…..news letter #1012 – split…..

Well the air’s been much more breathable this week and my headache’s gone away too. Hallelujah! But taking a three day weekend really made a mess for me this week. Loads in all week with a late delivery showing up tomorrow, so a bunch of stuff is up for purchase but pick up will have to be later in the day or after. But at least they’re arriving…

Other than that, not much to report, although really, I’ve basically changed the instore hours Mon-Fri as 11-6. I’m here, and someone always seems to show up to browse so why not just make it official. Our other current policies below just in case you’ve missed it…
– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 4 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
– Max 4people in the store at a time
– Wear a mask(if you don’t have one, we’ll have some)
– Sanitizeyour hands(we’ll have some)

.….picks of the week…..

Caterina Barbieri: Fantas Variations (Editions Mego) LP
“Fantas” is the epic opening track on Caterina Barbieri’s acclaimed 2019 release Ecstatic Computation (EMEGO 259LP, 2019). The original “Fantas” laid out a magical path of patterns leading the listener on a journey into the sound itself. Fantas Variations maps out eight new potentials sprung from this initial path as constructed by a diverse mix of artists lending to a wide spectrum of new works extrapolated from the original work. For this project Barbieri invited friends and long-time collaborators from a variety of musical backgrounds to create a more sustainable and inclusive landscape in terms of stylistic, geographical, gender, and generational balance. The results are a diverse array of approaches and instrumentation which blur the boundaries between the acoustic and electronic. Fantas Variations embraces a platform for mutual exchange and support between like-minded artists, where active and collective re-imagination is prioritized over the traditional model of remixes, which is often strategic, functional and more passive. Longtime friend and collaborator Kali Malone rearranged “Fantas” to a slowed-down, austere and eerie version for two organs. Evelyn Saylor created a piece for a vocal ensemble consisting of her, Lyra Pramuk, Stine Janvin, and Annie Garlid, joining forces to express the choral, psychedelic and vital nature of the piece. Barbieri’s former guitar professor at the Conservatory in Bologna, Walter Zanetti, composes “Fantas” for electric guitar, by translating every single gesture of the original electronic piece into a personal, nuanced and detailed interpretation. Bendik Giske’s reinterpretation for saxophone and voice captures the atmospheric essence of “Fantas” and its psychic meteorology. Longtime collaborator and along with Barbieri the other half of the outfit Punctum, Carlo Maria, resynthesizes “Fantas” for TR808 and MC202, bringing a more club-oriented dimension of the piece to life whilst unveiling the sonic continuum between rhythm and pitch through a sensitive timbral approach. Jay Mitta’s Singeli reinterpretation of “Fantas” transpires with pitched-up percussion and turbo-fast polyrhythmic patterns unleashing the frenetic, shifting, transformative matter within the piece to a higher plain of euphoric dance. Baseck’s variation is a rave fantasia, where the prismatic trance of the original is channeled into fierce, uncompromising hardcore, whilst Kara-Lis Coverdale’s take is a phantasmagoria for piano that gently, yet inexorably, captures the relentlessness chimerical qualities of the original, unveiling its spectral backbone. Mastered by Rashad Becker, February 2021. Cut by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnittstelle, Berlin, February 2021. Artwork and typography by Ruben Spini. Lettering by Alice Fiorelli.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Classical
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Les Rallizes Denudes: Blind Baby Has It’s Mother’s Eyes (Phoenix) LP
Reissue on 180 gram, blue vinyl; hand numbered editions. Legendary Japanese rock outfit Les Rallizes Dénudés were formed in 1967 and incredibly, for a group that had only one official release (Oz Days Live, a double vinyl compilation release in 1973), played their last gig almost 30 years later in October 1996. The band’s name apparently means “fucked up and naked,” which more than adequately describes their music. Formed by band leader Mizutani Takashi, the music remained remarkably familiar over the years, and is best described as high volume, raw, lo-fi, repetitive, feedback-drenched guitar-noise fests with nods in the direction of The Velvet Underground and Blues Creation, but without the electronics. Radical left-wing politics were never far from the band’s agenda, with one original band member (Wakabayashi) being involved in the Japanese Red Army’s hijacking of a flight to North Korea. Consequently, the group’s live appearances became less frequent and increasingly clandestine. All the band’s albums were released in very small quantities, and because of the group’s reputation for secrecy and violence, as well as the difficulty in tracking down their recordings, Les Rallizes Dénudés has assumed almost mythical status. Blind Baby Has It’s Mothers Eyes sits at #11 on Julian Cope’s list of top Japanese albums. “Massive slabs of distortion inhabit every seam of this monstrously linear album” –Julian Cope (Japrocksampler).

File Under: Japan, Psych
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…..new arrivals…..

Anika: Change (Sacred Bones) LP
In tomorrow… When asked to describe the circumstances that influenced her beautifully fraught new work, Berlin-based musician Annika Henderson – better known simply as Anika – quickly articulates a set of feelings and unpredictable circumstances that are familiar to anyone who tried to make art – or simply tried to live through – the recent global pandemic. “It’s a moment caught in time,” she says of Change, her much-anticipated new record. Given that it has been 11 years since the release of her last solo album, 2010 cult-favorite Anika, the artist suddenly found herself with a lot to say. Having worked collaboratively in the past with the likes of BEAK> and Mexico City’s Exploded View, Change was ultimately the product of necessity. “After recording the initial ideas alone at Klangbild studios in Berlin, a few months later and by some stroke of luck, Mr. Martin Thulin of Exploded View, managed to make his way over from Mexico, to co-produce the album with me and play some live drums and bass,” recalls Anika. “Between Reality Baitz and Impression Recordings in Berlin, we managed to get the album together.” The intimacy of its creation and a palpable sense of global anxiety are seemingly baked into the DNA of Change. Spread across nine tracks, the central feeling of the record is one of heightened frustration buoyed by guarded optimism. The songs offer skittering, austere electronic backdrops reminiscent of classic Broadcast records or High Scores-era Boards of Canada, playing them against Anika’s remarkable voice – Nico-esque, beautifully plaintive, and – in regards to the record’s subject matter – totally resolute. Incantatory tracks like “Naysayer” and “Never Coming Back” are both, as Anika explains them, a call to arms and a warning. “Never Coming Back” was written after reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.” Recorded at a time when literally everyone in the world was being forced to take stock, rethink, and reimagine their own place in the cosmos of things, Anika provides the wisened perspective of an outsider. It’s a perspective that is not lost on the British ex-pat and former political journalist. “‘Sand Witches’ is about England. My old home,” she says. “I gave up my UK passport when I moved to Berlin 10 years ago. Now I am a foreigner in both lands, belonging to neither. Sometimes I find it hard to recognize the place I came from.” Despite the subject matter and the circumstances around its creation, Change itself is ultimately a treatise on optimism. The title track presents the album’s message writ large: I think we can change, we all have things to learn, about ourselves and about each other.

File Under: Indie Rock, Electronic
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Arovane: Atol Scrap (Keplar) LP
Arovane’s debut album, Atol Scrap, on vinyl for the first time. Originally released in 1999. The story of each re-release begins with the original. In the late ’90s, Uwe Zahn (Arovane), along with Robert Henke (Monolake) and Stefan Betke (Pole), began releasing music on Torsten Pröfrock’s (Dynamo) newly launched DIN label. This was a very inconspicuous undertaking, but fans of the flourishing IDM, glitch, and constantly evolving abstract techno genres quickly picked up on the quality of sound coming out of Germany. After a few successful EPs, Zahn began working on his debut full-length, Atol Scrap. The release was a success, at least in the underground circles, where followers of the melodic harmonies, stuttering off-beat rhythms, and, most importantly, advanced sound design feverishly consumed the imprint’s output. There was only one thing missing — the album was never pressed on vinyl, and for decades remained in the digital domain. The fans, of course, inquired. “I thought of taking everything into my own hands and releasing the record myself,” says Zahn, “but at the end of last year, Matthias from Keplar asked me to re-release Atol Scrap on vinyl.” The label and its owner revolve in the Morr Music universe, and so it made sense for Zahn to trust the platform to treat the record right. Listening to Atol Scrap over twenty years later it is inane not to admit how well it has held up. Where other genres clearly aged, becoming stale, bland, and dull, the music on eleven tasty tracks still keeps the neurons tickled with each note. Many of the newly evolving techniques are recognizable on the album. “I created the digital artifacts with a digital multi-track recorder, the Fostex D80,” recalls Zahn. “The thing had a scrub wheel with which I could achieve wonderful glitch effects by winding through the audio data. I have sampled and further processed these artifacts.” And this approach is still embedded in Zahn’s sound design. “I still use my 24-track analog desk from Tascam to mix my audio. I love to use hardware synths and samplers. I’ve definitely built upon my studio experience in the ’90s.” From this debut to the most recent output, Arovane’s sound has evolved to become more intricate, detailed, and pronounced. Remastered and cut to vinyl by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering. Cover art by Jim Kühnel based on a photograph by Uwe Zahn. Die-cut sleeve with full-tone artwork, poly-lined inners; includes download code.

File Under: Electronic
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Daniel Avery: Love & Light (Mute) LP
In tomorrow… Love + Light arrives unexpectedly following Daniel Avery’s recent collaborations with Alessandro Cortini on the critically acclaimed Illusion of Time LP and alongside Roman Flügel under the alias of Noun. Avery shares, “This record has been a real positive force of energy in my life, to the point where it almost formed itself in front of me. In that same spirit, I wanted to share it with you now, as soon as it was finished. As I started to collect the pieces together, it was apparent that the album would be split into two distinct halves but halves that were inexorably tied together. One could not have existed without the other. Music has always been a source of personal strength for me yet I remain fascinated by the power it can possess of its own volition.” The ethereal artwork is taken from an image by Avery’s tour photographer, Keffer.

File Under: Electronic
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Daniel Avery: Together in Static (Mute) LP
In tomorrow… Mute presents Daniel Avery’s new album Together in Static, which is comprised of songs created specifically for live shows, yet developed into an album during the process. Together in Static follows 2020’s surprise release Love + Light and the collaborative album with Nine Inch Nails keyboardist Alessandro Cortini, Illusion Of Time. “As with many things this past year, the project took on a power and a life of its own right in front of me,” Avery says. “The original idea was to simply play a couple of small gigs at Hackney Church during the last lockdown. I started to make music specifically for the shows yet, as plans continued to shift, I fell deeper into the waves. I considered a 12″ or maybe an EP but by the time I came up for air, I realised I had a complete record I wanted to share. I feel it’s some of my best work and I’m gassed for you all to hear it.”

File Under: Electronic
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Chet Baker: Cool Cat (Tidal Waves) LP
Chet Baker (1929 – 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, actor and vocalist that needs little introduction. Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s but his well-publicized drug habit also drove his notoriety (he was in and out of jail frequently before enjoying a career resurgence in the late ‘70s and ’80s). Chet’s career included collaborations with greats such as Elvis Costello, Charlie Parker and Van Morrison. Mr. Baker was the subject of many books and documentaries throughout the decades and he was even portrayed by Ethan Hawke in the 2015 film Born to Be Blue. Chet began his musical career singing in a church choir and his mother said that he had begun to memorize tunes on the radio before he was even given his first instrument. Peers called Baker a natural musician to whom playing came effortlessly. In the early 1950s, he was chosen by Charlie Parker for a series of West Coast engagements…shortly after this, his song “My Funny Valentine” became a hit and would be associated with Baker for the rest of his career. Mr. Baker (with his quartet) was a regular performer at famous Los Angeles jazz clubs such as The Haig. Chet Baker’s quartet released popular albums between 1953 and 1956 and he won reader’s polls at Metronome & Down Beat magazine, beating trumpeters Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. In 1956, Pacific Jazz Records released Chet Baker Sings, an album that seriously increased his visibility. During most of the 1960s (before heading to Europe more frequently) Chet recorded music that could be classified as ‘West Coast jazz’ From 1978 until his death in 1988, Chet Baker lived and played almost exclusively in Europe, returning to the U.S. once a year for a few performances. This was Baker’s most prolific era as a recording artist. On the album, we are presenting you today (Cool Cat) you’ll find Dutch recordings (recorded in 1986 & released in 1989). This rare gem of an album is comprised out of tracks written by some of the top jazz composers of all time (including Thelonious Monk) and played meticulously by Baker and his all-star line-up consisting out of Jon Burr (Yo-Yo Ma), Ben Riley (Sonny Rollins, Alice Coltrane, Thelonious Monk) and many others. Be prepared for six sublime tunes that bring out the more intimate and touching aspects of the Chet Baker sound, a fantastic session where the master plays his themes with an almost religious surrender. On Cool Cat the listener is treated to a mix of both instrumentals and mid-sung tunes with very moving vocals. The trumpeter’s laid-back breathy approach and perfectly placed notes in combination with his superb rhythm section provide the listener with unmistakable evidence that Baker still had considerable powers as a musician late in his career. Despite a seemingly chaotic and nomadic life, there is an unmistakable serenity emerging from the trumpeter’s sound throughout the album…a deep and touching beauty can be felt, marking this as one of Chet’s best from the period. Originally recorded in 1986 and released in 1989 on Timeless Records, the legendary Dutch jazz label run by Ria and Wim Wigt (who were patrons and friends of Chet till his sudden passing in 1988), Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first official reissue of Chet Baker’s classic Cool Cat album. The jacket also features exclusive pics shot in Amsterdam in 1986 by legendary Dutch photographer Joost Leijen (known for his work with artists such as Art Blakey and Pharoah Sanders). This North American vinyl version is limited to 500 copies on Clear Vinyl and also comes with an obi strip.

File Under: Jazz
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Devendra Banhart & Noah Georgeson: Refuge (Dead Oceans) LP
In tomorrow… In spring 2020, Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson started to make a record that was like nothing they had made before – an ambient album that would be both a haven from a suddenly terrified world and a heartfelt musical dialogue between two artists who have been friends and collaborators for over two decades. Refuge is an album of profound meditative beauty which offers the listener a much-needed sense of peace and renewal. But while it was recorded in 2020 its roots go back much further – all the way to the start of their friendship and, beyond that, to the shared sounds and ethics of their childhoods. Devendra grew up in Venezuela while Noah, six years older, is a native of Nevada City, California. But as they got to know each other, they realized that they had a similar history in the New Age subculture of the 1980s: a world of meditation, Eastern music, the Bhagavad Gita and The Whole Earth Catalog. Childhood memories were colored by the aromas of health food stores and the sound of New Age labels like Windham Hill Records. Noah, whose production and mixing credits include Joanna Newsom and the Strokes, came on board as co-producer of Devendra’s 2005 album Cripple Crow and they have been working together ever since. It was while making Devendra’s 2019 album Ma that the pair finally decided to make their ambient record. Despite complicating logistics, 2020 created an emotional craving for music with this contemplative, therapeutic quality. Inspired by both memories of the past and the needs of the present, Refuge is an act of companionship and generosity which gives the listener room to breathe. “We’re hoping to create a sense of comfort and coming back to the moment,” Devendra says. “It’s really important to have a little bit of space between us and our anxieties and impulses. What you do with that space is up to you.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Jac Berrocal/David Fenech/Vincent Epplay: Exterior Lux (Akuphone) LP
Jac Berrocal is a 1946-born musician (trumpet player), poet and sometime film actor who came of age in the ’70s Paris improv scene, where the boundaries between music, art and theater were porous and begging to be breached. Inspired by bebop, chanson, free jazz, beat poetry, early rock ‘n roll and myriad Eastern influences, and with an iconoclastic, anything-goes approach to instrumentation and technique that would later align him with post-punk sensibilities, Berrocal blazed an eccentric and unstoppable trail across the underground throughout the ’70s and ’80s, both solo and as part of the Catalogue group he co-founded. During this time his uproarious performances routinely wound-up jazz and rock audiences alike, but earned the admiration of many musicians: Steven Stapleton invited him to perform on two Nurse With Wound albums, and other notable collaborators in his career include Sunny Murray, Lizzy Mercier-Descloux, Lol Coxhill, Yvette Horner, and James Chance. In the ’90s his protean achievements were celebrated on the Fatal Encounters compilation, but far from slowing down in the autumn of his life, Berrocal has maintained an extraordinary work-rate, keeping studio dates with Pascal Comelade, Telectu, and Jaki Liebezeit, among others. Now, Berrocal has found the perfect foil in David Fenech and Vincent Epplay, two fearlessly inventive improvisers, composers and catalysts who create challenging, acutely modernist yet historically aware settings — wrought out of synthesis, guitars, computer processing, field recordings and unorthodox percussions — for Berrocal’s unmistakeable voice and breathtakingly lyrical horn sound to flourish. Fenech cut his teeth in the mail-art scene of the early ’90s, leading the Peu Importe collective in Grenoble. His 2000 solo debut was recently reissued by Felix Kubin’s Gagarin label, and he has also worked as a software developer at IRCAM, and played with Jad Fair, Tom Cora, Rhys Chatham, and James Plotkin; in 2011 he formed a trio with Berrocal and Ghedalia Tazartes for the Superdisque LP. Epplay is a highly regarded sonic and visual artist with a particular interest in aleatory composition and autonomous pieces, concrète, and the puckish reappropriation of vintage sound and film material, with dozens of published works to his name on labels like Planam/Alga Marghen and PPT/Stembogen. Exterior Lux is the third part in the series of albums and was again mastered by the legendary Noel Summerville.

File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental
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Art Blakey & His Jazz Messengers: Chippin’ In (Tidal Waves) LP
Clear vinyl! Art Blakey (1919–1990) actually needs little introduction, the American Jazz drummer and bandleader made a name for himself in the 1940s & 1950s playing with contemporaries such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He is often considered to have been Thelonious Monk’s most empathetic drummer (he played on both Monk’s first recording session in 1947 and his final one in 1971). In the decades that followed Blakey recorded for all THE labels that mattered in the field of jazz (Columbia, Blue Note, Atlantic, RCA, Impulse!, Riverside, Prestige, Verve, etc.). His collaborations were numerous and include working with equally legendary artists such as Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Chet Baker, John Coltrane….and countless others. Art Blakey was a major figure and a pioneer for modern jazz, he assumed an aggressive swing drumming style early on in his career and is known as one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. His signature polyrhythmic style was amazing, exuding power and originality, creating a dark cymbal sound punctuated by frequent loud snare and bass drum accents in triplets or cross-rhythms. A loud and domineering drummer…but Blakey also listened and responded to the others in the band. He was an original, an important drummer you’d hear…and would recognize immediately. Art Blakey was inducted into the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame (1981), the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame (1991), the Grammy Hall of Fame (1998 and 2001) and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously in 2005. He was sampled and remixed by renowned acts such as Raekwon, Black Eyed Peas, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, Buscemi, KRS-One and Madlib. In the mid-1950s he and Horace Silver formed ‘The Jazz Messengers’: a group that Blakey would perform and record with for the next 35 years. Originally formed as a collective of contemporaries…but over the years the band became known as an incubator for young talent that included artists such as Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Chuck Mangione, John Hicks…and MANY others. Art Blakey went on to record dozens of albums with a constantly changing group of Jazz Messengers. Blakey’s final performances were in July 1990. He died on October 16 of lung cancer. The legacy of Art Blakey and his band is not only the music they produced but also the opportunities they provided for several generations of jazz musicians. Released on the legendary Dutch jazz label Timeless Records and one of his final recordings…on the album we are presenting you today (Chippin’ In) you’ll find ten sublime tracks recorded at Rudy van Gelder’s Recording Studio in February 1990. Art Blakey passed away just 8 months after these tracks were cut and you can’t hear any signs of him slowing down at all. For these specific recordings, The Jazz Messengers were expanded from its usual quintet or sextet into a septet and they showcase their energetic signature sound with remarkable style, musical knowledge, a dash of good humor and camaraderie you’d expect from a world-class band who have entertained, thrilled and amazed for almost five decades. The line-up on these fantastic sessions includes non-other than Essiet Okon, Geoff Keezer, Dale Barlow, Javon Jackson, Frank Lacy, Steve Davis and Brian Lynch…impressive to say the least! Chippin’ In sounds as successful, young and vibrant as ever! Expect supercharged hard bop with striking notes, no-holds-barred musicianship, high swinging solos, screaming choruses and plenty of solid virtuosity to spare. This electrifying set of tracks contains both originals and several eclectic versions of standards…making this release a bonafide hit and a must-have for any self-respecting jazz fan or collector. Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the FIRST ever vinyl release (these recordings were never issued on vinyl before) of “Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers ‘Chippin’In”. This unique album comes as a deluxe 180g DOUBLE vinyl edition (strictly limited to 500 copies) with an obi strip. The jacket features exclusive session pics shot by legendary Dutch photographer Joost Leijen (known for his work with artists such as Chet Baker and Pharoah Sanders), also included is an insert with liner notes by renowned author and producer Russ Musto. This North American vinyl version is limited to 500 copies on Clear Vinyl (2XLP) and also comes with an obi strip.

File Under: Jazz
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Brown, Marion: Le Temps Fou (Musique du Film de Marcel Camus) (Le Tres Jazz Club) LP
Le Tres Jazz Club present a reissue of Marion Brown’s Le Temps Fou (Musique du film de Marcel Camus), originally released in 1969. Marion Brown, who moved to Europe two years earlier than 1969, and records, in the legendary Parisian studio Davout, the soundtrack of the movie by Marcel Camus entitled Le Temps Fou. The movie starred Nino Ferrer was out in 1970 under the title Un été sauvage. Fallen into oblivion, Le Temps Fou was printed in very few copies and is almost impossible to find in its original pressing. Personnel: Marion Brown – alto sax, bells; Gunter Hampel – vibes, bass clarinet, tree bells; Ambrose Jackson – trumpet cow bells, tambour; Barre Phillips – contra basse, castanetes, whistle; Steve McCall – drums, triangle, tambour; Alain Corneau – claves, cow bells.

File Under: Jazz
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Clairo: Sling (Fader) LP
In tomorrow… Associated with soft, intimate vocals, day-dreamy atmosphere, and rumination, Clairo is lo-fi singer/songwriter Claire Cottrill. Alternating keyboards and guitars as accompaniment, and often coloring her recordings with samples and sound effects, Clairo began sharing dozens of her styled, but low-key, melody-driven tunes to music-sharing sites as a young teen in 2013. Introduced by the delicate lead single “Blouse,” her second studio album Sling follows-up her 2019 debut Immunity. It was written and recorded in upstate New York at Allaire Studios and co-produced by Clairo with Grammy Award-winning producer Jack Antonoff.

File Under: Indie Pop
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Cultural Noise: Aphorisms (Wah Wah) LP
Originally released in 1980. “The only album by Austrian trio Cultural Noise is a an electronic marvel. Band members were Gerhard Lisy, Walter Heinisch and Karl Kronfeld, and instruments used included an ARP Sequencer, an ARP 2600, a VCS 3, an EMS Digital Sequencer, a Mellotron M400, a Micro Moog, a Roland Studiosystem 700, a Roland Analogue Sequenzer and an electric guitar. With these weapons and a strong influence from the Berlin school Cultural Noise created a rich electronic tapestry which expanded through the two pieces of this record, one per side, being compared by reviewers to works by Zanov or Anna Själv Tredge. Mentions of Tangerine Dream are also present on reviews, although Cultural Noise have a pretty unique personality on their own and besides sharing the use of Mellotron, sequencers and analog synths we have a totally personal concept here which sets them aside from all TD impersonators of the era. The album was originally released in 1980 on CBS and later repressed in 1981 which came in a B&W version of the sleeve that some sources list as a self release private pressing done by the band themselves — this has been denied by members of Cultural Noise.”

File Under: Electronic, Kosmiche
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Darkside: Spiral (Matador) LP
In tomorrow… Darkside is an American rock band formed in Providence, Rhode Island in 2011. The group consists of Chilean electronic musician/vocalist Nicolás Jaar and American multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington. In the summer of 2018, Jaar and Harrington rented a small house on Lenni-Lenape territory, which is present-day Flemington, New Jersey. The group spent a week there, making a song a day. While it would take another year and a half to complete their second album, six songs from the band’s new record Spiral were written and recorded during this initial session. “From the beginning, Darkside has been our jam band. Something we did on days off. When we reconvened, it was because we really couldn’t wait to jam together again,” says Jaar. Harrington echoes this, “It felt like it was time again,” he said. “We do things in this band that we would never do on our own. Darkside is the third being in the room that just kind of occurs when we make music together.”

File Under: Electronic
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El Michels Affair Meets Liam Bailey: Ekundayo Inversions (Big Crown) LP
In tomorrow… There has always been a reggae influence in the music of El Michels Affair. From their cover of “Hung Up On My Baby” done in a reggae style, to the general sound and approach that permeates Leon’s production style. While recording Bailey’s 2020 Ekundayo album, they did some straight forward reggae tunes inspired by different eras alongside some modern R&B tracks that would fit more comfortably next to Frank Ocean than Jacob Miller. It is this same notion that old and new can live so comfortably together that birthed the idea of Ekundayo Inversions. Traditional dub came out of reggae in the late 60s and early 70s when pioneers like King Tubby and Lee Perry started taking the multi track recordings of songs and running them back through the board adding effects and additional instrumentation. These recordings are called “dubs” or “versions” and are typically instrumentals with flourishes of vocals from the original tracks. El Michels decided to use the blueprints left behind and make something using the influences of today. He wound up straying so far from the traditional format that it didn’t seem right to use the word ‘dub’, hence Ekundayo Inversions. All the songs are tied together by WhatsApp messages between Leon and Liam that perfectly narrate the story of this record and their working relationship. One of the highlights on Ekundayo Inversions is a guest appearance from the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry on the “Ugly Truth” version. L$P switches between singing and talking, proclaiming his powers one minute and playing with the track’s title the next. On “Awkward take. 2” Leon takes one of the most experimental songs from Ekundayo and actually straightens it out. A track that once seemed to be floating in space has now been anchored by the addition of drums and bass. “Faded”, a version of “Paper Tiger”, is given the full EMA treatment with the addition of emotive horns over an uncomfortably sparse rhythm track peppered with Liam’s voice drenched in delay and echo. “Champions” features a verse from Black Thought of The Roots and halfway through, El Michels sends the rhythm section 50 years back. At the end of the day, Ekundayo Inversions is a testament to how strong the original songs are. Whether they’re in a R&B style, reggae style, stripped down to their bare bones, or loaded with production, the songs will move you.

File Under: Reggae, Funk, Soul
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Ron Everitt: The Glitter of the City (Jazzman) LP
Jazzman Records present a reissue of Ron Everett’s Glitter of the City, originally released in 1977. As private pressings go, Ron Everett’s Glitter of the City is certainly one of the most obscure, controversial and mysterious of them all. Until now, the name Ron Everett has been practically unheard of outside his native Philadelphia, and only devoted funk and jazz enthusiasts have been aware of his album, originals of which are owned by literally just a handful of collectors scattered across the world. But with the help of noted local music buff Dave “Philly Dave” Louis, Jazzman Records has spent the past few years unearthing an incredible and unlikely story of selflessness, determination and tragedy. With its plain sleeve and homemade ethic, the Glitter of the City wasn’t sold in stores upon release, nor did it have any kind of distribution. Yet it comprises of funky jams, sweet jazzy soul and all manner of funk and blues infused jazz — a shimmering celebration of Philadelphia and its vibrant musical community. Jazzman’s efforts have resulted in an official release complete with liner notes and photographs which tell the story of Ron Everett and his life in music. The label’s research also yielded the master tape of an as-yet unreleased album, of which we have taken three tracks and added them to the record. Number 30 of the celebrated Jazzman Holy Grail Series.

File Here: Jazz
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GA-20: Does Hound Dog Taylor (Karma Chief) LP
In tomorrow… Blues music is revered for its timelessness. The best blues – no matter how old – sounds as fresh and visceral today as it did when first recorded. The high-energy electric blues trio GA-20 – guitarist Matt Stubbs, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, and drummer Tim Carman – know this well. The band’s dynamic self-penned songs sound and feel as fresh and real as the old blues they love and perform, including songs by Otis Rush, J.B. Lenoir, Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells and especially their favorite, Hound Dog Taylor. Legendary six-fingered Chicago bluesman Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor always knew how he wanted to be remembered, declaring, “When I die they’ll say, ‘he couldn’t play shit, but he sure made it sound good!'” His first full length recording in 1971 was also the first album on now world-famous Alligator Records, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. In fact, label president Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator for the sole purpose of recording and releasing that album. Now, Colemine Records – working in partnership with Alligator Records – will release GA-20’s new full-length album, Try It…You Might Like It! GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor, featuring 10 songs written or performed by the Chicago blues legend. From the fiery first single and album opener “She’s Gone” to the blistering “Sadie” to the all-time Hound Dog classic “Give Me Back My Wig”, GA-20 deliver one electrifying track after another.

File Under: Blues, RnB
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Jef Gilson: Malagasy at Newport-Paris (Souffle Continu) LP
“In May 1972, the wave of anger and the thirst for freedom that had swept the world in 1968 arrived in Madagascar. The Malagasy youth took the opportunity to exile in search of a brighter future. Several of them, all jazz musicians and often polyintrumentalists, came to Paris with their Afro hair and bellbottoms. Their names were Sylvin Marc, his cousin Ange ‘Zizi’ Japhet, Del Rabenja, Gérard Rakotoarivony and Frank Raholison. By chance, they crossed paths with pianist and bandleader Jef Gilson, who they had already met as kids during a series of concert and workshops in Tananarive four years earlier. Gilson was far from an unknown on the French jazz scene. He had played with Boris Vian and André Hodeir at the end of the forties, he was one of the first French composers to move away from the New-Orleans style to try his hand at bebop, had launched numerous young stars (Ponty, Texier, Portal…), was a polemical critic for Jazz Hot, had opened for Coltrane at Antibes/Juan Les Pins, and was part of the Double Six… But it was tough to make a living playing personal compositions and Jef, who didn’t have enough money to return to the island and continue mining the seam of Malagasy jazz, saw an opportunity to relaunch Malagasy. He had his recording studio in the Les Halles area, at the Foyer Montorgueil, where he was teaching jazz to a choir. He set to work with the new Malagasy group, working on a repertoire and reviving some of his compositions from the ’50s/’60s and also included more recent tunes. The group Malagasy 73 gigged a lot. One of their concerts was recorded on the 14 March in a club, ‘Le Newport’, in rue Grégoire de Tours, Saint Germain des Prés, not far from the ‘Kiosque d’Orphée’ where Gilson worked at the beginning of the ’60s when he brought bebop and avant-garde jazz to the attention of a generation of musicians with his records imported from USA. This meeting between two generations and two cultures created a new mix between jazz, traditional music and electric funk. Jef Gilson had reinvented himself yet again, and it wouldn’t be the last time.” –Jérôme “Kalcha” Simonneau First ever standalone reissue, remastered. Licensed from Palm/Geneviève Quievreux.

File Under: Jazz
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Grateful Dead: Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses) (Grateful Dead) LP
“For the Grateful Dead’s second live album, released two years after its predecessor Live/Dead, the band delivered an equally magnificent, but entirely different sound. Whereas Live/Dead was a perfect sonic encapsulation of the band at the peak of their primal Dead era, Skull & Roses captures the quintessential quintet, the original five piece band, playing some of their hardest hitting rock ‘n’ roll (“Johnny B. Goode,” “Not Fade Away”), showing off their authentic Bakersfield bona fides (“Me & My Uncle,” “Mama Tried,” “Me & Bobby McGee”), and some originals that would be important parts of the Dead’s live repertoire for the next 24 years (“Bertha,” “Playing In The Band,” “Wharf Rat”). “Of course, the Dead were never defined by one specific ‘sound’ and amongst the aforementioned genres and styles the band brought to this album, they also delved deeply into their psychedelic, primal playbook with an entire side dedicated to their 1968 masterpiece “The Other One.” This is one of the most deeply rich and satisfying tracks preserved on an official Grateful Dead album, up there with Live/Dead’s “Dark Star” and Europe ’72’s “Morning Dew.” Skull & Roses sounds as fresh today as the first time I heard it in 1985, and as fresh as it was upon its spectacularly well-received release in 1971.” – David Lemieux Not only did Skull & Roses serve up supremely fine tunes, it was also the one that scored the Grateful Dead their very first Gold record, introduced the world to the iconic skeleton babe Bertha, and asked the questions – Who are you? Where are you? How are you? – giving birth to the first official generation of Dead Heads. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, the album has been newly remastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer, David Glasser using Plangent Process speed correction and comes pressed on 180g vinyl 2LP with Tip-On jacket packaging and sticker insert. Produced for release by David Lemieux.

File Under: Rock
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Henri Guedon: Karma (Outre-National) LP
Outre-National Records present the first time vinyl reissue of Henri Guédon’s Karma, originally released in 1975. Henri Guédon is an artistic legend from Martinique. Musician, painter, sculptor and one of the main architects of modern Caribbean/Antilles music. Taking the music to truly new and progressive territory from the late 1960s onward. Karma, his second album, is one of the holy grails of the Caribbean cosmic Latin/jazz scene, near impossible to find in this day and age. Released in 1975 on a small Parisian label, La Voix Du Globe, a label releasing Algerian, Moroccan and Egyptian records, the album was an anomalous release in their catalog. Karma was a convincing and unswerving statement following his stunning landmark debut LP (Cosmozouk Percussion). Incorporating African, Latin, and West Indies styles (Gwoka, Mazouk, Biguine, Bel-Air, Bomba…) with cosmic synths swirling all over intense roots percussion. The songs are propelled with a spiritual jazz vibe mixing with deep ethno-folk music from Martinique and Guadeloupe. The LP belongs to the same vein as as Marius Cultier, Louis Xavier or William Onyeabor for its totally original take on a hybrid music.

File Under: Jazz, Latin, Spiritual
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Hauromi Hosono: Hosono House (Light in the Attic) LP
Available again, and on Turquoise vinyl! The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono has put his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as a session player, producer, and auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world. Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After Happy End’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono released Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded at home with a back-to-basics approach akin to Music from Big Pink or McCartney. While his former band helped pave the way for the rise of “city pop” that reflected upon urban themes and city life, Hosono took a 180 degree turn towards the countryside for his highly-regarded first solo album. Located an hour from Tokyo in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, the actual Hosono House was one of several American-style houses originally built for the families of troops stationed at the nearby Johnson Air Base, active during the post-war occupation years. By the early ‘70s this small community had become a hub for creative types looking for a break from Tokyo’s hustle and bustle – and cheaper rent. For Hosono, this was as close as he could get to living in America without leaving his home country. With rooms filled to the edges with recording gear, the house became a live-in studio for Hosono and his crack band – soon to become known as the in-demand session group Tin Pan Alley. The songs on Hosono House display the breadth of Hosono’s talents, from the hushed acoustic folk of “Rock-A-Bye My Baby” and the country twang of “Boku Wa Chotto” to the New Orleans funk of “Fuyu Koe” and the unexpected breakbeats in “Bara To Yajuu.” Lauded by artists such as Jim O’Rourke and Devendra Banhart, Hosono House remains a touchstone of the early phase of Hosono’s career. Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), who made their debut in 1978. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world.

File Under: Japan, Pop, Folk
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Rafael Anton Irisarri: Shameless Years (Umor Rex) LP
2021 clear vinyl repress with new cover art; originally released in 2017. Post-minimalist American composer Rafael Anton Irisarri’s Umor Rex debut. Inspired by a troubled socio-political climate, buried melodies punch their way through a bleak cover of noisy drones, periodically veering into some of Irisarri’s most eerily pertinent music to date. One of Rafael Anton Irisarri’s most thematically and sonically cohesive records to date The Shameless Years came together in a relatively short burst of creativity starting at the end of 2016. Rediscovering some relatively older tools — namely Native Instruments’ Reaktor, Absynth, and Kontakt software — Irisarri combined them with his collection of guitars, pedals, amps, and analogue processing gear, turning his Black Knoll Studio north of NYC into a powerful writing tool. Completed quickly by Irisarri’s standards, let alone during a period of social upheaval in American society, the record faces down several key personal themes. Two tracks were completely remotely between Irisarri in New York and Umor Rex veteran Siavash Amini from his home in Tehran, Iran. This music came together at the peak of all the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric happening in the USA, not to mention the banning of Iranians from entering the country, explains Irisarri. The diptych with Amini, “Karma Krama” and “The Faithless”, seems bathed in additional waves of sorrow and dread. The wash of symphonic storm clouds of synth drones and processed notes on the latter gradually appears and disappears over the course of thirteen mournful minutes. “Rh Negative” marches gigantic guitars through towering valleys of scarred ambient noise dealing with Irisarri’s own heritage, many of his ancestors having come to America to escape poverty and oppression. The refusal of modern America to extend similar sanctuary to refugees escaping turmoil weighs heavily on the composer. Elsewhere an emotional onslaught of notes buried in mounds of greyscale noise on “Sky Burial” aims to deal with Irisarri’s very own mortality — something he was recently confronted with following health scares, an accident, and a near-death experience in 2016. Pushing 40 as this album was being made, the composer is constantly aware that he’s already outlived his own father, who died at the age of 32. Facing down both intolerance and the void, the epic soundscapes of The Shameless Years are a vast cry of emotion from Irisarri. Mastered by James Plotkin. Includes download code.

File Under: Ambient
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Durand Jones and the Indications: Private Space (Dead Oceans) LP
In tomorrow… Durand Jones & The Indications drop their new album, Private Space, on Dead Oceans in association with Colemine Records. Following the “immaculate and eternal soul” (The Guardian) of The Indications’ 2019 album, American Love Call, Private Space unlocks the door to a wider range of sounds, boldly launching the band into a world of synthy modern soul and disco beats dotted with strings. Anchored by the high-low harmonies of Aaron Frazer (drums/vocals) and Durand Jones (vocals), and rounded out by Blake Rhein (guitar), Steve Okonski (keys), and Mike Montgomery (bass), The Indications are true masters at melding revival sounds with a modern attitude. The ten tracks across Private Space provide for both an escapist fantasy and a much-needed recentering after a tumultuous 2020. “At the end of the day, I just want people to close their eyes and forget where they are. Just the way a Stevie Wonder album does for me,” says Jones. Developed after being apart for much of the year, Private Space is creatively explosive and delights in upending expectations. Throughout, The Indications highlight a collective resiliency – as well as the power of a good song to be a light in the darkness. From an Indiana basement (where the band recorded their 2016 self-titled debut LP as college students), The Indications have catapulted into the soul limelight and an international stage. Following their sophomore album American Love Call – a dreamy but pensive record of big string arrangements and sweet soul stylings – The Indications became revered by vintage music fans, the lowrider community and late-night television. Between production work, solo efforts and major sold-out shows, Durand Jones & The Indications continue on an unstoppable upswing. With live music temporarily out of the equation, The Indications were able to dive deep into recording their third LP. Uptempo tracks like “Witchoo,” “The Way That I Do” and “Sea of Love” practically manifest the flicker of a disco ball, their pop-funk grooves recalling Idris Muhammad and Raphael Saadiq as well as Pete Rock and DJ Premier. You’ll slow it down as the group evokes the likes of Teddy Pendergrass, the Isley Brothers and Sylvia on “Ride or Die” or “More Than Ever” (“I’ve never felt so sexy as when I was singing that track,” says Jones). While Private Space is an intentional departure from The Indications’ roots in ‘60s funk and soul, its exploratory vibe is true to their origins and evolving tastes. “There’s a lot of the band’s original DNA, but it’s not a time capsule,” says Rhein. The sound of Private Space isn’t a stretch, Frazer adds. “We’re actually revealing more of ourselves, a deeper and broader look into who we are as musicians and fans.”

File Under: Soul
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Rickey Kelly: Limited Stops Only (Pure Pleasure) LP
Born in San Francisco, Rickey Kelly moved to Los Angeles in 1982. I first heard Rickey on the local Jazz station and that haunting sound on vibes was just too much to resist. He was working at Hughes Aircraft and didn’t have time for gigging in the evening. He had to take care of his family which numbered about six children. I began booking his band soon after meeting him. An artist this blessed should not be working a day job I thought. Rickey soon quit his job at Hughes aircraft and began performing full time. Rickey stayed in his apartment for long periods of time just practicing. He often mentioned to me that he needed to stay in isolation to keep his music pure. During Rickey’s stay in L.A., he had worked with all the great jazz and R @ B bands. Musicians like altoist Bobby Watson, the legendary drummer Billy Higgins, The Jazz Crusaders, pianist Ahmad Jamal, and one of the most popular artists of his generation Marvin Gaye, often called on Rickey to perform with their bands. As great as these artists were, the addition of Rickey Kelly on vibes seemed to make their music better. Because of his isolation, Rickey’s music has developed a uniqueness and purity of sound that transcends styles. One reviewer described it as a “childlike quality, a profound innocence”. Relax and listen closely. This is music with a purpose.

File Under: Jazz
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Mikado Koko: Maza Gusu (Akuphone) LP
On Maza Gusu, Mikado Koko transforms into Mother Goose, hissing Charles Perrault’s fairy tales from her native tongue in your ears. Her unsettling, regressive voice is backed up by a subtle and chilling electronic soundscape sprinkled with traditional Japanese instruments, creating a realm of sound that feels both weirdly familiar and deeply unknown. Mother Koko hurls you deep down the rabbit hole, back to your darkest childhood anguishes, before gently leading you by the hand to a joyful catharsis. As you slowly get used to its disturbing familiarity, Koko’s music feels like waking up in the pale morning light, shaky but relieved after a feverish dream. In summer 2017, Mikado Koko started her solo career as a club music producer with the elements of Japanese traditional music. After many releases, remixes and compilations, such as Seitō: In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun, she now focuses on avant-garde poetry reading related to feminism and gender equality.

File Under: Electronic, Japan
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Malagasy/Gilson: Malagasy (Souffle Continu) LP
“Paris, May 13th 1968. There was a general strike. One last plane left the runway, strewn with flaming oil drums. On board were three jazz musicians wondering whether they would be able to return home one day. But for the time being they really want to make it to Madagascar where concerts and workshops with young local musicians were waiting for them. Pianist and bandleader Jef Gilson was accompanied by his bassist Gilbert ‘Bibi’ Rovère (Martial Solal Trio) and the young drummer Lionel Magal (Crium Delirium). Gilson, who already had a reputation for finding new talent (it was thanks to him that, amongst others Jean-Louis Chautemps, Henri Texier, Jean-Luc Ponty or Michel Portal first became known) was literally blown away by the standard of the young Malagasy musicians, all capable of imitating their American idols by ear. Their names were known only to jazz fans on the island; Serge, Allain and Georges Rahoerson, Arnaud Razafy, Roland de Comarmond, Joel Rakotomamonjy, Alain Razafinohatra, Samuel Ramiara… Gilson then had a vision: he wanted to encourage them to play jazz which was truly Malagasy and which would find its’ soul in the island’s culture and traditional instruments (Sodina flute, valiha, various percussion instruments…) He would go back to the big island three times, in March (with cellist Jean-Charles Capon), in October 1969 (alone), then in February 1970 (as a trio with guitarist Raymond Boni and drummer Bertrand Gauthier). The two trips in 1969 would lead to the sessions, recorded on a simple ReVox with two Neuman microphones, which would make up the essential part of this mythical album entitled Malagasy, and first issued in 1972 on the Lumen label, and then reissued, as early as 1973, on Palm, Jef Gilson’s own label. Apart from the last track, recorded in Paris in 1971 with Malagasy instruments brought back from trips by the trio which would play on the avant-garde Le Massacre du Printemps (Futura), all the other compositions on the album are by Jef Gilson, Jean-Charles Capon and the young saxophonist Serge Rahoerson. There is also a cover of a song issued just a few months earlier and that the Malagasy musicians had only heard through bits and pieces played by Gilson on piano: the song is ‘The Creator Has A Masterplan’ by Pharoah Sanders, and it is one of the most wild and mystical versions you will ever hear. In May 1972, Madagascar itself would be the theater of youth revolt. And the composition ‘Avaradoha’ by Serge Rahoerson would be the anthem of the revolution on the streets.” –Jérôme “Kalcha” Simoneau First standalone reissue. Licensed from Palm / Geneviève Quievreux. Remastered.

File Under: Jazz
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Keith Mansfield: Contempo (Be With) LP
They say: “New directions in contemporary scoring.” Be With Records say: “Contempo is one of the best full album listens in the KPM 1000 library.” Succinct smoking soul, super tight breaks and string-drenched sleaze composed by the library master, Keith Mansfield. Many library records are a game of two halves and Contempo is certainly one of those. The first side cooks on a high funk breaks flame whilst the flip is something altogether more tranquil, yet no less groovy. It lays back with dreamier, post-coital grooves. Rugged funk opener “The Fix” confidently displays its low-slung languid grooves with heavy drums, horns, and bass. The punchy “What’s Cooking” follows and has a lighter, more whimsical touch. But the drums still roll and the clavs wiggle in fascinating opposition to those horns. The dark and moody intro to “Cut To Music” gives way to a more inclusive, relaxed funk that’s all irresistible bass and stabbing horns. The mid-tempo “Man Alive” signals the time to really get down. Closing out the A side, fresh guitar licks drip all over the slick drums of “Funky Footage”, with a New Orleans piano vibe coming on to really light a fire. The B side is more smoothed out, with beautifully arranged, sweeping strings, sax solos aplenty, and a real ’70s soundtrack feel. The super sleek and sexy jazz funk of “Breezin'” is as light and magical as you’d hope. An open-air masterpiece, its indulgent sound is just a taster of the sophisticated funk to follow. The elegant, romantic feels of “Good Vibrations” is a string-drenched, wah-wah fueled ode to living your best life. Whilst it keeps a very West Coast feel, the blaxploitation strut is certainly more Blackbyrds than Brian Wilson. “Sun Goddess” will blow your mind with the sensuous sound of glorious horns and beautiful keys. The luxurious “Love De Luxe” and its horizontal grooves have been much sampled, but here it proves that it doesn’t need any help to get you in an intimate mood. Closer “Snake Hips” is a cool mid-pace slouch. Originally released in 1976 but, like the very best KPM records, wonderfully timeless, Contempo is a rare example of a library record that is a genuinely great listen from start to finish. Reissued from the original analog tapes and remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. 180 gram vinyl.

File Under: Library, KPM
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Keith Mansfield: Vivid Underscores (Be With) LP
They say: “Contemporary scores for visual effect.” Be With Records say: “Synth-heavy, low-slung space-funk masterpiece.” The creator of the romping tunes that became the iconic themes to the BBC’s Grandstand program and their televised Wimbledon Tennis Championship coverage, Keith Mansfield was perhaps KPM’s most prolific artist from the mid-1960s right the way through the 1980s. As well as the sort of pop orchestral sound that is all over these classic library records, he could also turn his hand to raw, edgy rock and funk. Quentin Tarantino has included some of Keith’s work on the soundtracks to Kill Bill and Grindhouse (2007). Mansfield’s Vivid Underscores from 1977 is a sample freak’s wet dream. “High Velocity” sets the tone with its aggressive horns, wah-wah guitars, funky baseline and wobbly synth refrain. “Crash Course” — Stetsasonic horn refrain? Beautiful — jazzy chase-funk, amazing warm keys, percussion, and funky horns — all action. The more restrained “Matter Of Urgency” is an utterly amazing, brass-heavy underscore. The grandiose, uplifting “Dawn Of Aquarius” still sounds like the future with its tense, thundering drums, killer bassline and swirling synths. Version II loses the drums and percussion but is no less startling. “Staying Power” closes the first side with a relentless, pounding groove. “Trucking Company” is a pacey, synth-and-string masterpiece and its accompanying parts mess with the formula to great effect. “Hot Cargo” and “Espionage” are both tense spy-funk themes par excellence. “Interplay” is a quiet killer, with flutes over a glistening piano refrain just waiting to be looped. “Omen” is a mini-drama masterpiece, one only Mansfield could create. Even though it is a mix of short themes in-and-amongst longer, full-length tracks, Vivid Underscores is still thoroughly listenable from start to finish. Original analog tapes remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. 180 gram vinyl.

File Under: Library, KPM
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Sylvin Marc/Del Rabenja: Madagascar (Souffle Continu) LP
“While he was working on the repertoire for the new version of his group Malagasy, with young Malagasy musicians he had met in Paris in 1972 (and who can be heard on the album Malagasy At Newport-Paris), Jef Gilson realized that two of his new discoveries, in addition to being established poly-instrumentalists (who both had sharpened their skills in the legendary seja-jazz band from La Réunion, Le Club Rythmique), were also skilled composers. They were capable of reinventing jazz and traditional Malagasy music, adding influences from the new generation inspired by pop, rock and funk into the mix. He offered them the chance to share the two sides of an album recorded on his own label, Palm, alongside their compatriots. Ange ‘Zizi’ Japhet, Gérard Rakotoarivony and Frank Raholison, this is how Del Rabenja and Sylvin Marc came to record this Madagascar Now / Maintenant ‘Zao. The first side really showcases the valiha (a small Malagasy harp) of Del Rabenja who uses the occasion to pay homage to the sadly missed Rakotozafy, often called the Django Reinhardt of the instrument. His three compositions are full of spirituality and invite an almost trance-like state. But Rabenja is equally a very good tenor saxophonist and organist on the other tracks. The other side displays the full range of talents of the multi-instrumentalist and composer Sylvin Marc, who moves from bass to drums, from vocals to percussion and offers four compositions ranging from free jazz to cosmic groove. At the same period the five men could also be found amongst the cast list of the mythical albums, Funny Funky Rib Crib by Byard Lancaster and Soul Of Africa by Hal Singer and Jef Gilson. Later, Sylvin Marc would play bass for Nina Simone on her album Fodder On My Wings in 1982, then join the team of violinist Didier Lockwood, while Del Rabenja would be part of Manu Dibango’s and Eddy Louiss’ orchestras for a long time and would even be at the front of the top 50 at the end of the ’80s with David Koven. He would also be the special guest of the Palm Unit trio (Fred Escoffier, Lionel Martin, Philippe ‘Pipon’ Garcia) on their first album, an homage to the oeuvre of Jef Gilson, in 2018.” –Jérôme “Kalcha” Simonneau First ever standalone reissue; remastered. Licensed from Palm/Geneviève Quievreux.

File Under: Jazz
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Master Musicians of Joujouka: Live in Paris (Unlistable) LP
50 years since their first LP Brian Jones presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka was released (1971), The Master Musicians of Joujouka release a stunning double-LP recorded live at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 2016. The recordings are a full immersion into the Joujouka sound with disc one featuring hypnotic flutes and drum and a side of songs with mountain violin played by virtuoso Ahmed Talha with lead vocals by the late Abdeslam Boukhzar. Disc two features the truly hypnotic rhiat suite of Boujeloud, recorded in its entirety for the very first time.

File Under: Morocco, Folk
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Maston: Darkland (Be With) LP
Maston’s Darkland is a breezy collection of the material from the Tulips (BEWITH 087LP) sessions that didn’t make it on to the original LP. Originally a digital-only release for those in the know in the autumn of 2018, after re-issuing Tulips in 2020 it made too much sense for Be With to give Darkland a vinyl release. Like Tulips, Darkland was recorded mostly in Hoorn, in the Netherlands, between 2015-2017 during downtime from Frank’s touring duties with Jacco Gardner’s band. Bits were also done in Los Angeles on some extended trips back home. The collection plays like an alternate view of Maston’s instant modern classic Tulips; a companion piece to the LP proper with similar mixture of shorter themes and more full-length tracks. Darkland opens with its ornate 39 second title-track before striding into “Tulips”, that full-length title-track that never was. It’s a real head-nod, percussive-rich electric piano stunner that would’ve been a comfortable standout on the album proper. But now this “downlifting” gem is given ample room to shine on this record. The funky organ-led bass and drums workout “Immaculate Conception” will keep your neck gently snapping while MPC fiends go reaching for their sampler. “Love Theme No 3” cuts a breathtakingly stylish vibra-slapped swathe through the middle of the opening side before we’re startled by the pronounced bass and twinkling percussion of “The Owl In Daylight”. Charming digi-drums underpin the wonky synth (quiet-)banger “Innovative Patterns” which has a lovely melodic switch-up in the final third before the tempo (and hairs on your neck) rise on the faintly creepy yet imminently groovy “Osiris”. The gorgeously soft-focus “Groove Experiment No 3” closes out the first half in slo-mo wonderment. The lushly melancholic “Raincloud” ushers in side B before the emotionally-stirring “Phonic” taps at the door, coming on like the long lost sister to Pet Sounds’ “Let’s Go Away For A While”. Next up, the swooning beauty “Love Theme No 2” keenly sways in front of you, growing ever more insistent and hypnotic. The too-short “Italian Summer” conjures the same flirtatious imagery as the title hints at whilst “Endless” is a fascinating “piano-pella” alternative version to “Rain Dance” from Tulips. “Wonder Theme” has a nostalgic, exotic 60s swing and album closer “Willow” is a hushed, campfire folk gem. The gently circular strumming is just magical. Mastered by Simon Francis.

File Under: Library
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Barry Morgan & Ray Cooper: Percussion Spectrum (Themes) (Be With) LP
They say: “Exploring the wide range of moods and sounds produced by percussion.” Be With Records say: “MPCs at the ready because this does exactly what it says on the tin, to devastating effect.” Originally released in 1979, Percussion Spectrum was produced by the legendary percussionists Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper. With dope beats taking in diverse styles, from funk and soul and jazz through to Latin, Brazilian, samba and Afro-Cuban, this is an amazing sample source filled with killer drum-breaks and percussion flares. This library LP is a mix of short themes of single beats, short breaks and some longer, more fully-formed DJ-friendly tracks. Of all the 34 tracks Be With’s favorites include opener “Impulsion”, a percussive masterclass with drum upon drum making it feel like a neat prototype to the percussive underscores of Peter Lüdemann and Pit Troja’s eternal The Now Generation LP. And the dramatic “Fast Action” is exactly that, racing along on a rapid roll of congas, cymbal crashes and throbbing kicks. “The Chaser” is classic library cop-funk with dilapidated drum figures, and the outrageously funky “Heat On” is the perfect accompaniment to your wild action sequences. A real highlight is “Runaway”, and not just because it sounds like nothing else on the record. Here are drums and percussion in that tight funk style that just cries out to be sampled. “Percussion Power” is an extended, near three-minute suite of funky drum solo after funky drum solo that just aches to be looped. “Shivers” is a tense, apprehensive underscore with shock stabs that builds to a climax whilst “Drums On Parade” is a showcase of head-nod drums and cymbals in march time. “Samba Street” is riotous, authentically drawn samba that sounds like it’s been beamed straight in from Rio in full flow. The simple, innocent “Child’s Themes” (all five of them) provide a nice, sweet respite from all the funk. Nursery sounds tinged with only a touch of melancholy. The gentle marimba solo of “Tropical Peace” only adds to the sense of serenity we get from the relatively calm second side. The album closes out with a veritable toolkit of tom toms, snare drum rolls, timpani, vibraphones and chiming bells. Percussion Spectrum is a joyous collection of sounds, as bright, beaming and downright funky as the vibrant cover. Original analog tapes remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. 180 gram vinyl.

File Under: Library, Themes
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Nate Morgan: Journey Into Nigritia (Pure Pleasure) LP
Morgan was one of the most active artists in the Los Angeles underground jazz scene, and a member of the late great Horace Tapscott‘s artist collective Union of God’s Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA). He performed alongside Tapscott, and other Nimbus recording artists like Jesse Sharps, who he introduced to Tapscott. He also performed with Arthur Blythe, Gary Bartz, Azar Lawrence, as well as soul icons Willie Hutch (notably on the Foxy Brown soundtrack) and Rufus & Chaka Khan. Most recently he contributed to Carlos Niño’s 2016 album Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!, and was a part of Niño and vocalist Dwight Trible’s soul-jazz group Build An Ark (which also featured Tribe’s Phil Ranelin). Journey Into Nigritia was Morgan’s debut as a leader, and the first of three recordings he released for Nimbus West. The album has a strong post-Coltrane spiritual feel, with some model-based melodies, and some fiery solos from saxophonist Dadisi Komolafe. The record also features a solid rhythm section featuring bassist Jeff Littleton and drummer Fritz Wise. At the dawn of the Reagan years, LA jazz pianist Nate Morgan recorded his first album for Nimbus West. Journey Into Nigritia portrays an artist marked by the icons of his day and striving for reinvention. Although he came from a solid jazz background, coming up through the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, Morgan found more exciting work with pop bands in the seventies, including glory years with Rufus w/Chaka Khan. On Journey into Nigritia, Morgan re-embraces jazz. Included in the band are Jeff Littleton on bass, Fritz Wise on drums, and Dadisi Komolafe on alto sax. The collection opens with the Trane-ish Mrafu. Komolafe blasts off in short order, and while the modal chording recalls Tyner, Morgan shows flashes of the nimble loquacious gift that define him. While Alice Coltrane incense perfumes “Morning Prayer, Morgan’s devotional sincerity and personnel expression triumph. Suitably complex with yearning minors, Mother features the trio performing a memorable composition. Littleton’s deep-note sustain contrasts Wise’s shimmering cymbals, while Morgan tells heart-wrenching truth. With a somewhat solemn theme, He Left Us a Song regularly bursts through into straight-ahead fast-break sprints up and down the court. The unexpected “Study in C.T. offers an homage to Cecil Taylor and Morgan’s musical roots with free improvisations on a dense and spiky theme. The exhilarating result has Morgan exploring his own way, with a winking slinging of jagged bass chords halfway through. While a quarter century’s experience has nurtured Morgan’s prodigious gifts beyond this ambitious debut, Journey Into Nigritia offers enjoyable insights into his artistic evolution, while adding another precious title to the discography of one of the most woefully under-recorded greats of our time.

File Under: Jazz
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The Myrrors: Invocaciones: Singles and Strays (2014-2016) (Feeding Tube) LP
Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records announce The Myrrors’ Invocaciones: Singles and Strays (2014-2016) — a dip into the archives with these shaman from Tucson, Arizona. Invocaciones is a compilation of tracks previously available via the mediums of splits/lathes/cassettes and digital download, now all gathered together on this release with the added bonus of an extra three minutes added to a now extended “Eyes Of Copper” and “Semillas Sembrades” no longer split over two sides of a 7″. Over five tracks presented on Invocaciones, The Myrrors lose themselves in transcendental improvisation, from the opening track “Eyes Of Copper” to “Invocación Por Un Verdadero Plan De Lucha Organizado Desde Abajo” where The Myrrors are in free flowing circular raga mode. It’s a state of playing that takes take the listener into a deeply shamanistic ecstatic state that is both spellbinding and enrapturing, were you are treated to the music that rivals the free flowing communal progg freakdom of late ’60s/early ’70s Germany/Scandinavia but transported to the Arabian desert. Here a cacophony of flute and whistles, viola, tape loops, alto saxophone, bulbul tarang and guitars churn and cavort through ebbing cosmic shimmer and ecstatic pulsing ritualistic Eastern drones. Try imagining The Velvet Underground, The Taj Mahal Travellers and Parson Sound transported to the Arabian desert. It is ecstatic and otherworldly as you open up your mind and let everything come through — The Myrrors have found the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Presented in a laminated silver mirri board outer sleeve that best reflects the artwork of Claira Safi.

File Under: Psych
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Necks: Mindset (RER) LP
Long-awaited reissue of The Necks’ 2011 masterpiece, Mindset. Always different, here the Necks resolutely layer polyrhythmic material to form seething blocks of sound — in two long pieces, one more stripped back to the live trio, the other featuring multiple strata of swirling Hammonds, noise-guitar, and electronics. Their 16th release still resonates on its own.

File Under: Jazz, Ambient
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Willie Nelson: Spirit (Modern Classics) LP
Willie Nelson’s 1996 album Spirit is an emotional concept album illustrating the forlorn tale of a man abandoned by the great love of his life. We follow him down the path of loss as he confronts grief, gets back on his feet, and eventually finds solace in acceptance. While producing Spirit, Nelson assuredly knew the commercial risks behind releasing an album this melancholic. After all, in 1973 he himself wrote: “sad songs and waltzes ain’t selling this year.” Beloved by those familiar with Nelson’s deep catalog, Spirit largely slipped through the cracks in the mainstream, but remains highly revered amongst critics and fans alike. Backed by legendary country fiddler Johnny Gimble (of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys), sister Bobbie Nelson on piano, and his longtime touring guitarist Jody Payne, the song-cycle is anchored by lilting Spanish-inspired instrumentals that absorb a lonesome gravity when placed next to ballads that tug at even the most unwavering heartstrings. Likened to Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind or Waylon Jennings’ Right For the Time, Spirit sees Nelson maturing most gracefully: he trades rousing sing-alongs and saloon tunes for gut-wrenching lyrics and instrumentation of greater precision and skill, proving this release as deep and as challenging as his career-defining albums released twenty years before. Originally released by Island Records in 1996, Spirit is newly remastered and housed in a gatefold jacket. This is a chance to own this unique album in its most beautifully presented form.

File Under: Country
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Nikolaienko: Rings (Faitiche) LP
Fortunately for Faitiche, Dmytro Nikolaienko agreed to open up the jewelry boxes of his tape-loop archive for his debut album on the label. What came to light was a collection of dreamy glittering gems, masterfully presented using the compositional possibilities of analog tape machines. Some may consider a tape machine to be limited as a musical instrument, but Rings makes a convincing case with its sure-handed use of the available parameters — moving tape over the tape head mechanically and manually, cutting loops, manipulating timbre and creating noise by means of saturation. The results are eleven blurred, repetitive, rhythmic patterns that can be understood as an intervention against digital precision, as mechanical irregularities and background noise become musical events. For those familiar with Nikolaienko’s work, his nostalgic approach here will come as no surprise: born in Ukraine and now based in Estonia, he has chosen a historical medium (that has been enjoying a renaissance for some years now) to record historical-sounding sequences. The way he manages his own back catalog is similarly archival, documenting the chronology of his tape loops in such a way as to leave no doubt as to their advanced age. And then there are his two wonderful labels Muscut and Shukai, the latter being an archival project releasing electroacoustic obscurities from the Soviet past. Which brings us back full circle… Includes download code.

File Under: Ambient
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Nurse With Wound: Gyllenskold Geijerstam and I at Rydbergs (Rotorelief) LP
“This 1983 period in which Gyllensköld was recorded was a fantastic time for the evolution of Steven Stapleton’s audio art. His collaborations with Diana Rogerson, Robert Haigh (Sema), David Tibet, and Thirlwell around this time elicited some of the most exciting work Nurse With Wound had yet recorded. Listen to this material and compare it to Chance Meeting and it becomes clear that in just a few years, Stapleton’s art had grown by leaps and bounds. The production quality on these tracks is remarkable, and the widening out of the NWW soundworld opened up a whole new audio toybox that Stapleton has continued to experiment with up to today. This new sound encompasses vocal experiments, vintage LPs of easy listening music, demented nursery rhymes, lateral references to disposable pop music, avant-garde jazz and minimalistic piano composition, all glued together with evocative atmospheres redolent of things unholy, troubling and perverse, but always oddly indefinable and puzzlingly misshapen. In retrospect, Gyllensköld can be seen as the beginning of the ‘mature;’ period of NWW, and thus it is an indispensable release for fans of the project. Perhaps influenced by the obsessions of his friend and collaborator Tibet, Stapleton also began weaving religious and occult references into his usual name-dropping of avant-garde artists and movements . . . NWW’s Gyllensköld comes across at times as the soundtrack to a schizoid episode: disembodied voices intoning nonsense, floating subliminally across the stereo channels, or cackling in evil delight. The sounds are denser here than on earlier works such as Homotopy To Marie. Areas of silence are mostly gone, replaced by layers of drone, cartoonish noises and mutated voices. ‘Several Odd Moments Prior to Lunch’ opens the brief album, setting the stage with its lysergically altered vocals and a frightening, yawning chasm of haunted, spectral sound. Stapleton, Thirlwell, and company learned how to wield the studio like an instrument on these and other recordings of the period. Effects such as reverb, delay, ring modulation and backwards tracking are utilized to create evolving textures and darkly psychedelic dreamspaces. ‘Phenomenon of Aquarium and Bearded Lady’ utilizes a number of instruments, including horns and piano, to create a bizarre dislocated funeral dirge in which the sounds of a slowly cycling jack-in-the-box are not out of place. For fans of musicians like Jacques Berrocal, who prefer their free jazz with a heavy dose of whacked-out eccentricity, this is about as good as it gets. ‘Dirty Fingernails’ is something else entirely, a longform exploration of outré textures, combining mysterious trebly noises with percussive bleeps of mysterious origin.” –Brainwashed

File Under: Experimental
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Porter Ricks: Biokinetics (Mille Plateaux) LP
Mille Plateaux present a reissue of Porter Ricks’ Biokinetics, originally released in 1996. Techno isn’t a genre that has birthed many consistent albums, and the dub techno subgenre even less so, but one indisputable classic is Porter Ricks’ debut Biokinetics. Originally issued on the legendary Basic Channel sub-label Chain Reaction in 1996 following a trio of 12″s, Biokinetics was the first of the label’s album releases, and still stands as its crowning achievement. Porter Ricks are Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig, and between them they re-framed the techno sound, imbuing the spacious ambience pioneered by label bosses Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald with a frosty, isolated experimental bent, and combining it with the sort of haunted minimalism of early Plastikman. What separated Biokinetics from other albums at the time was its unwavering narrative — the exact sound has been interpreted countless times since, but the immersive qualities of this singular record have rarely been touched. Maybe it is down to the silvery underwater concept that ties each track together — the bubbling pads, sub-aquatic basses and muffled kick drums. But as with any great album, it’s hard to exactly put your finger on what makes it a classic. Simply put Biokinetics is one of the most important records in the genre and one of techno’s finest albums. It has been re-released ten years ago by Type Records, and now Mille Plateaux is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Porter Ricks and Biokinetics with this sumptuous double vinyl edition.

File Under: Electronic
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Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Flying Fish Ambience (Hospital) LP
First copies on limited/USA-exclusive splatter vinyl! The Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement environs conceived by Dominick Fernow and Philippe Hallais complement “artificial spaces” and “synthetic nature” through the decay of “digital rain storms” and “falling comet bass drops”. Flying Fish Ambience is the duo’s first studio album together after a series of tours, and builds the RSE sound into a deep hypnotic synthetic topography and guided meditation into perpetual stress. The follow-up to the acclaimed Ambient Black Magic (HOS 498CD/LP, 2017), Flying Fish Ambience is a treatise in anti-exotica — a purpose-built artificial ambient wilderness rooted in wobbling sub-bass, watered wastefully with glossy digital FX. Meticulously assembled over a series of trips, tours and sessions in various cities (Berlin, Paris, New York), Flying Fish Ambience crystallizes the expansive perpetual motion of salt vessels and water basins repopulating with ecological imbalance, this evolution — as an expression of the live blue entity. Words from RSE: “flying fish ambience flies again / dies again / and splashes through the dark blue waters again and again / to the deep water blue / to the crumbling sandbanks / and to the crumbling monuments / and to a world of unknown deeps / and washed out sands / sun rippling ocean blue / across skeletons of those left behind and skeletons of the mind’s green eye! / blue herb ambient returns! / you are the journey’s end!” “Rains Coming Down” features Pacific Blue.

File Under: Ambient, Dub
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Unwound: Repetition (Numero) LP
In tomorrow… As a robust rock underground got swallowed alive by the Major Label Industrial Complex, the very autonomous Unwound – Olympia, Washington’s Great Noise Hope – toed the troublesome line between pay check and Check Engine light. Captured in the gaps of a ruthless touring schedule, defining fourth and fifth albums The Future of What and Repetition were issued in the back-to-back springs of 1995 and 1996. Both find the band severing their post-hardcore roots, for gripping detours into Echoplex, kraut, D&B, and Mingus, as guided by a sun-worn copy of Book Your Own Fuckin’ Life.

File Under: Punk
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Sven Wunder: Natura Morta (Piano Piano) LP
On Natura Morta, Sven Wunder is exploring art as a bridge between nature and the human ability to judge and observe in eleven musical compositions with brightly colored textures and an emphasis on vibrant melodies. Throughout human history, we have depicted the world we live in through art. By reworking what we see in the world, the simplest things have helped us understand the beauty of nature and to evaluate the material world that we have created around us, as a window to a constantly changing reality, through our own perception. It is that absolute reality that appears in the seam of human and nature and that can be revealed through art. Still life painting, also referred to as Natura Morta (”dead nature”) in Italian, stretches back to ancient times. Some of the earliest works, found in Pompeii, depict commonplace objects such as fresh autumn fruits alongside man-made objects such as a small amphora and a small terracotta heap with dried fruits. These two-thousand-year-old paintings give a snapshot of Roman life, and also creates a link to time and space. A slice of life has been created by binding the earth’s pigments with extracts of oil, made from nuts and seeds, painted with brushes, made from a variety of fibers, such as trees and hair from animals. While life wanes with each brushstroke, by shifting reality into the past, art exists to make us come alive, being a living image of a dead thing, a surface and a symbol with symbolic powers of its own. Still life works celebrate material and ephemeral pleasures by returning to nature as the ultimate source for our standards in art as well as in life itself. Natura Morta collects pieces from a continuous variety of melodies — supported by a decisive rhythm section — creating a musical kaleidoscope of ever-changing colors. Sven Wunder brings life into this rich assortment of musical implications by fusing and combining melodic instruments with each other in a setting that spans from a classical to a modern idiom. The author evokes this panoramic portrait by articulating an instrumental dialog between a chamber orchestra and a jazz ensemble. The result is a musical celebration of material pleasures that also serves as a reminder of the brevity of human life. This album was produced with financial support from the Swedish Arts Council.

File Under: Jazz, Library, Psych
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Raed Yassin: Archeophony (Akuphone) LP
In a similar vein to an archeologist, Raed Yassin’s new album Archeophony takes you on a journey through sounds and voices excavated from collected sonic archives from the past, rearranged and reproduced through electronics, distortion, sampling and assembly. Drum machines, synthesizers, and electronic sounds merge with solo traditional voices and instruments recorded in different parts of the world, coming together to create a contrarian yet magical sound unlike any other. Based on so-called “ethnic” music recordings conducted between the 1950s and ’80s by Western ethnomusicologists in true colonial fashion, the album attempts to achieve an archeology of sound that reflects both the course history and its continuous distortion by the powers that be. The result is a dizzying living archive of sonic history as well as the presentation of a unique experimental orchestration. By rereading musical history in this way, Raed Yassin strives to play the role of a conductor. The orchestra is history itself, and he selects, deconstructs, emphasizes, mutes and distorts it through this album. As a musician, Raed Yassin has been a key member in the Lebanese underground music scene for many years. One of the organizers of the Irtijal Festival of Experimental Music from its early beginnings, he founded his concept music label Annihaya in 2009. He is a member of several bands and groups, including “A” Trio, PRAED, among others. As a double bassist, he developed a personal and independent extended technique, by employing different preparations and objects on his instrument. His interest here relies heavily on textures, energies and vibrations, the density of volume and sound, rather than conventional melodic structures. Also an electronic musician and experimental turntablist, his approach to vinyl ranges from deconstructing Arab pop music, to reexamining the traditional music archives of countries from the global south. With his duo band PRAED (along with Paed Conca), he acts as the lead singer and synth player, merging free jazz with psychedelic rock and Egyptian Shaabi music. Gatefold sleeve.

File Under: Experimental, Arabic, ELectronic
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Various: Bills & Aches & Blues (4AD) LP
In tomorrow… Bills & Aches & Blues’ 18 recordings contain fascinating connections between artist and track. The earliest song chosen (by U.S. Girls) is The Birthday Party’s “Junkyard,” from 1981; the most recent are the two Grimes covers (“Genesis” and “Oblivion,” respectively by Spencer. and Dry Cleaning) from 2012. Suitably, for the one band that bridges 4AD past and present, The Breeders are all over Bills & Aches & Blues. They’re covered three times – “Cannonball” by Tune-Yards, “Mountain Battles” by Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and “Off You” by Big Thief, whilst The Breeders cover “The Dirt Eaters” by their ‘90s contemporaries His Name Is Alive. Landmark songs such as “Cannonball,” “Song To The Siren” and Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?,” will feel comfortable to casual fans, however by contrast, much joy can be found in the album’s surprise choices, such as Air Miami’s “Seabird” and the Lush B-side “Sunbathing,” covered respectively by new signings Maria Somerville and Jenny Hval. Bills & Aches & Blues is named, arguably (as Elizabeth Fraser never published the lyrics) after the opening line of Cocteau Twins “Cherry-Coloured Funk.”  Perhaps too unique and uncoverable in their own right, their legendary take on Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren,” under the name This Mortal Coil (along with Buckley’s pre-Starsailor acoustic version) informs SOHN’s cover. Some tracks unearth hitherto hidden shared DNA, such as Future Islands’ and Colourbox’s “The Moon Is Blue”; other tracks are more akin to reinvention. Aldous Harding distils the melodic essence of Deerhunter’s “Revival” and recasts it in her own uncanny image. U.S. Girls’ future-disco “Junkyard” and Bing & Ruth’s neo-classical instrumental “Gigantic” are even more radical interpretations. Leading off the album, Tkay Maidza brings both her art rap and R&B game, but also an unexpected ‘80s synth pop template, to Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?,” a perfect title for these chaotic times.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Various: Country Funk Vol. 3 1975 – 1982 (Light in the Attic) LP
Over a decade ago, friend, music supervisor, and DJ Zach Cowie reached out to Light in the Attic with the idea of producing a comp showcasing the funkier side of all things country. Zach envisioned artists like Bobbie Gentry, Jim Ford and Bob Darin hanging with Link Wray at his Three Track Shack. Soon after, he helped birth Country Funk 1969-1975, Volume 1, which landed in 2012, followed by Volume 2 in 2014. Now, years later, we’re happy to say that the reigns have been passed by Zach to Jason Morgan & Patrick McCarthy (who co-produced Vols. 1 & 2) to revisit the sound for a third installment.  So without further ado… The horse still bucks, the band still funks, and well…the fire still burns. In the summer of 2012, a new sound blew in from the dusty desert. It was a sound difficult to pin down, to codify; a sound that, like some wild horse, resisted one’s grasp. But this was no trend, no flash-in-the-pan movement, no shotgun marriage of styles, no ma’am. This sound went back decades, back to the latter half of the 1960s and early 1970s when adventurous artists started to blend country hoedown harmony with the elation of gospel, the sexual thrust of the blues and a touch of inner-city grit. This was a new sound with a simple name: Country Funk. Country Funk 1969-1975, first released in 2012 and co-produced by Zach Cowie, Patrick McCarthy and Matt Sullivan, brought together a disparate group of artists that were neither bound by geography nor a shared ideology, but connected through the simple feel of their songs. Country Funk is alternatively playful and melancholic, slow jammin’ and booty-shakin’. It’s a sound both studio slick and barroom raw, as evident in the artists featured on Volume I: Johnny Adams, Mac Davis, Dale Hawkins, Tony Joe White, Bobbie Gentry, Larry Jon Wilson, and many others. Just two years later, we chased Volume I with a new collection of songs for Country Funk 1967-1974 (LITA 116, 2014). Volume II didn’t let up, dealing out all the loose-talking and lap-steel twangin’ one could handle. Heavy hitters like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and J.J. Cale shared barstools with the lesser-known voices of Bill Wilson, Donnie Fritts and Thomas Jefferson Kaye. With Country Funk Volume III 1975-1982 (LITA 194) we’re here to say there’s more funk left in the trunk yet. This time around, the jeans are tighter, the hair is bigger and the disco ball spins along to a country-synth beat. Produced and compiled by Jason Morgan (Bay Area DJ/collector) and Patrick McCarthy (co-producer/compiler of Volume I & II), the tracklist features regulars Dolly Parton, J.J. Cale, Larry Jon Wilson and Tony Joe White (whose track is released here for the first time) alongside new faces like Steven Soles, Gary & Sandy, Conway Twitty, Travis Wammack, Billy Swan, Rob Galbraith, Brian Hyland, and so many more. As the 1970s began to wane and the 1980s approached, the Country Funk pallet expanded to include disco beats, heavy Moog synth bass lines and more clavinet than you could shake a stick at. Volume III shows artists continuing to buck traditional country tropes and production while embracing modern soul, disco, and coked-up 80s synth-pop. This is the true soundtrack of the Urban Cowboy. Saddle up, partners.

FIle Under: Funk, Country
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Various: Funky Nuggets Spinning Vol. 1 (Rare Grooves from Brazil) (Got It!) LP
First volume in this up-and-coming series showcasing the talent of cultish rhyme maker, Latin funk pioneers, and soul poets. A precious DJ tool and a spectacular selection all in all. Features Aloisio, Orlandivo, Ed Maciel, Jorge Ben Jor, Ton Saga, Oscar Castro Neves, Music Machine, Os Cereta, Hugo Belardi, Tempo 7, Pedrinho Batera, União Black, and Karkey And Woodward.

File Under: Funk, Brazil
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Various: Music is My Life (Cometa) LP
A collection of rare tracks for the very first time on vinyl. A series of ’70s and early ’80s musical sketches used for advertisement, TV series and movies. A who’s who of the Italian golden age of soundtrack and libraries era, featuring outstanding numbers by maestro Ennio Morricone, Alessandro Alessandroni, Sandro Brugnolini and the likes. Also features Luigi Zito, Teimar, Massimo Guantini, Berto Pisano, Tito Schipa Jr., Giovanni Tommaso, and Armando Trovaioli.

File Under: Library
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Various: Persian Underground (Got It!) LP
Persian Underground: Garage Rock, Beat and Psychedelic Sounds from The Iranian 60s & 70s Scene, an amazing collection that gathers some of the rarest Persian 45s. Such an eclectic mix of styles, from garage rock to cool Persian beat, exotic rock n’ roll, and astonishing prog/psych numbers. Featuring female drummer and singer Zangoleah with some killer garage/rockin’ tracks, obscure bands like Takkhalha doing a fab cover of the Stones “Play With Fire” and an amazing take on the Persian traditional song “Mastom, Mastom”, Golden Ring-styled beat by Big Boys, exotic Persian beat by Saeed and Tigers, terrific garage-beat by Ojubeha, and the two sides of the Kambiz 45, probably the major discovery from Iran in the recent years and one of the few, if not the only truly Persian prog/psych 45s ever recorded.

File Under: Garage, Psych
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Various: Wizzz! French Psychorama 1966-1974 Vol. 4 (Born Bad) LP
Includes six-page booklet (liner notes English/French). Includes download code. The Wizzz! saga continues with a fresh selection of ’60s and ’70s rarities gathered from the unchartered nooks of the French-pop galaxy. Al Awni Bouarane, better known as Abdelwahab Doukkali, was one of the greatest figures of Middle-Eastern music. “Je Suis Jaloux”, sung in French, was released on the label Philips in 1967. “Tom” — a crepuscular mid-tempo with a touch of soul produced for Barclay in 1968 — is François Bernheim’s first solo release. Michel Handson signs this B-side with a touch of hip-hop in 1973 for the label Butterfly. This track from the Swede Matty Kemer’s only single, a tribute to freedom and aviation, was recorded for the label Disque d’Or. Gilles Janeyrand’s track was recorded in 1969 at the Studio des Dames. Albert-Henri Rykaert aka Alain Ricar was a comedian, singer, and songwriter, performing in cabarets or for the theatre, in Paris and in Belgium, then on RTB (Belgian TV). Paul Dupret captivates with the debonair B-side of the one and only single he released for the label Vogue in 1970. Richard Hertel’s first single as a singer on the label Liberty, “Patatras Hola”, also sees him play the drums and organ. Perfect groove, amused lyrics, and atonal gimmick. From a mainly folk corpus emerges Michel Didier’s flashy cover of “Rainbow Chaser” by the English band Nirvana, here renamed “Comme un arc-en-ciel”, is soaked in trippy effects by Jean-Claude Vannier. “Vedette international” is the work of the mysterious Liberatore. Alain Serco signs a frantic homage to his best friend Kiki, the B-side of his sole single, released on South Records at the beginning of the ’70s. Gérard Gray, sensitive to rare or exotic instruments, search for a “different” sound and put together demos tinkering with a Revox tape deck and a variety of objects. “Le Grand Méchant Loup” by François Faray revisits Charles Perrault’s tale of sexual liberation, yielding an ambitious glam-rock track. Patrice Lamy is a romantic singer from Lausanne. “Laisse-moi médire que je t’aime” is the B-side of his third record. The Tunisian crooner K.R. Nagati’s “Sidi Bou” pays tribute to a summer romance and the town of Sidi Bou Saïd, perched on the cliffs overlooking Carthage and Gulf of Tunis. Les Missiles are a group of four buddies from the city of Oran (Algeria). The band’s sound veers towards garage, or even pre-psychedelic music, filled with sound effects.

File Under: French, Psych
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Arcade Fire: Everything Now (Sonovox) LP
Arcade Fire: Reflektor (Sonovox) LP
Baby Huey: The Living Legend (Curtom) LP
Robbie Basho: Venus in Cancer (Traffic) LP
Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique (EMI) LP
Black Star: Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star (Universal) LP
Boards of Canada: Campfire Headphase (Warp) LP
Bon Iver: 22, A Million (Jagjaguwar) LP
David Bowie: Low (Parlophone) LP
Boygenius: s/t (Matador) LP
Kenny Burrell: Introducing (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Don Cherry: Brown Rice (A&M) LP
Childish Gambino: Awaken My Love (Glassnote) LP
Gene Clark: No Other (4AD) LP
Cluster: ’71 (Bureau B) LP
Cluster: Curiosum (Bureau B) LP
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse) LP
Damned: Damned Damned Damned (BMG) LP
Erika De Casier: Sensational (4AD) LP
Kenny Dorham: Una Mas (Blue Note) LP
Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby (OJC) LP
Flying Lotus: Los Angeles (Warp) LP
Ryo Fukui: Scenery (We Release Jazz) LP
Fuzzy Duck: s/t (Be With) LP
Dexter Gordon: Doin’ Allright (Blue Note) LP
Dexter Gordon: A Day in Copenhagen (MPS) LP
Manuel Gottsching: E2-E4 (Made in Germany) LP
Aldous Harding: Designer (4AD) LP
Aldous Harding: Party (4AD) LP
Roy Hargrove: In Harmony (Resonance) LP
Hawkwind: Greasy Truckers Party (Parlophone) LP
Andrew Hill: Black Fire (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Kaleo: Surface Sounds (Elektra) LP
Kinks: Village Green Preservation Society (Sanctuary) LP
KMRU: Peel (Editions Mego) LP
Koreless: Agor (Young) LP
Julian Lage: Squint (Blue Note) LP
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: Close But No Cigar (Colemine) LP
Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (Atlantic) LP
Lingua Ignota: All Bitches Die (Profound Lore) LP
MF Doom: Operation: Doomsday (Metal Face) LP
Mong Tong: Mystery (Guruguru Brain) LP
Monophonics: It’s Only Us (Colemine) LP
Mudhoney: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge DLX (Sub Pop) LP
Outkast: Aquemini (LaFace) LP
Outkast: ATLiens (LaFace) LP
Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Matador) LP
Radiohead: Amnesiac (XL) LP
Radiohead: King Of Limbs (XL) LP
Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (BGP) LP
Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (Atlantic) LP
Sturgill Simpson: Sound & Fury (Elektra) LP
Sonic Youth: Goo (Geffen) LP
Stooges: s/t (Rhino) LP
Suicide: s/t (Mute) LP
Taylor Swift: Folklore (Republic) LP
Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (EMI) LP
Torres: Thirstier (Merge) LP
Tragically Hip: Day for Night (Universal) LP
Stanley Turrentine: Hustlin’ (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
TV Priest: Uppers (Sub Pop) LP
Tyler, The Creator: Flower Boy (Columbia) LP
Townes Van Zandt: For the Sake of the Song (Fat Possum) LP
Weeknd: After Hours (Republic) LP
Various: Tokyo Flashback (Black Editions) LP

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