…..new letters #814 – loadz…..

Lots of big new releases this week, and lots of em bumped until next week too. Nevertheless, loads of killer wax in right now, and I’m sitting here staring at a few hundred records waiting to get priced and off the counter, so… I’ll let you read on.

…..picks of the week…..

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Coil with Black Sun Productions: The Plastic Spider Thing (Rustblade) LP
“This album, featuring Coil’s music literally remixed and re-arranged in ritual form to serve as the soundtrack to the Black Sun Productions extreme performance art spectacle entitled Plastic Spider Things, following the performers’ (among who was counted John Balance himself) every move. Synths, drones, and psychedelic textures lead us on mystical tour of sex and magic, serving as a testament to the undeniable connection between Coil’s music, ritual magic, and performance art. A release that all hardcore Coil and Black Sun Productions fans have long been waiting for. Not to be missed!”
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Industrial
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miracleVarious: Miracle Steps (Optimo) LP
I keep running out of this before I can rave about it, now restocked and AWESOME…. Miracle Steps (Music from the Fourth World 1983 – 2017) has been on Optimo Music’s to-do list for ages, but it was only when Twitch and Glasgow’s Fergus Clark started crossing swords over what actually constituted “Fourth World” music that the project really got going. Twitch decided that co-compiling the release with someone who had a slightly different take on things might make for a more interesting finished product, and so it came to pass that a cohesively thrilling compilation quickly materialized as each of them drew from a wealth of different artists and eras. For the uninitiated, here’s an extract from Fergus Clark’s sleeve notes honing in on how the term “Fourth World” (an idea conjured up by Jon Hassell in the early ’80s) might be defined: “What we have attempted to gather across this compilation is a body of work which we feel directly resonates with both the literal definition of ‘Fourth World’ music and indeed our own interpretation of this unique sonic vision; from the work of the late Jorge Reyes, a Mexican musician who combined pre-Hispanic instruments with synthesizers and digital sampling, through to the work of organic ambient ensemble O Yuki Conjugate. There are tracks which utilize custom, home-made instruments and there are tracks built from scratch using the latest in digital technology, but the undercurrent tying each piece together is this deeply personal feeling of intrigue and mysterious elation. Strange and unparalleled, this feeling manages to eschew geographic borders and rigid genre movements in favor of something which manages to evoke an inner sanctum, a musical private place for both reflection and assessment. This is music grounded in nor the past nor the present, music which manages to sound futuristic yet remarkably nostalgic.” JD Twitch is one half of Glasgow’s Optimo (Espacio) and runs the Optimo Music and Optimo Trax labels. Fergus Clark is a writer, occasional DJ, and avid music fan. He is a founding member of the music and art collective 12th Isle. Housed in a gatefold sleeve designed by the redoubtable Glasgow based visual artists Al White and Jamie Johnson. Also features: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe & Ariel Kalma, Iona Fortune, X.Y.R., Jon Keliehor, David Cunningham, Larry Chernicoff, Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz, Jon Hassell, Vulgata, Afro-Disiak, Rapoon, and Javier Segura.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Fourth World
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…..new arrivals…..

childbirth

Amateur Childbirth: Your Afterlife is Cancelled (Blackest Ever Black) LP
This is Amateur Childbirth’s “Christian Rock” album. The previous LP from Ivan Matthew Hick’s solo project, 2013’s Pripyat, concerned itself with the blighted belief systems of UFO worshippers. Your Afterlife Is Cancelled expands this compelling solo project’s field of enquiry to look at a wider array of “religious anomalies”: cults, for want of a better word. Each song is about a different such anomaly. To call Hicks’s vision apocalyptic would be to underplay its cruelty. The Bible’s rampant sadism pales in comparison. This is a world where faith — in a god or gods, in astrology, morality, or any meaning whatsoever — is merely a prelude to punishment. His lyrics are vivid glossaries of pain, abjection and indignity; the songs’ protagonists swim in blood, piss, shit, and ejaculate. Eschatology and scatology are indivisible here. Drugs are rampantly abused, albeit to little benefit. There are scalpel-flashes of humor in David’s wordplay, rhyming and dour Brisbane diction — but this offers scant consolation for the songs’ embattled subjects, who wait, in vein, for salvation, while crows peck out their eyes, blood pours from their ears, and psoriasis ravages their skin. These words, for all their pessimism and body-horror, are cradled in minimalist, folk-rock arrangements that are quite dazzling in their beauty and grievously earned simplicity: Hicks’s monochord strum embellished with subtle violin, synthesizer, and percussion shading. Amateur Childbirth’s caustic end-times worldview inevitably prompts comparisons with Current 93, but also a wider (non-)tradition of caustic and disturbed loner psych that includes Simon Finn, Patrik Fitzgerald, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Jefferies, and Roy Harper. Your Afterlife Is Cancelled is a depressive tour de force from one of the most crushingly eloquent voices in the Australian underground.

File Under: Electronic, Neo-Folk, Psych
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sea lice

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice (Matador) LP
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, two of the most acclaimed and gifted songwriters of our generation, have joined forces to release a collaboration as unique and unusual as their talents. Lotta Sea Lice is a conversation between friends, documented in raw, unvarnished song, brimming with personal history, crackling with energy and shot through with humor. There’s an unforced ease to the record, helped by the fact that the pair have been not just friends, but hardcore fans of each other’s work for years. They also roped in colleagues such as Mick Turner and Jim White of the Dirty Three, Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint, and Aussie icon Mick Harvey. The shared chemistry is immediately apparent in the album opener and first single “Over Everything”, with dovetailing vocal lines and intricate, shimmering guitar. The lyrics play out as a rambling dialogue as they compare notes about songwriting and inspiration; it was the first song written for this project. While some of the songs on the record are originals, it features some covers. The pair also tackle each other’s tracks on the album, with Vile delivering a delicious, souped-up version of “Outta the Woodwork” backed by Barnett herself, and Barnett taking on Vile’s “Peepin’ Tomboy” completely solo, to spine-tingling result. The overall effect of Lotta Sea Lice is of Barnett and Vile throwing open the doors to their house to listeners – it’s their party, but everyone is invited.

File Under: Indie Rock
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beck

Beck: Colors (Universal) LP
In tomorrow… The last time the mass public got a glimpse of Beck, it was at the end of the 2015 Grammy Awards, when Prince was handing him an Album of the Year award for his meditative, mostly acoustic album Morning Phase. Few people knew, but at that time the artist was already two years into work on the follow-up which has taken two more years to complete. Possibly the most aptly titled work in Beck’s storied discography, Colors unfolds in an intoxicating rainbow of auditory tricks and treats, making it a summery smash for the fall season. In addition to the captivating piano-driven “Dear Life,” Colors includes both Beck singles that preceded it: a new mix of the psych-dance summer jam “Dreams” that NPR hailed as “urgently contemporary and irresistibly vintage” and the retro-futuristic earworm “Wow” that had Stereogum praising its “big, sweet incandescent hook” and Esquire rejoicing, “All hail the return of Party Beck.” Dubbed as a “euphoric blast of experimental pop” by Rolling Stone, Colors was produced by the in demand Greg Kurstin (Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Sia) and Beck, with the exception of “Wow” produced by Beck and Cole M.G.N. and “Fix Me” produced by Beck. The album was mixed by Serban Ghenea, except “Dreams” and “Up All Night,” which were mixed by Kurstin and Beck.

 File Under: Indie Rock
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caminiti

Evan Caminiti: Toxic City Music (Dust Editions) LP
Barn Owl’s Evan Caminiti leaves most any trace of Americana for dust in the rearview of Toxic City, where he fully pursues the distorted, emotive aches and atonal themes that cropped up in Meridian (2015) into more blown-out, sci-fi-tinted headspaces, with Jefre Canta Ledesma helping frame his vision on one of the album’s biggest highlights. That sense of wistful sehsucht is still in the air of Toxic City, but now polluted by a high ppm count of diffused noise and harmonic distortion that feels more angular, choked and firmly up-to-date than the sweeping high plains sound he used to drift around. “Toxic City Music was inspired by the psychic and physical toxicity of life in late capitalism. Conceived throughout 2015 and 2016, Caminiti captured the sounds of NYC’s machinery and voices before weaving them into his studio experiments. This collection of song mutations unravels in hazy plumes and serrated edges; concrète sounds mesh with disembodied strings and corrosive electronics on “Joaquin”, drones ripple under stuttering rhythms and crude synth detritus throughout “NYC Ego”. On “Toxic Tape (Love Canal)”, layers of digital degradation smear guitar clusters, dissolving into a dubby devotional-ambient space.”

File Under: Ambient
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coil1

Coil: Another Brown World/Baby Food (Sub Rosa) LP
Two rare tracks by Coil, never before released on vinyl and commissioned by Sub Rosa. These two pieces were commissioned by Sub Rosa for these two specific projects: Myths 4 – Sinople Twilight In Çatal Hüyük (1989) and Chaos In Expansion (1993). “Another Brown World” was written by John Balance and Peter Christopherson, produced and mixed by Coil, and recorded by Danny Hyde at Threshold House, London in the Summer of 1989. The vocals were recorded at the Animist Monastery situated at the Summit of Mount Popa in Pagan, Burma. “Baby Food” was written and performed by Coil: Danny Hyde (essentials) Peter Christopherson (fundamentals), and John Balance (vibrant rays of spiritual psychosis). This track is the first to utilize the recording process known as “Sidereal Sound”, a continuation and advancement of the deep listening theories as demonstrated on the album Love’s Secret Domain (1991). Recorded in a storm in London in the summer of 1993.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Experimental
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ambarchi

Chris Cole & Oren Ambarchi: Hotel Record (Black Truffle) LP
Hotel Record is the second release from the duo/couple of crys cole and Oren Ambarchi, following on from Sonja Henies vei 31. Where their debut recording presented a disquieting portrait of the erotic dimension of romantic intimacy, the follow-up continues to explore the pair’s simultaneously musical and romantic relationship in a more subtle fashion, presenting four long-form pieces that touch on the variety of forms the life of this couple takes: as a musical duo, as a pair of travelers to exotic locations, as opponents in a game of cards… Each of the double LP’s four sides presents a distinct sound-world, yet each manages to attain the same suspended, half-sleeping feeling, outlining a space where improbable combinations of the electronic and the acoustic, of extreme closeness and amorphous distance, occurring with the gentle insistence of a dream. The opening “Call Myself” calmly unfolds a fabric of long tones from electronic organ and guitar, combining the sliding, aleatoric effects of classic David Behrman with a more hands-on feel. Over the top of this slowly shifting tonal bed, cole’s voice mutters unintelligibly into a Buchla synth, teasing the listener by suggesting a meaning that remains always out of the ear’s reach. “Francis Debacle (Uno)” builds on the foundations of a heavily amplified session of the titular card game, overlaying vocal murmurs and exhalations and mysterious room-sounds to create an impossible aural environment. On “Burrata”, a palette of vintage 1980s digital synthesizer sounds combined with guitars create an irregular texture of lush chords and bubbling melodic details, into which cole’s voice processed by a vocoder, is interwoven, reading fragments of romantic correspondence. Finally, on “Pad Phet Gob”, field recordings made in Thailand become an ambiguously acoustic/electronic rainforest, eventually giving way to a mysterious, wavering electronic tone-field punctuated by sibilant, popping mouth-sounds. Carving out an intimate and human sonic space across a diverse array of compositional approaches, sound sources, fidelities, and textures, Hotel Record is the latest dispatch from the continuing explorations of a unique duo. Ambarchi and cole reimagine electro-acoustic music, not simply as “abstract” sound, but as a diary, a love poem, a dream. Comes in deluxe gatefold sleeve with photography by crys cole and LP design via Stephen O’Malley; Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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daedrider

Dead Rider: Crew Licks (Drag City) LP
Dead Rider are up and rolling again, and Crew Licks is the latest job. After the thousand days and nights since Chills on Glass, Dead Rider had to overcome the creeping suggestion that they multitask themselves to sleep — or to premature brain death — whichever came first. Now they’re ready to get into their Rolling Stones suit and thank you for letting them be themselves again; to extrude rude grooves, shattered r’n’b and/or hip hop and mother’s blues in a priapic triad, tripped-out and overlaid, shedding the old fresh in search of new flesh; a gateway they’ve been dreaming of building in their minds. If you’re lacking for rhythm and imagination in your everyday nine-to-five, Dead Rider got the time for you. The beat is lode-bearing, brick-house solid (courtesy of batterie-man Matt Espy), but flexible, breathing. In through the cracks come stuttered words and whispers, the pealing of a steel drum, a squalling sax or two, barks from the outside. Crew foreman Todd Rittmann twines them with a cabling of acid-base guitar licks, cutting down into the roots for fingerings to invert and extend. The basslines roll and crush, bounce and squish as required (thank you, White Christmas!), bringing synth and synthesis into and away from the framework. Wafting through the room is the float and gloss of eternal rhythm and blues, whether it’s the swelling of soulful choirs, organ chords or the deft tailing of guitar lines designed to relax us in the shades of a dusty, aphrodisiac evening. All done up with wack that Thundercat would get on the one, that would drive D’Angelo or Kendrick back to the notebooks for all the right words. Crew Licks is audio-verite pop music; not created but lived, with parts of life on the run reused to facilitate other parts. A chimera, reflecting man in pieces; not whole or fully animate. But beautiful…

File Under: Rock, Electronic, Experimental
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fingers

F Ingers: Awkwardly Blissing Out (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Recorded in Melbourne and Berlin between 2015-17 by Samuel Karmel, Carla dal Forno and Tarquin Manek, Awkwardly Blissing Out’s title is instructive… the spiky eldritch song-spells of F ingers’ previous album Hide Before Dinner have become more dubwise, immersive, and potently psychedelic; Euphoric even, but paranoid and laden with self-doubt. Projecting onto strangers, watching not participating, turning ever inwards. The cosmos explored from behind closed doors, under the bedclothes, alone. Whereas Hide Before Dinner evoked the thrill, and casual cruelty, of unsupervised childhood summers — a suburban gothic of grazed knees, hide-and-seek, nettle-stings — Awkwardly Blissing Out is an album of more adult anxieties and metamorphoses. The ghouls in your neighbor’s garden are still there, but have come to represent something else, something more mundane and empirically real, but no less terrifying. Struggles with time, distance, isolation, communication, and commitment; your memories have a heaviness now. You can hear aspects of ferric post-punk and hauntological/DIY electronics in Awkwardly Blissing Out’s musical make-up… Flying Lizards’ Secret Dub Life (1995) or Brigitte Fontaine’s Comme À La Radio (1969)… not to mention two generations of Oz/NZ underground experimentation, introspection, and dereliction. Now, more than ever, F ingers’ highly evolved, but naturalistic sound-world is difficult to precisely place or unpick: a mildew-y drug-dazed dub-scape, teeming but minimalism, framed by lonesome guitar strums, Manek’s supple percussive reverberating basslines, and Karmel’s painterly synth washes, over which dal Forno exploits her voice for its pure tonal character — whether diffracting light across the loping, uncanny techno rhythms of “All Rolled Up” and the waterlogged psych-folk of “Off Silently”, or sliced and looped into disorienting patterns of abstract glossolalia on “Time Passes” and the time-dilating nine-minute title track. Awkwardly Blissing Out is a landmark recording from one of the Southern hemisphere’s most extraordinary, visionary freak units; a deep and sensuous trip that nonetheless prompts some uncomfortable — or at any rate, bittersweet — reflection on what we are, what we were, and what we might have been.

File Under: Electronic, Dark Wave, Ambient
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function

Function: Recompiled I/II (A-Ton) LP
First part of a two-part Function retrospective from Ostgut Ton sublabel A-Ton. A mixture of released and previously unreleased tracks, including Function’s remix of “Falling The Same Way” by Sandwell District and “Golden Dawn (feat. Stefanie Parnow) (Version)” by Function. “Once a cathedral, now a mall, Limelight was last in the line of Manhattan clubs whose lineage could be traced back to New York’s fertile club era of the ’70s and ’80s, which included the East Village punk and no wave scenes, the Mudd Club, Danceteria and the Paradise Garage. It’s connected to a storied New York history — sometimes holy, sometimes notorious. . . . ‘A lot of things that were worlds apart met in that deconsecrated Episcopal church,’ recalls David Sumner. ‘I used to practically live in that club, going two or three nights a week for years. I knew this was what I was going to do with the rest of my life.’ In many ways Limelight was America’s rave incubator. On a New Music Seminar night in July of 1992, the revolution was about to take hold. ‘Walking in, I didn’t know what was going on. Then I started to see xeroxed Underground Resistance 8 1/2 x 11s all around the club, like the kind of inserts that came inside their EPs,’ Dave recalls. He would go on to see Mike Banks, Rob ‘Noise’ Hood, and Jeff Mills perform for an electrified crowd as UR. ‘That night straight up changed my life.’ . . . New York itself is a major influence for Dave, as is its history of clubs — from discos and house music, to techno and raves. Think of Todd Terry’s 1988 Black Riot record or Boyd Jarvis’ 1983 release ‘The Music Got Me’ as milestones on this journey. ‘It’s a DJ’s approach to music. I remember in the early ’90s when the music was changing so rapidly and it felt so revolutionary, separating my records into piles and thinking “I need more of this — there needs to be more of this kind of record.”‘ It’s passion that drives this story of a life in music, and it’s a desire to blow your mind the same way his inspirations blew his. Function is always innovating and finding new ways to connect the dots, to continually pursue the art of storytelling through giant slabs of sound.” –Brendan M. Gillen, Interdimensional Transmissions, Detroit, 2017

File Under: Electronic, Techno
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hiss

Hiss Golden Messenger: Hallelujah Anyhow (Merge) LP
Hallelujah Anyhow is the latest studio album from Hiss Golden Messenger. Its 10 new songs, penned by HGM principal M.C. Taylor, were recorded with Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Darren Jessee, Michael Lewis, and Scott Hirsch. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Skylar Gudasz, Tamisha Waden, Mac McCaughan, and John Paul White provided vocal harmonies. LP includes a digital download and is packaged in a gatefold jacket containing full lyrics and photos of the band in the studio. “I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They’re the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.” – M.C. Taylor

File Under: Folk, Country
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jabu

Jabu: Sleep Heavy (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Blackest Ever Black presents Sleep Heavy, the debut album of broken-hearted, downtempo R&B/street-soul and supremely atmospheric, introspective electronics from Jabu: a trio comprised of vocalist/lyricists Alex Rendall and Jasmine Butt, and producer Amos Childs. The group was born out of Bristol’s Young Echo collective: an ecosystem unto itself which has birthed and nurtured a number of other notable soundsystem-rooted projects and artists to date, including Kahn & Neek, Sam Kidel, Ishan Sound, Ossia, Asda, Chester Giles, and Killing Sound (Childs with Kidel and Vessel). Jabu’s previous 7″ singles, though arresting, barely hinted at the level of accomplishment and emotional heft that Sleep Heavy delivers. It’s a future Bristol classic with a universal resonance, with songs that are highly personal but deeply relatable, and a tripped-out, time-dissolving sound design that both haunts and consoles. It is, first and foremost, a meditation on grief, loss, making sense of separation, and death; but it also looks forward to what might come after the aftermath: healing, acceptance, the chance to begin again. Childs is one of the most gifted producers of his generation and his work here, grounded in hip-hop but floating free, is a thing of sustained wonder: crepuscular, melancholic, subtly psychedelic, and heavily dubwise, but always concise and purposeful. Stitched together from deep-dug and beautifully repurposed samples, it draws on influences from US R&B to Japanese art-pop minimalism — Mariah to Mariah Carey, if you will — and a rich seam of underground UK soul, boogie, DIY/post-punk, library music, and lovers rock. There is also of course a distant connection to the Bristol blues of Smith & Mighty and the sultry urban gothic of Protection-era Massive Attack (1994), but Jabu’s orchestration of womb-like ambiences, cold synth tones, and brittle beats feel entirely sui generis. They provide the perfect setting for Rendall’s wounded, imploring and carefully weighted vocals, which are no less extraordinary: nodding to giants like Teddy Pendergrass and The Temptations in terms of phrasing and front-and-center vulnerability, with something of The Associates’ Billy MacKenzie in there too; defeated but defiant. Meanwhile, Jas’s heavenly interventions, sometimes leading but more often parsed and layered into tremulous, gossamer abstraction, draw a line between the Catholic choral harmonies of her childhood and the ethereal, oceanic sweep of Cocteau Twins. By its end, Sleep Heavy’s world-weariness is intact and scarcely diminished, but some light has been admitted, and is visible from the sea-floor.

File Under: Electronic, Downtempo, Soul, R&B
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jtb

Jets to Brazil: Orange Rhyming Dictionary (Jade Tree) LP
Three classic LPS from Jets to Brazil – available on 180 gram black vinyl and limited edition (indie-shop-only) clear vinyl. Jets To Brazil vinyl has been out of print since their original pressings and are in high demand. Consisting of ex-Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach, ex-Texas Is the Reason drummer Chris Daly, and ex-Handsome vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Chatelain, Jets to Brazil could be considered an amalgam of their forefathers with a slightly darker and more mature musical perspective. “With the 1998 release of their first LP, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, Jets to Brazil took the expectations of their peers and turned them on their heads, surprising most with their breed of music that is fresh and excitingly powerful. As the band members continue to move away from their namesakes and become more comfortable with their expanding sound, the world could see something quite intriguing evolve. Jets to Brazil followed up with Four Cornered Night in August 2000. Two years later, the band returned with their darkest, most inspirational material to date; Perfecting Loneliness was released in October 2002 and reflected mega-tight musicianship from the band.” – All Music Guide

File Under: Indie Rock, Emo, Punk
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jtb2

Jets to Brazil: Four Cornered Night (Jade Tree) LP
Three classic LPS from Jets to Brazil – available on 180 gram black vinyl and limited edition (indie-shop-only) clear vinyl. Jets To Brazil vinyl has been out of print since their original pressings and are in high demand. Consisting of ex-Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach, ex-Texas Is the Reason drummer Chris Daly, and ex-Handsome vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Chatelain, Jets to Brazil could be considered an amalgam of their forefathers with a slightly darker and more mature musical perspective. “With the 1998 release of their first LP, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, Jets to Brazil took the expectations of their peers and turned them on their heads, surprising most with their breed of music that is fresh and excitingly powerful. As the band members continue to move away from their namesakes and become more comfortable with their expanding sound, the world could see something quite intriguing evolve. Jets to Brazil followed up with Four Cornered Night in August 2000. Two years later, the band returned with their darkest, most inspirational material to date; Perfecting Loneliness was released in October 2002 and reflected mega-tight musicianship from the band.” – All Music Guide

File Under: Indie Rock, Punk, Emo
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king khan

King Khan: Murderburgers (Ernest Jennings) LP
King Khan, master of psychedelic R&B, used all of his magic to reunite one of his all time favourite bands “The Gris Gris” from Oakland, California to back him up on this long player. Produced by Greg Ashley at his Creamery Studio which has since disappeared because of the unfortunate gentrification of Oakland. This album shows a more singer/songwriter side to King Khan, while mixing in his classic garage punk swagger and many more subtle influences here and there. You can taste alot of Stooges, screaming saxes in full Steve Mackay style, pounding pianos, some Bakersfield California Country swing, some haunting desert sunset vibes and most of all the classic rock n’ soul that has become King Khan’s genuine signature sound. The resulting gumbo is as tasty as ever and even has the Oakland Taco King, Oscar “El Tacoban” Michel on Bass and legendary Oakland drummer for hire Garrett “with an A in the O” Goddard bashing the skins. King Khan starts a world tour this month to support.

File Under: Garage Rock, Psych, R&B

king krule

King Krule: The Ooz (True Panther) LP
The Ooz is the second full-length album from London-born 22 year-old polymath King Krule aka Archy Marshall. The sprawling 19-song epic follows his 2013 debut 6 Feet Beneath The Moon. 6FBTM brought King Krule universal acclaim, hundreds of thousands of record sales, worldwide tour dates, and put him on track to becoming a household name. For the last two years, Archy has been holed up in his south-east London neighborhood, shutting out the world, and shuttling between his bedroom recording setup and a small studio walking distance from his home. He has refined his craft; taking dramatic steps as a songwriter, producer and lyricist. This album is seeped with the results of that time spent alone. He has grown into a complete and expressive artist in full mastery of his craft. According to Archy, The Ooz is, “a smear, a mark. The constant sludge pouring out of your crevices. You have ear wax, snot, phlegm, piss, gasses, tears. Look how much you create. You Ooz constantly without even knowing. The record is called that because it’s whatever comes out of you to exist.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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land

Harold Land: A New Shade of Blue (Wewantsounds) LP
Wewantsounds present a reissue of Harold Land’s A New Shade Of Blue, originally released in 1971. Following the highly-acclaimed release of Feeling Good and Inner Peace compilations, Wewantsounds present the reissue of two superb classic albums as the first releases in their Mainstream Records Original Classics series: A New Shade Of Blue, presented here, and Buddy Terry’s 1971 album Awareness. Wewantsounds has gone back to the original negative to reconstruct the original artworks and will add many jaw dropping never-seen photo sessions Recorded in 1971, this beautiful Harold Land record produced by Bob Shad, is nothing but a Harold Land-Bobby Hutcherson quintet album in disguise. The quintet recorded a handful of marvelous albums between 1967 and 1971, mainly under the Bobby Hutcherson name on Blue Note, but they recorded one album on Chess and two for Mainstream Records. A New Shade Of Blue, recorded in Los Angeles where the quintet was based, is one of their best albums and has never been reissued outside of Japan. Featuring a superb line up comprising Buster Williams on bass and Billy Hart on drums — the rhythm section of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi (1971) sextet — the session is augmented by Bill Henderson on piano and Fender Rhodes and Mtume on percussion. Together they create a superb soundscape featuring the quintet’s trademark sound, both spiritual and serene, with Land’s unmistakable sax playing and Bobby Hutcherson’s modal touch. The highlight of the album is the long hypnotic track “Mtume”, a deep, slow burner displaying the group’s fantastic interplay. Includes unissued session photos taken by LA photographer Dick Sanders and new liner notes by radio DJ and renowned record digger, Sam Barbatano (Sunday Jazz, KTRU Houston). CD version includes a bonus track, a beautiful eight-minute outtake “Dark Mood” briefly issued in 1974 on a Mainstream compilation.

File Under: Jazz
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lowe

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: Kulthan (Latency) LP
Two swinging, hypnotic excursions by the Brooklynite (aka Lichens). Ethereal and melancholic, ‘Magnamite’ ponders ‘the relationship of machine and human’; whilst the wilder pulsations of ‘Heart Of Sogguth’ bear witness to a ‘unified human machine wherein the voice becomes the rhythm — all become one instrument’.”

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Techno
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major

Paul Major: Feel The Music (Anthology) Book
Paul Major has lived resolutely at the edge of outsider music culture for nearly a half-century. As an early private press and “real people” record collector turned eminent, underground rock ‘n’ roller, his influence is felt if not heard all around us—until now. Feel the Music traces Paul’s trajectory from his formative days in the Midwest, his years in the late ’70s New York punk scene, and into his curious career as a connoisseur and campaigner of the weirdest records of all time. Brought to life with unseen photographs, rare record covers, and cut n’ paste ephemera from Paul’s long running mail order catalog, while animated by Paul’s storytelling, Feel the Music is a fanatical mystery tour through the further, outer reaches of music history. Alongside Paul’s writing, Feel the Music features essays by Johan Kugelberg, Jack Streitman, Michael P. Daley, Rich Haupt, Stefan Kery, Patrick Lundborg, Geoffrey Weiss, Jesper Eklow, and Glenn Terry. Each book also comes with a special Sorcerers and Endless Boogie split 7? vinyl record.

File Under: Books, Psych

miyashita Fumio Miyashita: Live of the Boffomundo Show (Drag City) LP
“By October, 1979, my partner, Aaron Weiner and I had produced a handful of Boffomundo Shows at Los Angeles’ first public access television studio at Theta Cable in Santa Monica. It was our good fortune to meet and partner with Tony Harrington of All Ears Records and we joined forces as The All Ears Boffomundo Show. Up to that point we interviewed King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, PFM singer Bernardo Lanzetti, and Brand X & Phil Collins (before his solo fame). All Ears Records stable of artists concentrated heavily on Japanese bands and musicians. “He introduced us to the already legendary synthesizer master, Fumio Miyashita, founder of The Far East Family Band, who Tony boldly dubbed ‘Japan’s Answer to Pink Floyd.’ While certainly influenced by the Floyd, Fumio, along with fellow band member and award winning synthesist, Kitaro, were more accurately evolving the electronic techo-stylings of Germany’s Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Temple, Kraftwerk, and other Krautrock innovators from the early 1970s. One-time Dream and Temple member, and a seminal synth innovator in his own right, Klaus Schulze, both produced and mixed several Far East Family Band albums. As Aaron recalls, ‘Fumio was a gentle soul. Soft spoken, thoughtful and intelligent. And on the cutting edge of technology. It was in Fumio’s hands that I first viewed a Sony Walkman. It is mind boggling to think what has transpired technologically since then.’ “Fumio brought multiple keyboards, percussion and incidental sundries to a studio the size of a small garage. Somehow, the staff of Theta Cable Studios managed to capture all the sound pumped through a 12″ bookshelf speaker! A single microphone rested on a wooden stool in front of that speaker. In 1980, a second appearance from Fumio included Far East Family Band members, guitarist Lance Hooks and bass player George Babon. The same lone bookshelf speaker was employed once again! That proud little speaker is no doubt fully decomposed in a landfill somewhere but the music survives…” – Ron Curtiss

File Under: Electronic, Kosmische
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monolord

Monolord: Rust (Riding Easy) LP
Monolord encompasses and transcends genre — a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Their thunderous, tuneful heft has built a rabid international fanbase since their 2014 debut. But Rust, the band’s third full length, truly justifies why some refer to them as the Nirvana of doom. The band’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs’ sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that’s more total environment than collection of songs. Guitarist / vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems, and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as a fourth member. Album opener “Where Death Meets the Sea” perfectly exemplifies their mastery of dynamics and hooks: a driving, infectious buzzsaw riff that lesser bands would ride off into the sunset, but they use to subtly spur the skull rattling core ever onward. This tight rhythmic unit sounds like an early ZZ Top record played at half speed. “Dear Lucifer” squeals and hums with slow deliberation as Willems summons Dale Crover with chasm-like low-tuned toms and syncopated cymbal crashes. The album’s title track is also its centerpiece, opening with a dramatic, shimmering Hammond organ intro followed by the band kicking in with a bellowing line downtuned to B that nosedives as the drums hammer down for the kill.

File Under: Metal
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ngozi

Ngozi Family: Heavy Connection (Shadoks) LP
The Ngozi Family formed in 1975 in Lusaka, Zambia, and shot to stardom. Bandleader Paul Dobson Nyirongo aka Paul Ngozi enlisted former members of his previous band, The Three Years, and gave a popular voice to what later was called “Zamrock,” a cool fusion of older African rhythms and ’70s rockish underground modes — never too polished, but with a tightness that would have made groups up in London take notice. Heavy Connection, recorded in 1978 with drummer Chrissy Zebby Tembo, features razor-sharp guitars, hard rhythms, and a mix of English and Zambian lyrics. Original copies are impossible to find. RIYL: Witch and Amanaz. Fuzz guitars all over with African beats and political lyrics. 180-gram black vinyl. Heavy sleeve. Includes two-page insert. Numbered edition of 500.

File Under: Psych, Zambia, Fuzz
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ninos

Ninos Du Brasil: Vida Eterna (Hospital) LP
Nico Vascellari and Nicolò Fortuni come out to play in the dark on their third and deadliest LP as Ninos Du Brasil, taking their fascinations with ritual musics — from Brazilian Afro-Latin tribal rhythms to library music and freezing Scandinavian BM — deep into the festering undergrowth of their shared, exotic aesthetic. Where the cover of their first album for Hospital Productions, Novos Mistérios, depicted a naked man covered by a leopard pelt, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd’s oil painting of a screeching Chiroptera in flight on the Vida Eterna jacket makes a strong visual allegory for NDB’s finer tuned spatial sensitivities inside, with their churning rhythms now embedded in fathoms of dread space and father shaded in layers of processed vocal chants, both punk, metal, and tribalistic. The big highlight is no doubt the closing cut, “Vagalumes Piralampos”, where Arto Lindsay, the legendary founder of DNA, chimes in on a stygian, moonlit jag between the eyes of bossa nova, batacuda, and the sort of esoteric electronics also charted by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement or Cienfuegos. But it only really makes sense after you’ve expended your energies along with the band thru monstrous techno shakedowns such as “O Veto Chama Seu Nome”, the soca-like rush of “Condenado Por Un Idioma Desconhecido”, or found yourself lost, without coordinates, in the pitch black breakdown of “No Meio Da Noite” and have been hypnotized by the stalking rhythms and atmospheres of “Em Que O Rio Do Mar Se Toma”. The creation of this album, inspired by vampirism, was born from a collaboration between Vascellari and Fortuni with producer Rocco Rampino, whose love of dense textures and low-end bombast masterfully and cleverly couples with the bands explosive percussive charge, resulting in eight tracks that mimic sharp blades scything through a nocturnal jungle. RIYL: Psychedelic Warriors Of Gaia, Female, Vatican Shadow. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Comes in a gatefold jacket.

File Under: Electronic, Batucada, Latin, Industrial
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odwyer

Aine O’Dwyer: Gallarais (Mie) LP
David Toop, on hearing Áine O’Dwyer’s Gallarais and the subsequent conversations between November 2016 and January 2017. “Sleep music, the underworld. Twenty-six letters were sent, not far to travel, from Proust, hypersensitive writer to his upstairs neighbour, Marie Williams — ‘I was rather troubled by noise . . . I was trying to sleep off an attack. But at 8am the tapping on the parquet was so distinct that the Veronal didn’t work and I woke with the attack still raging.’ Marie Williams played harp, though it was not the harp that dragged Proust from the fumes of a bedroom armed against asthma attacks, cork-lined to smother noise.. . . Proust spoke of an imperceptible breath, ‘like the wind breathing into the stem of a reed’, mingling with the subdued song of his dying grandmother’s breathing, ‘swift and light . . . gliding like a skater towards the delicious fluid’, the human sighs released at the approach of death . . . ‘Who’s there?’ cries out the old man, stark terror pulled awake at the faintest of noises from pitch black vicinity of an unseen doorway. . . . There is one voice or two, whispers of shaping breath thrown into far obscure and occult recesses of the space as if spirits on the wing whose feathers shriek and keen. They are swans with near-human heads, carrying the lightness of souls, moving between dry land of the living, subterranean rivers of the dead. Sleep music they make, its murmurs written by the method of ‘passive writing’, a transcribing of tongues unknown to all but the most open of listeners. . . . The space was a cave, a tunnel, a room without windows. A skull without eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, though as Beckett had noticed, the soul turns in this cage as in a lantern, silence ‘beating against the walls and being beaten back by them’; the space was a chapel, upturned boat, perhaps the curragh that carried Maildun and his crew to the Isle of Weeping, the Isle of Speaking Birds, the Palace of Solitude. . . . ‘Within a house described by Mary Butts, in Ashe of Rings (1998), the bronze note of a clock rings, ‘like a body falling bound into deep water’. . . . The body descended into the tunnel, never to return as itself.”

File Under: Electronic, Drone

rainforest

Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Jungle Black Magic… (Hospital) LP
Released on vinyl for the time, Jungle Black Magic And Highlands Green Sorcery is the most substantial and disorientating release in the Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement vinyl series yet, clocking in at 40 minutes and deploying some of the most uncomfortably humid productions in Dominick Fernow’s arsenal. Jungle Black Magic marks the third in a series of first-time vinyl editions of early RSE material. It was originally released as a double cassette release in 2012 in an edition of 49. Stalking phantom apparitions and infrasonic illusions from the dankest sectors of his imagination, Fernow plays voodoo tricks on charred opener “The Case Of The Male Witch From Goroka” — a tropical downer underpinned by larger than life sub-bass rumblings and what sound like field recordings of YouTube rainforest nightscapes rendered in abstract, digital form. “The Verdict Handed Down By A Kangaroo Court” furthers trance induction with a more tribal alignment of drums, before “For The Next Three Days There Was An Eerie Silence In The Village” ends the set with a completely bewildering alignment of synthetic sounds designed to play tricks on your senses; somewhere between a dark meditation aid and a reworked soundtrack to Predator (1987) — the vibe exceptionally heatsick and paranoid. These pieces operate in paradoxical dimensions where the calls of exotic birds convey a denseness that’s at odds with acres of negative space. It feels like standing in a deforested land at the edge of thick jungle, the effect is uncannily transportive; your mind constantly grappling with contrasting sensory triggers. How can something this ice cold also convey such suffocating heat? It makes for an incredible, pretty much unique listening experience; like fourth world ambience but in some kind of Lynchian above-the-convenience store dimension. Remastered by Paul Corley; Cut at Dubplates & Mastering. RIYL: Coil, Demdike Stare, Prurient, Brian Eno & Jon Hassell’s 1980 album Fourth World. Edition of 500.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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rock town

Rock Town Express: Funky Makossa (Comb & Razor) LP
“In 1973, EMI Records Nigeria released the 45 rpm disc ‘Fuel for Love’ b/w ‘Soundway,’ credited to a mysterious band called Wrinkar Experience. The record was a finely-crafted gem of pop-rock and funky soul as had never before been heard coming out of the country’s nascent rock scene, and it ended up being the biggest selling Nigerian single up until that point. The success of Wrinkar Experience effectively demonstrated that was a market for homegrown pop and rock, and sent record labels scrambling to sign similar bands, kicking off the Nigerian rock revolution that is still being celebrated and discovered by new generations today. But while Wrinkar Experience launched the movement, the group itself would be short-lived: after another hit single in 1973, the band’s frontman Danie Ian split for a solo career. The remaining principal players in the group — Cameroonian musicians Ginger Forcha and Edjo’o Jacques Racine — tried to keep the Wrinkar name going before giving it up and rebranding themselves as Rock Town Express. Rock Town Express’s debut LP Funky Makossa was recorded in 1974 for ARC Records, the cutting-edge studio and label established in Lagos by English drum legend Ginger Baker. The album showcased in long format the qualities that had only been hinted at on the Wrinkar Experience singles: bright, confident pop melodies, articulate lyrics, and darkly potent funk-rock. Comb & Razor Sound is proud to present a new, fully-authorized reissue of Funky Makossa, featuring the seven tracks from the original release, plus ‘I Am A Natural Man’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Know,’ from Wrinkar Experience’s seldom-heard third and final single.”

File Under: Afro Beat, Psych, Funk, Rock
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sanders

Pharoah Sanders: Quintet (ESP) LP
ESP-Disk present a reissue of Pharoah Sanders Quintet, originally released in 1965. Recorded on September 10, 1964, prior to his well-known association with John Coltrane, this eponymous album (later renamed Pharoah’s First) is the debut release of the iconic tenor saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders. (Yes, there are some spelling oddities here: the artist — birth name Ferrell — only later changed the spelling from the standard Pharaoh to the more personalized Pharoah). With one foot in mainstream jazz — pianist Jane Getz had played with Charles Mingus — and the other, tentatively at times, in the avant-garde, this is a fascinating glimpse of Sanders’s style before he wielded the unremitting fierceness of his playing with Coltrane and the modal mysticism of his later solo albums on Impulse. Interestingly, in recent years he has deployed a more polished version of this sort of avant-flavored bop, bringing his career full circle and strongly suggesting that the hybrid heard here was not due to any failure of nerve on his debut but rather was the cornerstone of his conception. ESP-Disk has issued this album under three different covers; for its 21st-century reissue on vinyl, they have chosen to use the second and most beautiful. It is augmented with liner notes by a current ESP-Disk artist, tenor saxophonist Ras Moshe Burnett of The Red Microphone, who can be heard accompanying Amina Baraka on their eponymous release (ESPDISK 5021CD, 2017). Personnel: Pharoah Sanders – tenor saxophone; Stan Foster – trumpet; Jane Getz – piano; William Bennett – bass; Marvin Pattillo – percussion.

File Under: Jazz
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shabason

Joseph Shabason: Aytche (Western Vinyl) LP
When John Coltrane died in 1967 the jazz idiom rapidly shed what purists had distilled it to be, falling from the treetop of the early 20th century and striking every cultural branch of the latter half on its way down. The genre morphed through erratic age-of-Aquarius spiritualism in the 60’s, rubbed commercial shoulders with rock, funk, and disco in the 70’s, took a backseat to pop artists’ studio-sessions in the 80’s, and finally found something of a dignified retirement as a sampling source for countless hip-hop producers in the 90’s. Amidst this apparent life-boating, the dust of the exploded genre settled in some intriguing rifts wherein jazz embraced experimentalism without trading it for integrity. Pat Metheny recorded Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint”, and John Hassell partnered with Terry Riley and Brian Eno to push the textural and compositional confines of the genre to an altogether different realm.  In 2017, with so-called Nu-Jazz in full view, saxophonist Joseph Shabason is solely pulling the thread left hanging by the marriage of minimalism and jazz in the previous century. His debut LP, Aytche, reveals this cross-pollination to be as fertile and captivating as ever, fitting as well– or better– into this decade as any other. Shabason builds a bridge off of the precipice his forbears established, skirting jazz, ambient, and even new age with the same deliberate genre-ambiguity that made their work so interesting. Aytche, however, is not a stoic march toward technological frontiers, but a document of exploration both inward and outward. Every step taken in sound-design mirrors a stride in emotionality, as Shabason employs a variety of effect pedals to coax rich moody textures from his instrument. He explains, “So much sax music is about chops, and being able to solo really fast. I feel like robbing the sax of the ability to shred by effecting it and turning it into a dense chordal instrument really helps the instrument become something that it’s not usually known for.” Aytche deals with themes of degenerative illness and assisted suicide with eloquence that instrumental music rarely achieves regarding any subject, much less such difficult ones. Shabason’s compositions are steeped in a deteriorative quality that seems to melt and glide between peace and confusion, tragedy and resolve, like calm memories and end-of-life fears interrupting each other moment by moment. Opening track “Looking Forward to Something, Dude” introduces the recurrent motif of the album; a warm, downward shifting chorus of effected horns that is at once healing and heartrending, creating a unnameable mood all its own. Flits of dissonant woodwinds punctuate the stillness like the impulse of anxiety arising in deep thought, giving us a reason to catch our breath in a moment of complacency. The title track and its successor “Neil McCauley” urge the procession forward with understated relentlessness before the album’s opening horn motif re-emerges under a layer of serrated distortion on the aptly named “Smokestack.” Further into the experience is “Westmeath” a piece that approaches Aytche’s subject of inspiration head-on. Here, the album’s only verbalization appears in the form of an interview with a man discussing his father’s trauma and eventual suicide after surviving the holocaust. Though we only hear a few obscured words and phrases from the interview, the impact is powerful. For Shabason, whose grandparents survived the holocaust themselves, this selection is anything but frivolous. Shabason intended for this album to be heard with Eno’s “as ignorable as it is interesting” philosophy, but the mood here is far too singular to exist as background. As with so much of the best contemplative music, there is therapy in Aytche, but the flies in the ointment make the moments of peace all the more descriptive and potent by contrast. RIYL: Colin Stetson, Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen, etc. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Ambient
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siriusmo

Siriusmo: Comic (Monkeytown) LP
Pow, Boom, Splash! You will instantly recognize the rich brush strokes of this musical painter. Monkeytown linchpin Moritz Friedrich, aka Siriusmo, is back with a bang and a pencil. Following up 2013’s Enthusiast, his third full-length recording Comic sounds like its title suggests: colorful, rampant, funny, and hilariously foolish. Siriusmo maintains his very own sound and spot within electronic music, drawing from numerous styles and mashing it all through his personal beat-grinder, constantly understating and exaggerating. He’s the innovator that has no such intentions at all. Here’s what the master himself has to say about his new work: “Comic feels like dilettante kids drawings roughly sketched with a big marker, like abstract layouts as well as finely carved romantic paintings. 14 songs ripped from the pages of a coloring book to be vividly colored by you!” But don’t worry, those pages will fill themselves with life as soon as the mellow and trippy patterns of the opening track set in. There are big and broken beats in “Wrong Password”, extremely easygoing rave tunes like “Dagoberta”, lots of genuine oddities like “Wixn”, and the piano work on “Geilomant” even makes you think of some classic hip-hop track. Comparisons are futile, except for one: From the melodic vintage electro of “Dagoberta” to the sonic assault and whirlwind drum programming of “Bleat”, there’s a strong link to older Squarepusher records. Just replace the former’s jazz and jungle roots with Berlin’s musical history, and you get an idea of what Siriusmo is made of. Siriusmo may be the laziest genius around, though he’s been all but unproductive since Enthusiast: In 2015 he joined forces with Modeselektor and toured Europe under the banner of Siriusmodeselektor, playing festivals from Glastonbury to Sonar. The same year he produced the debut album of Romano, Köpenick’s one-of-a-kind rap phenomenon and close friend of Moritz. He remixed Moderat, collaborated with synth pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre, and contributed to Mr. Oizo’s latest album, who’s also appearing on Comic. So does Romano on standout track “La Bouche”, delivering some tasty German phrases. Having been occupied recently with Roman’s second album, his fans are very lucky that Moritz found the time to pin down a new Siriusmo album as well. He may not be a man of many words, but possesses a bold and singular musical vision. Also features Dana And Romano and Jan Driver.

File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop
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puppy

Skinny Puppy: Bites (Nettwerk) LP
Skinny Puppy exploded onto the electronic industrial music scene with 1984’s Remission EP, fusing elements of new wave, techno dance, film noir, and innovative sampling. Lead by cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre, the band quickly garnered an international fanbase and followed up their new success with 1985’s Bites, which produced their first underground hit, “Assimilate.” Restored to their original track listing and design, Remission and Bites are now available on vinyl for the first time in over 25 years.

File Under: Electronic, EBM
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skinny

Skinny Puppy: Remission (Nettwerk) LP
Skinny Puppy exploded onto the electronic industrial music scene with 1984’s Remission EP, fusing elements of new wave, techno dance, film noir, and innovative sampling. Lead by cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre, the band quickly garnered an international fanbase and followed up their new success with 1985’s Bites, which produced their first underground hit, “Assimilate.” Restored to their original track listing and design, Remission and Bites are now available on vinyl for the first time in over 25 years.

File Under: Electronic, EBM
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vincent

St. Vincent: Masseducation (Loma Vista) LP
In Tomorrow… Themes of power and sex, imperiled relationships and death slice through St. Vincent aka Annie Clark’s highly anticipated new album Masseduction, the enigmatic artist’s first since her Grammy-nominated self-titled 2014 effort. The 13 tracks swirl with guitar and piano, synths and strings, and drum beats that punch with purpose. The album was co-produced by St. Vincent and Jack Antonoff at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, with additional recording at Rough Consumer Studio in Brooklyn, and Compound Fracture in Los Angeles. “Every record I make has an archetype,” says Clark. “Strange Mercy was Housewives on Pills. St. Vincent was Near-Future Cult Leader. Masseduction is different, it’s pretty first person. You can’t fact-check it, but if you want to know about my life, listen to this record.” Masseducation is the culmination of years of writing, with songs crafted from voice memos, text messages, and snippets of melodies that came to Clark while traveling the globe. Special guests on the album include Thomas Bartlett on piano, Kamasi Washington on saxophone, Jenny Lewis on vocals, and beat production from Sounwave. Greg Leisz and Rich Hinman add pedal steel, and Tuck and Patti Andress contribute guitar and vocals respectively on select tracks.

File Under: Indie Rock
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stalteri

Arturo Stalteri: …E Il Pavone Parlo alla Luna (Soave) LP
Recorded in 1980 but only issued privately in 1987, Arturo Stàlteri’s …e il pavone parlò alla Luna falls among the last artifacts of Italy’s great wave of musical minimalism. Like the movement to which it belongs, rigorously resistant to categorizations and definition, this overlooked marvel sculpts a startling singularity. A radical and democratic vision in sound, blending elements of new age, the avant-garde, and prog with Western and Indian classical musics. Highly talented pianist Arturo Stàlteri debuted in 1974 with Pierrot Lunaire, one of the most original and innovative groups of the Italian progressive scene. After the dissolution of the band he began an inspirational solo career with the prog opus Andrè Sulla Luna (1979); the following year a two-month trip to India left an important impression on him and inspired …e il pavone parlò alla Luna, which stands as Stàlteri’s true masterwork. A complex and ambitious hybrid, built around organ and piano, with each passage struggling for creative autonomy and dislodging themselves from the whole, yet remaining as accessible as they are challenging, to all those willing to heed the call. Despite its repetitive rhythms and cyclical tones, bound to American minimalism, …e il pavone parlò alla Luna’s complex relationships and breadth of territory locate it as a distinctly European work, a wondrous late breath, and a seminal entry in Italy’s remarkable canon of avant-garde and minimalist music. A rippling oddity, not quite like anything else, reissued here on vinyl for the first time.

File Under: Electronic, Art Rock, Avant Garde
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sunra1

Sun Ra & His Myth Science Solar Arkestra: Lost Arkestra Series Vol 1 & 2 (Art Yard) 2×10″
A double 10″ set featuring Sun Ra recordings. Initially released on two separate 10″s back in 2010/13. Volume 1 features “Along Came Ra”, a previously unissued live track recorded in Paris in 1983. The legendary Disco 3000 concert tapes are on the flip. Volume 2 lifts three fine selections from the Sub-Underground Saturn LPs. “Love Is For Always” and the driving, roots-y “The World Of Africa” come from 1974’s Temple U; while the myth-science poetics of “Space Is The Place/We Roam The Cosmos” comes from the 1975 What’s New set.

File Under: Jazz

space jazz

Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Space Jazz (Not Now) 3LP
3LP, pink vinyl in gatefold sleeve! A solar flare of cosmic sounds heralded the rising star Sun Ra when the pianist, composer and band leader first shone over the musical landscape in the 1950s and 1960s. He caused quite a stir with innovative albums that introduced electronics, special effects and unusual arrangements into a jazz world that sometimes slid into comfortable conservatism, despite its radical roots. This comprehensive collection of the best recordings from the formative stages of his career, enables the listener to hear with fresh ears the legendary Mr. Ra’s unique contribution.

File Under: Jazz

sunra

Sun Ra & His Solar Arkestra: Magic City  (Cosmic Myth) LP
“This landmark album, now being reissued in a definitive stereo edition, marks the debut of the new Cosmic Myth Records label. Cosmic Myth plans to reissue Sun Ra’s Saturn Records catalog titles under official license from Sun Ra LLC, comprised of the heirs of Sun Ra. Sun Ra albums like The Magic City prove the categorical futility of ‘File Under: Jazz.’ When assessing the post-Chicago (1960-on) work of Ra, ‘jazz’ turns out to be less a genre than a journalistic and marketing convenience. Jazz has a glorious tradition. Sun Ra was schooled in it, emerged from it, and grew to transcend it (though he never abandoned it). Even the cheeky term ‘Space Jazz’ cannot frame the extremes to which Ra pushed his art in the mid-1960s. In this regard, The Magic City was a pinnacle. 1965 was a turbulent year for the Arkestra and its leader, and many consider The Magic City a flashpoint for that upheaval. Arkestra drummer Tommy Hunter, quoted in John Szwed’s 1997 Ra bio Space is the Place, describes a typical performance of the period: ‘It was like a fire storm coming off the bandstand.’ On the original 1965 The Magic City LP, issued on Saturn, the monster 27-1/2 minute title track sprawled across side A. The ‘Magic City’ to which Ra refers was his birthplace — Birmingham, Alabama. The term was the town’s motto, emblazoned on a billboard by the train station near Sunny’s childhood home, intended to reflect the city’s explosive growth as a Southern industrial epicenter after the discovery of iron ore, coal, and limestone deposits. Birmingham was a place about which Sun Ra felt and expressed ambivalence: an outpost of racial segregation and grim smokestack-pocked landscapes, yet a city for which he felt twinges of nostalgia and affection. (His heirs still live in the area.) Ra customarily supervised the Arkestra’s improvisational process via keyboard cues or hand signals. He was always in charge — hence critic Simon Adams describing the title track as ’27 minutes of controlled freedom.’ ‘The Magic City’ was never performed in concert; saxophonist John Gilmore said it was ‘unreproducible, a tapestry of sound.’ Although shorter in scope than side A’s magnum opus, the four works on The Magic City’s flip side reflect the same improvisational approach, spatiality, and lack of structure. One session outtake, ‘Other Worlds,’ an alternate version of ‘Shadow World,’ is included as a bonus track on side B. For this definitive edition, historical and technical liner notes are provided by noted jazz historian Ben Young, who restored and remastered the album with his Triple Point Records partner Joe Lizzi. Both men have been recognized for their extensive work on the Grammy Nominated Albert Ayler boxset, released on John Fahey’s Revenant records in 2005.”

File Under: Jazz

hip

Tragically Hip: In Between Evolution (Universal) LP
In tomorrow… Another of the long over due Tragically Hip vinyl reissues!

File Under: Rock
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venosta

Giovanni Venosta: Olympic Signals (Soave) LP
Giovanni Venosta’s 1984 debut album, released when the artist was only 23, is a committed, subversive parody of minimalism, and a truly original work. This is its first reissue. Recorded in Venosta’s living room with a four-track Tascam, this album reveals the young pianist’s profound need for expression, born out of his relationship with the sound of Terry Riley, Michael Nyman, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Penguin Café Orchestra, and Dollar Brand. The contribution of Roberto Musci results in more esoteric and mystical side of the record and marks the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration in which the arrangements of Venosta blend perfectly with the electronics and sound treatments by Musci. Forty-seven minutes of inspired Italian minimalism.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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winter

Teresa Winter: Untitled Death (Death of Rave) LP
Teresa Winter’s LP debut Untitled Death is a hallucinogenic wormhole of sensuously ambiguous pop and electronic experiments primed for the after-after party and altered states of reception. Realized through a mesh of strategies from live, lo-fi tape recordings of synths, samplers, and vocals to nascent experiments with algorithmic software, Untitled Death is both a divine revelation of new aspects to Teresa’s sound and an expansion of The Death of Rave’s as-yet-unidentified aesthetic. Teresa’s zoomed photos of magic mushrooms spattered in popping fluorescent oils which adorn the cover of Untitled Death hint at a more personalized insight and psycho-activity, a proper, lush trippiness. Just like the putative psilocybic experience, Untitled Death naturally comes on in waves of synaestically-heightened sensuality, from strangely libidinous stirrings to utter, eat-your-heart-out euphoria with a spectrum of hard-to-explain and unexpected sensations between. It’s hard to recall a more seductive album opener than “Oh”, which blossoms from plaintive drum machine and chiming pads to a half- or mis-heard beckon “I really like it/ when you let yourself go/ I really want you inside me/ I want to make you my own”, before curdling into bittersweet partials and deliquescent hooks as ear-worming as anything from AFX’s classic Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992). It’s devastating in its simplicity and almost blush-worthy in effect, and is soon enough lopped curtly into the soundtrack-like enchantment of “Untitled Death”, which could almost be a cue from some ’60 Polish or Czech art-house film, serving to neatly set up the prickling, windswept scene of romantic introspection and dereliction in “Pain Of Outside” — perhaps Teresa’s most accomplished and affective pop turn to date; think Grouper awkwardly blissing out at 9am in the corner of a successful sesh/campsite/free party. From that perfectly damaged side closer, the B side opens to a different sort of spine-freezing beauty and sense of abandonment with plangent, dissonant harmonics describing rugged Yorkshire wolds and coast as much as a radiant lightshow on the back of flickering eyelids. RIYL: Grouper, F Ingers, Leyland Kirby, early AFX, Delia Derbyshire. Master and cut by Matt Colton.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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gamelan

Various: Gamelan of the Walking Warriors (Akuphone) LP
Includes printed inner sleeve; Includes download card with complete ceremony, extra photographs, and liner note translations (French, Italian, Japanese). A fascinating immersion in the heart of a funeral ceremony live recorded in Bali, where gongs, cymbals, and drums give rhythm to the bewitching atmosphere of this mortuary procession. The international audience’s interest into Balinese music and its gamelan orchestras dates back to the edition of large ethnographic series in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s which largely encouraged the discovery of this music beyond Indonesia’s borders. Taking advantage of a more advanced technology, compared to the vinyl golden era, the present field recordings produced in 2011 render, at the closest, the power of gamelans. Gamelan is presented here in two forms. The first one (tracks 1 to 4) offers a display of Beleganjur music out of the ritual context, which can be differentiated by a more melodic form and a more dramatic and hypnotic aspect in the compositions. The second one (tracks 5 to 9) presents the Beleganjur style in the ceremonial context of the Ngaben funerary rite in the village of Peliatan. The utmost vitality of these orchestras springs out throughout the different stages of these funerals, and the sound environment surrounding the musicians immerse the listener in the very heart of the procession following the corpse. With The Gamelan Of The Walking Warriors, Akuphone carries on its exploration of ritual and ceremonial music with those materials of rare intensity. These recordings were collected by Vincenzo Della Ratta, PhD in Ethnomusicology from the Sapienza University (Rome). As a specialist of the gongs music from the Austronesian cultures of Southeast Asia, Della Ratta is the author of numerous articles on the subject. His field researches have already been edited as a vinyl entitled Kwangkay: Funerary Music Of The Dayak Benuaq Of Borneo (SF 106LP, 2016). Tracks 1 to 4 were recorded in the village of Wanagiri, in the district (“kecamatan”) of Sukasada, of the regency of Buleleng. Tracks 5 to 9 were recorded in the village of Peliang, in the district of Ubud, of the regency of Gianyar.

File Under: Gamelan, World, Bali

lostlibrary-etched-render

Various: Lost Library (Fire) LP
Jane Weaver provides vocals for Virginias Wings take on Suzanne Menzel lost pop classic “It Starts Again”, Noveller tackle John Carpenters “The Thing” and Death and Vanilla re-imagine Bert Janschs “Moonshine” on this first edition of the new “Lost Li-brary” series from Fire Records, conceived by the labels James Nicholls and designer Luke Drozd. Featuring 3 new tracks from 4 of Fire Records acclaimed female fronted roster, Jane Weaver, Virginia Wing, Death and Vanilla and Noveller this limited edition one-sided 12”, on transparent vinyl, with symbolic etching, is expected to sell out fast. Artwork and vinyl etching provided by Luke Drozd.

File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop, Ambient

trax

Various: Trax Test (Ecstatic) LP
Trax Test is the first ever survey of Italy’s pioneering, visionary, and influential label and mail art collective Trax, which ran from 1981-1987 as a network for the creation of collaborative projects. The collective included a pre-NWW Colin Potter and some of the earliest work from Masami Akita, aka Merzbow, but also had deep connections with the art world; a few Trax members went on to become famous designers and artists — Ettore Sottsass of hugely influential Memphis Group even guests on vocals on the last track of the compilation. The whole selection here is rare as heck and sorely in-demand by collectors, much of it now making its vinyl premiere some 30-odd years after the fact. With credit due to compilers Vittore Baroni of Trax and Ecstatic’s avowed wave fiend, Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving) — who was also behind the Mutazione (Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980-1988) compilation (2013) — Trax Test is a portal to the international scene which laid the grassroots for a proliferation of electronic music over the proceeding decades — a pioneering part of the infrastructure for independent music distribution which could be said to pre-echo the myriad social networks and platforms today. As Frans De Waard astutely points out in the 16-page booklet, there were no “templates” for this thing back then, meaning artists did everything DIY: from cutting, pasting, and Xeroxing their artwork to experimenting with recording techniques and disseminating their work; all resulting in a wonderfully daring and freeform mosaic of ideas which valued the virtues of ostensibly “unfinished” or open-ended work. Traces of disco, cosmic krautrock, jazz, electro-pop, and industrial noise are all tessellated across the compilation’s 25 tracks, with a number of artists and the same equipment — cheap drum machines, synths, FX and tape — cropping up in various, mutant formations. This set is right up there with the best compilations from Vinyl On Demand, Light Sounds Dark, or Minimal Wave. Features: Cancer, M.A.Phillips, Nausea, Amok, Mecanique Vegetale, Daniele Ciullini, E-Coli, The Cop Killers, Peter Mayer, Rod Summers, Robin Crozier, Capitalist Pig, Biagio D’egidio, Piermario Ciani, Vittore Baroni, Nocturnal Emissions, De Rezke, Ado Scaini, Enrico Piva, Giancarlo Martina, B Sides, Colin Potter, Naif Orchestra, Merzbow (Vacation Of Merzbow Lowest Music & Arts), Monty Cantsin, Die Form, Utopia Production, Spirocheta Pergoli, Nostalgia, Ptose, Ddaa, Zone Verte, and I Nipoti Del Faraone. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Experimental
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…..Restocks…..

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes (Interscope) LP
Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Beyonce: Lemonade (Sony) LP
Black Flag: Damaged (SST) LP
Bon Iver: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone) LP
Brand New: Deja Entendu (Razor & Tie) LP
Miles Davis: Big Fun (Music on Vinyl) LP
Miles Davis: On The Corner (Music on Vinyl) LP
Miles Davis: Round About Midnight (Legacy) LP
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: His the DJ (Sony) LP
Lee Fields: Emma Jean (Truth & Soul) LP
Lee Fields: Problems (Truth & Soul) LP
Fleetwood Mac: Rumors (Rhino) LP
Richard Horowitz: Eros in Arabia (Freedom to Spend) LP
Zola Jesus: Okovl (Sacred Bones) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity (ATO) LP
Laraaji: Ambient 3 (Glitterbeat) LP
Mazzy Star: So Tonight That I Might See (Plain) LP
Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime (SST) LP
Thelonious Monk: Misterio (Columbia) LP
OST: Baby Driver (Lakeshore) LP
OST: Drive (Lakeshore) CS
Outkast: ATLiens (Arista) LP
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: The Kid (Western Vinyl) LP
Midori Takada/Satoh: Lunar Cruise (WRWTFWW) LP
A Tribe Called Red: We Are the Hallui Nation (Pirates Blend) LP
Weather Station: s/t (Outside) LP
Wu Tang: Iron Flag (Sony) LP
Various: Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares (Numero) LP/CD

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