Jeff Witscher and Jack Callahan’s Flea label kick off with a thrilling recording of Petr Kotik and Joseph Kubera leading the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble in a 2019 interpretation of John Cage’s 60 year old indeterminate work.
Cage’s ‘concert for piano and orchestra & fontana mix’ (1957-58) surely serves as a strong conceptual anchor for the FLEA label alongside their maiden releases from Julius Eastman, and a zinger from Witscher/Callahan themselves. The original work’s score of 10 sheets of paper and 12 transparencies, which are meant to be overlaid to create myriad possibilities of guidance, are intended to lead the players to rupturous results that prize unpredictability.
This 2019 performance, conducted by Petr Kotik with Joseph Kubera (piano) and the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, combines the parts written for both Cage’s concert for piano and orchestra, and Fontana mix, as the composer suggested they could be, to create a bewildering and fractious take on a real 20th century avant garde touchstone, whose echoes can be heard in the elusive mischief of Witscher/Callhan’s own work.
Stunning, weird gear.
Lovely, twinkling Japanese ambient meditations from 2008 resurface as the second release on All Night Flight fledgling imprint. RIYL Dominique Lawalrée, The Boats, World Standard.
Leading on from the shop-turned-label’s unearthing of ‘The Clearing’(1982) by A Produce, ANF look to a regular haunt, Japan, to share their love for Ippei Matsui & Aki Tsuyoko’s quiet, hypnagogic ambient and coruscating drone descriptions of an old Japanese house in a first time vinyl reissue of the married couple’s impossible-to-find 2008 CDr.
Recorded at home, an old Japanese house with 13 rooms, and originally given away as a gift to guests at their wedding, ‘Natsu No Zenbu’ - translating to ‘All Of Summer’ - forms a soothing suite of background music that effortlessly lulls listeners into its headspace. With slow burning pace and wheezing, frothy charm, it unfolds in 26 sparing vignettes that suggest solo immersion or shared intimate consumption, conjuring iridescent melodies and gauzy harmonies that can’t help but encourage eyes to half mast and heads onto pillows.
It’s hard to avoid comparisons between this sound and the low key charms of Lancashire’s Cotton Goods, or the way it echoes Woo’s dreamlike melodic embroidery, even Hype Williams' vibings at times, but ultimately there’s a tangible romance to Matsui & Tsuyoko’s playing that places this set in its own rarified category of lovely music made by lovers.
Tokyo’s conatala label chase that Pale Cocoon gem with World Standard’s charmingly naif 1982 ambient anachronisms, plucked from demo tapes made before they produced their debut with Haruomi Hosono, and now issued for the first time on vinyl.
The first in a series unearthing World Standard’s early demos, ‘Asagao’ depicts two young lads in Tokyo gently going against the grain of new wave and techno-pop trends, and perhaps most crucially, forging an alternative to environmental ambient’s obsession with synths. Recording in a room in Michio Kojima’s parents’ house, he and Soichiro Suzuki coaxed out a dreamy folk-wise sound from acoustic instruments (upright piano, mandolin, ukulele, cardboard drums) ping-ponged between two tape decks, most beautifully incorporating the everyday sounds of TV bleeding in from other rooms and the sound of Kojima’s grandparents shuffling around and popping their heads into the room through sliding doors.
These recordings capture the warmly fraternal atmosphere of two artists following their noses, playing up to an urge for more nostalgic, classic styles that subtly defied contemporary, ubiquitous tastes for synthetic production, and naturally keeping in step with the home-built, DIY principles of that era. Their music appears as an escape to more bucolic places from their Tokyo locale, specialising in warbly, wonky offbeat melodies that imaginatively transport them and us from the 1950s Japanese house were they were born and raised, to the sort of scenes they may have absorbed from vintage European movies, all coming off with the sort of whimsical charm of an Anime soundtrack about a magic music box, directed by Wes Anderson.
The duo went on to attract the attention of YMO’s Haruomi Hosono, who would produce their shinier debut as World Standard for his Non Standard label in 1985, but these recording remain testament to the duo’s stripped back and quietly inventive early sound in a way that will charm fans of Woo and The Boats endlessly.
Choice cut of boogie funk from 1985, backed with multiple wayward Morgan Buckley remixes on the cracking Allchival series - behind ace reissues of Michael O’Shea and Stano.
Perhaps not what you expect from Dublin in 1985, ‘Hot & Sexable’ is a fine bit of disco-ready boogie with glyding vocals primed to spark up some Friday night peacockery at the Baggott Inn, where Natural Wild six-piece group were the resident band. The suave but excitable original is now a hard-to-find collector’s item, and now reappears alongside three mixes from cult figure Morgan Buckley (Little Movies), who injects some oddball sleaze with nuff cowbells, wigged-out guitar and organ in the ‘Cheap Organ Mix’, before shredding it up in an MMM-meets-Prince style on the ‘Rock Version’, and juicing out something like a lost remix from A Guy Called Gerald in the ‘Compressor Mix’.
Inimitable groove sorcery from Theo Parrish on his first album in six years, weaving proper deep house magic in some of his strongest material for a while.
Judging by ‘Wuddaji’ it sounds like Theo has spent his time away slipping ever deeper into his own sound. He returns at a time when jazz and broken beat styles are getting some cyclical shine and the scene could hardly be better prepped for Theo’s super earthy return, working out some of his baddest, wildest drum programming chops alongside soul smackers such as the preceding single ‘This Is For You’ with its killer Maurissa Rose vocal, and the reticulated jazz workout ‘Wuddaji’.
"Running the gamut in topic and style from faux-political to faux–New Yorker, David Berman’s lo-fi cartoons incorporate strains of high and low comedy, wistful Americana, contemporary art, dream visions, and a visual analog to the semipenetrable personal allusions found in his music and poetry.
His drawings invite the same deeper thought as his writings, making use of wordplay, cultural references, and offbeat observations. The sparse illustrations are complemented by poignant one-liners, and reveal moments of lightness within the author’s dark humor, providing a wry, erudite commentary on American culture." Good Reads
Hard drum boss DJ Plead spurts a bag of scuttling rhythms on Livity Sound sure to light up Beatrice Dillon and Hessle Audio headz
One of the most nattered-about new artists in the bassy club game, the Plead's hybrid of electro-chaabi/mahraganat/UKF and dubstep disciplines fits very neatly with Livity Sound’s rhythm fiends on a killer first solo shot of 2020, chasing the infectious flex of his Cop Envy link-up and a sparring dual with Annunaku.
‘Going For it’ spins a lather of feathered flutes and quick-trot congas in signature style, and ‘Rough Text’ simmers the hustle to a tight-belly bogle hingeing around some killer, flinty drums and percussive gasps. The caffeinated jitters of ‘Espresso’ makes a big highlight for the loosest-limbed swingers, and ‘Ess’ yokes back to a subtly twisted, smoky take on UKF, like Apple after a hash-loaded shisha.
A spellbinding, unreleased Julius Eastman piece for 4 voices, ‘Macle’ (1971) emerges in the vital first batch from Jack Callahan’s Flea label, with all label profits from sales going to the Williamsburg Music Center - Brooklyn’s only Black-run non-profit jazz venue, run by Julius’ brother, Gerry.
Already sold out at source, ‘Macle’ forms a rare new addition to Julius Eastman’s small but radical catalogue which, until relatively recently, remained sorely unsung in the contemporary classical and downtown NYC minimalist scene that he helped develop alongside peers such as Arthur Russell during the ’60s to the early ‘80s, before his death in 1990.
Along with the reissues of his revolutionary ‘Gay Guerilla’ and ‘Feminine’ in recent years, plus the must-have ‘Unjust Malaise’ set and modern interpretations of his work by Apartment House, this unarchived edition of 1971’s ‘Macle’ helps to deepen and broaden the enigma of Eastman’s oeuvre with a 21 minute work for vocals that freely works with conventions of avant-garde vocal works, while playfully incorporating fragmented aspects of jazz, rock and pop, not to mention some far more unexpected inclusions.
In some senses the work echoes his puckered chamber works on 1973’s ‘Eight Songs For a Mad King’, but the piece is ultimately singularly wayward and a remarkable, overdue glimpse of outright genius at play.
Class debut batch of warped algorithmic IDM from WEȽ∝KER (Wet Locker), aka Manchester’s Dujat and Joe Beedles, sprouting strange new computerised forms for fans of Æ, Lee Gamble, Kindohm, Sote
Presented by Berlin’s intrepid Conditional as “a voyage into the warm heart of computer music”, following the label’s sympathetically skewed turns from Kindohm and William Fields, WEȽ∝KER’s ‘GULP’ marks a leap forward from what we last heard of Joe Beedles, who appears here to spark off new Manchester artist Dujat in a prism pushing style that wickedly tesseracts with their adventurous labelmates while lending a vital streak of strange, computerised “soul” to their flux.
The 9 tracks make a perfectly oddly proportioned body of work that feels like a semi-artificial organism coming to life over the course of the album. From a polychromatic tonal soup ‘velarized’ is laced with pangs of stringy synth emotion and a bodygurning muscular-skeletal structure, replete with with ligaments and glowing flesh. Crucially a throaty voice emerges that comes to haunt the album as a feral variant in ‘razzi’ and the Autechrian techno of ‘(self titled)Chugg’, while their organism seems to grow in emotional intelligence and complexity with the lusher surges of ‘hinterhioj’, and the schizzy switches between alien BM atmosfear and grizzled rhythms in ‘ATLAMS’, and the IDM-as-hyper jazz fusion bursts that close the album, and surely leave us looking out for their next instalment.
One to watch for all IDM electronica dreamers and earnest futurists, then.
Quickly following July's murky "Swamps/Things", GRM director François J. Bonnet aka Kassel Jaeger returns with an unsettlingly organic slab of smudgy, flickering drone for Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle imprint.
Anyone who heard summer's "Swamps/Things" should know broadly what to expect, but "Meith" is lighter and more subtle than its predecessor. The fusion of careful, evocative field recordings and slender, wavering drones is still at the center of Bonnet's craft, but working in strict long-form, the composer lets things unfold at an even slower pace. The devotional time dilation of organ music (see also Kali Malone's "The Sacrificial Code") is an obvious reference, and Bonnet uses this baseline to distance himself from the dusty academic practices that have haunted experimental electronic music for decades.
"Meith" is teeming with life; at times it sounds like tiny entities are crawling in and out of his undulating tones, burrowing and scurrying around the sparse notes. Like the resonant tones of a pipe organ, no drone feels static or unmoving. And while there are few grand changes in the piece (there are two distinct sides but this is a comfortably continuous record) it never gets dull or static, not even for a second. Don't call it ambient - "Meith" needs to be listened to as closely as possible for maximum enjoyment. In fact it's often the quietest, most unexpected sounds that end up enthralling us the most. Pure outerzone business.
Hyper-disorienting computer music ace from Jeff Witscher (Rene Hell) and Jack Callahan (Die Reihe), with a little help from Trump and Obama vocaloids, on a killer kick off for the their fledgling but already formidable FLEA imprint.
Joining forces on their promising new label alongside a first batch including an amazing Julius Eastman work and SEM Ensemble take on a John Cage classic, both Witscher (Rene Hell) and Callahan (Die Reihe, Sunburned Hand of The Man) bring a playfully disruptive and irreverent attitude and aptitude for dis/jointed sound to ’The Past, Present and Future of Experimental Music (Uncut GRM)’ in a way that has well informed their various, respective, actions in computer music and playfully disruptive avant composition for PAN and Bánh Mì Verlag over the past decade.
The 21 minute work unfolds with a K-holing sequence of non-sequiturs, suggesting the listener find a thread of logic between fragments of synthesised speech by a hyperreal Trump and Obama and a roll call of loony characters who emerge and recede into the matrix, seemingly channelling Florian Hecker via Vic Berger and Vicki Bennett and Nozomu Matsumoto. Working together, the oddly perceptive and disruptive powers of Witscher and Callhan are multiplied to decimating effect. Keep an eye on this duo and label.
Smart, fresh, blue pop music from London’s David Gray & Guy Gormley, presenting the first vinyl edition of their debut tape via Jolly Discs and Low Company
Regaling a suite of bittersweet synth-pop vignettes and lop-sided house jams for refined East London listeners and beyond, ‘The Word’ is a charmingly well-tempered and dreamy set of eight songs about love, life, and the odd bits in between, expressed in a mixture of dusty analogue textures, mulky melodies and David Gray’s genteel vocal.
Its songs could just as easily cater a low key ‘floor as a box room apartment, woozily keening from lilting marimba and Zummo-esque brass blurs in ‘Save’, to sound like a slompy, lo-fi This Heat in standout number, ‘The Hours I Wait’, whereas the airborne waltz of ‘Paparazzi Stakeout’ feels to reclaim Kompakt Pop Ambient styles from OCD-clean coffee tables. It’s hard not to be seduced by the balmy boogie loucheness of their instrumental ‘Father Brown’, but they’re definitely at best when it all comes together, with Gormley’s melodies, Gray’s vocals, and Jon Aumann’s lyrics at their creamiest and curious in the closing title track.
Debut album of perfectly buoyant psych-pop/odd-fi dance with a real bedroom-built charm from Otto, chasing up a string of wonky pearl singles with his first LP for London’s PLZ Make It Ruins (Vegyn, Arthur).
Bubbling with an inventive, all-at-once optimism, rude club quality, and woozy melancholy that recalls Panda Bear or Bullion as much as AFX, Squarepusher and Yves Tumor, the sound of Otto is a delirious proposition that’s bound to catch due attention. He’s surely an enviably creative type with a swelling archive, with only two of his four singles and EPs’ tracks appearing among these 14 new ones, which all spill over with colourful ideas, bow-tied with chirpy IDMelody and kissed off with memorable vocals and hooks that linger.
‘Clam Day’ is a wee beacon of proper, outre poptimism in dark times, is what it is. From a low bitrate-smudged pop vignette worthy of Ariel Pink in ‘Jumping Jane’, to the eyedose acid-house-pop wink of ‘Crystal Hole’, thru deliquescent dill ’n bass pop a la late ‘90s AFX or Squarepusher in ‘Sprained My Ankle’ and ‘Rain Jacket and Shorts’, he proves uncannily adept at doing heartache indie-pop on ‘Guess My Crush’ and ‘Chlorine’, alongside the PC Music-gone-pastoral styles of ‘Spirit Theme’, while still making room for the exceptional intravenal ambient techno dynamics of ‘Microplastics in My Bloodstream’. Honestly we’re beaming, totally under his spell and in need of a number for Otto's acid dealer.
Kassem Mosse blesses Youth with a gorgeous ambient album under his Seltene Erden alias making up for a noticeable absence from the release schedule in recent years.
‘Scorched Erden’ marks Kassem Mosse’s full solo debut with Youth after the ’Silica Gel’ cut on their ‘Sports’ CD in 2019. Reviving the Seltene Erden handle last used in 2011 on a 12" for Mule, the modern house auteur yields some of his most preciously melodic works to date, focussing his interests for retro-futuristic and otherworldly sounds into a form of crystalline, iridescent ambient that shimmers shades away from the likes of uon and Huerco S., the jazzier ambient end of Actress and ‘90s Move D, and the lushest Hassellian 4th World dimensions.
To be honest this is the sort of Kassem album we’ve wanted to hear for ages, seeing him leave the dance for dust and follow his nose into properly aetheric alternate head spaces, showing off that personalised, hybrid analogue/digital soundsphere and tactile design tekkers that we’ve come to love since his earliest turns in the ‘00s. He sucks us right in with the lush FM synth fronds of ‘Mythil Shard’ and, through enigmatic processes, keeps us there until the gravelly slosh of ‘Palestone’, via stunning pieces of GRM-like sound design in ‘Twinkling Titanite’, and the 0PN-like ‘Passage Jewel’, or the spiralling helixes of ‘Rising Core’ with a gripping sense of narration that marks this album, and him, out for soundtrack purposes.
Featuring more open-ended pieces than its predecessors and containing some of the band's longest songs, including the 20-minute "The Diamond Sea", which is the lengthiest track to feature on any of Sonic Youth's studio albums...
After the highly successful "Perfectly Unhappy" (2018) album with Andy Sheppard, the trio is back with a new album featuring seven brand new songs from the pianist. Captivating and lyrical, always melodic and often melancholic and uplifting at the same time, these are all real tunes.
"The music has a rich sense of melody coupled with a poignant lyricism that is infectious... the symbiosis between the saxophonist and the trio is truly remarkable.All About Jazz "End Of Summer" was recorded in Oslo in April during lockdown. After getting all their concerts cancelled because of the pandemic, Espen says it was very inspiring to still be able to meet in a recording studio to make new music and keep it all alive. This being their first recording in five years as a trio, Espen is also keen to stress that the collaboration with Andy was not a one-off and that the plan is to "continue working together for a very long time".
Espen Eriksen Trio was formed in 2007 and released their debut album in 2010, "End Of Summer" being their fifth. They have toured on four continents, becoming an increasingly popular live act, with a wealth of rich material on their repertoire. The music relies on highly melodic and lyrical instrumentals and a “less is more” approach and is often credited for its unique voice within today’s jazz scene by the international press. To quote BBC in their review of the trio’s second album; “A wonderfully plaintive jazz record, abandoned to the lost art of melodic minimalism, stripped back and beautifully near bare. No smoke and mirrors, just the graceful chemistry of superb musicians at the top of their game” All three musicians have versatile backgrounds ranging from pop to jazz and have played with musicians like Bugge Wesseltoft, John Scofield, Joshua Redman, Dhafer Yousef, John Taylor, Vince Mendoza, Eivind Aarset, Knut Reisersrud, Mathias Eick, Nils Petter Molvær, Thomas Strønen, Odd Nordstoga, Håkon Kornstad, Jarle Bernhoft and Bendik Hofseth."
As Round One for the Main Street label, Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald made one of house music’s most enduring 12”s; I’m Your Brother.
The club and edit versions are a masterclass in appropriating Chicago house with your own style, whilst Ron Trent and Chez Damier’s Chicago’s Twisted Mix brings it right home.
From their lockdown ‘hood to yours, Bookworms, Félicia Atkinson, Space Afrika, CV & JAB, JD Emmanuel, Jefre-Cantu Ledesma, Roberto Carlos Lange, Sugai Ken, Ka Baird and many more offer room for reflection with a highly empathetic set indebted to Ernest Hood’s spellbinding 1970’s proto-ambient album ‘Neighbourhoods’.
The curatorial antenna of Freedom To Spend’s Pete Swanson & Jed Bindeman glow bright on this set, which takes Ernest Hood’s early mesh of drowsy, everyday field recordings and gauzy synths as the jump-off for a project spanning continents and which comes to highlight a mutuality between far-flung spirits that transcends time, space and place. Looking in every direction for contributors, the collected results most beautifully resonate with the everyday but dreamy qualities of Hood’s original work and make a damn fine set for the times in their own right.
It’s crammed with notable inclusions so we’ll get right into it. Fresh from issuing a standout mixtape Space Afrika yield a superb, Burial-esque collage of pads and fractal crackles woven with traces of the duo’s current homes in Europe, while new age synth pioneer JD Emmanuel gifts a rare archival excursion with the richly evocative scenes of ’Shenandoah, Texas’, and you can trust Dolphins Into The Future guy Lievens Martens to relay the uncanniness of his home in Belgium via ‘Five Elements, Five Repetitions’.
Félicia Atkinson can be counted on for theee most sanguine scenario of keys and hushed street noise in ‘The Willow’, and Bookworms supply an absolute killer with some of the strangest, most detuned AFXian keys and under-the-porch feels with ‘Fluctuations In Temperature’, while Todd Barton tends to the subtlest transitions between spaces in the David Toop-esque enigma of ‘Ashland Ambience’.
All proceeds from the first edition of this collection will benefit the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, a coalition of community groups across New York City using research, advocacy, and grassroots to build equity and justice in their neighborhoods and citywide. ANHD’s mission supports lower income and working-class communities by developing affordable housing, an essential effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, where low-income, BIPOC communities have been hit the hardest. Member organizations of ANHD have provided 80,000 units to this date, and homes for almost 100,000 people.
Smart debut of vaporized jungle-juke juice from deft soundscaper Loto Retina, joining the squad at Paris’ Promesses after an album with Orange Milk Records
Hitting square between the eyes of, say, Foodman’s hyper, needle-point footwork and Eastern inspirations, and Ilian Tape’s brand of breaks and pads lushness, ‘2022’ juggles styles with a optimistic freedom that one would imagine to work well on more open-minded ‘floors.
Scudding woodwind and legs-akimbo juke scuffle it out in ‘Flûtes’, and the propulsive jungle dynamics of ‘Loco’ sounds like a cartoonishly skittish Lee Gamble or Proc Fiskal, and ‘Ensemble’ could almost be Visible Cloaks in dreamy rave mode. ‘Courir’ cuts the strongest club rug with its chattering vocaloids and ruder bass percolations with a Rian Treanor-esque jitter, and ‘Réflexe’ catches a wave of Kindohm-like techy lushness very much worth your time.
Delroy Edwards’ darkwave synth-pop band Earth To Mickey cold kick a blend of freestyle, Chicago house and lustrous gothic pop on a brilliant LA Club Resource joint.
Playing up to a sound that’s long lurked in his productions and mixes, Delroy’s duo with Mickey Van Seenus (and Xander Whistler on keys) tend to a classically effective and we dare say “grown-up” style that’s less about banging the walls and moire about sharpening up your elbows and hips into a sexy ‘80s motion.
‘Brace & Bit’ holds tight to a mix of melancholy freestyle vocals and spunky, sprung bass torque with shades-on synth vamps punctuate with killer snares and rimshots. We’d absolutely love to hear someone go in heavier on the edits with this one, but there’s always a the bonus minute of choppy ’Factory Beats’ for the DJs to get crafty with. ‘Pleasure Comes And Pleasure Goes’ balances the equation with a velvety stroke of gothic suss, where Mickey beautifully channels operatic Kate Bush-isms over puckered pizzicato arps and minimalist drum programming in the dreamiest 1984-into-2020 style.
Scuzzy, jangly indie-pop-rock winner from Aussie, Itchy Bugger aka Diät, gracing Low Company with his 2nd LP and their 6th release of subterranean guts and love
From Low Cpmany: “Nggggggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Supremely hungover, red-eyed-and-can't-quite-be-arsed but utterly LIFE-AFFIRMING bedroom/loner-pop masterpiece from the Itchy Bugger. May this record bless your miserable existence like it has ours.
Songs that somehow combine punk concision and psychedelic whimsy with a fluency accessible only to THE GREATS. The songs are lusher and more intricately arranged than on the first LP (maiden voyage on our shoppe label), even as they double down on the DIY, drug-scrambled weirdness, and that unmistakeably PRIVATE, nocturnal, kitchen-creeping, don't-wake-the-flatmates vibe... oh yeah and still with that same sadsack fucking drum-machine beat on every song.
The custom bonehead riffage he contributes to Heavy Metal and Diat is here repurposed into something more textured and introspective and jangling and DAZED, mekkin me think of The Moles (especially ’Sometimes’), Pip Proud, subtly OUT early 90s Flying Nun gems like David Kilgour’s Here Comes The Cars or John Kelcher’s Personal Disorganiser... if you’re feeling saucy you can throw in bits of Razorcuts, Afflicted Man, Solid Space, Beauty Contest,Television Personalities +++ while yer at it ('An Adorable Graveyard’ not only makes me BAWL, it is also the best song Privilege-era Dan Treacy never wrote.). It's just... so good. Not sure I've felt this ALIVE since I lost my virginity and a few mins later narrowly escaped death trying to ride a bicycle the wrong way down a dual carriageway ("But that was only two weeks ago!" ARF).
Ach, REALLY floundering here trying to describe the best album of the decade - which somehow WE dumb cunts are releasing. Not gonna waste our breath any more...THOSE WHO KNOW DON'T SAY AND THOSE WHO SAY THEY JUST DON'T KNOW>>>>>>>”
New via Low Company - Fire in the hold!!! LP/action-painting documenting the entire musical output/psychosis/self-immolation of short-lived North London destruction-unit I Can I Can’t, all previously unreleased.
"Side One consists of six barking, bucking audiac anxiety attacks recorded to dictaphone in 2009, in a warehouse up the Seven Sisters Road: a-pause-button-controlled, high-speed-collision of skeletal trogged-out garage-punk and queasy electro-mechanical abrasions, eventually unravelling into uncanny, sublimely fatigued ambient tone-poems beamed direct from, and to, the eternal wet Tuesday afternoon of the mind!
The bunkered, light-starved claustrophobia of the mise-en-scene hits you almost as potently as the kinetic energy it can't possibly contain: Chrome-cum-Index guitar scorch; bonehead drum clatter that sounds like some poor soul they've been keeping prisoner in the basement banging his shackles against the radiator; and maniacal half-shouted, half-sung vocals that hector and gabble and murmur and howl and effortlessly communicate the essence of the English Disease...LOOK BUSY!!! If the piledriving, flat-rush one-chord deathsurf primitivism of 'Favours In' is the sound of thwarted prison-break, the bruised minimal synth space-blooz of 'Ah Ran Bee' is the sound of yer man being recaptured and heavily sedated, trying to make peace with what remains of his life sentence and taking up watercolours. Hard to think of accurate precedents for this fiendish oscillating between detachment and rapture, demolition and dream...Vincent Over The Sink? This Heat’s most pranged-out Cold Storage creations? Maybe Swell Maps' Train Out Of It...? Shoes This High crash-landing on Another Green World (er..)?
Side Two is given over to a pair of studio creations that are more sensuous and hi-fidelity, heavily foreshadowing the band members' future work as Speedbooth, Bons, Jam Money etc under the umbrella of their Spillage Fete private press: the life-affirming, all-problems-solving, sunrise-over-suburban-rooftops heartburst of ‘Hobbyist’, and the surreal, sleep-deprived kossack-dance of ‘Plume’, which sounds everything and nothing like the mutant offspring of Pascal Comelade and Pram. I Can I Can't is the real thing: refined and anarchic, brutal and tender, insolent and withdrawn, a coming-together and a falling-apart, a pure unmediated expression of drudgery and ecstasy. The imagination that does not recognise its own dilemma in these songs… simply does not know the score!"
Rare studio recording of singular guitarist Tashi Dorji improvising in his maverick vernacular of American-Bhutanese blues - a must check if you like Keiji Haino, Derek Bailey, Cam Deas, Ben Chasny, Sir Richard Bishop.
Arriving after Dorji’s collaborations with everyone from Aaron Turner to Mette Rasmussen and C Spencer Yeh in recent years, the hugely versatile improviser is spotlighted solo with utterly captivating results in ‘Stateless’. Presented as an intensely emotive expression of the “confusion, rage, helplessness and resolve of an immigrant in America today” the recording witness Dorji take blues guitar back to its lyrically expressive roots as a voice of dispossessed people, reeling off a burning range of emotions from his flying fingertips that speak to his exceptional ability to conjure fleeting feelings, sustain or suspend disbelief, and remarkably change direction in the blink of an eye.
From the song titles to the unmistakably impassioned instrumental delivery, Dorji has a lot to say and does so in beguiling style ranging from flurries of quick witted barbs that sound like two guitarist duelling in the parts of ‘Refusal’, to a spellbinding quick/slow fusion of East and West sensibilities in ‘Statues Crumble, Heroes Fall’, and almost baroque, lilting figures that he puckers and twists out into stranger mutations on ‘The Swelling Fruit About to Shatter the Husk of the Old World’, always with a with a masterful balance of sparing precision and directness that holds listeners to a seat-edge intensity befitting of the album’s intentions.
One of the most revered Techno 12" of all time.
Originally released in 1992, this was a landmark moment for techno, affirmation that Detroit and Berlin would be forever linked for thousands of kids who were just starting to wake up to electronic music. Complete with a classic UR mix on the flipside, this record is just about as good as it gets. But you knew that already right??
Featuring one of the greatest switch-ups of any techno record, ever, Maurizio’s 12 minute Domina spends precisely half the track lulling you into the deepest trance before an immense 2nd wind sets the whole thing on a kicking new course.
Doesn’t sound that special on paper but f**k me it works. Flipside is Carl Craig’s immense Mind Mix, filleting the original sample of Manuel Göttsching’s Die Dominas into the deepest Detroit dream sequence...
Blackest Ever Black draw a line under their tenure as preeminent label of the decade with a typically affective compilation that perversely introduces new acts to their fold(ing).
Not to overstate it, but for many avowed fans it’s possible to measure a block of our lives by BEB’s existence. When they first emerged with Raime’s stark debut, they were a breath of dank but necessary air to the British music scene. Staunch in their tastes but also wide open with it, they continued to draw a jagged line around the music that they loved, and a ruck of disparate loners, ravers and weirdos were more than happy to follow their lead between mutant forms of UK dance musick, eldritch psychedelia, smoky French avant-garde, incredible mixtapes, and indie-pop also-rans rewarded with a necessary 2nd wind. They left us with a bold yet sensitive and singular catalogue that precipitated all sorts of salty fluids from their legion followers, and will go down as one of the definitive labels of the 2010’s.
Rounding up 10 ghostly vignettes ranging from funereal pop to liminal ambient ’A short illness from which he never recovered’ sees the label off in a poetic fashion that has served them beautifully well thus far. Carla Dal Forno’s gently fevered dirge ‘Blue Morning’ (a cover of ‘The Kiwi Animal’ by Julie Cooper) is an obvious highlight, as is the plangent strain of Bridget Hayden’s ’Solace’, along with the watery, strumming-by-an-open-window vibe of ‘De Dröigen Blaar’ by Hypnotic Sleep, and the strung-out beauty of Scythe’s ‘Flower, Drop’, but you can rest assured that the whole LP perfectly plays thru like a heart-breaking, personal mixtape compilation from a friend who you’re never going to see again.
Please allow the sentimentality, though, ‘cos BEB will live on both thru their catalogue and in their metamorphosis into Low Company, who have evidently picked up the baton and are continuing to run with it into greener pastures fertilised by new and old wavers and ravers alike.
Finally the missing piece of the puzzle arrives, the early and absolute classic slice of genre-defining techno from Basic Channel under their Quadrant guise.
Infinition was originally licensed to Carl Craig's Planet E imprint in 1993, and also Renaat's now sadly defunct R & S label, and became an instant sell out on both slightly differing versions and has been sought after ever since. Here Moritz re-masters the two cut's Infinition and Hyperprism onto a loud and crisp 45rpm press. The demand for Basic Channel records has been hyped of late due to the 10th anniversary re-press of the original 9 releases, this further 12" completes the early evolution of their sound, and the bare 909 drums and classic washy synth's show the early leaning's toward the Phylyps Trak style cuts, and their first foray in to the annals of techno history.
Hyperprism has a more acidic feel, and a definite Planet E/Detroit sound with the lush strings backing the modulating acid line, while the subtle drum programming makes the groove sit superbly under the music, a lush and deep as you like vintage cut from Basic Channel finally available. An unmissable re-issue of a bona-fide classic, and remember kids - we've been waiting for far too long for a record to land with a new Basic Channel catalogue number - here it is. Legendary.
Now entering its 3rd decade of circulation, Maurizio’s ‘M6’  remains one of the greatest 12”s of the ‘90s
How a modulated dub chord, slinky hi-hat and bassline can move us to tears and freeze our spines for 9 minutes quite like the A and B-sides of M6 is a mystery that we’ll never fully work out, and kinda don’t want to anyway. Mix it with Main Street’s Acting Crazy to extend the hypnosis as long as you like.
Rotherham rave imp Rian Treanor kicks up to Planet Mu for ‘Ataxia’, his debut album following introductory EPs with The Death of Rave and Warp’s resuscitated Arcola sublabel.
Under the title ‘ATAXIA’, chosen literally for its meaning - “the loss of control of bodily movements” - as well as its figurative, asymmetric quality, Rian sequences ramped versions of his tracks for The Death of Rave along with shockingly forward new gear that plays into his love of Dadaist vocal cut-ups. The result is an immensely playful and beguiling album, cannily messing with listeners’ sense of rhythmic anticipation in a dare-to-be-different style that’s tripped up and put a big daft grin on dancefloors everywhere from Boiler Room in Helsinki to Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes festival.
Where his earlier EPs were mostly improvised, Rian spent more time shaping the tracks for ‘ATAXIA’. Taking cues from his mentor and father, eminent sound artist Mark Fell, as well a rich SoYo rave heritage, he sticks to an economical palette, making each stab, drum and pad count in the democracy of the mix. From these relatively simple, if now more refined elements, Rian’s suss comes into play in the structuring, using his background as a visual artist to create disruptive patterns of angular yet fluid syncopation and irregular symmetries that both allow for and connote a sort of hyper-natural order of chaos.
While resembling the styles of speed garage, synth-pop, bleep techno and extreme computer music that he grew up with, Rian’s pointedly mischievous approach jumbles those styles, using the tactility of Max/MSP to rejig them with more unpredictable and playfully wrong-footing effect, embracing the dancefloor’s radical potential to reprogram minds and bodies.
Concepts aside, though, ‘ATAXIA’ is a lot of fun. Rian’s dry Yorkshire humour is in full effect in the cut-up vocals of the openings and closing numbers, while the recursive ballistics of ‘B1’ are bound to tie bodies in knots, ‘C2’ advances his absorbingly intricate melodic sequencing, and the rhymelodic chicanery of ‘D2’ ranks among the most stunning, inexorably funky cuts in his catalogue.
Despite what it might look like, "Left My Brain @ Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria) OST" is not a movie soundtrack - it's Canadian producer Jesse Osborne-Lanthier's ambitious new monsterpiece, a 28 track voyage into a parallel universe where genre isn't so much disintegrated but absorbed and reformed.
Five years in the making, the album has been pieced together over a period of transformation for Osborne-Lanthier. It began in Barcelona, where each day the producer would head to La Xampanyeria (from where the record takes its name) to eat and piece together ideas. Initially, the tracks were academic in nature, but over time as life events shifted Osborne-Lanthier's outlook, the sketches were pulled apart.
The biggest change in the artist's life came in 2016, when his mother died pushing him into a prolonged period of mourning. Osborne-Lanthier revisited his suite of recordings and began to see them for what they were, in his own words "a mask for insecurity and sadness". As he remodeled the work, it began to take on new life - washed into a mix that was hopeful, challenging and earnest.
The tracks take in a sound-world of influence - fragments of grime, heavy metal, EDM, sound art, ambient, club music are all present - but nothing is facsimile or utilitarian. Rather each sound illustrates part of a story (we're guessing this is where the OST comes in?) and is warped thru Osborne-Lanthier's mind. Tempos rise and fall with ease and beats stutter through genre barriers like ghosts in Luigi's Mansion. Nothing is fixed, yet there's a coherence that demands ur attention from beginning to end.
We're a bit stunned honestly, this one will take a while to unpack.
Highest grade ‘80s/early ‘90s post-punk weirdness from Stano, reaping highlights of his five LPs in a necessary retrospective - highly recommended to fans of his collaborators Michael O’Shea and Roger Doyle, and even Planxty and My Bloody Valentine, who both contribute…
“Following on from our 2018 repress of his debut album “Content to Write in I Dine Weathercraft “ we’re delighted to present an Anthology of Stano’s productions spanning the start of his solo career in 1982 to his 1994 “Wreckage” LP. Featuring 18 tracks from the five LPs he released in that time span on double vinyl with extensive liner notes, it is a comprehensive look at one of Ireland’s more enigmatic musical characters.
A member of the legendary punk / post-punk group The Threat which disbanded after lead singer Maurice Foley disappeared to join the Hare Krishnas, he had set up his outsider stall early on. The Threat had Stano on synths, one of the first female bassists in Deirdre Creed and their debut single was produced by progressive trad musician Donal Lunny of Planxty. Stano’s solo career of improvised electronic music continued in this vein of the unexpected – sitting outside both the country’s mainstream and alternative rock scenes.
An indigenous musical industry with few resources even at the top level – studios, labels and venues being scarce – and with few of the cross water big independent acts venturing over the Irish sea to play Dublin in the early 80s, it was an isolated place where due to its intimate size the more traditional rock bands nestled in close proximity to the few electronic acts. News travelled through a small scene via fanzines such as the influential Vox, which was associated with Stano publishing his poetry and releasing his debut 45 « Room », the Peel & Fanning shows of course and the newly established Freebird records.
Eschewing both live performance and the spotlight for studio collaborations he worked with a number of Irish musicians - Roger Doyle, Michael O Shea, Daniel Figgis, My Bloody Valentine - and following the debut on local rock label Scoff records he signed to German experimental label Dossier where a further two LPs – 1986’s The Protagonist 28 Nein and Daphne Will Be Born Again the following year - were released. Signing to U2’s Mother records, he released their first Long player “Only” on the label which garnered praise from the UK music press including LP of the week in The Guardian. The final LP of this anthology featuring collaborations with Colm O'Coisoig of My Bloody Valentine "Wreckage" was released on Independent label Hue Records in 1994.”
Maurizio’s ‘M5’  is perhaps *the* definitive dub-house groove
Now 22 years old (jeeeez!), it remains firmly future-proofed by its timeless, minimalist nature and flawless function, still eliciting pendulous, heads-down moves and unrivalled satisfaction in the dance, and remaining wonderfully ripe for mixing with acapellas and other lean grooves by smart DJ hands.
Smudgy existential electronics and pristine minimal jazz with a furtive, fugitive feel. It's a creepy, brown-carpeted, Cold War-ish mise-en-scene, painted with a wonderfully peculiar palette - keyboards, double bass, vibraphone and rigid drum-machine tick-n-tock, a perfect marriage of fluency and stiffness, of all-pervading paranoia and carefully-portioned camp (Kraftwerk in The Red Room?).
"Romance too - 'Djurgardsgatans Ogonblick' and 'Jag. Mitt Kaffee' for us are some of the most beautiful, tear-jerking ambient ice-shifts of all time. First vinyl edition (comes w/ download) of this pulpy but curiously moving 2005 CD-R curio, produced by Karl Lukas Petersson aka Luke Eargoggle and originally released on Danny ‘Legowelt’ Wolfers’ Strange Life label."
Wicked sidewinders from London’s Pearson Sound & Brussels-based reggaeton outlier Clara!, locked in sangria-soaked original and Latinate instrumental for sound of the summer vibes
Produced in a back and forth during lockdown, ‘Mi Cuerpo’ heats up the styles of Clara! & Maoupa’s run of 12”S & LP for Low Jack’s label in a UK-ready style compatible with UKF, Hessle Audio and current pressures from Lisbon to Mexico City.
Clara!’s delivery is an ideal foil for the pair’s whirring tresillo mechanics in the OG version, lathering hi-hat trills and stabs into a humid soundsystem hustle before Clara!’s escalating vocal bring it to a boil, while the sipping and stripped down instrumental comes primed for all fans of Leonce, DJ Nigga-Fox, Chunky.
The pressure of Maurizio’s ‘M4’  is another perfectly enduring example of ‘90s dance music
Seductively balmy and aqueous, the A-side’s subbass purrs with pure, refined ecstasy along with sweetest acid trickles and those scudding chords for hedgiest over 6 minutes, while the B-side’s bassline lusts under a haze of analog ephemera, teasing the chords in for the kill with sublime effect.
100% essential in any collection.
Maurizio’s ‘M4’ was just so good that Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus had to extend the pleasure in ‘m4.5’ 
The purring bass and chords feel sunk deeper and drowsier into the mix, lending a duskier appeal which they tease out for just shy of 13 minutes, although it could easily last 10 times that length and we’d never get bored of its luscious traction.
Untouchable Berlin techno business marking the emergence of René Löwe a.k.a. Vainqueur, and one of the earliest appearances from Maurizio on their all-time classic remix
Vainqueur’s Lyot locates dub techno’s roots in a mix of prickling EBM drums and Detroit chords stripped down to the bare essentials and tweaked out for long nights of aerobic mysticism.
The Maurizio remix is by some measure the tuffest they’ve done, kicking off with hair raising intro and that awning breakdown before it boots off royally with that chord coda and megadome boom.
One of the bluest of Maurizio’s seminal M-Series, ‘M7’  is a true, original blueprint for dub house that’s never been bettered
Both sides features 12 minutes of barely there ingredients adding up to an incredibly immersive experience - grooves to get utterly lost in, for both dancers and DJs. Deep house in effect, techno in motion, and dub in essence.
Boss lass Helena Hauff tears thru 31 hardcore electro-techno zingers on her keenly awaited addition to Tresor’s Kern series after ace instalments from DJ Stingray and Objekt.
Throwing back to a phase of fast, hard and scuzzy electro from the late ‘90s to mid ‘00s, Hamburg’s finest goes hell for leather in the style that’s practically seen her block-booked for DJ dates until 2030. It’s pretty fair to say that Helena has single-handedly revived attention to a style that was once core to clubs from Detroit to Berlin, Rotterdam and Manchester before prevailing trends diverged for bassier pressures by end of the ‘00s. However, whether you were there back then or not, Helena’s cherry-picked bombs and rarities are bound to plug gaps in your knowledge and, quite frankly, light your arsch on fire.
Packing exclusive heat from herself with Morah (the bezerker industrial-electro od ‘Segment 3’) and allies including Umwelt, Machino, Galaxian and L.F.T., Helena simply does not let up with the fire selections and militant pacing, dispensing banger-for-banger with ghetto-tech highlights from Detroit’s DJ Godfather & DJ Starski and O-Wells, old skool UK hardcore from Q.D.T., Nasenbluten’s ferocious ’Intellectual Killer’, and deep Dutch electro from Maarten Van Der Vleuten to join the dots between cthonic hardcore dance musics from the late golden era, and its long shadow, from across the globe.
One of Germany’s oddest entities, Schlammpeitziger plays it cool and dubwise in their mischievous and craftily art-pop style for arch Krautrock facilitators, Bureau B.
The musical alias of illustrator and performance artist Jo Zimmerman, Schlammpeitiger has been a persistent presence in the Cologne scene since 1992, with scattergun but singular records strewn over A-Musik, Pingipung and Sonig - and even Domino at one point. With ‘c in Der Echokammer’ he emphasises a sort of lilting dubbiness that was long there in his off-kilter sort of songwriting and music, but he apparently didn’t notice until his friend, “reggae expert” Bettina Lattak pointed it out to him. The result is a sun-drenched, lean but plush album of colourful songs that somehow split the difference between airport reggae and Kraftwerk; lounge music for the Hamburg Space Shuttle Terminal?
Gabrielle Roth’s highly sought-after dance meditation soundtrack from 1996, previously only available on CD, first release on audiophile 45rpm double heavy-weight vinyl.
"Through direct encounters and training from the era’s noted psychologists, philosophers, anthropologists, and spiritual gurus, she single-handedly rediscovered and redefined the ancient shamanic technique of ecstatic dance, establishing a method she named 5Rhythms in the late 70’s.
The practice of 5Rhythms consists of five movements: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. Through this dance sequence difficulties and obstructions in life can be identified and ultimately overcome. The sequence of the rhythms helps create waves that allow the dancer to reach a point of inner stillness. It is a globally recognised movement meditation practice with over 400 qualified teachers in more than 50 countries. Though Gabrielle Roth passed away in 2012, her spirit and legacy have been passed down through her family and extensive followers. It is still being practiced today.
Music plays a key role in these workshops. Following the shamanic tradition of using live percussion as a driving force, the music is necessarily rhythmic in nature and repetitive enough to focus on self-movement without invasive melodies or lyrics to distract one’s mind. It must be fairly lengthy in duration, with the journey defined by the pulsing waves of emotional flow that guide the body’s movement. The music was not intended to be consumed while socialising, but as an aid to the internal journey into one’s soul. It is minimal, abstract, and atmospheric. As a result of these characteristics (or rather functionalities), their albums didn’t fit into any conventional styles at the time of their release in the early 80s. Theirs is a pure form of dance music that also shares many commonalities with ambient music in the modern context. Yet ambient music had yet to establish itself as a genre at the time despite the early efforts of Brian Eno while underground dance - the genre with which it shares many of its stylistic qualities - was yet to be born. Their releases were rarely appreciated outside of workshops. Between 1982 and 2008, Gabrielle and her husband Robert Ansell produced 16 original albums as Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors. Robert brought together some of the best studio musicians that New York had to offer while his son Scott - who later became a Grammy-winning sound engineer - recorded and mixed all of their crystal clear productions.
Endless Waves Volume One was originally released on their own private label in 1996 on CD. Comprised of a selection of their past recordings, the first part acts as a seductive entry point into their rhythmic sound world, with Roth’s voice intoning gentle instructions over each track. The opener Body Parts commences with a series of rolling polyrhythmic beats to prepare the body for meditation. From there the music shifts through a series of ambient moods that evoke each of the ‘5Rhythm’ states of being. Atmospheric synths and stately violins combine to help ease into movement on Flowing. Didgeridoos and funky bass lines evoke masculine energy on Staccato before the tumbling rhythms of Chaos encourage the uninhibited release of one’s mind and body. The soft vocal harmonies of Lyrical help the listener towards a lighter, more fluid, and creative state of being creating a becalming state that continues with the deep ritualistic chants and languid drums of Stillness.
The second part of the album consists of a non-guided version of the same journey. Freshly recorded for the album’s release in 1996, the band deliver up an equally vital series of brilliantly realised rhythmic excursions. In the words of Gabrielle Roth: “I have found a language of patterns I can trust to deliver us into universal truths, truths older than time. In the rhythm of the body, we can trace our holiness, roots that go all the way back to zero. States of being where all identities dissolve into an eternal flow of energy. Energy moves in waves. Waves move in patterns. Patterns move in rhythms. A human being is just that, energy, waves, patterns, rhythms. Nothing more. Nothing less. A dance.”
Broshuda outlines an anxious but lush ambience on his first LP for Soda Gong.
Steeped in the experimental electronic spirit and atmospheric mood that ties classic Berlin and European city music to its current waves of operators, ‘Contemplative Figuration’ defines Broshuda’s sound as a product of its environment; mapping aspects of late ’90s/early ‘00s glitch minimalism to more fractal, amorphous, semi-organic structures, each bumped with a K-likemlushness that will riddle listeners into the music’s textured topography.
Quietly glowing into being with the warbling synths and Mike Cooper-esque strums caught of ‘Kakigori’, the album folds in and around itself between chamber-like ambient dub of ‘Obj. Contraire’ feat. a vocaloid Elen Huynh, and free floating structures recalling Marina Rosenfeld’s work with Ben Vida in ‘Cypher’, whereas ‘Airlite DMV’ blushes with a MDMAde-up romantic pads, and ‘Leg’ shows his smart, low key beat chops a la some Yves Tumor aside, and the bullet-time dembow warp of ‘Pagoda’ feat. Guest input by Manta is the one for all the dancers.
Master of mysterious minimalism, Miki Yui helms the latest Hallow Ground with a beautifully poised and slow burning suite taking in deep-listening durational works and lighter, elusive sensations recalling Bellows and the oneiric seductions of Elodie.
Miki’s follow-up to a quietly acclaimed solo side for Cusp Editions, and her Realistic Monk collaboration with Carl Stone ‘Realm’ in 2018, ‘Aperio!’ Takes its title from the latin for ‘April’ and its original etymology, “to open” or “to reveal”, which works as a neat metaphor for the way her music revels in quiet nuance, and how it unfolds with an almost preternatural stealth.
Drawing on a related spectrum of strategies ranging from field recordings to synthesis and electro-acoustic processes, Miki’s music distills and crystallises a latent abstraction and oddness from physical experience and the “real” world into a series of warmly inviting, intimate scenes that gently trigger the imagination. The 10 minutes of rolling sinewaves in ‘Listening (oneness)’ summons comparison with Eliane Radigue’s enigmatic Arp process, while ‘Dancing (swamp)’ feels like music for an underwater lounge, and the fractured audity of ‘Dreaming (now)’ hits right on the waking/dreamlife sweet spot, along with the mesmerisingly precise tone poem of’ Rhyming (colours)’, and the Bellows-like low key otherworldliness of ‘Babbling’, whose sensitivities are coincidentally, perfectly brought to life in the mastering by Giuseppe Ielasi.
Ravishing, dream-like debut by Okkyung Lee’s chamber ensemble, placing a rarely paralleled instrumental guile and imagination at the service of Shelter Press’ beautiful series of carefully hand-picked editions.
Rendering Lee’s first recordings with the Yeo-Neun Quartet, an experimental chamber ensemble established in 2016 and also comprising Maeve Gilchrist (harp), Jacob Sacks (piano), and Eivind Opsvik (bass), ‘Yeo-Neun’ distills the multiplicities of Lee’s decades of solo and collaborative work and diffuses it thru her cello and fellow players to realise a radical mixture of contemporary classicism and fearless experimentation. It’s the ultimate example of Lee’s inimitably calm but unpredictable style, wrapping up myriad aspects of chamber, jazz and folk musics with sentimental melodies and melancholy touches that betray a core influence from the popular Korean ballads and emotive traditional forms of her youth.
Under a title that loosely translates to ’the gesture of an opening” in Korean, Yeo-Nuen is focussed on discretely lush arrangements, but prone to combust at noisy, avant angles that keep the album safely clear of concrete genre taxonomy. Lee and her ensemble work tightly within a broad set of sonic reference points, elegantly navigating the far flung cues she’s absorbed over decades of intensive touring schedules that have seen her play across the world with everyone from Mark Fell to Ellen Fullman, and appear on recordings by artists as diverse as Jenny Hval and Swans. In those contexts, Lee has developed preternaturally-heightened instincts for improvisation, but the recordings of ‘Yeo-Neun’ appear to consolidate this finely honed grasp of spontaneous combustion with a newly realised, stately feel for composition that’s at once calm and gripping.
Born of a life on the move, the music understandably helms to its own sense of time and pace and allows listeners into the rich inner life that sustains an artist on the road. Between the tender resignation of ‘here we are (once again)’, the Alice Coltrane-Like sweeps of ‘another old story’, the visceral tonal ruptures of ‘in stardust (for kang kyung-ok)’, and the enchanted vision of ‘facing your shadows’, it’s hardly felt more like a privilege to bear witness to an artist laying her soul bare, and so sharply articulate and express her sense of individuality and connection to the world. Frankly. it’s jaw-dropping stuff.
All new compilation placing the spotlight on the Swiss experimental and electronic scene of the ‘80s and the early ‘90s. 'Intenta' assembles hidden gems, sought-after titles and newly mixed versions. It places leftfield synth-pop next to otherworldly jazz, and joins the dots between lyrical post-punk excursions and proto-house experimentation.
"The compilation covers a period of transition: When songs mutated into sounds. When synthesizers and samplers became the règle du jeu in DIY music-making. When a politicized youth movement slowly gave way to the hedonistic embrace of techno culture in Switzerland. Intenta mines the outer fringes of a scene yet to be. Many of these experimenters were pretty much on their own. Often the only way you would get in touch was at the local synth dealer.
A spirit of bold improvisation inhabited studios between Geneva and St. Gallen: these artists were articulating pop sensibilities (Air Project, Sky Bird, D-Sire, Peter Philippe Weiss), entering computer worlds (Claudine Chirac, Olivier Rogg, Carlos Perón), exploring exotic shores (Andreas Hofer, Bells of Kyoto, Fizzè), building future discothèques (Aborted at Line 6, Carol Rich, UnknownmiX) or finding glacial bliss (Dressed Up Animals, Elephant Château, I Suonatori).
The compilation was put together by Matthias Orsett and Maxi Fischer. Intenta unfolds as a sonic story that is laid-back yet energetic, sultry yet daring. The two crate diggers set out to meet with many of the artists arrayed here. Memories were shared, wine bottles opened. There were moments of sadness: Karl Lienert Löwenherz (Dressed Up Animals) and Claudius Scholer (Sky Bird) passed away during the making of this project. What remains of this journey into the backrooms of Swiss popular culture, is Intenta. If you listen closely, it will reveal a nation on the move. Beyond the Matterhorn, there is sweetness and light."
DJ Pete aka Substance knocks out two hammer trax in aid of Berlin’s Paloma club on the label set up to support the venue during the Corona Virus crisis
Trust they’re both belters, trotting out some proper marching tackle in the cold, twisted techno girder of ‘Gannets’, and stepping up a gear with the rictus EBM techno drive of ‘Grey Feather’ with its darkroom vocal and gnashing 909s. There’s hardly a better way to support the charmingly dinky Paloma, located above Kotti in X-Berg, than bagging one of these and getting your dancing clogs on.
Bunita Marcus is subject of a first vinyl release with her ‘Lecture For Jo Kondo’, written for Morton’s group, Feldman & Soloists and premiered in 1985, and now accompanied by a dramatic new David August deconstruction .
“Not a lecture in the literal or recognisable sense, the piece is dedicated to the Japanese composer Jo Kondo, who was a friend and exchanger-of-ideas with Marcus. “I think it is a demonstration of the serial patterning I developed by being inspired by his Kondo's ‘Standing’ and how that just messes with your mind”, says Bunita, adding the following:
“’Lecture For Jo Kondo’ was conceived as an instrumental work. The voice part is just another instrument – an optional instrument at that. This isn’t a work where I took a text and wrote music to it. I wrote the music, heard and sensed a speaking part, but it took me a few years to get text that worked in this context. I met the Nico Vassilakis and got to love his work, so I added a speaking part using excerpts from his poem ‘Lowered and Illuminated.’
Musically and compositionally innovative, LFJK? is one of the first works to use consonance in the second half of the 20th century that was not tonal. It also introduces the idea of serialism as an aspect of neuroscience: “This is something that Jo and I had in common. This piece is based in complex theories I am calling ‘serialism’ and showing how Repetition + Mutation = Patterning. It is this patterning that is the basis of musical language and thought”, explains Marcus.
Taking listeners into a sound space unlike any they’ve been to before, the 20 plus minute piece is both dissonant and beautiful. The prominent broad strokes of LFJK are an alternating exchange between Bunita’s voice performance and Adapter Ensemble’s sound clusters, where a repetitive violin refrain at the fore is joined by flute, percussion and piano.
99Chants label owner and notable electronic musician David August provides a more machine-based deconstruction, changing most of the instrumentation and sound design, but maintaining the same narrative. He transports the listener through different environments, all equally connecting to Bunita’s voice, but changing the point of view. Within the release’s illuminating artwork is August’s visual score for his version, where traditional notation is replaced by a Kandinsky-esque abstract diagram.”
'Clouds' is a perfectly measured suite of warm and hazy downbeats from Gigi Masin, Marco Sterk (Young Marco), and Johnny Nash recorded in the heart of Amsterdam's red light district over one weekend in April, 2014.
It's all about louche vibes and glowing notes, gently absorbing and transducing the buzz of the streets outside the studio's open windows into eight elegantly reserved improvisations segueing between lush ambient drift, dub-wise solo piano pieces, and chiming late night jazz patter. In that sense, there's striking similarities between 'Clouds' and the recent Sky Walking album by Lawrence and co., but where they really go for the looseness, Gaussian Curve keep it supple yet tight, bordering on adult contemporary suaveness anointed with finest hash oil. Imbibe slowly.
Canny London label Laura Lies In pull together a class of 2020 portrait featuring screwballs from DJ Marcelle, James Marrs, Joe Beedles, Syncom Data, Tony Njoku and more
Spanning offset, earthy grooves and more abstract lines of thought, ‘LLI 008’speaks to the breadth of LLI’s activities since 2016, vacillating crafty oddities by previous label alumni with smart works by an expanded network of allies and new additions to the gang such as Manchester’s Joe Beedles and renowned DJ Marcelle in their producer role for one of the set’s strangest treats.
Introductions first; Simon Benjamin debuts with the grubbing slow techno sidewinder ‘Vera Boila’, and Africa 70 member Tony Njoku gets under the skin with his plaintive chamber soul piece ‘The Ghost That Escaped (Rework)’, where Vanessa follows in suit with the haunted ambient-pop drift of ‘Test’, and Copenhagen’s Astrid Sonne presents the folksy, Björk-like choral beauty ‘Strong, Calm, Slow’. Trust DJ Marcelle to follow their own nose for offbeat swing rhythms and drunken keys in ‘Of Course, Why Do You Ask’, and Joe Beedles tests out some dead slippery but razor sharp computer music tekkers.
Returning to the label’s embrace, Eben Bull follows action on the CVX side with the electro-dub ace ‘Geology’, contrasting neatly with Syncom Data’s scratchier styles in the same niche. James Marrs keeps it perplexing with some Hecker-esque vocal manipulations, and Tara Clerkin weaves flutes and tape into ribboning shapes on ‘The Reek’, all keeping the label’s remit wide open and serving a great entry point for anyone LLI curious listeners.