…..news letter #874 – ambients…..

And spring is back!…… But that doesn’t change that Black Friday RSD is coming! And that can only mean one other thing…. DEALS! And one other thing… we’re gonna give away a Rega RP1! Mark it in your calendars folks…Nov 23-25th you need to get down here and get a jump start on your Xmas shopping and have a chance to win a turntable. And celebrate our 17th anniversary! But don’t wait until then to come for a dig… we’ve been buying and pricing up loads of great used stuff that is flying out the door. And there’s all these great new arrivals in this week too…………

Oh ya… and if you follow us on Instagram, you know we bought some amazing used stuff in the last few weeks. I bought 4 more crates from the same guy today. That should be hitting the shelves soon. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, WHY NOT?! And now you know.

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…..picks of the week…..


Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports
(Astralwerks) LP/2LP

In tomorrow… MEGA ESSENTIAL!!! Ground zero for ambient music, if you don’t have this record, stop what you are doing, and come and buy it! Available both as a regular 33rpm LP or as an audiophile double 45rpm (see below). Though not the earliest entry in the genre (which Brian Eno makes no claim to have invented), 1978’s Ambient 1 (Music For Airports) was the first album ever to be explicitly labelled ‘ambient music’. Eno had previously created similarly quiet, unobtrusive music on albums Evening Star, Discreet Music, and Harold Budd’s The Pavilion of Dreams (which he produced), but this was the first album to give it precedence as a cohesive concept. Eno conceived the idea for Music For Airports while spending several hours waiting at Cologne Bonn Airport, becoming annoyed by the uninspired sound and the atmosphere it created. The recording was designed to be continuously looped as a sound installation, with the intent of defusing the tense, anxious atmosphere of an airport terminal, by avoiding the derivative and familiar elements of typical ‘canned music’. The album features contributions from Robert Wyatt and Rhett Davies. Ambient 1 (Music For Airports) was followed by Harold Budd and Brian Eno’s Ambient 2 (The Plateaux of Mirror) and Ambient 3 (Day Of Radiance) by Laraaji, which was also produced by Eno. This record was cut using a specialist technique known as half-speed mastering. This artisan process results in cuts that have superior high frequency response (treble) and solid and stable stereo images. In addition, it is presented as a double 45RPM half-speed mastered edition. This is the ultimate for high quality reproduction as the faster the replay speed of the record, the higher the potential quality. Also, the shorter side times allow the level recorded to the master lacquer discs to be increased thereby improving the signal to the noise ratio.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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shabasonJoseph Shabason: Anne (Western Vinyl) LP
Anne, the second album by Toronto saxophonist and composer Joseph Shabason, is a tonal essay on degenerative illness. Delicately and compassionately woven with interviews of Shabason’s mother from whom the album takes its name, Anne finds its creator navigating a labyrinth of subtle and tragic emotions arising from his mother’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Across the nine vivid postcards of jazz-laden ambience that comprise the album, Shabason unwraps these difficult themes with great care and focus revealing the unseen aspects of degenerative diseases that force us to re-examine common notions of self, identity, and mortality. Shabason’s uncanny ability to maneuver through such microscopic feelings is mirrored by his capacity to execute a similar tightrope-walk through musical genres. His music occupies a specific space that is as palpable as it is difficult to pin labels to. On Anne’s second track “Deep Dark Divide” rays of effected saxophone shine behind clouds of digital synthesizer that echoes the sound of jazz in the late ’80s, but with a Jon Hassell-esque depth of sensibility that consciously subverts the stylistic inoffensiveness of that era. There is detail and idiosyncrasy beneath Shabason’s dawn-of-the-CD-era sheen that elevates the album far beyond a mere aesthetic exercise. Still, the sounds on Anne are not so experimentally opaque as to stand in the way of the album’s through-line of sincerity and emotionality. When dissonance is employed it is punctual and meaningful, like on album-middler “Fred and Lil” where a 6-minute cascade of breathy textures builds suddenly to an agitated growl, only to abruptly give way to Anne Shabason speaking intimately about her relationship to her own parents. Snippets of such conversations see her taking on something like a narrator role across Anne while the sound of her voice itself is sometimes effected to become a musical texture entwined into the fabric of the songs without always being present or audible. On “November” Shabason lays muted brass textures atop a wavepool of electric chords provided by none other than the ambient cult-hero Gigi Masin, one of Anne’s many integral collaborators. The serene tragedy of the album distills itself gracefully into the ironically titled album closer “Treat it Like a Wine Bar” wherein flutters of piano and mournfully whispered woodwinds seem to evaporate particle by delicate particle, leaving the listener with a faint emotional afterglow like a dream upon waking. There is a corollary to be drawn here with what it must be like to feel one’s own mind and body drift away slowly until nothing remains, while the collection of memories and abilities that we use to denote the “self” softens into eternity. On Anne, it is precisely this fragile exchange of tranquility and anguish that Joseph Shabason has proven his singular ability to articulate.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Jazz
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…..new arrivals…..
devine

Richard Devine: Sort/Lave (Timesig) 3LP
After a break of 6 years, Atlanta based electronic musician, producer and sound designer Richard Devine returns with a new album Sort\Lave on Venetian Snares‘ Timesig imprint. Recorded between 2016 and 2017 using Richard’s custom built Eurorack modular system and two Nord G2 Modular units, Sort\Lave features 12 tracks of intricate electronica that ranges from abrasive percussive experiments such as “Revsic” to “Astra’s” dazzling juxtaposition of sounds and onto the radiant ambience of the album’s closer “Takara.” Talking about the album’s genesis Devine explains “I’ve been using modular synthesizers since I was 17, but have never written complete tracks using these newer systems. This was my first experiment to see if it would be possible and I probably spent about 5 years building up the systems that I used on this album. I wanted the record to sound very different to my previous works which had been more cold, digital, clinical even, and had all been made using computers. The aim here was the complete opposite, to create something that felt very organic, detailed, spacious, big and warm and just as importantly, a record that you could put on and play all the way through that flowed in a seamless way.” This new approach was to prove fruitful and enabled Devine to create music in an entirely new way. “I really wanted to break free from timeline-based music creation and do things with my hands on the fly,” he explains. “So the tracks are more like captured snapshot performances where I could experiment and play around with the idea of probability-based sequencing for every patch, string multiple sequencers together that would feed other sequencers to come up with interesting rhythms and melodies. It was really fun coming up with new sounds this way too, I felt like I created several I haven’t heard before with this album. Some of the tracks on the album were complete accidents and evolved from something that happened spontaneously. In the end I feel this is one of the best records I have released to date, so I’m very excited to share it with the world.”

File Under: Electronic
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drake

Drake: Scorpion (Universal) LP
Superstar rapper Drake’s latest full-length album, Scorpion has already smashed innumerable industry records, blowing just about every streaming record out of the water while making the artist the first to surpass 50 billion streams across all global streaming platforms along the way. A double album – divided between a hip-hop side and R&B side – Scorpion topped the Billboard Top 200 and its hit single “In My Feelings” dominated the Billboard Hot 100. The sprawling 25-track affair features unreleased Michael Jackson vocals on the track “Don’t Matter To Me,” a song which appears to be built around previously unreleased music: Paul Anka is listed as a co-writer on the track. Scorpion also included appearances from Static Major, TY Dollah $ign and Jay Z. On “That’s How You Feel,” Drake samples Nicki Minaj’s song “Boss Ass Bitch” and Future appears on “Blue Tint.” No I.D., DJ Premier, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Tay Keith, Boi-1da, and Murda Beatz are among the producers credited on the album. Scorpion is Drake’s first project since 2017’s More Life, which was billed as a playlist. It is his first studio album since 2016’s commercially successful Views.

File Under: Hip Hop
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eno2

Brian Eno: Ambient 4: On Land (Astralwerks) LP/2LP
In tomorrow… Available both as a regular 33rpm LP or as an audiophile double 45rpm (see below). On 1982’s Ambient 4 (On Land) – the final edition in Brian Eno’s ambient series – his palate shifted from electro-mechanical and acoustic instruments towards “non-instruments” like pieces of chain, sticks and stones. “One of the big freedoms of music had been that it didn’t have to relate to anything – nobody listened to a piece of music and said, ‘What’s that supposed to be, then?’, the way they would if they were looking at an abstract painting; music was accepted as abstract. I wanted to try and make music which attempted to be figurative, for example by using lots of real noises,” he recalled to Mojo. In a pioneering early incarnation of what later became widely-known as remixing, Eno explained, “I included not only recordings of rooks, frogs and insects, but also the complete body of my own earlier work making ‘On Land’, which involved feeding unheard tape into the mix, constant feeding and remixing, subtracting and composting.” Conventional instruments do occasionally feature however, including Jon Hassell’s trumpet and Bill Laswell’s bass. The album also features contributions from Michael Brook and Daniel Lanois.

This record was cut using a specialist technique known as half-speed mastering. This artisan process results in cuts that have superior high frequency response (treble) and solid and stable stereo images. In addition, it is presented as a double 45RPM half-speed mastered edition. This is the ultimate for high quality reproduction as the faster the replay speed of the record, the higher the potential quality. Also, the shorter side times allow the level recorded to the master lacquer discs to be increased thereby improving the signal to the noise ratio.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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eno3

Brian Eno: Discreet Music (Astralwerks) LP/2LP
In tomorrow… Available both as a regular 33rpm LP or as an audiophile double 45rpm (see below). While his earlier work with Robert Fripp on No Pussyfooting and several selections from his own Another Green World feature similar ideas, Discreet Music marked a clear step toward the ambient aesthetic Brian Eno would later codify with 1978’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports. The inspiration for this 1975 album began when Eno was hospitalized after an accident. Whilst bed-ridden and listening to a record of 18th-century harp music, the volume was too low and he couldn’t reach to turn it up. It was raining outside, and Eno recounts he began listening to the rain and to “these odd notes of the harp, that were just loud enough to be heard above the rain.” “This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music – as part of the ambience of the environment, just as the colour of the light and the sound of the rain were parts of that ambience,” he observed. The A-side of the album is a 30-minute piece titled “Discreet Music,” which Pitchfork called “one of the greatest single ambient pieces that Eno has produced.” It was made using two overlapped tape loops of melodic synthesizer phrases of different lengths. This technique became known as ‘Frippertronics’; one of Eno’s early forays into algorithmic, generative composition – exploring multiple ways to create music with limited planning or intervention. The second half of the album, titled “Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel” features the Cockpit Ensemble, playing brief excerpts from the score, which were repeated several times, with the tempo and other elements gradually altered – the end result of which “forced the listener to switch fundamental modes of hearing,” Pitchfork proclaimed.
 
This record was cut using a specialist technique known as half-speed mastering. This artisan process results in cuts that have superior high frequency response (treble) and solid and stable stereo images. In addition, it is presented as a double 45RPM half-speed mastered edition. This is the ultimate for high quality reproduction as the faster the replay speed of the record, the higher the potential quality. Also, the shorter side times allow the level recorded to the master lacquer discs to be increased thereby improving the signal to the noise ratio.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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eno4

Brian Eno: Music For Films (Astralwerks) LP/2LP
In tomorrow… Available both as a regular 33rpm LP or as an audiophile double 45rpm (see below). “Arguably the most quietly influential of all his works,” according to the BBC, this conceptual 1976 Brian Eno record was intended as a soundtrack for imaginary films, with excerpts later featuring in movies by directors including John Woo and Derek Jarman. The album is a loose compilation of material, composed of short tracks ranging from one-and-a-half minutes to just over four, making it the antithesis of the long, ambient pieces he later became known for. The compositional styles and equipment used also carried over onto Eno’s work on David Bowie’s 1977 classic Low. Unlike Eno’s later ambient works, Music for Films utilizes a broader sonic palette, with his studio exercises being supplemented by instrumentation from Rhett Davies, John Cale, Phil Collins, Robert Fripp, Fred Frith, Percy Jones, Bill MacCormick, Dave Mattacks, Paul Rudolph and Rod Melvin.
 
This record was cut using a specialist technique known as half-speed mastering. This artisan process results in cuts that have superior high frequency response (treble) and solid and stable stereo images. In addition, it is presented as a double 45RPM half-speed mastered edition. This is the ultimate for high quality reproduction as the faster the replay speed of the record, the higher the potential quality. Also, the shorter side times allow the level recorded to the master lacquer discs to be increased thereby improving the signal to the noise ratio.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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fleetfoxes

Fleet Foxes: First Collection (Sub Pop) Box
Fleet Foxes and Sub Pop present a limited-edition collection in honor of the 10th anniversary of the band’s debut LP. First Collection 2006-2009 spans the early days of Fleet Foxes’ career, including their self-titled debut, plus the Sun Giant EP, The First EP (formerly a self-titled, very limited-edition, self-released EP), and B-sides & Rarities. The vinyl version is packaged in a lavish box, with a 12″ LP of the debut album and separate 10″ records for each of the added titles. In addition to its musical offerings, the collection features a 32-page booklet including show flyers, lyrics and artwork from band’s early history. Fleet Foxes’ debut made a tremendous impact on the international musical scene, topping numerous “best of” lists, including Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 2000’s and Pitchfork’s 50 Best Albums of 2008, and earned the band Uncut’s inaugural Music Award Prize. Fleet Foxes is certified Gold in North America and Platinum in both the UK and Australia.

File Under: Indie Rock
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king gizzard

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Willoughby’s Beach (Flightless/ATO) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are the most exciting head-spinning, third-eye opening, double-drumming goddamn rock ‘n’ roll band on the planet. The unexpected is just about the only thing we have come to expect from the Melbourne band. Via a series of carefully considered yet wildly divergent concepts The Gizz’s collective body of work offers visceral thrills a-plenty without ever once resorting to indulgence. Their music works on so many levels, providing a transcendental, hair-swinging soundtrack for some, a transportive journey to the center of one’s id for others, while in their more reflective moments also tenderly offering succour and guidance for the lost and spiritually malnourished. ATO is partnering with Flightless Records to bring you five King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard reissues in November 2018! The first five titles from the band’s incredible back catalogue – 12 Bar Bruise, Eyes Like The Sky, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, Oddments, and the Willoughby’s Beach EP – will be reissued on 12″ vinyl for the first time with re-imagined artwork, packaging, liner notes and fresh colors. Willoughby’s Beach is King Gizzard’s second EP, originally self-released in 2011 and limited to 350 hand numbered copies. Featuring the the manic, grunged up standouts “Danger $$$” and “Dead-Beat, the reissue features new artwork re-imagined by Ican Harem and comes on colored vinyl.

File Under: Indie Rock, Psych
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WRWTFWW025LP_CU

Mkwaju Ensemble: Mkwaju (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records announces the highly anticipated official reissue of holy grail album MKWAJU by acclaimed Japanese percussionist Midori Takada’s MKWAJU Ensemble, sourced from the original masters and available in two versions: a vinyl LP cut at Emil Berliner Studios (formerly the in-house recording department of Deutsche Grammophon) and a digipack CD. Originally recorded in February and March 1981 and released by fabled Japanese avant-garde label Better Days (home of Ryuichi Sakamato’s debut album, Yasuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi (1982), Colored Music’s self-titled LP and many more) MKWAJU is the fruit of the collaboration between Takada’s crew and world-famous composer/musical director Joe Hisaishi, the man behind most of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli anime soundtracks and over 100 other films scores, including Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine (1993), Hana-Bi(1997), and Kikujiro (1999). The ensemble’s transcendental wonder is, in fact, the first-ever Midori Takada album and the first-ever Joe Hisaishi-produced album: historic. Led by Midori Takada on marimba, gong, vibraphone, and tom tom, MKWAJU is an inventive and riveting take on Eastern and Western minimalist traditions, African rhythms, and early electronica. Drawing from its jazz-rooted polyrhythmic improvisations in the most inventive ways, the album covers a wide spectrum of sounds, from colorful dance floor-ready percussion pieces that stand somewhere between proto-techno and experimental synth-pop, to cinematic ambient landscapes and ethereal drone delicacies. The feverishly sought-after full-length is a stepping-stone in Midori Takada’s career and an all-around pioneering album. Alongside Takada and Hisaishi (who not only produced the album but also played synthesizers), personnel on MKWAJU includes famed Japanese musicians Yoji Sadanari and Hideki Matsutake of KI-Motion fame, Junko Arase (heard on Satoshi Ashikawa’s legendary Still Way – Wave Notation 2(1982)), and Pecker (whose stacked resume boasts collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Jun Fukamachi).

File Under: Japan, Percussion, Minimalism
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tagaqTanya Tagaq: Split Tooth (Six Shooter) LP
Six Shooter Records presents a vinyl edition of readings from Polaris Music Prize winner and Member of the Order of Canada Tanya Tagaq’s debut novel, Split Tooth. From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, Split Tooth is a fierce, tender and heartbreaking story. Read by Tagaq, poems include improvised vocals. The vinyl edition also features drawings by Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets).
 
File Under: Experimental, Audio Books
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…..Restocks…..
 
Parquet Courts: Wide Awake (Rough Trade) LP
Joe Strummer: 001 (Ignition) Box
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (Virgin) LP
Kurt Vile: B’lieve I’m Goin’ Down (Matador) LP

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