I don’t think when I started putting this news letter together about 14 years that I would still be toiling every Thursday to put this list out. Thanks to all of you who actually read at least somewhat. Anyway, loads of stuff in this week, and I just bought a rather sick batch of old wax, all US originals, lots of blues, some soul, and other cool stuff. Come on down for a dig.
…..picks of the week…..
Dean McPhee: Fatima’s Hand (Hood Faire) LP
Been waiting a long time for this one, and it’s exceeded my expectations! Fatima’s Hand is West Yorkshire based solo electric guitarist Dean McPhee’s second full-length album and the follow up to 2011’s critically acclaimed Son of the Black Peace. Fatima’s Hand is a meditative and quietly intense album combining influences from British folk, dub, Moroccan trance and ambient/drone. McPhee’s sparse, melodic and echo-laden guitar playing on Fatima’s Hand has been compared to Vini Reilly, Fripp & Eno and Loren Connors but his singular approach to the instrument is very much his own. Steve Barker of BBC Radio Lancashire’s On the Wire program described Dean as “definitely one of the leading contemporary guitar stylists in the UK, and in the world”. Fatima’s Hand features cover art by Federico Cortese which is beautifully presented on a matte laminate sleeve. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
File Under: Guitar Soli, Ambient
Karin Krog: Don’t Just Sing (Light in the Attic) LP
“Newly remastered audio. Includes rare archive photos and liner notes Q&A with Krog. The work of Karin Krog may be unfamiliar to much of the world, but in her native Norway and Scandinavia at large, she’s practically a household name. This says much about the local enthusiasm for post-bop jazz but also about the tyranny of distribution: until 1994, Krog’s albums weren’t available in the USA or UK, meaning three decades of recordings were waiting to be discovered. With this anthology of her best recordings from 1963 to 1999 — curated with Krog’s own input — we hope to set the record straight. To listen to opening track ‘As a Wife Has a Cow’ is to jump into the deep end. It’s 54 seconds of words, voice, and technology, a looped, echoing reading of a Gertrude Stein poem. The effect is disquieting and alien but deeply rhythmic, too — and that’s Krog’s USP. Don’t Just Sing takes in these spoken experiments along with free jazz, improvisation, standards, contemporary covers, and electronic manipulation. It features some of the best regarded jazz players in Europe, not least her partner, John Surman, the English saxophonist/multi- instrumentalist and composer. Krog began singing jazz in the 1950s and started her first band in 1962. She not only had two tracks on the first ever Norwegian jazz LP, Metropol Jazz, but also became the first Norwegian jazz artist to record and release a full album (1964’s By Myself on the Philips label). Her sound developed as technological advances made new recording techniques possible, and she quickly embraced the album as the perfect form to contain her sonic experiments. ‘There is such a thing as too much manipulation,’ says Krog today. Recorded with tenor saxophonist Jan Garbarek and bass player Arild Andersen, 1968’s Joy is regarded as her masterwork. Tracks from it can be found on this compilation, as can a couple of interesting covers: Joni Mitchell’s ‘All I Want’ and Bobby Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billy Joe,’ both of which show how Krog brought jazz aesthetics to pop songs of the day. ‘I remember that there was a lot of buzz around Blue, and Joni Mitchell is, as everybody knows, a very talented singer and songwriter,’ says Krog in the new liner notes.”
File Under: Jazz, Vocal, Post-Bop
Pekka Airaksinen: Buddhas of Golden Light (Arc Light Editions) LP
Reissue of legendary underground release Buddhas of Golden Light by Pekka Airaksinen, Nurse-With-Wound-listed founding member of legendary Finnish improv group The Sperm. Buddhas of Golden Light is a highly sought-after crate-digger’s classic, originally self-released in 1984. Airaksinen originally recorded the album to tape, using an 808 and DX7, with improvised saxophone taken from an epic week-long solo session and Antero Helander featured on one track. Buddhas of Golden Light is a true underground record that sounds like very little else ever made before or since. Simultaneously alarming and disarming, Airaksinen’s work co-opts the sound of the 808 and manipulates the DX7 for a cosmic spiritual jam, Sun Ra style. Airaksinen has been actively making music since the 1960s. Buddhas of Golden Light is from a series of albums he began making in the 1980s, each of which is dedicated to one of the thousand Buddhas and many of which were self-released. At the time of this reissue, he is about a hundred Buddhas deep. Airaksinen is mainly known for his role in the controversial Finnish underground group The Sperm, formed in 1967. The collective’s recordings resembled the noise and industrial music of the ’70s and ’80s, with a pro-drug, pro-sexual revolution rhetoric and a Dadaist sense of humor, influenced by American free jazz, underground rock, and anarchism. After The Sperm disbanded in 1970, Airaksinen continued making experimental music in his own studio. His music is characterized by out-of-sync rhythms, intense dynamics, and feverish visions. His approach is consciously unpolished, spontaneous, and improvised, resulting in a cosmic electro-jazz sound fusing free jazz and the 808. In the ’90s he began to incorporate techno influences, filtered through his Buddhist philosophy, and he is still making music at the time of this reissue.
File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Experimental, New Age
Olafur Arnalds/Nils Frahm: Stare (Erased Tapes) LP
Originally released as a limited 10″ for Record Store Day 2012, this long-sold-out must-have for fans of these two artists is now reissued as a 12″. Erased Tapes label-mates Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm recorded and mixed their first collaborative record between Reyjkjavík and Berlin as a surprise release for label founder Robert Raths. The ambient electronic work features long-time collaborator Anne Müller on cello. All graphics created by close friend of the label, designer Torsten Posselt of FELD.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Robbie Basho: Twilight Peaks (Smeraldina Rima) LP
Formal reissue of Twilight Peaks, guitarist Robbie Basho’s last recordings. It was originally issued in 1984 on a tape label called The Art of Relaxation, and never got any reviews or attention at the time. For this proper release it was mastered by Glenn Jones (of Cul de Sac fame) and Matt Azevedo, from the original demo tapes, provided to Glenn Jones by Basho himself as he was working on the album.
File Under: Folk, Guitar Soli
Biosphere: Microgravity (Biophon) 3LP
A remastered version of Biosphere’s debut album Microgravity with a bonus album of previously unreleased tracks. From Wikipedia: “Geir Jenssen began releasing his music as Biosphere on obscure Norwegian compilation albums. His first Biosphere releases were the 12-inch single The Fairy Tale and the album Microgravity, both of which were rejected by SSR as unmarketable. Microgravity was released in 1991 on the Norwegian label Origo Sound, and saw wider release via the R&S Records subsidiary Apollo in 1992, to much critical acclaim.” All tracks written and produced by Geir Jenssen. All tracks on sides E-F are previously unreleased. Recorded in Skippergata 42, Tromsø, Norway, between 1990 and 1991. Mastered by Stefan Betke. Artwork by Philip Marshall.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Techno
Bong: We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been (Ritual Productions) LP
We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been continues Bong’s unregulated experiments in tonal prolonging. Solemn in its delivery and frightening in its implications, this album signifies a point of no return from the Pied Pipers of mesmeric drone; its two near-20-minute tracks will surely loop and envelop indefinitely, freeing the listener from this increasingly unfamiliar material world and mercifully trapping them in the weightlessness of Bong’s sonic void. Microtonal adjustments and invading frequencies are pleated into a tapestry of gooey guitar and midnight-ritual percussion, melting at a glacial pace across “Time Regained” and “Find Your Own Gods.” The first of the two tracks creaks under the weight of residual distortion and unfathomable density, while the second opens with the powerful command of the track title, evoking a deity-defying thought process that unravels through the duration of the song, providing the synth-mist and distant rumbles with an origin so ancient it predates comprehension. We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been is Bong’s report from their explorations past the point where others fear. The album was captured and mixed in November 2014 by Mark Wood at the Soundroom in Gateshead, England, and the cover art is from “Thomson’s Aeolian Harp,” by famed pre-impressionist painter J. M. W. Turner, picturing an infant London in the background.
File Under: Drone, Metal, Stoner
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras: Catholic (Dark Entries) LP
Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem have teamed up to release “Catholic”, the lost opus of disco pioneer Patrick Cowley and Indoor Life vocalist Jorge Socarras. Perhaps one of the most revolutionary and influential people in the canon of disco music, Cowley created his own brand of Hi-NRG dance music, “The San Francisco Sound.” “Catholic” is a genre-bending concept album that ranges from minimalistic proto-techno to synth-driven post-punk, pre-dating the dance punk acts LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture by almost 30 years. It shows a much broader range than any Cowley or Socarras material available and gives a totally new perspective to one of the most inspiring eras in music history. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, the Velvet Underground, and Roxy Music, “Catholic” prefigures acts like Talking Heads, Units, The Human League or Chris & Cosey. Patrick forges a unique electronic sound from his collection of synthesizers, modified guitars, and self-constructed equipment while Jorge’s vocals go from hypnotic to camp, singing about gay love juju and tackling classics by Donovan and Stoller & Leiber. Featuring over 80 minutes of music never before released on vinyl, this compilation contains two bonus tracks not featured on the CD release. The tapes were meticulously restored by mastering guru Rashad Becker at D+M in Berlin, then remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl comes housed in a glossy dual pocket gatefold featuring the intended album cover from the original “Catholic” photo shoot in 1979, and the original hand-lettering by Arch Connelly aka A. Style intended for the first 45rpm single. Inside the gatefold sleeve contains lyrics and an essay from Jorge Socarras. For the 32nd anniversary of Patrick’s death, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem present a glimpse into the minds of these two geniuses. These recordings shine a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon. All proceeds from “Catholic” will be donated to the San Francisco AIDS Housing Alliance.
File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop, New Wave, Post Punk
Miles Davis: Fillmore West 15-10-70 (Hi Hat) LP
1970 was a turning point for Miles Davis, and it proved to be the most consistently intriguing year of his decades-long career. Davis had previously performed exclusively in jazz clubs and festivals, and Dave Holland, when he arrived from England in 1968, noted that he was “shocked at how few people were coming to Miles’s concerts.” But by the beginning of 1970, in conjunction with the April release of Bitches Brew, Davis began appearing at rock venues, sharing the bill with established rockers like Steve Miller, Grateful Dead, and Neil Young and often playing to audiences of thousands. His appearance at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West on October 15, 1970, highlights the transitional phase in Davis’s career, with his septet following a relatively consistent set list in order to provide a cross-section of his repertoire to a young and relatively unfamiliar audience. In hindsight, this was an important move, and an acknowledgement of the reality that this was the demographic Davis would need to capture if he were to remain both fresh and relevant. This performance was rapturously applauded by a fresh audience, fully endorsing Davis’s profound ability. Hi Hat presents the complete KPFA-FM radio broadcast of this performance, a tribute to the iconic jazz musician that portrays the depth and diversity at work at such a vitally important point in his career. Played by Miles Davis: trumpet; Gary Bartz: soprano and alto saxophones; Keith Jarrett: electric piano and organ; Michael Henderson: bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums; Airto Moreira: percussion; and Juma Santos: percussion. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Includes insert with analytical liner notes and photos. Remastered sound.
File Under: Jazz
Exoteric Continent: Referendum (Hospital Productions) LP
Barcelona’s Exoteric Continent follows cassette drops for Opal Tapes and Second Sleep with his first ever vinyl release. Exploring ascetic techno and electronic noise, this vinyl edition combines both of his Referèndum tape volumes, originally released on Hospital in 2014, on one fine slab. Something of a relative outsider in the balearic climes of his home city, Arnau Sala Saez pushes an intense, probing sound, both with his own music and via closely associated cohorts N.M.O., or Eric Frye and Helmer, who’ve released on his brilliant Anòmia label. With Referèndum, Exoteric Continent draws the listener into the awkward spaces and styles around the shifting, jagged borders of techno and noise, using drums, percussion, magnetic tape, and synthesizers to outline nine atonal and enigmatic silhouettes. The work ranges from the creeping slow-techno misshape of “Percentages” thru the sagging chamber feeling of “Posicions” to the Soisong-like gamelan tones of “Transició” and the kinky industrial swing instincts of “La Mirada Llarga”; he mixes rugged structures with stranger, keening electronics in the insectoid logic of “Autoritat” and the rubbled electro-acoustic texturhythm of “Agrupació Civil” to forge a fractious, unstable brace of noise techno that sits somewhere between classic Pan Sonic and his Hospital lablemate Alberich. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Edition of 500.
File Under: Electronic, Techno, Industrial
Flashback #7 Mag
Issue #7 of Flashback, Summer 2015. Edited by Richard Morton Jack (co-founder of Sunbeam Records and editor of the Galactic Ramble and Endless Trip books), it features writing from some of the world’s leading pop music authorities. In this issue: Vashti Bunyan: In the summer of 1968, Vashti Bunyan set out for the Western Scottish Islands in a horse-drawn wagon. The album she made en route — and the journey itself — have become the stuff of legend. Here she tells her story in greater depth than ever before… Jukebox: Wolf People’s Dan Davies and Tom Watt on 12 tracks that have inspired them. Album by Album: Dave Green and Trevor Tomkins were perhaps the leading rhythm section in 1960s/’70s British jazz. Here they talk us through several of their classic recordings. Phonograph Record Magazine: The history of this groundbreaking newspaper and its enigmatic founder-editor, the late Martin Robert Cerf. First Person: Bill Evans’s late sister-in-law Pat describes the brilliant pianist’s unique relationship with her husband Harry. Placebo: The fullest account yet put together of Marc Moulin’s pioneering early ’70s Belgian jazz-funk outfit. Raw Material: Responsible for two of the most sought-after LPs of the progressive era, this British quintet’s story is finally told. Euphoria: Having met on the Sunset Strip in 1964, William D. Lincoln and Hamilton Wesley Watt Jr. conceived one of the more audacious and extravagant albums of the decade. The Beach Boys: A long-overdue reprint of Michael Vosse’s eyewitness account of the genius and chaos of Brian Wilson as he toiled on the doomed Smile album. Fuzzy Duck: They were together for less than a year, but Fuzzy Duck made one of the most enduring hard rock albums of their era. Oriental Sunshine: Late ’60s Norway was far from pop’s cutting edge — but this sitar-toting trio’s sole album is a lost classic. Jimmy Page: A long-lost interview from September 1970, just before the release of Led Zeppelin III, exhumed from the pages of Rock magazine. Van Morrison: Two illuminating articles that appeared shortly after the release of Astral Weeks, and have barely been seen since. Down Underground: Fifty classic antipodean LPs from the heyday of underground rock. Crying to Be Heard: The sole release by Shaun Davey & James Morris, unheard since 1973.
File Under: Psych, Magazines
Mike Fiems: I Would Dream (Mapache) LP
Mapache invites you to the amazing dream of Mike Fiems. An impressive mixture of sunshine folk pop. A true musical adventure produced by legendary Vernon Wray, an outlaw from the music business who helped to create one of the most beautiful secrets of the seventies. Recorded at The Record Factory in the Arizona Desert in 1974, the album includes songs like “I would dream”, “Desert sands” and “I’m here” and shows a greatest and forgotten songwriter. Originally released on Wray’s own label Vermillion Records on a very limited number, this album has become a collector’s item.
File Under: Folk, Pop
Ford Proco/Coil: Expansino Naranja/Ecuacion de las Estrallas (Mannequin) LP
Previously unreleased collaboration between Mexican industrial godfathers Ford Proco, formed in 1986, and UK electronic pioneers Peter Christopherson and John Balance aka Coil, recorded in autumn 1999. Apparently Ford Proco members Robert Proco and Wito Lavolt met Christopherson in LA on the occasion of a performance by The Orb, and Christopherson later invited them to be extras for Ice-T videos. These tracks feature Christopherson on sax, drums, and effects, and John Balance providing his magnificent voice. Directly transferred from original DCC (Digital Compact Cassette); remastered by Rude 66. Cover art by Alessandro Adriani; label sacred geometry logos by Maximiliano Lizárraga.
File Under: Industrial, Electronic
Ghostface Killah: 12 Reasons to Die II (Linear Labs) LP
“Fans who have been waiting for the past two years can finally rejoice: Adrian Younge’s and Ghostface Killah’s Twelve Reasons To Die II is coming soon. To up the ante this time around, Ghostface has added a very important lyrical companion to the mix: Raekwon. The chemistry that was cemented two decades ago on Rae’s classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is as strong as ever, clearly heard on five out of the album’s 13 songs. And on the topic of chemistry, executive producer and Wu-Tang patriarch The RZA returns to Part II as the story’s narrator. Where the first installment of Twelve Reasons To Die was based in 1960s Italy — detailing the machinations of the feared DeLuca crime family — Part II inhabits the grimy streets of mid-1970s New York City. Descendants of the DeLucas are running the city, but a powerful, younger crime syndicate is percolating, commanded by black gangster Lester Kane (personified by Raekwon). As Kane’s power grows, he takes on the DeLucas and a bloodbath ensues. Kane has always known the legend of Tony Starks, who was killed by the DeLucas in Italy and whose remains were partially used to create twelve vinyl records. When played back in the ‘old world,’ the Ghostface Killer rose and destroyed the Italian faction. This plays into the story’s conclusion at the end of Part II. The storyline for Part II is vividly brought to life with the help of Younge’s never-endingly evocative and unique brand of cinematic, psychedelic soul. The music — on which Younge himself plays upwards of 10 instruments on certain songs — was recorded strictly on analog tape, to bring out the true grit of the ’70s era that provides the Twelve Reasons backdrop. Twelve Reasons To Die II is another heavy feather in the caps of all involved, especially Younge and Ghost, who again poured their skills and intellect into this dramatic and engaging tale. It all fits perfectly into the Wu-Tang family tree as well as Younge’s always-expanding musical universe, which now proudly relies on Linear Labs to house it.”
File Under: Hip Hop, Wu Tang
Joanna Gruesome: Peanut Butter (Slumberland) LP
Rival groups will be disappointed to learn that the record is a further experiment in combining hyper melodic pop music with sonic violence. Officials have confirmed that the album contains a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs. Yet they have issued warnings of “a marriage of radical politics with peanut butter spread”. One authorized statement reads: “Weighing in at a concise 25 minutes, the album hurtles through its ten songs, each one a succinct, powerful gem.” Like their debut Weird Sister, the new album was recorded by MJ from Hookworms, with the aim of heightening the group’s “pop” and “aggressive” elements to excessive and hitherto unrecorded levels. The record has also seen the group explore new and potentially dangerous lyrical territory.
File Under: Indie Pop, Noise Pop
Herbie Hancock: Omaha Civic Auditorium Nov 17,1975 (Hi Hat) LP
This superlative set at The Omaha Civic Auditorium, November 17th, 1975, was taped for FM broadcast soon after the release of Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking 1975 Man-Child album, and finds the great keyboardist backed by the awesomely tight combo of DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight (guitar), Bennie Maupin (reeds), Paul Jackson (bass), Bill Summers (percussion), and Michael Clarke (drums). This selection of Hancock’s finest tracks includes his early classic “Watermelon Man,” and is offered here in its complete form as originally broadcast, with remastered sound, background notes, and rare images. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Includes insert.
File Under: Jazz
Rasmus Hedlund: Alster (Ljudverket) LP
“Outstanding, varied, deep, widescreen, and star-crossed electronica from Finland — the label boss — in the best traditions of ambient dub, drone, and classic Berlin techno.”
File Under: Electronic, Dub, Techno
Joe & Bing: Daybreak (Mapache) LP
Mapache is proud to present the original Joe & Bing’s first album Daybreak.There aren’t many records as magical, as transcendent and as deserving of rediscovery as this one. This is the adventure of two young american songwriters who had the chance to get in the studio with Brazilian composer, arranger and superstar Deodato. The album they recorded is full of magical moments like “Daybreak”, “Summer Sound” or “Sail”. The record was never officially released in the US but different records with different covers and different mixings appeared on different countries like Brazil or Italy.You hold in your hands the album just like should have been. Cover and sound. And we’re sure you’ll love it.
File Under: Rock, Folk
Kare & The Cavemen: Jet Age (Round 2) LP
The legacy of Jet Age, originally released in 1997, has been slowly building over the years and is now widely regarded a true Norwegian classic. Led by guitar ace Knut Schreiner (who later became Euroboy in the infamous Turbonegro), Kåre and The Cavemen burst into the mid-nineties post-grunge scene with something really different. Inspired by exotica, bargain bin easy listening records, surf movies, Dick Dale and Link Wray they represented something new and fresh. The instrumental trio however managed to totally transcend any well-dressed retro genre, with sophisticated compositions that betrayed the band members young age, hinting to the dark seriousness of post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys and high flying Wrecking Crew-sessions. Round 2 is proud to present the first ever vinyl issue of Jet Age, with remastered audio, exclusive artwork, liner-notes by the band members, and a bonus track.
File Under: Exotica, Surf, Turbonegro
Ksiezyc: s/t (Penultimate Press) LP
Księżyc (Moon) was a project from Poland active in the 1990s. Members included Agata Harz (vocals), Katarzyna Smoluk (vocals, piano), Robert Niziński (wind instruments, keyboards), Lechosław Polak (accordion, keyboards, synthesizers), and Remigiusz Mazur-Hanaj (lyrics, tapes). The spirit of Księżyc captures early and late music with a medieval sound, rooted in Slavic tradition combined with elements of minimalism and vocal experiments of the 20th century. The alchemy of these constituent parts results in a breathtaking original music, both delicate and sinister. The surreal, fairy-tale-inspired lyrics add to the inherent beauty, sadness, and madness within. Originally released on cassette and 10″ vinyl by OBUH Records in 1996, the group’s defining statement has now been remastered by Piotr Nykiel at Nykiel Audio and cut on 12″, allowing for vastly improved sound quality. This reissue is presented in a beautiful gatefold with printed inner sleeve; an elegant reworking of the artwork introduces lyrics including English translations for the first time. Highly Recommended!!!
File Under: Experimental, Medieval, Minimalism, Classical
King Dude: Songs of Flesh & Blood (Not Just Religious Music) LP
King Dude’s latest full length is his most personal writing to date. This is not only a spiritual revelation, but also a revelation of the life of the man behind the music. TJ Cowgill’s own recent real life experiences with love, loss, death & violence are illuminated & explored herein, sure to be canonized alongside the rest of his work.
File Under: Folk, Neofolk, Rock
Kink Gong: Tanzania (Discrepant) LP
Another unique document of Laurent Jeanneau aka Kink Gong’s electronic deconstructions, this time stepping away from his usual Southeast Asia area of expertise and releasing some of his first reinterpretations and field recordings made in the late ’90s in Tanzania, Africa. “December 1999, Tanzania. I had an appointment with James Stephenson an American friend from the 90s in NYC, he used to skip the American winter every year to be with the Hadzas bushmen and other Tanzanians tribes in Tanzania. Whilst there, James and I lost completely track of time and did not give a shit about what day Christmas was, or New Years for that matter — with the majority of the planet knowing they were heading into the 21st Century. At some point end of December or early January 2000(?) we asked a group of Hadzas we were hanging out with, ‘what’s the date today?’ None understood the question but one Hadza who had been sent to school in the early 70s answered that we must be in 1975! Tanzania in 1999/2000, this intense trip away from all the millennium bullshit celebrations. I gathered all kinds of sounds, not only music, that expresses proximity and that was the first time I decided I was going to remix those raw recordings into a decent soundscape. It was also the first time I was pleased with the result — to go into a direction of redefining world music, away from the commercial clichés. This has been the direction I’ve taken and focused on ever since with the recomposing of my Asian recordings” –Laurent Jeanneau, Berlin, 2015. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering. Cover photography by James Stephenson. Limited to 500 copies.
File Under: Field Recordings, Ethnic
Mike Ladd: Welcome to the Afterfuture (Va Va) LP
Timely reissue of Mike Ladd’s crucial and seminal 1999 work Welcome to the Afterfuture. Summoning b-lines, electronic spatter, jazz wig-outs, hard hip hop, Indian ragas, and soundtrack ephemera, Mike Ladd chooses a different voice (and sometimes an absence of voice) for each tune. He runs hyper-literate, pun-stuffed rap against pitched-down crooning; pif-punk call-and-response against uninflected reportage; preacher’s cadences against poetry. This deluxe double LP reissue is packaged with an 11″ x 11″ booklet containing exclusive pictures, lyrics, and literature from prominent writers and critics, as well as exclusive vinyl-only bonus tracks and a download code. “Bladerunners” features Company Flow.
File Under: Hip Hop, Electronic
Marie Et Les Garcons: s/t (Gonzai) LP
Originally released by Ze Records in 1980, the sole album by Marie et les Garçons is not really what one might call an album. It collects tracks from two singles from 1977 and 1978, live recordings from 1977, and modernist songs that the band recorded in 1979 in New York. It took only three years for the band to switch their style from early punk to something more aligned with new wave. The A-side of Marie et les Garçons traces this transition, from the opening riff of “Rien a Dire”; through the band’s biggest hit, “Rebop,” produced by John Cale; to the discoid “P 4 Nº 2.” The B-side includes live recordings of the band playing their Velvets-esque art-punk in 1977. Marie et les Garçons was one of the most exciting late ’70s French bands, especially because of Patrick Vidal’s twisted and repetitive French lyrics, in a unique style that many songwriters would later imitate. With so many bands citing Marie et les Garçons as a significant influence, this first-ever reissue is long overdue. RIYL Television, The Velvet Underground, Wire, PiL, Teenage Jesus and The Jerks.
File Under: French, Post Punk, No Wave, Art Punk
Franco Micalizzi: I Due Volti Della Paura (Sonar Music Editions) LP
Yet another jewel reissued for the first time by Sonor Music Editions, originally released as a promo-only edition on the cult Pegaso label. This score was written in 1972 for the giallo film directed by Tulio Demicheli and starring George Hilton, Luciana Paluzzi, and Anita Strindberg. A sleazy psychedelic lounge masterpiece featuring sinister and thrilling themes. Fine, intense atmospheres accompanied by magnificent vocals from the bewitching Edda dell’Orso, along with harpsichord, glistening e-piano vamps, phased flute, and amazing cinematic beats and breaks. Restored audio; pressed on high-quality 180-gram vinyl.
File Under: OST, Library, Italian, Breaks
OST: Cannibal Apocalypse (Death Waltz) LP
Death Waltz Recording Company has taken another step into the infamous genre of flesh-eating monsters in order to bring you a much-requested score from the field of Italian horror – Alexander Blonksteiner’s Caniibal Apocalypse (aka Apocalypse Domani). Directed by Antonio Margheriti (Yor, Hunter From The Future) and starring John Saxon (A Nightmare On Elm Street), Apocalypse is a nightmarish vision where two Vietnam vets – Saxon and infamous horror actor John Morghen – unleash horror upon the world via a virus that makes the infected want to consume human flesh. Scoring the film is a soundtrack as intense and crazed as the cannibals themselves, although this may not seem immediately apparent. The opening is a lovely sweeping melody with gentle piano and flute (what is it with cannibal movies and these melodies?) and sets a serene and calm stage for the apocalypse to latch onto. The apocalypse itself scores a nine on the funkometer, with militaristic drums and sinister strings being overtaken by wah-wah funk and guitar noodling in a prog-rock vein. It’s both melodic and dischordant, with harsh alternating synth notes combining with shimmering music box notes, and a love theme with a sax that wails more than your average teenager. If you must chow down on someone, make sure Cannibal Apocalypse is spinning on your turntable.
File Under: OST, Horror, Cannibals
OST: Lucio Fulci’s Horror & Thriller (Mondo) LP
A collection of 29 tracks from the films of the Italian horror master Lucio Fulci. Featuring cues from A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, The New York Ripper, Manhattan Baby, The Beyond, Demonia, The House By The Cemetery The Door To Silence.
File Under: OST, Horror, Mondo
OST: Martin (Ship to Shore) LP
February 2nd 2015, NYC, NY – Ship to Shore PhonoCo. announced today that the score from George A. Romero’s Martin, once named “one of the top 100 coolest soundtracks of all time” by Mojo Magazine, will be available on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1978. “Donald Rubinstein contributes a haunting, melancholy score punctuated with sudden, passionate riffs. It is the perfect accompaniment to this tale of lost souls in a barren, nearly post-apocalyptic environment.” – Roy Frumkes, producer of Street Trash and director of Document of the Dead. The LP soundtrack to George A. Romero’s Martin has been a highly sought-after collector’s piece for many years, and now – thanks to Ship to Shore PhonoCo – it is finally available again. It’s not only a must-have for fans of Romero, but also connoisseurs of film scores in general. Due to its limited run, it’s expected to sell out fast!
File Under: OST, Horror, Vampires
OST: Pieces (We Release Whatever the Fuck We Want) LP
“You do not have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre!” The soundtrack for cult slasher movie Pieces (1982) is now available for the first time ever on vinyl. A plot filled with so many holes it’s impossible to follow, chainsaws cutting heads left and right, downright terrible acting, hilariously absurd scenes, and a brilliant soundtrack — Pieces is exactly what you think it is: one of the best movies ever made! Praised by the likes of Eli Roth (Hostel (2005), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Grindhouse (2007)…), this rare slasher has become a fan-favorite over the years and can be seen in horror movie festivals around the globe. Its original score is surprisingly elegant, full of eerie jazz, menacing synths, and soulful escapades — a well-balanced mix finding its influences in giallo and blaxploitation soundtracks of the ’70s and classic horror movie music of the ’80s. This limited vinyl edition includes numerous songs by Italian composer Stelvio Cipriani, the man behind the superb soundtrack of poliziottesco movie La Polizia Sta a Guardare (1973) (the main theme of which was reborn in 2007 in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof), multiple scores for Spaghetti Western movies starring Tony Anthony, and winner of a Nastro d’Argento award for best score for The Anonymous Venetian (1970). Also found on Pieces are compositions by Carlo Maria Cordio, who scored Joe D’Amato’s gorefest Absurd (1981) (which some might know as Anthropophagus 2, Monster Hunter, Horrible, or The Grim Reaper 2), a movie so shockingly violent it became one of the “Video Nasties” of the UK and was successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Acts in 1984. Lucio Fulci’s frequent collaborator Fabio Frizzi (responsible for the music of classic horror movies Zombie aka Zombi 2 (1979), L’Aldilà aka The Beyond (1981), City of the Living Dead aka The Gates of Hell (1980), and the list goes on) also makes a special appearance with the sexy “Cocktail Molotov.” Also included on the soundtrack are tracks by Stephen Ham & Alain Leroux and Enrico Pieranunzi & Silvano Chimenti, and, as a bonus, an audio recording of Pieces’ original movie trailer!
File Under: OST, Slasher
Chuck & Mary Perrin: Brother & Sister (Mapache) LP
Mapache is proud to present the first ever vinyl reissue of The Chuck & Mary Perrin album: Brother and Sister. Recorded in 1968, this gem is one of the biggest secrets of US folk. Full of amazing melodies and beautiful songs, this is one of the hardest to find records for collectors of folk, psych and singer/songwriters style records. Includes covers by Donovan or John Sebastian plus stunning originals like “Commencement”, “Mornings” or “Babe can you see” . Only 500 copies were pressed, and originals of this rarity have been sold for more than $1.000. This is one of the highest rated albums on record collectors guides.
File Under: Folk, Psych
Tess Parks/Anton Newcombe: I Declare Nothing (A Music) LP
Born in Berlin in early 2014 and nurtured over the following summer, I Declare Nothing is the spine-tingling collaboration between Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre), co-written and co-played by the duo and released to coincide with their 2015 European tour, following their Record Store Day 2015 Cocaine Cat single. A native of Toronto, Tess Parks moved to London, England, at the age of 17, where she briefly studied photography before deciding to focus on music. Parks made an impression on industry legend Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records, though the timing of their meeting could hardly have been less ideal; McGee was no longer involved in music and Parks was due to move back to Toronto. After moving back to her hometown in 2012, Parks formed a band on the advice of McGee and less than a year after their meeting, he returned to music with his label 359 Music. Parks became one of his first signings and released her debut record, Blood Hot, in November 2013 to excellent reviews. One reviewer described her as “Patti Smith on Quaaludes.” Others have mentioned her “gauzy psychedelic sound” and “smouldering voice.” Alan McGee himself said, “She’s only 24 and is already an amazing songwriter… she just doesn’t quite know she is yet — her most beautiful quality is her lack of ego. Tess is an amazing lady.” Anton Newcombe is the leader of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, who returned in May 2014 with their 14th full-length album, Revelation, to critical acclaim, and released Musique de film imaginé in 2015. The band’s first album to be fully recorded and produced at Newcombe’s recording studio in Berlin, it was supported by a successful European tour. Named in tribute to the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist and his influence in introducing Eastern culture and music into the world of Western rock ‘n’ roll, The Brian Jonestown Massacre formed in San Francisco, California in 1990. Through two dozen band members and numerous “ups and downs” (some of which have been famously sensationalized in the media), the one thing that has always remained consistent for this psychedelic collective is frontman Mr. Anton Alfred Newcombe. LP pressed on amber 180-gram vinyl.
File Under: Rock
Pig Rider: Bloody Turkey Sandwiches (Sommor) LP
Bloody Turkey Sandwiches is another ultra-rarity by British psychedelic folk band Pig Rider; only six copies were originally privately pressed by custom label Deroy Sound Service in 1974. The music here is much in the same vein as their famous Heterophonies album, but even more crazed. Some of the tracks bring to mind the more experimental side of The Olivia Tremor Control/Black Swan Network or even They Might Be Giants — but 20 years before those bands existed. Electric acid folk with stoned homemade atmosphere, lo-fi sound, bizarre and funny lyrics, effects, backward bits, surreal humor, psychedelic skiffle, old-timey music hall parodies, brilliant folk-rock-pop, and titles like “Interdrive Overstella,” “Be Glad for the Song Has an Ending,” “Pus In Our Time,” and “Have You Seen Your Neighbour in the Bath?” Recommended if you like The Incredible String Band, The Bonzo Dog Band, Syd Barrett, R. Stevie Moore… First ever reissue. Includes insert with photos and lyrics. Master tape sound. Limited to 300 copies.
File Under: Acid, Folk, Psych, Lo-Fi
Lou Reed: Banging on my Drums (Keyhole) LP
This superb live triple LP set contains rare recordings made by the legendary Lou Reed in America, Canada, Australia, and Holland between 1975 and 1977. Taking in Velvet Underground classics, gems from his incredible solo albums from the period, and a smattering of unreleased tracks, it finds him at what is arguably the peak of his powers, and comes complete with rare photos and an illuminating background interview. Previously released on CD in 2014. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Remastered sound.
File Under: Rock, VU
Puccio Roelens: Research of Sound (Sonar Music Editions) LP
From start to finish, this album features the most insane jazz-funk tunes ever released on a library LP from Italy. Amleto Armando “Puccio” Roelens was a great and in-demand composer and arranger of his time, working for Rai and Vedette Records and as an orchestra leader and pianist. Along with his 1977 album Rock Satellite, Research of Sound, originally released by the Italian Edipan label in 1976, is a killer funk record all the way through, and the most similar record to Stefano Torossi’s mythical Feelings (1974). Incredible b-boy drum breaks in this session with spacey Fender Rhodes, cosmic synth, mad fuzz and treated wah-wah, heavy basslines, and a huge horn section that sounds like it features Dino Piana’s jazz trombone… This first-ever reissue is remastered from the original master tapes and pressed on high-quality 180-gram vinyl.
File Under: Library, Italian, Breaks, Funk
Oscar Rocchi e il Suo Modern Sound: Erbe Selvatiche (Sonar Music Editions) LP
Originally released in the mid-’70s, this scarce Italian library LP composed by maestro Oscar Rocchi was released on the same Fonovideo label that put out Giancarlo Barigozzi’s famous Woman’s Colours (1974); Barigozzi most likely played in this session. This is one of the finest records of jazz-funk and breaks from the Italian library circle, with terrific drums breaks, stoned flute, fuzzy guitars, and Fender Rhodes solos. Many tracks here are perfect b-boy samples, and have chipped in to make this LP just legendary. This first-ever reissue is remastered from the original master tapes and pressed on high-quality 180-gram vinyl.
File Under: Library, Italian, Breaks
John Michael Roch: With You In My Arms (Subliminal Sound) LP
First ever reissue of a very special, mega-rare, and practically unknown Los Angeles mid-1970s pop-rock-psych private press treasure, dedicated to the memory of Patrick “The Lama” Lundborg (1967-2014), author of the groundbreaking psychedelic literature The Acid Archives (2006) and Psychedelia (2012). Although collectors have been searching frantically to turn up every unknown North American psych treasure from the past for some time, there are still unknown and mind-blowing nuggets to be found out there! This reissue includes in-depth liner notes by the artist himself and photos. Limited edition of 500 copies.
File Under: Private Press, Pop, Psych
Sadaka: Premonition (Jazzman) LP
The album Premonition is a masterpiece of spiritual jazz, and reflects the spiritual awakening of a natural musical genius, Umlah Sadau Holt. In the 1970s, Holt was involved in all kinds of jazz, reggae, and world music projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over time he absorbed the global rhythms that can only come from extensive involvement with a variety of international musicians, and he integrated them into his own developing ideas of jazz. When his friend Emmanuel Nado returned from Africa one day, Umlah was fascinated by his pictures and stories and was inspired to learn more about his heritage — even to the extent of learning to play soccer! He was also inspired to use his skills to create music that would bridge the spiritual gap between the continent in which he now lived and that of his ancestors. Drawing upon his close friends and a varied selection of session musicians, the concept for an album developed, and eventually Premonition was born. Umlah composed and arranged all the songs on Premonition, his first and only album, and released it on his own private label in 1981. Yet despite an enthusiastic response from jazz aficionados and favorable reviews by the critics, as is often the case with independently produced records, sales were poor. In the time since, the LP has become an elusive — and expensive — collectors’ item. With this first-ever reissue, Premonition finally receives the exposure it deserves. Here is an album that is the sole representation of an inspired jazz artist who had the talent and dedication to see his dreams materialize. A work significant and important enough in the heady realms of spiritual jazz to be rescued in its entirety from obscurity. Another exceptional album in the Jazzman Holy Grail Series.
File Under: Jazz, Spiriutal
Seaweed: Actions & Indications (Merge) LP
Seaweed formed out of the fertile northwest punk scene of the mid-to-late ‘80s in Tacoma and Olympia Washington. Singer Aaron Stauffer, fresh off a stint in the little-known Spook & the Zombies, founded the band with best friend Clint Werner, who assumed guitar duties. After the recruitment of guitarist Wade Neal, bassist John Atkins, and drummer Bob Bulgrien, Seaweed began playing clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest. From 1989 to 1999, Seaweed recorded five punk-pop LPs and played over a thousand shows. According to All Music Guide, “they played D.I.Y. with the Sub Pop label for their first three records, went ambitiously astray by signing with Hollywood Records, then did the cool right thing by returning to indie Merge.” This August, Merge Records offers the vinyl reissue of 1999’s Actions and Indications, remastered and pressed to high quality vinyl, with three unreleased bonus tracks (digital only) added. Originally recorded at Tacoma’s Uptone Electric studio in the summer of 1998, Actions and Indications is a tour de force of power chord dynamism.
File Under: Punk, Indie Rock
Seekersinternational: Her Imperial Majesty (Boomarm National) LP
“10 tracks of potent, crackling dub abstraction and sound system meditations. This album is a special SKRS dedication to the all powerful divine feminine force, the international Gyal dem! Housed in an incredible gold, black, & white printed sleeve designed by SKRS in-house visual wing, MYSTERYFORMS. Limited to 550 copies.”
File Under: Dub, Electronic
Sogmusobil: Telefon (Subliminal Sound) LP
First ever reissue of rare, sought-after, and stoned-to-the-max Swedish underground psych/progressive/experimental treasure from 1971, originally released on the legendary Gump label and featuring the mythic underground personalities and musicians Einar Heckscher and Johnny Mowinckel. Side A is sung in English and side B in Swedish. The band name has been mixed up many times by collectors, mistaken as either Telefon Paisa (an earlier incarnation of the band) or Telefon (the album title), but this reissue sets the record straight and tells their story. Includes booklet with lots of previously unpublished photos and in-depth liner notes. Limited edition 600 copies.
File Under: Prog, Psych, Experimental
Omar Souleyman: Bahdeni (Monkeytown) CD/CS
Perhaps Syria’s most successful musical export, international singer Omar Souleyman returns with his second proper studio effort and most personal album to date, Bahdeni Nami. For the album Souleyman opened his doors to collaborations with a number of renowned electronic producers, all of whom were established fans eager to offer unique interpretations of his sound. Four Tet returns to produce a track, Gilles Peterson lends his considerable talents to one song, Modeselektor turn in the two fastest dance numbers of the set, and Legowelt offers a remix of the title-track. Additionally, a 7″ planned for release in August 2015 will feature a thoroughly distinctive remix of one of the album’s heartrending ballads by The Black Lips’ Cole Alexander. Bahdeni Nami was recorded closer to home, in Istanbul, and appropriately the singer is joined by traditional accompaniment. Souleyman has reunited with his favorite poet, Ahmad Alsamer (who penned his pre-west hits “Kaset Hanzel,” “Khattaba,” and “Shift -al Mani”), heard throughout the album offering claps and wails of encouragement. The songs come alive with musical contributions and support from the virtuosic sax work of Khaled Youssef, another longtime collaborator from his hometown. Rizan Sa’id’s keyboards improvise devotedly to every tune and turn of Souleyman’s choice. The lyrics are familiar territory for the singer — declarations of eternal love, consolation of one’s aching heart, pleas to his lover to sleep in his arms forever — realized as four fast dance numbers, an introduction mawal, and an elaborate araby style ballad. Omar Souleyman continues to tirelessly bring his wild dance party to all corners of the globe, everywhere from SXSW to the Nobel Peace Prize Concert to rock clubs in cities around the world. Originating from the Hasake region of Syria, Souleyman earned his reputation by singing and leading years of weddings, birthdays, christenings, corporate parties, and more, answering invitations from all peoples living in the region — be they Muslims, Christians, Kurds, Iraqis, Syrians, Assyrians. Those parties yielded hundreds of cassette tapes at first offered as gifts and later distributed throughout the region and other Arab countries. Despite the world’s insistence in associating him with his home country’s unending war, Omar Souleyman gives back nothing but love.
File Under: Dabke, Syria, Dance Party, Wedding Singers
Tapes: No Broken Hearts on This Factory Floor (EM) LP
Shifting tectonic plates, as two island nations collide! London resident Jackson Bailey aka Tapes makes Jamaica-drenched lo-fi bass music, a forward-looking mix of dub, dancehall, and electro roots channeled and filtered through old-school rhythm machines, synths, spring reverb, and delay. Recorded with glorious grit on cassette, sometimes in the red, tape hiss intact but somehow sounding bigger, better and beatier than it should, with a sweet analog patina. There’s an aquatic feel here on this first full album from Bailey, a rich brew of deep and soulful sunny JA roots, hints of UK melancholy and industrial smoke, even some icily funky NYC early electro. With an old island soul and a new ear to the future, this first album from Tapes features six previously unreleased tracks plus ten tracks previously issued on his own label and other labels, including Jahtari, in various formats, included here with remastered sound in previously unreleased mixes. With a total running time of 43 minutes, these 16 tracks are available on double LP (45 RPM). UK, JA, NYC: all these letters, and more, spell Tapes. Front cover art by Jimmy Cauty (The KLF). Co-production of EM Records and Corner Stone Music.
File Under: Electronic, Dub
Giovanni Tommaso: Vivere A Tokio (Sonar Music Editions) LP
Yet another jewel reissued for the first time by Sonor Music Editions, originally released as a promo-only edition on the cult Pegaso label. This score was written in 1972 for the giallo film directed by Tulio Demicheli and starring George Hilton, Luciana Paluzzi, and Anita Strindberg. A sleazy psychedelic lounge masterpiece featuring sinister and thrilling themes. Fine, intense atmospheres accompanied by magnificent vocals from the bewitching Edda dell’Orso, along with harpsichord, glistening e-piano vamps, phased flute, and amazing cinematic beats and breaks. Restored audio; pressed on high-quality 180-gram vinyl.
File Under: Library, OST, Italian, Breaks
Amara Toure: 1973-1980 (Analog Africa) LP/CD
“Latin music, is it really foreign to us Africans? I don’t think so. Listen to the drums, to the rhythm. It all seems very close to us — it feels like it’s our own culture” –Amara Touré. In late-’50s Dakar, Senegal, producer Ibra Kassé and his Miami nightclub spearheaded a movement blending the Cuban styles of son montuno and patchanga with local folk traditions. Through the unique cultural fusion of West African and Caribbean influences, Latin music took on a new and unique sound, brought a breath of fresh air into Dakar’s nightlife, and attracted numerous musicians from surrounding countries. One of the musicians who answered this call was percussionist and singer Amara Touré, from Guinea-Conakry. In 1958, Kassé invited Touré to join Le Star Band de Dakar, led by Mady Konaté, a group that was immensely important for the development of Senegalese modern music. Touré’s talent on percussion was undeniable, but it was his raw, powerful voice and his interpretations of Cuban music that captivated the producer. In 1968, after ten years with the Star Band, Touré headed to Cameroon and formed the Black and White ensemble, with which he performed live through the late ’60s and early ’70s and released three singles between 1973 and 1976. These singles, included as the first six songs on this compilation, fully epitomize and distill the essence of what Touré had learned during his career. His Mandingue roots fused with the Senegalese sound that he had mastered — the perfect foundation for his Cuban interpretations. In 1980 Touré went to Libreville, Gabon, to team up with the powerful Orchestre Massako, with which he recorded Accompagné Par L’Orchestre Massako. This LP has since gained a reputation as one of the very best African albums, and its complete contents are included here as the compilation’s last four tracks. These ten treasures, representing Touré’s complete discography, have been carefully remastered from original session tapes and vinyl records, and are reissued here for the first time. After the release of his LP in 1980, Touré seems to have disappeared. Apparently he was last seen in Cameroon but his whereabouts are unknown at the time of this release. His music, however, is undeniably alive.
File Under: Latin, Afro-Cuban
Steve Treatment: All Dressed For Tomorrow (Munster) LP
Brilliant DIY ‘n’ roll from Steve Treatment, one of the most fascinating but less heralded figures of the late ’70s British punk/DIY scene. Bonding over a shared love for Marc Bolan, Steve and the nascent Swell Maps would play and hang out together around London. The Maps backed Steve on his first single, released on their own Rather Records in 1978. All Dressed for Tomorrow includes said record and Steve Treatment’s other two singles from 1979, plus chosen highlights from 1977-1979 recordings, unreleased at the time. Raw, unkempt, experimental glam rock magic. The extensive liner notes by Chuck Warner (Hyped to Death, Messthetics), accompanied by copious photos and memorabilia, cover not just the music but also Steve’s varied interactions with Marc Bolan, the Swell Maps, The Moors Murderers, Derek Jarman… among others.
File Under: DIY, UK, Punk
Piero Umiliani: Omaggio Ad Einstein (Dagored) LP
Omaggio ad Einstein has a special place among the many albums of electronic music composed by Piero Umiliani. In this homage to the German physicist, Umiliani subverts the rules of space and time in music and creates an album with 23 compositions, all of them less than two minutes long, instead of following the traditional 7-10 tracks usually present in an LP. This is an original and experimental album, with a peculiar and epic catchiness, tied to Piero Umiliani’s masterful use of synthesizers and great experience in the field of soundtracks. The themes of Omaggio ad Einstein take us to sidereal spaces, wandering across the universe with their clear sounds and wonderfully creative titles (“The Celestial Vault,” “Nuclear Valkyries,” “Galactic Abyss”…). This is the first reissue of this album, which was originally released in 1976 by Umiliani’s Omicron label.
File Under: Electronic, Library
UGK: Ridin’ Dirty (Get on Down) LP
Pressed on clear vinyl. “Ridin’ Dirty is the third studio album by dirty south legends Bun B and Pimp C — together known as UGK. It is easily considered one of the greatest southern hip hop albums ever made, but let’s drop all the labels this is just pure good rap music, for any region. It’s all right there, everything that people have come to expect from Houston rap: candy-painted cars, wood-grained steering wheels, flashy jewelry, late-night odes to lean and weed, passing references to DJ Screw tapes, those warm funk synthesizers that sound like radio oldies. All of Ridin’ Dirty feels iconic now — among other reasons, because so many of its lyrics have since been cribbed by everyone from Slim Thug to Jay Z. There’s the laid-back badassery of ‘Diamonds and Wood,’ the zoned-out celebration of ‘3 in the Morning,’ the ridiculous boasting of ‘Fuck My Car.’ Everything here is essential. Ridin’ Dirty was produced entirely by Pimp C and features start to finish bangers such as ‘One Day’, ‘Murder,’ ‘Hi Lif,’ and of course the title track ‘Ridin’ Dirty.’ Pimp C makes use of perfectly chosen soul, funk, and gospel samples to create a perfect soundscape for he and Bun B to trade verse over. Despite there being no singles or videos released from the album, the set went on to be a pivotal moment in southern hip hop as well as UGK’s best-selling and most critically acclaimed release.”
File Under: Hip Hop, Rap
Units: Digital Stimulation (Futurismo) LP
Finally, after 35 long years! Futurismo have the privilege to be the first label ever to re-release one of the most sort out and revered electronic albums of the early 1980’s – Digital Stimulation by Units. Inspired by punk in ideology, though not necessarily in sound, San Francisco’s Units were a young breed of dystopic visionaries art space prodigies and trash culture futurists set on reshaping sound for a new age. Leading the charge, along with only a couple of others such as Screamers and Chrome, they lit the touch-paper for a new sound, a new scene. A new approach. Equally as influenced by experimental cinema, performance art and Brechtian street theatre as they were the music of Suicide and Devo, Units offered a glorious glimpse into how and what pop music could be. Their influence has stretching all the way through synthpunk and new wave pop into the most contemporary electro musicians. Originally released in 1980, Digital Stimulation was Units true calling card and masterpiece. Containing the now famous opener ‘High Pressure Days’, this is a time capsule brought up from the dawn of the digi-age; all metronomical rhythms, wry lines and ice-cold delivery…part of a lineage that includes Neu!, Tubeway Army, ‘Being Boiled’-era Human League and Cabaret Voltaire, making this a vital recording for anyone interested in electronic music at all – past or present. It’s relevance reinstated by the recent remixes and coverage by contemporary musicians including Erol Alkan, Health and Todd Terje…and with original copies selling at extortionate prices this is a rerelease that’s long overdue. Coming 22nd June 2015 for a Worldwide release Futurismo present a remastered redux version of this long out of print LP on 180g limited edition coloured vinyl, as well as a never before released CD. Both versions come with new stylized artwork, metallic ink sleeves, rare imagery, hidden tracks and a huge fold-out double sided poster containing brand new liner notes by Scott Ryser. There’s no gratification without Digital Stimulation. This summer get ready for the climax, only on Futurismo.
File Under: New Wave, Synth Pop
Wapassou: s/t (Lion) LP
“With their first album, legendary French art-rock band Wapassou found a distinctive musical voice: well-developed melodies, rhythmic organ, prominent droning violin, and guitar doubling-up as a rhythm instrument. They often conjure up what it might have sounded like had John Cale and Stereolab formed a band in 1974, the year this album was released. The five tracks are highly original, varied and inventive, steeped in post-psychedelic rock. Although Wapassou are noted for playing without a rhythm section, the two most striking songs include bass and drums. Why some enterprising dj hasn’t created a chill mix from the drum track and provocative vocals on ‘Chatiment’ (guitarist Karen Nickerl murmuring about the cigarettes she has consumed and that she is a killer, ‘Je suis l’assassin,’ in the midst of the pulsing drone of the band), we don’t know. The 13+ minute long ‘Trip’ is a revelation: for the first two minutes you will think you stumbled into the Cocteau Twin’s ‘Victorialand’; the band then jam for six and a half minutes before they drop one of the trippiest ethereal breakbeat grooves you’ll ever hear; the last two minutes of solo sitar are sonic lysergia of the highest quality. Lest we startle you with excited pronouncements of how good this album is, we’ve forced ourselves to be matter of fact! it is unique, with slight nods to groups like Amon Düul, Popol Vuh, Czar, and Ash Ra Tempel. A colorful insert has the detailed history of the making of the album, plus photos and other marvels. Remastered and sounding better than it ever has.”
File Under: Prog, Psych
Jane Weaver: Silver Globe (Bird) LP/CD
The Silver Globe expands: as one of the most industrious female multi-instrumentalist songwriters in modern pop, Jane Weaver literally doubles the content of her acclaimed 2014 album for the double-CD version of this synth-ridden special release. Unlike so many other big label “campaigns” that vied for PR attention via ego-fuelled video promos and down-your-throat advertising, this unassuming, dedicated, focused piece of experimental vocal pop was in no way spoon-fed to editors or playlisters. Nor did it fall within the lines of what might have been considered fashionable or culturally relevant. The Silver Globe was judged on its own merit as a brilliant, uncompromising pop record. By the end of 2014 The Silver Globe had been announced as Piccadilly Records’ best album of the year, earned a spot in Gilles Peterson’s top ten Worldwide Tracks of the Year, garnered repeat plays from virtually every specialist DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music (among many more global radio stations), found DJ mix support from Andrew Weatherall, and filled most of the pages in a 12-month diary with gig and festival requests. This expanded double-CD edition of The Silver Globe includes a second full-length disc called The Amber Light, which carves a niche between new age motivational music, radiophonic folk, and snarling krautrock, echoing the kosmische stylings of The Silver Globe with the punk urgency of ’80s domestic synthpop. The Amber Light’s four original songs are accompanied by three exclusive instrumental themes (including a commissioned theme from an American vampire film), and three collaborative re-workings/duets based on tracks from The Silver Globe, with co-production from Tom Furse (The Horrors), Andy Votel, Suzanne Ciani, members of Demdike Stare, and original Silver Globe inhabitants Pete J. Phillipson and Martin King. Substantiated by other deluxe editions, including a silver vinyl version of the The Silver Globe, a series of compact cassettes, and a single release of standout robotic-roller-rink track “Don’t Take My Soul” (as a split single with Bird label-mate Tender Prey), the Silver Globe/Amber Light project reciprocates the positive energy shared by Jane Weaver’s loyal audience and a wide host of new converts who have allowed her self-sufficient songs and synthetic soundscapes to flourish. The Silver Globe is still turning.
File Under: Electronic, Pop, Vocal
Various: Time Wept (Honest Jons) LP
Stunningly beautiful, poignant music from Bilād al-Shām — “the countries of Damascus,” known nowadays as Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine — including performances from the very first recording sessions in the region. The legendary, moody Beirut singer Būlus Ṣulbān is here — some historians have him singing before Egypt’s Pasha Ibrāhīm Bāshā during his military campaign in Syria, in 1841 — and Ḥasība Moshēh, Jewish “nightingale of the Damascene gardens.” Thurayyā Qaddūra from Jerusalem; Yūsuf Tāj, a folk singer from Mount Lebanon; Farjallāh Bayḍā, cousin to the founders of Baidaphon Records… Musical directors like the lutist Qāsim Abū Jamīl al-Durzī and the violinist Anṭūn al-Shawwā (followed by his son Sāmī); such virtuosi as the qanun-players Nakhleh Ilyās al-Maṭarjī and Ya’qūb Ghazāla, and lutist Salīm ‘Awaḍ. Even at the time, notwithstanding such brilliance, public music-making was frowned upon as morally demeaning, especially for women. Musical venues were generally dodgy. Ṣulbān once cut short a wedding performance for the Beiruti posh, after just one song, he was so disgusted with the attitude of his audience. “If I had to tell you about the catcalls,” one commentator wrote about musical theater in Beirut, “the stomping of feet, the sound of sticks hitting the ground, the noise of the water-pipes, the teeth cracking watermelon seeds and pistachio nuts, the screams of the waiters, and the clinking of arak glasses on the tables, I would need to go on and on and on…” Also includes tracks by Aḥmad al-Shaykh, Na’īm Sem’ān, Ḥikmat Ḥajjār, Bāsīl Ḥajjār, Muḥyiddīn Ba’yūn, Muḥammad al-‘Āshiq, Aḥmad al-Mīr, Iliās Shahwān, and Yūsuf al-Naḥḥāl.
File Under: Ethinc, Damascus, Folk
Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Merge) LP
Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity (ESP Disk) LP
Boogie Down: Sex & Violence (Get On Down) LP
Built To Spill: Perfect From Now On (Warner) LP
Butthole Surfers: Independent Worm Saloon (Plain) LP
Phillip Cohran & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble: s/t (Honest Jon’s) LP
College: Secret Diary (Invada) LP
Dead Prez: Let’s Get Free (Get On Down) LP
Deltron 3030: s/t (Deltron) LP
Destroyer: This Night (Merge) LP
Drive Like Jehu: Yank Crime (Hedhunter) LP
Fuzz: s/t (In The Red) LP/CS
Goblin: Zombi (AMS) LP
Husker Du: Zen Arcade (SST) LP
Husker Du: New Day Rising (SST) LP
Jurassic 5: QC (Get on Down) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath) LP
Madlib/Freddie Gibbs: Pinata (Madlib) LP
MF Doom: Mmm… Food (Rhymesayers) LP
Ministry: Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste (Music on Vinyl) LP
Ol’ Dirty Bastard: Return to 36 Chambers (Get On Down) LP
OST: Hannibal (Mondo) LP
Shuggie Otis: Inspiration Information (Epic) LP
Vito Ricci: I Was Crossing A Bridge (Music From Memory) LP
Slum Village: Yes (Get On Down) LP
Spiritualized: Fucked Up Inside (Plain) LP
Andy Stott: Faith in Strangers (Modern Love) LP
Benny Soebardja: Night Train (Strawberry Rain) LP
Suicide: s/t (Red Star) LP
Suicide: Half Alive (Roir) LP
Sun Ra: Monorails & Satellites (Saturn) LP
Taj Mahal Travellers: August 74 (Phoenix) LP
Various: Brand New Wayo (Comb & Razor) LP