ZULI, Stenny, Walton, Herva, Kinlaw & Franco Franco rework the fractious breakcore heck of Katatonic Silentio for Bristol NormCore
Diffracting her scudding bass missiles into mutually rambunctious forms, it sounds like everyone involved had a ruddy mucky time, resulting strong moves in Steny rollicking, coiled breakcore take on ‘Prisoner Of The Self’, a crushed take from Kinlaw & Franco Franco recalling current pressures from the Hakuna Kulala camp, and a bullish sort of Cairean dancehall flip from Zuli, while Silentio herself supplies the gutted, about-to-collapse structure of ‘Viscerale’ exclusive to the release.
Another 12″ drop of soundsystem pressure via the Comfortnoise imprint, channeling the ghosts of reggae, dub, dubstep and echo chamber sonics.
"This solo offering from Marius Neukom in deep bass research mode, comes pressed up on an edition of 150 discs, cut loud & clear for maximum effect, and is ready to give your hifi or soundsystem a proper workout. Bringing back a (much-missed) dedication to the purest of basslines, reminiscent of early RSD, Headhunter (or H.E.N.C.H. around 2008, before they went a bit too tear-out), Pinch and the more meditative sides of Skull Disco, new.com has pressed up four very-heavy tunes here – showcasing a more upfront dancefloor depth charge approach, but still sharing a similar meditative style with the Comfortnoise Ploy productions which he shares with Rjega.."
Sticky sweet soul and beatdown from Washington, D.C.’s Dreamcastmoe - strong vibes for fans of Dâm Funk, Amp Fiddler, Maxwell
If this sound is your bag, all four cuts are kinda hard to resist. ‘Make Your Move’ lays down the G-funk with finessed production by Shungu under Moe’s purring vocals, and ‘Deserving’ ups the soul burn with extra bouncy bass and pleading croons. ‘Bend Backwards’ follows with a canny slice of mid-tempo swang placing Shungu’s beats near to Dolo Percussion/Max D vibes, before Moe tags in Baxter for the deep fried crispiness of ‘(301) 341-7207’ on a proper R&B downstroke.
While the filtered, tape-fuelled obfuscation of Grouper's signature sound remains, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill is far more resonant up front about the songs at the heart of her work.
Opening track 'Disengaged' offers a segue from the cloudy, amorphous Grouper output of old and this current strain of more easily deciphered writing: it's a mass of mesmerising magnetic hiss and soft noise, with a voice cloaked in lo-fi haze somewhere at the back. Soon after, Harris' guitar and voice emerge, reverberant and phantom-like, and yet comprehensible.
If previously you've struggled to make out Grouper lyrics, and wondered what's going on beneath that veneer of musty, degraded audio, 'Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping' offers you a way in. Those dense recording techniques have become a unique production signature and it's virtually impossible to separate Liz Harris' creative identity from that uniquely ghostly sound of hers, but now it feels like a conduit to her songs rather than a barrier. There are echoes of her earliest work on the album too, as on the wordless, partially acappella atmospherics of 'Wind & Snow', but the overall impression left by this album is one of inspired creative renewal, and the unveiling of a songwriting talent that's previously been content to dwell in shadows and deflect attention with smoke and mirrors.
A real milestone release for Harris, and a definite high point for the rejuvenated Type label, we've been unable to stop listening to this incredible album for weeks - it's an absolute must.
Most artists would struggle to put one album of the quality Liz Harris exhibited on 'Alien Observer' (the first part of her A I A double-header, also out now) but somehow she's managed to churn out a full two forty minute albums each as breathtaking as the last.
'Dream Loss' is the murkier, more grimy counterpart to 'Alien Observer's distant pop and travels still further into Liz's astral tape haze and noisy, vocal ambience. While the record might begin unassumingly enough with the downplayed 'Dragging the Streets', 'I Saw A Ray' greets us with a volcanic slither of noise and calloused harmony. This deeply buried melancholy transports us through the album, and while the noise subsides to make way for Liz's familiar layered vocal loops and subtle, withdrawn songs, the character and texture is still one of distortion and fragmentation as opposed to the occasional overt prettiness exhibited on 'Alien Observer'.
As Liz mentioned in the run-up to this ambitious double release, the albums are two very separate works, yet somehow feed off eachother when heard together. To hear one without the other is to only hear a single element of the whole piece - 'Dream Loss' adds the darkness, and in sinking deep into it we get a whole new understanding for 'Alien Observer'. It's a harrowing trip, but one laced with beauty, restraint and that unquantifiable magic that seems to grace mostly anything Liz Harris touches. Just buy it; you won't be disappointed.
Japan’s Calax Records debut with reissue of a rare batch of breezy and brilliant cuts by Industrial and new beat originals, Siegmar Fricke, and Dirk Desaever aka A Thunder Orchestra, White House White, Danton’s Voice +++
Both artists were heavily active in the late ‘80s tape and industrial electronic scenes, with Dirk Desaever recording some of Belgian new beat/EBM’s finest moments, and Fricke developing a catalogue of 100s of release up to the modern day, including 2019’s turn as Pharmakustik for V I S. This set captures a snapshot of the pair sharing a tape and vibe in 1990, charting an early phase of their respective creative oeuvres when they both worked between a flux of inspirations from ambient to synth-pop and proto-techno, thru to experimental integers of EBM and new beat.
We’re particularly drawn to the ATO cuts, which hark to the archival Dirk Desaever material that surfaced on Musique Pour La Danse’s two compilations in 2019. They feel as though mailed in from a greyscale parallel dimension of the very late ‘80s, possessed by a brooding gothic Belgian spirit that filters thru from the eerie dance tension of ‘Birch’ to the cinematic strings of ‘Coming Closer’, and impish works like ‘Reaching out for that brandnew little nothing’ that split that difference between Coil and John T. Gast, and the face-numbing coke psychosis of ‘Columbarium’, plus the unmissable goth ballad ’She lives in a dream Movie Theme II.’ Factor in Fricke’s side of eight more playful electro-dub and heady acid house freaks such as ‘This Is John’, and its exclusive ’91 remix, or the scudding, proto-ambient-techno of ‘In Good Shape’, and you’re onto a proper winner.
The first Grouper album in 4 years finds Liz Harris stripped of FX, pairing her vocals with skeletal piano gestures in beautifully pregnant space. For anyone familiar with the miasmic fuzz of Grouper’s previous releases, the relative clarity is quietly shocking in effect, revealing her songs and sound at their most vulnerable, and, in the process, locating a newfound strength in fragility.
Grid Of Points was recorded in Wyoming shortly after Liz finished recording Grouper’s Ruins out in Aljezur, Portugal, and on the most immediate level it seems to describe the difference in recording locations between windswept Atlantic coastline and sparse, landlocked insularity. The seven songs were written over a week and a half, with the process curtailed by a bout of what she describes as “high fever”. What remains forms some of Grouper’s most legible lyrics and intimate instrumentation, with each piece framed by stark, unprocessed space working in the same role usually occupied by her billowing sheets of harmonic distortion.
Untreated and unfiltered, Grouper's voice rings plaintively clear, sometimes layered in ephemeral harmonies or curling off with jazz-soul wise inflections shadowed by modest piano phrasing in a crepuscular style that links back to all her previous work. Yet, in places the clarity is such that it almost feels like we the listeners have just been hearing her songs with clogged ears for the past decade and longer.
Ultimately, these results perhaps most acutely resonate with the etymology of Liz’s moniker - ‘Grouper’ as in member of a Fourth Way commune, The Group, which was inspired by the philosophy of George Gurdjieff, whose mystic meditations surely linger in the magick of Grid Of Points.
For many people 'Work And Non Work' was the first introduction to one of Warp’s most singular and interesting signings ever - Broadcast.
Released in 1997, it compiled a bunch of early singles and EP's the band released on Wurlitzer Jukebox and Stereolab's Duophonic label, making for a spectacularly unusual hybrid of evocative songs capturing the psychedelic spirit of "The United States of America”, augmented by a love of radiophonic sound effects and electronic production.
Although those early releases fell broadly alongside Broadcast's Birmingham contemporaries Pram, Novak and Plone, the group fast outshone all of their contemporaries and went on to produce some of the most brilliant and individual sounding records made by anyone in the UK over the last 30 years, reaching a creative peak with the magnificent ‘Tender Buttons - surely one of the finest albums ever released by Warp.
Antithesis is taken from Keith Fullerton Whitman archives, featuring ensemble works featuring instruments played by Whitman himself with no computer interaction.
Each piece was recorded in one of the different apartments Whitman has rented since he lived in Boston and broadens the instrumental and compositional base of 'Playthroughs' with fender rhodes piano, viola, guitar and percussion.
The four tracks on the album verge from straight up drone to what sound like lost krautrock classics.
Brian Mcbride and Adam Wiltzie's "Stars Of The Lid" are another one of those bands, alongside Windy and Carl, that seem to typify Kranky's quiet exuberance perfectly.
Their ability to create drifting shimmers of sound that veer from hushed, whispered soundscapes to disturbed crescendo's utilising nothing more than a couple of guitars, some basic effects pedals and whatever found sounds happen to be lying around has allowed them to progress slowly from one album to the next with the sort of intuitive, masterful command of minimalism that's quite hard to fathom in one sitting.
"Gravitational Pull" was originally released on the Sedimental label, eventually reissued by Kranky back in 1998, including extra material. Amazing stuff.
Fresh load of coiled, minimalist, electro-dub steppers from Italian-in-London producer, Big Hands
Charging up the 4th release on London’s Oscilla Sound after turns by E-Unity and Significant Other, Big Hands calls to mind aspects of Ilpo Väisänen’s scratchy Liima dubs, Shackleton and Felix K’s economical halftime D&B between the recursive steppers space of ‘1346’, a gritty roller named ‘Calix’s Head’, and the extended B-side trip into Skull Disco-like percussion and vibes on ‘Louis H. Theme.’
As we approach the end of 2020, we thought we'd shine a light on a handful of releases we reckon should have had a bit more attention; albums that might have fallen between the cracks for some of you, but which have become missing links between different scenes and feelings for us over the duration of this cursed year. First up is FUJI||||||||||TA, whose iki album offered solace and space for contemplation with one of the most unusual, moving recordings we’ve heard in recent years. Played on a wheezing, self-built pipe organ, Iki unfolds into a set of oddly tuned organ meditations that bridge the gap between sacred music and the kind of smudged vignettes that made BoC's ‘Music Has The Right To Children’ so ingrained in our psyche’s. If there was one record in 2020 that perfectly straddled high art and approachability - this was surely it.
In the works for a decade, ‘iki’ is a unique release from nose to tail. It features FUJI||||||||||TA’s first recordings in nine years, over which time he’s got to grips with a self-built pipe organ that he crafted in 2009. The unique instrument features only 11 pipes, has no keyboard, and is powered by an air pump called a “fuigo” based on a traditional blacksmith’s model. Its sound is simply enchanting, and sensitively brought to life by the artist, who has evidently spent his time well in taming the instrument and bringing out its sublime, warbling harmonic and timbral qualities.
The overarching influence for ‘iki’ is traditional Japanese gagaku, the slow and elegant form of classical court music extant since the 7th century. In this context, FUJI||||||||||TA’s four pieces unfold with a graceful, if abstracted logic, imaginatively expressing a sound that one could easily imagine mirrored by graceful movements on stage, or enacted by much more phantasmic, anime creatures in the mind’s eye.
Within the first minute of ’keshiki’ our eyelids are drawn to half mast and we’re swept into an impossibly fragile and serene headspace as FUJI||||||||||TA gently coaxes out melodic figures over a long, sustained base note while the gentle clack of his pump appears to resemble a knackered butterfly beating its wings for the last time.
With ‘nNami’ the instrument’s capacity for beating low end frequencies really comes into view in a way recalling Eleh’s electronically generated wonders - but trust there’s no electricity involved here! - resulting in some dead uncanny harmonic chaos, and ultimately ‘osoi’, which sounds something like a BoC synth pad slowed down and recreated acoustically, also pulling the same trick on the ear to sublime effect, whereas ’sukima’ perhaps resembles organ music in its most classic, austere form, but in a way as familiar as a fleeting dream.
Unmissable for fans of Kali Malone, Eleh, BoC, Áine O’Dwyer, Yoshi Wada...
Orginially released on Sub Rosa in 2000, in between the band's 'Per Aspera Ad Astra' and 'The Tired Sounds of...' albums, this classic Stars of the Lid release has been out of print for years.
Now available again courtesy of kranky (coinciding nicely with the release of Stars of the Lid member Adam Wiltzie's sublime debut album under The 'Dead Texan' moniker and the release of Kranky's excellent second label compilation), "Avec Laudenum' is another mesmerising document of this indispensable band's low-level prowess.
Minimal yet full to bursting with melodic undertones, "Avec Laudenum" is an album that's widely regarded as possibly the band's most accessible work, immersive music that requires your immediate attention.
Another commanding performance from Brian Mcbride and Adam Wiltzie, the opening "Central Texas" setting the tone with the distant sound of fading breath, slow paced, barely audible, full of life.
When it comes to genre-defining releases, even releases that define a band's career, few sum up ambient music, and the work of Stars of the Lid in general like 'The Ballasted Orchestra'. Released in 1996 it was their third album and the band's first for the Kranky label and was a perfect statement of intent from a band who have never put their name to a bad record.
Flowing almost continuously 'The Ballasted Orchestra' was unlike anything else around at the time - it was lumped in with post-rock, quite strangely, but this was like hearing Arvo Part piped into a gigantic metal chamber, or a fresh take on Brian Eno's ambient dictat. It's hard to go into detail track by track, but in my mind 'The Ballasted Orchestra' is the partner of Stars of the Lid's best known work, the incredible 'Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid' in both composition and organisation.
The album starts with the trembling beauty of 'Central Texas' but quickly drifts into the gorgeous 'Sun Drugs'. The real highlight comes with the incredible two-part 'Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30', Drone rarely reaches these sort of expansive emotive heights and what sets this album (and band) apart from its peers is that it seems totally effortless. You never need to stop and think as you're listening, yet at the same time it never feels like background music, rather this is the soundtrack to the most beautiful dream you've ever had.
‘Flock’ is the record that Jane Weaver always wanted to make, the most genuine version of herself, complete with unpretentious Day-Glo pop sensibilities, wit, kindness, humour and glamour. RIYL: Bradcast
"A consciously positive vision for negative times, a brooding and ethereal creation. The album features an untested new fusion of seemingly unrelated compounds fused into an eco-friendly hum; pop music for post-new-normal times. Created from elements that should never date, its pop music reinvented. Still prevalent are the cosmic sounds, but ‘Flock’ is a natural rebellion to the recent releases which sees her decidedly move away from conceptual roots in favour of writing pop music. Produced on a complicated diet of bygone Lebanese torch songs, 1980's Russian Aerobics records and Australian Punk. Amongst this broadcast of glistening sounds is ‘The Revolution Of Super Visions’, an untelevised Mothership connection, with Prince floating by as he plays scratchy guitar; it also features a funky whack-a-mole bass line and synth worms.
It underlines the discordant pop vibe that permeates ‘Flock’ and concludes on ‘Solarised’, a super-catchy, totally infectious apocalypse, a radio-friendly groove for last dance lovers clinging together in an effort to save themselves before the end of the night. The musician’s exposure to an abundance of lost records served as a reminder that you still feel like an outsider in this world and that by overcoming fears you can achieve artistic freedom. Jane Weaver continues to metamorphise… “A mind-expanding delight, devoid of retro posturing.”
“It’s about hopelessness and darkness,” says Aidan Moffat. “But in a fun way.” The Arab Strap frontman is speaking about the band’s seventh studio album and their first since 2005’s ‘The Last Romance’.
"The new album will appeal to longtime fans and pick up new ones who weren’t ready for Arab Strap first time ‘round.:
Cedars combines cosmic Americana with Western ambient and Middle Eastern influences.
"Delicate layers of pedal steel, banjo, oud, and hurdy-gurdy ﬂoat atop looping guitar drones to create a soothing, atmospheric chamber where folk and electronic music coalesce. Set to Arabic and English poetry, the song cycle examines some of Earth’s most iconic and ancient forests, revealing our complicated relationship with the natural world. For this special dual-language release, Field Works producer Stuart Hyatt has assembled a supergroup of musicians, poets, and artists.
The album is narrated by Youmna Saba and H.C. McEntire. Instrumentalists include Marisa Anderson, Fadi Tabbal, Dena El Saffar, Danny Paul Grody, Bob Hoffnar, Tomás Lozano, Nathan Bowles, Alex Roldan, Youmna Saba, and Stuart Hyatt. Renowned illustrator María Medem brings poems by Todd Fleming Davis and Youmna Saba to life in the accompanying full-color Risograph comic book; and longtime Field Works collaborators PRINTtEXT design the packaging."
Cult NDW star Christian Pfluger aka Die Welttraumforscher is subject of Bureau B’s latest archival expedition, covering his mid-period years and a tranche of songs that typically spark with melodic invention - a big RIYL Andreas Dorau, The Residents, Felix Kubin
“The second collection sees Bureau B zoom in on the years 1992 to 2012 in the Welttraumforscher universe. A more pensive atmosphere of melancholy pervades the tracks documented herein, as if the more spherical musical journeys and expeditions undertaken by creator and sole member Christian Pfluger lead to increasingly enchanted worlds.”
Premo new age jazz chuff-on, sourced by the expert diggers at Numero Group; a wide-eyed throwback to the dawn of the internet age and desktop optimism rendered via the likes of Slap & Powell’s smooth gradients in ‘Sex Drive’ and Steve Bach’s twinkle toed ’Rain Dance’, primed for the ‘90s diehards and dreamers. Kinda ace zone-out.
“As escapism from corporate banality turned the corner in the ‘90s, a new generation of vibrant, software generated soundscapes emerged. Communal access to the internet propagated the new hive mind of ideas online, giving way to smoother, stress-free textures. The PC revolution opened the gateway to ray-traced playgrounds of color and light, allowing for visions of utopic proportions to manifest themselves on screensavers far and wide. Boot up your machine, load the software on this floppy diskette, and drop out of a reality bounded by the physical laws of the universe.
Numero 95 is the soundtrack to the screen saver fever dream we’re all trying to climb back into. Eight droplets of proto-vaporwave, synthesized in vinyl (or digital) form, fresh from Numero’s archive of forgotten sounds. Are you looking for that half way point between smooth jazz and new age? Mac and PC? Quantum Leap and the X-Files? This software is for you.
Housed in a replica floppy diskette, Numero 95 explores an early computer music unbound by scene or region. Eight solo pioneers vibing out at home in their headphones, traveling as far as the sound card would allow. This is music that barely escaped the hard drive and yet percolates at the edges of the algorithm 30 years later. Welcome to Numero 95.”
Levitating Franco-Flemmish electro-Kraut-prog goodness from Finders Keepers. You already know!
Experimental prog/jazzrock fusion outfit COS might not be as well-known as CAN or Neu!, but are just as worthy of your attention. Fronted by Daniel Schell, the band balanced glittery pop with indulgent prog, something that's easy to hear on 'Mein Maschine Ist Schön'. Mirroring Stereolab's endearing early tracks, the single layers cooing vocal chants over chirpy synths and a sturdy rhythm section and it's frankly difficult to understand why they've never achieved wider notoriety.
On the flipside, Finder Keepers has unearthed another Schell rarity from his short-lived FF Boom project. This one should be more familiar to FK regulars, inhabiting a funk-flecked Euro trash-core soundtrack landscape, complete with wailing lead guitar and epic drum breaks.
Eccentric, lo-fi electronic pop that inspired Felix Kubin, Mouse on Mars and Barbara Morgernstern.
The enigmatic solo project of Swiss oddball Christian Pfluger, Die Welttraumforscher released over thirty albums over the years, penning stories, drawing illustrations and making films to vividly document his artistic universe. If you're unsure of where to start, this stunning Bureau B retrospective is a useful jumping off point, collecting up Pfluger's early Die Welttraumforscher material from 1981 to 1990 and remastering it for cohesion.
At it's core, Die Welttraumforscher is pop music, but Pfluger's eccentric world is too unusual for mass market concerns. The songs have vocals, basslines, rhythms and riffs, but everything's assembled with such quirky surrealist fantasy that it feels as if it has more in common with outsider folk, prog fusion or the outer reaches of the electronic avant-garde. The difference is that Pfluger appears to make music without any stuffy notions of hierarchy; these songs are refreshingly pure - it's easy to hear how a Mouse On Mars and terminal pop outsider Felix Kubin were inspired by these alluring, labyrinthine compositions. So weird and so enjoyable
"'Long Shadows' is the new Urdog retrospective on Rocket Recordings - the work of a mercurial band whose music may have been summoned from fog and ghosts, yet possesses considerable staying power beyond their brief time on the planet."
“The rumors are true; Providence, Rhode Island is permeated with a mysterious energy”. So says Dave Lifrieri, guitarist and vocalist of Urdog. “It might have something to do with the swamp gas chimneys that keep downtown from blowing up, or the proximity to the ocean, but every now and then a thick fog enters the city and breeds with the people who call this transient world home. Around the turn of the century many musicians and artists found themselves infected by Providence. Some of us focused this energy, learned to live with the ghosts and tell their story.” “We were influenced by the horror of late-capitalism in general every day” says drummer and vocalist Erin Rosenthal, who first met Dave whilst ‘bouncing on a couch like two 5 year olds’ at a Flying Luttenbachers show.“This glued and glues us together, also love of bicycles, french fries and faerie folk. Big influences for me were Robert Wyatt, Incredible String Band, Dagmar Krause, but especially This Heat, Riot Grrrl and 90’s hardcore”
From such disparate inspiration came psychically heavy jams and wild improvisational voyages from this triumvirate which chart an instinctive and wild journey, drawing the interplanetary dots between early ‘70s freak-flag-waving transgressions and the folk-tinged frontiers of the early 21st century US underground. Mantric repetition, ceremonial ambience and fuzz/wah tinged blowouts take equal prominence in this dreamlike realm.
This compendium marks something of a fresh step into the retrospective for Rocket Recordings, whose Chris Reeder and John O’Carroll were introduced to the band in the early ‘00s through Steve Krakow of Plastic Crimewave Sound and via the fabled Aquarius Records new release list. Revisiting the two full-length Urdog CDs in lockdown and realising that none of this material had been released on vinyl, the label took a chance on a 15-year-old email address and were pleasantly surprised when organist and vocalist Jeff Knoch replied.
“Something that kind of stands out in retrospect is that, relatively speaking, Urdog existed for a rather short period of time—just three years” says Jeff, describing the utilitarian methods of the band “I think we all favoured immediacy and directness over belaboured production and refinement. If you let certain shortcomings, or inabilities or even a lack of the “appropriate” tools inhibit you, you’ll never get anything done” True to this uncompromising ethos, the band had effectively run its course by 2006, with Jeff moving to the desert, Dave starting a record store, and Erin studying plant medicine, after one final hurrah at the celebrated psych fest Terrastock in their home town.
Yet the transcendental nature of their music meant it wasn’t so easily forgotten - “Over the years since then, where I have been asked to DJ at festivals I’ve played ‘Ice On Water’ and am more or less guaranteed to get at least one person coming up to me asking ‘what is this?’” notes Chris Reeder - indeed, to bask in this track, ‘DMZ’ or ‘Eyelid On Moon’ is to set foot into an audial patch of land equally nurtured by the drone ’n’ klang of Amon Düül II and the cultish hallucinations of Sunburned Hand Of The Man, replete with both an earthiness of approach and a powerful celestial intensity.
“We used our intuitive connection to let three distinct voices be heard” reflects Dave. “There was no foundation; they supported each other. Once that is achieved, a vibe develops. Getting into the space of a song is something you can’t notate. We had the keys, but getting to the door was the trick. Some nights we got all the way through the roof to the stars.”
Visionist dives into a chasm of deep introspection with this suite of smudged ambient textures and ghostly vocals.
Louis Carnell's third album as Visionist, "A Call To Arms" swerves the synthetic deconstructions of his debut "Safe" and the noisy, post-industrial grind of 2017's follow-up "Value". Here, Carnell channels light and dark elements, pairing slithering rumbles with operatic highs and enlisting a cadre of collaborators. He even explores the possibilities of his own voice for the first time, singing vulnerable phrases over torched doomscapes.
Opener 'By Design' has Childhood's Ben Romans Hopcraft on vocal duties, crooning in circling waves around wobbly sub bass and spooky waves of static. It's something like Arca's decadent 'Madre', Scott Walker's "Drift" and Antony and the Johnsons, but more introverted. As the album progresses, Carnell carefully reveals his own shy tones, draping his words uncomfortably around shivering foley percussion and grimbient drones.
Most successful is the album's extended eight-minute centerpiece 'Nearly God', which doesn't feature Tricky but does focus around a wonderfully brittle overdriven beat that eventually gives way to tape-munged church bells and looped vocal washes. Elsewhere, Carnell gets assists from Black Midi's Morgan Simpson, Circuit Des Yeux’s Haley Fohr and Ben Vince. It's a bold statement that fades his early Visionist material into the fog of history.
Bolshy breakstep from Berlin’s Fjaak, backed with thuggish Pinch remix and recoiling rework by Cocktail Party Effect
Now a duo after Kevin Kozicki left in early 2019 (so we can’t really call them a boy “band” anymore), Fjaak bare their teef in ruder, rambunctious ways with the barrelling breakstep force of ‘WH?T’ coming off like an aggy Shed piece, while the cranky acid-electro spurt of ‘XoXp0rt’ recalls Funckarma cuts from 15 years ago. Pinch weighs in a more schizoid, bone-crunching remix of ‘WH?T’, and Cocktail Party Effect win out for us with wilder remix of the latter, full of recursive trills and catapulting bass.
Upsammy tinkers with iridescent electronica styles recalling Plaid, Cylob and Kettel on her follow-up to 2020’s ‘Zoom’ album with Dekmantel
Nimbly working around intricate patterns that chime with Indonesian gamelan traditions as much as ‘90s AI and experimental techno styles, the Amsterdam resident follows her instincts to crafty places between the crystalline carillon of ‘Flutter’, the needlepoint step and off world scales of ‘Spat’, and deep blue electronica reminding us of Astrobotnia’s seminal, overlooked early trio in ‘Worm’, with Plaid-like trills and pads in ‘Metallic.’
The 30th release on Dubkasm Records, following up killer works since that first record, a Jah Shaka favourite, ‘Every Lion’ with Lidj Xylon came out in 2003, and was followed by a steady flux of high grade music over the last 17 years or so, with many milestone releases including collaborations with Iration, Aba Shanti-I, Mala, Lidj Xylon, Mad Professor and more –
"Anyway – here comes ‘Kings Music’, the most prized and deadliest dubplate from the vaults of the Dubkasm studio in recent years, pressed up on a heavyweight 12″, hand-stamped, and cut with four wicked dub mixes –
Each one hits nice in it’s own way – from the first cut, which lets the synthline sprawl out and introduces the full structure, through to 2nd and 3rd dubwise cuts focusing on the percussive details and rhythm foundations, and of course the fourth cut, the raw dub to explore the depths of this ruff & tuff stepper.
Each cut comes straight off the mixing desk, live & direct with Digistep on the board, sliding faders, running the fx red-hot into endless trails of reverb and delay, heavyweight dub style – play one cut after the next and zone into the hypnotic rhythm and dread bass.
There’s a real cosmic kind of feel to the tracks too, swirling synthesizers and full-focus percussive elements drifting ever-forward and outward like some kind of lift off into outer-space dubwise, anchored to earth only by that thunderous combination of bass, and drum – the kind of bass and drum that you KNOW will drop, very very heavy on a big sound.
These tracks have all been tested on the big soundsystem – previously only on dubplate by Dubkasm and the likes of Iration Steppas –
but we’re 100% sure these’ll be lighting up many dances over the next years to come, the perfect tune to celebrate that time that will inevitably come, when we can finally string up those speakerboxes again and rally round.
In the meantime…. Turn this one up extra loud and enjoy the vibes."
Elena Colombi’s Osàre! Editions host the murky solo debut, proper, by Inkasso, following the German duo’s smattering of compilation cuts for Osàre! and Kashual Plastik in recent years
After studding highlights on the ‘Il Lupo Della Steppa’ and ‘A Weird State of Experimental Experience’, and a roughcut gem on Kashual Plastik’s ‘Respect The Unexpected - In The Age of Sci-Fi’ compilation, Inkasso come into their own on ‘Zeichen Im Schact Der Verschleierten Tatsachen’, which literally translates to ‘Sign in the well of the Veiled Facts’, and metaphorically signifies the murky enigma of their work, which grubs around in swampy sorts of post-techno pulses, smudged jungle breaks and gunky illbience.
The results feel a little like one of Black Zone Myth Chant’s hypnotic, screwed regressions, but with the crooked rhythmic buoyancy of of those Free Range 12”s that preceded Inkasso on Osàre! Editions.
Official reissue of Pierre Barouh’s album of French flair meets Japanese avant-garde -a lost treasure of experimental-electronic-chanson-pop with a new-wave-minimal-bossa touch, Le Pollen. Originally recorded July 1982 at Nippon Columbia Studio in Tokyo and composed, arranged, and played by a who’s who of Japan’s most groundbreaking musicians of the 80s, the album comes as a LP with bonus 7inch, housed in a heavy sleeve displaying two immaculate photos of Barouh and holding a printed lyrics insert.
"A free-spirited world traveler with an incredible ear for music, Paris-born singer and activist Pierre Barouh introduced the sounds of Brazil (and more) to Europe and pushed the envelope with his pio-neering label Saravah, home of adventurous innovators Brigitte Fontaine, Areski, Jacques Higelin, Naná Vasconcelos, and Roland Bocquet’s Catharsis among many others. His bohemian border-free vision of modern chanson, blending musical tradition from various parts of the globe with forward-looking artistry, resonated particularly well in Japan, where the scene spearheaded by Yellow Magic Orchestra fell in love with everything Barouh.
And so one day in 1981, Pierre Barouh received an invitation from a Japanese label to come record an album in Tokyo. Not one to turn down an escapade around the world, the French visionary jumped on a plane and landed in a studio surrounded with a dream line-up of musicians: Yukihiro Takahashi (who had named his solo debut Saravah! after Barouh’s imprint) and Ryuichi Sakamoto of YMO, Yasuaki Shimizu and his Mariah bandmates Masanori Sasaji and Hideo Yamaki, members of the Moonriders, Motohiko Hamase, Mitsuru Sawamura of Interior, Kazuhiko Katoh and the list goes on. Also participating in the making of the album were longtime collaborator Francis Laï and the mys-terious and beautiful David Sylvian.
The result is Le Pollen, a sincere and affectionate mix of nouveau chanson, techno-pop, post-punk, jazz, bossa, ambient, and minimalism. And probably something else entirely. Honestly impossible to classify in a particular genre, Pierre Barouh’s fascinating cosmopolitan music melting pot is, above all, a reassuring ode to humanity, where friendship, exchange, and collaborative creativity breeze freely. Making music together. It’s all love. Pierre Barouh sadly passed away in December 2016, leaving behind a monumental legacy of music and art for us to cherish, and a life philosophy that’s well worth considering."
The Cure in weird pop mode, released in 1985, a mere 3 years after the morose perfection of what Robert Smith called the "Fatalistic kingdom” of Seventeen Seconds >> Faith >> Pornography and solidifying their multifaceted presence after the no-fucks-given sprawl of 'The Top' the previous year.
Allegedly inspired by the Human League’s ‘Dare’, ’The Head on The Door’ is an album oozing the weirdest pop sensibilities; odd instrumentation and arrangements wrapped around some of Robert Smith’s best songs - just think about the 3 minute perfection of album opener ‘In Between Days’ sat alongside the relentless flamenco strum of ’The Blood’ and the miniature claustrophobic masterpiece ‘Close To Me’ - full of colour, bursting with ideas, the sort of songs that change yr life.
Or again, the oddly stadium-built introspection of fan favourite ‘Push’ sat right next to the spectral playschool genius of ’Six Different Ways’, finding Robert Smith in purest love song mode with those ridiculously naff/brilliant pan flutes for the hook.
There are basically no bands doing this sort of stylistic sprawl convincingly anymore, perhaps the greatest attribute of The Cure in the 80’s was that their enormous aesthetic shifts never felt calculated, more an accurate reflection of the complex and rich human condition. As Robert Smith so eloquently explained at the time “…you’d have to be the most dull person in the world to only listen to one type of music.”.
Radical protagonist of “feral gore feminist ASMR”, Ronce delivers a truly shocking debut album based on the female form and the violence that comes with it: surveillance, self disgust, anger, touch, desire (or lack thereof). It’s no doubt among the most disturbing yet arresting pieces of experimental music released in recent years, highly recommended listening if yr into Frederikke Hoffmeier, Perila, Maja Ratkje, ELpH/Coil, Kevin Drumm, Sam Kidel, Rashad Becker.
Cathartic or deeply discomfiting, depending your disposition, either way ‘Malignant’ sounds quite unlike anything else in the contemporary field. It follows from the French artist’s now-impossible to find 7” ‘Lolita / Acteon’, issued by the Dawn label in January 2020, with a steeper and starker interrogation of its themes; abuse, power dynamics, and how it felt to be a 20 year old woman visible only under the gaze of men, and experiencing, as she says “the visceral need to escape it, to escape the hands and the eyes and crawl out of the physical body; rising above.” Yet for all its excoriating harshness, the album is ultimately a positive gesture on how to navigate trauma and eventually come out of it. While the process was not easy or enjoyable, it was vital for the artist and, by turns, should be considered crucial listening.
Recorded in the months leading up to the first lockdowns of 2020, the ten tracks see Ronce continue to adapt the production techniques of ASMR - close miked vocals and hyper-tactile foley - in a dark détournement of ASMR’s semi-erotic fetishisation of the female voice. The results, in Ronce’s own words, form “a toxic, thorny maze holding all the rage and bitter curses that had to be purged in order for me to move on.” Her thoughts manifest as “a mix of primal fantasies, revenge and mourning”, exploring the limits of the frequency spectrum between sibilant highs and guttural drops, with vocals occupying a range between frankly petrifying giggles and subvocalised whispers, to Enfield-haunting croaks and bloodcurdling shrieks, each illuminating structures that shapeshift from liminal, barely-there, to bone-crunching technoid reflux and charged electro-static forcefields.
In light of pandemic circumstances that have arisen since its recording, the masochism of ‘Malignant’ may only feel to compound the world’s woes, but let’s be fair; there’s never a good or easy time to broach this topic, and the sense of vulnerability, insight and ingenuity that Ronce brings to her work is hugely admirable, if not vital listening for a world currently reassessing its principles.
Beatrice Dillon delivers 50 locked grooves from the workshop floor for the “most dangerous DJs” on Overmono’s Poly Kicks
Dillon’s set of DJ tools distill her ideas on working on, off, and around the beat in myriad permutations, and at a 133.3BPM tempo that could be sped up to the 150BPM pace of her album with a a bit of 33/45rpm toggling and +/-8 pliability on the pitch controller. They’re effectively a sort of supplementary bonus pack expanding the original album’s gaming nature, suggesting keener listeners use them as bridges and augmentary devices to complicate and funk-up her devilishly loose but tight, asymmetric drum patterns and their inherent melodious thunk.
We’re not gonna lie, these sort of records are pretty fucking annoying if not using them for DJ purposes, but when used in context they can provide hours of fun, practically making it worthwhile to cop two copies and lock yourself into two ring turntable coding; syncopating helical dervishes from the deconstructed rhythmic DNA of the Black Atlantic Diaspora and its offshoots that came to dominate and underline contemporary UK club music. In other words; it’s proper, top craic for dancers and DJs.
Jeff Mills rubs his crystal balls to work up a haunted vision of techno futures on an epic new 3LP mission
The alien emissary is at his sci-fi storytelling best on ‘The Clairvoyant’, which revolves around themes of time travel, prognostication, and technoid instincts, articulated in a singular sonic language that he has keenly developed over the past 30 years. This time he acts as a sort of clairvoyant protagonist leading a “metaphysical séance” that he says “should be listened to in a darkened, candle lit room”, and with few other distractions. The results are typically spellbinding, demonstrating the sort of Janus-faced progression of his music at its most beguiling, with one antenna on atavistic, techngostic rhythms, and another pointed to kaotic harmonies, operating on sixth and haptic senses uniquely attuned to the cosmos, your body, and mind.
“There are many ways to imagine the future. One might be to look back in the past to see what has similarities to what we are seeing today. Another way might be to invent and build a time machine to jettison ahead in time to get a glimpse. And, one way might be to use our natural senses to feel what the future might be like. Though all are intriguing to explore, this album is about the latter option.
We are a species of human animals and we are guided by the ways of “knowing” from feeling; by the ways of intuition, premonitions and sensing. Each one of us are born with this special tool set that tells us when the time is right, when enough is enough and when there may be more or less to it. It has been these skills that has allowed humanity to survive and flourish for thousands of years. It is also safe to say that we do not know all there is to know about this skill.”
Weightless ambient projections from the prolific don of this style Will Long aka Celer
“‘Being Below’ is a collaborative release between Past Inside the Present (US) and Two Acorns (JP). This is a mini-album of short songs created with digital and analogue instruments. Written with a structure that reflects shifting states, overlooking the past and future as a split pathway with the present endlessly fluctuating between. The pangs of rumination. An exercise in loop-less writing.
"Staring out, tense. Looking down isn’t so different than looking up, but it passes by faster. Contentment at the accomplishment that I'm here, and the fear that what I’ve always been looking for has passed by. Staring up and looking at the sky, wishing you were up here with me, here where you can see everything. Above, the surface drifts by, and the colors on the horizon in pale blues makes me calm. Then blue. Deep in pale blue.
Again, in the morning. Close your eyes. Repeating this, repeating that, then it changes. Try to stay focused, but you've already moved out of sight. You're a million miles away, and farther. Waiting for night. Stars, always beyond. Now, it's already tomorrow." -Celer”
Your RDA of rhythmic psychedelia comes from Bear Bones, Lay Low and Carrageenan in their Carcass Identity guise for Glasgow’s Phase Group
In drowsy, frayed pursuit of the label’s examples set by Andria, and MR TC & Lo Kindre, the Carcass Identity duo follow a lysergic muse thru six woozily mid-tempo grooves that stem from their shared European tour of 2017.
It’s a style ripe for scene-setting, early hours DJ sets as much as munted dawns, finding a buoyant balance between their respective mix of raw, dub-infused electronics and kosmiche trippiness between the Tolouse Low Trax-like grind of ‘Things To Forget’ and the molasses chug of ‘Spiralling Paradigm’, with more urgent electro torque in ‘Freedom Principle’, before they wind up toying with gamelan-esque percussion in ‘Quiet Spectator’, and slipping via the wormhole of ‘Kundu Basket’ to the Burundi Black-like percolations of ‘Desultory.’
Multidimensional duo Divide and Dissolve release their new album, produced by Ruban Neilson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
"Divide and Dissolve members Takiaya Reed (saxophone, guitar, live effects) and Sylvie Nehill (drums, live effects) create instrumental music that is both heavy and beautiful, classically influenced yet thrillingly contemporary and powerfully mexpressive and communicative. Their music has the ability to speak without words and utilises frequencies to interact with the naturally occurring resonance.
‘We Are Really Worried About You’ presents a formidable saxophone sound giving way to a surge of crushing percussion and heavy guitar riffs. ‘Denial’ is a potent blend of Takiaya’s ominous and unsettling sax that blows wide open into riff city for almost eight glorious minutes. Both tracks encapsulate the message behind the music: to undermine and destroy the indigenous sovereignty, black and indigenous liberation, water, earth and indigenous land given back."
Lights out, game over. Duma win 2020. Breathtaking by any measure, Kenyan grindcore band Duma’s unparalleled debut of blast beats, sky-clawing synth noise and scarred larynx vocals is one of the mightiest things you’ll hear all year - a huge RIYL Nkisi, Woid, Senyawa...
Duma's self-titled debut is the most incredible injection of life-affirming, outsider energy imaginable in these dark ages; an LP that’s bound to cleave opinion and upend preconceptions of what music from East Africa, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, can be.
Comprising Martin Khanja (Lord Spikeheart) and Sam Karugu, Duma mete out a jaw-dropping extreme sound rooted in Nairobi’s flourishing underground metal scene, where they’ve previously performed in bands Lust of a Dying Breed and Seeds of Datura. Faithful to the name - translating to “Darkness” in Kiyuku - they forge a frankly unprecedented darkside sound, welding trve metal vocals and eschatological synths with the frenetic energy of Central African and breakcore rhythms in transfixing arrangements that just beggar belief.
Certainly we can compare them to other outliers of extreme music - the dark cosmic Congolese energy of Nkisi or the cataclysmic sound of Wold/Black Mecha, and Indonesia’s beastly Senyawa - but basically Duma are, like all the above, in a field of their own. From the psychoactive rush of militant snares and keening synths in ‘Angels and Abysses’ to the doomcore dirge of ‘Pembe 666’ and the exquisite menace of ‘Uganda With Sam’ and the scorching finale ‘The Echoes of The Beyond’ they uncannily reshape the game in their own image with every song, bending conventions and styles with profound sense of iconoclastic freedom and possessed discipline.
When they performed in Berghain at this year's CTM festival, worlds were shattered into a million tiny pieces. They had technical difficulties; their setup wasn't working as planned, so producer Sam Karugu had to improvise, playing backing tracks from an audio player and direct injecting Lord Spike Heart's mic into his laptop. Somehow even with issues that would derail the most professional Berghain vets Duma's set was one of the undisputed highlights of the entire festival, pouring molten lava on the Berlin superclub's sweaty mass of inebriated revelers who created a messy moshpit on the dancefloor.
"Shayna McHayle is New York’s premier rap rule-breaker. Honest, funny and freaky, her rhymes span from the explicitly audacious to the tenderly relatable."
"Her unfailingly confident flow accentuates her roots in Brooklyn (her parents are from Trinidad and Jamaica) and her bars land with cool impact. In the universe that is Junglepussy, relationships are complicated, vegetables are magic and an excellently delivered flex on an ex is one punchline away. ‘Jp4’ is Junglepussy’s stellar next phase. With contributions from vocalist Ian Isiah, rapper Gangsta Boo and producers Dave Sitek and Nick Hook, ‘Jp4’ is Junglepussy ascended. After almost a decade of experimenting, Junglepussy feels she’s finally living up to her name.
The numerology of four, in its foundational symbolism, is an apt frame for ‘Jp4’. Over an eight-year career, Junglepussy’s music has led her to lecture at Yale and Columbia, create her own Junglepussy Juice, star in 2018 feature film ‘Support The Girls’ and embark on sold-out domestic and international tours. For Junglepussy, ‘Jp4’ is a culminating moment - one that holds the essence of closure while hinting at an exciting and expansive future."
Unmissable vinyl reissue of Ying-Li Hooi’s standout debut, an immaculately frayed conception of dubwise dream-pop from the same Aussie quarters that gave us HTRK/Jonnine, CS + Kreme, F Ingers
Hooi’s first record ‘Untitled’ was originally issued by Altered States Tapes in 2019 (the same year as her song-writing credit on ‘I Don’t Seem Myself Tonight’ from Jonnine’s ’Super Natural’ EP), and has somehow managed to evade our radar until now, when she’s making a fairly big ping in our world.
Working economically with her own vocals, plus guitar, keyboards, and slivers of clarinet supplied by Tarquin Manek (F Ingers, LST), the results can’t help but remind us to aspects of Teresa Winter’s music that we hold dearly - namely the reverb-laden vocals and drowsily psychedelic, daydreaming appeal - but also tend toward a sort of sublime, grown-up bedroom chamber darkness understandably shared with her peer Jonnine, and the low-key grooving suss of CS + Kreme, or even Mica Levi at her most strung out.
Minimal, throbbing Kraut-inspired dubscapes from To Rococo Rot's Stefan Schneider and his long MIA Mapstation project.
Stefan Schneider is nothing if not reliable. His latest Mapstation full-length finds him ditching the studio drip in favor of a stripped-down setup: a TR-808 drum machine, Novation Peak synth, a guitar and a tape loop device. The result is his most immediate collection of tracks for years, a set that gets to the bare bones of his sound with uncomplicated ease. "My Frequencies, Where We" is hinged on a Cluster-influenced sense of rhythm, but one that's obscured by glitches, crackle and alien synthetic atmospheres. At this stage in his career, Schneider's primary point of reference is his own long career, so there are elements of To Rococo Rot or Kreidler that spring to mind as he cooks out eerie dub flavors from stark, disparate ingredients.
Schneider's real skill is his seemingly-effortless ability to evoke a sonic world that's immediately identifiable as his own: the magical, anxious buzz of 'To a Single Listener', the tape-distorted electo-psych ambience of 'My Mother Sailor' or the refined-yet-childlike early electronic squelch of 'Actual Possible'. It's a utopian, fairytale world we rather relish getting lost in.
Pairing post-minimalist master Daniel Lentz and the spectral tenor of Ian William Craig, the 16th edition of FRKWYS inter-generational couplings is a starkly beautiful suite of elegiac keys and warbling tape textures - a strong RIYl Harold Budd, Tape Loop Orchestra, Willim Basinski
Accompanied by a soon come documentary on the pair by director Eli Welbourne, ‘In A Word’ sees Craig & Lentz undo each other in brittle but sublime style that, as the label eloquently put it, “embraces erosion and the potential of its loam left behind.” It’s surely one of the subtlest charms on the long-running and illustrious roll call of the FRKWYS series, highlighting the timeless, otherworldlyy intent and transportive power of two artists who respectively emerged some 30 years apart, but patently share a sense of pathos that resonates for the ages.
In nine pieces they spell out a hauntingly lived-in sound, evoking a sort of parlour music for creaky abandoned dwellings, imagining a post-dinner performance of ghosts that emerge from cracked wood panels and tatty curtains in once-splendid settings, seemingly convening around a dilapidated grand piano with chipped keys and peeling walnut wood, to play out lamenting nocturnes rendered in mildewed harmonics and fizzing dissonance, with Craig’s beautifully faltering, vulnerable vocals vacillating folkwise and classical spirits.
ASC’s Auxiliary celebrate 10 years at the peripheries of D&B, techno, or the “Grey Area”, with eight cuts by the boss, Sciama, Sam KDC, Synth Sense, Saturne, and more
The label head weighs in with the brooding solo stepper ‘Honed Edge’, and Synth Sense summon hallucinatory beatless sound design in the album highlight ‘Broken Sword’ - tipped to fans of Raime. ASC is a constant presence throughout, teaming with Semblance on the frictionless rolige of ‘Simulacra’, and sam KDC for the polytempo experimentation of ‘The Inevitable’, while Saturne swangs out with the blotter, offbeat techno momentum of ‘Hypnosis.’
FSOL render the classic opener to their seminal ambient techno LP ‘Lifeforms’ in myriad lush and previously unheard versions.
Like recalling a dream thru a kaleidoscope, the 13 versions of ‘Cascade’ each appear familiar but elusive, like morphing wormhole portals to the ambient techno mothership of ‘Lifeforms’. Arriving in 1993 as a prelude to the classic opus, the haunting original charted at No. 27 in the UK charts (not even “just” the dance charts!) and has since put wind in the sails of too many trips to count over the intervening 26 years, with ‘Lifeforms’ becoming something of a staple during the ‘90s.
The original’s haunted pads and breaks have now been respun and rebuilt in Dougans & Cobain’s FSOL lab with help form their studio engineer/spirit Yage, resulting in a variegated sprawl of gloopy acid downbeats, spine-tracing trance arps, intergalactic steppers techno ballistics and a ravishing jungle mix, reconnecting strands of arcane prog rock into dub and computer music = proper old skool ambient.
Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) gets the best out of his longtime pal, Madlib in an ideal showcase of the master beat breaker’s untouchable, sampledelic style
Tailored for proper end-to-end immersion by Hebden, who’s responsible for the edits, arrangement, and mastering, ‘Sound Ancestors’ weighs in as one of ‘lib’s most distinctive albums, proper, flexing his inimitable style with extra focussed production that really brings his instrumentals to life in an LP context. That’s not to say his previous albums aren’t eminently listenable, but avowed Madlib stan Hebden has really done the hip hop icon proud, drawing from 100s of cuts sent him over the past few years, to render a lushly soulful collection contoured between bumping downstrokes and killlller cuts of syncopated, Afro-Latin suss.
Shy of any voices beyond the samples, the 16 tracks adds up to one of Madlib’s best sets since ‘The Beat Konducta’ series ended a decade ago, reprising that series’ colourful sampledelic tekkers at its best, while flowing with a livewire, jazz-wise quality that’s hard not to get snagged in. Fair to say Hebden’s touch can be felt in the swirling sound design of the album opener, but its a subtler presence as the album unfolds with Madlib’s patented swagger between instant anthem ‘The Call’, and a haul of crooked, club-ready gear such as the almost West London broken beat styles in ‘Loose Goose’, the flighty Afro-fusion of tht title tune and the rare groove move ‘One For Quartabê / Right Now’.
Andrew Kötting is one of the UK’s most highly regarded film makers, having worked on films suchbas ‘Gallivant’ (1996), ‘Swansdown’ (2012), ‘Edith Walks’ (2017) and many more. His new film, ‘The Whalebone Box’, was released in 2019. The soundtrack is composed by Andrew Kötting, Riz Maslen (Grand Theft Auto, Neotropic, Small Fish With Spine) and Oliver Cherer (Gilroy Mere, Dollboy).
"For the soundtrack to ‘The Whalebone Box’, Kötting used various pieces of music by Dollboy, The Assistant and musician Riz Maslen among others. Kötting chopped, processed and repurposed the songs for the film’s soundtrack, described as “a gentle, savage, unnerving warm bath of noise, music and references that is an integral part of the film and as much Andrew as it is the original tracks.” The tracks were then remixed again by Cherer and Maslen for this 2LP release on Invada Records."
Gallon Drunk's James Johnston and renowned photographer Steve Gullick worked together on an art show in late 2019, the idea of making music together immediately surfaced. Without any firm strategy, the pair began recording, drawing upon a shared love of noise, folk, and classical.
"The result is a deceptively crafted album that slowly reveals – and, more importantly, embraces – beauty in its cracks. Piano, voice, violin and guitar create a drifting haze, with the focus on these acoustic elements forging an imagined soundtrack which offers echoes of Big Star, Nico, Lee Hazlewood and Palace Brothers, as well as the gentle, haunting influence of contemporary minimal classical. Ambient sounds – birds, rain, cars, clocks, distant voices – also drift in and out, melting into the music’s fabric via windows left open during the early 2020 heatwave. We Travel Time, nonetheless, resists definition, remaining enigmatically timeless."
After a decade of scattered ‘Rückverzauberung’ releases, Wolfgang Voigt presents one of the series’ darkest, most immersive iterations on his 4th outing with Astral Industries.
If Voigt’s extended strolls as Gas evoke the atmosphere of the Black Forest on a warm day, his latest ‘Rückverzauberung’ sound more like a Lynchian limning of nightfall on the same scenes, where ancient demons crawl out of the undergrowth and the tree branches weave thicker to cut out the moonlight.
The atmosphere is palpably more frightful and sylvan, making concerted use of dissonance and noisy textures to connote the feeling that we’re not in Kansas any more, Dorothy.
RIYL Jordan Rakei, Tom Misch, Real Estate, Connan Mockasin, Nick Hakim.
"‘Rolled Up’ features US indie star Mac DeMarco. This is the third single from Benny Sings’ forthcoming album, following ‘Music’ and ‘Sunny Afternoon’. Guests on the forthcoming album also include KYLE, Tom Misch, Emily King and Remi Wolf, among many others. 7” features the original version of ‘Rolled Up’ on the A-side and an exclusive instrumental version on the flip."
French touch house fancies from the boss Pépé Braddock, driving his ‘Dactylonomy’ series into 2021
Still few can match the feathered Parisian producer for characterful deep house funk that doesn’t age. On his umpteenth 12” he cooks up two slices of fruity, acidic funk in the ‘Major’ cuts, shaking it up loose and colourful for the party, then going over-easy on the bass and sloshing bleeps. However ‘Finger-Snapped’ is more furtive, jazz-wise, with a certain sorta C2-style flair to the bass in the first, while the 2nd part swangs out wider, but with dead trippy compression trickery bound to sound psychedelic on a proper club system.
‘Little Dominiques Nosebleed’ is the second Stones Throw album by LA-based rapper and producer The Koreatown Oddity.
"With a distinct lo-fi and experimental sound, the album documents a true-to-life story about growing up Black in Koreatown, LA. Through nostalgic vignettes, ‘Little Dominiques Nosebleed’ details The Koreatown Oddity’s supernatural powers and spiritual awakening, triggered by two childhood car accidents that left him impaired with frequent nosebleeds and a broken leg. The Koreatown Oddity takes the listener through this journey with an eclectic array of samples, comedy and hard truths, often featuring the people of his family and community. The album is produced entirely by The Koreatown Oddity and includes appearances from guest artists Sudan Archives, Anna Wise, Baby Rose, C.S Armstrong, Fatlip (The Pharcyde) and many more."
Hastings of Malawi release their third LP.
"In this bleak vinyl mid winter the sleigh bells have been replaced with twelve handsaws, two motors and a dustbin, a duet between a walrus and an autistic child on an aeroplane, a chorus of pigs and Tasmanian devils, sounds from Japan, China, Africa, Italy, India and Hawaii, digital voice synthesis, sound sculptures, randomly generated music, geiger counters, free improvisation and a rocket engine. As with their first two albums this record continues to explore themes of communication and communication breakdown. Is communication possible? What is the message? What is sound? What is on the surface of a record? What is beneath the surface of a record? Hastings of Malawi provide the answer to these questions in the form of a 38 minute poem called Axial Incidents."