Well, it would seem I’ve made it another year, and have earned myself a little break from the grind next week. Don’t forget!!! We are closed next week, July 29th-Aug 2nd. So come buy all these lovely new goodies before then. See ya’s in August.
…..picks of the week….. *Neotantrik: Intervisions (Pre-Cert) LP
Intervisions documents select live actions by Andy Votel, Sean Canty of Demdike Stare, Jane Weaver, and N. Racker’s NeoTantrik syzygyover the last 12 months. It breaks down to five parts recorded on location in Bristol, Rotterdam, and Stockport — some previously issued on tape — in mutating alignments of personnel all deeply focused on common goals of abstract sonic transcendence uniting a mind-field of mimetic and sensual references to nu-religious and metaphysical phorms. Three pieces were captured at Bristol’s Cube Gallery, ranging from the pineal dilation of “Parched Effigy (Cube 3)” to their tunneling, 10-minute trip across fragmented free jazz and kosmische “Intervisionary Heretic,” and the overheated machine squall and concrète confusion of “Xian Octagon.” The Rotterdam parts are more concise, potent, travelling great distances during two minutes of astral flight in “Coloursound (Worm1)” and vaporizing into radiant metallic dissonance during the five minutes of “Crolyn Emphasis.” Jane Weaver’s contribution provides a more controlled and somber counterpoint, calcifying their abstract tendencies in the organ meditation, “Sous le même soleil, vie disparu dans le ciel,” recorded at Compstall Mill in Stockport. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy in an edition of 500 copies. Artwork by Andy Votel.
File Under: Andy Votel, Demdike Stare, Pseudo-Library, Collage
*Agitation Free: Last (Made In Germany) LP
“Agitation Free’s third album, originally released in 1976, now reissued on 180 gram vinyl with the original artwork. Featuring live jams recorded in ’73 and ’74, this is a psych prog jewel from these Krautrock legends. Includes in depth liner notes.”
File Under: Krautrock, Prog, Psych
*Tetuzi Akiyama/Che Chen : Cold Soup (Incunabulum) LP
Cold Soup is a follow-up to Don’t Forget to Boogie with Tetuzi Akiyama in full boogie electric guitar mode. Added is Che Chen’s screeching and improvising violin — sort of like Tony Conrad meets Canned Heat. Tetuzi Akiyama is based in Tokyo and specializes in creating music with elements of both primitivism and realism by connecting his own aspirations, in a minimal and straightforward way, to the special instrumental qualities of the guitar. Sometimes delicately and sometimes boldly, he controls sound volumes ranging from micro to macro, in an attempt to convert the body into an electronic entity. Che Chen is a sound artist and improviser based in Brooklyn. His recent solo performances have consisted of improvisations based on the harmonic overtones of idiosyncratic tunings (scordatura) for the violin, played against sine wave pedal points.
File Under: Boogie, Tony Conrad, Experimental, Japanese Improve
*Ariel Pink: Thrash & Burn (Human Ear) LP
Comes on ultra-clear vinyl. An absorbing look at Ariel Rosenberg’s early musique concrète epic. “As with stored memories one has acquired early in life, Thrash and Burn survives for me less as a finished piece of music in/itself or even a moment captured in time; more a catalog of lifetimes, each piece unique and unnamed, together they recall glimpses of forgotten future-pasts; in cosmology, as one peers ever deeper into the void, first beyond the fixed population density of stars nestled in a ‘suburb’ at the outer edge of our galaxy, into an evermore all-encompassing blackness surrounding a thin lane of galaxies, one heads off in one direction, floating along a lonely string of Christmas lights which recede with the distance. Much further downstream, a giant wall of light scaffolding fades into view. That is destiny’s orphan multiverse inhabiting a single frame in its infancy. In time, we would transcend it. From where we stand our footsteps recede and fade into the darkness. But our beginnings are not lost; for someone standing off and above our horizon, in a human ear much more young, the secret of our coming of age shall be preserved revealed and discovered yet once again….” –Ariel Pink, November 2012; Thrash and Burn dates from a time when Ariel Rosenberg, then a few years from turning “Pink,” first proclaimed himself a “20th Century Composer” without a trace of irony in his voice. Appropriately, this early work takes the form of a musique concrète epic forged from Rosenberg’s late-’90s faux-primitif, garage-punk, and tape-loop experiments. At 94 minutes and 36 tracks, Thrash and Burn displays the symphonic ambitions of his genre-devouring pop saga, Haunted Graffiti, but with little in the way of fastidious album-oriented constructions. Rather, Thrash and Burn is a free-form tape ramble that uses gauzy atmospherics to strike up a wicked dialogue with the likes of Rosenberg’s non-pop influences, like Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Schaeffer, and Luc Ferrari. (In particular, Schaeffer’s “Symphonie pour un homme seul” seems to get plenty of nods here.)Thrash and Burn was discovered in 2005, in an ankle-deep pile of cracked cassettes and scratched CD-R’s in Rosenberg’s Beverly Hills flat. Grier and Rosenberg then made an initial reconstruction attempt, and Thrash and Burn became a 4-cassette box set for the inaugural release of Human Ear Music, in 2006. The Wikipedia page for Thrash and Burn places its origin sometime in 1998. It was remastered in September 2012 in Berlin, Germany. The final master was brought up to 24-bit resolution, dynamically and tonally balanced on an Apogee Rosetta and two solid-aluminum monoblock amps.
File Under: LoFi, Pop, Musique Concrete
Austra: Olympia (Paper Bag) LP
Olympia is an album of transformation. Though it has only been two years since Austra’s 2010 debut Feel It Break, it presents a quantum evolution in the Toronto-based band’s sound, structure and style. After three years of non-stop international touring with the likes of The xx, Grimes and the Gossip, when it came time to record Olympia, Austra had evolved into a complex collaborative effort between its six members. “Previously, I would flesh out songs before I brought them to the band, but this time I left them bare and let the others fill them in” explains Katie Stelmanis, the principal songwriter/vocalist. Olympia is also the first confessional record for Stelmanis as evidenced by the heartfelt lyrics of piano driven lead single “Home.” “Home” expresses the anxieties of waiting up all night for a lover to return. “I was mad and upset and the song just wrote itself,” says the singer. The album touches on a range of sentiments that stem from a relationship ending, a relationship beginning, and friends’ struggles with addiction and motivation. Despite the sometimes dark lyrics written in collaboration with band member Sari Lightman, Olympia is bubbly and buoyant.. fundamentally a dance record, which Stelmanis says was the band’s aim all along. “We are really into dense harmonies and big beautiful melodies, but I also love techno and dance music. I wanted to bring those elements together.”
File Under: CanCon, Electro-Pop
Baths: Obsidian (Anticon) LP
Three years ago, Baths dropped his startlingly beautiful debut, Cerulean, blurring the line between post-modern pop and the LA beat scene with devastating emotional clarity. Its tone was as celestial as its album title, taken from a shade of blue typically used to describe the sky. Cerulean earned year-end “Best Of” recognition from Pitchfork and The Onion’s AV Club and established Chatsworth-raised Will Wiesenfeld as one of the finest young composers (and falsettos) in Los Angeles. His sophomore album Obsidian finds him emerging as one of the most complete artists of his generation. As one might expect, the name hints at darker overtones. The mood is shimmering and pitch-black; the lovely blood flow has turned into lava. Following the success of Cerulean, Wiesenfeld spent much of the next year touring to progressively larger audiences. He also released an ethereal ambient project under the Goetic moniker. When he returned home in July of 2011 to record his sophomore effort, he was bedridden for months with an E. Coli bacterial infection, barely able to digest solid food and bereft of creative energy. Obsidian understandably has these scars etched into its imprint—see opener “Worsening,” subsequent cuts include “Ossuary,” “No Past Lives” and “Earth Death.” While the mood is often bleak, it’s never bloated. “Miasma Sky” balances being “swallowed alive by the sky” with a gorgeous piano groove and levitative croon that could detonate a disco club night. Suffused with heavenly choirs, head-nodding percussion, sexually charged lyrics, and wry humor, Obsidian is unusually cohesive work combining universal questions with personal pain.
File Under: Hip Hop, Electronic
Benge: Twenty Systems (Expanding) CD
Back in stock! Twenty tracks made on 20 synthesizers spanning 20 years, accompanied by a 60-page color book with a foreword by Robin “Scanner” Rimbaud, Twenty Systems is Benge’s acclaimed concept album, first released in 2008. His 10th solo album, this ambitious project combines an audio CD of new music with a hardbound full-color book containing photos and diagrams of the electronic instruments used, along with a detailed history documenting the development of synthesizers between 1968 and 1988. The purpose of the record is to demonstrate the development of the synthesizer from the first commercially available systems in the late 1960s to the introduction of fully digital systems in the late 1980s. Although not intended to be a comprehensive history of synthesizers, the listener will hopefully gain some insight into the character of each instrument, and on a more general level experience the evolving sound of synthesis over the years. Each track is the pure sound of an individual instrument, with no additional processing, sequencing or effects applied to any of the recordings. If a system was equipped with an in-built sequencer, it was used, and there are several examples of sound-on-sound processes, where a track is made up of multiple layers of the same synthesizer recorded in parallel. To put it simply, Benge lets the instruments speak for themselves and influence the way each piece is composed. The original release was featured and reviewed in The Wire,Future Music, Sound On Sound, Uncut, Record Collector, Vice, and many others and was album of the month in Future Music and Record Collector. “A brilliant contribution to the archaeology of electronic music” –Brian Eno
File Under: Electronic, Not So Early, Early Electronic, Academic
Bokaj Retsiem: Psychedelic Underground (Himalaya) LP
“Credited as one of the best late ’60s German psych-rock albums, Bokaj Retsiem’s (‘meister Jakob’ in reverse) Psychedelic Underground is an eccentric, soulful, acid and fuzzy rockin’ essay that clearly prefigures a part of the krautrock movement. Featuring Rainer Deigner, former guitar for the ’60s beat German group Former Bonds, as the only credited musician and composer on this album (although other musicians assisted him on bass, keyboards, and that B3 Hammond and Leslie sound), this is basically Rainer’s freaked-out tribute to his favorite children’s song, ‘Meister Jakob,’ consisting in trippy instrumental sections, furiously savage E-guitar crescendos, amazing psych-rock improvisation, with just a hint of ’60s US psych-garage. A real enthusiastic psych-kraut trip for fans of Vanilla Fudge, Hendrix, and Iron Butterfly.”
File Under: Psych, Garage, Kraut
Michael Chapman: Wrecked Again (Light in the Attic) LP/CD
Remastered from the original tapes. Includes unseen photos and liner notes by Andru Chapman. “1971’s Wrecked Again, Chapman’s final for EMI’s seminal stoner imprint Harvest, home to Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett. Like other artists in the stable, Chapman’s music contains a drugged-out feel, sublime guitar playing and intense lyrics, yet Chapman’s career was not a pet project. Buried in EMI’s release schedule and afforded no promotional budget, Wrecked Again is his lost classic. Recorded at the noted Rockfield Studio, a residential complex-cum-working farm in Wales,Wrecked Again explores orchestration via Paul Buckmaster (Miles Davis, David Bowie) and The London Symphony Orchestra and production courtesy of Gus Dudgeon (Elton John, Bonzo Dog Band), but also explores a new sound influenced by Memphis soul. With a blend of electric and acoustic instruments, Chapman is found where he feels most comfortable: in-between folk and rock, contrasting soft with edgy. Wrecked Again was made at a turbulent time in Chapman’s life. Still struggling for money despite being four albums into his career, the sessions were marred by arguments over his pay. Unloved as it was by his label, the album did little to rectify the situation. Afterwards, Chapman and bassist Rick Kemp — later of Steeleye Span — set off on their first tour of the USA. Chapman was stoney broke — initially refused a visa as a result ? and received no money. And that was the least of his troubles. By the third week, manager Andrew King had quit the country, and Kemp had run off with a woman in a green Mustang. Audiences couldn’t understand Chapman’s thick Yorkshire accent or British phrases, not least when he coughed on stage and told them, ‘these French fags are killing my throat.’ After being mugged in New York, Chapman gave up — before even reaching the West Coast. There had been highs, such as being asked to perform at King Curtis’s funeral alongside the likes of Ray Charles, but the experience scarred the singer-songwriter. Back in the UK, he told his partner, Andru Chapman, ‘If that’s the big time then fuck it — I don’t want it.’ Chapman did, of course, go on to record more than 30 albums and tour extensively, but Wrecked Again was a pivotal moment in his career; the tipping point between his earlier, folkier material and his later, rockier output on Deram.”
File Under: Lost Classics, LITA, Folk-Rock, Drugs
Cinematic Orchestra: Man with the Movie Camera (Ninja Tune) LP
2013 repress. “2003 release from the British jazz and electronic outfit formed by Jason Swinscoe. The album comprises the soundtrack to a re-released version of the then ground-breaking 1929 silent documentary film Man with a Movie Camera, from Russian director Dziga Vertov.” Comes on 180 gram vinyl in a gatefold sleeve. Includes a download card.
File Under: Jazz, Electronic, Downtempo
Cola & Jimmu: Enigmatic (Herakles) LP
Cola & Jimmu (recording artists Jimi Tenor and Nicole Willis, present Enigmatic, on their new label, Herakles Records. Jimi Tenor and Nicole Willis are life partners as well as past collaborators. “Cola” is a kind of pseudonym of Nicole and “Jimmu” is associated with the legend of the first emperor of Japan, Jimnu Tenno. Both Tenor and Willis have fronted their own projects over the past decade, Willis most recently working with Helsinki-based group the Soul Investigators, for their albums Tortured Soul and Keep Reachin’ Up, Timmion Records 2005, 2013. The title track of Keep Reachin’ Up was chosen in February 2012 for POTUS, Barack Obama’s re-election Spotify playlist. Tenor also contributed horn arrangements to the two albums. Tenor and Willis also wrote and recorded tracks for Tenor’s “Call of the Wild,” from the LP Out of Nowhere, Warp Records 2000. Tenor also collaborated with Tony Allen for a 2009 LP on Strut Records, Inspiration Information, also with Abdissa Assefa on “Itetune” in 2011, and “Soft Focus” with Lary 7 on Sähko Recordings in 2013. Willis and Tenor have roots in dancefloor music, such as Tenor’s techno classic “Take Me Baby,” and Willis’ neo-soul New York-based project Repercussions, with “Promise Me Nothing,” which peaked at #6 on the Hot Dance Music Club Play chart in Billboard Magazine, with remixes from Masters At Work and Supa DJ Dmitry. Cola & Jimmu revisit house circa 1990, calling it “deep house revival,” drawing influences from Bobby Konders releases on NuGroove to Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Firecracker,” with vocal styles comparable to Gwen Guthrie and CeCe Peniston. The tracks are original and include some strong instrumentation, with Tenor’s saxophone, flute, and serious drum programming. Willis offers vocals and production savvy, as well as additional chords. Tracks like “369º Grind” simmer, and act as the diving board into the body of work that is Enigmatic’s 10 tracks. “I’ve Made Up My Mind” is an instant classic with its declaration of peace of mind. And “Wild Honey,” with its swelling funk chorus, will have you running through that field of wildflowers.
File Under: Nicole Willis, Deep House, House
*Alessandro Cortini: Forse Volume 1 (Important) LP
“Deluxe double LP pressed in an edition of 500 copies. Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails/How To Destroy Angels) composed the Forse series using a Buchla Music Easel. Forse, meaning ‘maybe’ In Italian, is a series of three double LP releases Cortini recorded for Important to release in 2013. ‘All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity. Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion , filtering, wave shaping, etc.) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions. Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music making the most. After that record I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment.'”
File Under: Electronic, NIN, Buchla, Synth
Thomas Dinger: Fur Mich (Bureau B) LP
Tired of quarreling endlessly with his imperious brother Klaus, Thomas Dinger quit the production of Viva, the second La Düsseldorf album, and promptly set off for the south of France. Frustrated and far away from home, his mind turned to the possibility of a solo album. An album devoted to his own musical ideas, free from domineering voices telling him what to do. Presenting his own vision in the context of a La Düsseldorf LP would have been difficult at the best of times. “I wanted to create something by myself, to make something just for me and nobody else,” the third member of the band Hans Lampe recalls him saying — hence the album title Für mich. He recorded the album in La Düsseldorf’s studio in 1981, with Hans Lampe on board as co-producer and engineer. The six instrumental pieces, melancholic and elegiac in character, featured layers of synthesizer sounds, closer to the music of Wolfgang Riechmann or Michael Rother than that of La Düsseldorf. (The pulsating 4/4 beat associated with Klaus Dinger can be heard just the once. Two tracks are actually written in a 3/4 signature). The nearest points of reference in the La Düsseldorf canon might be the more measured “Rheinita” and “Silver Cloud.” In the studio, Dinger and Lampe allowed themselves plenty of time to experiment. As Thomas wished, his brother Klaus stayed away from the recording and mixing sessions. Hans Lampe described the creative process thus: “There was a large balcony to the rear of Thomas’ apartment, looking onto a vast, overgrown courtyard. A little park, a verdant oasis in the big city. We sat here often, listening to music, working on the LP and musing on life. Thomas and I complemented each other marvelously, bouncing ideas off each other. Our understanding was so great, the mood was so deep and heartfelt, we thoroughly enjoyed working together.” Which is how the album sounds: simultaneously conveying a sense of somber depth and unfettered lightness, even playfulness.
File Under: Krautrock, La Dusseldorf
*Nick Drake: Bryter Layter (Island) Deluxe LP
Following the huge success of Pink Moon on deluxe vinyl – comes his second album Bryter Layter in a similar deluxe vinyl offering. The album is an exact replica of the original 1970 release and is pressed on heavyweight audiophile vinyl, and remastered from near-original master tapes by the album’s original engineer/ producer John Wood. Although the original tapes were unusable, Wood had made a safety copy of the album in 1970 and it is from this that the new album has been made. After crafting a debut album full of beauteous, somber chamber-folk, Nick Drake pulled something of an about-face in 1970 with the follow-up, Bryter Layter. With a bright, sparkling production and orchestrations that occasionally border on Easy Listening, the framework is light and airy where Five Leaves Left was dark and foreboding.
File Under: Classics, Singer/Songwriter, Lazey Jane, John Cale
Fairfield Ski: s/t (Guerssen) LP
Birmingham’s Fairfield Ski are one of the greatest lost UK psych/prog bands, ever. With a line-up which included ex-Terry Reid’s band Bill Bonham (cousin of Led Zep John Bonham) on keyboards, their only recorded legacy is one of the rarest artifacts from the first UK psych-prog era: only three copies are known to exist of the Fairfield Ski acetate album, recorded in 1973 at top London studios such as Trident, Abbey Road and Apple. A perfectly played and professionally produced record which ranges from full-blown psychedelia to glam, hard rock, progressive pop, and dreamy psych. Echoes of Forever Amber, Five Day Rain, Octopus, Deep Purple, Procol Harum, Abbey Road-era Beatles and Appletree Theatre can be heard on the grooves of this lost classic. Fantastic remastered sound restored from the original acetate using state-of-the-art equipment. Insert with rare pictures and detailed liner notes by Andy Morten (Shindig!) revealing the Fairfield Ski story for the first time.
File Under: Psych, Prog, Pop
Fennesz: 17.02.12 (Song Cycle) 2LP
Christian Fennesz is an Austrian electronic musician active since the late ’90s and influenced by artists like Fripp and Eno and guitar-synth pioneer, Chuck Hammer. Fennesz uses guitar and laptops to created “multilayered compositions that blend melody and conventional musical instruments with harsh, irregular glitch-influenced sounds and washes of white noise.” Over the years, Fennesz has played and collaborated with a number of artists, including Mike Patton, Jim O’Rourke, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Keith Rowe, Peter Rehberg, Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), and David Sylvian. In 2012 Fennesz also wrote the original soundtrack to the independent Austrian film, Aun, directed by Edgar Honetschläger, and based on the writings of Claude Levi-Strauss. On this double LP Fennesz can be heard performing in front of a live audience at the beautiful Marino Marini Museum (located in a medieval church) in Florence, Italy in February of 2012, backed by the images of the 1927 silent film by German filmmaker Walter Ruttmann Berlin called Die Sinfonie der Großstadt (Symphony of a Great City).
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Live
Floorplan: Paradise (M-Plant) LP
Paradise is Robert Hood’s debut album release as Floorplan, a dancefloor alias he has used since he announced his Drama imprint with the highly sought-after Funky Souls EP in 1996. Taking Hood’s minimal techno approach and embellishing it with elements of house, disco, funk, and gospel, Floorplan now realizes its full-length potential some 17 years since its inception. Good things, indeed, come to those who wait. The last five years have seen Robert Hood in astonishingly prolific form with an album release every year since the 2009 re-issue of the genre defining Minimal Nation. This was swiftly followed a year later by new artist album Omega, then Robert’s first live album Omega:Alive in 2011 and 2012’s highly-lauded Nighttime World 3 which graced end-of-year charts across the world. Now Robert Hood focuses his attention firmly on the dancefloor. Since the 2010 Funky Souls re-press on Rush Hour re-introduced the hibernating project, Hood has since released three Floorplan EPs including Living It Up, the Sanctified EP, and 2012’s Altered Ego EP. The three EPs subsequently spawned the massive club hits “Baby Baby,” “We Magnify His Name,” “Altered Ego,” and “Living it Up,” taking Robert Hood’s name across the techno/house divide. You could even say that Robert Hood could be a victim of his own success: Floorplan, which started off as a side-project, is starting to sound as vital as the searing minimal techno he releases under his own name. Paradise takes us through a heavenly mixture of house, soul, funk and gospel — all underpinned by Hood’s trademark driving minimal techno approach. “Altered Ego” is a perfect example of Hood’s tough view of house music; over an insistent groove a building chord sweeps in, taking with it a repetitive vocal sample. But it’s the nagging, relentless filtering of these elements, coupled with the deep resonance of the backing rhythm that make “Ego” so memorable. Tracks like the opening “Let’s Ride” take a handful of elements such as a skittering drum pattern, vocal snippet and again that driving and relentless groove that drags you by the throat to the dancefloor. There is no break, there is no respite — make no mistake, Floorplan is here to make you dance. “Never Grow Old” is pure and simply glorious gospel from the Deep South, a hair-raising vocal hook baptized at the altar of minimalism. Then there is “Confess,” which is an entirely different proposition; the groove chugs along and the percussion is dry and steely but the keys are positively uplifting and wide-eyed, like they were borrowed from a long-lost rave track and reapplied to Hood’s functional take on house. There are nods to Hood’s minimal techno roots with “Change” and “Chord Principle,” sounding like they could have been lifted from the Minimal Nation cutting room while “Higher” and “Above the Clouds” appear to be pointing to something new, as if Hood’s take on house is as unique and essential as the techno sound he has pioneered for over 20 years. In a world full of generic dancefloor music, Floorplan could well be seen as Robert Hood’s vision as seen through a house music prism. But there is never any doubt as to the music’s creator.
File Under: Electronic, Robert Hood, Techno
Nils Frahm: Juno Reworked (Erased Tapes) 12”
After releasing Nils Frahm’s two-track solo synthesizer EP Juno in a highly sought-after 7″ edition, Erased Tapes now re-release the original Juno tracks with guest reworks by Border Community’s modular synth wizard Luke Abbott and Warp veteran Clark. Similar to Frahm’s online project Screws Reworked, where he invited fans to download his solo piano songs to reinterpret them with their own medium of choice, it’s far from being the typical remix EP. Recorded and mixed by Nils Frahm in his Durton Studio in Berlin.
File Under: Electronic, Remix, Synth
Fuck Buttons: Slow Focus (ATP) LP
Four years after Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung dropped the second of two of the most unparalleled electronic driven albums in recent memory, with the hyper-acceleration of 2009’s blistering Tarot Sport, the duo return with a new album Slow Focus, their first self-produced record, and one that looks set to re-shape the landscape of the leftfield all over again. You could argue this is the first album where the pair have really gone all in, taking control right down to producing it at their own Space Mountain studio. “We’ve used producers as safety nets in the past,” says Andrew Hung, “but we’ve always had a very specific idea of what our music should sound like and so it became about following the logical path.” Between them, Fuck Buttons have been busy behind the scenes in the intermediate four years since Tarot Sport, but they were flung out into the perception of the global public last year when Danny Boyle opted to use their music in his breathtaking Olympics opening ceremony in London, after recommendations from techno veterans Underworld. Now they’re ready to face the limelight again in full, with a string of European festival dates coming up, including Primavera, Glastonbury and Green Man. It’s been a while since we heard from them, but Slow Focus looks set to further establish Fuck Buttons reputation as one of the most arresting electronic acts in the world today.
File Under: Leftfield Electronic
G&D: The Lighthouse (Someothaship Connect) LP
“G&D is a galacti-fonk super group comprised of Georgia Anne Muldrow (handling all beatified soundscapes and vocals) and Dudley Perkins, a.k.a. Declaime (handling creative direction and vocals/rap verse). While both have extensive discographies in their own right, The Lighthouse is their second official team effort that features clever handiwork by DJ Romes (of the legendary Lootpack crew), and guest vocals from LMNO and Miki Vale. These two are a singular healing force with a sociopolitical voice and vibe that acknowledges the past and embodies the future of music simultaneously.”
File Under: Fonk, Hip Hop, Soul
The Great Gatsby OST (Third Man) LP
The soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby was executive produced by Shawn ”Jay Z” Carter and features an all-star line-up from Jack White, Jay Z, Florence +The Machine, The xx, Beyoncé & André 3000, The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, will.i.am, Lana Del Rey, Fergie & Q-Tip & Goonrock, among many more standout contributions. Drawing on his unique and unrivaled position in popular culture, Jay Z (with collaborator and the film’s executive music consultant Jeymes Samuel) worked with Luhrmann and music supervisor Anton Monsted on the Gatsby project over the past two years, translating the Jazz Age sensibility of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel into the musical equivalents of our own times through the blending of hip hop, traditional jazz and other contemporary musical textures.
File Under: OST, Jay Z, XX, Lana Del Rey
Tony Grey: Time Factor (Voodoo Funk) 12”
The legendary digger re-ignites the Lagos Disco Inferno and kicks off his own mouth-watering imprint with these two sides of boogie-down bliss. Irresistible Afro-disco, layered with delirious syn-drums and sick keys, and featuring a horn-line bumptiously whipped from Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson’s bass-playing on MJ’s “Workin’ Day And Night.” Originally from Warri where he stayed throughout most of his career, Tony Grey’s first band was the Famous Latin And His Dominant Seven. He gigged for a while as a James Brown imitator with The Great Peters, before his breakthrough fronting the Magnificient Zeinians, with some amazing 45s on EMI’s HMV imprint — best of all the psych-rock-funk monster Ije Udo. From the early to mid 1970s, his EMI sides range from Afrobeat to rock and pop. All Tony’s records are great. He came up with various names for his backing bands — the Black 7, the Super 7, the Black Kings. From the early-eighties, with the Ozimba Messengers, Grey’s two recordings here were originally released on different LPs.
File Under: Lagos Disco, Afro Disco, Afro Pop, Voodoo Funk
*High Speed & The Afflicted Man: Get Stoned Ezy (Guerssen) CD
In 1982, the mysterious Steve Hall, a self-proclaimed “hippie-punk” who had previously released a couple of D.I.Y. basement-punk albums with his band Afflicted Man, recorded one of the most obscure, underrated and killer heavy-psych albums of all time. Credited to High Speed & The Afflicted Man, Get Stoned Ezy consists of three long tracks of late ’60s/early ’70s-influenced psychedelic hard-rock. A fuzz-wah assault of epic proportions in the style of other guitar-damage gods like Human Instinct, Wicked Lady, Hendrix, High Rise, Sabbath,Stooges, etc., all played with a real acid-punk attitude. Guerssen Records present the first-ever legit reissue of this lost masterpiece, licensed by Steve Hall. Remastered sound, insert with detailed liner notes by Chris Stigliano (Black To Comm), and rare pictures.
File Under: Heavy Psych, Fuzz
*Honey Ltd: The Complete LHI Recordings (Light in the Attic) LP/CD
“Lee Hazlewood’s LHI label only put out interesting albums. Yet despite the psychedelic cowboy’s success with Nancy Sinatra and more, being on Lee Hazlewood Industries was no fast-track to success. Gorgeous and talented Detroit, Michigan girl group Honey Ltd. had all the makings of a hit band, yet they disappeared after releasing just one album in 1968, a vinyl rarity that now regularly fetches upwards of $2,000. Honey Ltd’s The Complete LHI Recordings presents everything the group ever recorded. Fans of The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, and Pentangle are in for a treat — Honey Ltd’s music blended social commentary with harmony-drenched, psych-soul pop. Even opening track, ‘Warrior,’ describes the mood of the times, as America sunk into the Vietnam War: ‘We must kill more people; strong men are what we need!’ First time ever reissued. Includes comprehensive liner notes by Jessica Hundley interviewing all four band members and unseen photos. Remastered from the original tapes.”
File Under: Pop-Psych, Lee Hazlewood, Girl Groups
I Marc 4: Psych Jazzy Beat of I Marc 4 (Black Cat) LP
“Italian soundtracks from the late 60s to mid 70s are practically a genre to themselves and have long been a treasure trove for those who seek unique jazzy psychedelic beats. In the early 90s, both the retro-exotica crowd and the rare groove DJs re-discovered Italian soundtrack music thus giving it a big boost in popularity. The Black Cat label responded to this renewed interest with its Loungissima series that re-packaged a variety of Italian soundtracks in attractive vinyl LP collections.The Psych Jazzy Beat of I Marc 4, features the music of one of the top recording quartets of Italian soundtracks, I Marc 4. The members of this quartet all came from a jazz background and originally grouped together in the mid-60s with the purpose of supporting various high profile vocalists. In the late 60s they moved on to being soundtrack composers whose instrumental works would then be collected and released on LPs. Psychedelic rock, soul jazz, brassy Herb Alpert style numbers, spacey exotic lounge music, goofy country funk, proto-progressive rock are the easily recognizable genres coexisting in this retrospective of one of the most hidden treasures of the Italian psych-jazz scene.”
File Under: Psych, Jazz, Lounge, Italian
King Geedorah: Take Me To Your Leader (Big Dada) LP
*Long unavailable, now finally re-pressed classic from MF Doom…* This is what we said back when this album was first released: “This album has been rumoured to have been in the Big Dada vault for ages, just waiting for the right time to unleash the sickness. That time is now. Thirteen tracks, six feet deep – with fellow Monster Island Czars guests down for the insane ride like Jet-Jaguar (M.F. Grimm), Rodan, Trunks, Hassan Chop, Gigan, Biolante, Stahhr and Mr Fantastik plus Lil’ Sci & Id 4 Winds from Scienz Of Life. All produced by Doom under his Metal Faced Villain alias bringing again the incredible mad looped sample style so successfully showcased on recent projects including the killer Monster Island Czars album. Though this time the production is a bit more edgy and restless with some mad old school edits going on. Sample wise it’s a mad mixture of forgotten soul string samples and lost cinematic jazz shot through Doom’s unique production tapestry, it’s the way he ties everything together….
File Under: MF Doom, Hip Hop
Kowton: Shuffle Good (Boomkat Editions) 12”
One of the UK’s most distinctive dance music producers presents a pair of drowned summer anthems backed by a warehouse-crushing Andy Stott remix. Joe Cowton deals out some super squashed swagger and aquatic drones on “Shuffle Good” and hollowed, arcane dub pressure on “EFX01” — a regular scene setter in Ben UFO sets. Stott really delivers on the B-side, re-modeling “Shuffle Good” with nods to the sort of darkside D&B rinsed by Grooverider circa ’96-’97 and the feedback fuzz reminiscent of Suicide or Powell.
File Under: Electronic, Andy Stott, Dance, Boomkat
Majic Ship: s/t (Guerssen) LP
Mixing fuzzed-out hard rock with tinges of psychedelia, Majic Ship’s only album from 1970 is a classic from the U.S. private press/psych scene. Raw fuzz guitars, organ, and soulful/melodic vocals on nine original tracks plus their homage to Neil Young/Stephen Stills on the 11-minute cover of “Down by the River/For What It’s Worth.” With original copies changing hands for hundreds of dollars, here’s the first-ever legit straight vinyl reissue, featuring newly remastered sound and an insert with detailed liner notes. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz, Hard Rock
*Nath Family: Sounds of the Indian Snake Charmer Volume 2 (Hanson) LP
“Second volume of Aaron Dilloway’s recordings of the Nath family of snake charmers of Haryana, India recorded in Kathmandu in 2005. This second volumes recordings are a bit more raw, originating from video and cassette recordings as opposed to the first volume’s hi-fi digital recordings (don’t worry…they sound JUST as disorienting!) and containing a duo track as well as the full 4 piece. Originally released as a cassette in 2005, now on vinyl in an edition of 600 copies. Housed in a silkscreened jacket w/ the usual Hanson Droll flaps.”
File Under: Field Recordings, Snake Charmers, India
*Only God Forgives OST (Milan) 2LP
Only God Forgives is the highly anticipated theatrical reunion of director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) and Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Place Beyond The Pines). The highly stylistic thriller tells the story of Julian (Gosling), a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok’s criminal underworld, whose life gets complicated when his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s recent death. Only God Forgives is a continuation of the cinematic language started in Drive. The film features an amazing, dark and high energy score by Cliff Martinez – who also composed the music for ‘Drive’. The film is mostly carried by images and music. In addition to the CD and digital release, the soundtrack to Only God Forgives will be released on a beautiful 180g, colored LP including a download card.
File Under: OST, Ryan Gosling, Drive, Cliff Martinez
Marina Rosenfeld: P.A./Hard Love (Room40) LP
On P.A./Hard Love, New York-based composer and conceptual sound artist Marina Rosenfeld generates an esoteric universe of radical sonic collisions. Developed initially in 2009, the album draws its roots following a series of idiosyncratic quasi-sculptural sound-system installations Rosenfeld installed in various disused and monumental sites including New York’s Park Avenue Armory and Liverpool’s Renshaw Hall car park. The music she composed for these installations was heterogeneous, repositioning resident noise from the sites (re-projected back into the sites via horns), her own voice and generous yet subtle electroacoustic elements. The results were more “tuned” atmosphere than active performance and sought to explore the potent combination of voice, amplification and space; playing with reflection and distortion, intelligibility, fantasies of publicness and broadcast. In 2012 Rosenfeld reached out to Annette Henry, aka Warrior Queen, and invited her to contribute original vocals to the project. The vocal contributions acted as a catalyst for the works; propelling the pre-existing compositions into new and unexpected directions. In combination with virtuoso cellist Okkyung Lee, the material was transplanted from live settings to the studio and transformed by a process of radical iteration. The resulting music asks questions of form, expectation and contemporary sound practices. P.A./Hard Love reveals the contingent nature of collaboration; something beautiful and complicated, and ultimately it’s these relationships that form a kind of halfway point between conceptual art and contemporary music. It’s in these in-between spaces that delicate, shimmering and ephemeral sounds can exist harmoniously with dissonant, abrasive, dark and complex audio states that are both explicit and ambiguous, anthemic and elusive. Limited vinyl edition of 500 copies housed in a gorgeous matte cello-glazed sleeve.
File Under: Electronic, Electroacoustic, Avant Garde
Thundercat: Apocalypse (Brainfeeder) LP
“On his second album, Apocalypse, Thundercat pairs up with executive producer Flying Lotus to pull the veil back and reveal the simple truths of the cycle of life, for all its beauty and destruction. An album about loss and rebuilding, trying to gain something back, and capturing that moment of clarity where one finally finds feet back on the ground again. Bringing a fusion of pop, soul, electronica, prog rock, and funk into an unexplored dimension, the album slowly descends and tunnels to the core of what it takes to grasp peace, at a time that it seems most far.”
File Under: Flying Lotus, Electronic
U: Great Dose of Monotonous Techno (Digitalis) LP
Calling someone “ahead of his/her time” is straight out of Music Marketing 101 and is a claim that rarely holds much merit. On occasion, though, it’s a phrase that is entirely appropriate and accurate. Joel Brindefalk was as integral a part of Sweden’s premiere off-kilter dance label, Börft, as anyone outside its founders, Jan Svensson (FRAK, etc),Birre Isgren (FRAK, etc), and, eventually, Joachim Nordwall (Skull Defekts, etc). While Brindefalk’s work under monikers such as Contemporary Punk Unit (CPU), Egglady, and others showcased his skill and range as a producer, it was always Ü that impressed most. In 1992, still just a teenager, he was, in fact, very much ahead of his time. Great Dose of Monotonous Techno was released on cassette to little fanfare and festered in obscurity for years. As Börft and Digitalis formed a collaborative partnership in 2010, reissuing this album became a top priority. Recently, as the worlds of noise and techno have again begun to merge, Brindefalk’s early experiments sound almost prophetic with their relentless repetition, formless shape, acid tingers, and simple, pounding rhythms. Great Dose of Monotonous Techno is the perfect title for this record. It contains music whose impact is felt through its crushing loops and gloomy melodies. Ü might make people dance, but does so begrudgingly. There is an undercurrent of angst flowing throughout Great Dose, adding another edge to an album already cut with razors. Sadly, Brindefalk passed away in February of 2013 as this reissue was finally coming to fruition. He leaves a serious void in Swedish underground electronic music, but his legacy will only continue to grow. Remastered from the original tapes by Brindefalk friend and pupil Andreas Tilliander at Repeatle. Cut to vinyl by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Original artwork and layout by Christian Carlsson modified for vinyl by Brad Rose.
File Under: Electronic, Tapes on Vinyl
Jozef Van Wissem/Jim Jarmusch: Apokatastasis (Incunabulum) LP
New material from the duo and new solo lute pieces. Acclaimed film director Jim Jarmusch plays electric and acoustic guitar and does tape on one piece. Composer/lutenist Jozef Van Wissem on 13 course baroque lute and 12-string electric guitar, Jim Jarmusch plays electric and acoustic guitars, and tape loops. Recorded in New York City.
File Under: Lute, Guitar, Experimental, Drone
Various: Arts & Crafts X (Arts & Crafts) LP Arts & Crafts X is a collection of original collaborative recordings by artist pairings from the A&C roster. The album’s 10 tracks include new compositions as well as fresh interpretations from a list of artists that includes Broken Social Scene, Feist, Timber Timbre, Chilly Gonzales, Stars and Dan Mangan.
File Under: CanCon, Collabs, Feist, BSS
Various: Crash of Thunder (Vampisoul) 2LP
Vampisoul’s third “all-KILLER-not-a-single-filler” set, compiled by NYC’s DJ Mr. Fine Wine, featuring his personal favorites from the King Records catalog. This is an odd King compilation; for one thing, there’s no James Brown on it — nor any J.B. productions. It isn’t even, strictly-speaking, a funk comp; isn’t northern soul, precisely (no Cody Black orJunior McCants); certainly isn’t R&B (no Little Willie John, no Hank Ballard, no Five Royales). In fact, it’s kind of all over the place. Like some of the worst compilations in your collection. What is it, then, that has you so eager? Well, the Swinging Seven, for one thing. That mysterious Kentucky outfit whose lone King single, the stuff of myth, you’ve never heard (though you saw the look in the eyes of that DJ you grudgingly respect when you overheard someone asking him about it, and since then you’ve combed Gemm and eBay and Google and sales lists and… nothing!). Here’s Mickey Murray, yes, his up-tempo funky Federal track; you danced to that one somewhere once. One you don’t know by his brother Clarence Murray — surely not a cover of the Moonglows? Well, you’ll find out soon enough. Ah, quite a bit of southern stuff, recordings from Criteria Studios in Miami, from Bobby Smith’s Macon, Georgia, setup. Robert Moore, hmmm, these two sides must predate his famous funk outing on Saadia. How will they compare to that monster? Oh, and the Presidents — from Indianapolis, you learned on Indiana45s.com — the tracks they somehow borrowed from Otis Redding’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and Eddie Floyd’s “Big Bird.” Finally, you can practice those mash-ups that have ’til now been purely theoretical. More: Queenie Lyons, with the best “Fever” this side of Bobby Bland’s, you’ve been made to understand by those who’ve heard it. Charles Spurling, Cincinnati tough guy, rumored to have punched out Mr. Brown himself (and paid for it). Frank Howard, that Beasties sample! Wayne Cochran — well, at least he looks a bit like a bleached-out J.B. But wait, ugh, liner notes by that jive-ass Mr. Fine Wine. Well, no matter; you must get home and hear this music.
File Under: Funk, Soul, R&B
Various: Five Days Married & Other Laments (Angry Mom) CD
Featuring sublime and unhinged music rarely heard outside of Northern Greece and Southern Albania, the performances presented in this collection span the range of plaintive, ancient dirges to hypnotic, droning dance pieces. The style, repertoire, and songs from this isolated region are unearthly in their euphonic appeal. Most of the music on this CD has not been issued since they were originally pressed on 78 rpm disc. A deep set of notes in a 12-page booklet is accompanied by comprehensive lyrical translations as well as original artwork by R. Crumb. This CD version includes as bonus tracks all four sides recorded in 1933 by the mysterious and archaic M. Harisis Epirotic Group. Respectfully crafted by Christopher King and Susan Archie for Angry Mom Records. Original artwork by Robert Crumb.
File Under: R. Crumb, Greece, Blues, Traditional, 78s
*Alessandro Alessandroni: Prisma Sonoro (Roundtable) LP
At The Drive In: Acrobat Tenement (Dine Alone) LP
Bon Iver: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
*Charles Bradley: Victim of Love (Daptone) LP
*Chrome: Half Machine Lip Moves (Cleopatra) LP
City & Colour: Little Hell (Dine Alone) LP
Daft Punk: Homework (EMI) LP
Danava: Hemisphere of Shadows (Kemado) LP
Dead Weather: Sea of Cowards (Third Man) LP
*Dinosaur L: 24>24 Music (Traffic) LP
*Drive OST (Invada) LP
*Damin Eih: Never Mind (Nero’s Neptune) LP
*Brian Eno: Small Craft on A Milk Sea (Warp) LP
Father John Misty: Fear Fun (Sub Pop) LP
*Bill Fay: s/t (4 Men With Beards) LP
Future Bible Heroes: Memories of Love… (Merge) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Allelujah! (Constellation) LP
*Arve Henriksen: Cartography (ECM) LP
*Howlin’ Wolf: Album (Get On Down) LP
Lumineers: s/t (Dualtone) LP
MF Doom: Operation Doomsday (Metal Face) LP
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry: Blackboard Dub (Get On Down) 3×10″
*Pulse Emitter: Aeons (Aguirre) LP
*Rodriguez: Cold Fact (Light In The Attic) LP/CD
*Rodriguez: Coming From Reality (Light In The Attic) LP/CD
*Arthur Russell: World Of Echo (Audika) CD
RZA: Shoulin Soul (Soul Temple) 3LP
*Taj Mahal Travellers: July 15, 1972 (Bamboo) CD
Tame Impala: Innerspeaker (Modular) LP
Tragically Hip: Road Apples (Music On Vinyl) LP
*X-TG: Desert Shore/Final Report (Industrial) LP
White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights (Third Man) LP
Various: Buttons Starter Kit (Numero) LP
*Various: Country Funk (Light In The Attic) LP/CD
Various: Don’t Stop Recording Tap (Numero) LP
Various: Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg (Numero) LP
Various: Eccentric Soul: Big Mack (Numero) LP
Various: Eccentric Soul: Outskirts of Deep City (Numero) LP
Various: Home Schooled (Numero) LP
Various: Wayfaring Stranger: Lonesome Heroes (Numero) LP