Hooooboy, loads of great stuff in this week… along with a bunch of Record Store Day stuff too! So, I’m swamped, so keep scrolling and read on, I’m gonna keep pricing stuff. Check our Facebook event for a major update tomorrow for our RSD event.
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…..picks of the week…..
Abul Mogard: And We Are Passing Through Silently (Houndstooth) LP
And We Are Passing Through Silently is the sublime first survey of reworks by cult synthesist, Abul Mogard. Rounding up divine renderings of songs by Aïsha Devi, Penelope Trappes (The Golden Filter), and nick nicely (heralded by luminaries of the US underground Ariel Pink and John Maus), the album culminates with Brian Eno’s collaboration with Irish avant-folk band Fovea Hex. Also included is Abul’s brand new rework of Becoming Animal’s “The Sky Is Ever Falling” starring vocals from Cinder (This Mortal Coil, Cindytalk) and Massimo Pupillo on bass (Zu, Thurston Moore, Stephen O’ Malley). Houndstooth have long been admirers of Abul Mogard’s beautifully stately, romantic melancholia for the best part of this decade. Leading on from Abul Mogard’s Above All Dreams album in 2018 (ELP 037LP), and following veiled live appearances across Europe, And We Are Passing Through Silently offers another tantalizing window onto one of modern synth music’s rarest spirits. A must for fans of Alessandro Cortini, Pye Corner Audio, Fennesz, Gas. Cut and mastered by Matt Colton; Manufactured at Optimal Media, Germany.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
JAB: Erg Herbe (Shelter Press) LP
In 2018, John Also Bennett appeared on three collaborative full-length releases — the CV & JAB album Thoughts Of A Dot As It Travels A Surface for Shelter Press (SHELTER 092LP), a fourth Forma album Semblance for Kranky, and Outside The Disc, a new album for his Seabat project with Forest Christenson. He also appeared on Christina Vantzou’s solo album No. 4. Whilst work continues on these long running collaborations (as well as other projects with artists such as noted minimalist composer/performer Jon Gibson), 2019 will start for John with his first full-length solo release — Erg Herbe. JAB says the record was gestated for nearly a decade while he worked out how to fully express his own sound and ideas. Erg Herbe began to emerge during 2017 and 2018, recorded alone during spare moments between collaborative projects. JAB uses a mixture of synthetic and organic instruments throughout the album, including modified Aphex Twin DX7 presets played using a just intonation tuning system, Eurorack oscillators “tuned according to intuitive structures using intervals of 30 hz,” and a number of flutes including a Chinese “dizi” flute borrowed from his father, noted avant-garde poet and mail-artist John M. Bennett (a contemporary of New York underground poets Richard Kostelanetz and Steve Dalachinsky). Erg Herbe taps into the rich history of New York loft music. He also cites Takehisa Kosugi, Dominique Lawalrée, Jon Gibson, and Pauline Anna Strom as important influences. Beyond the cuts recorded in Brooklyn, there’s also “Chanterai Por Mon Coraige” derived from the 13th century French troubadour song by Guiot de Dijon, on which two flute improvisations upon a theme were recorded blind from each other and then combined afterwards. Appropriately “Chanterai Por Mon Coraige” was recorded inside a decrepit mill in the French countryside at night. The title cut “Erg Herbe” features flute recorded inside Tilapia, a reverberant sculpture by Katsuhito Nishikawa at the Museum Insel Hombroich in Germany, which was then processed and overlaid with synthesizer in New York. “Distant Patterns” juxtaposes dry, pulsating oscillators with pillowy, occasionally dissonant pads, while a raga-like alto flute melody glides and dances over top. “Erg Herbe” in an invented turn of phrase — “erg” being the term for a sea of desert sand dunes, and “herbe” being French for grass — summoning the dreamlike image of a green, rolling dunescape. Artwork by Zin Taylor. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering. 140 gram vinyl; printed inner and outer reverse-board jacket.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Jonny Nash: Make A Wilderness (Music from Memory) LP
Jonny Nash’s Make A Wilderness was created over the course of 2017-2018 and is heavily influenced by descriptions of landscape and environment in the work of authors Shusaku Endo, J.G. Ballard, and Cormac McCarthy. Fragments from a land that is a largely silent place. An ancient place. A non-place. A wilderness.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano: FRKWYS Vol 15: Serenitatem
(RVNG Intl) LP
Serenitatem, the fifteenth installment of RVNG’s intergenerational FRKWYS series, joins Visible Cloaks with Yoshio Ojima and Satsuki Shibano, trailblazers of the Japanese ambient music scene in the 1980s and 1990s. While the music excels on an environmental level familiar in the collective’s individual works, Serenitatem reaches unseen stratums – a pure synthesis of artistic vision, technological sophistication, futurist ambition, and, occasionally, ancient polyphony.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Robert Ashley: Private Parts (Lovely) LP
Lovely Music presents a reissue of Robert Ashley’s Private Parts, originally issued in 1978. This newly mastered LP release is a must-have for aficionados as well as a perfect introductory work to Ashley’s oeuvre. Among Lovely Music’s first six releases, it came to be known as “the yellow record”. No one had ever heard anything like it; Ashley presented an unvarnished exposition of the inner workings of a man’s mind. And on the other side, those of a woman. These two episodes were the foundation for Ashley’s seven-part opera, Perfect Lives (LCD 4917CD, 2017), which was performed by his ensemble throughout the 1980s and was completed for television broadcast by Britain’s Channel Four. New arrangements of Perfect Lives, notably Varispeed’s site-specific version, continue to intrigue and enchant. Recorded at the Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, Oakland, California, July 1977, produced by Ashley. Personnel: Robert Ashley – voice; “Blue” Gene Tyranny – keyboards; Kris – tablas. 180 gram vinyl, Stoughton Old Style sleeve, includes libretto.
File Under: Avant Garde, Sound Poetry, Electronic
Asuna/Jelinek: Signals (Faitiche) LP
Faitiche releases a new collaboration between the Japanese sound artist Asuna and Jan Jelinek: the album Signals Bulletin brings together joint improvisations and compositions made over a period of three years in Berlin, Kyoto, and Kanazawa. Asuna’s meandering organ drones merge with Jelinek’s pulsating synthesizer and field recording loops to create dense superclusters that span broad harmonic arcs. Includes download code. Jan Jelinek on the album (Berlin, 2018): “Watching the Japanese sound artist Asuna playing the organ, some people might be surprised. Asuna is no virtuoso flying over the keyboard in a rage. Instead, with the calm gestures of an office worker, he cuts strips of adhesive tape to the correct length before sticking them onto the keys of his instrument. In this way, large clusters of keys are held down, creating a dense and sustained range of frequencies, while the sound artist continually prepares further sets of keys or removes tape again. I have rarely seen a more convincing performance concept, with such a power to fascinate. I first met Asuna when we both gave a concert at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, his home city. He performed the organ drones as described above and I immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with him. Six years and five meetings later, we completed Signals Bulletin. The album includes both joint improvisations and compositions, recorded in Berlin, Kanazawa and Kyoto. Whether using prepared organ, Casio keyboards, or mechanical plastic toys, Asuna creates rich textures of sound that barely change over long stretches of time. It is a music without breaks. For a while, I was unsure how my loops made using modular synthesizers and live sampling fitted here — until I realized the role I had to take in this duet: I would provide the rhythmically pulsating foundation over which his dense continuums could unfold. The result is harmonically drifting superclusters that put us into a meditation-like state. It can perhaps be compared to Automatic Writing — a mode of creative expression floating somewhere between concentration and distraction . . . It is no coincidence that Asuna owns a collection of Doodle Art — drawings jotted down during conversations or while talking on the phone . . . The artwork for Signals Bulletin features pictures from the collection, in this case sheets of paper from the pads provided in stationery shops to test out pens…”
File Under: Electronic
David Behrman: On The Other Ocean (Lovely) LP
Lovely Music present a reissue of David Behrman’s On the Other Ocean, originally issued as one of Lovely Music’s first six releases in 1978. This newly-mastered LP is a must-have for Behrman aficionados or a perfect introduction to his work. “I’ve been engaged for many years in an exploration of ways to make music and intermedia installations in which software and electronic devices interact with human performers. I’ve wanted to make works that have personalities, which remain distinct and recognizable, yet are open to surprising changes that can come about when they are performed or exhibited.” –David Behrman “Remarkable achievements on a purely technological level. Behrman’s carefully programmed Kim-I system listens to tones played by the live performers, instantly analyzes the situation, and responds by playing back electronic tones of its own. This is undoubtedly the first time that humans and electronic sound equipment have communicated with one another with high degrees of spontaneity and intelligence on both ends of the wire. But the music that results is perhaps even more remarkable. Subtle, sustained, serene, sophisticated, super.” –Tom Johnson, The Village Voice, Dec. 18, 1978 Recorded at the Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, Oakland, California, Sept. 18, 1977, and at the Electronic Music Studio, State University of New York at Albany, June 9, 1977. Personnel: On the Other Ocean: David Behrman – electronics; Maggi Payne – flute; Arthur Stidfole – bassoon Figure in a Clearing: David Behrman – electronics; David Gibson – cello. 180 gram vinyl, Stoughton Old Style sleeve.
File Under: Jazz, Psych
David Bowie: Spying Through a Keyhole (Parlophone) 4×7” Box
With 2019 marking 50 years since David Bowie’s first hit, “Space Oddity,” Parlophone delivers a 7″ vinyl singles boxed set of nine previously unreleased recordings from the era during which “Space Oddity” was first conceived. The title Spying Through a Keyhole is a lyric taken from the previously unknown song “Love All Around” and though most of the other titles are known, these versions have never been officially released until late in 2018. Most of the recordings are solo vocal and acoustic home demo performances, unless otherwise stated. The photography that adorns the box front and the print inside is by Ray Stevenson and was taken in Tony Visconti’s flat in the summer of 1968. The design of each single label is presented to reflect the way David sent many of his demos to publishers and record companies, featuring his own handwritten song titles on EMIDISC acetate labels. The singles themselves are all mono and play at 45 RPM. Due to the nature of some of the solo home demos where Bowie accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, the recording quality isn’t always of a usual studio fidelity. This is partly due to Bowie’s enthusiastic strumming hitting the red on a couple of the tracks, along with the limitations of the original recording equipment and tape degradation. However, the historical importance of these songs and the fact that the selections are from an archive of tracks cleared for release by Bowie, overrides this shortcoming.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Brian Jonestown Massacre: s/t (A Recordings) LP
The Brian Jonestown Massacre burst into 2019 with the release of their 18th full-length album, just seven months after their last one, Something Else (AUK 043CD/LP). The self-titled, nine-track album is released on Anton Newcombe’s A Recordings, and it was recorded and produced at Anton’s Cobra Studio in Berlin. The album was originally going to be released in September of 2018, but due to a hugely successful global tour — taking in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe — the release was delayed. Recorded in early 2018, the album features Sara Neidorf on drums, Heike Marie Radeker (LeVent) on bass, Hakon Adalsteinsson (BJM, Third Sound, Gunman, Holy Ghost) on guitar, and Anton Newcombe on multiple instruments. Also making a guest vocal appearance on “Tombes Oubliées” is Rike Bienert who has sung on previous BJM albums. The band performed songs from the album throughout the European leg of the 2018 tour. Anton Newcombe has been a very busy man over the past few years, having released four critically-acclaimed Brian Jonestown Massacre albums and an EP, one soundtrack album, and two albums with Tess Parks. All releases were fully recorded and produced at Anton’s studio. The Brian Jonestown Massacre track “Bon Bon” was used in the 2015 Palm D’Or winner Dheepan. Anton penned the soundtrack for Moon Dogs, a film directed by multi-BAFTA nominated Philip John (Svengali, Downton Abbey, Being Human).
File Under: Rock, Psych
Caretaker: Everywhere at the End of Time – Stage 6 (History Always Favours The Winners) LP
The Caretaker dispatches the final scene of a 20 year-long act that has uncannily lurked in the shadows of so many of our listening lives. Clad for the last time in Ivan Seal’s specially commissioned artwork, this final stage sees The Caretaker mirroring the ultimate descent into dementia and oblivion, again using a patented prism of sound to connote a final, irreversible transition into the haunted ballroom of the mind that he first stepped into in 1999. The project really took on new dimensions in 2005 with the 72-track, six-CD boxset Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia, which was accompanied by an insightful unpackaging of its ideas by cultural critic Mark Fisher, aka K-Punk; a stalwart of the project who identified it (alongside music from Burial and Broadcast) among the most vital, emergent works of hauntological art — a form of music often preoccupied with ideas about memory and nostalgia (but one distinct from pastiche), and the way that they possibly overwhelm, occlude, or even define our sense of being. By using fusty samples from an obsolete analog format, and by doing so in the second decade of the second millennium, The Caretaker perfectly and perversely bent ideas of anticipation/expectation with his arrangements, playing with notions of convention and repetition. The project crystallized as a real gesamtkunstwerk for these times, and one arguably defined by a stubborn and intractably chronic drive against the grain of modern popular culture, or even a refusal of it. And so to the project’s final goodbye. With the outside world muted, and only the timbral residue remaining like smoke, everything moves as slow as a Lynchian dream sequence, until a conclusion so ineffably sublime occurs that can’t be mentioned for fear of it waking up. With his departure, you’ll just take respite in the fact that The Caretaker was always there, inverting the world and supplying space and time and theory for thought, prompting you to dwell on the realest and darkest matters via the prism of the surreal and the unreal in a way that, in the long-run, can prove to be more effective at grasping the immediate state of cultural amnesia and the world’s increasingly tight feedback loops, and arguably bring us to the realization that it’s all a hyper-complex mess beyond anyone’s conception, but we must at least attempt to try and understand, no matter how futile it seems. Mastered and cut by Lupo.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Chasman: Synth-e-Fuge (Numero) LP
From the blown-out motherboard of West Philadelphia’s Master Control Programmers, Charles Grossman broke off to explore his own personal outer space experience. With just a DW-8000 to keep him company, University City’s loneliest cyborg issued this eight song electro-mellow statement in 1989. Spectral synths, pulsating programming, and yes – a keytar – set the soundtrack to your next game of Spyhunter. Jam on to a sound more sophisticated.
File Under: Electronic
Shana Cleveland: Night of the Worm Moon (Hardy Art) LP
Shana Cleveland has been beguiling listeners for years in her role as the superlative frontwoman for elastic surf rockers La Luz. Now Cleveland is evolving her sound on the new solo full-length Night of the Worm Moon, a serene album that flows like a warm current while simultaneously wresting open a portal to another dimension. As much a work of California sci-fi as Octavia Butler’s Parable novels, Night of the Worm Moon incorporates everything from alternate realities to divine celestial bodies. Inspired in part by one of her musical idols, the Afro-futurist visionary Sun Ra (the album’s title is a tip of the hat to his 1970 release Night of the Purple Moon), the record blends pastoral folk with cosmic concerns. Cleveland dreamt up this premise while living in Los Angeles, a city where – as deftly explored on La Luz’s recent Floating Features – reality and fantasy casually co-exist. One particularly evocative scene laid the groundwork for Night of the Worm Moon’s psychedelic undercurrents. As Cleveland tells it, “Shortly after I moved to Los Angeles I went to a hip hotel to watch a poolside screening of a documentary about a local alien-worshiping cult. Out front celebrities were getting out of the backs of cars and rushing past autograph hounds into some roped-off room where a secret dinner was about to commence. In the lobby a woman was being paid to exist inside a glass box. [Then] a car dressed as a spaceship pulled up in front to release 30 white doves into the sky above Sunset Boulevard.” Appropriately enough, Night of the Worm Moon was recorded during a rare cosmic occurrence: 2017’s solar eclipse. “We took a break from recording during [the] totality and looked at the sun’s image through a piece of cardboard projecting onto a garbage can,” Cleveland says. “When we came back inside the studio was covered in dozens of tiny crescent suns, refracted from a mirrored disco ball that [engineer Johnny Goss] had hanging in a window.” Abetting Cleveland during the recording process was a familiar gallery of co-conspirators: multi-instrumentalist Will Sprott of Shannon & the Clams, original La Luz bassist Abbey Blackwell, Goss, pedal steel player Olie Eshelman, and Kristian Garrard, who drummed on Cleveland’s previous solo effort (with then-backing band The Sandcastles), 2011’s Oh Man, Cover the Ground. But whereas that album was internal and contemplative, Night of the Worm Moon occupies a different, vibrant kind of headspace. UFO sightings, insect carcasses, and twilight dimensions are all grist for Cleveland’s restless creativity, and they and other inspirations collide beautifully on the album’s 10 kaleidoscopic tracks – a spacebound transmission from America’s weirdo frontier.
File Under: Indie Rock
Clock DVA: Horology 3 (Vinyl on Demand) 4LP Box
Horology III: Tape, Reel – Recordings & Art 1978-1980 is a comprehensive approach to recondition the early years of Clock DVA. During these periods of late 1977 through to late 1979 prior to the release of White Souls In Black Suits on Industrial Records, Clock DVA recorded a large catalogue of material some of which was issued in very limited edition on cassette releases only. Horology I contains among other recordings Lomticks Of Time, 2nd Tape, Sex Works Beyond Entanglement, Fragment, which were all recorded during this period alongside the recordings here on Horology III, and additionally on Horology II. It is with these three Clock DVA Horology editions that an understanding and a realization will begin regarding the true nature and position of Clock DVA in the history of industrial and experimental music. Clock DVA’s earlier electronic experimental work is fragmented and incomplete. To see the whole picture, the Horology collections are essential in mapping the formulation and the morphology of Clock DVA, and the occult influence which was derived from their work. Four-LP box comes in slipcase folder on black Vinyl; Includes shirt.
File Under: Experimental, Industrial, Electronic
Comet Is Coming: Trust in the Lifeforce (Impulse) LP
The Comet Is Coming – “an improvisational, intergalactic mash-up” (The Guardian) who were shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize in 2016 – is comprised of King Shabaka (Shabaka Hutchings) on saxophone, Danalogue (Dan Leavers) on keys/synth, and Betamax (Max Hallett) on drums. With their new album, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery, the trio envisage a 21st Century take on spiritual jazz that is part Alice Coltrane, part Bladerunner. The trio are nothing short of alchemists, concocting a primordial stew of taut beats, sub-bass, and unhinged sax breaks. They paint pictures of astral planes and neon seas, with driving beats and celestial melodies. Listen to the pulsing “Blood Of The Past,” on which guest vocalist Kate Tempest delivers a state-of-the-universe address that somehow simultaneously summons the spirits of William Blake, Ian Dury, Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, all with wide-eyed awestruck wonder. Or “Summon The Fire,” perhaps their most accessible, riotous, and air-punching moment to date.
File Under: Jazz, Improv
Alvin Curran: Canti Iluminati (Blume) LP
Blume present the first vinyl reissue of Alvin Curran’s Canti Illuminati, originally released in 1982. Between diverse polarities of experimental practice, from free improvisation and modern classical composition, to primitivism, electronic music, and extended techniques, for more than half a century Alvin Curran has stood as beacon in the landscape of organized sound. From his efforts within Musica Elettronica Viva, the collective which he helped found in 1966 with Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum, to those as a solo-performer and composer, his sounds and ideas have effected immeasurable change. Canti Illuminati, composed and recorded between 1973 and 1977, stands as one of the great documents from the golden era of Curran’s singular brand of creative radicalism — combining a deep sense of social and political consciousness, with creative humanism and visionary compositional ideas. A bridge between the American and European traditions of experimental music, Canti Illuminati is Curran’s tribute to the human voice, “the most natural source of music”, and it delves toward the very origins of music itself. In lyrical and poetic form, it rethinks the possibilities and potential of organized sound, seeking something fundamentally human. Standing apart from canonical definition, it contributes to a more complex and nuanced understanding of minimalism. Consciously conceived by Curran for the format of the LP, the album takes form as a single work in two parts: “Canti Illuminati [For Choir, Synthesizer, Piano And Tape]”, a structured choral improvisation, built from the contributions and voices of Alessandro Bruno, Antonella Talamonti, Antonio Cesareni, David Thorner, Elisabetta Bordes-Page, Giorgio Caruano, Luca Miti, Manuela Garroni, Nicola Bernardini, Pierluigi Castellano, and Sista Carandini; and “Canti Illuminati [For Voice, Synthesizer, Tape]”, which Curran realized as a solo performer with his own voice, tape-delayed feedback, and a Serge synthesizer and sequencer. Sinfully under celebrated and all too rarely heard since its initial release, Canti Illuminati remains a profoundly compelling and moving body of sound. a landscape of sustained tone, rippling texture, and structural intervention. Necessity stripped to the elemental, while challenging, endlessly surprising, and complex. Brand new, expanded liner text written by Bradford Bailey. Fully remastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.
File Under: Avant Garde
Nitai Dasgupta: Songs of India (Manufactured) LP
“Manufactured Recordings reissues Songs Of India from prominent vocalist Nitai Dasgupta originally released on Vic Keary’s underground label, Mushroom Records, in the early ’70s. While Keary’s background was in reggae, Mushroom Records dabbled in recording a bit of everything. Mostly known for hyper-rare psych, prog and acid folk, Nitai Dasgupta fits in perfectly with their British psych and prog label mates like Simon Finn, Magic Carpet, and Chillum. Nitai Dasgupta was one of the most talented Indian classical singers in Great Britain. His sweetness and flexibility created a unique style complemented by his melodious voice and composing abilities. Songs Of India pleases the lovers of Indian classical and semi-classical music while enticing pop and folk lovers. This LP even caught the ears of acclaimed electronic artist, Four Tet, who featured track ‘Cham Cham Cham Cham’ on his NTS Radio show. ‘I inherited the Nital Dasgupta LP from my grandfather. I’ve no idea how he came to have it and after he died it sat on a shelf for many years before I found it and gave it a listen.’ – Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet.”
File Under: India
Dexter Story: Bahir (Soundway) LP
Dexter Story is an artistic spirit in the truest sense of the phrase. From his work as a multi-instrumentalist for acts like the Sa-Ra Creative Partners, to his management role with Snoop Dogg and his turn producing Daymé Arocena’s 2017 album Cubafonia, Story understands the business from every conceivable angle. Initially inspired by the music and cultures pervasive throughout the Horn of Africa, Story translated his experiences there into his previous album Wondem, followed closely by the single “Wejene Aola” featuring jazz luminary Kamasi Washington, both on Soundway Records. If Wondem was a brief glance into Story’s new creative vision, Bahir is a pinpoint refinement of that purpose, the fine-tuning and expanding of the world he created on his Soundway debut. On Bahir, Story steps in front of those influences and melds his world into the one he fell in love with so strongly while in Africa. One way in which he’s done so is by incorporating musicians from both sides of this coin. LA luminaries are featured throughout, as are African contemporaries he encountered throughout his travels. Sudan Archives gives a show-stealing vocal performance on “Gold”, while the Ethiopian producer Endeguena Mulu adds impenetrable and psychedelic texture to the album’s title track. So Bahir finds the polymath musician not stuck between two worlds, but as a member of both. We get Ethiopian jazz tonalities, Tuareg grooves, ekista dance rhythms, Afro-funk, Somalian soul, and forays into more contemporary jazz rhythms, too. Angelenos like Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Josef Leimberg give the record its backbone, while African artists like the Ethiopian singer Hamelmal Abate give Bahir its glimmer and shine. Also features Kibrom Birhane, Jimetta Rose, Haile Supreme, and Marie Daulne. For fans of: Sudan Archives, Kamasi Washington, Laraaji, Carlos Niño, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Zap Mama, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Josef Leimberg.
File Under: Jazz, Funk, Psych, Kamasi Washington
Luc Ferrari: Music Promenade/Unheimlich Schon (ReGRM) LP
“Music Promenade” (1964-1969): Electroacoustic Music, world premiere for the Théâtre de la musique, March 16, 1970 “Hétéro-Concert”. Permanent version for four stand-alone tape recorders. A series of colliding realistic sounds and sonic images. Whilst walking, a man is struck by the violence of his surroundings. Nature has disappeared in a whirlwind of warfare and industry in the midst of which he encounters a dying folklore and a lost young girl. The “Installation” version is used to sonify a place in which walkers are free to choose their musical itinerary. “Unheimlich Schön” (1971): Musique concrète made in 1971 in the studios of the Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden. Voice: Ilse Mengel. “How does a young woman breathe when thinking about something else?” To be listened to at a low volume. Translations by Valérie Vivancos. Layout by Stephen O’Malley; Photos by Jacques Brissot, ARR. Coordination GRM by François Bonnet. Remerciements by Brunhild Ferrari. Executive Production by Peter Rehberg; Digital transfer by Jonathan Fitoussi and Diego Losa; Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin, November 2018.
File Under: Avant Garde, Early Electonic, Electroacoustic
Lee Fields & The Expressions: It Rains Love (Big Crown) LP
At the corner of Living Legend St. and OG Ave. you will find Lee Fields’ house. A home that was built with blood, sweat, and tears, and stands on the unshakable foundation of his God given talent. Lee has been singing for 50 plus years and is undeniably, yet amazingly, at the top of his game. Those who have paid attention know that Lee is part of the class that is directly responsible for the revival of old school funk and soul. He has inspired many of today’s younger artists who are doing their best to carry the torch. As long as the road has been, and heavy as the crown may be, Fields is proving yet again that he’s “still got it” and his latest offering is sure to be a warmly received instant classic. It Rains Love is the second album by Lee Fields & The Expressions on Brooklyn’s Big Crown Records and gives us yet another masterclass in soul. Teaming up again with frequent collaborator and producer Leon Michels and his devoted band, The Expressions, they have managed once again to take a classic approach and update it. Traditional soul sensibilities are mixed with a hip-hop tinged, sample ready sound that is as much an homage to the old as to the new. Some of the songs sound like they could belong to any of the last four decades without it feeling like a throwback, while others are 60’s soul through and through. Lyrically, Lee runs the gamut from gushing admonishments of love to politically charged calls to action, from proclamations of God’s existence to love letters written to his wife. This record marks the fifth studio album from Lee Fields & the Expressions and Big Crown is proud to add it to the already impeccable catalog they’ve created together. Another strong offering by a man many people consider to be a national treasure, the professor of love himself, Mr. Lee Fields. It’s all love baby!
File Under: Funk, Soul
Davy Graham: Hat (Bread & Wine) LP
“Davy Graham is recognized as an early influential figure on the 1960’s British folk scene, where he inspired many famous practitioners of the fingerstyle acoustic guitar such as Bert Jansch, Paul Simon, John Martyn and indeed Jimmy Page. Not one to be categorised Graham could be seen as a true world music artist covering the genres of folk, blues and jazz. He also popularized DADGAD tuning, later widely adopted by many acoustic guitarists. Released in 1969 Davy noted that the fourteen selections on Hat were intended to please ‘not only blues and folk fans but all those of the new breed who are just taking up modern music’. Recorded with double bassist Danny Thompson of Pentangle, whose long career included years with Richard Thompson and John Martyn, the record features a couple classical finger-busters, two Muddy Waters’ numbers (both actually written by Willie Dixon), two by Paul Simon (a good friend of his at the time), along with some of his ‘pop’ and jazz favourites of the day. Remastered, with liner notes by David Fricke.”
File Under: Folk, Guitar
Davy Graham: Midnight Man (Bread & Wine) LP
“Davy Graham is recognized as an early influential figure on the 1960s British folk scene, where he inspired many famous practitioners of the fingerstyle acoustic guitar such as Bert Jansch, Paul Simon, John Martyn and indeed Jimmy Page. Not one to be categorised Graham could be seen as a true world music artist covering the genres of folk, blues and jazz. He also popularized DADGAD tuning, later widely adopted by many acoustic guitarists. Midnight Man was Davy’s 2nd solo release for Decca and showed notable growth as he was actively changing and extending himself musically. The playing here was more extroverted and more aggressive, musically, a result of his increased experience and growing maturity as an artist. Recorded following his travels to Ibiza, through the Aegean and on to Constantinople, he was deeply influenced by the sounds he heard, and — in contrast — was experimenting with amplification. The resulting work was rich in its experimental approach to conventional blues and modern jazz pieces, and his incredible excursion with Lalo Schifrin’s ‘The Fakir’ was the instrumental ‘hit’ on this album, just as ‘Maajun’ was on his groundbreaking Folk Blues and Beyond record. Remastered, with liner notes by David Fricke.”
File Under: Folk, Guitar
Gramm: Personal Rock (Faitiche) LP
Twenty years ago, Jan Jelinek’s debut album Personal Rock was released by Source Records (1999). Under the pseudonym Gramm, it brings together eight tracks that have not been available on vinyl since their original release. Faitiche presents the re-release of the album: Personal Rock will appear as a double-LP, featuring the original cover artwork. Includes download code. What people wrote about Personal Rock two decades ago: “Situated somewhere between Jelinek’s much loved Loop-Finding Jazz Records, Farben, Move D’s Conjoint project and Atom Heart’s most immersive work for Rather Interesting, it’s a late night album full of subtle production tricks and melodic house structures that belong to the pre-millennial IDM heyday, but which transcend its overly-masculine templates.” –Boomkat “A serene little masterpiece.” –De:Bug “Though many producers have pushed forward the clicks-and-cuts style of experimental ambience developed by German experimentalists Oval (among others), few have been able to match their knack for making abstract cuts into pieces of undeniable beauty. Jan Jelinek’s first LP as Gramm is one of the precious few, and it’s obvious from the opener.” –AllMusic “Organized in organic structures and minimal movements, the tracks get into utopian states and super-desirable moods, offering superior contentedness and dependable taste of the kind seldom sustained for a whole album. (…) Subway-Escalator-Soul.” –Spex
File Under: Electronic, IDM
Om Klasoum: Alf Leila Wa Leila (Souma) LP
Souma Records present a vinyl reissue of Om Kalsoum’s Alf Leila Wa Leila, originally released in 1969. They call her “The Rose of the Nile”, “The Queen of the Nile”, “The Daughter of the Nile”, or even “The 4th Pyramid of Egypt” since she’s known as the greatest Egyptian singer of all times. Om Kalsoum’s mythical life story of a poor peasant girl who grew up to become the face of Egypt is a 20th-century fairytale. Almost half a decade after her death the power of her music and singing is still moving the hearts of millions of people worldwide. At the end of her overwhelming career she was introduced to the young but brilliant composer Baligh Hamdy who wrote this 30-minute lasting monument for her in 1969. In the footsteps of Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the godfather of Egyptian modern music, Baligh Hamdy refreshed the classical Egyptian orchestra sound with the addition of stylish instruments like electric guitar (Omar Khorshid), organ (Hany Mehanna), accordion, and horns that were adapted to the eastern tonal system. The studio version of this immortal “Alf Leila We Leila” must undeniably be archived under the best recordings ever made in music history. A Radio Martiko product.
File Under: Egypt, Middle East
Om Klasoum: El Hob Kollo (Souma) LP
Souma Records present a vinyl reissue of Om Kalsoum’s El Hob Kollo, originally released in 1971. They call her “The Rose of the Nile”, “The Queen of the Nile”, “The Daughter of the Nile”, or even “The 4th Pyramid of Egypt” since she’s known as the greatest Egyptian singer of all times. Om Kalsoum’s mythical life story of a poor peasant girl who grew up to become the face of Egypt is a 20th-century fairytale. Almost half a decade after her death the power of her music and singing is still moving the hearts of millions of people worldwide. At the end of her overwhelming career she was introduced to the young but brilliant composer Baligh Hamdy who wrote this 30-minute lasting monument for her in 1970. In the footsteps of Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the godfather of Egyptian modern music, Baligh Hamdy refreshed the classical Egyptian orchestra sound with the addition of stylish instruments like electric guitar (Omer Khorshid), organ (Hany Mehanna), accordion, and horns that were adapted to the eastern tonal system. Together with the immortal Alf Leila We Leila (SMR 001LP), El Hob Kollo must undeniably be archived under the best recordings ever made in music history. A Radio Martiko product. High-quality pressing in vintage inside out die-cut sleeve; printed inner sleeve with liner notes.
File Under: Egypt, Middle East
Regis Renouard Lariviere: Contree (ReGRM) LP
“Allégeance Volatile” and “Esquive” each tackle the same issue in their own way. Overcoming time: whether it be successive, additional, enumerative, or repetitive. However, there is nothing here about the ensuing nature of so-called “repetitive” music. These are types of high-end music. And it is more about insistence, the obstinacy of an individual who keeps knocking on a door that will never open. The rustic drumming of “Allégeance”, talkative, acidulous, colorful, and over-articulated, with almost clownish desinences, eventually dies out in this very respite. The iterative and puffy shimmering of “Esquive” with its dull, thin and precise sounds, shifts and is engulfed into another sonic world — which appears as a gaping and collapsed response to this prime insistency. This is, indeed, a “volatile allegiance” and “avoidance” from the sonic to the musical elements: the musical phenomenon anticipated and pursued as the non-sound of sound — or, in other words, the void of sound. This seems to be the lesson of the concrete attitude in music. Such is the kind of questioning that stirs the composer. He returns with another title: “Contrée”, which, once again, speaks of a counter-event. Here, the movement is broader, more generous, more confident. Time spreads and stretches out. What seems to be a landscape of entanglements, trajectories, influx, masses, and points emerges. “Something” rises and presents itself out of the sounds — these escaping beings, these “relatively short combustion flames” (Schaeffer). The piece consists of five consecutive and uninterrupted parts: “Entrée” and “Stance I” — “Véhémence De L’air” and “Stance II” — “Grande Allure”. It is the central section of an electroacoustic triptych with Sables (2011) as the first and Nil (2017) as the last. “Contrée” is dedicated to Philippe Mion, whose friendly ears have been entrusted with my music for so many years. Translations by Valérie Vivancos. Layout by Stephen O’Malley; Photos by Stéphane Ouzounoff and Bernard Bruges-Renard. Coordination GRM by François Bonnet. Executive Production by Peter Rehberg; Mastering by Mathias Durand; Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin, November 2018.
File Under: Early Electronic, Avant Garde
Oh Sees: The Cool Death of Island Raiders (Castle Face) LP
The denizens of Castle Face are not afraid to get their shins dirty mucking around in the stacks and they’re well aware of an out-of-press gap of Oh Sees releases right before 2006 when they started the label with Sucks Blood. They’re rectifying that and first among these is The Cool Death of Island Raiders, a particularly dusty gem that merits another look. Kicking off the record with what should have been the hit of the summer that year but for the hard C in the title, “The Gilded Cunt” seems to clearly preface Oh Sees’ later psych-skewed pop sensibilities. Chirping birds, gently lapping tempos and the nascent harmonization of Bridgid Dawson and John Dwyer detail a definitive highlight of their early quiet period of the band. The tree hangs heavy with Patrick Mullins’ handiwork, manning the musical saw, drums, and an assortment of home made electronics. It seemed a bit radical to be so quiet about it, but the tunes are total ear-worms among the assorted drones, cut-up bits of tape noise, and mellow front porch-vibes, and the whole thing hangs together in a lovely hand-made way, helped in no small part by Dave Sitek’s production (he would later work on Master’s Bedroom as well). “We flew Brigid out a fresh woman and literally sent her home on a plane with a trash bag of her clothes” says Dwyer. Evidently the whole record was accidentally erased at some point right around when the photo on the back of the jacket was taken, which makes it all the more remarkable that the result sounds so casually and confidently careworn.
File Under: Garage, Psych
Partner: Saturday the 14th (You’ve Changed) LP
Partner is the Ontario, Canada-based best friend duo of Josée Caron and Lucy Niles. Born of their fortuitous friendship, Partner confidently harnesses the infinite power of rock to explore a variety of niche yet strangely universal themes. Influenced by acts as varied as Tegan and Sara, Melissa Etheridge, Ween, kd lang, and Aerosmith, Partner delivers a refreshing and vital twist on a classic, prompting you to re-think what you thought was possible in rock. Despite the success of their 2017 debut, In Search of Lost Time, Partner is committed to exploring and breaking down the limits of their minds in the name of rock. Follow-up Saturday the 14th represents the first steps towards a bold new future: the listener will find the band questioning the rules and questioning themselves, and, if they listen closely, a few tantalizing hints for what lies in store next.
File Under: Indie Rock
Phew/Oren Ambarchi/Jim O’Rourke: Patience Soup (Black Truffle) LP
Patience Soup presents the entirety of a live performance from the trio of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, and Japanese underground legend Phew that took place at the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center on November 4th, 2015. Known to many listeners outside Japan primarily for her early collaborations with members of Can, Phew has been undergoing something of a creative renaissance in the last few years, prolifically recording and releasing a body of work that strips away the band arrangements present on most of her past releases to focus solely on her raw DIY electronics and possessed vocal stylings. Forming a perfect companion to 2017’s well-received Voice Hardcore, a series of pieces composed of only her processed voice that saw Phew push her work into the most abstract terrain yet, Patience Soup finds the trio inhabiting an uneasy landscape of moans, howls, and smeared electronic sonorities. Presented in atmosphere-enhancing room fidelity, the set begins in crunching textural abstraction and Phew’s vocal asides, set against a backdrop of Ambarchi’s shimmering Leslie-cabinet guitar tones and O’Rourke’s synthetic slivers. A testament to the risk-taking prowess of these three master improvisers, the performance moves organically from ecstatic crescendos powered by Phew’s processed wails to moments of near-silence in which a translucent veil of lingering electronic tones is gently punctuated by O’Rourke’s chiming piano chords. Constantly shifting, both harmonically and dynamically, Patience Soup is suffused throughout with a haunted energy and shows these three established figures continuing to venture out into uncharted territory. Presented in a deluxe sleeve with stunning images by Traianos Pakioufakis and an inner sleeve with live pics from Mike Kubeck. Design by Stephen O’Malley. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
File Under: Experimental, Ambient
Ragnarok: s/t (Silence) LP
Silence present a vinyl reissue of Ragnarök’s self-titled debut album, originally released on the same label in 1976. Some music never becomes dated and this debut record by Ragnarök from Kalmar in Sweden is just filled with that kind of music. Many listeners have tried to describe the music they have carried in their hearts throughout a whole life or just discovered. They all say it does not sound like anything else they have heard, some say it sounds like looking at water, others that is sounds like morning dew or a rippling brook and that it gives a calming joyful feeling. Some hold it as a jewel, a romantic diamond, a treasure that only they have discovered. The lingering melodies are built around a minor key with guitars in harmony, flute, electric piano, bass and drums. There is something unrelieved, a feeling of expectations where you can be at rest. Since 1976 this music has had faithful listeners but has also found its way to new listeners in all of Europe as well as Japan, South Korea, New Zeeland, Venezuela, Australia. Silence always get questions from all over as to where to buy it — so here it is. Original sound engineer Anders Lind has put his sensitive hands on this remastered version. Today, there are six groups named Ragnarök, but this Swedish Ragnarök was the first and has little or nothing in common with the others. Time to reclaim the name.
File Under: Folk, Prog
Seaside Lovers: Memories in Beach House (Ship to Shore) LP
Originally released in 1983 and never reissued on vinyl, Ship to Shore PhonoCo is proud to present the jazz fusion masterpiece that is Memories in Beach House. With music by legends Akira Inoue, Hiroshi Sato and Masataka Matsutoya (performing under the name Seaside Lovers), the album weaves a tapestry of island beats and rhythms that will transport you to another place and another time. From the lush production of Lovers Paradise to the emotionally stirring strings of Blue Memories, if you close your eyes and listen very closely, we’re sure you’re bound to hear a wave or two in the background. Highly sought after on the vinyl aftermarket since it was released, we are happy to offer this under-recognized gem to the public again! Newly remastered by Sony Music for this release, after spinning this one you’ll agree it’s never sounded better! This release includes an LP on blue vinyl and a 24’’x 24’’ foldout poster.
File Under: Japan, Pop, Lounge, Tropical
Ty Segall & The Freedom Band: Deforming Lobes (Drag City) LP
An all analog production of TY SEGALL & THE FREEDOM BAND recorded live on stage at Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles by STEVE ALBINI (via mobile unit onto two-inch tape!) and mixed with Steve in Chicago at Electrical Audio, Deforming Lobes witnesses the blunt-force traumpact of The Freedom Band in full effect, updating (and upending) numbers from Melted, Emotional Mugger, Twins, Manipulator, $ingle$ 2 and Self-Titled. From the start, the “Warm Hands” suite shows the growth of the group since recording the original version for the 2017 Self-Titled album—the jam has a new life all its own, and the band explores every song with similar unrestrained curiosity, never forgetting the collective experience they’re sharing. The feeling between audience and band at Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom on those January nights was its own special thing; here, the band is somehow even more front and center, making Deforming Lobes the first wholly original statement from The Freedom Band and bookending the Goblin experience with a fuck of an exclamation point.
File Under: Garage, Punk, Psych
Pandit Kanwar Sain Trika: Three Sitar Pieces (Manufactured) LP
“Manufactured Recordings reissues Three Sitar Pieces by trained instrumentalist Pandit Kanwar Sain Trikha, originally released on Vic Keary’s underground label, Mushroom Records, in the early ’70s. While Vic Keary’s background was in reggae, Mushroom Records dabbled in recording a bit of everything. Mostly known for hyper-rare psych, prog and acid folk, Pandit Kanwar Sain Trikha’s LP fits in perfectly with their British psych and prog label mates like Simon Finn, Magic Carpet, and Chillum. Pandit Kanwar Sain Trikha, known for his fine-tuned skills on the sitar, showcases his virtuosity on Three Sitar Pieces. The exploration of his musical energy and verve is apparent in every note. Delicate, bold, sweet or even querulous various rhythmical flashes set the mood while he emanates supreme confidence and accomplishment on the sitar.”
File Under: India, Psych
Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising (Sub Pop) LP
The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down – there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood aka Natalie Mering, has designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist. Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising – which was written and recorded during the first half of 2018, after three albums and years of touring – as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.” The Weyes Blood frontwoman grew up singing in gospel and madrigal choirs. Listen closely to Titanic Rising, and you’ll also hear the jazz of Hoagy Carmichael mingle with the artful mysticism of Alejandro Jodorowsky and the monomyth of scholar Joseph Campbell. “Something to Believe,” a confessional that makes judicious use of the slide guitar, touches on that cosmological upbringing. “Belief is something all humans need. Shared myths are part of our psychology and survival,” she says. “Now we have a weird mishmash of capitalism and movies and science. There have been moments where I felt very existential and lost.” As a kid, she filled that void with Titanic. (Yes, the movie.) “It was engineered for little girls and had its own mythology,” she explains. Mering also noticed that the blockbuster romance actually offered a story about loss born of man’s hubris. “It’s so symbolic that The Titanic would crash into an iceberg, and now that iceberg is melting, sinking civilization.” Today, this hubris also extends to the relentless adoption of technology, at the expense of both happiness and attention spans. But Weyes Blood isn’t one to stew. Her observations play out in an ethereal saunter: far more meditative than cynical. To Mering, listening and thinking are concurrent experiences. “There are complicated influences mixed in with more relatable nostalgic melodies,” she says. “In my mind my music feels so big, a true production. I’m not a huge, popular artist, but I feel like one when I’m in the studio. But it’s never taking away from the music. I’m just making a bigger space for myself.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Various: Bunny Lee: Dreads Enter the Gates with Praise (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records presents this new collection featuring the heavy ’70s roots reggae of Bunny Lee – a living legend, one of the last of the great Jamaican record producers who helped shape and define reggae music in the 1970s from a small island sound into an internationally successful musical genre. Featuring some of the heaviest Jamaican artists including Johnny Clarke, King Tubby, Dillinger, Prince Jazzbo, Tommy McCook, The legendary Aggrovators (featuring Sly and Robbie), The Mighty Diamonds and more, the album is a rollercoaster ride of rare, deep and classic ’70s roots, dub and DJ sounds. Most of the recordings featured here come from the mid-70s, a time when Bunny Lee was definitely ‘in the zone,’ releasing heavyweight singles at an almost unstoppable rate. Bunny Lee’s career stretches over five decades and he has upwards of 2,000 production credits on vinyl. Available as a massive triple vinyl LP set with full sleevenotes.
File Under: Reggae
Various: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More With Feeling (Mondo) LP
Mondo, in conjunction with Fox Music, is proud to present the premiere vinyl pressing of the soundtrack to the classic Buffy The Vampire Slayer musical episode, “Once More With Feeling.” This sixth season fan favorite mixes up the show’s classic formula by introducing a series of seemingly innocuous musical numbers performed by the townsfolk of Sunnydale. It turns out, however, this is caused by the arrival of a demon named Sweet, who has more sinister plans for the titular Vampire Slayer, and her sister Dawn. Available for the first time in over 15 years, and for the first time on wax, this reissue features original art by Paul Mann and all-new liner notes by series creator and songwriter Joss Whedon. “We’ve been huge fans of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer for decades,” says Mo Shafeek, Mondo Record Label Manager. “Our obsession with the musical episode Once More With Feeling inadvertently presented a solution to a long standing problem of how to best entry point for us to celebrate the brilliantly singular, yet expansive series. It took a few years to get it perfect, but we couldn’t be prouder with the artwork that Paul Mann put together – including some truly inspired additional design by Chris Bilheimer and Eric Montes, who came up with the idea of the ‘Slaybill’ lyric booklet.”
File Under: OST
Karen Dalton: In My Own Time (Light in the Attic) LP
Digable Planets: Blowout Comb (Modern Classics) LP
Julius Eastman: Crazy N***r (Blume) LP
Julius Eastman: Evil N***r/Gay Guerilla (Blume) LP
Francoise Hardy: La Premier Bonheur Du Jour (Future Days) LP
Francoise Hardy: La Maison Ou J’ai Grandi (Future Days) LP
Rendell/Carr: Shades of Blue (Jazzman) LP
Rendell/Carr: Dusk Fire (Jazzman) LP
Rendell/Carr: Phase III (Jazzman) LP
Rendell/Carr: Live (Jazzman) LP
Rendell/Carr: Change Is (Jazzman) LP
Robyn: Honey (Universal) LP
Sensations Fix: s/t (Vinyl Magic) LP
Strand of Oaks: Eraserland (Dead Oceans) LP
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (Parlophone) LP
Various: Even a Tree Can Shed Tears (Light in the Attic) LP
Various: Kankyo Ongaku (Light in the Attic) Box