Scuzzy no wave punk-rap blatz on Brooklyn’s emergent No Truce label, introducing Nora On Tape with 14 ratty gobs of brittle, broken drums and unmetered flows like a scrappier adjunct to dungeon rap styles, Black Haine, Sensational, Nappy Nappa, Carl Crack - tipped!
As far as we can tell, Nora On Tape also hail from NYC and they have some serious grievances with life, as they spell out across the bile-spattered bars and shattered swagger of ‘Dream About The Poison’. They certainly know how to hold your attention, and when to shut up, with 14 tracks that rarely go over the 2min mark while shapeshifting between patterns primed fractious, anxious listening.
The charred road punk of ‘Rotten Tress’ triggers a stream-of-consciousness taking in the fuggish-ruggish knocks and snarling vox on ‘Dent’, and unhinged drum loops on ‘White Flag’ and lashed to straightjacketed 2-step and phantasmic electronics in the title tune. ‘Running 1’ marks the album’s sorest down point with sickly production and a hauntingly pitched vocal sample recalling to our ears Carl Crack & Din-ST’s Firewire, and we can’t argue with the bitter sentiments of ‘I Hate Small Talk’.
XL’s Norwegian rave-pop curveballs Smerz tilt to jukin’ trancey synth-pop and wheezing folk strings on their follow-up to their sought-after 2018 collection
‘I don’t talk about that much’ is a scudding bomb gassed on searing trance arps and needlepoint footwork-techno rhythms, gilded with coldest Scandi pop vocal perfection. ‘Hva his’ is quite the contrasting comedown, leaving vocals aside for an instrumental folk drone-pop vignette that sounds like they’re using traditional Norwegian fiddles in the middle of a forest at dawn.
The untouchable Nyege Nyege Tapes turn up drivingly psychedelic visions of AfroLatin techno-meets-traditional-drumming by Portuguese/Uganda band HHY & The Kampala Unit, rendered in immersive widescreen dub and featuring special appearance of the Kampala Prison Brass Band for one of the wildest, heart-in-mouth rhythm trips of 2020
Helmed by Jonathan Saldanha of HHY & The Macumbas, and revolving ghetto activist Florence Lugemwa (trumpet) and percussionist Omutaba, ‘Lithium Blast’ is the latest, unprecedented collision of energies from the cultural fusion-accelerator of Nyege Nyege Tapes Kampala-based HQ. It follows the edits of HHY & The Macumbas’ ‘Camouflage Vector’ set, and the inventive examples of recent works by Metal Preyers, Villaelvin and Rian Treanor, with a cinematically scoped and body-conscious suite of 11 militant yet lush songs that surely prove Uganda’s capital city Kampala is a true epicentre of innovative new music in the modern day.
Committing a sort of futuristic, off-grid trance music for the ages, HHY & The Kampala Unit set out a penetrating vision of street-level cosmogony, intuitively mapping out zones between native drumming styles, techno, and astral electronics in a stunning suite of dubwise 4D starcharts. Guided by ancient, encrypted rhythms and a gripping sensuality, the album flows from its bolshy introduction to the Kampala Prison Brass Band in the fanfare of ‘Bursting Thru The Gates’, to thunder try the rocky rapids of ’Mesh Intensifier’ and chase sequence of ‘Fissure Core Fluid’ with a powerful sense of drama and magnetic dancefloor traction.
Shards of shatterproof ‘80s FM synth lace with swingeing polymetric percussion in the twin tub rinse-out ‘Catastrophism’, and Gazelle-legged rhythms synch with sweeping subs and soaring pads in the title track, but it’s possibly the ravishing electronic lushness of ‘Science of Dust’ and the familiar yet otherworldly hybrid of Florence Lugemwa’s trumpet with supple ambient dancehall backdrops in ‘Shining Star’ that will leave listeners most wide-eyed and mesmerised by HHY & The Kampala Unit’s strikingly natural but hyperreal sound.
A total doozy.
The sferic label add to a strong run of releases from Space Afrika, Perila, Echium and Roméo Poirier with a stunning new LP from Jake Muir; a fabrication of impressionistic cityscapes describing L.A. at dusk, and Berlin dawning, highly recommended if you’re into Pinkcourtesyphone, Gas, Philip Jeck, Jan Jelinek.
’The hum of your veiled voice’ was written by Muir in the wake of his transition from a life in Los Angeles to a new start in Berlin. It sees him transpose field recordings of his former home city into a hazier sort of mid-ground that subtly diffracts the difference with Berlin in summer, refining the shimmering production tekkers of his West Coast surf-pop tribute ‘Lady’s Mantle’ (2018) with a nuanced, lower case emotive tactility intended to arouse heady states of atmospheric tension between nostalgic sehnsucht and romantic promise.
Muir readily acknowledges influence from the more washed out, elusive textures, timbres, and spatial awareness of artists such as Philip Jeck, Richard Chartier, and Marina Rosenfeld, as opposed to the usual touchstones of AFX or Eno. But more implicitly he references a sense of queered ambience shared with Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone, and as such his music is seduced by the allure of “gay bathhouses and spas, club back rooms and decadent boudoirs” in a way that suffuses the whole record with an, intoxicating, aphrodisiac quality.
Supine and seductive in its illustration of an “endless night”, the devil lies in the album’s evocative intricacies, using a signature light touch and Akira Rabelais’ Argeïphontes Lyre software to ruffle locked grooves and dusty jazz loops into ASMR-triggering texturhythms and dematerialised, hea(r)tsick blurs between the ear-stroking ephemera of ‘fleeting touches’ and the way his music appears to waltz out of an open window over Berlin at night in ‘the dimness of the sealed eye’, and land on the pillow next to you ‘like sweet thoughts in a dream’.
Glorious third album by Call Super; his first for Anthony Naples’ and Jenny Slattery's Incienso, following the label’s amazing DJ Python side with an immersive suite of shapeshifting sound design and needlepoint rhythm programming that occupies a sweetspot somewhere between Beatrice Dillon’s knockout ‘Workaround’ album, Mark Fell’s pointilistic signatures, or Sylvian & Sakamoto’s ‘Bamboo Houses’.
In the works for three years, or roughly since ‘Arpo’, Call Super’s third album moves his production tekkers to the next level. It incorporates stronger influence than ever from prevailing outernational rhythm currents, as well as stark modern classical and post-rock styles, to feel out a lushly organic and emotionally personalised sort of ambient dance ecosystem, one teeming with detailed and bedevilling production which gives voice to his most curious and inventive musical urges.
The level of nanometer-tight, obsessively filigree detail to his work here is just dead impressive, leaving no second sparing for movement in 10 succinct parts that add up to an ingenious, fractal mosaic of all his previous ideas, and then some. This new approach can be summed in the title and aesthetic of album opener ‘An Unstable Music’, where shards of metal guitar, icy piano droplets and bursts of concète texture set scattered coordinates for what’s to follow; taking in crystalline 2-step in ‘Pleasure For Pleasure’, and a tight dembow mutation of shine-eyed ‘90s AI in ‘Opperton Swim’, before it turns deep with his murky collage of chamber-like strings and strung-out vox in the ‘Mouth Bank Bed’, and the likes of ‘Sleep All Night With Open Eye’ push into a gloomy but humid sort of phantasia that sweetly contrasts his radiant webs of insectoid patterns recalling Beatrice Dillon’s amazing ‘Workaround’ album in ‘Ekkles’, and the switch between deliquescent arps and frayed vocals that wrap up the album in a wickedly puzzling knot.
A 12 track album, an hour in length, recorded in the space of a week and - for our money - one of the most inspiring things we've heard this year, an intimate fever dream made real, a summoning of rich and complex spirits that reminds us of Dean Blunt x Hype Williams, Paris Texas, Ulla (who plays saxophone on two tracks under the Foamy alias), Grouper, Laurel Halo...
Beloved for her tapes and LPs with everyone from sferic to TTT and Motion Ward, as well as her role running Radio.syg.ma, Perila's productions and curatorial work have been central to the emergence of a new ambient rhizome in Berlin in recent years. The hushed but fractious patchwork of 12 cuts 'Everything Is Already There' speaks to the lowkey breadth and sensuous subtleties of her style, embracing opiated shoegaze, queasy concréte, and blushing ambient soul in a waking-daydream of a session that revels in the pleasures of locating and nourishing one's inner life.
'Everything Is Already There' arrives not long since Perila's action in Critical Amnesia's 'ambient supergroup' with her pals, Exael, Huerco S., Ol, VTGNike, and uon, and contains some of the most developed, free and textured work in her small but precious catalogue. She emerges like a ragged spirit from the viscous tronics of 'Time Swamp', and shapeshifts from urgent street-corner poetry in 'Pocket Full Of Nothing' to take in damaged ambient blues recalling Loren Connors on 'Riot In A Cornfield', with her descriptive sensitivities in lushest, illusive effect on the likes of 'On A Roof' and the gauzy aerial drift of 'Reality Scan'
Stunning, stunning album.
Crucial shots of dancefloor suss from original UKF don Apple on London’s Housupa Records - Supa D’s new stronghold for UK garage and Funky producers making up-to-the-minute new bangers
Apple’s early 12”s circa 2007-2009 were the epitome of percussive UKF, hitting right on the cusp of garage, grime and house with a proper UK style that’s properly updated and in effect on the ‘Bongoclart EP’.
The tempo is noticeably slower than his early joints, and the vibe is less grimy, more deep-tech, but still with the hardest, swingeing rhythms in the roto-bongo-led syncopation of ‘Inna Your Bongoclart’, while ‘Picky Head’ possibly betrays some slinkier influence from Nuyorican and Yoruban house styles in the boinging square bass and skidding cowbells.
It’s top to have Apple back in circulation! No napping.
Crucial collection of 4AD classics, compiled to accompany Martin Aston's extensive book on the label. On this 2nd volume, spanning 1990-99, we find the blue trip hop of Gus Gus' 'Blue Mug', Red House Painters' sorrowful 'Take Me Out', and the cinematic strings of Lisa Gerrard's 'Sanvean - I Am Your Shadow'.
DJ Mellowbone SA and Supa D finesse the sort of SA Gqom-meets-UKF styles rudely explored by Scratcha in a dead tight trio for Supa D’s Housupa Records
The confluence of deeper South African house pressure and current UK styles from UKF pioneer and Rinse resident Supa D comes to natural, ongoing conclusion in three killer cuts, tucking away militant trills and hypnotic cut-up vocal lead in the darker Gqom-like ace ‘Chifta’, along with breezier hustle in the wide-skied pads and percolated vocals and drums of ’Sghubu Somedantso’ leading to brooding bleeps in a way that recall another SA producer, Transmat’s Mbulelo, while ‘Cheese’ locks off a slower, shark-eyed swerve and droning, jabbing lead with results reminding of Geeneus’ Volume 1 set.
New UKF mutations from new players sourced by Rinse FM don and Housupa Records boss, Supa D
Last spotted by us on Cooly G’s Dub Organizer compilation in 2012, DJ IC returns with a sleek, tensile killer nagged with harpsichord riff, cold drums and shower bassline in his dub edit, while the original featuring Native Tribe is strapped with nastier neuro synthlines and recalls Addictive’s ‘Domino Effect’ classic, next to a bolshier, Dutch sounding rework from Hardihood.
Naggingly infectious UKF-meets-Gqom dancers from Truce on Housupa Records, run by UKF OG, Supa D
Truce follows super strong Black Atlantic and Caribbean links with the inch-tight shuffle, brooding square bass torque and ohrwurming flute riff on ’Sugar Cane Rum’, before ramping it with martial Kuduro-style canter and mean as fuck Gqom drones in ‘Capoiera’ to recall Nazar or DJ Chengz’ St. Lucien styles spun via São Paolo.
Top shelf tackle. Do not sleep!