…..news letter #1043 – blanks…..

OOOOPS! Totally forgot to update this intro last week, but probably hardly anyone reads it or noticed. But anyway, loads of killer slabs in this week!!! First, so many possible picks this week, but I capped it at 4… The first new Huerco S in 6 years, pushes the boundaries yet again/still. Superior Viaduct’s reissue of the excellent Prima Materia’s ‘La Coda Della Tigre’ a drone/minimalist slab for the ages. And Seance Centre has really upped their out put with 5 new releases, the Shelter and Shabason & Vibrant Matter launch a new series “Speculative Ethnography”, and judging from these two, it’s going to be a hot series! And they’ve also got two new comp’s that also shouldn’t be missed, ‘Incantations‘ & ‘Lespri Ka‘. And then there’s And then there’s the new Destroyer, the Bon Iver 10th Anniversary edition, some killer punk reissue on Superior Viaduct in The Ex & The Fall. Plus Cherry Red has put Live at the Witch Trials back in print! Two more Blue Note Classics, some great reissues from Numero with Jimmy Carter’s Summer Brings the Sunshine & Branko Mataja’s eclectic guitar stylings. Two reggae classics from Dadawah & the Silvertones. Two early Tinariwen’s available again, and last but certainly not least, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson’s Threshold Houseboys Choir finally gets released on vinyl. AND a whole bunch of other nice things both new, and restocked! Dig in!

Also, they’ve announced the Record Store Day exclusives list. You can find the list HERE or the Canadian list HERE , but it’s also worth noting, that we deal with tons of suppliers so we also can sometimes get some of the UK & European releases. Needless to say we’ll be ordering all the stuff we would stock if it was just a regular release, but if there’s something on the list you hope to find in our shop on that day, be sure to let us know ASAP so we can be sure to order it for you. Don’t worry, we’ll order a ton of Viktor Vaughn, Art Pepper, Karen Dalton, Voivoid. As usual, unfortunately, just because we order 20 doesn’t mean we’ll get 20. So keep an eye out closer to the date to see what we’ll actually have in. Oh and it’s important to note as well, no more Remote RSD, this year, in store only.. good thing we’ve all been practicing standing in line for the last 2 years.

And while there are no longer any health restrictions we are currently operating….

– 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)
– We will be wearing masks, if you want to, great! If not, that’s also fine, but please be respectful of other people’s space and decisions.
– Sanitize your hands (we’ll have some)

…..picks of the week…..

Huerco S: Plonk (Incienso) LP
Fuck what you know of Huerco S, ‘Plonk’ is his first album in 6 years and switches tack from house and groggy ambient touchstones to a more glassy, iridescent palette of juked electrosoul and chamber-like paradigms. Touching minds 10 years since his cult early works graced the likes of Opal Tapes and Ukraine’s Wicked Bass, ‘Plonk’ finds him drawing on a formative love of rally cars and experiences over the interim for a more ragged jag that still prizes a sense of heady lushness, but more fractal and bittersweet with it. Of course he’s not been slacking since his now classic album ‘For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)’, delivering ample goodies as Pendant and introducing key new artists via his curation of West Mineral Ltd. since 2017, but Huerco S. has taken a backseat until now, returning with a sparing, concentrated energy refracted into light-splitting ambient post-classical figures and splintered steppers that defy gravity with a cannily personalised sort of electro-dub physics. We’ve long compared Brian Leeds’ work as Huerco S. with the likes of NWAQ and Actress, and those references still somehow apply, as he smartly moves parallel and perpendicular to those likemind auteurs’ evolutions across ‘Plonk’. They all share a patented sense of emotional intelligence and deep funk imagination that percolates their beyond-the-dance tekkerz. The 10 tracks of ‘Plonk’ sensitively smash the template of ambient techno and IDM for a new decade, allowing new subtly mutated forms to emerge in the cracks. Between the first example of reeling extended melody in ‘Plonk I’ to the dematerialised tonal hues of the 11min bliss out ‘Plonk X’, he offers a thorough but faithful reappraisal of his style, tiling fleeting pieces of beat-less introspection rendered with electro-acoustic strategies, alongside nerve end-dancing, syncopated jitters and gyring hyperspace explorations such as the spine-licking bewt ‘’Plonk VI’ and smudged Autechrian functions on ‘Plonk VIII’, with a surprise turn of drawling cloudrap abstaction on ‘Plonk IX’.

File Under: Electronic, Kris’s Picks
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Prima Materia: La Coda Della Tigre (Superior Viaduct) LP
Prima Materia was a vocal improvisation ensemble, founded by Roberto Laneri in 1973. Composed entirely of vocalists with no academic training, the group developed various techniques—revolving mostly around the use of overtones—that would embody their unique sound. No instruments nor electronic manipulations were ever employed within the group’s physiognomy, which was realized purely through the human voice. La Coda Della Tigre, the group’s sole album, was recorded in 1977 by Alvin Curran and released on Ananda, an artist-run label founded by Laneri, Curran and Giacinto Scelsi. As the original liner notes state, “The music of Prima Materia may sound radically new, yet at the same time it is likely to ring some distant bell and evoke ancient emotions. This is not due to chance: indeed, the very name of the group points to a specific path, namely, the unfolding of the potential implicit in the alchemical symbol as embodying a process of transmutation of consciousness.” Prima Materia’s four members (Laneri, Claudio Ricciardi, Gianni Nebbiosi and Susanne Hendricks) combine voices to create a singular, beautiful drone that is (as the group’s name suggests) both impossible to define and fundamentally simple. This first-time standalone reissue is recommended for fans of La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Disques Ocora.

File Under: Drone, Minimalism, Avant Garde, Kris’s Picks
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Shelter: Le Sommeil Vertical (Séance Centre) 12″
The first release of Séance Centre’s “Speculative Ethnography” series is an EP of Burroughs-inspired analog rhythm-scapes, conjured from the nocturnal Parisian imagination of Shelter (Alan Briand). Recorded directly to cassette 4-track late at night in Briand’s apartment in Paris with a gathering of temperamental vintage gear, Le Sommeil Vertical captures a somnambulant journey into vibrant analog nether-regions. The hazy sonics harken back to ‘80s DIY cassette culture, but refracted through a prism of fourth world melodics and early IDM rhythm experiments. The tracks are titled after Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night, and the book acts as a talisman for the album, setting sci-fi surrealism within expansive arid psychic landscapes. The trance-inducing terrain, mapped out in warm 1/4” tape, moves through phased backstreets, AFX-arrondissements, and dub municipalities. This is music on the nod, an elixir for the sleepwalking flaneur. Alan Briand has been with Séance Centre from the start, as designer and European emissary — a wunderkind of many talents, we’ve always trusted his ears as well as his eyes. We’re pleased to release this mesmerizing EP as a limited edition pressing with risograph printed insert and designed for future archives. RIYL: Craig Leon, Seefeel, K Leimer, Aphex Twin, Ghédalia Tazartès, & Cabaret Voltaire

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Ian’s Picks, Kris’s Picks
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Joseph Shabason & Vibrant Matter: Fly Me to the Moon (Séance Centre) 12″
The second foray into Séance Centre’s “Speculative Ethnography” series is an icy and tender missive of glacial piano, ambient electronics, samples, treated sax, and drum machine rhythms from snowbound Canadians Joseph Shabason & Vibrant Matter (Kieran Adams). Shabason and Adams have been collaborating for years, forming the production team behind the celebrated experimental synth pop trio Diana, but their relationship has often been fraught with creative tension. Fly Me to the Moon is their ‘make up’ EP, a redemptive voyage through uncertain times. During lockdown Adams found refuge in routine, practicing drums every morning in Shabason’s Toronto studio. Afterwards, the pair would chat in the alleyway behind the studio, drinking espressos, a daily practice that became an antidote to the chaos of pandemic life. Through this daily ritual a creative spark was reignited and they decided to start exchanging ideas, but rather than working together in the studio as they had in the past, the circumstances required them to collaborate remotely. Through this distanced connection the youthful tension and ego of the past eroded, evolving into a deep trust. Escaping the gravitational pull of a planet in distress, the duo composed a sonic love letter adrift in weightless ambient electronics, fourth world jazz visions, and cyborg IDM riddim technologies — an ode to a long friendship which has strength because it has travelled through so many galaxies and vortices. Who says you can’t fall in love all over again – ‘Fly me to the moon / Let me play up there with those stars / Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars’. Fly Me to the Moon is a limited edition pressing with risograph printed insert and designed for future archives. RIYL: Ramzi, Photek, Mo Wax Headz, Jon Hassell, FSOL, Aleksi Perälä, Nuron, Ismistik, Coil

File Under: Electronic, Fourth World, Industrial, Kris’s Picks
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…..new arrivals…..

Apollo Ghosts: Pink Tiger (You’ve Changed) LP
Pink Tiger is a 2-LP, 22-song epic return by Vancouver’s DIY superheroes Apollo Ghosts. LP 1, “Pink”, tracks 1-11, is an intimate home recorded acoustic based cycle that grapples with loss, illness, death, and memory. LP 2, “Tiger”, tracks 12-22, is an exuberant indie-garage rock celebration of the persistence of friendship, music, and hope. Apollo Ghosts draw on a long history of independent and locally focused music making, from Flying Nun to K Records to their own Vancouver scene, to reinvigorate indie guitar rock songwriter with ambition and poise.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Benoit B: Kismet (Natural Selections) LP
The baker’s dozen trax of ‘Kismet’ catch Benoit B’s circles sweetly bleeding into a definitive long-play showcase of his sound, but eazing off his club-wize styles for a collection best suited to headphones and sofas. Like his preceding run of 12”s for Banlieue, Versatile, Berceuses Heroique and Unthank, the album also draws on references points from a golden age of machine-made music during the mid ‘80s to the early ‘90s, yet slanted towards the early or very late hours, with a dreamy uchornic arc that sees the timeline loop in on itself between new age, chill-out room ambient, and offbeat boogie with a knowingly loose, impressionistic take on the timeline. They’re all trimmed to a T, holding to succinct track lengths as he oscillates sweetly tactile ambient sound designs with passages of natty drum machine experimentation and the tightest bops. ‘Punkster’, with its crimped ‘80s electro flow and shine-eyed twinkle is an ideal example of his future boogie tekkerz, and the crystalline FM synthesis of ‘Panda Tears’ shows off his crisp synth touch, sharing a thing for Japanese electronics with his ace ‘Japonaiserie’ 12” and Visible Cloaks’ environmental ambient takes, where the lush eastern promise of ‘Karma Du 92’ follows, while the spongiform chill-out room float of ‘Mystik Spiral’ dips into proper Mixmaster Morris vibes, and ‘Reste Là’ effortlessly dials up and plays with the classic examples of Mappa Mundi.

File Under: Electronic
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Bon Iver: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
June 2021 marked the ten year anniversary of the worldwide release of Bon Iver’s highly acclaimed sophomore release Bon Iver, Bon Iver. To commemorate the occasion, the band and Jagjaguwar deliver a colored vinyl 2LP reissue featuring all ten original tracks plus five songs from Bon Iver’s beautiful AIR Studios session, which capture the grand spirit of Bon Iver, Bon Iver and distill it into sharper focus, as Justin Vernon and Sean Carey perform the songs as a duo, on grand pianos and vocals only. The 10th Anniversary Edition also features an intimate personal essay from long-time fan Phoebe Bridgers recalling how the “massive, sprawling, unbelievably complex” album brings about both yearning for yesterday, contentment for the present, and collective hope for the future. To top it off the album’s iconic cover art has been reimagined to a minimal white-on-white. Following his triumphant debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, was never going to be easy but Justin Vernon did it with aplomb. Painstakingly crafted over three years at April Base Studios (a former veterinarian’s clinic in Fall Creek, WI, converted into a recording studio by Justin and his brother), the end results were outstanding; a lush landscape of silky electric guitars, intricate keys, and subtle horn and string sections, which retained the ghost choirs and densely layered vocals that Bon Iver is widely celebrated for. Such was the success of this record, Justin went on to win two Grammy’s in 2012 – Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Bo Burnham: Inside (Imperial) LP
Critically acclaimed soundtrack to Bo Burnham’s Netflix musical comedy special Inside. This 20-track double vinyl LP edition features all of the music from Inside, including “All Eyes On Me,” “Welcome To The Internet,” and “Bezos I.” Shot and performed by Burnham, alone, over the course of a very unusual year, Inside was nominated for six Emmys, winning for Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Writing, and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special.

File Under: Comedy
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Jimmy Carter & Dallas Country Green: Summer Brings the Sunshine (Numero) LP
Don’t let the postcard-generic cover art fool you, Summer Brings The Sunshine stands head and shoulders above nearly any major label country rock album crowding mid-’70s record bins. Next to the hundreds or even thousands of slick productions flowing out of Nashville and Los Angeles, Jimmy Carter scoured his rural Missouri surroundings for farmhands and semi-pros alike to lay down eight farm-isolated originals in 1977. Tasty female backing vocals, languid pedal steel, and feisty guitar licks abound on this exalted and near-peerless slice of Cosmic American Music.

File Under: Country
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Jacques Charlier: Art In Another Way (Séance Centre) LP
Throughout a long career in the visual arts, Jacques Charlier has maintained a multi-disciplinary approach that includes forays in poetry, underground comics, acting, filmmaking and music. Besides performing with his punk group Terril (sadly, never recorded), Charlier took inspiration from the minimalist sounds of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, La MonteYoung, John Cage, and Meredith Monk. Throughout the 1970s he performed psychoacoustic pieces in Liège, Antwerp, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Milan and Düsseldorf, and in the astounding performance art video Desperados Music, filmed by Paul Paquay for Belgian television. Charlier hit a creative stride in the 1980s — armed only with a synth, drum machine, fuzz box, and his custom guitar, with occasional duets with vocalist Martine Doutreleau. He recorded a trove of proto-pop tunes which he self-released on three cassettes (Musique Regressive, Chansons Idiotes and Chansons Tristes) between 1984–1987. “Art In Another Way” collects selections from these tapes, in addition to an ample supply of previously unreleased material, all mixed and mastered from Charlier’s original 4-track recordings for a wide angle view of his creative range. From the proto-house rhythm of “Jingle – Crepuscule”, to the minimal EBM experiment “Top” and Art Of Noise- inspired “PassingTime”. There are certain resonances within the catalogs of Belgian labels Crammed Discs and Les Disques Du Crépuscule, yet even with these genre-bending precedents, Charlier’s music is idiosyncratic and visionary to the extreme. Accompanying the release is a postcard featuring a behind-the-scenes performance photo and visual score by Charlier. RIYL: Flying Lizards, Y Records, Young Marble Giants, Ashra, Naffi, Tuxedomoon, Aksak Maboul

File Under: Art Rock, DIY
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Dadawah: Peace & Love (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
Michael George Henry (aka Ras Michael and, for this lone release, Dadawah) was born in 1943 in Saint Mary Parish, in northeastern Jamaica. Henry was raised in a Rastafari community when the religious movement was still in its infancy and marginalized within Jamaica. It was there that he began performing Nyahbinghi, the Rastafarian devotional music that combines the influences of African drumming and Black gospel. Henry found himself in Kingston in the late 1950s where he worked for Coxsone Dodd at the legendary Studio One. By 1968, he had formed the group Sons of Negus and the first overtly Rasta record label, Zion Disc. As Rasta filtered into the mainstream, Henry released more music including albums for Trojan, Dynamic and Grounation labels. Originally released in 1974, Peace And Love – Wadadasow is Dadawah’s magnum opus. Produced by Lloyd Charmers, the album features slinky basslines, wah-wah guitar, hypnotic keyboards, dubbed-out studio trickery and, of course, the propulsive drumming and rhythmic chanting characteristic of Nyahbinghi. Antarctica Starts Here presents the first widely available domestic release of Peace and Love – Wadadasow. This reissue is part of an archival series that focuses on Trojan’s essential ’60s and ’70s catalogue. Liner notes by JR Gonne.

File Under: Reggae
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Destroyer: LABYRINTHITIS (Merge) LP
Destroyer’s 2022 album brims with mystic and intoxicating terrain, the threads of Dan Bejar’s notes woven through by a trove of allusions at once eerily familiar and intimately perplexing. More than an arcane puzzle for the listener, Labyrinthitis warps and winds through unfamiliar territory for Bejar as well. Written largely in 2020 and recorded the following spring, the album most often finds Bejar and frequent collaborator John Collins seeking the mythic artifacts buried somewhere under the dance floor, from the glitzy spiral of “It Takes a Thief” to the Books-ian collage bliss of the title track. Initial song ideas ventured forth from disco, Art of Noise, and New Order, Bejar and Collins championing the over-the-top madcappery. “Our version may have been punk clubs, but our touchstones for the album were more true to disco,” says Bejar.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Ani Difranco: s/t (Righteous Babe) LP
Originally released in 1990, Ani DiFranco’s first album is so revolutionary that the purveyors of status quo install women’s music sections in the dusty corner of their stores in order to hide it. Dorm rooms coast to coast transform into audio dub houses where young women with aching arms scratch out hand written labels and personal letters like “you have to hear this.” These quasi-booking agent and pirate distributors work long into the night purchasing greyhound tickets for a certain young Folksinger to come play at their school. Today. Folk and poetry prevail. Vulnerable stories arm themselves as powerful songs on Ani DiFranco’s self-titled first solo record. Ani’s voice is rich and eloquent. Her guitar moves like an appendage. From cockroach pus to abortion rights the record doesn’t flinch. This singer/songwriter folk mecca contains songs with an epic stage life such as, “Both Hands,” “Out of Habit,” “The Slant,” and “Fire Door.” All of the tracks embody the love and humor inherent in Ani’s music. Thematically this record gives a face to feminism that is both beautiful and accessible to anyone. The stories focus on relationships and humanity. We sit in the waiting room of an abortion clinic after facing an angry crowd in “Lost Woman Song.” “Talk to Me Now” and “The Story” confront the inequality of the sexes in a man’s world. The love songs examine relationships with the same discernment as the political ones. “Both Hands” is a hands down favorite among any DiFranco fan. “Every Angle” infuses the thrill of protest with the joy of a crush, “thoughts of you are picketing my brain/ they refuse to work such long hours without rest/ in unstable conditions at best.” And the unforgettably poetic and guitarific, “Fire Door” is a heartfelt treat in its first studio recording.

File Under: Folk
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Eternal Tapestry: Beyond the 4th Door (Thrill Jockey) LP
Eternal Tapestry started in the fall of 2005, conceived after original members Nick Bindeman and Dewey Mahood discovered their mutual love of Sonny Sharrock and Neu! It was these two vastly different artists who helped the bands sound take shape, free improvised guitar with structured rhythms and lots of layered ambient sound. On their Thrill Jockey debut Eternal Tapestry have delivered an album not unlike their epic live shows. Beyond the 4th Door contains long stretches of melodic guitar improvisations, dark brooding songs that slowly build and expand to allow in layers of light. The album was recorded in their home studio and was created by recording more that two hours of material, mostly live, and hand picking what you hold in your hands. There is a free and open nature to their structure creating for the listener a spacious environment to explore. Harkening back to the early 70’s experimental rock that inspired them, such as Popol Vuh, Cluster and Trd Grs och Stenar, Beyond the 4th Door is an album meant to be listened to in its entirety.

File Under: Psych, Kosmische
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The Ex: Tumult (Superior Viaduct) LP
While awaiting the release of Dignity Of Labour, The Ex headed back into the studio in early 1983; this time with a new friend—The Mekons’ Jon Langford—helping produce. Originally released in April 1983 (only a month after Dignity Of Labour), Tumult marks a major evolution in Ex-sound. Opener “Bouquet Of Barbed Wire” emerges snarling out of post-punk atmospherics with Terrie Ex’s glacial guitar, Bas Masbeck’s loping bass and cascading tom-toms from new recruit Sabien Witteman, while “Fear” and “Survival Of The Fattest” bring to bear the rhythmic core of the band, their signature angular style. Lyrically, the songs on Tumult cycle through a series of familiar concerns: animal rights, squatters, the working class, punk’s penchant for radical chic and the creeping fascism of nationalist sentiments. G.W. Sok’s voice is squalling and perfectly wry throughout. Tumult remains a high-water point of early Ex, serving as both developmental guide and way-station. The next 18 months would see the departure of Bas and Witteman and the arrival of long-serving bassist Luc Klaasen and drummer Kat Bornefeld (whose supple rhythms propel the group to this day). The album stands as one of the most compelling and unique documents of early ’80s DIY exploration. If Mark E. Smith had only one favorite Dutch punk band, then it would undoubtedly be The Ex.  This first-time vinyl reissue comes with 28-inch x 39-inch full-color poster.

File Under: Punk
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The Fall: A Part of America Therein, 1981 (Superior Viaduct) LP
In the summer of 1981, The Fall embarked on their second American tour, criss-crossing the States over a two-month period. Featuring the dual guitar of Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon and rhythm section of Stephen Hanley and Karl Burns, A Part Of America Therein, 1981 would document this fabled journey with crucial performances that show the band evolve from noisemaking lout cultists into true post-punk legends. “From the riot-torn streets of Manchester, England to the scenic sewers of Chicago …” as the album opens unforgettably with a nameless promoter introducing The Fall, who proceed to tear into a hypnotic take on “The N.W.R.A.” stretched into a near stare-down that is wholly different than the studio version on Grotesque. The LP highlights Mark E. Smith’s incomparable bite, heard most notably on the adlibbed vitriol of “Totally Wired,” where not even the costumed punks were safe from a proper dressing down. A Part Of America Therein, 1981 proves once again that The Fall’s constant rally against complacency was a top-down directive and intrinsic to their wonderful and frightening sound. Superior Viaduct’s edition is the first time that this album has been available on vinyl domestically since its initial release in 1982. Liner notes by Brian Turner.

File Under: Punk
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The Fall: Live at the Witch Trials (Cherry Red) LP
The Fall’s first studio album, reissued as a limited edition red coloured vinyl LP (Also available as a 3CD clamshell box-set). This red coloured vinyl version is 180GSM with an inner bag and features the US artwork and track-listing. It is limited to 1000 copies.

File Under: Punk
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Milt Jackson: And the Thelonious Monk Quintet (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. Vibraphonist Milt Jackson appeared on a number of Blue Note sessions throughout the bebop era in the late 1940s and early 1950s including a 1952 date under his leadership which featured the original line-up of the Modern Jazz Quartet with John Lewis on piano, Percy Heath on bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums, plus Lou Donaldson on alto saxophone. That year Blue Note released the 10″ LP Wizard of the Vibes which included Jackson’s memorable theme “Bag’s Groove.” In 1956, Blue Note transitioned to the 12″ LP and began the fabled 1500 Series, releasing the expanded LP Milt Jackson and The Thelonious Monk Quintet – BLP 1509 – with added tracks from 1948 and 1951 dates led by Monk, including a quartet date with John Simmons on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums, as well as a quintet date with Sahib Shihab on alto saxophone, Al McKibbon on bass, and Art Blakey on drums.

File Under: Jazz
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Omar Khorshid: Giant + Guitar (Wewantsound) LP
Wewantsounds reissue Omar Khorshid’s highly sought-after instrumental album Giant + Guitar originally released in 1974 in Lebanon and recorded at Polysound Studio by famed Lebanese engineer Nabil Moumtaz. The album features Khorshid’s unique electric guitar sound mixed with Arabic melodies over superb psych arrangements. Omar Khorshid’s life, if short (he died age 36 in a road accident), was extraordinary. Blessed with a great talent for music, the Egyptian musician and actor became one of the best guitarists of the Arab World accompanying the greatest stars of the ’60s and ’70s, including Oum Kalthoum, Abdel Halim Hafez and Farid El Atrache. To avoid the political troubles of the time in Egypt, and to fulfil his artistic ambitions, Khorshid moved to Beirut in Lebanon in 1973 and started recording a string of superb albums experimenting with oriental music. He recorded for several labels including Voice of Lebanon, one of the key Lebanese labels of the time. He released his first album Giant + Guitar for the label in 1974 and it was an instantly popular in the Arab world. The front cover sees Khorshid on his motorcycle in the busy street of Hamra, one of the most vibrant Beirut neighborhoods where he was playing most nights in residence. (The album was also released internationally as Rhythms from the Orient with a different artwork focusing on belly dance). The sound is both bold and accessible, displaying Khorshid’s unique guitar sound, accompanied by a small band mixing traditional and modern fuzzed-up arrangements. The mesmerizing opening track, “Rakset El Fadaa”, composed by Lebanese musician Nour Al Mallah, is a perfect example of Khorshid’s artistry. Starting with a long, hypnotic guitar intro, it then speeds up with the backing of a groovy organ, Oriental percussion and the psych sound of an early synthesizer to great effect. The album continues on the same mode blending traditional oriental music with inventive arrangements as showcased by the Mohamed Abdel Wahab standard “Leilet Hob” popularized by Oum Kalthoum, which sees Khorshid and his musicians shifting pace several times over eight minutes. One of the peaks of the album in terms of sonic experiments is undoubtedly Korshid’s own composition, “Taqassim Sanat Alfein”, with Khorshid’s superb guitar in full bloom accompanied by a few touches of synth. Wewantsounds’ series of Arabic music reissues are curated by Mario Choueiry from Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Newly remastered; includes original Voice of Lebanon artwork and a two-page insert featuring liner notes by DJ Ernesto Chahoud.

File Under: Guitar, Arabic, Middle East
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Reiko & Tori Kudo: Tangerine (A Colourful Storm) LP
A Colourful Storm presents Tangerine, a collection of songs by Reiko and Tori Kudo. Recorded at Village Hototoguiss, Japan, during autumn, winter and spring 2011 and 2012, the makeup of Tangerine is the culmination of over thirty years of experimentation, improvisation and intimacy between Reiko Kudo and Tori Kudo. Beginning their collaborative musical activities in the late 1970s and documenting their movements as Noise, it would be an earlier Les Rallizes Dénudés gig that would prove influential in shaping the duo’s lifelong impulse for collaboration and free play – it was, after all, where they first met. Over the course of a decade, they became associated with Hideo Ikeezumi’s seminal PSF (Psychedelic Speed Freaks) scene, Tori playing with the likes of Ché-SHIZU and Fushitsusha and self-releasing cassettes before forming the first incarnation of Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Tori’s storied musical ensemble of an ever-rotating cast of contributors, would perhaps find difficulty with Tori if called his own. First surfacing in 1985 on a Shinichi Satoh-released cassette compilation, the group would spend the next thirty years playing live and recording, their sound finding solace with labels as far-reaching as Geographic and K. Tori would welcome local amateur and professional musicians, neighbourhood children, friends and passersby on stage, while in the studio, the likes of Ikuro Takahashi (LSD March) and Takashi Ueno (Tenniscoats) have joined him and Reiko on seminal sides such as Return Visit To Rock Mass and Blues Du Jour. A deeply human, deeply romantic recording, Tangerine shines as a touchstone of contemporary Japanese folk minimalism and is significantly the last recorded appearance of Reiko and Tori Kudo as a duo. Reiko’s voice, plaintive yet playful, quietly commands centre stage and resonates perfectly with Tori’s crystalline instrumentation: bass guitar, euphonium, violin and piano evoking echoes of Enka blues. Glacial soliloquies ’The Deep Valley of Shadow’ and ‘When Seeing the Setting Sun Alone’ bare isolation and restlessness before evolving into profoundly welcoming works. A dedication to playwright and former collaborator Jacob Wren, ‘The Swallow II’ struts confidently while ‘Homeless’, delicately adorned and desirous, addresses themes of universal vulnerability: “Will you give me bread when I’m hungry? / Please stay by me like my mother”. A beautiful accompaniment to the intoxicating swirl of ’We May Be’, recorded live by John Chantler at a Cafe Oto concert in 2009. Originally released on CD by Hyotan in 2013, Tangerine is presented for the first time on vinyl by A Colourful Storm with an exclusive alternate digital version of ‘Homeless’. It stands as the final documented interplay of this enchanting, invigorating duo.

File Under: Japan, Psych, Experimental
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Mars Volta: Landscape Tantrums (Clouds Hill) LP
Glow in the dark wax! The recent rediscovery of Landscape Tantrums, the first attempt at recording the music that would become The Mars Volta’s De-Loused In The Comatorium, revealed an important and hitherto missing chapter in the group’s evolution. Self-recorded by Omar (assisted by Jon DeBaun) at Burbank’s Mad Dog Studios within a head spinning four days, Landscape Tantrums captures De-Loused in somewhat embryonic form, though much of what would make The Mars Volta’s debut album such an electrifying, sublime experience was already in place: the fearless invention, the fusion of futurist rock elements and traditions from outside of the rock orthodoxy, the sense of virtuosity working in service of emotional effect. From a distance, The Mars Volta must have seemed as if they were on a high when they walked into the studio to record what they expected to be their debut album (“I didn’t think of it as demos or a dry run,” Omar says). The group had recently played the Coachella festival to rave reviews, a vindication of the quixotic risk Omar and Cedric had taken, quitting At The Drive In to lead such an uncompromising musical proposition. Their debut EP, Tremulant, had similarly signaled their singular vision, and been rewarded with similarly positive feedback. But the truth was that The Mars Volta entered Mad Dog in tatters, scarcely believing anything other than failure lay within their reach. They’d recently lost their bassist, Eva Gardner, and parted ways with keyboard play Ikey Owens. Tensions were brewing with drummer Jon Theodore, too himself a replacement for founding drummer Blake Fleming Omar questioning Theodore’s commitment to the group. And sound manipulator Jeremy Michael Ward’s drug problem had gotten so far out of hand that he’d been sent to rehab, and wouldn’t return until two days into the Landscape Tantrums. The pressure upon Omar was intense, and it began to manifest in the form of physical and emotional breakdowns. His art was his life, but now he began to wonder if it was actually going to kill him. Under such heavy manners, miracles occurred at Mad Dog. Surely that’s the only way to describe the music contained on Landscape Tantrums, as Omar fashioned early versions of “Inertiatic ESP,” “Drunkship Of Lanterns” and “Eriatarka” that rivalled the Rick Rubin produced versions that ended up on De-Loused for intensity, precision and immediacy, as Cedric delivered a powerfully intimate reading of “Televators,” and as a bare bones version of the group sketched out the peaks of what would become their debut masterpiece in barely half a week, on a shoestring, and believing they wouldn’t last long enough to see it hit the shelves. Listening to Landscape Tantrums now, with the benefit of hindsight and the knowledge of what these songs will become, one notices Cedric has yet to fully find the voice that will lend The Mars Volta their devastating authority, that Eriatarka will evolve even further under Rick Rubin’s watch, and that the lyrics to De-Loused’s climactic chapter, “Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt,” have yet to be penned. But one also notices how lithe the group sound here, how hungry, and one appreciates the raw edge that Rubin would later polish to a venomous sharpness. More than mere historical curiosity, Landscape Tantrums is an essential text for the dedicated Mars Volta aficionado, and a breathtaking album in its own right.

File Under: Rock
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Branko Mataja: Over Fields and Mountains (Numero) LP
Recalling Ennio Morricone spaghetti westerns, the electrified belly dance music of Omar Khorshid, and ’90s bedroom psychedelia at once, the music of Branko Mataja is from its own epoch. Snatched from the streets of Belgrade as a teenager, Mataja spent World War II in a German work camp, escaping the insanity of post-war Europe to settle in North Hollywood to live out the American Dream to its fullest. Crafting handmade music on homemade guitars throughout the 1970s, Mataja taught himself to play in order to pay homage to his ancestral home of Yugoslavia, a place he would never return to except through these guitar meditations.

File Under: Guitar, Psych, Bellydance, Middle Eastern
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Kosuke Mine Quintet: Mine (Le Tres Jazz Club) LP
Le Très Jazz Club present a reissue of Kosuke Mine Quintet’s first release, Mine, originally released on Three Blind Mice in 1970. Fuzati (Klub Des Loosers), producer and die-hard crate digger, has teamed up with Modulor to launch the Le Très Jazz Club label, dedicated to jazz vinyl reissues. For the first two releases, Mine, presented here, and Green Caterpillar (LTJC 002LP), Le Très Jazz Club has chosen to celebrate Japan. Japanese jazz is sadly one of the best-kept secrets in music. But, it would be a huge loss to miss Mine, the sublime first album from Kosuke Mine Quintet, released in 1970 on the legendary Three Blind Mice label. The record, made of a four long pieces where Kosuke Mine’s sax (alto and soprano) and Hideo Ichikawa’s Fender Rhodes never stop to respond to each other is a monument of dense and spiritual jazz.

File Under: Jazz, Japan
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Thurston Moore: Screen Time (Southern Lord) LP
Sonic Youth legend Thurston Moore delivers the surprise 10-track ambient instrumental album Screen Time with straightforward track titles like “The Town,” “The Home,” and “The Neighbor.” Moore explained that he wanted to compose a soundtrack for an imaginary film noir, with each track representing a different scene. “While our societies have become wholly engaged with the virtual universe of online interaction the work of filmmakers, musicians, painters, poets and dancers continues to offer dreamworld expressions of both reality and the imagination,” he said. “Art is an offering. When you open up your screen, send a message of love and gratitude to someone. If it’s within your means, send aid to those in need. Screen time is now time, it is always time for change. A change for the better. What better time than now. Create, instigate, debate, never hate, sleep late, embrace fate, make a movie date, destroy and skate.”Sonic Youth legend Thurston Moore delivers the surprise 10-track ambient instrumental album Screen Time with straightforward track titles like “The Town,” “The Home,” and “The Neighbor.” Moore explained that he wanted to compose a soundtrack for an imaginary film noir, with each track representing a different scene. “While our societies have become wholly engaged with the virtual universe of online interaction the work of filmmakers, musicians, painters, poets and dancers continues to offer dreamworld expressions of both reality and the imagination,” he said. “Art is an offering. When you open up your screen, send a message of love and gratitude to someone. If it’s within your means, send aid to those in need. Screen time is now time, it is always time for change. A change for the better. What better time than now. Create, instigate, debate, never hate, sleep late, embrace fate, make a movie date, destroy and skate.”

File Under: Ambient, Sonic Youth
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Jake Muir: Mana (Ilian Tape) LP
Since he started producing music, Berlin-based American sound artist Jake Muir has been obsessed with sampling. His 2018 album “Lady’s Mantle” was based on manipulated chunks of vintage Californian surf rock, and its follow-up, 2020’s midnight symphony “The Hum Of Your Veiled Voice” was sourced from a wide variety of old records, and inspired by the work of experimental turntablists like Marina Rosenfeld, Janek Schaefer and Philip Jeck. On “Mana”, Muir looks back to a misunderstood musical movement. Around 1995, a group of New York producers and DJs – including DJ Olive, DJ Spooky and Spectre – pioneered a genre-dissolving sound by unifying hip-hop techniques with ideas pulled from dub, jungle, ambient music and industrial noise. Badged “illbient”, it was a short-lived genre that felt like a high-minded psychedelic cousin of the UK’s trip-hop. Muir uses illbient as the springboard for “Mana”, utilizing a selection of samples to inform his frothy drones and foreboding atmospheres. He ushers the material into 2021 by diverting it through his own contemporary worldview, attempting to recreate the hyperreal fantasy histories of Japanese RPGs (think “Dark Souls” and “Final Fantasy”) and nod to sensual, tactile soundscapes of European industrial labels Staalplaat and Soleilmoon. The result is a magickal, sensory journey that’s as physical as it is representational. If the illbient producers were encouraging a burgeoning experimental music landscape to emphasize the tactile feeling of turntablism and sample manipulation, Muir is doing the same with “Mana”. Each track heaves and breathes not just with his cultural reference points, but with layered, complicated emotions. We can hear joy, sadness, desire and anguish, obscured by disintegrating noise, hallucinogenic harmonies and sub-aquatic bass. It’s electronic music that’s rooted not in technology, but in touch.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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M Ross Perkins: E Pluribus M Ross (Karma Chief) LP
Like some kind of time-hopping wizard with preternatural melodic sensibilities, M Ross Perkins is back with his sophomore full-length, E Pluribus M Ross. The album, his first for Colemine/Karma Chief Records, is another masterclass in home recording with 12 shimmering slices of purely perfect psychedelic pop. In describing Perkins, it’s not wrong to namecheck Rhodes and Nilsson, but you have to expand that list of influences to include pop-rock visionaries like Brian Wilson, Colin Blunstone, and even John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Let’s also throw in the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Kinks as well. Perkins clearly learned plenty of helpful tips from these and other legends that made the late 1960s and early 1970s such a magical musical time, but he has charted his own singular path from the past and back again. The hooks, arrangements, and overall sense of songcraft are as sophisticated as the work of Wilson and Nilsson, which is remarkable when you consider Perkins not only produced all of the musical arrangements but also played all of the instruments and sang all of the vocal parts on the album. Even more impressive, Perkins is able to evoke all of these iconic figures in his songs without resorting to psych-rock cliches or outright thievery. It’s an extraordinary balancing act, and what emerges is a shimmering tapestry of skillfully-woven musical threads, each harkening back to the past while simultaneously pointing toward the future.

File Under: Psych, Pop
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Bud Powell: Time Waits (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. In the late 1940s, Blue Note founder Alfred Lion became enthralled with the modern sounds of bebop and began recording several of the new music’s innovators including the brilliant pianist Bud Powell, who Lion dubbed The Amazing Bud Powell. Powell could be erratic, but as a producer Lion always seemed to draw the best out of the piano master, and cut numerous classic sides including “Un Poco Loco” and “Bouncing with Bud.” The fourth volume of The Amazing Bud Powell series, titled Time Waits, was recorded in 1958 and found Powell in particularly fine form on an ebullient set of his original tunes including “Buster Rides Again,” “Monopoly,” and “John’s Abbey.” Powell’s playing is endlessly inventive as he takes flight in a trio setting with bassist Sam Jones and Philly Joe Jones, who elevates the session with some of his most inspired drumming on record.

File Under: Jazz
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Tom Rogerson: Retreat to Bliss (Western Vinyl) LP
Since the release of his last album – 2017’s Finding Shore, a collaboration with Brian Eno – pianist and singer-songwriter Tom Rogerson’s life has undergone a number of dramatic transformations. While writing his new album Retreat to Bliss, Rogerson had a child, lost a parent, and received his own diagnosis of a rare form of blood cancer. The new decade brought him from Berlin to the Suffolk of his childhood, composing profound pieces of minimal songwriting in the church next to his parents’ home. It was working with Eno, another Suffolk native, that eventually led Rogerson back to his roots and back to a place where he could write Retreat to Bliss, his solo debut album. “All my life, the piano has been my constant companion, my confessor, my best friend, and my worst enemy,” Rogerson explains. “I’ve always written music on and for the piano, but it felt too personal, too private to release.” Indeed, listening to Retreat to Bliss feels almost like eavesdropping, as though you’re crouched in the belfry of a Suffolk church, bearing witness to a form of musical bloodletting. For the first time in his noteworthy career, Rogerson has combined masterful piano playing and subtle electronics with the texture of his own voice, an attempt to express deeply private emotions that were difficult to articulate using instrumental music alone. The eleven tracks that make up Retreat to Bliss were recorded by Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, David Byrne, Grace Jones) over the course of just a few days, a process that emphasized spontaneity and the artist’s own commitment to improvisation. The opening track, “Descent”, begins with a series of spare notes suspended like icicles, an inhalation of breath audible in the void. The emotional piece builds in intensity until Rogerson’s masterful piano playing has completely taken over, conjuring sonic images of rainfall on glass. The piece blends seamlessly into the utterly gorgeous “Oath”, the first track to feature Rogerson’s earnest and unaffected vocals. The collection draws the listener in further with songs like the contemplative “Toumani”, inspired by the music of the Malian kora player of the same name, and the centrepiece “Chant”, in which Rogerson quietly pleads, “Please don’t leave me / in this perfect place.” The album finishes with the climactic “Retreat To” and the brief outro “Coda”, a revelatory diptych that unfolds like a confession, furious and mournful one moment and in the next, simply questioning. Secular yet devotional, intensely personal yet profound, the experience of listening to Retreat to Bliss seems to evade characterization. It’s physical and emotional, a glimpse into the mind of an artist who has chosen exposure over withdrawal, who uses his command of the piano to chart an unflinching path forward, never looking back.

File Under: Piano, Ambient, Classical
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Loris S. Sarid & Innis Chonnel: Where the Round Things Live (12th Isle) CS
New family members Loris S. Sarid & Innis Chonnel summon a long-overdue return to the 12th Isle with an album built around percussive sounds taken from various mic-ed up objects found in a wood workshop on the East Coast of Scotland. With the pair occasionally leaving said workshop to enjoy some respite in Innis Chonnel’s horse box / studio, the artists hatched a plan to process and program their field recordings, later combining them with improvised synthesiser rhythms and overdubs. The tracks began to materialise over the course of a few follow-up sessions by which time saws sang and flutes flowed through watering cans. Shortly afterwards they found their way to us via carrier pigeon on a CD-ROM that smelt vaguely of soiled hay and we knew we had to act. With the help of an old reel to reel and the tape bounce & mastering work of Murray Collier, we present them here in their final format.

File Under: Electronic, Tapes
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Silvertones: Silver Bullets (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
The Silvertones were steeped in the grand tradition of Jamaican vocal trios along with other greats such as The Heptones, The Abyssinians and The Kingstonians. Formed in 1964 by Delroy Denton, Keith Coley and Gilmore Grant, the group recorded under a variety of names in the ska and rocksteady era for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle and Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One, before hooking up with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry. Originally released in 1973, The Silvertones’ debut Silver Bullets was recorded at Perry’s Black Ark studio with vocal tracks captured at King Tubby’s Dromilly Avenue studio in a marathon, all-night session. While firmly planted in roots reggae, Silver Bullets’ dense harmonies and relaxed vibe harken back to rocksteady. The album marks an interesting point in Jamaican music where the past and the future are visible in the grooves of a single LP—from classic rocksteady-tinged love songs like “That’s When It Hurts” and “Rock Me In Your Soul” to the Rasta anthem “Rejoice Jah Jah Children.” Antarctica Starts Here presents the first widely available domestic release of Silver Bullets. This reissue is part of an archival series that focuses on Trojan’s essential ’60s and ’70s catalogue. Liner notes by JR Gonne.

File Under: Reggae
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Threshold Houseboys Choir: Form Grows Rampant (Musique Pour La Danse) LP
The Threshold HouseBoys Choir was a project by Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson. Operating out of Bangkok, Thailand, the Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV founding member started this audio and visual endeavour after Coil’s conclusion. Despite the name, it was a solo project relying heavily on computer generated vocals. The name was derived from a play on words, combining the terms houseboy, house of boys, boys’ choir, and Threshold House, which was Coil’s own label. “Form Grows Rampant” is the soundtrack of a film shot by Christopherson (a video capture at the GinJae Vegetarian Festival in the south of Thailand) and his first major musical project since the tragic death of John Balance and Coil’s subsequent demise. The music is a suite of lengthy dense atmospherics that combine shuddering electronics with sampled vocals, eerie digitalia, buried melodies and sinister undercurrents hinting at a gleaming heart of darkness, with a joyful melodic progression that sounds positively triumphant towards the end of the album. It’s both Coil-esque and quite different, and is undoubtedly the worthy successor of the essential project that Christopherson created with his partner John Balance. First released in small quantities in 2007 as a mixed CD/DVD set, this is the first time it is released on vinyl, CD, and digital. This reissue has been mastered from original files by Sidney Claire Meyer at former Deutsche Grammophon studios Emil Berliner in Berlin, using the half speed mastering process, and pressed on heavy vinyl at 45 RPM. Limited Edition of 1000. Printed on inside out on heavy 350g cardboard. Gatefold sleeve features stills from the movie in chronological order (Warning: contains explicit graphic images depicting religious devotees in trance-like states, tongue slashing, partial skinning, impaling through cheeks, ears, etc). Includes original liner notes by Peter Christopherson. File under COIL Forever, Religious IDM, Ecstatic Classical, Post Ethnic Industrial Exotica, Erotic Trance and best album ever heard.

File Under: Electrronic, Industrial, COIL
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Tinariwen: Amassakoul (Wedge) LP
Amassakoul was Tinariwen’s breakthrough album, originally recorded in Mali, and the UK in 2013. Now remastered for vinyl with a bonus unreleased track, exclusive photos and brand new liner notes. Double LP limited edition indigo vinyl in printed inners with gatefold sleeve – only 3000 copies worldwide and the download card provides 24-bit WAVs.

File Under: Africa, Tuareg
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Tinariwen: Radio Tisdas Sessions (Wedge) LP
The 20th Anniversary edition of Tinariwen’s first studio album The Radio Tisdas Sessions has been remastered for vinyl. It includes an unreleased bonus track, exclusive photos and brand new liner notes. Double LP limited edition white vinyl in printed inners with gatefold sleeve – only 3000 copies worldwide and the download card provides 24-bit WAVs.

File Under: Africa, Tuareg
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Wee: You Can Fly On My Aeroplane (Numero) LP
Scoring the lives of small-time players, pimps, junkies, and prostitutes lurking around his simultaneously blessed and cursed existence, Wee mastermind Norman Whiteside lived in an entirely different Columbus than Capsoul’s Bill Moss or Prix’s Clem Price. Alternating between Stevie Wonder’s dreamy soul and Sly Stone’s druggy groove, You Can Fly On My Aeroplane bypasses Whiteside’s everyday gritty street life reality, focusing instead on the airy sounds of fantasy and masquerade. LP version replicates the original nine-song album as originally released on Owl records. Smooth, sexy, and synthy, You Can Fly On My Aeroplane is a peerless and sprawling psychedelic soul concept album and a sure-fire undergarment soaker to boot.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Various: Incantations (Séance Centre) LP
INCANTATIONS is a collection of sixteen visual and sonic experiments centred around the idea of score as spell, curated and produced by Séance Centre’s Brandon Hocura and Naomi Okabe. A spell and its incantation are distinct, but conjoined by a symbolic, almost umbilical force. A spell is a totem text, a material call for change — a seed, a recipe, an instruction, a potential. The incantation of a spell gives it life, brings breath to body, raises hairs, moves minds. For this project, eight spell-scores were created by visual/text-based artists for a musician/composer to incant. Taking a wide interpretation of what can be considered a score, these works include concrete poetry, collage, painting, drawing, spell-poetry, instructional art, and recipe. The resulting sound works give voice to these evocative “texts”, residing in the liminal space between musical form and magical utterance. Creating what became the cover artwork for this release, musician and artist Benjamin Kilchhofer conjured salt paintings reminiscent of ancient runes and salt circles — improvised talismans of protection. Translating these expressions into sound using a hydro harp (water drops hitting tuned water-filled porcelain bowls), musician and artist Tomoko Sauvage evokes an embryonic environment, the cleansing and purification of salt water oceans. Artist Mehrnaz Rohbakhsh created a piece that arose from a drawing ritual — a meditation on textile, pattern, and code. In response, Museum Of No Art (Mona Steinwidder) worked her composition by “weaving the piece, layer by layer”. She was “particularly interested in the state one achieves when one works repetitively, stoically and excessively towards a form. Which leads to trance or meditation and creates its own immaterial energy.” Dani Spinosa, poet of digital and print media, created a typewriter poem that emerged after consulting Hesiod’s “Works and Days and Theogony” to learn more about the witch goddess Hekate. Synchronously, interdisciplinary artist Gavilán Rayna Russom had recently returned to research on Hekate, teaching about the goddess in her class “Queering European Witchcraft Traditions”. Russom spent time with Spinosa’s spell, spoke to Hekate, and then unlocked the gate, seeking to “stir sonic emanations that were radiant, multiple and liminal.” The side ends with a composition by musician and artist Felicia Atkinson via an instructional text from conceptual artist David Horvitz. What is it like to inhabit the mind of a crow? This simple gesture to befriend a crow, to be in relationship with something other than human implies much more, a re-orientation to our living environment and forms of intelligence. The B-side opens with electronic composer C.R. Gillespie’s sonic manifestation of a score by bricolage artist Andrew Zukerman. Taking compositional inspiration from the Smiss stone, Zukerman created a collaged visual score on staff paper that hints at the formal aspects of occult symbols and sigils, while remaining obliquely secular. Creating an interlocking tapestry of “Roman gamelan”, Gillespie’s track dramatizes the negotiating power and structure of the abstract score. Over three days, iconic Canadian poet bill bissett created a jazz-scape painting filled with an ecstatic gathering of eidetic spirits, “connekting trembling xploring serching remote brooding grooving melodee solo lifting n refrain filling.” Immersing himself in the energy of the painting, musician and composer Idris Rahman overlaid three takes of bass clarinet and found that “melodies, textures and harmonies emerged without thought and the piece took on a life of its own.” As a way to explore the connection between food and music, the curators commissioned a recipe from electronic producer and home chef, Yu Su. Her simple and wholesome pudding recipe lays out instructions for texture and taste that musician Scott Gailey stirs into a sonic caldron of field recordings and electronics. The closing chant, penned by writer and activist adrienne maree brown and incanted by musician Beverly Glenn-Copeland, was the result of a synergistic conversation between the two. The refrain, “surrender to the present moment / what’s coming now is all that’s left” is a mantra reminding us of the power of speech, repetition, and the evanescent nature of temporal experience. The eight spell cards, inspired by the format of oracle and tarot cards, are invitations for further interpretation and play. To be under a spell is to be lost in a transformation, an alternate reality, to be in collaboration with an unknowable and powerful force. The works in this collection have created a spontaneous and ludic alchemy, courageous attempts to catalyze and spark in our present moment. INCANTATIONS is co-presented by Tone Deaf Kingston and The Witch Institute with support from the City of Kingston Arts Fund and the Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies program in the Department of Film & Media at Queen’s University.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Various: Lèspri Ka: New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe 1981-2010 (Séance Centre) LP
The innovative, radical soul of Guadeloupe explored across thirty years of contemporary gwoka music, released by Time Capsule and Séance Centre. As Guadeloupean vocalist and composer Marie-Line Dahomay writes in her liner notes to the compilation, gwoka is more than a style of music, it is “a way of living and thinking.” Rooted in the social, musical and ritual practices of enslaved African people and their descendants on Guadeloupe, gwoka has always sought to express the spirit of independence and resistance authentic to the island. Building on its traditional call-and-response form and the ideas of pivotal figures like Gérard Lockel and Christian Laviso, modern gwoka evolved throughout the second half of the twentieth century to include funk, jazz and electronic influences. Defined by its propensity for innovation, this compilation charts the most radical changes to modern gwoka, capturing a sensory riot of traditional répertoires, rhythms and makè techniques fused with genre-defying experimentation. Whether heard in the deeply cosmic, spiritual music of Dao, Freydy Doressamy and Gaoulé Mizik, or the jazz funk inflections of Gui Konket and Horizon, the music here is united by the feeling of santiman ka, crucial not only to gwoka music but the identity of Guadeloupe at large. As co-curator Cédric Lassonde (Beauty & The Beat) writes: “What unifies these selections is the depth of the compositions, the experimentation around the santiman ka, and the spirit of resistance and liberation against slavery, be it modern or ancestral. With a thirst for innovation typical of the island’s creole culture, the ka spirit is deeply rooted in collective history and in a quest for identity.” Co-curator Brandon Hocura (Séance Centre) continues: “The creative energy of these musicians is powerful and demonstrates a universal pursuit of resistance, freedom and identity. Their voices are distinct, but the chorus rises high and carries their message far across the sea.” Lèsprit Ka: New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe 1981-2010 is the first compilation of its kind to bring the sound of modern gwoka to a wider audience, with many of the featured musicians still active today. Presented as a double LP, the release features a specially commissioned essay by Guadeloupean musician Marie-Line Dahomey, and extensive liner notes from the curators. True to the hybrid nature of the music, the compilation seeks not to provide a definitive sound, but express the variety of contemporary forms that have evolved from gwoka. Just as Guadeloupean trailblazers Kassav fused gwoka with funk and cadence to create zouk, so did the musicians on this collection push gwoka in new directions rarely heard beyond its shores. In the words of Gérard Lockel, “gwoka is the soul of Guadeloupe”.

File Under: Africa, Gwoka, Funk, Jazz
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A Winged Victory for the Sullen: s/t (Kranky) LP
Adult.: Becoming Undone (Dais) LP
Arctic Monkeys: AM (Domino) LP
Big Black: Atomizer (Touch & Go) LP
Boards of Canada: Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp) LP
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar) LP
Harold Budd: Pavilion of Dreams (Superior Viaduct) LP
Daft Punk: Random Access Memory (Columbia) LP
Dirty Three: She Has No Strings Apollo (Touch & Go) LP
Flying Lotus: Until the Quite Comes (Warp) LP
Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (Ndeya) LP
Huerco S: For Those of You Who Have.. (Probito) LP
Durand Jones & The Indications: Private Space (Dead Oceans) LP
Julian Lage: Modern Lore (Mack Ave) LP
Cate Le Bon: Reward (Mexican Summer) LP
Led Zeppelin: III (Atlantic) LP
Mac Miller: Faces (Warner) LP
Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge) LP
Picnic: s/t (Diasart) LP
Pink Floyd: Ummagumma (Pink Floyd) LP
Porcupine Tree: Signify (Transmission) LP
Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL) LP
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) LP
Scientist: In The Kingdom of Dub (Superior Viaduct) LP
Sleep: The Sciences (Third Man) LP
Stereolab: Emperor Tomato Ketchup (Duophonic) LP
Strokes: New Abnormal (RCA) LP
Taylor Swift: Evermore (Republic) LP
Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (EMI) LP
Wee: You Can Fly On My Aeroplane (Numero) LP

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