After a searing run of releases and remixes, Ancient Methods makes the natural move to working with vocalists in The Asking Breath Comes To Each, teaming up with Tropic Of Cancer, Huren, Zanias, and Azar Swan for a distinctive new addition to AM’s carefully expanding catalogue.
The sole preserve of Michael Wollenhaupt for some years now, in the last few years Ancient Methods has carved towards working vocals to deadly effect on a number of remixes for everyone from The Soft Moon to Wolfsheim, beside his own edits as Room 506.
All this has clearly fed into the stonking original material found on The Asking Breath Comes To Each, which royally boots off with the harpy screech of Azar Swan over the scorched earth gallop of Swallow The Screw, before trimming back to the acidic darkroom canter of The Standards Will Come And Go feat. a possessed Dave Foster aka Huron - arguably summat of a wet dream for anyone who needs talc to help get their duds on.
Tropic Of cancer executes a perfect, pensive and floating counterpoint to the razor sharpened 16th note serrations of It Won’t Take Me on the B-side, and we’re feeling pangs of guilty glee towards the borderline cheesy/lush epicness of Zoe Zanias’ vocal on the restrained pulse of Andromeda.
This is killer - unremittingly bleak and tortuous noise from French unit Sister Iodine, plying a skull scraping fusion of harsh noise, black metal, and charred electronics ruptured by sparing percussion and pitch black ambient vortices, for Egypt’s Nashazphone. Some brilliant moments inside for followers of Nate Young, Prurient, Wold, Wolves In The Throne Room...
“French noise scene spearheads Sister Iodine return with their sixth album, Venom. Active since the '90s, Sister Iodine, which involve Erik Minkkinen, Lionel Fernandez, and Nicolas Mazet, has not lost one milligram of their radical and uncompromised approach in sound exploration and limits stretching. Following two studio albums on Parisian label Premier Sang, released in 2009 and 2013 respectively, it took almost five years to shape up Venom.
It is with the advent of the 21st century -- more than ever -- that the decisive path of Sister Iodine has taken a fascinating route. From their debut album, ADN 115 (1994), which was strongly influenced by the original New York no wave scene (Mars, DNA, Red Transistor) to their more recent works which are augmented by "newer poisons" such as black metal, or the most abrasive end of industrial music and power electronics, as well as experimental electronics -- Editions Mego has reissued an extended version of Premier Sang's Flame Desastre on CD -- (DEMEGO 009CD, 2009) -- the band has managed to survive through the years from the inhospitable French squats of the nineties to nowadays' established venues and proper tours.
Today, the band's music has changed recipients and has attracted younger generations with their organized radioactive chaos, never conceding anything from their initial intensity. Over the years, Sister Iodine will have also created their own idiosyncratic language, for which sound exploration matters and pure beauty seem to count as much as pure explosive ferocity, while intense violence and energy gets deployed in live shows. The last few years witnessed an increasing number of collaborations such as the recent sessions with Meyhna'ch (Mütiilation) or the ones with Masaya Nakahara (Violent Onsen Geisha, Hair Stylistics). Venom includes two tracks featuring the vocal contribution of Stephen Bessac, the deviant frontman of the cult French hardcore band Kickback. Sister Iodine produces a music that is actually unique and unheard anywhere else, one of eternal youth and audacity.”
The Jealous Gods conscript Varg for their 17th number, harnessing his esteemed Scando techno energies in four hardcore, pounding missiles under the title of I’ll Hold You Till We Die.
A-side hurts the best with a pair of robust 140bpm bangers, getting into gear with the tense electro of For Milan/AMG and dispensing a proper bollocking with the stampeding groove of Skrrt (Music made To Listen To In A RS6).
Turn over and he drops the tempos slightly to go in with a class party piece in Donatella Forever and then the soaring hard techno élan of Last dance (I’ll Hold You Till We Die).
New from Forest Swords' Dense Truth label - the long awaited follow-up to that amazing Dialect album for 1080p which sparked a lot of curiosity on its release in 2015. From initial listens, this one's a more occluded, gauzier and visceral affair than its predecessor. It veers from tender synth tones to distressed strings via introspective flights of fancy prone to tilt into distended techno or, when the light changes, reveal moments of genuine, heart-rendingly cinematic beauty. If you're into 0PN, Maxwell Sterling, Ssaliva, Forest Swords - this one's for you...
“Loose Blooms is the 3rd full length album from Andrew PM Hunt under his Dialect moniker, and his most raw collection yet. Inspired by several field trips to the southern desert states of America as well a trip to remote parts of the Scottish Highlands, the album was constructed in an incredibly dense sonic environment whilst living above a nightclub in Liverpool.
Made from a collage of field recordings, fm synthesiser improvisations and semi generative software jams, Loose Blooms is a weathered fossil of sound. In its shredded landscape, you can just about make out arid canyons, moonlit wilderness and the hollow echo of empty 5am streets. Conceived of both as a document of speculative-folklore, and as an attempt to communicate with the land around us- the ever mutating sounds on this record point towards an inherent instability in not only the natural world but also our relationship with it.
Whereas Hunt's last album 'Gowanus Drifts' (2015, 1080p) dealt with encroaching development on urban spaces, Loose Blooms taps into a more universal anxiety around the future of the planet and the violence it both endures and inflicts. One day our phones will be rocks.”
Lone gets it right on these rugged but lush UK ravers, nailing a crafty blend of dembow knuck and early ‘ardcore bruk spiralling to a widescreen, flute-led new age peak in Temples, then swanging out with the infectious rub ’n tug of ruffcut Detroit house and fluoro nEuro trance lines on Hyper Seconds.
For a self confessed ‘journeyman’ musician who has spent most of his 50 year career on the road live Michael Chapman albums are curiously rare items and even more rare from his earlier years. This one, recorded by dutch “hippie” radio station ‘VPRO’ on 6th May 1971 is the earliest known live recording so far discovered of Michael Chapman after he started releasing records on the legendary UK based Harvest / EMI record label in 1969.
"This period is for Chapman fans the classic period, that more recently has drawn belated media coverage and recognition in response to the more recent kudos bestowed upon Michael from the likes of Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile, Jim O’rouke and the late, great, Jack Rose. A beautiful clear, warm and intimate recording of Chapman duetting with long time collaborator Rick Kemp on electric bass and which documents material from all three albums in a free flowing improv inflected style very much in favour at the time. it is with this free flowing vibe in mind that we include with both CD & vinyl editions the complete 90 minute concert via a download code card so listeners can experience the whole set.
Chapman sounds in a confident, gentle and relaxed mood. The Audience Is Initially Tentative, Possibly Unfamilar With chapman’s work but gradually warming to his complex dexterous ‘not folk’ playing. The recordings make for a fascinating snapshot of the time, with a loose and open approach that offers a rare chance for guitar buffs to evesdrop between songs on some those bespoke Chapman guitar tunings!. The set begins with another very rare Chapman item – a cover version - in this case of Tim Hardin’s 1965 “A Reason To Believe’. A song which had just reappeared that year as the A side of a Rod Stewart solo single (The B side being ‘Maggie May’!)."
Legendary hardcore label Praxis revive their 5th release, Bourbonese Qualk’s techno onslaught Autonomia, for a necessary reissue on the occasion of its 23rd birthday.
One of a handful of genuine post-punk/post-industrial survivors who’ve consistently held their underground mettle since the late ’70s, Simon Crabb’s Bourbonese Qualk are a vital example of the intersection between politics and music which generates the best records and raves in the UK.
Autonomia catches Crabb’s unit in 1993 going nuts for hardcore and acid techno, just like the rest of the country at that time. However, unlike a number other producers who has made the traversal from ‘80s punk and wave style to electronic dance music in the ‘90s, BQ also brought with them a scuzzy squat attitude ripe for hardcore techno warehouse raves.
That attitude comes out in no uncertain terms in the oblique, hard edged and psychedelic styles on Autonomia, which scales from full-on skull-bashing hardcore to more hypnotic styles reminscent of Psychick Warriors Of Gaia and even sounds like prototype tracky Jamal Moss gear in parts.
It’s pretty much worth it for the orange/black came jacket alone!
Brusque, Ballardian EBM techno and industrial clangers from Oliver Ho in his Broken English Club style.
The A-side’s Accidents & Romance clamps down with rottie-toothed 16th note synth snarls and back-breaking kicks whilst the owner chats like a man possessed, somewhere above the escalating madness.
B-side, Country Life bucks up some recoiling and lustrous EBM funk that burns on contact, backed with a descent into crushing industrial torpor with Private Death.
D. Avery calls in some smart remix back-up for his recent Slow Fade EP - one of his strongest solo releases
Surgeon turns Radius into a well balanced ambient techno roller, whereas Actress brings up the snaky acid of Slow Fade to a sort of haunted warehouse sound, and Inga Mauer hears Fever Dream as an echo of Baby Ford & Ifach Collective’s minimal techno lust.
Shark-eyed EBM from the Mannequin überlor,
Making his 1st mark on Jealous God with the scorching ballistics of Harvest on the A-side, and a pair of more furtive missiles on the trampling force of Prehistory, and muscle car chug of Death and Rebirth.
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
Hyperdub reveal a spine tingling ambient episode in the Burial saga, finding the enigmatic protagonist pursuing the atmospheric themes of Nightmarket - the B-side to his previous 12” - into a liminal grey area of esoteric, sino-futurist techgnosis in Subtemple / Beachfires.
Implanted in the subterranean consciousness in the wake of Burial’s distinguished remix for Goldie’s Inner City Life, the reclusive artist’s latest episode frames some of the most enigmatic material in his era-defining catalogue, effectively removing the beats entirely and leaving us wandering acres of negative space lit up by cryptic sonic signposts and paranormal disturbances.
On both sides he uncannily echoes aspects of the Ghost In The Shell soundtrack as much as Nguyen Van Phong’s spectral Yin Yang gong loops and experimental funerary rites, as divined by the 3rd Ear/IREX project and archived on Reel Torque in 2016; dialling in encrypted patterns of crackle, cinematic dark ambient strokes and snatches of dialogue seemingly intercepted from the ether.
With Subtemple he appears like a safecracker or furtive agent tapping clandestine discussions from Shanghai; in headphones it feels like listening into important but impenetrable messages left by a time jumper in an evacuated mollusc. Beachfires follows with the equally illusive/elusive shimmer of wind chimes and fallen angel cries calcifying around the pineal gland, again with totally beguiling electro-acoustic depth of field and prompting all kinds of fevered speculation.
A pattern or narrative seems to be forming, or perhaps revealing itself in an inverted entropic schematic. Either way we’ve just got that Burial feeling again, and there’s scant few artists who can keep us rapt so consistently.
Glass offers the sublime results of a collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), as performed and recorded at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut during the private opening to Yayoi Kusama’s installation marking the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth.
Making sterling use of the landmark architectural work’s pellucid dimensions, the pair fixed contact mics to its glass walls, which they effectively played as an “instrument”, rubbing it with rubber gong mallets to generate delicate tones which they combined with a sympathetic palette of singing glass bowls, crotales, keyboards and mixers.
The seamless performance of floating, weightless tones and exquisitely quivering timbres is without doubt one of their finest. For the duration we’re held static and spellbound by the pair’s interplay of microtonal shifts and plasmic chronics, keening the listener thru hazes of digital dust and vortices of angelic harmonics to locate, alchemise and resolve a rarified, deeply mysterious spirit before the piece closes.
As the follow-up to their OST for The Revenant  and the warbling keys of Summvs  before that, the achingly lush tension of Glass is perhaps the purest testament to the clarity of vision and endless minimalist mutability of this highly revered duo.
Deaf Center and Svarte Greiner’s Erik K Skodvin has long been perfecting the kind of music that's tailor made for cinema, and here he does just that - providing a score for Danish film "Darling" (2017), alongside a collection of outtakes from it.
Made in collaboration with Raúl Pastor Medall (Rauelsson), the pair were commissioned by director Birgitte Stærmose to score her film about life as a dancer. The resulting material is remarkably cohesive, especially so considering it’s made up of pieces Skodvin and Rauelsson made in collaboration, as well as individually. You can imagine the sort of sounds the pair create - if you’re into the work of Jóhann Jóhannsson you’re in the right ballpark - but what differentiates A Score for Darling is the unique use of low end rumbles and pulses that anchor these recordings and imbue proceedings here with a cohesive, album-like feel.
Generally, the material here is brimming with dynamics and diversity, featuring violin by Christoph Berg, cello by Anne Müller as well as a mass of other sounds like church organs, synths, guitar amp violation, electro-acoustics, piano and more, all layered together into 15 beautiful mood pieces. The final piece of the album Breathe - featuring Otto A Totland on piano and Katinka Fogh Vindelev on voice - can be seen as their own lamenting end-title to a longer period of work with this album, finally finished. It’s also, hopefully, a glimpse of what new material from Deaf Center might sound like, if we’re ever lucky enough to get to see that happen.
Hospital Productions return with Dual Action's Industrial mutations of Techno, D&B and electronic variants smudged with clammy ambience, compiling the hard-to-find 'Babe Beer Bar Car' tapes released between 2014-2016. If you’re into John T. Gast, Christoph De Babalon, The Haters or Frak, this one’s for you.
Compiling some of Matthew Folden, aka Dual Action’s most sought-after material, this set of forays into distorted Ambient, mutant House and Jungle - even weird sorta Grime and Footwork variants - was originally released on his hard-to-find Babe Beer Bar Car tapes, issued between 2014-2016 - and compiled here onto vinyl for the first time.
A core figure on Prurient’s label, affectionately described by Fernow as an “uninvited guest sort of figure who travels around fxcking shit up on the lonely”, Folden has appeared on numerous and seminal Prurient recordings including the demo version of the groundbreaking Bermuda Drain album, the final tape recordings made at the original hospital productions brick and mortar store as Prurient’s ‘Oxidation’ and the new released 7LP of doom electronics Rainbow Mirror which arrived in 2017 to commemorate the 20 years of the project.
Babe Beer Bar Car takes in signature sluggers that sound like The Haters gone house, thru to rolling D&B and footwork rhythms fringing on the grey area, each half-lit by patented atmospheric pollutants.
The set builds a murky picture of a character who spends long nights with his drum machine - it’s hard to shift the feeling that this is the kind of music - numbly expressive, rudimentary and bluntly driven by urges - that someone befitting of the great American lounge-lizard/drifter stereotype might make, or at least listen to, after dark.
Its a quintessentially Hospital Productions sound - deeply satisfying in its mix of black humour laced with flashes of demonic genius.
Having recently contributed to Goner's "Yogascum" LP, reissued in late 2017, Mark Godwin now returns to the Swiss label together with his musical partner Gareth Ormerod as zK.
"Formed in 1999 as a live project, zK first released on the legendary Mancunian Skam label in 2003, toured throughout Europe and were invited by Autechre to play the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. In the following years, Godwin and Ormerod produced a slew of records that at once paid tribute to their roots in the emerging British rave scene while pushing the envelope of experimental electronica. Combining their interest for visual art and psychology with their spiritual connection to bands like Coil, some of whose records Godwin has worked on as a mastering engineer, zK have carved out a niche for themselves with a multi-disciplinary approach to music. "Last Night", their first proper studio album in five years, was recorded in Godwin's new home Bangkok.
Drawing heavily on musique concrète techniques, synthesizers, and sampling to create an immersive experience bordering on the synaesthetic, the six tracks capture the nervous energy of Thailand's capital after dark. Moving from the opener "Ouside Broadcast" with its collage-like juxtaposition of every-day sounds and squelching noise to the aptly titled "Cognitive Dissonance" and the aleatoric modular excursions of "Feral Confection" towards the more sombre, lysergic undertones of the B-side, ending in the both elegiac and haunting final track "Fleshpotting", Godwin and Ormerod explore the sharp contrasts which characterise the city. zK navigate through the weird, the eerie and sometimes even the grotesque and occult, they provide a thorough exploration of a metropolis marked by tradition and progress alike."
Natty jack attacks, wonky ghetto bass and mutant hi-tek jazz from Secret State on CPU.
Like music from some parallel, skewed 313 dimension, Zero Zero One locates a familiar yet subtly altered reflection of Detroit styles between the tweaky jacker CIA UFO Google Search, some percolated Jit business in De-Pattern and the spheric harmonics of The Sleep Room, both recalling an Urban Tribe from different mothers, while Weep For Joy leans on a sort of off-Red Planet vibe.
Yo La Tengo return with their first proper full-length since 2013’s ‘Fade’.
"There’s a Riot Going On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken. While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling “shoo-bop shoo-bop.” Even if your mind is not unclouded - shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time - you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries and above the sound.
For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of ‘Shades of Blue’, will involuntarily hear ‘She May, She Might’ on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and ‘Let’s Do It Wrong’ late at night. While there’s a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork.
In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly And The Family Stone released ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair."
Space Dimension Controller, a.k.a. Jack Hamill, may be landing his debut release on Dekmantel, but he’s definitely no stranger to their shores.
"With the three-track EP ‘Gaining Time’ clocking in at over 35-minutes, phasing between cosmic kaleidoscopic house, and serene, epic ambient, — a sonic atmosphere reminiscent of the background resonance the galaxy permeates on a daily basis — Hamill’s Dekmantel debut is closer to that of an album, than your average set of club tracks."
No Fool Like An Old Fool is the new album from Austin via Alabama musician, Caroline Sallee, aka Caroline Says.
"Moving beyond the surf-folk foundations of her debut, on No Fool... Sallee loosens her earthly tether, allowing her songs to float to ever higher altitudes on clouds of loops, immaculate melodies, and hypnotic harmonies, as she sings about aging, the daily grind, and hometown stymie. Moving to Austin in 2013 gave her a new perspective on her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, which informed the overall vibe of the album. "I think leaving my fairly small hometown and then going back to visit it inspired the feeling I went for on this album. I observed that so many people I knew were content doing basically nothing. Or that they were scared to try to do anything or leave town, like they felt stuck there."
The first few notes of the Daniel Rossen-esque opener "First Song" dutifully establish the surreal and slightly tragic tone of longing maintained throughout the album. The curiously upturning melodies ride out on a rich ambient texture before "Sweet Home Alabama" cuts the fog with a crackling 60's soul loop that's charming and catchy enough to induce a cathartic laugh from the listener. The brightness fades with the frosty and propulsive "A Good Thief Steals Clean," which features lyrics inspired by the 1971 lm Panic in Needle Park, and the idea of being in love with a heroin addict. "I tend to write from the perspectives of characters in dark situations, even though my songs may sound bright," Sallee notes of her alluring juxtaposition of sunny production and grim lyrics.
She employs this dynamic again on "Rip O ," a frenetically percussive song with lyrics inspired by an NPR story about a young Iraqi man who was killed in an ISIS bombing just before moving to NYC to become a professional dancer. Inspired by Terrence Malick's Badlands and Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska," the song "Black Hole" features multi-voice harmonies sung from the perspective of 50's spree killer Charles Starkweather. The hurdles she navigated to record naturally led to ad hoc recording techniques, and endless sonic experimentation, often leading to her use of the computer as an instrument. A tireless worker, and a wellspring of creativity, whatever Caroline Says, we will be listening."
Brainfeeder present a special ‘chopped not slopped’ mix of Thundercat’s ‘Drunk’ album (2017) by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C of Houston DJ collective The Chopstars. Slowed down and chopped up , the mix has been appropriately re-titled ‘Drank’. “If you got ‘Drunk’ it’s only right that you get ‘Drank’. I feel like they go together,” declares Thundercat.
For fans of Flying Lotus, BADBADNOTGOOD, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Screw.
Four cracking Sun Ra pieces, roving from the possessed tongues and earthy hustle of Island In The Sun, thru more astral, free vectors in New Dawn, to the wonky big band vibes and growled vox on Unmask The Batman, and amazing Afro-Astro hustle in I’ll Wait For You.
"Strut and Art Yard present another exclusive from the vast catalogue of cosmic jazz pioneer Sun Ra: a previously unreleased radio session most likely recorded at the WXPN FM radio studios in Philadelphia, 1974-5.
This newly discovered session features a new version of Ra’s earlier ‘Island In The Sun’, a romping, raucous rendition of ‘Unmask The Batman’ and the first studio recording of ‘I’ll Wait For You’ There is no bass player on the sessions and Ra’s left hand beats out a rhythmic bass pattern on the piano. All tracks are remastered directly from the original tapes. The album package features a newly commissioned painting by legendary Bristol urban artist Guy Denning and new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths.
Recently discovered in the Sun Ra archive, the recording forms part of a series of sessions that Ra and the Arkestra recorded for WXPN-FM between 1974 and 1980. The ‘Antique Blacks’ album was recorded there in ’74. Based on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, WXPN’s station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner were instrumental in the exposure and recording of The Arkestra in their broadcast production studios. Geno Barnhart, founder of The Empty Foxhole concert collective, Jules and Russ broadcast an on-going series of jazz concerts covering a wide spectrum. The Arkestra performed at The Foxhole in Philly many times from 1974.
Personnel: Sun Ra: Piano John Gilmore: Tenor Saxophone Marshall Allen: Flute, Alto Saxophone Danny Ray Thompson: Baritone Saxophone, Percussion Atakatune: Oboe, Congas Eddie Thomas: Drums Elo Omoe: Bass Clarinet, Hand Claps Akh Tal Ebah: Trumpet, Vocal James Jacson: Congas, Vocal"
Adroit, UK-compatible bass and breaks pressure from Brooklynite Kellen303, working in a smart double refraction of influence, vibes and intent between transatlantic ‘floors for London’s Keysound.
These are dark, broodingly gothic works, stained with an innercity anxiety and trimmed for hard-working club economy, yielding highlights in the ballroom bruk of Planet X and its weightless, devilish remix Planet X (Interstellar), and in the harshly textured and rugged budge of Big Shot! with its machine gun snares and clawed surfaces.
Geir Jenssen a.k.a. Biosphere yields the results of a field recording project on a Dutch farm, commissioned by Incubate festival.
Imperceptibly melded with Biosphere’s signature synthetic palette, the field recordings are effectively reanimated as dreamlike sequences, variously incorporating the sounds of a distant helicopter with shepherd’s calls and windswept choral synth voices in t’Schop, focussing in on insectoid minutiae with Pipistrellus, or indivisibly meshing the real and the unreal in lush pieces such as Audax and the pastoral bliss of Icoon.
Equiknoxx’s debut album proper, following the hugely acclaimed 'Bird Sound Power' (Number 2 in both RA and FACT albums of the year 2016), featuring 13 brand new nuggets recorded over the last 12 months and featuring darker, more psychedelic, starkly dubbed perspectives on up-to-the-second dancehall. Well worth checking out if you’re into anything from Lenky to Haruomi Hosono, RZA to Errorsmith...!
Colón Man is the exceptional debut album proper by visionary Jamaican dancehall artists Gavin Blair (Gavsborg) and Jordan Chung (Time Cow) plus their extended crew, aka Equiknoxx - once again for Demdike Stare’s DDS label. Where their widely acclaimed Bird Sound Power primer compilation, issued on DDS in 2016, brought the rest of the world up to speed with the music produced between late ‘00s and 2015, their first album now brings a 2020 sound into sharp, technoid focus thru a baker’s dozen steely, heat-seeking riddims galvanised with clinical electronics and a Midas Touch approach to sampling.
The record’s title, Cólon Man refers to a Jamaican tale (and song) about a mysterious character, whom, like Marcus Garvey, was one of over 100,000 Jamaicans who returned from working in Cólon on completion of the Panama Canal - regarded among the greatest feats of engineering known to humankind, physically connecting the greatest bodies of water on the planet. In context of the album, Gavsborg and Timecow take the story as a metaphorical foundational for a roots and future sound, acknowledging the vital groundwork of previous generations of producers, whilst soundly contextualising their mutant new advancements of Jamaican Dancehall.
Recorded between December 2016 and June 2017, Colón Man forms a stark, stripped down and conceptually blinding record. In tone and texture, the duo favour far colder, more abstract sounds, crucially lit up with sparingly used samples that lend the record its dissonant, harmonic colour and bittersweet hooks, stylishly feeding forward their playfully weird sense of humour into a rugged, nutty and even noisily imagineered set.
Bookended by the gauzy, Detroit-compatible synth looks and acid hall grind of Kareece Put Some Some Thread In A Zip Lock, and the mesh of Motor City sleekness with Far Eastern strings on Waterfalls In Ocho Rios, they distill and diversify their bonds in myriad ways across the album. There’s a killer dancehall/trap hybrid in the percolate chorales and man trills of Plantain Porridge, along with the secretive dub-into-dancehall transfusion of Addis Pablo’s melodica in the belly rolling Melodica Badness, while Ceremonial Eating Dog and the hyaline designs of We Miss You Little Joe - a tribute to their pal Alty Nunes - are arguably the most fwd Jamaican riddims you’ll hear in 2017, and Enter A Raffle… Win A Falafel uncannily recalls the clockwork mechanics of Haruomi Hosono’s Alternative 3, from his S-F-X  LP.
No matter what electronic box or boxes you subscribe to, Colón Man is a hugely inventive, compelling album for the ages, a remarkable iteration of Black Secret Technology for 2017 and far beyond.
New on Feeding Tube.
"Recently we touched base with the New Zealand ex-pat guitarist Dean Roberts. He's living in Berlin these days, teaching, playing and staying out late. When asked if there were any interesting, unheralded players we should know about he immediately mentioned Julia Reidy. Julia is also a guitarist currently based in Berlin, but the city from which she's apart is Sydney, NSW. While there she was embroiled in the Australian improv scene, and played with the likes of Jon Rose et al. She was focused exclusively on electric guitar back in those days.
Since relocating to Europe she has split her concentrations between electric and acoustic, playing in two duos -- Tennis of All Kinds (with bassist Adam Pultz Melbye) and PALES (with percussionist Samuel Hall) -- among other settings. On All Is Ablaze Ms. Reidy plays both an acoustic 12 string and an electric, both of which sound unusually raw and exciting in her hands. Each side of the record consists of a single piece, the A is 'All Is Ablaze,' the flip, 'Thatched Steel & Rain.' In his notes, Dean writes about the beautiful contrasts of the music's textures, drawing apt comparisons to everyone from Robbie Basho to Tom Cora. As these namechecks might suggest, Julia's first LP embraces a nearly unknowable field of sonic detailing. Her technique can sound precise and smudgy at almost the same moment. The intent of her journey seeming to shift with her breathing patterns. There is an organic depth and weight to the music here, displaying an exceptionally wide breadth of influence, knowledge, chops and imagination. We would like to thank Mr. Roberts for introducing us to the music of Julia Reidy. You will soon be doing the same."
Byron Coley, 2017 Edition of 300.
Le Frère debuts with a smudge of ambient and slow electro works on the Slow Glass 12” for Zürich’s Light of Other Days label.
Inspired by travelling the world for the past two years, Slow Glass forms a gauzily nostalgic trip into Le Frère’s mind, encapsulating snapshots or moments of memory in four parts ranging from the wistfully pastoral tones of Nice to more slanted strokes nodding at jazz and post-rock and even Lena Platonos in Candid, before the B-side gently coaxes in some rhythm with the drizzle on a warm day feelings of V1b1n’, and a sort of salty electro chugger called N8ttt that begs comparison with Low Jack or Krikor Kouchian workouts.
One of the most unique, ambitious and experimental game soundtracks ever made. Now on vinyl for the very first time.
"Similar to the task of condensing Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima’s abundance of ideas into a Mega Drive cartridge in 1994, it feels impossible to convey the influences, technical achievements and sheer ambition of their masterpiece into a single paragraph today. By combining automatic composition methods, custom programming languages and a complete sense of artistic freedom, Koshiro and Kawashima transcended their medium and created something so incomparable that it’s hard to believe it came from any games console, let alone a 16bit one. Streets of Rage 3 is urgent, demanding and a complete rejection of the notion that video game music is either pedestrian or predictable. We are honoured to be releasing it."
Describing his first solo record for nine years as “the most free I’ve felt making a record since my debut Small Moments”, David Kitt’s sense of freedom is bound up in themes of renewal, movement, and a constant reshaping of his musical preoccupations.
"The last number of years have seen him touring and recording as a member of Tindersticks, producing other musicians’ work, exploring techno, disco, and house under his New Jackson moniker, remixing everyone from Shit Robot to The XX, and producing intriguing, eclectic DJ sets and radio shows.
All of these experiences have been brought to bear on his latest record Yous, which mingles a sense of freedom, and calm reflection, with an independent impulse, “There was no pressure whatsoever with this record,” he says. “No label or manager, or anyone breathing down my neck. I was happy to wait as long as it took to have the right 10 songs”.
Yous is a finely wrought and elemental piece of work, folding in electronic hisses and beats that ground carefully finger-picked guitars (inspired by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt and John Fahey) and stirring violin, weaving between glorious pop-kissed melodies and stark, immersive, poignant compositions – something Kitt does so well."
Recently voted one of the Top 100 British Albums of all time...
So why should you want this 1969 album in your collection? Well in addition to featuring the likes of Robert Kirby (of Nick Drake fame), Robin Williamson (Incredible String Band) and the Fairport Convention's Simon Nicol and Dave Swarbrick, it is also regularly cited as inspiration by Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Scout Nibblet...
Possibly sounding a bit naïve in retrospect, much of 'Just Another Diamond Day' seems to exist somewhere between the Wickerman and Bagpuss, with lyrics like "the rainbow river is a laughing stream, down in a valley by a mountain that is pine tree tall...".
Students of Decay follow up last year’s incredible 'All My Circles Run’ album by Sarah Davachi with this new album by French horn player, field recording and audio installation artist Anne Guthrie.
Guthrie takes auditory snapshots of an abandoned city; fragments of song drifting out of basements and across alleyways and muffled conversations, coalescing into an evocative soundsphere that’s gently arranged to give the feeling of a directed narrative unfolding before your ears.
There’s a real art to this kind of field recording and Guthrie manages to neither over-simplify nor colour her recordings too much. Through much of this album the sounds are so alien and beautiful it’s impossible to work out if what you’re listening to is real or artificial; neatly mimicking the way our memory works. When a voice appears towards the end of Serious Water, it jolts you back to the mundane world around you.
Including "posthumous contributions from the artist's grandfather, a jazz pianist; obsolete media palimpsests (some vanity, some necessity); tap dancing on a peeling floor…” there’s something almost disturbing about the personal narrative on display here, as the label describe it…”an unsettling and strangely beautiful album - akin to something on the tip of your tongue, which, before you can name it, slips away into forgetting”.
Necessary reissue of Yasuaki Shimizu’s highly regarded ambient-jazz-pop oddity Kakashi from NYC’s Palto Flats and Geneva’s WRWTFWWR, who were jointly behind that prized reissue of Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass. Off the wall and enchanting in equal measure, Kakashi is a riddling and enchanted recording from the fertile hotbed of early ‘80s Japan, compatible with the fecund, widely scoped genius of Arthur Russell and Roland P Young from that same era. In other words, a real gem.
“A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1981 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive.
A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely.”
“When I wrote these songs, the sunshine of my mind was beginning to set in a dark place. I found myself developing almost a surrogate relationship with my telephone. I would fall asleep at night clutching it, waiting for a call. When we parted, I would become attached to my phone as a conduit to this person I had lost.”
“Black boys have a whole world of complexity that society makes us stomp out of ourselves." Language, Bryndon Cook's full-length debut as Starchild & The New Romantic, communicates his refusal to do so. Describing himself early-on as a “young romantic boy from Maryland," Cook has long been a dreamer, a student of black music’s rich lineage and its intersection with pop. He's drawn to landmark moments where artists have found truth in darkness; the diverse language of music living in their core. This record is his; lifting o¬ from the monochrome world of Crucial, his 2016 EP on Ghostly International, up towards a dazzling crimson blood-rush of sky-high defiance and autonomy. On Language, Cook refines his phonics for funk, electro, and R&B, and arrives at a revelation, best summarized by a single motto: "my sensitivity is my strength."
Even if the valleys of their relationship were debilitating — a "black goth realm" to his soul, as Cook puts it — he often overlooks them in hopes of more peaks, more light, resulting in his most earnest, warm-hearted material to date. Take the tender single, "Hangin On." Cook beams above a prismatic soul-tinged shu¬le and luminescent keys, still visited by the past yet at peace with the present.
The pitch is far more pointed on the album's title track, a vibrant, funk-fueled opener that wastes little time making its purpose heard. "Should have stuck with me kid," Cook begins, as nasty as he is rapturous. By its end, he's in full control. "Can I get a witness?" He screams, invoking the power of an affirmation ushered from church aisles into the lexicon by Kirk Franklin.
Sonically and spiritually, Cook finds guidance in grand standards: looking up to producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, studying their contributions to the New Jack Swing era and pop music at large. Touchstone statements like Janet Jackson's Control, Michael Jackson's Bad, and Prince's 1999; singular breakout LPs from Terence Trent D'Arby and Bobby Brown; the honesty of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and Carole King's Tapestry; the ingenuity of Laurie Anderson.
Cook also reflects on recent years with Solange, as part of her touring band, and collaborations with Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange, as reminders of artistic individuality. "Being around them now urges me to find my own way of delivering my own messages."Cook expands his message and its impact by arranging talents. For the first time, sessions included members of his band, The New Romantic, allowing for keyboard/synth parts to be recorded straight-through, with no punch-ins, and a more dynamic atmosphere overall. Further, Cook recruits The Newark Boys Chorus to underscore the most poignant lines of "Boys Choir," giving them the entire stage for the coda: "Be it understood. / This love is mine."
Moves like this get to the root of the record: a contemplation of the boyhood that never truly leaves us. "In the black community, any sign of femininity or childlike wonder is often misconstrued as weakness, because society has always expected us to be strong. They prey on us as kids and take us to prison like adults. They kill us on the street. They take everything from us and never say thank you."
Language is the sound of Bryndon Cook eloquently occupying his space without apology, envisioning a world where the crimson qualities of sensitivity and softness aren’t shamed, they are celebrated as magic."
Absolutely killer set of mutant futurism from the bassbins of Brittany, France featuring 8 slow Dancehall jammmmz from Low Jack.
Editions Gravats kick off the club-ready Les Disques de la Bretagne series with exclusive re-workings of tracks from Low Jack’s half of the Glacial Dancehall tape with Equiknoxx, all making their first appearance on vinyl.
Arriving 4 years since Philippe Hallais a.k.a. Low Jack started up the Gravats label with his îlot 7”, Hallais returns to his roots with these ruddy dancehall bangers, each nipped and tweaked from the OG tape for optimal, freaky impact inna dance.
Dubwise and direct but laced with strange details that light up on repeated listens, the plate turns up some massive highlights with the loping Linn drum cracks and digickal synth torque of Partei and the rogue bogle of Brass up top, then with some killer sino-flavour on the rugged ’90s rub ’n tug of Raid Leader and the Flex Dance Music-compatible knocks and horns of Light.
You can take it on trust: this one is properly top-loaded with the heaviest gear...
Following his sterling run of raw, politically-charged deep house releases for DJ Sprinkles’ Comatonse, ambient maestro Will Long (Celer) pairs samples of Afro-American figureheads with sublime, rolling grooves in a beautiful extension of the Long Trax series.
Making an apt statement against over-production in dance music that applies to society in the widest sense, the Royal Blue / Mustard instalment lands on Smalltown Supersound.
The A-side’s Nothing’s Changed features sparingly used snippets of Barack Obama on a lean, simple, and deliciously smooth 11 minute groove gilded with signature chord cadence, while B-side he treats Jean-Michel Basquiat to a swim in deepest house water on the hazy 10 minute movement, You Know?
Calendar Crowd was the duo of Alan Heaton and Terence Tiernan who met in their hometown of Widnes, Cheshire as schoolboys and played together in various bands in the '70s. In the '80s they formed a 6-piece band called Room For Humans and recorded one single "Telephone Telephone / Girlfriend".
"When the band split and Alan and Terence continued as Calendar Crowd in a more experimental direction. Their influences were wide reaching: Kraftwerk, Neu, Cabaret Voltaire, Eno, PIL, and Joy Division. In 1982 they released their debut single "Perfect Hideaway/Perfect Hideaway Dub" on 7". Guitarist David Knowles joined them as they toured the UK and recorded and released their follow up EP "Listen in to the Heart" in 1985.
A reviewer at the time called Calendar Crowd "A Moody Merseyside trio with strong atmospheric tunes and haunting lyrics." For this reissue we've compiled both singles on one EP featuring all four songs. Perfect Hideway is a evocative and dreamy, the music escorts you on a tour of icy landscapes, with Terrance's deep, rich vocals guiding the way accented by bright brass stabs. Meanwhile the Dub has stripped back the vocals, added delayed samples and heavy pounding drums. On the B-side "Listen in to the Heart" and "Questions Answers" are darker electronic rhythm tracks with layers of ethereal keyboards and guitar melodies."
The first slab in a possible new split series titled 'In Search Of Highs'
"Both the bands here are instrumental trio's, BLOWN OUT (UK) & COMACOZER (Australia) are interlinked by history and their shared love of sonic psych explorations and both are here for Phase 1 of this cosmic experience. You will no doubt already know the two bands gracing this first slab of wax. They're from worlds apart, geographically that is, but musically are very much on the same plain.
Blown Out deliver three relatively short (for them) blasts, channelling their inner Stooges / Marble Sheep coming on like grand funk space lords. Three tracks of groove sonics and head changes. Comacozer go the opposite route and slide in with another of their trademark epic trips, that sucks everything around it into it's own cosmic gloop."
Early ‘90s ambient techno gems resurface on the Nacht En Nevel label, featuring Mappa Mundi’s keenly sought-after 11-minute beauty Trance Fusion, and the rolling breakbeat suspension system of Quin².
Mappa Mundi’s Trance Fusion is a firm favourite of ours. Taken from the Musaics album which also includes the masterful Sexafari, this 11 minute roller is a prime example of the 2nd layers beyond dancefloors of 1990, plumbing a lushly meditative space somewhere between Detroit, Antwerp and Goan beaches. Fair to say you might want to get a hold of the CD or original (hard to find) LP version for louder cuts, but this one will do nicely until Going Good’s Brian Not Brian follows up on a reissue of the full album.
Quin²’s side is a more obscure find from slightly later in the ‘90s, working somewhere between FSOL Lifeforms vibes and Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra with crisp, rolling breaks and strings beautifully suspended in the mix.
Their third album, ‘Treasure’ also debuts Simon Raymonde on bass and finds the band scaling new heights in the most emotionally raw way imaginable. Impossible to overstate just how influential and well loved this album is - from the quietly anthemic Pandora (For Cindy) - probably played in every bedroom by every teenager in 1984, to the sublime 'Beatrix' and 'Otterley' - tracks that were played on Autechre’s Disengage Kiss FM show in the early 90’s and which gave us our first introduction to one of the most magical and timeless albums ever made.
"The band returned to being a trio in 1984 with guitarist Simon Raymonde joining their ranks in time for third album, Treasure. Produced by Robin Guthrie and featuring tracks ‘Lorelei’, ‘Ivo’ and ‘Persephone’, Treasure is often celebrated as one of the band’s finest works. As Pitchfork put it when including the album in their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s, “Treasure was titled simply enough. An adjective for the endlessly inventive melodic lines you'd find buried in these songs, and a verb for what you'd do with them for years to come.”
First ever reissue of the wild duo jag between pioneering UK improvisor Bailey and his cello-playing Canadian foil...
“Honest Jon's Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey and Tristan Honsinger Duo, originally released by Incus in 1976. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and conservatory-trained in the US, the cellist Tristan Honsinger moved from Montreal to Amsterdam in 1974, quickly linking with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg and opening a long and fruitful musical relationship with Derek Bailey.
Recorded in 1976, Duo displays a performative musical approach already characterized by the lack of inhibition which would later endear him to The Pop Group: he is knockabout, exclamatory, explosively rhythmic; burping Bach and folk melodies with spasmodic lyricism, in amongst the garrulous textures and accents of his scraping, bowing, and plucking, and gibbering like a monkey; throwing out his arms and stamping the floor, grappling with his instrument like an expert clown, always tripping himself up. You can hear Bailey reveling in the company, as he ranges between scrabbling solidarity and an askance skewering of his partner's antics, on prepared (nineteen-string) and standard electric guitars -- and a Waisvisz Crackle-box, for the garbled, quizzical, cross-species natter which closes "The Shadow".
Throughout, the spirited interplay between laconic, analytic wit, and guttural, sometimes slapstick physicality is consistently droll, often laugh-out-loud funny; vigorously alert, alive, and gripping.”
Cute Heels is the project of Victor Lenis, a contemporary electronic artist living in Berlin, Germany. He grew up in Bogotá, Columbia during the 1990s, surrounded by the radial punk scene.
"Over the years, Victor's passion and fascination for synthesizers and drum machines to produce and compose resulted in his debut album "Spiritual"" for Dark Entries in 2014 as well as the "Third Skin" EP in 2016. Inspired by equal parts Liaisons Dangereuses, Drexciya and Black Devil Disco Club, Cute Heels connects the dots between Detroit techno, early Chicago house and Belgium electronic body music. "State of Mind" is a 4-track EP featuring the vocal talents of Berlin artist Aga Wilk, of electro-punk projects Walkman Music and 77TM, on the the title track. On the A-side are two fresh compositions recorded in New York and Bogota between 2016 and 2017.
Victor says, "State of Mind refers to the subconscious as dominated by real facts, natural, unnatural ,metaphysical or virtual and dynamism of the body as physical shield." The track is a slow building foray into techno, elegantly suited for intangible moments. "Golden Tears" kicks off with Cute Heels' signature metallic EBM funk played with punchy, percussive analog synths. On the flip we present two banging club remixes. The first is from LA-4A, techno DJ and producer Kevin McHugh aka Ambivalent, who adds a strong kick drum and lacerating hi-hats that build up to a mind melting breakdown with a full on acid squelch attack. The second remix comes from Noncompliant, Midwest US-based producer Lisa Smith aka DJ Shiva, who creates a raw, thumping exercise though off-kilter mechanics and punishing percussion."
Kiev’s Bichkraft return with ‘800’ - another entry in their unique take on the shoegaze and post-punk traditions.
"After two LPs for Wharf Cat spent refining their approach, this one stands out thanks to the overwhelming confidence exuded in each track. And while the band’s penchant for devolving into noisy experimentation remains throughout, it doesn’t take many listens to recognize the album’s strong execution.
It’s the songs, coupled with the nervous energy behind them, that propel ‘800’ forward more than anything else. With Carson Cox of Merchandise handling production duties, Bichkraft’s dense riffage and thumping drum machines are brought to the forefront with greater clarity than ever before.
Featuring appearances from Elizabeth Skadden (WALL / Finally Punk) and Sam York (WALL)."
Lullabies For Insomniacs pluck out another overlooked peach with Dino J.A. Deane’s For Leena - a survey of previously unreleased works for the choreography of Colleen Mulvihill; 10 tracks crossing paths between ambient electronics, 4th world new age atmospheres and theatrical soundtrack dimensions. Deane was a member of Indoor Life alongside Patrick Cowley and Jorge Socarras. RIYL K. Leimer, Rex Ilusivii, Angelo Badalamenti, Muslimgauze
“Beginning his professional career at the age of nineteen, as a musical arranger and multi-instrumentalist (trombone, flutes, keyboards, percussion), Dino J. A. Deane worked in funk bands around Los Angeles before moving to San Francisco in the mid 1970’s, where he became involved, as an improvising artist, in the diverse communities of dramatic theater, modern dance, free jazz and punk rock.
In the early 1980's Mr. Deane pioneered the use of live-electronics, live-looping and live-sampling in three distinct genres that heavily informed his later compositions: As a member of art-punk band Indoor Life, touring and recording with fourth world pioneer Jon Hassell and as an electro-acoustic percussionist in the Conduction orchestras of Butch Morris.
During this period Mr. Deane also worked as a sound designer for theater, with directors Sam Shepard, Julie Hebert and Christoph Marthaler. He maintained a long-term relationship in the world of modern dance with former Olympic gymnast and choreographer Colleen Mulvihill, creating and performing numerous dance and music works for her. The couple met in San Francisco in 1979 through his good friend Bruce Ackley, whom was commissioned to compose a score for one of her solo pieces. Colleen, was a member of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and was planning to move to New York City to set out on her own as a dancer and choreographer. Their paths crossed again in 1980 when Dino moved to NYC with Indoor Life, during this time they began a long term relationship both on and off the stage, which continues to this day.
“Mr. Deane adjusted his electronics with the glee of a villain in a science fiction epic and raised his trombone as if it were a weapon. He could have been a sorcerer and Ms. Mulvihill could have been someone lost in a realm of black magic.” The New York Times.”
Something special from DDS - the long awaited album debut of avant-Dancehall mutations from Jamaica’s Equiknoxx, already tipped by everyone from Jon K to Mark Ernestus, featuring productions dating between 2009-2016, mastered and cut by Matt Colton, all on vinyl for the first time ever...
Equiknoxx are one of the weirdest, most innovative dancehall squads from Jamaica right now; Bird Sound Power is their debut collective show of strength, packing 12 avant, crooked riddims by core members Gavsborg and Time Cow, plus Bobby Blackbird and Kofi Knoxx, with vocals by Kemikal, Shanique Marie and J.O.E. (R.I.P).
The set was parsed and pieced together by Jon K & Demdike Stare , and now thanks to link ups via Swing Ting’s Balraj Samrai (a longtime livicated supporter), it’s issued on Demdike’s DDS imprint, replete with Jon K’s sleeve design.
Easily identified by the squawking bird idents peppering their cuts, Equiknoxx productions have been big in the dance since Gavin Blair a.k.a. Gavsborg produced Busy Signal’s billboard hit Step Out in 2005, followed by key instrumentals for Beenie Man, Aidonia, Masicka, and T.O.K.
Bird Sound Power is weighted with the potential to open up perceptions of current dancehall thanks to the mad character and broad reference points of its producers, encompassing King Jammy’s foundational digi-dub and Dave Kelly’s Mad House sound as much as rugged New York hip hop and the wigged-out, feminine pressure of Virginia Beach’s Timbaland or The Neptunes.
The oldest tune inside dates to 2009, but the rest are recent dancehall mutations, including a number of exclusives produced in the last 12 months. Each one reps for Equiknoxx’s unique aspects, such as Jordan Chung a.k.a. Time Cow’s brilliantly bizarre, layered arrangements of sawn-off hooks and digi-tight beats, also a result of their distinguished family vibe.
Bird Sound Power exists in a paradox, utterly fwd but classic, and with as much potential to turn new heads onto current JA sounds as Mowax’s Now Thing set back in 2001, which remains a key touchstone for so many contemporary producers. It’s one of the sharpest, most crucial DDS issues yet, check the clips and get sweaty...
"The hypnotic new single from Daphne & Celeste sees our heroes going for a night run, only to encounter a bizarre creature who alters their very existence. Alarms is backed with Hi-Fidelity, a vibrant reworking of The Kids From Fame dancing-around-the-musical-instrument-shop classic.
This record comes on premium quality turquoise vinyl with a unique “pop-out” centre like 7” singles of yesteryear that gave buyers the option of putting the record into their jukebox."
A notoriously jaw-dropping folk-funk classic, long treasured by the Balearic fraternity, the self-titled LP from the brothers Batteau nevertheless remains a criminally underheard gem. Appealing to fans stuck on Ned Doheny's scorching blue-eyed soul as well as Gene Clark's rich country-rock, it's an honour to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue of this undoubted masterpiece of proto-Yacht-Rock.
"Like a forgotten piece of baroque folk caught in 1973, Batteaux's eponymous album somehow sounds magically timeless. A full 45 years after the fact, it remains a mystery as to why they weren't better known. The lush production and virtuoso playing conforms with the ruling aesthetic of the time - well-crafted, melodic songs performed with precision and balance - whilst the shimmering AOR atmosphere and sun-dappled vocal washes align neatly with the best Crosby, Stills & Nash records.
Throughout, the beautifully penned tracks hold traces of Jimmie Spheeris, America and Seals & Crofts. The immaculately orchestrated percussion and additional instrumentation (electric piano and fiddle to name a few) are performed by perennially celebrated West-Coast cats including Tom Scott, John Guerin and Andy Newmark.
It's no surprise that the heavenly "High Tide" is such a Balearic touchstone. A free soul aqua-space groover, its sophisticated rhythms predict the swing of CSN's canonical "Dark Star" by a full four years. An alternative measure of its enduring magnificence can be gauged by MF Doom sampling Paul Horn's wonderful version, subsequently used by Ghostface Killah.
The highlights are many and memorable. Gorgeous opener "Tell Her She's Lovely" is the perfect example of the addictive, melody-driven songwriting which really should have earned them stardom. Moody ballad "Living's Worth Loving" is nothing short of heartbreaking whilst the chugging elegance of "Wake Me In The Morning" showcases their bewitching harmonies. The hypnotic yearning of "Lady Of The Lake" is an exquisitely string-drenched, piano-laced favourite that achieves a peculiar strutting-funk. It's that good.
This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of the hitherto buried genius of Batteaux. The serene aqua artwork which adorned the original jacket - their father worked on a dolphin-human communication project in Hawaii, hence the infamous design - and sumptuous inner sleeve have been faithfully restored."
For their first multi-artist compilation, Music From Memory take us on a trip to the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1978-1992 is a double LP that explores the outer reaches of Brazilian music, where indigenous rhythms mix with synthesizers and where MPB mingles with drum computers.
"As Brazil faced the last years of its military dictatorship and transition to democracy, a generation of forward-thinking musicians developed an alternative vision of Brazilian music and culture. They embraced traditionally shunned electronic production methods and infused their music with elements of ambient, jazz-fusion, and minimalism. At the same time they referenced the musical forms and spirituality of indigenous tribes from the Amazon. The music they produced was a complex and mesmerising tapestry that vividly evoked Brazilian landscapes and simultaneously reached out to the world beyond its borders.
.The product of extensive research, this compilation is a unique introduction to this visionary music and features many fresh discoveries in a country well trodden by record diggers. It gathers tracks from obscure albums that have for too long been neglected by even the most avid collectors of Brazilian music. It includes now highly sought after music by Andréa Daltro, Maria Rita, and Fernando Falcão, as well as unknown gems like those of Cinema, Carlinhos Santos, and Anno Luz. This is an essential release that reveals a broader spectrum of Brazilian music, striking a unique sonic signature that is full of innovation, experimentation, and beauty.
Compiled by John Gómez and featuring extensive liner notes, Outro Tempo showcases this overlooked corner in Brazil’s rich music history for the first time."