Wowzers! Record Store Day just continues to blow my mind! What a beautiful day! Amazing weather and a CONSTANT stream of wonderful people coming in and digging through the stacks! A super day all around! Thanks to everyone who came out and showed us some love and thanks to James, Bailey & Stefan for busting their humps all day keeping things moving. We’ve still got copies of some killer stuff and already have more copies of some of the hot items on their way so if you missed Requiem, or Wrecking Ball, or something else, hit us up, there may be more. Anyway, a lot of this stuff was here last week, and you might have even seen it on the weekend, but it’s not been in the news letter so, here you go……
…..picks of the week…..
Tim Hecker: Love Streams (Paper Bag) LP
Love Streams, Canadian composer Tim Hecker’s latest album, takes its cues from the avant-classical orchestration and extreme electronic processing of his previous full-length, 2013’s Virgins, but shaped into more melancholic, ultraviolet hues. Inspired by notions of 15th century choral scores (particularly those by Josquin des Prez), transposed to an artificial intelligence-era language of digital resonance and bright synths, the album was assembled gradually, with layers of studio-tracked keyboards, choir and woodwinds being woven into the mix, then molded and disfigured through complex programming. Like hearing some ancient strain of sacred music corrupted by encryption, Hecker admits to thinking about ideas like “liturgical aesthestics after Yeezus” and the “transcendental voice in the age of auto-tune,” during its creation.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Ears (Western Vinyl) LP
Though known for otherworldly bleeps and bloops, the revered Buchla synthesizer has its roots in ’60s hippie Americana. Don Buchla formed the company in 1963, nestled in a Berkeley, CA, community focused on mind expansion. Instruments like his colorful Music Easel were the invention of “acid eaters” with roots in “new age lifestyles and the reinvention of art and music,” to quote Andy Votel’s Finders Keepers label. They’re referring to a 1975 demonstration by one-time Buchla employee Suzanne Ciani, a mentor of LA-based composer, musician and singer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Though she cites Ciani (who she worked with while living in the Bay Area), Terry Riley and Laurie Spiegel as influences, Smith’s third album, EARS, taps into a mix of Buchla and traditional orchestration that feels closer to Aaron Copland’s pivotal Appalachian Spring. As in that piece, a dedication to the mystique of nature permeates this music. EARS starts slowly. On opener “First Flight,” Smith runs an ascending pattern on the Buchla while an array of strings and woodwinds warm up. It’s the aural equivalent of waking in a forest: first birdsong, then the rustle of small animals in the bushes. Smith breaks up the reverie with some chanted vocals, sung in no discernible language. It sounds like an appeal to the ancestors of the forest island in Washington State where she was raised. “First Flight” sets the tone for the rest of the album. While previous records have been more impressionistic (Tides) or comparable to indie chamber-pop (Euclid), EARS combines modular texture, deft orchestration and alien vocals into one tidy package. It’s an impressive feat by any standard. At times, Smith’s populist disposition aligns her music with indie giants like, say, Grizzly Bear—the difference here is that the burbling Buchla subverts an obvious knack for traditional songcraft. It might be Smith’s greatest accomplishment. Rather than submit to the abstractions the instrument’s been known for since Morton Subotnick’s Silver Apples Of The Moon, she refuses to allow the medium to determine the message. EARS is drawn to Ciani’s intense and, as Smith has suggested, distinctly feminine melodic approach. Smith’s methodology reaches its peak on the album’s most freeform cut, “When I Try, I’m Full.” This subdued piece contains the wildest Buchla process on the album, a complex, babbling brook of an arpeggio. Rather than normalizing it with voice and sax, she allows those elements to chase the maddening synth, carving their own wild patterns like a school of fish in the sun. Smith has expressed an interest in scoring for film, and like her mentor, she seems comfortable bringing weird instruments and ideas to the mainstream. And why not? On EARS, Smith emerges as a novel, naturalistic and, yes, pop-savvy voice wielding an instrument known for esoteric experimentalism.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
A Passing Fancy: s/t (Lion) LP
This edition has been a long time in the works, with most of the delay resulting from our efforts to make something out of the fragments of mangled stereo master tape that still exist (the previous edition was in mono). All the production delays left us with plenty of time to consider the excellence of the album, which has surprising variety: tough garage rock (lead track ‘I’m Losing Tonight’); beat music influence (singles tracks ‘A Passing Fancy,’ ‘You’re Going Out Of Your Mind,’ and ‘She Phoned’); sunshine pop (‘I Believe in Sunshine’); songs with a social conscience (the discursive ‘Spread Out’); and a great acid rock meltdown (‘Your Trip’). These same delays also left us ample opportunity to uncover what had become of the various band members. A bit of searching led us to A Passing Fancy lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and primary song-writer Jay Telfer. He supplied a band history and lyrics for all the songs to round out this revamped edition of an album considered by many to be the best to come out of Canada during the late 1960’s. Includes the fuzzed-out single version of ‘I’m Losing Tonight’ as a bonus track.
File Under: Garage, Psych
Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop: Love Letter for Fire (Sub Pop) LP
Love Letter for Fire is a collaboration between Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) and singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop. The 13-track album includes the singles “Every Songbird Says” and “Valley Clouds,” and was written throughout 2014. Love Letter for Fire features Beam and Hoop on vocals and guitar along with Robert Burger (keys), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Glenn Kotche (drums, percussion), Sebastian Steinberg (bass) and Edward Rankin-Parker (cello). The album also features a cover photo by Beam. As Iron and Wine, Beam recorded for Sub Pop from 2002-2007, releasing a number of highly-acclaimed albums, singles, and EP’s, including The Creek Drank The Cradle (2002), Our Endless Numbered Days (2004), Woman King (2005) and The Shepherd’s Dog (2007). He went on to record for Warner Brothers, Nonesuch, and 4AD. Recent releases include a covers album with Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, and the two-volume Archive Series, which features material that preceded Sam’s Sub Pop-era recordings. Jesca Hoop is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. She is an incredible live performer, known for her wonderfully-eclectic take on folk, rock, and electronic music. Hoop has released five albums and two EPs, including the critic favorites Hunting My Dress and The House That Jack Built. Jesca has toured and collaborated with the likes of Shearwater, Willy Mason, Blake Mills, Andrew Bird, The Ditty Bops, Guy Garvey, and Elbow, and has recorded for Bella Union and Vanguard. Love Letter for Fire was produced, recorded and mixed by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, Decemberists, Neko Case) at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, OR and mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville, TN.
File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
Black Flower: Ghost Radio (Zephyrus) LP
Imagine a radio that plays music from other worlds, past and future. The gentlemen of Black Flower hit the studio for an impressionistic, abstract, and psychedelic session. This album is special. Call it a ghost record, a document . . . a work that gives a unique insight into the minds and creative processes of the musicians of Black Flower.
File Under: Funk, World, Psych
Black Mountain: IV (Jagjaguwar) LP
The rock canon has many anti-heroes, Black Mountain being the latest. In the past, Can’s Tago Mago established that the only rule in rock and roll is that there are no rules. Pink Floyd’s prodigious output in the ’70s showed us that architecture can be cool, while unskilled laborers Black Sabbath demonstrated you can make a lot from not that much. Now Black Mountain teach us that you don’t have to be afraid of the past to move bravely into the future, defining what it is to be a classic rock band in the new millennium. IV is their Houses of the Holy, an unapologetically ambitious record made by a group of musicians who are at the peak of their powers. The group’s sense of rediscovery as a creative whole is tangible throughout. Stephen McBean, Jeremy Schmidt, Amber Webber, and Joshua Wells were joined in the studio by spiritually attuned bassist and veteran purveyor of the riff, Arjan Miranda (formerly of S.T.R.E.E.T.S, Children, and The Family Band) whose roots, heart, and soul are connected to the same soil and cement that Black Mountain were borne from. Recording was primarily done in close collaboration with producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room, Marissa Nadler) at his trusted Avast! facility in Seattle.
File Under: Psych, Rock, CanCon
Calhau!: U (Kraak) LP
A true gem from the Portuguese underground. Sparse electronics blended with mystic vocalism — think Ghédalia Tazartes or Diamanda Galás. Deep in the Portuguese underground, Calhau! constructs an absurd universe in which nightmares, rural Catholic mysticism, and surrealist spirituality play the lead role. Performance, movie, and music contribute to one melancholic and cruel whole. The music is deeply rooted in Roman mysticism, using the dark hand of alchemy to beseech the insane 21st century. The duo sounds like an updated version of Ghédalia Tazartes and Throbbing Gristle, blending tape collages and sparse electronics, not unlike the PAN back catalog. First and foremost, Calhau! are their own island, at the point where Old Europe disappears into the sea. Ú is their third album. The A-side builds upon five song particles, in which a grotesque voice floats over hard samples and rough electronics. The voice sings in Portuguese, or Latin, maybe French, or Mongolian throat singing. Vom Grill’s gurgles could be a reference. Side B is a re-release of the limited 2014 mini-CD A Corte D’Urubu. It’s one long droney piece, a result of a collaboration with a choir, recorded on the Portuguese coast. The composition is a loose interpretation of Gregorian pieces, like Stabat Mater and Veni Creator Spiritus, mixing choral works with gritty synths and sinister opera. With Ú, Calhau! establish their status as the most talented duo of the Portuguese avant-garde.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Captain Beefheart: Clear Spot (Rhino) LP
In the wonderfully idiosyncratic discography of the-one-of-a-kind artist Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet), attention usually focuses on the carefully wrought, experimental music heard on his noted 1969 masterwork Trout Mask Replica. As a consequence, the three stellar albums recorded soon after – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970), The Spotlight Kid (1972) and Clear Spot (1972) – are often criminally overlooked. Rhino rectified that with the limited edition box set Sun, Zoom, Spark 1970-1972 which revisits the albums Beefheart recorded with the Magic Band in the early-70s. It included all three albums, which were remastered for the first time, as well as an entire LP featuring 14 previously unissued outtakes from the era. Now they’re offering remastered individual pressings of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot on 180g vinyl. 1972’s Clear Spot is the seventh album by Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band. Ted Templeman, already riding high with the Doobie Brothers and soon to be known as Van Halen’s producer, was brought in and it resulted in one of Beefheart’s best-sounding records. It’s also one of the rare occasions when Beefheart’s music survived commercial staging without failure. Highlights include “Nowadays a Woman’s Got to Hit a Man” and “Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles” among others.
File Under: Essential, Psych, Blues, Rock
Captain Beefheart: The Spotlight Kid (Rhino) LP
In the wonderfully idiosyncratic discography of the-one-of-a-kind artist Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet), attention usually focuses on the carefully wrought, experimental music heard on his noted 1969 masterwork Trout Mask Replica. As a consequence, the three stellar albums recorded soon after – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970), The Spotlight Kid (1972) and Clear Spot (1972) – are often criminally overlooked. Rhino rectified that with the limited edition box set Sun, Zoom, Spark 1970-1972 which revisits the albums Beefheart recorded with the Magic Band in the early-70s. It included all three albums, which were remastered for the first time, as well as an entire LP featuring 14 previously unissued outtakes from the era. Now they’re offering remastered individual pressings of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot on 180g vinyl. Captain Beefheart took over full production duties on his 1972 release The Spotlight Kid, resulting in a loose and fun album of heavy and spacious blues that is often cited as one of his most accessible. The album features some of Beefheart’s most beautiful songs, such as “Glider” and “Grow Fins” as well as the live favorites “Alice In Blunderland” and “Click Clack.”
File Under: Blues, Rock, Psych
Captain Beefheart: Lick My Decals Off, Baby (Rhino) LP
In the wonderfully idiosyncratic discography of the-one-of-a-kind artist Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet), attention usually focuses on the carefully wrought, experimental music heard on his noted 1969 masterwork Trout Mask Replica. As a consequence, the three stellar albums recorded soon after – Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970), The Spotlight Kid (1972) and Clear Spot (1972) – are often criminally overlooked. Rhino rectified that with the limited edition box set Sun, Zoom, Spark 1970-1972 which revisits the albums Beefheart recorded with the Magic Band in the early-70s. It included all three albums, which were remastered for the first time, as well as an entire LP featuring 14 previously unissued outtakes from the era. Now they’re offering remastered individual pressings of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot on 180g vinyl. Released in 1970 on Frank Zappa’s Straight Records label, Lick My Decals Off, Baby served as the direct follow-up to Trout Mask Replica. Despite its predecessor’s staggering reputation it is often regarded as Beefheart’s finest album…catchy, warped and visionary in equal measure. The title cut’s opening salvo truly says it all here: “Rather than I want to hold your hand, I wanna swallow you whole.”
File Under: Blues, Rock, Psych
Coilectif: In Memory of John Balance (Rotorelief) LP
Coilectif consists of French bands from the genesis of industrial, experimental, and free jazz musics — for the most part unclassifiable underground musics — and more recent artists from the same vein. These artists explore and express, openly and without limits, what Coil’s heritage suggests to them, an opportunity to pay homage to Geoff Rushton aka John Balance following his death on November 13, 2004. Coilectif is also an homage to all the musicians, as well as illustrators Scherer & Ouporov, united for the first time under such an outline, all expressing what Coil’s universe evokes to them through lunar, astral, and visionary excursions, while keeping their own artistic identities. It is not a compilation of remixes of Coil, nor a catalog of previously released tracks, but a genuine concept of creation in which this collective of artists homogenizes itself around a real artistic project. The 17 tracks form an intimate, magnetic, and timeless piece of work. Each band composed, recorded, and mixed their own exclusive track. Mastered by Laurent Pernice. Graphic design by Patricia Leclerc from the artwork of Scherer & Ouporov. Includes works by Ilitch; De Mange Machine; Servovalve; Bela Goosy; Laurent Pernice & Jacques Barbéri; Pacific 231; Vivenza; Désaccord Majeur; Art&Technique; Othila; Gas Anorex; Vox Populi! (as Gitanjali & The Masters Of Mystic Entertainment); Les Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites; Palo Alto; Déficit Des Années Antérieures; Étant Donnés; Jac Berrocal, Marie France & Jack Belsen.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
John Fahey: Blind Joe Death Volume 1 (4 Men With Beards) LP
“For several years major labels had been issuing records in both mono and stereo formats. By 1967 Takoma was doing well enough financially to justify the recording of Fahey’s first and second albums for the burgeoning stereo market. Thus Vol.1: Blind Joe Death, as the record would be titled henceforth, was recorded for the third time and it is probably this release that most people are familiar with today. For the new version Fahey recorded all but one song on the album. He recorded one new track for the reissue: ‘I’m Gonna Do All I Can for My Lord.’ His new take of the Episcopal hymn ‘In Christ There Is No East or West’ would become the most well-known and oft-played song on the album.”
File Under: Folk, Americana, Guitar Soli
Gelbart: Preemptive Musical Offerings to Satisfy Our Future Masters (Gagarin) LP
For his next release on Felix Kubin’s Gagarin Records, multi-instrumentalist Adi Gelbart delivers twelve Preemptive Musical Offerings To Satisfy Our Future Masters. With a spiraling musical complexity reminiscent of film scores, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, library music, criminal swing, Russian vitamins, tinnitus’ twist, abstract jazz and musique concrète, Gelbart surpasses himself this time by augmenting his palette of instruments to the extent where he becomes a small orchestra. “The Source” of his musical identity plays “The Message” of synths, broken organs, harpsichord (!), double bass, horns, cymbals and crispy drum machines. It’s a “Spacetime Reverie,” where “Tsuburaya” blows “Leaves For Gamera” while “He Who Speaks Through Pyramids” walks through “Echoville” with “Dust” on his shoes, contemplating the “Birth Of Alpha” after “The Big Sleep.” While humming to songs of the second moon, the “Harpsichord Automata” leads “The March Of The Thinking Machines” to a blissful silver big bang. The LP comes in a beautifully designed sleeve with cover artwork by Berlin-based German illustration star Benedikt Rugar, who has contributed to newspapers such as The New York Times and Spiegel, as well as numerous animation film festivals. A download card is included with the purchase of the record.
File Under: Pseudo OST, Jazz, Experimental
Johann Johannsson with Hildur Gudnadottir & Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: End of Summer (Sonic Pieces) LP
LP version in laser-cut cover with printed inner sleeve. Includes download code. End of Summer captures Jóhann Jóhannsson’s journey to the Antarctic Peninsula to discover the calm scenery of a landscape changing seasons, barely influenced or even noticed by humanity. The Super 8 film is a comforting study of a peaceful setting in one of the most crucial and endangered areas of our planet. Accompanied by rich and detailed field recordings of the surroundings, this footage forms a perfect foundation for Jóhannsson’s musical compositions, performed together with fellow musicians and friends Hildur Guðnadóttir and Robert A. A. Lowe. The varying use of cello, voice, synthesizer, and electronics creates a listening experience that reflects both the vast beauty of the quiet scenery and the necessary caution of its inhabitants. As if gliding through the steep ice, its rough edges, and the harmonious water movements, organic arrangements patiently devolve into voice-and-electronics-based ambience that adds warmth to the icy environment. The soundtrack to End of Summer is an emotional, enduring listen and a compelling experience. Forming a soundscape as broad as the view that inspired it yet equally heartwarming, the music will slow down time and provide a moment of harmony within times of change.
File Under: Modern Classical, Experimental
Ragnar Johnson Assisted By Jessica Mayer: Sacred Flute Music from New Guinea (Ideologic Organ) LP
Recorded by Ragnar Johnson, assisted by Jessica Mayer, in Papua New Guinea, April-August 1976. Tape-to-digital transfer by Dave Hunt at Dave Hunt Audio in London, July 2015. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin, August 2015. Notes and photographs by Ragnar Johnson and Jessica Mayer. First combined release. Originally released as two distinct LPs on Quartz Publications by David Toop with the assistance of Sue Steward, Evan Parker, Robert Wyatt, and Alfreda Benge. Reissued as two distinct CDs on Rounder Records in 1999. Includes recordings of sacred flutes blown to make the cries of spirits by adult men in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea, pairs of long bamboo male and female flutes played for ceremonies in the coastal villages near the Ramu river, Ravoi flutes from Bak accompanied by two garamut (carved wooden slit gongs), Waudang flutes from the island of Manam accompanied by two large and two small slit gongs and six singers, Jarvan flutes from Awar accompanied by a shell rattle, and the cries of six different pairs of flutes and one pair of conch shells from the Ramu coast, two pairs of Waudang flutes from the island of Manam with singing, and Mo-mo resonating tubes from the Finisterre Range. Occasional percussion is provided by wooden slit gongs and hand drums. “We would like to thank the performers and people of the villages of Awar, Borai, Bo’da, Kaean, Kuluguma, Nubia Sissimungum and Damaindeh-Bau for making this record possible. Copies of the master tapes are in the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, Port Moresby. Ragnar Johnson thanks the Canadian I.D.RC. for supporting his anthropological research. Thanks to Dave Hunt for transferring the original magnetic tape recordings onto digital media and to Stephen O’Malley, David Toop and Evan Parker for assistance.”
File Under: World, Religious
L/D/F/M: Crocodiles in the Ceiling (Ecstatic) 12″
Richard Smith aka L/F/D/M reports four barreling hardware shots from London’s EBM and techno underworld with the tense, nervous energy of his Crocodiles in the Ceiling EP for Not Waving’s Ecstatic label following a slew of ‘floor-wreckers with Optimo Trax and Diagonal (as Bronze Teeth and Green Gums with former Factory Floor member Dom Butler). This EP finds him flexing a buzzing set of dancefloor prongs amid the sweat-mist and strobelights. The result is a visceral, animated style, pushing at the most frayed, wild-eyed aspects of post-industrial/acid/techno with inarguably potent impact and effect.
File Under: Electronic, Techno
M83: Junk (Mute) LP
In Tomorrow…. M83 presents the epic new Mute Records full-length album Junk. Following Grammy nominated album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, featuring platinum single, “Midnight City,” and two triumphant years of world touring, Anthony Gonzalez – who serves as M83’s musical architect, songwriter, front man and primary vocalist – returns with an artistic evolution, explaining, “I want to show different sides of me on this album. I want to come back with something more intimate, yet somehow with…less me!” Feeling a renewed kinship with Gonzalez’s early musical inspirations like Tangerine Dream, Aphex Twin, and genre-expanding visionaries like Brian Wilson and Kevin Shields, M83 both returns to his roots with this album, yet makes a logical leap forward. And while M83 albums have always combined genres in a nostalgic and provocative way – from shoegaze and ambient to synth-pop and ’90s alt-rock – for Junk, Gonzalez experiments adventurously with sounds and styles he’s never previously attempted in his music. “All my albums have layers of eclecticism to them, but with this album I wanted to take that even further,” he adds. On the album title Junk Gonzalez divulges, “Anything we create today is going to end up being space junk at one point anyway, and I find it really fascinating and scary at the same time – beautiful too in a way. I have this image of pieces of humanity floating in space, lost forever. It also means that nowadays everything goes so fast and everybody is kind of throwing away art in a certain manner. People will listen to an album for instance and just pick a track they like to put on a playlist. They’re not going to take the time to listen to an album anymore because they have to jump on the next thing.”
File Under: Electronic, Indie Rock
Stephen O’Malley: End Ground (Ideal) LP
End Ground forms the 3rd and final installment in a series of records documenting the solo prowess of Sunn 0)))’s Stephen O’Malley released on Sweden’s iDEAL Recordings. It was performed on electric guitar thru Sunn model T amps, and captured on zoom H4 at Centre Cultural Suisse, Bad Bonn Carte Blanche, Paris, France, on October 18th, 2013. In solo mode, stripped of his usual accomplices and collaborators, O’Malley is no less than an elemental force. His durational meditations absorb and consume with steady-handed wave after wave of charred, sustained, and sub-harmonized chords casting the mesmerizing minimalist practice of La Monte Young into the physicality of Black Sabbath’s original, heavy metal die. The A-side/first half of this 45 minute performance features O’Malley tentatively coaxing out languorous riffs which turn the air around him to a pensive, vibrating mush. As the 2nd half dawns he begins to deliver more crushing blows, drawing out and subsiding the chords with a patented, gut-wrenching and vivifying power that transcends rock, avant-garde, minimalism — all of that — to awaken dormant senses not usually experienced with other musics or concise temporality. As with many of the most affective heavy drone recordings by Sunn 0))), among others, a modicum of patience is required in order to attain the right state for reception, but once your mind and body are malleable, the impact is deliciously visceral, primal and whelming. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton. Individually hand-numbered edition of 700 copies.
File Under: Metal, Doom, Drone
Orior: Strange Beauty (Demdike Stare) LP
Orior’s Elevation 7″ was released in 1979 and is one of the records that Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker of Demdike Stare shared an obsession over around the time they started working together 30 years later. Spurred on by rumors of an unreleased LP, Demdike were determined to track them down but had scant information to go on, just the names “Clip and Phil” credited on the 7″, and an out of date contact for the obscure label Crystal Groove. After some detective work, and with a little help from Frank at Vinyl On Demand, they managed to get a postal address for Clip that was ten years old and sent a note over. Fortuitously, a letter was returned in reply from a Jeff Sharp (Clip) who was extremely surprised to be asked about recordings he had long forgotten about. This started a rewarding process: the master tapes were found in Jeff’s loft, but were in poor condition so were passed on to Andy Popplewell at AMR to bake and transfer. As Miles Whittaker explains: “The day I went to AMR to collect the masters, before I’d even listened to anything, the engineer Andy Popplewell told me there was ‘pure gold’ on those tapes. He said it was an absolute joy to listen as the tapes were being recorded, so our anticipation was through the roof…” The material is indeed special, in some respects typical of the era — lots of experimental drum machine experiments and so on, but also possessed of a totally unexpected character: there are moments that recall the dense atmospheric pieces of Angelo Badalamenti, others that evoke classic Vangelis, or indeed the eerie soundscapes of Leyland Kirby. There are passages that bring to mind Bruce Gilbert’s Dome project, and parallels can be drawn with the Fourth World ambience of Jon Hassel and Brian Eno, as well as early Coil. In short — it’s a revelatory set of recordings that, were it not for some resourcefulness and an awful lot of good luck, would have just rotted away in an attic somewhere in South East England. Lucky for us, we can now hear it in all its expansive glory, spread across two meticulously curated LPs on this wonderful label.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Ambient
Razen: Endrhymes (Kraak) LP
Brussels-based group Razen present Endrhymes, a work of hardcore melodic minimalism and raw, dystopian deep listening. Exclusive artwork by Bryan Lewis Saunders. The four pieces on Endrhymes thrive on an almost compulsory focus and improvisation carefully developed during many concerts. As a trio, Razen erase the acoustic deep listening from their previous album to explore territory of raw, melodic, and psychedelic minimalism that refers to the massive works of Louis Andriessen. The first and last tracks are raw, pulsating improvisations built out of short, melodic motives that create a slowly changing arch of musical tension, while the centerpieces destroy the musical center and drop the listener into a cold, dystopian place, left alone and subject to powers beyond knowledge. Razen leave the listener no choice: immerse. Layout by Jeroen Wille, Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker. Includes download code for MP3, FLAC, and other formats. Edition of 320.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Steve Reich: Berkeley University Museum (Modern Silence) LP
A live performance of four early works by Steve Reich: “Four Organs,” “My Name Is,” “Piano Phase,” and “Phase Patterns.” This 1970 performance marked an important moment in San Francisco Bay Area new music history with the triumphant return to the East Bay by Reich, who studied at Mills College with Luciano Berio and performed the 1964 world premiere of Terry Riley’s seminal In C at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. The resonant acoustics of the University of California at Berkeley Museum’s concrete interior were especially appropriate for “Four Organs”, with its long additive sustained chords over a maraca pulse. 180-gram LP. Limited edition of 500.
File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental, Classical
Catherine Ribeiro & Alps: Paix (Philip) LP
First-time vinyl reissue of two extraordinary documents from Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes. Born from the tumult of the ’68 riots in France, Ribeiro + Alpes defined a uniquely Gallic take on the progressive psychedelia of the time. This is ecstatic music fusing European medieval traditions with the contemporary free jazz of the era. Ribeiro, with her confrontational and surrealistic poetry, along with Patrice Moullet’s invented instruments, defined a genre unto themselves and created some of the most original music of the early ’70s with these two masterpieces. Paix, released in 1972, is considered Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes’s masterpiece and rightfully so! The album marked a change in the musical direction of the band, evolving into a more cosmic sound achieved by way of much improvised propulsive energy. Paix floats, shrouded by a strong, uniquely medieval, Gallic folk influence. Composed mainly of two expansive suits, Paix delivers a unique amalgam of progressive, spacey instrumentals (due largely to Moullet’s homemade instruments: percuphone, cosmophone, and orgolia) standing in sharp contrast to Ribeiro’s severe yet hypnotic vocals, both seemingly informed by the same shadowy depths of feeling. It is on Paix that this collaboration reached its summit, producing some of Ribeiro and Moullet’s most haunting and passionate work. A landmark album FINALLY reissued on its original format. Included on the legendary NWW list. Remastered sound. One-time limited pressing of 500 copies.
File Under: French, Prog, Experimental, Psych
Catherine Ribeiro & Alps: Ame Debout (Philip) LP
First-time vinyl reissue of two extraordinary documents from Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes. Born from the tumult of the ’68 riots in France, Ribeiro + Alpes defined a uniquely Gallic take on the progressive psychedelia of the time. This is ecstatic music fusing European medieval traditions with the contemporary free jazz of the era. Ribeiro, with her confrontational and surrealistic poetry, along with Patrice Moullet’s invented instruments, defined a genre unto themselves and created some of the most original music of the early ’70s with these two masterpieces. Ame Debout breaks much new ground for 1971, with Alpes joined by Gong keyboardist Patrice Lemoine and his bassist brother Jean-Sébastien. Rather than trying to fuse recognizable musical styles with vocals, Ame Debout illustrates Alpes’s relationship with Ribeiro as something instantly more elemental and complicated. The music launches immediately into a radical sound world of acoustic guitar, bass, stabbing and soaring organ, scuttling percuphone, and celestial cosmophone. The album retains a repetition stretched across tracks and time that shifts ever so slightly but rarely responds directly to Ribeiro’s vocals. The band’s instrumental work drifts hazily beneath Ribeiro’s swells, supporting her harmonically but never displaying enough ego to act as anything other than a platform for her existential angst, as if to conjure her id onto tape. These elements converge on Ame Debout, transforming a largely improvised combination of instrumentation and vocals into the utmost emotional expression. Included on the legendary NWW list. Remastered sound. One-time limited pressing of 500 copies.
File Under: French, Experimental, Prog, Psych
Arthur Russell: Tower of Meaning (Audika) LP
“Arthur’s epic minimalist orchestral composition conducted by the late Julius Eastman. Stunningly beautiful, mercurial, and moving. The transcendental, ephemeral soundscape originally intended for theatrical performance. First released in 1983 on Chatham Square. The Audika release replicates the original artwork with remastered audio.” ‘Almost medievally pure music in which tone combinations of two or three notes tuned to modal/raga scales are played by various instrumental groups. There is a love of listening to the pure combinations per se, as they are delivered at a regular, moderate pace…then, unpredictably, rich or dissonant chords will be held that open your mind’s ear, and take your breath away….the sudden ceasing of the music at certain points also has a similar effect.’–‘Blue’ Gene Tyranny
File Under: Experimental, Orchestral
Colin Stetson: Sorrow (52Hz) LP
Symphony No 3, composed by Polish composer Henryk Górecki in 1977, became one of the biggest sellers of classical music of all time, when Elektra Nonesuch’s 1992 recording of the ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ was released. The recording eventually sold over 1 million copies and topped classical charts in the USA and Britain. This popular acclaim did not generate wide interest in Górecki’s other works, and he pointedly resisted the temptation to repeat earlier success, or compose for commercial reward. Górecki died in November 2010 aged 76. Colin Stetson is an American saxophonist and multi-reedist. ‘SORROW’, led by Stetson, is a reimagining of Henryk Górecki’s most famous piece, performed by a 12-piece band including Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld, Saltland’s Rebecca Foon, Greg Fox of Liturgy, Megan Stetson and more and recorded in 2015 in Brooklyn, New York. “We all have those moments when we experience a piece of music that transforms us, and this was one of those moments for me,” says Stetson. “Over the years, I went on to listen to this record countless times, always determined to absorb every instance of it, to know it throughout and fully. And this dedication to a thorough knowledge of the piece eventually gave way to a need to perform it.” “The concept was simple, and true to the original score. I haven’t changed existing notation, but rather have worked with altering instrumentation, utilizing a group consisting heavily of woodwinds, synthesizers, and electric guitars… The arrangement draws heavily from the world of black metal, early electronic music, and from my own body of solo saxophone music. The result is an intact rendition of Henryk Górecki’s 3rd Symphony, though one which has been filtered through the lens of my particular musical aesthetic and experience.”
File Under: Classical
James Tatum Trio: Contemporary Jazz Mass (Jazzman) LP
Limited numbered edition of 1000. A gem of independent Detroit jazz, reissued for the first time. James Tatum’s stunning, spiritualized Contemporary Jazz Mass is one of the only true jazz masses ever released. Inspired by Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, Tatum’s masterwork was recorded during its first-ever performance at St Cecilia Church in Detroit, and released on Tatum’s own private label in 1974. A professional music educator and jazz composer, Tatum had been working as a teacher in Detroit, and in the long aftermath of the 1967 riots he began teaching music to local children in St Cecilia’s. The church commissioned the mass in 1972, and Tatum put together an ensemble of singers from within the church, backed by his own trio and local jazz musicians. Looking toward the great sacred works of Ellington, but with lyrics drawn straight from liturgy, Contemporary Jazz Mass is a unique work of sanctified vocal jazz — nourishment for the spirit and soul, brought back to you by Jazzman Records as part of its esteemed Holy Grail Series. The CD version also includes Tatum’s independent second release, Live at the Orchestra Hall & Paradise Theater (1980). Another breathtaking long-form vocal jazz composition, it was conceived as a trip through the deep history of African-American music, expressing the spirit and sound of the past through the medium of jazz music and song. All tracks fully licensed and digitally restored. Includes comprehensive, detailed liner notes with pictures and information from Jazzman’s interviews with James Tatum himself.
File Under: Jazz
Suuns: Hold/Still (Secret City) LP
Precision, minimalism, repetition, and unsettling deviations of said repetition – these are the building blocks of the surly universe created by Montreal’s Suuns. It’s a universe of high tension. A universe of resistance and surrender to all the hopelessness, anxiety and privilege of being self aware out here at the edge of history. Now, with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton at the helm, Suuns’ sonic cornerstones have become heavier, more penetrating, nearly tactile. Hold/Still, their third proper album, exists at the intersection of 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Kid A – a serpent’s hiss that is also yearning and hot-blooded. Its contents are the proof as to why Suuns absolutely deserve to be listed next to the names of dark groove adventurers like Stott, Forest Swords, Arca and Haxan Cloak. You’ve been properly warned.
File Under: Electronic, Indie Rock
Takeshi Terauchi & The Blue Jeans: Rashomon (Victory) LP
First with his band The Bunnys and later with The Blue Jeans, guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi covered many popular genres in the ’60s and ’70s, from garage, frat rock, and surf guitar instrumentals to sentimental ballads via his own inimitable take on the popular classics. Japan’s premier guitar hero, her remains little known in the US. His style could be described as neo-surf, blending traditional surf sounds with fuzz guitar, acid organ, and impetuous drums. In 1972 the instrumental album Rashomon was released, featuring a main theme written by Terauchi for Akira Kurosawa’s 1951 film Rashomon — surf/psych with dark guitar and soaring flute. This is its first reissue.
File Under: Garage, Rock, Surf, Psych
The Thermals: We Disappear (Saddle Creek) LP
Produced by Chris Walla (formerly of Death Cab For Cutie), with whom the band has worked frequently, We Disappear was recorded in Portland at Kung Fu Bakery (The Shins, Tegan and Sara) and in Seattle, WA at The Hall of Justice (Nirvana, Mudhoney). The album – which will arrive ahead of the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed third LP The Body, The Blood, The Machine – is an authentic, dark, and deeply personal album couched in The Thermals’ trademark catchy and boundless pop/rock. The band examines technology, love, and death throughout: how separation in humanity can come through any of these avenues; how people try to outrun the demise of lives and relationships; how technology can isolate us and impact our relationships even as we completely – and willingly – assimilate ourselves into it (or go “Into The Code,” as the opening track suggests); and how we’ve begun to forego privacy for a feeling of immortality in order to not be ignored or forgotten. Harris explains, “Technology, love and death are the three obsessions of the record. Our privacy used to be so important to us and now everything has changed – we freely offer once private information about relationships and reveal everything about our day-to-day lives. We’re trying to preserve our life digitally so when we’re gone people won’t forget us. We’re using technology to become immortal. You can even set up Facebook and Twitter accounts to continue updating after you die! We Disappear is about how humans fight the inevitable.” Harris’s heartfelt lyrics – which draw heavily from his own recent experiences in contrast to his earlier, mostly fictitious tales – are both complimented and contrasted by the music. The galloping anthem “Hey You” depicts a paranoid fantasy of fleeing from the Grim Reaper as he calls after you; the poppy, sing-along sadness of “My Heart Went Cold” plays on the double metaphor of the loss of love/life; and the surprisingly uplifting, soaring “Thinking Of You” is both a straight-forward love song and relationship eulogy. We Disappear is a walk through modern life and love, and despite its dark themes, The Thermals here deliver one of their most spirited, anthemic, and rousing releases to date.
File Under: Indie Rock
A Tribe Called Quest: Beat, Rhymes, & Life (Jive) LP
A Tribe Called Quest: Low End Theory (Jive) LP
A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders (Jive) LP
Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO) LP
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Capitol) LP
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head (Capitol) LP
Beastie Boys: Ill Communication (Capitol) LP
Boards of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp) LP
Boards of Canada: Music Has The Right (Warp) LP
Brothers & Sisters: Dylan’s Gospel (Light in the Attic) LP
City & Colour: If I Should Go Before You (Dine Alone) LP
The Clash: s/t (Epic) LP
The Clash: Sandinista! (Epic) LP
Daft Punk: Homework (EMI) LP
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Legacy) LP
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (Legacy) LP
Death Grips: Powers That B (Harvest) LP
Mac Demarco: Salad Days (Captured Tracks) LP
Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (Blue Note) LP
The Doors: s/t (Rhino) LP
Dr. Dre: The Cronic (Death Row) LP
Flying Lotus: Los Angeles (Warp) LP
Flying Lotus: Until The Quiet Comes (Warp) LP
Flying Lotus: You’re Dead! (Warp) LP
Serge Gainsbourg: Histoire De Melody Nelson (Light in the Attic) LP
Goblin: Zombi (AMS) LP
Grimes: Art Angels (Crystal Math) LP
Grimes: Visions (Arbutus) LP
Francoise Hardy: Tous Les Garcons Et Les Filles (Future Days) LP
Lee Hazlewood: LHI Years (Light in the Attic) LP
King Crimson: Starless & Bible Black (Pangyric) LP
Kraftwerk: Radio-Activity (EMI) LP
Karin Krog: Don’t Just Sing (Light in the Attic) LP
Krokodil: Swamp (Lion) LP
Kendrik Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath) LP
Lewis: Romantic Times (Light in the Attic) LP
Sven Libaek: Inner Space (Roundtable) LP
Lifetones: For A Reason (Light in the Attic) LP
Madlib: Shades of Blue (Blue Note) LP
MF Doom: Operation Doomsday (Metalface) LP
Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um (Columbia) LP
Modest Mouse: Building Something Out of Nothing (Glacial Pace) LP
Modest Mouse: Good News For People… (Epic) LP
Modest Mouse: Lonesome Crowed West (Glacial Pace) LP
N.W.A.: Straight Outta Compton (Priority) LP
Nirvana: In Utero (Geffen) LP
OST: Jodorowsky’s Dune (Cinewax) LP
Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression (MVD) LP
Iggy Pop & The Stooges: Raw Power (Legacy) LP
Portishead: Dummy (Polydor) LP
Portishead: PNYC: Live (Polydor) LP
Portishead: Third (Mercury) LP
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: s/t (Stax) LP
Run The Jewels: 2 (Mass Appeal) LP
Wayne Shorter: Night Dreamer (Blue Note) LP
Vince Staples: Summertime 06 1 (Def Jam) LP
Vince Staples: Summertime 06 2 (Def Jam) LP
The Strokes: Is This It? (Epic) LP
The Strokes: Room on Fire (Epic) LP
Willie Thrasher: Spirit Child (Future Days) LP
Ulver: Bergtatt (Century Media) LP
Ulver: Kveldssanger (Century Media) LP
Ulver: Nattens Madrigal (Century Media) LP
Kanye West: 808s and Heartbreak (Def Jam) LP
Kanye West: College Dropout (Roc a Fella) LP
Kanye West: Late Registration (Universal) LP
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam) LP
Jack White: Blunderbuss (Thirdman) LP
Jack White: Lazaretto (Thirdman) LP
Various: Our Live’s Are… Mowest (Light in the Attic) LP
Various: This Record Belongs to ______ (Light in the Attic) LP