After crossing paths with Kate Carr’s preternaturally sensitive field work on Helen Scarsdale Agency, the sound artist now presents the engrossing 2015 travelogue from a wind turbine to vultures (and back) on her Flaming Pines label.
Recorded during a residency at Joya arte ecologia in Velez Blanco, a mountainous region in S.E. Spain, Carr’s latest offers an intimately close reading of the landscape describing daily journeys trekking up muddy paths with little accompaniment other than distant bird calls, the beating of vultures wings, and inclement, wintry weather conditions, with a steeply immersive and unexpectedly evocative outcome.
Using her ear and by extension the microphone with the precision of a nature photographer, Kate zooms in and documents those sounds that more casual hikers will also encounter, yet may not pay so much attention to without enhanced technological means. Once stitched together in post production to form the two pieces on tape, those sound journeys are recollected as dreamlike trips, segueing from ghostly, windswept harmonics and passages of Áine O’Dwyer-like vox at the start of Ascent, to spots of unnerving lacunæ where you can almost feel the infrasonic heartbeat of trees and the mountain itself, ending up somewhere more light-headed, widescreen at the top.
Likewise, her Descent poetically conveys a sense of strangeness in its description of the mountainside, which feels to come to life with flurries of bird calls, imagined boar growls and barking dogs, vacillating between sensations of relief and caution.
If you’ve enjoyed BJNilsen’s Massif Trophies for Editions Mego, Felicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s Comme Un Seul Narcisse, or Giuseppe Ielasi and Ricardo Renaldi’s Alpi, you’re bound to appreciate Kate Carr’s elevated, surreal perspectives here, too. Sublime.
White Material co-conspirator DJ Richard yields his 1st new EP in three years with the brooding electro swerver, Path of Ruin sure to garner moody screwfaces on the ‘floor.
It’s really all about the 10 minute title tune, reprising the darkside, Reese-like strokes of his Leech2 classic from way back in 2012, but with a slinky malinky electro swing that’s very much of the ’97/’07/’17 zeitgeist. The first five minutes of floating pads and stark dub chords could almost be mistaken for an early Claro Intellect or Andy Stott piece, before the lustrous bass sets it on its own trajectory into the night.
Gargoyle is a solid six minutes of slow industrial/EBM at 105bpm, coated with noxious harmonics in a way recalling Para or Dirk Desaever, and Stygian Freeze lives up to its mantle with a stately but doomed descent into beat-less synth zones redolent of Dopplereffekt.
New Atlantis co-founder Deadboy inhabits his J.V. Lightbody alias for the label’s lush 2nd release with 12 beams of golden, shimmering vibes exploring “the inner realms of consciousness, space and time” under track titles referencing the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching, the ancient chinese book of changes whose wisdom still resonates with the modern day.
Tapping into a new age zeitgeist which has bubbled up strongly in recent years, possibly thanks as much to a swell of reissued classics as a societal need to assuage anxieties imposed by the modern world, Inner Work arguably serves its purpose in a beautifully absorbing manner. Working to a similar brief as Yamaneko’s recent Spa Commissions for Local Action, Lightbody offers the listener tender space to unravel thoughts and dreams thru sheets of diaphanous, pastel-hued harmonies and wistful melodic flocking which, at best, offer transcendence from earthly matters, and at the least a very sweet distraction from what ails ya.
Effectively an antibiotic for SAD, or a magnetic dose of vitamin D for overworked souls, Inner Work gets right under the skin with assured efficacy, and should be warmly recommended to anyone who has encountered and fallen for the likes of Laraaji, Pauline Anna Strom or K. Leimer in recent years, or likewise been smitten by Yamaneko’s gorgeous new turn.
First making waves with the almost cult level ‘Hype Williams’ project, and then more recently solo and as part of the group Babyfather, the new 8 track LP sees Dean Blunt step back into the shadowy role of producer for a new band called Blue Iverson.
It’s a vibesey one, this; digging a vein of smoke-hazed living/bedroom feels in eight parts that could almost be passed off as a Dam-Funk jam. Well, almost, but there’s still something off kilter and economical about the fidelity and mixing of the recording that hints it’s from the UK, or is even made to sound like the private pressed soul obscurities picked out by PPU.
Hotep strongly reminds of those lush soul bits from Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music or even selected Letherette cuts released on Alex Nut’s namesake label. The image of Lauryn Hill on the sleeve is a cherry on the cake.
Kompakt’s moving feast of Pop Ambient returns with a 2018 edition spelling out twelve languorous and lofty definitions of atmospheric music by veteran hands - the Orb, Triola, Jens-Uwe Beyer - as well as recent additions to the series - Chuck Johnson, Yui Onodera, T. Raumschmiere.
Trust there’s no sharp edges or harsh textures inside, more the sort of music one can listen to in your birthday suit with windows open, or equally blanketed after the party, and the effect will remain as welcoming, user friendly.
Look out for lovliest moments in this volume from T. Raumschmiere’s epic stargazer, Eterna, and the amniotic cradle of Kaito’s Travelled Between Souls.
Kiran Sande (Blackest Ever Black) and Chris Farrell (Idle Hands) trigger their Silent Street cooperative with a surefire survey of Maximum Joy’s dub-fuelled punkfunk and pop singles 1981-1982, collected as I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights. Digging a pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, it reveals the sound of Bristol parties and after-hours blues in the early ‘80s, which would also find success among the punk-funk crowds and hip hop stations of NYC. Fans of Vazz, The Slits, Glaxo Babies, The Pop Group need to check this one!
“I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is centred around the trio of singles the band released on Dick O’Dell’s Y Records between 1981-1982. Their first, ‘Stretch’, was licensed to seminal American label 99 Records and soon after became an anthem on the New York club underground, a cult staple at Danceteria and on late-night radio. Closer to home and a shared personal favourite is their first B-side, ‘Silent Street / Silent Dub’: a languid, haunting tribute to long summer nights in St Pauls (where the Idle Hands shop presently resides), and specifically the Black & White Cafe, “where dub-reggae reigned supreme, 24/7”. Llewellin’s mesmerising one-drop kit and Catsis’s outrageously heavy bassline anchor the track, allowing Rainforth’s exquisite vocal and Wrafter’s trumpet to soar within the intense, expressionistic dub mix. In both subject matter and execution it is the definitive Bristol tune.
‘White And Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix)’, ‘In The Air’, and wistful instrumental ‘Simmer Til Done’ also feature; the non-Y bonus is the 12” version of ‘Do It Today’, Maximum Joy’s contribution to the Fontana compilation Touchdown, which originally came out in ’82 as a white label split with The Higsons.
I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is the first official UK vinyl reissue of Maximum Joy material, with sleevenotes by Janine Rainforth, Tony Wrafter and Kevin Pearce. We invite you to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the eclectic, exhilarating work of Bristol’s finest, brightest pop idealists.”
A crucial piece of the Loren Connors jigsaw falls into place with this first ever vinyl reissue of Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell!, now presented on wax some 20 years after the original CD issue thru The Lotus Sound. Leading on from his classic Long Nights [Table of the Elements, 1995], it takes that album’s blues-noise textures into even starker, scorched ground surely irresistible to anyone snagged by his other works, for their anomalous nature if nowt else.
Revolving around 12 works in under 20 minutes, Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! is a succinct album that sparks and growls with an anger and anguish that distinguishes it from much of his other work. It’s hardly a rager, but there are flashes of an undisclosed pain that seem to sear thru on the many of the A-side cuts, fulminating dense walls of distorted sound like heavy shag smoke that cloaks your listening space in yellow-grey palls.
He spends much of his energies churning up this intoxicating sound on the A-side, so that by the B-side he’s back to a more reserved, but still gripping, sort of expression, including some exquisitely tender, even barely-there pieces, vacillating between burned-out blues and devastatingly strung-out nocturnes, all with the sort of minimalist efficiency of expression that we really value over here.
Not to be missed!
San Fran’s Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem double down to release a final set of Patrick Cowley’s gay porn soundtracks in Afternooners. Not so much Hi-NRG as happily knackered and in need of a ‘bine, the vibe is mostly dreamy, mid-tempo and strutting but with a few early hours disco struts in Jungle Orchids, the kinky throb of take A Little Trip, and a charming romance theme on Love Come Set Me Free with its signature, flared synth that sounds like a prototype of Drexciya and so much electro-disco to come.
“In 1979 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick’s songs in-sync with the film scenes. The result was the VHS collections “Muscle Up” and “School Daze” released in 1979 and 1980. “Afternooners” is the third collection of Cowley’s instrumental songs, recorded in between 1979 and 1982. Some of these recordings are demos from the album “Mind Warp”. All songs were originally untitled, so we’ve used the titles from Fox Studio’s 8mm film loops.
This compilation also includes three bonus tracks found in the archives of fellow Megatone Records recording artist Paul Parker and the attic of teenage friend Lily Bartels. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, and Giorgio Moroder, Patrick crafted a singular sound from his collection of synthesizers, percussion, modified guitars, and hand-built equipment. The listener enters a world of forbidden vices, evocative of Patrick’s time spent in the bathhouses of San Francisco. The songs on “Afternooners” reflect the advances of the equipment available at the onset of the 1980s. Cowley’s unadulterated electronic forms are stripped down and dubbed up. Lush electronic percussion, soaring synthesizer riffs and low slung funk grooves comingle on these magnificent soundscapes.
For Patrick’s 67th birthday, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records present a glimpse into the futuristic world of a young genius. These recordings shed a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.”
Inna Babalon is perhaps the strongest indictment of John T. Gast’s eldritch, even medieval-tinged take on UK-bassed dub themes, ‘fessed up for the natty, mystic 5 Gate Temple label.
Firmly pushing a personalised furrow of rolling, stepping drum machines and near-baroque choral arrangements, the follow-up album to Excerpts for Planet Mu is more defined by a consistent, tangible thread of logic than its predecessor, working like the soundtrack to a lo-fi, time-travelling Brit-flick set between modern day Brixton and some stone circle in Cornwall circa the 17th century.
It’s very fair to say he’s in his own world here, working away at a cauldron of bubbling drum machines and oxidised synths to reveal a sort of nostalgic regression for parallel dimensions in eight parts.
We’re totally smitten with this guy’s work, it’s kinda hard to put into words how much he’s nailing a sound we hold so dearly. And if you’re on the same tip, we urge you to check his amazing Blowing Up the Workshop mix-turned-LP if you haven’t already.
Staggeringly unique body of early work by cult outsider musician, Ghédalia Tazartès, including 4 full albums plus a 10" of unreleased work made in 1978.
Born in Paris in 1947 to Turkish parents, artist and autodidact Tazartès has spent over 30 years experimenting with myriad musical practices and creating a catalogue of cult recordings deeply informed by his "extra-European" and "intra-European" heritage. He's both in possession of, and possessed by, a shamanic vocal talent, with the ability to embody a multitude of characteristics. This, together with his unimpeded sense of compositional flux, swerving between musique concrete, technoid loops, piano pieces and pseudo-ethnic imagineering, makes for a thrilling experience unlike any other. This collection includes some of his most important works, among them his earliest release, 1979's 'Diasporas' - listed by Steven Stapleton in his legendary NWW list - besides the exotic collages of 'Tazartès', the enchanting and otherworldly loops and scapes of 'Transports', and the two jaw-dropping extended pieces of 'Une Éclipse Totale De Soleil', plus a further 10" of unheard, shorter cuts of hectic electronics, unhinged vocals and and bewildering composition.
This passage begins to surmount his magic appeal "He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. utilising magnetic tape recorders, he paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker. He traces vague landscapes where the mitre of the white clown, the plumes of the sorcerer, the helmet of a cop and Parisian anhydride collide into polyphonic ceremonies." At times it feels like you're watching unhinged French cartoon without translation in a Parisian asylum while a Techno soundsystem beats outside, at others you're sitting café side being serenaded in tongues, or just simply hypnotised by the consistent metamorphosis of sounds; an unending, breathlessly connected flow of ideas playfully eschewing any formal notions of what is wrong or proper, and purely informed by what feels right and most affecting. It's a hugely, hugely recommended purchase, probably the most important avant-garde reissue this year - and some of the most uncategorisable, extraordinary music you'll come across. Unmissable.
Recompiled II/II is the second of two vinyl-only archive releases by Function, which include previously unreleased tracks as well as music that has long been out-of-print.
The 2nd of two class Function retrospectives, Recompiled II/II brings the world up to speed with producer/DJ Dave Sumner’s shark-eyed output; hustling 13 tracks spanning his transition from resident at Limelight in late ’90s NYC to the period prior his current residencies at Berghain, Berlin and Bassani in Tbilisi.
The results frame all aspects of Function’s ascetic, driving, but often emotively wrought style, drifting in with the morning-after ambience of Ember (Field) cycle thru the slinky Receptacle  from The Dialectric Coefficient, to the frozen bleeps of Isotope  off his 2nd 12” with Sandwell District, touching on the ruddy Balance of Power  and Montage  rollers for his Infrastructure New York label, and perhaps most definitively - for us at least - the potent, nasal-drip acid techno dynamics of Burn from his Anticipation 12”, which I distinctly remember winding up our neighbours with in 2008.
Robert Haigh, who is perhaps better known as D&B legend Omni Trio, reprises the solemn, autumnal contemporary classical styles heard on his V-O-D retrospective and early releases for NWW’s United Dairies, this time in the esteemed comapny of Laurie Spiegel, Carl Stone, Lubomyr Melnyk on Unseen Worlds
“A new album of piano driven ambient music from British composer Robert Haigh. Following in the path of his albums for the Japanese Siren label, Creatures of the Deep is an underground vantage of a meeting between the musical worlds of Harold Budd and Erik Satie. With a storied musical career that has ranged widely in style — from his industrial-avant-garde works on Nurse With Wound’s United Diaries label as SEMA to his legendary ambient drum and bass records as Omni Trio on Moving Shadow — Robert Haigh's work occupies a space between music and mystery.
With Creatures of the Deep, Haigh is at the peak of his powers. Among noir, minimal, neo-classical landscapes are robust scatterings of bright reflection and a musical expression that is subtle and elusive yet uniquely Haigh’s in its voice and masterful execution. The closer we examine, the more is revealed, and the less is defined.”
Felix Kubin takes the pulse of capitalism with an incisively smart, playfully anachronistic , and poetically dadaist suite of percussive pieces inspired by educational and industrial 16mm films. RIYL Faitiche’s Ursula Bogner, the recent C-Schulz reissue, and Bruno Spoerri...
“Originally developed as a film score Takt der Arbeit is inspired by a handful of industrial and instructional films from the early 1960's until the early 1990's that portrait different forms of work. Felix Kubin is translating these historic documents into a musical poem of conceptual depth. Takt der Arbeit - the beat of work - is not only serving as a title but also as constructive element in this endeavour.
Being hunted down by the ever accelerated pulse of our reality is an omnipresent issue in capitalist societies of the the Western world. Living in times of constant exhaustion, it's not only our bodies that have been disciplined by and synchronized to the rhythms of working processes, but also our minds that rage in the tempo of our surroundings. Following an almost analytical effort, Kubin and an ensemble of 3 percussionists are investigating the different qualities and intensities of time that are catalyzed in working processes. While picking up precise temporal and motoric motives of the films, condensing paces and excavating rhythmic patterns, the ensemble is mapping out an animist choreography, shifting from a time when labour was still relying on bodily efforts to a time when machines and ticking clocks seem to reign and model our perception. While Side A is dedicated to procedures that are still based on manual and mechanical movement, Side B is inspired by the digital age, marked by invisible processes and subcutaneous pulses that we internalize.
The result is a critical and poetic reflection on the rhythms of our daily life and yet another example of Felix Kubin's skills as a composer, placing him in the field of orchestral music.”
The 8th full-length release from the trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi.
"Over the course of four LP sides, the October 2014 concert documented here ranges from rock power trio dynamics to maelstroms of analogue electronics. Once again, the three demonstrate their commitment to pushing into new areas of instrumental exploration and group interaction. Where previous releases from the trio have often featured extended vocal workouts from Haino, at times suggesting abstracted folk song, Haino’s vocalizations here are restricted to the occasional impassioned cry, putting the focus squarely on instrumental interplay. More than ever before, this feels like the work of three equals, with O’Rourke or Ambarchi taking the lead role as often as Haino does.
The four pieces presented here each focus on extended development. The first side is propelled by Ambarchi’s busy, Jack DeJohnette-esque cymbal and tom work, which provides a skittering yet insistent pulse over which Haino and O’Rourke’s FX-saturated strings rise and fall, momentarily converging for passages of near stasis before again pulling apart to continue wandering through areas of gently sour discord; O’Rourke’s use of a six-string bass here boosts the harmonic density of the music and often makes his contribution difficult to distinguish from Haino’s guitar. On the second side, O’Rourke uses his pedals to make his bass near unrecognizable, generating a squelching, harmonically unstable riff that Ambarchi accompanies with a semi-martial snare pattern, the two driving home the idea for the duration of the side while Haino moves between frenetic octave-doubled fuzz riffing and streams of feedback.
The third side presents some of the most abstract music heard from the trio since their first release (Tima Formosa, BT04). Continuing Haino’s explorations of new instruments, the side opens with a long passage of toy piano, an instrument that in his hands is at once childlike and imbued with a mysterious gravity. Alongside occasional vocal interjections from Haino (singing in English), Ambarchi creates delicate textures on cymbals and metallic percussion while O’Rourke, for the first time in this group, performs on the EMS Synthi. In a long passage in the middle of the side, he provides ample evidence of his mastery of the instrument, crafting a complex texture from pointillist stabs and rapid sweeps that possesses the same unpredictable yet controlled feeling of classic live-electronics documents like Pierre Henry’s ‘Corticalart’ series. With Haino joining in with his own electronics, the side eventually builds to a chaotic climax.
Beginning with a sequence of ‘fourth world’ drums and flute, the final side unfolds an epic build-up over a hypnotic foundation of pounding toms. Moving from flute to vocals to electronics, Haino eventually picks up the guitar in the second half of the piece, igniting a spectral blur over driving rhythms from bass and drums that eventually builds to a frenzied climax."
Growling, mongrel techno from the crooked NYC-Berlin axis of DJ Spider & Franklin De Costa, teamed with a battering ram remix by Shifted to properly haul ass for yer maw’s favourite label; Berceuse Heroique.
Following two doses for KilleKill in 2014-15, the duo’s 3rd meeting on vinyl coughs up the viscous black chunk of F Planet on the front, squaring lop-sided bassline with scratchy synths and wormy acid in a plasmic, subaquatic sound sphere to hold the dance under, whereas Astral Pilot operates in more rolling sort of sci-fi industrial style with oozing, effluent bass and the kind of calving guitars sounds more usually spotted on a psyche rock record.
The remix is a gritty bewt from Shifted, piling his weight into an hypnotic whorl of reversed-edited loops and pea soup fog dynamics with choking intent.
Geir Jenssen offers a very handy scan of hard-to-find Biosphere cuts c. 1991-2004 on his Biophon label, the latest in a comprehensive reissue agenda which has turned up some real charms so far.
The set ranges from his earliest dalliances with bleep techno rave, superbly so in the sub-loaded killer Hypnophone  off an obscure Norwegian rave compilation, thru to the coruscating ambient loops of Reef  for the Gonzo Circus magazine, taking in gorgeous Lynchian ambience with The Third Planet  and floating ambient structures redolent of X-Files atmospheres in The Seal & The Hydrophone , while catching him at his most wistful and cinematic with Bird Watching , and his subsequent, post-2000 turn toward textured ambient neo-classicism, such as the spectral interceptions of Vi Kan Tenka Digitalt, Vi Kan Tala Digitalt , the stark but sensuous lushness of Valchirie , and his organ work, Visible & Invisible  for Touch.
Definitely not just for the fans, this is a discreet slice of ‘90s ambient history for lovers of icy electronic romance.
Fully freaked electro from mid ‘80s-early ‘90s Japan, drawn from dead hard-to-find LP and 7” and reissued on vinyl for the first time! Loads of vocoders, wobbly funk lixx, and gangsta-leaning flamboyance for those who like it greazy and freeky as hell. Think Arabian Prince meets Haruomi Hosono at Funkadelic’s hut!!!
“Japanese Electro original, Minoru Hoodoo Fushimi, self-released four albums. Two vinyl LPs and two CDs between 1985 and 1992. Melbourne`s Left Ear Records have selected twelve tracks, for a double vinyl retrospective. 10 tracks from Minoru`s four albums and a further two unreleased tracks from the archives.
Minoru set out to combine his love of all things Funk with traditional instruments and song from his homeland. He uses shamisen on Thanatopsis. Where Parliament`s Flashlight, George Clinton`s Atomic Dog, ride with Osamu Kitajima`s Masterless Samurai. Shakuhachi on Mizuko No Tamashii Hyakumademo. Nohdashi puts koto with a Jimmy Castor riff. All set to popping and locking beats.
Minoru`s vocals switch between raps about cellular metabolism and haemoglobin, Soul croon and vocoder. On Shinz-San he adds Metal guitar to vintage Sugarhill. And he goes crazy with his sampler. Scratching in cats, frogs, babies, laughter, giggles, traffic jams, failing ignitions, opera singers, and amorous sighs. Furarete mixes elephant roars and Go-Go. Creating unique avant grooves that share something with Tackhead`s ON-U Sound System, Savant`s tape experiments, and fellow countrymen EP-4.
The G.O.D. squad’s Sabla joins the Disk cabal with a deeply knotted, introspective rhythm trip that sounds like the mutant techno output of The Threshold Houseboys Choir. Trust, the voodoo is strong on this one!
For only his 2nd full release Turin’s Sabla stakes out some heavily idiosyncratic ground with Danzaguida, luring us into some fetid K-hole headspace with the queered digital timbres, curdled chorales and blacksmith rhythm of the title cut, recalling Peter Christopherson’s infamous project crawling out of a club sewer, before Fire/Wire simmers back to a gunkier acid style, all protein-gargle and over-the-shoudler darkroom intimation. W gives a more brittle, psychedelic display of pygmy hoots and slow, thrumming drums, and then Tohc kinda single-handedly shows a lot of the grey area stuff as, well, just a bit uninspired, by taking that style’s rhythmic points of interest into tripper realms of plasmic layering reminding of Ruben Patiño’s ace Lag_OS output.
One of the strongest we’ve heard from Beau Wanzer or Jealous God, Issue No. Twenty beats out six meaty EBM treats for those who like it hard and salty.
There’s a lot of fun to be had toggling between 33/45rpm with two cuts, namely the grungy/jacking signal jammer Speaker Sisters, and the churning/fast/slow bounce of Kipper Hunk, while the rest deliver proper darkroom thrills between the distorted torrent of abuisvie nose in Shitty Ear Cough 17, the rictus DAF-style tang of Cave Mace, and the starkly echoic funk up, He Pushes Meals.
Whities offer a flighty suite of ambient, classical and techno fusions from Jules Venturini (aka Catch ov South London Analogue Material) for the label’s last release of 2017.
While Venturini’s own label specialises in brute industrial techno forms, his own output, as evidenced here, is more open-minded and fanciful, establishing airier coordinates with pendulous, phased string loops and bleeping electrical disturbance eventually precipitating a direct techno groove in Flying Kites, kinda like Maxwell Sterling meets a kick drum, whereas the swooning, weightless string cadence of Keep Me Close comes off like some mutated Arthur Russell instrumental, and spends his techno pound proper on the James Holden-esque Trace Of Smoke.
Justin K Broadrick puts his club foot forward for Downwards on four trampling techno bombs gathered under the Exit Stance EP. With no prizes for guessing what the title is about, he further girds us against broken Britain’s grim future following his Suicide Estate 2LP for Hospital Productions.
This is some of Broadrick’s most direct, primitive, and ruggedly impactful gear, forged in the belly of the black country with charred traces of late ‘90s Brummie techno edged by sparingly used daubs of patented, pollutant synths and plasmic dubbing.
A-side; he offloads the rollicking hydraulics of Exit Stance, a rallying charge of tribal bass drums and cranky percussion from the Female/Regis skool, whilst the droning, beat-less squabble of Motivated By Jealousy takes an acute measure of blighty’s radgy pulse.
B-side; his Bullied By Love comes off as a grimacing answer to Ancient Methods’ industrial steppers, then Caveman goes on like a chips ’n curry sauce-fed analog to Muslimgauze-via-Vatican Shadow vibes.
Aye, we’re all fxcked. But at least we can dance about it with JK Flesh.
The first book of photography by Rod Modell, a collection of over 100 personal photographs made during a 8 week stay in Barcelona during April-June 2016. A CD of Barcelona field-recordings and emotional atmospheric sounds by Rod Modell (that were influenced by the images) is also be included.
These unique images and musical textures emphasize the darker, nocturnal side of Barcelona, and capture fleeting seconds that occurred between the moments that others noticed.
Nigeria’s Kingsley Bucknor’s ‘Just U and Me’ LP gets the long-awaited reissue treatment from Left Ear Records.
"After cutting his teeth playing with Fela in the 70’s and releasing two afrobeat LP’s Kingsley travelled the globe before finding himself in London, it’s here that he laid down 6 distinctive electro-funk tunes inspired by African rhythms and music he’d heard through his travels in the States and in Europe.
Originally issued on Kinglsley’s own KAB records in ’85 and according to Kingsley the release was well received at the time, but due to constraints of international marketing the record remained mostly unknown outside of his homeland. Fast-forward to 2017 and the stage is set for a new global audience to appreciate the distinct sound of KB."
Japan's EM Records serve the 2nd of 2 thistly bouquets by Alexandra Atnif, committing her self-released, 2CD compendium of early tape releases to the Romanian artist’s debut vinyl release.
Rounding up cuts from her self-released tapes, harder-eared listeners will be in their element with Atnif’s brace of unforgivingly noisy and clenched monotone grooves, all inspired by the brutalist architecture of her home country, and each laced with a sliver of pathos that rescues them from the abyss.
Japan's EM Records serve the first of two thistly bouquets by Alexandra Atnif, committing her self-released, 2CD compendium of early tape releases to the Romanian artist’s debut vinyl release.
Rounding up cuts from her self-released tapes, harder-eared listeners will be in their element with Atnif’s brace of unforgivingly noisy and clenched monotone grooves, all inspired by the brutalist architecture of her home country, and each laced with a sliver of pathos that rescues them from the abyss.
Haunting new renditions of renaissance chamber music, interpreted with vocals and acoustic and electronic instruments. One to check if you liked Akira Rabelais’ Spellwauerynsherde or indeed any of Chauveau’s sublime releases for Type or Fat Cat etc
“All pieces of the Renaissance Repertoire come from Cancionero de Colombina (around 1470) or Cancionero de Palacio (around 1510). Both sources are well known for their typical Spanish repertoire of this period. Electronic music artist Sylvain Chauveau did new versions of several tracks and added also some drones to the program. Daniel Manhart did the compilation and the additional sound design and mixing. All pieces on this CD are hardly ever performed or recorded -- a fine, sensitive, interesting crossover between early music and contemporary electronic music with a repertoire mostly unknown.
Sylvain Chauveau has made solo records on labels such as FatCat, Type, Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier, and Brocoli: very minimal compositions for acoustic instruments, electronics, and vocals. His music has been played in John Peel's show on the BBC and reviewed in The Wire, Pitchfork, Mojo, Les Inrockuptibles, Libération, The Washington Post, and many others. One of his tracks was published on the compilation XVI Reflections on Classical Music (2009) alongside pieces by Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. He has played live around the world (Europe, America, Asia), performed in museums and art galleries, and was artist in residence at the Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto, 2011), Fundacao Serralves (Porto, 2011), and Lieu Unique (Nantes, 2004 and 2014).
Chant 1450 Renaissance Ensemble sings and plays the sacred and secular repertoire of the 15th and 16th century. Including musicians trained at the widely renowned college for early music Schola cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, chant 1450 appeared live in January 2005 and then sang for a highly acclaimed first tour in Switzerland with La contenance angloise -- sacred music of the 15th century, followed by more than 150 live performances in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, and Switzerland until today. Chant 1450 was invited to major festivals like the Rheingau Festival (Germany), the Montalbâne Festival (Germany), Festival for Early Music Zurich, and many more. Artistic Director and responsible for all programs and recordings, including sound design, is Daniel Manhart, a tenor born in Switzerland.”
The first time that Daniele Patucchi's score has ever been released on vinyl.
"A bona fide Italian horror masterpiece. Directed by Franco Prosperi (MONDO CANE). Released in 1984 the story sees a batch of PCP leaked into a zoo’s water supply infecting the animals who band together and rise up to destroy their captors. It’s one of the greatest nature run amok films ever made and is in turn thrilling, revolting, scary and hilarious.
Patucchi is one of the most underrated Italian composers for some reason but we here at Death Waltz want to change that with several release lined up in 2017/18. His work here undercuts the wild action and is actually quite sombre in tone, armed with a battery of synthesisers and processed animal effects he manages to craft a score that is a world away from the usual Italian soundtracks that graced films in this period. Long droning bass tones underpin some sumptuous sax and some back breaking synth drums literally destroy everything in their path. We won’t lie, this score requires patience, but spend time with it and you begin to love it for the chances it takes."
Surveying the Japanese ‘80s ambient zeitgeist, V-O-D go deeper than everyone with reissue of multimedia artist Osamu Sato’s obscure ambient work Objectless, appearing in a newly remixed form based on the original 1983 tape release for Skating Pears.
Sato is best known as creator of the LSD Dream Emulator and Eastern Mind classic computer games and their soundtracks, which are held in cult regard by nerds the world over. This new version of Objectless hears Sato sensitively return to and remix his debut release, resulting a sound that clearly resonates with decades worth of immersive computer games which have arrived in the original tape’s wake.
It’s all remarkably free of the more cloying aspects of this era, when many artists were prone to show off more jazzy, proggy flights of fancy, as Sato tends to keep his arrangements efficiently trim, resulting some really ace drops of minimalist electro, and two really choice pieces of purring, rhythmelodic chimes and flutters that pre-echo the delicacies of Japanese house music in the glittery electro-techno of Eight Beat Infinity, and the lissom acid flutter of Helicoid Guardian, which patently sounds like The Orb.
Sophisticated, jazzy rare groove vibesing from Dego (4Hero) & Kaidi (Tatham) on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature bastion.
As broad as it is deep and plush, A So We Gwarn catches 14 prime examples of the long-running duo in irresistible effect, turning their hand to myriad variations on a soulful broken beat hustle, flanked by loads of their mates and regular collaborators; Mr. Mensah, Nadine Charles, Sarina Leah, Yelfris Valdes, Ray Carless, Wayne Francis.
We spy highlights in the swinging, Afro-cubed shuffle of Decide What You Choose, and the Mala-in-Cuba-esque roll of Nyabinghi Warriors, with the chrome squirt boogie of 18.1096 N 77.2975 W showing all the new boogie cats how it’s done, and Don’t Put Your Hat Where Your Hand Can’t Reach finishing up on a live-o jazz-fusion flex with double deadly percussion.
Finally cradled in our trembling mitts, this is the feverishly awaited vinyl edition of Coil’s A Cold Cell In Bangkok - a V.V.V. spesh version of a classic Russian prison song, as originally heard on The Ape Of Naples album, then re-worked for, and previously only available, on the mix CD Sleepwalk: A Selection By Optimo (Espacio) in 2008.
As one of Coil fanatic J.D. Twitch’s favourite tracks by the late, tragic electronic gods, the exclusively commissioned Peter Christopherson mix was given pride of place in the sequence of Sleepwalk: A Selection By Optimo (Espacio), which sweetly sent us and many others to slumber for years after release. However, frustratingly the track was only available as part of the mix, until now.
We hardly need to stress its haunting, elegiac beauty to any Coil fan. But to everyone else it’s among the most heartbreaking, strangely life-affirming songs you’ll ever hear.
Miss at your peril.
Carl Michael von Hauswolff sonifies the invisible, the unheard in Still Life - Requiem, presenting the sounds emitted by physical matter, as extracted and revealed through emission spectroscopy executed at Linköping University, Sweden. Its a direct continuation of CMvH’s role as chief ghost hunter or Egon Spengler of the contemporary avant garde, and an eerily fascinating listen.
In the true sense of a psychopomp, CMvH acts as a bridge between dimensions and perceptions of life and inanimate matter, analysing its frequencies or entropic aura, then pitching up, amplifying the results until comprehensible by the human ear (between 15 and 14000Hz).
So far, so scientific, but the art creeps in where CMvH farther manipulates that material by stretching, looping and equalising it into something else. When heard in context of his intentions, those sounds form a requiem - a sort of comforting dedication to lost souls, which are usually human or animal, but in this case not necessarily so.
If you like listening at the threshold of perception and drawing your own conclusions from freaky sonics, your lugs deserve this one.
After 25 years in the game, Detroit’s original Norm Talley commits a stonking debut album to F.X.H.E., giving the label boss a run for his money with some of the rawest, deepest, soulful 313 gear we’ve heard since the last Omar-S LP. No messing, this is one of the strongest house albums you’ll hear all year!
Since emerging from the mentorship of Ken Collier as a member of Detroit’s West 6 Mile Crew, Norm Talley has remained true to the artform of Detroit house, factoring its disco touchstones into the modern day in much the same way as Anthony Shakir, Omar-S or KDJ, but perhaps never really receiving so much recognition outside the city.
Bringing a timelessly direct, burning sound to the fore in all 14 tracks, we’d like to wager that Norm-A-Lize is set to garner Talley the wider love he deserves from newer, younger generations and veteran heads alike. Seriously, this is the kind of gear you don’t hear every day - from the on-point sampling to the rugged knock and swang of his drums and bass, this is totally prime, irresistible dancing gear that works miles away from precious tech-house bodgers and delivers more ecstasy in your pants than any ‘90s trance anphem.
Just watching the EQ on our mixer, we can see the acres of space and dynamic in each groove, from the peak-time disco-house peaches of Get It Right and the Shake/Soundhack-esque chord chops of Dub Station, thru the Roulé burn of Alright with L’Renee, to the way those toms and rimshot just bang thru the mix on The Dream, then you’ve got the pendulous, sub-swung aerobics of Earth Vabrations, the mean-ass Afro-cubist techno swerve of Cause I Believe, those jazz funk riffs on Paradise Garage, Stingray-ready techno in The Body, and some proper, grumbling dub techno in The Rise.
Seeeeriously, all dancers, DJs, this is just 100% essential!
The seven brothers embrace a spiritual jazz sound, sans percussion, on their first album since the group’s father, Philip Cohran, passed away in February 2017
“With its cathedral-like, richly resonant acoustics, the new Hypnotic Brass Ensemble album Book Of Sound is a brilliant expression of interplanetary principle. The album is by turns urgent and contemplative, funky and reflective, varied in its textures; but entirely of one piece. Underpinned by concepts of earth's place in the cosmos, held in place by meditation, swirling with notions of history, science, theology, ancestry, there is a rich conceptual brew here.
The album rings with what back in the 1950s the jazz critic Whitney Balliet called "the sound of surprise". Book Of Sound makes you believe again in the validity of "spiritual jazz". Talking to Cid, one of the Ensemble's two trombonists, one phrase recurs: "back to the beginning". "We wanted to go back to the beginning, when we were kids, real young, and our father would wake us up at 5AM to practice for two hours before breakfast."
One outcome -- initially unplanned but subsequently embraced -- is that unlike their two previous albums on Honest Jon's, this is an album without a drummer. "When we started, as Wolf Pack, just brothers on the street with our horns, there wasn't a kit in sight." Book Of Sound retains plenty of rhythmic heft, but the absence of a drummer opens up space for a notably varied instrumental palette. Acoustic guitar, piccolo, synthesizer, alto sax -- all have their place on the album.
Most striking perhaps are the vocal lines that thread through the album and give it a palpable warmth. Sessions were recorded in Brooklyn and Chicago, and brilliantly mixed at Abel Garibaldi's studio in the Loop, and it's the Hypnotic's hometown that permeates. For Cid this is a deeply Chicago record: "It's got the vibe of the lake, the vibe of the prairies opening up to the west." It also has the vibe of those Sun Ra Arkestra albums recorded in Chicago in the 1950s, and -- of course -- the Phil Cohran albums from the 1960s.
It's Phil Cohran (the father of all seven members of the Ensemble and their first teacher, and not just in music) who is the album's guiding spirit. For Cid it's a major regret that, in the months before their father's death early in 2017, Phil was not well enough to play on the album. But Book Of Sound is a magnificent testament to their Cohran legacy”.
The outstanding maiden release on Pete Swanson’s Freedom To Spend label is a reissue of Michele Mercure’s sublime obscurity Eye Chant (1986), which was originally issued under her then married name, Michele Musser, and has since become a proper collectors item regarded for its patently otherworldly blend of minimal wave, new age ambient and creamy, krauty electro boogie.
In the early ‘80s, with a background working as a cell animator, and hailing from a mid-sized industrial town, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, Michele was embedded in the the town’s visual arts community but suffered for lack of decent music - a familiar whinge from anyone who grew up outside of the big cities - so she made her own wickedly inventive and expressive sound using synths, effects, tape loops, vocals.
Her visual and musical worlds first gelled in a 1983 soundtrack for Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, followed by three self-released cassettes which built on that aesthetic, creating a richly synaesthetic style of highly visual yet mostly minimalist music.
Released a few years later, Eye Chant was the pinnacle of her output, and is now revealed to the world at large, thirty years later. From the rim we’re sent skyward into the waltzing orbit of Tour De France (Day 2) and kissed with the budget Jean Michel-Jarre vibes of In The Air, handing over to the wistfully primitivist incantation, The Intruder and hitting lightspeed with her soaring soundtrack for a performance art piece, 100% Bridal Illusion, where she calves from ecstatic highs into a scene of tumbling 606 drum machine, seagulls and nods to squabbly free jazz.
The others also live up to her name, almost imperceptibly shifting from glowing microtones to alien noise and slippery, lounging electro fusion with Dream Clock, and then like some salty-curdled ambient stroke in Proteus and the Marlin that uncannily reminds us of mid ‘90s Rephlex charms - think super melodic AFX or Cylob - before melting all over the ‘floor with a wigged-out waltz called Too Much primed for the back room at One Eyed Jack’s.
It’s easy to hear, this is strongly tipped to fans of Julia Holter, Suzanne Ciani, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, AFX, Irdial Discs.
Lakker’s restless explorer, Ian McDonnell a.k.a. Eomac, presents a mesmerising study of Islamic and Arabic drum breaks and string arrangements augmented with spacious electronic treatments in his 4th solo album, Bedouin Trax for Bedouin Records.
Taking samples from a bouquet of Moroccan street sounds, Sufi ritual music and Baghdadi dabke, Eomac diffuses and enmeshes their integral, individual atmospheres and sacred geometries in an often haunting, curiously distanced consolidation of acoustic and electronic, east and west sensibilities that’s respectful to the material yet faithful to his electro-techno roots.
From a relative outsider’s perspective, he’s really nailed a vibe for us; offering ten tracks whittled down from 30, with particular highlights in the percussive suss of pieces such as the tumultuous, angular Entrance and the dabke-derived patterns of Same Heart, Same Breath, Same Life, Same Death and the Shackleton-esque Ritual whilst his tone-based works make the source material sound uncannily close to Akira Rabelais’ convolutions of medieval choral music, especially in Prayer Pt.1 and it all comes together perfectly in the ecstatic, guttural Incantation.
An expanded dition of the classic album from Tuxedomoon member Blaine L. Reininger, originally issued by Crepuscule in 1984 and now newly remastered from the original analog tapes.
"Night Air was recorded in Brussels in 1983, shortly after Reininger left Tuxedomoon, in collaboration with former Sleepers guitarist Michael Belfer. Other guests include Steven Brown and Winston Tong of Tuxedomoon, and Marc Hollander of Aksak Maboul. The final mix was supervised by Gareth Jones, famed for his work with Depeche Mode, Einsturzende Neubauten and Wire.
The part-instrumental album offers a sequence of bittersweet expatriate vignettes. "I suppose I should be grateful to the capital of Europe for providing the seed around which so much of my spleen could crystallize for so many years," explains Reininger, who hailed from Colorado via San Francisco. "Brussels provided me with such a rich source of melancholic poetry."
The 10 core tracks on Night Air include popular single Mystery and Confusion, as well as Birthday Song (originally performed by Tuxedomoon), the elegiac Ash and Bone, and the exquisite baroque pop of A Café au Lait for Mr XYZPTLK. The 6 bonus tracks on Disc 1 include Windy Outside (a collaboration with Mikel Rouse), The Sea Wall (performed with Durutti Column) and two versions of Crash, written by Reininger and Belfer in 1980 for Tuxedomoon, and subsequently remixed by The Residents.
Disc 2 preserves a previously unreleased live recording from Bologna, Italy, on 19 March 1984. Billed as the Spiny Doughboys Review, the 14 song set includes songs from Night Air and Broken Fingers."
Christophe Guiraud uses old instruments such as the Hotteterre flute, the viola da gamba or the viola bass, combining them with electronics.
"Born in Toulouse (south of France) mid-seventies, he lives between Brussels and Paris. His early works come from alternative rock, free jazz and harsh noise (Tellemake, 2 records on Angström Records). His more recent pieces mixed the beauty of the polyphonies of Ars Nova (XIVè century) and noise. This nonesuch hybridation creates a music easily recognizable, at the same time harmonious and deeply intense.
Christophe Guiraud composes for a few important ensembles and performers like Ictus, Ensemble 21, Sturm und Klang, Kwartludium, Musiques Nouvelles, Fractales, Stephane Ginsburgh, Tom Pauwels. Regularly invited at festivals Sonar, Le printemps de Septembre, Loop, Nuits du Beau Tas and Ars musica."
Jealous God’s Issue No. Nineteen is an unexpected industrial brawler by Esteban Adame, who’s best known for knocking out slick, latinate Detroit house and techno as part of UR’s Galaxy 2 Galaxy, I can, and Los Hermanos.
As Frequencia, however, he wrestles with a bruising industrial style, ranging from what sounds like a manic Jamal Moss edit in the cut-up hollers and churning rhythm of Adultery and Guilt, then with clenched EBm funk in Golden Hands, and like a Regis wrong ‘un from ’98 with the monotone jag of Live For Lust.
Plush, deeper jungle from Alex Eveson’s Dead Man’s Chest project
Brukking out for fans of Sully or Lee Gamble’s ‘ardcore revisionism in three tracks veering from patchworked cut-up styles such as High Noon In Cotham to the dextrously woven dipper Darkness At Dawn, and on a rub-a-dub tip with Hangman Posse.
Clod-hopping techno ructions by the Berlin-based British producer
Getting down like a bull in a tar pit with lumbering, viscous mass of The Trace, and swaggering like the bull that got out on I-4, whereas Hornet picks up some steam with rolling barrage of drums and dive-bombing noise formations, and the brilliant S77 gets off on a mean sort of dancehall-noise-techno hybrid that’s definitely going to see some play up our way.
Jealous God introduce American avant-rocker Alex Barnett (Oaketare, Barnett + Coloccia) into their fold as Champagne Mirrors with Extended Communication Techniques
Pushing a virulent take on industrial EBM that leans between unearthly steppers’ palpitations recalling Marc Verhaeren and Sabien Voss’ Para project in Earless, thru to the Powell-esque nudges of Mud, and a dank bedroom floor crawler with Luggage.
Gqom Oh! showcase another new Durban artist to the northern hemisphere with Emo Kid’s Gqomtera EP, featuring strong highlights in the mean af charge of Futuristic Gqom, on the cold, electroid Zulu knocks of Digital Response.
“Durban's 23 year-old producer Emo Kid presents Gqomtera on Gqom Oh!. The record actually explores sgubhu, a strain of South African dance music that shares many stylistic parallels with gqom, though it is always written with a 4x4 beat. Like DJ Lag before him, an artist widely considered the king of gqom, Emo Kid is also considered a pioneer in Durban. At eight tracks long, Gqomtera provides a comprehensive overview of the sgubhu sound, with the aim of taking the listener on their own "Durban Journey". "I wanted to show the uniqueness of my own style which I would describe as more musical," Emo Kid explains, "you can feel the music when you listen but it still hits hard with that gqom flavor."
That gqom flavor, powered by hard, fast, uncompromising drums, provides a solid core from which everything else functions. Bright, shimmering trance synths are featured on "Futuristic Gqom". There's also space for harder, deeper cuts, the charging pace and power of "Insimbi Yase Dubane", and the anthemic "Asbambeki" featuring local crew TLC Fam. Capturing the raw, street sounds of his city, Emo Kid is the latest Durban artist to take the music global and with Gqomtera, he puts sgubhu firmly on the map. Includes a download card with four bonus tracks: "Enkwarini" featuring vocalist Fawell, "Ground Shaker", "Digital Response", and "Isukile" featuring Mapopo.”
Burial’s sophomore LP, originally issued in 2007 only a year after his pivotal debut, is another masterpiece of urban UK composition and innovative imagineering whose sense of melancholic space, pop-wise dexterity and dancefloor yearn has rarely been explored or surpassed since its release.
Where its predecessor was starkly paranoid, mostly instrumental, Untrue was gilded with gorgeous, cut-up R&B and UKG vox, and interspersed with segments of nocturnal reverie that played out like the OST for a yung UK romance that replaced posh, gurning actors with real life road characters and focussed on the spaces between - between the club and home; between night and day; masculine and feminine; waking life and dream life; Maccy D’s and alley doorways; being high AF and coming down.
It was and still is Burial’s love note to UKG and R&G, and by turns gave context and validated those genres for a lot of listeners who arguably wouldn’t have touched that sound, or at least dismissed it as pop pap or with some snide, racist undertone before Burial’s revivalist instincts hybridised it with trip hop and snarling D&B memes.
More positively, however, depending on which way you look at it, this album also opened the endorphin floodgates for a whole raft of f****e garage producers to get in touch with their feminine side, especially in contrast to prevailing, laddish dubstep rave trends, and, since that sound has faded away, it’s not hard to hear this album’s influence in the vocal processing of Mssingno, in the uneven, off-kilter swing and parry of Zomby, the patch-worked constructions of Jamie xx or Evian Christ, or in Deadboy and Murlo’s more boundary-pushing creations.
As with any album that gets a lot of attention beyond its putative scene, Untrue was an unintended red rag to the cynics and rockists - and even garage purists - but for almost anyone who recognises and appreciates that more modest, aching sort of electronic, UK street rave soul, it remains a really transcendent album that still grips like few others.
Music From Memory return with this eye-opening collection of recordings spanning 1980-1984 from Belgian/Congolese duo Denis Mpunga and Paul K, combining elements of traditional African music with experimental electronics. Having released only a handful of tracks scattered across a few LP and cassette compilations that were put out in the mid eighties by obscure european labels, this release also includes a few previously unreleased tracks that were found on the original master tapes.
"Relocating with his family from the Congo to Belgium in 1973 at the young age of 13, Denis Mpunga grew up in the industrial city of Liege and quickly became deeply embedded in it's musical scene, forming the group Gomma Percussions in 1979; a percussive group driven by West African influences that would also experiment with found objects and improvised musical instruments.
The group released only one 7' but toured and performed frequently up until as late as 2000. A side project Eko-Kuango formed by the Gomma Percussion members also saw the release in 1985 of the now much sought after 12'' ''Fura'' which also includes Denis Mpunga on vocals.
As well as a later career as a comedian and actor with roles in television and cinema, Dennis has continued to produce and compose music, perhaps most notably writing the soundtrack for ''La Promesse'' (1996) a highly regarded film by the Dardenne brothers; currently probably Belgiums most celebrated contemporary filmmakers.
Patrick Stas who would release with Denis under the Paul K. moniker was a well-known local musician in Liege and considered something of a luminary figure in the electronic and experimental music scene in Belgium. Patrick would set up the independent cassette and vinyl label ''Home Produkt'' releasing amongst others, the work of Tara Cross, who has herself been the subject of a killer V-O-D compilation in recent years.
The two of them would join forces in 1980 to work together on a soundtrack for a children's animation company called ''CAMERA etc'', recording the ''Intermezzo'' tracks which are included here. Keen to experiment further as a duo, Denis proposed the idea of combining some more traditional songs or percussive African elements with Patrick's experiments with drum computers and synthesisers.
Working around more conventional instruments such as guitar and bass, Denis would also bring Balafons, Senzas and a Zither to their recordings whilst Patrick would work with an array of synthesizers and drum machines such as a 202, TB 303 & TR 808 and Korg's MS20 & Monopoly amongst many others.
At a time when world-music was becoming hugely popular across Europe (and especially so in Belgium and France), the pair were keen to try and explore African music in a new contemporary way. Much like the intentionally provocative archival image, which Denis selected for the sleeve of Criola, the recordings set out to play with and challenge preconceptions and expectations of African music and African culture. Together, Denis Mpunga and Paul K's, if somewhat brief, musical adventure would create a fascinating new musical language, African music born out of an industrial European landscape; music which the compilation ''Criola'' reveals as both wholly unique and visionary."
Comparisons between musicians and painters don’t usually work. But biographical parallels are not unusual. And just as some paintings place their creators in a particular period in their creative lives, there are also musicians who can look back on distinct creative phases. F.S.Blumm is one such musician.
"At the end of the 90s there were alot of murmurs about the living room scene in Berlin; magical concerts on improvised stages in temporary event spaces. Back then it was about music without fat beats and bass. It was a counter-reaction against rockstars with all their posing and egos. You made music with acoustic instruments and kitchen appliances. Concerts were listened to attentively and with deep concentration. One of the protagonists of this scene was F.S.Blumm. Among other things, his love for untempered, often self-made instruments predestined him for this.
At the turn of the century virtually any kind of music which used acoustic instruments was branded „Free Folk“ or „Alternative Folk“. But other than a few ironic comments in interviews Blumm didnt try to monopolize on this supposed movement, rather he kept a poised distance from it. It was during this time that his album „Mondkuchen“ (trans. Moon Cake) was released on Morr Music. The bristly detailedness of the living room scene met serious and powerful reductionism.
F.S.Blumm has many faces. Working your way through his vast discography would be a research project all in its own right. He has collaborated with the likes of David Grubbs, Andi Otto, Harald Sack Ziegler or Nils Frahm. He realised his love for Dub Reggae with the Quasi Dub Development. In the band KINN he played dynamic Postrock. Blumm has a faible for odd beats and could write an a-z on minimal musics pattern matching. Quite where his personal musical signature lies remains something of a mystery. Nevertheless only a few bars are enough to recognize it. This may by down to his preference for open harmonies or his poingnent arrangements.
Now F.S.Blumm is entering a new phase of his creativity which one could call his nonchalant phase. Although the first few bars of his new album do sound like an echo of the deep seriousness in his studio albums with Nils Frahm. Besides a few guitar chords and the suggestion of a xylophone in the background there is nothing but the wide spaces between them. Fine almost random sounding noises are remotely reminiscent of the era of his experimental instrumental concerts with classical guitar. Then the voice comes into play and everything changes. Laid back F.S.Blumm sings with a combination of urgency and relaxation. His voice sounds like he’s standing right beside the listener, singing straight into your ear. At the same time its unobtrusive. The piece sounds touching and intimate. This is the way how „Handle Bar“ the opening track on his new album „Welcome“ is delivered.
If an artist as experienced and multifaceted as this calls his new album „Welcome“ that really says something. Many years ago the composer and instrumental musician F.S.Blumm was already active as a songwriter. He wrote songs for three duos in which he played with various singers: Bobby And Blumm with Bobby Baby, Old Splendifolia with Jana Plewa and finally Jonsson Gille & Blumm. Now for the first time since he started making music, he is singing his own songs himself. Which is like a journey back to his roots – back to his childhood bedroom with a songbook and his first guitar. With „Sounds of Silence“ and „Sister Ray“ day in day out.
With every song on „Welcome“ new doors of association are opened. The second track „New Day“ uses reverb laden drums and hymical harmonies to great effect. But F.S.Blumm always manages to make the grandiose still sound grounded. Rather than spreading himself too thin, he prefers to explore the depths.
There we find the relaxed and erotically crackling „Going Away“, the optimistic „Initial Spark“ and the casual „Overweight“. Blumm is ever traversing the field between greatness and modesty, sophisticated melodies and recordings which are like the extremely condensed sound of a cassette recorder. This aesthetic permeates the entire album.
With „Welcome“ F.S.Blumm has perfected the imperfect. Where other producers filter out the noise, pops and crackles, Blumm does the exact opposite. He reverses the roles of desired and undesirable sound. What remains are songs like sculptures left in the wake of acoustic tracks.
Brian Shimkovitz returns to SA with pure house heat from Professor Rhythm. Check for infectiously slower parallels to the NYC garage/house and New Beat phenomenon of the late ‘80s in the strident, acidic ‘Leave Me Alone’, the piano house lixx of ‘Kancane Kancane’ and the tuffer push of ‘Zama Zama’
“Professor Rhythm is the production moniker of South African music man Thami Mdluli. Throughout the 1980’s, Mdluli was member of chart-topping groups Taboo and CJB, playing bubblegum pop to stadiums. Mdluli became an in-demand producer for influential artists (like Sox and Sensations, among many others) and in-house producer for important record companies like Eric Frisch and Tusk. During the early '80s, Mdluli projects usually featured an instrumental dance track. These hot instrumentals became rather popular. Fans demanded to hear more of these backing tracks without vocals, he says, so Mdluli began to make solo instrumental albums in 1985 as Professor Rhythm. He got the name before the recordings began, from fans, and positive momentum from audiences and other musicians drove him to invest himself in a full-on solo project. It was the era just before the end of apartheid and house music hadn’t taken over yet. There wasn’t instrumental electronic music yet in South Africa. As the '80s came to a close, that was about to change.
Professor Rhythm productions mirror the evolution of dance music in South Africa. They grew out of the bubblegum mold—which itself stems from band’s channeling influences like Kool & the Gang and the Commodores—into something based on music for the club. His early instrumental recordings First Time Around and Professor 3 mostly distilled R&B, mbaqanga and bubblegum grooves into vocal-less pieces for the dance floor. Musically, these were a success and commercially the albums all went gold. There were countless bubblegum albums flooding the marketplace, with nearly disposable vocalists backed by mostly similar-sounding rhythm tracks. Most of the lyrical content was light and apolitical. But the keyboards used formed the musical basis for what would come next.”
Into The Light slot another cryptic piece of their cosmic puzzle with a lush haul of previously unreleased ambient and synth works by Akis Daoutis, who previously appeared on the label’s breakthrough compilation A Journey Into Greek Electronic Music, Classics & Rarities (1978-1991), and whose 1990 debut LP provided direct inspiration behind the label’s enigmatic moniker.
On Space, Time, And Beyond (Selected Works 1986-2016) Daoutis offers a serene mooch around his sprawling gardens of electronic delight, pulling together tracks written at home in Athens and abroad in USA where he was studying during the mid ‘80s - spanning material from as far back as 1986 in the cascading beauty of Christmas, which could almost be cut from a cords and woolly jumper John Hughes flick, thru to the breezy rhythmelodic patterning of Into The Light off his aforementioned debut LP, and right up to the introspective electro-acoustic probe of My Haunting Sins, written as recently as 2016.
It’s clearly music that comes from a sunny place, blessed with a sense of optimism between the radiant synth shimmer and swallow diving clarinet of Biofields and the fluttering up-lift music parts of New Age Rising - taken from a sought-after 40 minute composition - and with a phosphorescing duskiness that keeps the sand warm between your toes in Beach Ambience, diffracting that energy into myriad variations such as the jazz-funk butterfly, Violet and the slow boogie shuffles of Ecological Awareness and Erotica.
Romantic souls and those in need of a holiday to somewhere unaffordably lush should book their seat of this one as soon as possible.
Seekersinternational serve intoxicating tropical ambient dancehall chutney with the Gunman Cult Classics Mix for the the’ ICS Library Records label. If you put this one side to side with their cultishly loved output from the last few years, the SKRS effectively have your whole summer seleks sorted out for 2017.
The new age badmen twist and dub convention inside-out here, meshing a slew of dancehall and R&B acapellas with lush ambient strokes, rudest boogie and sidesteps into subcontinental and far eastern sounds to coolly put a fresh - yet, crucially, faithful - spin on the dancehall/dub prisms which they’re clearly infatuated with.
Absorbing heat by everyone from Gappy Ranks and 1991 to Tom & Jerry and O$VMV$M, and rubbing in special oils from Gwen Guthrie to Jody Watley and Luciano, the results are stewed in fuzzy dub FX and practically melt before your ears, ready to spread on balconies from Hulme to Barbados.
Trust this is no dilettantish half-stepping or stylistic dabbling; their picks are pure gold and the way they put them together is just A++, primed for a long, hot summer...
Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg’s Emptyset incorporate vocals into the broader structures of Skin, methodically teasing out the conceptual threads of Borders, their debut for Thrill Jockey issued earlier in 2017.
Where the taut, agitated bursts of Borders were clipped tight in structure and duration, these four new pieces adapt the same electro-acoustic techniques and custom built instrumentations to more immersive ends, allowing us to clearer hear the clash and buzz of far-flung reference points - ritual music and non-Western composition - resolving into new forms before your ears.
The two Skin parts are pent and urgent, flowing in angular geometries of spiky prangs and buzzing resonance that sound something like a West African balafon attached to a 12-string guitar played by John Fahey, and then remixed for Korean court functions, whereas Eye I catches them playing to a massed, Tony Conrad-esque monochord joined by alien overtone singers, which turns into a call for their shuttle to return them back to the mothership in the 2nd part.