Iceland’s Bjarki hits a vein of icy trance techno and braindance on his 6th release with Nina Kraviz’s трип label.
On the A-side he reins in the braindance tics of recent releases to get back on the boom boom with moody, deriving effect in Thodn Med Skit a Master and then at an old skull AFX angle with the brooding, off-coloured harmonics of This 5321.
Turn over and you’ll find him mashing those styles with breaks and grumbling acid a la Astrobotnia on Galopinn Muninn, before erecting the steepled braintrance dimensions of Fimmtudgur 16-2 to sound like a a night lost in the smoke at Havoc or in some Hackney warehouse.
Featuring exclusive tracks and collabs feat Jlin & Zora Jones, DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, Murlo, L-Vis 1990, v1984, Swing Ting, Famous ENo, Sinin Hawke and many more...
"It's been two years since Fractal Fantasy was inaugurated with the first installment of 'Visceral Minds' – a symbiosis of computer-driven visual experiments soundtracked by collaborations and alien club machinations.
Expanding upon this collaborative spirit, 'Visceral Minds 2' has three times more music than its predecessor and charts the platform's move away from traditional computer graphics into the realm of visual interactivity.
Recorded between 2013 and 2017, the compilation serves as a testament to new friendships and departed legends. From spaced-out submarine catastrophes to triumphant Jersey anthems, the artists draw a common thread between a heterogeneous collection of styles and sub-cultures.
'Visceral Minds 2' also officially marks the addition of three new members to the Fractal Fantasy family: Martyn Bootyspoon, Dr. Zubotnik and Xzavier Stone all feature on the album, providing just a hint at what's to come in the not-too-distant future."
Soundway come with a very necessary reissue of Jay U Experience’s Nigerian psych-funk-reggae blinder, Enough Is Enough after building dancefloor intrigue with his Some More peach on the Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound Of The Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79 compilation.
First appearing on EMI Nigeria in 1977 and now available to the world at large, it’s clear that Some More wasn’t the only belter this LP has to offer. From the most infectious stripe of swaying reggae soul in Reggae Deluxe to the funky horns and disco strut of Get Yourselves Together, thru the hard bitten psych-funk of Enough Is Enough and the plangent, distorted flares of Baby Rock, this is 100% dynamite.
Heads are seriously going to light up for this one!
Strong house soul transfusion from Byron The Aquarius to Eglo Records
Dancing from the pendulous pace setter Song For a Friend thru the ruder, jazzed-up jack of Mind Body & Soul to hit the downstroke with class on Blow Your Mind and S.S.D.P.
Classy new takes on classic rare grooves. RIYL Dego, Kaidi Tatham, Herbie Hancock
“22a017 has arrived and it sees two of London’s most celebrated underground producers enter into album territory.
Comprised of ten cuts ‘Brick City’ takes the listener on a journey through Afro-House, Funk, Rare Groove, Boogie and Broken Beat to name a few. Tunes like ‘Brick City (4am)’ and ‘Butterfly’ groove effortlessly whilst synth leads interject over tasty chords, all the while being supported by solid bass lines – these two will undoubtedly set a strong pace on the dancefloor. ‘Funky Booda’ does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a straight Funk classic! Its infectious groove and soaring leads are sure to have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet. ‘Be Ur Friend’ is a fiery Afro-House number - reminiscent of one of Tenderlonious's early releases ‘Bob’s Riddim.’ With a slow build, the listener is teased until finally the drums drop and all hell breaks loose – another dancefloor winner! There’s also more hip-hop inspired selections like ‘Brick City (4pm)’ or ‘Pepe’s Walk,’ which bump hard and have strong traces of Sa-Ra and J Dilla influence.
The record comes complete with quirky skits like ‘Bootsy’ and ‘Ferndale Gateaux,’ which blend in and out between the other tunes allowing the record to flow effortlessly from beginning to end. There is something for everyone on this album. It’s the kind of record you can play at home from start to finish or take out to the club as an essential dancefloor filler. It pays homage to the 22a ethos, it has mass appeal and yet still maintains a high level of quality! In short this album solidifies the duos ability to make great music with their own signature sound, unique to their world and lifestyle.
2017 is all about 8R1CK C17Y!”
Italy’s Mondo Groove give a bonus life to K. Bytes’ 8-bit disco bonanza, I Adore Commodore, which was originally recorded and issued in 1983, one year after he released Computer Disco as Marcello Giombini.
Everything from the screenshot artwork of a robotic bloke and pals, to the LP’s jaunty, energetic tunes, is inspired by Giombini’s love of computers and video games, as he was a proud early owner of an Apple II Europlus before converting to the Commodore 64 model which inspired this LP, largely due to the fact it provided him with three independent music generators enabling him to realise his elaborate sound.
So what better way to express your love of video games and computers than a suite dedicated to their soundtracks, taking the names of his favourite games such as Le Mans and Space Invaders as cues for a bleep fest of the funkiest kind with bubbling Italo treats such as Solar Fox, the cosmic tension of Jupiter Landing and an absolutely wigged-out piece of cascading arpeggios in Sea Wolf.
First ever presentation of The Lower Depths , Charlemagne Palestine’s epic, systematic 3-part investigation of his trusted Bösendorfer grand’s capacity to produce notes lower than any other piano. Keener observers may have noticed a track called The Lower Depths on his Godbear LP, which was reissued last year by Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle, but this set was recorded at his famous red and gold loft on North Moore Street in Tribeca, and predates that recording by some ten years.
Totalling nearly 3 hours of works made over 3 consecutive performances at his loft space, the recordings effectively describe a transition in cadence from the centre of piano’s keyboard in CD1, to a register two octaves below in CD2, finally arriving at its thrumming Lower Depths before dramatically rising back up again in CD3, all offering a raucous, transfixing testament to the man’s genius in stunning full flow.
As Palestine himself refers to the trilogy of pieces as being “like a soap opera… you get your share of tears and laughter… i watch the afternoon ones that aren’t as visionary, keep it real, the yicky ones” you should have some idea of the typical levels of melodrama and emotion that he puts into these works, which while definitely avant and experimental, also work on an immediate and transcendent level meant to be understood and felt by anyone with ears and an empathetic heart.
With pedals pressed for maximum sustain throughout all parts, Palestine wreaks increasingly intense havoc right on the line between ecstasy and violence across the trilogy, coursing from jagged, jabbing flurries and their lushly discordant harmonics in the first, to panic-raising levels by the time he really hits the lower ends in track 2 of Part 2, and then really gunning for the Bösendorfer’s bowels in a jaw-dropping, thunderous descent, then spiralling back up for breath in a manner that may leave listeners with the bends.
Of course, that’s a simple description of the work’s general dynamic, but the nuance lies in the way Palestine can simultaneously bathe us in fire and still give us the chills, baffling the senses with its majestically chaotic yet sublime clangour. If you’re susceptible to the power of his glissandi as much as us, we rate you’ll fall hard into this one.
Specially cut to 7” for all the DJs with fat fingers, Kyle Hall follows up Speed of Life with the psychedelic beatdown swang of Teacher Plant and a scuffed soul nudge called D.S.P. (Dear Sweet Potato).
An educated guess would assume that Teacher Plant is Hall’s ode to the putative lushness of ayahuasca, giving up four minutes of earthy breakbeats and sweeping synthwork with a sweetly psychoactive effect.
D.S.P. (Dear Sweet Potato) on the other hand, slumps into a more laid-back state with crumpled drums and pitch-bent chromatic key strokes projecting a sort of arabesque, geometric lightshow for the back of your eyelids.
Weird World popster Jaakko Eino Kalevi and fellow Finn, Sami Toroi aka Long Sam reprise their Man Duo for the first time since Totuuden Rakastajat / Amateurs De Vérité  with a well fermented batch of screwball yacht boogie, krautrock whirligigs and nippy electro-pop kissed with a debonaire Euro/Detroit élan.
Landing somewhere between Junior Boys and Marie Davidson in terms of modern artists, or Ned Doheny and latter Klaus Schulze in classics terms, Orbit turns up some really disco-friendly gems in the scudding synth-pop of What If It Falls with the memorable refrain “push-ups / shaving / moisturiser” and again with the ruder boogie of Vanessa, while you’ll also find low key highlights in the late night grease of Unter Vier Augen and the dry iced gylde of Tanyan Teema and The Middle.
At long f**king last, DJ Bone’s stone cold Metroplex classic sees reissue on Anotherday for its 18th birthday, putting one of the deadliest Detroit electro-techno 12”s back into circulation for a new generation and those who’ve worn theirs to the bone (pun intended).
Riding The Thin Line notably features two cuts that were integral to DJ Bone’s seminal and incredible Subject: Detroit Volume 2 mix, namely Shut The Lights Off, a slamming tribal tool with stentorian vocals and utterly spine-freezing pads that get us every time, and the body messing acid-electro hydraulics of The Funk, which is pretty much a definitive answer to the question, what is Detroit electro?
Factor in the floating peak time pressure of The Haunting, pitch it all to about +4, and you’ve basically got an unmissable 12” for any self-respecting Detroit fiend.
Sombre solo piano introspection fleshed by strings and subtly gilded with field recordings of a stormy Yorkshire
“Following his celebrated moogmemory project, Matthew Bourne returns to the piano for Isotach. Once again, spontaneity is the keyword where Bourne is concerned, catching on tape that pregnant moment when a piece begins to form.
Skeletal piano motifs, an aching use of space and sparing cello arrangements are deployed to devastating effect. Recorded in his rural Yorkshire home, Bourne’s piano placed to overlook the moors while he works, the album title is a nod to the weather, which played a part in its creation. The recordings took place during what Bourne describes as “extreme weather”. If you listen carefully you can hear the wind and rain picked up on the microphones, the sparse instrumentation providing the calm in the eye of the storm.”
CPU pay dues to their local roots with two rebuilds of obscure bleep techno aces by Sheffield’s Detromental, originally issued on their own label, Rave, in 1991.
Move is real beauty melding misty-eyed pads and chattering bleeps with massive subbass and lagging, swinging drum machines. Love that rusty-chopped Power House sample, which is presumably kept dead trim, as per the original sampler’s tiny memory bank.
Rewind is a more stripped down and ruder example of steel city styles, clearly showing the roots of the bassline garage/niche forms which would later emerge around South Yorkshire.
Italian composer Sandro Mussida follows up a pair of probing Mark Fell collaborations with the exquisitely enchanting minimalist Classical suite, Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibili - translating to Twenty-One Invisible Constellations in english - offering a beguiling, meditative iteration of 21st century Italian avant-garde as the debut release on Alfredo Scotti’s Metrica label.
Making up the first record with Mussida’s name at the top, Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibili ventures a beautifully suspenseful play on perceptions of time and space rendered in two distinct, electro-acoustic pieces, each making sublime use of an ensemble comprising the artist as director and looping strings, alongside Enrico Gabrielli (clarinet), Yoko Morimyo (violin), Susanne Satz (piano), Alessandra Novaga (electric guitar), Giulio Patara (triangles, celesta, tam tam), Sebastiano De Gennaro (triangles, glockenspiel, chinese gongs), and Giovanni Isgrò (sampler).
In both parts the piece references a graphic score which looks like the schematic for a teepee, but in fact describes a “transfiguration of perceptual time” in its triangular design, prompting the performers to play pitches at differing speeds, with musical “cells” generated by the rotation of triangular figures in time and space. While we may not be able to correlate exactly what we’re hearing on the record, it’s at least easy enough to see where the precision of its underlying structure stems from.
In the first, ten minute instance, this manifests an incredibly delicate display of pointillist percussions and levitating, sustained string tones which establish the spatial parameters, before shards of guitar and piano light up the space with a pensive emotional ambiguity which reveals itself as increasingly blue, melancholy and strung out by the pinch of the closing notes. In contrast, its 14 minute counterpoint is more radiant, but not necessarily optimistic, striking a balance of nervous tension and chiming harmonic resolution that soon enough slips into something like a lucid dream state with an almost theatric interplay and agenda that crosses soundtrack, avant-garde and classical sensibilities in a mannered, poised way that’s key to so much of the strongest Italian music, clearly inheriting from the likes of Giusto Pio and Franco Battiato, and cleanly resonating with modern works by Oren Ambarchi or Elodie.
All that said, there’s something totally captivating about this LP that can’t be explained in terms of its technique or theory. It’s a record whose crafty metaphysics encourage a sublime, unknown state which must be experienced to be understood.
Dense, heavy yet deft dub techno from Edinburgh’s Stephen Brown
Serving the Mike Dehnert-esque heft of Sandtext’s gruff subs, gravelly drums and clipped chords across the A-side, then squeezing out the tight, squirmy skank of Wet and the Detroit techno refractions of Back Strobe on the flip.
Jason Fine follows a five year break from new releases on FXHE and Kontra-Musik with a full spectrum display of Detroit house for the deeply rooted DBA label, following up his earthy remix of Typesun’s Make It Right.
As one of a small handful of people not called Omar-S to release on FXHE, Jason Fine evidently possesses the kind of gritty soul that cuts it in Detroit. The Moonscapes EP shows off that soul in four parts, getting into motor city gear with the hazy, sylvan swang and murmuring synth voices of Amalthea, then cruising the other side of the tracks with Dione - whose strapping acid bass strongly recalls Big Strick’s Armed & Dangerous - before bringing it back to the debonaire with his glassy, skippy Elana, and meditating on sweet new age vibes somewhere between Jamal Moss and Mika Vainio in Larissa.
From Peckhm’s rooted hotbed of dancefloor fuss, the FYI Chris duo follow up up 12”s for Rhythm Section and Lionoil Industries with the skewed house hustle of Spirit Animal
Twisting from Afro-psyche-funk inspirations woven into Captains Patilla and the grubbing, glinting shimmy of Dance Bebey to more pendulous percussive heft in Silk, neatly balanced by light-footed flutes and bleeps.
For the early evening/late morning dancers!
Wigged out, grubbing dub and rooted outernational styles from Mo Kolours, landing square between Ras-G and Clap! Clap! vibes
“Side A opens with ‘Cerasee Doctor,’ a classic Mo Kolours production. Hip Hop meets Dub Reggae, with a catchy vocal loop throughout, equipped with a healthy dollop of dub sirens – this one is sure to grace many a soundsystem worldwide! ‘Margoze’ follows and takes the listener on a journey to West Africa where cowbells and syncopated rhythms take lead whilst the distant sound of local dialogue blends seamlessly in and out of the mix, rooting it deep in its African foundation.
Side B begins with ‘Goya,’ which brings about a fusion of traditional Vietnamese folk mixed with snippets of slap bass to create a collage of worldly sounds – a technique synonymous with the acclaimed producer. The EP finishes with the title track ‘Meroe,’ where Mo Kolours once again effortlessly fuses ancient and modern sounds to create a dancefloor winner. Its up-tempo rhythm keeps heads nodding with it’s low pulsing bass line rumbling beneath, whilst tribal chants bring euphoric moments to the mix leaving the listener feeling positively uplifted.
In conclusion it’s a mini EP that packs a big punch! And most importantly it sees the return of a heralded music maker.”
Microtonal music for violas and viola da gamba performed by Nadia Sirota & Liam Byrne. Includes download codes for 38-minute film by Steven Mertens and all digital audio
“Tessellatum is an album and a film, with music composed by Donnacha Dennehy and animation by Steven Mertens, performed by violist Nadia Sirota and viola da gamba player Liam Byrne. The film and the music both work with the idea of man vs. nature. Steven Mertens’ electric animation toggles back and forth between man-made geometric perfection and the natural oddness of the deep ocean. Donnacha Dennehy’s addictive timbres move between tuning systems created by humans and the ones found in natural resonance. As a result, the two works of art support and enhance each other, using the same form and structure to create an incredibly moving work of art.
All fifteen string parts were performed by Nadia Sirota and Liam Byrne on viola and viola da gamba. The album was recorded in Iceland’s famed Greenhouse Studios by Paul Evans and mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson. Produced by Nadia Sirota. “
Fresh product from Peckings Brothers
Burning four new vocals on The Gatherers’ Black Ark roots riddim Words; with Ras Charmer’s Hard Knocks on a jam rock tip, next to the sweetened lovers / R&B inflections of Carolene Thompson, and a woozy, horn-led Patrick Matic mix, plus the OG dub.
Amos & Sara’s wickedly twisted post-punk dub session, Invite To Endless Latino [War Boys, 1983] sees its first ever vinyl cut thanks to the efforts of Alga Marghen’s Emanuele Carcano, who deserves a pat of the back for effectively pressing up one of his favourite tapes to share with the rest of us...
Comprising all tracks from the cultishly coveted original cassette by The Homosexuals affiliates Jim Welton & Chris Gray, from the nutty nattiness of Mr. Sinister to the keening disco-not-disco of Insomnia Samba and the ragged hustle of Pain Mambo, it’s not hard to hear why this LP is such a cult classic.
It just drips with playful innovation and tongue-in-cheek ambiguity, putting together a mad mixture of authentically sensuous swerve and nagging pop hooks under relatively crude conditions that recalls some concoction of colourful pills in a wine-soaked barm bought from Brenda Naffi’s butty bar.
Peckings Brothers nice up the dance with fresh vocals on Carole Kalphat’s immense African Land roots rhythm.
Teddy Dan gives the soul aching Jah In Glory; Troublesome kills on Oh Jah; The Emererians make it lush and mystic; Peckings Allstars treat the original riddim with the respect it deserves.
Sam Binga and Danny Scrilla go twos-up on a ruddy bass mongrel for Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge
Launching tribal drums, barrelling subs and virulent acid lines in the high-pressure jungle-footwork of Frolic In Brine, then with a hard-nosed half step D&B juggernaut spiced with glitches and screwface noise in Further Peaks for fans of Pessimist or Ruffhouse.
At long last a reissue on vinyl for this long lost and scarce UK Hardcore punk classic.
"Originally self-released in 1993 in a very small run. Original copies now command £100 upwards on the collectors market. This reissue collects that original material alongside tracks from that same period released in Japan only.
This new edition was put together by the band themselves. It features an extensive collection of unseen photographs and sleeve notes housed in a swanky gatefold sleeve. The same iconic front cover used on the original album graces this edition too."
Prince Jammy dubs the Augustus Pablo production for Hugh Mundell’s Africa Must Be Free by 1983 in heaviest style at King Tubby’s studio, turning Mundell’s signature falsetto and Pablo’s melodica into an echo chamber maze of smoke and mirrors.
Stone cold superb.
Hamburg’s Phil Struck joins Quiet Time Tapes’ somnolent series with a steeply acousmatic session of grayscale tones and organic electronics that feels like the results of Basic House on a febrile bender with Helm in Wanda Group’s basement, which just happens to have a secret hatch into Henry Spencer’s apartment.
Found in a half light between lo-fi, small sound scrabble and ambient queasy listening, QTT5 unfolds in eight parts along the reel’s ∞ axes, dragging the listener across the tapehead from the reclaimed mechanical ambience of 24, to zoom in on Black To Comm-alike sci-fi dankness in Telescope and document some arcane game involving rusty pipes and seagulls in CCLT, before bathing in puddled new age tones with Untitled.
Rosegate opens the B-side at a more abstract angle with piercing string glissandi, waterlogged chords and spasming electronics like something that escaped from Actress’ studio late at night, before the beautiful, mirage like Amber hovers into view like a Huerco S vision, dissipating into the noxious atmospheric swamplands of Delta and the bittersweet harmonic resolution of Oaoa at its perimeter.
The sense of ambiguity is strong and key to the appeal of QTT5, which operates right on that jagged line between OOBEy detachment, romantic introspection and discomfiting yet compelling sensations of “maybe I shouldn’t be here, but…”
A beguiling historical dispatch from post-’68 Paris, Jacques Thollot’s radical free-jazz/psychedelic rock enigma Intra Musique receives its first ever airing thanks to the wonderful Alga Marghen.
Recorded in 1969 in the Faculty of Law at what was then the Sorbonne, now the University of Paris, Intra Musique documents a remarkable collision of energies as much informed by the freedoms of American jazz and psychedelia as its European analogs, capturing a driving, anarchic chaos in the 22 minute A-side, and a more fractious diffusion of ideas, from swinging jazz to more damaged and percussive onslaughts on the B-side. Now appearing 50 years since the events of ’68, Intra Musique uncannily intersects another turbulent point in history while still sounding as vital, urgent as ever.
“There are records that stimulate curiosity to the extreme, records that make you want to dissolve yourself into the intense and beautiful surprise this music will bring. It is undeniable to the delighted ear that this exhumed document contains all the assets of the historical output, of the record that one would dream of waiting for long if one had known it existed. This rough edit, done within urgency by Jacques Thollot, testifies of a unique experience: the concert of Intra Musique at the Faculty of Law in Paris, an uncertain evening of 1969. The devastating gab of the two acolytes Jacques Thollot and Eddie Gaumont made the concert take place, on the ploughed earth of May '68, in the same faculty where so much was discussed and, thanks to the success of the previous concerts of the association of students, that allowed the risk of hiring the thundering dream team. Unique because there will never be another replica of what Jacques Thollot called "a movement", involving Michel Portal (tenor sax), Mimi Lorenzini (guitar), the rare Daniel Laloux (tambour), Jacques Thollot (drums and tapes of recorded experiments, those that would build the skeleton of the magnificent Quand Le Son Devient Aigu Jeter La Girafe À La Mer LP on Futura (1971)), and Eddie Gaumont (guitar, piano), the instigators of this journey. Captain Eddie Gaumont will capsize shortly after, sunk by a too intensely dark life; sad coda putting an end to the project.
There is also the undeniable whirling of the mentors and companions' spirits of Jacques Thollot, such as Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Bernard Vitet, and Jean-François Jenny Clark, and the hard to describe succession of precious moments: that oblique spiritual-jazz, that other staggering ballad, or that primitive fever of essential nervous flights, that almost psychedelic proto rock; alternations of radical free music to those magnificently classic, overwhelming achievements. Jacques Thollot is not just one of the greatest abandoned jazz composers: he is the one who abandons himself to all its forms.”
Nice side of Gallic and Afro influences worked to a lilting, downbeat affair squinting in the sun towards Air and classic ‘80s AOR
“Growing Bin is swapping bucolic Poland for the buzz of the Big Apple, reaching a magnificent seven in the company of synth-pop dreamer Shy Layers (JD Walsh to his mum) and his sublime self titled debut. Over the course of ten emotional pop serenades, the New York musician recalls lost days sofa surfing to the lounge electronica of Air, Mellow and early Phoenix or the swooning lo-fi psychedelia of a pre-MD Simian.
Shy Layers welcomes us aboard with the shimmering pads and soothing soft synths of ‘Black & White’, a drifting soundtrack to a John Hughes-directed episode of ‘In The Night Garden’. From there we swerve into the wistful synth-pop of ‘Famous Faces’, locking into the rattling Tears For Fears groove while the West Coast guitar licks and vocoder vocals float off into the distance.
‘You Won’t Find Me’ shuffles through afro-tronic keyboard lines, Beta Band breakbeats and loose funk guitar before the sweltering ‘Stabilized Waves’ dips a toe in the Med, swaying gently to the fluid bass, acoustic strumming and cascading electric guitar. Swapping continents to close the A-side, ‘Too Far Out’ finds Walsh working highlife guitars and fuzzy sanza sequences into a piece of perfect off-kilter pop. The B-side begins in glitchy fashion with the flying hats and seesaw synths of ‘Holding It Back’, before ‘Playing The Game’ offers sprinklers over summer lawns, dub fx, jangling guitars and cooing vocals. The afrobeat influence shines through once again on the rhythmic ‘Bees & Bamboo’ before ‘SEG’ sees Shy Layers don Mario’s Red Wing cap for a chip-set safari through the bright blue sky. Playing us out with the same cinematic splendour with which we began, Walsh conjures a woozy, sun-dappled mood for the sumptuous ‘1977’.
Fusing French pop, glistening Americana, 80s AOR and afrobeat into a hazy vision of balmy mornings, long evenings and lazy days, Shy Layers has served up the soundtrack to your summer.”
NYC’s Solpara keeps Quiet Time Tapes’ ambient agenda mutable and off-kilter with a lucid dream of alternately crisp and melting hyaline structures following releases for Nico Jaar’s Other People, and his own Booma Collective label.
Where his previous releases explored rugged strains of techno, here he follows his instincts along more abstract lines of enquiry on a roaming dérive from subterranean chromatic whorls in Psyzch to the fluffy electronica charms of Dodokéhidra, traversing thru lushly resonant sound sculptures recalling Phil Julian’s Relay CD such as Broken Turbine and the algorithmic chain reaction of Ego Death, to find a contemplative centre in Meditation of the Wounds and a contrasting, piquant counterpoint of distorted, crystalline design in Aguirré.
The 2nd half seems to flow with more urgency, lurching into action with the panicky Brush Leaves and possibly pointing to his Lebanese heritage with the rapid, tar-like twang of Fungi In Communication and the recalling the strange metastable states of Aught’s Xth Reflexion or Anòmia/Hospital Production’s Exoteric Continent, then settling down into the pointillist minuet of Ristretto, which almost feels like a orchestration of dripping taps in an abandoned, glazed tile-clad restroom at the bowels of the city.
Lynch and Badalamenti would go on to become synonymous with one another but at the time these pieces were written their collaboration was still in its early stages.
Even so, Badalamenti pulled together music which absolutely mirrored the images we were seeing on screen from the incredible theme song to the unforgettable 'Audrey's Dance'.
Classic roots reggae album written by Hugh Mundell when he was only 16, with signature floating falsetto set to production by the legendary Augustus Pablo.
Africa Must Be Free by 1983 spawned a reggae classic with its title track Africa Must Be Free, but in a tragic turn of events Mundell was murdered at the age of 21 in 1983 whilst travelling in a car with Junior Reid.
Mulatu Astatke is widely regarded as the father of Ethiopia's jazz scene, so it's only fitting that he should get an instalment of the renowned Ethiopiques series all to himself.
The recognisably African influences on this music are surprisingly understated, with Astatke's schooling at Berklee College Of Music shining through, revealing an accomplished musician and arranger. There are some very modern elements to this music (first released between 1969 and 1974) with Big Muff-saturated electric guitar leads and wailing horns all very in keeping with the spirit of the time.
Astatke's certainly enjoyed a rich and varied career, collaborating with Duke Ellington in the '70s and more recently enjoying some crossover exposure thanks to Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers, which featured some of Astatke's music on its soundtrack. He's certainly one of those artists who merits a wider audience than the awkward 'world music' bracket could afford him.
Floating Points’ Melodies International tees off its next 12” with Maurice Moore and Family Affair Band’s funky twanger Everything That Shines Ain’t Gold - Parts 1 & 2 cut to the A-side, backed with FP’s filter-freaking edit.
With his wonderful debut album still glowing brightly, Motion Graphics commits these two new gems of Peter Zummo or Steve Reich-esque minimalist studies for Future Times, the label run by his Lifted collaborator, Max D.
There’s no mistaking his reference points, but it’s the way in which he transposes their techniques onto the glassy idents of scrolling digital menu sounds that sets the pieces apart from their precedents.
With Brass Mechanics he summons a spiralling, vertical vortex of pizzicato wind instrumentation and pointillist clicks sounding like one of the lush, swooning phrases from his album or the Lifted project has been expanded and flipped upwards to the sun.
Tarahumara licks zippy woodwind in deliquescent loops and swallow diving figures on the flipside, folding the phrases into a bittersweet frenzy of rapid fluctuations and harmonic clusters that leave us light headed.
R&S present ‘Warmth’ the new album from New York based duo Blondes AKA Sam Haar and Zach Steinman whose ten tracks of mesmerising, ever shifting rhythmic workouts percolate alongside contemporaries such as Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson and Donato Dozzy.
"A decade into their musical relationship, the duo continue to find inspiration through hardware instrumentation and improvisation. Haar and Steinmsan’s intense live performances on sound systems throughout Europe and US for 2013’s ‘Swisher’ LP and beyond traversed nightclubs, festivals, art museums and DIY spaces serving to generate a wealth of material album to be distilled into this album.
‘Warmth’ finds them further stripping away extraneous elements, pushing their percussive framework to the forefront. The result is lysergic techno fused with Blondes’ characteristic synth-work and atmospherics.
After parting company with their previous label, the highly respected RVNG Intl. label, the duo find a natural home as part of R&S’s storied alumni as they explain: “Having released on RVNG for years, we had wanted to move in the direction of releasing on a more dance music focused label. RVNG has established itself in the world of experimental music and reissuing overlooked records from the past, and we both (RVNG and Blondes) thought it would be immensely exciting for us to release this new record with R&S”
It’s fair to say that Blondes’ characteristic hypnotic synth figures, pulsing club ready rhythms and gritty off-kilter sensibility have never felt as fully realised and timely as on ‘Warmth’- their most significant and weighty record to date.”
Stunning, often ecstatic and frenzied album of 12-string fingerstyles - hugely recommended.
The lesser-spotted Poon Village pick Boston-based Rob Noyes’ captivating debut LP of Basho-esque 12-string fluidity, The Feudal Village for release some two years after their excellent excavation of William Winant’s virtuoso percussion on Five American Percussion Pieces. We’ll be damned if this isn’t some of the most amazing guitar work we’ve heard since those Tashi Dorji records.
With the Demo 2014 tape already to his credit, The Feudal Village necessarily presents Noyes to a wider audience, well, at least those who are lucky to snaffle a copy of this record, which is already - perhaps understandably - trading for twice the shelf price 2nd hand. And we say that as admitted dilettantes to this deeply-rooted genre, although it’s really not hard to hear that Noyes style is deeply impressive.
In eleven parts he’s the best kind of show-off, weaving his elaborate melodies and complex harmonies so quickly and with such rhythmic intricacy that it’s a joy just to try and keep up with him. But once you’re settled into his elemental cadence you’re in for a gripping 35 minutes which only feels half as long by the run-out groove.
“Rob’s playing carries the weight of many possibly imaginary forebears, but the way he smears them all together shows a holistic mastery of touch and imagination that defies a lot of today’s players” -
Bare-bones, proto-technoid primitivism from Shane English, following his previous LP, Conscious Walk for Unknown Precept, and a split LP with Beau Wanzer as Corporate Park. RIYL Thought Broadcast, Conrad Schnitzler, Nocturnal Emissions
“American experimental musican Shane English continues in a long tradition of outsider electronics as he's been humbly prolific in his output though the years involving himself in numerous recording projects. Collaborating with Jonah Lange in their group Corporate Park as well as an ongoing collab with Beau Wanzer (seeing a release last year under the CP/BW name), English now commits his second full length solo offering to vinyl in the form of the General Dimensions lp.
Sparse machine driven electronics dominate the recording providing a back drop for the occasional pulsating rhythm, metallic clank or floating obscured vocal. While it is a dark and sparse affair there is a quiet downtrodden beauty throughout giving the recording a sense of uncertain serenity in an almost shoegazey way. Highly recommended for those into early electronics.”
Timeless roots reggae volley
Sister Rasheda decries the oppressors in World Crisis teamed with Dougie Wardrop and Jerry Lyons’ rollicking dub on the A-side, then steps out on a more mellow, effortlessly driving UK steppers sound in Earthquake and the scooped out Dub produced by Tenastellin.
Instinctive, primordial regressions to pre-history Japan
“Japanese saxophone transgressor Akira Sakata meets with his long-time collaborator and Fender Rhodes virtuoso Giovanni Di Domenico, Portuguese guitarist Manuel Mota, and drummer Mathieu Calleja for a session recorded at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels.
Named after the Jomon period of the Japanese prehistory - when Japan was inhabited by a hunter-gatherer culture rich in tools, clay pottery, and jewelry made from bone and stone - the record features three tracks: Jomon (縄文), Kaen (火焔), and Dogu (土偶). The Dogu (literally: "clay figures") were small humanoid and animal figurines made during the Jomon period for religious purpose: it may have been believed that illnesses could be transferred into the Dogu, then destroyed, clearing the illness, or any other misfortune.
The record itself is a musical healing ritual invoking and unleashing a powerful demon with Sakata's throat singing, then slowly hypnotizing it in the second half of the album, putting it back into its vault before it's too late. Beautiful artwork made with Sakata's hand-painted Kanji characters.”
Innovations in ‘free’ middle eastern experimental music
“Featuring some of the most innovative players from Beirut, Cairo and Istanbul, Karkhana met for the first time in Beirut in 2014, bringing together influences from the three major experimental music scenes of the region and beyond. Through their live shows, the band's seven multi-instrumentalists build a transcendental atmosphere developing what could possibly be called free Middle Eastern music. Shades and traces of shaabi, tarab, sufi and much more are heard in the distinct blend of free jazz and psychedelic krautrock they've created.
Recorded and mixed by Matt Bordin at Outside Inside Studio - in only two days - and mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering Studio in Chicago, For Seun Matta is the first studio album by the band, following Nafas (Omlott, 2016) and Live At Metro Al-Madina (Sagittarius A-Star, 2015). Featuring Sharif Sehnaoui on electric guitar, Sam Shalabi (The Dwarfs of East Agouza) on oud and electric guitar, Maurice Louca (The Dwarfs of East Agouza) on organ and synth, Umut Çağlar (Konstrukt) on zurna, gralla, bamboo flutes, and percussion, Mazen Kerbaj on trumpet, Tony Elieh on electric bass, and with the recent addition of Michael Zerang on drums.
"I wish I could track down more of this tantalising outfit's music to share...This Middle Eastern supergroup first got together to celebrate the music of Egyptian surf guitarist Omar Khorshid – who was also a key figure in Oum Kalthoum's orchestra – but their remit has expanded somewhat and now they're fully committed to outer-perimeter explorations in Krautrock-leaning, cosmic free jazz" (John Doran, The Guardian)”
Stunning 30 minute session of brain-searing noise techno deconstructions from the virulent Pete Swanson.
'Pro Style' continues the former Yellow Swan's work on 'Man With Potential' and that mighty 7" for BEB's Confessions series, rerouting disparate strains of modular synth squall and bludgeoned rhythms into a decaying techno multiverse on the brink of collapse. The title track rams grotty, toiling bass hits under a face-mauling blast of dissonant, sticky noise calamity, like a dose of sonic bath salts straight to the ear.
A VIP mix follows, placing more emphasis on hulking, viscous dub lurch and really allowing the noise to shred through the pain threshold into a zone of cathartic, psychedelic pleasure. He saves his best effort for the flip, as 'Do You Like Students?' occupies a breathtaking interzone of transcendent Goan bliss and industrially-reinforced, 6am-eternal rhythms, a collective dark fantasy brought to life by a man who's probably spent very little time on the dancefloor, yet knows exactly what he needs it to sound like.
After attending college and getting deeper into computer music, Sam Obey began releasing music as Obey City. The project quickly took off with EPs for LuckyMe, forming the Astro Nautico label with his best friends, multiple tours and collaborating with Kelela and Flatbush Zombies. Now, as Sam O.B., he returns to what his oldest confidants know he’s always had up his sleeve: his voice and his bass guitar.
"‘Positive Noise’, the debut album by Sam O.B., is not a ‘journey of a record’ but it’s also not Party Time USA. It’s nuance; cloud patterns; like good progressive jazz. Like the refinement of refinement, the elegance of elegance. Sound propelled by its own smoothness. A coolness that isn’t cold. The earnestness of an old friend. Expanse. Experimentation. Actual warmth.
Sam O.B. is (and has always been) a man of classics. When you hear the sax on ‘Salt Water’ you’ll understand this ambition with precision. Arpeggiated horn delay and female ‘oohs’ fall like geodesic rain. The blasting synth leads on ‘Midnight Blue’ and ‘Nearness’ waver and find their way. The sing-and-play harmonies of ‘Sirens’ refer to the stunning bliss of smooth jazz, which has been in Sam’s arsenal of interests for longer than anyone can remember.
‘Positive Noise’ also has a strong anchoring in the thick pulsing rhythmic stylings of 70s and 80s disco and funk grooves. Sam is a dedicated vinyl collector, having curated DJ residencies around NYC (Hot Sounds Island, Astro Nautico, The Lot) that practically worshipped smooth jams."
Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre's Jazkamer troupe are among the most respected and prolific members of the infamous Norwegian noise/metal scene.
They love making a f**king good racket. During 2010 they undertook an ambitious project to release an album of new material every month for 12 months via a subscription service. 'Chestnut Thornback Tar' was originally the May edition but the fiends at Type just had to own it on vinyl, hence this wax-only pressing including a bonus mix CD reducing the series to 75 minutes of absolutely deadly and mind-bending visceral noise collisions.
The album is dominated by the 20-minute molten suffusion of 'Sentimental Journey', a wading-through-mollasses sprawl of sustained tones and howling-into-the-wind white noise bearing no small debt to Dylan Carlson's Earth (it's a bit of a giveaway that Lasse wears an 'Earth 2' t-shirt on the rear sleeve image!) and conducted with an almost Zen-like attention to detail.
However, the rest of the LP takes a very different shape, joined by collaborators Nils Are Drønen and Jean-Phillipe Gross to crush out another side of overdriven avant-metal dementia with splattercore drums seething under banks of petrifying noise worthy of Whitehouse at their most fearsome. Yet, the most impressive thing here is probably the CD, forcing 12 months of multi-disciplinary noises to co-exist in dissonant harmony - making for one of the most visceral and exciting mixtapes you'll hear this year.
Marc Richter is a bit of a musical chameleon, operating at the cusp of experimental music for many years at the helm of the Dekorder label and via his excellent Black To Comm project.
His last album for the Type label, 2009’s excellent 'Alphabet 1968’ perhaps didn't quite get the attention it undoubtedly deserved, but it still stands out as one of the most oddly memorable drone-ambient albums we’ve heard this last decade, vaguely tapping into the Hauntological zeitgeist of the day but extending the remit to create something far more unsettling and ambitious. That it was subsequently sampled on Evian Christ's standout EP ‘Kings and Them’ perhaps best illustrates the gap between Richter’s creative scope and his relative anonymity.
News that there was a new double album recorded for Type filled us with curiosity, and the result is another sprawling, ambitious re-modelling of ideas that perhaps started life in the ambient realm but soon became infected by a signature surrealism that genuinely sounds unlike much you’ll have heard before. The album extends from the pulsing, chattering opener ‘Human Gidrah’ to the delirious fractured pop of ‘Hands’, while the 20 minute long ‘Is Nowhere’, builds slowly via rumbling organ sounds and buzzing filters to a noisy, sparkling climax.
There are real songs hidden in there somewhere, but Richter’s restless production style never quite lets them fully surface, throwing numerous stylistic distractions that take in everything from skittering jazz-atmospheres to bombastic spoken word narratives and quasi-operatic chanting - gliding from one track to the next without anything like a coherent progression in mind. That the sum total of these tracks isn’t a sprawling mess is an achievement in itself, but that repeated listens (and it doesn't take many) reveal a kind of addictive, earworm quality is genuinely surprising for an album whose sole remit seems to be to wrong-foot and frustrate. So yeah, 'Black To Comm' is undoubtedly a more challenging record than its predecessor, but one which repays the patient listener in dividends.
Type follow up Mike Shiflet's 'Sufferers' side with a further exposition of his individual and far-reaching sound palette.
A member of C Spencer Yeh's revolving Burning Star Core unit, and a prolific collaborator with the likes of Daniel Menche, Chris Corsano, Pete Swanson and many more, Shiflet has honed an intensely visceral feel for tone and texture which makes his records so intriguing to lovers of experimental composition and music making. With some production/audio mastering assists from fellow Columbus, Ohio-based musician Joe Panzner, on 'Merciless' Shiflet engages with corrosive textures from the off, enticing us in with fractured small sounds on 'Feeble Breaths' before weaving a lattice of quick-drying fibreglass strands over your cochlea which become infested with scuttling, insipid rhythms and abstract noise abrasions designed by Panzner on the lloopp software for max/msp.
This induction, by contrast, makes the second half piece of evolving horror drones in 'Exodus And Exile' that much more affective, while the 2nd side plays through as one longer, queasy composition veering from cacophonous noise to wheezing drone and chilly isolation with added cassette manipulation by Jason Zeh, Cello by Marina Peterson and Violin from C. Spencer Yeh.
Well, somebody had to do it, and we could think of few better than Italy's Alga Marghen label. Punning on the title of Simon & Garfunkel's classic LP (even reproducing the front cover), Patrice Caillet, Adam David and Matthew Salladin have collected those infamous "silent" tracks from releases by Ciccone Youth, Crass, Andy Warhol, Whitehouse, Sly & The Family Stone, John Denver, John Lennon, Robert Wyatt, Orbital, and many more.
It's equal parts a provocative statement, as many of the pieces were intended, and also an aesthetic exercise if we take their instruction to "play loud" literally. All silences are presented as they were originally recorded, from the four minutes of Orbital's 4 minutes of silence for the death of rave, 'Are We Here? (Criminal Justice Bill?)' to John and Yoko's 'Two Minutes Of Silence' , right thru to the void of Yves Klein and Charels Wilp's interpretations of silence on 'Prince Of Space', with each keeping intact the infidelities of their recorded medium - Orbital's digital recording near silent apart from this disc's inherent crackle, to the rich patina of surface disturbance in Yves Klein and Charles Wilp's. The in-depth track descriptions and liner notes are a good read, but really, ultimately it's just all a bit of a p*sstake right?
For reasons that will become lysergically clear once you’ve heard the samples, Midori Takada's sublime debut album Through The Looking Glass  is widely regarded the holy grail of ‘80s Japanese ambient & minimalist music. Perhaps it’s no wonder that 2nd hand copies are known to trade for over £600, and, therefore this deluxe reissue is welcomed by a whole new generation of listeners tracing this enchanted sound back to source.
Rooted in Midori Takada's fascination with Asian and African percussion traditions, Through The Looking Glass documents the Japanese musician navigating syncretic channels of practice between floating fantasy kingdoms and parallel ambient dimensions whilst guided by a deeply ethereal, oneiric spirit that’s utterly key to the album’s appeal. While it broadly falls under the ambient banner, the results are far too grand and ambitious to be considered sonic wallpaper - they’re more like widescreen tableaus that open out exponentially the deeper in you dive.
The image of a Lady Godiva-like character riding a hare-sheep-horse chimera on the cover symbolises the surreal confluence of ideas and gestures within; a Japanese musician translating Victorian psychedelic fantasies into a language of rippling rhythmelodies and softly pealing harmonics that nod to Pygmy music as much as gamelan traditions, the soundtracks of Cocteau films and precise marimba patter.
The rest, we’ll leave for your dilated discovery. Take it on trust that this is especially spellbinding and sui generis stuff without complete comparison. A dream.
Tresor back up Detroit boss DJ Stingray’s Kern Vol.4 selection with a powerful collection of electro-techno missiles, as deployed in his mix. Exclusive, new gear barges shoulders with not-so-recent and vintage weaponry ranging from his own NRSB-11 duo with Gerald Donald to AFX, Professor X, Herva, Gesloten Cirkel and more.
The oldest cut is probably the classic, Kraftwerk-sampling Professor X (Saga) - a big 313 tune since 1989 - by erstwhile N.W.A. affiliate Mik Lezan aka Professor X, The Arabian Prince, whilst rarest cut is probably Syncom Data’s squeaky Musik Politik, which previously appeared on an obscure Cunker Records tape in 1998, making its first vinyl appearance here, as does his slamming Detroit girder Nationalised.
Of course they all sound strong, but when you hear them in the mix at Stingray’s hand, they truly come alive. Now’s your turn…
AR is the collaborative project of Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson
Originally published in a limited CD edition of just 200 copies, 'Wolf Notes' is the debut album from *AR, the collaborative project of Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton. While both are already accomplished solo musicians, 'Wolf Notes' marks a stunning new chapter in their canon, and like all great collaborations takes the finest elements of each, moulding it into a pitch-perfect whole.
Those of you familiar with Skelton's previous works, most notably 'Landings', might be surprised to hear that the central instrument on 'Wolf Notes' is the human voice. Autumn Richardson's glassy, lilting echoes haunt the record like distant spirits, with her melodies kneaded and obscured by Skelton's patented treatments and signature strings. The central theme is established with relative ease, but is allowed to shift like the tides, pushing and pulling throughout the record's duration. 'Wolf Notes' might be split into five distinct parts, but they are all simply sections of a clearly defined whole, and are not intended to be heard in isolation from one another. Quite possibly the most sublime project from Skelton yet - adding to an already precious catalogue of releases.
Following on from a pair of Extended Players released in 2011 ("Passed Me By" / "We Stay Together") Andy Stott returns to Modern Love with 'Luxury Problems', an 8 track album of new material recorded over the last 12 months.
Five of the tracks on the album feature the voice of Alison Skidmore, Andy's onetime Piano teacher whom he hadnt seen since he was a teenager back in 1996. There was no grand gesture in mind, it just sort of happened - but after almost a year of studio work the result is really quite unlike anything you'll have heard from him before. 'Numb' opens the album with Alison's voice; layered and looped but essentially left bare and exposed, tumbling into a dense shuffle, sort of somewhere between Theo Parrish and Sade, but more f*cked.
'Lost and Found' follows and deploys a growling rave bassline and a disturbed vocal, the beat assembling itself around a squashed Linndrum like a submerged Prince/Cameo production, haunted and impenetrable, but full of funk. 'Sleepless' started life as an African drum edit that sooner or later succumbed to Stott's intense rhythmic shifts. It's a sound that's been imitated countless times since the release of 'Passed Me By', here re-tooled and re-built for its next evolutionary phase. 'Hatch The Plan' ends the first half of the album with some heavily treated location recordings and a low end grind that probably doesnt quite prepare you for the vocal arrangements that follow - it's just a beautifuly inverted pop song.
The second half opens with 'Expecting', the most recognisably 'Stott' moment on the album: a wrecked, deliriously knocked-out 4/4 shuffle deployed at halfspeed; those heavy kickdrums sucking in everything around them. 'Luxury Problems' is next and offers up the album's most quietly euphoric and open 5 minutes; conventional arrangements and drumloops disrupted by sharp disco bursts that mess with what you know: it's straight and beautiful and unbalanced and damaged, somehow all at once.
"Up the box" switches up the narrative and goes somewhere else entirely, an extended intro that seems to build continuously for 3 minutes before breaking off into a slowed-down Amen edit, creating a kind of narcotic Jungle variant that fragments everything and ends just at the point you think it's going to go off, before "Leaving" finishes the album with an almost unbareably beautiful arrangement of voice and synth and a final key-change that takes you from joyful to forlorn in an instant.
20 years since they peaked out with a seminal, eponymous techno album, Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig’s Porter Ricks return with a super robust, dynamic new LP of hydro-tech mutations for Tresor, following up the gritty example set on last year's Shadow Boat 12”.
Tough but deep whatever way you view it, Anguilla Electrica revolves around a signature Tresor sound in effect, toiling well into the trench between aerobic proprioception and psychoacoustic sound design with an immersive, sensational impact that’s just as bracing on headphones as when felt over a big rig - although we’d definitely recommend the latter!
Its six cuts are optimised to a pair of LP's, giving nuff room for the likes of their scowling, skudgy title track and the distended, subaquatic stepper Scuba Rondo to fully flex their thrilling dynamics over a side-a-piece, while elsewhere they perfectly reprise the elemental psychedelia of their early releases with the pendulous swang of Shoal Boat and the sloshing skanker, Port of Tangency.
But if we’re talking about techno psychedelia in terms of amorphous dexterity and elusiveness, then the most impressive examples are reserved to the breathtakingly intricate flux of Sandy Ground, and no doubt the near-weightless, water-treading abstraction and unquantised polymetrics of Prismatic Error.
Take it as a firm yet mutable reminder of what’s possible within the dub-tech-noise paradigm; a deeply smart way of consolidating keening experimental impetus with proper dancefloor pressure.