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...
The definitive manc banger, remastered for the first time from the original tapes, bulit to last.
Having witnessed Moodymann deploying this one at the end of a delirious, super slow set with the Three Chairs in Sheffield about two decades ago, we can personally testify that - just when you think you have it sussed - Blue Monday pops up in another entirely different context to fuck with you.
It’s the biggest selling 12” single of all time in the UK, pretty much bankrupting Factory because it cost more to make than they were charging thanks to its fancy die cut sleeve and Tony Wilson's irrepresible spirit / inompetence. Classic setup; the more you sell, the more money you lose - the most manc thing ever?
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.
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s second album dating back to 1980, wickedly complicating their enigma with a perplexing surrealist collage of psychedelic freeness and communal industrial jams
Available on LP for first time in 30 years, ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’ is still as strange and twisted an album as its title and that artwork would suggest. It marks the group near the start of their bent curve, with Steven Stapleton joined by early members Herman Pathak and John Fothergill, and French avant-garde legend Jac Berrocal on Conch, for a decimated trip into sub- or pre-conscious sound arrangements that get under the skin and unpredictably writhe with a raw, unsettling sensuality dislocated somewhere between snuff film ambience and post-industrial organism.
Leading down their overgrown garden path from 1979’s legendary ‘Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella’, the band’s follow-up could have conceivably moved in any direction after that unprecedented start, and it bloody well does; tripping balls in a way that juices, un-stitches, and messes with then pre-existing frameworks of free jazz, industrial music, and avant-garde experimentalist expression: or simply what would become known as NWW musick.
In tortuously durational side-long works they morph amp hum into licks of fiery psych guitar and cut-up concrète, initially forging a sort of lysergic caveman rock fronted by clangers, that descends into bestial howls, pockets of squealing guitar abstractions and what sounds like a a flock of jazzy geese. And that’s only the first side. The second is equally un/hinged, with cut-up voices pranging from the ether against backdrops of machine elves unscrewing a cavernous workshop at midnight, then gelling into the sickliest music box mælodies and back to avian jazz frolics from another dimension. The band were apparently unhappy with the results of this album, and it remains a fucking weird piece of experimental history.
Following a sold out run of Salm Vol.1, Arc Light Editions closes the year with a second volume of Gaelic psalm singing. The recordings documented here are from the same psalm singing sessions as the first, and both together represent a complete collection.
"This is music that is transcendent and together, about the individual and the earth, movingly spiritual with or without belief. The sound comes in great waves, swells of sound that break and roll around the space. The texture relies on the individuals: this is group singing where the individual is preserved, elevated, but together.
The recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing presented in the release are among the best ever captured. They document a living tradition, a form of religious singing from the Hebrides in Scotland, which is still practiced in Lewis. In Gaelic psalm singing, a precentor leads, and from here voices follow, moving together in great swells like the murmurations of birds.
These recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing were originally made over two evenings in the Back Free Church on the Isle of Lewis in October 2003. The singing was spontaneous and totally unrehearsed. The recordings are now presented on vinyl for the first time by Arc Light Editions. A precentor leads off with the first lines of a psalm, and the congregation follows, some faster than others, and each one remains discernible. In his notes to the original release, Calum Martin writes that the form, called precenting (where one person puts out the line and the congregation responds) while not exclusive to Gaelic free church traditions, is in Lewis particularly influenced by the pibroch style of free ornamentation. It’s through this, he says, that the distinctive emotional swell of sound emerges. The sound relies on the congregation’s individual responses to the melody and the individual precentor’s leading. The musical term is free heterophony.
Arc Light Editions has worked directly with DR Macdonald at the Bethesda Hospice and Calum Martin on this release, and we thank them for their time. A portion of the profits from this release go directly to Bethesda Hospice, in accordance with the original release."
Mysterious “married outlaws” Low Budget Aliens firm up a killer sort of (I)DeMaterialised spin on drill, jungle, footwork and ruff bass sound for D. Tiffany and uon’s XPQ? label
‘Junk DNA’ spells out a dead crafty sound in orbit somewhere between early Actress, the ambient dance mutations of Ghostride The Drift and Skee Mask’s nervy rufige. It’s smudged regurgitations are pretty much bang on the pulse for contemporary music’s up-in-the-air flux of styles in a way that feels like it could go in any of ten directions at once.
‘CRASh LANDING’ kicks it off with a sort of radioactive rendering of drill, and ‘Hazardous Waste Pump’ turns up the gas on a slowfast jungle tip, teeing up a weightless flex shared wrth the centrifugal footworking dynamics of ’FE Ignot’ and what sounds like a vaporised 33EMYBW in ‘HOME SICK!’, while ‘BOWSERS HIGHT COURT’ leans into X-files breakcore, and the deadly one-two of ‘Service Mode 2’ and ‘LEVEL 1 2 3 4’ whip D&B and 150bpm beat science into wilder, experimental dancefloor thrills.
Metamorphic brilliance from an interesting group of artists, revealing what gets lost in translation during a game of Broken Telephone and featuring 8 sides of vinyl from Mark Fell, Laura Cannell, Rhodri Davies and Peter J Evans.
First conceived by artist Peter J Evans for installation at the Baltic, Gateshead, and issued on 4 x 12” in 2015, the premise of the record is simple but the results are wonderfully unpredictable. Basically the artists involved made a piece of music that was passed to the next artist, which they listened to once and attempted to recreate from memory. In its circuitous passage, the music comes to reveal what gets mutated in translation, what distance brings and how one thing interacts with another through a series of complex processes, effectively demonstrating how one thing, as Evans argues “through movement and time always becomes something else”.
Thanks to the diversity of personnel, from minimalist electronic genius Mark Fell to his former collaborator, British violinist Laura Cannell, and her noted collaborator, improvising harpist Rhodri Davies, plus Evans himself, a lot of the album’s curiosity stems from its interplay of acoustic and synthetic textures. With instrumentalists interpreting computer-based sounds and vice-versa, they generate some beautifully trippy head spaces in Rhodri Davies’ E-bowed parts, while we also find Fell at his most playfully animated, but the deeper we go in the distinctions become more uncertain, probing stranger perceptive integers in a way that’s always sparkling with immediate invention and rarely “difficult” to listen to, ultimately ending in Cannell’s gorgeous recorder expressions that epitomise the project indeterminate, unpredictable nature.
Lushly intricate Buchla scapes and seraphic vocals inspired by kinaesthetic processes - like a more epic and grown up version of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s electronic “music for dance” records of olden daze primary schools
“"I guess in one sentence, this album is my expression of love and appreciation for electricity," says Smith. While writing and recording, she embraced a daily practice of physical movement, passing electricity through her body and into motion, in ways reflecting her audio practice, which sends currents through modular synthesizers and into the air through speakers. Not a dancer by any traditional definition, she taught herself improvisatory movement realizing flexibility, strength, and unexpectedly, what Smith calls “a visual language” (the term was introduced to her by filmmaker Sean Hellfritsch) stemming from the human body and comprised of vibrational shapes. Understood as cymatics, as she says, "as a reference for how frequencies can be visualized," much like a mosaic.
If the record could be summarized in a single movement, it is the 10-minute closing suite, a rapturous collage called "Expanding Electricity." Symphonic phrases establish the piece before washes of glittering electric peals and synthesized vibraphone helix into focus. Soon, Smith's voice grounds it all with an intuitive vocal hook, harmonized and augmented by concentric spirals of harp-and-horn-like sounds. Smith's music doesn't capture a specific emotion as much as it captures the joys of possessing a body, and the ability to, with devotion and a steady open heart, maneuver that vessel in space by way of electricity to euphoric degrees.”
A new edition of Pan Sonic's immense session recorded in Kiev in 2009 finally available again from Ukranian imprint, Kvitnu.
'Oksastus' (a Finnish word for the grafting of plants) documents Ilpo Väisänen & Mika Vainio's hugely influential Pan Sonic in aktion and the results are intense and rewarding. Recorded by Stanislav Lomakovsky and produced by Dmytro Fedorenko, it's a furnace blast of elemental voltage control, tempering furious noise, concussive kicks and icy electronics with unparalleled vision.
The album has been edited down to eight tracks ranging from five minutes to seventeen in length for an exposition of experimental techno and power noise at its most brutal and visceral. Proper head-wrecking material from two of the best in the game, ever.
Brock Van Wey's 38th bvdub album.
"It takes its time, like most of Van Wey's works, to get where it's going, and his musi- cal style to the already initiated is that of intently watching the ocean waves, with each wave bringing its own unique shape, texture, and in this case, aural reward.
Wrath and Apathy is loosely based on the events of Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore. Like most of Van Wey's recent n5MD works, comes in the form of four spaciously captivating and deeply immersive long-form journeys."
Wicked sidewinders from London’s Pearson Sound & Brussels-based reggaeton outlier Clara!, locked in sangria-soaked original and Latinate instrumental for sound of the summer vibes
Produced in a back and forth during lockdown, ‘Mi Cuerpo’ heats up the styles of Clara! & Maoupa’s run of 12”S & LP for Low Jack’s label in a UK-ready style compatible with UKF, Hessle Audio and current pressures from Lisbon to Mexico City.
Clara!’s delivery is an ideal foil for the pair’s whirring tresillo mechanics in the OG version, lathering hi-hat trills and stabs into a humid soundsystem hustle before Clara!’s escalating vocal bring it to a boil, while the sipping and stripped down instrumental comes primed for all fans of Leonce, DJ Nigga-Fox, Chunky.
NNT’s Hakuna Kulala drop dancehall fire voiced by Kampala’s Swordman Kitala and Sekelembele on a pair of bouncing bombs produced by Scotch Rolex and DJ Die Soon.
Ruinous rave tackle on both sides of this plate, dialling up the energy of ‘90s Kingston and Brixton to equatorial boiling point with rowdy and industrial scale riddims supplied by two Japanese producers.
DJ Scotch Egg renames himself after Uganda’s favourite street food with a hardcore mix of dancehall and frenchtek strapped to rasping, barked vox by Swordman Kitala, while DJ Die Soon follows a turn for Rabih Beaini’s Morphine with a jabbing steppers beat for producer/MC Sekelembele, debuting on record like a turnt Elephant Man with ‘Moto Nyama’.
Reissue on vinyl of the first PJ Harvey studio album in the Island Records catalogue, and her second studio album.
"Produced by Steve Albini and originally released in May 1993, Rid Of Me features the singles ‘50ft Queenie’ and ‘Man-Size’. The album charted at number 3 in the UK. Reissue is faithful to the original recording and package, cutting by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering under the guidance of Steve Albini."
Emmy The Great with her new solo album ‘April / 月 音’ via Bella Union.
“My story begins with the moon. In September 2017, I travelled to Hong Kong from New York, where I’d lived for three years, for the Mid-Autumn festival. I was planning to visit my parents and take some time off to write my fourth album. I arrived in time for the full moon - Chang-E’s moon - at a time of year when the heat breaks and the city seems alive with possibility. “That Spring, I’d visited China and accidentally become somewhat fluent in Cantonese again, though the goal had been to speak Mandarin. I was there for a music residency, and had expected to feel an instant click. Instead, I realised that Hong Kong had an identity quite separate from the Mainland, and with my mother tongue reinstated, I was beginning to come to terms with that identity being a part of mine. This was tough - I was born in Hong Kong but I’ve always felt complicated about it.
“Still, that Mid-Autumn, everything felt simple. Under the guidance of the moon, I walked the city - its neon-lit alleyways, its escalators and mountain paths. For a brief, precious moment, I fell into synch with Hong Kong. I felt its complex legacy and its tangled future. I felt the sorrow, alive in the buzz of neon and the drips of air-conditioner units, of a city caught between two destinies. It was twenty years since the Handover and the beginning of ‘One Country, Two Systems’. Everywhere I went, I saw people seeking to define their shared identity before it was too late. I hope some of that spirit has found its way into the songs, which were mostly written during that time.”
Arp Frique is back, delivering four dancefloor cuts in his signature style.
"'Minina Bem Li' is loosely inspired by Arp Frique’s Cape Verdean connection through Rotterdam and Americo Brito, echoing the spacey 70s sounds of some of his favorite music. On vocal duties and doing em BIG is Mariseya aka Marissa Nyamekye. Dancefloor flavours with a zouk flow and arpeggiators on blast."
Ambient deity Laraaji tickles the ivories once more on the second part of his piano trilogy "Moon Piano", a low-light solo piano fever dream for “Contemplative sound painting, embracing quiet tranquil unfolding of nurturing reflection”.
"Moon Piano" is the second in Laraaji's trilogy of piano albums, and follows the spiritual "Sun Piano", released earlier this summer. The piano was the first instrument the esteemed ambient idol learned, and his return to the keys feels generous and open-hearted. Laraaji's focus here is more melancholy and contemplative than on the album's predecessor, and while the same process was used - “I’d sit down, touch the piano and through free association, also blending it with my prepared mental state, I was able to tune in and affirm my highest sense of presence," he says - the mood is markedly different.
It's gorgeous stuff, not ambient by any means, but born from a similar space mentally. Laraaji is adept at capturing emotion with his music, and while the piano offers a more familiar tone than, say, the zither that sings from his most popular records, his touch is infectious and easy to get lost in. There was a glut of solo piano records about fifteen years ago and we have to say, we got a bit sick of it, so it's quite nice to hear something so enjoyable that doesn't contain a single field recording of birds or the sea.
Nu Vision is Nipponese modernist kosmische that is therapeutic, multicolored, and strange
"With chopped-up kabuki howls and moonlit koto plucks placed ecstatically around floral billows of ambience and candy-coated synthesis, it at least approximates a picture-book about traditional Japan cut-up and recombined to become an instruction manual for building the aforementioned spacecraft. The author of such a guidebook, Yuji Namiki aka nubo (stylized lowercase) began as a rapper and beatmaker, using hip-hop as a launchpad to traverse the plethora of genres he would later uncover during a formative stint working at a record shop in Tokyo.
The musicological momentum he gained there would eventually lead him to establish his own label, UGFY Records, through which nubo and his peers continue to explore techno, acid-house, synthesis, and other electronic psychedelia. However, a marked shift toward the contemplative tone of Nu Vision arose out of spiritual necessity after Namiki’s parents, concerned for his mental well-being as he slipped (understandably) further into dissatisfaction with the modern world, insisted he admit himself to a psychiatric hospital for three months.
The pharmaceutical treatment he received there left him feeling creatively and emotionally detached. In his own words “judging that the world is sick, I was hospitalized, and it took me a year and a half,” before he was able to make music of any kind. When the time finally came for nubo to retrace the musical steps inward to his sense of self, contemplative sounds became the torchlight by which he illuminated the path. “It was time,” he says “to face my mind.” He emerged with a Nu Vision, so to speak, one that folds his view of himself, his home country, and the cosmos at large into a psychospiritual codex of sound that only nubo himself could have fostered into existence. “The illusion for me is now the present world itself,” he explains, “when we can see the world as being full of love, the scenery changes dramatically and we realize that life is infinite.”
The third full-length from Mina Tindle, SISTER is an album populated by mythic creatures of all kinds: lions on parade, lovers turned to cannibals, kings and Sirens and women with wings. Like any great fabulist, she threads her storytelling with a fragile wisdom, revealing essential truths about all the danger and wildness within the human heart.
"With each moment elevated by her spellbinding vocal work — a gift she’s shown in recording and touring as a singer for The National — SISTER ultimately makes for a transportive listen, at turns impossibly dreamlike and profoundly illuminating. Mina Tindle is the project of Parisian singer/songwriter and multi-
instrumentalist Pauline De Lassus. Mostly made in New York City with producer Thomas Bartlett (Yoko Ono, Florence + the Machine), the album’s elegant detail balances the odd magic of the songs with a fierce emotional realism. “Give a Little Love,” written and produced by Sufjan Stevens, channels intense longing, its soulful melancholy magnified by Stevens’s warm background vocals. On “Belle Pénitence,” she shares a tender love letter to her husband (The
National’s Bryce Dessner), twisting the mood of lovely surrender with some fantastically brutal hunting imagery rendered in her native tongue. And on “Lions,” with its shimmering grooves, De Lassus offers up a bit of soft-hearted encouragement in the face of self-doubt: “If the roads are made for a parade/Go march with the lions.” She adds, “You need to keep going, even if sometimes you feel like you’re just pretending to be brave. It’s all about the march.”
After the gloriously sprawling “Triptyque”— partly written with Dessner — SISTER closes out with a stark rendition of “Is Anything Wrong” by Lhasa De Sela, the late artist whom De Lassus names among her most enduring influences. Mina Tindle’s version originally featured as part of a tribute to the late singer that she conceived and organized in 2019 with another of her longtime heroes Canadian singer Leslie Feist. They would later perform the tribute at London’s Barbican and the Cork Opera House.
De Lassus later appeared as a featured soloist on The National’s 2019 album I Am Easy to Find and toured extensively with the band. During the last few years as she was writing and recording SISTER, De Lassus has also been an integral part of the PEOPLE Festivals at the historic Berlin Funkhaus in 2016 and 2018, where she worked with a vast range of musicians and artists in the community.
SISTER achieves a potent complexity, arriving as her most imaginative selection of songs to date while wholly embracing the sometimes painful truth-telling she’s long treasured in her most beloved artists. “All the people I love the most have this beautiful way of singing their truth, and I hope these songs give that same kind of honesty.”"
"As Long As You Are looks to the past as well as the future, confronting old ghosts and embracing a new hope. It is an album about trust, full of honesty, redemption and “letting go”, allowing old wounds to heal and bringing painful chapters to a close.
"As Long As You Are also signals a new era for Future Islands. Drummer Mike Lowry officially joins as a fully-fledged member and songwriter bolstering the founding trio of William Cashion, Samuel T. Herring and Gerrit Welmers. Together, the four-piece took on official production duties for the first time, co-producing As Long As You Are with engineer Steve Wright at his Wrightway Studios in Baltimore. Their brand of new wave synth-pop full of bright melodies and heavenly choruses is as euphoric and uninhibitedly joyful as anything the band has done in their 14-year career."
Slowdive’s Neil Halstead supplies gauzy production for LA-based Harpist, Mary Lattimore’s latest suite of fairytale music for adults in suspended animation, casting her third album for Ghostly on a warm Gulf Stream of narrative melodies.
’Silver Ladders’ was inspired by Lattimore’s time spent with Halstead at his studio on an airfield near Newquay, and would appear to feel out a breezy flow of melodies that carry her Calfornian promise via mystic Cornish vistas and the Croatian islands she visited on her European jaunt. It’s all very idyllic and richly descriptive, with Lattimore’s glittering melodic touch outlining bucolic scenes absorbingly coloured with Halstead’s blushing, dreamlike production merging myriad shores into a sort of thumbed and salt stained holiday fantasy novel of an album for listeners who can’t get out there.
"At one of her festival appearances, Lattimore met Slowdive’s Neil Halstead: “A friend introduced us because she knew how big of a fan I was and Neil and I had a little chat... The next day, I just thought maybe he’d be into producing my next record.” He was. Lattimore traditionally records her albums holed up by herself, so the addition of Halstead’s touches as a producer and collaborator leave a profound trace. “I flew on a little plane to Newquay in Cornwall where he lives with his lovely partner Ingrid and their baby. I didn’t know what his studio was like, he’d never recorded a harp, but somehow it really worked.”
Recorded over nine days at Halstead’s studio stationed on an old airfield, Silver Ladders finds Lattimore exercising command and restraint. Her signature style is refined, the sprawling layers of harp reigned in and accented by flourishes of low end synth and Halstead’s guitar. The music can feel ominous but not by compromising vivid wonder, like oceanic overtones that shift with the tides. This material is colored by specific memories for Lattimore; “Neil has this poster of a surfer in his studio and I’d look at it each day, looking at the sunlight glinting on the dark wave. In these songs I like the contrast between the dark lows and the glittering highs. The gloom and the glimmer, the opposites, a lively surfing town in the winter turned kinda rainy and empty and quiet.”
Lattimore and Halstead reformed three existing demos and improvised the remaining four songs. Among the batch she brought with her, the title track recalls a trip she took to Stari Grad, Croatia on the island of Hvar. “I spent some days there just swimming in the bay, silver ladders right into the sea.” The image stuck with her when she found herself performing at a cliffside wedding overlooking the Pacific. “Before anyone showed up, I had time to set up and play and this song came to me, ‘Silver Ladders (to the sea)’, so I made a little recording on my phone to remember it.” This sketch expanded; a delicately glittering harp melody comes over the horizon, swelling and rolling towards the shore on ebbs of synth and refractory delay.
These songs are clearly tales, and yet Silver Ladders is open to interpretation. Her memories — “the Cornish landscape, the hotel from the movie The Witches, the cream tea, winning the pub quiz, the Sunday Roast, the ghosts of all of the surfers who had died in the wild waves, the night walks to the top of the hill to see the moon shining on the water…” — shine through these works without defining them. In a way, much like the sea, or the sky, they belong to everyone. Such is the beauty of her craft, which stands here in unprecedented company and clarity, the confidence of an artist in full."
Louche, cinematic synth-pop heat from Hamburg, courtesy of film director-turned musician Helena Ratka’s Pose Dia, debuting her new solo project aside from duties behind decks at the Golden Pudel and in Shari Vari
A fine debut statement ‘Front View’ channels Pose Dia’s other work, writing music for theatre, as well as her collaborative work with Sophia Kennedy in DJ duo Ratkat, into a pleasingly puckered but grotty and offbeat set of tunes that lean to the darkside but somehow with a bewitching pop tartness.
There’s a low key dancefloor ace tucked away in the swaggering tump and darting vocal of ‘Walking Running’, a killer echo of Toresch in the propulsive ‘Spacerine’, and again a murky sort of Tolouse Low Trax groove to ‘Get Up High’, and ‘Infinity Pool’ does a greasy swing groove with punky Hamburg finesse. But it’s really a whole thing to itself with narrative driven pieces like ‘Smoz Opera’ displaying Pose Dia’s wickedly droll lyrics at their best, bands helping the album play out like the soundtrack to a scuzzy night set in and bewitched by Hamburg’s unique atmosphere.
It feels like we've been writing about Machine Drum since the idea of digital releases was still just a fantasy, a testament to Travis Stewart's longevity.
In the beginning he was positioned alongside Prefuse 73, a beatmaker who was using IDM techniques to re-imagine hip-hop structures. Since then he's gone on to produce for a slew of artists, most visibly D?WN. This latest full-length finds him collaborating with a jawdropping list of guests, including Awful Records boss Father, Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs and Canadian R&B singer Rochelle Jordan.
It's all smooth stuff from beginning to end, showcasing Stewart's keen ear for production and his ability to distill ideas from LA's beat scene, the EDM festival circuit, the US pop chart and beyond and still emerge with a record that's solidly in keeping with his diverse catalog. But despite the laundry list of features, it's still nice to hear Stewart go it alone on 'Inner Eye' and 'Ur2yung', reminding us of, um, Merck-ier times.
Skilfully unorthodox 12-string guitar music excellence from Julia Reidy, pushing her own envelope of autotuned vocals and DMT-breathing arrangements to stunning degrees for Editions Mego after triumphs for Slip and Black Truffle
Specialising in a form of modern psychedelia that seamlessly blends classic guitar traditions with up-to-the-moment electronic processing, Reidy’s journey thus far has been beguiling and her 4th album ‘Vanish’ takes that aesthetic to a whole new apex. From Sydney, Australia, but based in Berlin, where she also plays with Splitter Orchestra, Reidy taps into the sort of lush experimentalism that’s key to that city’s adventurous spirit since the Zodiak Free Arts Lab (and long before, to be fair) was formed by Conrad Schnitzler and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, freely leading the way into spiralling electro-acoustic meshes of guitar, synths, harmonica and found sounds, sparingly weft with processed vocals that hint more at R&B and rap than hoary rock or kosmiche.
‘Vanish’ is essentially, properly refreshing. In two parts she renders the lushest flux of human, tactile aspects and posthuman artificiality, cascading forth in chromatic rushes and pooling into moments of quiet poignance with a careful grasp of quiet/loud dynamics and tension/release that really hits home in its most revelatory, heart-punching moments. In the most literal and metaphoric sense it’s a real trip and all about “the journey” (lol but we’re serious) where the wide-eyed peaks would mean less without the quieter parts and vice-versa. Without a doubt it’s an absolute must check for keen listeners into anything from 0PN to Michael O’Shea or Ami Dang.
On his first solo mission in 2 years, Parris pedals between stepping house and swanging ambient brokebeats in a lush new addition to his prized discography.
Leading on from last year’s tracky duel with Call Super, ‘Polychrome Swim’ sees Parris in wonderfully ebullient, buoyant mode, deftly throwing his weight with the Cooly G-esque UKF roller ‘Harajuku Girls’, before slipping into a sort of slipstream between DJ Python’s ambient dembow and late summer West London broken beats on ‘Yūrei’ and really opening up and out into arcing pads and thizzy breaks on the excellent ‘Aqua Serge’.
First ever vinyl edition 'Being There', one of the final Yellow Swans recordings, widely regarded among their most powerful works. It's a lushly eviscerating, white-hot, elemental noise and dronescape session primed for endtimes, essential listening if yr into anything from Deathprod to Dilloway.
‘Being There’ places listeners at the dilated eye of Pete Swanson & Gabriel Mindel Saloman’s Yellow Swans storm. Originally delivered as an addendum to limited edition copies of ‘Going Places’, its four extended parts still stand tall on their own 10 years later, marking some of the project’s most scorched-earth sensations in billowing widescreen, with an elemental dynamic that leaves us weatherbeaten but somehow renewed with every listen. It’s the sort of collection that demands rapt attention and rewards with a head-swallowing effect.
Like a sonic rendering of the hour after death, the duo appear to expend all their final energies in an almighty black hole collapse of noise and metal viciousness, post-rock yearn, and meditative maximalism that must be experienced in the flesh for optimal effect. From the yawning cosmic jaws of ‘Foil’ with its howling guitars and vocals descending into stygian slow techno, to the gutted shoegaze glumness of ‘Comedy Hypnosis’, to the album’s beautifully worn-out highlight ‘Public Space’, and their summoning of knives-out noise blizzard with ‘Inhabitants’, you’re in the presence of truly mighty, life-affirming material that should rank among your finest American noise sides of the 21st Century.
Surprise drop of industrial bashment and sick jungle/drill mutations featuring Kode9’s first workout since 2019 - massive tip if yr into Hakuna Kulala, Hyperdub, UK ‘nuum styles.
Last spotted on a body-spinning split session with Slikback for Hakuna Kulala/Svbkvlt in 2019, Hyph11e’s Tess Sun renders her most dense atmospheres over panel-beating mutant techno rhythms in ‘Barnacles’; spending the first half fulminating amorphous, cranky sound design before emerging from the chthonic murk with a foul head of industrial bashment.
As an avowed fan of Svbkvlt’s aesthetic, and a regular visitor to their region, Kode9 is the ideal candidate to rework ‘Barnacles’, refitting it with a signature wavey top line and recalibrating the rhythm to a hybrid of rolling mid ‘90s hardcore breaks, nippy 2-step, and glyding UK Drill bass graffitti that firmly marks up his first outing since 2019’s ‘Digging In The Cart’ reworks of Japanese computer game soundtracks.
“Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” says guitarist / vocalist Alex Edkins while talking about ‘Atlas Vending’, the fourth full length album by Toronto’s Metz. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”
"The music made by Edkins and his compatriots Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has always been a little difficult to pin down. Their earliest recordings contained nods to the teeming energy of early ‘90s DIY hardcore, the aggravated angularities of This Heat and the noisy riffing of AmRep’s quintessential guitar manglers but there was never a moment where Metz sounded like they were paying tribute to the heroes of their youth. If anything, the sonic trajectory of their albums captured the journey of a band shedding influences and digging deeper into their fundamental core - steady propulsive drums, chest-thumping basslines, bloodyfingered guitar riffs, the howling angst of our fading innocence.
With ‘Atlas Vending’, Metz not only continues to push their music into new territories of dynamics, crooked melodies and sweat-drenched rhythms, they explore the theme of growing up and maturing within a format typically suspended in youth. Covering seemingly disparate themes such as paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to leave everything behind, each of Atlas Vending’s ten songs offer a snapshot of today’s modern condition and together form a musical and narrative whole. The song sequencing follows a cradleto- grave trajectory, spanning from primitive origins through increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys all the way to the climactic closer, ‘A Boat to Drown In’. The lyrics speak to this arc as well, with the songs addressing life’s struggles all the way through to death, as Edkins snarls “crashed through the pearly gates and opened up my eyes, I can see it now” before the band launches into the album’s cascading outro.
While past Metz albums thrived on an abrasive relentlessness, the trio embarked on ‘Atlas Vending’ with the goal to make a more patient and honest record - something that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating bludgeonings. It’s as if the band realized they were in it for the long haul and their music could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations. The result is a record that sounds massive, articulate and earnest. Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Metz deliver the most dynamic, dimensional and compelling work of their career."
Ride guitarist/singer Andy Bell releases his debut solo album The View From Halfway Down, the product of a gradual, four-year process and finished during lockdown, the album was entirely written and recorded by Andy, engineered by Gem Archer and mastered by Heba Kadry.
"Back in 2016, Andy was inspired by David Bowie’s death to be more proactive about finishing his songs, more confident about sharing them and to channel all of this into finally making a solo album. He laid down some tracks in former Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem’s studio, but got diverted when Ride’s live reunion blossomed into a full return. A run of two albums, an EP and two world tours later, it would take a pandemic to give Andy the space to complete The View From Halfway Down.
“I’ve always wanted to make a solo album, I’ve always said I would do it, although I never imagined it happening like, or sounding like, this one does,” explains Andy. “I’d been sitting on this pile of almost finished tracks, along with all the other hundreds of ideas that had fallen by the wayside since I’ve been making music. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to find a way to present it to the world.
“The album is not about songwriting. There aren’t many verses or choruses, because this album is about sounds, a listening experience.” From the ecstatic psych pop of ‘Love Comes In Waves’, to the heady loops of ‘Indica’ and deeply groove-led ‘Skywalker’, the eight tracks mix summery melodies with soundscapes and studio experimentation. The end result sits neatly between Ride’s widescreen shoegaze and GLOK’s textured electronics, variously inspired by The Stone Roses, Spacemen 3, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beta Band, Stereolab, Neu!, Can, John Fahey, The Kinks, The La’s, The Who and the United States Of America.
As for the album title, it comes from a particularly dark episode of BoJack Horseman and a poem that scriptwriter Alison Tafel wrote for the penultimate show. The spoiler-free version of the story goes like this: “The poem describes someone committing suicide by jumping to their death and the regret the protagonist experiences when he sees ‘the view from halfway down’. Although, of course, it’s too late to change what’s going to happen. I read this poem as having a message of suicide prevention: if you could see the view from halfway down, you would never go through with anything that would end your life. I’ve never been suicidal, but I felt really moved by this brilliant poem when I watched the show during Ride’s US tour in Autumn 2019. It’s an incredible message.
“There was a small kind of a parallel with me, sitting at home in London in March 2020. In the early stages of lockdown, you could feel the tension in the air, causing what felt like a global panic attack. But, in common with what I’ve heard from others who can experience anxiety for no reason in their everyday lives, I felt strangely calm in the midst of all of this, seeing things in my life very clearly. Such clarity allowed me to finally compile this record. In a way, to see my life flash before me and be able to curate moments of it into a 40-minute listening experience, then find a title that would fit."
Proper heavy-as-your-life blinder this; Penultimate Press caretaker Mark Harwood stages a midlife existential crisis on vinyl with a rawly penetrating mix of vulnerable candour and oblique mundanity riddled in its unpredictable transitions of field recordings and f*ck knows wot. It’s difficult, paranoid, but somehow deeply empathetic and uncannily also one of the most acute articulations of lockdown mindsets that we’ve heard. Don’t sleep. RIYL Graham Lambkin obvs
“A Perfect Punctual Paradise Under My Own Name is a two part audio drama that charts the life of a middle-aged Australian man in the throes of an existential crisis, brought about through a series of unforeseen circumstances that collectively threaten to undermine the fundamentals of his existence. It’s a work that explores the sound of a mind collapsing under pressure, where lucidity is traded for mania, and eloquence reduced to a scattershot of primal rambling and abstract self-reflection. It’s man-as-animal, cowering in a cage, teeth exposed, as vulnerable as it is unpredictable. It’s the sad musings of a failed musician turned stand-up comic, left alone in his squalid flat to reflect on life’s undelivered promise with only the constant playback of his odd routines for distraction. It’s a palimpsest of derelict ideas and unloved skits, etched onto the tattered skin of Salmon Run and worn before an audience of no one. It’s a series of wrong turns and dead ends, a puzzle, a game, a confession, but above all else, A Perfect Punctual Paradise Under My Own Name is the greatest record Astor never made. – Graham Lambkin”
Machinedrum wanders dazzling electronic architectures in 'Vapor City', his follow-up to the unanimously appreciated 'Room(s)'.
Operating at the vanguard of the jungle/juke/electronica nexus, 'Vapor City' is a hyperstitious soundtrack to a metropolis which the Berlin-based producer regularly visits in a recurring dream, imagining a romantic, chimeric panorama of hyper complex rhythm structures and super sleek synth contours rendered with breathtaking sound design. Building on the American/European fusions of 'Room(s)', he laces elements of jungle and juke into something insolubly syncretic, best heard on recent single 'Eyesdontlie' and explored to dreamy extent with the multi-tiered slow/fast flex of 'Gunshotta' or the cybersoul sweep of and swoon of 'Center Your Love'.
The immersive lucid dream effect percolates across the album, largely thanks to his incredible, illusive mixing trickery and feel for a hook that seems to suspend time and space, as with the cloud-cushioned rollige of 'Rise N Fall' or the hypersoul lushness of 'U Still Lie', and with stunning effect in the aerated mesh of field recordings, acephalic soul samples and pensile bass prod in closer, 'Baby It's U'. No doubt it's an impressive work, finding that rare balance between pop appeal and headlong futurism.
Belgian New Beat’s finest production unit are hailed on ‘Erotiques New Beat’, a reissue of the 1989 compilation ‘King Of The Beat’, retitled and remastered after MPLD stumbled across the set used on a promo vid of erotica
Highlighting the arch Belgian budge of Tony Baron, Gery Francois and Mike Butcher - aka the G’s behind the highly sought-after Teknokrat’s album - ‘Erotiques New Beat’ collects tracks produced under their myriad pseudonyms such as Acid Aliens, Ugly Mood, Corruption House and Iconoclass that were found during their golden years c.1987-1989 on the easy-to-come by ‘King Of The Beat’ compilation - a better example of the many, many New Beat comps produced during that era.
As the Swiss diggers at Musique Pour La Dance would also find out, those compilation tracks also formed the soundtrack for an erotica video that’s very much of its late ‘80s era - lewd male gaze business; the sort of stuff that might be shown during one of Kinky John’s Erotica nights in Vic & Bob’s the club sketch - which uncannily includes a character named Tony Baron, who looks almost identical to his namesake producer in this album.
So, shy of reissuing their superior ‘Best of the Beat’ or ’Teknokrat’s’ LPs (let’s hope they’re in the works?!), MPLD pull up some of the best New Beat of its era, including jakbeat pearls such as the ‘Demons In The Closet’, the pompy glamour of ‘No Doctor No’, and daft aces like ‘Dumbo Beat’ plus the cod-mystic Gregorian chants of ‘Tenebra’ to get your suds overflowing.
Fantastic Man teams up with tokyo’s mule musiq to deliver his debut LP.
"Comprising of nine tracks, utopioid advances further into the realm of sci-fi influenced club and esoteric electronica - a vacation through an imaginary pleasure-dome by means of ambient house, airy dub and at-times schizophrenic breakbeat.
written in 2019 and 2020 across berlin, the carioca spheres of rio and his hometown of melbourne, utopioid expands and adapts fantastic man’s much loved musical tropes for long for-mat. it’s a well-balanced and deeply crafted album and features a cameo by fellow melbourne rising-star memphis lk on ‘mazes’, resurrects the spirit of the nineties rompler on ‘forbidden fiction’ and glides you through peak-acid euphoria with ‘d’oxygen’ and ‘diaspora’. Utopioid follows a series of recent 12s, which include ‘dj mentality’ on his own superconscious records and ’solar surfing’ on stuttgart’s kitjen along with his 2016 lp titled ‘altitude attitudes’ under the alias mind lotion on parisian label antinote."
Lights out, game over. Duma win 2020. Breathtaking by any measure, Kenyan grindcore band Duma’s unparalleled debut of blast beats, sky-clawing synth noise and scarred larynx vocals is one of the mightiest things you’ll hear all year - a huge RIYL Nkisi, Woid, Senyawa...
Duma's self-titled debut is the most incredible injection of life-affirming, outsider energy imaginable in these dark ages; an LP that’s bound to cleave opinion and upend preconceptions of what music from East Africa, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, can be.
Comprising Martin Khanja (Lord Spikeheart) and Sam Karugu, Duma mete out a jaw-dropping extreme sound rooted in Nairobi’s flourishing underground metal scene, where they’ve previously performed in bands Lust of a Dying Breed and Seeds of Datura. Faithful to the name - translating to “Darkness” in Kiyuku - they forge a frankly unprecedented darkside sound, welding trve metal vocals and eschatological synths with the frenetic energy of Central African and breakcore rhythms in transfixing arrangements that just beggar belief.
Certainly we can compare them to other outliers of extreme music - the dark cosmic Congolese energy of Nkisi or the cataclysmic sound of Wold/Black Mecha, and Indonesia’s beastly Senyawa - but basically Duma are, like all the above, in a field of their own. From the psychoactive rush of militant snares and keening synths in ‘Angels and Abysses’ to the doomcore dirge of ‘Pembe 666’ and the exquisite menace of ‘Uganda With Sam’ and the scorching finale ‘The Echoes of The Beyond’ they uncannily reshape the game in their own image with every song, bending conventions and styles with profound sense of iconoclastic freedom and possessed discipline.
When they performed in Berghain at this year's CTM festival, worlds were shattered into a million tiny pieces. They had technical difficulties; their setup wasn't working as planned, so producer Sam Karugu had to improvise, playing backing tracks from an audio player and direct injecting Lord Spike Heart's mic into his laptop. Somehow even with issues that would derail the most professional Berghain vets Duma's set was one of the undisputed highlights of the entire festival, pouring molten lava on the Berlin superclub's sweaty mass of inebriated revelers who created a messy moshpit on the dancefloor.
Breezing kwaito pop charms from South African superstar Penny Penny, putting his 1996 album back in circulation on ATFA, the label he helped kick off with reissue of his classic ’Shaka Bundu’ back in 2013
‘Yogo Yogo’ first arrived in the years following ’Shaka Bundu’, which first brought the top-knot sporting singer/dancer attention across Africa in the late ‘90s. His follow-up doubled down on that album’s formula of anthem chorus and breezing, mid-tempo SA grooves tiled with deep house pop pads and lyrics about the newfound political freedom of his home country in the post-Apartheid era.
We may not understand the lyrics but we definitely get the vibes, which pretty much work like a one riddim album with subtle adjustments to the shading of the pads and natty hooks, at best in the bumping deep house hustle of ‘Kulani Kulani’, the slightly more uptempo tilt of ‘Dodomedzi’, and the pure ’floor balm of ‘Ama Owners’.
2020 Coloured vinyl edition!
"Although Autobahn was a left-field masterpiece, Trans-Europe Express is often cited as perhaps the archetypal (and most accessible) Kraftwerk album. Melodic themes are repeated often and occasionally interwoven over deliberate, chugging beats, sometimes with manipulated vocals; the effect is mechanical yet hypnotic. Thematically, the record feels like parts of two different concept albums: one a meditation on the disparities between reality and image ("Hall of Mirrors" and "Showroom Dummies" share recurring images of glass, reflection, illusion, and confused identities, as well as whimsical melodies), and the other the glorification of Europe. There is an impressive composition paying homage to "Franz Schubert," but the real meat of this approach is contained in the opening love letter, "Europe Endless," and the epic title track, which shares themes and lyrics with the following track, "Metal on Metal."
The song "Trans-Europe Express" is similar in concept to "Autobahn," as it mimics the swaying motion and insistent drive of a cross-continent train trip. What ultimately holds the album together, though, is the music, which is more consistently memorable even than that on Autobahn. Overall, Trans-Europe Express offers the best blend of minimalism, mechanized rhythms, and crafted, catchy melodies in the group's catalog; henceforth, their music would take on more danceable qualities only hinted at here (although the title cut provided the basis for Afrika Bambaataa's enormously important dancefloor smash "Planet Rock")." Steve Huey, All Music
2020 Coloured vinyl edition!
"Among electronic artists (as well as virtually the entire record industry), only Kraftwerk could construct a viable album by making only minimal adjustments to a sound they made definitive more than 30 years earlier. Tour de France Soundtracks, the group's first record in more than 15 years, is quintessentially Kraftwerk but still fits in well with contemporary dance trends like the experimental microhouse scene (highly influenced by the group's ultra-minimalism). The story of Tour de France Soundtracks actually begins 20 years earlier, in 1983, when Kraftwerk released the "Tour de France" single. Recorded in tribute to one of the sporting world's most grueling events, the track was a hi-res piece of dance-pop that made lyrical reference to various biking landmarks (like the infamous mountaintop finish at Tourmalet) and an assortment of sonic references as well (including a bike chain in free spin and the belabored breathing of a bicyclist -- in rhythm, of course).
Techno-Pop, the album Kraftwerk scheduled to accompany "Tour de France," was postponed and later canceled (ironically, after a serious biking accident by Ralf Hütter, one of the group's resident biking maniacs). The track resurfaced two decades later, just in time for the centenary anniversary of the race, though Kraftwerk still missed the deadline -- only the rejuvenated single was available during the race. It has little in common with the original, but the new "Tour de France" is impressive nonetheless, boasting the kinetic power of a 100-strong peloton, a guttural Teutonic vocoder of the type beloved by fans, and a recurring tag so sublime Jan Ullrich could hum it through each of the Tour's 20 stages without fear of annoyance. Except for a closing reprise of the original "Tour de France," the rest of the album isn't as focused on biking; Hütter and Schneider construct sublime beatpieces with conceptual lines close to biking topics ("Aéro Dynamik," "Titanium," "Chrono," "Vitamin"), but never confront the listener with yet another track dropping bike terms like peloton or a l'enfer du nord. "Chrono" is the track closest to the Kraftwerk ideal, with its future-shock synth and percussion precision, while "Vitamin" is the farthest away (a downbeat track that still could only have escaped from the Kling Klang studio). Tour de France Soundtracks is a successful record on anyone's terms; it's one that fans won't need to cringe from, and one that newcomers will be able to enjoy for what it is." John Bush, All Music
Previously available as a limited edition Japan-only release, Domino augment their retrospective of Robert Wyatt's illustrious back-catalogue by reissuing this 'Best Of'-style collection, spanning material from his early solo recordings of 1974 right up to 2003's Cuckooland album.
The track selection seems to have been designed as an ideal introduction to the former Soft Machine drummer's solo work, collecting key album recordings and even one or two bonafide hits (regardless of what the album title says). Wyatt's debut single, a cover of the Neil Diamond/Monkees song 'I'm A Believer' is included in its extended form (although, as ever it sounds jarringly out of place when set among his own compositions), as is the 1998 remaster of 'Shipbuilding', Wyatt's memorable 1982 recording of the Elvis Costello song.
The seventeen-song selection avoids chronological ordering, instead favouring a more discerning, album-like sequence that begins with Old Rottenhat's 'P.L.A.', which makes for an especially apt introduction to Wyatt's uniquely sad vocal. Here he laments over his his wife Alfreda Benge in a manner that's typical of Wyatt's unflinching, often childlike directness: "Poor little Alfie, trying to draw/Poor little Alfie, trying to sleep" are the only words sung, yet it feels like an utterly heartfelt and empathetic tribute. Another early highlight here is 'Heaps Of Sheeps', A Brian Eno-assisted cut lifted from the 1997 Shleep album. This is a more rhythmic, uptempo outing than most, leading into the wholly contrasting 'Free Will And Testament' from the same long-player. This is another fantastic slice of Wyatt melancholia, on which he intones with a tangible sense of ennui: "Demented forces push me madly round a treadmill/Let me off please, I am so tired/Let me off please, I am so very tired."
Soon after there are two tracks from Rock Bottom (the 1974 album Wyatt regards as his debut album proper): the outstanding 'Sea Song' and 'Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road', which might be the proggiest, most sonically convoluted entry here. Listening through this collection conveys the sense not only of how singular this man's canon is, but how much his oeuvre is informed by disconnections - whether that be from composition to composition or even within the same song. Cuckooland's 'Mister E' finds a beautifully downbeat trumpet melody exchanging lines with Karen Mantler's harmonica, all whilst clashing digitised synthesizer chords resound in the background. It's an odd little piece, and one that couldn't be attributed to anyone other than Wyatt. For those who've been harbouring an interest in Robert Wyatt's catalogue but haven't thus far known where to take the plunge, this album could hardly be more accommodating, offering as good a point of entry as any single disc could hope to offer."
Stunning dream-pop/post-punk side from New Orleans’ MJ Guider, galvanising her shoegaze sound with industrial rhythms sounding out between Cocteau Twins, Tropic of Cancer and Seefeel in an amazing sophomore album for eternal dreamers at Kranky
Arriving four years after her ‘Precious Systems’, which benefitted beautifully from studio mixing rendered by Turk Dietrich and Josh Eustis ov NIN/Second Woman esteem, ’Sour Cherry Bell’ channels a more pronounced sense of southern Gothic mystique and late ‘80s industrial noir for Guider’s follow-up. We’re not certain who’s behind the mixing/mastering this time, but it certainly sounds like Second Woman’s spacious sensitivities come into play, perfectly suspending the vocals in endlessly diaphanous reverbs and giving special attention to the percussion and synths in an electronic/ambient-techno sense that’s seamlessly incorporated and feels like a subtle, but necessary update and mutation of its influences, rather than straightforward homage.
From the cavernous introduction of ‘Lowlight’ through to its supine closer ‘Petrechoria’, the album really comes alive with amplivication, tactfully enveloping the senses with sheets of processed guitar, or set against starkly booming drums in ‘The Steelyard’ and ‘FM Secure’ that conjure the steepest sense of dread, surely recalling Elizabeth Fraser and her amazing meeting with Seefeel’s Mark Clifford, while ‘Body Optics’ and ’Simulus’ feels like a gutted HTRK, and ‘Quiet Time’ could almost be mistaken for Tropic of Cancer, but that keening production is just something else.
B•O•M is the fifth album by freak electronic producer NCHX (NOCHEXXX). A percussive planet of acid-techno, UK bass, house and electro-phonk, hosed down with a chemical wash of post-dubstep and UK bleep contaminants.
"Departing with a tube station screech, HUNTING HIDES signals a lone defender’s ride through the underground - trace amounts of musique concrete dart around the tunnel walls, while sub-low cushions the rumble. ENTERCOL is perfect 3am mix fodder; saturation hot-points push beneath a middle eastern theme, whilst SEVENTH GUN TERRITORY is pure rapid-fire bongo bizness - a concrete terrain punctuated with corrugated metal grids and moving shadows: distorted poly-metered brutalism! CYBERTUSH is the perfect OST to a club littered with vape pens, while B-Boi bots flirt with promiscuous A.I.
Arguably the most fierce cut is TEFLONTUAN - an ode to NCHX’s favourite pro Antuan Dixon - the Deathwish skater lands bolts with the illest of steeze. Side-chained 303 squelch rattles alongside x0x sequenced drums as wavetable pads float above kinked rails. A nights gallop over city curbs. The LP signs off with LOCATION SCOUT, a SpaceX sample-return mission heading back to earth with a fistful of deep house red planet crumble."
2020 Coloured vinyl edition!
"By the early '90s, it was quite apparent just how far-reaching Kraftwerk's influence had been. From techno to hip-hop to industrial music to house, numerous others were undeniably indebted to the group. Dance clubs had long been a key part of Kraftwerk's following, and the dance market was the obvious target of The Mix -- a collection of highly enjoyable, often clever remixes. While novices would do better to start out with Trans-Europe Express or The Man-Machine, hardcore Kraftwerk followers shouldn't pass up these remixes of such classics as "Trans-Europe Express," "The Robots," "Autobahn," and "Radioactivity." One could nitpick about the absence of "Neon Lights" and "Europe Endless," but the bottom line is that this LP was a welcome addition to the Kraftwerk catalog." Alex Henderson, All Music
2020 Coloured vinyl edition of perhaps the greatest album of all time...!
"The last great Kraftwerk album, Computer World captured the band right at the moment when its pioneering approach fully broke through in popular music, thanks to the rise of synth pop, hip-hop, and electro. As Arthur Baker sampled "Trans-Europe Express" for "Planet Rock" and disciples like Depeche Mode, OMD, and Gary Numan scored major hits, Computer World demonstrated that the old masters still had some last tricks up their collective sleeves. Compared to earlier albums, it fell readily in line with The Man-Machine, eschewing side-long efforts but with even more of an emphasis on shorter tracks mixed with longer but not epic compositions.
While the well-established tropes of the band were used again -- electronically treated vocals, some provided by Speak and Spell toys; crisp rhythm blips; basslines and beats; haunting, quirky melodies -- there's a ready liveliness to the songs, like the addictive "Pocket Calculator," with its perfectly deadpan portrait of "the operator" and his favorite tool, and the almost winsome "Computer Love." Cannily, the lyrical focus on newly accessible technology instead of cryptic futurism and vanished pasts matched this new of-the-now stance, and the result was a perfect balance between the new world of the album title and a withdrawn, bemused consideration of that world. The title track itself, with its lists detailing major organizations presumably all wired up, echoes the flow of Trans-Europe Express, serene and pondering. "Pocket Calculator" itself is more outrageously fun, thanks to the technical observation that "by pressing down a special key it plays a little melody." Others would take the band's advances and run with them, but with Computer World Kraftwerk -- over a decade on from their start -- demonstrated how they had stayed not merely relevant, but prescient, when nearly all their contemporaries had long since burned out." Ned Raggett, All Music
2020 Coloured vinyl edition!
"The Man-Machine is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop -- less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, Trans-Europe Express, there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of The Man-Machine -- in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre -- had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new romantic movement." Steve Huey, All Music
2020 Coloured vinyl edition!
"A concept album exploring themes of broadcast communications, Radio-Activity marked Kraftwerk's return to more obtuse territory, extensively utilizing static, oscillators, and even Cage-like moments of silence to approximate the sense of radio transmission; a pivotal record in the group's continuing development, the title track -- the first they ever recorded in English -- is their most fully realized electro-pop effort to date, while "The Voice of Energy" precipitates the robot voice so crucial to their subsequent work." Jason Ankeny, All Music
2020 Coloured vinyl edition!
"Although Kraftwerk's first three albums were groundbreaking in their own right, Autobahn is where the group's hypnotic electronic pulse genuinely came into its own. The main difference between Autobahn and its predecessors is how it develops an insistent, propulsive pulse that makes the repeated rhythms and riffs of the shimmering electronic keyboards and trance-like guitars all the more hypnotizing. The 22-minute title track, in a severely edited form, became an international hit single and remains the peak of the band's achievements -- it encapsulates the band and why they are important within one track -- but the rest of the album provides soundscapes equally as intriguing. Within Autobahn, the roots of electro-funk, ambient, and synth pop are all evident -- it's a pioneering album, even if its electronic trances might not capture the attention of all listeners." Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music
The debut album from this Helsinki-based ensemble founded by cellist-composer Aino Juutilainen.
"On "Drought", the four-piece plays music influenced by jazz, contemporary music and classical music, all morphed together into a highly inspired musical vision. The music of AINON might be best described as "spiritual avantgarde jazz", with original compositions and the individual voices of the four players both playing an integral part in the music. In addition to Juutilainen, the quartet includes Satu-Maija Aalto (violin / viola), Suvi Linnovaara (saxophone / clarinet / flute) and Joonas Leppänen (of Alder Ego, drums).
The quartet has a knack for creating strong moods and performing their original material with remarkable intensity. Mood-wise, the album ranges from serene, almost ambient-like passages to moments of strong improvisation and explosive energy. RIYL: spiritual jazz, modern classical, avantgarde AINON's "Drought" is released by We Jazz Records on vinyl, CD and digitally. The vinyl version comes with a heavy-duty "tip-on" sleeve and the CD is presented with a laminated digisleeve. The album design features artwork by Finnish visual artist Maija Lassila."
Vlad & Max get down on a chewy session bucking a Buchla synth into wilder styles on improv throw-downs recorded 2013-2014
Reprising their Heisenberg duo last heard on Vladislav Delay’s Ripatti label in 2014, they tweak out eight freakish, bony but supple grooves that speak to their combined, deft way with the cranky old Buchla modular system.
Expect hot and sticky gobs of percolated techno, Sandwell District-like darkside rollers, frictional rhythm tricks and churning subaquatic dynamics plus one killer rush into Singeli-esque tempos.
Wicked techstep and LTJ Bukem-ready deep jungle rollers from Outer Time Inner Space Records
Afollow-up to their now sought-after 2018 volley and a 12” from Lord Tusk, ‘Sweet Echoes Vol.2’ goes deep in the jungle with warm and retro-vintage stylings, with strong flex in Roy Batty Jr’s coiled techstep nod to classic Dom & Optical ‘Agent Thirst’; Splitch’s lush rolling bass and pads on ‘KD4’; and Hugh B’s breezier 4Hero-like chops in ’River In Blackheath’.
Identified Patient, Max Abysmal, Lamellan and Laura Agnusdei supply soundtracks for archival films in a commission for Dekmantel and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s RE:VIVE initiative
The set portrays the likes of Identified Patient, who are perhaps best known for club gear, exploring a more sensitive side of their sound in the haunted ‘90s sci-fi noir of ‘Comeback’, for example, along with soporific drone and probing electronics from Laura Agnusdei in the funereal ‘Fuga’, and the spongiform FM Synth-sculpted and pastoral toned ‘80s pastiche and nu-disco sleaze of ‘De Stuiter’ by Lamellan, following their debut 12” of 2019.