Tresor’s 300th release is a 15 track anthology of the Scopex label, a hugely coveted late ‘90s UK electro imprint whose releases by Simulant and Pollon now fetch triple figures for 2nd hand copies. When this set was announced a few weeks back, we could practically hear the collective relief of a thousand night owl neeks hooting at the moon and salivating at the prospect of fresh vinyl editions of Simm City, Out OfEther, and Electratech, all newly remastered from DATs and included here inside.
Right up there next to classic Drexciyan Storms and the black secret technologies of Ultradyne in the pantheon of 3rd/4th wave electro, Scopex releases defined ’90s electro at its tightest and mercurial best with a blend of razor sharp production and concise, sci-fi vision that’s rarely been surpassed.
In chronological order, you’ll find diamond-cut new pressings of Simulant’s Simm City , which is perhaps most noted for its Stinson-esque strengths in New Machines and the rare charms of Musical Box, or the low-lying missile Wav. Form (Mix), before Out Of Ether  dispenses some of the nastiest electro-funk to come from the UK in Knife Edge and the clenched swing of Access Future Audio (Mix).
Pollon’s Electratech  follows to open the 3rd disc with the tense angles of Lost Souls, as deployed by Objekt on his Kern Vol.3 mix for Tresor, and also included in a banging alternate Mix beside the epic Lonely Planet, while the previously unreleased, slow-mo sci-fi electro grunge of Optimal Flow completes the set and sees the label to its final resting place in one piece.
Come git it!
Time Machines is widely ranked among the most important releases by arcane sound chemists Jhonn Balance, Peter Christopherson and Drew McDowell. Now remastered and reissued for the first time under the collective Coil moniker, their classic chemical songbook is primed to irrevocably intoxicate a whole new batch of listeners twenty years since original release.
The now-classic chemical songbook Time Machines is one of the most focussed yet dilated works in all of Coil’s sprawling catalogue, and perhaps one of their definitive releases. It faithfully attempts to emulate or describe the effect of their favourite, mind-expanding psychedelic drugs in sonic terms, conveying their putative virtues thru the abstract contours and complex harmonic definition enabled by modular synths and electronics.
In no small feat of imagination, they take as long as needed for the effect to take hold in each part, with 7-Methoxy-β-Carboline- (Telepathine) modelling the slow, transportive effects of what is commonly known as yage or ayahuasca, and again taking over 26 minutes to really fall under spell of 4-Indolol,3-[2-(Dimethylamino)Ethyl],Phosphate Ester- (Psilocybin), in attempt to reflect the tweaky course of a magic mushroom trip.
Likewise, they reflect the relatively brief effect of 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyl- (5-MeO-DMT) - DMT, my mate Dimitry, or HD goggles as Tony Twitters calls it - with scarily realistic clarity and timing, while 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Ethyl-Amphetamine- (DOET-Hecate) relays something like the buzzing tone of what is better known as Mcat or khat, or some similar derivative/substitute of speed.
Like the chemicals themselves, the music is best taken under caution, and while results will vary from user to user, the outcome is likely one that will leave its mark on you for a while.
Sonny Clark’s reputation as one of the finest jazz pianists of his era has grown in recent years, with many folks rediscovering his classic Blue Note recordings like ‘Cool Struttin’, ‘Dial ‘S’ for Sonny’, ‘Leapin’ and Lopin’, as well as session work with Lee Morgan, Grant Green and others. Cut down by heroin addiction at age 31 in 1961, Clark’s legacy continues to expand.
"The Time sessions were produced by the late Bob Shad, owner of Time and Mainstream Records. The reissue includes the original Time album re-mastered from the original tapes by Dave Donnelly, plus an extra disc of alternate takes previously unavailable on vinyl. Nat Hentoff wrote the original liner notes, included in the reissue package, and former New York Times critic Ben Ratliff contributes a new 3500-word essay. The set was produced for reissue by Mia Apatow (Time Records) and Josh Rosenthal (Tompkins Square)."
The refractive hyaline ambient dimensions of Ceramic TL’s Perfect Lung form the 3rd and final LP to be released in 2017 by David Psutka (Egyptrixx) in various configurations via his Halocline Trance label.
Working remotely from his Toronto base with Istanbul-based composer Ipek Gorgun, Psutka follows his Egyptrixx LP Pure, Beyond Reproach, and his ANAMAI collaboration with Anna Mayberry, What Mountain to pursue a more esoteric and elusive electronic muse throughout the crystal clear yet somehow disorienting spaces of Perfect Lung.
With its clash of bi-continental sonorities and signifiers rent in tessellating, refractive designs, the effect of the music emulates or at least recalls to us time spent on the bus at night travelling thru the realest ends of a large city, with streetlights, headlamps and neon signage playing out surreal refractions in myriad sheets of glass.
‘Always Then’ was the debut album of The KVB, originally released in 2012 on Clan Destine Records. It was written and recorded in 2011 on a Fostex tape machine by Nicholas Wood, with Kat Day joining him to form a duo later that year. This anniversary edition features the re-mastered full-length debut album and includes bonus tracks known as ‘Always Then Revisited’, four brand new reworked and rerecorded songs from the original album.
The original cover art featured a photo of a building in the centre of Mexico City, taken by friend and fellow musician Ela Orleans. The anniversary edition features new artwork with an updated cover photograph of the same building taken by the band in 2017.
Klara Lewis and Biosphere rework highlights of Carmen Villain’s Helge Sten-mixed album, Infinite Avenue, beside the original version of Borders featuring Jenny Hval.
One of the record’s rhythm driven points of interest, Borders stars Hval switching between gaseous and plangent vocal styles, perfused into the ether over loping, wooden drums and keening bass pressure.
In Klara Lewis’s hands, however, Borders becomes a sighing swell of melancholic harmonies and sloshing, almost seasick rhythms with Hval reserved to a more enigmatic presence. Meanwhile Biosphere hints that he’s been listening o a lot of the new weird rap instrumentals outta ATL on his mix of Red Desert, convecting his best Lynchian atmospheres over skewed, skinny trap tics with Villain crooning blue in the upper registers.
Japan’s Jun Kamoda gives Black Acre their best session in memory with the nutty techno styles of The Distorted Haunted Ballroom, which is quite possibly an oblique reference to The Caretaker?
At the heels of his Misty Funk EP with Steel City Dance Discs, Kamoda goes in like Eric Copeland on a techno mission with the clunking, squawking Body & Soul, or like a psychotomimetic Soundhack track with the jabbing disco madness of (((BYE))), saving something like a stray Peaking Lights tune for the dubbed-out, bandy-legged strut of Dopey Forests.
Pretty, pretty mad.
‘The Greatest Gift’ is a mixtape of outtakes, remixes and demos from Sufjan’s 2015 album ‘Carrie & Lowell’. This collection serves as a companion piece to the ‘Carrie & Lowell Live’ album (and as an expansion to the original album).
"In the same way the live show featured re-interpretations of the songs from ‘Carrie & Lowell’, the mixtape unveils new remixes by several longstanding collaborators including Roberto C. Lange (aka Helado Negro), Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) and James McAlister (aka 900X). The album also features Sufjan’s own remix of ‘Drawn To The Blood’.
‘The Greatest Gift’ features four previously unreleased new songs, ‘official’ outtakes from ‘Carrie & Lowell’ (they were recorded at the same time as the album). These include ‘Wallowa Lake Monster’, ‘The Hidden River Of My Life’, ‘City Of Roses’ and ‘The Greatest Gift’. This new material, in its investigation of love, life, death, God and the beautiful state of Oregon, serves as a contemplative companion to the original album."
Toulouse Low Trax, Tuff City Kids, Dreems and Junto Club remix Sascha Funke’s bendy tech-house trax from the Lotos Land LP.
Detlef Weinrich aka member of Toresch and Tolouse Low Trax reduces Twirl to a blunted swagger with his patented, effortless swing and nice touches of bittersweet, sion-facing synths. Australian newcomer Dreems steps on Im Feirern Und Feuer with a flanging, psyched out version making heavy use of guitars. Tuff City Kids give Purple Hill a slow, acidic 4/4 poke, and Glasgow’s Junto Club sound out a very Optimo-ready version of Comala.
The translucent blue LP release includes ‘Blue Bucket Of Gold’ on one side, a cover of Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ featuring Gallant on the second side and a digital download code for the full 16-track set from his ‘Carrie & Lowell’ live show.
After crossing paths with Kate Carr’s preternaturally sensitive field work on Helen Scarsdale Agency, the sound artist now presents the engrossing 2015 travelogue from a wind turbine to vultures (and back) on her Flaming Pines label.
Recorded during a residency at Joya arte ecologia in Velez Blanco, a mountainous region in S.E. Spain, Carr’s latest offers an intimately close reading of the landscape describing daily journeys trekking up muddy paths with little accompaniment other than distant bird calls, the beating of vultures wings, and inclement, wintry weather conditions, with a steeply immersive and unexpectedly evocative outcome.
Using her ear and by extension the microphone with the precision of a nature photographer, Kate zooms in and documents those sounds that more casual hikers will also encounter, yet may not pay so much attention to without enhanced technological means. Once stitched together in post production to form the two pieces on tape, those sound journeys are recollected as dreamlike trips, segueing from ghostly, windswept harmonics and passages of Áine O’Dwyer-like vox at the start of Ascent, to spots of unnerving lacunæ where you can almost feel the infrasonic heartbeat of trees and the mountain itself, ending up somewhere more light-headed, widescreen at the top.
Likewise, her Descent poetically conveys a sense of strangeness in its description of the mountainside, which feels to come to life with flurries of bird calls, imagined boar growls and barking dogs, vacillating between sensations of relief and caution.
If you’ve enjoyed BJNilsen’s Massif Trophies for Editions Mego, Felicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s Comme Un Seul Narcisse, or Giuseppe Ielasi and Ricardo Renaldi’s Alpi, you’re bound to appreciate Kate Carr’s elevated, surreal perspectives here, too. Sublime.
White Material co-conspirator DJ Richard yields his 1st new EP in three years with the brooding electro swerver, Path of Ruin sure to garner moody screwfaces on the ‘floor.
It’s really all about the 10 minute title tune, reprising the darkside, Reese-like strokes of his Leech2 classic from way back in 2012, but with a slinky malinky electro swing that’s very much of the ’97/’07/’17 zeitgeist. The first five minutes of floating pads and stark dub chords could almost be mistaken for an early Claro Intellect or Andy Stott piece, before the lustrous bass sets it on its own trajectory into the night.
Gargoyle is a solid six minutes of slow industrial/EBM at 105bpm, coated with noxious harmonics in a way recalling Para or Dirk Desaever, and Stygian Freeze lives up to its mantle with a stately but doomed descent into beat-less synth zones redolent of Dopplereffekt.
New Atlantis co-founder Deadboy inhabits his J.V. Lightbody alias for the label’s lush 2nd release with 12 beams of golden, shimmering vibes exploring “the inner realms of consciousness, space and time” under track titles referencing the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching, the ancient chinese book of changes whose wisdom still resonates with the modern day.
Tapping into a new age zeitgeist which has bubbled up strongly in recent years, possibly thanks as much to a swell of reissued classics as a societal need to assuage anxieties imposed by the modern world, Inner Work arguably serves its purpose in a beautifully absorbing manner. Working to a similar brief as Yamaneko’s recent Spa Commissions for Local Action, Lightbody offers the listener tender space to unravel thoughts and dreams thru sheets of diaphanous, pastel-hued harmonies and wistful melodic flocking which, at best, offer transcendence from earthly matters, and at the least a very sweet distraction from what ails ya.
Effectively an antibiotic for SAD, or a magnetic dose of vitamin D for overworked souls, Inner Work gets right under the skin with assured efficacy, and should be warmly recommended to anyone who has encountered and fallen for the likes of Laraaji, Pauline Anna Strom or K. Leimer in recent years, or likewise been smitten by Yamaneko’s gorgeous new turn.
First making waves with the almost cult level ‘Hype Williams’ project, and then more recently solo and as part of the group Babyfather, the new 8 track LP sees Dean Blunt step back into the shadowy role of producer for a new band called Blue Iverson.
It’s a vibesey one, this; digging a vein of smoke-hazed living/bedroom feels in eight parts that could almost be passed off as a Dam-Funk jam. Well, almost, but there’s still something off kilter and economical about the fidelity and mixing of the recording that hints it’s from the UK, or is even made to sound like the private pressed soul obscurities picked out by PPU.
Hotep strongly reminds of those lush soul bits from Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music or even selected Letherette cuts released on Alex Nut’s namesake label. The image of Lauryn Hill on the sleeve is a cherry on the cake.
Kompakt’s moving feast of Pop Ambient returns with a 2018 edition spelling out twelve languorous and lofty definitions of atmospheric music by veteran hands - the Orb, Triola, Jens-Uwe Beyer - as well as recent additions to the series - Chuck Johnson, Yui Onodera, T. Raumschmiere.
Trust there’s no sharp edges or harsh textures inside, more the sort of music one can listen to in your birthday suit with windows open, or equally blanketed after the party, and the effect will remain as welcoming, user friendly.
Look out for lovliest moments in this volume from T. Raumschmiere’s epic stargazer, Eterna, and the amniotic cradle of Kaito’s Travelled Between Souls.
Conga Square debut on the ace Palto Flats label (Woo, Midori Takada, Roland Young, Yasuaki Shimzu) with three tracks that sound like they’re distilling all the label’s previous angles into one record. It should come as little surprise after listening that Conga Square includes a member of NYC’s Georgia in their midst, for a sound comparable with a range of styles from Tolouse Low Trax to YPY, or Pekka Airaksinen via Don’t DJ.
The A-side’s Fifth season is a charmingly slompy 9 minute psychedelic burner revolving grubbing bass, wigged-out microtonal synth fuss and percussion that sounds like it was recorded independently, out of time in the next room. B-side, the combination of avian flutes and bass pressure in Raiders recalls the vibes on Ka Baird’s recent Sapropelic Pycnic side gone deeper into the echo chamber, and Secada Mondatta digs in somewhere between the modular eyes of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe for damn good measure.
Kiran Sande (Blackest Ever Black) and Chris Farrell (Idle Hands) trigger their Silent Street cooperative with a surefire survey of Maximum Joy’s dub-fuelled punkfunk and pop singles 1981-1982, collected as I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights. Digging a pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, it reveals the sound of Bristol parties and after-hours blues in the early ‘80s, which would also find success among the punk-funk crowds and hip hop stations of NYC. Fans of Vazz, The Slits, Glaxo Babies, The Pop Group need to check this one!
“I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is centred around the trio of singles the band released on Dick O’Dell’s Y Records between 1981-1982. Their first, ‘Stretch’, was licensed to seminal American label 99 Records and soon after became an anthem on the New York club underground, a cult staple at Danceteria and on late-night radio. Closer to home and a shared personal favourite is their first B-side, ‘Silent Street / Silent Dub’: a languid, haunting tribute to long summer nights in St Pauls (where the Idle Hands shop presently resides), and specifically the Black & White Cafe, “where dub-reggae reigned supreme, 24/7”. Llewellin’s mesmerising one-drop kit and Catsis’s outrageously heavy bassline anchor the track, allowing Rainforth’s exquisite vocal and Wrafter’s trumpet to soar within the intense, expressionistic dub mix. In both subject matter and execution it is the definitive Bristol tune.
‘White And Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix)’, ‘In The Air’, and wistful instrumental ‘Simmer Til Done’ also feature; the non-Y bonus is the 12” version of ‘Do It Today’, Maximum Joy’s contribution to the Fontana compilation Touchdown, which originally came out in ’82 as a white label split with The Higsons.
I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is the first official UK vinyl reissue of Maximum Joy material, with sleevenotes by Janine Rainforth, Tony Wrafter and Kevin Pearce. We invite you to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the eclectic, exhilarating work of Bristol’s finest, brightest pop idealists.”
A crucial piece of the Loren Connors jigsaw falls into place with this first ever vinyl reissue of Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell!, now presented on wax some 20 years after the original CD issue thru The Lotus Sound. Leading on from his classic Long Nights [Table of the Elements, 1995], it takes that album’s blues-noise textures into even starker, scorched ground surely irresistible to anyone snagged by his other works, for their anomalous nature if nowt else.
Revolving around 12 works in under 20 minutes, Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! is a succinct album that sparks and growls with an anger and anguish that distinguishes it from much of his other work. It’s hardly a rager, but there are flashes of an undisclosed pain that seem to sear thru on the many of the A-side cuts, fulminating dense walls of distorted sound like heavy shag smoke that cloaks your listening space in yellow-grey palls.
He spends much of his energies churning up this intoxicating sound on the A-side, so that by the B-side he’s back to a more reserved, but still gripping, sort of expression, including some exquisitely tender, even barely-there pieces, vacillating between burned-out blues and devastatingly strung-out nocturnes, all with the sort of minimalist efficiency of expression that we really value over here.
Not to be missed!
San Fran’s Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem double down to release a final set of Patrick Cowley’s gay porn soundtracks in Afternooners. Not so much Hi-NRG as happily knackered and in need of a ‘bine, the vibe is mostly dreamy, mid-tempo and strutting but with a few early hours disco struts in Jungle Orchids, the kinky throb of take A Little Trip, and a charming romance theme on Love Come Set Me Free with its signature, flared synth that sounds like a prototype of Drexciya and so much electro-disco to come.
“In 1979 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick’s songs in-sync with the film scenes. The result was the VHS collections “Muscle Up” and “School Daze” released in 1979 and 1980. “Afternooners” is the third collection of Cowley’s instrumental songs, recorded in between 1979 and 1982. Some of these recordings are demos from the album “Mind Warp”. All songs were originally untitled, so we’ve used the titles from Fox Studio’s 8mm film loops.
This compilation also includes three bonus tracks found in the archives of fellow Megatone Records recording artist Paul Parker and the attic of teenage friend Lily Bartels. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, and Giorgio Moroder, Patrick crafted a singular sound from his collection of synthesizers, percussion, modified guitars, and hand-built equipment. The listener enters a world of forbidden vices, evocative of Patrick’s time spent in the bathhouses of San Francisco. The songs on “Afternooners” reflect the advances of the equipment available at the onset of the 1980s. Cowley’s unadulterated electronic forms are stripped down and dubbed up. Lush electronic percussion, soaring synthesizer riffs and low slung funk grooves comingle on these magnificent soundscapes.
For Patrick’s 67th birthday, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records present a glimpse into the futuristic world of a young genius. These recordings shed a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.”
Young Marco’s Safe Trip follow their dispatch of Japanese siblings Satoshi & Makoto’s CZ-5000 Sounds & Sequences with an unexpected pair of stepping, driving, melodic house tracks.
In a Corner of Asia unfurls a coiled stripe of firm 4/4 donks and wheezing organ melodies that sounds like it was put down live and direct to tape any time between 1990 and now.
Tous Les Jours is one for fans of Stinson/Donald’s more debonaire electro-house jaunts, authentically tending to their Japanese electronics setup with a clarity and melodic touch that originally inspired a lot of Detroit guys and can also be heard in the floating minimalist structures of Shinichi Atobe.
Inna Babalon is perhaps the strongest indictment of John T. Gast’s eldritch, even medieval-tinged take on UK-bassed dub themes, ‘fessed up for the natty, mystic 5 Gate Temple label.
Firmly pushing a personalised furrow of rolling, stepping drum machines and near-baroque choral arrangements, the follow-up album to Excerpts for Planet Mu is more defined by a consistent, tangible thread of logic than its predecessor, working like the soundtrack to a lo-fi, time-travelling Brit-flick set between modern day Brixton and some stone circle in Cornwall circa the 17th century.
It’s very fair to say he’s in his own world here, working away at a cauldron of bubbling drum machines and oxidised synths to reveal a sort of nostalgic regression for parallel dimensions in eight parts.
We’re totally smitten with this guy’s work, it’s kinda hard to put into words how much he’s nailing a sound we hold so dearly. And if you’re on the same tip, we urge you to check his amazing Blowing Up the Workshop mix-turned-LP if you haven’t already.
Staggeringly unique body of early work by cult outsider musician, Ghédalia Tazartès, including 4 full albums plus a 10" of unreleased work made in 1978.
Born in Paris in 1947 to Turkish parents, artist and autodidact Tazartès has spent over 30 years experimenting with myriad musical practices and creating a catalogue of cult recordings deeply informed by his "extra-European" and "intra-European" heritage. He's both in possession of, and possessed by, a shamanic vocal talent, with the ability to embody a multitude of characteristics. This, together with his unimpeded sense of compositional flux, swerving between musique concrete, technoid loops, piano pieces and pseudo-ethnic imagineering, makes for a thrilling experience unlike any other. This collection includes some of his most important works, among them his earliest release, 1979's 'Diasporas' - listed by Steven Stapleton in his legendary NWW list - besides the exotic collages of 'Tazartès', the enchanting and otherworldly loops and scapes of 'Transports', and the two jaw-dropping extended pieces of 'Une Éclipse Totale De Soleil', plus a further 10" of unheard, shorter cuts of hectic electronics, unhinged vocals and and bewildering composition.
This passage begins to surmount his magic appeal "He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. utilising magnetic tape recorders, he paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker. He traces vague landscapes where the mitre of the white clown, the plumes of the sorcerer, the helmet of a cop and Parisian anhydride collide into polyphonic ceremonies." At times it feels like you're watching unhinged French cartoon without translation in a Parisian asylum while a Techno soundsystem beats outside, at others you're sitting café side being serenaded in tongues, or just simply hypnotised by the consistent metamorphosis of sounds; an unending, breathlessly connected flow of ideas playfully eschewing any formal notions of what is wrong or proper, and purely informed by what feels right and most affecting. It's a hugely, hugely recommended purchase, probably the most important avant-garde reissue this year - and some of the most uncategorisable, extraordinary music you'll come across. Unmissable.
Recompiled II/II is the second of two vinyl-only archive releases by Function, which include previously unreleased tracks as well as music that has long been out-of-print.
The 2nd of two class Function retrospectives, Recompiled II/II brings the world up to speed with producer/DJ Dave Sumner’s shark-eyed output; hustling 13 tracks spanning his transition from resident at Limelight in late ’90s NYC to the period prior his current residencies at Berghain, Berlin and Bassani in Tbilisi.
The results frame all aspects of Function’s ascetic, driving, but often emotively wrought style, drifting in with the morning-after ambience of Ember (Field) cycle thru the slinky Receptacle  from The Dialectric Coefficient, to the frozen bleeps of Isotope  off his 2nd 12” with Sandwell District, touching on the ruddy Balance of Power  and Montage  rollers for his Infrastructure New York label, and perhaps most definitively - for us at least - the potent, nasal-drip acid techno dynamics of Burn from his Anticipation 12”, which I distinctly remember winding up our neighbours with in 2008.
Felix Kubin takes the pulse of capitalism with an incisively smart, playfully anachronistic , and poetically dadaist suite of percussive pieces inspired by educational and industrial 16mm films. RIYL Faitiche’s Ursula Bogner, the recent C-Schulz reissue, and Bruno Spoerri...
“Originally developed as a film score Takt der Arbeit is inspired by a handful of industrial and instructional films from the early 1960's until the early 1990's that portrait different forms of work. Felix Kubin is translating these historic documents into a musical poem of conceptual depth. Takt der Arbeit - the beat of work - is not only serving as a title but also as constructive element in this endeavour.
Being hunted down by the ever accelerated pulse of our reality is an omnipresent issue in capitalist societies of the the Western world. Living in times of constant exhaustion, it's not only our bodies that have been disciplined by and synchronized to the rhythms of working processes, but also our minds that rage in the tempo of our surroundings. Following an almost analytical effort, Kubin and an ensemble of 3 percussionists are investigating the different qualities and intensities of time that are catalyzed in working processes. While picking up precise temporal and motoric motives of the films, condensing paces and excavating rhythmic patterns, the ensemble is mapping out an animist choreography, shifting from a time when labour was still relying on bodily efforts to a time when machines and ticking clocks seem to reign and model our perception. While Side A is dedicated to procedures that are still based on manual and mechanical movement, Side B is inspired by the digital age, marked by invisible processes and subcutaneous pulses that we internalize.
The result is a critical and poetic reflection on the rhythms of our daily life and yet another example of Felix Kubin's skills as a composer, placing him in the field of orchestral music.”
Robert Haigh, who is perhaps better known as D&B legend Omni Trio, reprises the solemn, autumnal contemporary classical styles heard on his V-O-D retrospective and early releases for NWW’s United Dairies, this time in the esteemed comapny of Laurie Spiegel, Carl Stone, Lubomyr Melnyk on Unseen Worlds
“A new album of piano driven ambient music from British composer Robert Haigh. Following in the path of his albums for the Japanese Siren label, Creatures of the Deep is an underground vantage of a meeting between the musical worlds of Harold Budd and Erik Satie. With a storied musical career that has ranged widely in style — from his industrial-avant-garde works on Nurse With Wound’s United Diaries label as SEMA to his legendary ambient drum and bass records as Omni Trio on Moving Shadow — Robert Haigh's work occupies a space between music and mystery.
With Creatures of the Deep, Haigh is at the peak of his powers. Among noir, minimal, neo-classical landscapes are robust scatterings of bright reflection and a musical expression that is subtle and elusive yet uniquely Haigh’s in its voice and masterful execution. The closer we examine, the more is revealed, and the less is defined.”
The 8th full-length release from the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi.
"Over the course of four LP sides, the October 2014 concert documented here ranges from rock power trio dynamics to maelstroms of analogue electronics. Once again, the three demonstrate their commitment to pushing into new areas of instrumental exploration and group interaction. Where previous releases from the trio have often featured extended vocal workouts from Haino, at times suggesting abstracted folk song, Haino’s vocalizations here are restricted to the occasional impassioned cry, putting the focus squarely on instrumental interplay. More than ever before, this feels like the work of three equals, with O’Rourke or Ambarchi taking the lead role as often as Haino does.
The four pieces presented here each focus on extended development. The first side is propelled by Ambarchi’s busy, Jack DeJohnette-esque cymbal and tom work, which provides a skittering yet insistent pulse over which Haino and O’Rourke’s FX-saturated strings rise and fall, momentarily converging for passages of near stasis before again pulling apart to continue wandering through areas of gently sour discord; O’Rourke’s use of a six-string bass here boosts the harmonic density of the music and often makes his contribution difficult to distinguish from Haino’s guitar. On the second side, O’Rourke uses his pedals to make his bass near unrecognizable, generating a squelching, harmonically unstable riff that Ambarchi accompanies with a semi-martial snare pattern, the two driving home the idea for the duration of the side while Haino moves between frenetic octave-doubled fuzz riffing and streams of feedback.
The third side presents some of the most abstract music heard from the trio since their first release (Tima Formosa, BT04). Continuing Haino’s explorations of new instruments, the side opens with a long passage of toy piano, an instrument that in his hands is at once childlike and imbued with a mysterious gravity. Alongside occasional vocal interjections from Haino (singing in English), Ambarchi creates delicate textures on cymbals and metallic percussion while O’Rourke, for the first time in this group, performs on the EMS Synthi. In a long passage in the middle of the side, he provides ample evidence of his mastery of the instrument, crafting a complex texture from pointillist stabs and rapid sweeps that possesses the same unpredictable yet controlled feeling of classic live-electronics documents like Pierre Henry’s ‘Corticalart’ series. With Haino joining in with his own electronics, the side eventually builds to a chaotic climax.
Beginning with a sequence of ‘fourth world’ drums and flute, the final side unfolds an epic build-up over a hypnotic foundation of pounding toms. Moving from flute to vocals to electronics, Haino eventually picks up the guitar in the second half of the piece, igniting a spectral blur over driving rhythms from bass and drums that eventually builds to a frenzied climax."
Growling, mongrel techno from the crooked NYC-Berlin axis of DJ Spider & Franklin De Costa, teamed with a battering ram remix by Shifted to properly haul ass for yer maw’s favourite label; Berceuse Heroique.
Following two doses for KilleKill in 2014-15, the duo’s 3rd meeting on vinyl coughs up the viscous black chunk of F Planet on the front, squaring lop-sided bassline with scratchy synths and wormy acid in a plasmic, subaquatic sound sphere to hold the dance under, whereas Astral Pilot operates in more rolling sort of sci-fi industrial style with oozing, effluent bass and the kind of calving guitars sounds more usually spotted on a psyche rock record.
The remix is a gritty bewt from Shifted, piling his weight into an hypnotic whorl of reversed-edited loops and pea soup fog dynamics with choking intent.
Geir Jenssen offers a very handy scan of hard-to-find Biosphere cuts c. 1991-2004 on his Biophon label, the latest in a comprehensive reissue agenda which has turned up some real charms so far.
The set ranges from his earliest dalliances with bleep techno rave, superbly so in the sub-loaded killer Hypnophone  off an obscure Norwegian rave compilation, thru to the coruscating ambient loops of Reef  for the Gonzo Circus magazine, taking in gorgeous Lynchian ambience with The Third Planet  and floating ambient structures redolent of X-Files atmospheres in The Seal & The Hydrophone , while catching him at his most wistful and cinematic with Bird Watching , and his subsequent, post-2000 turn toward textured ambient neo-classicism, such as the spectral interceptions of Vi Kan Tenka Digitalt, Vi Kan Tala Digitalt , the stark but sensuous lushness of Valchirie , and his organ work, Visible & Invisible  for Touch.
Definitely not just for the fans, this is a discreet slice of ‘90s ambient history for lovers of icy electronic romance.
Sub Rosa extend an invitation to peruse the dreamlike parallel dimensions of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film soundtracks - a quietlt transportive and transfixing blend of field recordings made on location in Thailand, interspersed with pop and folk songs, ambient electronics and incidental sound.
“Apichatpong Weerasethakul is recognised as one of the most original voices in contemporary cinema today. His seven feature films, short films and installations have won him widespread international recognition and numerous awards, including the Cannes Palme d'Or in 2010 with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Compilation album 'Metaphors' contains 14 soundworks carefully selected from his past cinema and other visual works since 2003, which includes Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Syndromes and a Century, Fever Room and more.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul has regularly worked with the same sound designers since 2003 and has always given importance to the personality of on-location sounds giving his films a sense of continuity. In post-production, he's fascinated by the manipulation of these 'live' sounds in order to express 'reality'. This reality doesn't necessary represent the actual sound of the places, but more a representation of the world in layered memories. Similar to the way he treats images, Apichatpong sometimes calls attention to the physicality and the fragility of the audio (and its apparatus) and to the process of audio manipulation itself.
In his cinema, Apichatpong prefers natural sound sources over music. Nevertheless, he often boldly incorporates popular songs that were persistent during the shooting. He doesn't shy away from using tunes that relate to his own personal memories. In this sense, Apichatpong values the spirit of authenticity much more than rigid manipulation of audio and weaves a complex and dreamlike soundscape in his cinematic repertoire.
Born in Bangkok, Apichatpong grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He began making films and video shorts in 1994 and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998 and is now recognised as a major international visual artist. His art prizes include the Sharjah Biennial Prize (2013) and the prestigious Prince Claus Award (2016), the Netherlands. Lyrical and often fascinatingly mysterious, his film works are non-linear, dealing with memory and in subtle ways invoking personal politics and social issues.”
Fully freaked electro from mid ‘80s-early ‘90s Japan, drawn from dead hard-to-find LP and 7” and reissued on vinyl for the first time! Loads of vocoders, wobbly funk lixx, and gangsta-leaning flamboyance for those who like it greazy and freeky as hell. Think Arabian Prince meets Haruomi Hosono at Funkadelic’s hut!!!
“Japanese Electro original, Minoru Hoodoo Fushimi, self-released four albums. Two vinyl LPs and two CDs between 1985 and 1992. Melbourne`s Left Ear Records have selected twelve tracks, for a double vinyl retrospective. 10 tracks from Minoru`s four albums and a further two unreleased tracks from the archives.
Minoru set out to combine his love of all things Funk with traditional instruments and song from his homeland. He uses shamisen on Thanatopsis. Where Parliament`s Flashlight, George Clinton`s Atomic Dog, ride with Osamu Kitajima`s Masterless Samurai. Shakuhachi on Mizuko No Tamashii Hyakumademo. Nohdashi puts koto with a Jimmy Castor riff. All set to popping and locking beats.
Minoru`s vocals switch between raps about cellular metabolism and haemoglobin, Soul croon and vocoder. On Shinz-San he adds Metal guitar to vintage Sugarhill. And he goes crazy with his sampler. Scratching in cats, frogs, babies, laughter, giggles, traffic jams, failing ignitions, opera singers, and amorous sighs. Furarete mixes elephant roars and Go-Go. Creating unique avant grooves that share something with Tackhead`s ON-U Sound System, Savant`s tape experiments, and fellow countrymen EP-4.
The G.O.D. squad’s Sabla joins the Disk cabal with a deeply knotted, introspective rhythm trip that sounds like the mutant techno output of The Threshold Houseboys Choir. Trust, the voodoo is strong on this one!
For only his 2nd full release Turin’s Sabla stakes out some heavily idiosyncratic ground with Danzaguida, luring us into some fetid K-hole headspace with the queered digital timbres, curdled chorales and blacksmith rhythm of the title cut, recalling Peter Christopherson’s infamous project crawling out of a club sewer, before Fire/Wire simmers back to a gunkier acid style, all protein-gargle and over-the-shoudler darkroom intimation. W gives a more brittle, psychedelic display of pygmy hoots and slow, thrumming drums, and then Tohc kinda single-handedly shows a lot of the grey area stuff as, well, just a bit uninspired, by taking that style’s rhythmic points of interest into tripper realms of plasmic layering reminding of Ruben Patiño’s ace Lag_OS output.
One of the strongest we’ve heard from Beau Wanzer or Jealous God, Issue No. Twenty beats out six meaty EBM treats for those who like it hard and salty.
There’s a lot of fun to be had toggling between 33/45rpm with two cuts, namely the grungy/jacking signal jammer Speaker Sisters, and the churning/fast/slow bounce of Kipper Hunk, while the rest deliver proper darkroom thrills between the distorted torrent of abuisvie nose in Shitty Ear Cough 17, the rictus DAF-style tang of Cave Mace, and the starkly echoic funk up, He Pushes Meals.
Whities offer a flighty suite of ambient, classical and techno fusions from Jules Venturini (aka Catch ov South London Analogue Material) for the label’s last release of 2017.
While Venturini’s own label specialises in brute industrial techno forms, his own output, as evidenced here, is more open-minded and fanciful, establishing airier coordinates with pendulous, phased string loops and bleeping electrical disturbance eventually precipitating a direct techno groove in Flying Kites, kinda like Maxwell Sterling meets a kick drum, whereas the swooning, weightless string cadence of Keep Me Close comes off like some mutated Arthur Russell instrumental, and spends his techno pound proper on the James Holden-esque Trace Of Smoke.
Justin K Broadrick puts his club foot forward for Downwards on four trampling techno bombs gathered under the Exit Stance EP. With no prizes for guessing what the title is about, he further girds us against broken Britain’s grim future following his Suicide Estate 2LP for Hospital Productions.
This is some of Broadrick’s most direct, primitive, and ruggedly impactful gear, forged in the belly of the black country with charred traces of late ‘90s Brummie techno edged by sparingly used daubs of patented, pollutant synths and plasmic dubbing.
A-side; he offloads the rollicking hydraulics of Exit Stance, a rallying charge of tribal bass drums and cranky percussion from the Female/Regis skool, whilst the droning, beat-less squabble of Motivated By Jealousy takes an acute measure of blighty’s radgy pulse.
B-side; his Bullied By Love comes off as a grimacing answer to Ancient Methods’ industrial steppers, then Caveman goes on like a chips ’n curry sauce-fed analog to Muslimgauze-via-Vatican Shadow vibes.
Aye, we’re all fxcked. But at least we can dance about it with JK Flesh.
Freshest ear-floss from Masami Akita a.k.a. Merzbow on Bedouin Records, following that brilliant hybrid CD/vinyl Hyakki Echo for Dirter with two typically longer form pieces of squabble and scree.
Like the intensely variegated new styles revealed on Hyakki Echo, his Tomarigi session is neither harsh wall-of-noise nor avian ambience. Instead, he locates a sort of unstable mid-ground flux, veering from fractious shrapnel and pronged lashes to passages of lacquer-bubbling rhythms and a thicket of trance inducing pressure recalling Black Mecha onslaughts in the middle of side A, while the B-side starts with a brace of shockingly spacious and clear sine waves hat soon enough erupt into a spirit-dousing inferno and freewheeling pitches practically describing avian flight.
The first book of photography by Rod Modell, a collection of over 100 personal photographs made during a 8 week stay in Barcelona during April-June 2016. A CD of Barcelona field-recordings and emotional atmospheric sounds by Rod Modell (that were influenced by the images) is also be included.
These unique images and musical textures emphasize the darker, nocturnal side of Barcelona, and capture fleeting seconds that occurred between the moments that others noticed.
Nigeria’s Kingsley Bucknor’s ‘Just U and Me’ LP gets the long-awaited reissue treatment from Left Ear Records.
"After cutting his teeth playing with Fela in the 70’s and releasing two afrobeat LP’s Kingsley travelled the globe before finding himself in London, it’s here that he laid down 6 distinctive electro-funk tunes inspired by African rhythms and music he’d heard through his travels in the States and in Europe.
Originally issued on Kinglsley’s own KAB records in ’85 and according to Kingsley the release was well received at the time, but due to constraints of international marketing the record remained mostly unknown outside of his homeland. Fast-forward to 2017 and the stage is set for a new global audience to appreciate the distinct sound of KB."
L.I.E.S. document Svengalisghost’s performance on French TV in 2015 with this set recorded direct to the studio board.
Expect six track of deathly trudge and queasy industrial synth streaks laced with Marquis Cooper aka Svengalisghost’s processed vocals. Think John Carpenter meets Atrax Morgue in gotham city at midnight.
Japan's EM Records serve the 2nd of 2 thistly bouquets by Alexandra Atnif, committing her self-released, 2CD compendium of early tape releases to the Romanian artist’s debut vinyl release.
Rounding up cuts from her self-released tapes, harder-eared listeners will be in their element with Atnif’s brace of unforgivingly noisy and clenched monotone grooves, all inspired by the brutalist architecture of her home country, and each laced with a sliver of pathos that rescues them from the abyss.
Japan's EM Records serve the first of two thistly bouquets by Alexandra Atnif, committing her self-released, 2CD compendium of early tape releases to the Romanian artist’s debut vinyl release.
Rounding up cuts from her self-released tapes, harder-eared listeners will be in their element with Atnif’s brace of unforgivingly noisy and clenched monotone grooves, all inspired by the brutalist architecture of her home country, and each laced with a sliver of pathos that rescues them from the abyss.
Haunting new renditions of renaissance chamber music, interpreted with vocals and acoustic and electronic instruments. One to check if you liked Akira Rabelais’ Spellwauerynsherde or indeed any of Chauveau’s sublime releases for Type or Fat Cat etc
“All pieces of the Renaissance Repertoire come from Cancionero de Colombina (around 1470) or Cancionero de Palacio (around 1510). Both sources are well known for their typical Spanish repertoire of this period. Electronic music artist Sylvain Chauveau did new versions of several tracks and added also some drones to the program. Daniel Manhart did the compilation and the additional sound design and mixing. All pieces on this CD are hardly ever performed or recorded -- a fine, sensitive, interesting crossover between early music and contemporary electronic music with a repertoire mostly unknown.
Sylvain Chauveau has made solo records on labels such as FatCat, Type, Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier, and Brocoli: very minimal compositions for acoustic instruments, electronics, and vocals. His music has been played in John Peel's show on the BBC and reviewed in The Wire, Pitchfork, Mojo, Les Inrockuptibles, Libération, The Washington Post, and many others. One of his tracks was published on the compilation XVI Reflections on Classical Music (2009) alongside pieces by Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. He has played live around the world (Europe, America, Asia), performed in museums and art galleries, and was artist in residence at the Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto, 2011), Fundacao Serralves (Porto, 2011), and Lieu Unique (Nantes, 2004 and 2014).
Chant 1450 Renaissance Ensemble sings and plays the sacred and secular repertoire of the 15th and 16th century. Including musicians trained at the widely renowned college for early music Schola cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, chant 1450 appeared live in January 2005 and then sang for a highly acclaimed first tour in Switzerland with La contenance angloise -- sacred music of the 15th century, followed by more than 150 live performances in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, and Switzerland until today. Chant 1450 was invited to major festivals like the Rheingau Festival (Germany), the Montalbâne Festival (Germany), Festival for Early Music Zurich, and many more. Artistic Director and responsible for all programs and recordings, including sound design, is Daniel Manhart, a tenor born in Switzerland.”
The first time that Daniele Patucchi's score has ever been released on vinyl.
"A bona fide Italian horror masterpiece. Directed by Franco Prosperi (MONDO CANE). Released in 1984 the story sees a batch of PCP leaked into a zoo’s water supply infecting the animals who band together and rise up to destroy their captors. It’s one of the greatest nature run amok films ever made and is in turn thrilling, revolting, scary and hilarious.
Patucchi is one of the most underrated Italian composers for some reason but we here at Death Waltz want to change that with several release lined up in 2017/18. His work here undercuts the wild action and is actually quite sombre in tone, armed with a battery of synthesisers and processed animal effects he manages to craft a score that is a world away from the usual Italian soundtracks that graced films in this period. Long droning bass tones underpin some sumptuous sax and some back breaking synth drums literally destroy everything in their path. We won’t lie, this score requires patience, but spend time with it and you begin to love it for the chances it takes."
Surveying the Japanese ‘80s ambient zeitgeist, V-O-D go deeper than everyone with reissue of multimedia artist Osamu Sato’s obscure ambient work Objectless, appearing in a newly remixed form based on the original 1983 tape release for Skating Pears.
Sato is best known as creator of the LSD Dream Emulator and Eastern Mind classic computer games and their soundtracks, which are held in cult regard by nerds the world over. This new version of Objectless hears Sato sensitively return to and remix his debut release, resulting a sound that clearly resonates with decades worth of immersive computer games which have arrived in the original tape’s wake.
It’s all remarkably free of the more cloying aspects of this era, when many artists were prone to show off more jazzy, proggy flights of fancy, as Sato tends to keep his arrangements efficiently trim, resulting some really ace drops of minimalist electro, and two really choice pieces of purring, rhythmelodic chimes and flutters that pre-echo the delicacies of Japanese house music in the glittery electro-techno of Eight Beat Infinity, and the lissom acid flutter of Helicoid Guardian, which patently sounds like The Orb.
Sophisticated, jazzy rare groove vibesing from Dego (4Hero) & Kaidi (Tatham) on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature bastion.
As broad as it is deep and plush, A So We Gwarn catches 14 prime examples of the long-running duo in irresistible effect, turning their hand to myriad variations on a soulful broken beat hustle, flanked by loads of their mates and regular collaborators; Mr. Mensah, Nadine Charles, Sarina Leah, Yelfris Valdes, Ray Carless, Wayne Francis.
We spy highlights in the swinging, Afro-cubed shuffle of Decide What You Choose, and the Mala-in-Cuba-esque roll of Nyabinghi Warriors, with the chrome squirt boogie of 18.1096 N 77.2975 W showing all the new boogie cats how it’s done, and Don’t Put Your Hat Where Your Hand Can’t Reach finishing up on a live-o jazz-fusion flex with double deadly percussion.
Finally cradled in our trembling mitts, this is the feverishly awaited vinyl edition of Coil’s A Cold Cell In Bangkok - a V.V.V. spesh version of a classic Russian prison song, as originally heard on The Ape Of Naples album, then re-worked for, and previously only available, on the mix CD Sleepwalk: A Selection By Optimo (Espacio) in 2008.
As one of Coil fanatic J.D. Twitch’s favourite tracks by the late, tragic electronic gods, the exclusively commissioned Peter Christopherson mix was given pride of place in the sequence of Sleepwalk: A Selection By Optimo (Espacio), which sweetly sent us and many others to slumber for years after release. However, frustratingly the track was only available as part of the mix, until now.
We hardly need to stress its haunting, elegiac beauty to any Coil fan. But to everyone else it’s among the most heartbreaking, strangely life-affirming songs you’ll ever hear.
Miss at your peril.
Carl Michael von Hauswolff sonifies the invisible, the unheard in Still Life - Requiem, presenting the sounds emitted by physical matter, as extracted and revealed through emission spectroscopy executed at Linköping University, Sweden. Its a direct continuation of CMvH’s role as chief ghost hunter or Egon Spengler of the contemporary avant garde, and an eerily fascinating listen.
In the true sense of a psychopomp, CMvH acts as a bridge between dimensions and perceptions of life and inanimate matter, analysing its frequencies or entropic aura, then pitching up, amplifying the results until comprehensible by the human ear (between 15 and 14000Hz).
So far, so scientific, but the art creeps in where CMvH farther manipulates that material by stretching, looping and equalising it into something else. When heard in context of his intentions, those sounds form a requiem - a sort of comforting dedication to lost souls, which are usually human or animal, but in this case not necessarily so.
If you like listening at the threshold of perception and drawing your own conclusions from freaky sonics, your lugs deserve this one.
After 25 years in the game, Detroit’s original Norm Talley commits a stonking debut album to F.X.H.E., giving the label boss a run for his money with some of the rawest, deepest, soulful 313 gear we’ve heard since the last Omar-S LP. No messing, this is one of the strongest house albums you’ll hear all year!
Since emerging from the mentorship of Ken Collier as a member of Detroit’s West 6 Mile Crew, Norm Talley has remained true to the artform of Detroit house, factoring its disco touchstones into the modern day in much the same way as Anthony Shakir, Omar-S or KDJ, but perhaps never really receiving so much recognition outside the city.
Bringing a timelessly direct, burning sound to the fore in all 14 tracks, we’d like to wager that Norm-A-Lize is set to garner Talley the wider love he deserves from newer, younger generations and veteran heads alike. Seriously, this is the kind of gear you don’t hear every day - from the on-point sampling to the rugged knock and swang of his drums and bass, this is totally prime, irresistible dancing gear that works miles away from precious tech-house bodgers and delivers more ecstasy in your pants than any ‘90s trance anphem.
Just watching the EQ on our mixer, we can see the acres of space and dynamic in each groove, from the peak-time disco-house peaches of Get It Right and the Shake/Soundhack-esque chord chops of Dub Station, thru the Roulé burn of Alright with L’Renee, to the way those toms and rimshot just bang thru the mix on The Dream, then you’ve got the pendulous, sub-swung aerobics of Earth Vabrations, the mean-ass Afro-cubist techno swerve of Cause I Believe, those jazz funk riffs on Paradise Garage, Stingray-ready techno in The Body, and some proper, grumbling dub techno in The Rise.
Seeeeriously, all dancers, DJs, this is just 100% essential!
The seven brothers embrace a spiritual jazz sound, sans percussion, on their first album since the group’s father, Philip Cohran, passed away in February 2017
“With its cathedral-like, richly resonant acoustics, the new Hypnotic Brass Ensemble album Book Of Sound is a brilliant expression of interplanetary principle. The album is by turns urgent and contemplative, funky and reflective, varied in its textures; but entirely of one piece. Underpinned by concepts of earth's place in the cosmos, held in place by meditation, swirling with notions of history, science, theology, ancestry, there is a rich conceptual brew here.
The album rings with what back in the 1950s the jazz critic Whitney Balliet called "the sound of surprise". Book Of Sound makes you believe again in the validity of "spiritual jazz". Talking to Cid, one of the Ensemble's two trombonists, one phrase recurs: "back to the beginning". "We wanted to go back to the beginning, when we were kids, real young, and our father would wake us up at 5AM to practice for two hours before breakfast."
One outcome -- initially unplanned but subsequently embraced -- is that unlike their two previous albums on Honest Jon's, this is an album without a drummer. "When we started, as Wolf Pack, just brothers on the street with our horns, there wasn't a kit in sight." Book Of Sound retains plenty of rhythmic heft, but the absence of a drummer opens up space for a notably varied instrumental palette. Acoustic guitar, piccolo, synthesizer, alto sax -- all have their place on the album.
Most striking perhaps are the vocal lines that thread through the album and give it a palpable warmth. Sessions were recorded in Brooklyn and Chicago, and brilliantly mixed at Abel Garibaldi's studio in the Loop, and it's the Hypnotic's hometown that permeates. For Cid this is a deeply Chicago record: "It's got the vibe of the lake, the vibe of the prairies opening up to the west." It also has the vibe of those Sun Ra Arkestra albums recorded in Chicago in the 1950s, and -- of course -- the Phil Cohran albums from the 1960s.
It's Phil Cohran (the father of all seven members of the Ensemble and their first teacher, and not just in music) who is the album's guiding spirit. For Cid it's a major regret that, in the months before their father's death early in 2017, Phil was not well enough to play on the album. But Book Of Sound is a magnificent testament to their Cohran legacy”.
The outstanding maiden release on Pete Swanson’s Freedom To Spend label is a reissue of Michele Mercure’s sublime obscurity Eye Chant (1986), which was originally issued under her then married name, Michele Musser, and has since become a proper collectors item regarded for its patently otherworldly blend of minimal wave, new age ambient and creamy, krauty electro boogie.
In the early ‘80s, with a background working as a cell animator, and hailing from a mid-sized industrial town, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, Michele was embedded in the the town’s visual arts community but suffered for lack of decent music - a familiar whinge from anyone who grew up outside of the big cities - so she made her own wickedly inventive and expressive sound using synths, effects, tape loops, vocals.
Her visual and musical worlds first gelled in a 1983 soundtrack for Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, followed by three self-released cassettes which built on that aesthetic, creating a richly synaesthetic style of highly visual yet mostly minimalist music.
Released a few years later, Eye Chant was the pinnacle of her output, and is now revealed to the world at large, thirty years later. From the rim we’re sent skyward into the waltzing orbit of Tour De France (Day 2) and kissed with the budget Jean Michel-Jarre vibes of In The Air, handing over to the wistfully primitivist incantation, The Intruder and hitting lightspeed with her soaring soundtrack for a performance art piece, 100% Bridal Illusion, where she calves from ecstatic highs into a scene of tumbling 606 drum machine, seagulls and nods to squabbly free jazz.
The others also live up to her name, almost imperceptibly shifting from glowing microtones to alien noise and slippery, lounging electro fusion with Dream Clock, and then like some salty-curdled ambient stroke in Proteus and the Marlin that uncannily reminds us of mid ‘90s Rephlex charms - think super melodic AFX or Cylob - before melting all over the ‘floor with a wigged-out waltz called Too Much primed for the back room at One Eyed Jack’s.
It’s easy to hear, this is strongly tipped to fans of Julia Holter, Suzanne Ciani, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, AFX, Irdial Discs.