…..news letter #961 – cracked…..

Pretty nice stack of stuff in this week. Some big new releases, some much needed restocks. Lots to do here so read on….

As you know, maybe, next Saturday, August 29th is the first of three Record Store Day Drops. They’ve split the list up and spread it out. However, they haven’t killed the demand for these titles. Being that we are closed, and that drawing a big line isn’t really something we’re looking to do, SO we’re staying online. All our RSD exclusives will be available to purchase at 1pm on Aug 29th we’ll bag ’em and tag ’em for you to pick up at your convenience. Check our RSD page on our site for more details and a peak at what we’re going to have available, more items being added daily until the big day!

As always, big thanks to everyone who’s been hitting up our webstore and placing orders! It’s getting competitive around 5pm when we post up fresh used stock. If you haven’t hit up the WEBSTORE, MAYBE YOU SHOULD! If you can’t figure out the site, or don’t like to use computers, you can always call the store and we can do an order over the phone. I’ll be at the shop 11-4 week days. Stay safe!

Oh ya… if you don’t follow us on Instagram, WHY NOT?! And now you know.


…..picks of the week…..

Jon Hassell: Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two)
(Ndeya) LP

A companion piece to 2018’s Listening To Pictures, this second volume in the Pentimento series presents eight new tracks by the music visionary, continuing his lifelong exploration of the possibilities of recombination and musical gene-splicing. Pentimento is defined as the “reappearance in a painting of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over” and this is evident in the innovative production style that ‘paints with sound’ using overlapping nuances to create an undefinable and intoxicating new palette. In classic Jon Hassell fashion, the title can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, but perhaps the most pertinent at the moment is the human instinct to sing and play through a rain of difficulties. A future blues of indeterminate and ever-shifting shape. The album is buffered by two 8-minute plus epics at the beginning and the end – the hypnotic “Fearless” with it’s metronomic, almost Can-like rhythm, and blurry, noir-ish texture of sound emerging like car headlights from the fog; mirrored at the end of the record by the beautiful sci-fi lullaby of “Timeless,” a track with a gaseous, billowing quality as electronic clicks and bubbles float over a landscape of shimmering, glacially paced complexity. The bridge between those two worlds is no less compelling, from the frantic, spidery IDM sketch of “Reykjavik” to the collapsed-time ballad of “Unknown Wish.” Whilst containing seeds of classic ‘fourth world’ fusion, this record finds the artist still questing to create new forms and mutations of music, a thrilling window into what music could sound like in a world to come.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Fourth World
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Roly Porter: Kistvaen (Subtext) LP
On his panoramic first album in half a decade, Roly Porter turns speculative modern antiquarian, alchemising inspiration from neolithic burial sites into a ravishing mix of classical string orchestration, medieval vocals and elemental electronics. First developed for AV performances with MFO at Unsound, Atonal Berlin, and Sonic Acts, ‘Kistvaen’ shapes up as Porter’s solo album follow-up to ‘Third Law’ for Tri Angle and marks distance travelled from his 2011 debut album, issued after cutting his teeth with Jamie Teasdale in dubstep duo Vex’d. Taking its title from the granite tombs found scattered across Dartmoor in England’s South West, the album in a concerted effort to look back and forward at the same time, creating a gulf of perspective between the “New Stone Age” and the Anthropocene that provides an absorbing framework for the grand scope of his sound designs. The results are Porter’s finest-graded blend of tropes reaped from the fields of Black Metal, cinematic sound design, dark ambient and electro-acoustic music, mixed with the more mannered traditions of early medieval vocals and modern classical string arrangements. Working with singular vocalist Mary-Anne Roberts – from medieval Welsh music duo Bragod, Ellen Southern – of Bristol’s Dead Space Chamber Music group, and Phil Owen – a singer and researcher in vocal traditions, the results range from wailing doom recalling Jani Christou and Ghédalia Tazartès in ‘Assembly’, to striking widescreen visions comparable with Jóhann Jóhannsson in ‘An Open Door’, and shoring up in the metaphorical waves of time that crash over closer ‘Kistvaen’.

File Under: Ambient, Experimental, Electronic
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…..new arrivals…..

Advisory Circle: Ways of Seeing (Ghost Box) LP
Ghost Box’s best loved project, Jon Brooks’ The Advisory Circle, unfolds a beautifully affectionate and absorbing hauntological study based around the theme of photography for his nostalgic fellows. Clad in some of the finest Julian House artwork to appear in the label’s 14 years so far, this is one instance where you can truly judge the record by its sleeve: It’s 24 carat synthy gold. Where previous transmissions have been guided by prevailing to kosmiche whims and darker shades, Ways of Seeing arguably comes from a school of ‘80s inspirations; from the typography to the collaged snapshots and the beautifully poignant music itself, the feeling is less kitschy ‘70s and more cyber-sensual, with that key sense of English reserve and pastoralism, as opposed to say, the more ecstatic (read: cloying) aspects of US new age or the frivolity of Japanese 4th world styles during that era. Sequenced in 12 succinct stages, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and often leave us wanting more, projecting a screen reel montage of imagery onto the mind’s eye.

File Under: Electronic, Library, Kosmische
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Against All Logic: 2017 – 2019 (Other People) LP
Against All Logic’s 2017-2019 on Other People featuring Lydia Lunch. Side F is a vinyl-only edit. “Under his Against All Logic alias, Nicolas Jaar writes music that sounds like it’s trying to break out of itself. Textures undulate and basses overwhelm, while vocals flutter in and out of focus as if someone were flicking through channels on a decrepit television. The project’s first LP, quietly released on his Other People label at the beginning of 2018, folded half a decade’s work into one of the most accessible albums of his career. Now that A.A.L. is a known quantity, Jaar returns with 2017-2019, trading the warmer house music of his debut for a warped techno counterpart . . . 2017-2019 has been rendered more purposefully than its predecessor, each track flowing into the next. It presents an identity for Against All Logic that transcends the previous mid-tempo crowd-pleasers, one that’s unafraid to draw from various club subgenres while injecting Jaar’s customary washed-out tape atmospheres. The harsh spirals of noise and pneumatic hi-hats of ‘Deeeeeeefers’ sound like they’re pulled from a revised Justice cut or Thomas Bangalter edit, while ‘Penny’ makes the case that ‘lo-fi house’ might not be dead after all. The most exhilarating moment on the album appears courtesy of its sole feature, Lydia Lunch, whose voice and philosophy Jaar borrows for ‘If You Can’t Do It Good, Do It Hard.’ A longtime advocate of her work?he reissued her 1990 spoken-word piece Conspiracy of Women (C.O.W.) after layering clips from the recording into his live show for years– Jaar recontextualizes the no-wave icon’s uncompromising ferocity using brash distortion loops that make Yeezus sound tame by comparison.” Noah Yoo at Pitchfork (7.9/10)

File Under: Electronic
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Boillat Therace Quintet: s/t (We Release Jazz) LP
We Release Jazz present its sixth release, a reissue of Boillat Thérace Quintet’s self-titled album, available for the first time since its original limited private pressing in 1974. Full of prolific and inspired local clusters and boosted by the recently launched Montreux Jazz Festival, the Swiss jazz scene was vibrant and inventive in the 1970s, notably in the region surrounding Lake Geneva. This is precisely where jazz activist and brilliant pianist Jean-François Boillat and wind instrument master Raymond Thérace formed their quintet whose dazzling debut album was recorded in 1974. An absolute Lemanic gem of the soul-jazz/modal kind, the self-titled album includes superb covers of Freddie Hubbard’s “Straight Life”, Keith Jarrett’s “In Your Quiet Place”, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Sweet Fire”, plus groovy original compositions from the Boillat-Thérace crew. Helvetian fun facts: the velvety “1224” is dedicated to Geneva’s public transport line Tram 12, and one exquisitely funky track on the album is named after the famed yet elusive (and locally legendary) Swiss Marmite: “Cenovis”! This is reissued in conjunction with Boillat Thérace Quintet’s My Greatest Love featuring Benny Bailey from 1975. Swiss jazz bliss!

File Under: Jazz
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Boillat Therace Quintet: My Greatest Love
(We Release Jazz) LP

We Release Jazz present a reissue from Geneva’s Boillat Thérace Quintet, the My Greatest Love album, featuring bebop and hard-bop legend Benny Bailey and available for the first time since 1975. Galvanized by the creation of the Montreux Jazz Festival in the late ’60s and lively local scenes, jazz music was healthy and booming in Switzerland in the 1970s. One band that beautifully captured this energy was Jean-François Boillat and Raymond Thérace’s Boillat Thérace Quintet whose self-titled debut and impressive Montreux appearance set the tone for quality Helvetic jazz in 1974. Following this first excellent impression, the Boillat-Thérace ensemble connected with American trumpeter Benny Bailey and recorded the magnificent My Greatest Love in May and June of 1975. The modal, hard bop, and soul-jazz gem includes first-class takes on Freddie Hubbard’s “Gibraltar”, Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa”, and Jimmy Heath’s “Gemini”, plus deliciously funky originals from the Geneva crew, including the upbeat “Le Colin” and the swaying fan-favorite “Prompt” and it’s thrilling solos. Bailey is on trumpet and flugelhorn, Boillat on Fender Rhodes and piano, Thérace on saxophone and flute, Roger Vaucher on Fender bass, Eric Wespi on drums, and Rogelio Garcia on percussion and tenor saxophone — heavy sessions and deep vibes. This is reissued in conjunction with Boillat Thérace Quintet’s self-titled debut album from 1974. Swiss jazz bliss!

File Under: Jazz
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Bright Eyes: Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was (Dead Oceans) LP
As a title, as a thesis, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable. For Conor Oberst, coming back to Bright Eyes was a bit of that. A symbol of simpler times, vaguely nostalgic. And even though it wasn’t actually possible to go back to the way things were, even though there wasn’t an easy happy ending, there was a new reality left to work with. In 2011 the release of The People’s Key, Bright Eyes’ ninth and most recent album, ushered in an unofficial hiatus for the beloved project. In the time since, the work of the band’s core members – Oberst, multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis, and multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Walcott – has remained omnipresent, through both the members’ original work and collaboration. The friendship remained solid and their projects overlapped from time to time, with Oberst and Mogis living next door to one another in Omaha and Walcott’s Los Angeles home just 15-minutes away from Oberst’s house on the East Side, where he’s spent the bulk of his time over the last few couple of years whilst working on his most recent solo records and Better Oblivion Community Center. The end of Bright Eyes’ unofficial hiatus came naturally. Oberst pitched the idea of getting the band back together during a 2017 Christmas party at Walcott’s house. The two huddled in the bathroom and called Mogis, who was Christmas shopping at an Omaha mall. Mogis immediately said yes. The resulting Bright Eyes album came together unlike any other of its predecessors. Down in the Weeds is Bright Eyes’ most collaborative, stemming from only one demo and written in stints in Omaha and in bits and pieces in Walcott’s home. Radically altering a writing process 25 years into a project seems daunting, but Oberst said there was no trepidation: “Our history and our friendship, and my trust level with them, is so complete and deep. And I wanted it to feel as much like a three-headed monster as possible.” In spite of all its newness, the LP feels like the most complete amalgamation of Bright Eyes. The symphony’s presence recalls Walcott’s orchestral arrangements on Cassadaga, while hyper-percussive elements and effects conjure Digital Ash. The jolting intimacy of Oberst’s singular voice and its folk songwriting core are the same foundations of Lifted and I’m Wide Awake. And overblown acoustic guitar marks Mogis’ production reaching back in time to the original recordings Oberst made on a 4-track 25 years ago. Across recording sessions between Omaha’s ARC Studios, Los Angeles’s Electro-Vox, and LA’s Capitol Studios, the trio leaned into experimentation, yielding an ambitious, musically inventive LP. Aside from the surprising rhythm section made up of the fierce musicianship of Jon Theodore (Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age, One Day as a Lion) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, the compositions expand the expectation of what Bright Eyes’ sound is. Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was is an enormous record caught in the profound in-between of grief and clarity – one arm wrestling it’s demons, the other gripping the hand of love, in spite of it.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Caribou: Never Come Back (Four Tet/MorganGeist Remixes) (Merge) LP
Hot on the heels of Caribou’s celebrated album “Suddenly”, this limited-edition 12-inch features remixes of album track “Never Come Back” by Four Tet and Morgan Geist. This is what it sounds like when the universe spontaneously synchronizes: the Four Tet remix of Caribou’s single “Never Come Back”. Kieran Hebden took the track and warped and bent it into a playfully hypnotic late-night earworm that lures you in with its repetitive claps, snares, and synths. Morgan Geist is one of the architects of modern electronic dance music and electronic pop as we know it today. His rework of “Never Come Back” pays tribute to the early 90s transatlantic house phenomenon that stretched from New York to London. Black vinyl in a white dustsleeve housed in a heavyweight cardstock jacket. Does not include a download coupon.

File Under: Electronic
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Caribou: Never Come Back/Sister (Floating Points Remixes) (Merge) LP
This limited-edition 12-inch features Floating Points’ remixes of “Never Come Back” and “Sister”, two songs off Caribou’s celebrated album “Suddenly”. Three is the magic number! Following remixes by Four Tet and Morgan Geist of “Never Come Back”, Floating Points’ Sam Shepherd completes the holy trinity, outdoing himself by adding a dash of Motor City oil to the track. The B-side is his remix of “Suddenly” album opener “Sister”. Black vinyl in a white dustsleeve housed in a heavyweight cardstock jacket. Does not include a download coupon.

File Under: Electronic 
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Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo’s Factory (Craft) LP
Creedence Clearwater Revival is arguably the definitive American rock band. Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area and borrowing heavily from the musical traditions of the Deep South, the gritty and powerful foursome served up a potent stew that appealed to a broad audience not just in the States but around the world. Their creative arc was relatively brief yet highly influential, and some five decades after their heyday, their straight ahead raw energy continues to echo in the rock and pop sounds of the modern day. The group’s fifth album, Cosmo’s Factory, the name drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford gave CCR’s rehearsal studio because so many hits were created there, lived up to its namesake in spades. Cosmo’s Factory was the fourth and biggest of the string of five Top 10 albums CCR released in 1969 and 1970. Featured here are staples like “Travelin’ Band,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Run Through the Jungle” and covers of material by Marvin Gaye (CCR’s signature take on “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”), Bo Diddley, Roy Orbison and Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. Cosmo’s Factory maintained and amplified CCR’s place in the pantheon of American rock, giving them a second US No. 1 and repeated that feat in the UK (their first chart-topper there). This 50th anniversary edition has been mastered at half-speed by Abbey Road  Studios’ award-winning engineer Miles Showell, benefiting from an exacting process that allows for an exceptional level of sonic clarity and punch and brings the classic recording a brand new vibrancy. The audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl LP comes housed in a handsome tip-on jacket replicating the packaging of the original pressing. Previously only available as a part of the seven-LP Studio Albums Collection box set.

File Under: Rock
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Experience Unlimited: Free Yourself
(Now Again) LP

“The go-go band’s sought after debut album. Enriched funk. 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 Oneness Of 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, Oneness Of 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: Funk, Disco, Jazz
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Beatriz Ferreyra: Huellas Entreveradas
(Persistence of Sound) LP

Original GRM member Beatriz Ferreyra deploys a gripping trio of concrète works spanning 40 years (1977-2007) and revealing some of her most mysterious, freeform and otherworldly work comparable to Schaeffer and Parmegiani, but with a poetic playfulness of her own. “Beatriz Ferreyra has been at the forefront of electroacoustic music composition since 1963 when she joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales as one of Pierre Schaeffer’s research assistants. She is one of very few composers still performing who was instrumental at the beginning of Schaeffer’s theories of sound objects and reduced listening techniques. She continues to compose commissioned works and perform around the world in a career that has spanned some sixty years. From the 1960s until 1997 Beatriz composed tape pieces for multi-speaker performance using three or four Revox reel-to-reel tape machines at each concert. She now works on Pro Tools with GRM plug-ins but still uses the Revoxes for certain tape techniques that can’t be achieved with computer software. Beatriz discusses her music in the Schaefferian way, as a series of impulsions [sharp attacks], iteratives [repetitions], percutés [percussive hits], and trames [sustains] whilst also using her own onomatopoeic descriptions such as ‘schkllang, prrrrwip, ferrrwisssssh, takatak’ communicating sounds freely and directly as she hears them. Her music is about movement; the movement of sounds around a performance space, or the positioning of sounds as point sources within the illusory stereo field between loudspeakers. It is also about movement within individual sounds, where each one is a composition of different shifting components and a ‘little structure’ in its own right, with its own character. She likens her sounds to a Russian doll, inside each is another one, which contains another, and so on. During her time at Schaeffer’s studios, Beatriz developed her own research project, Objets Construits, (constructed objects). These are layers of short sounds, chords made of different noises. Each layer is isolated on a separate piece of tape to analyse the relationships between components and the effect of minimal alterations in pitch, dynamics or timing, to the overall perception of the chord. This was a way of thinking about sound slowly and patiently, of taking time to experiment, analyse and contemplate each manipulation, that is lost in the speedy world of vast ready-made digital sound libraries and the immediacy of save and recall buttons. In Beatriz’s work, small, playful sounds interact like chattering creatures and merge into vast cavernous and mysterious immersive landscapes. These three signature pieces use snippets of speech which are gradually deconstructed to create abstract textures, interweaving vocals with percussive and sustained sounds. Small, playful sounds interact like chattering creatures and merge into vast cavernous and mysterious immersive landscapes. La Baballe du Chien Chien [The doggie’s little ball] (2001) is a playful take on the way that we speak in a childlike way to pets. A brief narrative at the start invites the listener into this ‘pet speak’ scene, with the sound of footsteps and chatter. These gradually crescendo and morph into a cacophonous swirling explosion. Deux Dents Dehors [two teeth sticking out] (2007) is a pun on Bernard Parmegiani’s piece Dedans Dehors [Inside Outside] (1977), composed for his birthday. It takes snippets of lively vernacular and processes these into complex patterns of unintelligible and unrecognisable speech, in sustained or percussive sequences and glissandi. Heullas Entreveradas (2018) is a new commission that transforms vocal sounds into choral textures which fragment, granulate and transform into continuous whorls and tidal washes interspersed with her trademark short silences.”

File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental
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Glass Animals: Dreamland (Universal) LP
Glass Animals follows-up 2016’s Mercury Prize-nominated How To Be A Human Being with their hotly-anticipated third album, Dreamland. Featuring the hit singles “Tokyo Drifting” with Denzel Curry and “Your Love (Déjà Vu),” it finds the British group – and singer/songwriter/producer Dave Bayley specifically – taking a nostalgic and deeply personal turn. The frontman proclaims, “I put every ounce of my soul into this album. It’s the most ambitious and challenging thing we’ve done by a distance.” He revealed that Dreamland “Goes through many of the most confusing moments in my life. It’s about growing up, from my first memories as a little kid, to now. Quite often those moments are funny, sometimes awkward, sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes it’s about love or hate, sexuality. It’s about realising its ok to not have answers and its ok to not know how you feel about things and that its ok to be and look vulnerable.”

File Under: Rock
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Guided By Voices: Alien Lanes (25th Anniversary/coloured) (Matador) LP
Continuing with their ever-expanding Revisionist History series, Matador Records releases a special 25th anniversary colored vinyl LP reissue of Guided by Voices’ Alien Lanes, marking the first non-exclusive colored vinyl edition of the album. The 1995 effort served as the first GBV album to be released on Matador. With 28 tracks spanning the course of 41 minutes, the album would fundamentally alter the concept of what a rock and roll record could be. Bursting at the seams with classic rock bravado (“Game of Pricks,” “Closer You Are”), anthemic power pop (“My Valuable Hunting Knife,” “Motor Away”), punk (“Pimple Zoo,” “My Son Cool”), psychedelic experimentalism (“Ex-Supermodel,” “Alright”), and tape-warped ballads (“King And Caroline,” “Blimps Go 90,” “Chicken Blows”) Alien Lanes dips and dives between genres and moods with breakneck efficiency and a remarkable amount of intellect and emotion bolstered by the abstract poetry of songwriter and frontman Bob Pollard. In a rare statement, Pollard wrote a short essay reflecting on the creation and lasting legacy of this landmark album: “We were fearless at the time we recorded Alien Lanes. That’s why it bristles with insane energy and confidence. We were still riding the high accolades of Bee Thousand and probably should have succumbed to the critical pressure of a worthy follow-up. Instead we had, in our megalomaniacal view, mastered the instant gratification machine known as the 4-track and began recording song after song with titles like “Cuddling Bozo’s Octopus”, “My Valuable Hunting Knife”, “Pimple Zoo” and “After the Quake (Let’s Bake a Cake)”. The door had been opened for us to throw out as many weird ass ideas as we were capable of and we did. We even thought we were starting to look cooler and decided cool enough to have the entire back cover be a photograph of us in the basement looking pseudo intellectually laid back and stoned with long hair, stars and stripe gym shoes and a box of Tide in the background. “Our friend Kim thought the album was too bombastic. Too frenetic and difficult to digest. I agreed. We were proud to be putting out our first album on Matador and cock strutted accordingly. It cost us $10 to make. It’s worth a million. I personally think it’s better than B-1000 (but not by much). There are two different camps of GBV fans to argue and debate. God bless 1995 and open hearted record labels like Matador (and Scat before them) for allowing bands like us, with the preferred limited resources, to remove the constraints and pre-conceived notions of the more industry-minded constituents who would have much preferred we destroy the cassette master of Alien Lanes in the better interest of sound manufacturing and what’s more agriculturally consumable. It’s better to leave the farm than to continue plodding through the cow shit.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Motohiko Hamase: #Notes of Forestry (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records present the official reissue of Motohiko Hamase’s remarkable ambient/environmental/minimalism project #Notes of Forestry, available for the first time since its original release in 1988. The album is sourced from original masters and available on vinyl and CD with liner notes from the artist. This marks the third release from the Esplanade Series which focuses on the works of Yoshio Ojima, Motohiko Hamase, and Satsuki Shibano. One of the most fascinating and peculiar works from the golden era of Japanese ambient, #Notes of Forestry was initially released in 1988 by Newsic, the cult label started by Tokyo’s Wacoal Art Center (also known as Spiral), home, notably, of Yoshio Ojima who co-produced the album. Conceived by jazz bassist turned experimentalist Motohiko Hamase, the magnum opus offers an enchanting mix of free-form pastoral electronics, otherworldly percussions by Yasunori Yamaguchi, and delightfully allusive piano played by none other than Satsuki Shibano (Sound Process’ Wave Notation 3). Vibrant, sometimes eerie, and absolutely captivating, #Forestry captures Hamase’s quest for musical freedom, he explains: “Inside the body of a musician, music is always transcendentally resonating. More than language, music reigns. When creating music overlaps with the moment my body performs, I strive to be as close as possible to the feeling of musical freedom. I feel that this notion lies at the foundation of this album.” Musical freedom, here, provides an essential escape, extending the path uncovered by pivotal releases such as Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass, Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way, and Yutaka Hirose’s Nova. #Notes of Forestry is reissued in conjunction with Motohiko Hamase’s Technodrome and Anecdote albums.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Japanese
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Hopper, Justin & Sharron Kraus w/ The Belbury Poly: Chanctonbury Rings (Ghost Box) LP
A spoken word and music project by Belbury Poly, writer Justin Hopper and folk musician Sharron Kraus . Based on live performances of Hopper’s 2017 book ‘The Old Weird Albion’, it’s a poet, autobiographical and psychogeographical account of his experiences at Chanctonbury Ring on the West Sussex Downs. “The album is a blend of folk, electronic music, poetry, prose and environmental sound. Kraus’s electro-acoustic soundscapes and songs interweave with Hopper’s rich, intimate narration. Musically it moves effortlessly from the traditional to the avant-garde with Belbury Poly contributing music and production throughout and bookending the work with a memorable theme tune. Finding its spiritual home on Ghost Box, the project is reminiscent of a lost era of poetry and music albums, like David Cain and Radiophonic Workshop’s The Seasons. It comes artfully packaged in a style that recalls a poetry and music for schools LP, with a nod towards 1960s Topic folk anthologies.”

 File Under: Electronic, Spoken Word
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Imaginary Softwoods: Annual Flowers in Color (Amethyst Sunset) LP
“Time is absolute garbage . . . But here’s the thing: given enough time, your friends are going to keep making records, you’re going to keep listening to them, and if you’re lucky, some of them are going to seep into the cracks of your day-to-day . . . Since its initial appearance as a private press double cassette in 2016, Annual Flowers in Color has been exactly this sort of talisman for me. More to the point, it’s also the closest thing to a definitive statement in the twelve-year history of John Elliott’s Imaginary Softwoods and a no-brainer on the thinking head’s shortlist of Elliott’s most essential releases, alongside Outer Space’s Akashic Record (Events: 1986-1990) (SP 019LP, 2012), Emeralds’ Solar Bridge (2008) and What Happened (EMEGO 109LP, 2010), Mist’s House (SP 004CD/LP, 2011), Lilypad’s Capacitor (2008), Colored Mushroom and the Medicine Rocks’ self-titled LP (2010), and Quiet Light Water Gap’s Live at the Delaware County VFW Hall (2010). While each of these projects draws from the same reservoir of glittering pinpoint riffcraft and homespun surrealism and each reflects in its own fashion the awareness that a certain undercurrent of lurid horror is essential to all authentically psychedelic music, Imaginary Softwoods has always been distinguished in its relationship to a particular decades-long chain of private press loner music, or chamber music for shut-ins. You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong to call Annual Flowers in Color ‘deeply personal,’ but that almost misses the point . . . it’s handmade, human-scale domestic ritual music the making of which is inseparable from the sense in which it’s been ‘lived in.’ . . . Above all, Annual Flowers in Color is an absolutely gorgeous, perfectly weathered, subtly strange record. It’s exactly the thing you’re thinking of when you think ‘I want to hear really killer polysynths and tape delay,’ but it’s also much more, glistening with distended reflections of Steve Roach and Stapleton, ringing with simultaneous sublimated echoes of the dorkiest and most expensive French mellotron prog and the most incandescent cheap heat from the $2 exotica bin, and dripping with the ‘as above, so below’ that characterizes synthesizer records at their best. It’s both a welcoming point of entry for the uninitiated and a sticky, seductive cut deep enough to envelop any heads seeking a way station on the search for the apocryphal second volume of Cosmos Farm Sessions.” –Chris Madak (Philadelphia, February 2020)

File Under: Ambient
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July: The Wight Album (Cherry Red) LP
“July — the quintessential cult 60s British psychedelic group — are back with a brand new record. While their now legendary eponymous debut from 1968 owed much to the colourful ingenuity of Sgt. Pepper, so July’s new creation is a playful homage in its title and artwork to The White Album, albeit reflecting co-founder Tom Newman’s recording base on the Isle Of Wight. The West London group have been praised by successive generations of bands, who have been influenced by that seminal debut album. For example, The Horrors’ Rhys Webb has played onstage with July in recent years. July in 2020 consist of Tom and his old cohort Peter Cook — the band originally reunited in 2009 to play a string of acclaimed shows and also to make new albums. In 2013, they unveiled the aptly-titled Resurrection but The Wight Album is an altogether more ambitious musical venture. This strictly limited double vinyl edition is available for a short time only in a plush gatefold sleeve on white vinyl! There is no direct CD equivalent, although the new album is available as the final disc of the new July 6-CD box set.”

File Under: Psych
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Wednesday Knudsen & Willie Lane: Long Time ‘Til Tomorrow (Feeding Tube) LP
“First issue in the Drowned Lands series, assembled by Jason Meagher, is the debut duo recording by Wednesday Knudsen and Willie Lane. Long Time ‘Til Tomorrow is a gorgeous instrumental collaboration by guitarist Lane and multi-instrumentalist Knudsen that will knock your Smartwool socks off. Recorded at Meagher’s Black Dirt Studio, the album documents the first time the pair played together. They are, of course, well known to Feeding Tube fans. Willie’s first three Cord Art LPs have been reissued over the last two years and Wednesday’s two albums with Weeping Bong Band have slain stoned listeners across the globe. Wednesday is also one of the founding members of the great Pigeons, and if you don’t know their music, you should correct that pronto. Anyway, Willie plays guitars, Wednesday plays electric guitar, alto saxophone, flute and even adds a little voice at one point if I’m not mistaken. And the blend is awesome. Gently improvised melodic nuggets that make me think of everyone from John Renbourn to Spires That in the Sunset Rise. The sounds flow so wonderfully it’s hard to believe they haven’t been playing together for a while. But hey, when a concept works. It just does. And this one works like a very strong pony! Long Time ‘Til Tomorrow was originally released by Jason, in a digital format, on his Natch imprint. Now it’s available to a wider audience. There will be more titles in the Drowned Land series coming soon. So keep your ears peeled.” –Byron Coley, 2020

 File Under: Blues, Folk, Guitar
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Takashi Kokubo: Digital Soundology #1
(Glossy Mistake) LP

Glossy Mistakes present the first official reissue of Takashi Kokubo’s Digital Soundology #1 Volk Von Bauhaus, originally released in 1985. Ambient and environmental Japanese scene has flourished stronger than ever over the last few years. The pioneers of this sound and the creators of an innovative way of making and understanding ambient music, such as Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima, Toshifumi Hinata, or Takashi Kokubo have been championed and their works have been successfully unearthed by reissue labels. Continuing in this endless path, Glossy Mistakes adds Takashi Kokubo’s brilliant Volk Von Bauhaus to its catalog, with the Japanese masterpiece as the third official release of the Spanish label. As with most ’80s Japanese ambient and environmental music, Volk Von Bauhaus is an audio impression designed to give a multi-sensory experience to the listener. An effort to make things audible, an exercise of understanding, and sound tracking objects or situations. The main objective of this sound is to create an iconic musical landscape to accompany a specific place. Though his name might be unfamiliar to many, Kokubo has crafted music that has impacted virtually all of Japan, from national mobile phone earthquake alerts to contactless card payment jingles. He was one of the first artists to create ambient music strictly through loops. As he mentioned when release this album, “this recording used no keyboard players, no multitrack tape recording techniques, no analog sounds.” A shift on the process of imagining sound. Volk Von Haus is an ode to this ambient, new age, and environmental music created in Japan throughout the ’80s. Throughout nine cuts, Kokubo handcrafts his own sound and immerses the listener in a peaceful yet challenging adventure. The record is the first piece of his Digital Soundology series, and arguably his most interesting work due to the groundbreaking techniques he used. “A revolutionary musical expression that shatters the old values,” explains Kokubo about this piece. And it’s just what you can hear when you play Volk Von Haus. Reissue includes an unheard exclusive track by Takashi Kokubo and an insert with an interview made by Takashi Kokubo. A true gem that must land in every ambient head’s musical library. Remastered from master tapes by Frederic Stader.

File Under: Electronic, Japanese
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Alvin Lucier: Works for the Every Present Orchestra (Black Truffle) LP
Gatefold sleeve; includes download code with the two additional pieces on the double-CD version. Black Truffle’s documentation of the prolific recent work of legendary American composer Alvin Lucier continues with Works for the Ever Present Orchestra. This is a very special release for the composer, as it presents pieces written for the thirteen-member Ever Present Orchestra, formed in 2016 exclusively to perform Lucier’s works. At the heart of the ensemble are four electric guitars, an instrument Lucier began composing for in 2013 with Criss-Cross recorded by two core members of the Ever Present Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley, for whom it was composed (BT 033LP, 2017). Through the use of e-bows, the guitars take on a role akin to the slow sweep pure wave oscillators heard in many of Lucier’s works since the early 1980s, but with added harmonic richness. Like much of Lucier’s instrumental music, the pieces recorded here focus on acoustic phenomena, especially beating patterns, produced by the interference between closely tuned pitches. The work presented here is some of the richest and most inviting that Lucier has composed. Though all of the pieces clearly belong to the same continuing exploration of the behavior of sound in physical space and make use of related compositional devices, each takes on a strikingly different character. “Titled Arc”, for the full ensemble of four guitars, four saxophones, four violins, piano, and bowed glockenspiel inhabits a world of sliding, uneasy tones, punctuated by a single piano note. Where “Double Helix”, for four guitars, rests on a pillow of warm, low hum, EPO-5, for two guitars, saxophone, violin, and glockenspiel possess a limpid, crystalline quality. Accompanying the four new compositions are two adaptations of existing pieces for radically different instrumentation, demonstrating Lucier’s excitement about the new possibilities suggested by this dedicated ensemble. Works for the Ever Present Orchestra is an essential document of the current state of Lucier’s continuing exploration, as well as offering a seductive entry-point for anyone who might yet be unacquainted with his singular body of work. Cover artwork and liner notes from Alvin Lucier.

File Under: Avant Garde
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Moon Duo: Escape (Expanded Edition-Pink Vinyl) (Sacred Bones) LP
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Moon Duo’s long-out-of-print Woodsist Records debut LP, Escape, Sacred Bones is proud to present a new deluxe version of the album. The new reissue will include the original album in its entirety, plus three additional rare tracks taken from Moon Duo’s wild early days. Reflecting on the album in 2020, the band shares: “We made this record in a rehearsal space in San Francisco in late 2009. It was kind of a classic band space, shared by a rangy assortment of musicians over months and years, behind one of several similar doors in a dark red hall. A windowless room lit by string lights and an odd assortment of lamps, the walls a palimpsest of posters and gig fliers. There was a grimy, burn-pocked rug, cluttered gear in various stages of use and abandonment, and the air seemed to hang in a permanent film of smoke residue and stale beer. We recorded to a 4-track tape machine over the course of a few nights – we’d just start the beats, hit ‘record’ and let fly. “We had a vague sense of coalescence, or fomentation, like a glimpse of a thing in outline which you can’t yet see, but neither of us knew at the time that this was the record that would mark the beginning of our life as a touring band and would initiate our connections to so many (now long-time) friends, familiars and collaborators. Ten years feels like both a lifetime and the blink of an eye – measurable but impossible to quantify. These four tracks, and the others that join them here, are a snapshot of our earliest incarnation: flying blind, but high on the freedom of experimentation and filled with hope for things to come.”

File Under: Psych
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Ennio Morricone: De Sergio Leone a Tarantino
(Decca) LP

01 Per Un Pugno Di Dollari
02 Per Qualche Dollaro In Più
03 The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
04 The Ecstasy Of Gold
06 C’Era Una Volta Il West (Titoli Di Testa)
01 Death Rides A Horse
02 Mystic And Severe
03 Rabbia E Tarantella
04 Ancora Qui
05 L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock
06 Dopo la congiura

 File Under: OST
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Bruno Nicolai: Espressioni (Loneos) LP
Originally released in 1972 for the sought after Gemelli imprint, Espressioni was credited to longtime Ennio Morricone partner and conspirator Bruno Nicolai, one of the most influential Italian composers in the heyday of film music and modern composition. The maestro Morricone shows his persona between the folds of the record as well, revealing a common sense for obscure leanings in the tradition of avant-garde jazz and classic contemporary. The many faces of the two composers are fully in charge through the nine episodes of the release, such a chronological history akin to the common area of Italian psycho drama and cultish noir-exploitation short movies. Fascinating though obscure, these austere compositions should be fitting ideally alongside your Gruppo D’ Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza or Egisto Macchi releases.180 gram vinyl; obi; edition of 400.

File Under: Library
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Jim O’Rourke: Shutting Down Here
(Portraits GRM) LP

Shutting Down Here is a special work. Symbolically, it covers a period of thirty years, between two visits by Jim O’Rourke to the GRM, the first, as a young man fascinated by the institution and his repertoire, the second, as an accomplished musician, influential and imbued with an aura of mystery. Shutting Down Here is a piece shaped like a universe, a heterogeneous world in which collides the multiple musical facets of Jim O’Rourke: instrumental writing, field recordings, electronic textures, and cybernetic becomings, dynamic spaces, harmonic spaces, silent spans. This variety of approach, strangely, does not in any way weaken the coherence of the whole and this is the talent of Jim O’Rourke, a talent, properly speaking, of composition, where all the sound elements compete and participate to stakes that exceed them and of a common destiny, that is to say of an apparition. Due to the wide dynamic levels, please adjust your volume accordingly. Released in association with Editions Mego. Coordination GRM: François Bonnet, Jules Négrier. Executive Production: Peter Rehberg. Recorded at INA GRM and Steamroom. Personnel: Eiko Ishibashi – piano; Atsuko Hatano – violin, viola; Eivind Lonning – trumpet. Cut by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnittstelle, Berlin, February 2020. Photo by Eiko Ishibashi. Sleeve design by Stephen O’Malley.

File Under: Experimental
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Angel Olsen: Whole New Mess (Jagjaguwar) LP
In November 1984, Paul Bellini rented a beatbox and started jamming in his basement with guitarist Rob Rowatt, bass player Gord Disley, and fellow York University alumni Scott Thompson. Their early recording sessions produced dozens of experimental songs with challenging lyrics and Mouth Congress was born. Two years later, The Kids in the Hall’s Bruce McCulloch asked Mouth Congress to open for him at the Rivoli – a club where The Kids in the Hall performed regularly. Utilizing Brian Hiltz’s existing band I Want, they performed a memorable set and several months later decided to record a 7-song cassette entitled For People Only. The sessions occurred just five days before Thompson moved to New York City to begin writing the first season of The Kids in the Hall. The band never got around to releasing the cassette in any official manner, but now, 32 years later, 3 tracks from For People Only are being made available for the first time by Captured Tracks. “Tactile”, Mouth Congress’s signature tune, is an ode to the sense of touch and a reminder that human contact is still our greatest pleasure. “Gonna Be A Man” is a love/hate song about masculinity.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Arvo Part: Works for Choir (Cugate Classics) LP
Cugate Classics presents a reissue of the 2001 release Works For Choir by Arvo Pärt, one of the most important and influential composers of our time. Arvo Pärt (born 1935 in Paide, Estonia) doesn’t need to be introduced to anyone who has the slightest interest in classical music, and his audience reaches far beyond the regular attendants of symphony halls. After first serial compositions, “Credo” (1968) was a turning point in Pärt’s life and work, being the first piece carrying a religious title and expressing a creative crisis that Pärt answered by lesser compositions and studying medieval and Renaissance music in search for a new musical language. In 1976, Pärt returned with “Für Alina” and introduced his new (and self-developed) style that should become his trademark sound which made him the famous and honored composer he is now: the so-called tintinnabuli. In 1984, after the Estonian composer and his family emigrated from the USSR and settled in Germany, the album Tabula Rasa opened the next important chapter in PÄRT’s career: the ever continuing close relation to Manfred Eicher and his ECM label where many of the composer’s works have been released since. Works For Choir presents several compositions for choir from the period from 1989 to 1991, recorded in Vilnius with the award winning Vilnius Municipal Choir Jauna Muzika under the artistic direction of Vaclovas Augustinas. The Vilnius Municipal Choir Jauna Muzika choir was founded in 1989 by the conductor and composer Remigijus Merkelys and long-time director Algimantas Gurevičius and has since won several prizes, among others six Grand Prix in 16 international choral competitions around the world, and in 1993 it was awarded with the highest prize, the Grand Prix Europeo, in a competition organized by the International Federation of Choral Music. Remastered by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.

File Under: Classical
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Pavement: Sensitive Euro Man (Matador) LP
Matador Records issues a picture disc vinyl 7″ in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Pavement’s 1995 album Wowee Zowee. The special disc, cut in the shape of the speech bubble found on the cover of Wowee Zowee, features the tracks “Sensitive Euro Man” and “Brink of the Clouds/Candylad” that first debuted on Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels, the expanded edition that was released on CD in 2006, and will be available on vinyl for the first time via Matador Records globally.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Plone: Puzzlewood (Ghost Box) LP
Ghost Box pursue that Paul Weller pearl with the return of tweetronic ticklers Plone, some 20 years after their sole album for Warp. For anyone grey enough to remember Plone’s ‘For Beginner Piano’, the retro-vintage winks and nods of ‘Puzzlewood’ will be a big dose of nostalgia. Still going on like it’s the ’60’s/‘90s and everyone lives in a soft focus dreamworld where all the kids TV stars haven’t yet publicly revealed their reptilian forms, the Birmingham trio spin out streams of giddy melody and Butlins’ beat fluff that surely recaptures the innocence of their early records. If you’re looking for an escape pod from the modern state of existential dread, this album is it. Dippy Radiophonic themes for educational programmes bubbles up in ‘Years and Elements’, and the likes of ‘Build a Small Fire’ and ‘Day Trip’ are absolute nuggets of rose-tinted ‘80s disco that reek of musty charity shops. Together with wistful gestures like ‘Circler’ and ‘Red Kite’, and the shiny red bow of ‘Sweet Shop’ with its Speak & Spell vocals, it’s almost too much to take. But if you like your vintage sugar rushes, it’s like tooth-rottingly sweet stuff.

File Under: Electronic
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Private World: Aleph (Dais) LP
Aleph is often defined as the “oneness of God,” and Cardiff, UK indie pop outfit Private World thematically embrace the sentiment on their debut album for Dais while eschewing pop conventions, simultaneously navigating and subverting its context. Rather than individual tracks that inform a greater narrative, Aleph finds members Harry Jowett and Tom Sanders weaving in and out of a space they call the “pop psyche,” where songs become scenes in a collective exploration of sentimentality and melody. In a sense, the songs that comprise Aleph are soothing vehicles that dart about pop history, stopping at touch points throughout the ‘80s to borrow from jazz-tinged synth, ambient music, and even cinéma vérité. The plot twist is while weaving this tapestry, they omit the familiarity of chorus-driven song, allowing space and mood to build melancholy transitions that feel whole and floaty. As much as their single “On the Run,” released with DAIS in 2019, touched on this hushed world of memory, Aleph retains Private World’s DNA but tames the dynamics of pop with Eno-esque intention. Aleph is an album you can pick up at any entry point and loop into its conscious nostalgia. Rather than singular statements, each song on the album nods to Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel, Talk Talk, Spandau Ballet in tandem. In a sense, it’s a rolling piece that spans ten movements, each informing a sphere of culture. Though it’s not forward-facing lyrically, Aleph is a culture driven work, as the duo offers it as an equalizer that transcends social boundaries or divisions – united passages meant to be heard and immersed by all. On its own, “Blue Spirit,” is very much the album’s mission statement, as vocal unapologetically indebted to Brian Ferry leads the way over a gated beat as instruments pulse in and out, punctuating the rhythm before disappearing into the echoes of the next moment. One second over five minutes in length, “Magic Lens,” is Aleph’s most direct and authoritative, without disrupting its tonality. As Sanders delivers a syncopated vocal, the track lightly sprinkles synth washes and prominent bass accents that plod out atmospheric pattern. Embracing the overarching north star for their sound to be a return to sophistication, Aleph embodies the sentiment by redefining it. Yes, the album’s sounds work back to the masters of synth-pop but the actual journey bounds forward with vivid personality and contemporary control. Private World offers a singular embrace of the pop psyche — and a startlingly refreshing debut.

File Under: Electronic, Pop
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Lucy Railton/Max Eilbacher: Forma/Metabolist Meter (Portraits GRM) LP
“Forma” by Lucy Railton is a work that burrows deep inside. It disorientates and teases, without malice. Its beauty lies in gentle projections, which, though subtle, leave deep impressions, like the wings of a nocturnal moth reflecting dark light. Its path, too, is unpredictable, but such disorientation is not a reflection of chaos. Instead, a mysterious intention appears through an imperious unfolding — its logic escapes us, but nevertheless captivates us. It is the story of a becoming of forms, as well as of their fading away and their appearance as a disappearance. “Forma”, for multichannel tape and live cello. Commissioned by INA GRM and first performed on the Acousmonium at INA GRM’s Multiphonies Concert Series, Maison de la Radio, Paris on June 1st 2019. Cello recorded live in concert, performed by Lucy Railton. Serge Synthesiser recorded at GRM Studios in April 2019. Organ recorded in Skálholt Cathedral, Iceland, by Alex Bonney, performed by Kit Downes in 2017. All other materials recorded, mixed and created by Lucy Railton at GRM Studios and in her Berlin studio between November 2018 and May 2019. Mix by Lucy Railton/Premaster by Emmanuel Richier (GRM). Photo by George Nebieridze. Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. “Metabolist Meter (Foster, Cottin, Caetani and a Fly)”, by Max Eilbacher, is a teeming piece, a matrix where textures and structures merge together, where the polyrhythmic instances become timbre, where the formal abstraction of the harmonic volutes coagulates around a vibrating form that is actualized in the dramatic reality of a dying fly. And this formal mastery is not disembodied in Max Eilbacher’s work and the kaleidoscopic forms of the sound spectra that he has deployed know how to resonate in the sensations and experiences of each one. Created and recorded November 2018-March 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. Fly recording made September 2018 in Carrières-sous-Poissy, France. Made for the Présences électronique festival 2019 in Paris, France. Mixed from 8 channel to stereo August 2019. Flute by Ka Baird; Text by Max Eilbacher, text read by Alexander Moskos and Miriam Salaymeh. Photo by Didier Allard © INA. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Cut by Kauffelt at Schnittstelle, Berlin, February 2020. Sleeve design by Stephen O’Malley, Released in association with Editions Mego. Coordination GRM: François Bonnet, Jules Négrier. Executive Production: Peter Rehberg.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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Ulrich Schnauss: Far Away Trains Passing By (Scripted Reality) LP
“The first of five albums, “Far Away Trains Passing By” was originally released in 2001 and was the album that introduced Ulrich to the world. It is generally regarded as a landmark electronic music statement. Ulrich’s long term AV collaborator Nat Urazmetova has reimagined and refreshed the artwork.”

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga (Touchtheplants) LP
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is an American composer, performer and producer, originally from Orcas Island and currently based in Los Angeles. After several self-released albums, Smith was signed to independent record label Western Vinyl in 2015, who released her first official album, Euclid, in January 2015. Tides: Music for the Meditation and Yoga, was released in January 2019. Smith grew up and was home-educated on Orcas Island, Northwestern Washington. She left the island to study composition and sound engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before returning to the island after her graduation. It was after returning home that Smith discovered synthesizers, when a neighbor introduced her to the Buchla 100 Synthesizer. Having originally intended to use her voice as her primary instrument, and then moving to classical guitar and piano, Smith switched to the use of synthesizer after being leant and experimenting with the Buchla 100 for a year. Smith formed indie-folk band Ever Isles whilst still at Berklee but left the project after discovering the Buchla 100, explaining, “I got so distracted and enamored with the process of making sounds with [the Buchla’s potential] that I abandoned the next Ever Isles album.” When developing her composition skills, Smith used visual aid as inspiration for her music. She has said that she is always composing to a visual in her head, explaining, “Sometimes I let the sound create the image for me and then I build off that. Or vice versa: I come up with imagery that is inspiring to me, or I see something that is inspiring, and then create sounds that I feel match it.” Recorded in 2013, Tides is a glimpse into the early phase of what has become Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s signature approach to electronic music. Composed and played on a Buchla Music Easel — the modular synthesizer that gives Smith’s music its organic feel — this collection of instrumentals is at once uplifting, transportive, and meditational.

File Under: Ambient, New Age
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Vladislav Delay: Multila (Keplar) LP
Multila was the third album by Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti under the moniker Vladislav Delay. It compiles the Huone and Ranta 12″ EPs Ripatti released on Basic Channel’s Chain Reaction label in 1999 and 2000. The album features six hauntingly murky dub ambient tracks and the impressive 22-minute techno odyssey “Huone”. 20 years after its original release as a full-length CD album (Chain Reaction), these timeless recordings of modern electronic music are now finally available for the first time as a double-vinyl edition. The label Keplar has been on a long hiatus and is now back with its KeplarRev series presenting vinyl re-issues of essential electronic albums from the ’90s and ’00s, as well as new recordings by momentous electronic and ambient artists. Drawings by Kaisa Kemikoski; Layout by Marco Ciceri. Remaster by Rashad Becker and vinyl cut by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering. Includes download code. “Life films us exactly. Our experience of it, though, lies beyond images and descriptions. Emotions, coming in irrational flashes, are non-figurable. We lose our little connection to them very quickly. We look for forms which promise to take us to our own experience. We construct forms with this in mind: that they can take us to meet the subconscious. Multila’s construction is principled this way. Fragments of experience, moments without definition or localization are captured within tiny fragments of time and then within one’s mind space. We can look into it and see that experience has left some of its data to us. As we receive it, again and again, we are connected and reconnected to certain indefinable moments. Both during and after its recording, Multila is a tool to learn about the unintentional states of us. It is a way to see our own emotional loops. Multila is a soundtrack for vision.” –Vladislav Delay (2000)

File Under: Electronic
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Various: Inner City Review (Arc) LP
A songwriter and studio musician behind troves of Soul, Rock and R&B records from the late ‘50s onwards, it shines a fresh light on Semper’s influential behind-the-scenes role. He was the creative force behind Hammond organ classic “Makin’ Waves”, the cult 1977 Bay Area funk record “The Perfect Circle”, and a collaborator with the likes of Donny Hathaway, Jimmy Smith, and Brenton Wood. It’s the third release on the “reissues and oddities” imprint launched last November by Peterson. On “Inner City Review”, Semper is backed by his killer “The” George Semper Orchestra players comprised of the core Merry Clayton band members, as a showcase for their distinctive cosmic funk sound (including two of only three tracks credited to them as a standalone group), featuring drummer Ollie Brown, who would later work with the likes of Minnie Ripperton, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder. Originally released on the obscure SECO Records Hollywood label, only 100 copies were pressed. Gilles bought the record some years ago at Groove Merchants in San Francisco, but only recently posted it on Instagram where it was spotted by George Semper’s son and archivist Joel S. Brockman. The record has been re-mastered directly from the original analogue tapes and includes new sleeve notes from Brockman. A multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, acclaimed for his innovative funky organ sound, Semper’s Hammond-playing style was an influence on The Doors and The Rolling Stones. His career saw him cross paths with the likes of Charles Stepney, and – as the co-owner of several influential San Diego venues – presented Frank Zappa’s first professional show, booking him to open for Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix. The record features a stellar cast of vocalists, spanning from the then established Jimmy Hayes (of The Persuaders), who graces the uptempo ‘Goody Goody Gumdrops’ and plaintive ‘Queen For A Day’, to the Semper-discovered Lewis Flournoy (aka Robinhood), Flouroy’s stunning, graceful falsetto first featured on a Semper’s 45 by Capitol Records – the B Side of that 45 “Let’s Live and Let Live” (Extended Version) is on ‘Inner City Review.’ These entries are some of the only material Flouroy ever recorded all co-written with Semper and Basey Green. Likewise, Troy “Troiel” Raglin, who features in “The Love Affair” on two romantic soul entries co-written with Semper and Marshal McQueen Jr., was a Semper collaborator who went on to lead the wildly successful Spaceark band three years later. Marshall McQueen, Jr. who wrote the track “You’re So Good To Me” recently passed in April 2020. He’s most known as the writer of Miles Graysons “Stuck In The Mud” but has thousands of compositions and is popularly known. Recorded after a formative stint in Las Vegas, where Semper backed the likes of Ray Charles, James Brown and Sammy Davis Jr, “Inner City Review” opened the door for his later work with his Inner City Records label. It was through his years in Vegas that he met some of the players who would go on to feature on the record, including tenor sax player David ii Majall (Parliament, SOS Band, Pointers Sisters) and bass percussionist Basey Green (Nancy Wilson, Carol King, Charles Wright & The Watts, 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Pure Funk). An independently-produced and recorded album, in keeping with Semper’s many other small-run private pressed records, Semper used his day-job as a musician to get precious studio time, bagging time in the A&M Hollywood lot for the album’s recording sessions. (At the time, he was playing with Merry Clayton, a singer who – after her solo career declined – became a backing singer and would go on to feature in the 2013 film 20 Feet From Stardom.) An all-killer, rarely heard collection of music, documenting an important moment in Semper’s career, as he laid the foundations for the independent-minded Inner City Records label, as well as the game-changing Bay Area funk sound that has made “The Perfect Circle” a sought after cult classic.

File Under: Jazz, Funk
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Various: Island Sounds from Japan 2009 – 2016 (Time Capsule) LP
Offering a unique window into modern Japanese music, Time Capsule’s latest release presents a group of artists who refuse to be bound by genre – mixing jazz, dance, reggae, psych, afrobeat, and indigenous styles into distinctly tropical fusions. The last few years have seen an upsurge in popularity for Japanese music. From the deep grooves of 70s Japanese jazz and the funk-filled effervescence of 80’s city pop, to the zen-like ambient soundscapes of the same decade’s environmental music what unites these diverse forms is the similarity in approach of the musicians who created them. Since the first influx of pop music onto it’s shores, Japanese musicians have sought to study and master each form before creating new iterations. The music on this compilation features a range of modern Japanese musicians who have each sought to expand genre boundaries by fusing different styles. Hailing from different musical backgrounds they are united by a common goal to deliver a distinctly tropical strain of sound, or what Time Capsule label boss and compiler Kay Suzuki refers to as Island Music. ‘Although this collection concentrates mainly on recent bands it doesn’t try to reflect what is currently popular. Instead, each artist has used a mixture of craftsmanship and their own personal experiences to experiment with styles and reshape them into new and unique forms. I feel strongly that they deserve more exposure around the world’ he says. Speak No Evil are a perfect example of this cross-pollination of musical forms. Led by musician Akira Tatsumi, a veteran of Osaka’s verdant ska and calypso scenes, the band was formed from a regular jam session between the city’s reggae and jazz musicians to see what they might be able to create with combined forces. Their version of the same-titled classic by legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter transports the jazz classic into new pastures, as the band takes Shorter’s sweet refrain on a reggae trip, the track finds a natural meeting point between the two genres, adding snappy riddims to jazz’s innate sense of swing. Backpacking in India shaped the sounds of Aquatuki. Led by guitar players Taaki and Chen, they layer the trance music they discovered in Goa into psychedelic instrumental jams. The dream-like Wakanoura adds elements of surf and Hawaiian music to the mix with Taaki’s slide guitar evoking beach-side tropical sunsets, while a blues-like melancholia adds another element to a bittersweet track that refuses to be pigeonholed. Another artist whose music was shaped by travels to the subcontinent was maverick musician Altz, whose exposure to Goan psychedelia produced radically different results. Orympia Rocks, with it’s melding of punk funk basslines, echoed disco beats and southern-rock indebted slide guitar is a brilliant example of his trademark groove-heavy twisted disco sound. Keiichi Tanaka’s story is one of the great ‘what-ifs’ of modern Japanese music. Schooled as a master-percussionist in Africa, he followed up a stint leading the renowned Japanese afrobeat band KINGDOM AFROCKS with a hugely ambitious first solo album before his life was cut tragically short after a fatal car accident. Pairing musicians from myriad musical backgrounds he created a radical new series of sounds. Written after watching news footage of the bombing in Syria alongside fellow musician OKI, City Of Aleppo captures a wonderfully natural melding of African and Asian styles, with Tanaka’s African-inspired rhythms combining beautifully with OKI’s tonkori – a stringed instrument belonging to the indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan. Taken from the same album, the final track on this compilation presents OKI’s City Of Dub remix of the track, with echoed sound effects adding another pinch of spice to this melting pot of styles. Offering both a window into the country’s verdant underground music scene and a taste of a rarely profiled strain of tropical music, it’s a compilation that offers further evidence of Japan’s tradition of musical craftsmanship and musical innovation.

File Under: Jazz, Electronic, Japan
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Various: The Essential Gospel Archive 1945-1958
(Naked Lunch) LP

From the sacred heart of African-American culture an essential collection of deep devotional music spanning from the mid-40s to the late ’50s, a crucial time frame for pure unadulterated Gospel music. Here is an incredible array of both obscure groups and highly celebrated performers including The Blind Boys of Alabama, Willie Mae Ford Smith, Hazel Chatman & The Golden Harmonizers, Mahalia Jackson & The Belleville Choir, Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart, and The Charioteers featuring Frank “The Voice” Sinatra. A great record that will immediately take you “there”. Also features Deep River Boys, Sister Ethel Davenport & Brownee McGhee, Sister Emily Bram, Angelic Gospel Singers & The Dixie Hummingbirds, Shirley Caesar, Mary Deloach, Sister Wynona Carr, Rosa Shaw, Jones Brothers Quartet, Prisonaires, Sister Marie Knight & The Sam Price Trio, and Reverend James Cleveland & The Caravans.

File Under: Gospel, RnB, Soul
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  Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Just Coolin’ (Blue Note) LP
Blanck Mass: s/t (Sacred Bones) LP
Cluster: ’71 (Bureau B) LP
Cluster: Grosses Wasser (Bureau B) LP
Michael Cooper: Tropical Gothic (Discrepant) LP
Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (Blue Note) LP
Drones: The Miller’s Daughter (Bang!) LP
El Michels Affair: Adult Themes (Big Crown) LP
El Michels Affair: Return to the 37th Chamber (Big Crown) LP
El Michels Affair: Sounding Out the City (Big Crown) LP
Lawrence English: Cruel Optimism (Room 40) LP
Brian Eno: Discreet Music (Half-Speed Master) (Astralwerks) LP
Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings (OJC) LP
Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul (On The Corner) LP
Joe Henderson & Alice Coltrane: Elements (Concord) LP
George Jackson: The Fame Sessions (Ace) LP
Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans) LP
Khruangbin: Hasta El Cielo (Dead Oceans) LP
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges: Texas Sun (Dead Oceans) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Sketches of Brunswick East (ATO) LP
Laddio Bolocko: Live & Unreleased 1997-2000 (No Quarter) BOX
Laraaji: Sun Piano (All Saints) LP
Gigi Masin & Jonny Nash: Postcards from Nowhere (Melody as Truth) LP
Angel Olsen: All Mirrors (Jagjaguwar) LP
Sly & The Family Drone: Gentle Persuaders (Love Love) LP
Moses Sumney: grae (Jagjaguwar) LP
Sunn Trio: Electric Esoterica (Twenty One Eighty Two) LP
Swell Maps: A Trip to Marineville (Secretly Canadian) LP
Ulla: Stumbling Towards a Wall (Experiences LTD) LP
Wet Tuna: Livin’ the Die (Feeding Tube) LP
Various: I Am the Center (Light in the Attic) BOX
Various: Kankyo Ongaku (Light in the Attic) BOX

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