Following the 2016 tape edition of American Zen, Lee Bannon aka Dedekind Cut links with Hospital Productions for an expanded new vinyl edition clasping a sublime bonus single collab with Alex Zhang Hungtai, who’s better known for his maudlin pop bewts as Dirty Beaches. If you like your ambient music intangible and synaesthetically olfactory, huffable, you’re encouraged to check this one without delay...
American Zen finds its centre in quivering, pensive drones and fractured small sounds, but is rent with an oceanic sense of scale, deploying splashes of distant percussion, extreme panned vocal snippets and slowly escalating harmonic space perfused by crackling radiowaves and that intangible timbre of an old TV turned on somewhere, but you can’t quite pick out its location.
It unfolds at a glacial pace in five parts, crossing lines/waves comparable with Chino Amobi & Rabit’s ultraviolent mixtape, the nostalgic Americana yearn of Torn Hawk, and even The Caretaker’s hallowed aether zones; perpetually out of reach, submerged or hardly there, but feeling as though he’s right there, breathing quietly in the background and watching you listen.
In addition to the original 5 tracks, including the formerly tape-only Folsom Lake 04, you’ll now also find a rare outing from Alex Zhang Hungtai infiltrating the finely graded and diaphanous silhouette of Я подарю тебе мир / I’ll Give You The World on the final side, serving to complement and temper Dedekind Cut’s broader strokes with fluctuating microtonal infidelities and a gauzier, anaesthetising and almost pastoral atmosphere that’s a real pleasure to drift off with.
Excellent stuff, perhaps the most interesting of Bannon’s releases we’ve heard so far.
Please note - this album Is sold naked, without any sleeve whatsoever. It's meant to get scuffed and damaged in transit and is the last ever album From L. Pierre. There will be No Digital Download Card / No Digital Distributon Of The Music At All.
Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap) lays his Lucky Pierre alias to rest with a sublime record made entirely of samples from Nathan Milstein’s version of a Mendelssohn concerto - released in 1948 as the first ever 33 1/3 LP - which doubles up as both a swansong for his much-loved project and an ironic elegy for the oft-proclaimed “death of the vinyl album”. Operating in a liminal, hypnagogic zone of orchestrated feedback loops clearly akin to The Caretaker or Wolfgang Voigt’s Wagnerian fixations, the results receive a resounding yes from us, sure to be echoed by anyone else lucky (quick) enough to grab one, ‘cos the quality evidently far exceeds its availability - only 500 copies!
This is a letter from L. Pierre to his label elucidating his intent behind the release:
“Surprise! This is a new – and final – L. Pierre album, which I’m hoping you and the Melodic team would like to release. Rather than send you MP3s and emails and all those ones and zeroes, I thought it best to post you a dubplate in exactly the way I’d like to see it released. There’s some background to this one, so here you go …
You’ll notice that the record labels state that all the samples I’ve used are from Nathan Milstein’s version of a Mendelssohn concerto – this is what was on the very first 33 1/3rpm long-playing 12” record in 1948. (There was a 33 1/3rpm 10” by Frank Sinatra first, but that was technically a compilation; Milstein’s was the first proper 12” album as we came to know it.) These samples from the original 1948 release were all ripped from YouTube, the biggest free music streaming platform in the world.
I want to release the album as you have it right now: a vinyl-only LP, no digital whatsoever – indeed, upon the release date, I want to delete all the digital source files and any online promo streams we might do (we’ll have to advertise it in some way, of course). And on top of that, I want to release it with no sleeve. There are a few ideas here. Firstly, I don’t want a pristine, digital document that could last forever; I want the music left to the elements, I want it to live and scar, with each record’s acquired crackles, pops and scratches making them unique and identifiable to their owners. And while the natural thing to do with a naked record is protect it, I think it could be interesting to see how folk respond when we hand that responsibility over. Also, the sleeveless LP will look like one of those dusty, vulnerable strays you find in charity shops, which is precisely where L. Pierre began.
Another thing I’d like to do is have a locked groove at the end, adding another wee element of interaction – the album won’t stop until the listener decides it should (which also works as an analogy for the resilience of vinyl in our digital age). And because the death of the album is proclaimed every few months these days, I wanted it to sound like a sort of ironic requiem. The title’s an unfinished tombstone with no date of death: “1948 – .”.
If we do this, it will absolutely, definitely be the last ever record from L. Pierre (there’s that requiem echo again). The End.
Anyway, hope you like it, and I do realise that a vinyl-only, self-destructive dialogue on the value of music and its new platforms, culture’s cyclical nature, the supposed death of the album – and the seeming immortality and inherent nostalgia of vinyl – doesn’t sound like the most lucrative of ventures, but I hope it’s an idea that a few folk might connect with. And I think it sounds quite lovely too!
At the invitation and by the design of Mark Greenberg (The Coctails, eleventh dreamday), half of this record was recorded mostly live at Wilco’s Loft Studio in Chicago with a band that included James Elkington, Gerald Dowd, Nick Macri, and Greenberg himself. Another half was made in TJO’s home studio in California with Devin Hoff, Wilder Zoby, Walt McClements and string supervisor Jim James. This album also features the voices of Chris Cohen, Carolyn Pennypacker-Riggs and Joan Shelley. Tara Jane ONeil plays guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion.
"TJO describes her new record as a “singer-songwriter” endeavor—a description which could apply to much, if not all, of TJO’s solo work. But there is something uniquely satisfying about this record’s willingness to offer individual songs qua songs, and to foreground her voice and lyrics. Unlike some songwriters, whose lyrics have the aura of sophistication because they’re essentially nonsense, or whose lyrics end up pretty banal once deciphered, TJO’s lyrics always repay the effort to discern them. She is a poet at heart, whose chosen phrases and images aim to communicate truly as much as to burrow and sound. As her vocals, lyrics, and melodies emerge into plainer sight on this record, it feels like an act of real, earned generosity. I get the feeling that she’s holding this record out to us, palms upturned, in the gold California sun; I already know it’s going to be one of my favorites.
Until the hammer comes down on us all—and even then—we’re living in an age in which music is more readily recognized as emanating from and belonging to people of all genders and sexualities. When TJO and I were coming up, there weren’t quite as many names for what we were or what we were doing, though certainly there were some. Nonetheless, we persisted. In TJO’s case, she pioneered. Like so many others, I basically just ran after whatever I saw in her, praying for a shred of that confidence, of that natural claim on innovation and presence that she seemed to possess. (I’ll never forget seeing TJO play with Come in the mid-90s, and promising myself on the way home to at least try, as a writer, to do whatever it was that I’d just seen Thalia Zedek and Tara Jane do with their guitars.)
In her music and life, TJO has modeled a new place to stand, new sounds to make, a new kind of artist and human to be. Her career is all the more remarkable for her music’s willingness to investigate quiet, minor, and fugitive sound even as her career at large has taken no prisoners. We are unspeakably lucky to be alive at the same time of her making and being—to behold, in real time, the unspooling of her unremitting ingenuity, voyaging, and grace."
Maggie Nelson Los Angeles, 2017”
Pop music from Germany via California on DJ Koze’s label. No Hasselhoff.
“Elegant, melancholic, sometimes menacing, with smoldering piano melodies, desolately whistling organs, and a jaunty jaw's harp loop; kissed by the golden Californian sun, or shrouded in gloomy, dreary fog: Sophia Kennedy is currently the most versatile composer in German pop music - not to mention the greatest singer. Her debut album "Sophia Kennedy" reveals her as a dramatic romanti-cist and distanced diseuse, as a deft lyricist and master of melody.
In her eleven songs, she travels from doo-wop to dubstep, from classic crooning to breathless R'n'B, from Frank Sinatra to Beyoncé. Her talent for songwriting is deeply rooted in history, yet it seeks nothing but the present: both historically versed and timelessly beautiful at the same time. All tracks have been produced by Sophia Kennedy and Mense Reents (who is known as being a member of Die Vögel, Egoexpress, Die Goldenen Zitronen).”
Following his previous appearance as Gondwana on Opal Tapes back in 2015, Andrea Taeggi returns to the label with a new mini-album of spellbinding constructions from the outer-reaches.
"Taeggi is best known for his work alongside Koenraad Ecker in Lumisokea. It’s a productive partnership that has yielded numerous albums for the likes of Eat Concrete and ALTER as well as multiple Opal offerings, including last year’s Transmissions From Revarsavr. Under his own name, Taeggi also released the Mama Matrix Most Mysterious LP on Type two years ago.
The same intensive level of detail found in the Lumisokea productions permeates Miccaotli, with Taeggi’s distinctive rhythmic approaches and sound palette making this a release as engaging as it is adventurous. Clattering, mutant breakbeat flaring flirts with zippy synthesis on “Huehueteotl” before the more intimate shuffle and rattle of “Cipacti”, its kitchen sink percussion falling prey to crafty edits and FX swells. “Tlaloc” grows from sparse beginnings to meet with stark lead hooks that shine out amongst the razor sharp beat programming.
Hyper-modern breakbeat science looms once more on Side B opener “Quetzalcoatl”, and continues apace into the intricate roll of “Miccaotli”, where dazzling daubs of synths splay out between the urgent thrust of the drums. “Tezontle” closes proceedings with a snaking approach that equally champions infinitesimal sound design and hard-rocking, idiosyncratic groove.
There’s a consistent style that shapes out Miccaotli, and it once again demonstrates the great technical skill Taeggi is capable of deploying in the studio. Fortunately the results of his endeavours are as utterly thrilling to listen to as they are advanced.”
Stunning record from Colin Stetson, continuing to redefine the saxophone’s role in contemporary music with an innovatively percussive and soaring follow-up to the trio of New History Warfare volumes released by his neighbours at Montréal’s Constellation. This time Stetson takes charge of everything - from engineering to mixing, production and release - to present a gripping document of timeless instrumental virtuosity and visionary solo persistence that somehow sounds like Autechre whipping up an ancient Sufi dervish.
Anchored in spirit and narrative somewhere between NHW:Vol.3  and Never Were The Way She Was , and making pointed use of his instrument’s myriad percussive possibilities, All This I Do For Glory was typically recorded without overdubs of loops to effectively bring the listener unflinching close to Stetson’s practice, like you’re the lone front row spectator facing the artist and his massive bass sax in a huge but deserted auditorium.
Shut your eyes, however, and the man incredibly appears to diffract and multiply into trio or quartet; somehow blowing, singing and knuckling out loping, irregular rhythms thru his instrument all at the same time. To break it down as simply a result of circular breathing, microphone placement and extended technique would be doing the results an immense disservice, though, as Stetson is patently transcending method and style to achieve something far more ambitious and disbelief-suspending in each of the record’s six parts.
Like some archaeoacoustic rendering of Autechre playing unplugged in Plato’s Cave, the results thoroughly play with perceptions of electronic and acoustic music: firstly like a cranky blues geist divined by Áine O’Dwyer in the loping, stomping chamber blues-folk buzz of All This I Do For Glory; and then with supernal, lupine elegance described in the wordless vocals and furtive, zigzagging search-and-destroy tactics of Like Wolves On The Fold; or with a perception-baiting buzz and syncopated convulsion that runs ragged along the line between programmed electronic music, improvisation and modern classical in the supernatural, paraphysical emulation of Between Water and Wind and the naturalistic techno-vortices of Spindrift and In The Clinches; before scrambling previously unscaled heights of polyrhythmic scree and windswept harmonic updrafts with agility comparable to a flock of mountain goats traversing an escarpment in the complexity and fixated, hunched intensity The Lure Of The Mine.
It’s truly rare that we hear artists blur the line between perceptions of acoustic reality and the modelled projections of electronic music with such delirious, remarkable results as these.
Wolfgang Voigt presents an incredible new chapter in the GAS saga almost 20 years since its last instalment, taking us deeper still into the recesses of that neon lit forest nightscape, just in time for that new series of Twin Peaks that's just around the corner...
Over the last two decades many listeners have become deeply familiar with Zauberburg, Königsforest, and Pop - many for the first time via the vital Nah Und Fern compilation , and with an even greater number becoming seduced and schooled via the comprehensive Box collection in 2016, which effectively sets the scene for this, Wolfgang Voigt’s keenly awaited re-arrival. Not to make him sound like christ or anything but, jeeeeez, we need this guy’s music now as badly as ever.
Under the title Narkopop, which suggests a continuation of the themes explored by its predecessor, Pop , as well as a succinct acknowledgement of his music’s putative purpose, the Kompakt kingpin floods the senses with what must be a life-threatening dose to folk who are AMSR responsive or suffer cardiac respiratory problems; you’ll either shiver yourself to a very pleasurable death or find yourself catching your breath at the point of systolic syncopation with Voigt’s inhale/exhale dynamics.
To be clear, the formula of etheric de/composition remains the same; there’s no studio skits or sidesteps into Ed Sheeraned polkapop (free ideas for the future right there, Wolfgang) - but the production and dense sense of tension is taken even further into that unique soundworld. The kicks remain as deep as your pulsatile tinnitus heard thru the pillow at night, whilst the strings are diaphanous and intangibly convective; slowly but surely directing the listener to a highly desirable state of delirium; along a spiralling Escher’s staircase to a beautiful nowhere.
It’s perhaps arbitrary to give a run thru of all the tracks because, as anyone who has immersed themselves in GAS will tell you, it’s quite likely that consciousness isn’t an option by the end of the recording, with the final tracks of his albums tending to be received by osmosis from behind closed eyelids. But, in case you have the concentration span of a long haul trucker or a tolerance for beta blockers, you’ll be well attuned to its valerian gauze and durational thrum, which picks us up at the very Leyland Kirby/The Caretaker-esque Narkopop 1, and carries thru distinct highlights in the breathtaking symphonic smudge of Narkopop 4, and the windswept aeolian harp shiver laced into Narkopop 6 before delivering us at the feet of a towering, cloud-shrouded holy mountain which gradually reveals its peak in Narkopop 10.
20 years on, it's still a sound that no one has managed to better, despite countless imitations.
Drab Majesty began as a warbled transmission received via 4-track cassette in a dim, Los Angeles bedroom in 2012.
"The entity known as Deb Demure, an interdimensional muse of sorts, lent an otherworldly vision to a human contact; one to be realized through meticulously composed lo-fi recordings. Focusing on the aesthetics of cult ritual and the devastating power of music, Deb sought an alternative way to share the cosmic agenda. Culminating in a cassette titled Unarian Dances, Drab Majesty’s manifesto to humanity was revealed: revel in the power of artistic influences that reside beyond the self.
The tape circulated through Los Angeles, catching the attention of local tastemakers like the heads at Lollipop Records in Echo Park. It quickly found a place on the shelves of LA’s underground musical seekers. After a gauntlet of performances and late night manifestations, Drab Majesty came on the radar of DAIS Records.
In 2015, Drab Majesty released Careless, the first LP which was received and recorded solely by Demure on living room floors and in cluttered spaces across the city. After three pressings and an imminent fourth, Careless remains a fixture in LA’s somber yet sublime nightlife and a noted contribution to the murkier subcultures abroad.
Wielding a left-handed guitar, Deb employs a unique style of arpeggiated finger picking, producing vast and organic musical textures reminiscent of Vinny Reilly (Durutti Column) with the anthemic power of Sisters of Mercy and Cocteau Twins. In the past two years Deb has been invited to support bands such as Cold Cave, Psychic TV, Clan of Xymox, The Frozen Autumn, Prayers, and label mates Youth Code and King Dude.
From its incarnation, Drab Majesty was a solo act; an interplay between guitar and triggered machines. In 2016, with growing audiences and heightened interest, Drab expanded into a duo, employing the keyboard accompaniment of far-out twin, Mona D – filling out frequencies and upping the spectacle of the live performance."
Thurston Moore entered The Church studios in London to record new songs with producer Paul Epworth, the pair created a dynamic vibratory match (with the realization that they were both Leos, on the cusp of Cancer, born on 25 July.) The session was mixed by Randall Dunn (Marissa Nadler, Sunn 0))), Earth, Boris) at Avast! Studios in Seattle.
"Thurston Moore had been touring since the critically acclaimed release The Best Day introduced the core members James Sedwards (guitar), My Bloody Valentine's Deb Googe (bass) and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley (drums). Rock n Roll Consciousness is Thurston's focus on this group's strength, beauty and promise, with an unleashing of James Sedwards' brilliant guitar play, Deb Googe's minimalist ethic and Steve Shelley's in-the-pocket swing dynamism.
The songs here are expansive, anthemic and exploratory with lyrics, co-written with poet Radio Radieux, investigating and heralding the love between angels, goddess mysticism and a belief in healing through new birth. They range from the opener "Exalted", an unfolding and emotional journey in homage to sacred energy and exaltation, to "Cusp" a springtime charging, propulsive piece with a feeling of Sonic Youth mixing in with My Bloody Valentine to "Turn On" a pop-sonic poem to holy love both intimate and kosmiche to the contemplative mystery of life-defining time travel in "Smoke of Dreams". The record concludes with "Aphrodite", a strange and heavy no wave rocker in salutation to the idol of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.
Rock n Roll Consciousness is a new chapter for Thurston, and promises to be a creative highpoint for anyone interested in his legacy of avant-garde music and writing, as strong a statement as anything he has recorded these last three decades - serious and precocious and strangely accessible."
The original industrial agent turned Hollywood sound designer presents an expansive dark ambient album created solely from NASA recordings of deep space.
15 years in the works, Dark Matter distills “an audio library of cosmological activity” intercepted and recorded between 1993 and 2003 by NASA, The Very Large Array, and The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, among others, and processes them into a somehow super dense yet unfathomably spacious suite of pure dark ambiance.
As you might expect, there’s no surprises in deep space, just light years of f**k all, so you’re implicitly encouraged to fill in the gaps yourself, guided only by Lustmord’s slowly shifting drones in three parts.
Jean-Louis Huhta and Joachim Nordwall are HIGH BOYS. Together they share a deep interest in old school techno acid, aswell as electronic experimentalism and insane electro-acoustics .
Druggy, off-kilter house and techno are the order of the day, following wobbly lines between the hypnotic dissonance of No Hope For A Sexual Revolution to the clipped and ket-legged strut of Drunken Master with its descending synthlines and scuffed noise, thru to the Frak-like chug and acid-garlgliung vox of This is Your Captain Speaking and Down With Chaos.
Enchanting gem from the golden age of Malian music, featuring Mariam Doumbi’s soaring vocals set to burning Afrobeat funk grooves and harmonised chorales by pupils of the blind school, Bamako in 1978
“A classic and seldom heard LP from Bamako! Not just your average Malian LP, 'Le Tioko-Tioko' (aka 'Ampsa') features has to be heard to be believed organ, hypnotic guitar and amazing sweet vocals by Mariam Doumbia. A truly great LP and must have for fans of Malian music. A faithful reproduction of the original with the addition of liner notes by Florent Mazzoleni. A co-release with Sing A Song Fighter from Sweden."
What better way to celebrate than purchasing a side of Eureka Brass Band’s finest Dirges, suitable for not many occasions other than getting sozzled and lamenting your loved ones to woozy brass.
Includes all the biggest 1950s New Orleans funeral hits: West Lawn Dirge; Just A Closer Walk With Thee; Garland Of Flowers; Departed Hero; Fallen Heroes; Eternity - all recorded on a sunday afternoon in the summer of 1951.
RIYL Treme, Whiskey, not being dead.
College return with their third full length album, a rich, glowing and nostalgic synth-based offering reminiscent of previous works heard on the ‘Drive’ soundtrack but at the same time exploring a unique and conceptual world - ‘Shanghai’ - giving College’s textural and atmospherical works a brand new dimension.
"‘Shanghai’ is an album inspired by the city itself - its culture and architecture; a melting pot of many things. Musically College draw on 90s sounds and the work from artists including Mark Snow, Angelo Badalamenti, Joe Hisaishi and Aphex Twin.
In College’s own words: “This record is a mysterious ballad in the heart of 1920s Shanghai... An invitation to travel, a tribute to the refinement and in the delicacy of a fantasized and blurry period of time, which fed the imagination of the musicians, the artists and the architects of this mythical city. Young chinese singer Hama, a Shanghai native, also honors me by singing on the title ‘Love Peas’.”
“If you saw WALL play in NYC or at SXSW (they were No. 2 on Time Out Austin’s top picks for SXSW 2016) you will recognize some of the tracks on their new LP, Untitled. "Everything In Between" was often a set opener, albeit in an instrumental form. Here we find the definitive full band arrangement, which shows a group capable of generating wave after wave of engaging post-punk. First single "High Ratings" advances the strengths of WALL's self-titled EP with it's look at modern anxiety stemming from social media addiction: "We're all guilty," as singer Sam York howls. Their rocking cover of Half Japanese's classic "Charmed Life" is probably the closest track in tone to "Cuban Cigars," the pop moment on the WALL EP. True to the original, it features perfectly skronky sax from Pill’s Ben Jaffe. "River Mansion" displays Vince McClelland's extensive post-punk guitar vocabulary with squalls, shrieks and plinks over the band's elegant Kroutrock groove with York and Skadden's cooing vocals occasionally synching with a slippery guitar riff. Drummer Vanessa Gomez proves once again the perfect match to McClelland -- offering ample space without sacrificing propulsion or variety. Fans of Skadden's former group, Finally Punk will appreciate "Save Me" – a tale of desperation with Skadden sharing lead vocal duties along with York. These are just a few examples of songs from this diverse and intense LP, showing us a band stretching out sonically and stylistically at their peak and right before their untimely demise.
So there you have it -- a testament to a band that formed in an instant, burned brightly and left us with two great records. Did you see WALL at Palisades, The Silent Barn, Alphaville, Union Pool, and all the rest of them? Let this LP remind you or take you there for the first time.”
As promised, Clone come up roses again with reissue of a highly sought-after, Drexciya-related classic that was originally issued in 2002 and has been outta print ever since.
Back in the hazy, carefree pre-crash days of the early ‘00s, this 12” was a staple in our Pelicanneck shop and with anyone susceptible to debonaire Detroit gear; revolving the ear-worming vocal hook “almond mochaccinomakes me feel alright” (although we could never properly figure out what he was saying) set to a woozy, subby bassline and dreamy chord progression which has been lodged in our collective bonce ever since.
The A-side was so strong that you’d often forget the B-side, but every time you rememevgerd to check it again, Sherard Ingram aka Mystic Tribe A.I. aka Drexciyan DJ Stingray’s Telepathic Seduction would quietly blow us away, like how did you forget about that one?! And funnily enough its double-timed, deep south style drum percolations perhaps now sound more relevant and up-to-date than before.
Stone cold classic.
Paul Woolford dons his Special Request mantle once again for a six-track suite on the fabric-run label that expands the project’s remit into electro and ambient flavours – Whities talent Minor Science rips it on the remix.
After an extended period exorcising his tech-house demons at the behest of Hotflush, Paul Woolford seems to have decided 2017 is the time to properly revisit his Special Request project. Comprised of the Special Request originals from his recent ‘fabriclive 91’ mix, ‘Stairfoot Lane Bunker’ offers a much more conclusive exploration of the Special Request DNA than 2013’s Houndstooth LP ‘Soul Music.’
Kicking out with some Kraftwerk-meets Mix Mup-style speak-n-spell electro of Redrum, PW then pulls the ‘ardcore junglist spirit central to Special Request in some interesting directions. The title cut lays on rich swathes of orchestrated ambience which get rudely interrupted by an assemblage of spangled amens and sproinging sub bass. Woolford’s skilled rhythmic edits come to the fore on the dizzying jungle patterns he draws on Replicant, replete with obligatory Bladerunner sample!
Elsewhere, both Telepathic Dog and Five Lane Ends transpose you into the realm of crumbling ambient vistas, the former’s brief fizzing static backdrop occasionally punctuated by Woolford going mad with some lasers whilst the latter is like some weightless edit from Star Wars. Minor Science aka RA critic Gus Finlayson rounds out the record with a remix of Stairfoot Lane Bunker whose hyper specific drum edits and tongue-in-cheek touches are reminiscent of Luke Vibert’s Amen Andrews stuff.
After teasing us to bits with The Moomins Theme 7”, Finders Keepers pull out the full, UK-specific soundtrack to practically everyone’s favourite Finnish fuzzy felt fantasy, written in 1982 by a pair of politically driven post-punk theatre performers from a shared house in Leeeds. One of the trippiest bouts of nostalgia you’ll ever receive, especially those bubblegum electro bits…
“Like a tall tale from the heart of Moominpapa’s memoirs the story of the lost music of Moominvalley has remained a mystery for what seems like an eternity… Or perhaps 33 years to be more accurate. Since the first time the home made Wasp-synth and ocarina driven theme tube and eerie incidental themes first made their soft landings on the UK Children’s ITV, nostalgia nuts, acid-folk fans and electro acoustic aficionados have been united by a fruitless yearning for those misplaced melodies and that last comforting synth note that resolved each episode of what was perhaps the most freakish Fuzzy-Felt five minutes to flicker onto our small screens during the 80′s wonder years.
Born in Helsinki, made in Warsaw, by a German and Austrian co-operative, and finally soundtracked in Leeds in the North of England, the translated and reconstituted tales of Moomintroll, Snuffkin and The Hattifattners (amongst a handcrafted cast of many) first came to our screens as an early exploration of Anne Wood (later creator the equally freakish Teletubbies) who after stripping the Polish and German audio commissioned a new experimental soundtrack from the collective social circles of The Impact Theatre Co-Operative, Gang Of Four and The Commies From Mars. Finally retrieved from the outer limits of it’s cross continental breadcrumb trail Finders Keepers finally grant you an access all areas pass into the vault presenting a complete full formed soundtrack album that fills the gaps between the aforementioned micro-genres that flourished in light of domestic synth technology while providing a woozy hallucinogenic antidote to the disenfranchised political backdrop of 1980s Britain fuelled by a vibrant alternative and progressive pop culture.
Welcome to the ultimate escapist paradise and the exotic folkloric plains of Moominvalley where their anonymous sinfonietta layers synthesiser textures, sound poetry and a pocket orchestra of mechanical instruments with a miniature electronic drum-kit all of which can be heard to their fullest post-punk-potential throughout the grooves of this long anticipate 15 track instrumental adventure.
Via Midwinter rituals, woodland celebrations, astral laments and spectral effervescence, Miller and Shill follow the running-theme of the uber-classic title tune throughout the oblique narrative of the original 100 episodes conjuring nostalgia, awe, surprise, apprehension and unlikely wonderment harking back to our naive wonder years while also pre-empting a universe of electronic music which arguably still begs further intrepid exploration… Perhaps the time is right for this magnetic Moomins music to finally meet it’s modest masses. However long you plan to hibernate, Don’t sleep on this one.”
Kowton gets back into the swing of it on first new material since his debut album, Utility , for Peverelist’s Livity Sound.
We’re all over the soundboy-burying bogle of Pea Soup, where he flips a haunting lick of Remarc’s R.I.P. (or even the original sample?) into a murky grind of swivelling subs and plasmic dubbing that pretty much defies any other description than Kowton own sound.
Iodine on the other hand, at first glance appears to be a straight playing dub techno chord rider, but once you dance to it or mix with it you find all kind of strange details and quirks screwed into its skanking, stepping chassis.
Sweden’s Varg and Celldöd make a marriage of grim, itchy techno inconvenience for Opal Tapes with the rasping roil of Brutal Discipline dispatched under their Vargdöd portmanteau. Trust this is some of the ruddiest stuff in either producer’s catalogue of late, picked right from the back of the nose and smeared into six tracks of toxic effluence and clammy greyscale drone.
The follow-up to their split tape Krig, featuring a side a piece from Celldöd and Varg under his Black Leather Harness alias - the 1st release on the former’s Brutal Disciplin label - yields a queasy, airless experience akin to industrial waterboarding, effectively drowning their spare, brittle and bony drum machine (machine drum?) rhythms under graded layers of granular silt, holding us under at the point where light only teasingly breaks through the surface.
In that submerged half light they parlez in a language of mutant dolphin chatter and against banking walls of noise in Kennel Murder Case, whereas Starved To Death offers a gulf stream of relief of warmer ambient techno relief and Bitten brings back the coldest industrial currents. Turn it over and Elite Dogs of War tramples water with an agitated sense of purpose, followed by palpitating rhythmic noise recalling The Boats’ swerve into this realm c. Abstraction and Nomenclature, before shoring up at the purgatorial intervene of No Dogs Go To Heaven.
Major new work from Kara-Lis Coverdale, her solo debut vinyl release following Aftertouches (2015). A blissfully introspective 22 minute piece for keys, samplers and EQs in three parts. RIYL: Franca Sacchi, Terry Riley, Arthur Russell, Charlemagne Palestine, Art of Noise, Erik Satie, Fennesz, Huerco S, Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto...
*Please note vinyl will start shipping approx 8th May*
A sublime and quietly hypnotic work belied by steadfast conceptual rigour, Grafts is the most ambitious and involving work yet from Kara-Lis Coverdale, her first since 2015.
In three parts of cascading yet plaintive multi-instrumental gestures, Grafts expands on the processing and self-temperement techniques explored on 2014’s A 480 into a more encompassing palette. Uncompromisingly distinct while redolent of modal minimalism, 70s, new age, and folk music, Grafts effectively blurs distinctions between traditional composition and more open, overlapping genres that hover in the half-light between acoustic and electronic refinement.
Rather than anything grandiose or explicitly seductive, the effect of Grafts is best compared with the subtle intoxication of micro-dosing on LSD or the clarity afforded by quiet meditation, in a sense dilating the listener’s focus to a heightened awareness of the piece’s intricate peripheral tones as much as its melodic centre ground, with a beautifully understated, surreal resolution. The piece flickers with gentle optimism, never at random, illuminating unseen spaces that quickly gradient into nothingness.
In both concept and execution, Grafts firmly resonates with Kara-Lis Coverdale’s deeply established roots as an improvisational virtuoso and accomplished pianist as much as her academically informed approach to electroacoustic composition that showcases a distinct omnivorous appetite for the digital. But it’s an emotional generosity that proves to be its defining, most intangible characteristic. Never fully coming to a resolution. Lingering on like a slowly dispersing plume of smoke.
Madam X makes her Kaizen label real with 12”s of sturdy dubstep and mutant UK bass from Manchester’s Biome.
The halfstep specialist is in razor-sharp effect with the dive-bombing dynamics and clipped torque of Griddled before resetting the style to a Swamp 81-style swage at 123bpm set off with flickering rim shots and electroid prods in Squelch.
Better yet, Bush takes the whole flipside to flex a cold, tensile mix of bleep techno and dipping UK rufige at 127bpm.
The Last Wave (also known as Black Rain in the US) was the final chapter in a trilogy of films scripted and directed by the leading auteur of the Australian New Wave, Peter Weir. With no LP issued after the films premiere in 1977, and together with the mystery surrounding the true identity of its enigmatic composer ‘Charles Wain’, the score is a largely unheard recording of pioneering experimental film electronics, easily compared to the music that contemporaries Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream were composing for Australian films during the same period or the electronic soundtracks of John Carpenter.
"Beginning in 1974 with the absurdist black comedy-horror The Cars That Ate Paris, and followed a year later by the lush gothic mystery Picnic At Hanging Rock, The Last Wave was a landmark in existential horror. Sitting alongside other Australian eco-terror films (e.g. Long Weekend) the film featured a haunting electronic soundtrack that is as mysterious and beguiling as the spiritual themes of the film itself.
Tense atonal electronics, synthesizer drones and manipulated Didjeridu all perfectly capture the film’s ominous atmosphere, punctuating the slow hypnotic pace of this brooding supernatural thriller. The Last Wave soundtrack is released in conjunction with the lost film music to Nicolas Roeg’s 1971 New Wave masterpiece Walkabout composed by John Barry. "
For their first multi-artist compilation, Music From Memory take us on a trip to the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1978-1992 is a double LP that explores the outer reaches of Brazilian music, where indigenous rhythms mix with synthesizers and where MPB mingles with drum computers.
"As Brazil faced the last years of its military dictatorship and transition to democracy, a generation of forward-thinking musicians developed an alternative vision of Brazilian music and culture. They embraced traditionally shunned electronic production methods and infused their music with elements of ambient, jazz-fusion, and minimalism. At the same time they referenced the musical forms and spirituality of indigenous tribes from the Amazon. The music they produced was a complex and mesmerising tapestry that vividly evoked Brazilian landscapes and simultaneously reached out to the world beyond its borders.
.The product of extensive research, this compilation is a unique introduction to this visionary music and features many fresh discoveries in a country well trodden by record diggers. It gathers tracks from obscure albums that have for too long been neglected by even the most avid collectors of Brazilian music. It includes now highly sought after music by Andréa Daltro, Maria Rita, and Fernando Falcão, as well as unknown gems like those of Cinema, Carlinhos Santos, and Anno Luz. This is an essential release that reveals a broader spectrum of Brazilian music, striking a unique sonic signature that is full of innovation, experimentation, and beauty.
Compiled by John Gómez and featuring extensive liner notes, Outro Tempo showcases this overlooked corner in Brazil’s rich music history for the first time."
First time on vinyl for this unnervingly bittersweet and unpredictably unhinged slice of bedroom pop life from members of DIY heroes The Homosexuals, 1981.
“Amos and Sara were one of the twentieth century’s greatest musical polymath duos, equally adept at composing, conducting, performing and theory. Their style was similarly varied, ranging from the dense expressionism of their early one-act operas, to the vast symphonies of their maturity. Like several important composers of the period, they were opponents of bourgeois culture, with a political commitment to making ‘useful’ music (Gebrauchmusik) that was direct in its appeal, and in which they succeeded with high creative intelligence. Their standing, as seminal figures of modern music, was partly undermined by their diversity, but their reputation never really declined, and has undergone a huge reappraisal in recent years.
Amos and Sara Sing The Private World of Amos (1981) represents what was, at the time, a distinct move back towards traditional melody, but which is contradicted by discomfiting messages to a nightmare world, and depictions of struggles of personal and political power. Its various presentational structures include laments, subjugations, and expressions of the peasant’s hatred of their lords, in the context of a sometimes overwhelming multiplicity of subject themes: moral negotiation, mistrust, social class, distress, comedy, wild adventure, chemical derangement, as well as anarchic joy, and love.
The work shows great technical expertise, but it is far from being a didactic display of classical orthodoxy, as everything here is subjugated to deeply felt personal expression. There are moments of sonorous beauty, but also atonal punctuations – as well as contrapuntal moments – all of which are radical departures from the orthodoxies of then traditional forms, such as punk.
The lucidity and rhythmic expression of this recording, and its remarkable themes, ensures ongoing recognition of this work as one of Amos and Sara’s finest achievements. Neal Brown (Tesco Bombers) - London, England. 2016”
Mind-bending minimalist rhythm trips from Brooklyn’s Robert Lowe, coiling up on the Paris-based Latency Recordings in the wake of sublime excursions for Type and DDS and alongside Jóhann Jóhannsson, Adult and Ariel Kalma in recent years.
A deeply intoxicating session unfurls in both parts, pursuing the patiently nuanced logic of his prior releases into the beautifully melancholic, elliptical downstroke of Magnatite on the A-side, and what sounds like a blunted Villalobos lost in a mazy nitrous fantasy on the marvellous Heart Of Sogguth.
Coaxing waves of drip-off dissonant tang into an alternately acrid, aqueous flow with the meter of a water clock in orbit or a deep sea hydrothermal vent spewing pure minerals under unfathomable pressure, Magnetite beautifully owns our attention on the A-side and is primed to send post-party sessions or stone circle meditations into the absolute lushest freefall regression to primal states.
The B-side’s upstepping vectors therefore give a (perhaps necessary) second wind, picking up the pace to a 111bpm bump soaked in spring reverb and riddled with hiccuping voices that appear to originate in or at least resonate in the listener’s own trachea with a potent tang whilst the groove quietly knots us in sensually elastic loops.
They’re blinders, both of ‘em.
The late, great J Dilla is widely regarded as one of the greatest hiphop producers of all time. Since his death in 2006, Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey has worked tirelessly to further her son’s legacy, and her latest effort is the new posthumous album Motor City.
For 2017’s archival Dilla delivery, Ma Dukes has picked 20 cuts from the archive of her son, the late, great hip hop architect, in dedication to Detroit, his home city.
His legion disciples will lap it all up. Us, we’re really feeling that medieval guillotine on the intro, the thumb pianos hooks of Motor City 3, and the low slung disco knocks of Motor City 14, but it’s frustrating hearing these amazing offcuts and wondering what mighta been…
Full squad showing from Fracture & Neptune’s Astrophonica label, spinning out a baker’s dozen jungle/juke joints from themselves, Stray, Sam Binga, dBridge, Sully, DJ Earl x Fracture, Moresounds a.o.
Highlights include the acid-melted ‘step of Lewis James’ Snook on a mutant jungle D&B flex; dBridge getting fierce with the chops on dB vs 45 King; and Sully rushing on an epic hardcore tip recalling Mark Pritchard’s early hardcore-jungle output.
EMG throws his first solo shot for The Trilogy Tapes after linking with Battista on The Bridge , coughing up one beastly, razing dose of acid tech noise on the front, backed with a handful of grayscaled textural experiments and field recordings.
That A-side is a proper, ugly, trampling bugger in the best sense of the phrase, designed to sock the ‘floor with wildly overdriven bass and shock it with flashes of clenched disco strings with an effect calling to mind a psychotic Soundhack piece before the acid surges forward to dominate the cut like something that crawled out of Adam X’s drains in 1992.
Overlarge and in charge.
Madam X picks up Silas & Snare to follow 12”s from Walton and Biome on her Kaizen label.
Taut, rolling dubstep /techno hustle in full swing here, following a dank hunch on the bare bones pressure of Biometric, and then with a a more rugged force in the spare tribalism of Patience.
Heart-rending new grime, pop and soul suite by the Gobstopper boss and Boxed co-founder following his productions for Katy B and P Money
Mr. Mitch presents grime as future UK soul music on his lush and deeply endearing sophomore album, Devout. Surrounded by family and friends and bringing his own vocals into play for the first time, it coolly and considerately sets a new benchmark for production and concepts within a style he’s helped to incubate for best part of a decade now.
Unmistakably fresh in aesthetic, but timeless in appeal, Devout is a contemplative album about “love, loyalty, family and the start and end of relationships” framing a cast of contributors including his son, Milo, as well as P Money and Palmistry, in a filigree-detailed, minimalist and melancholy dramaturgy intended to flip the script of typical grime and rap, as he says: “we all know the stereotype of the black dad with multiple children from multiple partners who is absent from he child’s life, we see it consistently in popular culture. I want to champion the alternative, which to me is just normal.”
Pricking the popular consciousness with a maturity and subtlety beyond many of his peers, Devout is frankly intimate and uniquely engaging; inverting grime’s aggressive side to reveal a resolute but aching soul within, in the process opening out its roadmap to encompass a vaporous, autotuned duet between Mitch and his oldest son, Milo at the front, which also reappears as the baroque R&B bump of Our Love, and thematic closure in the Afrobeats-inspired Oscar.
In between he touches almost club-worthy moments with Priority feat. P Money’s own thoughts on fatherhood, served honestly and without cliche, and we can also imagine Palmistry’s turn on VPN becoming a real percy in its own right, whilst Denai Moore and Py offer necessary balance of feminine pressure in the downstrokes of Fate and Pleasure, respectively.
But it’s all really tied together by Mitch’s quieter moments in between, like the blue - but not depressive - ambience of If I Wanted, or the artist’s lullaby-like dedication to his children in the deliquescent fragility of My Life.
One for the ages. UK soul music at its inventive best.
Move D and Thomas Meinecke (F.S.K.) meld myriad sorts of American beatdown house, jazz and hip hop in a sort of ambient psychogeographic survey or mapping of the Black Atlantic diaspora styles that deeply inform their respective solo and collaborative work; from Moufang’s various efforts in melding jazz, house and electronics with Conjoint and Magic Mountain High, to Meinecke’s records with Anthony Shakir and disco house tributes as DJ Laté.
It’s a full package, this one; pairing louche grooves with snippets of vocals sampled from TV, used rhythmically and incidentally, and informative prompts in the liner notes offering additional historical and political context to each part - effectively elevating the record to a sincere form of dedication to the music that Moufang and Meinecke are patently indebted to.
In aesthetic and impetus it bears up to some comparison with aspects of Terre Thaemlitz’s debut LP 040468  which was titled after the date of MLK’s death and also executes a subtle blend of sampled vocals and downbeat, ambient vibes underlined by strong politics, whilst also recalling traces of Matana Roberts Coin Coin travelogues in its collaged textures.
Penultimate Press go back to church with Pancrace’s Music for pipe organ, Bird Calls, Baroque Violin, Tin Whistle, Boîtes à Bourdons, Landscape Piano, Motorised Bow, Standuino Pi Synth, Microphones, Hurgy Toys, AM radio, Church Bells, Uilleann Pipes and Hulusi...following the label’s vinyl releases of Áine O’Dwyer’s amazing Locusts and Gegenschein recordings.
Whilst there are obvious similarities to be drawn between Áine’s LPs and this one, Pancrace have many more hands and instruments on board - Prune Bécheau, Arden Day, Julien Desailly, Léo Maurel and Jan Vysocky accompanying the organ with baroque violin, tin whistle, boîtes à bourdons, landscape piano, motorised bow, Standuino Pi synth, mics, hurgy toys, AM radio, church bells, uilleann pipes, and hulsi - and the results are therefore more elaborate, diversified, although also wonderfully spectral and psychedelic in nature.
Both the act and their debut recording borrow their name from the church in Dangolsheim, just outside Strasbourg, France, where the organ is located (that’s its name on a stain glass windows on the cover), and where the instrument inventor and group-member Léo Maurel is also based. As much as O’Dwyer’s LP, the space and place are integral to the recording. But where Áine’s side was defined by a sense of ghostly detachment, this one feels like a play or mass for ancient spirits, who dance and weave an inimitable array of tones around the central cyclopean figure of the organ to resemble some kind of arcane ritual or communion, rather than meditative loneliness.
In keeping with the arcane atmosphere, the session is prone to unpredictable, epiphanic peaks or collapsing drop outs, vacillating its flux of energies within a truly cryptic narrative logic, or as the label poetically put it; “a maelstrom of sound and song which see-saw between he harrowing and the sublime with incredible detail to sonic content”.
And that 2nd part of that statement is also key to the compelling appeal and uncanny ingenuity of Pancrace, as the group’s instrumental dialogue appears to divine, with a real clarity, a range of unique tonal definitions which add up to a sum much greater than their already fascinating individual parts, especially when combined with the incidental rustles and sounds of children and birds outside.
We’re feeling pretty dazed and disoriented after ingesting this one - just as any experience involving a church is supposed to impress, we guess - and recommend it to anyone who knows what we’re talking about there.
Compilation of absolutely must-have country blues from Mississippi.
A mix of well known artists playing their signature songs and more obscure musicians. Highlights include Bukka White's elemental "Fixin' to die", Lottie Kimbroughs' seldom heard "Don't Speak To Me", George Carters' haunting "Ghost Woman Blues", Willie Browns' existential "Future Blues", Monroe Moe Jackson's wild "Go Away From My Door" and many more hits.
The real stuff and some of Mississippi Records all time favorite tunes.
Sterling compilation of deep rooted Detroit music, originally issued in 2005, then 2012, and now back in circulation for the debonaires...
Oacking really smart gear in the strolling groove of Marcellsu Pittman’s A Walk Thru Osaka; wit the slinky hustle of Rick Wilhite and KDJ’s hypnotically raw Bosmos; on a dose of freaky madness called In The Dark from Raybone Jones with Pittman and Wilhite; and Mike Huckaby’s Afro-Latin burner, Melodies From The Jazz Republic.
Necessary first ever vinyl reissue of Jon Gibson’s holy, floating sophomore side; originally released in 1977 on Philip Glass’ Chatham Square Productions. Melt-on-the-mind microtonal American Minimalism of the highest order, housed in perfectly synonymous moire artwork. Recommended!
“For his second album, Two Solo Pieces, Jon Gibson forgoes the dense, multi-layered timbres of Visitations in favor of simple textures and tone. While Two Solo Pieces serves up further evidence of Gibson's centrality to American minimalism – witness its inclusion in Alan Licht's famed Minimal Top Ten list – this profoundly intimate record also reveals the beauty of enclosed spaces and infinite harmonic vistas.
As its unadorned title suggests, Two Solo Pieces consists of a pair of side-long tracks featuring the composer alone. While "Cycles," an iridescent improvisation on organ, achieves a downright eerie sense of expansiveness, Gibson's captivating alto flute on "Untitled" draws the listener inside the instrument itself.
The photo on the album's back cover – a seated Gibson surrounded by cascading rows of organ pipes and the vaulted ceiling in Manhattan's Peace Church – offers a striking visual complement to these gorgeous recordings.
Originally released in 1977 on Philip Glass' Chatham Square imprint, this first-time vinyl reissue is recommended for fans of Anthony Moore, Roberto Cacciapaglia and Terry Riley.”
Handy collection of ace remixes by Actress, Galcher Lustwerk and Babyfather for Sporting Life’s trio of EPs with R&S.
Fair to say that each remix was a highlight of that respective EP, with Actress turning Court Vision into eight minutes of chamber-like weightless R&B melancholy flecked with his signature attention to detail, whilst White Material’s Galcher Lustwerk gives Hydrate The Hustle a louche house boot to the butt, and Babyfather’s Honeytrap mix of Nothing To Hide mosaics the original into a patchworked mini-drama on Lodnon streets.
Bwana swivels on an electro tip for Dusky’s 17 Steps
Swaggering up with the acidic touch of Three Way Is The Hard Way, which is duly locked to a colder tribal shunt in Avalon Emerson’s remix, and backed with two slinkier greasers with On Patrol For Their Control and the plush electro-trance arpeggios rife in Hell Is Other Robots.
Philadelphia’s _moonraker ditch the noise and rabble of earlier releases in favour of immersively contoured ambient electronics and extended thematic developments in the first part of Unvarete, which is promised across two separate LPs on their _bruxist label.
With a sense of slippery, pineal detachment akin to Kymatik : Midwich Cuckoos’ Anthropological Constants, which was recently reminded to us by a Paradigm Discs compilation/reissue, Unvarete operates in a remote pool of ambient electronic fascination also associated with the more psychedelic end of Coil’s catalogue or AFX’s SAW II doings, conjuring OOBEy, acousmatic apparitions and amorphous structures that require the listener to leave their expectations at the run-in groove and simply melt and dissolve into their curdling ether.
DJ Koze and Ricky V turn in tenderly twisted remixes of 2Raumwohnung’s breezy German pop bits; with Koze smudging Somebody Lonely And Me into a seductively bittersweet tech-house pop shuffler with perfectly curdled harmonics and drowsy appeal in two parts, whereas Villalobos turns it into a cantering, tech-house unicorn.
Following in the wake of the hotly tipped second Clap! Clap! LP on Black Acre, 'Remixes' is reloaded with 3 dancefloor targeted bullets.
"Peckham's disco provocateur, Medlar steps up first with a re-thinking of Ar-Raqis with clinical cut'n'pasting precision creating a thumping bongolian edit. Paleman takes a more stripped back approach, reducing Hope to its bare heart-racing essentials. Last up is Japan's Jun Kamoda, turning to his reliable SP1200 to create a galloping clockwork carnival smasher..."
Another round of gothic folk enchantment from the Baltimore artist on her return to Dais.
The frailty of love and intimacy seems to be an integral theme to the brooding balladry of multidisciplinarian Scout Paré-Phillips. On this second solo album, the Sterling Sister frames proceedings around heartbreak experienced on tour.
As ever, Scout’s uniquely operatic vocal delivery and expert musicianship proves a very convincing conductor for such themes of despair and healing across the album’s ten tracks. She even finds room for a rather spectral folk rendition of Roy O favourite, Crying.
Pessimist back on the bad foot for Blackest Ever Black after sending that Balaclava missile on their A14 label in 2016. Hoods-up, eyes-down rolige in both heavyweight parts signalling a mighty debut album just around the corner.
Through The Fog tees off with masterfully clipped and shivering steppers’ drums anchored in ‘floor-engulfing Reese subs on the A-side, flexing out in the shadows of classic Doc Scott and Digital under a pall of dank, blue cloaking atmospheres.
On the other hand, his B-side Peter Hitchens helms to a more technoid schematic of drop-forge bass and rictus chatter percussions infiltrated by mind-bending acid lines and Virus-style pads, serving perhaps one of the strongest reimaginings of ‘90s D&B-into-130bpm techno frameworks in circulation right now.
Massive RIYL Regis, Karim Mass, Felix K, the Grey Area
The cloaked character behind SNTS charges Horo with his first new material since the Losing Sight  LP
Erecting a stony bleak beatless intro with Origin Of Light before rolling into formation with the thunderous bulk of Ancestral Reflection, a grungier acidic roller named Figureas In The Mist, and something a little saltier to taste with a knackered, crumbling crawler, Resurgence cut from the same cloth as Sam Kerridge.
Disco, Funk and modernized Arabic Pop from Egypt!
"In the beginning of Habibi Funk, our search was focussed on vinyl records. Around a year ago though, we got to the point where we realized that it became substantially harder to discover music, that we enjoyed and hadn't heard before. It became apparent that it was time to start looking for other formats. Cassette tapes were the obvious alternative. These were introduced in the arabic world around the late 1970s. In some countries they took over a bit earlier, in others a bit later, but eventually they pushed the vinyl format out of the market in the 1980s. In Egypt this trend already even started in the late 1970s.
Al Massrieen was one of the first bands I learned about once I discovered the tape format for myself. They were really popular in Egypt in the 1970s and the more of their music I found on either tapes or Arabic pirate mp3 sites, the more I was becoming a fan. Only very few bands from the region can match the band's versatility as well as their strive for innovation. Hany Shenoda is the man behind the Al Massrieen band. He is a reknown figure of the Egyptian music scene and has worked with everyone from Abdel Halim Hafez to Mohamed Mounir. Al Massrieen was his attempt to introduce his ideas of modernizing Egyptian music, heavily encouraged by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt's only winner of the Nobel Price for literature) after discussing his ideas with him.
Al Massrieen's sound goes from lush disco like "Sah" to psych rock like "Horreya" or incredible jazz fused pop on songs such as "Edba Mn Gded". I was shocked to realize the band seemed to be hardly known outside Egypt, even though I feel they're at least on the same level as Ahmed Fakroun. An relative obscurity which I largely attribute to the fact that their releases never have been pressed on vinyl (apart from a Greece best of LP which wasn't a strong compilation of the group's songs). One way or another it felt like this band and especially their composer, band leader and overall brain Hany Shenoda was in need to get some recognition outside of Egypt."
Yves Tumor’s debut for the PAN label offers a perfect distillation of everything the label stands for, filling another as-yet-unnamed niche between the eyes of hypermodern styles. It’s an album that takes you from the most beautifully produced earworm one moment, to the depths of sonic experimentation the next - making for easily one of the most impressive and memorable albums of the year.
The Tennessee-raised, Turin-based artist has sown seeds across the contemporary field in visual as well as musical fields over recent years with releases for NON, Janus and Halcyon Veil issued under an expanding roll call of names, as well as visceral live work for LA's Hood By Air earlier this year. However, it’s under the Yves Tumor moniker that he commits his most personal and noteworthy work to date; the result of three years of creative discovery, drawing from a deeply emotional, vulnerable place to grapple with themes of social anxiety, paranoia and missing loved ones to present one of this year’s most staggering albums.
Serpent Music covers the full bandwidth of Tumor’s far-flung aesthetics, navigating from lushly organic yet elusively distanced instrumental textures in the opening strokes of Devout and the homesick soul ache of The Feeling When You Walk Away, before more oblique, abrasive drums and layered electronics begin to infiltrate the airborne keys of Dajjal, and with Role In Creation he incorporates the east African motifs heard in his Bekelé Berhanu output, but with a much gentler, more optimistic effect.
But just as you begin to get a grip on his slippery scales, Serpent I rushes into a ferocious tribal battery, resolved with the stentorian pastor and doom echo chamber feels of Serpent II, and he really starts to let his mind drift with the conflated pastoral and darkroom noise vibes of Seed, and the eastern-facing Alice Coltrane nod, Spirit In Prison, skizzily returning to smokey vapour trails in Cherish and Face of a Demon, to wash us up on the lonely, distant shores of Perdition.
Alongside the likes of Dean Blunt or Klein, Yves Tumor is patently rewiring the conventions of soul music and psychedelia according to his own, twisted schematic and modernist insight, making this album feel vital at a point where conservative sensibilities seem to have permeated the spirit of so many “independently" minded creators.
Cassius Select leaves skid marks on the dancefloor with two joyrides for Accidental’s roguish yunger sibling; going in ruff and tuff with the crooked UKF/garage torque of 90 for the hardcore dancers, and then with slinkier tekkers applied to the diced vocals and rhythmelodic cadence of Herd.
Aces. RIYL Bambooman, Air Max ’97, Deadboy
A fascinating and engaging compilation of Tewolde Redda’s milestone singles for the Philips, Amha and Yared labels c. 1970-73, all responsible for revolutionising traditional Eritrean music with innovative use of amplified kirar, electric guitar and horns - as thoroughly outlined in the accompanying 6-page booklet.
It’s almost certain that - with few exceptions - you’ve never heard these tracks before, or even the sound of traditional Eritrean music, so it’s a real ear opener and education for a start, one which really gives a flavour of life in the now secretive and permanently war-footed East African country through its charmingly loping rhythms and intricate folk melodies, see-sawing between sombre and joyous with occasional, really beguiling turns of phrase that we’ve never really heard in any other style that’s crossed these pages.
Arnold Dreyblatt has been called “the most rock ‘n’ roll of all the composers to emerge from New York’s downtown scene in the 1970s.” Dreyblatt founded The Orchestra Of Excited Strings in 1979, harnessing unusual tuning intervals to an exuberant performance style.
"Propellers In Love, the Orchestra’s second album – originally released in 1986 on the Stasch imprint, in conjunction with the contemporary art space Künstlerhaus Bethanien – develops Dreyblatt’s rhythmically exacting exploration of the glittering resonances and overtones generated by an ensemble of uniquely-altered stringed instruments and drums.
On Propellers In Love, simple song titles – “Odd & Even,” “Harmonics,” “Bowing” – belie intricate harmonic structures. Dreyblatt’s modified instruments – a contrabass and miniature piano fitted with piano wire along with violin, all tuned in just intonation – undergo the Orchestra’s rapid, staccato attacks. Sparkling timbres dance above interlocking rhythmic patterns moored by sparse yet propulsive percussion (“Pedal Tone Dance” and the title track). Throughout, the Orchestra’s perpetual motion achieves a tremulous and exquisite density. Thirty years since its initial release, Propellers In Love remains a peerless work of second-generation American minimalism. This first-time domestic release isrecommended for fans of Glenn Branca, Ellen Fullman and Charlemagne Palestine."