The Pilotwings revise the salty psych disco of Lunga Strada from the Prins Thomas 5 LP in two fancy ways
First on a colourfully plumed Bubble Zouk mix chock with bird calls, xylophone vamps and latin freestyle-esque edits, then a more stripped down Bonus Beat emphasising those mad edits and freaky dubbing.
A marriage made in dub house heaven, the Accumulate EP is 1st in a series of collaborations between Fluxion and Rod Modell aka Deepchord, to be released via the former’s Vibrant Music label.
Converging from subtle differing yet wholly compatible angles, Deepchord & Fluxion’s Transformations duo explore an elegantly widescreen sound that sounds familiar, yet remarkably altered and uncharted in either artist catalogue.
Layered from fathomless bass pads and swooning string figures, Accumulate runs to just shy of 25 minutes across the two sides, with the 13 minute Pt.1 subliminally flowing and expanding across into Pt.2 in such a lush, hypnotic manner that you’ll almost be irked at having to get up and flip the disc, but then you’ll just flop back and restart the zoot and ride out into its diaphanous, dusky sunset.
Leaving Records’ head honcho Matthewdavid tips out a few years worth of cracked, sun-dazed hip hop, jungle and freaked grooves on Time Flying Beats - the Julia Holter and Flying Lotus-collaborator’s 1st serving since A Meditation On Events in 2016.
It’s a sterling dose of psychedelic West Coast styles meets rugged trap and Deep South sensibilities, working in and around the Low End Theory sound with a polychromatic, distorted flux of Memphis rap knocks, DJ Screw-like gangsta vibes and top40 trap bangs smartly messed up by properly lysergic electronic processing.
In a similar way to, say, Black Zone Myth Chant or even SKRS International, Matthewdavid really fxcks wi the format while somehow remaining true to its original intent, resulting some great work in his Steve Miller Band-gone-footwork freak Slipppin’, on his meter-messing shelter skelter Millenial Midnight, the Thriller-esque warped boogie slammer Flow With The Go, and his killer sunset mission Contemporary, but you’re advised to indulge this one whole, or even better with something stinky and green.
The Lasry Baschet duo’s pioneering mechanical instruments come to life on a reissue of their 1957 debut 7”, newly dispatched just over 60 years since release. Sounds remarkably electronic, but entirely made with acoustic means - glass rods, balloons, wet bows and metal sheets
“As a truly indispensable bookend to any listeners with the slightest interest in experimental music, French culture or the foundations of mechanical songwriting this inaugural release by these Parisian musical revolutionaries not only predicts the future sound of modern composition by almost 60 years but detangles the deepest roots of European popular culture celebrating an important historical family unison in the process. Combining the infant steps of Magma, the sonic blueprint of 1970’s TV theme Picture Box and the sculptural creations of Polly Maggoo this important and groundbreaking 3 track 7” EP takes us back to the very first aural glimpse of the future of pregressive Europe at the hands of physical sound sculptures glaring in the face of premature technology.
This EP and its varied three-pronged assault is the first step in the legacy of the Lasry Baschet unison uniting the husband and wife team of Jacques and Yvonne Lasry plus their son Teddy (who would later create Magma with Christian Vander) and hard material sculptors François and Bernard Baschet (who would later work with William Klein). It was this creative unison between visual art and experimental music, witnessing the Lasry family exchange their orthodox music skills in favour of crystal rods, balloons, wet bows and metal sheets, that would potentially change the course of European music which was already on the extreme verge of electrocution with the rise of tape music and embryonic synthesised instrumentation.
Promoting the phrase Instruments Non-électroniques (as celebrated on the sleeve of the Cacophonic full-length release 11CACKLP) the Lasry-Baschet collective’s humanistic music (an attitude upheld by composers like Michel Magne) would later spark the imagination of Jean Cocteau leading to installations at the Museum Of Modern Art leading to a huge shift in the way people approached experimental melodic music alongside the efforts of Harry Partch and other music machine makers. The appropriation of their music in art, theatre, ballet, film and television came closest to UK shores when their composition Manège was used as the long running theme for the children’s TV compendium Picture Box spanning three decades (rivalling both The Moomins and The Booktower for the most indelible and nostalgic spooky theme tunes in the history of British TV) by which time Teddy Lasry had independently become one of France’s most creative instrumental composers of all time.”
Amazing record! Avant-pop enigma Leslie Winer slinks the plasmic, recursive matrices of Jay Glass Dubs in a brilliant but unexpected marriage of husky trip hop and psyched-out dub styles on Your Mom’s Favourite Eazy-E Song for Bristol’s excellent Bokeh Versions.
Finding common, scorched ground between Jay’s gutted structures and Leslie’s abyssal, esoteric insight, YMFEES serves to perfectly highlight the similarities and mutabilities common to both artist’s oeuvres, which have previously shared label space on The Tapeworm, and both share a keen lust for the dankest ends of the dub pool.
With Winer’s lyrics reprinted in swirling ellipses and contoured kerning on the inner sleeve, and presumably (and smartly) designed to mirror the elusive structure of Jay Glass Dub’s arrangements, the listener is offered some kind of star chart thru their no-man’s-land mental dub scapes of ricocheting riddims and droll reportage from the brink of consciousness.
In a dancefloor situation, we’d imagine these tracks to trigger some healthy bewilderment, as bodies get snagged on Jay’s cranky churn and heads spun by Leslie’s stream-of-non sequiturs in Woodshedded, or likewise bullied by the blown-out bass and genuinely spooked, over-the-shoulder vocal of About The Author. However, it’s most likely to be consumed in solitude, which is probably the most appropriate for really getting into the album’s strangest nooks, such as the deliciously OOBE-like detachment of No Famous Actors featuring Winer as HAL-like ghost in the machine, or the masterfully heavy-lidded drowse of Cogged featuring a barely-there Winer suspended above Dubs’ murkiest, hypnotic strokes.
What a beauty?! Don’t sleep!
Necessary 1st vinyl edition of Laraaji’s 1984 new age devotional suite. Effectively gospel soul in the key of Om, written and performed on Casio keyboards, depending on your disposition it’s either worthy of comparison with Arthur Russell, or an extended Tim and Eric sketch. Take your pick…
“Vision Songs Vol. 1 (1984) is the LARAAJI album like no other, located at the intersection of new age and gospel, his outlier and magnum opus, the feel-good DIY tape of the century. Casio synth jams recorded at spiritual retreat guest rooms and a tiny bedroom on the Upper West Side, lysergically-spectacular anthems for a continually arriving new moment. “Channeled from the sky,” humbly offered as digital download for the first time, this is where this is going on, this is where this is taking place, this is how this is going on. Is this very clear?”
The Rapture’s rhythm section break away on a hi-velocity cosmic disco mission for The Ran$om Note. Hang on to your garys, this one’s got some serious thrust…
“Mother of Mars is the latest evolution of Vita & Druzzi, two New Yorkers who have provided the 21st century with some of its most innovative dance music. The duo first came to fame as the rhythmic backbone of The Rapture, NYC pioneers who found global fame with their angular post-punk and howling disco. Since then Vito & Druzzi have had a prolific career as remixers and producers, producing leftfield disco killers for a range of labels including Warp and Throne of Blood.
Their first release as Mother of Mars sees the duo fuse live krautrock drums with pulsating synth loops, creating two epics of space and rhythm that owe a debt to ‘70s kosmische pioneers like Tangerine Dream and are receiving support from the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Trevor Jackson and Francis Inferno Orchestra.”
Knackered, buckled industrial/EBM blatz for fans of Nick Klein, Smersh, Liquid G
“Amsterdam's worst kept secret makes it back to Unknown Precept with his long-awaited album and first solo output since the acclaimed Divine Bovine cassette mini-album. Inspired by an evening spent in a restaurant next to a car demolition site, Eindkrak's long player debut echoes the distant sound of steel being crushed and cars pressed into cubes. All this noise, in combination with the taste of good Italian food, lead to the eleven tracks making up for the aptly titled Brullend Staal — loosely translated to weeping steel. A leisurely stroll on crumpled metal sheets, the acidic hints of oxidized metal and the smell of gasoline. Inaudible and distorted vocals as if smothered by the clatter and smokestacks of steel factories. Eindkrak's first full-length is all about this disquietude made of melted and straightened metal. A resounding and tumultuous din. Try to eat some nice gnocchi while listening to this album, and you'll see what it is all about.”
Natty, tracky DJ tools from a cool-handed trio on Sven Rieger’s much-loved SUED label.
The bossman himself appears as Svn ‘longside regular spar Dynamo Dreesen, and Dave Huismans a.k.a. A Made Up Sound in a disciplined democracy of minimal nudges and tweaks yielding infectiously unsteady yet rolling grooves.
From the A-side’s swanging, bucking jack track, to the sloshing tribal percussions and dissolving dub patterns of the B-side producer is seemingly trying to under-do each other to the benefit of the ‘floor.
Avery goes slower, lower and moodier on Slow Fade for Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound.
The booming, 100bpm 808s and slunking acid of Slow Fade comes off like Alessandro Cortini reworking Plastikman’s Korridor; After Dark is a bittersweet tract of blurry shoegaze; Radius leans on a sort of early AI vibe reminiscent of B12 and Æ with wicked percolated hi-hats and breathy choral sync voices; Fever Dream finishes strongly on a commanding deep and dark techno trajectory.
Er, yeh. The best music we’ve ever heard from him, as it goes.
Metro Area’s seminal, eponymous debut album of disco resuscitations struts back onto the scene for a 15th anniversary edition, having lost none of its lustre over the interim years.
Morgan Geist has been releasing records for years on numerous labels such as Metamorphic, Clear, and his own Environ imprint, hitting gold with the future-disco purpose built for his Metro Area label.
For a taste of the funk, head for ‘Miura’ with it’s handclap beats and accapella samples enhancing the good side of the 70’s dance craze, but with no brass section in sight. Synth’s galore and floor bound grooves litter the LP and it runs superbly as an album, but also as single tracks, hence the poularity of the 12”s.
Expansive new opus by one of the world’s leading film soundtrack composers...
“Cycles 7-16 is a natural progression from Matt Dunkley’s deubt solo album, Six Cycles, released on Village Green in 2016. Like the debut, it was recorded in Berlin with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. With this album, however, Matt pushed himself further, expanding his writing horizons.
As well as being almost double the length, this album boasts a broader sonic palette than its predecessor, such as the full symphony orchestra on ‘Cycle 12’ or the seven solo pianos used on ‘Cycle 14’. On others, Matt returns to his classical roots, using a string chamber orchestra on ‘Cycle 11’ and ‘Cycle 16’.
Touring and travelling over the last two years, influences arose from spending time in different cities and places. The wintry, tense ‘Cycle 7’ was inspired by an early morning in Berlin, while ‘Cycle 15’ was written whilst on a conducting trip to Norway.”
Persuasion scopes some deep techno swing in the rhythmic engines of Quatermass for Opal Tapes’ Black Opal series.
Following more delicate ambient releases under his birth name Devon Hansen and as Stéfan Jos (on a split with Austin Cesear), Quatermass firms up a proper dancefloor sound between the effortless, sub-fuelled momentum and wooden knocks of In The Atrium - think Mike Dehnert at his most meditative - beside the rolling, subaquatic structural stress test of Damask Silk, the off-centre step of Quatermass, and an hypnotically engaging winner named Xaviera.
Mumdance, Logos and Shapednoise remerge The Sprawl for a banging, incendiary second EP in their trilogy inspired by William Gibson’s Neuromancer - the 1984 sci-fi novel which uncannily presaged The Internet and aspects of AI which have since morphed from fiction into reality.
EP2 is about ‘Data Flow’ and thus catches the trio in flux between flashbacks of noise as information overload and brutalist techno chronics seeming to emulate the sensory obliteration of full frontal temporal sickness.
Each producer’s individual characteristics are parsed and consolidated in a fractious transfer of energies, placing themselves as cybernetic semiconductors in a quantum network of emerging AI consciousness, pooling corrupted memory banks of physical and pharmaceutical ecstasy, excess and synaptic muscle memory to manifest premonitory visions of future hardcore rave as hyperstitious, viscerally IRL.
The A-side picks up directly from EP1 with the invasive strategies of Burning Chrome - so titled in reference to Gibson’s short story which first coined the term “cyberspace” - fulminating pure sound designer noise in bruxist shockwaves punctuated by lush pads, before the cyberpunk terror of Black I.C.E. hacks into the nervous system with sickening, arrhythmic dynamic, strung out between chest bursting ecstasy and stomach churning panic.
That’s all seemingly in preparation for X System, a 150bpm bunker breaker lodged on the B-side with a cold fusion of lamping bass drum and slithering plasmic timbres sounding like some Dutch or NYC ‘90s techno bomb dialled in via a faulty ISDN connection, which makes for a stark contrast with the emotive pathos of Online Seance, a searingly transcendent vision of cinematic synth noise modelled on occult hivemind behaviours and redolent of moments from Leyland Kirby’s Intrigue & Stuff volumes.
Hanz rakes over vintage hip hop, post punk and industrial ground with a cineaste’s eye to locate new mutations in the undergrowth of Plasty I, the North Carolina, US artist’s follow-up to the Reducer  LP for Tri Angle.
Lodging somewhere between the ears of BAT, a lo-fi MBM and the asymmetric designs of Co La, Plasty I breaks down to a ruffcut patchwork of processed and sawn-off samples wrapped up in dream-like electronic atmospheres and laced with a trippy experimental edge.
It’s pretty much a 2017 answer to the more frayed fringes of UK trip hop and NYC illbient vibes.
An illustrious cast including William Basinski and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma present faithful reworks of Clear Language, the 2017 LP by Texan shoegazers, Balmorhea.
They’re in trustworthy hands throughout, with notable highlights in Christina Vanztzou’s nervously unsteady meld of electronic and acoustic spheres prone to drift into The Caretaker territory on her take of Sky Could Undress, and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma in gloriously strung-out mode with the same track, while Basinski works his alchemic magick on Lost In Translation to utterly transportive ends, like a sonic analog to Idris Khan layering myriad desert panoramas.
Hidden Operator and Samo DJ indulge a rugged digi dub session on Kings Chamber
Four wonky dancehall sidewinders ranging from natty acid dub and Skweee-like bumps to ruddier dancehall mutation with sloshing tablas, and one wicked bit sounding like late ‘90s Lenky productions.
Les Disques du Crepuscule presents an expanded edition of classic festive album Ghosts of Christmas Past, featuring favourites from the original 1981 and 1982 editions now joined by newer tracks by Crepuscule artists.
"Sometimes witty, sometimes melancholic, the original version of Ghosts of Christmas Past in November 1981 featured exclusive contributions from luminaries such as Tuxedomoon, The Durutti Column, Paul Haig, Michael Nyman, Aztec Camera, Thick Pigeon and The Names. Subsequent editions in 1982 and 1986 added songs by Antena, Mikado, The French Impressionists, Pale Fountains and Winston Tong.
For this new double CD version in 2015 Crepuscule have now added more chantons noel by Blaine L. Reininger, Section 25, The Wake, Marsheaux, Deux Filles, Stanton Miranda, Virna Lindt, B Music and Ultramarine.
“Crepuscule's Christmas cracker is here to rescue the festive season from the fogies and bores"(Melody Maker); "Aztec Camera's Hot Club of Christ is a busy, Django-esque run through a few well-known Christmas ditties, Michael Nyman's Cream or Christians is a silly but loveable fragmented organ collage in a typical English eccentric tradition, Tuxedomoon are in playful Residential mood” (NME)
Cover art by Jean-Francois Octave.
Carsten Nicolai’s Noton present a masterclass in minimalist electronic discipline with Mika Vainio, Ryoji Ikeda + Alva Noto’s powerfully future-proofed Live 2002 performance, recorded at Newcastle’s Baltic arts centre.
The only known recording of the trio, as far as we’re aware, Live 2002 documents three visionary artists in seamless, indivisible collaboration segueing from sublime drone darkness (Movements 1) thru what sounds like a massive computer server centre playing dancehall (Movements 2 + 4), to fiercely dense electro dynamics (Movements 6) and passages of purest, rolling techno pressure (Movements 8), intercut with bodiless, beatless electronic frequency massages.
Being familiar with each artist’s respective, individual catalogues, we’re pretty astonished at the level of democratic control between the three singular producers. While it’s maybe possible (or pedantic) to pick out who’s doing what, and where and when, ultimately the 45 minute performance is a lesson in subtlety and restraint at the service of generating powerful, coolly organised pressure systems, without recourse to convention/cliché (delete as applicable), offering electronic sounds at the purest and perhaps even egoless. Definitely no grandstanding doofus in front of a massive IPhone screen filtering dull as fuck doofs here.
Reissue of a soulful reggae burner from Jamaica, 1978.
Produced and vocals by Lloyd Parks - a member of Skin, Flesh & Bones, who sang on some early rocksteady nuggets with The Termites and The Invincibles. Now includes a stack of mystic dubs.
Terrence Dixon in deadly Population One mode with remixes of his early classic Hippnotic Culture, a deeply avant techno session released by Utensil Records in 1995, retweaked for Rush Hour in 2017 - including the Rush Hour cut which inspired the Dutch titan’s moniker.
That cut sparks the set off with a mind-bending cascade of polychromatic harmonic chaos harnessed to powerful kicks, while Warped is tweaked with more 3D geometrics, and Cosmic Drill is given a slippery, iridescent new chassis. Lovechild slips down the nervous system like sonic GHB oils, and the frozen, isolated tones of Lost In Space nails that feeling with unmistakable effect.
Nobody does it quite like this guy. A must check for any followers of forward electronic music.
Funked-up, colourful Detroit electro, acid and house styles from Amsterdam’s Tom Ruijg aka Tracey, back on Voyage Direct to prove his 2017 debut, the Skyfall EP was no fluke.
While titled after a fine bit of Italian engineering, the Testarossa EP is patently indebted to 313 mechanics, with four tracks nodding firmly in the direction of Drexciya (Testarossa), Omar S (Sidekick), Juan and Derrick (Made My Love), and the Keith Tucker-Ultradyne-Stringray electro axis (Interceptor).
Three-way techno hoedown introducing new names to the R&S fold.
North East UK stalwart Steve Leggett puts some squelch underfoot on a skudgy dub of Alone Again for mackem techno producer Bird of Paradise; French duo G-Prod give something more elegant with the floating prog-house of D-Light; and Hermetics pull back to grungy techno with the turbulent surges of Collider.
TGF’s End Of Times in Dub style, rendering their single’s title cut in a trio of alternate versions:
A radiant Golden Dub with eccie-triggering harmonic swells; the uptempo Silver Dub for peak dark room times; and a stark Drone-Apella featuring a cold but sensuous Penelope Trappes vocal for the cannier DJ and mindful dancer.
Alicia Matthews ov Golden Teacher-associated LAPS gets right down to the weird and salty bones of it with her uncannily perceptive diagnoses of the modern condition, beamed direct from Glasgow on the city’s Domestic Exile. RIYL Yeah You, Ectoplasm Girls
“The key to Sue Zuki’s music is her vocals where she misanthropically preaches the records themes of psychological alienation and despair, trapped within an augmented virtual reality. Whilst trapped and unable to properly function inside this distorted simulation there are the bewildering sounds of a thousand voices and ‘every conversation’ unhealthily looping inside you’re mind, through the echo chamber. Manifesting into a bleak neurotic obsession and feelings of inadequacy, a desperate plea, blinded and fatigued by the unnerving glare of the computer screen, processing too much information and not knowing if the human ‘interactions’ you’re experiencing are genuine or artificial.
The trauma of this hollow existence is further emphasised with the combination of fragmented and jarring rhythmic grime percussive kick drums that is boosted by the metallic coiling density of detached, propulsive industrial structures. Synthetic frequencies writhe, becoming more lysergic as they progress. DnB tempos accelerate and shift in pitch as if in an erratic state of panic, dissonant foreboding drones absorb you as if drowning under the hypothermic pressure of the deepest, coldest and darkest frozen oceans. Throbbing sub bass fuelled with dread and agonising noise grips you into a suffocating claustrophobia, compressing further and further.
Rather than suppressing these feelings of insecurity and affliction there is a degree of exaggerated, self-deprecating sardonic humour that gradually unravels helping to confront the despondent nature of the record. Accompanied also by subdued, fragile and sunken RnB / Rhythm and Gloom vocals with desolate acoustic guitar fusions which overall provides an empathetic tone. Sue Zuki’s music is a profound and startling glimpse into the growing cultural discomfort and paranoia of the conscious state of the human condition in the 21st Century.”
Yung UK jazz saxophonist and bandleader Shabaka Hutchings holds the cover and lead interview this month.
Maverick Bristol-bassed dub label Bokeh Versions are subject of another key feature, along with articles on the excellent Sarah Davachi, Lanark Artefax, Turkish jazz freaks Konstrukt, an enlightening overview of Blackpool’s Ceraic Hobs, and and Ashley Paul quizzed by The Invisible Jukebox. All the usual news, listings, too.
Posthuman’s Balkan vinyl mint the Metro Jaxx series with six retro-vintage acid emulations from the UK field.
Chevron pays tribute to Michaela Strachan and Pete Waterman’s Hitman and Her with a swaggering bleep banger; Granary 12 (an alias?) debuts with the house party bumper MancMania; Nightwave churns your body up with the lethal pressure of Acid Mouse - the best thing on here.
Matt Whitehead chases shots for Perc Trax and Super Rhythm Trax with the AGCG-styled Transmit Frequency; Postman pull out the ruddy acid bender Meat Market; and Han Do Jin swills your swede with the pure acid grinder, Drive Less.
Prepare to be swept off your clogs for a 2nd time by Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen’s Time Is A Blind Guide contemporary jazz ensemble with sophomore side Lucus; here including Lucy Railton (Cello), Thomas Strønen (Drums), Håkon Aase (Violin), and Ole Morten Vågan (double bass), and now joined by Japanese improvisor Ai Tanaka (Piano) for a more free-flowing, open follow-up to the group’s eponymous 2015 debut, which was also released by ECM.
Recorded in the responsive acoustics of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017, Lucus renders a gravity-defying dialogue between virtuosic instrumentalists hingeing around band-leader Strønen’s finely honed spatial sensitivities and proprioceptions, and propelled in fluid, elastic form by the rhythmic engine of Strønen’s drums with Vågan’s Double Bass.
Around that amorphous locus, the group weave a precisely elusive web of gestures, coolly adapting the language, recording techniques and devices of classical music at the service of a much freer style nodding at spiritual jazz’s elemental orchestrations, and suitably, beautifully suspended in-the-mix by Manfred Eicher’s exquisite production. It’s worth noting that that production is a prime example of what contemporary electronic producers are now calling ‘weightless’ - that is to say, a music leavened of its anchors and inducing a feeling or intent common to both ecstatic dance music, Jazz, and classical styles, rather than rote stomp or walls of sound.
Between the tempered upward lifts of Release, Strønen’s percolated prompts in Lucus, the swooning syncopations and playful dabs of Wednesday, and the optimistic stretch of Weekend which brings the LP to a close, you’re in the presence of some delightfully light-hearted but never throw-away music.
Gorgeous 2nd album from Glasgow’s Happy Meals, dispatched via the ever-tantalising Night School a few years on from the duo’s equally endearing debut, Apéro (2014). If you're into Young Marble Giants, Vazz, Antenna, Pram etc, you'll love this.
Fruit Juice can be broadly but cleanly divided in two parts; on the hand they effortlessly charm with slower, creamily kosmiche pop pieces such as Run Round, which sounds a little like Quarantine-era Laurel Halo gone minimal wave, and the woozy psychedelic spell-casting of Fruit Float, which could be imagined as Julia Holter meets Iasos; whilst on the other hand they excel at a smartly pop-wise late ‘80s house and synth-pop style, marking up delicious gallic acid pop in If You Want Me Now and the Deux-styled Suivez Moi, and a real standout portion of mind-bending metallic techno-dub-pop in Now That You Have Me.
Pendant is the artist formerly known as Huerco S, and this is the debut release on his new label West Mineral Ltd, following on from his acclaimed ‘For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)’ album.
The artist sometimes known as Huerco S. ushers a phase shift of sound on the shoegazing harmonic gauze of Make Me Know You Sweet, his immersive debut proper under the Pendant alias. In this horizontal mode he relays abstract stories from a headspace beyond the dance, placing his interests in the Romantic landscapes of JMW Turner, Robert Ashley’s avant-garde enigmas, and Indigenous North American philosophy at the service of a more expressive, oneiric sound that sub/consciously avoids the trapfalls of ‘chillout’ ambient cliché.
Across seven amorphous, texturally detailed tracks he establishes far reaching coordinates for both Pendant and the West Mineral label, which aims to release everything except commonly accepted, traditional forms of late 20th/early 21st century dance music, while also representing the work of his inner circle of friends, producers and artists. In that sense there’s a definite feeling of “no place like home” to his new work, but that home appears altered, much in the same way The Caretaker/Leyland Kirby deals with themes of memory and nostalgia.
It’s best described as mid-ground music, as opposed to the putative background purpose of Ambient styles, or the upfront physicality of dance music. Rather, the sound here billows and unfurls with a paradoxically static chaos, occupying and lurking a space between the eyes and ears in a way that’s not necessarily comforting, and feels to question the nature and relevance of ubiquitous pastoral, new age tropes in the modern era of uncertainty and disingenuity.
The results ponder an impressionistic, romantically ambiguous simulacra of reel life worries and anxiety, feeling at once dense and impending yet without centre. From the keening, 11 minute swell of VVQ-SSJ at the album’s prow, to the similar scope of its closer, Pendant presents an absorbing vessel for introspection, modulating the listener’s depth perception and moderating our intimacy with an elemental push and pull between the curdling, bittersweet froth of BBN-UWZ, the dusky obfuscation of IBX-BZC and, in the supremely evocative play of phosphorescing light and seductive darkness in the mottled depths of KVL-LWQ, which also benefits from additional production by Pontiac Streator.
Make Me Know You Sweet taps into a latent, esoteric vein of American spirituality that’s always been there, yet is only divined by those who remain open-minded to its effect.
At bleedin’ last, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s legendary solo album, Time To Tell  sees a proper, if edited, official vinyl reissue - MAGAZINE INCLUDED! - on her and Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International label. In fact, with Cosey’s utterly mind-blowing autobiography, Art Sex Music now in circulation, putting history to rights and stoking febrile interest around her inspirational, nonpareil oeuvre, the timing could hardly be any better to reissue her most sought-after and inarguably definitive solo release.
First issued on tape in 1983, some years after the initial demise of Throbbing Gristle and the start of of Chris & Cosey, and just prior to the emergence of their multimedia CTI alias, Time To Tell documents Hull’s greatest daughter, Christine Carol Newby aka Cosey Fanni Tutti, ‘fessing all about her long-running art praxis involving a deep penetration of the British sex industry - from nude modelling to striptease and transgressive performance art - all set to her signature, exploratory electronic sculptures and drily angelic delivery.
For this hugely important reissue of Cosey’s only solo record (yep, only!), she worked with husband and creative partner Chris Carter to edit the original two track release, trimming down some of the longer parts to optimise audio fidelity, and also incorporating The Secret Touch which was included on the Time To Tell (Special Edition) CD release in 1993/2000.
Thus the release spies three distinct strands or aspects of Cosey’s sound. The first, longest and most comprehensive is the LP’s title track, which, as far as we can tell, appears in a slightly abridged version, but still ties up all her key sonic themes, from pulsing, sensuous synths, sky-licking guitars and brittle drum machines to her achingly seductive Yorkshire accent, drily recounting her experiences and inside/out perspective in the sex industry. Tell us this isn’t one of the most alluring 20 minutes of the ‘80s ever recorded, and we’ll tell you to do one.
Ritual Awakening comes on the B-side. Here the drum machine drops away and Cosey’s hushed vocals take a new, diaphanous form, refracted in a diamond-cut prism of electronics with near-cinematic strings, feeling out unreachable edges of the lushest void. Then we’re stranded in The Secret Touch, where her sallow synth strokes hint at an aquarian sort of new age, melding with reverberating, Denny-esque guitar against an unfathomable backdrop of possible field recordings and almost raga-like drones on her signature Cornet.
We could hammer on about this one all day, but suffice it to say: this is a totally essential purchase!
Special edition of one of the year’s standout releases (the limited edition new vinyl pressing comes with an Exclusive bonus CD featuring an additional 50 minutes of music - ‘for harpsichord’ and ‘for pipe organ and string trio’). Having lived with this amazing album for best part of a year, we can confidently say it’s among the strongest in its field, full of radiant joys - we urge you to make some time for it.
On her captivating 4th solo album, Montreal’s Sarah Davachi - highly regarded for her majestic, coruscating synth compositions - divides her attentions equally between a purely instrumental palette of strings, piano, voice and organ with an enveloping, often ecstatic and mystic effect recalling Áine O’Dwyer’s recent Locusts wonder as much as Ellen Fullman’s works for long stringed instruments. We're completely blown away by it.
Rather than mining ancient synth hardware for its unique tones, in All My Circles Run, Davachi applies the same exploratory approach to acoustic instruments with glacially tense results that quietly light up the liminal borderland between the spheres of electronic and acoustic practice when contrasted with her previous recordings. As the title suggests, you can consider these new pieces as discrete strands in a sort of diffracted spectral venn diagram of her sound.
The results will ring true with anyone who has heard her previous releases, while also offering another perspective on her tonal ontology, pin-pointing her acute feel for pealing, plangent overtones in For Strings, which opens out with a raw beauty and scale reaching heights vaguely reminiscent of Áine O’Dwyer’s recent LPs, or by Charlemagne Palestine for that matter, whereas For Voice is a deeply sober, sombre piece again precisely focussed on those fluttering points where consonance/dissonance are near indistinguishable.
The solo piano piece, Chanter follows that slope into lower tones, slowing the heart rate to the point where we can almost perceive the notes as gauzy, keening and candle-flickering blurs, before her sound starts to coalesce in lustrous, upward facing drone in For Organ, burning with a quiet optimism which is sublimated into the exceptional parting passage of For Piano, where the pensile strings, gently cascading keys, and floating organ ebb and flow with a magic intensity redolent of an imagined, smudged meditation by Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru and Pauline Oliveros.
Mississippi Records furnish a very necessary follow-up to Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru’s Spielt Eigene Kompositionen with the eponymous Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru including the remaining eleven pieces from her Éthiopiques 21: Piano Solo CD.
Beloved of almost anyone who has heard her meandering, rhythmically complex piano meditations, Emahoy’s music feels like she’s channelling gestures and sensations from another dimension, which probably makes sense when you consider that she was ordained a nun at age 19, before subsequently studying the sacred music of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and eventually fleeing to the Ethiopian Monastery of Jerusalem because of a conflict between her beliefs and the marxist regime of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
There is no pretension or conceit to Emahoy’s style; it is beautifully vibrant yet melancholy, comparable with the most affective American Blues yet, still, far out on its own plane of musical perception.
One to cherish.
Belter compilation of Arabic hip-house from late ‘80s Paris, courtesy the archive of Shams Dinn, as revealed to the world at large by new American label, Smiling C. If you’re into any form of late ‘80s electronic dance music, you need to hear this one!
What started out as an effort to reissue Shams Dinn’s only known release, Hedi Bled Noum, has flourished into this full compilation featuring seven tracks spanning three distinct eras of Shams’ career, which combined a deep knowledge of Sufi meditation (his grandfather was a Sufi master) with some of the earliest examples of rapping in Arabic that we’ve ever heard, at the least.
The production is natty and funky as fxck, highly comparable with lots of Belgian New Beat and the concurrent Euro House phenomenon as much as American house and boogie of the era, but clearly the one difference is the bloke rapping in Arabic! It’s maybe more common now, but back then Arabic influences weren’t much deeper than pasted-on samples used to spice up house tracks, but this guy has totally adapted to suit the style, and it works so well.
Originally active in 2003-2004 as an abstract dance-oriented offshoot of Warp, Arcola relaunches (just shy of its 15th birthday) as a ltd 12 imprint that uses the format to explore the spaces where contemporary electronic music meets 'club music' in 2018 and beyond.
"Rian Treanor has long been a staple of our listening habits since his game-changing sides for The Death Of Rave. Having kept quiet on the release front since the summer of 2016, he sparks off the seventh Arcola with the Contraposition EP.
Showing a darker side to his sound than previous releases, Contraposition's four entries mix subzero tones with a serious techno insight. Effortlessly rewiring the twilight sound of UK Garage, Eski rhythms at their most skeletal, and a serotonin-soaked Reinforced style sensibility.
Cut super loud to wax, for those needing touchstone points of reference, we'd liken elements to the work of everyone from Jean-Claude Risset, Jam City, Lorenzo Senni, Optical and Gesloten Cirkel. Yet, the deeper in you go, the more that Contraposition reveals itself to be one of the most original and devastating 12s you are gonna come across this decade or next."
L.A.’s Bana Haffar joins Surachai’s modular synth label Make Noise Records - home to slabs by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Alessandro Cortini - with her two sides of complex, blossoming hyaline structures.
Clearly holding her own among the heavyweights who’ve already released on the series, especially when considering this is only her 2nd release, Bana yields an impressively controlled display of control on Endo, roiling from dense waves of viscous, guitar-like inharmonic distortion giving way to brighter, increasingly rapid and expanding frequencies with breathtaking impact and celestial scope.
On the other hand, Exo is literally and metaphorically the A-side’s inverse, as she uses the Make Noise Modular Synth to render cavernous spatial parameters embedded with precise, pointillist bleep flux and alien vocal processing at its core, precipitating a vividly colourful flush of harmonic chaos.
Seven Notes in Red is The first book on Goblin in English..
"The book is about and dedicated to Goblin, the cult rock band that revolutionized the concept of music in film, creating an influence that is felt worldwide 40 years later.
The book analyzes, year by year, song by song, the story of this seminal band in all the incarnations, in a fantastic voyage through Dario Argento’s most celebrated films and the Italian film and music industry. At 600 pages, Seven Notes in Red provides a truly impressive iconography and a massive amount of facts and anecdotes never revealed before."
Psychoactive disco smarts from Sweden via Amsterdam:
Daniel Fagerström (The Skull Defekts, Altar of Flies) and Luciano Leiva (Jackpot, Puppetmasters) cook up a viscous disco stew from classic analg synths such as TR-909, Waldorf Microwave, Yamaha DX7, Roland Juno-60 and Akai MPC, all primed for cosmic high times. Imagine Klaus Schulze in a sauna with Patrick Cowley. It’s bound to get sticky.
IVVVO conveys intense emotions in Prince of Grunge, leading on from Good, Bad, Baby, Horny with Rabit’s Halcyon Veil with a visceral suite that “explores conflicting truths and accounts of depression, social anxiety and fear in the name of progress” for NYX Unchained, a new label and event series based in London.
The Portuguese producer has picked a thorny and ubiquitously topical subject for examination, effectively tending to the psychological flipside of his favourite subject; Rave culture, its unfulfilled dreams, and the possible after-effects of toxic excess.
Where grunge emerged as dissatisfaction with the cheesiness and mainstream role of ‘80s stadium rock, we can take his Prince of Grunge mantle as metaphor for a unhappiness with modern rave culture and its rote rituals, and the perceived distance between the original object and subjective, contemporary iterations.
in six succinct pieces he trawls subcultural ephemera from black metal to hardstyle and mutant electronica, framing a blistering reverie or elegy for unity and self-expression in a crowd that takes in the unheimlich entry of Born, with its wailing baby and acid rain tones, alongside the screeching chorales and hardstyle peaks of Until I Die. With Prince of Grunge he inverts trance breakdowns somewhere closer to a black metal intro, and V convulses classical piano arpeggios in a techno panic, before the thought broadcasting intimations of I Don’t Know, and finishing on something like a Xyn Cabal track, or Lorenzo Senni reworked by Naked in the bittersweet trance blooz ov Fantasy.
Four Tet and Jamie XX remixes of The XX, limited vinyl only.
Jamie xx gives On Hold an uptempo french-touch house remix. Four Tet reworks A Violent Noise with a tech-house canter ready for the big room gymkhana. Tally ho.
A superb work of recondite sonic fiction, Blade Jogger is the palpably clammy tale of an erstwhile Salford doorman with a taste for ‘SWENDAB’ - a new drug of potent psychotomimetic efficacy - set to a backdrop of Brexit bruxism. Conjured by author and artistic director of The White Hotel, Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives at Tales of Mark E. Smith & The Myth Brilliant Summers), narrated by James Stannage, and set to a synthesised score by Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral) and By The Sea. Think Anthony Burgess meets Savoy with sound by Martin Hannett in Delian mode. The White Hotel’s shadow looms large over proceedings. Jog on…
“The place is England: a horrible electronic slum. The time is 22 minutes and 11 seconds into the future. A new drug - SWENDAB - is doing the rounds, sending everybody round the bend - as per. And as ever, here in this ‘less-than-United-Kingdom’, the rain must fall continuously. (It’s a wonder we haven’t all rusted by now.)
Rebelling against the drudgery of his surroundings, trapped inside his own fragile psyche - with no map nor money - meet GAZ-15: ex-bouncer/ex-lover/full-time-fuck-up.
Tonight, like every other night, he will go AWOL, lost in ‘the hallways of always’ of another SWENDAB-binge, searching for a meaning he knows he will never find. All those memories leaking into the eternal drainpipe. What a monster he’s made of himself. Not quite human. Oh to be a clone of others.
Evoking the underbelly of urban life, along with an even darker and deeper spiritual dimension, this bleakly-comic and moving musical collaboration between writer Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives & Tales of Mark E Smith & The Myth of Brilliant Summers) and By The Sea, is Blade Runner re-written and re-scored by two steam-punks waiting to see their Jobseekers’s contact, or Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape soundtracked by Delia Derbyshire, or simply War of the Words - a 22-minutes and 11 seconds ‘single’ that summons a feeling of medicated drift, of hearing beautiful sounds through some kind of filter, as time collapses in on itself.”
Redshape cuts rug with swaggering style via the razor cut but splashy drums and pendulous bass work of Blink
Strongly owing to an enduring passion for the hi-tek funk of original Chicago and Detroit house and techno, whereas the Blink (Tunnel Mix) is a dedication to the Tunnel Club in Paris, and works to a more linear, sexy sort of Franco-Teutonic darkness.
Mississippi Records make Marisa Anderson’s woozily enchanting instrumental solo guitar suite Traditional and Public Domain Songs available again on vinyl.
Packing two new pieces that were on the CD release but not the original LP, namely the Portland artist’s takes on Amazing Grace and Bread and Roses - a must for any followers of solo desert blues from Earth to Sun City Girls!
True Detroit original Marcellus Pittman (3 Chairs, Rotating Assembly) makes up for his radio silence since 2014 with two twysts on bustling, tracky jackers templates dispensed thru his Unirhythm label.
One of those 313 cats who hears jazz, house and techno as indivisible aspects of the same thing, Pittman puts that style into practice with the crafty as fuck, off-the-cuff drum machine and bassline calculations of Revenge For Nothing, juicing his groove to death with wicked stop-start patterns and sparing FX that sounds something like Larry Heard caught in a tumble dryer with Beatrice Dillon.
With Red Dogon Star on the B-side Pittman pushes a wonkier, spaced-out permutation of Afro-cubist house, synching inimitably grubbing acid bass and percolated drums in hypnotic pattern gilded with golden synth pads. A subtle masterclass in minimalist efficiency with body ready results.
London’s K15 turns on the funk for Eglo with an infectious hustle in his foolow-up to 12”s for Kyle Hall’s Wild Oats and a Mr. G link-up.
Classically rooted in latin, jazz, house and soul in the same way as late ‘90s broken beat, the EP turns out three gems between the heads-down bustle and glyde of Sunbeams, an uptempo shot of broken beat and smudged jazz chromatics in Starburst 3, then on a hot-stepping slow-fast flex with the slick fusion feels of Esencia.
Nous prove their undeniable knack at picking out new talent with this six track showcase introducing Ayln, D104, Agxp, Gaunt, Sweat, and Dreams to their rarified fold, with many making their debut on record.
Make sure to check it for those debuts, particularly Agxp’s tentative first outing on the weightless acid stepper Spells, and likewise Gaunt with the trippy space techno mission Univers Univers, while Sweat also give a cool account of themselves with the rolling techno chassis of Shalbatana, and Dreams follow their nose down druggily hypnotic house ginnels.
The spiralling arps and faulty techno thrusters of Alyn’s Translinguistics and D104 rogue, thuggish Muta are cool, too.
Synkro diversifies his bonds into blue half step and downtempo modes on Hand In Hand
Sweetly exercising his signature melancholic touch between the pastoral flutes and half step sway of Vanishing Point, the slow-motion Chuck Person/0PN vibes of Hand In Hand for chromatic sunset washes, and Burial-esque senhsucht in red Sky.
Proper Italo-boogie peacockery from Tuffcitykid Philip Lauer on the A-side’s acid-etched roller Arumba, and the preening ace Prosito
Backed with The Golden Filter on a fidgety electro tip with Aya, and muscular, haughty house in Black Spray.