that primitive fever of essential nervous flights, that almost psychedelic proto rock; alternations of radical free music to those magnificently classic, overwhelming achievements. Jacques Thollot is not just one of the greatest abandoned jazz composers: he is the one who abandons himself to all its forms.”
Nice side of Gallic and Afro influences worked to a lilting, downbeat affair squinting in the sun towards Air and classic ‘80s AOR
“Growing Bin is swapping bucolic Poland for the buzz of the Big Apple, reaching a magnificent seven in the company of synth-pop dreamer Shy Layers (JD Walsh to his mum) and his sublime self titled debut. Over the course of ten emotional pop serenades, the New York musician recalls lost days sofa surfing to the lounge electronica of Air, Mellow and early Phoenix or the swooning lo-fi psychedelia of a pre-MD Simian.
Shy Layers welcomes us aboard with the shimmering pads and soothing soft synths of ‘Black & White’, a drifting soundtrack to a John Hughes-directed episode of ‘In The Night Garden’. From there we swerve into the wistful synth-pop of ‘Famous Faces’, locking into the rattling Tears For Fears groove while the West Coast guitar licks and vocoder vocals float off into the distance.
‘You Won’t Find Me’ shuffles through afro-tronic keyboard lines, Beta Band breakbeats and loose funk guitar before the sweltering ‘Stabilized Waves’ dips a toe in the Med, swaying gently to the fluid bass, acoustic strumming and cascading electric guitar. Swapping continents to close the A-side, ‘Too Far Out’ finds Walsh working highlife guitars and fuzzy sanza sequences into a piece of perfect off-kilter pop. The B-side begins in glitchy fashion with the flying hats and seesaw synths of ‘Holding It Back’, before ‘Playing The Game’ offers sprinklers over summer lawns, dub fx, jangling guitars and cooing vocals. The afrobeat influence shines through once again on the rhythmic ‘Bees & Bamboo’ before ‘SEG’ sees Shy Layers don Mario’s Red Wing cap for a chip-set safari through the bright blue sky. Playing us out with the same cinematic splendour with which we began, Walsh conjures a woozy, sun-dappled mood for the sumptuous ‘1977’.
Fusing French pop, glistening Americana, 80s AOR and afrobeat into a hazy vision of balmy mornings, long evenings and lazy days, Shy Layers has served up the soundtrack to your summer.”
Lynch and Badalamenti would go on to become synonymous with one another but at the time these pieces were written their collaboration was still in its early stages.
Even so, Badalamenti pulled together music which absolutely mirrored the images we were seeing on screen from the incredible theme song to the unforgettable 'Audrey's Dance'.
Classic roots reggae album written by Hugh Mundell when he was only 16, with signature floating falsetto set to production by the legendary Augustus Pablo.
Africa Must Be Free by 1983 spawned a reggae classic with its title track Africa Must Be Free, but in a tragic turn of events Mundell was murdered at the age of 21 in 1983 whilst travelling in a car with Junior Reid.
Mulatu Astatke is widely regarded as the father of Ethiopia's jazz scene, so it's only fitting that he should get an instalment of the renowned Ethiopiques series all to himself.
The recognisably African influences on this music are surprisingly understated, with Astatke's schooling at Berklee College Of Music shining through, revealing an accomplished musician and arranger. There are some very modern elements to this music (first released between 1969 and 1974) with Big Muff-saturated electric guitar leads and wailing horns all very in keeping with the spirit of the time.
Astatke's certainly enjoyed a rich and varied career, collaborating with Duke Ellington in the '70s and more recently enjoying some crossover exposure thanks to Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers, which featured some of Astatke's music on its soundtrack. He's certainly one of those artists who merits a wider audience than the awkward 'world music' bracket could afford him.
Floating Points’ Melodies International tees off its next 12” with Maurice Moore and Family Affair Band’s funky twanger Everything That Shines Ain’t Gold - Parts 1 & 2 cut to the A-side, backed with FP’s filter-freaking edit.
With his wonderful debut album still glowing brightly, Motion Graphics commits these two new gems of Peter Zummo or Steve Reich-esque minimalist studies for Future Times, the label run by his Lifted collaborator, Max D.
There’s no mistaking his reference points, but it’s the way in which he transposes their techniques onto the glassy idents of scrolling digital menu sounds that sets the pieces apart from their precedents.
With Brass Mechanics he summons a spiralling, vertical vortex of pizzicato wind instrumentation and pointillist clicks sounding like one of the lush, swooning phrases from his album or the Lifted project has been expanded and flipped upwards to the sun.
Tarahumara licks zippy woodwind in deliquescent loops and swallow diving figures on the flipside, folding the phrases into a bittersweet frenzy of rapid fluctuations and harmonic clusters that leave us light headed.
R&S present ‘Warmth’ the new album from New York based duo Blondes AKA Sam Haar and Zach Steinman whose ten tracks of mesmerising, ever shifting rhythmic workouts percolate alongside contemporaries such as Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson and Donato Dozzy.
"A decade into their musical relationship, the duo continue to find inspiration through hardware instrumentation and improvisation. Haar and Steinmsan’s intense live performances on sound systems throughout Europe and US for 2013’s ‘Swisher’ LP and beyond traversed nightclubs, festivals, art museums and DIY spaces serving to generate a wealth of material album to be distilled into this album.
‘Warmth’ finds them further stripping away extraneous elements, pushing their percussive framework to the forefront. The result is lysergic techno fused with Blondes’ characteristic synth-work and atmospherics.
After parting company with their previous label, the highly respected RVNG Intl. label, the duo find a natural home as part of R&S’s storied alumni as they explain: “Having released on RVNG for years, we had wanted to move in the direction of releasing on a more dance music focused label. RVNG has established itself in the world of experimental music and reissuing overlooked records from the past, and we both (RVNG and Blondes) thought it would be immensely exciting for us to release this new record with R&S”
It’s fair to say that Blondes’ characteristic hypnotic synth figures, pulsing club ready rhythms and gritty off-kilter sensibility have never felt as fully realised and timely as on ‘Warmth’- their most significant and weighty record to date.”
Stunning, often ecstatic and frenzied album of 12-string fingerstyles - hugely recommended.
The lesser-spotted Poon Village pick Boston-based Rob Noyes’ captivating debut LP of Basho-esque 12-string fluidity, The Feudal Village for release some two years after their excellent excavation of William Winant’s virtuoso percussion on Five American Percussion Pieces. We’ll be damned if this isn’t some of the most amazing guitar work we’ve heard since those Tashi Dorji records.
With the Demo 2014 tape already to his credit, The Feudal Village necessarily presents Noyes to a wider audience, well, at least those who are lucky to snaffle a copy of this record, which is already - perhaps understandably - trading for twice the shelf price 2nd hand. And we say that as admitted dilettantes to this deeply-rooted genre, although it’s really not hard to hear that Noyes style is deeply impressive.
In eleven parts he’s the best kind of show-off, weaving his elaborate melodies and complex harmonies so quickly and with such rhythmic intricacy that it’s a joy just to try and keep up with him. But once you’re settled into his elemental cadence you’re in for a gripping 35 minutes which only feels half as long by the run-out groove.
“Rob’s playing carries the weight of many possibly imaginary forebears, but the way he smears them all together shows a holistic mastery of touch and imagination that defies a lot of today’s players” -
Bare-bones, proto-technoid primitivism from Shane English, following his previous LP, Conscious Walk for Unknown Precept, and a split LP with Beau Wanzer as Corporate Park. RIYL Thought Broadcast, Conrad Schnitzler, Nocturnal Emissions
“American experimental musican Shane English continues in a long tradition of outsider electronics as he's been humbly prolific in his output though the years involving himself in numerous recording projects. Collaborating with Jonah Lange in their group Corporate Park as well as an ongoing collab with Beau Wanzer (seeing a release last year under the CP/BW name), English now commits his second full length solo offering to vinyl in the form of the General Dimensions lp.
Sparse machine driven electronics dominate the recording providing a back drop for the occasional pulsating rhythm, metallic clank or floating obscured vocal. While it is a dark and sparse affair there is a quiet downtrodden beauty throughout giving the recording a sense of uncertain serenity in an almost shoegazey way. Highly recommended for those into early electronics.”
Timeless roots reggae volley
Sister Rasheda decries the oppressors in World Crisis teamed with Dougie Wardrop and Jerry Lyons’ rollicking dub on the A-side, then steps out on a more mellow, effortlessly driving UK steppers sound in Earthquake and the scooped out Dub produced by Tenastellin.
Four Tet switches to midnight mode on a pair of bittersweet house and garage turn
Taking the long, winding scenic route from deep house to windswept electronics via cascading post rock breakdowns in SW9 9SL, then swivelling on the spot with the fusion of posh garage-techno and traditional African string tones in Pianist.
Instinctive, primordial regressions to pre-history Japan
“Japanese saxophone transgressor Akira Sakata meets with his long-time collaborator and Fender Rhodes virtuoso Giovanni Di Domenico, Portuguese guitarist Manuel Mota, and drummer Mathieu Calleja for a session recorded at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels.
Named after the Jomon period of the Japanese prehistory - when Japan was inhabited by a hunter-gatherer culture rich in tools, clay pottery, and jewelry made from bone and stone - the record features three tracks: Jomon (縄文), Kaen (火焔), and Dogu (土偶). The Dogu (literally: "clay figures") were small humanoid and animal figurines made during the Jomon period for religious purpose: it may have been believed that illnesses could be transferred into the Dogu, then destroyed, clearing the illness, or any other misfortune.
The record itself is a musical healing ritual invoking and unleashing a powerful demon with Sakata's throat singing, then slowly hypnotizing it in the second half of the album, putting it back into its vault before it's too late. Beautiful artwork made with Sakata's hand-painted Kanji characters.”
Innovations in ‘free’ middle eastern experimental music
“Featuring some of the most innovative players from Beirut, Cairo and Istanbul, Karkhana met for the first time in Beirut in 2014, bringing together influences from the three major experimental music scenes of the region and beyond. Through their live shows, the band's seven multi-instrumentalists build a transcendental atmosphere developing what could possibly be called free Middle Eastern music. Shades and traces of shaabi, tarab, sufi and much more are heard in the distinct blend of free jazz and psychedelic krautrock they've created.
Recorded and mixed by Matt Bordin at Outside Inside Studio - in only two days - and mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering Studio in Chicago, For Seun Matta is the first studio album by the band, following Nafas (Omlott, 2016) and Live At Metro Al-Madina (Sagittarius A-Star, 2015). Featuring Sharif Sehnaoui on electric guitar, Sam Shalabi (The Dwarfs of East Agouza) on oud and electric guitar, Maurice Louca (The Dwarfs of East Agouza) on organ and synth, Umut Çağlar (Konstrukt) on zurna, gralla, bamboo flutes, and percussion, Mazen Kerbaj on trumpet, Tony Elieh on electric bass, and with the recent addition of Michael Zerang on drums.
"I wish I could track down more of this tantalising outfit's music to share...This Middle Eastern supergroup first got together to celebrate the music of Egyptian surf guitarist Omar Khorshid – who was also a key figure in Oum Kalthoum's orchestra – but their remit has expanded somewhat and now they're fully committed to outer-perimeter explorations in Krautrock-leaning, cosmic free jazz" (John Doran, The Guardian)”
Stunning 30 minute session of brain-searing noise techno deconstructions from the virulent Pete Swanson.
'Pro Style' continues the former Yellow Swan's work on 'Man With Potential' and that mighty 7" for BEB's Confessions series, rerouting disparate strains of modular synth squall and bludgeoned rhythms into a decaying techno multiverse on the brink of collapse. The title track rams grotty, toiling bass hits under a face-mauling blast of dissonant, sticky noise calamity, like a dose of sonic bath salts straight to the ear.
A VIP mix follows, placing more emphasis on hulking, viscous dub lurch and really allowing the noise to shred through the pain threshold into a zone of cathartic, psychedelic pleasure. He saves his best effort for the flip, as 'Do You Like Students?' occupies a breathtaking interzone of transcendent Goan bliss and industrially-reinforced, 6am-eternal rhythms, a collective dark fantasy brought to life by a man who's probably spent very little time on the dancefloor, yet knows exactly what he needs it to sound like.
Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre's Jazkamer troupe are among the most respected and prolific members of the infamous Norwegian noise/metal scene.
They love making a f**king good racket. During 2010 they undertook an ambitious project to release an album of new material every month for 12 months via a subscription service. 'Chestnut Thornback Tar' was originally the May edition but the fiends at Type just had to own it on vinyl, hence this wax-only pressing including a bonus mix CD reducing the series to 75 minutes of absolutely deadly and mind-bending visceral noise collisions.
The album is dominated by the 20-minute molten suffusion of 'Sentimental Journey', a wading-through-mollasses sprawl of sustained tones and howling-into-the-wind white noise bearing no small debt to Dylan Carlson's Earth (it's a bit of a giveaway that Lasse wears an 'Earth 2' t-shirt on the rear sleeve image!) and conducted with an almost Zen-like attention to detail.
However, the rest of the LP takes a very different shape, joined by collaborators Nils Are Drønen and Jean-Phillipe Gross to crush out another side of overdriven avant-metal dementia with splattercore drums seething under banks of petrifying noise worthy of Whitehouse at their most fearsome. Yet, the most impressive thing here is probably the CD, forcing 12 months of multi-disciplinary noises to co-exist in dissonant harmony - making for one of the most visceral and exciting mixtapes you'll hear this year.
Marc Richter is a bit of a musical chameleon, operating at the cusp of experimental music for many years at the helm of the Dekorder label and via his excellent Black To Comm project.
His last album for the Type label, 2009’s excellent 'Alphabet 1968’ perhaps didn't quite get the attention it undoubtedly deserved, but it still stands out as one of the most oddly memorable drone-ambient albums we’ve heard this last decade, vaguely tapping into the Hauntological zeitgeist of the day but extending the remit to create something far more unsettling and ambitious. That it was subsequently sampled on Evian Christ's standout EP ‘Kings and Them’ perhaps best illustrates the gap between Richter’s creative scope and his relative anonymity.
News that there was a new double album recorded for Type filled us with curiosity, and the result is another sprawling, ambitious re-modelling of ideas that perhaps started life in the ambient realm but soon became infected by a signature surrealism that genuinely sounds unlike much you’ll have heard before. The album extends from the pulsing, chattering opener ‘Human Gidrah’ to the delirious fractured pop of ‘Hands’, while the 20 minute long ‘Is Nowhere’, builds slowly via rumbling organ sounds and buzzing filters to a noisy, sparkling climax.
There are real songs hidden in there somewhere, but Richter’s restless production style never quite lets them fully surface, throwing numerous stylistic distractions that take in everything from skittering jazz-atmospheres to bombastic spoken word narratives and quasi-operatic chanting - gliding from one track to the next without anything like a coherent progression in mind. That the sum total of these tracks isn’t a sprawling mess is an achievement in itself, but that repeated listens (and it doesn't take many) reveal a kind of addictive, earworm quality is genuinely surprising for an album whose sole remit seems to be to wrong-foot and frustrate. So yeah, 'Black To Comm' is undoubtedly a more challenging record than its predecessor, but one which repays the patient listener in dividends.
Type follow up Mike Shiflet's 'Sufferers' side with a further exposition of his individual and far-reaching sound palette.
A member of C Spencer Yeh's revolving Burning Star Core unit, and a prolific collaborator with the likes of Daniel Menche, Chris Corsano, Pete Swanson and many more, Shiflet has honed an intensely visceral feel for tone and texture which makes his records so intriguing to lovers of experimental composition and music making. With some production/audio mastering assists from fellow Columbus, Ohio-based musician Joe Panzner, on 'Merciless' Shiflet engages with corrosive textures from the off, enticing us in with fractured small sounds on 'Feeble Breaths' before weaving a lattice of quick-drying fibreglass strands over your cochlea which become infested with scuttling, insipid rhythms and abstract noise abrasions designed by Panzner on the lloopp software for max/msp.
This induction, by contrast, makes the second half piece of evolving horror drones in 'Exodus And Exile' that much more affective, while the 2nd side plays through as one longer, queasy composition veering from cacophonous noise to wheezing drone and chilly isolation with added cassette manipulation by Jason Zeh, Cello by Marina Peterson and Violin from C. Spencer Yeh.
Well, somebody had to do it, and we could think of few better than Italy's Alga Marghen label. Punning on the title of Simon & Garfunkel's classic LP (even reproducing the front cover), Patrice Caillet, Adam David and Matthew Salladin have collected those infamous "silent" tracks from releases by Ciccone Youth, Crass, Andy Warhol, Whitehouse, Sly & The Family Stone, John Denver, John Lennon, Robert Wyatt, Orbital, and many more.
It's equal parts a provocative statement, as many of the pieces were intended, and also an aesthetic exercise if we take their instruction to "play loud" literally. All silences are presented as they were originally recorded, from the four minutes of Orbital's 4 minutes of silence for the death of rave, 'Are We Here? (Criminal Justice Bill?)' to John and Yoko's 'Two Minutes Of Silence' , right thru to the void of Yves Klein and Charels Wilp's interpretations of silence on 'Prince Of Space', with each keeping intact the infidelities of their recorded medium - Orbital's digital recording near silent apart from this disc's inherent crackle, to the rich patina of surface disturbance in Yves Klein and Charles Wilp's. The in-depth track descriptions and liner notes are a good read, but really, ultimately it's just all a bit of a p*sstake right?