What better way to fill the dog days of summer, than a massive stack of new wax! It’s been a busy week around here, with shipments and buying up used records. Needless to say, the bins are stuffed and waiting for your fingers to do some flipping.
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…..pick of the week…..
Elg: Mauve Zone (Nashazphone) LP
Since 2004, Èlg (Laurent Gérard) has drawn concentric sound spirals made of musical pipes and entrails. He uses an arsenal of instruments and methods, constantly renewed while building improbable bridges between musique concrete and French song-writing, cartoon-like radiophonic creations and cosmic pop as well as lo-fi Dada-esque experimentation with electronic tentacles. Èlg is half of the electronic botanic duo Opera Mort, and a third of big band trios Orgue Agnes (with the members of Kaumwald) and Reines d’Angleterre (with Jo Tanz and Ghédalia Tazartes). He’s had albums released by Kraak, SS-Records, Lexi Disques, Fonal, Hundebiss Records, and Alter, among others. ?I DIG COSMIC MUSIC WITH ROCKS OFF? anathema to top 40, Èlg is the holy ghost of the new sound. his music deals with the altered state with muscle -> primed on transcendence like naked hug, the fire music of his previous duos or the zap force of his earlier Nashazphone jam ?Capitaine Present 5,? it feels hip to stay forever eternal in the house of mirrors & emerge on the cyclone. coney island baby bataille. there’s a dimensionality of miracles herein, we were born on earth…as humans. Then there’s Èlg, Laurent Gérard -> he’s a love lodge, a sonic native. this is immersion music? climb upward, go down and deep. my fave cosmic strip here is in cool color? the rare moment on this LP when the guitar solo explodes from the narrative ripping a hole in “song.? through the planet of one voice, we hear the inimitable Dylan Nyoukis and the one and only OG Alan Bishop. these heads are perfect jam vehicles to hang with Laurent. Then there’s the paramour lady Catherine Hershey, forever muse?roast tongue. brand new language, brave nu world. this grabs the tusk of Francois Tusques and rides Mother Gong, all glissando and Kobaïan. learned from Shandar and transporting with a freer range Lard Free, organic music that slays all inner city mountains, outer realm gotham. bluer than noon. contempo lone gunman exploratory moderne with the controls set to the heart of love. we’re in the “Mauve Zone”, where is bananafish? hearing is believing. a transport to future analog and digital dialup. call this dude, he’s beyond rap. what a crazy fucking life.? — Matt “MV” Valentine; Guilford, VT; spring 2016.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Left Field
5599: Heureusement Que le Sang Seche Vite (Nashazphone) LP
5599 is a new duo featuring France’s electronic improvisation giant Jean-Marc Foussat on EMS Synthi AKS and current golden boy Augustin Brousseloux on electric guitar and alto saxophone. Heureusement que le sang seche vite features 3 tracks where guitar and saxophone interplay with analog synthesizer to create psychedelic, dense and textured soundscapes of aggressive noise onslaughts and moments of bliss. Born in Oran (Algeria) in 1955, Jean-Marc Foussat played in several experimental rock groups before he started a career as a sound engineer in diverse studios which progressed towards recording live improvised music around 1979. He has collaborated with labels such as Incus, Hat Hut, Po-Torch, Rift, Rec Rec, and Celluloid where he recorded a number of songs for Bill Laswell’s seminal Massacre on the album Killing Time in 1981. In 1983, he self-released the groundbreaking Abattage which deserves its position on a pedestal amidst the greatest French improvisation records. Since the 1990s he returned to playing in improvisation groups such as Marteau Rouge, alongside Makoto Sato and Jean-Francois Pauvros, and Aliquid with Sylvain Guerineau. Born in 1999, saxophonist and guitarist Augustin Brousseloux is a young prodigy currently storming the French improvisation underground. At the age of 16, he has already collaborated — live and on albums — with heavyweights such as Noel Akchote, Costes and Jean-Marc Foussat.
File Under: Experimental, Electronic
Birge Gorge: Avant Toute (Souffle Continu) LP
Have you ever imagined what a meeting between the Silver Apples and Sonny Sharrock would sound like? In 1974, Jean-Jacques Birgé, one of the first French synthesizer players (ARP 2600) along with Francis Gorgé, virtuoso guitarist, created some unique improvised pop music. The unreleased and flamboyant recordings featured on Avant Toute would be the source for the cult 1975 Défense de album by Birgé, Gorgé, Shiroc before founding Un Drame Musical Instantané with Bernard Vitet. Limited edition of 700 black & white vinyl. 350 gram sleeve. Obi Strip. Insert with photos and liner notes by Jean-Jacques Birgé & Francis Gorgé.
File Under: Electronic, Free Improv
John Cage with David Tudor: Variations IV (Modern Harmonic) LP
Anything can happen and often does. This is John Cage. A seminal example of indeterminate music from an icon on experimental sounds. It could be argued that there is no more controversial figure in music history as the avant-garde electronic composer. Perhaps best known for his composition “4’33,” which consisted of Cage sitting at a piano for four-plus minutes of total silence, he was both loved and loathed in the ’60s and ’70s as a leading light in avant-garde music and as an entertainingly weird guy who used radios, televisions, live dancers and his own Adam’s apple as instruments in his live performances. Cage’s music blurred the line between music, performance art and visual art in a way that no other composer has before or since. Cage’s performances were often wild one-of-a-kind happenings, and the shows that make up the recording of Variations IV are no different. The fourth in a series of concerts that stretched the boundaries of what music was, IV was designed for a group of performers playing literally anything they could get their hands on. They were also encouraged, if they got bored playing, to do “other activities” in addition to the music. The score consisted of two circles and seven points on a transparent sheet, to be interpreted however the performers saw fit. The end result: a wild album of music-concrete that should sound familiar to fans of the Beatles’ “Revolution 9” – no question Cage’s composition influenced Lennon and Ono’s experiments. Modern Harmonic/Sundazed brings you this gorgeous reissue of John Cage’s masterpiece, Variations IV, pressed on clear colored vinyl and wrapped in restored artwork that captures the unique and strange beauty of this headphone classic. Join the avant-garde!
File Under: Avant-Garde, Electronic, Modern Classical
Clams Casino: 32 Levels (Columbia) LP
Iconoclast hip-hop producer Clams Casino presents the long-awaited release of his debut album 32 Levels, out July 2016 on Columbia Records. The album includes 12 original tracks and features vocal appearances from an impressive crew of collaborators, including A$AP Rocky, Lil B, Vince Staples, and more. Instrumental versions of every track on the album are also presented here on the second LP. With 32 Levels, Clams expands upon his distinctive musical vocabulary. He lends ballads an otherworldly, percussive sheen; confessional crooning a devastating sense of atmosphere; and trunk-rattling bangers a swaggering menace. It’s a cinematic trip, with an expertly selected cast of characters that rise to the challenge of matching the emotional heft and sonic breadth of the production. Rolling Stone calls Clams a “visionary” and says his “richly textured, poignant sound stands entirely on its own,” while The Guardian deemed him “most likely to change the face of hip-hop.” SPIN calls his work “fascinating and ominously exhilarating.” Born and raised in New Jersey, Clams Casino aka Michael Volpe, began his career as a teenager, sending beats that he made in his mother’s attic to rappers on MySpace. While studying to be a physical therapist, Clams released a free compilation of instrumental versions of his production, the now classic Instrumentals. Featuring Clams’ signature hypnotic, kaleidoscopic beats, Instrumentals quickly earned acclaim and led to close collaborations with the likes of A$AP Rocky, Lil B, Mac Miller, and Vince Staples. His production work has also appeared on albums from The Weeknd, Schoolboy Q, FKA Twigs, A$AP Ferg, Foster The People and Jhene Aiko.
File Under: Electronic, Hip Hop
Chupame El Dedo: s/t (Discrepant) LP
Chupame El Dedo, from Bogota, Colombia present their self-titled album. Recorded live in the studio, Chupame El Dedo recreates the live performance by delving deeper in grind-core, speed and black metal clichés whilst marrying a tropical rhythm section made of salsa, cumbia, currulao & reggaeton. Tropical disoriented madness, stylistic dislocation and very fast drums.
File Under: Electronic, Latin, Grind
Costes: Pas Encore Mort (Nashazphone) LP
“Costes has caused me so much trouble. Even today, 25 years after the last time I performed with him, I still have a hard time booking shows because he has not mellowed as I have and the venues are afraid, because of my past association with him, that there will be piss, shit, violence, genitalia, racial tension, cops, etc. Costes has caused himself so much trouble. He’s been taken to court five times over his art, received countless death threats. When’s the last time you can think of that ART has been taken so seriously — as a life and death matter? And he perseveres. I think Costes is extraordinary. He ostentatiously thumbs not only his nose, but every single body part external AND internal, at any authority there is. Pas Encore Mort, a re-release of a 1997 CD, is uncharacteristically introspective, pretty, and sad. It is unsettling to see the man behind the gross warrior exposed, vulnerable, alone. I love and hate this album.” — Lisa Carver, Maine, U.S., April 2, 2016. Born in 1954, Jean-Louis Costes is possibly France’s most transgressive and independent artist. He is a musician, singer/songwriter, performance artist, painter, writer, actor and director. His highly expressionist trash style is instantly recognizable no matter which mode of expression he adopts. A unique and uncompromising artist, Costes has released over 70 albums since 1986. His songs are mostly recorded in his home studio and display very raw explicit lyrics, with music alternating between rock, pop and noise. He is renowned for his infamous “Porno-Social” Operas, which can be described as an explosive mix of live music, theater, violent actions, sex, noise, chansons, romanticism, mysticism and social issues. He has toured Europe, North America and Japan. In the late 1990s, he began publishing his own texts, and since 2003, has authored four novels.
File Under: Electronic, Pop
Crotaphytus: Acanthosaura (Further) LP
Robert Witschakowski takes a break from rewiring the rules of electro with his prolific The Exaltics project to deliver the eerie soundtrack album, Acanthosaura. Working with Nico Jagiella – with whom he co-runs the Solar One label – the pair have created the soundtrack for a world of flickering shadows, dark ambient textures and ominous bass tones. It’s the first Crotaphytus release in six years and according to Witschakowski, a project stemming from his love of reptiles and movie soundtracks. Like previous Crotaphytus releases on Solar One, Acanthosaura is a deeply atmospheric affair. With each track title a reference to different types of lizards, from the death-paced drums of “Cyclura Cornuta” to the slow-motion ebm-disco groove of “Xenosaurus Platyceps” and the murderous subs of “Caiman Latirostris”. In between, the dark ambient passages of “Conolophus Subcristatus” and “Amblyrhynchus Cristatus” as well as nods to The Exaltics’s spaced-out electro in “Iguana Delicatissima”. However, Robert insists that the album remains true to the project’s ethos: “Crotaphytus is always dark and haunting. The project has no rules and that gives us the total freedom to make everything with it. I make also different styles with The Exaltics, but I have a concrete vision every time. With Crotaphytus, we let it flow and see where we land at the end. For this album, we tried to create an atmosphere like you are in a deep jungle, chased by giant lizards. Ambient has really the power to transport feelings. I guess this is subliminal in us from watching films. Most soundtracks have a lot of music without beats, so we collected tracks with beats and also ambient ones.” You can hear the sound of the jungle at night as “Xenosaurus Platyceps” draws to an end or on the dusky dread that sets in on album closer “Amblyrhynchus Cristatus”. “I’m a sucker for atmospheric music. I need to imagine things by hearing music. Other worlds, fantasy, come down from a daily struggle. I could say half of Crotaphytus, the atmosphere, that is me, and the other half, is the power Nico gives to the project,” he points out. Mastered by Alden Tyrell & cut by Christoph Grote-Beverborg at Dubplates & Mastering. Artwork by Chloe Harris. 180 gram vinyl & reverse board jacket.
File Under: Electronic, Dark Ambient
Descendents: Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph) LP
On their first album in 12 years, vocalist Milo Aukerman, drummer Bill Stevenson, guitarist Stephen Egerton, and bassist Karl Alvarez channel an energy just as raw and jittery as in their earliest days – a time when the band was driven by the equally mighty forces of “rejection, food, coffee, girls, fishing, and food.” Born from the all-for-one spirit that’s forever fueled the band, Hypercaffium Spazzinate returns to the frenetically catchy sound that launched a generation of pop-minded punk acts and continues to widen the Descendents’ following around the world. The band’s first Epitaph Records release since 1996’s Everything Sucks, Hypercaffium Spazzinate began taking shape soon after the Descendents surfaced from extended hiatus for a series of gigs in 2010. With Milo now living in Delaware, Karl and Bill in Colorado, and Stephen in Oklahoma, the album came to life over a three-year period in which the band sent tracks back and forth and occasionally met up in Karl and Bill’s adopted hometown of Fort Collins. With Hypercaffium Spazzinate featuring the classic Milo cartoon as its cover art – this time, he’s got his head affixed to a lab flask in an attempt to “synthesize some bonus caffeine,” as Milo explains – the album finds the band both honoring their past and living fully in the moment. “Since the dawn of rock-and-roll every band’s tried to pretend they exist in the age group of 18 to 35, no matter how old they get,” says Karl. “But this band’s very honest about the fact that we’re not teenagers anymore.” Still, thanks in part to their enduring legacy within skate culture and punk communities, the Descendents maintain a vitality that’s amply reflected on the new album. “Each time we make a record it’s almost like the first time all over again,” adds Bill. “There’s a quote from Ornette Coleman about how the song is the territory, and what you do with the song is the adventure. We’re definitely still going on all these little adventures together.”
File Under: Punk
Dinosaur Jr.: Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (Jagjaguwar) LP
In tomorrow…? Let’s face facts: in 2016 it is remarkable that there’s a new Dinosuar Jr. album to go ape over. After all, the original line-up of the band (J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph) only recorded three full albums during their initial run in the 1980s. Everyone was gob-smacked when they reunited in 2005. Even more so when they opted to stay together, as they have for 11 years now (on and off). And with the release of Give a Glimpse Of What Yer Not, this trio redivisus has released more albums in the 21st Century than they did in the 20th. It’s enough to make a man take a long, thoughtful slug of maple-flavored bourbon and count some lucky stars.
File Under: Indie Rock
Dwarves of East Agouza: Bes (Nawa) 2LP
Double LP version on 140-gram colored vinyl. Includes download code. The Dwarfs of East Agouza are a trio from Cairo featuring Maurice Louca (Alif, Bikya), Sam Shalabi (Land of Kush, Shalabi Effect) and Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls, The Invisible Hands, Alvarius B.). Born during 2012, the trio’s instrumental improvisation-based explorations are propelled by Louca’s North African percussion loops and shimmering keys, Shalabi’s West African tinged free jazz guitar and grounded by Bishop’s driving Krautrock-style acoustic bass. Following many a late night jam session, the band recorded hours of material during a three-day studio run in April 2014. After compiling and mixing the album in Montreal’s Break Glass studio in July 2015, the refined result is Bes. From the lilt of the four-minute Ethiopian tinged “Resinance” to the 30-minute free-form epic “Museum of Stranglers”, the album skirts the outer limits of a psychedelic soundtrack to a North African road trip.
File Under: World, Electronic, Jazz, Psych
El Michels Affair: Sounding Out The City (Big Crown) LP
“Over 10 years ago, Leon Michels released his first full length record, Sounding Out The City. It was Michels’ first full length record under the moniker El Michels Affair. At the time, the budding retro soul scene consisted of mostly organ quartets a la The Meters and of course, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings were in the early days of their ascent to world domination. Leon Michels, who was 18 when recording Sounding Out The City began, had just released Thunder Chicken, the first record by his high school band The Mighty Imperials. At the time of SOTC, Michels was just discovering early rocksteady, Afro-beat, and ’60s garage rock, which inevitably crept its way into the songwriting. He purchased a Tascam 388, an ’80s 1/4″ reel to reel 8 track intended for home recordings, and began recording music in a 10×10 box with no windows that also doubled as his childhood bedroom. Along with fellow Mighty Imperials Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, and Sean Solomon, and Michael Leonhart, Thomas Brenneck, and some of the musicians from The Dap Kings, Michels recorded the LP over a two year period. Upon its release, it received some rave reviews and the small deep funk community ate it up, but due to the lack luster promotion and distribution the rest of the world was slow to catch on to the instrumental gems featured on SOTC, which Michels appropriately labeled as ‘cinematic soul’. However, in 2005 it found its way into the hands of the people who were organizing a series of concerts for Scion that paired bands with MC’s. El Michels Affair was contacted about playing one show with Raekwon The Chef of Wu Tang Clan fame. The show was such a success it led to a tour, and then to another set of concerts that featured multiple members of the Wu-Tang Clan. This eventually led to the release of El Michels Affair’s second record, Enter the 37th Chamber which introduced them to a much larger audience and has been their most successful release to date.”
File Under: Funk, Daptone
Fire #1 Mag
Fire Magazine present their no 1. Issue March/April 2016. In the last few years there has been a resurgence of classic rock and heavy psych. An increasing number of labels are dedicated to stoner rock, doom, heavy psych, sludge, occult, drone, ambient, space rock and other related subgenres. It seems that the past is the new future. People again dig the values of the ’70s and that certain kind of attitude, they like people who can play their instruments, but they also love the spirit, the vibe, the analog recordings, the vintage gear, even the look and the outfits on stage because this is an honest and genuine way to make music. In many hard and heavy magazines, big bands are getting big features, great coverage and long articles. On the other hand there is less written about underground bands. In this magazine, there is less of the usual big names that occupy the spotlight in the glossy, more popular publications. Fire Magazine wants to put in the forefront those very good, valuable bands that don’t have wider recognition. The aim of this bi-monthly magazine is to create a place where fans can find what they like the most. Crafting a well-packaged, well-presented, full-color magazine, with a lot of regular features and in depth surveys, not only interviews and reviews. Fire Magazine chose the name Fire due to its multiple meanings. Fire is energy, fire is purification, fire is the flame of psychedelia, fire is the fuel of rock’n’roll, fire is the spirit that Jimi Hendrix gave his guitar and last but not least Fire is the masterpiece by Arthur Brown, a real pioneer and a godfather of our musical genre. Issue No. 1, March/April 2006 features: Hawkwind (cover story); Fresh Blood (Mountain Tamer – Psychedelic Witchcraft, Zun, Hexvessel, Oranssi Pazuzu, Abysmal Grief, Graves At Sea, Black Rainbows, Blood Ceremony, Church Of Misery, Spiritual Beggars, Sourvein, Mars Red Sky, Holy Grove, Hypnos, Deadsmoke Hounds Of Hasselvander, Blizaro, Black Mountain, 20 Editions Of Roadburn; Arik Roper: The Magic World Of Mushrooms, Come To The Sabbat: Rituals Of Doom, From The Crypt: “Louder Than God”: The story of Blue Cheer, Saint Vitus (commented discography), Perfumed Garden: Angel Witch reissue: (Monster Magnet – Paul Chain); News; Reviews. SIZE: 210mm X 297mm. FILE UNDER: heavy psych, stoner, doom, sludge, occult, dark, ’70s hard rock.
File Under: Magazines, Psych
France: Do Den Haag Church (Mental Groove) LP
Mental Groove presents a vinyl reissue Do Den Haag Church from France. Originally released on CD in 2009. The recording is raw and the mastering is fat. The first two pressings made in 2014 and 2015 were distributed confidentially and during the numerous live performances of the band. This pressing features brand new artwork. “France is a French trio that uses drums, bass and amplified hurdy-gurdy. They only perform live, in the middle of the audience – turned to face each other – full on smoke machines and strobes. They play only one ‘song’ for the duration of their hour-long set. And it’s the most transfixing live experience of intense physical and mental focus. The distorted hurdy-gurdy plugs France’s sound into the country’s history of folk music and popular festivities, of communal trance and immersive pleasure. The rhythmic basis is pretty much the same throughout the whole set. One doesn’t need to actually be tripping balls for the auditory illusions to start coming thick and fast. Those who’ve stayed for the whole duration of their performances know they’ve shared something, however disparate the phantom forms each might have discerned in the midst of the howls and groans. Gigs like this you leave feeling you’re not quite the same person who went in, even though you’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint precisely what has changed.” — David McKenna (The Quietus).
File Under: Minimalism, Psych
MJ Guider: Precious Systems (Kranky) LP
“Precious Systems is inspired and influenced by the landscape in and near New Orleans, particularly the juxtaposition of the natural with industrial and commercial constructs as they reflect life here. The songs on the album attempt to create contrasts of their own as one means to induce unreality or alter perspective. While it is greatly influenced by science fiction, its sounds and stories often become it themselves. The sounds come from a variety of sources, but are anchored by a few aging, outmoded machines. A beloved Rickenbacker 3000 in combination with a Roland R-8 drum machine, and RE-501 tape echo set the tone of technology in subsidence. Melissa Guion is MJ Guider. She lives and works in New Orleans and previously released the Green Plastic extended play cassette in early 2014 on the Constellation Tatsu label. Employing heavy washes of bass and a deft touch in mixing, she uses stark contrasts to construct a semi-surreal aural space. What results are songs that exist in a wholly contained sound environment, minimal yet lush, spare yet saturated, and most importantly, entirely compelling.”
File Under: Electronic, Ethereal
Head Technician: Zones (Ecstatic) LP
Not Waving’s Ecstatic label catch Martin Jenkins (Pye Corner Audio) in Head Technician garb for a slippery set of slow, plasmid acid workouts titled Zones. Originally issued on a super-limited tape (2015), presented here on vinyl. Over the years since he first mooted the Pye Corner Audio sound in 2010, Jenkins has used the Head Technician alter ego as a sort of evil engineer Hyde analogous to his day-to-day Jekyll, a sort of “hyperstitious” studio partner in a time-honored tradition of sleeve credits ghost chasing. Where Pye Corner Audio’s pieces may tend to be lustrous and optimistic, the Head Technician’s Zones LP hems to the shadows of the ‘floor with a furtive, noirish quality that works a treat in the right situations, whether sound-tracking gas lamp-lit raves or midnight street patrols seeking out ne’er-do-wells and laudanum dealers. Fired on a classic trinity of Roland TR-606 drum machine with an MC-202 (a beast to program, he admits) and TB-303 to sequence his baselines, it clearly makes explicit reference to the early days of Detroit techno and UK bleep ‘n bass, but the vibe is more anachronistic, out-of-time, possibly thanks to his patented, lagging basslines and slowly unfolding arrangements, bridging that imaginary, dilated gap between fuzzy dancefloor head melt and curtains-drawn next day gouch out. As Martin Jenkins explains : “It’s really satisfying to set up patterns on each machine, let them run and tweak and adjust as the track unfolds. All of these pieces were initially live takes, with just a couple of overdubs and some edits to tighten up the arrangements. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the 202, I can’t get enough of that square wave bass that it does, but it’s such a beast to program.” Includes two previously unreleased tracks that were not included on the tape edition. Vinyl remastered and cut by Matt Colton.
File Under: Electronic, Pye Corner Audio
Helm: Olympic Mess Remixes (Pan) 12″
Limited 12″ (white label/hand-stamped) of two remixes of the Helm album, Olympic Mess (PAN 063CD/LP). Remixes by Beatrice Dillon and N1L.
File Under: Electronic
Daniel Higgs: The Fools Sermon, Part 1 (Ideologic Organ) LP
Part 1 of The Fools Sermon as composed by and recorded by Daniel Higgs. Features Eli Winograd on bass and bass keyboard and Fumie Ishii on drums & voice and Higgs on banjo and voice. “Daniel Higgs once told me that the Earth is actually in its 34th life cycle. That everything has been conceived, created, grown, withered and ultimately been destroyed a grand total of thirty three times to date. As for quite how long this ourobouros-esque pattern will continue, he never enunciated. For enunciation is at the very heart of The Fools Sermon. Or I should say ‘Ee-nun-see-a-she-on’, as language in the hands of Higgs becomes a play-thing; syllables coil and retreat as if in eternal competition over the course of this 35 minute address. Anyone versed in Higgs’ vocabulary over his 30 year-plus career as musician, poet and orator, The Fools Sermon will feel like a worthy distillation of his other-world view: a raw vision of the sacred and the profane, the physical and the metaphysical, The Proterozoic and the present. At points, the results conjure a Flannery O’Connor penned pulpit-bound preacher elucidating as a huddle of Tribe Records personnel channel Amiri Baraka’s ‘Black Dada Nihilismus’; at others the narcoleptic exotica of Eden Ahbez shakes hands with Blind Joe Death. One imagines Gene Roddenberry’s ‘Captain’ turning his attention to the Philosopher’s Stone, to boldly go where no man and everyman has been before and forever will go again.” — Anthony Sylvester, 2016. Cut by Christoph Grote-Beverborg at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Cover photo by Fumie Ishii. Back cover photo by Micke Keysendal.
File Under: Experimental, Folk
Roscoe Holcomb: Across the Rocky Mountain (Jeanne Dielman) LP
Jeanne Dielman present Across The Rocky Mountain, a magical collection of Kentucky’s own Roscoe Holcomb. Roscoe Holcomb is one of the most legendary figures of Appalachian music and a huge influence on the ’60s folk scene. Playing banjo, guitar, and singing in that beautiful high lonesome sound, this compilation spans his recordings from the late ’50s and early ’60s, mostly done in the “field” with a single microphone. A coal miner for most of his life, Roscoe knew the world he sang of all too well, his authenticity is unassailable. Though he found some success in the ’60s thanks to the Greenwich Village scene, Holcomb stayed a laborer in Kentucky and passed away in 1981 at the age of 68, suffering for years from asthma and emphysema, the results of his years in the coal mines. Essential Americana.
File Under: Appalachian Folk, Banjo, Americana
Human Rays: A Tension (Further) LP
Human Rays – Stockholm, Sweden producer Robin Smeds Mattila – says that the music on A Tension was made during nocturnal sessions in a studio full of mostly cheap analog and digital gear, all in one take. “I kind of let the mood guide me and just go with it,” he says. The result is a gripping four track suite of emotionally charged minimal ambient that was created quickly but sounds like it was rigorously sweated over for many weeks. After a handful of releases that explored noisy, quasi-industrial techno, Mattila deviates into a more abstract, melancholy mode with A Tension. His creative process involves experimenting “to see how far I can push a sound with a pretty lo-fi setup. Improvisation and limitations are part of the thing that makes it interesting.” This approach yields riveting dividends right from the start on A Tension. On “Condensity”, the sparse pinging and distant, muted beats commingle with what sounds like rough wind or waves, hinting at the Arctic vibes that Biosphere conjured on Substrata (BIO 005LP, 1997). It’s at once chill and chilling, tranquil and unsettling. “Between The Hours” places spindly, woody beats beneath a dramatic sweep of synthetic strings, ebbing and flowing like Fripp & Eno’s monumental “An Index Of Metals” on Evening Star (1975). “Neverendless” might be even more redolent of the North Pole than “Condensity”, its severely minimal isolationist ambience suggesting Mick Harris’ none-more-cold Lull or Thomas Köner’s Permafrost (1993). On “Manual Litany I”, Mattila takes what sounds like a sentimental synth melody and smears it into a mantra of compelling drudgery. He notes that the track draws inspiration from William Basinski, who’s famous for his series of profoundly poignant Disintegration Loops albums (2002-2003). “It’s an attempt at making an organic loop, so it’s just me playing the same thing over and over on a synthesizer and letting the mistakes become part of the composition together with just playing around with an effects processor.” From these simple, humble means, Mattila forges a record that triggers subtle, intricate feelings. A Tension is that rare kind of music that freezes out all extraneous stimuli and submerges you in a frigid netherworld in which calm and disquiet exist in iced-out harmony. Mastered by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering. Artwork by Chloe Harris. 180 gram vinyl & reverse board jacket.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Caroline K: Now Wait for Last Year (Blackest Ever Black) LP
First ever vinyl reissue of Caroline K’s outstanding 1985 album, Now Wait For Last Year. This haunting, wistful work of post-industrial synthesizer music – the late Nocturnal Emissions co-founder’s only solo record – has accrued a fervent cult following over the past 30 years, and copies of the original pressing are today extremely sought-after. Tags like industrial, minimal synth or proto-techno can’t really do justice to the richly cinematic sound-world that Caroline Kaye Walters, aka Caroline K, describes as “from the sustained ambient tension of sidelong opener ‘The Happening World’ to the future-primitive rhythms and stately piano flourishes of ‘Animal Lattice’, and the melancholic, deep-frozen synth sequences of ‘Chearth’.” Fans of Wendy Carlos’s A Clockwork Orange, Chris Carter’s The Space Between, and early Detroit techno should pay special attention, but this searching, future-proof masterpiece demands to be heard by all.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Industrial
Korea Undok Group: s/t (Penultimate Press) LP
After a run of extremely under the radar cassette releases, Penultimate Press is proud to present the first vinyl collection of works by the Winnipeg outfit Korea Undok Group. With more hiss than a valley of snakes, the various monikers here cover the gamut of contemporary practice traversing industrial decay, rhythmic pulse onwards to piano etudes and fractured possession. All these forms come debossed with the signature destroyed tape aesthetic which makes these sharks so lonely. 180 gram vinyl on beautiful reverse board sleeve with incognito booklet, all designed by KUG. This is a total package that befits this unique scene of one, or many.
File Under: Experimental, Ambient
Steve Lacy with Don Cherry: Evidence (Modern Silence) LP
Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy continued his early exploration of Thelonious Monk’s compositions on Evidence, originally released in 1961. Lacy worked extensively with Monk, absorbing the pianist’s intricate music and adding his individualist soprano saxophone mark to it. On this release, he employs the equally impressive Don Cherry on trumpet, who was playing with the Ornette Coleman quartet at the time, drummer Billy Higgins, who played with both Coleman and Monk, and bassist Carl Brown. Cherry proved capable of playing outside the jagged lines he formulated with Coleman, being just as complimentary and exciting in Monk’s arena with Lacy. Out of the six tracks, four are Monk’s compositions while the remaining are lesser known Duke Ellington numbers: “The Mystery Song” and “Something to Live For” (co-written with Billy Strayhorn). Edition of 500.
File Under: Jazz
Metronomy: Summer 08 (Because) LP/CD
Entirely written, played and produced by Metronomy himself, Summer 08 finds the multi-instrumentalist reflecting on his experiences around the time that Metronomy first landed a major breakthrough with Nights Out — the guilt of missing key moments in loved ones’ lives and the confused mania of finding himself a critical darling. It’s a concept that’s been gestating ever since, but the opportunities and challenges that resulted in the expansive, ambitious and Mercury Prize-nominated The English Riviera and the Motown-inspired Love Letters understandably took precedence. “I wanted to make another record with the naivety of Nights Out: ten tracks, straight up, upbeat. Write another banger, then another, and don’t really think about it.” Summer 08 is a mature, eclectic pop record in the vein of OutKast, David Bowie and Daft Punk. Recorded in Black Box Studios in France with mixing courtesy of Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie) and Neal Pogue (OutKast), it’s the most daring and creative Metronomy album. The album’s first single “Old Skool” is a cowbell-clattered cocaine pop belter that glimpses ’00s London from the backseat of an Addison Lee. It descends into a chaotic scratch frenzy courtesy of Beastie Boys’ turntablist and Mount’s childhood hero Mix Master Mike. As for the lyrics: “I was living in East London in 2008 and felt like all this stuff was happening in the West end. It’s nonsense really, but I felt it was this privileged end of town, all the musicians there had wealthy parents and were living in Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill. So that song’s about being totally idiotic and just jealous.” “Night Owl” is even more immediate as its disco-groove – at once laidback, then nervously on edge – captures the ambience of a downbeat soul lost in the nocturnal summer swelter of the capital. Elsewhere, there’s warbling festival anthem-in-the-making “Miami Logic”, which sounds like “Word Up” as performed by Devo; an early East-Coast hip-hop rough ride called “16 Beat” about a love affair between man and drum machine; and a brilliant moment of Bowie worship titled “Mick Slow”. It’s the album’s duet with Swedish superstar Robyn, “Hang Me Out To Dry”, mixed by Erol Alkan, that’s the songwriter’s favorite though.
File Under: Synth Pop
Modest Mouse: Night on the Sun (Glacial Pace) LP
Modest Mouse was originally formed in 1993 in Issaquah, WA and over the last two decades has become the indie rock standard and one of the few bands capable of treading the narrow path where massive popularity is possible without sacrificing their longtime fans. Night On the Sun is a limited run Japan-only EP Modest Mouse recorded in January 1999 at Jupiter Studio with Phil Ek and originally released on CD the same year. All of these songs are different versions from those found on subsequent full-length releases The Moon & Antarctica (2000) and Everywhere And His Nasty Parlour Tricks (2001). The versions on Night On The Sun are generally longer.
File Under: Indie Rock
Mogador: Overflow Pool (Further) LP
Some records just barely nudge your consciousness, but they do so in such an intriguing manner that their tentativeness and ephemerality lure you in deeper than you expect. Such is the case with Overflow Pool by Will Long’s project Mogador. This prolific producer — who is best known for his profoundly meditative ambient music under the name Celer — favors the long-form, beatless approach to composition, as he lets his rigorously honed tones unspool with a gentle insistence. Overflow Pool consists of two lengthy pieces full of lingering, aqueous chords spaced out by suspenseful lacunae. Each piece revolves around episodes of briskly struck piano chord-clusters that are left to decay to near-silence for maximal contemplation. These are followed by a lower-keyed retort, as if to keep the listener from becoming overly optimistic after the preceding burst of Harold Budd-on-uppers tones. Similarities to Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon (1985) are also evident, as Mogador methodically doles out morsels of oceanic calm geared to align your chakras like some 21st-century Steven Halpern LP. It sounds ideal for flotation tanks, deep-tissue massages, and general relaxation. Long observes that Mogador differs from his Celer output “because it’s completely unprocessed. This is a pure room recording with no extra effects; only piano and reeltoreel delay.” The Yokohama, Japan-based musician says that his primary aim with Overflow Pool “was to make something that doesn’t happen all the time — it’s so sparse, that it blends into the room. It happens so seldom that it’s easy to forget about. You just catch it here and there. That’s the feeling I wanted.” It’s a feeling that’s all too rare in modern music — peacefulness without sentimentality. 180-gram LP in reverse-board sleeve. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering. Artwork by Nao Watahiki.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Andy Moor & Yannis Kyriakides: Rebetika (Discrepant) LP
Andy Moor (guitar) and Yannis Kyriakides (computer) lovingly deconstruct and reassemble their favorite rebetika music in a set of nine pieces that encompass a wide scope of musical vision. This is an unusual and original take on the so-called “blues” music of the Greek diaspora of the early 20th century. This live set was recorded in 2006, first released as an exclusive download for the UK-based Seven Things download-only label, released on CD by Unsounds in 2010, and is now available on vinyl for the first time.
File Under: Greek, Rebetika, Guitar
Dudley Moore: Bedazzled OST (Trunk) LP
A legendary soundtrack to a legendary film. Originally written by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore for the cult British movie Bedazzled (1967). A sublime musical mixture of pop, jazz, psyche and stupidity, this rare score sadly became the victim of terrible bootlegs in the late ’90s, when classic 1960s scores became very much in demand to the easy/jet-set/soundtrack in-crowd. First pressings have always been very hard to find. This is the first legal repress. It comes with the first ever repress of Peter Cook And Dudley Moore Cordially Invite You To Hell, an LP that was given out at the premier consisting of Cook And Moore’s improvised radio spots for the film. All cues mastered and sequenced by Jon Brooks, AKA The Advisory Circle. Limited pressing.
File Under: OST, Weirdness
Muslimgauze: Ali Zarin (Staalplaat) LP
With the massive amount of material Bryn Jones had left in the vaults when he passed away in 1999, it’s hard to truly assess his progression, stylistic or otherwise, over the years. And his reasons for choosing to release one tape’s worth of material over another’s were sometimes as mysterious as anything else about his work as Muslimgauze. But upon stumbling onto the material found on the undated tape known as Ali Zarin, it’s hard not to wonder how it would have been received if it had been released during Jones’s lifetime. The three-part, 43-minute title-track (the only part of the material to be given a proper title) makes for some of Jones’s most relentlessly driving work ever. As soundbites about occupation and Israel float in and out of the mix, a series of crashes and scrapes and a distorted beat contort themselves into shapes and patterns, wearing a cracked, scraping groove into the ground. For almost 22 minutes, the first part of “Ali Zarin” finds frantic beauty in the dense repetition of these elements; when the sounds remain but shift place and emphasis in “Part 2,” it’s almost shocking. Even more than most Muslimgauze releases, “Ali Zarin” sounds like it could have come out in the mid-’90s and remain equally contemporary. Although “Ali Zarin” could easily stand on its own, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the contents of the tape aren’t worth sharing as well. These four untitled demos and a brief “Rest Track” sketch show more directions in which Jones might have gone (but didn’t, at least based on what has been uncovered so far), especially the prowling late-night ambience and conventional drum kit loop of “Demo-01” and the densely looped bass pulses of “Demo-04.” It just serves to confirm the breadth of riches in Jones’s archive, and make the listener wonder what else is waiting to be unearthed. Limited edition of 500.
File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Techno
Janko Nilovic: Chorus (Underdog) LP
Following the recent reissues of Pop Impressions, Super America and Soul Impressions, Underdog Records label follows-up to the series with another brilliant album, Chorus, by French underrated composer and producer, Janko Nilovic. Janko Nilovic certainly was one of the greatest studio talents of Europe in the ’70s. He is a musician who devotes himself to music, which resulted in a great number of published works, but most of them made for library music labels and also not available for sale. His oeuvre stretches from classical, jazz and funk to pop, psyche and easy listening and has been sampled many times by hip-hop artists such as Jay-Z, Dre, Dafuniks or Guts.
File Under: French, Library
Pan Sonic: Atomin Paluu (Blast First Petite) LP
Double LP version. Atomin Paluu features the final studio recordings made under the name Pan Sonic (Mika Vainio & Ilpo Vaisanen). Recorded per their usual working methods at Mika’s home studio in Berlin from 2005 to 2011 and subsequently edited into this album format by Mika in 2015. The film, Atomin Paluu (2015) is a Finnish production, created by Jussi Eerola and Mika Taanila, documents the building of the first nuclear power plant since the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986 – a project that fell foul of much bureaucratic wrangling and control which manifested itself in the need for over forty cuts of the film. Atomin Paluu, the soundtrack, shows Pan Sonic uniquely using selected third-party field recordings from filming at the building site. As the film’s soundtrack, these recordings were also bound up in a complex series of delays in the release of the film. The pre-release screenings of the film it won the highly coveted 2015 Nordic Dox Award at the world renowned CPH:DOX festival in Copenhagen. The soundtrack itself brought the greatest recognition and went on to win Best Soundtrack at the Jussi Awards Festival (known as the Finland’s Oscars). In typical Pan Sonic style neither member bothered to attend the awards to collect their statuettes.
File Under: Electronic, OST
Harry Partch: Plectra & Percussion Dances… (Jeanne Dielman) LP
Born in Oakland, CA, but raised in New Mexico, Partch learned mandolin, violin, piano, reed organ, and cornet as a child. Clearly a unique talent, even that early on, Partch went to USC Music School but was dissatisfied with his teachers, and instead studied music on his own where he learned to reject many of the Western constructs of music and began experimenting with using scales of unequal intervals in just intonation, and was one of the first Western composers of the 20th century to use microtonal scales. These recordings were some of the first made after Partch settled in Sausalito and founded his legendary Gate 5 studio. Debuted in 1953 on KPFA radio, these compositions still sound otherworldly and cutting edge today. Essential American 20th Century composer Harry Partch, on Jeanne Dielman.
File Under: Classical, Contemporary
Porest: Modern Journal of Popular Savagery (Nashazphone) LP
Porest’s fourth long-player, Modern Journal of Popular Savagery is a damning collection of parallel realities told in song and sound. Following 2006’s masterful Tourrorists, MJoPS pits post-globalized hate pop, cabalistic text-to-speech drama and violent tape music against soapbox anthems and swirling barbed-wire psychedelia — sometimes within the same track. The result: a terrifying and ridiculous audio shakedown that both avoids and completely indulges the inherent trappings of art and politics. Fuzzed out guitars and keyboards, epic modulated grooves, “samples” and far-out fucking field recordings index the colonization of our consciousness. You’re already dead — and none of your intellectual friends can save you. Guests include Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls), Peter Conheim (Negativland), and Jake Rodriguez (Bran?Pos). Recorded between California, Syria, Vietnam and points in between. Across decades, Porest (aka Mark Gergis) has issued a trail of confounding agitprop sound art, tilted pop, diabolical radio dramas and carefully rearranged realities on the Abduction, Seeland and Resipiscent labels. Porest’s blatant embezzlement of human syntax and cultural misunderstanding broadcasts vital mixed messages. Collaborations have included: Aavikko (Finland), Sun City Girls (USA), and Negativland (USA) among others. Gergis was a co-founder of the long-running experimental Bay Area music and performance collective Mono Pause — as well as its offshoot Neung Phak, performing inspired renditions of southeast Asian musics. Since 2003, with the Sublime Frequencies label, an ethnographic music and film collective out of Seattle, Washington — and more recently, with his own record label — Sham Palace, Gergis has shared decades of research and scores of archived international music, film footage and sound recordings acquired during extensive travels in the Middle East, South East Asia and elsewhere.
File Under: Experimental, Rock
Salem’s Pot: Pronounce This! (Riding Easy) LP
This is a full length album. The format is a gatefold, double LP, and Side D is an etching. There is 6 songs and over 50 minutes of rock n roll. The new album by mysterious Swedish quintet Salem’s Pot delivers truly gritty and captivating heavy rock in high contrast technicolor: a sonic equivalent of The Last House On The Left, El Topo and Blood Feast. Similar to the way such films made up for their lack of flashy, expensive effects with dim lighting and implied violence, a hallucinogenic sense of true evil lurks in the dark corners of Salem’s Pot’s sound. Lest we forget, the band’s name itself is a pun on Stephen King’s stark, modernized vampire masterpiece. Where previous Salem’s Pot releases honed doom riffs to perfection, Pronounce This! sees the band expanding its horizons to the far corners of imagination. It’s a hazy fever dream of dark, thrilling excess. It’s equal parts of The Cramps’ Psychedelic Jungle, Pentagram’s Relentless, Roky Erickson’s The Evil One and The Stooges Raw Power, as much heirs to Deep Purple as Dead Moon – metal, garage punk, acid rock and a belladonna trip gone wrong. It’s not heavy metal, this is a mutant monster that cannot be tamed.
File Under: Metal, Psych
Sam Shalabi: Iris & Osiris (Nashazphone) LP
“Sam Shalabi presents Isis And Osiris; a dystopian fantasia for ud ruminations and iterated tape manipulations. Listening to Sam’s music or playing with him is always a psychedelic bliss. When Isis And Osiris penetrates my ears I am possessed by an emergent universe where immanence and alienation, abjection and love meet. Nothing will be the same. The transformative effect of Sam Shalabi’s cosmology is one of the most joyful and inspiring estrangement I experienced.” — Alexander St. Onge; Montreal, Quebec, March 2016. Sam Shalabi is an Egyptian-Canadian composer, improviser and guitarist living between Montreal and Cairo. Starting out during the late ’70s punk era, his work has evolved into an experimental synthesis of modern Arabic Music that incorporates free improvisation, traditional Arabic music, noise, classical, text, and jazz. He has released five solo albums, five albums with Shalabi Effect, a free improvisation quartet that bridges western psychedelic music and Arabic Maqam and three albums with Land Of Kush, an experimental 30-member orchestra for which he composes. He has appeared on over 30 albums and toured Europe, North America and North Africa. Projects include collaborations with Alvarius B, Stefan Christoff and The Dwarves Of East Agouza, a Cairo-based trio with Maurice Louca and Alan Bishop. He is a founding member of Shalabi Effect.
File Under: Experimental, Folk
Tak Shindo: Mganga! (Modern Harmonic) LP
Afro-Asian Exotica. Jungle beats and lush rhythms from the famed film and television composer. An early stereo marvel from the original 1958 tapes. Takashi “Tak” Shindo was one of the most prominent purveyors of that gorgeous genre known as Exotica, a magnificent and surreal style of music which took the sounds of cultures at the time unknown or mysterious and blended it into a swingy, sexy stew. As a Japanese-American, Shindo brought a unique cultural perspective to the proceedings – he combined the sounds of his own heritage into a brilliantly orchestrated shabu-shabu that made him a highly in-demand arranger and composer (Shindo would later become known for his TV scores, including Gunsmoke). Nowadays, we’d call it “appropriation,” but at the time Exotica knew no such boundaries – anybody’s culture and sound was fair game, often leading to unusual and thrilling combinations of sound. Mganga! is Shindo’s exploration of African sounds – it’s obvious that his knowledge of African and Afro-Cuban musical forms was based not only on a knowledge of traditional native music but also from soundtracks and “fantasy” versions of music from the African diaspora. Drums and congas abound, as do guttural chants and thrilling Cuban rhythms (and the ever-present exotica sound effects!). But Shindo’s own love of Japanese sounds crop up here and there too – listen for Japanese scales and traditional instruments such as the koto. Modern Harmonic/Sundazed presents the thrilling Mganga! the way it was meant to be heard – thrillingly mastered from the master tapes, pressed onto gorgeous colored vinyl and wrapped in restored packaging that reproduces the groundbreaking neo-tribal graphics. Pour yourself an exotic cocktail, turn the lights down low and let Tak Shindo take you to his own crazy, sexy version of Africa!
File Under: Exotica
Slow Season: Westing (Riding Easy) LP
Contrary to the band’s name, downtime is a rarity for Slow Season. Sandwiched between summer 2015’s extensive tour with their RidingEasy labelmates Mondo Drag and Electric Citizen, plus several short west coast jaunts, the hard-working quartet also found time to hammer out its most powerful and ambitious album yet. Written, engineered, produced and mixed themselves on their own equipment, entirely on analog tape, Westing is a hard-hitting and powerful reminder of how at one time a rock ‘n’ roll band could be a transcendent experience.
File Under: Metal
Valerio Tricoli: Clonic Earth (Pan) LP
The experimental Italian composer, Valerio Tricoli, returns to PAN with a new album, Clonic Earth. His ongoing output for the label has long-presented his electroacoustic sound compositions which utilizes analog live sampling and real-time editing of field and studio recordings by manipulation of 1/4 inch tape. Asides from being a founding member of the Italian avant-rock group 3/4HadBeenEliminated, he has worked extensively with various musicians, choreographers and multimedia artists including Thomas Ankersmit, Antoine Chessex, Werner Dafeldecker, Anthony Pateras, and Robert Piotrowicz. His studio compositions often explore themes of the internal – psychological and physical – and of the occult, which, with the use of spoken text, makes them often deeply existential works, self-investigations of the irrational horror within. Clonic Earth is a perturbing, yet compelling mind-expanding work, marked by compositional strategies of exploded narratives, psychological insight and oracular literary references, where questions about the boundaries of spatial perception in the decoding processes of acousmatic music. Tricoli’s allegorical and philosophical universe takes the form of an unhinged mind’s landscape swarming with estranged sound objects in the complexity of details and surrealistic effects of Hieronymus Bosch’s larger paintings. Compared to his previous works, the content of Clonic Earth explores more synthesized and heavily processed sounds, especially vocals, often appearing in the form of a religious, electrified chanting. The record is described by its author as a natural consequence of the internal collapse depicted in his previous record, Miseri Lares: “As if all the debris left inside my loudspeakers have been ignited to expand into the ether, to find a justification at the principle of Chaos, or Cosmos alike.” This movement is expressed by references to the theme of fire as original matter in the Chaldean Oracles which, together with the later work of Philip K. Dick, are the main sources for the vocal/text elements of the composition. Fire serves the author a metaphor for the acousmatic listening experience itself: a borderline perception of sounds eternally fixed in their spasmodic disappearance, which could eventually drag us into a different layer of reality, drastically changing, subverting, or expanding the space in which they are diffused. A ritual, somehow, which may link the listener and the perceptive space that he inhabits with whatever lies beyond the loudspeakers – beyond the vibrating surface of the world. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M. Artwork by Bill Kouligas.
File Under: Experimental, Electronic
Michal Turtle: Phantoms of Dreamland (Music from Memory) LP
Following their release of the Michal Turtle 12″ Are You Psychic?/Astral Decoy, Music From Memory present Phantoms Of Dreamland; a compilation of works by the UK musician recorded between 1983-1985. This double LP features tracks drawn from the recording sessions for Turtle’s album Music From The Living Room (1983) and also collects material Turtle recorded shortly after that, for an album which would never materialize. With three tracks taken from Music From The Living Room and the rest of the compilation entirely made up of unreleased tracks, Phantoms Of Dreamland draws on an illustrious period for Michal. In 1982, at the age of only 22, Michal Turtle set up a portable four track studio in his family’s South London home, over-running his parents’ front room with synthesizers, amps and instruments. Here he would create layered and deeply hypnotic tracks that were often built around live jams with musicians he would invite to his home. Although the music can appear to be sample based, all instruments were played live and any voices or sound effects were recorded directly to tape or from tiny cassette loops. Combining electronics with live percussion throughout, Phantoms Of Dreamland reflects a deep sense of musical exploration and creates a uniquely other-worldly musical language of its own.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Up-Tight: s/t (Desastre) LP
Up-Tight are a three-piece psych group based in Hamamatsu, Japan with a history dating back to 1992 has released around 10 records. Up-Tight’s current line-up (2016) is original members T. Aoki (vocal & guitar) T. Ogata (bass) and T. Shirahata (drums). The ghosts of The Velvet Underground, Les Rallizes Dénudés and Amon Düül loom large over their personal feedback song-destruction universe. This LP is the first re-issue of their original CD-R-only release in Japan in 1999 in a very limited edition of 100 copies. It has been remastered in Berlin from original recordings and presented here in an edition of 300. Here is what David Keenan (Wire magazine) thought about this first CD-R released in 1999 : “Up-Tight are a noxious young trio from south Tokyo, all acolytes of the legendary Japanese psych group Les Rallizes Dénudés, who augment their sound with crushing, Sabbath-styled dynamics, earsplitting acid leads and beautiful Velvets-inspired ballads… Song structures are mostly kept loose, allowing for lots of noisy improvisation. Generally the album is anchored by heavy riffs. Just when you thought you’d got to grips with Tokyo’s paradigm destroying psych scene, this one hits like a sucker punch.” All songs are five to ten minutes long, varying from very melodic ballads to psychedelic journeys. The album ends with an epic track, “無題”, which is an 18 minutes tour-de-force, that takes you to another dimension as if the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray” would have a child with Acid Mothers Temple, while listening to Amon Düül under codeine. Up-Tight are from the generation that emerged with the madness of the Tokyo ’90s and the P.S.F Records scene. Close to Acid Mothers Temple (the two bands recorded an album together), Up-Tight has a unique sound and is one of the most important underground reference in the Japan psychedelic scene.
File Under: Psych, Japanese
Iannis Xenakis: La Legende d’Eer (Karlrecords) LP
The second release in the Perihel series is one of the most famous electroacoustic compositions by Iannis Xenakis. When Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001), who had fought against the occupation as part of the communist resistance, moved to Paris in 1947 it was the start of a highly creative and impressive career. Xenakis not only studied composition with Olivier Messiaen and became one of the most innovative composers of the 20th century, he also worked as assistant to Le Corbusier and realized a.o. the Philips Pavilion for the World Exhibition in Brussels, 1958. His compositions often are based on mathematical principles (in 1966 he founded the CEMAMu – Centre d’Etudes de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales), which give his music an unprecedented aesthetic and as The Guardian would say, a “shocking otherness”. The most famous works of Xenakis, who won the Polar Music Prize (considered the unofficial Nobel Prize for music) in 1999, are his compositions for orchestra Metastasis, Pithoprakta and Terretektorh (where the 88 musicians are spread within the audience) and the electroacoustic compositions Persepolis, Concret PH, Bohor and La Légende d’Eer where Xenakis integrated his stochastic synthesis sounds for the first time. As legendary as this piece is, there is an impenetrable thicket of versions and stories around La Légende d’Eer, it exists in different releases, with wrong sample rates or digitized backwards. This version uses the 8-track-version that Xenakis himself presented at Darmstädter Ferienkurse in August of 1978. As the automatic spatialization is lost, this became the only original version of this composition and is presented here (mixed down to stereo by Martin Wurmnest who tried to preserve the spatial movements as perceptible as possible. La Légende d’Eer not only became a milestone of electroacoustic music but is also an important reference for noise and industrial musicians up to the present day. Mixed by Martin Wurmnest, mastered & cut by Rashad Becker, La Légende d’Eer is available here as 180 gram vinyl. Includes download code. Includes insert with liner notes by Reinhold Friedl.
File Under: Avant-Garde, Electro-Acoustic
Zomby x Burial: Sweetz (Hyperdub) 10″
VINYL-ONLY !! ONE-SIDED 10″ !! LIMITED EDITION !! Long time mutual admirers, Zomby and Burial get together for this one-sided white label taken from Zomby’s forthcoming album ‘Ultra’, with probably the most toxic track from either of their back catalogues to date.
File Under: Electronic
Various: Britxotica Goes East! (Trunk) LP
Britxotica! (pronounced “Britzotica”) neatly describes an odd and yet undocumented pre-Beatles British musical scene where famed UK composers as well as unknown singers and bandleaders threw convention on holiday and went wild, A breathtaking follow-up to the successful Britxotica! LP (JBH 057LP) Britxotica Goes East!: Persian Pop And Casbah Jazz From The Wild British Isles! takes the listener on a magic carpet ride to a place where the sphinx, Sheiks, sand dances, tales of yashmaks, Turkish coffee, bizarre belly dances and caravans of camels are the magical, musical norm. But this is music made by post war jazz musicians and show girls from London. Yes, this is perfect Persian pop and killer Casbah jazz made by Eastenders. Features charismatic vocal cues about pyramids, late night desert tristes and outrageous Sutlans. It’s also British music as rare and as beautiful as Tutankhamun’s treasure. Offers a lost recording of “Caravan”, an insane Eastern Kazoo number, several fierce instrumental dance numbers (one penned by Basil Kirchin) that will get you sand dancing all over the shop. Mastered and sequenced by Jon Brooks, AKA The Advisory Circle. Features: Beverley Sisters, Chico Arnez, Stanley Black, Johnny Keating And The Z Men, Charles Blackwell, Philip Green And His Mayfair Orchestra, Kenny Day, Tony Osbourne, Yana, Johnny Keating Kombo. Laurie Johnson, Roy Tierney, Reg Owen and Ray Ellington.
File Under: Exotica
Various: Divine Disco 1974-1984 (Cultures of Soul) LP
“Cultures of Soul Records is proud to present Greg Belson’s Divine Disco – American Gospel Disco 1974 to 1984, curated and researched by Gospel Soul music authoritarian Greg Belson. Greg Belson’s Divine Disco is a snapshot in time encapsulating the raw power of a spiritual performance, set to the pulsating 4/4 rhythms that were in vogue with the dance floors of the day. Labels like Savoy played a key part in identifying artists that fit nicely into this brand new style with performers like Shirley Finney and The Gospelaires, both of whom were established within the scene, but carried the ‘Disco’ torch brightly with their tunes featured here. Divine Disco also paints a picture of the lesser known acts that privately released their message to the hopeful masses, such as the Gospel Ambassadors and the Inspirational Souls, whose recording budgets would have been significantly less than any ‘major’ label. As proven here, they had no less of an impact to the listener. Other tracks on this compilation such as Betty Griffin’s ‘Free Spirit’ have become big club spins for the likes of the NYC Downlow and Horse Meat Disco crews. Also included are recently discovered tunes like the Masters of Music’s ‘Trouble Don’t Last Always’ as well as a future classic by The Testimonial Singers, which features several young members of the Winans Family. We’ve got you covered too for those more modern soul, boogiefied moments with rarities from Delores Fuller, Herman Harris and two offerings from the killer LP by Enlightment. This compilation also includes remixes and edits by Steve Cobby (who was a member of Fila Brazillia) and Rahaan.”
File Under: Disco, Gospel
Various: Sky Girl (Efficient) LP
Sky Girl is a mysteriously unshakeable companion, a deeply melancholic and sentimental journey through folk-pop, new wave and art music micro presses that span 1961-1991. It’s a DIY collection of different genres, from different countries across different decades, that are all bound by the same longing sentiment. A concept compilation! A seemingly disparate suite of selections of forgotten fables by more or less never-knowns, Sky Girl forms a beautifully coherent and utterly sublime whole deftly compiled by French collectors DJ Sundae and Julien Dechery. From Scott Seskind’s adolescent musical road movie to Karen Marks’ icy Oz-wave, the charming DIY storytelling of Italian-American go-getter Joe Tossini and the ethereal slow dance themes of Parisian artists Nini Raviolette and Hugo Weris, Sky Girl resonates on a wide spectrum historically, geographically and stylistically. It unites in a singular, longing, almost intangible ambience. If the names sound wholly unfamiliar that doesn’t matter, the nature of the compositions swiftly nurtures an intimacy with these lonely, poignant, openhearted wanderers. Most were available in a very limited capacity at the time of their release, some were never really released at all – Gary Davenport declined to release “Sarra” after he split with the girl for whom the track is named – years later a friend convinced Davenport to allow him to put 100 copies online to sell and DJ Sundae was quick enough to snare one. Beyond their scarcity, these tracks are bound together by a certain raw beauty that’s achievable when music is made and no one is listening. Sky Girl comprises of fifteen officially licensed songs, a two year international scavenger hunt through long-folded home label operations, the depths of internet forums and traceless acetates. Both compilers are well trained record sleuths – DJ Sundae’s labels Hollie and Idle Press have reissued Arthur Russell affiliate Nirosta Steel and DIY relic Pitch, while Julien Dechery previously compiled Fire Star, a retrospective on Tamil film composer Ilaiyaraaja, for Bombay Connection. Released by popular NTS show “Noise In My Head” offshoot Efficient Space, Sky Girl is enriched with artwork from Perks and Mini mutant Misha Hollenbach and appropriately elegant sleeve notes courtesy of Ivan Smagghe. Includes digital download. Also features: Linda Smith, Bruce Langhorne, The Seraphims, Some of My Best Friends Are Canadians, The Rising Storm, Warfield Spillers, Joyce Heath, Angel, Nora Guthrie and Once.
File Under: Lo-Fi, New Wave
Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Arcade Fire: Neon Bible (Merge) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Mississippi John Hurt: 1928 (Yazoo) LP
Jurassic 5: Quality Control (Get on Down) LP
MF Doom: Special Blends 1 & 2 (Metal Face) LP
Janko Nilovic: Soul Impression (Underdog) LP
Janko Nilovic: Pop Impressions (Underdog) LP
Jim O’Rourke: Eureka (Drag City) LP
OST: Terminator (Milan) LP
Pere Ubu: Modern Dance (Fire) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R (Interscope) LP
Jack Rose: Kensington Blues (VHF) LP
Shooting Guns: Brotherhood of the Ram (Riding Easy) LP
Soft Machine: s/t (Sundazed) LP
Soul of Mischief: 93 til Infinity (Traffic) LP
J Spaceman/Sun City Girls: Mr. Lonely (Drag City) LP
Suicide: Half Alive (Roir) LP
Sunn o))): Black One (Southern Lord) LP
Sunn o))): Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord) LP
Swans: My Father… (Young God) LP
Swans: The Seer (Young God) LP
Swans: To Be Kind (Young God) LP
Swans: The Glowing Man (Young God) LP
Sword: Warp Riders (Kemado) LP
Jack White: Lazaretto (Third Man) LP
White Stripes: Icky Thump (Warner) LP
Various: Voodoo Party Volume 1 (University of Vice) LP