Stunning official re-issue of this cult 80's album from Randomize. Much loved by Trevor Jackson & JD Twitch. An amazing record that was properly ahead of its time when first released.
Legit reissue of a superlative side from the Spanish industrial underground c. 1986, featuring Eugenio Munoz a.k.a. Randomize going solo in a deeply rugged and psychedelic style recalling his input, alongside Luis Delgado, on Mecánica Popular’s cult classic ¿Qué Sucede Con El Tiempo? (1984).
As a skilled sound engineer/keyboard player and half of cult outfit Mecánica Popular since the late ‘70s, Eugenio Munoz honed a distinctive approach to new wave and new age psychedelia which encompassed everything from rooted dub and Afro-latin musics to grinding industrial disco rhythms and shimmering ambient electronics in spacey, sultry, driven grooves which would soon find their way into the cosmic disco sets of Danielle Baldelli and Beppe Loda back then, and later as staples of Trevor Jackson and JD Twitch sets.
Now, thanks to the cultish fervour surrounding Andy Votel and Demdike Stare's reissue of the Mecánica Popular classic, which lead many heads deeper into their catalogue, and with some coercion from his pal, Damien Schwartz, Munoz has dug out the original tapes of his little known LP, ¿Como Se Divertirán Los Insectos? for this reissue, and we can’t praise him enough for it.
In terms of palette and sound design it’s effectively a Pt. II for the aforementioned album, operating at a bass-heavy, chugging pace and rent with heady, sparkling electronics that still sound incredibly, uncannily fresh over thirty years later. However, if there’s any difference, this one feels more tensile, sparse and perhaps defined by its updated hardware; evident in the sheer digital contours of Zero and the bolshy stabs of Brazil or the tumbling, Prince-like Linn funk of Radio Manila, whilst the infectious chug of Movilidad Incesante si a slow-mo anthem in waiting, and the ambient parts such as Subliminal and La Armonia De Las Esferas are weirdly prescient of ‘90s ambient styles.
You know what to do…!
Well documented as one of Frank Zappa’s favourite ever groups and instantly recognisable as the blueprint of 80’s Mancunian electro pop, the inflated alter egos of Gerry & The Holograms (and their unrivalled brand of conceptual sarcastic synth pop) successfully remodelled, ridiculed and redefined plugged-in punk before hitting the self-destruct button and burying the evidence under a pile of hand-mutilated microgrooves...
"Having risen from the electronic embers of Manchester’s first genuine psychedelic band, via Vertigo commissioned prog and experimental theatre, then refined through the musical mind behind the most inspired vinyl moments of Martin Hannett, John Cooper Clarke and Jilted John - the discography of Gerry & The Holograms remains unrivalled as the most idiosyncratic and enigmatic pivotal post punk artifact from the first electronic entrenchment of pop.
A consistent inclusion on record collector wantlists, transcending both decades and musical genres, the first-and-only listenable two track record by this masked art rock studio duo, entitled ‘Meet The Dissidents’, originally appeared in record racks in 1979, selling out instantly only to be sequelised by a totally unplayable situationist-inspired follow up which was glued into its own sleeve destroying the grooves in the process (rivalling that of Peter Saville and Durutti Column’s Debordist sandpaper re-hash by at least three years).
With a lifespan shorter than the hours on their studio bill, the band would find bedfellows amongst other incognito groups like Naffi Sandwich, The Mothmen and Blah Blah Blah within the Absurd Records stable - a daring Mancunian imprint that sat awkwardly between older and younger half-sister labels Rabid and Relentless. With a release library of mostly non-returning faceless atonal electronic punk / DIY industrial bands Absurd would spearhead and pre-empt the subsequent decades of Mancunian independent record labels that followed in the footsteps of the more commercially successful Factory Records (while also drawing comparisons with Spiral Scratch, Test Pressings, Object Music and Throbbing Gristles’ Industrial Records).
Despite just one official title to their name however, the true identity behind Gerry & The Holograms would unify those sister labels and collectively play an important supporting role in Manchester’s independent music history with a story which goes back as far as most rain soaked memories can attempt to forget."
Following up their acclaimed debut, Thought For Food, The Lemon of Pink was the album that cemented the Books as a pioneering musical force. It would become their biggest-selling album and still stands as perhaps the most beloved album in the Books' brilliant catalog.
"As with the recently reissued Thought For Food, The Lemon of Pink is repackaged with dazzling new artwork and expanded toinclude lyrics for every song for the first time ever. Carefully and thoughtfully remastered from the original mixes by Zammuto at his new studio outside his home in Vermont, The Lemon of Pinknow boasts a warmth and clarity that surprisingly reveals an increased harmonic depth."
Rugged, probing electro-acoustic abstraction best located somewhere between Emptyset, Bellows, and Gottfried Michael Koenig
“Rubisco is the second full length album from Donato Epiro. Following his debut album Fiume Nero (2014), the young Italian composer has moved from the raw primordial chaos that characterised his first work to develop a reflection on how a hypothetical absence of humans and biological life could modify industrialized and civilized spaces.
Using field recordings, obscure samples and FM synthesis, Epiro draws his abstract landscapes as a series of overexposed and imprecise pictures made by concrete and organic architectures, amorphous rhythmic patterns, repetitive sequences broken by oblique elements that seems looking for a new active role into the ecosystem.
Exploring communication and transitions between the inanimate side of the existing and the living one, the sound of Rubisco seems to be pulled out from the walls of an abandoned building or captured while it is lying on the ground of empty spaces or fluctuating like fine dust through the light. It leads the listener into a form of "after rave" limbo, or a personal hiding place, where the head projects only the image of the sounds you've listened to during your human experience.
The result is a record that plays with taut minimal touches, inspired by the work of Egisto Macchi and Angus MacLise, alongside the sonic delirium recently dreamed up by the likes of Demdike Stare and Fis.”
dBridge tramples big foot rasta style on a halfstep murder for Youngster’s boxfresh Sentry Records.
A-side; he anchors the objecting rasta samples of Fashion Dread with piledriving snares and gut-emptying subs, executing his functions with authentikal pressure. B-side; Digital Dread sharpens up with hollow-tipped snares pinning a billowing, frankly fucking overweight, subbass into place for the dance.
Basic Reshape features Basic Channel's very free takes on two of Carl Craig's projects, originally released seperately from each other on his own Planet E label.
The Basic Reshape of "The Climax" (originally released in 1991 on Retroactive) first appeared on the 2001 reissue of this milestone in Carl's work. For those of you who don't know it, this is definitive, driving, hypnotic club music that rebuilt the tribal mastery of the original into a logic-defying display of bass shuffles and aquatic percussion that kills us every time it's aired - just awesome.
"Remake" Basic Reshape from 1994 relates to "Remake Uno/Duo", Carl's sample-based re-interpretation of Manuel Göttschings epochal E2-E4. Basic Channel take a radical, abstract, sample-free approach with a breathtaking slow motion groove under a multilayered sound sphere.
Glasgow’s man of the moment mints his Sulta Selects series with the couiff-tweaking, Oni Ayhun-style trance lead of Nein Fortiate on top, and then with slinkier functions of Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP) on the other one.
Pete Swanson's Freedom To Spend label unearths and dusts off this total killer from Marc Barreca for this handsome, much needed reissue
With 4th world pioneer Marc Barreca’s ace solo debut Twilight now back in circulation thanks to K. Leimer’s Palace Of Lights, Jed Bindeman and Pete Swanson’s promising new label Freedom To Spend present Barreca’s stranger successor album Music Works For Industry (1983) on vinyl for the first time after a necessary issue of Michele Mercure’s Eye Chant oddity.
As opposed to Twilight, which found Barreca working solo with Eno-esque systems-based music, Music Works For Industry finds him taking contributions from members of Seattle’s close-knit community of electronic explorers, and working them - albeit as unrecognisable from the original source - into a series of playfully spiky creations as porous to influence from synth-pop, industrial as ambient music, and sounding much rawer, primitive, skronky and surreal than most else coming from the 4th world nodes at that time.
Rendering the original tape in its entirety - no edits or altered track list - the session slips and slides between cute, almost cartoonish pulses, hooks and voices in Community Life to rudimentary, swampy funk chops in the closer Church and State. What happens in between is akin to the soundtrack for some Canadian TV for schools programme or a series of calisthenic exercises for post-punk and new wave mutants; an assembly of off-grid rhythms and dislocated sounds kerned, smudged and processed to recall a very early iteration of the ‘dances’ from Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species or a colder, distant precedent to the kind of crooked creations coming from Luis Delgado and Eugenio Muñoz’s Mecanica Popular studio.
Clinically sharp D&B steppers and rollers from the scene’s leading edge. Pure seekers on this one, setting off the nastiest swing rhythms and crushed bass in Without A Trace, whereas the fighting-lean Solitude is one for the weightless shadow-boxers and Killa somehow seems to roll in and out simultaneously = loads of fun for the dancers.
No doubt the big one is Taurus, where they really stretch out on some classic retro-future flex with golden pads and pointillist halfstep anchored in serious screw face bass dynamics. Gumshields out.
Charmingly frivolous Belgian soundtrack for contemporary dance and children’s theatre. File beside your copies of Alain Pierre’s jan Zonder Vrees OST, and Graeme Miller & Steve Shill’s score for The Moomins
“Considering Elko Blijweert's been active in the Belgian music scene for about fifteen years now, it comes as quite a surprise that "I Bambini Di Basilisco"is only his first ever solo album. Known mainly for his virtuoso yet ever idiosyncratic guitar playing, Elko B. treats the listener to much more than just that. With the exception of the heavily guitar-driven western pastiche "Cochon Torrero", the emphasis here lies on dark Carpenteresque synthesizer sounds as well as jolly child-friendly melodies.
The twelve pleasantly concise songs, mainly based on compositions Blijweert made as soundtrack material for contemporary dance theatre and children's puppet theatre, beautifully blend together into a whole as the listener is presented with a unique glimpse inside the wide-ranging imagery that is Elko B.'s ever-expanding musical world.”
The wayfaring Cómeme leader heads to Africa for this link up with Johannesburg’s Spoko.
Cómeme co-opt Bacardi House into their worldwide panoply of ‘loony beats’ as founder Matias Aguayo runs through a killer six-track grip of stunted, blunted Kwaito jams with the masterful DJ Spoko. Recorded in Spoko’s Joburg studio over the course of one long night, Dirty Dancing finds Aguayo largely doing his best Bez impression, leaving the Bacardi House originator free to deliver a percussive masterclass.
The title track is a less than subtle, but wholly satisfying, reminder Spoko was the percussive mastermind behind Mujava’s Township Funk, with Aguayo’s input largely shouting “Watch what you doing!” over the top. Ghost of Dombolo is a relentless slab of Kwaito meets UKF, whilst an Elbee Bad acapella inspires Spoko and Aguayo to craft a Bacardi House homage to the classic New York sound on Something about the Groove.
You can’t have a Cómeme release without a few trippy drum tracks and the rest of Dirty Dancing fills that quota with the zippy Taxi Rank a clattering, free-wheeling hip tugger dominated by a killer Kalimba solo.
Music From Memory’s final revelation of 2016 highlights the late ‘80s avant-garde electro-jazz of Wuppertal, Germany’s Becker, Stegmann and Zeumer trio, with four sterling selections from their one-off LP, Ich Träume So Leise Von Dir (ITM Records, 1987) reissued for the first time.
Conceived as part of the Wuppertal cultural department’s commemorative programme dedicated to Jewish poet and bohemian Else Lasker-Schüler, who became a leading exponent of expressionism and avant-garde poetry in Germany before fleeing the country in 1937, Ich Träume So Leise Von Dir found the instrumental duo of Heinz Becker and Karl-Heinz Stegmann combining experimental, yet heavily funked-up electro-jazz and ambient arrangements with readings of Lasker-Schüler’s poetry by actress Isabel Zeumer.
Thanks to the flawlessly skilled chops of Becker & Stegman and Zeumer’s enchanting delivery, the results are unmistakably debonaire and sophisticated, strutting up with the tightly wound electro-funk and flighty sax of Mein Tanzlied like some long lost jam between Herbie Hancock and Arthur Russell, before heading out into lushest, Hassell-esque new age scenes with Dir, and returning to the ‘floor with the greazy boogie swerve of Der Schnupfen, and unwinding into the smoky ambience of Abends.
Satisfaction practically guaranteed.
Golden Püdel's Richard Von Der Schulenburg provides the V I S label with another ace, a gorgeous but brooding LP that comes highly recommended if you're into Roedelius, GAS, Cluster, Suum Cuique...
The spirit of German Romanticism is strong on this one, offering a timeless addition to the classic cache of Teutonic synth expressionism explored by everyone from the likes of Hans-Joachim Roedelius in the late ‘70s to Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS in the ‘90s or STL in ‘00s, and which has become so indelible from swathes of electronic music out of that country ever since.
However, this being 2017, even a country hike can go darkside, as Wanderung durch Wald und Flur subtly spells out in its transition from breezy melodies and refreshingly drizzly atmospheres to wistfully bittersweet on Sommerabend am Boberger See am 28.08.2014, to the distinctly crepuscular ambience and phosphorescing tone of Dorfbewhoner in Elmshorn am 30.07.2013, at the albums border.
It’s deeply enchanting music without the cloying frills that the term pastoral music may imply, leaving enough grit under the fingernails and mud clinging to the boots to push your imagination into new realms.
Inga Copeland collaborator John T Gast’s narcotically seductive Invocations is (as far as we’re aware) the 2nd Blowing Up The Workshop session (Project 34, 2014) to see a welcome vinyl release, following in the footsteps of that much-loved 100% Galcher Lustwerk set.
Arriving in the wake of his Sisters of Control 7” with Inga Copeland, this one is a real melter from run in to run out, nourishing last night listening needs with a sublime shadow play of gauzy pads, ambient motifs and submerged rhythms strewn with miasmic R&B/rave vox.
One of the most impressive facets of Gast’s music is the patient sleight of hand and attention to tone, managing to gel a range of tempos and ostensibly disparate strains under the same, personalised street-lamp glow with a sense of mise-en-scene and lighting that’s practically Lynchian in effect, and almost unmistakably eldritch with it, too.
Of course, you can fully make up your mind whether you like the record by checking his mix online before purchase, but if you’re feeling trigger happy and willing to get lead down an unknown, yet strangely familiar path, we’d recommend buying this blind for optimal returns. It’s a real bewt.
Autechre's classic second album from 1994, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
At bleeding’ last, Warp reissue one of their rarest gems, which Autechre themselves have referred to as conceiving as their “Warp record” - written to complement the label’s early ‘90s ambient/AI catalogue.
Depending your perspective, Amber is quite possibly the most beautiful Autechre album. It’s much softer, atmospheric than the needling electro tones of Incunabula, and also much friendlier, almost innocent than the cold, rugged Tri Repetae; almost like a snapshot of the duo in post-club gouch-out mode, hugging the sofa and chewing their ears in the days before somebody might snap you doing so on their iPhone.
Basically it’s completely essential if you love electronic music.
Bureau B profile the fertile DIY tape scene of East Germany prior to the wall falling on their latest compilation.
Picking up on the themes of Mannequin’s under-rated 2016 KlangFarbe primer, Bureau B widen the scope to profile 14 bands active in East Germany’s DIY tape scene in the last few years before the GDR was dissolved in 1990.
The strict State measures in place demanded these musicians flirt with prosecution to establish the self-distribution networks that proliferated their work on cassette, and it also cultivated the disillusion and despair that resulted in some startlingly creative work. The seeds of so much to follow are evident throughout ‘Magnetband’ as Bureau B highlight work by musicians that largely released on cassette but would go on to form Raster Noton, Rammstein, Kuntskopf, To Rococo Rot and Tarwater.
The various KlangFarbe projects of Raster Noton founder Frank Bretschneider feature prominently throughout, with the hushed guitar freakout of his A.F. Moebius track Böser Traum the sort of thing you’d find in a Beau Wanzer mixtape. Beyond Bretschneider there is plenty to enjoy for the avid archivalist. Stoffwechsel’s Fly, Fliege, Fly sounds like John T. Gast after a weekend on the sensimilla, the brilliantly-named Choo Choo Flame deliver one of the shortest but most unnerving moments in the creeping ambient of Nein and Aponeuron’s Jab Gab Hej is a bracing slab of gurning EBM with added wookie screams.
Best of all perhaps is Gesichter’s SK 8 Gesichte which offers a dizzying frenzy of primitive sampling you’d mistake for early Hype W from Inga and Dean.
Legit reissue taken from analogue masters, Coil's sorely coveted Astral Disaster (1998) for Gary Ramon’s Prescription (UK) is returned to circulation on its original format. 2nd hand copies now trade for at least a K, just sayin’…
At the behest of Ramon - who is absorbed into a line-up revolving Jhon Balance, Peter Christopherson, Drew McDowall, and Thighpaulsandra - over two days at Samhain 1998, Coil descended into the bowels of his Sun Dial studios, surrounded by manacles and chains under the level of the River Thames in the Ancient Borough of Southwark, to commit what would become one of their most possessing sides.
Astral Disaster was the result: two correlating hemispheres channelling, meditative, eastern raga drone with sage-like poetry and electro-acoustic phantasmagorias, projecting a plasmic miasma of pharmaceutical shimmer and surreality that’s pretty much arch Coil.
If there’s any one big reason you need it, though, that would be the amazing B-side, The Mothership and The Fatherland, framing creaking wooden drums and the gibber-chin shivers of swarming, translucent studio duppies in a diaphanous soundfield of freefall ambient atmospheres - basically the sound of ketamine in the ‘90s.
Makes us want to melt. Massive recommendation!
Ripe little oddities right here from San Fran’s Ben R. Brown, self-released on Be Right Back (see what he did there?!) after a coupla beaky rattering bams for Drvg Cvltvre’s New York Haunted label.
The mood this time is weirder, furtive; working to the west of Jamal Moss and east of Lowlands new beat and EBM with the sleazy jack of Island, whereas Slomo really packs a punch in its recoiling low end, which is nimbly offset with corkscrewing drums like some grubby Beau Wanzer rocker.
Jesus loves the Acid. So does Matrixxman: the follow-up to his Rhythms for Dekmantel rails four wobbly lines of Roland’s finest between the brain-burrowing wiggler, Arrival; a brooding jacker named Bad Acid; the warehouse recoil of I Am Matrix; and the nasal drip of Rites.
Huerco S. services Dan Lopatin’s Software imprint with his debut album proper, following that seductive, rep-making trio of EPs on Wicked Bass, Opal Tapes / Boomkat Editions and Future Times.
It’s top-drawer stuff, taking the new age ambience and rugged, smoke-choked house rhythms du jour and turning them inside out, opening up new zones of dubwise introspection. ‘Plucked From The Ground, Towards The Sun’ is a 90s Chain Reaction cut inspected through a smeared microscope lens, but it’s the minor key shifts and almost Autechre-ish edits of ‘Quivira’ that really get the show on the road, building to ‘Anagramme Of My Love', the oneiric house choppage of ‘linzhiid’ and the Newworldaquarium-esque codeine boogie of ‘Ragtime U.S.A. (Warning)’ - a total killer. Sure there’s a lot of stuff like this around at the moment, but the Kansan man brings both a precision and a nonchalant narcotic swagger to proceedings that sets him apart from the pack. Really good stuff.
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.
Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. II pays a return visit to the otherworldly noumenal ecosystem inside Rashad Becker's head, relaying indecipherable messages in something resembling an expressive language of psychoacoustic, cuneiform glyphs. No Rosetta Stone is required to comprehend these deeply abstract auditory tableaus; all you need is an open mind and functioning set of lugs for reception, whilst whatever counts for your sense of consciousness will fill in the gaps, and that’s where the “fun” starts.
Working at near pre-cognitive levels of sensation and perception, Becker’s self-built semi-modular system generates a genuinely bewildering syntax of non-standard tunings. meters and scales which are perhaps best reflected in the synaesthetically attuned visual terms of Bill Kouligas’ incredible, calligraphic artwork, which becomes legible only thru a process of simultaneously concentrating and defocussing the eyes until the text’s elliptical, layered convolutions appear to begin to animate themselves in a similar way to how Becker’s phrases can be said to resemble a sort of channelled EVP babble.
When applying that perceptive process to the structural, sculptural sounds of Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. II the listener effectively opens a bridge into other, heightened modes of synaesthetic perception, as if the sounds are just so damn weird and alien that you’re relying on pure sense alone and effectively able to see in the dark, feeling your way thru like some intrepid field recorder who’s just stumbled across these unprecedented Themes and ritual Dances in a world that operates under ultraviolet light.
In the best way, it’s highly likely that a lot of listeners copped the 1st volume on the basis of Becker’s unparalleled reputation as the best ears in the biz, and rightly so. But at the risk of being presumptuous, some people were perhaps expecting something akin to a putative, modern ‘Berlin sound’, i.e. minimal or dub techno. In all fairness they did receive a ‘Berlin sound’, but it’s one that draws on dub as much as extreme avant-garde performance art and the infinite politics of equality and democracy, and plays deep into a conception of techno at its broadest definition as a form of folk or Traditional music.
All eight pieces are titled in a direct continuation of the first volume and follow a similar sort of stylistic declension or cryptic, anarchic set of rules. On the one hand, his Themes feel to be elegant, stately, almost like curdled Korean classical court music played by a troupe of acid pygmys, or gamelan forged with unknown metals and played by unimaginable, amorphous limbs, used for any number of formal and informal purposes. On the other hand, his Dances are defined in surreal, unconventional polymetrics, ranging from what sounds like a fertility ritual for prehistoric, feathered creatures, to some of the most mind-bending, polyphonic acid sloshed in psychoacoustic portamentos, and thru to scenes of inimitably detailed, discordant chatter that sounds like harps attached to didgeridoos played by land-lubbing octopuses.
Becker has patently conceived one of the most fantastic, imaginative records of this century so far. And more than anything, you get the sense that this is a personal endeavour first and foremost - perhaps a way to keep music, or sound in the widest terms, fresh to an artistic sensibility and set of ears which have processed nearly 1600 releases thru his esteemed mastering and vinyl cutting work at D&M, Berlin, if Discogs is to be believed - but it’s also one which is at the service of a much bigger picture, suggesting it may be much better for everyone to imagine rather than remember.
Vital collection of vocal versions from three 12”s, plus three new and exclusive pieces, outlining the current, heavyweight Senegalese mbalax of Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, who’re now five years into their unique streak of stripped down drum, vocal and guitar syncopation. The production on this one is just ridiculous...
Forming a totally logical next step in Mark Ernestus’ pursuit of outernational rhythm & dub sound dimensions, in Yermande he basically channels, edits and diffracts highly complex drum patterns by cracks hot Sabar drummers with floating, earthen vocals in six arrangements that bristle with a discipline and energy which has been deeply preserved and learnt thru the ages; in effect helping to knot the loop of influence between West African drum traditions, Caribbean synthesis and diffusion, and digitised Detroit futurism.
If you’ve kept up with the series so far, then you’ve probably worked out set moves to the remarkable, ricocheting depth charges of Walo Walo and tussling B-line and poised vox of Mbene Diatta Seck on wrestling anthem Lamb Ji, which are both included in their original mixes here along with the sprung tri-step hustle of Yermande (Kick and Bass Mix) whose bouncing dub chords perhaps betray Ernestus’ earliest work strongest.
But, whether you’re new to the project or not, the three new parts are previously unheard; convening a duskier respite in the beautifully breezy prowling space of Simb (which was paradoxically ‘the most difficult one to mix’ according to Mark Ernestus), before Jigeen (meaning ‘Woman’) unfurls the most limber, stepping’ and rollin’ groove that swinges into the filigree hi-hats and grubbing traditional guitar chops of Niguel, last spotted in its deadly Groove mix, now with the calligraphic vocal signature of Mbene Diatta Seck.
Beyond redundant dichotomies of world music as happy/dark or raw/polished, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force are making music that matters from myriad emotive and physical aspects, relatable to your own rituals and feelings.
GQOM Oh! documents the dark, beating heart of Durban, South Africa’s underground dance sound in the scene’s first ever vinyl compilation - or any other format for that matter!
The Sound of Durban represents a strong taste of the hypnotic, monotone sound which has emerged as essentially SA’s answer to brooding minimal techno in the wake of Kwaito’s slinkier house styles.
Of course, this gear comes from SA though, and their take on minimal techno reflects a close, inimitable bind of African and Western-rooted traditions closer to the pressure systems of Kuduro, UKF or current Caribbean and South American sounds that any enduro-mince club music from Berlin, for example.
All the producers make their first “official” release here (although you can find loads on the Kasimp3 site), offering a rarely-paralleled survey of rawest, local dance music nurtured in unique conditions but appealing to anyone with a pulse and a taste for freshest club blood.
Clock the samples and start your GQOM addiction, now.
Shackleton tends to his roots and branches, remerging with vocalist Vengeance Tenfold for the doomy incantations of Sferic Ghost Transmits - their first collaboration since 2012’s The Drawbar Organ EPs - which acts as a more sullen counterpart to the radiant vibes of this year’s brilliant Devotional Songs with Ernesto Tomasini.
Shackleton’s input oscillates from pointillist gamelan percussions and abyssal bass thru to elusive, unfathomable electronic diffusions whilst the impish spirit of Vengeance Tenfold is, at best, a John Balance-like conduit channelling messages older than time itself.
If you can handle the portentousness, though, you’ll be absorbed into a psychedelic narrative of cryptic percussive communication, blues-hooked chants, metallic polymetric cadence and shimmering dissonant miasmas, which, as with any string substance, may leave you feeling dazed and queasy, but ultimately better for undergoing it.
Exquisite eldritch spooking from Children Of Alice, the trio of Broadcast’s James Cargill and Roj Stevens joined by Julian House, who collaborated with Broadcast on the final album in his guise as The Focus Group. The trio are titled in tribute to Trish Keenan (R.I.P.), the Broadcast co-founder and Cargill’s partner, who named Jonathan Miller’s ‘60s film adaptation of Alice In Wonderland among the band’s main inspirations.
Now conscripted to Broadcast’s erstwhile label, Warp Records, Children of Alice offers a necessary recap of their adventures to date with three pieces previously issued on Folklore Tapes, plus one previously unheard part called The Liminal Space.
The 19 minute invocation, The Harbinger Of Spring was originally their debut side from a split with Mary Arches in 2013. It drowsily sets the rabbit-holing tone for the rest of the record with a glistening miasma of warbling ephemera and beautifully elusive harmonies to put you in the lushest spin.
Rite of the Maypole appeared on Folklore Tapes’ Merry May compilation in 2015 and sounds like a light-headed fever dream rendered in smudged ’60s pastels, at times uncannily recalling parts of Mark Leckey’s Dream English Kid soundtrack, before Invocation of a Midsummer Reverie (from Crown of Light (Midsummer Traditions & Folklore) reaps some real magic from mercurial flurries of tabla, droning ’tronics and suggestively febrile moans.
The one part exclusive to this release, The Liminal Space, is a big highlight of the set, where Radiophonic rustle, avant-jazz gestures and wilting keys share a lysergic, drily dubbed headspace.
What a beauty!?
Terrific proto-house bomb from Jo’burg, SA, 1983! First time available on vinyl, over 30 years since was issued as a tape-only release. Now cut loud and proud by Melbourne, AU’s Crwon Ruler Records.
On the cusp of disco and stripped down early house, Hay-Hay owns the A-side with fruity bass and strutting cowbell laying the framework for saxy vox and hypnotic Zulu dance vibes that only get fruity, boogied on the B-side with the synthier Rock Batlanga and the body greaze of Moger.
One-handed Music proprietor Paul White meets Danny Brown for R&S Records.
We’ll skip to the instrumentals… a stylishly raucous psych beat on Accelerator that could have come right out of a Finder Keepers or Gaslamp Killer comp, and a feathered French fancy filleted into a elegant waltz for Lion’s Den.
Superb Rhythm & Sound styles from Andy Mac, back on Idle Hands after Regular & Irregular (2013) and a class split with his Zennor production partner, Peverelist for his Deep Street label to start up the label’s new Diving Bird Series.
No bones about it, this is an out and out dub session, one steeped in the accreted deep topography of Bristol sound system culture and burnished with a beautifully wistful Berlin flavour that will always float our boat when done right, just like this 12”.
On Longships he takes a hazy scenic route to nowhere, spiralling across the A-side with an effortlessness that belies the work’s massive subbass weight, almost like a leaden schooner dragged by kites and scudding clouds. You’ll either be bobbing like said schooner or skinning up again by the track’s end and ready to do it again.
Flipside he gets also the measures right on Horse Fly Dub, recalling Von Oswald & Ernestus’ slowest moments, but sublimated by King Tubby at dusk on the island, while 10 makes a perfectly elusive accompaniment meshing field recordings made in West Africa (not sure where, sorry) with subtle processing for a sweetly intangible yet intoxicating thing framing the Bristol sound at its most esoteric.
Brilliant synth wave and noise pop record featuring Charlemagne Palestine, Kristof Hahn (Swans) and many more. Produced by John Congleton (Blondie, Sigur Ros), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and Angela Seo (Xiu Xiu).
"To Forget is the mighty engrossing new album from Jamie Stewart and co’s Xiu Xiu; following up Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks with a dreamily damaged set of urgent, technoid and operatic songcraft starring a fellow cast of avant stars such as legendary minimalist Charlemagne Palestine and Swans virtuoso guitarist Kristof Hahn, and all wickedly offset by vocals from LA Banjee Ball (ballroom for yungers) commentator Enyce Smith and drag artist Vaginal Davis. That may sound like there’s a possibility for too many cocks to spoil the breath, but Jamie Stewart handles his squad with visionary aplomb, resulting one of his strongest, approachably pop-wise yet fierce Xiu Xiu records, bar none.
Realised during a period of unprecedented fecundity which also resulted an album with Merzbow, an experimental reworking of the Mozart opera, The Magic Flute, and a soundtrack for Danh Vo’s art installation, To Forget binds the strongest stands of Xiu Xiu’s far-reaching output to date in a volley of succinct pop shots that alternately come off like Cold Cave meets Mykki Blanco or Scott Walker bunking off with Erasure at Matmos’ place, for comparison, yet firmly holds to a sound that can only, patently be described as Xiu Xiu’s own.
Between the record’s foot-stamping standout Wondering and the arcane melodrama of Faith, Torn Apart at its close, Stewart and team fuse and fit disparate elements and juxtapositions with an alchemical frenzy which is remarkable in itself, but might mean much less if it wasn’t all so coherent, economical and pointed with highlights such as the skulking, scalding and Suicide-like Jenny GoGo and the epic chamber noise pop of its title track and the incendiary slow slugger Queen of the Losers, with each adding up to a subversive, emotive episode whose nuance and effect will warrant many return listens."
Pinch & Sherwood emerge from last years’s Late Night Endless with a 2nd shock of tunes, Man vs Sofa, pitching their unparalleled studio nous on 11 cuts of cranky atmosphere and spliff-bending bass pressure.
Man vs Sofa sees Sherwood’s original, wide-open On-U Sound aesthetic updated thru Pinch’s up-to-the minute production palette and accompanied by a roll call including Lee Scratch Perry, Martin Duffy (Primal Scream), Taz (Def Jam), and Skip McDonald (The Sugarhill Gang, Tackhead, Little Axe) for extra vibes.
Under the ambiguous title Man vs Sofa - are they encouraging you to get off your arse, or trying to put you on it? - the duo serve up some of their most diverse, textured and fractious arrangements, all trustingly helmed in massive, physical basslines; stepping from anxious dread feels in Roll Call to a noisy, murderous version of Pinch’s Retribution via a sweetboy cover of Ryuichi Nakamoto’s Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and a typically mystic turn from Lee Perry on Lies.
Heavy UK dub in effect.
In a sublime intersection of electronic spirits, the GRM’s Kassel Jaeger and consummate collaborator, improvisor Jim O’Rourke, summon their most cosmic feels in Wakes Of Cerulean. If you’re familiar with or appreciate either artist’s work, you’ll really want to pay heed to this one.
Their first joint venture is a masterclass in the control and manipulation of electronic music to the lushest, intangible and psychedelic ends. Without disclosing the process behind the music, they lead us by the nose thru 35 minutes of enchanted harmonic colour and amorphous structures that flow into one another with mercurial subtlety, modelling something closer to gently mingling spring weather fronts or the beauty of nature than anything detectably manmade.
Of course, they’ve both got their fingers in there somewhere, but it’s hard, and pretty pointless, to try and work out what they’re doing. Much better to let the piece wrap around you and follow its trajectory form concrète rustle thru creamed jazz chord strokes to a sylvan chorus of aleatoric animations and kosmiche noise in Part A, and then again with Part B, where they dissolve onto deepest. opiated dimensions and gradually contract to a lattice of crystallising harmonic partials with an achingly sweet grasp of sound sensitivity.
Don’t miss this if you’re into Fennesz, Emeralds, Pita
Hervè Atsè Corti reaffirms his commitment to the Planet Mu cause on a fifth album.
The addition of Herva to the Planet Mu roster back in their 20th anniversary year was a welcome surprise and it’s great to see how the Florence producer has developed since then. The cannily-titled Hyper Flux follows Herva’s under-rated Mu debut, Kila, and reaffirms his natural talent for fractured, chaotic yet sharply realised electronic music that is far too devilish for the genre police.
Forever a producer willing to rip up the script in the name of creativity, Hyper Flux finds Herva grappling with incorporating live instruments into his array of recording methods. In truth, this just furthers the potential for sonic disarray which Herva explores with abandon across twelve tracks that investigate guzzling braindance, naughty boogie, broken house, slanted footwork, frayed ambient and more.
More than ever before for a collection of Herva cuts, these thrillingly unpredictable deviations within the course of the album leave you with a slab of music that really reveals it’s true beauty with time. Hyper Flux feels like Herva confidently brushing off the artistic comparisons people have previously made, edging ever closer to a style and sound that can only really be classified as his own.
BNJMN makes a diverse debut incision on Tresor with four tracks spanning gauzy, beat-less synth gaze (Overskies, Enceladus), bitterest electro (Hadal Zone), and, at its best, a nerve-biting noise techno alignment (Syzygy).
Swingeing, hyper-colourful joints from Swindle written and recorded in Brazil with a crack squad of players bringing the UK producer’s arrangements to life.
Uptown, he peaks out with the zippy samba of Connect featuring Ricardo China and sounding almost like some vintage liquid latin cut off V Recordings. Copacabana chases that vibe on a feathered footwork flight and Villa Mimosa tips the scales to a cartoonish sort of sub-loaded halfstep before DJ Q shocks out on fructose-fuelled bassline mix of Connecta for the ravers.
A cornerstone of DIY experimental post-punk, Colin Potter’s debut album The Ghost Office  is given a necessary first ever vinyl pressing by Deep Distance one year on from their reissue of The Scythe  and other handy compilation issues such as Sacred Summits’ Entering Again collection and ICR’s own tape reissue scheme.
Recorded between 1979-1980 at IC Studio, then based in Sutton-on-the-Forest outside York, and originally released by Martin Reed’s Mirage label, The Ghost Office is a classic example of that era’s groundbreaking musical spirit; combining dub, electro and krautrock rhythms with psychedelic, kosmische noise in multiple mutations ranging from almost pop-wise songcraft to horizon-scanning motorik flights, and all exemplifying the wide-open approach which would see Potter’s skills as musician and engineer sought out by everyone from regular collaborators Nurse With Wound to fellow post-industrial explorers, Current 93, The Hafler Trio and Organum.
This edition features nine tracks from the original tape’s eleven and combines them with material made around the same era, taking in alternate versions of the album’s kosmic zinger You Tell Me as well as the amazing pieces, Mainland and On Entering York Minster (original mix) from the slightly later A Gain tape, and serving to effectively, slightly reshuffle the history books and present the best portrait of Potter as a keen, naive yet visionary young artist.
Unless you’ve clocked them on YouTube or were quick enough to pick up one of the tape reissues in 2014 (or even an original!), then this will all be new stuff to many ears, and heard on vinyl for the first time - including some really choice pieces such as the punk-pop pogo of Murder By Furniture and the Powell-esque, ‘floor-ready pulse of Number Five on one hand, and the totally absorbing black hole regression of Forest Of Galtres at the other.
No messing; this one’s an essential purchase for any wave riders or heads into the UK’s history of experimental electronic music.
Infectious deep house disco from HNNY Soundsystem’s Robert Yang a.k.a. Bézier in a split showcase with Cin Cin proprietor, Fort Romeau
Bézier’s originals are rolling, sensually attuned ‘floor heaters, simmering the strident bassline, big trance breakdown and sticky oddities of Purify beside the stealthy belly rush build of Widows Tears on the A-side, and handing over to his UK accomplice Fort Romeau for the punchy Hi-NRG decadence of Korg and a deep blue, Italianate disco play named Away on the other side.
Stare-down noise by Gary Mundy (Ramleh) for Cairo’s ever-searching Nashazphone label
“Music For Zeitgeist Fighters is the new album by the much revered solo project of Gary Mundy (Ramleh, Broken Flag). Two pieces of intense, emotional, and purgative electronics miles away from audiophile realms. "Welcome to 2017. I'm laughing because I'm thinking of music and I'm thinking of death. Welcome to the Captagon, the room is dizzy and moving.
The DJ's turntables are on fire and the heat hits me full on as I walk onto the dancefloor. Distorted sounds like the bass rumbles or high frequencies are moving from one wall to another, tracer fire and the screams of soldiers in makeshift cages. Perilous geography. Some coded references to sobbing teenagers on tape or scattered corpses in plazas. I'm laughing because of what we all must look like. You perhaps with a biro scrawled note pinned to your chest. Not taped to the front of your shirt, but actually securely pinned to your flesh. Imagine us all like that. Not fucking photoshopped or some shit like that. Maybe a painting, with flames in the distance and the howling of the dogs. Can't see in or out. Fucked forever in mountains and cellars and attics and seas. Really don't want to ruin the fun and generally I'm up for anything but this fucking shit cannot go on, can it?" --Philip Best, Austin, Texas USA, January 2017.”
Sweet jeezus, the definitive GAS box set with a load of previously unreleased material...
Long-out of print, these are the most comprehensive versions of the essential GAS albums, including edits never before released on vinyl – the way they were intended to be heard, marking the 20th anniversary of Zauberberg, the iconic full-length that introduced the world to the trademark GAS sound
Wolfgang Voigt is a man of many means and monickers, having engendered a unique take on electronic expressionism across multiple media - from riotous early 90s acid to cyber-folkloristic techno or the abstract drama of his current Rückverzauberung project, a pioneering vision to be found on vinyl, canvas or flickering screens. Ranking among of the most dense, hypnotic, atmospheric recordings in his oeuvre, the GAS releases have since become internationally recognized classics.
From foggy dub techno to anthemic electronica and loop-based ambient techno, the list of acts, tracks and even genres influenced by the full-lengths and EPs crafted under the GAS umbrella between 1995 and 2000 seems endless, giving these long sold-out original releases even more of a near-mythical quality. Following the much-acclaimed (and out-of-print) retrospective NAH UND FERN from 2008, Kompakt has decided that it's high time for a reissue that features the core GAS albums originally released by the legendary Mille Plateaux imprint in the 90s – the records that introduced the project’s trademark sound between Schönberg and Kraftwerk, Wagner and the bassdrum, “an endless march through the underwoods of an imaginary, misty forest and into the disco.”
Inside this comprehensive anthology, listeners will experience ZAUBERBERG (celebrating the 20th anniversary of this essential album), KÖNIGSFORST, POP and the sought-after OKTEMBER 12", all together available as luxurious 10LP+4CD edition. GAS BOX is the most comprehensive version of these releases ever: the vinyl features edits that were previously unavailable on wax - with each album being presented as 3LP pressing (instead of the original 2LP pressings), for extended playtime and superior sound quality, finally released the way this music was intended to to be heard. This highly collectible box set comes with an art-print book featuring newly processed and previously unreleased photography from the Königsforst woods around Cologne, in the style of the legendary, trail-blazing GAS artwork.
Extended player tactics from young Wu on this smart turn out for Alex Nut’s Eglo replete with remix from tidy Kaidi Tatham.
After wowing the broadsheet massive with last year’s Yusseff Kamaal LP on Brownswood, Kamaal Williams returns to his Henry Wu project on this naughty little number for Eglo.
UK Funky soldiers will be delighted to hear OG Warrior Hard House Banton repping on the tasty title cut and the twisted Century, drawing a line between bruk swerves and UKF we all knew was there. Elsewhere, Kamaal’s latent talent for jazz is displayed with almost CR7-levels of showboating on Boards and Skins, complemented by the more unassuming vignette, Reflections, that closes out the record.
Wait, we didn’t mention the don Kaidi Tatham dipping into the H Wu archives to remix his 2015 cut, Just Negotiate, elevating the Simeon Jones-featuring number to the upper echelons of soul-dipped broken beat.
First time available on vinyl in this format, Arthur Russell’s prized Instrumentals [1975-1980] suite is now served in full on newly remastered platters also including the absorbing noise excursion Sketch For ‘Face of Helen’ and the liminal, minimalist jazz gesture of Reach One along with some of the late, great composer’s finest avant-chamber-pop pieces and sections performed by the CETA Orchestra and conducted by Julius Eastman, claimed by the artist as some of his personal favourite work.
Taking cues from his studies in Buddhism, and Indian and Western classical and folk music in San Francisco, combined with a growing awareness of the American pop consciousness and the wide-open possibilities of minimalist composition, Instrumentals forms an early and timeless testament to Russell’s syncretic consolidation of myriad styles which would have been considered mutually exclusive back then, but which are now thought of as malleable components of a whole thanks to his pioneering, border-crossing principles and refusal of the putative distinctions between ‘low’ and ‘high’ art in music.
To start at the beginning, the rare Instrumentals, 1974 Vol. 1 was written by a then 23 year old composer in response to photos of landscapes and cloudy skies taken by his West Coast pal, a Shingon Buddhist priest named Yuko Nonomura, shortly after Russell’s move to New York City, where he was staying on the sofa of Allen Ginsburg and curating important downtown hub, The Kitchen.
It was there, at The Kitchen where he recorded Instrumentals with an ensemble of legendary luminaries - Ernie Brooks (electric bass), Rhys Chatham (flute), Jon Gibson (alto and soprano saxophone, flute and clarinet), Peter Gordon (piano and organ), Garrett List (trombone), Andy Paley (drums) and David Tiegham (percussion) - all working to his loose commands and gestures, leaving lots of room for aleatoric happenstance and improvisation in a way that blurred the lines between avant orchestral, communal (folk), easy listening and disco/dance ensembles in a way that pretty much nobody else had tried before, perhaps predictably leading some audience members to claim he was diluting proper serious music with pop (groan).
However time has honoured the results as just magic; eternally optimistic in that big-skied Iowan farm boy manner, but with an underlying sense of melancholy to match, while also betraying a rhythmelodic suss rooted in his all-encompassing studies of world musics, much like Reich was doing with African music around that era. It’s heart-melting stuff. Open the windows and let it in!
Likewise, Instrumentals - 1974,Volume 2 holds some of his most sublime, quietly yearning works, which were issued on an unsatisfactory edition on Another Side in 1984, and features here in all its languorous glory.
The other two pieces, meanwhile, play into Russell’s more experimental side, making a noisier, textured departure from the bittersweetness of Instrumentals with the fusion of tone generators and field recordings made on a tugboat in Sketch for ‘Face Of Helen’ - predating and recalling to an extent, Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes - before Reach One completes the set with a meditatively cool, playfully lower case, side-long piece for pianists and stethoscopes rendering one of the quietest compositions in Russell’s canon in the process.
As with most everything to do with Arthur, context is key to fully understanding these works in light of musical history, but no prior knowledge is required to sit with and immerse yourself in the iconoclast genius’s presence.
Koshiro Hino continues his prolific run of jittery rhythmic experiments on this startling link up with the UK's Where To Now?
Last seen reworking Washington DC's Wicked Witch as part of YPYYY for EM Records, birdFriend boss Koshiro Hino is back on a solo flex for another smart album outing on the first shots fired from WTN? in 2017. Hino’s vision is fully realised throughout 2020, opening on a title track pitched somewhere between crazed beatdown, fourth world jazz and burned-out no wave. Beatrice Dillon on an improv jam with Don’t DJ and ‘Shake’ Shakir is perhaps the best way to describe it.
From here, Hino dabbles with live techno face melters on the bracing Manse, whilst the appropriately-titled Mass could soundtrack Tetsuo’s thrillingly grotesque denouement in Akira with it’s swelling cluster of synthetic and organic sounds. Soup sidesteps into hi-tech jazz a la BFC, and Hino’s distinct brand of techno continues on the crafty 11-minute DJ tool Ant which recalls some of Laurent Prot’s celebrated IAV excursions. KND reveals the queasy side to YPY, peeling out a rather satisfying, greasy bassline wobble over lolloping live drums before proceedings crumble away in a maelstrom of avant space drone for the album closer.
Visual artist Jesse Kanda (FKA Twigs, Arca) makes his musical debut with the compellingly bittersweet introspection of his Heart EP for Hyperdub.
In key with the off-kilter harmonies of his peer, Arca, but willing to pursue more abstract angles of expression, the ostensibly tart sharpness and distorted exoskeleton of Doon Kanda’s sound belies the inspirations at its core, “love, compassion, empathy” in a very similar way to which his hyperreal visual work also gets under the skin, right to the core of it.
While relatively simple, linear in construction when compared with, say, Arca’s output, the five tracks of Heart ache with a pent romantic yearn that hits home from the off: Axolotl - described by the artist as “like a chant for giving it your best try” - exemplifies that raw emotive effect with ruggedly thuggish drive and searing hook juiced for all it’s worth, but the beats barely return over the next four songs; leaving his licks lingering in wide open space like a rhythmic gymnast’s ribbon that never falls to the floor in Womb, or percolated in a curious call-and-response of evaporating bass hits and chiming strokes in Wings, before claggy trap trills infiltrate Heart’s starkly contoured chromatic dimensions.
We sense the start of a very promising musical streak from this artist. Check it!
Necessary reissue of Kymatik : Midwitch Cuckoos’s superlative, computer-processed field recordings, originally made in the mid ‘90s between Bristol, Runswick Bay (North Yorkshire) and Plymouth, and subsequently issued on their cult imprint, NonServiam between 1997-2001.
If you thought that late ‘90s electronica was all drill ’n bass, glitch and ambient techno, this is simply none of the above and serves as both a historical document and a strong testament to the UK’s less recognised, explorative rearguard. You can take it on trust that Lee Gamble is a big fan of this one!
Experimental yet coherent, drily psychedelic and perpetually out of reach, the works inside Anthropological Constants trace the after effects of Kymatik’s shift from the analogue source material of their Central Nervous System [CNS] unit in the late ‘80s to a blend of location recordings processed with digital hardware and computer software, by the mid ‘90s - pretty much mirroring a phase shift that many progressive or forward looking artists were undergoing at that time (or even the world at large; on the cusp of transition from analogue TV and radio toward the internet, speech recognition and cybernetics).
Anthropological Constants consists of three pieces drawn from as many releases, all recorded, released and atmospherically time-stamped with that era. In their own words, “[Dentists For Mice] represents a transition from outboard gear [mixing desk and reel-to-reel tape] to computer composition”, and describes 18 minutes of unfathomably layered and absorbing drone flux and irregular rhythm; ticking over from echoic abstraction to subaquatic plunge and cranky space station ambience by way of imperceptibly seamless segues. The fact that it was made on a kitchen table thru basic PC speakers only testifies to the piece’s ingenuity.
Meanwhile the B-side picks up where the other left off, folding in field recordings made as Dentists.. was coming to completion. However the ear’s focus here is more on atmospheric subtlety, rather than momentum and morphology. Using recordings made on the rugged Yorkshire coastline (just down the road from a rare early warning radar detection system) during an inebriated weekend over the New Year, Runswick Bay: Kate’s Painless Gingerbread shifts from an initial smear of rushing wind, sloshing water and dislocated voices with some seriously eerie harmonics, thru denser patches of inclement noise, panicky bass pulses and almost folk-wise ritual percussion, the quickly waking up in the middle of a pub scene, perhaps captured as the New Years party got into its third day?
Reissued by the same Paradigm Discs behind vital Pauline Oliveros, Daphne Oram and William S. Burroughs volumes, you should know this record is definitely worth your time.
Dirty Projectors cough up the canniest indie-pop album in ages with an eponymous, R&B-soaked anomaly practically making a mockery of those indie guitar bands who still continue to ply worthless, played-out pop conventions.
As possibly the one band who can claim mutual connections between Kanye, Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Solange, Blood Orange and Björk, the credentials of Dirty Projectors are peerless at the least, and this, their 8th full length album proves why their experimental song-writing and instrumental talents are sought out by the biggest selling artists in the world.
It’s basically down to the way they acknowledge and consolidate the influence of modern Black soul and pop music as much as folk, chamber music and avant-garde electronic traditions in their compositions, and in a way that is blithely refused by those guitar bands who continue to churn out the same ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ’80s-inspired pop styles without realising that each and every one of them is rooted in one form of Black music or another, but gets lost in consecutive translations.
We’d wager it’s a sign of the cleft between majors run by crusty posh old white dudes, and what clued-up younger people actually want to listen to (same difference with Trump/insecure right wing doyles and everyone else, really?). Maybe this isn’t the place for politics but this record seems to embody our current feelings in the best, most relevant way right now, and it'd be remiss to ignore it.
From the eager use of autotune (taken to throat-curdling effect in Keep Your Name) to the ruggedness of their drum programming (like vintage Timba in Death Spiral) to an oil-shimmer mix of G-funk and Americana in Little Bubble or the delicate yet rude pivot of Winner Take Nothing, which could almost be a Disclosure cut; their sense of twisted ridiculousness may be taken as piss-taking by some, when it’s actually a very necessary level of extremity needed to shock and wake the scene from its utterly regressive indulgence and dearth of new ideas.
And most crucially, it’s done with a balance of faithful respect and honesty toward the strangeness and psychedelia of their art form, like, say Autre Ne Veut or Clams Casino (for good examples of respectful but uncompromising appropriation) as opposed to the limpid, simpering pish you'll find elsewhere.
In other words it’s highly engaging, challenging and satisfying in equal measures, and all because they got the balance right. A rare thing indeed for contemporary pop from an “indie” band.
Probing slab of skewed ambient and electronic productions injected into pop shapes in the most beguilling fashion; big recommendation if you're into Bjork or Jenny Hval.
Camila De Laborde, now in union with Daniel Hermann-Collini make good use of clunky, sawn-off breakbeats to the vocal mixing and ethereal vibes which perfuses the record, there’s something very mid ‘90s-into-2017 day about Camila Fuchs’ sound on this outing.
It’s coolly stamped with the hallmarks of modernity at its more abstract angles but, on first impressions you’d be forgiven for thinking that LP opener Striking Doubt was a stray Björk production, and likewise that Lotic and Arca were trying out some dank trip hop on the instrumental Drenching, whereas the warbling patina of music box melody and vocals in Waking Morning recalls the golden early phase of Jonna Newsom.
Similarly, we can shower more comparisons on the others, as Welcome My Demon arches up like a darker adjunct of Animal Collective’s psych-pop before lurching into bombed-out trip hop and Diamada wail, and we’re left suspended between the ceiling and the ‘floor in the pensile percussion and vertiginous vox of Manyfold.
Despite the comparisons, Singing From A Fixed Rung is full of original, imaginative song-writing. Certainly wroth your attention, post haste.
First in a series of Six albums by The Caretaker to be released over the next 3 years, slowly cataloguing the stages of early onset dementia. Each album will reveal new points of progression, loss and disintegration, progressively falling further and further towards the abyss of complete memory loss and nothingness...
Embarking on the Caretaker’s final journey with his first release in four years, Everywhere At The End of Time sets off with the familiar vernacular of abraded shellac 78s and their ghostly waltzes to emulate the entropic effect of a mind becoming detached from everyone else’s sense of reality and coming to terms with their own, altered, and ever more elusive sense of ontology.
The series aims to enlighten our understanding of dementia by breaking it down into a series of stages that provide a haunting guide to its progression, deterioration and disintegration and the way that people experience it according to a range of impending factors. In other words, Everywhere At The End of Time probes some of the most important questions about modern music’s place in a world that’s increasingly haunted or even choked by the tightening noose of feedback loops of influence; perceptibly questioning the value of old memories as opposed to the creation of new ones, and, likewise the fidelity of those musical memories which remain, and whether we can properly recollect them from the mire of our faulty memory banks without the luxury of choice
As the first in the series, and despite its typically frayed loop construction, this volume is the most lucid, as subsequent instalments will continue to move into faded obscurity and material erosion. We’ve only ingested this first volume so far, so we cannot predict whether the ensuing journey and results will be lush, tortuous or, perhaps more likely, an ambiguous weaving and unpicking of the two and all interstices between.
We encourage you to join The Caretaker on this, his final journey thru the endless haunted ballrooms and mazy corridors of his wasting mind...
Obscure, primitivist art-pop and No Wave charms from a sharp-witted female trio outta NYC, 1982 - originally produced by Wharton Tiers (Theoretical Girls) and released by Glenn Branca’s Neutral Records after aiding in Y Pants’ eponymous 1980 debut. Facsimile reissue courtesy of Water Wing Records.
Revolving visual artist Virginia Piersol, filmmaker Gail Vachon and photographer Barbara Ess; Y Pants combined feminist poetics with economical instrumentation - toy piano, ukulele, Mickey Mouse drum kit and shitty FX - in playfully spiked and infectious grooves full of swooning choruses and dippy licks that deliver their politics in sharp pinches.
They were a fixture of Manhattan’s downtown scene, smartly compared with The Raincoats for those vocal harmonies and a predilection for spare but pointed, driving rhythms, which are best heard in the slompy slide of Obvious, set to a killer vocal hook “don’t be afraid to be boring” written by novelist and critic Lynne Tillman, or with an hypnotic, ‘up’-ness in the likes of Barbara’s Song or the headlong, Neu!-like momentum of We Have Everything, in Love’s A Disease’s lopsided disco-punk, and the strange, byzantine wiggle of What Do You take Me For.
If we’re going to single out any one part, though; it’s gotta be That’s The Way Boys Are, starting out as an ice cool, harmonised take down of the patriarchy that soon enough turns into a a trampling groove by way of erupting, hair-pulling screams.
A proper little dancefloor rocket, then.
Will Syl Johnson ever run out of soul? No way, baby. He’s got a bottomless supply!
"Syl’s inspiring voice and his mighty band, the Pieces of Peace, are a match made in soul heaven. Hit songs “One Way Ticket To Nowhere” and “Get Ready” are just two of the highlights from this LP, adding to his sky high stash of smashes. They’re joined by a super-funky “Annie Got Hot Pants Power,” the uplifting “We Do It Together,” and “Thank You Baby,” and revivals of Jackie Wilson’s “That’s Why,” and the Temptations’ “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” transformed so completely that you’d swear they were written specifically for Syl."
Diverse showcase of Atlanta’s weirdo underbelly, issued on Mike Simonetti’s label
“Harsh Riddims started a few years back. Our first release was a compilation tape featuring some of my best friends. Stefan Ringer (REKchampa), Drew Briggs (Divine Interface), and Matt Weiner (TWINS) live here in Atlanta. They are among the most talented and encouraging individuals I know. B L A C K I E is good friends with Negashi Armada (Bluntfang). Negashi suggested asking him for a track, and he turned in "It's hot livin n' tha south". That's one of my favourite tracks off of the first compilation.
About a year ago, we released the second comp. This record is a mix of the two, featuring a few unreleased tracks. I met RAMZI while on tour in Montreal. Love Letters is my friend Maxime Robillard, who lives in New York City. ThinkThrice is a kid in Atlanta that ordered one of Stefan's tapes. We later met at a house party: I'm pretty psyched he's got a track on here! WGM is Gavin Mays out of Memphis. He also produces as Cities Aviv. Cringe Machine is my good friend Justin Bauman. He passed away not too long ago, so I feel really fortunate to be able to share one of his songs. He was a big influence on me, and was overall a really sweet and giving person. Much love towards his family! Lastly, Co/Coaches is one half of Coco and Clair, Taylor Nave. She's such a talented song writer, buck performer; she's one my favorites. Hope you dig!”