Subliminal transportation systems from Stelzer Murray, a pair of individually prolific avant-garde artists from Boston, making their overdue debut collaboration with Connector; an immersive flow of lower case texturhythms and microtonal drone recommended to anyone who’s been snagged by Jim HJaynes’ atmospheric works or the quietest enigmas by Kevin Drumm or Zoviet*France.
“Stelzer brings to the table an array of mangled and partially demagnetized tape; and Murray brings his knack for compacted harmonics, obfuscated field recordings, and long-view compositional strategies. An irradiated, almost Kirlian glow permeates Connector through the duo's slow accretions and erosions amidst the soaring crescendos of compacted tone and vacant shadows of mechanical thrum. On occasion, rasping saw tooth frequencies and oblique synth-noise phrases stridently pop in a clinical opposition against the field of hiss. Screaming cascades from ice storms. Tape symphonies from urban blight. Life-support machines at the point of obsolescence.
In describing the process of building this album, Stelzer reflected, "When you've known someone for this long, the act of collaboration is like conversation over dinner; you don't fuss over it or worry about it; it's stress free, even instinctual like exhaling."
Good things come to those who wait.”
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.
Barcelona’s man of the moment DJ Seinfeld trots out on Manchester’s Natural Sciences with a quartet of fuzzy house jaxx.
He relaxes into it with a trippy mix of what sounds like indian classical vocal (might be dead wrong there?) and bassline-driven swagger, whereas Ruff Hysteria gets right on it with wriggling acid and zinging hi-hats
Wombat Bounce keep the energy up there with punchy, wooden drums timed for the swingers, and What Kind Of Sandwich Is This unfurls on a rolling hardcore jungle tip that sounds like HATE heard thru a wet towel.
Currently in a crucial phase of her oeuvre, Istanbul’s Ekin Fil presents the results of her first soundtrack commission with Inflame, a 30 minute collection of evocative, murky electronic cues reflecting the paranoia of Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s psychological thriller.
Rather than her signature, reverrb-laden guitar and glossolalic vox, Ekin uses a palette of synths, electronics and drum machines to convey a tense and claustrophobic sound, where severed voices float thru minor key melodies and slow, epileptic hallucinations, sometimes prodded with skeletal electro rhythms, at other left to linger uncomfortably in crepuscular mid-air with curt resolutions.
Mellow but spicy jazz-funk-soul from south London, 2017
“The album starts with 'Moonlight Woman,' a song that harks back to the Headhunters era, but with a contemporary twist - close your eyes and your transported to 70s Harlem, walking shoulder to shoulder with Richard Roundtree! 'Elephant & Castle' follows, a clear reference to south Londons Latin quarter, the tune has a distinct hustle and bustle quality. With a strong flute solo and upbeat rhythm section this tune is sure to have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet. The first side draws to a close with a tasteful Dilla inspired skit, 'Trudi's Mood,' which demonstrates the bands wealth of influences and leaves the listener eager to continue their sonic voyage, with Ruby Rushton at the helm.
Haunting ballad, 'Prayer For Yusef,' is a song written in memory of the late Yusef Lateef. It starts softly with a bowed double bass and bamboo flute, accompanied by ghostly percussive noises and slowly rises to a large crescendo, with drums and piano in tow. It's a strong tune and a fitting dedication to the late, great Yusef Lateef. No sooner has Lateef's ballad gently faded away then 'Where Are You Now?' kicks in. Starting with a cool, neck-popping 3/4 beat, and utilising a four-piece horn section, the rhythm section struts its stuff whilst flute and trumpet carve out a playful melodic line. Just as you settle into its hypnotic bounce the tune falls through a Monk inspired chromatic bridge and without warning reappears as a solid Latin groove, leading to strong solos from both sax and keys. The rhythm section charges through to the end, never lagging, and are rejoined by the four-piece horn section, which stabs its way to a tight finish. The album comes to a close as 'The Camel's Back' fades in with an eerie sax solo and free form drums, before settling into a catchy bass motif and quickly fading away, leaving listeners on the edge of their seats and wanting more. It’s a great ending to an intoxicating joy ride through a multitude of genre defying styles!
Simply put, this album is a must have for any listener yearning for exciting and fresh contemporary music. Essential listening for fans of Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal and GoGo Penguin. Words by Rodriguez Guido”.
Melancholic, electronica and jazz-inflected beats by a yung new talent from Glasgow. Check for sweetest bits on the piquant instrumental R&B mutation ‘Out of Body’ and the lush, thizzy suspense of ’Still’
“23 year-old Lachlan McFeely Bolt, fka Dressin Red, returns to Astral Black for the release of 'Still', his first official musical output since January 2016. With the name change, Bolt aims to bring the two worlds of his visual and audio creative works closer together.
With the focus of this record being more on feeling or aesthetic, rather than techincal prowess, the results are a far more fragile and intimate insight into the mind of this individual young artist. Whilst previous works allowed for Bolt's complex and arpeggiated synth lines to shine through, 'Still' is more holistic in it's approach; letting elements of both analogue and digital coincide.
'ByMy' is a perfect example of this, taking both the melodic elements of 'Kibble Place' and introducing elements of manipulated voice and guitars. At times Bolt moves toward an almost song-writing based approach, with his voice at the forefront of 'My Woes' and Guitar taking centre stage on album opener, 'Rise'. Whilst elsewhere, the anthemic, slow-motion jungle of '2 Scared 2 Say' (which soundtracked Boiler Room's recent documentary on Glasgow's new-wave) sounds like Burial just met Underworld at Glastonbury.
The 9-track project sees Lachlan move through a series of moods, with the album closer and title track 'Still' (Bolt's ode of sorts to Steve Reich's 'Music for 18 Musicians') leaving him, and ultimately the listener, in a particularly content mood.”
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.
Andy Lyster’s Youth label wrest four stripes of punky blooze from Shamos, who steers away from the rugged house knocks of his Apron 12”s to nervier, faded headpieces in YO2TH.
Acquainted thru London’s NTS studio, Lyster and Shamos have conspired to reveal alternate aspects of the latter’s aesthetic, sidewinding from what sounds like one of Delroy Edwards’ Teenage Tapes cuts in the grungy wave stepper Found Grace to Lukid-esque alien tribalism in 13213132, then with a gristly, blank-eyed slug of EBM in TMF, and desiccated Detroit boogie in Nuws.
Brilliant, razor-sharp sound designs, gwan like a funky Haswell with the mosquito-sampling ‘MOSQU-ito’, and dissolving your head like humus in ‘MYCOrrhizosphere’, to name two highlights. Love this...
“SOLIDICITY is an invented word. It contains solid and city. It is AGF’s 10th solo and 31st album in executive production. The sound sculptress uses field recordings to craft rhythmic and arrhythmic structures, noise pattern, club references and bass frequencies. The poetess does not use words. AGF is a computer musician and uses Logic, Radial, MPClive, MAX from cycling74 to compose stark anti groove out of organic matter. Attention SPOILER: Finnish mosquitoes were looped and quantized. The track titles reference the artist's sonic discourse: Social justice, feminism, networking power, environmental concerns, Europe and the migration crisis, technological solutions for improving activism (Pursuance Project) and more.”
Fresh off a 12 hour, four day rota at the BOS Plant-cum-studio, Ansome cuts loose with British Steel
Taking in the hard-edged industrial funk of the title track along with the girder-strength slug of Marching Powder, a torrent of piledriver bass drums in Poison Your Body, and what sounds like Haswell and Best going for the gaffer as Consumer Electronics in Granite & Mortar.
Deadboy locks in a trio of jacking and swanging house grooves for AUS Music.
Effectively picking up where his Columns 12” for Ten Thousand Yen left us, here he goes a dab tuffer with the brittle drums and and brooding minor key arrangement of Auogeides 77, then opens up your swing with the feathered chords and ruder bass of Driftmore, and snaps off some nervy Detroit-via-Tokyo funk with Defrase.
Hemlock follow a strong 2017 run, getting the best out of Ploy in Unruly with three cuts of agitated digital funk and more abstract structures than his preceding 12”s for Hessle Audio and Timedance.
Unruly sparks off with something like Ueno Masaaki’s Raster-Noton missile redressed with a UK swing, while Garys comes up with escalating synthlines on a swaggering, offset techno mission with belly-twisting impact, and Lost Hours finds him at the other side of that wave with sweeter, duvet-diving ambient dynamics that emulate the effect of going MIA in your own bedroom.
Tia Maria Produções member DJ Lycox goes solo in a big way with debut album Sonhos & Pesadelos for the resoundingly influential Príncipe label.
With the delicious swerve and layered lushness of Sonhos & Pesadelos, the debut album by Príncipe’s Parisian ambassador DJ Lycox, sets a new high water mark for the label and its collective sound.
Indulging a bank of fleshly synths more than many of his label mates and peers, but at no sacrifice to his rhythmic push and pull, the sound is practically compatible with deep house and UKF as much as the frenetic styles of Nidia Minaj or the tuffness of DJ Marfox, for example.
Across all 12 tracks he modulates the vibe with expert groove control, oscillating between hypnotic future folk lixx and infectiously knotted drums in Weekend to a debonaire spin on deep house swagger with Domingo Abeçoado or Solteiro, skipping from the blazing tropical heat of Virgin Island and Paragons Moh Baba to something you could almost imagine Marcus Nasty playing on Nichako, Sky or the steely reinforcement of La Java.
But if you’re looking for out ’n out raving madness, you’d best check the blinding shockout Quarteto Fantástico and the searing hard-style leads of Ferrero for the most upfront bangers.
Eminent photographer turned sound artist and collaborator with Powell, Wolfgang Tillmans offers the soundtrack - a suite of scatty vocal duets with Bille Ray Martin and the Hamburg soundfield - relating to his current exhibition at the Kunstverein in Hamburg
“Hamburg Süd / Nee IYaow eow eow is released as part of the Wolfgang Tillmans's "There were 30 years between 1943 and 1973. 30 years from 1973 was the year 2003" exhibition, which is being held at the Kunstverein in Hamburg in fall 2017.
Wolfgang Tillmans has devised a 35-minute sound installation as part of the exhibition. The installation takes the exhibition's inner-city context as its starting point, and operates in conjunction with numerous photographs (from a variety of Tillmans' s work phases) and video works to transform the space into a single cinematic whole.
Electronic manipulations of Tillmans's own voice, made to sound alternately choral, guttural, and absurd, are mixed with a kind of sung evocation of the four directions of the compass -- to which the exhibition hall is almost exactly aligned. To provide this counterpart voice, Tillmans invited the Hamburg-born and internationally renowned singer Billie Ray Martin. The alternating singing styles are embedded within long silent pauses, when visitors can hear noise from the two routes of traffic between which the Kunstverein is located: the cluster of platforms at Hamburg's central railway station, and Klosterwall, one of the city's main thoroughfares.
Through the interplay of screeching railway lines, traffic noise, the reverberation of the immediate environment, word play, and voice explorations, Tillmans uses the sound work to react to aspects specific to the exhibition room at the Kunstverein in Hamburg: you can hear the city, but do not see it.
In Further Listening, the second part of the set, Tillmans presents further experimental solo pieces, collaborations, and two works that were previously released in 2016 (now available for the first time on digital format): 2016 / 1986 EP (FRAGILE 001EP), Tillmans's first release, and Device Control EP (FRAGILE 003EP), which first came to public attention in 2016 when a full-length version of the song appeared as a guest contribution on Endless, a visual album by the US R&B musician Frank Ocean.”
Yamaneko, aka Talbot Fade, blurs ambient/electronic distinctions with a sublime album richly inspired by hours spent inside computer games, melting aut to new age cassettes, and the metaphysics of simultaneously being inside/outside the rave. Spa Commissions arrives quick at the heels of the heart-rending Talbot Fade tape My Voice Would Reach You to dreamcast another bridge into his wide-eyed and immersively detailed ambient dimensions. RIYL Goodiepal’s Havet, Lee Gamble’s beatless modes, or Visible Cloaks.
“Since breaking through with 2014’s debut album Pixel Wave Embrace, Yama has been one of the key electronic artists combining electronic music with ambient - with a fragile sound equally inspired by grime, new age cassette music, video game soundtracks and techno.
Despite being his first release, Pixel Wave Embrace became a cult classic - quietly but notably influential on the artists around him and further afield. Yama has continued to spread his influence since, soundtracking an advert by Supreme, providing the music for a short film by Oliver Payne (work shown at MoMA, The Serpentine, The Tate, Whitechapel Gallery and more) and teaming up with Mr. Mitch as Yaroze Dream Suite. He’s become a key part of this label, performing at both our recent Boiler Rooms and most of our shows - we couldn’t picture Local Action without him. Last year we released his second album, the colder, less inviting Project Nautilus.
Earlier this year, Yama was commissioned to create music for a spa in Europe. These commissions eventually developed into a full album’s worth of material, collected and fleshed out here to create his most blissful, beatless record to date.”
The Swedish producer gets under the skin with his trippy burner, Wall To Wall
Sustaining the gauzier textures and feel into the Shxcxchcxsh-alike tones of Private Life, and knuckling down to tuffer hydraulics with #demand, before sloping away on the slow, depressed noise techno push of Front Row (The Game). It’s maybe not what you might expect, and in the best way.
Umor Rex saddle up a session of dusty modular kosmische from Phantom Horse, paying homage to the original templates of Cluster/Harmonia and the rhythmelodic patterning of Moondog in five horizon-scanning variations. Best checked for the alien tone of Always Too Late (Reprise) or the wickedly curdled, keening synth discord of Skeptical Island, and its giddy resolution.
“Packed in their distinct homelike, warm sound, Phantom Horse effortlessly follow their path to find a melancholic playfulness in the heart of ancient machines. Conjuring the picture of transmogrified humanoid characters, modular and analogue synthesizers, antique drum machines, e-pianos, guitar, tape effects and various percussion devices create a comforting condition that involves the listener in some analogue computer game for a lost jazz world. Their approach on widespread compositions shows an elaborated vigor, an earnest love for slowly evolving melodies. Phantom Horse yet never fail to step on bridges that link the different subspecies of non-academic minimal music – from kraut to Mr. Eno and retour on detour. With “Different Forces”, Ulf Schütte and Niklas Dommaschk, whose names might be familiar to those in the know, provide their fast motion picture soundtrack for the genesis of a desert or whatever – if you listen carefully, different worlds will come into being.”
Big-eared, subversive collagists Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) and Mark Gergis (Porest) ov Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace share the latest, brilliant split slab on Discrepant; presenting two extended pieces originally aired as part of WMFU’s OPTIMIZED!, a week-long selection of shows programmed by Bennett DURING JUNE, 2016.
Both artists turn in sterling material, but Mark Gergis’ turn as Porest is a seriously big attraction. Recorded “on-location” between 1988 and Jan-Feb 2016, and incorporating contributions by Paul Staufenbiel and Michael Darr, Porest “unveils recordings from the covert sector of his archives”, culling material intercepted via “prepared radio” fine-tuned to received what he terms “parallel broadcasting”. We’d take that with a pinch of whatever you use to digest “fake news”, as Gergis and co turn in a frankly hilarious prod at Anglo-American cultural imperialism consisting of pointed cut-ups that show up Cassetteboy as infantile dunces by comparison. The radio jingle recruiting Brooklyn hipsters for ISIS is particularly tangy!
For her part, Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us plays to her much-loved, archaic english eccentric side with All On A Beautiful Day, trawling/trolling dippy soundtrack music, classic pop and sonic cultural ephemera in her gently disorienting, merry-go-round way.
Editions Mego present Ivan Pavlov’s highly personalised songbook, CoHgs (pronounced songs, like his name in cyrillic is said; Son) raiding more than 20 years of work prism-pushing work with everyone from Coil to Ann Demeulemeester and Little Annie. As a showcase of his collaborative work, it’s maybe a bit weird that there’s nowt from one of our personal faves, CoH Plays Cosey, but we’re sure there’s some reason for that. And ironically enough the best track, Fffetish - from his Love Uncut for Coil’s Eskaton label - is actually a collaboration with his own alter-ego, Frankie Gothard, on vocals.
“The ongoing relationship between Editions Mego and COH continues with this special collection of works made by COH over a number of years released on a variety of labels. What brings these works together is the incorporation of vocalists and lyrics. Neatly compiled here, a diverse pool of vocalists elevate the otherwise instrumental works of COH ( Ivan Pavlov) into worlds of narrative, the human and the haunted.
Little Annie brings her sly subversive cabaret style to one of the works whilst delivering an intense lkist of daily activities on another whereas Peter ,Sleazy' Christopherson conjures a world beyond our own with his cracked spectral delivery interpreting Pavlov's disembodied electronics. I wrap my last kiss in a bandage… I send you this message.
Frankie Gothard provides classic distorted industrial swagger to the proto-disco FFFETISH where LOVE'S SEPTIC DOMAIN (feat. John Balance & Louise Weasel) screams from the abyss of dirty hospitals; As starlit and damaged as any of the classic Balance deliveries. A previously unreleased work featuring the renowned fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester skips along a metronomic beat whilst the voice lays out dry settings and instruction. Elsewhere Noriko Taguchi embeds a fragile sensibility to a music box melody whilst Anna Yamada's collaboration results in an exquisite blend of disorientating pop.
The versatility of Pavlov's practice is on display as proto disco, industrial simulation and pop all come together with the vocalists presenting a wide range of human function, from the absurd to the mundane to world's unknown.”
A new album from Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius
It comes as quite some relief to hear that after all these years away from the studio Cluster still sound like Cluster. Divided into seventeen miniatures, this latest collection explores synthesis and electronically treated sound from much the same perspective as the band's classic material. Of course, the overall sound has a rather different finish to it - much of the equipment sounds different and the production is crisp and modern - but in the soundscaping of 'Putoil' and 'Ymstrob', the low-end surges of 'Xanesra' or the stuttering glitch-dub of 'Na Ernel' you can still hear that Roedelius/Moebius magic at work. Inevitably, Qua could never sound as innovative as some of its estimable predecessors, but it's certainly worthy of the Cluster name, and that's surely a high enough accolade in itself.
Craig Clouse’s restless Shit & Shine plop another steamer for 2017 after already shredding our guts to bits with Some People Really Know How To Live and the raucous Total $hit.
This time they return to Rocket Recordings, site of their great split with Gnod in 2012, for a three part dirty protest against boredom, corralling samples from The Fast Show with grinding noise techno rhythms and amorphous distortion in the destructive slog of That’s Enough, before Simon Cowell and a feisty Pop Idol contestant open up the acidic wormhole of The Worst, and I Like You betty launches a spring loaded sort of hardstep D&B noise assault.
Another gem from the small yet significant Strata catalogue. A precursor to New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s Strata Records was founded in the late 1960s by former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox. Starting life as a music-led community organisation, coffee shop studio and venue, Strata released only a few titles as a record label, gaining the imprint a cult following among record collectors and jazz lovers across the globe.
"Possibly the best known of Strata’s releases, The Lyman Woodard Organization’s ‘Saturday Night Special’ is rightly heralded as a jazz fusion classic. Recorded in 1975, ‘Saturday Night Special’ features organ, electric piano and Mellotron by bandleader Lyman Woodard alongside guitar and bass by Ron English, with drums and percussion by Leonard King, Bud Spangler & Lorenzo "Mr. Rhythm" Brown respectively. Despite the fairly sparse instrumentation, ‘Saturday Night Special’ lays down an impressive wall of sound, powerfully atmospheric in its almost low-fi aesthetic. Hinting at more traditional jazz, rhythm & blues, afrocuban styles and more, the uniqueness of this album is surely in its feel: summoning up images of a vast industrial landscape, assembly lines and urban decay. In other words, this record sounds like Detroit.
No great album artwork is complete without a good story to match, and ‘Saturday Night Special’ does not disappoint. Snapped by photographer and political activist Leni Sinclair (responsible for seminal pictures of Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and John Coltrane and many others), the cover image shows the contents of Lyman Woodard’s pockets placed on the hotel bed after a show: cigarette papers, cash and a pistol.
Following Woodard’s death in 2009, this incredible album was reissued in highly limited numbers by Wax Poetics; now just as hard to come by as the original pressings. It’s our pleasure to make this important and influential chapter in the story of contemporary jazz available on vinyl once again."
The Body and Full of Hell are both unique and influential forces in heavy music.
"Both artists welcome challenges and eschew self-promotion. Each artist seems driven to take risks and push boundaries of what is considered heavy. A clear example being that on recent tours The Body have performed without any live guitar or drums. Both artists enjoy the creative growth and music and good times that come out of collaborations. Each has collaborated often with other unique but like-minded musicians such as Thou, The Haxan Cloak, Krieg, Merzbow, The Bug and the list goes on. Despite their obvious differences in songwriting, The Body and Full of Hell are unified by their shared aesthetic, catharsis through the manipulation of emotions transformed by visceral noise and fueled by an inescapable sense of dread. They have returned to collaborate again not because of their commonalities but because of their differences and what those differences yield in performance. With Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light, The Body & Full of Hell have integrated a love for electronic noisescapes with abrasive, precise sonic assaults into a sound unlike anything either has produced before.
Written and recorded in one week at Machines with Magnets in Providence, the music of Ascending draws from unexpected sources such as reggaetón and jungle (“Master’s Story”). There are some familiar guests to The Body fans, namely vocalist Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir) and Ben Eberle (Sandworm), as well as first-time collaborator drummer Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt, Black Pus), whom both bands share a strong aesthetic of individualism. Samples, synth, saxophone, and a drum orchestra all throb, and sputter, coagulating under the weight of the two bands. Programmed drum patterns and loops taking cues from hip hop are bent and twisted throughout, flawlessly emboldening the distortion drenched guitars and howling vocals. Each element, though meticulously crafted, is visceral, as the exhilaration of improvisation has not been curtailed by editing.
Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light casts aside the dogmas of heavy music. Extremity in The Body & Full of Hell’s music is not based on macho musings or competitive trendiness, but rather is an integral tool to exploring the anxieties of modern life and the bridges between personal and political strife. As leading voices in DIY and underground music communities, The Body & Full of Hell, along with peers such as Thou, are expanding the possibilities of extreme music by shaping worlds of sound with a palette of diverse influences seldom seen in “heavy music” today.”
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 first album from Mark Stewart’s Claro Intelecto in five years is an unpredictable yet typically emotive collection bearing all the hallmarks of his sound, from crushing bass weight to heart-grabbing moments of elegiac beauty - but with new avenues into more experimental and freeform sounds. Killer album this...
Stewart's clearly been saving the best results of his studio time for this baker’s dozen of skudgy bangers and icy electronica, rendering a full spectrum of his style between the industrialised Art Of Noise styles on Eye Spy, the Raster-Noton-meets-Actress squeeeeze in Mr Stewart, something like a raging take on Mr. Oizo with Guardian Angel, and the trademark warehouse pressure of Amino Acid.
Two birds, one stone: BAT brings his Excavated Tapes 1992-1999 to a close with Vol.3, which also appears as the last release on Astro:Dynamics, who’ve delivered some choice releases from 1991, Samoyed, Dynooo and El Kid/Sam Kidel in their seven years of activity.
They’ve clearly saved BAT’s best for last with six of his quietest, seductively uncertain hardware improvisations, covering Actress-gone-Memphis knocks in HiFi 120 Side A CJa, thru to barely-there, Bellows-style crackle in Lesson 15 Side A Chmycncrt, the fractured ambient crumbs of Voice Thing Side A Crck, and a lushly knotted, curdled dub chords in 94 Side A Twentyish.
Toodle pip, Astro:Dynamics. Was lovely listening to ya.
David Sheppard returns with his second Snow Palms album, Origin and Echo. Two years in the making, it builds on the foundations of its predecessor, 'Intervals' with a heavy quotient of metallophones, glockenspiels and marimbas at its core, but largely eschews the latter’s chamber arrangements in favour of soaring synth-scapes and a palette of spectral ambient and electronic textures.
"Despite that, 'Origin and Echo' is a more performative record than was Intervals, its eleven organic, kinetic pieces meticulously constructed by David Sheppard from initial percussive skeletons largely essayed instinctively, in free time, without click-tracks and with almost no guitar. The album is loosely predicated on themes of mirroring and rebounding, whether physical or metaphorical, inspired by everything from the gravity-defying parabolas of space flight to patterns of human migration and feelings of déjà vu summoned by nostalgic journeys.
While the album is mostly the work of David Sheppard working alone or in tandem with producer Giles Barrett, it also features cameos from previous Snow Palms collaborator Christopher Leary (synthesisers), alongside Emma Winston (Omnichord), Lauri Wuolio (cupola drum) and Village Green label-mate Angèle David-Guillou (keyboards)."
Burial cements his busiest year on record with Pre Dawn/Indoors, forming a rare moonlight session away from Hyperdub for Boddika’s Nonplus.
This is Burial as warehouse shadow dancer, properly committed to the heavy hours of the rave. Pre Dawn rolls out at 140bpm with something like Tango & Ratty’s “lost” garage project, as heard under a corrugated roof beaten by acid rain. The first breakdown could have feasibly appeared on some Untrue cut, while the final passage of soul-smacking pads and distant gabber kicks delivers the classic Bevan shiver.
Indoors is perhaps meant to be what’s behind those booming kicks, on the other side of the door. Initially, furtively elegiac, it comes off as the more hardcore of the two thanks to a nagging vocal and marching, technoid rhythm, so vividly evocative of a steaming, classic rave in full rush that it’s no wonder Burial doesn’t bother with promo videos.
Featuring Flowdan and Killa P / Irah, The Bug releases a new big hittin’ double header. Following last years D Double E / Riko Dan face-off, ‘Box’ / ‘Iceman’ - The Bug has invited Flowdan, and Killa P & Irah to get grimey on their respective Riddims.
"'Bad’ sees both Flowdan and The Bug stretching their parameters and turning up the heat, with Flowdan summoning a fresh singjay style, the most glaring indication of his fam's Jamaican roots as he echoes Cham's classic 'Ghetto Story' with his intimate tale of growing up in "East London". The Bug also unusually constructed the whole Riddim from the manipulated layering of a single Soviet drum machine, tweaked and drenched in FX til' it rumbled heavily.
'Get Out The Way' is the first collab The Bug has conducted with Killa P since the mighty ‘Skeng’, with Killa additionally inviting Irah, from his Killaz Army crew, along for the ride. Built on The Bug's love of the Junglist / Dillinja inspired Reese bassline, it's a saw tooth exercise in dancefloor destruction, as the two MCs get lethal with the threats and intimidation.
Both tracks are already receiving some heavy dubplate slayin', with the likes of Mala, Kahn, Spooky, Pinch and Mumdance all smashing them in their sets. ‘Bad’ has already been chosen by Elijah (of Elijah & Skilliam / Butterz) as one of his Grime tunes of the year."
Hyperdub make their first ever reissue foray with Diggin In The Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music (Original Game Soundtrack), presenting the premiere release of all the material beyond their original cartridge homes.
The collection is a partner piece to the RBMA documentary series of the same name, researched, written and co-directed by Nick Dwyer and Kode9, the latter of whom is well known as a total fiend for vintage computer games and sino-futurism.
For anyone with a sweet, 8-bit tooth, this is a goldmine of goodies; packing in 34 brief bursts of hyper-coloured energy with not a millisecond or bit spared from future baroque complexity or funk between the cascading arpeggios of Konami Kukeiha Club’s BGM 3 (Motocross Maniacs), the darkside Carpenter style grind of An-Un ‘Ominous Clouds’ (Xak II) or the squirming techno-phonk of Hiroyuki Kawada’s King Erekiman, and what sounds like an uncanny, early precedent of Kode 9’s own sound in Tadahiro Nitta’s Metal Area.
For anyone intrigued by the roots of modern dance and electronics music, particularly the ‘ardcore continuum and the relationship between Anime, new age electronics and western musics, this one’s a must check!
Strapping EBM techno album from Michel Amato’s The Hacker, including an appearance from his vocal muse Miss Kittin on the darkroom rover, Time X. Make sure to listen out for the drily funked up Complicated Dances and the cold, sexy EBM punch of Camisole Chimique.
“‘Le Théâtre des Opérations’ features 8 new tracks spread evenly across 2×12”s cut at 45rpm for maximum sound quality and DJ utility. The title comes from a metaphysical journal by French-born Canadian science fiction writer Maurice G Dantec. Passionate about avant-garde techno, The Hacker has taken his influences and crafted a potent homage to the power of the synthesizer. Songs veer from gritty, raw EBM to dark, subterranean electro, effortlessly channeling the strains of the Michel’s musical DNA: Front 242, Jeff Mills, Dopplereffekt, Drexciya. The only vocal track features an appearance by longtime friend and collaborator Miss Kittin, named “Time X” after the French science fiction television series Temps X.”
Reissue. Originally released on cassette in 1980.
"Presented by two separate stacks of Cluster recordings - one comprised of their studio work, the other of live performances - an innocent listener might conclude they are the efforts of two completely different artists. This would understandably have been the case in 1980, when the structured, tuneful miniatures of 1979's Großes Wasser and 1981's Curiosum were unlikely bookends to the sprawling electroacoustic abstractions of Live in Vienna.
But as fans of the idiosyncratic duo already knew, Cluster's trajectory was always a restless one - more about disruption than gentle evolution."
Speaker-worrying UK bass ructions from Ikonika, making a devilish foray on DBA Dubs after dispatching Distractions, her 3rd album with Hyperdub, last summer. Features Detroit’s Big Strick on deep, rolling Detroit house remix detail.
Laser-guided to the ‘floor, Ikonika’s OG Oral Suspension sounds out a London-centric house hybrid, pulling together shards of ballroom, grime, and techno into a short of futurist rare groove balancing bolshy rudeness with a freshly buffed, in-the-pocket swagger.
On the remix, Omar-S’ cousin, Big Strick refits the original, soulful chord sequence to a sleek, rolling Motor City chassis underlined with skudgy acid line and puppeteered with pendulous drums that work a treat.
Searing, panic-on-the-space-station techno from Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell and David Sumner (Function) aka LSD for the purposes of their Ostgut-Ton debut.
They kick us head-first down the wormhole with Process 1, then blind with the needling harmonic geometries of Process 2, and really push out into psychedelic terrain on the extended Process 3 with a subtle segue from panic stations to pensive tranquility and out into fathomless, colder dimensions.
Collecting Loft’s Heffalump / I Am Buoyant one-two for Astral Plane Recordings, and corresponding remixes by Acre, Szare, Chants and Alis.
Tipped by everyone from Mixmag to RA, who named Heffalump their #8 best track of 2016, it’s become something of Joel Sinclair aka Loft’s calling card; a subtly diffracted slice of sub-aquatic/outer-space club music riddled with palpitating drums and under an amorphous pressure system precipitating whirligig trance coda by the track’s end. I AM Buoyant is an entirely new production, locking into weightless club styles with fractious breakbeat tessellations that intersect B-More, UK rufige and Jersey styles in a similar way to Millie & Andrea’s, but with a more melodramatic flourish.
Acre rudes up I Am Buoyant with flintier jungle breaks, salty noise and pitching, seasick dynamic; Szare pinches Heffalump to a strobing flow of industrial breaks and worksite clangour a la Mumdance & Logos bangers; and Alis impresses with a soaring, weightless remix rendering of Heffalumpi.
Belgium’s Obsequies file in line with J.G. Biberkopf, d’Eon, v1984 and Jlin to present their captivating futurist visions on Kuedo’s Knives label.
Organn is Obsequies’ fully formed but suggestively sparse debut release. Taking cues from Isidore-Lucien Ducasse’s surrealist touchstone, Les Chants de Maldorer, the EP unfolds a sort of lucid dream infiltrated by noirish sci-fi voices and framed within extreme, morphing sound sphere that expands and contracts from vast, echoic space to visceral chromatic pinches in its 30 minute lifespan.
Grace lifts off with a freeform elegance, pirouetting between steepled chords, fragments of cafe conversation and glitching Raster-Noton electronics recalling Ryoji Ikeda, before swan-diving into the upended post-techno physics of Languish and something recalling TCF or Obsequies’ fellow belgian artist Hiele in the fast-fwd jungliest rushes of Cell.
Asthme is a proprioception-baffling display of dynamic sound design clashing minimalist classical keys and cyber-pop urges, while Consumed fulminates a kind of black metal candescence and noise intensity, leaving us spinning in air with the weightless majesty of But Beautiful, buffeted by emulated elements and glittering with starlight.
White Punks on E’ is the taste of bike chains rubbing against black leather. Heavy cast iron forged across studs and hot-wired organs. The howls from blazed skull hordes jacked up to distortion engines broadcasting into neglected cellar units.
|It's shrill echoes from the parking lot carried along the financial district, overturning lobotomised business lunches, attache cases and $50 slick-backs. Nasty club rock fed through biohazard cassettes, doom arcades, sabres and scorpion tattoos - new blood to rock the neighbourhood and a pleasure to welcome Stratton into the fold."
Joy Orbison steps into the Selectors role for Dekmantel, rustling up a mixed bag of vibes covering OG ‘80s street soul, its contemporary antecedents, and all stripes of house, jungle and techno variations between.
Toyin Agbetu’s bubbling, rubbery soul bomb Heartbreaker is a big highlight, whose vibes inform the rest of the set, from Mustafa Ali’s (NAD) early techno ace Strive (Survive Mix) and R Solution’s rugged and rare proto-hardcore tug, Skinny Long Git, thru to Source Direct aka Oblivion’s self-explanatory jungle missive, Lush, forward thru to late ‘90s garage and techno variants such as Stylistic’s People and Artwork’s turn as Santos Rodriguez, a rare Bitstream number, JP Buckle’s Rephlexian duty One For Da Laydeez, and an up-to-the-second brief by Klein.
Cheap veteran Erdem Tunakan (iO/Sluts’n’Strings & 909) meets whippersnapper Felix Benedikt aka Alpha Tracks for a pacy dose of Viennese techno
Hitting square between the eyes of old school trance and uptempo Rob Hood Detroit styles. Check for highlights in the steaming momentum of Back From US and Prêt-à-Porter or the hypnotic trance flights of Death Disco and Out Of The Rough.
Weightless, plasmic digital dubs from a Bahamian character called Double Pelican Man
Apparently crafted with no analog equipment in 2013, now dispatched by Galcher Lustwerk’s label. Lean, off-kilter gear for fans of Jay Glass Dubs or Jasss.
Italy’s DJ Plant Texture runs the claggy house and jungle-juke jams for UTTU, strengthened with a trio of Simoncino remixes.
Lloyd Goes To Mars, or LGTM herein, comes in a fidgety, warped RaveONine mix for the bumping house heads, before bifurcating into a rushing’ Jungle Mix and the collapsed breaks of his Slow08 Mix on the front.
Simoncino takes the B-side with three deeper acid rubs, at best in the ruddy 303s and foliation pads of the remix original, and also included as a Reese-styled deep Dub and rugged Bonus Beat.
Night-hunting, Carpenter-inspired aces by the highly active producer and in-demand remixer from London.
Four shady missions, stalking a dark alley of 100bpm hero chug in Carla Is Typing a Message and booting open the club doors with grimacing EBM momentum and deliciously moody synth progressions in Court Street Shuffle.
Micky's Theme follows like some escapee from Legowelt's dungeon, and the title cut treads furtively to an ambiguous, cinematic conclusion.
Includes interviews with DVA Damas, Farai, Laurel Halo, Mechatok, Parrish Smith, Steve Hauschildt, portraits on Golden Pudel’s/VIS’ Nina as well as Evil Grimace & Von Bikräv from Casual Gabberz and essays on “Late-Phase Identity Politics” (with Terre Thaemlitz) and “A Short History of the Aesthetics of Excess in Hip Hop
"To what extent can we imagine community, exchange, and collective projects that no longer fall back on the dominant narratives of nation, fatherland, and family? This is the question posed by Terre Thaemlitz in a detailed exchange featured in the 16th edition of zweikommasieben.
"Throughout the new issue of the magazine, similar questions are asked; the artists and musicians featured seem to be looking for a progressive reaction to the feeling of disintegration that we are not only witnessing in the larger society but in the music scene as well.
The questions are subliminally present in the contribution about the independent collective and venue called Macao, or in interviews with musicians such as NON’s Farai or American experimentalist Steve Hauschildt. The answers often remain ambivalent; ultimately there won’t be any utopias. “There’s a sun in the sky,” as Laurel Halo points out in the magazine, “but it’s burning ever hotter.”
The mighty Black Zone Myth Chant returns with a new LP of Chopped and Screwed electronics via deep space New Age for Low Jack and Jean Carval’s Gravats label...
Max P, aka Black Zone Myth Chant, presents the project’s most adventurous and urgent despatch yet, dosing with the unfathomably layered and immersive Feng Shen. What was initially intended as a one-away project has now morphed into something powerfully undefinable and strangely affective over the course of two albums, Straight Cassette and Mane Thecel Phares, an EP and a mixtape, realising something of a butterfly effect feedback between the gestures of his strangely formed objects and their dilated reception by listeners around the world.
Over the course of eight tracks he renders a phenomenal space where he can best describe the paradoxical, impossible physics of a psychedelic soul, by toying with the listener’s gauge of anticipation, perspective and temporality with a poetic clash of ideas lent from chopped & screwed hip hop and liminal club musics.
It’s music which exists in two states at once, driving yet floating, as with the pull and push of pitched down voices and rolling rhythms in Their Love For You, or with impenetrable density of clarity in the layered dimensions of Kubara, following a line that binds kosmische and dancehall in Under Protest/Telos, to the polymetric harmonic swirl of War Paint (DAPL Resistance), and connects the heat-seeking techno impulses of Ideas In Action, to the centre-less ambient panorama of Feng Jing.
Facsimile reissue reproduction of the Norwegian-born, Australian-based composer’s 3rd LP
A collection of jazz soundtracks taken from 1960s Australian documentary and public information films. Originally released in 1967, some six years prior to Libaek’s widely regarded Inner Space soundtrack, which was most recently used in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Equiknoxx’s debut album proper, following the hugely acclaimed 'Bird Sound Power' (Number 2 in both RA and FACT albums of the year 2016), featuring 13 brand new nuggets recorded over the last 12 months and featuring darker, more psychedelic, starkly dubbed perspectives on up-to-the-second dancehall. Well worth checking out if you’re into anything from Lenky to Haruomi Hosono, RZA to Errorsmith...!
Colón Man is the exceptional debut album proper by visionary Jamaican dancehall artists Gavin Blair (Gavsborg) and Jordan Chung (Time Cow) plus their extended crew, aka Equiknoxx - once again for Demdike Stare’s DDS label. Where their widely acclaimed Bird Sound Power primer compilation, issued on DDS in 2016, brought the rest of the world up to speed with the music produced between late ‘00s and 2015, their first album now brings a 2020 sound into sharp, technoid focus thru a baker’s dozen steely, heat-seeking riddims galvanised with clinical electronics and a Midas Touch approach to sampling.
The record’s title, Cólon Man refers to a Jamaican tale (and song) about a mysterious character, whom, like Marcus Garvey, was one of over 100,000 Jamaicans who returned from working in Cólon on completion of the Panama Canal - regarded among the greatest feats of engineering known to humankind, physically connecting the greatest bodies of water on the planet. In context of the album, Gavsborg and Timecow take the story as a metaphorical foundational for a roots and future sound, acknowledging the vital groundwork of previous generations of producers, whilst soundly contextualising their mutant new advancements of Jamaican Dancehall.
Recorded between December 2016 and June 2017, Colón Man forms a stark, stripped down and conceptually blinding record. In tone and texture, the duo favour far colder, more abstract sounds, crucially lit up with sparingly used samples that lend the record its dissonant, harmonic colour and bittersweet hooks, stylishly feeding forward their playfully weird sense of humour into a rugged, nutty and even noisily imagineered set.
Bookended by the gauzy, Detroit-compatible synth looks and acid hall grind of Kareece Put Some Some Thread In A Zip Lock, and the mesh of Motor City sleekness with Far Eastern strings on Waterfalls In Ocho Rios, they distill and diversify their bonds in myriad ways across the album. There’s a killer dancehall/trap hybrid in the percolate chorales and man trills of Plantain Porridge, along with the secretive dub-into-dancehall transfusion of Addis Pablo’s melodica in the belly rolling Melodica Badness, while Ceremonial Eating Dog and the hyaline designs of We Miss You Little Joe - a tribute to their pal Alty Nunes - are arguably the most fwd Jamaican riddims you’ll hear in 2017, and Enter A Raffle… Win A Falafel uncannily recalls the clockwork mechanics of Haruomi Hosono’s Alternative 3, from his S-F-X  LP.
No matter what electronic box or boxes you subscribe to, Colón Man is a hugely inventive, compelling album for the ages, a remarkable iteration of Black Secret Technology for 2017 and far beyond.
Next in the 1st ever American reissues of early Battiato LPs, Pollution  renders the Italian answer to Brian Eno taking prescient inspiration from climate change for a 2nd solo LP of kosmiche flights helmed by folk-rock instrumentation and gilded with VCS3 synthesiser. An unparalleled pop star and famed experimentalist in his homeland, Battiato is beloved by everyone from Nico Vascellari (Ninos Du Brasil) to Lorenzo Senni and prog fans worldwide. These reissues should spread that love farther.
Pollution is more baroque, steepled than its breezier predecessor, Fetus. It finds Battiato getting better to grasps with his favoured synthesiser, meshed with his plaintive, unsentimental vocals in a brace of intricately woven arrangements ranging from portentous to ecstatic examples of his famous and widely admired sound, even including some delicious downstrokes of esoteric psych-soul vibes along with the usual folk inflections.
“Pollution from 1972 is the captivating follow-up to Fetus. Like its predecessor, the album features Baroque textures, motorik rhythms, weird tape effects and Battiato's perfectly oblique vocals. Upon hearing Pollution, Frank Zappa joyfully proclaimed it "genius."
While Battiato's core group of collaborators remains largely the same as on his debut, this phenomenal band (joined by an eighteen-year-old Roberto Cacciapaglia on keys) appears even more in the foreground on Pollution. Out of the Ash Ra Tempel-like riffs and urgent guitar strumming emerge hypnotic grooves and cinematic flourishes, suggesting a futuristic meeting point between Stereolab and Ennio Morricone.
Dedicated to the Centro Internazionale Studi Magnetici, Pollution touches on themes of environmental catastrophe. Futurist allusions seep in through eccentric lyrics (at times sung backwards) about hydraulics, magnetic fields, etc., yet listeners don't need to speak the artist's language to grasp his melancholy vision. With Pollution, Battiato solidifies not only his cult figure status, but also many of his forward-thinking ideas on rock 'n' roll.”