Berlin lynchpin Kareem dons his hip hop bonnet for a very welcome return to the hard instrumental beat-breaking flex of his prized 12”s on Zhark sublabel, Ramadan
Fair to say, back in the day, we were a bit obsessed with Kareem’s string of releases between 2002’s ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ album and the ‘Battlefield’ and ‘Neoclassical’ EPs launched in 2003. Patently skooled in the hard knocks of RZA and Havoc, but shy of vocals save for an amazing Tikiman/Paul St. Hilaire turn on the stone classic ‘Curfew’, they stood out from the crowd and ostensibly marked a stark contrast with Kareem’s less than salubrious industrial techno workouts, or his fine vein of dark ambient, until his later work with Shadowhuntaz.
Nearly 20 years later, on ‘Zones of Significant Time’ he’s reprised the vibe at its coldest, hardest in 11 instrumentals built from granite-cut drums, bleak strings and horns in a classic late ‘90s model, but edged with the kind of brooding force of early productions by The Bug, DJ Krush or Spectre, with dead strong highlights strewn between the acidic tang of ‘Come Crawling’, the scowling showdown scene of ‘The Last Concrete Beach’, and the bone-powdering drums of ‘Psychology of the Crater’, with some proper thuggish skullduggery reserved to the dungeon rap styles of ‘Zodiac 2021’ and cranky jigginess of ‘Necropolis.’
Venerable, iconic electric guitarists Connors and Ambarchi commune for the first time on record in a mesmerising confluence of abstract and psychedelic blues variants that feel like “each is drawing the others’ portrait on opposite sides of a translucent sheet”...
After working with a shared pool of peers and collaborators for decades (Jim O’Rourke, Keiji Haino among them), ‘Leone’ sees Loren Connors bring over Oren Ambarchi in a masterfully conversational back & forth. The trio of pieces pay testament to the players’ stylistic singularity and technical dexterity as much as the openness of their visions, demonstrating a willingness to be drawn outside of themselves and push forms outside their lines, and creating ghostly and ravishingly beautiful apparitions in the process.
Connors takes the lead with ‘Leone’, spelling out 23’ of spectral graffiti with a not-so-typical sense of aggression, using distortion in a way that seems to make the big air of his sound rust and crinkle while pealing, silvery notes and doomed, clawed riffs crackle thru the murk, joined by ripples of strangely organ-like voices that suggest a reimagining of Connors’ beloved vocal arias. In duo on ‘Ronnel’ Connors follows into a more sublime space, stroking out shimmering melodic licks against Ambarchi’s shifting backdrop of viscous low end and texturised strings, but they soon knot and congeal to resolve in more chaotic, and then forlorn, shape, leaving Ambarchi in the nakedly plangent ’Solo’, picking out smoke-trails of electric guitar surely complementary of his collaborator, but also prone to go further into the cobwebbed crannies of that sound with the kind of probing, improvisational skill that makes him one of only a handful of artists we can think of who could step to Connors holding his own.
Parisian organist and composer Hampus Lindwall drops acid on the MMXX series with 20’ of playful but discretely minimalist TB-303 tweaks after previously contributing to collaborations with Phill Niblock, Susanna Santos Silva, and Thorbjörn Zetterberg
Precisely not the sort of thing you’d expect from someone who usually performs in churches, ‘Lost & Found’ sees Lindwall really put the silver box thru its paces in an EVOL-ian style, wrenching a mind-spanking array of virtuosic acid solos shorn of their usual percussive accompaniment. He certainly knows his way around the machine, twisting its envelopes into gurning misshapes ranging from focussed low end modulations to screaming, throaty assaults and wobbly asides with a smart balance of daftness and expressive intuition.
Of all the Sakamoto/YMO reissues, this is the one we’ve waited for the most. Hidari Ude No Yume (Left Handed Dream) was released in 1981 and is here reissued for the first time in decades in its rare Japanese edition - beautifully remastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman and sounding better than we’ve ever heard it before, including a 2LP version with a bonus album of instrumental versions pressed on vinyl for the first time ever.
Recorded during a pivotal period for Sakamoto - around the same time as his stunning ‘Bamboo Houses’ with David Sylvian, and in between two classic YMO albums, 'Hidari Ude No Yume basically sounds quite unlike anything he made before or since its release, a sort of anthology of pop interiors made with hi-gloss synths and unexpected edits, from farm animals to simmering, percolated drum machines.
‘Hidari Ude No Yume’ was Sakamoto’s follow-up to the seminal ‘B-2 Unit’, and sees him smudge that album’s angularities into weirder shapes that are somehow both more experimental and oddly accessible. The newly available instrumental versions offer previously unheard perspectives on the remarkably detailed production; including an amazing tweaked-out and extended mix of ‘Relâché’, plus a beautifully slippery mix of the album’s best known highlight, ‘Kacha Kucha Nee’.
It’s a sound that has had countless imitators and acolytes; using the newest Japanese synths, traditional percussion, and his own vocals to create a sort of infectiously rhythmic future-primitivism recalling his work with David Sylvian in the Eastern electro orientation and new wave vocal affectations of ‘Living In The Dark’ and 'Saru To Yuki Gomi No Kodomo’, which also sound incredible in their brighter instrumentals, along with more avant jags into collaged 4th world electro-steppers on ‘Sarunoie,’ and a psychedelic masterwork in the strutting ace ‘The Garden Of Poppies.’
What a record.
A second knockout album of psych-pop noise genius from Cindy Lee in 2020, chasing up AOTY contender ‘What’s Tonight To Eternity’ with a bouquet of more tormented, ragged pop and post-punk synth noise for Superior Viaduct - think Suicide meets Sonic Youth and Scott Walker at the Velvets’ gaff.
Are you even allowed to have two insanely strong albums out in one year? Well it’s 2020 and rules are being broken, so allow Cindy Lee to proceed with ‘Model Express’; an equally jaw-dropping collection of extraordinary song-writing and uchronic alloys of ‘80s synths and shoegaze guitars with unforgettable vocals and symphonic string arrangements, by the Canadian artist aka Pet Flegel of indie group Women. Most uncannily, where their previous album was a core part of our soundtrack to the first phase of lockdown, this follow-up arrives with perfect timing to accompany the second and what’s bound to be a long, cold, strange winter.
Daringly experimental but totally pop and song-based at heart, ‘Model Express’ is perhaps best regarded as the noirishly cinematic and melancholy partner to 'What’s Tonight To Eternity'. They’re still unafraid to drench their songs in ravishing walls of sculpted feedback and cybernoir synths on the likes of their crazed title track, and in the brilliantly queered synth-pop keen of ‘What I Need (Alternate Version)’ for much of the first half. But now they also make time for heartbreaking, opiated drone-pop, such as the slunky Scott Walker-style groover ‘What Can I Do’, their stunning ‘Left Hand Path’, and an achingly brilliant cover of ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’, while the ghostly, pitching string arrangement on ‘Diamond Ring’ and the keening chorale of ‘Be My Shining Star’ surely leave us in no doubt: Cindy Lee records are one of the only good things about this cursed year.
Sunn 0)))’s Stephen O’Malley takes us to an exceedingly quiet and sublime place on Öst-Väst Sommaren, his full length contribution to the MMXX series of original works that’s already featured releases from Jim O’Rourke, John Duncan, CM Von Hausswolff and more.
Recorded in Ostermalm & Orust and subsequently mixed at EMS, Stockholm last summer, O’Malley sheds his doom robes for an extended session of anxiety-easing drone bliss in a style that we simply haven’t heard him do before.
Arriving with a chorus of cicadas, the work takes shape as a sustained, wavering organ drone of warm, gently radiant hues that flicker like slow candlelight in a spectrum ranging from almost bruised purple subharmonics to softer pink timbres in the higher registers. It barely shifts in appearance, save for the fade out and reemergence of the cicadas (perhaps the same ones attributed to sonic warfare attacks on the Cuban embassy?), but completely holds our attention for the duration with a sallow cadence that only becomes apparent with closer, involved immersion.
It’s an engrossing study that requires very little effort for total immersion, highly recommended for the good of your health.
The French young composer is the link between the most accomplished scholarly music and some radical aspects of noise. Born in Toulouse mid-seventies, he settles in Brussels - which becomes the crossroads of a continuous creation. Currently works and has been collaborating since several years with numerous European ensembles and musicians such as Ensemble
"Unfinished Altar His most recent pieces intimately mix instrumental timbre and sound hybridization, cultivating a certain secrecy around this alchemy. Here more than everywhere else, Christophe Guiraud's new compositions create a dialogue between the times, from the polyphony of Ars Nova to Spectralism, while integrating his noise heritage.
Resolutely an-historical, the last pieces presented here unfold in a trembling stagnation. Performers The ensemble of the pieces creates coherence across a wide range of musicians coming from different places and traditions and from different ensembles - everything is woven together towards a rather spectacular conclusion."
"When Nils Frahm kicked off his world tour at Funkhaus Berlin in January 2018 to bring his highly acclaimed studio album All Melody to the stage, an ambitious journey was just to begin: Over the next two years, Frahm played more than 180 sold-out performances, including the Sydney Opera House, LA’s Disney Hall, the Barbican in London, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, and several big festival stages around the globe. Yet the stunning setting of Funkhaus Berlin, renowned for its vintage grandeur and outstanding acoustics, and also home to Frahm’s magnificent studio where All Melody was recorded, had occupied a unique place in the artist's heart.
In December 2018, Nils Frahm eventually returned to Funkhaus Berlin to host another set of four shows, tickets sold out within hours. Frahm’s friend and film director Benoit Toulemonde — a collaborator since 2011 — captured the concerts on film, only using handheld cameras, and employing techniques he had mastered for the famous concert series La Blogotèque, which featured some of the world’s most popular artists. Tripping with Nils Frahm is an illustration of Nils’s lauded ability as a composer and passionate live artist as well as the enchanting atmosphere of his captivating, and already legendary Funkhaus shows: An extraordinary musical trip – rare and exclusive, close and intimate, bringing a unique concert experience to the screen.
"It was about time to document my concerts in picture and sound, trying to freeze a moment of this period where my team and I were nomads, using any method of travel to play yet another show the next day. Maybe tonight is the night where everything works out perfectly and things fall into place? Normally things go wrong with concerts, but by combining our favorite moments of four performances, we were able to achieve what I was trying to do in these two years of touring: getting it right! When you hear the applause on the end of the film you should know that I was smiling happily, being a tad proud and feeling blessed to share these moments with you.
Much love, Nils"
Reissue of Mika Vainio's final album under the Ø moniker...
Following on from the crushing technoid scapes of 'Kilo' under his own name and the blackened alloys of his ÄÄNIPÄÄ album with Stephen O'Malley, 'Konstellaatio' reveals the revered producer at his most sensitive, teetering on the brink of the abyss and projecting to the stars. Between the goosebump-inducing panoramic pads of opener 'Otava' and the twinkling electro-dub of closer 'Takaisin' we're made privy to some of the strongest material in his whole oeuvre, and we really don't say that lightly.
His tactile manipulation of bass and sub-bass dynamics and spacious application of pure, isolated frequencies is just mindblowing, evoking imagery on sub-atomic scales. Far from being an academic exercise in production, there's an awe-inspiring and compelling sense of pathos and wonder at its core owing as much to the grandeur of Beethoven as it does the diffuse sound sculptures of Parmegiani.
It's pointless listening to this material on shit speakers because you're gonna miss half of it's extreme subtleties, but for those who know and care about this music, prepare to bunker down with one of Vainio's finest.
Woozy and ineffably funky trypbient experimentation from Nigerian installation artist Emeka Ogboh. Like halftempo D&B crossed with Artificial Intelligence Warp or Mo'Wax "Headz"-era goodness, augmented with the organic vs cybernetic percussive shuffle of Amazondotcom or DJ Python... jaw fully dropped.
We're just a few days into the new year and have already been blessed with a record that's been stuck on rotation since it landed. Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh assembled "Beyond the Yellow Haze" for his 2018 exhibition "No Condition is Permanent", an installation that explored Lagos through sound and video, mapping out the transient, shifting nature of the cityscape. Splitting his time between the Nigerian capital and Berlin, Ogboh paints slow-mo electronic grooves that heave and wind hypnotically, pulling threads of influence from across the musical spectrum and stitching them into a vivid, unique cyberfunk vista.
It's temping to compare this album to the brittle, android funk of Warp's first "Artificial Intelligence" comp and Mo'Wax's influential "Headz". Those sets of vital post-rave experiments bloomed in the shadow of Detroit techno and British hardcore; here, Ogboh's slithering grooves feel like a similar reaction to the unrelenting minimal throb of Berlin, as seen through an outsider's eyes. Techno, both the boundless root sound that was born in Black America and Berghain's polished, pneumatic 4/4, is the magic bean that grows each track. Yet fertilized with Ogboh's Nigerian cultural experiences it takes on fresh character: TR-909 kicks are replaced with woodblock clacks; soul-dimming electronic drugdrones are swapped with lively marketplace chatter, cascading rainfall and bellowing car horns.
Ogboh is a master of restraint, giving DJ Python a run for his money as he slowly cycles through skeletal percussive loops that dodge and swing, rather than sit comfortably on the grid. Womping hoover basses appear occasionally, trapped in the space between the club and the afters, avoiding basic utility but imprisoning the memory of some messy function or another in some random city. It's a startling achievement, triggering warm feelings of familiarity and electroplating them, hammering them into a chromium world that's a couple of hyperjumps beyond Lagos or Berlin.
We're completely obsessed: whether you're into the burn'd mind haze of Burial, Tricky and Space Afrika or Amazondotcom and Slikback's lysurgic inverted club, you're not gonna want to pass this up.
Vis-A-Vis released 13 albums between 1975 and 1982, of which Obi Agye Me Dofo remains the most sought after. Led by vocalist Isaac ‘Superstar’ Yeboah and featuring Sammy Cropper on guitar, Slim Manu on bass and Gybson ‘Shaolin Kung-Fu’ Papra on drums, Vis-A-Vis helped propel K. Frimpong to fame as one of Ghana’s most popular stars of the 1970s.
"Obi Agye Me Dofo’s iconic title track, with its lilting Afrobeat groove membellished by jazz horns, cosmic synth keys and wandering guitar solo, is very much in the mold of Frimpong’s big hits. The eight-minute Kankyema shows how Vis-A-Vis could lock into a propelling funk groove with Superstar Yeboah’s soulful vocals riding on top, whilst, across side two, Vis-A-Vis display themselves as masters of a spiralling, hypnotic Highlife."
Vis-A-Vis released 13 albums between 1975 and 1982. Led by vocalist Isaac ‘Superstar’ Yeboah and featuring Sammy Cropper on guitar, Slim Manu on bass and Gybson ‘Shaolin Kung-Fu’ Papra on drums, Vis-A-Vis helped propel K. Frimpong to fame as one of Ghana’s most popular stars of the
"On some of Frimpong’s albums, they also overlapped as part of his other recording band, the Cubano Fiestas."
For fans of Four Tet, The Chemical Brothers, Jamie xx, Bonobo, Caribou / Daphni, Aphex Twin.
"Belfast-born London-based duo Bicep (Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson) release their hotly anticipated ten track second album ‘Isles’, via Ninja Tune. Two years in the making, ‘Isles’ expands on the artful energy of their 2018 debut ‘Bicep’, while digging deeper into the sounds, experiences and emotions that have influenced their lives and work, from early days in Belfast to their move to London a decade ago. Lead track ‘Apricots’ is steeped in a shimmering bath of warm synths, its spare percussion and arresting vocals bring big room chills while still evoking something lost or forlorn."
First original Kode 9 trax since 2015! The Hyperdub boss makes up for lost time with two sharp shots of mutant juke chicanery at the front of 2021
To be fair he’s not been quiet over the intervening years, issuing everything from remixes of classic computer game music to rare dubs off his Katasonix label (run with Mark Fisher), but ‘The Jackpot EP’ firmly makes up for a lack of new solo gear with two upfront and elusive workouts that read the pulse of the times.
His title cut is a full frontal raver, channelling 30 years of futurist dancefloor energy into a bucking form of ghetto-tech that rolls off-the-bone between slamming 4/4 and drill-style swag, twysted with shearing chromatic synths. However, ‘Rona City Blues’ is the one for us, applying vapourized synth thizz to skeletal percussion and heart-racing subs in a wickedly tense, but barely there, mutation of early footwork-juke and the up-to-the-second styles also explored by Rian Treanor or 33EMYBW.
Hanz hits up Tri Angle with part 2 of his Plasty session
Veering from mutant swing techno in Number One Stain and the febrile cut-up The Approach, to take in his favoured drum breaks on Psychic Dog, whilst Fifty Yard Stare and Clutched recall the CDJazz of OAHT, and Three Min Surgery hearkens back to late ‘90s NYC illbient.
Following on from releases for Black Truffle and Shelter Press over the last 12 months, as well as publishing a manifesto for the future of music and presiding over the artistic direction of the GRM, François J. Bonnet unveils his latest Kassel Jaeger album with an exceptional side of mournful synth drone on a standout contribution to the impressive MMXX series.
Over the past decade Bonnet has emerged as a vital new figure within his field via a string of solo and collaborative gems with likeminds such as Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Stephan Mathieu, and Giuseppe Ielasi, that place his work as a continuation and expansion of classic experimental lineage. Everything he’s released over the last 12 months has scratched an itch, but Vol Sombre is quite unlike anything we’ve heard from him before, unfurling with dystopian romance and dread that almost sounds like Autechre’s most downcast productions, deployed with a quivering lip.
Over 20 minutes Bonnet demonstrates a knack for creating discrete sonic ecologies with a gorgeous tract of swaying, slightly curdled melody and viscous harmonic shifts that connote the sentiment of the piece’s title, opening time and place for elegiac contemplation that shouldn’t be missed by lovers of the most strangely affective electro-acoustic abstractions.
Proper stunner this one.
The don daddy of drone music, proper, gets down to business with totally gripping results for the ace MMXX series, commissioned by Matière Mémoire.
Phill Niblock’s reputation almost ineffably precedes him as one of the 20th century’s most inspirational and lauded pioneers of drone music at its most elemental and affective. From an epiphanic formative experience of his motorcycle engine’s drone harmonising with that of a truck on the same road, to Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehberg’s KTL titling killer cuts after him on ‘V’, Niblock has been key to defining the shape and weight of contemporary drone music for decades, and here proves his mettle in a quietly immense slab built from keening, sustained string pitches provided by four artists - Arne Deforce (cello), Deborah Walker (cello), Erik Drescher (flute) and Dafne Vicent Sandova (bassoon), all captured and recorded in Marcus Schmickler’s studio in Koln, with a Brauner microphone.
Where others in the series have tended toward the sublime, in ‘Browner’ Phill embraces a sort of palpably negative and needling energy thru layers of gnawing strings sustained at a wickedly dissonant tilt, coolly modulating their intensity between swarm of bees-like buzz to breathlessly vise-like with something of an avant-folkwise lilt that, to our ears, resonates with the music of his forebears Tony Conrad, Harley Gaber, and Giacinto Scelsi as much as the infinite blacknuss of deep space.
Mind-expanding cello experiments for brave listeners: Judith Hamann approaches her instrument in completely unique ways, shifting expectations completely.
'Shaking Studies' is Judith Hamann's latest as a solo performer, and she uses this opportunity to examine the sonic possibilities of shaking. Channeling her body's rhythm in innovative ways, she expresses her own vibrations through the cello, allowing it to influence the shape of the sound completely. This is head melting stuff, music for anyone sick of the seemingly-endless drip drip of contemporary cello music that's about as gripping as a Hallmark card. There's no manipulative melancholy or awkward storytime cinema here, it's an exercise in sound and the body's impact on that sound.
Hamann's exploration of the cello is shockingly rigorous. She takes readings of the pulse of the cello, using them to shake against the strings, creating alien tones that create a backdrop for the entire listening experience. This isn't a record that can be classified easily - Hamann rejects the order of Western musical logic, instead searching for a sound than can only be described as fully human.
Locked grooves from Blood Orange, Arca, Clairo, 100 gecs, Kenny Beats, Dominic Fike, Four Tet, Floating Points, Vegyn, Duval Timothy, HAIM, Kelsey Lu, King Kurle, Loraine James, Mica Levi, Mura Masa, object blue, Oli XL, Shygirl, Zsela and more...
"In partnership with Arts Council England, London-based record label PLZ Make It Ruins have today announced a 40-track compilation of original loops from popular artists across the spectrum of contemporary music. Each track is exactly 1.8 seconds long and has been crafted with the intention of being looped repeatedly, creating a uniquely hypnotic rhythm. The compilation is set for release on December 4th 2020 with net proceeds from the release as well as the project’s merch package being split between ACLU and Liberty UK - organisations that fight systemic inequality on both sides of the Atlantic.
Among the list of contributors are Blood Orange, Arca, Clairo, 100 gecs, Kenny Beats, Dominic Fike, Four Tet, Floating Points, label head Vegyn and many more. Artwork for the project comes from Isha Dipika and Travis Brothers. Please see below for a full list of participants. The phenomenon of locked grooves is something that has captured the attention of DJs and record collectors alike for decades; the final note on a record forming a coherent loop as the album comes to a close, creating its own abstract beat. This abstract beat is then used by DJs as a tool to seamlessly blend tracks after the song’s final moments. This purpose is the genesis of the idea behind the project, allowing popular artists from all genres of music to give their own take on the formula with a host of different sounds and atmospheres. The project launched today with a one-off special on NTS, hosted by Vegyn, that explores the music of all the project’s contributors, as well as including a mix created from all 40 loops on the project."
Powell 2.0 indulges fascinations with avant computer music, following lines of his early work into more oblique aesthetics and functions, but just about keeping a foot on the ‘floor with ‘acid always equal to the base’, and allowing for some melodic pathos in ‘rise, world unfold iii’
“on the feet of a wind is a wild assemblage of carbonated synthetic music from Powell and a sister record to ‘flash across the intervals’ and ‘multiply the sides’ — two albums already released in 2020. The record is released via a folder, a new music and film platform created by Powell, Michael Amstad and Marte Eknæs that bundles up music, film, image, text and other forms of madness into folders that are shared/expanded here at afolder.studio.
a folder is a collection of disorienting works of experimental film, ambiguous texts, and other assorted media set to the most brazenly strange and formlessly mesmerising musical structures of Powell’s career. It’s also a work of artistic assemblage — without fixed notions of time. Tarkovsky once described his filmmaking as “sculpting in time,” and a folder exists in a similar kind of “zone;” it is a project continuously added to, subtracted from, abstracted, and injected into the glut of cyberspace like a slow moving pathogen that refuses to be defined or categorised. Shunning titles in favour of oblique category markers, films like aƒ34 present a mosaic of images of biological forms and sublime landscapes set to super-synthetic, carbonated compositions. All of this signals an artist liberated from the confines of the narrow branding signifiers an electronic musician can find themselves in. While it is aware of its place in cyberspace, this project also connects to something primordial and awesome. “Xenakis talked about creating universes with sound,” says Powell, “and we are all free to create our own worlds in life, art — whatever. This is what happened to me in a way: I have been in this world for three years or something, and I don’t really want to leave. The folder is a refuge.’”
Recorded at INA GRM and Steamroom, covering a period of thirty years, the gap between the two visits Jim O'Rourke made to the GRM, featuring Eiko Ishibashi on piano, Atsuko Hatano on violin and viola and Eivind Lonning on trumpet .
"Shutting Down Here" is an exceptional recording, commencing GRM's brand new series of releases "Portraits GRM" and covering 30 years of activity from Jim O'Rourke. O'Rourke first visited the studio as a dedicated fan in the 1980s, returning three decades later with his own legend now set in stone. But the pre-supposed dialog between apprentice and master is difficult to excavate; the sounds presented on "Shutting Down Here" melt into each other: piano from Eiko Ishibashi, viola and violin from Atsuko Hatano, Eivind Lonning's trumpet and electronics and other elements from O'Rourke himself.
It's a graceful, poignant fusion of past, present and future, with fragmented pre-digital cyber-drones mutating into acoustic textures, swelling into jubilance or deep-diving into whirlpools of dissonant doom. There's a story here, somewhere, self-referential and non-linear, sipping the auteur's mysterious legacy and contributing criticality. O'Rourke has dedicated four albums to visionary director Nicolas Roeg (Drag City quadrilogy "Bad Timing", "Eureka", "Insignificance" and "The Visitor"), but "Shutting Down Here" might be closest stylistically to Roeg's idiosyncratic, deconstructed vision.
"Due to the wide dynamic levels, please adjust your volume accordingly."
Lilting, melodic Malian pop by one of the most popular singers from Wassalou region, highly regarded for producing some of the best signers in Mali
"The meaning of “Kanawa” is so simple. We see our children trying to cross the ocean all the time. I said that many of our children die in the ocean and some of them while crossing the Sahara. Some climb over the wires across the borders and they have gotten shot. We have asked them not to leave and instead stay home. But I ask them why do they leave their country? Why do they decide to go? They said that they leave because of the family situation or problems, poverty, and unemployment. We told them if ever they are to leave, they should privilege legal ways.
They should abide by laws vigorously when they are to emigrate. That’s better than hiding in boats or adopting other illegal means. I ask them to stay and work in their country. So that we can help each other find a solution to this problem. I call on the UN and African leaders so that we can coordinate our efforts to find a solution, to create jobs for them so that young people stop leaving. This song is about that message and I chose it as the title of my album because I like it. My choice is because it is very meaningful and it is something we see on a daily basis. I chose it in order to alert and sensitize everybody about this question of illegal immigration. To sensitize our brothers and sisters. It is a message. That’s why I chose it as the title of my album so that everybody can learn from it and also so that there is a reduction in the number of people emigrating. To sensitize them so that some can stay home and grow the land. Leaving is not the only solution. That’s my message."
Fifth studio album from Still Corners.
"Building on 2018’s SLOW AIR, Still Corners return with an album about the myth and folklore of the open road. In a world where everyone thinks all the corners of the map are filled in, Still Corners believe there's something beyond what we see and feel, something eternal in the landscape of those never-ending drives.
With the shimmering desert noir sound the band has become known for, THE LAST EXIT takes you on a hypnotic journey, one filled with dilapidated towns, mysterious shapes on the horizon, and long trips that blur the line between what’s there and not there. Greg says, “We found something out there in the desert – something in the vast landscapes that went on forever."
THE LAST EXIT consists of eleven beautifully crafted songs with organic instrumentation, clean-toned guitar, spacious drums and the smoky croon of Tessa Murray. Album highlights include “The Last Exit”, “White Sands” and “Shifting Dunes” all of which evoke the vast space of the desert and rolling unconcerned skies."
New reissue of Nuno Canavarro's cult, anomalous classic, Plux Quba (1988) - which was previously reissued as the first release on Jim O'Rourke's Moikai label in 1999 (and again in 2004) - prompting a new generation to fall for its surreal and sublime charms.
Making a virtue of squirrelly electronic skips and clustered tones as integral to the composition, Plux Quba effectively, and uncannily, foreshadowed the aesthetics of classic German electronic records by Oval and Mouse on Mars that would emerge in the years after its release. It's possible to explain away the connection by the fact that Christoph Heeman bought and played the record to a circle of friends in Cologne - including MoM's Jan St. Werner among them - and the rest, one could say, is history.
One of only two solo albums recorded by Portugal's Canavarro, it remains a deeply enchanting album - the sort of stuff you might expect to hear in a pink-hued æther dream or documented by Smithsonian Folkways on a mission to other dimensions. With hindsight we can now say that if you're into anything from Oval's Systemische to Actress' RIP or AFX's Computer Controlled Instruments, you're probably susceptible to this sorta magic, too.
Sublime nocturnal compositions from Amir Abbey’s Secret Pyramid, tracing a secretive route thru the dub ether with solemn ambient strains that in places reminds us of Mark Nelson’s Pan American, and at others of Anthony Manning’s peerless Irdial pearls, making for a stunning debut for the always watchable Geographic North.
Recent years have seen the Vancouver, BC resident issue music on Ba Da Bing! and a handy catch-up comp with Gailur, beside production on Loscil’s ‘Equivalents’ album. His first collection of new work since 2017, ‘Embers’ now gathers his thoughts in a significant new suite that’s set to glow like a night light or localised aurora borealis in bedrooms and listening rooms across the world.
Using a typical but fairly rarified set-up of Ondes Martenot, sampler, Space Echo, two tape machines, and a computer, he develops glacially time-lapsed, hauntingly suggestive sceneries that feel like the ephemeral after-images of Ian William Craig, Deathprod or Tape Loop Orchestra.
In his own words, “It’s a reflection of the impermanent, shifting, and fleeting aspects of our lives, both the good and the bad, that often spark something inside of us. Aspects of our daily existence, and the self (whether our emotions, surroundings, relationships,) that are constantly morphing, disappearing, reappearing, burning out, reigniting, and so forth, metaphorically like flares or embers.”
Spend some time with this one and its misty apparitions will draw you right in.
Featuring collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Yo La Tengo, Shara Nova, Mouse on Mars, Francis and the Lights and others...
"The music of CARM features horns in roles typically reserved for drums, guitars and voices, while also escaping the genre categorizations reserved for music featuring an instrumentalist as bandleader. It is not jazz or classical music, nor is it a soundtrack. This is contemporary popular music that features a sound normally used as a background colour and texture as the unabashed lead voice. According to CARM, aka CJ Camerieri, “It started with the question: ‘What kind of record would my trumpet-playing heroes from the past make today?’ I believe they would want to work with the best producers, beat makers, song-writers, and singers to create new, truly culturally relevant music, and that’s what I sought to do with this project.”
Produced in Minneapolis by Ryan Olson (Polica , Lizzo) and featuring collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Yo La Tengo, Shara Nova, Mouse on Mars, Francis and the Lights and many others. This is a completely unique sound that additionally serves as a survey of the collaborations that have come to define the artist’s career thus far. Says Justin Vernon, “I truly believe there isn’t a more accomplished brass player in the entire world of music. And this is way more than a ‘horn’ record. It’s a discovery of new heights with what is possible in creating music.” The album begins with an orchestral brass choir of French horns, which quickly gives way to a piano sample from Francis, as Stevens and Lupin combine voices over a lush bed of horns to sing ‘Song of Trouble’. The album bookends with the same piano sample used as a springboard to an iconic lyric by Vernon in the album closer ‘Land’. Between these two generation-defining artists we have upward sweeping melodies and fanfares reminiscent of Ennio Morricone.
The acutely original sound of Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo in ‘Already Gone’ give way to the virtuoso sound of Nova’s voice. A more experimental path emerges before the strings from Music bring us back to the piano sample that started the record. Instead of recycling well-trodden sounds, CARM offers a respite for those seeking an original voice."
Utterly fab off-world lo-fi pop construxions assembled using DX7, TR-909 and early samplers from Italian minimalist Tiziano Popoli. Imagine Visible Cloaks rescoring "Liquid Sky" and ur there.
Freedom To Spend's latest rifles through the catalog of Italian minimalist composer Tiziano Popoli, unearthing a series of unreleased recordings for soundtracks, radio and installations made between 1983 and 1989 with a modest studio setup. Influenced by glittery radio pop music, Popoli used the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer along with the Roland TR-909 drum machine and some early sampling technology to belt out a series of surreal cues and themes that sound almost frozen in time.
The distinctive FM sound of the DX7 was relegated to bargain bins for too long after practically defining the mid 1980s and early 1990s, but it's received a well overdue resurgence in recent years. Now the familiar sound (smooth, shimmering pads, plasticky stabs and bumping distorted basses) is easily available inside or outside the box, and it's become ubiquitous once again - hearing it here though, struck through with possibility, is an all-too-rare treat. Popoli uses these sounds without cynicism or reference, crafting angular pop forms from a backdrop of funk, prog rock and disco.
'Minimal Dance N.1' sounds like a long-lost Goblin cue, with fractured synths following eerie piano loops. Elsewhere, album centerpiece 'Mimetico Erettile' develops over fifteen minutes, blending paper-thin pads with marimba sounds that buzz lovingly like Steve Reich in an isolation booth. Each track sounds as if it could rattle off the hinges at any moment and that's exactly what we love about it.
Fantastic music that sings loud from a place of innovation and discovery.
Herself is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti, also known as JuJu in more recent years (Fuzz Club) or as part of the psych project LAY LLAMA’S. Herself’s work was described by critics as the harmonious meeting between Sparklehorse, Gravenhurst and Will Oldham.
"Valenti’s songwriting takes inspiration from low-fidelity apocalyptic folk, crooning and pop; boasting a rather extensive discography. Well rooted in tradition, his music often ventures in the realms of subtle experimentation. His new album “Rigel Playground” prepares the listener for a journey through cosmic folk, in which traditional Brit Pop flirts with an alt vein, as if the Beatles and Sparklehorse would meet the torments of Nick Drake and the intimacy of a Mike Scott.
Continuing a long list of illustrious collaborations (Amaury Cambuzat of Ulan Bator, John Fallon of The Steppes,Capra Informis of GOAT, among others), the prestigious guest on this record is Jonathan Donahue from MERCURY REV, a group of absolute prominence in the international indie panorama, which in addition to having lent his voice to the single “The Beast of Love” – as Herself says – informs the essence of the entire record.
Not surprisingly Mercury Rev chose Herself to support them during their Italian tour last year."
Autechre, aye, casually flip SOPHIE’s ‘BIPP' heater into a sort of freestyle pop diamond to get 2021 off on the right foot. We’re massively feeling this...
Way back in 2013, the addictive electro-pop additives of ‘BIPP’ helped position SOPHIE among the decade’s thrilling new talents after introductions made on the ‘Nothing More To Say’ 12”. SOPHIE has since admitted to a formative love of Autechre in interviews, so a certain circle is closed with Æ’s mix of ‘Bipp’, 5 years in the works and emphasising the original’s latin freestyle pop essence with sizzling hi-hat trills and that ultra vocal hook, but here deployed slower and with a rugged assymetry - more goretex than latex? Quite honestly it’s the best thing we’ve heard from Autechre in ages - properly forward, blunted business with a squashed Gescom vibe that pushes a lot of our buttons all at once. Oh and, over on the flip (vinyl-only), a SOPHIE rarity that for the moment shall remain unnamed.
"In 2015 when potential remixes of BIPP were first floated the unequivocal response from SOPHIE was “No remixes..” a long pause followed “..unless it’s Autechre”. We asked, and five years later an email from Autechre arrived “sorry this is so late, hope it's still of some use”. An Autechre live show recording from a Numbers show in 2005 had first inspired SOPHIE to source the equipment used to craft new music including BIPP, LEMONADE & more. The BIPP Autechre mx is 3 minutes 33 seconds long, stripped back and loose. Sounding like Autechre paying tribute to some serious late 80’s influences. The duo's interpretation channels an imagined transition point between NY electro and UK street soul, that pitched down SOPHIE vocal reconfigured into a wanna-be Latin Freestyle Natasha King, jiving over a deep slice of TR-606 funk technology.”
In his essay ‘The Meaning of My Avant-Garde Hillbilly and Blues Music’, Henry Flynt talks about how his music should be analysed as an intellectual tribute to the music of the autochtone, setting aside plain folk references, but adopting academic insights to mold the music one makes as a folk creature.
"Much of Flynt’s discourse applies to the music of Glen Steenkiste’s Hellvete. Over the past twenty years he has been thoroughly investigating both the ethnic musical language of various regions as well as the contemporary pioneers that preceded him as a drone musician, internalizing concepts such as e.g. deep listening or just intonation. Casting off any redundant ideas or sounds, and stripping down the focus to develop singular concepts, his working method lead to pieces such as ‘Droomharmonium’, in which he shapes the endless variations on a theme, emphasizing detail and nuance rather than multitude. The Indian harmonium here serves as the main device to worship ancient ghosts and masters, and to preserve a continuum in a tradition that touches both folk and avant-garde culture. The materialisations are sustained tone compositions which become a means of appreciation of the people and cultures that paved the way for forms of mutual escapism. This might well be the core of what Hellvete’s music is about. As much as it is a form of self-entertainment – like folk music in the old days – it also invites the listener to a shared experience of sonic reverie, it is a casual gift to the community.
This is certainly true for the pieces presented on this album. They were first presented in a smoke filled and darkened art space in Ghent, Steenkiste surrounded by only a couple of candles and just enough stage light to see him erratically moving to the rhythm of the piece, occasionally twiddling the knobs of a Doepfer synth that processed the prerecorded harmonium tracks. Unlike most of his other performances this piece embraced the audience in a trance that was similar to that of an old-school rave club. Flynt writes: ‘The music should be intellectually fascinating because the listener can perceive and participate in its rhythmic and melodic intricacies, audacity of organization, etc. At the same time, the music should be kinesthetic, that is, it should encourage dancing.’ ‘Voor Harmonium’ does exactly that; it builds on the artistic ideas that have long been established in Hellvete’s oeuvre, but the ecstatic nature of these pieces merges the usual spiritual transcendence with one of determined physical bliss. It encourages both mind and body to step into the sound, to be enraptured, to celebrate."
Lovely Music’s cult chamber classic by the late, great “Blue” Gene Tyranny, cosmically coinciding with his recent exit from this mortal coil (*January 1, 1945 - † December 2020).
Robert Nathan Sheff, aka “Blue” Gene Tyranny, was a pivotal figure of the late 20th century US avant-garde whose catalogue joined the dots between the likes of John Cage, David Behrman, and Robert Ashley on one hand, and the likes of Peter Gordon, Iggy Pop and Laurie Anderson on the other; a spectrum of diverse composers and musical dynamos whose stylistic breadth speaks to the versatility and singularity of Tyranny’s instrumental talent and conceptual vision.
Tyranny’s 1978 solo debut ‘Out Of The Blue’ remains a perennial cult favourite, existing on the sweetest, inventive edges of rock, pop and avant-garde composition in a manner that was entirely characteristic of the amazing Lovely Music, Ltd. label, with whom he’s most closely associated. Quite simply, there’s little out there that matches ‘Out of the Blue’ for sheer charm, placing a deep knowledge of experimental and pop music’s internal workings at the service of a ripely melodic and dreamlike suite with results awaiting discovery by new ears.
Timelash is the freshly erupted synthesizer & SFX duet of Embassador Dulgoon (Nonlocal Research) and Corum (Psychic Sounds / Million Brazilians).
"Together they reveal new sound forms by playing with primeval motifs contrasted sharply against unfolding futuristic developments. The result is a simultaneous listening experience of ancient and alien settings told through their unique rhythm of language by mood-driven atmospheres, exotic tones, and electrifying sci-fi Cumbia jolt."
Kode 9 collaborator Lawrence Lek ventures into a fantasy soundtrack sequel to ‘Geomancer’, exploring ideas about love and pop soul in post-human, algorithm-driven AI musics
The full A/V project ‘Aidol’ was previously installed at one of Hyperdub’s acclaimed Ø “club”-nights, and naturally the label deliver its sleekly synthetic soundtrack components as a standalone release that clearly taps into their fascinations with computer game and Far Eastern musics, and emergent forms of sonic fiction. For aesthetic reference points, think neo James Ferraro and Local Action’s Lena Raine releases, Chinese karaoke, and everything from Kenji Yamamoto’s playful melodramas and Nozomu Matsumoto’s uncanny ambient sound design.
““Beware your fans, Diva. First they need you and then they’ll delete you.” AIDOL is the sequel to 2017’s Geomancer. This feature-length CGI fantasy follows a fading superstar, Diva, who enlists the AI Geomancer as a ghostwriter for her comeback performance at the 2065 eSports Olympics. Featuring a soundtrack by the artist, AIDOL revolves around the struggle between humanity and AI for dominance of the entertainment industry. Diva’s quest for fame is set against the contradictions of a fully-automated world, one where originality is no more than an algorithmic trick and machines have the capacity for love and suffering.”
Tim Gick's already-warped patchwork editing of the entire Crazy Doberman output thus far turns increasingly glitched out across the splattered quiltwork of a nine track LP on Aguirre. Any coherent sense of time departs early on the A-side; kicked off with the familiar sound of the Dobes' synth throb and Love-cry woodwinds on top of completely fried electric guitar squiggling, all suspended in spiritual foam; then battered to bits on the greasy flat top of the record's b-side.
"Ringing modular synth sirens evoke alarmingly huge Southern watersnakes swimming on top of Oconee river. Total trip zone across two sides: brownouts in the sequence of events, dubby fadeouts, and bright jump cuts in space. Teases of cartoon barrlehouse tickling on the keys of a farmhouse piano and tape melt psychedelia. The recording session in Athens, Georgia was a total "CHUGFEST" recalls Frank Hurricane, the Appalachian juggalo folkie king, who joined the session with the Lafayette, Indiana crew. The presence of Hurricane's own "Life is Spiritual" mirth bulworks the record with a muddy, barefoot hippy hopefullness, steadying the log flume through the notcturnal psychic murk toward the holy morning dew. (J. Russ) "
Oh my jeffing days, it finally happened! The Japanese edition of RZA’s seminal OST for ‘Ghost Dog’ finally lands to answer our prayers.
One of our most sought-after albums never to appear on vinyl (aside from a sneaky edition you could find at Hardwax if u were sharp-eared), RZA’s first soundtrack, for Jim Jarmusch’s mystic assassin thriller starring Forest Whittaker, has been top of our list since the day we walked out of the cinema after watching it in 1999 as a wide-eyed scrawny 16 y.o. That cinema has since been demolished, but our love for RZA’s score has never diminished, and we’ll happily sit with the looped-up 1 hour version of its ‘Ghost Dog Theme’ that was uploaded by some absolute G to YouTube on given day of the week.
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s not hard to hear the album as punctuating a whole epoch of music and culture, practically executing the final word on sample-driven, old skool beatcraft at a time when rap and hip hop were phase-shifting into the whole jiggy era of Timbaland and The Neptunes, and the old analog world of comic books and Kung Fu flicks on VHS were on the cusp of being consumed into the nostalgia industry - an idea perhaps neatly reflected in the film’s story about an assassin who prefers to follow ancient samurai codes of honour in an era of modern gangsters.
As many have discovered to their annoyance, it’s only this, the Japanese version, that carries the full soundtrack, where other versions were full of crap filler from Wu Tang affiliates. We’re talking some of RZA’s crispiest drum chops, soul stabs, and the most atmospheric work in his catalogue; 35 minutes of lethal neck snappers from the top shelf of ’90s hip hop, and we couldn’t be any more gassed to finally clutch a copy that will be coming to the grave with us.
(RZA voice) Raise your swwwords! Ultimate tip!
Embryonic Free-Psych-Funk recordings from Parisian teenage improv-prog-combo (including members of French No-No Mod-Rockers Unity
"One of the most underrated and misunderstood directors to emerge from the rising smoke of the 1968 Parisian social explosion, Jean Rollin - a director with early links with the Paris underground, The Letterists, The Surrealists, improv theatre and the free-press - is best known for his films in the fantastique genre, producing the first French vampire film (Le Viol Du Vampire, 1968).
To celebrate the launch of (the) new Rollinade series, documenting some of the finest musical moments of the director's career as an avant-gardener, counter-culture vulture and Gallic vamp-tramp, Finders Keepers presents the entire unreleased soundtrack from the ultimate French vampire hippy flick 'Le Frisson Des Vampires' for the first time." "Imagine an early Gong/Ame Son/ Soft Machine session fuelled by a 1000 year old acid infused blood transfusion".
The Begotten is the brainchild of Jürgen De Blonde (Köhn/de portables) and Brecht Ameel (Razen), who initially performed a number of shows and released a CS under the moniker 'Kohier' - gleefully referencing the absurdity of Belgian tax systems and institutions.
"On their debut LP "Temidden Laaghangende Wolken" they are joined by percussionist and improv-veteran Dirk Wachtelaer (Pablo's Eye/Vanishing Pictures), who locked with De Blonde and Ameel's post-reality continuum during a recording session at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels. In this new trio format, The Begotten weaves a stripped-down set of after-hours, trancey observations on keys, baritone guitar and drums. Neon-lit bars are named Le Kheops or 60 Moons, streets are soaked in sheets of rain, people are staring at tax sheets and comets pass by unnoticed. Dub with tears; "Temidden Laaghangende Wolken" is the perfect backdrop of a strongly medicated game of Manillen during a 'Derrick' rerun."
Jangling shards of guitar and puckish drums meet close vocal harmonies and punkish “hey!’s” in Palberta’s 3rd and latest jag with Brooklyn’s Wharf Cat Records
On ‘Palberta5000’ the trio of Anina Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser elide the pop and punk aspects of their sound tighter than ever, resulting oodles of sing-a-long lyrics and nagging melodic riffs that will be trotting around your noggin for days, maybe weeks, to come after each play.
Quite notably, ‘Palberta5000’ was recorded in a studio located in the former home and family lamp-shop of Paul Reuben (aka none other than *that* mad egg, Pee Wee Herman) and it’s possible that his sense of U-cert mischief perfuses the album’s sense of exuberant youthfulness, which is practically spilling over from the likes of their dizzy harmonies in ‘Never To Go’, and the ‘90s indie-pop charms of ’Summer Sun’, or The Raincoats-like jangle and quicktrot of ‘Something In The Way.’
Ivkovic & Smagghe are bang on the nose with a personal love note to ’90s-‘00s electronica rounding up cheap bin gems from I-F, Cylob, The Back Dog, Funckarma, Seefeel and many more from a hazy, inspirational era
Depending your age and location in the late ‘90s, the terms electronica and IDM probably have shifting meaning to every listener. Vladimir Ivkovic and Ivan Smagghe both worked in record shops during this phase and their proximity to the good stuff is evident across ‘A Future Of Nostalgia’, with 12 tracks that exemplify the cross-section of shoegaze/ambient/acid/electro/breaks which emerged from the more unconventional artists of that pivotal era. Trust it’s not intended as any sort of comprehensive survey, but more a personal mixtape style selection, highlighting classic and rarities they look back upon most fondly, surely turning up more than a few obscurities that will have bypassed even the most ardent connoisseurs and owners of moth eaten Warp t-shirts.
It’s been amusing to see a wave of insatiable all-night (and day) house types digging this sound in recent years, so the timing of ‘A Future of Nostalgia’ could hardly be more apt for anyone diversifying their bonds beyond the usual grooves, just as the original tunes would have appealed to a motley cross-section of, as they put it “pop kids getting through to the dancefloor via Aphex Twin and nerdy house heads dissolving their four to the floor into the futuristic world of Warp compilations” back in the day.
If you’re looking for highlights, tip-of-tongue obscurities such as Zugzwang’s lilting beauty ‘Euphonic’ and Marcia Blaine School For Girls’ folksy whirligig are right up there for the lip-smacking daytime dancers, while Move D and co’s I.F. turn for Fax is tipped for couch-inclined gouch-outs along with Replicant’s kosmiche arp trip ‘Analiz’, Abfahrt Hinwil’s ‘Tech 7’ is prime MDMA trigger material, and Marco Passarani’s ‘Ixora’ flings us right back to far more innocent, wide-eyed times.
Heat-seeking first international issue of a sought-after session from South Africa, 1986 by the legendary Condry Ziqubu ov Harari fame
One of the biggest names in South African disco, Condry’s career had already seen him play with seminal acts since the ‘60s including The Flaming Souls, The Anchors and The Flaming Ghettoes, plus a stint with the biggest band in the country in the mid ’80s, Harari - leading him to be listed on the apartheid government’s national security watch list - by the time he penned ‘Gorilla Man.’
The title track sets the scene with brilliant intro of the type you might find on a modern-day YouTube video, before rolling out the stickiest sort of SA disco boogie groove, and ‘Confusion Ma Africa’ follows with a more harrowing scenario of wails, choppers, and gunfire that gives way to a more brooding sort of SA groove, sealed with Condry’s killer vocal. ‘Kati’ is more in bubblegum flavour of SA dance music, and the slick, proto-deep house/boogie of ’She’s Impossible’ is the one for us (“She say my mother is the ugliest thing in town”, looool).
Hypnotic proto-Raï from Algeria circa 1979-1989 by Drissi El-Abbassi, a pioneer of the style who bridged its early roots with the era of multi-track digital recording during the sound’s rapid evolution, making for an insane set of microtonal synths, psych guitars and drum machines for fans of Cheb Khaled, Omar Khorshid or Omar Souleyman.
‘Rai Sidi Bel Abbes’ plays deeply into one of the core influences of borderless Algerian/Egyptian label Nashazphone, highlighting a figure relatively unsung beyond the North African Arabic diaspora, introducing his unusually balmy, soft-voiced take on a genre that came to be known for its harder edges. Set to a mix of microtonal Roland synthesiser leads and swaying drum machines, El-Abbassi’s vocals emote with particular clarity and sensuality, carrying the jazz and psych rock-inspired early sound into a prototype of its current form across eight songs that chart his transition from working with principal group Les Freres Zergui, to selections from recordings by his own band’s influential releases during the mid-late ‘80s.
Drissi El-Abbassi was 17 in 1978, when he joined one of the main groups in Oran region, Les Aigles Noir, working as “stage animator” - a sort of hypeman, also responsible for relaying lyrics to the lead singer, at weddings and parties - and by 1979 he was a member of Les Freres Zergui, who pioneered the use of wah wah pedals and drums in the style of Rai; a new sound established by Messaoud Bellemou and his troupe, that incorporated trumpets and sax into a distinctive new Algerian genre. He cut his teeth playing two shows a night at the weekends with Les Freres Zergui, and his first solo tape came out that year with Zergui on guitar. Following Zergui’s passing in 1983, and the dissolution of the band, El-Abbassi set up his own group, embracing new technology and helping progress the style alongside legendary producer Meghni Mohamed for labels such as Editions Anwar, Editions Maghreb, and Editions Saint Crepain.
The eight songs on ‘Rai Sidi Bel Abbes’ cover a spectrum of El-Abassi’s work during 1979-1989, from the mouth watering microtonal psych licks and nagging machine grooves of ‘Zedti laadab aliya’ to the lissom guitars and accordions of ‘Khalouni neck’, showcasing his smoothly contoured vocal cadence in finest style on cuts that resemble melodic Lovers Rock vibes in ’Trig maaskar’ and intoxicatingly sensual highlights ‘Jat jat’, plus the passionate, psychedelic ache of ‘Manetzouedj manebni dar’, or ‘Djibek liyam’, which should appeal to fans of Omar Khorshid as much as Omar Souleyman.
Brutally anxious and sensitive noise techno tribute to underground comic artist Mark Beyer, shredding noise harmonics and ragged-out techno pulses for fans of Merzbow, Russell Haswell, Eva Justka, Astral Social Club...
Savage noise tekno psychosis from Valerie Smith, a hairy man from Paris who also makes music as Z.B. Aids, here paying dues to the bleak underground ‘80s comics of Mark Beyer for a fierce debut with vital Algerian/Egyptian label, Nashazphone
‘We're Depressed’ acknowledges a severely modern sense of anxiety in torrents of bilgy rhythmic noise that pumps in a vein of esoteric activity linking Pat Murano’s Decimus to Ewa Justka, to Masami Akita and Sun Ra. Burned out dance pulses rev into murky warehouse space, delivered with a hands-on style that feels as uncannily descriptive as Mark Beyer’s often wordless comic strips’ approach to a world of emotional bleakness and naive beauty.
The artist recorded all the material on 4-track in winter 2017/2018, following his nose and Beyer’s inspiration into mesmerisingly uncomfortable head spaces. The pulsating, obliterated mass of ‘Encastré ter’ sets the tone for a crushing session rounding from the harsh stress test sonics and surprising moments of lucidity in ‘Baroud d’honneur’, and the tonal degradation of ‘Vice de cercle’, saving up his druggiest sort of psychedelic rhythmic noise for the 12 minutes of ‘Fou de rage il mange sa mère’, and what sounds like Sun Ra doing flashcore in ‘Habitable.’
Abul Mogard makes an ever welcome return with a suite of starkly brooding shoegaze drone pieces mostly generated from an old Bechstein upright piano built in 1891. If yr into Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd's 'The Moon and the Melodies', Deathprod, Ryuichi Sakamoto or Jim O’Rourke, this one’s for you.
Inspired as much by the instrument’s rich harmonic textures as the Italo Calvino short story that lends the album’s track titles, ‘In Immobile Air’ collects five works written by Mogard during the ill-fated Spring of 2020. Thematically, the album dwells on Mogard’s typical concerns with memory and states of mind, and comes to feel like the musical rendering of a soul preoccupied by their mortality. As such, it can be read as a suite of instrumental hymns for a world coming to terms with its current condition and state of static unrest, evoking a stillness of air in its glacial movements while reflecting a gnawing sense of something impending. Yet, it’s simultaneously and quite profoundly soothing in its widescreen harmonic shifts along the knife-edge between bliss and dread.
The album arrives after a pause in Mogard’s prized oeuvre since 2019’s ‘And We Are Passing Through Silently’ with a humbly arresting presence that perfuses all of his best work and keeps his listeners rapt for more. The handful of pieces speak to both Mogard’s rich inner life, and the inner voice of his instrument. Using analog and digital equipment, he transforms the melancholic simplicity of his melodies into a quietly dreamlike space. The title track lays out this bare aesthetic with wilting, elegiac notes that vaporise into a timbral thizz, before its brooding course takes in the oblique beauty of ‘Clouds’ and tarry drones recalling recent Deathprod moves in ‘Black Dust.’ He finally emerges from the murk most poignantly with the clearer keys of ‘Sand’, only to shore up somewhere more contemplative and abstract, in the low key magisterial expanse of ‘On a Shattered Shell Beach.’
Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews finally inaugurate their long-in-the-making RR label with this deadly new Raime 12”, a precision-tooled exploration of negative space, sinogrime, found Youtube dialogue and colossal subs. The ghosts of grime, jungle, dub, and industrial musicks run deep with this one, here rendered with perhaps the most shockingly pristine, eye-catching production of their career to date.
Following on from ‘Am I Using Content Or Is Content Using Me?’, their 2nd EP of 2018 locates Raime in pursuit of challenging, non linear, and often beat-less structures ruptured by the shrapnel of online culture. The hardcore continuum still haunts their sound, but the concrète soundscapes they create make use of a spectra of techniques to camouflage its presence in any overt way. What remains is a skeletal render that implies delirious momentum. With every chime, sample, snare and sub honed to staggering effect, it becomes an exercise in hyperclarity and propulsion.
There’s no one really honing this sound in quite the same way, while there are parallels with weightless grime and the crystalline electronics of early Arca, Sophie, Rabit etc, Raime trigger a different kind of dynamic, one that fills acres of space with a more nervous, angsty energy directly connected to a lineage of UK club styles. It’s basically anything but background music and feels like a culmination, or perhaps a diversion from a path Raime have been following for almost a decade. If this new label allows them the space to untangle that carefully considered aesthetic, we’re f*cking there for it.
Black Ark In Dub is another piece of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s limitless musical puzzle.
"Featuring a bedrock of deep and heavy rhythms recorded at the Black Ark just before its demise, Black Ark In Dub features bass heavy spooky dub deconstructions of ‘Jah Love Is Sweeter’, ‘Ethiopia’, ‘Lion A De Winner’, ‘Open The Gate’, ‘Guideline,’ and ‘Mr Money Man’, along with an embellished dub version of Ras Keatus I ‘Dreadlocks I’ and the much sought after ‘Guidance’ a longime Jah Shaka killer exclusive to this set.
Originally released in 1981 the hard to find Black Ark In Dub remains a frozen sonic timepiece, captured at the beginning of the end of one era and poised at the start of another. This re-mastered release adds Lackley Castell ‘Jah Love Is Sweeter’ (vocal cut to the opening track ‘Jah’) plus Black Ark Vol. 2 the follow up album to the acclaimed Black Ark In Dub that unsurprisingly for an Upsetter release took a different path. More vocal oriented the album features extended dubwise cuts of Caol Cole’s ‘Ethiopia’, The Originals ‘Got To Be Irie’, Junior Byles ‘Mumbling & Grumbling and The Inamans ‘How Deep Is your Love’, along with an alternate take of the Silvertones roots classic ‘Give Thanks’ with flute overdub and a couple of solid do-overs from Third World man Bunny Rugs."
’Trippin’ Musik’ is Nurse With Wound’s most significant new dose in a while, collecting 3 epic discs of steeply psychedelic sonics that may well alter your breathing and heart rates and mental state. No tracklisting provided, play however tf you like.
Following from the reissue of NWW’s ’Soliloquy For Lilith’ boxset, ‘Trippin’ Musik’ relays the most recent findings from Steven Stapleton and co’s ongoing psychedelic research / surrealist reconnaissance / occult practice in electro-acoustic and avant-garde spheres. As the title suggests, it’s one for the journey, taking up whole sides of vinyl with intensely and intently focussed recordings that often take over 20 minutes to say their psychedelic piece in a cryptic language of abstraction.
Whether you take drugs to listen to this music or not, the effect is likely to live up to the title, but we’re pretty certain it will be stronger with than without. One disc features a whole side of what sounds like a folk song fractalised and slowed down by Carl Stone, while another also sees them strung out in desert guitar scenes sort of like a digitized interpolation of Earth jamming with Soisong, and the side of rapidly panned gasps is practically guaranteed to send your head into a tailspin given the right conditions, before it all shores up in a deeply lysergic scene of strolling, head-squashing, liminal/laminal electronic timbres that feel like classic kosmische slowed down and exhaled by an AI.
Trust the efficacy of ’Trippin’ Musik’ for psychoactive potential is right up there with the most potent sonic substance. Approach with spare time and a well stocked freezer for best results.