A nice clutch of new releases in this week, and as usual, a bunch of stuff coming in late. And always more used stuff hitting the shelves too, come for a dig.
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…..picks of the week…..
Alessandro Alessandroni: Open Air Parade (Sonor Music) LP
Alessandro Alessandroni’s definitive holy grail, Open Air Parade, reissued on Sonor Music Editions. The very best library record by the cult maestro on the dreams podium alongside Spontaneous (1974), the two Farfalla recordings, and Ritmo Dell’industria the label released two years ago. A long-awaited masterpiece and sought-after gem by record collectors all over the world originally released in 1972 on the mythical SR Records with two tracks by the great bassist Giovanni Tommaso who surely played in this session. A dreamy album with the top-notch, strung-out psychedelic funk sounds, laden beat and groovy music with lush arrangements and insane vocal themes by Alessandro Alessandroni’s Cantori Moderni chorus. An Italian library monster.
File Under: Library
Jon Hassell/Farafina: Flash of the Spirit (Tak:Til) LP
Tak:Til/Glitterbeat present the first ever reissue and remastering of Jon Hassell and Farafina’s prescient, “Fourth World” masterwork, Flash of the Spirit, originally released in 1988. Propulsive Burkinese rhythms meet revelatory, ambient soundscapes. Co-produced with the legendary studio team of Brian Eno and Dainel Lanois. Composer and trumpeter Jon Hassell has been an elusive, iconic musical figure for more than half a century. He’s best known as the pioneer and propagandist of “Fourth World” music, mixing technology with the tradition and spirituality of non-western cultures. In 1987 he joined with Farafina, the acclaimed percussion, voice, and dance troupe from Burkina Faso, to record Flash of the Spirit. While the album is a natural extension of those “Fourth World” ideas, and a new strand of Possible Musics, it also a distinctive outlier in the careers of both artists; an unrepeated merging of sounds whose influence still reverberates today. The eight members of the band — who had also collaborated with the Rolling Stones and Ryuichi Sakamoto — brought their long apprenticed, virtuosic drumming, and melodic textures (balafon, flute, voices) to the sessions. They built up layers and patterns of rhythm, while producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (fresh off the success of U2’s Joshua Tree) created a sonic atmosphere in which they could creatively intertwine with Hassell’s digitally processed trumpet and keyboards. Despite their initial skepticism, the musicians from Farafina ended up relishing their interaction with the studio team and the trumpeter/conceptualist Hassell. The music that emerged was rich and groundbreaking, a move to transcend the boundaries between jazz, avant-garde classical, ambient and the deep rhythmic tradition embodied by Farafina. On “Out Pours”, the groove simmers softly, led by shifting patterns on the balafon, while Hassell’s heavily treated trumpet creates breathy swirls of sound that play and dance around them. Percussion leads on “A Vampire Dances,” pushing and probing and seeming to force electronic shrieks as a response from Hassell’s trumpet, while the keyboard creates a bed of sound that refuses to hold still. “(Like) Warriors Everywhere” takes that idea even further. Over Farafina’s surging rhythms, Hassell’s electric piano and trumpet dig deep into abstract, melodic ideas hinted at by the Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis band. Farafina create the rhythms and counter-rhythms that spring and move. A new, natural trans-cultural harmony is apparent on the final track, “Masque”, where percussion and treated trumpet draw the listener along on a journey through shifting landscapes.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Fourth World, Jazz
Go Hirano: Corridor of Daylights (Black Editions) LP
Black Editions present the first ever vinyl edition of Go Hirano’s third album, Corridor of Daylights, originally released in 2004. Corridor of Daylights is a quiet work of dreamlike brilliance. A home field recording where fragile piano melodies float alongside wind-chimes and wistful melodicas — insects hum in the distance and a breeze gently rustles as summer day eases toward evening. Originally released in Japan by P.S.F. Records in 2004, Corridor of Daylights is a beautiful, soulful dispatch from early aughts Tokyo. Black Editions present Corridor of Daylights, newly mastered for its first ever vinyl edition. Includes bonus track. Comes in a deluxe edition featuring pearlescent paper, metallic inks, and foil stamped letters as well as two inserts including a newly translated illustrated story booklet; Includes download.
File Under: Piano, Classical, Field Recordings
Luigi Archetti/Bo Wiget: Weltformat (Die Schachtel) LP
Double-LP version. Clear vinyl; six-panel, gatefold sleeve. Ending the decade of silence which followed more than ten years of remarkable, critically-acclaimed activity by the partnership of veteran experimentalists, Luigi Archetti and Bo Wiget, the duo returns with what may be their most ambitious effort to date, Weltformat, issued by Die Schachtel. Switzerland-based Luigi Archetti and Bo Wiget began collaborating in 1998, the fruits of which initially emerged as the critically heralded, three-part Low Tide Digitals series, released by Rune Grammofon between 2001 and 2009. Weltformat, like its predecessors, builds on decades of solo and collaborative efforts by its creators — Archetti with famed Krautrock pioneers, Guru Guru, among many others, and Wiget with Werner Lüdi, Taku Sugimoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, and others. Sculpted from the intricate tonal interventions and responses of Archetti on guitar, mandolin, and electronics, and Wiget on cello, electronics, and vocals, across the album the duo constructs a remarkably diverse landscape in sound, folding touchstones of modern classical, free improvisation, minimalism, harsh noise, and ambient music, into a seamless, singular expanse. Clusters of tone and dissonance merge, collide, and abrade against drones, textures, and pulsing electronics, each element a representative voice of its creator, caught in an imagistic conversation beyond words, which feels as immediate and intuitive, as it does perfectly balanced and thoughtful. Weltformat, encountering Archetti and Wiget just past the 20 year mark of their collaborative partnership, bears the fruit of rigorous experiments in sound – an immersive, effortless form of sonic realism, built from the optimism and hope which lays at the root of the avant-garde. As beautiful, inviting, immersive, and slow moving, as it is challenging, destabilizing, and thought provoking.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Modern Classical
Company: 1983 (Honest Jon’s) LP
Wonderful, previously unreleased recordings by Derek Bailey and his guests at Company Week in 1983. What’s remarkable throughout this album is the respect and affection the musicians show for each other, exemplifying the dictionary definition of “company” as “the fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment.” It starts with “Landslide”, a brilliant, spiky, spluttering, twanging reunion of Music Improvisation Company members Evan Parker (tenor sax), Hugh Davies (electronics), and Jamie Muir (percussion). Next up, “Seconde Choix”, with Joëlle Léandre’s close-miked prepared bass and Bailey’s acoustic guitar seemingly heading in different directions before coming together miraculously in just four minutes. The opening of “First Choice”, a duet between Bailey and Muir, is a revelation for those who moan that the guitarist plays too many notes. His patient and truly exquisite exploration of harmonics is beautifully counterpointed by Muir’s metallic percussion. On “Pile Ou Face” (Heads Or Tails) Davies concentrates on his high register oscillators, carefully shadowed by Parker’s soprano until Léandre’s deft, springy pizzicato lures them into the playground. “JD In Paradise” is a surprisingly delicate wind quartet, with John Corbett’s trumpet, fragile and Don Cherry-like, punctuating the sinuous interplay between Peter Brötzmann and J.D. Parran (on sopranos, flutes and clarinet), while trombonist Vinko Globokar growls approvingly in the background. Igor Stravinsky’s magnificent definition of music as the jeu de notes comes to mind listening to Bailey’s duet with cellist Ernst Reijseger (executing fiendish double-stopped harmonics with staggering ease). Technical virtuosity has never sounded so effortless — it is, as its title “Een Plezierig Stukje” simply states, a fun piece. On the closing “La Horda”, Bailey and Reijseger team up with the horns for what on paper looks like it could be rough and rowdy sextet but which turns out once more to be a thoughtful, spacious exchange of ideas, shapes, and colors.
File Under: Jazz, Free Improv
John Fahey: Live in Sausalito (Alternative Fox) LP
The finger-picking guitarist and blues enthusiast John Fahey enjoyed a long, influential and distinguished career. Born in Washington DC in 1939 and raised in Takoma Park, Maryland, he launched his own Takoma label to issue self-produced work in the late 1950s and then delivered his master’s theses on the blues of Charlie Patton at UCLA. Then, while based in the radical town of Berkeley, California in the San Francisco Bay area, began issuing filed recordings of forgotten blues legends, such as Bukka White. With his own work, Fahey began borrowing from eastern elements such as Indonesian gamelan and Tibetan vocal chanting, reflecting his interest in esoteric eastern religion, as well as birdsong, animal calls, and other naturalistic elements. This beautiful 1973 performance, delivered in the sleepy town of Sausalito, California, comprises most of Fahey’s Fare Forward Voyagers LP (1973), as well as earlier material, including “Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Palace Of King Philip XIV Of Spain”, from his 1964 release, Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes.
File Under: Folk
Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza: Eroina (Cometa) LP
Cometa Edizioni present a reissue of Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza’s Eroina, originally released in 2011. There are still so many treasures to be discovered out there, but once you find a gem like this you can definitely put the research on hold for a little while and give it a deep listen. Recorded at Fono Roma in 1971, Eroina is a series of haunting improvisations — each one inspired by the effects of a different drug — made of whirling electronic glitches, skronky horns, pounded piano, funky drums. and weird tape experiments delivering the best drone/spaced/drugged-out free jazz performed by the legendary ensemble of Ennio Morricone, Mario Bertoncini, Egisto Macchi, Battisti D’Amario, Franco Evangelisti, and Walter Bianchi. A timeless masterpiece.
File Under: Italian, Library, Experimental
Heliocentrics: Infinity of Now(Madlib Invazion) LP
The UK’s cosmic, psychedelic-funk ensemble issue their first album on maverick producer Madlib’s label, Madlib Invazion. The Heliocentrics’ albums are all confounding pieces of work. Drawing equally from the funk universe of James Brown, the disorienting asymmetry of Sun Ra, the cinematic scope of Ennio Morricone, the sublime fusion of David Axelrod, Pierre Henry’s turned-on musique concrète, and Can’s beat-heavy Krautrock, they have – regardless of the label on which they’ve released their music – pointed the way towards a brand new kind of psychedelia, one that could only come from a band of accomplished musicians who were also obsessive music fans. Drummer Malcolm Catto and bassist Jake Ferguson are the Heliocentrics’ masterminds and producers, and they are obsessive weirdos in today’s musical climate, searching, progressive humans who are often out-of-time with current trends. They have been playing together for nearly two decades and their collective drive is to find an individual voice. The Heliocentrics search for it in an alternate galaxy where the orbits of funk, jazz, psychedelic, electronic, avant-garde and “ethnic” music all revolve around “The One.” With Infinity of Now, the Heliocentrics have returned to develop their epic vision of psychedelic funk, while exploring the possibilities created by their myriad influences – Latin, African, and more.
File Under: Funk, Psych, Library
Juju: Live at the East 1973 (Now-Again) LP
“Now-Again Records presents limited edition deluxe reissues of the lauded black fire catalog in 2020. First up in the series, this previously unreleased live session recorded at the legendary Brooklyn venue The East in 1973. Magical, mystical, Afrocentric, progressive — words that could be used to describe any number of musical compositions by Sun Ra or his cosmic brothers and sisters, from John to Alice Coltrane, early ’70s projects on record labels like Detroit’s Tribe or Houston’s Lightin’ or the interests of one Washington, DC native named Jimmy Gray that centered under one, perfect moniker: Black Fire. Gray spent nearly three decades pushing boundaries as a Black American promoter, distributor and, finally, record label owner. Together with Juju’s leader James ‘Plunky Nkabinde’ Branch, Gray oversaw sixteen releases on Black Fire Records between 1975 and 1996. These are the definitive reissues of five of the label’s key titles; all were lacquered — most directly from master tape — by legendary Los Angeles mastering engineer Bernie Grundman. With this set, Juju and Black Fire’s story burns forth into its fifth decade, its message not tempered, its sound pure. It’s cycle, once again, complete. Each release is packaged in a thick, tip-on sleeve and includes a deluxe booklet with extensive notes on the album, the Black Fire collective, and the musical and cultural revolution they created. Limited edition, one time pressing.”
File Under: Jazz
Antonino Riccardo Luciani: Elettroencefalogramma (Dead-Cert) LP
Elettroencefalogramma scans the full breadth of electronic composition by Italian musical mastermind Antonino Riccardo Luciani, who’s perhaps best known for his library records, but on the showing here had a strong, prescient line in mind-bending, fathoms-deep experimental and academic work with tape and early, pre-synth devices. Awarded unprecedented access to polymath composer “Tony” Luciani’s archive of inter-disciplinary work, Finders Keepers’ Andy Votel follows his pressing of Maria Teresa Luciani’s Sounds Of The City with a first compilation survey of her sibling’s vast catalog, newly issued via the Dead-Cert label he curates alongside Sean Canty and Doug Shipton. The set falls deep within the label’s remit of reissued and previously unreleased work by overlooked and undocumented pioneers of 20th century sound, revealing a distinctive mix of material that nods to contemporary, tape music, neo-classical, jazz, electro-acoustic, and counterpoint composition. Drawn from original tapes recorded during the 1970s, Elettroencefalogramma spans the heyday of Luciani’s work, before synth music was popularized. In this sense, it’s worth noting Luciani’s links with Teresa Rampazzi and the pioneering electroacoustic group NPS — and namely Serenella “Serena” Marega — with whom he shares a strong affiliation toward embracing the possibilities of new music at the dawn of an unprecedented sonic epoch. There’s a sense of being in transition between worlds and eras in the opening blend of melancholy strings and bubbling electronic rhythm “Battery Farm”, and likewise the cranky mixture of bestial growls and dissonance in “The Zoo”, while the rattle-y rhythm of “Offices” uncannily recalls Trunk’s recent issue of Mechanical Keyboard Sounds from the modern day. But Luciani excels at quieter, introspective styles, as with the flute-led vision of “Desol 2”, and most remarkably in the stygian, primitive drum machine pulse and clammy string drones of “Forest Of Chimneys”, which is surely crying out for imagery of Satanic mills, while the rupturing tape of “Bombardment” sets him firmly in a lane of advanced Italian noise that connects him to Gruppo’s Roland Kayn and Maurizio Bianchi. RIYL: Dapne Oram, Teresa Rampazzi, Daniela Casa, Roland Kayn, Maurizio Bianchi. Edition of 300.
File Under: Electronic, Library, Experimental
Antonino Riccardo Luciani: Agonia della Civilta (Intervallo) LP
Intervallo present a reissue of Antonino Riccardo Luciani’s Agonia della Civilta, originally released in 1972. The great fame of Antonino Riccardo Luciani, a musician and composer from Palermo, is due above all to his work for television and to one in particular, namely the music for the Almanacco del giorno dopo (Almanac of the Coming Day), a famous program that has been broadcast on the first channel of RAI — Italian Television for over twenty years. Chanson Balladée, the title, is for many people an indelible memory of a television now disappeared and radically changed, for which Luciani has often composed wonderful themes and soundtracks of great value as Tecnica di un colpo di stato (Technique of a coup d’état). Agonia della Civiltà (Agony of Civilization), on the other hand, is part of his more experimental and abstract works, such as Inchiesta sul mondo (Inquiry Into the World) or Desol, and reveals the less accommodating side of the Sicilian composer, at work with tense atmospheres, hammering percussions, musique concrète, magnificent orchestrations. and bitter reflections on society. Originally released in 1972, the album is paradoxically more relevant in these complicated times. Titles such as “Esodo di Popolazioni” (Exodus of Populations), “Catastrofe Sociale” (Social Disaster), “Disfacimento Ecologico” (Ecological Decay), “Metropoli in Agonia” (Metropolis in Agony), or “Dramma dell’Evoluzione” (Drama of Evolution) foretold our future almost fifty years in advance. Edition of 300.
File Under: Electronic, Library, Italian, Experimental
Leonardo Marletta: Percussioni ed Effetti (Intervallo) LP
Intervallo presents a reissue of Leonardo Marletta’s Percussioni ed Effetti, originally released in 1983. As often happens in the case of library music albums, even in Leonardo Marletta’s one and only record in his career, the titles serve above all as sound indications, as if they were listening guides. In Percussioni ed Effetti (Percussion and Effects) you find a vast array of atmospheres, well explained and illustrated by titles such as “Violenza” (Violence), “Guerriglia” (Guerrilla Warfare), “Allucinazioni” (Hallucinations), “Compulsion”, “Battimenti” (Beats), “Sospensioni” (Suspensions), or “Apocalisse” (Apocalypse). All these nouns perfectly fit the mood of the record, which is entirely built on a painstaking work of acoustic and electronic percussions, deep reverbs, drums, cymbals, and hints of piano and organ scattered here and there. Contrary to what one might think, the final result is anything but scant or primitive and shows a spasmodic rhythmic and instrumental research, similar to those you find in some avant-garde jazz works. As Valerio Mattioli remarks in his book Superonda, quoting Marletta’s Percussioni ed Effetti, “the moment when library music becomes more interesting is when it abandons any descriptive intent and decides to talk about nothing but itself: a sort of metamusic or ‘music in music’, an imaginary soundtrack for nothing.” Edition of 300.
File Under: Library
The Men: Mercy (Sacred Bones) LP
New York band The Men have always been genre-morphic and unpredictable, but on their eighth album Mercy they have truly done something new as a band. For the first time since forming, they have now created three straight records with the same lineup, and the result is a sound that feels developed and continuous despite running the gamut of mood, in true Men fashion. Having this lineup stability has allowed the band to deepen and finesse the sounds they were exploring on 2017’s Drift and produce tracks that have a unique and distinct voice. Mercy was recorded live at Serious Business studio to 2″ tape with Travis Harrison. The band did minimal overdubs, contributing to the urgent feel of the recording. The album is simply the sound of a band that has a deep and unjaded passion for songwriting and creation, working at the peak of their collaborative connection.
File Under: Indie Rock
Musica Elettronica Viva: United Patchwork (Alternative Fox) LP
Alternative Fox present a reissue of Musica Elettronica Viva’s United Patchwork, originally released in 1978. One of the most mythical experimental groups of all time, Musica Elettronica Viva was formed in 1966 by a group of American composers in Rome, its nucleus comprised of pianist Frederic Rzewski, sound improviser Alvin Curran, and the improvisatory keyboardist Richard Teitelbaum. Taking cues from John Cage and David Tudor, MEV employed open, limitless structures, using found instruments, toys, a homemade synthesizer, and the first Moog to reach mainland Europe. Improv and critical listening practices aimed to liberate listeners from the constraints of bourgeois capitalism and as their sound evolved, forms of Jewish mysticism and surrealist automaticism pointed to transcendent potential. An abortive US tour in 1970 split MEV into three units, but the Kabbalistic Dixieland band later reformed with Rzewski, Curran, and Teitelbaum joined by saxophonist Steve Lacy, trombonist Garrett List, and keyboardist Karl Berger. The resultant double album United Patchwork, recorded in November 1977 at Mama Dog for Horo Records, captures MEV in all of their discordant, improvisatory glory, from Teitelbaum’s side-long opener, “Via Della Luce”, to the honking noise of Lacy’s “Fox”, the excessive keyboard meanderings of Curran’s “Psalm”, Berger’s vibraphone folly, “Cross Over One” and Rzewski’s ponderous “What Is Freedom”.
File Under: Experimental, Avant Garde
Ogyatanaa Show Band: African Fire Yerefrefre (Survival Research) LP
Survival Research present a reissue of Ogyatanaa Show Band’s African Fire Yerefrefre, originally released in 1975. The Ogyatanaa, or Burning Fire Show Band, was one of the more esteemed of the funky highlife groups that rocked the Ghanaian music scene during the 1970s. The band was formed in 1971 by diplomat-turned-composer, musical arranger, organist, vocalist, and record producer Kwadwo Donkoh (a former member of the Uhuru Dance Band), with guitarist and bandleader Nana Ofori-Atta (AKA Ahomansia Wura) and other members that later left the group. The Ogyatanaa Show Band made a rapid impact, scoring second place in the National Dance Band’s competition after being together for less than a year, thanks to their superlative arrangement of the oft-versioned highlife classic, “Yaa Amponsah”, a tale of a mythical woman which became a popular single when issued on Donkoh’s Agoro record label. After issuing a number of other popular singles, the band’s debut album African Fire Yerefrefre was finally released in 1975, the line-up now composed of Donkoh and Nana Ofori with drummer and assistant bandleader Ocloo Jackson, bassist Kobina Gardiner, keyboardist Ofori Frimpong, and vocalists/percussionists Kwaku Dua and Pa Oweridu, plus Nakai Nettley on additional percussion. This outstanding LP begins with the unprecedented extended highlife medley of over twenty minutes entitled “Yerefrefre” which revisits highlife gems of the past; for instance, noteworthy material by giants such as E.T. Mensah, C.K. Mann, Nana Ampadu, E.K. Nyame, King Onyina, Jerry Hansen, King Bruce, and Dr. K. Gyasi are all referenced, with E.T’s anthem “All For You” and The Black Beats’ “Lai Momo” getting special attention. “Mmobrowa” (or “The Downtrodden”) was another popular single issued prior to the album’s recording and listening to the slowly unfolding groove of the rendition included here, it’s again easy to understand the song and group’s enduring popularity in its homeland. Similarly, “Yaa Amponsah” and the religious praise song “Agya Nyame” are total highlife killers encompassed in rousing melodies and complex propulsive rhythms.
File Under: Afrobeat
Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, Panaiotis: Deep Listening (Important) LP
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Deep Listening, Important Records offer a definitive double-LP combining the classic, complete original 1989 release with selected tracks from the Deep Listening Band’s 1991 album, The Ready Made Boomerang. Recorded in a cistern, this double-LP reverberates with brilliant sonic clarity and masterfully improvised performances combining live electronics, vocals, trombone. and accordion. Deep Listening is a classic in the fields of improvisation, minimalism, ambient/drone, and modern classical. Listen with attentiveness, listen while lying down, listen with headphones — as recording engineer Al Swanson entices the listener to become a virtual performer in selecting the many different ways to perceive these phenomenal tracks. Whatever you do, listen deeply. Packaged in a gatefold sleeve with original and updated recollections from the performers, the engineer, and a mesostic from John Cage, to whom these recordings are inextricably linked.
File Under: Experimental, Minimalism
Pop Group: Y (Mute) LP
Mute releases a remastered vinyl LP reissue of The Pop Group’s seminal Y cut using half speed mastering at Abbey Road. Y is the band’s highly influential and innovative 1979 debut released in the same year as their “She is Beyond Good & Evil” / “3:38″ single which is also included here on an accompanying 12”. Y regularly appears in ‘Greatest Album’ lists including The Wire’s 100 Most Important Records Ever Made, Uncut Magazine’s 100 Greatest Debut Albums and Pitchfork’s Greatest Albums of the 70’s, clocking in at No. 35. The Pop Group went on to release two further singles, “We Are All Prostitutes” and “Where There Is A Will” (Split single with the Slits), and one further studio album, For How Much Do We Tolerate Mass Murder, before splitting up in 1981. Frontman Mark Stewart, embarked on a solo career releasing his pioneering album Learning To Live With Cowardice in 1983. Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith went on to form Rip Rig & Panic alongside Neneh Cherry. The Pop Group reformed in 2010 to tour and have since released two new studio albums. “The Pop Group were unique in that every song on their hugely influential album Y seemed like it could fall apart at any moment, but even in their loosest moments they somehow managed to contain the turmoil long enough to create something bold, dramatic, meticulously organized” – Pop Matters “A maelstrom of dub and distortion effects, a tempest of extremesage, terror, anguish, all hurtle past and round you: time and space feel violently mutable.” – Wire
File Under: Post Punk
Nathaniel Rateliff: And It’s Still Alright (Stax) LP
Nathaniel Rateliff has written and recorded his first solo record since the explosive debut of his work together with The Night Sweats. And It’s Still Alright is an intensely personal 10-song album of vibrant country-blues, Badland ballads, ornate Americana and jazz-inflected R&B. Rateliff’s warm baritone, ranging from gently hushed to a guttural howl, imbues these superbly drawn character studies with raw, naked emotion. And It’s Still Alright was produced by Rateliff, Night Sweats’ drummer Patrick Meese and James Barone of the indie band, Beach House and primarily recorded at National Freedom in Cottage Grove, OR, the studio formerly owned by the late Richard Swift. While Rateliff, Meese and Barone handled much of the album’s instrumentation, several friends make contributions including Night Sweats’ guitarist Luke Mossman; bassist Elijah Thomson (of the indie band Everest); keyboardist Daniel Creamer (of The Texas Gentlemen); steel guitarist Eric Swanson (touring musician for Israel Nash) and renowned string arranger Tom Hagerman (of the instrumental vocal ensemble DeVotchKa), whose delicate orchestrations beautifully complement the album’s deep emotional terrain. The feel of the new record, for which Rateliff had been focusing on an unraveling relationship, took a different turn in July 2018 with the death of Swift. His longtime friend and producer of the two hugely-acclaimed albums by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats thus gave poignant inspiration to these ten new songs, on which, now in his solo voice, Rateliff wears his grief and doubt on his sleeve, but always retains a sense of optimism. The tracks are quieter and more reflective than the exuberant soul with which the Night Sweats made their name, but have the same urgency and indelible appeal, exploring themes of love, loss and perseverance. The title cut, written by Rateliff specifically about Swift, exudes a haunting grace and acceptance. Additional highlights come in the form of album opener “What A Drag,” which sketches a vivid portrait of a disconnected relationship, “Tonight #2,” a haunting, end-of-the-world waltz, “Time Stands,” detailing an epic, desperate struggle for love and the elegiac “Rush On,” a heart-breaking requiem for Swift. Unguarded and unflinchingly real, And It’s Still Alright expands on the sounds and styles he’s used to great affect across both his band and solo careers. It’s a commanding next step in Rateliff’s evolution into one of America’s most vital and essential songwriters.
File Under: Country, Blues, R&B
Tony Raybould: The Machine (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records announce the first ever vinyl release of Tom Raybould’s award-winning movie soundtrack for excellent AI-themed sci-fi thriller The Machine (2013). Undoubtedly one of the greatest (and most overlooked) movie scores of the 2010s, The Machine finds its influences in the works of John Carpenter, Vangelis, Brad Fiedel, and Tangerine Dream, but presents its own unique twist, one that cleverly evokes the thin line between man and machine that haunts the whole film. Cold and tenacious rhythms suggest mechanical killer instincts, brooding synths crystallize the fear of an AI-controlled future, but the warm and gentle sounds of guitar and piano ease the tension and bring hope of humanity. From its menacing introduction to its tender ending, Tom Raybould’s masterwork ingenuously blends ambient, electronic, neoclassical, and synth wave to recontextualize and upgrade the classic ’80s sci-fi movie score template, holding its own against mammoth soundtracks like Blade Runner (1982) or The Terminator (1984). Truly. Cold with a touch of humanity like the perfect machine, Tom Raybould’s movie score won the BAFTA Cymru award for Best Original Music in 2013. LP housed in a glow-in-the-dark sleeve. “Tom Raybould’s Music For The Machine Is Amazing” –Bloody Disgusting
File Under: OST
Steve Roach: Quiet Music 1-3 (Telephone Explosion) LP
“Quiet Music is a collection of pieces created by Steve Roach between 1983 and 1986 in respect for silence. The gentle electronics of Roach’s synthesizers mix with flute, electric piano and nature sounds flow like breath, enveloping the listener in a sustained, delicate and translucent atmosphere. Quiet Music was originally released as a three tape cassette series in 1986 on Fortuna Records and is now being issued as a complete series on vinyl for the first time ever. After Structures From Silence was released, Steve was receiving invitations to create music for the emerging meditation yoga and healing arts community in Los Angeles. Quiet Music 1 was originally commissioned for a meditation video, which featured a collection of video images of lush forested areas, wild flowers and natural serenity. But by the time the piece was completed the producer passed away and the project was never completed. Quiet Music 1’s direct connection to a distinct environment set the tone for the trilogy of albums. The Quiet Music series was released in a timeline that is often seen as linear but this music was created directly alongside the dynamic fully electronic albums like Now, Traveler, and Empetus. In the early ’80s Steve would be shifting between the invigorating sequencer-percussive driven music and then move directly into weightless drifts and contemplative spaces. This way of creating grew naturally out of a desire to not settle into one place sonically and to nourish himself with a space that could be creative and fine-tuned, creating a calm and renewing zone while living within the hectic pace of urban life in Los Angeles.”
File Under:Electronic, Ambient
Rrose & Silent Servant: Air Texture Volume VII (Air Texture) LP
Rrose and Silent Servant team up to select for the ongoing leftfield compilation series, Air Texture. Featuring unreleased tracks from underground talent including Anthony Child (Surgeon), Ron Morelli, Laurel Halo, Octo Octa, Phase Fatale, Function, as well as Rrose and Silent Servant and legends like Charlemagne Palestine. Also included on double-CD and double-LP versions: James Fei, Not Waving, Luke Slater, and June and An-i, and Laetitia Sonami.
File Under: Electronic
Giuliano Sorgini: Sounds from the Far Space (Musica per Immagini) LP
The Earth and the sky are the only entities that unite past, present, and future. The man has always scrutinized the immensity of the space above him. Night after night, linking the bright stars together, the ancient populations of our planet imagined they could translate their myths and religious beliefs into the constellations, ordering today’s eighty-eight and calculating with incredible precision, despite the meager tools available, both time and cosmic cycles. From the proliferation of superstitions to the establish of the sciences, the journey has been long and sometimes problematic. The space only still “imagined” with naked eyes, or observed with rudimentary telescopes, has slowly become “conquerable” and, since the ’60s of the last century, at the center of an international competition between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. From the first satellite launched into orbit at the man’s landing on the Moon, successful facts have multiplied. Many artists, at any latitude or longitude, tried to “confront” themselves with spatial themes. The composer Giuliano Sorgini is among them. Some tracks of this unreleased album composed in 1973 represent, in fact, an attempt to fill with notes the distances that separate man from infinity, through “itineraries” that do not indicate a precise destination such as, for example, “Upwards”, “Outer”, and “Thought”. Others, instead, describe events that are impossible to be seized, such as “Death Of A Comet”, breathtaking landscapes to observe as you float in the air like astronauts tied to the “umbilical cord” of their own spaceship, just think of “Into The Space Immensity” and “Sweet Trance”, even human and non-human presences, with the opener “Man In The Space” and the romantic “Ufo” as further demonstrations of the artist’s genius. Each track tells what is possible, although invisible to many. Creativity compensates for reality. The sounds of Giuliano Sorgini delicately invest the listener, favoring his immersion in a third dimension, in which elements of classical and electronic music, both with a strong communicative character, are merged and continually mixed up, between echoes and reverberations in the background. The prolonged repetition of tones and the almost imperceptible timbral variations don’t hinder the harmonic weaving, explained by piano and flute, or the obscure psychedelic solutions adopted by the composer resulting from an appropriate use of the first synthesizers.
File Under: Library, Electronic
Squarepusher: Be Up a Hello (Warp) LP
After a five year hiatus that has seen him delve into a range of diverse musical projects, Squarepusher delivers the new album, Be Up A Hello. After exciting fans with his hour long mix of brain-melting breakbeat and jungle for Warp’s 30th anniversary NTS takeover, expectation has been bubbling away for official new material. The album sees Tom Jenkinson getting back to using analogue hardware, the same equipment that first helped him develop his sound in the early ’90’s to craft nine new pieces which chart a journey into harder and darker territory. From rinsing breakbeat tracks such as “Nervelevers” and “Terminal Slam” to darker moments such as “Vortrack” and “Mekrev Bass,” the album illustrates Tom’s continuing fascination with finely balanced psychological overload. As such, Be Up A Hello gives a nod to the mayhem, joyousness and abandon of the DIY Essex rave scene that was a strong determinant in Tom’s work.
File Under: Electronic
Syncro Jazz: Live (Mad About) LP
Mad About Records present the first worldwide reissue of Syncro Jazz’s Live, originally released in 1982. Recorded Live at S. Paulo in 1982 it was originally issued on Amado Maita’s small indie label in the 80s called Poitou. Featuring one of the best Brazilian sax players, the legendary Nestico and his sister composer, piano player Lilu Aguiar. Nestico joined several jazz ensembles in São Paulo, having participated in 1977 in the first Jazz festival held at the Municipal Theater, alongside the musicians Samuel (piano), Nilson (bass), and Caram (drums). He performed several times in São Paulo with Syncro Jazz group. In 1982, with the ensemble he released the LP Live, along with the musicians Lilu Aguiar (piano), Peter Wooley (bass), Vidal (sax, flute), Dagmar (trumpet), and Ronny Machado (drums). In the repertoire, the songs “Pro César”, dedicated to pianist César Camargo Mariano, “Winter Knows” and “Black Cock”, all by Lilu Aguiar, “For Guzi” (Peter Wooley), “Cruzan” (M. Santamaria) and “Revelation” (S. Fortune). The LP contains amazing Fender Rhodes solos in a heavy modal spiritual and bossa jazz a la Strata-East and Black Jazz Records. Rare Brazilian spiritual jazz. Legendary sessions produced by Amado Maita. Reissued from the original master tapes. Thick cover; obi; deluxe, numbered limited edition.
File Under: Jazz, Brazil
Stefano Torossi/Giovanni Tommaso: Echoing America (Cometa) LP
Cometa Edizioni present a reissue of Stefano Torossi and Giovanni Tommaso’s Echoing America, originally released in 2013. Such a legendary Italian library that blends instrumental touches that evoke images of a continent at the beginning of the ’70s. Obscure and electric jazz groove, R&B stompers, percussive funk chase with some of the finest players in the Italian scenario: Stefano Torossi and Giovanni Tomasso (one of the most in-demand double bass player in the seventies, already part of such legendary combos as Perigeo, Enrico Rava Septet, and Amedeo Tommasi Sextet). A definitively highlight in the Cometa catalog.
File Under: Library
75 Dollar Bill: I Was Real (Thin Wrist) LP
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Beatles: Let It Be (Apple) LP
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