…..news letter #1048 – dayed…..

Well hoooooooly moooooooly. Another bonkers RSD in the books! Thanks to everyone who came out, lined up, bought a bunch of stuff and said hi! And thanks to everyone who hit up the site after the fact. We’ve gotten a few notices of late shipments leaving so keep an eye on the site and our social media for those to pop up as they come in. But no rest for the wicked. TONS of new stuff in this week too. Some was in last week but we didn’t have a chance to even open it until this week. Needless to say, you might want to grab a cold one, before you start reading…

Current operations…..

– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 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…..

O Yuki Conjugate: A Tension of Opposites Vol. 1 & 2 (World of Echo) LP
This is the first in a series of looser exploratory works that allow OYC to expand their musical horizons and release their music more expediently. A Tension of Opposites was born out of 2020’s virus state where both OYC members were left working in isolation. Two types of music emerged spontaneously, and rather than try to combine them OYC decided to present the results separately, two sides of a contrasting whole. In need of a suitable format and frustrated by their usual lengthy release schedules, OYC returned to the quick and dirty compact cassette – the place they started back in the 80s. A Tension of Opposites is ‘Dirty Ambient’, a phrase coined by OYC for the process of working quickly and instinctively, embracing errors and honouring imperfections. It’s also a jibe at what is sometimes a hideously manicured genre. 

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit: Eclipse (Black Editions) LP
Masayuki Takayanagi was one of the truly iconoclastic musicians to emerge from Japan, or anywhere else, in the 20th Century. Though he won acclaim in the 1950s and ’60s as a master of the electric guitar and jazz improvisation, Takayanagi was a restless spirit, deeply engaged with the era’s new movements in contemporary art, music, literature, and philosophy. His work, beginning in the late 1960s placed him on the leading edge of these developments; he began expanding on the most radical elements of American and European free jazz, infusing them with the raw feedback and dissonance of electronic and avant-garde music. With his various New Direction groups, Takayanagi broke free of traditional structures and developed a new theory of music that embraced an aggressive and unrelenting style of playing that has remained almost completely unparalleled in its ferocity. Of all the albums to be released during Takayanagi’s lifetime, 1975’s Eclipse was perhaps the most enigmatic and sought after. Released in an edition of only 100, it almost immediately disappeared and became a holy grail for Japanese connoisseurs of adventurous music, and rightly so. It’s first side contained a two-part realization of Takayanagi’s “Gradually Projection” modality — a searching interplay between instruments — slowly emerging from a sparse open field and building with the tension of a looming thunder storm. The second side contains an epic performance of a “Mass Projection”, a high energy, densely layered barrage of sound that in its 25 minutes, never once slackens its intensity. It would be another 31 years before this key album in Takayangi’s oeuvre would finally have a (slightly) wider audience through a CD release by Japan’s P.S.F. Records. Black Editions present a deluxe vinyl edition of this masterwork, revealingly remastered from the original tapes by Elysian Masters. The album is packaged in a heavy double tip-on gatefold jacket that pays tribute to the original handmade packaging and features a previously unseen studio photograph of Takayanagi by Tatsuo Minami. Recorded in Tokyo, March 14, 1975. Engineer: Mikio Aoki. Cover, photographs and design by Kazuharu Fujitani. Gatefold photograph by Tatsuo Minami. Insert Notes by Yasunori Saito. Produced by Satoru Obara, Yoshiaki Kamei, Nihon Gendai Jazz Ongaku Kenkyukai. Originally released in an edition of 100 by ISKRA Records, Japan in 1975. Remastered from the original master tapes by Dave Cooley, Elysian Masters, and produced by Peter Kolovos. Deluxe heavy tip-on gatefold LP with matte black paper, second tipped-on metallic gold wrap and insert.

File Under: Japan, Jazz, Free Jazz
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Ruth: Polaroid/Roman/Photo (Born Bad) LP
Born Bad Records present a reissue of Ruth’s Polaroïd/Roman/Photo, originally released in 1985. Thierry Müller, who initiated the Ruth project, is not at his first try when the album Polaroïd/Roman/Photo, including the eponymous track, is released in 1985. His older brother Patrick along with one of their cousins make his musical education and he quickly becomes familiar with contemporary and experimental music. He starts quite early to tinker sounds on old tape recorders by himself but it is in 1977 that Thierry launches with some friends his first group, Arcane, while studying at the School of Applied Arts. Alongside Arcane, Thierry is already working solo on his Ilitch project/concept, an experimental and innovative work, whose first album Periodik Mindtrouble was released in 1978. The album brings Thierry recognition and success in the very elitist circles of experimental and underground music. Ilitch’s musical bias was too narrow for Thierry’s ceaseless experimental curiosity, parallel to these activities, he therefore develops a punk project called Ruth Ellyeri with the author, actress and photographer Murielle Huster. The title is an anagram of Thierry Müller (the complete name is Ruth M. Ellyeri). At the end of 1978, he meets Philippe Doray at the Oxigene office. Doray is another big name of French experimental music. Thierry moves to his home near Rouen, a remote farmhouse with a music studio made of odds and ends. They work on their respective creations but meet from time to time on experimentations in common, including Crash (a tribute to JG Ballard). As early as 1982, a first version of the track “Polaroïd/Roman/Photo” is out under the name of the project Ruth. Philippe is quite amused by the idea of working on a more pop project and offers to write the text. Thierry works on other tracks for the future LP and asks some friends to write other texts: Edouard Nono, visual artist, writes the lyrics of “Mots”, Frédérique Lapierre those of “Misty Mouse” and “Tu M’ennuies”. It is her voice you hear on these two tracks and on the first version of Polaroïd/Roman/Photo. Later, Thierry settles down in the Anagramme recording studio to carry out acoustic sound recordings. But when the sessions are over, the two musicians are not too happy with the results of Polaroïd/Roman/Photo: according to them, they lack “flamboyance”. They decide then to record a new female voice with a professional singer and the sound engineer Patrick Chevalot offers to mix the track in the Synthesis studio “so that it blows out”.

File Under: Post Punk, Electronic, Ian’s Picks
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Sunny Balm: Eucalypt (Sacred Summits) LP
Entrancing rhythmelodic scapes beamed from Western Australia to your ears via Glasgow’s excellent Sacred Summits – the label run by Lindsay Todd (House of Traps) and Stuart Leith (Emotional Rescue) ‘Eucalyptus’ is the first release by Murray Collier (Dip Friso, Grim Lusk) as Sunny Balm since re-locating from Glasgow, Scotland to Manudurah, in the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people of the Nyoongar nation, out near what is also known as Perth. Rustling up a mixture of hand-played percussion, drum machines, synths, balafon, agogo, and field recordings, the album comprises mostly work made in the years before he moved to Oz, but it was all finished and wrapped up within proximity of the Indian Ocean, and as such is blessed with a warm presence clearly inspired by his current environment and spiritual location. As with his previous releases for Optimo, the 10 tracks are all driven by strong rhythmic urges, leading him on a dance between sloshing, woozy downbeats, sloshing polyrhythms and hypnotic percussive harmonics akin to Indonesian gamelan. All the front the groove is diffracted between seven more succinct parts that naturally flow in and out of each another, whereas the B-side finds him fully dilated and open to more tonal expression, sashaying from the gentle synth strokes and Hosono-like lilt of ‘At The Water Margin’ to the very Eno/Byrne-esque drift of ‘What’s Happening World?’ and ultimately a sort of frazzled, imaginary tribal-punk take on Reichian minimalism in ‘Din of the Mill’.

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

Oren Ambarchi: Sagitarian Domain (Black Truffle) LP
From the original Editions Mego press release: “For anyone who still associates Oren Ambarchi exclusively with the clipped, bass-heavy tones of solo electric guitar works such as ‘Suspension’, this rhythmically churning one-man-band monster of an album-length piece might seem to come out of nowhere. However, listeners who have followed the breadth of his work for the last few years (solo and in projects with collaborators from Jim O’Rourke to Stephen O’Malley and Keith Rowe to Keiji Haino) will have noted how Ambarchi has allowed increasingly clear traces of his enthusiasms as a music listener (for classic rock, minimal techno and ’70s fusion, among other areas) to surface in his performances and recordings, all the time filtering them through his signature long-form structures and psychoacoustic sonics. Recorded in a single inspired studio session, Sagittarian Domain displaces Ambarchi’s trademark guitar sound from the center of the mix, its presence felt only as an occasional ghostly reverberated shimmer. Endlessly pulsating guitar and bass lines sit alongside electronic percussion and thundering motorik drumming (familiar from his work with Keiji Haino) at the core of the piece, locking into a voodoo groove like Faust covering a ’70s cop show theme. The work is founded on hypnotic almost-repetition, the accents of the drum hits and interlocking bass and guitar lines shifting almost imperceptibly back and forwards over the beat as they undergo gradual transformations of timbre. Cut-up and phase-shifted strings enter around the half-way mark like an abstracted memory of the eastern-tinged fusion of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s classic Visions of the Emerald Beyond (1975), before returning for an extended, stark yet affecting come-down coda, equal parts Gavin Bryars and Purple Rain. While Sagittarian Domain contains traces of a diversity of influences, it mines all of them to uncover something that is clearly an extension of Ambarchi’s own investigations up to this point, exhibiting the same care for micro-detail and surrender to the physicality of sound that are present in all of his work, extending them in new ways to repetition, pulse and rhythm.”

File Under: Experimental
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Alexi Baris: Support Surfaces (Soda Gong) LP
Soda Gong presents Support Surfaces, the new record by Alexi Baris, a musician hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia. Baris’s methods are patient and deceptively rigorous, trading in sonics that are at once organized and organic. Synthetic and acoustic elements are presented in sonorous states of perpetual flux, carefully amalgamated into structures of fertile ambiguity. His is a diligent and painterly approach to sound design and arrangement, in which tiny events are magnified and brought up close, and expansive gestures are repurposed and shifted in scale. There is an abiding quality to these compositions, sounds that have been hung in the air with remarkable restraint and left to float there, defined by texture, tone, and their own entrancing spatiality. All music by Alexi Baris. Mastered by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering. Artwork and design by Alex McCullough. Includes download code; edition of 300.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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David Behrman: Viewfinder/Hide & Seek (Black Truffle) LP
Black Truffle announce ViewFinder / Hide & Seek, a new release from acclaimed American experimental composer David Behrman, presenting recordings made in collaboration with Jon Gibson and Werner Durand between 1989 and 2020. Last heard from on Black Truffle as part of the collaborative art song/live electronics madness of She’s More Wild (BT 059LP), these recordings find Behrman continuing the pioneering work in interactive electronics that have established him as one of the major living experimental composers. Side A presents excerpts from two live realizations of “Unforeseen Events” (1989), the fourth in a series of pieces focusing on the interactions between instrumental performers and responsive software. Like the classic earlier works in the series, On the Other Ocean (1977), Interspecies Smalltalk (1984) and Leapday Night (1986), “Unforeseen Events” is an “unfinished composition” in which a computer system listens for and responds to specific pitch cues from an instrumentalist. Performed by the composer on electronics and Werner Durand on soprano saxophone in Berlin in 1989, the first realization immediately ushers the listener into an environment of long soprano notes, lush, sustained synth harmonies, randomized percussive interjections and distantly burbling arpeggiated patterns. The 1999 realization recorded in New York with Jon Gibson on soprano shows how much room for the instrumentalist to affect the course of the music exists in Behrman’s interactive pieces, in which, as he notes, “performers have options rather than instructions”. Beginning in a roughly similar area to the version with Durand, this later recording eventually becomes substantially more active, as polyrhythmically layered arpeggios and percussive patterns respond to fast chromatic lines and dynamic phrases from the saxophone, moving Gibson in turn to respond with cycling figures and moments of extended technique that touch on the soprano languages pioneered by players like Steve Lacy and Evan Parker. On the B side, you are treated to a new collaborative work from Behrman and Werner Durand, building on the 2002 installation work “ViewFinder”, in which a camera detecting physical motion triggered changes to electronic sound. The piece presented here is a long-distance studio construction, recorded by Behrman in the Hudson Valley and Durand in Berlin, offering up an expansive duet between Behrman’s lush, gliding synth tones and the alien, untempered tones of Durand’s invented and adapted wind instruments. Gatefold sleeve; art by Terri Hanlon; archival photographs and new liner notes from Behrman and Durand.

File Under: Avant Garde
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Jorge Ben: Bem-Vinda Amizade (Vampi Soul) LP
Vampisoul present a reissue of Jorge Ben’s Bem-Vinda Amizade, originally released in 1981. Jorge Ben is someone who needs no introduction. Since his first hits in the ’60s, this artist has become one of the greatest icons of Brazilian pop music. His anthems “Mais Que Nada” or “Pais Tropical” are probably two of the most ever-listened Brazilian songs of all time. After being involved in the Tropicalia movement and incorporating the influences of Afro-American funk into his repertoire, with the support of his backing band — Trio Mocotó –, his very personal samba sound also opened up to the new musical trends coming from the States at the edge of the ’70s. Boogie and disco music were making headway and soon became popular in the Brazilian market. Jorge Ben’s albums recorded at the beginning of the ’80s reflect this trend and deliver a good number of outstanding tunes. Bem-Vinda Amizade is one of those albums. Recorded in 1981, it is a solid album, start to finish. It comprises the usual samba funk numbers, so characteristic of Jorge Ben, with killer boogie and disco tracks (“Oé Oé (Faz O Carro De Boi Na Estrada)”, “Ela Mora Em…”). And it also contains downtempo soulful slow burners like “Lorraine” or “Katarina, Katarina”, funky as hell! An essential addition to any Brazilian music collection.

File Under: Brazil, Tropicalia
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Bunuel: Killers Like Us (Profound Lore) LP
Bunuel is the sound of a difficult situation made worse by an unwillingness and an inability to play nice. If slotting it in a genre makes it easier for one to understand, just so one has something to file it under, mark it down as Heavy. With a capital H. But not heavy that’s in any way predictable—Bunuel’s amalgam of angular rhythms, drum salvos, blitzkrieging guitars and vocals that sound more like threats than promises is post-punk, proto heavy and arty up the ass. Arty as in avant-garde noise. Bunuel’s newest, Killers Like Us —the third part of a trilogy that started with A Resting Place For Strangers, and then The Easy Way Out—is a killer addition to the canon of good music for bad people. Produced by a near-super group of global significance, Bunuel boasts the sound work of the Italian trio of guitarist Xabier Iriondo (Afterhours), the bass of Andrea Lombardini, and the drums of Francesco Valente (Il Teatro Degli Orrori, Snare Drum Exorcism, and Lume ), along with the vocals of Eugene S. Robinson (Oxbow). Xabier is the deus-ex-machina of some of Italy’s most adventurous musical projects and sound manipulator for dozens of bands on more than fifty records with major and independent labels whose work has seen him playing live on three continents. Lombardini is a composer, producer and electric bass beast who has been playing in Italian and international jazz, pop, rock and just about everything with everyone including most significantly David Binney, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Jason Lindner, Richard Julian, Michel Godard and many more. Valente, a composer, percussionist, improviser and sound extremist, is a vital slice of the Italian rock band Il Teatro Degli Orrori. And Robinson, the lyricist and owner of the .44 magnum revolver on the record cover, has spent the last thirty plus years with American art terrorists Oxbow.

File Under: Metal
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Cluster: 71 (Bureau B) LP
For the 50th anniversary of this influential album, Bureau B release Cluster 71 as a special LP version: 500 copies, numbered, gatefold and 180 gram vinyl. According to The Wire, the British bible of musical excellence, Cluster 71 is one of the “one hundred records that set the world on fire.” Very few albums from Germany can lay claim to this honor. Cluster 71 is a monster: the debut work from the year 1971 (actually just called Cluster) contains a mere three tracks (untitled) and is quite an ordeal for untrained ears — back then, at least. Yet the album pointed the way forward like no other electronic opus. Cluster’s previous incarnation was a trio named Kluster. A change in direction and musical differences moved Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius to split from their third member, Konrad Schnitzler, in 1970. The following year, as well as playing live, they recorded their first album, Cluster 71, in publisher Ralf Arnie’s Star Musik Studio in Hamburg. Here they first met Conny Plank, who would himself become a legend. They remained close friends until his death in 1987. Early Cluster music was new. New in the sense that it did not continue any tradition, instead laying the foundations for a future tradition. The duo’s utter renunciation of conventional harmony and rhythm, their embracing of near total aural abstraction, confident use of noise, rigorous live electronic improvisation and a positive mindset tuned to winning rather than losing — these were all factors in Cluster’s innovative trailblazing of 1971. For want of a better category, Cluster 71 was classified rather inappropriately and incorrectly as “cosmic”. Few recognized Cluster for what it was — the synthesis of pop music stripped of embarrassing glamor and so-called serious music without intellectual constraints. Moebius and Roedelius took the liberty of raiding both disciplines to perfect their musical concept. A common enough practice today, but akin to a palace revolution in 1971. So it is that three pieces of electronic music meander and pulsate through Cluster 71, with no beginning and no end. Cluster’s music is free and open in all directions. There are sounds, noises and structures to be heard on this album which would become ingrained in the electronic pop music of the 1980s and 1990s. Cluster had taken the first step into the future with Cluster 71.

File Under: Electronic, Kosmische, Prog, Essential Grooves
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Coil: Music to Play in the Dark 2 (Dais) LP
Few groups in recent history forged as confounding and alchemical a body of work as Coil, the partnership of Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson and John Balance. From album to album and phase to phase their recordings spelunk perplexing depths of esoteric industrial, occult electronics, and drugged poetry, both embodying and alienating parallel currents of their peers. The late 1990’s in particular were a fertile era for the duo, embracing chance, chaos, and collaboration, enhanced by recent advancements in synthesis and sampling. Fittingly, at the summit of the decade’s long, intoxicated arc, their divergent strains of interstitial ritual congealed into one of Coil’s most celebrated and hallucinatory creations: Musick To Play In The Dark. Convening at Balance and Christopherson’s vast Victorian house / studio in the coastal town of Weston-super-Mare, they began a series of ambitious sessions aided by inner circle associates Thighpaulsandra and Drew McDowall. Although the creative process was admittedly “iterative” and “a bit of a drug blur,” the results are astoundingly inventive and well realized, winding through shades of divination dirge, wormhole kosmische, noir lounge, ominous humor, and black mass downtempo, guided by Balance’s cryptic lunar muse, which he announces on the opening track: “This is moon musick / in the light of the moon.” What’s most remarkable about the album 20 years after its release is how brazen, insular, and unpredictable it still feels. The songs follow an allusive, altered state logic all their own, warping from microscopic ripples of glitch and breath to widescreen warlock psychedelia and back again, as much hyper-sensory as inter-dimensional. Even within a catalog as eclectic as Coil’s, Musick is a mystifying collection, oneiric evocations of desire, decadence, dinner jazz, and dietary advice, far beyond the pale of whatever gothic industrial ambiguity birthed such a journey. The record closes with a slow, starlit shuffle, bathed in seething sweeps of spectral texture and high cathedral keys, like approaching the altar of some arcane temple. As the trance thickens Balance’s voice rises, processed into an increasingly eerie, gaseous haze, but he resists these unseen forces, intent on delivering a final sermon: “Through hissy mists of history / the dreamer is still dreaming / the dreamer is still dreaming.” Reissued for the first time in over 20 years, now on double vinyl LP with the complete, unedited versions of each song and an exclusive “D-side” vinyl art etching. Packaged in a sturdy matte jacket with embossed lettering and spot-gloss design elements. Completely remastered by engineer Josh Bonati with restored artwork and layout by Nathaniel Young – all under the project supervision of Drew McDowall and Thighpaulsandra.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Industrial, Kris’s Picks, Essential Grooves
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Ornette Coleman: Genesis of Genius – The Contemporary Albums (Craft) LP
Continuing Contemporary Records’ 70th anniversary celebration, Craft Recordings presents the new Ornette Coleman box set, Genesis of Genius: The Contemporary Albums featuring the two seminal releases, 1958’s Something Else!!!! The Music of Ornette Coleman and 1959’s Tomorrow Is the Question! The New Music of Ornette Coleman. These albums transformed an unknown jazz visionary from the hinterlands into the talk of the New York scene. Both albums were originally recorded by legendary engineer Roy DuNann, the man responsible for the famously pristine sound quality of Contemporary albums, and have been newly mastered for this release by Bernie Grundman, who himself got his start at Contemporary, mentored by DuNann. The 180-gram 2LP-set will be pressed at RTI and has been cut from the original analog tapes to lacquer. The deluxe box set also includes a 32-page booklet with archival photos and extensive new liner notes by Grammy Award-winning music historian Ashley Kahn. The LP jacket replicates the original tip-on versions. Largely avoided by his colleagues on the L.A. jazz scene in the late 1950s, Coleman found an open door at Contemporary Records, where the label’s founder Lester Koenig was intrigued by his melodic sensibility and unorthodox approach to phrasing. After his Contemporary albums, Coleman quickly went on to New York City and turned the jazz scene on its head, but it was Koenig who provided the first glimpse of the saxophonist’s new approach to rhythm and harmony. “These two recordings are the accessible gateway to Ornette Coleman’s music,” says Nick Phillips, the producer of Genesis of Genius. “He’s expanding on the bebop vocabulary and at this point he’s using traditional forms for most compositions, 12-bar blues and AABA song form, but doing something totally different. With Ornette and Don Cherry’s trumpet in the front line, the way they play and phrase and shift rhythms together, it sounds very loose but very tight.” Featuring Coleman’s working band with Don Cherry on trumpet, pianist Walter Norris, bassist Don Payne and drummer Billy Higgins, Something Else!!!! sounds less radical today than strikingly individual and steeped in the blues. With nine Coleman originals, the session introduced several tunes that became standards, including “The Blessing” and “When Will the Blues Leave?” Featuring Cherry, Shelly Manne, and either Percy Heath or Red Mitchell on bass, the emphatic, piano-less follow up Tomorrow Is the Question! made it clear that Coleman’s concepts were both insistently innovative and tethered to bedrock African American idioms. Consisting entirely of Coleman originals, the album introduced several more tunes that became an essential part of the jazz canon, including “Tears Inside,” “Rejoicing” and “Turnaround.” More than a seminal improviser and composer who exponentially expanded jazz’s rhythmic and harmonic frontiers, Coleman embodied the playfully heroic duality-erasing ideal at the center of African American musical innovation. Radical and rootsy, avant-garde and populist, philosophical and visceral, genius and trickster, Coleman was born and raised in Ft. Worth, and the wailing Texas blues was woven into his sound. By the time he settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s he’d spent years on the road playing blues and R&B, imbuing a gutbucket sensibility that he carried with into every musical setting. L.A. beboppers often treated him with disdain, perceiving his unorthodox note choice as lack of chops, but he slowly found a brilliant cadre of musicians who embraced his musical vision, including pianist Paul Bley, drummers Billy Higgins and Eddie Blackwell, bassist Charlie Haden and Don Cherry. The Contemporary albums paved the way for Coleman’s fall 1959 triumph in New York City, with Tomorrow Is the Question! hitting stores the same month that his quartet started an extended run at the Five Spot, arguably the most consequential and controversial gig in jazz history. Alternately championed and denounced by his musical peers and critics, Coleman found a new home at Atlantic Records, where he continued expanding his gorgeous, searing, utterly human approach to music. But it was Lester Koenig who first recognized Coleman’s genius when he walked into his Melrose office at a time when the saxophonist wasn’t even welcome on most bandstands.

File Under: Jazz
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Daft Punk: Many Faces of Daft Punk (No Label) LP
“IF YOU HEAR ANY NOISE / IT’S JUST ME AND THE BOYS…” Argentina’s Music Brokers label set their sights on the furthest edges of Thomas & Guy-Man’s musical map. Many Faces conveniently collects rare remixes from the duo (I:Cube’s “Disco Cubizm,” Scott Grooves’ “Mothership Reconnection,” Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out”), influences (Moroder, Cerrone, War), tracks they sampled (citing Oliver Cheatham’s “Get Down Saturday Night” as the sample for “Voyager” has always bothered me – it clearly isn’t – banging tune regardless) and records that frequently appeared in their DJ sets before they went full pyramid (have you listened to their 1997 Essential Mix lately?). Easy cop for Daft completists. Limited edition of 2000 copies pressed on yellow & white colored vinyl with gatefold sleeve.

File Under: Electronic
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Martin Denny: Afro-Desia (Jackpot) LP
Travellng beyond the tropical waters of the South Pacific, Afro-Desia showcases Martin Denny’s foremost foray into the sounds and rhythms of the African continent. Pressed on flame-orange color vinyl, Afro-Desia’s twelve tracks burn bright and bring the groove with a chorus of marimbas, timbales, congas, and the sounds of the safari itself. Featuring eclectic and atmospheric tracks like “Simba,” “Aku Aku,” and “Jungle Drums,” this record, originally released in 1959, marks the end of Martin Denny’s ’50s experimentalism before his move into more conventional cocktail jazz.

File Under: Exotica
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Martin Denny: Exotica Vol. 2 (Jackpot) LP
Coming hot off the heels of his iconic debut, Martin Denny’s follow-up to the original Exotica is the ultimate companion piece. Originally released in mono in 1957—mere weeks after the first Exotica album kick-started the new lounge craze—Exotica Volume II further demonstrated Denny’s unique imagination as both a musician and an entertainer. Jackpot Records’ limited edition reissue of Exotica Volume II is pressed on tropical green color vinyl, and brings Denny’s unique space age twist on Pan-Asian and Polynesian music direct to your stereo. With featured tracks like “Singing Bamboos,” “Rush Hour in Hong Kong,” and “Soshu Night Serenade,” Exotica Volume II is equally fitting as a breezy lounge listen or to set the mood for your very own tiki bar cocktail hour.

FIle Under: Exotica
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Martin Denny: Primitiva (Jackpot) LP
Originally released in 1958, Primitiva is a rhythmically rich and inimitably exotic Martin Denny experience. Reissued by Jackpot Records on limited edition ocean blue color vinyl, Primitiva highlights the burgeoning sound of ’50s exotica music, with Denny’s diverse soundscape ranging from vibraphones and marimbas, to Burmese gongs and Buddhist prayer bowls. This third outing from the father of exotica shines in style with stand-out tracks like “Burma Train,” “M’Gambo Mambo,” and “Jamaica Farewell” spanning from the Caribbean coast, to the South Pacific islands, and beyond. Pairing perfectly with beachside Mai Tais and ornamental umbrellas, Primitiva is a hallmark of the mid-century’s lounge music fascination, and is replete with animal cries, pulsing percussion, and enough groovy goodness to keep it a mainstay of your rotation.

File Under: Exotica
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Kenny Dickenson: Les Rivieres (Be With) LP
Be With Family member Kenny Dickenson’s lovely score to French-Vietnamese artist Mai Hua’s 2020 documentary film Les Rivières. If you enjoy the more minimal, intimate piano of the likes of Nils Frahm or John Carroll Kirby’s solo work, you’re certain to fall for this beautiful album. Taking six years to make, Mai’s film explores what happened when she brought her dying grandmother to France, pulling together four generations of women from the same family. Kenny’s score accompanies all the pretty things, sad things, dirty, beautiful, happy, broken and reborn moments of these women’s experiences. The whole score is built around delicate, sparkling piano motifs. At times they’re joined by cello and complemented with ambient chords and other flourishes. When it comes to describing the end results, Kenny’s happy to wear his influences on his sleeve: “When the director and I sat down for the creative meetings early in the process, we watched Wolf Children, a Japanese animation film by Mamoru Hosoda. The amazing soundtrack by Masakatsu Takagi was a launching point for me and thereafter I leaned into more modern classical composers — Reich, Sakamoto, Glass as well as Jon Hassell’s Fourth World output. Richard Reed Parry’s Music for Heart and Breath was a good early touchstone for me and Mark Hollis’ sparse, considered and deliberate approach was a constant presence. Also labels like Ghostly, ASIP and the ubiquitous Erased Tapes should probably get a nod here too…” There’s the occasional Yann Tiersen moment in there too. Out of sheer necessity the collaboration between Kenny and Mai continued beyond this initial creative direction. With Kenny speaking neither French nor Vietnamese, Mai acted as translator, a process that naturally led to discussing the film beyond just what was being said in the footage. Kenny composed much of the music in London, at the same time that Mai was shooting and editing. As the film took shape and the music also evolved, another challenge presented itself when Kenny relocated to Los Angeles part way through, resulting in Arnulf Lindners beautiful cello taking on new shapes- multi sampled, played and manipulated by Kenny into new compositions. The album also includes a new piece “Pour Marthe” that Kenny composed in memory of Mai’s grandmother who died after the film was finished. Vinyl mastered by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman, and pressed at Record Industry. The sleeve follows the film’s poster and other promotional material, including Lucile Gomez’s illustration.

File Under: OST
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Drones: Wait Long By the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By (Bang!) LP
Acclaimed second album by The Drones finally reissued by Bang! Records, originally released in 2005. Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By draws influence from the likes of Neil Young and The Birthday Party, though it has been described by lead singer/guitarist Gareth Liddiard himself as a punk rock album. The lyrics, penned by Liddiard, deal with issues such as death, depression and alcoholism in its depiction of Australian working-class life. The album received critical acclaim upon release, regarded later on as the band’s “break-out” and one of their most popular releases. The track “Shark Fin Blues”, in particular, went on to become a concert staple and was voted by contemporary Australian songwriters as the greatest Australian song of all time in October 2009. The album itself was performed live in its entirety many times, even as a part of the acclaimed Don’t Look Back concert series. In 2008, The Age ranked it the best Australian album of the 21st century. Three years later, the band’s contemporaries and “industry experts” would vote it the 24th best Australian album of all time. Gatefold sleeve.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Eamon: No Matter the Season (Now Again) LP
“A masterful mix of timeless American soul with vintage 1970s African samples in a most rewarding way — musical traveler Eamon teams with production duo Likeminds for No Matter The Season, his second album for Now-Again. ‘I’ve been singing since I was a tike, promoters used to call me ‘the boy wonder’, but with this record it felt new, almost like I was singing every note as if my life depended on it,’ says Eamon from his home in Southern California, a far cry from his native Staten Island, New York City. But you wouldn’t know his birthplace from the way he sings, especially on No Matter The Season, where Eamon put a new spin on vintage samples from the Now-Again catalog, crafting beats from various African rhythms such as Amanaz’s Zamrock, the Hygrades Nigerian funk, and Ayalew Mesfin’s Ethiopian tezetas. Shortly after the release of his last Now-Again project, Captive Thoughts, he began working with the production duo on two original compositions that appear on No Matter The Season. But as time went on, he came upon the idea of completing the album by sending the duo samples from the Now-Again catalog to work with. Which were expanded upon with a multitude of live instruments . . . Likeminds, helmed by Chris Soper and Jesse Singer, two East Coast transplants to LA who are as comfortable chopping up samples on an MPC as they are playing classic instruments, using vintage microphones, or recording to tape, offer up what could be described as a West Coast spin on the revivalist soul sound championed by Daptone Records. ‘For sure, the album is soaked in an old school feel, but to still tap into the depths of my soul today is always the end goal,’ Eamon states. All but two tracks are based on Now-Again samples, using the classic rhythms as accompaniment to showcase Eamon’s emotional singing style that is still as honest and raw as when he was a 16, singing about heartbreak. The end result, No Matter the Season, is a celebration of the musical relationship between Africa and America and the thrilling soul music that relationship has spawned since the ’60s and ’70s.”

File Under: Funk
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Earthless: Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky (Nuclear Blast) LP
Second studio album from San Diego psychedelic instrumental rockers. Earthless is the brainchild of Mario Rubalcaba, Mike Eginton (Electric Nazarene) and Isaiah Mitchell (Nebula). Rubalcaba a prolific drummer has worn the alias of Ruby Mars during his stint with Rocket from the Crypt, went on to bang away for the Hot Snakes, was the drummer for hardcore art-punks Clikatat Ikatowi and previously was in the Black Heart Procession and prior to that? Mario was a member of Tony Alva’s alva team skateboarding crew. He now finds himself, along with bassist Mike Eginton and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, knee deep in the near opposite direction of all things punk rock, ensconced in the world of jam, space and cosmic nodding a.k.a. Earthless.

File Under: Metal, Psych
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Roger Eno: The Turning Year (Deutsche Grammophon) LP
British composer and musician Roger Eno makes his solo debut album on Deutsche Grammophon with the comprehensive The Turning Year. The LP allows the listener to step through Roger’s looking-glass, filled with glimpses of pastoral scenes and free-flowing, affecting compositions. These pieces are exquisitely realized by Eno as pianist and he is joined on some tracks by the lauded German string ensemble Scoring Berlin. With a blend of recent compositions and live favorites from Eno’s concert repertoire, the album offers a comprehensive presentation of the composer’s solo work. “The Turning Year is like a collection of short stories or photographs of individual scenes, each with its own character but somehow closely related to the other,” explains Eno. “Listening to it made me think about how we live our lives in facets, how we catch fleeting glimpses, how we walk through our lives, how we notice the turning year. When Deutsche Grammophon released Mixing Colours, I took it as a real honour and a tremendous compliment. I never expected that the invitation would lead me to a solo album with them. It gave me the chance to reflect on my intense love for music and the area of Britain where I live. And I thought about how Britain is now, a place of division and growing inequality, how it was when I was growing up, and about my nostalgia for a better place that no longer exists, or perhaps never existed.” The Turning Year’s oldest composition, “Stars and Wheels”, began life twenty years ago as an improvisation that Roger played on a single-manual organ in the redundant medieval church of St Gregory in the Norfolk village of Heckingham. He recorded it soon after in his home studio and, by overlapping the speeds at which it was played, created an aural metaphor for what he calls a state of “glorious decay”, like that slowly consuming the ancient walls of the church. “Stars and Wheels” was further transformed as Eno worked with producer Christian Badzura. Other highlights include “Hymn”, a slow paean originally conceived as a solo improvisation; “A Place We Once Walked”, which opens the album and sets its emotional heartbeat; the mantra-like simplicity of “Innocence”; “On the Horizon”, a slowly unfolding meditation on uncertainty and ambiguity; “Something Made Out of Nothing”, built around the unsettling yet strangely comforting clash of semitones; and “Hope (The Kindness of Strangers)”, a piece touched by the utmost tenderness and compassion. The Turning Year includes booklet notes by Roger Eno and cover artwork by his daughter, Cecily Loris Eno.

File Under: Classical
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Ekin Fil: Feelings (A Sunken Mall) LP
New album by Turkish artist Ekin Fil after releases on Students of Decay, Root Strata, Helen Scarsdale Agency and Longform Editions. Feelings took shape amidst the months of anxious tension that 2020 laid upon us, written and produced by Turkish artist Ekin Fil, it took around one year for the album to manifest in its final form. Yet, underneath the opaque veneer of swooning drones, timeworn chords and verbal lamentations, glimpses of sanguinity and optimism flicker through the fabric of the work, mirroring the perpetual state of uncertainty and isolation we collectively faced in 2020; suspended between minute, optimistic spur and months of dissolute ambivalence. Edition of 300.

File Under: Experimental
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Haino/O’Rourke/Ambarchi: Each Side Has a Depth of 5 Seconds…. (Black Truffle) LP
The trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi return to Black Truffle with their tenth release, recorded live in Tokyo in February, 2017. While many of the trio’s recent works have seen them focusing primarily on their core guitar/bass/drums power trio format, on Each side has a depth of 5 seconds A polka dot pattern in horizontal array A flickering that moves vertically these three multi-instrumentalists strike into new territory, utilizing an almost entirely electronic set-up, with Haino on electronics, drum machine and suona (a Chinese double-reed horn), O’Rourke on synth, and Ambarchi on pedal steel and electronics. Dedicated to the memory of legendary Tokyo underground figure Hideo Ikeezumi, founder of PSF Records and the Modern Music shop and a long-term collaborator with Haino, the LP, (recorded the night Ikeezumi passed away), begins in a somber, meditative space of rippling, burbling electronics and distant jets of white noise. Though much of the “Introduction” that occupies the record’s first side is spacious and at times almost hushed, the performance is full of unexpected twists and turns, momentary events, and fleeting impressions. The trio conjures up a free-flowing surge of sound in which individual contributions are often difficult to distinguish, calling up echoes of vintage live-electronic sizzle like It’s Viaje or the cavernous expanse of David Behrman’s Wave Train. The LP’s second side opens in a similarly reflective realm, before Haino’s suona enters, taking the music in a more austere, hieratic direction, as the reed’s piercing tones are accompanied by O’Rourke’s uneasy, sliding synth figures and Ambarchi’s shimmering Leslie cabinet tones. On the side’s second piece, Haino’s signature hand-played drum machine takes center-stage, at first sounding out massive, isolated strikes, before eventually building to a tumbling, Milford Graves-esque wall of thunder. As O’Rourke’s synth squelches and stutters and Ambarchi’s heavily effected pedal steel somehow begins to sound like a kind of hellish blues harmonica, this passage offers up one of the most electrifying and bizarre moments in the trio’s catalogue to date. Containing some of the most abstract music the trio have waxed since their very first collaboration over a decade ago, this new missive from underground experimental music’s preeminent power trio shows them restless and risk-taking, clearly enjoying their remarkable improvisational chemistry while also continuing to push themselves into new directions. Gatefold sleeve with artwork and design by Lasse Marhaug; inner sleeve with live pics by Ujin Matsuo.

File Under: Experimental
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Betty Harris: Soul Perfection (Soulgramma) LP
Soulgramma presents a reissue of Betty Harris’ Soul Perfection, originally released in 1969. Soul singer Betty Harris – mainly known for her Jubilee and Sansu recordings – was born in 1939 in Orlando, Florida. As a teenager she worked as a mate for Big Maybelle who encouraged her to start singing. Her first recording was released in 1962, and her first major hit was a cover of Solomon Burke’s “Cry To Me” in 1963. Taken at a slower pace, Harris’ rendition turned the song into a Billboard Hot 100 number 23 hit and soon became a deep soul classic. A total of three further singles, including a reissue of “Cry To Me,” were released on Jubilee with “His Kiss,” which was released on January 4, 1964, another deep soul ballad, reaching the lower part of the Billboard Pop and R&B charts. In 1964, Betty Harris switched record labels to Sansu, a New Orleans label, where she recorded under producer Allen Toussaint. Her recordings with Sansu produced ten singles, and Toussaint’s raw-yet-sophisticated Southern soul arrangements behind Harris’ rich, distinctive vocals are considered prime specimens of the classic soul era. Soul Perfection, originally licensed on UK label Action in 1969, was in fact a collection of her previous works on Sansu, a rare groove affair rapidly in demand from obsessive fans all over the world. Harris retired from performing in 1970 to raise a family, but made a return in 2007 with the album Intuition. 180-gram vinyl.

File Under: Soul
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Daniel Johnston: Hi, How Are You? (Eternal Yip Eye) LP
Diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, singer-songwriter, musician and visual artist Daniel Johnston is highly regarded in the lo-fi and alternative music scenes for his cassette recordings which are notable for their pure and childlike soul. He gathered a cult following when Kurt Cobain was seen wearing a t-shirt featuring the artwork from Johnston’s 1983 album Hi, How Are You and named checked fellow 1983 release Yip Jump Music as one of his Top 50 albums of all time. Johnston’s songs have been covered by the likes of Tom Waits, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Bright Eyes, Teenage Fanclub, Beck, Wilco, Spiritualized and TV on the Radio among others. Johnston’s sixth self-released album, Hi, How Are You?, is the inimitable artist’s most famous, as he claims he suffered a nervous breakdown while making it and never completely finished the tunes. That hasn’t prevented it from drawing widespread critical acclaim and influencing a smattering of indie-rock artists in its wake.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Brij Bhushan Kabra: s/t (Gramophone Company of India) LP
Reissue of one of the most in demand Brij Bhushan Kabra LPs finally available. Remastered. In the 1920s, Tau Moe (pronounced “mo-ay”), a Hawaiian musician, arrived in India and introduced Hawaiian music to the sub-continent. After settling in Calcutta in the early 1940s, Moe and his family performed, taught and introduced Hawaiian music by building and selling guitars to the local musicians. Indian filmmakers and composers quickly fell under the spell of these instruments and sounds and made them suitable for playing ragas, the melodic patterns and modes in traditional Indian compositions. Soon these hot-rod guitars were accepted as legitimate instruments for performing Indian classical music, and a new breed of virtuosos emerged to write yet another chapter of the guitar’s unpredictable evolution. Brij Bhushan Kabra was one of the Indian musicians who heard the steel guitar’s siren call, but his vision went beyond adapting Hawaiian sounds to popular music. Instead, he saw the instrument’s potential for playing ragas. To pursue this dream, Kabra began studying with Ali Akbar Khan, whose fretless sarod offered a sonic example for Kabra to emulate with his lap-slide guitar. Kabra’s instrument was a Gibson Super 400, modified with a drone string and a high nut to raise the strings off the fretboard like a lap steel. Seated on the floor in the traditional style of Indian musicians, Kabra played his guitar horizontally, using a fingerstyle plucking technique and a bar to contact the strings. His approach set the standard for virtually all Indian slide guitarists. He is rightfully considered a master musician and regarded as one of Indian Classical music’s most renowned ambassadors to the rest of the world.

File Under: Middle Eastern
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Kabra/Sharma/Chaurasia: Call of the Valley (Gramophone Company of India) LP
Shivkumar Sharma, the guitarist Brij Bhushan Kabra, and flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia were all aged about 30 when they made Call of the Valley. Shivkumar Sharma, who had made his first solo album in 1960, was responsible for establishing and popularizing the instrument in Hindustani classical circles. Kabra was also having to prove himself because of the guitar’s Western and Indian popular music associations Chaurasia’s problem was the wide popularity of the bansuri — a bamboo transverse flute — and his need to establish himself with the instrument. In 1967, the concept behind this album was as revolutionary as it was traditional. Conceived as a suite, they used their instruments to tell the story of a day in the life of a shepherd in Kashmir using ragas associated with various times of the day to advance the dramatic narrative. If the newcomer buys only one Indian classical recording, it should be Call of the Valley. Call of the Valley is considered Kabra’s most beloved recording. It is certainly his most popular globally. Newly remastered for this edition. Limited edition pressing.

File Under: Middle Eastern
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Thomas Koner: Aubrite (Mille Plateaux) LP
Aubrite was first released 1995 on the label Barooni. Thomas Köner is one of the most influential modernist minimal composers. His music is often defined as dark ambient or drone, because of the use of low frequencies, material from gongs, shadowy resonances and boreal ambience, but at the same time its sound with constant fluctuation and vulnerability of sonic events, what makes it organic, human and almost comforting. Köner’s soundscapes are no longer simply dark, the question now is that of a profound blackness. Such is the generic darkness of the abyss, the void and vacuum, the darkness of more than silence, of catastrophe and cataclysm, but also the soundscapes have utopian moments. It is a cosmological blackness, the black of nonbeing. “The more subtractive, the blacker the sound synthesis”, Köner writes. Such blackness is non-music. Music will never be music until it ceases to represent and begins to sound like non-music or monochrome. “Whoever hears the distortion of all sounds, will soon become Ultrablack. Whoever listens to this world, but has no affection for any of its sites, even to the place of Black Noise, may soon reach Ultrablack. Whoever understands the spirit of impartiality through ten thousand million partial tones, hears Ultrablack and can no longer be measured. No measures, no enclosures, no properties are the sign of ultrablack scores.” Roland Speckle helped with production of the album. Aubrite is the name of a group of meteorites named for Aubres, a small achondrite meteorite that fell near Nyons in 1836. Includes two bonus tracks. Double LP version marks the first time the album has been released on vinyl.

File Under: Electronic
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John Lewis & Sacha Distel: Afternoon in Paris (Sam) LP
It was in Paris that John Lewis co-led this 1956 date with Sacha Distel, a French guitarist who never became well known in the U.S. but commanded a lot of respect in French jazz circles. The same can be said about the other French players employed on ‘Afternoon in Paris’ — neither tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen nor bassist Pierre Michelot were huge names in the U.S., although both were well known in European jazz circles. With Lewis on piano, Distel on guitar, Wilen on tenor, Michelot or Percy Heath on bass, and Kenny Clarke or Connie Kay on drums, the part-American, part-French group of improvisers provides an above-average bop album that ranges from “Willow Weep for Me,” “All The Things You Are,” and “I Cover the Waterfront” to Milt Jackson’s “Bags’ Groove” and Lewis’ title song. The big-toned Wilen was only 19 when ‘Afternoon in Paris’ was recorded, but as his lyrical yet hard-swinging solos demonstrate, he matured quickly as a sax man. A mythic LP and one of the best recorded in France!!!

File Under: Jazz
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Konrad Kraft: Accident In Heaven (Tal) LP
Reissue of Konrad Kraft’s mid’80s electronic underground recordings, Accident In Heaven. Originally released in 1987 as a hand-made micro-edition of about 40 cassette tapes. It was only the third ever release on the short-lived now near legendary SDV label which had been established that same year by Konrad Kraft, Bernd Sevens, and Dino Oon in Düsseldorf. Accident In Heaven is a strong testament to the explorative experiments of Detlef Funder, aka Konrad Kraft, whose homebuilt studio sound attempted to bridge the clinical roughness of Severed Heads and the psychedelia of Coil with the density and force of industrial, post-punk and proto techno. Concurrent with his ever-expanding production skills, Konrad Kraft’s sound work in the second half of the ’80s stayed firmly rooted within a highly stylized underground spirit. Both his music and also the freshly launched SDV label first and foremost served as a medium for communication. The vital urgency of Accident In Heaven underlines the record’s core narrative which arguably sounds even more futuristic today than it did 30 years ago. Hallmarks of Accident In Heaven are an 8-track tape recorder, a Yamaha DX7 synth and a Roland 707 drum computer and the late ’80s internationally ubiquitous shift from analogue to digital music production. Whilst its predecessor Arctica (another cassette-only release from 1986/87) was significantly more experimental and almost an in-between-states affair, Accident In Heaven was the point at which Konrad Kraft really began to experiment with beat structures, sequenced synth pads and the framework of “dance” music. However, the rhythmic elements are submerged so far beneath his expertly crafted drones it’s almost impossible to label these sounds as “dancefloor oriented” work at all, as the tracks on the album joyfully disrespect the rules and boundaries of that or indeed any other genre. Accident In Heaven also epitomizes the decade’s ending energy and sharp momentum with its successful merging of highly individual production and irresistible rhythm tracks. The rich wealth of references is mirrored within the silhouettes and the graphics of the album’s unique artwork, which was created by Dino Oon. The new mastering has all sounds on Accident In Heaven emerge in fresh shades and three dimensional plasticity, inviting the listener not to merely revisit the full palette of Konrad Kraft’s creation but offering an entirely new sound experience. Includes printed inner sleeve and download code edition of 400.

File Under: Electronic
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Lootpack: The Lost Tapes (Crate Diggers) LP
“Before Madvillain, before Yesterday’s New Quintet and before Quasimoto or any other of his several alter egos, Madlib perfected his craft as an MC/producer in the Lootpack. Along with DJ Romes, and fellow rhymer Wildchild, they released the dusty full-length, Soundpieces: Da Antidote back in 1999, that laid down the foundation for the unique and dusty sound now associated with Madlib. The loose, freeform recordings on this collection are circa 1996 when the group was managed by Madlib’s father, and they show the now-renowned maverick producer in comparatively restrained form. Madlib’s scope and imagination was clearly fixated on East coast jazzy hip-hop production from the early ’90s, laying down soundscapes for his hungry crew including the likes of Kazi, Declaime and Medaphoar, who have all become well known underground rap vets. Madlib’s own strong mic presence is noticeable given his now only-on-rare-occasion rhyming, but it’s his production that is the most fascinating element here. While a resolutely hip-hop project, the burgeoning jazzy flourishes and Madlib’s heavily accomplished ear for sound makes the record an important starting point for adherents of his more recent exploratory work.”

File Under: Hip Hop
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Melody’s Echo Chamber: Emotional Eternal (Domino) LP
Emotional Eternal, the third studio album from Melody’s Echo Chamber, is a deeply human collection of songs full of prolonged moments of sonic transcendency – a record that clearly exhibits its maturity but still regards the world with a childlike wonder. Having swapped Paris for the clean air of the Alps, Melody hopes “the record has that uplifting quality. I made some big and impactful decisions and changes to my life. It took me to where it is peaceful, and I think the record reflects this.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Madalyn Merkey: Puzzle Music (Mana) LP
“Interior sounds from Madalyn in an album that flits between eerie ambience, environment, and hermetic logic. The music’s timing and sequencing feels distant, the elegant constructions conjured and organized semi-consciously, drawing the listener deeper into the dream and towards a zone where watch hands tick forward accurately and their perception of time unspools. Here each neatly tuned conversation and clockwork assemblage harmonizes, spinning tantalizingly just out of range and understanding.” “Puzzle Music is the desire to create images out of diverse pieces of sound. To collect timbral colors in a gradient procession and connect them until they create reason. Principally not knowing how the image will turn out, or what the picture even is. It is the act of placing sound shapes next to one another in the hope that clarity will gradually be revealed. When grouping the songs together I was thinking of them as mechanisms in a timepiece. I have something of an obsession with Swiss watchmaking, although I think this stems from a desire for creative mastery and the design of an energy source independent of electronic needs. Hopefully the songs all serve a purpose towards the end goal of the album… but also, the way the Oberheim Xpander pans sounds is in a very clear circular pattern, which makes me think of gears turning.”–Madalyn Merkey

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Legacy) LP
Willie Nelson is back with his seventy-second solo studio album A Beautiful Time! A full-fledged collection of new studio material produced with long-time collaborator Buddy Cannon, it’s released just in time for Willie’s 89th birthday and shows off just how prolific he continues to be as it includes some of his finest songwriting and performances in years! The fourteen tracks include five amazing new Nelson/Cannon compositions, new songs from Chris Stapleton & Rodney Crowell (the first single “I’ll Love You Till The End Of Time”) and a cadre of top Nashville songwriters, plus a couple of plum covers by Leonard Cohen (“Tower Of Song”) and The Beatles (“With A Little Help From My Friends”) given expert interpretation by Willie.

File Under: Country
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New World Science: Osmos (Movements) (Temple) LP
New World Science’s Osmos (Movements) is a sincere foray into forth-world fantasy, where disparate synthesizer styles are tied together by harmonized saxophone musings. Comprised of four recordings/jams between Francis Latreille (Priori-mastermind behind the project), Adam Feingold (Ex-Terrestrial), and Emmanuel Thibau, and featuring appearances by Phoebe Guillemot (Ramzi) and Richard Wenger (R Weng), these multi-stream compositions float in the uncertain spaces between electronic and acoustic, improvisation and production, old and new. Beautiful, subtle, and entrancing compositions suited to suborbital meditations.

File Under: Ambient, Experimental, Fourth World
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Svitlana Nianio & Oleksandr Yurchenko: Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhjy (Night School) LP
Svitlana Nianio and Oleksandr Yurchenko are musicians with a long history in the still-mysterious Kiev Underground. Nianio’s first group Cukor Bela Smert [Sugar, The White Death] were active from the late 80’s through to the early 90’s, and following an intense period of touring, collaboration, experimentation and a string of mixtapes and self-published recordings, Nianio’s first official solo album ‘Kytytsi’ was released in 1999 by Poland’s Koka Records. Oleksandr Yurchenko, a longtime collaborator and a pivotal figure in the Kiev music scene, was instrumental in creating the Novaya Scena, a loose conglomerate of artists who encouraged each other to excavate both the sounds of the West and Ukrainian tradition. ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ (‘Know How? Tell Me’) is the duo’s most fully realised collaboration, an enchanting, complete world in which Yurchenko’s instrumentation and playfulness with form frames Nianio’s otherworldly soprano, recalling Liz Fraser steeped in contrapuntal melody and hymnal improvisation. Originally made available on a self-released cassette in 1996 (re-issued in 2017 by Ukraine’s Delta Shock label) where the album was twinned with ‘Lisova Kolekciya’ (re-issued on LP in 2017 by Skire) this is the debut release of ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ outside of Ukraine. Recorded in an abandoned park in Kiev during a fertile period for artists and musicians following the collapse of the Soviet Union, ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ sees Nianio and Yurchenko combine Casio keyboard, hammered dulcimer, percussion, and Nianio’s unmistakeable soprano vocalisations to create music sympathetic to the specific locations in which they chose to record. Yurchenko’s contribution is perhaps more present on this recording than anything else we have heard rom the duo. His percussive dulcimer playing provides the basis on which Nianio can weave delicate keyboard lines while playfully contorting her voice, shifting from a low register reminiscent of Nico to what could be perceived as the call of a bird or an animal in distress. Whatever the intent, the effect is haunting and beautiful in equal measure. There’s a prevailing earthiness on the recordings, found in the warm hiss of the lo-fi means of recording or the grinding, unspecified sounds that occasionally accompany the melody, like drones created on the fly by hands trying to keep warm in the ice. A prevailing mood of fragility and beauty seeps from these melodies, delicate moments of clarity spun by the two musicians. ‘Znayesh Yak? Rozkazhy’ is a dream spun in twilight, a crystalline, private world  here the listener feels both alien and welcome. 

File Under: Ambient, Ukraine, Classical
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Nik Colk Void: Bucked Up (Editions Mego) LP
Nik Colk Void is well established with her work — using modular systems, voice and guitar — as one half of Factory Floor, one third of Carter Tutti Void (alongside Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti) and with the late Peter Rehberg as NPVR, but perhaps surprisingly, Bucked Up Space is her first solo album release. Void explains, “When Peter Rehberg initially asked me to produce a record for Editions Mego, I didn’t feel quite ready and asked if we could make a record together instead. Collaboration is so ingrained into what I do, I only felt ready to make this album after working through ideas live, using the audience in place of the collaborator.” Bucked Up Space combines Void’s love of improvisation with the driving force of beat-driven music absorbed from performing in galleries, residencies, and clubs across the UK and Europe. She goes on to say, “You find out more about yourself when you explain your ideas to others, and that’s how I felt the live performance worked for me.” The process steadily teased out a language and Void employed a variety of tactics in the recording process including a methodical approach of collecting data at her home studio in a manner not dissimilar to keeping a diary. Her microscopic focus on raw instrumental noise, layered and reformulated, resulted in a sound catalog that Void divided into groups for their tone, density, and texture. These initial pieces were taken to a studio in Margate to put them into a more cohesive compositional context. Something that pragmatically started as cold and detached was given warmth, unity, and emotion in the studio. Via improvised repetition co-existing alongside organized production, Void conjures new sonic muscle with tracks such as “Interruption Is Good” and “FlatTime”. Initial recordings are rendered into sequences initiating the organic rhythms, triggering awkward jerks of hi-hats and percussion, or used to activate the margins of post effects detectable in the tracks like “Demna”, “Big Breather”, and “Oversized”. Void explains: “It was important to me that the simplicity in the work disguised a lot of complexity, I want this work to be absorbed instinctively.” The sleeve image is a still from We Are City by Brazilian artist Maria de Lima. Engineered by James Greenwood, mastered by Rashad Becker. Tracks 1, 4, 5, 7 and 9 were mixed by Marta Salogni. Bucked Up Space is the result of the ideas and resulting sounds of free exploration morphing into a personal structured album that fearlessly molds patience, listening, and restraint. Transparent red vinyl; includes download code; edition of 500.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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Oneohtrix Point Never: Returnal (Editions Mego) LP
Special mirrored silver foil gatefold cover with banderole. Pressed on crystal clear vinyl; one time pressing. Returnal is the fourth album from Daniel Lopatin’s Oneohtrix Point Never project, after Betrayed In The Octagon (Deception Island, 2007), Zones Without People (Arbor, 2009) and Russian Mind (No Fun, 2009). All three albums being superbly compiled on the Rifts double CD set (No Fun, 2009). It sees Lopatin fine-tune his craft for the creation of deep atmospheres and textures even further. Starting off with the mind-blowing triptych of “Nil Admiari”/”Describing Bodies”/”Stress Waves,” which fires off into a noise/rhythm excess before entering a zone of relative calm, building to the melancholy of the final part. This sets the tone perfectly for the album’s title track, a stunning, out-of-this-world ballad featuring Lopatin’s near-desperate vocal delivery, ending what could be seen as one of his most chilling and thought-provoking sides to-date. The atmosphere is slightly lifted as the darkened sun comes up over the ruins on “Pelham Island Road” and “Where Does Time Go,” with the album closing with edgy broken beats and the fourth-world possible landscapes of “Preyouandi,” which fades into the distance with echoes of the “Returnal” chorus closing the loop. What’s burnt into memory here is Lopatin’s love affair with the long, slow path back home… the cycle… the hypnotic sector… the ghost in the machine… and whether people are making dance music or hip-hop or space head-music or metal, the ouroboros is present in every sector — as it was in Bach’s study, and in the elephant songs of the Ituri forests. Instrumentation: Akai AX-60, Roland Juno-60, Roland MSQ-700, Korg Electribe ES-1, Voice. Recorded using a personal computer. Mastered by James Plotkin. Tape-op & additional engineering by Al Carlson. Design by Stephen O’Malley.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Pacific 231 & Rapoon: Palestine (Ext. Edit) (Zoharum) LP
“Palestine” was the first effect of collaboration between two titans of industrial and underground music Pierre “Pacific 231” Jolivet and Robin “Rapoon” Storey. Originally released as limited CD in 2007 by Old Europa Cafe and “Dedicated to the struggling Palestinian Nation and to the memory of Bryn Jones 1961-1999.” Zoharum is proud to present you a first time ever LP reissue of this important album. Given that “Palestine” is dedicated to Muslimgauze and Israeli-Palestinian conflict it’s easy to predict what you’ll find here. Each side of the record presents artists’ take on middle eastern rhythm and sound. Side A is raw. For over 20 minutes Jolivet focuses on subtle processing over hypnotic distorted drum loops. On side B Storey takes us on a long, a bit IDM-ish trip following what seems to be Muezzin call. CD contains additional 3 rare tracks that were taken from the limited Old Europa Cafe version of the album and Pacific’s “el-Arish” business card CD. This album is as important due to the subject it touches as it’s true and uncompromising and is still relevant now as it was in the time of its creation.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Industrial
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Pink Floyd: A Saucerful of Secrets (Mono) (Pink Floyd) LP
The original mono mix of Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets has been remastered by James Guthrie, Joel Plante and Bernie Grundman from the 1968 analog tapes and is pressed here on 180g vinyl LP housed in a black, poly-lined inner sleeve inside a reproduction of the original LP sleeve. With classics like “Set the Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”, “Remember a Day” and “Jugband Blues”, A Saucerful Of Secrets is the only album to feature the five band members: Roger Waters on bass and vocals, Richard Wright on keyboards and vocals, Nick Mason on drums, Syd Barrett and David Gilmour on guitar and vocals.

File Under: Psych, Rock
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Plosivs: s/t (Swami) LP
Plosives—denoting consonants that are produced by stopping the airflow by using the lips, teeth or palate, followed by a sudden release of air, the misspelling of PLOSIVS is intentional. In audio recording it refers to the loud, vocal pop created by the hard consonant that overwhelms the microphone and causes it to distort. So what does this have to do with a new, angular and melodic punk band from San Diego? Perhaps their affection for this anomaly is celebrated and is symbolic of their appreciation for imperfection. Or maybe the word just sounds cool to them. Although PLOSIVS is a new outfit of very young, handsome men, personally, they have accomplished much in their early careers. Vocalist / guitarist Rob Crow is known for being in Pinback, Heavy Vegetable, Thingy, Physics and hundreds more. The length of drummer Atom Willard’s résumé rivals a CVS receipt and is a who’s who of alternative rock royalty: Against Me!, The Offspring, Rocket From The Crypt, Danko Jones, Social Distortion and Angels And Airwaves. Jordan Clark played bass with Mrs. Magician and guitar for The Frights and The Soaks. And prior to PLOSIVS, guitarist John Reis was and still is associated with Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu, Rocket From The Crypt, Night Marchers, The Sultans. Together, they independently isolated during what then seemed like the height of the pandemic (October 2020). After a short duration of ideas passed back and forth, they convened as a group for the very first time at Singing Serpent Studio in San Diego with Ben Moore at the controls and recorded this ten-song self-titled record. A foundation of guitar dissonance, velocity and harmonic interplay is the basis for its concept in creating tension and release. The rhythm section is not content to merely fortify the bedrock. Instead, jet propelled, accents lash and Earth is moved. Crow’s voice is the guide that illuminates the implied melody. His easy tone contradicts the hectic atmosphere yet its compatibility invents the entire mood. Together, PLOSIVS is something only this assemblage of “road dawgs” could develop and create during these uncertain times.

File Under: Punk
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Poliphony: s/t (Mad About) LP
British jazz underground masterpiece, originally released in 1973. Ultra-rare UK prog-jazz fusion private-pressing. In 1973, four Englishmen who loved jazz, rock, and groove decided to record an independent album at Zelia Studios in Birmingham. The result was Poliphony, which had few hard copies and became a rarity among jazz rock collectors. The core of the jazz rock quartet Poliphony came together in Birmingham around 1971 on the initiative of the young student and pianist Dave Bristow, who invited guitarist Richard Bremmer to join the line-up that also included Bob Boucher. The last musician to join Poliphony was drummer Dave Fear. None of the members were professional musicians: Boucher was a teacher at an elementary school, while Fear was a trainee accountant. Poliphony began to gain some local notoriety by playing in pubs and universities with a few residencies at local clubs such as The Elbow Room and The Opposite Lock. The next step would be the recording of an album to consolidate and give another status to their live performances. In 1973, they finally started recording at Zella Studios. The material was recorded in two days maximum and most of the tracks were done in one or two takes. Predominantly a combination of fuzz guitar and jazz, the self-titled album Poliphony is a fascinating record of progressive British jazz rock. Drummer Dave Fear left Poliphony in late 1973, and the band disbanded completely within a year. Only pianist Dave Bristow pursued a career in music, including a stint at Yamaha, for whom he developed the factory voicing and several other synthesizers. Officially reissued under exclusive license from Dave Bristow. 180 gram vinyl.

File Under: Jazz
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Ranelin, Phillip/Wendell Harrison: A Message from the Tribe (Now Again) LP
“The Tribe founders’ collaborative debut, remixed from the original mutli-track master tapes under the direction of its creators and lacquered by Bernie Grundman. Phil Ranelin’s side has been pitch-corrected and restored to a suite, as was originally intended. Wendell Harrison’s side contains extended, full versions of two songs. The definitive reissue of this SPIRITUAL JAZZ masterpiece. The Tribe label, one of the brightest lights of America’s 1970s jazz underground, receives the Now-Again reissue treatment. This is your chance to indulge in the music and story of one of the most meaningful, local movements of the 20th Century Black American experience, one that expanded outwards towards the cosmos. In the words of the collective themselves, ‘Music is the healing force of the universe.’ Included in an extensive, oversized booklet, Larry Gabriel and Jeff ‘Chairman’ Mao take us through the history of the Tribe, in a compelling story that delves not just into the history of the label and its principals, but into the story of Black American empowerment in the latter half of the 20th Century. The booklet features never-before-seen archival photos and rare ephemera from Tribe’s mid-1970s heyday.”

File Under: Jazz
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Rapoon: Cinema Telephonique (Zoharum) LP
We present the latest release from Rapoon . “: Cinema Telephonique :” is an audio description of an imagined film. Robin Storey was inspired to start working on the album by the acoustic phenomenon that appeared while scrolling his sound files into 1010Blackbox sampler with the play activated. Staccato little snapshots of sound evoking cinematic fragments of pictures through the random audio. Every track was played live with looped drum recordings/resampled and multi-triggered. The recordings were then refined in Pro Tools. This album contains material, composed especially for a vinyl plate according to the scheme used before the CD era, when the longplay lasted not much longer than 40 minutes, which contained the entire concept, divided into two sides and also functioning as separate fragments, consisting of several shorter pieces arranged in such an order as to build their proper drama, taking into account factors such as their length, dynamics and sound. The album is released only as LP on 180g of navy blue, transparent vinyl in a limited edition of 300 copies.

File Under: Electronic, Tribal, Fourth World
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Rapoon: Pell Mell (Zoharum) LP
Originally released as a 2-track CD in 2002 on Staalplaat (Ltd x 500 copies), after almost two decades, “Pell Mell” gets a well deserved remastered vinyl reissue. Minimal electronics with Rapoon’s familiar ethno-ambient textures. Includes the bonus track drone / ambient trac “Scatter” at almost 10 minutes long. Ltd x 300 copies on 180g vinyl with A5 insert, featuring new and modified artwork by Robin Storey (ex-Zoviet France).

File Under: Electronic, Fourth World
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Gunter Schlienz: Know Your New Age (Zoharum) LP
”Know Your New Age”, a third album by Günter Schlienz released on Zoharum, is a great treat both for devout followers of his work and also the newbies. Starting with the shimmering of seawaves, it takes you on a journey through the universe created by one Mr. Schlienz. Inspired by the works of Peter-Michael Hamel, Deuter and Eberhard Schoener, he has created 6 meditative composition clocking in at 52 minutes. Schlienz merely takes cues from his masters to develop a unique sound based on sonic structures built on his own modular synthesizer interspersed with occasional acoustic guitar accompaniment and subtle field recordings. After organ studies, music for space airports and musical interpretation of autumn, this album would be best experienced meditating on the seashore. Yes, ”Know Your New Age” lives up to its title.

File Under: New Age, Ambient
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Societe Etrange: Change (Bongo Joe) LP
Chance, is the second album of Société Étrange, composed of six love songs without words, with equivocal rhythms, glaucous turquoise bass, and melodies affectionately tinged with melancholy. The album was recorded in July 2020 in Vaulx-en-Vel from a collection of materials and collective drift. Composed in studio, it is by the live that is shaped their pieces, several years to test them together so that these three musicians let us glimpse a possible civilization. Not fantasies that cannot be apprehended, but a future that we can hope to desire. Their hypnotic compositions, drunk with dub, iron harmonics, and polymetric measures, play a music that is a bit shady, one of those that provoke the space for the dance to happen, without anesthesia. Société Étrange was formed in 2012 by Antoine Bellini (electronics) and Romain Hervault (bass), joined in 2015 by Jonathan Grandcollot (percussion) after the release of their first album Au Revoir.

File Under: Post Punk, Electronic, Dub
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Spiritualized: Everything Was Beautiful (Fat Possum) LP
Jason Pierce returns with the ninth studio album from his space-rock Spiritualized project which is ushered in by the soaring lead single “Always Together With You.” Following up 2018’s And Nothing Hurt, Everything Was Beautiful features seven tracks recorded by Pierce (who plays 16 instruments here) and over 30 musicians and singers across 11 different studios, as well as his home. Collaborators include his daughter Poppy, John Coxon, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and more. “There was so much information on it that the slightest move would unbalance it but going around in circles is important to me,” Pierce explains. “Not like you’re spiralling out of control but you’re going around and around and on each revolution, you hold onto the good each time. Sure, you get mistakes as well, but you hold on to some of those too and that’s how you kind of… achieve. Well, you get there.” The artwork for Everything Was Beautiful is designed once again with Mark Farrow.

File Under: Rock
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Masayuki Takayanagi/New Direction: Station ’70: Call in Question/Live Independence (Black Editions) Box
In August 1969, Masayuki Takayanagi formed his first New Direction group and embarked on an unparalleled musical journey that over the final 22 years of his life would define him as an uncompromising artist who would forge a visionary new musical language. Comprised of himself on acoustic and electric guitar and joined by Motoharu Yoshizawa on bass and Yoshisaburo “Sabu” Toyozumi on drums, Takayanagi’s group created a new unconstrained form of music; It expanded on the most radical, fiery elements of American and European free jazz, while refracting them through an avant-garde prism. Harmonic and melodic development were rejected in favor of feedback and complete spontaneity. With New Direction, Takayanagi had achieved a “decisive break” from the past and created his own revolutionary musical language — a ferocious, often violent sound that paradoxically took both musical movement and stillness to their extremes. Takayanagi’s New Direction soon recorded one of the landmark albums of free jazz and the avant-garde, Independence: Tread on Sure Ground (1970). It was Takayanagi’s first album as a group leader and nothing short of groundbreaking. As profound as its release was, it was not until 25 years later that a wider audience would finally able to hear Takayanagi’s vision with the group in its most explosive and unmitigated realization; Japan’s P.S.F. records released two CDs, Call in Question (1994) and Live Independence (1995) which featured unearthed, previously unheard 1970 recordings made by the group at the legendary Shibuya Tokyo venue, Station ’70. The recordings were revelatory; They presented nascent, jarring versions of Takayanagi’s “Gradually Projection” and “Mass Projection” modalities in uncut, unvarnished long form. Joined on some tracks by renowned saxophonist Mototeru Takagi, the performances are intensely physical and visceral. Yoshizawa, Toyozumi as well as Takagi would, in their own right, go on to join Takayanagi as iconic players in the world of Japanese free jazz and avant-garde. It is these performances, in a crucial moment of societal and cultural upheaval, that would help lay the groundwork for the rich world of free improvisation, free jazz and, to a large degree, underground music in Japan for decades to come. Black Editions present the entirety of the recordings presented on both P.S.F. albums as well as a previously unreleased side-long “Mass Projection” in a deluxe, remastered 3LP box set. The set features the stark photography of the late Yuji Itsumi and presents the original liner notes by key Japanese music critics and historians Yoshiyuki Kitazato and Toshihiko Shimizu newly translated into English as well as in the original Japanese. Mastering by JJ Golden, Golden Mastering 2020. Graphic design by Rob Carmichael, SEEN, with typographic assistance from Takuya Kitamura. Triple-LP box set with heavy chip board, textured uncoated paper wrap, black pigment foil stamping, three heavy inserts and Japanese language insert.

File Under: Japan, Jazz, Free Jazz
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Tempers: New Meaning (Dais) LP
The New York City duo of Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper aka Tempers specialize in a sleek strain of low-lit poetic synth-pop, the latest statement of which feels like the peak fruition of their elusive alchemy. With their self-produced New Meaning, Tempers present an album about navigating the unknown, coping mechanisms and exploring the nature of choice. Its ten songs reflect on the creation of meaning as an access to liberation in times of transition and loss, speculating on the transformative potential that exists alongside the grief of living in a world that is in an ongoing state of crisis. This is distinctly nocturnal music, elegantly introspective and quietly intense, born of “living in a society that is still a dream of itself.” Tracks like “Unfamiliar,” “Nightwalking,” and “Sightseeing” distill the Tempers template to icy pop perfection, drum machinery framed in shivering reverb, Golestaneh’s voice both ethereal and towering, simultaneously within and above. Cooper speaks of production ideas regarding “human architecture,” breathing life into the precision of electronics, and of melodic intervals “on the exact edge between major and minor, severe and sweet.” On other cuts, Golestaneh and Cooper’s production skews more evocatively greyscale, from new wave shadowplay (“Carried Away”) to depressive disco (“In And Out Of Hand”) to an elegy of hopeful resignation (“Secrets And Lies”). The album’s themes are echoed in the evocative cover photo, Lost Hotel (2016) by Beijing-based photography artist Chen Wei. New Meaning is a document of forking paths and fleeting transcendence, the celebration of instability and impermanence, of embracing “a constant state of becoming.” Ten anthems for a derailed age, fugitive and sympathetic, nightwalking through an “anguished city” towards a nameless future, poised for rebirth: “When I have / when I have no name / my joy is blinding.”

File Under: Synth Pop, Electronic
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Transcendence Orchestra: All Skies Have Sounded (Editions Mego) LP
“Gonzen, uminari or retumbos. Perhaps you’ve heard these sounds? They’re known to occur all over the world and, as one might expect, humans have strained to offer various explanations for these unsettling emissions that materialize unbidden from the sky. We like to say that we’ve understood what’s happening so that we can move on. Tidy up the loose ends and don’t scare the horses. Nothing wrong with that in good measure, but there’s something to be said for the Haudenosaunee peoples’ explanation. They pointed out that the Great Spirit hasn’t finished their work of shaping the earth and is making a fair bit of noise while they’re at it. If you accept that many questions never truly get answered, in fact can or should never truly be answered, you may be able to tune your mind to this collection of lingering sonic detonations. If you accept that the work is ongoing, our labors seldom done, that there’s not much point talking about the end of anything, you may be ready to join us. It’s not our task to finish it, nor are we free to desist.” Written and produced by Anthony Child and Daniel Bean. Mastered by Stephan Mathieu at Schwebung Mastering, February 2021. Cut by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnittstelle, Berlin, April 2021.

File Under: Electronic, Drone, Ambient
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Uwalmassa: Malar (Mana) LP
“Uwalmassa shape their relationship with various forms of musical heritage into technical and stylish forms on Malar, marrying acoustic sonics with a contemporary outlook that reflects their Indonesian identity; evolving, mutating, and scavenging traditions to draw parallels to dance music, and to test the adaptability and flexibility of those sounds. Here, the collective go dark and deep in their first album-length collaboration with Mana, casting long shadows and moving snake style at speed across nine tracks. Using a mix of synthetic and acoustic instruments — the texture of Malar feels enigmatic, occasionally industrial, and the result magical in its mystery and fluctuating impact. Uwalmassa is the name with which DIVISI 62, arts and music collective from Jakarta, Indonesia, perform and produce music.”

File Under: Electronic, Percussion
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Amanda Whiting: Little Sunflower (Jazzman) 10″

From Wales, the home of the harp, Amanda Whiting has taken her classical roots and forged them in the path of jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby. She has toured extensively with Matthew Halsall and the Gondwana Orchestra performing at jazz festivals around the world. More recent collaborations have included recording with DJ Yoda and Chip Wickham and touring Wickham’s latest album including appearances at Ronnie Scotts and Le Petit Halle, Paris. Whiting’s first album was recorded as a trio for CD in 2013, and pays tribute to Coltrane and Ashby with her own take on standards. She’s joined by Deej Williams (bass) and Tony Robinson (drums). Here, Jazzman Records have taken a selection of tracks for inclusion on vinyl. Housed in a beautiful bespoke flip-back sleeve; edition of 500.

File Under: Jazz, Harp
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Yin Yin: Ages of Aquarius (Glitterbeat) LP
Yīn Yīn’s dazzling second album dives even deeper into dancefloor propulsion and space travel atmospherics than their lauded debut The Rabbit that Hunts Tigers (2019). The beautiful, old and somewhat staid city of Maastricht, where the band is based, isn’t really conducive to setting up a bustling music scene: and it’s a place where the outsiders quickly recognize each other. Yīn Yīn are all “nightlife people”, which meant their friendship initially came about through co-organizing and deejaying DIY parties. Things started to move for real when Yves Lennertz and Kees Berkers decided to make a cassette tape that drew on references to Southern and South East Asian music. Once the idea was formed, Lennertz and Berkers wasted no time in taking “a lot” of instruments to a rented rehearsal room in a small village near Maastricht. They asked friends to help out, and they became a full band: with Remy Scheren on bass, Robbert Verwijlen on keys and Jerome Cardynaals, and Gino Bombrini on percussion. A “united against the world” stance is also heard at the end of “Declined by Universe”. It’s a funny, maybe surreptitious statement of belief in what they do. Yīn Yīn also wanted to create an illusion of strength in other ways: “Declined By Universe” sounds as if there is a large group of people playing, not just the core band. Nods to brilliant, invigorating dance music abound, some of the thumping beats in numbers like “Chong Wang” the title track and “Nautilus” drop some thumping 1990s-style electric boogie and Italo disco chops along the way. Then there is “Shēnzou V.”, which plots a stately course between eastern-inflected pop music, Italo, and Harmonia-style electronic meditations. The expansive richness in sound and feel may be down to the fact that more samples, drum computers, and synthesizers are used on The Age of Aquarius than in their previous records, a process that intertwines with real-time playing in the studio. “Faiyadansu”, for example, started with a sample found on an old traditional Japanese koto record. Cosmic appropriations of time also crop up in the titles, which may give the lie to some of the band members’ preoccupations with the state of the world. An old trope musically the Age is most famously referenced in the hippie musical, Hair. Other direct references to cosmic times are in the track names “Kali Yuga” and “Satya Yuga”: the Kali Yuga, in Hinduism, is the fourth and worst of the four yugas (world ages) in a Yuga Cycle, preceded by Dvapara Yuga and followed by the next cycle’s Krita (Satya) Yuga.

File Under: Funk
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Neil Young: Official Release Series 13, 14, 20 & 21 (Reprise) BOX
This box set continues the chronological re-releasing of Neil Young’s official releases, remastered where analog tapes exist. Volume 4, released as a 4 LP box and 4 CD box, includes Hawks & Doves from 1980 (ORS 13), Re*Ac*Tor (with Crazy Horse) from 1981 (ORS 14), This Notes for You from 1988 (ORS 20), and Eldorado from 1989 (ORS 21). These albums bookend the period 1982-1987 when Neil recorded for Geffen Records, hence the non-sequential ORS numbers. This is the first official vinyl release of Eldorado, a 5 track mini-album (previously only released on CD in Australia and Japan) and it includes two much sought-after tracks, “Cocaine Eyes” and “Heavy Love”. The vinyl of Hawks & Doves, Re*Ac*Tor and This Notes for You have all been remastered from the original analog tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Eldorado vinyl is mastered using the 44/16 digital master.

File Under: Rock
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Denny Zeitlin: The Name of this Therrain (Now Again) LP
“At Now-Again, we avoid hyperbole, yet we believe that this album is one of record collecting’s ultimate finds: the missing entry in jazz pianist/composer/psychiatrist Denny Zeitlin’s discography, a wonderful and weird fusion of avant-classical, jazz, funk, rock and electronic music. The Name Of This Terrain was recorded and pressed in a scant, custom run as a demo in 1969 — and it so defied its own existence that, even after its producer died and his copies were discovered, Zeitlin steadfastly resisted its release for almost 20 years, destroying his remaining demos so not to posthumously suffer the same ignominy. Following his reappraisal, this album is issued with its creator’s blessing and guidance. You will surely never hear an album like this again, by the musician the venerable jazz critic Leonard Feather called, ‘the most versatile young pianist to come to prominence in the early sixties,’ and who took a left turn at the end of the decade, documenting a pivotal 20th century moment with passion, intellect, and humor in turn. The Name Of This Terrain found its way out of the depths — wonderful and having aged well, like well-corked, deep wine stored in a cold cellar. Ready for another moment to shine and be understood, redolent of the tastes and textures of a different time, one we pine for and that we won’t often see again, but can happily, momentarily, indulge.”

File Under: Jazz, Funk
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Zombie Zombie: Vae Vobis (Born Bad) LP
Until now, Zombie Zombie mostly pushed the song for covers (Iggy Pop, Sun Ra or New Order). For this new album, they built long harmonic progressions, along with singer Angèle Chemin, a soprano familiar with contemporary music, and Laura Etchegoyhen, Swiss army knife of Basque origin. You know it, even if you haven’t worn out your bottoms on the pews of a church: Latin sings well. But, why Latin?: “We wanted to remain mysterious, to send cryptic messages, to dive back into a language from another time, like the copyist monks of the Middle Ages.” And like their hooded ancestors, they do whatever they want with the text, and add porn illuminations in the corners, for those who know how to listen closely. Zombie Zombie is fifteen years old, or 90 years in group-years (multiply by six: more than a cat, less than a dog). That would have been enough to rest on their laurels, with an old fashioned in each hand. But no: they went for full-on fat and reverberated doom orgy. Choir work hints at the arrangements of David Axelrod or Ennio Morricone, with chanted syllables on several titles (“Lacrymosa”, “Consortium”). This album gambles hard. Decidedly, Vae Vobis is not your average 122 bpm banger party. It’s a well-balanced album, worth listening to in one go, to let each trap-of-a-track work its magic. E.g. “Ring Modulus”, which, under its strong structure, houses extended-vocal-technique ornaments. Or “Aurora”, a megalomaniac jewel cut to open the circus games. The brass section of Dr Schönberg and Etienne Jaumet plays it peplum style, along martial percussions banged on by big dudes in leather sandals. A disruptive album after more than ten years at Versatile Records — an oddity born in the anxiety-fueled lockdown — no matter: there’s everything you love about Zombie Zombie, starting with their musical know-how. The ubiquitous vocoders are pushed to their limits. Sax, trumpet, and percussion come and add color to the record. The trio’s musical tastes cover 95% of the styles listed by Discogs. So, it’s no surprise that the black metal/doom reference is absolutely assumed. Each piece is a launching platform for big lyrical flights. There’s space in the compositions: drums beat from the depth of time, as they would, in rather short pieces that will flourish on stage (hoping that the venues let them bring in the brilliant choristers).

File Under: Electronic
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Various: Chebran Vol. 2: French Boogie 1979 – 1982 (Born Bad) LP
Born Bad Records present the second volume Chebran, a series focusing on French boogie. The French in the ’80s were not faint-hearted: as some threw themselves heart and soul into music or business, others wouldn’t mind going bottomless to get themselves noticed. While Bernard Tapie soon realized his own fortune was rather to be found in business, many music-loving dreamers already imagined themselves in the sun, in an enchanting world made of funky rhythms and synthesizers. While the French National Front was growing in the shadow of François Mitterrand, these guys mixed New York-style funk with electronic, Eastern, or African sounds. With their genre-crossing arrangements and often chanted lyrics, they brought honor to the “SOS Racisme” generation, unconsciously outlining the nascent French contemporary urban culture. The French, while admiring Grace Jones’ “savage beauty” in Jean-Paul Goude’s advertisements, were enjoying their freshly-gained fifth week of paid vacation, tanning on the beaches of Maghreb. Following The Clash’s example, punks and rockers converted to reggae, and the new independent radios opened up their programming to “world music”. At the other end of the pyramid, the successive waves of immigration enriched France in a much better way. With the rise of “Youth and Culture Centers”, the practice of musical instruments became affordable for those of humble background, allowing for new bands to appear. Caught between the spirit of Gallic bawdiness and their own community hopes, the musicians from this singular scene probably didn’t succeed in life the way Bernard Tapie meant it. But their explorations left no room for doubt: by facilitating the rise of a new hybrid culture about to give birth, among others, to French hip-hop, those little-known artists indeed were off on an adventure, quite simply. Since the ’60s, numerous venues destined for the North-African community had appeared all over France. In those bars and nightclubs, Eastern 45s were broadcast as well as local productions combining Raï, Frenchy funk, or proto-hip-hop. Thanks to the cassette tape medium, new songs kept circulating between Paris, Lille, Strasbourg, Marseilles, and many other urban areas — mainly among the working class. The artists appearing on these compilations progressively shaped a new style, blending sounds from their original cultures and from their adopted country. Features Phil Barney, JM Black, Ettika, Sammy Massamba, Shams Dinn, Alfio Scandurra, Philippe Chany, Nordine Staiffi, Brigitte Et Michot, Alec Mansion, Marie Jose Fa, Hamidou, Ganawa, Creole Star, Manu, Ethnie, and Joel Ferrati.

File Under: French, Boogie, Funk
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Franco Battiato: Pollution (Superior Viaduct) LP
Bjork: Post (One Little Indian) LP
Black Sabbath: s/t (BMG) LP
Black Sabbth: Paranoid (BMG) LP
Chet Baker: Sings: It Could Happen to You (Craft) LP
Art Blakey: Moanin’ (Blue Note) LP
Marion Brown: Le Temps Fou (Le Tres Jazz Club) LP
Causa Sui: Szabodelico (El Paraiso) LP
Childish Gambino: Awaken, My Love! (Glassnote) LP
Cluster & Eno: s/t (Bureau B) LP
Cure: Disintegration (Rhino) LP
Dr. John: Gris Gris (Jackpot) LP
Carla Dal Forno: You Know What It’s Like (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Fleetwood Mac: Rumors (Reprise) LP
Robert Fripp & Brian Eno: Evening Star (Panegyric) LP
Robert Fripp & Brian Eno: No Pussyfooting (Panegyric) LP
Fugazi: Instrument Film Soundtrack (Dischord) LP
Ryo Fukui: Mellow Dream (WRWTFWW) LP
Fuzz: II (In the Red) LP
Fuzz: III (In the Red) LP
Mort Garson: Plantasia (Sacred Bones) LP
Grouper: AIA: Alien Observer (Kranky) LP
Grouper: AIA: Dream Loss (Kranky) LP
Aldous Harding: Designer (4AD) LP
Helm: Axis (Dais) LP
Herbie Hancock: Mwandishi (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
HTRK: Venus in Leo (Ghostly) LP
Huerco S: Plonk (Incienso) LP
Japanese Telecom: Virtual Geisha (Clone) LP
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Butterfly 3000 (ATO) LP
Leviathan: Unfailing Fall into Naught (Devout) LP
Massive Attack: Protection (Virgin) LP
Anthony Moore: Out (Drag City) LP
Ennio Morricone: Hateful Eight (Third Man) LP
Mortiferum: Disgorged From Psychotic Depths (Profound Lore) LP
Nirvana: In Utero (Geffen) LP
Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam) LP
Nala Sinephro: Space 1.8 (Warp) LP
Smiths: Queen is Dead (Rhino) LP
Smiths: s/t (Rhino) LP
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (Goofin’) LP
Tar: BOX (Chunklet) BOX
Tool: Fear Inoculum (RCA) BOX
Kurt Vile: (watch my moves) (Verve) LP
VR Sex: Rough Dimension (Dais) LP
Various: Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop 1980-1989 (Dark Entries) LP
Various: Lowriders: Sweet Soul Harmony from the Golden Era (Kent) LP
Various: Scrap Metal Vol. 1 (Riding Easy) LP

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