B-Sides & Rarities Part I & II contains material from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 30-plus year career, featuring a total od 83 tracks across 7 x 180g LPs housed in a deluxe case bound slipcase, with foiling, featuring exclusive photographs and sleeve notes written by Sean O’Hagan.
"This is the first time Part I, compiled by Mick Harvey and originally released in 2005, has been made available on vinyl. It comprises 56 tracks including rarities, out-takes, covers & B-sides from 1988-2005.
Part II, compiled by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis and features 27 tracks from Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! in 2006 to 2019’s Ghosteen. Including 19 rare and unreleased tracks including first recordings of ‘Skeleton Tree’, ‘Girl in Amber’, ‘Bright Horses’ and ‘Waiting for You’."
PART I LP1
A1. Deanna (Acoustic Version)
A2. The Mercy Seat (Acoustic Version)
A3. City of Refuge (Acoustic Version)
A4. The Moon Is in the Gutter
A5. The Six Strings That Drew Blood
A6. Rye Whiskey
A7. Running Scared
B1. Black Betty
B3. The Girl at the Bottom of My Glass
B4. The Train Song
B5. Cocks 'n' Asses
B6. Blue Bird
PART I LP2
A2. God's Hotel
A3. (I'll Love You) Till the End of the World
A4. Cassiel's Song
A5. Tower of Song
A6. Rye Whiskey
B1. What Can I Give You?
B2. What a Wonderful World
B3. Rainy Night In Soho
B4. Lucy (Version #2)
B5. Jack the Ripper (Acoustic Version)
PART I LP3
A1. The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane
A2. The Willow Garden
A3. King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Ki-Mi-O
A4. Knoxville Girl
A5. There's No Night Out in the Jail
A6. That's What Jazz Is to Me
B1. Where the Wild Roses Grow
B2. O'Malley's Bar Pt. 1
B3. O'Malley's Bar Pt. 2
B4. O'Malley's Bar Pt. 3
B5. O'Malley's Bar Reprise
PART I LP4
A1. Red Right Hand
A2. Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum
A3. Little Empty Boat
A4. Right Now I'm A-Roaming
B1. Come Into My Sleep
B2. Black Hair
B3. Babe, I Got You Bad
B4. Sheep May Safely Graze
B5. Opium Tea
PART I LP5
A1. Grief Came Riding
A2. Bless His Ever Loving Heart
A3. Good Good Day
A4. Little Janey's Gone
A5. I Feel So Good
A6. Shoot Me Down
B1. Swing Low
B2. Little Ghost Song
B3. Everything Must Converge
B5. She's Leaving You
B6. Under This Moon
PART II LP6
A1. Hey Little Firing Squad
A2. Fleeting Love
A3. Accidents Will Happen
A4. Free To Walk (With Debbie Harry)
B1. Needle Boy
B2. Lightning Bolts
B3. Animal X
B4. Give Us a Kiss
B5. Push The Sky Away (Live with The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)
PART II LP7
A1. First Skeleton Tree
A2. King Sized Nick Cave Blues
A3. Opium Eyes
A4. Big Dream (With Sky)
A5. Instrumental #33
A6. Hell Villanelle
A8. Life Per Se
B1. Steve McQueen
B2. First Bright Horses
B3. First Girl in Amber
B5. Heart that Kills You
B6. First Waiting for You
B7. Sudden Song
NZ underground legend Roy Montgomery's third album this year is his darkest yet. 'Rhymes of Chance' is moody dream pop in the mode of Scott Walker or Talk Talk's Mark Hollis = gorgeous, singular music.
'Rhymes of Chance' is a minimalist pop monster, featuring some of Montgomery's most viscerally tear-jerking material. The first side is taken up with the six-part epic 'Rhymes of Chance'; the first two parts feature Montgomery on vocals, wailing over his patented shimmering guitar clouds. It's affecting, melancholy music that only takes on more character when regular collaborator Emma Johnston is brought into the fold on the fifth part.
Johnston's finest moment is on the flipside's 'Losers March' though, a loosely swung, organ-led dirge that sounds like folk music for the ferry ride down the river Styx. It's almost like Beach House on -8%. On closing track 'Aspiratory', a dedication to Mark Hollis, her voice is pulled to pieces by Autotune and frozen in time over bellowing, skyward drones. This is bizarre but unshakeable music from an underground original - if you enjoyed the last two installments "Island of Lost Souls" and "That Best Forgotten Work", you're gonna need this. Montgomery is still an underrated, overlooked treasure, we feel constantly blessed that he's gifting us with such a bounty of new material.
B-Side And Rarities Part II was compiled by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis and features 27 tracks from “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” in 2006 to 2019s “Ghosteen”. Also features 19 rare and unreleased tracks including first recordings of ‘Skeleton Tree’, ‘Girl in Amber’, ‘Bright Horses’ and ‘Waiting for You’."
A1. Hey Little Firing Squad
A2. Fleeting Love
A3. Accidents Will Happen
A4. Free To Walk (With Debbie Harry)
B1. Needle Boy
B2. Lightning Bolts
B3. Animal X
B4. Give Us a Kiss
B5. Push The Sky Away (Live with The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)
A1. First Skeleton Tree
A2. King Sized Nick Cave Blues
A3. Opium Eyes
A4. Big Dream (With Sky)
A5. Instrumental #33
A6. Hell Villanelle
A8. Life Per Se
B1. Steve McQueen
B2. First Bright Horses
B3. First Girl in Amber
B5. Heart that Kills You
B6. First Waiting for You
B7. Sudden Song
Incinerated minimal dub dirt from Michael Beckett (aka kptmichigan) that reinterprets Harry Smith's iconic 1952 "Anthology of American Folk Music" as Chain Reaction-esque soundscapes. It's a wild idea that's executed with rare skill and restraint - fans of Vladislav Delay, Rhythm & Sound, Gas, or even Fatische boss Jan Jelinek, you won't wanna sleep on this one.
Who would have thought that using Harry Smith's 1950s Folkways recordings - a defining set of American musical history culled from the filmmaker's extensive 78RPM record collection - as the basis for a dub techno remix project would birth good material? It sounds like a comedy project, not least because Beckett remixed every single one of six-album set's 84 tracks on the record's original 2013 cassette release. But this new reissue, handily pared down to just 13 outstanding cuts, is proof that occasionally, a hilariously high-concept idea can reap rewards.
On the original release, Beckett translated the title of Smith's set into his local "Low German" dialect, and used a sampler and effects pedals to disassemble the material, sometimes banging out multiple remixes in a day. Interpreting the recordings in this manner - turning crackling folk into cavernous dub and undulating ambience - Beckett makes an interesting statement about the evolving back-and-forth between Europe and the USA. Music that was rooted Europe and transformed by the influence of enslaved Africans on American soil is shuttled back to Europe, where imported Jamaican recording processes are employed by a German producer. It's almost poetic.
There's little left of the dulcimer, zither, fiddle, banjo and harmonica sounds that populated Smith's anthology. But the texture of the sounds is just about recognizable in Beckett's slim, rhythmic variations. He takes the hum of these vintage recordings and fashions them into looping tracks that mirror Basic Channel or Rhythm & Sound at their most abstract or Wolfgang Voigt at his most uncompromising. It's distinctly German music that's inspired, directed and buoyed by African and European folk traditions, and there's really little else like it.
Fluttering, shine-eyed chug by Belfast’s Group Zero, venturing a sort of early morning wonk constructed from trace elements of motorik kosmiche, psychedelic beatdown and deep disco - think Pye Corner Audio, Ssiege, 1991
Member of C86 pop group Girls Names, Cathal Cully aka Group Zero here tempers their pop sensibilities into a more stripped down sound, following their nose for breezy melodies and loping elegant repetition that never tests one’s patience. There’s an unmistakeable shimmer of similarity with Pye Corner Audio’s prized vibe in the delicious synth wow and flutter of ‘Memorial Hall’, and ‘Memorial Deice’ dials up warmest sort of vapourware nostalgia with a fine soupçon of Gaelic romance. The padded throb and lissom arps of ‘You Can See The Dust Crawl’ are surely destined for end of night and the soon afters, while ‘The Club Singer’ trades in nearly 10 minutes of golden gouch out gear.
East Coast minimal wave institution Xeno & Oaklander’s seventh full-length, Vi/deo.
""Vi/deo" further distills their iconic noir synth pop into a streamlined suite of gleaming, graceful retrofuturism. Inspired by ideas of synesthesia, scent, star worship, and obsolescent technologies, the duo of Liz Wendelbo and Sean McBride began conceiving the blueprint of Vi/deo while sequestered at their Southern Connecticut home studio during the pandemic. The context of isolation, streaming, and remote dreaming seeped into their chemistry, manifesting as both homage to and me ditation on a certain cinematic strain of technicolor fantasy: the screen as stage, distance disguised as intimacy, where tragedy and glamor crossfade into one.
Opening with the precision synthetic melancholy of “Infinite Sadness,” the album marks a peak fluidity between the pair’s fusion of analog electronics and poetic melody, both refined and oblique, classic but contemporary. Wendelbo modeled her singing on “a young boy in a choir,” alternately holding notes and whispering them, with the lyrics clear, the voice elevated. McBride’s synthesizers serve as the perfect counterpart, tiered and polished, threading fluorescent architectures of a lost audio-visual age. Theirs is a darkwave of reverie and flickering city lights, swooning and sleek, romantic anthe ms for concrete bohemia, cigarette smoke in rainy gardens, and sound as color (“blue is fast and red is slow”). Vi/deo captures the bittersweet beauty of youth and utopias, the wistful transformation from miracle to memory, where love turns unreal and music becomes myth: “Sounds of the underground / Will echo in future days / Feelings of misery / Will fade into the haze.”"
Cornwall's Mildred Maude new album for Sonic Cathedral.
"Three seemingly disparate characters – Matt Ashdown (guitar), Lee Wade (bass) and Louie Newlands (drums) – Mildred Maude are named after one of their grandmas and play an improvised noise that always seems to be teetering on the edge of chaos, but something incredibly beautiful at the same time, like a cross between Sonic Youth and Slowdive. It is utterly thrilling.
Sleepover is their second album and bears the influence of Stereolab, Can, Butthole Surfers, Yo La Tengo and Sun Ra, among others, with three of its four tracks being over 10 minutes in length. ‘Trevena’ is the loping opener; ‘Elliott’s Floor’ initially turned into My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Only Shallow’ by mistake and on the vinyl version it never ends, thanks to a locked groove; ‘Glen Plays Moses’ crosses a Red Sea of sound and is just epic in every way.The odd one out is ‘Chemo Brain’ – just under three minutes of Fugazi-esque frenzy, named after a side-effect of bassist Lee’s cancer treatment. The album artwork is also inspired by this – it’s a molecular model of cyclophosphamide, one of the drugs he was given.Mildred Maude’s DIY approach has been the only way for them to get anywhere in Cornwall, where they say they feel more in tune with Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert and the Rephlex Records crowd from the 1990s than any current scene. They do, however, unintentionally have something in common with the medieval Miracle Plays that would take place in the Duchy. “They were notoriously noisy to attract people to them,” explains guitarist Matt, “but were also events that brought communities together, and we like our live shows to have a sense of togetherness.”
Matt says he is also inspired by historic places of worship. “There are some great places in Cornwall such as St Just Church and the open air Gwennap Pit in Redruth. It’s these beautiful spaces that I try to imagine we’re in when we’re playing live – so it’s fitting that we’re releasing this new album on Sonic Cathedral.”"
Roberto Carlos Lange’s beautifully beatific Latinx pop-soul warms the cockles on his debut Helado Negro album for 4AD; a slow burn celebration of his South American heritage and nostalgia for the ’80s club music he grew up with
In loving pursuit of the style he’s developed over handfuls of albums for Asthmatic Kitty and more recently RVNG Intl., ‘Far In’ sees Helado Negro further burnish his rose-tinted sound with a sense of intimacy that stems from spending lots of time at home and getting deeper into his sound during lockdown. Referencing a “youth growing up in South Florida listening to 80s club songs, and their return sampled in 90s hip hop”, his 15 songs wash over one with the wooziest daydreaming quality, knitting languorous Latin rhythms to shimmering melodies in a way that, to our ears at least, somehow feel like christmas in a warm place, everything soft focus and lilting with a perennial familiarity that’s seductively disarming and effortlessly comforting.
Typically sung in his bilingual mix of Spanish and english, no matter which language he chooses, Lange’s music conveys the feeling clearly. In key with the notable refinements of his songwriting style over the past decade, ‘Far In’ reaches a new high watermark of classicism as he enters his 3rd decade of releases, nesting a melange of nods to Tropicália, Fleetwood Mac and Beck in his butter smooth transition from the strolling strums of ‘Wake Up Tomorrow’ with its harmonious vox by Bon Iver and Kid Cudi collaborator, Kacy Hill, thru to the glyding yacht rock disco of ‘Aureole’ and the gently insistent dreambop of ‘Outside the Outside’, with bucolic semi-acoustic magic in ‘Wind Conversations’ and Mazzy Star-like tristesse of ‘Thank You Forever.’
The classic Brummie techno dispatch rears up for a 21st anniversary reissue with a reshuffled track-list but still packing all the meat and gristle
Forged by the Downwards (and Sandwell District) co-founders for their Berlin allies, ‘Againstnature’ is distinguished in their catalogues for its mix of signature, slinky pounders and a quota of beat-less, tonal, atmospheric works that hailed the duo’s other tastes and prefaced future directions for Regis, at least.
Those beat-less pieces patently resonate with the duo’s interests beyond the pale of techno proper, with the clangourous industrial workshop atmospheres of ‘Washing My Hands’, the fetid hush and post-battlefield string pads of ‘Paralysing,’ and the martial sashay of ‘Under Skin’ and lending a curious sidespin to the track sequencing, which is more dominated by their swingeingly sexy techno muscle.
If the techno’s what you’re after though, some get it at best between the nagging greyscale minimalism of ‘Let Them Bleed,’ the full throttle tribalism of ‘Nothing And No One,’ the prototype BMB-sounding ‘Meat’; the locked in, humid pelt of ‘Hanoi Hanoi’ with its drilling vocal sample; and the unyielding gallop of ‘Guiltless.’
‘-io’ is the sixth album by vocalist and composer Haley Fohr, best known as Circuit des Yeux.
"A celebrated figure in Chicago’s music community, she has released acclaimed albums via De Stijl, Thrill Jockey, and Drag City and toured throughout the world. However, '-io' is Circuit des Yeux’s most ornate and elaborate work to date – a set of compositions that nest Fohr’s otherworldly four-octave voice amid a 24-piece string, brass, and wind ensemble. The album was put to tape last fall by Cooper Crain at Chicago’s Electrical Audio studio and mixed by Marta Salogni (Bjork, Holly Herndon) with Fohr acting as arranger and producer. Written in the wake of personal loss and recorded in the midst of the pandemic, '-io' maps a geography of grief – a place where “everything is ending all the time.” While Fohr’s music has never been short on ambition, these songs are striking in their brilliance and strangeness. On '-io', Circuit des Yeux has delivered a work that is vivid, immense, and fully illuminated."
Indonesian mentallists Raja Kirik arrive in hot pursuit of Gabber Modus Operandi’s iconoclastic mash of roots and futurism on a pure madness for Nyege Nyege Tapes.
Yet another jaw-dropper dispatched via NNT’s Kampala nexus; ‘Rampokan’ fires off a full frontal invocation of possessive, trance-inducing spirits inspired by the Javanese heritage of Yennu Ariendra & J. Mo’ong Santoso Pribadi, aka Raja Kirik. Rooted in Java’s struggles with colonial oppression, their music takes bedevilling form as a wide-eyed sort of shamanic trance music galvanised by Dutch hardstyle kicks and noisily free electronica, careening from cut to cut with an exhilarating energy focussed into high BPM body rattlers that no doubt shake the senses and fiercely illustrate their impetus in a directly physical but allegorical way that only music can convey quite like this.
Under a titular reference to “a colonial era arena battle between spearmen, criminals and wild animals… ceremonial fights [that] illustrate the strength of the Javanese Royal Kingdoms in the face of the Dutch East Indies government” the empire strikes back in the most brutally artful style across ‘Rampokan’. Synching mind/body in a vital barrage of 11 tracks, they draw implicit parallels with oppression of African slaves in Brazil who conceived Capoeira as a stealth mode of dancing-meets-martial arts, specifically drawing on the Jaranan, or Jathilan, a Hindu-Buddhist era dance from the c.11th that likewise symbolised ways that the proto-proletariat of Java could overcome their rulers by means of agility and evasion.
This is dance music with a meaning that makes much other Western dance music pale in comparison. Between its totemic durational works such as the blistering ‘Bujang Ganong’ and the roiling bruiser ‘Tana Prahara’ - which both tilt around and over the 12 minute mark - to its ghoulish clashes of phantasmic doom and sour trance riffs in ‘Rampokan I’, they charge up a powerful sound with potential to send ravers reeling, variously dispatching panic-stations free jazz horns on ‘Kubro’ and metaphorically machine-gunning the ruling classes before trampling on their cadavers and gleefully ringing gamelan in ‘DOR.’
A collection of tracks from early out of print Jacques Greene 12”s spanning the first 10 years of his career.
"Featuring the classics that introduced him to the world - The Look and Another Girl - as well as collaborations with Koreless and How To Dress Well and two new exclusive “lost tracks from the era”.
Greene has been making music “about the club” for over a decade. His sound has developed into an emotional haze exemplified on his Feel Infinite and Dawn Chorus Albums. Outside of his own releases, Greene has explored his relationship with the club in a variety of contexts, from remixing Radiohead to producing for Katy B and Tinashe and touring with The xx."
Perky but gauzy ‘80s new wave nostalgia by Chris Stewart’s Black Marble. Glistening with vantage-styled hooks and pulsing synths.
“On Fast Idol, LA-based Black Marble reaches back through time to connect with the forgotten bedroom kids of the analogue era, the halcyon days of icy hooks and warbly synths always on the edge of going out of tune. Harmonies are piped in across the expanse of space, and lyrics capture conversations that seem to come from another room, repeat an accusation overheard, or speak as if in sleep of interpersonal struggles distilled down to one subconscious phrase. At the same time, percussive elements feel forward and cut through the mix with toms counting off the measures like a lost tribe broadcasting through the bass and tops of a basement club soundsystem.
Fast Idol is Stewart's fourth full-length album and his second for Sacred Bones. His previous album Bigger than Life was written in the face of cultural shifts in the US, in experiencing these he realised he was not keyed into certain negative sentiments that were bubbling below the surface, which were breaking out into the open. “I chose to try and take the approach of a soothsayer writing from a macro level, trying to find strands of connection between us because it didn’t feel appropriate to create something self referential and gloomy at the time,” he says.
Now, Fast Idol sees him return to a sentiment and process that defined the earlier days of Black Marble, in a return to his intuitive song writing process where songs land as impressionistic snippets of daily conflicts, and people struggle with the challenge of trying to move through the world. “People don’t expect me to be responsible for altering their outlook or mood, they come to hear something that meets them where they are. I trusted on this record that if I stayed in that space and created things from that more mysterious place, it would connect with others.”
"M_Sessions" is offering some rare originals by Mania D., Malaria and Matador for the 40th anniversary, as well as contemporary versions performed by Monika Werkstatt.
"Monika Werkstatt seemed the perfect choice for new interpretations. Founded in 2015, comprising female electronic musicians and producers from the entourage of Monika Enterprise and Moabit Musik. The loose collective played dozens of improvised concerts around Europe and released a studio album and live recordings in everchanging artist constellations.
The M_Sessions involved Pilocka Krach, Beate Bartel, Midori Hirano, Mommo G, Lucrecia Dalt, Antye Greie-Ripatti, Natalie Beridze, Annika Henderson and myself. Here the form of interpretation is focussing on keeping the freedom of their improvised work and adapting it to the collective appropriation of songs. I cannot imagine a better reinterpretation of the material with its real life ups and downs and with its enthusiasm.
The original core team of Beate Bartel, Bettina Köster, Manon P. Duursma and myself selected "Rare Originals" from the repertoire of the 3 bands where we saw special relevance and beauty - these tracks are on LP2. We rediscovered live tracks, living room recordings and demo versions from our times long gone. (G.Gut)"
Call Super pipes up on his and Parris’ label with two bumpty, sidewinding house rollers in his patented, warm and woozy style
Stemming from a previous project entitled ‘Tell Me I Didn’t Choose This’, the tracks came about as a reflection on “a period in their life of upheaval, trauma and self-discovery”, and find relief in a blend of influences from jazzy Chicago and UK house, Detroit techno, and rooted West African rhythms.
‘Tree Song’ evolves over 10 minutes of wooden drums and bumbling square bass synched into a infectious lather of overlapping patterns hypnotically smeared with dub FX and floating pads. ‘bodiesinheaven II’ follows with a nimbly weft mix of West African and Detroit inspirations, knitting intricate drums to kaotic harmonies in a trusted manner bound to get eyes dreamily rolling in backa heads.
Clinic's ninth studio album, "Fantasy Island".
"Referencing H.G. Wells’ Things to Come, Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage and Sombrero Fallout by Richard Brautigan, the themes Clinic explore on Fantasy Island are time, music and entertainment. In a (coco) nutshell, Clinic have gone funky disco, broadening their sonic palette with the addition of several new gadgets including an electronic acid bass machine, a 1970s cocktail rhythm unit, a Casio digital horn and space drum."
Disrupt releases a new LP on Zonedog, "Under Triple Suns".
"'...lost contact with scientist team looking into the energy signature on Psylos Prime. Just entered orbit, on my way to investig... SYSTEM ERROR---'
Last words from seasoned psychonaut Disrupt, and the beginning of 'Under Triple Suns', a gripping SonicFiction paperback novel, cut to holo-disk for the very first time. Dubbed-out loop clusters, foggy melody nebulas and hazy layers of alien field recordings are held together by otherworldly off-the-grid rhythms, shaping the experience into an highly immersive sonic tale of crash-landing on a mysterious planet.
Out on the Jahtari-sublabel Zonedog the album follows the trail of previous space exploration endaevours like 'Omega Station' and 'The Recreation Room'. Coming with beautiful vintage-SciFi water color artwork by Ellen G.
--- SIGNING OFF..."
Fascinating, microtonal “acid folk” from N.M.O.’s Morten J. Olsen and his former MoHa! bandmate Anders Hana, offering an inventive play of tradition entwined with modernism for Lillehammer’s Motvind Records - think echoes of Rashad Becker, Christos Chondropoulos, Michael O’Shea, Ka Baird, Laura Cannell
The duo’s eponymous debut is a remarkable fusion of past and present concerns future-proofed in a way that’s surely legible by listeners now and to come. Together with guest instrumentation by Olav Christer Rossebø (fiddle) and Kenneth Lien (voice), Anders’ microfret-modified electric guitar and lilting, zither-like tones from a langelik are driven by Morten’s steady but subtly offbeat percussion and pitch bent analog synths and computer processing, resulting what sounds like a parallel, or uchronic adjunct to Norway’s rich folk traditions that uncannily resonates with many other far flung styles; from the tang and buzz of Australian Aborigine music to the sway of Ethiopiques, thru mesmerising middle eastern tones, and north African desert blues.
In their own words: "We have tried to look at the music from different angles by using other registers, playing the melody in a much slower tempo or using a subdivision grouping other than that of the main beat. This, we have in turn, mixed with elements of electronic (dance) music, an idea that is derived from the fact that the traditional music first and foremost was used as dance music in the old days. The tracks on this record are our interpretations reflecting our musical preferences and there are probably as many ways to approach this music as there are pitches and scales. We hope this could serve as an inspiration for others who have had simillar thoughts.”
Rather than any stunts or tricks, they use electronics to enhance, enliven, and refract tradition, stimulating new sensations from familiar sources. Looking back and forward simultaneously, they travel astrally perpendicular from the buzzing tonalities of ‘Gorralaus’ to the aching, archaic cadence of Kenneth Lien’s shanty-like vox contrasting with bittersweet synth dissonance in ‘En venn jeg havde meg en tid’, leading off at lush angles resembling Ethiopiques’ swaying chromatic melodies in ‘Langeleikslaatt’, while ‘Galne Listen’ reminds to Dariush Dolat Shahi’s amazing sehtar-and-modular works, and the jaws-harp like buzz and bounce of ‘Uppstaden’ is loaded with crafty club potential.
UK street soul label V4 Visions is under the spotlight of expert diggers at Numero Group and Rush Hour for this killer 5-track EP, highlighting that incredible meeting point of so many elements that were crucial to the develolment of club music in the capital during that era - you can trace echoes of everything from Joyce Sims to Rhythim is Rhythim, Kurtis Mantronik, Strictly Rhythm, Soul II Soul, Mr. Fingers. - in an era that was right at the cusp between stereet soul and jungle hardcore - what a vibe.
Operating between 1990-1994, V4 Visions was home to a cross section of UK artists operating at an inner city confluence of lovers rock, deep house, swingbeat, and jungle, of the sort that one might hear in a late night blues or smaller parties away from the big raves. The vibe is dripping with soul, adapting Afro-inspired US and Caribbean vibes to a Black British experience, with results zipped up and tucked tight in the pocket between Ashaye’s jazz taught slow jam ‘Dreaming (Original Mix)’, and their guest vox on Insight’s deep house pearl ‘Fantasy - Insight Mix’, thru to Rohan Delano’s purring gem ‘Inflight’, the propulsive subs and gilded vox of Julie Stapleton’s ‘Where’s Your Love Gone’ (later covered by Kylie innit), and the deep, bouncing piano house of ‘Now Where To Run - Instrumental South Side Mix’ looping back to Ashaye.
Multi award-winning composer Kyle Shepherd’s seventh album and first on vinyl, featuring new articulations of well-liked familiar melodies like ‘For Keith’, ‘Desert Monk’, ‘Sweet Zim Suite’ and ‘Cry of the Lonely’, along with improvised pieces ‘Zikr’, and ‘Desert Monk’.
“Shepherd embodies much of South Africa’s piano tradition with visionary clarity. More than his own ingenuity, he holds up an appreciation of the richness of a shared musical inheritance. This must be underscored by an understanding that all pianists, in fact all artists of real commitment, have a wish to be distinctive, along with a real rootedness. The selection of tunes treated here, shores this up about Shepherd. It also points to a deeper, loftier revelation: jazz, and creativity as the ultimate articulations of human hope.”
Percy Mabandu, from sleeve notes
Belgian prog-fusion outfit of the early 1970's, Arkham''s self-titled album on Vinyl for the first time.
"Arkham played eclectic jazz and rock mixtures in the 'Canterbury' vein, inspired by Soft Machine and Egg. Never released before as LP vinyl, the recordings reproduced on this album come from magnetic tapes of some of Arkham's concerts and rehearsals, recorded at various times. ARKHAM are an early 70's prog band that featured keyboard player Jean-Luc Manderlier who would later join MAGMA, drummer Daniel Denis who would also move on to MAGMA as well as UNIVERS ZERO, and drummer Patrick Cogneaux. ARKHAM aren't nearly as dark as MAGMA or UNIVERS ZERO, their jazzy overtones placing them a little closer to SOFT MACHINE. The three musicians, who show some maturity, are obviously pouring their hearts out through out the album, which exudes an intensity that can't be ignored."
Come's 1994 album "Don't Ask Don't Tell" expanded and remastered.
"Come responded to the difficult-second-album stereotype with the hypnotic, intense and emotional masterpiece ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. Featuring the original line-up of Thalia Zedek, Chris Brokaw, Sean O’ Brien and Arthur Johnson, the Boston band broadened their sound by slowing down the tempos and creating a dense urban stream of consciousness that mixes noise, city blues and… catharsis. The album hits you immediately as one of the greatest dissident records ever made.
Lovingly remastered, this expanded edition includes 'Wrong Sides', an additional albums worth of b-sides and unreleased tracks, including the band's very first single 'Car' and their last recorded song, 'Cimarron', featuring this core line-up. These gems showcase the rawness and incredible growth of a band completely in command of their songwriting and at the same time paying homage to some of their punk roots with beautiful renditions of Swell Maps 'Loin Of The Surf' and X's 'Adult Books'. Also Includes new artwork with unearthed photos and fresh liner notes by the band.
Dissident from traditional rock this is a band playing music that thematically and structurally seems to pull from old Europa, from Eastern folk and modernist classical music as much as US and UK rock. Dissident from traditional ideas about singing and songwriting Thalia’s (ex of Live Skull) presence on songs like ‘Yr Reign’ and the astonishing closer ‘Arrive’ isn’t the pushy self-aggrandizement of a lead singer but the internal voice of the eternal migrant, someone who knows about survival, hiding, how living between multiple worlds can become its own refuge of distance, its own sanctuary of unbelonging Don’t Ask Don’t Tell emerged from a period of cohesion, a break from the tight and hectic touring schedule Come had been plunged into after the acclaim accorded 11:11, and you can hear that increased focus in every moment the layers of guitars and feedback are even more precise, the structuring of songs takes on a new openness and ambition, and the whole narrative arc of the record from ‘Finish Line’ to ‘Arrive’ is more exquisitely realised and sequenced."
Incredible album of avant-R&B and spectral orchestral wonders finding NYC concrète artist Marina Rosenfeld recording two youth choirs and then layering/phasing them in the most absorbing and provoking way imaginable, poking a spot in our minds somewhere between György Ligeti and Klein.
The first time release of two mesmerising works dating to 2008/2014, performed by groups of teenagers in NYC and London respectively, Rosenfeld is here on typically heady and intuitive form - high in concept, and completely transformative in execution.
The three-part ‘roygbiv&b’ was premiered at MoMA in 2011, with this recording performed in 2014 at the South London Gallery by a local south London youth choir singing XTina acappella’s that were then gently looped, phased and layered by Rosenfeld. The results and just stunning - a punning transposition of avant-garde concept and R&B disciplines into something resembling Klein doing Gaelic Psalm singing; all stereo-phasing multi-part harmonies left mostly untreated, unhurried and airily spacious for minds to wander.
Recorded in NYC’s cavernous Park Avenue Armoury, ‘Teenage Lontano' on the flipside is in essence a “cover” of Gyorgy Ligeti’s 1960’s work structured around dissonant polychords for voice. After marinating for over a decade in her archive since 2008, with only scant glimpses heard on her ‘Plastic Materials’ (2009) CD, the results arrive as one of Marina’s most haunting recordings, mirroring the vertiginous scale and movement of what we loved about her groundbreaking ‘P.A./Hard Love’ album but with a more illusive and haunting sensation arising from its swaying mass and sparing, air-zapping electrocutions. We can only imagine how it would have sounded in the Armory space, but fair to say - the recording conveys the experience in stunning dimensions.
An album that plays like a dream, 'Teenage Lontano’ has got us dangling by a thread, scalp tingling and jaw-dropped. Unmissable.
Gorgeous Balearic floatation tank vibes from another choice debutant to Good Morning Tapes, introducing Nueen with a romantically introspective suite of fluttering electronic productions gilded with glyding subbass, highly recommended if yr into the sferic label, Bola/0161-era Skam, Eno & Budd, Roméo Poirier or Perila.
Blessed with a play of warmth and dappled light recognisable to anyone who has visited or lives in the Mediterranean, ‘Nova Llum’ presents Nueen’s diaristic account of days lolling and contemplating life in the Balearic isles. Drawing inspiration from its sunbleached rocky mountains and brilliant blue waters unusually devoid of lobster-tanned holidayers during lockdown, Nueen lets his mind and arps drift unimpeded across the landscape in nine sublime parts with a sound bound to appeal to lovers of classic Eno & Budd or Roméo Poirier as much as strains of vapourwave, Perila’s ASMR textures and cult Grabaciones Accidentales.
With a light touch Nueen takes us there, beautifully evoking a slippage of time from afternoon to noche between the glitching butterfly net sweeps capturing the isle’s sleepy ambience in ‘Once You Have It,’ to the shimmering shorelights of ‘Viejo Roble del Camino’ that draw the album’s velvet curtains to a close. Where the backdrops feel still, ancient, natural, Nueen channels a gently vibrant human energy via his melodic and harmonic signature, with daubs of field recordings lending an intangible effervescence to the the tip-of-tongue strings in ‘Centro Gris,’ and with sparing use of percussion and subs giving it a sort of subliminal drive and saline buoyancy, especially in the skin-stroking bliss of ‘Hum.’
It’s an effortlessly gratifying and transportive album, thankfully not on the government’s red or amber lists so you can come and go as you please.
Bay Area new music innovator Loren Rush has worked alongside Pauline Oliveros and Terry Riley, but remarkably little of his work has been made widely available. Sean McCann's Recital attempts to correct that with 'Dans Le Sable', Rush's first new album in over 40 years - a surreal, melancholy fog of opera, orchestra and digital synthesis. Listen and bowl yourself over - it's a proper headmelt.
Best known for his 1970 drone piece 'Hard Music', where three pianists would play a single note to form rhythmically-shifting clouds of sound, Loren Rush is described by Recital as a "deeply overlooked composer". For some reason his work has been absent from the reissue machine until now, and judging by 'Dans Le Sable' it's hard to see why. The opening, title track, was written and recorded in the late 1960s, and weighs in at a hefty 20 minutes. It's a kaleidoscopic work, verging on sound collage but using orchestral and operatic elements that pile up on each other to offset each element's unique characteristics.
Using narration, distant slow piano, faint orchestrals, audience coughs and an assured soprano, the components are oddly combined - in the most startling and satisfying way - overlaid purposefully but awkwardly to enhance contextual resonance. It sounds almost like walking through a music hall as sounds waft over from every direction, finally converging into a dense, textured whole. Rush expands on these ideas with 'Song' and 'Dance', two more experimental pieces that put orchestral sounds - and their possibilities - under the microscope.
'Song' is weightless and eerie, with phrases performed almost randomly to jar and engage, forming hypnotic orchestral ambience that breathes with pregnant suspense. The biggest surprise though is 'Dance', one of the first orchestral pieces to use computer-generated digital synthesis and a jaw-droppingly complex collision of sounds. Bouncing shards of synths roll and ping around rhythmic percussion and flurries of strings and trumpets: it sounds like the Radiophonic Workshop processing an evening with Fluxus.
"Dans Le Sable" is disarming, important music that breathes life into seemingly forgotten history. Huge recommendation.
One of those releases that makes you feel like no other music exists for a hot minute, Dean Blunt returns with a second Black Metal album for Rough Trade, delving deeper into his unfathomable yet completely approachable and direct take on visceral x melancholic folk-pop. Spoiler: It’s really fucking good.
Aided on most of the songs here by Joanne Robertson’s vocal counterpoint and Giles Kwakeulati King-Ashong’s skittering drums, these songs once again connect to AR Kane’s distinct approach to the avant grade thru imperfection. In effect, it feels like Blunt manages to squeeze all the sterile sheen out of overly tasteful music, leaving a throbbing mass of flesh, blood vessels, nerve endings - exposed and beautiful. It’s what AR Kane called ‘Kaning’ (see Dhanveer Singh Brar’s excellent 'Beefy's Tune’ book for more on this) - and effectively provides a vital riposte to a world in which so much “art" is presented and consumed as a form of numbing.
And that riposte requires no explanation - a personal narative woven with little concession to anything - there’s not even a tracklisting or credits on the physical formats, instead Blunt’s ideas are wrapped up in a succession of first grade earworms, string sections here and there, billowing subs - all melancholy and ambiguous bliss.
"Flaws are discontinuities that act as tiny fissures, allowing the dim and distant, diffused gem light of pre-creation to slip thru - it is this that music existed for - a signpost, a reminder, a note.” Rudy Tambala / A.R. Kane
Black Metal 2 is as real as it gets.
Vladislav Delay’s Chain Reaction masterpiece resurfaces for a remastered 20th anniversary edition. Answering the prayers of dub and electronic fiends everywhere, this long overdue vinyl edition of ‘Multila’ acts both as a reminder of Sasu Ripatti’s pioneering work and a primer on his early practice.
Technically the Finnish artist’s 3rd album, 2000’s ‘Multila’ offered a looser limbed, sensuous take on dub techno as much informed by the Finnish climate and landscape as the templates of Basic Channel, SND, and the deep house styles established between the late ‘80s and during the ‘90s.
It’s an immensely immersive work that prizes the qualities and infidelities of analogue production nose to tail from hardware to tape and D&M’s revered all-analogue mastering facilities, which up until this reissue has only previously been available on vinyl spread across the 'Ranta' and 'Huone' 12"s. Anyway, the Keplar label remedy that issue right here with Rashad Becker’s remaster which faithfully combines to present the album as it was perhaps always meant to be heard.
Between the submerged, coruscating crackle of ‘Ranta’, the soothing tone of ‘Raamat’, and the 22 minutes of semi-organic, lissom swing and ambient smudge in ‘Huone’ on the first disc, to the water-logged tumescence of ‘Karrha’ and the 16 minutes of head-swilling textural abstraction and saline buoyancy in ‘Pietola’ on the 2nd disc, you’re in the presence of pivotal, peerless material that effectively splits the difference between the GRM, King Tubby, and Huerco S.
The dub dentist's deep blue 1974 reggae masterpiece bubbles up on a crucial remastered reissue, available for first time since the 2004 pressings on Mark Ernestus’ Basic Replay. Hudson's mood is tormented and dazed - making for a magnificently and deadly serious album that’s hauntingly unique, unmissable, unforgettable.
Renowned among the greatest roots reggae albums of all time, Hudson’s seminal side now sees a necessary, timely reissue. Still brimming with a dusky blues soul and intoxicating atmosphere, it followed a series of solid-gold productions for Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, John Holt, U-Roy and many others, and documents Hudson's removal from JA to London, New York studios and transatlantic audiences, inaugurating a sequence of albums - classics like Pick A Dub, Brand, Playing It Cool - which demonstrated his troubled experimentalism was so much better suited to the LP than the cardinal 7" reggae format.
Hailing from a musical family, Hudson trained as a dentist but found his calling in the studio, establishing his own label Imbidimts with a recording of Ken Boothe’s ‘Old Fashioned way’ before going on to work with legendary singers John Holt, Delroy Wilson and Alton Ellis, and toaster deejays U-Roy and Dennis Alcapone, who he produced in a trademark lean and mean, bad to the bone bass and drums style. ‘Flesh Of My Blood’ would come out on Brent Clarke’s Tottenham based Atra label, and marked an early highpoint of his work, melding strong soul influences with reggae proper in a supremely moody vibe that’s lost none of its late night pull.
We advise running straight to the flickering guitar licks and heads down bass of its definitive centrepiece ‘Darkest Night’, with its ohrwurming chorus for the strongest flavour, also found reduced to essentials on the dub with masterful touches of glaring synth, but anywhere you look, it’s pure gold. From the spectral electro-acoustics of ‘Hunting’ evoking midnight jungle atmospheres, to the lissom reggae soul of ‘Testing My Faith’ and the shimmering depths of his dubwise ’Nocturne (Talk Some Sense Version)’ it’s all cut of peerless cloth and holds treasures awaiting to be found.
Bulbous Creation's album "You Won't Remember Dying" reissued on Numero Group.
"In 1971, Bulbous Creation poured what little personal surplus they had into a full day of recording at Cavern Studios, tracking enough material for a full length album. The band wouldn't stay together long enough to save up for a custom pressing on Rock. Singer/guitarist Paul Parkinson was deeply individualistic, and left to perform his songs as he thought they should be, as a solo act. He preferred coffee shops to concert halls, and would stick to his craft another 20 years before hanging it up. Drummer Horstmann followed suit. Jim "Bugs" Wine and guitarist Alan Lewis soldiered on, shortening their name to the more sensible Creation and adding vocalist Wayne Austin, dynamic drummer Tommy Ward, and guitarist Roger Sewell.
The Bulbous Creation LP was nearly doomed to oblivion, but for the efforts of Rich Haupt, who issued an unauthorized eight song LP in 1995 on his Rockadelic imprint. Lewis died in 1998 of esophageal cancer. When Paul Parkinson died of leukemia in 2001, a lone copy turned up amongst his possessions, with piece of mind that someone, somewhere, was listening."
Acid Jazz officially reissue percussionist Emmanuel Abdul-Rahim's 1988 album "Harlem" on vinyl for the first time since its initial release.
"Emmanuel Abdul-Rahim recorded this mix of Latin and spiritual jazz in his adopted home of Denmark. Sought after for the African influenced ‘Kalahari Suite’, ‘Harlem’ is actually eight tracks of brilliance that sees the veteran performer lead a local band through their paces. A perfect example of America meets Europe.
As Juan Amalbert he had led the in-demand Latin Jazz Quintet who recorded for Prestige and United Artists in the early 60s, including Caribé, which featured Eric Dolphy. In 1966 he was asked to appear with John Coltrane’s group at the performances that produced the album ‘Live At The Village Vanguard Again’. Soon after Amalbert recorded another album, which this time featured Pharoah Sanders in the horn line-up. All that appeared at the time was a single on Golden Earth Records, but the album was later released as ‘Oh! Pharoah Speaks’ in the wake of Sanders’ solo success.
He then made the soulful 45 ‘When You Lose You Groove’ / ‘The Knower’ and the spiritual jazz classic ‘Total Submission’ for Cobblestone, which featured the updated version of ‘The Knower’, called ‘Al-Alim’, which Acid Jazz included on ‘Jazz On The Corner 2’. After that, like so many American jazzmen, he packed his bags and headed to Europe to carry on his career, which is where, in 1988 he recorded ‘Harlem’."
Brooklyn-based producer and visual artist Josh Abramovici's debut album is a blunted, slo-mo throb of distant Artificial Intelligence-era pads, DJ Python-esque bass and crunchy, dubwise FX. Basically a hybrid of early Mo'Wax, DJ Olive, Higher Intelligence Agency and Amazondotcom >> another winner for Incensio.
Trip-hop is fully back eh? downstairs J's first full-length is a loveletter to the genre, filled with echoing vocals, resinous beats and kind of blunted synths you'd expect to find on a Push Button Objects record. It's a solid successor to DJ Python's deliriously tripped-out and funked Mas Amable, and pushes further into the fertile beats 'n synths territory that had us all salivating when Mo'Wax released the first "Headz" comp in '94.
Opener 'Three Times' sounds almost oppressively slow, building a gasping rhythm from kicks and clangs and slowly introducing the faintest IDM chords, pads and basses. It's a modern, half-speed take on Autechre's enduring early classic 'Lowride', all scraped electro and minimized funq. 'Lab Rat Boogie' meanwhile sounds like East Flatbush Project's spare 'Tried By 12' beat spiked with k-hole vocals and vocoded Streetsounds synths.
"basement, etc" is packed with familiar sounds, but assembles them with a contemporary NYC groove that breathes new life into old modalities. The spectre of trip-hop, vintage bleep techno and NYC's own illbient subgenres looms large, but Abramovici spins these ideas into a fresh patchwork that's laced with hemp.
Ben UFO drops picks out two unexpected club belters for Melodies Record Club's DJ-friendly reissue series and it's a doozy: Laurie Spiegel's modular percussive headmelter 'Drums' on one side, and the Knife's Olof Dreijer's 'Echoes From Mamori' on the flip - a track made out of arpeggios generated from bird and frog recordings.
Trust Ben UFO to stick his name on a dance 12" that's just about as far removed from the expected dancefloor throb as you can get. Laurie Spiegel's 'Drums' was originally featured on her paradigm-shifting 1980 classic "The Expanding Universe", but cleaved of context feels strangely contemporary in this dance setting. It's hardly a surprise that Ben featured it on his first BBC Essential Mix in 2013. The track has all his hallmarks: shifting rhythm, no obvious kick drum, an almost non-Euro feel but also rooted in kosmische music.
Olaf Dreijer's side is more tricky; the composition was recorded for a 2009 Adnan Yildiz exhibition entitled “THERE IS NO AUDIENCE”, and played on loop during the show. Dreijer clearly had fun with this one, and took recordings he'd made in the Amazon of frogs and birdsong from his home in Berlin, piping them into a sampler and letting it rip. The result is a strangely playable low-key house slow-burner that seems to evolve from the natural world like a dance party in remote forest. Over a decade after it was made, and considering the ubiquitousness of birdsong in contemporary electronic music, it's kinda hilarious and great.
Morning Trip & Yoga Records reveal a lost work of new age music: Alice Damon’s "Windsong".
"Gently propelled by Damon's haunting breath-of-life vocal winds reminiscent of Joan La Barbara underscored by field recordings and Damon's fretless bass sound calling to mind mid-70 Joni Mitchell, Windsong is traveling music, for the roads or for the skies. Instantly moving, it conjures vistas both romantically familiar and cosmically mysterious — waterfalls and wind, the voice of the earth, as heard through heavenly prisms.
Damon attended college in Massachusetts, where she formed and fronted the all-female garage band called The Moppets in the late 60s. The band began to garner national attention, but Damon moved instead to the wilds of northern Vermont to homestead and raise a family. In 1981 or thereabouts she was able to gain use of an early Sony digital home recorder, and created her masterwork, Windsong.
But Damon waited until 1990 to release a packaged version of this album, now titled "Windsong II", and sent samples to regional distributors like Vermont’s fabled Silo-Alcazar, where a copy of the album was first discovered, but little evidence exists of a proper commercial release. Alice Damon passed on in 2011 and remained essentially unknown until the landmark I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America 1950-1990 first revealed her genius to a wider audience two years later. Now, just in time for the recording's 40th anniversary, Alice Damon's Windsong may at last be heard as one of the most singular, moving and profound examples of new age music's psychedelic essence."
Laurine Frost wriggles his way through dub infected, smoke-laden horizons under the Haramia Tapes veil.
"Bending and stretching time mischievously while peering through his mask. The saga continues no differently than any of Frost's other elusive outings, genre defiant as ever, we get a glimpse of what allegedly is an unreadable and luminous future.
Following his complex concept driven offerings, on ‘Daydreaming’ we are treated to a set of groovy and hypnotic vignettes flowing ever so fluidly between beat, rhythm, and harmony. Surgically layered, yet expertly stripped back, these bedtime ragers are crafted for those waking moments where the body becomes the mind.”
The debut album from Montreal’s Le Ren, released on Secretly Canadian.
"Leftovers stitches together a patchwork of personal songs about different relationships: those we share with mothers, lovers, and friends. Lauren Spear, the artist behind Le Ren, created a physical quilt to mirror the assemblage of stories that comprise her album: a coming-of-age collage that collects over four years of past experiences and finds their present meaning.
Leftovers was originally scheduled to be recorded in LA in early 2020, but the pandemic forced Le Ren to reconsider the kind of album she wanted to make, and how she wanted to make it. Taking the time to revamp old songs and bring the past to bear upon new ones, she distilled years of material into ten tightly executed tracks united by the swooning pluck of her guitar and the crystal clear timbre of her voice. The result is a timeless assemblage of love, heartache, celebration, and lessons hard-learned, written and performed by a musician who has honed the subtleties of her craft.
With its organic yet meticulous folk production and deeply felt lyrics, Leftovers exists outside of trend or time, finding a home among classic icons like Joni Mitchell, Vashti Bunyan, and Karen Dalton, as well as a new class of folk extraordinaires, such as Adrianne Lenker, Jessica Pratt, and Laura Marling. Le Ren writes with a bold clarity that lends her songs the immediate, enduring quality of good stories well-told that, like their album title-namesake, only get better with age. Leftovers is equal parts melancholy, deep love, and levity to lift up the mournful. Le Ren here weaves a rich musical tapestry addressed to loved ones lost, found, and kept that reveals new meanings within a lifetime of relationships."
The third Tangents release on Brooklyn label Temporary Residence Ltd, "Timeslips & Chimeras".
"Australian improvising ensemble Tangents return with a ‘twin’ release that sees 2020’s Timeslips complemented with a second album, Chimeras. The Timeslips tracks, which were released in digital-only form under the subdued circumstances of the first COVID wave, are remastered and reissued in the newly merged Timeslips & Chimeras package.
The two albums were created in tandem, with much of the material recorded in one day at Sydney’s Free Energy Device Studios in 2018. Timeslips leans towards more literal takes on the studio-improvised material, with Tangents’ usual blend of ambiguous post-production treatment. Chimeras expands into more constructed passages of iterated overdubs, lo-fi electric jams, additional studio takes and splintered extracts from the Timeslips sessions, offering more extreme twists, turns and stylistic variation through doomy rock and dub drones, ecstatic superjazz and abstract collages.
This landmark double release comes 3 years after the release of New Bodies, the Australian Music Prize nominated album which thrust Tangents’ peculiar blend of improvisation and precision production into the international spotlight, a record which, says Grayson Haver Currin of Pitchfork, “overflows with sensations — of being overpowered and delighted, of being buoyed up and washed away by Tangents’ seemingly endless ideas”.
More tension and intention pervades Timeslips & Chimeras, demonstrating a thoughtful maturation of improvisational ideas and more abstracted and purposeful production. With breathtaking, rhythmic drumming and skillful production driving the various moods, Timeslips & Chimeras emerges from an even more intense interaction between live playing and carefully constructed compositions. The brittle skittering mallets of “Exaptation”, raucous guitar of “Debris” and processed trumpet of “Vessel” add new timbres to their existing palette of jazz drums, melancholy piano, throbbing cello and swirling glitched ambiences. The tonal rumble of a 100-carriage coal train winding through New South Wales’ Bylong Valley signals the first half of the double album’s slow close, recalling Tangents’ earlier references to the Australian environment in New Bodies and Stateless, before the second half picks up on a new tack: “Lilliputian” carves an upbeat path through growling drones into an ecstatic techno-infused anthem. “Ossicles” revisits Tangents’ penchant for deep, almost dubstep, grooves. “Lost Track” is a bizarre detour into elated jazz melodics. “Timeslip” radically deconstructs the band with pitch-shifts, cut-ups and decontextualized performances, while “Chimera” further smears the live improvisations into ambient jazz and hints at acoustic dub, before “Wonder” signs out with pulsating organ, spurts of mutant cello, and empty beats."
For the 1st time in over 30 years, The Chosen Brothers’ mellifluous roots reggae masterpiece ‘Sing & Shout’ returns, re-shuffled, abridged and re-cut to vinyl by CGB at D&M, Berlin
Most notable for the gorgeous ‘Mash Down Babylon’, which was versioned by Rhythm & Sound to classic effect in 1998 and now opens this new edition, ‘Sing & Shout’ is perhaps one of roots reggae's more overlooked efforts, but arguably also one of the most distinguished of its mid ‘80s era.
Recorded at Bullwackie’s studio in White Plains, NYC, by Douglas Levy, Sugar Minot and Bullwackie, ‘Sing & Shout’ blends classic roots lyrical themes and dub production with early traces of the digital drum machine and synth styles that would come to dominate the dancehall from this phase forward.
For this new edition, the now Berlin-administered Wackies deign to resequence the track-list, which now starts up with the evergreen original of ‘March Down Babylon’ (which has also been issued on a 12” with bonus dub + version this week) and the wickedly slow and easy digidub of ‘Jah Don’t Like That’ along with the mellow wooze of ‘Sing & Shout’ and the misty precipitation of ‘Dancing In The Rain (12” Mix)’, and comes to rest with woozy praises to Jah in ‘All Things (12” Mix)’.
Nice and easy definitely wins the day here. Unmissable!
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
Nostro Hood System boss Galtier's debut album is a meticulously constructed byzantine club space opera. With 'Blade Runner' synths and jerky, neck-snapping rhythms, he's managed to squeeze contemporary club music's dystopian world-building into a taught, album-length offering without sacrificing any of the weight. Seriously elevated airlock club bizz.
Damn. The Mexico City imprint's first vinyl offering in three years, "Pulchra Es Elementis" (Elements Are Beautiful) is about as epic as club full-lengths get, painting sonic vistas that bring to mind Frank Herbert's "Dune" or Kathryn Bigelow's underrated "Strange Days". Bristol-based producer Jiah Wells is a talented engineer - he's been releasing hard-hitting club music for a decade - but the album is far more than a loose collection of tracks assembled to show off his Berlin-ready kicks and eardrum-scraping snares.
Tracks like the percussive 'Bruised, but Not Broken' and the album's weightless title track are so richly visual and so obviously sci-fi inspired that it's tough not to get lost daydreaming about a cinematic accompaniment. Wells has fashioned the record like a prog concept album, and plots a rigid narrative; it fails to follow the established club pattern of pneumatic banger, ambient interlude - rinse and repeat. Rather, tracks seem to appear from the walls and ceilings like xenomorphs in James Cameron's otherwise underwhelming "Aliens".
Wells tracks through club rhythms with ease, there's no defined mode to slip into - he retains a tuff-edged dembow influence throughout, but glides fluidly between sounds without repeating basic templates. The focus is the atmosphere, and that's never better photographed than on 'Cavernam', a track that oozes thru hard drum minimalism, buffing in Eski's skeletal brilliance and stopping for gas with neon-lit swung 4/4 intensity before it squeals to a halt. Wells keeps up the momentum until the very final moments of the album, ratcheting thru grim doomscapes on pacey closer 'Shine Forth' with clattering drums and squealing synths that sound like "Mad Max" scored by John Carpenter.
Fantastic album - RIYL SVBKVLT, Rabit, Akira OST, Slikback.
Monumental 1968 debut album by pianist Ibrahim Khalil Shihab, formerly Chris Schilder - an almost lost recording back on vinyl after more than 50 years.
“South Africa’s lost jazz history contains many an overlooked classic. But even within that hidden tradition, there are few albums that suffered such an unlucky fate as Spring, the monumental 1968 debut album by pianist Ibrahim Khalil Shihab, formerly Chris Schilder.
Though Shihab was only twenty-two when Spring was recorded, he was already a lynchpin of the Cape Town scene, and the album was to be his first major statement as leader and composer. It is a magnum opus gilded by the presence of the upcoming saxophonist Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi, who was soon to find huge acclaim with the hit album Yakhal’ Inkomo.
Three months of touring southern Africa in 1968 honed the band to the point that this entire album was recorded within the just two hours of allocated studio time. This album was repressed just once before the master tapes were destroyed by an ignorant record company executive. While it has remained out of print since then, the album was ‘kept alive’ as an ‘add-on’ to a 1996 CD of Mankunku’s Yakhal’ Inkomo. As a result, many modern jazz lovers still incorrectly believe these five compositions come from Yakhal’ Inkomo.
With this edition of Spring, Matsuli Music corrects an historic wrong. This edition of Shihab’s stunning debut, produced with the blessing of the man himself, is the first time it has been properly available in over forty years, and the first time it has ever been available outside South Africa. Restored and presented with new liner notes by Valmont Layne, Spring can now be seen for what it is: a peerless masterwork of Cape Jazz, blessed by the presence of the great Mankunku, but truly animated by the subtle vision and original musical spirit of its creator, Ibrahim Khalil Shihab.”
15 years since Burial’s sorely overlooked remix of ‘Crackle Blues’ by Blackdown, the pair wind up on the same plate again on a surprise new EP.
As the scene's keenest scribe-cum-producer, Blackdown's blog and Keysound label were at the core of the genre’s early sound, placing him in proximity to key players including Burial. Like we mentioned, Burial’s remix of ‘Crackle Blues’ in 2006 was, just like his debut 12”, sorely overlooked at the time, and remains one of his tightest and most effective garagey/woodblock productions.
On the ’Shock Power Of Love’ EP they check in 15 years later for new cuts of Detroit-inspired garage and deep-fried, crispy London soul music. Blackdown gives clear nods to his 313 inspiration on both sides, framing his restless subs and garage swing with sampled, house declarations and soaring pads in ‘The Journey VIP’ while nodding to Juan Atkins and Red Planet via Geeneus in a remix of Heatmap’s ‘Arklight.’ Burial is at his signature best on the other two, frothing choral vocals into a scissored 2-step shuffle on ‘Dark Gethsemane’ before rolling out fathoms deep into the iridescent trance leads and scalp-stroking Reese bass licks of ’Space Cadet.’
Sam Shackleton returns to his "core sound" with an intense solo long player of sunrise afters psychedelia and brain tickling, bass heavy rhythmic fusion. Completely absorbing music that spirals thru odd time signatures and offworld instrumentation, landing in a rare meditative space that's a balm fer the soul.
It's been a few years since Shackleton's last proper solo full-length; recently he's been more drawn to bold concepts and collaborations, so it's an unexpected pleasure to hear him circling back to basics on "Departing Like Rivers". Here he processes the emotional complexity of the last couple of years with a warm blast of cascading vocal splices, hypnotic drones and rousing sub pressure. There's little surprising about the album, but he investigates his own tropes more deeply, channeling the looping 'n loping weirdness of his Woe To The Septic Heart! run into a coherent seance that clothes the ghosts of the past in vivid nu threads.
The genre-shaping oddstep of his earliest releases is now left as only a faint trace, while elements snipped from folk music and experimental drone forms loom much larger. Each rhythmic cycle feels as if it dances around the 4/4 idea, without locking into the expected chug, allowing the brain to create subtle aural hallucinations while it processes the complex web of well-chiseled sounds. Electronic and vocal cuts usher us into a spiraling k-hole of echoing instability; colors are painted and then melted, and coherent forms shattered into tiny pieces before being carefully, slowly reassembled.
At this stage in his career, Shackleton isn't interested in making stand-out tracks or bangers; on 'Departing Like Rivers' he creates an emotional soundscape to aid anxious moments and reflective states. It's art that shares as much musickal DNA with Catherine Christer Hennix or FM synth pioneer Maggi Payne as it does with T++ or Peverlist. Pure phantasmagoria.
The Mankunku Quartet's 1968 album 'Yakhal' Inkomo' clocks in at just over 30 minutes of jazz perfection. This compact, and to-the-point, album would sit comfortably in amongst some of the best works in the catalogues of any of the quintessential jazz labels such as Blue Note, Prestige and Impulse.
"'Yakhal' Inkomo', however, was originally released on the South African record label World Record Co., which resulted in it becoming an elusive and sought-after piece for jazz collectors. First press copies sometimes fetch as much as £1,000 on the collectors' market. It has been long regarded as one of the finest South African jazz albums and DJ / broadcaster Gilles Peterson cemented this when he included it in his "best of genre" focussed radio show, 'The 20 - South African Jazz'.
On the sleeve notes, Ray Nkwe the producer and the President of the Jazz Appreciation Society of South Africa writes "This is the LP that every jazz fan has been waiting for" and Ray was not wrong, it's a stone-cold timeless jazz classic."
Sydney-based jazz trio triosk and jan jelinek from Berlin have opened up a common equation. The title reflects their production method : jelinek mails selected samples and textures to australia, Triosk use these as a basis for composition and recording, the enhanced material then returns to Berlin for Jelinek to finalise.
But the mileage covered does not become audible - "four different instruments multiplied by four different approaches make one sense". Triosk and Jelinek play together with eerie assurance and emphatic sensibility. Archetypal, dissolving jazz elements correspond to repetitive patterns not known to the genre, electronics and acoustics circle each other but remain conjoined. A perfect evolution from the micro-contained glitch-house that Jelinek has adapted so brilliantly - forever searching for a myriad colour of jazz traditions and influences that have finally expressed themselves with a less contained form on this wondrous album.
Perhaps geographical circumstances have something to do with the fact that Jelinek and Triosk approach a similar musical task from completely different directions - but the result is a deep, timeless and brilliantly executed slice of machine soul music for the mellowest of blue nights - and another maverick album from a man who can seemingly do no wrong.
So, wow. This is the first ever compendium of Martin Hannett's work with Steve Hopkins as The Invisible Girls. Comprising rare and largely unheard gems from 1976 - 1987.
As the story goes, Hannett & Hopkins met at a Soft Machine show at UMIST in 1976, where the former had graduated with a chemistry degree, and was advised to tap up the latter for some weed. The smoke must have been decent ‘cos a week later they were jamming in Hannett’s Chorlton flat with Dave Tomlinson of Magazine and Visage, who would lend them his ARP 2600 synth. One month later they were creating the soundtrack for a bizarre stop motion animation, ‘All Sorts of Heroes’, which makes up much of the second half of the compilation with its fuzzy psych-funk and more atmospheric strokes of piano and synth.
The set frames a remarkable and ambitious relationship between the pair, ranging from Hannett's amazing solo gear ranging from shuddering rhythmic noise to windswept ambience and the jaw-dropping proto techno-disco sophistication of 'Space Music', plugging a fair old gap in Manchester music history, especially for fans of Factory, post punk and electronic music.
Debut volley of noisily complex and twisting IDM electronica from Aho Ssan, a new artist on James Ginzburg of Emptyset’s Subtext label. RIYl Shapednoise, Heith, Pyur.
"Inspired in part by French sociologist Jean Baudrillard’s influential text “Simulacres et Simulation,” the record plays with synthesis and simulation, picking apart notions of modulatable, subjective veneers of reality. Informed by his experiences growing up while black in the French suburbs, Niamké, turns a critical gaze towards facades of inclusivity and equality, and how they diverge from lived experiences of discrimination and racism in France.
Sonically, “Simulacrum” departs from ventures through Sun Ra and Afrofuturist music, as Aho Ssan dreams up new journeys and visions. Wanting to collaborate with a jazz musician but unable to find one, he turned to building patches in Max/MSP to create simulations of them. The Mensah Imaginary Band features on tracks “Blind Power” and “We Don’t Have to Worry Anymore.” Taking shape across Max objects and patch cables, the ensemble takes its name from Niamké’s trumpet player grandfather Mensah Antony, who led a Ghanaian band in Ivory Coast in the 1950s and acted as a conductor at the country’s famed Abissa Festival.
Aho Ssan debuted “Simulacrum” at Berlin Atonal 2019. After studying graphic design and cinema, he started composing electronic music and creating his own digital instruments. Shortly thereafter Niamké went on to win the Foundation France television prize for his soundtrack to the 2015 film “D’Ingha Mago,” and has since worked on several projects affiliated with IRCAM.”
Moor Mother ‘fesses her deadliest fusion of jazz, rap, footwork and “anti-trip hop” on her most satisfying album to date, flanked by comrades including Black Quantum Futurism, Brother May, Pink Siifu, among many others.
Building on a resounding reputation established via her jazz-punk ensemble Irreversible Entanglements and guest spots with Justin K Broadrick & Kevin Martin (The Bug), not to mention scintillating solo sides, Moor Mother now mounts something of a defining opus (for now) with ‘Black Encyclopedia Of The Air.’ Issued by gargantuan US label Epitaph, the record necessarily places Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother’s patented style of “blk girl blues, project housing bop, and black ghost songs” in a global spotlight, where she holds the world’s gaze over co-production by Olaf Melander, with whom she collaborated on 2020’s ‘Anthology 01.’ Although it mostly swerves the punkish burr of her previous sides, the album finds a concentrated coherence in its soulful intensity, all exquisitely calibrated for the late night experience and rewarding repeat, close listening.
Perhaps best considered in a vein with the avant, blue atmosphere of classics by Tricky or Keith Hudson, but ultimately, wholly unique in its cosmic longview; the album unfurls a rich tapestry of textured, spacious production, where Moor Mother’s protagonist is joined by a variegated roll call who echo her worries. The cuts are as deadly as they are deep, tightly binding her multi-disciplinary styles in neck snap trip hop on ‘Mangrove’ with Euclid and Abntonia Gabrila, and linking Curl’s Brother May for sharp barbs on the outstanding, footwork-feathered highlight ‘Race Function’. At it’s core, the cracked drums and alien reverie of ‘Obsidian’ hits hard and weird, while ‘Made A Circle’ drips with blooz like some hybrid of King Britt and Burial vibes, lit by harmonious vocals from Nappy Nina, Maassai, Antonia Gabriela and Orion Sun, and sublime velvet chords, while ‘Tarot’ is the album’s late, mystic masterstroke of melt-on-mind spectral jazz spirits.
"Dubplate Specials" from King Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi out on Jamaican Recordings.
"King Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi was one the great Sound Systems in Jamaica. It also proved a fantastic outlet for the Dub Plate Specials cut at Tubby's studio, providing exclusive cuts to be played out and to intice the dance's audience. The tracks at the time were mainly cut over producer Bunny 'Striker' Lee rhythms, that Bunny stored at Tubby's studio which was in fact his home, 18 Drumilly Avenue,Kingston, Jamaica.
The versions were given exclusive plays at Tubby's sound before some finding their way on to vinyl, as the b-side version cut to it's a-side vocal, proving so popular that the records were often brought for its version side over its vocal counterpart. Jamaican Recordings have compiled a selection of cuts that were all tried and tested on Tubby's Home Town Hi Fi Sound System and worked a great set of Bunny Lee's rhythms in fine style."
Basic Channel present a full 14 minute version of 'Q-Loop' backed with first ever vinyl cuts of 'Q 1.2' and 'Mutism' - previously found on the 'BCD' (1995) and Scion's 'Arrange And Process Basic Channel Tracks' releases.
Need we say more?
ISIS second full-length album 'Oceanic'.
"Breaking away from the industrialised sludge metal of their debut 'Celestial' and their early EPs, the Bostoners began expanding their sound with greater use of melody, spilling out into various genres including drone and post-rock. Like the majority of ISIS releases, this one's a concept album, dealing in tainted love and ultimate tragedy."