…..news letter #1030 – week…..

Hectic week around here. Shipments everywhere! Lots of new stuff and restocks. 

As previously mentioned, in line with current health restrictions we are operating as below..

– 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 4 people 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…..

j: my seat and weep (Daisart) LP
Justin Cantrell’s debut J album finds him skating into delicate locations, marrying faded piano and delicate electronics with gusty radio static and frozen pads. Cantrell is better known for his recordings under the Ju Ca moniker, or his collaborations with mdo as picnic. As J, he reduces his sound to a whisper, gently manipulating environmental hums and crackles into a poetic wisp of harmony and microscopic sound. “my seat and week” is an album that requires close listening, and when you focus your attention, the details make themselves present. Like the lilting rhythm Cantrell extracts from piano on the title track, disturbing the natural pacing of the keys by digitally stuttering the sounds, or the faint sine chimes on ‘you take each others breath away…’ that beat quietly beneath an insectoid hum. Subtle spoken word from Angelina Nonaj elevate ‘more room to breathe in’, slipping between the gaps in Cantrells piano, while cello from Abby Sundborn gives a melancholy distance to ‘a healing tear’.  All together it’s a varied set, that highlights Cantrell’s community approach to his craft – the warmth is palpable.

File Under: Ambient
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Huerco S: For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) (Proibito) LP
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition… Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012. Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows. Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon. Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.

File Under: Ambient
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Horacio Vaggione: La Maquina De Cantar (Dialogo) LP
Horacio Vaggione (born 21 January 1943) is an Argentinian composer of electro-acoustic and instrumental music who specializes in micromontage, granular synthesis, and microsound and whose pieces are often scored for performers and computers (mixed music). His music is regularly played worldwide in major centers and festivals of contemporary music. La Maquina de Cantar is his first solo recorded work; originally released on the Italian Cramps Records label as the 18th volume of the Nova Musicha series dedicated to contemporary avant-garde composers, La Maquina de Cantar is now made available again on Dialogo in a faithful reproduction of the original gatefold cover artwork, including also an inner sleeve with the English translation of the liner notes.

File Under: Electronic, Avant Garde
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…..new arrivals…..

Afro Soul Prophecy: Heat in the City (Schema) LP
The Afro Soul Prophecy is an atypical musical project, out of time and trends, as evidenced by a several years gestation that has finally ended with the release of “Heat in the City”, an album that includes all the songs ever recorded, some of which have already been published in 2017 on 7” (SC716, “Red Light District / The Game of Love” – SC717, “Daddy’s Groove / Let Me Be your Lover”) and 10” records (SCEB002, with three different versions of “The Devil Made Me Do It”). The Afro Soul Prophecy was born thanks to the initiative of Luciano Cantone, co-founder of Schema Records, here also spiritual leader and producer of the project. “Heat in the City” is an almost completely instrumental album that finds its strength in its simplicity and balance between parts. The songs’ composer is Alex Puddu, well-known especially for his “Golden Age of Danish Pornography” disco-sex-funk triptych, surrounded by a long series of international artists who gave musical life to his ideas: Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa (Ethiopia, drums and percussion), Antti Lötjönen (Finland, double bass), Georgios Kontrafouris (Greece, Wurlitzer and Hammond), Timo Lassy (Finland, saxophone), Gendrickson “Pucci” Mena (Cuba, trumpet), Massimo Martellotta (Italy, guitar) and Morten Grønvad (Denmark, vibraphone). The Afro Soul Prophecy’s sound and groove are exquisitely black, but so rich of shades that require in-depth listening to be fully assimilated and to understand the overall range of “Heat in the City”, a record that draws inspiration from The Meters, War and Roy Ayers’ downbeat funk, but also indulges in afrobeat (The Devil Made Me Do It), Latin (Let Me Be Your Lover, The Game of Love, Daddy’s Groove) and disco contaminations (Everybody’s Going Uptown, Fire in Acapulco, Mean Street), while “Summer of ’75” and “The Crowd Pleaser” evoke pure urban blaxploitation scenarios. All these influences are fully rooted in this album, making it almost mystical and visionary, as if the aforementioned music genres scenarios could materialize in front of the listener’s eyes. “Heat in the City” owes most of its qualities to the fundamental contribution of Abdissa Assefa on percussion and Antti Lötjönen on double bass – a particular and atypical instrument in a context like this, as well as to Pietro Ciancaglini’s arrangements. The overall result, wide-ranging and full of hidden details, is the ultimate consequence of the multi-ethnic nature of this project, which involved musicians from all over the world; once again, the language of music has contributed to unite different cultures and to erase distances in the creation of “Heat in the City”, an album that needs multiple listenings to be discovered in full.

File Under: Afrobeat, Funk
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The Band: Cahoots (Capitol) LP
Capitol/UMe celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Band’s classic fourth album, Cahoots, with an all new remix and remaster by Bob Clearmountain. This half-speed mastered 180g vinyl LP edition was overseen by principal songwriter Robbie Robertson and sports a new stereo mix by Clearmountain from the original multi-track masters. As with the acclaimed 50th anniversary collections for the winning trio of Music From Big Pink, the self-titled record and Stage Fright, Clearmountain and Robertson’s approach to remixing Cahoots was undertaken with the utmost care and respect for the music and what The Band represents. That said, Robertson’s instructions for how his right-hand mixing partner should handle the Cahoots mixes possessed one key difference: Robertson wanted Clearmountain to transform them based on what he felt was lacking from the original mixes. Clearmountain shares, “Robbie told me, ‘Just think of the original mixes as rough mixes. Pretty much don’t pay attention to the mixes themselves.'” This directive gave Clearmountain the leeway to unclutter some of the album’s original arrangements, all with Robertson’s blessing: “In the beginning of these sessions, we didn’t know if we were making another Basement Tapes where nobody would hear the music or if we were actually making a real record,” Robertson admits. Though Robertson felt the first three Band records wound up sounding better due to a combination of how today’s technology actually enhances the limitations of yesterday’s technology, he doubled down with his instructions to Clearmountain for Cahoots: “I told Bob, ‘There are no rules. So, every mix we do, I want to start from scratch. I don’t even want to listen to the original. I want to listen to the way we hear it now and be fearless and experimental with it.” Clearly, Clearmountain took Robertson’s wishes to heart as is instantly evident in the greater clarity of the punch of the drums and bass and how putting guitar and organ lines a bit back in the mix enables certain vocal elements to be more out front. Concludes Robertson, “This is what I really meant. This is the honesty of this now. This is a trip. This is something special.” Originally released on September 15, 1971, Cahoots contains a number of The Band’s best-loved and most enduring songs, including “Life Is A Carnival” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” As recounted in the liner notes, longtime Band road manager Jonathan Taplin notes how “Carnival” was born in part out of Robertson’s infatuation with some of the more peculiar characters on display in Marcel Carné’s 1945 film Les Enfants du Paradise, not to mention his having worked on the midway at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in his youth. In addition to The Band’s own impeccable style of groove-making, the song’s Mardi Gras-esque atmospherics are also due to legendary New Orleans R&B producer Allen Toussaint having been deployed to compose a most excellent, and decidedly funky, horn arrangement to buttress the track. Meanwhile, “When I Paint My Masterpiece” ensued from a visit by lifelong Band compadre Bob Dylan, an instant classic that’s bolstered by Levon Helm’s mandolin and Garth Hudson’s accordion, both of which lent the track a European feel that best matched Dylan’s lyrical axis. Incidentally, Cahoots features another guest of note who also happened to be a Woodstock resident at the time: namely, Van Morrison, who adds his indelible vocal stamp to “4% Pantomime.” One afternoon, Morrison stopped by Robertson’s writing studio, heard Robertson noodling on some chord changes and a melody on piano, and the next thing anyone knew, Morrison was singing and creating lyrics on the spot while looking right at Richard Manuel. Morrison (whom Robertson dubbed the “Belfast Cowboy”) was so galvanized by the tune that he suggested they all head to the studio to cut it that same night. A few hours and a few false starts later, “4% Pantomime” was officially on tape. In the finished version, Morrison and Richard Manuel trade impassioned face-to-face vocals captured only a few feet apart (with Manuel also turning in double duty on piano), Levon Helm supplying the unmistakable backbeat, and Garth Hudson adding all the right organ fills.  Cahoots peaked at No. 21 on Billboard, marking The Band’s fourth consecutive Top 30 album appearance. Fifty years on, Cahoots remains a stone-cold masterpiece, reinforced with a vibrant and refreshing new stereo mix. Believe it or not, Cahoots is most definitely worth more than “two bits a shot.”

File Under: Rock
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Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: First Flight to Tokyo (Blue Note) LP
Blue Note Records presents First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings, a thrilling previously unreleased live recording of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers captured at Hibiya Public Hall in Tokyo on January 14, 1961 during the band’s first-ever tour of Japan. The Jazz Messengers were among the first modern jazz groups to tour the country, and adoring Japanese audiences were enthralled by one of the band’s all-time great line-ups featuring the legendary drummer with Lee Morgan on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Bobby Timmons on piano, and Jymie Merritt on bass. The concert featured soaring performances of well-known jazz staples including Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time,” Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round About Midnight,” and Jazz Messenger hits including “Blues March,” “Dat Dere,” and “Moanin’.” First Flight to Tokyo was co-produced by Zev Feldman and David Weiss and is available here on deluxe vinyl 2LP with an elaborate booklet featuring rare photos by Japanese photographers Shunji Okura and Hozumi Nakadaira and an historical essay by acclaimed jazz critic Bob Blumenthal plus new interviews with Wayne Shorter in conversation with Blue Note president Don Was, celebrated saxophonist Lou Donaldson, Japanese jazz star Sadao Watanabe, renowned Japanese music critic Reiko Yukawa, Blakey’s son Takashi Blakey, and a trio of drum greats: Louis Hayes, Billy Hart and Cindy Blackman Santana. Audio was newly transferred from the original ¼” tape reels, and the vinyl edition was mastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed on 180g vinyl at Record Technology Inc. (RTI). “The performances were captured at the end of a tour that resulted after Blakey was crowned in a Japanese magazine poll as the American musician that the country’s jazz fans were most eager to experience in person,” writes Blumenthal in the liner notes. “Over the first two weeks of January 1961 the Messengers performed in several major Japanese cities and were received as artistic heroes wherever they appeared. This outpouring by the Japanese public, plus the concert and broadcast settings in which the band was presented, were a far cry from the treatment and working conditions commonplace in the USA and made a great impact on Blakey, who responded with a keen appreciation of his newfound role as international representative of his art form. If the Blakey/[Horace] Silver partnership had established the Jazz Messengers style, and the tour [Benny] Golson’s edition undertook at the end of 1958 introduced the band to European audiences, then this first visit to Japan made the Messengers a worldwide phenomenon and cemented what would prove to be its most loyal fan base.” 

File Under: Jazz
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Donnacha Costello: Together is the New Alone (Keplar) LP
For its 20th anniversary, Keplar presents an absolute milestone in the history of IDM and ambient music for the first time in its definite form: Together Is The New Alone by Donnacha Costello was originally released on Mille Plateaux in 2001 as the second LP under the Irish producer’s given name and firmly established him as one of the leading artists in the field of forward-thinking electronic music after he had primarily made a name for himself with house and techno releases under the Jayrod moniker. This vinyl reissue with an entirely new artwork comprises all ten tracks originally only included on the CD version in their edited and final form in which they were last presented on the digital re-release under the name Together, remastered by Stephan Mathieu and self-published by Costello, in 2015. Truly prescient artists rarely opt for introspective sounds, however that was the case when Costello set out to produce Together Is The New Alone during nightly session in his hometown Dublin between April and July in 2001, and it also explains the album’s enduring appeal and unwavering radiance twenty years on. While many of his contemporaries dedicated themselves to explore the musical zeitgeist and notions of the future in conceptual terms, Costello made them emotionally tangible, allowing his audience to feel their underlying ambiguity rather than just reflect on it. Together Is The New Alone is an album that wordlessly speaks of the paradoxical sense of social alienation and isolation expressed by its title and thus seems even more topical today than it did at the time of its release. Working with elements from techno culture, glitch aesthetics, intricate IDM rhythms and lush ambient textures, Costello never once throughout the album adheres to tried and tested formulas and conventions, but holistically molds complex compositions out of distinct and discrete parts. The result is a record that is at once easily accessible and deeply affecting, but also infinitely rich and stunningly sophisticated in musical terms. A personal record expressing a universal sentiment — a truly timeless statement that will reverberate for decades to come. Full tone artwork; includes download code; edition of 500.

File Under: Electronic
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Elg: Dans Le Salon Du Nous (Vlek) LP
Since 2004, Laurent Gérard alias Èlg (Opéra Mort, Orgue Agnès) has never ceased to draw the sonic equivalent of concentric spirals and labyrinths made of cedars, brambles and guts. By constantly renewing his instrumentarium over the years, he has built improbable bridges between musique concrète and songwriting (Vu du Dôme, Mauve Zone), diagonal spoken word and wormhole (Amiral Prose), electronic incantations in crypt and blob choirs (Mil Pluton, La Chimie). The language is sometimes francophone, sometimes reduced to an alien babble, invoking the old man, the madman, the child, the dusty revenant, the epileptic bard or the messenger of love. In 2019 he began composing a series of sound paintings to illustrate multiple states of being, which constitute the album “Dans le Salon du Nous”, scheduled for release at the end of november 2021 on the Belgian label Vlek. He collaborated with his brother Mim on the production, and numerous collaborators across the tracks and the result is a stirring journey, whispered, sung and shouted flat on the stomach on the great slide that leads from birth to the Bardo. This experience lead to the formation of an ensemble to dig into this raw energy and redraw the contours of the record again and feel confident enough to present the most pop side of his fractal brain live. Èlg composes new songs with drawers and summons three mutant musicians whose imagination, personality and almost vegetal elasticity exceeded all expectations from the very first rehearsals. Marie Nachury, a vertiginously versatile and ambidextrous musician, as comfortable in learned music orchestras (Furvent, the Grand Sbam, Arfi) as in sprawling rock bacchanals (Dur et Doux collective, Brice et sa Pute), sings, plays the bass with her left hand, the organ with her right and operates two marble flute pumps with her feet. She is an angel. She is a witch. Johann Mazé (France Sauvage, Lord Rectangle) alias the man with 400 hands and 800 feet. His playing is a curious mixture of cold, hot, stiff, supple and incredibly organic. He can make any living thing dance and then sit down with a click. He even pulls custom-made electronic pads from his briefcase, built by a former NASA scientist. Arriving from the depths of the cosmos: Aurore Debret is a member of the band Dragon du Poitou and also solo composer under the moniker Or Or. She sings in many different ways and energies (she has this typical Rn’b vibe) but she also plays violin and synth and make them totally cry or scream. Alexandre Menexiadis will be there but hidden. He will have the luminous task to take care of live sound engeneering but also to be a wizard dubber by doing live manipulations on the master sound to add some spicy and cosmical dimensions. He has also part of the band Dragon du Poitou. Èlg et La Chimie is a four-headed hydra chanting its poly-melodies in songs that clash like so many small galaxies giving birth to a new map of the pop sky.

File Under: Experimental
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The Estimations: Heart of Stone (Kimberlite) 7″
It’s been a long time coming, but finally The Estimations are back with a second record! The A side, Heart Of Stone brings fuzz guitar, 4/4 drums, and a Levi Stubbs lead with haunting backing vocals to set a Norman-Whitfield-psychedelia-inspired soundscape for repressed lovers.  If you’ve spent your life getting hurt, it’s near impossible to trust and give yourself to someone completely.  This song is a hymn for the inhibited, rejected and pained out there who aren’t ready to get back in “the ring”. Turn over the disc and Don’t Go Kissin’ My Baby maintains the Motown theme with a bouncy bubblegum-soul arrangement, this time more typical of mid-60s Frank Wilson or Smokey Robinson productions.  Not only are we still in Mr. Gordy’s sphere of influence, but we’re also keeping the continuity here with the subject of trouble in relationships. Between being withholding and being jealous, this release shows that Jory and Co. might not be scoring high on the next Facebook relationship quiz, but musicians aren’t supposed to be good role models anyway, so who’s really surprised? So where’s Kimberlite been for the last two years?  Let’s please just accept that it’s been a hard time for everyone, and understand that real life has gotten in the way of a lot of passion projects.  We’ve got a lot in the works and are trying to get ourselves back together.

File Under: Soul
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Fabio Fabor: Mr Diabolicus – Mr. Mysterious (Schema) LP
Given his fascination with obscure and esoteric topics, an interest that lasted throughout his whole career as a composer of library music, Fabio Fabor must have been diabolic and mysterious for real. The Milan-born composer, who passed away in 2011, had always showcased a darker side compared to other fellow musicians of his era. A side that is well portrayed in works like the famous masterpiece “Pape Satan”, or “Satanas”, which is included in the very accessible “B 81” (Serie Usignolo) or in this splendid and experimental “Mr. Diabolicus – Mr. Mysterious”. This is still a library music release, but it is kind of difficult to imagine TV or radio shows accompanied by tracks like “Neutroni”, “Mr. Mysterious”, “Fucina diabolica” or “Idillio Cosmico”. We have nonetheless to acknowledge that in 1973 (the year this gem was released), Italian TV was often surprising the audience with innovative shows, likely to host music such as Fabor’s compositions – however, listening again to these 14 short compositions is still an extraordinary experience if we consider their impact and influence on contemporary music and on hip labels of our days like Ghost Box. “Sea Melody” e “Mare di ghiaccio” could have been taken from aquatic/biological-themed releases like “Ittiologia” o “Biologia Marina”, but the whole album quality is impressive. Along with “Pape Satan”, this is probably the best Fabio Fabor ever.

File Under: Library
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Fluxion: Parallel Moves (Vibrant) LP
Fluxion continues to carve his own musical path, taking his listeners to a personal journey in his inner world, moods and moments, showcasing the importance of being influenced by none other than real life moments, people, expectations, joy, dreams and disappointments. Expressing what comes from the inside, instead of the outside, creating a more intimate work, is at the main focus of the artist since his previous album Perspectives that came out on May 2020. Artistic development happens from within, not from repeating formulas of the past, but embracing and mixing life events, alongside different styles of music culture, and creating personal stories, outside of trends, that’s what keeps the music interesting. On Parallel Moves, Fluxion flows through various emotional states, and through blending of styles and expanding the borders, he manages to create variety listening to the album which is essential on an LP. But even with the variety the music bears the Fluxion sound aesthetic making it an enjoyable listening experience, that requires more listens.

File Under: Electronic
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Nils Frahm: Old Friends New Friends (Leiter) LP
When it comes to defining the space between classical and electronic music, hardly any other name is mentioned as often as that of the Berlin-based pianist, composer and producer Nils Frahm. His unconventional approach to an age-old instrument, played contemplatively and intimately, and on a mesmerizing scale through his vast stage shows, has won him many fans around the world. Frahm closes out 2021 with the new double album Old Friends New Friends.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Stefano Ghittoni & DJ Rocca: Atemporal Space Tests (Schema) LP
Both active since the late ’90s, Stefano Ghittoni and Luca ‘DJ Rocca’ Roccatagliati have collected an infinite series of projects, collaborations, records and productions, focusing on the vast world of electronic music in any of its forms and shapes. Stefano Ghittoni is mostly known for his partnership with Cesare Malfatti in The Dining Rooms, who have just released their latest album “Do Hipsters Love Sun (Ra)?” on Schema Records. He also recently founded a record label called Intervallo Dischi, releasing vintage obscure and forgotten library music scores only on vinyl. On the other hand, DJ Rocca, founder of the Maffia Sound System project back in 1995, is very well known among lovers of electronic music, and his two-decade career can count on collaborations with Howie B, Pressure Drop, Zed Bias, Dimitri From Paris, Jazzanova and Daniele Baldelli among others. He can be found today in projects such as Electric Tree, Ajello, Supersonic Lovers and Crimea X, besides running his own record label Danny Was A Drag King. Today these two characters have finally been able to work together, and their artistic partnership has given life to the nine tracks of “Atemporal Space Tests”, a haunting collection of electronic jazz-funk songs, from mid to downtempo. It’s a fully instrumental record that plays very rhythmic and groovy, built on both analogic and digital sounds, like a floating and psychedelic soundtrack to a modern science fiction movie.

File Under: Library
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Curtis Harding: If Words Were Flowers (Anti) LP
Written and recorded over the past two tumultuous years, Curtis Harding’s If Words Were Flowers is a vibrant, intoxicating bouquet, one as diverse as it is dazzling. Drawing on vintage soul, R&B, hip-hop, garage rock, and psychedelia, the songs here are raw and gritty, fueled by airtight grooves, punchy horns, and adventurous production from Harding and frequent collaborator Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker). “Nina Simone said that it’s an artist’s job to reflect the times,” Harding explains. “I think it’s important to live in the moment. If you do that and you’re honest and vulnerable, you can reach the people that need to be reached…That’s what this album is. It’s me giving my flowers to the world, to anybody who needs to hear what these songs have to say right now.”

File Under: Soul
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Hoavi: Music for Six Rooms (Balmat) LP
Balmat’s second release comes from Hoavi, aka Kirill Vasin, a Russian electronic musician whose work approaches what might be familiar reference points—deepest dub techno, atmospheric ambient, liquid drum’n’bass—with a singular and refreshing point of view. We first became aware of Hoavi after coming across one of his tracks in a DJ mix by Leech, aka Peak Oil label co-founder Brian Foote; we began corresponding, which led to a massive zip file of unreleased tracks turning up in Balmat’s inbox. Music for Six Rooms has been culled down from that bounty, its disparate moods distilled into 10 profoundly immersive tracks that touch upon dream pop, dub techno, and new age, all swirled together into the headiest of ambient dreamscapes. Active since the early 2010s, when he founded his Shells Rattle label, Hoavi has released on a number of labels including floe, Snare Tapes, Fauxpas, and Minor Notes. In October, Peak Oil will finally release his album Invariant, recorded in 2019 and intended for release in 2020, then tied up in pressing-plant backlogs for over a year. Balmat’s Music for Six Rooms follows roughly a month later; we think that the two albums offer a wonderfully complementary view of Hoavi’s talents—one rhythmic, the other largely beatless, yet both of them sensuous in the extreme.

File Under: Electronic
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Martin Davorin Jagodic: Tempo Furioso (Dialogo) LP
Martin Davorin Jagodić (1935 – 2020) was a Croatian contemporary music composer and educator. His work includes theatre music, graphic scores, instructions for performances, multimedia installation art, radio art, electroacoustic music on tape as well as experimental film soundtracks. Despite a very long series of performances during the years, only one single LP has officially been released under his name, named Tempo Furioso (Tolles Wetter), a collage of electronic and ‘found sounds’ divided in two long movements (one for each side of the LP). Originally released on the Italian Cramps Records label as the 8th volume of the Nova Musicha series dedicated to contemporary avant-garde composers, Tempo Furioso is now made available again on Dialogo in a faithful reproduction of the original gatefold cover artwork, including also an inner sleeve with the English translation of the liner notes.

File Under: Experimental, Avant Garde
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Steve Lacy: Straws (Dialogo) LP
Steve Lacy (July 23, 1934 – June 4, 2004) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer recognized as one of the important players of soprano saxophone. His career has been long and prolific; Lacy worked extensively in experimental jazz and to a lesser extent in free improvisation, but his music was typically melodic and tightly-structured. Lacy also became a highly distinctive composer, with compositions often built out of little more than a single questioning phrase, repeated several times. In 1977 he released a one-off record titled Straws for the Italian Cramps Records label, as the 6th volume of the DIVerso series (which included, among others, Demetrio Stratos’ solo albums) dedicated to contemporary avant-garde composers. Straws is now made available again on Dialogo in a faithful reproduction of the original gatefold cover artwork and inner sleeve.

File Under: Jazz
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Alvin Lucier: Bird and Person Dyning (Dialogo) LP
Alvin Lucier (born May 14, 1931) is an American composer of experimental music and sound installations that explore acoustic phenomena and auditory perception. Much of his work is influenced by science and explores the physical properties of sound itself: resonance of spaces, phase interference between closely tuned pitches, and the transmission of sound through physical media. Bird and Person Dyning is his first solo recorded work; originally released on the Italian Cramps Records label as the 11th volume of the Nova Musicha series dedicated to contemporary avant-garde composers, Bird and Person Dyning is now made available again on Dialogo in a faithful reproduction of the original gatefold cover artwork, including also an inner sleeve.

File Under: Experimental, Avant Garde
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Lucky & Easy: Cheeky Speaker (Ampoule) LP
The restless charms of Glasgow’s Lucky & Easy play out across a cherry-picked compilation for the legendary Ampoule label following those choice PUB reissues by the same artist. Putting his own, pastoral-tinged, Scottish twist on late ‘90s / early ‘00s currents, the artist also known as Pub fostered a strong, if cultish following during that era for his warm and gently wayward style of post-techno exploration. Lucky & Easy’s music was symptomatic of a yearn to mess with the techno and ambient formats that emerged during the preceding decade, and which quickly became hackneyed due to a ubiquity of dance and “chill out” forms during that epoch. Like a wave of fellow artists, he was emulating the emotional intelligence of Detroit techno and modernist R&B and hip hop, with a twinge of wistful post-rock for good measure, arriving at a syncretic sound that’s all the above and entirely its own thing. Cheeky Speaker contains a bounty of inventive, warmly personalised music that span output from 1998 – 2013, drawing from eight respective releases, with standout material strewn between the meter-messing ace ‘Bully Swimmer,’ the post-Detroit electro reverie of ‘Night Rainbows,’ the DIN-style rhythmic swinge of ‘Wigged,’ the chamber techno of ‘Kite Finger,’ and Sensate Focus-alike, bittersweetness of ‘Titswing.’  Good stuff.

File Under: Electronic
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Costin Miereanu: Luna Cinese (Dialogo) LP
Edition of 500 LP on black vinyl. Audiophile pressing. Gatefold cover, including printed inner. Perfect replica of the original packaging (with additional translated liner notes) and newly remastered for optimal sound.** Of all the historic labels associated with experimental music, few have garnered as much affection, or as devoted a following, as the Italian imprint Cramps. Its catalog reads like a who’s who of the 1970s musical avant-garde, housing seminal albums by John Cage, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Giusto Pio, Demetrio Stratos, Juan Hidalgo, Robert Ashley, Walter Marchetti, Cornelius Cardew, Raul Lovisoni / Francesco Messina, Alvin Lucier, Derek Bailey, and so many more, the vast majority of which have remained largely out of print and nearly impossible to obtain for decades. Now, at long last, the Milan based imprint, Dialogo, has begun a stunning series of vinyl reissues from Cramps’ Nova Musicha series – dedicated to contemporary avant-garde composers – beginning with Costin Miereanu’s Luna Cinese, originally released in 1975. Fully remastered and housed in a sleeve that beautifully reproduces the album’s signature design, complete with brand a new English translation of the original liner notes, this is a truly historic event.

File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental
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Herbie Nichols: The Prophetic Herbie Nichols Vol 1 & 2 (Blue Note) LP
Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of the Classic Vinyl Reissue Series which presents 180g vinyl LP reissues in standard packaging mastered by Kevin Gray and manufactured at Optimal. The pressings are all-analog whenever an analog source is available, with Gray mastering directly from the original master tapes. While the first 16 titles of the series focused on the best-known Blue Note classics from the 1950s and 60s, the new run of titles curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman broadens its scope to span the many eras and styles of the legendary label’s eight-decade history presented by themes: Bebop, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz, Post-Bop, Avant-Garde, The 70s, The Rebirth, and Hidden Gems. Herbie Nichols was one of the most highly original and under-recognized pianists and composers in jazz history. Blue Note founder Alfred Lion considered him to be every bit as unique and important as Thelonious Monk, another singular talent who Lion was the first to record just a few years before he signed Nichols in 1955. Little-known during his lifetime, recognition has begun to grow in recent years for Nichols’ incredibly hip, angular compositions like “The Third World,” “2300 Skidoo,” “Step Tempest,” and “Dance Line,” each of which were miniature marvels built with their own sturdy inner logic. In May 1955, Nichols recorded two sessions with Al McKibbon on bass and Art Blakey on drums which were originally released as The Prophetic Herbie Nichols, Vol. 1 and The Prophetic Herbie Nichols, Vol. 2. The two 10″ LPs are combined here onto a single 12″ LP that’s presented in gatefold packaging with the two covers on the front and back with the liner notes on the inside.

File Under: Jazz
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Picnic: s/t (Daisart) LP
Relaxation aids from Picnic, the duo of Ju Ca and mdo, trailing the glistening wake of a lovely 2020 debut on Kansas City’s c- with a milky ambient bath featuring added suds by Huerco S, The Humble Bee, DJ Paradise (uon), and Dntel. On their eponymous sophomore outing picnic reveal a fuller picture of their sound. The eight original pieces are given to sensitively mulched textures and softly glowing pads mottled with new age spirited strings and wafting voices. It’s nothing particularly new or inventive but works it’s way under the skin with pharmaceutic efficacy, at its lushest in the descriptive title and feel of ‘drops in the water (with tics)’, and the gently keening, hypnagogic appeal of ‘basket.’ The remixers however capture a sense of subtlety that draws us in closer, from Craig Tattersall’s typically hushed, drowsily suspenseful take on ‘folds and rips’, which contrasts with the air-stepping, weightless version by Huerco S., to the dusky tone of uon’s DJ Paradise remix of ‘drops in the water’, and the veteran Dntel’s aqueous smudge of ‘dewey.’

File Under: Ambient
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Picnic: bonus (Daisart) LP
An ideal roll call of Ulla, Nadia Khan, Newworldaquarium, Ben Bondy, Mister Water Wet, NAP, JR Chaparro, Haji K., and many more, help tuck Picnic’s eponymous LP beauty to bed with a sublime suite of remixes and alternate versions One of 2021’s lushest ambient sides, ‘Picnic’ is a proper friends and family affair helmed by the duo’s mdo & Ju Ca, a pair of Melbourne-based souls who share that region’s prevailing grasp of ambient warmth and elemental utility. Where their debut LP, proper, also included guest spots from the likes of Huerco S., The Humble Bee, Dntel, and DJ Paradise, this new ‘Bonus’ follows suit to infuse the far flung yet mutual spirits of the modern ambient rhizome, dialling in subtle reflections on the originals, as well as new collaborations, that diffuse and extend its pleasures into the gauzy mid-distance. Nadia Khan opens with a blissed, puce-hued rendering of ‘dewey’ that sustains the original’s sanguine atmosphere, while new work ‘leaving a conversation’ ropes in pepper (Ulla), Monkey Twenty (Pontiac Streator), and Low Flung for a sweet patch of deep-diving smudge. Picnic’s zonked hypnagogic collaboration with Mister Water Wet ‘cliff dive’ pushes those same hazy buttons, while a standout piece of loping ambient technohouse from Newworldaquarium features a steady pulse in an effortlessly brilliant manner that’s somehow distinctly NWAQ –  the man can do no wrong to our ears. Other Joe supplies bass-heavy ballast in their spongiform ambient dembow take on ‘elkhorn’ that lands shades away from DJ Python’s deepest, and JR Chaparro takes time to get between the pores on on a 9 minute version of ‘folds and rips’, and Ben Bondy smushes our temples with the light-headed, domestic rustles and rumbles of his version to ‘drops in the water’.  Trust it’s all of the sweetest ambient variety, faithfully weft for downtimes in a way that’s both gaseous and heavyweight.

File Under: Ambient
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Pub: Do You Ever Regret Pantomime? (Ampoule) LP
An almost forgotten but bona fide Ambient classic floats up on a 20th anniversary edition with the legendary Glasgow-based Ampoule label, newly remastered with a bonus cut for added immersion – highly recommended to fans of BoC, Balil, Porter Ricks. Still every bit as woozy and gouched-out as we remember, Pub’s gingerly wistful debut album ‘Do You Ever Regret Pantomime?’ is a cult classc for those that know; a sublime example of a peculiar sound at its sensitive best. Back in 2001 it saw lots of rotation at our auld shop Pelicanneck and has since become prized for its effervescent melodies and light-touch drum programming that acknowledged and parsed influence from then-contemporary hip hop and post-rock as much as the prevailing trends of ambient and minimal techno. A plangent, elusive sense of nostalgia that arguably prefigures modes of hauntology beautifully percolates the album, dwelling on a melancholy state of mind that, with hindsight, speaks to a timeless sort of wistfulness and tentative tension surrounding the early years of the millennium – which now seems incredibly distant and naive in the midst of 2020’s shitstorm. The tracks are perhaps detectably burred with a gently rolling accent and crepuscular glow that we’d attribute to Pub’s Scottish provenance and which clearly resonates with BoC, so it’s maybe best to play this album after theirs, when its vaporised textures and thizzing melodic tendrils will best work their exceedingly subtle yet palpable magic. The real deal this one.

File Under: Electronic
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Alex Puddu: Discotheque (Schema) LP
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Alex Puddu is coming back with his brand new album “Discotheque”. Recorded between Copenhagen (at Panalama and Sexy Lady Studios) and New York (Soundwork Recording Studios), it consists of a strong set of soulful and melodic tracks with a tight production that brings you back to the late ’70s and early ’80s jazz-funk and boogie music scene. The album opens up with three singles in a row: “You Are My Fire”, “Be My Lover” and the UK radio station airplay hit “Don’t Hold Back”, all of them co-written with and featuring Gene Robinson Jr., lead vocalist of the legendary Philadelphia R&B/funk band Breakwater. Other remarkable special guests on vocals are Duane Hobson, on the jazz-funk fnest “Back Against The Wall” and the disco-groove “Saturday Night”, and the young Danish vocalist Sawa on the sweet soul-reggae ballad “Release The Catch”. The Album contains also some great instrumental tracks, like the title-track that sees Alex Puddu behind the drumkit once again, the sexy-exploitation “Love Affair”, “Fight Together”, “Nightflight” and “Blue Lines”. Two of today’s coolest bassists also played on “Discotheque”: Paul Westwood, who worked with David Bowie, Nick Kershaw, Elton John and Italian iconic artist Lucio Battisti on the 1978 pop soul masterpiece “Una Donna Per Amico”, and Bob Callero, most known for his activity with Italian ‘70s prog bands – Franco Battiato’s Osage Tribe, Duello Madre, Il volo – and pop artists – Lucio Battisti, Loredana Berté. You really thought the modern soul/funk/R&B scene had nothing else to say? “Discotheque” is here to prove you wrong!

FIle Under: Funk, OST, Jazz
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Spirale: s/t  (Dialogo) LP
The Milan based imprint, Dialogo, returns with the first ever vinyl reissue of Spirale’s lone 1974 self-titled LP. Resting at a fascinating juncture between progressive and free jazz, it was years ahead of its time when it first appeared, rendering it to the shadows for decades, before its ultimate ascent to becoming one of the great holy grails of Italian Jazz prog. This is a release known mostly by Italian progressive rock lovers, since its sound can be easily associated to the jazz-rock delivered by the way more popular Napoli Centrale and Perigeo – but also to the ‘fundamentals’ Dedalus, Arti & Mestieri, Uno, if not Maad, Nadma or Aktuala, or even the lesser known Bauhaus for instance. But playing this kind of music and trying to release an album in the first half of the ’70s in Italy was also incredibly hard and courageous: Spirale, in fact, was one of the many bands that lived a very short life, before splitting up and disappear forever. Spirale were an Italian quintet from Rome, consisting of Gaetano Delfini (wind instruments, vocals, percussion), Giancarlo Maurino (saxophone, flute, percussion), Corrado Nofri (piano, marimba, mbira, siren, Jew’s harp), Giuseppe Caporello (contrabass, guitar, percussion) and Giampaolo Ascolese (drums) who released a single eponymous album in 1974. Spirale was originally released on the International King record label, thanks to Mario Schiano, a free-jazz saxophonist who discovered the band, and producer Toni Cosenza, who included the album in the ‘King Jazz-Line’ series. Consisting of just four tracks, most of which taken by the 13-minute long “Cabral, Anno 1” and the marvellous 17-minute “Peperoncino (Cose vecchie, cose nuove)”, Spirale is an incredibly balanced and flowing record that sounds still fresh and inspired even today, and it’s a shame that it has remained hidden and overlooked for such a long time. Moreover, it is characterized by that undescribable and particular Mediterranean flavour that only Italian musicians were able to obtain. This beautiful album is of course immensely rare in its original edition, and is now finally reissued on Dialogo record label in a faithful restored version that will satisfy any collectors who have waited for years for this beauty to see the light again!

File Under: Jazz, Prog
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John Taylor Trio: Decipher (MPS) LP
“…one of contemporary jazz’s great performers…” so reads the prestigious Guardian’s assessment of English pianist John Taylor. As house pianist at London’s legendary Ronny Scott’s jazz club, Taylor accompanied many of the icons of jazz, and in so doing honed his individual style into what became one of the most important voices on the European jazz scene. The gigs and recordings of his own groups, his long-time association with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, his many ECM trio recordings with Peter Erskine and Palle Danielsson and groups lead by the likes of Jan Garbarek and John Surman established Taylor’s importance. Taylor’s 1973 MPS trio album Decipher features two top players, bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Tony Levin, who perfectly compliment Taylor’s wide-ranging style on an album that offers the listener a delicious taste of his compositions. The virtuoso sprint of “Cipher” melds into the varying tempos and emotions of “Wait For Me”, whereas “Leaping” is a pointillist abstract exchange between the three. The emotive jazz waltz “Speak to Me” plays some magical slight-of-hand with the time, and “Song For a Child” sings out as a soft-spoken ballad. “White Magic” powers through as a hard-swinging elixir for all that ails. Taylor’s second album as leader presents a master composer/player at full maturity – what a joy that this music is available once again.

File Under: Jazz
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David Tudor: Microphones (Dialogo) LP
David Eugene Tudor (January 20, 1926 – August 13, 1996) was an American pianist and composer of experimental music. Originally an organist, he went on to become one of the leading performers of avant-garde piano music, giving first or early performances of works by, to name a few, Pierre Boulez, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff, and La Monte Young. Tudor is particularly associated with John Cage, who wrote a number of compositions for him. His solo record Microphone was originally released on the Italian Cramps Records label as the 16th volume of the Nova Musicha series dedicated to contemporary avant-garde composers, Microphone is now made available again on Dialogo in a faithful reproduction of the original gatefold cover artwork, including also an inner sleeve with the English translation of the liner notes.

File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental
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Piero Umiliani: Africa (Dialogo) LP
In 1972 Piero Umiliani was above all the man of a thousand soundtracks and the first Italian jazz experiments; from his later career we’ll soon learn that wasn’t enough for him, showing just a tiny part of a more complex picture. Closed within the walls of his Sound Work Shop Studio, the Maestro was weaving much more complicated and satisfying plots, incorporating dozens of influences from a life spent experimenting and discovering new sounds. Among the most fascinating ones, those who came from a continent like Africa, as much fabled as actually little known, but enchanting to the point that Umiliani dedicated to it the entire Africa – which is paired with its twin-record Continente Nero – and released it as M. Zalla, pseudonym used when it came to tidying up uncompromising and avant-garde music textures, as will later happen with masterpieces such as Suspense, Problemi D’Oggi or Mondo Inquieto. Always keep in mind when this album had been released, in January 1972, before approaching its content: here the prog-tinged black rhythm of Africa To-Day, the ‘fourth world’ inspiration coming from Jon Hassell’s Green Dawn, the ‘exotic’ references in Martin Denny’s style (Lonely Village, Echos), the electronic new wave (hearing is believing!) of Sortilège, the folk music (Rite, Folk-Tune). Many years in advance, in Africa Piero Umiliani summarizes sounds and styles that will make the fortune of much more celebrated and popular musicians and artists.

File Under: Library
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Piero Umiliani: Continente Nero (Dialogo) LP
Released via the Omicron label in 1975, three years after Africa, Continente Nero is the perfect flip side of an album that significantly expanded Piero Umiliani’s music perspectives, incorporating partially explored rhythmic variations already used in records such as Percussioni ed Effetti Speciali and To-Day’s Sound or experimenting new solutions that drew from a musical heritage little known at the time such as the African one. Without bothering with the usual alias M. Zalla, Umiliani reveal his birth name and surname for a second foray into a territory that pays homage to an entire continent. And it does so by taking inspiration not only from a tradition that starts from the divine Fela Kuti and reaches the amateur and field recordings by musicologists such as David Toop, invaluable documents of an artistic heritage still today almost impossible to map in its complexity, but also from the Afro-American jazz history by Art Ensemble of Chicago, John Coltrane, Max Roach and hundreds of others. It sounds clear in tracks such as Nuovi Fermenti, Rivoluzionari, Riscossa or Ultimo Stregone that show Umiliani’s extraordinary ability to grab a distant tradition essential traits and put them effortlessly into a personal imaginary world, as much exciting as the original one.

File Under: Library
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Piero Umiliani: L’Uomo E La Citta (Dialogo) LP
Piero Umiliani’s “L’Uomo e la Città” perfectly fits into the urban-themed section of Italian library music, an album where our Man is accompanied by jazz celebrities Bruno Tommaso, Oscar Valdambrini, Dino Piana and Nino Rapicavoli, all part of this Umiliani-led ensemble. “L’Uomo e la Città” takes less risks in favor of an extraordinary jazz tightness (“Rete Urbana”, “Quartieri Alti”, “Città Frenetica”), but amazes even more in the two excellent renditions of “Centrale Termica” and “Suoni della Città”, among the best tracks of the album. L’UOMO E LA CITTÀ (1972) In the intricate panorama of Italian library music, the themes of city, factories, metropolis, work, urbanization and technology have always been among the most fascinating (and used), relying on dozens of fundamental records by composers such as Alessandro Alessandroni, Farlocco, Gerardo Iacoucci, A.R. Luciani, Narassa and many others. The attempt to provide a plausible soundtrack to a continuously and rapidly ever-changing world, especially in the hectic seventies, has often produced masterpieces that combined avant-garde techniques with sounds, risky experimentation with easy-listening songs, the traffic chaos and assembly lines with the silence of the night, the end of the work shift with Sunday’s rest.

File Under: Library
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Piero Umiliani: Pianofender Blues (Dialogo) LP
“Music with a modern but discreet sound”. This is how Umiliani himself described the content of Pianofender Blues, entirely recorded with the aid of two electric pianos (Fender, of course, and Wurlitzer), bass, piano, drums and percussion; yet another curious foray of the Florentine artist, here exploring territories different than his usual jazz, soundtracks and avant-garde experimentations. Pianofender Blues is quite honest right from its title, and the melancholy of the sound produced by the world-famous American keyboard goes well with a much lighter repertoire that we could call, by using a vaguely old-fashioned locution, ‘easy listening’; an album that can be easily placed within Umiliani’s ‘less challenging’ production, together with other titles such as Atmospheres, Fischiando in Beat or Motivi Allegri e Distensivi, that testify their author’s versatility. Originally released in 1975 under the name Rovi, Pianofender Blues combines excellent instrumental technique with a sound inevitably born of those years, and enriches Umiliani’s long series of sonorizations – the so-called ‘music libraries’ – that have made him famous as much as his efforts within the jazz and soundtrack fields.

File Under: Library
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Piero Umiliani: Polinesia (Dialogo) LP
Piero Umiliani was capable of traveling not only in a physical sense but also with a long series of geographical-themed albums that have always been among his best productions, and his interests weren’t just limited to distant Africa, to its percussive sounds and unexplored territories – especially with the Africa and Continente Nero releases. In his vast and complex discography – including works recorded in his own name, in solo with groups and orchestras, but also under aliases such as Rovi, M. Zalla, The Soundwork Shoppers, Moggi, Catamo – there are excellent space-time excursions such as Genti e Paesi del Mondo, Paesi Balcanici, Il Mondo dei Romani, Storia e Preistoria, Medioevo & Rinascimento, Panorami Italiani and Paesaggi, where the musician could free an unstoppable creative vein that combined an artistic path intimately bound to Italy and to its traditions with the world’s sounds (and even more, given the cosmic ventures of Tra Scienza e Fantascienza and L’Uomo nello Spazio). Among his most adventurous efforts, Polinesia deserves a special mention, since it was fully recorded with glowing percussion and exotic suggestions that remind of Martin Denny, bringing to mind sunny white beaches, Oceania and the famous Bora Bora, defined by the well-known Italian writer and documentary maker Folco Quilici as the most beautiful island in the world. Prepare a colourful cocktail and enjoy the full moon, you already have the perfect soundtrack for that.

File Under: Library
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…..restocks…..

Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time, Take Time (Mom + Pop) LP
Syd Barrett: The Madcap Laughs (Harvest) LP
Walter Bishop Jr.: Coral Keys (Real Gone) LP
James Blake: Friend That Break Your Heart (Republic) LP
Charles Bradley: Victim of Love (Daptone) LP
Kenny Burrell: Midnight Blue (Blue Note) LP
Daktaris: Soul Explosion (Daptone) LP
Julie Doiron: I Thought of You (You’ve Changed) LP
Cleveland Eaton: Plenty Good Eaton (Real Gone) LP
Floating Points w/ Pharoah Sanders: Promises (Luaka Bop) LP
Green-House: Six Songs for Invisible Gardens (Leaving) LP
Gunn-Truscinski Duo: Soundkeeper (Three Lobed) LP
Steve Gunn: Other You (Matador) LP
Idles: Ultra Mono (Partisan) LP
Sharon Jones: I Learned the Hard Way (Daptone) LP
Kiss: Destroyer (Universal) LP
Mary Lattimore: Collected Pieces II (Ghostly) CS
Low: The Great Destroyer (Sub Pop) LP
Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge) LP
Nirvana: Bleach (Sub Pop) LP
Shuttle 358: Chessa (Keplar) LP
Six Organs of Admittance: The Veiled Sea (Three Lobed) LP
Chris Stapleton: Starting Over (Mercury) LP
Talk Talk: Spirit Of Eden (EMI) LP
Wire: 154 (Pink Flag) LP
Various: Daptone Super Soul Revue Live! (Daptone) LP
Various: A Wound Without a Tear (Daisart) LP

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