Hoooboy! Loads sitting on the counter so I’ll be brief. LOTS IN! Come buy em!
RSD is in a few weeks! Some pretty neat stuff coming in for that, and as usual, we’ll have all kinds of fun planned, so plan to come on down on April 21st!
…..picks of the week…..
Pendant: Make Me Know Sweet (West Mineral Ltd) LP
The artist sometimes known as Huerco S. ushers a phase shift of sound to the shoegazing harmonic gauze of Make Me Know You Sweet, his immersive debut proper as Pendant. In this horizontal mode, Brian Leeds relays abstract stories from a headspace beyond the dance, placing his interests in the Romantic landscapes of JMW Turner, Robert Ashley’s avant-garde enigmas, and Indigenous North American philosophy at the service of a more expressive, oneiric sound that sub/consciously avoids the trap falls of “chillout” ambient cliché. Across seven amorphous, texturally detailed tracks he establishes far reaching coordinates for both Pendant and the West Mineral Ltd. label, which aims to release everything except the commonly accepted, traditional forms of late 20th/early 21st century dance music, while also representing the work of his inner circle of friends, producers, artists. In that that sense there’s a definite feeling of “no place like home” to his new work, but that home appears altered, much in the same way The Caretaker/Leyland Kirby deals with themes of memory and nostalgia. It’s best described as mid-ground music, as opposed to the putative background purpose of ambient styles, or the upfront physicality of dance music. Rather, the sound billows and unfurls with a paradoxically static chaos, occupying and lurking a space between the eyes and ears in a way that’s not necessarily comforting, and feels to question the nature and relevance of ubiquitous pastoral, new age tropes in the modern era of uncertainty and disingenuity. The results ponder an impressionistic, romantically ambiguous simulacrum of real life worries and anxiety, feeling at once dense and impending yet without center. From the keening, 11-minute swell of “VVQ-SSJ” at the album’s prow, to the similar scope of its closer, Pendant presents an absorbing vessel for introspection, modulating the listener’s depth perception and moderating our intimacy with an elemental push and pull between the curdling, bittersweet froth of “BBN-UWZ”, the dusky obfuscation of “IBX-BZC” and, in the supremely evocative play of phosphorescing light and seductive darkness in the mottled depths of “KVL-LWQ”, which also benefits from additional production by Pontiac Streator. Make Me Know You Sweet taps into a latent, esoteric vein of American spirituality that’s always been there, yet is only divined by those who remain open-minded to its effect. Master and lacquer cut by Matt Colton. Edition of 700.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Experimental
Michel Banabila: Trespassing (Séance) LP
Trespassing is a 2LP compilation focusing on Dutch electronic artist Michel Banabila’s incursions into otherworldly and imagined realms. LP1 is a compilation of works spanning over 20 years that acts as a bridge between his earliest work and his contemporary practice. LP2 is a reissue of his early masterpiece Marilli, a highly sough-after album that acts as both an LSD inspired DIY tribute to Byrne and Eno’s Ghosts and a youthful exploration of Banabila’s personal background and his experience as a squatter in Amsterdam in the early 80s.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Experimental
Steve Roach: Dreamtime Return (Telephone Explosion) LP
Steve Roach’s 1988 double-disc is back in production for the first time in 30 years! Dreamtime Return was inspired by multiple visits to the Australian Outback. The concept behind Dreamtime has secured the album as one of the pivotal works in ambient music today. The tales told over two LPs touch on the earth’s origins, and the role humans have to play in it. Inspired by the stories of Australia’s first people, Steve Roach used a combination of synthesizers and Aboriginal instruments to create the album’s signature sound. Dreamtime Return travels through unexpected pathways with slow moving textures, as tones scatter into brilliant arrays and evolve into a mystic long-distance journey. Remastered from the original tapes, Dreamtime Return will be released as a deluxe gatefold double LP.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Vanessa Amara: Manos (Posh Isolation) LP
Cut from the same cloth as 2017’s double-cassette, Like All Mornings, Vanessa Amara’s new album, Manos, trails shorthand piano pieces and wilted strings through magnificent, electro-acoustic sounds, often settling into buzzing, syncopated reveries. Their new album feels hesitant to reveal its parts and is perhaps a document of the limits of what can be revealed, a memorial to its own process as it winds itself in and around its delicately hued landscape. Though beginning with a morose gait, the album quickly turns over. And revealing its softer self, the clarity of the moving string arrangements hang in the air like fine mist. Everything settles against surfaces as the day breaks, opening up the space, though eventually condensing into the unnerving crescendo of the album’s final piece. A recurrent, gentle whirring, much like a gramophone’s needle, tracks through much of Manos. It carefully steadies the listener into a mode of measuring duration, a meditative self-awareness that deliver’s Vanessa Amara’s world. Always intricate, and effortlessly tender, Manos is an album as textural as it is melodic, and it is certainly the most exquisite suite of works to have been presented by Vanessa Amara thus far. Vanessa Amara is Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen and Victor Kjellerup Juhl.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Amen Dunes: Freedom (Sacred Bones) LP
Over the course of 10 years, Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes has transformed continuously, and Freedom is the project’s boldest leap yet. On the surface, it’s a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse, male identity, McMahon’s father, and his mother, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of recording. The characters that populate the musical world of Freedom are a colorful mix of reality and fantasy: father and mother, Amen Dunes, teenage glue addicts and Parisian drug dealers, ghosts above the plains, fallen surf heroes, vampires, thugs from Naples and thugs from Houston, the emperor of Rome, Jews, Jesus, Tashtego, Perseus, even McMahon himself. Each character portrait is a representation of McMahon, of masculinity, and of his past. Yet, if anything, these 11 songs are a relinquishing of all of them through exposition; a gradual reorientation of being away from the acquired definitions of self we all cling to and towards something closer to what’s stated in the Agnes Martin quote that opens the record, “I don’t have any ideas myself; I have a vacant mind” and in the swirling, pitched down utterances of “That’s all not me” that close it. The themes are darker than on previous Amen Dunes albums, but it’s a darkness sublimated through grooves. The music, as a response or even a solution to the darkness, is tough and joyous, rhythmic and danceable. The combination of a powerhouse rhythm section, Delicate Steve’s guitar prowess filtered through Amen Dunes heft, and Panoram’s electronic production background, makes for a special and unique NYC street record. It’s a sound never heard before on an Amen Dunes record, but one that was always asking to emerge. “Blue Rose” and “Calling Paul the Suffering” are pure, ecstatic dance songs. “Skipping School” and “Miki Dora” are incantations of a mythical heroic maleness and its illusions. “Freedom” and “Believe” offer a street tough’s future-gospel exhalation, and the funk-grime grit of “L.A.” closes the album, projecting a musical hint of things to come.
File Under: Indie Rock
Edward Artemiev/Andrey Tarkovsky: Solaris. Sound and Vision
(Song Cycle) Box
Song Cycle Records present the release of Solaris. Sound And Vision, a collector’s edition box set, that includes the soundtrack realized by the great Russian composer Edward Artemiev for Andrey Tarkovsky’s masterpiece film Solaris (1972). The box includes the soundtrack in two formats: 180 gram, high-quality virgin vinyl and, for the first time, CD. The release is also accompanied by an exclusive, hardcover photo book with unreleased images of the movie set and essays about music and cinema of the duo Artemiev/Tarkovsky, and the BluRay version of the film, in original language with English subtitles; BluRay region B (Europe only). The set comes in a limited edition of 500 numbered copies. The collaboration between Tarkovsky and Artemiev started in conjunction with the completion of Solaris when the director was seeking for a film score capable to give back and complete, through the sound, the meaningful images of the film. Back in the day, Artemiev was a member of the legendary Experimental Studio of Electronic Music in Moscow, a place of high experimentation in the field of the electronic music, in the context of which the ANS synthesizer was conceived and employed for the first time for music composition. Invented almost ten years before by Murzin, the ANS was used by Artemiev to create the special sound atmosphere that Tarkovsky was looking for. Artemiev and Tarkovsky’s association will also extend to two other undisputed masterpieces of Tarkovsky, Mirror (1975) and Stalker (1979), both forthcoming. A unique artistic joint-venture is that among the duo, in which the musician is seen as a sound organizer, more than a composer, within the process of giving form to a soundscape intertwined completely with the film in its unfolding: always essential and never to be experienced as an accessory element. What emerges here is how and at what degree for Tarkovsky the sound is part of his own existence. Made in collaboration with the Andrey Tarkovsky Institute, Solaris. Sound And Vision is a compelling publication for everyone who wants to dive deep into the Tarkovsky’s realm.
File Under: Ambient, Drone, OST
Shinichi Atobe: Butterfly Effect (Demdike Stare) LP
2018 limited repress. Shinichi Atobe has managed to stay off the grid since he made an appearance on Basic Channel’s Chain Reaction imprint back in 2001. He delivered the second-to-last 12″ on the label and then disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a solitary record that’s been selling for crazy money and a trail of speculation that has led some people to wonder whether the project was in fact the work of someone on the Basic Channel payroll. That killer Chain Reaction 12″ has also been a longtime favorite of Demdike Stare, who have been trying to follow the trail and make contact with Atobe for some time, whoever he turned out to be. A lead from the Basic Channel office turned up an address in Japan and — unbelievably — an album full of archival and new material. Demdike painstakingly assembled and compiled the material for this debut album. And what a weird and brilliant album it is — deploying a slow-churn opener that sounds like a syrupy Actress track, before working through a brilliantly sharp and tactile nine-minute piano house roller that sounds like DJ Sprinkles, then diving headlong into a heady, Vainqueur-inspired drone-world. It’s a confounding album, full of odd little signatures that give the whole thing a timeless feeling completely detached from the zeitgeist, like a sound bubble from another era. This is only the second album release on Demdike Stare’s DDS imprint, following the release of Nate Young’s Regression Vol. 3 (Other Days) in 2013. Who knows what they might turn up next? Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy.
File Under: Electronic, Basic Channel
Derek Bailey: Lot 74 (Honest Jon’s) LP
Honest Jon’s Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey’s Lot 74, originally released by Incus in 1974. Recorded at a private house in West London, the side-long title track is a masterwork: a twenty-two-minute, starkly personal, freely expressive, itchily searching re-casting of orders of rhythm and sound into a new, quicksilver kind of affective and musical polyphony. Never mind the guitarist’s championing of “non-idiomatic improvisation”, the poet Peter Riley gets the ball rolling in his identification of the various hauntings of Bailey’s playing at this time: “mandolins & balalaikas strumming in the distance, George Forby’s banjo, Leadbelly’s steel 12-string, koto, lute, classical guitar… and others quite outside the field of the plucked string.” The five pieces on side two were recorded back home in Hackney around the same time — with the exception of “Improvisation 104(b)”, from the year before (and issued by Incus in its TAPS series of mini reel-to-reel tapes) — opening with ventriloquized guitar feedback, and taking in some cod banter about colleagues like Mervyn Parker, Siegfried Brotzmann, and Harry Bentink. Crucial.
File Under: Improvised Music, Experimental, Jazz
Derek Bailey: Duo (Honest Jon’s) LP
Honest Jon’s Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey and Tristan Honsinger Duo, originally released by Incus in 1976. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and conservatory-trained in the US, the cellist Tristan Honsinger moved from Montreal to Amsterdam in 1974, quickly linking with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg and opening a long and fruitful musical relationship with Derek Bailey. Recorded in 1976, Duo displays a performative musical approach already characterized by the lack of inhibition which would later endear him to The Pop Group: he is knockabout, exclamatory, explosively rhythmic; burping Bach and folk melodies with spasmodic lyricism, in amongst the garrulous textures and accents of his scraping, bowing, and plucking, and gibbering like a monkey; throwing out his arms and stamping the floor, grappling with his instrument like an expert clown, always tripping himself up. You can hear Bailey reveling in the company, as he ranges between scrabbling solidarity and an askance skewering of his partner’s antics, on prepared (nineteen-string) and standard electric guitars — and a Waisvisz Crackle-box, for the garbled, quizzical, cross-species natter which closes “The Shadow”. Throughout, the spirited interplay between laconic, analytic wit, and guttural, sometimes slapstick physicality is consistently droll, often laugh-out-loud funny; vigorously alert, alive, and gripping.
File Under: Improvised Music, Experimental, Jazz
Robbie Basho: Live in Forli, Italy 1982 (ESP) LP
Robbie Basho (1940-86), who died young after a stroke, never got his due in the culture at large, but steel-string guitar enthusiasts have known for decades that he was one of the greats of “American Primitivism”. Technically adept and compositionally imaginative, fusing the music of many cultures into a mesmerizing solo style, he has been an inspiration for many; his music has generated a surge of interest in recent years. This 1982 concert was part of a four-show Italian tour. It took place at the 18th-century Palazzo Gaddi that housed the local music high school and was mostly used for classical concerts, in an intimate space co-organizer Mario Calvitti (whose memories of the events surrounding this concert make up the bulk of the liner notes) says Basho called it “one lovely little room where I could play all night.” Only previously released incompletely as a download, this show can now be heard in its full glory. This release is in cooperation with the Official Robbie Basho Archives. No. 2 in the RB-Archives-Live series. Produced by Buck Curran; Co-released with Obsolete Recordings. “American musician Robbie Basho (1940-1986) is without doubt one of the greatest pioneers of world guitar music. To this day, his songs and compositions for the acoustic guitar remain wholly unique, contemporary, and otherworldy. Though largely unknown in Italy when he toured there in 1982 (in the company of Italian acoustic guitarist Maurizio Angeletti), the small to medium size audiences who attended his performances were overwhelmingly sympathetic to his musical vision and deeply entranced in the glow of his musical presence. From what is documented on this recording from Forlì, we are given witness to Basho’s idiosyncratic spirit and musical artistry. Wielding only a six and twelve-string guitar and his powerful voice, we hear rapturous fingerpicking and singing. As the concert evolves, Basho’s spirit rises high above terra firma as he transforms into a wild mythical winged stallion, riding waves of colour and sound … charging across plains of cosmic light towards the outer regions of space and time.” –Buck Curran, September 11, 2017, Bergamo, Italy
File Under: Folk, Solo Guitar, Americana
Francois Bayle: Tremblements (Recollection GRM) LP
François Bayle on Tremblement de terre très doux (1978); first performance on March 19, 1979 at the Grand Auditorium of Radio-France, Ina-GRM’s Cycle Acousmatique: “The familiar generates the strange. These rolls, these hums, these sudden rushes; this song, these peaceful circlings; these sudden outbursts, these returns to quiescence — what do they remind us of? This piece’s trajectory could also be a representation of the dramatic unfolding of a day — of a life — from sunrise (‘Climate 1’) to night-time (‘Landscape 4’) via restless encounters, transitions (‘Transit 1’, ‘2’, and ‘3’) that announce the drama climaxing in ‘Landscape 3’, before reaching its denouement in “Climate 4″… A whole concrete ‘story’. The subterranean properties inherent to listening gently shift our ideas…” François Bayle on Toupie dans le ciel (1979); first performance on January 21, 1980 at the Grand Auditorium of Radio-France, Ina-GRM’s Cycle Acousmatique: “A wave is swaying on two minors thirds. This constantly uniform yet constantly varied swaying revolves in a swarm of sharp designs that blink on and off in a layer of growing density and mobility. Distance, speed, pressure, density, temperature, color, intensity, are the ‘themes’ of the 27 short interconnected cells flowing together though this seemingly unified movement. Occasionally, a breach in the texture reveals skies dotted with little comets. In the center, a slow gliding picks up the distant harmonics of a basic chord. Toward the end, this gliding returns with a fiery burst. Fine lines and whirs are generated from the song of a spinning antique top. To end on a lighter note the title Toupie dans le ciel — ‘Spinning Top in the Sky’ reminds us of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ by The Beatles as well as Lucy, the oldest Australopithecine (three million years), our African grandmother in the Erosphere… The overall title Erosphere alludes to the desire inherent to the listening experience, and to the very primitive cues that sustain the auditory attention and are the basis of all musical pleasure.” Cut by CGB at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin, June 2017; Digital transfer by Jonathan Fitoussi; Translations by Valérie Vivancos; Layout by Stephen O’Malley; Coordination GRM – Daniel Teruggi and François Bonnet; Executive Production – Peter Rehberg.
File Under: Early Electronic, Experimental
Biosphere: Hilvarenbeek Recordings (Biophon) LP
Review from A Strangely Isolated Place: “‘As The Sun Kissed The Horizon’ is one of my favorite Biosphere tracks. It’s a recording of (what to me sounds like) the empty fields after a bustling summer’s day, as the sun slowly sets and people leave for home. It reminds me of my summer’s youth, and every time I listen, I picture myself in that exact field, the same field I spent my summers playing football in, hanging with friends and generally enjoying my childhood. Music has the power to reinvigorate lost memories and despite me never hearing this until years later, this track brings back memories every time Biosphere’s The Hilvarenbeek Recordings capture a similar emotional response. Across the eight pieces, we’re treated to a similar summer’s day in ‘tSchop. Biosphere is known for his field recordings, but they are sometimes lost amongst his more electronic productions, or in some instances, slightly too focused on extremely obscure sounds. This album is the perfect middle-ground and defines the Biosphere I enjoy the most. A subtle mixture of beautiful ambient formed from some of nature’s finest textures — sounds that have the power to transport you from your own relatable experiences.”
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Camarao: Imaginary Soundtrack to a Brazilian Western Movie
(Analog Africa) LP
Camarão, living Patrimony of the state of Pernambuco November 2012: “In 1960 we received an invitation to play in Recife, a wonderful, exciting and dangerous place, often described as a ‘social jungle’. The Forró party took place at Caxangá´s neighbourhood theatre, on the first floor; with its high ceilings, wooden floors and balconies, the place was perfect for these kinds of events. When all the windows were wide open, there would be a wonderful breeze during the hot tropical evenings. Since everyone was looking for amusement, the place was packed on weekends. People from all corners of society would arrive nicely dressed, animated and chatting loudly over the sound of clinking glasses. Pernambuco´s Cachaça, considered by many, especially by the locals, to be the best in the country, had started flowing generously and the popular sugar cane-based alcohol lives up to its reputation. We always had a few shots to warm up before performing and by the time the place was packed we were already in a very good mood. Our local cachaça had loosened the bodies and minds of everyone in the room, people started to pair off and twirl around to the sound of forró music, smiling and sliding their feet off the floor — a reflex picked up from dancing in rural villages to avoid kicking up the dust.”
File Under: Brazil
Corrupted: Felicific Algorithm (Cold Spring) LP
Corrupted is a mysterious Japanese doom metal band, formed in 1994. Immensely down-tuned guitar and crushingly slow bass are shrouded under deep layers of feedback. They are rightly hailed as one of the heaviest and darkest doom metal bands of all time. This record isn’t your standard doom fare. The title-less tracks are to be played at either standard vinyl speed. Therefore, and at the band’s request, no samples or download code. The limited 12″ is accompanied by a foldout poster.
File Under: Doom Metal
Dead Meadow: The Nothing They Needed (Xemu) LP
Dead Meadow’s unique marriage of Sabbath riffs, dreamy layers of guitar-fuzz bliss, and singer Jason Simon’s melodic croon have won over psychedelic pop/rock and stoner rock fans alike. With their new album The Nothing They Need the band show that in 2018, they continue to fuse their love of early-’70s hard rock and ’60s psychedelia into their own distinct sound. The album was recorded in Dead Meadows’ studio/rehearsal space, Wiggle Room and it celebrates 20 years of the band with eight songs that feature everyone that has been musically involved with the band over the years. Jason and Steve Kille are joined by original drummer Mark Laughlin, Stephen McCarty (the drummer throughout the Matador years), and current drummer Juan Londono. Cory Shane joins them on guitar for some Feathers era dual guitar interplay.
File Under: Indie Rock, Psych
Dharma Quintet: Mr. Robinson (Souffle Continu) LP
Souffle Continu Records present the first ever reissue of Dharma Quintet’s Mr Robinson, originally released in 1970. In an interview with Jazz Magazine in the early 1970s, Dharma, as a collective voice, outlined their method: “we try to reach, within free jazz, the same sort of rhythmic cohesion as in bop, a cohesion based not exactly on tempo, but something which feels like tempo. A kind of underlying pulse.” Evidence of these ideas can be heard immediately on listening to Mr Robinson, the first album by the Dharma Quintet, for whom community living seemed obvious, in order to add to the aforementioned cohesion. Through this, the group members played together on a daily basis, trying out things which were worked on day in, day out. They also listened to a lot of records, with of course a preference for free jazz, but not forgetting Miles Davis in his electric period, notably for the keyboards of Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea. To which should be added esthetical-political concerns based on a refusal of hierarchy, and a desire to escape from a restrictive academic approach… It was within this framework that Jef Sicard and Gérard Coppéré (saxophones, flute, bass clarinet), Patricio Villarroel (electric and acoustic piano), Michel Gladieux (bass), and Jacques Mahieux (drums) formed the first version of a collective united by structured intentions. The result is a beneficial cohesion, and moments of great beauty born of a collective excitement and giving rise to ambiances which seemed almost possessed. The use of modes could seem to link Mr Robinson to the spiritual jazz of the past but that is without taking into account the fact that the benevolent spirit of Eric Dolphy seems to watch over this album. In France, a similar desire for cohesion could be found in the Cohelmec Ensemble, who had parallel preoccupations, to the point where their bassist, François Méchali, ended up by joining Dharma. As a quintet, with however some personnel changes, Dharma recorded three albums (one as a trio, under the name of Dharma Trio), which are all of fundamental importance (Dharma also accompanied the songs of Jean-Marie Vivier and Colette Magny). Individually, the members would record with musicians passing through (notably Anthony Ortega, Dave Burrell) and participated in other key groups including Machi Oul and Full Moon Ensemble. Licensed from Dharma. Obi strip; Includes 12-page booklet; Edition of 700.
File Under: Free Jazz
Dharma Trio: Snoopy’s Time (Souffle Continu) LP
Souffle Continu Records present the first ever reissue of Dharma Trio’s Snoopy’s Time, originally released in 1970. Dharma as they were simply known, at the time when they were still playing, englobed all the incarnations of the group, trio, quartet (essentially as a live band), and quintet built around the stable core of pianist and bassist Patricio Villarroel and Michel Gladieux. Snoopy’s Time is their second album, concentrated on the rhythm section including the ever-faithful Jacques Mahieux on drums, and recorded three months after Mr Robinson (FFL 038LP), the first album, made as a quintet including Jef Sicard and Gérard Coppéré, both at the time saxophonists with Claude Delcloo’s Full Moon Ensemble. It is the most classic album in their discography, marked by the influence on Patricio Villarroel of the electric explorations of Miles Davis’s pianists from 1968, that is to say Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Jarrett. Indeed, the use of echo, reverb and saturation by Patricio Villarroel is similar to that of his famous counterparts. It would be a year later in France, but with a sound all his own, that Siegfried Kessler would undertake similar experiments playing with Perception, a group similar in spirit to Dharma. Specialists may also evoke Paul Bley, notably on Scorpio (1973) and Sweet Earth Flying (1974), or even Richard Beirach with Dave Liebman on Drum Ode (1975), but these albums came out a few years after the innovative Snoopy’s Time, surprisingly released in 1970. Even amongst all the instrumental funky music of the time, it is rare to find such a communicative energy, magnified all the more by the subtle use of effects and an innate sense of groove. Licensed from Dharma Obi strip; 12-page booklet; Edition of 700.
File Under: Free Jazz
Dharma Quintet: End Starting (Souffle Continu) LP
Souffle Continu Records present the first ever reissue of Dharma Quintet’s End Starting, originally released in 1971. For Gérard Marais, guitarist with Dharma (the quintet), from this third album — in fact he replaced Gérard Coppéré, one of the two saxophonists present on the first album — Albert Ayler’s instruction to play your own music was the detonator. This did not fall on deaf ears, and was particularly appropriate as it would have been difficult, even for a musician attracted to free jazz, to make something of his own from the esthetic and political direction taken by Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, or Sun Ra. What could be summarized as ethnic differences. The quest was to find one’s own music, whatever the more or less apparent roots. For, at the beginning of the 1970s, Gérard Marais and his comrades in the Dharma Quintet were overwhelmed by electric period Miles Davis. Not the band with Pete Cosey, which was still gestating, but the one fascinated by electronic keyboards and the famous Fender Rhodes which added so much to the atmosphere of In A Silent Way (1969). From the beginning of Dharma, but without ever copying anyone, Patricio Villarroel played the role of Chick Corea with Miles Davis. While Gérard Marais, whose fulgurate playing added another dynamic to the group, was at the level of John McLaughlin, or Sonny Sharrock at the same period. Another important soloist, alto saxophonist Jeff Sicard was as inventive as Byard Lancaster, Noah Howard, Gary Bartz, Marion Brown, or Sonny Simmons. Questioned by a critic, years after the group split, Gérard Marais insisted on it being an idea born of the seventies, which seemed the only creative way to enable written music and improvisation to coexist. This was a philosophy that he would continue to develop within Michel Portal’s group, on Splendid Yzlment (1972), but also in a great duo with Joseph Dejean (of Full Moon Ensemble), and yet again in a trio led by drummer Stu Martin, with two guitars the other being Claude Barthélemy. The Dharma Quintet, made their mark, appearing under the letter “D”, between Dedalus and Dies Irae, on the list of major influences created in 1979 by Nurse With Wound. Licensed from Dharma. Obi strip; 12-page booklet; Edition of 700.
File Under: Free Jazz
Dharma: Archipel (Souffle Continu) LP
Souffle Continu Records present the first ever reissue of Dharma’s Archipel, originally released in 1973. “Do your own music!” was Albert Ayler’s advice, received loud and clear in France. Cohelmec Ensemble, Workshop de Lyon, and the Dharma Quintet, three groups close in spirit, which would each illustrate, in their own way, a local principle: to get some distance from American free jazz. As far as Dharma is concerned, the community-based approach was put in place to escape from any academism. This may draw comparisons with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, but they were also influenced by Gong. The events of May ’68 were fresh, and protest was still in the air: no leadership structure was possible, and personnel could change with each recording (on Archipel, a new drummer makes an appearance; however, there is no recorded trace of the group with Jean Querlier and François Méchali). Like its predecessor End Starting (FFL 040LP), Archipel is a constructed album, mixing free rock and European free jazz in a series of collective explosions based on abrupt and contrasting improvisations. For much of the time, piano, guitar, and saxophone intertwine over intense rhythms, with everything and anything being electrified. Retrospectively, such remarkable timbral combinations, evoking sometimes the freer passages of Cinemascope by Joachim Kühn with Toto Blanke (1974), make the demise of Dharma in 1974, even more regrettable. Their modernity has nothing to envy of the later advances of Paul Bley with guitar (Pat Metheny, John Scofield), or of OM on 1977’s Rautionaha, Patricio Villarroel’s electric piano adding a nonetheless surprisingly singular touch to Dharma. This is without mentioning a kind of incisive violence when things sped up, which was unique to the Dharma Quintet, or a sound as dense as that of On The Corner by Miles Davis (1972), or Stark Reality, John Abercrombie’s group from around the same period. Who else could seem approximately close to the Dharma Quintet at the same time… Emergency, a quintet which had played and recorded in France. Masabumi Kikuchi in Japan also deserves a mention. Along with the Cohelmec Ensemble, the Workshop de Lyon, the Full Moon Ensemble, Perception, Armonicord, or the Michel Portal Unit, the Dharma Quintet stand out as one of the most important examples of free jazz as it was played in France at the beginning of the 1970s. Licensed from Dharma. Obi strip; 12-page booklet; Edition of 700.
File Under: Free Jazz
Kevin Drumm: Inexplicable Hours (Sonoris) LP
Six-panel, double gatefold sleeve; Includes CD. Inexplicable Hours is the sequel of the successful six-CD boxset Elapsed Time, also released by Sonoris in 2017. The material on the first LP of Inexplicable Hours documents a new direction in his music, with some of his last electroacoustic experimentations with audio generators, field recordings, and various electronic devices. The material on the second LP explores the same ambient/drone territories as the boxset, but there is less static and it is more complex than it appears on the first listen. And as always with recent Kevin Drumm’s music there’s a sense of majesty, of mystery and a melancholic beauty that is uniquely his own. Some words about the boxset are also appropriate for this record: “Despite Drumm’s noisy reputation, his music can be overwhelmingly sensual even at its loudest, providing a form of minimalism replete with a delicate, melancholic motion. How wildly divergent emotions rise, hover, and fall using so little is a mystery that only Kevin Drumm can provide.” Mastering by Giuseppe Ielasi. CD version comes in cardboard cover.
File Under: Ambient
Essaie Pas: New Path (DFA) LP
On New Path, their second album for DFA, Montreal electronic duo Essaie Pas (Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau) take inspiration from Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, a dystopian science fiction classic. The album sounds like the book reads – a voyeuristic, druggy, and paranoid narrative of existence in the surveillance state. New Path touches on addiction, loss, and the lingering strength of identity within late capitalism’s mass media paranoia. It pins down the central character’s destructive tendencies, using this as a metaphor to explore the dichotomous rupture between our inner lives and our social environment, one that is often fed and soothed by various kinds of dependencies. Essaie Pas possess a wiry, experimental take on the more leftfield end of techno music, in the way of pioneers Chris & Cosey and Cabaret Voltaire, as well as newer acts like Fever Ray, Factory Floor, and Helena Hauff. The album trades in hypnotic pads of strings, punctuated by dramatic stabs and sensual rhythmic patterns, with Marie’s tripped-out, pseudo-scientific verbiage further adding to the ambience. The world the duo have created here offers a tangled vision of tomorrow’s aesthetics, a soundtrack stacked with cold music for cold times.
File Under: Electronic
Frankie Cosmos: Vessel (Sub Pop) LP
Frankie Cosmos has taken several different shapes since their first full-band album, 2014’s Zentropy, erupted in New York’s DIY music scene. For Vessel the band’s lineup comprises multi-instrumentalists David Maine, Lauren Martin, Luke Pyenson, and Greta Kline. The album’s 18 tracks employ a range of instrumentations and recording methods not found on the band’s prior albums, while maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Kline’s songwriting. The album’s opening track, “Caramelize,” serves as the thematic overture for Vessel, alluding to topics like dependency, growth, and love, which reemerge throughout the record. Although many of the scenarios and personalities written about on Vessel are familiar territory for Frankie Cosmos, Kline brings a freshly nuanced point of view, and a desire to constantly question the latent meaning of her experiences. Kline’s dissonant lyrics pair with the band’s driving, jangly grooves to create striking moments of musical chemistry. Vessel’s 34-minute run time is exactly double the length of Frankie Cosmos’ breakout record, Zentropy, and it is an enormous leap forward. Vessel’s unique sensibility, esoteric narratives, and reveling energy place it comfortably in Kline’s ongoing musical auto-biography. Vessel was recorded in Binghamton, New York with Hunter Davidsohn, the producer and engineer who helped craft Zentropy and Next Thing, and at Gravesend Recordings in Brooklyn with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader. It features contributions from Alex Bailey (formerly of Warehouse, and now part of the live configuration of Frankie Cosmos), Vishal Narang (of Airhead DC), and singer/songwriter Anna McClellan, all of whom have played on bills with Frankie Cosmos and collaborated on-stage with the band. The final mixes were done by Davidsohn, and the album was mastered by Josh Bonati.
File Under: Indie Rock
Bruce Gilbert: Ex Nihilo (Editions Mego) LP
Editions Mego’s 250th release continues its ongoing legacy of cross-pollinating and perverting various threads of radical 20th century music whilst concocting and propelling further ideas into the nebulous region where we all currently reside. With Ex Nihilo, Editions Mego resumes its enduring relationship with long-term collaborator and stalwart representative of the label’s aesthetic with a new release from London’s most charming deviant occupant, Bruce Gilbert (formerly of Wire, Dome, etc.) Gilbert’s peculiar approach to sound over four decades has seen him engage with a wide variety of practice and performance always hovering amongst the grey area between his mind and the surrounding architecture. Ex Nihilo is another significant entry into Gilbert’s outer sound-book. Inhabiting a murky zone between interference and trauma, Ex Nihilo is a daring and dark audio ride through a contemporary ketamine haze, one which haunts identifiable parameters whilst remaining too oblique to be truly quantified. “Change And Not” teases discomfort, “Black Mirrors” embraces disorder, “Nomad” skirts the unsettling. Whilst never quite resolving its own logic, Ex Nihilo invites the casual listener to privy a devastating peculiar and somewhat paranoid fantasy (reality?). Another effortless Gilbert classic. Design: David Coppenhall; front image/concept: Bruce Gilbert. Mastered by Russell Haswell. Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates and Mastering, Berlin.
File Under: Experimental, Wire
Beverly Glenn-Copeland: s/t (Super-Sonic Jazz) LP
Super-Sonic Jazz present a reissue of Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s self-titled debut album, originally released on the Canadian GRT imprint in 1970. The debut release by Afro-Canadian singer, songwriter, and cult figure within new age experimental sounds, has been long been sought after. The soulful jazz release, was original recorded in 1970 alongside musicians Dough Bush, Don Thompson, Terry Clark, Lenny Breau, Jeremy Steig, and Ray Charles collaborator Doug Riley, aka Dr. Music. Written when she was 26, the album is a testament to Copeland’s stand-out songwriting and earnest, beautiful vocal talents, fitting into the realms of spiritual folk. Born into a musical family in Ottawa, Canada, Beverly Glenn-Copeland studied the classical piano repertoire, after being brought up listening to his father’s playing at home. Following his studies, Copeland moved on to songwriting, in order to weave all the different musical cultures he had come to love. He is best known for the 1986 release Keyboard Fantasies, reissued in 2017 by Invisible City, a record described as a mixture of “digital new age and early experimental Detroit techno”. Now going by his name Glenn Copeland after gender transitioning, the singer songwriter also made a name for himself writing children’s music for TV shows Sesame Street and Mr. Dressup. Referring back to his debut record, Copeland states: “I was a fresh-faced kid of twenty-six when I wrote these songs, only a few years out of the classical music world in which I had been immersed since childhood, performing the European classical song repertoire in concerts both live and for radio broadcast. So I sold my oboe, bought a guitar, and began tuning it in wild and wonderful ways to more easily find the chords I had no idea how to find in the regular tuning. I didn’t want to study anymore. I just wanted to write.” Comes in a heavyweight tip-on sleeve.
File Under: Folk, Jazz
Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton: Music and Poetry of the Kesh
(Freedom to Spend) LP
Music and Poetry of the Kesh is the documentation of an invented Pacific Coast peoples from a far distant time, and the soundtrack of famed science fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Always Coming Home. In the novel, the story of Stone Telling, a young woman of the Kesh, is woven within a larger anthropological folklore and fantasy. The ways of the Kesh were originally presented in 1985 as a five hundred plus page book accompanied with illustrations of instruments and tools, maps, a glossary of terms, recipes, poems, an alphabet (Le Guin’s conlang, so she could write non-English lyrics), and with early editions, a cassette of “field recordings” and indigenous song. Le Guin wanted to hear the people she’d imagined; she embarked on an elaborate process with her friend Todd Barton to invoke their spirit and tradition. For Music and Poetry of the Kesh, the words and lyrics are attributed to Le Guin as composed by Barton, an Oregon-based musician, composer and Buchla synthesist (the two worked together previously on public radio projects). But the cassette notes credit the sounds and voices to the world of the Kesh, making origins ambiguous. For instance, “The River Song” description reads, “The prominent rhythm instrument is the doubure binga, a set of nine brass bowls struck with cloth-covered wooden mallets, here played by Ready.” According to writer and long-time friend of LeGuin, Moe Bowstern (who pens the liners for the Freedom To Spend edition of Kesh), Barton built and then taught himself to play several instruments of Le Guin’s design, among them “the seven-foot horn known to the Kesh as the Houmbúta and the Wéosai Medoud Teyahi bone flute.” Barton’s crafting of original instruments lends an other-worldly texture to the recordings of the Kesh, not unlike fellow builders Bobby Brown and Lonnie Holley. Bowstern notes, “Other musician / makers have crafted their own Kesh instruments after encountering the earlier cassette recordings that accompanied some editions of the book.” Both Barton and Le Guin are sensitive to the sovereignty of indigenous Californians and were careful not to trample the traditions of the Tolowa people who lived in the valley long before the Kesh. “You research deeply, and then you bring your own voice to the table,” said Barton. Within the Kesh culture, the numbers four and five shape the lives, society and rituals. Barton composed loosely around these numbers, patiently listening to the land of Napa Valley for signs and audio signals from the natural elements. Todd incorporated ambient sounds of the creek by Le Guin’s house and a campfire they built together. The songs of Kesh are joyful, soothing and meditative, while the instrumental works drift far past the imaginary lands. “Heron Dance” is an uplifting first track, featuring a Wéosai Medoud Teyahi (made from a deer or lamb thigh bone with a cattail reed) and the great Houmbúta (used for theatre and ceremony). “A Music of the Eighth House” sends gossamer waves of the faintest sounds to “float on the wind.” Like the languages invented in the vocal work of Anna Homler, Meredith Monk, and Elizabeth Fraser, the Kesh songs and poems play with the shape of voice. The Music and Poetry of the Kesh cassette was meant to accompany and enhance the experience of reading Always Coming Home. Presented in this edition as a long-playing album, where only traces of the book linger (the jacket offers some of Le Guin’s illustration, and a letterpressed bookmark featuring the the narrative modes of western civilization and the Kesh valley is included), the music alone breaking the silence of what might be. It can transport—offering a landscape for imagining a future homecoming. One in which we are balanced, peaceful, and tend to the earth and its creatures. A line from “Sun Dance Poem” reminds us, “We are nothing much without one another.” Freedom To Spend gives new life to the recordings of the Kesh people in the first ever vinyl edition of Music and Poetry of the Kesh also availably on digital formats on March 23, 2018. The LP will include a spot printed jacket with Ursula’s illustrations from Always Coming Home, a facsimile of the original lyric sheet, liner notes by Moe Bowstern, a multi-format digital download code and a bookmark letter pressed by Stumptown Printers in Portland, OR.
File Under: Experimental, Spoken Word
Fumio Itabashi: Nature (Mule Musiq) LP
Mule Musiq present the first vinyl reissue of Fumio Itabashi’s Nature, originally released in 1979. The legendary Japanese jazz pianist’s first solo record ever, Nature was recorded at Nippon Columbia’s first studio in Tokyo from March 13-15 in the year of its release. It features Itabashi making feverish love with the piano and he shares the studio with the great bass players Hideaki Mochizuki and Koichi Yamazaki, drummers Kenichi Kameyama and Ryojiro Furusawa, soprano saxophonist Yoshio Otomo, and vibraphone wizard Hiroshi Hatsuyama. They all joined him to perform his very own songs, composed by Itabashi himself and produced by Ryonosuke Honmura, who also produced Japanese jazz heroes, like saxophonist Keizo Inoue, during his career. Nature is fresh, propulsive, twitchy, and melodious from the first to the last tone. Sometimes the instrumentalists play a classic solo in an overall deep modal jazz atmosphere that seems to be made for cats that love the good old stars and inventors — from John Coltrane to Miles Davis, from Thelonious Monk to Art Blakey. Nature also shows how deep Itabashi studied the history of the genre, while keeping his very own vision of jazz alive. The man that made his professional debut as a member of the Sadao Watanabe Quintet in 1971 and who was also a member of the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine world tour from 1985-1987, plays the piano in all tempos, from a nervous high-flying quickness to a deep blues-style slow. Besides the traditional jazz flavors, you get a feeling of mind-expanding spiritual jazz, that grand masters like Pharaoh Sanders or Gary Bartz, turned into a sacred music genre. A master-class record in ravishing big city jazz music, adventurous, sometimes meditative, sometimes faster than the speed of light, always grooving with a bright, pure-toned sensibility and deeply soulful melodic imaginations. It extends the jazz history with a fine balance between tradition and innovation. And it stays infectious all the time while sounding surprisingly fresh due to a lot of thrilling musical spontaneity that touches profoundly even though all notes have been written down by Itabashi before he and his combatants entered the studio. And maybe that’s the mystery of these timeless five at times epic recordings: all notes written on paper, but each musician had the freedom to dance with them in his very own unique way.
File Under: Jazz
Jackie-O Motherfucker: Flags of the Sacred Harp (Textile) LP
Released in 2005 this fifth full-length album from the Portland based collective displayed the group’s patient and evolved songwriting style with historic references to American blues and hymns. This double-LP contains songs that are all manifestations, mutations, and reinterpretations of old blues and gospel, specifically from an old hymnal called “The Sacred Harp”. It is definitely the most accessible and sublime release from Jackie-O Motherfucker.
File Under: Experimental
JBs: Hustle With Speed (Get on Down) LP
“Get On Down proudly presents another top-notch vinyl reissue, from their long-running series of collaborations with James Brown’s famed 70s funk label People Records. As the 1970s wore on, the classic funk sounds that had defined James Brown’s backing band, The J.B.’s, gave way to the rise of disco music. Fred Wesley and his collective of musicians couldn’t resist the chance to make their mark, releasing Hustle With Speed in 1975, with Charles Bobbit and Don Love producing, and the godfather himself, James Brown co-writing and providing arrangements. Hustle With Speed didn’t cross over like the band had hoped it would, but it was nonetheless remarkable album, featuring The J.B.’s signature funky style married with disco to exciting effect. All the while there’s still plenty to be had for the funk die-hard, from the brass blow-out jam ‘Here We Come, Here We Go, Here We Are’, to the trombone-heavy ‘All Aboard The Funky Soul Train’, to the powerhouse opening salvo that is ‘(It’s Not The Express) It’s The JBs Monaurail’. Songs from Hustle With Speed would take on lives of their own decades after the album’s release, through sampled appearances in tracks by Jay-Z, Nas, Eric B. & Rakim, Ultramagnetic MCs, EPMD, and many more.”
File Under: Funk
Ragnar Johnson & Jessica Mayer: Music From Yemen Arabia
(Sub Rosa) LP
Sub Rosa present Music From Yemen Arabia: Sanaani, Laheji, Adeni And Samar a reissue of both Music From Yemen Arabia: Samar and Music From Yemen Arabia: Sanaani, Laheji, Adeni, recorded by Ragnar Johnson and Jessica Mayer. These songs originate from the city of Sanaa, the sheikdom of Lahej and the port of Aden. These songs originate from the city of Sanaa, the sheikdom of Lahej and the port of Aden. Samar is the delicious, luxury time when people gather for relaxation, refreshment, and music. This record contains oudh playing, percussion, and singing from Yemen. The three Kawkabani brothers sing traditional poems and play oudh (lute), double drums, tambourine, and, occasionally, the kanoun (zither). They were recorded in Sanaa in 1973. The oudh player Hassan al Zabeede and his double drum playing brother sing songs in the Lahej style and were recorded in Taez in 1973. File under: Le Coeur du Monde. Features the Kawkabani Brothers (Mohamed Al, Abdel Wahab Al, and Saad Al), Hassan Al Zabeede (also credited as Hassan Al Zbeede and Hassan Zubeede), and Saad Al Kawkabani.
File Under: Arabia, World, Folk
Kink Gong: Dian Long (Discrepant) LP
Another unique document of Kink Gong’s, aka Laurent Jeanneau, collection of surreal soundscapes of augmented field recordings, this time turning into his love/hate relationship with China into a mesmerizing soundscape of unclassifiable music. Jeanneau on Dian Long: “Before becoming Kink Gong I had different names, one of my projects, designed by cultural circumstances in China at the beginning of the 21st century, was Dian Long (‘electric dragon’ in Chinese). I landed in Shanghai in 2000 in order to make music and recordings of whatever. Faced with the cruel tendency of modern China to reject tradition and embrace full on bling-bling culture, my option was to attack this music industry commercial flavor by destroying it. I had in my bag a faithful portable CD player who knew how to turn syrup into crystal. Later, reaching Yunnan in 2001, I discovered the reality away from the bling-bling of eastern towns and did a realistic soundscape of it.”
File Under: Electronic, World, Collage
The Klitz: Rocking The Memphis Underground (Mono-Tone) LP
All girl band from Memphis who happened to be Alex Chilton’s protégés; primal, loose rock n’ roll à la Chilton/Jim Dickinson/Tav Falco in a wild and primitive no wave/DIY punk style. Whether you like Charlie Feathers or Kleenex, The Cramps or Lydia Lunch, you will adore The Klitz, the unadulterated sound of the Memphis underground. One side studio, one side live, both sides frantic, chaotic, and electrifying!
File Under: Punk
Eblen Macari: Musica Para Planetarios (Séance Centre) LP
Mexican guitarist and ambient artist Eblen Macari’s masterpiece Música Para Planetarios (Music for Planetariums) was originally composed for weekly performances in the Luis Enrique Erro Planetarium in Mexico City. The album, released in 1987 was based around Macari’s solo performances using Ensonic ESQ-1, a Korg Poly 800, two guitars and pre-hispanic Ocarinas. The arrangements on the album are expanded to include a full stable of pre-hispanic percussion and beautiful baroque harpsichord played by Macari’s wife. Remastered from the original master tapes.
File Under: New Age, Ambient, Guitar, Mexico
Merzbow: Noisembryo (Hospital) LP
Hospital Productions present a vinyl reissue of Merzbow’s Noisembryo, originally released on CD by The Releasing Eskimo in 1994. Noisembryo is a holy grail, not only of Merzbow’s obsessive discography, but of the entire ’90s noise movement. You’ve heard the stories surrounding the infamy of this release, but beyond that stands the depth and wild energy that Noisembryo encapsulates over two decades later. High-speed loops, roving automotive bass, and cacophonic drum machines gel together with the surprising inclusion of a sound rarely heard within Merzbow’s many years… Masami Akita’s own voice. Akita’s surrealism of the past stands prominently relevant to this day. Includes the bonus track “Travelling” from the equally as infamous Noise Forest compilation (1992), appearing here for the first time on vinyl. Edited and remastered for vinyl by Masami Akita. Includes insert featuring unseen classic paintings and collages of Masami from the original Noisembryo sessions. Deluxe foil-stamp gatefold sleeve.
File Under: Noise
The Messthetics: s/t (Dischord) LP
“The Messthetics are an instrumental trio featuring Brendan Canty (drums), Joe Lally (bass), and Anthony Pirog (guitar). Brendan Canty and Joe Lally were the rhythm section of the band Fugazi from its inception in 1987 to its period of hiatus in 2002. This is the first band they’ve had together since then. Anthony Pirog is a jazz and experimental guitarist based in Washington, D.C. One half of the duo Janel & Anthony, he has emerged as a primary figure in the city’s out-music community. The trio’s debut includes nine songs recorded at Canty’s practice space throughout 2017, live and mostly without overdubs. It’s a snapshot of a band dedicated to the live ideal, where structure begets improvisation.”
File Under: Punk, Fugazi
Moaning: s/t (Sub Pop) LP
Moaning is a band defined by its duality. The abrasive post-punk trio comprised of LA DIY veterans, Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie, began nearly a decade after the three started playing music together. Their impassioned debut album comes born out of the member’s experiences with love and distress, creating a sound uniquely dark and sincere. Although the band is just breaking out of their infancy, Moaning’s sleek and cavernous tone emphasizes the turmoil of the era they were born into. One where the endless possibility for art and creation is met with the fear and doubt of an uncertain future. Moaning’s conception came when Solomon sent Stevenson and MacKelvie the first demo for “Don’t Go,” setting the tone for the impulsive songwriting that would follow. The three fleshed out Solomon’s primitive recordings, adding in MacKelvie’s heavy syncopated drumming, and Stevenson’s melodic driving bass and synth parts, capturing each member’s personality in their sparse and fuzzed out tracks. Like many of their previous collaborative projects, Moaning forces pain up against pleasure, using the complexity of personal heart break to inform the band’s conflicted sound. The band’s homemade video for an early, home-recorded version of “The Same” caught the attention of Alex Newport, a seasoned engineer and producer who had previously worked with At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, and the Melvins. With Newport, Moaning began working on the tracks that would make up their self-titled release, employing a lush, open ended production quality that had never been at the band’s disposal. Tracks like “Artificial” stand out among the recordings, where Moaning used the studio’s recourses to take their frantic live arrangement and give it the intensity merited by Solomon’s lyrics. As a whole, Moaning drifts from sentimental to catastrophic, hiding meek and introspective lyrics within powerful droning dance songs, giving sonic nods to some of the band’s musical heroes like, New Order, Broadcast, and Slowdive. The band’s youthful attitude is met with the weight of topics like loss, routine, and mental health, reflecting the anxiety towards the status quo that much of their generation faces today.
File Under: Punk
Modern Institute: Another Exhibition at the Modern Institute (Diagonal) LP
Diagonal pull out a zinging art-techno curveball with Another Exhibition at the Modern Institute, the second EP by Glasgow’s hottest new prospect, The Modern Institute; an iconoclastic trio of agitators comprising Golden Teacher’s Richard McMaster and Laurie Pitt joined some droll, scaly Northern English vocalist, James Stephen Wright, for one of the freshest and vital blends of post-punk, art-school, and techno sensibilities to emerge in recent memory. Aimed as a snark at the middle-class art gaze as much as a slippery engine for the dancefloor, Another Exhibition at the Modern Institute reels six mercurial fusions of scudding, techy rhythms, and sheer electronic contours strewn with drily observant vocals describing hyper-sensual scenarios. It’s a sound perhaps purposefully located lightyears away from Golden Teacher’s charming retro-vintage styles, and effectively gives that group’s rhythmic engine of McMaster and Pitt a space to express their more contemporary concerns. Forming the second blow of a Glasgow-centered 1-2 after Russell Haswell and Sue Tompkins’s Respondent EP, The Modern Institute swarm in formation from a white-hot electro-stepper “IV Cheeks” to somewhere darker, almost paranoid by the close of “Dozen Cocktails”, taking in a sound like Errorsmith producing for MES in “Limitless Light”, or Hecker doing footwork on the new beta anthem “Quicksilver Lips”, whilst “Unbreakable Pulse” and the pinging ballistics of “Molton Gold” short circuit the deep-rooted transatlantic connection between Glasgow art punks’ afterparties and Detroit ghetto styles with a deadly swagger. RIYL: Chris Carter, DJ Stingray, Toresch, Dale Cornish, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, John Bender, Smersh, LCD Soundsystem. Artwork by Guy Featherstone. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton. Includes locked grooves. Red vinyl; Edition of 500.
File Under: Electronic
Brett Naucke: The Mansion (Spectrum Spools) LP
Brett Naucke returns to Spectrum Spools with his sophomore LP for Spectrum Spools following the Seed LP as well as a string of exceptional cassette releases on Umor Rex and Hausu Mountain. The Mansion finds Naucke at the peak of his powers with a fresh array of meticulously composed psychotropic tapestries. Themes based on a childhood home, now a distant memory, reveal a mysterious narrative in mind-bending sonic detail. These complex ideas fuse conflicting states of tension and beauty with an organic acumen, each track a piece of the greater whole. The Mansion is a fine mixture of contemporary concrète structure interlaced with tightly crafted melodic arrangement and hi-fidelity electronic exploration. In addition to his stalwart synthesis, Naucke employs additional personnel featuring vocal duties from Natalie Chami (of Goodwill Smith and TALsounds) and viola sounds from Whitney Johnson (of Matchess). Field recording, piano, and other various instrumentations are also carefully implemented adding a new, deeper dimension to the Naucke oeuvre. With his most realized set of compositions yet, The Mansion finds Naucke at the paragon of his conceptual and sonic ethos with a work that’s at once deeply meaningful and profound in its auditory breadth. The Mansion was written and recorded in Chicago, IL between January 2015-February 2017. Mastered at Dubplates & Mastering Berlin by CGB, July 2017.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Orquesta Akokan: s/t (Daptone) LP
Akokán is a Yoruba word used in Cuba meaning “from the heart,” and indeed, every song on the self-titled debut album by Orquesta Akokán feels like a heartfelt gift from the band to the listener. Assembled and led by Cuban vocalist José “Pepito” Gómez, Orquesta Akokán is a big band collective of the finest musicians on the island, both young and old. It features all-original music and was cut live to tape over a three-day session at Havana’s hallowed state-run Estudios Areito, one of the longest operating studios in the world where many important Cuban records have been made. The album was produced by Jacob Plasse and arranged by Mike Eckroth. Orquesta Akokán flexes its blazing hot mambo from the first downbeat, with lead-off track “Mambo Rapidito”: a breakneck pace, deft big band orchestrations that dart and weave, rich cascades of piano, all led by Pepito’s soaring, joyful proclamations.
File Under: Cuban
Potter Natalizia Zen: Shut Your Eyes on the Way Out (Ecstatic) LP
After stranding listeners in deep space with Schleißen 4 in 2015, Colin Potter, Alessio Natalizia, and Guido Zen regroup along the percussive vectors of Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out for the Ecstatic label. Three years in the making, taking cues from German synth rock, cosmic disco, abstract EBM, and obscure library sounds, the trio head for seductive new horizons of pulsing rhythms and floating ambient dub tones. The six hands control the mission with masterful skill and sleight of hand, prompting routes for the user rather than signposting the way with cliché. Of course, it’s hard to escape some sense of homage or reverence for the original forms, but they do so with such sensitivity to the material and “the journey” that the results simply transcends that heritage, to arrive somewhere, timelessly, out there. In a starfield littered with long-abandoned shuttles and criss-crossed by previously attempted missions, they chart a steady course, slowly melting from cryogenic stasis to map out free-floating space in “Articulated”, then holding their course despite the gravitational pull from massive objects in “Rhythm Did Not Change”, and under pressure of slow disco G-forces in the pulsing beauty of “Linda”, leading to the interception of panicked bleeps in “Chaosmosis”. Over on the B side “When Time Stops Moving” the mission becomes very Tarkovsky-esque and surreal, with Zen’s lysergic drones really coming into their own, before the upside-down tonal sculpting of “Unsystematic Waves” re-aligns the user’s brain functions in preparation for the stunning dynamic proprioception of “Che Osmosi”, where the route ahead becomes scrambled in a delirious tangle of nagging arpeggio melodies and pill-belly pulses, emulating pretty much how you’d feel, lost but happy to be zillions of light years from terra firma. RIYL: Eduard Artemiev, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, John Carpenter. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Experimental
Prurient/Hanged Man’s Orgasm: Unknowns (Hospital) LP
Originally released as a bonus cassette to Prurient’s Rainbow Mirror, Unknowns appears here on vinyl as two side-long collaborative tracks from Dominick Fernow, joined by longtime producer Kris Lapke (Alberich), with Patrick O’Neal (Skin Crime). Hanged Mans Orgasm was the earliest project from O’Neal starting in the late ’80s and early ’90s that could be a rural American counterpart to England’s Nurse With Wound middle period. Consisting of unrecognizable, discomforting electric acoustic noises mixed with radiation noise, Prurient fills the void with sub-bass electronics and a caustic reading of the Rainbow Mirror short story written in collaboration with Scott Bryan Wilson. A vocal counterpart to the otherwise instrumental Rainbow Mirror album. The B side is a reworking of field recordings and woodland screams recording in Rhode Island and reworked in New York City around the time O’Neal and Fernow first met. Housed in a deluxe sleeve with manual artwork by visual artist Adam Marnie, whose works have been featured previously on Prurient’s epic Frozen Niagara Falls (2015). Foil-stamped cover; Edition of 500.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Hiroshi Sato: Orient (Wewantsound) LP
Wewantsounds present a reissue and the first international release of Hiroshi Sato’s ultra-rare synth masterpiece, Orient, originally released in 1979 on Kitty Records in Japan only. This highly sought-after album is a superb breezy mix of Japanese synth-pop with a subtle touch of mid-70s Herbie Hancock-style funk and AOR. Originally released in 1979, at a fruitful time when Hiroshi Sato, Haruomi Hosono, and Shigeru Suzuki were fresh from playing in the group Tin Pan Alley and Haruomi Hosono had just formed Yellow Magic Orchestra, Orient is a unique balance of various styles. It has become one of the most sought-after Japanese LPs on the global Balearic scene and is now exchanging hands for astronomical prices. The album includes such cult tracks as “Son Go Kuw” and “Do-Jo” popular on the international DJ scene. It features the best Japanese musicians at the time, including Shigeru Suzuki on guitar, Haruomi Hosono on bass, Pecker on percussion, and Sato himself on keyboards and synthesizers. The album also features on Gilles Peterson’s “Significant Album” List. Fully remastered from the original Kitty Records tapes by Universal Japan. Includes original four-page color insert, including English translations of the original liner notes by leading Japanese journalist Yasufumi Amatatsu, plus the full track-by-track musician line up. “Breezy Balearic synth pop with a Nippon twist” –The Vinyl Factory.-pop with a subtle touch of mid-70s Herbie Hancock-style funk and AOR. Originally released in 1979, at a fruitful time when Hiroshi Sato, Haruomi Hosono, and Shigeru Suzuki were fresh from playing in the group Tin Pan Alley and Haruomi Hosono had just formed Yellow Magic Orchestra, Orient is a unique balance of various styles. It has become one of the most sought-after Japanese LPs on the global Balearic scene and is now exchanging hands for astronomical prices. The album includes such cult tracks as “Son Go Kuw” and “Do-Jo” popular on the international DJ scene. It features the best Japanese musicians at the time, including Shigeru Suzuki on guitar, Haruomi Hosono on bass, Pecker on percussion, and Sato himself on keyboards and synthesizers. The album also features on Gilles Peterson’s “Significant Album” List. Fully remastered from the original Kitty Records tapes by Universal Japan. Includes original four-page color insert, including English translations of the original liner notes by leading Japanese journalist Yasufumi Amatatsu, plus the full track-by-track musician line up. “Breezy Balearic synth pop with a Nippon twist” –The Vinyl Factory.
File Under: Electronic, Funk
Space Afrika: Somewhere Decent to Live (Sferic) LP
Ambient duo Space Afrika offer a bird’s-eye view of the city center at night with Somewhere Decent To Live; their keenly anticipated first album on Sferic — the Manchester-based label they run in conjunction with Will Boyd. Taking gaseous form as a series of dark blue hues and electromagnetic sub-bass impulses, the vibe inside is delectably elusive. Unlike their previous transmissions on Where To Now? and Köln’s LL.M., the pair’s dancefloor urges are dissolved in favor of suggestively mutable ambient frameworks this time, leaving the kicks in the club whilst they appear to float overhead like the dead kid embarking his Bardo in Gaspar Noé’s Enter The Void (2010). Unshackled from dancefloor needs, but still inspired and feeding off its spirit and romance, the pair respectfully acknowledge the undercurrents of jungle, dubstep, ambient techno, and deep house which feed into their home city’s late-night economy, dowsing their tributaries back to dub and rendering the findings in a quiet, modestly lush ambient haze with a flawlessly anesthetizing effect. In firm but gentle style they feel out eight interlinked headspaces, drifting like spectral flaneurs from the Diversions-like opener “uwëm/creation” to intercept telepathic thoughts from Teutonic friends in the percolated subs and drizzly ambient clag of “sd/tl”, before arriving at the most arresting moment in their catalog thus far with the masterfully widescreen yet immersive “bly” and its sublimely smeared timbral thizz. The second half of the record subsequently describes a more inward journey from wistful loops in “u+00B1” to the sylvan two-step of “gwabh” and “curve”, featuring Echium, ultimately culminating in the echo chamber melt of “dred”. RIYL: Jan Jelinek, Huerco S, Detroit Escalator Company, The Connection Machine. Master and lacquer cut by Pole at Scape Mastering.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Neil Young: Paradox (Reprise) LP
A free-spirited tale of music and love, Neil Young and his band of outlaws sow seeds of strange mischief and musical wonder under Western skies in the dreamlike 2018 Netflix film Paradox by Daryl Hannah in her directorial debut. Paradox (Original Music from The Film) features music from Neil Young + Promise Of The Real, Young with an Orchestra recorded on the MGM Soundstage, Young backed by drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Paul Bushnell, and several solo electric guitar passages. Willie Nelson contributes narration on the album opener “Many Moons Ago in the Future.” All of the music was recorded spontaneously with no overdubs and provides the soundtrack to Paradox, the film. The 22-track 2LP collection features brand new music composed especially for the film plus covers of Willie Nelson, Lead Belly and The Turtles.
File Under: Rock
Christian Zanesi: Grand Bruit/Stop! l’Horizon (Recollection GRM) LP
Christian Zanési on Grand Bruit (1991): “The great mobile sound bodies have an ordinary yet amazing ability to place the listener-traveler within, as if he or she was inside a giant double bass, in this case a train stroked by a double bow: the rails and the air. In 1991, I explored this phenomenon during my daily commute from the studio to my home. I used only a 21 minutes recording and treated it as a single sound object. I then processed and enhanced it as a photographer would have done, immersing it in successive ‘baths’. The title I chose for this singular form was Grand Bruit.” Christian Zanési on Stop ! l’horizon (1983): “Saturday morning, nine o’clock as I reach the studio. No one here. I only turn on the spotlights as the fluorescent tubes are too noisy. I switch the power on, shut the door, unplug the telephone. I then switch the mixing desk on, which sends an electronic impulse into the amps. The four speakers react individually with a very brief and low hiss. A kind of presence. I haven’t listened to anything since the evening before and my ear is refreshed by a night’s sleep. I feed the original mix into the master recorder and sit down in the center. Remote control: PLAY With the first sound I close my eyes. The studio instantly vanishes. Another place, a much larger space opens up. I enter it. I have the very distinct feeling that music is merely a ‘great noise’, chiseled inside with a thousand details. It opens up like a living organism to let my hearing wander across it. A magnetic relation quickly occurs and all the sounds that constitute this great noise draw me towards the East. I accept this direction. Later, much later, I reach a distant point on the horizon which pulls me towards it.”
File Under: Early Electronic
Various: Dusty Ballroom Vol 1 (Stag-o-Lee) LP
Aloha dear Aficionado — welcome to Dusty Ballroom! It was in late 2008 in the heart of Berlin when the three passionate record lovers and partners in crime — Der Staubfinger, Elmo Lewis, and Ilo Pan — decided to launch a new series of vinyl-only club shindigs. Their aim was to break with the usual one-style-all-night-long-fixation that was served at most other vintage dances around at the time. Their ears were spread and minds wide-open for a vast variety of what they call the roots of their musical culture. Together they went on an ongoing trip — traveling back in time, digging deeper on the most dusty and faraway vinylistic shores, exploring heaps of lost treasures, black pearls, and entertaining flotsam — always looking for the perfect beat to hop with. Ever since blending styles ranging from 1920s Charleston, ’30s swing and jazz though ’40s jump blues, ’50s rockabilly, mambo, cha cha, Cumbia, or calypso to ’60s surf, big beat, ska, rocksteady, soul, mod, garage, psychedelia, early ’70s funk, Afrobeat, boogaloo, Bollywood, and the whole world of mystic exotica they were eager to please a growing crowd of crazy cats, joyful jivers, and dirty dancers. Magic moves, consenting smiles, and some strange liqueur was what they got in return. Almost ten years have passed now and they still can’t stop celebrating that steamy vinyl bounce once a month at the hottest venues in town — often supported by the most far-out vintage live bands of our time… Enjoy this wild aural selection of many different styles that should work perfectly for both — your booty shaking needs as well as your listening pleasures! 17 tracks recorded between 1966-1962. Features Enid Mosier & Her Trinidad Steel Band, The Olympics, Bill Black’s Combo, Dorothy Collins, Jonah Jones, Gene & Eunice, Sil Austin, The Isley Brothers, The Shirelles, The Duals, Fatso & Flaire, Ruth Brown, Robert Parker, The Soupy Sales Show, Irene Lopez with Rio Gregory & His Band, Jamaica Johnny And His Milagro Boys, and Barbara George.
File Under: Party Times, Exotica
Various: Spiritual Jazz 8: Japan Part One (Jazzman) LP
Part one of two double LP versions. Textured, gatefold sleeve; Obi strip. Jazzman Record’s latest examination of esoteric, modal, and progressive jazz of the 20th century has taken them to Japan. The liberating force of jazz has been created and felt all around the world, but few nations on earth embraced the jazz message with the passion and intensity of Japan. From the dawn of the jazz age to the present day, Japanese audiences have been renowned tastemakers, enthusiasts, and champions of the music — in the 1980s, Japan was the biggest per capita market in the world for jazz records, and it has even been said that Japanese jazz fans kept the jazz record industry alive through the lean years of the 1970s, when the music fell from commercial favor in the land of its birth. But while the jazz aficionados of Japan are celebrated as sophisticated fans and consumers of the music, comparatively little is known outside Japan of the remarkable and abundant music produced by generations of Japanese jazz musicians. Numerous Japanese jazzers have found enormous success on the international stage — Toshiko Akiyoshi, Sadao Watanabe, Teramasu Hino, and many others are household names among jazz listeners all over the world, and with good reason. But if such global figures are put aside, the stunning heritage of Japanese jazz remains poorly understood outside Japan. As a result, the work of many celebrated Japanese jazzmen has remained largely unknown to international audiences, and the extraordinary scope and depth of Japanese jazz has not been widely recognized. Compiled for the Spiritual Jazz series in collaboration with the celebrated collector and DJ Yusuke Ogawa (Deep Jazz Reality, Tokyo), this set aims to correct that omission by uncovering the uniquely deep sound of esoteric, modal and progressive jazz from Japan — music of the heart, soul, and Japanese spirit. Part One features: Mitsuaki Kanno, Tadao Hayashi, Minoru Muraoka, Takeo Moriyama, Koichi Matsukaze, Sadao Watanabe & Charlie Mariano, Shungo Sawada, New Direction For The Arts.
File Under: Jazz
Various: Spiritual Jazz 8: Japan Part Two (Jazzman) LP
Part two of two double LP versions. Textured, gatefold sleeve; Obi strip. Jazzman Record’s latest examination of esoteric, modal, and progressive jazz of the 20th century has taken them to Japan. The liberating force of jazz has been created and felt all around the world, but few nations on earth embraced the jazz message with the passion and intensity of Japan. From the dawn of the jazz age to the present day, Japanese audiences have been renowned tastemakers, enthusiasts, and champions of the music — in the 1980s, Japan was the biggest per capita market in the world for jazz records, and it has even been said that Japanese jazz fans kept the jazz record industry alive through the lean years of the 1970s, when the music fell from commercial favor in the land of its birth. But while the jazz aficionados of Japan are celebrated as sophisticated fans and consumers of the music, comparatively little is known outside Japan of the remarkable and abundant music produced by generations of Japanese jazz musicians. Numerous Japanese jazzers have found enormous success on the international stage — Toshiko Akiyoshi, Sadao Watanabe, Teramasu Hino, and many others are household names among jazz listeners all over the world, and with good reason. But if such global figures are put aside, the stunning heritage of Japanese jazz remains poorly understood outside Japan. As a result, the work of many celebrated Japanese jazzmen has remained largely unknown to international audiences, and the extraordinary scope and depth of Japanese jazz has not been widely recognized. Compiled for the Spiritual Jazz series in collaboration with the celebrated collector and DJ Yusuke Ogawa (Deep Jazz Reality, Tokyo), this set aims to correct that omission by uncovering the uniquely deep sound of esoteric, modal and progressive jazz from Japan — music of the heart, soul, and Japanese spirit. Part Two features: Four Units, Tohru Aizawa, Keitaro Miho, Tee & Company, Takeo Moriyama, Kiyoshi Sugimoto, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Yoshio Ikeda.
File Under: Jazz
AMM: AMMMusic (Black Truffle) LP
Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think (Mom + Pop) LP
Breeders: All Nerve (4AD) LP
Destroyer: ken (Merge) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Asunder (Constellation) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: F#A# (Constellation) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists (Constellation) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Slow Riot (Constellation) LP
Hot Snakes: Audit In Progress (Sub Pop) LP
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight (Sub Pop) CS
Johann Johannsson: IBM 1401 (4AD) LP
Laughing Hyenas: Merry Go Round (Thirdman) LP
The Men: Drift (Sacred Bones) LP
OST: Neon Demon (Milan) LP
Pavement: Brighten The Corners (Matador) LP
Pharoah Sanders: Izipho (Everland) LP
Sigur Ros: Agaetis Byrjum (XL) LP
Sigur Ros: Meo Suo I Eyrum (XL) LP
Spacemen 3: Playing With Fire (Space Age) LP
Vampire Weekend: s/t (XL) LP
Vampire Weekend: Contra (XL) LP
Kurt Vile: Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze (Matador) LP
Kurt Vile: B’lieve I’m Going Down (Matador) LP
Kamasi Washington: The Epic (Brainfeeder) 3LP
Gillian Welch: Harrow & The Harvest (Acorn) LP
Various: Acid Nightmares (Numero) LP