Oooooooo another week of killer new arrivals. It’s probably going to start slowing down as we slide into summer, but then again, maybe not. It’s gonna be rainy this weekend, so put on your coat and come for a dig before you shut in for the weekend with some new tunes.
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…..picks of the week…..
Not Glass: Forma (Ecstatic) LP
Not Glass is the debut collaboration between Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving) and his longtime correspondent Dimitris Papadatos (Jay Glass Dubs), paying tribute to Latin and Greek authors Ovid and Heraclitus in a suite of dramatic electronics and cryptic rhythms comparable to a theatrical soundtrack. Knowingly, ironically pretentious, yet serious with it, Forma is the result of years of daily Facebook chats between the London and Athens-based artists where they cemented the album’s concept around key quotes by the legendary poet/philosophers, who hail from their respective homelands of Italy and Greece. The results are in effect a spellbinding attempt to transmute those notions within the collaborative, contemporary framework of their music, using patented palettes of hardware, vocals, and FX to render and reflect core classical mythological and philosophical ideas about drama, love, metaphysics, cosmology and the “unity of opposites”. On this timeless plane, Natalizia and Papadatos both step outside of themselves to find “what opposes unites”, spaciously consolidating their typical, yet contrasting, rhythm-driven approaches in a reverberant, often beatless sphere of exploration. Removed from their usual handrails, the artists operate at their most open-ended and subtly suggestive, amorphously shapeshifting from gloaming shadow plays of synth and keys to investigate arcane percussive impulses and iridescent ambient whorls. The result is a perfect, finely shaded marriage of their mutually esoteric, outsider Southern European energies, which intuitively acknowledges and inhabits the paradoxes of their respective styles. The illusively static yet mercurial ebb-and-flow of the atmospheric intro “Fallite Fallentes” sets the scene, where “Dum Loquor, Hora Fugit” invokes a viscous but brittle tangle of wide bass and pointillist rhythms beside a stately cello vignette “Ludicrum” that recalls aspects of Scott Walker’s mystic charm “Soused”. The rapid arps and slow moving, glassy pads of “Pauper Ubique Iacet” conjure a sublime tension that becomes diffused into the cavernous, hollow dub dread of “Ut Ameris, Amabilis Esto”, possessed with its throaty, processed vocal, and the lonely strings and plasmic electronics of “Forma Bonum Fragile Est” connotes a psychedelic coming-to-terms with their artistic/philosophic duality. Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Edition of 500.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Dub
Tim Hecker: Anoyo (Kranky) LP
“Anoyo (‘the world over there’) draws from the same sessions which led to the 2018 work Konoyo but rendered starker, solemn, and stripped back, with more of a naturalist tint. Tim Hecker’s processing here moves in veiled ways, soft refractions and whispered shrouds woven within improvisational sessions of traditional gagaku interplay, evoking a sense of vaulted space, temples at dawn, shredded silk fluttering in the rafters. This is boldly barren music, skeletal and sculptural, shaped from wood, wind, strings, and mist. Modern yet ancient, delicate and desolate, Anoyo inverts its predecessor to compellingly conjure a parallel world of illusion, solitude, and eternal return.”
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Les Rallizes Denudes + Be: There’s No Heaven Like Hell (Alternative Fox) LP
One of the strangest and most enigmatic groups in the history of rock n’ roll, Les Rallizes Denudes, also known as Hadaka no Rallizes or Hadaka no Rarizu, were a Japanese experimental rock band that is often cited as a pioneering force of the noise rock movement. The story of the band is as strange and difficult as the music they made and although much of the tale is shrouded in mystery, everything apparently begins around Kyoto’s radical anti-establishment communes of the late 1960s, where androgynous frontman Takashi Mizutani formed the group in November 1967 while attending Kyoto University. Hard facts are in thin supply and the band’s name employs complex punning that essentially equates to “Fucked Up and Naked” in Japanese, a slang reference to being high on drugs. Inspired by the Velvet Underground and other groups employing prominent, overamplified guitar, the band’s music was typically based on repetitive rhythmic patterns bolstered by Mizutani’s heavily distorted lead guitar, though the poor sound quality of early demos apparently turned Mizutani away from studio recordings, rendering much of their output in the form of live bootlegs, supplanted by the occasional leaked studio demo. Early performances were given as accompaniment to avant-garde theater groups, though the group was soon deemed too loud to be a mere accompaniment, and membership fluctuated frequently, with Mizutani being the only constant, though he retreated from public view following the 1970 Red Army hijacking of Japan Airlines flight 351, with the assistance of original Rallizes bass player, Moriaki Wakabayashi, who subsequently fled to North Korea; the band continued to sporadically record and perform under various guises until 1997. The two versions of There’s No Heaven Like Hell, presented here, was recorded on April 1, 1975 at Rallizes House in Fussa, a small town to the west of Tokyo, joining Mizutani with keyboardist/guitarist Taisuke Morishita’s experimental group Be, originally known as Yellow. The first version takes the form of an epic slow drone, featuring Mizutani on acid guitar, backed only by Morishita’s pulsating synthesizer lines; the second version is in full marathon mode, an hour-long dirge that sees the spacey duo joined by drummer Shunichiro Shoda and a plodding bassist in the latter portion.
File Under: Japanese, Psych
Aggrolites: Reggae Now! (Pirates Press) LP
You can’t keep a good band down. With ceaseless, unwavering fan support, The Aggrolites reconvened in late 2015 to lay down three songs, “Aggro Reggae Party,” “Help Man” and “Western Taipan,” which reminded them that, hey, they’re still pretty damn good at this. They never gave up, thankfully! That one-off recording session was the spark that eventually created this album, certainly their best to date. REGGAE NOW! is the Aggrolites’ sixth full-length, and first with Pirates Press Records. Written and recorded throughout 2018, the album finds these architects of “Dirty Reggae” reestablishing their signature sound, re-recording those three songs from 2015 as well as adding on 11 more originals that snap, crackle and pop just as much as your favorite Aggro songs from back in the day. “Their tunes perfectly echo the human chemistry you can hear in those early Jamaican productions,” says reggae icon Don Letts. “The band’s old-school analog sound totally captures the spirit of the music I grew up on.” “The Aggrolites have stretched out, and gotten it even more right, at exactly the right time,” agrees Lynval Golding, vocalist/guitarist for Two-Tone legends the Specials. “This is THE album.”
File Under: Reggae, Rocksteady
Azymuth: Aguia Nao Come Mosca (Mr. Bongo) LP
Golden-era, 1977, Brazilian jazz-funk-fusion album from the legendary, Azymuth. Lush Rhodes, soaring synths and fusion guitars from Malheiros and Bertrami combine with the inimitable drum grooves from Ivan “Mamao” Conti that create the signature Azymuth sound. The album moves from mellow soulful moods, into screaming disco-jazzfusion, samba funk, synth boogie and ends with a tough 160bpm Batucada workout. This is actually the first Azymuth album that we have released on Mr Bongo, which came as a surprise to us too.
File Under: Brazil, Jazz, Funk
Sir Richard Bishop & W. David Oliphant: Beyond All Defects
(Twenty One Eighty Two) LP
Although Sir Richard Bishop (SRB) and W. David Oliphant (WDO) worked together periodically in the ’80s through Sun City Girls and Maybe Mental, they never set out to simply work together as a duo. Fast forward to 2011, SRB, feeling the need to temporarily step out of his solo guitar zone, approached WDO with the idea of this joint collaboration… Beyond All Defects was composed and recorded live in the studio in Phoenix, Arizona in December of 2011 (remastered in 2018 by Mark Gergis) and presented on vinyl for the first time by Twenty One Eighty Two Recording Company. The sonic landscapes presented here find their origins in Tibet, and are heavily inspired by Tibetan Buddhism — specifically the body of teachings known as Dzogchen. Many of the musical ideas for this project were literally derived from dreams the night before they were created. The remaining ideas were formed centuries ago. Sir Richard Bishop plays acoustic guitar throughout. Often detuned, bowed, and beaten, the guitar was “treated” by Oliphant during the live recording process. SRB also provided audio from field recordings he captured in India. WDO used a variety of computer software with a MIDI controller to create all the other sounds. All tracks were captured in real-time, direct to disk. Beyond All Defects is the first in a series celebrating the audio adventures created by Arizona sonic composers. Clear vinyl; Edition of 500.
File Under: Electronic, Tribal
Causa Sui: Summer Sessions Vol. 1 – 3 (El Paraiso) LP
Causa Sui’s three volumes of Summer Sessions are back in print, originally released in 2009. This time on the band’s own label, on individual LPs for the first time since they were first released in 2008 and 2009. Re-packaged in El Paraiso’s signature style. Originally the Summer Sessions were intended as a side project for the band — a chance to explore their love for other genres such as American free jazz, krautrock, 1970s soundtracks, as well as the psychedelia and detuned stoner-rock that characterized Causa Sui’s first two albums. But these three albums came to define the band, and have become modern classics of psychedelia and progressive rock since their initial release ten years ago. In a scene often characterized by loyalty to a specific period, there’s something refreshing about Causa Sui’s eclectic approach. With several guest appearances by Coltrane-devotee Johan Riedenlow on sax and electronics wiz Rasmus Rasmussen, Causa Sui venture far beyond stoner-rock platitudes. Take the grandiose opening statement for example — the 24-minute “Visions Of Summer” taking up the entire A-side on Vol. 1: here new and old sounds dissolve in a mind-bending excursion that recalls Future Days-era Can, breezy tropicalia or Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi group, as much as it sparks associations to Kyuss or Hendrix. Other tracks, such as the frenetic “Rip Tide” on Vol. 2 (EPR 002LP), heads into straight up free jazz territory with Riedenlow going absolutely bonkers on the sax. But this set also allows plenty of room for atmospheric pieces such as the sun-drenched “Venice By The Sea” on Vol. 3 (EPR 003LP) or the Morricone-esque “Cinecitta” on Vol. 2.
File Under: Psych
Alice Coltrane: Live At The Berkeley Community Theater 1972 (BCT) LP
Previously unreleased and not known to exist soundboard recording of Alice Coltrane Sextet live in Berkeley California in 1972! Featuring a dream line-up of Charlie Haden, Ben Riley, Ashish Khan, Pranesh Khan, Bobby W., and Alice Coltrane. Newly re-mastered from the original tapes.
File Under: Spiritual Jazz
Vernon Elliott: Clangers OST (Trunk) LP
Trunk Records presents a reissue of Vernon Elliott’s Clangers: The Original Television Soundtrack. Out of print since its original release on CD in 2001, a classic Trunk Records release gets a rare repress; this is naïve and pastoral space music at its very best. In 2001 Jonny Trunk started working with Oliver Postgate and his Smallfilms archive. The first music issued was the unreleased music from all 26 episodes of Clangers. To create the soundtrack, all music was originally “drawn” by Postgate — sketched out in graphic form on the original scripts. This was then translated by his good friend and regular musical collaborator Elliott into the music we know and love. It was all recorded in a village hall in Kent in the late 1960s and released originally in 2001 by Jonny Trunk, garnering a mass of fine reviews including a full 5 stars from NME. Listening today, these recordings have lost none of their naivety and charm, and the Clangers soundtrack remains a seminal work of both TV and intergalactic musical history. Album produced by Jonny Trunk. Full color sleeve with notes included.
File Under: OST
Galactic Explorers: Epitaph for Venus (Mental Experience) LP
Mental Experience present a reissue of Galactic Explorers’ Epitaph For Venus. Another album from the Pyramid label shrouded in mystery and produced by Toby Robinson in Cologne, circa 1974. Kosmische and head sounds with plenty of Minimoog, analog synths/keyboards, effects, loops, tape manipulation, treated percussions, etc., courtesy of Galactic Explorers, an electronic, minimal, ambient krautrock trio featuring Reinhard Karwatky (Dzyan). Take a trip to the inner regions of your mind, see ancient solar systems forming, and listen to cosmic winds and vibrations while sine waves of pure bliss will give you total peace of mind. RIYL: Terry Riley, Popol Vuh, Sand, Peter Michael Hamel, Tangerine Dream, Baba Yaga, Cluster, Cozmic Corridors, Brainticket. 24-bit domain remaster from the original tapes; Insert with liner notes by Alan Freeman, head boss at Ultima Thule and author of The Crack In The Cosmic Egg (1996).
File Under: Kosmische, Psych
Herbie Hancock: Dedication (Get on Down) LP
“Never before released on vinyl outside of japan. Packaged with a full-color obi-strip. Dedication by Herbie Hancock is an anomalous entry in the discography of the revered jazz-fusion keyboardist. The album was recorded over the course of a single day, in the middle of a tour of Japan at Koseinekin Hall in Tokyo, and for years would be available exclusively in Japan. Produced a month ahead of his 1974 studio album Thrust, the follow-up to his career-defining album Head Hunters, Dedication‘s tracks were noteworthy for how drastically different they were from the material that followed. Gone was the dangerously funked-out rhythm section goodness of the Headhunters; instead Hancock is alone, performing four solo pieces on grand piano, electric keys, and synthesizer. Side one features Hancock at his most introspective, featuring romantic, ballad-like takes on two of his 60s pieces: ‘Maiden Voyage’, and ‘Dolphin Dance.’ Side two, on the other hand, is almost a polar opposite, utilizing early techno rhythms through Fender Rhodes electric keyboards, and the sample-and-hold features of the ARP 2600 synthesizer, rendering spacey, exploratory jams such as the original track ‘Nobu’, and an electro-funky take on ‘Cantaloupe Island’. (Two tracks which predicted Hancock’s eventual electro-funk dominance in the 1980s.) A unique and momentous obscurity of Herbie Hancock’s catalog, Dedication has never seen a vinyl release outside of Japan prior to now. Nearly 30 years later, Get On Down has sought to allay that, with a premium-grade Record Store Day reissue worthy of any jazz collector’s archives, or any crate digger’s armament.”
File Under: Jazz
Moulay Ahmed El Hassani: Atlas Electric (Hive Mind) LP
Hive Mind Records present a double-LP compilation of songs by Moulay Ahmed El Hassani, a master of modern Moroccan music, who updates traditional folk forms with drum machines, autotune, and incredible psychedelic guitar. Moulay Ahmed El Hassani is practically unknown outside of his home country of Morocco where he’s released over 50 albums on cassette and CD over the past 30 years, however Hive Mind Records seek to remedy that situation with the release of this compilation featuring songs originally released on Ahmed’s own label, Sawt el Hassani, between 2006 and 2014. Ahmed writes his own songs, plays all instruments himself, records and self produces at his home studio in Beni Mellal. His unique sound takes influence from a variety of Moroccan folk forms, particularly the Izlan and Ahidous styles of the Amazigh people of the mid-Atlas region. Ahmed has blended these styles with the rai and chaabi that were popular across the country through his youth. The resulting sound is like a twenty-first century folk music for a people caught somewhere between a vision of their own idealized pastoral past and a turbo charged, technologically driven urban future. Ahmed has embraced new musical technologies and his songs are made up of complex, polyrhythmic drum machine patterns, subtle loops, washes of new age synth, heavily autotuned male and female duet vocals, and his signature psychedelic microtonal guitar playing. His songs are sometimes gentle and melancholic, and sometimes more upbeat, but always deeply lyrical and melodic, and all feature lyrics in Amazigh and Arabic that deal with social issues and universal themes of love and loss. There’s really very little that can be said in a press release to can prepare you for the sound of Moulay Ahmed ElHassani’s music, other than that you’re unlikely to have heard anything quite like it before.
File Under: Morocco, Folk, Psych
The Heavy: Sons (BMG) LP
Welcome back to The Heavy, Britain’s most incendiary party-starters and reliably impossible to pigeonhole funk-soul-hiphop-rock-dance gang. Five albums and over a decade into their career, most bands start to ease down. The Heavy have instead made Sons, as uplifting and urgent an album as you’re likely to hear all year. Not wasting a note in its 10 full songs, Sons is a series of short, sharp shocks which doesn’t let up from the opening defiant attack of “Heavy For You” until the last hurrah of redemptive closer “Burn Bright.” In between, there’s the film noir drama “Fighting For The Same Thing,” irresistible disco “Put The Hurt On Me,” “Simple Things'” beautiful celebration, the scuzzy glam-rock of “A Whole Lot Of Love,” “Better As One’s” glorious call for unity…Sons is essentially its own greatest hits compilation of everything that makes The Heavy a unique force in British music.
File Under: Funk, Soul, Hip Hop
Fumio Itabashi Trio: Rise & Shine (Studio Mule) LP
Studio Mule present their third reissue of Fumio Itabashi with Rise And Shine: Live At The Aketa’s, originally released in 1977. Rise And Shine Live At The Aketa’s was his second release of 1977, and it was recorded at legendary Jazz Club in Tokyo. This album was actually recorded before his first release Toh. “Jumping Board” on side A is a Japanese hard bop classic. Itabashi’s cover version of “My Funny Valentine” is very sweet and elegant while the main track, “Rise And Shine”, is one of his best work. At times the album is reminiscent of Pharaoh Sanders if he played piano. Limited initial press.
File Under: Jazz
Mauskovic Dance Band: s/t (Soundway) LP
Soundway Records present the eponymous debut LP from in-demand Amsterdam five piece, The Mauskovic Dance Band — fusing no-wave dance punk, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and space disco in a “controlled explosion” (The Quietus). Entirely self-produced, the band has reiterated their favorite elements of the ’70s and ’80s legacy of the Afro-Latin psychedelic music of Colombia and Peru, interpreting it through the context of modern-day Amsterdam. The output is a lo-fi no wave groove all its own — rooted in a deep love of champeta, Palenque, psychedelic cumbia, chichi, classic Afrobeat, and picó soundsystem culture. Since the release of their Down In The Basement EP EP on Soundway Records in early 2018, the band have found themselves on a hectic European touring schedule — not to mention being involved in other side projects. Following stints with Turkish psychedelic folk rock group Altin Gün, and touring with the re-formed ’70s Zamrock outfit W.I.T.C.H., Nic Mauskovic also teamed up with Dutch neo-psychedelic artist Jacco Gardner to form the “cinematic Balearic disco” duo of Bruxas (released by Dutch institution Dekmantel) — and together, they mixed The Mauskovic Dance Band debut album in Lisbon. Lead single “Space Drum Machine” encapsulates the band’s prototypical brand of busy rhythmic patterns interwoven with insistent synth stabs and vibrant disco toms, layered with an elastic guitar riff drawing inspiration from Kenyan kikuyu and benga styles. High-pitched vocals describe being on a flight together and inciting each other to press a button of unknown consequence with “push it, push it” — and push it they do, at breakneck pace. And of course, the undeniable influence of Amsterdam’s hotbed of underground dance producers shines through as it does on all tracks – with the vintage psychedelic swirl of synthesizer, lo-fi drum machines, and tape recording. RIYL: Jacco Gardner, Bruxas, Nu Guinea, Voilaaa, Sofrito, Meridian Brothers, EUT, Altin Gün.
File Under: Latin, Psych
Tom Nehls: I Always Catch the Third Second of a Yellow Light
(Now Again) LP
Gatefold jacket with obi. Hand taped front and back covers, an homage to Nehls’ hand assembled original. Contains a 16 page booklet with Nehls story told in great detail, with never before published photos. Download card for WAV files of the album and unreleased music. “A rock concept album, as progressive as it is psychedelic, recorded by a 17-year-old Tom Nehls and his high school friends in Minneapolis over a three-month period in late 1972. Nehls original notes describe his influences: The Beatles, Zappa, Tolkien. But that amalgamation cannot prepare you for the depths that this wunderkind explored with first-time engineer Paul Stark, who would later co-found Twin/Tone Records and sign and develop punk legends The Replacements and dozens of other bands. Stark privately-pressed 1000 copies of I Always Catch The Third Second Of A Yellow Light and gave them to Nehls, who hand glued photo copied artwork on the front and back cover of the album and tried to sell copies to his high school friends. Shortly thereafter, 900 copies were destroyed when his parents’ basement flooded, Nehls went off to college, and his masterpiece was left, undiscovered and unappreciated, until fringe vinyl collectors in the early 1990s found and shared a handful of copies. Nehls’ album has gone on to be a welcome addition to the genre Paul Major called ‘Real People Music’; a wonderful and sincere exploration of the human predicament that reveals more of itself with each listen. Mastered from a flat transfer of Stark’s original master tapes, this is the best that this album has ever sounded. The Now-Again Reserve Edition of I Always Catch The Third Second Of A Yellow Light possesses a fidelity that Nehls’ rare original didn’t.”
File Under: Psych
Michael O’Shea: s/t (Allchival) LP
AllChival present a reissue of Michael O’Shea’s self-titled album, originally released on Wire’s Dome Records imprint in 1982. Having sold his instruments to fund a nomadic 1970s lifestyle, eccentric Irish experimentalist Michael O’Shea was forced to create his own handmade answer to the sitars and zelochords he’d become accustomed to playing on his travels around the globe. Using an old door, 17 strings, chopsticks and combining them with phasers, echo units and amplification, the new device was to become his signature sound, mixing Irish folk influences with Asian and North African sounds in a mesmerizing and soulful new way. Born in Northern Ireland but raised in the Republic, O’Shea was keen to travel and escape the troubles of his home. Wandering throughout Europe and the Middle East, O’Shea found himself living and working in Bangladesh in the mid-Seventies where he learned to play sitar. A later period spent busking in France accompanied on zelochord by Algerian musician Kris Hosylan Harp led to O’Shea’s idea of combining both instruments as a homebuilt instrument — Mo Cara (Irish for “My Friend”). A combination of dulcimer, zelochord, and sitar, O’Shea would play it with a pair of chopsticks, striking the strings softly using Irish folk rhythms mixed with the rich, nostalgic sounds of the many Asian artists he’d encountered on his travels. Perfecting the instrument on the streets, there were further spells spent busking in the underground stations and cafes of London’s West End and Covent Garden. His work with Rick Wakeman never saw the light of day but O’Shea’s contact with the world of post-punk London ensured his name would live on. Introduced to Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis via cartoonist Tom Johnston, O’Shea eventually acquiesced to an open invite to record at their studio. Turning up unannounced in the summer of 1981 the LP was recorded in a day in the legendary Blackwing Studios and released on Dome the year after. The first side features the fifteen-minute masterpiece “No Journeys End” with the B side featuring more input from Wire in processing the Mo Chara sound. After an aborted LP with The The’s Matt Johnson the following year, O’Shea quietly disappeared from the formal recording world and his brief but unique contribution to the music world came to a sad end with O’Shea’s passing in 1991. Remastered and reissued with the approval of both Dome and his surviving siblings.
File Under: Folk, World, Experimental
Alan Parker & Alan Hawkshaw: Black Pearl (DeWolfe) LP
Originally released in 1973, Black Pearl’s overall sound is the epitome of cool, orchestral funk / dramatic styles of the 1970s (e.g. “Next Stop LA”, “Collect”, “Oh! Militia”, “Choctaw”, “Black Pearl”, and “Blue Shadow”). Also featured are several more romantic, laid-back, emotive pieces such as “Miraculous Dream”, “Tryst”, “Sunny Monday”, “Melody and Lace”, “Monochrome”, “No Return”. Not to mention a couple of surprise solo honky-tonk piano jaunts – “The Vamp” and “Night of the Garter”. An eclectic mix that is sure to pique anyone’s interest. The album was produced by Alan Parker and Alan Hawkshaw, who is perhaps best-known for composing “The Champ”, which has been widely sampled and emulated by hip hop artists.
File Under: Jazz, Funk, Library
Puce Mary: The Drought (Pan) LP
Building from a reputation of arresting live performances and critically-acclaimed releases, Puce Mary breaks new ground with The Drought, evolving from the tropes of industrial and power electronics to forge a complex story of adapting to new realities. Remnants of noise still exist, sustaining the visceral penetration offered on previous records, however The Drought demonstrates an intention to expand on the vocabulary of confrontational music and into a grander narrative defined by technical and emotional growth. Bringing together introspective examination with literary frameworks by writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, Puce Mary’s compositions manifest an ongoing power struggle within the self towards preservation. The traumatized body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss, and control. The Drought presents both danger and opportunity; through rebuilding a creative practice centered on first-person narrative and a deliberate collage of field recordings and sound sources Puce Mary injects an acute urgency across the album seeking resilience. “To Possess Is To Be In Control” makes use of lyrical repetition as an ambiguity of two selves, or a divided self, attempting to consume one another, while “Red Desert”, named after Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film, portrays the individual subsumed by surrounding environmental forces. The seven-minute epic “The Size Of Our Desires” acts as the emotional tipping point of the record; amongst the ominous drone and dense feedback flutters almost-beatific melodies, while the lyrics reveal a romantic call to be swept up in the midst of an increasingly uninhabitable world. Rather than escape, The Drought dramatizes a metamorphosis in which vulnerability is confronted through regeneration. Noise and aggression no longer act as an affront to react against but part of a “corporeal architecture” where space, harmony and lyricism surface from the harsh tropes of industrial music. The Drought chronologizes the artist’s transformation through a psychological famine, new ways of coping akin to plant survival in a desert — to live without drying out. Features art by Torbjørn Rødland. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering Berlin.
File Under: Experimental, Noise, Industrial
Rainer Veil: Vanity (Modern Love) LP
After a five-year pause for breath, last releasing in 2014, Rainer Veil return with their debut full-length for Modern Love; an immersive, kinematic tumble through electronic forms from hyper trance to tape dub experiments and loose polyrhythms — a summoning of ‘ardcore spirits in flux. A hypnotic sound world tempered by weighty bass and angular construction, Vanity marks a breaking away from the binds of overthinking, an embrace of imperfection. It’s a brighter set of tracks then anything we’ve heard from Rainer Veil before, discarding the foggy filters and guitar pedals that were the signature of their first two EPs in pursuit of a more loose-limbed and swung ideal. Opening on the skeletal trance vapor-trail “Sim Screen” and the agitated “Repatterning”, you head into a ferociously asymmetric warehouse swerve “In Gold Mills” conjuring an uncanny, nighttime vision of suburban bass riddled with tension and bliss. “Shallows” retreats through isolation dub, echoing “Change Is Never Easy”, a re-worked house template fractured to its bare percussive core, while “FM2” entwines a double helix of DX7 patches with a heart wrench, and “Gauze” dismantles a mosaic of Kwaito patterns, buried under a haze of smoke. Tracing rapidly mutating electronic forms, from ringtone hooks to latinate rhythms and Razor synth edits, Vanity explores an instinctive swell of ideas and influences in perpetual and unstoppable forward motion, a sequence of flash frames captured and distilled for posterity. RIYL: Photek, Caterina Barbieri, SND, Lee Gamble, Gábor Lázár. Mastered and Cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Edition of 500.
File Under: Electronic
Ranaldo/Jarmusch/Urselli/Pandi: s/t (Trost) LP
New York based producer and engineer Marc Urselli had the idea to bring people together who had never met before and let that meeting of minds create beautiful soundscapes. Film director and musician Jim Jarmusch, Sonic Youth co-founder and guitarist Lee Ranaldo shared space with versatile drummer Balázs Pándi (projects with Keiji Haino, Venetian Snares, Merzbow) for a night session at Urselli’s EastSide Sound studio in downtown New York. These are the unfiltered results. Absorbing instrumental patterns of cinematic sounds and improvised rhythms. No overdubs, no editing. All was recorded live and analog, produced and mixed by Marc Urselli. The front/back cover photos were taken by photographer William Semeraro in Norway. That is why Marc Urselli gave all the songs titles inspired by Norwegian
File Under: Experimental
David Rosenboom: Brainwave Music (Black Truffle) LP
Black Truffle present the first ever vinyl reissue of David Rosenboom’s legendary Brainwave Music, originally released on A.R.C. Records in 1975. This is an expanded double-LP edition with over 40 minutes of additional contemporaneous material. Pioneer of live electronics, innovator in music education, collaborator with artists as diverse as Jon Hassell, Jacqueline Humbert, Terry Riley, and Anthony Braxton, Rosenboom is renowned for his ground-breaking experiments with the use of brain biofeedback to control live electronic systems. Each of the three pieces that make up the original Brainwave Music LP integrates biofeedback with musical technology in different ways. In the side-long “Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones”, four performers have electrodes and monitoring devices attached to their bodies to receive information about brainwaves, temperature, and galvanic skin response. This information is analyzed and fed into a complex set of frequency dividers and filters, manned by Rosenboom, but essentially played by each of the performers through their psychophysiological responses. The result is a slowly unfolding web of filtered electronic tones over a tanpura-esque fundamental, possessing the unhurried, stately grandeur of an electronic raga. In “Chilean Drought”, three different variations of a text about a drought in Chile, read by a different voice in a different style, are associated with the beta, alpha, and theta brainwave bands. Alongside an insistent piano accompaniment, three constantly shifting vocal recordings are controlled by the relative preponderance of each of the brainwave bands in the soloist. “Piano Etude I (Alpha)”, the earliest piece included here, is based on research into the link between alpha brain wave production and the execution of repetitive motor tasks. As Rosenboom plays a very rapid, incessantly repeated pattern in both hands, two filters controlled by monitoring his brainwaves process the piano sound, moving gradually higher in frequency as the average alpha amplitude increases. For this reissue, the original LP is supplemented with an additional LP containing an unreleased 1977 live recording of Rosenboom’s “On Being Invisible”, in which the composer himself performs on an array of electronics that are fed information from his brainwaves. Stretching out over 40 minutes, the piece begins in similar territory to “Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones” but eventually becomes far wilder, building up to pointillistic bleeps and dense layers of electronic fizz that unexpectedly cut to near-silence. As Rosenboom explains, the piece creates a situation in which the “performer’s active imaginative listening became one of the ways to play their instrument, as well as an active agent in how self-organizing musical forms might emerge.” Includes archival images and new notes from the composer. Gatefold sleeve design by Lasse Marhaug. Mastered by David Rosenboom from the original analog tape masters. Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
File Under: Experimental
Jesse Sharps Quintet & P.A.P.A.: Sharps & Flats (Outernational) LP
Issued on vinyl for the first time, Outernational Sounds presents a monumental spirit music document from the Los Angeles underground — Jesse Sharp’s slept-on deep jazz classic Sharps And Flats. “He became the Ark leader — he was hardcore. They’d all be quiet and listen to him when he talked” –Horace Tapscott, on Jesse Sharps. You could be forgiven for not knowing how important saxophonist, bandleader, and composer Jesse Sharps is. After all, the only album to come out under his name, Sharps And Flats, was recorded in 1985, and wasn’t issued on CD until 2004. But despite this seemingly small recorded footprint, Jesse Sharps is a major figure in the history of jazz music in Los Angeles. As the bandleader for Horace Tapscott’s Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra (P.A.P.A.) — the Marshall Allen to Tapscott’s Sun Ra — he led Tapscott’s seminal music community through its most cohesive phase. And, after a hiatus living in Europe, his return to Los Angeles in the 2000s saw him build a new group, The Gathering, which linked original heads including acclaimed singer Dwight Trible and legendary trombonist Phil Ranelin with a new generation of LA jazz voices, including none other than Kamasi Washington. Sharps has been around, and he’s made an indelible mark. At college, Sharps studied under Cecil Taylor. When he came back to LA he rejoined the Arkestra on flute and reeds, and eventually took over band-leading duties from the great altoist Arthur Blythe. Trusted completely by Tapscott, as bandleader Sharps turned the Arkestra into a well-drilled unit. This was the time of the classic P.A.P.A. recordings, 1978’s Flight 17, Live at I.U.C.C. (1979), and The Call (1978), and Sharps also wrote for the band. The funky, deep spirituality of compositions like “Desert Fairy Princess”, “Macramé”, and “Peyote Song III” has made his tunes among most celebrated in the whole P.A.P.A. catalog. Sharps And Flats was recorded in 1985 for Tom Albach’s legendary Nimbus West imprint, a label Albach had founded specifically to document the work of Horace Tapscott and his circle. Featuring a quintet of P.A.P.A. regulars at the height of their game, Sharps And Flats is one of the great lost Nimbus sessions — it lay unissued until 2004, and never saw a vinyl press. A lost classic of the LA underground, on wax at last!
File Under: Jazz
Riccardo Sinigaglia: Ambient Music (Soave) LP
Soave present a reissue of Riccardo Sinigaglia’s Ambient Music, originally released in 1985. “Futuro Antico, the mesmerizing collaboration of Riccardo Sinigaglia with Walter Maioli and Gabin Dabirè evoked in its name the uncanniness of simultaneously witnessing past and future. Ambient Music, Riccardo Sinigaglia’s first solo work — recorded in Dec. 1984 and originally out on cassette from ADN Tapes in 1985 — ultimately delivers on that idea, embodying different irreconcilable time frames not just in name. From our vantage point, the sounds of the two performances — “Watertube” and “Ringspiel” — appear as though they arrive to us from a past which we have great difficulty in recognizing and imagining ourselves coming from while simultaneously working as a projection of a future that is both our contemporaneity yet also surpasses it. It’s this ability that Riccardo Sinigaglia’s work has of being both rooted in its context while instantaneously capable of transcending our own that makes him one of the key figures of that explosion of beauty and creativity that defines the peculiar iteration of radical minimalism that characterized the experimental and avant-garde music scene in Italy, particularly the Milanese one with its rich countercultural scenes crossing over into the long reverberating academic legacy of the Studio di Fonologia Musicale RAI di Milano during a hyperactive decade starting in the late 1970s . . . ‘Watertube’ starts as a synth and magnetic-tape based ambient soundscape that slowly adds what appears to be a prepared piano which eventually competes for audibility with a phrase that evokes the titular watertube, treated, looped, and stacked as it phase-shifts producing a busy polyrhythm that asynchronously gurgles and bubbles, approaching but never breaking into chaos. It’s some strange version of Eno’s oblique discreetness ostensibly being overwhelmed by the perversity of a Steve Reich-ian shape-shifting pattern but the moment the former is about to be overwhelmed the composition begins a slow recession back towards the system it originated from. ‘Ringspiel’ is a more playful yet warped affair, a complex ecology rather than a simple economy of sounds. Opening with a whimsical melody seemingly played on a prepared toy piano this gives way to a tape loop punctuated throughout the rest of the piece by individual sounds whose origins remain uncertain. These produce scattered melodies that underscore an electronic based minimalism with a synthetic heart that nonetheless showcases a pulsating, wet, fibrous core that beats with organic life. It ends not in the opening whimsy but in fragmenting percussive shards of sounds…” –Peter Sarram/Rome, March 2019
File Under: Ambient
Giuliano Sorgini: Lavoro e Tempo Libero (Sonor Music) LP
Sonor Music Editions present a reissue of Giuliano Sorgini’s Lavoro E Tempo Libero, originally released on Goldfinger in 1980. A highly sought-after Italian library jewel with mental disco-funk cuts and sleazy grooves. The music here was used to score various documentaries for Italian Rai TV, Lavoro E Tempo Libero by the eclectic maestro Giuliano Sorgini is another stellar recording from the comprehensive Italian library world, very different from his ’70s masterpieces like 1971’s Under Pompelmo (CNLP 037LP) or 1974’s Zoo Folle, but with a perfect early ’80s sound and clear funky greatness mixed with some very beautiful chill jams. An insane set of dark funk bangers filled with drum breaks and beats, different refined moods with soothing airs and lounge-y suites, exquisite flute notes by Nino Rapicavoli, along with sharp guitars and sleazy basslines. Easily one of the top albums out of library labels Usignolo/Goldifinger. Renewed artwork. Remastered sound from the original tape. 180 gram vinyl; Editions of 500.
File Under: Library
Soundwalk Collective & Patti Smith: Peyote Dance (Bella Union) LP
The sound of walking in a Mexican canyon transforms into the distinct beat of the heart, distant chants, sticks, stones, and the whistle of blowing wind: The Peyote Dance, a new album by Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith, produced in collaboration with Leonardo Heiblum and Nicolas Becker, is a soundtrack of elements that invites us to explore a sacred space. The album takes as its starting point Antonin Artaud’s book The Peyote Dance, a work inspired by his revelatory experiences with the Rarámuri in 1936. It is the first in a triptych of albums to be released by Bella Union titled The Perfect Vision, which take their inspiration from the writings of three emblematic French poets: Antonin Artaud, Arthur Rimbaud and René Daumal, and their necessity to travel to different lands to acquire a new vision and perspective on themselves and artworks. Perhaps a perfect vision, it is one that allowed them to transcend forms and borders, both physical and mental. Recorded in the Sierra Tarahumara of Mexico, Abyssinian valley of Ethiopia, and Himalayan Summit of India respectively, the central idea is that each landscape holds sleeping memories that are the witness of human passage. Each album retraces the poets’ footsteps, channeled through on-location recorded soundscapes and musicalities, with Patti Smith revisiting the words that have been inspired by the landscapes. The triptych marks a new chapter in the collaboration between Soundwalk Collective (Stephan Crasneanscki and Simone Merli) and Patti Smith, who first worked together on Killer Road in 2016. The Peyote Dance focuses on a brief part of Artaud’s time, who traveled to Mexico City in early 1936 to deliver a series of lectures at the University of Mexico on topics including Surrealism, Marxism and theatre. In the summer, he traveled by train towards the Chihuahua region, and saddled by horse to the Tarahumara mountains with the help of a mestizo guide – which the album’s opening track, recited by Gael Garcia Bernal, evokes. Artaud was drawn to the story of the Rarámuri: Native Indian people who live in the Norogachi region of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, the Sierra Tarahumara. One of Artaud’s goals was to find a peyote shaman who could heal him; allowing him to recover from an opioid addiction. During his stay, encountering the Rarámuri Indians and peyote shamans of Tarahumara, and engaging in ceremonies, Artaud had a transcendental experience which resulted in the book The Peyote Dance. For the eponymous album, Soundwalk Collective and Patti Smith revisited writings from the book, and others texts written after Artaud’s return to France, where he remained in a mental asylum in Rodez undergoing electric shock therapy. During this dark period, the encounter with the Rarámuri stayed with him as his last significant, happy experience. The penultimate track on the album is a poem written by Smith in homage to Artaud’s last hours in Ivry. The album’s sonic method originates in the idea of following Artaud’s trace and returning to the village and cave where he lived. Gathering stones, sand, leaves, and many instruments such as violins and drums that the Rarámuri made themselves, the artists were able to awaken the landscape’s sleeping memories and uncover the space’s sonic grammar. Hearing the wind blowing through the valley, or entering a cave, one will find a specific silence or resonance. “Taking peyote in those regions, you have the feeling that everything is communicating with you as it was for Artaud – nothing has changed,” says Stéphan Crasneanscki, the founder of Soundwalk Collective who traveled to the Sierra Tarahumara to record on-site. “On an atomic level, there is no separation between you and any other organism: trees, leaves, flowers, but also stones and sand. There is no duality. Everything is embedded, everything has a soul, and the soul is timeless. We are not alone. These sonic spaces are pre-existing to us and will exist after us, to be able to listen to them is an act of presence.” Listening, reading and improvising to the tracks in the New York studio allowed Smith to channel Artaud’s spirit. “The poets enter the bloodstream, they enter the cells. For a moment, one is Artaud,” Smith says of becoming a conduit for the poet to speak through her, echoing the raw energy of the early punk scene. “You can’t ask for it, you can’t buy it, you can’t take drugs for it to be authentic. It just has to happen, you have to be chosen as well as choose.” The energy of his last poems reverberates and cannot be silenced, Smith says of The Peyote Dance. “We understand that this work and the artist are not dead, they find life in recording them.” The enduring power of Artaud’s text lies in its uncomfortable nature: 80 years after it has been written, it remains a disturbing, raw, explosive and trance-like chronicle of what it is to be alive.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit: April is the Cruellest Month (Blank Forms) LP
Masayuki “Jojo” Takayanagi (1932 – 1991) was a maverick Japanese guitarist, a revolutionary spirit whose oeuvre embodied the radical political movements of late ’60s Japan. Having cut his teeth as an accomplished Lennie Tristano disciple playing cool jazz in the late ’50s, Takayanagi had his mind blown by the Chicago Transit Authority’s “free form guitar” in 1969 and promptly turned his back on the jazz scene by which he was beloved. Takayanagi had found a new direction, an annihilation of jazz and its associated idolatry of hegemonic American culture. Aiming his virtuoso chops towards the stratosphere, Takayanagi dedicated himself to the art of the freakout, laying waste to tradition left and right, most notably via the all-out assault of his aptly-named New Direction For The Arts (later, New Direction Unit) and collaborations with like-minded outsider saxophonist Kaoru Abe. His innovations on the instrument parallel those of Sonny Sharrock and Derek Bailey and paved the way for the Japanese necromancy of Keiji Haino and Otomo Yoshihide, but even at its most limitless hurdling Takayanagi’s playing is propelled by the dexterous grasp of his foundations, to which he paid tribute with elegant takes on flamenco and Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman.” Culled from 1975 sessions by the New Direction Unit, April Is The Cruellest Month was originally slated for release on ESP-Disk before the label’s untimely demise that year. Part of the period of Takayanagi’s career which he termed “non-section music,” one can only imagine how its unholy racket might have altered an international understanding of Japanese noise. On “We Have Existed” and “What Have We Given?”, the classic lineup of Takayanagi with Kenji Mori (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion) prove that free improvisation was thriving well beyond western Europe with a set of dilapidated, spacious clanging, Takayanagi’s squalling feedback and Mori’s Eric Dolphy moves undulating atop the joyous clamor. The cataclysmic “My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart” is another story altogether. Infernal sheets of contorted sound find the berserk instrumentalists hopelessly entangled as they urge the explosion deeper and deeper into ecstatic oblivion. Rivaled in intensity only by John Coltrane’s The Olatunji Concert (1967), Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun (1968), and Dave Burrell’s Echo (1969), April Is The Cruellest Month deservedly sees the light of day on the vinyl format for which it was originally conceived, marking the first issue of Takayanagi’s music outside of Japan.
File Under: Free Jazz, Japan
Masahiko Togashi/Steve Lacy/Don Cherry/ Dave Holland: Live at Yonin Chokin Kaikan Hall (Victory) LP
For this historical concert held at the Yubin Chokin Hall, in Tokyo on May 14, 1986, the legendary Japanese drummer Masahiko Togashi brought together an amazing line-up with such modern jazz luminaries as Steve Lacy (soprano sax), Don Cherry (pocket trumpet), and Dave Holland (bass). This particular album consists of four previously unpublished tracks (on vinyl), including some highly regarded Lacy’s compositions such as “The Crus”” and “Quakes” and Don Cherry’s African flavored anthem called “Mopti”. The Lacy-Cherry frontline flies over the agile, airy rhythm section of Holland and Togashi and the interplay between the four master musicians sounds loose and relaxed. This is a must-hear for any post free jazz fan.
File Under: Free Jazz
Piero Umiliani: Il Paradiso Dell’uomo (Alternative Fox) LP
Alternative Fox present a reissue of Piero Umiliani’s Il Paradiso Dell’uomo, originally released in 1963. Italian film composer Piero Umiliani enjoyed a long and illustrious career, creating nearly 200 film soundtracks, along with 40 music library LPs, and some 35 television themes. Born in Florence in 1926, he was first recognized internationally for his work on the soundtrack of 1958 crime caper I Soliti Ignoti (AKA Big Deal on Madonna Street, Persons Unknown or Le Pigeon), which featured noted jazz trumpeter, Chet Baker — the first time, in fact, that jazz music had been used for an Italian comedy feature. Umiliani teamed with Baker again in 1961, along with Croatian-American jazz singer Helen Merrill, for the soundtrack of Smog, a drama about an Italian lawyer’s unintended escapades in Los Angeles, and his work was later featured on American and British television shows, including The Muppets, the Benny Hill Show, and the Red Skelton Show. Il Paradiso Dell’uomo (AKA Man’s Paradise), subtitled “Forbidden Japan”, was a little-known documentary released in 1963 focusing on the roles assigned to women in the country, from the traditional pearl-fishing divers of the coast and urban factory workers to traditional dancers and the ambiguous world of geisha and striptease. This impossibly-rare soundtrack mixes eastern and western musical elements, veering from classical tropes to swing jazz, with Chinese singer Mei Lang Chang on a couple of tracks and singer/composer/musicologist Francesco Potenza leading the chorus on another. 180 gram vinyl.
File Under: OST, Library
Rick White & Eiyn Sof: The Opening (Blue Fog) LP
After Eric’s Trip, Elevator to Hell, Elevator, his Unintended project with the Sadies, a trio of solo albums as Rick White Album, and producing albums for Julie Doiron, 100 Dollars, and many more, in 2011, Rick White decided to take a step back from making music. His hiatus lasted over seven years, but now he’s back at it and he’s teamed up with a like-minded soul named Eiyn Sof. Singing in harmony together for all the vocals, the songs float within creepy mellotron melodies, echo guitars, dizzying synths and deep rolling bass and drum rhythms. It’s a brand new heavy spacey psychedelic fairytale of an album, and we’re very proud to bring it to life here. Limited vinyl run on blue fog coloured vinyl.
File Under: Space Rock
Neil Young & The Stray Gators: Tuscaloosa (Reprise) LP
Neil Young’s Tuscaloosa: Live with the Stray Gators Features 11 Previously Unreleased Tracks from 1973: LP Mastered from the Original Analog Tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Studios Neil Young’s Tuscaloosa: Live features 11 previously unreleased tracks culled from a February 5, 1973 performance at the University of Alabama with his band the Stray Gators – bassist Tim Drummond, drummer Kenny Buttrey, pianist Jack Nitzsche and steel guitarist Ben Keith – who backed the iconic singer/songwriter on his landmark efforts Harvest and Time Fades Away. Tuscaloosa: Live features live versions of songs from Young’s eponymous 1968 debut (“Here We Are In The Years”) plus classics from his two biggest selling albums, 1970’s After The Gold Rush (“After the Gold Rush”) and 1972’s Harvest (“Harvest,” “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man,” “Out On The Weekend,” “Alabama”). Also included are cuts from Neil’s live album Time Fades Away (“Time Fades Away,” “Don’t Be Denied”) which would be released later in 1973 and songs from fellow catalog favorite Tonight’s The Night (“Lookout Joe,” “New Mama”) which wouldn’t be issued until 1975. Tuscaloosa: Live was produced by Neil Young and Elliot Mazer, mixed by John Hanlon, and mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman from the original analogue tapes.
File Under: Folk, Prog
Various: Outro Tempo II (Music from Memory) LP
Outro Tempo II: Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil, 1984-1996 is the second instalment of Music From Memory’s Brazilian series. This volume picks up where the first Outro Tempo (MFM 016CD/LP, 2017) left off, shedding light on a new wave of experimentalism that emerged in Brazil in the late 1980s and 1990s. The twenty tracks collected uncover another area of Brazilian music that looked to the future for inspiration. This time it drifts beyond the rainforest and into the pulsating heart of Brazil’s great cities, where it meets a generation of young artists eager to radically change the face of contemporary Brazilian music. In Outro Tempo II, the avant-garde and pop worlds meld in a haze of percussion and electronics. It presents another uncompromising and magnetic reinterpretation of the limits of Brazilian music. Outro Tempo II is compiled again by John Gómez and features original artwork by Alice Quaresma. Features May East, Dequinha E Zaba, Oharaska, Fausto Fawcett, R. H. Jackson, Edson Natale, Akira S, Low Key Hackers, Chance, Jorge Degas & Marcelo Salazar, Priscilla Ermel, Voluntários Da Pátria, Angel’s Breath, Tetê Espíndola, Nelson Angelo, Jorge Mello, Júlio Pimentel, and Tião Neto.
File Under: Electronic, Brazil
Various: Sad About the Times (Anthology) LP
“You are alone in a hot tub on a warm summer night back in the ’70s. Scarcely a week earlier she was right there with you, laughing, gazing at the stars, the FM radio playing the top pop hits as you frolicked in the gurgling water. Now she’s gone. Really gone. Then a song you never heard before comes on the radio. You feel like it reaches into some place that has already been prepared in your mind. It is as if the song is reading you. The song really knows she’s gone, and more. What a great hook, you think. Then you never hear it again. You remember it really captured the way you felt, it sounded sad but somehow had a healing quality. Down but not out. It seemed familiar the first time you heard it, as if it had cut to the front of the line while the other meaningful songs in your life were taking years to get there. What was that song?I have good news for you. It’s on this album even if it’s not on this album. What we are talking about here is a time when there was only so much room at the top and limited alternatives to mainstream radio for a song to get heard. I made up the guy in the hot tub but not the nature of the song. It doesn’t matter exactly what the song is. Every song on this album is that song. They all could have been hits. Each with a different flavor, all subtly conveying universal emotions that are hard to describe but easy to feel. Little room at the top back then (another reason to be sad about the times…) but we have plenty of room in 2018. These songs come in the wake of the psychedelic sixties after the high-flying idealism had run its course and singer songwriters were ascendant. After the party, reality kicks in. You have to deal with yourself about how you deal with your friends and lovers. You can’t always work it out but you can sprinkle a little sugar on your sadness with songs like these to keep you company. You can hear echoes of folk rock, soft rock, even detect some psychedelic flashbacks but the atmosphere is dominated by that human being whose voice you are hearing. He’s not up on stage, he’s in your mirror. Have you ever felt sad about the times you are living in? Anyone who hasn’t seems to me at first lucky, but perhaps simultaneously cursed. This music reaches because it resonates with experiences in your own life that made you feel sad and alone. The artists here are dealing with difficult emotions. There’s a reason smiley faces don’t have ears. Sadness can be life affirming; these songs can open that door. If they couldn’t they wouldn’t be so enjoyable. ‘Heaven is boring, hell is where the action is’ someone said but if you mix the two together you might come up with some songs like these. Compiled by Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Suppression Ring) and Keith Abrahamsson (Founder / Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings), Sad About the Times is a set of North American ’70s jammers. With a hint of (at times) West Coast jangle, these tracks traverse the border between the power pop of the times and a late-night coke jam.” Features West, Hollins Ferry, Randy & The Goats, Willow, Art Lown, Jode, Norma Tanega, Perth County Conspiracy, David Chalmers, Jim Spencer, Hoover, Space Opera, Roger Rodier, Emmett Finley, Sky, The Smubbs, Oliver Klaus, Antonia Lamb, Kevin Vicalvi, Boz Metzdorf, and Dennis Stoner.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Alice in Chains: Dirt (Music On Vinyl) LP
Altin Gun: Gece (ATO) LP
Aphex Twin: I Care Because You Do (Warp) LP
Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Sonovox) LP
Mulatu Astatke: Ethio Jazz (Heavenly Sweetness) LP
Bjork: Homogenic (One Little Indian) LP
Bjork: Vespertine (One Little Indian) LP
Boards of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp) LP
Boards of Canada: Music Has the Right to Children (Warp) LP
Brainiac: Electro Shock for President (Touch & Go) LP
The Clash: Sandinista! (Epic) LP
The Clash: Combat Rock (Epic) LP
Bob Dylan: Freewheelin’ (Columbia) LP
Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline (Columbia) LP
Marvin Gaye: You’re the Man (Universal) LP
Dexter Gordon: Doin’ Allright (Blue Note) LP
Jamie XX: In Colour (Young Turks) LP
Johann Johannsson: IBM 1401: A Users Manual (4AD) LP
Jonathan Kawchuk: North (Paper Bag) LP
Khotin: Beautiful You (Ghostly) LP
Kids See Ghosts: s/t (Universal) LP
LCD Soundsystem: s/t (DFA) LP
LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening (DFA) LP
Efrim Manuel Menuck & Kevin Dora: are SING SINCK, SING (Constellation) LP
Mogwai: Come on Die Young (PIAS) BOX
Oasis: Definitely Maybe (Big Brother) LP
Orville Peck: Pony (Royal Mountain) LP
Pond: Tasmania (Interscope) LP
Pup: Morbid Stuff (Little Dipper) LP
Pedro Santos: Krishnanda (Mr. Bongo) LP
Thrush Hermit: Clayton Park (New Scotland) LP
Ween: La Cucaracha (Schnitzel) LP
Kanye West: College Dropout (Universal) LP
White Stripes: Icky Thump (Third Man) LP