Telas is Nicolás Jaar's 6th full length album, and follows Cenizas from earlier this year.
"Telas (Veils) is multiple things at once. It's a visual terrain created by artist Somnath Bhatt. It's a record by Nicolás Jaar, with key contributions from Milena Punzi (cello), Susanna Gonzo (voice), Anna Ippolito & Marzio Zorio (instrument makers), and Heba Kadry (mastering). It's a digital terrain created by Abeera Kamran where the sounds and illustrations of Telas live in their primordial states. The site was imagined by Abeera, Somnath and Nicolás as a panspermic terrain where no matter -whether existing in thought, physical form or other- has a solid or unmovable origin.
Multiple parts of the music were first played during two shows at The Kitchen in NYC in the fall of 2017, alongside performances by Africanus Okokon and Patrick Higgins."
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s darkly beguiling 3rd album, seeing Steven Stapleton go solo in a slowly spirit-gnawing side of collapsed concrète jazz cut-ups that recall pre-echoes of Mica Levi and Demdike Stare at their most zonked
‘Merzbild Schwet’ documents Stapleton left to his own devices in the studio later in 1980 after bandmates Heman Pathak and John Fothergill left due to dissatisfaction with their collaborative efforts on ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’. The results, in their own way, are perhaps more detectably coherent, in the sense that this is the sound of one man’s mentalism, and not the combination of three who can’t decade who’s weirdest. As such, it’s a real warper, with one side seemingly nodding to a classic Neu! B-sides from behind lysergic eyes, and the other striking deep into a vein of theatric avant-garde.
Recycled from hacked and spliced jazz samples, the A-side’s ‘Dada x’ slops over the front with knackered drums and smeared brass tones that recall the B-side to ‘Neu! 2’ (itself crafted last minute in the studio, using slowed down samples of the same record’s A-side) as much as Micachu & The Shapes’ & London Sinfonietta’s ‘Chopped & Screwed’ session, with additional stirrings from a French pop record adding to the oddness in a way that also recalls Ghédalia Tazartès and that amazing Joseph Hammer side for PAN.
‘Futurismo’ is a very different beast though, stretching out 24mins of pineal, searching-in-the-dark atmospheres that feel like they strayed from an avant garde theatre work or modern classical conservatory, with pealing woodwind and arcing spectral keys paving the way for mind-bending corridors of patchworked sci-fi vocals, shatterproof industrial clangour, and Stapleton's patented plasmic electro-acoustic audness.
New from one half of Giant Swan, one half of SRS with Sunun, and sonic provocateur as part of the multi-headed Avon Terror Corps contingent: Robin Stewart.
"A musician and artist that has a long running connection with the label, RS is a dear friend who has applied many an hour of DIY sticking, stamping, assembling here at our Bristol HQ: perhaps little known to most, his visual art was a catalyst for our first connection going back to 2012, in the very early days of this label, when he contributed with artwork to our third ever cassette release, El Kid's 'Labyrinth'.
Later on, in 2018, he delivered his first solo release via our label - the masterful 23min drone exercise of 'And Then' and title track 'Ominous Bath'. Two pieces of music we still come back to on a regular basis.
Now, two years later, and fresh on the heels of his excellent 12" for The Trilogy Tapes, he's back on NC perfectly soundtracking a shapeshifting, dare we say 'sinking' world, with his next solo offering: 'Marsupial' -
6 new cuts straight from the soundsystem minded, sonic swamp of Robin Stewart, sitting patiently at the soundboy's death bed, kissing him to sleep.
Opening up with ‘Pastel’, the low-frequency word-sound dance with Anglo-Afro-Latina poet Daniel Dyson, the meter is set with the pressure up to ten on the dial right from the start.
Once we've entered the zone, it's a depth charge straight into title track 'Marsupial', which is guided by extra mixing desk dub engineering via Sunun, and conjures the ghosts of 00's Bristol music, whilst injecting a kind of Chris & Cosey esque Trance. But don't get it twisted, Robin Stewart has a style of his own and this can be heard throughout all his work, whether solo, or in collaboration - His sound presents a world of wigged out ghost notes and slap-in-your-face tones & drones that dance together in skeletal, heavyweight style -
Throughout this record, the focus is centred around bassweight and third-eye opening glimmers of frequency that light up even the most pitch black moments, such as the paranoid vocal pitch shift of ‘Survival Guide’ - the most ‘techno’ of all, whilst sounding subversive enough to stand in it’s own corner with a grim smile.
These murky, forward-leaning vibrations are echo'd in ’Penny’ with it’s endless tunnel of dancehall reverberations... Another fine example of the constant rhythmic and melodic counter-balance to the vertigo of drum, and bass, which RS controls with a deadly sleight of hand.
The final cut, where it all falls apart in a ghostly orchestra of weightless, dizzying tones, draws the curtain on this display of soundsystem exercise, making it clear that these deft, omni-directional six tracks are here to invite us to the negative space between the crack of the drum and the gut-punch of the bassline. A chest-rattling, limb-by-limb vibration that rattles its way up your body from down below, all the way up to your dome, to converse directly with your synapses."
The title of Miki Yui’s seventh solo album “Aperio!” is derived from the latin origin of April, "aperire" meaning “to open” or “to reveal”. Hinting at the way her music unveils another reality which is hidden beneath the surface. The title also reflects the aperiodic character of the music, its irregularity. Like a magic word to reveal the mysterious cosmos, each song opens up another intimate world of wonders.
Coil’s gaping vaults give up their esoteric erotic massage parlour soundtrack supplemented by two tracks from 1993’s ‘Themes For Derek Jarman’s Blue’, on Infinite Fog.
After recently cropping up on one of the Threshold Archive CDs, Coil’s seven tracks of creamy new age parlour music make a kinda incredible release on their own, with the culminating cuts for Derek Jarman making for a very happy ending in certain Coil fan’s fantasies. For the most, this is Coil doing sensual New Age music in a very early ‘90s style, all choral harmonies and blushing digital pads primed for your comedown or floatation tank session, but edged with that unfathomable sense of eeriness that’s practically made Coil a byword for all things queered and quasi-mystic.
It gets very weird when the masseuses’ hands turns to tentacle with the plasmic ooze of ‘Part 5’, and in the mix of raga drone and sleazy rhythmic creep in ‘Part 6’, with the set all arranged to lead up to a tantric disco noise climax as only these guys could in the pair of Jarman soundtrack parts recalling their work on the sort sibling soundtrack release, ‘Gay Man’s Guide…’.
After 23 years out of print, FSOL’s definitive early ‘90s ambient-epic Lifeforms now returns to its natural habitat. Serving near-dangerous levels of nostalgia for almost anyone who came thru in the ‘90s, Lifeforms is set to soundtrack myriad afterparties and claim its place on a whole new generation of record shelves.
Originally released in 1994, a few years after FSOL had become a household name thanks to their debut LP Accelerator and its standout rave anthem, Papua New Guinea (and not forgetting Humanoid’s Stakker before it), Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain’s project really blossomed into something else with Lifeforms, where they consolidated a wealth of esoteric ideas and philosophies into what was effectively a new manifesto for psychedelic electronic music.
Whether unconsciously and osmotically absorbed, or dutifully studied and cherished by those cognisant of its brilliance, Lifeforms was almost unavoidably ubiquitous at the time, and inarguably worked its way into the popular consciousness in a way that electronic records rarely do nowadays. It was definitely a product of its time, and now, 23 years later, we can safely say it’s kept its charms intact.
Riffing on then-emergent themes of cybernetics, amorphous androgyny and artificial intelligence, together with nods to classic ‘70s psychedelia and kosmische - it features guest spots from Ozric Tentacles and Robert Fripp, and sampled Klaus Schulze - the results tapped into the era’s undercurrent of aerobic mysticism and eldritch new age spirituality to locate an unprecedented confluence of those styles which has influenced swathes of electronic dreamers ever since.
It’s techno-romantic and tech-gnostic in the lushest sense, a utopian beauty flush with the thrill of unknown futures, yet fringed with an MDMA come-down melancholy that’s totally crucial to understanding that era’s play and juxtaposition of energies. Quite simply, though: Lifeforms is an incredibly enigmatic and life-affirming album awaiting your (re)discovery.
Those voices become even more prominent on Otto's upcoming full-length album, which leans more into his songwriting capabilities.
"While sprawling, psychedelic tracks like the seven-minute composition 'Microplastics in my Bloodstream' and the taut, elastic opener 'Sprained My Ankle in Gristedes Juice Aisle' continue to showcase Otto's flair for strange electornic textures, he also provides what feels like a parallel universe pop song with the dreamy 'Guess My Crush'. Starting life as a song he wrote on the guitar, 'Guess My Crush' is "just 4 sine waves slightly detuned," explains Otto, "which I find really fascinating. It's one of the most low-level simple sounds one could synthesize - but it gave me this incredibly peaceful feeling and I knew that I had finally found a song or sound that I could use to channel a lot of very specific feelings into." Otto's music may sound playful, but it also reveals his preoccupation with the idea of material (especially electronic) waste, and so a vague sense of decay and dread clings to the fringes of his songs.
Imagine the face of a cartoon character staring at you from beneath the translucent sheen of a trash bag – that's the funny-yet-grim space that Otto's music occupies. "I find it funny and also very troubling that 15-20 years after all of this kids' media, there are still bits and pieces of these obsolete franchises drifting around in the form of cheap plastic shit, now in landfills and contributing to lakes of toxic leachate," he reflects. "It's something I feel pretty stressed out about." That very real anxiety gives Otto's songs a sinister edge: those corporate sprites can often sound like they're taunting you, and soothing tones can shift to something more sombre in barely a beat. That discomfort is part of the joy of Otto's strange, bristling music. His songs never make clear exactly how you're meant to feel – what would be the fun in that?"
Self-generating composition ‘abtasten_halten’ finds Frank Bretschneider’s austere yet playful rhythmic minimalism at its most inventive, turning the sound of two VU meter needles into endlessly fascinating permutations via software and synth modules; an ideal candidate if we’ve ever heard one for Jan Jelinek’s Faitiche label.
“Frank Bretschneider on abtasten_halten: "abtasten_halten (sample_hold) is a largely self-generating composition for a modular synthesizer system. Self-generating here means that as soon as a current flows, the various modules interact, but within limits set by the composer via the connections between the modules (patches): timing, tempo, timbres, dynamics. These conditions are kept variable to a certain extent or left to chance, so that the composition created is always similar but never the same. On the one hand, the use of random generators opens up possibilities that would not otherwise have been considered. On the other, it offers the fascination of the unfinished and the unique: totally unexpected musical events that you might hear only once. abtasten_halten combines my preferences for percussive music in general and electronic music in particular. Largely avoiding repetitive structures, the piece is more like a free improvisation, quiet and diffuse, but also extremely dense, in ever-changing contrasts and transformations.
The tone generators are two modified VU meters whose needles, driven by trigger impulses, create a simple one-bar pattern by hitting against a metal spring that is connected to a piezo element. The tempo is continuously varied over a period of about ten minutes by several mutually modulating LFOs, ranging from about 0.06 Hz up to the lower audio range of about 18Hz. The percussive sounds thus obtained are then passed through low-pass filters with moderate resonance and random frequency modulation to additionally color the sound. Further processing is then executed by an echo module whose tempo and repetitions are again determined by random parameters. Finally, the audio signal is occasionally enriched with reverb to add more spaciousness to the sound."
Baudelaire’s ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ set to stark solo keys, with skeletal, unadorned production by Susanna and Deathprod giving crystal clear focus to the vocals that really brings the poetry’s timeless, dark realism/fantasy to life with perfectly tempered, immersively minimalist but opulent style of musical dramaturgy and staging...
“Like much of Baudelaire’s work, Susanna’s music probes the limits of desire, and confronts the simultaneous wonder and meaningless of existence. He is often considered one of the first modern poets, whose urban observations frequently dipped into fantasy, sensuality, fevered imagings and eerie horror. Susanna’s selection of ten texts from his masterwork The Flowers of Evil (translated by Anthony Mortimer) cover the full spectrum of Baudelaire’s conflicted expression.
Here you’ll find a creepy cast of witches, pagans, wolves, perverts, thugs, ghosts, vampires and demons. The songs struggle with lust and saintliness, angels and demons, tenderness and sadism, and the relentless march of time, the destroyer. Beauty with an edge of strangeness. Sin as a swallowing abyss. In Susanna’s haunting settings and performance, the poetry of Baudelaire has found its ideal transmitter.”
Reissue of ear-flicking improv jazz lead by Japanese maestro Masayuki Takayanagi: frighteningly tight and brimming with shifty detail; a classic example of his “non section music” from 1975 brought to light by the amazing Blank Forms Editions
Another prism-challenging and head tweaking ace from the label that brought you stunners by CC Hennix and Graham Lambkin with Joe McPhee, not to mention the last Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit side ‘April is the Cruelest Month’ in 2019, this one packs recordings of his ‘Another Revolvable Thing’ concert in Shinuuku, Tokyo, 1970 in chronological sequence for the first time, spanning the spacious “gradually projection” part, a wild bit of stairs-falling-up-stairs solo drumming, and the utterly head-spinning brilliance of their “mass projection” throw-downs.
Just tip-of-the-tongue sizzling stuff full of confoundingly precise and never repeated movement, it’s sure to ping the pleasure centres of all free improv heads. They sound like a live band playing Parmegiani one minute, or a load of tropical birds let loose in Harry Bertoia’s shed the next, with the mutability of Matsuyuki’s guitar playing maybe best considered like a calligraphic Japanese adjunct to the harsher markings of Derek Bailey, for example. Surely all matched by a shockingly tight unit of Kenji Mori (reeds), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion), whose atomised playing and edge-of-seat anticipation appears to cooperate at supernatural levels of live craft recalling everyone from Ornette Coleman to Kenji Haino.
Blows the cobwebs away we tell ya. Not to be missed!
Hot debut album flex from Italy’s Piezo - highly recommended for the Rian Treanor, Beatrice Dillon, Batu and Kelman Duran heads on Hundebiss - label behind Kelman’s ace ‘1804 KIDS’
Making good on the promise of Piezo’s off-kilter and cruddy cuts for Version, 81 and Wisdom Teeth in recent years, ‘Perdu’ sees his rough-hewn style of FM synthesis shapeshifting into raggo jungle, shatterproof techno and rolling UK raver styles that rub up the right way alongside the label’s amazing Kelman Duran album and Lil Ugly Mane’s cult hip hop trips.
The 11 track see Piezo showing his teeth and diversifying his bonds between the sleepwalker swagger of ‘Ox’ and more bolshy technoid rolige like ‘Castrol’ and a standout number in the Rian Treanor-like Singeli-meets-D&B of ‘Rowina’, with the scuffed, hypnotic rhythms of ‘Blue Light Mama Magic’ hitting right between Batu and Don’t DJ. They all prang out at us from the thicket of textures and angular rhythms, and make best sense when absorbed in its wilds and you come across the lilting, glitching 4th World ambient simulacras ‘Amore Tossi’ and ‘QZak.
Cult imprint Ghost Phone summon four strong doses of their spectral club soul, taking Brandy, Angie Stone, SZA, and Summer Walker to the haunted dancehall.
Echoing classic strains of US R&B with a UK-tempered mood, the results cover a weightless take on Burial’s flex in ‘Brandy Tool’, while ‘Miss You Anymore’ feels like Joker after a hard breakup, and the way they draw a folksy eldritch elegance out of ‘Babylon’ heavy recalls Various Production, with a killer redraw of Summer Walker and Drake’s ‘Girls Need Love’ gives the ‘floor its hardest feels with trilling 808 and heart-smacking vox.
A new project by Chicago-based drummer/producer Makaya McCraven. An addendum to his critically-acclaimed 2018 release Universal Beings, which The New York Times said "affirms the drummer and beatsmith's position as a major figure in creative music," Universal Beings E&F Sides presents fourteen new pieces of organic beat music cut from the original sessions, prepared and produced by Makaya as a soundtrack to the Universal Beings documentary film.
"Universal Beings E&F" is billed as an addendum to Makaya McCraven's beloved 2018 album "Universal Beings", 14 new tracks from the original sessions that were put together to accompany a documentary movie about the album. The percussionist is on fine form here, with gritty, fluid beats sitting as the backbone of each track, tracing rhythmic forms without no regard for genre and hovering thru a smoky haze of vibraphone, harp, double bass, rhodes and sax. There are almost too many guest musicians to name, but Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Carlos Niño and Jeff Parker all show up to add their magic, bringing additional sparkle to McCraven's psychedelic borderless jazz.
Hugely playful 2nd album of pop intricacies from Moscow’s Kate NV, chasing up her 2018 debut for RVNG Intl with a devilishly detailed batch touching on ‘80s Japanese pop, Kate Bush’s dream-pop, jazz-fusion and kosmiche ambient
Not wasting a second on bad energies, ‘Room for the Moon’ is brimming with utopian pop spunk and nanoscopic levels of production detail that add up to a delightful definitive portrait of an artist in her creative prime.
From the YMO-esque rhythmic froth and digitally-dubbed prism of ‘Not Not Not’, thru what sounds like Visible Cloaks jamming with Lifted in ‘Du Nu’, to the swirling raga-like arps of ‘Tea (Full Cup Version)’, its tangier partner ‘Lu Na’, and the Radiophonic-esque ambient pop baubles of ‘If Anyone’s Sleepy’, this alum deserves the ears of pop lovers as much as those who can see the link between pop music and the filigree crafted structures of Beatrice Dillon.
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.
Asyncro presents the second release of the series - a collection of tracks produced by OL between 2017 & 2020. In addition to solo works the record includes collaborations with Sensational, Flaty and Micxail. These interactions emphasize the author's interest in communicating with other artists through the music recording process. "Wildlife Processing" is an archive of compositions reflecting OL's trajectory and personal vision of electronic music over the past years.
Inspired lyrically by the writings from The Process Church and Hindu conception of time, Viktor Hurtado (Dame Area, Ordre Etern, Qa'a, Comisarios de la Luz) drops this industrial EP distinguished by rhythms that feel like decaying machinery about to collapse.
"The influence of being the resident DJ at Magia Roja is definitely perceived on the record, tracing a fine line between subtlety and corrosion, where at first glance random noises/feedbacks evolve into hypnotic patterns and songs. For fans of: Esplendor Geometrico, Sonar, Dive, SPK, Portion Control, Throbbing Gristle, Liaisons Dangerouses."
Two slices of pineal-gland tickling fyoocha club music here from Object Blue and TSVI, who combine their talents, Voltron-like, to emerge with music that's one part tricksy post-IDM and one part absolute club banger.
'Thought Experiment' is an exercise in forward motion, with stuttering kicks tumbling over off-world ambience and airlock blasts as if Autechre were making dance music again (in space). Flipside 'Turing Machine' brings breaks into the mix, allowing mind-bending modular bleeps and squiggles to undulate under complex-but-danceable percussion clouds that make us dream of clubs past. And it's not like we deserve it at all but there's a Loraine James mix of 'Thought Experiment' too that takes the "LP5"-ish kick stutters into near-footwork territory cuz why not? Well good.
In May 2018, Jaimie Branch took up a month-long residency in the shipping container-turned-recording studio at Pioneer Works, an arts center down the street from her home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She called up Jason Nazary, and he rolled by the studio loaded with acoustic drums, electronic triggers, modular FX unit, synths, sequencers, and a myriad of processors. Branch engineered the sessions, and brought her rig to the table: trumpet, synths, delay/looper pedal, auxiliary percussion, and a Roland TR08 drum machine. They did what they always do — rolled tape and started from nothing.
"In the Fall of 2019, they set out for the “Ante-Myths Sonic Projections Tour” that took them across the US alongside DC duo Blacks’ Myths. For the journey, they self-produced a super limited-edition tour tape, Tour Beats Vol. 1, which features recordings from those Pioneer Works sessions.
For Summer 2020, International Anthem is proud to re-present Anteloper’s Tour Beats Vol. 1 on 45RPM 12” vinyl in a package featuring artwork by Branch, photos by Richard Ross, and liner notes as poem, again, by Rob Mazurek..."
Killer rap electronics from Palestine, spotlighted for a vinyl edition beyond the Arab world by the ever on-it Hundebiss (Kelman Duran, Lil Ugly Mane, Primitive Art). It’s the work of lyricist and vocalist Shabjdeed and producer Al Nather, together operating as BLTNM. Delivered in Arabic and English, often (and intentionally) autotuned to ridiculous levels and offering a visceral critique of occupation, erasure and anxiety, their music has become ubiquitous in parts of the Arab world and fits in perfectly with Hundebiss’ pioneering, fwd remit.
Originally released via the pair's BLTNM collective based in Ramallah, Shabjeed & Al Nathar’s debut album introduces a singular style of rap on a record that has already been hailed as the region’s answer to ‘Illmatic’. But that comparison is really in the sense of the lyrics, which voice road-level concerns about life in Ramallah that evidently speak to his people as well as the wider Arab world, but the rhtyhms are bang up to-the-moment - no ‘90s pastiche - as journalist Tom Faber observes, “Al Nathar’s sleek productions pump out of car speakers in the Jordanian desert, and Shabjdeed’s raps tumble from the bars of Haifa” in his article entitled “If Israeli soldiers start shooting, we won’t stop the interview.”
‘Sindibad el Ward – ?????? ?????’ is already a cult classic in Ramallah and the region surrounding Palestine, and we can expect the mix of Shabjeed’s inimitable, drill-like clipped syllables matched by Al Nathar’s killer trills, wavy microtonal melody and glyding basslines to find heavy traction with rap watchers worldwide. Here’s waiting for a Headie One and Drake collab…
Silvia Kastel & Lizzie Davis (Wilted Woman) debut as Shakey with a wickedly off-kilter batch of screwball rhythms and ambient abstraction for NYC’s Palto Flats
Merging minds in syncretic fusions for early/late dancefloors and wonky all-dayers, the pair’s natural, mutual feel for fourth world vibes, musique concrète, and digi-dub seeps out in fascinating ways that variously recall the glistening enigmas of Visible Cloaks (and their cult Japanese influences) as much as Georgia’s wide-eyed weltanschaaung and the more experimental early strains of Laurel Halo and Karen Gwyer.
’Shakey’ slots very neatly among Palto Flat’s reissues of Japanese ‘80s ambient touchstones by Mariah, Yasuaki Shimizu and Midori Takada with a sound that could arguably almost come from ‘80s Tokyo as much as modern day London, where the duo reside and hold down esteemed NTS shows and play live and DJ. Futureproofed by their synthetic hardware texturing, the results are timelessly odd in a rhythmelodic way that weaves across continents, eras and dimensions with a breezy effortlessness and zonked effect.
The fractal fourth world jungle decimations of ‘Crayscandens’ trigger a killer set that scales between the waviest byzantine mazes of ‘Slappy’, to hyaline esoteric simulacra in ‘Dischidia’, and two true highlights in their melted ambient techno stepper ‘Moth’, and the underwater phantasy ‘E ocean.’
1st in a series of gang shots from Bristol’s LavaLava, from badhead bashment to a hard drum UKF bullet and frenchtek-y screwball by Lurka, Zoë McPherson and NKC x Roska
All four cuts characterise the label’s soundclash of styles, with hardcore techno, industrial and bashment churned up in rusty dub echo chamber still ringing with traces of Bristol’s breakcore/yardcore sound.
Zoë McPherson turns up a big highlight in her build up from doom-dub to full velocity frenchtek ‘Alva’, and the body-scanning bashment skip of Lurka’s ‘Patterning’ is bound to sound unreal on a big rig, as is the punchy, sparring UKF futurism of ‘Teardown’ from hard drum don NKC and Roska in Bakongo mode.
Proper, truckin’ psych techno bangers from Joachim Nordwall (The iDEAList) and Henrik Rylander’s cosmic incarnation, sent via Moscow’s Stellage portal
After seeing us off with last year’s ‘Your Skulls Are To Us What The Sun Is To You’ for Industrial Coast, the duo’s instinct for ace titles is in effect again on ‘The New Age Is Shit’, which pretty much sums up the record’s antithetical stance and the band’s scything iconoclastic approach to rhythm and noise-induced madness within.
‘Determination’ sets out with 11mins of meat motoring bass pound and thick layers of distortion that build up to a full 18-wheeler traction and keep it there. ‘Seen It All Been It All’ trudges thru thickest of razor wire noise and worksite klangs, and they really hit between the like eyes like a Nate Young Regression doozy with ’Stuck In A Dead End Man’, before yoking some kind of Pan Sonic-esque dub noise sludge in their lurching, drunken title cut. Some of their best gear, is it not?!
Long overdue first-ever vinyl edition of Jan Jelinek’s minimalist ambient gem for Pole’s ~scape, newly remastered and cut for this issue with Jelinek’s Faitiche 14 years after original CD release.
Proceeding from reissues of the master minimal illusionist’s ‘Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records’ and his classic Gramm side ‘(Personal) Rock’, this one sidles now the timeline to 2006 and finds Jelinek combing strands explored on those records into more frayed and drifting ambient designs less concerned with club-related rhythms and more defocussed into a sort of cottony ambient bliss humming with folksier and early electronic/radiophonic themes.
The charmingly ‘“retro” album artwork gives away the album’s slightly wood-cut, ambient chalet (as opposed to house) aesthetic, conjuring a pastoral vibe for ending healthy days of outdoor pastimes in the German countryside or Swiss Alps that will surely also suit and probably enhance the vibe of your lockdown bedsit in Levenshulme or shared studio closet in Peckham.
Whether lolling about in frothed loops on ‘A Concert For Television’, or imagining Gas strolling off into the undergrowth with ‘Palmen Aus Leder’, recalling a “laptop-steel” echo of Mike Cooper’s exotica in ‘The Ballad Of Soap Und: Die Gema Nimmt Kontakt Auf’, simply ‘Up To My Same Old Trick Again’, or dialling into Oramesque electronics in the album’s title track, Jelinek’s mesmerising ambient textures will charm anyone with a penchant for hypnagogic ambient music.
Quietly coy and beautiful Belgian blooz from legendary coldwave units Smalts and Alain Neffe’s Human Flesh paired on vinyl for first time by Stroom.
Plucked from the shadows of 2006 and 1994, respectively, both songs share a vibe that may well resonate with modern woes. Whether you understand the Dutch lyrics or not, both songs surely deliver their emotive freight thru the slow, genteel music and lowkey captivating vocal styles that call to mind Bill Callahan strumming away with The Durutti Column.
The ponderous vibe of ‘Periodiciteit’ was recorded by Smalts (the later form of Minny Pops) in 2006, and sets Pieter Mulder’s backdrop of soft keys, synths and angelic string strums (sitar/harp?) to a 1966 text by Louis Lehmann in hauntingly melancholy form ideal for soundtracking scenes to the movie of your own life. ‘En De Stad’ by Alain Neffe’s Human Flesh may have been recorded 14 years earlier in 1994, but patently borrows from the same dark oak cabinet of feelings as Smalts’ side, with Trespassers W’s Cor Gout adapting original French text from 1971 into Dutch in a hazy chamber-like arabesque weft from Neffe’s chiming DX7 & SQ1 sampler textures, and spindly-feely guitar by Insane Music fellow Daniel Malempré.
But would you bat an eye waiting for war machines to pass you by? But aren’t we going out tonight? Aren’t we going out?
"Special Interest have returned with their sophomore LP. A dual release from Night School (EU) and Thrilling Living (US). The Passion Of... combines elements of glam rock and no wave pushed through a mangled filter of contemporary electronic forms. Special Interest present a precise and deranged vision of punk, an apocalyptic celebration, a step forward into a perverse and uncertain landscape."
Of all Jan Jelinek’s formidable output, this album has always been t-h-e o-n-e for us. More resolved and driven than 'Loop-Finding Jazz Records' (which appeared two years later), less reliant on glitch than Farben, it was essentially Jelinek's most satisfying and complete prototype for a new kind of sample-based music deeply immersed in the spirit of Jazz, without making any direct reference to it. Finally, 20 years later, here’s another chance for the unfamiliar to join the dots.
Originally released via Move D’s Source imprint back in 1999, 'Personal Rock' is one of those albums that no one seems to ever talk about but which has resonated over the years with anyone lucky enough to have encountered it. Situated somewhere between 'Loop-Finding Jazz Records', his Farben output, Move D's Conjoint and Atom Heart's most immersive work for Rather Interesting, it's an album full of subtle production flourishes within deep House structures that belong to the pre-millenial IDM heyday, but which transcend its overly-fussy, masculine templates.
The music is brooding and deep, designed for late night immersion without resorting to cliché, bolstered by what we reckon is the most forward thinking and timeless production of Jelinek’s output over the last two decades. Impossible to pull highlights, it’s an album best experienced from end-to-end through multiple listens, drawing you into a quietly euphoric, deep blue mood.
A gorgeous, properly influential ambient drift classic resurfaces for a 20 year reissue complete with a new extended piece evoking gauzy nostalgia for late ‘90s/early ‘00s styles.
The glimmering iridescent dub electronics of’Summer’ bobs up from 2000 in the wake of a reissue for the reclusive Scottish artist’s lush debut album ‘Do You Ever Regret Pantomime?’ (2001). There’s a legion of people out there for whom this was really one of the most definitive and influential records of the era, originally surfacing via Vertical Form and creating a sort of bridge between the foundational Chain Reaction template and the wave of atmospheric, Detroit-indebted UK Techno typified by the Likemind label, Stasis, Irdial etc.
Newly remastered to taste, the original stretches out to the horizon with a groove and lilt that feels something like a re-wired take on ‘E2-E4’ overseen by Mark Fell and Terre Thaemlitz. It’s just inarguably lush, uplifting gear.
‘Fragile Root’ is exclusive to this release, and, although we’re not sure if it’s new-new, or old-new; either way it’s a perfect example of Ambient sculpting at its slinky and melancholic best, strongly recalling Plaid’s ‘Anything’ (the best ever Plaid track, right?) as well as the new wave of UK based producers at the time orbiting around labels like DeFocus, Headspace etc. A throwback - but weirdly a strongly comforting one.
Fade To Mind’s LA lynchpin trades in bolshy and bumping club reinforcements on his sophomore solo album starring vox by UNiiQU3 & Tre Oh Fie, Ghost, Semma ++
Toned between upfront bangers and sultry R&B downstrokes, ’Neurofire’ sees Kingdom’s knack for plucking out vocalists in strong effect, pairing a clutch of of up-and-coming singers with his deeply thugged out style of club and jeep ready production. It’s typically heavy on the bass, but also luxuriously spaced out and sleeker than ever, with stacks of finely layered FM-style synth pads and well oiled rhythmic touches underlining the vocalists.
To play faves, listen out for the perfectly balanced bubble and puckered R&B vox of ‘High Enough’ with Tiara Thomas, and the rude Jersey kicks of ‘Arch Slide’ with club commanding bars split between UNiiQU3 & Tre Oh Fie, or for slower lower vibes peep the grinding ‘DS8’ and ‘Yikes’ with Ghost, both recalling the spooked slink of Paul Marmota to these ears. Trust it’s all good stuff from the label that brought you Kelela and Leonce.
Bit of a special one here from Lafawndah, who follows last year's phenomenal avant-pop masterpiece "Ancestor Boy" with a record that the press release compares to Brigitte Fontaine and Scott Walker. Strong words, but actually not far off the mark: "The Fifth Season" is ambitious and bold, worlds removed from its predecessor but existing assuredly in the same cinematic universe.
Just as Scott Walker was able to pivot fluidly from vivid pop to dark, mind-raking doom poetry, Lafawndah shows herself to be equally as versatile here. The album isn't an easy listen by any means, fusing haunted instrumental elements (tuba, trombone, percussion and keyboards) with her ever-more-confident vocal phrasing. There's a blurry, surreal artistry on show here that's as rare as it is beautiful, as Lafawndah's voice melts into wobbly cascades of marimba and brass, erupting occasionally into what might be a song, or might be something else entirely. If u thought genre was melted on "Ancestor Boy", it's been heated into lava here and Lafawndah alchemically reshapes the heaviest metals into glittering gold.
Trap gets fuzzed into baroque pop; opera is dropped hopelessly into teeth-chattering avant drone; Beverly Glenn Copeland's 'Don't Despair' is swept into a chasm of eerie synthetic doom. Really we're floored by this one - give it time to breathe and it'll creep up on u, we promise.
Can anyone have enough Bullion in their life? Nope! The master of pop-not-slop works his patent magic like some holy offspring of Fad Gadget, Kraftwerk and Robert Wyatt on a classy debut for US indie Jagjaguwar
While it may appear from the title that Bullion has changed his mind since 2016’s ‘Heaven Is A Wonderful Place’, his new EP still brims with a classic ‘80s poptimism that’s hard to shake and needed now more than ever.
Between the strolling synth-pop and shrugging lyrics of ‘Heaven Is Over’ to the dusky yacht bop of ’Strike a Light’, thru the blue-eyed soul balm of ‘Thirty Two’, to those subtle Linndrums and full sail arps and guitars in ‘Yawn’, or the fantasy AM dial cruise of ‘Loving Furlong’, Bullion’s crystal-cut songwriting and studio finesse is in full effect here, hopefully heralding a new album on the horizon.
Charli XCX’s lockdown pop riot album follows up 2019’s acclaimed ‘Charli’ with some of her sweetest and most nerve-dancing songwriting, with a naturally experimental pop lean abetted by PC Music’s AG Cook and Danny Harle.
Dished up with a video for each track at the start of lockdown, 'How I’m Feeling Now’ echoes feelings of confusion and frustration in her typically direct, incisive style. Bleary-eyed autotune ballads share space with pricklier electronic mutations of current global movements, kicking off the imaginary rave in killer shots like ‘Pink Diamond’ and ‘Anthems’, and late ‘90s AFX doing bubblegum/TNT vibes in ‘Detonate’ and ‘c2.0’, alongside her nippy, brittle and vulnerable 2-stepper ‘I Finally Understand’, while ‘the likes of ‘Party 4 U’ and ‘Forever’ are straight-up blue pop ballads for the times.
The Basic Reshape of Carl Craig's 'The Climax' is without question one of the finest remixes of all time. Seminal 12" from Basic Channel....
It's a definitive, driving, hypnotic club killer that rebuilt the tribal mastery of the original into a logic-defying display of bass shuffles and aquatic percussion that kills us every time/
"Remake" Basic Reshape from 1994 relates to "Remake Uno/Duo", Carl's sample-based re-interpretation of Manuel Göttschings epochal E2-E4. Basic Channel take a radical, abstract, sample-free approach with a breathtaking slow motion groove under a multilayered sound sphere.
BFTT swings out in a natty style shared with Happa and Rian Treanor on three wickedly awkward funk-ups - big 12" this.
Following Szare’s lead to present the 2nd shot on Bristol-based Polity Records, BFTT tucks and creases the styles found on turns with Whities, Cong Burn and Gobstopper into increasingly mazy, physically playful production chicanery in three differing ways.
Salted with textured noise to taste, ‘Lokt’ goes in hardest and heads-down with frenetic twist on glitchy garage-techno pushing into crazed synth dissonance. ‘Intrusive Obstrusive’ follows with a clipped sort of dembow mechanics driving some spannered electronics and sweeter ambient pads, and ‘(in)finite scroll’ keeps the hustle tucked tight, bubbling and downlow for the thumb-twiddling club wallflowers who can’t stop checking their socials.
Ghost Phone dials in four late night R&G edits for the playas following a well received, sought-after debut.
Up top they hit a real R&B über classique on the downstroke with filter trickery and retuned rimshots, before stepping it up with frisky 2-step play hot on the striking chords in ‘Ride With Me’, and really swinging it on the offbeat with the hair-kissing funk of ‘Ize Kashmir’ in its pendulous OG and deliciously knackered dub mixes on the B-side. Fans of everything from Actress, Lukid, Huerco S to Burial, Rabit's Screw Tapes and Cooly G need to peep these.
Ossia goes off it as DJ OA$IS with the bleary swagger of ‘Goat Life!’ on the FuckPunk label he waters every-so-often with Vessel
Following up Michael O’Neill’s seething 2019 side, DJ OA$IS take charge with some of his most bull-headed gear in a minute, jabbing out atonal motorik rhythms with iron bar drums, electrocuted stabs and of course the gibbering demonic goat of the title. It’s big, daft, and not clever in the best way befitting of FuckPunk.
Scuzzy beatdown industrial pop zingers shot from the hip of TVII Son from Kyiv’s emerging mutant industrial/techno rabble - big one for stans of Inga Copeland, Jay Glass Dubs and Teresa Winter!
Firing 9 backyard-forged bullets on the MIC (Music Inspires Change) label behind aces from LAPS and Lord Tusk, the Ukrainian outfit TVII Son land a crudely sophisticated sound square between their label mates, meting equal measures of basement party hustle and dank bedroom vibes in their eponymous debut.
Squashed and creased at the point where dancehall bump intersects industrial music and ambient-pop, ’TVII Son’ is a rudely easy going listen, flowing at hazy pace above trip hop and just shy of “party” proper, so we could just as easily imagine it’s tracks heating-up a session as cooling it down. As such there’s a hypnotic, play-it-again-quality looping from the blunted dembow lope of ‘Yalta’ to the decayed dancehall chrome of ‘Heart Ending’, with a hazy, rough city energy rippling from the rusty disco iridescence and droll vocal of ‘Out of Vogue’ to proper industrial disco jags in ‘Am I’, sick Low Jack-like ragga noise one ‘Iryna’, and absolute modern blues party gems like ’Simple Ends’ and the Equiknoxx-esque banger ‘Kilang’.
No messing, dead strong gear right here.
Rezzett own that fuzzy mid-fi electronic sound on a cracking eponymous début album, landing nearly 5 years on from their self-titled EP, also issued on Will Bankhead’s TTT label.
In possession of a sound that feels like exotic birds nesting a vintage studio inside your ear, Rezzett, along with the likes of Jamal Moss, Actress, Terekke and Huerco S., have been responsible for redressing the fidelity of dance music with fairly radical yet subtle incision and insight over the best part of this decade.
Thru various process of attrition, they've made a virtue of purposefully muddy and unclear resolution, embracing and fetishising the infidelities of analog hardware noise for a sort of shabby chic appeal that lends itself to closer attention in headphones as well as a sort of psychedelic friction on the ‘floor.
It’s perhaps fair to say that Rezzett have really come to define that sound at its murkiest, most romantic, and diverse, pulling from house, jungle, garage and ambient noise paradigms to forge something viscerally affective and memorably their own, as experienced between the mottled VHS memory-bank shakes of Hala, in the squirming, sore but lush Sexzzy Creep, and the salty angels tears of Yunus in Ekstasi, with the rusty grime and jungle shanks of Gremlinz and Worst Ever Contender lending a cranky, rinsed out finale.
Master of enchanted, lower case composition Andrew Pekler entrances with his exceedingly lovely ‘Sound From Phantom Islands’ for Jan Jelinek’s Faitiche label.
Going deeper on the imaginative themes of 2016’s ‘Tristes Tropiques’ LP, the USSR-born, Cali-raised, and Berlin-based artist beautifully expands on the ideas of his 2018 installation ‘Phantom Islands - A Sonic Atlas’, and it’s corresponding website - including an online interactive map developed with cultural anthropologist Stefanie Kiwi Menrath - to yield a properly absorbing, quasi-ethnographic suite inspired by the speculative notion of “islands that appeared on historical maps but never existed.”
Using his revered sensitivity for small sound organisation and a carefully attuned imagination, Pekler brings his ideas to life in a way that doesn’t matter if the islands were fictive or not, as the music provides plenty enough warm stimulation to ignite your wanderlust. As previewed in the gorgeous, woolly design of advance cut ‘Description of Rain (Over Frisland)’, the places he supposes are wonderfully user-friendly and dreamy in the broadest sense.
Between the lilting jazz tone of ‘Bermeja’ (out in the Caribbean, don’t ya know), the richly elaborated snapshots of ‘Saxenburgh / Pepys / Aurora’ (in the south Atlantic, out near St. Helena-ish), and the stranded sound of ‘Tuanahe’ (in the South Pacific) Pekler has birthed an album of carefully plotted scenes and sonic coordinates which, while maybe apocryphal, at the very least draw us into their world in a stronger way than the mountains of cliché, rote 4th world “ambient” records currently in circulation.
Steeply absorbing solo debut of smoky free improvisation, reverberating between ECM-like jazz/classical and electro-acoustic dimensions for the ideal home of such enigmatic stuff; Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
‘Ashioto’ extends an immersive introduction to the solo work of Japanese drummer/percussionist/composer Tatsuhiro Yamamoto following a decade of collaborations with notables including Jim O’Rourke, Eiko Ishibashi, Phew, and Arve Henriksen. Fitting the rarified criteria of Black Truffle’s snuffling service, Yamamoto’s first dolo mission is riddled with the sort of oneiric magick we’ve come to expect from this label, dilating the mind’s eye from the pineal peal of gamelan to sweeping Jazz-fusion breaks and dead strung-out, end-of-rope jazz blues and ‘marish organ swells with a masterful narrative sleight of hand.
The devil lies in the detail of ‘Ashioto’, and in the way that Yamamoto transitions between distinct section via various strategies. In the first section his hypnotic and softly reverberant golden ripples of gamelan precipitate deeply sweeping but in-the-pocket breakbeat roil with subconscious stealth, almost comparable to a canny DJ transition. But the mood persistently shifts like a localised weather system, ultimately drawing in and overcast with a starkly autumnal appeal that he doubles down on the B-side, where the drums total recede to present a play of tonal ghosts slipping like laminal plasma with Daisuke Fujiwara’s oozing sax and coming to suggest a late night avant-garde sexiness that culminates into a beastly Lynchian nightmare with cataclysmic, feral noise recalling Gruppo via Jim O’Rourke. Magic.