Well, I thought this one was going to be the biggest news letter yet, but I was tricked by quantities. Lots of biggies this week with a lot of copies in to make sure there’s enough to go around. But that said, some super limited hot stuff so, don’t snooze.
As for the new restrictions, they don’t really effect us. According to our business association’s clarification of the new restrictions, we are already doing what is required of us, limited capacity and mandatory masks. The vaccine exemption does not apply to retail stores. So mask up and keep your visit brief if it’s busy so no one has to wait outside.
– 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)
– Sanitize your hands(we’ll have some)
…..picks of the week…..
Pendant: To All Sides They Will Stretch Out Their Hands (West Mineral Ltd) LP
Written just a week after 2018’s iconic “Make Me Know You Sweet”, this surreal, tripped-out sequel from the headier alter ego of Brian Leeds (Huerco S.) is darker, dubbier and more alien than its predecessor >> over an hour of ultra immersive, brain-fluxing hybridized sounds somewhere between Chain Reaction vapourtrails and concrète dream-building. Captured in one take shots during the weeks following the last album sessions in 2018’, Leeds’ second Pendant album treads a similar netherworld path, channeling a stygian dream-sick effect that effectively explores a flipside to the sunnier prairies of his Huerco S.’ works, shoring us somewhere gauzily redolent of early Wanda Group and the starkest Bellows emissions, but better defined by eerily processed vocals and Lynchian sensibilities that locate it to North America’s dis/possessed lands. Ritualistic in craft and scope, the six extended tracks of ‘To All Sides They Will Stretch Out Their Hands’ are all titled in reference to indigenous American poetry and thus take shape as elusive, dream-like projections of Leeds’ subconscious and subvocalised thoughts. With a defocussed grain and swirl that perhaps emulates the effect of intoxication thru special herbs, the music acutely suggests altered states of mind, triggering meditations on memory and process reflected by a haphazard and impromptu recording technique. Leeds is a skilled producer, and working instinctively highlights a more fallible, arresting side to his sound – recording and processing vocals on the fly to control his machines less like a conductor and more like a sculptor. When the process hits complications – the DAW failing or outboard gear glitching out – his choice to leave these moments in the final cut allows us to consider the messiness and fallibility of art. Leeds isn’t interested in making aesthetically perfect potted ambience. His narrative is rough and expressive, just as focused on texture as it is tone or rhythm. It’s a technique that suggests the heady cut ‘n paste sound of musique concrète, but doesn’t attempt to recreate it or position itself alongside that canon for academic gold stars. Firing his convulsing collages thru an array of effects gives his music the lively heartbeat of vintage dub, hidden under a fleshy DIY basement noise that could be traced back to Coil or Throbbing Gristle, mediating on memories with haptic strokes and a sense of inseparability between his layers of fuzz and physical actions that most beautifully speaks to a sort of interconnectedness that comes with mescaline, for example. We’ve been spending considerable time guided by its dream logic – we strongly recommend you do the same, immersing yourself in its spongiform negative space, ruptured raptures and dank bliss.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Ash Ra Tempel: Schwingungen (MG.Art) LP
MG.ART announce the authorized 50th anniversary edition of Ash Ra Tempel’s Schwingungen, originally released in 1972. One of the most important German krautrock albums. Re-cut carefully overseen by Manuel Göttsching himself. Gatefold sleeve with sticker; Includes original release sheet and inlay. Julian Cope’s review on Schwingungen in Krautrocksampler (Head Heritage, 1995): “‘Beware of Schwingungen!’ That should be the large sticker on the front of all copies of this record. For it is dangerous to be casually introduced to something that is life-changing, as I found out to my cost when first listening to this record. It all starts fairly simply and without any cause for alarm — ‘Look at Your Sun’ begins with a Doorsy lone groover guitar begins a pedestrian blues, beautiful. Then the most crushed voice, a cross between Johnny Rotten and Tiny Tim, preaches its way into the proceeds. God, it is beautiful — John L. repeats over and over, ‘We are all one, we are all one’, until a howling fuzztone solo guitar blows the whole one chord ‘Signed D.C.’ ringing-cymbals torture to an end. And then the most far out track of all begins. This is called ‘Flower Must Die’ and it is a free-rock giant that transcends everything else in its field (there are no contenders.) As I’ve written before, PIL sounds like this. John L. was John Lydon in a previous incarnation. After a slow weird build, a frantic streamlined one-chord mantra kicks in and it’s like the Stooges’ Funhouse period but in a Righteous Vision Zone that fucks them right off. Phasing tears at the whole tracks as this Holy Racket crosses into hyper-space and everything gets all hyphenated just-for-the-sake-of-it. ‘Flowers Must Die’, man, it’s fucked up. Over on side two, the title-track (‘Vibrations’) begins poetically enough with Wolfgang Muller’s epic and hugely reverbed vibraphone. Organ fades in and FX guitars, and time passes by. Finally, tom-toms roll and the developing pace is built upon until that great eternal chord sequence finally materializes — this is the one that Göttsching and Enke believed was the sound of heaven. They may have been right. And Schwingungen was a gift from the Gods.”
File Under: Prog, Krautrock, Kosmische, Psych
Coil: Love’s Secret Domain (Wax Trax) 2LP
30th Anniversary Edition: 1991 was a transition year in the format wars, and the CD release of Love’s Secret Domain utilized the longer running time of the format to offer 13 tracks instead of 9. For our Deluxe Edition we’ve split these full tracks across 2 LP’s in a completely separate pressing that features the expanded 13 tracks. Remastered by Josh Bonati from original source materials, the Deluxe Edition includes a booklet with liner notes from Drew Daniel (Matmos) and quotes from Stephen Thrower, Rose McDowall, Steven Stapleton, Charles Hayward, Billy McGee, Marc Almond, Andy Wombwell and Annie Bandez. Like the Standard Edition, the Deluxe Edition will be available in both Black and a color variant but the expanded 2LP set will not be repressed after this run. When they’re gone, they’re gone.
File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Essential Grooves
Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time, Take Time (Mom + Pop) LP
Coloured vinyl! Things Take Time, Take Time” is an assured leap forward for Barnett; a breakthrough really. This is Barnett at her most relaxed, creative and joyful. An exquisite look at the intimate, private world created by Barnett and drummer/producer Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint, Cate le Bon, Kurt Vile). It’s consequently her most beautiful and intimate record to date.
File Under: Indie Rock
Roland Bocquet: Paradia (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records announce the official reissue of Roland Bocquet’s highly sought-after solo album, Paradia. Originally released in 1977 on the legendary Cobra label, Paradia is the first solo album by Roland Bocquet, keyboard player for cult French band Catharsis. The (mostly) instrumental album is a wonderful oddball adventure blending cozy ambient, euro-folk, synth escapades, Latin fusion with a French touch, gentle bossa, a tiny bit of minimalist chanson, and a heavy dose of je-ne sais-quoi. The result is soothing, mysterious in the sweetest ways, and fully atmospheric: a must have for fans of Pascal Comelade, Mort Garson, Dominique Guiot, ZNR, Vladimir Cosma, movie soundtracks, library music, and unclassifiable gems. It’s hard to describe, but it’s lovely to experience! Paradia, Paradia, Paradiaaaaaaaa… Sourced from the original masters.
File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Ambient
Don Cherry’s New Research: Organic Music Theatre Festival de Chateauvallon 1972 (Black Forms) LP
In the late 1960s, the American trumpet player and free jazz pioneer Don Cherry (1936-1995) and the Swedish visual artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943-2009) began a collaboration that imagined an alternative space for creative music, most succinctly expressed in Moki’s aphorism “the stage is home and home is a stage.” By 1972, they had given name to a concept that united Don’s music, Moki’s art, and their family life in rural Tagårp, Sweden into one holistic entity: Organic Music Theatre. Captured here is the historic first Organic Music Theatre performance from the 1972 Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon in the South of France, mastered from tapes recorded during its original live broadcast on public TV. A life-affirming, multicultural patchwork of borrowed tunes suffused with the hallowed aura of Don’s extensive global travels, the performance documents the moment he publicly jettisoned his identity as a jazz musician. The five-person band — Don and Moki Cherry, Christer Bothén, Gérard “Doudou” Gouirand, and Naná Vasconcelos — performed in an outdoor amphitheater and were joined onstage by a dozen adults and children, including Swedish friends who tagged along for the trip and Det Lilla Circus (The Little Circus), a Danish puppet troupe based in Christiania, Copenhagen. The platform was lined with Moki’s carpets and her handmade, brightly colored tapestries, depicting Indian scales and bearing the words Organic Music Theatre, dressed the stage. As the musicians played, members of Det Lilla, led by Annie Hedvard, danced, sang, and mounted an improvised puppet show on poles high up in the air. In a fairly unprecedented move, Don abandoned his signature pocket trumpet for the piano and harmonium, thereby liberating his voice as an instrument for shamanic guidance. The show opens with him beckoning the audience to clap their hands and sing the Indian theta “Dha Dhin Na, Dha Tin Na,” and the set cycles through uplifting and sacred tunes of Malian, South African, Brazilian, and Native American provenance — including pieces that would later appear on Don’s albums Organic Music Society and Home Boy (Sister Out) — all punctuated by outbursts of possessed glossolalia from the puppeteers. “Relativity Suite, Part 1” notably spotlights Bothén on donso ngoni, a Malian hunter’s guitar, prior to Vasconcelos taking an extended solo on berimbau. A vortex of wah-like microtonal rattling, Vasconcelos’s masterful demonstration of this single-stringed Brazilian instrument is a harbinger of his work to come as a member, with Don, of the acclaimed group Codona.
File Under: Jazz
Don Cherry: Summer House Sessions (Blank Forms) LP
In 1968, Don Cherry had already established himself as one of the leading voices of the avant-garde. Having pioneered free jazz as a member of Ornette Coleman’s classic quartet, and with a high-profile collaboration with John Coltrane under his belt, the globetrotting jazz trumpeter settled in Sweden with his partner Moki and her daughter Neneh. There, he assembled a group of Swedish musicians and led a series of weekly workshops at the ABF, or Workers’ Educational Association, from February to April of 1968, with lessons on extended forms of improvisation including breathing, drones, Turkish rhythms, overtones, silence, natural voices, and Indian scales. That summer, saxophonist and recording engineer Göran Freese invited Don, members of his two working bands, and a Turkish drummer to his summer house in Kummelnäs, just outside of Stockholm, for a series of rehearsals and jam sessions. Long relegated to the status of a mysterious footnote in Don’s session-ography, tapes from this session, as well as one professionally mixed tape intended for release, were recently found in the vaults of the Swedish Jazz Archive, and the lost Summer House Sessions are finally available over fifty years after they were recorded. On July 20, the musicians gathered at Freese’s summer house included Bernt Rosengren (tenor saxophone, flutes, clarinet), Tommy Koverhult (tenor saxophone, flutes), Leif Wennerström (drums), and Torbjörn Hultcrantz (bass) from Don’s Swedish group; Jacques Thollot (drums) and Kent Carter (bass) from his newly formed international band New York Total Music Company; Bülent Ateş (hand drum, drums), who was visiting from Turkey; and Don (pocket trumpet, flutes, percussion) himself. Lacking a common language, the players used music as their common means of communication. In this way, these frenetic and freewheeling sessions anticipate Don’s turn to more explicitly pan-ethnic expression, preceding his epochal Eternal Rhythm dates by four months. The octet, comprising musicians from America, France, Sweden, and Turkey, was a perfect vehicle for Don’s budding pursuit of “collage music,” a concept inspired by the shortwave radio on which Don listened to sounds from around the world. Using the collage metaphor, Don eliminated solos and the introduction of tunes, transforming a wealth of melodies, sounds, and rhythms into poetic suites of different moods and changing forms. The Summer House Sessions ensemble joyously layers manifold cultural idioms, traversing the airy peaks and serene valleys of Cherry’s earthly vision.
File Under: Jazz
Cradle of Filth: Existence is Futile (Nuclear Blast) LP
Belched from Hell’s depths into the rustic charms of the Witch County, Suffolk thirty long and disturbing years ago, CRADLE OF FILTH are undisputed giants of the heavy metal realm. Imperious purveyors of a perennially unique strain of dark, dastardly and wilfully extreme metal, with deep roots in the worlds of gothic horror and occult curiosity, the band led by Dani Filth has weathered three decades of tumult and trial, earning a formidable reputation as both a singular creative force and one of the most riotously entertaining live bands the metal world has ever produced. CRADLE OF FILTH have hit an unmistakable hot streak of creativity and urgency. As a new line-up coalesced around the creation of 2015’s »Hammer Of The Witches«, fresh impetus propelled the band to new heights, as the revitalised crew became more in demand around the world than ever before. 2017’s »Cryptoriana -The Seductiveness Of Decay« repeated the trick with even more explosive flamboyance. Until a global pandemic brought the music industry to a jarring halt, CRADLE OF FILTH were almost permanently on the road and absolutely fucking flying. As a result, it should surprise no one that the band’s brand new album, »Existence Is Futile«, is yet another monumental and electrifying journey through the dark. “The album is about existentialism, existential dread and fear of the unknown. The concept wasn’t created by the pandemic. We’d written it all before that began, but the pandemic is the tip of the cotton-bud as far as the way the world’s going, you know? I guess the title, »Existence Is Futile«, does sound a little morbid. But again, it’s more about recognising that and saying that everything is permitted because nothing really matters, which mimics Aleister Crowley’s maxim. We all know we’re going to die, so we might as well indulge life while we have it. The final track on the album –‘Us, Dark, Invincible’–really emphasises that. Also, the artwork for this record was created by the Latvian visionary Arthur Berzinsh, who also dressed the last two albums, and that is exceedingly beautiful yet apocalyptic too.”
File Under: Metal
David Crosby: If I Could Only Remember My Name… (Atlantic) LP
Singer-songwriter David Crosby’s solo debut, If I Could Only Remember My Name, was dismissed by critics when it came out in 1971. Over the years, however, appreciation has grown for the album’s adventurous aesthetic, stacked harmonies and haunting lyrics about loss and confusion. Billed as Crosby’s solo debut, the album was anything but a one-man project. Instead, it was one of his most collaborative efforts, featuring an all-star cast of players that included members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana, along with Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and others. If I Could Only Remember My Name turned 50 in 2021 and Atlantic/WEA celebrates the occasion with a newly remastered version of the original album on 180-gram vinyl. The new remaster was overseen by original album engineer Stephen Barncard with restoration and speed correction using Plangent Processes. When Crosby started recording the album in 1970, he was grieving the death of his longtime girlfriend Christine Hinton, who was killed in a car accident a year earlier. At the time, Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco became a refuge for Crosby, who remembers Jerry Garcia showing up nearly every night. “There’d be that grin, and then that look in the eyes, and this fascination with the music,” Crosby recalls. “Easy, not forced, graceful, fun, ever-present. It was a kindness, I’m pretty sure. Jerry never said that, never even implied it. Just, ‘Hey, I heard you were doing something. What are you doing? Let’s do something.” What they made was music that would be embraced by later generations of singer-songwriters and cited as an early example of the “freak folk” genre. On the original, the nine songs explore a wide range of moods and textures. Crosby’s swagger and Garcia’s stinging solos give “Cowboy Movie” its intensity, while “Song With No Words (Trees With No Leaves)” gently stretches out to a place between choral folk and modal jazz. For “Orleans,” Crosby transformed the French children’s song using the studio and its echo chamber to record a choir of his vocal harmonies.
File Under: Psych, Folk
Alice Damon: Windsong (Morning Trip) LP
Morning Trip & Yoga Records are proud to finally reveal one of the ultimate lost masterworks of new age music: Alice Damon’s Windsong. Gently propelled by Damon’s haunting breath-of-life vocal winds reminiscent of Joan La Barbara underscored by field recordings and Damon’s fretless bass sound calling to mind mid-70 Joni Mitchell, Windsong is traveling music, for the roads or for the skies. Instantly moving, it conjures vistas both romantically familiar and cosmically mysterious—waterfalls and wind, the voice of the earth, as heard through heavenly prisms. Damon attended college in Massachusetts, where she formed and fronted the all-female garage band called The Moppets in the late 60s. The band began to garner national attention, but Damon moved instead to the wilds of northern Vermont to homestead and raise a family. In 1981 or thereabouts she was able to gain use of an early Sony digital home recorder, and created her masterwork, Windsong. But Damon waited until 1990 to release a packaged version of this album, now titled “Windsong II”, and sent samples to regional distributors like Vermont’s fabled Silo-Alcazar, where a copy of the album was first discovered, but little evidence exists of a proper commercial release. Alice Damon passed on in 2011 and remained essentially unknown until the landmark I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America 1950-1990 first revealed her genius to a wider audience two years later. Now, just in time for the recording’s 40th anniversary, Alice Damon’s Windsong may at last be heard as one of the most singular, moving and profound examples of new age music’s psychedelic essence. Morning Trip & Yoga Records proudly present Windsong.
File Under: Ambient, New Age
Tom Dissevelt: Fantasy in Orbit (We Are Busy Bodies) LP
Canadian label We Are Busy Bodies announces the official reissue of Dutch electronic music pioneer Tom Dissevelt’s 1963 album, Fantasy In Orbit: An Astronaut’s Impressions While Orbiting The Earth (mono) and Fantasy In Orbit. Round the world with electronic music by Tom Dissevelt (stereo). Fantasy in Orbit will be issued as a double LP, containing both mono and stereo versions of the album as were originally released. Adored by David Bowie and sampled by the likes of DJ Premier, Cyprus Hill, Klaxons, RZA and David Holmes, the music of Tom Dissevelt and Kid Baltan holds a prominent and influential position in the long and complex history of electronic music. TThe albums were remastered by Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel Mastering and the artwork expertly restored by Steve Lewin.
File Under: Early Electronic
Giovanni Di Domenico: Musica Per Insiemi (Black Sweat) LP
If it were possible to relate images with Giovanni Di Domenico’s music, the most plausible would be those of forms painted with perfect balance and purity. Absolutely versatile and eclectic, the Italian composer has long accustomed his listeners to sounds full of ecstatic tension, but pervaded with a refined and cyclical harmony of the parts. Musica Per Insiemi is the result of three recordings with three different ensembles, two more varied in terms of orchestral tones, one for organ only and female voices. In their different physiognomy, the tracks retain a common denominator of beauty. Di Domenico has firmly established the frame of reference in his compositions, the spine of ethereal movements of the piano and Fender Rhodes. The mood of the other instruments is attached by subtle stratifications, like a river from which its tributaries wind. In this way, the sound matter advances with the solemn calm and brilliance of the individual fragments. The variety of influences remains in the perennial expectation of minimalist whiteness, of contemporary arias with a Nordic flavor or scents of cosmic drones, but always results in a personal and mysterious overview.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Classical
Endless Boogie: Admonitions (No Quarter) LP
Endless Boogie rejoins with its fifth proper studio album for No Quarter. It contains and is called ADMONITIONS. Seven tracks of unrefined wisdom, mostly put to tape in improvised fashion with little to no warning. Recorded over two years and two sessions – at the pastoral tranquility of the Stockholm inland archipelago in 2018, and in the dank, cramped basement of a Fort Greene, Brooklyn studio in February 2020. Eklow on crude direction, Sweeney on stealth glamour, the obscurantist clarity of Paul Major is, as always, as ever, on full display, the fierce reality of Mike Bones is crucial, and the stoic solidity of The Harry Druzd lays beneath it all. Old pal Kurt Vile hovers over COUNTERFEITER. Full grease, delivered with ease. It is the band’s humble wish that you immerse yourself and enjoy this offering. And come 2022 there will be much concertry. No smoke machines, no capes. Godspeed.
File Under: Psych
Roger Fakhr: Fine Anyway (Habibi Funk) LP
“Beautiful mélange of folk, jazz and sound from Lebanon. Recorded in late 1970s Beirut by Rogér Fakhr who at the time also played guitar for Ziad Rahbani and Fairouz. Rogér Fakhr is a musician from Lebanon. He recorded these songs in the late 1970s in Beirut (and some during a brief exile in Paris). Some were circulated on hand copied cassettes among friends, others like Had To Come Back Wet were never released. His music effortlessly combines folk with touches of jazz and soul. He wrote, composed and arranged all songs. While working on his own music he also played for Ziad Rahbani, Fairouz and other musicians. When we first heard Roger’s music we were blown away! The music was a mixture of folk with touches of other genres. Maybe one could also refer to it as ‘singer-songwriter’, since all of the songs were Roger’s own compositions. Songs of unique beauty both musically as well as lyrically. At the same time they gave me the feeling of them being somehow time and space isolated capsules. Nothing really revealed, where they could’ve been recorded and without knowing it was Beirut, my first guess maybe would have rather been California, sometime in the 1970s. The immersive effect of his compositions and voice are just incredible. I was stunned and proposed Roger to work on a re-release, which he politely declined, saying he had no interest in this music being reissued. CD digipak version comes with a 16-page booklet.”
File Under: Folk, Jazz, Middle East
Green-House: Music for Living Space (Leaving) LP
Gorgeous mood music for plantlife from Olive Ardizoni’s Green-House project, once again painting synth watercolours designed to facilitate the connection between humans and nature. Highly recommended for the good of yr health, especially if work by Ana Roxanne, Mort Garson, Plone, Raymond Scott, Pauline Anna Strom or Ami Dang has resonated with you. Well this is a bit lovely. Los Angeles-based artist Olive Ardizoni first appeared last year with ‘Six Songs for Invisible Gardens’, a record designed as communion between plants and the people who care from them. ‘Music For Living Spaces’ develops the concept with purpose, crafted for spiritual and environmental elevation. Ardizoni’s music is unashamedly retro, crossing vintage electronic treatments with folk sounds and elements of ’80s new age tape music that should be familiar to any regular Leaving Records listeners. On tracks like ‘Sunflower Dance’ and ‘Royal Fern’, they flesh out delicate riffs with Mellotron flutes and brassy synth sounds that could have been snatched from Vangelis’ studio. Elsewhere on ‘Soft Coral’ and ‘Birds of Paradise’ the mood is more in line with an eerie wildlife documentary or psychedelic children’s TV theme. The Fender Rhodes guided shimmer of ‘Find Home’ hits at the apex, featuring Ardizoni’s voice for added resonance – a real standout. ‘Music for Living Spaces’ is basically ‘Plantasia’ with added subs, deployed at a time when our connection with the natural world seems elusive, almost beyond reach. For those of you in need of spiritual nourishment – it’s pure, uncomplicated, life enhancing music.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Sharon Jones: It’s A Holiday Soul Party (Daptone) LP
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are back to help fans get into the holiday spirit with the critically acclaimed, It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Finally back in print and in its third and final incarnation, this modern classic is now sporting a new, shiny red “old style” jacket and candy cane striped vinyl. Kicking off with “8 Days of Hanukkah” – the band’s ode to the festival of light – and rounding out the 11 song set with a festive mix of jubilant originals and reimagined standards, this is the only record you need for your upcoming holiday soirees. Be the envy of the neighborhood by giving the gift of SOUL! this holiday season.
File Under: Funk, Soul, Xmas
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: L.W. Live ’21 (We Are Busy Bodies) LP
Live, bootlegger version of L.W. compiled from 2021 Australian performances. Mastered by Noah Mintz of Lacquer Channel Mastering. The album features a reverse groove and is on clear vinyl.
File Under: Psych
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Paper Mache Dream Balloon (ATO) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizards’ seventh album Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (2015) was recorded using nothing but acoustic instruments. Yet this lovely, lilting pop masterpiece still evokes the intoxicating exuberance of any other KGATLW album, but with a more pastoral, communal feel Limited to 6000 copies worldwide, this limited deluxe edition comes in a lenticular 3-D LP jacket (think “Her Satanic Majesties Request”) with a second LP of acoustic instrumentals and updated artwork by artist Jason Galea. Pressed on blue seagrass & translucent pink vinyl, and wrapped in a plant based eco-bag with Obi-strip, each copy is foil stamped numbered 1-6000.
File Under: Psych
Les Rallizes Denudes: Live ’77 Tachikawa (Mono-Tone) LP
Limited 2021 repress. Mono-Tone Records present a reissue of Les Rallizes Dénudés’s historic performance from 1977 in Tachikawa. This double LP has everything Les Rallizes Dénudés are known for – ear piercing feedback, languid guitar strumming, wild reverberated solos, lurid volume, blasé vocals, and unbelievable intensity, combined for a total sensory assault. Revolutionary and psychedelic, the unlikely meeting of The Velvet Underground and the Japanese Red Army, Les Rallizes Dénudés are among the earliest and most outer Japanese psyche/noise rock’n’roll bands who existed.
File Under: Psych, Japan
Kali Malone: Velocity of Sleep (Xkatedral) LP
A somnambulant modern masterwork, Kali Malone’s 2017 debut full length album is made available again on vinyl some four years since its limited private press of just 100 copies co-released by XKatedral and Bleak Environment. Composed, recorded and produced in Stockholm 2015-2016, ‘Velocity of Sleep’ sees Kali Malone’s work rendered in a septet of strings, gongs, lute, electronics and tape in the vast R1 Reaktorhallen (Sweden’s first nuclear reactor), the electroacoustic studio EMS, and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Her presence is crucial, and liminal, making precise use of tuned sine waves and Studer B67 tape manipulation, while instrumental performance is handled by Peter Söderberg performing on the long-necked Theorbo (a large baroque lute, pictured on the sleeve), Samuel Löfdahl and Oskar Mattsson on Gongs, Vilhelm Bromander on Double Bass, Marta Forsberg on Viola and Adam Grauman on Viola de Gamba – all uniting to produce what feels like a geological time lapse and distillation of European and Indian classical drone musicks. As far as opening solo statements go, ‘Velocity of Sleep’ is among the most memorable to have emerged this past decade from slow music and experimental classical paradigms. Its languorous yet rigorous consolidation of ideas from across the aeons crosses paths with others before her – the musics of Pauline Oliveros, Phill Niblock, Harley Gaber, Oren Ambarchi all spring to mind – but more importantly helped reset the limits of contemporary music in Malone’s own image. The 3-part, 43 minute work is an ideal example of how staid notions of early and classical music have been jettisoned to instead focus on fundamentals of tone, timbre, tuning, space and temporality with a radical and transfixing effect coolly detached from any directly traditional/sacred meanings. Peter Söderberg’s justly tuned Theorbo plucks a slowly evolving additive pattern expanded by frippertronic tape delays on the 20 minute title piece, setting a stark tone for a quietly breathtaking resonance of gongs and floating sine waves in ‘1113’ that rest right on the biting point of sublime dissonance, while ‘In Light of Marwa’ pitches into a sort of raga-folk-drone tuned with the fine, durational intensity recalling Harley Gaber’s ‘The Winds Rise In The North’ and earthy cadence of Pauline Oliveros’ vision, yet somehow concentrated, refreshed in a way that’s best felt, and quite impossible to describe.
File Under: Minimalism, Avant Garde
Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium (Cloud Hill) LP
“Honour our roots, honour our dead”. This mindset found perfect expression in the group’s 2003 debut full-length, DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM, a song cycle inspired by the life and death of the duo’s old friend, artist and provocateur Julio Venegas. Driven by furious, muscular, syncopated drums and frenetic guitar parts, bending obtuse grooves to its will and twisting off in passionate, cathartic descarga and merging with the iconic work of producer Rick Rubin DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM became a global phenomenon. Omar Rodríguez-López produced the album alongside Rick Rubin at Rubin’s The Mansion studio in Malibu. Rubin and his studio had been recommended to Omar by his friend, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, who’d recorded their Blood Sugar Sex Magik at The Mansion some years before. Frusciante lent guitar and synthesiser to Cicatriz ESP, while Chili Peppers bassist Flea stepped into the breach left by the outgoing Eva Gardner. The fruitful bond between The Mars Volta and the Chili Peppers would only be strengthened by subsequent tours together that helped De-Loused In The Comatorium become a global phenomenon. But the true credit for the album belongs with Omar and Cedric, who sweat blood and moved mountains to do justice to their new group’s concept and potential, to bring their impossible visions to the world intact, and to honour their roots and honour their death.
File Under: Rock
Not Waving: What Is Normal Today (Ecstatic) LP
Not Waving meets Silvia Fendi – 3rd generation matriarch and creative director of Fendi – on a primo LP of Italo pop élan, offering a rich counterpoint to his run of more introspective sides with Mark Lanegan and with the likes of Jonnine and Marie Davidson. The project began in January when Not Waving was commissioned to compose the soundtrack for Fendi’s FW21-22 Men Fashion Show. Fendi supplied voice notes explaining the themes and inspirations which were then fed through Natalizia’s battery of FX and arcane processes to create a modernist eulogy to elegance and drama. There’s a sort of perverse art-meets-commerce theme running through the title track that reminds us of those gauche Kompakt rooftop pool parties that were all the rage with pitchfork writers back in the mid-late 2000’s, but once you get passed that you feel Natalizia twisting the brief to his own ends – be it on the padded/morose downstrokes of the gorgeous “Rainbows Appear” or the more funereal ‘An Infinite Spectrum’, like some schaffel monster deployed at half time. On ‘I Wanted To Talk To You’ Not Waving’s full pop chops come out at their most delirious and best, chanelling the camp majesty of Pet Shop Boys via Villalobos’ Sei Es Drum gems, before closer ‘And Darkness’ casts a shadow with its pining pads, angelic chorales and slow arpeggio – as Fendi ponders wistfully over the top. A proper curio.
File Under: Electronic
Ian Carr’s Nucleus: Roots (Be With) LP
Be With Records present a reissue of Ian Carr’s Nucleus’ Roots, originally released on Vertigo in 1973. From the wild cover to the iconic breakbeats, Roots is thick, funky-prog jazz-rock heaven. Genius trumpeter and visionary composer Ian Carr was a true pioneer and saw the potential in fusing the worlds of jazz with rock, just as Miles Davis and The Tony Williams Lifetime did in the US. In late 1969, following the demise of the Rendell-Carr quintet, and tiring of British jazz, Carr assembled the legendary Nucleus. Under bandleader Carr, Nucleus existed as a fluid line-up of inventive, skilled musicians. Working together with producer Fritz Fryer and engineer Roger Wake, the seven compositions by Carr, Brian Smith and Dave MacRae that make up Roots flirt with perfection, and Nucleus at that time made up of the cream of 1970s UK jazz with Brian Smith on tenor saxophones and flutes, Dave MacRae on piano and electric piano, Jocelyn Pitchen on guitar, Roger Sutton on bass, both Clive Thacker and Aureo De Souza on drums and percussion, Joy Yates delivering the vocals and of course Carr on trumpet. The title track is a low-slung, doped-out heist-funk. It was sampled by Madlib for Lootpack and Quasimoto’s “Loop Digga”. The soothing vocal fusion delight of “Images” follows. Meticulously constructed, with gorgeous flute work from Brian Smith, with Joy Yates’ silky vocals and Dave MacRae’s Rhodes never sounding better. The cool, driving “Caliban” closes out the first side. Originally the third movement in a four-part commission to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday it stands up on its own, all robust rhythms and blended brass. Keyboard color and Carr’s trumpet are splashed across the funk drums and basslines (and there’s even some bamboo flute). Side two opens with the short, thrilling samba of “Wapatiti”. Next up, “Capricorn” forms a smoothed-out, jazzy constellation. Mellow and dreamy, its twinkling percussion and languid horns slowly build the vibe before head-nod drums and a killer bassline enter the fray. With a distinct heaviness that Black Sabbath would’ve envied, “Odokamona” is a venomous slice of riff-soaked jazz metal, elevated by Carr’s wah-wah horns. The album closes with MacRae’s exceptionally cosmic “Southern Roots And Celebration”. Very much in conversation with Weather Report, it opens as a languorous, spiritual jazz of chiming keys and serene guitar that turns slowly, gorgeously into a mid-paced, brass-laced banger. Keith Davis’s cover art for Roots is an acid-tinged airbrush dystopian/utopian living-room party scene. Remastered by Simon Francis from the original Vertigo master tapes. Cut by Pete Norman.
File Under: Jazz, Prog
Nueen: Nova Lium (Good Morning Tapes) LP
Gorgeous Balearic floatation tank vibes from another choice debutant to Good Morning Tapes, introducing Nueen with a romantically introspective suite of fluttering electronic productions gilded with glyding subbass, highly recommended if yr into the sferic label, Bola/0161-era Skam, Eno & Budd, Roméo Poirier or Perila. Blessed with a play of warmth and dappled light recognisable to anyone who has visited or lives in the Mediterranean, ‘Nova Llum’ presents Nueen’s diaristic account of days lolling and contemplating life in the Balearic isles. Drawing inspiration from its sunbleached rocky mountains and brilliant blue waters unusually devoid of lobster-tanned holidayers during lockdown, Nueen lets his mind and arps drift unimpeded across the landscape in nine sublime parts with a sound bound to appeal to lovers of classic Eno & Budd or Roméo Poirier as much as strains of vapourwave, Perila’s ASMR textures and cult Grabaciones Accidentales. With a light touch Nueen takes us there, beautifully evoking a slippage of time from afternoon to noche between the glitching butterfly net sweeps capturing the isle’s sleepy ambience in ‘Once You Have It,’ to the shimmering shorelights of ‘Viejo Roble del Camino’ that draw the album’s velvet curtains to a close. Where the backdrops feel still, ancient, natural, Nueen channels a gently vibrant human energy via his melodic and harmonic signature, with daubs of field recordings lending an intangible effervescence to the the tip-of-tongue strings in ‘Centro Gris,’ and with sparing use of percussion and subs giving it a sort of subliminal drive and saline buoyancy, especially in the skin-stroking bliss of ‘Hum.’ It’s an effortlessly gratifying and transportive album, thankfully not on the government’s red or amber lists so you can come and go as you please.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
OST: Ghostbusters II (Sony) LP
The superstars of the supernatural reunite to battle an enormous underground river of slime that threatens New York City in this hilarious 1989 sequel to Ivan Reitman’s 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters. For the first time ever – 32 years after the film’s 1989 release – the Original Motion Picture Score to Ghostbusters II will be available on gatefold colored vinyl LP from Sony Classical. The album includes original tracks as well as three newly re-recorded tracks and an additional track originally recorded for Ghostbusters II but not featured in the film.
File Under: OST
Para One: Spectre: Machines of Loving Grace (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records announce the release of Para One’s new album SPECTRE: Machines of Loving Grace. The new album by Para One, whose real name is Jean-Baptiste de Laubier could be called fiction. Six years after Club, eight years after Passion (BEC 5161202/5161203), this lover of electronic music, who has also been putting his sensitivity to the service of movies (soundtracks for Céline Sciamma in particular) opens with this record a new dimension in his artistic career. Allow oneself and maybe above all confront oneself — with one’s childhood, with one’s childhood’s ghosts, and what fantasies, ideals, memories, and grey areas they harbor. He had to go back — without giving up on his position as an adult, as a full-fledged artist — to the sources of his imagination, to the moment when music was holding almost mystical power. And then revisit it to make something new out of it. Machines of Loving Grace has an investigation around a family secret and the father figure as its starting point. For the musician/producer, this personal, identity quest doubles with a quest for sound. Machines of Loving Grace is both the story behind and the result of it. After defining the structure of the album, Para One went exploring the sounds, and the figureheads that shaped his sensibility as a musician: soundtracks of Japanese anime watched hundreds of times; Indonesian drums and gamelan; the peculiar harmonies, on the verge of dissonance of Bulgarian Voices; Steve Reich’s minimal music; or Detroit techno music. Several trips, to Bali, Japan, and also Bulgaria, have thus fueled the album, clashing with and shaping the electronic architectures of Para One. In Bali, he went deep into the jungle with the Suar Agung Group, who play jegog, a particular form of gamelan, to record the astounding “Silicon Jungle”. In Sofia, he met with the Mystère des voix Bulgares group. The choir illuminates “Shin Sekai”, one of the most beautiful tracks in the album, that could be seen as a manifesto: like some emotional and cultural overlap, it blends percussions recorded with KODO on the island of Sado in Japan, violin played by Arthur Simonini, treated as if it were Arvo Pärt, and a very trance-like electronic arpeggio. It is also representative of the multiple weaving, between machine and human hand, acoustic and electronic textures, ritual practices and contemporary arrangements, which run through the record and make up its mystery, its oddness. Half speed mastered on 180 gram vinyl; housed in a heavy sleeve with UV spot varnish.
File Under: Electronic, OST
Persona: Som (Black Sweat) LP
Black Sweat Records present a reissue of Persona’s Som, originally released in 1975. What is the object with the most sensational magical and alchemical properties, if not glass? A permeable membrane that filters the real through the unconscious, an access portal with divinatory and therapeutic qualities, the glass has always been seen as the guardian of daring allegories and symbols. Aware of this, the artist Roberto Campadello conceived “The Game of Persona”, in the context of an installation for the XII Biennale of Sao Paolo in 1973. Discovering the visual properties of gilded glass, he investigated the effects of the overlay of images, a mysterious moment of transparency in which two single people melt into the reflection of the image, creating a single fantastic person. Thus, his “Casa Dourada”, also became the space for “Intro-nautical Journeys”: meditations and cosmic dances. The history of this LP (originally published in a 10″ box set, in 1975) starts right to support those collective initiation sessions. Each track is inspired by an I Ching element (Mountain, Heaven, Earth, Water, Lake, Wind) which represented a primary source of inspiration for Campadello. The dreamlike and occult sound not only suggest the atmosphere of that experience but still reveal the echoes of the best season of the Brazilian rock and Tropicalismo. The music has been composed and played by Roberto Campadello and the Brazilian super-star guitarist Luis Carlini, the leader of the Rita Lee’s band Tutti Frutti. Fuzz guitars, dirty percussion, Echoplex delays, are the perfect elements for the final trip into your own consciousness. Includes two unreleased tracks, an amazing booklet, and poster. Co-produced with nossos amigos Nada Nada Discos.
File Under: Electronic, Psych, Brazil
Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin: $mokebreak (Lex) LP
The $mokebreak EP follows Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin’s critically acclaimed 2020 debut album FlySiifu’s and further explores the musical community they’ve assembled around their imagined FlySiifu’s record store. Now FlySiifu welcome their friends Fousheé, Chuck Strangers, ZelooperZ, MAVI, YUNGMORPHEUS, Koncept Jack$on, Big Kahuna OG, 3wayslim and Peso Gordon into the store and onto the mic, with beats provided by Black Noi$e, Ahwlee, Budgie, Ohbliv, Graymatter, ewonee, and iiye. Don’t miss the video for their posse cut ‘Tha Divide’, featuring ZelooperZ, MAVI, and Koncept Jack$on, shot by Elijah Maura on a cold night in NYC. “a wild taste of what the two artists can create just by reaching into their inner circles” SPIN
File Under: Hip Hop
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Jellyfish Reproduce Black Magic (Hospital) LP
Jellyfish Reproduce Black Magic is the companion EP to the Flying Fish Ambience album by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement (HOS 670LP). The nature of a “permanent record” whether digital or encrypted in the fossilized remains of evolutionary anthropomorphic species or “economic DNA” left behind only further supersedes “artificial reality” of environmental imprints. The alternative “occult economy” is both reproducing and perpetuating a lethal lifeforce. The essential premise of rainforest remains “artificial spaces” and “synthetic nature” where superstition and fantasy meet, collide, and decay. The moment one discovers that they themselves are the monuments and ruins at the journey’s end destination.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
R.E.M.: New Adventures in Hi-Fi (Craft) LP
Craft Recordings celebrate the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s tenth studio album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi with a newly remastered 180g vinyl 2LP reissue cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, pressed at RTI, and featuring a replicate of the original gatefold package. First released in September 1996, New Adventures in Hi-Fi endures as one of R.E.M.’s most acclaimed albums and stands as a favorite among band members and fans alike. The album was a global success, achieving platinum certification in the US and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Elsewhere, the album went to No. 1 in more than a dozen countries and was named as one of the best albums of the year by such outlets as Rolling Stone, Spin, Mojo, Entertainment Weekly, and the NME. Over the decades, the title has achieved cult status, with several press retrospectives ranking it among the top albums in R.E.M.’s rich catalog. Recorded at the height of their fame, New Adventures in Hi-Fi also marks R.E.M.’s final album with drummer and founding member Bill Berry, who left the group amicably the following year. Perhaps most remarkable, however, is that the album found the band taking a unique creative approach: writing and recording much of the LP on the road, during their 1995 Monster tour. While writing new material on the road wasn’t an unusual feat for R.E.M., New Adventures was unlike anything they had done before. As they embarked on tour, the band sought to create an abstract travelogue documenting every emotion and experience as it happened. “We wanted to make a record about being on the road without singing about being on the road,” bassist Mike Mills explains in the liner notes. “The idea was that the feeling of being on the road would come through in the sound and feel of the record itself.” The band traveled with a mobile recording truck, capturing new songs on an 8-track during soundchecks (as well as in various backstage areas and on the tour bus). “The idea was, ‘Let’s challenge ourselves,'” guitarist Peter Buck recalls. “My feeling was, it’ll show exactly where we’re at right now in a way that maybe some of the records don’t at all. This record was just an attempt to be who we were at that minute.” The year-long outing, which began in January 1995, marked R.E.M.’s first tour in six years. As one of the biggest bands in the world, the quartet played to packed arenas across North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, with support from acts like Sonic Youth and Radiohead. But along the way, the tour was marred by medical emergencies. In March, Berry collapsed on stage from an aneurism and spent the next month recuperating. Mills, meanwhile, underwent intestinal surgery in June. A month later, Stipe had emergency surgery for a hernia (which, he asserts, occurred while performing the song, “Undertow”). After the band returned from the eventful – yet highly successful – run of dates, they entered the studio with their longtime producer, Scott Litt, to record a few final tracks and put finishing touches on others. Among them was the epic, seven-minute-long “Leave;” “E-Bow the Letter,” featuring backing vocals from the legendary singer-songwriter Patti Smith; “New Test Leper,” which Buck proclaims is his favorite R.E.M. song; and “How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us,” one of several songs on the album inspired by Stipe’s experiences living in Los Angeles. Upon its release, New Adventures in Hi-Fi marked R.E.M.’s longest studio album, with a total run-time of 65 minutes. Filled with cinematic storytelling, haunting effects, and dissonant notes, New Adventures in Hi-Fi found R.E.M. exploring diverse sonic territories – particularly in songs like “Low Desert,” which, Berry describes, is “just dusty and kind of slow and it’s swampy…I feel isolated when I listen to that song, but it’s a good thing.” Stipe adds that the song offers such questions as, “‘What are we doing in the desert? What are we doing in the American West? What are we doing in this unlivable, uninhabitable place?'” Other tracks, like “Departure” and “The Wake-Up Bomb” deliver classic R.E.M. rock vibes. The band looks back on New Adventures in Hi-Fi with great pride. Buck, perhaps, sums it up best. “Most records, you go in the studio and you just do ’em. And years later all you really remember is vaguely where you stayed, and the songs and the recording process. But this one I remember every bit of it. It was an experience. It was fucking tough, but we made a record. And it was as challenging as anything I’ve ever done.”
File Under: Rock
Shuttle 358: Chessa (Keplar) LP
Keplar reissues the fourth album Chessa by Dan Abrams’ project Shuttle358 on vinyl for the first time. The double LP edition includes three previously unreleased tracks from the same recording sessions back in 2004, as well as an extended artwork with unseen photographs by Dan Abrams. While undoubtedly associated with the microsound and “clicks & cuts” movement around the turn of the millennium, on Chessa, Shuttle358 left behind the classical rhythmic patterns of the genre and shifted further towards warmer territories, meandering between modern digital minimalism and the soft tones of ambient music. Counter to his microsound synthesis approach on Frame (2000), Abrams created Chessa by writing software that manipulated samples from his unreleased songs, guitar pieces, and vintage Japanese films sampled from video tape. In particular, a special granulating technique was written and performed at intentionally low sample rates that gave the uniquely fragile, yet dense sound to the album. Over fourteen tracks, Abrams arranges slowly evolving sonic entities of unfading elegance. Strayed and hazy melodies pulse and cascade, elongated but brittle harmonies shimmer and disappear, echoing far-off in the rounded corners of the mind. The patient and detailed way Abrams combines the broken with the beautiful in creating organic collages of sound that retain the euphonic essence of a song, makes this piece of work so powerful and timeless, sounding just as relevant today, as it did upon release. Under modern scrutiny in Abrams latest studio, he refocused the original recordings to emphasize the elements most important to the original vision. The final mastering and vinyl preparation was done in collaboration with Stephan Mathieu, vinyl was cut by LUPO. From the original press release in 2004 by Taylor Deupree: “… Chessa is the third release from Abrams’ Shuttle358 moniker on 12k and he continues to do what he does best: attempt to move microsound away from the world of theory and towards absolute real life. Like his photographs, Chessa is music about, and to be listened to in, unexpected places. It is a narrative, a simple slice of life that plays out through the incidental photography of the cover artwork. To achieve this Abrams fuses irregular granular sound particles, like the movements of everyday life, with a deliberate melodic base that captures emotion and simplicity.” Edition of 500; includes printed inner sleeves and download code.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Slayer: Live Undead (Metal Blade) LP
Formed in 1981, Slayer assaulted the world with a new hybrid of metal and punk – heavier, faster and darker than the rest – and set a new standard, defining not only a genre, but an attitude. Throughout Slayer’s history, the band never faltered in unleashing their extreme and focused aural assault, and repudiating temptations, always choosing to remain crushing and brutal, steadfastly refusing to cater to the mainstream. In October 2021 the five-time nominated, two-time Grammy winners deliver a suite of vinyl reissues of their classic records Show No Mercy (1983), Haunting the Chapel (1984), Live Undead (1984), and Hell Awaits (1985) via Metal Blade Records. Live Undead features five tracks from Slayer’s debut, Show No Mercy which was issued a year prior, one cut from the three-song Haunting The Chapel EP and the non-album track “Aggressive Perfector.” The songs fundamentally follow the heavy handed arrangements of their studio counterparts, but are enhanced with an added energy and menace that was vital to Slayer’s exciting early period.
File Under: Metal
Snail Mail: Valentine (Matador) LP
Valentine was written and produced by Lindsey Jordan and co-produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee). Written in 2019-2020 the album is filled with romance, heartbreak, blood, sweat and tears. The sonic leap forward can be heard from the first moments of the title track – the whispered voice and eerie synths erupting into a full-on stadium-sized adrenaline-rush of a chorus. From there it’s all go – with electronic anthems, baroque FM rockers, smoldering slow-jam R&B, and heart rendering finger-picked ballads. The star of the show however is Lindsey’s voice. Her vocals and words are rawer, deeper, snarlier, and more feeling than ever before.
File Under: Indie Rock
SND: 456 (SND) 3LP
Utterly unmissable first ever reissue of SND’s god-tier triple pack, cruelly out of print since 2008, now finally available to discerning dancers/DJs – packing a pinnacle of avant-dance beat science certain to connect with fans of garage, UKF, footwork and experimental techno. If yr into owt from Beatrice Dillon to Timbaland, Ryoji Ikeda to El-B, Autechre to The Neptunes – this is a must have… and an education. A peerless masterclass in nanoscopic funk editing, ‘4,5,6’ has never been bettered in our books. It originally arrived as a limited pressing of 300 x 3LPs in 2008 but has been sorely notable by its lack of availability ever since, often leading us to offer wild handed descriptions to bewildered mates, who, even if they looked for 2nd hand copies, would still be stumped as nobody in their right mind is selling a set. However that is all corrected with this new edition, representing one of the most crucial reissues of the decade and an unmissable opportunity to revel in some of Mark Fell and Mat Steel’s finest work, bar none. When it landed in 2008, a decade after SND’s seminal early trio of self-releases, ‘4,5,6’ frankly took our heads off. It marked a leap in form from their self explanatory ‘Tender Love’ LP of 2002 with a return to their early EPs’ avant club focus, but drawing on processes and tekkers they had sharply refined over the interim. Aspects of the deep house, garage and computer music that originally inspired them are rendered inside out, revealing and recalibrating their mechanics in something like an iridescent Haynes manual one could dance to, or simply marvel at if the legs weren’t willing. It stood out a mile from the rote minimal techno and dubstep of the time, which had started moving in the “future garage” direction by 2008, and effectively gave the sharpest side-eye to that sound, innovating-not-imitating in order to update and galvanise the original ‘90s forms with visionary mix of pointillist and mercurial flex. But, no mistake, for all its radical restructuring of garage and related styles, the results aren’t intended for chin stroking: they’re a direct, physically urgent extension of Mark and Mat’s deeeep love of dance and electronic music, itself rooted in original synth-pop/industrial and the first wave of US deep house/garage/techno that took their generation, and cities such as Sheffield, by the balls. In 2021, the ten tracks of ‘4,5,6’ are effectively (give or take) equidistant from the original wave and now, and uncannily stand futureproofed by their vacuum-sealed reductionism and metallic lustre. However in many cases they’re still too much for DJs who all too often patronise their crowds with predictable pap. But if you’re a rare one, the likes of ‘C1’ are utterly primed to get fader chopped with early Roska riddims, and ‘E1’ is waiting to be threaded with Autechre and El-B’s most advanced funk, while the rest offers myriad options for interpretation at the craftiest hands. Basically, if you don’t already know this stuff; no excuses.
File Under: Electronic
Son of Chi/Radboud Mens: Transitions Recordings (Astral Industries) LP
As one chapter closes, another opens. Following the passing of group member J.Derwort in 2019, Hanyo van Oosterom’s legacy work brings about the next evolution of the Chi project: Son of Chi. AI-25 sees subtle developments in the sound and expansion of tonal vocabulary, whilst retaining the organic instrumentation and rapturous dreamtime narratives. Flourishes of piano float elegantly with poise, and long-drawn flutes breathe life into the shifting landscape. Shadows play in the thick vegetal overgrowth; the air is heavy with the scent of age-old evocations. Speakers drift in-and-out of undulating reverie, forgotten transmissions from the repository of consciousness. Against the wide backdrop of the harsh and wild unknown, a feeling of peace resides within. Night and day gradually collapse into one another, as loops of lapping textures glisten quietly with mystical beauty.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Sunburned Hand of the Man: Pick a Day to Die (Three Lobed) LP
“Pick A Day to Die” is the first proper studio album from Sunburned Hand of the Man in 10 years (A, Ecstatic Peace!). You would be forgiven if you had forgotten in the interim but while Sunburned is fully committed to vast, ritualistic summonings, they were perhaps uniquely capable of channeling that cosmic funk. There’s a throb and a groove to the music that made it as much body music as head music. This is “free your ass” weirdness that chugs and bounces. It makes us want to get out of our heads where we’ve all been trapped these past months and drive on the freeway or bop down the street. Pick A Die to Die. Sure, but definitely not today. The album marks a resurfacing of one of the great underheralded psych outfits to roam over the past two plus decades. Join TLR in the cult of Sunburned.
File Under: Psych
Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising (Sub PoP) LP
The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down – there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood aka Natalie Mering, has designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist. Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising – which was written and recorded during the first half of 2018, after three albums and years of touring – as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Xphresh: Xephon (X3L/Experiences LTD) LP
bblisss specialists special guest dj and Ben Bondy’s Berlin/Brooklyn duo, xphresh, debut a lush volley of shatterproof jungle accelerators and RPG intrigued illbient beatdown on the newly minted 3XL division of Experiences Ltd, finding a gaseous spot somewhere between DJ Crystl’s pioneering ambient hardcore and NWAQ x Final Fantasy ‘xephon’ is a dream fusion by two distinctive, dextrous catalysts of the current flux between dance and ambient poles. In five shots they careen from sublime junglist tension to subaquatic dub wooze, disembodied shoegaze and cyberpunk illbient gunk with a wickedly unresolved, fractal quality that’s a real pleasure to sink into. As pillars of a scene that’s emerged and helped reshape, displace definitions of “ambient” and “dance” music over the past few years in particular, their collision of energies here feels to model a lush form of quantum mechanics; evoking the sensation of existing in multiple states of emotional and physical excitement simultaneously. Scaling between the gyring junglist roil of its title track and the post-club gouch out of ‘eikon’, xphresh hit squarely between their dilated 3rd eyes with a proper, rushy thizz. The ephemeral ballistics of ‘xephon’ are effectively congealed into the charged sot-dubstep plasma of ‘myst’, while ‘luh’ passes out into radiant choral bliss on the “up” side, contrasting with a deep sink into the queasy belly of 4 Hero’s Macro Dub Infection all-timer ‘The Paranormal In 4 Forms’ on ‘scum break’, before they yield to the mazy emotional rip currents of their closing beauty. At each stage it’s easy to pick out their reference points, but their natural ambiguity and restless style means their coordinates are never fixed, always in search of an elusive ghost particle that’s in the shine-eye of the beholder.
File Under: Electronic
Various: Driftless Dreamers: In Cuca Country (Numero) LP
Home to Cuca Records and hundreds of Nashville-fantasizing pluckers and singers, Wisconsin’s Driftless region was a hotbed of country music in the 1960s. Influenced by old-timey ethnic songs, Bakersfield outlaws, countrypolitan rainbows, and the lonesome twang of every rural route roadhouse, these 17 Driftless Dreamers washed up at Jim Kirchstein’s Sauk City record plant with little more than $100 and a longing. Collected here are the fruits of Cuca’s documentary approach to record making, capturing the voices and stories of a culture and glacier in abatement.
File Under: Country, Folk
Amyl & the Sniffers: Comfort to Me (ATO) LP
Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works (R&S) LP
Nik Bartsch: Entendre (ECM) LP
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Capitol) LP
Black Unity Trio: Al-Fatihah (Gotta Groove) LP
Art Blakey: Moanin’ (Blue Note) LP
Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger in the Alps (Dead Oceans) LP
Congos: Heart of the Congos (VP) 3LP
dB’s: I Thought You Wanted to Know LP
Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg (4AD) LP
Ryo Fukui: Mellow Dream (WRWTFWW) LP
Freddie Hubbard: Hub-Tones (Blue Note) LP
Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos: Rockstone (Colemine) LP
Kenji Kawai: Ghost in the Shell (WRWTFWW) LP
King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King (Panegyric) LP
KMD: Bl_ck B_st_rds (Metal Face) LP
LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (DFA) LP
Felisha Ledesma: Fringe (Ecstatic) LP
James Brandon Lewis & Red Lily Quintet: Jesup Wagon (Tao) LP
Hailu Mergia & The Wlias: Tezeta (Awesome Tapes From Africa) LP
MF Doom: Operation Doomsday (Metal Face) LP
Mogwai: As the Love Continues (Temporary Residence) LP
Mouse Rat: The Awesome Album (Dualtone) LP
My Morning Jacket: s/t (ATO) LP
JC Nachon: La Femme LP
O Yuki Conjugate: Equator (Aguirre) LP
Lee Perry: Super Ape (Get on Down) LP
Placebo: Live 1971 (We Release Jazz) LP
Rural Alberta Advantage: Departing (Paper Bag) LP
Scientist: Wins the World Cup (Dub Mir) LP
Wayne Shorter: All Seeing Eye (Blue Note) LP
Skegss: Rehearal (Loma Vista) LP
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (Universal) LP
Vladislav Delay: Multila (Keplar) LP