Creeping up on you like 3am on a work night, when you should be falling asleep but the moon is too bright and your flat starts is contracting with the cold, Naaahhh’s deeply blunted Themes for Blackest Ever Black nails that feeling of transition between worlds, of spirits dissolving into the ether and ready to chuck a few coins to the sandman.
In circulation since early this year, they are as effective as these homemade valium that are knocking around Manchester right now for setting you in that drifty wonky state of soma, coursing the lushest pads thru Blooz, and melting away like a decaying plant in Vini Reilly’s flat with Empty Rituals, whereas My Theme dredges Cthulhu-like dread bass from deep below, and Theme 2 seems to feel out the uncanny valley between Leyland Kirby and his The Caretaker alter ego.
Or, as BEB eloquently put it: “Five tracks of darkside slither from somewhere under London. Sidereal downers for all hardcore ravers. The dread energy of grime and bleep techno distilled into pungent electro-acoustic ooze. Paranoid street music meets the cosmic disturbances of musique concrète, the MDMA spine-freeze of isolationism and England’s hidden reverse. Staccato string stabs, murmured voices, black holes of reverb and pulverising, body-numbing bass. Drums optional. Unwanted side-effects include nosebleeds, earaches, stomach cramps, and nausea. Just say naaahhh.”
Mono's much loved debut album available on vinyl for the first time ever. Remastered for vinyl by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. Features all-new cover art .
"Under The Pipal Tree is the debut album by now-legendary Japanese experimental rock band, MONO. Released in 2001 on avant-garde icon John Zorn's Tzadik label, Under The Pipal Tree showcased a young Japanese quartet whose wide range of influences - most notably Sonic Youth, Mogwai, The Velvet Underground, and Neil Young's Crazy Horse - were on ferocious and ambitious display.
Though Mono would eventually become known for their expert marriage of metal and classical genres, Under The Pipal Tree highlights the band's psychedelic roots. Long stretches of hypnotic, melodic washes give way to scorching guitar freakouts that evaporate into haunting silence. It's remarkable not just for its earnest exploration, but for its startling execution. Fifteen years and eight albums later, Under The Pipal Tree stands as one of the great debut albums by a seminal underground band.
Finally released on vinyl for the first time ever, Under The Pipal Tree has been remastered for vinyl by longtime friend and tour mate, Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service."
Raster-Noton bring the excellent, erratic Unun series to a close with some of Jesse Osborne-Lanthier’s most reactive and ‘floor-penetrating productions; bringing elements of EDM, trance and hooj room choons to the boil with a steadfast tolerance for dancefloor/electronic extremity and physicality.
Since 2010, the Berlin/Montreal-based musician has steadily carved a niche between the eyes of modern styles in an almost exponential exploration of styles, persistently short-circuiting dancefloor conventions with a combination of avant-garde strategy and extreme sonics which has lead to some of the most fascinating electronic music in recent years for the likes of Rabit’s Halcyon Veil and Shapednoise’s Cosmo Rhythmatic.
Make no mistake, though: Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night is Osborne-Lanthier’s most direct and up-for-it material; a masterful, off-the-cuff demonstration of how to mess with modern templates, using online production tutorials as the jump-off for a quartet of dancefloor mongrels riddled with EDM’s most virulent, effective tics.
At the front Blackwell Dynonetics’ tight, fractal knot of spasming dub chords and footwork spatter comes off like Second Woman linking with Rian Treanor, before The Zika Slam revs ups like some visceral Powell and EVOL collaboration, and the crushing swagger of Integrated Sensor Is Structure sounds like Lurka duelling with Byetone, leaving the dembow bounce and escalating hardstyle synths of Lick And A Promise to ramp like some fierce Kamixlo or Florentino winner.
This one is lands hard on all the right buttons. Can’t wait to hear them loud in the club.
Lord Of The Isles returns with Parabolas Of Neon for his mates at Firecracker.
Arriving in the wake of his debut album In Waves, Parabolas Of Neon spins six iridescent gems refracting elements of new age, Detroit and ‘90s Warp-styled electronics in tightly organised, classical structures.
Sunrise 89 sets the EP off at an angle between swanging NYC garage and thee lushest techno rave dimensions - breathlessly beautiful stuff - leading up to the panoramic peak of Beatha and the ancient-futurist vignette An Stuc.
Flipside he inverts that formula to cushion your head with the seductive ambience of Brtye, and a lightshow of ecstatic harmonics in Tocpe 28, saving the elegiac, slow-motion elegance of his title track for the perfect come-down.
A superb, gauzy ambient techno delicacy from Portugal’s Manta, furnishing Barcelona’s Paralaxe Editions - who also just issued the new Rupert Clervaux & Beatrice Dillon album - after a fine album with Where To Now? in 2015.
Citadel offers six tracks of floating, kinetic techno structures and vaporous harmonics personalised with a dead lush sense of romance and instinctively latinate grooves.
In terms of fidelity, they feel somewhere between Lee Gamble’s quicksilver dimensions, and the gauzy dream space of Teresa Winter; the sort of stuff you could happily sway on the spot with, or bounce around, holding that rare balance of stasis and momentum that’s really quite rare and hard to nail with such elegance.
For highlights go straight to the fizzy but milky hydraulic drive of Kayseri and the beautiful tension of high-tempo drums and slow moving synth layers in Blackwater, or the warped Detroit electro patterning of Grid; you won’t be disappointed!
RIYL Lee G, Leo Anibaldi, deepest Claude Young
NYC's foremost tape loop digger is back with a gorgeous album based around his highly-acclaimed show of the same name.
After a run of much-need archival issues based around Basinski’s seminal The Disintegration Loops series, the New Yorker finally delivers some fresh material for Temporary Residence in the shape of A Shadow Of Time. Formed of two extended compositions, the album has origins in the performances of the same name Basinski gave throughout 2016 and finds him exploring themes of fatality through the decaying medium of his trusty reel to reel players.
The title track finds Basinski again working with his unwieldy Voyetra 8 - a synth he last used on his 2001 LP Watermusic - on a composition dedicated to a friend who took their own life. A year in making before debuting at London’s Union Chapel in February last year, the 23-minute A Shadow Of Time recalls the best moments of The Disintegration Loops, as Basinski wrings out a captivating assemblage of plaintive drones and exquisite melodies.
Face down, For David Robert Jones is obviously a eulogy to the Thin White Duke and was originally commissioned for a performance at LA gallery Volume in the weeks following Bowie’s passing. Here Basinski cannily incorporates some ancient tapes loops chewed up by his “roommate’s cat in New York, this big fat motherfxcker,” with elements of Bowie’s work including his saxophone playing from Low closer Subterraneans.
Warm, spacious deep house trax from Vancouver’s Flørist and his alter ego, V. Rosso.
Classic import house vibes here, from the romantic yearn of Windows On The World and its sublime Moving Day Dub hustle to the weightless, Martyn-meets Chez Damier-esque swing of Down & Out, to the nifty, faded pressure of M-80.
Letta serves Coyote a 2nd LP of tenderly weightless grime and R&G one year since his sparkling Testimony debut, bringing Ryan Hemsworth, Mr. Mitch and Fielded along for the ride.
Hailing from Arizona via Skid Row, LA, Letta’s take on UK grime, using similar instrumental palettes but in a more textural, rather than angular manner, much like Rabit’s, feels more spaciously detached and impressionistic than his UK counterparts, almost to grime what Burial was to dubstep, proper.
The album unfolds like the poignant soundtrack to a teenaged sci-fi thriller, full of shatterproof helium voices, minor key chord changes and a filigree blend of fleetingly optimistic and brooding emotions helmed in road-ready rhythms.
Lakker’s Ian McDonnell a.k.a. Eomac christens his Eotrax label with a one-sided, 11-minute techno arrow, Temple Of The Jaguar, in pursuit of last year’s Bedouin Trax album.
It’s a pulsating, bumpy ride thru tempestuous noise at 123bpm, blinkers on and heads-down along a tunnelling trajectory, passing various degrees of immolation to the dysrhythmia of the breakdown and reemergence as a cloven hoofed beast.
Unique rhythm trips from pivotal Berlin player, Burnt Friedmann, following the vectors of his Masque / Penuche 12” for Risqué onto the Paris-based Latency label with six cuts hovering between the dance and bedroom ‘floors.
These tracks feel more smudged and ruffer ‘round the edges than the majority of his output to date for Nonplace, seeking out textured electronic noise and delivering some of the sharpest, technoid drum patterns in his entire catalogue.
We’re not too sure what the dates in the titles refer to - one might assume they’re newly finished sketches started in that year, but we’re really not sure. They start out fuzzy and jazz-wise with he gauzy dollop of 2011 Monkhide, and tentatively find firmer shape with the asymmetric dub fractions and keening neo-classical motifs of 2010 The Pestle, before spinning off the razor-clipped 2-step mechanics of 1999 Nerfs D’Acier, which ends up at something like a 2.1 step.
The biggest highlight, however, is 1996 Intrication, a spellbinding display of whirring trills diffused with mercurial FX and worth the admission alone for the DJs, while the more chiming, tender ambient and drone structures of 1994 Sorcier and 1993 Day In Rho certainly justify our theory about the dates.
No doubt the best we’ve heard from this artist in some time. Tip!
"The best ambient album i've heard in an ice age, an album of terrifying, desolate and all-enveloping beauty" David Stubbs, Melody Maker, 1997
Biosphere's 'Substrata' is a rarely topped pinnacle of the '90s ambient canon. On its 18th birthday, the album's producer Geir Jenssen's Biophon label treats it to a subtle facelift at Pole's mastering desk, reanimating the still-mindblowing likes of 'Sphere Of No-Form' in all their captivating and frost-bitten wonder.
As far as end-of-the-world isolationist music and sound design goes, this album remains one of the most affective we've ever heard. Essential listening for fans of the cold, life-affirming music of Thomas Köner, Mika Vainio, or Deathprod.
Berlin’s Pan Daijing dispenses her personalised brand of raw industrial gunk blatz on Bedouin Records.
Laced-up for the ‘floor, A Satin Sight hurts in four ways - Tenderloin Tanz throws down nerve-biting, distorted machine jack somewhere between Bunker Records and mid-Western US techno signatures; Exile is proper sci-fi EBM for the freaks; A Season In Hell dispenses some of her sternest, bucking structures and dissonance; Nomenklatura polishes the ‘floor with most acrid tang.
A must-have for the hardest-working noise techno jocks.
For the ‘90s electronica die-hards, B12’s Steve Rutter pushes on with the 3rd release for his FireScope label.
Expect clinically crisp, nimble and spacious acid melancholy on Indeterminate Path, and squashed, off-key downbeats in Core Meltdown, followed by authentic AI feels with Carriage 12, and neck-snapping acidic hip hop on MoonStruck.
Première release of a pivotal piece by important American composer, Julius Eastman.
After more than 40 years, Julius Eastman’s Femenine - a euphoric, colourful, and inventive work by the brilliant but criminally overlooked composer with the S.E.M. Ensemble - finally sees the light of day thanks to Finland’s Frozen Reeds, bringing to life a wondrous iteration of the highly fertile 1970s north american minimalist/modern classical nexus for a whole new generation of ears.
Notable not least as the only known recording of Femenine, recorded live in 1974 at Composers Forum in Albany, New York - which makes it only the 2nd CD with Eastman’s name at the top - this release also documents the composer on piano (whilst wearing a dress, as it goes) and features his unique innovation, a set of mechanised sleigh bells, rattling throughout the 72 minute performance, which, in a way, neatly characterises the artist’s wide-open, pioneering idiosyncrasies and dichotomies for anyone new to his work.
Un/fortunately, depending your perspective, far too many folk will be new to his work or even unaware of Eastman’s involvement in some true totems of the time; whether that’s as lead vocalist on Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs For A Mad King (1971), playing keys on Dinosaur L’s disco-not-disco classic 24→24 Music (1981), or conducting Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning (1983). And we say too many folk, because, all considered, until quite recently, Eastman has been long overdue the shine afforded to many of his peers and contemporaries.
As a Gay, Afro-American new music composer, pianist and vocalist in the ‘70s, Eastman’s work was innately politicised and exceptional by the nature of its provenance, not to mention the music itself, which pulled from his personal history as much as wider social movements to represent a uniquely fluid perspective on minimalist music’s rigid process and presentation right up to his untimely death, aged 50 in 1990.
With that in mind, Feminine stands at a crossroads between Eastman’s earlier chamber work Stay On It, and later pieces such as his iconic, majestic Evil Nigger and the ambiguous flux of emotions in Gay Guerilla; sounding quite unlike any of them thanks to its sense of communal joy (there were somewhere between 12 and 15 players) and the polymetric meter of his mechanised sleigh bells, coupled with a display of massed, pitching tonal colour that moves with the kind of deliquescent, flighty optimism that’s hard not to be wowed by.
Ultimately, it genuinely lives up to the mantle of “new music” and presents its ideas in a deeply refreshing, insistent, yet never-cloying manner.
A huge recommendation.
With the resurgence of interest in folk music it's hardly surprising to see countless compilations showing up week after week, but compilations this moving and this important are rarely chanced upon. This disc puts together the lesser heard folk tracks, songs recorded by artists who weren't sponsored by major label money, artists who simply made music because they were desperate to make music, artists free from poisonous delusions of grandeur.
You will likely not have come across one of the fourteen ladies on this disc, but each one has a distinct voice and will have you aching for more - that's the power of this unique compilation. Like last week's sequel to 'Folk is not a Four Letter Word' and the recent Finders Keepers releases, this is music you already love, you just don't know it yet. From heavenly strumming of Linda Rich's 'Sunlight Shadow' to Jennie Pearl's tear inducing piano-led 'Maybe in Another Year' these are tracks which simply make you wonder why you haven't heard them yet.
The voices are so distinct and the songs so powerful that at some point you have to think how odd it is that the records haven't had more publicity, but there we have the power of the major label, and when these gorgeous lullabies were pieced together the independent music scene had little or no power at all. We have to thank Numero for finding and repackaging such essential tracks and treating them with the respect they deserve.
Definitive performance of an 88-minute piece for trio written in 1983, recorded in 2000.
"In 2000, Eberhard Blum (flute, alto flute, bass flute), Nils Vigeland (glockenspiel, vibraphone) and Jan Williams (piano, celesta), Morton Feldman’s close friends and collaborators, came together once more as “The Feldman Soloists” to perform Crippled Symmetry, the trio Feldman composed for them, on the 25th anniversary celebration of June in Buffalo, the festival he founded.
The recording of this concert is now finally available on CD, and is destined to become the reference recording of this work. It is required listening for all fans of Feldman's rich, hypnotic world of enigmatic harmony and mnemonic echo. Mastered by Denis Blackham, and presented in a card package which unfolds to reveal the musicians' "butterfly-like" arrangement on stage. "This turned out to be one of the best performances that we had ever given together. The rare and indescribable ‘magic moment’ of occasion and ambience seems to have inspired us. T
he recording of the concert belongs to my most valued sound documents. When I listened to it for the first time, my immediate reaction was: this performance ought to be available on CD. Now, ten years later, it is.” - Eberhard Blum"
Feted selector-producer Intergalactic Gary makes his debut under that name alongside Greek artist Pasiphae on the Made Of Glass EP with Amsterdam’s Biorhythm.
Decades of dancefloor knowledge are turned to their advantage in four tracks, seducing with the silvery thread of melody and moody blue bass chords of Made of Glass, and proceeding to drag us somewhere muckier with the Ra-X/Drvg Cvltvre-style slow thud of Disconnected, and a more rasping, distended beast called Second Term that comes in two squashed but delirious versions compatible with Ian Hicks’ aces for Clan Destine.
The Tapeworm present four recordings of Mark Fell’s Focal Music, wherein Mark plays a pattern generating system thru headphones to Laura Cannell (Violin), Sandro Mussida (Piano) and Aby Vulliamy (Viola), respectively, who play along in real time, with results documenting their attempts to negotiate the pattern’s subtle and unusual changes.
Focal Music stems from a workshop in which Mark participated, led by British sound artist, composer and performer Jan Hendrickse, where Mark played the pattern generating system to drummer Patrik Jarlestam, who followed the pattern on a single snare drum.
We won’t go into the detail of the values set for those patterns, but they basically get quite tricky to play along with, especially when the timing intervals change, pushing the player to draw on their own musical training and sonic vocabulary to fill those quantum shifts, not in the pursuit of a “perfect recital”, but, rather to illustrate the difference between rigid systems, received knowledge and human nature.
Ostensibly, aesthetically, the pieces may bear no resemblance to Fell’s signature electronic palette or the rhythmic resolution of his dancefloor-oriented releases. However, thru the players’ attempts to keep in sync with Fell’s favoured, unconventional meters, and the array of strange timbral quirks that their efforts throw up, it’s possible to detect Fell’s conceptual input in each performance’s stringency and minimalist tension, and in the way in which they unflinchingly highlight what lies between illusion and reality, and the way we mis/interpret that space between.
Beat-less modular improvisations made in the Hawaiian jungle
”Anthony Child AKA Surgeon presents the second volume of recordings of Buchla Music Easel recorded in the jungle of Maui.
Again we find Child's in a more ambient guise and setting as the calm breath of the jungle sets a real time back-drop for his electronic explorations. There is no additional layering and all environmental sounds simply 'occurred' throughout the improvisations. The range on display veers from melodic drones to sparkling arpeggios all revolving around a thick bed of (Buchla) electronic and (environmental) acoustic interplay.
Nine Personality Type Map hovers on a bed of syncopated rhythms whilst the nearby sonic mist of the forest seeths in and out of the frame whilst Nightfall Of Diamonds provides a sonic analogy for the darkness and light contradiction that occurs only in such rich natural environments. The simultaneous acts of improvising, listening and creating provide a rich setting for the curious listener. Another gem in a catalogue filled with gold.”
Cutthroat, boisterous grime instrumentals from two of the scene’s hottest producers.
Together, Boylan & Trends go psycho with the slashing grime-drill dynamics and reversed Hermann strings of Norman Bates set for outright club destruction, whereas on their respective, individual shots Boylan smacks Busta Rhymes into thee most ratchet ongy bongy riddim called Shimmy, and Trends tears out the rictus funk of Octopus with guttural mid-range stabs.
Jerusalaam forms the 4th and final vinyl disc from Muslimgauze’s sought-after Tandoori Dog boxset to arrive on CD, now nearly 20 years since the original release.
The vast majority of Jerusalem slots ruggedly into Bryn Jones’ unique category of salty, tetchy drums ’n dub noise, with some rude highlights found in the dense but light-headed pressure of All The Stolen Land of Palestine and the convulsive flurries of tabla and flute that reshuffle themselves between ready shocks and rolling slow house in Sufiq Gulf Breeze 1-2.
However, the final two tend toward that Muslimgauze niche of crisp, prickling electro-dub and atmospheric collage, spreading out for 14 minutes of moving, hot-stepping designs in Unused Return Of Black September Track 1, and farther out into unmetered electro-acoustic zones laced with floral arabic strings and sparse electro pulses under a shifting patina of voices.
Make sure to check those last two!!
At last, a chance to hear the debut album of motorik jags from Stereolab’s Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth, together with Holger Zapf as the Cavern of Anti-Matter power trio - originally issued on Berlin’s Grautag Records, now reissued on Duophonic.
Revolves a heady rush of references to Bowie’s Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family, Mahogany Brain’s Bloody Hide and Seek in The Rain and Hot Elbow, and the front cover to Heldon 6 shaped into 16 high velocity, high sheen rockets bound to ignite the tastes of classic kosmiche and psych fiends.
Trust Wiley the Godfather to set grime’s levels in 2017 with his most intense, bruising album for years, even ever?
It’s an unmissable return to root, with a frankly starving Wiley flanked by practically everyone - Frisco, Devlin, Jamakabi, Manga, Footsie, Flowdan, Pres T, Ghetts, Ice Kid, a.o. - all demanding your attention over fierce AF production from a mix of veteran producers - JME, Scratchy, Rude Kid, Maniac, Dot Rotten - and a sharp-shooting yung squad; Darq E Freaker, Predate, Swifta Beater, Morfius, Teeza +++.
At seventeen tracks and just under an hour long, Godfather is quantitatively substantial. And the quality? It’s got that in buckets; a firmest balance of OG grime aggression, gyal tunes and bubbling club trax that lends itself to earbuds, German whips and raves alike.
We’re alllll over the rabid Bang, featuring a barking Ghetts over cutthroat production by Maniac, and likewise the blazing future-shock of Bait Face, crafted by Roll Deep lynchpin, Scratchy, whilst the ‘round-the-block baroque of Like It Or Not sets killer new levels for UK grime/trap, and then you’ve got the dizzy highlight of Laptop, produced by Morfius, and utter gutter business from Wiley, Flowdan and Jamakrabi on Pattern Up Properly, plus foundational business in Birds N Bars, and straight up killers for club and radio in Back With A Banger and the soul flow of U Were Always, Pt.2.
This is the CD that every grime fiend needs - from the freshest cadets to time-served roadmen and lapsed, Volvo-toting elders - if just to prove an argument in years to come that Wiley made and shaped grime like nobody else. And if this actually is his last album (who the fxck knows with him?), then he’s effectively shut down the game, ‘cos the new generation really have to step up to this one.
Essential UK music.
Includes a Move D collaboration as part of L’Amour Fou
Smallville share a shimmering cross section of deep house tracks from their network of family and friends. Your Psychic Advisors are Makybee Diva with the warm and easy beatdown of Untitled; Snad with the creamy immersion of Exceprtz; a sweetly tactile acid ace from Move D, Benoit Bouquin and Marco Wollenberg’s L’Amour Fou trio; and some tech-house hustle from Arnaldo.
After reminding us of his curatorial genius with a reissue of Frank Dommert’s Kiefermusik on his Pacific City Sound Visions label, Spencer Clark (The Skaters, Monopoly Child Star Searchers +++) surveys The Stimulated Australia on his first ever real-name release, proper.
We’re not sure what has prompted Clark to use his government name, but it would appear that this is perhaps the truest representation of the sounds in his swede; a place “…where lorikeets and ocean waves serve as a counterpoint for beautiful,light background airs”, and where “the recorder cunningly observes a building where the tourist forages, and fascinates the sounds of lands that are forever spiritual to the native”, whatever the fxckity fxck that means.
As you might hope for, or expect, from a Spencer Clark release, the levels of ambiguity are subtle but playfully high on this one. We’d point to the knowing discrepancy between the spelling of the album title, The Stimulated Australia, and the track title The Simulated Australia as a clue; is its 22 minutes of lapping waves, cicadas and piercing lorikeet calls a manufactured fantasia or a real document? Or does it even matter? Likewise with Study For The World Of Shells - are we listening to a room recording of a drifting synth performance layered with location recordings, or simply immersed in a field recording from an aquarium in Belgium with a sweet ambient soundtrack?
We leave those questions for you to answer, and add your own, but either way this is a satisfyingly liminal, detached, and almost voyeuristic listening experience. A barely there but vital addition to Clark’s catalogue.
Who knew Muslimgauze did a killer line in funky house and techno?!!?!?! Check the slamming swagger of ‘Opulent Maghrebi Meze’, ‘Because He Had a Mustache and Beard, They Thought He Was an Arab’, and the NYC-style swang on ‘Abu Kaff, Your Guide Around The West Bank Bedouin Shack’. Big tip!
"Unsurprisingly for an artist as prolific and strident as Bryn Jones was, the flood of material he sent to labels and compatriots was not always carefully categorized. Also, sometimes he would be so eager to release material that if things didn’t happen fast enough he’d just send in another tape. And that circumstance is how you wind up with a fascinating oddity like Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The result is a release unlike anything else in Jones’ discography.”
Cleveland, OH’s Prostitutes is back on it for Diagonal with a brutalist dress-down called Dance Tracksz, firing some of his most vital material since the Psychedelic Black LP which first caught our attention in 2012.
However, four years on, James Donadio adoes away with the more sentimental parts of his debut in favour of bear-hugging the ‘floor with his most direct and effective dance music to date.
This is industrial body music schooled with a bluntness and unpretentious agenda that money can’t buy, fundamentally built to get you unzipped and bouncing your body off the speakers, walls, other bodies, matched only for impact on his catalogue by the likes of Shatter And Lose, and Ecstasy, Crashing Beats And Fantasy, which perhaps not so surprisingly, also appeared on Diagonal.
Like those EPs, there’s an absolute rejection of shiny tricks. From the screwface PCP slammers Ah Yeah and War Goes On to the pure industrial street funk of Bottle and the riotous jungle-tekno of Prey, there’s no mistaking that he’s bang up for a rave, but even by the end of the night, by the time I Luv U Bruv - his admission of affection for label boss, Powell - proves that even the big radgy guys called Prostitutes go soft every now and again.
A big ol’ party slug for fans of Powell, Beau Wanzer, PCP Records, Container...
Posh Isolation’s elusive Age Coin duo impress with the cranky post-techno deviation of Performance; a lean, nervy and dread bass-fuelled follow-up to their Perceptions 12” - reissued by Luke Younger’s Alter in 2013 - and interim excursions in their other projects, inc. Vår, Marching Church, and the excellent Yen Towers.
Shifting gear from the Perceptions 12”s tunnelling dynamics to more fractured and unsteady structures, the sound of Performance is perhaps best described as a more mutant, buckled and schizzy adjunct to Yen Towers’ garage-techno torque.
Diving in with the stone-carved bass pendulation of Espirit, the session turns to insectoid 2-step and X-Files dub themes in Domestic, before sinking into the Mohammad-like mire of Monday and skimming the effluent roil of Raptor with flinty shards of percussion. A moment for reflection follows with the starkly processed solo keys of Damp, and they sling us back into the pit with the mongrel dubstep of Domestic II, saving the best for last with Headron’s distended bowel movements.
Newly availed as a download, Permissions was written and recorded by ambient innovator K. Leimer in 2012, with crucial input in the edit, mix and post-production by 12k’s Taylor Dupree.
Compared with what we know of Leimer’s explorative early work, Permissions feels like a sublimated expansion of his electro-acoustic textures, rendering 16 tracks, 71 minutes of shimmering tonal mingle and diffusion best consumed in low lit and laid-back conditions, especially if you like 12K or Home Normal releases.
The xx’s anticipated third album, ‘I See You’, is the follow up to the band’s two previous albums ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’.
‘I See You’ marks a new era for the London trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, both sonically and in terms of process - while ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’ were bothmade in relative isolation in London, ‘I See You’ was recorded between March 2014 and August 2016 in New York, Marfa TX, Reykjavik, Los Angeles and London and is characterised by a more outward-looking, open and expansive approach.
Produced by Jamie Smith and Rodaidh McDonald, ‘I See You’ is The xx at their boldest yet, performing with more clarity and ambition than ever before."
Dasychira is South African artist Adrian Martens living in NYC. Futuristic half insect half human beats with stunning vocals by New York native Embaci.
From Martens: “Immolated is the product of my experience adapting to new environments without having any safety net to hold on to. I wrote this project between New York, Berlin and Johannesburg and it felt like a regenerative process, each place had a different effect on the way the music would come together. Having few points of stability forced me to sacrifice convenience for something new and unknown. Finding identity in a new home is a difficult process to define, and I wanted to explore that through the idea of an insect being analysed both physically and spiritually as their lives work in continual transient cycles. Insects have always been bizarre creatures to me, they're like living aliens that can constantly regenerate and morph themselves - and their process of physical reincarnation is parallel to my feeling of inner adaptation to restabilize myself when I find myself in a new environment. The most superstitious occurrences I've had are with insects are shrouded coincidental beauty or mystery. This superstition feels like an appendage of me very active when I make music, and I was fortunate enough to bring it alive in the compositional process and to meet wonderful people to guide it in a natural direction. Working with Dviance, Embaci and Falty DL in different locations to put this record together was a blessing, many wonderful friendships came out of this project for me.”
The Grey Catalog departs from Leimer’s typical obsessions with understatement and homogeneity to range freely across rhythmic, melodic, and disassembled forms.
"Incorporating percussion, electric guitar and bass as well as found sound, digital and analog synthesis and sampled instruments, The Grey Catalog spins off multiple intimations of some earlier works; particularly Closed System Potentials, The Neo-Realist (at Risk) and The Useless Lesson. Compiled over a two-year period, as diverse as the pieces are, they are also related by a shared generative technique and a shared library of voices and processing. The result is an album of highly personal music, restless and shifting forms, with melodic passages drawn over sets of self-regulating sources and shaped by approaches refined over decades of occasionally stumbling across something that might work."
One year on from Tribal Realm, Filter Dread aims his 2nd volley of deconstructed jungle, garage and grime with an ‘ardcore twyst on Unknown To The Unknown.
In Tribal Data he shatters the ‘nuum timeline to a mosaic of interrelated style ’n pattern, stepping from the 8-bit 2-step of Cruiser thru the spasmodic jungletekno of Expansion to a gully ’03 grime flex on Kicking and colliding with South London bass in Moon Beams.
But the best is reserved to the other end of the album, with the pinging dynamics of Pinball a big highlight, and Sea Spray knocking us sideways into cubist sublow, whilst Snow Click meshes original Eski templates with cold ambient strokes and Tribal Data dips to a sort of neuro-D&B-meets-8-bar clash.
Forceful, noisy techno momentum from Dublin’s WHOK, ploughing eleven lines of murderous bass drums and clambering, discordant electronic textures imagining The Dead C jamming with Surgeon.
For maximum, red-lining madness and bone-grinding effect, get on the cloven-hoofed beast, Rattle & Sturm-1, the harness-yanking beatdown of Karage-1, and their thistly rutter, Lysurge.
RIYL Container, Prositutues, Russell Haswell
Debut album of melancholy electronica. Recorded at Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Greenhouse studio in Reykjavik, Iceland (home to his Bedroom Community).
“A ‘soft error’ is computer language for a faulty occurrence in a digital memory system that changes an instruction in a program or a data value. When associated with music making, it’s a name that inevitably suggest the notion, or even celebration, of happenstance and serendipity, and that’s certainly part of the spirit evoked by Mechanism. A largely electronic pairing, Soft Error are otherwise known as Tim and Rupert, both of whom have musical backgrounds in dance music / DJ culture and composition for film, theatre and TV respectively. Soft Error, however, represents a thrilling new artistic beginning rather than being simply another musical ‘project’.
Mechanism offers a fresh and singular brand of musical intrigue by reaching back and forward simultaneously – drawing from the innovative, propulsive thrum of 1970s Krautrock and the grainy textures and tonalities of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop on one hand, the symphonic, futuristic soundscapes of composers like Cliff Martinez, John Carpenter and Jon Hopkins on the other.That said, there is also something wonderfully timeless about the nine, finely wrought essays on Mechanism, across which synthesisers, keyboards and drum machines are deployed for their sonic and emotive possibilities, rather than as a nod to any particular niche or trend. Indeed, Soft Error demonstrate a facility for fashioning both intimate textural detail and strong melody, often in the same song.”
Arch minimalist Thomas Brinkmann presents A Certain Degree of Stasis in two parts of variably “fierce digital textures” and “sustained crystalline calm” in counterpoint audio response to Agnes Lux’s starkly monochrome visual work, which is reproduced on the cover artwork. The work is intended to be played individually, in conjunction, or together with previous releases on the Frozen Reeds label.
Disc 1 tends to the “fierce digital textures” quota with 40 minutes of sustained guitar feedback heard in an ether dream, dissolving into acres of free-floating space like Oren Ambarchi or Keiji Haino caressing a wounded axe in the dying moments of its existence, its life coruscating and calving away before its eyes.
On the other disc he subtly inverts that aesthetic, reducing the lead to a discordant ember flickering below layered drone harmonics pregnant with anticipation for a haunting sound image that only reveals itself through duration.
Its mesmerising, uncompromising stuff.
With Beneath the Mirrored Surface, Marc Barreca continues his quest to create deep and shifting aural spaces by merging the abstract rhythmic warmth of early analog synthesis with the complexity and timbral beauty of acoustic instruments and natural sound.
"For this release, Barreca extracted and reshaped rhythms and textures from field recordings, decades-old world folk recordings and acoustic instrument loops. These sources were first converted into MIDI data using Ableton Live and then transformed and manipulated with Max/ MSP. Hundreds of these source clips were then blended and arranged with layered and looped digital synthesizer and sampler tracks. The result is a dense, rich world of refracted light and shifting shadow. Mastered by Taylor Dupree.”
In Tongues is the exquisite sophomore album by London’s Soda Plains; a variegated ten tracks brimming with nods to sublime Japanese ambient electronics, chamber-like baroque melodies, Burial-esque textured field recordings the kind of crafty rhythms bound to light the interests of those into Príncipe, M.E.S.H., Kamixlo, Hiele, TCF, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier.
For highlights, look to the discombobulated sino-grime of Manto; the latinate baroque melodies and braindance rushes of Para Dois; a brilliant piece of militant snares and courtly sashay in the Coil-esque Rotina; and, at its tuffest, a slamming winner named Espalho Meu Passo.
Prime balearia from down under, or Melbourne’s Tornado Wallace to be precise.
His follow-up to the Falling Sun 12” with Music From memory’s Second Circle follows that 12”s vibe with a clutch of dusky dancers, at best in the richly layered atmospheres of Lonely Planet and the pseudo-ethno feels of Voices, but carrying itself beautifully, elegantly throughout. Even the most sun-leathered balearic type will have to concede; it’s pretty damn lush.
Siaya County, Kenya meets the German underground on this killer grip of Ogoya Nengo And The Dodo Women's Group revisions from Lena Willikens, Tolouse Low Trax, Don’t DJ and more.
Sven Kacirek and Stefan Schneider’s TAL label returns for a second release that revisits last year’s wonderful On Mande album of Luo standards from Kenyan ensemble Ogoya Nengo And The Dodo Women’s Group. On Mande Versions is a decidedly Düsseldorf affair with Salon Des Amateurs regulars Lena Willikens, Tolouse Low Trax and Don’t DJ all involved alongside Version boss Orson.
The Orutu Run Version from Willikens is an ambitious undertaking, pilfering sound samples from various songs on the album to deliver a cacophony of serotonin-rushing percussive textures. By contrast, Detlef Weinrich opt for a typically less is more approach with his Tolouse Low Trax reduction of Mix Zwei, and Don’t DJ’s Sorbe Pekingese remix employs some of the intricate sonic trickery he used as part of Durian Brothers.To close Orson further embellishes on the spacious vibes explored by Weinrich, twisting some Ohangla drum patterns into a taut, fizzing stepper on Bunde Dub.
Mr. Tophat and Robyn have come together for Trust Me, a three-tracker of dark disco and luscious grooves that only an inspired pairing such as this could conceive of.
"With each track going well beyond the nine-minute marker, Trust Me is the artistic culmination of two artists joining together in the studio and putting pure inspiration to tape, resulting in some of the loosest and most intriguing music either has made in their careers.
Although Robyn and Mr. Tophat have known each other personally for nearly a decade, the first time they professionally crossed paths was last year, when the latter contributed a few remixes of material from Robyn’s EP with La Bagatelle Magique, Love Is Free. “I wasn’t making my own music at the time, so he forced his way into my studio and said, ‘We’re going to make music now,’” Robyn recalls the beginnings of the pair’s creative process. “It was really nice for me to be submerged into his world and lose myself in something that wasn’t my own.”
Trust Me is certainly situated in Mr. Tophat’s world. The Stockholm-based Junk Yard Connections owner and Karlovak co-founder has spent most of this decade releasing a brilliant stretch of side-long singles with production pal Art Alfie. Those singles’ dense, lovingly handcrafted club vibes are perfectly realized on this EP, with some subtle tweaks to the winning formula—a rich intricacy embedded within a deeper-than-deep sound perfect for peak-hour dancing and 3 AM comedown communions alike.
The EP also represents a logical progression for Robyn, calling back both to Love Is Free’s dancefloor abandon and the darkly shaded electro-pop of her 2014 collab with Röyksopp, Do It Again. The title track and “Right Time” shuffle and slither with a jet-black slickness as Robyn toasts and intones over the rhythms, while closing cut “Disco Davato” provides an effervescent finale, with zipping samples and crisp hi-hats providing plenty of upwards propulsion.
Joining Robyn and Mr. Tophat in the studio was Abba’s original drummer, Per Lindvall, who the latter met through a friend at National Swedish Radio. Lindvall lends Trust Me’s tracks a crisp, live feel amidst its sample-based confines—as does bassist (and Per’s brother) David Lindvall, who previously contributed on sessions for Love Is Free. “He can do anything,” Robyn gushes on Lindvall’s contributions.
These contributions only serve to strengthen Trust Me’s disco bonafides, as does Robyn and Mr. Tophat’s appreciation of the genre. “House music is something I’ve been listening to since I was 14,” Mr. Tophat wistfully remembers. “The house songs I like most is house that’s clearly sample-based in disco. That’s the house music that’s really attracted me. For me, it came really natural to discover what’s behind these samples.” “You can hear disco in all club music,” Robyn continues. “It’s the base of so much music that we listen to, and it’s one of the most influential music styles ever. You can hear it everywhere. Disco’s always been in my world.”
And disco will continue to be in her world, as Trust Me far from represents the end of Robyn and Mr. Tophat’s partnership. “We both have ideas of what we can do,” Mr. Tophat says on the pair’s continued work on new material. “There’s a lot of unopened doors.” For now, we can be thankful that they’ve opened us up to their sleek, lovely world on Trust Me—a collection of pure club music, streaked equally with mystery and unbridled ecstasy."
A must-have Early Industrial V-O-D: Steve Hitchcock’s Sheet Tape Registered Black 1977 - 1979 documents the pre-NON Boyd Rice collaborator grinding out uncompromising tape loops and avant-garde noise during his first year at university in San Diego. Alongside the 5xLP NON boxset and the archival Robert Turman LP also out this week, you can basically own the birth of West Coast US industrial music in your mucky mitts.
Steve Hitchcock was clearly that guy at university, the one with his own mail art ‘zine, Cabaret Voltaire, and a most unhealthy stack of outsider, free improvisation, krautrock, early punk and classical avant-garde LPs in his collection. It was through his ‘zine that Hitchcock established correspondence with COUM Transmissions (the proto-TG unit) and became heavily involved with the nascent industrial music movement .
The 16 tracks inside Sheet Tape Registered Black 1977 - 1979 are some of the most feral, atonal examples of this era and sound that we’ve ever encountered beyond COUM or TG, even making the NON stuff seem pretty and playful by comparison.
On the A-side each piece seems to be constructed around jagged, sawn-off loops and intersected by stray radio waves at oblique angles, never ever resolving as a melody or stable rhythm in thee most primitive yet innovative early industrial style. However, he does alter the palette on the B-side, allowing some life in via recordings of kids screaming, yowling in the final parts of Sheet Tape…, and committing one of the record’s biggest highlights with ten minutes of angular rhythmic noise in Coal Hoist Winch Room that’s almost worth the price of entry alone (if you’re into that kind of thing!).
Stunning official re-issue of this cult 80's album from Randomize. Much loved by Trevor Jackson & JD Twitch. An amazing record that was properly ahead of its time when first released.
Legit reissue of a superlative side from the Spanish industrial underground c. 1986, featuring Eugenio Munoz a.k.a. Randomize going solo in a deeply rugged and psychedelic style recalling his input, alongside Luis Delgado, on Mecánica Popular’s cult classic ¿Qué Sucede Con El Tiempo? (1984).
As a skilled sound engineer/keyboard player and half of cult outfit Mecánica Popular since the late ‘70s, Eugenio Munoz honed a distinctive approach to new wave and new age psychedelia which encompassed everything from rooted dub and Afro-latin musics to grinding industrial disco rhythms and shimmering ambient electronics in spacey, sultry, driven grooves which would soon find their way into the cosmic disco sets of Danielle Baldelli and Beppe Loda back then, and later as staples of Trevor Jackson and JD Twitch sets.
Now, thanks to the cultish fervour surrounding Andy Votel and Demdike Stare's reissue of the Mecánica Popular classic, which lead many heads deeper into their catalogue, and with some coercion from his pal, Damien Schwartz, Munoz has dug out the original tapes of his little known LP, ¿Como Se Divertirán Los Insectos? for this reissue, and we can’t praise him enough for it.
In terms of palette and sound design it’s effectively a Pt. II for the aforementioned album, operating at a bass-heavy, chugging pace and rent with heady, sparkling electronics that still sound incredibly, uncannily fresh over thirty years later. However, if there’s any difference, this one feels more tensile, sparse and perhaps defined by its updated hardware; evident in the sheer digital contours of Zero and the bolshy stabs of Brazil or the tumbling, Prince-like Linn funk of Radio Manila, whilst the infectious chug of Movilidad Incesante si a slow-mo anthem in waiting, and the ambient parts such as Subliminal and La Armonia De Las Esferas are weirdly prescient of ‘90s ambient styles.
You know what to do…!
5LP boxset of previously unreleased, rare and archive material covering the earliest years of Boy Rice | NON output.
Vinyl on Demand return to industrial music’s ground zero with a massive haul of early Boyd Rice | NON material dating from caustic his first tape loop works thru rare recordings of live performances in Berlin. In equal parts an innovative, genius, forthright iconoclast and also unfortunately a politically dodgy character, Boyd Rice’s music and personal politics have persistently cleft and smudged critical analysis in music, art and philosophy ever since his self-released emergence with The Black Album in 1977, and subsequently as one of the first artists signed to the hugely influential Mute label.
Dodginess aside, though, Rice is responsible for giving birth to many early industrial aesthetics, eventually crossing paths with many other agitators including Throbbing Gristle (he supported them on his first UK show, leading Daniel Miller to sign him), Steve Hitchcock (who is also subject of a new V-O-D set) and later Fad Gadet’s Frank Tovey, Death In June and others form the hard right of post-industrial and neo-folk music.
This set covers the years just before and surrounding those earliest encounters, when Boyd was clearly one of the most uncompromising noise artists on the planet, practically kickstarting the genre into existence with his hacked loops of girl groups and FM-firnedly pop turned into incessant, brain-stabbing ear spikes, or basically everything turned to tinnitus-inducing distortion.
Don’t expect any songs (and to be fair don’t expect any explicit politics) but do expect some of the most brutal sounds you’ve ever heard, bar none. RIYL Throbbing Gristle, Merzbow, Prurient
Without question, some of the most beautiful and arresting quiet music you'll likely ever hear, compiled in a 4 hour-long triple disc set.
'Fremde Zeit - Addendum' collects five pieces of engrossingly etheric, liminal composition by Jakob Ullmann (1958), the widely acknowledged master of quiet music and cover star of The Wire magazine.
For us, as we'd imagine many others, this is a striking first introduction to the devoted German minimalist's very particular body of work. Comprising 4 hours of barely-there strings, percussions, wind instruments and voices prefaced by the instruction "Please choose, for each piece, the volume settings of your sound system so as to just barely mask the ambient sounds in the room", this is music made for concentrated listening, recorded and specifically designed to give listeners "the opportunity to hear more, and better" by the simple but essential notion that "We hear better because we make an effort to hear better."
With this is mind, we're invited into a sound world which actively, yet effortlessly and sublimely challenges our perceptions of space and time with a compelling, transcendent effect akin to that of listening to music by, say, Eliane Radigue or Morton Feldman, yet with an alien, detached appeal entirely its own. Due to their extended durations - no piece is shorter than 34 mins, and over an hour at the longest - we form temporal impressions which blur the boundaries between our immediate space and the apparent vastness of the recording, teasing our sixth sense to wander on a knife edge of trepidation and somnolence.
Yet, musically, it covers a far more subtle spectrum of emotions and cabalistic atmospheres casting metaphoric allusions to "…antiquity, to the Middle Ages, to the Baroque, to the 20th Century and to the present" by means of its extreme dilation of space/time and anticipation, and relegation of distortion or any untempered gestures.
Once you've heard this music it should come as little surprise Ullmann studied sacred music in Dresden from 1979-1982 - his music could be the lingering resonance of an Arvo Pärt piece played in a huge cathedral, and it carries the weight of history - spanning over 18 years of work, the results are duly, deeply considered.
A revelatory package, whose impact will surely emerge and manifest as slowly, yet powerfully, as the music itself.
Deliciously uncompromising sound design from Gábor Lázár, performing a sort of virtuosic hyper-rave bondage on your ears with Crisis Of Representation; his first release for Shelter Press after a pair of releases with The Death of Rave - including his acclaimed collaboration with Mark Fell, The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making - and the ILS album for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? before them. If you're into mad sound design, this one comes highly recommended.
Mostly pieced together in 2015, but utilising material made as early as 2011, Crisis Of Representation forms a direct continuation of Lázár’s increasingly incisive composition techniques, offering 7 pieces (+1 bonus on CD) which unknot the same nasal drip motif in myriad permutations of possibility. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to draw an economically short line from his to Mark Fell’s music, but where Fell’s Linn grammar and SoYo accentuation tends to clip itself, Lázár’s compositions ribbon off into unnaturally fluid flights of mercurial, polychromatic acrobatics.
We could imagine that this deeply abstract yet soberly conceived techno sound is antithesis to casual listening. But, if you’re game enough to follow Gábor into the wormhole, and have the head for intense, elusive sonics, then you’ll be embraced by a unquantifiably psychedelic experience quite unlike any other, where notions of “proper” musical convention are upended and rhythm, pitch and tone become fused by your head into scintillating psychoacoustic formations of perpetual tension and amorphous resolution.
Samo DJ “keeps it loose” with Tzusing, Sleep D, Pedrodollar, Baba Stiltz and his label co-owner/regular production spar, Sling, for a diverse, playful session in Born Free 24.
There are two strong reasons you need this one: the first is Samo DJ’s remarkable, wrong-footing NBA killer with Tzusing, which starts life as what sounds like a YouTube house tutorial before the sirens drop and the groove turns into a heavily discombobulated hybrid of dancehall X techno X calypso as you’ve rarely heard. The 2nd reason is a his woodblock techno roller, Track8 written with Sling and gunning strong for the wee gurny hours of the night.
GQOM Oh! documents the dark, beating heart of Durban, South Africa’s underground dance sound in the scene’s first ever vinyl compilation - or any other format for that matter!
The Sound of Durban represents a strong taste of the hypnotic, monotone sound which has emerged as essentially SA’s answer to brooding minimal techno in the wake of Kwaito’s slinkier house styles.
Of course, this gear comes from SA though, and their take on minimal techno reflects a close, inimitable bind of African and Western-rooted traditions closer to the pressure systems of Kuduro, UKF or current Caribbean and South American sounds that any enduro-mince club music from Berlin, for example.
All the producers make their first “official” release here (although you can find loads on the Kasimp3 site), offering a rarely-paralleled survey of rawest, local dance music nurtured in unique conditions but appealing to anyone with a pulse and a taste for freshest club blood.
Clock the samples and start your GQOM addiction, now.