Low Jack, Clara!, David Coquelin (DJ David Goblin) and the other nutters at PRR! PRR! throw down a glut of party trax on the 2nd Battle Breaks’ pack
Leading on from their feral ‘Ork Muzik’ CD, the crew spray pure bullets between the likes of Keiska’s reggaeton flip of The Prodigy (didn’t Endgame do this already?), and The Hobbeats’ skizzo hardcore in ‘Neighbourhood Joyride’, rounding up a cheeky minimix of legendary Euro label ‘ZYX’ from DJ Wolfi Bernreuther alongside a collage of ‘Reggaeton Signatures’ patched together by Clara! & DJ Coquelin, and the crunchy bogle of Low Jack a.k.a. B-Ball Joints’ ‘Dumb Reggae Rock Joint’.
Pioneering french electro-acoustic research group INA-GRM survey 70 years of groundbreaking electronic composition highlighting similarities and distance travelled since the late 1940s
The 9 pieces range from a 1949 work by Pierre Henry, who co-founded the GRMC (Groupe de recherché de musique concrète) with Pierre Schaeffer, thru to the spellbinding polymetric percussion of Jean Schwarz’s ‘Cloches’ , a sweltering psychedelic workout in Bernard Parmegiani’s ‘Kaleidoscope II (Issu de pour en finer aver le pouvoir d’orphee)’ , the playful pulses of François Bayle’s ‘Polyrythmie (Issu de vibrations composées)’  - a big look for Florian Hecker fans - and, most recently, the psych-pop of ‘Iraq Song’ from Christan Zanési, Fennesz & Mika Vainio’s ‘GRM Experience’ album.
The Firecracker clan gather round to tell the tale of ‘The Sorrow of Derdriu’, an ancient gaelic myth predating the ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley’, featuring smoky, psychedelic music from Lord of the Isles, Hoch Ma Toch, and Other Lands.
On the surface a tragic tale of a love triangle between a king, a young girl, and her suitor, the myth of ‘The Sorrow of Derdriu’ is also a metaphor for matters of national sovereignty, a concept sorely close to the hearts of folk in Scotland and Ireland right now. While that idea is never made explicit in the music, there’s an earthily rich and ancient sense of soul to Mac-Talla Nan Creag’s sounds and arrangements that suggest, whilst we might have hand-spinners and perfectly bevelled phones in our hands, not so much has changed over the past 2500 years.
Stemming from 2015’s ‘Mac-Talla Nan Creag’ compilation of works by Drew Wright (Hoch Ma Toch), Neil McDonald (LOTI), and Gavin Sutherland (Fudge Fingas, Other Lands), they’re now a group in their own respect, alchemising elements of instrumental folk and new age synth musics into their own strains of gaelic songcraft and impressionistic narration. In other hands this record could have come out like a string of cheesy cliches sounding like a 2-bit documentary soundtrack for the History Channel, but this bunch of Detroit, Dub, Jazz, folk and electronica fiends skilfully draw on a broad collective knowledge to beautifully and immersively carry gaelic storytelling traditions into the modern day. Gorgeous silk screened packaging too.
A wonderful electronic obscurity from early ‘90s Italy lands on vinyl for the first time, sounding like a devilish prototype of Foodman or Max D exploits from 25 years later...
Call it MIDI-jazz, 16-bit boogie, or cubist soul, whatever, Clarence Setí’s sound is like interstellar lounge music imagined by a plugged-in new age dreamer. It’s alive with hyper-colourful melodies and unconventional rhythms, like a band of well oiled robots in turtle necks and berets jamming in the background of a Luc Besson flick, or scoring an Anime about romance between a humanoid and extra terrestrial.
Bonkers and charming in equal measures.
‘The Possessor Possesses Nothing’ is the steely, cinematic, sci-fi-styled new album by Sheela Rahman’s Xosar. It’s her 2nd (or 5th, if including self-released LPs) album and her most impressive, muscular and noisily psychedelic blend of Italo, techno, and industrial music
Since the start of this decade Xosar has toured the houses of Rush Hour, Pinkman, and Black Opal before arriving with Bedouin Records. She clearly feels comfortable in her new home to test out a more abrasive and even apocalyptic sound, resulting in some mighty highlights between her EBM girder ‘Heavens Gate’, the epic synth themes of ‘Transmogrification’ and ‘The Video’, and the wind tunnel disco drag of ‘Fantasmagoria’ and ‘Vibration Acceleration’, or the virulent writhe and hardcore pressure of ‘Pikachu Police State’.
Shed beats up down his melodic, early STP cut in breakbeat modes as Panamax and Seelow
First arriving on the STP 12” in 2007 ahead of his seminal ’Shedding The Past’ album, ‘The Fall’ is a highlight of Shed’s take on classic, mid ‘90s melodic Detroit techno.
These new remixes resplice that vibe with inspiration from early ‘90s Detroit hardcore and late ‘90s UK broken beats, wound up with swingeing torque in the tussling drums and depth charge bass of his Panamax remix, and rolling like a Gary’d to the eyeballs KMS or 69 joint in the Seelow remix.
Muscovite dance music maverick Pavel Milyakov (Buttechno) plays to his avant-garde instincts on a strong album of haunted Soviet synth themes for Berceuse Heroique.
‘La Maison De La Mort’ presents the widest angled definition of Pavel Milyakov’s music since he emerged in the middle of this decade with a self-released string of cult records. Where those early 12”s and follow-ups for Collapsing Market, City-2 St. Giga, TTT and Cititrax veered between mutant dance music, ambient asides and psych rock dérives, his new album is similarly prone to diversity of stricture and feel, but it’s also his most closely themed set to date.
The array of modular misshapes, post-industrial noise and spectral electronics in ‘La Maison De La Mort’ conjure imagery connoting forests of concrete tower blocks, numb faces and spasms of cold Russian spirit that keenly lend themselves to comparison with a soundtrack for an unmade Tarvoksky or some poverty porn documentary like Vice’s ‘Krokodil Tears’.
Breaking down into two distinct sections, the first plate obliquely sets the scene with a more fractious push and pull of cold, angular modular twangs and asymmetric rhythms, leading into starkly compelling dimensions with pieces like ‘FFF’ and the clangorous ‘GF-1’ subsiding into frazzled-nerve electro on ‘Synthetics’. By contrast, the 2nd plate is almost warm, evoking a more romantic sci-fi aesthetic thru the furtive ‘90s sci-fi feel of side C’s ‘Moscow Ambience’, ‘Octa Amb Plucks’, and ‘Moon Pad’, and side D’s beautifully strung-out ‘Flights’.
Fractured, fizzing and angular intersections of ambient-pop vocals, subtly textured electronica and processed instrumentation with a conceptual bent exploring the semantics of sound/language
“Martina Lussi’s second album fuses together disparate sound sources with a disorienting quality that reflects the modern climate of dispersion and distraction. The Lucerne, Switzerland-based sound artist released her debut album ‘Selected Ambient’ on Hallow Ground in 2017, and now comes to Latency with a bold new set of themes and processes.
The range of tools at her disposal spans field recordings, processed instrumentation, synthesised elements and snatches of human expression. The guitar is a recurring figure, subjected to a variety of treatments from heavy, sustained distortion to clean, pealing notes. Elsewhere the sound of sports crowds and choral singing merge, and patient beds of drones and noise melt into the sounds of industry and mechanics. The track titles manifest as a compositional game of deception complete with innuendos, empty phrases and claims – flirtations with perfume names and ironic assertions.
From the volatile geopolitical climate to the changing nature of music consumption in the face of streaming and digital access, ‘Diffusion is a Force’ is a reflection on fractured times where familiar modes and models change their meaning with the ever-quickening pace of communication.”
An epic marriage made in synth heaven, Johnny Jewel reworks classics from Zola Jesus’ 10 year wide catalogue of gothic synth-pop for Sacred Bones, jointly released with Italians Do It Better to coincide with appearance of ‘Wiseblood (Johnny Jewel remix)’ in the new Steve Carrell vehicle
“This EP by Zola Jesus sees Nika Roza Danilova revisiting a pair of songs from her 2017 album, Okovi, alongside prolific composer and musician Johnny Jewel. In a nod to the maxi singles of the 1980s, the album features multiple remixed versions of the two songs, "Ash to Bone" and "Wiseblood." The track "Wiseblood (Johnny Jewel Remix)" is featured in the soundtrack to the film Beautiful Boy, directed by Felix Van Groeningen and starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell.”
James Blake does melancholy luxe on his 4th album, singing about the tribulations of life in LA over properly American hip-hop/R&B-styled productions featuring guest spots from Travis Scott, Rosalía, André 3000, Moses Sumney and Metro Boomin
Landing the opposite end of the decade to his debut album, and 10 years since he emerged to acclaim with the post-dubstep-defining debut 12”, ‘Assume Form’ is James Blake’s defining opus. In 12 songs it surely outlines why his services are in demand by everyone from Beyoncé and Jay Z to Kendrick Lamar and Oneohtrix Point Never, with the sort of hook-riddled songwriting that could appeal to the whole nuclear family in a marketing man’s fantasy.
At it’s worst, Blake’s lip-wobbling affectations here sound like folksy whimsy for a teen drama soundtrack or a dating service advert for posh people. But at best, on the smudged dembow drums and glassy baubles of his exquisite ‘Barefoot In The Park’ collaboration with Rosalía, or in the chamber-like mesh of classical keys and minimalist hip hop swing on ‘Where’s The Catch’ feat. André 3000, and the warbling introspection of ‘Don’t Miss It’, or his tender ‘Mile High’ slump with Travis Scott, he’s still the sweetest blue-eyed soul boy on road right now.
One of 2018’s most celebrated sides from hiphop’s experimental/abstract-inclined quarters
Loose and louche one minute, aggy and unhinged the next, invoking the spirit of ODB then scurrying down your lugs like crackbugs, ‘Veteran’ is a fractiously entertaining and inventively expressive album riddled with a red-eyed logic that perhaps makes most sense when consumed with a blunt between your lips.
Christoph De Babalon cuts onto Luke Younger’s Alter with the roiling gloom of ‘Hectic Shakes’, coming in the wake of an operatic link-up with WDIT and the reissue of his gothic jungle opus, ‘If You’re Into, I’m Out of It’, a total classic of its genre.
Intersecting Alter’s wide-ranging tastes from an oblique new angle, ‘Hectic Shakes’ despatches a tempestuous brace of shivering, jabbing and gnashing jungle breaks splayed with Dungeon-style synth motifs in isolationist, cinematic arrangements that fairly fall under Mark Fisher’s idea of a “depressive hedonism”.
Aye, they might not light up the pleasure centres of your average, proper-up-for-it-me raver, but those predisposed to the darkside will surely appreciate the feel of De Babalon’s style most strongly across ‘Hectic Shakes’. From the clash of grand, stygian strings and chattering cenobite breaks in ‘Harakiri’, to the scorched brass fanfare and shadow-dancing ,squat basement impishness of ‘Endless Inside’, and then thru to the pensive poise and acrid synth tone of ‘Raw Mind’, this is prime material for seeing in the end of days, for dancing in the face of annihilation.
Necessary reissue of fiyah South African and Turkish psychedelic jazz funk fusion from 1976, delivered by the ace Matsuli label behind that Ndikho Xaba and The Natives LP
“Matsuli Music is proud to be releasing another forgotten gem of the South African jazz diaspora – the 1976 Istanbul session featuring Johnny Dyani and Okay Temiz fusing deep roots and new routes, integrating folklore and rhythm within an experimental, avant-garde vision of love and life.
Remastered by Frank Merrit at the Carvery, Witchdoctor’s Son is presented as a deluxe gatefold sleeve including new liner notes by Francis Gooding uncovering more of Dyani’s creative collaborations with Temiz. Also included are previously unpublished photographs by Hank O’Neal.
Available for the first time since Yonca Records originally released only 1000 copies in Turkey, this album has remained an elusive and sought after landmark in South African exile Johnny Dyani’s discography.
The recording captures a complex, funky and musically together exploration of folk themes, jazz messages and popular directions. After many years together discovering both South African and Turkish sources, Temiz and Dyani were intimately versed in each other’s traditions. Side one features material arranged by Temiz, and the second has material arranged and composed by Dyani – including a stunning arrangement of Don Cherry’s Elhamdulilhah Marimba with Dyani on piano and voice.”
Contemporary concrète artist Lionel Marchetti plays the world as an instrument in ‘Jeu De Monde’, a marvellous 6 hour suite of 20 multifaceted compositions giving voice to nature in strange, hyperreal ways, and sure to light up followers of Pierre Henry, Bernard Parmegiani, and Michel Chion. Incredible, absorbing listening.
Drawn from long unavailable editions, reworks and previously unreleased pieces realised between 1991-2018, each CD has been designed as “an audio film which tells a full story” in a strong tradition of modern french art music. The set coincidentally marks 25 years since Marchetti’s first works in this field, since when he’s established himself among Europe’s foremost practitioners of the concrète style forged by PIerres Henry and Schaeffer some 40 years prior.
Using an intricate system of synths, analog and digital manipulation, percussion, low fidelity samplers, Revox tape, vocals, prepared piano and field recordings, Marchetti renders a series of audio images, or 3D tapestries that present the world familiar yet warped, emphasising its ephemeral aspects with particular attention paid to highlighting the dark matter or negative space that binds it all together.
It’s an absorbing, labyrinthine listening experience, invoking occult metaphysics with the opening chapter’s sequence between ‘Psychopomps (Piège À Fantômes)’, the viscera of ‘Near Death Experience’, and the canny use of samples of Whitehouse and Pierre henry in the escatological scope of ‘Inferno’, whereas the ‘Natura Morte’ section limns a phantasmic, dreamlike play of nature and body horror sounds, and the ‘Océan (de la fertilté)’ chapter feels like a transmission from J.G. Ballard’s drowned world, where cities have turned into mangroves and the air crackles with comms between psycho pirates and warring survivors of sea level rises.
For anyone with a vivid imagination, this boxset is roughly the same length but infinitely more entertaining than a Netflix gouch out. We definitely know which we’d prefer to do.
Kleft’s Vickie McDonald takes a stance against the club politics of her native Glasgow in ‘H+ Sexualis’, a clutch of banging, killer industrial and techno mutations issued on local label Domestic Exile ahead of their highly anticipated LP edition for Cucina Povera’s ‘Hilja’
“For this record ‘H+ Sexualis’, KLEFT explores the neo-modern space where flesh is left behind. Negotiating, analyzing and tearing to shreds the relationship and balance between flesh and technology. KLEFT’s expansive and palpable sonic offerings delve into themes of transhumanism and body hacking and seep into our collective skin begging the question; can flesh ever be created digitally. Does a lack of physicality alienate human experience in a post transhumanism society? Are we all destined to be skinless yet digitally connected? Will the body become superfluous? Toward "the utopian dream of the hope for a monstrous world without gender," as stated on Donna Haraway’s essay ‘‘A Cyborg Manifesto.
This record transports us to the hyperkinetic mutation scene on the cult cyberpunk film Tetsuo The Iron Man where the organic flesh / mechanical rust of the Iron Man metamorphoses with the Metal Fetishist during the rebirth sequence and we say “LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!’’.”
Indian classical raga meets cool swinging jazz in charming fashion at the hands of Shankar Jaikishan and Rais Khan, 1968; reissued on vinyl for the first time in nearly 50 years!
Expect something familiar, but totally not, and quite different - more playful and light - when compared to the expanding number of American jazzers who were incorporating Indian influences at that time.
The ultimate "Disco House Bomb" from one of the all-time greats, Frank Timm, aka Soundhack, aka one half of Smith N Hack - whose debut album now arrives almost exactly 20 years after his debut 12" was released back in 1999. Could this be one of the decade’s strongest disco/edit sessions? Aye. Funky buggers need apply!
As Sound Hack, Soundstore, Sound Stream, and half of Smith N Hack with Errorsmith, Frank Timm is one of those rare European producers who can cut the mustard with disco edits. But we’re not talking half-arsed loop jobs that trim all the flavour - this guy is an absolute expert at turning old gold into precious new dancefloor gear - just ask any of the Detroit/Chicago legends like Theo Parrish, Anthony Shakir or Carl Craig, who’ve been playing his gear for decades now.
Spelling out a definition of disco that takes Ron Hardy and Boo Williams styles for goalposts, Frank Timm’s music is made purely for the dancefloor. As such it’s always appeared on the DJ’s favoured 12”, but now ‘Soundstream’ clocks up next to his seminal ‘Tribute’ album with Smith N Hack as the most substantial set in his perfectly formed catalogue.
Skipping between butterfly house and jerky disco, ‘Soundstream’ delivers some grade A heaters in the rutting Ron-style jag of ‘Get Down’, and with economically decadent string loops in ‘Spotlight’, while ‘Disco Advisor’ shoots good times from the hip, and the likes of ‘Love Remedy’ and the sexy synth lead of ‘Mercury Mood’ tend to deeper moments in an Ugly Edit manner, and the C-side’s uncredited number pays a knowing nod to Boo Williams and Glen Underground’s Maad classic, ‘Motion Sickness’.
As if we really need to stress it, ’Soundstream’ is 100% killer dancefloor music, no less.
Playful avant racket from Glasgow’s Ailie Ormston. Think Wolf Eyes moving furniture at Russell Haswell’s gaff
“The Sedate / Tony Soprano Fashion Inspo. serves as a solo release from Ailie Ormston of ******** / GUINNESS [Domino Recording Co.]. Comprised of two separate projects, the works coalesce to provide highly surged compositions. The tracks were co-written alongside one drum machine and one synth, embracing elements of chance and coincidence. Writing and recording came simultaneously, a production line of spontaneous melodies with realtime decision making ultimately determining how it sounded, as opposed to preconceived ideas.
Ormston intends to confront the traditions of presenting, performing and digesting music in an attempt to articulate a form of a contemporary condition. She aims to construct a coherent visual language that corresponds to music writing, carrying its ethos into different forms and varying modes of communication.
Side A - 001, 002, 003 and 004 were composed specifically for The Sedate, a work by artists Stasis, developed throughout 2018, concluding as a short film and a performance on a building site in Merchant City, Glasgow. Heavy drums, tiny handbags, choral synths, big earrings, a fight scene, a breather and finally, La Macarena. They are listed here in order of appearance.
Side AA - A32, A18, A67, B12 and B34 were composed in short succession post Side A, collectively known as Tony Soprano Fashion Inspo. Providing increasingly convoluted textures and arching narratives, these tracks are challenging in their multiplicity, with contrapuntal instrumentation being heard simultaneously. Multitasking is encouraged. Physical renditions of each track were realised and presented as an exhibition, An oat latte, but with no image in the foam at Market Gallery, Glasgow. An accompanying text written during this residency can be found alongside the release.”
Overmono’s Poly Kicks fire off a debut shot of scything breakbeat workouts from Glyn Hendry
Playing hard and deft into Tessela and Truss’ rugged rave style, newcomer Hendry banks the splintered 2-step breaks, brute subbass pressure and precipitous breakdown of ‘Escape Club’ on the A-side, before syncing spitting drums and cattle prod stabs into a precision-tooled electro ace on the flip. A promising start…
Reissue of Richard Pinhas’ majestic solo synth mission, out of print on vinyl since 1980, now bundled with a 25 minute bonus track, ‘Wintermusic’. Beautiful, classic, proggy synth music for fans of Vangelis, Cluster, Fripp & Eno, Tangerine Dream
“Originally released in 1979, Iceland is Richard Pinhas’ third solo album and his first following the breakup of Heldon. While moving away from the maximalism of his old band, paring down Heldon's hybrid of otherworldly sci-fi imagery and pummeling psych-prog riffs, the journey through Iceland is decidedly more inward.
Consisting of longer, brooding synth-based pieces as well as short proto-industrial études and interstitial sketches, Iceland features Pinhas’ delay-ridden electric guitar, pulsating machine rhythms and analog synthesizer washes – all vivid in texture and timbre, notwithstanding an undeniably chilling ambience.
This first-time vinyl reissue includes "Wintermusic," an immersive 25-minute bonus track recorded in 1983 and appearing here on vinyl for the first time. Pinhas’ excursions channel the season's stillness and sublimity, its majesty and its threat. Without a doubt, one his finest moments.”
Intimately deep and minimal house shimmies from UK producer Duckett on Facta and Lone’s Wisdom Teeth label
Landing after a canny outing for Berceuse Heroique in 2018, Duckett’s latest follows a heavy-lidded logic between the gently buoyant ambient-house swing of ‘Looking at Mum Objectively’ and the blooming harmonies of ‘Who Needs The Dregs We Should Cut Off Their Legs (And Have Done)’ on the front, with the plunging electro swagger of ’Shoulder of the Hill’ and the jozz-fink of ‘People Are Sick’ on the flip.
Joe D’Amato’s 1979 gorefest Buio Omega (Beyond the Darkness) concerns a local taxidermist Frank and his dead fiancée, unable to cope with his loss he of course digs up his deceased girlfriend and preserves and stuffs her.
"This (obviously) doesn’t sit well with his housekeeper who is secretly in love with Frank, from here on in things get even more bizarre and gruesome as Frank tries to find a replacement for his ex to no avail. As bodies pile up (and get broken down in acid baths) the local police get suspicious and it all comes to a head for Frank and his housekeeper. Buio Omega is an absolutely outrageous slice of Italian sleaze and recommended to those only with the strongest of stomachs!
Goblin supplied the score to Buio Omaga and they really helped elevate the film. Synthesizers soar and drums rattle and the score is a funk filled masterpiece far better than the film probably deserves! We are thrilled to bring the full score on vinyl straight from the original masters and we have loaded it with unreleased tracks/takes & stingers from the AMS/Cinevox vaults!"
In the 15+ years that have elapsed since 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' first shuffled out of his ambrosially dusty speakers, Jan Jelinek's most famous album has acquired an almost mythical status. Originally released via Pole's defunct Scape imprint, it now finds new life via Jelinek's own Faitiche label, for a new generation to marvel at one of the finest examples of loop-based electronic music typical of the early noughties.
Taking what reads like a pretty austere set of ingredients, Jelinek's technique revolves around a trio of elements which consist of second long cuts of 1960's-70's jazz recordings, the loop-finding modulation wheel (do your homework!) and the Moiré effect; albeit rendered in the acoustic as opposed to the image and spectral domains.
If all this sounds a bit academic, be assured that on record it is anything but; as crumbling edifices of mealy rhythms slowly pulse into life and swirl around your head like snow storms clashing with a dust devil. Taking sediments of fathom deep static then skimming the best stuff from the top, Jelinek opens through the dampened echoes of 'Moiré (piano & organ)' wherein a slow-motion thrum of spiraling clicks, rustles and analogue tones conspire to give the impression of recondite perspectives that extend well beyond the constituent elements.
Elsewhere, 'Rocky in the Video Age' instills a gratuitously optimistic blush to the aquatic micro-sound ebb, 'Moiré (Strings)' is a perfect companion to Basinski's disintegrating tape archive, whilst 'Them, Their' represents an aural crease so sleight you can only catch its distinctive gleam from the corner of your eye.
Current 93 coven Tibet & Stapleton unfurl more outtakes from ‘Musical Pumpkin Cottage’ as extended addendum to the ‘Threat Of Memories’ 2LP + 5CD
The 20 year vintage recordings both appear in vinyl for the first time. The A-side’s take on ‘The Dead Side Of The Moon’ uncannily coincides with the Chang’e 4 probe proof that organic material can grow on the moon. The piece itself is remarkably different to the 1996 CD edition, omitting the original’s krautrock freakout finale in favour of a sumptuous sidespin into Indian raga drone, with Tibet’s vocal pitched to childlike tones against a swell of Shruti box and electro-acoustic apparitions.
The B-side’s ‘Frail Albatross’ is effectively a stripped down version of the track ‘DreamBreath’ found on ‘Threat Of Memories’, swiping away Tibet’s vocal but leaving his meditative gasps at the fringes, buffetting the piece’s pulsing axis of Craig Leon-like chromatic chronics and Coil-like electronic gremlins.
‘Wet Will Always Dry ‘is the blistering début album by Blawan. Arriving 8 years after his first move, ‘Fram’ for Hessle Audio - during which time he’s forged the Karenn duo with Pariah, set up his Ternesc label, and played to the biggest crowds of gurners in the world - Blawan’s first LP is a gnashing statement of intent that finds him sticking ever closer to what’s served him well thus far, while also folding in subtle new traces of his own vocals to great effect.
Like the recent Surgeon album, Luminosity Device, Blawan’s first album finds him tactfully in tune with his modular set-up after years of coal-face experimentation. The result is a sound that lies right on the biting point between clarity and distortion, delivering a thrillingly caustic experience for dancers already locked his martial swagger.
That biting point is fully in effect in the hovering search-and-destroy synth tone that snakes around opener Klade, and it continues to defines the albums strongest moments, from the whipsmart mix of T++-alike hydraulics and kinetic lead of Tasser to the virulent, Haswellian snarl and gobble of North, to the stark, skeletal dancer Stell and Kalosi’s napalm burn.
It’s arguably more difficult than ever for a techno artist to eke out their own sound nowadays, but that’s just what Blawan’s done with Wet Will Always Dry. Bravo.
Heart-rending shoegaze entries from the master of rose-tinted but thorny ambient pop hymns, landing smart on the heels of his nostalgic pangs collected in the recent Songs of Remembrance / Songs of Forgiveness LP reissues. The struggle is beautiful and warmly recommended!
Accompanied by the languorous basslines of Drew Piraino on the record’s broadest and most affective pieces, Jefre’s chiming guitars and muffled drums form hymns to rare feels, with the distancing effect of distortion connoting the effect of age, as serene moments appear move ever farther out of reach.
That effect is felt most strongly in the transition of ‘Love’s Refrain’ from something like a crumpled tape recording of shimmering yacht rock thru to its coruscating, noisy finale, and the dense weight of humid air and featherlight chirrups in ‘Little Dear Isle’, while the other side pushes off from the sore synth chorale of ‘In Summer’ and into the slackened drums of ‘Blue Nudes (I-IV)’, again underlined by Drew Piraino’s murmuring bassline, with Jefre pushing the upper registers into the red, before collapsing into the tape noise and lone piano refrain of his ‘Prelude’.
First vinyl edition of Biosphere and Higher Intelligence Agency’s ‘Polar Sequences’ expedition - a dark ambient techno + electro-acoustic suite recorded in Tromsø, beyond the Arctic Circle in the northern extremes of Norway, during the depth of winter
Commissioned for the 1995 edition of the annual Polar Music Festival, Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) and Bobby Bird (HIA) made recordings of the local area’s industry and nature - cable lifts, ice and snow - and turned them into a towering black mass of an album that still holds its own more than 20 years later.
A perennial favourite of night owls and ‘90s ambient fiends since its initial release (on CD in 1996, 2003, 2018), ‘Polar Sequences’ marks an early high altitude pinnacle of the pair’s respective catalogues, with seven longer form works (each between 8 and 14 minutes long) that vividly evoke both their recording environment and the fertile period of electronica in which it was conceived.
The slow thrumming 13 minute expanse of ambient techno ‘Cimmerian Shaft’ is a perfect opener, widescreen, opiated and frighteningly eerie, while ‘White Lightning’ also impresses with prescient rhythm programming that could feasibly underline some Xanny rap joint nowadays, and Bobby Bird’s warm, Indian-derived drum trills still sound uncanny, replaced to the arctic circle in ‘Corona’. Suffice it to say that the ambient parts proper are everything you may hope for.
An overlooked gem, finally on the format it deserves, then!
Richard D James' classic album from 1992, re-pressed countless times but still sounding as vital as it did way back when. Still probably the most uplifting and nostalgic thing in the AFX catalogue...
Best electronic music album of the late 20th century. A proper gateway drug to the myriad microcosms of Richard D. James a.k.a. Aphex Twin. 100% essential in any collection.
It’s a Swedish house thing. Börft boss Jan Zwarre Svensson a.k.a Frak returns to his early project, Villa Åbo, for six deep and rude acid rub downs.
Named after the former bank he grew up in and later founded Studio Styrka, site of early Frak and Alvars Orkester recordings, Villa Åbo is a funky study in teenaged fascinations and nostalgia for dance music’s golden era.
Reprising the vibes of his 1997 releases, ’Ticketiketas’ and ‘Tagetes’, Villa Åbo pays tribute to classic NYC/Chicago/Detroit styles with the ruddy flavour his music’s become prized for, running from the slompy Chi-town grit of ‘Acid Clearout’ and the submerged deep house of ‘Rings of Cross’ to the slow swagger of ‘Elektro Formage’ on the front, then giving the floor something to bite on with the skudgy motion of ‘Zürish’, and rounding out on the killer, Anthony Shakir-esque bomb, ‘Brain Charter Disco’.
Vocal studies by Dutch minimalist Machinefabriek, working with Richard Youngs, Marissa nadler, Peter Broderick, Chantal Acda and Terence Hannum.
“With Voices is the newest recording by Dutch composer Rutger Zuydervelt under the moniker Machinefabriek. True to its title, the album’s eight pieces exhibit Zuydervelt’s use of cassette recorders, tone generators, radios, synths, and other hifi curio to construct bewildering aural architecture around vocal work from Peter Broderick, Marissa Nadler, Richard Youngs, Chantal Acda, Terence Hannum (of Locrian) and others. These human voices are featured as musical instruments rather than mere vehicles of lyrical content, resulting in a sub-linguistic mosaic of primordially stirring moods.
The initial spark of With Voices was kindled while Zuydervelt was in Taipei creating music for a dance company. In the final days of his trip, a dancer named Wei-Yun Chen caught Zuydervelt’s ear with an instagram video featuring a voice that turned out to be Wei-Yun’s own (she would end up on the album’s seventh movement, a piece that features dissected bits of Taiwanese poetry amid low-pitched murmurs and whispering fogbanks of static). The encounter stirred Zuydervelt to create a single 35 minute soundscape upon which each vocalist on With Voices was encouraged to improvise, be it talking, reading, singing, or wordless, guttural intoning. Such vocal smatterings were then used to determine how the other tonal elements should be arranged, dictating where each musical passage would ultimately lead. “The idea was for everyone to just do what came naturally” he recalls, “the element of unpredictability was important to me.”
Indicative of this approach “III” (the tracks are simply titled with Roman numerals) slowly winds like ivy through staccato phrases spoken by Zuydervelt’s peer Peter Broderick, whose micro-incantations skip along mechanically only to telescope into monastic grandeur at the track’s midpoint; the vibrations of vocal cords are often stretched to a seismic hum to form the heavy implements in Zuydervelt’s toolkit. On “V”, tape recordings of Berlin electronic artist Zero Years Kid (aka Joachim Badenhorst) sputter with their own apparent intelligence like a faulty AI attempting to interpret reels of human speech in some ruinous library of the distant future. Finally, a siren-like Marissa Nadler leads the suite to its lullabic endpoint with overlapping wisps of harmony devoid of accompaniment ending the album on an angelic note.
In these moments, like much of With Voices, warm-blooded arteries seem to have grown around bits of well-designed artifice to form something warmly alien, soberly futuristic, and inherently satisfying. More than simply an album of collaborative features, With Voices is a mutating collage of modern minimalism that challenges as often as it comforts. There is an alchemical, metallurgical quality that arises from Zuydervelt’s unique way of merging humanness with abstraction, harshness with beauty, and unintelligibility with familiarity on what may be the most affecting Machinefabriek release to date.”
The mothership has landed! Unseen Worlds finally deliver a premiere edition of Laurie Spiegel’s rare 1991 follow-up to ‘The Expanding Universe’ , filling a gaping hole in electronic music collections across the known world
The jaw-dropping ’Unseen Worlds’ was first released on CD in 1991 by Scarlet Records, but the label went defunct soon after, leaving Laurie seeing to any further pressings. She issued a 2nd CD edition on her Aesthetic Engineering label in 1994, but since that sold out, her amazing album has become very hard to find. Perhaps understandably, that scarcity is probably because nobody wants to sell their original copy, making this new pressing an invaluable window onto ‘Unseen Worlds’ in all senses of the phrase.
In the years between her debut and sophomore sides, Laurie moved away from the New York new music scene to focus on other projects, most notably the MusicMouse software; an “intelligent instrument” allowing for greater real time automation of her equipment. MusicMouse for Macintosh, Amiga and Atari gained a lot of traction with rock artists and paid her bills, and effectively allowed Laurie up to focus on the aspects of music which interested her the most - improvisation and artistic process.
Freed from the more laborious constraints of electronic music composition, Laurie’s artistic-technological breakthrough gave her greater tactility and control in the composition process. The result is some of the lushest and vivid electronic music you’ll ever hear. In the impossibly smooth pitch gradients and timbral complexities of the opening ‘Three Sonic Spaces’ trio, and the hallucinogenic harmonics of ’Sound Zones’ we hear the MusicMouse in blinding action, while the rest of the LP is no less impressive; leading us thru breathtaking black hole sonics on ‘The Hollows’; into mind-bindingly vast noise scapes on ‘Two Archetypes: Hurricane’s Eye - II’; while the shimmering beauty of ‘Riding the Storm’ are right up there with classics by Jean Claude Risset or Roland Kayn; and moments of exquisite beauty like ‘Strand of Life (*Viroid*) and ‘From a Harmonic Algorithm’ give way to the rarely paralleled scope of ‘Passage’, one of those epic electronic music works that makes wading through all the other stuff truly worthwhile.
Mirage-like new age and early-techno synth groves from Nigeria’s Hama on Sahel Sounds, the amazing label behind that sublime Luka Productions album and the ‘Music From Saharan Cellphones’ sets
Neatly summed up by the label as a re-appropriation of 4th world ethnoambient music, ‘Houmeissa’ lands on the mind’s eye like a lysergic dose. Hama’s ten instrumental songs re-voice traditional nomadic herding ballads, ancient caravan songs and ceremonial wedding chants with colourful synthetic means to resemble something like “a Saharan 1980s sci-fi soundtrack or score to a Tuareg video game.”
We advise running straight to the pulsating, ruggedly elegant charge of ‘Bororo’, the flooding chromatics of the title track, or the deeply trippy, off-key cascades of ‘Takamba’ for the strongest flavours. You’ll know exactly what to do next.
Massive tip for fans of Rizan Sa’id, Black Zone Myth Chant, early B12!
‘Rare Ravers’ is The Dead C’s umpteenth album of end-of-the-line Kiwi rock, and their 6th LP dished up by Ba Da Bing! following ‘Trouble’  and a 2013 split side with Rangda.
By now regarded among noise rock’s greatest exponents, The Dead C’s Bruce Russell, Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats continue to hack new paths thru thistly fields of guitar distortion in ‘Rare Ravers’, which, for the record, has nowt to do with glowsticks or warehouses, but everything to do with ideas of reverie and a lust for psychedelic transcendence.
“Disguised as the meandering outpourings of vacant thought and activity dialed simultaneously from zero and ten. Formed in the cauldron of a fevered mistake resolute. Surrounded by ignorance, dis-interest, and the attention of the carefully self-selected. Recorded and burned through a thousand galaxies of dust and doubt and endless infinite wonder, transforming both time and space. Forever exiled to the very bottom of the world to reflect on the struggling desperate pile above. Recognizing any contribution as minuscule and insignificant when placed within the greatness of the other, the dominant insolent preening satisfied, continually shouting the pre-eminence of the first world order.
It's a long player.”
Michael O’Shea’s sole, breathtaking album ranks among our favourite of all time - yet hardly anyone seems to have heard of it. Produced by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis at the Dome studio in 1982, it’s an utterly singular work of magick meshing myriad, worldly modes into music that rarely fails to reduce us to tears. It’s one of those albums that basically sounds like nothing else - the only record we can draw some parallels to is Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s life changing 'Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar’, despite it coming from the other end of the world.
First brought to our attention by Blackest Ever Black at the start of this decade, we’ve gradually developed an obsessive fascination with its sublime, rapid dervishes and warbling rhythmelodies, so it’s a pleasure to see it finally made easily available to everyone who we’ve ranted about it over the years (2nd hand copies have been historically pricey and hard to come by!), and especially replete with its enlightening new sleeve notes by archivist and writer Failed Bohemian.
A busker among other trades, O’Shea was an itinerant soul who, after a childhood and formative years spent between Northern Ireland and Kerry in the south of the country, and extensive travel between Europe, Turkey and Bangladesh, created his own instrument - an electrified dulcimer known as Mó Cará (Irish for ‘My Friend’) - which he performed on at Ronnie Scott’s, before later playing on bills with everyone from Ravi Shankar to Don Cherry, and also recording with The The’s Matt and Tom Johnson.
Aside from his two contributions to the Stano album, ‘Content To Dine In I Dine Weathercraft’ (also recently reissued by Dublin’s Allchival), O’Shea’s first and only album is the main point of reference for this unique artist. Like some eccentric expression of ancient Indo-European voices channelled thru a Celtic body, Michael O’Shea’s improvised acousto-electric music intuitively distills a world of styles into singularly hypnotic works. Using his self-built instrument; a hybrid of a zelochord and a sitar, made on a wooden door salvaged in Munich, and with the crucial addition of electric pick-ups and the ‘Black Hole Space Box’, O’Shea would absorb sounds from his travels like a sponge, and relay them back thru the instrument with effortlessly freeform and achingly lush results as elaborate as a Celtic knot or elegant as Sanskrit text.
The mercurial flow of syncretised styles in 15 minute opener ‘No Journey’s End’ catches your breath and doesn’t give it back, leaving us utterly light-headed and feeling something akin to religious experience, before his ’Kerry’ vignette most beautifully limns the epic coastline he hails from. The plasmic swirl and phasing of ‘Guitar No. 1’ is perhaps the one piece that time dates the LP to the post-punk era, even if it could have come from ancient Mesopotamia, while the album and artist’s underlying metaphysics bleed thru most hauntingly in the timbral shadowplay of ‘Voices’, and the rapidly tremulous, animist voodoo of ‘Anfa Dásachtach’.
Noted in his lifetime, not least by himself as; “…joker, transvestite, inventor, psychonaut, actor, catalyst, community worker, musician, traveller, instrument maker,” Michael O’Shea’s life was, by all accounts, every bit as colourful as his music, which only makes his untimely death in 1991 all that more tragic, as we’d practically give an arm to hear what he could have made in the early techno era, as he was purportedly getting heavy into London’s rave scene before he was taken.
Honestly no other record has cast such a strong spell over us in recent memory - to the extent of sending us on wild goose chases on the wrong peninsula in Kerry - so please pardon the gush ‘cos we can’t help but share love for this life-affirming disc and Michael O’Shea’s beautifully transcendent music.
New wave/Italo heroes of the ace ‘Danza Meccanica’ and ‘Mutazione’ comps are subject of a first full retrospective, featuring their classic single ‘Maritime Tatami / A Game Of Despair’ plus their ‘1982-1983’ demos compilation
“Victrola is the duo of Antonio “Eze” Cuscinà and Carlo Smeriglio from Messina, Italy. The band formed in 1979 but shortly thereafter relocated to Florence take part in a rich musical scene alongside Neon, Pankow, Alexander Robotnick, and Diaframma. Beginning as a 4-piece (two guitarists, bassist, drummer) they slimmed down to a synthesizer and guitar-based duo by 1982. Their sole release was the now classic ”Maritime Tatami”/”A Game Of Despair” EP from 1983, which we reissued in 2012.
‘Born From The Water’ is a 12 song collection of unreleased demos recorded between 1983 and 1985. The band sent us over 100 cassettes, through which we dug to compile the first volume of their archival darkwave ballads. They used an array of Roland synthesizers (TR-606, TB-303, TR-909, Juno 6) plus a Korg Polysix, Yamaha DX7, Casio VL-Tone VL-1, DR-55 Dr. Rhythm, and Fender Stratocaster and Jazz Bass. Some of the songs would later appear on various compilations, but the versions presented here are unique. Victrola engulfs the listener with trance-inducing synth lines, oblique minor-key bass lines, angular guitar riffs, and melancholic vocals. The songs tell tales of youth, love, karma, and the decline of civilization in modern times.”
Bittersweet noise sculpture with a signature Opal Tapes tang
“Following releases on Always Human Tapes and Panatype during 2018, Jordan Edge aka Red Hook Grain Terminal aka R.H.G.T. has broken out as an exhilarating live performer and composer. With a background in sound art, the texture of sound is of primary importance here. His work combines recordings of refined sound installation pieces (industrial fans, vibrating membranes) with savage digital rot and hyper-active, manic beat making reminiscent of some of the Hessle roster at their most unhinged.
Tracks like 'Expand Yourself' and 'Let Me Leave' detach themselves from reality through abuse of audio software, crushing any notion of tempo and key. While 'Rebuild Me' and 'Particle Dispersion' hold up a microscope and peer into audio phenomena such as the complex worlds within liquids or the interaction of spaces when two huge fans phase against each other and an audience. Savage, surreal and disorientating music.”
Following a trio of sprawling, planet-gargling double-LPs, 2013’s self-titled LP on Skrammel, and Second Launch (2015) and Eclipsed (2017) on Blackest Ever Black, Bremen – J. Tiljander and Lanchy, previously best known for their contributions to Brainbombs’ long rapsheet of genius-and-brutality, but latterly exponents of a rarefied cosmic melancholy – return with Enter Silence, their most concise, and powerful, album to date.
"Once again the Uppsala multi-instrumentalists combine elements of trogged-out psychedelic rock with a deadly serious Arctic minimalism and weeping modal improvisations that owe more to the outer limits of jazz and burnt-out free music from Japan. It’s connoisseur’s space music, grown-up and grievously honed; outwardly inclined towards the epic but studded with details that reward attention and introspection.
There’s always been a strong undercurrent of sadness animating Bremen’s work, and that existential burden is present and correct on Enter Silence, culminating in the all-out cosmic anguish of ‘Palladium’. Even ‘The Middle Section’, whose ragged chords are nothing if not the sound of optimism and defiance, sounds like it’s navigating some kind of unsayable trauma. But this band has always allowed plenty of room for bonehead slash-and-burn as well: see here especially the Stoogeian/39 Clocks-ish rock’n’roll of ‘Aimless Cruising’ and the pulpy quasi-cinematic tension of ‘Sinister’, or the brilliant ‘Too Cold For Your Eyes’, a blast of voidal motorik that sounds like a cranked-up Clean. "
Avant-rock, concrète and jazz blasts from the time-served Gallic vanguard. RIYL Nurse With Wound, Ghédalia Tazartès, Lol Coxhill
“Jac Berrocal, David Fenech and Vincent Epplay return with Ice Exposure, their second album for Blackest Ever Black. A sequel and companion piece of sorts to 2015’s Antigravity, its title couldn’t be more apt: sonically it is both colder, and more exposed – in the sense of rawer, more volatile, more vulnerable – than its predecessor, capturing the combustible energy and barely suppressed violence of the trio’s celebrated live performances with aspects of noir jazz, musique concrète, no wave art-rock, sound poetry and spectral electronics all interpenetrating in unpredictable and exhilarating ways. While there are moments of great sensitivity and even a cautious romanticism, the prevailing mood is one of anxiety, paranoia, and mounting psychodrama: close your eyes and Ice Exposure feels like a dissociative Hörspiel broadcasting from the seedy backstreets of your own troubled mind.
Before he picks up an instrument or opens his mouth, Berrocal’s unique and compelling presence can be felt: a combination of studied, glacial cool and anarchic, in-the-moment intensity that has served him well over a long and storied career. It was honed during his time as a theatre and film actor, and in the 70s Paris improv scene, it powered his influential Catalogue group in the 1970s, numerous seminal, sui generis solo sides, and far-sighted collaborations with the likes of Nurse With Wound, Lol Coxhill, Pascal Comelade and James Chance which have seen him come to be valorised by two generations of avant-garde agitators and eccentrics. Now in his eighth decade, it comes with an added gravitas, perhaps, but no less energy or vitality. On Ice Exposure, his lyrical, instantly recognisable trumpet playing is a key feature – see especially the ghostly, dubwise take on Ornette’s ‘Lonely Woman’, the dissolute exotica of ‘Salta Girls’, and the sublime echo-chamber soliloquy ‘Opportunity’. But more often it’s his voice that commands centre-stage, whether casually discharging surreal poetic monologues or moaning in animal despair – a vocal tour de force that transcends language and culminates in the Dionysian frenzy of ‘Why’, Berrocal’s half-spoken, half-howled exclamations jostling with David Fenech’s slashes of dissonant guitar, over Badalamenti-ish, panther-stalk drums.
Fenech’s origins are in the mail-art scene of the early ‘90s, when he led the Peu Importe collective in Grenoble, and since then, in addition to his own recordings he has worked as a software developer at IRCAM and played with Jad Fair, Rhys Chatham and many others. Together with Vincent Epplay he is responsible for Ice Exposure’s inspired arrangements and vivid, vertiginous sound design. Epplay is a visual artist and composer with particular interest in aleatory composition, concrete, and the reappropriation of vintage sound and film material. He and Fenech fashion a remarkable mise-en-scene for Berrocal to inhabit, one that embraces cutting-edge electronics while also paying homage to the best traditions of outlaw jazz and libidinous rock’n’roll (‘Soundcheck’ invokes the brutish spirit of Berrocal’s hero Vince ‘Rock N Roll Station’ Taylor). On ‘Blanche de Blanc’, Berrocal’s voice is framed by a groaning, ghoulish orchestra of industrial drones, while ‘Equivoque’ evokes the most humid and hostile Fourth World landscapes and ‘Panic In Surabaya’ lives up to its name, a hectic, pulse-quickening concrète collage that leaves you gasping for air.
This is a searching and singular trio operating at the absolute peak of their powers, with an interplay that transcends studio and stage and occurs at an almost telepathic level. Ice Exposure is a triumph of that group mind, an underworld dérive as life-affirming as it is unnerving and psychologically precarious.”
Unexpected, brilliant R&B/ambient metamorphosis by J. Albert as JIO for Brooklyn’s Quiet Time Tapes
Well established as a producer of prime, rugged US house and broken beats, the Queens-based artist here follows his haunting ‘Envy Turned Curiosity’ EP for TTT with a fully fledged style of songwriting and intimate lyrics over nine gauzy, loose takes on up-to-the-second R&B and hip hop that reveal his strong but tenderly cracked vocals for the first time.
“TFW is about the revolving thoughts and seemingly never-ending internal dialogue that happen during times of hardship that so many of us experience as young adults– breakups, family trouble, unemployment, etc. For Jio, writing these songs on his phone on public transit, or out somewhere late night in an altered state, then returning home to record in his bedroom, this was a way of exporting those thoughts and compartmentalizing, breaking the endless feedback loop.”
Slowdive, Gwenno, Mark Peters and XAM revise Sobrenadar’s sultry shoegaze EP, ‘Y’ for Sonic Cathedral
As you may have predicted, Slowdive offer the strongest highlight with the dreamlike momentum of their take on ‘Del Tiempo’, while Wigan’s Mark Peters - former bandmate of Ulrich Schanuss in Engineers - also gets it right with a gently buoyant version of Cruce’, and ‘Inhabit’ becomes a sloshing, recursive pop gem peppered with pitching vocal treatments, shimmering synths and sweetly elusive rhythms at the hands of XAM.
Rod Modell (aka Deepchord) heads up the Our Lady of the Flowers collective, debuting with a sublime consolidation of dub techno, ambient-pop and psychedelic shoegazing frameworks.
Pointing his ferric particulates to magnetic north for a nightlight to mythical lands, Modell and his bandmates - Kevin Dunham, Jeri Frantz, Erinn Pegan, Jay Buckets and Warren Doss - use Tibetan gong feedback, field recordings of religious ceremonies, and crude homemade electronics to feel out a series of imperceptible segues between low fidelity sound worlds linked by infrasonic bass.
To be fair, we’re not sure if the vast majority of home stereo set-ups can actually reproduce infrasonic bass levels at perceptible levels, but the subs are so low as to verge on barely-there. That air-trembling low end pressure underlines the transition between eight sections, although you’d be hard pushed to pick out where they start and begin, and that’s probably the point - the drifting voices and amorphous, opiated tones are intended to pull listeners out of earthly mindsets and into lucid dream states, with a breezy nature that literally and metaphorically sweep the mind’s eye clear and preps it to be massaged by Our Lady of The Flowers’ subtly suggestive gestures.
Deep soul pearl reissued digitally for the first time
“Jack Jacobs grew up in Philadelphia and started out his singing career with an acapella doo-wop singing group before becoming lead singer in some Philly R&B bands. After a while he decided to take up the keyboard so he got a full sized Hammond B-3 organ, which he used to lug back and forth to gigs from his 3rd floor apartment. Jack is remembered by friends and family as an incredibly talented musician and one of the most soulful vocalists they’ve ever known.
Childhood friend and jazz guitar great Pat Martino recalls: “I’ve had a chance to work with some seriously heavy duty singers, such as Ray Charles. He (i.e. Jack) was so spontaneously prolific; he was a poet. I can play some things for you right now and you would be shocked to find out he had no idea what he was about to sing. The lyrics were absolutely phenomenal, and they were extremely spiritual in context in terms of the message he was talking about. They were Biblical lyrics; absolutely overwhelming – just incredible”.
After Jack moved to Atlantic City in the 1970s, he wrote and recorded “I Believe It’s Alright”, initially released on Libra, a small local New Jersey music label. The record barely got any exposure at the time despite how good it was. It channels honest, raw soul energy in its purest form - a truly uplifting song!”
Max D a.k.a. Solo Percussion cooks up a trio of drum-heavy aces, vocalled by Sir E.U
The 2nd vocal excursion on Future Times in recent times following Nappy Nappa’s ‘Bang On Em’, this one features Sir E.U’s effortlessly louche yet dextrous bars on a pendulous Afro-latin crack with ‘Ocean’, while ‘Brand New Bag works up slipper rhythms and electronics under a mumbling, freeform vocal, and their title track stretches out for 10 minutes of dreamy groove and properly stoned/mushied vocal recalling Phloston Paradigm productions and angles of Shabazz Palaces.
Continuing Subtext’s exploratory electronics and devastating sonics is the expansive Ego De Espinhos, the debut full-length from twenty-two year old Porto, Portugal-based artist Gonçalo Penas.
“Described by Penas as a series of “self-exorcisms,” Ego De Espinhos is the cathartic outcome of a highly introspective process. Shaped by opposing forces and instincts, the LP touches on themes that are at once intimate, yet omnipresent. Splendor confronts destruction; id confronts super-ego.
Created solely with digital instruments designed and built by the artist, Ego De Espinhos is the result of Penas’ improvisations. Tracks such as “Introdução, Umbigo” and “Tecto Falso” were recorded in one take, and evidence a stark, dramatic emotional palette.
The release begins as Penas chooses to reject rigidities, customs and conventions of experimental electronic music. Of his process, Penas says: “Personally, I feel that creation should come from a completely free act of will. It is a place where there should be no rules, no expectations, no rights and no wrongs.”
In Ego De Espinhos, Penas turns away from his own technical background, and towards a journey of forward experimentation. This follows his education in Music Production and Technologies at Porto’s School of Music and Performing Arts. For the first time, he finds the freedom to articulate himself sincerely, unearthing beauty and acceptance amidst wreckage and devastation.”
Fleet-hoofed NDW with extra, star-searching electro leads. John Maus fans should check for ‘Foggy Weather’, and Dopplereffekt heads should try out the sexy slow darkness of ‘Humanly Possible’
“Stratis is an electronic duo from Cologne, Germany, formed by Antonios Stratis and Albert Klein in 1981. They took inspiration from the progressive electronic synthscapes of Tangerine Dream & Vangelis and the proto-techno of Chris & Cosey and Yello, as well as jazz and funk. The duo recorded 5 cassette-only albums between 1982 and 1986 – Exotic, New Face, Musica da Ballo, Film Musik, and Raging Beauty – which were released on their own label Creative Tapes (later called Temporary Music), and which were also licensed to Colin Potter’s Integrated Circuit Records (ICR) label.
‘New Face’ consists of eight future-fixated tracks that could have been composed for movies like Blade Runner or Tron. A wide range of minimal electronics are presented, from robotic synth pop to melancholic cold wave to Neue Deutsche Welle electro. The masters for this reissue came from a new transfer made by Colin Potter at ICR in May 2018.”
Banging, trilling, forward funky house fevers from Rushmore, dropping their first new release since the ‘Ours After’ album in 2016
Pulling from current Afrobeats and Carribbean dance musics, the five tracks restlessly turn from the dark, concentrated pressure of ‘Connecting Energy’, which sounds like something from a Marcus Nasty or Petchy set 10 years ago, thru to the Gqom-esque darkside drones of ‘Dream Escape’, mad chromatics in ‘Lasting Levels’, and Fis-T-style warpers in ‘Sidewalk’, which shares a strong drum palette with ‘One nation [‘My House’ Aaron Carl tribute - RIP]’.
Kora-player Sourakata Koité’s ‘en Hollande’ is one of ATFA’s most treasured digs. It’s been available on their blog since 2010 and only now sees a proper reissue, rendering a spellbinding session of quicksilver melody and buzzing harmonies on the 21-string instrument, sometimes combined with vocals, as on the arresting, almost rap style of ‘Djonol’ or the anxious melancholy of ‘Dioula’
“Sourakata Koite is a Paris-dwelling kora-player from Senegal. He is a griot, which means he is a story- and history-teller and singer. He accompanies himself on the kora. The kora is the most representative instrument of Manding music and culture. It is a harp-lute with 21 strings. The instrument is more than 600 years old and has existed in its present form for about 400 years. The griots often make their koras themselves, using a great dried gourd, a thick stick and two smaller sticks and a scraped goatskin. In the old days they used strings of skin, but nowadays often plastic fikshingline is used. The kora is held with the last three fingers of each hand at the small sticks on both sides of the strings. The strings are played by both thumbs and forefingers. With one hand the accompanying part is played and with the other the more free melody. Koite has performed in most African countries and also in a great deal of Europe.’
As thrilling and unpredictable as anything in Deerhunter’s near 15-year career, ‘Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?’ was recorded in several strategic geographic points across North America and produced by the band, Cate LeBon, Ben H. Allen III and Ben Etter.
"Forgetting the questions and making up unrelated answers, Deerhunter’s eighth album is a science fiction album about the present. Exhausted with the toxic concept of nostalgia, they reinvent their approach to microphones, the drum kit, the harpsichord, the electromechanical and synthetic sounds of keyboards. Whatever guitars left are pure chrome, plugged straight into the mixing desk with no amplifier or vintage warmth."