…..news letter #922 – treat…..

Another heavy week here, but we’re probably nearing the end of that for the year. Time to start thinking about your xmas wishlists and top albums of the year!

And speaking of top albums of the year… Looks like we’ll be HIRING someone again real soon! If you dream of hanging out and talking about records all day, then bring us a resume along with your top ten albums of 2019 and of all time!

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….picks of the week…..

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Sun City Girls: Dawn of the Devi (Abduction) LP
Abduction Records reissue Dawn of the Devi, Sun City Girls’ follow up album to Torch of the Mystics. Originally released in 1991 on Majora Records, many who had discovered SCG via the preceding Torch LP were immediately alienated and blindsided by Devi and all the harshness that comes with it. Below, John Olson takes us back to 1991 when Dawn of the Devi premiered in all its glory and obscurity. “Sun City Girls scan your dome for what they THINK you want but code it for the opposite. If you don’t have me at my ‘Napoleon & Josephine’ then you don’t get me at my ‘Valentines for Matahari.’ Easy to pick and choose your course thru their ridiculous and amazing path, but to fully get verbally abused by Uncle Jim you have to ingest it ALL. In order makes even less sense. Torch is like the APPLEBEES of the SCG catalog. My sister eats there, the appetizers are *good* / they have deals. Devi is after hours dish washing shift at the ‘Bees: hurry with a joint out back with the one ‘Kool’ manager by the grease pit/catch the 11:15pm bus to go home to your loser roommates watching midget porn as they forget to clean up yet again. Everyone wants a wild free ethno-screech RNR unit as their own to mentally catalogue but when it comes to plugging in and actually DOING experiments, all of a sudden everyone wants to be locked into the ‘Rock n Roll High School.’ The underground should be difficult and on shaky ground — like your first kiss. What worth is following rules when you make them yourself? That said, Devi and the previously mentioned Matahari are MY SCG. That fucking BASS sound battling with Jim Hall on Walmart 3am desert speed thru ten watts of pure terror peppered with the ????? tin can ethno rhythm confusion of the great late Charlie G with all cylinders blaring in ‘four dateless months in winter mode’ is my THC in spades. Devi’s sprawling anti-social etho-mess aside, the back photo says it all, in loud mid-range volumes: backs turned, duct taped third eyes, audience of three of which two are talking about how to the get the f outta the gig, the WORKS. A band photo can make a record and this is probably the biggest example of it. Like The Fall’s Room to Live, everyone stares at their Chuck Taylor’s when Dawn of the Devi is mentioned. Fuck, I’d get a tat of that fem-beast featured on the stark cover, thug-life stomach style in a show of prime period SCG pride but I’m puss when it comes to needles & ink son. Me and soldier Jeff Dunn circa ’91 would play this sandpapered masterpiece all day and stare at that photo, placing ourselves either onstage or in the audience, fantasizing how wild the experience must have been. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my grill blasted by this unholy racket. The playing is incredible and antisocial AF — timeless but yet perf for a certain era as well beyond inspiring, musically and culturally. Of course people hated it: tuneless, raw, desperate, sprawling, LONG. It’s like if SOLGER went to the ghettos of Baghdad to score black tar feedback instead of sketcher punker huts in Seattle at the dawn of HXC. Everything you need for yet another lonely night glaring into an empty closet is inside this grim long player. How it will sink into the ten second modern digital era of attention is anyone’s guess but it’s bound to boil and microwave one kid’s brain. And I’ll def be hunting said kid down to shred with. Also, the fact that I can call the two remaining GIRLS friends and jaw about Sag-nasty with em makes the cake even sweeter homeboy. LONG MAY THEY ISOLATE.” –John Olson, May 2018

File Under: Experimental, Rock, Psych
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Abul Mogard: Kimberlin (Ecstatic) LP
Visionary synthesist Abul Mogard renders a darkly sublime soundtrack for Duncan Whitley’s Kimberlin, an experimental film about the Isle of Portland on the English south coast, which coincidentally doubles up as metaphor for the mood of an increasingly inward-looking UK. Taking its name from the local word for an outsider or “foreigner”, the short film Kimberlin was filmed on location during the months following the advisory referendum of 2016 which lead to the current, purgatory state of “Brexit”. Combining mostly wordless, lingering shots of the Isle of Portland’s bleak and rugged landscape with Abul Mogard’s washed-out but richly evocative music, made with manipulated field recordings, modular synth and layered Farfisa organ, the project came to reflect a sense of (be)longing, loneliness, and outsiderness that also perhaps uncannily mirrors the putative collective feeling since that darkly historic vote, over three years ago. Taking cues from the evocative poetry of lifelong islander, stonemason and poet Cecil “Skylark” Durston (1910-1996), as well as a news report on the discovery of a mysterious cinema found interred by foliage in the Isle’s cave systems, the merging of image and sound speak to their subject in an organic, impressionistic manner that leaves billowing room for imagination. Mogard’s soundtrack opens out with a slow-burning, greyscale iridescence, tenderly manipulating the sound of fog horns and bird calls in briny modular spray and gloaming Farfisa organ swells that, when combined with song titles such as “Flooding Tide” and “Playing On The Stones”, serve to evocatively connote the film’s subject matter. The results can be heard as echoes in the digital future of an England that’s now difficult to grasp, most hauntingly transposing the meaning of Cecil “Skylark” Durston’s description of the Isle of Portland as a place where “quarry bells no longer ring, except in old men’s dreams” to the ever-present, never-ending riddle of Brexit and its generationally devastating bleakness. RIYL: Thomas Köner, My Bloody Valentine, William Basinski. Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Edition of 500.

File Under: Ambient, Drone
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Geinoh Yamashirogumi: Ecophony Gaia (Invitation) LP
Deep, deep, earth music from Tsutomu Ōhashi and the Geinoh Yamashirogumi crew. A macrosymphony composed for the International Garden and Greenery Exposition in Osaka, Japan, 1990, Ecophony Gaia, was supposed to be the stunning, aural centerpiece for a light and water performance system echoing the sentiment of the venue: “Harmonious Coexistence of Nature and Mankind”. Ecophony Gaia was in its truest essence the final part of a trilogy that began with 1986’s Ecophony Rinne, continued, in 1988, with their most-known work the soundtrack to Katsuhiro Otomo’s dystopian, cyber-punk film Akira (released as Symphonic Suite Akira), and this release mere months later. Looking back one can break up these releases into a holy musical trinity: Ecophony Rinne = spirit, Symphonic Suite Akira = body, and Ecophony Gaia = Gaia/earth. Ecophony Gaia is Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s most hopeful release. Rebirth, the hardest thing to capture in music, is something Ecophony Gaia expounds upon through sonics and feeling. You hear this in light echoes from Symphonic Suite Akira coursing through Ecophony Gaia, acting as symbols saying: “not everything from the past needs to be discarded, that certain things, when rethought of, hold a heavier power”. The Japanese Noh music you heard trapezing through Akira’s “Illusion” walks positively untethered in Ecophony Gaia’s “Euphony”, Indonesian gong chimes that hit darkly in Akira’s “Tetsuo” transform Ecophony Gaia’s “Catastrophe” into the light sublime, serene music that it is. What’s left over are the songs that point to new directions. Those that derive their influence from things that aren’t easily quantifiable. The introduction of field recordings to a warmer palette of sound makes Ecophony Gaia Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s first roots album. Of course, these roots belong to worldlier kind of music. Rhythms that sound like water coursing downstream from brook to ocean, electronic layers that hum and cycle through, string instruments that hover like atmosphere, wind instruments that sound like air and breath, and the powerful sound of human voices presenting divinity through communal chant — those all constitute the ecosystem of Ecophony Gaia. Things that you’ve heard/felt before, renewed in a different luster. When you hear the album, notice how there are two sides to its whole: “Chaos” ending in “Euphony”, “Catastrophe” ending in “Gaia”. It would be a disservice to describe the way it sounds, it’s an album based on belief not premonition. All you’ll find in Ecophony Gaia are movements. Hopeful movements. Needed movement.

File Under: Ambient, Percussion, Japanese
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…..new arrivals…..

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A Winged Victory for the Sullen: The Undivided Five (Ninja Tune) LP
Giants of contemporary ambient and electronic inspired music, A Winged Victory for the Sullen make a bold return on new album “The Undivided Five”, their debut for Ninja Tune. The pair, made up of Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, have created iconic film scores and forward-thinking ambient groups, releasing a series of game-changing records for Erased Tapes and Kranky. The duo have emerged alongside peers like Max Richter, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tim Hecker and Fennesz. Their 2014 album “Atomos” was the product of a commission to score a new performance by Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor, while 2016’s “Iris” was the score for director Jalil Lespert’s thriller, “In the Shadow of Iris”. They count the likes of Jon Hopkins among their fans, who included ‘Requiem For The Static King Part One’ on his 2015 Late Night Tales compilation.

File Under: Ambient, Stars of the Lid
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Ariel Pink: Love Boy (Mexican Summer) LP
Ariel Archives revisits ARIEL PINK’s historic run of albums as ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI with a series of definitive reissues and new collections. The first installment begins with Odditties Sodomies Vol. 2, a long-awaited second volume of outtakes and non-album tracks, Underground, the inaugural album in the Haunted Graffiti series, and finally Loverboy, an exemplary disc recorded between October 2001 and July 2002, at which time Ariel also recorded House Arrest. Twenty years on, Ariel’s music still stupefies. The quantity of ideas and moods expressed through a modest recording enterprise seems supernatural, not human. Indeed, HEDI EL KOHLTI in his superb new liner notes for Underground, compares Ariel’s explosive creative period between 1998 and 2004 to a character in Phillip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly who has all of 20th century modern art beamed into his brain at flash cut speed. Did Ariel Pink, at the age of 20, receive a similar instantaneous “download” of all of the secrets of pop music?

File Under: Indie Rock, Lofi
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Ariel Pink: Odditties Sodomies Vol 2 (Mexican Summer) LP
Ariel Archives revisits ARIEL PINK’s historic run of albums as ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI with a series of definitive reissues and new collections. The first installment begins with Odditties Sodomies Vol. 2, a long-awaited second volume of outtakes and non-album tracks, Underground, the inaugural album in the Haunted Graffiti series, and finally Loverboy, an exemplary disc recorded between October 2001 and July 2002, at which time Ariel also recorded House Arrest. Twenty years on, Ariel’s music still stupefies. The quantity of ideas and moods expressed through a modest recording enterprise seems supernatural, not human. Indeed, HEDI EL KOHLTI in his superb new liner notes for Underground, compares Ariel’s explosive creative period between 1998 and 2004 to a character in Phillip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly who has all of 20th century modern art beamed into his brain at flash cut speed. Did Ariel Pink, at the age of 20, receive a similar instantaneous “download” of all of the secrets of pop music?.

File Under: Indie Rock, Lofi
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Ariel Pink: Underground (Mexican Summer) LP
Ariel Archives revisits ARIEL PINK’s historic run of albums as ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI with a series of definitive reissues and new collections. The first installment begins with Odditties Sodomies Vol. 2, a long-awaited second volume of outtakes and non-album tracks, Underground, the inaugural album in the Haunted Graffiti series, and finally Loverboy, an exemplary disc recorded between October 2001 and July 2002, at which time Ariel also recorded House Arrest. Twenty years on, Ariel’s music still stupefies. The quantity of ideas and moods expressed through a modest recording enterprise seems supernatural, not human. Indeed, HEDI EL KOHLTI in his superb new liner notes for Underground, compares Ariel’s explosive creative period between 1998 and 2004 to a character in Phillip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly who has all of 20th century modern art beamed into his brain at flash cut speed. Did Ariel Pink, at the age of 20, receive a similar instantaneous “download” of all of the secrets of pop music?.

File Under: Indie Rock, Lofi
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Battles: Juice B Crypts (Warp) LP
Battles return with Juice B Crypts on Warp Records to follow their complex, mind-bending predecessors Mirrored, Gloss Drop and La Di Da Di. Their latest album is a sensory overload of information that throws everything you thought you knew about Battles into flux once again. Battles’ redefined line-up puts Ian Williams (keys, electronics) and John Stanier (drums) at the core of the covertly named Juice B Crypts, which was produced and mixed by Chris Tabron (Trash Talk, Mobb Deep, Ratking). Marrying synthesizer loops, cut-throat drum patterns and cyclical riffs, the album flirts with new technology, questions of authenticity and the technicalities of reinventing the wheel at the eleventh hour.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Jorge Ben: Solta o Pavao (Survival Research) LP
A reissue of Jorge Ben’s Solta o Pavao, originally released in 1975. Jorge Ben is one of Brazilian music’s iconic and best-loved figures. Born Jorge Duilio Lima Menezes in Rio in 1942, he took the stage name, Jorge Ben, in deference to his mother’s Ethiopian roots, and later used Jorge Ben Jorge for further distinction. Playing tambourine and singing in a church choir from an early age, Ben began playing in Carnival blocos and was performing in nightclubs as a teen. Signed to Philips in 1963, his “Mas Que Nada” became an instant international sensation that has never waned, despite being sung entirely in Portuguese. Beginning in samba, Ben’s openminded approach saw him embrace aspects of bossa nova, the “Jovem Guarda” rock movement of the mid-1960s and the experimental Tropicalia form, the broad palette and diverse influences yielding a number of adventurous and abstruse albums during the 1970s, of which Solta o Pavao is one of the most rated by connoisseurs, though somewhat overlooked in general; its title translates roughly to “Unleash the Peacock” and apparently concerns the outward expression of inner beauty. Against a backdrop of lushly produced samba rock with shades of MPB, highlights include opener “Zagueiro”, in which Ben salutes football center-backs in typically playful and poetic language; closing number “Jesualda” is a heady ballad of a chance encounter leading to a girl’s social climbing and “Para Ouvir No Radio (Luciana)” a love song with striking flute and string arrangements; Dadi Flavi’s bubbling bass and occasional string synths help keep the sound non-standard.

File Under: Brazil, Bossa Nova, Tropicalia
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Bitter Funeral Beer Band w/ Don Cherry: Live in Frankfurt 82 (Black Sweat) LP
First of all, Bengt Berger — a pioneer of the Swedish underground of the ’70s and historical member of bands such as Archimedes Badkar and Arbete Och Fritid — is a versatile drummer-percussionist and well-educated ethnomusicologist with several research sojourns in India and Ghana. Deeply influenced by Hindustani, Carnatic, and West Africa music, he founded the Bitter Funeral Beer Band in 1980, an ensemble of 12 elements, basing his ideas on the traditional funeral music of the people of LoBirifor, in the northern region of Ghana. The sound material reinterprets the spirit of the funeral ritual, when the dance and its songs become a moment of catharsis, releasing a sense of joy in the trance for the liberation from pain. The marriage between this Afro-polyrhythmic roots, with the spiritual jazz of the eternal Don Cherry, and the Ondian sarod of K. Sridhar, it is in the direction to a pan-internationalism of profound spirituality, which blends different geographical traditions in a single contemplative gaze. It is the convergence towards a music without boundaries, where every instrumental voice shines and is well fermented and integrated.

File Under: Jazz
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Tina Brooks: Minor Move (Tone Poet Series) (Blue Note) LP
Soulful hard bop tenor-saxophonist Tina Brooks’ passionate full sound and forward-looking style, along with his exceptional compositional gifts, made him a powerful force during his prime years. Brooks only led four sessions for Blue Note during his lifetime with the 1958 recorded/1980 released Minor Move being his first. It finds him fronting a first rate hard bop line-up featuring pianist Sonny Clark, trumpeter Lee Morgan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Blakey who deliver fresh takes on the standards “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Everything Happens to Me” and improvise their hearts out on the originals “Nutville” and “Minor Move.” The Blue Note Tone Poet Series was born out of Blue Note President Don Was’ admiration for the exceptional audiophile Blue Note LP reissues presented by Music Matters. The label brought Joe Harley (from Music Matters), aka the “Tone Poet,” on board to curate and supervise a series of reissues from the Blue Note family of labels. Extreme attention to detail has been paid to getting these right in every conceivable way, from the deluxe gatefold jacket graphics and printing quality to superior mastering (all analog direct from the master tapes) by Kevin Gray to superb 180-gram audiophile LP pressings by Record Technology Inc. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. “The LPs are mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin at his incredible facility called Cohearent Mastering. We go about it in the exact same way that we did for so many years for the Music Matters Blue Note reissues. We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session.”

– Joe Harley

File Under: Jazz
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Charge: s/t (Sommer) LP
Sommor Records present the first ever legit vinyl reissue of Charge’s self-titled album, originally released in 1973. An impossible-to-find, private psychedelic hard-rock album. Charge were a British power-trio born from the ashes of local South Coast heavy-blues bands Baby Bertha and Sweet Poison. Comprised of Dave Ellis (guitar), Pete Gibbons (drums), and Ian Mclaughlin (bass), they played heavy rock influenced by Hendrix, Cream, Free, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, etc. In 1973, they cut a demo album at SRT studios of which 99 copies in blank covers were pressed and later distributed between family and friends, with a few of them also shipped to record companies in what proved to be an unsuccessful attempt at earning a recording contract. The music is raw hard-rock with unrestrained guitar, Lemmy-esque vocals, and psych/heavy progressive touches. Side B contains the epic anti-war suite “Child Of Nations”. Remastered sound. Includes color insert with rare photos and liner notes by David Wells; includes download card.

 File Under: Psych
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Chris & Cosey: Heartbeat (Conspiracy) LP
Originally released to much acclaim in 1981 by Rough Trade, Heartbeat was the first in a long line of groundbreaking albums by Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti. This early example of Chris & Cosey features cut-up sampled voices, Cosey’s disto-guitar, industrial sequences, melodious synths, and cinematic sweeps. Includes a 12″ B/W double-sided insert of archive photos, clippings, and texts. “There are moments of great beauty like ‘Moorby’ and, equally, many moments of sheer depravity all performed with Kraftwerk’s cultured class and the hypnotic charm and deadly grace of a synthesised cobra.” –Steve Sutherland (Melody Maker, 1982) “All the world loves a love story… but Heartbeat still has an edge of evil among the extensions of the pair’s established scenarios.” –Sandy Robertson (Sounds, 1981)

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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CTI002LP_PRODChris & Cosey: Trance (Conspiracy) LP
This seminal album and a long time favorites with DJs and fans alike. Trance is often cited by electronic musicians as being highly influential in contemporary electronic music. Primarily an instrumental album, Trance covers everything from minimal electro and polyrhythmic sequences to rhythm heavy industrial dance tracks. Includes a 12″ B/W double-sided insert of archive photos, clippings and texts. “High-tech sequencer dazzles mix with heavy stews of sound, teasing atmospheric pieces with abrasive disco forgeries.” –John Gill (Time Out, 1982) “No one else currently turning out commercial music has anywhere near Chris and Cosey’s intuitive grasp of the stimulating possibilities of electronic rhythm. Trance is just what it claims to be: a mesmerising chance to reassess the suggestive potential of sound, which in turn, attempts to intoxicate the listener into a reinvestigation of surrounding environments.” –Steve Sutherland (Melody Maker, 1982)

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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CTI009LP_PRODChris & Cosey: Songs of Love & Lust (Conspiracy) LP
Songs Of Love & Lust was originally released by Rough Trade Records in 1984 and at the time was considered to be quite a departure for both Chris & Cosey and Rough Trade. The album contains Chris & Cosey’s trademark infectious rhythms, melodic tunes, edgy guitar, wailing cornet and of course Cosey’s unique vocals — which give a dark and sensual edge to the production. Includes a glossy insert with historic photographs and press clippings. “A vice-like turn of the screw that is at once dreamy, hard and compelling. A gathering of all those forces which give electronic music a heart of its own. This is seduction!” –Adrian Jones (City Limits, 1984) “Chris & Cosey’s alluring invitation is to try another world: their promise is that the possibilities should be endless.” –Don Watson (NME, 1984)

File Under: Electronic
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CTI016LP_PRODChris & Cosey: Exotika (Conspiracy) LP
This hugely popular mid-eighties Exotika album was originally released in 1987 by Play It Again Sam. It includes such Chris & Cosey classics as the crowd-pleasing “BeatBeatBeat”, the haunting ballad “Dr. John (Sleeping Stephen)”, and the original version of their seminal title track “Exotika”, which was adopted as an electronica anthem, most notably on the GOA scene and in the US West and East Coast gay clubs of the later 1980s. Includes a glossy insert with historic photographs and press clippings. “Chris & Cosey beat most of 87’s mainstream dance-floor contenders on their own territory of sheer pleasure, urged joy. ‘BeatBeatBeat’ is extreme, a revelation.” –Ian Gittins (Melody Maker, 1987) “Chris & Cosey have made a great dance record, but it’s their kind of dancing. No junk here. They’re crazy enough to be sincere about their musical Pleasureland and they want to share their discovery. Come and feel the sound as though your life depends on it: if it were up to them, it would depend on it.” –Rockpool, 1987

File Under: Electronic
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Cigarettes After Sex: Cry (Partisan) LP
“I’ve always avoided studios,” says Cigarettes After Sex frontman Greg Gonzalez. “There’s something special about recording out in the world, some kind of X-factor that comes from the character and atmosphere of wherever it is that you’re working that becomes essential to the feeling of the music.” That marriage of sound and setting is the heart and soul of Cry, Cigarettes After Sex’s riveting sophomore album. Recorded in a stunning house on the Spanish island of Mallorca, the collection reflects the uneasy beauty, erotic longing, and stark minimalism of the space, all smooth lines and soft light. Energized by the fresh palette and setting, Gonzalez would write songs just minutes before recording them with the band – drummer Jacob Tomsky, bassist Randy Miller, and keyboardist Phillip Tubbs. He engineered and produced the sessions himself, with an emphasis on capturing live performances and exploring the material together in dialogue with the house and with each other. Clocking in at nine songs, Cry is a compact collection, but its brevity belies its depth. While the band’s sound may be most associated with the romantic pop music of the late 50’s and early 60’s, Gonzalez pushes into more unexpected sonic territory on Cry, reaching back to his childhood in El Paso, TX, to draw subtle melodic influence from 90’s Tejano stars like Selena and mainstream pop country artists like Shania Twain. Gonzalez pushes himself lyrically on the album, too, tackling sex with the graphic frankness of Henry Miller or Leonard Cohen as he renders unabashed, sometimes explicitly erotic scenes with a casual candor. Writing with a filmmaker’s eye, he captures tiny moments with a rich, cinematic detail that manages to locate the profound within the mundane.

File Under: Indie Rock
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5d7a7c1840ff6_mainMikal Cronin: Seeker (Merge) LP
Recorded live with a crew of close friends and engineer JASON QUEVER at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles, Seeker finds MIKAL CRONIN pushing his often devastating power pop into darker territory—from the isolation of “Show Me” to the desperation of “Fire” to the unadorned heartache of “Sold.” Limited edition vinyl version pressed on green swirl vinyl with a bonus red/green colored vinyl 12-inch.

File Under: Punk, Power Pop
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LP-KRS-415 (1)Delta 5: Singles & Sessions 1979-1981 (Kill Rock Stars) LP
The original members of Delta 5, Julz Sale (vocals/guitar), Ros Allen (bass) and Bethan Peters (bass), formed the band “on a lark”, but soon became a part of the thriving Leeds post-punk scene, and later added Kelvin Knight on drums and Alan Riggs on guitar. Combining feminist politics with a two-bass funk-punk sound (much in the style of another, more famous Leeds band, Gang of Four), they released in 1979 their debut single, “Mind Your Own Business”. In 2006, Kill Rock Stars released a CD compilation of early Delta 5 material called Singles & Sessions 1979-1981… now offering a single LP vinyl version on the eve of 2020. Comes with a poster!

File Under: Post Punk
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DOME003LP_PRODDome: 3 (Editions Mego) LP
With the demise of the group Wire in 1980, founder members Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis joined forces to create Dome. With the assistance of engineer Eric Radcliffe and his Blackwing Studio Dome took the ethic of “using the studio as a compositional tool” and recorded and released three Dome albums on their own label in the space of 12 months: Dome (July, 1980), Dome 2 (October, 1980), and Dome 3 (October 1981). A final fourth album, Will You Speak This Word: Dome IV was released on the Norwegian Uniton label in May 1983. These albums represent some of the most beautifully stark and above all timeless exercises in studio experimentation from early 1980s alternative music scene. Previously issued in the out-of-print Dome 1-4+5 box set in 2011. Floating-point re-master by Russell Haswell, August 2011. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering by Rashad Becker, August 2011. New artwork by Dave Coppenhall. Includes download card.

File Under: Experimental, Post Punk, Wire
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VCR013LP_PRODRoger Doyle: Thalia (Dead-Cert) LP
Arguably one of the most important experimental records to emerge from 20th century Ireland, Thalia, as featured on the Nurse With Wound list, is coveted for its inventive, unpredictable, near-psychedelic brilliance, yet has remained scarce due to major label politics, meaning listeners had to fork out a ton for a second hand copy. Now readily available on its intended format, the keening, breezy logic and abstract theatric dramaturgy of Roger Doyle’s work on Thalia has been reshuffled to highlight its apparent surreality and frolicking apparitions. Combining his studious research and prep work at Utrecht Institute of Sonology (then home to Roland Kayn, Leo Küpper, Jaap Vink) and the studios of Finnish Radio (Yleisradio) Helsinki with a finely honed improvisational intuition at his home studio in Malahide, Dublin, the record yields a poetic diffusion of electro-acoustic phantasms meshed with politicized and unsettling field recordings, alongside a mad, experimental solo piano piece. The three-part title track is the biggest attraction on Thalia. Acting as a sort of shamanic extension of Gaelic bardic traditions, Doyle guides the listener through labyrinthine dimensions, vacillating tape FX with stark synth pulses, fragments of “Danny Boy”, and the unsettling sound of a woman wailing or even keening (a lament for the dead) in only the first minutes, the piece spirals over two sides between obtuse electronics and jump-cuts to melancholy strums, airborne melody, and rabid dissonance with the natural quality of Ireland’s ever-shifting interplay of sun, rain, and clouds. The relatively brief “Baby Grand” follows as a sort of playful solo piano palate cleanser for the LP’s purest electronic piece “Solar Eyes”, which surely recalls the iridescent expanses of Roland Kayn or Jaap Vink’s cybernetic music as much as Coil’s pHILM #1 as ELpH (1994). Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.

File Under: Experimental, Avant Garde, NWW List
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TER058LP_PRODAndre Ethier: Croak in the Weeds (Telephone Explosion) LP
“Croak In The Weeds, the second instalment in a planned trilogy from ex-Deadly Snakes frontman André Ethier, will be released in fall 2019 on Telephone Explosion Records. The nine-song album was created in collaboration with Sandro Perri (producer) at his Toronto studio in late 2018/early 2019. Croak In The Weeds continues Ethier and Perri’s musical relationship which was originally established on 2017’s Under Grape Leaves. Croak expands upon that album, deconstructing synthetic elements to a point of raw organic beauty. Lyrically, André’s approach has shifted to the natural world, focusing heavily on flora and fauna. Almost every track on the 34-minute album references animals, with central characters ranging from pigs to dragons. This is André’s third attempt at a trilogy of records. Previous attempts have stalled for various reasons; disillusionment with genre, unrealistic sense of self, arachnophobia… Though it would not be inaccurate to suggest that he now has completed a trilogy of unfinished trilogies (he would thank you for your optimistic reasoning,) and is still planning to finish this one. Regarding trilogies, André opines: ‘In the first you establish the tools and build yourself a room, in the sequel you live in the room and imagine what’s outside, finally in the third… you escape?’ He doesn’t know, he has never gone all the way…”

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Post Punk
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Floating Points Crush Indie Only Cover Art

Floating Points: Crush (Ninja Tune) LP
Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points returns on Ninja Tune with the new album Crush. Fresh off the release of his compilation of lambent, analogous ambient and atmospheric music for the esteemed Late Night Tales compilation series, Floating Points’ first album in four years, Crush, twists whatever you think you know about him on its head again. A tempestuous blast of electronic experimentalism whose title alludes to the pressure-cooker of the current environment we find ourselves in. As a result, Shepherd has made some of his heaviest, most propulsive tracks yet, nodding to the UK bass scene he emerged from in the late 2000s, such as the dystopian low-end bounce of previously shared striking lead single “LesAlpx” (Pitchfork’s ‘Best New Track’), but there are also some of his most expressive songs on Crush: his signature melancholia is there in the album’s sublime mellower moments or in the Buchla synthesizer, whose eerie modulation haunts the album. Whereas Elaenia was a five-year process, Crush was made during an intense five-week period, inspired by the invigorating improvisation of his shows supporting The xx in 2017. It feels similarly instantaneous – and vital. It’s the sound of the many sides of Floating Points finally fusing together. It draws from the “explosive” moments during his sets, the moments that usually occur when he throws together unexpected genres, for the very simple reason that he gets excited about wanting to “hear this record, really loud, now!” and then puts the needle on. It’s “just like what happens when you’re at home playing music with your friends and it’s going all over the place,” he says.

File Under: Electronic, Future Jazz
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ELP045LP_PRODIona Fortune: Tao of I Volume 2 (Ecstatic) LP
Iona Fortune crystallizes and convects enchanting thoughts on the legendary I Ching in a keenly awaited second volume of Tao of I, following from her resoundingly acclaimed 2017 debut for Optimo Music, where lustrous synthetic subbass met traditional Chinese strings with sublimely spirited and timeless effect. Issued by Ecstatic as the second of eight albums by Iona exploring hexagrams of the I Ching, or “The Book of Changes” — a 2,500-year-old Chinese divination text referenced extensively in religion, art, philosophy, psychoanalysis, science, and mathematics. Tao Of I Volume 2 sees the Glasgow-raised, Zurich-based artist refer to millennia of human experience through an electro-acoustic prism of Synthi AKS, guzheng, and Gamelan, newly expanded with erhu, kim, yanqin, zhong, and bawu. The wider scope of her palette allows a greater detail of airy calligraphic expression to her multi-dimensional microcosmos, channeling a wondrous energy in a fluidly melodic narration of mystic ideas made musically tangible. In eight parts Iona acts as conduit for extraordinary, invisible, and arcane forces. Inspired by the I Ching’s fundamental principles, her music resonates with a visceral and cosmic conception of human essence, infusing minimalist frameworks with finely tempered but lush emotive cues that bring to life the I Ching’s conviction that “music has the power to ease tension within the heart and to loosen the grip of obscure emotions.” Iona’s music most beautifully manifests this idea in concisely exacting forms and to contemplative ends, creating a slow, serene and harmonious music that coolly commands relaxed states of reception, best for mulling over life, and stuff. At once as light as a fleeting thought but permanent as an organism passing on its code, the music conjures mindsets comparable to Coil at their uncanniest, the post-erotica 4th world sensations generated by Jon Hassell, or the dark energy expressed in David Lynch films and their soundtracks. Most crucially Iona achieves this through a synthesis of self-exploration and instrumental actualization, employing an unusual composition strategy of inner cultivation and empathic performance to divine and realize a spellbinding, penetrative otherness. RIYL: Coil, Laraaji, Jon Hassell, David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti. Mastered and cut by Dubplates & Mastering.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Classical
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ZEHRA001LP_PRODMaleem Mahmoud Ghania w/ Pharoah Sanders: Trance of Seven Colors (Zehra) LP
Zehra present The Trance Of Seven Colors by master Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania and free jazz legend Pharoah Sanders, available on vinyl for the very first time. Originally released in 1994 on Bill Laswell’s Axiom imprint, and produced by Bill Laswell, The Trance Of Seven Colors is the meeting of two true musical masters. Maleem Mahmoud Ghania (1951-2015), son of the master of Gnawa music Maleem Boubker Ghania and the famous clairvoyant and “moqaddema”, A’isha Qabral, and a master of the traditional Gnawa style in his own right. Mahmoud learned this craft as a youth along with his brothers, walking from village to village, performing ceremonies with his father Boubker and was one of the few masters (Maleem) who continued to practice the Gnawa tradition strictly for healing (the central ritual of the Gnawa is the trance music ceremony — with the purpose of healing or purification of the participants). With 30 cassette releases of music from the Gnawa repertoire with his own ensemble and performances at every major festival in Morocco, including performing for the King in various contexts, Mahmoud Ghania was also one of Morocco’s most prominent professional musicians. In 1994, Bill Laswell and Pharoah Sanders went to Morocco equipped with just some mobile recording devices to record Ghania and a large ensemble of musicians (a good portion being family members) in a very intimate set-up at a private house. Sanders, the legendary free jazz musician, contributed the distinctive tenor saxophone sounds that gained him highest praise as a truly spiritual soul right from the days of playing with John Coltrane and his wife Alice and on seminal solo albums, like Karma (1969). The aptly titled The Trance Of Seven Colors ranks among the best Gnawa recordings ever released, making it onto The Vinyl Factory’s list of “10 incredible percussive albums from around the world”. 25 years after its original CD release, it is finally available on vinyl. Remastered for vinyl and vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. 180 gram vinyl; comes in gatefold sleeve; includes download code. “One of the most important albums of Gnawa trance music released in the ’90s.” –The Attic “first-hand access to Gnawa healing ceremonial music” –All Music

File Under: Jazz, Free Jazz
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Grant Green: Born to be Blue (Tone Poet Series) (Blue Note) LP
Prolific guitarist Grant Green and tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec recorded very few sessions together and undoubtedly one of the best is contained on the Blue Note gem Born To Be Blue, captured in 1961-1962 but not released until 1985. Green, Quebec and pianist Sonny Clark were three musicians with much in common. They were all simple, direct players with strong melodic approaches and much rhythmic drive, as evidenced on this album. The material on Born To Be Blue consists entirely of standards including two of the finer ballads played by jazz musicians and an unlikely piece from the soundtrack of an animated fairy tale. There’s not a wasted note found throughout. The Blue Note Tone Poet Series was born out of Blue Note President Don Was’ admiration for the exceptional audiophile Blue Note LP reissues presented by Music Matters. The label brought Joe Harley (from Music Matters), aka the “Tone Poet,” on board to curate and supervise a series of reissues from the Blue Note family of labels. Extreme attention to detail has been paid to getting these right in every conceivable way, from the deluxe gatefold jacket graphics and printing quality to superior mastering (all analog direct from the master tapes) by Kevin Gray to superb 180-gram audiophile LP pressings by Record Technology Inc. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. “The LPs are mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin at his incredible facility called Cohearent Mastering. We go about it in the exact same way that we did for so many years for the Music Matters Blue Note reissues. We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session.”

File Under: Jazz
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TROST183LP_PRODKeiji Haino & Sumac: Even for just the briefest moment (Trost) LP
Post-metal power force Sumac based around Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom) follow up their collaboration with Keiji Haino on Thrill Jockey, American Dollar Bill — Keep Facing Sideways, You are too Hideous to Look at Face on (2018), with another monolith — heavy and experimental at the same time. Personnel: Keiji Haino – guitar, voice, flute, taepyeongso; Aaron Turner – guitar; Nick Yacyshyn – drums; Brian Cook – bass. Recorded at Soh Ki Moon at Fever, Tokyo on July 3rd, 2017. Mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast, Seattle, December 2018. Mastered by James Plotkin, Bethlehem, December 2018.

File Under: Metal
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BEWITH061LP_PRODSteve Hiett: Down on the Road by the Beach (Be With) LP
For the first time since its inception in 1983, Steve Hiett’s elusive Down On The Road By The Beach is finally made available outside of Japan. Most recognized in the fashion sphere as an English photographer and graphic designer, Hiett’s transportive audio portraits amplify his serpentine guitar to the infinite blue, recorded across Paris, Tokyo and New York. A career devotee of Brian Wilson’s groundbreaking harmonies, Hiett shot The Beach Boys for Rolling Stone — as well as The Doors, Miles Davis, and Jimi Hendrix — while establishing himself as a fashion photographer. Decamping to Paris in 1972, he began what would become 20-year collaborations with Vogue Paris and Marie Claire. In 1982, representatives from Tokyo’s Galerie Watari visited him to propose a solo exhibition. Asking if he could insert a 7″ of original music into the back of the exhibition catalogue, Hiett laid down “Blue Beach – Welcome To Your Beach” in a Parisian radio station, playing all of the instruments himself, and two more cuts in New York with Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers, and Steely Dan hired-gun, Elliot Randall. Once dispatched, there were requests for him to fly to Tokyo to record; it wasn’t until he arrived that he discovered CBS/Sony had facilitated an entire album. Heitt hastily gripped some petty cash, bought a guitar, and retreated to his hotel room to start writing. Entering the studio the following day, he was further surprised by a waiting room of session players known as Moonriders — one of Japan’s most acclaimed rock bands of the 1980s. Intimidated by their indecipherable sheet music, Hiett suggested Randall join them and with money being no object for major labels at the time, his wingman was on the next plane out of New York. Near-ambient arrangements that float in a space between The Durutti Column, Steve Cropper, and Ashra, Down On The Road By The Beach also crowns Hiett the master of recontextualization with his zero-gravity blues visions of “Roll Over Beethoven”, Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” and the 1967 Eddie Floyd soul hit, “Never Found A Girl”. Produced in coordination between Be With Records, Efficient Space and the artist, this definitive reissue is restored from original masters; extensive liner notes penned by Mikey IQ Jones.

File Under: Electronic, Smooth Jazz
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BEWITH062LP_PRODSteve Hiett: Girls in the Grass (Be With) LP
Three emotional years in the making, Be With and Efficient Space present Steve Hiett’s Girls In The Grass. Pressed alongside the long-awaited reissue of his one-shot masterpiece, Down On The Road By The Beach, these ten Balearic soul instrumentals are of equal necessity; unrivalled beauty rescued from the fashion photographer-guitarist Paris Tapes (1986-1997). While recordings unintended for release should often be approached with caution, this is a rare case of unheard material being assembled as an indispensable and coherent piece. Girls In The Grass is something super special. The light and shadow that defines Hiett’s music is arguably more compelling here. It speaks to us in a language that feels profound, yet entirely comforting and familiar. Girls In The Grass reintroduces Hiett’s languid electric blues boogie, crafted on Saturday afternoons with fellow art director Simon Kentish. Kentish would cook, pour some wine, and then utilize his arsenal of technology. He’d dial up a chugging rhythm, together with some ambient pads or keyboard textures, and anchor the weightless gauze of Hiett’s six-stringed touch. Hiett’s guitar sings with the same clean, crisp tone as Down On The Road, animated by a carefree weekend groove. Unlike his defining album which was boiled under pressure, these subsequent sessions have all the time in the world. The naïve melodies chart a missing link between Vini Reilly’s ventures into electronica and Booker T, sounding like sun-warped takes on wordless, fractured non-hits from his heroes The Beach Boys. Remastered from the previously unreleased, original masters by Simon Francis. These private moments are adorned with Hiett’s singular photography and feature typically idiosyncratic liner notes from Mikey IQ Jones.

File Under: Electronic, Smooth Jazz
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MFM042LP_PRODToshifumi Hinata: Broken Belief (Music From Memory) LP
Broken Belief brings together a selection of recordings by Japanese multi-instrumentalist Toshfumi Hinata drawn from a body of work originally recorded between 1985-1987. Attending Berklee College of Music after spending time living in both the United States and the United Kingdom, Hinata would study under the tutelage of pianist Patricia Laliberte, graduating from the esteemed American school in 1982. Returning to Japan after becoming disillusioned with his classical training, Hinata experimented with many different forms of music. Moving away from depending simply on acoustic instruments, he would instead become entrenched in the possibilities of the latest analog synthesizers being developed at the time. Toshifumi Hinata’s initial idea was to make his first album with just a Prophet 5 and Linn Drum Machine. Tweaking filters and creating intricate sequences, Hinata would record various sounds on analog tapes and overdub many different layers; recording violin, piano, and other accompaniments separately later on. It would become a method of working for the musician which he would apply almost entirely throughout this period. A deeply submerged process; one in which he would seek, as he himself puts it, to “weave musical images”. Toshifumi Hinata would go on to record several more albums released only on CD throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, after which he focused mainly on music for TV dramas, commercials, and documentaries. Now living in Tokyo, he is almost exclusively focused on creating music for documentaries. The period of work released between 1985-1987 is one though that was not only a rich moment in the history of Hinata himself but of Japanese music and electronic music in general.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Japanese
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LDH79044__Ernest Hood: Neighborhoods (Freedom to Spend) LP
Ernest Hood’s Neighborhoods was released some two decades after the Portland, Oregon born and raised musician’s first forays into field recordings. These very recordings, and those captured over intervening years, define the universal sound and aural images of childhood, a theme memorialized by Hood’s privately-pressed opus of 1975. Sprawling through a haze of zither, synthesizer melodies, and foraged pedestrian sound, Neighborhoods is both a score and documentary composed and directed by Hood to offer, in his words, joy in reminiscence. Hood’s nostalgic impulse ran parallel to the developments of other artists, writers, and filmmakers of the 1970s who were looking back to the 1950s to convey a collective memory of childhood. Unlike some of the widely embraced work of this nature, the music of Neighborhoods eschews irony or detachment for lucidity, striving above all for a dream-like return to the details of sensory memory. Born into a musical lineage, Hood’s early, promising career as a guitarist in a globe-trotting jazz outfit was cut short when he contracted polio in his late twenties. Moving from guitar to less physically-demanding stringed instruments in the late 1940s, Hood first began implementing field recordings in his jazz ensemble collaborations as early as 1956. In 1961, Hood and trumpeter Jim Smith collaborated on a local Portland television program, with their large, tight ensemble providing breakneck contemporary jazz for an action painting by famed West Coast modernist painter Louis Bunce. Hood incorporated his own field-recorded sounds of birds in the performance – an element that would resurface in Neighborhoods with great abundance among other found sounds. Whether using environmental sounds or instruments, a sense of musical narration is the central component of Neighborhoods, a strategy Hood tellingly referred to as “musical cinematography” in his original liner notes. Instead of using the picture frame, Hood broadcasts melodies and sounds from his beloved Portland surroundings to transport listeners to the story’s scene. Remarkably, Neighborhoods never falls into the sentimentality trap. Hood’s music augments its indeterminate, “anecdotal” sounds with a blend of zither and synthesizer melodies reminiscent of golden age cinema soundtracks. Neighborhoods is an unusual hybrid –  not quite an “ambient” record nor a collection of pure field recordings. The identifiable sounds (screen doors opening and closing, passing motorists, crickets chirping, children playing) feel both universal and highly specific, like a bulletin of Hood’s private geography from the middle of the last century. There’s something instructive – if not reparative – about time traveling into the bucolic dimension of Neighborhoods in 2019. If Hood were presenting the album today, he might invite listeners to unplug while locating that joy in reminiscence. In the end, the concerns of Neighborhoods are poetic not formal, as Hood’s own summary of the album sounds a lot like Walt Whitman: “It hardly matters in which neighborhood you sprouted. The games we played, the mocks, the terminology and the feelings we experienced as youngsters are tantalizingly familiar.” And later, hitting a grand note, “How familiar, how indelible the pictures are: aromas of soft velvet days, strong friendships, fears, hates, loves… If the music seems a little bittersweet, well…isn’t that the taste of nostalgia?” Freedom to Spend has restored Ernest Hood’s nostalgic masterpiece with the same care with which he viewed his source material, offering a remastered version of Neighborhoods transferred from the original tapes, expanded across four vinyl sides (the original version was crammed on two). The new edition reproduces Hood’s celebratory liner notes in full, alongside new liner notes by Michael Klausman.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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TRANSVERS012LP_PRODAriel Kalma: Nuit Blanches au Studio 116 (Transversales Disques) LP
Transversales Disques announce the release of Nuits Blanches au Studio 116, unreleased rarities from Ariel Kalma’s personal archives recorded in the legendary GRM’s Studio 116 during the ’70s. Born and raised in Paris, Ariel Kalma started playing the recorder and saxophone as a youth. After successive studies of computer science, music, and art in Paris he performed in various concerts from middle-age music to free jazz duo. Ariel performed and recorded with several bands (J. Higelin, R. Pinhas, NYL, G. Scornic, Baden Powell…) After learning circular breathing on soprano sax, Ariel could include those endless notes into his own long-delay-effect system, dual Revox set-up and two tape machines “chained” together to form a long delay system. In France during the mid-1970s, Kalma was staffed as a recording assistant at legendary Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA GRM) studios, where Ariel recorded some of his compositions in the Studio 116; the same music “concrete” laboratory that spawned masterpieces by members Luc Ferrari, Bernard Parmegiani, and others.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Ambient
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SMR003LP_PRODOm Kalsoum: Enta Omri (Souma) LP
“Enta Omri” — A milestone in Arabic music history. “Enta Omri” is Om Kalsoum’s most famous song, composed by Mohamed Abdel Wahab, who is still rightly regarded as a prominent musician and composer in Egypt. The creation of this song was the first long expected collaboration of two musical giants, which came at the repeated urging of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser. There was talk in Egypt on the streets and in the media about what was believed to be a cold relationship between the two legends. Finally, after years of estrangement, Mohamed Abdel Wahab took the initiative and offered Om Kalsoum a song by poet Ahmed Shafiq Kamel, for which he had just composed a musical score. To his surprise, she responded positively and started to like the theme upon hearing it a few times. After a month of rehearsals, “Enta Omri” was released in February 1964 to critical acclaim and packed performances. The event was so grand it was labeled “The Cloud Meeting”. With “Enta Omri”, Abdel Wahab opened up the traditional repertoire of the diva to a more innovative style, for which the composer was known for. The use of the electric guitar and a long instrumental intro, fusing oriental themes with Western musical elements, made the song particularly special, securing its place in Egyptian musical history. Despite some criticism from other Egyptian composers from that era, the song was soon recognized as a milestone and opened a path to modernize Arabic music for many other musicians and singers. “Enta Omri” is loved by Arab and non-Arab audiences alike. Paying respect to the great diva, dozens of artists around the world have reinterpreted the song, adopting the intro’s catchy guitar melody in their compositions. Souma Records thought it was time to re-release this monumental piece of music on a high-quality vinyl format, together with a repress of “Laylet Hob” (SMR 004LP), another classic song by Souma. Vintage inside out-sleeve; printed inner sleeve with liner notes.

File Under: Arabic, Folk
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Om Kalsoum: Laylat Hob (Souma) LP
“Laylat Hob” — Another meeting in the clouds. Mohamed Abdel Wahab wrote another big score for Om Kalsoum in 1972. In “Laylat Hob” (A Night of Love), you hear Arabic music and poetry in perfect symbiosis. The rich and lengthy instrumental intro is just a precursor of the emotion present in this song. The talent of the composer is underlined by how he utilizes the traditional style of singing poetry in a more open and creative way. Abdel Wahab’s infusing of long and groovy interludes with varied tonality, rhythmical patterns, and an overall unique approach, carries Om Kalsoum’s powerful voice and brings the song to an incredible climax. In this way, he gives more color and depth to the music and the skilled soloists in the orchestra are finally able to breathe. Sensual rhythms, breaks, and breathtaking solos of accordion, guitar (Omar Khorshid), violin, and organ (Hany Mehanna), have ensured this song is an all-time classic for belly dance routines. Souma Records thought it was time to re-release this monument on a high-quality vinyl format, together with a repress of “Enta Omri” (SMR 003LP), another classic song by Souma. Vintage inside out-sleeve; printed inner sleeve with liner notes.

File Under: Arabic, Folk
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King Crimson: Power to Believe (Panegyric) LP
A new series of King Crimson 2LP-sets covering Thrak, The ReconstruKction Of Light and The Power To Believe will be released in September 2019, bringing these albums to vinyl for the very first time. This first time vinyl version of The Power to Believe features its 2019 expanded master on sides one through three, including the Sus-tayn-Z suite while Side four features eight tracks taken from the mini-album Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With. Double 200g vinyl LP cut from masters approved by Robert Fripp.

File Under: Rock, Prog
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FOX018LP_PRODLes Rallizes Denudes & Taj Mahal Travellers: Oz Days Live 1973 (Alternative Fox) LP
Japanese experimental group Les Rallizes Denudes are the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll enigma. Sometimes referred to as Hadaka no Rallizes or even as Hadaka no Rarizu, each appellation a variant of the name “Fucked Up and Naked”, which equates to being high on hard drugs, they are seen as noise-rock pioneers, yet sifting fact from fiction isn’t easy with their oddball tale. Emerging from the radical hippie communes of Kyoto during the late 1960s, the band was formed in November 1967 by university student Takashi Mizutani, taking the overamplified, distorted guitar of the Velvet Underground as a starting point. Early demo recordings apparently suffered from poor sound quality, leading the perfectionist Mizutani to retreat from the studio environment, meaning that most of the group’s output has appeared as live bootlegs, with the occasional studio demo surfacing as well. Performances were initially staged as part of avant-garde theatre, though the band’s propensity for super-loud noise soon put paid to such collaboration; the ever-changing membership saw Mizutani the only permanent force, despite his embroilment in the 1970 Red Army hijacking of a civilian Japan Airlines flight, enacted partly through bass player, Moriaki Wakabayashi, who defected to North Korea in its aftermath. Though perhaps not quite as notorious, fellow improvisational group, Taj Mahal Travellers, has a backstory of random international travels that is almost as intriguing as that of Les Rallizes; formed in 1969 by six experimental musicians and an electronic engineer, they embarked on a series of improvisational gigs across Japan, notably including an all-day marathon held at a Kanagawa beach, and made their way to Europe in 1971, where they crossed paths with Don Cherry and other like-minded practitioners. They later drove from Holland to the Pakistan border, acquiring santoors in Iran on the way to help broaden their already unpredictable repertoire. The OZ Days Live release is culled from the OZ Last Days festival held in the autumn of 1973, to benefit Tokyo’s OZ Rock Café, which had been closed following repeated drug busts. Here the Taj Mahal Travellers are suitably cosmic, their echoing jams featuring looped vocal chants, disjointed string instruments and sparse, off-kilter percussion; in contrast, the contributions from Les Rallizes are more standard examples of instrumental psychedelic rock, which veers more towards the acid rock end of the spectrum as the performance progresses.

File Under: Psych, Experimental, Japanese
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Malaria!: Compiled 2.0 (Moabit) LP
January 1981 found Gudrun Gut and Bettina Koster in Christopher Franke’s Berlin-Spandau Studio recording their first Malaria! EP (Zensor Records). Christine Hahn of The Static with Glenn Branca and Barbara Ess, joined in from New York, and Manon P. Duursma fresh from Nina Hagen’s O.U.T. project, and Susanne Kuhnke completed the line-up. Malaria! started touring intensively soon after the release of their 12″, commencing with a concert with New Order at Brussel’s Ancienne Belgique, and going on from there to concerts with Siouxsie and the Banshees, Birthday Party, The Slits, The AuPairs, Raincoats, Nina Hagen, John Cale, and Einstürzende Neubauten. They played venues as diverse as the Mudd Club, Peppermint Lounge and Studio 54 in New York, the Documenta in Kassel, the Bat Cave in London, Les Bains Douche in Paris, Milky Way and Paradiso in Amsterdam, ICA in London, the Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence, and Markthalle in Hamburg and naturally, again and again, at the SO36 in Berlin. While touring, Malaria! used their time off to record in Studios in New York, London, Brussels, New Orleans, and in Berlin — How Do You Like My New Dog? 7″ (1981), Weisses Wasser 12″ (1982), New York Passage 12″ (1982), Revisited cassette (1983), and the Emotion album (1982). At the BBC studios in London, Maida Vale, Malaria! recorded a John Peel Session. Malaria! took a break in 1984 — Bettina and Christine re-located to New York, and Gudrun and Manon stayed in Berlin to form Matador with Beate Bartel, but not before they recorded their mini-album, Beat The Distance (1985). In 1992 Gudrun, Bettina, Christine, and Manon met up in New Orleans with Jim Thirlwell (Foetus) to record Elation 12″. Elation was followed by Cheerio (1993), which again was recorded in Berlin. Chicks on Speed did their own version of Malaria!’s song, “Kaltes Klares Wasser” in 2001, and the remix went into the German Top 10. Malaria! has been an instrumental part of Berlin music history, as recently presented at the “Zurück zum Beton” at Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie, Kunsthalle Wien “Punk!”, “Geniale Dilletanten” Goethe Institut, and in B-Movie.

File Under: Electronic, Post Punk, New Wave
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LDM37853_Massive Attack: Massive Attack vs Mad Professor Part II (Virgin) LP
Massive Attack release a dub version of Mezzanine on vinyl LP! These radical re-workings by Mad Professor originally created in 1998 include “Teardrop,” “Angel” and “Inertia Creeps” as well as rarities “Wire” and “Superpredators.” The sleeve, designed by Robert Del Naja and Tom Hingston, features original artwork from Brute!’s Aiden Hughes.

File Under: Electronic

BS054LP_PRODMoon on the Water: s/t (Black Sweat) LP
Moon On The Water is a mysterious sound aurora on the magical paths of the infinite universe of percussion, originally released in 1985 and then almost completely lost. The well-educated drummer Tiziano Tononi, together with David Searcy and Jonathan Scully, while working at the temple of classical music Teatro alla Scala in Milano decided to realize a personal compendium of sounds using only percussion instruments. The recordings offer an amazing concert of sounds with acoustic purity in perfect balance between wild rhythm and deep relaxation. Ecstatic elements of Japanese ambient minimalism dialogue with contemporary music solutions (Varese, Ligeti) in the stream of a harmonious fusion of ancient and modern. It’s a propitiatory ceremony of supernatural things that opens portals of blissfulness, tribal and shamanic darkness, and timeless jungles. Between Amazon fires and African safaris, one floats in Asian rivers of meditation, gets lost in water games, hears echoes of caves and rocks in the night, synergies of frogs, birds, snakes, marimbas, chimes, gongs, and tubular woods.

File Under: Experimental
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Mosquitoes: Vortex Veering Back to Venus (Feeding Tube) LP
“The aural pleasure created by this somewhat mysterious trio of London musicians continues to accrue. After two fine self-released records (one a 7″, th’ other a 12″), and the superb Drip Water Hollow Out Stone on the great Ever/Never label, Feeding Tube is honored to present the Mosquitoes’ latest assault on the temples of beauty. The music on Vortex is of a piece with earlier recordings. By this, I mean there is a wonderfully ‘out’ approach to basic rock instrumentation and vocals, which détourns the basic assumptions listeners have about what rock instruments sound like. A good number of bands have done this in the modern era, from This Heat to U.S. Maple, but the only band the Mosquitoes continually call to my mind is late period Mars. That NYC unit had pretty much destroyed conventions of song and structure by the time they called it a day, and the instrumental/vocal mangling these guys do is equally brilliant. They really take every piece of sound apart and put it back together in a weird way. There are passages on Vortex that actually make me think of early Suicide as well (I think they use amp-noise-loops to approximate Rev’s keyboards), but none of the music here has the aggression of Suicide. Instead, it projects a transcendent sense of confusion that is as head-scratching as it is appealing. If you like your music to be equal parts brains and power, you won’t find many things more satisfying than the music of the Mosquitoes. Every one of their records is great. And they just keep getting better. How lucky for you.” –Byron Coley, 2019 Edition of 250.

File Under: Post Punk, Experimental

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Matsuo Ohno: Roots of Electronic Sound (Survival Research) LP
Futuristic synthesizer specialist and sound designer Matsuo Ohno was responsible for the sound design of a broad range of film, television, and radio soundtracks, most famously the animation series Astro Boy which he began working on in 1963 together with his assistant, Takehisa Kosugi. Ohno was born in the heavily-populated Kanda district of central Tokyo in 1930 and was heavily affected by the repeated bombing raids on the city enacted in World War II, which took place during his formative years. After the war, deeply motivated by philosophy and Surrealism, he was largely unaffected by popular music, other than the electronic abstractions of Karlheinz Stockhausen; the left-wing filmmaker Fumio Kamei was another early influence. Ohno began immersing himself in the realm of sound effects while working with the Bungaku-za modernist theatre troupe and he performed a similar function at NHK, Japan’s national broadcasting corporation, but became so frustrated by the rigidity of the restrictions imposed on him there that he quit his prestigious post at the broadcaster, although his skills were such that he remained in high demand as a freelancer, which allowed him to refine his sound effects techniques with evolving analogue synthesizers. The five suites of tracks that make up the Roots Of Electronic Sound album were recorded between 1963 and 1966; initially released on the ALM label in 1975, it is comprised of brief tape experiments, the cover artwork fittingly representing Astro Boy, from which many of the audio interludes are taken. Includes full color insert; edition of 500.

File Under: Early Electronic
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Oiseaux-Tempete: From Somewhere Invisible (Sub Rosa) LP
Includes printed inner sleeve and poster; limited edition marbled vinyl. Edited and mixed between Montreal and Paris, From Somewhere Invisible summons the fever of experimentation and the powerful sound of the game coming together in the service of a luxuriant and psychedelic drift. Synthetic brass meets hammered rhythms, string electrics with cracked electronics, saxophone cries and laughter at a pulsing and seminal bass. Created in 2012 by multi-instrumentalists Frédéric D. Oberland and Stéphane Pigneul, Oiseaux-Tempëte (Storm Petrels) is a constantly evolving collective that, embracing the freedom of improvisation, transcends borders and cultures, straddling the intersection where amplified music (post/kraut/free-rock, jazz-punk, avant-garde, experimental electronics) collides and finds common ground — a refuge. Sensitive to the beating of hearts, hypnotic beats, and explosions of materials, Oiseaux-Tempête embrace the community of collaboration, regularly inviting to the studio and tour friends, like: the electronic producer Mondkopf, the Dutch performer G.W.Sok (The Ex), drummers Jean-Michel Pirës (Bruit Noir, The Married Monk), Sylvain Joasson (Mendelson), Ben McConnell (Beach House, Marissa Nadler), British bass clarinetist Gareth Davis, contemporary Ondes Martenot player Christine Ott , and musicians Charbel Haber & The Bunny Tylers, Sharif Sehnaoui, Fadi Tabbal, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Youmna Saba, and Two Or The Dragon. At the end of November 2017, Oiseaux-Tempête flew to Canada at the invitation of Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart). The program for the quintet (Frédéric, Stéphane, Jean-Michel, Mondkopf, and G.W.Sok): two concerts in Montreal and Toronto in support of the collaborative project Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart (specially reformed for the occasion), fraternal encounters buried beneath the Canadian snow, and to finish, a mysterious two-day studio session in Montreal’s legendary Hotel2Tango. Radwan shifts from the recording controls to the buzuk, the spiraling strings of Jessica Moss (Thee Silver Mt. Zion) a welcome surprise. With usual urgency, Oiseaux-Tempête rushes with joy towards the invisible outcome. The fourth studio album and seventh release on the Belgian avant-garde label Sub Rosa, From Somewhere Invisible embraces the new. Leaving aside for a while the logbooks of long journeys and the field recordings of the previous albums, the music of Oiseaux-Tempête unfolds as a twilight and prophetic orchestra around G.W.Sok’s punctuated voice. The poems of Mahmoud Darwish, Ghayath Almadhoun, and Yu Jian question the modern man and his double, the strange and foreign, the fragmented real, the violence, society and its mirror.

File Under: Experimental, Rock, Jazz
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ABST007LP_PROD (1)Miguel Ruiz: Climatery (Abstrakce) LP
Miguel A. Ruiz is a veteran experimental/electronic musician from Madrid who has worked under numerous names since early eighties as Técnica Material, Orfeón Gargarín, Codachrom. Climatery was originally recorded in 1986 and published by the Madrid label Proceso Uvegraf and later again by Esplendor’s Geométrico label. Industrial ethnic music like Muslimgauze, O Yuki Conjugate, some Cabaret Voltaire, the avant-garde world rhythms of Jon Hassell, mantric loops, and futuristic soundtracks. “Six long environmental themes with ethnic and exotic touches, within a repetitive minimalism and layers of Korg Polysix synthesizer, combined with loops created with incipient sampler, tribal rhythms, leathery and dragged mix with an amazing ease with the first techno, in addition to adding traces of Industrial music. To the mix we only need to add the connective tissue of experimentation and the avant-garde, which make each theme acquire its own distinctive body.” Edition of 300.

File Under: Electronic, Fourth World
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WWSLP024LP_PROD

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Thousand Knives of (Wewantsound) LP
Wewantsounds present a reissue of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s first solo album Thousand Knives Of, originally released in 1978 on the sought-after Better Days label. Save for a small-scale release in 1982, this is the first time the album is being released on vinyl outside of Japan. 1978 was a key year for Japanese music. Haruomi Hosono, one of the country’s most innovative musicians had just formed Yellow Magic Orchestra pursuing the sonic experimentation he had started with his solo album Paraiso. The album, recorded between December ’77 and January ’78, featured both Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi. Hosono quickly invited both musicians to form YMO but before the group could release their first album, Sakamoto entered the Nippon Columbia studios in April 1978 with a plan. Sakamoto had become an in-demand session musician after studying composition at the Tokyo University of Art and had played on many key albums of the time, such as Taeko Ohnuki’s Sunshower (1977) and Tatsuro Yamashita Spacy (1977). This led to an invitation by Hosono to feature on Paraiso. A penchant for avant-garde and improvisation had gotten Sakamoto interested in electronic music early on, and with Thousand Knives he decided to get Hideki Matsutake on board as he had mastered the art of synth programming following a stint with Electronic Music pioneer Isao Tomita. Thousand Knives took several months to record as Sakamoto would be busy during the day with his session work and would only record at night. Named after Belgian-born poet Henri Michaux’s description of a mescaline experience, the album is a reflection on how synthesizer technology might come to change the face of music. The first side conceived as a long suite opens with the title track and a recitation of the Mao Zedong poem “Jinggang Mountain” filtered through a vocoder, before morphing into a mid-tempo synthpop instrumental. It is followed by “Island Of Woods”, a ten-minute track buzzing with insect-like synth sounds. Side one ends with “Grasshoppers”, a beautiful acoustic piano melody underlined by a subtle synthesizer soundscape. Side two opens with “Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkslied”, acknowledging the influence of the German sound spearheaded by Kraftwerk. The track features a mid-tempo metronomic beat skillfully intertwined with a Japanese folk sounding melody. The album ends with two catchy up-tempo synthpop tunes in the form of “Plastic Bamboo” and “The End Of Asia”, which both became staples of YMO’s and Sakamoto’s live shows. YMO’s sound included various influences from its three members but there is no denying Thousand Knives paved the way for the group’s Computer Music sound. Remastered from the original tapes by renowned producer and engineer Seigen Ono.

File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop
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Ty Segall: Pig Man Lives Volume 1 (Sea Note) 4LP
WHAT. It’s almost 2020!? Face it, the last ten years or so have been a BLUR—so much shit going down, good and bad—and a lot of music too. It doesn’t look like its gonna get any easier for ANYBODY to get their bearing, so TY SEGALL and Sea Note have gotten together a special box to help you reorient your head, no matter where you are. Yeah, this one’s for the freak, the fan, the head. Pig Man Lives is a stack of raw germs that were blown up in the world as Ty Segall releases over this last golden decade or so—specifically, the demos that bred Manipulator, Freedom’s Goblin, Emotional Mugger, Twins, Ty Segall, Slaughterhouse and Sleeper. Each finished record had its own unique aim and intention, but when you hear tracks from 2007 next to 2015, then 2012 cutting in after 2017, the splatter allows you to hear the continuum of a whole body of work exploding over and over again in the burst of freedom that comes with the initial sketch of a song. Non-linear reorientation, taking you back and forward over the course of eight sides and 47 songs. There’s even a few that haven’t seen the light of day before. You’re bound to feel different after you’ve spent any kind of quality time with Pig Man. Whether he’s recording alone at home or in a studio with the band, Ty’s goal in putting something on tape isn’t just to log the song, it’s to make a whole thing that’s rad. For some of these songs, further evolution brought even more out of them. And some are perfect this way, with rough edges and little details you’re not gonna believe you’ve lived without. As sure as Pig Man Lives, you won’t have to anymore.

File Under: Punk, Rock
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MORNING003LP_PROD

Don Slepian: New Dawn (Morning Trip) LP
“‘360 degrees of freedom is overwhelming in music, and you need not truly begin to find freedom until you put yourself under extremely narrow constraints.’ It was with this quote that Don Slepian laid the groundwork for over 40 years of musical output. Slepian’s work draws equally from the harmonic terrain he explored while performing with a Javanese gamelan ensemble, as well as his time spent building and modifying electronic audio equipment for studios and fellow musicians. Gravitating towards improvisation and experimentation, Slepian built a breathtaking sound-world that stretched the briefest of moments into an eternity of detail and depth. In 1980, Slepian self-released a series of cassette albums that built upon and perfected this practice, offering New Music for Digital Orchestra. New Dawn is one of those albums — an enthralling example of New Age euphoria, and early-electronic experimentation. New Music For Digital Orchestra? An ironic subtitle for an album without any traces of digital technology found within. The instruments, tools, and recording techniques are entirely analog. A Korg PS3100, Mellotron voices, Mellotron flutes, analog tape echo and analog recorder were used to create both of the pieces found on New Dawn with both tracks being recorded live with no overdubs.”

File Under: Garage, Power Pop
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LDS41216_Sudan Archives: Athena (Stones Throw) LP
Sudan Archives is widely acclaimed for her thrilling combination of styles: powerful and anthemic R&B, electronic music, a violin style inspired by Northeast African fiddling, and West African rhythms. For Athena, she collaborated with a wide cast of songwriters, producers and musicians for a sound that is her fullest and richest to date, while staying true to the unique blend of influences that has won her fans around the world. Athena follows the EPs Sudan Archives (2017) and Sink (2018), which received glowing coverage in The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR, VOGUE, the BBC, and many more.

File Under: Hip Hop, Funk
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IMR033LP_PROD

Trentemoller: Obverse (In My Room) LP
Trentemøller returns with his fifth studio album, Obverse. Anders Trentemøller is a well-known multi-instrumentalist, but perhaps the one he’s most adept at is the studio itself. Obverse is the result of him expanding that skill even further. Obverse often feels like an instrumental album because it started life as one, the driving philosophy being “what if the pressure of having to perform these songs live is removed entirely?” Granting yourself the freedom to chase down every idea a studio offers comes with privileges. What happens when you reverse a synth part mid-verse? Why not send an entire track through a faulty distortion pedal? Inspiration reveals itself in a variety of forms and, before long, a simple chord progression contorts into something entirely new. It’s a work method that yielded great results for the legendary German kosmiche/motorik experimentalists of the 1970s. Intentional or not, Obverse embodies more than a little of that spirit without even a hint of pastiche. So it only makes sense that Obverse would stray from its original roadmap. In due time, half of the nascent compositions featured singers, including Lina Tullgren, Lisbet Fritze, and jennylee, of Warpaint, another band deeply influenced by dream pop. While Obverse was born from a different work ethic than previous efforts, it also continues an arc that started in 2006. Each successive effort has represented a logical next step beyond the album before, and Obverse absolutely picks up where Fixion left off. For the past decade, Trentemøller has been perfecting this form of sonic chiaroscuro to conjure up images of severe landscapes, and to mirror the Scandinavian climate, where half the year the sun barely sets, and the other it barely tops the horizon. While there has been a film noir element in his previous work, Obverse is the first time each song has felt like a collection of pocket soundtracks. By fusing together a love of dream pop, dark synth-based music, film scores, and a deep connection with the stark Nordic panoramas, Anders has created an inimitable language. Ultimately Obverse resides in a genre all its own.

File Under: Electronic
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SNDW132LP_PRODVarious: Body Beat: Soca-Dub and Electronic Calypso 1979-1998 (Soundway) LP
Soundway releases first Caribbean compilation in over ten years, Body Beat: Soca-Dub And Electronic Calypso 1979-98. 17 obscure soca B-side versions, dubs, instrumentals, and edits as well as vocal tracks influenced by disco, boogie, house-music, soul, and the more conscious lyrics of roots reggae. Owing as much to New York, Toronto, and London as to the Caribbean cities of Port of Spain, Bridgetown, and Kingstown this compilation traces the genre from its explosion in the late 1970s right up to the period just before contemporary soca became established around the end of the 1990s. Compiled by Soundway label founder Miles Cleret and DJ/collector Jeremy Spellacey, Body Beat, as with many compilations on the label, explores the fringes of this often maligned (by outsiders) genre. Boiled down to the bare bones of the matter though: soca is party music. Soca was originally a re-invention of Calypso music; a genre that in the 1970s was fast becoming usurped around the Caribbean by Jamaican reggae and American soul, funk and later disco. The originator of soca (or sokah as he called it), the calypsonian Lord Shorty, began experimenting and modernizing on the formulation of calypso in the early 1970s. His first album featured a strong emphasis on East African rhythms and a punchier recording style that emphasized the beat, and introduced arrangements that often owed as much to American funk and soul as to calypso. So here you go — seventeen slabs of soca crossover, rapso, electronic calypso, and Caribbean “soca-soul” for your enjoyment — and bound to fit well into modern, open-minded DJ sets alongside the resurgence of burger-highlife, digi-reggae, soukous, and zouk. Features Cito Jarvis, Roger Bain, *D* Ivan, Bill Campbell, Brother Resistance, Adonijah, Peter Britto, Juno D, Colin Jackman, Levi John, Spiking, Mohjah, Andre Tanker, Touch, D’Rebel Band, The Millers, and Chocolate Affaire. RIYL: Rebles’ Sweetest Taboo (Soca) 12″, George & Glen Miller’s Easing 12″ (SNDW 12037EP), Wilson LeGendre.

File Under: Calypso
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…..Restocks…. 

Charles Bradley: Changes (Daptone) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Allelujah! (Constellation) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists (Constellation) LP
Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage (Blue Note) LP
Madvillain: Madvillainy (Stones Throw) LP
Moon Duo: Stars are the Light (Sacred Bones) LP
Portishead: PNYC Live at the Roseland Ballroom (Polydor) LP
Portishead: Third (Mercury) LP
Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Four (Constellation) LP
Stereolab: Dots & Loops (Duophonic) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Gabor Szabo: 1969 (Modern Harmonic) LP
Frank Zappa: Orchestral Favorites (Zappa) LP

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