Annnnnd another monster week it would appear. Also note, we’re still waiting on a shipment, so a bunch of stuff still coming in tomorrow, so if you order it, please wait for your ready to pick up email. Other than that, there’s some killer slabs in this week, so have a gander….
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…..
Luke Sanger: Languid Gongue (Balmat) LP
Balmat’s first release comes from Luke Sanger, a Norwich, UK-based artist whose two decades of electronic music-making have encompassed a range of tools and techniques, from MaxMSP to modular synthesis. Along the way he has built an extensive catalog encompassing ambient atmospheres, abstract soundscaping, and more. With Languid Gongue, he puts multiple approaches into play. Experiments in microtonal composition balance out pieces in standard tunings, while esoteric electronic machines merge with familiar acoustic treatments and microphone techniques. The result is a constellation of his signature sounds: freeform new-age fantasia; spring-loaded toytronic arpeggios; quartz-driven braindance clockworks. Drifting between consonant, almost lyrical compositions and shape-shifting textural sketches, the album drifts with the nonchalance of a sky-high cirrus cloud, and it glows as if illuminated from within. When we heard the material, we knew that it was the perfect choice to launch the label. To us, it sounds like a roadmap for points unknown.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Scott Gailey: Polysensuality (Séance Centre) LP
It all began eight years ago with a copy of R. Murray Schafer’s The Tuning of the World found in a box in a cabin, deep within the Pacific coast rain forest. This catalyst provoked Scott Gailey to draw inspiration from the sublime environment that surrounds his home on the West Coast of British Columbia. This exact landscape had a profound effect years earlier on a group of composers centred around Schafer and Simon Fraser University, including Hildegard Westerkamp and Barry Truax, who banded together as the World Soundscape Project (WSP). Where the WSP was primarily interested in field recording as sound ecology – documenting, preserving, and archiving a changing landscape – Gailey explores the musicality of field recordings through various synthetic approaches, a way to access the ambiguous emotional content latent in the natural world. There is a subjectivity to Gailey’s work, and in that sense it has more in common with the sensual musique concrète of Luc Ferrari, or even the Fluxus tape works of Henning Christiansen, than with the WSP. Despite having roots in this well of thought, Polysensuality is undeniably modern, finding kinship with contemporary works by Sugai Ken, Visible Cloaks, and Meitei, while also dipping a toe in the sound pool created by Haruomi Hosono and Hiroshi Yoshimura. Gailey has previously explored this palette in his duo You’re Me with Yu Su, but here there is more space, more silence, greater extremes, and in this way it is more personal, like a soliloquy rather than a conversation. In a way Polysensuality is a sonic addendum to Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses, a proclamation for approaching the lived sensation of your environment in a way that doesn’t privilege any discrete element of perception. This approach gives voice to the in-between and shared areas of our five senses, which have been sublimated due to our scientific approach to feeling. From Luigi Russolo through Brian Eno, music has often been prone to experiments in synesthesia, but rather than explore the ways in our senses get crossed, the focus here is on how they relate to each other, and how that affects the ways humans interact with their lived environments, their ecologies. And in this sense, the sounds on the album – field recordings, percussion, voice, piano, clarinet, guitar, synthesizer, and bass – all live in inchoate and transitory states, somewhere between silence, landscape and song. The recent revival of ambient music encourages a subsumed form of listening and composing, optimistically suggesting a repositioning of mankind within natural order rather than superior to it. An idea slowly making its way across disciplines over the last half-century, from the ephemeral works of Robert Smithson and Andy Goldsworthy to the radical gardening techniques of Piet Oudolf. Polysensuality shares this worldview, and asks us to focus on the relationships between ourselves, our perceptions and our environment, revealing that they are inseparably linked.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Tarotplane: Horizontology (12th Isle) LP
Leading down their mazy path from Christos Chondropoulos’ remarkable ‘On Nature’ LP, the Scottish clan hand over to Baltimore’s Tarotplane for a chimeric album spanning one side of pastoral pieces, and an expansive 18 minute B-side of oneiric immersion. They get top marks for the Brass Eye nod in the title of ’Shatner’s Bassoon’, which does actually sound a bit like the captain himself seducing a sultry 3-headed alien with his plugged in woodwind skills, while ‘Ritual Believer’ follows breezy rhythmic impulses to the iridescent fluter of ‘Ceramic Heartbreak.’ But it really all comes together in the creamy fluidity of the B-side’s 4-part, playthru suite of sky kissing arps, moonlit acoustic strums, and raga-like drone cadence.
File Under: Ambient, Kosmische, New Age
Album: s/t (Telephone Explosion) LP
Album is the experimental glitch-groove duo of Olivier Fairfield and Simon Provencher, two tirelessly creative musicians working in the small but fertile community of Hull, Québec. Fairfield keeps busy as a drummer and producer with acts such as Last Ex and FET.NAT, whose 2019 album Le Mal was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize. Provencher has earned his own reputation as the guitarist of frenzied post-punk group Victime, bolstering their songs with an array of alien sounds and bizarrely shaped instruments. Though the pair’s various bands have shared stages throughout the past five years, Album’s fractured beatscapes are the fruits of their first proper collaboration.
File Under: Jazz, Electronic
Big Red Machine: How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? (Jagjaguwar) LP
In tomorrow! The generous spirit and desire to push music forward has never been more deeply felt than on Big Red Machine’s How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, the second album from Aaron Dessner’s ever-morphing project with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. In 2008, while assembling material for the charity compilation Dark Was the Night, Dessner sent Vernon a song sketch titled “big red machine”. Vernon interpreted “big red machine” as a beating heart and finished the song accordingly – a metaphor Dessner says “still sticks with me today. This project goes to many places and is always on some level about experimentation, but it shines a light on why I make music in the first place, which is an emotional need. It’s one of my therapies and one of the ways I interrogate the past.” Collaborators and friends show up across the album, continuing the reciprocal exchange of ideas that has come to define their creative community. Songs feature guest vocals and writing contributions from artist friends including Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold (“Phoenix”); Ben Howard and This Is The Kit (“June’s a River”); Naeem (“Easy to Sabotage’); Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova (“Hutch”); and Taylor Swift (“Birch” and “Renegade”). Swift’s sister albums Folklore and Evermore were co-produced by Dessner, and her encouragement helped him realize “how connected this Big Red Machine music was to everything else I was doing, and that I was always supposed to be chasing these ideas.” “Big Red Machine started as this thing we would do for fun, and we fell in love with the feeling of it,” says Dessner.” Vernon agrees: “I remember it feeling really easy, but we never knew what would happen. It was exciting. As time went on, we just kept doing things together. And our friendship has grown strong, alongside all the collaborative stuff.”
File Under: Indie Rock, National, Bon Iver
Boris: No (Third Man) LP
Formed in 1992, Boris boldly explores their own vision of heavy music, where words like “explosive” and “thunderous” barely do justice. Using overpowering soundscapes embellished with copious amounts of lighting and billow smoke, Boris has shared with audiences across the planet an experience for all five senses in their concerts, earning legions of zealous fans along the way. Boris continue their bountiful output with two monumental vinyl versions of their milestone releases; 2000’s Flood and 2020’s NO on Third Man Records. Hailed as Boris’s “most compelling album in more than a decade” (Pitchfork), NO was was furiously recorded in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and “surprise” released in July of 2020. Initially released digitally (with a very limited vinyl run), the album was met with immediate and widespread praise. Meant to serve as a mirror that redirects the negativity of the global lockdown to something more positive, the content on NO can be characterized as “extreme healing music.” Musically, NO draws from influential noise-heavy hardcore group Gudon, even including a cover of their song “Fundamental Error.” NO is a classic hardcore thrash record and is one of the band’s strongest efforts from start to finish. These essential pieces of Boris’s extensive catalogue are a must-have for any vinyl collector and any fan of the band.
File Under: Metal
Brin & Josiah Steinbrick: Bliss Place (Full Bloom) LP
Bliss Place is a collaborative work between composer Josiah Steinbrick and sound artist Colin Blanton aka Brin. Largely sourced from Steinbrick’s spontaneously recorded sketches for film projects, the fragments were refracted through Brin’s chain of sample contortion into a dynamic textural collage. Dub aesthetics stretch to the outer realms, distilling each sound’s core components into a character-like presence. From the furthest reaches of the dance floor to barely sentient internal haze, moods of unease and ecstasy oscillate feverishly; layers of concrète rhythm and hermetic grime enfold into their own cinematic ecosystem.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Bronx: Bronx VI (Cooking Vinyl) LP
The Bronx’s sixth studio album Bronx VI builds on the legacy the LA-based rockers have established in its near two-decade existence, but which definitely proves the door to what’s next has not just been kicked down, but chopped up and burned to a cinder. Yes, the first four tracks – “White Shadow,” “Superbloom,” “Watering The Well” and “Curb Feelers” – bristles with the wild and untamed energy that’s defined the band from the off, but then – all of a sudden, as “Peace Pipe” kicks in – the pace and mood shifts to something a little less aggressive. Elsewhere, “Mexican Summer” and its (relatively) chilled-out mariachi vibes serve as an homage to the band’s alter-ego, Mariachi El Bronx (and was written while that incarnation of the band was on tour), while fatalistic closer “Participation Trophy” masks Matt Caughthran’s existential dread behind searing riffs and a catchy, defiant and exuberant melody. Bronx VI was produced by Joe Baressi (Melvins, Tool, Bad Religion).
File Under: Punk
Cavaliere, Francesco & Tomoko Sauvage: Viridescens (Marionette) LP
Francesco Cavaliere and Tomoko Sauvage embody a tactile audio visual display, radiating the colour green into sounds and painting meditative music. By transforming collected objects into invented instruments and scenography, each motif becomes a dedication to a specific situation, an anecdote or a symbol, sometimes real and other times absurd, that the artists have encountered through their travels and conversations: the Chinese myth about a man wearing a green hat, the naming convention of Japanese traffic lights, or even the imaginary chants of frolicking twin dolphins. This inspired the duo’s personal research on experimenting with raw and synthesized idiophones, stage landscape design, spontaneous field recording and organized improvisation. For their installation and performance, Cavaliere and Sauvage assemble a green cabinet of curiosities – an instrumentarium combining water, glass, clay, bamboo xylophones, metallophones and synthesizers. Tomoko describes in an interview: “When you are actually surrounded by green musical instruments, it has a calming effect as if you were looking at a forest or mountain.” Surrounding themselves with amulets and fluorescent fluids, the duo transcend into a musical imagination that connects scores, choreography and sculpture. Motions like crisscrossing the stage, feeling the presence of a perfectly plump leaf as it strikes a glass bowl, minerals slipping through fingers, all resonate to the soothing sounds of splashing water. There’s an intuitive yet methodical nature to this conceptual approach to composition reminiscent of the fluxus art movement. The pair’s initial motif was to play Henning Christiansen’s Green Music, whose score turned out to be nonexistent. By then, their green dream was already flourishing in their mind, retracing the path of so-called environmental music from Walter Tilgner and Knud Viktor to the likes of Kankyo-Ongaku and Hiroshi Yoshimura. Since there is a strong visual element to their work, witnessing this captivating site specific performance may be imperative in understanding the range and influence of the colour green and the impact on the sounds they create together. On ‘Viridescens’, the first release by Cavaliere and Sauvage, we are invited to experience these recordings in a more musical context. Acting like an intermediary, the duo transport us to their special planet, enlivened by animal voices, wind, and aquatic creatures dancing across a luminous aurora.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Stefan Christensen: Cheap Things (World of Echo) LP
Cheap Things is the latest record by New Haven guitarist and C/Site label-owner, Stefan Christensen. It’s a challenge to list exactly where Cheap Things numbers in Christensen’s extensive catalogue, which at over a decade long has seen him issue countless records under his own name and across both his own imprint and a host of international labels, as well as performing in underground noise trio Center and in the heavenly psych act, Headroom. Crucially and somewhat impressively, his work has remained as singular as it has been productive, cultivating a distinct style of playing that is unmistakably his own even when in collaboration with others. In many regards, Cheap Things represents an apex of the universe Christensen has fostered over the last decade, both collaborative and highly personal. Indeed, many of the key names from the C/Site and adjacent world contribute to the record in some capacity – David Shapiro (Alexander/Center/Headroom), Kyrssi Battalene (Mountain Movers/Headroom), who takes a lead and has repurposed the final track for Headroom, Ian McColm (Heart Of The Ghost) and Rick Omonte (Mountain Movers/Headroom) sit in on drums and bass, respectively, while John Miller (formally of Mountain Movers) recorded a couple of the songs at his home studio. Cheap Things is a record labeled with Christensen’s name, but it’s certainly also one born of community and like-minded creative enquiry, longtime characteristics in his increasingly dense catalogue. Though the work that comprises this catalogue has always remained engaging, there comes a sense of event with Cheap Things not necessarily present in some of the more off-the-cuff experimental cassette releases issued in both this and past years. This may be in part attributable to the time invested in recording these five songs: starting in mid 2018 and finishing throughout the various periods of lockdown in 2020, this is the longest amount of time Christensen has spent working on a record. Recording itself is an integral aspect of the way in which Christensen creates his sound, relying on the freedom of home studios, the analog limitations of four and eight tracks, and the unique results gained from tape loop manipulations. Such processes add an element of both warmth and spontaneity to the work, though one crucial difference is that much of Christensen’s other work is written with, what he calls ‘little pre-planning’, whereas Cheap Things is defined by a much more precise and pre-formulated vision. The result does feel strangely and more obviously definitive. There’s a life to these songs beyond their recording, the roots in fact stemming all the way back to Christensen’s first solo release in 2015, the record on which the title track first appeared, albeit in rudimentary form. Written in response to the death of a friend from an overdose, Christensen was motivated to re-record the song when hearing that at the start of lockdown another friend from the same circle had died in similar circumstances. Over the years the song has grown in length and intensity, and reaches its ultimate form here, an acoustic drone that pulses with a near-spiritual reverie. It’s fitting testament to the people it commemorates, and sets the tone for the remainder of Cheap Things, which through its unique melding of folk, noise, experimental and avant blues traditions appears to provide a cathartic release from the various experiences of grief, illness and stress. Much like the music of Tomokawa Kazuki, Mikami Kan and Neil Young, who have informed the album in various ways, the intent here seems to be to communicate big ideas with modest means. Cheap Things, then, is unusually titled, if not expressing the infinite and the eternal, at least suggesting that in striving for the bigger ideas we might find truth, or perhaps just some piece there of.
File Under: Experimental, Folk, LoFi
Coil: Musick to Play in the Dark (Dais) LP
In tomorrow! Milky white pressing! Few groups in recent history forged as confounding and alchemical a body of work as Coil, the partnership of Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson and John Balance. From album to album and phase to phase their recordings spelunk perplexing depths of esoteric industrial, occult electronics, and drugged poetry, both embodying and alienating parallel currents of their peers. The late 1990’s in particular were a fertile era for the duo, embracing chance, chaos, and collaboration, enhanced by recent advancements in synthesis and sampling. Fittingly, at the summit of the decade’s long, intoxicated arc, their divergent strains of interstitial ritual congealed into one of Coil’s most celebrated and hallucinatory creations: Musick To Play In The Dark. Convening at Balance and Christopherson’s vast Victorian house/studio in the coastal town of Weston-super-Mare, they began a series of ambitious sessions aided by inner circle associates Thighpaulsandra and Drew McDowall. Although the creative process was admittedly “iterative” and “a bit of a drug blur,” the results are astoundingly inventive and well realized, winding through shades of divination dirge, wormhole kosmische, noir lounge, ominous humor, and black mass downtempo, guided by Balance’s cryptic lunar muse, which he announces on the opening track: “This is moon musick / in the light of the moon.” What’s most remarkable about the album 20 years after its release is how brazen, insular, and unpredictable it still feels. The songs follow an allusive, altered state logic all their own, warping from microscopic ripples of glitch and breath to widescreen warlock psychedelia and back again, as much hyper-sensory as inter-dimensional. Even within a catalog as eclectic as Coil’s, Musick To Play In The Dark is a mystifying collection, oneiric evocations of desire, decadence, dinner jazz, and dietary advice, far beyond the pale of whatever gothic industrial ambiguity birthed such a journey. The record closes with a slow, starlit shuffle, bathed in seething sweeps of spectral texture and high cathedral keys, like approaching the altar of some arcane temple. As the trance thickens Balance’s voice rises, processed into an increasingly eerie, gaseous haze, but he resists these unseen forces, intent on delivering a final sermon: “Through hissy mists of history / the dreamer is still dreaming / the dreamer is still dreaming.” Reissued for the first time in over 20 years, now on double vinyl LP with the complete, unedited versions of each song and an exclusive “D-side” vinyl art etching. Packaged in a sturdy matte jacket with embossed lettering and spot-gloss design elements. Remastered by engineer Josh Bonati with restored artwork and layout by Nathaniel Young – all under the project supervision of Drew McDowall and Thighpaulsandra.
File Under: Ambient, Industrial
John Coltrane: Another Side of… (Craft) LP
In tomorrow! While John Coltrane’s legacy largely focuses on his innovative and influential work as a leader, the saxophonist and composer began his career as a highly respected sideman, who rose to fame playing alongside some of the greatest names in jazz. Craft Recordings’ new release, Another Side of John Coltrane, explores this aspect of the trailblazing artist’s career and spotlights some of his best work in sessions led by Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Red Garland, Tadd Dameron, and Art Taylor. The collection is produced by Nick Phillips, mastered by the Grammy-winning engineer Paul Blakemore, with lacquers cut by Clint Holley at Well Made Music. Another Side of John Coltrane also includes new liner notes by the award-winning journalist, author, and Jazz Journalists Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Doug Ramsey. This 180g vinyl 2LP edition also includes two bonus tracks, not featured on the CD or digital: “Nutty” (from Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane) and “Birks’ Works” (from Soul Junction by the Red Garland Quintet ft. John Coltrane and Donald Byrd). Coltrane launched his musical career in the mid-40s, sharing the stage with leaders like King Kolax and Jimmy Heath, followed by Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges, and even his idol, Charlie Parker. But a call from Miles Davis in 1955 changed the course of his life. Davis was forming a new band and invited the promising young saxophonist to join him, along with Garland, Chambers, and Jones. Known as the “First Great Quintet,” the legendary group recorded a string of highly regarded titles over the next two years, including the Relaxin’, Workin’, Steamin’, and Cookin’ series for Prestige. This was also a period of significant artistic growth for Coltrane. In addition to the high energy standard “Oleo,” – based on the chord structure of George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm,” Another Side of John Coltrane includes several highlights from these Davis-led sessions, including a 1956 recording of the Rollins-penned “Airegin,” and Thelonious Monk’s classic “‘Round Midnight.” The latter recording, captured in 1956, originally appeared on Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants. Ramsey writes that Coltrane’s solo in this take “has the keening quality that was integral to his work in the mid-fifties, and the churning examination of the possibilities in chords that would take on greater intensity as the decade unfolded.” This era also found Coltrane collaborating with another jazz virtuoso, Thelonious Monk. In 1957, he joined the pianist nightly for a six-month residency at New York’s Five Spot Café. “Working with Monk brought me close to a musical architect of the highest order. I learned from him in every way,” Coltrane later told Downbeat. While the two titans only recorded a handful of sessions together – all of which occurred in ’57 – those subsequent albums stand as revered works in the genre. Another Side of John Coltrane includes choice cuts from this pairing, including the ballad “Monk’s Mood” (off Thelonious Himself), in which the two are accompanied by bassist Wilbur Ware, as well as the Monk standard “Epistrophy” (off Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane), featuring Ware on bass, Ray Copeland on trumpet, Gigi Gryce on alto sax, Art Blakey on drums, as well as Coltrane and Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax. Coltrane also shines with fellow saxophonist Sonny Rollins on the iconic “Tenor Madness” – the only known recording of the two saxophone giants together – which appeared on Rollins’ synonymous 1956 album. Ramsey notes that the recording “provides a prime opportunity to compare Rollins’ and Coltrane’s styles, particularly toward the end when they trade a series of four-bar phrases.” In his New York Times piece, Rateliff elaborates “Coltrane is just beginning, constructing an onrushing solo in distinction to Mr. Rollins’ series of pointed, clean melodic improvisations.” Other highlights in this collection include “Soultrane,” with pianist and composer Tadd Dameron. Named in honor of the saxophonist, the track appears on 1957’s Mating Call, which Ramsey, declares, boasts “some of [Coltrane’s] most bewitching work.” Listeners will also enjoy the interplay between Coltrane and drummer Art Taylor on “C.T.A.,” off 1957’s Taylor’s Wailers, while the saxophonist joins his Miles Davis Quintet bandmate, Red Garland, on “Billie’s Bounce,” off 1957’s Dig It! Although Another Side of John Coltrane primarily focuses on sessions captured between 1956-1957, the album also features one additional standout performance, recorded well into Coltrane’s career as a respected leader. The song – a rendition of “Someday My Prince Will Come” from the 1937 Disney animated film Snow White – is a classic in Davis’ cannon, thanks in part to an otherworldly solo by Coltrane, who joined his former boss in the studio for two tracks on the subsequent 1961 LP, Someday My Prince Will Come. In May 1957, the artist recorded Coltrane – his first album as a leader – soon followed by such early landmarks as Lush Life and Soultrane (both 1958), and Giant Steps (1960). While Coltrane would profoundly change the landscape of modern jazz, these foundational sessions capture the development of his sound. As Ramsey eloquently puts it, these recordings offer listeners an opportunity to experience “his ceaseless inventiveness as he expands his harmonic palette and takes increasingly greater chances in developing his solos.”
File Under: Jazz
Ramona Cordova: Naïve (Hidden Harmony) LP
“When I first started working on Naïve, i was completely consumed by all of the technical details involved in making a ‘professional studio recording’ on my own — one which could not be refuted or disregarded as subpar. My only other hope was to tell some sort of story with whichever songs i could piece together. The content and message of which were much less important to me. The story that Naïve ended up telling comes from a cohesion of themes, ceaseless in my personal experiences living day to day in the world. Although the album dares to tread on tact while speaking poetically and lyrically about issues such as systemic oppression, racism, misogyny, policing and patriarchy – I think the album really just wants to reflect – to serve as a reflection – in order to foster healing and healthy growth towards maturing. I feel it commanding a kind of firm kindness as a reminder to love yourself enough to accept others, by way of accepting yourself. Pressed onto this 180-gram vinyl are 10 songs I wrote while living in many different places around the world. Spontaneous recordings of inspired notions of song, written one rainy evening up high above the vineyards in Banyuls-sur-Mer became «Men on the Mountain». A Scrap of paper holding jots about a sudden storm on a hot day in August while helping friends on their farm in Puglia became «Mouth of Autumn» and «Peace Through Violence». As I dressed myself into the fragile reality of the United States, I became flooded by its manipulative social governing systems. As the monuments of slave-owners, colonisers, and white supremacists came crashing down in the name of responsibility and accountability, The «Bridge Works» was built, a song about crossing bridges towards empathy and equality. Civil rights activist and American-Football quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, taking the knee during the United States national anthem pre-game ceremony, brought about «So Long». The incessant murdering of black, brown, and transgender citizens brought «Woke», «Scared I’ll Bite You», and «The End». The murder of Eric Garner and the feeling of being choked-out and suffocated under the weight of systemic oppression brought about «Still». From all of this birthed the collection of songs that is «Naïve», a title given to the album by French Ghanian artist Eden Tinto Collins. Although written both in Europe and the U.S., most of the songs were performed and recorded at the end of the year 2018 in Philadelphia, during the American-Holidays season. «Still», «Loving Him», and «The End» were written in Philadelphia, but produced in Vlorë, Albania. This helped serve as a reminder that the issues these songs speak of are not isolated to the United States of America. – Ramona Córdova
File Under: Pop, Electronic, Ambient
DMX Krew: We Are DMX (Cold Blow) LP
Originally released on Rephlex back in 1999 — a time where Ed DMX was evidently posing as a bizarro world/electro pop version of Hanson — We Are DMX is a remarkably diverse record showcasing the breadth of exactly what a DMX Krew album can sound like. He would later fling himself head-first into a weirdo acid pedigree, but the pieces are present here, each with a sly wink and a nod to sickly-sweet synth pop, Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra. The through-line of We Are DMX is its sense of humour, as Ed finds unique ways of lampooning synth pop tropes. The likes of ‘Street Boys’, ‘Good Time Girl’ and ‘Hard Times’ toy with love songs with the finesse of Pet Shop Boys and the industrial nous of Throbbing Gristle, making the romantic hero and the obsessive creep one and the same. DMX Krew’s propulsive, thick 1980s synth ingenuity gives off the air that these songs — particularly the Orientalist-takedown ‘Konnichi Wa!’ and the sordid slow jam ‘Twenty Minute Affair’ — could’ve been chart smashes in their day, if Ed seemed bothered about that kind of thing. Remastered and reissued with a host of extras — including the beloved non-album track ‘Denki No Merodi’ — We Are DMX is an all-time classic synth album, which is as rip-roaringly fun as it is technically marvellous.
File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop
Ella Fitzgerald: Sunshine of Your Love (MPS) LP
Ella Fitzgerald singing Eric Clapton’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” or the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”? is something of a revelation for those who know the First Lady of Song as purely a jazz singer. Ella’s pristine clarity of earlier years, now tinged with a throaty worldliness, is a perfect foil to her choices from the world of rock and pop. It also adds new depth to such standards as “Give Me the Simple Life,” “Old Devil Moon,” and Burt Bachrach’s “A House is Not a Home.” Recorded “live,” the album is divided into a big band set and Ella with her long-time accompaniment, the Tommy Flanagan Trio. Hearing another facet of Ella Fitzgerald’s talent on Sunshine of Your Love is bound to only make you a bigger fan of this music legend!
File Under: Jazz
Dexter Gordon: Go (Classic Series) (Blue Note) LP
In tomorrow! Blue Note Records is pleased to present the Blue Note Classic Vinyl Reissue Series, a continuation of their acclaimed Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series which was launched in celebration of the label’s 80th anniversary in 2019. The Classic Series will once again feature all-analog 180g vinyl pressings in standard packaging that are mastered by Kevin Gray directly from the original master tapes and manufactured at Optimal in Germany. The first 16 titles of the Classic Series will focus on the enduring classics of the Blue Note catalog. The Classic Series will be on-going, running alongside the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series which is produced by Joe Harley. By the time he recorded Go! in 1962, Dexter Gordon had already lived several lifetimes in jazz. He was among the first to adapt the language of bebop to the tenor saxophone in the 1940s, but after a decade in which personal troubles limited his output, he signed with Blue Note in 1961 and began a run of essential albums that marked a rebirth for the tenor giant. Featuring a quartet with Sonny Clark on piano, Butch Warren on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums, Go! was a showcase of Gordon’s limitless creativity on hard-swinging numbers like his great tune “Cheese Cake” and a sure-footed version of “Love for Sale,” as well as his peerless artistry on ballads as evidenced on stunning takes of the standards “I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” and “Where Are You.”
File Under: Jazz
Harlem Gospel Travelers: Fight On! (Colemine) 7″
In tomorrow! “During slavery, songs were a form of communication for black people. These songs became known as hymns, or as our seasoned saints call them, the songs that brought us over. “Fight On” was inspired by a hymn called ”Hold On (Just A Little While Longer)”, a song used to encourage black people to not give up. Through that song, God gave me ”Fight On.” It was written to amplify the voices that for so long have fallen on deaf ears and to encourage and uplift people to continue the fight for equality and against white supremacy. Be empowered, my people. We are not thugs, we are innovators. We are intelligent and our feelings, hopes, dreams, and lives matter. Fight on, and everything’s gonna be alright.”
File Under: Soul, Gospel
Chihei Hatakeyama: Late Spring (Gearbox) LP
Japanese musician Chihei Hatakeyama’s debut on Gearbox Records, Late Spring gently unfolds as a shared journeying experience through a series of rich and outstanding encounters. From the cathedral organ-like opener “Breaking Dawn” with its sub-aqua resonances, to the subtle drift of the closing track “Twilight Sea,” this record is a masterpiece of dense and beatific melodies. Drawn from evolving synthesized sounds and shimmering slow motion guitars, it combines these with occasional sonic elements that are best described as evoking computer code running through the veins of the machines like artificial blood. Inspired by the beauty in circular motions of landscape and the changes of season lying beneath ordinary everyday life (as shown in the work of renowned Japanese film director Yasujirō Ozu with whose 1949 film the album shares a title), Late Spring is arranged to project the impression of an old film. The concept behind circular movement came to Hatakeyama as he was watching Twin Peaks – The Return, directed by David Lynch.
File Under: Ambient, Japan
Joy Orbison: Still Slipping Vol. 1 (XL) LP
In tomorrow! Few contemporary artists have had as big an impact on global dance music as Joy Orbison. Whether through his own game-changing releases such as his breakthrough hit “Hyph Mongo,” his own GTA radio station “Still Slipping Los Santos” or 2019’s Slipping EP, collaborations with the likes of Mansur Brown, Overmono and cutting edge Japanese clothing label Cav Empt, a BBC Radio 1 residency and live appearances that span the most credible under-ground nights to festival headline slots around the world, the name Joy Orbison has been a constant byword for understated, uncompromising quality. Defying categorization at every stage of his career, Joy Orbison is more relevant and in-demand than ever. 2021 sees him team up with XL Recordings for the release of his highly anticipated debut long-form project: a 14-track mixtape titled Still Slipping Vol. 1. A deeply personal project featuring close family members alongside a roll call of perfectly curated musical collaborators, it’s Joy Orbison’s most ambitious project to date and is set to be one of the year’s defining releases.
File Under: Electronic
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Infest the Rats Nest (ATO) LP
In tomorrow! New coloured variant! The planet is in trouble. Dire trouble. But fear not: Melbourne, Australia seven-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have returned with Infest The Rats’ Nest to save us all, this time armed only with blast beats, an arsenal of well-oiled guitars that are locked and loaded, and a desire to melt faces clean off. Their fifteenth studio album, Infest The Rats’ Nest is by far The Gizz’s hardest and heaviest album to date. How metal is it? Very metal. Maybe even more. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard aren’t mere dabbling dilettantes either. Their love of this ferocious music runs deep, and was previously explored on 2017’s apocalyptic concept album Murder Of The Universe, hinted at during 2016’s award-winning Nonagon Infinity’s more bludgeoning moments and elsewhere in numerous hardcore psychedelic freak-outs in their back catalogue. “In year 4 there was an older kid who was into Rammstein,” explains Stu of his early discover discovery of metal’s extremities. “I made friends with him and we put together a performance at our school assembly where we headbanged to ‘Du Hast’. I got whiplash, which I thought was pretty cool. That was my introduction to heavy metal, and soon Rammstein led to Metallica, Metallica led to Slayer, Slayer led to Kreator and Sodom. The German bands really kicked my ass and scared the hell out of me too. Later on, when I picked up a guitar I realized that shit was too hard to play, so I got into rock ‘n’ roll and garage. That was liberating.” Infest The Rats’ Nest is the sound of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard scratching the thrash metal itch, fully and unequivocally. Ferocious and direct, “Organ Farmer” is built on drums that gallop away like a battalion of wild horses over the horizon and a triple guitar attack set to stun. It’s the type of sub-three minute song you wish Hetfield and Co. still made. “Venusian 1” goes at it even harder, a shredding collection featuring an army of guitars. A guitarmy, if you will. This is an album dripping with disdain and disgust for a planet consuming itself in a mass act of cannibalism. “Superbug” sings of the type of lurgy that will one day destroy us all, while the utterly nihilistic “Self-Immolate” sees riff piled upon riff and Stu Mackenzie delivering a vocal display to stand alongside the likes of Tom Araya or Max Cavalera. “I’m a pretty shit singer but I do think of my voice as an instrument,” laughs the frontman. “You’ve got lots of tones and different sounds in there you can experiment with.” Elsewhere recent single “Planet B” is a frantic, bludgeoning beast of a song, a scorched earth blitzkrieg that depicts a world burning through its natural resources (“Open your eyes and light the fluid / Get into a petrol siphon / Low on meals, browning fields / Bury children…”) and charging headlong into a population exodus that may only be solvable through the colonization of other planets. Breakneck closer “Hell” meanwhile is the last black bile-spewing word on musical brutality. King Gizzard meet the fears and anxieties of a planet head on; here is a place where uncompromising music meets the concerns of contemporary cli-fi, that emerging movement of writing centered around ecological disaster and its repercussions. “The A-side of the album is set in the near future and is about real shit going on right now – especially ecological disaster,” explains Stu of the album’s grand themes. “We’ve got a lot of things to fear. The B-side tells the story of a group of rebels who are forced to leave Planet Earth and try to settle on Venus. I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of humanity and the future of Planet Earth. Naturally these thoughts seep into the lyrics.”
File Under: Psych
Lorde: Solar Power (Republic) LP
In tomorrow! Indie version in next week! In a surprise move, Grammy Award-winning, multiplatinum artist Lorde released her new song “Solar Power.” The song, which appropriately dropped timed to the only solar eclipse of the year, came alongside the announcement of her highly anticipated third studio album of the same name. The August 2021 release includes 12 tracks and is produced by Jack Antonoff who she collaborated with on her chart-topping last album, Melodrama. “The album is a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalizing the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors,” Lorde said of Solar Power. “In times of heartache, grief, deep love, or confusion, I look to the natural world for answers. I’ve learned to breathe out, and tune in. This is what came through.”
File Under: Pop
Paul McCartney: McCartney III Imagined (Capitol) LP
In tomorrow! Hailed upon its 2020 release as “vital and comfortable taking new chances” (Rolling Stone) and “cheery, resilient, forever looking forward” (The New Yorker), Paul McCartney’s McCartney III, which topped album charts around the world, is now literally moving into the future in the form of McCartney III Imagined. Personally curated by Paul, McCartney III Imagined features an A-List assortment of friends, fans and brand new acquaintances, each covering and/or reimagining their favorite McCartney III moments in their own signature styles. The result is a kaleidoscopic reinterpretation, one that serves as an extension of the instantly beloved McCartney III while standing on its own as a brilliant and adventurous milestone in the McCartney discography. Featuring contributions from Beck, Dominic Fike, Khruangbin, St. Vincent, Blood Orange, Phoebe Bridgers, Ed O’Brien, Damon Albarn, Josh Homme, Anderson .Paak, and 3D RDN of Massive Attack plus an exclusive remix of “Long Tailed Winter Bird” by Idris Elba included only on physical editions of the album. Vinyl 2LP-set with capacity spine jacket, 11.5″ x 11.5″ insert and sticker.
File Under: Pop
MKS: Musical Keyboard System (Stroom) LP
Bang on the money for late ‘80s Belgian gold, ‘Musical Keyboard System’ highlights five zingers from MKS’ ‘New Synthetic World,’ a self-released LP composed/arranged by a Franco-Japanese cartoon fiend Nicolas Aubard, and Lille-based DJ/producer Emmanuel Prevost. The project was to be short-lived, producing only their sole LP and a few associated promo vids, before fading into obscurity, but thanks to the indomitable Stroom their finest moments now get a second wind, serving some of the choicest Belgian new beats that we’ve come across, at least. The influence of Franco-Japanese animations glints from every cut, recalling to our British ears the kind of syndicated animations that would reach these shores on early mornings during the late ‘80s and into the ‘90s. It’s proper fantasy dance business, paralleling – as much new beat did – Italian dream house styles as much as gallic synth music too, with simple unmissable tunes strewn between ‘The New Age of House’, which sounds like LB Bad meets White House White, and thru the twanging propulsion of ‘Twilight Zone,’ to the glyding new age groove and an pipes of ‘Figure,’ a gorgeous FM synth vignette ‘The Dream,’ and naif promise of ‘NAM Revelation.’
File Under: Electronic, 80s, Belgian
Nostalgie Eternelle: Face a I’incertitude (Raw Culture) LP
“Nostalgie Éternelle might sound like a new name on our shameless label but in fact they are 2/3 of Sauerstofff and with Face á l’incertitude EP they keep us in balance between the 1987’s atmosphere of Leer and those of the city of Hamburg in 2019 where Inox Kapell and Dieter Mauson have recorded part of the record. A style lesson that we welcome with great pleasure by two artists with 35 years of friendship and militancy in the post-punk scene in Europe. An EP that ranges between the dementia no wave of “Human Biodiversity”, the synthetic minimalism of “Die ganze Wut”, the atmospheric romance of “Under Water Dream”; between the dub sonorities of “Raumseelen” and the new wavish of “Wo es weiter geht” and “Thank You!”
File Under: Industrial, Post Punk
Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp: We’re Ok. But we’re lost anyway (Bongo Joe) LP
Founded in 2006 by Vincent Bertholet (Hyperculte), the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp is a large-scale project. Designed as a real orchestra, the size of the ensemble has varied over time. Now with 12 members, 14 in the past or 6 at the beginning, the ensemble has scoured the stages of Europe todemonstrate that the formula “the more the merrier” has never been more true than on stage. Whether in prestigious festivals (Paléo Festival de Nyon, Fusion Festival, Incubate, Womad, Bad Bonn Kilbi, Jazz à la Vilette) or on the four albums released since its launch, the group shows an incredible fluidity. The Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp (a mischievous title in homage to traditional African groups -Orchestre Tout Puissant Konono n°1, Orchestre Tout Puissant Polyrytmo etc… -and to one of the greatest dynamizers of 20th century art) embraces the forms of its musicians while pushing them to their limits. The result is a powerful, experimental, unstable and terribly alive, organic sound. These characteristics can be found on We’re OK. But We’re Lost Anyway, fifth opus of the band. Built around twelve musicians, extirpated from their respective biotope, it develops a repetitive musicality which, deployed in successive waves, creates a feeling of trance. Mixing free jazz, post punk, high life, brass band, symphonic mixtures and kraut rock, their sound only goes beyond the limits of genre. Transcendental, almost ritualistic, the music is coupled with powerful lyrics, declaimed in rage against a world that is falling apart.Adorcist, hypnotic and post-syncratic, the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, far from Tzara’s manifesto, is somewhere between Hugo Ball’s phonetic psalms, a Sufi procession that turns into a brawl and a voodoo ritual, but always with a precision proper to the monomania of an asperger.
File Under: Experimental
George Otsuka Quintet: Loving You George (Wewantsound) LP
In tomorrow! Wewantsounds present a first-time reissue of the cult LP by master Japanese drummer George Otsuka and his quintet, recorded live on July, 19th 1975 at the Nemu Jazz Inn. The album was released by cutting-edge Japanese label Bellwood in 1975. The album Loving You George is comprised of four superb performances fueled by Otsuka powerful drumming and Fumio Karashima’s fender Rhodes. Otsuka is one of the giants of the Nippon jazz scene. The drummer, who sadly passed away in 2020, enjoyed a 50-year career recording with the best musicians and labels in Japan. Otsuka joined Sadao Watanabe’s Cosy Quartet in the late fifties before switching to Hidehiko Matsumoto’s quartet where he gained exposure as one of Japan’s premier drummers. In the mid-60s, he formed his own trio with Hideo Ichikawa (piano) and Masaoki Terakawa (bass) recording several highly-acclaimed albums and also playing with international stars such as Hampton Hawes and Roy Haynes. The ’70s were a productive decade and Otsuka embraced the latest development in jazz including fusion and modal jazz enthusiastically. The musician signed with Koki Miura’s groundbreaking Bellwood Records (responsible for producing Haruomi Hosono and the emergent wave of folk rock artists led by Happy End) and recorded a live album at Nemu Jazz Inn in the Nemu resort, south of Nagoya. The evening was a special one. On top of The George Otsuka quintet (featuring Mitsuaki Furuno, Norio Ohno, Shozo Sasaki, and Fumio Karashima), were the supergroup of Norman Connors, Eddie Henderson, and Gary Bartz who were also recording a live album, Dance Of Magic, that has since become legendary. On the night, Otsuka and his sidemen recorded four tracks including “Little Island” a Karashima original and “Something Everywhere” a faithful rendition of Steve Kuhn Brazilian-flavored original which had just appeared on his ECM album Trance. The second side begins with a breathtaking version of the Coltrane standard “Miles Mode” finishing with a great drum solo by Otsuka followed by a superb version of the Minnie Riperton classic, “Loving You” played in a mid-tempo funky mode with a great Rhodes solo. Loving You George is a vivid testimony that Otsuka and his musicians were at the top of their game. Remastered audio from the master tapes by King Records in Japan.
File Under: Jazz, Japan
Outkast: ATLiens (Legacy) LP
Sony Legacy celebrates the 25th anniversary of ATLiens – the cinematic hip-hop masterpiece that rocketed Outkast (André 3000 and Big Boi) into the mainstream stratosphere from the duo’s Atlanta underground music scene launchpad – with an expanded vinyl 4LP edition featuring the original album in its entirety bundled with a full-length collection of 14 previously unreleased instrumental tracks which are being released commercially for the first time! With ATLiens, Outkast’s second studio album, the American hip-hop duo focused an outer space-inspired musical lens on 1996 Atlanta street culture, finding common ground in a range of characters from hustlers to extra-terrestrials. Issued on August 27, 1996, by LaFace Records, ATLiens entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 2 and sold nearly 350,000 copies within two weeks of release. The album has been certified double platinum by the RIAA and generated the hit singles “Elevators (Me & You),” “ATLiens” and “Jazzy Belle”. Since its release, ATLiens continues to be heralded by music critics and aficionados as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.
File Under: Hip Hop
Slow Attack Ensemble: Music For Turntable, Guitars & Sampled Instruments (Second Thoughts) LP
Slow Attack Ensemble`s Music For Turntable, Guitars & Sampled Instruments collects 9 experiments in realtime sampling and live instrumental improvisation. Creations of complex careful counterpoint that pay homage to the process of Steve Reich. Form And Fade, for example, is a mini Music For 18 Musicians. Painting a picture of light playfully catching the crested tops of waves. Summer shimmering on shorelines, an ocean of gold stretched out before a wide open horizon. The record`s ample use of digital delay also can’t help but summon the smudged Zen pop of Arthur Russell’s World Of Echo. With string harmonics that recall the downtown disco-not-disco savant`s beloved cello. Nowhere more so than on Rivers Turn To Waterfalls, where Russell’s lovelorn drone is definitely in there somewhere. Sending you swimming, submerged, aquatic, with a chorus of dolphins and whales. Throughout, the use of Time Lag Accumulation has bell-like chimes and simple synth lines duetting in dubwise. Their calm, cerulean lyric offset by crackle and static. Their short song repeating, overlapping, become infinite. Orchestral loops, squeezed, elongated, exploded, found sound sources are serenaded by serene, 6-string filigree. Sonic kaleidoscope colours build blinking tone poems – hypnotic hallucinations with allusions to musical illusions of outer space. Ninety Seconds For Celeste is a study of isolates from the titular idiophone organ. A lullaby of hushed, intimate tape hum. Recurring Afterimage closes the collection – calling forth a comfort of angels – with a glissando crescendo of celestial new age harp. – Rob Harris 2nd pressing on standard black vinyl housed in standard jackets printed in two Pantone colours exclusive to this pressing, wrapped with a Japanese style Obi.
File Under: Ambient
Hugh Small & Brian Allen Simon: The Side I Never See (Melody as Truth) LP
MAT is proud to announce the forthcoming release of ‘The Side I Never See’, by Hugh Small & Brian Allen Simon. Hugh forms half of Scottish post-punk duo Vazz, whose work was the subject of a recent retrospective by Belgian label Stroom. Brian is known best for his solo project Anenon, under which name he has released four full length albums and multiple remixes for artists including Ryuichi Sakamoto. An improvised recording of Brian playing over the Vazz piece ‘Kazimierz’ catalysed this long-distance collaboration; 2000 feet up a mountain in Andalucia, Hugh heard the recording on a broadcast of Brian’s dublab LA radio show. Immediately taken in by Brian’s playing, the pair soon established contact and began discussing the possibility of working to create something new together. The rest, as they say, is history: the results are fully realised in ‘The Side I Never See’, a shimmering suite of ten compositions for piano, soprano saxophone, synthesizer and guitar. In Hughs words… ‘so, what is it? It’s Ambient-Punk, Abstract-Jazz, Disaffected-Classical, it’s whatever the fuck you want it to be!’ 🙂 ‘The Side I Never See’ will be released on Melody As Truth in early August 2021, as always on vinyl and digital. Mastered by Stephan Mathieu, Artwork by Michael Willis.
File Under: Ambient, Punk, Jazz, Classical
Synergetic Voice Orchestra: MIOS (Metron) LP
In 1989, pianist and composer Yumiko Morioka put together a group of diverse street musicians and semi-professional players for a project that would come to be called the Synergetic Voice Orchestra. Inspired by Yumiko’s love of different musical cultures from around the globe, the band drew on influences from India, Ethiopia, Mali, Korea and China to create an album that merged these sonic identities with more traditional sounds from the southern Japanese city of Okinawa. Having released her solo piano record Resonance a couple of years earlier, Yumiko was thrilled when offered the chance to make an album of ‘any kind of music she wanted’. She pulled together artists she knew or had seen playing from in and around Tokyo, many of whom were self-taught and could not read music. It wasn’t always easy for Yumiko, a classically taught musician, to work with others who lacked her formal training. But by employing the synergetic principles of American architect and theorist Buckminster Fuller, she fostered an environment where the results of the group had a larger impact than that of the individual. This approach brought a real energy to her compositions and the resulting recording sessions produced MIOS, an exploratory, creative work that felt alive with free-wheeling creativity. Nothing was off limits. The drummer, who ran a vegetable stall by day and practiced in a cemetery at night as to not disturb his neighbours, utilized old washing machine parts for some of the percussive elements. Although Synergetic Voice Orchestra would eventually morph into a new band, leaving MIOS to exist as a singular moment in time, the album remains as one of Japan’s true hidden treasures.
File Under: Ambient, New Age
McCoy Tyner: Expansions (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
In tomorrow! Pianist McCoy Tyner was an acknowledged force of nature. On the aptly-named Expansions, Tyner fronts a remarkable band consisting of Woody Shaw on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Gary Bartz on alto saxophone, Ron Carter on cello, Herbie Lewis on bass, and Freddie Waits on drums. Stand-out tracks in a program of four Tyner originals and one standard include the timeless masterpiece “Peresina” and the immersive opening track “Vision.” Blue Note Records’ acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series continues in 2021. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.
Max Winter: One Thousand Lonely Places (Where to Now) LP
Max Winter’s music seeks to traverse a breadth of styles – a world where freewheeling jazzwise drum workouts linger behind silk bass and glooming electronics, where compositional flurries of flute, cello, keys, and violin playfully exchange with restrained melodic ambience, where driving & pummelling big drop productions resurface as introverted pop stunners, where crystalline vocal melodies float above terminator slap bass sessions… it’s literally all going on…and all at the same time. Max holds that rare ability to serve as a vector for his own sweeping ideas, to think something and ‘just do it’ – coming from a jazz & classical compositional background Max writes everything, plays everything, and masterfully grasps everything. To be frank, ‘One Thousand Lonely Places’ has ended up being one of the most mysterious and exciting things we’ve ever put out. Max strives to bring a very human element / approach to his electronic compositions, perhaps a result of the tactile nature of his classical training, he injects a unique rawness into his sound world via vocal experiments which breathe (literally) emotional states into much of the work, building and elevating his sound with the big room pieces, and pushing the other end extreme of anxious isolation deeper into the walls. There’s no denying the strong pop sensibility that permeates ‘One Thousand Lonely Places’, hushed vocal parts are shared between Max and recurring guest IMOGEN, and there’s a definite structure within the chaos, but this is mostly an odd, isolated, experimental take on formal song structure – walking the same restrained, understated pathways forged by bands such as Talk Talk and The Necks one moment, and then the next minute pointing towards the likes Arto Lindsey & Bill Laswell’s more playful forms of No Wave, and then from there gazing towards the future focus of musically informed, genre less freedom explored by artists such as Laurel Halo, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. All of these touchpoints are subtly underpinned with an understanding and appreciation of classical & quiet music forms of composition encompassed and explored by masters such as Akira Rabelais, Harold Budd, David Sylvian.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental
Li Yilei: 之/OF (Metron) LP
‘’之/OF is a word that can be used as a preposition to express the relationship between a part and a whole. It is an unfinished tone, a broken sentence, a start and a whole. It is sustainable, full of potentials and longings.’’ – Li Yilei London-based performance and sound artist Li Yilei shared an experience familiar to many migrants during the past year of COVID-19 chaos. With their UK visa set to expire, and family back in China, Li made a last-minute dash to return to their nation of birth. Able to board one of the last few flights to China during the initial turmoil of the coronavirus outbreak, Li made it back to Shanghai for a two-week stint in a quarantine hotel. Though Li had already begun creating OF, the reality of the pandemic began to seep into the recordings. Each of the 12 tracks is a study in horology, using metaphorical sound transcriptions and atmospheric extractions to focus on the temporal relationship between experience and surroundings. Li’s awareness of their own understanding of time became increasingly heightened during quarantine and the emotional involvement found within these new realities informed many of the sounds created. Composed using analogue synthesizers, vocal samples, field recordings and string instruments such as the violin and guqin, Li indulges in moments of grief, panic, healing, cessation, melancholy, vastness, hope, joy and emptiness as they explore the acoustic relations between humans and the many forces of nature.
File Under: Ambient
Derya Yildirim & Grup Simsek: Dost 1 LP
Great follow up album! Led by Derya Yıldırım’s hypnotizing bağlama and vocals, the group draw a meaningful continuity from the Turkish folk repertoire to their original songwriting, with a strong sound identity and a dancefloor – friendly energy. Grup Şimşek is a fresh and modern pop – group which combines Anatolian Folk and contemporary grooves, often contaminated by Psychedelia and progressive rock flavours. Turkish singer and saz player Derya Yıldırım has been burning the candle for Turkish folk and psychedelia since her infamous performance at the New Hamburg Festival back in 2015. Soon after, Grup Şimşek was born and there started a ri ch journey of musical feast, exploring and rendering new versions of Anatolian classics as well as building a songbook of original compositions, with references to the music of The Doors, west coast US psych, Turkish musical activist and hero Selda Bagçan and many heroes of musical Anatolia. Grup Şimşek are itinerant by nature. They live apart across various European homes and span Turkish, German, French and English heritage with Derya living in Berlin. Despite this spatial incongruence, the group’s harmony oozes through their music with a rich stew of funk – noir groove, organ energy, hypnotic saz (Turkish stringed instrument) and synths all layered beneath Derya’s warm sometimes heartfelt vocal, singing verse and poetry, borrowed, evolved and new.
File Under: Psych, Turkey
Altin Gun: On (Bongo Joe) LP
Julien Baker: Little Oblivions (Matador) LP
Julien Baker: Turn Out the Lights (Matador) LP
Syd Barrett: Barrett (Universal) LP
Syd Barrett: Madcap Laughs (Universal) LP
Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajas Fresh (Drag City) LP
Bitchin’ Bajas: s/t (Drag City) LP
Black Star: Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star (Universal) LP
Bon Iver: 22, A Million (Jagjaguwar) LP
Bon Iver: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Boygenius: s/t (Matador) LP
Paul Chambers: Bass on Top (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Lula Cortes E Ze Ramalho: Paebiru (Mr. Bongo) LP
Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left (Island) LP
Nick Drake: Pink Moon (Island) LP
Drexciya: Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller III (Clone) LP
Drexciya: Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller IV (Clone) LP
Fleet Foxes: s/t (Sub Pop) LP
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: G_d’s Pee at STATE’S END! (Constellation) LP
Aldous Harding: s/t (Flying Nun) LP
Aldous Harding: Designer (4AD) LP
Aldous Harding: Party (4AD) LP
Keith Jarrett: Koln Concert (ECM) LP
King Crimson: Red (Pangyric) LP
King Geedorah: Take Me To Your Leader (Ninja Tune) LP
Kinks: Are The Village Green Preservation Society (Sanctuary) LP
Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (Atlantic) LP
Led Zeppelin: I Deluxe (Atlantic) LP
Gigi Masin & Jonny Nash: Postcards from Nowhere (Melody as Truth) LP
Ennio Morricone: Blue-Eyed Bandit (Universal) LP
George Otsuka Quintet: Physical Structure (Le Tres Jazz Club) LP
Asha Puthli: s/t (Mr. Bongo) LP
Rural Alberta Advantage: Departing (Paper Bag) LP
Arthur Verocai: s/t (Mr. Bongo) LP
Weeknd: After Hours (Republic) LP
Weezer: s/t (Blue album) (Universal) LP
Derya Yildirim & Grup Simsek: Kar Yagar (Bongo Joe) LP
Yo La Tengo: Electr-o-Pura (Matador) LP
Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (Matador) LP
Neil Young: Harvest Moon (Reprise) LP
Yu Su: Yellow River Blue (Music from Memory) LP