Mesmerisingly concentrated techno minimalism from Swiss producer Laurent Peter a.k.a. Tresque
Both cuts are all about long, arcing, incremental developments, taking at least 12 minutes to properly unfurl. ‘Espere’ works sloshing triplets into a loping, heavy-lidded zombie swagger, whereas ‘Solstici’ is more about pumping, grungy bass and glacial drone movement.
Etheric R&B with a melancholy, almost gothic soul, sounding out somewhere between Ciara and Zola Jesus...
“Skin Town's unexpected return with their new album 'Country' finds the duo upping the already high bar set on their striking dark pop gem debut 'The Room' with a dauntless artistic statement that trades clever posturing for vulnerability. Yielding their prowess with more restraint, Skin Town's 'Country' hits harder and cuts deeper - doubling down on their narcotic cocktail of strong R&B hooks, spacious bewitching productions, and marked sense of melody that puts Ukrainian American vocalist Grace Hall and Iranian American multi-instrumentalist Nick Turco in a class of their own.
Many saw that potential on their debut with support from Dazed, Interview, The FADER, KCRW, as well as artists like Tinashe shouting out Skin Town. Lamenting on the duo's unmistakable chemistry, Pitchfork says, "Turco’s synthscapes are huge and scene-stealing, while Hall’s husky voice strikes a glorious medium between Abel Tesfaye and Sade." Their latest is even more potent, a particular strain of sad dance music that feels timeless and raw.
'Country' refines Skin Town's minimal framework of tethering hip-hop/R&B rhythms to Hall's smoky, precise phrasing exploring richer atmospheres and darker concerns. Written and recorded over 3 years, the album touches upon depression, loss, hedonism, poverty, rebellion, sex work, empowerment, and love's contradictions. The album's completion was sidetracked many times with Hall suffering a string of life-threatening mysterious immune system ailments, as a result there is a lot of pain and joy in this record, made with literal blood and tears.
The opener "Bad" signals at this departure from their upbeat predecessor stripping away the beats, relying on the interplay between Turco's ringing chords, the enveloping synthwork and Hall's melancholic, rhythmic intonations. "Mute" brings back the drums, couched in a slinking hip-hop beat and a creeping synth lead. Throughout the record, Turco's productions glean from an eclectic, disparate mix: melodic Amiga tracker music, Metro Boomin', New Age, The-Dream while Hall seems ever more comfortable exploring syncopation and half-rap/half-sung excursions. This is inventive, uncanny pop music where Enya, Offset, Zola Jesus, and Future inhabit the same space.”
Sully’s golden streak continues unabated with two flash forward steppers for Rupture LDN
Rolling off the back of zingers for Uncertain Hour and Foxy Jangle and a remix of 2 Bad Mice, he synchs piquant arps with slow/fast footwork/halfstep patterns, virulent mentasms and achingly well-timed shockout breakbeat in the lethal ‘Dream Sequence’, whereas ‘Epoch’ commits to a proper ’96 techstep style with lip-bitingly strong vibes practically as good as anything from that original era, if not better - sacrilege to say, we know, but seriously this is breathtaking stuff!
Príncipe knock us sideways once again with a debut EP showcase of Batida and Tarraxo by RS Produções’ DJ Narciso & Nuno Beats; a set of iquant, wavey club zingers from Lisbon’s hottest yung squad following acclaimed 2018 releases by P. Adrix, DJ Lilocox, and Niagara.
RS Produções are the next, thrilling young unit to emerge from Lisbon’s fertile club scene via Príncipe. Produced by core members DJ Narciso and Nuno Beats, ‘Bagdad Style’ supplies a crisply rugged, bittersweet taste of the crew’s hyperlocal sound, spanning electro-compatible Batida bangers alongside wonky, slower semi-tarraxos and deep, wavey house mutations. If you were snagged by Príncipe’s P. Adrix, DJ Lilocox and Niagara releases already in 2018, we guarantee this one’s unmissable.
Formed in 2014 as a close group of pals from Rinchoa, Rio de Mouro, on the edges of Lisbon, RS Produções grew wings when, in 2016, a then 17 year old Narciso knuckled down and relaunched RS as a proper crew with DJs, producers and an MC in the same model as pivotal Lisbon posse, Piquenos DJs Do Guetto. The crew have since become regular fixtures at Príncipe’s famous monthly residency in Lisbon’s Musicbox club, and their debut showcase is certain to send them spinning around the globe.
The EP is fronted by two unmissable Batida heaters from DJ Narciso in the bare bones electro percussion of ‘Caipirinha’ and the kinked metallic cargaa of ‘Constipacao do Poco’, before the slinky interplay of dissonant organ riffs and flighty pipes in ‘Guerreiro’ highlights a wicked taste for sour, battery-tang lixx that comes to inform the rest of the EP, courtesy of Nuno Beats’ slower tarraxo styles in ‘Lingrinhas’ and the super wavey spesh, ‘Futuro’, while Nuno & Narciso come together with ruder, uptempo torque in the hypnotic electro-house swang of ‘Aberturu’ and the sensuous deep Kuduro contours of ‘Hino RS’, which should leave listeners in no doubt as to the duo’s breadth and quality of club music.
Tunisia’s Deena Abdelwahed inhabits a fascinating space between tradition and technology, history and futurism in her strikingly moody debut solo album ‘Khonnar’, following from production credits on Fever Ray’s ’Plunge’ and use of her tracks in mixes by M.E.S.H. and Paula Temple. Subbass fiends need to check the final track ‘Rabbouni’, while fans of Jasss and Muslimgauze will gets strong kicks throughout...
“Deena Abdelwahed’s first album is shifting the epicenter of contemporary electronic music south. Pronounced “Ronnar“ (an essential detail so as to avoid facile misinterpretation by French- speakers) it is a term that makes the most of Tunisia’s cultural and linguistic spectrum. It evokes the dark, shameful and disturbing side of things, the one we usually seek to hide, but which Deena instead sticks our noses in with her debut. It is a testament to Deena’s coming into her own as a world citizen, and as an artist. A self-construction made of frustrations and constraints, borne of retrograde mindsets, which are not the prerogative of either the East or the West, and which she tirelessly strives to expose and break.
Throughout the 45 minutes of “Khonnar“, Deena breaks down the codes of bass, techno and experimental music, and writes the manifesto for a generation that does not seek to please or to conform, taking back control of its identity – with all the attendant losses and chaos. A new creative world order is taking shape, a new tilting point between north and south, the response of a connected and liberated youth who takes the control of the new decolonization.”
Edinburgh’s Parsa Jamshidi drops speaker-troubling bass and nerve-tweaking electronics in a jiggy fashion for the Copenhagen-based FLUF label
’0019AA’ is a wickedly nervy piece of future funk with blown out bass and chromatic prongs that makes us once like a robot with ill-fitted limbs.
’0019AA’ is more focussed on strange reverb recursions, with what sounds like hacked up voices tumbling down a metal tube in weightless conditions.
If you’re at all bored by the state of current electronic dance music, this will refresh your ears instantly.
Peder Mannerfelt plays into the widest angles of his “power ambient” sound on ‘Daily Routine’, a killer study into the way rave music intersects domestic life...
The 10 tracks range from decade-old productions to hyper new cut-ups of his brothers' records bought in London in summer ’88, but all betray an increasing embrace of complexity and layered, asymmetric design that will keep his ever-growing mob of followers fascinated at every turn.
The preceding single track ‘Temporary Psychosis (VIP)’ is a definitive highlight, riding the finest line between deadly rave function and pranging unpredictability, while other dancefloor highlights come on strong in the pointillist rave puncture of ‘Sissel & Bass’ featuring a killer vocal by Sissel Wincent, and the rabid churn of ‘This Machine Shares Memes’.
But that would be to neglect the album’s central pschedelic nature and the way it will be used, at home, in prosaic domesticity, where the far flung and undulating topography of pieces such as the sardonic ‘Introductions & Aspiration’, the darkside creep of ‘Cigarettes (Eurofierceness Mix)’, and the exasperated rave of ‘How Was Your Day? (Numb)’ will likely induce listeners to laugh, bruk out, curl up, and climb the walls in their own personal space.
We're v into this one...
The 3-pronged attack of ‘Harm In Hand’ preps the ground for Silent Servant’s keenly awaited 2nd album with Hospital Productions
Inside, two tracks from the upcoming ’Shadows of Death and Desire’ album, namely the rotten power drums and sinewy arps of ‘Harm In Hand’ with Juan on possessed mic duties, and the gnashing swang and rasp of ‘Damage’ and it’s virulent synths.
Unique to the EP is ‘Death of Decadence’, yoking up a proper EBM stallion layered with crazed 16th note arpeggios and powered by dry, pumping kicks.
On the strength of these, bet your bottom $ the album will be class.
Gloryland is Plyxy’s steeply enigmatic and intoxicating début tape of ambient darkness for Ascetic House. Following introductions made on the digital only release Eat Your Gods [Anti/Anti, 2017], the NYC-based Russian artist stealthily unfolds his sound as one of the strongest, most focussed suites of atmospheric mood music this side of Tarkovsky scores or Drew McDowell’s modular gremlins
“Gloryland is the seminal EP from PLYXY, the ambient/noise project of NYC-based polymath Ros Knopov. A refugee from the Soviet Union, he hails from Dnepropetrovsk, the rocket-making capital of the former Communist state. Driven by a desire for improvisation, and obsessed with process, PLYXY weaves manipulated field recordings and Soviet-era film samples through an array of analog Eurorack modules and samplers, creating cinematic environments of despair and nostalgia.”
A steeply absorbing prelude to the apocalypse by Dutch pianist Reinier van Houdt, here trading in layered electronic gloom lit up by guest narration from his Current 93 bandmate, David Tibet
“Reinier van Houdt returns to Hallow Ground with an album based on the unfinished gothic tale Igitur - a collection of texts that eventually was abandoned by its author Stéphane Mallarmé in 1869. Connecting with Mallarmé's obsessions about chance and destiny, Igitur Carbon Copies is the fragmentation of all the roots that ran under its predecessor and brings these to a provisional close: guided by David Tibet's voice reading the reworked text we descend through spheres of deserted anthems, disembodied voices, morse signals, crank calls, corroded tapes, radio statics, stones, while doing counting games. Here the acoustical spaces are manifold, blended or shifted in a heartbeat, where far and near, up and down are relative, where Riemann's god is pointless and angels are enjoying their space. Here perception is a vice that constantly hallucinates realities.
Reinier van Houdt started experimenting with taperecorders, radio's and objects at a young age. Later he studied piano at the Liszt-Academy in Budapest & the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He developed a fascination for all matters that defy notation: sound, timing, space, physicality, memory, noise, environment - points beyond composition, interpretation and improvisation. He has built himself an unusual repertoire that consistently resulted from personal quests; from composing with non-musical sources, from collaborations with composers & musicians, from research in archives or from unorthodox studies of classical music. He collaborated with artists like Francisco López, Maria de Alvear, Robert Ashley, Luc Ferrari, Annea Lockwood, Alvin Curran, John Cage, Christian Marclay, Walter Marchetti, Charlemagne Palestine and joined the legendary outsider-collective Current 93 in 2012.”
Highly promising newcomer Nazar gets down to bassbin business on Hyperdub after introductions made on Kode 9 & Burial’s ‘Fabriclive 100’ mix.
From phthalocyanine grime to blown out techno and distorted drill, the ‘Enclave EP’ is one of the freshest/crankiest sessions you’ll hear from London in 2018. It’s unmistakably Hyperdub, repping fractious madness that’s compatible with Gqom, Príncipe styles and loads of deconstructed club musics, yet patently distinguished as UK rave.
Opening with the virulent weightless synths and cold bass knocks of ‘South Border’, the EP delivers a deadly payload of non-standard club pressure with the mutant Gqom of ‘Warning Shots’, and a severely blunted sort of Burial-does-drill sound in ‘Airstrike’ featuring Hyperdub’s secret weapon Shannen SP on vocals, along with the swerving murder of ‘Enclave’ on a killer Angel Ho-styled sci-fi flex, plus the Dutch Bubblers’ troubles of ‘Konvoy’ and a very smart cinematic closer with ‘Ceasefire’.
This may well be the strongest Hyperdub debut since Burial’s seminal ‘South London Boroughs’, or at least since Doon Kanda’s first entry. A must check!
Minimal techno master Rob Hood takes the DJ-Kicks driving seat for a deft but pounding session including no less than 4 exclusive new Hood productions.
Over 72 minutes the original UR member and seminal Detroit hero sequences 22 tracks of driving dance music, Motor City style, rolling steady on the gas thru cuts from both sides of the pond, but perhaps tipping more towards European productions inspired by 313 foundations.
Robert Hood’s exclusive tracks are well worth a gander, from the hypnotic organ rider ‘Greytype I’ to the peak-time play of ‘Bond Solid’ and the trancing, acidic burn of ‘Machine Form’, and it’s also worth peeping the 16th note fangs on Ben Long & Tom Hades’ ‘The Knight Rider’, and the super fucking arid rasp of Matrixxman’s ‘Protocol (Saturation Edit)’.
But, if you really want to hear Hood in proper context, the mix lives up to the exacting standard we’ve all come to expect from a Hood mix - immaculate transitions, timing and groove control from one of the best to ever do it.
Slinky, rude, and darker-edged London house pressure from Hugo Massien, following the styles of his 12”s for E-Beamz, Tectonic, XL and 17 Steps onto Blackdown’s Keysound
Equally adaptable to glam clubs and scuzzy warehouses, the vibe of Massien’s ‘ Remnants / London Underground 2014-16 EP’ swings from spare, square-bass driven deeptech swang in ‘You’re The Only’, to grimier, electroid house rolige on ‘Lowkey’ ft. Calle Lebraun, before tucking it somewhere moodier with the shadowy skulk of ‘Pleasure System’, and shaking out the natty swivel of ‘Powerhouse’ with its whirring hi-hats and nagging bleep coda.
Rhodri Davies, Dawn Bothwell and Richard Dawson’s Hen Ogledd transmogrify from psychedelic no wave time travellers into a wild, inimitable pop unit on ‘Mogic’, their 3rd album together, their debut for Weird World.
Named for a Welsh word describing the historic region between southern Scotland and northern England, the band has grown from the locus of Davies on harp (++) and Dawson on guitar (++) to incorporate Dawn Bothwell and Sally Pilkington on vocals and multiple instruments - most curiously credited with Red Witch Violetta, Pipa Del’ochio, Mooer Green Mile, Hott’s Rombah, among others, between them.
If you copped either of Hen Ogledd’s first two LPs, logic would dictate that this one was always going to be a bit mad, but hardly anyone could have predicted where they’re going with ‘Mogic’, as the band’s combined, contemporary rationale and arcane urges fulminate a persistently unpredictable sound that ties up influence from all corners - vacillating hot-stepping post punk with plaintive folksong, rubbery primordial techno and lysergic indie-pop.
Other notable inclusions clem from sax virtuoso, Mette Rasmussen on some of the album’s strangest/seductive moments, the Canterbury-esque opener ‘Love Time Feel’ and the brilliantly daft indie-pop of ‘Tiny Witch Hunter’ with Dawn Bothwell’s seemingly sung down the wrong end of a telescope, and also the subtle but pivotal percussion of Will Guthrie. But we can very simply sum this one up as far exceeding the sum of its parts.
Gotta be one of 2018’s most beguiling, trend-oblivious pop records.
The king of Gqom meets the pioneer of Flex Dance Music on a proper dancefloor bullet for Swing Ting
This one is just deadly. Those electro patterns; the punishing subs; them bolshy horns and laser stabs; it’s a stone cold essential if you ask us, or the likes of Jubilee, Tash LC and Kode 9, who’ve all given it early play.
Le Stim’s sought-after 1980 Detroit disco diamond, reissued and available to download for the 1st time
“Le Stim was a band formed by lead vocalist Donald Jennings in the late 70s. Now an ordained deacon back in Detroit, Jennings was brought up in a gospel environment and was said to be born to sing. Growing up picking up songs from the likes of Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald or Sam Cooke, Jennings frequently performed for family and friends and went on to sing for audiences in New York, St. Louis and all around Detroit.
We Crown The King is a song written in the mid 70s by the late Herbert Andrei Duncan, also from Detroit. Duncan approached Jennings with the song who was initially reluctant to sing it because it took him out of his usual vocal range. However, Duncan finally (thankfully!) managed to persuade Jennings after five years to record a tune that would prove to become a party anthem decades later.
Remembering Duncan, Jennings says: “Andrei was positive..inquisitive…. and determined. I was only 18 or 19 years old at the time and remember Andrei coming over to my house…. He had a cellphone in his car!.. I remember going to Andrei’s house, and he said he wanted to do the track. Andrei did not take no for an answer! The answer had to be yes! However Andrei didn’t have any money to record the song with. So we made a deal. In exchange for the use of his P.A., Loc (the drummer) provided the seventeen musicians for Le Stim to record ‘We Crown The King’. The session itself was recorded at a studio in Southfield, Michigan.
According to Jennings, Muhammad Ali did hear the track back then and liked it! Le Stim were in touch with Ali’s management and were about to meet him on a number of occasions which unfortunately didn’t work out.
Licensing this record has proven to be our biggest research effort as of yet and has involved visiting it’s author, Duncan’s former house in Detroit only to discover it had burned down and that his family had moved years ago. It wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable help of Jeremy from Rain&Shine records (NZ) who then managed to track down the family back in Texas!”
An unlikely yet riveting union, Powell Tillmans present the intense feelings of ’Spoken By The Other’, their debut collaboration for XL
Fulminated over the course of the last year, ‘Spoken By The Other’ is the result of the pair meeting at Wolfgang’s Tate retrospective in 2017, and subsequently committing their nascent relationship with a key performance commissioned for Berlin’s Atonal 2017 edition. Described as a “traumatic experience” by Powell, the show patently wasn’t enough to put them off working together again, with their “messy” formative experiments now firmed up into something remarkably unexpected from either side on ‘Spoken By The Other’.
The EP finds them both at a turning point in their respective career arcs - Wolfgang Tillmans turning away from his role as a world-renowned photographer toward music; while Powell is beginning to loosen up and diversify his bonds beyond his early, innovative dance music mutations into warped tonal designs. Fair to say they both recognise this in the other, and catalyse something probing, new and emotionally penetrating in the process.
Between the breathtakingly anxious, gurned-up vulnerability of their piloerect trance nocturne, ‘Feel The Night’, and the Arca-esque vignette ‘445’, they convey a flux of physically affective and emotionally curious sensations ranging from the visceral, textural intensity of ‘Tone Me’ to the bittersweet love note ‘Doucement’ on the A-side, and over to the sustained anxiety of ‘Speak Out (Version)’, and the smeared, bleary contours of ‘Rebuilding The Future’, where their shared passion for the wonk and oddness of reality is dissected and rebuilt in their own image.
Ruff AF post-techno glitch and knotted rhythms from Japan’s Sofheso. RIYL NHK, Autechre, Richard Devine
“First Terrace Records are honoured to present a major retrospective of prolific yet unsung noise-maker Sofheso. Having been writing, performing and recording relentlessly throughout Japan for at least the last decade, the tracks that form this archival release have been selected from a huge quantity and variety of sessions, and arranged in a way that we hope serves as a fittingly monolithic (yet ultimately penetrable) introduction to Sofheso’s singular and thrilling creative vision.
The sound is the process, and the process is architectural, layering drums and short samples into a contorting mass of concrete and steel. In photography the camera lens enjoys a vast intricacy of scaffolding or the skeletal beginnings of a modern building much more than the glossy outer layer, and just so here. There is a deep satisfaction in hearing the construction, witnessing the casting of each new sculpture. Sofheso has created a sonic language entirely his own, with which he is able to articulate seemingly infinite rhythmic and textural possibilities.”
A strangely haunting yet beautiful bouquet of nocturnal, electronic blooms ranging from poignant ambient vignettes to chamber-like pop, from Brooklyn’s Faten Kanaan - a gifted musical story-teller
“Foxes is the third full-length album from Brooklyn-based artist Faten Kanaan.
The title is symbolic: an homage to the wild, untamed/unedited spirit. It's an album of uninhibited expression, a balance between playfulness and nuanced intentionality. Foxes is loosely inspired by early Surrealist automatism, made-up languages, Middle-Eastern Hakawati storytellers, and the minimalist poignancy of mimes. Here, Kanaan uses sound as an intuitive gesture to tell a wordless story.
As the narrative unfolds, each composition becomes a distinct chapter: from the uneasy turbulence of Naufragium to the swelling crescendo and gear mechanics of time passing in Pendulum, the intimate pastoralism of Wildflowers, and the mischievous meanderings of the title track.”
Serious grey area D&B pressure from db1, Forest Drive West, Entire and Nekiya on Ruffhouse’s killer label, UVB-76
Entire takes pole position with the lumbering yet deft halfstep rolige and sonorous sound design of ‘Two Spirits’ alongside the isolationist dancehall inception of ‘Dream Within A Dream’ by another newcomer, Nekyia.
Passing over to slightly more experienced hands, Forest Drive West insightfully toys with D&B schematics in the billowing negative space and pinched percussion of ‘Inverse’, beside the dread cold steppers drill of ‘Duppy Pulse’ by DB1.
Sote and Opal Tape present an astonishing abundance of electronic music by Iranian Sound Artists. Lovers of “unusual” (read: non-Western convention) rhythms, meters, scales and timbres will be in their element with the sheer volume and variegated quality of material inside - from Parsa’s abstract techno to blinding scapes by Leila, and a visionary astral projection by Pouya Pour-Amin. Dive in head first
“Wondering if, while untying a knot in a long rope, slowly untangling the rope from its own grip, the exact point where the knot ends and the rope begins can ever be determined, observing that the rope itself is a series of tangled strings that are a handful of woven cords of entwined strands of braided fibre of woven matter.
The same goes with the outward spiral of interlacing a series of "Girih" and putting together different pieces until eventually a pattern emerges. A pattern to which, one could keep on adding particles and details until it eventually becomes a complex, indecomposable system, a multi-layered design that has infinite detail yet is still a form that resembles the whole.
Experimental electronic musicians from Iran have marked their prints on the face of the universal experimental music scene for some time now, though the manner in which their status went from "non-existent" to "present" and from "silent" to "noisy" might somehow seem "unpredictable" to the naked eye. The way these small individual girihs have become conjoint in order to make a larger design, might at some point seem arbitrary and even accidental. Nevertheless, by following the patterns in which the branches of a river are spreading and by trailing all its curves and bends, we find a sense of order in chaos.
Now reaching the point where the scene transitions from symmetry to asymmetry -not only in relation with the outside world but also within itself- I wonder if we have been lucky enough to have reached our "Lyapunov Time". After all, isn't this transitional state of a chaotic system -this cryptic blend of order and disorder- the most productive path towards equilibrium?
This compilation is trying to transform the chapter from "individual" to "crowd", at the same time, still maintaining "independence". This inevitable spread of fractures, better not be tamed but explored, as us, musicians, are all exploring and experimenting while trying to keep our unique identities originated from our homeland, our experiences, our struggles and our principles.
In embracing the rain of "chaos" lies a power and a thrill no shelter of an umbrella can provide. However, somehow having a roof over one's head, under which, all can breathe the same air while still retaining all of their clashing ideas and their frictions, helps catalyse the emergence of -the so-crucial- "diversity" and in that sense, numerous more fruitful, well-tiled pathways towards experimentation and productivity; As extensive as geometry itself, as infinite as "fractals".
Sara Bigdeli Shamloo (SarrSew) June 2018.”
Flying Lotus’ label marks 10 years in the game with ‘X’, a 36 track compilation featuring 22 brand new, previously unreleased cuts by Thundercat, Martyn, Georgia Anne Muldrow, mr.oizo, Jameszoo, Dorian Concept, Iglooghost +++
Trust Jameszoo to make it freaky on ‘Flake’, while mr.oizo knocks out the searing disco bullet ‘Ham; DJ Paypal coughs up the hot footwork drums of ‘Slim Trak VIP’; FlyLo chips in his remix of Brandon Coleman’s ‘Walk Free’; Ross From Friends roll out the deep house of ‘Squaz’; and even George Clinton turns up on WOKE’s ‘The Lavishment of Light Looking’.
“For the last ten years, Brainfeeder has reminded the world that the future is only as far away as it needs to be. It’s less a label than an international conspiracy to conquer clichéd sounds, a glowing neon helix re-organizing the DNA of hip-hop and house, jazz and ambient, techno and soul, funk and footwork and every other strain of beat music that eludes compartmentalization. The Flying Lotus-founded label has become a sanctified refuge for those who believe that nothing is too weird, genre is largely obsolete, and the wildest style will always reign supreme.”
Khotin crosses Heart To Heart with with four analog house bubblebaths, Canadian style.
One year on from 1080p's debut LP introduction, 'Hello World', he coolly operates in orbit of that label's gauzy aesthetic and just in reach of Mood Hut's romantic ambience.
'For U To Feel' opens with a fluffy measure of marshmallow bass and creamy acid squiggles beside the dub-spilt deep house contours of 'XP Waste'.
Flipside takes flight with a feathered lick of the same Morricone track sampled in Pita's 'Get Out', but here applied to a simmering, mystic Chicago jack pattern in 'AT03', whilst 'AT04' meditates on modulated acid and serene deep house drones.
A killer blast of Linekraft’s Japanese junk metal cut-ups and noise cyclonic noise...
“Linekraft is the premier industrial performance unit arising from today's contemporary Japanese underworld. Although active in the industrial stratosphere for many years, Linekraft has quickly developed a reputation as the leading industrial act from Japan through a series of stark, violent, and nihilistic live actions. The roots of these activities surround the lost tradition of "metal junks", a succession of organized and disorganized physical strikes on various oil drums and canisters with long and short metal bars. This existential scrapyard is sped up, slowed down and stained through tape manipulation and layered, replayed, cut apart and reversed in psychic torment of old school analog processes.
From this Kafka-esque cage of uninhabitable obstacles an alien and dehumanized voice of pure oscillations cries out equally in anger and despair. Resembling moments of Pacific 231 live recordings from the early 80's. Engineering Analysis of Inner Death is the first full length for Linekraft and it shows he has arrived on record with the same atmosphere of his brilliant performances in the flesh. For fans of Esplendor Geometrico, Vivenza and White Hospital.”
Scowling throwdown from Overlook, making his 2nd lunge on UVB-76 this year with four tracks of petrifying sound design and squashed, grey area rolige
Working shades away from his recently minted Carrier duo with Positive Centre, the ‘Public Image EP’ finds Overlook moving away from D&B structures to a more smudged no-person’s-land at the juncture of techno, noise and darkside dance music.
‘Déjà Vu’ gets U in the mood with a bone marrow-freezing descent into cavernous space inhabited by swarming nanobots, before the session gets underway properly with the trampling flow and keening drones of ‘There Was Truth and There Was Untruth’ building to a fierce head of pressure that carries into the rip current techno of ‘The Totem That Guides Us’, before he attempts to drown the senses with water-boarded rhythms that withhold the restraint and flood forth like a stampede of metal-hooved stallions by the end of ‘Public Image’.
Pivotal, peerless DJ/selector and Minimal Wave overse’er Veronica Vasicka serves her solo debut on Downwards in ‘From Here’, a dank industrial-pop workout recorded in 2004 and now issued for the first time, backed with sick remixes by Regis, Paul Kendall (Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb) and Robert Hampson (Loop, Main) in his lesser-spotted Chasm alias.
Penned on analog synth and 4-track tape recorder in 2004, one year before Veronica established the Minimal Wave label, the ripped metal textures and spectral vox of ‘From Here’ forms a rare snapshot of her daily, diaristic working practice, putting sounds to tape as a personal form of expression that was never intended to be heard by other ears. Lucky for us then, that Downwards’ Karl O’Connor (Regis) has coaxed this dark, anxious beauty out for release, and teamed it with some very special remixes.
‘From Here’ renders Veronica in the dark, naturally working against the grain of 2004’s underground dance music trends to pursue her passion for classic and obscure strains of dance music, from New Wave to Italo and early house - all the kind that would turn up on her regular show for East Village Radio; the Manhattan, NYC station she co-founded in 2003. With hindsight, we hear Veronica as a displaced soul doing her thing in a way that would become inarguably more widespread over the coming decade and more, which was in no small part due to her focussed efforts working behind the scenes, overlapping and fomenting a nexus of musics that shared more in common than was usually acknowledged at that time.
Now appearing in 2018, ‘From Here’ perhaps finally feels at home in the skin of a scene obsessed with ghosts in the machine. And the remixes only emphasise the material’s timeless, out-of-joint nature: from a slickly arpeggiated Regis version which sounds like it could have been made any time between 1981 to 2018; thru to a pummelled and serrated industrial remix from Paul Kendall, who has previously worked on classics by Depeche Mode and Nitzer Ebb; to a killer and maybe surprising highlight from Robert Hampson as Chasm, stoking it with gnashing drum machines and keening dub FX for a sort of industrial-dub-dance-pop sidewinding outta time and place.
Knockout album of smoky jazz-pop, cinematic strings and filigree electronics from Eiko Ishibashi, who comes off like Japan’s answer to Julia Holter in the uneasy hauntology of her 6th album opus.
‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ finds Eiko delving into her family history, following the death of her father, coming to terms with the discovery that he came of age during Japan’s occupation of Manchurian China in the 1940s, when his father - Eiko’s Grandfather - worked as a railroad man in occupied territory. The album is about imagining a past she never knew, and about how that past can inform the future - in particular her own.
As a noted improvisor on percussion and piano, Eiko’s sense of intuition is key to her music, and ‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ would appear to be a study in locating or understanding the source of her core instincts. Over its 9 songs, she describes a journey of discovery and reflection in expansive, near-cinematic terms, loaning from her practice writing for theatre and cinema to shape an album enriched with subtle emotional cadence and tempered instrumental virtuosity.
From the anxious dawn of dissonant brass smear in ‘Prologue: Hands On The Mouth’, her journey wends from the rustling chug of ‘Agloe’ and its sweeping emotive arrangement, thru the inquisitive jazz chords of ‘Iron Veil’, to the reflective pool of hovering organ in ‘Silent Scrapbook’, and the fleeting feels of anger and sadness in ‘A Ghost in a Train, Thinking’, before her timelessly sumptuous title track comes off like the sonic denouement of a classic film, and the pulsating electronics of ‘Tunnels To Nowhere’ signify a rush to the future, and the melancholy resolution of ‘To The East’, and the ultimate uncertainty connoted by swirling, bittersweet strings and tentative double bass in her ‘Epilogue: Innisfree’.
Another amazing entry from ‘70s Ethiopia, introducing krar player, singer and national icon Asnakech Worku to the world at large with a beautiful collection of songs made alongside Hailu Mergia at the height of her career, most notably on a haunting prototype of Mergia’s standard ‘Tche Belew’
“There is perhaps no woman more cherished in modern Ethiopian history than Asnakech Worku. As a musician, actress, dancer and cultural icon, Asnakech inspired and challenged society for decades, until her death in 2011. From her beginnings as Ethiopia’s first theater actress in 1952 to her acclaimed film appearances to her days as a club owner-turned-master musician, Asnakech’s inimitable confidence and charm made her a household name. She earned endless accolades across the artistic spectrum.
She made seminal recordings of unforgettable original compositions, as well as legendary renditions of traditional songs, that became national staples. With a singular sense of style, glamour and sex appeal that sometimes stunned mainstream society, Asnakech wore clothes no one else wore and said things no one else said. Staid notions of how women should dress and behave didn’t apply to her. Battling a mentality that until the early 1950s had men wearing dresses to play female roles in the theater, Asnakech became a national treasure on her own terms.
Her family wasn’t pleased with Asnakech becoming an azmari—an itinerant praise musician who sings, often in bars, for tips—and didn’t bother her, especially after Emperor Haile Selassie I began to emphasize theater and music in society, officially legitimizing her career. Asnakech became an internationally-celebrated performer of Ethiopia’s ancient harp, the krar, making her one of the most visible female musicians of the 20th century. All this while leaving controversy, broken hearts and a changed cultural landscape in her wake.
In 1975, keyboardist and bandleader Hailu Mergia got a call from the owner of Misratch Music Shop to do a recording with Asnakech and he went for it. This recording is a nearly-forgotten artifact of the remarkable icon’s singular legacy, remastered and available outside Ethiopia for the first time. It also provides a rare glimpse into Mergia’s work as a arranger-sideman in the Addis Ababa music scene.”
From the golden era of Warp, B12’s ‘Time Tourist’ is reissued for the first time, newly expanded with four bonus tracks previously found on their B12 Records archives volumes
Somewhere between a computer game soundtrack, pulpy sci-fi score, and an armchair accelerant, ‘Time Tourist’ holds a special place in the pantheon of mid-late ‘90s electronica/IDM. Some of it sounds pretty dated now, but the innocent sincerity of of B12’s retro-futurist aesthetics still glow from highlights such as ‘Infinite Lites (Primitives Mix)’ and ‘The Radiophonic Workshop’.
Burning disco/edit belters from DJ Qu, going deep into his Latino and New Jersey roots for the good of the dance
The EP is fronted by a straight-up essential heater in the raw, filtered disco loopers ‘May I Say’, and the mesmerising reversed groove of ‘Things Get Ordinary’ that will have dancers tying themselves in knots. On the back he lets fly with the masterful tribal polyrhythms and gaspin’ punctuation of ’Picazón’, and the lip-smacking deep trance workout, ‘Circumvent’.
Pearson Sound rolls out the 3rd 12” on his Pears label...
Inspired by the construction site outside his studio, ‘Rubble’ opens the session with strapping bass arp riveted in place by cold snare crack and needling hi-hats. ‘Earwig’ catches him testing out a sort of 95bpm acid dancehall style, and ‘Our Spirits Soar’ occupies the B-side at 45rpm for spot of late night biz, pairing wheezy G-funk synthlines with bashy, rolling techno for, in his own words, “smokey late-night dancefloors when the house lights creep up”.
Cosmic, new age techgnosis from Belfast’s Touch Sensitive - home to David Holmes, Barry Lynn (Boxcutter), Cherrystones.
“A soundtrack for gutted metropolises, virtual sanctuaries and utopian enclaves, 'Sentience & Sapience' is a seamless, psychedelic journey through possible near futures in the age of Artificial Intelligence.
Its overlapping arrangements alternately evoke glittering digital realms and bleak, decrepit landscapes populated by ghostly natives drifting in fractured and multiplying realities. Eastern drones, processed guitars and field recordings are warped, dubbed to cassette and re-sampled again. Meditative gongs and bells punctuate the mix, as human-sounding voices drift in and out intoning synthetic chants. Digital and analog textures dissolve into a continuum, suggestive of blurred and vanishing boundaries between the natural and the artificial; the real and the simulated; the evolved and the designed…
Inspired by the outlandish prophecies of Tech guru Ray Kurzweil, and the Transhumanist evangelism of 20th century psychonauts like Terence McKenna and Robert Anton Wilson, ‘Sentience & Sapience’ is an album for bewildered Homo sapiens contending with intelligent machines in the shadow of the singularity.”
‘City of Hope’ is the first single from Susanna’s new song cycle inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, commissioned for Norway’s Vossa Jazz 2017 festival
Recorded by Norway’s national broadcaster, NRK (meaning it’s one of her first songs not to be recorded by Helge Sten/Deathprod in recent memory), the broodingly optimistic ‘City of Hope’ features Susanna Wallumrød flanked for the first time by a new band, who frame her vocal with piano, guitar, tape recorder, accordion, synth and electronics.
DJ Loser runs a severely ragged batch of beat-up industrial, EBM and gloomy ambience, cyberpunk-style, from his base in Thessaloniki, Greece. A big look for fans of Delroy Edwards’ various, live and direct one-take styles
Death Is Not The End unearth Ercilia Costa’s haunting 1920’s and 1930’s Portuguese Fado recordings made in Madrid
As played in the label’s 20’s & 30’s Fado Special for NTS, Ercilia’s songs epitomise the melancholy elegance of Fado, a style of Portuguese folk music with roots in Moorish guitar music, and connections to old Portuguese trading routes and colonies.
Yet another dreamy peach from STROOM 〰, ‘Chosen Songs’ collects an unmissable introduction to the shadowy poetry and music of 48 Cameras; a long-running, mutable ensemble helmed by Belgium’s Jean-Marie Mathoul (✝ 04/07/2018)
Spanning 8 pieces, each recorded in one take between 2002-2013, ‘Chosen Songs’ notably features guest input from Michael Gira (Swans) and Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) among many others. However, the centre of attention is Jean-Marie Mathoul (1952-2018), whose poetry and musical ideas form the basis of the self-proclaimed non-band’s haunting electro-acoustic spaces and possessed air. Just from initial listens, we can already tell this is going to be a big favourite during the present and coming long nights. Fans of Félicia Atkinson, John Avery, Kreng or Jani Christou are almost certain to fall under this record’s spell.
“48 Cameras was the brainchild and life project of self-proclaimed non-musician Jean-Marie Mathoul († 04/07/2018), a social worker born and raised in Huy who carefully conducted 48C towards cult status. After hearing an album of William S. Burroughs reciting poetry, J-M decided to put poems and spoken word to music. He was a poet in his own right, having already published a.o. Une cure au cancer (A cure for cancer), a book of poems which at times was wrongly sold alongside medical books. At a literary event in Liège, Belgium, he met UK-based writer Paul Buck (author of the novel The Honeymoon Killers) and the two of them decided to collaborate and thus formed 48 Cameras. The name of the collective references photographer Eadweard Muybridge and a poem by Jim Morrison; "Muybridge derived his animal subjects from the Philadelphia Zoological Garden, male performers from the University. The women were professional artists' models, also actresses and dancers, parading nude before the 48 cameras'' (in The Lords and the new creatures).
It is important to note that 48C is somewhat of a non-band. The musicians and collaborators never actually recorded together, and to this day some haven’t even met each other. Before starting the recording process, J-M built an album in his mind: choice of album and song titles, who was to collaborate, even the artwork was clear long before the first note was played, leaving little room for surprises. All of this was carefully collected in decently structured Atoma notebooks full of polaroids, annotations and cut-out photos of paintings and advertisements of cigarettes. An avid smoker himself (as long time collaborator Calo recalls: ‘sometimes he was smoking three cigarettes at a time, he’d forget he had already lit one or two’), the notebook papers slowly transformed into nicotine colored archives of a project that often feels like the musical masterpiece of a recluse puppet master, overviewing and directing things from his attic home studio, aptly referred to as “the Observatory”.
Throughout the years collaborators sent their parts by snail mail on tape, DAT or even MiniDisc, and with the arrival of the internet some began to upload their contributions. Never, however, was the collective present together in the attic studio.”
Killer slo-mo techno slugs from Vienna’s Nonetheless duo on Florian Stöffelbauer a.k.a. Heap’s Neubau label
Verging on techno for an ambassador’s reception, the first batch from Felix Bergleiter and Florian Bocksrucker’s new pairing injects a sense of refined, Central European sensibilities to the ‘floor, where needed.
Working in parallel to styles pushed by the likes of Tolouse Low Trax and Vladimir Ivkovic at Salon Des Amateurs, the recoiling chug of Berlin’s Novo Line, or the trawling drag of Sweden’s Fishermen, Nonetheless deliver some serious traction with EP highlights in the unstressed machine squeal and pressure of ‘Exclusion Zone’ and the inexorable acid rolige of ‘Machine of Love and Hate’, plus a the Carpenter-esque groove of ‘Velvet’.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore refine and expand their neon lit blend of midnight jazz and dark ambience, finding romance and a sort of redemption in the heart of the abyss.
Musically, the key reference point remains Angelo Badalamenti's scores for David Lynch; a combination of plaintive sax, ominous synth drones and electronic piano situated at the interzone between dream and nightmare. ‘Zombies Never Die (Blues)’ - the first of the three long, immersive pieces that make up the LP - is apt for midnight revelation at the Roadhouse or Club Silencio; but as well as Badalamenti we think also of Tom Waits at his most unhinged and atmospheric, and of The Caretaker's sweeping, serotonin-depleted excavations of memory.
‘Catch My Heart', an unrecognisable cover of German metal outfit Warlock, evokes the decadence and submerged anxiety of 30s Weimar cabaret; vocals come from the band’s longtime cheerleader Mike Patton, channelling Tuxedomoon, Bowie and even the Brinkmann of When Horses Die into a louche but tortured croon. The title track brings the suite to a close, unbearable tension wrought out of a sparse, repeated Rhodes motif and brushed drums, recalling early Tortoise, For Carnation and the desert-dried doom of Earth. For all these comparisons, Bohren really are like no one else around, and Beileid is the kind of otherworldly, out of body listening experience we live for.
Classically carmine-toned Italian horror score from living legend Fabio Frizzi, for the comedy-horror ‘Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich’, directed by Sonny Laguna and starring Udo Kier
“Lakeshore Records and Fangoria Presents have teamed up to release Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich—Original Motion Picture Soundtrack which features an original score by legendary film composer Fabio Frizzi (Zombie, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond), digitally on August 10th.
This is the first soundtrack to fall underneath the banner Fangoria Presents from Cinestate. Written by by S. Craig Zahler (Brawl in Cell Block 99, Bone Tomahawk) and starring Thomas Lennon, Udo Kier and Barbara Crampton, the film was produced by Cinestate in conjunction with Fangoria and will have a limited release in theatres beginning August 17th. Based on the Charles Band cult classic, the new reimagining of the Puppet Master series has been garnering rave reviews for it’s over the top gore and dark humor.
Recently divorced and reeling, Edgar returns to his childhood home to regroup his life. When Edgar finds a nefarious looking puppet in his deceased brother’s room, he decides to sell the doll for some quick cash. Girl-next-door Ashley and and comic book pal Markowitz join Edgar for a doomed road trip to an auction at a convention celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. All hell breaks loose when a strange force animates the puppets at the convention, setting them on a bloody killing spree that’s motivated by an evil as old as time.”
Aman!!! is a newly formed project by Tasos Stamou (Greek bouzouki & Turkish saz) and Thodoris Ziarkas (blues guitar).
"The duo explores the borders of improvisation in the context of traditional music, especially focused in the musical heritage of Greek Rebetiko and other styles of the South East Mediterranean. The project reflects reflects both musicians' interest about reinterpreting traditional music in a contemporary, non sterilized form whilst dealing with music tradition in their very own special way; abstract prepared-strings improvisations blend back-and-forth with original old songs of '30s and '40s phonography.”
Quick, melodic folk music for healing depression, from Madagascar
“June 2017, France. It’s 40° both inside and outside. At Studio Black Box, in the Haut Anjou, it is as if you were there, in Madagascar. And when the tape recorders start rotating, the musicians’ imagination feeds off the guts of their music : Malagasy bush, tropical heat, red dirt, sand, drought, corn, cassava, cockcrow, mooing zebus, lambahoany (fabric), leaf hut, fotaky house (mud), dust, portable generator, music, rhum, bodies frantically dancing wether in the dark or under the blazing sun…Tsapiky.
The album shall be named Valimbilo.
Bilo is a disease which strikes one’s mental health, depression is what western societies call it. When one is diagnosed with « voany bilo », a precise medical treatment is engaged and performed without doctors, nor medicine. To vanquish bilo, one has to use music.
The sorcerer solely decides upon the “good” day (the day which gathers the most positive aspects of the astrological conjuncture) to operate: the extended family hosts a ceremony ruled by many taboos, which can last up to a few days, and in which only one remedy is applied in high dosage : some Tsapiky.
They are “doctor” musicians whom talent is source of the cure.
They play for the patient, who has to be facing the orchestra : all of their attention is focused on the bilo, dancing in the sick person’s body : It has to be awaken, seduced, surprised and attacked from every angle before it is pressured, pressured until KO, until it can’t take the it anymore, stuffed with music. Then the patient is relieved, discharged, and the ceremony is over.
During the entirety of the ceremony, the patient picks a person who helps him/her get the bilo out of his/her system, this is what we call “valimbilo”, literally “husband/wife of the bilo””
Another massive 4CD payload of prime New Beat - no Nougat Beat! - including way more than your RDA of late ‘80s Belgian bangers
Synthesising a crossroad between US house and techno, Italian disco, Mittel Euroepean EBM and frothy Belgian sensibilities, New Beat is the much maligned precursor to rave techno, which, in recent years, has seen a long overdue reappraisal of its charms by dancers and DJs who’ve become snagged on its direct, to-the-floor rhythms and addictive hooks.
For the massive 2nd volume of ’New Beat - The Compilation’, they’ve pulled together 57 heaters from the short-lived heyday of New Beat circa 1987-1990. There’s a lot of well known and fairly easy to find pieces, but also a lot of choice rarities, most notably the likes of Blue Vertigo’s tuff but sexy ‘Abadan (Monday Morning Mix)’, the amazing staccato perk of ‘Komobinn’ by Acidity - an alias of the legendary Tony Baron (Teknokrat’s) - and the steely hardball of ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ from another Teknokrat’s member, F.X. Intruder a.k.a. Mike Butcher, plus oddities such as Rebel X & Vector S’ ‘Controller II’, Inter Phase’s darkside acid trip ‘Back From The Space’, and New Design’s acid jacker ‘Some Like It Hot’.
Cue gushing waves of nostalgia: Sandra Kerr & John Faulkner’s soundtrack forkids TV animation ‘Bagpuss’ is finally available on vinyl. It’s definitely one for the over ‘40s, and younger folkies who’re old at heart.
"Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss , Old fat furry cat-puss , Wake up and look at this thing that I bring, Wake up, be bright , Be golden and light , Bagpuss, Oh hear what I sing. 12th of February, 1974, and for an audience of small children at 1:45pm, a life irrevocably coloured by the wayward wonderings of one saggy cloth cat...
Some 44 years later and Earth Recordings opens the door to Bagpuss & Co. once again, revealing for the first time the original music in all its newly-mastered splendour. The 32 tracks that make up the main body of the compositions are – like all good folk music – a patchwork of traditional pieces, half-remembered tunes and pure improvisation. It's testament to Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner's musicianship that the recordings work so well, not only within the context of the television episodes, but as an album in its own right.
Of the recording, Oliver Postgate (in his exquisite autobiography 'Seeing Things') says: "Between them Sandra and John could play every sort of instrument from a mountain dulcimer to an Irish fiddle. They knew and could sing every tune in the world and didn't bother with written music, except as a last resort. They were exactly suited to Gabriel the Toad and Madeleine the Rag Doll and in those roles were happy to play whatever music and sing whatever songs would be needed." Those songs manifested themselves as reworkings of familiar tunes ('I Saw A Ship'; 'Row Your Boat'; 'Bucket's Burning'), takes on traditional ballads ('Brian O'Lynn'; 'The Frog Princess'; 'Weaving Song'; 'The Old Woman Tossed Up in a Basket') and delicious flights of fancy ('The Bony King of Nowhere'; 'Turtle Calypso'; 'Uncle Feedle').
The counterpart to Madeleine and Gabriel's more polished ditties are the interludes from the mice; a raggle-taggle chorus that accompanies the creatures' efforts of help (with the mice once famously going on strike when they were not permitted sang as they worked). Again, Postgate muses: "Once I had worked out a few episodes I would make a very rough list of the bits where I though music would be appropriate. I would send it to [Sandra and John] to think about. Then we would borrow a fairly silent room in a remote house and, taking the various articles that we intended to celebrate with us, would spend a happy day with a tape recorder, thinking up and recording whatever songs and tunes came to mind."
The outtakes provide an intimate – and often very humourous – insight into the trio's work ethic, if it can be called such a thing. (By all accounts they sound as though they're having a very jolly time indeed.) Highlights include alternative opening words and end music, as well as Postgate sound-checking in character as Bagpuss. This never-before heard audio provides a real treat for fans (and indeed those new to the Smallfilms stable) – affirmation again to the enduring quality of these special recordings, and the beloved programme that inspired them. "An accidental classic of the folk-roots underground that we never dared hope we’d hear with such clarity."Stewart Lee.. And so their work was done."
Loose, bashy, funked-up house chops from the LMYE duo, leading on from solid 12”s for Idle Hands and Funkineven’s Apron Records
Bridging the gap between rugged US originators such as Theo Parrish and Rick Wilhite, and UK rogues such as Altered Natives and Mr. G, LMYE (Lend Me Your Ears) marks out gritty, soulful territory with the 10 tracks of their eponymous debut album.
On the first disc they swang out with the swollen subs and frayed percussion of ‘All Aboard’ inna UK style, whereas ‘The Gift’ gets down with wilder sample cut-ups on a Soundhack or Shake tip, and ‘Song Six’ slings it jazzier, duskier, with powerful bass weight.
The 2nd disc opens with a wicked, Pepe Bradock like flurry of avian keys and frisky swing on ‘Elements’, along with the killer Steve Gurley styled 2-step of ‘XTC Rising’, a Todd Edwards-flavoured buzz in ‘Hypnotised’, and serious deep rave panache in ‘Steel City Blues’.
Young Hunting kneel before Ancient Methods’ Persiphonic Sirens with two cinematic synth vignettes clad in beautiful sleeve adorned by Nick Hedges’ photo; ‘Street, running down to the Tyne, Newcastle (1970)’
The keener eared and clear of memory may recall Young Hunting from their 2011 debut on Blackest Ever Black, before they became Dalhous. We’re not sure if these two tracks are new material or vintage cuts from back in the day, but either way they’re some of the strongest we’ve heard from the Scottish duo.
The A-side’s ‘List of Indignities’ is a gloriously sullen, wordless hymn to heck sung by a burned-out synthetic chorale, while the flip side’s ‘Melancholia’ is a heart-rending swell of coruscating harmonics and sore, plangent chord changes bound to speaks to the bitter romantic in all of us.
Mercurial, nippy, ‘Anoima’-style Nigerian highlife, reissued on vinyl for the first time
“For the casual fan of Nigerian music, certain names immediately come to mind at the mention of the phrase “Igbo highlife”—internationally recognized stars like Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, Celestine Ukwu, Oliver De Coque, and The Oriental Brothers. Intermediate students of the genre might cite less universally lionized but still tremendously influential players like the Ikenga Super Stars, Mike Ejeagha, or Goddy Ezike. The true aficionado, however, is likely to chatter enthusiastically about someone like Franco Lee Ezute, and how he was the avatar of a spirited new take on the style that revitalized and redirected the genre in the 1970s and 80s.
To this contribution to the conversation, the purist might counter that Ezute, and others of his ilk (King Ubulu, Ali Chukwuma, Rogana Ottah, Bob Fred, Mmadu Osa International Band, etc.) despite singing in what appears to be the Igbo language and utilizing Igbo cultural motifs, technically do not qualify as Igbo highlife at all. Instead, they should be categorized as Anioma sound.
But what exactly is Anioma sound? Well, that can often be a complicated to quantify as the concept of “Anioma” itself, and both continue to stoke passionate debates: Is Anioma music simply a variety of Igbo highlife, or its own unique genre? And are the Anioma people Igbos… or something else altogether?
The word “Anioma” is an acronym encompassing the names of four language groups in present-day Delta State, Nigeria: Aniocha, Ndokwa, Ika, and Oshimili. The tongues spoken in these regions are generally considered to be mutually intelligible with standard Igbo, and are frequently counted among the over 30 distinct dialects of the Igbo language. Over the years, the Anioma peoples have variously been described as “Western Igbos,” “Bendel Igbos” and “Delta Igbos.” But many indigenes of this area stubbornly maintain that despite speaking variations of the Igbo language and bearing what sound like Igbo names, they are not of Igbo descent culturally or genealogically. Contemporary Anioma historians have popularized the theory that they are descendants of the Bini peoples in neighboring Edo State who migrated to the western border of Igboland and took on much of the language and culture. While there is not much substantial evidence to support this narrative, it’s one that is easy to believe when you listen Anioma music—specifically the highlife produced by the natives of the Ndokwa (or Ukwuani) area. On the surface it sounds like Igbo highlife, but something about it is… different.”
Josephine Foster raises a stained-glass lamp and shepherds us spelunking the depths of spirit in this four-part double album.
"Following the fame of her voice are choruses of winged entities (and a space shuttle) that ascend and descend a maze of spirituals: ritual prayers, blues laments, vestal hymns and jubilant benedictions. The edges of the natural world are revolving backdrops from which our narrator perches upon symbolic precipice or saunters desolate snow-blanched forest, exploring eternal themes of mortality and morality, beneath the moon and in occasional dialogue with a mysterious lord of love, an ambiguous mystical figure.
Accompanying herself on guitar, piano, organ, harp & autoharp, this cycle of 18 new songs hearken back to various facets of Foster's anachronic oeuvre (the esoteric balladry of This Coming Gladness, native rhythms of Blood Rushing, somnambulist waltzes of I'm a Dreamer, the Shaker primitivism of Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead you). Celestial humor and devastating innocence are delivered with contributions from Victor Herrero (lead guitars), Gyða Valtýsdóttir (cello), Chris Scruggs (pedal steel), Jon Estes (bass), as well as cameos by members of The Cherry Blossoms and others. Recorded, engineered and mixed by Andrija Tokic at his Nashville Bomb Shelter Studio, mastered by John Baldwin, and produced by Josephine herself."
A proper dub-house love-in from Remote_ and A New Line (Related), sharing previously unreleased material recorded between the late ‘90s and 2017.
We have no idea who did what or when, but that may be missing the point slightly, as the two artists make such comfortable bedfellows.
On the Remote_ side, Mike Oliver follows the woolly handle of his 12”s for the Meanwhile and Smallfish labels with 43 minutes of scudding chords and low sunk subbass shift smudged into a drowsy shimmer that holds dancers and reclined bodies in a cats cradle moire of ambient dub rolige, gradually nudging the energy levels until you’re in the grip of proper Detroit style tekkers.
Andrew Johnson (Hood, The Remote Viewer) also makes us feel like it’s 2005 eternal on the B-side, coaxing out 44 minutes of sublime, claggy chords and undulating dub house, holding the line into blunted tribal percussion, thrumming slow techno and touches of gentle ambient pop.
Following their recent 'Passion' doublepack, Demdike Stare unveil 'Stitch by Stitch', an epic four hour mixtape series recorded over summer 2018 and split into 4 distinctive parts in turn exploring UK-centric ‘nuum pearls, concrète, library music+noise and outsider pop - with the last tape reserved for unreleased material recorded especially for the series. It documents and re-shapes archival oddities, treasured finds and important influences that have inspired Demdike over the last decade since their first recordings; a vast, sprawling world of sound.
The first tape - Part 1: Stem is an hour long session made up of DDS edits of mostly UK-centric Techno, UKG, Grime and hardcore Jungle funnelled through unspooled pop, R&B and dancehall. It’s a spacious, frenzied builder that joins the dots between David Sylvian, the two G’s and Wiley in a way that you’re unlikely to have ever heard before - a proper headmelter that’s in turns deep and delirious.
Part 2 - Chain dives deep into an ocean of abstracted recordings; from site-specific art records to found noise tapes, unlabelled library records, lo fi 78’s, field recordings, garbled spoken word, slowed down free-jazz, gongs and bells - properly indefinable weirdness collected over the last two decades and deployed here to terrifying, engrossing effect.
The third and fourth parts will follow in the next few weeks - keep ‘em peeled.
16 hours of peerless, important works by Eliane Radigue relating to her work with the ARP 2500 synthesiser between 1971-2000. Prior to this period, Eliane worked exclusively with feedback on tape and oscillators, but her work from the ‘70s onward is defined by an uniquely meditative and transcendent grasp of microtonal minimalism which has latterly come to place her among the 20th century’s most esteemed and truly inimitable composers. Bearing in mind that Eliane realised this fathomless body of work in her Paris apartment away from professional recording studios, only makes it resonate more strongly with the idea that Eliane was a genuine outlier whose uniquely sober work divined an unquantifiable yet ultimately human nature in electronic music.
"Eliane Radigue was born in Paris. She studied “musique concrète” techniques at the “Studio d’Essai” of the RTF under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1956-57). She was married to the painter and sculptor Arman and devoted ten years to their three children. She then worked with Pierre Henry, as his assistant at the Studio APSOME (1967-68). She was in residence at the New York University School of Arts (1970-71), the University of Iowa and the California Institute of the Arts (1973) and Mills College (1998). She has created sound environments using looped tapes of various durations, gradually desynchronising.
Her works have been featured in numerous galleries and museums since the late 60s and from 1970, she has been associated to the ARP 2500 Synthesizer and tape through many compositions from Chry-ptus (1970) up to L’Île resonante (2000). These include: Biogenesis, Arthesis, Ψ 847, Adnos I, II and III (70s), Les Chants de Milarepa and Jetsun Mila (80s) and the three pieces constituting the Trilogie de la Mort (1988-91-93). Since 2002, she has been composing mostly acoustic works for performers and instruments. Her music has been featured in major international festivals. Her extremely sober, almost ascetic concerts, are made of a continuous, ever-changing yet extremely slow stream of sound, whose transformation occurs within the sonic material itself.
Radigue found her musical voice through the decisive encounter with “musique concrète” and its founding fathers. With Pierre Schaeffer, first, and then Pierre Henry, with whom she learned and perfected the art of tape recorders. She then developed a unique style by herself, freely continuing the exploration of electronic sounds, progressing with tenacity through her musical quest, without worrying about current trends or fashions, paying no attention to creeds or dogmas. An isolated course, out with fashions and institutions, such a singular and intense music, so remote from everything..."