Don’t DJ’s infectious rhythms run amok on the 50th Bercuese Heroique, backed with a slow but incredible Newworldaquarium 451 Dub that’s worth the cost of admission alone...
So yeh, that NWAQ dub is a gunner for Which? magazine’s Kickdrum Of The Year competition, coming with nearly 10 minutes of recoiling, stumbling bass drum pressure that ricochets your swede in headphones and rattles the chest properly on a good rig. Factor in fathomless choral pads and those daubed toms and you’ve got a winner worthy of the BH50 cat#.
Trust the rest is mint, too, though. The original ‘Veles’, which is so ruggedly redone by NWAQ, is a more humid, bestial thing swarmed by an orgy of subtropical animalculæ and hypnotic choral synth drones, while ‘Reapercussion’ also deploys prize-worthy syncopated swagger, and ‘Two Of Pentacles’ rounds out with a mesmerisingly measured smudge of elliptical rhythms with nanoscopic electronics and Phurpa-esque extended vocal gestures.
‘The Smoke’ is Alina Astrova’s third and best LP as Lolina since placing her Inga Copland and Hype Williams projects on ice...
It renders a poetically insightful study of life in London, where she ekes out a sense of shadow-strafing play from its fetid streets, revelling in the spaces between sticky pavements and 24 hour off license-lit environs with a signature mix of ennui and louche observation framed by layered and attractively tacky production.
As an emigre living in the UK, Lolina’s perspective is perhaps ever more intriguing in the current climate of both footie, Novichok and Brexit fevers as her experience of the city feels embedded yet dreamily detached, with bright, fizzing synth presets and smudged, viscous rhythms meshed to her vocals in a manner that connotes a red-eyed mind drifting dazed between dawning afternoons and smeared evenings, coolly beguiled at the scenes unfolding around her.
The result is Lolina’s smartest solo record, a perfect headphone accompaniment to the capital, reflecting its character and characters in its mix of quizzically jazzy and arcane, chamber-like turns of phrase with sparing daubs of field recording peppered by ear-snagging lines such as “your eyes are one, your voice around me / why don’t you leave me in peace, to smoke my trees” in the massive highlight ‘A Path of Weeds and Flowers’, or the sung/spoken schismatics of “fake city/real city/cut the fug with a shank” in the drowsy jag of ‘Fake City, Real City’.
This one’s set to be a big favourite of ’18. Don’t miss.
Panatype’s 4th physical release is an absorbing suite of electronica uniquely gelling ideas from 4th world ambience, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality in four lushly detailed scenes
Conceived in pursuit of an aesthetic that seeks to “blur the line between field recordings and synthesis in order to render invented and impossible landscapes”, Puech’s first release for Panatype extends an immersive invitation to his singular, simulated dimensions.
Using mostly modular synth, coupled with self-built devices, Puech plots out his imaginary world in electronic filigree. Blended with inspiration from the overgrowing chaos and mathematic logic of nature in a similar way to the Transflora project, his works are self-contained environments that could be considered different aspects of the same, alternate world.
As with nature, Puech’s music can veer from modest beauty to barely controlled attacks on the senses, with his favoured, extended palette of machines enabling him to emulate the complex sounds of animals, albeit mutant ones that you may expect to be limned by Ballard or Google dream, especially when it all comes together in the side-long title track.
Time-space bending post-techno aces from Italy’s Voronoi, including a radical remix dissection by Jesse Osborne-Lanthier...
Marking their 3rd orbit on Florence-based OOH-sounds, Voronoi explore the sheer pleasures of liquifying techno into states beyond the putative purpose of making folk gurn harder, better, faster, stronger. Instead they hear and pursue the value in techno as a free, mutable substance for mental travel and balletic, post-human proprioception. Better yet, it does so without any showoff acrobatics or complexity for complexity’s sake, landing somewhere to our minds between Rubén Patiño’s Lag Os output; Mark Fell’s research for Evol’s Alku; the farthest reaches of Rabit or Lotic; and a jellified land that shares borders with Rashad Becker’s Notional Species.
“Vis-Viva is the surprise of movement, the wonder that leads to imagine new possible configurations of the present, objects created with materials not yet invented move in aseptic and virtual spaces without respecting the normal laws of physics. Used for the first description of kinetic energy in elastic collisions the historical term Vis-Viva titles second OOH-sounds release from VORONOI, a work inspired by post humanism literature, experimental observation and speculative evolutionism where sounds and motion seem to face over the contemporary techno-scientific corpus from a positive angle.
Can sounds behave like particles do? How sound reacts and transforms if treated like organic matter? VORONOI tries to answer back by sculpting a precise and complex sound design in an anti-climax approach to composition. Rhythms are free, unpredictable, tracks always seem to respect some grammars of club-music but abstracting from its normal timbres and denying its conclusions to face a digital fantasy.
Vis-Viva’s experiment is completed by an extended 6 minutes re-work track by electronic music producer and multidisciplinary artist Jesse Osborne-Lanthier (Halcyon Veil, Raster-Norton, WTN?) who reassembles VORONOI’s sonic palette into his unique style. The result is as if everything has traveled outside the lab to be exposed to the outside world.”
The Chosen Brother’s utterly haunting roots reggae classic - as championed and versioned by Rhythm & Sound - comes back ‘round on this new 12” edition, packing Dub and a previously unreleased Version on 12” for the 1st time!
The Chosen Brothers’ original was first issued as ‘March Down Babylon’ on ‘Wackie’s Selective Showcase Volume One’  and subsequently appeared on their 1st album ‘Sing and Shout’  and the ‘Reggae Goodies Vol. 1 & 2’ compilation. However, it’s likely best known for Rhythm & Sound’s 1998 version, retitled ‘Mash Down Babylon’, that was a highlight of the Burial Mix 10” series and later as a jewel in the crown of Rhythm & Sound’s ‘w/ The Artists’ compilation.
Now cut to 12” for the first time by CGB at D&M, who have capably handled all of the Wackie’s reissues since 2000, the OG sounds spectrally massive on this platter, casting a spiders web of FX over the steep valley of dread bass, mournful vocal and melting brass. Madder yet, the ‘Dub’ opens out with a succession of class wheel-ups before omitting the vocal and leaving a dancing skeleton of spindly drums and picked guitar in its wake.
BUT, the big number for any reggae or Rhythm & Sound collector is the B-side’s languorous Version, leaving the vocal out for a lusher take than the stark Dub, and making very clear the links between Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark sound, the in-house style of Lloyd Barnes’ Wackie’s label, and ultimately the Berlin vikings of Mark Ernestus & Moritz Von Oswald (Maurizio, Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound).
Peripheral Minimal define UK new wave, industrial and post-punk electronics 1978-1990 via 13 tracks from Clock DVA, John Avery, Colin Potter, Five Times of Dust and more. Look out for highlights in Schleimer K’s alien yet curiously emotive ‘Women’ , a wild cut-up from The Anti Group c. 1986, and first time vinyl appearances of John Costello’s eerie obscurity ‘Total Shutdown’ and John Avery’s spiralling ace ‘12am and Looking Down’ .
“Peripheral Minimal is proud to present, ‘V/A Prophecy + Progress: UK Electronics 1978 – 1990 LP’, a thirteen-track compilation that represents the burgeoning Electronic music scene in the UK.
This isn’t simply another synthpop compilation, or some nostalgic frippery, but an eclectic mix of acts that were experimenting with newly available technology at a time when the punk scene had imploded and the music press was busy coining new genres as an attempt to continue its legacy, although synth-pop in part arose from punk rock, it abandoned punk's emphasis on authenticity and often pursued a deliberate artificiality, drawing on the critically derided forms such as disco and glam rock. Although electronic experimentation had been explored in the decades before, it was still considered ‘alien’, "eerie, sterile, and vaguely menacing", and even downright, ‘austere and fascistic’.
It may have taken the likes of Gary Numan or Depeche Mode et al to switch the record buying public to synthesizer music, but bubbling underground were a myriad of experimenters recording in relative secrecy in Industrial cities like Sheffield or post-war London, at a time when the Tories came back into power and utterly altered the political landscape, and produced a generation of, ‘Thatcher’s Children’ (selfish, arrogant and materialistic). The antidote seemed to be quiet rebellion in the shape of dark and alienating soundscapes by acts that are now considered ‘pioneers’, or achieving cult status, in a new era of throwaway pop and trite ‘new wave’ impersonators.
Many of the acts herein will be familiar with followers of synth or industrial music, some perhaps lesser known. We’ve also included slightly ‘later’ works by artists that were already firmly established in the early 80s as a comparison, and for the pure arrogance of it. It’s an attempt to rekindle those heady days of experimentation and to encourage new generations to rebel and forgo the fashionable posturing that comes with anything vaguely ‘interesting’.”
Absolutely aching with soul, Mississippi’s vinyl distillation of Clinton Walker’s acclaimed ‘Anthology of Aboriginal Country Music’ is a truly revelatory set of country music made by native Australian artists, and almost guaranteed to open and plug a unique gap in collections everywhere...
Coincidentally arriving only weeks after the Efficient Space reissue of Waak Waak Djungi’s blend of synths and Aboriginal folksong in ‘Waak Waak ga Min Min’, this typically amazing Mississippi LP shines a light upon a spellbinding, often unsettling, niche of music which is perhaps understandably unknown to listeners outside of Australia, yet should be instantly familiar to anyone with even a basic appreciation of blues and country songcraft.
From the mesmerising lilt and buzz of Black Allen Barker’s ‘Take Me Back’ to the heartbreakingly humble delivery of Jimmy Little’s ‘The Coloured Lad’ and the distinctively NSW-twang and bluesy rasp of Maisie Kelly’s ‘My Home In The Valley’, this is an incredible set of songs that will resonate with listeners far beyond their original home.
Mesmerising dream house with a lush, pastoral aura from Linkwood of Firecracker Records fame
Making his welcome first move in three years, the Edinburgh-based producer unfurls the rolling, gauzy beauty of ‘Mine Meld’ with its panoramic pads and effortlessly cushioned groove reaching Ron Trent-style levels of soul-warming subbass by the track’s end.
On the other side ‘Nae Drama’ bristles with rawer electronics and simmering tribal drum patterns laced with a swell of field recordings and wilder FX bound to bring the crowd to a frisky fever pitch, recalling some transfixing blend of Carl Craig and Ra.H sensibilities.
Slick, high pressure bass business from two of the UK’s baddest, Batu & Lurka, launched on the latter’s Fringe White label one year on from their debut sling.
Combining and parsing the best traits of both producers, the A-side steps and swings off 25 PSI pumped subs and hyaline hooks in a reticulated ice-snake riddim rent to the rafters with streaking dynamics before bringing it closer down with sublime, shivering pads saved for the most poignant moment.
In stark contrast, the B-side’s Struck yanks the tempo down and rubs the drums up the wrong way, swivelling heavy on a 110bpm tempo with cold, thistly, slamming drums and flat bass slaps stealthily opening out in swaggering UK style unconcerned with trends but firmly fixed on ’nuum roots and futures.
Prayers are answered with Vainqueur’s Reductions 1995-1997, a compilation of in-demand cuts from René Löwe’s seminal Chain Reaction 12”s and Elevations CD, including the vinyl premiere of Antistatic and first ever appearance of Antistatic II on any format, all available on wax for the first time in over 20 years!
For anyone who came thru during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Vainqueur records were required listening - beyond Maurizio’s M-Series and the Basic Channel catalogue, they’re some of the strongest dub techno trax in existence. Now, two decades later, they still appear regularly in the mixes of those in the know, but their 2nd hand prices have steadily crept up in parallel.
To newcomers and older fiends alike, this 3LP selection provides a perfect overview of Vainqueur’s most feted period (not withstanding his all-time banger Lyot , but that was a kinda one-off). The first disc revolves his banging Reduce 1 and the monotone brilliance of Reduce 2, whilst the 2nd disc renders the more tender gasps and dub chords of Solanus (Original) and the heady Elevation II - both masterclasses in German techno minimalism - while the 3rd disc significantly presents the flared chords of Antistatic, taken from the Elevations CD, on vinyl for the 1st time, backed with the exclusive-to-this-12” Antistatic II.
‘Wet Will Always Dry ‘is the blistering début album by Blawan. Arriving 8 years after his first move, ‘Fram’ for Hessle Audio - during which time he’s forged the Karenn duo with Pariah, set up his Ternesc label, and played to the biggest crowds of gurners in the world - Blawan’s first LP is a gnashing statement of intent that finds him sticking ever closer to what’s served him well thus far, while also folding in subtle new traces of his own vocals to great effect.
Like the recent Surgeon album, Luminosity Device, Blawan’s first album finds him tactfully in tune with his modular set-up after years of coal-face experimentation. The result is a sound that lies right on the biting point between clarity and distortion, delivering a thrillingly caustic experience for dancers already locked his martial swagger.
That biting point is fully in effect in the hovering search-and-destroy synth tone that snakes around opener Klade, and it continues to defines the albums strongest moments, from the whipsmart mix of T++-alike hydraulics and kinetic lead of Tasser to the virulent, Haswellian snarl and gobble of North, to the stark, skeletal dancer Stell and Kalosi’s napalm burn.
It’s arguably more difficult than ever for a techno artist to eke out their own sound nowadays, but that’s just what Blawan’s done with Wet Will Always Dry. Bravo.
Charmingly smudged, off-kilter jazz-techno, warmly tipped to followers of Madteo, Laurel Halo, Theo Parrish...
“Korea Town Acid is unflinching, focused, absorbed and engaged in sound and all vibration. Jessica Cho has been creating buzz in Toronto’s downtown dance music community with her live, improvised electronic music performances and multi-medium DJ sets over the past nine years. A classically trained pianist with an intuition for improvisation and the sonic universe, Jess’ music transcends the dance floor into the astral strata. Her sound palette is vivid and technicolor; cerebral and kinetic; a timeless fusion of raw, fearless creativity and focus. Cho has proven her versatility in dozens of Toronto venues performing solo, and with former live house duo CHOBO. She has released a variety of tracks on labels such as Arachnidiscs, Archi-textures, Toy Tonics from Berlin, Secret Jams from Bulgaria, and her solo EP on Toronto’s Mikita Skyy.
Holed away in Cosmic Resonance’s basement studio/headquarters in Toronto, Jess improvised freely over eight straight early January days in 2018. The result was a free jazz, techno-addled synth orchestra too rich to know its own wealth of nuance. Slowly the layers began to peel away. Glimmers of diamond-encrusted synth rays started peaking out from behind massive bass-lined clouds. Mountains, then valleys, rivers, trees and a full landscape appeared."
Class selection of early Ska aces taken from the seminal Kentone Records - a subsidiary of Federal Records
Surveying Jamaican music at the point it transcended Jazz, rock, soul and calypso influences to create the foundations for what would become reggae music. The bookending acoustic pieces by The Sharks and Federal Singers are icing on this big slice of Ginger cake.
“Founder of Jamaica’s first recording studio, Ken Khouri produced early ska classics 14 first-rate ska pieces including previously unreleased materials from undoubtedly the industry leading Federal Records that consisted the virtuoso Ernest Ranglin and co.”
Toshimaru Nakamura’s improvised Ex Nihilo (something from nothing) approach to the no-input mixing board reaps more alien sounds for Room40, giving voice to electronic gremlins that live in the wires of ostensibly inanimate machines
“Re-Verbed (No-Input Mixing Board 9) is the latest edition from Tokyo based artist Toshimaru Nakamura.
The No-Input Mixing Board is a unique instrument pioneered by Nakamura. As its name suggests, it is a mixing console within which external no input exists. The instrument is fuelled only by its own feedback. Initially used by Nakamura as a more tonal instrument, creating incredibly high frequency outputs, over time the mixing board has become decided more rhythmic and harmonic. It is this sonic territory that is the focus of this edition.
Re-Verbed (No-Input Mixing Board 9) is by far one of Nakmura’s most musical recordings. The board’s tonality is front and centre; low pulses and cavernous pulses fizzle and murmur with a subtle but frenetic energy. Drifting into decidedly dub oriented directions, Nakamura allows the instrument to breathe; specifically he finds new dimensions to the ways interference can be brought into harmony within the pieces. While the instrument might suggest a sense of indeterminacy, Nakamura’s intimate relationship with it means he can maintain an unerring sense of control over it.
Re-Verbed (No-Input Mixing Board 9) is evidence of his intense capacity to create profound work with this most unusual of devices. A conjuring of something truly unique from literally nothing.”
Laurel Halo lands on Latency with a cinematic suite featuring Oliver Coates on cello and drums by Eli Keszler.
Making her first move since 2017’s remarkable ‘Dust’ album, Laurel takes inspiration from her score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ in pursuit of a quieter, more tactile and elusive sound, moving deeper into a sort of twilight avant jazz realm that calls to mind the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari salvo on Alga Marghen as much as flashes of Conlon Nancarrow and the diaphanous swirl of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas.
It's immediately obvious that this is a special release in Laurel’s catalogue. Two 10 minute works bookend the release; the sublime title track with its oneiric mesh of woodwind, early electronic music gestures, and almost funeral organ; and at the opposite end, a stunning symphonic piece that unmistakably recalls Gas, but also unlocks that sound’s potential from the grid thanks to Keszler’s free meter and an embrace of kaotic harmony deeply rooted in Derrick May and Carl Craig’s Detroit classics.
But that’s not to discount the bits in between; they’re also brilliant. From her pairing of Keszler’s inimitable snare rushes with dark blue keys and smudged, plasmic electronics in ‘Mercury’, to something like Mark Fell commanding an underwater gamelan orchestra in ‘Quietude’, and the rapid flux of keys in ‘The Sick Mind’, this one has us rapt from every angle.
A classic techno album resurfaces with reissue of Dan Curtin’s lush, sought-after début LP for Peacefrog
Originally dispatched in 1994, ‘The Silicon Dawn’ is Curtin’s seminal contribution to then widening Detroit techno sound. Coming from Cleveland, Ohio, he wasn’t a Detroit native, but, like other artists such as Richie Hawtin thru to Laurel Halo nowadays, he was effectively a close onlooker who mutated the sound from a relative outsider position.
But unlike the aforementioned artists, Dan’s sound was beautifully within grasping distance of Carl Craig’s jazz-techno sophistication, Derrick May’s inimitable kaotic harmonies, and UR’s hardcore rhythms.
Hot-wired techno freqs from Richard McMaster (Golden Teacher, The Modern Institute) and Tom Marshallsay (Dam Mantle) as General Ludd for Glasgow techno epicentre, Rubadub
On their 2nd trip for RAD the duo recall Burnt Friedman’s infectiously offset rhythms on ‘Marraskuu’ whereas ‘Restraint’ feels something like Dutch Bubblers’ techno slackened and screwed by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
The martial drum patterns and pranging dubbing of ‘Catastrophe’ meanwhile betrays McMaster’s role in the multi-limbed battery of Golden Teacher as well as strong influence from tracky Chicago bangers, and ‘Hit Count’ slopes off into a sort of squealing dancehall mutation.
The immaculate City-2 St. Giga present lush ambient techno by Sweden’s Sacred Grove after their sought-after releases from Buttechno, Caveman LSD and Anthony Naples
Following in gauzy mid-fidelity, Sacred Grove’s first release renders a curious spirit finding their feet and head pulled in dreamy directions between the Huerco S-alike ambient keen of the intro, to a sort of scuffed and deep broken beat swing in the 2nd part, whilst track 3 sounds like one of Lee Gamble’s adventures in alternate ambient techno dimensions, and the 4th seckles into a sublime sort of electro-jazz-funk.
The Düsseldorf-Detroit connexion is in e-f-f-e-c-t on this reissue of DJ SCSI’s sought-after 313 rarity, originally issued by D-Bass in 1997, now by Gari Romalis Electronix
Uptown, SCSI renders the Kraftwerk-sampling slickness of ‘Communication’ and the stripped down vocoder acapella ‘Communication (At&T Mix)’, while the ‘floor gets amped underneath with the sub-bass heave and chattering robo vox of ‘We Are One’ and the unmissable, Stingray-esque jit torpedo, ‘Mega Hz’.
Black Lodge leaves his mark on Arcola with a vintage batch originally intended for release on Mo Wax (hence the titular cat#), which sadly folded before they got a chance to release them.
Convulsing into action for the 2nd time in as many weeks following the Disciples’ issue of his ‘Bitter Blood’ LP, Dan Dwayre a.k.a. Black Lodge makes up for nearly a decade of public silence since his trio of tapes with Will Bankhead’s TTT, which itself was preceded by nearly a decade of self-imposed silence following his memorably daft ‘Horse With No Name’ 12” for Mo Wax, which this reviewer blindly picked out of the Vinyl Ex buckets in 2001 and used to regularly plague parties with its hilarious ‘scratch’ samples of Borstal boys, and such.
‘MWR157’ was produced during that same cusp-o-millennium period but sadly never made it any further than the folds of Black Lodge’s heavy red velvet curtains, ’til now. And that was a shame, as with hindsight we can hear that Dan’s tracks may well be hailed as a sort of weirdo cult classic, especially in the madder touches such as ‘Monte’, which clearly recalls Push Button Objects or Gescom beats, and likewise the jiggy bumps of ‘Mo Wax 5’ on a natty Timbaland flex, and the skronky disco budges of ‘Hotline’ and ‘Microphone Demo01’.
First time on vinyl for a lost gem of the L.A. deep jazz underground, mostly recorded in 1985, with bonus side captured in 1979
“The saxophonist Jesse Sharps took over from Arthur Blythe as leader of Horace Tapscott’s Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra. ‘He became the Ark leader…he was hardcore,’ the pianist recalls. ‘They’d all be quiet and listen to him when he talked.’
This was the period of such classic PAPA recordings as Flight 17, Live At IUCC and The Call; lit up by the funky, deep spirituality of Sharps compositions like Desert Fairy Princess, Macramé and Peyote Song II.
His own Sharps And Flats album was recorded in 1985 for Tom Albach’s legendary Nimbus West imprint, adding a stunning sixteen-minute bonus cut by the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, featuring Horace Tapscott, recorded in 1979.
A lost classic of the Los Angeles jazz underground, on wax at last!”
Rod Modell saves some of his finest recent efforts for this divine release with Astral Industries - home of his acclaimed ‘Lanterns’ side and his Waveform Transmission LP with Chris Troy. What starts out tranquil subliminally surges into a fast dub techno flight, cannily in flux between serenity and ecstasy...
“Rod Modell returns as Deepchord for his first solo release on Astral Industries since inaugurating the label with his sought-after ‘Lanterns’ EP. Consisting of two stunning long-form pieces split on one side each, 'Immersions' captures the emotive, halcyon sound that Rod has long become synonymous with. Opening with glistening ambient textures, ‘Immersion I’ grows into an 18-minute piece of deep rolling dub techno. On the other side ‘Immersion II’ paints pristine soundscapes of soft, lapping waves, underpinned by submerged pulsations that rise to the surface to continue its deep space explorations. Two highly refined and inspiring tracks that sit on the apogee of this sound.”
Shorelights is a collaborative ambient techno project feat. Rod Modell (Deepchord, Echospace, Waveform Transmission, Transformations), and Walter Wasacz and Christopher McNamara of the Detroit-based audio visual collective nospectacle.
"Ancient Lights expands the vision and the range of the Shorelights aesthetic, heading into deeper territories of inner and outer space. It's ambient for body and spirit, sound designed to make the human heart dance."
First volley of densely-packed electronic dramas by Japan’s Jigga for the U.A.E.’s Bedouin Records...
‘lillllill’ projects a post-internet style of neo-tribal percussion rituals and disembodied drones stacked with carefully used noise dynamics and swollen with subbass.
Mastered by Rashad at D&M, Berlin.
Gorgeous tribal rhythms vacillate with neo-classical strings and electronic eruptions and gauzy ambient chorales in an effortlessly diverse offering by cellist Teddy Rankin-Parker and composer/producer Michael Beharie, who has appeared on records with Laurel Halo and Greg Fox. LP mixed by Jim O’Rourke and mastered by James Plotkin
“Michael Beharie (New York) and Teddy Rankin-Parker (Chicago) first met more than 10 years ago while attending Oberlin College. Since graduating, Beharie and Rankin-Parker each veered into markedly different avenues. In addition to a consistent output of solo releases on NYC-label Astro Nautico, Beharie also recently joined up with the ever-confounding New York ensemble Zs (Northern Spy, The Social Registry, Troubleman Unlimited), recently performed on albums by Laurel Halo, Greg Fox & Colin Self, and is a regular composer for dance and film. Rankin-Parker became an in-demand cellist for his prowess in the work of improvisation, avant-garde music, and the more exploratory realms of indie pop, lending his talents to a wide array of bands and collaborators, such as Primus, Iron & Wine, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, Glen Hansard, Father John Misty, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Chicago Sinfonietta, and Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble.
But after a decade of geographic distance, the duo came together to write and record its collaborative debut, A Heart From Your Shadow. Rather than jump into stream-of-concious improvisation, Beharie and Rankin-Parker chose to focus the album's themes via intricately composed pieces. The end result could be described as protest music, brimming with intense energy, harrowing anxiety, and steadfast optimism. All of this finished with a few hired hands: produced by Michael Beharie, mixed carefully by Jim O'Rourke and mastered by James Plotkin.
"Intro" sets the grim scene and issues the album's M.O.. A doom symphony of urban anxiety, the song shows the expansive efforts this duo is able to accomplish. "Gully" offers muted mayhem that's highly synchronized and militantly percussive. It's an anguished two-step of hope and hopelessness. The hyper-repetitive patterns almost hypnotize you into a zoned-out stupor. "Icon" is a psych-freakout of sorts, but the bombast is counter-balanced by intermittent breaks of ambient compositions.
There's a deeper layer still, shown in "Smooth Face", equal parts meditatively uplifting and unsettlingly dissonant. Inner and outer anxieties resonate with actual police sirens in a swirl of tonal turmoil. "Fake Money" is a relatively laid-back drift down a river littered with musique concrète, rustic drones and effects pedal. "Roses" veers into backlit kosmische anthems. Midway through the track, things drop out completely into an open, fog-covered scene cloudy with keyboard-vocal tones. Closer "Petaluma" offers a sweet and sincere coda, chasing a fleeting moment of spontaneous beauty.
The orchestration chaos and permeated distortion of A Heart From Your Shadow is largely about healing, not fear.”
The Bug finally steps it up proper with his first full length player since his 'Pressure' set laid down the industro-dub gauntlet with a fair clanging smack some 5 years back.
In that time we've seen The Bug become a linchpin of the South London Bass scene with unruly rave smashers released on Hyperdub, Soul Jazz etc directing us to the future sound of bashment and proper heavy bass musics. 'London Zoo' corrals a guest vocalist lineup featuring some of the finest ragga soundsystem toasters London and JA has to offer, with everyone from longtime collaborator Warrior Queen, to the legendary Tippa Irie and Spaceape, helping Martin to define his abstract heavyweight riddims in fine style.
The big 'n bashy wreckers from the 12"s are all here from 'Poison Dart', 'Jah War' and the punishing 'Skeng' but the set doesn't rely on these tried and tested cuts for support, ramming in a ruck of fresh material from the robo-ragga of 'Fuck*z' to the shockout drum styles on 'warning' or the apocalyptic finisher 'Judgement' with Rinky Ranking truly saving the best til last.
The production levels really couldn't be any higher and needless to say the bass is unbelievably heavy, thoroughly primed for home hifi and dancehall soundsystem testing. Proper heavy!!!
DJ Parris’ Soundman Chronicles cut off an EP from Etch’s first album, ‘Altered Roads Tape Vol.1’
Going deep into the breakbeat echo chamber, Brighton’s Zak Brashill a.k.a. Etch renders the stereo-shifting, tail-chasing weightless breaks of Lost Orbit (Chrime Drum VIP), along with the droning zombie-step torpor of Phenomena, along with what sounds like a quasi-speed 4Hero in Beggars Belief, and a rework of classic late ‘90s Kool Keith in Paging Dr. Octagon.
Magisterial, glacial, attention-demanding and powerful exposition of Buchla 200 synth tones mapped to acoustic woodwind and brass by a promising young composer; Stockholm’s Kali Malone. A strong tip to fans of work by Caterina Barbieri, Emptyset, Sarah Davachi.
Arriving in the resonating wake of her self-released solo début Velocity of Sleep , and flanked by the recently issued Organ Dirges 2016-2017 tape for Ascetic House, the Cast Of Mind LP gently but grandly expands the constellation of Kali Malone's solo releases, next to her Upper Glossa collaborations with Caterina Barbieri, a tape with Ellen Akrbro, and acclaimed live performances.
Joined by Yoann Durant (Alto Sax), Isak Hedtjärn (Bass Clarinet), Gabriella Varga Kalsson (Bassoon), and Mats Äleklint (Trombone), Kali’s Buchla 200 Synthesiser forms the basis for a quartet of diaphanous and slowly unfolding electro-acoustic landscapes that externalise a highly personalised form of emotive topography.
In the titular opener, wood and brass trace the swooning ellipses of Kali’s Buchla contours in stately procession suggesting a sort of resigned march to battle, before the Buchla appears to dominate in the warped streaks of Bondage To Formula, but listen closer and it’s harder to tell whether it’s electronic or organic sources so fully lending flesh to her rich sound field.
The answer to that question is much clearer in Arched To Hysteria, whose keening, hunched electronic forces hold powerful potential to conversely induce paranoia and heavily hypnagogic effects, whilst Empty The Belief yields a lustrous, Raga-like drone capturing a marriage of Buchla and bassoon at their most transcendent and steeply attractive.
This one should be filed for reference and safekeeping beside recent transmissions from Sarah Davachi, Anna Von Hausswolff, and Catarina Barbieri = properly good.
‘1/1’ is the soundtrack to Jeremy Phillips’ directorial debut, the film submerges the viewer into the mind of Lissa, a 20-year-old girl in rural Pennsylvania and her struggles with sex, drugs, love and loss. Liars have created an electronic soundtrack that reflects the film’s use of mixed media abstractions and multi-film formats, which undoubtedly stands up as an album in its own right.
"Created soon after Liars’ 2014 album ‘Mess’, these are the last recordings by Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill before Hemphill amicably left the band. In 2017 Angus Andrew released ‘TFCF’, Liars’ eighth studio album and Aaron Hemphill recently released Nonpareils’ ‘Scented Pictures’, his debut solo album. (Both albums are out on Mute, Andrew and Hemphill’s label since Liars’ debut, ‘They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’.) Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill were given the script for ‘1/1’ and, after reading it on a flight from LA to NY, immediately decided to take it on. “It was very heavy, it was very intense and by the time we got to New York, we’d read it. At that point, we hadn’t seen anything but we were on board just from reading the script,” explains Angus.
Soon after, Liars rented a space in Copenhagen and started work on the film’s soundtrack. The director, who up until that point had been using temp music to mark out where the score would go, gave the band descriptions for each of the cues. Instead of giving musical direction, he gave them emotional and descriptive language to describe what he wanted, such as “imagine you have a 100 piece puzzle, but you have 1000 pieces - what would that sound like” or “the character is submerged in water at 4am” or “an alarm clock won’t stop ringing.” Liars were delighted, “This was the perfect thing for us to hear, that allowed us to explore that feeling. At this point we still haven’t seen the film, we were going off the script and a few sample scenes. These descriptions were really helpful for us, and even though they were abstract, they allowed a lot of interpretation.”
Hemphill goes on to say, “We tried to find ways to take it off the grid. We would watch it, read the script and try to get a feel for the plot development and then base the music off of our memory.” The result is a fractured, emotional response to characters within the film. Without using visual cues that might allow the music to simply mirror emotion, Liars have delved deeper into the reality of some of the more complicated themes of ‘1/1’. Director and writer Jeremy Phillips has explained that the film was originally created in response to watching the films of John Hughes for the first time - after the director’s death in 2009 - and wondering what a Molly Ringwald film would look like now. Highly personal, he explains that it “started to connect me with the past, and dealing with depression and anxiety.”
Phillips has described the film as very much a joint production between all of the artists involved (he himself found specific inspiration in Liars’ single ‘No. 1 Against The Rush’) and some of the film was edited to work with the music, an unusual technique. The director explains, “I view this movie as ours, and that goes for everyone involved in the production. I wanted there to be give and take between everyone working on it.” This is particularly evident as the film was actually changed in some sections to adapt to the music.
Phillips goes on to say that “The music, how it functions in the film, is really the access point to the main character’s thoughts/feelings. It's a coming-of-age story, she’s very distant and the music guides you through the emotions, as both she and the visual language of the film keep maturing.”
Blume is fast becoming one of the most crucial contemprary imprints for new and archival electronic and electro-acoustic works - and this one has once again completely destroyed us. If you’ve been snagged on the ideas and effects of sides from Áine O’Dwyer, Jim O’Rourke’s Steamroom archive, Julius Eastman or indeed Blume’s Mary Jane Leach edition, we wager this one will floor you.
The exceptional Blume series have us rapt on the edge of our listening seats with Sarah Hennies’ striking works for percussion; 'Foragers' and 'Embedded Environments', a pair of sui generis modern compositions for four players which make staggering, contrasting use of the acoustics at “Silo City” in Buffalo, NY.
In admirable, riveting pursuit of a singular sound that best represents Hennies’ identity, Embedded Environments documents her strive to achieve a sort of 3rd track or space severed from the cultural baggage of cis-gendered tradition. In order to do so, Sarah stripped hers and the players instrumental gestures down to the barest minimum of repetitive patterns which didn’t imply or appropriate this or that culture, then used the human-made acoustics of the silos to allow those sounds to mix freely, embracing the aleatoric complexity of those results, once created and released into the huge resonant chamber.
Documented in long form on each side, the results of her incisive approach vary broadly. The rolling waves of pressure from Foragers are notably intense but barely there, while Embedded Environments is raucous by comparison, yet in their own way, they both share a futuristic primitivism that’s entirely rooted in the moment of here and now.
In the first, a chronically low rumble sustains a meditative pressure that’s neither new age nor connoting religious or even erotic themes. Rather its a reinforcement of presence redolent of some aspects of work by Alvin Lucier, and sharing a canny trick in common with Áine O’Dwyer’s Gallarais when the hypnotic effect is broken by the sound of a plane passing overhead, ripping us out of one sphere and into another and then back in a way that’s subtly crude and completely shocking to experience.
On the other hand, Sarah’s B-side takes the kind of drums you may associate with Native American ritual practise, and sends them spiralling skyward, outward to find their own paths beyond pastiche, pressed by a timeless sense of urgency and near seething aggression directed at the foundations of restrictive institutions.
As a record of our times, Embedded Environments acknowledges the stale accretion of psychogeographic and socio-political sonics, the binds of self-censorship, and the “norms” of contemporary composition, and seeks to plough for the now with a raging sort of stasis that’s perhaps an apt metaphor for the current status quo. As the liner notes by Bradford Bailey put it, "What She Has to Say, Has Never Been Said".
Prime deep house swingers from 1992, dug up and dusted down for this 2018 reissue
Chicago’s legendary Carl Bias (ov Master C & J, and Bias & Badie) cooked up the Make U Mine EP with Carlton Rosebure in 1992, playing deep into a more refined style of House driven by rich, glutinous subs and warbling organ liens in the suave title cut, while the pendulous sign city gets friskier with the hi-hats and nimble guitar lines.
Better yet, Body is a more stripped down, almost techier workout with jazzy keys, and the hair-kissing vibes of The Planets (Black Ice Remix) round off a proper debonaire sound.
For the 1st time in over 30 years, The Chosen Brothers’ mellifluous roots reggae masterpiece ‘Sing & Shout’ returns, re-shuffled, abridged and re-cut to vinyl by CGB at D&M, Berlin
Most notable for the gorgeous ‘Mash Down Babylon’, which was versioned by Rhythm & Sound to classic effect in 1998 and now opens this new edition, ‘Sing & Shout’ is perhaps one of roots reggae's more overlooked efforts, but arguably also one of the most distinguished of its mid ‘80s era.
Recorded at Bullwackie’s studio in White Plains, NYC, by Douglas Levy, Sugar Minot and Bullwackie, ‘Sing & Shout’ blends classic roots lyrical themes and dub production with early traces of the digital drum machine and synth styles that would come to dominate the dancehall from this phase forward.
For this new edition, the now Berlin-administered Wackies deign to resequence the track-list, which now starts up with the evergreen original of ‘March Down Babylon’ (which has also been issued on a 12” with bonus dub + version this week) and the wickedly slow and easy digidub of ‘Jah Don’t Like That’ along with the mellow wooze of ‘Sing & Shout’ and the misty precipitation of ‘Dancing In The Rain (12” Mix)’, and comes to rest with woozy praises to Jah in ‘All Things (12” Mix)’.
Nice and easy definitely wins the day here. Unmissable!
Halleluja Mystic Garden contains two long sides of blissed out, super tight AMT jams that somehow stretch into the future while staying strongly rooted in the group's celebrated psychedelic history.
"Hallelujah!, another essential AMT classic including vocals from Cotton Casino! A. Cometary Orbital Drive 2299 B. Third Eye From The Black Sun & Shadow Moon Cotton Casino : voice, astral mama Kawabata Makoto : guitar, fretless bass, bouzouki, organ, rhythm machine, electronics, tapes, speed guru Higashi Hiroshi : synthesizer, noodle king Mitsuko☆Tabata : guitar, guitar-synthesizer, voice, kisses & hugs Satoshima Nani : drums, another dimension
S/T "Wolf" : bass, tapes, space & time recorded at Acid Mothers Temple, Jun. 2016 - Mar. 2017 produced and mixed by Kawabata Makoto"
Bright, punchy jack trax from Videopath, following in the footsteps of Ciel, Chekov and Fred onto Shanti Celeste’s excellent Peach Discs
There’s no mistaking that the good times synth vamps and rugged swang of A Cure For Melancholy lives up to its name with giddy alacrity, while And So Do Eye follows suit with proper US happy house ’n garage burn, full of organ riffs and dreamy early ‘90s style vocals.
Hypnotic new EBM techno project from Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant and Ori Ofir, highly recommended if yr into Nitzer Ebb, DAF, Boy Harsher, Phase Fatale!
Juan Mendez a.k.a Silent Servant finds his ideal EBM vocal foil in Ori Ofir under their Sterile Hand moniker. The duo’s first vinyl round for Not Waving’s Ecstatic label is a dark and sleazy run of deviant industrial techno and pugilistic EBM cuts made over the last year.
Following Silent Servant’s killer split 12” with Not Waving and Pye Corner Audio in 2017, and two fierce 12”s with Marcel Dettmann and Phase Fatale in 2018, the L.A.-based artist behind Sandwell District and Jealous God is at the apex of his game right now, combining EBM and techno in faithful but inventive new ways. If there was anything previously missing from Silent Servant’s music, it’s only become apparent thru the seamless and natural incorporation of Ori Ofir’s classic-styled but unique vocals.
The two L.A.-based artists push each other down tightening alleys of EBM and industrial techno, with Ofir’s stark, blunted declamations haunting and highlighting the most fetid corners of Mendez’s rolled-steel productions. It’s a style that works to cryptic, head-turning effect in the Voigt Kampff-like probe of Personality Test, then with increasing dancefloor force in the Nitzer Ebb-esquer flow of The Hunter and the punishing, gnashing bite of Security, whereas Listen For Water and the creeping figures of Untitled explore the esoteric powers and parameters of Sterile Hand in mesmerising psychoactive detail.
Raw, loose ambient house trax by Australia’s River Yarra on the Paris-based Antinote label
“In 1978, Brian Eno started what would become his seminal Ambient series with Music for Airports. If he was to add a fifth volume to the series in 2018, he would probably call it “Music for Social Medias”, wouldn’t he? We’re not 100% sure that this is about to happen, so, instead, we take the lead and have Oz’s River Yarra giving his own take on Music for Social Medias (and the result doesn’t sound at all like ambient music).
At least, we might accurately call it “music from social medias”, as it sometimes feel it’s been generated by a possessed creative algorithm. Starting with the opening track, Aorsom Wislhs (whose name must have been given by a deficient Messenger chat bot), one might feel disoriented by the extremely weird and wonky lead melody. The melody of Sli Ggogg (sic) – the slow jam opening the flip side – is equally uneven; add to this the unsettling (slightly) human-sounding voice and you’re in for a trip to the Uncanny Valley.
But there’s a sense of non-human randomness infusing all of these four songs. Take the intensely mesmerizing Respiration Alternée with Elen Huynh, for example: there’s a high probability that its lyrics come from some random meditation tutorial found on YouTube, translated into French by an anxious Google Translate bot, eager to bring some (cheap?) spirituality to IRL dancefloors.
With this debut EP, the Ozzie producer succeeds in rounding up disparate & dubious elements together in a serious way without departing from a non-serious attitude - the record even rounds off with a very “put your hands in the air” moment with Space Gekko’s ravey sirens. “Music to party on the River Yarra to” (just Google it).”
The overdue and overproof sophomore Young Echo album is finally upon us, dispensing an epic 24 tracks of subby, red-eyed and distinctively Bristolian vibes set to dank-out smoky dwellings everywhere. Arriving five years after Nexus, their eponymous second album features cuts from each of the 11-strong mob, framing a fractious mosaic of style and pattern rooted in dub and the dancehall, but unafraid to fxck with noise, techno, ambient pop and grime in their own way.
It’s a proper group effort, playing to their strengths in diversity and unity in the best way by keeping individual track credits close to their chest, only allowing the album to be taken as a whole. Yeh, of course everyone’s going to have personal favourites, but they’re only facets of a much bigger body, and it’s to their credit that the whole thing feels coherent, a shared experience, and doesn’t simply sound like a compilation of music by like minds.
Young Echo have always been a bit of sore-thumb in the scene - are they a band? A label? A soundsystem in the mould of The Wild Bunch? The one takeaway from all their material is a sense of shared purpose and democracy - not in the usual, arrogant indie band style, or in-your-face political militancy - pivoting around mutual ideas of economy of expression and a sensitivity to space, rhythm and tone that effectively all pulls back to dub, no matter their individual heritage.
Young Echo is an organic complex where light hardly penetrates its papyrus-like walls, and much of the most crucial communication is made via infrasonics and atonality, relaying messages and emotions both as metaphorical/physical vibes and quite literally thru a morphing voice, which might be gruff poetic realism of Rider Shafioque one minute, the crisply enunciated diction of Jabu or Chester Giles the next, while a number of ghostly, sampled characters also haunt its corridor, perfusing half-heard messages thru their smoky matrix.
It adds up to an album symptomatic of the times in which it was made, yet does so timelessly, bridging the original, super plush studio trip hop creation of their geographic forebears, Massive Attack or Portishead, with a more road-level appreciation of economy and soul which might be best recognised by members of their generation, but should also be felt by any open-minded and empathetic souls the world over.
It’s definitely not another fxcking coffee table record, we’ll give you that for free.
‘Dragon Wave’ is a slo-mo tribal tripper from Amsterdam’s Dazion, b/w the beautiful, aghivering figure of ‘VX LTD’, which sounds like it got separated from AFX’s SAW 85-92 sessions and somehow turned up in Holland 25 years later
“Urgent: it has come to our attention that the Safe Trip organisation has taken to the water in a bid to spread their coded musical messages far and wide. We understand that they have recruited young operative known as Dazion, a keen windsurfer, to develop a method of broadcasting their addictive and mind-altering musical missives wherever there is a suitable body of water.
Our operatives tracked Dazion to a remote spot on the dutch coast, where he was spotted trialling this new technology with his favoured F2 dragon board. As he rode the choppy waves, we were able to detect and record rhythmical electronic music emanating from the board itself. we enclose this recording, which features the kind of tribalistic, delay-laden drums, swelling electronics and exotic melodic refrains that are known to inspire frenzied dancing in members of the public. we have christened this recording “dragon wave”.
After exiting the water, Dazion packed up his top-secret windsurfing technology and drove to a backstreet address in a quiet area of Amsterdam. There, in a light industrial unit, he continued to tinker with the technology, testing it out by broadcasting another musical composition. this was more poignant and melancholic in tone, utilising spacey electronic melodies, gently bobbing chords, heart-aching guitar flourishes and a tough but broken rhythm track. the recording – code name “VX Ltd” – had a huge impact on us emotionally and even reduced one operative to tears.
It is our belief that the Safe Trip organisation will only increase in strength with Dazion’s involvement. We recommend watching the waves and winds intently for further developments.”
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.
Cult Swedish producer 1991 proves he wasn’t just a figment of our feverish imaginations with this expanded edition of his self-titled debut suite for Astro:Dynamics.
Now including three original bonus tracks plus IVVVO’s remix of Inside You, we can safely consider this the definitive, director’s cut edition of a modern classic.
The likes of his Cure edit, Open To The Dark and the smudged knew age psychedelia of Distortion of Time have lost none of their ferric attraction, and now its aching appeal is extended into complementary cuts such as the very KGB Man-esque soft boogie screw of Inside You, the snowy cladding of Calm Onyx, and a sublime isolation chamber soundtrack in 95 and Beyond, with IVVVO’s Inside You remix bringing it closer to the ‘floor, in case that suits ya.
The Breeders' biggest selling and probably most-loved album, larely due to the massive success of Canonball.
It's a more easy-going, sometimes humorous and without question hooky set, and although for us it never quite hit the same visceral spot as Pod or Safari, you just cant argue with an album that's at once so singular and life affirming...
Spellbinding soul-jazz salvo from Sudan ’92, sung in Arabic and english, and played with pronounced American and Ethiopian influences to strikingly unique effect. A real beauty. Hard to believe it was made in the ‘90s. Sounds like an unreleased ‘60s or ’70s peach! If you copped ‘Habibi Funk (An Eclectic Selection of Music From The Arab World)’, you need this one, too…
“Songs about the unity of Sudan, peace between Muslims and Christians and the fate of war orphans, backed by grooves equally taking influence from Arabic sounds, American funk as well as neighbouring Ethiopia.
Kamal Keila was among the first artist we met in Sudan during our two trips to Khartoum and Omdurman last year. He is one of the key figures of the Sudanese jazz scene that was a vital part of the musical culture in Sudan from the mid 1960s until the islamist revolution in the late 1980s. When we meet Kamal he luckily presented us with two mold covered studio reels.
Each tape included five tracks. One with English lyrics and another with Arabic ones. Musically you can hear the influence of neighboring Ethiopia much more than on other Sudanese recordings of the time, as well as references to Fela and American funk and soul. His lyrics, at least when he sings in English which gave him more freedom from censorship, are very political. A brave statement in the political climate of Sudan of the last decades, preaching for the unity of Sudan, peace between Muslims and Christians and singing the blues about the fate of war orphans called Shmasha.
A note inside one of the boxes specified the track titles, durations and the fact that the sessions were recorded on the 12th of august 1992. Both sessions stand as a hearable testament how Kamal Keila stuck to a sound aesthetic from decades ago, while incorporating current events into his lyrics.
Kamal Keila's album is the first in a series of releases covering the Sudanese jazz scene on Habibi Funk. Be on the lookout for albums by The Scorpions and Sharhabeel coming soon.”
Keith Kenniff’s output as Goldmund has established him as one of the preeminent composers of minimal piano-based ambient music alongside peers like Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, and even Ryuichi Sakamoto, who himself once described Kenniff’s work as “so, so, so beautiful”.
"Hyperbolic as it may sound, Goldmund’s newest collection Occasus may be his most exquisite yet. Where his previous recordings trod faithfully and sincerely on paths of dimly lit, polaroid-esque nostalgia, Occasus deepens the undeniable aesthetic that was hard-won over eight previous Goldmund albums, while expanding the palette to include desultory clouds of synthesizer and a tastefully distressed analog sheen.
The word Occasus means downfall, end, or the rising and falling of heavenly bodies. The title is apt in more ways than one: while the emotional tone of the album denotes bittersweet feelings of conclusiveness, it also perfectly soundtracks the quiet moments when we look up to the sky, and humbly relearn the smallness of our lives as cosmic objects churn slowly overhead with bewitching indifference. Occasus feels deeply personal, private, and hushed yet simultaneously grand, colossal, and profound. Remarkably Kenniff is able to capture micro and macro with equal fidelity.
Tangential to prior Goldmund material, there are a few moments of Occasus that feel dark and menacing like “No Story” and “Thread”, both of which broach urgent paranoia, and provide a refreshing counterweight to the idyll typical of the project. Kenniff’s music has always been unquestionably gorgeous, but seeing it set against an occasionally manic backdrop makes the moments of light shine that much brighter. Even when elements of Occasus play by the rules harmonically, they tend to unfold with a satisfying level of rhythmical disregard. “I like mistakes, I like when things don't go perfectly,” says Kenniff of his wabi-sabi ethos, “I do have a tendency to want for things to be perfect and precise, but I have to also realize that a lot of things I like about music and art are very rough and impulsive, the slight imperfections that give something or someone a unique voice.”
To that end there are few artistic voices as distinct as Goldmund’s. Using only a few simple ingredients (piano, synthesizer, reverb, and a little more) Kenniff’s sound has become so universal that you'd be forgiven for not knowing who it belongs to. Knock offs be damned, every Goldmund recording is cut from an inimitable fabric woven out of emotional intelligence, honesty, vivid imagination, and skillful restraint. Occasus is another strong chapter in an ever more gratifying catalog.”
Moog-assisted Nigerian disco pearls originally issued in 1976 and practically impossible to get hold of ever since. First vinyl reissue, officially licensed from the band
“Official Mr Bongo reissue of the ultra-rare album by ‘Super Elcados’. A fusion of heavyweight Nigerian funk, soul & disco, originally released by EMI Nigeria in 1976.
The ‘Super Elcados’ (and ’Elcados’ on other recordings) recorded three albums in the mid and late-70’s, this is their first. It was followed by ‘This World Is Full Of Injustice’ and ‘What Ever You Need’.”
Ghost Box’s best loved project, Jon Brooks’ The Advisory Circle, unfolds a beautifully affectionate and absorbing hauntological study based around the theme of photography for his nostalgic fellows. Clad in some of the finest Julian House artwork to appear in the label’s 14 years so far, this is one instance where you can truly judge the record by its sleeve: It’s 24 carat synthy gold.
Where previous transmissions have been guided by prevailing to kosmiche whims and darker shades, Ways of Seeing arguably comes from a school of ‘80s inspirations; from the typography to the collaged snapshots and the beautifully poignant music itself, the feeling is less kitschy ‘70s and more cyber-sensual, with that key sense of English reserve and pastoralism, as opposed to say, the more ecstatic (read: cloying) aspects of US new age or the frivolity of Japanese 4th world styles during that era.
Sequenced in 12 succinct stages, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and often leave us wanting more, projecting a screen reel montage of imagery onto the mind’s eye.
First ever reissue of the wild duo jag between pioneering UK improvisor Bailey and his cello-playing Canadian foil...
“Honest Jon's Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey and Tristan Honsinger Duo, originally released by Incus in 1976. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and conservatory-trained in the US, the cellist Tristan Honsinger moved from Montreal to Amsterdam in 1974, quickly linking with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg and opening a long and fruitful musical relationship with Derek Bailey.
Recorded in 1976, Duo displays a performative musical approach already characterized by the lack of inhibition which would later endear him to The Pop Group: he is knockabout, exclamatory, explosively rhythmic; burping Bach and folk melodies with spasmodic lyricism, in amongst the garrulous textures and accents of his scraping, bowing, and plucking, and gibbering like a monkey; throwing out his arms and stamping the floor, grappling with his instrument like an expert clown, always tripping himself up. You can hear Bailey reveling in the company, as he ranges between scrabbling solidarity and an askance skewering of his partner's antics, on prepared (nineteen-string) and standard electric guitars -- and a Waisvisz Crackle-box, for the garbled, quizzical, cross-species natter which closes "The Shadow".
Throughout, the spirited interplay between laconic, analytic wit, and guttural, sometimes slapstick physicality is consistently droll, often laugh-out-loud funny; vigorously alert, alive, and gripping.”
L.A.’s Benedek pulls out a balmy disco package for Music From Memory’s Second Circle sub label.
Uptown, he delivers the liquified 4th world trumpet and keeling boogie of Earlyman Dance before swapping out the trumpet for synth keys and wilder dubbing in the Canyon Version.
Downtown, on Maca he percolates natty percussion in a clipped strut soaked in lush pads and acidic bass, while Tengu’s Mystery pulls toward YMO-esque instrumental influences, and Sixtern gives it some glam slouch.
Lost studio album from John Coltrane, features original, never-before-heard compositions, recorded by Coltrane’s Classic Quartet in 1963 at Van Gelder Studios.
"On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane and his Classic Quartet— McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones –recorded an entire studio album at the legendary Van Gelder Studios. This music, which features unheard originals, will finally be released 55 years later. This is, in short, the holy grail of jazz.
The first week of March in 1963 was busy for John Coltrane. He was in the midst of a two-week run at Birdland and was gearing up to record the famed John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album, which he did on March 7. But there was a session the day before that was the stuff of legend, until now.
On Wednesday, March 6, Coltrane and the quartet went to Van Gelder Studios in Englewood, NJ and cut a complete album’s worth of material, including several original compositions that were never recorded elsewhere. They spent the day committing these to tape, taking time with some, rehearsing them two, three times, playing them in different ways and in different configurations.
At the end of the day, Coltrane left Van Gelder Studios with a reference tape and brought it to the home in Queens that he shared with his wife, Naima. These tapes remained untouched for the next 54 years until Impulse! approached the family about finally releasing this lost album. Though the master tape was never found—Rudy Van Gelder wasn’t one for clutter—the reference tape was discovered to be in excellent condition.
As the legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins so rightly put it, “This is like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid.” The musical implications of this album, the original compositions, the arrangements, the band, the year it was recorded, all amount to a rediscovery and re-contextualization of one of the most important musicians of our time.
Danny Bennett, President and CEO of the Verve Label Group and home of Impulse! records, says, “Jazz is more relevant today than ever. It’s becoming the alternative music of the 21st century, and no one embodies the boundary-breaking essence of jazz more than John Coltrane. He was a visionary who changed the course of music, and this lost album is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. It gives us insight into his creative process and connects us to his artistry. This album is a cultural moment and coincides perfectly with our relaunch of the iconic Impulse! label.”
On this album, there are two completely unknown and never-bef0re-heard originals. “Untitled Original 11383” and “Untitled Original 11386,” both played on soprano sax. “11383” features an arco bass solo by Jimmy Garrison, a relative rarity, and “11386” marks a significant structural change for the quartet, in that they keep returning to the theme between solos, not typical in the quartet’s repertoire.
In addition to the two unheard originals, “One Up, One Down” – released previously only on a bootleg recording from Birdland – is heard here as a studio recording for the first and only time. It contains a fascinating exchange between Elvin Jones and Coltrane.
“Impressions”, one of Coltrane’s most famous and oft-recorded compositions, is played here in a piano-less trio. In fact, McCoy Tyner lays out a number of times during this recording session. It’s one of the more interesting aspects of this session and reflects the harmonic possibilities that Coltrane was known to be discussing regularly with Ornette Coleman around this time.
This studio session also yielded Coltrane’s first recording of “Nature Boy,” which he would record again in 1965, and the two versions differ greatly. The one we know is exploratory, meandering. This version is tight, solo-less and clocking in at just over three minutes. The other non-original composition on the album is “Vilia,” from Franz Lehár’s operetta “The Merry Widow”. The soprano version on the Deluxe Edition is the only track from this session to have been previously released.
This incredible, once-in-a-lifetime discovery reveals a number of creative balances at work, like developing original melodies while rethinking familiar standards. Like trying out some tunes first on tenor saxophone, then on soprano. Using older techniques like the arpeggio runs of his “sheets of sound” while experimenting with false fingerings and other newer sounds. This session was pivotal, though to call it such overlooks the fact Coltrane was ever on pivot, always pushing the pedal down while still calling on older, tested ideas and devices. "
Very necessary reissue of Derek Bailey’s astonishing Guitar - Lot 74 Solo Improvisations, a completely captivating slab of improvisations recorded by Martin Davidson in 1976 for a single-sided pressing on Bailey and Evan Parker’s Incus Records. Now, more than 50 years later, Honest Jon’s have done a sterling reissue job, sending the tapes to Abbey Road for transfer and roping in Rashad Becker at D&M to get Bailey’s dynamic range, including those amazing tremulous highs and the biting point distortion of ’Together’, sitting just right on the record. This is the sh*t, this is!
"In 1974, when Derek Bailey was planning his second solo LP on Incus, he decided to include a side-long solo using his stereo electro-acoustic set-up. Unfortunately, he never seemed to have a 20-minute stretch of time free of interruptions in his home, so he asked if he could record it at my place. After a fairly lengthy drive across London on the arranged date, he discovered that he had brought all his gear except the actual guitar. So he had a cup of tea and a chat, then drove home again. He came again about a week later, on May 13th, this time with everything. I set the level too high for the first two takes, not quite allowing for his enormous dynamic range (which really was not suitable for analogue recording and reproduction equipment). The result was too much distortion for his liking. The level was corrected for the third take which was the one used as the title track on the LP, even though he preferred the music on the earlier takes.
All but one of the short pieces on the second side of the LP were recorded by Bob Woolford around the same time, probably at Derek's home. (The exception, 'Improvisation 104(b),' was recorded the previous year and originally released on one of the Incus TAPs -- mini reel-to-reel tapes that were an attempt to bypass the technical problems of going from tape to vinyl. They were reissued by Organ of Corti.) 'Pain In The Chest' and 'In Joke (Take 2)' feature the unamplified 19-string (approx) guitar, which was probably the only instrument that Derek modified -- he otherwise used standard guitars.
There was a shortage of good vinyl at the time, making it difficult to get decent pressings. (The original pressing of the solo Steve Lacy Emanem LP sounded as though it had been recorded in a hail-storm.) We were recommended to go to a pressing plant that specialized in 'classical' music. (At the same time that Derek was trying to get Lot 74 pressed, I was also working on his duo album with Anthony Braxton.) The first test pressing of Lot 74 was very muffled, and we discovered that the cutting engineer had played the tape up-side-down, so that the music had been filtered through the tape backing (used on professional tapes to reduce print-through). The cutting was subsequently redone correctly, resulting in an acceptable test pressing. However, the plant manager was completely incredulous and perplexed, as he was used to checking pressings using his library of scores of Beethoven sonatas and the like. How could he tell if the vocal and feedback howls at the start of side two ('Together') were correct?
Over thirty years later, advances in technology have eliminated most of the technical problems we had then, so that this magnificent music can be heard sounding better than ever. Every so often, I get someone asking me to issue things on vinyl -- my response is usually not very polite." Martin Davidson
Stephen Hitchell’s earliest productions, carefully salvaged and remastered from demo tapes. Basic Channel-inspired deep, dub techno, originally recorded 1993-2000...
"An unreleased classic from the vaults emerges with newly remastered content from Radius's celebrated "Obsolete Machines" double album & two of the most epic creations featured on the "Interpolation Tapes" CD series, available for the first time ever on vinyl format. Many of the songs featured in this project were initially sent to Rod Modell & Mike Schommer shortly after they launched their brilliant deepchord label in 2001. (Recorded from 1993-2000).
They were incredibly kind in saying it was the best demo they had ever heard and passed it on to Octal records for release, sadly, that didn't materialize and since then these masters have been collecting dust in our cassette rack for nearly 20 years now. We've spent months doing our best to restore the old tapes from our Tascam 688, an 8 track cassette recorder purchased and abused since 1992 and to our ears still sounds quite impressive even by modern standards. We've had nearly every component replaced and re-calibrated to bring this obsolete machine back to life, it's been a truly nostalgic experience re-visiting and redesigning these masters."