I sure do like boxsets. I’ve spent all day playing the Volcano the Bear boxset through while putting this news letter together. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty great afternoon. Anyway, I’ve got a ton to do so, read on!
Also after I close up tonight I’ll be heading down to the Black Dog to spin some records with Ian “Raebot”. Come on down and hang out!
And lastly, next Friday is Black Friday Record Store Day. Yes we’ll have some of the exclusive releases and yes, we’ll be having our annual anniversary/pre-xmas sale. So come on down and start/finish your xmas shopping!
…..pick of the week…..
Volcano the Bear: Commencing (Miasmah) LP
Leicester, England — mid-1990s. Aaron Moore, Nick Mott, Clarence Manuelo, and Daniel Padden create a freeform group called Volcano the Bear out of their frustration with standard musical limitations. Now, in 2015, after 20 years of experimenting with improvisation, folk, Dada, post-punk, krautrock, noise, surreal comedy, pure avant-garde, and more, the group has obtained a cult following and high critical praise across the globe. Renowned for their highly theatrical and obscure live performances, as well as their mind-blowing catalog of releases, Volcano the Bear truly is a one-of-a-kind group, consistently pushing forward with their own unique, experimental approach to sound making. Commencing manages to be both a retrospective of the group’s 20-year history since their formation in 1995 as well as its own unique release filled with vast amounts of material. The five LPs presented here, each in individual covers with liner notes for each track on the back and housed together in a deluxe silkscreened box, contain 64 tracks and clock in at over four hours in length. Expect an abundance of previously unreleased material, alternate versions, tracks from early cassette albums never before released on vinyl, live recordings, pieces from forgotten compilation appearances, and more, all mixed and compiled together to form five standalone albums. The set also includes a 50-page book of writings, photos, artwork, and flyers from the band’s long history, along with a download code for the complete set plus a bonus album of ten tracks that didn’t make the final cut. This is the ultimate Volcano the Bear release for fans of the group and of surreal, experimental musical history in general. “Listening to the wealth of mainly unreleased and live material presented here, one’s mind boggles at the wonderful, extraordinary and frankly bizarre pallet these guys have to offer. They take us on a sure fire journey into some of the most healthy and unambiguous, crazed and deadly, astonishing and timeless music to push our pleasure buttons up to 13!” –Steven Stapleton, Cooloorta, May 25, 2015
File Under: Underground Rock, Experimental
9th Wonder & Talib Kweli: Indie 500 (It’s A Wonderful World) LP
“Two of Hip Hop’s most cherished icons, Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder have come together to create what undoubtedly will go down as an instantly classic album. INDIE 500 features an All Star supporting cast, including Problem, Slug (of Atmosphere), Rapsody, Pharaoh Monch, Brother Ali, Hi-Tek, NIKO IS and more. After exploding on to the scene as one half of the legendary Black Star alongside Mos Def in 1998, Talib Kweli quickly followed up in 2000 with the album Train of Thought, his collaborative effort with producer Hi-Tek. As fans,critics and his peers unanimously agreed, Kweli was cemented as one of hip hop’s top lyricists and continued to release one acclaimed album after another – garnering direct praise from Jay-Z on his song ‘Moment of Clarity’ from Jay-Z’s classic The Black Album. A collaboration between Kweli and 9th almost seemed to make perfect sense, but INDIE 500 represents even more to the artists.”
File Under: Hip Hop
Adele: 25 (XL) LP
Adele is set to release 25, her highly anticipated third studio album, which will be available globally via Columbia/XL Recordings in November 2015, and is the Grammy-winning singer’s follow-up to her monumental 21 and first new music since her Oscar winning single “Skyfall” in 2012. The 11-track album will be preceded by album opener and debut single “Hello,” available Friday October 23rd. “When I was 7, I wanted to be 8. When I was 8, I wanted to be 12. When I turned 12 I just wanted to be 18. Then after that I stopped wanting to be older. Now I’m ticking 16-24 boxes just to see if I can blag it! I feel like I’ve spent my whole life so far wishing it away. Always wishing I was older, wishing I was somewhere else, wishing I could remember and wishing I could forget too. Wishing I hadn’t ruined so many good things because I was scared or bored. Wishing I wasn’t so matter of fact all the time. Wishing I’d gotten to know my great grandmother more, and wishing I didn’t know myself so well, because it means I always know what’s going to happen in the end. Wishing I hadn’t cut my hair off, wishing I was 5’7”. Wishing I’d waited and wishing I’d hurried up as well. “My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record. I’m making up with myself. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. But I haven’t got time to hold on to the crumbs of my past like I used to. What’s done is done. Turning 25 was a turning point for me, slap bang in the middle of my twenties. Teetering on the edge of being an old adolescent and a fully-fledged adult, I made the decision to go into becoming who I’m going to be forever without a removal van full of my old junk. “I miss everything about my past, the good and the bad, but only because it won’t come back. When I was in it I wanted out! So typical. I’m on about being a teenager: sitting around and chatting shit, not caring about the future because it didn’t matter then like it does now. The ability to be flippant about everything and there be no consequences. Even following and breaking rules…is better than making the rules. 25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realising. And I’m sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened.” – Adele
File Under: Pop
ADMX-71: Coherent Abstractions (L.I.E.S.) LP
Adam X is back with his third album release under his industrial guise, ADMX-71. Following releases with the legendary label Hands and his own imprint, Sonic Groove Experiments, Adam paired up with L.I.E.S Records in 2014 for The Redacted Files, a 12″ of slowed-down and tense EBM wizardry. Adam now returns to the L.I.E.S. front with Coherent Abstractions, an album of singular experiments that pull from every corner of electronic music’s landscape into a comprehensive and propulsive full-length. Coherent Abstractions pulsates with fractured rhythms, vacillating melodies, and mesmerizing compositions that showcase Adam’s impressive history working in all aspects of the underbelly of electronic music. Noise and industrial elements seep into the album’s 11 songs, churning the cold and abrasive into feverish new territory. Though Coherent Abstractions operates primarily in sounds of solitude, guest vocalist Janina joins “Bound and Broken” for a rare vocal collaboration on an ADMX-71 track. We also hear a frantic vocal performance from the producer on “Nearing Obliteration,” which is undoubtedly the apex of the album. Throughout the album the music sweeps from breakbeat noir and anxious electronic dub to reflective industrial modes, making Coherent Abstractions an engaging and varied listen, updating a late-’80s EBM tone into modern sound design environments while pushing a reverence for the past and heading into the deep unknown of the future. For those unfamiliar with Adam’s deeply rooted history in the New York underground, he and his brother, Frankie Bones, pioneered techno in a post-disco, pre-Giuliani New York City through the late ’80s and onward past the ’90s, producing countless records under various guises and finally opening their own shop and record label, Sonic Groove. At the same time they began throwing renegade parties, known as Storm Rave, throughout the five boroughs — a practice that was unheard of at the time in such a major US metropolis and opened the door for what was to come.
File Under: Techno, Industrial, Noise
Alessandro Alessandroni: Angoscia (Intervallo) LP
Originally released in 1975 by Italian label Octopus Records, a label devoted to thematic libraries, Angoscia is one of the best works by Italian composer Alessandro Alessandroni. Famous for his film-score work — often with such masters as Piero Umiliani and Ennio Morricone, with whom he collaborated to create some truly immortal soundtracks (especially those written for Sergio Leone) — Alessandroni also developed a parallel career as an author of library music, freely crossing and touching every music genre. Alone, or together with friends and pupils like Rino de Filippi (aka Gisteri) and Giuliano Sorgini (aka Raskovich), he always managed to push the boundaries of experimentation, but with great taste and personality, never giving up on the majestic orchestrations characteristic of his art. Angoscia, released when Alessandroni was at his creative peak, features 12 tracks revolving around the album’s core theme of angoscia, or anguish; the pieces move through dismay, desperation, uncertainty, pride, resignation, frustration, desolation, agony, prostration, obsession, and, finally, fear. Thirty minutes of anguish have never seemed so enticing and nuanced… Edition of 300 copies; first-ever reissue; remastered sound.
File Under: Italian, Library
Bembeya Jazz: Sous la Direction de Diaoune Hamidou (Editions Syliphone Conakry) LP
One of four albums in a series of reissues that represent a unique moment in African music, all originally released on the Guinean state-funded label Editions Syliphone Conakry. Faithfully recreated from the best original sources. In the late 1940s West Africa was bursting with energy, as first Ghana, and then, in 1958, Guinea, gained their independence. In the case of Guinea, its birth was sudden and dramatic; France, the colonial power at the time, withdrew within one month of the vote for independence, famously taking “everything including the lightbulbs.” Guinea had to start from scratch, not least in its approach to the arts, which the new state wanted to modernize while still remaining true to tradition. This policy was called authenticité. Music was its focus and Syliphone its record label, and Guinean music soon became a shining example for other emerging African nations. It even attracted artists and activists such as Miriam Makeba and her then-husband, ex-Black Panther Stokely Carmichael who, harassed by the CIA, moved to Guinea in 1968. Under authenticité, musicians were employed by the state, given instruments, and encouraged to create a new but traditionally-rooted music. A whole system of regional and national bands was established, with regular competitions to establish precedence. It’s also worth noting that from the Guinean perspective, this “tradition” included Latin music, the African roots of which were considered so obvious as to be beyond debate. Very quickly, three bands rose to the top: Orchestre Paillote, later to become Keletigui et ses Tambourinis (SLP 001LP); Orchestre du Jardin de Guinée, later to become Balla et ses Balladins (SLP 002LP); and, perhaps the strongest of them all, Bembeya Jazz. This is the first reissue of the first full-length album recording from Bembeya Jazz, faithfully recreated as originally presented, sequenced, and released in 1967.
File Under: African, World
Jill Cislaghi: Friends of Mine (Yoga) LP
Jill Cislaghi cut her one and only album in 1977, during her senior year at Regis College in Massachusetts. She recorded solely for friends, family, and as a memento for the members of her graduating class. Friends of Mine describes the loves and tribulations of Cislaghi’s life with a mixture of naiveté and wisdom. With nothing more than her voice and (mostly unplugged) guitar, Cislaghi’s folk sound is singular and resonant, bold yet humble. Friends of Mine’s hopeful yet wintry vision should appeal to fans of Sibylle Baier, Karen Dalton, Ruthann Friedman, and Ted Lucas. First-ever reissue; includes previously-unreleased bonus track “Lazy J.” Eco-rational 135-gram vinyl and high-quality tip-on sleeves. One-time limited pressing of 500. A coproduction of Yoga Records and Music Inside Records.
File Under: Folk
Coil: Backwards (Cold Spring) LP
Gatefold double LP version. Includes insert and download code. After the groundbreaking release of 1990’s Love’s Secret Domain album, Coil were not dormant; their main project was Backwards, which was started in 1992, updated considerably between 1993 and 1995, and transferred in 1996 to New Orleans, where it was finished in the magic of the Nothing Studios of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails). The album saw the fruition of Jhonn Balance’s recent vocal-coaching, which produced haunting, passionate vocals while reaching new heights. Now, in 2015, 23 years after its initiation, these tracks have been beautifully preserved by Danny Hyde and are finally available in highest quality audio. Differing substantially from the later, remixed incarnation, The New Backwards (2008), Backwards contains the original versions of Coil’s much-loved tracks “A Cold Cell” and “Fire of the Mind,” which have appeared on various compilations over the years, and are now presented as originally intended. This album is the essential bridge between LSD and the later Musick to Play in the Dark series; an essential conduit to understand the journey that Coil took.
File Under: Electronic, Industrial
Jack Costanzo: Mr. Bongo (Jazzman) LP
Twenty-six red-hot, skin-slappin’, bongo-bashin’ Latin jazz ‘n’ mambo bangers! The phrase “living legend” is undoubtedly overused, but there can be few people more deserving of such an accolade than Jack Costanzo. Born on September 24, 1919, Costanzo is arguably the most significant percussionist of the modern era. Playing with many key orchestras, leading his own band, appearing in numerous TV shows and films, and tutoring bongo playing to the stars, more than any other figure Jack Costanzo brought percussion, specifically Latin percussion and his trademark bongos, to widespread attention. But he wasn’t merely a popularist; he was revered by his peers and critics alike for his natural ability, invention, and, perhaps most importantly, his sheer versatility. He became known as “Mr. Bongo” (first coined by jazz critic Leonard Feather), and the tag could hardly be more appropriate. Latin music and its influence in general is often criminally overlooked in music history, but as a white Italian American who rose to prominence playing Latin music at the height of the mambo craze of the 1950s, Jack Costanzo has probably been even more neglected. This 26-track retrospective seeks to give him the special treatment his spectacular career deserves. Showcasing many of the musical highlights of his mid-’50s peak and featuring extensive liner notes based on new interviews with Costanzo himself, Mr. Bongo serves as a perfect introduction to the many who may not yet be aware of Jack Costanzo, and provides those who are already fans with the ultimate collection of his work. All tracks digitally restored from original sources.
File Under: Latin Jazz, Bongos
Miles Davis: Live in Tokyo 1975 (Hi Hat) LP
On his tour of Japan in early 1975, Miles Davis presented some of the most searing electric fusion ever heard in concert. The performances on this double LP set, from a soundboard recording for FM broadcast, hail from a January 22 gig at Shinjuku Kohseinenkin Hall in Tokyo. Staged ten days earlier than the February 1 shows at which his Agharta and Pangaea LPs were recorded, this includes some songs not contained on those albums, and spotlights one of the most adventurous bands Davis assembled. The complete broadcast is presented here in remastered sound with an insert of background liners and photos.
File Under: Jazz
Dr. Dre: Compton (Aftermath) LP
In tomorrow…. It’s official, the Doctor is back with a masterful body of work, dedicated to the people of the city where he came from: Compton, California. Marking the hip-hop legend’s first new album in over 15 years, the 16-track effort that’s musically “ornate and grand-scaled,” as noted by the New York Times, is rich with imagery and ideology about life in the infamous southern Los Angeles neighborhood. It has been heralded – via Rolling Stone, who remarks Compton “contains some of his most ambitious, idea-stuffed production ever,” the Guardian, who names Dre’s “gift for rejuvenation remarkable,” and Grantland who calls it “the first undeniably earth-shifting and socially abstract eyes-wide-open moment in a solo career” – as offering a unique new view of the city’s evolution over the last several decades, since Dr. Dre and N.W.A. put Compton on the cultural map with the 1988 release of their classic record, Straight Outta Compton. Featuring production assistance from Focus, DJ Dahi, Free School, DJ Khalil and DJ Premier plus guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Cold 187um, The Game, Ice Cube, Xzibit, and Jill Scott among others.
File Under: Hip Hop
Hartmut Geerken: Insistency! (Holidays) LP
Third — and sadly last — chapter of the archival recordings fixed on tape by Hartmut Geerken during his stay in Kabul in the ’70s. Insistency! was recorded at the Goethe-Institut Afghanistan in Kabul on same day as the duo session of Hindukush Serenade — May 22, 1977 — but also sees Maqsud Schukurwali and Ghafur Rasul — members of the Free Jazz Group Kabul — joining Geerken and John Tchicai and playing an insistent anthem, also featuring an eight-year-old Olaf Geerken on congas. On side B, the music gets quieter and Tchicai finds the perfect moment to release his yelled, ecstatic chant, slowly turning into a hypnotizing song. Edition of 250.
File Under: Jazz, Improv, Experimental
Giovanni Di Domenico/Jim O’Rourke: Arco (Die Schachtel) LP
Starting with this release (despite the fact that its catalog number numerically precedes ZEITC 017CD), Die Schachtel switches its Zeit Composers series to the vinyl format and begins opening up to international artists besides the usual Italian suspects. This LP features the collaborative effort of Belgium-based composer Giovanni di Domenico (of Italian origins) and avant-everything master Jim O’Rourke. A long composition for strings and electronics, Arco is a piece for sustained tones and drones, vividly immersive and almost physical. The subtly shifting tones, the way the overtones interact with each other, the evolution of the piece, are all impeccable, much in the vein of acclaimed composers like Catherine Christer Hennix, Éliane Radigue, and David Behrman, although with a “warmer” soul. It explores the antinomy between stillness and movement, building toward a hypnotic (and rewarding) aural experience. In Giovanni di Domenico’s words: “Arco is born out of two necessities, strongly interrelated: 1) creating a sonic space where the concept of waiting (patience?) can turn into form, and 2) doing this together with Jim O’Rourke, a musician who finds in form and its use his true greatness; The structure of the composition is quite simple: it is based on a cell of four repeated notes (the ‘DNA’ of the piece), forming a melodic/harmonic texture which slowly freezes into suspended, levitating chords, in which the passing of time itself becomes a sort of harmonic extension, and in which the strings and the splendidly rich sonic palette of the electronics fuse into the true essence of Form.” Each LP contains a 90x30cm-long tri-folded silver-and-black offset art print designed by Dinamomilano. Edition of 350. Giovanni di Domenico: string score; Jim O’Rourke: electronics. Ananta Roosens and Benoit Leseure: violins; Nicole Miller and Jef Durdu: violas; Marine Horbaczewski and Jean-Philippe Feiss: cellos.
File Under: Drone, Ambient, Minimalism
Haku: Na Mele A Ka Haku (Music of Haku) (EM) LP
Synthesizers and the human voice. Hawaii. The 1970s. Haku, aka Frank Tavares, a writer and musician, had a deep respect for the multiethnic character of his native Hawaii, and composed a number of theater pieces and songs to highlight this culture. However, he avoided many of the standard musical tropes, choosing to build his own studio and make all the music on synthesizers, a first for Hawaii. New age musical elements, traditional Hawaiian music, and unclassifiable madness, all played on glorious analog synths, are the foundation for songs and stories delivered in Hawaiian, Japanese, and English, reflecting Hawaii’s multiethnic nature. Developed and recorded over several years, released in 1975 on vinyl, and woefully hard to find, it is now reissued for the first time.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Hawaii
Hawkwind: Warrior on the Edge of Time (Let Them Eat Vinyl) LP
Deluxe vinyl edition. “Warrior on the Edge of Time” is Hawkwind’s fifth studio album. It reached number 13 on the U.K. album charts at the time of it’s initial release and was their third and last album to make the U.S. Billboard chart, where it peaked at number 150. Warrior on the edge of time truly shows that it is possible for lightning to strike the same place twice. With this record being equal in stature and ability to Hall of the Mountain Grill. 180 Gram yellow vinyl – limited edition.
File Under: Space Rock
Gerardo Iacoucci: Simbolismo Psichedelico (Intervallo) LP
Gerardo Iacoucci attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and, later, founded the Scuola Popolare di Musica di Testaccio in Rome, but he is mainly remembered as an excellent jazz pianist. During his long career, the musician born in Veroli, Italy, explored — with great dedication and talent — various different music genres and recorded many libraries, many of which qualify as small masterpieces. One of the most famous is Simbolismo Psichedelico, originally released in 1970 by the small Deneb label (home of other heavyweights such as Alessandro Alessandroni, Amedeo Tommasi, Stefano Torossi, and Daniela Casa), and also pressed in France by the St Germain des Prés label with the title Symbolisme Psychédélique. These 11 tracks tirelessly explore the boundaries of an “expressive urge,” which is the signature style of a master like Iacoucci. The disturbing atmospheres of “Fantasmi Lunari,” the avant-garde drive of “Ipnosi” and “Inibizioni” (two short sketches at the end of the album), and the free mood of “Psicopatologia” are just a few among the best and most essential moments of this gem. There are no limits or fears in Simbolismo Psichedelico — this is an incredible, and truly hallucinatory, sensory experience. Edition of 300 copies; first-ever reissue; remastered sound.
File Under: Italian, Library
Kyoka: Is (Is Superpowered) (Raster Noton) LP
Limited deluxe edition of Kyoka’s 2014 album Is (Is Superpowered) (R-N 153CD). 180-gram LP packaged in handmade cardboard slipcase with silkscreened Kyoka logo designed by Hamburg-based illustrator Alex Solman. Includes CD and download code for the 12 tracks on the CD plus a Japan-only bonus track. On Is (Is Superpowered), Kyoka uses her own voice much more often than usual, in the form of short snippets as well as longer sung melodies. These elements are set and arranged as if they were an autonomous instrument. Sometimes these voices give the impression of being a Babel-esque language mix-up, or even a kind of cryptic message for the listener, as found in the song “Meander.” The production process of the record was heavily supported by her label-mates Frank Bretschneider and Robert Lippok — a unique production team in the history of Raster-Noton. While Lippok focused on preserving the roughness and complexity of Kyoka’s compositions, Bretschneider concentrated on refining their fluidity and focus. Both tried to keep the vitality and hyperactivity of the initial tracks without losing their distinctive eccentricity. Although Kyoka’s sound is often somewhat chaotic, it is by no means stressful, but energizing and easy to enjoy. The only exception to this can be found in “Piezo Version Vision,” the noticeably roughest track of the record. Her particularly progressive style is best reflected by the song “Re-pulsion,” a rolling groove combined with unusual clicks and snares and topped with crazy-sounding voice fragments. The album thus further deepens what she initiated with Ununpentium/iSH (R-N 115EP), released in 2012 as part five of Raster-Noton’s Unun series. It presents a stylistically broader spectrum of Kyoka’s music, but at the same time exhibits the fresh and positive, sometimes even child-like attitude for which she is already known.
File Under: Electronic, Glitch
Land: Anoxia (Important) LP
The second L A N D album, Anoxia, sees Daniel Lea return alone with an outing that marks a shift from the industrial-inflected jazz-noir of 2012’s Night Within into distinctly new terrain. Mixed by Ben Frost at Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavík; mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin. CD packaged in a combination offset/screenprinted jacket. “Anoxia” means “total absence of oxygen,” and in Lea’s hands the term heralds aural environments that are full of the dreams of humanity yet may well be devoid of its living presence. The Anthropocene era in which we live has seen the rise of many human-made monuments that add up to a total presence that humanity will leave behind; Lea’s labyrinthine arrangements are a soundtrack to such a world, one without humanity that is nevertheless fully marked and constructed by humans. From the very first moments of the pummeling djun djun skins and the growing bowed rototoms of “Labyrinthitis,” the direction is one of a more radical constructivist sound rooted in modernist architecture. Lea has elevated his practice to the point at which he cleaves space sonically, and Frost is the perfect person to mix such spaces. The results are visions of a brutalist world slowly decaying, but with the mellifluous harmonics of vegetation and fluid matter entwining through the ruination. Other tracks rise up like towers in a city, growing from the metallic chimes and structured percussion; one sees visions of the Balfron Tower or the Genex Tower, but such associations do not tether this work to geographical real-world locations. Anoxia may well be in a time outside of time. On “Anoxia,” cello harmonics swing their head and screech like prancing komodo dragons, marking the entry to the final track, the “End Zone,” with which Lea carries out his own initiation ritual, a dance between those edifices left beneath the growing millennial weeds and forests. Monuments that will long outlast their creators. Daniel Lea: sound design, field recordings, processing, electronics, composition, production. With Rupert Clervaux: drums, percussion, aluphone, crotales, copper pipes; Jamie McCarthy: cello on “Metamorphosis,” “Equinox,” “Transition,” and “Anoxia” and bowed percussion and copper pipes on “Equinox” and “Anoxia”; Clive Bell: shakuhachi on “Drop City,” “Equinox,” and “Anoxia”; Leo Abrahams: processed guitars on “Neutra,” “Transition,” and “End Zone”; Mark Wastell: tamtam on “Neutra,” “Equinox,” “Transition,” “Anoxia,” and “End Zone”; and Dom Garwood: clarinets on “Labyrinithitis.”
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Heather Leigh: I Abused Animal (Idealogic Organ) LP
I Abused Animal is Heather Leigh’s first solo album for Ideologic Organ, following solo albums on Kendra Steiner Editions, Golden Lab Records, Not Not Fun, Fag Tapes, Wish Image, Volcanic Tongue’s label, and more. Renowned as a fearless free improviser, Leigh showcases her songwriting prowess on I Abused Animal, foregrounding her stunning voice and her innovations for the pedal steel guitar. Warmly recorded in a secret location in the English countryside, the album transports the power of her captivating live performances to a studio setting, capturing her tactile playing in full clarity while making devastating use of volume and space. Leigh explores themes of abuse, sexual instinct, vulnerability, memory, shadow, fantasy, cruelty, and projection. I Abused Animal is a personal, idiosyncratic, and deeply psychedelic work, ranging from almost Kousokuya-scale black blues through the kind of ethereal electro-ritual of Solstice-era Coil. At times the intimacy of the recordings makes you feel like she’s singing directly into your ear, playing just for you. Leigh has performed and released music since the 1990s as a solo artist and with a wide range of uncompromising collaborators including Peter Brötzmann and Jandek, and has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Her playing is as physical as it is phantom, combining spontaneous compositions with a feel for the full interaction of flesh with hallucinatory power sources. With a rare combination of sensitivity and strength, Leigh’s steel mainlines sanctified slide guitar and deforms it using hypnotic tone-implosions while juggling walls of bleeding amp-tone with choral-vocal-constructs and wrenching single-note ascensions. She’s played, performed, and released music with Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast, Charalambides, Scorces (a duo with Christina Carter), Dream/Aktion Unit (a group with Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty, Chris Corsano, and Matt Heyner), Taurpis Tula, Jailbreak (a duo with Corsano), Termas (a duo with Lynda), Annihilating Light (a duo with Stefan Jaworzyn), Richard Youngs, Blood Stereo, MV & EE, Robbie Yeats of The Dead C, John Olson of Wolf Eyes, Smegma, Jutta Koether, Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Bär, and many others. I Abused Animal was composed and performed by Heather Leigh. Recorded and engineered by Joe Gubay in Surrey, October 2014. Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin, July 2015. Photographs by David Keenan. Spiritual adviser: Dean Roberts. Ideologic Organ curation and art direction by Stephen O’Malley; manufactured and distributed by Editions Mego.
File Under: Ambient, Drone
Jacques Lejeune: Early Works 1969-1970 (Robot) LP
This LP of early compositions by Jacques Lejeune features three seminal works: D’une Multitude En Fête and Petite Suite, originally released in the Perspective Musicales series in 1970, and a previously unpublished composition, Géodes, from the same period. These three pieces (not included in Robot’s 2013 Parages and Other Electroacoustic Works 1971-1985 three-CD set (ROBOT 042CD)) are some of Lejeune’s earliest music for tape and may be considered a “prequel” to his later, more thematic works. Still, his concise musical narrative is ever-present in these first recordings. The side-long D’une Multitude En Fête (1969) refers to multitude, number, celebration, and any crowd situation as a form of ceremony — all evoking a circular gaze, as topics of the different aural events and their anecdotal development emerge, leading to the dream, as a story we tell to ourselves. Géodes (1970) features percussion improvisations by Lauréat Dionne with Lejeune’s tape work inflecting prisms deep into its thundering, rhythmic core. This concert version appears on vinyl for the first time. Concluding the album is Petite Suite (1970), with each section referencing a traditional musical form using both anecdotal as well as instrumental flourishes. The original drum and guitar elements are performed here by Michel Foudrinoy and Jean-Pierre Vassout. These pieces have been compared to Pierre Henry’s bold rock themes in Messe Pour Le Temps Présent and also recall the peculiar atmospheres of some of the great early Nurse with Wound records that would follow. In contrast, Lejeune’s early approach was heavily steeped in sonic narratives, combining unusual and ambiguous events to create a sound world uniquely his own. Early Works 1969-1970 explores the first precision splices by one of the true visionaries of musique concrète.
File Under: Early Electronic, Musique Concrete
Med Blu Madlib: Bad Neighbor (Bang Ya Head) LP
With 100% beats by Madlib, “Bad Neighbor” is the brainchild of MED – a cornerstone in Stones Throw’s history — and Blu – the voice behind modern classics like “Below the Heavens” — who instantly clicked a decade earlier on tour with Emanon. The album is an exclamation point on the idea that began with “The Burgundy EP”, expanded to include Dam Funk and Mayer Hawthorne on “The Buzz EP”, and continued until contributions from Anderson.Paak (Dr. Dre’s Compton), Hodgy Beats (Odd Future), and the one-and-only MF DOOM made “Bad Neighbor” ready to launch. But “Bad Neighbor” isn’t the first time MED and Madlib’s orbits have collided. A fellow head from the fertile crescent of Oxnard, CA, MED not only guested on the now-classic “Soundpieces” by Lootpack in ’99, he also dropped into Madvillain’s “Raid” (“Madvillainy”, 2004) and made his mark on Quasimoto’s “Unseen” (2000), not to mention making the sole MC appearance on Madlib’s acclaimed “Shades of Blue”. Madlib, in turn, provided the lion’s share of production on MED’s “Classic” and “Push Comes to Shove” alongside J Dilla and Oh No. Meanwhile Blu, besides earning HipHopDX’s “Rookie of the Year” bona fides, put LA back on the map alongside Exile and as a self-produced solo artist. “Bad Neighbor”, although hazy, heavy, and blunted under the influence of Madlib’s aesthetic backbone, floats effortlessly above the smoke by virtue of MED and Blu’s sometimes topical, sometimes acrobatic, and always on-point interplay. The album is undoubtedly an extension of all three artists’ signature sounds, but it simultaneously defies all precedents to reaffirm each individual’s position at the forefront of LA’s legendary hip-hop landscape.
File Under: Hip Hop
Moonsocket: Eurydice (Noyes) LP
Moonsocket is Chris Thompson, and Chris Thompson is a Canadian treasure. Eurydice is his first Moonsocket release in 18 years. Since 1997’s Take The Mountain LP, Chris Thompson has released two critically acclaimed records as part of The Memories Attack, and also embarked on wildly successful reunion tours as part of Eric’s Trip, whose seminal Love Tara record was recently reissued on Sub Pop. Eurydice sees Thompson return to the Moonsocket moniker and craft a collection of songs that are equal parts intimate, heartbreaking, and brilliant.
File Under: Indie Rock, CanCon, Eric’s Trip
Moufang/Czamanski: Live in Seattle
In May 2013, at a nondescript Seattle space called 1927 Events, two-thirds of Magic Mountain High — Germany’s David Moufang aka Move D and the Netherlands’ Jordan Czamanski of Juju & Jordash — teamed up for the kind of live performance during which you say to yourself, “I hope to hell somebody’s recording this.” Thankfully, somebody was doing just that, and the 99-minute Live in Seattle is the sterling result. People throw around the word “deep” to describe electronic music with cavalier frequency, but in the case of Moufang and Czamanski (who also records as Jordan GCZ), that adjective barely encapsulates the kind of fathomless sound they create. Live in Seattle captures them working at the zenith of their improvisational powers for a rabid crowd. The show begins with anticipatory cymbal taps and a beautifully morose melodica motif that wouldn’t sound out of place in an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. A few minutes in, faint pulses enter earshot and a minute later the clap-enhanced beats and synth-bass burst into the forefront to form a strutting mid-tempo rhythm with a subliminal drone swirling beneath it. Masters of dynamics, Moufang and Czamanski incrementally intensify and ingeniously arrange the elements, especially that underlying keyboard drone, until you’re in a state of panic and ecstasy. Over the course of the set, the two producers flaunt their expertise for pacing. They avoid the obvious and subvert expectations throughout the performance, sporadically letting the beats drop out in order to luxuriate on a particularly alien organ oscillation, a sinister bass rumble, an ominously pulsating synth, an unsettling thumb-piano motif, or a mind-warping 303 acid ripple, to name just a handful of examples. Of course, Moufang and Czamanski also keep things danceable for stretches of time, and about 78 minutes in, they even shift out of their foundation of oddity and into heavenly techno mode with a gloriously ascendant melody. For their well-deserved encore, Moufang and Czamanski reprise the intro’s mournful melodica reverie and then infiltrate it with a series of percolating and disorienting bleeps and a celestial drone worthy of new age legend Laraaji. This stellar ambient coda reflects Moufang and Czamanski’s exceptional, eccentric musicality. Techno is not known for its live albums, but Live in Seattle sets the standard for the format, with its abundant, sublime tunefulness, textural richness, and enchantingly enigmatic tangents.
File Under: Techno, Ambient
Oneohtrix Point Never: Garden of Delete (Warp) LP
In tomorrow…. Through an intricate unveiling of song snippets, film clips and a rabbit hole of internet postings involving a mysterious character named Ezra and world of music revolving around the band Kaoss Edge, Daniel Lopatin has revealed his latest release as Oneohtrix Point Never entitled Garden of Delete. After spending time on tour with Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden, Lopatin found himself gravitating towards the idea of creating a more rock inspired record. Building up from simple piano arrangements, the songs play with the idea of a 3 minute, “one-point-perspective” of a traditional rock song, but through the lense of Oneohtrix Point Never. Songs like “Ezra,” “Lift” and lead single “I Bite Through It” all hint at a verse-chorus-verse structure of a rock song, buried beneath layers of abstraction and manipulation one would expect from an Oneohtrix Point Never track, while the album’s magnificent 8 minute long centerpiece “Mutant Standard” shifts and changes, finding it’s closest rock relatives amongst prog and jam bands. Like Aphex Twin and the Prodigy before him, Lopatin manages to meld these seemingly distant sounds into a sound that is truly his own. Outside of his work as Oneohtrix Point Never, Daniel Lopatin founded Brooklyn-based Software Recording Company and has collaborated with a multitude of talented artists, directors, musicians and leading arts institutions; from Sofia Coppola to Ariel Kleiman, Antony & The Johnsons to Nine Inch Nails, Tate Modern to MoMA. Gatefold 2LP-set with printed inners and 8-page 12″ size insert.
File Under: Electronic, Industrial
Orchestre Paillote: Sous la Direction de Traore Keletigui (Editions Syliphone Conakry) LP
One of four albums in a series of reissues that represent a unique moment in African music, all originally released on the Guinean state-funded label Editions Syliphone Conakry. Faithfully recreated from the best original sources. In the late 1940s West Africa was bursting with energy, as first Ghana, and then, in 1958, Guinea, gained their independence. In the case of Guinea, its birth was sudden and dramatic; France, the colonial power at the time, withdrew within one month of the vote for independence, famously taking “everything including the lightbulbs.” Guinea had to start from scratch, not least in its approach to the arts, which the new state wanted to modernize while still remaining true to tradition. This policy was called authenticité. Music was its focus and Syliphone its record label, and Guinean music soon became a shining example for other emerging African nations. It even attracted artists and activists such as Miriam Makeba and her then-husband, ex-Black Panther Stokely Carmichael who, harassed by the CIA, moved to Guinea in 1968. Under authenticité, musicians were employed by the state, given instruments, and encouraged to create a new but traditionally-rooted music. A whole system of regional and national bands was established, with regular competitions to establish precedence. It’s also worth noting that from the Guinean perspective, this “tradition” included Latin music, the African roots of which were considered so obvious as to be beyond debate. Very quickly, three bands rose to the top: Orchestre Paillote, later to become Keletigui et ses Tambourinis; Orchestre du Jardin de Guinée, later to become Balla et ses Balladins (SLP 002LP); and, perhaps the strongest of them all, Bembeya Jazz (SLP 004LP). This is the first vinyl reissue of the first full-length album recording from Orchestre Paillote, faithfully recreated as originally presented, sequenced, and released in 1967.
File Under: Africa, World
Orchestre Du Jardin De Guinee: Sous La Direction de Onivogui Balla (Editions Syliphone Conakry) LP
One of four albums in a series of reissues that represent a unique moment in African music, all originally released on the Guinean state-funded label Editions Syliphone Conakry. Faithfully recreated from the best original sources. In the late 1940s West Africa was bursting with energy, as first Ghana, and then, in 1958, Guinea, gained their independence. In the case of Guinea, its birth was sudden and dramatic; France, the colonial power at the time, withdrew within one month of the vote for independence, famously taking “everything including the lightbulbs.” Guinea had to start from scratch, not least in its approach to the arts, which the new state wanted to modernize while still remaining true to tradition. This policy was called authenticité. Music was its focus and Syliphone its record label, and Guinean music soon became a shining example for other emerging African nations. It even attracted artists and activists such as Miriam Makeba and her then-husband, ex-Black Panther Stokely Carmichael who, harassed by the CIA, moved to Guinea in 1968. Under authenticité, musicians were employed by the state, given instruments, and encouraged to create a new but traditionally-rooted music. A whole system of regional and national bands was established, with regular competitions to establish precedence. It’s also worth noting that from the Guinean perspective, this “tradition” included Latin music, the African roots of which were considered so obvious as to be beyond debate. Very quickly, three bands rose to the top: Orchestre Paillote, later to become Keletigui et ses Tambourinis (SLP 001LP); Orchestre du Jardin de Guinée, later to become Balla et ses Balladins; and, perhaps the strongest of them all, Bembeya Jazz (SLP 004LP). This is the first reissue of the first full-length album recording from Orchestre du Jardin de Guinée, faithfully recreated as originally presented, sequenced, and released in 1967.
File Under: World, Africa
Bill Orcutt & Jacob Felix Heule: Colonial Donuts (Palilalia) LP
Guitarist Bill Orcutt and drummer Jacob Felix Heule (Ettrick, Fred Frith, Sult) have been performing regularly around the San Francisco Bay Area since 2012, but this is their first release together. Recorded in Orcutt’s living room in the early months of 2015 and named after a chain of Oakland coffee shops, Colonial Donuts collects 13 compact, stylistically diverse duets for electric guitar and drums, ranging from hushed, socially anxious folk to sprung electric blues to dense, pummeling free improvisation. Mixed by Frank Falestra at Dan Hosker Studios in Miami Beach; mastered by James Plotkin; designed by Bill Orcutt.
File Under: Guitar, Improv
Osiris: s/t (Pharaway Sounds) LP
First-ever vinyl reissue of this prog/psych masterpiece by cult Arabian band Osiris, their 1982 debut album. A killer blend of ’70s-sounding hard, progressive/psychedelic sounds with long, ripping Minimoog and analog synth attacks smashed into mellow vibes and Arabian folky touches, with hard lead guitar, exotic percussion, floating rhythm section, and English vocals. Osiris formed in Bahrain, the small island country in the Persian Gulf, in the late ’70s, but its story goes back to 1969, when talented brothers Mohamed and Nabil Alsadeqi formed a funk rock band called Witch. The band broke up when Mohamed left to pursue his studies in Texas, while his brother Nabil left for London. Upon returning to Bahrain in 1980, the two brothers decided to form the first progressive rock band from Bahrain. It was not easy to find like-minded musicians in their town, but they succeeded, with help from Mohammed Shafii (bass), Sami Al-Jamea (keyboards), Mohamed Amin Kooheji (guitar, bass, vocals), and Abdul Razzak Aryan (keyboards). Mohamed and Nabil began working out an original repertoire that would fuse musical complexity, melodic richness, and Arab culture. They took the name “Osiris” from Egyptian mythology, not only for its sound but also for its associations with Arab culture, youth, and fertility. But the definitive Osiris line-up came up when they added a charismatic singer named Isa Janahi. Osiris made their live debut at the end of 1981. Janahi wore flashy, colored clothes and capes and captivated the audience with his presence on stage. The group also used lasers, a light show, and smoke bombs, all deftly handled by friends of the band. Osiris was recorded at the only eight-track studio in Bahrain at the time. It was recorded and mixed in just three days. As there weren’t any record pressing plants in Bahrain, the band had to press the albums in the Philippines. They sold 1000 copies in Bahrain, but a few made their way to the USA and the UK, appearing in some rare records list by those in the know. Osiris will please not only those into classic prog-rock in the vein of Camel, Yes, or Pink Floyd, but also those for looking for exotic, psychedelic sounds and beats. Master tape sound. Includes insert with photos and liner notes.
File Under: Psych, Prog
Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides: ike/Portent (Golden Lab) LP
Utterly stunning album from the long-running (and just-married) duo of Kelly Jayne Jones and Pascal Nichols, better known to the world as Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides. They’ve moved so far, now, from their Japanese-esque psychedelicised beginnings back in the mid-’00s where celebratory flute and drums cascaded into one another like competing tsunamis. Not that what they were doing back then wasn’t already brilliant — in fact, they heralded what felt, at the time, like it might be a whole new era of British drone (a movement that never really came to pass). It’s just that, since then, they’ve become such masters of their craft that it’s hard to feel anything but awe upon listening to Pike/Portent. For starters, they do less. In other words, they seem to be as obsessed nowadays with the space between sounds as they do with the sounds themselves. Resonance too. This record sounds like it was recorded in a cave by the ocean, it’s as simple as that. Secondly, while it’s still an exploration of the transitory potential of the relationship between the embellished trapezoid drum kit and the naked flute, it’s just more interrelated, more dynamic, more alive. Jones, in particular, seems to have found the perfect spaces in which to interject complementary and/or jarring sounds (clanking pebbles, pouring water, electronics, etc.). It’s almost impossible to consider the result in terms of improvisational music — it’s just so considered, so accomplished, so communicative. 140-gram vinyl. Limited edition of 250.
File Under: Ambient, Drone, Improv
Rocket Robert: s/t (Got Kinda Lost) LP
Those who’ve dirtied their fingers searching high and low for analog synth nuggets can rejoice at the arrival of under-the-radar synthesizer maverick “Rocket” Robert Moore. This first-time reissue is less a reissue than an exhumation, as Moore originally released his singular, unique 1982 Rocket Robert LP in edition of 142 hand-screenprinted copies on his own Salem, Oregon-based Future Records; few copies circulated outside Oregon. Rocket Robert drifts in the backward-looking sounds of early synth innovators while also mining the kraut-tinged moments of punk-era instro-synth explorers and the first breaths of synth-pop — rather than carrying similarities to the new wave that was then taking hold of the masses. Moore’s debut is simultaneously lighthearted and shot through with ominous oscillations, and offers up a darkly-throbbing, otherworldly vibe that is sure to ensnare synth-heads, beat-diggers, and those searching the margins of the private-press phenomenon alike. RIYL Delia Derbyshire, Fad Gadget, Mort Garson, Gershon Kingsley, Martin Rev, Morton Subotnick, etc. Includes two previously-unreleased, spaced-out electro-pop songs from the album sessions. Insert features informative liner notes by Dave Segal (staff writer for Seattle’s alternative weekly The Stranger) based on interviews with Moore, as well as rare photos from Moore’s archives. Original master tape sound.
File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop, Private Press
Gabriel Saloman: Movement Building Vol 2 (Shelter Press) LP
Gabriel Saloman presents the second volume in his Movement Building trilogy, continuing the release of original compositions commissioned for contemporary dance works. Following the enthusiastically received first installment — Vol. 1’s album-length The Disciplined Body — Saloman offers up five tracks that combine shimmering bowed guitars and reverberant acoustic percussion into a meditative and powerful break from anything he’s produced before. Mobilizing the frequencies of contemporary electronic music (fine-tuned to speaker-rattling effect by Helmut Erler at Berlin’s Dubplates & Mastering), Movement Building Vol. 2 abandons the conventional instrumentation- and genre-motifs embraced by many of Saloman’s peers in favor of a unique hybrid of avant-drone, psych-rock, and Japanese traditional music. In 2013 Saloman was commissioned by the Vancouver, Canada-based dance company 605 Collective to collaborate on the multimedia dance performance The Sensationalists (2015). An early inspiration for both The Sensationalists and the music collected in Movement Building Vol. 2 was Yasunari Kawabata’s 1956 novel Snow Country; its tragic love affair became a thematic and contextual source for early phases of the project, and much of the music on this album is a result. Borrowing compositionally and tonally from Taiko drums and Gagaku (an ancient drone-based imperial court music), Saloman reproduced sounds originating in traditional Japanese drums, wind, and string instruments almost completely on guitar, ride cymbals, and snare drum. This influence is most explicit in the undulating rhythms that open the first side of Vol. 2 (“Contained Battle/Ascend”) and the layered escalation of “Gagaku,” a methodical combination of rhythm and drone that climbs to a peak of psych-tinged burning guitar lines. Concluding the album is a version of Miles Davis’s classic ballad, “My Funny Valentine,” an uncanny combination of original percussion and guitar, collaged together with what may be a live recording of Davis’s “second great quintet” taken from YouTube, processed, and time-stretched on tape. Just as Saloman’s previous output has combined cinematic atmospheres with guitar-driven climaxes that easily appeal to fans of neo-classical experimentalism and post-rock-informed drone, this record opens new compositional territory while maintaining a recognizable melancholy ambience. Exposure to the monolithic bass and open spaces of dub-influenced EDM has led Saloman in a different direction than many of his peers (including artists such as Cut Hands, Vatican Shadow, and former Yellow Swans bandmate Pete Swanson) and toward something that moves bodies and triggers their nerve endings, but with no concession to the dancefloor.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Modern Classical
Silkworm: It’ll Be Cool (Touch & Go) LP
Founded in 1987, Silkworm were: Andy Cohen (also in Bottomless Pit, and Mint Mile) on various stringed instruments with frets, Michael Dahlquist on drums and cymbals and occasional guitar, and Tim Midgett (Bottomless Pit, Mint Mile) on bass and other guitars. With the core members in place, It’ll Be Cool also includes Matt Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year) playing his natural instrument of piano as well as other keyboard-based devices. It’ll Be Cool was the ninth Silkworm album. Originally released in 2004 on CD only and now available on LP for the first time in over 11 years. It’ll Be Cool was pored over meticulously for almost a year from start to finish. Everyone associated with the record is confident of its worth, and they offer it to you with the best of intentions and open hearts. “…Silkworm have moved above and below the cultural radar… The band’s signature sound, laced with an experimental approach to the formal elements of rock, has made them equally loved and ignored, depending on various fashions. Thankfully, however, Silkworm has never bothered to respond to fashion…” – Dusted “Silkworm’s songs are full of holes, but… wide-open spaces can inspire some crazy-ass dreams. Welcome to the new weird America.” – SPIN
File Under: Indie Rock
Six Organs of Admittance: Hexadic II (Drag City) LP
Sounding forth from a resonating body, the music of Six Organs of Admittance seems to reach us from an ancient remove. Ben Chasny’s 6OOA vehicle is a wide-ranging craft, spanning over a dozen albums whose gaze is always shifting, but whose focus never wavers, descending through a labyrinth of contrasting lexicons (both linguistic and musical) in an attempt to resolve existential codes while engaging the listener and the musician in shared pursuit. With Hexadic II, Ben Chasny’s unique touch on acoustic guitar is brought back to our ears after what feels like a kind of forever. What may signify to some ears as folk music is caught in an equally compelling undertow of powerful subterranean energy. Ghostly vocals of divergent timbres sing over the fluid interplay of guitars, harmonium, violin—and pure space, as the reverberant room around the sounds plays as much a part in the experience as the music.
File Under: Guitar, Psych
Steven Stapleton & Christopher Heemann: Painting with Priests (Robot) LP
Robot Records, in association with Yessmissolga and Elica Editions, presents the vinyl release of the long-fabled duo collaboration by Steven Stapleton and Christoph Heemann. This historic live performance took place on November 21, 2009, at the ancient Ivrea Synagogue in Ivrea, Italy. After working together for many years on various Current 93, Nurse with Wound, and H.N.A.S. sessions, these two old friends met for a rare moment of performance completely independent of thematic material and engaged in a near-telepathic, mysterious one-to-one improvisation, where textural worlds merge, hot, on the spot. While one may discover an intriguing intersection between each of their respective solo works, the real magic of this duo encounter evokes something strangely unfamiliar and altogether new. With this generous edit of the highly acclaimed concert, Painting with Priests exhibits a rare session of both artists’ eccentric talents in a palette of colors and mystery across a highly detailed musical canvas. Front cover features new artwork by Stapleton, with back cover featuring a previously unpublished drawing by Heemann.
File Under: Experimental, Ambient
Robert Turman: Macro (La Delirante) LP
“Macro was originally going to be titled Roots, because it really goes back to what I was doing 40 years ago, just more modernized technique. I had always taken small snippets of tape and records, repeated them, slowed down, modified, and layered etc. Macro was all done on the computer. I’d been thinking about how in the old days, pop songs were always between two and three minutes long. Most of my music has always been longer extended pieces. I wanted to recreate the feel of noise in the pop song format, so I specifically created an album’s worth of songs, all at exactly three minutes, a concept album I suppose. Micro samples were cut, copied, pasted, and totally whacked out. As with all of my music, I have always defied anyone to identify the samples” –Robert Turman. Previously released on cassette by Fabrica Records in 2012, with the separate tracks crossfaded to make each side a continuous track. Here, the individual tracks are divided as originally conceived. Limited edition of 218 screenprinted and numbered copies.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Visionist: Safe (Pan) LP
Having partnered with Bill Kouligas in 2015 to relaunch his Lost Codes imprint as Codes, Visionist takes a defining step forward with the release of his debut album, Safe. The South London artist born Louis Carnell broke during a period of experimentation in UK music when, with the disintegration of the dubstep scene, emerging producers began looking to juke and Chicago house for inspiration. A pair of EPs on Lit City Trax (and a collaboration with Fatima Al Qadiri) in 2013 and ’14 introduced Visionist’s minimalist take on fractured R&B and liquid grime, establishing him as a leading voice in new wave UK soundsystem culture. On Safe, Visionist sculpts and extends that signature into new terrain and makes his most personal statement yet. Distilling his influences down to a sparse palette of manipulated folk, pop, and R&B a cappellas; icy synths; and metallic drum samples, he plays off ever-present anxiety and his own battle not to let it overwhelm him. “Comfort, protection, salvation — this is what we search for,” he says. “We are taught that a life of no worries is better for us, and therefore we try to create one that is ‘Safe.'” But while safe as a musical concept implies conformity, Safe as an artistic statement is anything but. At a moment when the UK scene, once known for innovation, has settled into rehashing old tropes, Visionist continues to propel his sound into more experimental territory. The album traces the arc of an anxiety attack, from its onset through to recovery. Following the stately discord of brief opener “You Stayed,” the grimy, ballistic assault of “Victim” sends its targets diving into mirrored corners. “I’ve Said” is a brutal, almost militant advance, its sound cutting in and out as though transmitted via shortwave radio. “Too Careful to Care” trades in skittering paranoia, with the soporific “Sleep Luxury” closing out affairs. Since 2012, Visionist has toured extensively throughout Europe, The Unites States, and Asia, appearing at industry standard clubs and festivals like Fabric, Berghain, Sonar, and Unsound as well as various underground venues. He has scored music for Kenzo, Liam Hodges, and Roxanne Farahmand in the world of fashion, and remixed Kelis, Ghostpoet, and Glasser. In 2014, he supported FKA Twigs on her first-ever UK tour. Photography and artwork by Daniel Sannwald; layout by Bill Kouligas.
File Under: Electronic, Grime
Various: [Cease & Desist] DIY! (Optimo) LP
[Cease & Desist] DIY! Cult Classics from the Post-Punk Era (1978-1982) collects 15 UK 7″ singles recorded between 1978 and 1982, compiled by JD Twitch to showcase the DIY spirit of those times. “If Punk was the nuclear detonation, the fallout that came after was where a lot of the most interesting music of that era was made. People who would never have thought to release a record before realised it was something they could do, and the end result was a DIY explosion. I’ve always loved music that doesn’t try to fit in a particular genre, that is anti-canonical and doesn’t care what else is going on in music at that time, that takes risks and is full of imagination and ideas that may or may not make any logical sense but that resulted in something unique, that ignores conventions about how a record SHOULD be produced and that was created simply because its creators felt the urge to express themselves and share the results with some other people. This compilation compiles 15 tracks that fulfil all those criteria. None of them had any success, most are (unjustly) obscure but every one of them has inspired me and would be in my ultimate 7″ singles box” –JD Twitch. This release has been a real labor of love, involving tracing long-lost artists to far-flung corners of the globe, persuading them that the modern world needs to hear the music they made several decades ago, tracking down masters — lovingly restoring 7″s in place of lost masters in some cases — and conceiving an elaborate package with detailed sleeve notes to house the double album. Unfortunately, the original choice of title for this release infringed on the copyright of a series of well-known pop compilations released by a certain major label. They sent a cease and desist letter (hence the title of this edition), and did not accept proposed modifications to the original sleeves, so this edition is released in a more conventional package than was intended. Gatefold sleeve with printed inner sleeves containing sleeve notes and detailed overviews of each individual track by JD Twitch and an introduction by New York’s DIY expert Dan Selzer. Includes tracks by Tesco Bombers, Sara Goes Pop, People in Motion, Nancy Sesay & the Melodaires, The Distributors, Dorothy, Thomas Leer, Visitors, The Murphy Federation, The Cro-Tones, Fatal Microbes, Spunky Onions, The Fakes, and The Prats.
File Under: DIY, Post-Punk
Various: This Record Belongs to __________ (Light In The Attic) LP
“We are pleased to announce that Light In The Attic & Third Man Records are joining forces to show impressionable, young minds the virtues of good music and vinyl records with our exclusive children’s compilation, This Record Belongs To______ available November 6th on LP and CD accompanied by Third Man Record’s new portable light-weight children’s turntable with built in speakers and a USB port for converting vinyl records to digital. Parents everywhere rejoice! What if your favorite children’s book were not only a timeless story but came with a soundtrack of tunes that kids and grown-ups alike would love? Hold onto your boots… it’s here! This Record Belongs To______ is the antidote to your standard kids compilations. You won’t find boy bands, princesses, or purple dinosaurs here. Instead the record consists of two halves?an upbeat side for daytime dancin’ and a mellow side for bedtime lullabies. Among the many gems featured include songs from Carole King, Woody Guthrie, Donovan, Harry Nilsson, Jerry Garcia, Nina Simone, Kermit The Frog and more. Inspired by the classic Little Golden Books Series and Sesame Street’s In Harmony albums, This Record Belongs To ______ stems from a love of music, reading, and a passion for teaching future generations the interactive experience of holding an album in your hands, putting needle to groove, and immersing yourself in the pages of a record’s sleeve as the music plays. The compilation was compiled and sequenced by DJ and friend, Zach Cowie, who is as dear to our hearts as this collection of songs (previously passed around as a gift between friends) and is the soundtrack for many LITA & TMR offspring. These kiddos now all have undeniably excellent taste in tunes. The record is accompanied by an original, full-color storybook illustrated by acclaimed artist, Jess Rotter, which tells the tale of five forest pals who find a mysterious object — a round, flat disc that they proceed to investigate. The animal friends finally solve the mystery and learn how to play a record and let their bodies move to the groove (within the grooves).”
File Under: Rock, Kids
Maki Asakawa: s/t (Honest Jon’s) LP
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Capitol) LP
Nick Cave: Push The Sky Away (Bad Seed) LP
Clash: Combat Rock (Epic) LP
D’Angelo: Black Messiah (Sony) LP
Daft Punk: 2007: Alive (Parlophone) LP
Daft Punk: Discovery (EMI) LP
Daft Punk: Homework (EMI) LP
Daft Punk: Human After All (EMI) LP
Del Tha Funky Homosapien: Wish My Brother George Was Here (Traffic) LP
Ellis/Graingeer: At Dusk (El Paraiso) LP
Fat Boys: s/t (Tin Pan Apple) LP
Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner) LP
Fugazi: Repeater (Dischord) LP
Freddie Hubbard: Breaking Point (Blue Note) LP
Ariel Kalma: Osmose (Black Sweat) LP
KMD: Bl_ck B_st_rds (Metal Face) LP
LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening (DFA) LP
Metallica: s/t (Blackened) LP
MF Doom: Mm… Food (Rhymesayers) LP
Mission of Burma: VS (Fire) LP
Pere Ubu: Modern Dance (Fire) LP
Pere Ubu: Dub Housing (Fire) LP
Psicomagia: s/t (El Paraiso) LP
Purity Ring: Another Eternity (Last Gang) LP
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: s/t (Stax) LP
Vito Ricci: I Was Crossing (Music From Memory) LP
Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (Polydor) LP
Rush: Counterparts (Anthem) LP
Rush: Fly By Night (Anthem) LP
Rush: Moving Pictures (Anthem) LP
Shigganaon: Sela (El Paraiso) LP
Nina Simone: Little Girl Blue (Bethlehem) LP
This Heat: Deceit (This Is) CD
Various: African Scream Contest (Analog Africa) LP
Various: Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas (World Psych) LP
Various: Ork Records (Numero) LP Box
Various: Son Cubano N.Y.C. (Honest Jon’s) LP
Neko Case: Truckdriver Gladiator Mule… en route
Deafheaven: New Bermuda LP… en route
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly LP… who knows
Sigur Ros: Takk… now December sometime
Kamasi Washington: The Epic… late no ETA