The unmissable, head-twisting debut LP by Cairo's 1127 returns on red vinyl pressing for those who missed its shockwaves for the first time back in summer 2019, Huge recommendation if you're into Autechre, Arca, Crowww, Rabit...
Getting right under the skin with its hugely variegated palette of brutalist, rhythmic power electronics and evocative location recordings, ‘Tqaseem Mqamat El Haram 2016-2019’ resembles something like a soundtrack to a Neil Blomkamp flick set it Cario, Egypt, 2050 where stifling heat and pollution means everyone wears breathing apparatus and hover cars sputter about its dusty sprawl. It’s surely one of the most shocking and transfixing sides from North Africa this side of the debut LPs by 1127’s peers, Myslma and Zuli, and should be prized by anyone with an ear for futurist rhythms and microtonal synths of a modern, Afro-futurist order.
Comprising collaged chunks from 1127’s archive arranged in a seamless, diffracted flow that recalls Autechre as well as the mutant adjuncts in Arca’s &&&& or Croww’s ‘Prosthetics MechaMix’, the results feel as though scraped from the insides of 1127’s skull, capturing and rendering the sounds of Cairo street raves ricocheting with spasms of gristly noise, strafing into pockets of cutthroat flashcore and dropping out into smoky, intimate scenes of Arabic dialogue, all threaded together with a distinctive taste for metallic microtonal synthlines and coruscating noise.
The thrilling rinse-and-repeat appeal of the album is now expanded with 26 minutes of exclusive, related, material on a bonus tape, where 1127 doubles down with waves of reticulated rhythm and knotted chromatic colour dominated by destructive levels of distortion comparable to Prurient or Shapednoise at their nastiest. Combined, the LP + tape will surely upend, realign or even confirm conceptions of music from this region, and its relationship to the broader electronic dimension.
Mindboggling new material from GRM pioneer Beatriz Ferreyra and British acousmatic expert Natasha Barrett. Seriously next level outer zones for dedicated, adventurous listeners.
Ferreyra has been pushing sound into new directions since she joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in 1963 and here offers up new twelve minute piece 'Souvenirs cachés' and bundles it with 2003's shorter 'Murmureln' to fill out the A side. On the flip, tireless British sound alchemist Natasha Barrett explores Norwegian culture with 'Innermost', a long, ghostly abstraction of whispers, shouts and drones.
Both sides are essential listening for anyone with even a cursory interest in offworld abstraction or concrete music. Ferreyra's side sounds like the gurgle of a room full of woodwind instruments, pushed into a swamp of digital FX and seismic tectonic shifts. It's psychedelic by its very nature, toying with our learned perception of sound and tripping up our brain's programmed responses; voices become synthetic gurgles and electronic womps and transported into airy hisses and almost imperceptible clanks and croaks.
Barrett meanwhile uses two long recordings from outdoor events in her home base of Norway. Over the course of the piece, echoing almost inaudible voices and cheers suggest the blurry quality of memory before being squashed into numbing drones, pulling the mind into dark recesses pocked with occasional beams of light. It's phenomenal stuff, and both sides compliment each other perfectly.
Grubby mid-tempo club grooves with feet in house, new beat, and industrial zones
“The Black Bones story is born out of a shared obsession for crate digging, collecting, and the playing of weird and wonderful music. Their releases so far have manifested in a highly-sought series of seven psychedelic disco 12”s - picking up numerous Record of the Week plaudits on the way.
Kicking off with the full throttle 120 bpm of ‘ABTS’ - the duo take you straight to the ‘floor with one of the wildest rides we’ve heard in some time. ‘Denied’ pulls us in to darker territory - chest pummelling bass, ominous high-pitched warnings and a chuggy acid throw-down finding us once again lost in that 5am dance floor fog.
Over on the flip and ‘Punghi’ combines a hypnotic groove, dubbed out FX, percussion and a tripped-out Eastern breakdown. One for the more adventurous DJs and dance floor! The EP is closed by 'Gabi’ which sounds like minimal gone maximal with an insane industrial
A collection of beautiful Country-Western inspired music from 1950s Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya.
"Fingerpicking “omasiganda” troubadours, train car yodels, raw slide guitar, and haunting travel-weary ballads, all reissued for the first time from rare 78s. A heavy duty document of a nearly lost scene, and all the songs are all stunners to boot. Featuring George Sibanda, Josaya Hadebe, Sabelo Mathe, Petrus Mntambo and more, with a 12" booklet of deep research and full lyrics, packaged in old school tip-on covers. Co-released by our friends Olvido Records (A. Kostis, The White Birds, George Mukabi). Audio restoration and transfers by Michael Kieffer."
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.
Les Disques du Crepuscule presents Subway, a collection of singles by cult NYC duo Thick Pigeon, originally released on Crepuscule, Factory and Factory Benelux between 1981 and 1991.
Comprised of vocalist Stanton Miranda and instrumentalist Carter Burwell, Thick Pigeon emerged from the downtown New York artrock scene which also spawned Glenn Branca, Bush Tetras, DNA, Arthur Russell and Sonic Youth. Like their chosen name, the duo were typically atypical: Miranda was previously a dancer with the Marthe Graham ballet company, and Carter a film animator and Harvard fine arts/architecture graduate. Very much a studio project, the ‘group’ hardly ever performed live.
Poised and subtle debut single Subway appeared on Crepuscule in January 1981, a connection forged by Miranda’s partner Michael Shamberg. Dog followed a year later, along with wry Christmas single Jingle Bell Rock, before the duo switched to Factory Records, recording debut album Too Crazy Cowboys in Manchester with Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert of New Order producing. Released simultaneously on Factory and Factory US in 1984, the album was billed as “a walk through the civilisation of you soul”.
Having now embarked on a career scoring movies (becoming the Coen brothers’ composer of choice), Carter was absent from the next TP project, 1986 dance single Wheels Over Indian Trails, although Morris and Gilbert remained on board as guest musicians. However Miranda and Carter would reunite for a second (and final) leftfield pop album, Miranda Dali, issued by Crepuscule in 1991.
As well as singles Subway, Dog, Jingle Bell Rock, Jess + Bart and Wheels Over Indian Trails, TWI 351 also includes b-sides (Sudan, Tracy + Pansy), album highlights (Crime, Riding) and a second festive track, Blue Christmas, previously issued only on cassette as part of a Factory Christmas card in 1986.
Alongside Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, the stellar cast of guests include Fred Szymanski (of Ike Yard), Ikue Mori (DNA), remixer John Robie, and even artist and event designer Jean-Paul Goude on backing vocals."
Electric Jalaba comprises six accomplished musicians with an empathy that feels telepathic and a groove that immerses. In Arabic, the mother tongue of Moroccan-born singer and guimbri player Simo Lagnawi, a leading practitioner of Gnawa music in Britain, they call this indefinable quality, “El Hal” – “The feeling”.
“It’s the feeling that comes when we’re playing and totally forgetting where we are,” says producer and bassist Olly Keen. “The feeling of being grabbed by the music and lost in the groove.” ‘El Hal / The Feeling’ is the new third album from Electric Jalaba and their first release in five years. It’s a multi-faceted work that finds the band tighter than ever, deploying a vast cache of influences across nine tracks improvised and developed in their south London studio then deftly produced by Keen. Some tracks pay homage to the origins of Gnawa music, whose repertoire of Arabic-language praise songs contains remnants of West African dialects – Bambara from Mali, Fulani and Hausa from the Sahel region – that point to a centuries-old migration.
“The trance-inducing effect of Gnawa was what hit us first. It was visceral, heart stopping,” continues Olly, whose siblings – producer / keys player Henry Keen, guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Keen and singer / multi-instrumentalist Barnaby Keen – make up Electric Jalaba alongside revered Anglo-Italian kit drummer Dave De Rose and Simo on vocals, krakeb and guimbri. “Simo selected the chant from the traditional song suites and, as a band, we extended these short pieces of ceremonial music and experimented with sound and structure,” explains Olly. Tracks include the Juno-led dancefloor single ‘Cubaili Ba’, ‘Agia Hausa’, a multi-layered wig-out that partly takes its inspiration from Senegal’s fiercely percussive mbalax rhythms and ‘Daimla’, a gloriously dubby ode to Allah and iconic maalems including the late Mahmoud Guinea. “There’s a very strong rhythmic element within the band but because of our different perspectives but the melodic components are really unique as well,” says Henry. That feeling of being outside of yourself but totally within yourself at the same time… That’s what all of us, collectively, are striving for.”
Threshold-dwelling lower case elisions of field recording and barely-there instrumental gestures by the wonderful Anne Guthrie, an occasional and prized presence on these pages.
Guthrie’s solo work has previously snagged our ears with the gorgeous ‘Codiaeum Variegatum’ album and ‘Brass Orchids’, both for Students of Decay over the past decade. She returns to the label three years after her previous, and collabs with the GRM’s François Bonnet and Seymour Wright, to offer her most sublime sort of sonic mulch and vapours in ‘Gyropedie’, where she appears to quiesce the enduring air of Satie’s proto-ambient music into a more natural, elusive ecology of cherry-picked small sounds that amount to a lushly absorbing whole primed for pastoral sound bathing in the comfort of your own home.
In Guthrie’s own words, “Quite literally a record of pilgrimage from East to West. Remnants of Midwest and East Coast soundmarks, instruments sold to lighten the travel load, sketched out and then buried under the new. Winter birds and crunching snow, frozen playgrounds, broken synths - I spent a year decoupaging over this, but of course it’s still there. A second moon appears occasionally in the daytime, and there are frequent, murky transmissions. California has something alien about it I’m still trying to grasp. Primarily vintage, unabashed, corny, I find myself becoming an impressionist.”
What do you think of when you think of British film? Probably not the 1979 ‘puzzle picture’ that is Anti-Clock. And yet, for anyone who has seen this extraordinary film, it would be unlikely that they could forget it. Its sounds and images burn into the brain. It’s an infuriating and invigorating experience. It’s like entering a dream state only to find that one’s unconscious mind has been hijacked by somebody else’s skewed (il)logic.
"And the trance-inducing static of its opening sequence, the burnt-out surveillance monitors, the super-saturated filmed sequences, bewildering performances and labyrinthine ‘plot’ are only half the story; there’s that soundtrack, too. It’s not unusual for a film to have one, of course, but this one fits like a glove. Arden sings the songs ('Sleepwalking' and 'Who Are Those Figures In White?'), and it’s as if Val Denham had been secretly recorded during a session with R D Laing. Its feels warm and comforting, but it’s unsettling too. More than anything, though, behind its apparent calm, it’s angry at us for our complacency, our willingness to consume and to consent to a life within ‘the system’. It’s a lullaby which aims to wound.
Arden and Bond’s collaborative career gave Britain some of the most extraordinary films it ever produced. No one else stuck their necks out even half as far as they did. Their filmography is woefully short – Separation (1966, Arden: screenplay/actress, Bond: dir); The Other Side of the Underneath (1972, Bond: prod, Arden: dir); Vibration (1975, co-dirs); Anti-Clock (1979, co-dirs) – but it’s full to the brim of incredible, daring ideas and completely unfettered imagination. It’s packed, too, with pain and a disconcerting honesty about the human condition; challenging commonly-held ideas about madness and positing ideas which are far less easy to categorise or control.
Arden and Bond’s desire to destroy order and to do things differently was made clear from the very start: the first image in Separation is of a clock being smashed in reverse. But Separation, for all its radical ideas and unconventional moments, self-consciously presented the veneer of something familiar – it looks like it employs a film language which we understand, but it consistently undermines expectations – only to leave the viewer ever more perplexed and unsettled.
The Other Side of the Underneath, on the other hand, was an all-out assault. Revelling in its lack of restraint, it presented hysteria, extreme distress, masturbation, brutality, menstruation, sacrilege and unfiltered ‘otherness’ in an attempt to show all that society deems unshowable. But if Underneath’s extremity is akin to the act of shitting out (or on to) a history of repression and pain, and of turning the order of things on its head, then Anti-Clock was the attempt to consider what is left in its wake. It’s a complex, contemplative piece, and Arden’s apparently comforting delivery of her self-penned songs and the see-saw flow of Mihai Dragutescu’s delicate instrumentation act only as a means to lure us in; to begin the de-programming.
Anti-Clock shares with Separation a disdain for order and blind obedience. In her book You Don’t Know What You Want, Do You? –the basis for the network of ideas at play in Anti-Clock – the motif of the rat is used as a metaphor for the rational mind. The lyrics to ‘Sleepwalking’ (living in a daze, wandering in a maze) also conjure up images of lab rats, of unthinking beings adhering to rules and systems, never questioning what is beyond what they think they know to be true. At the close of Anti-Clock, the central character, Sapha, simply says, ‘It has been my whole life's will to decode this puzzle, as though inside the answer to this equation was the insurance of that peace of mind that had eluded me. But there is no puzzle. And the mind is never peaceful. And dawn’s already here as the stars appear.’
In December 1982, Arden took her own life. Bond reacted with anger and frustration: he removed Anti-Clock from circulation, vowing that the world would never see it again. Thankfully, after almost three decades, he granted the film a second life. And now, with Arden and Dragutescu’s beautifully unsettling sound work getting the attention it deserves, listening to this exquisite soundtrack provides as good a way as any to begin a relationship with a film that is as daring, brilliant and profoundly personal as British cinema gets."
- Sam Dunn, October 2014
Hallowed experimental pop-soul sermons that build on 2018's gorgeous, vocal-rich "Soil".
Serpentwithfeet applied a fresh coat of hi-gloss with last album "Soil", enlisting the help of producers like Clams Casino and Tri-Angle labelmate Katie Gately - "Deacon" finds the producer diving into even more personal realms, touching on spiky club forms simultaneously. These songs are soulful musings on serpentwithfeet's emotional world, dedicated to friends and lovers and struck through with feelings that emerge too rarely from contemporary pop. The production is often skeletal - 'Same Size Shoe', for example, is barely more than a kick and snare combo - allowing the complex vocal arrangements to yet again take the spotlight, building in blissful harmonic layers one by one. And by combining a love of gospel music with an implicit understanding of R&B radio pop formula and deep knowledge of experimental ambient music, serpentwithfeet has a winning, idiosyncratic formula. He's basically managed to achieve whatever it is people think James Blake is doing and does so without grandstanding.
'Amir' sounds like an alternate universe 'No Scrubs', all tearful and dense with chopped acoustic guitar and neck snapping '90s R&B production tics. While NAO collaboration 'Heart Storm' finds serpentwithfeet at his most euphoric, fusing choral music with waves of analog synth ambience. Closer 'Fellowship' is the pick of the bunch: a bonafide tearjerker, effortlessly inverting brittle Afrobeats-esque percussion for one of the sweetest musings on friendship we've heard in ages. If "Deacon" doesn't move you at all, you've got a heart of stone honestly. Church music for lovelorn heretics.
Apparently it's been over a decade since avant jazz deity Pharoah Sanders recorded any new music, it took Sam Shephard aka Floating Points to coax the 80 year old out of near-retirement.
Anyone familiar with Sanders' work will know how life-affirming his music can be, from his early work with John Coltrane, through 1967's mind-altering "Tauhid" to his spiritual pairing with Alice Coltrane on "Journey in Satchidananda". Here, he takes a more restrained role, offering bursts of tenor to compliment Shephard's pretty snippets of piano and synth. As "Promises" builds, the London Symphony Orchestra's presence becomes more stark, evolving the slow-moving work into cinematic levels of grandeur.
It's pretty senseless comparing "Promises" to Sanders' early catalogue as he's most definitely in a completely different place mentally. But his cloud-reaching brilliance is still a joy to behold; when his familiar overblown phrases appear from Shephard's gossamer synth clouds, it's hard not to smile. We can't help but wonder how different it might have been if Sanders had been paired with Dean Blunt, mind you. Just saying.
Xiu Xiu makes beautiful music for hard times.
"For nearly 20 years, the band has a track record of crafting experimental music for moments when life’s harsh realities meet its existential mysteries. On the latest album, Jamie Stewart explores a recent revelation and is reminded of the power of the band’s music to surprise and connect. Listening to the songs on OH NO, it is hard to feel truly alone. Instead, it is a reminder that even when we’re alone, we’re alone together.
OH NO, the group’s newest album, is an album of duets, with Stewart sharing the stage with an array of guests who have made an impact on him personally and musically. This is the first Xiu Xiu album where every song spotlights Jamie Stewart and a collaborator. The album features artists across the musical spectrum, including Sharon Van Etten, Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr, Grouper’s Liz Harris, Alice Bag, Chelsea Wolfe, Owen Pallet, and Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr., all drift into Xiu Xiu’s distinctive soundworld. The album was born out of anguish and isolation, but exists as it does because of a profound rediscovery of community and friendship. It is the sound of finding one’s place in the world after the destructive powers of jealousy and mistrust make any map seemingly unreadable."
Tomahawk, featuring Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard / Unsemble), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle / Fantômas), Mike Patton (Faith No More / Mr. Bungle, etc.) and John Stanier (Helmet / Battles), return with their first full-length album in eight years.
‘"Tonic Immobility’ could just be something in the air we’re feeling,” says Denison. “It’s been a rough year between the pandemic and everything else. A lot of people feel somewhat powerless and stuck as they’re not able to make a move without second guessing themselves or worrying about the outcomes. For as much as the record possibly reflects that, it’s also an escape from the realities of the world. We’re not wallowing in negativity or getting political. For me, rock has always been an alternate reality to everything else. I feel like this is yet another example.” Tonic Immobility’ is the fifth studio album and Tomahawk are one of the biggest Mike Patton projects outside of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle (whose recent album is still charting around the world)."
Clark with his debut release for Deutsche Grammophon.
"Playground In A Lake has been over 5 years in the making, slowly unearthing a new style and a the right, unique musical vocabulary to capture a vast notion. With Playground In A Lake Clark delivers a full concept work that touches and intertwines themes of climate change and lost innocence. Using boundary pushing elements, this recording tears through the fabric of traditional composing."
Swedish dynamo Peder Mannerfelt exerts a signature sidespin on a 2nd pack of wonky techno missiles with Karenn’s Voam label
Sibling to 2020’s ‘Like We Never Existed’, the five jags of ‘And the Band Played On’ come restless and full of surprises, working Peder’s knack for juxtaposed sounds and articulated limb movements. No line dancing business here, troops.
He comes with shoulders rolling and heads down into the fog with the ‘floor-swilling, modular garage-techno flex of ‘Year of the Rats’, and more deftly dances between the lines with undulating percussion and gravelly waves of noisy, textured pressure in ‘Toms for Life’, before packing it below the waist in the swivelling motion of ‘Squarewave of Heaven’ with its pranging drums and gruff acidic ructions. However, it gets more interesting when he tacitly acknowledges the temporary death of the rave in the final parts; a murky, elegiac moment of reflection titled ‘Hudson Lament’, and the knotted belly rush of sibilant hi-hat spray and wild arp graffiti of ‘Sail on Silverboy.’ Ja.
Bumper crop of remixes for xx guitarist and vocalist Romy Madley Croft's debut solo single 'Lifetime', with a standout from the unstoppable Anz.
It's taken a while for xx guitarist and vocalist Romy Madley Croft to kick off her solo career, but she puts a foot forward with 'Lifetime', an electro pop earworm that reminds fondly of The Knife or Robyn. Of course, the Anz remix is the one for us here: the molten hot producer re-tools Romy's original with heart-pumping 4 Hero-esque bass wobbles and chunky 12-bit amen breaks, sending us into another dimension entirely.
Elsewhere, Jayda G goes with a slick, dubbed-out house edit, Planningtorock pushes the electro elements into overdrive with her 'Let It Happen' remix and HAAi expands on the trancey euphoria with a sunny version that makes Chicane's 'Offshore' sound like Xenakis. Remember Ibiza?
Glossy, rave-aware neo-dancehall that locks FDM's low-end wobble into an dubwise club template that should appeal to followers of Equiknoxx, Epic B and Nervous Horizons' own TSVI.
Montreal's SIM materialized back in 2019 with his wobbly af FDM-influenced debut EP "NEURAL GAIN". Now he's teamed up with London's Nervous Horizon stable, and continues his trek thru bass-heavy, skeletal club music with "Terminate".
Five tracks of icy, neon synth stabs and sparse, razor-sharp percussion, the EP sounds like a club-focused take on Kingston originals Equiknoxx's undulating alt-dancehall. But where Equiknoxx sit in a lineage of Jamaican pop and wyrd studio experiments, SIM approaches his tracks from a background of techno, dubstep and contemporary club music. Tracks like 'Stock Pile' and 'Fall' sellotape warehouse bleeps and stabs on snare-heavy percussive heaters, while 'Chased' and title track 'Terminate' offer a cheerful foil to the moody slither of SIM's contemporaries. Hard.
Gilles Peterson has partnered with Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick to reinvigorate the loose, protean energy of the early-80s Brit-funk scene. STR4TA sees them mine new musical possibilities outof that shared formative era.
"On “Aspects”, they revisit that important period and the spirit that guided it: self-taught, DIY vitality, and a raucous energy built on live performance. Bringing a fresh slant to a sound first developed by groups like Atmosfear, Hi-Tension, Light of the World and Freeez – with Maunick, it should be noted, also a member of the latter two bands – it’s the first material that Maunick and Peterson have released together in over a decade.
It’s an idea that had been in the works for a while, but which was encouraged by a surprising catalyst: the award acceptance speech by Tyler, the Creator at the 2020 Brit Awards, where he shouted out the influence of “British funk from the 80s”. It was an acknowledgement of the particular sound that Maunick and his peers had honed, where their US influences were reoriented through their own circumstances. “Like everybody else who plays music, we tried to emulate our heroes,” Maunick says. “But we didn’t have the tools, we hadn’t studied music: were all playing by ear, and we were coming off bits and pieces that we liked off certain records.” This record is guided by the same ethos. An array of musical touchpoints have fed into the album’s direct, no-frills entries: each track’s parts are cut back to the bare bone. In writing and recording the album, the pair of them would work together to strike upon the point of departure – more naive, less considered – that had produced that killer Brit-funk sound. Peterson would dig out records that showed particular flashes or moods as jumping off points, and Maunick would then work with collaborators to build new directions out of those prompts or suggestions.
It’s the latest chapter in a story that started with Peterson interviewing Maunick in his parents’ garden shed, the first interview that the former had ever conducted. Later, they would reconnect to put out a string of celebrated Incognito albums on Peterson’s pioneering, now-defunct Talkin’ Loud imprint. Now, linking up once more, they unpick an under-appreciated flashpoint in a vital musical lineage, one which each of them has been instrumental in shaping."
Rebellious, charged spiritual jazz that holds a mirror up to Berlin, reflecting the city's unreasonable treatment of Black people. Cathartic, uplifting and simmering with rage.
In November 2019, Angel Bat Dawid and her band Tha Brothahood traveled from Chicago to Berlin for JazzFest. Tragically, vocalist and instrumentalist Viktor Le Givens had passed out on the street and been robbed, ending up in hospital. When Angel reached Berlin with the rest of the band, she was passed the message that unless they could find a replacement, their fee would be reduced. This set the tone for the rest of the trip, where the group of Black musicians were greeted with constant stares, repeated microaggressions and suspicion from the German city's majority white inhabitants.
But they persevered, and the band's performance was considered by Angel to be among their best ever, charged with attitude and struck through with rage-in-process. This recording documents the entire thing, opening with a racist incident at Berlin's Duke Ellington Hotel (seriously) before tracking through a lifted selection of spiritual jazz experimentation from a troupe of Chicago's finest players. Human and electric, the set reflects the power of Angel's composition and conducting and stands as a crucial document of a historic moment for the band.
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.
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.
With Black Sands, Bonobo seems to have reached maturity, fashioning an album that takes in a far greater scope than its predecessors.
In additional to the sampling and beat-making expertise of prior releases, Black Sands features a clever integration of real instrumentation. 'El Toro' is like a collision between Four Tet and the Cinematic Orchestra, with beautifully crafted drum edits slotting alongside jazzy ensemble performances complete with lavish strings. Further highlights come from the collaborations with vocalist Andreya Triana: 'Eyesdown' starts out with what sounds a bit like the introductory tremolo chords to David Sylvian's 'Blemish', only bathed in deep vinyl crackle. Then, almost Burial-like beats launch into the mix making for a deep, swinging, soulful production that benefits greatly from the vocal supplied by new Ninja Tune signing Triana.
A most impressive record, Black Sands successfully delves into modern hip-hop's deep FlyLo-style deep compressions (as on 'Kiara') while also staying true to a kind of bluesy chamber-jazz mindset that blows that cobwebs off those old trip-hop associations.
Aierated ambient-pop and shoegaze drones by the Old Apparatus producer and his new vocal muse Hannah Archambault
“"Nous N'étions Jamais Vraiment Là" (We Were Never Really There) was built from a desire to get closer at a time of isolation. Each track traverses a different imagined environment as emotional and psychological states unfold. The album was shaped by a sense of duration and slowness, as well taking inspiration from the concept of the four elements; air, earth, water and fire.
The project began from an impulse to make music with a stranger. Gradually through conversation, from Paris to London, the two musicians learned to find a shared sonic language.”
Nice ’n nasty baile funk hybrids from french producer Amor Satyr, voiced by Brazilian rappers, MC Buzzz and T9 RJ for another heat pack on Paris-based Promesses
It’s a fine solo debut introduction on a label known for breaking new producers, throwing down the brooding but cartoonish blend of MC Buzzz’ hoarse delivery and T9’s breathy counterpoint against sliding accordion licks and São Paolo-via-Miami-and-Lisbon rhythms on ’Na Viela’, before echoing UK sino-grime subgenres in their syncopation of brittle Brazilian grime beats with Chinese string riff on ‘Virar DJ’, with T9 going on playfully aggressive. Both include instrumentals for the DJs and MCs to get busy at home.
Nico (Christa Päffgen) starred on the first Velvet Underground record before a series of highly acclaimed albums for Elektra, Reprise and Island between 1967 - 74.
"This mini album is the first and rarest of two sessions (the other was in 1974) recorded live for John Peel’s ‘Top Gear’, a BBC Radio 1 show, on 2nd February 1971. Featuring tracks from all the albums mentioned above, it is a beautifully haunting session featuring Nico at the height of her creative powers.
Previously available only very briefly on vinyl in 1989, this release benefits from the full luxurious Gearbox Records treatment, featuring all-valve mastering and the highest quality pressing."
Pleasantville electronics and piano for fans of Helios, Tycho or Boards of Canada.
LA composer and songwriter James McAlister is best known for his work with Sufjan Stevens, but he's appeared on records with Lorde, Taylor Swift and St. Vincent, among many others. Here he goes it alone on a deeply personal collection of shimmering instrumentals that fit into the hazy, meditative world you might expect to encounter on a Helios record: thick sub bass, emotional piano and the kind of emotive synth pads that Steve Roach has made his calling card over the years.
"Scissortail" is a feel-good record, despite being somewhat melancholy. It's made up of sounds that are engineered to bring a smile to your face alongside a requisite nostalgic tear. The emotional world shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's listened to Sufjan Stevens - there are certainly parallels - but anyone looking for more hazy soundtrack music to wack on in the background that isn't going to have you climbing the walls, this is a safe bet.
On "Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter²" Meemo Comma (a.k.a. Lara Rix-Martin) takes Kabbalistic text and Jewish prayer and guides them through twinkling ambient synths, breakbeats and cranking industrial noise, full of strange wonder and drama.
"You can hear soft synths transmuted into choirs of seraphim and moments of occulted dancefloor rapture, from Aramaic chanting and ravey breakbeats to readings from the Zohar. It is quite beautiful at times. Jewish mysticism is at the root of Western esoteric beliefs and therefore has formed the structure of many films and books that explore the question of humanity. Inspired by the visuals of Evangelion and nineties anime soundtracks such as Ghost In The Shell (and its later Stand Alone Complex series), the new Meemo Comma album is a soundtrack to an imaginary anime that, like its real counterparts (e.g. Full Metal Alchemist), takes the beautiful parts of Kabbalah and sets them to science fiction stories.
When asked about the themes that inform her new album, Lara Rix-Martin says "Judaism is filled with many tales and teachings that prevail in science fiction to this day - whether consciously or not. Sci-Fi is the genre best equipped to explore the immensity and challenges of human experience. Something that Judaism has also been attempting for over three thousand years." "I watched Ghost in the Shell when I was 14 and it was so striking, visually and sonically. The soundtrack has acted as a backdrop to explore my Jewish identity. I have been reading the Talmud since last year, discovering a deeper love for Jewish stories and teachings. There are some beautiful, hopeful ideas in Kabbalah too, which were a central inspiration to this album such as the idea that the first human was non-gendered and just this form made up from the qualities of HaShem (God) who performed 'Tzimtzum', contracted their form using their Ein Sof (eternal light) to create 'Adam Kadmon' whose form split into all human souls."
Lara playfully subheads her album: “In the year 5781 humanity is ever closer to becoming a singular consciousness. A team of humans are forming an android, Adam Kadmon (CODENAME: UNIT KADMON). First, humans have to gain higher consciousness guided by the Sefirot.“ While you don't have to know about these influences to enjoy the music, it stands true that the intention is an irreverent love letter to the way grand myths are birthed into the future through new forms, retaining their beauty and elegance."
Underrated 1997 collection of soft-focus jungle and Detroit-influenced Plaid-adjacent bouncefunque.
Back in the mid-1990s, before Lee Norris went solo and started the Neo Ouija label, Metamatics was a duo with Dominic Kennedy, releasing a run of influential 12"s on the influential Clear imprint. "A Metamatics Production" collects those early plates and rattles through the duo's fuzzy take on '90s dance formula, fudging the edges of jungle, techno and electro. It's gorgeous stuff that still holds up decades later, mostly because it's out on its own; the most obvious reference point would probably be the duo's Clear labelmates Plaid, but Metamatics were more skeletal and undoubtedly funkier.
Spiking the essence of Bukem et-al's resoundingly popular liquid d&b, Norris and Kennedy carve out slippery grooves on jazzy low-enders like 'Swimmer' and 'Raytracks'. 'Skunk Me' and 'Two the Point' meanwhile point at the pad-rich Midwestern shuffle of Norris's Norken project with elegiac synth-house moods and fathoms-deep beatbox loops. The album is at its best though when the duo let their love of day zero electro and vintage electro pop to permeate the bedrock. 'Dope for the Robot' still sounds completely fresh, augmenting an almost Drexciyan robotic squelch with feather-lite melodies and clattering beats, and 'Piece it Together' settles into a sexy downtempo groove that lays the groundwork for Metamatics' next run of releases. Well good.
Harold Budd’s profound influence is absorbed deeply into Dialect’s zen-like debut bouquet for RVNG Intl., marking a very welcome return from the Liverpool-based composer after his 2018 LP on Forest Sword’s Dense Truth
Ever since the release of his 2015 album ‘Gownanus Drift’, and in particular the emotional punishment of its quietly blub-worthy standout ‘Ghost Of Red Hook’, it’s been a real pleasure to keep an ear on the movements of Andrew PM Hunt aka Dialect. His 4th album, ‘Under~Between’ now sees him blossom a gorgeously understated style of electro-acoustic ambient classicism every bit as restrained as it is enchanting, characterising a refined sort of honest emotional intelligence and knack for gently suggestive, ephemeral melody and harmony that speaks to his ongoing interests with Buddhism, and related ideas of interdependence and relativity.
‘Under~Between’ began life as a series of orchestral pieces commissioned for the Immix Ensemble some years back, but somehow the artist has managed to sit on the recordings until now. Their release is effectively the culmination of a long-standing friendship with RVNG Intl., and was prompted by the artist’s reading of ‘Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory’ by Joanna Marcy, whose thoughts on the Buddhist doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda gave Dialect the nudge needed to give these gorgeous works their wings.
It’s really not hard to hear the influence of Harold Budd’s arch pastoralist touch to the proceedings, but there’s also a vital sense of NYC minimalism, as well as wide skied Liverpudlian wonder, to the 11 works that should be correctly identified as Dialect-ical, and distinctly accented. They unfurl at a conversational pace, bubbling with a friendly energy and fizzing with detailed invention between the poetic title piece and lucid, eastern-inspired tonalities of ‘An Archipelago’, with his animist FM synthesis abilities fully in check on the folksy whims of his ‘Yamaha Birds’ works and the Visible Cloaks-esque ’Stacks’, and while Budd’s evergreen beauty informs the centrepiece of ‘Sentimental, Sedimentary’, and the likes of ‘Feathers Dance’ or ‘Avert Yr Path’ recall the evocatively timeless beauty of Ernest Hood’s ’Neighbourhoods’ as much as Budd’s sublime descriptive skills.
Of all the Sakamoto/YMO reissues, this is the one we’ve waited for the most. Hidari Ude No Yume (Left Handed Dream) was released in 1981 and is here reissued for the first time in decades in its rare Japanese edition - beautifully remastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman and sounding better than we’ve ever heard it before, including a 2LP version with a bonus album of instrumental versions pressed on vinyl for the first time ever.
Recorded during a pivotal period for Sakamoto - around the same time as his stunning ‘Bamboo Houses’ with David Sylvian, and in between two classic YMO albums, 'Hidari Ude No Yume basically sounds quite unlike anything he made before or since its release, a sort of anthology of pop interiors made with hi-gloss synths and unexpected edits, from farm animals to simmering, percolated drum machines.
‘Hidari Ude No Yume’ was Sakamoto’s follow-up to the seminal ‘B-2 Unit’, and sees him smudge that album’s angularities into weirder shapes that are somehow both more experimental and oddly accessible. The newly available instrumental versions offer previously unheard perspectives on the remarkably detailed production; including an amazing tweaked-out and extended mix of ‘Relâché’, plus a beautifully slippery mix of the album’s best known highlight, ‘Kacha Kucha Nee’.
It’s a sound that has had countless imitators and acolytes; using the newest Japanese synths, traditional percussion, and his own vocals to create a sort of infectiously rhythmic future-primitivism recalling his work with David Sylvian in the Eastern electro orientation and new wave vocal affectations of ‘Living In The Dark’ and 'Saru To Yuki Gomi No Kodomo’, which also sound incredible in their brighter instrumentals, along with more avant jags into collaged 4th world electro-steppers on ‘Sarunoie,’ and a psychedelic masterwork in the strutting ace ‘The Garden Of Poppies.’
What a record.
Two years since 'Splazsh' topped a stack of annual polls, Actress presents his 3rd, and most coherent album, 'R.I.P' - his 2nd for Honest Jon's.
Despite being a vital cog in the machinery of underground UK dance and electronics since at least 2004 (when he released his 'No Tricks' debut), it's fair to say that it's only in the last few years he's made the shift from cult concern to acknowledged auteur of some repute. His work with Damon Albarn's DRC Music, beside a legendary DJ set at Sonar and killer remixes of Shangaan Electro, Panda Bear and Radiohead all certify the fact; so expectations are no doubt set high for 'R.I.P'.
Produced exclusively on hardware and inspired by Milton's classic poem 'Paradise Lost', he's arranged his most labyrinthine, esoteric release to date; a timeless set of 15 tracks traversing crystallized radiophonics and subterranean Techno with a psychedelic sideswipe that leaves us dazed and beguiled. By assimilating machine-like characteristics - his notions of "seeping yourself liquid into the machinery" and "I'm just an instrument, I'm completely dead when I write" - he's become an interpreter, a symbiotic conduit of semi-lucid visions into the interzone whose revelations contain the potential to manipulate your consciousness in magical ways compared to the prosaic intentions of so much bland and overwrought electronic music out there.
The newfound clarity and fluid narration of 'R.I.P.' makes this the most intriguing chapter in the Actress saga so far - an unmissable experience.
An absolute treasure of an album, CS + Kreme’s debut is an early contender for 2020’s best - a quietly seductive, deeply romantic and stealthily addictive long player in the most classic, enduring sense.
’Snoopy’ has got under our skin with its opiated elegance and spellbinding hooks over the precious few months we’ve had the pleasure of spending in its company. Through eight immaculate songs and instrumentals, the duo’s Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel expand on the stripped-down chamber-pop of their prized 2016 debut, absorbing aspects of baroque composition, ritualist psychedelia, spiritual jazz and avant classical into their patented framework of groggy 808 bass, slow-baked vocals and none-more-effective, hypnagogic atmospheres.
Where CS + Kreme’s debut 12” for Total Stasis irrevocably came to soundtrack a portion of our lives, especially its highlight ‘Devotion’, we suspect these coming years will be defined by the low lit allure and melancholy of ’Snoopy’. We’ve already lost count of the number of times it’s seduced us to the horizontal from the first strokes of warbly organ and Conrad’s velvet croon in ‘Saint’, only to find ourselves stunned by the hypnic tear-jerk of its denouement during the final stages of ‘Mount Warning’, and genuinely wondering how the fuck we got there/what time is it/where did everyone go?
Pay a little more sober attention to it, though, and you’ll discover the most tender, sensuous body of work inside, slipping from exquisite baroque trip hop in ‘Faun House’ to the divine, Coil-esque ritual prostration of ‘Blue Flu’, and enchanted neo-classical keys recalling Dominique Lawalrée in ‘Pussywhistle Tea’, whereas the groggy skronk of ‘The Whale’s Tail’ recalls a smudged and psilocybic instrumental echo of Leslie Winer’s downtown ennui, and ‘Slug’ could almost be a knackered Andy Stott with a dose of sleazy guilt.
We don’t say this often, but this album is practically perfect in every way. It’s like a therapist who calmly draws out your inner feelings and leaves you in floods of tears, feeling cathartic but bruised. And it may come as little surprise that CS + Kreme are intimately linked to HTRK, whose Jonnine Standish also supplies vocals secreted inside (...be kind to animals, aye), and with whom they share a deep musical pathos. If you’re still reading, you’re evidently intrigued, and we implore you to follow thru and cop the most affective album you’ll hear in 2020. We’d be very happily surprised if anyone surpasses this slab.
100% must check.
This lot have released 5 x 12”s anonymously over the last 3 years via Hardwax and there’s no info about them anywhere, pretty sneaky.
They now land on Mana, a label so esoteric it has a flowchart on its website showing you how to get from Luc Ferrari to Nico Jaar in one short leap.
There are 4 long tracks, one per side, each clocking in at 15 mins and each taking time to expand into being. There is persistent water drumming, the a side is all exotic melodica, nature sounds and bells with Flanger-esque bass humps plus some water drumming, side 2 has a very burial mix sounding bassline sat low in the mix to give the water drumming more presence, side C is more reflective and serene tropical vibes, with side D giving it some classic dub pressure and location recordings which we think we once heard Bill Kouligas play on the radio a few years back and which is dope as fuck.
So yeah, it sounds a bit like a k-hole version of Burnt Friedman & Atom Heart’s early Flanger gear crossed with Burial Mix and that incredible water drumming vid dust to digital posted a while back on there tweeter.
Bobby Would LP#2. Wistful waltztime psychobeat for warding off / wallowing in the 2020-21 Weltschmerz.
"Swelling and smearing the vision of 2018’s skeletal rock’n’roll heartbreaker Baby, most of the songs here are ballads – minimalist, ultra-hypnotic but lavishly melodic space-punk lullabies and bright, bruised expressions of jingle-jangle mourning. Highs, lows and heavenly blows.
BW’s guitar is, more than ever, a thing of fearsome and filigree beauty, moving effortlessly from misty, mellifluous DIY pop-dreams to wailing vertiginous whiplash leads and dazed, epiphanic, angels-wept metha-drone, ringing in infinity - and tethered to this earth only by his beloved monotone, numbed-out, serial-killer croon.
Spinning in its own orbit, but with recognisable dabs - perhaps - of Phantom Payn / JG39, Les Rallizes Denudes, Gary War, Gutteridge’s Pure...and of course Bobby’s own work in Heavy Metal and Itchy Bugger."
Curated by 78-rpm record collector Pat Conte, ‘The Secret Museum of Mankind: Guitars Vol. 1: Prologue to Modern Styles’, is the first new volume in the legendary series since 1998.
It is also the first volume of the Secret Museum to focus on a specific instrument, the guitar. This new Secret Museum volume seeks to show the diverse range of guitar sounds and styles developed and practiced across the globe. ‘The Secret Museum of Mankind: Guitars Vol. 1: Prologue to Modern Styles’ presents guitar and guitar related music, recorded across the world from Spain, to Papua New Guinea, Greece to Ghana to India and more. The collection is drawn from Conte’s pioneering and remarkable personal collection of 78-rpm discs, recorded in the 1920’s-1950’s.
The album includes a liner notes booklet by curator Pat Conte, original drawings of rare and unique guitars in Conte’s collection, by artist Jeff Tocci, and beautifully remastered audio by Don Fierro. Additionally, the interior gatefold design features a selection of historic images of guitarists, also curated by Conte and drawn from his collection."
Russia’s Flaty does wipe-clean ambient romance and quicksilver IDM rhythms for Soda Gong in the slipstream of his ace 10” for Gost Zvuk
‘GENERIC Targz’ is the St. Petersburg, Russian artist’s 2nd LP under his best known moniker. Spellbinding with a mesh of impeccably crisp synth contours, vaporous pads and pointillist patterning, it speaks to a conception of modern Russian electronic music that has emerged in recent years thru the prolific Gost Zvuk label, which is also home to some Buttechno gear.
‘Free-Floating ambeint-electro structures such as ‘Elevation’ share hyperspace with dreamy, swinging gestures such as ‘Init Ignit’ and generative machine funk in ‘Self Assembled’. But he also has a knack for razor sharp Autechrian or Richard Devine-style incision, as proved in the rapid, insectoid flux of ‘Thread’, and the dazzling acrobatics of ‘Horn of Plenty’, which are kept in balance with tenderly melodic, crystalline pieces like ‘Praaai’, ‘Key Keeper’, and the NYZ-like ambience of ‘Pokrov.’
Inception-like, lower case sound collage and experimentation from claire rousay, drawing out spectral apparitions from a library in San Antonio and conjuring a super immersive sort of magick realism in her debut for Second Editions - RIYL Sarah Hennies, Alvin Lucier, Luc Ferrari
claire rousay’s first vinyl release commits two beguiling works intended by the artist to question the “sensitivities of sound in relation to “the self” and “the other”, equally”, with results that investigate the architecture of social and functional space on one hand, while highlighting a sense of transience and ephemerality on the B-side with a gently disorienting and semi-fictional sound scenario comparable to Luc Ferrari classics.
‘Both’ represents Rousay’s keen ear for peripheral sound and a poetic knack for finding romance and mystery in the every-day. ‘Library’ arrives so subtly that it’s over 2 mins before its presence becomes apparent, as she uses sine tones, microphone and speakers to find the resonant frequency of the Central Library at San Antonio and turn it into a minimalist spectralist space to ponder and get lost in, before she eventually absorbs us into its walls.
By contrast ‘Two Things’ is far more colourful and varied, but also equally dreamlike; manifesting the subtle richness of her inner life with a fantasy projection of exterior street sound - birds, planes, breezes of Hawaiian guitar, keys and private conversations - arranged into an OOBE-like dream-drift out of her apartment in Mexico City. Neither drily documentarian or academic, the effect is more poetically zonked but lucid in a way that we love to drift off with.
“This is a weird record, for weird times, made by weird people, for weird people!” Says John Doran in his sleeve notes for the album.
"Back in 2015, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BBC broadcast of Delia Derbyshire & Barry Bermange’s “Inventions For Radio: The Dreams”, The Eccentronic Research Council released their own super-limited edition cassette soundtracking the recalled dreams (and nightmares) of friends, artists, actors, musicians, scientists, poets and filmmakers. The release was called “The Dreamcatcher Tapes Volume 1”. Five years on, and with a large part of the planet under lockdown and with nowhere to go but within their imagination, the ERC put a call out once again to music collaborators, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, writers, journalists and shop workers to upon waking, record their dreams straight into their phones and to then send them to the ERC to soundtrack. And thus, Volume 2 of The Dreamcatcher Tapes was born!
How did you make the album during lockdown?
“We got around 26 dreams sent to us via email over the space of a couple of weeks then Dean Honer my partner in The ERC and I revved up the old analogue equipment and would record music and collage sounds to the dreams (remotely) from our home recording studios and bounce them back and forth to each other till they were done. It was a really good way to work actually, sometimes I didn’t even have to put on any trousers!” says ERC/ Moonlandingz founder Adrian Flanagan. Why a second volume of The Dreamcatcher Tapes? “I was really interested to see how the enforced lockdown and the removal of people’s basic needs such as human contact and hanging out in close proximity to friends was affecting the dreams of my friends, peers and those at the very front line of this horrible pandemic”, Adrian continues. “The Important shared experiences for people’s mental health such as going out to gigs, the pub, the cinema etc. ”It was an interesting experiment. Nurses dreaming of inadequate PPE and having to use blow up Elvis costumes to protect themselves. Teachers dreaming of zombies and lots of people dreaming about sex - where the hair of Greek sorceress’s Circe meets bouncy castle breasts and where other dreamers dream of serial killers or seeing dead family members, or taking baby elephants for a walk, or having discos for one in the middle of the ocean and so much more. I’m really proud of this record. It’s psychedelic in its truest most cerebral form”
Who’s on “The Dreamcatcher Tapes Volumes 1 & 2”? Who are the dreamers?
“Although our long time collaborator Maxine Peake wasn’t on the very first tape (her dream ended up on LTD edition split 7” ERC single we did with Pye Corner Audio) - she was the first dream that we soundtracked when I came up with the idea of doing the concept record. However, on the new vinyl and tape box set - she opens volume 1. Across the 2 volumes there’s film maker Carol Morley, Andy Votel from Finders Keepers records, John Doran from The Quietus (who also wrote the albums brilliant sleeve notes), acclaimed writers Benjamin Myers & Adelle Stripe, musicians such as Evangeline Ling from the group Audiobooks, Lias Saoudi from my ‘semi fictional band’, The Moonlandingz and fat white family, Sidonie from The Orielles, journalists /writers Wyndham Wallace (he wrote lee Hazelwood’s brilliant biography) and Daniel Dylan Wray amongst a whole array of musician friends, eccentrics and people with actual proper jobs!”
Why did you chose Castles in Space for this release?
“Jim Jupp at Ghost Box records suggested them to me so I looked into them and saw they were doing loads of really great strange little bespoke electronic record releases. I think that because this is a very niche limited run release, it required a label that was willing to treat it like a piece of art and not a throwaway mass produced commodity. So making sure the packaging was special, the artwork was bang on point and the sleeve notes were written by a writer we like all were very important to us. “It was also important that we could turn it around from the finished recording to being in people’s hands really quickly as Dean and I have another ten projects between us on the boil - and so far, Castles in Space have been true to their word. It’s an artists label done with love and there’s not many of them about anymore - believe it or not.““The Dreamcatcher Tapes Volumes 1 & 2” is an immense collaborative achievement which makes for a thoroughly compelling, and gloriously disorientating listening experience."
Pauline Oliveros’ astonishing drone classicism finally surfaces on vinyl for a definitive 30th anniversary edition newly expanded with material from the slightly later but related ‘The Readymade Boomerang’ album.
Recorded in 1989 in a cistern with a 45” reverb, located 14 feet below the ground in Seattle, ‘Deep Listening’ is a masterclass of intuitively divined harmony helmed by one of the 20th century’s most revered composers, accordionists and musical thinkers; Pauline Oliveros. Accompanied by her long-time Deep Listening Band collaborators Stuart Dempster (trombone, hosepipe, conch shell, didjeridu) and Peter Ward a.k.a. Panaiotis (voice, whistling), the trio generate an utterly atavistic yet future-facing music that sounds convincingly electronic but is actually entirely acoustic in origin, and is likely to leave deep listening types floored at their conception of in-the-moment composition.
Like the plangent call of mother earth lamenting for the ages, it’s hard to avoid comparisons for this record with events practically beyond human conception. Of course, it’s just three people in a very echoic space, but the results directly speak to our sixth senses in a way that really escapes concrete classification and can really only be grasped at the most elusive, spiritual level - unless you want to get into the physics of acoustic phenomenology and psychology, and to be fair that might spoil the effect. Instead, we recommend finding time and space to give this album your full attention - preferably at night, when conditions are similar to the darkness the performers experienced in the cistern - and feel yourself dematerialised, like their sounds, into a perceptive state of pure, finely graded vibrational decay and harmonic mystery.
Melbourne, AU’s Daisart dip into lesser charted ambient waters with a sublime compilation intent on realigning your chakras and also perceptions of Aussie chill out music from a period spanning the emergence and early promise of the WWW.
Drawn direct from artists, labels, and a haul of corrupted HD’s and the archive of Melbourne’s 3RRR community radio station, the 14 tracks include some familiar artists such as techno bod Tim Jackiw, and the excellent Pelican Daughters, but the rest is all new to us, at least. The timing could hardly be better; it’s crucial listening and a recent historical primer for anyone’s whose interest in Melbourne’s contemporary music scene has been rightfully piqued by amazing records from Laila Sakini, CS + Kreme, HTRK/Jonnine, YL Hooi, Carla Dal Forno - all now or at one time residents of the city.
Couched in the utopian optimism of the ‘90s/‘00s, when new technologies fostered rhizomic links between artists and listeners via file sharing and online life, the music follows with a gently palpable sense of loveliness, no snags or grumbles, location your pleasure centres thru gems such as Ros Bandt’s pastoral chamber piece ‘From Under The Sacred Oak’, and the burbling clicks ’n cuts ambient of ‘Rounded’ from Kazumichi Grime, or melbient’s immersive, balmy collage ‘Naria.’ You can also trust Tim Jackiw supplies the goods with the shifting harmonic hues of ‘Composite Memory 7’, and likewise the anaesthetising, iridescent kiss-off ‘Aurascape’ by cult DIY unit Pelican Daughters.
Outstanding introduction to Amapiano, the hypnotic house sound of Guateng, SA with feet in Kwaito and deep house styles. Proper dancers’ gear, dead compatible the deeper ends of Gqom, and new London sounds on Housupa. Tipped by Tom Booigzm, Black Mecha, and us, at the least.
“The past five years have seen amapiano, South Africa’s electronic music movement born in the townships of the country’s Gauteng province, evolve from an underground sound to a nationwide mainstream staple. Even with its commercial success though, amapiano’s DIY ethos has continued to disrupt music creation and distribution in the country. Most amapiano commercial successes today began their careers on cracked versions of production software like FL Studio, distributed their work through file sharing platforms like datafilehost and marketed it using social media pages they controlled and influenced.
Amapiano is partly a tasting menu of South Africa’s musical history, a lineage that has been as much a backdrop to the times as it has been a catalyst for change in the country. South African jazz has thrived pre and post-democracy, contributing international stalwarts of the genre, notably Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela. Kwaito music—which itself borrowed from other genres like marabi, kwela, mbaqanga, maskandi, bubblegum and others—was created and proliferated in the 90s partly because of the newly accessible House music imported into the country. In the early 2000s, Deep and Afro House dominated, to be followed by the rise of diBacardi, a percussion—heavy electronic music genre most popular in the city of Pretoria and its surrounding townships.
Amapiano Selections, the debut album by DJ and producer Teno Afrika, gives listeners outside the movement’s online release economy an insight into the high-burn nature of amapiano that has spawned a distinct typology under its larger umbrella. Nineteen-year-old Lutendo Raduvha has spent the bulk of his life moving between different townships on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Pretoria in the Gauteng province. The palette of amapiano styles on the album reflect these influences.
But at first, South Africa’s youngest electronic music movement lived underground with a small, loyal following. “Amapiano is a genre that I chose because I have a passion for it,” says Teno “I started following amapiano in 2016 because I wanted to explore how it’s produced. It was not taken seriously in our country. By: Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi”
One of the most influential, insular and multi-layered albums of the last three decades, created through endless hours of improvisation - involving almost fifty musicians and recorded in complete darkness, 'Laughing Stock' is an album that has attained almost mythical status since its release in 1991.
Following the commercial success of their singles "It's My Life", "Life's What You Make It” and album "The Colour of Spring”, Talk Talk retreated back into the shadows and produced two albums that defied categorisation. After the release of the first of these (Spirit of Eden) and a proolonged court case, the band parted ways with EMI and signed to iconic jazz imprint Verve who financed the long and complicated recording of Laughing Stock. Assembling almost 50 guest musicians, Mark Hollis is said to have demanded they record in almost complete darkness, improvising for hours to produce individual parts without hearing any backing tracks or surrounding material. Most of these recordings were discarded, but from what remained Hollis and producer Tim Friese-Greene pieced together a record that is essentially one long sequence of overdubs separated out into six long tracks.
Laughing Stock was to be their last album - on its release the NME described it as “horrible” and many listeners were left perplexed by its insular, unfathomable dynamics. But in the time since, Laughing Stock's legacy seems to have grown in stature with every year that has gone by. You can easily see the stylistic and conceptual markers left by Talk Talk in the way that bands like Radiohead went on to explore more open-ended, diverse sound sources and stylistic shifts - feeling able to experiment without fear of alienating a large fanbase as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a band with considerable chart success to do.
"Laughing Stock" is not only one of the most absorbing albums of the modern era, it’s also a masterclass of production and construction, a relic, perhaps, of an era when artists could completely disconnect from the pressures of their surroundings and dive deep into the wormhole...
Special edition of one of the year’s standout releases. Having lived with this amazing album for best part of a year, we can confidently say it’s among the strongest in its field, full of radiant joys - we urge you to make some time for it.
On her captivating 4th solo album, Montreal’s Sarah Davachi - highly regarded for her majestic, coruscating synth compositions - divides her attentions equally between a purely instrumental palette of strings, piano, voice and organ with an enveloping, often ecstatic and mystic effect recalling Áine O’Dwyer’s recent Locusts wonder as much as Ellen Fullman’s works for long stringed instruments. We're completely blown away by it.
Rather than mining ancient synth hardware for its unique tones, in All My Circles Run, Davachi applies the same exploratory approach to acoustic instruments with glacially tense results that quietly light up the liminal borderland between the spheres of electronic and acoustic practice when contrasted with her previous recordings. As the title suggests, you can consider these new pieces as discrete strands in a sort of diffracted spectral venn diagram of her sound.
The results will ring true with anyone who has heard her previous releases, while also offering another perspective on her tonal ontology, pin-pointing her acute feel for pealing, plangent overtones in For Strings, which opens out with a raw beauty and scale reaching heights vaguely reminiscent of Áine O’Dwyer’s recent LPs, or by Charlemagne Palestine for that matter, whereas For Voice is a deeply sober, sombre piece again precisely focussed on those fluttering points where consonance/dissonance are near indistinguishable.
The solo piano piece, Chanter follows that slope into lower tones, slowing the heart rate to the point where we can almost perceive the notes as gauzy, keening and candle-flickering blurs, before her sound starts to coalesce in lustrous, upward facing drone in For Organ, burning with a quiet optimism which is sublimated into the exceptional parting passage of For Piano, where the pensile strings, gently cascading keys, and floating organ ebb and flow with a magic intensity redolent of an imagined, smudged meditation by Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru and Pauline Oliveros.