Detroit deity Terrence Dixon lends a hand on a highlight of Karpenov’s effervescent debut album, which uses the abstract language of electronic music to evoke his native Black Sea landscape.
The Dixon link-up ‘Background Data’ is a massive standout deploying fine-tuned synth dissonance shorn of beats, while the rest of the album also impresses with its incredibly sharp sound design on the fluttering hyaline melodies of the title tune and sloshing pulse to ‘1.1’, what sounds like an alien orchestra tuning up in ‘Telpher’, and the stark contrast with its groggiest work, ‘Jet Ski Max’ in collaboration with Kuzma Palkin.
“After three years of deep work, Stas Karpenkov's debut album is released on Gost Zvuk in the form of an abstract, free-form study. The album is saturated with the Black Sea breeze and the natural beauty of the peninsula, a land associated with the life of the author. It’s a musical representation of its surrounding reliefs, an ode to the cyclicity of the waves, and a journey through soundscapes. These manifestations of maritime romance also include the experience of co-producing with Terrence Dixon and Kuzma Palkin on a couple of tracks that play an important role in the idea of the record.”
The Polish clarinetist and composer follows strong work alongside Shackleton and James Holden with an album that takes the sonic pulse of Warsaw, using repetitive sounds like trains and bouncing balls to guide his peculiar rhythms.
Although he's best known for his forward-thinking jazz experiments, Wacław Zimpel has spent the last few years developing a relationship with electronic music. 'Train Spotter' is his most convincing work to date, and was created in response to a brief asking him to capture the sound of Warsaw. Zimpel wanted to reflect the city's contemporary reality, tying up pandemic unease, anti-government demonstrations in the wake of sexism and queerphobia, and the hopefulness and second-hand resilience gained from successive waves of Ukrainian refugees. Piping samples of Warsaw through his arsenal of FX and synthesisers, he fogs them into blissful abstraction. We can just about make out tramline clicks on the Vladislav Delay-influenced title track; Zimpel's own production twirls lock into the rhythms, sketching out a dubwise percussive thud and dizzy, kosmische-inspired synths.
The methodology holds throughout the album, on 'Phantom Paradise' a placid urban landscape is pierced by palpitating synths and Zimpel's characteristic woodwind breaths, while 'Infinite Grey' assembles a soft-focus beat from ASMR shuffles and wooden creaks, providing a dusty backdrop for stuttering, psychedelic threads of clarinet. He veers towards chaos on 'Born in Captivity', chopping dissonant electronic blasts over rainfall samples and splattering pacy kicks beneath freeform horns. But Zimpel is most successful when he allows himself to paint outside the lines, like on the lengthy 'Vanishing Rainbow' that melts from gloomy environmental ambience into Reich-ian, repetitive electronics, then incorporates unexpected microtonal flute wails. The mood is maintained through the final track 'Broken Souls Whistle', that matches pitch-wonked whistles with pulsing Berlin school synths and gritty foley crunches.
One of the greatest rap full-lengths of all time.
They don't come any more essential than this. 'Operation: Doomsday' originally appeared on Fondle 'Em in 1999, and introduced MF DOOM to most of us outside the Tri State area. Daniel Dumile had been working undercover for some time, having disappeared when KMD splintered and his brother DJ Subroc died; a name change later and Zev Love X was MF DOOM, a supervillain behind a metal mask who would pioneer a trippier but no less biting form of East Coast boom bap. The album was well received at the time, but its importance has snowballed in the years since it was released - in 2023, its influence can be heard across the underground spectrum, in Los Angeles' beat scene, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, in Kaytranada, even in the UK's club landscape.
You could say that DOOM was just building on the streetwise surrealism of Kool Keith, but he possessed a unique swagger and production style that's been rinsed and repeated for over two decades now. He managed to do something special here, constructing skits from unfussy nerd culture - not the middle class nerd fare that generation x steered into the mainstream, but the kind of vivid sci-fi and comicbook TV trash that would belt out of flickering CRT boxes over Frosted Flakes on a Saturday, later inspiring Adult Swim. In between the skits, DOOM made neck-snapping beats out of forgotten disco and funk loops, rapping as if he'd swallowed a compendium of cultural phraseology and then belched it up, semi-digested.
Every moment here, even if it isn't as developed as some of his later work (we highly recommend the crown jewel: King Gheedorah's "Take Me To Your Leader"), has been completely absorbed into the architecture of the era. Even when we can't see it, it's towering over us like a Roman archway.
Invaluable reissue of the debut collaboration between La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, popularly known as "The Black Album."
Originally available in a private pressed edition in 1969, the duo's earliest joint release presents two sizeable drone compositions, each performed and recorded at the precise date and time given in each track title.
Side 1's '31 VII 69 10:26-10:49' for voice and sine wave drone is a mesmerising and exotic projection recorded at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munchen, and manifesting a sub-section of the even larger work, 'The Tortoise, His Dreams And Journeys'. Side 2, '23 VIII 64 2:50:45 - 3:11AM The Volga Delta' on the other hand, is a purely instrumental piece for bowed gongs, engulfing us in a sound bath of sonorous, multi-dimensional harmonic complexity achieved using varying extended technique. Make sure to dive in head first.
"La Monte Young was born in Bern, Idaho in 1935. He began his music studies in Los Angeles and later Berkeley, California before relocating to New York City in 1960, where he became a primary influence on Minimalism, the Fluxus movement and performance art through his legendary compositions of extended time durations and the development of just intonation and rational number based tuning systems. With his collaborator since 1962, artist Marian Zazeela, they would formulate the composite sound environments of the Dream House, which continues to this day.
Seeing reissue for the first time since its initial 1969 release, Young and Zazeela's first full-length album is often referred to as "The Black Record" due to Zazeela's stunning cover design, complete with the composer's liner notes in elegant hand-lettered script.
Side one was recorded in 1969 (on the date and time indicated by the title) at the gallery of Heiner Friedrich in Munich, where Young and Zazeela premiered their Dream House sound and light installation. Featuring Young and Zazeela's voices against a sine wave drone, the recording is a section of the longer composition Map of 49's Dream the Two Systems of Eleven Sets of Galactic Intervals Ornamental Lightyears Tracery (begun in 1966 as a sub-section of the even larger work The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys, which was begun in 1964 with Young's group The Theatre of Eternal Music). According to Young, the raga-like melodic phrases of his voice were heavily influenced by his future teacher, the Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath.
Side two, recorded in Young and Zazeela's NYC studio in 1964, is a section of the longer composition Studies in the Bowed Disc. This composition is an extended, highly abstract noise piece for bowed gong (gifted by sculptor Robert Morris). The liner notes explain that the live performance can be heard at 33 and 1/3 RPM, but may also be played at any slower speed down to 8 and 1/3 RPM for turntables with this capacity."
Attic-recorded folk tales about rural life, and elegies for the death of industry in early ’70s Hebden Bridge, surface for the first time with Basin Rock, who are located further up the Calder Valley in Todmorden some 50 years later.
‘Fireside Stories (Hebden Bridge circa 1971-1974)’ introduces an unheard talent for the first time with a bevy of solo guitar laments and gripping stories about the schisms of class, the trials of romance and decline of industry in a small working class town nestled in the hills between Leeds and Manchester. Written against a backdrop of post-industrial decline, long before Hebden Bridge became a mecca for queer folk and hippies, it’s quite an astonishing collection of work that hs somehow remained out of earshot until now, and especially so when considering the utterly classic quality of song-writing and playing, which recall the tenor of Arthur Russell’s down-home folk works, Robbie Basho’s folk blues, or stumbling across the greatest pub folk session and a pint after rambling in the drizzle. We can practically hear the beards sparking with glee at the promise of this one, and trust it doesn’t disappoint.
“Although you’d never know his age from the world-weary character of his voice, this is the work of a young songwriter seeking a musical identity by trying out several. He begins with dark and detailed narratives. Album opener “Marion Belle” is an evocative tale of mariners adrift upon the waves and within their own hearts; “Tell Me Now” is a harrowing one about a farmer’s son accused of raping and murdering the mayor’s daughter. His assumed guilt is rooted in the class divide: “Such a girl of respect would never have let/ A mere farmer make love to and court her.”
“Sunlight on the Table” is the opposite of a narrative, however, which is to say it’s a song in which nothing happens. Beales fixates instead on the minutiae of a single, interior moment: “Silence in the corridors, a slow tide in my mind/ A mist made up of memories of the ones I left behind.” A talented player by any standard, he attempts a playful Latin experiment on the instrumental “Braziliana.” But the energized album finale “Fireside Stories” may be the standout. He hits every impassioned downstrum with fervor and combines sharpened, singular stanzas—“If your jewels make you sparkle/ And your wine makes you glow/ And my words taste so bitter/ And you’ve learned all there is to know”—with a catalog of momentary images marked by a sensory vividness. It’s easy to imagine him, pen in hand, noting down the “creaking rocking chair and thick velvet curtains and the smell of the pinewood walls.” As such, Fireside Stories captures a gifted and otherwise-forgotten songwriter in amber. Finally dug out of the attic and dusted off, it shines in the light of day.”
Shelter Press return with an immersive sound piece recorded for Latifa Echakhch’s installation at the Venice Biennale, deploying undulating rhythmic experimentation and intricate, detailed sound movements on a micro-psychedelic tip, highly recommended to fans of Jake Meginsky, Apartment House, crys cole, Lucy Railton or Beatrice Dillon.
When Latifa Echakhch was tuning the concept for her presentation at the Swiss Pavilion during the 59th Venice Art Biennale, she wondered how it might be possible to alter her visitors' perception of time. She invited Berlin-based drummer and composer Alexandre Babel to come up with a response to her silent exhibition, held inside a striking multi-room building designed by Bruno Giacometti and originally intended for the display of classical art. Babel assembled field recordings captured at the Pavilion alongside pre-recorded viola, contrabass, flute and percussion sounds contributed by Jon Heilbronn, Rebecca Lenton, Theo Nabicht and Nikolaus Schlierf, combined to construct an immersive slow-creep of detailed micro-sounds designed to gradually alter your temporal and spatial bearings.
Opening with echoing footsteps over a discomposing whirr of modern machinery, our attention is drawn to the physical space and the natural rhythm of walking. Pinprick clicks add an extra layer of microscopic grist, as water droplets form an incoherent pulse that eventually turn to woodblock clacks and toms. Resembling the innards of a clockmaker's workshop as though heard from the central hall of a vast gallery space; Babel's rhythms are so finely drawn that they're hard to grasp at first blush, demanding multiple listens in order to fully comprehend their abstruse latticing.
Spray can blasts and white noise bursts dance in tandem, ushering in low-end rumbles that cautiously mutate into the album's central segment, where a bass drum slowly ushers in a pressure shift. It's at this point where the music begins to fully betray its influences, linking the freeform heartbeat-led expression of Milford Graves and his under-sung student Jake Meginsky with crys cole's lower-case sonic journeying. When more traditional instrumentation rings out from the rafters, it's to reinforce the piece's rhythmic thrust, not drown it out with buttoned-up respectability.
At its peak "The Concert" sounds lost between genre and temporality, both electronic and astonishingly biotic. It's the rare site-specific installation piece that truly meets its brief, forcing listeners to consider not just the three-dimensional space it's responding to, but also the constant rhythms that surround them in day to day life.
Classy spins on UK bleep, Detroit techno and Chi house by Finland’s Halvtrak, chasing aces on the Cold Body Music comps
Lending an icy-finished gleam to classic templates in a way akin to Mono Junk or Mika Vainio, your man Halvtrak cycles from the 1990 bleep ’n breaks drive of ‘X-Pressed’ to a fine echo of Bellville Three techno styles in ‘Rhythm Overture’, while ‘Phase Distorshun’ trades in percolated Windy City house with attention to lighter atmospheric details, and ‘Doubt’ dials up the Detroit and Chi inspiration via shine-eyed early UK techno.
Haela Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix continues to disassemble black metal's rigid structures on her confounding new long-form incantation.
If you've come across Liturgy before you'll probably know that since the late 2000s the project - that's flitted between being a solo endeavor and a full band - has sought to recontextualize black metal, using the frenetic Northern European template to examine ideas about history, identity and transcendence. "93696" is a lengthy two-disc sprawl of ethereal choral vignettes and fuzzed minimal-maximal expressions that pierce the genre's impenetrable veil, spiking oppressive atmospheres with hope and wyrd magick.
Hunt-Hendrix's skill is in orchestrating music that's as ambitious and high-minded as early Genesis but as visceral as Darkthrone. And if black metal has been an easy petri dish for growing fascist ideology, her usage of it to provoke alternative concepts is vital and life-giving.
Outstanding MIDI funk by a legendary NYC comedy club’s in-house bassist - support act for everyone from Seinfeld to Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy - laying it down with ample charm for anyone snagged on Novo Line, NYZ’s Old Trax, Funkycan, Ceephax, US sitcom soundtracks.
Lloyd George Mair Jr.’s 2nd archival volley with Glasgow’s chOOn!! brings a big daft grin to our mugs again with 19 sparks of characterful jazz-funk fusion groove chiselled from the grid. No doubt it’s dead nostalgic for anyone who grew up with 8-bit tones on computer games and sitcom or sci-fi soundtracks, but also endures after more than 30 years due to Mair’s proper funk flair and feel for nagging melody.
Originating from the early years of MIDI technology, it’s a sound that persistently resurfaces in electronic music’s left fields - kinda like rock musicians returning to roots in early electric blues - and we’d struggle to name a finer historic example in effect, hailing one strand of a cross-pollinating NYC scene that has held swerve over successive generations ever since.
“As the 1980s progressed, together with increasingly tough Reaganomics, the crack epidemic, real estate inflation, demographic shifts and musicians and clubs catering to increasingly segregated audiences, the synergistic elements that first set the scene apart weakened severely from 1984 onwards. However, thanks to a dedicated underground, the forward-looking sensibilities of Mair, Jr. found an audience, gripping the imaginations of a select group of collaborators and peers from the so-called ‘cassette culture’ movement.
These were not simply ‘demos’, but fully realised art projects primarily traded with other like-minded artists around the world. All kinds of folk found this a simpatico space to make music, think aloud, drift in and out of focus. Mair, Jr. started recording a dizzying array of home-baked cassettes, most of which remained unreleased or traded internationally. Captivated by the promise of possibility, his sound totally embraced the plastic potential of MIDI and digital, in all their unreal perfection. The sound of placeless, dream-like environments: movie sets, photo shoots, videogame backdrops. Dense webs of flickering neon, laser-strafed minimalism and thick saw-wave synths.
This expansive second volume of rarities is drawn from Mair, Jr’s ‘Selected Rhythm Tracks 1988-1994’, a hidden archive of introverted electro-minimalist songwriting culled from over 30 years of private and unreleased cassettes. There's the boogie of the opening ‘Rhythm Track’, rendered in such perfect hi-res, it approximates digi-Motown via sci-fi Library Music soundtracks. ‘The Escape’ strings the most plastic of trumpets over an avant-funk stroll that’s so laidback you feel like it must be hiding something. The Afro-tropicalia of ‘Winefride XL’ is a beatific series of polyrhythmic kalimba lines that you can imagine gathering and drifting over and over again, like tides. There’s a distinct cinematic quality in Mair, Jr’s sequencing, and most of all on the outro to the blissful sweet-sour synth spirals of ‘Winefride LIV’, which sounds like Angelo Badalamenti scoring Perry Henzell instead of David Lynch."
Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders’ definitive avant-jazz opus available on vinyl again as part of Verve’s Acoustic Sounds Series.
Widely regarded a sacred contribution to the exploratory phase of late ’60s and early ‘70s avant-garde, modal jazz, Journey In Satchidananda finds Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders channelling a staggering flux of emotions - lushness, fury, melancholy and a spectrum of integers between - through a uniquely free fusion of far-flung styles and ideas. It’s arguably a syncretic form of Afro-American Black Classical music which distilled and looked beyond the turmoil of the civil rights movement to a more positive, open-minded and optimistically empowered sound-as-life.
There’s no way we’re going to try and break this down. But although it may be impenetrably encrypted, it’s easy to understand once you’re in the midst of it.
A late ‘90s neo-noir ambient jungle masterpiece, Christoph De Babalon’s 'If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It' sounds something like Thomas Köner re-assembling fierce, unrelenting D&B with his frozen gear. Now a quarter of a century old, it still occupies its own distinct notch on the continuum; copied endlessly, never bettered.
Christoph De Babalon was a key member of Digital Hardcore, the mutant Berlin-based splinter cell who fused UK rave music with more experimental, Teutonic techno, Ambient and hardedge politics to brutal effect during the mid-late ‘90s. CDB was always somehow on another level to most of his peers and labelmates at DHR, less interested in purely aggy breakbeat energy, his was a sound that also embraced windswept, ice-cold ambient atmospherics and a bleak sort of romance that was at odds with the almost cartoonish “sound terror” aesthetic of the label.
For us, ‘If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It’ really distills a feeling of that era, as the utopian outlook of rave’s early years had given way to something much darker, more maudlin, perhaps symptomatic of an ennui with dance music’s hyper-commercial land grab, a kind of pre-millennial tension. Either way, it provided the perfect soundtrack to ravers who were spending more time developing virtual lives online, or (speaking from experience) who weren’t yet old enough to go raving, but were shelled with media images and 2nd hand impressions of the culture, which had by then morphed into the prevailing trends of garage, trance, and prog house, and was but a ghost of its original, loony self.
It’s an album torn between extreme states; on the one hand going harder than the rest in killer rave moves such as the hardcore rattler ‘Dead (Too)’, the epic amen + drone blow-out ‘My Confession’, or the cut-throat beast ‘Water’. But on the other, it gets properly haunting on the remarkable 15 minute opener ‘Opium’, or with the sublime, Gas-like suspension system of ‘Brilliance’, and the funereal, bombed-out bliss of ‘High Life (Theme)’.
Christoph De Babalon effectively plotted out terrain that bridged DJ Scud’s rugged jungle breakcore with soundscaping more commonly associated with Thomas Köner or Deathprod, and in the process set the ground for myriad contemporary producers and sounds ranging from Raime and Blackest Ever Black to Demdike, Pessimisst and beyond. ‘If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It’ was, and still is, a deadly statement of intent, with an aesthetic that still strongly resonates and influences today.
First time vinyl pressing of a concrète masterwork by experimental autodidact Tod Dockstader, returning to orbit with a stunning mesh of shortwave radio signals siphoned from the aether and arranged into a mind-bending experience - RIYL Roland Kayn, The Conet Project, Leyland Kirby, Jim O’Rourke.
‘Aerial 2’ is the fruit of 15 years of Dockstader parsing the atmosphere for shortwave radio. Together with its other volume issued 2005-2006, it marked Dockstader’s re-entry to the release schedules decades after his batches of library music in the ‘80s, and nearly a half century since he entered a sphere dominated by academia by the back door with his DIY tape spliced ‘Eight Electronic Pieces’ in 1961, which was realised late at night in an NYC studio after working as editor in Hollywood during the ‘50s. ‘Aerial 2’ finds the late composer sticking to his instinctive approach with fathomless results full of gyring, shearing dynamics and complex textures and timbres that can’t help but lead the mind to the other side, placing self-taught technicality at the service of incredibly imaginative, immersive scapes.
Sifted from some 90 hours of nocturnal recordings that scanned the atmosphere for signs of life, the results pitch those cross signals and etheric filaments into plangent compositions oceanic or cosmic in scope. In that sense he follows a thread of inspiration that lit up imaginations of the earliest cavemen thru to advanced ancient civilisations and contemporary physicists with appropriate measures of atavist and futurist wonder brought into sharper, yet still elusive, focus via prisms of C.20th technology. The results are perhaps best compared historically to the awe-inspiring para-academic vision of Roland Kayn, yet differ in their grasp of cosmic chaos and rhythmic diffraction, and are more simply perceived as a stunning expression of proprioceptive intuition - projecting light years out from earth to find a place in the universe, ultimately making us feel like a speck of dust.
Post-industrial pioneers of Bourbonese Qualk, 23 Skidoo, Current 93 and Laibach go deep in the echo chamber with masterful results for anyone smitten with The Orb, Ozric Tentacles, or Om Unit’s acid dub studies, and hankering for the halcyon haze of ‘90s chill out rooms.
Featuring the digits of revered veterans Simon Crab and Fritz Catlin on the synths, guitars, drums and mixing desk, Big Daddy’s ‘Bomb Culture’ is a wickedly loosey goosey batch of acid dub betraying strong influence from psychedelic rock and reeking of ganja and patchouli. It feels very much a vestige of bygone eras that have endured in certain, addled imaginations and after-hours sessions since the ‘80s new age travellers free-party/festival network transitioned to squat parties and the likes of Herbal Tea Party or Megadog in the ‘90s.
The 8 tracks dial up aspects of both artists combined 80-odd years of work in this arena, with Crab leaning into the latent dub-wise nature of his Bourbonese Qualk works that have more firmly surfaced since his return to the fray in recent years, and Catlin channelling, and tempering, the percussive suss of his classic chops with 23 Skidoo, whose ground-breaking, gamelan-infused post-punk was massive highlight of that era.
Trust it’s one for the eyes-down crew, holding a dense but spacious pressure between their heavy-trodding ‘Umwelt’ and melodica-led charms of ‘Molecule’s Dream’ with psychonauts and spangled bodies in mind. They edge on a sort of Afrobeat dub gilded with lush pads on ‘Cupid’s Itch’, and properly lift up knees on the buoyant stepper ‘Chasmophyte’, next to crashing dub of ‘Warlords’ and the defter ‘Esolang’.
3 Feet High and Rising is the debut studio album by hip hop trio De La Soul and was released on March 3, 1989.
"It marked the first of three full- length collaborations with producer Prince Paul, which would become the critical and commercial peak of both parties. Critically, as well as commercially, the album was a success. It contains the singles, "Me Myself and I", "The Magic Number", "Buddy", and "Eye Know".
The album title came from the Johnny Cash song "Five Feet High and Rising". It is listed on Rolling Stone's 200 Essential Rock Records and The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums. When Village Voice held its annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for 1989, 3 Feet High and Rising was ranked #1. It was also listed on the Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Released amid the 1989 boom in gangsta rap, which gravitated towards hardcore, confrontational, violent lyrics, De La Soul's uniquely positive style made them an oddity beginning with the first single, "Me, Myself and I". Their positivity meant many observers labeled them a 'hippie' group, based on their declaration of the 'D.A.I.S.Y. Age' (Da. Inner. Soul. Yall).
Sampling artists as diverse as Hall & Oates, Steely Dan and The Turtles, 3 Feet High and Rising is often viewed as the stylistic beginning of 1990s alternative hip hop (and especially jazz rap).
An absolutely essential slice of Hip Hop history that’s been unavailable for some time."
Omar S’ FXHE sustain a hot streak after Hi Tech and Dastardly Kids’ bombs with an unmissable intro to Detroit’s Full Body Du Rag.
A sort of motor city megazord amalgam of the producer/DJ and his pals, including both members of Hi Tech and Alex Omar Smith aka Omar-S, Full Body Du Rag gives it up rude and raw on joints hopping from ghettotech swag to rap and 2-step with unmistakeable 313 steez. There’s vocal heat on each, from Hi Tech’s Milf Melly serving dancehall-style chorus and rap bars on the spangled house grind of ‘Naughty Gal’ to a jewel of Jersey club-styled bumps in ’She Got a Attitude’ ft. bandmate King Milo, while Dastardly Kids’ Sonny Dulphiv weaves between crooked 2-step of ‘Trillionaire’, stitched with what sounds like a sample of The KLF.
Chablis lends a gritty texture to the lusting club move ’Shhh!!!’, and NLGHTND gives a sweeter sparkle to the R&B shimmy of ‘Pussy on the Map’, with the slamming jit of ‘FBD x CERT’, ‘Juice’ ft. Omar S and ‘In Love’ hitting it deep and fast for the footwork/jit/ghetto-tech posse.
Humbert & Rosenboom’s oneiric 1982 avant-garde gem from the Lovely Music, Inc. cosmos returns on bonus edition remastered by Stephan Mathieu and nearly doubled in length with unreleased material featuring input by percussionist William Winant, additional to Humbert’s gorgeous vocals and Rosemboom’s masterful melange of Syrian dumbek, Ghanaian gangoukis, Buchla 200 and ARP-2500 modular synths and the custom-built Touché, a computer-assisted keyboard invented by him with Donald Buchla.
“Daytime Viewing (1979-80) is an extended narrative song, based on a casual analysis of daytime television drama and the audience phenomena such programming addresses. The piece explores the use of fantasy as a survival mechanism against loneliness, illustrating the human compulsion to inflate the mundane to mythological proportions. A central female character weaves tales, using threads of personal experience and the idea of TV as friend, as mantra, and as transformational window between imagined spectacle and the pedestrian plane.
Originally released as a private cassette edition [recorded, 1982; Chez Hum-Boom release, 1983] documenting the collaborative performance piece of the same name by Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom. This heady, thoroughly enjoyable work was first made available on CD and LP in 2013 by Unseen Worlds. Jacqueline Humbert (aka J. Jasmine) is a songwriter of brains and wit on par with Robert Ashley, with whom she's worked extensively. David Rosenboom's complex, harmonic electronic arrangements are accentuated brilliantly by percussion from William Winant. Daytime Viewing can happily be added to a small but significant group of work that, through lesser-known paths, engaged in an equally revelatory reexamination of the Great American Songbook as Minimalism did with 20th Century composition.”
Holden outdoes himself on this latest psychedelic voyage, combining his latter-day kosmische flirtations with his breakout shoegaze-trance experiments. At its best, it sounds like Cluster doing 808 State, or Göttsching doing Shpongle.
James Holden has had a wild ride of it. As a teen he was fascinated by the pirate radio stations he'd just about be able to tune into from his dull West Midlands village, and before he'd hit 20 he was already producing major label dance music and touring relentlessly. In recent years, Holden has attempted to distance himself from the dancefloor energy he cut his teeth on, but 'Imagine this...' reconciles his two decade career, using the lysergic synth experimentation of his more recent material to spruce up his beloved early progressive trance patterns.
The best example of this is 'Trust Your Feet', a track that's blessed with the fluttering, chorus-heavy texture of Cluster's 'Zuckerzeit' era but launches into triumphant, euphoric organ rave so fluidly you barely notice it happening. Holden's clearly a keen listener as well as a confident engineer, so while the blend might seem clunky on paper (despite trance's established roots in German electronic music) Holden provides the authenticity it needs in order to work.
Elsewhere 'In the End You'll Know' is a cinematic conglomeration of Klaus Schulze and pacy, progressive electro, and 'The Answer is Yes' sounds like Popul Vuh after a weekend at a psy trance festival. Even just as a collection of fetishistic synth demos, they're so well produced that the album would be worth a peep for that alone, but Holden not only knows his history but is able to create material that's just inarguably joyful. We'll take it.
Balmy Música popular brasilieira by a pair of Brazilian singer-songwriters recorded in rural ‘90s Finland, including their reggae cover of ‘Extra’ by Gilberto Gil.
“"Rosanna & Zélia were a Brazilian duo of singers and musicians Rosanna Guimarães Tavares and Zélia Nogueira da Fonseca. They moved from Minas Gerais, Brazil to Europe in 1988, released five albums in Germany between 1993–2004 and featured vocals on an Ian Pooley house track Coração Tambor before Rosanna died of cancer in 2006. Zélia still continues her career in Germany, touring actively and releasing new music.
The duo's journey from Brazil to Germany also included two brief visits to Finland. In the years 1989–1990, they spent time in the small town of Seinäjoki in Ostrobothnia. Rosanna & Zélia performed Brazilian music in Finnish clubs and festivals and recorded a 7" EP for local label Maumau Music. The record was distributed mostly in the Seinäjoki area, but the three songs are well-performed and authentic Brazilian MPB, so the largely unknown record now gets its first reissue for a wider audience on We Jazz Records.
But how did two Brazilian women find their way to a small Finnish town to record an EP? The main reason for this was music journalist and promoter Risto Vuorinen, who was on a holiday in Albufeira, Portugal, where a friend of his lived. The streets were almost empty that evening, but Vuorinen and his friend heard fine guitar playing and singing from a bar. There were Rosanna and Zélia performing on a small stage, and the two Finnish men happened to be the only customers. When the artists ended their performance, Vuorinen's friend, who spoke Portuguese, went to talk to them. Rosanna and Zélia told him they had recently come from Brazil and are trying to gain ground in Europe with their music.
Because Rosanna and Zélia didn't know where they would head next, and because Vuorinen liked their music, he thought of bringing the duo to his hometown, Seinäjoki. They immediately liked the idea, and in the autumn of 1989 they arrived in Finland. The national Finnish jazz festival was held in Seinäjoki, and Vuorinen thought Rosanna & Zélia's Brazilian music would fit right in. They performed at the festival and in November 1989, also made recordings in a local studio with backing musicians from Seinäjoki.
Music enthusiast Pertti Hakala had a record shop and label Maumau Music in Seinäjoki releasing music from local artists. He released a three-track EP from the sessions. with two tracks written by Rosanna & Zelia themselves and their cover version of Extra (Brazilian Reggae), written and originally performed by Gilberto Gil in 1983. A small pressing was made for the Finnish market, and Hakala also sent a box of records to Brazil, but for some reason it was sent back.”
Damn we weren't expecting this - Joachim Nordwall matches Mats Gustafsson's horns with doomsayer synth dirt on 'Their Power Reached', a frighteningly good marriage of free jazz skronk and psychedelic industrial weirdness.
Nordwall's been a reliable source of cross-genre entertainment for decades, both as a producer and unstoppable collaborator (as part of The Skull Defekts, Organ of Corti and more), and as a curator. Gustafsson is equally important in Swedish musical lore, having been involved in literally hundreds of projects and having worked with artists as diverse as Sonic Youth, Merzbow and Neneh Cherry.
'Their Power Reached' is a relatively restrained back-and-forth that doesn't need to show off either of its collaborators' estimable skillsets. Nordwall's gloomy synths are stripped back to a grim wheeze on opener, while Gustafsson joins with sustained breaths that grow into harmonic tones.The emotions shift as distortion encases Nordwall's dying toy bleats and Gustafsson flips from phlegmatic hums into manic squealing without so much as a warning.
The duo navigate dangerous waters with a middle finger to expectation. Industrial electronic music and free jazz might seem like fine bedfellows but the amalgamation is often too fussy and heavy handed. It works here because both Nordwall and Gustafsson appear to be completely at ease with not just each other but themselves; Nordwall's brooding electronics are minimal but never lifeless, and Gustafsson doesn't need to show us how quickly or fluidly he can play, he's able to instead concentrate his efforts on finding the best possible tone to slip into a groove that's got us dizzy with excitement. Really good this.
Boredoms icon YoshimiO and one-time Rephlexian IzumiKiyoshi give wings to lush and wildly inventive fusions of psychedelic electronics and classical keys derived from improvisation - RIYL Anthony Manning, Jim O’Rourke, Theo Burt, Keith Fullerton Whitman...
The second fruits of their labour after a very scarce CD in 2002 is ‘To The Forest To Live A Truer Life’, whose title implies one leave their sensible head at the door and ready themselves for a brilliant sensory-bathing experience. In a back and forth process or recording in a cafe nestled near a forest in Japan, YoshimiO’s piano and vocal improvs are fed into IzumiKiyoshi’s modular synthesiser, and spectralised and modulated in imaginary air, and recombined with YoshimiO’s riffs on those parts to create their fantastic, unpredictably erupting arrangements.
It’s a real pleasure to follow the shape of the duo’s hyaline harmonics, threaded by tattered ribbons of semi-synthetic melody and clambering free-jazz piano where they want to take us. Honestly we could be here all day describing the abundance of energy tempered into fantastic whorls, plies and psychoacoustic headiness, but best to trust your ears and prepare oneself to be wowed by this one - there’s some seriously rare, poetic and visionary genius at work here.
Hood co-founder Richard Adams most impressively emulates Mark Hollis’ godly solo work with a jazz and folk-tinged post rock beauty in his beloved guise as The Declining Winter - do not skip without checking the heavenly catharsis of ‘This Heart Beats Black’! RIYL Talk Talk, Rachel’s, Sam Prekop, Hood, Red House Painters, Bark Psychosis, The Notwist, Sandro Perri...
“For over 30 years Richard Adams has been quietly documenting his own particular corner of the English countryside both with Hood, the post-rock band he formed with his brother in 1991, and since 2007 with The Declining Winter.
Recorded over a five year period and inspired by rustic English alternatives such as Talk Talk and Robert Wyatt, The Declining Winter’s latest work ‘Really Early, Really Late’ is a collection of beautiful songs, immersed in a richer sonic spectrum incorporating strings, horns and lush electronic textures, alongside Adams’ own unique guitar tones and characteristic dubby bass.
Though it retains the homespun scratchiness of previous The Declining Winter records, ‘Really Early, Really Late’ is also their most ornate. A remotely collaborative effort, the record is scattered with decorative embellishments from violinist Sarah Kemp (Brave Timbers), cellist Peter Hollo (Tangents), and guitarist Ben Holton (epic45), among many others. Adams’ distorted whisper of a voice has never been more exposed leading to a brutally emotive and intensely personal song-suite, both raw and beautiful in equal measure.
The storybook curiosity of Mark Hollis’ work is a particular influence. Like Hollis, this music is imbued with magical realism: beholden to nature, it hints at the mysteries lurking in mundane local landscapes and the more remote Yorkshire moors and valleys. A record to hold close to your heart, ‘Really Early, Really Late’ sees Adams and his collaborators emerge from the shadows with their most complete work to date.”
Sound designer and producer Katie Gately's newest is an examination of childhood energy inspired by the birth of her first child that blends the Animal Collective's psychedelic abstraction with the quirky, anthemic quality of kids' TV themes.
"When I got pregnant, I started to get creative again," explains Gately. The process of pregnancy and childbirth, and the young life that created is the driving force behind "Fawn/Brute", Gately's fourth album. Her previous album was a solemn affair that addressed the death of her mother, in contrast its follow-up is joyful and unpredictable.
A devoted sound designer, Gately uses cartoon sound libraries to build unusual elements that suggest kids' TV without being too obvious. Hovering between polar pop formalities, she captures the chaos of childhood perfectly, singing erratically over typically inventive electro-acoustic structures. It's not easy music to listen to, but it's not supposed to be - Gately's innovative song forms wheeze from gassy post-punk to overblown, Kate Bush-informed pop, and her wide scope reflects her complicated, personal theme accurately.
Living legend of Berlin dub, Paul St. Hilaire aka Tikiman (Rhythm & Sound) is subject of a much-needed retrospective scanning solo productions across three decades for Kynant Records.
Adored around these parts for his ohrwurm vox as Tikiman on Rhythm & Sound’s Burial Mix records, Paul St. Hilaire is a Dominican artist based in Berlin since the ‘90s, where he’s honed a singular style of dub finely balanced between Caribbean tradition and its European offshoots. Any Berlin dub fiend will tell you, however, that St. Hilaire’s work does not stop at Rhythm & Sound, with his dulcet baritone also key to recordings by a raft of related artists such as René Löwe (Vainqueur), Deadbeat, and Rhauder, not to mention Larry Heard and Modeselektor. Perhaps lesser known are St. Hilaire’s inimitable solo productions, as previously showcased on a pair of albums for his False Tuned label, and now in abundance on ‘Tikiman Vol.1’, which reels between meditative steppers, psych-dub, rolling house and drowsy lovers for a rare insight to his cloud chamber studio floating somewhere above Kreuzberg.
While the tunes may bear a striking similarity to Rhythm & Sound, it’s all St. Hilaire’s own productions, custom-built with an extensive collection of vintage hardware to accompany his “patois metaphors on education, displacement and personal vs. global histories.” Reflecting on life between Dominica and Berlin, and especially as as one of the city’s long-standing but scant number of Black artists, it supplies a unique skew on the german capital’s beloved dub house/techno sound. Between the smoked-out dub blooz of ‘Bedroom in My Bag’ and the waves of rolling dub noise clag to ‘Three and a Half’, he echoes timeless work with Rhythm & Sound in the deep lovers dub mystery of ‘Little Way’ and ‘Keep Safe’, coining mesmerising sort of dub poetry on ‘Bright One’ and giving dancers something to trot to with the elegant pressure of ‘The Weather Man’, the swollen bass of ‘Ten To One’, and his skanking dub-jazz-house ace ‘In Door’. Legend.
Deerhoof do their genre-oblivious thing with renewed alacrity and freedom signified by Satomi taking the opportunity to sing entirely in her Japanese mother tongue.
Riddled with hooks and verve that can’t help but raise a massive grin on longtime followers or newcomers alike, ‘Miracle-Level’ is their latest in a fruitful relationship with the fittingly titled Joyful Noise Recordings, placing 30 years of honing thee tightest, most unpredictable chops at the service of a joyride between angular skronk and more tender, jazzy moments of indie-pop whimsy.
Perhaps an acquired taste for some (hands up here), once bitten by their grasp of nerve jangle discord and puckered, bittersweet melodies it’s hard not to be charmed by their conviction and vigour in shattering generic forms. On their 19th studio album, recorded by Mike Bradavski at No Fun Studio in Winnipeg, Manitoba, they patently entertain themselves as much as their listeners as each song hops between frameworks and feels with a preternatural dexterity that never comes off as showy or virtuoso.
The ecstatic, hacking guitars and drum kit bustle of ‘Sit Down, Let Me Tell You a Story’ nods to Afrobeat via talking Heads and anime soundtracks, beside a sort of psych-blues sugared by Satomi’s vox, and ‘Poignant Melody’ does just that on one of the album’s more hushed highlights, along with the brushed downstroke of its title piece, and the Brazilian-Japanese lilt to ‘The Little Maker’, and ‘Wedding, March, Flower’, that make a fine contrast with the rowdier shape of ‘And The Moon Laughs’ or the motorik mathiness to ‘Momentary Art of Soul’.
Sublime fingerpicking guitar tekkerz and meditative keys on the edge of folk blues and minimal modern classical by a pair highly regarded for respective collaborations with Mike Cooper, Kim Gordon, Bill Nace, and in 4AD’s Bing & Ruth.
“Steve Gunn and David Moore’s Let the Moon be a Planet is a volume of improvisatory exchanges between classical guitar and piano, and a meeting place where two artists become acquainted through instrumental dialogue without a single expectation distracting them from the joy and open field possibility of collaboration.
A project enveloped by an aura of reciprocity, Let the Moon Be a Planet unfolded from an invitation to connect between two New York-based musicians who admired each other’s work but had never intersected: guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn, whose solo, duo, and ensemble recordings represent milestones of contemporary guitar-guided material, and pianist and composer David Moore, acclaimed for his minimalist ensemble music as the leader of Bing & Ruth.
The exchange began remotely as Gunn and Moore responded to one another’s solo improvisations, embarking on a synergistic progression of deep listening and connection through musical conversation. “We were both fans of each other’s music and this was a chance to try a different process which was much more open,” says Moore. “It felt like something I needed personally as an artist, to not be so controlling over the final output, and to truly collaborate with somebody else.”
Similarly for Gunn, who was exploring new pastures and passages in classical guitar when the dialogue began, the project was an invitation for pure conversation and exchange, creating space for him to revisit foundational forms with his playing: “I was trying to break out of what I was doing, to have something that just pulled away all the elements of usual structured things.”
Let the Moon Be a Planet intertwines the trajectories of two musicians acclaimed for pushing the boundaries of their instruments, unified by a shift away from what they recall as more “detail-oriented” approaches to composition. Fueled by the magnetism of their call and response exercise, Gunn and Moore set out on a nomadic songwriting venture without an intended destination.”
A right blast of proto-emo hardcore from Annapolis, Maryland, USA, ’88/’92, in proximity to the fertile D.C. hardcore scene of Discord Records and Bad Brains, Minor Threat, S.O.A. et al
A must-check for anyone snagged on Moin’s mutated recapitulation of this era, or At The Drive In’s classic to follow a decade later, ‘Lyburnum Wits End Liberation Fly’ is the first album by Moss Icon, reissued on its 30th anniversary of release (despite being recorded in 1988) in a restored, facsimile edition after original copies got increasingly spenny in recent years.
“Lyburnum Wits End Liberation Fly was the one and only full-length album by experimental post-punk innovators, Moss Icon. Recorded in 1988, Lyburnum would not be released until 1993 – several years after Moss Icon’s demise. Originally released on Vermiforn – the esoteric noise label founded by Sam McPheeters of Born Against – the vision that Moss Icon’s Tonie Joy had for Lyburnum failed to manifest in its finished product. Of the process of preparing Lyburnum for its eventual release, Joy recalls, “My creative mind was well into its next chapter, onto an apocalyptic order [referring to Joy’s post-Moss Icon band, Universal Order of Armageddon]. Getting Lyburnum to look like what I envisioned in my mind became an uphill battle that involved misplaced photos, misunderstood instructions by the printer, increasing apathy, and lack of advanced printing knowledge (on my part), amongst many other technical and creative issues. With a deadline near it ended up being an it-is-what-it-is situation. Some corrections were attempted for the second pressing the following year, but a further lack of coordination between various parties saw it losing even more of the original vision.”
Despite these challenges and shortcomings, Lyburnum Wits End Liberation was instantly cherished as a feral masterpiece – a singular entity that would become a defining influence on post-hardcore and emo in the 1990s and beyond. Nothing before sounded like this, and nothing since has quite captured the same mysterious fury.”
Piotr Kurek scientifically examines the human voice on 'Peach Blossom', extracting and galvanizing rare textures and tones and pairing them with inverted jazz and post-TikTok renaissance music, basically taking choral/early music and adding autotune. Mad, uncomporomising brilliance - essential listening if yr into Wojciech Rusin, James Ferraro, Elysia Crampton.
The intersection of theater and contemporary music is a precarious one. All too often, artists keep themselves at arm's length from the stage in fear of being labeled pretentious or artsy. It's a treat to witness Polish composer Kurek throwing a middle finger up to the naysayers with this lavish and thoroughly histrionic experiment. He takes core elements from music he wrote for a performance at Bavaria's Münchner Kammerspiele of Tian Gebing's "Heart Chamber Fragments", using vocals from actors Komi Togbonou and Martin Weigel alongside spoken word from Chinese performer Xiangjie. These parts are augmented with MIDI and live recordings of various instruments, purposefully obscuring the line between the real world and the digital. It's a concept and pool of ingredients that's so fraught with danger that we were almost sold before we even hit play - and Kurek doesn't disappoint.
Plenty of artists are fascinated with the avant-garde possibilities of AutoTune or pitch correction. It's a facet of the majority of modern pop music, so it stands to reason that its sound is destined to be reshaped by artists who have had their own minds rewired by its ubiquitousness. Kurek makes it his own by approaching with outsized skill: 'The Art of Swapping Hearts' is literally just processed vocals emoting robotically over perfect silence. We're all familiar with the sound, but hearing pitch corrected voices without any accompaniment is chilling and resonant. When the title track swells into being, adding another voice, it's like a mischievous reinvention of early polyphonic choral music. Kurek teases us with both his concept and his palette, and is able to resist theatrical fireworks by being slow, intentional and even-handed.
The album's centerpiece is 'Martin is Crying', a lengthy experiment that finds Kurek playing a voice as if it was a keyboard, using syllables like synth tones and allowing them to cascade against marimba hits. More expressive voices scream around the edges, splitting the difference between contemporary schoolyard emo whining and a ramshackle Shakespearean chorus.
Kurek's a studied listener and adventurous composer who's been able to advance ideas that have been ping-ponging about the edgiest edges of the experimental pool for at least a decade. On 'Peach Blossom' he reduces his sound aesthetically while simultaneously pouring in more intellectual input; the music is stark but incredibly complex, demanding the listener zoom in and marvel at tiny obsessive details. Like the ancient Chinese fable it was named after, the album is beautiful and idealistic, but might just be a utopian delusion.
Enduring Japanese post-rock band MONO ditch the quiet-loud histrionics on their debut feature-length soundtrack, focusing on delicate ambient arrangements and airy cinematic bliss.
Directed by Yusaku Mitsuwaka, "My Story, The Buraku Story" is a documentary film focused on the lives of the burakumin, a "low status" group of ostracized rural villagers that experience discrimination in Japanese society based on their bloodline. For hundreds of years these people and their descendants have been treated poorly: prevented from working in certain professions and being forced to live only in designated areas. So for MONO, their job was to find a way to approach Mitsuwaka's film with the sensitivity necessary to help tell a difficult narrative - one that's rarely acknowledged by Japan.
It makes sense then that the band opted to strip back their usual heaviness and concentrate on more emotive elements, using piano, strings, synthesizers and choral vocal loops in place of guitars and drums. Tracks like the lachrymose solo piano number 'Yurameki' and self-consciously melancholy string and piano-led micro epic 'Kokyo' lead the charge. MONO's anthemic fingerprint is still present, just about, but turned down a few notches to marinate in the subject matter's calm sincerity. On tracks like 'Gohon no yubi' and 'Chinmoku' they use electronic elements to dematerialize in Eno-esque ambient zones, but they allow the instrumental post-rock to push thru on final track 'The Place', that slowly builds into a slow, Mogwai-esque crescendo.
Black Bastards by KMD reissue via Rhymesayers.
"Before MF DOOM donned his mask and became one of the most prolific MC-producers of modern Hip-Hop, he was a member of KMD, an early ‘90s rap group whose work still goes criminally under-appreciated to this day.
Following their 1991 debut album, Mr. Hood, the former trio shed one member leaving only two remaining – Subroc and his brother, Zev Love X (better known today as MF DOOM). Originally scheduled for release in 1994, their sophomore album Black Bastards showed clear progression from their debut. It was a truly amazing record, both sonically and lyrically, full of youthful creativity and tinged with the stresses of growing up as Black men in urban America. Songs like the lead single “What A N*gga Know”, the slippery, bass-driven “Get U Now”, and the album’s title track explore Black consciousness viewed through young-but-experienced eyes. Musically alternating between bouncy and raw – many times both, concurrently – the tracks gave the MC’s the springboard they needed to express themselves clearly.
Sadly, Subroc would face a sudden and untimely death in 1993, just as the duo were finishing the album. Grief-stricken, his brother Zev Love X – now the sole remaining member of the group – was determined to carry the legacy of KMD onward, but Elektra Records unceremoniously shelved the project in the eleventh hour, due to controversy surrounding the album’s provocative cover art. Following the fallout with Elektra, Zev tried for years to release the album on other labels, but he was continually met with dead ends. Struggling through the pain of losing his brother, coupled with the inability to release their final project together, a discouraged Zev Love X quietly withdrew from the scene and began quietly plotting his revenge on an industry that had broken him spiritually. Thus, in order to understand the true origin story of the super-villain, MF DOOM, one must recognize and appreciate the evolution of his former group, KMD, and the backstory of their pivotal album, Black Bastards."
Burning psych-disco from ‘70s Libya in Habibi Funk spotlight - imagine a soundtrack to Gaddafi hosting Austin Powers and you’re not far off this one
“Avid Habibi Funk listeners may be familiar with Libyan composer / producer Najib Alhoush, who’s “Ya Aen Daly” - Bee Gee’s “Stayin Alive” cover - was included in our 2nd compilation.
Najib’s group, “The Free Music” produced an astonishing 10 albums, all impressively strong and equally infused by soul, funk, disco and reggae. Groovy synths, thumping bass and drums and Najib’s distinct flavor collide for something special. Self-financed, all their albums are fully dedicated to their unique musical blend, a distinctly infectious groove that unfortunately didn’t make an impact outside of Libya due to the complex political situation at the time.
When we made the selection for this album, we could have chosen a completely different number of tracks and the album would be been equally strong. There is a reason why it says “Part 1” in the title. Vinyl and CD come with an extensive booklet featuring background on The Free Music and Najib Alhoush, including words from Najib’s son, Yousef, as well as unseen photos and more. As always this release is fully licensed, all proceeds are split 50:50 between us and Najib Alhoush's family.”
FRKWYS Vol. 13: Sunergy is a cross-generational modular synth navigation of oceanic scope anddeepkly personal proportions, orchestrated by Buchla pioneer Suzanne Ciani and her modern counterpart and Californian neighbour, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.
Californian neighbours and doyens of the modular synthesiser, the pioneering Suzanne Ciani and her modern antecedent, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, orchestrate a vivid synthetic panorama on Buchla, Moog, and other gadgets for FRKWYS Vol.13: Sunergy.
After only relatively recently realising that they lived in the same town, Bolinas, just north-west of San Francisco, the pair made the logical next step to collaborate on a record of improvisations inspired by their shared environment and mutual modular visions.
Over the course of a week in midsummer, 2015, against a backdrop of the Pacific ocean and the Californian coast (that’s Suzanne’s window you’re looking thru on the LP sleeve), they patched together two sublime streaks of searching and highly colourful synthetic expression, freely improvised on a Buchla Music Easel and 18-panel unit Buchla 200e with a multi-dimensional kinaesthetic input port (a set of tactile touch pads), with some processing help from Ableton and Eventide
The results are as majestic, gripping and windswept as the coast they’re perched above; spilling 23 minutes of mineralised melodies and billowing, lush harmonic complexity with a headlong momentum in A New Day, before dissolving themselves into the quieter contrast of Closed Circuit on the flipside, where they conserve the breathless energy of the A-side in a more delicate, deft manner before removing the walls and blooming out into sidereal lushness and calving off into a chaotic finale.
Cybernetic steppers from the enigmatic CYSP duo on a deft flex somewhere between early ’90s ‘Windowpane’ era Coil, H.I.A., Richard H. Kirk and fantasy Goan chill out rooms.
Next up on Malmö’s guess-again label Fasaan, CYSP take their maiden bow with a classy homage to leftfield early ‘90s club musicks. The six tracks on CYSP’s eponymous debut dwell in half light between the real, original thing and contemporary dancers searching for sensuous alternatives to peak time tackle. The results are equal parts tongue-in-cheek full of yoghurt weaver acid and aerobic mystic metaphysics, dancing in a finely realised simulacra whose spongiform layering and structures invite loosey goosey bodies and spangled minds to get right into it.
Packing pendulous swang in its sinuous drums and tumescent basslines, and replete with a throaty, sonorous acid tang and spaced-out motion that sloshes over directly from the early ‘90s halcyon daze, the EP cycles from the moody procession of ‘Reverse Autonomy’ to the infectious slo-mo traction of ‘E5 Intelligent Choir’ via proper technoid slow/fast stepper ‘Schoffer Dub’, to immersive depths opened out between the depth charge subs and scudding choral motifs in ‘Crux Feathers’, with an unmissable cut of Coil-gone-dancehall in the ‘floor-swilling highlight ‘Swarf’.
Deep-fried munchie box of mutant noise techno psychedelia by Kay Logan (Otherworld) in Helena Celle mode for fans of Astral Social Club, Container, Decimus, Lady Neptune, Teresa Winter.
“HELENA CELLE is the synth work and multi-dimensional audio practise of Glasgow-based musician Kay Logan. A dedicated 21st century polymath, Logan’s interests lie in the power relationships inherent in technology, how to harness aleatoric practise in a discipline that is often rigid and in exploring the interface between computer science (Logan is also a computer programmer) and sound. Originally recorded in 2014, "If I Can't Handle.." is the first step on the wander, a deliriously sun-burnt foray into abstract techno and a very personal take on an electronic music language that remains obscure to outsiders but here rendered a unique form of emotional communication.
While Logan’s interests are powered by academic exploration, what’s most striking about Helena Celle’s approach to electronic music is how effortlessly she deconstructs it: the results are emotive without being explicit, raw and engaging, a true outsider music. The taking apart of norms can be heard on the squelched solo on "I'm Done With 666", governed by love of noise, the wave is eviscerated, smothering the track in a glorious disregard for convention. The crashing, ultra-compressed chords that flatten opener "Streaming Music for Biometrics" re-wire the listener to appreciate chance, to break the loop. Recorded exclusively using a faltering MC303, live in a room straight to consumer dictaphones, the breadth of texture and depth of ideas on these tracks is truly astonishing. "Miming Swinging Baseball Bat" manages to submerge a bass-line straight into the tape heads, grounding a celestial synth arpeggio.
Informed by limit yet sounding limitless, If I Can't Handle Me... evokes a personal space, a rewired take on electronic music, convention seen through the prism of anti-tradition. A lovingly careless disregard for electronic music dogma before Logan's next phase as Helena Celle. After several releases under various other pseudonyms (Rick Ross, Larks) Helena Celle sees Logan focusing her ideas into a coherent whole, questioning the hegemony of neo-liberal ideas and their intersection with capital, culture and social practises, how these ideas inform the music we make, the choices we buy. Indeed, while Logan's current practise is moving further into the field of an open-source musical programming language, developing a truly democratic music practise set adrift from capital, here Logan's intent is to make sense of the nonsense we take for granted.”
First solo joints in seven years by Dutch party guy Awanto 3, who used to make wonky aces with Aardvarck
Foreshadowed by a tall tale about a week house-sitting on a possessed farm in Wallonia, Belgium, ‘Party Volume 1’ finds Awanto 3 turning his paranormal frisson into three cuts of languid deep house disco laced with a slinky latin suss. ‘The Lime King’ limbers up with a subtly electrified slant on P-funk and Azymuth-esque boogie that unbuckles across 9 minutes of shuffling permutations. ‘Seeyousoon’ follows with Kerri Chandler-esque piano chords and uptempo house bustle that frays into conga-led breaks, and ‘Sawyoulater’ twists left again with debonaire broken beat flex akin the OG West London mob as much as his Redlight Distrikt project.
Good ol’ country by a ‘70s homemaker from Mississippi, receiving her overdue flowers many decades later from Numero
“A ’70s homemaker stuck between the studio and a getting dinner on the table, Joyce Street eked out an arresting countrypolitan discography in the margins of an otherwise traditional American life. With lyrics drawn from the pages of her diary, Street’s stirring Mississippi warble led her into the fly-by-night world of custom studios, cutting tracks for upstart country concerns like Reena, Sonobeat, Revelation, and Arc. Channeling the honky tonk angel energy of Bobbie Gentry, Lorretta Lynn, and Jeannie C. Riley, Tied Down compiles a decade’s worth of melodies disguised as lottery tickets.”
Präsens Editionen welcome a 3rd release by Martina Lussi, morphing her vocals across a suite of ambient plucks and floating structures.
Martina began recording ‘Balance’ prior to the pandemic, and finished it during lockdown, with the results coming to consolidate two different states of being. The Swiss artist’s voice is a constant, albeit mutable, presence that connects the seven tracks, variously shapeshifting thru forms that resemble autotuned R&B glossolalia and even hint at North African Arabic modes, but are handled in a sort of avant-classical/experimental ambient manner that gives her license to leave drums for dust and occupy heady space in the upper registers.
While there’s no explicit percussion, it’s still possible to hear ghostly imprints of dancehall and R&B flickering behind the swaying shape of ‘Vessel’ and the vaporous thizz of ‘Time Lapse’ or the buoyant centrepiece ‘Routine’, with ‘How To Disappear’ feeling like a Lorenzo Senni or Palmistry piece.
Holy grail time! Vladimir Ivkovic initiates the Uprooted series with a 1st legit pressing of CHBB’s elusive industrial/techno touchstone, paired with a slow-motion dream sequence from Rex Ilusivii, Goran Vejvoda and Milan Mladenović - Essential business. No digital!
The first release on Vidal Benjamin’s Uprooted - a hugely promising, split 7” series exploring the idea of dual heritage - Belgrade-born and Düsseldorf-based DJ and digger’s mage Vladimir Ivkovic plays a blinder with two rare as hens-teeth gems that speak to his Serbian-German provenance and intrinsic links to both city’s renowned music scenes. Ivkovic reps his home city with a never before heard beauty by Serbian-Brazilian émigré Rex Ilusivii, while jaws will be dropped with the B-side’s first properly mastered and cut pressing of Liaisons Dangereuses co-founders Chrislo Haas & Beate Bartel aka CHBB’s utterly cult, ’81 industrial-techno blueprint.
Hardly believe we’re typing this, but CHBB’s ’NBKE’ finally gets a proper vinyl pressing. Named for its makers’ initials, CHBB was the short-lived side-project of Liaisons Dangereuses co-founders Chrislo Haas & Beate Bartel, whose series of tapes now trade for around £5000 - if u can find them. Respectfully abbreviated from a frankly dodgy title that doesn’t bear up to transliteration thru the maze of modern politics, ’NBKE’ remains the cult touchstone of feral proto-EBM and Düsseldorf dance music, splicing deadly choral chants to scudding kicks and Beate’s yowl in a way that never fails to take our breath away and make us bang the walls. Like many, we’ve made do with a YouTube rip for ages, so all credit to Vlad for gaining Beate’s permission to finally press it up and fire away after a 40 year wait.
The other side hails Vladimir’s roots in Belgrade, where he was born and honed his DJ skills as an adolescent playing slow jams at his father’s discotheque in the ’80s. The corresponding whorl of ‘Untitledvić’ hails Mitar Subotić (aka Suba aka Rex Ilusivii), collaborating with his Angel's Breath bandmate Milan Mladenović. While Suba and Mladenović would tragically pass long before their time in the ‘90s, their exclusive cut here helps define Belgrade’s legacy of slow, sexy, modal club music with a melange of psych rock, Ottoman melodies, and Suba’s mind melt electronics that dwell at the square root of Ivkovic’s signature, downtempo sets nowadays.
Kali Malone’s 'The Sacrificial Code’ is a major work featuring almost two hours of concentrated, creeping organ pieces aligned to non traditional intonation/tuning systems. It's a stunning realisation of ideas borne out of academic and conceptual rigour, with a perception-altering quality that encourages exploration without a preordained endpoint.
The Sacrificial Code’ takes a more surgical approach to the methods first explored on last year’s ‘Organ Dirges 2016 - 2017’. Over the course of three parts performed on three different organs, Malone’s minimalist process captures a jarring precision of closeness, both on the level of the materiality of the sounds and on the level of composition.The recordings here involved careful close miking of the pipe organ in such a way as to eliminate environmental identifiers as far as possible - essentially removing the large hall reverb so inextricably linked to the instrument. The pieces were then further compositionally stripped of gestural adornments and spontaneous expressive impulse - an approach that flows against the grain of the prevailing musical hegemony, where sound is so often manipulated, and composition often steeped in self indulgence. It echoes Steve Reich’s sentiment “..by voluntarily giving up the freedom to do whatever momentarily comes to mind, we are, as a result, free of all that momentarily comes to mind.”
With its slow, purified and seemingly austere qualities ‘The Sacrificial Code’ guides us through an almost trance-inducing process where we become vulnerable receptors for every slight movement, where every miniature shift in sound becomes magnified through stillness. As such, it’s a uniquely satisfying exercise in transcendence through self restraint and by this point inarguably a modern classic.
Andrew Hargreaves’ Tape Loop Orchestra makes his first mark of the year with a post-rock deep dive that continues the themes of his ‘Liminal Live’ (2020) tape.
’Temporal In-Between’ is presented as a conceptual soundtrack to a metaphysical road trip, a journey through infinitely open space imbued with phantomatic energies”. Hand-in-hand with the cover art by collaborator Keith Ashcroft, the two-part record evokes its subject with a lesser-heard (as in, have we heard him do this before?) use of electric guitar and a patented grasp of liminal, hypnagogic atmosphere to summon sustained arcs of phased chords and an almost wind-played motorik momentum that makes it feel like gliding over unlit moors at night.
The spirits of Eno & Fripp colour proceedings as TLO’s elliptical tape loop system accretes and unfurls its information in slow motion from the shimmering keys and guitar strokes of ‘Upsurge’, and its gorgeous transition to heart-in-mouth sensations, and the soothing plangency of ’Situated Presence’, where signature choral motifs are found occluded by the atmosphere, parting thru the clouds occasionally, but more often pushed to the background, as though heard from a distance like phosphorescent city lights spied from its meridian. More simply; dream food for fans of Romance, The Caretaker, Eno.
Alga Marghen close out their archival series of Éliane Radigue's unreleased tape and feedback compositions with its most startling set yet: two pieces, recorded thirty years apart, that zero in on her trailblazing genius, linking electroacoustic music, industrial noise, and meditative drone like a waking dream reprised.
Radigue is the visionary electro-acoustic composer whose work with microtonal tape music pushed the material parameters of sound as we know it. She studied with concrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer at RTF in the mid ‘60s and worked as assistant to another legendary figure, Pierre Henry, between 1967-69, before embarking on one of the most remarkable and singular paths in experimental music. This final unreleased part of her ‘Feedback Works’ plunges us into hitherto unheard 1969 recordings placed beside a keeling hybrid of tape, field recordings and ARP from 1998 that’s bound to send heads reeling.
Like a transmission received from another planet or a Conet Project number station signal resembling the atavistic vibration of one’s own atoms, ‘Memoriam-Ostinato’ (1969) returns us to uncannily familiar territory and temporality with a 23 minute play of feedback artefacts that appear to sing and keen like the elements. If you let your ears defocus and attune to her pace, the effect is powerfully hypnagogic, vacillating between alertness and stasis, eerie calm and ravishing noise, in subliminally effective transitions.
Stranger still is ‘Danse des Dakinis’, a breathtaking work made at Mills College in 1998. Unable to bring her trusted ARP to the campus, Éliane used tape recordings from previous decades, together with new recordings of the creek by the college, to conjure a momentous work inflected with her howling early feedback techniques as well as ARP synthesiser recordings. By this stage in her life Radigue was a practicing Buddhist, so the work inevitably absorbs an even more restrained sense of calm, even when balanced by aesthetically tense synthetic burrs and water rushes that mimic the frothy buzz of tape-crumbled white noise. Dark but never tonally self-involved or ego-driven, the piece is a lesson in thematic clarity and textural world-building - effectively a denouement of her c.20th path before she ultimately discontinued work with electronic music in favour of instrumental research and composition.
We really can't recommend it enough.
Immersive, sonic-psychogeographic/deep topographic readings of Lagos, Nigeria by its native artist and breakthru star of Berghain’s A-Ton Emeka Ogboh, now kicking off his Danfotronics label with a properly sick session highly recommended if yr into owt from Shackleton to the MvO Trio.
Titled by coordinates for the Ojuelegba bus station and former shine in central Lagos - as immortalised on Fela Kuti’s ‘Confusion’ - Ogboh’s ‘6°30′33.372″N 3°22′0.66″E’ mints his Danfotronics label with a brilliant, dubbed-out dérive of historic shrines, well trampled routes, and the red light district in his home city. It follows resounding acclaim for his now sought-after debut, ‘Behind the Yellow Haze’ (Galerie Imane Farès, 2018), which was reissued by Ostgut’s A-Ton in early ’21, circa the artist’s installation at Berghain’s lockdown exhibition series, when the club was transformed from its usual use.
For anyone late to his party, Ogboh’s sound is a prime example of Afro-contemporary sound art on the edge of ambient electronic composition and dance music. Weaving field recordings and sampled vocals around themes of memory and place, it results in richly mesmerising, uniquely expressive music that’s hard to compare to anyone operating in the current field. It’s very Berlin, but also nowhere near as gimpy as that might imply, with a familiar, stripped-down and grooving impetus offset by his uniquely observant ear for street sounds in purling polyrhythmic stripes that lend themselves well to early hours dancing as much as long headphone mooches, containing the potential to turn your daily traipse into something far more interesting.
Peppered with Nigerian voices, in the form of informal interviews on the name and descriptions of Ojulegba, plus the field recordings’ incidental clamour, the album vacillates between beatless passages that plug listeners into the anarchistic swelter of the inner city, with dubbed-out abstractions, and threads of rolling rhythms that entwine the whole thing with a purposefully febrile pulse.
West African rhythm fiends will be in their element as much as fans of more experimental dancefloor machinations, locating an unmissable sweetspot of new African sound art, ambient dematerialisation, and offbeat techno.
Touted by the label as the scariest, most inappropriate and possibly most influential kids TV music of ALL TIME, Sidney Sager and The Ambrosian Singers’ ‘Children of the Stones’ really is a terrifying anomaly collecting polyphonic vocal drone and “wordless wails” you’d sooner associate with the darkest Italian library records than anything made for children’s television. It’s a real fucking find this one - highly recommended if yr into anything from Delia x Daphne to Demdike.
Accompanied by some excellent liner notes from Stewart Lee, who manages to capture that weird pre-internet feeling of never being quite sure if that moment of weirdness you saw as a kid on tv was real or imagined, you’d be forgiven for putting ‘Children of the Stones’ down as some mad hallucination if it wasn’t for this artefact before you now.
As Lee explains, ‘Children of the Stones’ presumed an intelligence and curiosity “beyond the usual assumptions about the pre adolescent audience” - touching on themes of adult fears and longings, and featuring as protagonists a village of lobotomised weirdos which provide the concept for the score.
Blending unhinged choral work by the Ambrosian Singers, with radiophonic effects and horror film themes that resemble aspects of loftier avant-garde theatrical works of the era, it’s not hard to hear how this stuff could induce phantasmagorias in imaginations not yet overstimulated by the sugar rush of social media and hyper-strobing cartoons.
The whole thing lasts just 20 minutes and includes some 31 parts of music oscillating between echoes of church and theatrical music and richly evocative, dread-filled concrète and psychedelic fantasy that, luckily enough for these times, sound best with the heating off and a musty paperback illuminated by torchlight under the bedsheets.
What a find.
Ex-Emeralds synthesist and Spectrum Spools boss John Elliott steps into his Imaginary Softwoods slippers once again for an atemporal and emotional outpouring that's part psychedelic shoegaze and part kosmische trance. RIYL Klaus Schulze, Pub, Huerco S.
Elliott's Imaginary Softwoods project has provided keen-eared synth fetishists with a regular drip of high-potency atmospheric sea foam since Emeralds were still belching out split CDRs and hand-stamped 12"s at a prodigious rate. His latest set doesn't deviate from the established pattern, but weaves together Elliott's long-held interests in fractal Deutsche electronix, basement-dwelling DIY experimentation and misty-eyed British dubtronica. Basically, if you're interested in hearing where the Artificial Intelligence set might have ended up if they'd sustained themselves on a diet of West Coast new age tapes and Sky Records LPs instead of Future Music cover discs, this album gives us, at the very least, some blunt-addled vapor trails to follow.
Elliott's restrained composition is matched only by his mastery over his arsenal of instruments. Real gear botherers have slipped into precarious territory in the last few years, not helped by overexposure on Instagram reels and bearded accountants showing off their expensive modular rigs. But Elliott doesn't concern himself with vapid aesthetic posturing, he uses the synths he chooses because he's aware of not only their potential but their provenance. At this stage in his career he's signaling a knowledge of German pioneers like Schulze, Deuter and the recently-departed Manuel Göttsching, alongside his own back catalog and that of his kosmische-reviving peers. Elliott and his close friends provided a welcome respite by mining a seam that was vitally lysergic and comparatively sensitive.
Over a decade later his music still inhabits its own creative sphere, and despite the popularity of Ambient music, and the fatiguing overuse of analog synthesis, Elliott's skill separates him from any popular wave. He's able to bring to mind early Arovane and '80s Tangerine Dream simultaneously on the elegiac 'Parterre', and cross epic Schulze-style pad work with Slowdive-esque emotional weight on 'Diagram of the Universe'. Brief, noisy miniatures like 'Portable Void' and the glorious 'Mr. Big Volume' (which some of you might remember from 2020's brilliant "So Extra Bronze Lamp"), provide breathing room between weightier compositions like the gossamer 'Almond Branch' and faded 'Air Statue'. It's music that provides you the space to float outside of yourself for a moment and consider the world outside - the space in between. God knows we need it.
Deep, reticulated club-wired whitelabel from Felix Hall’s Chrome label, featuring Rat Heart’s first-ever remix and a strong swinger by Mad Rey, huge tip for the Actress, Aaron-Carl, Terrence Dixon, DJ Rush freaks!
Stepping on your expectations with big boned swivel, Heron Fischer’s follow-up to a 2019 debut on Promesses delivers a peak club anthem in-the-making. Following a string of exceptional mixtapes and compilations on the label, ‘Wish That You Would’ is only the 2nd original release on Chrome after Mobbs’ standout album, keeping one eye firmly on the ‘floor with coordinates wide open on its spaced-out set of remixes.
The OG banger ‘Wish That You Would’ comes on like a ruder answer to that ‘BOTA’ tune, swirling similar elements - organ vamp, bugged-out vocal, infectious garage-house swang - with a sicker, hands-on feel, road-ready foley and pitching drop guaranteed to get dancers in a lather, rather than line-dancing.
The remixes are the ones though. For his first ever flip, Rat Heart dresses down ‘Wish That You Would’ to the skeletal fundamentals of an empty warehouse beat track, headless rave vox and dubbed out dial tones with a sublime tension that echoes classic Actress in that simmering Terrence Dixon mode. Mad Rey rounds things off with a simmered down but still robust take, flexing like a clipped DJ Rush or Sneak butterfly rhythm.
Strictly for DJs and dancers!🔥
Jan Jelinek's Faitiche label digs up this 2010-recorded jam form Berlin underground techno duo Muellie Messiah & Punk not Punk.
'Exq I' isn't an easy listening experience but it's a rewarding one. The two producers had a jazz-inspired approach to improvisation, and while they were using electronic instrumentation it still retains a jazziness that can't help but remind us of Conjoint. But Muellie Messiah & Punk not Punk noticeably channel their energy into more minimal sounds, using bass womps and drones to draw parallels with Alva Noto's recognizable productions.
A single 36-minute track, "Exq I" builds patiently, never really shifting in tempo or even in density, but retaining and maintaining mood of expressionless German functionality. It's basically architectural minimal techno transmuted into ECM-ready free jazz, so make of that what you will.
Choice art-pop/avant-funk bullets from 1983, on the line between This Heat/Lifetones, and Dome/He Said
"Tribal Earth's 1983 recording “Interaction/Reaction'' features a fusion of post-punk, DIY mutant wave and minimal synth-pop that is backed by infectious funk and dub elements alongside Linn Drum machine rhythms. Heavy basslines and synths swirl, stab, and ring alongside Bennett’s smooth vocal delivery into 3 timeless art-avant pop gems “Interaction/Reaction,” “Got to Move,” and “Who Are You (In the Movies).”
This 40th anniversary edition is remastered directly from the master tapes and is a collaboration between Invisible City Editions and Michael Bennett. For fans of 99 Records, This Heat, and Lifetones."
Unwound’s 1995 self-titled album.
"Meeting at the halfway point between Bleach and Damaged, Unwound arrived years after the original trio of Vern Rumsey, Justin Trosper, and Brandt Sandeno made their Avast Studios debut.
Compiling their EPs for Kill Rock Stars and Gravity Records with five more session outtakes, Unwound was released on Rumsey’s Punk In My Vitamins as the band began flirting with the mainstream. Witness a band’s prehistory as it plays out in a feral maelstrom of screaming, distortion, feedback, and abrasive promise."
Ruffneck junglist x footwork blow-out backed with a spine-coiling rework by Dwarde & Tim Reaper
Working shades away from the vintage jungl/D&B styles stewarded by Droogs and the likes, Pugilist and Tamen run ’95 styles into the red on ‘Lithium’, and give it a memory update with nagging footwork patterns, dub techno chords and moody electronica pads on ’Synaesthesia’, beside the rolling jungle tekno pressure of ‘Myth’. Darlo radge Dwarde links regular sparring partner Tim Reaper (fresh from listing on Forbes’ 30 under 30) on a choppier cut of ‘Lithium’ that benefits from both sets hands on the scalpel with devilish swerve.
Flawless pop syrup from Isabelle Antena following Numero's reissue of cult classic 'Camino Del Sol' way back when their catalogue numbers were in single digits. On "En Cavale" Isabelle flies closer to the pop sun, employing Orange Juice producer Martin Hayes, covering Sister Sledge's 'Easy Street' and absorbing influence from Sade, Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz.
After "Camino Del Sol" failed to springboard Isabelle Antena to pop stardom in 1982, she repositioned her expectations, breaking apart the trio and transitioning from electro-samba minimalism to a solo sound that was more in line with expected 1980s electronic pop. "En Cavale" was her first solo full-length, her second album for Les Disques Du Crépuscule after a short, but ultimately unsuccessful UK diversion recording for Phonogram. One thing she did take away from that perioid was producer Martin Hayes, better known for producing Orange Juice's seminal "Rip it Up", who lends his slick fingerprint to this set of disco, smooth jazz and piña colada balladeering.
At the time Isabelle was fascinated with Nile Rodgers' work in Chic and Sister Sledge, so her cover of 'Easy Street' might be the best introduction to the album. It's sickly disco-pop, but filtered thru that unmistakable Antena sound that left an indelible mark on underground pop music. There's also plenty of leftover jams from the Antena era: oily electro-samba numbers 'Playback', 'Seaside Week End', and 'Be Pop' were co-written by her ex-bandmates Pascale Moiroud and Sylvain Fasy. 'Be Pop' especially, with a chilly avant disco lilt, could have been the blueprint for Stereolab's defining 'Ping Pong', with similarly deadpan vocals and incongruous sparkling production.
And when Isabelle goes it alone, she impresses with major league pop moves on 'Booby Trap', 'Life is Too Short' and 'Magic Words', three bombastic '80s belters that concluded the album's original release. This reissue bundles up 'Don't Think About It' and 'Time to Work', fleshing it out with smooth funk-laced bubblers that capture an era that seems impossibly distant.
Tropical synth fiends will be rubbing their keks with glee at the remastered reissue of Alafia’s slick ’84 jazz-funk fusions, now augmented with a strutting Bosq remix
The original cuts by Philip Nikwé aka Alafia landed on prolific french label Career in 1984 and recoil with a slick mix of juicy synth vamps, wriggling bass guitar and layered drums in ‘Assassan’ bound to do the business on busy ‘floors, while ‘Assize’ dials up the horns and highlife guitar on a peppery groove arced with choral harmonies. The Bosq remix resets ‘Assanssan’ to a steadier but swingeing keel that builds the Afro-Latin groove to a pressure cooker finish.