L.A.’s Fmvee come up with a mix of ruff party burners and introspective downbeats for the keenly watched Total Stasis label - home to records by CS + Kreme, Ramzi, Elysia Crampton ++
On the two standout dancefloor prangers, they place a mutant US spin on UK rave styles to rude effect with the junglist sidewinder ‘Flex Blade’ and industrial grime collision of rail-gunning kicks and virulent arps in ‘Birds Ov Paradise’, whereas ‘Iluvlonelyfreak’ tests out a sort of stumbling, grubby, ambient 2-step, and ‘Vapour Girl’ pushes out into heady, weightless zones recalling Andy Stott.
Zombie slugs for the big rooms with a mix of lunk-headed techno grinders, swingers and skudgy shifters
He appears to imagine Actress at Berghain with the rasping sock and cavernous dimensions of ‘Void’, while ‘Bleed’ shifts its big boned knocks with gritty friction at 120bpm, and ‘Emerald’ rolls off the bone with sullen swagger and cranky metallic tones.
It gets messier herein with the agitated, aggy flex of ‘Threshold’ on a scintillating sort of future ‘ardcore parry, and ‘Zexor’ finds him splashing about in a murky, acidic puddles of bumpty techno-house in a style recalling Galcher Lustwerk or DJ Richard.
Shadow-strafing D&B rolige and sharply stylized glooom from Blackest Ever Black’s A14 sublabel
Like his string of 12”s for Hojo Clan and Samurai Music since 2015, Shiken Hanzo’s new 12” combines an authentic reading of Japanese Samurai culture with nods to Photek’s mid-‘90s jungle martial arts in a carefully minimalist, immersive style.
Between the jet-black noir of ‘The Centipede’ to the aerodynamic silhouette of ‘OathKeeper’ up top, and thru the Raime-like charge of ‘Menpo’, to filigree use of synths from Hans Zimemr’s Bladerunner 2049 soundtrack in ‘Oni’, this is arch BEB/A14 gear and a must have for grey area scouts - RIYL Logos, Pessimist, Raime, Hidden Hawaii.
Lena Willikens highlights original material from three female Japanese artists, Kopy, Tentenko, and Miki Yui, in a diversely groove-driven plate including her own ‘Megamix’
The ‘Paredo’ EP is a result of Lena’s 2017 trip to Japan at the behest of the Goethe Institut, where she and her artist partner Sarah Szcesny developed their Phantom Kino Ballet at a residency in Kyoto. While there, they also caught live performances by Kopy and Tentenko which lead to their appearance here.
Kopy supplies the punchy kicks and dry but gunky electronics of ‘2NP’, and Tentenko swaggers on some bolshy triplets, while Düsseldorf-based Japanese artists Miki Yui follows her Realistic Monk collab with Carl Stone and last year’s LP for Salford’s Cusp Editions with the weightless trickle of ‘Tromb’. Combined by Lena’s mitts, the ‘Megamix’ consolidates all three pieces in deftly swingeing form, cannily dancing in between their patterns to come up with something like a rogue Batu number.
‘The Royal Garden Covered In Ash’ is a dream sequence of layered and mulched horror-style organs and synths concocted by ambient explorer Fabio Orsi and the maestro Brian Pyle of Ensemble Economique and Starving Weirdos. It's a proper goodun - highly recommended if yr into Dean Hurley's super atmospheric Lynchain sound design.
Seemingly crafted to soundtrack bouts of sleep paraylsis, or the the heavy-lidded hypnagogic jerk phase, ‘The Royal Garden Covered In Ash’ says its piece in gloaming strokes with an overtone of menace that never quite manifests but lurks liminally, gnawing at the subconscious.
‘Belief is a whisper’ helms the front with a subaquatic swell of nocturnal crimson/blue/black hues that give way to Pyle’s typical, Vangelis-like brass flares and ghostly synth figures that fleet out of view just as quickly as they appeared, while the narrative subtly lures us into really noirish mindspaces.
’You’re So Close, I Can Almost Hold You Again’ phosphoresces on the back, hovering in and out of view with a beautifully elusive quality - sometimes tangible and shimmering, at others smudged and just outta reach - in a proper aether dream style.
Beautiful, eerie music.
Peder Mannerfelt & Pär Grindvik push the Aasthma envelope looser, faster, and stranger on a second limited edition 12", featuring one cut of blistered power ambient, plus a sidewinding cybernetic techno twyster - properly f*cked & deadly dancefloor gear highly recommended if yr into T++, Ugandan Methods!!!
A strong new addition to both artists’ oeuvres, the 2nd Aasthma 12” follows the same formula as the first, and again finding a smart balance of immediate rawness and classy sound design, but this time slightly altering the parameters to more reckless and experimental appeal.
The smoky ambient blush of ’Rotating Blue Device’ unfurls a fine mesh of gauzy mid-ground and prickly surface disturbances to bend the mind’s eye and presumably sound steeply psychedelic in altered states, which finely sets the tone for ‘Los Angeles’, where they spar with thorny techno drums and surges of bass voltage in a roving, undulating, crisp but distorted mass that will swill the club out something rotten.
Abyss X follows a notable turn for Halcyon Veil with her steeply enigmatic début of mystic composition for Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire
“Taking its title from a Minoan legend that deals with rage, greed and destruction, the latest release from Abyss X expands and reconstructs conceptions of aural space and time. Out on Danse Noire, Pleasures of the Bull finds the multi-disciplinary artist and producer flirting with the sounds of hard jazz while mystifying the parameters of experimental music across several distinct movements, thus allowing the listener to break free from their sonic principles.
Intoxicating, ambient textures mesh with Abyss X’s own expressive vocals, as well as the sounds of the traditional Cretan lyra, played by Maria Skoula. Her sound modification creates a collage of temporalities – allow yourself to move outside linear dimensions, and her to confide in you. Prog rock guitar lines twist stolidly beneath warped vocal samples, and the timbre of the bowed lyra permeates the atmosphere in a thick, suffocating haze.
As the listener travels through space and time, so too does the artist. Abyss X delves into the fullness of her craft, drawing from her background in theater and performance, in addition to the frenzied energy of her live shows as a musician. The music throbs with a frantic yet unmistakably deliberate drama. Pleasures of the Bull feels like a gentle punch in the gut; a compelling auditory performance and a bold exploration of the narrative album format.”
Liquid Liquid drummer Dennis Young’s tape-only obscurity finds its way to vinyl via Korea’s Daehan Electronics, including previous unreleased tracks written during the same 1988 sessions
Somehow evading everyone’s radar until now (and even still we can’t see the original tape for sale anywhere), ‘’Visions’ finally comes into the spotlight, showcasing Dennis Young stylistically operating light years away from Liquid Liquid, but actually only seven years since he laid down one of dance music’s foundational grooves with ‘Cavern.’
Newly augmented with rediscovered material, Young’s 1988 album ‘Visions’ is a strange ride, still urged by his signature drum work, but more fleshed out with FM synths and cubist MIDI bass twang. The previously unheard ‘Dreamland’ sets out the album’s feel, sharing a esoteric. synthy vision with the other unreleased bit ‘Eastern Skies’, which also shares a naif, “orientalist” breeziness in common with ‘Indonesia Eyes’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, while we find his percussive sensibilities pulled in new directions from the woozy ‘Shangri-La’, to the sprung step of ‘Volcano Cathedral’ and the Suba-esque ‘Olympus Mons.’
Expanded first reissue of a calm 1991 new age LP by Liquid Liquid drummer Dennis Young, whose work on classic ‘Cavern’ is a cornerstone of hip hop and punk-funk
While the rest of the world slept on Young’s late ‘80s series of new age tapes, the keen ears at Daehan Electronics have been steadily excavating their goodies from releases that got a domestic pressing in their native Korea. Now, hot on the heels of an ace 1988 volume, ‘Visions’, they now unfurl more magick with that album’s follow-up, ‘Sojourn’, replete with three bonus tracks from the same 1989 sessions.
It’s practically worth it for one of the unreleased bits, ‘Heartsong’, whose angelic synth chorale speaks as much to Young’s career as film soundtrack composer as his enduring influence over dance music, while ‘Fantasia’ uncannily follows suit with a choral riff that’s half a note away from the central motif in Forgemasters ‘Track With No Name’, but set to slow MIDI drums. The album continues to reveal special new angles thru the B-side’s other unreleased peach, an ambient-pop mediation ‘Ancient Past’ sounding like Arpanet meets Lewis, which triggers a marmite sequence of songs right on the cusp of new age fromage and stellar sincerity. Very safe to say the highlights more than make up for any off moments, though.
So you’ve heard a billion and one 4th world types emulate Afro-New Age styles, now here’s the real thing from Justus Nnakwe aka Jay U Experience, a Nigerian artist recording in NYC, 1993. This is a total pearl, we tell thee.
Uprooted by the excellent Left Ear Records after recent Soundway and Now-Again reissues of Nnakwe’s late ‘70s psych-rock jaunts with People Rock Outfit and The Hygrades, the ‘Abuja EP’ catches him years later formulating glittering rhythmelodies and saucy basslines on synths and drum machines, channelling the charms of his early work into a whole new paradigm.
The results are totally primed to dovetail with LER’s expanding international roster of oddities. On the A-side the promise of ‘Back To Motherland’ harmonises glyding pads and warm FM bass with lilting melodic percussion in creamiest style, and ‘Ancestral Call’ follows with delicious flutter of tuned drums and natty brassy melody that feels so much more effortless than the genre’s more cod pieces. The B-side sustains the charm with breezing chime trees and syn-flutes synched to grunky acidic bass in glyphic flow on ‘Okokobioko’, and ‘Abuja’ saves a twist in the tale to tread a fine line between pensive darkness and utopian new age feels.
ELLLL beautifully spreads her wings with three buoyant ambient/bass/techno flights in the wake of her aces for Glacial Industries and All City
ELLLL smartly proves what the fuss is about here; the A-side’s ‘Flowers’ offers 10 minutes of Satie-esque, windswept melody underlined with a sonorous, booming kick like some imagined meeting between Villalobos and Gas, while the B-side’s ‘Ride’ spirals off with feathered piano plies propelled by percolated subbass with a poised sort of feminine pressure, and ‘Glisten’ jettisons the beat to leave decaying subbass contrails and wind-played keys floating in sublime space.
A must check if you like Ciel, Gas, Automatisme.
Finally, Music From Memory carry us back over the Atlantic to survey Brazilian flirtations with electronic and contemporary music c. 1984-1996, covering a spectrum of new wave pop, ambient balm, and experimental grooves. Killer set!!!
It’s maybe fair to say that, during the golden era for ambient and electronic dance music - roughly the period covered in this comp - Brazil’s contributions have been largely overlooked in the Western world. ‘Outro Tempo II: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1984-1996’ seeks to remedy this with a cherry-picked overview of this epoch that highlights spellbinding works by Mitar Subotić (aka Serbian producer Sub/Rex Ilusivii, tipped off by Vladimir Ivkovic) alongside stacks of uniquely humid, sensuous, feverishly psychedelic visions from artists you’ve likely never heard before.
Mitar Subotić is credited on three highlights, including a gem in ‘Velvet’ from his psychedelic samba-rock project Angel’s Breath, and Faust Fawcett serves standouts with his Lena Platonos-like ‘Império Dos Sentidos’ and the slunky bump of ‘Shopping De Voodoos’, but if it’s straight-up dancefloor heat and percussion that you’re (understandably) looking for, then it’s best to check out peaches such as May East’s woozy batacuda ‘Maraka’, the spaced-out, psychy slosh of Akira S, the lithe but smudged jazz-fusion shimmy of ‘Ilha Grande’ by Jorge Degas & Marcelo Salazar, and what sounds like one of James Ferraro’s ‘Far Side Virtual’ workouts, but with fruity, squawking vocals in ‘Guero-Guero’ by Tetê Espíndola.
The rarely paralleled trio reconvene for an engrossing fourth album also featuring esteemed company Charlemagne Palestine and Eiko Ishibashi, the core trio spread out further and more succinctly than ever before, oscillating assuredly between ghostly minimalism, feathered jazz fusion and gnarled "cave-man rock".
The album opens with Palestine stirring spectral tones from wine glasses, soon joined by the floating vocal presence of Haino and Ishibashi communing in midair until Haino cuts through with pealing guitar chords and a subbass looms, seemingly from nowhere. Next, Haino picks up his flute and they change shape to a quietly spirited jazz fusion sound almost defined more by the space between their notes than the notes themselves, and soon enough they converge on the heavy stuff, O'Rourke swangin' serious bass heft under the tensest drum crashes and claw-handed riffage.
We could maybe do without the "funkier" mid-section bit, 'A new radiance springing forth from inside the light', but that small issue is resolved with the stomach-tightening ten minute swagger of 'Even That Still Here And Unwanted Can You And I Love It? Just Like Us It Was Born Here Too', and a brief but poignant doom ambient close.
20 years since recording addictive Kwaito anthem ’Amajovi Jovi’, Durban, S.A.’s Sandy B meets Danish producer and Kwaito fiend Simone Ahà and local singers for a woozy rude follow-up album
After reaching out to Sandy B in 2017 off the back of Invisible City Editions reissue of ‘Amajovi Jovi’, Simon Lundsgaard ended up contacting Sandy and visiting Durban for 5 weeks of Kwaito research and recording sessions. While living in Sandy’s studio, Simon cooked up 10 songs in the early ‘90s Kwaito style, including vocals by Msawawa and Saneh, which are all included here - 7 on vinyl and 3 on the bonus DL.
Let’s get it out of the way - there’s no ‘Amajovi Jovi’ part 2, but there are some worthy successors, most prominently when Sandy and Msawawa pass the mic, with Saneh on backing vox, over the natty house riff of ‘Sandy B & Msawawa’, the wicked hunch of ‘Shona Phansi’ and the slow burning berserk of ’Sikokela Rundkreds’. The rest, however, finds a canny balance of OG Kwaito directness and slightly more layered arrangements, resulting slunky highlights in the sozzled swing of ‘AmaYellow Bone’, a their late night strutter ‘Bhatara/Yim ‘Ophethe.’
The king of Malian hip hop, Luka Productions follows up the sublime new age synth styles of ‘Fasokan’ - one of our top albums of 2017 - with a much broader window on his sound in ‘Falaw’, taking in cosmic folk, Afrobeats dance music and Indian-flavoured disco
Based in a small studio on a busy street in Mali’s capital, Bamako, Luka Productions writes beats for some of the region’s biggest artists, such as Supreme Talent Show, Ami Yerewolo, Iba One, Van Baxy, and Sidiki Diabate, earning him a reputation as one of Mali’s most prodigious and revered producers.
Luka’s 3rd release for Sahel Sounds follows the quietly stunning ‘Fasokan’ album with blend of that album’s balmier moments and the African pop and rap styles on his debut ‘Mali Kady’ tape, offering a much wider testament to the breadth and sweetness of his sound.
Meshing live traditional strings and flutes with synths and software percussion, plus myriad vocals, ‘Falaw’ fully spells out Luka Productions’ style, drifting from the title track’s languorous folk soul at one end, to the driving, UKF-compatible banger ‘Dogonodoon’ (note the reference to the enigmatic Dogon tribe) at the other, taking in a very healthy set of dance trax such as the reggaeton-like ‘Bbni’, the charming twang of Sitars on a disco beat on ‘Indienfoli’, and the devilish twyst of ‘Badjan’ alongside more fragrant, spacious and unexacting downbeat highlights in the grubbing sway of ‘Forêt’, and something very close to the ‘Fasokan’ sound with ‘A Tara’, where he gently flanges Kora strings under his hushed vocals to gorgeous, spine-playing effect.
Again, warmest recommendations for this one.
Adroit sound designer/producer J.G. Biberkopf makes a fine addition to Aïsha Devi and co’s Danse Noire label with Fountain Of Meaning, offering a far more mannered and dreamlike follow-up to the deadly fwd cyber-punk-techno of his two LPs for Kuedo’s Knives. Make sure to check ‘Dance of Relating’!
“Fountain of Meaning is a new sonic fiction from sound artist J.G. Biberkopf following last year’s Ecologies II: Ecosystems of Excess released on Knives. Emerging out of a situation of overflow, the record burrows deeper into his practice of palpable audio theater with a study of object and relations across space-time specific sounds.
The Fountain as a theme reflects a spouting and spilling of information, an erotic gushing of imagined aural history. “The Fountain was the source of water in the public space in cities,” J.G. Biberkopf explains. “Now it’s pretty much a sexualised architectural gesture of both beautification and the spectacle of dominant ideologies.”
The western classical musical canon, much like the perpetual coming of the fountain, flush the headphone space with stimuli. Reflex and memory guides the listener through a semiotic architecture of processed recordings of masses in Catholic churches and contemporary performances of pre-medieval music. A liquidity of structure has an anxious influence and is a closed system approach to form and imagination. When water flows, it fills every space, then spills over to claim more. History is equally abundant and alive. We have never had as much history as we have now. We have never been able to see ourselves as we can now.
A knowledge of a grander architecture of knowing and recalling oppress the ecologies of human decision-making.The nature of the archive has transformed into a total and panoptic intelligence. A life is a gamble as the inventory of the world overflows into the production of a spectral third, an other, a confrontation. Fountain of Meaning offers a dynamic tension and release. A molecular tragedy, our abject recovery into a collaborative reimagining of a trauma long forgotten. “
Deep house don Linkwood blesses his new label with a trimmed and re-shuffled pressing of much-loved debut album ’System’ following from the label’s opening gambit in 2018
Richly schooled in the classic funk, disco and house arts of Chicago, Detroit and NYC, Linkwood filters those influences thru a naturally Scottish wellspring of Gaelic soul and transmutes the results into a deepest dance music.
Now of a 10 year vintage, ’System’ is here stripped of ‘Fudge Boogie’ and ‘Chicago Pt. 2’, to be replaced with the iridescent shimmer and velvety bass of ‘Three Original Mix’ and the dub fried, crispy hustle of ‘Linkwood Lost Experiment’ to gently shake up the record, which still includes big highlights in the likes of his Carl Craig-esque jazz techno whim ’System’, the rude boogie pivot of ‘Falling’, and the Electrifying Mojo-ready flair of ‘Robot Parade’.
Berlin’s Réelle commits their first physical album to Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire, offering claustrophobia-inducing insight to states of schizophrenia thru a palette of tense, explosive percussion, astringent electronics and unsettling vocal processes
“Following their debut release with Danse Noire Réelle releases their second album entitled Ghamccccxc vRR, expanding upon the painterly melodies and ornamental sound design of Kissing Myself. Rather than focusing upon deep psychological aspects of schizophrenia, Ghamccccxc vRR explores key moments before and during Réelle’s first schizophrenic psychosis as well as the lateral state of mind caused by this condition.
“Schizophrenia is said to limit a person’s abilities overall. My discovery was that it opened a gate to limbic realms not accessible under normal circumstances – at least not to me.”
The Cuban – German artist’s approach to schizophrenia as xenopraxis leads them to explore avant garde methods to composition, such as focusing on a key technique within their work of painting melodies via Image Synthesis, rather than inputting binary values or manipulating sound through skeuomorphic methods such as knobs and sliders. The painted melodies also featured in the gorgeous “Floating” and “All I Have Left” evoke alien soliloquies through damaged soundscapes.
“Most of these sounds, as well as the album title, were created during psychosis without me consciously knowing what I’m doing. Therefore I also can’t remember when or why I wrote down Ghamccccxc vRR on a piece of paper.”
Ghamccccxc vRR questions how one navigates with authorship within and beyond one’s control. Gargling textures and vocal artefacts oscillate between the erotic and the eerie (“Hybris,” “Fluid Metals”). Between Kissing Myself and Ghamccccxc vRR Réelle dissolves the real and illusion, reassembling their relationship between body and mind.”
Danse Noire introduce Portugal’s Random Gods with a debut EP imagining “a post-apocalyptic future without the internet, where information is being gathered, and regathered, through fragmented data.”
Through three original projections and a crankier, schizoid Vaghe Stelle remix, that world takes shape as a series of amorphous techno rituals encompassing blunted traces of worldly rhythm and iridescent tonal scales, melting from the layered groove and swirling ambience of Malsano into a quagmire of molten bass and beatdown groove emitting choral electro-acoustic fumes with Jabuka, and a toiling, miasmic piece of dread dubstep and folk melody recalling Gantz productions in Milito.
That last piece is given to Vaghe Stelle for remix, returning as a labyrinthine arrangement of triplet techno, hiccuping synth voices and knackered drill trills anchored in head-swallowing darkside bass.
Composer, author and GRM overseer François Bonnet aka Kassel Jaeger commits a beautifully surreal batch of electroacoustic works to the Latency label following their LPs by Sam Kidel and Laurel Halo.
Usually found on Editions Mego, Kassel Jaeger releases are notably admired for their attention to the finest textural detail, and for the way he classically draws a sense of dreamlike narrative from the ostensibly abstract and the non-musical. On ‘Le Lisse et le Strié’ the french composer typically puts that finesse at the service of of exploring two opposing concepts of “smooth” and “striated” within the electroacoustic sphere, where, “If the “smooth” is linked to “nomos” as an open space of organic distribution, the “striated”, on the contrary, is associated to “logos”, as an enclosed space defined by a grid.”
Working in noumenal space between the “smooth” and ‘striated” aspects, Jaeger uses alchemical process to highlight sound’s unparalleled, amorphous ability to manifest or suggest structural changes that practically don’t occur in any other framework of nature other than musical perception. His sounds emulate paradoxical, conceptual leaps between physical states, melting our perception of time and space and the “grid” in the process, and pointing to a inception of encrypted, camouflaged sound as beguiling as a magic eye image for the ear.
Boxed and Gobstopper don Mr. Mitch does his blue thing in two technoid rollers
In ‘Need More Fashion Friends’ his synths exasperatedly sigh at the state of shrill, posh twunts in the club while he dances and they check their phones and all wear the same fucking puffa jacket and big daft creps. ’Shirley Temple’ follows with a darker, more intense groove leavened by Mitch’s signature, wistful grime melodies.
One of Oren Ambarchi’s starkest, most singular releases, ‘Sleepwalker’s Conviction’ is a hauntingly minimal hymn to hypnagogic states, with Ambarchi’s sonorous subbass strokes accompanied by a 20 piece ensemble conducted by Ilan Volkov, and featuring members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Speak Percussion.
Giving spectral life to the kind of sounds one might associate with conditions of sleep paralysis, quaaludes, or staring into the abyss, ‘Sleepwalker’s Conviction’ ranks in the most chthonic of Ambarchi’s outings. Focussing on his bass guitar and swirling Leslie textures, he acts as a dark, liminal interpreter for other dimensions, helming a border between waking and dreaming life where sounds seep subtly across the threshold, eschewing anything bombastic or tangible in favour of a slow, gaseous form of intoxication or ordering of the senses.
The sound is incredibly deep, steep, and wide, rendered with pendulous, searching bass tones that appear to roam across the record’s massive sound stage, scouting cavernous spaces reminiscent of Leyland Kirby’s creaking visions as The Stranger, or the kind of oceanic plateaus which Gavin Bryars’ classic ‘The Sinking Of The Titanic’ comes to describe. Truth be told, it’s pretty fucking petrifying down there, with Ambarchi’s unshakeable conviction and the sheer breadth and detailed layering of the sound serving to heighten the state of suspended disbelief, and ultimately submerge susceptible souls in over their head.
Berlin-based cineastes, bookworms and musicians Dice Miller and Enir Da aka Fith cross paths with Ran$om Note’s Outer Reaches sublabel in a strong follow-up to their 2016 LP for Berlin/Salford intermedia co-op, Wanda
Last heard on the ‘Saints of Cinema’ CD in ’17 with Ono’s Michael Holland, Dice Miller is a commanding presence under the spotlight of ‘Swamp’, channelling the clipped post-punk enunciation of Anne Clarke or Angela Conway in crisply dreamy style over efficiently psychedelic, minimal production by Enir Da, landing somewhere between Tolouse Low Trax/Toresch/Decha, the ‘Decoder’ soundtrack, and Dome.
“The project, currently comprised of members Dice Miller, Enir Da, Rachel Margetts, ChrIs Lmx, and Arnaud Mathé gesture towards notions of the literary salon, expanded cinema happenings, and the ancient traditions of Greek oratory and religious sermons. With Swamp, FITH become a refined force on a record where all their compelling pluralities and attributes are honed and augmented; everything dilated to delirium.”
Mad Decent’s “baby cuzzin”, Good Enuff, turn out cumbia/reggaeton/tarraxho/kuduro compatible pressure from Cuyo. Think this is what they used to call moombahton?
We advise heading straight to the warped slosh of their title cut, then the rapido remix of ‘Amazon’ by DJ NJ Drone for the strongest highlights.
‘bblisss’ comp contributor Ulla Straus diffuses herself into the sublime, gauzy ambience of ‘Big Room’ for Quiet Time Tapes
Arriving in the glistening wake of instalments by Kareem Lotfy, Debit, and peer Huerco S, ‘Big Room’ is Ulla’s definitive statement to date, convicting a sublime soul through 8 gaseous, harmonised dimensions with sweet highlights in the milky flow of ‘Sister’, and the vertiginous scale of ‘Net’.
Mutant electro-acid-tribal-breaks from Sophie Sweetland (D. Tiffany, DJ Zozi) in Ambien Baby mode alongside Dan Rincon aka Nap for her Planet Euphorique label.
Extending Sophie’s prolific run of the last 12 months into ruggeder zones of the ‘floor, opener ’El Kesh’ nods to Adrian Sherwood and co as much as Shackleton in a sidewinding transition from grubbing percussion to tart trance lines and gully UK bass, whereas ‘Manimoto’ clocks an early ‘90s sort of goa trance compatible with PWOG and CultureClash, ’Stab Me’ runs a sort of vine-swanging, ruddy acid electro agility, and ‘Sacrifico’ checks out with a kinkier electro swerve recalling J Saul Kane productions.
Tint is an intently focussed showcase of the sound sensitivities which have made Joe Talia a cult figure in contemporary electro-acoustic and avant garde circles. If you’ve ever been caught by the work of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Andrew Chalk, John Duncan or Jean-Claude Éloy, you need to clasp ears on this album!
“Tint is the first new solo recording from Joe Talia in over a decade. Australian-born but now based in Tokyo, Talia is known to many listeners as a drummer (frequently collaborating both live and in the studio with artists such as Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke) and as a recording and mixing engineer responsible for dozens of releases across the fields of contemporary experimental music, wayward pop, and jazz. Alongside James Rushford, he is also responsible for one of the most legendary releases in the Kye records catalogue, the creaking electronic morass of Manhunter (2013). Lovingly crafted over many months in his tiny Tokyo studio, Tint is an album-length electroacoustic suite that brings together Talia’s expertise as percussionist, studio engineer, and performer on analogue electronic instruments (primarily modular synth and Revox tape machine).
Ranging from minimalist austerity to kosmische lushness, Tint refreshingly refuses the dark and moody sonic palette of much contemporary electroacoustic music in favour of an airy, at times almost weightless sound-world of gliding tones, skittering percussion, and burbling field recordings. Drawing inspiration from Jean-Claude Eloy’s epic concrète love letter to Tokyo, Gaku-No-Michi, Talia makes extensive use of his own recordings of his new home, but removes any sense of audio verite, abstracting them into transparent glosses of outdoor ambience or unidentifiable chimes and creaks. Flowing seamlessly between distinct episodes, Tint is compositionally controlled while retaining a sense of played spontaneity, eventually building to a maelstrom of analogue synth zaps and tape manipulated percussion that reflects Talia’s deep engagement with the relentless yet constantly shifting dynamics of free jazz.”
‘Songs Without Throats’ is a large dose of zany brilliance from Paul DeMarinis - a Robert Ashley collaborator and member of The League of Automatic Composers - featuring work exclusively selected and compiled for Oren Ambarchi’s leading edge label, Black Truffle
Paul DeMarinis is a graduate of the famous Mills College, where he studied composition with Robert Ashley and Terry Riley, leading to his formative role in the world’s first computer “band” - The League of Automatic Composers with David Behrman and co - and his credit playing Moog on Ashley’s legendary album, ‘In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women.” Those credits aside, DeMarinis is also a wildly creative composer in his own right, with a body of work that probes perceptive schisms between natural and synthesised sounds in the most playful, beguiling manner.
Drawn from material found on compilations, together with stacks of work previously unheard in any form, ‘Songs Without Throats’ is a very necessary introduction to DeMarinis’ charming soundworld. Focussing on his output between the late ‘70s and 1995, it presents a hugely playful demonstration of digitally manipulated speech sounds, simulated pastoralism, and clinically sharp tones all threaded together with a mean sense of humour and adventurousness to provide a first time peek behind the curtain of his studio in the ‘80s.
Much of the work was produced off-the-cuff in the process of developing structures that began in live rehearsals. As such they’re relatively stripped down and shy of FX, yet they remain fascinating on merit of DeMarinis’ nascent naivety and explorative nature, abundant with the type of sounds that make your ear crease and pucker: from the way he turns a rare 78rpm sample of Stalin into birdsong using the formants of his voice; to the speak ’n spell froth of his catalogue highlight ‘Kokole’ ’ to his canny balance of natural and synthetic speech with longterm collaborator Anne Klingensmith; and his dotty, proto-chiptune, dance-pop rhythms in the likes of ‘R4T’, ‘Eenie Meanie Chillie Beanie’, and ‘Yellow Yankee.’
The long awaited debut full length has finally arrived. And the wait was well worth it. Diät have worked, worked and reworked these 8 songs until they were perfect. Who is this band you ask? Let us introduce you: "Brought together by a shared enthusiasm for bleak UK punk and a history of playing in hardcore bands, Berlin based DIÄT have created a sound that they have described, perhaps not entirely seriously, as ‘tough new wave’.
"Fans of Crisis, Killing Joke and The Mob (UK) should be pleased by the band’s unlikely synthesis of depressive drift and cranked, accelerated energy. ‘Positive Energy’ was recorded last Winter while huddled in a practice space overlooking the industrial landscape of frozen East Berlin, the album finds Diät reining in the threads of malignant enthusiasm still peppered throughout their earlier recordings (both 7"s previously released on this fine imprint) to focus on the cynicism and dejectedness that binds them as a band. Intending to create an album that showcases each song individually and plays out like a mixtape, Diät have boldly created a sound all their own - the sound of checking your account balance to see if you’ve been paid yet…but you haven’t."
Fascinating turn of incredible, private electro-acoustic designs by Italy’s Massimo Toniutti - brother of Giancarlo, of ‘Broken Flag’ LP fame - originally self-released in 1991 and now sniffed out, expanded with a bonus album’s worth of gear, and reissued by Oren Ambarchi’s faultless Black Truffle. To our ears, this little known masterpiece bridges a gap between Gruppo and Giuseppe Ielasi, rendering freely disciplined and brilliantly unpredictable arrangements of detailed field recordings and mechanical sounds that happen and unfold with a naturalistic quality that’s totally key to its immersive allure. Big RIYL Nurse With Wound, Roland Kayn, Giuseppe Ielasi, Gruppo D’improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.
"Massimo Toniutti was active in the vibrant underground industrial/noise scene of the 1980s, contributing to releases on legendary labels such as Broken Flag and RRR and self-releasing a series of cassettes between 1984 and 1988. Existing in a private world apart from the noise and dark industrial tropes of many of his contemporaries, Toniutti’s Il Museo Selvatico is an entirely singular work of domestic electro-acoustic exploration. Made up primarily of what Toniutti calls “small and rare noises” or sonic “knick-knacks” recorded between 1987 and 1990, the five pieces that make up the original LP usher us into a crepuscular space populated by mysterious traces of everyday life.
Toniutti weaves a loose net of distant clanks, dull thuds, metallic resonance, and skittering percussive sounds, allowing the sounds to breathe against a backdrop of near-silent atmosphere. Although the haunted ambience recalls the work of contemporaries like Organum, Toniutti generally steers clear of long tones and drones, preferring to arrange brief, sometimes staccato sonic objects into patterns of repeating figures and isolated events whose overall compositional shape remains somehow ungraspable. Although glimpses of recognizable location recordings and instrumental sounds can occasionally be made out, for most of the record the sources of the sounds you hear remain teasingly mysterious, an abstracted memory of everyday actions and atmospheres.
Il Museo Selvatico is accompanied here by an additional LP of material recorded at the same time, arranged especially for this reissue into two side-long suites that inhabit the same haunted space as the original LP while occasionally making use of more maximal compositional strategies. Essential listening for fans of Organum, Nurse With Wound, Christoph Heemann, and the tradition of outsider musique concrete.”
In ‘Border Ballads’ Richard Skelton draws inspiration from the rolling landscapes of the Scottish Borders for a moving instrumental panorama coloured with a melancholy palette of piano, bowed cello, viola and burnished electronics. It’s some of the most focussed and direct work of an already fascinating career.
Blessed with his usual knack for limning the atmosphere of a place so well it feels familiar even if you’ve never visited it, ‘Border Ballads’ beautifully channels wide open spaces, lush green pastures fringing on moorland, most crucially, experienced without a soul in sight, leaving listeners comfortably isolated in the elements. While there’s no detectable human voices in the recording, Skelton's strings possess the haunting cadence of the region’s rich folk music heritage, which quietly seeps into the album’s abstract yet gripping, underlying narration.
"Richard Skelton has spent the last two years living on the rural northern edge of the Scotland-England border, a boundary demarcated by various watercourses - among them the Kershope Burn, the Liddel Water and the River Esk. This hinterland topography has informed a series of musical recordings which, in their brevity, stand in stark contrast to the longform compositions for which he is more usually known. Nevertheless, there is a sense that these twelve miniatures are fragments of a larger whole, such is their unity in tone and timbre.
In some ways, ‘Border Ballads’ can be seen as a revisiting of certain compositional processes first encountered on ‘Marking Time’, over a decade ago. The sparse, overlapping bowed notes, for example, or the solitary, bell-like piano. But there is something different at work here. Whereas ‘Marking Time’ felt aeolian, shifting, fleeting, this new work, with its persistent cello undertow and its low, tremulous viola, feels telluric, grounded, earthen. Perhaps ‘Border Ballads’ can be seen as the embodiment of a desire for certainty after a prolonged period of upheaval, but that ever-close riverine border, at once both fixed and fluid, is a disturbing presence. A darkness that cannot be ignored."
Round 5 of the fearsome trio’s massed gatherings in Japan is also one of their most diverse. The passages of Haino on bulgari are spellbinding, recalling Jozef Van Wissem or a more gothic Dariush Dolat Shahi
“The remarkable series of releases from the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi continues with I wonder if you noticed "I'm sorry" Is such a lovely sound It keeps things from getting worse, which presents the entirety of an 80-minute set performed at Tokyo's SuperDeluxe in March 2014. While the trio's 2012 performance was divided into two releases (BT 011LP (2014) and BT 012LP (2015)), the single extended performance presented here ranges widely over terrain both new and familiar, from acoustic strings and collective chants to thunderous power trio moves. Throughout all of its transformations, the music here is some of the riskiest and most abstract the trio have yet committed to record. Beginning with chiming percussion reminiscent of Haino's 1995 classic Tenshi No Gijinka, the first side is dominated by Haino's impassioned vocals and performance on the bulgari, a traditional Turkish string instrument.
The end of the second side presents a special treat: Haino's first recorded outing on the contrabass harmonica, from which he coaxes bizarre, wheezing textures against a backdrop of spacious bass and percussion. O'Rourke and Ambarchi rarely adopt here the classic rock roles essayed on earlier releases. O'Rourke's bass, which takes center-stage surprisingly often, is sometimes so heavily processed by his array of pedals that it becomes a shifting electronic mass; at other times his roving chromaticism suggests a sort of fuzzed-out free jazz. Ambarchi spends much of the set exploring areas of tumbling free pulse; and even when he locks into a constantly repeated figure on the set's third side, he gestures as much toward Ronald Shannon Jackson's stuttering marching band funk as toward any classic rock moves. When the trio finally moves in the final quarter of the performance into an extended passage of rock riffing, the payoff is immense, as they craft a thudding one-chord epic reminiscent of some of the early Fushitsusha classics before Haino returns to the bulgari, bringing the set back to where it began. Continuing to explore new instrumental and dynamic possibilities while remaining grounded in the trio's previous work, this set also brings with it a unique pleasure for the non-Japonophone listener: for the first time Haino sings many of his metaphysically brooding lyrics in English.”
Beautiful Swimmers gather a lovely set of obscure boogie, house, new age soul and electronica gems for the 2nd compilation from Croatia-based festival, Love International
From Plunky’s sweet sax bleat in ‘Africa Sunset’ to Spirit Garden’s plush piano house, the set covers all the right bases with nuggets to be scored in Harlem Gem’s mid-tempo boogie-soul-house ace; Mark Goddard’s new age house bubbler ‘Tiny’s First Journey’; KW Griff’s unmissable B-More soul winner ‘Be Ya Girl’; and the crystalline, rude UK techno/electronica of 1995’s ‘Whiddon On Down’ by The Horn.
More unknowns than you can shake a cocktail stick at. Must check!
Ryuichi Sakamoto expands on ‘Async’ album track ‘FF’ , along with a brand new piece ‘School in Paris’ on this audiophile quality 12”, cut at 45rpm for optimal sound representation (and time-slowing 33rpm options)
Picking up where the tremulous hyaline harmonics of ‘FF’ left off, ‘FF2’ coaxes trembling timbres from woodwind and synths into an intoxicating high register drift recalling shadowy moments of ‘SAW II’ or even the ghostly melancholy of David Lynch’s Eraserhead score.
‘School in Paris’, is, as you may infer from the title, a field recording of kids at play, albeit processed to lend a starkly detached quality, as though the kids are off out of sight somewhere while Sakamoto performs alchemical experiments or bumps into things in his kitchen and a synth piece plays from another room.
Tim Hecker returns with a companion piece to his recent Konoyo album.
"Anoyo (“the world over there”) draws from the same sessions with members of Tokyo Gakuso which led to the 2018 work Konoyo, but rendered starker, solemn, and stripped back, with more of a naturalist tint. Hecker’s processing here moves in veiled ways, soft refractions and whispered shrouds woven within improvisational sessions of traditional gagaku interplay, evoking a sense of vaulted space, temples at dawn, shredded silk fluttering in the rafters.
This is boldly barren music, skeletal and sculptural, shaped from wood, wind, strings, and mist. Modern yet ancient, delicate and desolate, Anoyo inverts its predecessor to compellingly conjure a parallel world of illusion, solitude, and eternal return."
Foundational, 1989 UK house pressure from Tony Thorpe’s Warriors Dance posse, reissued 30 years later for the good of the dance
Leading on from the equally crucial reissue of No Smoke’s ‘International Smoke Signal’ LP compilation, ‘The Tuffest of the Tuff’ leans back to 1989 and a time when UK soundsystem culture was splicing dub dynamics with soulful deep house, rugged breaks and acid, birthing a uniquely mutant sound that laid the roots for hardcore rave and jungle.
The 8 tracks of ‘The Tuffest of the Tuff’ are kicking testament to the irrevocable Afro-Caribbean influence on British dance music and popular culture since the 2nd half of the 20th C. From the effortless, swinging soul flow of ‘Africa’, starring ace vox by Sharon Hammend & Allison Gray, thru to Addis Posse’s acid breakbeat rave killer ‘Let The Warriors Dance’, to the New Beat-compatible electro of ‘Je T’Aime’ by Housemaids, in their subbass-heavy spin on Larry Heard-like Chi-house in James Harris’ ‘Tuffest of the Tuff’, and the beautifully prescient vision of new age flutes, vocals and rolling lushness in Watts Noize’s ‘It’s My Life (Dub Mix)’ classic, this is pretty unmissable gear for anyone tracing the Afro-futurist roots of UK rave and techno beyond Warp and back to source.
Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle label rustles up a reissue of this absolute classic, Annea Lockwood’s 1970 tape piece Tiger Balm - unavailable on vinyl for over thirty years. The LP also includes a pair of unreleased pieces; the vocal and percussion study Amazonia Dreaming, and the beautifully suspenseful microtonal electro-acoustic levitation, Immersion. Breaking entirely with the dynamic language of musique concrète, Lockwood used a select palette of mainly unprocessed sonic elements chosen for their mysterious and erotic characteristics to open a space of dream logic and mysterious associations between nature and culture, the ancient and the modern.
“"Created while Lockwood was living in the UK, the side-long 'Tiger Balm' is a singular work within the cannon of tape music. Inspired by research into the ritual function of music, the piece explores the possibility of evoking ancient communal memories through sound. These unusual and evocative field recordings (a purring cat, a heartbeat, gongs, slowed down jaw harp, a tiger, a woman's breath, a plane passing overhead), presented as no more than two sounds at once, allowed one to flow organically into the next, their shared characteristics highlighted, opening a space of dream logic and mysterious associations.
The B side presents two pieces for percussion available here for the first time. 'Amazonia Dreaming' (1987), performed by Dominic Donato, uses unaccompanied snare drum and voice to evoke the nocturnal soundscape of the Amazon rainforest. Unorthodox techniques and materials (marbles, chopsticks, a plastic jar lid) transform the snare into a resonant field of sensual textures. 'Immersion' (1998), performed by Donato and Frank Cassara, is a slow-moving exploration of gentle beating tones, performed on marimba, tam tams, and gong. Like the other two works presented on this LP, it provides captivating proof of Lockwood's belief in the complexity that deep listening can reveal within seemingly simple sounds." --Francis Plagne
'Lonely At The Top' is a suitably bleary-eyed awakening, feeling as if it's attempting to comprehend the rapid glut of information in the waking world, and failing to do so - opting for a massive spliff instead and allowing it all to smudge in by osmosis.
Ok, so in the intervening years Lukid did usher out two singular 12"s of deconstructed House and Techno on his Glum label, both marking a distinct shift from his previous productions and which, in turn, clearly inform the deceptively freeform feel of this LP. And we say "deceptively" because there's a genuinely crafty pair of hands pulling the strings behind the abstract, distorted daubs of soundcolour and rhythmelody.
But, like Actress's 'R.I.P', what separates this from becoming a mush of avant-garde texture and timbre experimentation is the instinctive and coherent sense of narration to 'Lonely At The Top', one which expands and contracts between dusted blobs of haunted swagger like 'Manchester' and the heat-sick title track through to 'Southpaw''s rugged bounce or the compelling emotion of 'USSR' via poignant vignettes like his OPN-esque 'The Life Of The Mind' or the achingly cute 'Snow Theme'. Easily Lukid's finest work to date and a strong counterpoint to the overly-emosh post-whatever albums doing the rounds at the moment.
Unmissable reissue of Joey Beltram’s darkside NYC electro/techno peach as Open Mind!
Originally dished up in 1990, right at the midst of a flux between Detroit techno, NYC electro, Belgian New Beat and UK hardcore, ‘The Trance’ distilled all the above into a super rugged, haunting, perpetual grooves that still kills it 30 years later.
The titular cut swaggers across the A-side making class use of a drums from Reese’s ‘Grab The Beat’, while ‘Trance Machine’ locks to a more direct jack attack with strong nods to Reese’s ‘Rock To The Beat’ synths, and ‘Body Force’ brings the cold rush with nagging choral voices and ruff-cut breaks in a classic 1990 blueprint.
Ghostride The Drift is a highly promising new smudge-ambient project dreamt by Huerco S, Exael and Special Guest DJ aka uon, for his and D. Tiffany’s new label.
Their extended self-titled debut finds the trio’s shared tastes consolidated and mutated in 5 parts of spiralling, psychedelic and elusive dub forms that evoke the sensation of floating in a fog-choked rave at 5AM. Finding range between pockets of noisy dub ephemera, tracts of scudding, weightless hyper-dub, and seductively dragging downbeats, the EP speaks to each producer’s sound in turn and all at once.
The opening blast of fathoms-deep, gaseous iridescence and buried but pelting kick drums is a huge highlight, recalling Xth Reflexion joints for Aught, while moments of Basic Channel-esque abstraction colour the downtime between beats, variously rolling out with brownian motion, and then a sluggish ruggish ’90s ambient appeal one can imagine soundtracking a thousand dawns this summer and beyond...
Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi present their 5th annual collaboration, as always recorded at SuperDeluxe, Tokyo.
While the previous session was a proper face melter, this one, made in March 2013, is a far more subtle and diverse session. It starts up with a beautifully delicate duet between Keiji's vocals and Finnish Kantele and O'Rourke's lyrical 12-string haunted by Ambarchi's wine glass tones (rubbing not drinking), before letting Jim take the lead with nimbly fluid improvisation and scaling up into twsted electronic noise and globular subbass pulses by the mid-way point.
The three climax naturally as the noise energy dissipates to leave them seemingly enervated, Haino's post-tristesse wail cutting through the room like a wounded animal and baiting a 2nd wind of modular freakery and tribal ecstasies.
Reissue of a highly sought-after, early ‘90s Japanese house gem on Studio Mule’s impeccable domestic series
First dished up in 1991, this is one of two unique 12”s cooked up by Hiroshi Matsui, mixing J-pop melodies and arrangement quirks with proper, full-bodied acid house workouts.
A-side this results the piano house pep of ‘Samba De’ and the almighty, swinging acid lines of ‘Crazy Dub’, and the B-side puts it somewhere deeper with Chez Damier-style chords and saucy bass swivel of ‘Woo-ah The World’, and the new jack swing playfulness of ‘So Happy!’.
Max Richter is at his brooding, majestic best on the soundtrack to ‘Never Look Away’, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Academy Award-nominated 2018 German drama film
Now firmly established as a go-to guy for films in need of sensitive soundtracks, Richter here follows his work for period dramas and TV series with a theme closer to the German side of his dual German/British heritage, which he capably and carefully handles with signature class.
Debut volley of breaks by Data Room, backed with tight jump-up remix by none other than Jumping Jack Frost
Data Room’s original ‘Laugh Track’ stretches out full breaks in clean, spacious atmospheres, whereas rave legend Jumpin Jack Frost accelerates those particles into a cool, rolling jungle chassis, and Data Room round up with two floaty breaks/techno hybrids.
Synth se’er Steve Moore presents his first non-soundtrack work since 2013 with the cosmically scoped ‘Beloved Exile’ - a must check for fans of Abul Mogard and Pye Corner Audio...
"Beloved Exile is the new studio full-length by Steve Moore, his first non-soundtrack album in over five years, and his first for Temporary Residence Ltd. A prevalent figure of the modern synth era, Moore cofounded the influential synth- prog duo, Zombi, and has scored more than a dozen feature films and TV shows, including The Guest, Crunch Time, and Mayhem.
Composed and produced by Steve Moore in his home studio in upstate New York, Beloved Exile is a collaboration with internationally-renowned Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, visionary harpist Mary Lattimore, and veteran percussionist Jeff Gretz. Drawing influences from vintage ambient synth libraries, New Age/spiritual music, and menacing horror film canon, Beloved Exile proves to be simultaneously exquisite and deceptively unsettling. It is appropriate, then, that a literary treasure like John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats), would provide the song and album titles – his masterful mind most fitting to put moniker to this mercurial triumph.”
Nyege Nyege Tapes deliver an unmissable volley of hyper-fast, breathless Singeli from Tanzania, this time the vinyl debut of Duke showcasing the sound of Pamoja Records, following multiple zingers from the scene’s core Sisso Studios.
Yet again making practically all other dance music seem pedestrian and tepid by contrast, Duke’s take on Dar Es Salaam’s Singeli style is ruthlessly fast and rugged, crammed with colourful samples and, quite crucially, loaded with a pair of blistering vocal tracks starring MCZO & Don Tach, and Dogo Lizzi, respectively.
In ‘Uingizaji Hewa’ the tempos thrillingly tilt over the 200bpm mark, but they’re held in check with a clutch of slower instrumentals written in Duke’s newer Hip Hop Singeli style. When he goes fast, dancers will know about it in the likes of ’Naona Laaah’ featuring machine gun rapid rhythms somehow matched for pace by MCZO & Don Tach, and again in the pedal-to-the-meckle recklessness of ‘M Lap’ starring Dogo Lizzi switching up from dancehall bark to fasssst-chat styles that put Daddy Freddy to bed.
But those hi-NRG bombs are only half the story. The rest of the LP shows off Duke’s wicked way with a hook and the diversity of his drum programming in highlights ranging from the PC Music-compatible bounce of ‘Sing4444444’, to the cascading chromatic licks and slow/fast suss of ‘Duke 4’, the joyful dervish of ‘Duke Bit Puyo’, and two dizzying pieces with spiralling, Bollywood-style vocal samples that close the record with a blinding flourish.
Amsterdam’s Japanese label, Sound of Vast mark 5 Years up in it with the first in a series of anniversary 12”s
Cosmic TRG renames himself Com Sin for the sub-heavy, crystalline techno minimalism of ‘Glass Harp ‘; The People In Fog slip on the offbeat with he sloshing groove and palatial dimensions of ‘Chapter Zero’; and Yard One roll out the filigree Japanese deep house of ‘Dream Travel.’
Skull Disco reaches it's final catalogue number with the final nail in the coffin on 'Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals', collating the final few 12" releases on the first CD, and a selection of accompanying remixes from the likes of T++, Rupture, Geiom, Brendon Moeller, and Bass Clef on an additional second CD.
Over the course of three years the label has come to define a very dark corner of the dubstep related universe, finding fans in unexpected places, from Ricardo Villalobos and Cassy at the housier end of the spectrum and T++ showing love from the techno end. The first CD opens with the dystopian classic 'The Rope Tightens' by the maverick Shackleton, with a horrific echo chamber lockdown featuring vocals from longtime Skull Disco affiliate Tenfold Vengeance, and moves onto later collaborations between Appleblim and Peverelist on their lauded 'Circling'.
Shackleton's smacky voodoo dancer 'Death Is Not Final' is included, alongside the undulating drum workout 'You Bring Me Down' as well as Appleblim's now classic 'Vansan' making it's first appearance on CD. The second set is about as fresh as it gets, starting with T++'s techno enhanced remix of 'Vansan' and further cementing the Berlin connection with Pole's spatialized dub-scape version of Shack's 'Shortwave'. Peverelist's remix of 'You Bring Me Down' is surely one of the finest dubstepXtechno tracks of the year and is also included alongside the stunning T++ revision of Shack's 'Death Is Not Final', surely one of the tracs of year full stop! The most surprising remix comes from badawi, with a previously unreleased rethink of 'The Rope Tightens'. Raz Mesinai sticks with the original's extended format, but rewires it with a technofied yet meditative version that sounds like 'Polaroid' or 'Cern' era Monolake mixed with sound design approaching Peter Rehberg's frosty scapes for the KTL project. The depth and scope on this one can only be fully appreciated at home on a good system with all the lights out, or equally in a dark warehouse setting, this is riddimic futurism at it's finest.
A final mention must be given to the terrific artwork from the mind of Zeke Clough beamed directly from a tower somewhere in deepest darkest Salford, applying the final but essential touch to a stunning package.
Drippin’ with realest ‘90s R&B flava, Devin Morrison’s debut album for Onra’s Nothing But Net label.
“If anyone from Florida tells you that something is « Bussin », it simply means that it’s tasty. Orlando-born Devin Morrison's first solo album on NBN Records, « Bussin » gives you an ill mix of flavors with eclectic inspirations rooted in 90's R&B, Gospel and Funk.
You get fresh-squeezed harmonies inspired by the likes of Take 6 & Commissioned on slow jamz like « It’s Time » and « Bussin », melodies that pierce like spears on « No » and drums that bite like gator jaws on the G Funk infused banger « The Struggle Iz Real » featuring Daz Dillinger.
Singer/Songwriter/Composer, Devin Morrison aims to show the world the sweet sound of Florida that it has yet to hear while collaborating with the finest voices the R&B, such as Grammy Award nominees KING, super talented singer from L.A. Joyce Wrice on the classic R&B duet « With You », or seasoned originals like Ace Hashimoto (aka BrandUn DeShay) on the futuristic sounding « Guaranteed ».
The opening track « It's Time » features a guitar performance from Devin's father, a solo recording artist in the early 90's known as Dah-Vi and ends up on a personal note with the spiritual jam « Fairytale » (featuring vocals from Devin's older brother, Lakks Mable) and the introspective « Love Yourself ».
As Devin tweeted, « As long as I'm alive, R&B shall be as well ». The expectations are high for this Floridian creative, and Devin Morrison is here to live up to his own.”
On his debut album “Scattered Memories”, the composer, musician and true master on the Iranian spike fiddle kamancheh SABA ALIZADEH blends his instrumental virtuosity with spherical electronics, samples of Persian music instruments and field recordings from his hometown Tehran.
"Born in Tehran in 1983 as son of the world renowned Tar and Setar virtuoso HOSSEIN ALIZADEH, SABA ALIZADEH studied the Iranian spike fiddle with SAEED FARAJPOURY and KEYHAN KALHOR plus photography and later experimental sound art with MARK TRAYLE at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles. His musical activities that lead him all around the globe for performances (a.o. at Carnegie Hall) branch into 2 different areas: on the one side ALIZADEH is a highly reputed virtuoso on his traditional instrument, on the other he likes to approach music from a more experimental / technological aspect in his electronic / electro-acoustic pieces. This not being enough, he founded Noise Works in 2014, a platform and label for organizing experimental concerts and for the transfer of knowledge of music technologies among young Iranian musicians which makes him a central figure at the forefront of the current, very vivid Persian music scene that gained a lot of attention through artists like SIAVASH AMINI, PORYA HATAMI and of course SOTE who included a track by ALIZADEH on the compilation “Girih: Iranian Sound Artists” that he had curated.
In 2018, ALIZADEH self-released his debut “Scattered Memories” on CD in Iran which now, in a reworked version, sees its deserved world-wide release as LP and DL. Over the course of 10 tracks ALIZADEH melts his 2 musical worlds into 1: tradition meets modernism, eastern sounds meet western production, folklore meets contemporary electronics. An album that will appeal to an open-minded “world music” audience as well as fans of current streams like ambient or drone in its most subtle forms.”