Burial’s sophomore LP, originally issued in 2007 only a year after his pivotal debut, is another masterpiece of urban UK composition and innovative imagineering whose sense of melancholic space, pop-wise dexterity and dancefloor yearn has rarely been explored or surpassed since its release.
Where its predecessor was starkly paranoid, mostly instrumental, Untrue was gilded with gorgeous, cut-up R&B and UKG vox, and interspersed with segments of nocturnal reverie that played out like the OST for a yung UK romance that replaced posh, gurning actors with real life road characters and focussed on the spaces between - between the club and home; between night and day; masculine and feminine; waking life and dream life; Maccy D’s and alley doorways; being high AF and coming down.
It was and still is Burial’s love note to UKG and R&G, and by turns gave context and validated those genres for a lot of listeners who arguably wouldn’t have touched that sound, or at least dismissed it as pop pap or with some snide, racist undertone before Burial’s revivalist instincts hybridised it with trip hop and snarling D&B memes.
More positively, however, depending on which way you look at it, this album also opened the endorphin floodgates for a whole raft of f****e garage producers to get in touch with their feminine side, especially in contrast to prevailing, laddish dubstep rave trends, and, since that sound has faded away, it’s not hard to hear this album’s influence in the vocal processing of Mssingno, in the uneven, off-kilter swing and parry of Zomby, the patch-worked constructions of Jamie xx or Evian Christ, or in Deadboy and Murlo’s more boundary-pushing creations.
As with any album that gets a lot of attention beyond its putative scene, Untrue was an unintended red rag to the cynics and rockists - and even garage purists - but for almost anyone who recognises and appreciates that more modest, aching sort of electronic, UK street rave soul, it remains a really transcendent album that still grips like few others.
Music From Memory return with this eye-opening collection of recordings spanning 1980-1984 from Belgian/Congolese duo Denis Mpunga and Paul K, combining elements of traditional African music with experimental electronics. Having released only a handful of tracks scattered across a few LP and cassette compilations that were put out in the mid eighties by obscure european labels, this release also includes a few previously unreleased tracks that were found on the original master tapes.
"Relocating with his family from the Congo to Belgium in 1973 at the young age of 13, Denis Mpunga grew up in the industrial city of Liege and quickly became deeply embedded in it's musical scene, forming the group Gomma Percussions in 1979; a percussive group driven by West African influences that would also experiment with found objects and improvised musical instruments.
The group released only one 7' but toured and performed frequently up until as late as 2000. A side project Eko-Kuango formed by the Gomma Percussion members also saw the release in 1985 of the now much sought after 12'' ''Fura'' which also includes Denis Mpunga on vocals.
As well as a later career as a comedian and actor with roles in television and cinema, Dennis has continued to produce and compose music, perhaps most notably writing the soundtrack for ''La Promesse'' (1996) a highly regarded film by the Dardenne brothers; currently probably Belgiums most celebrated contemporary filmmakers.
Patrick Stas who would release with Denis under the Paul K. moniker was a well-known local musician in Liege and considered something of a luminary figure in the electronic and experimental music scene in Belgium. Patrick would set up the independent cassette and vinyl label ''Home Produkt'' releasing amongst others, the work of Tara Cross, who has herself been the subject of a killer V-O-D compilation in recent years.
The two of them would join forces in 1980 to work together on a soundtrack for a children's animation company called ''CAMERA etc'', recording the ''Intermezzo'' tracks which are included here. Keen to experiment further as a duo, Denis proposed the idea of combining some more traditional songs or percussive African elements with Patrick's experiments with drum computers and synthesisers.
Working around more conventional instruments such as guitar and bass, Denis would also bring Balafons, Senzas and a Zither to their recordings whilst Patrick would work with an array of synthesizers and drum machines such as a 202, TB 303 & TR 808 and Korg's MS20 & Monopoly amongst many others.
At a time when world-music was becoming hugely popular across Europe (and especially so in Belgium and France), the pair were keen to try and explore African music in a new contemporary way. Much like the intentionally provocative archival image, which Denis selected for the sleeve of Criola, the recordings set out to play with and challenge preconceptions and expectations of African music and African culture. Together, Denis Mpunga and Paul K's, if somewhat brief, musical adventure would create a fascinating new musical language, African music born out of an industrial European landscape; music which the compilation ''Criola'' reveals as both wholly unique and visionary."
Comparisons between musicians and painters don’t usually work. But biographical parallels are not unusual. And just as some paintings place their creators in a particular period in their creative lives, there are also musicians who can look back on distinct creative phases. F.S.Blumm is one such musician.
"At the end of the 90s there were alot of murmurs about the living room scene in Berlin; magical concerts on improvised stages in temporary event spaces. Back then it was about music without fat beats and bass. It was a counter-reaction against rockstars with all their posing and egos. You made music with acoustic instruments and kitchen appliances. Concerts were listened to attentively and with deep concentration. One of the protagonists of this scene was F.S.Blumm. Among other things, his love for untempered, often self-made instruments predestined him for this.
At the turn of the century virtually any kind of music which used acoustic instruments was branded „Free Folk“ or „Alternative Folk“. But other than a few ironic comments in interviews Blumm didnt try to monopolize on this supposed movement, rather he kept a poised distance from it. It was during this time that his album „Mondkuchen“ (trans. Moon Cake) was released on Morr Music. The bristly detailedness of the living room scene met serious and powerful reductionism.
F.S.Blumm has many faces. Working your way through his vast discography would be a research project all in its own right. He has collaborated with the likes of David Grubbs, Andi Otto, Harald Sack Ziegler or Nils Frahm. He realised his love for Dub Reggae with the Quasi Dub Development. In the band KINN he played dynamic Postrock. Blumm has a faible for odd beats and could write an a-z on minimal musics pattern matching. Quite where his personal musical signature lies remains something of a mystery. Nevertheless only a few bars are enough to recognize it. This may by down to his preference for open harmonies or his poingnent arrangements.
Now F.S.Blumm is entering a new phase of his creativity which one could call his nonchalant phase. Although the first few bars of his new album do sound like an echo of the deep seriousness in his studio albums with Nils Frahm. Besides a few guitar chords and the suggestion of a xylophone in the background there is nothing but the wide spaces between them. Fine almost random sounding noises are remotely reminiscent of the era of his experimental instrumental concerts with classical guitar. Then the voice comes into play and everything changes. Laid back F.S.Blumm sings with a combination of urgency and relaxation. His voice sounds like he’s standing right beside the listener, singing straight into your ear. At the same time its unobtrusive. The piece sounds touching and intimate. This is the way how „Handle Bar“ the opening track on his new album „Welcome“ is delivered.
If an artist as experienced and multifaceted as this calls his new album „Welcome“ that really says something. Many years ago the composer and instrumental musician F.S.Blumm was already active as a songwriter. He wrote songs for three duos in which he played with various singers: Bobby And Blumm with Bobby Baby, Old Splendifolia with Jana Plewa and finally Jonsson Gille & Blumm. Now for the first time since he started making music, he is singing his own songs himself. Which is like a journey back to his roots – back to his childhood bedroom with a songbook and his first guitar. With „Sounds of Silence“ and „Sister Ray“ day in day out.
With every song on „Welcome“ new doors of association are opened. The second track „New Day“ uses reverb laden drums and hymical harmonies to great effect. But F.S.Blumm always manages to make the grandiose still sound grounded. Rather than spreading himself too thin, he prefers to explore the depths.
There we find the relaxed and erotically crackling „Going Away“, the optimistic „Initial Spark“ and the casual „Overweight“. Blumm is ever traversing the field between greatness and modesty, sophisticated melodies and recordings which are like the extremely condensed sound of a cassette recorder. This aesthetic permeates the entire album.
With „Welcome“ F.S.Blumm has perfected the imperfect. Where other producers filter out the noise, pops and crackles, Blumm does the exact opposite. He reverses the roles of desired and undesirable sound. What remains are songs like sculptures left in the wake of acoustic tracks.
First making waves with the almost cult level ‘Hype Williams’ project, and then more recently solo and as part of the group Babyfather, the new 8 track LP sees Dean Blunt step back into the shadowy role of producer for a new band called Blue Iverson.
It’s a vibesey one, this; digging a vein of smoke-hazed living/bedroom feels in eight parts that could almost be passed off as a Dam-Funk jam. Well, almost, but there’s still something off kilter and economical about the fidelity and mixing of the recording that hints it’s from the UK, or is even made to sound like the private pressed soul obscurities picked out by PPU.
Hotep strongly reminds of those lush soul bits from Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music or even selected Letherette cuts released on Alex Nut’s namesake label. The image of Lauryn Hill on the sleeve is a cherry on the cake.
Kiran Sande (Blackest Ever Black) and Chris Farrell (Idle Hands) trigger their Silent Street cooperative with a surefire survey of Maximum Joy’s dub-fuelled punkfunk and pop singles 1981-1982, collected as I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights. Digging a pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, it reveals the sound of Bristol parties and after-hours blues in the early ‘80s, which would also find success among the punk-funk crowds and hip hop stations of NYC. Fans of Vazz, The Slits, Glaxo Babies, The Pop Group need to check this one!
“I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is centred around the trio of singles the band released on Dick O’Dell’s Y Records between 1981-1982. Their first, ‘Stretch’, was licensed to seminal American label 99 Records and soon after became an anthem on the New York club underground, a cult staple at Danceteria and on late-night radio. Closer to home and a shared personal favourite is their first B-side, ‘Silent Street / Silent Dub’: a languid, haunting tribute to long summer nights in St Pauls (where the Idle Hands shop presently resides), and specifically the Black & White Cafe, “where dub-reggae reigned supreme, 24/7”. Llewellin’s mesmerising one-drop kit and Catsis’s outrageously heavy bassline anchor the track, allowing Rainforth’s exquisite vocal and Wrafter’s trumpet to soar within the intense, expressionistic dub mix. In both subject matter and execution it is the definitive Bristol tune.
‘White And Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix)’, ‘In The Air’, and wistful instrumental ‘Simmer Til Done’ also feature; the non-Y bonus is the 12” version of ‘Do It Today’, Maximum Joy’s contribution to the Fontana compilation Touchdown, which originally came out in ’82 as a white label split with The Higsons.
I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is the first official UK vinyl reissue of Maximum Joy material, with sleevenotes by Janine Rainforth, Tony Wrafter and Kevin Pearce. We invite you to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the eclectic, exhilarating work of Bristol’s finest, brightest pop idealists.”
Into The Light slot another cryptic piece of their cosmic puzzle with a lush haul of previously unreleased ambient and synth works by Akis Daoutis, who previously appeared on the label’s breakthrough compilation A Journey Into Greek Electronic Music, Classics & Rarities (1978-1991), and whose 1990 debut LP provided direct inspiration behind the label’s enigmatic moniker.
On Space, Time, And Beyond (Selected Works 1986-2016) Daoutis offers a serene mooch around his sprawling gardens of electronic delight, pulling together tracks written at home in Athens and abroad in USA where he was studying during the mid ‘80s - spanning material from as far back as 1986 in the cascading beauty of Christmas, which could almost be cut from a cords and woolly jumper John Hughes flick, thru to the breezy rhythmelodic patterning of Into The Light off his aforementioned debut LP, and right up to the introspective electro-acoustic probe of My Haunting Sins, written as recently as 2016.
It’s clearly music that comes from a sunny place, blessed with a sense of optimism between the radiant synth shimmer and swallow diving clarinet of Biofields and the fluttering up-lift music parts of New Age Rising - taken from a sought-after 40 minute composition - and with a phosphorescing duskiness that keeps the sand warm between your toes in Beach Ambience, diffracting that energy into myriad variations such as the jazz-funk butterfly, Violet and the slow boogie shuffles of Ecological Awareness and Erotica.
Romantic souls and those in need of a holiday to somewhere unaffordably lush should book their seat of this one as soon as possible.
Seekersinternational serve intoxicating tropical ambient dancehall chutney with the Gunman Cult Classics Mix for the the’ ICS Library Records label. If you put this one side to side with their cultishly loved output from the last few years, the SKRS effectively have your whole summer seleks sorted out for 2017.
The new age badmen twist and dub convention inside-out here, meshing a slew of dancehall and R&B acapellas with lush ambient strokes, rudest boogie and sidesteps into subcontinental and far eastern sounds to coolly put a fresh - yet, crucially, faithful - spin on the dancehall/dub prisms which they’re clearly infatuated with.
Absorbing heat by everyone from Gappy Ranks and 1991 to Tom & Jerry and O$VMV$M, and rubbing in special oils from Gwen Guthrie to Jody Watley and Luciano, the results are stewed in fuzzy dub FX and practically melt before your ears, ready to spread on balconies from Hulme to Barbados.
Trust this is no dilettantish half-stepping or stylistic dabbling; their picks are pure gold and the way they put them together is just A++, primed for a long, hot summer...
Julianna Barwick teams up with Texan post rock group This Will Destroy You for an airy instrumental remix of The Puritan, some three years adrift from their Another Language  LP.
Most remarkably, Julianna’s signature vocals are barely present on her remix, only detectable as a very distant peal flit ng around the edges of a vast sound sphere, almost as if she’s using her own chest as a resonant cavity for the plangent keys and their soft, underlying pulse. It’s deliciously simple yet stately and faithful to the original, but captures something intangible that will keep us returning to it.
A new album from Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius
It comes as quite some relief to hear that after all these years away from the studio Cluster still sound like Cluster. Divided into seventeen miniatures, this latest collection explores synthesis and electronically treated sound from much the same perspective as the band's classic material. Of course, the overall sound has a rather different finish to it - much of the equipment sounds different and the production is crisp and modern - but in the soundscaping of 'Putoil' and 'Ymstrob', the low-end surges of 'Xanesra' or the stuttering glitch-dub of 'Na Ernel' you can still hear that Roedelius/Moebius magic at work. Inevitably, Qua could never sound as innovative as some of its estimable predecessors, but it's certainly worthy of the Cluster name, and that's surely a high enough accolade in itself.
Jeff Mills’ tribute to the Planets finally takes shape as a 2CD set housed in one of those clunky dual CD cases that used to house Now! compilations.
Suffice it to say that we’re not huge fans of this classical-meets-techno trajectory Mills is has been taking for the past decade - although, mind you there have been some highlights such as the Free Fall Galaxy album - but don’t let that put you off from checking this out, especially if you’re a sucker for Carl Sagan videos or retro-futuristic fetishism.
Staggeringly unique body of early work by cult outsider musician, Ghédalia Tazartès, including 4 full albums plus a 10" of unreleased work made in 1978.
Born in Paris in 1947 to Turkish parents, artist and autodidact Tazartès has spent over 30 years experimenting with myriad musical practices and creating a catalogue of cult recordings deeply informed by his "extra-European" and "intra-European" heritage. He's both in possession of, and possessed by, a shamanic vocal talent, with the ability to embody a multitude of characteristics. This, together with his unimpeded sense of compositional flux, swerving between musique concrete, technoid loops, piano pieces and pseudo-ethnic imagineering, makes for a thrilling experience unlike any other. This collection includes some of his most important works, among them his earliest release, 1979's 'Diasporas' - listed by Steven Stapleton in his legendary NWW list - besides the exotic collages of 'Tazartès', the enchanting and otherworldly loops and scapes of 'Transports', and the two jaw-dropping extended pieces of 'Une Éclipse Totale De Soleil', plus a further 10" of unheard, shorter cuts of hectic electronics, unhinged vocals and and bewildering composition.
This passage begins to surmount his magic appeal "He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. utilising magnetic tape recorders, he paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker. He traces vague landscapes where the mitre of the white clown, the plumes of the sorcerer, the helmet of a cop and Parisian anhydride collide into polyphonic ceremonies." At times it feels like you're watching unhinged French cartoon without translation in a Parisian asylum while a Techno soundsystem beats outside, at others you're sitting café side being serenaded in tongues, or just simply hypnotised by the consistent metamorphosis of sounds; an unending, breathlessly connected flow of ideas playfully eschewing any formal notions of what is wrong or proper, and purely informed by what feels right and most affecting. It's a hugely, hugely recommended purchase, probably the most important avant-garde reissue this year - and some of the most uncategorisable, extraordinary music you'll come across. Unmissable.
The 8th full-length release from the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi.
"Over the course of four LP sides, the October 2014 concert documented here ranges from rock power trio dynamics to maelstroms of analogue electronics. Once again, the three demonstrate their commitment to pushing into new areas of instrumental exploration and group interaction. Where previous releases from the trio have often featured extended vocal workouts from Haino, at times suggesting abstracted folk song, Haino’s vocalizations here are restricted to the occasional impassioned cry, putting the focus squarely on instrumental interplay. More than ever before, this feels like the work of three equals, with O’Rourke or Ambarchi taking the lead role as often as Haino does.
The four pieces presented here each focus on extended development. The first side is propelled by Ambarchi’s busy, Jack DeJohnette-esque cymbal and tom work, which provides a skittering yet insistent pulse over which Haino and O’Rourke’s FX-saturated strings rise and fall, momentarily converging for passages of near stasis before again pulling apart to continue wandering through areas of gently sour discord; O’Rourke’s use of a six-string bass here boosts the harmonic density of the music and often makes his contribution difficult to distinguish from Haino’s guitar. On the second side, O’Rourke uses his pedals to make his bass near unrecognizable, generating a squelching, harmonically unstable riff that Ambarchi accompanies with a semi-martial snare pattern, the two driving home the idea for the duration of the side while Haino moves between frenetic octave-doubled fuzz riffing and streams of feedback.
The third side presents some of the most abstract music heard from the trio since their first release (Tima Formosa, BT04). Continuing Haino’s explorations of new instruments, the side opens with a long passage of toy piano, an instrument that in his hands is at once childlike and imbued with a mysterious gravity. Alongside occasional vocal interjections from Haino (singing in English), Ambarchi creates delicate textures on cymbals and metallic percussion while O’Rourke, for the first time in this group, performs on the EMS Synthi. In a long passage in the middle of the side, he provides ample evidence of his mastery of the instrument, crafting a complex texture from pointillist stabs and rapid sweeps that possesses the same unpredictable yet controlled feeling of classic live-electronics documents like Pierre Henry’s ‘Corticalart’ series. With Haino joining in with his own electronics, the side eventually builds to a chaotic climax.
Beginning with a sequence of ‘fourth world’ drums and flute, the final side unfolds an epic build-up over a hypnotic foundation of pounding toms. Moving from flute to vocals to electronics, Haino eventually picks up the guitar in the second half of the piece, igniting a spectral blur over driving rhythms from bass and drums that eventually builds to a frenzied climax."
Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai first premiered their collaborative Cyclo project a deacde ago on Raster Noton. Relaunching in 2011 they're just as intent on creating a synaesthetic visualization of sound that "...seeks to create a new hybrid of visual art and music".
Essentially the sounds on 'Id' are inextricable from their visual corollary. They're the unmastered sonic illustrations of detailed graphical data, and vice versa, developed from a database of sounds composed to produce visual responses when analysed in real time with the help of stereo image monitoring equipment. Most importantly, the sounds are subservient to the image, hence the record remains purposefully unmastered in order to retain the waveform's original integrity when visualized through an XY phase scope, transcending the usual sound>image dynamic. But that's not to say that the music doesn't possess its own heightened, strangely affecting quality - within 30 seconds of listening through headphones this reviewer's eyes were watering, a physically visceral effect if we've ever felt one.
Unlike its relatively austere predecessor, the sounds within cover a wider spectrum of rhythms, from spasmodic digital pulses to lightyears-advanced electro syncopation, and similarly a dazzling frequency range capable of causing acutely synaesthetic reactions. All this leads us to think that 'Id' is a work of uncompromising genius, at once cementing and advancing Ikeda and Nicolai's relentlessly ongoing audio/visual quest.
Light-headed house music by new and regular avatars from the Blind Jacks Journey family; Rnr, Mr. Fiel, Gnork X Luv Jam, and Jimini.
No messing with the format here as each contributor plays well into the label’s deep drifting house aesthetics between the sublime suspension systems of Moments by Rnr and the plush Sven Weisemann wibes of Mr. Fiel’s Sunset On The Moon up top, whereas Gnork X Luv Jam reroute the feeling to filtered disco house ecstasy with Troppppixxxx and Jimini plays from the classic UK/Detroit handbook in Back To Reality.
Reissue. Originally released on cassette in 1980.
"Presented by two separate stacks of Cluster recordings - one comprised of their studio work, the other of live performances - an innocent listener might conclude they are the efforts of two completely different artists. This would understandably have been the case in 1980, when the structured, tuneful miniatures of 1979's Großes Wasser and 1981's Curiosum were unlikely bookends to the sprawling electroacoustic abstractions of Live in Vienna.
But as fans of the idiosyncratic duo already knew, Cluster's trajectory was always a restless one - more about disruption than gentle evolution."
Torn Hawk’s spirit quest reveals proper aerobic mystic goodness under the wonderfully suggestive title Men With No Memory, following up the dramas of his Union & Return album with four genre-agnostic turns folding EBM, psyche and dub into striking new prisms that hold up to dancefloor pressure and closer scrutiny at home.
The title track kicks off the first plate with a fugged-up whorl of country guitars and lurching dub nodding at Sun Araw before spiking out with taut EBM drums that really come into play on the B-side’s Poser, one of the rudest, sickest electro cuts we’ve heard this side of Gesloten Cirkel’s album in recent times.
With Butterfly Knives opens the 2nd disc into a flanging metallic wormhole sounding something like a disco on the other side of the TV in Cronenberg Videodrome, then spitting us out at the psychey new wave enigma Stealing Geodes From The Nature Company, and the natty closer, Not Quite Music.
RIYL Beau Wanzer, Gesloten Cirkel, Willie Burns for daaaaays
Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda’s seminal minimalist project is now finally available to download. Originally issued on CD and LP in 2001, cyclo.’s . was, and more or less still is, the last word in purest, stoically funked-up digital sound pressure.
“cyclo. is a collaborative research project by Ikeda and Nicolai which focuses on the visualisation of sound. The artists are developing a database of sounds that they are composing for the visual responses these produce when analysed in real time using equipment developed originally for phase correlation in mastering vinyl records. With such stereo image monitoring equipment, the phase and amplitude of stereo signals can be illustrated graphically.
The audio elements have been constructed and chosen through agendas concerned with the minute editing of frequencies (often beyond the physical range of human hearing) and the perceptual amassing of audio elements to an undefined point. For Nicolai and Ikeda an 'infinity index’ of sound fragments is a conscious motivation forming the basis of their research and feeding cyclo. with the audio material required for visuality.
In amassing this archive, Nicolai and Ikeda transcend the usual dynamic whereby image acts merely as a functional accompaniment to sound. They arrive at a standpoint from which the audio element in the process is subservient to the desire and appetite of the image. Although this imaging is purely 2-D in display, the process proposes 3-D possibilities. Their proposition is that the structural complexities of these visual metered shapes, born and examined from the perspective of audio metering, may have in them a rich potential for architects, designers and engineers to find starting points for structural readings.”
Class debut of lucidly imaginative and abstract electroscapes from Manchester’s Andy Brown aka AB2020; making his maiden mission on Sheffield’s Computer Club with the Cybotronian industrial sci-fi soundtrack styles of Sagittarius.
Built atom by atom in his hardware-filled pod and conducted with a proper, late night sense of dramaturgy, Sagittarius covers a lot of ground within AB2020’s chosen dimension - taking the listener from Alice Coltrane-like string sweeps and alien bleeps in Lacu to the Carpenter-esque finale of Nuworlds via the synaesthetic tweaks of Permafrost and pulsating Drexciyan techno in the two parts of Subsurface Ocean plus a smart dose of clipped electro acid on Terraform and some excellent pieces of chromatic techno mystery in Cogewn and Exic that recall Jeff Mills’ recent deep space explorations.
Clod-hopping techno ructions by the Berlin-based British producer
Getting down like a bull in a tar pit with lumbering, viscous mass of The Trace, and swaggering like the bull that got out on I-4, whereas Hornet picks up some steam with rolling barrage of drums and dive-bombing noise formations, and the brilliant S77 gets off on a mean sort of dancehall-noise-techno hybrid that’s definitely going to see some play up our way.
Len Faki puts his weight behind two remixes of Aleksi Perälä colundi sequenced techno bangers.
In Faki's hands, GBBVT133715 is reinforced with horse-powered bass for the all-night steeds in a Hardspace Mix, whereas he focusses on the colundi sequence’s strange tunings in the elegantly balanced canter and hyaline harmonics with trips effect in UK74R1409047 (Deepspace Mix).
Pauline Oliveros surrounded by Belgian ensemble Musiques Nouvelles, performing 2 long pieces for orchestra.
"Sound Geometries for Chamber Orchestra, Expanded Instrument System and 5.1 Surround Sound System by Pauline Oliveros was premiered in Brussels. The 3 sections metaphors of the piece are intended to guide the players in their feelings and approaches to conducted, guided and improvisational music making to create differing atmospheres for each of the three sections. Players sounds are picked up during the performance by microphones, processed in one of ten geometrical patterns by the Oliveros designed Expanded Instrument System (EIS). to transform and move the player's sounds in space in the 5.1 surround sound system.
Meditation for Orchestra asks the performers to listen then sound. Listen means to include all that is sounding and to find a space for each sound that is made. Pauline Oliveros and Ione are guests of Ensemble Musiques Nouvelle in this studio performance of Meditation.”
An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music Vol. 1 begins in the 1920s, with the Russolo Brothers, and looks at each decade in turn -- Varése, Cage, Schaeffer, Xenakis, the great pioneers -- and shows the first traces of a music that was necessarily revolutionary: electronic music, created from nothing (and hence to be entirely invented).
Some pieces on these CDs are certainly classics, but there are others, which, though old, were distributed informally or never even released. The more contemporary pieces are, wherever possible, previously unreleased. In fact, more than the half of the tracklisting is unreleased and unpublished.
Artists include: Luigi & Antonio Russolo, Walter Ruttman, Pierre Schaeffer, Henri Pousseur, Gordon Mumma, Angus Maclise, Tony Conrad & John Cale, Philip Jeck, Otomo Yoshihide & Martin Tétreault, Survival Research Laboratories, Einsturzende Neubauten, Konrad Boehmer, Nam June Paik, John Cage, Sonic Youth, Edgard Varése, Iannis Xenakis, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, Pauline Oliveros, Ryoji Ikeda.
Up until the incredible "A Period of Review" reissue via RVNG Intl.last year we hadn't even heard of Kerry Leimer, yet that compilation and it’s astonishing followup, this years "Artificial Dance” set under Leimer’s ‘Savant’ alias, introduced us to one of the most fascinating and prolific producers of the era, operating at the cusp of ambient, 4th World and industrial musics.
From his base in Seattle, Leimer accumulated a unique catalogue of recordings created on a Micromoog, drum machines, guitars and FX units, and heavily informed by imported Krautrock/kosmische titles sourced outta NME and Melody Maker, and equally the more Anglophilic ambient loop compositions of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno.
This beautiful new double LP via Vinyl On Demand focuses on Leimer's earliest work and has once again left us dumbstruck, offering a genuinely remarkable addition to the canon of early '80s electronic/new age/4th world experimentalism, sitting very comfortably alongside some of the richest, most engrossing ambient music of the era.
Leimer's first two tape recordings are included and were released on Robert Carlberg's Anode Productions in 1978 and '79 (Translucent / Memory and Natural History / The Mind and Its Likeness). The set also includes material from the 1983 cassette Installation View. As Leimer himself offers: "It's best to consider these recordings as a homage to much admired and deeply loved music of the time; to consider these recordings as the artifacts of lessons being learned during simultaneous attempts at conceiving, writing, voicing, engineering, recording, and mixing something that might at least seem to be music. It's also best to consider that the one card that repeatedly found its way out of the Oblique Strategies deck and into my hands prevented me from erasing almost all of it: Honor thy mistake as a hidden intention.”
It all makes for one of the most engrossing ambient-era collections we’ve come across - give the clips below a listen and you’ll hopefully know exactly what we mean. Huge recommendation.
The complete work by Luc Ferrari for films from 1960 to 1984 including electronic pieces, concrete music made in GRM and some hybrid including traditional instruments. An In-depth survey of the concrète poet/artist/thinker’s works for films, comprising eight durational pieces, and including the 73 minute ‘Chronopolis’
“This 3CD set gathers the complete work by Luc Ferrari for films from 1960 to 1984 including electronic pieces, concrete music made in GRM and some hybrid including traditional instruments.
Very rare pieces, most are unpublished (with collaboration with Jean Cocteau ou Jean Tinguely...), this is for the very first time the complete scope of one of the most innovative composer of the XX century.
Including 2 lighting texts by two writers and critics Philippe Langlois (Les Cloches d'Atlantis) and Guillaume Contré, some rare photograms from films and some handwritings notes by Ferrari himself.”
Subliminal transportation systems from Stelzer Murray, a pair of individually prolific avant-garde artists from Boston, making their overdue debut collaboration with Connector; an immersive flow of lower case texturhythms and microtonal drone recommended to anyone who’s been snagged by Jim HJaynes’ atmospheric works or the quietest enigmas by Kevin Drumm or Zoviet*France.
“Stelzer brings to the table an array of mangled and partially demagnetized tape; and Murray brings his knack for compacted harmonics, obfuscated field recordings, and long-view compositional strategies. An irradiated, almost Kirlian glow permeates Connector through the duo's slow accretions and erosions amidst the soaring crescendos of compacted tone and vacant shadows of mechanical thrum. On occasion, rasping saw tooth frequencies and oblique synth-noise phrases stridently pop in a clinical opposition against the field of hiss. Screaming cascades from ice storms. Tape symphonies from urban blight. Life-support machines at the point of obsolescence.
In describing the process of building this album, Stelzer reflected, "When you've known someone for this long, the act of collaboration is like conversation over dinner; you don't fuss over it or worry about it; it's stress free, even instinctual like exhaling."
Good things come to those who wait.”
White Material co-conspirator DJ Richard yields his 1st new EP in three years with the brooding electro swerver, Path of Ruin sure to garner moody screwfaces on the ‘floor.
It’s really all about the 10 minute title tune, reprising the darkside, Reese-like strokes of his Leech2 classic from way back in 2012, but with a slinky malinky electro swing that’s very much of the ’97/’07/’17 zeitgeist. The first five minutes of floating pads and stark dub chords could almost be mistaken for an early Claro Intellect or Andy Stott piece, before the lustrous bass sets it on its own trajectory into the night.
Gargoyle is a solid six minutes of slow industrial/EBM at 105bpm, coated with noxious harmonics in a way recalling Para or Dirk Desaever, and Stygian Freeze lives up to its mantle with a stately but doomed descent into beat-less synth zones redolent of Dopplereffekt.
Barcelona’s man of the moment DJ Seinfeld trots out on Manchester’s Natural Sciences with a quartet of fuzzy house jaxx.
He relaxes into it with a trippy mix of what sounds like indian classical vocal (might be dead wrong there?) and bassline-driven swagger, whereas Ruff Hysteria gets right on it with wriggling acid and zinging hi-hats
Wombat Bounce keep the energy up there with punchy, wooden drums timed for the swingers, and What Kind Of Sandwich Is This unfurls on a rolling hardcore jungle tip that sounds like HATE heard thru a wet towel.
Currently in a crucial phase of her oeuvre, Istanbul’s Ekin Fil presents the results of her first soundtrack commission with Inflame, a 30 minute collection of evocative, murky electronic cues reflecting the paranoia of Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s psychological thriller.
Rather than her signature, reverrb-laden guitar and glossolalic vox, Ekin uses a palette of synths, electronics and drum machines to convey a tense and claustrophobic sound, where severed voices float thru minor key melodies and slow, epileptic hallucinations, sometimes prodded with skeletal electro rhythms, at other left to linger uncomfortably in crepuscular mid-air with curt resolutions.
Mellow but spicy jazz-funk-soul from south London, 2017
“The album starts with 'Moonlight Woman,' a song that harks back to the Headhunters era, but with a contemporary twist - close your eyes and your transported to 70s Harlem, walking shoulder to shoulder with Richard Roundtree! 'Elephant & Castle' follows, a clear reference to south Londons Latin quarter, the tune has a distinct hustle and bustle quality. With a strong flute solo and upbeat rhythm section this tune is sure to have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet. The first side draws to a close with a tasteful Dilla inspired skit, 'Trudi's Mood,' which demonstrates the bands wealth of influences and leaves the listener eager to continue their sonic voyage, with Ruby Rushton at the helm.
Haunting ballad, 'Prayer For Yusef,' is a song written in memory of the late Yusef Lateef. It starts softly with a bowed double bass and bamboo flute, accompanied by ghostly percussive noises and slowly rises to a large crescendo, with drums and piano in tow. It's a strong tune and a fitting dedication to the late, great Yusef Lateef. No sooner has Lateef's ballad gently faded away then 'Where Are You Now?' kicks in. Starting with a cool, neck-popping 3/4 beat, and utilising a four-piece horn section, the rhythm section struts its stuff whilst flute and trumpet carve out a playful melodic line. Just as you settle into its hypnotic bounce the tune falls through a Monk inspired chromatic bridge and without warning reappears as a solid Latin groove, leading to strong solos from both sax and keys. The rhythm section charges through to the end, never lagging, and are rejoined by the four-piece horn section, which stabs its way to a tight finish. The album comes to a close as 'The Camel's Back' fades in with an eerie sax solo and free form drums, before settling into a catchy bass motif and quickly fading away, leaving listeners on the edge of their seats and wanting more. It’s a great ending to an intoxicating joy ride through a multitude of genre defying styles!
Simply put, this album is a must have for any listener yearning for exciting and fresh contemporary music. Essential listening for fans of Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal and GoGo Penguin. Words by Rodriguez Guido”.
Melancholic, electronica and jazz-inflected beats by a yung new talent from Glasgow. Check for sweetest bits on the piquant instrumental R&B mutation ‘Out of Body’ and the lush, thizzy suspense of ’Still’
“23 year-old Lachlan McFeely Bolt, fka Dressin Red, returns to Astral Black for the release of 'Still', his first official musical output since January 2016. With the name change, Bolt aims to bring the two worlds of his visual and audio creative works closer together.
With the focus of this record being more on feeling or aesthetic, rather than techincal prowess, the results are a far more fragile and intimate insight into the mind of this individual young artist. Whilst previous works allowed for Bolt's complex and arpeggiated synth lines to shine through, 'Still' is more holistic in it's approach; letting elements of both analogue and digital coincide.
'ByMy' is a perfect example of this, taking both the melodic elements of 'Kibble Place' and introducing elements of manipulated voice and guitars. At times Bolt moves toward an almost song-writing based approach, with his voice at the forefront of 'My Woes' and Guitar taking centre stage on album opener, 'Rise'. Whilst elsewhere, the anthemic, slow-motion jungle of '2 Scared 2 Say' (which soundtracked Boiler Room's recent documentary on Glasgow's new-wave) sounds like Burial just met Underworld at Glastonbury.
The 9-track project sees Lachlan move through a series of moods, with the album closer and title track 'Still' (Bolt's ode of sorts to Steve Reich's 'Music for 18 Musicians') leaving him, and ultimately the listener, in a particularly content mood.”
Kompakt’s moving feast of Pop Ambient returns with a 2018 edition spelling out twelve languorous and lofty definitions of atmospheric music by veteran hands - the Orb, Triola, Jens-Uwe Beyer - as well as recent additions to the series - Chuck Johnson, Yui Onodera, T. Raumschmiere.
Trust there’s no sharp edges or harsh textures inside, more the sort of music one can listen to in your birthday suit with windows open, or equally blanketed after the party, and the effect will remain as welcoming, user friendly.
Look out for lovliest moments in this volume from T. Raumschmiere’s epic stargazer, Eterna, and the amniotic cradle of Kaito’s Travelled Between Souls.
Andy Lyster’s Youth label wrest four stripes of punky blooze from Shamos, who steers away from the rugged house knocks of his Apron 12”s to nervier, faded headpieces in YO2TH.
Acquainted thru London’s NTS studio, Lyster and Shamos have conspired to reveal alternate aspects of the latter’s aesthetic, sidewinding from what sounds like one of Delroy Edwards’ Teenage Tapes cuts in the grungy wave stepper Found Grace to Lukid-esque alien tribalism in 13213132, then with a gristly, blank-eyed slug of EBM in TMF, and desiccated Detroit boogie in Nuws.
Brilliant, razor-sharp sound designs, gwan like a funky Haswell with the mosquito-sampling ‘MOSQU-ito’, and dissolving your head like humus in ‘MYCOrrhizosphere’, to name two highlights. Love this...
“SOLIDICITY is an invented word. It contains solid and city. It is AGF’s 10th solo and 31st album in executive production. The sound sculptress uses field recordings to craft rhythmic and arrhythmic structures, noise pattern, club references and bass frequencies. The poetess does not use words. AGF is a computer musician and uses Logic, Radial, MPClive, MAX from cycling74 to compose stark anti groove out of organic matter. Attention SPOILER: Finnish mosquitoes were looped and quantized. The track titles reference the artist's sonic discourse: Social justice, feminism, networking power, environmental concerns, Europe and the migration crisis, technological solutions for improving activism (Pursuance Project) and more.”
Fresh off a 12 hour, four day rota at the BOS Plant-cum-studio, Ansome cuts loose with British Steel
Taking in the hard-edged industrial funk of the title track along with the girder-strength slug of Marching Powder, a torrent of piledriver bass drums in Poison Your Body, and what sounds like Haswell and Best going for the gaffer as Consumer Electronics in Granite & Mortar.
Deadboy locks in a trio of jacking and swanging house grooves for AUS Music.
Effectively picking up where his Columns 12” for Ten Thousand Yen left us, here he goes a dab tuffer with the brittle drums and and brooding minor key arrangement of Auogeides 77, then opens up your swing with the feathered chords and ruder bass of Driftmore, and snaps off some nervy Detroit-via-Tokyo funk with Defrase.
Hemlock follow a strong 2017 run, getting the best out of Ploy in Unruly with three cuts of agitated digital funk and more abstract structures than his preceding 12”s for Hessle Audio and Timedance.
Unruly sparks off with something like Ueno Masaaki’s Raster-Noton missile redressed with a UK swing, while Garys comes up with escalating synthlines on a swaggering, offset techno mission with belly-twisting impact, and Lost Hours finds him at the other side of that wave with sweeter, duvet-diving ambient dynamics that emulate the effect of going MIA in your own bedroom.
Tia Maria Produções member DJ Lycox goes solo in a big way with debut album Sonhos & Pesadelos for the resoundingly influential Príncipe label.
With the delicious swerve and layered lushness of Sonhos & Pesadelos, the debut album by Príncipe’s Parisian ambassador DJ Lycox, sets a new high water mark for the label and its collective sound.
Indulging a bank of fleshly synths more than many of his label mates and peers, but at no sacrifice to his rhythmic push and pull, the sound is practically compatible with deep house and UKF as much as the frenetic styles of Nidia Minaj or the tuffness of DJ Marfox, for example.
Across all 12 tracks he modulates the vibe with expert groove control, oscillating between hypnotic future folk lixx and infectiously knotted drums in Weekend to a debonaire spin on deep house swagger with Domingo Abeçoado or Solteiro, skipping from the blazing tropical heat of Virgin Island and Paragons Moh Baba to something you could almost imagine Marcus Nasty playing on Nichako, Sky or the steely reinforcement of La Java.
But if you’re looking for out ’n out raving madness, you’d best check the blinding shockout Quarteto Fantástico and the searing hard-style leads of Ferrero for the most upfront bangers.
Eminent photographer turned sound artist and collaborator with Powell, Wolfgang Tillmans offers the soundtrack - a suite of scatty vocal duets with Bille Ray Martin and the Hamburg soundfield - relating to his current exhibition at the Kunstverein in Hamburg
“Hamburg Süd / Nee IYaow eow eow is released as part of the Wolfgang Tillmans's "There were 30 years between 1943 and 1973. 30 years from 1973 was the year 2003" exhibition, which is being held at the Kunstverein in Hamburg in fall 2017.
Wolfgang Tillmans has devised a 35-minute sound installation as part of the exhibition. The installation takes the exhibition's inner-city context as its starting point, and operates in conjunction with numerous photographs (from a variety of Tillmans' s work phases) and video works to transform the space into a single cinematic whole.
Electronic manipulations of Tillmans's own voice, made to sound alternately choral, guttural, and absurd, are mixed with a kind of sung evocation of the four directions of the compass -- to which the exhibition hall is almost exactly aligned. To provide this counterpart voice, Tillmans invited the Hamburg-born and internationally renowned singer Billie Ray Martin. The alternating singing styles are embedded within long silent pauses, when visitors can hear noise from the two routes of traffic between which the Kunstverein is located: the cluster of platforms at Hamburg's central railway station, and Klosterwall, one of the city's main thoroughfares.
Through the interplay of screeching railway lines, traffic noise, the reverberation of the immediate environment, word play, and voice explorations, Tillmans uses the sound work to react to aspects specific to the exhibition room at the Kunstverein in Hamburg: you can hear the city, but do not see it.
In Further Listening, the second part of the set, Tillmans presents further experimental solo pieces, collaborations, and two works that were previously released in 2016 (now available for the first time on digital format): 2016 / 1986 EP (FRAGILE 001EP), Tillmans's first release, and Device Control EP (FRAGILE 003EP), which first came to public attention in 2016 when a full-length version of the song appeared as a guest contribution on Endless, a visual album by the US R&B musician Frank Ocean.”
Yamaneko, aka Talbot Fade, blurs ambient/electronic distinctions with a sublime album richly inspired by hours spent inside computer games, melting aut to new age cassettes, and the metaphysics of simultaneously being inside/outside the rave. Spa Commissions arrives quick at the heels of the heart-rending Talbot Fade tape My Voice Would Reach You to dreamcast another bridge into his wide-eyed and immersively detailed ambient dimensions. RIYL Goodiepal’s Havet, Lee Gamble’s beatless modes, or Visible Cloaks.
“Since breaking through with 2014’s debut album Pixel Wave Embrace, Yama has been one of the key electronic artists combining electronic music with ambient - with a fragile sound equally inspired by grime, new age cassette music, video game soundtracks and techno.
Despite being his first release, Pixel Wave Embrace became a cult classic - quietly but notably influential on the artists around him and further afield. Yama has continued to spread his influence since, soundtracking an advert by Supreme, providing the music for a short film by Oliver Payne (work shown at MoMA, The Serpentine, The Tate, Whitechapel Gallery and more) and teaming up with Mr. Mitch as Yaroze Dream Suite. He’s become a key part of this label, performing at both our recent Boiler Rooms and most of our shows - we couldn’t picture Local Action without him. Last year we released his second album, the colder, less inviting Project Nautilus.
Earlier this year, Yama was commissioned to create music for a spa in Europe. These commissions eventually developed into a full album’s worth of material, collected and fleshed out here to create his most blissful, beatless record to date.”
The Swedish producer gets under the skin with his trippy burner, Wall To Wall
Sustaining the gauzier textures and feel into the Shxcxchcxsh-alike tones of Private Life, and knuckling down to tuffer hydraulics with #demand, before sloping away on the slow, depressed noise techno push of Front Row (The Game). It’s maybe not what you might expect, and in the best way.
Umor Rex saddle up a session of dusty modular kosmische from Phantom Horse, paying homage to the original templates of Cluster/Harmonia and the rhythmelodic patterning of Moondog in five horizon-scanning variations. Best checked for the alien tone of Always Too Late (Reprise) or the wickedly curdled, keening synth discord of Skeptical Island, and its giddy resolution.
“Packed in their distinct homelike, warm sound, Phantom Horse effortlessly follow their path to find a melancholic playfulness in the heart of ancient machines. Conjuring the picture of transmogrified humanoid characters, modular and analogue synthesizers, antique drum machines, e-pianos, guitar, tape effects and various percussion devices create a comforting condition that involves the listener in some analogue computer game for a lost jazz world. Their approach on widespread compositions shows an elaborated vigor, an earnest love for slowly evolving melodies. Phantom Horse yet never fail to step on bridges that link the different subspecies of non-academic minimal music – from kraut to Mr. Eno and retour on detour. With “Different Forces”, Ulf Schütte and Niklas Dommaschk, whose names might be familiar to those in the know, provide their fast motion picture soundtrack for the genesis of a desert or whatever – if you listen carefully, different worlds will come into being.”
Big-eared, subversive collagists Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) and Mark Gergis (Porest) ov Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace share the latest, brilliant split slab on Discrepant; presenting two extended pieces originally aired as part of WMFU’s OPTIMIZED!, a week-long selection of shows programmed by Bennett DURING JUNE, 2016.
Both artists turn in sterling material, but Mark Gergis’ turn as Porest is a seriously big attraction. Recorded “on-location” between 1988 and Jan-Feb 2016, and incorporating contributions by Paul Staufenbiel and Michael Darr, Porest “unveils recordings from the covert sector of his archives”, culling material intercepted via “prepared radio” fine-tuned to received what he terms “parallel broadcasting”. We’d take that with a pinch of whatever you use to digest “fake news”, as Gergis and co turn in a frankly hilarious prod at Anglo-American cultural imperialism consisting of pointed cut-ups that show up Cassetteboy as infantile dunces by comparison. The radio jingle recruiting Brooklyn hipsters for ISIS is particularly tangy!
For her part, Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us plays to her much-loved, archaic english eccentric side with All On A Beautiful Day, trawling/trolling dippy soundtrack music, classic pop and sonic cultural ephemera in her gently disorienting, merry-go-round way.
Editions Mego present Ivan Pavlov’s highly personalised songbook, CoHgs (pronounced songs, like his name in cyrillic is said; Son) raiding more than 20 years of work prism-pushing work with everyone from Coil to Ann Demeulemeester and Little Annie. As a showcase of his collaborative work, it’s maybe a bit weird that there’s nowt from one of our personal faves, CoH Plays Cosey, but we’re sure there’s some reason for that. And ironically enough the best track, Fffetish - from his Love Uncut for Coil’s Eskaton label - is actually a collaboration with his own alter-ego, Frankie Gothard, on vocals.
“The ongoing relationship between Editions Mego and COH continues with this special collection of works made by COH over a number of years released on a variety of labels. What brings these works together is the incorporation of vocalists and lyrics. Neatly compiled here, a diverse pool of vocalists elevate the otherwise instrumental works of COH ( Ivan Pavlov) into worlds of narrative, the human and the haunted.
Little Annie brings her sly subversive cabaret style to one of the works whilst delivering an intense lkist of daily activities on another whereas Peter ,Sleazy' Christopherson conjures a world beyond our own with his cracked spectral delivery interpreting Pavlov's disembodied electronics. I wrap my last kiss in a bandage… I send you this message.
Frankie Gothard provides classic distorted industrial swagger to the proto-disco FFFETISH where LOVE'S SEPTIC DOMAIN (feat. John Balance & Louise Weasel) screams from the abyss of dirty hospitals; As starlit and damaged as any of the classic Balance deliveries. A previously unreleased work featuring the renowned fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester skips along a metronomic beat whilst the voice lays out dry settings and instruction. Elsewhere Noriko Taguchi embeds a fragile sensibility to a music box melody whilst Anna Yamada's collaboration results in an exquisite blend of disorientating pop.
The versatility of Pavlov's practice is on display as proto disco, industrial simulation and pop all come together with the vocalists presenting a wide range of human function, from the absurd to the mundane to world's unknown.”
Craig Clouse’s restless Shit & Shine plop another steamer for 2017 after already shredding our guts to bits with Some People Really Know How To Live and the raucous Total $hit.
This time they return to Rocket Recordings, site of their great split with Gnod in 2012, for a three part dirty protest against boredom, corralling samples from The Fast Show with grinding noise techno rhythms and amorphous distortion in the destructive slog of That’s Enough, before Simon Cowell and a feisty Pop Idol contestant open up the acidic wormhole of The Worst, and I Like You betty launches a spring loaded sort of hardstep D&B noise assault.
Another gem from the small yet significant Strata catalogue. A precursor to New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s Strata Records was founded in the late 1960s by former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox. Starting life as a music-led community organisation, coffee shop studio and venue, Strata released only a few titles as a record label, gaining the imprint a cult following among record collectors and jazz lovers across the globe.
"Possibly the best known of Strata’s releases, The Lyman Woodard Organization’s ‘Saturday Night Special’ is rightly heralded as a jazz fusion classic. Recorded in 1975, ‘Saturday Night Special’ features organ, electric piano and Mellotron by bandleader Lyman Woodard alongside guitar and bass by Ron English, with drums and percussion by Leonard King, Bud Spangler & Lorenzo "Mr. Rhythm" Brown respectively. Despite the fairly sparse instrumentation, ‘Saturday Night Special’ lays down an impressive wall of sound, powerfully atmospheric in its almost low-fi aesthetic. Hinting at more traditional jazz, rhythm & blues, afrocuban styles and more, the uniqueness of this album is surely in its feel: summoning up images of a vast industrial landscape, assembly lines and urban decay. In other words, this record sounds like Detroit.
No great album artwork is complete without a good story to match, and ‘Saturday Night Special’ does not disappoint. Snapped by photographer and political activist Leni Sinclair (responsible for seminal pictures of Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and John Coltrane and many others), the cover image shows the contents of Lyman Woodard’s pockets placed on the hotel bed after a show: cigarette papers, cash and a pistol.
Following Woodard’s death in 2009, this incredible album was reissued in highly limited numbers by Wax Poetics; now just as hard to come by as the original pressings. It’s our pleasure to make this important and influential chapter in the story of contemporary jazz available on vinyl once again."
The Body and Full of Hell are both unique and influential forces in heavy music.
"Both artists welcome challenges and eschew self-promotion. Each artist seems driven to take risks and push boundaries of what is considered heavy. A clear example being that on recent tours The Body have performed without any live guitar or drums. Both artists enjoy the creative growth and music and good times that come out of collaborations. Each has collaborated often with other unique but like-minded musicians such as Thou, The Haxan Cloak, Krieg, Merzbow, The Bug and the list goes on. Despite their obvious differences in songwriting, The Body and Full of Hell are unified by their shared aesthetic, catharsis through the manipulation of emotions transformed by visceral noise and fueled by an inescapable sense of dread. They have returned to collaborate again not because of their commonalities but because of their differences and what those differences yield in performance. With Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light, The Body & Full of Hell have integrated a love for electronic noisescapes with abrasive, precise sonic assaults into a sound unlike anything either has produced before.
Written and recorded in one week at Machines with Magnets in Providence, the music of Ascending draws from unexpected sources such as reggaetón and jungle (“Master’s Story”). There are some familiar guests to The Body fans, namely vocalist Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir) and Ben Eberle (Sandworm), as well as first-time collaborator drummer Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt, Black Pus), whom both bands share a strong aesthetic of individualism. Samples, synth, saxophone, and a drum orchestra all throb, and sputter, coagulating under the weight of the two bands. Programmed drum patterns and loops taking cues from hip hop are bent and twisted throughout, flawlessly emboldening the distortion drenched guitars and howling vocals. Each element, though meticulously crafted, is visceral, as the exhilaration of improvisation has not been curtailed by editing.
Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light casts aside the dogmas of heavy music. Extremity in The Body & Full of Hell’s music is not based on macho musings or competitive trendiness, but rather is an integral tool to exploring the anxieties of modern life and the bridges between personal and political strife. As leading voices in DIY and underground music communities, The Body & Full of Hell, along with peers such as Thou, are expanding the possibilities of extreme music by shaping worlds of sound with a palette of diverse influences seldom seen in “heavy music” today.”
Felix Kubin takes the pulse of capitalism with an incisively smart, playfully anachronistic , and poetically dadaist suite of percussive pieces inspired by educational and industrial 16mm films. RIYL Faitiche’s Ursula Bogner, the recent C-Schulz reissue, and Bruno Spoerri...
“Originally developed as a film score Takt der Arbeit is inspired by a handful of industrial and instructional films from the early 1960's until the early 1990's that portrait different forms of work. Felix Kubin is translating these historic documents into a musical poem of conceptual depth. Takt der Arbeit - the beat of work - is not only serving as a title but also as constructive element in this endeavour.
Being hunted down by the ever accelerated pulse of our reality is an omnipresent issue in capitalist societies of the the Western world. Living in times of constant exhaustion, it's not only our bodies that have been disciplined by and synchronized to the rhythms of working processes, but also our minds that rage in the tempo of our surroundings. Following an almost analytical effort, Kubin and an ensemble of 3 percussionists are investigating the different qualities and intensities of time that are catalyzed in working processes. While picking up precise temporal and motoric motives of the films, condensing paces and excavating rhythmic patterns, the ensemble is mapping out an animist choreography, shifting from a time when labour was still relying on bodily efforts to a time when machines and ticking clocks seem to reign and model our perception. While Side A is dedicated to procedures that are still based on manual and mechanical movement, Side B is inspired by the digital age, marked by invisible processes and subcutaneous pulses that we internalize.
The result is a critical and poetic reflection on the rhythms of our daily life and yet another example of Felix Kubin's skills as a composer, placing him in the field of orchestral music.”
The first album from Mark Stewart’s Claro Intelecto in five years is an unpredictable yet typically emotive collection bearing all the hallmarks of his sound, from crushing bass weight to heart-grabbing moments of elegiac beauty - but with new avenues into more experimental and freeform sounds. Killer album this...
Stewart's clearly been saving the best results of his studio time for this baker’s dozen of skudgy bangers and icy electronica, rendering a full spectrum of his style between the industrialised Art Of Noise styles on Eye Spy, the Raster-Noton-meets-Actress squeeeeze in Mr Stewart, something like a raging take on Mr. Oizo with Guardian Angel, and the trademark warehouse pressure of Amino Acid.
Two birds, one stone: BAT brings his Excavated Tapes 1992-1999 to a close with Vol.3, which also appears as the last release on Astro:Dynamics, who’ve delivered some choice releases from 1991, Samoyed, Dynooo and El Kid/Sam Kidel in their seven years of activity.
They’ve clearly saved BAT’s best for last with six of his quietest, seductively uncertain hardware improvisations, covering Actress-gone-Memphis knocks in HiFi 120 Side A CJa, thru to barely-there, Bellows-style crackle in Lesson 15 Side A Chmycncrt, the fractured ambient crumbs of Voice Thing Side A Crck, and a lushly knotted, curdled dub chords in 94 Side A Twentyish.
Toodle pip, Astro:Dynamics. Was lovely listening to ya.