American rage on wax...
“Following the release of critically acclaimed LP Wake in Fright, which had two songs featured in the new season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, it was time for Uniform vocalist Michael Berdan and instrumentalist Ben Greenberg to return to the studio. The duo decided to up the ante and add a third member to help perfect their vicious post-industrial dystopian cyber-punk. After some deliberation, Greenberg called upon drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs) to help round out the sound they were looking for. Using a mix of triggered samples and real drums along with layered synths and good old electric guitar, the trio arrived at what would become The Long Walk after only a few short days in the studio.
From the opening whirr of the title track, it’s clear that the band is onto something special. Recorded in Strange Weather studios in the first part of 2018, The Long Walk is eight new tracks by the duo of Greenberg and Berdan, incorporating Fox’s skills behind the drum kit to add an entirely new dimension to the signature Uniform sound. Ditching sequenced tracks, Greenberg opted for single takes to highlight the Frankenstein-like guitar-bass-synth hybrid that oozes throughout the recording. Meanwhile, crushing guitar thunder is punched up by Fox’s masterful drumming while Berdan’s cries from the nether feel more desperate and morose than ever. This is Uniform at its most bleak, emotional, and powerful.
Lyrically, The Long Walk deals with paradoxes in spirituality and organized religion. Growing up in a devout Irish Catholic household in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, Berdan went to Catholic school for most of his primary education, and even was an altar boy. Fear of Biblical hell and damnation felt tangible. As Berdan grew and matured emotionally, he began to reject Catholicism bit by bit, viewing the church as a judgmental, repressive people who choose to live their lives dictated by hateful, fear-mongering dogma.
In the recent past, Berdan found himself slowly reconnecting with his Catholic background, observing how the faith that he found so repressive served as a great source of comfort and strength for so many. Eventually, Berdan began to view at the root of Catholicism and all major world religions a practice of love, tolerance, peace, and altruism. He began identifying as Catholic again, finding that basic tenets to be good guiding principles for daily life. Yet therein lay the contradiction that drove him from religion in the first place — many of the human traditions of the church also dealt in repression, intolerance, and bigotry, and some of mankind’s most hateful acts have been carried out in the name of God. Could one observe the rituals and practice of a faith while acknowledging and rejecting its ugliest elements?
The title The Long Walk comes from a Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) dystopian novel about an oppressive government that forces some of its children to endure a grueling game where there is only one survivor. In this case, it’s an allegory for an extended march away from comfort, family, and faith, and eventually into an amorphous sense of spirituality that can be understood on a personal level.”
Djrum strikes a fine balance between his beats and rekindled classical piano skills, also featuring Zosia Jagodzinska (Cello), and Lola Empire (Vocals). Check for canny highlights in the rudely serpentine swerve of Sex and the scrollin hardcore tapestry of Showreel, Pt. 3.
“'Portrait With Firewood' is Felix’s most personal body of work to date, the product of an emotionally turbulent 2017, capturing the range of feelings and emotions he went through in vivid sonic beauty. By putting aside his previous sampleadelic approach he returned to his childhood instrument of the piano as a core starting point.
"It's a confessional record… I realise that's a word mostly used to describe singer/songwriter rather than (largely) instrumental music, but I think it's apt. There's a sort of emotional candour.”
Felix is classically trained in the jazz tradition and influenced by the likes of Keith Jarrett and Alice Coltrane. Previously he was shy at the prospect of fans hearing his piano playing, but determined to overcome this fear he has brought forward a new honesty to his work. "Finding the confidence to work with my own piano improvisations was a big part of that. Once I had figured out how I was going to make the music, it actually fell in to place rather quickly.”
Felix's goal was to create something "overwhelmingly beautiful", but also to capture the "inherent melancholy in beauty in all it's impermanance and fragility". He took inspiration and solace from performance artist Marina Abramovic. "She has an incredibly deep understanding of the human condition, and expresses it in such a poetic way. Many of the themes of her work had particular resonance for me over the course of 2017 as I worked on the album. I was moved to tears on several occasions watching her videos or reading about her work.”
Felix collaborated with cellist Zosia Jagodzinska and vocalist Lola Empire. Jagodzinska recorded several takes of improvisations over the track 'Creature' which Felix would chop, pitch and layer into new melodic lines and seed throughout the album.
Felix's new approach expanded to experimentation with field recording, contact micing his beloved piano and purchasing his first hardware synth, all in service of enriching the personal, humane quality of the record. "Music helps me to communicate the sorts of things that I find almost impossible to put in to words. I think the process for this album has helped me create a more rich and emotionally complex body of work than I have managed before.””
Relentless, wickedly stylized UK bangers from Anz, arguably one of Manchester and the UK’s hottest DJ/producer properties right now
Originally dispatched in late 2017 on the label arm of Chow Down, a pivotal Manc grime night where Anz shares resident duties with Finn and Fallow, her eponymous debut is testament to the city’s mutant, high energy club sound, in flux between darker drill and trap, hyper-coloured grime, and ghetto techno.
‘Panic’ is a heat-warped, hyper-tropical grime mutation recalling LD and D1’s wildest scanners, then ‘Clanger’ dials in cartonnish grime melodies on a severely dank drill half step, before ‘Fencin’ tramples like Zomby in Terminator mode, and ‘Loa’ executes some classic grime juju like a darkside warehouse take on Skepta’s ‘Stage Show Riddim’.
Call it murder.
Kuedo’s Knives present a scintillating ‘mixtape’ of sorts by L.A.’s Nicholas Zhu a.k.a. bod...
With Limpid Fear bod invites listeners to swan dive into his mind and see/hear/touch the sights, unfurling as 30-odd-minutes of electronic filigree laced with traditional Chinese instrumentation subtly framed in classical chorus and composition.
It’s a style already familiar to Knives releases, from the expansive visions of Kuedo to the precision of J.G. Biberkopf or v1984’s melodramas, but bod distinguish themselves by the inclusion of sylvan sadlad bleats and Chinese instrumentation, which cannily loops back into Vex’d roots in sino-obsessed grime and dubstep as much as his fascination with classic anime soundtracks, which is possibly the best prism thru which to view this release - as an action-packed and emotive rush of sound images in flux between rapid motion, desolation, panic and ecstasy with an accelerated intensity of sensation.
Ekin Fil revels in negative ecstasy on her 4th haunting for the sympathetic ears at Helen Scarsdale Agency. Make sure to check for the Sarah Davachi-like spectre of ‘On The Move’ and the billowing glossolalia of ‘Nocturnal Arc’ for her most shivering sensations, and clock the closing number ‘At Dawn’ for a surprising new electronic angle to her sound recalling the most opiated Alessandro Cortini works
“Ekin Fil continues her quietly complex dream-pop oeuvre on Maps. For many years now, this Istanbul musician has been writing mysterious and haunting songs, rich in heavy-reverb effects and an introspective torpor. With each successive album, her songwriting has blossomed through broader instrumentation and more intricate melodic phrasing, though the somber atmospherics and ghostly manifestations remain a judicious constant. Minor-key, tear-stained notes of piano, organ, and guitar veer along elliptical orbits as a soft-whisper lilt of Ekin's voice narrates more by emotive decree than by literary couplet.
Maps addresses the distance and dislocation of the self from the bustling center of Istanbul, where Ekin FIl (neé Ekin Üzeltüzenci) had once called her home. Having spent her first winter on a relatively quiet island in the Sea of Marmara (while still in the greater metropolitan umbrella of Istanbul), Maps is "lonely, different, kind of isolated," according to Ekin, who also noted that the island had "too much silence around. There is no other choice but to concentrate, I guess." Her poetics of silence on her previous recordings had been noted as an antidote or a dream capsule of sound in response to Istanbul's cauldron of politics, culture, and philosophy that has been boiling almost since the beginning of civilization. Maps bends that maritime silence into wind-swept smudges that complement her already spacious compositions.
The saddest songs of The Durutti Column excised of rhythm and those few plunges into sorrow by Harold Budd make for apt comparisons to Maps, in addition to the drone-on classics of Grouper, Slowdive, and Sarah Davachi. “
Ceephax surfs the retro-futurist zeitgeist with infinite finesse on ‘Camelot Arcade’, the fanciest steed in his now 20 year long catalogue
From the campy cover art pose to the classically eldritch music of ‘Camelot Arcade’, Ceephax proves himself the last of a possibly dwindling breed of English rave eccentrics. After 20 years of releases, he still manages to eke out charming new grooves from his trusted hardware set-up.
However, there’s less acid and more vintage analog synths this time, resulting a broader spectrum of classic-referencing styles between the glyding Italo-Electro of ‘Creon Happy’, the high-velocity techno depth of ‘The Green Night’, and the cascading cod-classical keys of ’The Great Gatsby’, and always with that winking, playful virtuosity that has elevated his music beyond the rest of the field - always innovating within his niche, never content to imitate.
Another dusty peach from ATFA: an 8-track Afro-Country album recorded in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
“In the 1980s, Abidjan’s Jess Sah Bi & Peter One became one of the most popular musical acts in not just the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), but broader West Africa, eventually performing with a full band to stadium-sized audiences at home and throughout Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo. Although they’d been popular radio and television performers for several years prior, the catalyst for Jess and Peter achieving this new level of stardom was their debut album, Our Garden Needs Its Flowers, recorded and released in 1985.
In contrast with the heaving funk, disco and reggae sounds of the day, Our Garden Needs Its Flowers was a lush fusion of traditional Ivorian village songs and American and English country and folk-rock music. Jess and Peter sang in French and English, delivering beautifully harmonized meditations on social injustice and inequality, calls for unity across the African continent, an end to apartheid in South Africa and the odd song for the ladies, all set against lush guitar riffs, rustic harmonica and rollicking feel-good rhythms.
Wrapped up in the sort of pop sensibilities that see YouTube rips of their music littered with nostalgic French-language comments reflecting on a time now some thirty-plus years distant, Awesome Tapes From Africa’s reissue of Our Garden Needs Its Flowers memorializes the best intentions of the golden years before the Ivory Coast’s social, cultural and political landscapes transformed radically. Surprisingly, it’s the first time the album has been re-released in a high-fidelity, legally licensed form. (Currently available versions for sale on digital retailers and posted on YouTube are bootleg recordings of a crackly LP; no one has sent the artists royalties for these sales.)”
Paranoid London pay tribute to legendary San Fran DJ, Bubbles Bubblesynski, who was tragically gunned down in 2017, nearly putting an end to their plan to make music together…
“We met Bubbles at the Sunset Campout in California last year after giving him a pair of socks to pad his bra out. He was exactly the kind of character we love to work with & we all decided that we should make a track together. The week that we were supposed to send him a backing track tragedy struck & he was gunned down & killed in the Tenderloin District of San Fransisco … San Fran-fucking-sisco! The one place on Earth he should have been safe. To date the crime remains unsolved & nobody has yet been charged with his murder (although it is pretty much an open secret who was responsible).
The next time we were in San Fran we were talking to mutual friends & they told us how excited he was to be doing the record. We couldn’t let that slide so we decided we had to make the track.
We took some audio from his Facebook account (a piece of film where he breaks in to a construction yard on his own, sets up his decks & holds a rave for himself), did our usual repetitive drums & acid and married the two together. The result is The Boombox Affair.
Finally, this record is a celebration of Bubbles’ character & vitality & a celebration of the diversity of our culture at a time when we all need reminding that dancing itself can be an act of subversion & revolution. Dance your asses off, drink, party, get off with each other: it’s what he would have wanted.”
From a basement in New Jersey, Tommy Falcone remade himself into a DIY Phil Spector. From 1962 to 1970, he founded and ran Cleopatra Records, discovered and mentored young Garden State talent, wrote songs and produced wild studio effects, and quit his day job to promote it all himself.
"Trained as an accordionist, Falcone had a whirlwind imagination and an omnivorous approach to genre, expressed through acts like the Centuries, the Tabbys, Johnny Silvio, the Inmates, Bernadette Carroll, the Hallmarks, Vickie & the Van Dykes, the Shandillons, Eugene Viscione, the Shoestring, and more. Cleopatra became a time-capsule of every 1960s pop style imaginable—garage rock, psychedelia, surf, girl groups, soul, novelties, exotica, even a crooner—a kaleidoscope of sound in search of the ever-elusive hit record."
Kaitlyn's solo debut Euclid (primarily written on a Buchla Music Easel synthesizer) was inspired by her love of mbira music, early electronic music pioneers like Laurie Spiegel, Oskar Sala, and Terry Riley, and euclidian geometry. Each of the first six songs on Euclid were initially structured using euclidian geometry, an idea which Smith explored while attending a class at the San Francisco Conservatory.
"As Smith explains, "We each chose a 3D shape and assigned our own guidelines to the different components that make up the shape. For example each point of the shape represents a different time signature, each line between the points represents a pitch, each shape within the closed lines represents a scale, etc. And then you play the shape." Despite their heady geometric origins, the songs have a playfulness and warmth that makes them inviting and memorable.
In addition to the buoyant grooves of Smith's synthesizers, some of the songs feature wordless vocals, which energize the otherworldly songs, while grounding them with Smith's earthly presence. She slows things down for the second half of the record, which features a collection of twelve short pieces, Labyrinths I-XII. Originally composed as new soundtracks to old silent films she found online, Smith says the tranquil Labyrinth pieces are "intended to feel like one is walking through a holographic labyrinth and encountering different experiences such as hang gliding, viewing microbes under a microscope, ice fishing in Alaska, and watching glaciers collapse."
Despite their brevity, most of these songs feel like mini odysseys, effortlessly casting a cinematic hue on the the listener's world. Throughout Euclid Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith consistently delivers sonic puzzles draped in a warm Pacific mist. At times these songs feel so alive — like the musical analog to roots growing deeper and stronger, leaves on branches bending towards the light, or the sun peeking over the horizon, briefly igniting the air with a primordial swirl of warm and cool colors."
David Lynch and Sacred Bones’ relationship bears sublime, vintage fruit with ‘Three Demos’ by Julee Cruise, dating to her earliest recordings with Lynch & Badalamenti that would become her debut LP, ‘Floating Into The Night’, as used on ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Twin Peaks’
The recordings yield a rare peek behind the red curtain of Lynch and co in the mid-late ‘80s, spying the formation of what would become one of modern culture’s most indentifiable, influential and referenced pieces of music.
Taking in the original Floating (Demo), which opens with a whispered spoken word into - “ever since you kissed my eyes / I find myself alive / I’m floating”, along with the timeless lullaby of Falling (Demo) a.k.a. the Twin Peaks title sequence music, and the intimate whimsy of The World Spins (Demo), this is a precious slice of history not to be missed by any fans of Lynch or indeed smoky, ethereal ambient / jazz / soundtrack music of all stripes.
Heavy-lidded, psychedelic electronica and slow house downstrokes from Argentine producer, Dissmentado
“A hypnotic time-capsule courtesy of Dissmentado aka Ismael Pinkler from Carisma and Kompakt collaborator, Máximo Graesse Bondino.
Recorded during summer trips in Buenos Aires and spending autumn in Tromso, Norway between 2006 - 2010, Maximo and Ismael met several times during that period and used friends houses and studios to produce a long list of material, selecting later the best of it for this compilation.
The tracks are long and slow, with deep and moving beats and long background sounds dedicated to warm up dreamers and after hour survivors.
The elements develop their movements in a relaxed way through the tracks creating a loose feel. Every beat was played with their hands and there is no arpeggiated melodies to remind you where the ground is.”
Late 2016’s ‘Highway Songs’ brought Papa M back to us, after many years of silence and several harrowing dances with death for his Id-ego/host body, David Pajo. Now, two years on down the road, we’re all here again to witness ‘A Broke Moon Rises’.
"‘Highway Songs’ was a necessarily cathartic experience in all phases. Afterwards, with no tour dates forthcoming (partially due to lousy clubs and their lack of wheelchair-accessible stage doors), it felt good just to play for fun again, like being in the practice space instead of the psych ward - a much healthier change of pace than some might guess. David blew it out; all the different styles he’s played in over the years, from folk-blues to metal, electronic, pop, Bollywood... all of it. When the spasms subsided, however, a back-to-roots sediment remained in the bottom of the bowl, which he read as a motive for a new Papa M album done with all acoustic instruments.
That’s how there’s nothing electric about ‘A Broke Moon Rises’. Even the drums are acoustic. The five songs of ‘A Broke Moon Rises’ find David focusing his technique in unknown directions, to find out what he can do with them. When that happens, he finds himself on the very spot where Papa M music becomes alive. As the quietly funereal march of the opening track resonates with a spare drum beat, we are completely transfixed into the open spaces around the guitars. David’s been engineering and mixing his records for years, so the sensation of his sound-thoughts doesn’t entirely surprise us, even in their latest, acoustic anointment. Layers of guitars curl and unfurl, falling away from the centre with feathery softness. Slide figures cut through the progressions with a rusty glide. Arpeggiations flicker with light, leading into a change that’ll break on ones ear like a small revelation. Even the sound of Papa M playing in the room, leaning forward or untouching the strings, provides textural byplay in created space. ‘A Broke Moon Rises’ is meditative in the most active sense, with the unquiet mind leaping from place to place in a static, spartan theatre. All of which action makes hypnotic music, perfect for listening.
The album’s title is based upon his son’s observation of a half-moon one evening (when his son was 29) and it helped infuse the record with an essential feeling, which draws to a decidedly tasty conclusion with David taking on an Arvo Pärt piece. After years of fascination with the music, listening in passivity, he finally decided to do something about understanding it by playing it himself. If you’re wondering, that’s the key to ‘A Broke Moon Rises’."
Pivotal Golden Püdel düde and Helena hauff collaborator F#X yields an hour long live-set recorded at +4Bar/Tresor on 16th December 2016 for Nina’s roving V I S label
Known as Kris to his pals, and as both C (with Nika Son), and Black Sites (with Helena Hauff) on discographies, F#X is his solo vehicle for hot-wired, raw and off-kilter electronic grooves, previously found on two tapes sparring with his other alias, E.K.G on his private imprint, 999USD.
‘9.12+4’ is effectively the first F#X release proper and a strong example of his mostly improvised praxis. Over the course of an hour long set, brittle electro drums fray and spray over hypnotic, gibbering synths and plasmic drones, spooling into piquant, chromatic Braindance melodies and sputtering IDM that sounds like a raw echo of the D’Arcangelo brothers’ productions or indeed, a not-so distant relation to Helena Hauff’s scuzzy rinsers.
Rose McDowell’s enchanting but long-overlooked Sorrow album, reissued for the 1st time in 25 years
"Sorrow is an English-based band that is the brain child of Rose McDowall, once known as one half of the '80s pop duo, Strawberry Switchblade. Rose's first band was called The Poem, an experimental three piece based in her hometown of Glasgow. While still with The Poems, Rose also joined with Jill Bryson as Strawberry Switchblade. The Poems released one EP entitled Achieving Unity, but they broke up shortly after its release, when Strawberry Switchblade began to gain popularity. Switchblade's top-five hit, "Since Yesterday," is featured on many '80s compilations, and still receives considerable club and radio play. Switchblade disbanded in 1986.
Since 1985, Rose has worked with many other bands, including Current 93, Coil, Death In June, Felt, and Psychic TV. Through the years Rose has carried on working in a more experimental vein, and ultimately formed Sorrow, releasing their first LP, Under The Yew Possessed, in 1993. They have since produced: Sleep Now Forever (1999), Final Solstice (1999), and Let There Be Thorns (2001)."
Despite praise and acclaim throughout his career, Roy Montgomery hates his singing. From his point of view, it’s done out of necessity, when he doesn’t have anyone else around to substitute.
"Roughly one quarter of Montgomery’s epic multi-album 2016 release R M H Q had his singing, and those are his least favorite tracks. Grapefruit has done the best they can to argue that his basso undertones are the center of his appeal throughout his entire body of work, from the first The Pin Group single on Flying Nun in 1981, through his work in Dadamah, Dissolve and on to his legendary ’90s solo releases. However, is it a surprise he jumped at the idea of composing an album for other vocalists? This began as a series of alternate takes of the material on Tropic Of Anodyne, the tracks with vocals off his last release.
That concept morphed into assembling vocalists to sing on new songs, and he conceived instrumental material that would fit each singer. Half of the songs came together, resulting in Suffuse. The album charts a slow progression from those who share similarities with Montgomery’s rumbling vocal technique to those who come at singing differently, with minute contrasts throughout. Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux) and Jessica Larrabee (She Keeps Bees) bring the first two tracks, with Katie Von Schleicher following with a raw expression of emotional loss, and the sisters Clementine and Valentine Nixon (Purple Pilgrims) expressing emptiness by stripping away words, weaving their voices together through Montgomery’s elastic webbing.
Julianna Barwick adds drive and nuance to the foamy sonic waves of “Sigma Octantis,” as “Landfall” crashes in slow motion chaos over Liz Harris’s (Grouper) multitracked layers. These compositions generously embrace their guest leaders, and for the first time in his career, Roy Montgomery has made a cogent artistic argument as to why he shouldn’t be singing these songs himself."
Bound to beguile and even shock their legion followers, Animal Collective genuinely push into experimental psychedelia with their ear-testing soundtrack to a visual study on coral reefs...
“Tangerine Reef is a full-length audiovisual album by Animal Collective (Avey Tare, Deakin and Geologist), in collaboration with Coral Morphologic, to commemorate the 2018 International Year of the Reef. Tangerine Reef is a visual tone poem consisting of time-lapse and slow pans across surreal aquascapes of naturally fluorescent coral and cameos by alien-like reef creatures (note: no CGI or artificial enhancement was used in this film). Tangerine Reef is the sight and sound of a literal underwater collective of animals.
In 2017, the Borscht Film Festival commissioned Coral Orgy, a collaborative site-specific performance by Animal Collective and Coral Morphologic ‘celebrating the cosmic synchronicity of sex on the reef’ in the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center on Miami Beach. The success of this performance ultimately led to this studio recording of Tangerine Reef and a subsequent performance at David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption earlier this spring at Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn, NY.”
Pivotal Manchester grime guy Fallow and his DJ Chalice alter ego go tête-à-tête on the 2nd release for Chow Down, the key club night that also includes Finn and Anz on its resident roster
In Fallow mode he tends to the contemporary sound of Withington with wistful sino vocals and minor key melodies on the 8-bar shrapnel of ‘Blitz’, while ‘Northern Don’ is all bolshy hyper coloured drama, and ‘Operation Dark Fruit VIP’ is a fructose overload of bashy pressure.
As DJ Chalice he goes cheekier with the piping hot melodies and R&G bumps of ‘Rewind Me’, beside the helium vox and dembow swagger of ‘Artois Anthem’, and the shades-on dazzler, ‘Raise Ya Chalice’.
UKF’s torch carrier lights up two rudely classy swervers on Roska’s label, a prime home for UKF and bass mutations
‘Expensive’ is a taut, head-high workout squeezing UKF’s soca syncopation on a whistling niche bassline, dashed with proper UKF strings to recall his classic ‘Tribal Affair’.
On the other hand, the bouncing toms of ‘Medium Drink’ hearkens back to Champion’s seminal ‘Motherboard’ banger, but with a sharper, acidic twinge to the bassline, and a patina of tropical humidity to mek ‘em sweat.
‘Sogno Che Suona’ is Caterina Barbieri’s spellbindingly glacial 20 minute work for modular synth
Blending strong cues from renaissance chamber music and late ‘70s kosmiche into soemthgin comparable with emotional punishments from Coil or Autechre.
Isle Of Jura Records / Temple Of Jura Records’ Kevin Griffiths a.k.a. Jura Soudnsystem rounds up a load of dub, downtempo, boogie and synth cuts for an ambient, balmy, lush and funky DJ pack.
Strewn with highlights such as Mix-O-Rap’s All Party People (Special Mix - Go - Go Style), Trevor Bastow’s saucy electro-boogie wiggler Integration, the digi-dubwise pressure of Seashore Dub by Astral Engineering, and a bittersweet synth vignette from Legowelt in Smackos mode.
“The first in a series of compilations by Jura Soundsystem, aka label head Kevin Griffiths, is a blend of Dub, Ambient, Downtempo, Boogie and Proto House with a focus on music never before released on Vinyl, sought after out of print titles and some special versions edited specifically for the album. The intention with this project was to delve deeper into the reissue pond and unearth some lesser known tracks and artists. Highlights include Smackos (AKA Legowelt) Ambient epic ‘We Can Watch Alf In The Hotel Room’, never before released on Vinyl, the Dub / Psych hybrid of Minus Group’s ‘Black Shadow’, Kash’s sought after ‘Percussion Sundance’ and special edits of Ken Dang and Tabou Combo. The end of the album includes some soothing Ambient tools.”
Tightly packed, up-for-it UKF and grime motions from Ozwald, for Manchester’s pivotal Chow Down club-turned-label
Taking the UK sound and flinging it back over the water, Ozwald returns a party-guaranteed batch of bangers between the hyper-tropical percussion and flash stabs of ‘Money Tree’, the speed garage wamp of ‘Grinding Tribe’, and the breathless UKF pressure of ‘Speaker Bugs’, whereas ‘Juju’ sidewinds off with sharper, moodier melodic developments and crafty brokebeat garage swang.
‘Itinerant Pattern’ is an immersive 30 minute study in elliptical, phasing, Reichian pattern recognition and kosmiche synth music realised by N. Chambers, a.k.a. the guy behind Digitalis’ apocryphal ‘Science Of The Sea’ LP
Electronic pop meets classical music...
“Anna Meredith presents Anno, a boundary pushing collaboration with the Scottish Ensemble, in which original pieces of work by the classical-electronic composer are intertwined with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Released via Moshi Moshi, the project began as an immersive 360 degree live experience and is now available on double vinyl, CD and digitally. After a recording process using the unusual ‘binaural recording head’ the project will also be available in an exclusive binaural recording – allowing the listener to experience the unique spatial aspects of the piece through headphones.
Anno was conceived when Scottish Ensemble Artistic Director Jonathan Morton drew parallels between Anna’s writing style and that of Vivaldi. Already admiring her idiosyncratic writing in the pop/electronic world, Jonathan approached Anna about a new piece for strings and electronics. As one of the most recognisable pieces of classical music of all time, Four Seasons was the perfect piece for Anna to work with, crafting experimental and idiosyncratic partner pieces to sit alongside Vivaldi’s original compositions. The result is a continuous musical experience, blending old and new, ‘classical’ and ‘popular’ without distinction and Anna’s fascinating new pieces binding seamlessly with the original work.”
Smart, fresh, blue pop music from London’s David Gray & Guy Gormley, presenting the first vinyl edition of their debut tape via Jolly Discs and Low Company
Regaling a suite of bittersweet synth-pop vignettes and lop-sided house jams for refined East London listeners and beyond, ‘The Word’ is a charmingly well-tempered and dreamy set of eight songs about love, life, and the odd bits in between, expressed in a mixture of dusty analogue textures, mulky melodies and David Gray’s genteel vocal.
Its songs could just as easily cater a low key ‘floor as a box room apartment, woozily keening from lilting marimba and Zummo-esque brass blurs in ‘Save’, to sound like a slompy, lo-fi This Heat in standout number, ‘The Hours I Wait’, whereas the airborne waltz of ‘Paparazzi Stakeout’ feels to reclaim Kompakt Pop Ambient styles from OCD-clean coffee tables. It’s hard not to be seduced by the balmy boogie loucheness of their instrumental ‘Father Brown’, but they’re definitely at best when it all comes together, with Gormley’s melodies, Gray’s vocals, and Jon Aumann’s lyrics at their creamiest and curious in the closing title track.
John T. Gast completes his BTEC alchemy course with a 2nd platter of of high-grade, low-bit-rate bleeps and vibes from the archive c. 2013
On the ‘Club Version’ module he fuses zig-zagging, Zomby-esque grime arps and classic electronic soul pads on a rugged aerobic mystic exercise, while the flipped is given to a weightless night flight guided by electromagnetic pulses in ‘Jettison II’, and ‘NUN-001’ enacts a stereo warfare between militant grime artillery and robotic synth spirits, ultimately with no clear winner.
Big RIYL Zomby, Actress, Hype Williams!
Necessary reissue of Laraaji's Brian Eno-produced sophomore album, originally issued on Editions EG in 1980, two years after recording and releasing his gorgeous debut, 'Celestial Vibrations'.
With the boffin Eno at the desk, 'Days of Radiance' presents "an uncharted synthesis of resonating zither textures, hammered rhythms and 3-D sound treatments" rendering his fluid improvisations in a series of swirling, layered trips.
It's effectively new age in dub, inhabiting a unique space of complex, diffuse harmonic patterns and overtones mapping out hypnotic, oneiric terrain between the styles.
If, like us, you've run the grooves of 'Celestial Vibrations' thin, you really need this one, too.
Blazing début of hyper dance music from Tanzania by Bamba Pana, the first in a series of albums highlighting producers from the Sisso studio. Grimy hard dance from Dar Es Salaam deployed at 150bpm+, a huge recommendation if yr into Shangaan Electro, Príncipe, Nkisi - the most exhilirating dance music you’ll hear in 2018.
Jumanne Ramadhani Zegge a.k.a. Bamba Pana is one of the core producers, alongside Jay Mitta, of the Sisso studio - a central hub for MCs and producers in the Mburahati ghetto on the outskirts of Dar Es Salaam. Along with his peers, Bamba uses a laptop and software to update the local, usually acoustic and instrumental style of Singeli, computerizing its hyper rhythms and zinging melodies for the needs of younger crowds in an upfront, direct way that has translated far beyond its East African roots, as anyone who witnessed the Sounds of Sisso tour or heard the acclaimed compilation will surely attest.
As a début album statement, ’Poaa’ could hardly be more distinguished. Perhaps best compared with the urgent tempi and quicksilver syncopation of Shangaan Electro or Angolan Kuduro to outsiders, it’s effectively a form of Tanzanian grime or hard dance music, using rapid-fire, hypnotic rhythmelodies to drive crowds to dance in thrilling, new ways.
Bar one killer cut, ‘Linga Linga’ featuring the distinctive bark of Bamba Pana’s long-time vocal foil, MC Makavelli, the set is entirely instrumental with voices used only as strobing rhythmic filaments. The other eight tracks range from an “introduction to brand new dance from Africa” in ‘Agaba Kibati’, to what sounds like turbo speed Makina in ‘Biti Three’, whereas ‘Baria’ hops from shredding synths to hyper coloured percussion in wild style.
Meanwhile ‘Biti Six’ features some of the set’s giddiest harmonies, spiralling so fast they evoke weightlessness, while ‘Kusini’ is patently compatible with the ruffest P. Adrix riddims for Príncipe, and the incendiary ‘Pooa Bama Rmx’ provides a breathless 145bpm race to the finish that feels twice as fast, thanks to its inimitable, needlepoint percolations.
‘Janus’ features five superb Sun Ra pieces written and recorded c. 1970-71, collected together for the first time
It’s by far most notable for Sunny’s mind-blowing Moog performance and wildly distorted gongs, along with Marshall Allen’s astral winds on the A-side’s ‘The Invisible Shield’ and ‘Janus’, but that’s not to discount the balmy charms of his slow, mellow ‘Island In The Sun’, or the zig-zagging hard bop of ‘Velvet’ and the honking free squall of ‘Joy’ on the B-side, which both make their premiere appearance on vinyl here.
’35 S. Raymond 1976’ contains riveting, previously-unheard improv recordings made just before and after the historic first concert by Los Angeles Free Music Society, held on the 4th floor of their titular, run-down building in Pasadena, L.A.
Documenting an evening in late January, 1976, in the studio-turned performance and party space shared by Harold Schoreder and Tom Recchion, ’35 S. Raymond 1976’ was salvaged from two separate archival tapes, made before and after concerts by LAFMS bands, Le Forte Four, Doo-Dooettes, and Ace & Duce.
The recordings each consist of three “tracks”, if you want to call them so, of pre- and après-gig improvisations by the bands’ varying members in mutating configuration, feeding off a collective energy that would become an important locus of West Coast experimentation for decades to come.
On the first side we hear them earlier in the evening, twisting inspiration from Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa’s avant-rock, along with jazzy flights of fancy and a lysergic primitivism, into colours blatzes of splayed breaks, keening folk discord and quizzically quieter passages of woodwind that just reminded us of the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari improv side.
The 2nd side spies them later in the evening, perhaps a bit sozzled but more attuned to odder frequencies, as they rove from pranging organ and shards of guitar noise thru increasingly lysergic gestures to passages of swampy, head-melting oddness, culminating a soup of metallic clang.
Ultimately the results demonstrate an inherent connection with what Derek Bailey was doing with deconstructed blues, and what COUM Transmission were doing with psychedelic noise, some thousands of miles away in the UK at the same time, basically arriving at similarly bold new conclusions after the psychedelic scene had burned itself out in iffy riffs and pharmaceutical excess, and exploring a vitally transcendent, DIY alternative to scenes hemmed in by convention.
Lechuga Zafiro makes a shocking solo debut proper with the harsh textures and infectious, abstracted latin rhythms of ‘Testigo’ for Mexico City’s ace NAAFI label.
Like Bernard Parmegiani doing latin rave music, ‘Testigo’ demonstrates Zafiro’s precisely rugged style in five killer parts, flowing in gritty roil from the beat-less designs of ‘Ita’ thru the pranging drums and stumbling rhythmelody of ‘Pájarocámara’, to knock on the doors of perception with lysergic effect and mind-bending torsion in ‘Agua Y Puerta’, while ‘Sapo Diablo’ sloshes his dembow all over the grid, and ‘Corazón Negro del Río de la Plata’ lunges a wildly synched 16th note EBM arp and pendulous trills.
This EP is making a lot of forward-facing modern dance music seem stilted and and boring by comparison. Don’t sleep!
In 1996, Masaki Batoh, who’d spent the previous decade recording, playing and living in a hippie communal environment with the heavy chamber folk outfit Ghost, formed a new unit to play in a different manner.
"He’d just finished making an incredible new Ghost album - ‘Lama Rabi Rabi’ - but making music with Ghost was an intense and nspiritual endeavor; for a change, Batoh wanted simply to enjoy, with a free and open mind, the playing of the kind of music that he and his musical friends had grown up with; the 70s sounds of British, American and Japanese rock. ‘Help Your Satori Mind’ is a result of things they just naturally jammed on during a couple of sessions. It’s totally out of Ghost’s world. Along with Batoh were fellow Ghosts Fuji on congos and Michio Kurihara (a modern psychedelic rock guitar god previously in White Heaven and eventually joining with Damon and Naomi).
Also invited were notoriously crazy drummer virtuoso Futoshi Okano from Osaka’s heavy rock trio Subvert Blaze, bassist Chiyo Kamekawa from Yura Yura Teikoku and organist / pianist Jun Koto from Kakashi. Together, they were Cosmic Invention. The sound of Cosmic Invention was equal parts exploratory and explosive, accessing classical modes of psychedelic and progressive rock and roll music. These guys were so powerful when they played together, Batoh eventually recruited them to form most of the line up for Ghost’s second US tour, in 1997, after ‘Lama Rabi Rabi’ was released. As Ghost, from coast to coast, they pushed American audiences up against the wall with the enormity of their sound. That, though, was the end of their group partnership together; Cosmic Invention was a one-time excursion into this music. Today, The Silence combine elements of Ghost and Cosmic Invention into their eclectic ongoing experience.
Originally, ‘Help Your Satori Mind’ was released by The Now Sound, who’d previously issued two Batoh solo records, both of which became available on Drag City (as ‘Collected Works’) following the collapse of The Now Sound, not too terribly long after the Cosmic Invention release. So, this record has been kind of forgotten for some time, which isn’t the fate that was meant for it. It is the kind of item to be unearthed in a sarcophagus many years later - and at 20 years and counting, now is a good time. This marks ‘Help Your Satori Mind’s first appearance on LP, the vinyl giving new dimension to their multi-hued, raw rock performances. It’s the first appearance of the aptly-titled ‘Long Jamming’, which wasn’t included on the original release. It’s also the first appearance of images of the band, taken while deeply in the album making spirit."
‘Sido Not Dead’ is a super groggy drone rock killer from Clayton Noone’s CJA, arriving in the wake of his head-slapping turn with The Futurians, which is also newly dispensed by Alga Marghen’s awesome Planam sublabel
The kind of record that will drive some to the edge of madness, and others to peaks of distorted euphoria, ‘Sido Not Dead’ says its piece in the bluntest, unconsciously honest terms with some 40 minutes of detuned, monotone, droning guitar jangle that makes everything else seem posh and try hard by comparison. Think Tony Conrad and Sunn 0))) attempting to undergo each other, and you’ve nearly got the measure of this magnificent slab. Maaaan, this shit is strongggggg.
“As reported by Campbell Kneale (Birchville Cat Motel, Our Love Will Destroy The World, C-Psi-P): "I narrowly avoided an English-second-language tete-a-tete in Belgium once when I refused to believe in the face of all evidence that Sunn O)))'s newly released Flight Of The Behemoth (2012) was not CJA. I was wrong, but whatever... I was already ascending Lucifer's path to the stars not garbed in chic grim-robes but a pilling homespun jersey that stunk of wet dog. I confess and repent... for me, all 'this kinda music' was an exercise in deftly crafted slovenliness and anonymous surface texture, but in spending time with a tape simply labeled Sido Not Dead I was struck dumb with the burning religious fervor of real people who had truly forgotten to give a fuck and at that very moment unto me was bestowed a mighty vision of two-bar heaters, worn cream carpet, mooching about in slippers with cups of budget herbal tea. A long winter weekend that passed too close to a tape recorder and whose glacial momentum had accidentally combed the little magnetic thingies on the cassette into recognizable geometric shapes. This was my (unwashed) fork in the road: facile, nihilistic, too lazy to make it to the letterbox, yet enlightened, enlivened, ascended, eternal... blangblangblang... GRONGGRONG... blangblangblang... GRONGGRONG... Fellow pilgrims and travellers to furthest inner outposts... herein lies your scripture."
Inch-perfect indie-pop with an unmistakeable Arthur Russell-esque sound from Westerman, produced by the genius Bullion
A-side’s ‘Confirmation’ is a radio-friendly 3 and half minutes of warmly harmonised folk-soul pop vox ready for the Yacht (or your canal-side barge), while the B-side is bluer, forlorn and blessed with an aching simplicity comparable to Jose Gonzales.
After 25 years out of print, Julee Cruise’s 2nd album, produced by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch, is finally pressed to vinyl by Sacred Bones. In case you’ve never heard it before, the vibe is as languid and dreamy as you could hope for, with highlights in the carmine noir of ‘Up In Flames’ and the subtle industrial underpinnings of ‘Until The End of The World’. Just unmissable late night music…
“25 years after its initial release, Julee Cruise’s sophomore album The Voice of Love is being issued for the first time on vinyl as a deluxe 2xLP, and returning to print on CD. In 1992, after the release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti, and Julee Cruise returned to the studio with new compositions as well as the intent to craft previously instrumental score-based material from Fire Walk With Me and Wild at Heart into Julee Cruise songs. The result was 1993’s final studio album The Voice of Love. “In the studio, David would always say ‘[sing] like an angel, like an angel…” Cruise remembers.”
Melodic indie-pop jangles, new from Mississippi
“After a slew of tape releases and years of playing shows around the Pacific Northwest here is the debut vinyl-release from Table Sugar, a band that could only be described by our team of underpaid writers as ‘very good’. Post-Punk/Genre Karaoke in the vein of other contemporaneous style-scramblers and re-thinkers such as LITHICS, HOUSEHOLD or perhaps even GEN POP (shared members??) A ditty about friendship and collective/subjective experience in the current Olympia moment—a city where simultaneously everything and nothing goes on. Think maybe of the music of TWELVE CUBIC FEET or the ethos of a band like MORBID OPERA or DELTA 5, or really just think whatever you want. The new wave of the O-Town sound. Look for a 12” version of their first keyboard-less tape from 2016 out later this year on Water Wing Records. “Thanks to each other.””
Jim O’Rourke returns with his first physical solo album since 2015’s Simple Songs, following a relatively steady supply of download-only releases via his Steamroom Bandcamp (over 20 of them since 2015) and collaborations with John Duncan, Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi, Peter Brötzmann, Merzbow, Fennesz and others in the interim. Anyone familiar with his exceptional Steamroom output will have an inkling of what to expect here; this is Jim O’Rourke at his most meditative, absorbing and quietly subversive, making use of little more than synthesizer, pedal steel, piano and shortwave radio for one extended 45 minute piece (punctuated by a few moments of silence) designed to mess with contemporary notions of “Ambient” music.
Sleep Like It's Winter took O’Rourke two years to construct after being approached by the fledgling Newhere label to submit an Ambient album. As he explained recently in an interview with ele-king: "I didn’t set out to make an ambient record but it’s sort of about making an ambient record more than it’s an ambient record (laughing) you know? Pretty much everything I do is about what it is as opposed to being it. Just making any record in terms of “make a record in this genre” is anathema to me, but I decided to do it because it was such a revolting idea! (Laughs) Not that I dislike ambient music – I don’t mean that. That’s just not the way I think when I make things, so it was such a bizarre proposal that I decided to do it.”
Citing Eno’s Discreet Music (as opposed to Eno’s work after the word Ambient had been adapted ) as well as Roland Kayn as influences, he goes on to explain "Roland Kayn was the biggest guy for me. Someone could call his music ambient but it’s way too aggressive for that. The idea of his music is you create the system and then you just let it go. The challenge is how can you create a system that still represents the ideas even though you’ve let it go. If you look at some of the last decade or so of Cage’s scores, like the number pieces, they create these systems. These later Number Pieces of his are really interesting because, if you do them correctly, they’re really constraining even though they don’t seem to be. Whereas someone like Kayn and what Brian Eno were doing, especially in the 70’s, they still want a result but they want to be hands off about it.”
The result is a layered and complex piece that takes multiple listens to fully get to grips with, revealing layers of detail deployed within a structure that seems to evaporate into its surroundings. In that respect, Sleep Like It's Winter subverts its brief with an incredible sleight of hand; a piece of music designed to actively, deeply engage but which camouflages itself into the background. It operates within the grid, however faint and hard to define.
"For me, in making this record, the most important thing was, “Where is a line where you decide to give up on formal structures completely?” and, “Where is a line where formal structures can still be perceived but they’re not being shouted at you? For me, in that way of thinking of music, which I’ve been moving towards my entire life slowly but surely (laughs)…"
Bonkers, delightfully daft free improv from inspirational West Coast refuseniks, Smegma, documenting Ju Suk Reet Meate and pals having a lark in L.A. c.1973-74 while their parents were out of the house
“New primitive-suburban-folk music from Temple City and Pasadena, CA, circa 1973-4. This new edition is culled from the original unissued Smegma tape vaults of Ju Suk Reet Meate and represents the most pure expression of the insular sound-world that was spontaneously discovered as a group. Unlike 2017's Look'n For Ya (TES 154LP) no song forms are ever used, instead fearless group improvisational vocals take you on a strange shape-shifting journey through operatic show tunes, spirit visions and visits to a delirium motel room.
The only exception is the title track "Abacus Incognito" that features poetry by Dennis Duck (Human Hands, Dream Syndicate, LAFMS...) with accompaniment by the family stereo console record player/radio unit and utilizing conventional instruments creating a strangely unique non-jamming sound. Except for the first track, all sounds were recorded casually in various band-members parents' houses while they were away... they would have been horrified! The final track is possibly one of the strangest concepts ever recorded, inspired by both the Lord Dunsany story The Three Infernal Jokes and the most popular record of 100 years ago, The O.K. Laughing Record (or OKeh), there is The Smegma: Laughing to Death Record.”
First ever official reissue of a synth-heavy Nigerian disco diamond, recorded and produced in 1979, known to trade 2nd hand for the price of return flights from UK to Lagos...
“Livingstone Studio present a reissue of Gboyega Adelaja's Colourful Environment, originally released in 1979. Fresh from touring with Hugh Masekela -- The Boy's Doin' It (1975) -- Gboyega Adelaja goes into the lab to drop heavy keyboard science on his Moog and Fender Rhodes. Its Joe Sample meets the Afro funk of BLO. With names like Jake Sollo on guitars, Mike Odumusu (BLO, Osibisa) on bass guitar, and Gasper Lawal on percussion, this is a top quality, Afro funk -- an all-stars affair that shines from the inspired interventions, masterly arrangements to the sublime production.
Adelaja on the period of recording: "I was already following Hugh Masekela when I met him, he was an outstanding musician and I knew of his collaboration with Hedzoleh, that band brought him nearer to many of us, because he was playing authentic African melodies with the Hedzoleh sound which was mostly percussion oriented. Yes I knew about Hugh's music before I met him. In fact when we started playing together, he insisted that I stay with him in our three bedroom apartment, other members of the band had their own apartments, but Hugh and myself shared the same three bedroom apartment".
"We were touring, under Casablanca owned by Neil Boggart, we toured as professional musicians, flying to our gigs. There was a time when we were touring with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic we had two luxury buses deployed for our use. We made many friends where ever we went to play, we met many big and popular musicians who came to watch our shows, the Spinners came to see us in Detroit, we met Wayne Shorter of Weather Report, Freddie Hubbard, we played a gig with Herbie Hancock at the Carnegie Hall New York City, we toured almost all the 50 States of the US."
This Heat’s beguiling 1977 Peel Sessions, collected as ’Made Available’, is somewhat ironically their hardest to find vinyl release. Now remastered from original tapes and sanctioned for reissue by Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward, they are finally ‘Made Available’ for the first time in 20 years
In 1977, the year after punk’s revolutionary arrival in the UK, This Heat broadcast two sessions for John Peel’s legendary BBC programme. Recorded on March 28th and October 26th, with Tony Wilson and Malcolm Brown as producer, respectively, the sessions paid fascinating testament to a band who were unafraid to go against the grain, fusing mannered, proggy art school sensibilities with jazzy, outernational rhythms and punkish no wave dissonance in a way that effectively set the path for post punk’s explosion of experimental ideas.
This Heat’s two Peel sessions pre-dated their landmark, eponymous 1979 debut LP by a few years, and effectively document the band in gestation period, hatching a mannered yet mutant sound that would influence countless artists, from Hot Chip to Powell, over the years to come. And it’s not hard to why! From the taut angularity of ‘Horizontal Hold’ to an early iteration of ‘Not Waving’ and the funereal enchantment of ‘The Fall Of Saigon’ from he first session, thru the schizzy eruptions of ‘Rimp Romp Ramp’ to the clash of possessed outernational styles and boundary-pushing rock chops on ‘Makeshift’ in the 2nd session; this set is a properly outstanding record of its times, and a huge highlight of the inestimable These Records label.
Conspicuous by his absence over the last few years, Dorian Concept breaks his silence with a colourfully plumed and intricately woven batch of prog-jazz-fusion cuts showing off his virtuoso instrumentalist skills on both acoustic and electronic gear...
“Following the release of “Joined Ends” in 2014 - a deeply intimate and textured project he describes as his “chamber music” record - Dorian Concept performed everywhere from Glastonbury to Sonar to MoMA PS1’s Warm Up and then deliberately took himself off the radar. The time since has been spent meticulously un-learning his prodigious production process and developing a brand new sound that even the most clued-up won’t be expecting - showcased on ‘Promises’, in the most prominent use of his voice to date. The recording and processing of his vocals represent not only a more human expression of his highly technical sound, but also an inclination toward recursion - the challenge, ephemerality, and demand for attention of “unequal repetition” which shapes the build and deconstruction of energy throughout the record.
Taking inspiration from multi-generational eclecticism (‘60s jazz, ‘70s fusion, ‘80s neo prog-rock, ‘90s electronica), Dorian Concept sought to replicate “modern” music elements with old-fashioned methods, live-playing and hand-recording deceptively digital sounds in service of a tongue-in-cheek “parody of nostalgia”. Having produced the record largely in the years 2016 and 2017 - widely characterized as periods of a cultural reckoning throughout the democratic world - he ambitiously took timely themes of cumulative error, shortening attention spans and subjective experience and transposed them into his making. As is to be expected from him by now, for all the considered, high-concept musing, the result is refreshingly unpretentious: dizzying swells, cacophonous breakdowns and formidable rhythms are both expert and childlike, hyperactive and hyper-focused.”
Thumping psych-rock trance-outs between Chilean krautrock unit Föllakzoid and J. Spaceman (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized)
“It should come as no surprise to fans of the Chilean trio Föllakzoid that upon meeting the legendary Jason Pierce a.k.a. J. Spaceman (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized), they discovered they were kindred spirits. Föllakzoid and Spaceman’s projects share a restless drive to explore the outer limits of music, as well as an uncanny ability to lock into a groove until it infiltrates the deepest recesses of the listener’s psyche. When Föllakzoid met Spaceman backstage at a Wooden Shjips gig at London’s Electric Ballroom several years ago, they instantly became friends.
For London Sessions, the Chileans and Spaceman joined forces for new live renditions of “Electric” and “Earth,” two highlights from Föllakzoid’s III. The recordings were made in a private studio in London while Föllakzoid was on tour in Europe in June 2016, and Spaceman’s contributions breathe new life into the songs.
“Jason added a very different harmonic atmosphere to the songs,” guitarist Domingo Garcia-Huidobro explained. “It somehow rearticulated the space and metric that already existed in a way the band never could. These new versions have a different edge.”
Brilliantly cruddy sci-fi garage rock skuzz from Dunedin, NZ’s The Futurians - think Black Mecha meets MARS at The Dead C’s gaff
Following dozens of tapes, CDs, lathe-cut 7”s and a few LPs dispatched over the past 15 years, ’Programmed’ is the first time we, like many others, have encountered the raw might of The Futurians and their incendiary sound.
As true offspring of the notorious Dunedin sound forged by Michael Morley and his ends-of-the-earth cohorts, The Futurians are raw as heck and properly up for making an hypnotic racket. On the A-side they do it on a side-long jam of oil-sputtering, churning motorik groove and possessed vocals demonstrating a blend of athletic endurance and locked-in drunkenness, before dividing their energeis into six more succinct bits on the back ranging from raging walls of mentation electronics a la Black Mecha, to clattering death rock swagger, and hammering primitivism recalling MARS’ no wave blatz, and proper, The Dead C-style psych soreness.
A no brainer. Most satisfying.
Two This Heat masterworks surface on vinyl for 1st time in 20 years, pairing the funky, cut-up noise of ‘Repeat’  a reworking of their seminal ’24 Track Loop’, with the haunting, extended gamelan workout ‘Metal’ , which effectively made up their 3d album, and were last found together on vinyl in the ‘Health And Efficiency’  2LP
Still sounding like little else before or since, ‘Repeat’ and ‘Metal’ are held in almost cultish regard by myriad avant-garde and experimental music observers and lovers. Both pieces stand at a crossroads of ideas, twisting traces of krautrock and Afrobeat with production techniques borrowed from concrète cut-ups and dub reggae to open up a new space in the fabric of musical space-time that best reflected the world around their studios in Brixton, London.
The A-side is given to ‘Repeat’ in its 20 minute entirety, offering a remarkable, reticulated edit of their early masterpiece, ’24 Track Loop’ stripped down to dubbed-out drum breaks and burning organ drones that effectively bridges the difference between Gruppo D’Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza and Raime. On the B-side, they effectively invert that sound, recording a carillon of gamelan-inpsired metallic clangs outside their Cold Storage studios, resulting a windswept sort of electro-acoustic hypnosis that still patently works its magic nearly 40 years later.
Mutant trap maverick Suicideyear tees up his first album in five years with ‘Color The Weather’, a gauzily nostalgic collection named in reference to a local colouring competition for kids
The deep south trap sound is still integral to Suicideyear’s style, but less prominent this time, with more attention placed on melodic and harmonic development, ultimately bringing him closer to Clams Casino’s sound.
Make sure to check for highlights in the crystalline, hexagonal drum patterns and off-kilter sino tang of ‘Kept Design’ and the deep south Autechrian pressure of ‘Path’.
Ahead of their hugely promising new album, Low give reflects on 20 years of releases in this month’s lead interview.
They also shine a light on Tangerine Dream’s hugely pivotal synthesist Klaus Schulze. Oliver Coates is tested by The Invisible Jukebox; Northern Egypt is covered in the Global Ear; along with features on mental health in music; Scottish instrument maker Sarah Kenchington; Pan Asian duo Tengger, and all the usual news, reviews, and listings.
RAMZi’s smudged ‘Phobiza’ cycle culminates with Vol. 3 and the birth of her highly promising FATi Records label
Taking the artist’s impressionistic trilogy to a natural conclusion, ‘Phobiza Vol 3: Amor Fati’ seals the series with a warm kiss off in 11 parts featuring guest input from Asael, Regularfantasy and Hashman Deejay. It's a lush, blunted, tropical session.
Arriving five years after Phoebé Guillemot's debut, ‘Amor Fati’ is love letter to an imaginary island perhaps unrecognisable from the infamous Ibiza of ‘Uncovered’, and parallels the sensual spaces dreamt up and enacted by white isle dreamers such as Tony Pikes or N.O.W.
Still, even those dreamers stop short of RAMZi’s fantasias, rendering a series of head-melting scenes in flux between hallucinatory dub, early hours house and balearic vapours that work so well as a psychedelic, late night soundtrack for tripping romantics.
180g vinyl. Includes download code
Well measured Americana dream-pop from London’s Still Corners duo, conjuring comparison with everyone from Mazzy Star to Julee Cruise
‘Slow Air’ is Still Corners self-produced 2nd album on Wrecking Light following a string of sides for Sub Pop.
Balearic boogie, reissued with bonus DJ Sotofett remix
The fructose overload of ‘The Boogie’ is exactly the kinda thing that would make us do a 180º on our heels and leave the room in so, so many Manchester party situations.
On the remix, Sotofett leaves it out in the sun to dry up, before dubbing it resplendent in psychedelic FX for a much freer boogie house turn.