Burial’s sophomore LP, originally issued in 2007 only a year after his pivotal debut, is another masterpiece of urban UK composition and innovative imagineering whose sense of melancholic space, pop-wise dexterity and dancefloor yearn has rarely been explored or surpassed since its release.
Where its predecessor was starkly paranoid, mostly instrumental, Untrue was gilded with gorgeous, cut-up R&B and UKG vox, and interspersed with segments of nocturnal reverie that played out like the OST for a yung UK romance that replaced posh, gurning actors with real life road characters and focussed on the spaces between - between the club and home; between night and day; masculine and feminine; waking life and dream life; Maccy D’s and alley doorways; being high AF and coming down.
It was and still is Burial’s love note to UKG and R&G, and by turns gave context and validated those genres for a lot of listeners who arguably wouldn’t have touched that sound, or at least dismissed it as pop pap or with some snide, racist undertone before Burial’s revivalist instincts hybridised it with trip hop and snarling D&B memes.
More positively, however, depending on which way you look at it, this album also opened the endorphin floodgates for a whole raft of f****e garage producers to get in touch with their feminine side, especially in contrast to prevailing, laddish dubstep rave trends, and, since that sound has faded away, it’s not hard to hear this album’s influence in the vocal processing of Mssingno, in the uneven, off-kilter swing and parry of Zomby, the patch-worked constructions of Jamie xx or Evian Christ, or in Deadboy and Murlo’s more boundary-pushing creations.
As with any album that gets a lot of attention beyond its putative scene, Untrue was an unintended red rag to the cynics and rockists - and even garage purists - but for almost anyone who recognises and appreciates that more modest, aching sort of electronic, UK street rave soul, it remains a really transcendent album that still grips like few others.
Music From Memory return with this eye-opening collection of recordings spanning 1980-1984 from Belgian/Congolese duo Denis Mpunga and Paul K, combining elements of traditional African music with experimental electronics. Having released only a handful of tracks scattered across a few LP and cassette compilations that were put out in the mid eighties by obscure european labels, this release also includes a few previously unreleased tracks that were found on the original master tapes.
"Relocating with his family from the Congo to Belgium in 1973 at the young age of 13, Denis Mpunga grew up in the industrial city of Liege and quickly became deeply embedded in it's musical scene, forming the group Gomma Percussions in 1979; a percussive group driven by West African influences that would also experiment with found objects and improvised musical instruments.
The group released only one 7' but toured and performed frequently up until as late as 2000. A side project Eko-Kuango formed by the Gomma Percussion members also saw the release in 1985 of the now much sought after 12'' ''Fura'' which also includes Denis Mpunga on vocals.
As well as a later career as a comedian and actor with roles in television and cinema, Dennis has continued to produce and compose music, perhaps most notably writing the soundtrack for ''La Promesse'' (1996) a highly regarded film by the Dardenne brothers; currently probably Belgiums most celebrated contemporary filmmakers.
Patrick Stas who would release with Denis under the Paul K. moniker was a well-known local musician in Liege and considered something of a luminary figure in the electronic and experimental music scene in Belgium. Patrick would set up the independent cassette and vinyl label ''Home Produkt'' releasing amongst others, the work of Tara Cross, who has herself been the subject of a killer V-O-D compilation in recent years.
The two of them would join forces in 1980 to work together on a soundtrack for a children's animation company called ''CAMERA etc'', recording the ''Intermezzo'' tracks which are included here. Keen to experiment further as a duo, Denis proposed the idea of combining some more traditional songs or percussive African elements with Patrick's experiments with drum computers and synthesisers.
Working around more conventional instruments such as guitar and bass, Denis would also bring Balafons, Senzas and a Zither to their recordings whilst Patrick would work with an array of synthesizers and drum machines such as a 202, TB 303 & TR 808 and Korg's MS20 & Monopoly amongst many others.
At a time when world-music was becoming hugely popular across Europe (and especially so in Belgium and France), the pair were keen to try and explore African music in a new contemporary way. Much like the intentionally provocative archival image, which Denis selected for the sleeve of Criola, the recordings set out to play with and challenge preconceptions and expectations of African music and African culture. Together, Denis Mpunga and Paul K's, if somewhat brief, musical adventure would create a fascinating new musical language, African music born out of an industrial European landscape; music which the compilation ''Criola'' reveals as both wholly unique and visionary."
Comparisons between musicians and painters don’t usually work. But biographical parallels are not unusual. And just as some paintings place their creators in a particular period in their creative lives, there are also musicians who can look back on distinct creative phases. F.S.Blumm is one such musician.
"At the end of the 90s there were alot of murmurs about the living room scene in Berlin; magical concerts on improvised stages in temporary event spaces. Back then it was about music without fat beats and bass. It was a counter-reaction against rockstars with all their posing and egos. You made music with acoustic instruments and kitchen appliances. Concerts were listened to attentively and with deep concentration. One of the protagonists of this scene was F.S.Blumm. Among other things, his love for untempered, often self-made instruments predestined him for this.
At the turn of the century virtually any kind of music which used acoustic instruments was branded „Free Folk“ or „Alternative Folk“. But other than a few ironic comments in interviews Blumm didnt try to monopolize on this supposed movement, rather he kept a poised distance from it. It was during this time that his album „Mondkuchen“ (trans. Moon Cake) was released on Morr Music. The bristly detailedness of the living room scene met serious and powerful reductionism.
F.S.Blumm has many faces. Working your way through his vast discography would be a research project all in its own right. He has collaborated with the likes of David Grubbs, Andi Otto, Harald Sack Ziegler or Nils Frahm. He realised his love for Dub Reggae with the Quasi Dub Development. In the band KINN he played dynamic Postrock. Blumm has a faible for odd beats and could write an a-z on minimal musics pattern matching. Quite where his personal musical signature lies remains something of a mystery. Nevertheless only a few bars are enough to recognize it. This may by down to his preference for open harmonies or his poingnent arrangements.
Now F.S.Blumm is entering a new phase of his creativity which one could call his nonchalant phase. Although the first few bars of his new album do sound like an echo of the deep seriousness in his studio albums with Nils Frahm. Besides a few guitar chords and the suggestion of a xylophone in the background there is nothing but the wide spaces between them. Fine almost random sounding noises are remotely reminiscent of the era of his experimental instrumental concerts with classical guitar. Then the voice comes into play and everything changes. Laid back F.S.Blumm sings with a combination of urgency and relaxation. His voice sounds like he’s standing right beside the listener, singing straight into your ear. At the same time its unobtrusive. The piece sounds touching and intimate. This is the way how „Handle Bar“ the opening track on his new album „Welcome“ is delivered.
If an artist as experienced and multifaceted as this calls his new album „Welcome“ that really says something. Many years ago the composer and instrumental musician F.S.Blumm was already active as a songwriter. He wrote songs for three duos in which he played with various singers: Bobby And Blumm with Bobby Baby, Old Splendifolia with Jana Plewa and finally Jonsson Gille & Blumm. Now for the first time since he started making music, he is singing his own songs himself. Which is like a journey back to his roots – back to his childhood bedroom with a songbook and his first guitar. With „Sounds of Silence“ and „Sister Ray“ day in day out.
With every song on „Welcome“ new doors of association are opened. The second track „New Day“ uses reverb laden drums and hymical harmonies to great effect. But F.S.Blumm always manages to make the grandiose still sound grounded. Rather than spreading himself too thin, he prefers to explore the depths.
There we find the relaxed and erotically crackling „Going Away“, the optimistic „Initial Spark“ and the casual „Overweight“. Blumm is ever traversing the field between greatness and modesty, sophisticated melodies and recordings which are like the extremely condensed sound of a cassette recorder. This aesthetic permeates the entire album.
With „Welcome“ F.S.Blumm has perfected the imperfect. Where other producers filter out the noise, pops and crackles, Blumm does the exact opposite. He reverses the roles of desired and undesirable sound. What remains are songs like sculptures left in the wake of acoustic tracks.
First making waves with the almost cult level ‘Hype Williams’ project, and then more recently solo and as part of the group Babyfather, the new 8 track LP sees Dean Blunt step back into the shadowy role of producer for a new band called Blue Iverson.
It’s a vibesey one, this; digging a vein of smoke-hazed living/bedroom feels in eight parts that could almost be passed off as a Dam-Funk jam. Well, almost, but there’s still something off kilter and economical about the fidelity and mixing of the recording that hints it’s from the UK, or is even made to sound like the private pressed soul obscurities picked out by PPU.
Hotep strongly reminds of those lush soul bits from Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music or even selected Letherette cuts released on Alex Nut’s namesake label. The image of Lauryn Hill on the sleeve is a cherry on the cake.
Kiran Sande (Blackest Ever Black) and Chris Farrell (Idle Hands) trigger their Silent Street cooperative with a surefire survey of Maximum Joy’s dub-fuelled punkfunk and pop singles 1981-1982, collected as I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights. Digging a pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, it reveals the sound of Bristol parties and after-hours blues in the early ‘80s, which would also find success among the punk-funk crowds and hip hop stations of NYC. Fans of Vazz, The Slits, Glaxo Babies, The Pop Group need to check this one!
“I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is centred around the trio of singles the band released on Dick O’Dell’s Y Records between 1981-1982. Their first, ‘Stretch’, was licensed to seminal American label 99 Records and soon after became an anthem on the New York club underground, a cult staple at Danceteria and on late-night radio. Closer to home and a shared personal favourite is their first B-side, ‘Silent Street / Silent Dub’: a languid, haunting tribute to long summer nights in St Pauls (where the Idle Hands shop presently resides), and specifically the Black & White Cafe, “where dub-reggae reigned supreme, 24/7”. Llewellin’s mesmerising one-drop kit and Catsis’s outrageously heavy bassline anchor the track, allowing Rainforth’s exquisite vocal and Wrafter’s trumpet to soar within the intense, expressionistic dub mix. In both subject matter and execution it is the definitive Bristol tune.
‘White And Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix)’, ‘In The Air’, and wistful instrumental ‘Simmer Til Done’ also feature; the non-Y bonus is the 12” version of ‘Do It Today’, Maximum Joy’s contribution to the Fontana compilation Touchdown, which originally came out in ’82 as a white label split with The Higsons.
I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is the first official UK vinyl reissue of Maximum Joy material, with sleevenotes by Janine Rainforth, Tony Wrafter and Kevin Pearce. We invite you to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the eclectic, exhilarating work of Bristol’s finest, brightest pop idealists.”
Into The Light slot another cryptic piece of their cosmic puzzle with a lush haul of previously unreleased ambient and synth works by Akis Daoutis, who previously appeared on the label’s breakthrough compilation A Journey Into Greek Electronic Music, Classics & Rarities (1978-1991), and whose 1990 debut LP provided direct inspiration behind the label’s enigmatic moniker.
On Space, Time, And Beyond (Selected Works 1986-2016) Daoutis offers a serene mooch around his sprawling gardens of electronic delight, pulling together tracks written at home in Athens and abroad in USA where he was studying during the mid ‘80s - spanning material from as far back as 1986 in the cascading beauty of Christmas, which could almost be cut from a cords and woolly jumper John Hughes flick, thru to the breezy rhythmelodic patterning of Into The Light off his aforementioned debut LP, and right up to the introspective electro-acoustic probe of My Haunting Sins, written as recently as 2016.
It’s clearly music that comes from a sunny place, blessed with a sense of optimism between the radiant synth shimmer and swallow diving clarinet of Biofields and the fluttering up-lift music parts of New Age Rising - taken from a sought-after 40 minute composition - and with a phosphorescing duskiness that keeps the sand warm between your toes in Beach Ambience, diffracting that energy into myriad variations such as the jazz-funk butterfly, Violet and the slow boogie shuffles of Ecological Awareness and Erotica.
Romantic souls and those in need of a holiday to somewhere unaffordably lush should book their seat of this one as soon as possible.
Julianna Barwick teams up with Texan post rock group This Will Destroy You for an airy instrumental remix of The Puritan, some three years adrift from their Another Language  LP.
Most remarkably, Julianna’s signature vocals are barely present on her remix, only detectable as a very distant peal flit ng around the edges of a vast sound sphere, almost as if she’s using her own chest as a resonant cavity for the plangent keys and their soft, underlying pulse. It’s deliciously simple yet stately and faithful to the original, but captures something intangible that will keep us returning to it.
A new album from Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius
It comes as quite some relief to hear that after all these years away from the studio Cluster still sound like Cluster. Divided into seventeen miniatures, this latest collection explores synthesis and electronically treated sound from much the same perspective as the band's classic material. Of course, the overall sound has a rather different finish to it - much of the equipment sounds different and the production is crisp and modern - but in the soundscaping of 'Putoil' and 'Ymstrob', the low-end surges of 'Xanesra' or the stuttering glitch-dub of 'Na Ernel' you can still hear that Roedelius/Moebius magic at work. Inevitably, Qua could never sound as innovative as some of its estimable predecessors, but it's certainly worthy of the Cluster name, and that's surely a high enough accolade in itself.
Staggeringly unique body of early work by cult outsider musician, Ghédalia Tazartès, including 4 full albums plus a 10" of unreleased work made in 1978.
Born in Paris in 1947 to Turkish parents, artist and autodidact Tazartès has spent over 30 years experimenting with myriad musical practices and creating a catalogue of cult recordings deeply informed by his "extra-European" and "intra-European" heritage. He's both in possession of, and possessed by, a shamanic vocal talent, with the ability to embody a multitude of characteristics. This, together with his unimpeded sense of compositional flux, swerving between musique concrete, technoid loops, piano pieces and pseudo-ethnic imagineering, makes for a thrilling experience unlike any other. This collection includes some of his most important works, among them his earliest release, 1979's 'Diasporas' - listed by Steven Stapleton in his legendary NWW list - besides the exotic collages of 'Tazartès', the enchanting and otherworldly loops and scapes of 'Transports', and the two jaw-dropping extended pieces of 'Une Éclipse Totale De Soleil', plus a further 10" of unheard, shorter cuts of hectic electronics, unhinged vocals and and bewildering composition.
This passage begins to surmount his magic appeal "He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. utilising magnetic tape recorders, he paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker. He traces vague landscapes where the mitre of the white clown, the plumes of the sorcerer, the helmet of a cop and Parisian anhydride collide into polyphonic ceremonies." At times it feels like you're watching unhinged French cartoon without translation in a Parisian asylum while a Techno soundsystem beats outside, at others you're sitting café side being serenaded in tongues, or just simply hypnotised by the consistent metamorphosis of sounds; an unending, breathlessly connected flow of ideas playfully eschewing any formal notions of what is wrong or proper, and purely informed by what feels right and most affecting. It's a hugely, hugely recommended purchase, probably the most important avant-garde reissue this year - and some of the most uncategorisable, extraordinary music you'll come across. Unmissable.
The 8th full-length release from the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi.
"Over the course of four LP sides, the October 2014 concert documented here ranges from rock power trio dynamics to maelstroms of analogue electronics. Once again, the three demonstrate their commitment to pushing into new areas of instrumental exploration and group interaction. Where previous releases from the trio have often featured extended vocal workouts from Haino, at times suggesting abstracted folk song, Haino’s vocalizations here are restricted to the occasional impassioned cry, putting the focus squarely on instrumental interplay. More than ever before, this feels like the work of three equals, with O’Rourke or Ambarchi taking the lead role as often as Haino does.
The four pieces presented here each focus on extended development. The first side is propelled by Ambarchi’s busy, Jack DeJohnette-esque cymbal and tom work, which provides a skittering yet insistent pulse over which Haino and O’Rourke’s FX-saturated strings rise and fall, momentarily converging for passages of near stasis before again pulling apart to continue wandering through areas of gently sour discord; O’Rourke’s use of a six-string bass here boosts the harmonic density of the music and often makes his contribution difficult to distinguish from Haino’s guitar. On the second side, O’Rourke uses his pedals to make his bass near unrecognizable, generating a squelching, harmonically unstable riff that Ambarchi accompanies with a semi-martial snare pattern, the two driving home the idea for the duration of the side while Haino moves between frenetic octave-doubled fuzz riffing and streams of feedback.
The third side presents some of the most abstract music heard from the trio since their first release (Tima Formosa, BT04). Continuing Haino’s explorations of new instruments, the side opens with a long passage of toy piano, an instrument that in his hands is at once childlike and imbued with a mysterious gravity. Alongside occasional vocal interjections from Haino (singing in English), Ambarchi creates delicate textures on cymbals and metallic percussion while O’Rourke, for the first time in this group, performs on the EMS Synthi. In a long passage in the middle of the side, he provides ample evidence of his mastery of the instrument, crafting a complex texture from pointillist stabs and rapid sweeps that possesses the same unpredictable yet controlled feeling of classic live-electronics documents like Pierre Henry’s ‘Corticalart’ series. With Haino joining in with his own electronics, the side eventually builds to a chaotic climax.
Beginning with a sequence of ‘fourth world’ drums and flute, the final side unfolds an epic build-up over a hypnotic foundation of pounding toms. Moving from flute to vocals to electronics, Haino eventually picks up the guitar in the second half of the piece, igniting a spectral blur over driving rhythms from bass and drums that eventually builds to a frenzied climax."
Reissue. Originally released on cassette in 1980.
"Presented by two separate stacks of Cluster recordings - one comprised of their studio work, the other of live performances - an innocent listener might conclude they are the efforts of two completely different artists. This would understandably have been the case in 1980, when the structured, tuneful miniatures of 1979's Großes Wasser and 1981's Curiosum were unlikely bookends to the sprawling electroacoustic abstractions of Live in Vienna.
But as fans of the idiosyncratic duo already knew, Cluster's trajectory was always a restless one - more about disruption than gentle evolution."
Clod-hopping techno ructions by the Berlin-based British producer
Getting down like a bull in a tar pit with lumbering, viscous mass of The Trace, and swaggering like the bull that got out on I-4, whereas Hornet picks up some steam with rolling barrage of drums and dive-bombing noise formations, and the brilliant S77 gets off on a mean sort of dancehall-noise-techno hybrid that’s definitely going to see some play up our way.
Pauline Oliveros surrounded by Belgian ensemble Musiques Nouvelles, performing 2 long pieces for orchestra.
"Sound Geometries for Chamber Orchestra, Expanded Instrument System and 5.1 Surround Sound System by Pauline Oliveros was premiered in Brussels. The 3 sections metaphors of the piece are intended to guide the players in their feelings and approaches to conducted, guided and improvisational music making to create differing atmospheres for each of the three sections. Players sounds are picked up during the performance by microphones, processed in one of ten geometrical patterns by the Oliveros designed Expanded Instrument System (EIS). to transform and move the player's sounds in space in the 5.1 surround sound system.
Meditation for Orchestra asks the performers to listen then sound. Listen means to include all that is sounding and to find a space for each sound that is made. Pauline Oliveros and Ione are guests of Ensemble Musiques Nouvelle in this studio performance of Meditation.”
Up until the incredible "A Period of Review" reissue via RVNG Intl.last year we hadn't even heard of Kerry Leimer, yet that compilation and it’s astonishing followup, this years "Artificial Dance” set under Leimer’s ‘Savant’ alias, introduced us to one of the most fascinating and prolific producers of the era, operating at the cusp of ambient, 4th World and industrial musics.
From his base in Seattle, Leimer accumulated a unique catalogue of recordings created on a Micromoog, drum machines, guitars and FX units, and heavily informed by imported Krautrock/kosmische titles sourced outta NME and Melody Maker, and equally the more Anglophilic ambient loop compositions of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno.
This beautiful new double LP via Vinyl On Demand focuses on Leimer's earliest work and has once again left us dumbstruck, offering a genuinely remarkable addition to the canon of early '80s electronic/new age/4th world experimentalism, sitting very comfortably alongside some of the richest, most engrossing ambient music of the era.
Leimer's first two tape recordings are included and were released on Robert Carlberg's Anode Productions in 1978 and '79 (Translucent / Memory and Natural History / The Mind and Its Likeness). The set also includes material from the 1983 cassette Installation View. As Leimer himself offers: "It's best to consider these recordings as a homage to much admired and deeply loved music of the time; to consider these recordings as the artifacts of lessons being learned during simultaneous attempts at conceiving, writing, voicing, engineering, recording, and mixing something that might at least seem to be music. It's also best to consider that the one card that repeatedly found its way out of the Oblique Strategies deck and into my hands prevented me from erasing almost all of it: Honor thy mistake as a hidden intention.”
It all makes for one of the most engrossing ambient-era collections we’ve come across - give the clips below a listen and you’ll hopefully know exactly what we mean. Huge recommendation.
The mighty Black Zone Myth Chant returns with a new LP of Chopped and Screwed electronics via deep space New Age for Low Jack and Jean Carval’s Gravats label...
Max P, aka Black Zone Myth Chant, presents the project’s most adventurous and urgent despatch yet, dosing with the unfathomably layered and immersive Feng Shen. What was initially intended as a one-away project has now morphed into something powerfully undefinable and strangely affective over the course of two albums, Straight Cassette and Mane Thecel Phares, an EP and a mixtape, realising something of a butterfly effect feedback between the gestures of his strangely formed objects and their dilated reception by listeners around the world.
Over the course of eight tracks he renders a phenomenal space where he can best describe the paradoxical, impossible physics of a psychedelic soul, by toying with the listener’s gauge of anticipation, perspective and temporality with a poetic clash of ideas lent from chopped & screwed hip hop and liminal club musics.
It’s music which exists in two states at once, driving yet floating, as with the pull and push of pitched down voices and rolling rhythms in Their Love For You, or with impenetrable density of clarity in the layered dimensions of Kubara, following a line that binds kosmische and dancehall in Under Protest/Telos, to the polymetric harmonic swirl of War Paint (DAPL Resistance), and connects the heat-seeking techno impulses of Ideas In Action, to the centre-less ambient panorama of Feng Jing.
Facsimile reissue reproduction of the Norwegian-born, Australian-based composer’s 3rd LP
A collection of jazz soundtracks taken from 1960s Australian documentary and public information films. Originally released in 1967, some six years prior to Libaek’s widely regarded Inner Space soundtrack, which was most recently used in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Equiknoxx’s debut album proper, following the hugely acclaimed 'Bird Sound Power' (Number 2 in both RA and FACT albums of the year 2016), featuring 13 brand new nuggets recorded over the last 12 months and featuring darker, more psychedelic, starkly dubbed perspectives on up-to-the-second dancehall. Well worth checking out if you’re into anything from Lenky to Haruomi Hosono, RZA to Errorsmith...!
Colón Man is the exceptional debut album proper by visionary Jamaican dancehall artists Gavin Blair (Gavsborg) and Jordan Chung (Time Cow) plus their extended crew, aka Equiknoxx - once again for Demdike Stare’s DDS label. Where their widely acclaimed Bird Sound Power primer compilation, issued on DDS in 2016, brought the rest of the world up to speed with the music produced between late ‘00s and 2015, their first album now brings a 2020 sound into sharp, technoid focus thru a baker’s dozen steely, heat-seeking riddims galvanised with clinical electronics and a Midas Touch approach to sampling.
The record’s title, Cólon Man refers to a Jamaican tale (and song) about a mysterious character, whom, like Marcus Garvey, was one of over 100,000 Jamaicans who returned from working in Cólon on completion of the Panama Canal - regarded among the greatest feats of engineering known to humankind, physically connecting the greatest bodies of water on the planet. In context of the album, Gavsborg and Timecow take the story as a metaphorical foundational for a roots and future sound, acknowledging the vital groundwork of previous generations of producers, whilst soundly contextualising their mutant new advancements of Jamaican Dancehall.
Recorded between December 2016 and June 2017, Colón Man forms a stark, stripped down and conceptually blinding record. In tone and texture, the duo favour far colder, more abstract sounds, crucially lit up with sparingly used samples that lend the record its dissonant, harmonic colour and bittersweet hooks, stylishly feeding forward their playfully weird sense of humour into a rugged, nutty and even noisily imagineered set.
Bookended by the gauzy, Detroit-compatible synth looks and acid hall grind of Kareece Put Some Some Thread In A Zip Lock, and the mesh of Motor City sleekness with Far Eastern strings on Waterfalls In Ocho Rios, they distill and diversify their bonds in myriad ways across the album. There’s a killer dancehall/trap hybrid in the percolate chorales and man trills of Plantain Porridge, along with the secretive dub-into-dancehall transfusion of Addis Pablo’s melodica in the belly rolling Melodica Badness, while Ceremonial Eating Dog and the hyaline designs of We Miss You Little Joe - a tribute to their pal Alty Nunes - are arguably the most fwd Jamaican riddims you’ll hear in 2017, and Enter A Raffle… Win A Falafel uncannily recalls the clockwork mechanics of Haruomi Hosono’s Alternative 3, from his S-F-X  LP.
No matter what electronic box or boxes you subscribe to, Colón Man is a hugely inventive, compelling album for the ages, a remarkable iteration of Black Secret Technology for 2017 and far beyond.
Next in the 1st ever American reissues of early Battiato LPs, Pollution  renders the Italian answer to Brian Eno taking prescient inspiration from climate change for a 2nd solo LP of kosmiche flights helmed by folk-rock instrumentation and gilded with VCS3 synthesiser. An unparalleled pop star and famed experimentalist in his homeland, Battiato is beloved by everyone from Nico Vascellari (Ninos Du Brasil) to Lorenzo Senni and prog fans worldwide. These reissues should spread that love farther.
Pollution is more baroque, steepled than its breezier predecessor, Fetus. It finds Battiato getting better to grasps with his favoured synthesiser, meshed with his plaintive, unsentimental vocals in a brace of intricately woven arrangements ranging from portentous to ecstatic examples of his famous and widely admired sound, even including some delicious downstrokes of esoteric psych-soul vibes along with the usual folk inflections.
“Pollution from 1972 is the captivating follow-up to Fetus. Like its predecessor, the album features Baroque textures, motorik rhythms, weird tape effects and Battiato's perfectly oblique vocals. Upon hearing Pollution, Frank Zappa joyfully proclaimed it "genius."
While Battiato's core group of collaborators remains largely the same as on his debut, this phenomenal band (joined by an eighteen-year-old Roberto Cacciapaglia on keys) appears even more in the foreground on Pollution. Out of the Ash Ra Tempel-like riffs and urgent guitar strumming emerge hypnotic grooves and cinematic flourishes, suggesting a futuristic meeting point between Stereolab and Ennio Morricone.
Dedicated to the Centro Internazionale Studi Magnetici, Pollution touches on themes of environmental catastrophe. Futurist allusions seep in through eccentric lyrics (at times sung backwards) about hydraulics, magnetic fields, etc., yet listeners don't need to speak the artist's language to grasp his melancholy vision. With Pollution, Battiato solidifies not only his cult figure status, but also many of his forward-thinking ideas on rock 'n' roll.”
This first ever American LP issue of Fetus , the seminal debut album by Franco Battiato - a venerable grand maestro of Italian prog - kicks off a comprehensive reissue series looking at his formative 1971-1978 period. An unparalleled pop star and famed experimentalist in his homeland, Battiato is beloved by everyone from Nico Vascellari (Ninos Du Brasil) to Lorenzo Senni and prog fans worldwide. These reissues should spread that love farther.
One of the first ever electronic records released in Italy, Fetus is widely considered one of his finest moments, capturing a playful frisson of folk, analog electronics and kosmiche leanings with a blend of pop appeal and conceptual, experimental urges that would unfold in myriad variations across his lengthy catalogue ever since.
Superior Viaduct rightly paint him as Italy’s answer to Brian Eno for his role in bringing Italian pop music up to par with explorative, psychedelic American and British analogs during that era. We’re be inclined to add Tom Zé for his warmer, colourful, auteur-like sound, too.
With Fetus, Battiato riffs on themes of genetic engineering in eight succinct (especially for prog!) songs inspired by Aldous Huxley, following a fine, dreamy line between traditional rock instrumentation and the kosmiche freedom afforded by his VCS3 synthesiser, stretching his imagination from delirious sound collage to rousing folk-rock and operatic chorales with an enchanting sense of naif wonder balanced by a cool curiousity and virtuosic songwriting vision.
Lush, reticulated reggaeton, deep house and breakbeat fusions from man o’ many monikers, Brian Piñeyro (Deejay Xanax, DJ Wey, Luis) as DJ Python, following the sterling example of his ¡Estéreo Bomba! Vol. 1 for Antony Naples’ Proibito with an immersive expansion of that sound in Dulce Compañia.
Taking reggaeton along new, instrumental routes intersecting NYC’s rave history, DJ Python has pretty much cooked up his own style of deep reggaeton, a title which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but serves well to identify his angle amidst an upswell of LatinX producers who are spinning dembow beats and tropes into all kinds of new spaces - from DJ/Rupture and co, to Florentino and Kelman Duran, for example.
Almost as close to the sound of Ben Cenac’s Dream II Science, new age experiments from Laraaji, or even Andy Stott as any of the above, Dulce Compaña finds Python alloying reggaeton’s nagging, signature bump with chiming electronic meditations in Las Palmas, and with squashed jungle breaks in the style of his Deejay Xanax alias on Cuál, both setting the innovative, deviant agenda for the rest of the set, recoiling from eyes-shut ambient rave infusions on Todo Era Azul (Version Afuera) and its cosmic Siempre Dub, to something like B12 on holiday in Caracas with q.e.p.d, but also making room for more rugged swerve in Acostados and the acidic tang of Yo Ran(Do).
But if any one track is going to melt your pants off, it’s the plasmic, aerial ambient shuffle of Esteban, which provides the sweetest window on Piñeyro’s unique Python sound, and everyone will know what to do next.
Russia’s Paval Milyakov, aka Buttechno, tends to his screwier, inquisitive side for TTT with a gauzy batch of ambient, folk and house experiments, swerving between the lines of his records for Japan’s City-2 St. Giga, Collapsing Market and his Gosha Rubchinskiy AW16 soundtrack, to the dankest parts of his bedroom-baked club sound.
This is music for hanging out on cold, concrete corners in your most flammable trackies, taking in pastoral electro-folk meditation Gosha Medvedeva, his Pole-esque Slow Dub, and the skinny, bone-pinching swing of K4 on the one hand, before decorating those skeletal structures with more fleshly samples of Russia pop in the low key seduction of Poleva, and something like a roadside house rave played on empty vodka bottles, oil drums and cardboard boxes in the Brinkmann-like Metallo, and a nervily grubbing, spooked-out house ace named Super Siziy King.
MFM whip out this natty cod-reggae synth-funk blast from Cali ’83. Imagine K. Leimer and co getting loose yet droll, and you’ve got the measure of Skin ’n’ Bones, while Millions Of Sensations is a superb piece of sino-facing post punk funk recalling Sakamoto & Sylvian, but with an off kilter urgency of its own, with drums like some early, staccato grime prototype.
“Pioneers in the Post Punk Industrial and New Wave scene in 1980’s San Francisco, Gary Miles (Voice Farm) and Blaise Smith (Minimal Man), met at San Francisco’s notorious 181 Club in December of 1982. This straight/same sex/swing-both-ways late night dive bar was tucked away in one of the city's most risky, drug riddled neighbourhoods. Stationed near the SF Museum of modern Art it attracted a wild audience of local patrons, aspiring young artists and music heads. In the thick of all this the duo felt impartial to a lot what was going on musically and set out to produce electronic music that could break through the "somewhat exhausted post disco sound that was then competing in the local San Francisco clubs". Enlisting soul vocalist Celeste Miller, the duo were also inspired by Lee 'Scratch' Perry / Upsetters dub tracks being produced in Jamaica and created a unique breed of avant guard hybrid New Wave/Electronic Funk.
With it's influences seemingly as much rooted in the past and the present as it was focused on the future; Dub Oven formed a distinct, mystical approach to music intended for the dance floor. All three tracks on this 12" embody a signature groove and an inventive synthesized abstraction to express a languishing urban unsettledness and spiritual awareness. Recorded at L7 Studios in San Francisco with the assistance of the the studio’s in house producer Marco Perry (who currently now works with Bjork) the record was unfortunately overlooked by A&R at several major and even local labels and was finally self-released in very limited quantities. Utilising analog electronics and instrumentation, the record draws on elements of dub, new wave, soul and funk to create a sound that is uncategorizable and one that was perhaps simply too forward thinking for it’s time.”
A new label from the Sofrito family; classy new wave rumba hybrid from mid ‘80s Paris, compatible with early ‘80s Detroit styles. A very promising start for the Ambiance label
“4 tracks spanning rumba, disco, new wave and reggae experiments from Congolese singer Albert Siassia and his group Tokobina, including two previously unreleased tracks taken from original demo tapes.
Originally from Pointe Noire in Congo, Albert Siassia came to Paris in the early 80s as part of the Ballet Nationale du Congo and joined forces with a young French reggae group called Dread Lion – a band he re-christened “Tokobina” (Lingala for “let’s dance”). Keen to broaden their audience the group played a mixture of reggae, rumba, disco and new wave styles, often using drum machines and synths.
They released one 12” EP, further altering the spelling of the name – “Tokobina” was phonetically anglicised to “Talk-Hoby-Night” in an unsuccessful effort to increase international sales. The record failed to make much of an impact and soon after Albert Siassia moved back to Pointe Noire to become an evangelical preacher. He passed away in 1999.
Dancefloor sureshots Mama Africa and Pointe Noire are taken from the group’s only 12” release. In the world and Sangui are taken from demo cassettes from the archive of drummer Franck Benhamou. Sangui was originally scheduled for release on a 7” but the release was withdrawn due to a pressing fault.”
Italy’s answer to Brian Eno is subject of Superior Viaduct’s current key reissue scheme, making Franco Battiato’s classic early works c. 1971-1978 available in USA and elsewhere for the first time beyond his home country.
Sulle Corde Di Aries  is Battiato’s 3rd solo album, refining his masterful mix of folk-rock and pop with kosmiche synths to a lushly transcendent sound which, if you ask us, is more fascinating and worldly than the baroque prog conventions explored on his previous two albums. We can hear pre-echoes of brave new 4th worlds in its sweeping harmonic structures and supple, driving rhythms, all calling for strong parallels with everyone from Terry Riley to Can,
“1973's Sulle Corde Di Aries is the third chapter in Battiato’s foray into esoteric pop. While the artist would venture further out into avant-garde terrain on subsequent releases, his early records enjoy a lyrical and playful spirit – eschewing traditional, song-based composition in favor of kosmische voyages.
On Sulle Corde Di Aries, Battiato guides the labyrinthine structural changes and majestic tones to evolve gradually over four electroacoustic suites. "Sequenze e Frequenze," the album's centerpiece, blooms in a polyphony of organic pulses reminiscent of the vibrant keyboard minimalism of Terry Riley's A Rainbow In Curved Air and the rhythmic interconnectedness of Can's Ege Bamyasi.
While Fetus and Pollution are often considered his masterpieces, Sulle Corde Di Aries remains a hidden gem in Battiato's catalogue. With more of a cohesive album-feel than the previous records, Sulle Corde Di Aries slows the pace to take in the sweeping scope of otherworldly sounds and soulful harmonies.”
While Fetus and Pollution are often considered his masterpieces, Sulle Corde Di Aries remains a hidden gem in Battiato's catalogue. With more of a cohesive album-feel than the previous records, Sulle Corde Di Aries slows the pace to take in the sweeping scope of otherworldly sounds and soulful harmonies.”
Superior Viaduct supply an all-too-rare glimpse of Suicide in rehearsal room mode, making their First Rehearsal Tapes side available as a single slab away from Blast First’s expanded 1999 reissue of The Second Album. Henry Rollins sums this one up best below, but suffice it to say this is neccessary listening for anyone snagged on rock and electronic music of the late 20th century.
“"On Suicide's First Rehearsal Tapes, recorded in 1975, Alan Vega and Martin Rev create minimalist aural structures, traces of which would surface on their eponymous debut album, released on the Red Star label in late 1977.
"These songs are not a sketchpad of semi-formed ideas. The First Rehearsal Tapes comprise an audio diary of two men out in the ether, measuring themselves as evolving individual artists and as a unit who would rely on inseparability to realize their unique and often confrontational mass in the decades to come. What the tapes also reveal is that Vega and Rev were compositionally ambitious, capable of melody and form, while resisting definition as they headed further into uncharted territory.
"The First Rehearsal Tapes afford the listener a glimpse into the creative process of two groundbreaking, true art warriors with their swords and shields leaning against the practice room wall. To understand the absolute brilliance of Suicide's first album as well as their sonic adventures that followed, you have to start here with their earliest recordings."
This customarily smooth set from 1981 is perhaps most famous for featuring three unforgettable tracks made with Marcos Valle. Rio's pop-soul wunderkind was exploring soul textures at the same time as Leon was absorbing the rich flavour of Brazilian harmonics. Together, they crafted rhythmically sophisticated and melodically adventurous soul.
"The centrepiece of the album is the lush, creeping title track - a hypnotically arranged stepper's groove and an enduring classic. A perfect slice of orchestral soul, it features Leon's patented unusual chord progressions, Valle on Rhodes and restrained string arrangements from Gene Page.
The nimble funk groove of "Baby Don't Stop Me" is another collaborative delight and one of Leon's rare uptempo tunes. "Got To Be Loved" is a timeless ballad, a sublime quiet storm version of Valle's loping jazz-funk favourite "Bicho No Cio".
As with all Leon records, the lyrical themes are deeply eternal throughout, whilst the music is elegant, soulful and sensual. Beyond the Valle co-writes, the soaring instrumental "Don't Stay Away" is a real highlight, possessing an intricate melody and another heavenly string arrangement from the incredible Page. On the pleading sultry soul of "Sure Do Want You Now," Ware's uniquely expressive vocals are especially impassioned and polished.
This officially licensed reissue enables a wider audience to now discover its undoubted genius. The sumptuous artwork of the original jacket and inner sleeve have been faithfully restored; the latter featuring Leon's memorable lyrics. Simon Francis' sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.
"When we started to write, we found how easy it was, and at the same time how new it was, combining the feeling I had and the feeling he had", Valle explained to Wax Poetics on the subject of his fruitful partnership with Leon. The magic conjured up by fusing R&B with Brazilian rhythms and touches of jazz, funk, and pop resulted in a modern-soul/boogie essential."
Benjamin John Power explores the inner beast in us all through the typically brash sound design of this Blanck Mass album.
Forever to be known as half of a duo who just don’t f*cking like buttons, Benjamin John Power’s solo body of work as Blanck Mass has continued to gain tractions since his first album back in 2011.
‘World Eater’ continues the Blanck Mass dalliance with Brooklyn outpost Sacred Bones and offers up a screwballed exposition investigating the primal urges of humanity with everything naturally dialled up well past 11. Given the conceptual thrust, it’s no surprise there is a sonic brutality to much of ‘World Eater,’ apparent in the sucker punch that hits you from the first two tracks.
An intricate mesh of clockwork toy melodies and vocal harmonies on John Doe's Carnival of Error proves a falsely sweet opener as it gets consumed by the swirling, violent maelstrom of operatic techno gabber that follows on Rhesus Negative.
Respite comes in the form of Please, which sees Power veering off into sample-heavy MPC beat down reminiscent of early Gold Panda, but he’s soon back into head crunching territory with the 23rd Century glam rock flaunt of The Rat. This very British style of modern sound design applied to electronic music continues as uber-processed vocals crash over vertebrae snapping beats on Silent Treatment, whilst Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked discards with rhythm to engage in a rainstorm of kinetic energy and searing synth work.
Babes, here it is: the first batch of Johnny Jewel’s soundtrack work for the new series of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks; comprising 14 original themes, cues and songs under his own name and with his bands, Chromatics and Desire.
If you’ve been keeping up with he series, the above is surely all you need to know, but for everyone else, Windswept is the stuff dreams be made of, draped in lustrous synths evoking all the immaculate ambiguity and American Dream-like nature of the new episodes’ interweaving stories, from he romance of Heaven and The Crimson Kiss or the shimmering Americana of Slow Dreams, to the feverish horror cue of Insomnia’s tense strings and the air-conditioned jazz cool of Motel, with a massive highlight in the all-too-short synth strokes of Between Worlds and Stardust’s sexed up mystery.
At bleedin’ last, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s legendary solo album, Time To Tell  sees a proper, if edited, official vinyl reissue - MAGAZINE INCLUDED! - on her and Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International label. In fact, with Cosey’s utterly mind-blowing autobiography, Art Sex Music now in circulation, putting history to rights and stoking febrile interest around her inspirational, nonpareil oeuvre, the timing could hardly be any better to reissue her most sought-after and inarguably definitive solo release.
First issued on tape in 1983, some years after the initial demise of Throbbing Gristle and the start of of Chris & Cosey, and just prior to the emergence of their multimedia CTI alias, Time To Tell documents Hull’s greatest daughter, Christine Carol Newby aka Cosey Fanni Tutti, ‘fessing all about her long-running art praxis involving a deep penetration of the British sex industry - from nude modelling to striptease and transgressive performance art - all set to her signature, exploratory electronic sculptures and drily angelic delivery.
For this hugely important reissue of Cosey’s only solo record (yep, only!), she worked with husband and creative partner Chris Carter to edit the original two track release, trimming down some of the longer parts to optimise audio fidelity, and also incorporating The Secret Touch which was included on the Time To Tell (Special Edition) CD release in 1993/2000.
Thus the release spies three distinct strands or aspects of Cosey’s sound. The first, longest and most comprehensive is the LP’s title track, which, as far as we can tell, appears in a slightly abridged version, but still ties up all her key sonic themes, from pulsing, sensuous synths, sky-licking guitars and brittle drum machines to her achingly seductive Yorkshire accent, drily recounting her experiences and inside/out perspective in the sex industry. Tell us this isn’t one of the most alluring 20 minutes of the ‘80s ever recorded, and we’ll tell you to do one.
Ritual Awakening comes on the B-side. Here the drum machine drops away and Cosey’s hushed vocals take a new, diaphanous form, refracted in a diamond-cut prism of electronics with near-cinematic strings, feeling out unreachable edges of the lushest void. Then we’re stranded in The Secret Touch, where her sallow synth strokes hint at an aquarian sort of new age, melding with reverberating, Denny-esque guitar against an unfathomable backdrop of possible field recordings and almost raga-like drones on her signature Cornet.
We could hammer on about this one all day, but suffice it to say: this is a totally essential purchase!
Paean to Wilson is arguably Vini Reilly and the Durutti Columns most important and consistent piece of work since the demise of the original and seminal Factory Records in the early 1990’s.
"It was commissioned MIF (Manchester International Festival of Music), July 2009. Vini had already composed pieces for Tony to listen to whilst he was ill in hospital and it was from here that the project developed. The opening night of the three sell-out festival shows formed part of the BBC2 ‘Culture Show’ coverage on the event.
Dave Simpson – MIF Review – The Guardian 20/7/09 4 out of 5 ‘ Near the beginning of the final night of the Durutti Column's 70-minute international festival tribute to Tony Wilson, A Paean to Wilson, guitarist Vini Reilly announced that he wouldn't be singing: "So you won't have to put up with my awful voice and schoolboy lyrics." If Wilson was with us, he would have chuckled. The Granada presenter-turned-Factory Records boss spent years urging his first signing to stop singing, and concentrate on the virtuosity that led Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante to call Reilly "the greatest guitarist in the world". Two years after his death, Wilson got his way, one of many lovely touches in a very personal, emotional and often warmly funny musical tribute. Wilson signed Joy Division and Happy Mondays, yet never gave up on this cult band he adored, working with them even after his legendary label went bankrupt."
Improv hypnotist Aaron Dilloway induces a mind-bending session for Copenhagen’s Cejero label with a steeply mesmerising suite of mechanical loops unspooling from an elusive axis. Where 'The Gag File', issued earlier this year on NYC’s Dais, incorporated sickly pop elements, there’s less of that frivolity here as he grinds down to a seasick and interminably funky sort of rhythmic noise.
In case you’re new to Dilloway’s oeuvre, he’s essentially one of the North American noise scene’s most distinguished operators. His track record of over 100 releases for almost as many labels connects everyone from his old band, Wolf Eyes, to Kevin Drumm and Robert Turman, defiantly going with and against the grain of American counterculture with a stomach for the most nauseating yet compelling sounds.
Switches is a strong demonstration of Dilloway at his most uncompromising and discomfiting. Like a swim thru the bubbling belly acid of American culture, he pursues the original extremities of NON and Turman along his own parallel narrative, using subtly morphing repetition and abrasive attrition as tactics to seduce and beguile even the most hard-headed listeners.
The A-side yields a full spectrum of his style ranging from palpitating, palsied loops and tonal abrasion in Switch 2, to something like an American take on The Caretaker’s current descent into oblivion with the wilting, elusive phrases buried in Switch 17, while Switch 15 resembles some kind of burnt-out doom dub.
Meanwhile the B-side catches Dilloway at his most obtuse/playful with the snagged loops of Switch 11/12, which, once you get over the urge to nudge the needle out of its rut, seeps in with a viscerally psychedelic effect for its cranky, lurching duration, before Switch 1 locks off something like DJ Screw or Indignant Senility, with half a bar of f*ck-knows-what loping into a brambly haze around its progressively melting axis...
Rome’s La Beauté Du Négatif crack out a trashy trio of battered ravers from Penelope’s Fiance, SSIEGE, and DJ Guy, following up the latter’s 1993/1994 Unreleased Tracks session.
Specially mastered via WetSoq technology for assured shabbiness, each track feels like it was scraped from the dopamine-depleted skull of a mid ’90s hive mind, twysting from the cranky industrial ‘ardcore of If You Want More, You’ll Get Less by Penelope’s Fiance, and the charred chill-out room vibes of SSIEGE’s Arborea on the front, to an immense jungle lash by DJ Guy, who hasn’t really impressed us thus far, but surely does the business with his hotstepping edits and ghost-in-the-filter flex of CDIIF Quad Side B Trk 7.
Presenting two compelling works composed by Danish sound artists Jacob Kirkegaard & Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard and performed by the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Descending is a powerful exposition of extended acoustic technique used to bend the ear in fascinating ways.
Revolving two pieces for room resonance, triangles, shakers and horns, the recorded results of Descending transcend the sum of their parts in gripping style. In Movement 1 they conduct a breathless transition from the polymetric interplay of triangles, sounding like a distant alarm bell, calving off into thinnest, cirrus timbres and reemerging as a mesmerising display of sustained, quivering, bittersweet horn dissonance culminating a stunning, keening finale. Movement 2 opens with those horns at a lower, sustained pitch, rolling across the stereo field with an uncanny precision that you would normally expect from electronic music, glacially growing in density to sound like an incoming Stuka formation, precipitating a nerve-biting swell of discord before returning, almost palindromic, to the polymetric rustle of shakers.
Of course, the magick of the piece is much harder to describe, though. It lies somewhere in the relationship between the knowledge of the composers, the players’ incredible skill, and their recording space, whose unique characteristics are crucial to its success in keeping us enthralled from start to finish. It lies in the way they slide the sound around the sphere of perception, purposefully generating and controlling the resonant feedback until it becomes a part of the work itself, generating a lingering harmonic aura to the sounds which gels them in smoothly contoured transitions between each tightly disciplined cluster of pitches with a near-enough metaphysical structure.
Stunning work. A rare treat for the lugs, especially if you’re into Eliane Radigue, Eleh, Harley Gaber, Harry Bertoia.
Taken from the same sessions as the recent Vida Eterna for Hospital Productions
Ninos Du Brasil present the churning, clambering, bestial momentum of Animals Soar O Alarme backed with a swinging, subaquatic techno rework by Patrick Russell for The Bunker New York.
Gorgeous and thought provoking split LP from these two notable synthesists. Kubisch contemplates Nicolai Tesla and his concept of electrical remoteness as it applies to the modern world, making use of electromagnetic field recordings from tramways, analog machines, light systems, power stations, airports, banks, secrity systems, advertising and the sounds of discharges and activities of Tesla's own devices - recorded all over the world. Eleh's composition makes use of a new kind of spaciousness and was composed for piano & Serge STS modular synthesizers. Though Tesla was not a consideration when the piece was recorded, it takes on a new meaning and is well paired with Kubisch's.
From Christina Kubisch:
"The fgure of Nikola Tesla has fascinated me since a long time. He was the person who imagined wireless communication in an era when there was hardly electricity. He was the one who invented radio controlled devices and other new technologies beyond the generally known limits of technology. Tesla had been picking up radio signals in New York since 1895 receiving them as far as thirty miles away. He wasnot only an inventor whose work was the basis for the development of many electrical inventions and communication techniques of today but was as well a very special person, a visionary who was inable to realize many of his ideas because of money problems and as well his “diffcult” character.
I discovered his work during my studies of electronics in Milan at the end of the seventies. In that period I started to use the system of electromagnetic induction for my sound installations. Tesla had invented and patented the frst telephone amplifer in 1882 in Budapest and, without knowing about its origin I used a simple telephone amplifer with incorporated small coils to listen to the sounds in my installations.Later on my work with electromagnetic induction had developed into the series “Electrical Walks”, city walks with special headphones which make audible the usually hidden electromagnetic felds around us. In 2012 I visited the small museum of science in the city of Kosice in Slovakia. The museum had many Tesla devices in their showroom and I got a special permission to test tem. I listened with my special induction headphones to the Tesla machines and was fascinated: a thunderstorm of electromagnetic noise. It was the moment when I got inspired to make a piece aboutelectrical remoteness. Tesla grew up in a remote small village in Austria (now Croatia) where electricity, radio, cars, telephones, movies etc. were unknown. As a boy he loved nature more than everything else. But already at the age of 36, in 1893, his inventions made it possible that the world expo in the city of Chicago was illuminated by one hundred thousand electrical lamps.
The new technologies concerning light, radio, radar etc. were developing with such an incredible speed since then like today the components of the digital world. I always asked myself what Tesla would have thought about the internet, google, twitter, facebook, apps etc. Was this the vision he had in mind when he invented his system of wireless transmission of electrical signals? His working places were full of big heavy coils, oscillators, metal towers etc. by which he tried to transfer energy without wires. Today we almost forget that digital communication and storage is not based only on invisible remote waves in the ether but that it needs server rooms which are much bigger and heavier than Teslas equipment. “Teslas Dream” opens with the magnetic felds recorded in an old Austrian train station followed by the electrical melodies of old Tatra tramways in Bratislava (now almost disappeared). The sounds of discharges and activities of Teslas devices gradually come in. During the piece the electromagnetic signals change gradually from the sounds of analog machines to the more actual felds of light systems, security systems, power lines, banks, subways, airports, power stations etc. Various electrical signals of digital communication slowly merge in and change again the sound structure. The composition ends with the sounds of a luminous advertising, recorded recently in a shopping centre in Las Vegas, accompanied by the faint vibrations of other signals from the ether. Tesla wanted to reach the most remote places of the earth with electrical energy. Nothing today is remote anymore.
The glass armonica (an original instrument from the 19th century) was recorded at the Musikinstrumentenmuseum in Berlin. All other recordings were made with electromagnetic headphones and other custom made devices developed by Christina Kubisch. The original electrical feld recordings were made in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Britain, Czech republic, New York, Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam."
Cooper Crain, Dan Quinlivan, and Rob Frye head for the horizon on their newest Bitchin Bajas buggy, leading on from a 2016 tour and series of collaborative live releases with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Olivia Wyatt.
Sharing its title with a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in the USA, Bajas Fresh catches the trio at their earthiest and lushly psychedelic, naturally sprawling their classically-schooled, dilated vision of krautrock, kosmiche and North American drone and space jazz traditions across seven tracks.
Notably, they embed a beautifully sanguine cover of Sun Ra’s Angels and Demons at Play in the album’s sequence, sweat-lodged among the astral coordinates of Circles On Circles and the windswept jazz of Yonaguni featuring Ghost’s Masaki Batoh, before syncing with a rich history of transcendental drone exploration in the magnificent, side-long and sidereal scope of 2303, where they consolidate contributions from Nick Broste (Trombone), and Ben LaMar Gay (Cornet) into its deeply anaesthetising harmonic smudge.
One of the boldest new producers to broach the dub sphere in recent times, Jay Glass Dubs is subject of 'Dubs', a prime “early years” survey of his work, with a range of nods to shoegaze, darkwave synth styles and weightless dynamics. All the material compiled here is available on vinyl for the first time plus one track never released before on any format. Think of it is a set of productions sitting somewhere between Basic Channel, Equiknoxx and HTRK - a proper doozy this one.
Written during what Dimitris Papadatos, aka Jay Glass Dubs, describes as “an adventurous and bold period”, and holding material issued on tape by various labels between 2015-2016, the Dubs compilation frames a singular, stripped down take on classic dub forms, wherein Jay Glass Dubs perceptibly retains the sound’s heavy function and mystic qualities, but subtly updates its palette with a range of nods to a myriad of unexpected, angular styles.
The results form a sort of ghostly, filleted subtraction of classic dub architecture, all plasmic tones and diaphanous, boneless structures buoyed by an often overwhelming, yet somehow intangible bass presence. Beyond the obvious, thematic ligature that connects the material, which was all recorded within a very short period of time, the artist also suggests there is an underlying, encrypted similarity to the material which is “merely apparent to me”, and awaits much closer investigation from keen ears.
From Jay’s eponymous 2015 debut for Hylé tapes, listeners will encounter the heaving smudge of Definition Dub, the serpentine, Coil-like digital delays of Grumpy Dub, and a grime drone drill Depression Dub. Off the II tape for THRHNDRDSVNTNN comes the darkwave synths and militant step of Magazine Dub recalling a gauzier Equiknoxx production, next to the bass-less scudder, Detrimental Dub and the shoegazing bloom of Daria Dub, while his III tape tees up some abyssal highlights in the vertiginous Hilton Dub, the melancholy, Basic Channel-scoped scale of Sieben Dub, and the HTRK-esque starkness of Everlasting Dub.
Exclusive to the set is Perfumed Dub, recorded in 2017 and pointing to vast, layered, atmospheric directions for a timeless project which is only just hitting its stride.
After decades in the making Finders Keepers present the first-ever pressing of Serge Gainsbourg’s most elusive and coveted soundtrack studio recordings – co-written, arranged and orchestrated by the genius Jean-Claude Vannier (Histoire De Melody Nelson) during what many consider to be the dynamic duo’s most definitive creative period.
Its the first time on vinyl for this previously unreleased Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtrack to a saucy, psychedelic gallic classic starring Jane Birkin and Gainsbourg in leading roles. Interesting for its forays into traditional sub-continental styles, and one track of heavy petting, alongside the usual Gainsbourgian string arrangements and smoky winks.
Believed to have been lost in a studio fire by Gainsbourg enthusiasts for over forty years (a myth that also shrouds Morricone’s lost Danger Diabolik soundtrack) the misplaced master-tapes for the drug-fuelled/Mai 68 cash-in/road-movie Les Chemins De Katmandou have been widely considered the final audio jigsaw piece in an immaculate discography/filmography thus earning this soundtrack bone-fide Holy Grail status amongst the most avid disc detectives.
Featuring the original crack team of Paris based players now recognised as French library music royalty, this LP epitomises the inimitable musical direction and expert psychedelic pop musicianship that graced classic Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtracks like La Horse, Cannabis and Sex Shop. Laying the stylistic, future-proof foundations for subsequent decades of forward-thinking Gallic funk mastery. Comprising Vannier’s signature recipe of thick plucked bass lines, close-micced drums, biting Clavinet and Eastern influenced strings and percussion (and a sprinkling of subtle traditional French instrumentation) the soundtrack to Les Chemins De Katmandou (aka The Road To Katmandu or The Pleasure Pit) captures Vannier and Gainsbourg in the first year of their creative partnership capturing their unique embryonic energy.”
Fifty Foot Hose formed in San Francisco in 1967. Like few other acts of their time they consciously tried to combine the contemporary sounds of rock with electronic instruments and avant-garde compositional ideas. They were one of the most radical groups of the psychedelic era, and their experimentalism still has the power to shock and surprise even now.
"What set them apart were the pioneering experiments in electronic music, like the band they are often compared to, The United States of America. Incorporating theremin, siren, audio generators, and other various electronic effects as Cork Marcheschi, the band's original bass player had developed an acute interest in the dadaist/futurist experiments of composers like John Cage and Edgar Varese. David and Nancy Blossom brought both psychedelic and jazz influences to the band. Cauldron, their only album, was released in December 1967, including "Fantasy”, “Red the Sign Post” and “God Bless the Child”, a Billie Holiday cover. An intriguing mix of jazzy psychedelic rock tunes with fierce and advanced electronic sound effects. These sound experiments differentiated them from their contemporaries and most audiences didn't quite know what to make of them.
So fans of flowery, psychedelic 60's music must beware of this odd gem, Fifty Foot Hose’s music leans more towards White Noise, Silver Apples and specially United States of America than to the whole flower power movement. After only one album, the proto-cyber psych outfit passed as quickly as they came. Their only mention would be a name-check in Ralph J. Gleason’s 1969 book, “The Jefferson Airplane And The San Francisco Sound” published over a year after their demise. Ralph J. Gleason wrote: “I don’t know if they’re immature or premature.” History has proven them to be the latter. Today the original album is very collectable and considered a touchstone of avant garde rock music.
"The concept was to expand what contemporary popular music was. I thought the avant-garde could have had a home with this new group of listeners but they turned out to be pretty conservative - intellectually . Drugs were fine - sex was fine - stop the wars was good but when challenged with abstract art., they reacted like conservative people look at a Jackson Pollock painting." (Cork Marcheschi)."
A sublime addition to Sean McCann’s Recital Program, This Floating World is Roger Eno’s first solo LP in a decade, following on from Anatomy  and a split LP with Plumbline in 2013. Mostly solo piano expressions, but with a few intriguing embellishments of electronics in Garden, vocals on Empty Room, and sonorous chimes in Riddle, saving the detuned pearl of Out of Tune, Out of Time, Out of Here for dessert.
“This Floating World holds rustic and melancholic piano works, as grey and mossy as a country cottage. I hear the LP chiming from the dark corners of a pub, soaking in the damp wood like spilled ale.
I first fell in love with Roger’s music through his 1985 debut album Voices, which cradled many rainy and caffeinated mornings when I was living in San Francisco years back. He played on the infamous Apollo, Music for Films vol. 3, and recorded a theme for the Dune soundtrack. String pads and veils of reverb pour through those processed tracks.
I later rediscovered Roger Eno in a different light with his 1997 album The Music of Neglected English Composers. A playful and beautiful album of chamber pieces guised as the works of forgotten (and fabricated) composers from the past century. His compositional sensibilities remind me of my favorite recent English composers… Hobbs, White, Bryars, Skempton, etc.
This Floating World feels like a hybrid of these two styles, a melding of both his ambient and ‘prelude’-esque compositions. Warm and feathered furniture music.
In our communication Roger has been a real charmer, ending every email with “Roger and out.” A curious fellow, with a knack for tracing the understated beauties of this world.
'Forse 1' is the unmissable solo debut by Alessandro Cortini ov Nine Inch Nails.
Alessandro has this to say: "All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity. Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion , filtering, wave shaping, etc) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions.
Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music making the most. After that record I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment."
D.K. keeps his workrate and quality ticking high with Distant Images, the latest addition to his radially expanding catalogue of releases with Melody As Truth, Antinote, L.I.E.S., PRR! PRR! in recent years.
Compared with D.K.’s earliest work, Distant Images bears a pellucid clarity shared with his recent D.K. / S.K. collaboration with Suzanne Kraft for Melody As Truth, bringing his melodic ideas into sharper relief, as with the Reichian/Gamelan rhythmelodies which perfuse the whole set, while also allowing greater room for subtle background sounds, such as the seagulls on Distant Images.
Necessary repress of a slept-on Dan Curtin classic, hitting deep and tuff from 1993 as Apogee on Peacefrog Records.
From the masterfull;y adroit acid lines and rolling breaks of Sunrise On The 2nd Moon, thru the incredibly elaborate, Mayday-esque programming of Horizons Forgotten, to the Hi-Tek Jazz of Inside Above and the slippery mechanics of Sunset On The 2nd Moon, this is the kind of gear that makes older heads justifiably wistful about the early ‘90s, lost futures and all.
Hemlock follow a strong 2017 run, getting the best out of Ploy in Unruly with three cuts of agitated digital funk and more abstract structures than his preceding 12”s for Hessle Audio and Timedance.
Unruly sparks off with something like Ueno Masaaki’s Raster-Noton missile redressed with a UK swing, while Garys comes up with escalating synthlines on a swaggering, offset techno mission with belly-twisting impact, and Lost Hours finds him at the other side of that wave with sweeter, duvet-diving ambient dynamics that emulate the effect of going MIA in your own bedroom.
Umor Rex saddle up a session of dusty modular kosmische from Phantom Horse, paying homage to the original templates of Cluster/Harmonia and the rhythmelodic patterning of Moondog in five horizon-scanning variations. Best checked for the alien tone of Always Too Late (Reprise) or the wickedly curdled, keening synth discord of Skeptical Island, and its giddy resolution.
“Packed in their distinct homelike, warm sound, Phantom Horse effortlessly follow their path to find a melancholic playfulness in the heart of ancient machines. Conjuring the picture of transmogrified humanoid characters, modular and analogue synthesizers, antique drum machines, e-pianos, guitar, tape effects and various percussion devices create a comforting condition that involves the listener in some analogue computer game for a lost jazz world. Their approach on widespread compositions shows an elaborated vigor, an earnest love for slowly evolving melodies. Phantom Horse yet never fail to step on bridges that link the different subspecies of non-academic minimal music – from kraut to Mr. Eno and retour on detour. With “Different Forces”, Ulf Schütte and Niklas Dommaschk, whose names might be familiar to those in the know, provide their fast motion picture soundtrack for the genesis of a desert or whatever – if you listen carefully, different worlds will come into being.”
Big-eared, subversive collagists Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) and Mark Gergis (Porest) ov Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace share the latest, brilliant split slab on Discrepant; presenting two extended pieces originally aired as part of WMFU’s OPTIMIZED!, a week-long selection of shows programmed by Bennett DURING JUNE, 2016.
Both artists turn in sterling material, but Mark Gergis’ turn as Porest is a seriously big attraction. Recorded “on-location” between 1988 and Jan-Feb 2016, and incorporating contributions by Paul Staufenbiel and Michael Darr, Porest “unveils recordings from the covert sector of his archives”, culling material intercepted via “prepared radio” fine-tuned to received what he terms “parallel broadcasting”. We’d take that with a pinch of whatever you use to digest “fake news”, as Gergis and co turn in a frankly hilarious prod at Anglo-American cultural imperialism consisting of pointed cut-ups that show up Cassetteboy as infantile dunces by comparison. The radio jingle recruiting Brooklyn hipsters for ISIS is particularly tangy!
For her part, Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us plays to her much-loved, archaic english eccentric side with All On A Beautiful Day, trawling/trolling dippy soundtrack music, classic pop and sonic cultural ephemera in her gently disorienting, merry-go-round way.
Editions Mego present Ivan Pavlov’s highly personalised songbook, CoHgs (pronounced songs, like his name in cyrillic is said; Son) raiding more than 20 years of work prism-pushing work with everyone from Coil to Ann Demeulemeester and Little Annie. As a showcase of his collaborative work, it’s maybe a bit weird that there’s nowt from one of our personal faves, CoH Plays Cosey, but we’re sure there’s some reason for that. And ironically enough the best track, Fffetish - from his Love Uncut for Coil’s Eskaton label - is actually a collaboration with his own alter-ego, Frankie Gothard, on vocals.
“The ongoing relationship between Editions Mego and COH continues with this special collection of works made by COH over a number of years released on a variety of labels. What brings these works together is the incorporation of vocalists and lyrics. Neatly compiled here, a diverse pool of vocalists elevate the otherwise instrumental works of COH ( Ivan Pavlov) into worlds of narrative, the human and the haunted.
Little Annie brings her sly subversive cabaret style to one of the works whilst delivering an intense lkist of daily activities on another whereas Peter ,Sleazy' Christopherson conjures a world beyond our own with his cracked spectral delivery interpreting Pavlov's disembodied electronics. I wrap my last kiss in a bandage… I send you this message.
Frankie Gothard provides classic distorted industrial swagger to the proto-disco FFFETISH where LOVE'S SEPTIC DOMAIN (feat. John Balance & Louise Weasel) screams from the abyss of dirty hospitals; As starlit and damaged as any of the classic Balance deliveries. A previously unreleased work featuring the renowned fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester skips along a metronomic beat whilst the voice lays out dry settings and instruction. Elsewhere Noriko Taguchi embeds a fragile sensibility to a music box melody whilst Anna Yamada's collaboration results in an exquisite blend of disorientating pop.
The versatility of Pavlov's practice is on display as proto disco, industrial simulation and pop all come together with the vocalists presenting a wide range of human function, from the absurd to the mundane to world's unknown.”
Another gem from the small yet significant Strata catalogue. A precursor to New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s Strata Records was founded in the late 1960s by former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox. Starting life as a music-led community organisation, coffee shop studio and venue, Strata released only a few titles as a record label, gaining the imprint a cult following among record collectors and jazz lovers across the globe.
"Possibly the best known of Strata’s releases, The Lyman Woodard Organization’s ‘Saturday Night Special’ is rightly heralded as a jazz fusion classic. Recorded in 1975, ‘Saturday Night Special’ features organ, electric piano and Mellotron by bandleader Lyman Woodard alongside guitar and bass by Ron English, with drums and percussion by Leonard King, Bud Spangler & Lorenzo "Mr. Rhythm" Brown respectively. Despite the fairly sparse instrumentation, ‘Saturday Night Special’ lays down an impressive wall of sound, powerfully atmospheric in its almost low-fi aesthetic. Hinting at more traditional jazz, rhythm & blues, afrocuban styles and more, the uniqueness of this album is surely in its feel: summoning up images of a vast industrial landscape, assembly lines and urban decay. In other words, this record sounds like Detroit.
No great album artwork is complete without a good story to match, and ‘Saturday Night Special’ does not disappoint. Snapped by photographer and political activist Leni Sinclair (responsible for seminal pictures of Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and John Coltrane and many others), the cover image shows the contents of Lyman Woodard’s pockets placed on the hotel bed after a show: cigarette papers, cash and a pistol.
Following Woodard’s death in 2009, this incredible album was reissued in highly limited numbers by Wax Poetics; now just as hard to come by as the original pressings. It’s our pleasure to make this important and influential chapter in the story of contemporary jazz available on vinyl once again."
The Body and Full of Hell are both unique and influential forces in heavy music.
"Both artists welcome challenges and eschew self-promotion. Each artist seems driven to take risks and push boundaries of what is considered heavy. A clear example being that on recent tours The Body have performed without any live guitar or drums. Both artists enjoy the creative growth and music and good times that come out of collaborations. Each has collaborated often with other unique but like-minded musicians such as Thou, The Haxan Cloak, Krieg, Merzbow, The Bug and the list goes on. Despite their obvious differences in songwriting, The Body and Full of Hell are unified by their shared aesthetic, catharsis through the manipulation of emotions transformed by visceral noise and fueled by an inescapable sense of dread. They have returned to collaborate again not because of their commonalities but because of their differences and what those differences yield in performance. With Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light, The Body & Full of Hell have integrated a love for electronic noisescapes with abrasive, precise sonic assaults into a sound unlike anything either has produced before.
Written and recorded in one week at Machines with Magnets in Providence, the music of Ascending draws from unexpected sources such as reggaetón and jungle (“Master’s Story”). There are some familiar guests to The Body fans, namely vocalist Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir) and Ben Eberle (Sandworm), as well as first-time collaborator drummer Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt, Black Pus), whom both bands share a strong aesthetic of individualism. Samples, synth, saxophone, and a drum orchestra all throb, and sputter, coagulating under the weight of the two bands. Programmed drum patterns and loops taking cues from hip hop are bent and twisted throughout, flawlessly emboldening the distortion drenched guitars and howling vocals. Each element, though meticulously crafted, is visceral, as the exhilaration of improvisation has not been curtailed by editing.
Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light casts aside the dogmas of heavy music. Extremity in The Body & Full of Hell’s music is not based on macho musings or competitive trendiness, but rather is an integral tool to exploring the anxieties of modern life and the bridges between personal and political strife. As leading voices in DIY and underground music communities, The Body & Full of Hell, along with peers such as Thou, are expanding the possibilities of extreme music by shaping worlds of sound with a palette of diverse influences seldom seen in “heavy music” today.”
David Sheppard returns with his second Snow Palms album, Origin and Echo. Two years in the making, it builds on the foundations of its predecessor, 'Intervals' with a heavy quotient of metallophones, glockenspiels and marimbas at its core, but largely eschews the latter’s chamber arrangements in favour of soaring synth-scapes and a palette of spectral ambient and electronic textures.
"Despite that, 'Origin and Echo' is a more performative record than was Intervals, its eleven organic, kinetic pieces meticulously constructed by David Sheppard from initial percussive skeletons largely essayed instinctively, in free time, without click-tracks and with almost no guitar. The album is loosely predicated on themes of mirroring and rebounding, whether physical or metaphorical, inspired by everything from the gravity-defying parabolas of space flight to patterns of human migration and feelings of déjà vu summoned by nostalgic journeys.
While the album is mostly the work of David Sheppard working alone or in tandem with producer Giles Barrett, it also features cameos from previous Snow Palms collaborator Christopher Leary (synthesisers), alongside Emma Winston (Omnichord), Lauri Wuolio (cupola drum) and Village Green label-mate Angèle David-Guillou (keyboards)."