Well, I’m back… and there’s already new stuff! And I’m swamped, as you can tell by this possibly being the latest news letter ever. So, here you go. I’m going home.
Oh ya… and if you follow us on Instagram, you know we bought some amazing used stuff in the last few weeks. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, WHY NOT?! And now you know.
…..pick of the week…..
Soundwalk Collective: Death Must Die (Marionette) LP
“Soundwalk Collective is a multi-disciplinary audio-visual collective founded by Stephan Crasneanscki, including members Simone Merli and Kamran Sadeghi. The Collective’s approach to composition combines anthropology, ethnography, non- linear narrative, psycho-geography, the observation of nature, and explorations in recording and synthesis. The source material of their works is always linked to specific locations, natural or artificial, and requires long periods of investigative travel and field work. Their recent projects include a collaboration with Patti Smith and reworking the archive of recordings on Jean-Luc Godard’s film set. For the 8th Marionette publication, Soundwalk Collective present Death Must Die. A sound piece that began in 2004 and ended up as a composition for the PS1 radio in NY. For this New release the Collective has revisited the piece in a more musical way. Death Must Die is based on Stephan Crasneanscki’s multiple visits to the sacred Indian city of Varanasi, originally known as Kashi and Banares. Sacred texts maintain that Varanasi isn’t even a city, but rather a lingam of celestial light, the subtle and cosmic form of Lord Shiva which manifested itself as a city for the sake of seekers of liberation. To bathe in the holy Ganga is to be purified of your sins. To die in Varanasi, is to attain liberation and to bring an end to the cycle of rebirth known as transmigration. Determined to capture the elusive reality of this ancient city, Stephan has day by day recorded and re-imagined his understanding of how to perceive the continuously moving stream of the holy Ganga; performing a simple form of sadhana, which request is to be very alert but also to allow your mind to be quiet, making it easier to slip into the streams, and into the current that both the city and the river are offering. Death Must Die begins before the rising of the sun and reproduces the cycle of a day in Varanasi, going down the river that is believed to be the divinity descended to this Earth in the form of water. She grants us happiness and salvation. The composition attempts to emulate the vibration of Kashi that encourages the kind of interiority that enables a person to get a better perspective on reality than one might have, while constantly being in the current of human life. A vibration dedicated to eliminating the distinction between human and non-human, between alive and dead, between light and dark.”
Caterina Barbieri: Patterns of Consciousness (Important) LP
Patterns Of Consciousness is the powerful second full-length from analog synth composer Caterina Barbieri. Gorgeous high resolution analog textures and algorithmic melodies unfold under Barbieri’s careful control, exploring the basic nature of sound and consciousness. These pieces are minimal in arrangement but maximal in presence asserting Barbieri as a unique voice in contemporary electronic music composition. Patterns Of Consciousness was originated by ideally infinite permutation of patterns through a disciplined and exclusive use of machinery (an indexed quad sequencer and a harmonic oscillator). By means of subtraction, addition, and jitter operations, Barbieri derives a myriad of interlocking patterns extracted from an original matrix of just few harmonic archetypes, gradually developing the potential of the reduced constellation of pitches and durations determined in advance. Pushing the limits of her monophonic instrument, Barbieri seeks out counterpoint from a single oscillator through the exclusive use of additive synthesis, fast progressions, extreme melodic jumps, and intricate delay lines. She develops an illusory counterpoint style influenced by her passion for baroque lute music, where fast arpeggios are employed to get effects of sustained chords and overcome the limits of fast decay timbres. But the highly formulaic and germinative style of these pieces is also influenced by Indian classical music’s vision of sound as an agent of change and recreation. Patterns are understood as the cells of an organism or the units of a language: a limited set of signs that can be recombined to always generate new possibilities. In POC, repetition and permutation of patterns are explored as tools to reconfigure perceptions and bend emotions, approaching sound as a medium to develop and master our own perceptual art. Emerging machine intelligence, human desire of pattern detection and the understanding of music as a cognitive feedback between humans and technology are primary sources of inspiration for this work. All the compositions share a common fatalistic tension, an impossible running, a restless rush – somewhat nervous somewhat ecstatic – to grasp a meaning out of fragments. Every piece in POC is conceived as a generative entity, a dynamic and living being able to develop its own organic laws, whose inner potential of growth and change is embedded in the initial instructions of the sequencer. Music produced by Caterina Barbieri between September 2015 and January 2016. Mixed at EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) in Stockholm. RIYL: Alessandro Cortini, Eleh.
Alberto Baldan Bembo: Lingua D’Arento (Sonor) LP
Sonor Music Editions present a reissue of Alberto Baldan Bembo’s soundtrack for Ecco Lingua D’Argento (1976). Originally issued in 1976, this Italian soundtrack is widely considered a true holy grail of the genre and a funk exotica masterpiece. Originally composed by maestro and orchestra conductor Bembo for Ecco Lingua D’Argento, starring the sexy Carmen Villani, the album includes many spellbinding and powerful grooves filled with great bass lines, dope wah-wah and killer funky sounds. There are also a countless amount of drum beats with dancing Fender Rhodes, disco-funk arrangements with driving tropical percussions, dreamy cinematic strings and sexy female chorus harmonies. This is top-notch stuff for any crate digger/groove hunter/beat-maker/record collector and vintage music vinyl maniac out there. Ecco Lingua D’Argento is an incredible session, a pinnacle of maestro Bembo’s productions and a real masterpiece from beginning to end. Liner notes by DJ Spaziale aka Scott Hesselink. Edition of 500, 180 gram vinyl in gatefold sleeve with reprints of original movie posters.
Black Merlin: Void (Berceuse Heroique) 2×12″
“Nearly a year after the release of his latest double package for Berceuse Heroique, tenebrous proto-tech alchemist George Thompson aka Black Merlin turns up again on the London-based label with a fresh assortment of his signature murky analog jams, merciless drones and hot-headed industrial stomp. Nasty to the fullest, this one’s bound to get the raving zombies on alert.” –Inverted Audio
F.S. Blumm & Nils Frahm: Tag Eins Tag Zwei (Sonic Pieces) LP
Originally released in 2016. Followers of the Sonic Pieces catalog will already be familiar with the individuals of F.S.Blumm and Nils Frahm as well as their acclaimed work as a duo. But even though they’re making use of familiar instruments, their album Tag Eins Tag Zwei manages to add a new tone to their already unique language. By trading their post-processed sound sculptures that made up the two preceding albums in for intimate pieces of improvisation, this collaboration merges into the most soothing and life-affirming recording the two have produced so far. Guitars and toys are flowing next to piano and harmonium like an organic combination, shaping nine suits that abnegate any common categorization. Involving classical, jazz, and folk influences it’s the genuine use of tricks and delays that lift these improvisations above the ordinary and makes them both incredibly relaxing and exciting at the same time. It is almost ironic that by capturing accidental moments of free playing, Frank and Nils are succeeding at an even more impressive scale than their already highly satisfying previous output. The result delivers a perfect example of how immediacy can be the most powerful approach to creating music. Based on a remarkable understanding of each other’s phrasing the pair of sessions that comprises this album shows two vivid artists at the peak of their game: Unconditional spontaneity. This LP reissue is presented in a reversed cardboard jacket, printed in- and outside with full tone colors; includes a printed inner sleeve with the original artwork.
Camizole: s/t (Souffle Continu) LP
Souffle Continu present a reissue of Camizole’s self-titled album, recorded in 1977. Is freedom worth more than mastery, construction and achievement? In replying yes, the utopians of Camizole clear show which side they are on. For them, musical creation must be as spontaneous as possible. To achieve this, it is better to put egos to one side to concentrate on collective experimentation, to be tried and tested in front of a live audience. Playing the card of unlimited and unhindered improvisation is Camizole’s crédo, having decided to get a taste of the urgent game-playing already established by the Nihilist Spasm Band and the Living Theatre research of Julian Beck and Judith Malina. At the time, that is to say when punk was exploding, this concept, itself inherited from the May 68 events, made an impact on Chris Cutler of Henry Cow, but also Lindsay Cooper, who invited Camizole member Françoise Crublé to join the Feminist Improvising Group. Also, the Tapioca label run by Jean Georgakarakos (co-founder of BYG Records), considered producing an album, from a live recording made at the Théâtre de Chartres in November 1977. Unfortunately the label rapidly ceased all activities and the recording was left in a drawer, which was a real shame. Today, after extracts and other live bits and pieces came out via Spalax at the end of the 1990s, an integral double album is finally being released (for the first time on vinyl) to do justice to the collective created by Jacky Dupéty, and which included, amongst others Dominique Grimaud (Vidéo-Aventures), Chris Chanet (Etron Fou Leloublan, Urban Sax), Xavier Jouvelet (Lol Coxhill), and Bernard Filipetti (Art & Technique). Better late than never! Obi strip, eight page booklet. Edition of 500.
Camizole/Lard Free: s/t (Souffle Continu) LP
Souffle Continu presents Camizole + Lard Free, unreleased 1978 recordings from both groups performing as a collaborative. The ranks of Camizole included some of the most essential personalities of the French underground, notably Dominique Grimaud (Vidéo-Aventures), Chris Chanet (Etron Fou Leloublan), and Bernard Filipetti (Art & Technique). Their idea of music, if we look further than the pair Dominique Grimaud and Bernard Filipetti, and a style of music influenced by Klaus Schulze, is inspired by the liberty of free jazz. This is nonetheless modified by a cathartic approach close to the esthetic preoccupations of Julian Beck and Judith Malina’s Living Theatre. The result is a musical happening, where the important thing is to improvise in the urgency of the moment in front of a not-always receptive public. Before exploring constructed repetitive forms which would be perfected by Urban Sax, Lard Free were more in the domain of noise improvisation, or even a kind of jazz rock similar to that of Soft Machine, as can be heard on a late retrospective album, from which the track “À chacun son Boulez” emerged. There was logically great complicity between Camizole and Lard Free, which would lead to the two groups finally merging. This was the case for four concerts in May before the two groups disbanded in order to finally get to grips with the free rock in the style of Faust that they liked so much. As an ode to anarchy, a record now bears witness to those communal experiences. Edition of 500 with obi strip.
File Under: Free Jazz, Rock
Alec Cheer: Night Kaleidoescope (Trunk) LP
Alec Cheer’s Night Kaleidescope is an incredible modern techno-based score to an underground psychedelic detective vampire indie drama. So there. There is little history here as this is a new release, but this is simply an amazing modern score to a 2017 film one may never have heard about (directed by Grant McPhee). What sets this score apart is its clinical post-modern feel, with influences including Mica, John Carpenter, Brian Eno, Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, even whispers of the 1980s, as well as a musical feel a little like the classic Drive (2011) soundtrack. Yet with all these influences, composer Cheer somehow manages to create a new work that sounds unlike any other. It’s dark, bewitching, mesmerizing, ear-catching and even “banging” in parts. Look, it must be good, otherwise Jonny Trunk would not be pressing it. And with a spelling mistake too. Full color eye-catching minimal sleeve.
Alison Cotton: All Is Quiet at the Ancient Theatre (Feeding Tube) LP
“Vinylization of the second cassette released by UK string player Alison Cotton. We first ran into Alison’s work in its more overtly folky guise, as a member of Left Outsides. Then we caught the scent of an amazing tape she did with Michael Tanner (aka Plinth) that displayed her more avant garde leanings. All Is Quiet followed the same lines, albeit in solo fashion, blending long dark viola and harmonium lines with vocals drawn straight from the clouds. The effect resembles Tony Conrad in places and John Cale’s work with Nico in others, while remaining trademark Alison Cotton throughout. And as nice as the tape was, it’s even nicer to has this music on an LP, since it’s an archival format and will outlive all of us if properly cared for. Just as the music of Alison Cotton feels as though it was designed to last through the ages. Beautiful stuff.” –Byron Coley, 2018
Crickets. Lots of Crickets. And Jim Wilson: God’s Chorus (Trunk) LP
God’s Chorus, by Crickets. Lots Of Crickets. And Jim Wilson is an extraordinary ambient/minimal masterpiece made just using the sounds of crickets. Sounds like heaven. Or beautiful death. Or angels singing. Or a choir in the world’s most amazing cathedral. Jonny Trunk on the record: “A few years ago, I was alerted to a strange recording online. I think it was on Mixcloud, but it might have been Soundcloud. I can’t remember exactly which cloud, but I do remember other more important things: the recording was called God’s Chorus and millions of people had listened to it. And thousands of those millions of people had left comments. Some had praised the mesmerizing, angelic sounds, others more cynical thought it was a hoax. Some had theories about how it was made, educated ideas, but many didn’t care as they loved it so very much. There was also a name associated to the creation of God’s Chorus; Jim Wilson. I listened. I listened more. I found myself immediately intrigued. And within a couple of days had licensed the recording. I believed it would really suit being on vinyl and not just on a cloud waiting for more comments. The story behind the God’s Chorus recording is short and simple. It begins with the aforementioned Wilson, a songwriter and enthusiast for Native American sound, nature, ambiance and the new age. Jim recorded the crickets; he then recorded more crickets. He took one of these cricket recordings, slowed it down (just like Basil Kirchin would) and then simply played the slowed down recording over the normal version. This is what you hear on this LP except for a faded break to give us Side One and Side Two. God’s Chorus is unlike anything else. Leave it on and it becomes a bizarre hypnotic drone, somewhat like a modern minimal composition. The controversy surrounding this natural wonder lies with people who think this is just a cunningly engineered sound, a cheat, a fraud, a natural musical impossibility that has been manipulated by computer and includes human voices. But people have tried to recreate it with modern tech and choir sounds and have failed. I shall leave you to draw your own conclusions about God’s Chorus. Real or fake? True or false? I care not, as it sure sounds like crickets to me, and it sure does sound amazing.” Artwork by Bess Kirby (Aged 13), album produced by Jonny Trunk. Full-color eye-catching minimal sleeve.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental, Crickets
CTM: Red Dragon (Posh Isolation) LP
“about/ a (feverish) narrative involving/ touching upon Elon Musk’s (cancelled/) failed robotic lander mission to mars, Michael Jackson’s final moments on stage and current personal life (motherhood)” Search as one might for an adequate charm to safely light Red Dragon, Cæcilie Trier’s evocations tend to outpace us at every step. The album’s fever-dream story flicks through the recent past and the present. Elon Musk’s extraplanetary desires cross with maternal notes. Michael Jackson, too, is watched over. The terse titles that greet us in Trier’s solo work are a wry sleight of hand. CTM, standing for Cæcilie Trier Musik, marks the impersonal boundary where intimacies are developed, trampled, and searched through. On her new album for Posh Isolation, produced with Asger Hartvig, aka MC Boli of Boli Group, the drama is composed and enduring, like a plot twist that lasts a life time. Trier is a Copenhagen based cellist, singer, and composer, with her classical training apparent across her many and varied projects and collaborations. Having received critical acclaim from the earliest moments of her career, Trier’s previous album Suite For A Young Girl (2016) was nominated for the prestigious Nordic Music Prize in 2017. Red Dragon keeps Trier’s voice central to the affairs. The instrumentation wades in-and-out of focus from stage right and left. And as often as you are caught in the songwriting’s pirouettes and glances around the vocals, the splintering effect of the production impresses an inhuman déjà vu with regularity. This is especially felt in the electronics, sound bites, and digital ephemera that dress the songs. The bareness of the strings and guitars act as a peculiar balance, keeping you close just as you get a sense of the distance from which you are permitted a view. Red Dragon features appearances from Coco O, Frederikke Hoffmeier (Puce Mary), Soho Rezanejad, and Dawda Jobarteh.
Maxine Funke: Silk (Feeding Tube) LP
“Silk is the fantastic third LP by Maxine Funke, a New Zealand musician whose first recordings were with the legendary $100 Band (Funke, Alastair Galbraith, and Mike Dooley!), whose music was drifting experimental dust of a very high order. Maxine’s first two solo albums, Lace (2008) and Felt (2012) (originally released as CDR on Galbraith’s Next Best Way and a lathe on Epic Sweep, respectively), were reissued by Time-Lag to great acclaim in 2016, securing her place in the upper echelons of contemporary folk inventors. With the release of Silk, Ms. Funke manages to create an album that merges both of these style threads. Many of the tracks are cast in an intimate mood congruent with artists like Sibylle Baier, Barbara Manning, Myriam Gendron, Joanne Robertson, and other women who have pulled sweetly dark sounds from pockets of deep emotion, abetted largely by acoustic guitar. On a few other tracks, electronic instrumentals hearken back to her work with transceivers in the $100 Band days. The balance between these posts is delicately intoxicating. A readymade classic from start to finish, Silk travels a brilliant series of spaceways with grace and assurance. We should all be so lucky.” –Byron Coley, 2018. Edition of 400.
Alain Goraguer: Musique Classee X (Les Disques de Culte) LP
Musique Classee X is a brand-new selection of unreleased music composed by the great Alain Goraguer for movies from the golden age of French pornography, brought together on vinyl, an object of all the desires. This compilation features eight never-before-released tracks composed by Alain Goraguer, orchestrator and composer of an impressive number of monumental French pop songs, from Boris Vian to Serge Gainsbourg, and well known by hip-hop fans and sampling lovers for his cult soundtrack for La Planète Sauvage (1973). Tracks saved from oblivion and fully restored, from the soundtracks of these evocative titles: Swinging Couples Cruise, Private Nurses, Right Of The First Night, and A Foreign Girl In Paris . 180 gram vinyl, gatefold sleeve, comes with a 12 page color X-rated exercise book, designed by famous French illustrator Erwann Terrier, with the classics, such as coloring, connect-the-dots, and cut-out figures, with a gallery of characters to cut out and layout on the included locations, to elaborate one’s own orgy, without any outside help.
Jodi: Pop Espontaneo (Out-Sider) LP
Psychedelic garage, proto-power pop, and psych-funk from Paraguay circa 1969-1975. Pop Espontáneo includes a selection of previously unreleased recordings by Joern and Dirk Wenger’s duo Jodi, registered at their state-of the-art 8-track home studio in Asunción, Paraguay. Living in their own isolated world and free from any commercial pressure, Joern Wenger, a kind of Paraguayan Brian Wilson or R. Stevie Moore, created a particular, ahead-of-its-time sound, using electric guitars, fuzz boxes, Moog, Mellotron, Clavinet, Farfisa. In 2016, Out-Sider unearthed and reissued the first Jodi album, Pops De Vanguardia, originally released in 1971, which is probably the first DIY lo-fi garage/psychedelic album from South America. Now, Out-Sider present this incredible collection of unreleased recordings which were hidden in Joern Wenger’s basement for several decades. RIYL: Beatles, Kinks, Shoes, Jan Hammer, United States Of America, Cleaners From Venus, Ariel Pink, Guided By Voices, Beat Happening, Tropicalia. Superb sound taken from the original master tapes; includes insert with rare photos and detailed liner notes by Eduardo A. Elizalde Pietruczyk (aka Bubbling Minds).
Willie Lane: Known Quantity (Feeding Tube) LP
“Newly remastered reissue of Willie Lane’s 2009 solo guitar LP, Known Quantity, originally released on his own Cord Art label. Over the last few years, this album has been requested at the store more often than just about any other, but it sold out not long after it was issued and has risen in price consistently since that time. Listening to Known Quantity, it’s not hard to understand why it has such a strong rep. Lane came out the Hampshire College scene that aligned itself with the Apostasy Records crowd (Krefting, Shaw, Rosenblum, etc.). His first known recordings were actually with some of the noisier experimental units associated with this cabal. Willie was based in Philadelphia for a long time after college, where he fell in with Jack Rose and the whole Fishtown scene of the early Oughts. Moving back to the Valley, Willie also began working with Matt Valentine’s tribe, and his first solo album, Recliner Ragas, was issued as a C.O.M. CDR in 2006 before getting vinylized by the Humito label in 2012. And keen listeners out there will detect a certain “Spectrasound” feel to some of the electric passages here. The music on Known Quantity is a buttery mix of electric and acoustic string aktion. Samara Lubelski plays bass on one track, but it’s all solo apart from that. And it’s a wonderland of textures and sound shapes. Some of the pieces are almost straight ahead (somewhat more in tunes with the work Willie does when he plays live), but others are as wobbly and jagged as a drunk peacock. It’s an amazing record, and rewards multiple listens with constantly unfolding details. Max Milgram (from Watery Love) did the new cover art (based on the original LP’s photographic frontispiece) and the mastering by Carl Saff is mighty nice. Enjoy…” –Byron Coley, 2018. Edition of 500.
New Dreams LTD.: Sleepline (Aguirre) LP
Double LP version; Edition of 700. High glossy gatefold sleeve with printed inner sleeves; Includes download code. Aguirre Records present Sleepline, a crucial album by vaporwave pioneer Ramona Vektroid, here released under the moniker New Dreams Ltd. Ramona is widely recognized as instigator of the vaporwave genre with her celebrated album Floral Shoppe (2011). Vektroid (Ramona Xavier) is an electronic musician and artist based in Portland, but her reputation has hinged almost entirely on her hypertextual virtual presence. While she’s most often pigeonholed as being a primary artist behind vaporwave — a net-based microgenre notorious for its wholesale appropriations and meme-like propagation — she has been releasing music since 2006 in a variety of styles and under a dizzying array of nom de plumes, from Vektordrum and Macintosh Plus to Laserdisc Visions and 情報デスクVIRTUAL. Within the sprawling, obsessive vaporwave community, Vektroid’s 2011 album Floral Shoppe (as Macintosh Plus) has become canonized as its most representative transmission, an unlikely feat for a style of music that challenged not only our taste profiles, but also what could be considered “art” to begin with. But like most styles of music, what’s on paper never aligns perfectly with the actual music, and Vektroid is a shining example of an artist whose talents extend beyond the regurgitated checklists of a now concretized genre. Two of her strongest albums, though, served as beautiful outliers that continue to resist easy categorization. Sleepline (released as New Dreams Ltd.), plays in the liminal space between states of consciousness, inducing a hazy, deteriorating quality that stands in contrast to Shader Complete’s mostly hi-definition aesthetics. It was written in winter 2013-2014, but it didn’t see an official release until 2016. Originally conceived as a Sacred Tapestry sequel called Transcontinent, the album saw Xavier returning to her plunderphonic tactics, looping and down-pitching what sounds like decades-old Japanese commercials. This time, Xavier sought out source material that would more readily fall under fair use, attempting to bridge the aesthetic gap between her works by foregrounding her editing techniques as much as transforming the source material. Mastered by Rashad Becker.
Nu Creative Methods: Nu Jungle Dances (Souffle Continu) LP
Souffle Continu presents a reissue of Nu Creative Methods’ Nu Jungle Dances, originally released in 1978. When the second Nu Creative Methods album was released, New And Rediscovered Musical Instruments (1975) by Max Eastley and David Toop had already been available for almost three years. Without being able to say that there was a direct, real-time influence, the direction taken by the British and French duos was however the same, combining research and tradition in a quest for a new imaginary folklore. The name chosen by the pair was anything but innocent, linking them to both the track “Nu Creative Love” by Don Cherry (from Symphony For Improvisers(1966)) and the book My Creative Method (1949) by Francis Ponge. Because the first outlines the route of a free jazz the boundaries of which have constantly been demolished and through which Pierre Bastien and Bernard Pruvost traced their own path, while the second, an anarchist creating a bomb with the irrational as gunpowder, is close to providing an intellectual method. Close, because even this is undermined by other essential routes taken by Nu Creative Methods. The Oulipo, for example, encouraged all sorts of creativity; or perhaps pataphysics, according to which a banal saucepan is equivalent to the Mona Lisa! To get closer to the source of their imagination, the following names would have to be added to the list, Locus Solus (1914) by Raymond Roussel, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Harry Partch, New Phonic Art and Zwei Mann Orchester (1971-3) by Maurizio Kagel. That shows, in broad strokes, the creative wheels in motion behind Nu Creative Methods and Nu Jungle Dances offers a taste of the pathways offered by chance, following improvisations using instruments from the five continents. By proceeding thus, that is to say entering an esthetic zone where popular and esoteric music come together at last, an infinite palette of sounds opens up, offering fantastic perspectives. Between free jazz and ancestral music, Nu Jungle Dances makes it happen without pretense but with a rare and luminous extravagance, but also with the willingness to take on board unexpected surprises, and with a natural charm combating for the craft of sound creation. First ever vinyl reissue of this French underground treasure. Edition of 500 with four page booklet and obi strip.
Orchestre Abass: De Bassari Togo (Analog Africa) LP
In 1972, Orchestre Abass released two incredible singles on Polydor. These records — featuring “Samarin Banza”, “Haka Dunia”, and other Afro-funk masterpieces — were powerful enough to knock any music head out, but it wasn’t until the discovery of some unreleased material by the band that the seeds for this project were planted. It all happened in 2008 in Ghana. Analog Africa head Samy Ben Redjeb was going through some tapes that had previously been the property of Polygram, one of the major record companies based in west Africa. In the late ’80s political instability and curfews had paralyzed the music industry forcing Polygram to close their Ghanaian subsidiaries leaving all of their recordings behind. These recordings had been packed in boxes and left vegetating in an Accra warehouse for three decades. All of the tapes looked unharmed and the Orchestre Abass tape was in excellent condition. Samy began fiddling around with the idea of releasing an album of the band and that plan got an additional boost with le “coup de grace” which had landed in the form of an ultra-rare tune called “Honam” discovered in Sotoboua, a small northern Togolese town. Samy had previously discovered some similar music in Northern Benin and in Nigeria and pictured an area that spread all the way from Northern Ghana to Northern Cameroon, an area he dubbed “The Islamic funk belt” due to the fact that Super Borgou de Parakou, Napo De Mi Amor, Uppers International, and Hamad Kalkaba, just to name a few, were from that “belt” and made up of musicians with an Islamic background. This can be felt and heard in the music and particularly in the singing, since many of the musicians had attended koranic schools and the languages used in the songs often had Arabic elements fused in. Orchestra Abass’ recordings, with their heavy, organ-led sound, combined with the deftest of musical touches, were the work of a rhythmic powerhouse, deeming them one of Togo’s funkiest bands. Unfortunately, Malam Issa Abass, the founder, guitarist, and organ player of the band, was killed in 1993 by a grenade thrown into his bedroom. Samy tracked down Thon Komla, one of the band´s songwriters, and Abderaman Issa, the guitar player of the band, to help him reconstruct the biography of the band. All the music was licensed directly from the various composers of these songs. 180 gram, virgin vinyl; gatefold sleeve with previously unseen pictures and a detailed biography of Orchestre Abass.
Hans Otte: Book of Sounds (Beacon Sound) LP
“This work, a masterpiece of restraint, reflects the musical imagination of someone who has spent long periods in the quiet recesses of the mind.” –Terry Riley. Beacon Sound present a reissue of Hans Otte’s The Book Of Sounds (Das Buch Der Klänge) originally released in 1984. Hans Otte (1926-2007) was a multifaceted artist, poet, pianist, composer, and promoter who synthesized the strands of minimalism, Eastern spirituality, and radical art into his own unique and protean vision. In his younger years he studied under the composer Paul Hindemith and the pianist Walter Gieseking. From 1959 to 1984 he was the director of Radio Bremen and was instrumental in introducing artists such as John Cage, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich to European audiences. Although the compositions and recordings that Otte made over the course of his long career are wideranging, The Book Of Sounds is considered to be his masterwork. A solo piano piece, it was written between 1979 and 1982 after a major survey of his previous artistic output and should be viewed through the prism of his own self-development: both as a return to his roots and as a new beginning. It is a cyclical collection of 12 “chapters” that are inspired partly by John Cage’s desire to get to the root of sound itself, to liberate it from the weight of expectation and tradition and to view all sound as a manifestation of nature. In a 1979 interview, Otte answered a question about whether his work had a “common core” by saying, “I would say that behind my artistic work, as an aim or hope, is the need to find myself. In other words: despite all the separating structures, the division of all the work, the ideologies, fixed ideas, systems, despite the state and everything that ceaselessly tries to separate and divide us, I fundamentally want to be complete.” It might be tempting to assign The Book Of Sounds to the aesthetic of minimalism; however, it is a deceptively sophisticated collection of pieces that unfolds slowly over repeated listens with shifting harmonics and unusual structural touches that keep it firmly on the side of “avant-garde”. Includes booklet with contemporary liner note contributions by Terry Riley, Inga Ahmels, and Dustin O’Halloran as well as a reprint of a 1982 Village Voice live review by Tom Johnson and photos taken by his daughter Silvia. First edition of 500.
Elaine Radigue: Geelriandre/Arthesis (Important) LP
Eliane Radigue’s Geelriandre / Arthesis is named for the pieces that fill its two sides. Geelriandre, realized on an ARP 2500 synthesizer in 1972, features Gérard Fremy on prepared piano. Arthesis, realized using the University of Iowa’s Moog in 1973, comprises the full duration of side B. Eliane Radigue has received much deserved praise for her transcendent composiitions for tape, synthesizers, and acoustic instruments. Her work is deep, slowly changing, and timelessly resonant with slowly shifting timbres so dense that they seem infinite. Acute physicality, overtones, and psychoacoustic activity fills your space, follows you, grounds you, pulls you in or lets you go. It’s all here/hear. Pressed at RTI; first edition of 1000.
Sacred Tapestry: Shader Complete (Aguirre) LP
Double LP version; Edition of 700. High glossy gatefold sleeve with printed inner sleeves; Includes download code. Aguirre Records present Shader Complete, a definitive version of the Shader album by vaporwave pioneer Ramona Vektroid, here under the moniker Sacred Tapestry. Ramona is widely recognized as instigator of the vaporwave genre with her celebrated album Floral Shoppe (2011). Vektroid (Ramona Xavier) is an electronic musician and artist based in Portland, but her reputation has hinged almost entirely on her hypertextual virtual presence. While she’s most often pigeonholed as being a primary artist behind vaporwave — a net-based microgenre notorious for its wholesale appropriations and meme-like propagation — she has been releasing music since 2006 in a variety of styles and under a dizzying array of nom de plumes, from Vektordrum and Macintosh Plus to Laserdisc Visions and 情報デスクVIRTUAL. Within the sprawling, obsessive vaporwave community, Vektroid’s 2011 album Floral Shoppe (as Macintosh Plus) has become canonized as its most representative transmission, an unlikely feat for a style of music that challenged not only our taste profiles, but also what could be considered “art” to begin with. But like most styles of music, what’s on paper never aligns perfectly with the actual music, and Vektroid is a shining example of an artist whose talents extend beyond the regurgitated checklists of a now concretized genre. Two of her strongest albums, though, served as beautiful outliers that continue to resist easy categorization. Shader Complete is an exquisite, multi-faceted album that pivots effortlessly between widescreen electronic synthscapes, atmospheric drones, and claustrophobic appropriations. It’s the latest permutation of a release that originally arrived in summer 2012 as Sacred Tapestry. That version, titled Shader, was written during the first couple months at her new home of Portland, marking a period of instability and existential confusion. Concerned at the time that this was her final release, the record was paired with a cryptic note about body transmigration from fictitious Hong Kong company PrismCorp, hinting at the possibility of the album being her “final transmission”. It wasn’t until 2016 when it was reworked to its current state as Shader Complete, which saw Xavier reinterpreting the album to include orphaned tracks from the Color Ocean Road (2012, as Vektroid) sessions. This makes Shader Complete something like a lost sequel to Color Ocean Road. Mastered by Rashad Becker.
Scandinavian Star: SOLAS (Posh Isolation) LP
The story of the passenger liner MS Scandinavian Star stays adrift. Tragic and complex, the details are out there in the electronic ozone, still yet to find closure. From sea port to Ethernet port, Malthe Fischer’s project navigates the themes of the narrative that unfolds to this day. His debut album SOLAS makes this journey with a series of heart-wrenching affairs in crisp detail. Appearing on Posh Isolation’s recent compilation I Could Go Anywhere But Again I Go With You, Fischer’s Scandinavian Star project here marked a long-anticipated return. Since his self-titled and widely loved cassette for Ascetic House (2015), Fischer has been most prominent in the band Lust For Youth. SOLAS shares some of the floaty, melodramatic electronics of Lust For Youth’s most elegant moments, but it’s a different flavor of heartbreak and intrigue being pushed by Fischer in his solo work. A symphony of disembodied voices trail across SOLAS. Gesturing toward longing and hope, and occasionally struggling to get out of the misty collage of stumbling rhythms, it’s as if you are listening to a form of wonder being mechanized before you. The surface of Fischer’s work is dense in detail, but falling for and fixating on the smallest thing often blossoms the most treasured effects. Minor acoustic instrumentation is precariously balanced against thickets of cut-up recordings and samples, the hybrid charge of the synthesizers holds everything together without letting anything recede. As soft as SOLAS feels, it stays sharp and bites at times, even through four-to-the-floor whispers. There’s a memory of something communal in it all, and this is what holds on.
Silent Servant: Shadows of Death & Desire (Hospital) LP
Silent Servant returns with Shadows of Death and Desire. Now-legendary producer, DJ, and art director Juan Mendez arguably reset techno at least twice. Once with his surreal and Europe-by-way-of-LA ’80s apocalypse culture aesthetics for Sandwell District, and again as Silent Servant capturing the youth-driven mutation of crossover electronics and dark parties churning in the American underground, which followed directly in the wake of his game-changing modern classic, Negative Fascination (2012). Mendez has evolved to more aggressive and stripped-down acid punk electro dance attacks Shadows of Death and Desire. Mendez took his time to deliver a more raw –yet refined– brutalism on this, his second album. The otherworldly guitar feedback of opener “Illusion” is cut short with a relentless bass sequence erasing any preconceptions of softening with time. Stereo-panned dusty snares drag along concrete and break apart with without a past or future. The introductory hypnotic sprawl is hastily dissected and left behind for the systematic tension of single “Harm In Hand.” Cold drum machine rolls that could have been removed with a laser from early Ministry are offset with a vocal delivery not felt in techno since Suicide. The narrative is constantly disrupted by caustic guitar stabs, its naked urgency like slamming on the brakes while inertia thrusts you forward in space but decidedly not in time. In his own words, “The record is a product of a significant life change that wasn’t a benefit,” which is eerily felt from the start but is surprisingly washed away with album closer, “Optimistic Decay” (which has become a mission statement from Mendez’s visual ideology). “Optimistic Decay” sees Mendez reuniting with vocalist Camella Lobo (Tropic Of Cancer). Lobo’s voice rises from spectral vocal delays beyond dub. A subtle nod to Silent Servant’s initial Maurizio-leaning EPs but with the grandiosity and opioid slow-motion haze of My Bloody Valentine. Also a student of cinematic deconstruction, the album looks inward from the exterior of LA’s untold stories in the netherworlds on the edge of the city, a rapid crash course in confidence games and subsequent letdowns. Shadows of Death and Desire sets the standard in electronic post-punk. Mixed and mastered by Josh Eustis. Designed by Silent Editions.
Michael Snow: Last LP (Song Cycle) LP
Song Cycle Records present a reissue of Michael Snow’s The Last LP: Unique Last Recordings of the Music of Ancient Cultures, originally issued in 1987. The album is an extraordinary collection of tracks “of rare music derived from threatened, obsolete, or now-extinct cultures from around the world” that although the claiming of being field recordings of ancient musical experiences, are in fact pieces played, conceived and recorded by the artist himself. As it was for Musics For Piano, Whistling, Microphone And Tape Recorder (CY 999LP, 2016), with this issue the Canadian artist further developed his conceptual investigation around the object-LP where the single elements (the record, the music, the text and the jacket) are so indissolubly intertwined to create what the artist calls a “sonics-sculpture-text”. Partly motivated by the announced obsolescence of the vinyl format, The Last LP is also a critical reflection on the impact of new technologies on the relationship between played and recorded music. Presented with remastered sound from the original tapes and a faithful reproduction of the original artwork. Gatefold sleeve, 180 gram virgin vinyl. Edition of 500.
File Under: Experimental, Field Recordings
Claudio Tallino: Calamo (Sonor) LP
Sonor Music Editions presents a reissue of Claudio Tallino’s Calamo, the original soundtrack for the erotic thriller movie from 1976 directed by Massimo Pirri. Remastered from the original tapes, Calamo is an outstanding and 100% essential Italian soundtrack containing top-notch giallo and sleazy thrilling music with dark, fuzzy, funky, and definitively trippy sounds that put this amazing soundtrack in high demand. Calamo merges Euro sex movie themes and arrangements with the classic Italian giallo sound of the time, and is filled with funky drums and breaks. There is plenty of dopeness, spaced-out down-tempo beats and hypnotic basslines, with dark orchestrations, threatening bells and swirling, filtered-out Hammond organ. Dig a sinister female chorus, fuzzy cues, captivating psychedelic moods, ringing thriller vibes, and dramatic moments with menacing progressive riffs, sleazy wah-wah, heavy piano, and sweeping strings. For fans of Bruno Nicolai and Ennio Morricone. Edition of 500, 180 gram vinyl in gatefold sleeve, includes CD with unreleased outtakes.
Ugly Things #49
“Cover stars this time are British R&B hitmakers Manfred Mann, who are featured via exclusive and extensive interviews with Paul Jones and Tom McGuinness. Also on the cover: Cleveland post-punk glam-infused geniuses Death Of Samantha, and one of Chicago’s most revered ’60s garage acts, The Knaves. This issue also includes an interview with Herve Zenouda, who takes you deep inside the ’70s punk scene in Paris with Stinky Toys, Strike Up, Loose Heart and Angel Face. Greg Prevost interviews pop paragon Emitt Rhodes, Ric Menck covers LA power pop icons The Quick, Mike Stax digs into the world of teenage Dutch beat bashers The Kwyet, and Harvey Kubernik gives new insight into The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” and the Beggar’s Banquet mastering sessions. All this and more — including, as always, our outstanding reviews of reissues and rock-related books.”
Various: The Black Book (Ideal) 3LP
Joachim Nordwall marks 20 years of his iDEAL label with The Black Book, a blinding sweep of original material from JASSS, Stephen O’Malley, Ramleh, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Carlos Giffoni & Prurient, Ectoplasm Girls, JH1.FS3, JS Aurelius, Autumns, John Duncan, and many more. The story of iDEAL starts out in London 1998, when Nordwall was living the hardscrabble life: working in an underwear shop near Liverpool Street station; living in a filthy Bayswater apartment; scoring industrial records from the Music and Video Exchange; getting drunk in cheap pubs, and dreaming of starting a new record label and platform. He called it iDEAL, and 180 releases, 20 years later, it has become an invaluable node for non-standard, wayward expressions of modern electronic noise in all its mutable variation. iDEAL’s success and longevity may well be down to the way that Nordwall treated it as a social and artistic home, offering a place where mutually exclusive styles could bed down away from the mainstream or the genre police, and feed into a much larger, work-in-progress definition of fringe music. The Black Book extends, in the spirit of the label, an idealized compilation of disparate possibilities connected by a sense of musical mystery and chaotic energy. To focus on just a few highlights, the ever unpredictable JASSS makes a notable inclusion with the serene vignette of LP opener, “Parental Youth”, while Jim O’Rourke unfurls 17 minutes of gloaming post-industrial drone with “In Regards”. Label friend Jonathan Uliel Saldanha contributes the tense, searching horns of “Siren Frontier”, and Ectoplasm Girls cook up the grim, thrumming electronics of “Neuropean”. John Duncan parses the airwaves to find the curdling organism of “Shortwave6”, and Frederikke Hoffmeier (Puce Mary) and Jesse Sanes seduce with the narcotic drone-pop of “At The Bottom Of The Night” as JH1.FS3, alongside a powerful rhythmic oddity from Stephen O’Malley, a stark death rattle from Trepaneringsritualen as Týr × Reið × Vend with “nd þau né átto, óð þau né hfðo”, and Norn Iron’s Autumns “Lose It” on a mucky acid ‘floor swill. Cover design by Philip Marshall, mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Also features: Pact Infernal, Vanity Productions, Mokira, Dungeon Acid, Coppice, and Drew St Ivany.
Various: Hong Kong Score (Wan Chai) LP
Wan Chai Records is a Hong Kong-based label, specialized in rare Asian records and quality reissues. For their third release, after a few years of hard digging and historical researches, they went deeper with Hong Kong Score, an introspection into the music of the Chinese cinema industry with a selection of tracks from Hong-Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, specially produced for movies and illustrations. The result is a compilation of 12 totally unknown gems sung mostly in Mandarin and Cantonese, from real deep instrumentals, hip-hop breaks, Ethio-style crazy drums, to heavy bass in the Alain Goraguer style. This is an amazing introduction to ’60s and ’70s Chinese music, an inspiration for beat-makers, and a must-have for novices or Asian vintage music lovers. Features: Yao Su Rong, Lena Lim, Li Tai-Hsiang, Teresa Teng, The Apollo, Yuan Ye San Chong Chang, Soul Dance Music, Li Tai-Hsiang, You Ya, New Wave Orchestra, Chang Siao Ying, and Xian Jin Ren and Zeng Zhong Ying.
File Under: Funk, Molam, Groove
Various: In Death’s Dream Kingdom (Houndstooth) 4LP
Houndstooth, the artist-led label from London’s renowned fabric nightclub and label, delivers a new compilation, In Death’s Dream Kingdom. T.S. Eliot published The Hollow Men in 1925, yet his poem feels as relevant as ever, given its apocalyptic overtones and claustrophobic, despondent air. Twenty six artists producing the cream of leftfield electronic music have been given a brief: to take the phrase In Death’s Dream Kingdom, or the whole of Eliot’s poem as inspiration. The result is a compilation that features original tracks from Lanark Artefax, Pan Daijing, Gazelle Twin, and Fever Ray co-producer Peder Mannerfelt, among others. Vibrating with vivid sonic references, the poem is a feast for the ears, which makes it a ripe subject for musical interpretation. Not an album in the traditional sense, it brings together a seriously diverse array of talents into a coherent whole with a vivid aesthetic reverberating through it. It occupies a similar space to the great home listening electronica acts of the ’90s: FSOL, Global Communication, the Artificial Intelligence axis. But there are no throwbacks here; this is radical in sound and thought. Dark music for dark times. Features the apocalyptic artwork of Rotterdam-based artist Jazz Szu-Ying Chen. Cut and mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Also features: Otto Lindholm, Petit Singe, Tomoko Sauvage, Pye Corner Audio, Sophia Loizou, Abul Mogard, Par Grindvik, Koenraad Ecker, Roly Porter, Hodge, Shapednoise, ASC, Batu, We Will Fail, Peter Van Hoesen, Spatial, Yves De Mey, Mindspan, Kangding Ray, ZOV ZOV, Ian William Craig, and Christophe De Babalon.
Various: Music of Indonesia (Fantome Phonographique) LP
Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 13,000 islands including Java, the world’s most populous island, and Bali, is as diverse as it is large. Having been a crucial stop on international trade routes since as early as the seventh century, the influences on Indonesian musical traditions are deep and wide. Music Of Indonesia, recorded in 1950, is one of the earliest western documents of this rich tradition. Featuring sounds ranging from beautiful Balinese gamelan orchestras and operas to the raw power of katjapi (a variety of boat-lute), and more, this is one of the best glimpses into the Indonesian musical traditions the world will ever see.
File Under: World, Gamelan
Various: New Tape (Sonor) LP
Founded in early ’70s by historical RAI TV trumpeter and composer Cicci Santucci (Looking Around (1971), On The Underground Road (1971)), New Tape grew up during the golden period of Italian music production and was dedicated to experimentation of new forms of sound, always hailing from the solid jazz base of the musicians and inspired by theme music. Andrea Galtieri aka Cavalier Piscopo has sequenced the very best shots from the label’s production and included exclusive liner notes, creating an explosive mix of jazz-rock, bossa, spellbinding grooves, and raw experimental stuff. “A leading figure in the Italian jazz scene, Santucci worked as trumpeter in the legendary RAI TV orchestra for over 20 years. He was renowned for collaborations with such jazz legends as Lionel Hampton, Gato Barbieri, and Kenny Clarke, until his foray into the avant-garde with The Living Music, a project founded by his brother Umberto. During these same years, he took part in important Italian jazz sessions like Looking Around and On The Underground Road, with Enzo Scoppa. It was just around this period that Cicci founded his own label, New Tape. His goal was to dedicate himself to composing library music with a new expression, less linked to hard bop or American standards, but more focused on the sounds of the time that brought the listener closer to modern vibes, like jazz-rock and the avant-garde. Mixed Grill opens this series, by the maestro’s alias, Girosan, along with Lesiman (aka Paolo Renosto). Rengran Mix (1971) and Tropical (1972) followed, with music by Renosto and Romolo Grano. This work gave way to electronic instrumentation, and was built on a rich rhythmical carpet — tropical percussion, rock and blues-inspired vibes, sleazy psych, and jazz improvisations. The label’s most important production was the fourth album, Mirage (1971) by Santucci and Enzo, an explosive mix of elegant jazz, funk, and psychedelia. The last album of the series is Appunti Di Guerra (1971) by the mysterious Ruscigan, an obscure alias which probably belongs to Renosto and Guido Baggiani. This work features complex and dramatic sounds composed for war scenes and gloomy atmospheres, with a large assortment of percussion, distorted effects, and tape manipulation, foreshadowing industrial music. With pressings of only 100 copies per title, New Tape is among the most interesting discoveries to date in terms of original production library music.” –Andrea Galtieri. Edition of 500, 180 gram vinyl in heavy cardboard packaging.
File Under: OST, Library