Bristol bassbin dweller Commodo follows a hunch for jazzier, moodier chamber dub styles on Dyrge, marking his return to Black Acre.
Over the four tracks of his Dyrge EP we can detect a broader set of influences coming from, say, Dylan Carlson, BoC and Red Snapper, as he keeps the vibe simmering somewhere between brooding and wistfully eldritch in the jazzy chops of Bitch & Moan, then on a lurching Earth-style downstroke with Leeroy, before dispatching the somehow glum yet effervescent expression of Dyrge, and saving his most impressive meld of dank, bluesy half step and Arca-esque electronics in Yuliya.
Techno/Power Ambient boffin Peder Mannerfelt appears on Cera Khin’s Lazy Tapes for a typically skizzy and brilliant session called The Screws That Hold The World Together.
The follow-up to Cera’s sought-after split mixtapes with Ossia and Christoph De Babalon gives up three original Peder Mannerfelt works oscillating from a mad, raved-up confection of hypnotic vocal loops, clanking drums and burning ‘ardcore strings in Shining Beacons of Light, to go all radiant and blissed out with the spatial-tonal metamorphosis of The Toad, and then diffracting dub chords and frazzled jazz drum breaks in Every Day Had a Number.
We’ll spare you another gush about the quality of Peder’s sound, but suffice it to say this one is heavily satisfying, as to be expected.
Grade A, nexx generation anthems from DJ Lilocox, scoring his fully fledged solo début on Príncipe with a handful of deep, rugged, and romantic Batida workouts compatible with tribal house, Afro-beats, UKF and Kwaito. If you crave the freshest syncopated dance music, this one’s properly unmissable.
Paz E Amor, or “peace and love”, is the solo début of deep, hypnotic Batida grooves by DJ Lilocox. A longtime core member of Lisbon’s Príncipe label, Lilocox is one third of the PDDG (Piquenos DJs Do Guetto) crew beside DJs Firmeza and Maboku, and accounts for half of CDM (Casa Da Mãe), also with Maboku. In solo mode Lilocox alloys sensuous atmospheres with rolling percussion in a widely appealing style that resonates with the slickness of the Sonhos & Pesadelos LP by his near namesake, DJ Lycox, but personalised by more spacious production values and a rugged vision of dancefloor romance and energy.
With the CDM project on hold for now, DJ Lilocox presents a more mature sound now characterised by his focus on rhythmelodic cadence and synthetic sensuality. Between the EP’s lusting highlight in the Ron Trent-esque Afrohouse of Fronteiras, to the starker, Gqom-Like tension of Ritmo e Melodias, Lilocox plays to the ‘floor’s timeless needs in a ruggedly forward manner, deftly shifting his weight from the pendulous footing of Vozes Ricas to the woodblock knocks and drones of Paz e Amor and the snake-hipped swinge of Samba with the dancer’s balance and emotions always a priority.
After the scorching début EP from P. Adrix, the first solo DJ Lilocox record perfectly demonstrates his depth and diversity whilst maintaining Príncipe’s rarely paralleled and flawless reputation for upfront, timelessly effective dance music...
Staggering volley of hyper junglist killers from Sophia Loizou on a new EP of pressurized subs, hoover and percolated vocals taking us somewhere between Lee Gamble’s classic Diversions, Metalheadz Blue Note Sessions and some forward Arca x EVOL collusion. TIPPED!!!
Sophia’s first release since the much acclaimed Singulacra [Kathexis, 2016], Irregular Territories provides a definitive example of Loizou’s sound as it firmly asserts her music in a rarified hauntological rave headspace that meticulously explores an exploded deconstructionist style that she’s developed since her 2014 debut Chrysalis.
With one foot in late ‘90s halcyon daze, and another toeing the future, Sophia combines a lust for the ruffneck with a sharp mind for complex structural integrity and inventive aesthetic. Synching fragmented beats with human gasps, choral synths and richly ephemeral textures, she bridges temporalities and dimensions in a way that recalls an auditory DeepDream composite formed from millions of eyes-shut moments at Metalheadz sessions.
Album opener Loop of Perception quite literally takes off like a jet engine in the rave, while Memories of Angels conjures and sustains a lump-in-throat suspense through unresolved pads and hide ’n seek breakbeat edits, before it all comes together, gelled by wide, pressurized subs in Shadow Box.
The brief vignette of hoover and percolated vocal motifs in Frozen Dust opens up the B-side like some Arca and EVOL collusion, and The Interior Life of Another feels like a jungle inception of 4Hero’s Parallel Universe, leaving the poignant Morphogenesis to sum up the metaphysical flux of her sound in febrile detail.
A superb work of recondite sonic fiction, Blade Jogger is the palpably clammy tale of an erstwhile Salford doorman with a taste for ‘SWENDAB’ - a new drug of potent psychotomimetic efficacy - set to a backdrop of Brexit bruxism. Conjured by author and artistic director of The White Hotel, Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives at Tales of Mark E. Smith & The Myth Brilliant Summers), narrated by James Stannage, and set to a synthesised score by Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral) and By The Sea. Think Anthony Burgess meets Savoy with sound by Martin Hannett in Delian mode. The White Hotel’s shadow looms large over proceedings. Jog on…
“The place is England: a horrible electronic slum. The time is 22 minutes and 11 seconds into the future. A new drug - SWENDAB - is doing the rounds, sending everybody round the bend - as per. And as ever, here in this ‘less-than-United-Kingdom’, the rain must fall continuously. (It’s a wonder we haven’t all rusted by now.)
Rebelling against the drudgery of his surroundings, trapped inside his own fragile psyche - with no map nor money - meet GAZ-15: ex-bouncer/ex-lover/full-time-fuck-up.
Tonight, like every other night, he will go AWOL, lost in ‘the hallways of always’ of another SWENDAB-binge, searching for a meaning he knows he will never find. All those memories leaking into the eternal drainpipe. What a monster he’s made of himself. Not quite human. Oh to be a clone of others.
Evoking the underbelly of urban life, along with an even darker and deeper spiritual dimension, this bleakly-comic and moving musical collaboration between writer Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives & Tales of Mark E Smith & The Myth of Brilliant Summers) and By The Sea, is Blade Runner re-written and re-scored by two steam-punks waiting to see their Jobseekers’s contact, or Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape soundtracked by Delia Derbyshire, or simply War of the Words - a 22-minutes and 11 seconds ‘single’ that summons a feeling of medicated drift, of hearing beautiful sounds through some kind of filter, as time collapses in on itself.”
Thalia Zedek and co’s 3rd album of alt.rock as E for Thrill Jockey
“E, the trio of Jason Sidney Sanford, Thalia Zedek and Gavin McCarthy make angular, energized, and idiosyncratic rock music. These accomplished and inventive musicians could not be more different in the way they express themselves but their egoless dedication to ensemble playing and writing shapes E’s distinct sound. Negative Work is the product of three individuals whose dedication to the collaborative process may very well be the source of compelling tension underlying their songs.
Recorded and mixed in 4 days at Machines With Magnets (Battles, Lightning Bolt), the album captures the energy of E’s gripping live shows. There is lots of room in this recording, each voice distinct and clear. The album title, Negative Work, is a nod to an essential part of their creative process. “Writing a good song is frequently not so much about how much you can put into it, but also about how much you can take back out,” says Sanford. It is also undoubtedly a process that does not work if there are competing egos.
McCarthy’s excellent playing gives the songs their drive, while Zedek’s lines dance concordantly with Sanford’s highly modified and unexpected tones. Using a variety of manipulations - alligator clips, and Sanford’s own pedals: the Low A Oscillator, Bass E Stomper and Bass G Thumper - he manipulates the intended microtonal abnormalities of his homemade instrument. The taut and lean compositions give room for these voices to act and react to each other. The resulting tension makes for a compelling listen. It is with their lyrics that E gives space for the individual to shine. The writer of the lyrics is most often the leading singer giving voice to their own words. While the topics are as varied as their creators, from a dissection of the words of Alberto Giacometti, to defiant sexual liberation, the band finds cohesion in shared emotions and a sense of defiance.
E has been touring and writing together steadily since their debut, at an age when many musicians are loath to abandon what they are known for and jump back into the grind of establishing a new band. E’s egoless dedication, love of playing, and relentless inventiveness are irresistible qualities making Negative Work an entirely singular and highly compelling rock record.”
Following dissolution of the Yussef Kamaal project, Kamaal Williams a.k.a Henry Wu spreads his jazz charms solo on a debonaire début The Return, delivered via his newly minted Black Focus label. The spectres of ‘70s jazz fusion are felt strongly on this one, but updated with a rugged South London vibe that will bring feet to the ‘floor and see some heads get hot under the collar. RIYL Dego, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson
“The Return is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.
Notable tracks for old and new listeners are ‘Salaam', 'Situations', 'Medina', 'LDN Shuffle' which features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message) and for those die hard Yussef Kamaal fans - they should hear the interpolated roots of 'Strings of Light' in the title track 'The Return’. And that signature Wu Funk can be heard on 'Broken Theme', and 'High Roller'.
The Return is the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records.”
NPLGNN comes gnashing at the bit for Bristol’s Lava Lava label - a part of the rwdfwd fam - with a mean volley of acid dancehall punk entitled Sonico. Arriving in the wide-eyed wake his Eternal Flame session with Dave Saved and turns with Reel Torque and Where To Now? before that, NPLGNN shows a more rugged and hot-stepping side of his sound that we haven’t heard before.
A-side keels in with the gully dancehall slosh of Weaponized Riddim, whipping desiccated claps, kicks and snares into a militant bogle built for extreme daggering - come test! - whereas Dancing Under CS works with a crankier budge, spitting double timed hi-hats and slaty AF bass hits like a rogue Itinerant Dubs workout. B-side is where it really boots off with Sonic Guerrilla, an intensifying payload of squat party raggamuffin noise that seethes with pure malific rave intent. Play this at your next rave/rally/protest to increase the pressure.
Big RIYL The Bug, Ossia, DJ Scud
West Coast psychedelic quartet Wooden Shjips release V., their fifth album, inspired by the tumult of the modern world, and the desire to offer a contrasting vision of peace, the band has created a record that filters their trademark hypnotic grooves through an optimistic lens, resulting in music that is bright and vital.
"Wooden Shjips, long-time leaders of the contemporary psychedelic movement, expand their sound with V. The quartet of Omar Ahsanuddin, Dusty Jermier, Nash Whalen and Ripley Johnson augment their already rich sound with laid back, classic summer songs. The songs were written during the summer of 2017 by singer and guitarist Ripley Johnson as an antidote to the pervasive anxiety both political and natural. As Ripley tells it, “We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.
The band’s members collectively share a love of classic rock from the Velvet Underground to Neil Young, as well as more overt love of the San Francisco scene of the 60’s. This commonality in their formative musical years binds them even as they live in different cities. V. finds Wooden Shjips embracing the emotions behind those sounds; peaceful defiance and opposition, while creating a sound and counter narrative to today’s hostilities that is wholly their own. Wooden Shjips has with V. created the most concise, laid back songs of their career. Their music is a balm of sorts, a respite from the insanity that, through its regenerative abilities, empowers continued, calm resistance. A reminder of the simple power of peace and beauty. Wooden Shjips, through V., have demonstrated the power of beauty and the power in creating it even while experiencing overwhelming dread. It is the perfect summer album, brimming with optimism and a peaceful energy, aptly timed for release at the height of spring."
After cocooning himself in modular electronics for the past few years, Surgeon emerges with the strongest batch from his new setup in Luminosity Device. We can’t place our finger exactly on what’s changed, but the nine new tracks on offer feel more organically kinetic, offering something closer to a 1-to-1 representation of the wriggling, eely organisms that have been incubating in his studio for the best part of this decade.
In terms of its hard-edged, stoically funked-up delivery and taste for off-kilter dissonance, the sound of Luminosity Device is still unmistakably Surgeon. But, as the album’s title implies, the sound is now either lit up or glowing differently, and meant to be received by dancers and DJs skin and eyes as much as their ears and inherent ballistic proprioceptions. In a way, he’s better acknowledging the systemic and synaesthetic connections between DJ, soundsystem and us - the dancing, feeling vessels which are ultimately the enduser of his potent sonic substance. And if you want to read into it on another level, the artwork’s clear nod to Bowie’s Changes LP also suggests a shapeshifting new skin to his sound, while the engine effectively remains the same.
If you’re after highlights, run clock the swollen charge of The Primary Clear Light withs its fibrillating trance chorales and prickling exoskeleton, also the wickedly elastic looseness of Courage To Face Up To; the pinging, T++esque hydraulic dynamics of earth-sinking-into-water; and the scaly iridescence of the The Etheric Body - then you’ll know exactly what to do next.
First vinyl edition of sound mind sound body; the 1994 début release by Portuguese guitarist turned deep space explorer Rafael Toral. Previously issued on CD by AnAnAnA, this new edition has been pre-mastered by Rafael Toral to exacting specifications and newly mastered and cut to vinyl by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin.
Spread over two slabs, four sides of vinyl, Rafael’s first opus takes on a whole new life here, as the remaster and vinyl cut render his searching, somnolent, and arcing sound in a hospitable new context, with the awning glacial breeziness of A E R 4 shimmering next to the wilting phase of Loopability I, the patiently bittersweet discord of his 20 minute A E R 7 E, and the uniquely strung out bliss of his Textura vignettes in delectably fuzzy ways where you’d hardly guess it was generated by guitar.
Ghost Box’s best loved project, Jon Brooks’ The Advisory Circle, unfolds a beautifully affectionate and absorbing hauntological study based around the theme of photography for his nostalgic fellows. Clad in some of the finest Julian House artwork to appear in the label’s 14 years so far, this is one instance where you can truly judge the record by its sleeve: It’s 24 carat synthy gold.
Where previous transmissions have been guided by prevailing to kosmiche whims and darker shades, Ways of Seeing arguably comes from a school of ‘80s inspirations; from the typography to the collaged snapshots and the beautifully poignant music itself, the feeling is less kitschy ‘70s and more cyber-sensual, with that key sense of English reserve and pastoralism, as opposed to say, the more ecstatic (read: cloying) aspects of US new age or the frivolity of Japanese 4th world styles during that era.
Sequenced in 12 succinct stages, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and often leave us wanting more, projecting a screen reel montage of imagery onto the mind’s eye.
Los Angeles producer Sweatson Klank builds his productions as if they were films, developing a story from start to finish.
"Stylistically, 'Fine Lines' his debut full length for Friends of Friends, picks up where his 2017 'Then I Was Me’ EP left off, melding forward thinking Hip Hop and Electronics as a back drop for a soulful and sultry journey through a tumultuous love affair, loss of self, and the dark empty spaces in our minds.
The songs on 'Fine Lines' sit in a space occupied by Hip Hop, Future R&B and House, yet the record cleverly transcends any single genre. While much of the production is hard hitting, the album manages to walk a tightrope between heartache and swagger. A meticulous fine line that weaves itself like a thread throughout. Sweatson Klank enlists a number of features on the album including newcomers Ana Calvo, Sarah Saldivia, and Annie Bass as well as past collaborator, Montreal producer Ango."
Shy Layers’ Midnight Marker dances between darkness and light, discreet but assured music aware of an “other” self and the dream world which that vessel visits. Rich in symbolism, appearing as floating, formless reflections and poignant pop statements, musician and visual artist JD Walsh’s sophomore album offers new perceptions of time and transition, the emotional tides of experience, and the joy of the journey.
"Midnight Marker is dedicated in part to understanding these transitions. Like a coming-of-age story in reverse, the album explores the reorganization of time and space against a new now: a today imbued, rather than riddled, with the idiosyncrasies of yesterday. The album is not a wrought reality check, however; instead, a journey through genre, imagery, and meaning bathed in familiarity and ineffable emotion.
Throughout Midnight Marker, Walsh shares the joy of composing within the newfound space of Atlanta having lived in NYC for many moons. Apart from having more space to stretch out and create, Walsh cites modular synthesis as a muse for much of Midnight Marker. Using spontaneous modes to blossom chance beauty in favor of conventional composition, Walsh’s songwriting almost feels happy-go-lucky instead of happenstance. A perfect analog to Walsh’s affable, optimistic spirit beyond his music.
In a similar spirit a spontaneity, Walsh invited vocalists whom he didn’t know personally, but respected their talents, to perform on the album. The “let’s see what happens” expectation set an open tone while recording that reflects in the positively impressionistic lyrics and sense of shared experience that gives Midnight Marker its inviting glow. As with his visual art, Walsh’s sense of scale, texture, and color ensures these contributions and surrounding sounds work communally and considerately.
The slower, linear development of Midnight Marker’s songs suggests an organic sensibility that wasn’t quite as apparent on the patternbased compositions of Walsh’s 2016 self-titled debut album. Walsh cites the cerebral pop of Wally Badarou, Arthur Russell, and Another Green World as influences, but his equal love for Luther Vandross digs deep, reflective milestones throughout Midnight Marker. It’s sophisticated while being soulfully, through not righteously, self-aware.
So, while there is a softness, a shyness to Midnight Marker, there is clarity and wisdom, too. The layers of the past and the experiences which collect together to become age, place, and being are pulled back to reveal a different sense of self. A self able to dance between darkness and light."
Balmy, conga-led Balearic hustle, motorik trance inspired by impLOG, and FSOL-styled ambient techno breaks from Feon, making their recorded début on Optimo Music Disco Plate Eleven
“Feon has a few things he’d like to say about this EP - “I wrote these tracks in a manic ten-day session, shortly after an unravelling ayahuasca ceremony, which is evidenced in the psychedelic sound of the first track in particular. Upon reflection there is something of a primal quality to “The Sun Is High”, we were all sun worshippers at one point in our ancient history. The vocals are my voice stacked thirty odd times in different harmonies, then put through a space echo, and they're followed by some gratuitous Moog noodling to boot! For use at the beach party.
The flip goes into darker more experimental territory, with “Holland Fly By” taking clear inspiration from an old iMPLOG track, and “Without Sound” getting stranger still, the vocal refrain's mournful, tense landscape interrupted by boisterous drums.
Its a real joy and honour that I can add something to the Optimo sound world as it is one that has given me great pleasure over the years.”
Actress & the London Contemporary Orchestra surpass expectations with LAGEOS, an ace full length showcase of their endeavours since collaborating on a live performance at the Barbican for Boiler Room in February 2016.
While we weren’t overly fussed with the album’s lead cut Audio Track 5, the rest of the album turns out to be a captivating and variegated exploration of the ambiguities between classical techniques and the electronic timbres and geometries of Actress’ music. They’re certainly not the first to try and reconcile the schism between acoustic and electronic spheres, but the collected results are some of the strongest we’ve heard beyond, say, Mica Levi, in terms of the modern field.
The LCO work at the limits of their perception and extended techniques to interpret as close as possible the timbres and colours of Actress’ electronics through acoustic means, using everything from plastic bags for white noise hi-hats thru to Blu-Tack to dampen the piano’s upper registers. Those acoustic gestures were then reshaped and arranged by Actress, who took inspiration from Iannis Xenakis’ sound for architecture/architectured sound in context of the Barbican, generating 10 uniquely hazy environments.
Two of the tracks are the LCO’s take on vintage Actress cuts, transposing N.E.W. from R.I.P. into the acoustic dimension with sublime effect, and also reanimating Hubble with wickedly keening strings to put a fresh spin a much loved classic. But our favourite cuts are split between those where they get weirder, abstract, as in the gauzy swells of white noise and underwater strings on Momentum or the spiralling, unmetered madness of Galya Beat, and the infectious smudge of electro pulses and phasing rhythmelodies in Surfer’s Hymn, a mesmerising take on Actress’ Panda Bear remix.
A Certain Ratio embraced the ethic and culture of the late Seventies post punk explosion but sounded like nothing else around them and refused to fit in.
"Formed in 1978, the band had various members throughout their career and a core line-up of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson. Hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as ‘punk funk’ thanks to the success of ‘Shack Up’ on both sides of the Atlantic, their sound is not easily pigeon holed and their influence can never be understated. The band introduced the avant-garde elements of funk, jazz, electronics, tape loops and technology to the pop song, wrapping it in a post punk aesthetic, adding great clothes and the coolest haircuts."
Night School get rowdy with the rearrival of Prostitutes on Aluminum Garage, offering a definitive, salty lash of big beat budge, jagged breakcore, blown out techno and aggy gabber from James Donadio’s globe-trotting project.
Still getting the most out of rudimentary equipment and ruff-cut samples, Prostitutes jams out a volley of styles ranging from the Strategy-esque beat juggling of Born Wanderer and the DJ Scud-style breakcore parry of Jah Elegant, before wrapping a post-punk disco bassline to singed techno hi-hats and wonky alarm signals on Errant Seagull, and rounding out with the proper Thunderdome gabber velocity of Shroud of Cellophane.
We might not be biggest fans of EP opener Spells, but the rest of Jenny Hval’s The Long Sleep is great, featuring a supporting cast of jazz players who sensitively bring her ideas to life and perfectly frame Jenny’s singular voice. The 10 minute title cut almost sounds like Supersilent doing pop ambient.
“The follow-up to Jenny Hval’s acclaimed 2016 album Blood Bitch is The Long Sleep, an adventurous new EP that sees the Norwegian multidisciplinary artist embracing an instinctive, even subconscious, approach to creating meaning. In contrast to Hval’s more explicitly conceptual work, The Long Sleep foregrounds the act of composition itself, letting the melodies and structures reveal the other elements of the songs. All of the songs on the EP recycle the same compositional motives, but manipulate them into very different shapes that take them further and further out of their original, "life-like" context.
Hval recorded The Long Sleep with longtime collaborator Håvard Volden and producer Lasse Marhaug, along with an ace new supporting cast of talented players from the jazz world — Kyrre Laastad on percussion, Anja Lauvdal on piano, Espen Reinertsen on saxophone, and Eivind Lønning on trumpet. Hval calls them some of her favorite contemporary musicians, and their musical background helps to give the songs on The Long Sleep their intuitive, improvised feel.”
Wisdom Teeth extract two chewy modular synth workouts by Freerotation ringleader Steevio, backed with a low-rolling, slinky remix by Batu
Syzygy is a scratchy textured, nimble workout laced with cutesy synth gremlin voices, and Hiraeth - an excellent Welsh word translating roughly to ‘nostalgia’ or ‘homesickness’ - finds him on a shuffling, introspective bent.
Betonkust & Palmbomen II revisit the domed artificial paradise of Center Parcs for a full album of claggy chug and knackered house following from their 2016 EP of the same name.
Like many who grew up join the ‘90s, we clearly remember the adverts for Center Parcs, and even visited once, so the backstory and vibe of this album rings particularly nostalgic for us. The pair of Betonkust & Palmbomen II visited the ‘Centre Parcs De Eemhof’ branch in the Netherlands for a weekend out of season, where they set up their gear and had free run of the subtropical waterpark. We can hardly imagine a more inspiring place to write a record, seriously, and it’s fair to say the results really capture something of the place’s artificial, manmade-landscaped fantasy features.
Across 12 tracks they run amok with giddy melodies anchored by rugged grooves, bringing a sense of playful innocence to the fore, with a lurking sense of artificial ickiness in the background. It’s a feeling exemplified in the clenched but lilting “tropical” funk of Verminkte Toekan and the balmy muzak theme of Troostprijs, while the acid boogie of Smerig Eland feels like an empty friday night party in the dome, and Skytronic Cola could be the soundtrack to chirpsing in the pines after a go on those big inflatable rings, and then there’s the boogie metal short circuit of Nintendo Pantera, and the badass freestyle electro chops of Achter Het Zwembad, which floods back memories of an overstimulated 13 year old at this first club, and the romance of Eindleader Videonet to seal the off-rose-tinted nostalgia.
Gerry Read jacks the funk for Finn’s 2B Real label, pursuing the lead of his New Junk City album with four tracks worthy of following up Finn’s Late At Night zinger.
Stripped to the bone and jerked up for the DJs with itchy digits on the mixer, he tweaks out the jiggling skellington groove Mass Media beside the mutated Dance Mania-style trackiness of Big Boobs, then catches a more thizzy filter house breeze with Dreama That Girl, and gets right inside the jab-jacking mechanics of Pinky with frankly fucking weird effect.
One fo’ da freaks.
Melodies International direct their focus towards both Soul and House royalty, selecting and reissuing two of Frankie Knuckles’ scarcer remixes of an all time classic: Womack & Womack – MPB (Missin’ Persons Bureau).
"Now known as Zekkariyas and Zeriiya, partners Cecil and Linda Womack, two eminent members in an extensive lineage of music artistry (i.e. Bobby Womack was Zekkariyas’ brother, Zeriiya is Sam Cooke’s daughter) engaged in one of music history’s most successful and exciting singing and song writing partnerships in the early 1980s.
Zeriiya says her process with Zekkariyas flowed like water, their shared complicity and talent led them to write and produce strings of chart topping hits and classic albums as Womack & Womack but also for other renowned artists of the time such as Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass and the O’Jays to only name a few.
The original version of Missin’ Persons Bureau was first released in 1988 on “Conscience” (Island Records), a classic album with impeccable instrumentation and thoughtful and relatable narratives that reflect on the nature of life, true friendship, love or in the case of MPB, it’s subsequent loss.
Following the release of the LP, Island records founder Chris Blackwell introduced the idea of getting Missin’ Persons Bureau reworked by House legend Frankie Knuckles and whilst the Womacks weren’t originally set on the idea of having their songs remixed by other artists, Blackwell who Zeriiya describes as a “record label manager seriously involved in making sure the project is what the creators really want it to be” had earned their trust.
With these remixes, Frankie managed to turn a radio hit into underground club classics. The Paradise Ballroom mix conserves the essence of the original, reinterpreting the rhythm section whilst drawing it out over 8 minutes, with expert tension building and release clearly aimed at the dance floor. The Folk Version presents a beatless interpretation of the Ballroom mix, focusing on the uplifting vocal arrangements and mesmerising guitar performance, truly beautiful!"
Dais Records unveil the first ever live and rare vinyl collection from storied New Zealand post-punk outfit Nocturnal Projections.
“Inmates In Images” comprises the band’s best and rare material recorded right off the board at key gigs, capturing the unique and unbridled energy of the NPs. Inmates & Images (DAIS113) is issued alongside the vinyl studio collection: Complete Studio Recordings (DAIS112)
Formed in Stratford, near New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1981, Nocturnal Projections was the explosive project of legendary and prolific brothers Graeme and Peter Jefferies (who would later form This Kind of Punishment before launching their solo careers), who along with friends Brett Jones and Gordon Rutherford, created some of the most energetic and influential avant-garde punk rock to emerge from the country.
Largely ignored during their tenure (but revered and referenced in the years after their breakup) and often compared to UK contemporaries like Joy Division, Comsat Angels, The Fall, or Wire, Nocturnal Projections stood well apart - never enjoying the luxuries of unlimited studio time, music videos or international fame, the NPs possessed a driven, rough-hewn serrated edge that cut through the lot comparisons to the UK post-punk exports of the era. They were ahead of their time, completely singular, and for those that had the benefit of seeing Nocturnal Projections play live – formative, with a dedicated cult following to this day.
As residents of New Plymouth’s Lion Tavern during their first year as a band, they perfected their soaring, impactful live set locally (often as the only band, without an opener and 3 hours to fill!) before heading off to Auckland in January of 1982, performing with bands like The Fall, John Cooper Clarke, and New Order at venues like The Mainstreet Cabaret, The Rumba Bar and Reverb Room. Over the next two years in Auckland the band would record 3 vinyl records (collected on the companion release to this record, “Complete Studio Recordings” DAIS112), write nearly 100 songs and play over 150 gigs.
“Inmates In Images” pulls the best of the best from board recordings of live sets between 1981 and 1983, including the never-before-released tracks: “Blank Faces” and “Late Night”, along with unheard versions of previously released songs - and includes Peter and Graeme’s song “Walk In A Straight Line”, written in October of 1980 and originally intended for their earlier band The Plastic Bags.
Nocturnal Projections are hard to pin down: bright, slashing, and prominent guitars with driving, solid basslines and drums in tight lockstep, all with Peter Jefferies’ urgent signature baritone vocals soaring alongside – the result is still perhaps the most energetic, unique, and fresh music to ever emerge from the post-punk scene. This collection is must-have for new listeners and existing NP fans, preserving the legacy of New Zealand’s groundbreaking legends.
We were better live. If you went to the shows that’s when you really got Nocturnal Projections. What you have here is an attempt to document those performances. Much debate, trawling of archives, and careful re-mastering has gone into this set. If you weren’t there, then this is probably as close as you’re gonna get to it. If you were, then I hope this album brings back some memories. Certainly works for me.
- Peter Jefferies. December, 2017”
Frst ever vinyl reissue collection from storied New Zealand post-punk outfit Nocturnal Projections. “Complete Studio Recordings” comprises the band’s three original highly sought-after vinyl releases on one record – remastered.
"Formed in Stratford, near New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1981, Nocturnal Projections was the explosive project of legendary and prolific brothers Graeme and Peter Jefferies (who would later form This Kind of Punishment before launching their solo careers), who along with friends Brett Jones and Gordon Rutherford, created some of the most explosive, dark, and influential avant-garde punk rock to emerge from the country.
Largely ignored during their tenure (but revered and referenced in the years after their breakup) and often compared to UK contemporaries like Joy Division, Comsat Angels, The Fall, or Wire, Nocturnal Projections stood well apart - never enjoying the luxuries of unlimited studio time, music videos or international fame, the NPs possessed a driven, rough-hewn serrated edge that cut through the lot comparisons to the UK post-punk exports of the era. They were ahead of their time, completely singular, and for those that had the benefit of seeing Nocturnal Projections play live – formative, with a dedicated cult following to this day.
As residents of New Plymouth’s Lion Tavern during their first year as a band, they perfected their soaring, impactful live set locally (often as the only band, without an opener and 3 hours to fill!) before heading off to Auckland in January of 1982, performing with bands like The Fall, John Cooper Clarke, and New Order at venues like The Mainstreet Cabaret, The Rumba Bar and Reverb Room. *The band recorded three EPs at Stebbing Studios in Auckland: The self-titled and self-released 7” single released April 1st of 1982, with the “Another Year” 12” EP following later that year. Their self-titled three song 12” was recorded in 1983, and released by the band posthumously that June, after the band called it quits. The Jefferies would move on and regroup with Rutherford and sound engineer Andrew Frengley shortly after the NPs fell apart to work under the This Kind of Punishment banner.
“Complete Studio Recordings” comprises the three original Nocturnal Projections studio records, direct to board recordings on a 24 track and not a synthesizer to be found! This release is a crucial part of New Zealand’s punk history, remastered and collected for existing fans and new audiences. Frantic and fast punk anthems like Nerve Ends In Power Lines, Isn’t That Strange, and In Purgatory are a shot in the gut, while slower, more introspective tracks like Difficult Days and You’ll Never Know reveal what the band had in store later with TKP. Nocturnal Projections are hard to pin down: bright, slashing, and prominent guitars with driving solid basslines and drums in tight lockstep, all with Peter Jefferies’ urgent signature baritone vocals soaring alongside – the result is still perhaps the most energetic, unique, and fresh music to ever emerge from the post-punk scene."
Marking 50 years since Mai ’68, Soundwalk Collective present a rare insight into the archives of filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard with this collaged suite of recordings using samples from Godard’s personal archive. It’s enchanting at the very least, luring listeners into an other world of Gallic whimsy, smoky jazzz, and sound poetry with a dreamily nostalgic effect that may even be described as hauntological. Keep an ear out for upcoming Ricardo Villalobos reworks of this gear…
“Audio-visual artists Soundwalk Collective were granted exclusive access to the personal archive of the groundbreaking filmmaker and present their ambitious New Album and Remix EP: What We Leave Behind released on 18th & 25th May 2018.
The NYC and Berlin based group were invited to aurally explore the archive of the seminal French director Jean-Luc Godard and release their interpretations in an innovative new album What We Leave Behind. Drawing on Godard’s personal collection of shot film, reel- to-reels and historical ephemera, the recordings reveal the moments before and after the camera rolls, from stage directions and on-set asides to rehearsals, false stars and outtakes.
“There are boxes filled with sounds, words, chaos, and also silence. For Godard sound is a musical composition and when I began listening to the tapes and heard his voice between takes, it was like little bits of life...each sound has its own value. It has always been part of our working practice to venture into untapped sonic territories, discover the poetics behind them, and explore how we (as humans) relate to it, it is part of a larger discourse.” - Stephan Crasneancki, Soundwalk Collective Revealing much insight to the director’s process and personality, the 6-track album will be followed by a remix EP, featuring unique reworks from Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu. What We Leave Behind, and the subsequent remix EP, arrive 50 years to the day that the the Cannes Film Festival, 1968, was closed after Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Claude Lelouche, publicly announced their closing of the festival in solidarity with workers and students protesting across the country.
The LP features a conversation between Stephan Crasneanscki, of Soundwalk Collective, and François Musy, Jean-Luc Godard’s sound engineer, printed on a translucent paper insert. The LP and Remix EP both contain imagery taken by Stephan Crasneanscki of the archives, which he has also filmed to create a series of mesmeric short music videos of original and remix tracks. An international genre-bending group of artist-musicians with studios in New York City and Berlin, the three members of Soundwalk Collective (Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli, and Kamran Sadeghi) formed in Manhattan to produce concept albums, sound installations, and live performances, and have worked with a diverse range of collaborators, from Nan Goldin and Patti Smith to Berghain and Zaha Hadid.”
Regis’ Downwards label presents an album of heavy hearted industrial songs from Ora Iso, making a kind of windswept, slowed-down and gothic pop variant that's essential listening if yr into HTRK, Tropic of Cancer or Clay Rendering.
Ora Iso are an NYC-hailing band revolving around Indonesian-Australian, Kathleen Malay and New Yorker, Jason Kudo. Building on the rubbly ground of their Bathcat debut for Ba Da Bing!, the duo’s mutual sense of entropy and ennui results in a classically scorched sound in Image Certifies, one laced with scornful sarcasm and a general dissatisfaction with the world, and yet somehow bolstered by the slightest promise of hope.
Weighing in their heavy, bleeding hearts on 10 brittle dirges described by the band as “A love letter to a society dying of its own self-induced cancers”, Ora Iso play to Downwards’ most maudlin aspects with a sound that clearly resonates with their previous releases by Eyeless In Gaza or Tropic Of Cancer, but here blessed with a strung-out, unyielding and lugubrious quality they can surely call their own.
As will become patently obvious, Image Certifies is not a record that takes itself lightly, and when the mood is right, the blend of Kathleen Malay’s stark, cracked, gothic vocals with Jason’s Kudo’s cranky as hell Vainio-esque instrumental backdrops is a perfect accompaniment to moments of introspection and misanthropy.
From almost BM-styled beginnings on No Fish, their agenda becomes apparent as it grows into a slow rolling fog of distant, evocative vocals wailing worn-out nothings about “the future” and “the children” in an effortlessly sensuous and blank-eyed style that worms thru the record, peaking in highlights such as the jagged Dead Riot, and the folksier trudge of Pour It On Me, whilst the bollocked drums of From The Hallway To The Door and the exquisitely succinct Have I Gone Too Far packs a more gothic electronic crunch recalling NIN or Clay Rendering.
Incredible, transfixing expo of electrified Tambour, hypnotic vocals and lip-bitingly infectious rhythms bridging Arabic and Sudanese traditions. Unmissable for the drum freaks and lovers of East African dance music. Sing-a-long even if you don’t know the words...
“Abu Obaida Hassan and the wonders of his five-string tambour remained largely a mystery. In the early 2000s, a prominent Sudanese newspaper declared him dead. Internet forums confirmed his passing. Many in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, said he had indeed died. But rumors that he was still alive persisted.
What was always certain is Abu Obaida Hassan’s mercurial talent. His command of a modified tambour, backed by a chorus and two drummers, unleashed swirling melodies alongside complex Nubian rhythms and hypnotic Sudanese call and response. His bands roster constantly changed, but he remained at the helm, playing for sold out shows in cities across the country and capturing the dancefloors and youth of 1970s and ‘80s Sudan.
This is a rich, raw example of the human experience with sound from northern Sudan, an ancient part of the world, and the birthplace of civilization. Music like this isn't mastered overnight.
The Ostinato team first came across Abu Obaida’s recordings in 2011, finding scratchy bits and pieces along the years. We traveled to Sudan in 2016 to find the clues to piece together the Abu Obaida Hassan puzzle. Through some extensive detective work with our man in Khartoum, Ahmed Asyouti, and a generous dose of good fortune, we tracked Abu Obaida to the rural outskirts of Omdurman, the old capital just across the White Nile from Khartoum. Age has taken its toll, but he remains full of life and music, ready to jointly curate a selection of his eight best cuts. He has written over 100 songs, only 30 were recorded.
Abu Obaida comes from the Shaigiya people, whose culture is spread around the ancient city of Merowe, home of traditional Nubian culture, where pyramids older than those in Egypt still stand. They trace their entire lineage to one man, Shaig, who migrated from the Arabian peninsula in the 15th century. An endlessly rhythmic syncretism between Arab and Nubian styles, Abu Obaida’s Shaigiya music was an in demand party affair in an era when a vibrant nightlife and roving sound systems were staples of life in Sudan.
It was music for a modern era, and Abu Obaida, at just 19, rebelliously abandoned traditional Shaigiya music traditions, pioneering a new sound by adding an extra string to his tambour and electrifying an instrument adored across East Africa. The result was complexity in simplicity and a hyper-talented artist who mirrors the story of Sudan’s highs and lows, from the leading tambour maestro of the hour to such obscurity on the fringes that he was believed dead. “They killed me!”, he likes to joke.
Abu Obaida Hassan, his music and the musical traditions of the Shaigiya remain alive and kicking. A culmination of a 7-year journey — from first hearing Abu Obaida’s distinct sound, found only in Sudan, to finding the man — has produced the first global release of Shaigiya music and is the first chapter of Ostinato’s immersion into Sudan, with a full compilation of the lavish musical history of one the most diverse countries in Africa due later this year. All brought to you by the Grammy-nominated team behind last year’s “Sweet As Broken Dates.””
If the emblem of Wand’s ‘Plum’ was the stark blue cloud - a condensation, a linking between longing molecules, data hungering for more data, a flotilla of vapor between eye and sky - then Wand’s new release reeks of something more forceful, more seductive, more intoxicating, more insidious: this is ‘Perfume’.
"Here are seven electric hues, shocks of light that flagrantly provoke the dark, a posy’s clutch of purple, fuchsia, green and snowy white that curl against a stench of plague. Recorded between tours and fire seasons in Grass Valley, California, by Tim Green, ‘Perfume’’s potent, expansive tunes were mixed in Woodstock, New York by Daniel James Goodwin. The band features Sofia Arreguin, Evan Burrows, Robbie Cody, Cory Hanson and Lee Landey. There’s a kind of return here, a haunting, the déjà vu you only take in through a curious nose. Your nose invites the world inside your skull. A familiar fragrance finds you when you thought you’d let a lover go but it won’t linger like a lover, flickering away with the breeze toward a yawning future."
Proper lysergic melters from Bear Bones, Lay Low on No ‘Label’ - a sometime home to Jamal Moss, Torn Hawk, Morgan Buckley, among many others
Pushing the label’s boundaries for psychotomimetic behaviour, Atlantean Encrypted Message bubbles up from a place usually only visited in the throes of a full blown acid trip. On the A-side, the Belgian artist Ernesto González Rondón tilts in steeply with the warped wormhole of the EP’s title track perhaps meant as gateway as much as a test of the listener’s tolerance for altered states.
If you manage to come out the other end, frazzled but eager for more, you’ll find the swaying kosmische mystery of The Well’s Son to greet and soothe your sparking synapses, but again it’s all or nothing on the B-side’s viscous droner Dans Tes Limbes, which comes on like one of those dark, paranoid waves where you’re not sure if you’ll make it out alive, when the walls are melting and everyone’s gargoyling in your grill.
If this finished in a locked groove it may well send you over the edge. Just strap in tight and keep a snifter of something to bring you back to earth when it’s required. You’ll be reet reset.
Plucky, lo-fi takes on blue-eyed soul swerve from Toronto’s Young Guv for Glasgow’s Night School
“Nothing is ever as it seems with Young Guv, but it always feels good. At first glance cloaked in a bold, ready-made distance, 2 Sad 2 Funk reveals itself over time to be an emotional, perfectly crafted, detourned pop record. Young Guv is the creation of Toronto-based auteur Ben Cook, an artist with over a decade playing guitar and singing in hardcore punk groups and a long discography of Young Governing. On 2 Sad 2 Funk, Guv pushes the power pop motif to its natural, 21st post-structuralist conclusion: it’s an album ridden with the cultural noise that bleeds through human interaction, distorting relationships and eroding that great Luv you thought you had. Audibly referencing everything from classic guitar pop The Toms or Dwight Twilley through Prince-ian ecstacies to a buried, trancegressive House music, the attention deficit belies a modern age plagued by distraction and performance anxieties. These days, the heart can break in new ways.
Perhaps Young Guv isn’t trying to soundtrack this breakdown in our relationship to Luv, but there’s something unmistakably broken down underneath these songs’ palette of fuzzy synths, crisp snare cracks and emotionally synthesized vocals. Throughout 2 Sad 2 Funk, Cook’s approach is to contextualise these modern unlove songs within a bedrock of collaged sounds, TV and Radio adverts, studio out-takes and warped experiments. The effect is hallucinogenic and serves to blow up his pop songs to epic, life-affirming proportions. The title-track slides into your life like a precautious Luv-er, a romantically doomed, electro-funk ballad that strikes the perfect balance between melancholy and creepiness. It feels good as long as you don’t attempt to decode the anxiety beneath it. Stand-out Stand In The Way is one of the most ecstatic heartbreaks Cook has ever committed to tape, a chorus that puts the listener in an open-top sports car speeding down an ocean highway, the sun bleaching out the pain, but not completely. Instrumentals like St. Clair provide the bridges, like a club music thumping in the background to your latest drama, while a track like You’ve Been Acting Strange Lately invokes a pantomime response in the listener: over a slinky, ecstatic 90s house beat Guv is “only questioning your love, because you’ve been acting strange lately” – we want to shake Guv and say “they’re just not that into you” but also, the sadist in the listener wants to let him suffer and keep writing these transgressive pop songs. 2 Sad 2 Funk constructs a hyper-reality of commerce, pop references and ecstasies that reveal an addictive, hyperactive emotional underneath it. Young Guv seems removed from the picture but really he’s there a little too much for his own good. 2 Sad 2 Funk is not what you thought at first, but it feels good, whatever it is.”
The drum-funked alias of Andrew Field-Pickering (Beautiful Swimmers, Lifted) drops the drum, the whole drum, and nothing but the drum for The Trilogy Tapes on a 3rd session of Dolo Percussion.
Quite possibly our favourite output from Mr. AF-P, these are purest dancer and DJ specials built for tracky application and meant to be played in-the-mix with other equally infectious rhythms or tonal content for optimal effect.
Up top, he percolates a palette of Afro-Cuban drums in a recursive tizzy tying your limbs in fluid syncopation with Dolo 9, before rocking the bells under wickedly asymmetric cross-patterns on Dolo 10.
Down below, he goes on with the deadliest West London broken beat simmer in Dolo 12, then whips ‘em into a polymetric vortex on Dolo 12. This may well have outdone Dolo 2. We look forward to confirming this on the ‘floor next weekend!
Lovely session of floating synth tones and rolling, padded basslines interspersed with cudled new age gestures inna proto/Afro-house manner.
New on Young Marco’s Safe Trip, who provide the following ace text on the EP’s cryptographic provenance:
“THE SAFE TRIP ORGANISATION HAS BEEN BROADCASTING THEIR MUSICAL VERSION OF A TRADITIONAL "NUMBERS STATION" ON THE FREQUENCY 5079. HUMAN INTELLIGENCE SUGGESTS THE AGENT BEHIND FOUR REGULAR, EAR-PLEASING TRANSMISSIONS IS THE SAFE TRIP ASSOCIATE "ARTIS".
USING A SPECIALLY MODIFIED "ONE-TIME PAD", WE WERE ABLE TO DECIPHER THESE UNDERCOVER OPERATIVES. THE ETHEREAL, DREAMY, ARPEGGIO-DRIVEN THROB OF "PANTHERA PARDUS", WITH ITS POIGNANT TONE AND UNDULATING LEAD LINES, WAS CLEARLY MEANT AS A WARNING.. THE SAME COULD BE SAID OF "CETACEA", WHERE MELANCHOLIC SYNTHESIZER SOUNDS AND MEANDERING ELECTRONICS GENTLY WIND THEIR WAY AROUND HYBRID ELECTRONIC/ACOUSTIC PERCUSSION.
PANIC SET IN ONCE WE DECIPHERED "GIGANTHOPITHECUS", A COMPOSITION LITTERED WITH FREQUENT INCREASES IN PERCUSSIVE INTENSITY AND A MIND-ALTERING MELODIC REFRAIN. OUR HUNCH THAT ARTIS WAS ORDERING IMMEDIATE ACTION BY AGENTS WAS CONFIRMED BY "DELPHINAE", WHOSE COLOURFUL MELODIC FLUIDITY, FUTURIST NEW AGE CONSTRUCTION AND LAYERED WOODEN DRUM HITS DEEPLY AFFECTED OUR RESEARCHERS. WE ORDERED OUR OWN AGENTS TO RAID THE STATION, BUT ARTIS HAD LONG SINCE SCUTTLED OFF INTO THE HAZY MORNING SUNSHINE.”
Dark Entries link hands with Sacred Bones to present selections from Outer Himmilayan Records seminal, rare catalogue of synth punk and Deathrock circa 1979-1982.
This is the real deal grit, featuring five tracks of whiny synths, snotty vox and primitive beatings by Soft Drinks; deathly drones, noise and possessed vocals by The Magits; and diesel and cider-spitting swagger from S-Haters. Would cost you exponentially more to pick up the originals. Whadda bargain!?
“Dark Entries and Sacred Bones team up to release the early discography of UK synth-punk and Deathrock label Outer Himmilayan Records. Between 1979 and 1982, Nick Blinko and Martin Cooper’s Outer Himmilayan Records released 7-inches by three short-lived bands – The Magits, Soft Drinks, and S-Haters – who would nonetheless cast a massive shadow on the UK’s burgeoning post-punk/anarcho punk scene. Outer Himmilayan Presents collects all of the music found on those original records, along with rare and unreleased tracks by all three bands. It’s a snapshot of a period of frenzied creativity by some of the UK’s most thrilling experimental punks.”
Finally! A second part of the legendary African Scream Contest compilation which really put Analog Africa on the collector’s map back in 2008. Samy Ben Redjeb has done another sterling job in reviving these cuts from Benin & Togo for posterity and parties everywhere, not to mention officially licensing all the material on board; including heavy funk ’n soul fire in Les Sympathics de Porto Novo’s A Min We Vo Nou We, on the driving disco-funk bubble of Moulon Devia from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, some nerve-jangling funk from a clearly James Brown infatuated Super Borgou de Parakou, and the melting synths on Gnonnas Pedro and His Dadjes Band’s How Much Love Naturally Costs. Class is in session!
“A great compilation can open the gate to another world. Who knew that some of the most exciting Afro-funk records of all time were actually made in the small West African country of Benin? Once Analog Africa released the first African Scream Contest in 2008, the proof was there for all to hear; gut-busting yelps, lethally well- drilled horn sections and irresistibly insistent rhythms added up to a record that took you into its own space with the same electrifying sureness as any favourite blues or soul or funk or punk sampler you might care to mention.
Ten years on, intrepid crate-digger Samy Ben Redjeb unveils a new treasure- trove of Vodoun-inspired Afrobeat heavy funk crossover greatness. Right from the laceratingly raw guitar fanfare which kicks off Les Sympathics’ pile-driving opener, it’s clear that African Scream Contest II is going to be every bit as joyous a voyage of discovery as its predecessor. And just as you’re trying to get off the canvas after this one-punch knock out, an irresistible Afro-ska romp with a more than subliminal echo of the Batman theme puts you right back there. Ignace De Souza and the Melody Aces’ “Asaw Fofor" would’ve been a killer instrumental but once you’ve factored in the improbably-rich-to-the-point-of-being-Nat-King-Cole-influenced lead vocal, it’s a total revelation.
The screaming does not stop there, in fact it’s only just beginning. But the strange thing about African Scream Contest II’s celebration of unfettered Beninese creativity is that it would not have been possible without the assistance of a musician who had been trained by the Russian secret services to "search and destroy" enemies of the country’s (then) Marxist-Leninist president Mathieu Kerekou.
Already familiar to fans of the first African Scream Contest as a mainstay of ruthlessly disciplined military band Les Volcans de la Capitale, Lokonon André vanished in a cloud of dust at Ben Redjeb’s behest with a list of names and some petrol money, only to return a few days later having miraculously tracked down every single name he’d been given. The source of this Afrobeat bounty-hunter’s impressive people-finding skills - his training with the KGB - highlights the tension between encroaching authoritarian politics and fearless expressions of personal creative freedom which is the back-story of so much great African music of the 60s and 70s. Happily, in this instance, Lokonon was tracking the artists down to offer them licensing deals, rather than to arrest them.
Where some purveyors of vintage African sounds seem to be strip-mining the continent’s musical heritage with no less rapacious intent than the mining companies and colonial authorities who previously extracted its mineral wealth, Samy Ben Redjeb’s determination to track this amazing music to its human sources pays huge karmic dividends.”
Versatile follow the lead of Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music to reissue these Selected Works by Serbian genius Mitar Subotić a.k.a. Suba a.k.a. Rex Ilusivii.
Since the 2015 issue of Rex Ilusivii’s In The Moon Cage and right up to the recent pressing of Suba’s Wayang, a whole wave of new listeners, us included, have been wowed by his imaginative electronic microcosm, and this new collection perfectly spills into ever more esoteric and experimental realms. Make sure to check for the kinky downstroke of Facedance and the 4th world dimensions of Niagara / Spomenici for something close to Conny Plank’s work on Les Vampyrettes, and definitely Fortirer et Reche for a killer sort of hardcore rave mutation. Big recommendation!
Versatile’s Gilbert adds: “It was Vladimir Ivkovic who introduced me to the world of Rex Ilusivii. A world where the spirit of a genius holds sway. I remember spending an entire night at Vladimir's house in Germany, listening to all those recovered pieces, and feeling like I had entered another space-time.
Mitar tragically left us, one November night in 1999 in Brazil, leaving behind an extensive body of work consisting of more than 500 pieces, for the most part never released. Being submerged in such a unique universe, so singular, brought me happiness. It also filled me with hope, because I tell myself that today there must be many other outstanding musicians who produce in the shadow of the traditional circuit, just for the pleasure of making music.
Listening to the music of Mitar Subotić makes you part of his world. He did not stop producing from 1983 to 1999, in different styles, but with an instantly recognizable touch.His music also marries the evolution of recording techniques with new instruments that have appeared over this time, from the TR808 to the digital samplers. It took me more than two years to select the music for this record, as each time I listened to the material it revealed other details and other possibilities.
I am extremely happy and honored to present this record to you, in which I try to do justice to the different, "versatile" facets of Suba.”
Ravishing, dramatic and rambunctious chops from sax virtuoso and Joy O collaborator Ben Vince accompanied by Micachu, Rupert Clervaux, Merlin Nova, Valentina Magaletti and Cam Deas. Definitely one of the strongest WTN? drops in memory. RIYL Diamanda Galas, Chaines, Karl D’Silva, Colin Stetson
“‘Assimilation’ dives right in with Vince assuming downtown skronk, perfectly complementing the commanding no-wave theatrical vocal prowess of Merlin Nova. ‘Alive & Ready’ serves as an avant-garde energy blast, launching us into orbit.
Ben’s next spatial movement glides towards ‘What I can see’, a collaboration with Mica Levi, here donning her Micachu moniker to deliver her signature downcast experimental pop dexterity across Vince’s beautifully treated sax scape. The results are a moving, considered, crafted piece which undeniably nods towards Arthur Russell’s ‘World of Echo’, encompassing that same timeless, ethereal beauty.
Mica and Ben’s moment of longing melancholy is short lived, as we’re shuffled along to ‘Sensory Crossing’, a collaboration with Rupert Clervaux in which he evidences his groundings in Jazz percussion, experimental electronics, and deep interest in ethnomusicology - further exploring and expanding on the basin navigated during his collaborative album with Beatrice Dillon ‘Studies I-XVII for Samplers and Percussion’ to create a blanket of bubbling, wired, frenzied yet fluid motorik groove. Vince’s improvisation here remains restrained throughout, conversing with Rupert’s movements rather than attempting to shadow or overshadow them, an idea which perhaps is cemented in his exclamation that “Collaboration, and also the wider idea of 'communicating' in general, is, for me, assimilating the other, becoming the other, at least temporarily, to forge a point of connection. When we are able to let down our barriers, let ourselves affect and be affected, we can truly communicate.”
‘Tower of Cells’, another percussion led collaboration features drummer Valentina Magaletti (Editions Mego), and sonic explorer Cam Deas (Death of Rave). Magaletti’s immersive, hypnotic, & deep styling holds firm Deas’ synth transmissions & Vince’s wandering, brooding, layered sax drone across 10 minutes of truly refreshing alien Jazz – Think the Necks mixed by Scientist on this one.
‘Assimilation’ rolls us out in fine style with Vince riding solo. Fluttering tonal Sax lines build and build before become interspersed with layers of fourth world styled exotic flurries. Held together by a single perpetual hypnotic bass thud ‘Assimilation’ brings to mind the similarly exotic experimental works of Muslimgauze & Jon Hassell. This final track essentially serves as a space for some reflection, joyously winding down a journey which manages to truly make the ethereal and the intense run alongside each other in perfect harmony.”
Upfront dancefloor heat from Mexico via Athens: Siete Catorce spins a class vinyl debut for Hypermedium with a mesh of grimy garage, deep techno and dembow ballistics to follow up the label's boundary-probing releases by Audioboyz, Evol and N.M.O.’s Ruben Patiño.
Working four smartly variegated hybrids of hyperlocal Mexicali styles and outernational pressure systems, Marco Polo Gutierrez a.k.a. Siete Catorce speaks to contemporary ‘floors with a unique grasp of rhythmic grammar and spaced-out, melancholic atmospheres that mark a fine progression from his previous digital drops with NAAFI and Enchufada since 2012.
On the front face he whisks dembow bumps into a recursive froth with subtly psychedelic and humid atmospheres giving way to lush pads and delirious voices in Risa, before calving off into sort of deep, mutant garage techno terrain recalling Batu or J. Albert in the standout Canto. With the flipside he goes more abstract, spacious yet still dead rugged in the grimy flux of Susurro, while Dialogo keeps the vibe sharply defined but open-ended with fluidly knotted dembow drums and viscous rave bass.
It’s a proper solid sound for anyone checking Debit, Lotic, Xyn Cabal or Batu.
Brandon Hocura’s Séance centre dishes out Joanne Forman’s deliciously pastoral score for vocals, synths, flutes and guitar, ‘Cave Vaults of The Moon’, some 30 years after it was first imagined, realised, and then left in stasis. A truly magnificent find, exactly the kind one might expect from the likes of Hocura, and a perfect addition to this beautiful label venture. RIYL the gentler aspects of László Hortobágyi, Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton’s’Music And Poetry Of the Kesh’, or the Wicker Man soundtrack
“We humans, the nascent beings that we are, still haven’t quite figured out the full potential of music. Dancing, meditating, emoting, protesting; these are all pretty basic. But what if we communicated more complex ideas with music? What if we codified all of our activities with music? This idea came to composer Joanne Forman when she was commissioned to create the soundscape for an environmental exhibition of sculpture called Artifacts from an Alien Civilization in 1987. The sculptures, elaborate ruins that had been found on the moon, begged the question: who created them and for what purpose?
Joanne Forman imagined that Earth’s moon was a vacation spot for advanced beings from another galaxy. Cave Vaults of the Moon became a collection of sonic texts describing the fun things that went on there; earth-viewing, collecting information, building and playing. In her mind the sculptures in the exhibit were the remnants of a deserted playground of moon castles.
Forman’s playful score for voice, Ensoniq Mirage, Juno 106, flute, guitar and effects, wafted through the exhibit every day for a month and then lay dormant for nearly 30 years. Unearthed here, Cave Vaults of the Moon sounds prescient and timeless, as if the Wicker Man had been scored by Pep Llopis, and we now have the opportunity to reimagine the messages contained within it. Restored and remastered and cut using DMM.”
First vinyl edition of Wave Field; Portuguese artist Rafael Toral’s sublime sophomore study in liquified, resonant, processed electric guitar harmonics. Taken from the definitive CD version issued by Jim O’Rourke and David Grubbs’ Dexter’s Cigar sublabel of Drag City in 1998, which includes an expanded version of Wave Field 5, and now newly pre-mastered by the artist, with full remaster and vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, this is effectively the perfect jump-off point for the proceeding twenty-odd years (and counting) of his oeuvre.
Taking Alvin Lucier’s pivotal piece I Am Sitting In A Room, and the experience of acoustic infidelity at a Nirvana concert in 1994 as his cue points, Rafael uses his electric guitar to generate plangent, smeared overtones which keen and curdle in seemingly infinite space around an elusively shifting centre, locating a sound which is either ambient or noise, depending on the volume its played. The A-side’s 31 minute Wave Field 5 is arguably one of Rafel’s earliest, definitive masterworks, and shares this plate with the freer, shorter breadth of Wave Field 6, and the almost ambient-pop-noise of his lushly bitter, coruscating Wave Field radio edit.
Codename: Dustsucker, the 2nd and final Bark Psychosis album, is a gently kaleidoscopic follow-up to their seminal début, Hex. Originally dispatched 10 years after their first album, Codename: Dustsucker  factors in a more sprawling set of experimental coordinates alongside their dream pop and harmonious shoegaze roots, also exploring deftly woven strands of lilting folk, post-club acid, breezy jazz and a stylistic reverance to Talk Talk crossed with more distinctly British sensibilities.
It would be difficult for any band to follow up a début album of Hex’s magnitude, so Bark Psychosis, the group revolving sometime D&B producer Graham Sutton and experimental noise-rocker Colin Bradley (Splintered) understandably took another 10 years and a plethora of creative decisions to come up with a record which didn’t repeat the formulat, but instead rendered their early sound from new perspectives.
In the 14 years since it was released, Codename: Dustsucker has become a cult favourite, a fact based on its timelessly dusky appeal, and one reflected in the steep price for 2nd hand copies. This new edition, recut over two discs for optimal fidelity and immersion in their beautifully layered sound, is set to grip a whole new wave of sensitive souls searching for a near-perfect late night listen. Especially fans of The Remote Viewer/Hood, and Mark Hollis/Talk Talk.
Delroy Edwards puts his back into a 14 track jack pack for his bro’s at L.I.E.S., smartly reprising the styles that first garnered feverish acclaim to his 4 Club Use Only 12” back in 2012
Where the last few years seen him trading in fuzzed up and slowed down funk, these tracks coolly modulate the energy level between dreamy, gritty house grooves and infectious tracky business; first getting into gear with the warped Gherkin Jerk of Killer Charlie, to cycle thru highlights such as the deep blue stride of MMT8 Jam, the chiming head-high jack of Swingin’ The Bitch, and onto raw-ass early Chi knocks with Barefoot In The Park, a very cheeky edit of a Jamal Moss edit (if we’re not mistaken) in Beat, and some suave low slung sheeeet on Friday Night.
OK, there’s no ‘floor breaking gear, but for the lo-fi debonaires, this one’s shotting heat.
Róisín Murphy heads up the 1st of 4 x 12”s produced by Maurice Fulton to be dispatched over summer 2018.
All My Dreams catches her low slung and brooding over a tribalist groove recalling a stripped down version of Savage Progress’ Heart Begins to Beat, whereas Innocence is ruder, swaggering, jacked up with clonky SoYo-mets-NYC Salsoul pressure.
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis come together once more to score brand new thriller ‘Wind River’, directed by ‘Sicario’ writer Taylor Sheridan and starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner.
“The soundtrack to the beautiful ‘Wind River’ was first and foremost the incessant wind or the grieving silence of the snow,” Cave and Ellis said in a press release. “Amid those elemental forces, we made a kind of ghost score where voices whisper and choirs rise up and die away and electronics throb and pulse.”
This score is instantly reminiscent of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘Skeleton Tree’, along with the pair’s recent acclaimed scores to ‘Hell Or High Water’ and ‘Lawless’.
10LP boxset featuring the albums: The Shape Of Jazz To Come (1959), Change Of The Century (1959), This Is Our Music (1960), Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation (1960), Ornette!(1961), Ornette On Tenor (1961), The Art Of Improvisers (1970), Twins (1971), To Whom Who Keeps A Record (1975), and The Ornette Coleman Legacy (1993.)
"Probably the most influential avant-garde musician in the world, Ornette Coleman has been a leading force in jazz since his startling debut in the late ’50s, Coleman’s emotive alto saxophone style relies on melodic improvisation unbound by chord changes. This style (and philosophy) was dubbed by Ornette "harmelodics" and reached its peak in a small combo whose virtuoso playing had the power of the blues and the multi-rhythmic sophistication of Monk, Mingus, or Coltrane.
The landmark series of albums Coleman released in the late ’50s and early ’60s still define the shape of jazz to come. This 10-LP deluxe box set showcases the "free jazz" pioneer’s most seminal sides, featuring his entire recorded output for Atlantic Records from 1959 to 1962.
New essay by jazz writer Ben Ratliff."
Great collection of hard-to-find and unreleased early synth works by Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel), all picked out and sequenced chronologically by the man hisself with Klaus D. Mueller
“Klaus Schulze is a German electronic music pioneer, composer and musician that needs very little introduction. In the late sixties & early seventies he was a member of several iconic bands such as ‘Tangerine Dream’, ‘The Cosmic Jokers’ & ‘Ash Ra Tempel’ before launching a solo career consisting of more than 60 albums released across five decades. Collaborations were numerous and highlights include working with Steve Winwood, Arthur Brown & Alphaville… just to name a few.
Klaus Schulze’s proto moog-synthesizer work is regarded as a milestone in electronic music & during the decades he released landmark albums in genres catalogued as ‘Ambient’, ‘Electronic’, ‘New Age’, ‘Berlin School’, ‘Experimental’, ‘Kosmische Musik’ & ‘Krautrock’. Mr. Schulze had a more organic sound than most electronic artists of the time, often he would throw in decidedly non-electronic sounds such as acoustic guitar and a male operatic voice. Schulze is also known for developing a Minimoog technique that sounds uncannily like an electric guitar, which is quite impressive in concert.
On occasions he would also compose film scores such as Body Love (1977), Barracuda (1978), Next of Kin (1982), & Angst (1983). His best known song ‘Freeze’ has been used in films like Manhunter (1986) and more recently in Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Bling Ring’ from 2013.
In 2009, producer Klaus D. Mueller and Schulze began releasing La Vie Electronique ("The Electronic Life"), a series of sets that collected rare sought-after early works & unreleased tracks put in chronological sequence. These sets contain some of the best music Klaus ever created and are early 70’s masterworks that will appeal to both fans and collectors.”
2018 repress of Visible Cloaks’ self-titled début, offering a timely opportunity for anyone enchanted by their sides for RVNG Intl a fine chance to catch up with the charms of Portland’s arch Japanophiles.
Originally issued in 2015, Visible Cloaks was Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran’s first attempt at recreating and paying homage to the sounds found in their utterly sublime, cultishly acclaimed Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo mixes of early-mid ‘80s 4th world and ambient synth music from Japan.
Coming from a background in psychedelia as members of Eternal Tapestry and RV Paintings, Carlile and Doran brought their new project to fruition in gorgeous style, dealing in a style of light-bent and gently warped ambient structures which neatly consolidated their psych tastes with the structures, themes and tone of the Japanese sound which exerts so much influence over modern electronic styles.
The A-side revolves four deliquescent beauties between the hyaline rubs and iridescent scales of Wind Voice and the synthetic choral cadence of Vocal Study, while their B-side extends those those ideas over a totally enchanting side 15 minutes of flighty tones and bubbling rhythms emulating avian motion and chatter and leading to moments of sublime revelation.