Well, the end is nigh. Hope your shopping is going as swimmingly as mine. The good news is we’ve got a ton of new stuff this week to satisfy all your gift giving needs, or personal needs too. Anyway, I haven’t seen the top of the desk in 3 days, so read on, and discover something new for your ears….
…..picks of the week…..
Anthony Child: Electronic Recordings from Maui Jungle Vol. 2 (Editions Mego) LP
Anthony Child, AKA Surgeon, presents the second volume of recordings of Buchla Music Easel recorded in the jungle of Maui. Again, Child is in a more ambient guise and setting, as the calm breath of the jungle sets a real time back-drop for his electronic explorations. There is no additional layering and all environmental sounds simply “occurred” throughout the improvisations. The range on display veers from melodic drones to sparkling arpeggios all revolving around a thick bed of electronic (Buchla) and acoustic (environmental) interplay. “Nine Personality Type Map” hovers on a bed of syncopated rhythms whilst the nearby sonic mist of the forest seethes in-and-out of the frame whilst “A Nightfall Of Diamonds” provides a sonic analogy for the darkness and light contradiction that occurs only in such rich natural environments. The simultaneous acts of improvising, listening and creating provide a rich setting for the curious listener. Another gem in a catalog filled with gold. Recorded in Haiku-Pauwela, Maui between February 3rd and 14th of 2016.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Buchla
Demdike Stare: Wonderland (Modern Love) 2LP/3CD
A project that came to life fueled by collector’s obsession and a life-long willingness to dive head-first into unknown musical wormholes, Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty have never been defined by a singular musical trajectory. Their opening salvo of releases dabbled with the aesthetic of the occult and provided an alternate, parallax view of the Italian Library records with which they were both obsessed at the time, but as their long running mixtape series and brilliantly curated DDS label attest, their interests extend far outside the crevices of early electronic music and into dance music, dancehall, roots, jungle, techno, industrial, noise and beyond. While 2013’s Testpressing series provided an outlet for mostly club-based productions shot from the hip, Wonderland, their first album since 2012’s Elemental, has been constructed with a narrative in mind. From the clipped hard-style of the opening “Curzon”, through the jaunty dancehall mutations of “Animal Style” and “FullEdge”, exotica/house refractions on “Hardnoise”, the frankly ridiculous, bass-bin destroying jungle ructions on “Sourcer”, or the extended tease of “Overstaying”, it’s probably the most enjoyable and loose-limbed hour of music in their catalog, or that you’ll likely hear in these weird, angst-ridden times. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton. CD version comes in a deluxe six-panel digifile; the first edition includes Wonderland plus two extra discs containing all of the Testpressings, on digital formats for the first time.
File Under: Electronic, Techno, Industrial
Olafur Arnalds: Island Songs (Mercury) LP
Icelanders make up one of the most musical nations on earth with one of the highest rates of ensembles per capita in the world. How do the beautiful yet harsh Icelandic conditions affect their music-making? In Island Songs, the innovative and brilliant composer Ólafur Arnalds (BAFTA Award winner for Broadchurch) explores the vibrant artistic life of his fellow countrymen and women in a fascinating, real-time, audio portrait of his home country of Iceland. Over the course of seven weeks in the summer of 2016, Arnalds traveled to seven very different locations in Iceland – one per week – to record a series of new compositions. In each location Arnalds collaborated with artists local to the town to create and perform a new song. Each artist has their own unique story to tell and individual way of contributing to the project. They come from various musical backgrounds in their hometowns, ranging from a vocalist from a world famous rock band to a church organist in a village of 100 inhabitants, making this a diverse project. Arnalds has become celebrated for his spare and haunting musical style, which evocatively mixes elements of ambient, classical and electronic sounds. Island Songs has its roots in the enormous success of his two previous improvised projects, Found Songs (2009) and Living Room Music (2011). This LP release from Mercury Classics brings all the audio components of Island Songs (which was also filmed by director Baldvin Z for an accompanying movie) together in one compelling package.
File Under: Modern Classical
Amiina: Fantomas (Mengi) LP
Gatefold sleeve with printed inner sleeves. Includes download code. Amiina’s latest adventure, Fantômas, was originally composed as a live score to a silent masterpiece from 1913. Amiina’s members decided right from the start that the music would also be able to stand on its own, independent of the visual narrative. Fantômas is melancholic and ethereal, yet full of suspense, pounding rhythms, and haunting melodies; A sound world full of contrasts, from darkness and utter terror, to heavenly melodies. The music thoughtfully composed, reoccurring themes and lied-motives build up a delicate structure where the listener can experience the piece as one entity – and then again different tracks or songs can be enjoyed independently. Violin, cello, drums, percussion, metallophone, table harp, ukulele, and electronics are the source material for the sound world of Amiina here, but it is expanded upon with their intelligent and imaginative usage of the different instruments and their varied and endless textures. The score Fantômas premiered in Paris in 2013 at the prestigious, Théâtre du Châtelet, where Amiina, together with musicians James Blackshaw, Tim Hecker, Loney Dear, and Yann Tiersen, took part in a special Halloween event, celebrating the centenary of the Fantômas series, directed by the French film director Louis Feuillade in 1913-1914. The Fantômas series – in five parts – ran for six hours with every musician/band providing their new live score for the series, the music commissioned by Yann Tiersen who curated the event. A huge success right from the beginning, Fantômas is an early example of the interplay between avant-garde intellectual and emerging mass culture, highly regarded by the French avant-garde of the 1920s, especially the surrealists, e.g. René Magritte and Guillame Apollinaire, the latter stating that “from the imaginative standpoint, Fantômas is one of the richest works that exist.” When the magical, somewhat fragile sound world of Amiina meets the lord of terror something, unexpected and truly magical happens. Mengi is an operation created and managed by artists in Reykjavik, Iceland.
File Under: Icelandic, Post Rock, Modern Classical
Ashtray Navigations: To Make a Fool Ask, and You Are the First
(Blackest Ever Black) LP
Ashtray Navigations’s To Make A Fool picks up where the nerve-damaged exotica of 2015’s A Shimmering Replica left off – acerbic “surf” guitar and synthetic salt-breeze fit for the Tropic of Yorkshire. Instant immersion in a potent, pungent psychedelia that feels equal parts cosmic and aquatic. What Phil Todd wrenches out of his instrument these days is a language unto itself – a helical, grieving howl, a (super)natural efflorescence, beyond earthly description – ur-rock and post-everything. Equal emphasis is given here to pulsating machine rhythms and lush keyboard textures, with contributions by Mel O’Dubhshlaine. There were pre-echoes of all this in the recent Fluctuants (2015) and Aero Infinite (2014), but To Make A Fool feels like the fullest expression of something which was only glimpsed in those earlier works. The side-long “Spray Two” – gently eddying string-pads gradually slashed with fraught piano improvisations – is a masterpiece in its own right. At its delirious peak, the whole thing boils over into brooding, arpeggiated noir-techno – Michael Mann’s steadicam roaming Leeds’s B-roads, some kind of tangerine nightmare – before finally cooling into a bleary starfield of pure and sumptuous hypno-tone. This is a trip, in the most skull-splitting, soul-crinkling sense of the word, but it soothes and heals as well. A circular and transformative journey to the other side of the underneath, and a landmark recording from one of the most adept and visionary nodes in Britain’s freak-out underground.
File Under: Psychedelic, Electronic
Baby Grandmothers: s/t (Subliminal Sounds) LP
Available again! Baby Grandmothers were a short-lived Swedish band, but one of the most prolific and unique psychedelic, modal, experimental power trios to emerge out of the Scandinavian psychedelic underground scene in 1967. Although hailing from Stockholm, Sweden they only released a single in Finland, which has since become one of the most sought-after pieces of vinyl from the era. Formed out of the legendary R&B/beat band T-Boones which included guitar-wiz Kenny Håkansson, who ushered the group into the psychedelic sounds of the time. Not only were they the house band at the legendary psychedelic club, Filips, they also supported Jimi Hendrix on his Swedish tour in 1968 and then turned into Mecki Mark Men, who became the first Swedish rock band to tour the U.S. This unique collection includes live recordings made at Filips, their impossibly rare single and a rare live recording made in Finland. Painstakingly collected and researched by Dungen’s guitarist, Reine Fiske.
File Under: Psych, Sweden
Peter Baumann: Trans Harmonic Nights (Bureau B) LP
Bureau B present a reissue of Peter Baumann’s second solo album Trans Harmonic Nights, originally released in 1979. From 1971 to 1977, Peter Baumann was a member of the legendary Berlin band Tangerine Dream. The group were pioneers of the so called Berliner Schule (Berlin School) which had a profound impact on electronic music. Trans Harmonic Nights sees Baumann continue to break free from the gravitational pull of Tangerine Dream. Hans-Joachim Roedelius was recording the Jardin Au Fou album at the same time in his Paragon Studio and some of his carefree positivity seems to have rubbed off on Baumann, judging by the music he came up with. The production phase for Trans Harmonic Nights covered 16 months or thereabouts. Having built the studio and taken care of production on albums for Cluster, Asmus Tietchens, Conrad Schnitzler and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, many of which came out on the French label Egg, he had neither the time nor the inclination to focus on his own compositions. Numerous tracks on the album were actually created at the end of the working day, on downtime, just for fun in the unfinished studio. Peter Baumann explains: “It was a completely different time for music, everything we did was spontaneous, in the moment. My first two records happened when I was working in the studio, simply expressing myself as a musician, sensing which emotions, timbres, rhythms and melodies were closest to me.” This approach shines through the music, underpinning its authenticity and making the album such a delight to listen to today: carefree, playful, unbelievably euphoric. Synth lines are exhilaratingly entwined with synthetic plucks, experimental sounds crystallize into sweet melodies, building into ecstatic breaks. Majestic mellotron choirs and added vocoder tones lend an ethereal, surreal touch. It is virtually impossible not to get caught up in this rapture, to be swayed by the infectiously upbeat nature of the music. Not long after releasing this album, Peter Baumann relocated to the USA where he recorded two more albums by the year 1983, dominated by wave and synth pop sounds. In 1984 he founded his own label, Private Music. In the late 1990s he withdrew from the music business altogether, only resurfacing in May 2016 with Machines Of Desire.
File Under: Ambient, Synth Pop
Bear Bones, Lay Low: Hacia La Luz (No Label) LP
Hacia La Luz is a gorgeous and tripping LP from this Brussels based prince of modern psychedelic electronics, Bear Bones, Lay Low, aka Ernesto González. Rabih Beaini (Morphine Records): “played ‘Lightning Eyelids’ in the middle of a set, and the whole place came down!!”
File Under: Electronic, Psych
Harry Bertoia: Clear Sounds/Perfetta (Sonambient) LP
After nearly 40 years of silence, Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient label has been resurrected in order to release the best of Bertoia’s unheard recordings from his recently preserved archive of 1/4″ tapes. “Clear Sounds” b/w “Perfetta” was cut straight from the original reels and is a true analog pressing. These two pieces were selected for their minimal, meditative and lush harmonic qualities; lacking in the abundance of dynamics and contrasts found on the original Sonambient records, these pieces show another approach to performance. Slow washes of shimmering metallic sculpture rustle thickly like the leaves of a white birch or tall grass in the summer sun. Gorgeous harmonics hover overhead, making audible measurements of the length and purity of Bertoia’s metal rod sculptures. Both Harry Bertoia and his brother Oreste composed extensively in the Sonambient barn deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania where Harry kept over 100 Sonambient sculptures and gongs. The first Sonambient LP Bellissima Bellissima Bellissima / Nova, released in 1970, contains a Harry Bertoia composition on side A and an Oreste Bertoia composition on side B. As an homage to the original Sonambient LP, “Clear Sounds” is a Harry Bertoia piece from June 30, 1973 and “Perfetta” is an Oreste Bertoia piece from June 28, 1971. Harry Bertoia first came into artistic prominence in the late 1930s and his sculptural, ergomonic chairs were soon modernist furniture classics. Inspired by the resonant sounds emanating from metals as he worked them and encouraged by his brother Oreste, whose passion was music, Harry restored a fieldstone “Pennsylvania Dutch” barn as the home for this experiment in sounding sculptures which he had begun in the 1950s. Bertoia was an obsessive composer and relentless experimenter, often working late into the night and accumulating hundreds of tapes of his best performances; Oreste, too, would explore and record the sculptures’s sounds during his annual visits to his brother’s home in rural Pennsylvania. Over nearly twenty years, adding, culling and rearranging, Bertoia carefully selected nearly 100 harmonious pieces ranging in height from under a foot to more than fifteen feet. Learning by experimentation was common for Bertoia and he mastered the art of tape recording, turning the Sonambient barn into a sound studio with four overhead microphones hanging from the rafters in a square formation. He would experiment with overdubbing by performing along to previous recordings, constantly improving his methods while also honing his performance skills.
File Under: Ambient, Sound Sculpture
Blue Rodeo: 1000 Arms (Telesoul) LP
The definition of a rebel is someone who goes against the grain. For close to 30 years now, Blue Rodeo has taken the road less traveled – and succeeded far beyond anyone’s expectations. The band emerged in the early-80’s as a countrified rock band in the era of hair metal and glossy pop. Despite sticking out like a sore thumb (or maybe because of it), their single “Try” became omnipresent on radio across Canada and set in motion a three decade long career of headlining every club, theater and arena in The True North. In 1993, when grunge rock was squeezing commercial rock off the radio, they recorded their most acoustic album, Five Days In July, and scored their biggest hit selling over a half million copies of that one record alone. And now, in the digital age, Blue Rodeo has recorded 1000 Arms, an intimate album designed to be enjoyed on vinyl. Fourteen albums on, the rebel is still living and breathing. 1000 Arms was recorded over the winter of 2015/16 at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studios. The album shares its name with the Jim Cuddy-penned song inspired by a podcast he was listening to. “The podcast was about allowing your community to help you,” says Cuddy. “When we were going over titles, we were thinking about our musical community, what it means to us and how much we would do for each other. That was what we were thinking about the most, so it seemed like an appropriate title.” The 12-track record was co-produced and engineered by Tim Vesely, a founding member of the Rheostatics. Jim and his longtime bandmate Greg Keelor credit Vesely with helping influence the sound of the new album. The engineer had been listening to some of the band’s older records and commented that Jim and Greg weren’t singing together as much as they used to. The revelation caught the band off guard but the result brought the band back to what has always been one of their strengths. “We made a very concerted effort to sing together on this album, either with direct harmonies or call and response, and we really enjoyed that,” adds Cuddy.
File Under: Country, Rock
Bohren & Der Club of Gore: Black Earth (Pias) LP
Pias present a reissue of Black Earth by the German doom jazz cult band, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, originally released in 2002. Black Earth is a masterpiece and the perfect soundtrack for an imaginary movie experiencing the nights in a dangerous city. For fans of SunnO, OM, Max Richter, Fennesz. “The substance we are seeking here lies beyond the bare bones of fact, the when and the where (founded in 1988, Mülheim an der Ruhr) or personnel and instruments. Mysteries may very well lurk here or there along the way. What keeps the final two founder members going after all this time? Do Morten Gass and Robin Rodenberg have skeletons locked in their closets? How dearly we would we love to know the answer to that one, alas the most beautiful puzzles tend to remain unsolved. Including their debut Gore Motel (1994), Bohren & Der Club Of Gore have amassed an impressive eight long players… Strange as it may seem, there is a uniform consistency to their reception. Whatever the band does, critiques are unfailingly positive, yet repetitious. Consider the arrival of Christoph Clöser in 1997, by way of illustration. When he joined the group, his saxophone replaced the departing Reiner Henseleit’s guitar as one of the defining instruments in the band. This was arguably the sharpest break in their sound to this day and a significant marker in terms of the band’s reverence for Dutch instrumentalists Gore (the clue is in the name), whose repetitive riffs paved the way for how the guitar would be deployed in a post-everything future… Similarly conspicuous by their absence in the Bohren chronicles are the numerous instruments which they added to the mix. The introduction of choirs at least had a clear visual impact. Since Thorsten Benning left at the end of 2015, the band has continued as a trio, sharing shifts on the drums. A decrease in personnel was conversely accompanied by quantum leaps forward in the group’s musical development – or more precisely, minor adjustments triggered major effects. The music of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore opens up remarkable rooms of association, from a warm burrow to a pristine secret lodge, from a dusky woodland tavern to a smoky quayside dive… These sinister crackling songs are invitations to secrete oneself in darkness.” –Lars Brinkman.
File Under: Dark Jazz, Ambient
John Cale: Fragments of a Rainy Season (Domino) LP
Fragments Of A Rainy Season is the the first live John Cale album to feature him performing solo and “unplugged” – before that term became a mid-’90s buzzword. In contrast to the jaundiced punk truculence of Sabotage/Live (1979) or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1986), Fragments gives us Cale at his most melodic and moving, a mellowed and certainly a soberer man in a Yamamoto jacket and a lopsided haircut running through a selection of his prettiest songs. The album features incredible versions of “Paris 1919,” “Dying On The Vine,” “Chinese Envoy,” cover versions of the Elvis classic “Heartbreak Hotel,” his devastating treatment of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and a suite of Dylan Thomas’ works “On A Wedding Anniversary,” “Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed” and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” 180g 2LP-set housed in printed inner sleeves with download card.
File Under: Rock
The Caretaker: Everywhere at the End of Time (History Always Favours the Winners) LP
Everywhere At The End of Time is the first in a series of six albums by The Caretaker, aka James Leyland Kirby, slowly cataloguing the stages of early onset dementia. Each album will reveal new points of progression, loss and disintegration, progressively falling further and further towards the abyss of complete memory loss and nothingness. Viewing dementia as a series of stages can be a useful way to understand the illness, but it is important to realize that this only provides a rough guide to the progress of the condition. Drawing on a recorded history of 20 years of recollected memories, this is one final journey and study into recreating the progression of dementia through sound. As the first in the series – and despite its typically frayed loop construction, this volume is the most lucid – subsequent instalments will continue to move into faded obscurity and material erosion. Mastered and cut by Andreas Lupo Lubich. Artwork by Ivan Seal.
File Under: Ambient
Massimo Catalano & Remigio Ducros: La Fatica (Intervallo) LP
Intervallo present Massimo Catalano & Remigio Ducros’s La Fatica, originally released in 1971. Massimo Catalano (who died in 2013) enjoyed a brief stint of fame after joining the cast of Renzo Arbore’s cult TV show Quelli Della Notte, but he risked to be remembered only for those little, funny sketches he delivered on camera. A few people are aware of Catalano’s great skills as a jazz trumpet player (he played with Louis Armstrong in his career), which he first nurtured with a band called Flippers (also featuring Franco Bracardi on piano and a very young Lucio Dalla on clarinet). For him, the step from jazz to library music was short and easy and he started working his friend Remigio Ducros, composer and piano player, husband of Daniela Casa and author of some rare and extremely refined library albums. The joint efforts of Catalano and Ducros produced two albums only: Idee 1 (1972), featuring Casa in a track, and the beautiful La Fatica, a weird, hard-to-file item, mixing avant-garde, prog moods, electro rhythms, jazz and musique concrète. It’s almost impossible to guess what Catalano and Ducros were looking for, while making this album, but despite the troubles and difficulties during its recording process, listening to La Fatica is a breeze. It’s a continuous surprise, actually, since every track features unexpected tricks and changes. And, exactly like in other Intervallo releases, the title evoke the noise of machinery, the fascination for science and technology and the beauty of factories: “Catena Di Montaggio Rapido” (Rapid Assembly Line), “Sesto Capannone” (Sixth Depot), “Officina Meccanica” (Mechanical Workshop), “Terapia Della Fatica” (Strain Therapy), “Saturazione” (Saturation), “Esperimento 320” (Experiment 320), “Esami Di Laboratorio” (Lab Tests), “Dopo La Tensione” (After The Tension). Edition of 400.
File Under: Electronic, OST, Library, Jazz
Coil: London Convay Hall 10/12/2002 (East/West) LP
Long standing influential British experimental group Coil began performing live again in 1999 after a 15 year hiatus. These now legendary performances included many pieces that were never released on album, including this album length epic version of “The Universe Is A Haunted House”, captured live 12th of October, 2002 at London’s Convay Hall. Numbered limited edition of 349 copies on purple and white splatter vinyl.
File Under: Industrial, Electronic, Live
Arthur Doyle: First House (Amish) LP
“First House is the final recordings from free jazz legend and Birmingham, Alabama native, Arthur Doyle. The LP was recorded live at the Stone July 11, 2012 and these six pieces are backed by His New Quiet Screamers, a Brooklyn-based ensemble adding muscle and movement to Doyle’s always already free, non-linear saxophone, flute and vocal lines. Born in Birmingham in 1944, Doyle studied Music Education at Tennessee State University in Nashville. In his early years, Doyle worked with a wide array of musicians and in a broad range of musical styles, from R&B to soul to traditional jazz, collaborating with everyone from future Sun Ra Arkestra trumpeter Walter Miller to funk-soul-disco diva Gladys Knight. Doyle officially emerged on the international jazz scene, however, playing on Noah Howard’s iconic The Black Ark (1968), and later on Milford Graves’s 1976 IPS LP Babi (1977). In 1978, Doyle debuted as a band leader and soloist with Alabama Feeling, released on Charles Tyler’s Ak-Ba label. Alabama Feeling features Charles Stephens (of the Sun Ra Arkestra) on trombone, drummers Rashied Sinan and Bruce Moore, and bassist Richard Williams. After the release of Alabama Feeling, Doyle continued to ignore boundaries and generic conventions, playing with Rudolph Grey as part of The Blue Humans, which introduced his music to NYC’s downtown and no-wave scenes, including the likes of Lee Ranaldo, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. In the early 1990s, Doyle’s work was re-introduced to another generation, through releases for labels like Ecstatic Peace and Audible Hiss. Since the late ’90s, Doyle continued a fevered pace in terms of his collaborations, most notably with Sunny Murray, Hamid Drake, Takahesi Mizutani (of the Les Rallizes Denudes) and Sabu Toyozumi, among many others. His New Quiet Screamers consists of an acclaimed ensemble of musicians with a wide array of history and associations. Members have played with and/or include: Sunwatchers, Dark Meat, First’s Western Ennisphere, Matana Roberts, among others. This gatefold LP includes a commissioned essay from noted jazz historian Clifford Allen who describes His New Quiet Screamers as ‘vault[ing] and envelop[ing] Doyle’s bursts’ of sound to the point where Doyle ‘sounds positively invigorated.’ Doyle’s final recordings offer what Allen characterizes as a kind of ‘unfurling’ of the free jazz lexicon, offering insights on ‘the spidery architecture of an obliquely referenced standard’ that defined this enigmatic artist’s entire career. Standard and experimental improvisation alike, First House offers a window on Doyle’s last performances, an artist very much at the top of his playing and artistic form.”
File Under: Jazz
Frustration: Empires of Shame (Born Bad) LP
Frustration, the caring big brothers of the French indie scene, are closely intertwined with Born Bad’s rise to fame. Their pathway in itself is symbolic: hailing from the garage closed circuit from the ’90s, they gave up the tattoos and brilliantine rock to try something different – at the crossroads of punk and cold wave, of Métal Urbain, Killing Joke and Joy Division. The five fellows, not particularly renowned for their technical skills, found themselves invested with a peculiar grace, becoming avant-gardist just as they were entering their forties, and showing the way to a whole generation of bands that suddenly became aware that it was possible. Empires Of Shames is the third album by Frustration. They crushed mountain chains on Relax, uncovered new continents and rainforests with Uncivilized, so it’s only logical they now project to terraform Mars planet with this album that celebrates their return to a cold hostility that echoes the one of punks going by the name of a Polish capital city (Warsaw). “Dreams, Law, Rights And Duties”, “Just Wanna Hide” and “Excess” are punches in the knees as signs of welcome from Fabrice, whose voice wanders from a Curtis-like spleen to a cockney spit. If “Arrows Of Love” sounds like the album’s break, this mesmerizing Smiths-like ballad turns into a proletarian anthem, one of the peaks on the album. “Mother Earth In Rags” will undoubtedly be a hit, given its harangue as baroque and dramatic as a speech from Lenin; “Cause You Runaway” shows that the lads have also listened to James Murphy; and “No Place” is a synth-punk-noise gem that will generate one hell of a pogo at the end of their next concert. Frustration is now this fully grown-up lion that has no intention of ending up as a bedside rug. This is the only reason why we agree to give in to music, this intrusive thing that never asks for our advice. The rest is just a background noise of conceited babbling saturating the feed of our souls.
File Under: Pink, Cold Wave
Julien Gasc: Kiss Me, You Fool! (Born Bad) LP
Following the inenarrable Cerf, Biche et Faon, Julien Gasc (Aquaserge, Stereolab) delivers Kiss Me, You Fool!. Kiss Me, You Fool! leads the listener far away, into swarms of sound and sentimental, twisted tales, on a quest for illumination that traverses the rich palette of human passions. The title was taken from a graffiti discovered in the ladies toilets of a London pub. It is through this peephole that you can consider, like a voyeur, the paradoxical complexity of this album: At once witty, noble and degenerate, Julien struts his way through it with all the nonchalance of a night-owl dandy. A troubadour of modern times, he sings of unresolved love, self-mockery, the trivialities of daily life and the search for the absolute. The fruit of an exceptional artistic collaboration – featuring Laëtitia Sadier (Stereolab), John Linger (Neils Children), Cathy Lucas (The Oscillation, Vanishing Twin) and Joe Watson – this contrasting, emotional and heterogeneous album nonetheless forms a whole. Here, mirror plays, surrealistic songs and decadent poems unfold elegantly, seductive in their effortlessness. Countering the current norms, Kiss Me, You Fool! cultivates its powerful identity far from today’s musical cliques and fads.
File Under: Indie Rock
Group Titan: Anatolian Break Dance(Pharaway Sounds) LP
Pharaway Sounds present the first ever reissue of Group Titan’s Anatolian Break Dance, originally released on the Diskotür label in 1985. Turkish ancient melodies get an ’80s electro-funk treatment on this obscure album. Probably the work of an “ad-hoc” studio band (nothing is known about the musicians), this is a delirious mix of exotic melodies and lots of analog synths, cheap Atari-styled electronic effects, distorted guitar and ’80s beatboxes. File under: Anatolian funk, ’80s boogie/electro, cosmic disco, Balearic, oriental grooves.
File Under: Break Dance, Electro-Funk
Keiji Haino: 1973 Live – Milky Way (Black Truffle) LP
Black Truffle present the first vinyl issue of Keiji Haino’s Milky Way. Originally released as a limited CD in Japan by the short lived Mom ‘N’ Dad Productions in 1993, this release documents a blistering live performance recorded in Kyoto in 1973, five years before the formation of the first line-up of Fushitsusha, and eight years before Haino’s first solo album. Working with a mysterious set-up including primitive electronics, homemade acoustic instruments, piano and voice, Haino lets loose a single 48-minute psychedelic maelstrom, marrying the immersive echo-fields of kosmische music to the rough and ready hands-on feel of classic 1960s live electronics à la MEV or Robert Ashley’s Wolfman. Despite the absence of guitar, this recording clearly lays the groundwork for the epic blowouts which were to make Haino’s name in years to come, building up to a point of almost unbearable intensity in its final minutes as Haino’s voice wails over a wall of distorted DIY electronics. At times presaging the psychedelic noise of C.C.C.C., Milky Way shows Haino’s singular intensity and ritualistic performance style already in full flower at this early date in his long career. Presented in raw and immediate room fidelity (complete with dramatic tape drop-out), this is both an essential historical document and a classic performance in its own right. Presented in a deluxe heavyweight sleeve with an inner sleeve featuring Haino’s poetry in Japanese, with an English translation by Alan Cummings. Original design by Keiji Haino & Yasunori Arai. LP reissue design via Stephen O’Malley. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin June 2016.
File Under: Japanese, Noise, Freakout
Cory Hanson: The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo (Drag City) LP
Drag City is pleased to announce the solo debut from Wand frontman and frequent Ty Segall collaborator Cory Hanson. The Unborn Capitalist from Limbo was recorded during May of 2016 in various locations across Los Angeles County, and features string arrangements by Heather Lockie. Hanson’s lyrics here are his best to date. By turns naked, leering, playful, evasive, they present a mute, parading statuary - doughy figures waltzing in doomed configurations through bleeding watercolor backdrops across terrains of tangled information. The music is gorgeous and livable. Every surface threatens with the promise of an untold depth; every depth threatens to collapse into a surface.
File Under: Folk, Rock
Nicolas Jaar: Sirens (Other People) LP
Critically acclaimed Chilean electronic artist and producer Nicolas Jaar returns with his sophomore full-length effort, Sirens, out October 2016 via his own Other People label. The album – which consists of six tracks that each flow seamlessly into the next – is Jaar’s most topically cohesive and politically-minded record to date. Currently based out of New York City, Jaar has received extensive critical praise since the release of his 2011 debut Space Is Only Noise. He has contributed to BBC Radio 1’s prestigious “Essential Mix” series, winning “Essential Mix of the Year” in 2012, and has performed alongside friend and collaborator Dave Harrington in Darkside. Jaar is founder of the Other People imprint, which has put out releases by a diverse group of artists ranging from Lydia Lunch to DJ Slugo.
File Under: Electronic, Downtempo
Jessika Kenney & Eyvind Kang: Reverse Tree (Black Truffle) LP
Black Truffle present Reverse Tree, the new LP from the acclaimed duo of Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney. The two are musicians who have established themselves as powerful voices working at a unique intersection of contemporary composition, improvisation, and Asian traditional music forms. Either individually or as a pair, they have worked in contexts ranging from performances of traditional Persian and Javanese music to collaborations with Sunn O))), but their work together as a duo, on The Face Of The Earth (2012) and Aestuarium, most clearly represents the central concerns of their diverse practices: a music of the inner life of sound, demanding ritualistic focus and promising heightened sensations. On Reverse Tree, the duo expand their work together into the realm of the chamber ensemble, presenting two side-long works that feature Kenney’s voice and Kang’s viola alongside a multitude of other instrumentalists. Kang’s “Thoughts On Being Exiled To The Frontier, For Lord Wei”, inspired by a text by the Tang dynasty poet Hsueh T’ao, features an all-star international ensemble: Kang, Kenney, maverick Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov on violin, Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, and guitarists Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley. The piece is primarily composed of irregular patterns of pizzicato notes and guitar harmonics, gently falling in and out of sync and providing a subtly unstable support for Kenney’s voice, which at times is reminiscent of Michiko Hirayama’s classic performances of Scelsi. Drawing on 20th century instrumental techniques, alternate tuning systems, non-western music and the experience of nature, the piece opens a space both serene and subtly uneasy. Kenney’s “Elm” features Kenney and vocalist Nova Ruth (Filastine, Twin Sista) alongside an ensemble of strings and Seattle’s Gamelan Pacifica, performing on Javanese instruments tuned to the slendro scale. An uncanny timbre created by bowing the keys of the Gamelan’s instruments, supported by bowed harmonics from the strings, is heard consistently throughout the piece. After a long introductory section in which this harmonic cloud slowly descends from shimmering high notes to rumbling bass, the vocalists enter, singing a slow and stately setting of a 19th century Surakarta poem (attributed to Mangkunegara IV). The poem deals with the idea of a form of knowledge achieved through deeds, as a practice and state of the heart. Presented in a deluxe sleeve designed by Stephen O’Malley; Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker; Cut at 45rpm for maximum fidelity.
File Under: Electronic, Drone
Ola Kvernberg & The Trondheim Solosists: The Mechanical Fair
Jam-packed with a wellspring of harmonic slingshots, pumping beats and melodic rollercoasters, The Mechanical Fair drew comparisons to Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring upon its original release in 2014. It’s apparent appeal to an surprisingly wide range of musical communities finally brought it right into DJ dance-wiz Todd Terje’s hands. And make no mistake: the physicist’s hands don’t settle for an iPad, it craves vinyl. His wholehearted endorsement led the captain of the Olsen family to clear the rights, assemble his own killer remix and requisitioned Grammy-winning cutting engineer Matt Colton for a gorgeous double 180 gram, half-speed vinyl re-release of the orchestral epic. Originally written for a quintet including heavily merited jazz cats Erik Nylander, Ole Morten Vågan, Petter Vågan and Even Helte Hermansen in 2013, The Mechanical Fair expanded at the initiative of the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, growing bolder and more powerful with the addition of the adventurous and Grammy-winning chamber orchestra The Trondheim Soloists in 2014. Having just spearheaded seven genre blending shows in just six days as the “Artist in Residence” of 2016’s prestigious Molde International Jazz Festival, the multi award-winning Norwegian violinist/multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Ola Kvernberg can look back at an already impressive recording and performing career. The once 17 year old jazz manouche violin sensation quickly and impatiently moved beyond the jazz realm for inspiration – resulting in seven albums as a solo artist, eight feature films as a movie score composer and countless additional recordings as a sideman. His list of collaborators range from jazz legends Pat Metheny and Joshua Redman, via post/prog-rock act Motorpsycho, to collaborations with world renowned novelists Lars Saabye Christensen and Jo Nesbø. His fearless attitude and relentless drive towards the boundaries of genres has given him a well-earned high standing on the Scandinavian scene today. The Mechanical Fair is a genre twisting magnum opus that reaches its true potential with this vinyl release.
File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Classical
Paul Marcano & Lightdreams: 10,001 Dreams (Got Kinda Lost) LP
A thematic sequel of sorts to the sci-fi psych odyssey exploring cosmic ideology that was the British Columbians 1981 debut, LightDreams’s Islands in Space, 10,001 Dreams from 1982 finds its leader, Paul Marcano, edging closer lyrically to the utopian outer space colonization he’d previously conjured while under the sway of physicist/space activist/author Gerard K. O’Neill. The ever-present percussive acoustic layers from Islands in Space remain, while the new age-like keyboard washes are nearly totally supplanted by mellow, wickedly fuzzed, floating layers of dreamy, treated, atmospheric electric guitar. As scribe Jack D. Fleischer says, at the time of the recording the group had reached, “a certain kind of psychedelic revelation that had become completely frontal,” and that is emphasized by this increased use of soaring electric coloring. Originally issued solely on cassette, Marcano and LightDreams’s home-recorded (yet hi-fi) lysergic creations give nod to the original British psychedelic and progressive eras, while maintaining a firm foot in hook-based, melodic folk’n’pop and are a guaranteed treasure for those searching for unheard and otherworldly joys. First time reissue with remastered sound. In-depth liner notes from collector Jack D. Fleischer and rare photos. Includes download coupon of the 90-minute unexpurgated 1982 cassette release. RIYL: Dreamies, Simones, late ’60s Donovan, Robert Lester Folsom’s more psych-leaning moments, McDonald & Giles, Rick Saucedo, Bobb Trimble, Tyrannosaurus Rex. “10,001 Dreams is a perfect distillation of Paul Marcano’s musical essence: thoughtful, psychedelic, pop-oriented music but with a deeply progressive ear for song structure and the intuitive glow of a well-crafted lyrical refrain.” — Jack D. Fleischer, from the liner notes of 10,001 Dreams.
File Under: Psych, Weirdness, Private Press
Robert Millis: The Lonesome High (Abdution) LP
Robert Millis is known for many things – co-founder of Climax Golden Twins, Messenger Girl’s Trio, and AFCGT; filmmaker and producer for the Sublime Frequencies label; co-producer of the Victrola Favorites book and cassette series. Now, thanks to The Lonesome High, he’ll be known as a singer/songwriter. After listening to his stunning debut album, you’ll be wondering where the fuck this side of Millis has been lurking all along. He’s been performing some of these tracks live for the past few years crafting them to where they are now – tilted perspectives lodged somewhere between the grittier climate zones of the the Rain Dogs (1985) plateau and a more psychotic trailer park way out on the Death Of A Lady’s Man (1977) peninsula. Millis really delivers the goods here. The songwriting has depth, stinging clarity and vaporizing ambiguity. The more upbeat tracks like “The Run Around”, “Down In The Hold” and “Tricky” have an immediate classic familiarity – hear them once and you’re hooked. But The Lonesome High becomes a monster statement thanks to “Marvelous Fool”, “Charming Chisel”, “Notes On A Scandal”, and “Drowsy Sleeper”. It’s the stark cryptic beauty and detached awareness of these four ballads that define the heart and soul of this record. So if you’re looking for a contemporary troubadour who can actually deliver a solid 40 minutes of listening pleasure (not an easy task these days), you’ll find it right here in spades. Features percussion by Dave Abramson (Diminished Men/Master Musicians Of Bukkake), backing vocals by Alan Bishop (Alvarius B/Sun City Girls). Front cover art by Jesse Paul Miller; Includes a download card.
File Under: Rock, Climax Golden Twins, Sun City Girls
Hermann Nitsch: 25. Aktion (Cien Fuegos) LP
Hermann Nitsch – Orgien Mysterien Theater – 25. Aktion. Re-performance of 25. Action, March 1982 in the gallery Pakesch, Vienna. The premiere was in New York, in 1968. Hermann Nitsch, an Austrian painter, performance-artist and composer, was a crucial founding artist of “Viennese Actionism”. He has held exhibitions and performed all over the world since the ’60s. The idea of the very sensual and archaic Orgien Mysterien Theater was developed in the late ’50s and has been performed in variations to this day. For this piece, Nitsch works out all settings of the rituals, the feast in great detail, precisely composes days of art, performance, food, wine and music, to celebrate the existence of mankind…
File Under: Classical, Contemporary
Obadikah: s/t (Honest Jon’s) LP
Brand-new, rambunctious, rootsy, spiritual brass-band music from Lagos, with singing, drums and home-made percussion. Obadikah is a group of old friends who play together in the Cherubim & Seraphim and Baptist churches of the Ikeja and Isale Eko districts. A couple of them were founder-members of the Eko Brass Band; they’ve played with pretty much all the key Nigerian reggae artists. The tunes are mostly traditional Yoruban melodies, often sung at bed-time. The songs are mostly original, sung in Yoruba (though “Jomido” is an Egun song from the Badagry area of Lagos state).
File Under: African, Tribal
OST: Suicide Squad (Atlantic) LP
It feels good to be bad. Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself? Suicide Squad: The Album is as wildly diverse as the Suicide Squad itself, showcasing new and previously unreleased material from some of the most commendable artists in contemporary music. In addition to lead singles like “Heathens” by multi-platinum recording duo Twenty One Pilots; “Sucker For Pain” by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons with Logic and Ty Dolla $ign (Feat. X Ambassadors); and “Purple Lamborghini” by Skrillex & Rick Ross; highlights include tracks from such unprecedented assemblages as Action Bronson & Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) (feat. Mark Ronson], and Skrillex & Rick Ross. What’s more, Suicide Squad: The Album also features new songs from Kevin Gates, Kehlani, Skylar Grey, Grimes and Panic! At The Disco (who offer up an astounding rendition of Queen’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody”). In addition to these new tracks, the album features musical classics from War and Creedence Clearwater Revival, as well as Eminem’s timeless anthem “Without Me” and a modern rendition of Leslie Gore’s classic “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace and contemporary superstar G-Eazy. The album also features the first full-length version of the ConfidentialMX (feat. Becky Hanson) cover of “I Started A Joke,” which was featured in the Suicide Squad Comic-Con trailer, named one of the most-watched trailers of 2015 with over 136 million views since its release.
File Under: OST, Rock
Papa M: Highway Songs (Drag City) LP
The last time we heard from Papa M, it was 2004 and it was a compilation album. Sure, Papa M was attached to some of the 80s-90s greatest no-core records, especially if you consider his imaginary alter ego, one David Pajo. But that was a long time ago. So why then does Highway Songs spill into our ears with a newness, a vitality that only fresh blood can bring? Pajo’s been writing lines on the guitar since he was a bitty little kid. And now that he’s grown up to be a bitty little man, what’s he gonna do, change? If you think so, you don’t know Pajo – or as he’s been known to sometimes go, Papa M. The instrumental sounds he’s made in the name of these names – on albums with names like Live From a Shark Cage and Whatever, Mortal – implied danger, violence and total alienation, alongside a peaceful, easy, good-willin’ and wide streak of broke-toothed black humor. So, after those classic albums followed by a long silent phase, we’ve now got Highway Songs. With each encroaching moment of Highway Songs, it sounds to us more and more like good old Papa M, as David throws back the veil of tears from recent times to bear witness to miasmic mood-clouds passing not over but through him. Music from where the mind goes when the body is broken. Reflecting time spent hooked up to machines. A good person with bad thoughts, a story told in fragments picked up off the bathroom floor. Smash cuts. It sounds tough, but the Papa M approach is laced with fun amongst the bristle. Take the first single,”Walking on Coronado”, for example – it’s a jaunt into the light, asserting the gumption and optimism that has always run under his bridge. As before, Highway Songs is pretty much all played by Pajo, whose multi-instrumental flair (and Def Leppard-inspired one-legged drum technique) always endures. All these things are what makes Papa M, and it’s damn good to hear them, and him!
File Under: Indie Rock
Jeff Parker: Slight Freedom (Eremite) LP
Slight Freedom, Jeff Parker’s first ever solo record, presents the first opportunity to hear the guitarist in fully self-revealed circumstances. Recorded in 2013 and 2014 in the Hollywood Hills as he relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, Parker combines the dark tonal palette and percussive attack he’s known for with real-time processing elements and field recordings, deftly crafting a unique world of solo guitar music – multi-lingual, mysterious, alive with extraordinary sonic events, with a sturdy intelligence in charge and a raw home-style vibe. Jeff Parker is a longtime member of Tortoise. He creates works that explore the contrary relationships between tradition and technology, and improvisation and composition. Slight Freedom is yet another defining moment for Parker in 2016, a year that already includes a brilliant ensemble album (The New Breed) and Tortoise’s 25th anniversary tour and record (The Catastrophist). Parker’s title composition sets the albums cavernous mood. Terse lines and ricocheting loops morph into a gnarly ambient section that resembles Neil Young droning out over a copy of Discreet Music (1975). Parker creates a different sort of ambient space in his take on Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids”, bending the melody around a bossa nova rhythm into a Moodsville tone poem. Parker makes an extraordinary long-form statement out of Chad Taylor’s “Mainz”, a piece he first recorded with Taylor and bassist Chris Lopes on the album Bright Light In Winter (2011). Twice the length of the trio recording, the multi-layered soliloquy finds Parker leaping from the high rung to damn near orchestral heights, pushing his techniques and concepts to their breaking points. It’s one of the great solo performances you’ll hear from a musician this year. To say “Lush Life” comes with formidable baggage is an understatement. Parker achieves instant classic status with a rendition that sounds beamed-in from a decommissioned satellite – burned out, covered in space grit, yet still formally nuanced and beautifully reflective of Strayhorn’s world-weary lyrics. Mastered by Helge Sten at Audio Virus. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl by RTI; Presented in a heavyweight Stoughton “laserdisc” sleeve, printed by Stoughton; Silkscreened by Alan Sherry of Siwa, who also silkscreened the labels and the inner sleeves; Edition of 850.
File Under: Jazz, Tortoise
Peymont: Cibernetica (Intervallo) LP
Intervallo present a reissue of Peymont’s Cibernetica, originally released in 1971. Back in 1971, when this real gem of electronic experimentation was released, the term “cybernetic” was used to refer to the future. Or, at least, to an obscure science in the hands of a few experts, conducting experiments in rooms filled with huge electronic calculators. Automated controls, auto-regulation, information theory, those were abstract, uncommon and rarely used concepts which would change the world in a few years, and, in our case, deeply influenced an album which, almost half a century later, remains a mystery. The Greek origin of the word used as a title (“kybernetes”, which indicates the pilot of a ship) is not very helpful and it’s still a mystery as to who is hiding under the Peymont alias. For many years it was commonly believed that Peymont was Piero Umiliani in disguise, but some of the most respected theories explain that the nickname was used to hide the identity of Luigi Malatesta – composer of film scores, music libraries and, oddly enough, the hymn of the Italian political party Democrazia Cristiana – or the world famous Egisto Macchi (a more fascinating and plausible thesis). The 13 tracks featured on Cibernetica bring to the mind the most abstract and experimental compositions of Macchi. This music is constantly a means to research and explore: the listener can almost see the author and the musicians – whoever they are – locked in a research lab (“Laboratorio Di Ricerche”) while assembling thermoionic valves (“Valvole Termoioniche”) and artificial kidneys (“Reni Artificiali”), using an oscilloscope (“Oscilloscopio”) or an electronic calculator (“Calcolatore Elettronico”), discussing about analysis and distillation (“Analisi E Distillazione”), electronic impulses (“Impulsi Elettronici”) and automatism (“Automatismo”). Edition of 400.
File Under: Library
The Silence: Nine Suns, One Morning (Drag City) LP
Nine Suns, One Morning is the third album from The Silence since their formation in Tokyo in July of 2014. Fronting the sound of The Silence is Masaki Batoh (formerly of the legendary Japanese band Ghost), who along with his band mates calls upon the indigenous and the mysterious aspects of the spiritual world, as exemplified by western rock in blues and British traditional music. For those following the story, previous album, Hark the Silence, emphasized the solvent quality of open air and the liquidity of free-flowing improvisation from which songs might eventually appear. Nine Suns, One Morning departs from the moody gothic skies under which the slow-boiling jams of Hark, the Silence unfolded, to return to the song oriented approach that marked The Silence’s debut album. The difference this time is that the deep space accessed on Hark, the Silence strikes into the new songs, infusing them with wider reach and greater cosmic power than before. From the ethereal flute playing to jazz time signatures to squalling psychedelic guitars, The Silence celebrate a metamorphic fusion of rock and roll music – transform along with them!
File Under: Psych, Japanese, Rock
Slapp Happy: Sort of (Tapete) LP
Tapete present a reissue of Slapp Happy’s Sort Of, originally released in 1972. Left-wing intellectual film critic Uwe Nettelbeck, who had good connections to Polydor, had set up his own studio in rural Wümme, disrupting the mainstream with pioneering sounds by the likes of Faust, inventively engineered by the “boffin’s boffin”, Kurt Graupner. By the time Anthony Moore, one of Nettelbeck’s charges, approached his third album in 1972, Polydor’s accounting department was fast losing patience with all that experimentalism. So Nettelbeck suggested to Moore that he might write some straight songs (relatively speaking), which in turn prompted Moore to invite his old school friend Peter Blegvad over to Hamburg to form the band Slapp Happy. Dagmar Krause, a young singer from Hamburg and Moore’s girlfriend, joined them both on their trip to Wümme to record what was to become Sort Of, using Faust as a backing band. A second album emerged, eschewing, even more clearly than the Sort Of, the heavy rock idioms of the era for an anti-macho playfulness that presaged the sparseness of post punk and the dry jangle of early indie. Nonetheless, Polydor pulled the plug, and Uwe Nettelbeck signed Faust and Slapp Happy over to Richard Branson’s nascent Virgin imprint. At the Manor, they would rerecord their second album with UK musicians, bells and whistles for a 1974 release as Slapp Happy, burying the original version in the vaults not to reemerge until 1980 as Acnalbasac Noom. After being asked which version they prefer today, the band does not take long to choose: “For the more direct approach it would have to be Acnalbasac Noom. It had a naïve spontaneity to it. Naïve in the nicest sense of the word.”
File Under: Krautrock, Electronic
Slapp Happy: Acnalbasac Noom (Tapete) LP
Tapete present a reissue of Slapp Happy’s Acnalbasac Noom, originally released in 1980. Left-wing intellectual film critic Uwe Nettelbeck, who had good connections to Polydor, had set up his own studio in rural Wümme, disrupting the mainstream with pioneering sounds by the likes of Faust, inventively engineered by the “boffin’s boffin”, Kurt Graupner. By the time Anthony Moore, one of Nettelbeck’s charges, approached his third album in 1972, Polydor’s accounting department was fast losing patience with all that experimentalism. So Nettelbeck suggested to Moore that he might write some straight songs (relatively speaking), which in turn prompted Moore to invite his old school friend Peter Blegvad over to Hamburg to form the band Slapp Happy. Dagmar Krause, a young singer from Hamburg and Moore’s girlfriend, joined them both on their trip to Wümme to record what was to become Sort Of, using Faust as a backing band. A second album emerged, eschewing, even more clearly than the Sort Of, the heavy rock idioms of the era for an anti-macho playfulness that presaged the sparseness of post punk and the dry jangle of early indie. Nonetheless, Polydor pulled the plug, and Uwe Nettelbeck signed Faust and Slapp Happy over to Richard Branson’s nascent Virgin imprint. At the Manor, they would rerecord their second album with UK musicians, bells and whistles for a 1974 release as Slapp Happy, burying the original version in the vaults not to reemerge until 1980 as Acnalbasac Noom. After being asked which version they prefer today, the band does not take long to choose: “For the more direct approach it would have to be Acnalbasac Noom. It had a naïve spontaneity to it. Naïve in the nicest sense of the word.”
File Under: Electronic, Krautrock
Soggy: s/t (Outer Battery) LP
“Formed in 1978, Soggy started with covers of Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, MC5 and the Stooges but quickly began writing their own songs and developed a unique style, mixing hard rock and punk rock in a Stooges vein. In April of ’81, the Waiting For The War 7″ was released and a video was shot for French TV. After more than 100 concerts, the band split in July of 1982 but their cult status has only grown over the years. The French label Memoire Neuve released their record in an edition of just 500 copies and it is now long out of print. Original copies of that LP and the single are now in hot demand in collector circles, with original copies of the single selling for over $200. This release from Outer Battery is the full LP, including the tracks from the Waiting For The War single!”
File Under: Hard Rock, Punk
Mika Vainio: Mannerlaatta (Ideal) 3LP
Mannerlaatta (“Tectonic Plate”) is Mika Vainio’s soundtrack for a “74 minute Lettrist film made entirely without a camera” by Finnish film maker Mika Taanila; his third following their previous collaborations: 2002’s A Physical Ring and 2015’s Return Of The Atom (the soundtrack was released by Blast First Petite in 2016 as Atomin Paluu – PTYT 086CD/LP). The music was written very early on in the film’s two-and-a-half year development, and subsequently held a strong sway over the rhythm of the film’s editing and visual narration – which takes place as a series of black and white images made from photocopying various travel documents, which were later photographed onto 35mm reversal film in a darkroom, and overlaid with text by poet Harry Salmenniemi. As Vainio tends to use a set-up of a homebuilt kit, unchanged from his very earliest productions, each new release is effectively a subtle alteration/refinement of his brutalist but tactile process of creation. And, going by that timeline of events, we’d speculate that Mannerlaatta was conceived somewhere in the wake of his staggering Kilo and the much sweeter Konstellaatio side as Ø, which is roughly where its aesthetics also lie. The 50 minute score breaks down to six sections, each exploring the full frequency spectrum of his patented, greyscale tonal palette, largely swerving a fixed rhythmic meter to occupy a weightless, out-of-reach mid-ground that seduces us headlong into his chasmic designs and best suits the black and white film imagery. Key to the recording’s appeal – as with most Vainio gear – is that peripheral sense of spatial dynamic and his unpredictable manipulation of amplitude; whether dangling the listener over abyssal sub-bass dimensions, needling with icy prongs, or occasionally alleviating the tension with teasing pads which evaporate back into the æther as though they were never there, ultimately leaving the listener at rapt and at his mercy for the duration. Mastered by Denis Blackham; Cover design by Nullvoid.
File Under: Electronic, OST, Experimental
Mike Watt: Ring Spiel Tour ’95 (Columbia) LP
Columbia/Legacy present a double vinyl release of Mike Watt’s thunderous live concert recording Ring Spiel Tour ’95. Available for the first time commercially in any format, Ring Spiel Tour ’95 is a thrilling audio document of ‘the man in the van with a bass in his hands’ trailblazing 1995 solo tour, recorded at the legendary Metro club in Chicago, featuring an all-star backing band. In February 1995, Columbia Records released Ball-Hog or Tugboat?, the first solo release by Mike Watt, the influential punk rock bassist/musician whose bands – Minutemen and fIREHOSE – helped define the sound and direction of rock. Also known as The Wrestling Album, Ball-Hog or Tugboat? featured the punk pioneer’s collaborations with artistic peers and descendants, such as Henry Rollins, Flea, Thurston Moore, J Mascis, Adam Horovitz, Mike Diamond, Frank Black, Dave Pirner, Evan Dando, Nels Cline, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder, among many other friends, ‘getting into the ring’ with Watt. In March 1995, Columbia announced that Watt would be hitting the road for the first time as a solo artist. Members of opening bands Hovercraft and Foo Fighters – Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and drummer William Goldsmith – joined headliner Watt on-stage as eager participants of the jaw-dropping back-up band heard on the Ring Spiel Tour ’95 album. Watt’s relentlessly energetic set at The Metro on May 6, 1995 is an astonishing sonic time machine, catapulting the listener back to that historic gig, with Watt and his fired-up and raw back-up squad, the musical lineup constantly shifting between performances to accommodate the different feel and shape of each song. Ring Spiel Tour ’95 is being released with the full authorization of all participating members, providing fans a fitting, thrilling testament of Watt’s enduring and continuing punk rock D.I.Y. musical imprint.
File Under: Rock
Yantra Mandir: s/t (Mental Groove) LP
Conceived in the cultural cellars of Bangkok, Thailand, and Geneva, Switzerland, Yantra Mandir the nine-track LP by Jerome Doudet, aka Yantra Mandir aka The Dude of Stratosphear, casts a wide net over experimental meditative ambient music, progressive drone, Brahmanic accents, and ritual oscillations. Together, this work represents a 20 year journey in Geneva of musical production, artistic expression, and the melting pot of experiences fused with the rich legacy of Indian spiritual sounds. The LP is partly a collaboration between five close collaborators, each contributing a single sound to complete the jigsaw, and partly comprised of field recordings of Bopa musicians from Rajasthan, in northern India. Added to the confluence are intricate layers of electric bass and electronic vibrations. The name derives from ancient Sanskrit words emblematic of the overarching sound. “Yantra” is the Sanskrit word for mystical diagrams found in the Tantric traditions of the Indus Valley. These diagrams are used to worship dieties at home or in temples, as a meditation aid, and to activate the various benefits and occult powers as defined by Hindu astrological and Tantric texts. “Mandir” is the Sanskrit word for a place in which a still mind and soul float freely search of life, peace, joy, and comfort. For centuries, the mandir has remained the nexus of a community where people forget their differences and voluntarily unite. “Garden of Reality” is the musical meeting point between Europe, Southeast Asia, and India – and everything in between from past, present, and future. Jerome Doudet was born in the beginning of the ’70s with a father DJing in disco clubs. Raised in the alternative scene of the very international city of Geneva Switzerland, he started playing bass at the age of ten and spinning various old punk/funk/rock/reggae in squats all along the ’90s. Bass player in bands such as Knut and Half Japanese, he now works with the experimental kraut band Bliscappen Van Maria, and on his tantric bass solo project Yantra Mandir. After many trips to India and South East Asia the Dude, always in search of new sounds, has sharpened his globe-spanning mix with far eastern psychedelic music and with largely unheard gems from across the musical spectrum. 140 gram vinyl with printed inner sleeves in gatefold sleeve. Edition of 300.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, World
Various: Kwangkay: Funerary Music of the Dayak Benuaq of Borneo (Sublime Frequencies) LP
Numbering less than 1000 people, the Dayak Benuaq from the Eastern Kalimantan region of Indonesian Borneo still practice many of their traditional ceremonial customs. This album of field recordings presents the music associated with the kwangkay, the secondary mortuary ritual celebrated by the Dayak Benuaq, recorded live on location by Vincenzo Della Ratta. According to the Benuaq belief system, upon death the soul of the human being is transformed into the liau, associated with the physical body, and the kelelungan, associated with the intellect or the head. Both the liau and the kelelungan temporarily reside in a sort of cosmic location, connected respectively with the bones and the skull of the deceased, who has entered a state of deep unconsciousness, as yet neither pertaining completely to the realm of the living, nor to that of the dead. Music plays a key role within the kwangkay, as it is crucial for guiding the liau and kelelungan spirits to their final destinations. It is also intended to please the spirits of the dead by providing them with entertainment. This ritual includes a night dance performed for the spirits and accompanied by a musical piece known as the ngerangkau. These rites and ceremonies are often dedicated to several deceased persons and are held within a house belonging to one of their family members. Featured here are two different versions of the ngerangkau, with their long, trance-inducing rhythmic gong patterns. There are two more tracks on the album which are not specifically related to the kwangkay. “Titi Mati” is a gong piece commonly played to proclaim the recent death of a villager. And finally, a nocturnal soundscape of a village by the river Mahakam, a channel of transport and communication which is essential for the local people of the Benuaq territories. Limited edition LP; includes insert of text and images by Vincenzo Della Ratta.
File Under: World, Indonesia
Various: Music of the Bahnar People from the Central Highlands of Vietnam (Sublime Frequencies) LP
Sublime Frequencies present a collection of music from the Bahnar people who live in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The Bahnar are famous for their rich musical culture and this is perhaps the first-ever release to introduce the full range of Bahnar musical instruments and styles, including gong ensemble, bamboo zither, bamboo xylophone, bamboo fiddle with mouth resonator, and folk songs. Melodic and hypnotic, this music was selected from recordings made in the Kon Tum province from 2006 to 2015 by Eisuke Yanagisawa. One of many highlights of these recordings is a most unusual and stunning instrument – the bamboo fiddle with mouth resonator – which creates an effect that is on one hand an organic auto-tuner of sorts and on the other Peter Frampton coming alive on his 1970s talk-box. The Bahnar’s music has been passed down through the ages in each village but is now endangered because of cultural assimilation related to changes in their lifestyles and living environment. These recordings preserve for us the vestiges of a traditional music culture that might no longer be heard in the near future. Includes performances by Kaly Tran And His Ensemble, A Wen, A Thut And His Ensemble, Gong Ensemble Of Kon Kotu Village, Y Tham & A Hieu, A Thao and Gong Ensemble Of The Long Loi Village. Limited edition LP; includes insert of text and images by Eisuke Yanagisawa.
File Under: World, Vietnam
Various: Shake Some Action 1.1 (Shake Some Action) LP
The Shake Some Action series returns with the first two volumes of the long out-of-print collection of power pop, mod and new-wave rarities from 1975-1986, on vinyl for the first time. Each of the original CD’s 24 tracks are split across two vinyl editions, featuring a dozen rare tracks on each. Volume 1.1, presented here, focuses on the UK and Volume 2.1 (SSA 002LP), focuses on the USA. All killer, no filler – eschewing the obvious genre names, instead digging deep and turning up gems galore. A dozen tunes drenched in melody, youthful adrenaline and power chords. Volume 1.1 is dedicated to bands from the UK and includes such classic tracks as Seventeen’s “Don’t Let Go”, The Invaders’s “Best Thing I Ever Did”, and The Kick!’s “Let’s Get Back Together”, alongside nine more tracks you are meant to be play loud and shout along with. Also features: The Boyfriends, The Distractions, Last Stand, Really 3rds, The Donkeys, Slowguns, Tonight, and Tours. Includes a full color sleeve, plus an insert with extensive liner notes by Alan Fleagle. Edition of 400.
File Under: Power Pop, Mod, New Wave
Various: Shake Some Action 2.1 (Shake Some Action) LP
The Shake Some Action series returns with the first two volumes of the long out-of-print collection of power pop, mod and new-wave rarities from 1975-1986, on vinyl for the first time. Each of the original CD’s 24 tracks are split across two vinyl editions, featuring a dozen rare tracks on each. Volume 1.1, (SSA 001LP), focuses on the UK and Volume 2.1, presented here, focuses on the USA. Volume 2.1 is a more (power) pop affair, with more jangle, but no less manic energy and plenty of teen spirit. The album opens strong with certified should’ve-been smash by The Shivvers, “Teen Line”, and includes such lost classics as Reaction Formation’s “Looking at You” and Revolver’s driving version of “Some Other Guy” plus nine more tracks you need. Also features: Holly & The Italians, The Infidels, The Notes, Gary Charlson, The Pop, The Marshalls, SVT, The Zippers, and The Secrets. Includes a full color sleeve, plus an insert with extensive liner notes by Alan Fleagle. Edition of 400.
File Under: Power Pop, Mod, New Wave
Various: Slow Grind Fever 6 (Stag-o-Lee) LP
Slow Grind Fever Volume 6 was compiled by Slow Grind Fever guest DJ Simon Laxton. Expect the best in late ’50s slow dance. Features: Little Jimmy Scott, Bo Diddley, Jeanette B. Washington, Don Sargent And The Buddies, Bob Kayli, Malcolm Dodds, Bill Doggett, Donnie Elbert, Eddie Jacobs, Lavern Baker, Aki, Freddie And The Hitch-Hikers, The Delta Rythm Boys and Jon Thomas.
File Under: Exotica, Dance Party
Various: Sri Lanka: The Golden Era of Sinhalese & Tamil Folk-Pop Music (Akuphone) LP
Sri Lanka still remained one of the rare South Asian countries whose folk-pop music from the 1960-70s had not yet been compiled abroad. This gap is now to be filled with Sri Lanka: The Golden Era Of Sinhalese And Tamil Folk-Pop Music. This compilation presents the diversity of Sri Lankan musical styles between 1967 and 1979 through 30 titles. It comes along with a booklet depicting the country’s historical, cultural and musical context. Sri Lanka possesses a great variety of musical traditions and influences which have been shaped by centuries of regional and international exchanges. If Sri Lankan music is undeniably part of South Asian musical culture, its heritage is also a product of almost five centuries of European imperialism. Coming from an original form of creolization, as defined by Edouard Glissant, the baila bears the trace of both the African diaspora and the Iberian influences on the country. The Kaffirs – African slaves deported by the Portuguese – introduced African sounds, while the Portuguese brought their musical traditions and instruments (cavaquinho, mandolin, violin, tambourines). The baila, reminiscent of Caribbean calypso, became the ultimate popular music and dance. The sarala gee (also called light classical music) is a combination of Indian inspired music, either classical or close to Bollywood productions, with Sinhalese lyrics and a slight pop accent. In the early 1960s, the music label Sooriya Records, with founder Gerald Wickremesooriya, were determined to put into light proper Sri Lankan music. Wickremesooriya invented the “new sound of Ceylonese pop” and quickly, the label’s hits were broadcasted on Radio Ceylon, the number one radio for a long time. Sooriya Records’s catalog reflected the diversity of Sri Lankan musical styles of the times: Anglo-Saxon influenced Sinhalese pop stood next to the baila or the sarala gee. Traditional instrumental music, were also edited by the label. This selection, mainly constituted of titles from Sooriya Records’s catalog, presents the most popular artists of the times. Features: Pau Fernando, W.D. Amaradeva, Clarence Wijewardena, Paramesh, The Fortunes, Sanath & Malkanthi Nandasiri, A.E. Manoharan, Pani Bharatha & Party, Mignonne & The Jetliners, Shan, Amitha Dalugama, Maxwell Mendis, Police Reserve Hewisi Band, Shiromi Fernando, Wimala Amaradeva, Indrani Perera, Winslow Six, The Moonstones & Indrani Perera, Sidasi Turya Vadayako, Nalino Nel, Los Flamincos, Lilanthi Karunanayake, Claude & The Sensations With Noeline Mendis, H.R. Jothipala, The Golden Chimes and Victor Ratnayaka.
File Under: World, Tamil, Pop
Various: Tropical Britxotica! (Trunk) LP
The incredible follow-up to the successful Britxotica! and Britxotica Goes East! LPs. This time, Jonny Trunk and the legendary DJ Martin Green take the listener to a magical musical place full of tropical delights – with songs of heatwaves, coral reefs, Haitian rituals and treasure islands, not forgetting the stormy seas and the odd hurricane. 16 tracks in all from a post-war era of musical adventure, this is Britxotica at its very hottest, most exotic and very best – incredible, rare, lost and exotic music from the wild British isles. Britxotica! (pronounced “Britzotica”) neatly describes an odd and yet undocumented pre-Beatles British musical scene where famed UK composers, as well as unknown singers and bandleaders, threw convention on holiday and went wild. For part three of the Britxotica series, the compilation goes to the South Seas for a musical adventure of stormy seas, Hawaiian honeymoons, spooky rituals, dreamy walks through mango groves and a few sips from the juicy coconut. But this is more than just exotic music, the talent here is breathtaking: Kenny Graham, George Melley, Ted Heath, Malcolm Lockyer, Edmundo Ros and more -legendary artists adventuring into unknown territory with incredible results. There are songs and instrumentals here to charm and even beguile – there’s even an amazing British cover of “Quite Village” – when did you ever hear one of those? This is wonderfully obscure music, and only Trunk records could compile and package such a compilation of bizarre and super rare British music so superbly. This all new compilation of British treasures is like no other, and will have you booking your ticket to the South Seas for Christmas. Featuring: Lucille Mapp, Frank Weir, The Sound Of Ed White, Ron Goodwin, Geoff Love, Marion Ryan, Dick Katz, International ‘Pops’ All Stars, Johnny Gentle, Betty Smith And The Malcolm Lockyer Group, Martinas And His Music and Norrie Paramor. Single LP on standard black wax.
File Under: Tropicalia, Exotica
Various: Togo Soul 70: Selected Rare Togolese Recordings from 1971 – 1981 (Hot Casa) LP
Hot Casa present Togo Soul 70: Selected Rare Togolese Recordings From 1971 To 1981. A treasure-trove of rare and unusual recordings, mostly recorded in Lomé during the ’70s – a fusion of traditional voodoo chants, raw soul and Afro jazz. Finding these tracks and their rights holders hasn’t become any easier even after few trips all over this west African country bordered by Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso. With Togo Soul 70, Hot Casa have selected 13 tracks, a snapshot of hundreds of rare and often forgotten tapes from the most prolific, professional and exciting phase of the country’s recording history, including international stars like Bella Bellow (who even performed at Maracana Stadium in Brazil), or Roger Damawuzan, referred to as the James Brown from Lomé, and forgotten tapes and brilliant songs in the Mina, Kabyié and Fon languages. Many of the tracks featured here are peppered with innovation and experimentation, highlighting how diverse the music scene in Togo was at the time, even if the political context influenced their creation. A must have for all music lovers. This selection was used as the soundtrack for the documentary Togo Soul 70, directed by Liz Gomis and DJ Julien Lebrun. Features: Akofa Akoussah, Napo De Mi Amor, Aimé Orchis Mathey, Toite Sandja, Gabelo, Wini & Fefe, Adamah & Agbote, Vewonyi DD, Dk Pilo and Yta Jourias.
File Under: Afro Jazz, Soul, Voodoo
Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Merge) LP
Nick Cave: Push The Sky Away (Bad Seed) LP
Cluster & Eno: s/t (Bureau B) LP
Coil: Backwards (Cold Spring) LP
Julie Cruise: Floating (Plain) LP
J Dilla: Donut (Stones Throw) LP
Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (Columbia) LP
Bob Dylan: The Times They Are A Changin’ (Columbia) LP
Gastr Del Sol: Camoufleur (Drag City) LP
Goat: World Music (Rocket) LP
Gorillaz: s/t (EMI) LP
Al Green: Get’s Next to You (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: Greatest Hits (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: I’m Still In Love With You (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: Let’s Stay Together (Fat Possum) LP
Sharon Jones: Dap-Dippin’ (Daptone) LP
Sharon Jones: I Learned The Hardway (Daptone) LP
Madvillian: Madvilliany (Stones Throw) LP
Modest Mouse: Lonesome Crowded West (Glacial) LP
Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar) LP
OST: Jodorowsky’s Dune (Cinewax) LP
OST: Stranger Things (Lakeshore) LP
Jim O’Rourke: Bad Timing (Drag City) LP
Pearl Jam: Ten (Epic) LP
Pearl Jam: Versus (Epic) LP
Painkiller: Execution Ground (Karl) LP
Wilson Picket: I Don’t Want No Part Time (Cornbread) LP
Red Fang: Whales & Leechs (Relapse) LP
Django Reinhardt: Django (Dol) LP
Sun Ra: Nubians of Plutonia (Cornbread) LP
Tool: Lateralus (Zoo) LP
White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan (Third Man) LP
Various: African Scream Contest (Analog Africa) LP
Various: Forge Your Own Chains (Now Again) LP
Various: Psych Funk 101 (World Psych Funk Classics) LP