Beijing duo Gong Gong Gong's genre-melted debut album gets remixed by their fave China-connected producers, including SVBKVLT's Zaliva-D, Yu Su, Howie Lee, Scattered Purgatory, P.E., Angel Wei and more. All over the place, in the best possible way.
On the original album, Gong Gong Gong power through musical genres like Mr. Ben outfits. This remix collection is no different, with each contributor attempting a completely different style. There's Zaliva-D's torched, dystopian club, Howie Lee's electronix-infected Sonic Youth-style noise rock, Yu Su's dubbed-out city pop, Scattered Purgatory's reverberating doom and P.E.'s quirky electro pop and that's only scratching the surface. Beijing is on a tear right now, and some of the world's most exciting sounds are emerging from that fertile meeting-point between global cultures. "Phantom Rhythm 幽靈節奏 Remixed" is an ideal tasting plate.
Pale Saints' Ian Masters and His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever join forces to deconstruct The 13th Floor Elevators' psych classic 'Kingdom of Heaven' and project themselves into a wild, creative musical netherworld split across four tracks. Seriously damaged.
"Kingdom of Heaven" was originally released as a limited lathe cut in Japan, but has thankfully now been opened up to the rest of us. The concept is simple, Master and Defever use the 1966-released 'Kingdom of Heaven' as the springboard for a project that, basically, disintegrates the psychedelic classic into sprawling, hydra-like entities.
Opening track 'Tengoku no ōkoku' is the most expected take and burns with the pulsing dream-pop energy you'd expect from two former 4AD heads, but from there things get a little more murky. 'Kumamushi' veers away completely from the original, layering guitar licks and loops over elegiac vocals before melting into analogue drones and ghostly vocal traces. If the original track was an expression of the band's interest in LSD, this track makes that link painfully obvious.
'Taishōgoto o ōkoku' strips things back to the raw materials, with just guitar and vocals, but it's 15-minute closer 'Uchu' that's the real draw. Glued together with flute sounds, canned vocals and early electronic burbles, before evolving into pastoral synth ambience, it almost sounds like Flying Saucer Attack jamming with Sunburned Hand of the Man. Torched.
Recoiling, snarling percussive aggression and swarming industrial noise by human battery, Sorcery, including a Kangding Ray remix
Where 2019’s debut ‘Manufactured Conflicts’ established Sorcery as a devilish producer in possession of fierce drum palette, aligned to industrial zones by its Samuel Kerridge remix, his follow-up EP ‘Mirrors Of Perception’ builds on those foundations with its billowing widescreen sound design and broader canvas for anxious, pummelling drums.
The first four tracks showcase the Montreal-via-Berlin drummer Merlin Ettore, aka Sorcery purely solo, birthing a gnashing maul of sinew, bones and hair in ‘On The Bias’, and slugging restless industrial syncopations in ’Synovial Membrane’, with the beatless palate cleaner ‘Rainfall Runoff Modelling’ viewing acid rain scorched terrain, and ‘Mirrors of Peception’ plunging back into roiling drum drama.
In the EP’s final throes, Montreal’s Elsiane lends screwed and combed out vocals recalling Aïsha Devi works to cinematic drone scenes, and Kangding Ray reworks ‘Mirrors Of Perception’ with a more regular, club-readied ballast of garage techno mechanics.
Foodman spells out his adroit take on Chicago footwork mixed with Japanese environmental music in a curiously bass-less wonder for Hyperdub after establishing a nonpareil reputation over the past decade
Despite the lack of bass, ‘Yasuragi Land’ sweetly resonates with Hyperdub’s rhythm-driven fixations in each part, dispensing 17 bite-sized morsels that add up to a very satisfied belly. As one might be able to tell from the cover, if not his name, Foodman likes his grub and his music is deftly flavoured like a multi-course taster menu, keeping everything lightly fried and rhythmelodically harmonised for a sort of spirited musical nourishment.
While the rhythmic focus of his music can be attributed to the inspiration of late ‘00s, early ‘10s juke and footwork from Chicago, the atmospheres of his music specifically, metaphorically references eating at “Michinoeki”, the Japanese motorway service stations, and the ambience of local “Sento”, or Japanese bathhouses, places he goes to “enjoy the atmosphere” and which imbue the album a sense of peace and certainty in unsteady times.
Under lockdown like everyone else, Foodman also revived the spirit of his teenage days as a busker in ‘Yasuragi Land’ by effectively multi-tracking his guitar and drums to resemble the ping pong playfulness of band action. The results are charmingly breezy and light-footed, like a sort of midi jazz-fusion that echoes original footwork, but doesn’t demand your energy, rather it appears to dance off the walls and lend itself to be devoured in one sitting; it’s gently engaging, not engorging, stuff.
South Korean-born, LA-based producer, rapper and singer Park Hye Jin impressed with her "How Can I" EP and Clams Casino, Blood Orange and Nosaj Thing collaborations. "Before I Die" is a mixtape-like effort that combines disparate flavors of hip-hop and dance with sunny K-pop vocals and riffs.
'Before I Die' attempts a lot, but struggles to escape its cascade of influences. Park Hye Jin sounds most comfortable when she works in a house mode. Opening track 'Let's Sing Let's Dance' is the album's most successful track, her voice is assured whether singing or offering deadpan phrases and the production is propulsive and effective. But when she veers into overworked rap subgenres ('Before I Die', 'Where Did I Go') it gets a bit murkier.
It's not all bad news: 'Good Morning Good Night' is a blissful downtempo cut, and 'Can I Get Your Number' interpolates LA's short-lived jerkin' sound in a respectful way. But "Before I Die" is just too disjointed to fully lean into.
Æthenor's Daniel O'Sullivan impresses again with a second set of off-kilter library music. There's no breakbeats here - O'Sullivan tracks across vast musical territory skirting Indian raga, dense electronic ambient, early synth music, psychedelic folk, choral music and plenty more.
Following last year's silky smooth "Electric Māyā", O'Sullivan's latest library excursion is a deep dive into his meditative realm. It's hard to imagine a lot of this music being used for TV, but that's what makes it better than you'd hope.
O'Sullivan is at his best when he sounds most angelic, like on opening track 'Perpetual Ascension', the choral 'Palo Sagrado' and the striking, church-bell led 'Head in the Bellfry'. Paper Dollhouse's Astrud Steeholder assists on the latter, and on the poppy 'Orgone Attenuation' that sounds almost like The Knife.
Legendary Moss Side/Hulme roots reggae band X-O-Dus are finally given a first vinyl edition of ‘English Black Boys’, their long thwarted debut album for Factory, including the titular, Dennis Bovell-produced 1980 single.
This first vinyl edition of the full ‘English Black Boys’ arrives 40 years after the band were forced to change their name due to similarities with a London band, and Factory effectively sidelined them in the wake of all the attention around Joy Division. The album did eventually come out on CD in 2012, but only now finds its intended vinyl existence, pairing the Dennis Bovell-produced single with contemporaneous songs plus tracks written during the ‘90s and into the ‘00s.
You can imagine that if ‘English Black Boys’ had come out in 1980, it would have become a real touchstone of the Manchester canon by now. As noted by Steve Barker “They were a community-rooted band taking a strong political stance in their lyrics, as opposed to any faux Rasta leanings, and their first single on Factory was well supported by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus.”
In an alternate timeline, they would be hailed up there on a wider level with UK reggae greats such as Matumbi and Steel Pulse, but as it is, the album remains a ghostly, richly soulful oddity from the most vital corner and era of Manchester; a place and time where working class African diaspora and Irish communities gelled, and the likes of the Nile and Reno club, Barry Adamson and A Guy Called Gerald would later come to represent to the world at large. X-O-Dus come from the foundation of all that good stuff.
Finally available again, Mika Vainio's Oleva was released in 2008 and ranks alongside his most contemplative work. It alternates between shades of the OG Panasonic blueprint and the explorative ambience perfected on 'Kantamoinen'. It also includes a rare Vainio cover version; an interpretation of Roger Waters’ 'Set the controls for the heart of the sun’.
Under the Ø moniker Vainio proffered some of the most singular and shining electronic music of the last three decades, starting in 1993 with a template-setting series of 12"s for his native Sahko imprint, and ending with 2013’s Konstellaatio. Situated somewhere outside Vainio’s best known ice cold minimalist vs hardware gnarrrr modes, ‘Oleva’ finds Vainio at his deepest, opening with the subs & shimmer of 'Unien Holvit’ and ending with the vapourised lament 'Muistetun Palaava Taajuus’. In between, there are more familiar bleep reductions (if u squint 'U-Bahn’ could almost sit perfectly on top of an Eski blueprint), ‘Mojave’ is pure windswept introspection, and the remarkable ‘Tasanko’ sounds like whatever you'd call the Finnish equivalent of porch-side blues, all slide guitar and a deep sense of unease.
Since his untimely passing, Vainio's extensive catalogue has been weighing heavily on the minds of an electronic music community that was in one way or another completely indebted to his singular sound. Re-evaluating ‘Oleva' with that in mind imbues it with a kind of poignancy that’s hard to describe - this is, after all, minimal music. And yet, it feels deeply moving. Somewhere behind the isolated vista on the cover was a man of few words who quietly set about imposing his own precise aesthetic onto the world. In his own time, and without compromise.
'Single' isn't just a reissue of Pub's similarly-titled 2002 set, it properly rounds up the Glaswegian dub techno reductionist's first three 12"s and adds a couple of vinyl exclusives. Long-form blunted dancefloor haziness never sounded so lovely: imagine Various Artists/T++, The Black Dog, BoC and Manuel Göttsching locked in a room wth some synths, drum machines and echo boxes.
Hot on the heels of last year's much needed 'Do You Ever Regret Pantomime?' reissue comes this equally levitational set of Caledonian miasma, remastered at Berlin's Dubplates & Mastering. It's the best way to widen yer appreciation of the Ampoule boss's early work, especially if you've only come across his debut album and the 'Summer' EP. 'Single' is basically a photo album of Pub's earliest experiments, and kicks off fittingly with 'Lunch', from his 1999-released 12" "Lick/Lunch". When that record originally dropped, Pub was only 18 years old and was penning his extended dub-phoric jams on a single synthesizer/workstation.
The rudimentary DIY methodology adds to the raw emotionality of the material. It sounds as if Pub is very slowly conducting the loose, trance-influenced arpeggios and dusty rhythms and shifting them carefully in-and-out of frame on the fly almost like Manuel Göttsching on the Biblical "E2-E4". There's a physicality to the music that sounds alien in an era where DAWs are practically unavoidable, and it's sobering to recall. 'Springing Daisy's' is a truncated version of the "Springing Daisy's Mix" of 'Film' (from 2002's "Derail" 12"), turning up on "Single" again to close the collection, shortened from almost 15 minutes to 10 and aptly renamed 'Short Film'.
Both versions center around Pub's innate ability to take basic ingredients - in this case a single melodic loop and a distorted T++ style rhythm - and sublime them into gaseous traces of their constituent parts. 'Springing Daisy's' is the "pop" version - short, sharp, beat heavy - and 'Short Film' (a vinyl exclusive) is the abstracted, Basic Channel-influenced inversion, detuning the melody and torching the rhythm into an acidic fizz. 'Derail' is included too, and has never sounded better, showcasing Pub at his most dissociated and melancholy with a distant BoC hum couched in a thick fog of reverberating resonance.
2003's 'Surgery' rounds up the early run, and displays Pub's artistic progression, moving a few steps out of the murk and allowing the drums to push into near-dancefloor territory on the title track. And the new edition is finished off with the trancey 'Kamikazi', a track from the original "> Single" that's never made it to vinyl before.
Originally released in 2007, 'Cendre' was the second collaboration between Austrian sound artist Christian Fennesz and Japanese legend Ryuichi Sakamoto. Fourteen years later, it still sounds icy, delicate and striking in its cool, calm elegance.
The album was recorded between 2004 and 2006; Fennesz on guitar and laptop in Vienna, Sakamoto on piano and laptop in New York City. The duo sent recordings back and forth, with one artist drafting a starting point and the other working over the top, developing themes as songs emerged from the aether. When the album became a reality, the duo met in person to work on the final mix. This process is more common now (especially after 2020), but at the time felt faintly novel - their relative detachment imbues the record with a sculpted feeling that focuses the delicacy of Sakamoto's playing into Fennesz's restraint.
While Fennesz usually tends to focus on the interplay between dynamics (loud and quiet, clean and distorted), there's a subtlety to 'Cendre' that feels respectful to Sakamoto's light touch; the washing ambience of 'Haru' and 'Amorph' and the gaseous noise of 'Trace' and 'Kuni' afford Sakamoto's playing pride of place. The result is a collection of ambient lullabies that have been heavily imitated over the last 14 years, but rarely matched.
Scrappy dance trax by the mystifying DJ Marcelle, including guest Michael Vincent Waller, a NYC modern classical pianist. Mad and brilliant.
“DJ Marcelle/Another Nice Mess is that rare combination of things: fearless, innovative, playful, independent, unpredictable and with a great sense of humour. The singular producer and dj from Amsterdam lives in that rare league of artists who are out there, doing their own thing, continually pushing the boundaries of electronic music and having a great time in doing so as well.
Her third album in just over two years is as versatile as ever. Steelpan (!) dancehall goes hand in hand with off the wall techno and weird avant garde. The album contains a surprising collaboration with Michael Vincent Waller, a modern classical composer/pianist from New York: 'The Orphan Serenade' is Marcelle's most personal, sensitive track to date.
As always, her track titles are a joy in themselves ('The Vegans Are Backstage', 'Hum Hum Hum', Technicians Leaving The Club'). The album is covid-19 proof: Marcelle wears a face mask on the sleeve. Join Marcelle in her unique musical universe. And try to explain her the food, please.”
Pure Parisian bassbin pressure from Simo Cell, shotting his first EP on his own label, TEMƎT
Scaling from mutant dancehall and paso doble dembow to sprung ghettotech and jiggling Jersey moves, Simo plays to all corners of his omnivorous, upfront club style on ‘Yes DJ.’ The five tracks form TEMƎT’s 3rd solo artist EP after turns by E-Unity and Elise Massoni plus a coupla killer mixtapes by Low Jack, Peverelist and Skee Mask with tight raids across the borders of club music.
On a dancehall flex, ’Short Leg’ shakks out flinty drums on a dangerously swole bassline, and the dank ‘Farts’ picks up on a sort of Loefah-Like halfstep, with ‘Yes.DJ’ toggling the pressure between footwork and dembow, galvanised with signature metallic synths. ‘Whispers’ picks up the pace to bouncing B-More/Jersey styles riven with darkside buzzsaw drones, and ‘not all it’s cracked up to be’ brings the ‘floor back to a screwed simmer with scowling, squashed bass and a fine turn to moody electronics recalling Push Button Objects. Tight + deadly 🔥
Moor Mother, Rabih Beaini, Tim Hecker, Lucretia Dalt, Greg Fox and many more guest on a haunting tribute to the tragedies that have beset Beirut, Lebanon and are ongoing across Palestine and the Levant.
‘Qalaq’ translates roughly from Arabic to “deep worry” in english and signifies Jerusalem In My Heart’s motives on their first album since 2018. Flocking around sole member Radwan Moumneh, a stellar roll call aid in expressing his sound on a lamenting elegy to the geopolitics and tragedies of the middle east, with each artist’s style seamlessly absorbed into his “dismantled orchestra” of collaborations with coherent results guided by a narrative hand.
The album started as skeletal sketches through-composed by Moumneh, and subsequently divided into sections that were sent to his spars, whose decomposed, fractured iterations were rewoven back into the final body of work by the artist. Its first half is sparked off with the rupturous battery of Liturgy drummer Greg Fox, and tempered by JIMH’s haunting chorales and fine wrought buzuk that percolate across the side, meeting Beirut’s shimmering strings in ‘Istashraktak’, and harmonising with Lucretia Dalt on the dirge-like ‘Tanto’.
Side two’s tracks are all named ‘Qalaq’ and numbered to “represent the degrees of layered and complex violence that Lebanon and the Levant have reached in the last couple of years” as Moumneh states. They forge links with other displaced people via indigenous American signer Alanis Obomsawin on the folk lament ‘Qalaq 1’, and Afro-American jazz-punk poet Moor Mother in ‘Qalaq 3’, with Morphine’s Lebanon-born Rabih Beaini lending a cosmic resonance and gravitas to the buzuk study ‘Qalaq 4’, and Tim Hecker’s aetheric swirl found on ‘Qalaq 7’, before Beirut natives Raed Yassin, Sharif Sehnaoui and Mayss’s glitching voices and angular strings connote a clear sense of confusion and disruption.
Big room tekkers from siblings Ed (Tessela) and Tom (Truss) Russell aka Overmono for the neverending Fabric mix series
The 22 track mix slickly spans their big room remit and tastes rooted in the last 25 years of UK raving, racking up a mix of classic garage, techno, and electronica to D&B with milimeter tight transitions and a few surprises strewn across the path. It’s very much built with pedantically neat southern bro’s cutting loose in mind, and primed to soundtrack weekend trade deals.
Expect some beaky Reese-driven garage-techno from them, plus Artwork, dubstep electronica from Milanese and Vex’d, ‘90s anthems by Antonio and Holy Ghost, with contemporary nods to Actress, Anz and Sockethead, plus a run of D&B.
Sean Bowie follows last year's acclaimed 'Heaven To A Tortured Mind' with a much-needed set of spangled glam rawk NRG and keenly evolved indie chillwave pop that harks back to his cultish Teams material.
When opener 'Jackie' dropped earlier this year it offered up all we needed to know about this sequined collection of searing songcraft. It might be Bowie's most radio-friendly moment to date, and starts "The Asymptotical World" as it means to go on. 'Crushed Velvet' is more sing-along glam goodness, with beats that sound one part Bay City Rollers and one part Washed Out. 'Tuck' centers a vocal performance from Agnes Gryczkowska, aka NAKED, who adds a witchy sparkle to Bowie's wobbly overdriven backdrop. It's a move that reminds of his productions from a decade ago, when he was toying with chillwave as Teams.
Closing track 'Katrina' might be the EP's most engaging though, catching Bowie in a more reflective state with muted vocals, psychedelic spoken word elements and grizzly percussion.
Bruno Bavota returns with a new album of electronic explorations and solo acoustic piano works.
"In the early months of 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak ravaged his home country of Italy, prolific composer Bruno Bavota did what we all would eventually do: isolated and waited. What followed was a year of fear, anxiety, and dread. Eventually, fear gave way to fatigue, and the anxiety metamorphosized into nervous energy. The compulsion to create became more powerful than the compression and weight.
And so were born Apartment Songs and Apartment Loops. Representing two separate but intersecting paths of Bavota’s creative journey, Apartment Songs is a suite of sparse solo acoustic piano works, while Apartment Loops are expansive explorations for synthesizers and outboard effects processors. Though in theory the two sets should sound disconnected and unrelated – given their disparate creative approaches and instrumentation – it’s Bavota’s uncanny sense of melody and space that easily unites them as two halves of a singular vision."
The 2nd part of Leyland Kirby’s uniquely prescient dark ambient masterstroke, Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was  finds us returning to Kirby’s draughty corridors midnight keyboard meditations >> a sublime, haunting experience.
Almost a decade on from its original release we can read Kirby's morose diagnosis of capitalist malaise, deferred futurism and thwarted social utopianism as a genuinely uncanny foresight of what has played out in contemporary society, in an age when social feeds have become an all-encompassing filter for daily life and effectively assuaged the rich analog ambiguity of collectivism in favour of cold, hard, binary politics and reflexive, unthinking emotional responses.
Especially in the wake of Mark Fisher’s passing, Kirby’s sentiments - embedded in titles such as When Did Our Dreams And Futures Drift So Far Apart, and figuratively perfused thru its stark negative space - use shared echoes of the hive mind thru classic film scores from Vangelis and Lynch/ Badalmenti - both quite literally omnipresent - as cues for sorrowful elegies and meditations which aesthetically resonate as much with Deathprod’s liminal scapes, as a sort of mildewed flocking to Satie’s tasteful ambient wallpaper.
It’s not all doom and gloom; there’s an underlying sense of resilience, of resistance, ribboning expressions which flow with pathos and an open-ended emotional curiosity which belies the narcissistic reaffirmations of social media’s echo chambers and dialectic cul-de-sacs, quietly striving to wrench something beautiful and affective from the clutches of a hollow mainstream.
Punishingly heavy, groove-fwd drumtrax that lift the spirit of UK funky, gqom and dembow, shaping familiar sounds into a hybrid Latin club shuffle that defies categorization. Basically, it f*cking bangs.
Mexico City's Omar Suárez has long been N.A.A.F.I's secret weapon, and his debut full-length only proves this further. On "Drum Temple" he wears his influences on his sleeve, sculpting them expertly into a vibrant, cohesive sound that spotlights the sparkling ore mined from a seam where house and hardcore co-exist peacefully.
Uk funky never really went anywhere, but here those beloved percussive patterns sound energized, injected with new flavor. Opener 'Jungla' proves this immediately, with hand drum grooves circling a pounding 4/4 and gqom's unmissable sequence of rushes and slams. 'Drum Dance' is even better, sliding closer to Scratcha's next level hybridized UK gqom but still retaining a slippery, singular sense of style.
As if a full set of drum workouts wasn't enough, "Drum Temple" comes packaged with three exclusive remixes from N.A.A.F.I's Lao, Nick León and WRACK. Lao turns in a rework of the title track, deconstructing it without losing the groove and signaling a haunted, decaying dystopia; León meanwhile turns down the tempo on 'Traib', accentuating the swing and highlighting the original's asymmetry.
Detroit’s one and only Omar-S hits it on a soulful beatdown tip with choice morsels for fans of Andrés and Dilla
A sweet dose of lush pressure in both parts, with Super Cool Wicked dripping ‘90s R&B soul vocals on a dusted soul loop in original and feathered dub mixes - the latter of which is our favourite, leaving traces of the original vocal smudged and reverberating in all the right places.
New album from Valentina Magaletti & co's Vanishing Twin - ‘Ookii Gekkou’ (Japanese for Big Moonlight).
"Vanishing Twin explore new ground on ‘Ookii Gekkou’ incorporating elements of afrofunk, outer jazz and avant-garde, all while referencing Sun Ra to Alice Coltrane, Martin Denny to Morricone, Can’s Holger Czukay to meditative Gamelan, or The Free Design, to library music of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Locked into their strangely-accessible groove is a history of ‘other’ sound, a crafted hauntology that evinces something completely new.
Hurricanes, organisms, vibes, bells, and percussive rallies purvey throughout ‘Ookii Gekkou’, each infiltrated with influences as diverse as Piero Umiliani, Art Ensemble of Chicago and ELO among others. Indeed, even a cursory earful adds to an ever-expanding palette of sound, no mean feat for the newly-trimmed quartet of songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas, drummer Valentina Magaletti, bassist Susumu Mukai, and synth/guitar player Phil MFU, this reduction resulting in no fewer ideas and even bigger steps."
Thrumming deep techno abstraction from Sa Pa, chasing up spots on Marcel Dettmann’s label, plus Giegling, and a fine album with Mana with four tracks for the purists on Melbourne’s Rosa
Swimming in the space between dub techno, proper, an more experimental variants, ‘Vessel’ rolls out into the depths where the sun doesn’t penetrate. ‘Wet Weather Way’ trades in mesmerising subaquatic dynamics shades away from Porter Ricks, where the crunchier, stormier flow of ‘New Music New dance’ patently take its cues, too. ‘Cultural North’ focusses the funk below the belt with kinkiest bass swivel primed for club drive in a mode of early MDR releases, and they really push out into abstract techno with the tempestuous greyscale rollick and clogged filtration systems of ‘States of Mind: The Farewells’.
Shockout debut from Dembow dream team DJ Python, Kelman Duran & Florentino aka Sangre Nueva, with a killer EP released between DJ Python’s Worldwide Unlimited and Florentino’s Club Romantico imprints, funneling hybrids of reggaeton into deep house x R&G with cinematic influences = unmissable heat for dancers/DJs on the 90-100bpm flex, built for the party.
Assembling an ad hoc trio under the Sangre Nueva banner (translating to “New Blood”), the project is a concerted effort in developing the bloodline of reggaeton, and its dembow beat, which has become a prevailing unit of global rhythmic currency across the board from street raves to pop charts in the past decade. On this fundamental cornerstone of Latin music derived from tresillo - or triplet - drum patterns, the trio present remarkably direct yet dreamy arrangements of their shared style, with Carribean musician Kelman Duran bringing a widescreen sensibility to the ohrwurming top lines of Florentino, and the sensuality of DJ Python, in a lushly compelling tessellation and consolidation of their respective flexes.
Part of an evolving, hybridising tradition rooted in Panamanian dancefloors over a 100 years ago, and since found across the Latin diaspora, Sangre Nueva’s music recalibrates the hip-gripping swerve of dembow with headier content for a totally striking new addition to the style, one porous to US house and UK grime, as much as more impressionistic aspects of ambient and soundtrack paradigms. The results patently echo the producers’ respective background, but also place them in a league of their own, naturally elevating and expanding the dembow sound via crafty electronic processing without patronising the ‘floor, firmly taking artistic license to build on their passions for the mutable genre.
The dusky air of ‘Hurt’ is resoundingly hashed with a mix of soundsystem cries and whispered voices that really set the scene, carrying an effortless traction that’s tightly harnessed into the perreo-styled sexiness of ’Sola’ with its sleek Reese bass and R&G vocal motifs, before ‘Goteo’ dials in heavy inspiration from Miami bass electro in its trunk rattling subs, and ‘Sincero’ is the perfectly romantic kiss off that lives up to its title with gorgeous, twinkling melody and sultier pacing lent an edge of brooding UK pressure akin to Burial.
From Florentino’s actions with Bad Gyal & La Zowi & Kaydy Cain to Kelman’s recent Kanye West studio forays, and thru DJ Python’s cult deep dembow productions, their individual cultivation of the dembow sound is surely already noted. But, together their party powers are amplified, more holistic, and bound to ring home with dancers, DJs, and headphone strollers across the world.
Stormy electronic drama lashed with noise and theatric metal dynamics, from Greek producer Constantine Skourlis
“Constantine Skourlis is no stranger to long works that inspire violence and darkness in the mind. As reflections of the sociopolitical climate, the ongoing human rights struggles we witness, and the suffering so many endure, Skourlis follows the theme of his highly acclaimed debut album Hades with distinct, thematic strength; a dualistic nature of beauty and of violence. Seeking balance and peace with abhorrent horror and inescapable strife, his sound is reflective of his mission statement.
Gorgeous, unique vocal and electronic music with the decisive addition of the legendary Halldorophone clash with the decimating percussion by Serapheim G. of legendary Greek heavy rock band Planet Of Zeus evoking moments of both lucidity and discomfort. Be that of hopeful outcomes or unfettered doom, the motion is there. Loops cascade in on themselves, implode, get lost in frequencies, and reemerge. Every work that Skourlis makes is oceanic in scale. Deep, cold sensations from sub-bass butt up against sunbaked heat from high-pitched string ensembles.
Although adjacent to neoclassical composition, Skourlis finds the permutations between past musicalities and creates a new, distinct invention. It's a sound that could as well come from deep in your skull as much as it could come from the very back of a cave so deep you cannot see the end of it. It's the sound of a bullet leaving a chamber and the sound of it entering bone. Constantine is, without a doubt, one of the composers of the 21st century that will be reflected back upon, no matter what world is left for the future.”
Legendary master of horror John Carpenter revisits his best-known score on 'Halloween Kills', his first trip back to the franchise since 1982's "Halloween III: Season of the Witch".
Joined by his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies (son of Dave Davies of the Kinks), Carpenter finally gets a chance to update his sparse 'Halloween' soundtrack. If you've caught any of Carpenter's recent Sacred Bones releases or seen his run of live shows, you'll know what to expect; Davies and Cody have fleshed out his sound without damaging the simplistic brilliance, and that treatment works just as well here.
The DNA of "Halloween" is still present in every cue - from the minimalist five note melody of the main theme to phasing drum machine doom of 'The Myer's House' - and there's not much added except for the occasional jagged guitar fuzz. But there's not much needed; Carpenter didn't need to go overboard here and the cues have been fleshed out without losing their ominous presence. Let's hope "Halloween Kills" director David Gordon Green takes a similar route with the film itself.
A somnambulant modern masterwork, Kali Malone’s 2017 debut full length album is made available again on vinyl some four years since its limited private press of just 100 copies co-released by XKatedral and Bleak Environment.
Composed, recorded and produced in Stockholm 2015-2016, ‘Velocity of Sleep’ sees Kali Malone’s work rendered in a septet of strings, gongs, lute, electronics and tape in the vast R1 Reaktorhallen (Sweden’s first nuclear reactor), the electroacoustic studio EMS, and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Her presence is crucial, and liminal, making precise use of tuned sine waves and Studer B67 tape manipulation, while instrumental performance is handled by Peter Söderberg performing on the long-necked Theorbo (a large baroque lute, pictured on the sleeve), Samuel Löfdahl and Oskar Mattsson on Gongs, Vilhelm Bromander on Double Bass, Marta Forsberg on Viola and Adam Grauman on Viola de Gamba - all uniting to produce what feels like a geological time lapse and distillation of European and Indian classical drone musicks.
As far as opening solo statements go, ‘Velocity of Sleep’ is among the most memorable to have emerged this past decade from slow music and experimental classical paradigms. Its languorous yet rigorous consolidation of ideas from across the aeons crosses paths with others before her - the musics of Pauline Oliveros, Phill Niblock, Harley Gaber, Oren Ambarchi all spring to mind - but more importantly helped reset the limits of contemporary music in Malone’s own image. The 3-part, 43 minute work is an ideal example of how staid notions of early and classical music have been jettisoned to instead focus on fundamentals of tone, timbre, tuning, space and temporality with a radical and transfixing effect coolly detached from any directly traditional/sacred meanings.
Peter Söderberg’s justly tuned Theorbo plucks a slowly evolving additive pattern expanded by frippertronic tape delays on the 20 minute title piece, setting a stark tone for a quietly breathtaking resonance of gongs and floating sine waves in ‘1113’ that rest right on the biting point of sublime dissonance, while ‘In Light of Marwa’ pitches into a sort of raga-folk-drone tuned with the fine, durational intensity recalling Harley Gaber’s ‘The Winds Rise In The North’ and earthy cadence of Pauline Oliveros’ vision, yet somehow concentrated, refreshed in a way that’s best felt, and quite impossible to describe.
Emboss Star is the new album by Kochi-born, Kyoto-based artist Kazumichi Komatsu, the first to be released under his own name following a prolific run of material as Madegg.
"Informed by a range of earlier work including EPs, installation works, video works, as well as live appearances at fashion shows, parties & raves, the material collected on 'Emboss Star' has been prepared and refined over the past four years, its final collation described as like arranging the pieces on a chess board; every piece strategically placed.
In its entirety Emboss Star is intended to emphasize the fundamental aspects of sound, and its relation to the material processes of playback; the grain of a rough recording, the jump and skip of a needle, the backwards gargle of a rewind. Individual parts shift suddenly, mirroring the abrupt transitions of everyday life. In this Komatsu attempts to reconfigure our response to sound, and the associations it often evokes; to reconsider the exchange of information and image, to alter perceptions.
Inviting a state of subconscious reverie – a mood often linked with ambient music but rarely matched as it is here – Komatsu adds an element of resistance to Emboss Star, as if depicting the tranquility of a dream, as well as its inevitable disturbance. With creativity now compressed into a form of contemporary communication often ruled by vanity, redundant hashtags and tiresome jargon, Komatsu navigates the noise, recognizing technological ennui yet finding beauty, folklore & imaginative possibility."
Domino sign my bloody valentine, with the band’s seminal catalogue being made available digitally in full for the first time ever as of today. New physical editions for each release will follow on 21st May 2021 and are available to pre-order now.
"Isn’t Anything and loveless have been mastered fully from analog for deluxe LPs and also mastered from new hi-res uncompressed digital sources for standard LPs, with each being made available widely for the first time ever. Fully analog cuts of m b v will also be available on deluxe and standard LPs globally for the first time.
my bloody valentine, the quartet of Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields, Deb Googe and Colm Ó Cíosóig, are widely revered as one of the most ground-breaking and influential groups of the past forty years. During an era in which guitar bands denoted, at best, a retro-classicism, not only did my bloody valentine sound unlike any of their contemporaries, the band achieved the rare feat of sounding like the future.
With their debut album, Isn’t Anything (originally released in 1988), my bloody valentine revolutionised alternative music and heralded a new approach to guitar music for generations to come. The album birthed a sound which became a template for thousands of new subgenres, heralding a new approach to guitar music and studio production. Not only was it a new type of music, it paved the way for a new type of journalism; inciting comparisons to elemental phenomenon, tapping into how the music affected the psyche. Shields and Butcher frequently sang in a similar vocal range that allowed their voices to blend together. This had the effect of making their gender indistinguishable, to the point where their voices could be used as another melodic layer to complement the vertigo-inducing sounds made by Shields’ guitars.
The second my bloody valentine album, loveless, was released in 1991. Musically, it took an unexpected leap forwards, standing ahead of anything released at the time. Shields and the band moved further towards a music of pure sensation, creating textures and tones that could be felt as much as heard; with loveless the band created an album that overwhelmed the senses. loveless is widely considered a flawless whole and rightly regarded as a masterpiece; a 1990s equivalent to Pet Sounds, In A Silent Way or Innervisions, a record constructed by exploring the edges of what a recording studio is capable of. It is a record best experienced as a whole, in one sitting - a listening experience like no other and unmatchable in its sonic brevity.
ep’s 1988-1991 and rare tracks compiles the group’s four EPs, wherein many of their devoted fans’ favourite music lies. You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss both preceded the band’s debut album in 1988 in quick succession. In the gap between Isn’t Anything and loveless, the band released two further EPs; Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991).
Finally re-emerging in 2013 after two full decades in relative hiding, their third album m b v is by turns their most experimental record but also their most melodic and immediate; proof real of their unerring desire for re-invention. Continuing to push boundaries of both music and genre, m b v is an album of astonishing music, some of which could lay claim to being of a type never been made before. Otherworldly, intimate and a visceral listen, m b v is a startling and beautiful metamorphosis of what was known of the my bloody valentine sound, pushing the boundaries of genre unlike any other band. The album’s closer, “Wonder 2” is an example of this, seeing Shields meld hypnotic guitar with drum’n’bass to astonishing result."
The 2012 debut album from Holy Other.
It carries the same quietly anguished vibe as the acclaimed 'With U' EP, virtually every sonic element - from Burial-esque vocal clips to the pads, even the drums - seems to sigh. For all their DNA-level foundation in US hip-hop/R&B and British soundsystem music, the crashing waves of 'Tense Past' and the magnificent 'Love Some1' owe as much to the airy gothic grandeur of This Mortal Coil as they do to, say, Keyboard Kid or Clams Casino.
On the more lithe, club-attuned 'Inpouring', the clicky, scuttling drum patterns deftly summon UK garage and the taut d'n'b minimalism of Instra:mental's mid-decade work, while 'U Now''s teasing suggestion of a footwork riddim opens up space for more melancholy drift. Subdued, heartbroken and drug-hazed, this is one of the most satisfying iterations of the Tri Angle aesthetic, an impressive statement in its own right.
Technicolour rave freak Zomby comes with a bit of a shocker, setting aside his signature style for a hot minute to produce a rough, ready and raw album of Piano rave and '91/'92 'ardkore variants.
Firing up with a neat rave riff on 'F*ck mixing lets dance' and launching into a dope 138bpm breakbeat bomb you're immediately dumped into the middle of the dance, lazers scouring your retinas and everything. Then there's the staggered chords of 'Euphoria' setting up for a right little skankout, before the loony grinning cheekiness of 'We got the sound' and onto the horns and subs of 'Tears in the rain'.
It all starts to get a little more happy hardcore with 'G.T.I', pitching up the pianos and deploying some mentasms for the Swindon crew. 'Pillz' krunks it up for the 2008 crew with a hyper collision of Ghetto-tech, B-more bounce and Dutty South Vibes, while 'Hench' sends it back for the darkside set over in the corner and 'B With me' does a naughty badman interpretation of Lenny de Ice's 'We are IE' and 'U are my fantasy' lets his imagination run wild with a mash of Baby D's classic with The streetfighter theme tune.
Do you like rave mate?
Unmissable stuff here, collecting Japanese avant pop and ferric beats from the scene's darkest, most thrilling corners.
Compiled by Yosuke Kitazawa and Dublab's Mark “Frosty” McNeill, this latest collection of Japanese obscurities from Light in the Attic sweeps up bizarre loose threads that fall through the cracks between the label's already released collections of city pop and ambient and new age music. Those two compilations spoke to the YouTube-driven resurgence of interest in albums like Hiroshi Yoshimura's "Green" and artists like Happy End's Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, and "Somewhere Between" investigates the fringes, dark crevices and unpicked crates.
Here, the sounds are exceptionally varied, falling from Mammy's twinkling odd-world electronix on 'Mizu No Naka No Himitsu' and D-Day's shimmering, dry ice-laced 'Sweet Sultan', to the gloomy avant synth pop of Neo Museum's unforgettable 'Area' and R.N.A-ORGANISM's gurgling, hiss-soaked 'WEIMAR 22'. The theme that unifies all of the selections is an unshakable sense of exploration and joy from the artists. The era's optimism is palpable, and it's a rare pleasure to hear musicians driven so wholeheartedly by exploration, experimentation, innovative song forms and bold artistic strokes.
Diggers will clearly get a kick from these rarities, but Kitazawa and McNeill have done such a great job with the selection that it's far more than just a curiosity. "Somewhere Between" is an invigorating listen, like a particularly wild and wonderful mixtape handed over by a trusted friend. It's a musical time capsule to get lost in.
Apparently it's been over a decade since avant jazz deity Pharoah Sanders recorded any new music, it took Sam Shephard aka Floating Points to coax the 80 year old out of near-retirement.
Anyone familiar with Sanders' work will know how life-affirming his music can be, from his early work with John Coltrane, through 1967's mind-altering "Tauhid" to his spiritual pairing with Alice Coltrane on "Journey in Satchidananda". Here, he takes a more restrained role, offering bursts of tenor to compliment Shephard's pretty snippets of piano and synth. As "Promises" builds, the London Symphony Orchestra's presence becomes more stark, evolving the slow-moving work into cinematic levels of grandeur.
It's pretty senseless comparing "Promises" to Sanders' early catalogue as he's most definitely in a completely different place mentally. But his cloud-reaching brilliance is still a joy to behold; when his familiar overblown phrases appear from Shephard's gossamer synth clouds, it's hard not to smile. We can't help but wonder how different it might have been if Sanders had been paired with Dean Blunt, mind you. Just saying.
crys cole beckons us to listen closer with the skin touch intimacy, isolationism and drone poetry of her 2nd solo album, leading on from a string of uniquely quizzical collaborations with Oren Ambarchi, Francis Plagne, Leif Elggren.
“Beside Myself is the second full-length release from Canadian sound artist crys cole. Known to many through her extensive collaborative practice with artists such as Oren Ambarchi, Leif Elggren and James Rushford, in her solo work cole uses contact microphones, voice, simple electronics and field recordings to create sonic environments that linger uneasily at the threshold of perception. Demonstrating how cole’s work has developed and deepened since the relative austerity of her first solo LP Sand/Layna (2015, Black Truffle), Beside Myself offers two lushly immersive side-long pieces that explore ideas of compositional drift.
'The Nonsuch' is inspired by the aural hallucinations experienced in the hypnagogic state during the onset of sleep. Opening with scratching contact mic textures and unintelligible vocal murmurs, the piece threads together live and studio performances with field recordings of urban environments to create a texture that is at once seemingly consistent and marked by constant transitions. Individual elements rise up from the background thrum only to disappear just as we become conscious of them; heterogenous sounds and spaces succeed one another with the unassailable logic of dreams.
'In Praise of Blandness (Chapter IX)' also focusses on drift and transition, but in a much more single-minded way. Over a rich, slowly-evolving organ drone, cole reads a passage from the French sinologist François Julien’s book In Praise of Blandness exploring the concept of ‘blandness’ in the Taoist aesthetics of sound. Beginning crisp and clear, cole’s voice becomes gradually less distinct over the course of the piece, the spoken words blurred by resonant frequencies à la Lucier’s I Am Sitting in a Room until we are left with only the rhythm of incomprehensible speech. The text that cole reads acts a perfect description of her aesthetic project: ‘We hear it still, but just barely, and as it diminishes it makes all the more audible that soundless beyond into which it is about to extinguish itself. We are listening then, to its extinction, to its return to that great undifferentiated matrix’.
- Francis Plagne (November, 2019)”
One of the greatest debuts of all time, re-mastered for the first time. Not hard to sum up this album as utterly essential and a cornerstone of post-punk, contemporary pop and electronic music.
In 1982 the Scottish duo of Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie birthed Cocteau Twins with their resoundingly influential debut album, ‘Garlands’. A masterpiece of scuzzed pop sung in indecipherable lyrics and set to ravishing clouds of white hot electric guitars, serpentine bass and ricocheting drum machines, it established a template that’s never been bettered, and famously imitated ad infinitum by successive waves of post-punks and goths.
A generation of moody buggers grew up on this record, probably passed between friends and siblings, picked up in musty charity shop or second hand record emporiums, or even cradled in its fancier reissued form, like this one. But no matter the provenance it’s prized like a loved one by all who own it. Still utterly breathtaking stuff.
In 1996 Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig’s resoundingly influential debut Porter Ricks album arguably altered the shape of techno as we know it. Now on its 25th anniversary, Mille Plateaux serve a timely reminder of its oceanic might, nearly a decade since it was last reissued by Type
Arriving in the wake of early deep techno explorations by Basic Channel on that duo’s Chain Reaction label, ‘Biokinetics’ made techno’s grid even more fluid and elusive, and in the process brought techno as a concept closer to the unquantifiable clinamen of communal drumming as much as abstract early electronics. The all important, driving slosh of their sound would ripple thru myriad strains of experimental techno ever since, and can be heard echoed in the seasick structures and submerged ambient plangency of everyone from later Richie Hawtin and Rrose to Cam Deas or Helm.
Sluicing material from three 12”s issued between 1995-1996, the album was practically unprecedented in its scope. This can be attributed to the visionary sound design skills of its navigators, combining Thomas Köner’s arctic isolationist sensibilities with Andy Mellwig’s fine-tuned tech-nous, as applied to earlier Async Sense 12” with Gerhard Behles (co-founder of Monolake and Ableton Live) and in his 1995-1998 day job as mastering engineer at Berlin’s D&M. This confluence of hardware knowledge and wetware intuition lead them to a remarkable synthesis of styles defined as ‘Biokinetics’.
Bookended by a pair of pulsating, 12 minute ambient masterpieces in ‘Port Gentil’ and ‘Nautical Zone’, the set also touches on something like a form of gamelan noise with ‘Biokinetics 1’, and the purest systolic whale heart throbs in ‘Biokinetics 2’, while containing some of the heaviest dub techno for clubs in the hypnotic writhe of ‘Port Of Call’ and the salinated steppers special ‘Port of Nuba.’
In the age of rote business techno played by freshly inked, black clad bores, it’s records like ‘Biokinetics’ that remind us of what techno was and can be - music to make you shut your eyes and move.
Manchester family Space Afrika's Dais debut is a sprawling, genre melted tapestry of charged diasporic innovation and unshakably Northern, British working class eccentricity >> Like Dean Blunt, DJ Spooky, Cocteau Twins, Klein, West Mineral, Tricky, Third Eye Foundation, Actress 'n Michael Nyman boiled into a waxy narrative epic, 'Honest Labour' is as smoky and mysterious as it is rewarding. Undoubtedly one of the most viscerally affecting records of 2021.
Since 2014's "Above The Concrete / Below The Concrete" Joshua Inyang and Joshua Tarelle have been drawing a complex blueprint, displaying their influences and re-drawing each element to fit their ambitious creative vision. Initially spurred on by nth wave dub techno, and Raster Noton 'n Mille Plateaux's glacial, arty minimalism, the duo dug deeper into their shared musical DNA on 2018's sferic-released "Somewhere Decent to Live". This time they anchored their productions in 'nuum history, liquefying garage, jungle and grime hallmarks into glistening trails of pulses, pads and gestures.
Spurred on by last summer's global anti-racist protests, the duo widened their sonic universe with "Hybtwibt?", a heady collage of political subterfuge, biography and raw emotion. It was a rap beat tape without beats or raps, or an ambient album that had shelved the ambience completely, leaving inverted space and covert cinematic storytelling. This year's short, sharp "Untitled (To Describe You) OST" offered similar brainfood, mulling over concepts of identity and class with traces of drill and musique concrete.
'Honest Labour' is the sum of these component parts, and Inyang and Tarelle's defining statement to date. It's a fully silver-lined patchwork of high and low cultural squares that dissolves class, race and state identifiers in searing washes of familiarity and anxious experimentation. The euphoric post-jungle sparkle of tracks like 'yyyyyy2222' and 'solemn' is cut with warbling vocal dream pop ('indigo grit' and 'rings'), post-SND beat fukkery ('ny interlude') and k-holed industrial fuzz ('ladybird drone', 'like orchids').
But it's the duo's use of trip-hop and illbient tropes that truly tips their sound into jaw-to-the-floor territory. Standout single 'B£E' welds a vivid rap from MCR's Blackhaine over eroding breaks that sound like they've fallen off the back of Tricky's misunderstood "Nearly God" album. As words spell out a rainy working class reality where hope cracks thru grey concrete, Tarelle and Inyang bleed orchestral strings into the mix until they drown the rhythm completely. It's Massive Attack's 'Unfinished Sympathy' completed finally, evolved in a battle-scarred south Manchester petri dish.
"Honest Labour" is a Black British story that painstakingly weaves theory and raw open wounds with a passion for discovery and obsessive ear for sound. It's an album that linx Goldie's euphoric melancholy with Tricky's gender-flexing working class poetics, Actress's fuzzed-out high-minded syfy storytelling and Klein's noizy theatrical experimentation. It's one of 2021's most essential albums so far >> no doubt.
Eiko Ishibashi's first release outside of Japan appeared back in 2013, and remains an essential pristine prog-pop gem. Co-produced by Jim O'Rourke, it's a must-hear for fans of his "Eureka" run, Van Dyke Parks, Yo La Tengo or even Wilco.
'Imitation of Life' is an impeccably crafted album. At the time it was recorded, Ishibashi was part of Jim O'Rourke's touring band and was already a well-known figure in Japanese music: she was touring constantly and had released a slew of pop records and a solo piano album. On "Imitation of Life", she channels this wealth of experience into a set of magical prog-pop hybrids that harmonize well with O'Rourke's Van Dyke Parks-influenced cycle of Nic Roeg-titled recordings. O'Rourke also contributes guitar, bass and synth, but while his fingerprints are all over the record, it's still definitively Ishibashi's album.
Her voice lends a magical quality to the songs, her years of experience imbues her music a spacious quality that's in-tune with the band dynamic, conducting the various members of her ensemble with a light touch. It's a philosophical quality that's injected into the heart of the record, allowing it to beat and flourish through every note. If you're looking for more music that's constructed with the precise, sparkling prog perfection of Joanna Newsom's "Ys" or Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", this should be yer next stop.
A bearhug of chill-out room gouching gear from MFM spanning the golden era of ‘90s ambient dance music with gems from David Moufang, LFO, Global Communication, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Sun Electric and many more notables of that era.
Since the world turned into a big chill out room in early 2020, albeit with a heavy sense of anxiety, this set could hardly be better placed for downtime in the comfort of your own home, rolling out mystic highlights such as LFO’s MDMA-tingle arps and pads in ‘Helen’ and the sublime suspension systems of Global Communication’s remix of ‘Arcadian’, along with Move D’s early nugget ‘Sergio Leone’s Wet Dream’, and the lush pads of his close spar Jonah Sharp’s Spacetime Continuum, plus a strip of killer slow acid in Sideral’s ‘Mare Nostrum’, and the blissed romance of ‘Love 2 Love’ by Sun Electric.
One for the lovers and the ravers.
Purest ambient house lushness from Belgium, 1992 resurfacing on Young Marco’s label for maximum body gurn effect
After the main course of Trans-4M’s ’Sublunar Oracles’ album (and the ‘Arrival / Amma’ 12”), comes the remix dessert of ’Dencity Remixes’, where the Antwerp siblings Dimitri & Stefan van Elsen rework their own tracks with a infectious deep house/garage flex and padded ambient touch.
‘The two mixes of ‘Dencity’ are unmissable, offering the pendulous deep garage tuck and parry of their ‘Urban Tribe Mix’ (for disambiguation; not Sherard Ingram) and scalp-tingling ‘Club Mix’ reinforced with insistent breaks and pads to dead sexy effect, while the album’s balmy original appears in a woozier alternative mix.
Exceptional recordings by New Age maestro Randall McClellan, only recently re-discovered by his friend JD emmanuel & the band Sun Araw. Originally released on cassette in 1983 and now for the first time vailable on 180gr. Vinyl. For fans of Joanna Brouk, JD Emmanuel and Pauline-Anna Strom.
"Randall McClellan was a founding member of the electronic music studio at the Eastman School of Music in 1967 where he later received a Ph.D. in Composition, Theory and Musicology. A growing interest in North Indian music and vocal technique prompted him to develop his personal compositional practice into an active platform for inducing altered states of mind. He constructed his concerts to be spaces for harmonization of mind and body through a musical practice informed by his esoteric studies of ancient mystery schools and sacred geometry, believing these to be primarily teachings on intentional resonance.
These performances were given between 1977 and 1983 in semi-darkened spaces that allowed listeners to relax on carpeting while being enveloped by sound. Each improvisation lasts from twenty-five to forty-five minutes. An entire performance is up to three hours and is designed to provide an environment of meditative sound. They gained in popularity and were soon attended by larger audiences. His final live performance took place at New York City's Alternative Museum in October, 1983.
The “Music of Rana” Enviromental Series uses synthesizers, drone box, tamboura, voice and tape delay to create an environment of continuously evolving multi-layered melody. Described as subtle, graceful and of other worlds. The name RANA, meaning “Sunbreath”, has its origin in ancient philosophical concepts that recognized vibration as the fundamental creative force and central principle of the many esoteric mystery schools of the ancient world. It is now evident that the use of music for its ability to alter mind states and for its effectiveness as a therapeutic aid was music’s original purpose and an important concept of these mystery schools. In the broadest sense, the practice of music for its healing ability may well stand as our oldest continuous musical tradition.
This album is the third volume in the series, previously issued as a cassette in 1983, and part of the cassette box set published by Sun Ark in 2013. This music is based on principles outlined in Randall’s book, The Healing Forces of Music: History, Theory and Practice. These compositions are selected for their meditational and healing abilities. EQ settings of treble and bass levels determine the music's effect upon you. Please explore until the most comfortable settings are found."
Following up 2016's ace 'Ragga Preservation Society', murky British Columbia collective SKRS revisit the project, liquefying Canadian-Jamaican jungle dubs and soundclash samples into mazy hi-velocity 'ardkore drips. One fer fans of Lee Gamble, Mark Leckey, Duppy Gun and Rhythm & Sound - featuring Second Woman, Roger Robinson, wzrdyAV and DJ Wundrkut.
With every dancefloor producer and their weed carrier attempting to shoehorn amen breaks and hoover bass into their tracks, it's refreshing to hear a crew doing it from the heart. Seekersinternational have been turning heads for years, and their latest full-length is a reminder of their attention to detail and commitment to excavating the rich seam between jungle and dub. Like its predecessor, the album looks to the past to chart a course into the future, re-aligning samples from the crew's collection of radio rips, Canadian-Jamaican ragga-jungle tape boxes and soundclash recordings, reshaping their source material into bonafide club electricity.
The album opens with an orchestra of samples that welds Basic Channel's looping dubwise textures to hoover blasts, atonal stabs and deejay shoutouts as if it's a proof of concept. 'Worldwide' subsequently mutates thru soundsystem forms with the plastique efficiency of Arca or the post-cynical surrealism of Dean Blunt. Beatless but not lacking rhythm, it introduces the album's palette without spoiling the rush of the first drop, a ratcheted break-led downtempo boom over a minute into Roger Robinson vehicle 'Kill-A-Milli'. It's at this point that you're made acutely aware of SKRS experience as selectors - there's no rush to reach for a track that'll show its cards immediately 'cuz they're building a narrative.
The album rarely stays in a single place for too long; as the ragga jungle blur of 'Kill-A-Milli' evaporates into sirens, eerie chimes introduce 'RingRingRiddim' with a digidub bassline and a looping vocal. 'SoundboyThunderbolt' glues both sounds together, lurching from loose ragga into tightly edited jungle and squelchy dancefloor rave saccharine. Second Woman, the collaborative moniker of Belong's Turk Dietrich and Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis, pop up with an assist on 'TrussUBad', augmenting SKRS' hi-contrast collage with fluttering electronics and airlock-ready algorithmic dub robotix.
SKRS save their most intense moments for the album's second half: 'JamFlexEdit, Pt. 1 & 2' is one of their most upfront hard-hitters yet, a rush of chattered rave samples, organ stabs and choppy breaks that spins full-circle into dada sound collage in the minutes before it fades into silence. Closing track 'SoundTekOva' is just as intense, alternating breaks in and out of focus as if you're dipping yer head in and out of water.
A dense, swaggering set, it plops us down in a front row seat for a firework display that demonstrates the permeating influence of Jamaican soundsystem culture on dance and experimental music.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith-commissioned synth “epics”, in the classical sense of long poems and narrative verse, from Elori Saxl, Matthewdavid, Liila, Emile Mosseri, Yialmelic Frequencies, Nailah Hunter, Green House, Emily Ritz and SK Kakraba
Inviting a plethora of contemporary synth explorers from the fringes of ambient, new age and contemporary classical to respond to her prompt, Kaitlyn’s assembled artists supply an abundance of dreamlike instrumental and choral tales, variously taking the brief in their own directions. The results may make one want to hug a tree or nuzzle orcas, conveying a naturally spirited vitality between Matthewdavid’s windswept synth spore ‘Mycelial Mountain Flute’ and the widescreen transportation of ‘Starling Murmurations’ by Green House, and particularly piquing our attention with the curdled, ELpH-like voices and plasmic bent of Yialmelic Frequencies’ ‘Clunk’, and SK Kakraba’s rhythmelodic thumb piano flurries in ‘Pirrie.’
Sung in Japanese and English 'Car and Freezer' followed Ishibashi's ace "Imitation of Life" in 2014 using the same basic formula, with Jim O'Rourke handling co-production duties. Hugely enjoyable stuff that treads carefully between jazzy improv and progressive pop.
Multi-instrumentalist, electronics whizz and singer-songwriter Eiko Ishibashi called her second Western-friendly prog opus "Car and Freezer" as a reference to her hometown, where "cars and refrigerators were often abandoned and just left lying around." To spark a sense of difference in the sessions, Ishibashi added obstacles to her process: whereas on her previous album she went to rehearsals with demo songs already mapped out, here she arrived with nothing. A few days of blank stares turned into a communal experience, where each musician - Toshiaki Sudo, Hatano Atsuko, Yamamoto Tatsuhisa and O’Rourke - brought forward their own skillset.
The architect engineer of Industrial music, Chris Carter (TG, X-TG, CTI, Chris & Cosey) turns classic early works inside out in an Electronic Ambient style on the first of reissued volumes with Mute.
Effectively rendering his seminal solo debut album ‘The Space Between’ in hyperspace, Carter measures distance travelled between the end of the ‘70s and 2000AD with ‘Electronic Ambient Remixes One.’ Originally issued under the CTI alias that he shares with creative and life partner Cosey Fanni Tutti, the album exemplifies his switch from angular manipulations of bespoke hardware to a mixture of hardware and computer-based systems, practically melting the tensile hard edges of his early classics with infinitely smooth gradients and more sensual pulses that reset their meaning from club and living room laboratories to a headier abstract metaspace.
For anyone familiar with Carter’s 1980 debut album, it’s all the more remarkable to hear those tracks utterly transformed and transposed into their reflections here. Unrecognisable from the originals, Carter translates their original post-Industrial vernacular into an alien language of vaporous signs and suggestive textures, dematerialising any semblance of fixed structure in favour of sheer amorphousness and floating amniotic sensation somewhere between lush and unheimlich. But for anyone unfamiliar with the originals, we’d even advise doing them in reverse chronology to hear what were once deeply futuristic forms emerge from Ur flux and vice versa.
Recorded while living off-grid in a French village, Perila's debut album proper is a dissociated, erotically charged throb of curling vocals, glassy synths, creaking environmental concrète, brushed jazz drums and submerged, dubwise subs. Like early Grouper spliced with Kenji Kawai's ominous "Ring" soundtrack, then re-assembled by DJ Spooky, Jake Muir and Vladislav Delay >> it’s properly time warping gear that's ineffably beautiful without being precious or cute.
Since moving to Berlin from St. Petersburg six years ago, Aleksandra Zakharenko has developed a unique hue in the ambient music spectrum. Leagues from the club-adjacent ambient posturing that her adopted city has centered in recent years, Zakharenko's sonic universe is sensual, poetic and narcotic, using elements of musique concrète, drone, dub and noise to reflect a mushy sensitivity that's as mysterious as it is tangible. Her sound has been refined by constant collaboration and her work with Berlin Community Radio, where she assembled regular podcast WET (Weird Erotic Tension) - a fusion of surrealist ambient sound and erotic ASMR poetry. And while "How Much Time it is Between You and Me?" has mostly shelved the spoken word, this muggy air of eroticism still circles her silky drones and subtle rhythmic strokes.
Pinkish clouds of granulated harmony float above a groaning modernist cityscape, expressed in subtly manipulated environmental recordings and occasional rhythms. On 'Time Date', the trace of a beat emerges with the spectral presence of a phantom limb, bubbling eerily beneath muffled, deadpan vocals. Long, psychedelic centerpiece 'You Disappear You Find Yourself Again', levitates fluttering drones that eventually slip from the pineal into neck, activating jazzy fumbles that point towards NYC's long-overlooked illbient zone. 'Memories of Grass' takes another left turn, sounding like Grouper's blurry "Way Their Crept" stickytaped to Eno's fwd-thinking '80s FM synth experiments.
The album's gently vibrating mass of jellyfish hues, vocal shards, and uncannily amplified small sound straddles a fine line between the unresolved nature of her sound and a more poised, certain style of agoraphobic pastoralism, as though she’s absorbing the sights outside her window, while keeping her thoughts intimately indoors. From the evocative track titles to their textured strokes, everything drips with a poetic, synaesthetic sensuality, articulating her sound at its most effective - formulating a perfect listen for anyone who craves the unruly, radical sprawl of art in all its unpredictable, fleshy realism.
Trunk celebrates 25 years of uniquely British eccentricity with this wyrd and wonderful set of unreleased gems and better-known catalog classics. Newly discovered sounds from Basil Kirchin's tape archive and - oh yeah - an unreleased cut from Delia Derbyshire make this one indispensable.
This sprawling 33-track compilation highlights the imprint's idiosyncratic accent; it's unmistakably British - snippets from Dudley Simpson's unforgettable "The Tomorrow People" soundtrack and Marc Wilkinson's "Blood On Satan's Claw" OST assure us of that - but zeroes in on the dusty jumble sale quirkiness that's slowly been lost to time.
Nothing makes that more clear than the overdubbed sleaze funk of 'Car Boot Sex Tape' or the vibe-led 'Sunbeam' from Kenny Graham And His Satellites. And since it's a celebration of all things Trunk, there are some surprises in store: a short synth jam from Delia Derbyshire, snipped from a Madelon Hooykaas/Elsa Stansfield film; and freshly sourced sounds from Basil Kirchin's tape archive. Other standout moments are more familiar: John Cameron's title music from "Kes", Tristram Cary's shuffling synth nursery rhyme 'The Electron's Tale' and John Baker's psychedelic 'JB Dubs'.
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be.
From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
Essential reissue of dark ambient deity Thomas Köner's icy 1997 Arctic expedition 'Nuuk' - a stunningly detailed sonic picture of alien territory: gaseous, minimal, foreboding and enduringly evocative. There are plenty of imitators, but only one Thomas Köner.
By the sheer volume of gloomy ambient records being squirted into the world right now, you'd think it was easy music to produce. One listen to "Nuuk" though and it's immediately clear that this isn't the case. Köner is one of the genre's foremost innovators, and his music still sounds complex, remote and completely unique, decades later.
Like many of his albums, "Nuuk" is influenced by Köner's time spent traversing Arctic landscapes. It's named after the capital of Greenland, and evokes that frozen landscape using deep, creaking bass sounds, blustering pads and crumbling environmental recordings. The tracks are surprisingly widescreen at times, as subtle harmonies emerge peek through the fog like cracks of sunlight.
'Nuuk (Night)' is as sensually psychedelic as it is glacial, revealing the textural potential of the genre and showing Köner's intense attention to detail as the track heaves and dissipates like icy breath. There are few other artists that come even close to Köner here - Lustmord, Deathprod or Basinski maybe - and even then, Köner's output towers over a land of its own. So essential.
An advanced masterclass in Berlin beat science, ‘Wireless’ is the final and arguably strongest solo release by T++; aka Torsten Pröfrock, an artist with a long lineage of important releases under numrous aliases - Dynamo, Erosion,Log, Resilent, Traktor, Various Artists and more - a true pillar of Berlin's Techno legacy.
First issued by Honest Jon’s in 2010, the 2x12” features samples of singer and ndingidi-player Ssekinomu (originally found on the EMI archival dive ‘Bellyachers, Listen - Songs From East Africa, 1938-46’) reworked by Pröfrock into a volley of rambunctious but rudely disciplined club workouts some 75 years later. In many other hands, this could have been just another passable cut ’n splice edit, but T++ treats the material with a balance of reverence and raving license, highlighting an instinctive understanding of the original music's intent and purpose, and their deep rooted connection to modern fast rap and hardcore dance musics.
The four tracks amount to a contemporary classic in their field and also exist in a strong tradition of German artists ranging from Stockhausen to Can and Basic Channel whose music has crucially incorporated the fluid, rolling nature and spectra of African drumming patterns. However, it’s vital to point out that T++’s take on African drumming is also filtered thru a love of UK music - Jungle, D&B, garage, dubstep - meaning that his rhythms are properly underlined with syncopated, technoid basslines owing as much to Kingston, Jamaica as Brixton and Sheffield in the UK.
For anyone who had been intently listening to Pröfrock's output since his Traktor gems, thru his Dynamo aces, to early work with Monolake and his string of seminal T++ 12”s in the 2000’s, on its release in 2010 ‘Wireless’ quickly came to epitomise his approach to broken techno production at its most open-ended and inexorable. Between the itchy, sprung step of ‘Cropped’, the puckish darkside torque of ‘Anyi’, a voodoo communal in ‘Voice No Bodies’, and the reanimated spirits of ‘Dig’ you have some of the finest mutant techno ever cut to vinyl.
An absolute must-have for dancers and DJs.
Mutant UK techno duo Two Shell keep switching it up with a pair of bustling, funked up techno-house tunes on their excellent label, Mainframe Audio
Fancied and played out already by Ben UFO, Four Tet and Jamie xx, the follow-up to their juking hyperpop 12” ‘Home’ throws down an effusive cut of northern soul-spliced funky breakbeat bustle in ‘Wedding Practice’ surely recalling Finn’s celebratory styles, where ‘End of the Party’ follows in that vein with a canny bit of french touch filtering for lights-up at end of the night feels.
Fun for all the fam.
Limited edition 12inch with remixes for Inner Song album tracks by Kelly Lee Owens. Part 1 features remixes from Loraine James, Breaka and Coby Sey.
That Coby Sey remix of ‘Corner of My Sky’ starring John Cale is a real standout, propping the VU and avant-rock legend on undulating steppers bass and rolling toms in a deeply rude style. Hyperdub’s Loraine James also impresses with her scudding, thizzing take on ‘Wake-Up’, while Breaka end the set with strains of airy breakstep.