El Deux is the Swiss electro-pop trio of Gutze Gautschi (guitar, vocals), Steno Onetz (bass), Martin Kraft (vocals, drum machine). Formed circa 1981 in Aarau by Gutze and Steno who played together in punk/New Wave band Fresh Color aka Frische Farbe featuring a pre-Yello Dieter Meier.
"Gutze’s minimal electronic compositions did not fit the concept of Fresh Color, so they formed a new project with their live mixer, Martin Kraft, on vocals. The group was quite successful with many concerts, mainly in southern Germany and various TV appearances in Germany and abroad. Between April/September 1982 they recorded and mixed their debut album ‘Nur Für Mädchen’ in 15 days at Powerplay Studios, Zurich. The LP was released later that year on Gold Records.
Influences at that time were of course the NDW “Neue Deutsche Welle'' movement and also from Gutze’s time as a musician & guitarist since 1965. Their step up for recording was a Moog Prodigy, Korg Rhythm 55 (KR-55), Simmons Drums, Casiotone 202, Guitar and Bass. We’ve added a bonus track “Video King” that was originally released as a follow up single in 1984 before the group disbanded. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios."
One of the year’s most crucial wave reissues, Stano’s debut LP ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is a seminal and sought-after Irish post-punk album starring two rare appearances by the near-mythical Michael O’Shea. Nothing less than an essential recommendation to anyone familiar with the Michael O’Shea LP, Finders Keeper’s ‘Strange Passion’ compilation, or early Dome experiments!
We can barely contain our buzz over this reissue. From its wild DIY drum machine programming to the appearance of O’Shea’s cymbeline-like home-built instrument and the cut ’n splice, layered song arrangements, ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is one of those blue moon reissues that, in hindsight, seem to blow away so much other, better known material from the era whence it came.
As spotted with ‘Town’, a highlight of Finders Keepers’ great Cache Cache compilation, ‘Strange Passion’, Stano’s mix of hands-on drum machine rhythms and bittersweet songcraft remain among the strongest examples from Dublin’s punk/post-punk scene of the early ‘80s. And judging from the 2nd hand asking prices of ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ in 2018, quite a few other listeners are patently aware of his prowess, too.
A former member of The Threat (also found on ‘Strange Passion’), John Denver Stanley or Stano recorded his first album in Dublin’s Alto studio, in the basement of late C.18th Irish Nationalist leader Robert Emmet’s house, where he made sublime use of the studio’s natural reverbs, inviting around pals and peers to work in a musique concrete-like method of playing, processing and editing to achieve the wickedly unpredictable, flowing chicanery of his first album.
The two appearances of Michael O’Shea and his Mo Chara (a self-built, 17-string, zither or cymbeline-like instrument with pick-ups) are noteworthy not just for their haunting beauty, but also their rarity, amounting to the near-mythical busker’s only known recordings outside an eponymous classic for Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis’ Dome Records. Whether meshed with Stano’s drum machine and echoplex FX in ‘Seance of a Kondalike’ or layered with his Sitar and Stano’s tabla-esque tweaks in ‘A Dead Rose’, the effect leaves us a shivering mess, to be honest and still scratching our heads why there’s no recent, significant reissue of O’Shea’s own work.
The rest of the LP is no less brilliant in it’s own way, roundly speaking to the diversity Stano, a self-described “non-musician”, and his intuitive way with sound. From the almost lusting funk of ‘White Field (In Isis)’, to the wild-pitching drum machine of ‘Blue Glide’, thru the icy elegance of the grand piano in ‘Out of the Dark, Into the Dawn’, to the sheer concrete sound design of ‘Melting Grey’ and again with that deadly machine swagger on ‘Emma Wild’ and ‘Room’, we’re left in no doubt this LP is a true, overlooked classic of its time.
Stonking EBM/electro/techno session from Moscow’s Pavel Milyakov in Buttechno mode on Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax
Behind some of the most desirable dancefloor 12”s of recent years, Buttechno has saved some of his sharpest cuts for the six-track ‘Cherskogo Drive’, giving a fine taste of the much vaunted Muscovite rave scene in 2018.
The A-side is toploaded with the salty, puckered EBM twyst of ‘March Cherskogo’ with its sinuous and lip-bitingly sexy torque, along with the trippy bleep techno cadence of ‘Back To The E’, and the very Rudolf Klorzeiger-esque pulse and nosedrip tang of ‘Elektroshirka’, while the B-side also impresses with the Analordian scales and slinky flux of ’Slow Durk’, which almost sounds like a tempered take of his ’861 x 3’ zinger for City-2 St, Giga.
Clenched EBM from northern English artist Black Merlin on Berlin/Naples co-op, She’s Lost Kontrol
Serving the best yet on the label, Black Merlin exerts exemplary groove control in all four ‘Noi’ parts, firstly yoking a gnashing arp to dry, sizzling drum machine at 110bpm in ‘Noi 1’, and then toning down to the bruising percussive battery of ‘Noi 2’ in collaboration with Gordon Pohl (Toresch, 3rd Wave), before flipping over to a zig-zagging sidewinder in ‘Noi 3’, and finally razing the room with his militant ‘Noi 4’.
Third album (1981) by the Belgian band Univers Zero. The title alludes to the short story of the same name by H. P. Lovecraft; the players read the story in studio, then proceeded to record the piece. A key release for the band. Ceux du Dehors sometimes suggests a darker and more complex version of the motorik minimalism of classical music contemporaries Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
"This album finds the group continuing to evolve and return to the more general and varied chamber music sound of their first release, except with more precision and skill. The tricky charts of percussionist Daniel Denis and new keyboardist Andy Kirk are executed with great panache. The labyrinthine compositions are typically filled with unexpected twists and turns, and angular repetitions of jagged riffs that accelerate, decelerate and mutate in passages of acute tension or quiet but ominous dread."
Lower case, DIY studies in avant-garde composition and Japanese folk by Cafe OTO co-founder Keiko Yamamoto and Rie Nakajima for Mana Records, the label run by Matthew Kent (Blowing Up The Workshop) and Andrea Zarza (British Library)
“O YAMA O explores a certain domestic and democratic quality of everyday life, born through associations to folk music of Japan and a folding of myth, tradition, and routine; the non-spectacular and the sublime.
Formed of musician and artist Rie Nakajima and Cafe OTO co-founder Keiko Yamamoto, the group has performed since 2014 at venues and festivals such as noshowspace, Ikon Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre, Supernormal, Borealis Festival, Mayhem, and allEars Festival.
Nakajima’s performance often focuses on the use of found and kinetic objects, using modest items such as rice bowls, toys, clockwork, balloons and small motors as instruments to create a “micro orchestra”. Elements are layered into impressive and immersive atmospheres. Yamamoto alternatively floats and charges through this with body and voice; chanting, incanting, thundering, whispering, stamping on the floor.
Their debut album consolidates their musical conversations into keenly paced studio music, the duo working with additional instrumentation and a resolved focus on melody to provide vivid portraits of folkloric Japan in song.
They move between pop and the philosophical, defined by the overall space afforded to texture and movement. In small, delicate sound an intimate musical climate is established that reflects on life, telling stories of improvised clockwork, whispered dreams, small movements of the hand and the rhythm to be found in the shuffle of a deck of cards.
Grandly theatric and dramatic flourishes add solidity to these illustrations, operas driven by the swooping energy and power of Yamamoto’s voice can be playful or emotionally charged, particularly when the duo arrange themselves in ensemble with violinist Billy Steiger and percussionist Marie Roux. Production by David Cunningham creates the shadowy presence of a leftfield Flying Lizards dubwise depth that adds subtle strangeness to the atmosphere. The result is something raw, full-bodied; full of energy, grace and mystery.”
Just shy of their 40th anniversary, NYC post-punks Ike Yard emerge into another dark age with ‘Rejoy’, their 3rd album of shadowy vox, eerie inner city atmospheres and serpentine rhythms following classic material despatched on Factory, Les Disques Du Crépuscule and Blackest Ever Black since 1979.
Despite the cumulative years amassed by Stuart Argabright, Kenneth Compton and Michael Diekmann since their foundational works, they’ve lost none of their early records’ stare-down power in ‘Rejoy’. Across nine tracks they exquisitely limn sci-fi cinematic scenes of midnight bleakness adding up to a pulpy, traumatic account of lives spent dwelling in the shadows of skyscrapers and whilst immersed in films, comics, news, and the crankiest underground movements.
After their LPs “Ike Yard” (also known as “A Fact A Second” Factory America, 1982) and Nord (Phisteria and Desire, 2010) Ike Yard delivers their last album “Rejoy” on Noiztank, 2018 as the culmination of their recent years reinvented sound. As the perpetual flag bearers of the cutting-edge post-punk spirit, the NYC-based band shows muscle in a LP fully loaded with abrasive synth pads, scrap metal percussions, and whispered vocals. Following the previous criteria of “Sacred Machine” 2017, it is worth to remark the inclusion of external vocals in the pieces “Sister M” and “Beyondersay”, which feature Yuki Osaki and MAYa. The nine tracks move through different atmospheres, tensions and moods that would perfectly represent a new contemporary soundtrack of the S. Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange”, a major influence and source of inspiration for the group this time around.”
At long last the Ø & Panasonic soundtrack to ‘Sähkö - The Movie’ has finally been discovered and available for release nearly 20 years after the movie was made, and 1 year since it was premiered by the Boiler Room
Recently discovered in a box of Jimi Tenor demo tapes at the Warp offices in London, the 1995 film’s soundtrack is now compiled and issued to coincide with the Oslo memorial for Mika Vainio this September, 2018. It’s very safe to say that a lot of techno heads are going to be very happy right now.
With the exception of an edited version of ’Syväys’ from the 2012 EP of the same name, all the material here is previously unreleased, but sounds very close to material found on Mika’s legendary ‘Metri’ LP and the ‘Röntgen’ and ‘Kvantti’ EPs, or Panasonic’s ‘Vakio’, which were all produced during the same period as the film.
The techno bods really need to check for the tentative minimal techno probe of ‘Scene 1’ and the pulsating miniature ‘Scene 2’, while those with a noisier tooth will gert a good kick out of the rest.
Matthew Herbert’s sought-after ‘Part 5’ (1996) swangs hard back into 2018
Up top he commands your swing with the pendulous syncopation of gruff subs and hard drums in ‘Move It’, beside the slinky garage house jaunt ‘Our Love (Has Got Me Movin’)’. B-side he turns out the deep tech house of ‘UK Spring’ and the trippy, stepping tool ‘Love The DJ’, primed for the late hours and endless afters.
Beautifully haunted, tripped out and richly absorbing set of apparitions recalling the most sylvan shadows of Aphex Twin's ‘SAW II’, Leyland Kirby / The Caretaker at his creepiest and the spectres of Loren Connors “airs”, a huge recommendation to followers/fans of any of the above...
Blue Chemise is the alias of Australia’s Mark Gomes and this is his debut for Students Of Decay, recorded direct to Dictaphone with minimal post-production to convey something poignant and eerily intangible.
Following from two similarly etheric gestures, both self-released on Greedy Ventilators, and a 7” with I Dischi Del Barone, Gomes here supposes 16 new passages of time that hold the listener’s aural gaze with uncanny ability. Most effectively, they conjure the sensation of solitude shared with paranormal spirits,, drawing the listener into possible parallel dimensions with a dusky, autumnal subtlety.
If you've been charmed by the desiccated but richly absorbing atmospheres of fellow antipodeans such as F Ingers or LST, those early BoC wildlife documentary interludes, or even the creepiest stuff on Mark Harwood’s Penultimate Press, we wager this one will rule your world. We’ve been listening to it on a loop since early in the morning and really not sure if we’ll shake off that hypnagogic feeling for the rest of the day...
Cold Beat is a San Francisco-based quartet fronted by Hannah Lew (synths, vocals) with Kyle King (synths, guitar), Luciano Talpini Aita (synths) and Sean Monaghan (guitar).
"Formed in 2013 the band has released three albums and two EPs. ‘A Simple Reflection’ is a 7-song collection of Eurythmics covers, yet feels just as personal as any of their original material. While digging through a collection of 12"s for her record shop Contact Records, Lew stumbled across the earliest Eurythmics B-sides and was floored. This lead to the discovery of their debut album ‘In The Garden'. Annie Lennox’s abstract and poetic lyrics really struck a chord with Hannah. What had started out as a single cover quickly snowballed into a full blown obsession.
The synth and drum programming resonated with her songwriting process, so reimagining them was very creatively fulfilling. The covers on this EP are simultaneously dynamic and atmospheric post-punk that plays to Lew's ethereal vocals and King’s crystalline guitar. All songs have been mixed by Mikey Young (Total Control) and mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in a jacket designed by Eloise Leigh, which features pink and purple clouds that evoke a dreamy softness and DIY playfulness and photos Lew in her best Lennox-inspired drag."
The gobsmacking ‘Selected Early Keyboard Works’ forms the first full length vinyl release by Catherine Christer Hennix, a peerless Swedish polymath whose uniquely diverse yet holistic contributions to early American minimalism and experimental music are cultishly appreciated by those in the know, yet remain sorely overlooked in the broader history of 20th century music.
As anyone who has heard Catherine’s classic ‘The Electric Harpsichord’, her hypnotic ‘Dharma warriors’ with Henry Flynt, or the stunning Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage and The Deontic Miracle CDs will surely attest, her compositions exist on a whole other plane of musical perception. They naturally embrace a complexity of expression that places science and maths at the service of art, resulting some of the most beguiling, enigmatic and unprecedented combinations of styles - Indian raga, jazz, drone, early electronics - that we’ve ever heard, at the least.
In keeping with that enigma, the label’s notes for ‘Selected Early Keyboard Works’, ambiguously imply they were recorded in 1976 circa The Deontic Miracle’s 1976 performance at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, which was issued on CD in 2016 as ‘Central Palace Music (From 100 Model Subjects For Hegikan Roku)’. If we use our ears, and take an educated guess, though, we’d date these previously unheard pieces to the same period, which makes them even more remarkable in context of that fertile period of musical thought.
We’ll forever fail to fully place a finger on the magick of Catherine’s music, but there’s a play of paradoxes at work in her music - mischievous yet meditative; light yet somehow driving, and even psychoactively aggressive - which makes it stand way out from her field. It’s definitely not just another new age whimsy or academic exercise. It’s much better described as intuitively daring and hallucinatory, setting out noumenal space for logic-defying feats of imagination and musical virtuosity.
In the two parts of ‘Mode Nouvelle des modalitiés’ for well-tuned Fender Rhodes and sine wave drone, listeners will discover a masterfully alien mix of early electronic music’s mercurial freedom and razor sharp jazz chops, inseparably blending her formative, teenaged experience of listening to jazz luminaries such as Coltrane and Cecil Taylor play in Sweden, with later studies at EMS and playing alongside La Monte Young and Henry Flynt in NYC. In revealing contrast, ‘Equal Temperament Fender Mix’ follows on the same Rhodes but in twelve-tone equal temperament, also using a tape delay system akin to Terry Riley’s, yet with a more reflective, blue and psychedelic appeal that’s far more interesting to us than Riley’s hirsute ecstasies. And ‘The Well Tuned Marimba’ for well-tuned Yamaha, shoeing, sine wave and live electronics completes the set in suitably, subtly breathtaking style with 18 minute of trickling, iridescent rhythmelody and curdling timbre limning a lush lysergic episode.
While we can point to her influences - from Cecil Taylor to Pandit Pran Nath and the EMS facility - what Catherine does with them is little short of alchemy, and provides some of the most curious music you’ll ever hear. We can barely wait to see what this long overdue series brings to the table...
Having already more or less written the guidebook, manifesto and manual for understated rock music, Low's hushed acoustic minimalism and fairytale arrangements have already won them a following that's as devoted as it is large.
"The Great Destroyer", to a collective gasp of surprise, finds low turning up the controls on their amps, dusting off their effects pedals and delivering their most robust and loud release to date. It's a mark of their undisputed genius that despite this marked shift, nothing sounds out of place or forced, an effortless transition into a space that will no doubt open up a whole new raft of supporters for their unique sound.
The opening "Monkey" attaches a lyrical vitriol to a beautifully distorted, gnarly bassline, while a similarly jarring narrative follows on the sublime restrained hush of "Pissing". "The Great Destroyer" finds Low at the peak of their powers, you can almost imagine all those years of whispered sessions and candle-lit performances building up this store of noise and adrenaline, finally emerging in this beautifully angry shape.
Alga Marghen present these astonishing archival works by Eliane Radigue, originally released along with Feedback Works as a double pack, and now available as standalone LP.
Listening to Radigue's music is a transformative, humbling experience. Her singular sound is best described by Michel Chion as "infinitely discreet... next to which all other music seems to be tugging at one's sleeve for attention." Working since the late '50s under the tutelage of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry at RTF's Studio d'essai - the birthplace of musique concrète - she created a body of work whose profound simplicity has only begun to be widely appreciated over the last decade or so. Vice - Versa. Etc., originally conceived as a sound installation, was created using multiple tape machines, creating feedback loops and altering their pitch and duration to coax out quavering microtonal harmonics and ultrasound frequencies not usually perceived at their normal setting.
As practically anyone who knows (and probably adores) her music will testify, there's really very little else out there that compares to the elemental tranquility and hallucinatory effect of her works. Add the fact this composition was recently stereo synthesised by Emmanuel Holterbach, and you have a breathtaking document of some of the most intense and involving early electronic works you'll likely ever hear.
An absolute masterpiece.
Manchester/Bogotá charmer Florentino throws down four killer reggaeton edits of modern dancefloor anthems for Mixpak
All four cuts are staples of his DJ sets and have been featured on Florentino’s monthly NTS show - a goldmine of tunes bridging Latinx and UK bass sensibilities.
Up top you’ll catch a masterful balance of UK grime and bashy dembow rhythms in ‘El Sonido’, along with a rude AF flip of Timbaland beats in ‘Colombian Flute’. Down below, he tips out a wicked edit of the ’Diwali Riddim’ on ‘Agarrate’ and another classic Timba production in ‘Eres Un Romantico 2.0’.
Sublime charms from Hood co-founder Richard Adams...
“The Declining Winter return after a three year lay off with what is perhaps their strongest statement to date. Pushing on from the pastoral blueprint of the long sold out ‘Home For Lost Souls’ (2015),‘Belmont Slope’ is a bold and varied album, extending the boundaries of their earlier sound, introducing pop sensibilities and daring electronic flourishes.
Truly a Northern English album, Belmont Slope is a haphazard car ride across the M62, a love letter to the hills of Yorkshire and Lancashire, a paean to desolate beauty, unattainable love and lost friends. The Declining Winter is the brainchild of Hood co-founder Richard Adams, an ever changing collective who emerge blinking into the daylight from their Yorkshire enclave with a unique blend of pastoral and lo-fi pop, shimmering electronics and rural post-rock."
Alga Marghen present this new edition - a vinyl-only first release of Eliane Radigue's pivotal, previously unreleased 'Opus17' - her last work made with feedback material.
It's one of the strongest, if not definitive, examples of Radigue's tactile and meditative approach to composition, an engrossing, intuitive refinement of the techniques and practice she honed over prior years at RTF's Studio d'essai under the guidance of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry's Studio Apsome, and later at the New York University School of the Arts. Created at the Fête en blanc - White Festival - in Verderonne on May 23, 1970, 'Opus17' breaks down to five pieces making up a voyage to the heart of the drone. Using various early tape techniques, Radigue meticulously peels the source samples in a discreet microcosmos of morphing, moebius-like loops and shimmering overtones, rendering their vibrational energy and unique accents with a poetic, dreamlike quality.
It opens with a shock on the 19 minute self-portrait of 'Etude', where she gradually transforms a looped passage of Frederick Chopin into an opiated, howling ghost of itself using practically identical microphone and tape feedback procedures to those on Alvin Lucier's 'I Am Sitting In A Room' (although it should be noted that she wasn't aware of this at the time), whilst 'the shorter 'Maquette' applies the same technique using a part of Wagner's 'Parsifal', but this time with the sample subtracted leaving only a spectral trace of grandeur.
Following this, we're floored by the roiling pulsations of 'Epure' - a sort of rudimentary pre-cognition of industrial and minimal techno building palpitating throbs into a dense yet delicate and ferric-rich flux, sharing rhythmic similarities with the aptly titled trip of 'Safari', where elliptic bass patterns melt and congeal in morphing shapes and curdled overtones with an alien, otherworldly quality presaging the like of Rashad Becker. Yet, the ultimate exposition of Eliane's time-dilating technique is found in the 22 and a half minute panoramic excursion 'Number 17', examining her sonic phenomena at microscopic level, homing in and expanding on its globular bass shapes and radiant harmonics.
Even by Radigue's standards, this is a breathtaking body of work, opening up whole worlds of sound from so little.
Daniel Brandt, co-founder of German ensemble Brandt Brauer Frick, delivers his second solo album for London imprint Erased Tapes.
"Titled Channels, the new record follows the release of the London and Berlin based producer’s solo debut Eternal Something from 2017. The seven-track LP is Brandt’s biggest statement yet, with the album’s thrilling avant-garde framework interweaving chord-driven techno, orchestral flourishes, rich electronic textures and hints of dark cinematic pop.
Following on from Eternal Something, which captured a contemplative kind of isolationism, with Channels Brandt set out to create an album that captures the essence of minimalism whilst lending it to a more playful context. After performing and recording Steve Reich’s Six Pianos in a group of six, Brandt began regularly composing long meditations on the piano, something that permeates the sound of the new record. Its frenetic energy and shape-shifting identity was also born out of touring with his new band Eternal Something — comprised of Brandt on piano, drums and synthesisers, Pascal Bideau on guitar and bass, plus Florian Juncker on trombone — and a desire to translate both the sound and spiritual unity of their live shows in which musicians locked together to create an intriguing meld of expansive works.
Intricate floor-filler and lead track ‘Flamingo’ synthesises the measured pacing of Detroit techno with an orchestral background. As with all of the tracks on Channels, ‘Flamingo’ began life as a sketch with very basic instrumentation, before taking it into the studio to rehearse with his band members, giving the album a live and visceral sound that sets it apart from his debut; “It was a great experience to do it this way as I have always wanted to have the chance to try out something in a live setting before recording it in the studio and not the other way round,” explains Daniel. “The actual typical rock band recording style that I never had the chance to do before.” The album’s most immersive, club-ready track ‘Sailboats III’ is built with a vivid and pulsating bass line that takes inspiration from a Lichtenstein painting, as well as the UK bass scene and producers like Tessela and Lord Tusk. The blossoming cosmos of ‘Cherry Dream’ is informed by Tangerine Dream’s iconic soundtrack to the film Risky Business, a compelling reinterpretation of Love On A Real Train replete with darker, electronic elements and live orchestration. ‘Daze’, co-written with guitarist Pascal Bideau, chimes with an acoustic melody and is carried by a rhythmic percussive pulse, whilst the understated ‘Ltd’ was stylistically inspired by Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint as well as Daniel and his band’s live improvisations with orchestral collective Stargaze, whose founder and conductor André de Ridder contributed violin on the album. Title track ‘Channels’ melds instrumental ambient with melodramatic embellishments, whilst the record’s closer ‘Twentynine Palms’ takes its name from the vast Californian desert, and was written while Daniel was travelling there, evoking the widescreen and rapturous sound of open space and nature.
With Brandt also being skilled as a filmmaker, directing and producing visuals for BBF and Eternal Something, much of the new album’s creative ideas reference a rich visual palette. He directed the video for ‘Flamingo’, a sideways glance at the art world that takes the concept behind John Cage’s 4’33” and turns it on its head. “The video for Flamingo is deliberately non performance — people sitting in a room and watching basically nothing, never really sure if anything is ever going to happen. It’s also a play on John Cage’s 4’33”, except in this instance there isn’t even a performer present.” — Daniel Brandt Daniel’s passion for film even prompted him to kick start his own online television channel Strrr.tv in 2017 that since attracted a lot of attention with guest moderators including BBC Radio DJ Gilles Peterson, modular synth legend Suzanne Ciani and Berghain bouncer Sven Marquardt counting amongst the most popular episodes. Recorded between Berlin and London, Channels is a deeply enthralling listening experience, which sees Daniel Brandt build upon his distinctive percussive sound whilst exploring new and expansive horizons."
Properly Entrancing recordings of Eliane Radigue’s ferric alchemy come to light again on vinyl, this time on a better vinyl pressing with calmer surface noise allowing for a finer grasp of her pulsing, filigree microtones and pealing timbral partials. Also, that new cover art is....!!!
Stunning Alga Marghen issue of two previously unreleased masterworks by Eliane Radigue recorded at Pierre Henry's studio between 1967-68. At this time she was working for Henry at his studio, given the enviable task of organising his vast sound library according to different criteria for use in his future compositions and also helping edit his masterpiece 'L'Apocalypse de Jean'. During downtime she had access to an unrivaled array of equipment and created these two compositions. Jouet Electronique' (1967) or 'Feedback on magnetic tape' features two Studer and two Tolana reel tape machines - Radigue would set one to record another and manipulate the discrepancies of phasing feedback loops, or "larsens" with delicate, fine-tuned pitching, "slightly caressing certain potentiometers" to elicit a range of low pulsations and very high pitched sounds as though she were playing a rather unwieldy instrument. The results are ethereal and often alien, yet conducted with an uncannily restrained and human sleight of hand.
Even more visceral is 'Elemental I' (1968) or 'Feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape' comprises four movements associated with the four basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. Thanks to her former employer, the artist, Arman, she now had a small, portable Stella Vox which she used to record sounds in open air during walks around her home in Nice, capturing the sea, the wind, the rain and fire to form a small sound library. The sources in each section are discernable, but transformed into breathtaking abstractions at her home studiio.
Brilliantly cruddy sci-fi garage rock skuzz from Dunedin, NZ’s The Futurians - think Black Mecha meets MARS at The Dead C’s gaff
Following dozens of tapes, CDs, lathe-cut 7”s and a few LPs dispatched over the past 15 years, ’Programmed’ is the first time we, like many others, have encountered the raw might of The Futurians and their incendiary sound.
As true offspring of the notorious Dunedin sound forged by Michael Morley and his ends-of-the-earth cohorts, The Futurians are raw as heck and properly up for making an hypnotic racket. On the A-side they do it on a side-long jam of oil-sputtering, churning motorik groove and possessed vocals demonstrating a blend of athletic endurance and locked-in drunkenness, before dividing their energeis into six more succinct bits on the back ranging from raging walls of mentation electronics a la Black Mecha, to clattering death rock swagger, and hammering primitivism recalling MARS’ no wave blatz, and proper, The Dead C-style psych soreness.
A no brainer. Most satisfying.
RAMZi’s smudged ‘Phobiza’ cycle culminates with Vol. 3 and the birth of her highly promising FATi Records label
Taking the artist’s impressionistic trilogy to a natural conclusion, ‘Phobiza Vol 3: Amor Fati’ seals the series with a warm kiss off in 11 parts featuring guest input from Asael, Regularfantasy and Hashman Deejay. It's a lush, blunted, tropical session.
Arriving five years after Phoebé Guillemot's debut, ‘Amor Fati’ is love letter to an imaginary island perhaps unrecognisable from the infamous Ibiza of ‘Uncovered’, and parallels the sensual spaces dreamt up and enacted by white isle dreamers such as Tony Pikes or N.O.W.
Still, even those dreamers stop short of RAMZi’s fantasias, rendering a series of head-melting scenes in flux between hallucinatory dub, early hours house and balearic vapours that work so well as a psychedelic, late night soundtrack for tripping romantics.
Finders Keepers come up roses again with dazzling, never-before-heard live documentation of two Buchla 200 concerts recorded in 1975 by Suzanne Ciani. Rightly heralded as “a distinctive feminine alternative to The Silver Apples of the Moon”. The words “Holy Grail” and “revolutionary” spring to mind! Remarkable stuff for any synth fetishists or historians of the future.
“This spring Finders Keepers Records are proud to release an archival project that not only redefines musical history but boasts genuine claim to the overused buzzwords such as pioneering, maverick, experimental, groundbreaking and esoteric, while questioning social politics and the evolution of music technology as we’ve come to understand it. To describe this records as a game-changer is an understatement. This record represents a musical revolution, a scientific benchmark and a trophy in the cabinet of counter culture creativity.
This record is a triumphant yardstick in the synthesiser space race and the untold story of the first woman on the proverbial moon. While pondering the early accolades of this record it’s daunting to learn that this record was in fact not a record at all… It was a manifesto and a gateway to a new world, that somehow never quite opened. If the unfamiliar, modernistic, melodic, pulses, tones and harmonics found on this 1975 live presentation/grant application/educational demonstration had been placed in a phonographic context alongside the promoted work of Morton Subotnick, Walter Carlos or Tomita then the name Suzanne Ciani and her influence would have already radically changed the shape, sound and gender of our record collections. Hopefully there is still chance.”
The mercurial Mr. Blunt keeps everyone guessing with the 'Black Metal' follow-up to his widely acclaimed LP, 'The Redeemer' (2013).
Let's get it out of the way: it's not black metal, in the cold, Northerly sense, at least. Musically, its palette actually bears more resemblance to early Factory or Rough Trade records by The Durutti Column or Scritti Politti - or even Serge Gainsbourg - than anything remotely connected to Bathory or Burzum. And taken in light of his oeuvre, both with Hype Williams and solo, it's actually a canny appropriation of the term, subverting pre-conceived and connoted ideas of genre, race, and sub-culture on their tired heads.
The production is unfussy, dry and lo-fi - probably meaning basic Ableton or GarageBand nowadays rather than 4-track tape and guitars - but by no means limited to any one sound or bank of sounds: across 13 tracks in 53 minutes he touches on string swept pop-soul, dust bowl panoramas, synth music, dub and noise with equally profuse and diffuse results. Alongside previous single tracks, '50 Cent', 'Mersh' and 'Grade', there's big highlights in the hushed duet, 'Molly & Aquafina', the drifting 13-minute centre-piece 'Forever', and the Badalamenti-esque 'X', but they're all part of a unified body which needs to be explored in its entirety.
An Island In The Moon is the perfectly conceived minimal ambient project from Italian composers Pier Luigi Andreoni (Doubling Riders, ATROX) and Silvio Linardi. Andreolina being a mix of the names of the two musicians who were both deeply involved with the label Auf Dem Nil on which the album was originally released in 1990.
"The duo stick to a disciplined and simple palette using only two synthesizers and a Roland S50 sampler. They are joined by fellow electronic journeyman Riccardo Sinigaglia who contributes piano and samples on two tracks. Taking influences from Italian minimalism while adding some jazz hints Andreolina sprawls, weightless instrumentals that never stay soporific for too long on this singular rare album. Auf Dem Nil or ADN was one of the most adventurous Italian record labels of the 80's and early 90's with releases by De Fabriek, Riccardo Sinigaglia and Pierre Bastien. Leaving their mark on the experimental music scene back than and influencing musicians worldwide up until today."
DIY home recordings of ambient synth and modern classical solo piano, meandering with a lovely, day-dreaming quality that feels like a lower-fi, subtly crazed adjunct to Dominique Lawalrée’s genteel ambient flocking
“Le Raccourci is a welcome introduction to the world of modern classical identity Sebastian Gandera. The impressionist landscapes of a sensitive soul self-reflecting, these miniature compositions alternate across a rudimentary set up of piano, field recorder, sampler and four track. Melancholic utterings hastily captured some 100km east of Paris.
Classically trained by the same teacher as his parents, Gandera first began recording in the confines of his university dorm room, inspired by a C60 from friend and future collaborator Bernard Odot (A Gethsémani). Humbly existing without sparing a thought to music industry or career, Gandera’s personal effects surfaced via the European and US cassette networks from 1988 to 1994. Impressively accomplished for the DIY scene they orbited, these tapes were issued in scant quantities, rendering his pieces as private secrets shared and duplicated in small concentric circles. Aside from a sole, avowedly traumatic performance, the material was never shared in a live context.
Selected by Sky Girl co-conspirer Julien Dechery, Le Raccourci culls 15 tracks from Gandera’s extensive cassette discography, discarded DAT recordings, and split CD with Lyon toy music project Klimperei. These sentiently charged compositions only hint at his larger catalogue, but act as a compelling cross section of the artist’s oeuvre. The identity is further detailed by archival images, Glen Goetze penned liner notes and original artwork from Perks and Mini’s Misha Hollenbach.
While Gandera’s nostalgic melodies incidentally parallel with the piano key manoeuvres of Pascal Comelade, Robert Haigh and Dominique Lawalrée, Le Raccourci could only stem from the escapist desires of one Eric Morin.”
UUUU features Edvard Graham Lewis, Thighpaulsandra, Matthew Simms and Valentina Magaletti.
"Individually these humans have implanted feathers in caps such as Coil, Dome, Wire, Tomaga, etc. Collectively they form UUUU, a powerhouse construction of fierce and free sonic exploration, as liberating as it is frightening, resulting in, the richly rewarding. The artists united present a project of exquisite curiosity and confident chaos where the individual thumbprints mesh into a gloriously muscular frenetic free sonic soup. It's Going All Over The Floor presents itself as a terse meeting between dance, ambient, abstraction and improvisation. The Latent Black Path Of Summons Served proceeds in a tense energy field where random elements bounce around until locking into a fourth world pattern designed to fall into a dense mass of ecstatic noise. Boots with Wings is classic Lewis - a pop tune from the other side of the mind.
UUUU is a schizophrenic seething/soothing masterpiece of a past/present hybrid equally at home in the club, the home and the mind.”
Slow techno guy Positive Centre and D&B producer Overlook merge styles as Carrier for the darkside inception of ‘47017’ on Tommy Four Seven’s label
In one of the few instances we can recall where these parallel style have crossed over, Carrier nail a mutant sound that can’t be accused of techno or D&B, but rather sits heavy in a noisily textured and highly pressurised no-person’s-land of the rave.
Up top they work out the crushing torque and divebombing dynamics of ‘Blue Nine’ beside the galloping grey area rolige of ‘Counter Illumination’. On the flipside they open out into more spacious, fluidly rhythmic terrain with the cold knocks and streaking underwater scenes of ’Suggestion’, and eaze off on the halfstep with the serious steppers techno rufige of ‘Foreshadow’.
Unexpectedly terrific little 7” of dubbed-out rufige from Melbourne, Australia’s Pugilist
The A-side is the one for us - a wicked, scuzzy brukbeat licked up with soundsystem chat in a way recalling classic 2562 and Shackleton, but with a fizzing parry that Pugilist can safely call his own. B-side offers a fine contrast with ‘Hemisphere’, where he drifts thru crepuscular scenes of ganja smoke and lone guitar mired in heavy subs for a very trip hop feel.
Reverberating recordings of sound artist Henning Christiansen riffing on the idea of “rock” music in homage to Ken Unsworth, recorded in Sydney, Australia, 1990.
“Holidays Records presents Henning Christiansen's Stone-song. Stone-song is a one-hour performance presented in 1990 at the 8th Biennale of Sydney (The Readymade Boomerang: Certain Relations in 20th Century Art) where time is being scanned and animated by matter and where the genius of Henning Christiansen (with fellow artist Bjørn Nørgaard and Ken Unsworth, to whom this performance is dedicated) establish a deep dialogue with the nature (of sound) watching the time, stone on stone, being at the same time actors and audience of its ephemeral and violent manifestations. What time is it? Is it what time? Time is it what? Released in collaboration with the Henning Christiansen Archive.”
Rick and Morty is the critically acclaimed, half-hour animated hit comedy series on Adult Swim that follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe.
"This release is the first official collection of music from Rick and Morty. All formats feature 26 songs, 24 of which are from the first 3 seasons of the show, and 18 of which were composed by Ryan Elder specifically for the show. The album also includes songs by Mazzy Star, Chaos Chaos, Blonde Redhead, and Belly, all of which have been featured in the show, as well as two new tunes from Chad VanGaalen and Clipping inspired by the show. The box set includes a special bonus track on a 7”."
A ghostly seance of post-techno spectres and layered field recordings from Primorje, the Venetian duo of Giovanni Donadini and Matteo Castro, rustled up for Italy’s exploratory label, Holidays Records
“Primorje is the most recent collaboration between Giovanni Donadini (Ottaven, Fantamatres) and Matteo Castro (Lettera 22), focusing on the use of the four-track recorder as their only instrument. Tape loops, field recordings, dub echoes, damaged beats and downgraded tempos creating two short, minimal and slithering compositions.”
Italian artist David August blends ambient-pop with Nico Jaar-like grooves, blues vamps and Giallo soundtrack-styled motifs in ‘D’Angelo’, his follow-up to a self-released ambient album and prior outings with Solomon’s Diynamic.
Facsimile reissue of the original Virgin pressing, replete with Bridget Riley’s mind-bending back cover artwork. Includes download code and riso-print insert with notes by Dave Segal
A definitive dose of wry, wigged-out krautrock. Back in vinyl circulation for 1st time since 2010. A massive influence over everyone from Julian Cope to Gnod and far beyond
“Faust stand among the most influential creative forces to have emerged from Germany in the late '60s and early '70s. Along with Can, Agitation Free, Neu! and others, they rejected the Anglo-American norms of rock 'n' roll to start a back-to-basics and uniquely Teutonic revolution in sound – later dubbed by the UK press with the semi-derogatory term "krautrock." They would reach near-mythical status through a series of classic albums recorded between 1970 and 1973 at their secluded Wümme studio.
As Dave Segal writes in the liner notes, "There's no consensus about which Faust album represents their zenith. But a survey of the group's fans would likely find the collage-heavy messterpiece The Faust Tapes triumphing. Its freewheeling, jump-cut nature and unlikely earworm moments conspire for more what-the-fuck epiphanies per minute than just about any other record about which Krautrocksampler author Julian Cope has raved."
Comprised of twenty odd tape-manipulation experiments and freak-out jams, The Faust Tapes stashes away some of the band's best-known songs. "Flashback Caruso," with its delicate acoustic guitar and Rudolf Sosna's airy vocals, could easily have appeared on So Far or Faust IV, while on "J'ai Mal Aux Dents," Jean-Hervé Peron's playful lyrics and this ecstatic, era-defining riff perfectly represent Faust's magical mischievousness.
This first-time domestic release of The Faust Tapes on vinyl reproduces the original sleeve design, featuring artwork by Bridget Riley.”
Reissue of Jah B’s previously unreleased blinder ‘Vampire’ backed with Tony Jackson’s high grade Roots Reggae ace ‘Mother I Love You’, newly reissued on Wackies...
Produced in fine Wackies style, Tony Jackson’s sought-after declaration ‘Mother I Love You’ is placed on the front along with the heat-hazy gauze of the ‘Mother’s Dub’ on Itopia’s original riddim.
B-side is haunted by ‘Vampire’ from Jah B and Wackies Rhythm Force, which has been beautifully transferred from tape (or original copy?) replete with spooky artefacts on the vocal mix, before really coming out of the dub’s nooks and crannies.
Music From Memory's deep-shelf trawlers pluck out Victor’s swaggering Afro-boogie-dub oddity ‘Amerikan Dread’ to please even the hardest to satisfy DJs and dancers...
Dug up by Satoshi Yamamura and dubbed out by Lipelis and Androo, Victor’s impossible-to-find original 7” is now expanded to a maxi-single 12” packed with life-giving dancefloor sustenance.
Uptown you’ll find the excellent OG mix of ‘American Dread’ with its ohrwurm chorus and wide, rubbery bass along with a seriously strong ’N.Y.C. Dub Mix’ with emphasis on pendulous syncopation accentuated in its cracking snares.
On the flip Lipless goes deeper into the echo chamber with a simmering extended dub saving a superb funky synth vamp for the 2nd half, and Geneva’s Androo rests the groove in balmier climes on a slickly overhauled dub remix.
Three of the world's foremost extreme sound artists/producers collide 'In The Studio' on a highly limited and opulent spot-gloss gatefold album.
Recorded days after the live performance captured on 'Shall I Download A Black Hole and Offer It To You', this is Keiji Haino and Pan Sonic witnessed in the controlled environs of a Berlin studio, serving eleven utterly compelling examples of freeform noise, vocal gymnastics and power electronics. The track titles, from the hand of Haino, indicate the abstract esoteric nature of the recordings, with 'If I could incarnate this feeling would you consider it a creation' attached to 1 minute of Keiji's blood curdling vocal catharsis, and the jawdropping 'In the hollow created between the eyebrows, what offering would be most appropriate' signifying seven minutes of lucid operatic falsetto descending into diabolical undertones of strafing drones and oncoming clouds of caustic noise.
The dilated scope of the session is perhaps best heard on 'Imperious doppelganger of tears, playing catch with objectivity that evades ultimate responsibility', where spasmodic jazz/metal drums pound clustered chunks of percussive flesh over walloping synthetic bass hits and shadowy, dynamic alien shapes invade the space at will. On '"Without Doubt", an attestation written from that time, will no longer have effect, because the wound has widened so much' Haino riffs away on guitar over Mika & Ilpo's reinforced machine beaten industrial squalls, and appears again in a more sombre form, articulating acutely melancholy axe signatures to bleak, blank bass drones in 'Perhaps there is no need to return', a sublime meeting of mystical and uncompromising minds from opposite ends of the world.
The heavyweight nature of the music is beautifully represented in Stephen O'Malley's stunning sleeve, firmly enhancing the irresistible allure of this album. Very highly recommended.
Electro-tipped swingers and wrigglers from Planet Euphorique proprietor D. Tiffany
Volleyed outta Vancouver, Canada, the ‘Feel U’ 12” yields four hyperactive yet rolling workouts between the Detroit ghetto-break styles of her sweetly vocodered title track and the floating 808 suspension system of ‘AK’ up top, with the subaquatic rufige of ‘Sip & Savour’ and the Dan Curtin-esque developments of ‘Northern Light’s occupying the B-side.
Tirzah pursues the slowest-burning soul feels on Devotion, the London-based singer-songwriter’s humbly singular début album, produced by Mica Levi and providing us with total life affirming summer listening - most probably the record we've listened to most this year so far, and one that lingers on and on...
Since her first solo 12”s and thru frequent collaborations with Mica Levi - including the Taz And May Vids  for DDS - Tirzah has quietly blossomed into one of the UK’s most precious and peculiar artists working at the fringes of experimental pop, post-grime and R&B, and Devotion is set to bring her love to a wider audience.
Plaintive and low key, Devotion presents Tirzah’s vocal in the most evocative light, framed by backdrops of bleary-eyed and bent vibes and the kind of half-finished, permanently work-in-progress production style that's become a calling card of her music and her tight knit crew including Coby Sey, Mica Levi and Brother May.
Album of the year? Aye, quite possibly.
This is really good; a first taster of Factory Floor's score to Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece Metropolis; with a surprisingly assymetric take on New Beat on the A-side's Transform, and a slowed down, pulsing charmer on the flip sounding something like a more angular take on HTRK. This is the second reease on Factory Floor's own imprint H/O/D Records.
"Transform, a section inspired by Maria's transformation from human into the robot, reveals itself in a haze of accumulating ambience and scattered percussion that evolves into the heavy repetitive bass groove reassuringly stabilizes Maria's journey into metamorphosis.
The slow tempo and atmospheric wash of synths and electronics on side B 'Wonder' offering a hesitant hush contrast."
Oake really find their gothic muse in debut album, 'Auferstehung' for Downwards.
Firmly building on the foundations of two shadowy 12"s released in 2013, the duo distill and transcend their influences across eleven stations of unrepentant gothic histrionics and industrial techno prostration. The production is now right up there with the detailed, excoriating levels of The Haxan Cloak, and also matching the rhythmic heft of label-mate Samuel Kerridge (with whom they recently formed the UF collusion), but with a kohl-eyed romanticism all of their own creation.
From the swooning black metal/shoegaze signatures and blast beats of entrance, 'Vorwort: Umiha Sien' we're manipulated with the near-religiose levels of mysticism, vacillating between shorter, doomy 'Kapital' invocations and the blasted sound of bellicose/ecstatic congregation in 'Erstes Buch: Desterieh l'Remm' to the eulogistic sludge metal drones of 'Fuenftes buch: Dreloi Wechd' and the stygian trudge of 'Sechstes Buch: Rehmin Sicht', departing with the widescreen epic, 'Siebstes Buch: Drestan Sened'. RIYL Scott Walker & Sunn 0))), Sam Kerridge, Swans.
Peverelist feels housey on the 50th release from Bristol’s Idle Hands label, shop and bass community centre
Marking his first outing since the ‘Tessellations’ album in 2017, the Avon don plays deep into Idle Hands’ forward soulboy briefin both parts, cooking up a lean and clean sweep of percolated dub chords and slinky latinate hustle on the swingeing ‘Left Hand’, before tucking the groove tighter in-the-pocket with the plasmic apparition of ‘Right Hand’, a daring, barely-there stroke of swing music for the late night/early morning dancers and smokers.
In the 15+ years that have elapsed since 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' first shuffled out of his ambrosially dusty speakers, Jan Jelinek's most famous album has acquired an almost mythical status. Originally released via Pole's defunct Scape imprint, it now finds new life via Jelinek's own Faitiche label, for a new generation to marvel at one of the finest examples of loop-based electronic music typical of the early noughties.
Taking what reads like a pretty austere set of ingredients, Jelinek's technique revolves around a trio of elements which consist of second long cuts of 1960's-70's jazz recordings, the loop-finding modulation wheel (do your homework!) and the Moiré effect; albeit rendered in the acoustic as opposed to the image and spectral domains.
If all this sounds a bit academic, be assured that on record it is anything but; as crumbling edifices of mealy rhythms slowly pulse into life and swirl around your head like snow storms clashing with a dust devil. Taking sediments of fathom deep static then skimming the best stuff from the top, Jelinek opens through the dampened echoes of 'Moiré (piano & organ)' wherein a slow-motion thrum of spiraling clicks, rustles and analogue tones conspire to give the impression of recondite perspectives that extend well beyond the constituent elements.
Elsewhere, 'Rocky in the Video Age' instills a gratuitously optimistic blush to the aquatic micro-sound ebb, 'Moiré (Strings)' is a perfect companion to Basinski's disintegrating tape archive, whilst 'Them, Their' represents an aural crease so sleight you can only catch its distinctive gleam from the corner of your eye.
Young Paint is Actress’ AI learning programme which has been progressively emulating his transition from greyscale to silvertone since the release of ‘Hazyville’ ten years ago.
For its self-titled debut, Young Paint renders six tracks of baked electronics and techno hydrolicks that sound like the bossman Actress, which means the possibly apocryphal machine is doing its job as instructed.
‘Travel Paint’ and ‘Neutral Paint’ start up sounding like jazzed-up, worn-down Chain Reaction mutations, or the whisked takes on 154’s ‘Strike’ sound, while ‘Boy Paint’ takes time for a gauzier bliss-out (do AI machines bliss out?).
The seond half is strongest, though. The crooked lurch and coruscating textures of ‘Twisty Paint’ connote cranky AI thoughts of a lo-fi Autechre, while ‘Ai Paint’ divines a deep soul in the machine, and ‘Kat Paint’ supplies our percy with a perfectly weighted balance of Detroit ghetto-tech and classical keys that couldn’t have come from anywhere but the Actress studio...
Laurel Halo lands on Latency with a cinematic suite featuring Oliver Coates on cello and drums by Eli Keszler.
Making her first move since 2017’s remarkable ‘Dust’ album, Laurel takes inspiration from her score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ in pursuit of a quieter, more tactile and elusive sound, moving deeper into a sort of twilight avant jazz realm that calls to mind the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari salvo on Alga Marghen as much as flashes of Conlon Nancarrow and the diaphanous swirl of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas.
It's immediately obvious that this is a special release in Laurel’s catalogue. Two 10 minute works bookend the release; the sublime title track with its oneiric mesh of woodwind, early electronic music gestures, and almost funeral organ; and at the opposite end, a stunning symphonic piece that unmistakably recalls Gas, but also unlocks that sound’s potential from the grid thanks to Keszler’s free meter and an embrace of kaotic harmony deeply rooted in Derrick May and Carl Craig’s Detroit classics.
But that’s not to discount the bits in between; they’re also brilliant. From her pairing of Keszler’s inimitable snare rushes with dark blue keys and smudged, plasmic electronics in ‘Mercury’, to something like Mark Fell commanding an underwater gamelan orchestra in ‘Quietude’, and the rapid flux of keys in ‘The Sick Mind’, this one has us rapt from every angle.