Excellent, effervescent, charmingly whimsical, Kate NV’s solo début для FOR is a lovely album of rhythmelodic percussive pointillism and splayed choral vox recalling the sweetest sides of FAY, Visible Cloaks, D.K., Steve Reich or Jameszoo.
“Over the ten, symmetrical pieces of 'для FOR,' Kate NV scores her native Moscow environment with just enough whimsy to gurgle through the city cracks and grow psychotropic foliage. On her sophomore album, each sound assumes its own personality, moving through the album metropolis like miniature, mutating molecules viewed from NV’s apartment window.”
Crushing beat-em-up computer game soundtrack and hardcore dance music abstraction from Milan’s Haunter Records co-founder Francesco Birsa Alessandri, débuting his fierce sound as Sense Fracture. RIYL Ziúr, Rabit, Croww, Xyn Cabal
““In My Escape I Look For A Weapon”, a declaration of intent in an ever-progressing struggle for existence. Urging not to surrender while also calling for empathy and comprehension. Haunter co- founder, DJ, producer and writer Francesco Birsa Alessandri, under his Sense Fracture alias, launches a call to arms to all resisting forces and collective efforts for progress, freedom and equality, riding a punishing, uncompromising sound through an unquiet harmonic body: hard-edged yet unapologetic about its own vulnerability. The dancefloor’s potential for political affirmation and the ambivalent nature of escapism are the forces that sharpen the Fracture. Channeling the writings of Kathy Acker, Amy Ireland and Mark Fisher as well as bits of rave extremism, breakcore, dub, grime and trap, Alessandri aims to reflect and infect reality by challenging the structure of conventional club narratives. It is by enhancing the nonlinear, abrasive qualities dwelling between the beats that They build a critique of language and power relations.”
Paleman joins Berlin’s youthling Zehnin label with a dark payload of rumbling techno in the wake of their releases by Lucy/Blawan and Roots In Heaven.
With signature subtlety and powerful traction, Paleman blends UK and Euro techno tropes to his own special mixture, serving heat-seeking phantom killers in the hulking rogue 2068, and clanking underwater dynamics in Searching, while the title and effect of The Peg Loosens perfectly sum up his approach to altering the mechanics of techno convention, and Slurp rolls out with properly infectious funk.
ARP wraps up inspirations from Japanese ambient, 4th world electronics, jazz and kosmiche synth music into a luxurious suite of loungey psychedelia
“A mutant offspring of diverse stylings, unlikely convergences, unfixed constellations, ZEBRA, Alexis Georgopoulos’ – aka Arp – fifth full-length album, is a post-everything symbiosis of ancient to future psychotropics, emphasizing points of connectivity between far-flung traditions. ZEBRA is as naturalistic as it is alien, disrupting outdated boundaries between musical traditions, hierarchies and genre politics.
Using forward-looking production techniques and an idiosyncratic instrumental palette — analog synthesizers, double bass, Fender Rhodes, electronic and acoustic drums, flute, vintage harmonizers and tape delay — Georgopoulos proposes a vast, shimmering prospect, floralizing an array of styles and smiles — Fourth World tremors, vibey Cosmic Jazz, 80s Japanese production, floating kosmische drum atmospherics.
Emphasizing ‘points of connectivity’ in a time when reactive and fractious isolationism threaten in divisive ways, ZEBRA is the sound of interaction. ZEBRA seeks something beyond definition of singularity perspective and division. It is constructive instead of flippant: ecstatic instead of wallowing; clear-eyed instead of opiated, romantic instead of cynical.
Like the zebra, Georgopoulos’ latest album revels in contrast / duality – Naturalistic + alien. Urban + rural. Calm + unsettling. Lucid + mysterious. Bold simplicity + fiendish complexity. The result is a portal to a more curious world that compels repeat visits.”
1980: it was the dawn of a new age. Built on the broken backs and bodies of those who had hoped and dreamed for a better world, the 80s made it clear: that world wasn’t coming.
"A generation and more plunged into the abyss. But what of Death? The Hackney brothers were no different from anybody else - in the heat and tumult of the 1970s they’d seen that new world coming. They’d raised their voices righteously, transforming with outrage and hunger their all-in-the-family power trio Rock Funk Fire Express into the legends called Death. The combination of Bobby and Dannis’ pile-driving rhythm, older brother David’s hard-rock guitar leads and an effervescent combination of lyrical angst, missionary zeal and vision-spirit were an unknown hybrid on the African-American side of Detroit in the mid-70s - and everywhere else, for that matter.
These were the sounds the world knows today as ‘For The Whole World To See’ - but at the time the brothers managed only to selfrelease two songs on a basically undistributed 7” record, which caused no label anywhere to express any interest in a record deal for the band called Death. Stung by the indifference, they reconsidered their position. The three corners of their personal cosmic triangle hadn’t been enough to realize their Death ambitions. It was time for The 4th Movement.
Death had plenty of existential / spiritual elements to them; a desire to know where they stood in the big picture was always key to the Hackneys’ musical ambitions. As The 4th Movement they would direct all those inquiries to Christ. But the raw spirit of Death was still the driving force behind the music; the sound of The 4th Movement captured the trio with rough-hewn intensity as they reached new heights of composition, creating an album-length set of songs that verged on Punk / Christian opera. It would be years before it would occur to any other musical act to try such an outrageous thing. Recorded in their new home base of Burlington, Vermont and released by the group on their own Tryangle Records imprint, ‘The 4th Movement’ was destined for privatepress notoriety in the world that was coming.
But in the world in which the Hackney brothers were striving to be heard, The 4th Movement was the second seismic rumbling of Death. The 4th Movement LP was followed by several years of gigs, a single and a second self-released album. After all the time spent on both bands, the love revolution appeared farther away than ever, so David called it quits and returned to Detroit, taking with him the wild dreamer’s visions that had been so central to their direction. Bobby and Dannis stayed in Burlington and put down roots, starting families and forming Lambsbread, developing a local fanbase for whom they played regularly, until Death came calling again in 2009. The records that they’d made all those years ago had drifted first into obscurity and then into high-priced collector’s notoriety - an equally obscure destination."
Varg empties the contents of his hard drive on Posh Isolation. Expect ambient hook-ups with Ecco2k, AnnaMelina and Vanity Productions...
“When the fight-or-flight response edges in—adrenaline coursing and perception wired—our behaviour is especially spiked by an emotional intensity. And with that peak comes a trough. It's a chemical freefall, just like a crush.
Presented by Posh Isolation, 'Crush' marks the beginning of the end for Varg's turbulent Nordic Flora Series. Getting us lost in an exhilarating maze of fainting beauty and breaks, the fifth piece of the series invites us to relish the harmony just as much as the dissonance.
Following on from the previous iterations of the series, particularly the widely acclaimed 'Nordic Flora Series Pt.3: Gore-Tex City,' the cast of collaborators remain familiar.
Some faces are more prominent on this occasion, while others were folded into the series for the first time at last year's Berlin Atonal festival where Varg's Nordic Flora program was unveiled.
The album's most tender moments arrive when the acoustic instrumentation and ambient ascents cross and tangle with the spoken word performances from AnnaMelina and Chloe Wise. They speak in lullabies of decadence. And the sincerity catches you out, tapering the rush, awakening the crush. When working with both AnnaMelina and Vanity Productions, the gentle details get scaled up for bigger arenas, the track signalling a kinship with last year's Yung Lean collaboration.
Tracing another kind of intimacy is a collection of deft and agile club-cursed tracks that set a new level of scattered cohesion for Varg. Spirited and biting, they bump and quake with a whiplashed gait, effortless af. Not surprisingly, Varg configures this side of 'Crush' alone, perhaps letting this stormy intensity out just the once in a mournful piece with Ecco2k.
True to the Nordic Flora Series, the artwork comes from American multidisciplinary artist Cali Thornhill DeWitt. The artwork is presented in collaboration with international copyright agreements. Our burning passions light diverse paths, and as the fragility of the heart is learned and lamented, then surely a cause to celebrate this fate comes?”
Impeccably studied shoegaze/dream-pop. RIYL The Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, The Sundays
“Them Are Us Too was formed in the Bay Area by friends Kennedy Ashlyn and Cash Askew in 2012 after meeting at school. Fast friends with an appreciation for the same music and art, they recorded a demo and began performing intimate and memorable gigs on the west coast. They quickly gained a cult following as word spread about their youthful, innocent, and fresh take on the revered 80s dream pop and shoegaze sound, and Kennedy Ashlyn’s voice was immediately compared to Elizabeth Fraser, Kate Bush, and Harriet Wheeler – while Cash Askew’s washes of intricate guitar felt akin to Robin Guthrie, Ronny Moorings, or Kevin Shields. Their music felt familiar but new, nostalgic, and heartbreaking, with songs delivered simply and earnestly. They betrayed their age (both only 21 when they signed to DAIS) by releasing one of the most incredible debut albums of 2014, “Remain”.
Tragically, Cash Askew passed away in the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland in December of 2016, sending a shockwave of loss through our community. While Kennedy Ashlyn would eventually emerge as a solo artist through her project SRSQ, there were unfinished Them Are Us Too recordings and demos that Kennedy and those close to Cash felt deserved be heard in her memory.
Kennedy returned to the studio with producer Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv), Sunny Haire (Cash’s stepfather), Matia Simovich (INHALT), and Anya Dross (Cash’s girlfriend) to complete unfinished demos and sketches, write new compositions, and honor Cash Askew.
The result is “AMENDS”: an album of tragic beauty and depth that tugs at emotions and inspires.”
Ian William Craig’s enchanting début album, ‘A Turn of Breath’ - the record which first attracted the attention of Fatcat’s 130701 sublabel, and brought worldwide attention to Ian’s singular flux of oxidised ambient, neo-classical composition and avant-garde electronics - now receives an extended reissue edition on Sean McCann’s marvellous Recital Program
The 2014 release’s 12 tracks are now supplemented by 10 previously unreleased works stemming from the same recording sessions. Revisiting the record after years, it patently still warrants comparison with everyone from Philip Jeck to Kara-Lis Coverdale and Leyland Kirby, rendering one of those listening experiences that get under the nails, in your eyes with an effect that, once felt, is hard to shake.
That feeling spills over into Ian’s 10 new previously unheard works. They include a tremulous dose of spectral ambient folk-soul in Erat Hora, and a 3rd part of his organ-based song cycle A Slight Grip, A Gentle Hold, while the crackly textures and disembodied voices of Either Or (Darkroom Version) and the ten minute beauty Genesis Device could have almost come from Bellows or The Caretaker’s recent LPs, and Bon Voyage, Westbrook 210 blesses the suite with a beautifully elegiac sense of closure.
N.M.O. + EVOL’s Rubén Patiño switches hairstyle to Lag OS for the Anòmia label from his native Barcelona
Pato’s first solo trip since a split LP with No God Ritual (Xyn Cabal) in 2016 for Hypermedium, is a steeply dissociative demonstration of extreme computer music that feels like K-holing in the middle of a crowd on a hot day, with your senses inverted and dissolved into a sticky ether.
In Swamp 333 Medley we’re extruded like chewing gum picked off a sneaker sole in slow motion, warped and congealing with environmental detritus in a proprioception-baffling roil of upside-down, inside-out dynamics that resolve at a masticated post-techno pulse 10 minutes later.
With Draassig Last Land the effect is more discernibly underwater, or under some viscous substance at least, with seven minutes of discombobulated slosh that leaves listens completely uncertain of their surroundings, before Take AAA Dear emulates something like a sonic allegory of Google’s AI dream imagery, all deliquescent chromatics and phantasmagoric convolution that pinches the pineal gland and squeezes it on the synaesthetic synapses between ears and eyes with keyhole surgery precision.
In other words, some of the most beautifully fcuked up electronic music we’ve heard in ages.
uon runs a beautifully warm and inviting ’Superbath’ for mindful contemplation on Barcelona’s persistently probing anòmia label. If you’ve been smitten with son’s turns for Huerco S’ West Mineral or Motion Ward and wanted the feeling to last longer, we implore you to immerse in this 24 minutes of lushness!
“Initial searches on “sound bath” led me to the general description “Sound Bath’s provide the space and sounds for you to relax at a profound level. This allows your body to find its natural balance while creating space for insights. People often find resolution for emotional issues and a sense of coming home to themselves”
Although one might find this information relative- Uon’s “Superbath” does not propose such results, it does not proclaim to enlighten, or resolve. Its remedy lies in its modest simplicity. In fact the Uon project, as far as I can tell, does not proclaim much of an image or objective at all. The sounds communicate directly the intention of their creator; an often elusive nuance in modern music. ”Superbath” provides an immediate voice of a conscious world. One can sense moments weaving through an ionosphere of soft glow and delicate fog; continually mapping an empathetic landscape without ushering the listener into any specific progression of ideology. These hazy voices wander above our common realm; voices of mystery, each drawing on the eternal torch of reality.”
Unsung West Coast maverick Carl Stone is subject of a necessary 2nd retrospective on Unseen Worlds following their Laurie Spiegel/Don Christensen and Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom releases
As revelatory as the first volume Electronic Music From the Seventies and Eighties, the temporal shift into the ’80s/‘90s in this 2nd collection opens four hallucinatory new planes of ambient enquiry yielding some of the most beautiful electronic music we’ve never heard before.
Progressing farther along Stone’s timeline we find him refining the flow of his practice in four prime examples or his work within the parameters of real-time electronic music performance and process. With computerised sleight of hand, all four works reveal a magick of metamorphosis, or how fixed elements can become im/perceptibly changed over time.
In Bantreay Srey we hear a lone East Asian vocal slowed and bifurcating into evaporating helixes of floating tones, only to appear to invert its place in the soundfield by the work’s close, whilst the percolated glassy chain of Sonali appears to predate the playful brilliance of his glitching pop cut-ups in its keening, frothy drive and evolution leading to a secreted Mozart chorus.
Woo Lae Oak follows with a sublime play on tension between levitating flute lines and a backdrop of strobing, hyper electronics keeping us rapt for its 23 minute lifespan, before another extended number Mae Yao aligns the senses in a sort of digitally windswept segue from hyperventilating female vocals to shimmering shoegaze radiance hinting at gamelan music, but never quite resolving at either.
To be honest, we’re still nowhere near getting our heads around Carl Stone’s body of work, but this and the last volume are a great place to start probing, and likewise his Al-Noor CD if his more popwise aspects take your fancy.
Barcelona’s excellent Anòmia serves uon’s earliest entry, a 2016 split of lush ambient dynamics shared with Berlin’s Exael
Originally a tape, now on digital, ANM035 features some of the first releases by Ryan Fall as uon, a project which has recently bloomed into a cult concern with sublime 12”s for Motion Ward and more recently Huerco S’ West Mineral Ltd.
We can pretty much guarantee that if you like those, you fall heavily for the vaporous, heavy-lidded appeal of uon’s Nod and his tenderised 10 minute nocturne, Gate, while 2zax, a collab with Exael keens toward somewhere murkier, initially unsettling, but ultimately resolving beautifully.
Likewise, Exael’s solo tracks tread that fine line between pensive and meditative, with Grane sounding like an isolation tank infested by nanobots, while Held elusively feels to dissolve in your hands, ears, and Bundle lends a subtly salty, underlying edge to to ostensibly prosaic ambient dub techno.
Four beautiful, exceptional ambient nocturnes bloom again on a very welcome 30th anniversary reissue, newly packaged together by Grönland for the benefit of your health...
David Sylvian and Holger Czukay’s Plight + Premonition  & Flux + Mutability  bouquets remain some of the most enigmatic ambient recordings of the ‘80s since their conception at Czukay’s converted cinema studio in Köln, 1986. But, while Sylvian was ostensibly coming to record vocals for the last track on Czukay’s Rome Remains Rome LP, the legendary Can figure ended up surreptitiously recording Sylvian improvising on whatever was at hand, only stopping the recording when the results started to become too “structured”, in effect capturing moments of less conscious, more freeform expression, and preserving them for what would become some of the most spellbinding and transportive recordings in either artist’s catalogue.
Recorded during their fateful first meeting just as glasnost was beginning to thaw the cold war, the two parts of Plight + Premonition tentatively mirror this transition from the shadow of nuclear war towards open windows of possibility in the dawning mists and gently windswept synths of Plight (The Spiralling of Winter Ghosts), and the again with a genteel flush of harmonic colour perfusing shortwave radio signals and glimmering keys hinting at the promise of seductively warmer uplands in Premonition (Giant Empty Iron Vessel). On the follow-up side, Flux (A Big, Bright, Colourful World) that horizon comes clearer into view with the earthy percussion of Jaki Liebzeit joining Czukay and Sylvian to beckon the light along with Can’s Michael Karoli and woozy, Hassell-ian Flugelhorn by Markus Stockhausen, son of Karlheinz, before the lead pair calibrate a mutual vision of reserved but quietly optimistic lushness in Mutability (A New Beginning is in the Offing).
One year on from A Music Of Soundsystems, Spatial pursues the album’s ideas in four sideways styles
Working out rubbery dancehall bass and nagging computer tones in Chronic; rolling off-the-bone with tangy drums and swingeing subs in Calima; then hopping around the groove with the pinging acid of Kairos; and shopping your booty in the dub proper of Abora.
Kamasi Washington clearly doesn’t do half measures, as his sprawling 2.5 hour follow-up to The Epic proves in no uncertain terms. Prepare to immerse in a worldly but highly personalized bebop and jazz fusion style, brilliantly lit up by the main man’s searchingly expressive tenor sax for Young Turks
“Heaven and Earth is a double album containing 2.5 hours of new music. The Earth side represents the world Kamasi sees outwardly, the world that he is a part of. The Heaven side represents the world he sees inwardly, the world that is a part of him. “The world that my mind lives in, lives in my mind.””
Arnau Sala aka Exoteric Continent moves in the grey/blue space between modern, latinate dance architecture and ghostly ambient sound noumena with La Perspectiva Racional - presented as his first album proper and his 6th release with Hospital Productions, sounding something like a more fractured take on the classic dub variants which typified Pole’s Scape label at the turn of the century via artists such as Jan Jelinek, Kit Clayton, Deadbeat and Stefan Betke himself.
A product of searching musical and personal introspection conducted and realised over the period 2015-2016, La Perspectiva Racional pushes an intense, probing sound in the awkward spaces and styles around dub, techno and noise's shifting, jagged borders, using drums, percussion, magnetic tape and synthesisers to outline atonal and enigmatic silhouettes.
On Contingut he drops in on an electronic variant that's more in keeping with the warm, bubbling sounds you might have found on a Jan Jelinek album at the turn of the century, while Contagi develops the fractured dub aesthetic further still, before album closer Col.lapse harks back to Stefan Betke's classic, earliest Pole productions.
Elsewhere, the tone is more fractured and unsettling, most notably on the excellent title track, providing an obliterated sense of propulsion through multi-layered drums and restless arpeggios, while Humanització unfurls a heightened sense of unease recalling Brad Fiedel's iconic score work for The Terminator, with added dread.
Martyn comes ruff, rugged, and emotional on ‘Voids’, his first album in four years, underlined with a signature knack for tactile bass and restlessly syncopated percussion
Voids is the first fruit of Matyn’s labour following a heart attack and recovery period which pushed the artist to rethink his music. During that time, the first album he properly paid attention to when out of hospital was Max Roach’s M’Boom , an album of heavily percussion-focussed arrangements whose space and production instantly struck a chord with the producer and seemed to resonate with his personal sonic ontology.
We can only imagine that whatever strife he was going thru was only compounded by the untimely 2017 death of Marcus Intalex, the D&B legend behind Soul:r and Revolve:r, who issued the earliest Martyn records c. 2005. After a surreal intro collage, Voids, he deals with those issues in the best way on Manchester, which reprises the swing and dubby depth of his early Broken/Shadowcasting as a fine tribute to the man and city before rolling thru some solid classic business in the acidic stepper Mind Rain and the tabla coda of Why, saving a melancholy moment of reflection for the dark blue modal jazz of Try To Love You, and ultimately resolving to a mix of raved-up feeling between the bolshy torque of Cutting Tone and the drizzly jazz abstraction of Dreamers.
A master of abstract musical storytelling, Sugai Ken follows a string of outstanding LPs for RVNG Intl, Lullabies For Insomniacs and EM Records with 8 detailed scenes of intrigue and psychedelic potential for Italy’s Yerevan tapes.
From reverberant, filmic percussion to bestial jazz, lysergically warped vocals and the mating sounds of alien animalicula, the sound ecology and logic of -yOrUkOrU- describes a strange place where industrial and natural sounds merge in the ether with traditional, local Japanese sounds to form an airborne dramaturgy whose purpose or meaning will apply differently to each and every user.
With location recordings fed thru advanced, ancient, alien electronics like Autechre producing something for the nonsuch explorer series, this is perhaps the best from Sugai Ken to date - properly essential gear.
An evening in a coffee house in Kyoto forty years ago has lingered fondly in the memories of those who were there. Now, the stellar performance of John Renbourn that night is available for all to hear on ‘Live In Kyoto 1978’.
"John Renbourn, along with his sometimes partner Bert Jansch (with whom he formed Pentangle in the 1960s), has been passed away for these past few years - but the music that he made continues to inspire, alongside the works of fellow travellers like Jansch, Davey Graham, Wizz Jones and John Martyn. Over fifty years ago, Renbourn and these men were at the forefront of the British folk revival as it mingled with the blues boom that was exploding at the same time.
Renbourn’s style mixed these traditions with classical, jazz, world and early music techniques and his picking was second to none. John made records and toured from the early 1960s until his death in 2015. His repertoire was vast and among the songs he played on this night at the Jittoku coffee house were pieces played at many of his concerts over the years, including songs by Reverend Gary Davis, Davey Graham, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Arthur Smith, William Byrd and Charles Lloyd.
‘Live In Kyoto 1978’ is a remarkable document of Renbourn’s talent spun out over an evening’s-worth of performances, during which his ease of playing left the audience speechless afterwards. The recording was made by the late Satoro Fujii, whose archive of recordings was discovered posthumously and have begun to see release in recent years. Satoro captured the performance with pristine detail, allowing us to hear the fine detail of John’s fretwork and the warmth and delight in the room as he played."
The Ghost of Georges Bataille is a superb, if unexpected, collaboration between erstwhile Coil member Drew McDowell and fellow NYC-based artist Nicky Mao a.k.a. Hiro Kone, slotting very neatly into the Bank Records NYC catalogue amid their roster including Wetware, Nick Klein and Bookworms.
Strung out in the ether between Alva Noto, Coil and contemporary Chris & Cosey, the pair have nailed a timelessly stylish darkside vibe herein, with McDowell pursuing the sleek contours and intoxicating timbral qualities of last year’s Unnatural Channel into more liminal, mystic space somewhere between the ‘floor and restless mind-frames, smartly invoking the spirit of their titular subject.
The first side is spent establishing elusive/illusive parameters with the layered synthetic thizz and pent pulse of Barely Awake, then getting under the skin with the hugely impressive interplay of spectral synth voices and uncommonly thick, lustrous subbass in Dreaming Is Nursed In Darkness, which ends up sounding like some prime late ‘90s Autechre remix.
Their B-side is just as strong. Bright Kiss of Fire opens out a fathomless, dank space which they flesh out with sensually latinate rhythms that are all too absent in this quadrant of industrial music, or at least this subtly, before they again really impress with the fractured ballistics and sublime ‘90s electronica synth contours of Violence.
No doubt it’s a big RIYL Toresch, Ae, CS + Kreme, Coil
Expertly sculpted studio sound designs by the guy from Acteurs, Disappears, 90 Day Men
“Another year on the HITD calendar, another stunning new solo release with Brian Case Plays Paradise Artificial.
This third album somehow manages to compile and condense the best bits of its predecessors, and the magnificent viridian, glacial universe developed by Case since the beginning of his solo ventures is brought to the forefront.
The Chicago artist centres his elusive, dehumanised compositions around two simple, minimal elements. Using just vocals and synths, he has created a simultaneously modern and post-apocalyptic soundtrack, where music exists as the final traces of the footsteps of humanity.”
‘Always Then’ was the debut album of The KVB, originally released in 2012 on Clan Destine Records. It was written and recorded in 2011 on a Fostex tape machine by Nicholas Wood, with Kat Day joining him to form a duo later that year. This anniversary edition features the re-mastered full-length debut album and includes bonus tracks known as ‘Always Then Revisited’, four brand new reworked and rerecorded songs from the original album.
The original cover art featured a photo of a building in the centre of Mexico City, taken by friend and fellow musician Ela Orleans. The anniversary edition features new artwork with an updated cover photograph of the same building taken by the band in 2017.
Swedish producer Toxe's sharp ascent through club-cursed climes has elicited the highest praise from the start. In just a few years she has linked up with Staycore and Halcyon Veil, presented an A/V project with The Vinyl Factory, and scored KENZO's FW 2016 prints presentation with close collaborator Mechatok. Her new EP 'Blinks' is a fractal bloom of candied melodies and minor laments set in a sweep of frenetic rhythmic scenes.
On Blinks she puts that experience to good use in a bright and playful collection of phthalocyanine hooks and frenetic rhythms, sashaying from what sounds like an airborne Plaid in Honey Island thru to the slippery lead and big beats of Big Age, and over into what sounds like a late ‘90s AFX on Perfect 2, or some LP5-era Æ inspiration on Blue Warm Up.
A massive batch of Galcher gear for y’all
Following up the Dark Bliss album with 20 not-insignificant beatdown grooves - 10 vocal cuts and their 10 instrumentals - informed by classic and contemporary jazz and hip hop as much as house music.
ASC keeps moving forward with the rolling techno momentum of ‘Artefacts of Rotation’ following dispatch of two albums and 3 x 12”s already in 2018
At this rate of release, we’re practically hearing his work in various stages of refinement, and these four tracks feel like some of the most effortless examples of his grey area exploration.
From the elegance of Coriolis Effect to the subtle shuffle of Sidereal, thru the grumbling rolige of Sun Storm to the moire bleep lattice of Synodic, these are arguably some of the slickest, most infectious works from ASC in recent memory.
RIYL Jeff Mills, Mønic, Regis
Ingenious, inverted dub homage to Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ by Athens’ maverick, Jay Glass Dubs. Proper depth charge Basic Channel / Rhythm & Sound styles on this one, transitioning from silvery introspection to booming echo chamber dimensions over the course of 60 minutes
“When Nirvana’s Nevermind hit stores in the fall of 1991, little did the world know what this band would become.
Inside this album, Nirvana and their producer Butch Vig had hidden a track called Endless/Nameless – a live improvisation/jam between the band with their typical mellow/heavy/mellow songwriting MO pushed to the extreme.
The only way to hear it was to let the CD end and wait for 13 minutes 51 seconds.
It is not credited on the album and was not included on every copy. The first pressings didn’t have it, many later pressings left it off.
The unauthorised biopic ‘Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects’ mentions that the ”first 50,000 CD copies did not include the track. On this CD the water is painted all the way to the center of the CD; on the second version the color stops and the center is clear. Creating a gold mine for collectors, the first pressings of Nevermind did not include ‘Endless Nameless’. The oversight by DGC was corrected shortly thereafter when a new pressing was immediately sent out once the error was discovered.”
Other sources mention that at least one guy returned his copy of Nevermind. He thought it was broken when the hidden track suddenly appeared. Many other people thought there was something wrong with their multi-disc CD players, which should stop playing at the end of the album.
The way this mischievous noise-rock track infiltrated a record of dinosauric success has a romantic impact when we look at what rock music was before, and how it developed after Nevermind – it signified exactly what the band was all about.
It transformed the listener’s approach towards what a mainstream rock album should ‘sound like’ and how experimentation was perceived in a genre that still has very narrow ‘borders’.
The ambiguity it created is still reverberating.
It was a ticking bomb inside an otherwise well polished version of the band’s thrusting live energy and it profoundly delivered a very clear message to big corporate labels and mainstream audiences.
Jay Glass Dubs – Endless/ Nameless: out via anomia on the 24th of September (the same date Nevermind was released back in 1991) is a hommage to that track and its monolithic effect (using an inverted approach).
Following his stripped-down methodology, Jay Glass Dubs elaborates on two single loops created initially with a simple step sequencer. The result is two side-long tracks that retrace the obsolete pathways of ’dub techno’ while empowering it anew; by focusing on the 3/4 rhythmology of the sub-genre’s Caribbean predecessors; removing it completely from its four-on-the floor conversion and the club culture usurpation it has been under for the last few decades.”
Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) wraps up both of his Fires of Ork albums with Pete Namlook in a handy dose of ambient techgnostalgia for Biophon Records.
Originally dispatched in 1993 on Namlook’s Fax label, The Fires of Ork tends to the darker side of the early ‘90s ambient paradigm, pairing samples of Rutger Hauer from Bladerunner which gave the project its name, with a mix of robust slow techno throbbers and expansive, head-engulfing beat-less black holes, including a killer trance techno night-flight in Talk To The Stars, featuring lyrics cadged from an old KLF Communications press release.
With The Fires Of Ork 2 , they emerge the other end of the preceding decade with a sparser, more spacious sound, letting a little light into their aesthetic with the shimmers of In Heaven, but pulling back into atmospheres redolent of Lynch’s Mulholland Drive score in When The Night Was Black, before peering into and dancing around an electro-acoustic abyss with Nouvelles Machines.
Anòmia render abrasive, oblique new aspects of LXV, who previously collaborated with Kara-Lis Coverdale on the amazing ‘Sirens’ LP. Here, he explores sheer, colourful abstraction in both shocking and seductive style...
““Partition” is a new EP from sound artist and producer David Sutton’s LXV project. Both a collection of songs and part audio/ visual output “Partition” reflects an interest in conceptions of a world through subjective imagery and by way of third party viewership. Previous work under the LXV banner, such as “Asylum/ Theophany’ (Soft Abuse 2015) and “Clear” (Anòmia 2016) focused on the nature of individual consciousness and the confrontation and assimilation of personal phenomena. In its compacted EP format, “Partition” presents a varying array of nearly unidentifiable sounds pushing the language of modern electronic music in parallel of observing an illogical world order.”
The first of two ‘Liquid Marble’ sessions by Rubén Patiño (N.M.O., EVOL, Lag OS), serving the soundtrack to video studies of public fountains and urban decay
“Liquid Marble is a visual collection of public fountains and urban decay paired with synthetic sounds. It is an assemblage of unrelated sonic and visual events that work together as an exercise in the free decontextualization of the original narratives.
This work also explores the possibilities of an audio-visual language without a strict synchronicity between what is seen and what is heard. It favors the idea of having parallel events of audio and imagery without an apparent connection. In most cases, the original outdoor sound has been removed and replaced by electronic tones that had been generated in a studio.
Produced by anòmia and developed in collaboration with Canada. L.M. is a piece that started as a single VHS release but has since mutated into an audio-visual performance and installation.
Liquid Marble was premiered at Survival Kit 6 at the Utopian City Contemporary Art Festival in Riga in in 2014.”
The 2nd of two ‘Liquid Marble’ sessions by Rubén Patiño (N.M.O., EVOL, Lag OS), serving the soundtrack to his video studies of public fountains and urban decay
“Liquid Marble II is a visual collection of public fountains and urban decay paired with synthetic sounds. It is an assemblage of unrelated sonic and visual events that work together as an exercise in the free decontextualization of the original narratives.
This work also explores the possibilities of an audio-visual language without a strict synchronicity between what is seen and what is heard. It favors the idea of having parallel events of audio and imagery without an apparent connection. In most cases, the original outdoor sound has been removed and replaced by electronic tones that had been generated in a studio.
Produced by anòmia and developed in collaboration with Canada. L.M. is a piece that started as a single VHS release but has since mutated into an audio-visual performance and installation.”
Croydon’s finest son, Dale Cornish plays into Rubén Patiño’s concept of ‘the elastic floor’ in six ways ranging from jellyfish-like structures to distorted techno pummels, collapsing breakbeats and an excellent acid tribute to Enya...
“ELASTIC FLOOR is a concept developed by Rubén Patiño. A surface without walls, a playground for synthetic sounds. The basis of the project is to explore environments that could potentially exist away from the codes of behaviour established in orthodox spaces such as the club or the art gallery.
The first instalment comes in the form of three separate cassettes, each one by a different artist. The music generated in each release is an interpretation of this space.
Acotxador by Dale Cornish is the second of the three.
Six tracks exploring the fantasy aspect of Rubén Patiño’s elastic floor. All track titles and credits in Catalan. It’s 2018, time to think local and international. This is for those at the top of their game but not quite top of the tree.
Computer rave hooligans EVOL get us salivating with the synaesthetically acute tang and drip of ‘Tunnel Flop’ for Arnau Sala’s great and uncompromising Catalan label, anòmia.
Smart-witted DJs and rubber-limbed dancers will have an absolute smash-up with this one.
Footwork’s newest draft showing off bullets from DJ Chap, DJ Earl, Heavee, Slick Shoota, Sirr TMO, DBK, Boylan, Swoops, JP Durban and many more...
From initial listens, the highlights come on strong in DJ Paypal & DJ Chap’s blend of ballroom, grime and minimal D&B in ON OFF, as well as DJ Chap & DJ Earl’s red-eye special, Hi Boaa, while Slick Shoota and DJ earl also impress with the hardcore Horn Track vibes of Sick Shyt, and Heavee kills it straight with the mutant acid and wile-out samples jammed into Lose Control (got2go).
Slick Shoota turns up another big one with the brassy parp and hyper rhythms of Dark Hours, and the links with UK jungle are well pronounced in the floating, jazzy spin of Mandela and Chill by Sirr TMO, and the rolling breaks of Burning Hooot by DJ Earl and Mel G.
Three master synthesists converge on Hydra, a glacially escalating sweep of kosmiche arps harnessed by a ricocheting industrial electro rhythm until it reaches terminal velocity and the whole thing tips into apocalyptic glory.
DJ Koze emphasises the soul burn of Radio Slave’s Feel The Same with deftly applied FX and extra claps, then gets loose with the rolling heft of Reverse, which is also taken from the Feel The Same album.
Smoky seance of barely there strums and possible psychokinesis, ideal for fans of Loren Connors...
“The first duo performance between DG and the mysterious Portguese guitar legend; a real-time, documentary feel in which athematic, non-repeating musical gestures are rendered with an extreme sensitivity to microscopic soundworlds brought about by fingertips, strings, and tube amplifiers.”
The master is in session.
Johannes Auvinen a.k.a. Tin Man presents an expanded edition of his virulent début album, retitled Acid Acid Acid, with the extra Acid referring to a vintage batch of three track tacked on the end, including the ratty grind of Heated Acid, the rolling glyde of Crisp and Cozy Acid (ooooh, see what he did there?!), and the rudely slompy Jack It Acid. We hardly need to say it, but the original 10 tracks are all Class A’s, too.
Essential 303 business!
Via Maris turns out a lovely lightshow of sparkling arps, vaporous synth chorales and sprung subbass for Peverelist’s Livity Sound
Making a fine contrast with the density of his preceding Shelley’s EP for Beneath’s Mistry, this session is all about space and lightness. The A-side renders an elusive scene of percolated subs and flyaway synthetic flutes seemingly designed for impish midsummer folk dancing as they do in the deep South West, before it finally locks into a ruggeder bass coda.
B-side the barometric pressure switched to even lighter sensations with bubbling bass and skittish synth voices swirled in a lush vortex recalling Skee Mask or indeed Peverelist at their respective best.
A star of multiple Music From Memory comps and reissues, Michael Turtle turns out his first new material in decades with the hypnotic charms of ‘Middle of the Road Less Travelled’ for Light Of Other Days
Penned in cooperation with LOOD’s HOVE, who was blown away by Turtle’s Are You Psychic? 12”, Middle of the Road Less Travelled emerged after the pair realised they only lived miles away from each other in Basel and Zurich, and a collaboration seemed like the natural thing to do.
The results of their efforts are as seductive as anything on Turtle’s MFM sides, but with the added light of HOVE shimmering across each cut; from the taut but fluidly rolling percussion and FM synths of Greatness in the Catapult that swaggers and sways across the A-side, to more tender, percolated ambient pads, chiming gamelan, and breezy country influences on Horses and Hippos, and finally the mellow canter of Agallo (Real), featuring perfectly enunciated vocals by Lucian Lassalle.
Greece’s Into The Light dive 20 years back into the archived treasures of Angelo Ioakimoglu, coming up with a lush haul of pearls and shimmering grooves informed by deep house, D&B, boogie, ambient 4th world styles
“Into the Light continues its journey to unearth and update overlooked Greek music. This time focuses on a smooth, warm, youthful yet intelligent work that finds effortlessly its place in the tiny Greek electronic scene of the mid 90's.
"The Nireus Years" is a rare selection of eight unheard home recordings produced between 1995 and 1997 by the then 16-year old Angelo Ioakimoglu in Athens. The album encompasses his most special productions ranging from bucolic new age to dubbed out midi electronics, jazzy r&b to Mediterranean ambient trance!
Angelo was born and raised in Zografou area of Greece's capital in 1981. It was there where his father had a typical 80's electronic lab and it was that specific environment where Angelo spent most of early childhood. A first attraction for electronic musical equipment was developed that very soon became a passion for hunting down used pieces of gear soon to form the basis of his well equipped bedroom setup.
During his teens, his connection with music was either practicing the piano at home or listening to the most recent dance hits at his uncle's place who happened to be a professional DJ. Big part of Angelo's demos around that period is driven by those two aforementioned worlds. But there were moments of escape. Moments where the music went for the unexpected. Leaving the producer following a solitary path where he could express his teenage dreams and fantasies...through extensive midi programming, live keyboards mimicking string, brass and steel instruments and sampled portions of his live percussion burst.
Angelo's work, which can sometimes seem naive or surrealistic, is supported by his unique and surprisingly energetic approach, one that gives us the courage to continue something different.”
CV & JAB is Christina Vantzou and John Also Bennett, two artists that might already be familiar to many of you from their individual work over the years for the Kranky and Spectrum Spools labels. Together they have made this slowly engrossing album for Shelter Press - who else - perhaps one of the most elusive, uncanny and multi-layered “Ambient” albums we’ve heard in what feels like a long time, a worthy follow-up to a frankly astonishing sequence of releases on the label that started with Felicia Atkinson’s modern classic 'Hand In Hand'. If you’re into anything from Chris Watson’s field recordings to Vangelis and Badalamenti at their most romantic and evocative, or even Boards of Canada’s early forays into wildlife documentary pastiche, this one will sooth your mind like nothing else.
The album is a musical interpretation of Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface, a 90m panoramic wall drawing by Zin Taylor (a reproduction of which is included as a fold-out poster that comes with the vinyl edition). Through 10 tracks they render beautiful electro-acoustic meditations on the passage of time, which follows-on from their co-work on Vantzou's No. 3 album.
Vantzou brings a wealth of experience working between auditory and visual mediums to John Also Bennett’s synthesized and acoustic sound sensitivities, which have recently applied to his action in the Forma trio and a compilation of Pauline Anna Strom’s amazing Trans-Millenia Music for RVNG Intl, with a purposefully slow and immersive flow of acoustic piano and flute wrapped up in remarkably plasmic, spatially detailed synth contours.
In 10 parts, through a combination of literal track titles and abstracted allegorical inference, they describe the movement and feelings evinced by Zin Taylor’s massive tableaux, variously transposing his imagery of Cactus with Vent into webs of crystalline harmonics that acquiesce to brownian motion, or, as with the transition of Alfred Hitchcock Haze to Rock House With Door, a vividly synaesthetic transcription of figurative drawing to brooding, doomily Lynchian sound that brings to mind a wealth of captivatingly dank and alien imagery.
The vinyl package includes a miniaturised print of Zin Taylor’s Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface to peruse while you listen, so that you, like Christina and Bennett, can also make your own interpretation, and see how far their sonic translation differs with your own. Or then again, you could ignore it entirely and let yourself drift inside their free-formed dimensions without the cues. Either way, you’re in for a beautiful, open-ended and unpredictable trip.
Abul Mogard's first new solo album since 2015’s ‘Circular Forms’, a staggering suite of widescreen landscapes painted in self-built modular synth strokes. Hugely recommended if you're into Alessandro Cortini, early OPN, Coil, Brian Eno...
Above All Dreams is Abul Mogard’s beautifully absorbing new album for Ecstatic, deploying six longform pieces for the most expansive solo release by Mogard to date. Taking into account its intangible divinity and cinematic quality - the result of no less than three years diligent work - it is arguably elevated to the level of his master opus; presenting a modular distillation of Mogard’s most intoxicating strain of hauntology.
Consistent with Mogard’s music since the sought-after VCO tapes c. 2012-2013, the allure to Above All Dreams lies in his ability to evoke and render feelings which are perhaps purposefully avoided in more academic echelons of drone music. Rather than a purist expression of physics thru maths and geometry, Mogard voices his soul, improvising on modular synth for hours, days, months and years in the same way a more conventional “band” develops group intuition.
While hands-on, the intuitive evolution of process locates a newfound freedom in his music that implies a recognition of the metaphysical or post-physical, while Mogard explicitly points to influence from the Brazilian music of Tom Zé, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chico Buarque, whose approach to shape and density, or perceptions of light and delicacy, also go some way to explaining the ephemeral intangibility of Above All Dreams.
The results are best considered as the ephemera of non-verbal communications. From the gaseous bloom of Quiet Dreams to the opiated depth of Where Not Even to the starlit awn of Upon The Smallish Circulation, and through the B-side’s keeling, 16 minute+ panoramas of Above All Dreams and The Roof Falls, the power of Abul Mogard’s dreams above all transcends sound, feeling and physics in a truly remarkable way that evades words or concrete notation.
Raime mutate Eski grime, post-punk, R&B, dembow rhythms and a bank of YouTube ‘Fail’ samples on this killer twelve for Different Circles, big if yr into Jon E Cash, Rapid, Rian Treanor, Gabor Lazor, Low Jack, Photek's 'Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu'...
Raime reach a pivotal moment in their catalogue with the sidewinders of Am I Using Content Or Is Content Using Me?, their first plate for Mumdance & Logos’ Different Circles label and club collective.
After years of drilling their message home thru belligerent repetition, the crucial London duo here go fractiously febrile, ephemeral and non-linear, probing a certain sort of feminine pressure across four tracks drawing as much from grime, post-punk and jungle as afrobeats R&B and dembow rhythms, and cannily splashed with samples lifted from the kind of “Fail” videos that hog YouTube’s recommendations sidebar.
Taken in context of the dark humour and ‘ardcore hauntological spirit which binds all their work, the results form a radical rethink of the Raime sound allowing for more chaos, space and knife-edge vulnerability within their often chokingly tight productions. Where their previous productions may have felt like tunnelling into a dank rave at London’s core, their current sound better reflects the shifting mosaic of the city’s cultural, socio-economic and political landscape, effectively rendering a brutalist 3D gymnasium or in-progress construction site for their wickedly augmented ideas to cut loose, and quite literally embracing the failure, fleeting emotions and nerve-riding uncertainty that comes with the terrain.
In opener Some Things Can Happen, Just Like This they persistently switch the pattern from vaporous dembow bumps to synthetic chorales in a sort of mutant 8-bar dramaturgy, while Real People, Not Actors observes an everyday fine line between aggression and play with ravishing yet elusive 2-step design comparable to Total Freedom clashing Burial over post-codes or a broken fidget spinner.
The palpitating, rapid flux of Our Valleys Are Always Uncanny is more agitated and wild-eyed than anything else in their catalogue, perhaps imagining Skepta’s Stageshow Rhythm after the cast has left and the duppies come out to play, before The Nourishment Cycle wraps up razor-chopped samples and melodic percussion in a way that feels like witnessing a bleeding cross-section of the city come to life, all sinew and sawn-off syllables tessellating in suspenseful animation.
It’s thrilling, edge-of-seat music, a breath of fresh air that’s certain to flip presumptions of Raime on their head.
Para-dimensional folk suite by Glenn Donaldson (Jewelled Antler Collective: Thuja, The Blithe Sons, The Skygreen Leopards) originally penned in the psych-folk era c. 2005, and still sounding hauntingly timeless yet out of place in 2018
Recital’s Sean McCann says: “Between 2001 and 2005 Donaldson published a handful of discs under the names The Ivytree and The Birdtree. These boiled down and tanned the patient, outdoor ambiences of the long-form instrumental recordings. These were slow and pastoral and pensive songs, carried by Glenn’s haunting voice: my favorite of his work. Glenn recorded outside with field-recorders and mini-discs: in forests, headlands, and tunnels of the Bay area.
I grew up listening to his recordings – throughout high school and college in Goleta, CA. They spark many memories: driving around beach parking lots, dragging boomboxes into creeks, camping in the mountain valleys etc. I remember once driving 5 hours up to San Francisco with a group of friends to try and get into a Giant Skyflower Band concert (another Donaldson project). It was at a bar and we were under 21 – so we couldn’t get in, even after trying to bribe the doorman. As you can tell, very special places in my mind and memory. My fondness for The Ivytree never dissipated, and I always dreamed of hearing more material from that time, as I know how prolific the Jewelled Antler association can be.
On a whim in 2017 I reached out to Glenn and asked him if he wanted to publish a “best-of” The Ivytree as a limited LP. This idea blossomed and provoked Glenn to dig through his vast mini-disc archive, where he unearthed some forgotten jewels. The recordings were trickling in to my email – one by one, each better than the last… Ranging from the Robert Wyatt-esque piano ballad “Evil is Circular” to the gentle melancholy of “All the White Plumes” that could belong on Richard Youngs’ Sapphie. Unburdened Light carries on the warm breeze and innocence of the early 2000s CDr culture.
So our project then turned into publishing a new album of unreleased Ivytree recordings. A full circle youthful wish now ripens in my adulthood. I am honored to have stirred up the bees-nest to deliver you these tragically honeyed songs.”
Another sterling piece of improv history from Incus via Honest Jon’s, this time Derek Bailey’s spellbinding, teetering excursion with legendary percussionist Jamie Muir (King Crimson), who previously collaborated in The Music Improvisation Company. Less jarring, more wildly fluid and flowing into thrilling new spaces, from tribal rhythms to the kitchen sink…
“Percussionist Jamie Muir was a member of King Crimson during the recording of Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, in 1973. Staying less than a year with Robert Fripp, the Scot had already cut his teeth with another master guitarist, Derek Bailey, as part of the Music Improvisation Company, along with Evan Parker, Hugh Davies and Christine Jeffrey, whose eponymous 1970 album was one of the first releases on ECM. Muir and Bailey recorded Dart Drug eleven years later, in 1981.
There’s no shortage of great percussionists in the brief history of free improvised music but on the strength of Dart Drug alone Jamie Muir deserves a place at High Table. Unlike for example Han Bennink and John Stevens, though, you can’t hear echoes of any particular jazz drummer in Muir’s playing, even if he has expressed appreciation for Milford Graves (who himself sounded like nobody else who’d come before him).
What on earth did Muir’s kit consist of? Some instruments are clearly identifiable (bells, gongs, chimes, woodblocks); others could be… well, anything. Old suitcases thwacked with rolled up newspapers? Tin cans and hubcaps inside a washing machine? Who cares? It sounds terrific – but if you’re the kind of person who faints at the sound of nails scraping a blackboard, you might want to nip out and put the kettle on towards the end of the title track.
Dart Drug is consistently thrilling, and often very amusing – but it’s certainly not easy listening. In music we talk about playing with other musicians, whereas in sport you play against another opponent (or with your team against another team). Why not play against in music, too? That’s precisely what happens very often in improvised music, and Bailey was particularly good at it. How can a humble acoustic guitar hope to compete with a Muir in full flight? Sometimes Bailey’s content to sit on those open strings, teasing out yet another exquisite Webernian constellation of ringing harmonics and wait for the dust to settle in Muir’s junkyard, but elsewhere he sets off into uncharted territory himself.
“The way to discover the undiscovered in performing terms is to immediately reject all situations as you identify them (the cloud of unknowing) – which is to give music a future.” Bailey evidently concurred with this spoken statement by Muir, including it in his book Improvisation.
Derek Bailey is no longer with us, of course, and Muir gave up performing music back in 1989. All the more reason for seeking out this magnificent, wild album.
Very hotly recommended.”
Waking dream-like poetry, smoky ambience and concrète ‘tronics from Open Corner, a collaboration between Asha Sheshadri (Isolde Touch) and Christian Mirande for Sean McCann’s wonderful Recital Program; warmly tipped to fans of Félicia Atkinson, Robert Ashley, Teresa Winter or Pinkcourtesyphone...
Riffing on themes of suburban ennui and human despondency to a mix of richly textured “musical” and “non-musical” backdrops, Open Corner’s Empty Pool For No One connotes a curious shade of day-to-day surreality underlined by a palpable melancholia and dissociative timbres.
Its hypnagogic air and textural juxtapositions of ASMR-esque vocals low in the mix with oblique scenery naturally recalls Asha work on the PVC Burn album as Isolde Touch for Entr’acte, but it’s Christian Mirande’s input that really separates the projects with his absorbingly fractured and porous instrumentals serving to diffract and reframe Asha in fascinating, abstract ways.
“Emotionally and sonically claustrophobic. A unique take on voice and sound: in-between an audiobook and a sound-map. Exhausted and hungover, the frequencies and intense proximity really fit the digital CD format. Here is your chance to revitalize the ? Records weapon of choice…”
Nurse With Wound rework The New Blocakders rare AF 1982 début, ‘Changez Les Blockeurs’ in a mechanically reclaimed reflux of the OG, as gruesome as McNuggets, and just as tasty.
For the uninitiated (or sensible-minded) listeners who are unfamiliar with The New Blockaders: they’re one of the cheeriest acts to ever emerge from Newcastle-upon-Tyne; a pair of siblings responsible for some of post-industrial/noise and avant-garde music’s greatest oddities, ranging from a severe collab with an early iteration of Coil, to pioneering cut-up recordings with Mixed Band Philanthropist, and even later recording for Prurient’s Hospital Productions. They’re basically certified noise music heroes (anti-heroes?).
As ever, NWW’as Steven Stapelton was way ahead of the curve in 1982, and the first person to pick up TNB’s début LP, which he subsequently distributed via United Dairies. 36 years later, he’s returned to that slab, seemingly with a hatchet and some steam-powered Victorian loom, to extract its guts and weave them into a sound which physically lives up the record’s title; Changez Les Blockeurs.
Across two sides, he hacks, splices and hacks up the OG in a tirade of frayed rhythmic complexity and decimated racket, at times sounding like a Saturday afternoon’s worth of striped geordies fed into a massive sausage grinder.
As grim as your life.
Killer, overlooked proto-techno/kosmische from Düsseldorf, 1987, adding to a bevy of aces on Stefan Schneider far-reaching TAL label - already a home to records of Kenyan folk and Venezuelan field recordings.
Finally finding its audience on vinyl over 30 years since the original, self-made edition of 50 tapes, Arctica is a strong testament to the explorative experiments of Detlef Funder a.k.a. Konrad Kraft, whose homebuilt hardware sound attempted to bridge the clinical crispness of Kraftwerk and the psychedelia of Amon Düül with the density and force of industrial, post-punk and disco.
The cryogenically preserved results are a genuine oddity within their field and still sound remarkably future-proofed a whole generation later. Made using an 8-track tape recorder, a Mitec EX mixing desk, Roland JX3P and 808, Korg Monopoly, DX7, SPX90 and a Revox PR99, the 10 tracks of Arctica feel as though they’re fluidly in-between states; alternately vast, frozen, clear and melting with a rare tactility that would be further distilled into his run of razor sharp trance-techno output for the likes of Fragile in the ‘90s.
Emerging at the very start of his production arc, Arctica catches a sense of naive wonder from the man and his machines, rendering a lucid mind-flight that reveals from shockingly clear and detailed clouds of fizzing bleeps in Arc 2, to pieces which feel like huge glaciers beginning to fracture below your feet, and a number of pulsing, ruddy dancers that will be the biggest attraction to a lot of DJs digging that late ‘80s crevice between hardware experiments and early home computer efforts on the Amiga and Steinberg’s software sequencers.
Seriously, it’s just a no brainer for anyone into E.M.A.K., the more rhythmic experiments of Dome/Graham Lewis/Bruce Gilbert, or its modern antecedents in the whole Tolouse Low Trax/Offen Music/Valdimir Ivkovic axis.