Under the moniker Shed, René Pawlowitz has published three highly ambitious albums in which he defines his work more and more as his own way of musical narration; The Final Experiment is definitely the temporary highlight of this evolution. It establishes Shed conclusively as one of the most interesting and substantial active electronic music artists. It carries a vibe that links Shed to other boundary breaking artists, such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Brian Eno, and Carsten Nicolai. However, Shed has found a way to develop a highly individual way of communicating electronic music that is self-sufficient. The Last Experiment is a mostly homogeneous piece of work, a meditation where the stylistic confusion seems less important than the musical statement that it represents.
Triple LP version. Includes CD. Comes with a 24-page booklet in a hardcover book. In the body of work of Cologne artist Wolfgang Voigt – who, like few others, has informed, shaped and influenced the world of electronic music with countless different projects since the early 1990s – Gas stands out in particular, a saturnine sound cosmos based on heavily condensed classic sequences. Even after nearly 20 years, the sound of Gas doesn’t seem to have lost any of its luster, as shown by the commanding success of Kompakt’s fall 2016 re-release of the essential back catalogue as a box set (KOM 370LP). The overwhelming feedback from a loyal international fan community and worldwide media outlets attests once again to the sheer timelessness of Gas. Which is why it will feel like hardly a day has passed since the release of the last official album Pop nearly two decades ago in 2000, when Wolfgang Voigt resumes this specific creative path with the upcoming new full-length Narkopop. Even in the here and now, the unmistakable vibe of Gas immediately hits home, taking the listener on an otherworldly journey with the very first sounds, drawing them into an impervious sonic thicket, down to the depths of rapture and reverie. From wafts of dense symphonic mist emerges a floating and whirling feeling of weightlessness, before the listener steps into an eerily beautiful forest of fantasy, pulled in by the allure of a narcotic bass drum. While earlier Gas tracks were often based on the hypnotic effects of looping techniques, the ten new pieces on Narkopop unfold their magic in a more entwined manner, sometimes with the sonic might of an entire philharmonic orchestra, at times subtle and fragile. A main characteristic of Voigt’s oeuvre, the coalescence of seemingly contradictory stylistic aspects such as harmonious and atonal, concrete and abstract, light and heavy, near and far is also a decisive feature of Narkopop. In accordance with the transgressive spirit of his collective work, Voigt carries the aesthetic conceptions of his music over to the realm of the visual. Based on his abstract forest pictures, the Gas artwork addresses Voigt’s artistic affinity to romanticism and the forest as a place of yearning. For the first time, a closer look at the cover of Narkopop reveals signs of architectural fragments which hint at another, maybe parallel world behind Voigt’s forest. Truth is the prettiest illusion.
The second of six albums issued under the title Everywhere At The End Of Time, The Caretaker’s fictional first person account of life with early onset dementia, takes a more wistful tack as our protagonist gradually realizes that all is not well and begins to rummage deeper into the recesses of his memory, masking emotions of grief, loss, fear, and uncertainty by deeper dwelling in the recesses of a decaying mind. As The Caretaker’s short term memory functions begin to more rapidly erode, the loop-based punctuation of previous installments begin to subtly unravel, leading his mind to drift off and ponder fuller segments of tea dance strings and horns which appear uncannily more inviting, seductive, and now even more tangible than the abbreviated reels of earlier editions. Loop points wilt away in autumnal greys and russet rustles as new information becomes more difficult to process, back pedaling down memory lane toward an opaque smudge of half-forgotten/remembered spaces, places and un/familiar faces which provide more comfort and clarity than the world around him. It feels strange to recommend undergoing this experience, albeit in such an impressionistic and detached manner, but it somehow feels like a conversely enlightening one for these strange, disingenuous and unpredictable end times that we inhabit right now.
Palto Flats and We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records present the highly-anticipated reissue of Japanese percussionist Midori Takada’s sought after and timeless ambient/minimal album Through The Looking Glass, originally released in 1983 by RCA Japan. Considered a holy grail of Japanese music by many, Through The Looking Glass is Midori Takada’s first solo endeavor, a captivating four-song suite capturing her deep quests into traditional African and Asian percussive language and exploring contemplative ambient sounds with an admirably precise use of marimba. The result is alternatively ethereal and vibrant, always precise and mesmerizing, and makes for an atmospheric masterpiece and an unparalleled sonic and spiritual experience. Midori Takada is a composer, multi-percussionist, and theater artist renowned in Japanese vanguard circles.
Following the reissues of Brother Ah’s three studio albums in 2016, Manufactured Recordings is proud to present Divine Music, a collection of three unreleased albums from this jazz visionary: The Sea (1978), Mediation (1981), and Searching (1985). Moving from rich spiritual jazz to more meditative ambience, Divine Music further explores Brother Ah’s unique sound and musical vision. Released as a 5xLP box set, a 3xCD package, and digitally, Divine Music includes an extensive interview with Brother Ah by Pitchfork and Resident Advisor contributor Andy Beta. Recommended for fans of Laraaji, Alice Coltrane, Terry Riley, Brian Eno, Popul Vuh, and the recent new age renaissance.
The first ever repress of this Klaus Weiss musical masterpiece. And it’s the first of the all new Trunk library series that is a coming this way. Time Signals is an incredible thing on many levels and for many reasons, and you will not find an original without a mortgage. It’s classic German experimental sounds and rhythms that only Klaus can really get away with, and over the years cues have turned up all over infamous hardcore porn as well as sports programming and maybe some sinister wildlife documentaries too. This is electronic, rhythmic, peculiar, and will make your brain hurt at times.
A limited vinyl edition featuring Ramleh’s side of the classic split-album “A Return To Slavery” album. Backed by “The Hand Of Glory” EP material. Cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy, London for full effect. Reissued March 2017 on Harbringer Sound.
Stunning split release between Maurizio Bianchi, godfather of the Italian industrial noise scene, and Abul Mogard, the much loved and hyperstitious synthesist, conjuring a spellbinding testament to the transcendent and transportive energies of electronic music. On the A-side, Maurizio Bianchi serves the obfuscated, coruscating atmosphere of Nervous Hydra; a 17 minute piece of sunken, desiccated harmonic structures and warped greyscale tones rinsed with ET radio signals and distant percussion that recall the sound of embers landing on tinfoil or snow. It evokes the experience of being caught in a quietly raging whiteout with only a dying fire for company, or equally a sense of subaquatic, amniotic serenity prior to being evacuated into a much colder world. In that piece’s tempestuous wake, Abul Mogard brings a sense of soothing, glacial calm with All This Has Passed Forever on the B-side.
Anthropologist Marc Augé calls hotels and airports “non-places,” where “people are always, and never, at home.” As a touring DJ, Roman Flügel probably spends as much time in non-places as clubs or his studio. The Frankfurt-based artist has said that his third album for Dial, All The Right Noises, is very much a product of those surroundings. In particular, it’s about the solitary time in hotel rooms between gigs, and that strange mixture of peace and isolation. Released in October 2016 on Dial Records.
Laraaji’s sublime zither improvisation, Celestial Vibrations (1978) forms nothing less than an early archetype for new age ambient music. It was originally issued as a privately pressed meditation aid and sold in limited numbers around NYC until, that is, Brian Eno famously stumbled across Laraaji doing his thing, and the rest, as they say, is laid out in the ambient history books. Yet Celestial Vibration is far from a historic footnote, and still resonates deeply with listeners – especially these ears – ever since it reemerged circa 2010 on its first ever CD pressing and vinyl reissue through Soul Jazz Records. Now nearly 40 years old, and future-proofed by its timeless sense of expressive minimalism, Laraaji’s fluid, rhythmelodic flutter and reverberant harmonies have lost none of their ability to enchant, soothe and transcend the consciousness of all who cross its path.