Experimental

Nils Frahm “All Encores” (Erased Tapes)

2020-03-27T02:29:27+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Nils Frahm announces the release of Encores 3 on 18 October 2019, the third and final installment of his Encores series. The three EPs will be available as one full length release titled All Encores featuring 80 minutes of music, to follow his masterful 2018 album All Melody.

Whilst Encores 1 focused on an acoustic pallet of sounds with solo piano and harmonium at the core, and Encores 2 explored more ambient landscapes, now Encores 3 sees Nils expand on the percussive and electronic elements in his work.

“The idea behind All Encores is one we had from before All Melody; to separate releases each with their own distinct musical style and theme, perhaps even as a triple album. But All Melody became larger than itself and took over any initial concepts. I think the idea of All Encores is like musical islands that compliment All Melody.”

Moulded during All Melody but refined by his live performances, All Encores is testament to Nils’ exceptional ability to craft his art on stage. Artificially Intelligent which showcases his ‘mad professor’ organ, and All Armed which has been a live favorite for some time, appearing on set lists since 2015, are now available to hear on record for the very first time. The final track of Encores 3, as well as the whole series, Amirador, perhaps aptly nods to the Spanish word for ‘lookout’ and hints at what’s to come.

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Lightning Bolt “Hypermagic Mountain” (Lightning Bolt)

2020-03-27T02:29:26+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Hypermagic Mountain, Lightning Bolt’s 4th album has been unavailable for nearly a decade since it’s 2005 release. Back as a double LP including a full drawing by Brian Chippendale as the D side Etching! The package includes a large scale 4-page book (previous pressings included a cd size book). Recorded at Machines with Magnets and Lightning Bolt’s home by Dave Auchenbach. Lightning Bolt play with abandon that is unmatched and remarkably undiluted and this album is just one more example of that raw power and sound.

They are often called one of the loudest rock outfits in existence, both on record and on (or famously, off) the stage. Brian Gibson creates sounds that are unexpected and remarkably varied with his virtuosic bass playing and his inventive approach to the instrument, centered around melody rather than rhythm. The dizzying fury of Brian Chippendale’s drums twist from primal patterns into disorienting break beats as his distorted, and echoing vocals weave more melody into the mayhem.

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Stephen O’Malley “Auflosung” (Editions Mego)

2020-03-20T19:35:05+00:00March 19th, 2020|

“Produced within the context of The Guidebook of Church Burners publication release, this performance was recorded at visual arts institution LE BAL in Paris, May 4th 2018. Published by Païen in a limited edition, the book explores and transforms into an abstract narration the multiple facets of black metal iconography and history. Emerging from a dialogue between sound and image, the otherworldly piece created for that evening by Stephen O’Malley is a result of this collaboration.” – Emilie Lauriola

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NYZ “Millz Medz” (Important)

2020-03-20T19:36:30+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Lose yourself in the circuitry of the original 1965 Buchla 100 with NYZ (Dave Burraston) as he utilizes Barbara Hero’s Lambdoma tuning theories to create two slow, deeply layered, subconscious, organic and meditative compositions. NYZ’s split 12″ with ELEH (IMPREC 477LP) will be released at the same time as Millz Medz. David Burraston is an award-winning artist/scientist working in the areas of technology and electronic music, operating Noyzelab as an independent art/science music studio since 1981. His experimental arts practice encompasses field recordings, landscape-scale sound art, chaos/complexity, practice-based research, sound synthesis, and electronic music. He performs, lectures, conducts workshops, and creates art installations in Regional NSW and around the world. David also designs and builds sound synthesizers based on his theories of chaos/complexity science. David has worked with many diverse collaborators such as Aphex Twin, Chris Watson, Doug Quin, Russell Haswell, Robin Fox, Oren Ambarchi, Sarah Last, Cat Hope, Garry Bradbury, William Barton, Alan Lamb, MIT Media Lab, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2014m he independently published the legendary “SYROBONKERS!”, the most technical and in-depth interview ever given by Aphex Twin. First pressing of 500.

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Eleh/NYZ “split LP” (Important)

2020-03-20T19:38:01+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Split release between ELEH and NYZ (David Burraston). Released alongside a full-length from NYZ via Important Records (IMPREC 453LP). ELEH: This side is possibly the artist’s most complicated electronic composition. It navigates myriad timbral, tuning, and temporal processes while winding itself to completion. It was composed/constructed over a period of months in early 2019. NYZ: Two crunchy microtonal drone meditations in mono, using techniques of digital FM and hybrid analog/digital modular synthesis. “FM60P::fbk1#03” is from a number of sessions recorded on a battered SY99 recorded from 2013 to 2014. As the name suggests, this particular session revolved around using feedback in the FM algorithm. “EML DRNPi” was recorded as part of the 2015 Plum Island Sessions where Burraton had a host of synths on loan from John Brien at Important Records. For the recording, he used the EML ElectroComp 101 and a 4-voice digital microtonal oscillator running a Lambdoma Matrix to make a hybrid analog/digital system. Heavy-duty sleeve; First edition of 500.

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Master Musicians Of Jajouka “Apocalypse Across The Sky” (Zehra)

2020-03-20T19:43:03+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Zehra present a reissue of Apocalypse Across The Sky by The Master Musicians of Jajouka featuring Bachir Attar, originally released in 1992. Available on vinyl for the very first time. Produced by Bill Laswell, remastered for vinyl by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. No matter if you consider the Master Musicians of Jajouka a “4,000 year-old rock n’ roll band” (William S. Burroughs) or even “6,000 years old” (Ornette Coleman) — without doubt, the music of the ensemble in all its incarnations over the centuries is deeply rooted in Sufi mysticism, paganism, and the cult of the goat-god Boujeloud. According to a myth, many centuries ago Boujeloud appeared to a shepherd called Attar, an ancestor of today’s ensemble leader Bachir Attar, and till today every year at the end of Ramadan a fire in honor of the goat-god is ignited. This pagan root aside, the music performed in several hour long rituals on traditional instruments like tebel and tariyya (drums), ghaita (a woodwind instrument), lira (flute), and gimbri (stringed instrument) reveals hypnotic, trance-inducing qualities and is considered to have magical and healing properties. In the 1950s, Brion Gysin along with Paul Bowles were among the first westerners to witness such a ceremony, and it was Gysin who invited the Master Musicians of Jajouka to play in his restaurant in Tangier, and who later (in 1967) brought Brian Jones to the small village of Jajouka where the Rolling Stones guitarist recorded the ensemble for what became the first “world music album” and that raised interest in the Master Musicians of Jajouka in the western world. Since those days, a wide number of creative minds like William S. Burroughs, Ornette Coleman, Marc Ribot, Flea, Talvin Singh, or the Rolling Stones have worked with the Master Musicians of Jajouka who are now performing regularly outside Morocco. In 1991, iconic producer Bill Laswell also embarked on a trip to the small village of just 800 inhabitants in the Rif mountains to record the group for his Axiom label — Apocalypse Across The Sky is, unlike other Laswell projects that bring together different cultures and genres, a pure document of the ensemble, raw and unpolished but exquisitely recorded, and ranks among the essential recordings according to the world music magazine Songlines. 180 gram vinyl; gatefold sleeve; includes download code.

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Windy & Carl “Allegiance And Conviction” (Kranky)

2020-03-20T19:48:08+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Legendary Dearborn duo Windy & Carl have been crafting inner space electric guitar and bass vistas for nearly three decades now, but their latest feels as vital and vaporous as any peak opus in their vast catalog. Written and recorded across six years, the songs swirl between shoegaze minimalism and stargaze drift, over which Windy Weber whispers veiled poetic narratives of transformation, isolation, and escape. Allegiance And Conviction is their first album since 2012’s We Will Always Be. The six compositions are something of outlier in their catalog, shorter in nature than most on their previous releases. All of the tracks are saturated with Carl Hultgren’s signature guitar work, intimate constructions of murmurs, drones and his trademark layered filigree, gently amassed into alternately lighter and heavier than air atmospheres. Despite being their first full-length in more than half a decade, the album fully belongs to the bewitching galaxy of sound Windy & Carl innovated and within which they remain the sole occupants: music of thresholds and peripheries and eternities. Allegiance And Conviction is the multifaceted, contemporary take on their sound.

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Ghedalia Tazartes “Diasporas” (Dais)

2020-03-20T19:55:40+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Originally recorded in 1977, following a limited release in 1979, Ghédalia Tazartès debut album, Diasporas, introduced listeners to the surreal, mysterious and truly unclassifiable statement of Tazartès and his out-of-time place in the French avant-garde canon. Born in Paris in 1947 to Judaeo-Spanish parents of Greek descent, Tazartès spent his early career as an autodidact utilizing his knowledge of repetition and collage, coupled with his Ladino linguistic heritage, to create some of the most unique recordings of the late 20th century. Interest in the works of Tazartès truly sparked when artist Steve Stapleton included his follow up album, Tazartès’ Transports, in his famed “Nurse With Wound List,” thus adding endless curiosity to the folklore behind Tazartès and his mystical entrée.

From the onset of Diasporas, looping incantations seemingly pile up at the behest of Tazartès. In almost a prayer-like decree, Tazartès chants to the gods in an undefined whail that is both haunting and spiritually divine. Tazartès unique use of tape loops to capture the disappearing traditions of his family’s past creates an atmospheric texture that unexpectedly complements his cut-up, manipulated vocal experiments. While contemporaries within the French avant-garde maneuvered academic theory and rigid tradition, Diasporas strays away from these boundaries, working in Tazartès’ invented practice of ‘impromuz’, a method in which he endlessly records for hours and edits only the moments that display any sense of spontaneous enlightenment. Further emboldening the obtuse nature of Diasporas are the seemingly random recitation of poet Stéphane Mallarmé and the traditional ‘Parisian-style’ piano accompaniment of experimental composer Michel Chion.

Since its initial release over 40 years ago, both Dais Records and Alga Marghen have released reissues of Diasporas in various formats, with the initial Dais Records vinyl edition falling out of print. Dais Records presents an official reissue, newly remastered by Josh Bonati, utilizing the original artwork of Diasporas in its sole album form, for the first time in over four decades.

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Ian William Craig “Red Sun Through Smoke” (Fat Cat)

2020-03-20T19:55:27+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Uncannily timed for the current state of humanity and its need for reflective composure and cathartic expression, ‘Red Sun Through Smoke’ is a powerful new body of work by IWC, who has become widely beloved for his textured tape recordings with Recital and FatCat’s 130701 label over the past decade. Taking the experience of personal loss and finding new love whilst forest fires raged in British Colombia as inspiration, IWC transmutes his feelings into rough gold across 12 of the most stripped back, direct and affective songs in his catalogue.

The background to ‘Red Sun Through Smoke’ is almost hard to believe. Ian travelled to his grandfather’s house to record an album while his gramps resided in a car home. But upon arrival his grandfather was taken gravely ill and moved to palliative care, where he sadly died two weeks later. During this time, as life would have it, Ian met someone special and fell in love, but they promptly moved to Paris, 5000 miles away. A long distance relationship flourished while Ian also grieved and wrote the music of ‘Red Sun Through Smoke’ against a backdrop of thick smoke, in a small house shared with his parents. Understandably, many of us would crack or unravel under this sort of stress, but Ian turned the intensity of the situation into a master opus.

Pared back to keys, vocal, shortwave radio and tape, the recordings find IWC at his most vulnerable, with a vocal captured naked to tape and then mixed on vintage 4-track with shortwave static and tape infidelities to poetically represent his situation, as he attempted to follow and come to terms with his thoughts amid scenes of emotive confusion. The results are inarguably, soulfully profound from the multitrack choral greeting of ‘Random’ to the elegiac resolution of ‘Stories’, following the artist’s bewildered state of mind between heart-breaking songs such as ‘Supper’ and its stark refrain, “We had grief for supper”, the doomy majesty of ‘Open Like a Loss’, and the devastating smoky stillness of ‘Last of the Lantern Oil’ where his touch for textured, dreamlike tones is at its most traumatised.

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Crys Cole “Beside Myself” (Students Of Decay)

2020-03-13T20:33:45+00:00March 5th, 2020|

“Beside Myself is the second full-length release from Canadian sound artist crys cole. Known to many through her extensive collaborative practice with artists such as Oren Ambarchi, Leif Elggren, and James Rushford, in her solo work cole uses contact microphones, voice, simple electronics, and field recordings to create sonic environments that linger uneasily at the threshold of perception. Demonstrating how cole’s work has developed and deepened since the relative austerity of her first solo LP Sand/Layna, Beside Myself offers two lushly immersive side-long pieces that explore ideas of compositional drift. ‘The Nonsuch’ is inspired by the aural hallucinations experienced in the hypnagogic state during the onset of sleep. Opening with scratching contact mic textures and unintelligible vocal murmurs, the piece threads together live and studio performances with field recordings of urban environments to create a texture that is at once seemingly consistent and marked by constant transitions. Individual elements rise up from the background thrum only to disappear just as we become conscious of them; heterogenous sounds and spaces succeed one another with the unassailable logic of dreams. ‘In Praise of Blandness (Chapter IX)’ also focuses on drift and transition, but in a much more single-minded way. Over a rich, slowly-evolving organ drone, cole reads a passage from the French sinologist François Julien’s book In Praise of Blandness (1991) exploring the concept of ‘blandness’ in the Taoist aesthetics of sound. Beginning crisp and clear, cole’s voice becomes gradually less distinct over the course of the piece, the spoken words blurred by resonant frequencies à la Lucier’s I Am Sitting in a Room until we are left with only the rhythm of incomprehensible speech. The text that cole reads acts a perfect description of her aesthetic project: ‘We hear it still, but just barely, and as it diminishes it makes all the more audible that soundless beyond into which it is about to extinguish itself. We are listening then, to its extinction, to its return to that great undifferentiated matrix’.” –Francis Plagne (November, 2019) Includes download code; edition of 300.

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Ground Zero “Revolutionary Pekinese Opera Ver. 1.28” (Le Narthecophore)

2020-03-13T20:33:45+00:00March 5th, 2020|

In 1984 the German free jazz duet of Alfred Harth and Heiner Goebbels released an album containing their interpretation of a Chinese opera from the 60s. Then in 1995, using extensive samples from that German recording alongside a free rock ensemble and traditional Asian instruments, Otomo Yoshihide and his Ground Zero band issued a terrific and definitive rendition of that opera, in the form of a noisy sound collage.

We reunited the Japanese and original German versions on that record.

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Ever Isles “Cocoon” (Touchtheplants)

2020-03-13T20:33:46+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is an American composer, performer and producer, originally from Orcas Island and currently based in Los Angeles. After several self-released albums, Smith was signed to independent record label Western Vinyl in 2015, who released her first official album, Euclid, in January 2015. Tides: Music for the Meditation and Yoga, was released in January 2019. Smith grew up and was home-educated on Orcas Island, Northwestern Washington. She left the island to study composition and sound engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before returning to the island after her graduation. It was after returning home that Smith discovered synthesizers, when a neighbor introduced her to the Buchla 100 Synthesizer. Having originally intended to use her voice as her primary instrument, and then moving to classical guitar and piano, Smith switched to the use of synthesizer after being leant and experimenting with the Buchla 100 for a year. Smith formed indie-folk band Ever Isles whilst still at Berklee but left the project after discovering the Buchla 100, explaining, “I got so distracted and enamored with the process of making sounds with [the Buchla’s potential] that I abandoned the next Ever Isles album.” When developing her composition skills, Smith used visual aid as inspiration for her music. She has said that she is always composing to a visual in her head, explaining, “Sometimes I let the sound create the image for me and then I build off that. Or vice versa: I come up with imagery that is inspiring to me, or I see something that is inspiring, and then create sounds that I feel match it.” Recorded in 2009, Ever Isles’ Cocoon is an experimental folk album made by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Jeremy Harris on Orcas Island in an improvised recording studio built from bed mattresses. Smith and Harris, longtime friends, first met in 2004 while attending Berklee College of Music. Cocoon is the only remaining document of the Ever Isles project and offers a unique glimpse at the early work of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — an era predating her discovery of synthesis when she was still playing classical guitar. Jeremy Harris, a multi-instrumentalist and neo-classical composer, engineered and co-produced the record with Smith. In 2016, Harris released Ages via Gnome Life Records.

Eleh ‎”Living Space” (Touch)

2020-03-13T20:33:46+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Following Slow Fade for Hard Sync (2009) and Location Momentum (2010), Living Space is Eleh’s third physical release for Touch. Seven years in the making, this new release consolidates the artist’s parallel narrative between a series of vinyl and CD releases for Important Records — where the emphasis is on a minimalist aesthetic — to a visual counterpoint that hints at the cinematic and painterly qualities of the music. Sound, as a healing force, is an idea as old as the medium itself. Inspired by the legacy and above all the spirit of John Coltrane, Living Space features five new compositions that seek to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape-shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique. If the ambition of Living Space is to reflect both personal and collective growth cycles, the experience of its audition has the effect of stopping time. Melodic and harmonic progressions are implied and not stated obviously, to enable listeners to apply their own emotions and feelings to the music. Using modular and analog synthesizers, piano, organ, bass, and symphonic chimes, Living Space stresses the promise of the albm’s final track — “Lighter Touch” — forsaking the forceful hand for an approach that mirrors the slower and softer exposures of plant life and leaf formations, slow moving waters, not flash floods nor forest fires. In counterpoint to the music, the 64-minute album is presented in a gatefold sleeve with Jon Wozencroft’s water photography extending the meditational pull of these new compositions. For those for whom Eleh needs no introduction, see if you agree. Anyone who has yet to experience the artist’s sonic alchemy, Living Space is the perfect starting point.

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Lightning Bolt “Ride The Skies” (Thrill Jockey)

2020-03-13T20:33:47+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Ride the Skies is the second album by Lightning Bolt, and this re-release makes it available to fans for the first time since it’s original release. Compared to their first album it’s cleaner, tighter, recorded in studio rather than live. Which is not to say this is boring or sanitized in any way, Lightning Bolt never fail to make magic, filling a space with loud, raw sound. Sounds of synth or guitar turn out to be bass, and riffs become patterns, become a beat in the background, become a wall of noise, become a clear sound above it all. Lightning Bolt are known for the sound that truly comes into it’s own in this album. Ride the Skies is rereleased with deluxe packaging featuring jacket art that was designed by Brian Chippendale for the original release but has never been realized until now.

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Hilary Woods “Birthmarks” (Sacred Bones)

2020-03-13T20:33:49+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Hilary Woods’ Birthmarks has been a labor of intensity and intuition, written over the course of two years. Recorded whilst heavily pregnant between Galway and Oslo in the winter of 2019, Woods explores the oscillating and volatile processes of selfhood and becoming, hidden gestational growth, and the birthing of the Self, amidst continuous social and personal change.

Birthmarks is a record that hunts for ways in which to revisit and caress wounds left by the memory of their scars. In its mystery and attentiveness to the art of alchemy and the world of the unseen, it is a journey through textural fog and feral density that gives way to passages of voracious sonic exorcism and poetic healing. Its eight songs traverse planes of visceral physicality, stark tender space, and breathtaking introspective beauty.

Spurred on and crafted by the impulse to create a more corporeal sonic tendon for her songs to inhabit, Woods took her vision and home recordings to Norwegian experimental noise producer and filmmaker Lasse Marhaug. The collaboration proved rare and fruitful and lies at the heart of this record. Field recordings, analogue bass synthesizers, hushed vocals, and the breath are underpinned with heavy noise processing, fierce and wide cello, rich percussion, sable saxophone, and electronics.

Birthmarks is inspired and informed by ideas of inner transmutation in the face of anxiety, post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, early music, the secret life of trees, wolves, drone, the drawings of Francis Bacon, the images of Francesca Woodman, the films of Chris Marker, the experiential collapse of community, and the power of the lone human voice. It is a deeply powerful and enigmatic record that ultimately transcends its disquiet roots.

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Jeremy Cunningham “The Weather Up There” (Northern Spy)

2020-03-13T20:34:08+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Chicago drummer and composer Jeremy Cunningham wrote The Weather Up There in response to the loss of his brother Andrew, who died in a home invasion robbery in 2008. Co-produced by Jeff Parker and Paul Bryan, and engineered by Paul Bryan and John McEntire, this new work confronts the tragedy of violence and examines the acute ripple effect on several people’s lives through the lens of memory, response, and collage. Further deepening the textural and emotive impact, Cunningham formed a “drum choir” for these recordings, comprised of close mentors and colleagues Mike Reed, Makaya McCraven, and Mikel Patrick Avery. Cunningham also taps regular collaborators Ben LaMar Gay, Jaimie Branch, Tomeka Reid, Dustin Laurenzi, Matt Ulery, and Josh Johnson.

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Leo Takami “Felis Catus And Silence” (Unseen Worlds)

2020-03-13T20:34:08+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Felis Catus and Silence is a breakthrough release for Tokyo composer-guitarist Leo Takami, following the milestone albums Children’s Song (2012) and Tree of Life (2017). Takami counterpoints the soothing aesthetics of prime-era Windham Hill New Age guitar-heroism with meditative, intellectual compositions comprised of ambitious, process-oriented arrangements. While Takami largely wears his genre influences on his sleeve — jazz, classical, Japanese gagaku — the influence of ambient music is a tacit foundation of his work. Working diligently outside of any established communities for fringe musics, Takami conjures this association through a patient focus on generous musical intervals. Steady, kaleidoscopic unfolding of his compositions reflect Takami’s creative intent to “become aware of precisely the time and place I am living.” The unabashedly sweet, tuneful virtues of his music in concert with this reflective form provide an artistic relief of Takami’s thematic harmony. “Each song is based on birth and death, and moving onto the next stage…”

Leo Takami, born 1970, studied guitar under Hideaki Tsumura (aka Kamekichi Tsumura) and performs regularly in Tokyo.

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Chi “The Original Recordings” (Astral Industries)

2020-03-13T20:34:11+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Ltd 2020 Repress – 250 copies only – CHI started in the late punk years in the early eighties. A time of change and mind-blowing albums. We started doing sound experiments in an old farm in Moordrecht (thanks to Jan van Rhee and Kees van der Veer). In the summer, all the doors and windows were open, birds flew in and out. In the distance we saw the highway to Rotterdam. In the winter we sat close together, no heating, only blankets, candles and brandy.

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Go Hirano “Corridor Of Daylights” (Black Editions)

2020-03-13T20:34:12+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Black Editions present the first ever vinyl edition of Go Hirano’s third album, Corridor of Daylights, originally released in 2004. Corridor of Daylights is a quiet work of dreamlike brilliance. A home field recording where fragile piano melodies float alongside wind-chimes and wistful melodicas — insects hum in the distance and a breeze gently rustles as summer day eases toward evening. Originally released in Japan by P.S.F. Records in 2004, Corridor of Daylights is a beautiful, soulful dispatch from early aughts Tokyo. Black Editions present Corridor of Daylights, newly mastered for its first ever vinyl edition. Includes bonus track. Comes in a deluxe edition featuring pearlescent paper, metallic inks, and foil stamped letters as well as two inserts including a newly translated illustrated story booklet; Includes download.

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Musica Elettronica Viva “United Patchwork” (Alternative Fox)

2020-03-13T20:34:12+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Alternative Fox present a reissue of Musica Elettronica Viva’s United Patchwork, originally released in 1978. One of the most mythical experimental groups of all time, Musica Elettronica Viva was formed in 1966 by a group of American composers in Rome, its nucleus comprised of pianist Frederic Rzewski, sound improviser Alvin Curran, and the improvisatory keyboardist Richard Teitelbaum. Taking cues from John Cage and David Tudor, MEV employed open, limitless structures, using found instruments, toys, a homemade synthesizer, and the first Moog to reach mainland Europe. Improv and critical listening practices aimed to liberate listeners from the constraints of bourgeois capitalism and as their sound evolved, forms of Jewish mysticism and surrealist automaticism pointed to transcendent potential. An abortive US tour in 1970 split MEV into three units, but the Kabbalistic Dixieland band later reformed with Rzewski, Curran, and Teitelbaum joined by saxophonist Steve Lacy, trombonist Garrett List, and keyboardist Karl Berger. The resultant double album United Patchwork, recorded in November 1977 at Mama Dog for Horo Records, captures MEV in all of their discordant, improvisatory glory, from Teitelbaum’s side-long opener, “Via Della Luce”, to the honking noise of Lacy’s “Fox”, the excessive keyboard meanderings of Curran’s “Psalm”, Berger’s vibraphone folly, “Cross Over One” and Rzewski’s ponderous “What Is Freedom”.

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Laboratorio Della Quercia “Laboratorio Della Quercia” (Alternative Fox)

2020-03-13T20:34:13+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Alternative Fox present a reissue of Laboratorio Della Quercia’s self-titled released, originally released in 1979. In the summer of 1978, an ambitious twelve-day experimental jazz project was undertaken at the ancient amphitheater, Tasso della Quercia, on the slopes of Rome’s Gianicolo Hill. The idea was to assemble the leading players from Italy’s avant-garde jazz scene, revolving around members of Grande Elenco Musicisti (or GEM), such as saxophonists Tommaso Vittorini, Eugenio Colombo, and Maurizio Giammarco, trumpeter Alberto Corvini and trombonist/composer Danilo Terenzi, together with visiting American players such as saxophonists Steve Lacy, Steve Potts, and Evan Parker, trombonist Roswell Rudd, pianist Frederick Rzewski, and drummer Noel McGhee, among others. Different group configurations were enacted each day and the final gala concert formed the basis of this super rare and highly playful double album, which captures the delightfully messy proceedings. In keeping with the openness of the Roman jazz scene of the day, the project sought to push the boundaries, aiming to break big-band traditions whilst still emphasizing the collective nature of the experience. Enrico Rava’s opening “Tromblues” emphasizes the disparate approaches of these trans-Atlantic teams and Terenzi’s “Dialogando” uses dual trombones to heighten musical discord; in mutated big-band mode, Giammarco’s thrillingly complex “Vortex Waltz”, and Vittorini’s “La Legge E Uguale Per Tutti” both speak to the limitless potential that the project was aiming for.

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Company “1983” (Honest Jon’s)

2020-03-13T20:34:13+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Wonderful, previously unreleased recordings by Derek Bailey and his guests at Company Week in 1983. What’s remarkable throughout this album is the respect and affection the musicians show for each other, exemplifying the dictionary definition of “company” as “the fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment.” It starts with “Landslide”, a brilliant, spiky, spluttering, twanging reunion of Music Improvisation Company members Evan Parker (tenor sax), Hugh Davies (electronics), and Jamie Muir (percussion). Next up, “Seconde Choix”, with Joëlle Léandre’s close-miked prepared bass and Bailey’s acoustic guitar seemingly heading in different directions before coming together miraculously in just four minutes. The opening of “First Choice”, a duet between Bailey and Muir, is a revelation for those who moan that the guitarist plays too many notes. His patient and truly exquisite exploration of harmonics is beautifully counterpointed by Muir’s metallic percussion. On “Pile Ou Face” (Heads Or Tails) Davies concentrates on his high register oscillators, carefully shadowed by Parker’s soprano until Léandre’s deft, springy pizzicato lures them into the playground. “JD In Paradise” is a surprisingly delicate wind quartet, with John Corbett’s trumpet, fragile and Don Cherry-like, punctuating the sinuous interplay between Peter Brötzmann and J.D. Parran (on sopranos, flutes and clarinet), while trombonist Vinko Globokar growls approvingly in the background. Igor Stravinsky’s magnificent definition of music as the jeu de notes comes to mind listening to Bailey’s duet with cellist Ernst Reijseger (executing fiendish double-stopped harmonics with staggering ease). Technical virtuosity has never sounded so effortless — it is, as its title “Een Plezierig Stukje” simply states, a fun piece. On the closing “La Horda”, Bailey and Reijseger team up with the horns for what on paper looks like it could be rough and rowdy sextet but which turns out once more to be a thoughtful, spacious exchange of ideas, shapes, and colors.

Jon Hassell & Farafina “Flash Of The Spirits” (Tak:Til/Glitterbeat)

2020-03-13T20:34:13+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Double LP version. 180 gram vinyl; includes CD. Tak:Til/Glitterbeat present the first ever reissue and remastering of Jon Hassell and Farafina’s prescient, “Fourth World” masterwork, Flash of the Spirit, originally released in 1988. Propulsive Burkinese rhythms meet revelatory, ambient soundscapes. Co-produced with the legendary studio team of Brian Eno and Dainel Lanois. Composer and trumpeter Jon Hassell has been an elusive, iconic musical figure for more than half a century. He’s best known as the pioneer and propagandist of “Fourth World” music, mixing technology with the tradition and spirituality of non-western cultures. In 1987 he joined with Farafina, the acclaimed percussion, voice, and dance troupe from Burkina Faso, to record Flash of the Spirit. While the album is a natural extension of those “Fourth World” ideas, and a new strand of Possible Musics, it also a distinctive outlier in the careers of both artists; an unrepeated merging of sounds whose influence still reverberates today. The eight members of the band — who had also collaborated with the Rolling Stones and Ryuichi Sakamoto — brought their long apprenticed, virtuosic drumming, and melodic textures (balafon, flute, voices) to the sessions. They built up layers and patterns of rhythm, while producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (fresh off the success of U2’s Joshua Tree) created a sonic atmosphere in which they could creatively intertwine with Hassell’s digitally processed trumpet and keyboards. Despite their initial skepticism, the musicians from Farafina ended up relishing their interaction with the studio team and the trumpeter/conceptualist Hassell. The music that emerged was rich and groundbreaking, a move to transcend the boundaries between jazz, avant-garde classical, ambient and the deep rhythmic tradition embodied by Farafina. On “Out Pours”, the groove simmers softly, led by shifting patterns on the balafon, while Hassell’s heavily treated trumpet creates breathy swirls of sound that play and dance around them. Percussion leads on “A Vampire Dances,” pushing and probing and seeming to force electronic shrieks as a response from Hassell’s trumpet, while the keyboard creates a bed of sound that refuses to hold still. “(Like) Warriors Everywhere” takes that idea even further. Over Farafina’s surging rhythms, Hassell’s electric piano and trumpet dig deep into abstract, melodic ideas hinted at by the Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis band. Farafina create the rhythms and counter-rhythms that spring and move. A new, natural trans-cultural harmony is apparent on the final track, “Masque”, where percussion and treated trumpet draw the listener along on a journey through shifting landscapes.

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