Wandering mystic Jackson Bailey aka Tapes returns to Good Morning Tapes on a vinyl edition of his ’Silence Please’ suite, as found on a rare cassette edition in 2018.
After ticking off musical trips to Japan, the Caribbean, and Nebraska, we return to Tapes’ Indian sojourn for a hypnotic reminder of his omnivorous tastes, rolling out four cuts of balmy tabla and new age arp ragas that take on a new life on vinyl. It’s kinda mad how he applies a Midas touch to everything in earshot, always getting down to the quintessence of whatever style he picks, but always with a sort of necessary, raw vivacity that knits all his work together.
DJs, early morning dancers and Yoga enthusiasts will be in their element; the awning drones and rippling tabla of ‘Part 1’aligns the chakras for a supple session taking in something like Charanjit Singh-meets-Steve Reich in the phasing loll and harmonious choral motifs of its Part 2, before he brings the crunchy drums forward in Part 3 primed to get Goan sand tramplers going, and really pushes out to the stars in the supremely heady 7 minutes of Raagini Ni, with its lushly coruscating, just intonation tuned arps allowed to bleed into the red.
'Mas Amable', our record of the year 2020.
Call it deep reggaeton, avant-dembow, whatever; Mas Amable was easily our most rinsed record of the year, a sidewinding trip through slippery, mutable 90/180bpm metrics for lovers of rhythm and sound of all shapes and colours.
Following the reticulated deep house-paced hybrids of his acclaimed 2017 debut, 'Mas Amable' displays a serpentine guile that surely lives up to Brian Piñeyro’s moniker. Through 50 minutes, he dangles the dance by a fine conceptual thread that ties a constant rhythmic skeleton to subtly shifting tonal and textural variables. We start from shoreside ambience and lush field recordings, into hip-gripping dembow permutations and tripped-out vocals, elegantly and rudely shifting the pressure gauge from a gentle propulsive sway to darker steppers and wavey, whistling melodies, before neuro D&B stabs light up the dance and it all fades out on a deep blue reggaeton tip.
Like a mutable organism imperceptibly transforming before our eyes, ‘Mas Amable’ is both effortless and unfathomable, a heady trip through liquid, morphing tressilo drums and junglist markers that, at their peak, provide ample space for LA Warman’s vocal narration, imbuing proceedings with an eerie prescience and an existentially weary message. It all makes for a unique and richly immersive experience that we said back in April would rank among the definitive records of 2020. And at the end of this brutal, relentless year... here we are.
Mark Fell and Will Guthrie join forces for the second time this year with ‘Diffractions’, the 2nd in a two part series released via the new NAKID label set up by Koshiro Hino of Goat / YPY fame. On 'Diffractions' the pair push ever deeper into percussive R&D informed/inspired by Gamelan and Carnatic musics - massively tipped if you’re into anything from Autechre’s Confield-era abstractions to Milford Graves’ fluid drumming or even the insular soundworld of The Necks.
Rhythm has always been central to Fell’s work, from his icy, repetitive minimalist excursions with SND to his legendary run of unashamedly funked abstract house experiments as Sensate Focus. Here, he continues to excavate that rich seam with an ongoing collaboration with Aussie percussionist Will Guthrie; “Diffractions” pushing both artists’ interests into sharper detail, toying with polyrhythms and unusual tuning to uncover a suite of transformative fidget spins and sonic storm clouds.
“Diffractions” features another two lengthy pieces of future-facing percussive abstractions that blur the line between synthetic and organic. Taking the influence of gamelan and fusing it with the heaving computer music that Fell has obsessively picked-at over the last four decades, the duo here zoom into a sound that’s almost effortlessly engaging; each piece is almost twenty minutes in length but they shift and mutate into polyrhythmic outer-realms and eerie universes of microtonality that are hard to fathom in one sitting.
There are trace echoes of free jazz hanging from the rafters, the post-everything clatter of Humcrush and Food drummer Thomas Strønen’s mind-expanding solo material or even Autechre at their most confounding. The genius here is that just when you convince yourself that this music could only possibly have been generated by a computer, Guthrie’s unmistakably human flex edges into focus - playing with your perception - your expectations - in the most bold, innovative way imaginable. Basically, this record fucking rules.
Elodie’s Andrew Chalk & Timo Van Luijk present their soundtrack for Peter Hutton’s ’Skagafjörður’, responding to the film’s desolate imagery of Iceland with half an hour of exquisite, weather-beaten, smoke-curl atmospheres, highly recommended if yr into the cold tonalities of Kevin Drumm's 'Imperial Distortion' or Aphex Twin's 'SAW II'...
Recorded as part of ‘Night of Experimental Film’ event in Ghent, Belgium, 2018 that also saw screenings of Derek Jarman’s ‘The Angelic Conversation’ and performance by Tom James Scott, the recording captures the quintessence of Chalk and Van Luijk’s richly evocative music and the natural mystery of Hutton’s film, which is handily available on YouTube for you to synch with its suggested soundtrack for optimal zoner times.
Following a cassette edition in 2020, this vinyl edition gives the performance more room to breathe, with Chalk and Van Lujik’s patented atmospheric magick seeping out from the peripheries to best envelope the listener in their tantalising descriptions of the Icelandic landscape. Chalk & Van Luijk are masters of this kind of layer-within-layer rendering, where you no longer know if you’re listening to vast winds or analogue interference, where harmonic washes are often punctuated with frequency fuckries; feedback, jolts of electricity. The effect is quietly stunning and effortlessly transfixing; like so much of their peerless catalogue.
Jim O’Rourke pushes Apartment House to test their limits via an open-ended score for string trio requiring the players to whistle and sing wordlessly, with absorbing, minimalist results.
Commissioned by Anton Lukoszevieze of Apartment House, who also perform the work with exacting patience and nuance, ‘Best that you do this for me’ is a 50 minute work for string trio (featuring Lukoszevieze alongside Mira Benjamin and Bridget Carey) that also requires the performers to work out of their comfort zones, with additional instructions for them to whistle and sing, as well as play their instruments (violin, viola, cello.) The piece was originally performed in a 15 minute iteration for the BBC, but in this new expanded version its wider scope leads the players to unpredictable harmonic junctures as they work their way around its cyclical indications, overlapping into achingly mournful and sighing cadences with a glacially time-slipping quality.
O’Rourke was inspired to incorporate whistling and singing into the piece after re-listening to a few choral works by Martin Smolka, and was struck by how this relatively simple and always “on hand” instrument is rarely used. In the context of highly skilled instrumentalists such as Apartment House, the simple gesture of whistling and singing becomes a radical one, encouraging the trio to offset and balance their skills and intuition in a sometimes unnerving way that lends the work a beautifully uncertain character, unfurling like an archipelago of islands illuminated by moonlight and punctuated with gulfs of dark, pregnant silence.
Classic South African psychedelic afro-rock albums marking the watershed of Harari’s evolution from Soweto soul (as The Beaters) to the afro-centric rock and funk that brought them fame and changed South Africa’s musical landscape forever. Reissued with printed inner sleeves containing notes by “Soweto Blues” author Gwen Ansell and archival photography. Audio remastered and cut for vinyl by Frank Merritt at The Carvery with heavyweight 180g vinyl pressed at Pallas in Germany.
"The Beaters – Harari was released in 1975. After changing their name, Harari went into the studio late in 1976 to record their follow-up, Rufaro / Happiness. In 1976 they were voted South Africa’s top instrumental group and were in high demand at concert venues across the country. Comprising former schoolmates guitarist and singer Selby Ntuli, bassist Alec Khaoli, lead guitarist Monty Ndimande and drummer Sipho Mabuse, the group had come a long way from playing American-styled instrumental soul in the late sixties to delivering two Afro-rock masterpieces.
Before these two albums the Beaters had been disciples of ‘Soweto Soul’ – an explosion of township bands drawing on American soul and inspired by the assertive image of Stax and Motown’s Black artists. The Beaters supported Percy Sledge on his 1970 South African tour (and later Timmy Thomas, Brook Benton and Wilson Pickett). But their watershed moment was their three month tour of Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) where they were inspired by the strengthening independence struggle and musicians such as Thomas Mapfumo who were turning to African influences. On their return, the neat Nehru jackets that had been the band’s earliest stage wear were replaced by dashikis and Afros.
“In Harari we rediscovered our African-ness, the infectious rhythms and music of the continent. We came back home inspired! We were overhauling ourselves into dashiki-clad musicians who were Black Power saluting and so on.” Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, talking of the band’s time spent on tour in the (then) Rhodesian township from where they took their name. As well as expressing confident African politics, Alec Khaoli recalled, they pioneered by demonstrating that such messages could also be carried by “...happy music. During apartheid times we made people laugh and dance when things weren’t looking good.”
The two albums capture the band on the cusp of this transition. One the first album Harari, Inhlupeko Iphelile, Push It On and Thiba Kamoo immediately signal the new Afro-centric fusion of rock, funk and indigenous influences. American soul pop is not forgotten with Love, Love, Love and, helped along by Kippie Moeketsi and Pat Matshikiza a bump-jive workout What’s Happening concludes the album. The second album Rufaro pushes the African identity and fusion further, with key tracks Oya Kai (Where are you going?), Musikana and Uzulu whilst the more pop-styled Rufaro and Afro-Gas point to where Harari were headed to in years to come. The popularity and sales generated by these two classic albums saw them signed by Gallo and release just two more albums with the original line-up before the untimely death of Selby Ntuli in 1978. Whilst they went on to greater success, even landing a song in the US Billboard Disco Hot 100 in 1982, it was never the same again.
“Harari’s music still speaks directly to one of my goals as a younger artist: to express myself as an African without pretending that I don’t have all these other musical elements – classical, jazz, house – inside me.” Thandi Ntuli, niece of Selby Ntuli.
Kush Jones makes strong, deft moves at 160bpm on a six-track self-release
‘Strictly 4 My CDJZ 13’ sees him absorb some of the ambient tones and feels from his 2020 house/electro turn for Future Times into his more typical footwork styles with lush, hybrid results. The junglist crew will be all over his choppy, fleet-footed madness ‘Keeps Playing With The Breaks’ and the shudder of ‘Dissolving’ on a sorta ’93 Bukem tip, while making it super floaty nice with the plush, buoyant pads and weightless kick propulsion of ‘F Zero’, and bringing it down to 4Hero-esque breakbeat swerve with the whirring mechanics and gossamer jazz chords in ‘What The Dream Was Made Of’ and more quizzical electro jazz-funk of ‘Donations.’
Tri Angle have done us all a favour and pressed up Evian Christ's sublime 'Duga - 3' mix on a one-sided plate. Originally released as a mix for Dummy Magazine in summer 2012, it is technically an original, 20-minute composition in four seamlessly arranged parts and was inspired by the artist's research into the eponymous Soviet signal transmitter - the 'Duga - 3'.
The transmitter was characterised by the repetitive tapping sound it broadcast which was sufficiently powerful enough to intercept transmissions across the world. And, in truly Conet Project style, the array was abandoned as mysteriously and unexpectedly as it had appeared, leaving behind a legacy of intrigue and enigma that sparked the dilated curiosity of yung Joshua Leary aka Evian Christ. Part way between 1991's somnolent hypnogogia, the silty harmonic washes of Philip Jeck and Tim Hecker's most divine output, it's perfectly suited to the vinyl format and thoroughly recommended - if you're quick enough.
Ooooof, it's been a while since we last heard from Pole but the German reductionist dub innovator has found his mojo again and this is his finest slab in ages. Proper frazzled low-end treatments for blunted exotica darlings.
It's been five years since Stefan Betke dropped a full-length, but to be honest we haven't been too interested since 2000's "3", the third and final part of Betke's trilogy of albums that still sound like little else. Those records helped light the touchpaper for a generation of young producers to experiment with dub sounds in a freeform electronic context, and while it burned out quickly the traces can still be heard fizzing through. Betke reissued the trilogy earlier this year and has now followed it up with "Fading", recapturing the unsurpassed essence of those early jams without repeating himself.
Inspired by the idea of memory loss as he watched his mother suffer from dementia, Betke wanted to connect ideas of the early Pole albums to his contemporary practice. And that's exactly how "Fading" sounds: the skeletal, decomposing dub sound that was so idosyncratic in 1998 is still present, but Betke fleshes it out with a mature worldliness that brings in elements of exotica and the subtle whisper of distant, half-remembered pop. That's not to say there are riffs (there really aren't, it's pure vibes from beginning to end) but yr transported to a world where oddly familiar elements are wrapped up tightly in tape hiss and white noise.
Like on those first few albums, Betke's rhythms feel elastic and in constant flux. Drum machine sounds and sonic detritus become pretty much interchangeable, melting into each other to create a highly distinctive sound universe. There's an element of nostalgia for sure - the glassy, polished (im)perfection of the early 2000s Mille Plateaux set is very well represented here - but Betke brings it into contemporary dimensions, updating the frame without losing its soul. It's the sound of a dying supercomputer on a distant world, if that supercomputer had learned about Earth's pop culture solely by listening to Jamaican soundsystem music of the 1970s and 80s.
Unmissable stuff here, collecting Japanese avant pop and ferric beats from the scene's darkest, most thrilling corners.
Compiled by Yosuke Kitazawa and Dublab's Mark “Frosty” McNeill, this latest collection of Japanese obscurities from Light in the Attic sweeps up bizarre loose threads that fall through the cracks between the label's already released collections of city pop and ambient and new age music. Those two compilations spoke to the YouTube-driven resurgence of interest in albums like Hiroshi Yoshimura's "Green" and artists like Happy End's Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, and "Somewhere Between" investigates the fringes, dark crevices and unpicked crates.
Here, the sounds are exceptionally varied, falling from Mammy's twinkling odd-world electronix on 'Mizu No Naka No Himitsu' and D-Day's shimmering, dry ice-laced 'Sweet Sultan', to the gloomy avant synth pop of Neo Museum's unforgettable 'Area' and R.N.A-ORGANISM's gurgling, hiss-soaked 'WEIMAR 22'. The theme that unifies all of the selections is an unshakable sense of exploration and joy from the artists. The era's optimism is palpable, and it's a rare pleasure to hear musicians driven so wholeheartedly by exploration, experimentation, innovative song forms and bold artistic strokes.
Diggers will clearly get a kick from these rarities, but Kitazawa and McNeill have done such a great job with the selection that it's far more than just a curiosity. "Somewhere Between" is an invigorating listen, like a particularly wild and wonderful mixtape handed over by a trusted friend. It's a musical time capsule to get lost in.
Proper, truckin’ psych techno bangers from Joachim Nordwall (The iDEAList) and Henrik Rylander’s cosmic incarnation, sent via Moscow’s Stellage portal
After seeing us off with last year’s ‘Your Skulls Are To Us What The Sun Is To You’ for Industrial Coast, the duo’s instinct for ace titles is in effect again on ‘The New Age Is Shit’, which pretty much sums up the record’s antithetical stance and the band’s scything iconoclastic approach to rhythm and noise-induced madness within.
‘Determination’ sets out with 11mins of meat motoring bass pound and thick layers of distortion that build up to a full 18-wheeler traction and keep it there. ‘Seen It All Been It All’ trudges thru thickest of razor wire noise and worksite klangs, and they really hit between the like eyes like a Nate Young Regression doozy with ’Stuck In A Dead End Man’, before yoking some kind of Pan Sonic-esque dub noise sludge in their lurching, drunken title cut. Some of their best gear, is it not?!
Fizzing with nostalgic goodness, Ssiege’s follow-up to the cherished ‘Fading Summer’ album is kissed with a similar sort of brittly blissed serenity and melancholic appeal
Marking his debut with Knekelhuis, the five tracks on ‘Meteora’ join the dots between romantic ‘80s synth soundtracks, the kind of emotive post-industrial explored by Caroline K, and the eternally effective wooze of BoC or Bochum Welt, but articulated with a personalised melodic voice that really speaks to us, and maybe you, on this one.
Equally sharply poised between its precision tooled machine drum patterns and lissom arps, Siege injects a beautifully warm spirit to the album with a grasp of extended melody that wraps the record up in ribbons. On ‘Il Re Delle Mandorie’ he slips us into daydreamy reveries with searching arp leads and lilting guitar that sounds like Vini Reilly reworking BoC’s take on ‘Poppy Seed’ by Slag Boom Van Loom, and ‘Nebbia Spugnia’ shares a gorgeous sort of shoegaze-meets-sad rap air with the recent Sharp Veins album. ‘Il Peso’ follows to the EP’s slowest, brooding point recalling a desiccated adjunct to Pye Corner Audio, while the title tune shores up in witch house interzones like some Salem cut that could have feasibly appeared in 0PN’s soundtrack for ‘Uncut Gems’, or even one of the most aching moments on Made’s ‘Untitled’ album (which was crafted with vintage Æ synths.)
Timelessy effective, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Japan’s Calax Records debut with reissue of a rare batch of breezy and brilliant cuts by Industrial and new beat originals, Siegmar Fricke, and Dirk Desaever aka A Thunder Orchestra, White House White, Danton’s Voice +++
Both artists were heavily active in the late ‘80s tape and industrial electronic scenes, with Dirk Desaever recording some of Belgian new beat/EBM’s finest moments, and Fricke developing a catalogue of 100s of release up to the modern day, including 2019’s turn as Pharmakustik for V I S. This set captures a snapshot of the pair sharing a tape and vibe in 1990, charting an early phase of their respective creative oeuvres when they both worked between a flux of inspirations from ambient to synth-pop and proto-techno, thru to experimental integers of EBM and new beat.
We’re particularly drawn to the ATO cuts, which hark to the archival Dirk Desaever material that surfaced on Musique Pour La Danse’s two compilations in 2019. They feel as though mailed in from a greyscale parallel dimension of the very late ‘80s, possessed by a brooding gothic Belgian spirit that filters thru from the eerie dance tension of ‘Birch’ to the cinematic strings of ‘Coming Closer’, and impish works like ‘Reaching out for that brandnew little nothing’ that split that difference between Coil and John T. Gast, and the face-numbing coke psychosis of ‘Columbarium’, plus the unmissable goth ballad ’She lives in a dream Movie Theme II.’ Factor in Fricke’s side of eight more playful electro-dub and heady acid house freaks such as ‘This Is John’, and its exclusive ’91 remix, or the scudding, proto-ambient-techno of ‘In Good Shape’, and you’re onto a proper winner.
Dubplates and Mastering admirable assistance in reissuing this series of beautiful Wackies music can really be seen in all its glory on this 6 tracker.
Killer Pallas pressing of some understated but still sublime three part vocal harmonies. The mood is well dread with four cuts resembling prime period Black Ark Perry productions and the heartical pull of two Marley inflected numbers, making this another fine addition to the swelling back catalogue of joy emanating from Lloyd Barnes New York based Bullwackie vaults.
Richard Skelton's latest transmission finds the reclusive artist ditching the mournful string drones of his last run of releases and embracing chilly, distorted electronics that should appeal to anyone into Yellow Swans, Alessandro Cortini, Johann Johannsson or Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Async".
It's hard to believe it's been almost a decade since Skelton's last vinyl release. "These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound" follows a slew of regular drops on Skelton's own Aeolian imprint and moves in a decidedly fresh direction, ditching the acoustic instrumentation that has grounded the majority of his catalog. His last few releases (notably "LASTGLACIALMAXIMUM" and "The Oracle Bone") have explored darker sonic spaces, but have continued his obsession with bowed string drones, muddying them with eerie distortion and field recordings. Here though, Skelton has both feet fully in the electronic realm, layering overdriven synth tones to offer a sensitive, evocative foil to Lawrence English or Ben Frost's grandstanding "power ambient".
The ambience is powerful, certainly, but that strength emerges from the emotional content and the mere suggestion of gravitas. Without acoustic instrumentation, his familiar signature is a ghost that materializes in amongst analog sizzles and thick, oscillating bass tones. Waves of white noise and the occasional doomed hit of a kick drum echoes Yellow Swans' towering masterpiece "Going Places", but Skelton's vision is sparser and more anxious, distant and heavy.
Based in the valleys of the Scottish borders, Skelton translates his relative isolation from contemporary society into soundscapes that are almost futuristic, but lack the clutter of deconstructed club or awkward posturing of concept-heavy festival drone. His idea of the future sounds closer to Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky's visionary "Stalker" - seemingly out of time and out of place, with an eerie sense that the rapidly-shifting realty of the present is even more precarious than we care to realize.
"These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound" feels like a potent reflection on a time of global isolation, societal collapse and the confusion of many potential futures, but chooses not to weigh us down with any kind of assertion. Rather, we are invited to project our own anxieties onto the album's groaning dreamworld.
Reissue of 4AD’s post-punk classic by Tones On Tail, a craftily innovative side project of Bauhaus guitarist Daniel Ash and roadie Glenn Campling, and playful antithesis to the band’s goth posturing
It’s ‘Pop’ but with a touch of goth around the eyes, and apparently some Big Macs and hash on the lips, revolving classic material in the synth-pop centrepiece ‘Performance’ and sleazy goth backroom business in ‘Happiness’ and ‘Movement Of Fear’, while ‘Real Life’ jangles with Neo-folksy strings in a way that was just in the air around the ‘80s Midlands, and bleeds out into the beautifully bleak scenes described in ‘Rain’, and wrapped up with streaks of innovative production genius that set Tones On Tail’s sole album out as cult classic.
Follow-up to Vegyn’s widely acclaimed debut album (‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’), supplying a warm, fuzzy hug of low-slung grooves and off-kilter jazz/electronica by the Frank Ocean and Haim collaborator
Now based in LA, Vegyn turns inspiration from tarot cards, depressive existentialism, and his circle of pals, into a positive experience on ‘Like A Godo Old Friend.’ After taking time out since his resoundingly well received debut LP, and following a chance encounter with a mate’s old piano, Vegyn finds his groove again in six nuggets that effectively split the difference between BoC, Mica and Arca, drawing on a naturally learnt (gwed check his dad’s discography!), but wonky pop sensibility and talents as a graphic designer, to articulate a gentle, playfully animated sort of daydreamy wooze that owes as much to deep house and beatdown as indie-pop and R&B. We’re most feeling the likes of his hazy blooz in ‘So Much Time - So Little Time’ and the fructose-boosted house at the EP’s fondant core, but the air-stepping, pill-belly energy of closer ‘Sometimes I feel Like I’m Ruining Songs’ makes for a close runner-up.
Infectious Baile Funk hybrids from Rabu Mazda built for party pressure and better times
Pulling from Brazilian styles via Lisbon, Mazda patently knows how to ignite the rave on ‘Tá Sempre Pegando Fogo’, which translates to ‘It’s Always on Fire.’ Alongside his designated remix driver Silvestre ov Padre Himalaya and Media Fury esteem, who gives the syncopated bounce of ‘Fumo No Olho’ a Dance Mania-style spanking, Mazda brings the heat with recoiling 808 funk and gunshots on ‘Mago Mazda’, plus a deeply rude percolator ‘Bom Feito’, and, best of all, the Miami-via-São Paolo banger ’Sonho Weird’ with its scooping subs that we’ll be dropping in the dance at the nearest opportunity.
Capturing sounds from the environment has become an essential part of KMRU’s creative process resulting in emotive ambient, geographic soundscape experiments.
"For Erased Ep, he combines everything from gritty, indigenous field recordings to piano to 303. Each track evolves at a deliberate pace, starting off with Erased that builds up as the tones overlap and the rhythms build, leading to the ‘Solus’ where KMRU layers sounds recorded from his living room to his ‘shamba walks’ adding synthesized drums. The track slows until the moment feels all but frozen in suspended animation. Finishing with Unkind which is his favorite, he uses field recordings and foley sounds to evoke more than emotion on this unkind track. Creating neutral sounds from a subtle piano and synth improvisation from his Korg minilogue.
Nairobi-based producer Joseph Kamaru, better known under the name KMRU, is notable for making intelligent atmospheric and emotionally evocative electronic music. His sonic identity has evolved alongside his journey from classical guitar to production. Using everything from gritty, indigenous sound to recorded ‘atmospheric noise’ or intricate sonic landscapes. Capturing sounds from the environment has become an essential part of his creative process resulting in emotive ambient, geographic soundscapes, electronica, and even techno."
Remarkable collaboration between inventor, synth pioneer and EMS co-founder Peter Zinovieff and preeminent cellist Lucy Railton, capturing a life-altering dialogue between two figures with a more than 50-year age gap between them, and with very little shared musical vocabulary. Pursuing common ground through an open-ended series of conversations and experiments, the pair somehow produce what we can only describe as creative alchemy; transforming banal conceptual triggers into a work seeping into almost mystical dimensions, with immense personal resonance.
Initially conceived as a live project between the pair and performed at various festivals internationally between 2016-2017, this 35 minute recording feels like just one possible manifestation of an ever-evolving process, a one-off reproduction of an impossible image. The pair started working instinctively, playing to each of their strengths - Railton’s radical ideas, energy and technique, and Peter's inventive, impulsive thinking. Fuelled by their surroundings and through an exchange of ideas, the process they eventually embarked on saw Zinovieff model a computer-synthesised composition made from a series of Railton’s cello improvisations, creating a complex cluster of intricate parts that couldn’t ever be performed by human hands. Over the resulting web, Railton added solo cello to create a kind of double-helix where you’re never quite sure where one sound begins, or ends.
In essence, Railton’s cello provides a radical variable - a sort of spirit in the machine - which is diffused, inverted and scattered by Zinovieff. At the atomic level: chaos reigns. Zoom out a bit, though, and you start to see filigree detail and shapes emerge. It’s this intangible aspect that makes the piece so much more than just a document of process, or experimentation.
It’s worth noting that Railton is here the catalyst for what can be considered Zinovieff’s definitive work in an illustrious career spanning 60 years; RFG is, remarkably, his first ever album. And despite its unwavering, un-sentimental spirit - it’s an album that ultimately speaks to a very modern human condition; the search for common understanding when there is so much that separates us. Inter-generational differences. Our interaction with, and perception of, the world around us. Our relationship with technology. And despite that very academic-sounding title; our individual need to find and nurture the things and ideas that bind.
Trust Montreal's anti-capitalist post-rawk heroes to rustle up the ideal soundtrack to global collapse. It's their most charged material in years: raw, deliriously cinematic and rich with serrated urgency.
New albums from Mogwai and Godspeed in a matter of weeks? Is it 1998 again? We're not complaining - this flickering, silvery opus from GY!BE is among their most satisfying sets to date. "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!" finds the band in an awkward comfort zone, inspired by 2020's pandemic and subsequent global collapse to dust off their shortwave radio and compose a fuzzed-out response to the failure of the state system. It makes a lot of sense; since they debuted with "F♯ A♯ ∞" they've never been quiet about their anti-fascist, anti-corporate, anti-state views. With this in mind, "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!" is almost a "told ya" moment, or a euphoric apology for decades of prophetic post-rock doom-saying.
Weaved together with crackly snippets of shortwave hum, the album almost begins like John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness" with spine-chillingly indistinct chatter that signals isolation, desperation and media distortion. From there, the band allow their glacial compositions to hiss and crack through each distinct movement. At this stage in their career they have nurtured a rapport that sings as loud as any instrument, and twinned with their timely creative surge this has led to tracks that feel like a distillation of GY!BE's best qualities. The thrumming crescendos, Kraut-fed percussion, thick walls of layered feedback, near-classical compositional care and an unashamedly widescreen grasp of narrative. Godspeed sound heavier, tighter and more vital here than they have in ages. Who else could craft such elegiac, melancholy doom for the end of the world?
A previously unheard recording from Phew, John Duncan and Kondo Tatsuo, documenting a concert at Tokyo’s Hosei University in 1982.
"Though the fertile exchange of ‘zines, tapes and records between the Japanese underground and the Los Angeles Free Music Society meant the artists were familiar with each other’s work, this performance (occurring on Duncan’s first visit to Japan) was their first meeting and only performance as a trio.
Duncan is heard on his signature shortwave radio set-up, while Kondo performs on synth, tape loops and echo-drenched piano, providing a spacious backdrop for Phew’s astonishing performance of spontaneous, free-associative song moving between Japanese and English. A testament to the unhinged exploration of the 1980s experimental underground, the trio careen wildly between crashing percussive tape loops, deluges of shortwave noise, insistent piano figures and playful synth melodies. On the B side, we are treated to a remarkable ten minute sequence moving organically from spaced-out synth and radio textures to a stunning finale of improvised balladry centred on piano and voice, unexpectedly broken up by electronic interjections. Beautifully recorded in crunchy vintage fidelity, Backfire of Joy arrives accompanied by archival photographs and newly authored liner notes from all three participants.”
Low Jack’s Editions Gravats return with Johann Mazé’s enchanting suite of driftmode concrète poetry, packaged in suitably grand boxset, hand-painted by artist Tiphaine Buhot-Launay and recommended if yr into work buy Luc Ferrari, Lionel Marchetti, Ghédalia Tazartès.
Leading down the jardín path from Mazé’s action on ‘L’homme à Zéro’ by France Sauvage in 2019, the french sound artist now appears as a peripheral presence on ‘Gérard’, which combines interviews, field recordings, poetry and fleeting passages of music, to frame an intimate tribute to a childhood friend of Mazé’s father - the eponymous Gérard. In the style of Gravats’ ’Saudi’ tape box by Krikor Kouchian, the medium plays a crucial part of the message here, with a hand-crafted package of tape and postcards that permits the user access to a private, other world unto itself.
For almost an hour, occasionally prompted by Mazé, Gérard speaks about the bliss of nature while surrounded by the verdant lushness of his garden in Paimpol, on the Brittany coast. With passion and humour Mazé speaks at length about his interests, often breaking off into laughter, with passages of speech punctuated and overlapped with the sounds of his peacocks and hens, and augmented by dabs of organ melody and fizzing drum machine patter.
It’s really as simple as that; on one level recalling the way Luc Ferrari or Lionel Marchetti divine the poetic from the prosaic, and on another, more instinctive level, reminding of warm days in the countryside with good company chatting about nature, philosophy and whatever else comes to mind - and who can sniff at that in the current climate of perpetual housebound darkness?
The fleet fingers of harpist Rhodri Davies pick out connections between Gaelic, West African and Far Eastern traditions - to our untrained ears at least - on the 3rd album via his Amgen label
Making up 1 part of 4 to his ‘Pedlar’ boxset, ‘An Air Swept Clean of All Distance’ was recorded in 2014 at Blank Studios, Newcastle, and exec produced by folk chief Richard Dawson, and adorned by a continuing series of artwork by Anna Peaker. It skips back along the timeline to what sounds like happy times, where Davies’ playing fizzes with typically inventive, optimistic, and timeless beauty, which, if you shut your eyes and try a little, could almost hail from any point in the past half millennia - although we do wonder if they really shredded like this back in thee day.
He’s really going for it on this one, so understandably the tracks are mostly succinct, as who the chuff could keep up this sort of energy for any longer?! They come on In flurried waves with ‘soaked ruins of a raft’ and culminate in him expending his energies on the longest, final piece with the hyper jabs of ‘on the outer reach of the unending’, with numbers such as ‘In Distortion-Free Mirrors’ attacking like Rian Treanor doing Korean classical music at hi-speed, and the breathless, mellifluous flex of ‘continues, placement’ recalling Kadodi styles we’ve heard on Nyege Nyege Tapes. But of course he makes room for slower, serene moments, diffracting the pace thru more spacious and lilting parts like ‘Each clear and sudden drop itself’ and the anticipatory pauses of ‘fingers pluck played on by’ that temper the album’s gushing sequence.
For the good of your health, Warp have re-pressed one of electronic music's golden moments. Like many we've lived with this album for a long time now and it safely ranks in our personal best ever list...
Rarely has an album owed so much to production... Low return with their most daring, experimental release in years, co-produced by James Blake's man at the controls B.J. Burton, at times verging on a layered, pulsing electronic sound you'd associate with the likes of Andy Stott. Doused in distortion, throbbing electronics, submerged vocals, side-chain effects - this could easily have been a nauseating exercise in modernisation; but instead the strength of the songwriting shines through for one of Low's best = a standout full-length for 2018.
"In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.
This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.
Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fightsfor the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?"
Autechre's classic debut album from 1993, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Go on, blink; for the first time in fifteen years Autechre’s peerless debut album, Incunabula is reissued as a facsimile copy of the original, 1993 release, replete with silver-printed gatefold jacket.
We’re not going to bang on about this too much, but you should know by now that Incunabula is one of the cornerstones of modern electronic music, one of the pinnacles of the British rave epoch and among the most life-affirming records ever, bar none.
Aye, it’s 100% essential.
Rare musical magic from the Bruton library catalogue – ambient, spacey, pastoral and electronic. Music by John Cameron, Alan Hawkshaw, Francis Monkman, Brian Bennett and more – all total masters of the scene.
"Over the last three decades Jonny Trunk has collected and written about library music. But he’s never had a great deal of luck with the Bruton catalogue. By this he means that he’s never stumbled across a massive stash, or lucked-out buying a huge run for practically nothing –that’s the kind of thing that used to happen in the 1990s and the early noughties if you were out there looking hard for library music. But he did manage to get about 25 in one hit about 20 years ago when the BBC shut down their “TV Training Department” near Lime Grove and also when a box of Brutons ended up being dumped at a hospital radio, and they didn’t want the records, so Jonny got a call.
There are lots of Bruton albums in existence – over 330 LPs in the vinyl catalogue, issued between 1978 and 1985. That’s a lot of music to wade through if you are looking for sublime modern day sounds. For many years now the “trophies” from the Bruton catalogue have been the beat or action driven LPs – the two Drama Montage albums (BRJ2 and BRJ8) have always been the big hitters, and others such as High Adventure (BRK2) too.
But Jonny has always found himself drawn to the lime green LPs, the pastoral, peaceful albums (The BRDs), which were full of the kind of gentle, lovely music that would turn up in Take Hart as Tony was painting a woodpecker or a badger or an Autumn tree. The other Brutons he likes are the orange ones (The BRIs) simply because they are full of experimental futuristic electronics and would remind him of 1980s ITV backgrounds. This LP series includes Brian Bennett’s cosmic classic Fantasia (BRI 10). Jonny has been knows to refer to this style of library music as “Krypton Factor library”, because it’s exactly what that strange but successful 1980s TV quiz show sounded like.
In recent years as interest in library music has expanded, we’ve watched
the price of a handful of Brutons really going through the roof - not the just the action and drama ones, but the more esoteric and experimental LPs too – like the BRDs and the BRIs. Jonny gets the vibe that people finally want to hear this other more interesting and experimental side of the Bruton catalogue. So what better time than now to put together a compilation of such sublime period sounds.
Not only does this album bring together a set of fabulous cues that would cost the average man in the street a month’s wages (if the originals were all wanted and if you could even track them all down), but it also chops out the need to listen to other tracks on library albums that are nowhere near as good.
The cues here all date from between 1978 and 1984. They come from the BRD, BRI, BRH, BRJ, BRM, BRR and BRs catalogues. The composers are all legends within the genre, and here, were doing what great library composers do best – fulfilling a brief and utilising modern studio equipment to both commercial and beguiling effect. "
A keeling second dose of pirate radio advert rave excavations from Death Is Not The End, culling 40 more relics from the London airwaves c. 1984-1993.
Unless you’ve gone full hermit during lockdown and cut the internet conx, the first volume of this stuff has already gained cult status, covered in national media and coveted by ravers looking for any form of classic buzz. This 2nd set features a further 40 vignettes from the golden daze of rave, with voices flogging everything from datelines to “tasty leather jackets”, 25K turbo sound rigs, and, quite cannily, ads for throwback rare groove parties that kinda show certain UK ravers have always had one misty eye over the shoulder to a “golden era” when it was just better than it is now.
If we’re playing favourites, the blown out jungle rush of ‘Monster Soundsystem’ is right up there, along with some lass appearing to mimic M*ggie Th*tcher on House FM’s ‘Legal Pulse’ ad, the X-amount of flange on the Fantasia promo ’NYE ’93’, a spine-freezing ’Stunning Dimension’ rave flier, and most definitely the Scouse lass flogging “Tasty Leather Jackets” (well i’ll tell ya, it’s bad!). Despite that Today Programme feature doing its best to cover it all in a sneering/sexless/overly polite sheen, it’s completely undeniable that this stuff is just pure gold, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Death Is Not The End for putting the work in to get it all compiled.
Soul Jazz re-release the debut album from the legendary Steve Reid in a new edition.
"As a radical jazz artist, Steve Reid played with an extraordinary group of artists - Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, James Brown, Ornette Coleman, Lester Bowie and many more. He began his career as a teenager in the 1960s as a drummer at Motown. Reid was born in the South Bronx and grew up in Queens, New York, three blocks away from John Coltrane. In 1969, Reid refused to enlist to the Vietnam war and was arrested as a conscientious objector and given a four-year prison sentence.
On his release in 1974, he formed the Legendary Master Brotherhood and the independent record label, Mustevic Sound, to release his debut LP ‘Nova’. At the start of the 21st Century, Steve Reid began a successful collaboration with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), who Reid referred to as his “musical soul mate,” resulting in a number of joint albums.
Steve Reid died in New York in 2010. Subsequently, the Steve Reid Foundation was set up in his name, to help aspiring musicians and artists."
‘Sign’ is Autechre’s first new album-album proper since ‘Elseq’ and contains some of their most emosh compositions in eons, perhaps since ‘Tri Repetae’.
Practically pocket-sized in comparison to their sprawling torrent of live material and radio recordings in recent years, ’Sign’ is a return to the sort of concision found circa ‘Exai’ and their earlier albums. Effectively they’ve gotten better to grips with their live set-up, and the hyper ideas found in their work-in-progress demonstrations on the five volume ‘Elseq’ and 8hrs of ‘NTS Sessions’ have been refined into moments of crystalline ambient baroque beauty and liquid-limbed swag on ’Sign’.
After their music has undergone what could be called a growth spurt in recent years, the acrid plasma of their complex, hyper-inorganic systems feels to congeal, create more intricate snaps across the album, from the lush cosmic collisions of ‘M4 Lema’, to the rhizomic arp weaving on ‘F7’, while refining their tendons and muscle in the gyrostep of ‘au14’ and ‘such.mefd2’. The anthropomorphisation of their synthesis accelerates with the album’s 2nd half with the elegiac catharsis of ‘Metaz form8’ displaying a greater emotional intelligence, while their shapeshifting synthesis grows semblances of glowing hair and teeth and skin in ’th red a’, and even a plaintive human heartache in the systolic thud and bloo pads of ‘psin AM’ that rawly bleeds out in the album’s future classic closer ‘r cazt’.
This LP was hinted at by Autechre as one of two albums ready for 2020, so we’ll take it this is their “U Ok Hun?” one to some possibly more hardcore turns in the future. Have it.
ASC’s Auxiliary celebrate 10 years at the peripheries of D&B, techno, or the “Grey Area”, with eight cuts by the boss, Sciama, Sam KDC, Synth Sense, Saturne, and more
The label head weighs in with the brooding solo stepper ‘Honed Edge’, and Synth Sense summon hallucinatory beatless sound design in the album highlight ‘Broken Sword’ - tipped to fans of Raime. ASC is a constant presence throughout, teaming with Semblance on the frictionless rolige of ‘Simulacra’, and sam KDC for the polytempo experimentation of ‘The Inevitable’, while Saturne swangs out with the blotter, offbeat techno momentum of ‘Hypnosis.’
Stephen O’Malley & Peter Rehberg’s KTL find the darkest space between black metal and computer music - or presence and absence - with ‘The Pyre: versions distilled to stereo’; a score for french choreographer Gisèle Vienne.
Continuing Shelter Press’s on-going documentation of Gisèle Vienne’s work after Stephen O’Malley’s 2015 score for her ‘Éternelle Idole’ piece, ‘The Pyre’ also sees Gisèle paired with Peter Rehberg for first time since his ‘Work For GV 2004-2008’ album, serving to tie up their many, long-running and overlapping strands of practice into a mighty new KTL opus.
As almost anyone who’s heard O’Malley & Rehberg scores for Gisele’s work will surely attest, the french choreographer always brings the best out of her sonic familiars, and their work on ‘The Pyre’ is no exception. Some 6 years in the works, it has undergone multiple stages of processing since the initial seed recording made at IRCAM, Paris, 2012, with subsequent live stems overdubbed at Fennesz’s studio, and further mixing by Randall Dunn all aiding to bring the score to life as it’s own, standalone work of art.
At the service of Gisèle’s choreography - a play on the existential tension between presence and absence - KTL render some of the most pellucid and unfathomable sound designs in their considerable arsenal, layering up from near infrasonic-levels of subharmonics to filigree timbral thizz and sferic reflection, in the process creating an illusion of spatial depth and dizzy scale that beautifully spins our gauges...
Off-centre, minimalist techno experiments from Georgia-via-Berlin’s Irakli, moonlighting from his Intergalactic Research Institute For Sound on Hamburg’s ever reliable Dial
‘Major Signals’ is their debut album and most substantial solo payload since arriving on the scene as half of the I/Y duo with yac in 2013. It’s an unpredictable but coherent long player that speaks to all corners of their aesthetic, encompassing minimal techno traits and wistfully wandering asides familiar to Dial, but done in a looser way than one might have been lead to expect from the long-running label.
From Sun Electric-esque ambient coordinates of ‘Forever, to lissom slow acid reminding of Tin Man in ‘Blessing From The Future’, thru to chiming techno landing between Mills and Efdemin on ‘Major Signals’, ‘This Way’ and ‘Surface’ they prove equally adept at multiple modes, but it’s the album comes into it own thru its shapeshifting narrative via odder globules of techno that and starry-eyed ambient that make it more than just a collection of club cuts.
The new Sarah Davachi record is an 80 minute, 17 track double album meditation on impermanence and endings, framed by minimalistic organ études and careful harmonic layering. On two tracks the artist’s own vocals are also heard for the first time. This is the first release on the artist’s own label, Late Music.
Just as we thought Sarah Davachi couldn't tug our heartstrings any harder, she inaugurates her new label Late Music with "Cantus, Descant", a two LP set containing some of the wooziest, most affecting organ music we've heard to date. The entire album is an exploration of the unique, individual character of her instruments as she harnesses the power of various pipe organs in Canada, Europe and the USA as well as the electric organ, Mellotron and a handful of other elements. This gives the tracks an impossibly human feel as subtle tones wind and fall with elegance, and unpredictable grace. It's not even that Davachi is exactly attempting to center her work as anathema to a world fogged by emotionally empty scambient and bone-dry modular drone, but these tracks are so animated that it's hard not to feel awed by what's so often missing.
'The Pelican' is an early highlight, using the Mellotron's unmistakable tape loops to add a layer of Morricone-esque melancholy to the mix. Elsewhere, album centerpiece 'Play The Ghost' drowns echoing vocals in reverb, sounding like distant prog-gaze beamed in from another parallel timeline. "Cantus, Descant" is a special album, whisper soft but pointed and intentional. Sarah Davachi is among the most gifted composers operating right now and this album is a celebration of the old and the new that speaks assuredly to the complex simplicity of tone itself. We're floored.
Disarmingly lovely tape saturated ambient piano movements that should appeal to anyone with a soft spot for Alva Noto's collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Samuel Reinhard's "Interior" is deceptively simple stuff: obsessively glacial, smudged-out piano notes, stitched together for optimum ambient effect. But it's all in the details; Reinhard's skill is in letting things play out for exactly as long as they need to, channeling the spirit of William Basinski with his hypnotic, slithering loops.
Reinhard is best known for his work as Wildlife!, where he offered an ambient-friendly take on experimental club music with a slew of records for NYC's influential Mixpak label. Here, all that hi-res bluster is absent completely, there's barely a sound outside the piano, tape hiss and the occasional creak. But rhythms come from Reinhard's pacing, and his Carsten Nicolai-influenced use of glitchy editing. The Satie-esque spacious notes twist and turn in their own time, coaxed into delicate soundscapes by Reinhard. It's music for contemplation, rather than airports.
Oake really find their gothic muse in debut album, 'Auferstehung' for Downwards.
Firmly building on the foundations of two shadowy 12"s released in 2013, the duo distill and transcend their influences across eleven stations of unrepentant gothic histrionics and industrial techno prostration. The production is now right up there with the detailed, excoriating levels of The Haxan Cloak, and also matching the rhythmic heft of label-mate Samuel Kerridge (with whom they recently formed the UF collusion), but with a kohl-eyed romanticism all of their own creation.
From the swooning black metal/shoegaze signatures and blast beats of entrance, 'Vorwort: Umiha Sien' we're manipulated with the near-religiose levels of mysticism, vacillating between shorter, doomy 'Kapital' invocations and the blasted sound of bellicose/ecstatic congregation in 'Erstes Buch: Desterieh l'Remm' to the eulogistic sludge metal drones of 'Fuenftes buch: Dreloi Wechd' and the stygian trudge of 'Sechstes Buch: Rehmin Sicht', departing with the widescreen epic, 'Siebstes Buch: Drestan Sened'. RIYL Scott Walker & Sunn 0))), Sam Kerridge, Swans.
'Described by Richter as “a place to think”, VOICES was a response to our tempestuous political climate and the enduring need for compassion. VOICES 2 develops this principle, continuing and intensifying the “place to think” concept.
"While the first part of the project focuses on the text of The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights and its uplifting vision – opening with the 1949 recording of Eleanor Roosevelt reading the Declaration, and including excerpts read by a global community of 70 voices – VOICES 2 opens up a meditative musical space to consider those ideas raised by the first record,"
Newly expanded with a bonus disc of 10 unreleased demos and alternate versions and available on vinyl for 1st time since 1996, Stereolab’s classic 4th studio album is back in circulation, offerign a fresh chance to dive into what Pitchfork ranked as the 51st greatest album of the 1990s, and was then (and still is) a cornerstone of retro indie-pop and post-rock experimentalism starring guest turn by Tortoise’s John McEntire.
Remastered from original tapes with a bonus disk of unreleased demos, outtakes and alternate mixes. Co-released by band’s own label Duophonic UHF Disks and Warp Records. Fold-out poster insert with lyrics and sleevenotes from Laetitia Sadier and Tim Gane Vinyl comes in bespoke gatefold sleeve with download card, housed inside a heavyweight clear PVC wallet.
One of the bluest of Maurizio’s seminal M-Series, ‘M7’  is a true, original blueprint for dub house that’s never been bettered
Both sides features 12 minutes of barely there ingredients adding up to an incredibly immersive experience - grooves to get utterly lost in, for both dancers and DJs. Deep house in effect, techno in motion, and dub in essence.
Fathoms deep tape loop dirt from Muscut and Shukai boss Dmytro Nikolaienko. Properly faded tripbient zoners for fans of Jan Jelinek, Jake Muir, Andrew Pekler et al.
For his Faitiche debut, Nikolaienko excavated his tape archive, finding the most interesting loops and using his collection of analog machines to play the loops like an instrument. To make noise, he would create saturation, and to create flutter, he moved the mechanical head manually over the moving tape. So the tracks are blessed with the haunted flavor of mid-20th Century tape music, but constructed with a more contemporary ear for texture, timbre and trippy abstraction.
Decaying Basinski-esque ambient phrases are looped, carved up and distorted over bleeping arpeggiated sequences and clouds of sodden noise. Sizzling Cluster-esque guitar licks tumble over exotica synths and woodblock percussion, sounding like a collection of easy listening tapes melted into a broken car stereo. It's nostalgic, certainly, but doesn't dwell on bait feelings of instant gratification or fetishization - rather Nikolaienko abstracts his sounds into a deeply sensual cosmic slop of frayed synthesis and half-heard stylistic references.
There's a ton of tape-frazzled ambient music out there, but "Rings" is a thing of rare beauty and another essential addition to the Faitiche catalogue.
Anz finally mints her new label Otras Mitades, or OTMI for short, with two typically killer new productions.
A key catalyst of dance music in Manchester and beyond, Anz keeps it strictly for the ‘floor in both parts of ‘OTMI001.’ Following up 2020’s bout for Hessle Audio and a few for Finn’s 2 B Real, she pushes on with equal parts classic and futurist funk for the warehouse rave or your buddy’s bashment, laying down treacly purple G-funk leads and twanging boogie B-lines on the Afrobeats-y street rave flair of ‘Unravel In The Designated Zone’, while cutting for the peaks hours soused in sweat and fog on the 2-stepping brukbeat parry of ‘Morphing Into Brighter’ - think SUAD meets Dego at 4AM in the Soup Kitchen basement. Aye, v, v sick.
Soul-slapping deep jazz hearticals from a key player in the Chicago and IARC cosmos, joined by Angel Bat Dawid and Ben LaMar Gay who help make up his 11-part Black Monument Ensemble - So on-point, this one!!! RIYL KDJ, Theo Parrish, Prefuse 73
Revolving Damon Locks’ sampler chops and electronics at its core and periphery, it’s abundantly clear to hear the band are in-the-zone on ‘Now’, which is practically the epitome of how to do forward facing music jazz with a deep appreciation of tradition. In their seamless and jagged elision of electronic and organic sources a real magick bleeds thru that’s got us standing up to give it some proper appreciation, and we imagine it will have the same effect everywhere else.
The bookending works with clarinetist Angel Bat Dawit are, perhaps predictably, the highlights, with her spirited freeness lighting up Locks’ patchwork of samples and a sextet of vocalists driven by dual percussionists, Dana Hall and Arif Smith on the swingeing West African styled downstroke of ‘Now (Forever Momentary Space)’ from start to the spine-chilling end and final exhortations of “Whew!”, and again in the rug-shredding wriggle of ‘The Body Is Electric.’ They’re both serious dancefloor cuts in the right hands, and perfectly characterise the album’s grooving nature that snakes thru the Theo-esque bustling metrics and hip-shot sampler stabs of ‘The People vs The Rest Of Us’ and lip-biting swing and parry of ‘Keep Your Mind Free.’
Use your ears, trust your body, you’ll know what to do next. No brainer!
A decade since his transition from D&B to greyscale techno, Shifted dispenses a typically grim definition of his style in 5th studio album, ‘Constant Blue’
Perhaps a poetic metaphor for the zeitgeist, ‘Constant Blue’ dwells in starkest terrain unconcerned with the club, hewing to an impurely tonal palette of queasy low end frequencies and shatterproof upper register timbres that mirror feelings of stasis and unyielding twilight, or what he terms “caustic minimalism.”
The album’s 10 tracks manifest the most textural distillation of his trademark sound, shorn of dancefloor kicks and left to gloomy, isolationist introspection. Don’t expect it to put you in a good mood, but it may be good company for those times when one needs something that echoes their thoughts, as it holds a singular line from the immersive intricacies of ‘Slowly Counting Backwards’ to the nodding hypnosis of ‘The Weight of It’, and thru the spatialised declension of ‘Metronome’ to roiling bass and fizz in ‘Tradecraft’ recalling Frank Bretschneider’s work with old Soviet synths.
Grown-up Berlin rave kids Modeselektor translate the energy of their live set into a production mixtape format chock with exclusive material, including guest spots from Paul St.Hilaire (Tikiman) and Jackson & His Computer Band
Packing the thrills and spills of their stadium filling live shows - beloved of Thom Yorke, who has guested on their material, and vice-versa - ‘Extended’ brings the rave to your living room in a smartly tempered flow of 27 tracks tilted between punchy tressilo techno-electro, club-footed stompers, and more twisted arps than you can shake up a bockle of champers to.
They draw on set pieces crafted for specific sets such as ‘Butlin’s Minehead Interlude’ and ‘Bangface’ which make a nice couple, and no doubt nod to their Berlin ‘hood on the tunnelling transition ‘U8’ into the electrodub flex of ‘OHM’, with a standout moment in the appearance from Berlin royalty Paul St. Hilaire who graces ‘Movement’ with his haunting Dominican singjay styles as found on reams of Rhythm & Sound classics and has just reminded us of his ace ‘Fake Emotion’ with MDSLKTR back on 2005’s ‘Hello Mom!’ album.
Drums ‘pon drums for days, from Roska’s prized alias Bakongo, taking to Al Wootton aka Deadboy’s Trule label for the UKF fiends
Ripe to be rinsed in the mix by DJs that know, Bakongo’s latest keeps the grooves bare bones and syncopated for optimal swang and parry. Unlike his Roska workouts, there’s a notable lack of bass, but that’s where your other deck, or more simply your imagination, comes into play. ‘Thirteen’ tees up a rhythmelodic fuss of tumbling and crisply tucked drums set in spare air with occasional hollers keeping time.
The patented Roska kicks ’n snares are then fully effect on ‘Level Cowbell’, hingeing around the titular clank with a lip-smacking swagger, and practically anticipating appearance of a “Roska Roska Roska!” and subs that never come.
Crucial tripped smoove groove diversions from Jan Jelinek's "Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records" era; vibraphone and vinyl crackle heated slowly into a narcotic haze.
'ICE Compositions' was released in 2002 on the hyper-limited En/Of imprint, and came only moments after "Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records", perhaps still Jelinek's most beloved full-length. The smoky, after-hours vibe of that album still hangs around these four tracks, dissolved even further into psychedelic, abstract groans and drones.
There's plenty of artists at this point that have absorbed Jelinek's method, but few manage to capture the spirit of what he was doing here. The glitches weren't simply used for aesthetics alone, they add rhythm and texture to his eerie set of samples, fleshing out his concepts in three dimensions. Here, Jelinek's mind-boggling simplicity is in full focus: a cursory listen might reveal nothing at all, but the more you submit, the more you begin to hear. So damn good.
Rattling, slinky house variations from Nervous Horizon co-founder Anunaku, with bizarrely effective choral vocals.
Anunaku returns to AD 93 with another plate of left-leaning house, this time adding whispered vocals and church music to the mix, you know, just because why not? It works too, with the wavering monastic tones adding a fresh texture to the driving 4/4 on opener 'Spirale'.
Elsewhere, Anunaku throws down the euphoric techno gauntlet on 'Ninfea', sounding like Berghain at 3am, and goes for a '90s downtempo/side room shuffle on 'Luminosa'. Good stuff.
More bizarre and brilliant outsider funk from fine artist and latter day renaissance man Lonnie Holley.
Modern Americana pioneer Matthew E. White teams up here with sculptor, educator and later-life musical hero Lonnie Holley to rock through a set of eccentric psych-funk-gunk that should appeal to anyone who has been fascinated by Holley's last few records. Holley's idiosyncratic lyricism is the draw here, as he deconstructs the issues du jour - selfies, reality, outer space, psychedelics - with wit and undeniable style. But White's musical contributions make this more than just an odd aside, if you've enjoyed Holley's recent run ("MITH", "National Freedom") then "Broken Mirror" shows that Holley has more mileage yet. Not bad for someone who released their debut album at the age of 62 eh? Southern funk at its weirdest and wildest.