Mark Pritchard makes great use of an original vocal by The Space Lady and a Gregory Whitehead sample on The Four Worlds, his sweetly concise LP follow-up to Under The Sun .
Save for its extensive opening track, there’s a glaringly notable lack of drums on The Four Worlds, which is a big part of its strength. As the first Mark Pritchard album in memory not made for or even bothered by the ‘floor, it reveals a whole other, intriguing side to his oeuvre, taking the listener from the magic carpet glide of of its lush opener Glasspops, which feels something like like a Morphosis meets John Carpenter piece, to the jazzy new age pool of Circle Of Fear, and much farther onwards far onwards.
Gregory Whitehead’s stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks vocal from Ziggurat (as previously used on DJ/Rupture’s incredible Minesweeper Suite mix) is framed by a lushly brooding synth backdrop, initiating listeners to a remarkable B-side run that takes in spiralling kosmiche à la Eno & Roedelius on The Arched Window, beside the intergalactic lilt of S.O.S., featuring The Space Lady at her charming best, and onto resonant meditation of The Four Worlds in a thoroughly satisfying style.
Buchla synth supremo Todd Barton’s hyperstitious soundtrack to Always Coming Home, an ‘80s American sci-fi novel by author Ursula K. Le Guin, is yet another ingenious recording dug out for reappraisal by Pete Swanson and Jed Middleman’s Freedom to Spend label - a division of RVNG Intl. Expect alien folk songs in made-up language, set to richly evocative backdrops of location recordings subtly gilded with self built instruments and synth contours. Properly immersive, otherworldly - think Breadwoman meets Lonnie Holley recording for Fonal.
“Music and Poetry of the Kesh is the documentation of an invented Pacific Coast peoples from a far distant time, and the soundtrack of famed science fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Always Coming Home. In the novel, the story of Stone Telling, a young woman of the Kesh, is woven within a larger anthropological folklore and fantasy.
The ways of the Kesh were originally presented in 1985 as a five hundred plus page book accompanied with illustrations of instruments and tools, maps, a glossary of terms, recipes, poems, an alphabet (Le Guin’s conlang, so she could write non-English lyrics), and with early editions, a cassette of “field recordings” and indigenous song. Le Guin wanted to hear the people she’d imagined; she embarked on an elaborate process with her friend Todd Barton to invoke their spirit and tradition.
For Music and Poetry of the Kesh, the words and lyrics are attributed to Le Guin as composed by Barton, an Oregon-based musician, composer and Buchla synthesist (the two worked together previously on public radio projects). But the cassette notes credit the sounds and voices to the world of the Kesh, making origins ambiguous. For instance, “The River Song” description reads, “The prominent rhythm instrument is the doubure binga, a set of nine brass bowls struck with cloth-covered wooden mallets, here played by Ready.”
According to writer and long-time friend of LeGuin, Moe Bowstern (who pens the liners for the Freedom To Spend edition of Kesh), Barton built and then taught himself to play several instruments of Le Guin’s design, among them “the seven-foot horn known to the Kesh as the Houmbúta and the Wéosai Medoud Teyahi bone flute.” Barton’s crafting of original instruments lends an other-worldly texture to the recordings of the Kesh, not unlike fellow builders Bobby Brown and Lonnie Holley. Bowstern notes, “Other musician / makers have crafted their own Kesh instruments after encountering the earlier cassette recordings that accompanied some editions of the book.”
Both Barton and Le Guin are sensitive to the sovereignty of indigenous Californians and were careful not to trample the traditions of the Tolowa people who lived in the valley long before the Kesh. “You research deeply, and then you bring your own voice to the table,” said Barton. Within the Kesh culture, the numbers four and five shape the lives, society and rituals. Barton composed loosely around these numbers, patiently listening to the land of Napa Valley for signs and audio signals from the natural elements. Todd incorporated ambient sounds of the creek by Le Guin’s house and a campfire they built together.
The songs of Kesh are joyful, soothing and meditative, while the instrumental works drift far past the imaginary lands. “Heron Dance” is an uplifting first track, featuring a Wéosai Medoud Teyahi (made from a deer or lamb thigh bone with a cattail reed) and the great Houmbúta (used for theatre and ceremony). “A Music of the Eighth House” sends gossamer waves of the faintest sounds to “float on the wind.” Like the languages invented in the vocal work of Anna Homler, Meredith Monk, and Elizabeth Fraser, the Kesh songs and poems play with the shape of voice.”
The widely-adored post-Stereolab unit of Tim Gane, Joe Dilworth and their pal Holger Zapf take their krautrock/psych buggy for another long player jag
Following from recent reissue of their debut LP Blood Drums and a new album, Void Beats/Invocation Trex, both released in 2016, on Hormone Lemonade they refuel the tank with gallons of liquid LSD and, presumably decked in best rollnecks and comfy cords for a highly stylised and charmingly archaic trip back to ‘70s psych vibes.
Mutant 4th world catalyst Kink Gong is at his very best here, flipping field recordings into granular, glitching patterns that could be easily mistaken as the work of The Automatics Group/Theo Burt or Rian Treanor. TIP!
“Discrepant presents YET another unique document of Kink Gong's aka Laurent Jeanneau's collection of surreal soundscapes of augmented field recordings, this time turning into his love/hate relationship with China into a mesmerising and unique soundscape of unclassifiable music. “Before becoming KINK GONG I had different names, one of my projects, designed by cultural circumstances in China at the beginning of the 21st Century, was DIAN LONG (electric dragon in Chinese).
Starting a very long trip to nowhere I landed in Shanghai in 2000, with my gear in my bag in order to make music and recordings of whatever. Faced with the cruel tendency of modern China to reject tradition and embrace full on bling bling culture, my option was to attack this music industry commercial flavour by destroying it. I had in my bag a faithful portable CD player who knew how to turn syrup into crystal. Later, reaching Yunnan in 2001, I discovered the reality away from the bling bling of eastern towns and did a realistic soundscape of it.”
Ex Nihilo is the crushing new album from arch experimentalist Bruce Gilbert (Wire), forming his first album in six years and demonstrating a super rare example of an artist who only gets more vital and far-out with age. If the idea of slipping into an irretrievable K-Hole lights up your mind, prepare to take a swan dive into this one.
Following from Ab Ovo  and the head-swallowing Oblivio Agitatum , the nomenclature of Gilbert’s latest signifies another uncommonly strong batch from one of the UK’s most persistent electronic boundary pushers. With the last five years or more spent upkeeping his legacy via various reissues of foundational work with Wire and Dome, this album drills right down to Gilbert in the here and now, portraying a brilliantly uncompromising, belligerent artist of a kind that appears unfortunately absent in so many other echelons of contemporary electronic music.
Like an instrumental, electronic music-embracing Scott Walker, Bruce Gilbert’s experience feeds into the peerless visions of Ex Nihilio, lending the innate confidence to express himself in such brilliantly discordant terms as the opener Undertow, and realise the magick and attraction of such bittersweet tones in Negative Mass, and it’s surely only from such experience of the late 20th century avant garde that majestic structures like the breathtaking hyaline spires of Hymn can arise.
But for all those head-turning moments, the inverse, quieter parts are just as important to Gilbert’s sound, as pieces such as HA8, or the smeared timbral resonance of his Alien-like Change And Not, and the spatially-searching pulse of In Memory Of MV all hold the balance in check, making this set another ideal Gilbert gesamtkunstwerk for the ages.
One of the strongest finds on Awesome Tapes From Africa kills us again with Aroo, which springs directly from his Trotro EP with the same drum pattern underlining the NRG of Aroo, whereas African Techno sounds like some stray Dance Mania jacker, Ghana Baby is a more hook-riddled quicker banger, and Monkey brings a sunny highlife flavour.
“DJ Katapila’s Aroo EP is the latest addition to the iconoclastic producer’s catalog of fast-paced, pan West African-influenced dance music. From a young age, Ishmael Abbey was a beloved local DJ in Accra, Ghana’s competitive and rapidly-evolving music galaxy.
DJ Katapila’s debut release with Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2016’s reissue of Trotro, ignited international acclaim for the Ghanaian DJ and producer: The New York Times, Pitchfork, Resident Advisor and FACT heaped praise on his work. Katapila launched a touring career beyond his grueling schedule of all-night parties around Ghana’s southern coast and neighboring countries, heading to Europe and the UK, where he performed at festivals and clubs the past two years. Katapila brought Ghana’s street party culture to audiences overseas; a wave of joy and happy dancers were left in his wake.
While traveling this past summer in Europe, he continued to work on the minimalist electronic music steeped in his hometown rhythms that has made him a growing and singular voice in West African music. Having never traveled outside his region before, the contemporary sounds of London impacted his sonic palette, triggering new song “African Techno.” He explains, “In Europe and the UK they like these techno songs and house music. They have songs that sound like African music, and we have songs that sound like house music and techno music.””
New from Forest Swords' Dense Truth label - the long awaited follow-up to that amazing Dialect album for 1080p which sparked a lot of curiosity on its release in 2015. From initial listens, this one's a more occluded, gauzier and visceral affair than its predecessor. It veers from tender synth tones to distressed strings via introspective flights of fancy prone to tilt into distended techno or, when the light changes, reveal moments of genuine, heart-rendingly cinematic beauty. If you're into 0PN, Maxwell Sterling, Ssaliva, Forest Swords - this one's for you...
“Loose Blooms is the 3rd full length album from Andrew PM Hunt under his Dialect moniker, and his most raw collection yet. Inspired by several field trips to the southern desert states of America as well a trip to remote parts of the Scottish Highlands, the album was constructed in an incredibly dense sonic environment whilst living above a nightclub in Liverpool.
Made from a collage of field recordings, fm synthesiser improvisations and semi generative software jams, Loose Blooms is a weathered fossil of sound. In its shredded landscape, you can just about make out arid canyons, moonlit wilderness and the hollow echo of empty 5am streets. Conceived of both as a document of speculative-folklore, and as an attempt to communicate with the land around us- the ever mutating sounds on this record point towards an inherent instability in not only the natural world but also our relationship with it.
Whereas Hunt's last album 'Gowanus Drifts' (2015, 1080p) dealt with encroaching development on urban spaces, Loose Blooms taps into a more universal anxiety around the future of the planet and the violence it both endures and inflicts. One day our phones will be rocks.”
Ben Frost, alongside Steve Albini and Alva Noto, gives a little more attention to 'All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated' taken from his 'The Centre Cannot Hold' album.
The original appears expanded to over 8 minutes of ear scuffing noise and widescreen electro-acoustic dimensions, beside a new work of tempestuous, high-line synth tension and windswept chorales called Self Portrait In Ultramarine, before throwing himself to the fires with the combustible dynamic of An Empty Vessel To Flood, and the head-scrunching tactility of Goonies Never Say Die.
The remixes are a subtler attraction. Steve Albini plays swelled with a concise, wistfully featherlite take on Meg Ryan Eyez, and Alva Noto follows suit with Jlin to remix Ionia, but with smoothly contoured, minimalist and cinematic results on his behalf, saving its stirring final coda until it matters.
Nan Kolè and Citizen Boy’s GQOM OH! label check the roots, present and future of Durban, SA’s virulent, influential dance sound thru a class set featuring rare work by scene founder Griffit Solo, along with aces by his antecedents; DJ Lag, Naked Boys, Rude Boyz, and more.
The killer set hinges around Griffit Solo’s foundational Ree’s Vibe, an upfront killer whose exclusively percussive cadence almost reminds us more of Príncipe batteries, but also clearly contains the seeds of style which have become GQOM as we know it. Ree’s Vibe has understandably become a staple in the acclaimed sets of DJ Lag, who coincidentally hails from he same part of Durban as Griffit, and clearly takes a lot of inspiration from his sound. For comparison, just check Lag’s two contributions, Daisies and Momish to hear how he’s effectively alloyed Griffit’s rhythms with with droning strings and synths that have become one of Gqom’s defining features.
The rest of the set effectively explores the branches of those styles to varying degrees, ranging from the icy prods and mean vocal of Iphoyisa by Sbucardo da DJ - one of the Durban’s most respected - and his MC, Anomaly, thru to Naked Boys’ Sgubhu style on Storyteller or the crisply stripped Divorce, which reminds us of a rugged take on Afefe Iku’s yoruban house ace Mirror Dance, while Rude Boyz can be trusted to serve the darkest flex with the unyielding command of Umshunto.
With Wiley now claiming DJ Lag as his favourite DJ, we can hardly think of a better time to get properly acquainted with GQOM’s roots and future.
Acclaimed Malian musician Sidi Touré returns with his fourth album, ‘Toubalbero’. Named after the large traditional drum used to gather people in the Malian region of Gao, ‘Toubalbero’ is a danceable, dynamic and, despite the region’s significant political challenges, joyous album.
"‘Toubalbero’ is the first album by the acclaimed Songhaï legend to be recorded with electric guitar and bass - the groove is irresistible. ‘Toubalbero’ was recorded in Mali’s legendary Studio Bogolan where Ali Farka Touré, Toumani Diabate and Björk have recorded. The album was then mixed live by Jason Meagher at Black Dirt Studio (Steve Gunn, Black Twig Pickers, Jack Rose).
Since his debut album Touré has toured extensively in both Europe and North America at prestigious venues and leading world music festivals, including New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican, Chicago’s Millennium Park, the Vancouver Folk Festival and New York’s SummerStage festival. Touré will tour the US this Spring with appearances at the Brooklyn Bowl’s Festival of Mali, New Orleans Jazz Festival, and The Kennedy Center to name a few."
Rebore Kid cocks back a lethal volley of grime ballistics on début mission with Astral Black.
Hailing from Greenock, on the banks of the Clyde, the artist aka Polonis goes upriver to Glasgow’s finest with a fiercely local affair set to ricochet ‘floors around the world, dispensing a Kurdish wedding’s worth of artillery between the recoiling Rebore Riddim, the breathlessly direct lacerations of 45 Gunshots, and the duck n’ dive swerve of Rebore Straight.
Whooping Texans, gamers, and grime fiends need apply.
The 20th volume of Numero's Eccentric Soul series has all the boxes checked: Gun-toting, skip-tracing record producers, child stars, rip-offs, the “World’s Greatest Bail Bondsman,” swindles, soaring falsettos, and a dwindling rust-belt cityscape offering mere glimpses of hope before the record industry escaped for the coasts.
"Helmed by the O’Jays Bobby Massey, Saru was a creative vortex that pulled Cuyahoga County’s greatest talent in, making a strong case for Cleveland to contend with Detroit, Philly, and Memphis as America’s soul music’s capital. Includes obscure and unknown sides from the Out of Sights, the Elements, Pandella Kelly, David Peoples, Sir Stanley, the Ponderosa Twins + 1, Ba-Roz, Bobby Dukes, and of course, the O’Jays."
Hodge lends a koshing techno remix to this canny set of spacious, halfstep-leaning breakbeat workouts by Truska.
The original pressures are strongest in the skittish Pangaea styles of Lucid and Intra, while Fervous works at a slower tempo for those that need it.
We’d recommend going straight for Hodge’s stark rework of Lucid, reduced to boulder rolling kicks and dank atmospheres right out of the facility on Goldeneye the computer game.
One to watch, Gaunt gets off on some noisy, bass-heavy madness for London’s Them label in the Don’t Trip EP.
Landing with a wobbly bump some three years since his debut on Beneath’s Mistry label, Gaunt’s 2nd EP follows similar coordinates into the outer limits of UK bass, techno and psyched electronics.
The sludgy recoil of Say What establishes a rudely sloshing meter that carries thru the EP, with its brownian murk gathering a noisy momentum into the off-centre teeter and fizzy flux of Weeboo - think Batu heading into a K-Hole - before Don’t Trip pulls back from the brink of said abyss with zumby-puppeteering melody and buoyant subs holding dancers in suspensful animation, before he evacuates the body in a plasmic, jellyfish-like structure called Sod Times For Sod.
Definitely one of the weirdest UK bass records you’ll hear this year!
UNO’s Aquarian meets French producer Deapmash for a session of rolling breakbeat techno ballistics on Bedouin Records.
Whilst approaching from opposite continents and never meeting in person, they’re both clearly up for a mucky ruck with the darkside Reese bass payload and gritty swang of Aegis and the pitbull-jawed breakbeat bite of Ballad, with he B-side’s Roam giving more room to stretch out on a fierce, zig-zagging acid ‘ardcore tip socked with bolshy kicks and breaks.
A proper blast from the not-so-distant past, Tadd Mullinx (James T. Cotton, Charles Manier) a.k.a. Dabrye’s hugely influential One/Three LP comes back around on a remastered 2018 edition to claim its mantle as ground zero for the ‘00s electronic beat scene.
Adapting the slompy swang and knock of J Dilla to a palette of saltier electronics and samples, Dabrye effectively coined a new offshoot of hip hop with One/Three, whose impact resonated with heads for more than a decade later, inspiring countless imitators and mutations in the process.
Like bumping into a mate you’ve not seen for aaages, One/Three will no doubt prompt epochal anecdotes from those who caned the LP back then, as the likes of his hazy bewt We’ve Got Commodity, the tricksy triplet stumbles of Hyped-Up Plus Tax and the jagged dip of So Scientific will plug you right back to that strange pocket of post-millennium musical development .
For bonus licks, they’ve also included the three track off his follow-up 12” The Payback, including a breezy Prefuse 73 take on Dabrye 73.3.
Killer, super-rare Yugoslavian New Wave / Pop from 1984 - originals of this go for £££ - now thankfully reissued by this new, London-based label with connections to BEB / Low Company, offering a piquant batch of hot-stepping diamonds packing hooks like a fishnet repair man at a Madonna concert, with funked up bassline grooves and drum machine patter to match. DJs, expect to catch a lot of requests with this one.
"Recorded in Skopje in 1983 and originally released on the state-owned PGP-RTB in 1984, Bastion is the only remaining document of the short but extremely sweet collaboration between singer-actress Ana Kostovska, composer and musician Kiril Džajkovski, bassist Ljubomir Stojsavljević and film director Milčo Mančevski. One of the first electronic bands in the Republic of Macedonia – hailed by the press as “Macedonian electropop sensation” – the four young artists crafted a quick-footed jewel of eclectic, expert synth-wave, genre-curious yet grounded in a bright, glamorous pop sensibility.
Bastion moves between crazed stadium bubblegum and a serious, seductive solemnity: whirlwinds of womanly wave such as “Hollywood” and “Mister Kompleks” open onto the dark electronic landscapes of “Deca Sunca” and “Mesec u Šolji”, while “Molitva” lifts the record into a soulful, torch-lit, and typically Macedonian mysticism. Across the record, Džajkovski’s luscious, sparkling synths and Stojsavljević’s dexterous bass tease and sustain Kostovska’s vocals as she croons, chants and coos her way in and out of one of the freshest, most surprising records to have ever come out of Eastern Europe.”
Yowzers! Tokyo’s High Rise take the bleeding skin off it on reissue of their eponymous 2nd release, a truly blinding suite of turbo-charged psych shredding and diesel spitting bass revs first issued as the 2nd release on Japan’s pivotal P.S.F. Records back in 1986. Perhaps understandably, original copies of High Rise II now trade for the price of a small 3rd hand Japanese hatchback.
It’s an absolute fxcking riot, basically. From the first tinnitus-inducing blast of Cycle Goddess thru the lurching swagger of Pop Sicle these guys sound possessed. Whether that’s by good, strong acid or just a insatiable rock urge, we’re not sure, but their incendiary results will apply to fried heads and those in need of a sharp shock to the system all the same.
Cuts like Turn You Cry sounds like they were recorded at a ‘phet and whiskey-soaked lock in at Lemmy’s, and Cotton Top is the sort of tune they’d have to play behind chicken wire at a Hell’s Angels bar where the spirits are spiked with mescaline.
Take drugs. Listen to this. Have the time of your life.
This is killer - unremittingly bleak and tortuous noise from French unit Sister Iodine, plying a skull scraping fusion of harsh noise, black metal, and charred electronics ruptured by sparing percussion and pitch black ambient vortices, for Egypt’s Nashazphone. Some brilliant moments inside for followers of Nate Young, Prurient, Wold, Wolves In The Throne Room...
“French noise scene spearheads Sister Iodine return with their sixth album, Venom. Active since the '90s, Sister Iodine, which involve Erik Minkkinen, Lionel Fernandez, and Nicolas Mazet, has not lost one milligram of their radical and uncompromised approach in sound exploration and limits stretching. Following two studio albums on Parisian label Premier Sang, released in 2009 and 2013 respectively, it took almost five years to shape up Venom.
It is with the advent of the 21st century -- more than ever -- that the decisive path of Sister Iodine has taken a fascinating route. From their debut album, ADN 115 (1994), which was strongly influenced by the original New York no wave scene (Mars, DNA, Red Transistor) to their more recent works which are augmented by "newer poisons" such as black metal, or the most abrasive end of industrial music and power electronics, as well as experimental electronics -- Editions Mego has reissued an extended version of Premier Sang's Flame Desastre on CD -- (DEMEGO 009CD, 2009) -- the band has managed to survive through the years from the inhospitable French squats of the nineties to nowadays' established venues and proper tours.
Today, the band's music has changed recipients and has attracted younger generations with their organized radioactive chaos, never conceding anything from their initial intensity. Over the years, Sister Iodine will have also created their own idiosyncratic language, for which sound exploration matters and pure beauty seem to count as much as pure explosive ferocity, while intense violence and energy gets deployed in live shows. The last few years witnessed an increasing number of collaborations such as the recent sessions with Meyhna'ch (Mütiilation) or the ones with Masaya Nakahara (Violent Onsen Geisha, Hair Stylistics). Venom includes two tracks featuring the vocal contribution of Stephen Bessac, the deviant frontman of the cult French hardcore band Kickback. Sister Iodine produces a music that is actually unique and unheard anywhere else, one of eternal youth and audacity.”
“Do your own music!” was Albert Ayler’s advice, received loud and clear in France! Cohelmec Ensemble, Workshop de Lyon and the Dharma Quintet, three groups close in spirit, which would each illustrate in their own way a local principle: to get some distance from American free jazz.
"As far as Dharma is concerned, the community-based approach was put in place to escape (they stated) from any academism (the musicians lived together, rehearsed endlessly together, and collectively purchased the necessary material together). This may draw comparisons with the l’A.A.C.M. with whom the group felt a certain affinity, but they were also influenced by Gong, in spite of a deep admiration for Anthony Braxton who they met in Paris at the beginning of the 1970s! The events of May 68 were fresh, and protest was still in the air: no leadership structure was possible, and personnel could change with each recording (on Archipel, a new drummer makes an appearance; however, there is no recorded trace of the group with Jean Querlier and François Méchali).
Like its predecessor End Starting, Archipel is a constructed album, mixing free rock and European free jazz in a series of collective explosions based on abrupt and contrasting improvisations. For much of the time, piano, guitar and saxophone intertwine over intense rhythms, with everything and anything being electrified. Retrospectively, such remarkable timbral combinations, evoking sometimes the freer passages of Cinemascope by Joachim Kühn with Toto Blanke, make the demise of Dharma in 1974, even more regrettable. Their modernity has nothing to envy of the later advances of Paul Bley with guitar (Pat Metheny, John Scofield), or of Om on Rautionaha (for the alliance of Urs Leimgruber/Christy Doran), Patricio Villarroel’s electric piano adding a nonetheless surprisingly singular touch to Dharma, inherited of course from Chick Corea’s work with Miles Davis. This is without mentioning a kind of incisive violence when things speeded up, which was unique to the Dharma Quintet, or a sound as dense as that of On The Corner by Miles Davis, or Stark Reality, John Abercrombie’s group from around the same period. Who else could seem approximately close to the Dharma Quintet at the same time? Emergency, a quintet which had played and recorded in France, including, among others, Glenn Spearman on saxophone, Boulou Ferré on guitar and Takashi Kako on electric piano. Masabumi Kikuchi in Japan also deserves a mention.
Along with the Cohelmec Ensemble, the Workshop de Lyon, the Full Moon Ensemble, Perception, Armonicord or the Michel Portal Unit, the Dharma Quintet stand out as one of the most important examples of free jazz as it was played in France at the beginning of the 1970s."
"The music in this box set does indeed demonstrate masterful arrangements of sounds and sources, movement and melody, humour and seriousness, that can well be described as magical. It is also a set of unpredictable keys and ciphers, revealing a unique worldview where high artistic rigour meets continual openness to chance and serendipity. In this, Holger not only cut and pasted music but time, place and mindsets, when such things in popular culture were not only technically near impossible but virtually unprecedented.” - Ian Harrison (Mojo)
"Krieg der Töne’ (‘War Of The Sounds’) was produced for the most experimental late night program on German public television network ARD, ‘Das kleine Fernsehspiel’ (‘The Small Teleplay’) in 1989. In the Eighties the department co-produced international independent films like Charlie Ahearn’s early hip hop film ‘Wild Style’ (1983) and Jim Jarmusch’s sophomore feature ‘Stranger Than Paradise’ (1984). Michael Meert’s ‘Krieg der Töne’ is emphatically called “a Video-Musical.” Meert was part of a movement of video activists in the early eighties, who wanted to create faster, more spontaneous pictures through video productions and hoped for a new, political and artistic public sphere of moving images through video. Holger Czukay plays a session musician, who is also named Holger Czukay but is not completely identical with the real Czukay.
He is a bass player for the all-powerful music corporation Super Sound, who has to earn extra money by tuning pianos. One of his customers is an ambitious upper class mother, who desperately wants her 12 year old daughter Ino to win the Super Sound talent show. She hires Professor Czukay as a piano teacher but mainly hopes he can put a word in for her daughter at the upcoming event. Czukay is a grumpy but original teacher who opens the world of everyday sounds for Ino, smashing her mother’s precious china along the way. Ino embarks on a magical journey through Cologne, where everyday sounds transform to music on Czukay’s wonderful soundtrack. People blowing into beer bottles sound like electronically distorted trumpets, rhythms of footsteps, trains and ships form a hypnotic groove. Finally she enters the high altar of German avant-garde pop: Holger Czukay’s real life studio, with his tape machines and a short wave radio receiver at the core. ‘Krieg der Töne’ is a musical slapstick comedy and a poetic film about discovering your own ‘swing’ and the magic of sounds.
VinylVideo recordings contain video (moving images and sound) stored in a special analogue stereophonic video signal format specifically developed for recording on vinyl records. The signal can be reproduced by connecting a special decoder unit to any ordinary HiFi turntable and standard television."
Moscow’s Buttechno reverts to his birth name for this tranced-out doozy on his own RASSVET Records, who previously dispatched his 1984  12”.
Coolly adapting Lorenzo Senni’s PointilisticT tekkers to his own ends, Milyakov riffs on virulent, beatless trance arps in four ways on the front, including one perfect locked groove, while the B-side renders a more ragged and unpredictable rogue rhythm called B A D which obstinately bears practically no stylistic relation to the other tracks.
The trance bits are the big reason you need this one, though. DJs, dancers, trancers and MDMA romancers - your time!
'Two/Three' is the second installment in Dabrye's hip-hop triptych - following on from 2001's intricately plotted 'One/Three' and bringing with it a slew of grandstanding MC's with which to pock-mark his electrofied compositions.
Indelible in the best possible sense, Dabrye has risen through the ranks from his Detroit-based origins - offering up the most cohesive and consistent set of digitally rendered hip-hopl. Boasting the likes of MF Doom, Jay Dee, Beans, Wildchild and Big Tone, 'Two/Three' wastes not a drop of the assembled talent - bringing the spectrum of vocal styles crashing down on brittle beats, Blade Runner-synths and a truly dizzying scope.
Opening on the squall-masked thunder of 'The Stand', Dabrye displays an intuitive way with structure, MF Doom provides a suitably marble-mouthed appearance atop cobalt chords, likening himself to "the blood in your stool", before the back-to-basics instrumental 'Machines Pt. 1' provides a brief respite in preparation for Kadence's shoulder-shrug for 'Encoded Flow'.
With an obvious highlight being the stunning hook-up with the late Jay Dee for 'Game Over', other moments of clarity arrive in the form of 'Viewer Discretion' and it's blipping entourage, Beans' polemical outburst on 'Special' and the break-marinated 'Get It Together' - wherein Invincible and Finale embark on an old-school ram raid. When the only real criticism you can level at a record is that it's size and ambition could potentially drown unseasoned listeners, you know that you're nit-picking...
‘Poke It With A Stick’ - the only record by Louisville legends Your Food - is a sui generis gem of the American underground, now faithfully reissued for the first time by Drag City.
"Recorded in 1983 by four scarecrows from Kentucky subsisting largely on cheap beer and baked beans, the album is a burbling burgoo of hypnotic rhythm, uncoiling tension, and sharp invective - a proud bastard of post-punk royalty. Slint drummer Britt Walford remembers seeing Your Food at age 11: “You knew you were in the presence of something powerful whenever they played. Their sound was open and catatonic. Cathartic. You recognized it right away. A lot of it was based on the bass, which was cool, and the drums were expressive, too. Like the bass, they were simple, but odd and insistent. The guitar was angular and somehow just as present as the bass and drums, which seemed like the center. Doug’s singing went right along with it. He was mocking and smart, then bare and vulnerable, without being vulnerable.”
In the fall of 1981, the residents of 1069, Louisville’s original punk house, began to spy three teenagers lurking outside the decrepit environs. Eventually the teens grew bold enough to approach, and soon two, John Bailey and Wolf Knapp (“that’s my real name, not my punk rock name”), were learning guitar and bass in the trashed rehearsal space within. “Their practices seemed interminable at first,” remembers Charles Schultz, “and then picked up confidence and momentum.” Charles had been the drummer for Louisville’s recently defunct Dickbrains, a band described by the Village Voice as freaky weirdos who couldn’t fit in if they tried. He started playing with John and Wolf. Douglas Maxson, the Dickbrains male singer, was lured back from New York with the promise of beer and cigarettes and soon Your Food were playing weekly shows at the local Beat Club, mostly for free beer. (The third lurking teen, Janet Beveridge Bean, formed left-of-the-dial, cracked country act Freakwater with Dickbrains guitarist Catherine Irwin.)
Financed by a Pell Grant and what little cash the band could scrounge, the album was cut largely live in the studio by a guy who usually recorded church groups and self-released on the band’s own Screaming Whoredog label. The prevailing themes of restlessness and isolation are palpable in songs like opener ‘Leave’, where ennui morphs into dark comic fantasy. The punk funk of ‘Don’t Be’ fits perfectly with the downtown NYC groove of bands like ESG and Bush Tetras. Doug’s sardonic wit laces each song with trenchant, first-class put-downs. “Everybody really wants to be your friend / Shit, I wouldn’t even want to talk like you.”
The band became big brothers and bad influences for prepubescent Slint project Languid And Flaccid (which included Will Oldham’s elder brother Ned). It was a golden age but a waning one, an adolescent state before hope or commercial prospect or any plan for the future. When no one gives a damn what you are doing, you are free to do what you want.
Your Food managed three short tours in a world before cell phones, social media, or global positioning and earned the admiration of the few who heard them but they were sonically out of step with the then-dominant hardcore scene, where speed and aggression alone were valued. It all came to a spectacularly bitter end on the side of some frozen, forlorn highway in West Virginia. The tour van broke down three times in four days. The money for the planned second album went to repairs and the band, beaten and broken, called it quits."
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition…
Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012.
Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy hummus like grain and bonfire glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows.
Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon.
Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.
An astonishing solo debut by acclaimed cellist and composer Lucy Railton featuring one side of filigree, multi-layered autobiographical collage-work, the other of raw and phased cello glissandi. RIYL: Mark Leckey, Alvin Lucier, Beatrice Dillon, Nate Young, Valerio Tricoli, Popol Vuh...
Lucy Railton is a prolific performer who has appeared on countless recordings and collaborations with many important figures in contemporary music over the last few years. Paradise 94 is, remarkably, her solo debut - featuring archival, location and studio recordings which serve as a time capsule of all the myriad disciplines and influences that have brought her to this point in time. It both plays up to and shatters expectations of her music, which harnesses a duality of energies - acoustic/electronic, real/imagined, iconic/iconoclastic, pissed-off/romantic; out of place and androgynous - resulting in a visceral emotional insight and rare narrative grasp.
Variegated, asymmetric, and located somewhere between her usual fields of exploration, Paradise 94 gives free reign to aspects of her creativity that have previously been subsumed into collaborative processes and interpretations of other composers’ work. Here, she’s free to probe, sculpt and layer her sounds through a much broader range of techniques and strategies, placing particular focus on non-linear structural arrangements and exploring the way her cello becomes perceptibly synthetic through collaging, rather than FX. At every turn Paradise 94 is bewilderingly unique.
The A-side unfolds an oneiric, inception-like sequence traversing temporalities, timbres and tones from what sounds like a spectral ensemble playing on a traffic island in Pinnevik, to bursts of rabbit-in-headlights trance arps emerging from meticulously dissected musique concrète in The Critical Rush, and a collision of masked vocals, string eruptions and a deeply moving, light-headed Bach rendition in For J.R.
On the other hand, Fortified Up on side B tests out a far rawer approach, sampling herself playing the same glissandi over and again, which she layers into a sort of perpetual, sickly motion, the Shepard Tone riffing on the listener’s psychoacoustic perceptions before calving off into a cathartic dissonant folk coda in its final throes.
In the most classic sense, you can only properly begin to f*ck with something from the inside once you truly know it. Railton’s dedicated years of service have more than equipped her with the nous and skill to do just that, gifting us with what will no doubt be looked back on as a raw, exposed and important solo debut in years to come.
Proper dancefloor dreadnaughts from Nkisi for Warp’s reheated Arcola label, binding Congolese rhythms with Mittel European hardcore styles as you’ve rarely heard them before.
Landing after Rian Treanor’s opening gambit Contraposition and 2814’s Pillar, this plate catches some serious heat from NON figurehead Nkisi, slicing off a sick full frontal showcase of her signature battering ram rhythms and blend of intense, needle-toothed synths with noxious gloomcore pads.
In effect, these are the latest examples of Nkisi’s unique form of up-to-the-minute, mutant folk music; four mutable grooves that twist the bones of later ‘90s brutalist aerobic mysticism between the Hecate or Christoph De Babalon-esque gloom of The Dark Orchestra and the brittle syncopation of Violent Tendencies on the A-side, and over to the ravenous Cold Rush cavalcade of G.E.O. and her frenetic, pitching stepper, Dark Noise.
Unmissable, this, liike.
Perky as you like Afro-funk and Funaná from ‘70s Cape Verde’s Pedrinho, written when he was 18 years old after arriving in Lisbon, Portugal where he made his new home...
“Mar & Sol first release Is Aleluia Lp from the Cabo Verde singer Pedrinho. At the time, late 70's, this Lp was one of the biggest successes from Cabo Verde music. Singer Pedrinho moved to Lisbon when he was 18 years old, and recorded this album, the first one of his career.
Aleluia was produced in the same street where Mar & Sol is based nowadays, in Rua de S.Bento, Lisbon, Portugal. This street was also where Pedrinho come to live when he arrived in Portugal, like the majority of the musicians and emigrants from the old African Portuguese colonies move at that time, to try a new luck.
A big community grew here and these artists got the opportunity to record their own traditional music by the hands of local labels. Now is the time for Mar & Sol to give a new life to all this music, this is the first of many reissues that are coming to start the series of the label.”
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.
Tresor’s 300th release is a 15 track anthology of the Scopex label, a hugely coveted late ‘90s UK electro imprint whose releases by Simulant and Pollon now fetch triple figures for 2nd hand copies. When this set was announced a few weeks back, we could practically hear the collective relief of a thousand night owl neeks hooting at the moon and salivating at the prospect of fresh vinyl editions of Simm City, Out OfEther, and Electratech, all newly remastered from DATs and included here inside.
Right up there next to classic Drexciyan Storms and the black secret technologies of Ultradyne in the pantheon of 3rd/4th wave electro, Scopex releases defined ’90s electro at its tightest and mercurial best with a blend of razor sharp production and concise, sci-fi vision that’s rarely been surpassed.
In chronological order, you’ll find diamond-cut new pressings of Simulant’s Simm City , which is perhaps most noted for its Stinson-esque strengths in New Machines and the rare charms of Musical Box, or the low-lying missile Wav. Form (Mix), before Out Of Ether  dispenses some of the nastiest electro-funk to come from the UK in Knife Edge and the clenched swing of Access Future Audio (Mix).
Pollon’s Electratech  follows to open the 3rd disc with the tense angles of Lost Souls, as deployed by Objekt on his Kern Vol.3 mix for Tresor, and also included in a banging alternate Mix beside the epic Lonely Planet, while the previously unreleased, slow-mo sci-fi electro grunge of Optimal Flow completes the set and sees the label to its final resting place in one piece.
Come git it!
Shed’s 2nd album, The Traveller is also known as the one that’s not as good as Shedding The Past.
It’s definitely not terrible, per se, or even bad - check the lush, C2-style breakbeat techno chops on Leave Things, or the searing noise techno elegy Hello Bleep! - but it’s just maybe too sentimental and awkwardly experimental to live up to comparison with its predecessor.
Don’t let that put you off giving it a crack though; it’s riddled with details and ideas worth checking out.
Mercurial maverick of the maelstrom, John Duncan presents a definitive, new, 3rd vinyl edition of his Riot  album: re-recorded, re-mixed at EMS and expanded with material that didn’t make the initial pressings, all taken from original 8-track master tape - which required them to revive obsolete machinery - and all re-mastered by Rashad Becker for this release; which, according to the legendary avant-garde agitator himself, is finally packaged in artwork befitting of his vision. Or take it straight from the horse’s gob: “If there is any one must-have releases that defines my work in sound, this is it.”
So, for anyone who made first contact with John Duncan’s catalogue via his sublime, deathly Bitter Earth [iDEAL, 2016] LP songbook, this one may come as a shock. But considering that practically everything else in his catalogue is more akin to this record than Bitter Earth, you may have some catching up to do, and this is a perfect place to start.
Employing the chaos generated by his favoured shortwave radio, coupled with “computer program transmissions, military morse code, atmospheric interferences, random sounds”, Duncan makes a genuine, head-flossing racket on the A-side’s Riot. Scrambled not stirred, the results still stand gnarled in the historical stream of noise records, strongly representative of a pursuit for total atonality and arrhythmia - pure randomness in a state of flux always anticipating, never resolving.
Contrarily the B-side throws words, both legibly spoken in english and chopped-up in Japanese, into stark negative relief. Firstly a droll description of viciousness at an event by Paul McCarthy at a Los Angeles gallery, then a passage of fulminating noise chaos, followed by an extraction from a performance at the outdoor amphitheater in Hibiya Koen, Tokyo, 1983, and unpredictably shattered into an extreme inky blacknuss.
No messing, this is extreme music of the highest order.
A dream come true; Jochem Peteri a.k.a. Newworldaquarium a.k.a. 154 blesses our 12x12 series (already home to releases by Kara-Lis Coverdale, Beatrice Dillon, Raime, DJ Sprinkles & SND and V/Vm) with his first new release in 14 years. His 'Strike' album under this alias remains unsurpassed in its field today, influencing everyone from Actress to Lee Gamble and Huerco S over the past decade and more, and it’s fair to say that this new LP beautifully lives up to that classic high water mark.
In Wherever You Go, I Will Follow he deploys 22 minutes of cascading deep techno romance, cleft in two and cut at 45rpm each side for mutable DJ options and listening modes; swelling with breathtaking, pulsating techno harmonics at the original speed, and yielding a head-engulfing smudge of billowing dynamics when slowed down.
While it remains patently the work of Peteri, it finds him wholeheartedly embracing the harmony between analogue and digital realms in his studio; finally allowing him to dynamically compose, edit and effortlessly shift between and inside mediums; something he’s been hoping technology would allow for years but which has only effectively become possible recently.
Taking inspiration from the birth of his second child, the results are suitably life-affirming and bathed in light. They take the listener beyond the smoked-out introspection of Strike  and The Dead Bears  to a more contented and quietly alluring place on the horizon, positively replacing his earlier work’s sense of detachment with transcendent feelings of intimacy, happiness, love.
Or in Peteri’s own words, this one is about family...
Renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans demonstrates the distance travelled from his earliest musical work thru a mix of new, original material, archival finds, and remixes from Justin Strauss, on his Fragile label.
Leading on from his recent live shows with Powell, the Heute Will Ich Frei Sein EP is a typically diverse and spunky set drilling down to Tillmans’ variegated musical interests, namely darkroom EBM/house in the title track; a light headed sort of avant-ambient-trance-pop in Completely Changed; and strong nods to classic synth-pop and Salem in On My Own.
Yet, our favourite piece is perhaps the most whimsical, a 2 minute field recording of a Tired Car Alarm going thru its paces, while the speed-freak NDW styles of Fast Lane (original 1986 / 2016) recalls strapping DAF classics, and comes in dubbed-out, cosmic disco remixes by Justin Strauss.
Very sadly, this is the posthumous pressing of a long-awaited reissue for Jóhann Jóhannsson’s world-taking début album, Englabörn, which is now packaged with an extra side of reworks by peers including A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Paul Corley, and Jóhannsson himself with Francesco Donadello.
Born in 1969 in Reykjavik, Iceland, Jóhann Jóhannsson passed this mortal coil on 9th February 2018 in Berlin, Germany. An esteemed regular on these pages since this release of his first album, Jóhannsson recorded for practically every notable modern classical label in circulation, and also worked extensively beyond those parameters alongside everyone from Marc Almond and Barry Adamson to avant garde maestros such as BJ Nilsen and Pan Sonic, including most recently recording a number of soundtracks to high profile Hollywood movies.
Opening with the instantly recognisable processed vocals of Odi et Amo, Jóhannsson’s first album recorded under his own name has long held an uncannily nostalgic appeal, one which takes on a new poignancy in light of his passing. For anyone yet to encounter Englabörn it will remain an unusually absorbing experience, while anyone familiar with its tremulous strings, fleeting plays of light and shivering electronics will surely hear it imbued with a new levity.
Of the Englabörn Variations, we’re most attracted to Jóhannsson’s revisions of his own work, alongside Francesco Donadello. The practically chopped & screwed version of Odi et Amo is highly likely to induce tears in susceptible listeners - also appearing as a more glacial bis rework - while Ryuichi Sakamoto also plays the heartstrings like an aeolian harp in his breathtaking rework of Jói & Karen, and cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir takes Sálfræðingur Deyr to its deepest point, before Paul Hilliard’s other vocal ensemble Theatre Of Voices leave us shivering with a final version of Odi Et Amo.
R.I.P. one the 21st century’s first, great composers.
Fusion of sleek rolling techno by LLC producer Uge Pañeda with texts John Cage, Laurie Anderson and others, for the purpose of choreography by Barcelona’s Aimar Pérez Galí
“MOM 012 is the soundtrack to a very special performance named ÉPICA. Directed by Barcelona based choreographer Aimar Pérez Galí, it was premiered at Sonar 2017. EPICA brings clubbing culture inside the theatre, to deliver a highly energetic performance, joining bodies, sound and voices of historic and political dissidence. It is about communication between bodies (without language) and the liberty of being on the dancefloor. Freedom of movement, expression and happiness through music! Okkre has provided a startling soundtrack. This soundtrack complements the performance of the dancers beautifully but also deserves to be listened on its own. It is both powerful and dramatic, fitting the title.
The music of the soundtrack has been adapted for its imminent release on vinyl. The piece begins with the rhythmic movement of beats, which provides a structured backdrop. They are complemented by a swirling bassline. Overlayed percussion of differing styles comes in and out. Harsh almost metallic synths enter after a few minutes, which also have the sensation of breathing. Later on, powerful synths battle sturdy cymbal assisted percussion. In the latter stages, everything gets even more intense techno feel and the A Side ends with dense dark synths. The music is alive!
While the other side gently mixes a melodic bassline that moves like the wind with intertwined chorus and voices, which appeal to the spirit of the artistic work, evoking space for feeling and touching. At the same time, insistent beats offer a club feeling. Scary yet empowering strings create a hypnotic atmosphere alongside falling keys and vocal impressions. The final few minutes provides a strong climax to the record. This features hammering beats, a circling bass and powerful keys. A mighty performance! ÉPICA is indeed epic.”
Lone gets it right on these rugged but lush UK ravers, nailing a crafty blend of dembow knuck and early ‘ardcore bruk spiralling to a widescreen, flute-led new age peak in Temples, then swanging out with the infectious rub ’n tug of ruffcut Detroit house and fluoro nEuro trance lines on Hyper Seconds.
Still one of the best techno albums out of Berlin in this millennium so far, Shed’s seminal debut LP, Shedding The Past is finally and necessarily reissued on his own label, The Final Experiment - newly expanded to include all 12 tracks from the CD edition, and cut to heavier vinyl than the original 2008 pressing!
Thanks to the timeless cues and intent it was built on, Shedding The Past still sounds amazing today, working to an effortlessly adroit, light-footed and dynamic schematic that makes much of his subsequent work feel a bit clunky and overdone by comparison.
On release in 2008, it was a seriously big album for a techno world in flux between classic Detroit house, echoes of UK dubstep, broken beat and Braindance, and traces of tuffer Frankfurt sounds - all components of the Soloaction sound he’d developed for years prior.
Fair to say that Shed distilled those styles perfectly in his début album, as proved in its most impressive highlights such as the balletic gait of Another Wedged Chicken, the misty-eyed beauty of The Lower Upside Down and the breakbeat seduction of ITHAW, but most powerfully in its spine-freezing eternal anthem, Estrange.
Trust us: no techno collection is complete without a copy of this album.
The Ghost of Georges Bataille is a superb, if unexpected, collaboration between erstwhile Coil member Drew McDowell and fellow NYC-based artist Nicky Mao a.k.a. Hiro Kone, slotting very neatly into the Bank Records NYC catalogue amid their roster including Wetware, Nick Klein and Bookworms.
Strung out in the ether between Alva Noto, Coil and contemporary Chris & Cosey, the pair have nailed a timelessly stylish darkside vibe herein, with McDowell pursuing the sleek contours and intoxicating timbral qualities of last year’s Unnatural Channel into more liminal, mystic space somewhere between the ‘floor and restless mind-frames, smartly invoking the spirit of their titular subject.
The first side is spent establishing elusive/illusive parameters with the layered synthetic thizz and pent pulse of Barely Awake, then getting under the skin with the hugely impressive interplay of spectral synth voices and uncommonly thick, lustrous subbass in Dreaming Is Nursed In Darkness, which ends up sounding like some prime late ‘90s Autechre remix.
Their B-side is just as strong. Bright Kiss of Fire opens out a fathomless, dank space which they flesh out with sensually latinate rhythms that are all too absent in this quadrant of industrial music, or at least this subtly, before they again really impress with the fractured ballistics and sublime ‘90s electronica synth contours of Violence.
No doubt it’s a big RIYL Toresch, Ae, CS + Kreme, Coil
Widely regarded as the 20th century’s most important singer of English traditional song, Shirley Collins is someone who was born to invoke the old songs. Alongside her sister Dolly, she stood at the epicenter of the folk music revival during the 1960s and ‘70s.
"In 1980 she developed a disorder of the vocal chords known as dysphonia, which robbed her of her unique singing voice and forced her into early retirement. The Ballad Of Shirley Collins – which premiered at last year’s London Film Festival – tells this story, though to reduce it to that single aspect does everyone (not least of all Shirley!) something of a disservice.
The story proves itself to be something of a time-travelling Transatlantic road-movie of sorts, utilising a motherlode of archive audio to recount the tale of her seminal 1959 song-collecting trip around America’s Deep South alongside her then-lover (and legendary ethnomusicologist) Alan Lomax. As well as these songs (notably Alabama Sacred Harp Convention, Texas Gladden and Sidney Hemphill-Carter) there are more recent offerings, a home recording of Shirley’s sister Dolly Collins, and a BBC session from 1958, “Eight Five Spiritual” which gets its first release, some 60 years after it was recorded. Shirley Collins spent her life in song. Even during her time without her performing voice she was telling the stories of others’ music. Not once has she dropped the baton in keeping these songs, these stories, these people alive.
The soundtrack to ‘The Ballad Of Shirley Collins’ – though diverse – showcases just a fraction of the facets that make up an extraordinary career by anyone’s standards. Deliberately eschewing a straightforward biopic approach, Rob Curry and Tim Plester’s follow-up to their award-winning documentary WAY OF THE MORRIS, is a lyrical response to the life-and-times of this totemic musical figure. Granted intimate access to recording sessions for Shirley’s first album of new recordings in almost four decades, and featuring contributions from the comedian Stewart Lee and David Tibet of Current 93, what emerges is a meditative and carefully textured piece of portraiture.
A timely delve into the arterial blood, loam and tears of our haunted island nation. The film was released in October and has played more than 50 venues to date. December brings the last few screenings, before a major new wave of activity in January. January 9th is the date to look out for, with the film showing at around 30 venues across the country."
Character Collapse, Ian Hicks’ hotly anticipated follow-up to the VIY  EP, and its massive highlight False Awakening, finally lands heavy on JD Twitch (Optimo) and co’s So Low label, sprung from the Glasgow club night of the same name.
With only a necessary inclusion of False Awakening on So Low’s Now & Then EP to tide us over in the meantime, this set is seriously welcome, delivering exactly what we need with the arcing widescreen drag of Character Collapse, then properly putting the boot in on his power anthem Depths of Psyche, while the acid churn of Chemical Environments will quite literally eat the ‘floor from under ya feet, and the chronic dissonance of Continuous will send eyes and bodies spinning in strobe-lit rooms full of smoke.
A previously unreleased Sun Ra solo piano improvisation recorded in June 1990.
"As Jez Nelson says in the sleeve notes: “At the end of our conversation I asked Sun Ra if he would play something for us on the beautiful Schimmel piano in the studio next door. He smiled the smile of an ancient spirit with a childlike joy and said he’d be delighted. Then he walked next door, sat down at the piano, said “Hello Mr Schimmel” and played”.”
Lakker’s Dara Smith follows bandmate Eomac’s lead to go solo with a batch of mad electro-folk (read: definitely not turbofolk!) mutations under the new moniker; Arad, for Bedouin Records.
The Glimpse follows thru on the mystic and historic invocations of recent Lakker releases to diffract a worldly rush of inspirations thru technoid prisms, variously keening from what sounds like Irish flocked thru a vocoder and alloyed with 2-step EBM rhythms in the title cut, whereas Inti hints at North African Arabic modes, and Fried Salt simultaneously indulges his melodic and textural fascinations in sweetly elusive style.
Baked Arms then catches him percolating Afro-Latin patterns on a bed of cranky dissonance, and We Are Bacteria Sent Out Into Space forges a mix of snappy Afro-electro drums and Bruce Haack-alike vocoder expressions, and Slua Washed finds a clash of vocoloid spirits with charred noise.
Veronica Vasicka’s curatorial sensibilities are at best on this compilation of Minimal Wave from around the world 1980-1991, collecting a range of material shared by a common purpose - music made in or for the bedroom. Features tracks by Unovidual, Autumn, Pink Elln, Karen Marks, Vorgruppe, Aural Indifference, Perfect Mother…
We’re instantly drawn to the blue, sluggish melancholy of Mensch Im Eis by Vorgruppe, taken from their 1982 7”, as well as the anaesthetising gauze of Iham/Echo’s exceptional Eagle , which could almost be a pre-echo of Teresa Winter, and likewise to Denial’s cover of California Dreaming, which could just as easily be a pre-echo of Carla Dal Forno, while those who like to dance when nobody’s watching will no doubt get along with Perfect Mother’s grinding Japanese EBM in dark-disco-da-da-da-da-run, and the Belgian reserve of Unovidual’s Dit Is Pas Het Begin.
15 hours of recorded sounds are condensed into a vivid sound portrait depicting the way funerals and burials are lived in the Caribbean island of Haiti.
"Recorded in Port au Prince by sound artist Félix Blume in early December 2016, Death in Haiti plunges the listener into a world of pain, loss and solemn celebration as each funeral comprises of its own live jazz band as well as a plethora of characters like the joker (le blaguer) who cracks jokes and tales about the recently deceased. A beautiful document of a thriving tradition, a counterpart or updated version of those famous Dirge Jazz records such as the New Orleans’ Eureka Brass Band on Folkways.
About the artist: Félix Blume is a sound artist and sound engineer. His personal work is based on field-recordings and uses sound as a raw source, in sound pieces, radio plays, videos, actions and installations. A particularity of his work is that the audio and visual aspects are closely intertwined. As a sound collector, he has a large sound library recorded from different parts of the world that he freely shares on the Internet. His work as sound engineer focuses on sound recording, sound design for documentaries, feature films and video art, collaborating with different directors and visual artists.”
Enigmatic collective De Leon, known for a pair of cult tape releases on the Aught label, casts the 3rd release on Mana, following their sides by Pierre Mariétan and Benedict Drew with a display of rippling rhythmelodies and sloshing patterns, including some ripped from their Blowing Up The Workshop mix and all bound to resonate with fans of Shackleton, Don’t DJ, or Burnt Friedman.
Blurring distinctions between field recording and electro-acoustic performance in a gauzy sort of esoteric dance music, De Leon have worked coolly and obscurely in pursuit of an outernational spirit since their pair of tapes for /\\Aught in 2014-15. On Mana they pick up where we last heard them on a mix of exclusive productions for the BUTW mix series, rendering material from that set along with gear produced around then, or even more recently (we’re not sure to be honest, they don’t give much away).
The vibe is essentially a sort of trans-cultural moiré of ideas, converging elements of gamelan, West African tribal drums and Native American pipes in six seamless dream sequences that feel at times like Villalobos conducting Marginal Consort or at others like a naturally occurring delta of plugged in new age techno which has mutated in order to inoculate dancers against rigid metric conformity.
Techno, Berlin style, from a relatively new guy on the ‘floor; Somewhen.
Where Ostgut Ton’s previous release, Answer Code Request’s Gens album, worked a really cheesy mix of Breaks and IDM electronica, this guy makes up for that misstep with five shots of driving, twysted, fresh techno in the EBM-toned banger Ryte, on the lusting darkwave swagger of Undress, and the lockjawed pounder AFL.
Cottam returns to FCR with a more fleshed-out release that takes his signature Deep-House into new territories. ‘Locked In The Groove’ is a three track EP with lashings of Disco, Funk, Dub and South-Asian influences, broadening the palette of Cottam’s already eclectic releases.
"The title track is a solid continuation on Cottam’s previous FCR release, ‘I Can’t Carry On’, while it’s just as progressive in structure and instrumentation, ‘Locked in the Groove’ feels lighter in tone and more playful with its slomo-disco drums, funk bass and waves of filtered samples. Impossible to fully unpack in one listen, Cottam once again boasts his skill of fleshing out a groove with plenty of intricacies that require repeat listens.
Both tracks on the B-Side flaunt the meditative side of Cottam’s productions. The aptly named ‘Sample Heavy Dub’ displays the producers tentative use of percussion amongst a whirring drone that feels more like the soundtrack to a tribal ritual than a club tune. Like most Cottam tracks, the lengthy duration of ‘Sample Heavy Dub’ flies by as if time had stood still. The EP finishes with ‘Dreaming of Another Place’, a brilliantly paced track that recalls ‘Pink’ Era Four Tet after too many painkillers. Underpinned by a wildly organic beat, the subdued dub brass and mystifying vocal sample constructs a haze in which the EP slowly fades away into the memory of the listener and stays there.”
Complementing IDIB's deluxe reissue of 'Night Drive', the label present a buffed up edition of Chromatics' breakthrough single 'In Shining Violence', retitled as 'In The City' and including five new tracks.
The eponymous lead cut was already antiqued anyway so it's definitely not lost any of it's dilapidated disco lustre, in fact it's just as addictive today as when we heard it first in 2007. For the spotters, their 'Hands In The Dark' track from the 'After Dark' comp is also here, retitled as 'Dark Day' and remade with extra-swoony guitars, next to a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire'. Back to the 'floor they drop the vocodered slow grind of 'Lady', and the dramatic Drag pop of 'Dagger Moon', compatible with the likes of Balam Acab, and usefully provide an instrumental of 'In The City' - but really, who doesn't like that vocal?! Awesome.