Manchester’s Mike O’Neill speaks truth to power on ‘The Binary Order’, a scuzzy raw gob of vitriol produced by Sam Weaver and Danny Saul, leading on from Mike’s cult 2013 cassette for Gnod’s Tesla Tapes
Lyrically taking aim at Arts Council/Trust-funded lightweights, capitalist realism, and the precarious insecurity of working class life, and set to a mix of rugged, lo-fi breaks, visceral electronics and textured field recordings, the record draws listeners perhaps uncomfortably close into Mike’s street-level worldview.
Across 11 songs he grasps the pissy nettle of modern life on a low wage, oppressed by massive, unanswerable corporations and forced to work around a Tory logic that’s at Victorian levels of patronisation and disregard for social welfare - made all the more acute by the fact he hails from within hollering distance of the original slums and overcrowded housing that influenced Marx and Engels’ philosophy. He’s the articulate inheritor of generations of proud, necessary social resistance, the latest vessel for a spirit that runs from the Peterloo Massacre to Emeline Pankhurst, Mike Leigh and John Cooper Clarke.
Most distinctively, purposefully enunciated in Mike’s vowel-stressing Manc accent, the lyrics observe a perpetually gloomy state of affairs with the same poetically rhyming meter, unflinching honesty and conviction that makes his live performances so transfixing. Opening with the rising rage of ‘Bleak Northern Roads’ where he zooms out from street-dealing scenes and increasing food prices, to the politics of whit hall, his voice steady but seething, Sam Weaver’s knackered breaks and atonal, slimy electronics bitterly underline the sentiment, using samples of archaic Monarchistic announcements to punctuate the fury leading into cranky highlights such as the hardcore ’89 style UK hip hop of ‘Breakneck Pace’ and ‘Cultural Capital’ - think The Criminal Minds before they went fast - while he excels at a form of modern folk reality in the narration and inclement, skeletal sonic scenery of ‘Modern Industry’, and the pranged dancehall noise torque and warning barbs of ‘Citizen 107’.
This is not some trendy virtue signalling or detached do-gooder speaking for others, but the anxious, impending everyday reality of Mike’s life and the communities around him. In ‘The Binary Order’ Mike necessarily sees things in stark monochrome - matters right now are glaringly black and white - but the way the production’s lighting and texture highlights subtleties with flickers of One-Stop neon lend it to comparison with the washed out feel of Mike Leigh’s ‘Naked’, and, just like David Thewlis’ Johnny, Mike tells it how it is.
E B U joins imaginary dots between Delia Derbyshire, Black Zone Myth Chant and Tapes on a charmingly smudged debut for Ossia and co’s No Corner
In her own language of bittersweet, downbeat psychedelia, Bristol’s E B U speaks gently but directly to altered states of consciousness in a style she terms “swamp pop”. It’s not weird for the sake of it, but rather in a drowsy, hypnagogic way that feels effortlessly natural. All her melodies and harmonies shimmer with a lysergic, iridescent timbral thizz, radiating in rainbows and pink/blue hues on the back of your eyelids (because we almost guarantee you will be lulled to eyes shut, half-mast or rollin in backa skull by the end of 2nd song).
Most crucially, though, for all the ‘60s connotations with LSD and The Radiophonic Workshop references, plus the label’s own nods to Alejandro Jodorowsky and Laurie Anderson, the music feels fresh, operating in its own liminal temporality, rather than being cloyed by cliché. That’s always high praise, and we’re sure many others will feel this, too.
Properly hallucinatory bizz - bravo.
‘Sensudestricto’ is the 2nd volume of steeply immersive, abstract industrial/experimental ambient recordings from Stephen Thrower (Coil, Cyclobe) and David Knight (Shock Headed Peters) in their UnicaZürn duo
In a concerted effort to bypass genre clichés, the pair project four durational parts of amorphous, shapeshifting drone structures that speak to visions of psychedelic horror and ache for an escape from the prosaic and mundane. They’re gurningly dissonant, dense and roiling things that resemble aspects of the obscure and classic film soundtracks Thrower is so fond of, drifting from the expansive horrors of ‘For The Dark Planets’ to something like a Carpenter-esque theme for drug-fuelled, noirish stalker scenes, before switching modes again to a sound recalling earlier Alex Zhang Hungtai records, thanks to Thrower’s pealing blue sax in ‘Stems of the Shadowmind’, and ‘A Gulp of Moss, a Breath of Stone’ most beautifully, frightfully limns parallel ambient dimensions in darkly seductive yet elusive detail.
A strong new addition to Colin Potter’s voluminous catalogue, ‘The Abominable Slowman’ features a mix of new and archival 20 year old recordings polished for purpose.
Arriving as the solo follow-up to ‘Rank Sonata’ [Hallow Ground, 2015], and dished up just prior to his part in last year’s ace Potter Natalizia Zen trio side for Ecstatic, 2017’s ‘The Abominable Slowman’ sees Potter time-travel between various IC Studio locations, tying up loose ends and manipulating perceptions of temporality in his lauded style of psychedelic magick.
In five parts he explores components of rhythm as a tool for bending perceptions of time. His motorik meters dwell in a paradoxical state of driving forward motion and repetitive stasis, first erupting from dense, buzzsaw noise into swampy, lysergic and acidic psych grind in ‘Not Yeti’, then slowing the tape down to a crawl and opening out, emphasising strange artefacts therein with ‘The Knights Are Drawing In’. ‘Unstable Tennis’ follows with a gnashing flux of percussion and distorted whirligig leads in a viscous whorl, and the contrast of sludgy trample and piquant electronics in ‘Never Underestimate The Power of Nothing’ brilliantly pull mind and body in opposing directions.
The dynamic creative relationship between Arovane & Porya Hatami yields some of their most delicate, low key textural ambient arrangements in ‘C.H.R.O.N.O.S.’, the duo’s 5th collaboration and 3rd for Karlrecords
“After “Organism” (2017) and the musique concrete influenced “Organism_evolution” (2018) UWE ZAHN alias AROVANE and PORYA HATAMI continue their sonic explorations with “C.H.R.O.N.O.S.”, the fifth collaborational album by the German electronic producer and the Iranian sound artist. While the duo’s last album was a collection of 23 mostly short tracks, each an acribic examination of sounds that treated by techniques like modular synthesis, granular synthesis, spectral processing, granular synthesis, resynthesis and resonator / modal synthesis, ““C.H.R.O.N.O.S.” consists of five longer compositions that focus on creating a contemplative, zen-like atmosphere of subtle beauty. Rich in details, carefully sound-designed, AROVANE and PORYA HATAMI prove once more their top notch skills when it’s about creating state of the art contemporary ambient.”
First ever anthology of Les Primitifs du Futur with new exclusive cover artwork by legendary comic book author Robert Crumb.
"Nicknamed the Primdufs, they are neither Smurfs nor cave dwellers, just a happy collective of musicians who always have their instruments at the ready. They all have an inexplicable passion for a musical genre that some could consider obsolete, outdated and antique: the French ‘valse musette’ (a kind of popular swing waltz music, ndlt). But let’s be clear, this has nothing in common with the smutty chords of popular balls and singalongs in little town halls, nor with the trills of another generation linked to names like Horner or Verchuren in afternoon tea dances.
No, this is ‘bal musette’ with balls, genuine, virile, authentic, and athletic, which used to get the blokes and the birds jivingin the no-man’s land of demolished forts around what the Parisians call Paname. Seen like that it is easy to imagine that the Primitifs du Futur, for that is their name, enjoy carefully recreating in minute detail museum pieces from the pungent remains of past festivals. It is more than that. Because though these noble savages like rummaging around in 1920s Paris, they don’t shy away from including rhythms from all over the planet, rhumba from Zaireto, gypsy jazz, Hindu waltzes or Argentine tango, blues, ‘paso doble’ or ‘chanson réaliste’.
It all began in 1986, when Dominique Cravic, ‘’ukukeke’’ champion and a renowned guitarist who learned from jazzmen like Lee Konitz or Larry Coryell and also played with Georges Moustaki and Henri Salvador, met a certain Robert Crumb. Yes, the legendary comic book author from the great days of the US psychedelic underground in the 70s, the creator of Fritz the Cat and Mr Natural in person, the same man who also created the cover for ‘’Cheap Thrills’’ by Janis Joplin. Crumb plays banjo and mandolin, collects 78 sof blues, jazz and… musette. The two cronies then composed their own made-to-measure orchestra, alongside many famous names including accordionist Daniel Colin, clarinettist Bertrand Auger, saxophonist Daniel Huck, bassist Jean-Philippe Viret or singer Claire Elzière (sorry, it’s impossible to name them all). This great group has recorded four albums since 1986 (all with sleeves drawn by Crumb), some including guest stars such as Pierre Barouh, Jean-Jacques Milteau, AllainLeprest, Sanseverino or Olivia Ruiz.
For thirty years, the Primitifs du Futur have carried the torch of musette to the four corners of the earth, from fiestas to festivals, and today release a double vinyl, entitled ‘Résumé des épisodes précédents’ which brings together the best of their adventures. It is a refreshing and heartening cocktail of ‘’world tribal musette’’, as they call it, which, in these electro digital times, has a rejuvenating effect, amagic swing potion. Les Primitifs du Futur take us back to the future.
‘’THE PRIMITIFS DU FUTUR travel on sound waves back in time to the early twentieth century and make the world seem like a far better place than it ever actually was. I cant get the band's music off my turntable or out of my head. Accordion, mandolin, harmonica, saxophone, musical saw, and beautiful haunting melodies—what’s not to love? Even their sad songs make me happy.’’
Peder Mannerfelt & Pär Grindvik merge minds + bodies as Aasthma for a new label and blacklabel bomb, hugely tipped if yr into the idea of Oni Ayhun & Sandwell District fucking with the grid, and yr mind...
Taking notes from all corners of the contemporary electronic spectrum, Aasthma distill a keening mode of modern but classically-sculpted techno in ‘Only The Appraiser’. Ready for warehouses and smoke-filled basements alike, the duo’s new venture puts their combined decades of dancefloor experience to heavily functional yet unpredictable and disorienting effect that begs to be explored by DJs in-the-mix.
Establishing the project’s broad coordinates, the 90 second sound design study ‘Das War_s Dann, Leute!’ is an enigmatic palate cleanser for the main course, where ‘Only The Appraiser’ modulates from a sleek, stepping acid techno groove recalling Function or Rrose productions, and into sweltering psychoactive dimensions rent with disembodied stabs, before calving off into pitch black, viscous, lysergic abstraction, leaving the path wide open for DJs to twist where their fancy and the rave feels to go.
Don't miss this.
Planet Mu’s first footwork signing, DJ Nate boomerangs back to the label nearly a decade since his debut EP and album triggered a rush of interest in the hyper Chicago style.
After Nate’s tracks first cropped up on a Dissensus forum thread at the end of the ‘00s, Planet Mu were quickest to his Myspace page, signing what would be most people’s first introduction the evolution of Juke music into its concatenated, battlefloor-ready cousin. The pivotal ‘Bangs & Works’ compilation followed, and with it amazing releases from Jlin, DJ Rashad and Traxman et al, but we’ve basically all got DJ Nate to thank for kick-starting a wider interest in the hyperlocal Chi-town scene.
Since then, DJ Nate has focussed on producing R&B and hip hop, finding a strong local following and even an underground hit outside the Chi with ‘Gucci Goggles’, but two years ago he was paralysed from the neck down in an accident from which he only just recovered.
But he never forgot about the footwork. ‘Take Off Mode’ collects 17 of Nate’s footwork tracks produced over the interim, including many previously uploaded to YouTube. They’re not quite as frenetic as Nate’s early style, but they’ve still got that sweet, almost feminine sort of pressure intact, making gripping use of pitched (up + down), syrupy R&B and soul samples and his own vocal idents woven into mercurial rhythms and palpitating bass.
In print once again in all its glory - little introduction needed here, Skam number 008 repressed several times and still a collectors item, 6 tracks wide, every one a classic...
This 35 minute EP from BoC is arguably their most complete outing, having landed a couple of years before ‘Music Has The Right…’ album and including some of their best material - the brooding Detroit inversion ‘See Ya Later’, the Colonel Abrams inspired ‘Nlogax’, the career-defining “Everything You Do Is A Balloon’ and ‘Turquoise Hexagon Sun’ which would later appear on ‘Music Has The Right’.
Unlike so many of their peers from the era, this stuff has aged well. Perhaps it’s the inherent nostalgia built into these productions, but for our money ‘Hi Scores’ is still the finest half hour of music ever produced by Sandison and Eoin, now bolstered by a remaster and repackage job which feels a bit like dusting off your favourite old jacket and taking it for a whirl.
Vancouver lasses Minimal Violence are bang on the £$¥ with the EBM/rave/techno collisions of ‘InDreams’, their startling debut album for Technicolour
We were late to MV’s game, only clocking on with their ‘MVX/U41A’ bombs, but we’re full backing ‘InDreams’, one of the fiercest sets of hardcore techno in circulation this side of Live Adult Entertainment. In nine original productions plus a Cardopusher remix and a Powermoves megamix, they absolutely take the skin off it with a wild-eyed and ruthless barrage of hi-impact heavyweights.
They’re not necessarily remaking the wheel, but we haven’t heard this sound executed with so much gnashing energy and style in years. Trust it’s no piss-weak revivalism or slap-a-tinny-break-on-it dilettantism, but the real fucking thing, ravenous and ravishing, chomping at the bit, not hanging in the smoking area cos it’s actually shit inside, where everyone’s going thru the motions, waiting for a good tune.
‘InDreams’ is rave techno as punk music inspired by sci-fi literature and cinema. It’s highly visual stuff, connoting imagery of cenobites at Thunderdome, darkroom chase scenes and dancers pushing themselves to exhaustion between massive highlights in the hard acid trance peak of ‘InDreams’, the mentasmic gush of ‘L.A.P.’, and the lockjaw scally bounce of ‘June Anthem’ or the clattering skullduggery of ‘Persuasive Behaviour’.
Sometimes, it’s hard for us to reconcile first hand experience of older raves, when folk were far less self-conscious and more up-for-it, with many of rave’s current iterations, but ‘InDreams’ is the kind of record that could bring the joy of utter, unbuttoned abandonment back to the centre of the ‘floor. Just imagine a horde of fleggin’ Morley scallies invading your space. That sort of feeling.
Seventeen Seconds was released in 1981 and was the first in a trio of albums (Followed by Faith and ending with Pornography) that are widely considered the most important and influential in The Cure's discography.
The stripped aesthetic here exemplifies the bare, miserablist innovation The Cure were all about between 1980-1982 - check Secrets, or In Your House for two prime examples of just how direct and inspiring they were at this time. A Forest is the best known track here, but skip to the closing title track to get a sense of why this album is so damn influential over 30 years later...
Exquisite shadowplay of electro-acoustic, midnight jazz, and cinematic synth tropes from James Rushford, peer and collaborator of Oren Ambarchi, Klaus Lang and many more - RIYL Jakub Ullmann, Deathprod, Felicia Atkinson
“This LP is Rushford's first solo release in a decade and the very first he has composed, performed, and recorded entirely alone. Primarily recorded in Los Angeles in 2017, The Body's Night is a single electro-acoustic suite stretching over thirty minutes, utilizing field recordings, flutes, ocarina, microphones, organ, percussion, piano, tape, analog synthesizers, viola, and voice.
True to its title, the record immediately ushers into a nocturnal, intimate, claustrophobic space where the hyper-amplified rustle of clothing and vocal mumbles are shadowed by uneasy synth tones, fluttering white noise and distant filigrees of ultra-high-pitched tones at the edges of aural perception. While the influence of contemporary composers such as Klaus Lang and Jakob Ullmann (both of whose music Rushford has performed extensively) makes itself felt in the music's attention to the liminal space between sounds, Rushford also draws on the bedroom synth explorations of '80s acts like Déficit Des Années Antérieures (DDAA) and the harmonies and production values of black metal, drawing a common thread between these influences in terms of their shared interest in atmosphere and deliberate retreat from perspicuity.
Relief from this claustrophobic atmosphere comes through the episodic structure of the piece, where like an already dark shot fading to black, each sequence retreats from your ears before you can properly grasp it. Rushford uses classical electro-acoustic techniques and plays elegantly on the fundamental ambiguity of the acousmatic situation in which you can never be sure of the source of the sound you are hearing. But rather than a tribute to the masterworks of musique concrete, this is defiantly idiosyncratic and personal music. Meticulous in production values and exploratory in timbre, tonality and form, The Body's Night is a key work from one of the most singular young composers at work today. Stunning artwork by O.B. De Alessi. Design by Lasse Marhaug. Mastered and cut at 45rpm for maximum fidelity by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.”
Remastered 2019 cut of a proper 1995 jungle rinse-out, courtesy of Dublin’s Foxy Jangle - a sublabel of Rua Sound
Originally intended for full pressing on 24 Karat, the atom-smashing Amen choppage of ‘Pow / Thunder’ never saw it past the promo stage, with the 2nd hand white labels now going for price of some shiny TNs, but packing twice the amount of steppers’ boing.
A-side starts out calm and cool enough with ragga chat and rolling steppers breaks, but all heck burkes loose when the Amens kick in - run for cover or skank for your life. B-side plays it gangster cool as well with boogie soul vibign intro, then crisply rugged with the breaks and dread bass.
CREEP’s Lauren Flax puts her back into a trio of ace hard working buckers for The Bunker NYC
From the ground up she tills heavy drum machine grooves freaked with corkscrewing FX, but always keeping it solidly direct.
She comes with the bare bones jack attack of ‘One Man’s House Is Another Woman’s Techno’ next to the rictus bang and acid blips of ‘(You Have to) Work’, echoing the steely sentiment of Marie Davidson’s anthem, before ‘A Deeper Side of Jack’ does it salty Gherkin Jerk style, compatible with your punchiest Matrixxman bangers. 10er says she does a UTTU 12” before end of 2019.
Proper acid house knockers from Detroit’s Ali Berger on FatCat Records dancefloor-dedicated FCR series
Behind two handfuls of tapes, 12”s and CDr’s since 2012, Berger brings his hardware-dedicated craft to a wider audience on ‘Keys The Door EP2’, straight-up jacking your ass into 1987 with the cold kicks and chewy 303s of ‘Badlands’, and keeping it there for the Virgo Four-esque shimmy of ‘Love In This Box’, before spiking the vibe with wilder styles in the rabidly scrawled lead line of ‘Secrets’, and pushing close to tracky Jamal Moss vibes in ‘Sleeves’.
Stefan Schwander’s Harmonious Thelonious harvest two slinky, strutting workouts for Italic, backed with twanging remixes by Tolouse Low Trax and Wolf Müller
In ‘Blinky’ he plays your tendons, glutes and hips like a fleshly instrument with swivelling, swingeing syncopations that play out over multiple bars in coolly delirious style, whereas ‘Shark Dance’ looks into a more intimate centripetal motion, bringing the limbs in and winding into fluid figures of 8.
Toresch’s Tolouse Low Trax lends his sought-after touch to ‘Rivera’, resulting an effortlessly sprung and tactile skank and parry, before Wolf Müller hacks deeper into psychedelic tropical undergrowth on a humid remix of ‘R.F.S.’
Venerable composer and pianist Charlemagne Palestine revisits his seminal 1976 work ‘The Golden Mean’ in duo with enigmatic artist Rrose, reprising a dialogue started 10 years ago when Rrose was studying at Mills college and looking for a score to Charlemagne’s amazing ‘Strumming Music’…
“In 2018 the Festival Variations in Nantes commissions Palestine to perform The Golden Mean, reworking the piece for two pianists. Palestine chose Rrose to join him in this new rendition of the work. Together, they performed The Golden Mean (reborn as “The Goldennn Meeenn + Sheeenn”) onstage at the main opera house in Nantes -- the sumptuous Théâtre Graslin – with extraordinary results.
The concept of the ‘golden mean’ goes back to the roots of mathematics, and ancient Greek philosophy. It is an important work in the Palestine mythos, embodying his total immersion in the power of the interval. “It’s probably his most systematic work . . . a step-by-step journey through the intervals of the octave,” says Rrose. “When we rehearsed it, we were noticing how each interval is like a universe of its own -- with its own history, emotions, and sonic qualities all mixed up together. Every time you move from one interval to the next, it feels like moving into another world.”
“I love the interval,” Palestine told me in a recent interview. “I love when it plays with itself. That's what I learned from organ musics too. You can just do an interval, and if they're just slightly out of tune with each other, then they shimmer . . . they play themselves. And it sounds like somebody's playing lots of notes. In your ear, it's like an aural phenomenon . . . that's my whole concept. I make something that then does itself somehow. It continues by itself. So I don't have to always be there. And that makes my music a little less egocentric. So there’s more space. Also for the listener — the ear plays with these things, and you're not always being given orders. Your ear isn't given orders all the time of what to listen for.”
Beautifully recorded, with mastering by Rashad Becker of Dubplates and Mastering, The Goldenn Meeenn + Sheeenn feels expansive, radiant and hypnotic, opening new ears to its enduring mystery.
Rrose adds this note to listeners: “Do not focus your attention on the notes being played, but on the ocean of overtones swimming, suspended, overhead, brushing against one another, kissing one another, melting into one another.”
Jay Glass Dubs and SKRS remix a pair of Jabu’s emotionally-consumed Bristol dub-soul songs from heir Blackest Ever Black LP ‘Sleep Heavy’, for their Young Echo breadbins.
Marking only the 4th release on Young Echo, following Rider Shafique’s cutting and hugely overlooked, Sam Kidel-produced ‘I-Dentity’, and of course the massive ‘Young Echo’ album, this plate sees the crew diversify their bonds, inviting international flavours and perspectives on their rooted but mutant dub styles.
Up top Jay Glass Dubs arrives in the wake of his acclaimed ‘Epitaph’ album to diffuse the blue sax and plangent vox of ‘Fool If’ into a floating, widescreen, out-of-body experience that becomes more disturbed, unravelled, losing its own thread as the beat emerges and refuses to find its feet.
SKRS’ follow on the downturn with a stark ‘2nd Cut’ remix of ‘Wounds’ that easily marks as the bluest track in their arsenal, teetering the tremulous vocal in a Burial-esque woodblock swing rhythm and puckered, reverberant chords.
First reissue of Ut’s NYC no wave classic ‘Conviction’ since 1987! Newly packaged with liner notes by OG fanboy Stewart Lee
Well known as the band who would all swap instruments after every song, Ut are the pioneering trio formed by Jacqui Ham, Nina Canal, and Sally Young during the heyday of “no wave” - a non-sound drawing on everything from noise to disco and jazz, and hellbent on pricking punk’s swell head and the pomp of late ‘70s heavy and prog rock styles.
Ut were among the most adept of their wave at ripping it all up and starting from scratch, quite literally doing it between songs, insisting on a reliance on in-the-moment intuition and improvisation in a way that railed against mainstream trends for virtuosity and unwieldy egos.
Their ’Conviction’ was recorded in 1985 toward the end of the no wave phase and finds their white hot guitars at their most nerve-jangling and spiky, pushed by clattering drums and possessed vox from the slunky swagger of ‘Confidential’, to open-out in key with their free jazz inspirations on ’Stain’, balmy folk strokes in ‘Bedouin’, and skipping from the reversed tapes loops of ‘Kcahsmahs (Spare Coconut)’, before letting all slosh out without giving a fuck on ‘Mouse Sleep’.
Faith was released in 1981 and is the second in a trio of albums (starting with Seventeen Seconds and ending with Pornography) that are considered by some the most important and influential in The Cure's discography. Fuelled by Simon Gallup’s Fender bass - in turns deep, angular, growling and comforting - for our money it's one of the most sparse and singular albums to ever edge into the mainstream.
The monochromatic cover image (a picture of Bolton Priory in the fog, painted by The Cure’s Porl Thompson) gives away the mood here; funereal, downcast, brooding, containing some of Robert Smith’s most unashamedly morose songs. But it’s the production, influenced by Joy Division, that’s a complete revelation. ‘All Cats Are Grey’, as one example, does a thing with synths, bass and percussion that could effectively have been the blueprint for much of the last 4 decades at the fringes of electronic music. ‘Faith’, the closing, title track, repeats the trick - but this time with a treated drum track so delicate and forward thinking we could listen to it on a loop for eternity.
All of this would be for nothing if it wasn’t for Robert Smith’s songwriting - here in fine form on the hooky ‘Primary’ and ‘Doubt’, as well as the foreboding ‘Funeral Party’, but this is The Cure album that is, above all, defined by its sound and production. ’Disintegration’ (which appeared almost a decade later) is far more grand and ambitious in scale and has understandably become the go-to The Cure album for those looking for a depressive fix. But, for us 'Faith' (and to a slightly lesser extent, ‘Seventeen Seconds’), feels like the most conceptually tight and age-defying work in their enviably deep catalogue, and the one whose influence we hear most often at the margins. If you’re interested in bass sounds, and space - so much space - in production, this is basically the template.
Finally, a vinyl version of Susumu Yokota’s ‘Acid Mt. Fuji’ , the 2nd album of ambient-acid-techno by the Japanese legend who sadly passed away in 2015
Delivered via Germany’s Midgar, Acid Mt. Fuji arrives on vinyl at a high point of interest surrounding Yokota's work, and especially these early recordings that were made some years before he went on to pen ambient classics such as The Boy And The Tree.
While patently acid techno in form and style, on Acid Mt. Fuji it’s easy to hear the more tender, esoteric elements which would later come into sharper focus, but the original tracks completely stand on their own merits, too, with some big highlights for anyone scoping ‘90s Japanese house and techno in parallel to its ‘80s synth-pop and ambient nexus, especially in the likes of his ruggedly pendulous yet delicate Tanuki, or the slow acid churn of Oponchi and Akafuji.
A number of albums on the Saravah label, by artists such as Steve Lacy, Areski, Maurice Lemaître, Philippe Maté, Jean-Charles Capon, Michel Roques or the Cohelmec Ensemble, are considered amongst the most important of the 1960-1970s, including, for example Comme à la radio by Brigitte Fontaine with the Art Ensemble of Chicago in Paris, 1969.
"It is unfortunately less well-known that the label produced a single at the same time also featuring the Art Ensemble of Chicago who this time backed the poetry of the little-remembered Alfred Panou. Seen in the 1967 film Week-end by Jean-Luc Godard where he played the role of a black garbage collector, Alfred Panou who is of mixed Benin-Togolese origin, already had a career as an actor in political theatre when, pushed by producer Pierre Barouh, he recorded two of his texts concerning Black Power.
At the time of the recording the explosive first album by the Last Poets had not yet been made, nor that of their west coast counterparts the Watts Prophets which would only appear in 1971. This explains why, in 1969, even if the Black Dada Nihilismus by Amiri Baraka published four years earlier was incontestably the reference point of all the above, the combative prose of Alfred Panou had a real impact. This is heightened by the fact that it is also one of the first, in its own way, to question the notion of black identity.
In order to do so the brilliant idea was to have the rowdy poly-instrumental jungle fantasy of the Art Ensemble of Chicago as a musical counterpoint! Little-recognised, probably because the texts are in French, Je suis un sauvage / Le Moral nécessaire deserves to be more than just a sought-after rare groove. Even today the record should not be neglected as it is a seminal and skilfully militant recording, which even had moments of humour. Though brief (barely ten minutes in total), it deserves to be considered as a key moment in Great Black Music in the same way as Seize The Time by Elaine Brown, Nation Time by Joe McPhee, There's A Riot Goin' On by Sly & The Family Stone or Attica Blues by Archie Shepp. No less than that."
Blawan & Pariah’s Karenn kick off their Voam label with 4 grizzled and hardass techno functions
Noticeable by an absence of duo recordings since 2014, Karenn spent the past five years pursuing solo projects; Arthur Cayzer aka Pariah most notably with 2018’s ambient album ‘Here From Where We Are’, and Jamie Roberts via his Ternesc label with last year’s ‘Wet Will Always Dry Album’.
On ‘Kind of Green’ they reprise the direct but twysted aesthetic of early Karenn recordings, gearing up with the tunnelling pressure and slithering acidic layers of ‘Rek’, then keening offroad with the title trak’s warped swing and deliquescent contours. Flipside they really bare their fangs with the nagging grind and sprung buck of ‘Salz’, before rounding up with the drily skeletal but big-boned stepper ‘Newt’.
Deadbeat & Camara come like it’s dub night at the Roadhouse with a bewitching remake of Cowboy Junkies’ classic ‘The Trinity Sessions’, full of lounging, ethereal vocals underlined by rich dub bass and drowsy guitars, fittingly for Canada’s Constellation
“Trinity Thirty is a celebration and reinterpretation of the much beloved Cowboy Junkies classic The Trinity Session, on the occasion of the album’s 30th anniversary (originally released in late 1988). The idea was spawned when Berlin-based Canadian producer Scott Monteith — best known as DJ and dub-inflected minimal techno-electronica recording artist Deadbeat — heard the Junkies’ Trinity version of “Sweet Jane” playing in an airport a few years back. Viscerally reminded of how much he loved the album, and how surprisingly overground the record ended up becoming (by mid-1989 The Trinity Session would be certified Platinum in both Canada and The United States – truly another era!), Monteith immediately reached out to the band to ask if they had anything planned to mark its 30th birthday. Before Monteith even touched down back in Berlin, the band had replied saying they had no such plans but would enthusiastically support whatever angle Monteith/Deadbeat might want to run with.”
Initially imagining they would run a fair amount of electronic treatments during the mix, Deadbeat and Camara instead found themselves absorbed by the spaces, silences and atmospherics, guided by a spirit of preservation and restraint in further homage to the original. The result is “a less electronic album than we imagined making”: a gorgeous somnambulant collection of ‘covers of covers’, where the reference point is always the Cowboy Junkies original approach, stretched to new and beguiling limits of deceleration and narcotized spaciousness (a sensibility reinforced by the mastering treatment of minimalist dub-techno legend Stefan Betke of ~scape/Pole).
The gauzy, quavering, reverberant slowcore vibes of artists like Galaxie 500, Grouper and Codeine are a key reference point for Deadbeat & Camara’s prevailing aesthetic: clouds of textured drone and hushed vocals drift through cavernous space, where long decays gently warp and distort the melodic vocal lines and the insistently languid percussion, anchored by thick saturated bass tones representing the most overt influence carried through from their electronic music bona fides. Trinity Thirty is a gorgeously sedate, subtly avant-garde and wonderfully reverent re- interpretation of this classic album.”
Mesmerising rhythms and mutant electronic brilliance from Don’t DJ, doing it for the veterans at Honest Jon’s
An absolute master of rhythmic patience and sleight of hand, Don’t DJ presents some of his very slinkiest, winking and infectious grooves in the ‘Laniakea’ set. Leading on from last year’s double-pack with Berceuse Heroique and a split with Bear Bones, Lay Low, he appears ever more confident to let the rhythm ride, using only the most minimal nudges and tonal gestures to keep listeners entranced.
On disc 1 he wickedly, subtly accentuates dembow drums with roving modular bassline until a rudely acidic denouement makes it a straight-up winner, while the B-side segues from craggy noise into pulsing, needlepoint Afro-latin rhythms stroked over with looming pads to deliciously darkside effect. Disc 2 follows with the EP’s straightest playing an offset hustle of 4/4 kicks and grubbing percussion, developing into phasing, glassy motifs, and finishes with an exquisite turn of crystalline dancehall torque, nosedrip tang and loping ambient groves.
A quiet genius at work, deep in the pocket.
Madam X’s Kaizen deploy Walton’s ‘Murdah’ EP of slunky, sub/c.120bpm UKB pressure some two years after he debuted on the label with the ‘Taiko EP’
Up top, the Manchester-based producer shapes cranky drums and shuddering, effluent bass into ‘Squelch’, then works it off-the-bone with the staggered drums and hollow mid-range signals of ‘Onslaught’.
Downtown, he weighs in the title tune’s pendulous, darkside dancehall-styled slosh and screwed vocal to wicked effect, and rounds up with the brukken flow and wheezy leads of ’Submerged’.
Amazing and unique private soul/jazz-funk fusion LP, the first release (1980) on Andrew Scott Potter and David Eric Tillman’s PO/ET label. Sublime from the beginning to the end, it has become, just like their second and final release “…Space…Rapture…”, a sought-after collector’s item.
"Andrew and Eric both come from Chicago. They met in the early 70's, shortly after Eric's discharge from the U.S. Air Force. They played together on the local jazz scene for several years (among others, with Maulawi). During that period, Andrew also toured with Minnie Riperton and Eric toured with The Dells, Linda Clifford and others. In the late 70's Eric left Chicago for Los Angeles, when he began touring with The Temptations. Since moving to California Eric has played and/or recorded with a variety of artists, including, Willie Bobo, Justo Almario, Alex Acuna, Norman Connors, Billy Paul, GAP Band, Linda Hopkins, Billy Higgins, O.C. Smith, and many others."
Raw Detroit house pearls from Omar-S, hustling gritty garage-house and boogie flavours on both sides
Uptown he samples Tia Monae’s 1983 proto-house/garage gem ‘Don’t Keep Me Waiting’ to ruggeder effect in ‘Better Believe It Baby’, alongside a belting vocal garage house cut ‘Catch Ya’.
Downtown, he serves the slamming sampler workout and crispy polyrhythms of ‘Cheat’ inna Shake or Soundhack style, then properly cuts loose on the ragged tribal house rhythms and teasingly percolated chords of ‘Pull Ovaa’ in a manner reminding of The Oliverwho Factory’s haughty power-ups.
‘The Dream Tec Album’ is an expanded edition of Jeroen Brandjes & Nastasja Hagemeier’s classic early Dutch techno album for U-Trax, and serves to prime the scene for reissue of their golden classic LP ‘Painless’
All conceived, written and recorded during the duo’s earliest phase c.1991-1992, this newly remastered edition of ‘The Dream Tec Album’ features the original LP’s 6 tracks, themselves drawn from a mix of projects - Syndrome, Paradise Syndrome, Bitch&Bites, and The Connection Machine - plus two previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Patently in thrall to pioneering Motor City artists such as Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Carl Craig, the duo forged a driving, spacious, and heady sound compatible with both 313 emissions and emergent UK techno/AI styles, resulting some fine highlights strewn between their David Koresh-sampling breakbeat workout ‘Dream Affected Dream’ and the pendulous ambient techno drift of ‘X-Manray’, plus the previously unreleased nightflight of ‘Cafe D’Anvers’.
Cinematically-scoped debut collaboration between gothic spirit Marissa Nadler and post-hardcore figure Stephen Brodsky (Cave In, Mutoid Man). We can hear shades of Portishead in there, along with strung out Americana, folk and sparingly used ambient strokes...
“All the songs on Droneflower were recorded in home studios, and they throb with the frisson of that intimate environment. For much of the recording process, Brodsky would stop by the ramshackle studio that Nadler set up in Boston whenever he was in town visiting family. Songs like “For the Sun” were written on the spot there, lyrics and all. The lush ambient pieces “Space Ghost I” and “Space Ghost II” began as Brodsky piano compositions and were later fleshed out by additional instrumentation and Nadler’s inimitable vocals.
Nadler and Brodsky also recorded two cover songs for the album — the epic Guns n’ Roses power ballad “Estranged” and Morphine’s beguiling “In Spite of Me.” Since childhood, Nadler had been transfixed by the “Estranged” video where Axl Rose swam with dolphins, and she and Brodsky breathe new life into the song here. Their take on “In Spite of Me” is invigorated by a guest appearance from Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley, who ironically didn’t play on the original recording but is indispensable on Nadler and Brodsky’s version.”
See Through is a new collaboration between Aidan Baker (Nadja), Faith Coloccia (Mamiffer, Mara, Sige Records) and renowned percussionist Jon Mueller.
"The project was brought to life through Baker exploring textural rhythms created by sampling small, sharp and abrupt sounds on the electric guitar and then sequencing them in a drum machine to form the bedrock of the tracks. Mueller then added his particular, signature brand of intricate, hypnotic percussion to the mix and the compositions began to grow and take shape. The pair agreed that the pieces needed a more human touch and Coloccia was invited onboard, contributing processed vocals via looping, tape manipulation and microphone feedback.
The result is an other-worldly record that seamlessly flows from beginning to end, immersing the listener in waves of ambient movements and soporific beats. There is a trance-inducing aspect to this work, deserving to be consumed in one sitting and allowed to manifest itself for the duration. The trio have crafted a piece of work that stands up to the quality and integrity of their combined back catalogues and indeed adds something completely new for fans to discover and devour."
Dubkasm time-travel between early ‘90s and modern day Bristol in a wicked suite of steppers’ psycho-dub-geography and echo chamber science
“The accumulation of months of hard work down in the Dubkasm studio, Shady Grove is a homage to Bristol’s St. Paul’s, and the many places of inspiration, culturally and musically, that it offered to the likes of Stryda & Digi, especially during the 90’s….
“We dedicate this album to the community of St Pauls in Bristol, now being stifled by gentrification. We hope this LP is a musical window into a time when the neighbourhood, despite being plagued by poverty and constant racist intrusion from the authorities, had an energy, a rebellious spirit and nightlife that inspired the music which has made Bristol world famous.”
Musically speaking, this LP is purpose built for the Dub LP format – stick on the record and let it play from start to finish, with no interruption!
Shady Grove, whilst inimitably ‘Dubkasm’ all the way – nods to the benchmarks and signature styles of original dubwise production – wether that’s a vintage tape-delayed, spring reverb’d analog sound as we know it from the founders of dub during the 70s, or a wicked & wild chain of digital effects, as heard in the later 80’s and during the 90’s, by producers such as Sly & Robbie or Philip ‘Fattis’ Burrel, the name behind the Exterminator label.
Another proud factor is the inclusion of so many great recording artists – from Dub Judah to Blood Shanti, through to Tom Fenech (the Victory Hornsman) and Rider Shafique, who appears on the title track, a previously unreleased dubwise cut of ‘Enter The Gates’, the LP features a whole heap of singers and players of instruments, just like the best of the dub LPs.”
Obscure 1988 album from Doctor Umezu Diva, the work of japanese sax player Kazutoki Umezu on a one off project in which he invited legendary marimba player Midori Takada and Jazz vocalist/pianist Ichiko Hashimoto for an album of collaborative improvisations.
"This album was one of the best kept, secret jazz albums from Japan; it's really hard-to-find and very limited. Dubby from Ondas Tokyo -- who compiled Midnight In Tokyo Vol. 2 brought this record to Studio Mule's attention. This album is a unique mixture of modern classical sound and avant-garde jazz, which is kind of similar with Strata East or Nimbus."
Gutter crust trashbeat from Kinlaw and Franco Franco, delivering the first wave of industrial trap and rancid punk rap for Avon Terror Corps. RIYL JPEGMAFIA, AGNARKEA, FUMU...
“‘Blunted church burner Kinlaw and bile spitting nomad Franco Franco savage through ten of their coldest cuts for ATC’s first sacrificial offering.
The LP opens with ‘Eric Draven’, an apocalyptic bombardment of mechanical disintegration and shouted nuclear alarm. Then follows with ’Cuore Molle Palle Mosce’, their alienated battle cry for the kingdom of Wessex, already weaponised in the dank chambers of Avon. ‘Cyborg Mc’ spouts the metalloid delusions of the dystopian preacher, arsenic utterings of the ego-centric android and ‘Fat Come’ is an ode to guttural subs of the Butter Gollem, birthed from Goram’s phlegm.’”
Purveyors of ace obscurities and overlooked gems, Canada’s Telephone Explosion Records host the first reissue of Bob Bell’s schizzy 1978 free jazz private press, ‘Necropolis’
“Necropolis is a highly sought-after 35 min doom-laden trip for the connoisseurs of noise. Recorded in 1978, Bell splits the difference between his love of basement psych splatter/pummel and squalling free jazz ramble, the former occupying side A with a stunning four part suite of wasted guitar scuzz and churning Krautrock-like drama with an akin to German Oak, Roland Kirk, Albert Ayler, DNA, Melt Banana (minus the vocals) and Guru Guru. The latter represents Bell as a saxophonist on side B, and the music itself translates into a 15-minute free-jazz exploration.”
Warbling, melancholic ambient-pop, verging on lo-fi and flecked with traces of modern classical strings, but also prone to keen into half-cut, ghostly beats
“Straight from Limbo Tapes HQ, "01" has a signature label sound at it's heart, and marks a meaningful milestone in our history as a DIY imprint as our first vinyl release.
The album was crafted in the Dive Reflex Service production facility, somewhere in the depths of Bristol. Found here are bewitching and magical elements, anchored by deep melodic bass lines that propel the listener through 12 rhythmic scenes.
Using a combination of tape saturated improvisations, ritualistic samples and a beautifully chilling vocal appearance from Jamileh Lee, Dive Reflex Service has conjured a meditative, reflective and at times ominous ceremony.”
Foundation ska from the cradle of Jamaican music…
Federal Recording Studios nurtured the talents of innumerable Jamaican artists in the early sixties… this set showcases seriously sought after rarities and previously un-released tracks from Don Drummond, The Maytals , Lynn Taitt and many more
Moscow’s OL and Flaty work up a generative funk for the 1st dispatch on OL’s Asynchro label
Touching down some 3 years after OL’s dusty house hustle for Fit Sound, he pulls away from his housey sound and in line with Flaty’s experimental tendencies, as recently heard on a sizzling 10” for Gost Zkuk.
As Serwed they combine to explore free form generated sounds, working with shaky, desiccated rhythms in acres of negative space coloured only with the slightest streaks of melodic filament in a way that recalls styles on the Aught label, nervously shapeshifting from fractured funk in ‘Angular’ to jagged swing rhythms and vaporous guitar motifs on ‘Radiant’, and over to styles reminding of SND in the warm forth of ‘Ground’, and the nipped shifter ‘Rrand’.
Uncredited edits of Jamal’s briny bangers on the low key R=A label
Following zingers from Tribe of Colin, Black Deer and Juzer, the A-side’s ‘Pickled Edit’ throws down a fizzing jack attack nipped and tucked for optimal bounce, while the B-side nods to Ron Hardy with effected disco loops dragged backwards thru the echoplex.
Tremulous, dusky, genteel adult pop and soul vibes from Spanish band Oso Leone, making up for a five year hiatus with their debut LP on Apollo. Immaculate strums, daubs of electronics and those gossamer vocals recall everything from Talk Talk to The Durutti Column and Zelionople
“Following their meditative self-titled debut and its captivatingly sparse follow-up ‘Mokragora,’ ‘Gallery Love’ achieves what it sets out to do and more, taking the listener on an auditory journey with lucid song structures that ebb and flow like the waves. A sublime musical experience, its hypnotic repetition is an ode to refinement, and the gentle forays into ambient electronica and jazz show impeccable restraint and sensitivity.
‘Gallery Love’s’ opening track and first single ‘Virtual U’ was born from very few elements. A beat on the MPC, a few chords on the Korg Trident and some gently lilting vocal jams create the structure, like a digital collage of feelings as vocalist Xavier Marin describes it. "I see this song as a hyperobject, an external entity moulding modern relationships, shadowing us. An anti-form creating distance in the closeness. A vast empty space between two islands.”
Recorded at his Mother’s house, ‘Best In You’ was the last song written on the record, whilst the mystically poetic ‘Agró Blanc’ is named after a type of heron that dwells in Mallorca. The band describe ‘River of Jasmines’ as the most mysterious track on the record, the lyrics coming to Xavier during a nap in the studio. “I recorded the vocals in one take with no set lyrics, just the lines that came to my mind. I tried a second go but it felt meaningless” he explains. ‘Vernal Pools’ is a funky existentialist piece, a reflection of a landscape in a pond, a contemplative loop, an iconic natural spot.
A dubby & aqueous bassline conducts the title album’s title track, it’s ambient sounds featuring traces of kalimba and a field recording of an owl who frequented the house during the night. ‘A Pale Blue Dot’ is a floaty, dream-like jam and ‘Samuel Sings’ is a “calling to a lost soulmate.” The dainty trance of ‘Fountain At the Entrance’ rounds things off in mesmerising fashion.”
From the top shelf of UK soundsystem culture, Soul Jazz pull up a cracking selection from the Fashion Records archive, running classic Dancehall, Jungle and Lovers Rock from Cutty Ranks to General Levy, Carlton Lewis, Top Cat and Janice Walker
Between the early ‘80s and late ‘90s Fashion Records were crucial players in the dialogue between Jamaican, Caribbean music and the sound of UK’s urban centres, and their influence would spill over to become a cornerstone of British dance music culture.
“While nearly all other UK reggae labels focused on releasing Jamaican music, from the early days of Island and Trojan in the 1960s, through Island and Virgin in the 1970s and Greensleeves that came up in the 1980s, Fashion’s focus was firmly on music produced in the UK. This unique British perspective shaped both lyrical content and musical fashion. And like all the great music labels, from Studio One to Blue Note, Fashion was able to create a significant roster of its own artists.
Amazingly for a small independent label, a number of Fashion artists achieved mainstream UK chart and crossover success, including Laurel & Hardy, Smiley Culture and General Levy. But although this success was welcomed, crossing over into the mainstream was never the main focus for label owners Chris Lane and John McGillivray (who also runs the successful Dub Vendor record shop), whose starting point was always primarily focused on producing quality music first.
In the early 1980s, Fashion Records captured the rise of the emerging British dancehall scene in its ascendency. The large roster of first generation British-born artists and MCs on the label, including General Levy, Papa Face, Smiley Culture, Bionic Rhona, Asher Senator, Laurel & Hardy, Top Cat and many more, often gave a unique and sometimes humorous British lyrical perspective to Fashion releases, discussing everyday subjects, from police harassment to road safety.
Throughout much of the 1980s and into the 1990s Fashion continued to release an almost relentless array of UK dancehall releases as well as continuing with lovers rock and the occasional dub releases. Then, in the mid-90s, with the dancehall and reggae releases still coming on strong, Fashion released a superb series of early jungle tracks linking Jamaican and British MCs and dancehall artists with young jungle mixers, remixers and producers. By this time dancehall artists General Levy and Cutty Ranks had become the staple vocal samples of literally hundreds of white label jungle records and Fashion took advantage of this, often getting young producers to work in exchange for sample clearances.
This album is a subjective and scatter-gun ride through some of the many unique and heavyweight tracks to come out of the Fashion stable - some classics, some lesser-known, all 100% killer.”
Fine-grained, acidic and cosmic dub electronics from Finland’s Vesa-Matti Kivioja aka Mineral Waves and the Ljudverket label - RIYL Andreas Tilliander, Vladislav Delay or Automatisme
“Ljudverket’s 11th release is a four-tracker from a man of many sounds and personas, Vesa-Matti Kivioja. Here, operating under his given name, he delivers four tracks of experimental dub and electronica, taking the listener from his/her living room all the way to a dimly lit dance floor in an alien planet, with a sound system capable of producing frequencies way below human hearing and a smoke machine filled with unknown substances.
”These are recycled patterns forming sounds which describe minerals and stones. The use of stone has had a huge impact on the cultural and technological development of the human race. Often composed of grains of minerals, in nature, more than one substitution may be found in the same mineral. It can be made of one element or more elements combined together. A hard, solid, non-metallic, naturally occurring inorganic substance. It is found in a wide variety of geological locations. It’s not made by humans.”
World of dub, universe of electronica, globe of experimentation. Written and produced by Vesa-Matti Kivioja at Seafront Mixing Room, Vaasa, Finland 2018. Mastered and cut at Scape Mastering, Berlin.”
From behind your ear, PAN pluck a blink-and-miss exclusive: a 35 minute audio response by Mark Fell (Sensate Focus) to source material by Heatsick, somewhere between cover version, remix and deconstruction.
Along the A-side 'X' plane, tones are exploded, harmonies refracted with HD dissonance; time is extruded, made ductile yet intangible. On the B-side 'Y' axis hydraulic undulations and roiling tones expand and contract between kinetic kink and gyroscopic funk with the pointillist, freeform choreography of a Merce Cunningham piece. One for the dancers and the DJs that know!
The magicians at Düsseldorf’s Offen Music pluck a madly beguiling pearl of late night songcraft by Ukraine’s Ihor Tsymbrovsky to follow their vital releases by Toresch and Rex Ilusivii.
Come Angel was first recorded in Lviv, Ukraine, 1995, and issued on cassette by Poland’s Koka Records in 1996. There appears to be no prior mention of the release or artist on the internet and quite how it came into of Offen Music possession is not disclosed, and that only ratchets the record’s enigma to astonishing degrees once you’ve heard the music.
In a quivering, high register, androgynous trill, Ihor Tsymbrovsky beckons heavenly beings in the remarkable A-side Come, Angel against a swirling backdrop of phasing, subtly delayed organ. It was recorded in one take (this is the 2nd version), and, if we’re not mistaken, you can hear the keys being pressed rhythmically in the background, which seems to be the song’s only tangible connection to this mortal world as Ihor vaults octaves high and close-in-the-mix with the sort of alien, dreamlike vocal that require pinching oneself to make sure you’re awake. Spellbinding is definitely the word.
On the other side he (we’re assured it is a ‘he’ in the promo text) sets two poems by Mykola Vorobyov and Mykhal Semenko, respectively, to emphatic piano keys, this time more shy of FX save for some delay, placing that willowing, avian vocal at a dreamy arms reach in Roses for the Poet, and with a sort of liturgical dark jazz feel, sorta like Lewis repenting his sins as a castrato monk, in the spare atmosphere in By the Sea.
This is gold-seal business, we tell ya. Clock the clips and clear some swooning room.
Milan and Haunter Records’ Heith pushes into the abstract with mulchy brownian motion on the first dispatch from Saucers, a new label minted specifically for his gear.
The first saucer sees Heith shed further signifiers of his sound, ego, aesthetic, in pursuit of an illusive/elusive and vaporous muse that leaves much more to the imagination. Over its five tracks ‘Mud’ explores a multiplicity of possibility in each moment, masking more layers and intriguing sensation with each careful stroke, from the pensively pregnant ‘Eva2’ thru the arrhythmic and dissonant keen of ‘Extra Melma’, to the power ambient drag dynamics factored in ‘Yoga Of Stealth’, to the greased pig wriggle and calligraphic slashes of ‘?’, and the blossoming fractals of ‘Mud Queen’.
Charmingly knackered, gas-huffin’ lower case rock ’n roll songs by Bobby Would for scruffy young folk with a lot on their mind, out now on Low Company.
“"IT’S HAPPENING TO YOU, AGAIN…" Lovelorn, tranq’d-out, majestically understated rok y roll lullabies and dub-pocked, acid-damaged, pain’-it-dark drone-punk from Robert P. of Heavy Metal and Muscle Barbie++, coming over like some celestial 4AM face-off between George Harrassment, The Great Unwashed and Can. Gulp. Yeah this is a record so patently, self-evidently brilliant that we have to stop ourselves from calling it an instant classic (oops). There are some affinities with the homesick jangle of Itchy Bugger’s Done One, an album which R. played on (and painted the cover for), and the songs sure are pretty (find me a more romantic refrain in 2019 than ‘Luna''s "You and me / shivering in the street"), but Baby feels like more of a TRIP, as if some 23rd century Martian moptop-pop combo crash-landed at a dosed up Kensington houseparty circa ’66, plugged in their gear and got stuck right in: hypnotic space-guitar ultra-reverberant and in a permanent state of comedown/dissolve, choppy death-surf riffs and gently weeping leads ringing into infinity, squeezed and smeared for every last trace of scorch and sting…wooiii!
There are some echoes too of banner UK DIY/squat-wave and the mildewed NZ psych of the Spies and the Renderers, but all shot through with a kinda Teutonic sensibility/rigour, loopy and ultra-repetitive - equal debts to the full-throttle drainpiped psycho-beat of 39 Clocks’ ‘Dom’ and the glacial ambient-glam sampledelia of Love Inc.’s ‘Life’s A Gas’ (!). Rare to encounter a record as simultaneously heart-rending, sonically intrepid and effortlessly SWINGING as this. Couldn't be more in love.”
Fresh from 1981... this is Leroy Burgess' grand boogie masterpiece and one of the greatest albums of the post-disco era...
Re mastered for 2015 and released in conjunction with Salsoul. 8 classic tracks including the Larry Levan remix of " I Know You Will”.”
Ambient pop brilliance from London’s scuzzy underbelly and the duo of Guy Gormley with Sam Bardsley, with sensitive co-production by Nathan Jenkins aka Bullion.
After appearing on Bullion’s Deek Recordings in 2015 with ‘Don’t Touch Me Now’, the Never duo remain coy to a T in their eponymous mini-album, luring us in with the heavy-lidded Bullion co-production ’Submission’, before sashaying a twilight world between the Robert Wyatt-like pop sweetness of ‘Up’ and the meditative MIDI pop of ‘The Park’, before keening sidelong into the creamy whorl of ‘Everybody Knows’, and then working out something like Gas meets HTRK at Burial’s gaff in the standout slow thrum of ‘The Street’, and rounding up with the strung-out, balmy CS + Kreme-like balearics of ‘Agnes’ in very satisfying style.
SHXCXCHCXSH go hammer and tongs on an outstanding 3rd volley for their Rösten label
In a masterful example of saying it without saying it, the Swedish pair skillfully swarm around techno’s 4/4 framework without ever landing on a rote kick/hi-hat pattern in all eight tracks.
Moving uncannily close to the rufige of Demdike Stare or the restless disruptions of Rian Treanor, the plough a singular path thru angular, stop-start loops and harsh textures with a cool tolerance for the kind of psychotomimetic repetitions that may drive some minds to despair, and others to utter wildstyle ecstasy.
If you’re game, these tracks have the potential to turn dancers and clubs inside out. Chow down and find your own madness in there somewhere. Best we’ve heard from SHXCXCHCXSH in their 6 years of ruffneck productions.
Carsten Nicolai concludes Alva Noto’s UNI-prefixed release cycle with UNIEQAV, the 3rd and most dancefloor-focussed instalment of the series. The follow-up to Unitxt  and Univrs  pairs pendulous minimal techno and electro rhythms with wide, sheer electronic drones in a way that strongly recalls recent Monolake output as well as Ilpo Väisänen in full swang. Comparisons aside, though, it’s unmistakably Alva Noto.
Pursuing the project’s roots in the dancefloor of Tokyo’s UNIT club to a satisfyingly logical endpoint, Nicolai rolls out 12 typically mercurial yet gripping sound designs defined by their fluid dynamics and seemingly fathomless dimensions intended to render the club or your head underwater, thanks to a still remarkable grasp of purified tonal minimalism/maximalism and studied sensitivity to proprioception.
The results are filigree yet robust, firmed up for deployment on the sickest sound system you can lay your hands on, but also highly pleasurable in a headphone or sofa-inclined context, keeping us rapt and twitching from the dubwise plong and looming pads of Uni Sub and the Robert Henke-esque pressure systems of Uni Mia.
The nervous skeleton of Uni Version flows into singular Alva Noto sounds in the jabbing pointillism of Uni Clip and the staggering scale of Uni Normal, with major highlights in the widescreen drama of Uni Blue, and footwork-like rapid movement join Uni Edit, while Anne-James Chaton’s vocal lend a sharp contrast in Uni Dna.