OOOF! If Record Store Day on Saturday isn’t enough, we got a MASSIVE amount of new stuff in this week. Absolutely insane week for new arrivals. This could be the most in one news letter ever. And due to that fact, I left all RSD exclusives out of this news letter. I’m going to send an RSD specific news letter tomorrow, so it’ll have the most up-to-date, complete information about what we’ll have on offer on Saturday. And if you don’t know what I’m rambling about…..
SATURDAY JUNE 12th is the first RECORD STORE DAY DROP of the year! The exclusive releases are piling up and I’ve been adding them to the RECORD STORE DAY PAGE on our site. Just like last year, we are doing things remote this time. So you can stay in your bathrobe and just log in to the website at 11am and start snagging all the titles you are after. We’ll pick em and you can come and get them at your leisure! Easy peasy.
.….picks of the week…..
Mind Maintenance: s/t (Drag City) LP
Mind Maintenance is the duo of Joshua Abrams playing guimbri and Chad Taylor on mbira. This is where the music begins, but Mind Maintenance can’t be described with a summing of parts and players. It’s not about world music, it’s not about jazz. It’s about mind maintenance. When you put on the sound, you’ll know what we’re saying. How immediate and meditative it is. So simple, so in the room. The natural buzz of each instrument sits remarkably well against the other. The percussive qualities of each, so raw and unadorned individually, form with their shared resonance a soothing, sonorous whole. The songs of Mind Maintenance exist in a zone somewhere between composition and improv. Based in melodies that unspool over time as they move between the two instruments, they benefit from the players’ intimately enmeshed sensibility and the intensity with which they listen to each other. Chad and Joshua have been playing together since around 1994. Sticks and Stones was their first band. They played together on the session for the O’Rourke-produced Alan Licht/Loren Mazzacane-Connors album Hoffman Estates in ’98. They live in different cities, but play together whenever they can—whether it’s with Sam Prekop, Natural Information Society or Joe McPhee. Or just a jam. After trying out the guimbri–mbira combo for a show at Chicago’s MCA, they made Mind Maintenance a thing.
File Under: Jazz, Africa, Natural Information Society
Makeup And Vanity Set: Music System (Ship to Shore) LP
Ship to Shore is proud to announce the release of Music System by Makeup And Vanity Set, on vinyl for the first time! Essentially a compilation album consisting of subscriber-exclusive tracks released over several months in 2018 and 2019, Music System is an electronic marvel. Modular synths are layered over one another as IDM beats merge into ambient soundscapes; a literal tangerine dream.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Modular
Sunroof: Electronic Music Improvisations Vol. 1 (Parallel Series) LP
Electronic Music Improvisations Volume 1 is a collection of eight improvised modular pieces recorded in various studio spaces across London in the spring and summer of 2019 by Sunroof aka Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones. Gareth and Daniel’s journey toward Electronic Music Improvisations Volume 1 can be traced from the first remixes they did as Sunroof in the mid-nineties; or further back to late 1982, when Daniel first asked Gareth to work with him at The Garden studio on what became Depeche Mode’s Construction Time Again. The pieces on Electronic Music Improvisations Volume 1 have a timelessness evoking the classic sound of the earliest electronic experiments. They also sound resolutely modern, being born from the compact, contemporary and more affordable modular technology that both Gareth and Daniel have become fascinated by in recent years, and which they practice with on a daily basis.
File Under: Electronic, Psych
Curtis Amy & Dupree Boldton: Katanga! (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Recorded in 1963, Katanga! is the last of six albums from saxophonist Curtis Amy recorded for Pacific Jazz in the early `60s. This remarkable session includes trumpeter Dupree Bolton, guitarist Ray Crawford, pianist Jack Wilson, bassist Victor Gaskin, and drummer Doug Sides. Blue Note Records’ acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series continues in 2021. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.
File Under: Jazz
Romain Azzaro: Colours of Now (Rouge Mecanique) LP
After a long hiatus, Romain Azzaro is reactivating his Rouge Mécanique Musique imprint with an exciting collaborative project, exploring new musical territories. As the world started to flip on its head early in 2020, a quintet of musicians formed in Berlin: Paul Behnam (guitar), Sacha Hladiy (grand piano), Nicolai Johannsen (vibrating metal plates), Ruth Mogrovejo (viola), and Azzaro himself (zither) recorded their first album over three months in Azzaro’s living room, studio and basement. In Hladiy’s words, “a magical musical circus”. The collision of these different personalities and sensibilities makes Colours Of Now a singular, spontaneous and inimitable object, exploring neoclassical, ambient and experimental music. “Romain had a wide-open vision for a brand new project, connecting musicians from different horizons,” says Paul Behnam, “a lot of different processes and beautiful vibrations were shared at this moment in his place.” Nicolai Johannsen adds: “Colours Of Now is a portrait of a time which was and wasn’t; an alternation between existence and its opposite. The album is a collective formation, realized through different energies drawn to the same center.” “This album has become a compilation of people, situations and emotions to me,” explains Ruth Mogrojevo. “2020, the year in which we all met, has been an orderly metamorphosis from which we cannot exclude our professional activities. We all met playing music and deep down we knew that the whole project could be something great and actually meaningful.” Colours Of Now is a quintet that formed in early 2020 during quarantine in Berlin. The self-titled album, produced and mixed by Romain Azzaro, explores the different shades of sound in a time where uncertainty leads to the present moment. Also feature Joao Comazzi.
File Under: Ambient, Classical
Michel Banabila: Wah Wah Whispers (Bureau B) LP
“Ever since he released his music in the early ’80s (1983, to be exact), Michel Banabila has been hard to pinpoint to a specific genre or style. His musical output includes jazz, experimental cut-up electronics, world music (especially influenced by the fourth world music as developed by Jon Hassell), new age, eclectic pop tunes, music for dance or other stage projects, and soundtracks for TV productions. Some listeners may have found it somewhat difficult throughout the years to find their way in this versatile output that includes very different genres. Because of this versatility Banabila has grown into one of the most fascinating musicians in Europe and was always highly acclaimed by critics, which was well deserved. Nevertheless — for possibly that very same reason his work never came across the radar of most people, and that is something he does not deserve. When diving deeper into his output, one gets familiar with the trademark Banabila sound: his personal ways of using samples, the way he incorporates vocal fragments, the fact that there is always an emotional layer you can relate to, even in his most abstract works. Over the years, Banabila’s work has progressed and evolved in different directions. It must be weird for any creative artist when the interest of new audiences (and labels) focuses on your earlier work – work that you have long left behind while exploring new directions. On the other hand: Whoever gets interested in your older work may also want to explore the newer stuff (which means they have almost forty years to explore, just imagine!). For this particular release, Bureau B chose a different approach. Instead of archiving early works from the 1980s, Wah-Wah Whispers focuses on Banabila’s more recent output. It is a collection of works showcasing many facets of his music: a journey visiting the minimal and cinematic sample scape in the opener Take Me There, a robotic reggae-like rhythm (‘Tic Tac’), contemplative ambient/fourth world scenes evolving into a downright funky beat (‘Hidden Story’), the synth version of ‘Secunde’, and more. The album ends with a kaleidoscope of atmospheres gradually building up to a noise climax in ‘Narita’ (the only collaboration track on the album, with Rutger Zuydervelt/Machinefabriek). No single compilation album could really do justice to the massive scope of Banabila’s output since 1983, but with Wah-Wah Whispers, Bureau B did a wonderful job to facilitate a view into his more recent work (2013- 2020, with the exception of ‘Tic Tac’, which is from 2001).” –Peter van Cooten
File Under: Ambient, Fourth World
Marc Barreca: The Sleeper Wakes (Scissor Tail) LP
Scissor Tail presents the first vinyl issue of Marc Barreca’s 1986 album The Sleeper Wakes, originally only released on cassette by the Seattle electronic ambient label Intrepid. Marc Barreca has been creating and performing electronic music since the mid-1970s. His 1980 album, Twilight, reissued on vinyl in 2016, was one of the earliest releases on Palace Of Lights. Recent releases include Shadow Aesthetics (2018) and three collaborations with K. Leimer. Previous reissues include work on the acclaimed VOD box set American Cassette Culture, the Cherry Red compilation of seminal U.S. electronic music and the 1983 cassette Music Works For Industry. His work is also included in the collection of The British Library.” The Sleeper Wakes has been out of print for many years and Scissor Tail is very happy to remaster and reissue this great work that was ahead of it’s time, employing analog treatments of sampled sounds arranged in a very interesting and intuitive way.
File Under: Ambient, New Age
Begotten: Temidden Laaghangende Wolken (Aguirre) LP
The Begotten is the brainchild of Jürgen De Blonde (Köhn, de portables) and Brecht Ameel (Razen), who initially performed a number of shows and released a cassette under the moniker Kohier — gleefully referencing the absurdity of Belgian tax systems and institutions. On their debut LP Temidden Laaghangende Wolken they are joined by percussionist and improv-veteran Dirk Wachtelaer (Pablo’s Eye, Vanishing Pictures), who locked with De Blonde and Ameel’s post-reality continuum during a recording session at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels. In this new trio format, The Begotten weaves a stripped-down set of after-hours, trancey observations on keys, baritone guitar, and drums. Neon-lit bars are named Le Kheops or 60 Moons, streets are soaked in sheets of rain, people are staring at tax sheets and comets pass by unnoticed. Dub with tears; Temidden Laaghangende Wolken is the perfect backdrop of a strongly medicated game of Manillen during a “Derrick” rerun. Edition of 250.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Lea Bertucci: A Visible Length of Light (Cibachrome Editions) LP
Channeling temperaments of dislocation and wanderlust, filtered through impressions of distinctly American landscapes—coasts, cities, prairie—and the sonic material of everyday experience, defamiliarized by crisis, the New York based composer and multi-instrumentalist, Lea Bertucci, delivers A Visible Length Of Light. Conceived across much of 2020, A Visible Length is the product of real-time reactions to, and reflections upon, the instability of the year, distilled into a series of prescient auditory typographies that shimmer with life and hope. Recorded at Bertucci’s home in New York City and in Omaha, Nebraska, during her residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, A Visible Length Of Light comprises seven condensed works—deploying bass clarinet, alto sax, manipulated tape, organ, a venu wooden flute, and field recordings made in places as wide-ranging as Rio de Janeiro, the California coast, and Dead Horse Bay—surrounded by four “Refrains”—brief, minimal segments that capture Bertucci improvising, via whispers of flute, with the sounds upfolding outside her apartment. Foregoing the long-form compositional approach that has marked her previous albums, it emerges as one of her most pointedly melodic, harmonically rich, and structurally distinct efforts to date. Laced with subtle nods to Bertucci’s long-standing immersion in early 20th century American traditional music (folk, bluegrass, jazz, and gospel), vast washes of spatial ambience, long-tones, pointillistic texture, and delicate interplay, weave an abstract vision of place in the face of displacement—what the composer describes as “the feeling of physically inhabiting a space, when the relationship to that space has become overwhelming, and provokes the desire to seek truth, transcendence, and moments of comfort, disquiet and catharsis through confusion” —that doubles as an intimate contemplation of collective experience and what it means to be American during turbulent times. Indulging beauty, while simultaneously challenging notions of what that might be, fleeting impressions of emptied city streets in the midst of lockdowns and the overwhelming sprawl of the American midwest, merge with tense, aural metaphors for the necessary social unrest that has underscored their disarming quiet over the last year. A balm for the feelings of isolation that have come to inform our lives, A Visible Length Of Light represents another remarkable advance in the career of one of the United States’ most noteworthy contemporary experimental composers.
File Under: Drone, Minimal
Frank Black: Honeycomb (Demon) LP
First released in 2005, Honeycomb is the tenth studio album by Frank Black. For almost a decade, Frank discussed making a “Black On Blonde” album with producer Jon Tiven. In 2005, Black travelled to Nashville and recorded with legendary local session musicians including Steve Cropper, Reggie Young, Anton Fig and Spooner Oldham. Stand out tracks include “I Burn Today,” “Lone Child” and the title song “Honeycomb.” Now available on vinyl for the very first time, this reissue features the complete album pressed on colored LP and comes housed in a printed inner sleeve with photographs by Michael Halsband.
File Under: Rock, Pixies
Frank Black: Fast Man Raider Man (Demon) LP
First released in 2006, Fast Man Raider Man is the eleventh studio album by Frank Black. Recorded as a follow up to 2005’s Honeycomb, Black returned to Nashville to work with a team of all star musicians including Al Kooper, Bob Babbitt, Levon Helm, Lyle Workman, Steve Cropper, Jim Keltner, Rich Gilbert, Simon Kirke, Ian McClagan, Chester Thomspon, Dave Phillips and Spooner Oldham. Album highlights include “Johnny Barleycorn,” “In The Time Of My Ruin” and “If Your Poison Gets You.” Now available on vinyl for the very first time, this reissue features the complete album pressed on two colored LPs.
File Under: Rock, Pixies
Frank Black: Black Francis (Demon) LP
First released in 2004 Frank Black Francis is an album of early versions and reworkings of songs from across the Pixies catalogue. Available on vinyl for the very first time, this reissue features the complete collection pressed on two colored LPs, housed in printed inner sleeveFiels with an introduction by Frank. LP1 contains an acoustic solo demo tape from March 1987 which Frank recorded with engineer Gary Smith ahead of the very first Pixies recording session. Highlights include early versions of future classics such as “The Holiday Song” and “Nimrod’s Son.” Recorded in 2003, LP2 features Frank’s reworkings of Pixies songs with Keith Moliné and Andy Diagram (of David Thomas and Two Pale Boys).
File Under: Rock, Pixies
Black Sabbath: Sabotage Super Deluxe Box (Rhino) BOX
Black Sabbath was embroiled in a protracted legal battle with its former manager in 1975 when the band started recording its sixth studio album, Sabotage. The group felt sabotaged at every turn – hence the album’s title – but that feeling helped fuel the intensity of the new music they were making. In spite of the distractions, the band created one of the most dynamic – and underappreciated – albums of its legendary career. Rhino Records pays tribute to the patron saints of heavy metal with a collection that includes a newly remastered version of the original album along with a complete live show recorded during the band’s 1975 tour. The Sabotage: Super Deluxe Edition is presented here as a 180g 4LP-set box set with a bonus 7-inch of the single edit for “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” and “Hole In The Sky” on the flipside featuring artwork replicating the very rare Japanese release of the single. Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward recorded Sabotage in London and Brussels and co-produced the album with Mike Butcher. The eight songs were released first in the U.S. in July 1975, and then in the U.K. that September. Certified gold in America and silver in the UK, Sabotage earned positive reviews for hard-hitting tracks like “Hole In The Sky” and “Symptom Of The Universe,” as well as more experimental music like “Supertzar,” which featured harp, Mellotron, and the English Chamber Choir. Sabotage: Super Deluxe Edition introduces 16 live tracks (13 of which are previously unreleased) that were recorded in 1975 during the quartet’s U.S. tour for the album. The performances include songs that span the group’s career, from the title track to its 1970 debut Black Sabbath to “Spiral Architect” and “Sabbra Cadabra” from its previous album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973). Sabotage is represented as well with live takes of “Hole In The Sky” and “Megalomania.” The music is accompanied by in-depth liner notes that tell the story of the album through quotes from band members and the music media along with rare photos and press clippings from the era. Also included is a 1975 Madison Square Garden replica concert book and Sabotage 1975 tour color poster.
File Under: Metal
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: The Witch Doctor (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Recorded in 1961, but not released until 1967, The Witch Doctor features one of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers’ greatest line-ups: Wayne Shorter (saxophone), Lee Morgan (trumpet), Bobby Timmons (piano), and Jymie Merritt (bass). Highlights include Morgan’s “Afrique,” Shorter’s “Those Who Sit and Wait,” Timmons’ “A Little Busy,” and Jordan’s “Lost and Found” which closes the album. Blue Note Records’ acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series continues in 2021. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.
Jakob Bro/Arve Henricksen/Jorge Rossy: Uma Elmo (ECM) LP
With Uma Elmo, his fifth album as a leader for ECM, Danish guitarist Jakob Bro presents a new trio featuring Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen and Spanish drummer Jorge Rossy. Astonishingly, given the trio’s musical synergy, the first time these three musicians ever performed together was for the album’s sessions at the Swiss Radio studio in Lugano, with ECM founder Manfred Eicher producing. Uma Elmo reaffirms the observation about Bro’s work by London Jazz News that “there is no hurry to this music, but there is great depth.” Among the album’s highlights is opener “Reconstructing a Dream,” a darkly lyrical reverie. “To Stanko” is Bro’s hushed tribute to the late, great Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, who featured the guitarist in his quintet for the ECM album Dark Eyes. Another homage to a late elder is “Music for Black Pigeons,” which was given its evocative title by saxophone sage Lee Konitz. Listeners will recognize Henriksen’s whispering, poetic sound from his 2008 ECM album Cartography, as well as his collaborations for the label with Trio Mediaeval and Tigran Hamasyan. Rossy is well known to jazz fans on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly for his decade-plus tenure in Brad Mehldau’s career-making first trio. As for the leader, DownBeat aptly noted in its review of his previous ECM album, Bay of Rainbows, that “Bro’s guitar is luminous… his music both hypnotic and dramatic.”
File Under: Jazz, ECM
Burial/Four Tet/Thom Yorke: Her Revolution/His Rope (XL) LP
“New AA-side 12” from renowned artists Burial, Four Tet and Thom Yorke. Their second collaboration in 10 years, following 2011’s sold out vinyl-only Ego / Mirror release. The packaging follows similarly minimalist aesthetic with black vinyl, black labels and black sleeve.” – XL Recordings
File Under: Electronic
Cairo Free Jazz Ensemble: Heliopolis (Holidays) LP
Holiday Records present the first ever authorized reissue Cairo Free Jazz Ensemble’s Heliopolis, originally released in 1970. Released under license from the artist. One of the great projects in Egyptian jazz, the Cairo Free Jazz Ensemble was formed by Salah Ragab and Hartmut Geerken as an avant-garde offshoot of The Cairo Jazz Band, the first jazz big band in the country. Formed in 1968 when Ragab was appointed chief of Egypt’s Military Department of Music and had at his disposal a vast staff of musicians (almost three thousand!), an entire military building, and a full range collection of musical instruments. When encountering this recording, issued in 1970, the deep resonance found between the ensemble and its American counterparts becomes startlingly clear. Heliopolis is a stunning blend of big band spiritual jazz, the music of the Middle East, and the fire and energy of free jazz, unveiling a deep creative resonance with the contemporaneous efforts of Pharaoh Sanders, Phil Cohran, and of course Sun Ra, combining jazz instrumentation and musical style with indigenous melodies and instruments to create a musical object with few parallels. The album is a throbbing, squealing, wild journey through the creative heights of sound channeling swirling, focused artistry that taps future and past in a single blow. Copies of the original pressing are between the rarest and most sought-after records in canon of recorded jazz.
File Under: Jazz
Chora(s)san Time -Court Mirage/Catherine Christer Hennix: Blues Alif Lam Mim (Blank Forms) LP
Having already unearthed three collections of archival 1970s recordings by Catherine Christer Hennix, Blank Forms continues their annual illumination of the visionary Swedish composer’s music by turning to more recent work with this first-time vinyl edition of Hennix’s Blues Alif Lam Mim in the Mode of Rag Infinity/Rag Cosmosis, a 2014 piece first released as a CD in 2016. The double album captures the April 22, 2014 premiere of the composition by the Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage, Hennix’s expanded just intonation ensemble, featuring a brass section of Amir ElSaffar, Paul Schwingenschlögl, Hilary Jeffery, Elena Kakaliagou, and Robin Hayward; live electronics by Stefan Tiedje and Marcus Pal; and voice by Amirtha Kidambi, Imam Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, and Hennix herself. Intended to reveal the origins of the blues in the Eastern musical traditions of raga and makam, Blues Alif Lam Mim in the Mode of Rag Infinity/Rag Cosmosis has its roots in Hennix’s 2013 realization of an Illuminatory Sound Environment, a concept developed in 1978 by anti-artist Henry Flynt on the basis of Hennix’s own The Electric Harpsichord. As Hennix explains in Other Matters, Blank Forms’ 2019 collection of her writings: “Rag Infinity/Rag Cosmosis presents fragments of ‘raga-like’ frequency constellations following distinct cycles and permuting their order, creating a simultaneity of ‘multi-universes.’ When two such ‘universes’ come in proximity of each other and begin unfolding simultaneously along distinct cycles, there is a kaleidoscopic exfoliation of frequencies as one universe is becoming two, but not separated — the effect of cosmosis is entrained, binding two or more frequency universes into proximity where their modal properties interact and blend, creating in the process entirely new microtonal constellations in an omnidirectional simultaneous cosmic order with phenomenologically ‘transfinite’ Poincaré cycles (cyclic returns to initial conditions). As with Hennix’s best work, the organic unfolding of this quivering drone belies a precision that opens onto the infinitesimal. Over this mesmerizing ebb and flow, vocalists incant an Arabic-language devotional poem written by Hennix that features quotations in praise of Allah from the Quran. Also reproduced on the album’s gatefold jacket is Hennix’s elegant reduction of the sacred text, represented as the first letter of its first line gradually paired down to a single dot, which invites the contemplator to bring their inner knowledge to the composition for use as a meditation prompt. Listeners without spiritual inclinations, but who are willing to immerse themselves in the music, will find the work’s serene intensity to be its own reward.”
File Under: Drone, Minimalism, Raga
Alessandro Cortini: Scuro Chiaro (Mute) LP
Clear vinyl! Scuro Chiaro comes from a place that delights in the affirmation of life’s constant variations, simultaneously presenting both bewilderment and vulnerability with its somber hues and pulsing, synthetic surfaces. For Alessandro Cortini, this is best captured in “Chiaroscuro,” a track whose waning hook draws us in to a sublime eruption of near-dissonant guitar. “It represents the record, where I was and where I am emotionally,” he reveals. “It’s to do with the conscious decision about trying to be positive, of striving for happiness while accepting the fact that happiness is not all positive.” The album’s title plays on the term for heavily contrasting light and shadow in painting and other visual arts. Cortini explains, “Scuro Chiaro is the opposite of chiaroscuro (the use of light and shadow to give strong contrast), and in a way it shows that no matter how you order things there’s always going to be two elements that tend to be the opposite of each other that make up the truth – or make up everything.” On his previous album, Volume Massimo (2019, his first for Mute), Cortini developed a process he carried through to this album, working through his archive of personal recordings, carefully surveyed to find sounds and elements with which to compose. “To me things that were created apart in time can fit together in a work of art, and it doesn’t matter when they were created,” adds Cortini. “You drink wine that is ten years old with a meal that is freshly handmade. The final product, in my opinion, doesn’t need to be made at the same time.” There’s a great volatility to Scuro Chiaro, yet its intention is to make itself meditative in the face of opposites and inconsistencies. Its masterfully composited pieces reflect this in part and in whole. The artwork for Scuro Chiaro, shot by Emilie Elizabeth, is an extension of the thematic bridge between the two works.
File Under: Electronic, Nine Inch Nails
Crazy Doberman: Two Tales of Lost Witness Marks (Aguirre) LP
“Tim Gick’s already-warped patchwork editing of the entire Crazy Doberman output thus far turns increasingly glitched out across the splattered quiltwork of a nine-track LP on Aguirre. Any coherent sense of time departs early on the A-side; kicked off with the familiar sound of the Dobes’ synth throb and love-cry woodwinds on top of completely fried electric guitar squiggling, all suspended in spiritual foam; then battered to bits on the greasy flat top of the record’s B-side. Ringing modular synth sirens evoke alarmingly huge Southern watersnakes swimming on top of Oconee river. Total trip zone across two sides: brownouts in the sequence of events, dubby fadeouts, and bright jump cuts in space. Teases of cartoon barrlehouse tickling on the keys of a farmhouse piano and tape melt psychedelia. The recording session in Athens, Georgia was a total ‘CHUGFEST’ recalls Frank Hurricane, the Appalachian juggalo folkie king, who joined the session with the Lafayette, Indiana crew. The presence of Hurricane’s own ‘Life is Spiritual’ mirth bulworks the record with a muddy, barefoot hippy hopefulness, steadying the log flume through the nocturnal psychic murk toward the holy morning dew.” –J. Russ Personnel: Drew Davis, Paul Baldwin, Tim Gick, Michael Potter, Jason Filer, Jacob Sunderlin, John Olson, Frank Hurricane. Edition of 500.
File Under: Experimental
Daughters: Canada Songs (Robotic Empire) LP
Last pressed in 2004, Daughter’s debut album, Canada Songs, is once again available on vinyl! This pressing features colored vinyl and a printed inner sleeve with lyrics. Daughters burst forth, middle fingers flying, with a debut album of ultra-brutal, grind-influenced, screaming chaos. Combining thunderous drums with inhumanly fast blasts of squealing high-pitched guitars, manic screams, noise, and huge breakdowns, the band delivers a form of heavy music that is simply crushing. Mat Hocking May of Drowned In Sound stated of the album: “it’s nothing short of intense” and “a rabid cut ’n’ slash firebomb of splintered art-core and lacerating guitar shrieks”. May also praises Daughters’ approach to the album saying “Daughters’ chaotically freeform approach reconfigures the way melody and noise is assimilated through some of the most fiercely challenging experimentation probably ever attempted.” Kerrang called the band “a seditious delight” and stated “when you play chaotic art-core at blistering speed, there’s a fine line between being inventive and exhilarating and being vapid and pointless. Thankfully, Daughters fall firmly into the former camp.” Spin praised drummer Jon Syverson’s fast way of playing, “slap-happy metallic grind punk with a drummer who grooves like Roy Jones Jr. working over a kitchen full of pots and pans in 14/8 time. There are even oddly melodic moments, despite guitars that sound like busted car alarms, and at 11 minutes total, there’s no wasted motion.”
File Under: Metal
Frank Derrick Total Experience: You Betcha! (Tidal Waves) LP
Drummer Frank Derrick III (born 1950) grew up in Harvey, Illinois in a musical family…his father Frank Derrick Jr. was a professional musician and arranger who played with notables such as Duke Ellington and Earl Hinges. Frank Derrick III began playing the drums when he was ten years old and at the age of nineteen, he was already playing professionally in the renowned Chicago jazz scene. Frank has led a multifaceted national and international music career. He is a virtuoso performer, composer, and educator. Next to his own recordings he has performed and recorded with numerous legends and artists including Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Eartha Kitt, Roberta Flack, Donna Summer…and countless others. Frank Derrick III toured worldwide with Cab Calloway for ten years and was the drummer for ‘The David Letterman Show’ on NBC. He is also no stranger to symphonic fans around the world (he was a member of many renowned symphonic ‘giants’ such as The Royal Philharmonic). As an educator, he served as Chairman of Percussion at ‘Henry Street Settlement’ in New York, presents master classes, is the respected author of ‘Focus On Technique For Drummers’, is a contributing author to various educational publications, and is the Drum set editor for ‘The Percussive Arts Society’. Last but not least…he was honored with an A.S.C.A.P. Special Award. Frank has a WIDE range of musical experience…his precision, driving rhythmic style and “Straight Ahead” jazz compositions make him unique and a master of his craft. He is a powerfully swinging (yet tasteful) drummer who always makes sure his skills ‘serve’ the music he’s performing. On the album we are proudly presenting you today (You Betcha!) you’ll find recordings written by both Frank Jr. and Frank III. All songs are performed by one of his many incarnations: “THE FRANK DERRICK TOTAL EXPERIENCE”. Some serious all-star players from the likes of Bill Payne (John Cale-Lionel Richie) and Edwin Williams (Syl Johnson) can also clearly be heard backing up Frank here on this exceptional album. You Betcha! was recorded in 1974 at the legendary Chicago nightclub Fiddler’s. The sound quality is top-notch and intimate with a noticeable vibe that conveys the enthusiasm of the audience. Only 1000 copies of this album were privately pressed back in 1974, so it comes as no surprise that this record continues to be one of the rarest sought-after vinyl albums by jazz collectors worldwide. If you enjoy uplifting and hard-swinging jazz, slightly mysterious at times (bordering on the spiritual), lots of funky/soul influences and bouncing energetic grooves…then this is a highly recommended gem for your record collection (and a must-have for seekers of rare grooves). Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the FIRST ever vinyl reissue of this fantastic album (originally privately pressed and released in 1974 on PS Records). This rare record (original copies tend to go for large amounts on the secondary market) is now finally back available as a limited 180g vinyl edition (500 copies) complete with the original artwork and sleeve notes by jazz bassist extraordinaire Eldee Young (Prince Billy Mahdi Wright, Ramsey Lewis).
File Under: Jazz
Roky Erickson: The Evil One (Light in the Attic) LP
Back in print and on coloured vinyl! Celebrating a creative purple patch by a singular performer, Light In The Attic is to reissue the three albums issued by Roky Erickson in the 1980s: The Evil One (LITA 097), Don’t Slander Me (LITA 098) and Gremlins Have Pictures (LITA 099). Together, they’re a chance to pick up a missing jigsaw piece in the history of American rock ‘n’ roll in deluxe packages. As the core member of the 13th Floor Elevators and an undisputed pioneer of psychedelic rock, the ’60s were thrilling times for Erickson. His band riding high in their native Texas and beyond, the howling single ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ was his calling card, but Erickson’s ‘60s ended in the stuff of nightmares. Under sharp scrutiny by the authorities due to the band’s well-expounded fondness for psychedelic drugs, Erickson was found with a single joint on his person. Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to avoid prison, he was sent to the Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane, where he was ‘treated’ with electroconvulsive therapy and Thorazine treatment. Erickson pulled through his three and a half years at Rusk, and even put together a band while incarcerated. The Missing Links contained Roky plus two murderers and a rapist. Released from the institution in 1974, Roky found his legend had grown while he’d been away – not least because ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ was included on 1972’s Nuggets compilation. He formed a band, the Aliens, and set about honing a hard rock sound that placed the psychedelic garage blues of the Elevators firmly in the last decade. Though it was produced at a time when Roky was struggling to cope with drugs and life on the outside, he hit form on his first post Elevators album-proper, 1981’s The Evil One. Produced over a period of two years by Stu Cook, from Creedence Clearwater Revival, it’s a masterful collection of songs about zombies, demons, vampires and, yes, even the ‘Creature With The Atom Brain’. These tracks, inspired by schlock sci-fi and horror movies and colored by Roky’s distinctive, high-pitched vocal and squealing guitar, are among the maverick performer’s best. At the time, Roky explained the album this way: “It’s gonna go back to the ferocious kind of rock ‘n’ roll of the Kinks, the Who and the Yardbirds. It’s the kind of music that makes you wish you were playing it or listening to it for the first time ‘way back when.’” But the record would not reach the mass audience of those bands, its success hampered by erratic release schedules and disastrously awkward press interviews. A year after its release, Erickson would become convinced that a Martian had inhabited his body. He would soon become obsessed with mail, and take to taping it, unopened, to his bedroom walls. Many of Erickson’s demons were yet to show their faces. But the B-movie demons he exorcised on this record gave us one of hard rock’s strangest, most inventive albums.
File Under: Psych, 13th Floor Elevators
FACS: Present Tense (Trouble In Mind) LP
Chicago trio FACS never stop pushing forward; they’ve honed and refined their stark, minimal scrape and clatter for four years and counting, having risen out of the ashes of beloved Chicago band Disappears in 2018 with the bone-rattling intensity of Negative Houses. Three albums later, the trio return in 2021 with Present Tense, their fourth album and perhaps their sharpest statement as a band. Opener “XOUT” barrels forward like a tank, with Case’s guitar chiming like warning bells, until the climax comes crashing down, glitching out near the close. “Strawberry Cough” comes next, its fusion of corporeal playing and stately, electronic heartbeats punctured by random bursts of noise or backwards masked sounds. “Alone Without”, a track originally recorded for Adult Swim’s 2020 singles series appears next, albeit in different form; more menacing and serpentine. Side two opens with “General Public,” taking the loud/quiet dynamic as a jumping off point for the song’s unsettling seasick vibe. “How To See In the Dark” offers a brief respite, with its persistent, dark quietude that lingers until the song’s end. The title track offers up its first truly weird moment mid-song when the song changes mood distinctly, and the music drops out save for Case’s guitar and vocals. The album’s final track, the densely packed “Mirrored,” begins with a restrained, post-rock shuffle. The mind-scrambling cacophony that comes next takes its time to roll in, but once it does, it comes in waves, flipping back onto itself multiple times until it’s folded into oblivion. FACS once again shuttered themselves into Electrical Audio with lauded engineer Sanford Parker to lay down the basic tracks and overdubs for Present Tense. This time, the band approached their songwriting from a different angle. “Alone Without was the first song we recorded and we really built it in the studio,” Case says. “Alianna and I played different instruments, and I think that freedom informed how the other songs developed. All the lyrics were random phrases on a big sheet and were put together as the songs took shape, so I feel like I was collecting these thoughts and trying to figure out how to process them as a big picture vs making complete ideas in individual songs.” Case adds “…letting the songs go where they wanted, without steering them into what we all think a FACS album should be.” The change is palpable from last year’s claustrophobic and fried Void Moments, but Present Tense is still all FACS, albeit draped in a layer of haze. Paranoia in soft focus, perhaps?
File Under: Indie Rock
Rob Frye: Exoplanet (Astral Spirits) LP
On Exoplanet, Rob Frye generates an atmosphere in which drummers and improvisers orbit synthesizers, inhabiting a Goldilocks zone of electronic and biotic components. Some of the tracks were created spontaneously or composed of strict loops, but two of the arrangements are melodic adaptations of the song of Musician Wren. After working as a field biologist with the Institute for Bird Populations in California from 2012-2016, Frye began to slow down and transcribe birdsong, eventually developing a performative lecture called Hearing Hidden Melodies. “XC175020” and “XC222182” are not potential earth-like planets in another solar system, indeed they are individual birds recorded by Peter Boesman in the Amazon. This bird, known as Uirapuru in Brazil and La Flautista in Peru, reminds us of the mysterious sonic knowledge threatened on our very own home planet. On this, his first album for Astral Spirits and his first as a leader, Rob played woodwinds and synthesizers and directed a specialized crew, recruiting Bitchin’ Bajas (Drag City) bandmates Cooper Crain and Dan Quinlivan on engineering and electronics. Ben Lamar Gay’s cornet (International Anthem) and Macie Stewart’s violin (OHMME) pitch and roll, fueled by the dual propulsion of drummers Quin Kirchner (Astral Spirits) and Tommaso Moretti (Amalgam), while Nick Ciontea (brownshoesonly) consults on modular synthesizer. Like the Uirapuru, Edbrass Brasil (Sê-Lo!) also searches through fallen leaves in some of his own work, though for sound not insects. On “Innercosmos” we he hear his unconventional wind tubes, and on “XC222182” his voice calling as instruments gather, playing the bird’s melody.
File Under: Jazz
Ghastly: Mercurial Passages (20 Buck Spin) LP
ON LIMITED BEER / MUSTARD YELLOW MERGE W/ NEON VIOLET & BONE SPLATTER VINYL!!! Ghastly return anew from the limitless wellspring of incomprehensible obscurity and dark inspiration that is Finland with its third album of mind-altering nightmare visions, Mercurial Passages. All the elements that made Death Velour a rarified jewel return in full splendor on Mercurial Passages. The memorably eerie slow burn build ups, the frantically vivid outbursts of speed and dramatic trance-inducing doom fragments that together create a hypnotic psychedelia akin to being lost in infinite labyrinthine corridors, perpetually folding in on themselves. This is death metal for altered states of consciousness and mystifying wonder, rather than corporeal rot and earthbound materialism. The album is once again graced with hauntingly cerebral artwork from Riikka Pesonen whose visual elegance provides the perfect accompaniment to Ghastly’s sinister eccentricity. An album to be consumed as a contemplative whole, Mercurial Passages burrows into the deep recesses of the psyche exposing the dark subconscious to the edges of madness.
File Under: Metal
Joe Henderson: Page One (BNC) (Blue Note) LP
Blue Note Records is pleased to present the Blue Note Classic Vinyl Reissue Series, a continuation of their acclaimed Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series which was launched in celebration of the label’s 80th anniversary in 2019. The Classic Series will once again feature all-analog 180g vinyl pressings in standard packaging that are mastered by Kevin Gray directly from the original master tapes and manufactured at Optimal in Germany. The first 16 titles of the Classic Series will focus on the enduring classics of the Blue Note catalog. The Classic Series will be on-going, running alongside the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series which is produced by Joe Harley. While Joe Henderson seemed to arrive fully formed on his auspicious 1963 debut Page One, the album was really a showcase for the transcendent collaboration between the tenor saxophonist and trumpeter Kenny Dorham who would form a potent frontline team on numerous mid-60s Blue Note classics. Page One opens with a pair of indelible Dorham compositions (“Blue Bossa” and “La Mesha”), with the balance of the 6-song set penned by Henderson including his enduring theme “Recorda-Me.” Dazzling performances by pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Pete La Roca further elevate this album making it one of the crown jewels of the Blue Note catalog.
File Under: Jazz
Joe Hisaishi: Spirited Away OST (Studio Ghibli) LP
Soundtracks recorded in a hall by the full orchestra of the New Japan Philharmonic. Including the main theme “Itsumo Nando Demo” (vocal: Yumi Kimura).
File Under: OST, Japan
Japanese Breakfast: Jubilee (Dead Oceans) LP
Coloured Vinyl! From the moment she began writing her new album, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner knew that she wanted to call it Jubilee. After all, a jubilee is a celebration of the passage of time – a festival to usher in the hope of a new era in brilliant technicolor. Zauner’s first two albums garnered acclaim for the way they grappled with anguish; Psychopomp was written as her mother underwent cancer treatment, while Soft Sounds From Another Planet took the grief she held from her mother’s death and used it as a conduit to explore the cosmos. Now, at the start of a new decade, Japanese Breakfast is ready to fight for happiness, an all-too-scarce resource in our seemingly crumbling world. Jubilee finds Zauner embracing ambition and, with it, her boldest ideas and songs yet. Inspired by records like Bjork’s Homogenic, Zauner delivers bigness throughout – big ideas, big textures, colors, sounds and feelings. At a time when virtually everything feels extreme, Jubilee sets its sights on maximal joy, imagination, and exhilaration. It is, in Zauner’s words, “a record about fighting to feel. I wanted to re-experience the pure, unadulterated joy of creation…The songs are about recalling the optimism of youth and applying it to adulthood. They’re about making difficult choices, fighting ignominious impulses and honoring commitments, confronting the constant struggle we have with ourselves to be better people.” Throughout Jubilee, Zauner pours her own life into the universe of each song to tell real stories, and allowing those universes, in turn, to fill in the details. Joy, change, evolution – these things take real time, and real effort. And Japanese Breakfast is here for it.
File Under: Indie Rock, Pop
Cassandra Jenkins: An Overview on Phenomenal Nature (Ba Da Bing) LP
“Nothing ever really disappears,” Cassandra Jenkins says. “It just changes shape.” Over the past few years, she’s seen relationships altered, travelled three continents, wandered through museums and parks, and recorded free-associative guided tours of her New York haunts. Her observations capture the humanity and nature around her, as well as thought patterns, memories, and attempts to be present while dealing with pain and loss. With a singular voice, Jenkins siphons these ideas into the ambient folk of her new album. An Overview on Phenomenal Nature honors flux, detail, and moments of intimacy. Jenkins arrived at engineer Josh Kaufman’s studio with ideas rather than full songs—nevertheless, they finished the album in a week. Jenkins’ voice floats amid sensuous chamber pop arrangements and raw-edged drums, ferrying the listener through impressionistic portraits of friends and strangers. Her lyrics unfold magical worlds, introducing one to a cast of characters, like a local fisherman, a psychic at a birthday party, and a driving instructor of a spiritual bent. Jenkins’ last record, 2017’s Play Till You Win, confirmed the veteran artist’s talent. Evident of Jenkins’ experience growing up in a family band in New York City, the album showcased her meticulous songwriting and musicianship, earning her comparisons to George Harrison and Emmylou Harris. Jenkins has since played in the bands of Eleanor Friedberger, Craig Finn, and Lola Kirke, and rehearsed to tour with Purple Mountains last August before the tour’s cancellation. Her new record departs from her previous work in its openness and flexibility, following her peripatetic lifestyle. “The goal is to be more fluid, to be more like the clouds shifting constantly,” she says. The approach allowed Jenkins to express herself like she never has.
File Under: Indie Rock
Kaleo: Surface Sounds (Elektra) LP
In three short years, Kaleo scored a trifecta of global hits, received a Grammy nomination, watched their first album, 2016’s A/B, go Gold and toured incessantly. Every bit of that lived experience is packed into their sophomore album Surface Sounds. Frontman/songwriter JJ Julius Son has been in the studio off-and-on for two years, allowing for a combination of globe-trotting and meticulous tinkering, resulting in a spectrum of sounds recorded around the world – in North America, South America and across Europe. The final product is refreshingly free of calculation, with Julius Son allowing each tune to dictate its path while simultaneously leaning-in to his blues, folk and rock inclinations. “In many ways, Surface Sounds has always been such a puzzle for me,” says Julius Son of the collection of tracks recorded while on the road. “I’ve literally jumped into studios in Greece, South America, and all over Europe, creating what is now Surface Sounds. Any time I went home to Iceland, every time I was in L.A., I enjoy seeing what we can create in the moment and in each environment.” In addition to the release of “Alter Ego,” which Julius Son calls “probably the most classic rock and roll song” on the album, the Icelandic rock band released two new tracks in early 2020 showcasing the contrast in sounds and imagery expected on Surface Sounds. Praised by Texas Monthly as a “tender-yet-tough anthem,” “I Want More” is contrasted with “Break My Baby,” which allows a look into the darker side of Kaleo and is described by Loudwire as “hooky and groovy, showcasing the range of [Julius Son’s] vocal and a gritty, bluesy approach.”
File Under: Rock
Ariel Kalma: French Archives Vol. II (1974-1985) (Black Sweat) BOX
The new magic compendium of Ariel Kalma: a box with four-LPs, including different color inner sleeves, a large booklet with credits and beautiful unreleased photos, illuminating perfectly the depth of his traveling soul. Few, like Ariel, have really been able to dedicate their life to a tireless experimentation in music. In according to a subtle plot, between his experiences in the World and the restitution of them, he has always found multifaceted combinations of sounds. Kalma uses anything that can stimulate his impressions, expanding his action without boundaries: church bells, dilated flutes, tape machine, drum machine, Revox loops, flanger, reverberations, War drums, modular and wasp synth, Yamaha Ps.20, Farfisa. etc. Through the 4Lp of the collection, his mind undergoes significant changes, almost corresponding to 4 different moments or states of consciousness. In Delirium GRM he paints his personal dark side of the trip, operating for crazed de-temporalizations and de-specializations: obsessive hallucinations, wastelands of spectral visions, fractals of darkness or alien caverns. Conversely, in Dream Stars, the galactic ascension (Schulze/Ash Ra Temple) becomes happy and luminous in its take-off and landing phases. The cosmic electric-Gnawa, in Rue De la Gaite, reveals an even more calm spirit, with amazing stylistic intersections between India, Turkey and Morocco, and makes use of some exceptional guests including Loy Ehrlich (Hadouk Trio). Kula Confidential translates the vibes of his journey on the island of Maui, between mantra sax and ocean waves, memories of primitive and ancient populations and silent archaeological atmospheres.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental, New Age
Kawabata/Pinhas/Mujica/Pereira/Higashi: Alturas (Buh) LP
When Acid Mothers Temple and Richard Pinhas visited Lima for the first time, in November 2017, to participate in the experimental music festival “Integraciones”, Luis Alvarado, the director of Buh Records and curator of the festival, summoned the Japanese and the French musicians to Manongo Mujica’s studio and invited Juan Luis Pereira (El Polen) to join them for a recording session. The result was this album which finally comes to light, and where a variety of instruments and sensibilities are combined. The guitar sound of Kawabata, the leader of Acid Mothers Temple, merged with that of Pinhas, the leader of Heldon, creates a dreamlike atmosphere, which is supplemented with Mujica’s Indian bells and drums, Pereira’s pututos, moceño, violin, and charango, and the cosmic electronic sounds of the classic Roland synthesizer played by Higashi, from Acid Mothers Temple. Everything flows between quietness and abstraction, an atmospheric music that gives way to inspired melodic developments, which are fused with sounds coming from the Andean tradition, as well as with the classic textural and melodic explosions courtesy of Kawabata. All this is enhanced by the meticulous mixing and post-production work done by the Peruvian artist Ale Hop. Alturas (“Heights”) is edited in vinyl format and is destined to become a milestone in the catalog of Buh Records, a label that has also released albums by El Polen, Acid Mothers Temple and Manongo Mujica.
File Under: Experimental, Psych
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Live in Asheville ’19 (Diggers Factory) LP
After the incredible success of Polygondwanaland in 2017, we want to give everyone a chance to get their lucky hands on these King Gizzard albums. Live at New Belgium Brewing Company, Asheville, NC, USA, September 1st, 2019. Recorded by: Sam Joseph, Stacey Wilson and Gaspard Demulemeester.
File Under: Psych
KMRU: Logue (Injazero) LP
Nairobi-based electronic musician/sound-artist Joseph Kamaru — KMRU — signs to Injazero for the release of his beautiful compendium album Logue, comprising works from his past years of self-releasing. KMRU is uniquely positioned between the rarely-married cultures of ambient and African musics, entwining his compositions with field recordings from his native Kenya and the surrounding countries of East Africa. Though the deep, tectonic slowness of his music can be compared to the work of Lawrence English, William Basinski, Stars of the Lid, Kamaru’s core culture shines through in a pure and singular way. Found within Logue’s pieces are radiant melodic antiphony commonplace in African music, and huge, spacious drones that reveal his love for ambient soundscapes, held effortlessly together by field recordings and analog synthesis. “Every track reflects an event, space or location,” Joseph writes. “The pieces are developed from field recordings, improvisation and spontaneity.” Formed of tracks written from 2017 to 2019, Logue represents an artist not only in command of his form but also willing to develop and evolve, ready to deconstruct and radically refocus his music to explore new contours of experimental and ambient sound-design. Some of the earliest compositions found on Logue — 2017’s “Jinja Encounters”, for example — represent Joseph’s first trips outside his homeland and the experience of new sights and new climates, full of discovery and wonder. The synth line of 2018’s “Argon” pops and bubbles, mimicking bright African melodic vibrancy while a churning, static distortion threatens to breach the surface, revealing a sophisticated, measured understanding of texture and timbral interplay. “OT”, from late 2018, jumps with joyous calls and deftly panned arrhythmic percussion, a new subtlety of light and dark gained from experience and experimentation. Consistent across the entire album is intensely personal and powerfully intuitive expression, crossing continental divides with a singular elegance. KMRU is a young, recently debuting musician. He has self-released on Bandcamp for the past few years, and 2020 saw his first official, international releases, including the scintillating Peel album for Editions Mego. Resident Advisor listed him in their “15 East African Artists You Need To Hear” article in 2018. He appears regularly at the celebrated Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda, and has also performed at CTM Festival and Gamma Festival. Clear vinyl.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Loscil: Clara (Kranky) LP
The latest collection by Cascadian resident loscil aka Scott Morgan is a stunning meditation on light, shade, and decay, sourced from a single three-minute composition performed by a 22-piece string orchestra in Budapest. The subsequent recording was lathe-cut on to a 7-inch, then “scratched and abused to add texture and color,” from which the entirety of Clara was sampled, shape-shifted, and sculpted. Despite their limited palette, the compositions summon a sense of the infinite, swelling and swimming through luminous depths. Certain tracks percolate over narcoleptic metronomes while others slowdive in shimmering shadowplay, sounding at times like some noir music of the spheres. Although Morgan’s compositional premise for Clara was quite defined, the resultant work is wonderfully opaque and spatial, equal parts lush and lurking, traced in fine-grained gradients and radiant silences. The album’s title comes from the Latin for ‘bright’: a fitting muse for this masterpiece of celestial electric currents and interstitial ether, where “shadows are amplified and bright spots dimmed.”
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Maria Teresa Luciani: Situazioni Del Terzo Mondo (Cinedelic) LP
Cinedelic Records present a reissue of Maria Teresa Luciani’s Situazioni del Terzo Mondo, originally released in 1972. The world of Italian library music surprises again with an extremely evocative record. Released with the name of Maria Teresa Luciani but really produced and composed by her brother, maestro Antonino Riccardo, Situazioni del Terzo Mondo ranks among the most important abstract soundscape records. Spontaneous tribalisms tainted with concrete sounds support the looming psychedelic vein, with different solutions from track to track. Recorded in 1972 it is reissued in a limited edition by Cinedelic Records.
File under: Library
Maistah Aphrica: Meow (Black Sweat) LP
A new ship of fools sails on Bolombia lands! These strange people seem to celebrate the whole jazz universe and African idioms, but they’ve never been in Africa. The great continent, more than physical, is a mental place of encounter and psychedelic skids. Neurotic and schizoid sorcerers, a furious wind drags them towards the total effervescence of the groove: an unprecedented cauldron of dangerous substances, hybrid styles and influences mixed with secret recipe. Their music is an explosive bubble of expressions, a feverish, impulsive, and unstoppable ritual. A cosmic attitude, such as Heliocentrics or Embryo, marries the majestic and floating sounds of synths and psych organs, acidified by toxic dub sparks, and deadly funk forays. A crazy horn section travels without maps from Sun-Ra and Ethiopian echoes, hard-bop reminiscences, to sudden and virulent Balkanisms, making this soup an indecipherable combination of flavors.
File Under: Jazz, Africa
Hailu Mergira & The Walias Band: Tezeta (Awesome Tapes From Africa) LP
From their genesis as members of the Venus club in-house band in the early 70s, Hailu Mergia and the Walias Band were at the forefront of the musical revolution during an era where modern instruments and foreign styles superseded the traditional fare to become the staple sound of Ethiopia. No one would argue that the Walias were the trailblazing powerhouse of modern Ethiopian music. They were the first band to form independently without affiliation to a theatre house, a club or a hotel; unprecedented and risky as they had to raise all funding for expenses by themselves including buying equipment. They were the first to release full instrumental albums, considered to be commercially unviable at the time. They opened their own recording studio, with band members Melake Gebre and Mahmoud Aman doubling as technical buffs during sessions. They were also the first independent band to tour abroad. In short, they were the pioneers every band tried to emulate; some more successfully than others. Odds are, any Ethiopian over the age of 35 who had access to TV or radio by the early 90s, will instantly recognize the sound of Walias. What is not a given is, how many would actually identify the band itself. Barely a day went by without hearing the Walias either in the background on radio or as an accompaniment to various programs on TV. This Tezeta album is the band’s second recording, released in 1975. Sourced by Awesome Tapes From Africa and expertly remastered by Jessica Thompson, its unique and funky renditions of standards and popular songs of the day are so quintessentially Walias, flavorful and evocative. Hailu’s melodic organ, unashamedly front and center in every track, makes even the complex pieces accessible. Profoundly engaging; it’s an immersive trip down memory lane for those of us getting reacquainted with it, while also an enthralling and gratifying experience for fresh ears.
File Under: Ethiojazz, Organ
Merzbow & Prurient: Black Crows Cyborg (Hospital) LP
The skylines of Tokyo and New York City are impenetrable. On the streets it is cold — the ravens have blocked out the sun. The barbed chicken wire that surrounds the cities wave scraps of plastic shreds of circuit boards like surrender flags. Ravens have become the society, they are now the rulers. Black Crows Cyborg is the first collaboration from noise titans Merzbow and Prurient. With more than seven hundred releases between them, this LP finds new ways to traverse the empty cities and navigate the cylinders. These two side-length tracks of cryptic dissonance are underscored by the slightest hint of deconstructed computer synthesis and cyborg vocals. Ravens remember actions from specific humans, and can warn them of impending danger — or choose not to. As the conspiracy of crows overwhelms mankind’s encampment and integrates with the industrial leftovers, Black Crows Cyborg is the soundtrack for the overwhelming embrace under dark mechanical wings. Deluxe embossed cover with mini poster.
File Under: Noise, Industrial
Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed: The Ritual and the Dance (Astral Spirits) LP
ROSCOE MITCHELL (reeds) and MIKE REED (drums, electronics) recorded by MICHAEL HUON at the Oorstof concert series, Zuiderpershuis, Antwerp, Belgium, October 22, 2015. Artwork by Roscoe Mitchell.
File Under: Jazz
Monolake: Gobi – The Vinyl Edit (Astral Industries) LP
Originally released on CD in 1999, Astral Industries present the first vinyl issue of Monolake’s much-loved Gobi, licensed from Imbalance Computer Music. Set to the backdrop of the Gobi Desert in eastern Asia, two shimmering vistas plunge the listener into a vast and deeply hypnotic nocturnal soundscape. The perennial hiss and rattle of insects float along the fresh night air in soft waves. The desert thrives with quiet activity as a westerly wind skitters across moonlit dunes, granulated folds dancing like sheets of thin silk. Tectonic plates murmur beneath the shower of stars overhead, their millennial cycles whispering of aeons past. Vividly textured and enticingly synthetic in its sound design, Gobi succeeds as a stunning piece of minimalism.
File Under: Electronic, Minimal
Mother Freedom: Cutting The Chord (Be With) LP
Be With Records present a reissue of Mother Freedom Band’s Cutting The Chord, originally released in 1977. Mother Freedom Band’s Cutting The Chord is a funky modern soul classic. It’s both a criminally under-appreciated album, a sweet disco-funk groover. Produced by the great Al Goodman from The Moments and originally released in 1977, Cutting The Chord seems to be one of the lesser known releases on the curious, and often great All Platinum label. Other than a 7″ of a couple of these tracks, the only thing that the band seem to have released is this album, and what an album it is. Unbeatable soul-funk of the highest quality. The album bursts open with “Love Will Stay In Your Corner”, a soulful dancer that reliably slays any funk set. It’s followed by the lithe disco funk “Flick Of The Wrist” that’s all bubbling baselines and elegant horns. The groovy, horn-enhanced sweet soul of “Gotta Get It Back” is equal parts heartbreaker/hip-shaker and the acidic organs on “Mr Brother” are an experiment in synth soul. Perhaps the group’s best-known track, “Beautiful Summer’s Day” is pure piano-driven paradise soul. A tropical birdsong intro sets the scene of a warm, perfect sunshine day and the lead vocal soars over the lush, clean production. The brilliantly-named “(Assistants Rag) When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” opens side two. Another huge highlight, it’s a laid-back, power-funk workout that sounds incredibly modern, like something off the last D’Angelo record. The horn-heavy, clav-stabbing-stomper “We Like To Boogie” keeps things fast and funky before the airy, heavenly harmony soul of “Come On Home” mellows us all out. Things pick up again with “Touch Me”, and you might recognize its addictive elements sampled in Jay-Z’s Kanye West-produced “A Star Was Born”. The magical, reggae-tinged, gospel-influenced “Sweet Love” closes out this assured, classy set. It can be said that Cutting The Chord is a rare example of a funk-soul LP which is killer from start-to-finish. Sure, there are the stand-out bombs, but the whole thing is a complete and varied album of feel-good vibes held together by its fluid horns, tight, tight rhythm section and beautiful vocals. Mastered for vinyl from the original analog tapes by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman and artwork restored at Be With HQ.
File Under: Funk
Roberto Musci: Melanesia (Oxmose) LP
A journey back in time, maybe thousands of years ago, somewhere in the isolated islands of Melanesia. Here, just like a sound alchemist, Roberto Musci transforms organic nature elements into a unique sound performance of self-estrangement. In the artists’ laboratory, you will discover a melting pot of ancestral ceremonial sounds collided with contemporary chamber music and experimental-electronic methods based on music research. Among these, ethnical music of the populations of Kanaki, Itamul, Kaluli, Niugini, Abelam, Huli, Enga unconventionally search for an intrinsic connection between humankind and music, part of life since the dawn of times. Several studies have highlighted in the DNA of the people of Melanesia genetic traits that trace their origins back to the man of Neanderthal and Denisova (about 70,000 years ago). Their isolation has preserved primitive culture and, perhaps, music. Roberto Musci composed Melanesia based on the Plunderphonics technique mixing traditional ethnic music with contemporary chamber music and concrete music. Cover artwork created by Giuseppe Lo Schiavo. Mastered by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering. 180 gram vinyl. Roberto Musci is an Italian music composer, performer, saxophonist and guitar player, born in 1956 in Milan, Italy. From 1974 to 1985 he traveled around the world to research African, Indian, Near East, and Far East music. During his travels, he recorded on-field music, studied and collected ethnic music instruments from across many countries and cultures. His LP Water Messages On Desert Sand composed and performed with Giovanni Venosta was Grammy-nominated in the UK in 1987. Roberto Musci released LPs and CDs with many European labels, including Raw Material, Island Records, Music from Memory, and Recommended Records. He collaborated with musicians and researchers from all over the world, composed and performed music for films, live soundtracks for silent movies, audio-video installations, poems, dance, and theatre. The artist puts together live recordings of tribal ethnic music of indigenous people from the Pacific islands of Melanesia, performed with the body and with archaic instruments. Along with these, contemporary chamber music collides with the sea, wind, rain, thunderstorms of the Melanesian islands, modified according to the techniques of concrete music, in homage to Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, two of the artists who shaped his way of experiencing sound.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Muslimgauze: Narcotic (Staalplaat) LP
Narcotic is perhaps one example of an album in both camps of the Muslimgauze spectrum, it denotes the expertise acquired in oriental percussion by Bryn Jones after a crescent development and practice through action, part tribal, part ambient with shades of texturized noise, glitch details and field recordings, as result the listener is inside this intoxicant atmosphere of exotic madness, where the basic musical premise constituted by the consistent tribal beats from darbukas and tambourines contrasting radically with the eerie sounds from organic noise, distortions, and minimal jams. The opening track “Medina Flight” bangs on with a metallic sounding looped drum track that blares with distortion at some points while background voices chant out vocals nearly throughout. The track is flavored with other harsh sounds and even a few woodwind sounding instruments before subsequently breaking down and starting back in several times. “Believers Of The Blind Sheikh” is a ten-minute Middle-Eastern sounding dub track sprinkled with live drum sounds and more occasional vocal samples of unknown conversation. “Saddams Children” leans more toward traditional instruments, but one can hear the gurgle of electronics lightly in the background. The instrumentation of the album is amazing. Narcotic is a solid piece of work that covers quite a chunk of the electronic music spectrum, although a lot of the rhythms tend to fall on a little harder side. It manages to blend ethnic and electronic sounds into quite an interesting mix. The images of a surrealistic desert land inhabited by the bizarre and general strangeness abounds in between the strong rhythm usage and cinematic atmosphere unbound, subsequently the decisive progression from the album increases this sensation. The listener easily gets submerged into this opium like state, succinctly guided by the beats and echoes from oriental sounds that wander in and out of the speakers and far away and so close from the mind. Interesting and attractive the album keeps a middle ground status, half experimental and other half adapted for the tribal and linear structure common to Muslimgauze, the listener will find quite another of the many faces of this enigmatic artist. The D side contains two bonus tracks taken from the Iran CD. Recorded, engineered, mixed by: John Delf. Previously released as CD.
File Under: Industrial, Electronic
Tomas Nordmark: Exit Ghosts (Valley of Search) LP
Tomas Nordmark’s music operates on multiple, equally thrilling planes. Having cultivated a deep appreciation for conceptual art and the phase-shifting minimalism pioneered by the downtown avant-garde community of NYC in the ‘60s, Nordmark set out to blend that with his pop-oriented upbringing and unique perspective on electronic music. The Swedish-born, London-based composer’s new album pulses with unrelenting energy, waving and cresting around ambient tension and gorgeously realized melodies. Exit Ghosts is partly influenced by the history of film scores and the aesthetics carried by that tradition. As an instrumental album, Nordmark is tasked with conjuring emotions without words, and the way he utilizes specific cues mirrors the process of film scores, in addition to the work of seminal composers such as Tim Hecker, Arthur Russell, and Jóhann Jóhannsson.
File Under: Ambient
Daphne Oram/Vera Gray: Listen Move & Dance (Fantome Phonographique) LP
Fantôme Phonographique present a reissue of Daphne Oram and Vera Gray’s Listen Move & Dance, originally released in 1962. The British composer, musician, and audio engineer Daphne Oram was a pioneering figure in the use of electronic music. Coming to prominence through her work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which she co-founded, Oram was one of the first British composers to feature electronic instruments in her work and has been rightly hailed as helping musique concrete to become accepted in Britain. Oram’s composition “Still Point”, involving two orchestras, two turntables and five microphones, was deemed too radical by the BBC, though she was promoted to studio manager in 1950, leading to the gradual introduction of electronic music and musique concrete techniques on BBC soundtracks. In 1957, she composed the music for the play Amphitryon 38, using a sine wave oscillator and homemade filters, and this and other subsequent works led to the establishment of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop the following year, but Oram soon tired of the conservative constraints of the BBC, leading to her resignation in 1959 to pursue her own vision at the Oramics Studios for Electronic Composition, located in Tower Folly, a former hop kiln located at Fairseat, near the village of Wrotham in rural Kent. “Oramics” was a radical sound composition technique that sought to transform images to music, enacted by drawing onto 35mm film, which would then be read by photo-electric cells; in addition to its use in Radiophonic Workshop material, “Oramics” was also employed for sound installations, theater productions, and feature films, such as The Innocents, though financial pressures forced Oram to seek a range of commercial engagements in addition to creating her own artistic works. The Listen Move & Dance series of BBC programs were devised as a radical new technique to help British schoolchildren learn how to dance; on the LP releases, Vera Gray arranged short adaptations of classical pieces by Bartok, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and others, designed for “stamping, punching, kicking and jumping” movements, as well as “running lightly”, “dancing on toes” and “shaking all about”, which contrasted sharply with Oram’s electronic abstractions, which seemed to have been beamed in from outer space. 180 gram vinyl.
File Under: Early Electronic
OST: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (Waxwork) LP
Waxwork Records is excited to present HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Available for the first time since 1990, this deluxe vinyl release features the complete soundtrack with score cues by Robert McNaughton, Steven A. Jones, and Ken Hale. Starring Michael Rooker and Tom Towles, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a 1986 American psychological horror crime film directed and co-written by John McNaughton. The movie is loosely based on convinced real-life serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole. The movie was filmed in 1985 but had difficulty finding a distributor. It premiered in 1986 to successful showings on the film festival circuit, but with its positive critical attention, the film also attracted controversy. The film was rated “X” by the MPAA, further increasing its reputation as a controversial movie. It was subsequently picked up for a limited release in 1990 in an unrated version. It was shot in Chicago, Illinois on 16mm in less than a month with a budget of $110,000. The score by Robert McNaughton, Steven A. Jones, and Ken Hale features primitive synth drones, ambient electronic cues, hard pounding drum machines, warbling synth bass, bar room jukebox rock ’n roll, and dialogue tracks. Waxwork is proud to present the complete soundtrack and score on vinyl for the very first time since 1990.
File Under: OST
Pink Floyd: Interstellar Overdrive (Freak Out) LP
“Interstellar Overdrive” is an instrumental composition written in 1966 and is on Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, clocking in at almost ten minutes in length. “Interstellar Overdrive” was one of the first psychedelic instrumental improvisations ever recorded by a rock band. It was seen as Pink Floyd’s first foray into space rock. It has also been described as an experimental and psychedelic as well as an example of proto-prog. Waters once called the song “an abstract piece”. Not connected to pop music, a long improvisatory quality. The stereo version of the song has an organ moving from speaker to speaker, the effect is not on the mono version of the song, where it gains extra organ and guitar sounds, in fact the organ is very prominent during the first minute of the mono version-along with some special effects-but inaudible in the stereo mix. You will find both mono and stereo versions off the LP plus a rare edit (French only released at the time) and a long freak out version that clocks in at 16:49.
File Under: Rock
Rostam: Changephobia (Matsor) LP
Changephobia is the second full-length solo record from Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer, and composer Rostam Batmanglij. An adventurous new direction for Rostam, the songs collected on Changephobia are deeply personal, yet universal for anyone who has ever experienced doubt. In addition to being a founding member of the seminal New York indie rock band, Vampire Weekend, Rostam has been described as “one of the great pop and indie-rock producers of his generation.” Rostam has produced and co-written critically heralded recent albums by Clairo and Haim, as well as singles from Maggie Rogers, Solange, Charli XCX, Frank Ocean, Santigold and others.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Sandstorm: Desert Warrior (Dying Victim) LP
It was but the spring of 2020 when DYING VICTIMS unleashed SANDSTORM’s debut album, Time to Strike, onto the worldwide metal scene. Prior to that, the Vancouver-based band had self-released the album in early 2019, and while the initial run sold out quickly, it remained a diamond in the rough. But indeed, diamonds shine regardless, and soon enough did Time to Strike’s gleam reach all corners of the globe: here was glorious (and gloriously scrappy) pre-speed/thrash HEAVY METAL in the literally ancient, sword-wielding style so favored in the early ‘80s, rendered in such authentic (and authentically over-the-top) style, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was some unearthed relic from the era. Word spread, and rightly, that SANDSTORM were the Real Deal. And now, with the imminent release of Desert Warrior, SANDSTORM prove loudly that they are the REAL fucking DEAL! A swift-yet-generous record at 21 minutes, the four songs comprising Desert Warrior are thematically unified by classic late ‘60s / early ‘70s sci-fi tropes, and the power-trio suitably keep the focus squarely on riffs and atmosphere. Those riffs retain the same feeling as the full-length predecessor – nothing overdriven, everything moving at a hot-rockin’ pace – and where medieval magick ran riot across a strongly rock ‘n’ roll backbone, here do SANDSTORM evoke a strong sense of the epic and tragic. That Desert Warrior’s atmosphere is noticeably more moody takes nothing away from the metallic heights they reach; if anything, one could liken the mini-album to ghostly NWOBHM bordering on lonerist AOR, but still with a propensity to kick out the jams when needed. For proof, see the aptly titled “Evil Wins” and note the specter of Mercyful Fate floating nearby. Plus, the band aren’t monikered SANDSTORM for nothing: it was about damn time they did a record called Desert Warrior and made a musical mini-movie of sorts! Still obscure and old-school as ever, SANDSTORM etch out an even more undeniable identity with Desert Warrior. Will you enter the wasteland with them?
File Under: Metal
Sleater-Kinney: Path of Wellness (Mom+Pop) LP
Sleater-Kinney’s 10th studio album was recorded in Portland, Oregon during the summer of 2020 – against a backdrop of social unrest, devastating wildfires, and a raging pandemic. It’s music for an imagined togetherness. This marks the first Sleater-Kinney album produced by the band members themselves.
File under: Indie Rock
Michael Small: The Parallax View (Cinema Paradiso) LP
Cinema Paradiso Recordings is proud to announce the release of the soundtrack to the motion picture The Parallax View, on vinyl for the first time ever. Based on the book by Loren Singer, The Parallax View is directed and produced by Alan J. Pakula as the second installment of his “political paranoia” trilogy—alongside Klute (1971) and All The President’s Men (1976). With cinematography by Gordon Willis (The Godfather trilogy, Annie Hall) and starring Warren Beatty, this political thriller from 1974 is perhaps even more relevant today than it was back then. The legendary score by composer Michael Small is regarded as a benchmark in the sound of paranoia thrillers that dominated cinema in the 1970s, with revered film critic Pauline Kael hailing the film as an essential for all fans of the genre. Now, forty-seven years later, the soundtrack will finally be available to own on vinyl. The CPR edition of The Parallax View soundtrack includes for the first time the infamous brainwashing scene, an influence on countless films and TV shows over the years. Notably, most recently with the Watchmen series and shows Mr. Robot and Homecoming even using the music from the film. Whilst researching to gain approval for this usage we discovered from Jon Boorstin, (assistant to Pakula on The Parallax View), that the unaccredited disembodied voice from the “Parallax Test” scene belonged to director Pakula himself. This single LP, deluxe gatefold limited edition in colored vinyl , comes with liner notes that include two essays by Scott Bettencourt and Alexander Kaplan (of Film Score Monthly), which provide a fascinating insight into the making of the film and an analysis of the score. “Michael Small’s score raises the spectre of all that is hidden in American history, and superimposes them in a collage that reveals itself to be the unseen hands that shape it..” —Jim O’Rourke
File Under: OST
Gabor Szabo: Bacchanal (Ebalunga!!) LP
The long-awaited reissue of rare Eastern and psychedelic Jazz LP by the famous Hungarian guitarist, originally released in 1968. The first time, extended Edition with four bonus tracks: radio version from singles 7” 1968. Deluxe 6-sided Digipak CD with a booklet and Gatefold Vinyl comes with long, exclusively written inner notes by the famous researcher and biographer Douglas Payne.
File under: Jazz, Psych
Wadada Leo Smith/Douglas R. Ewart/Mike Reed: Sun Beans of Shimmering Light (Astral Spirits) LP
All compositions by WADADA LEO SMITH, DOUGLAS R. EWART and MIKE REED, Recorded, mixed, and mastered by DAVE ZUCHOWSKI. Photos by MICHAEL JACKSON,
File Under: Jazz
Timelash: A Morphology of Wonders (Aguirre) LP
“Timelash is the evolution of Embassador Dulgoon’s cryptozoological sci-fi opus Hydrorion Remnants converging with Corum’s surreal sonic mapping as Beguiling Isles. The combined cinematic vision jettisons listeners through a psychedelic wormhole far beyond the usual perception of known audio latitude, Aguirre Records has gone all out to inject this tribal dino DNA double slab of wax presented as twelve expansive and mesmerizing tracks of historical mutations linking early communication developments with speculative astrobiological impressions heard as mysterious and riveting melodies that wash over dizzying percussive styles and suspenseful ambience. A variety of unexampled sounds take shape throughout as tectonic tablature, reptilian choral movements, bubbling bioluminescence, tube calls, orogenic bells, crustacean chatter, lost continent scales, high plains drifting riffs, and primordial soup lapping splashes revealing to listeners a living mural that is A Morphology Of Wonders. The conjuring of cratonic creature harmonics resonate wildly from this interdimensional duet, emerging as Neopangaea music of now.” –Zakira Luna, Psychic Sounds Research Edition of 300.
File Under: Electronic, Psych, Experimental
Unknown Me: Bishinatai (Not Not Fun) LP
The inaugural LP by by Tokyo Metropolis electronica entity UNKNOWN ME, Bishintai, is a sublime synthetic suite of cosmic wellness transmissions exploring “the unknown beauty of your mind and body,” appropriately named for a kanji compound meaning “beauty, mind, body.” Crafted with software, synthesizer, steel drum, rhythm boxes, and robotic voice by the core quartet of Yakenohara, P-RUFF, H. Takahashi, and Osawa Yudai, the album unfolds like a holographic guided meditation, soothing but cybernetic, framed by subways and sky malls. Latticework electronics flicker with texture, glitch, wobble, and mirage, themed around sensory perception and body parts.A diverse cast of collaborators assist in actualizing the collection’s uniquely urban expression of new age ambient, from psychedelic footwork riddler foodman to multi-instrumentalist institution Jim O’Rourke to Japanese underground shape-shifters MC.Sirafu and Lisa Nakagawa. Although the group cites a therapeutic muse (“made for the maintenance of the minds of city dwellers”), Bishintai shimmers with an alien strangeness, too, like decentralized relaxation systems obeying sentient circuits. This is music of utopia and nowhere, channeling worlds within worlds, birthed from a sonic ethos as simple as it is sacred: “in pursuit of beautiful tones.”
File Under: Japan, Electronic, Ambient
Sharon Van Etten: Epic Ten (Ba Da Bing) LP
“epic represents a crossroads for me as an artist. Going from intern to artist at Ba Da Bing, from solo folk singer to playing with a band for the first time and beginning to play shows on tour where people showed up. I am in awe of the artists who wanted to participate in celebrating my anniversary and reissue, from young inspiring musicians, to artists who took me under their wing, who I met on tour, and to artists I’ve looked up to since I was a teenager. Each one of these artists continue to influence my writing and provide a sense of camaraderie during this new era of sharing music.” –Sharon Van Etten. Sharon Van Etten’s career since the release of her second album, 2010’s epic, is well-known; critically lauded albums, films, and television shows have continually displayed her expanding artistry. Upon its release, epic laid a romantic melancholy over the gravel and dirt of heartbreak without one honest thought or feeling spared. Her songs covered betrayal, obsession, egotism, and all the other emotions disliked in others and recognize in oneself. Van Etten’s grounded and clenched vocals conveyed a sense of hope—the notion that beauty can arise from the worst of circumstances. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this special album’s release, and to acknowledge the convergence of Van Etten’s present and past work, she asked fellow artists she admired to participate in an expanded reissue, where each artist would cover one different song from epic in their own style. Some are musicians Van Etten herself admired in her early days (Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, and Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon of Big Red Machine), some are peers (Courtney Barnett, IDLES), and others are part of a younger generation of innovators (Shamir, St. Panther). What they all share is embodied by epic—a musician frankly communicating the power of music. The resulting epic Ten is a double album featuring the original plus the new album of epic covers and reimagined artwork.
File Under: Indie Rock
Various: Brown Acid – Twelfth Trip (Riding Easy) LP
That’s right, Riding Easy has reached a toker’s dozen editions of brilliant long-lost, rare, and unreleased hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal tracks from the ’60s – ’70s. Clearly this has become a bonafide archaeological movement as each new installment leads the listener to more exciting new discoveries. Like the label has done throughout this series, all of these tracks were painstakingly licensed legitimately and the artists were paid. Make oneself comfortable and prepare for yet another deep, deep dive into the treasure trove of dank, subterranean, wild-eyed and hairy rock ’n’ roll with Brown Acid – The Twelfth Trip. Here are some examples of the treasures that lie herein: The Waters start this Trip off right with swampy fuzz- and phaser-soaked dueling guitars oozing from the grooves of their 1969 single “Mother Samwell.” The Louisville, KY trio somehow failed to make much of a splash however, only issuing two 45s, one in ’68 and this rocker the following year, before eventually evaporating in ’72. The bassist went on to play in Hank Williams Jr.’s band for a couple of decades, so the band’s fortunes weren’t entirely sunken. Side two opens with Ace Song Service, who probably thought they were pretty clever with their risqué acronym name, but it’s their b-side “Persuasion” that really kicks A.S.S. Rollicking, relentless drums, walking bass, staggering guitars and shimmering Hammond organ shake the foundations while crooning blue-eyed soul vocals remind the listener that this is still the late-60s. The Trip concludes with Dickens, whose “Sho’ Need Love” / “Don’t Talk About My Music” 45 is one of those record collector’s Holy Grail type of releases. The 1971 single only exists as a demo, printed as a white label promo pressing for Scepter Records. Comprised of NRBQ’s road crew and some band members, all playing instruments they didn’t know how to play, the recording happened essentially by accident when studio time became available after Gomer Pyle actor and balladeer Jim Nabors cancelled a session. The group quickly cut a few songs, which an enthusiastic A&R man had pressed up, before the label president nixed it and fired the VP for allowing such nonsense. It’s believed that only about 50 copies survived!
File Under: Psych, Metal
Various: Bruton Brutoff: The Ambient, Electronic and Pastoral Sounds of The Bruton Library Catalogue (Trunk) LP
Rare musical magic from the Bruton library catalog — ambient, spacey, pastoral, and electronic. Music by John Cameron, Alan Hawkshaw, Francis Monkman, Brian Bennett, and more — all total masters of the scene. Over the last three decades Jonny Trunk has collected and written about library music. But he’s never had a great deal of luck with the Bruton catalog. By this he means that he’s never stumbled across a massive stash, or lucked-out buying a huge run for practically nothing. But he did manage to get about 25 in one hit about 20 years ago when the BBC shut down their “TV Training Department” near Lime Grove and also when a box of Brutons ended up being dumped at a hospital radio, and they didn’t want the records, so Jonny got a call. There are lots of Bruton albums in existence — over 330 LPs in the vinyl catalog, issued between 1978 and 1985. That’s a lot of music to wade through if you are looking for sublime modern-day sounds. For many years now the “trophies” from the Bruton catalog have been the beat or action driven LPs — the two Drama Montage (BRJ2 and BRJ8) albums have always been the big hitters, and others such as High Adventure (BRK2) too. But Jonny has always found himself drawn to the lime green LPs, the pastoral, peaceful albums (The BRDs), which were full of the kind of gentle, lovely music that would turn up in Take Hart as Tony was painting a woodpecker or a badger or an Autumn tree. The other Brutons he likes are the orange ones (The BRIs) simply because they are full of experimental futuristic electronics and would remind him of 1980s TV backgrounds. This LP series includes Brian Bennett’s cosmic classic Fantasia (BRI 10). Jonny has been known to refer to this style of library music as “Krypton Factor library”, because it’s exactly what that strange but successful 1980s TV quiz show sounded like. Not only does this album bring together a set of fabulous cues that would cost the average man in the street a month’s wages, but it also chops out the need to listen to other tracks on library albums that are nowhere near as good. The cues here all date from between 1978 and 1984. Clear vinyl; edition of 500. Also features Frank Ricotti, Johnny Scott, Frank Reidy / Eric Allen, Les Hurdle / Frank Ricotti, Orlando Kimber / John Keliehor, and Steve Gray.
File Under: Library
Various: Jugoton Funk Vol. 1 (Croatia) LP
Yugoslavia – six republics, four decades, one dictator and a single record label that ruled them all: Jugoton (Zagreb, Croatia). Jugoton was by far the country’s largest label with the strongest and most diverse output that stretched from Balkan roots to contemporary trends and the sound of tomorrow. The early days of Yugoslavia featured strong censorship but by the end of the ‘60s the Communist party views softened up to a large degree. Westernized music already had a solid presence and the first James Brown influenced compositions were released. Yugo funk, a term coined by DJs and crate diggers from the Balkans, encompasses a wide variety of performers and genres: from the 60’s Merseybeat rock bands, prog rock groovers, and big band jazz orchestras to the late 70’s sophisticated 4×4 funk and essentially everything in between. Jugoton Funk Vol.1, a first of its kind, celebrates the pioneer years of funk-infused music released by Jugoton. While in pursuit of these treasures all over the Balkan region and beyond, the compilation’s selectors, Dr. Smeđi Šećer & Višeslav Laboš, both active as DJ’s and crate diggers from the sole beginnings of the ex-Yu craze, wanted to capture the authentic and idiosyncratic funk sound of Jugoton and Yugoslavia. So here it is, comb your mustache, light up a fat one, turn up the amplifier and headbang away to these amazing tunes remastered from original master tapes dug out of the Jugoton vaults (now Croatia Records).
File Under: Funk, Soul, Disco
Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher (Dead Oceans) LP
Can: Singles (Mute) LP
Digable Planets: Reachin’ (Modern Classics) LP
Fleet Foxes: s/t (Sub Pop) LP
Johnnie Frierson: Have You Been Good to Yourself (Light in the Attic) LP
Fugazi: End Hits (Dischord) LP
Beverly Glenn-Copeland: Keyboard Fantasies (Transgressive) LP
Beverly Glenn-Copeland: Primal Prayer (ORG) LP
Gojira: Fortitude (Roadrunner) LP
High Rise: II (Black Editions) LP
Haruomi Hosono: Hosono House (Light in the Attic) LP
Takehisa Kosugi: Catch Wave (Superior Viaduct) LP
Led Zeppelin: s/t (Atlantic) LP
Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia: Moonlight Edition (Warner) LP
Madvillain: Madvillainy (Stones Throw) LP
Metallica: …And Justice for All (Blackened) LP
Molchat Doma: F Krysh Nafhikh Domov (Sacred Bones) LP
Lee Moses: Time And Place (Light in the Attic) LP
My Bloody Valentine: MBV (Domino) LP
Oh Sees: Floating Coffin (Castle Face) LP
Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated at Last (Castle Face) LP
John Prine: s/t (Atlantic) LP
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) LP
Reigning Sound: A Little More Time with.. (Merge) LP
Ana Roxanne: ~~~ (Leaving) LP
Sam Rivers: Contours (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Seefeel: ST/FR/SP (Warp) LP
Sleaford Mods: Spare Ribs (Rough Trade) LP
T. Rex: Electric Warrior (Rhino) LP
Neil Young: On the Beach (Reprise) LP
Various: Tokyo Flashback (Black Editions) LP