Minimal Wave

Molchat Doma “S Krysh Nashikh Domov” (Sacred Bones)

2020-03-20T19:57:31+00:00March 19th, 2020|

When С крыш наших домов (S Krysh Nashikh Domov), the debut album by Molchat Doma, was released in 2017, it announced a bold new voice in underground music. The album found a passionate audience on Bandcamp and other streaming services and was released on CD and cassette. Sacred Bones Records is proud to present the album on vinyl for the first time.

Molchat Doma (translated as “Houses Are Silent”), founded in 2017 in Minsk, Belarus, stands at the intersection of post-punk, new-wave and synth-pop. Dark yet danceable, and with a heavy dose of goth ethos, their music is reminiscent of the masters that predate them, but make no mistake: Molchat Doma creates a sound and meaning that is immediately recognizable as all their own.

The band is comprised of Egor Shkutko, who sings the Russian lyrics in his deep monotone, Roman Komogortsev on guitar, synths, and drum machine, and Pavel Kozlov on bass and synths.

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Ceramic Hello “The Absence Of A Canary” (Ice Machine)

2020-03-13T20:34:07+00:00February 29th, 2020|

A new sub-label of the longstanding Canadian electro imprint Suction Records, Ice Machine — focusing on old-school wave/post-punk sounds — launches on Valentines Day 2020, debuting with this new vinyl reissue of Ceramic Hello’s 1981 minimal synth classic “The Absence Of A Canary.”

A long-time cult favourite among fans of obscure ’80s synth-pop, this LP remains highly sought-after, and is rated as one of the genre’s top 20 records ever made by Minimal Wave label head Veronica Vasicka, who calls it “a beautiful record, inside and out.”  This is our 2nd edition of the LP — it was previously reissued on Suction Records in 2002, but even that reissue is now long sold out, and the interest in this strange, utterly unique DIY time-capsule has not subsided in the least. The reissue was transferred and painstakingly remastered from perhaps the last sealed copy of the original 1981 LP in existence. We are proud to make this Canadian synth classic available again.

Ceramic Hello hailed from Burlington Ontario, about an hour outside of Toronto, and comprised of Brett Wickens, who composed and performed the more synth-pop-oriented songs on the LP, with clear nods to early-Ultravox and OMD, plus Roger Humphries, who contributed the album’s otherwordly, classically-informed synth interludes. Shortly after the 1981 release of the LP, Wickens moved to the UK to work for legendary Factory Records-associated design firm Peter Saville Associates, where he created iconic LP covers for the likes of New Order, Joy Division, and Peter Gabriel. The Absence Of A Canary’s striking cover, an eerie silver-faced enigma, was Wickens’ first LP design and has become iconic in its own right — an enduring signpost in the minimal synth underground.

The LP contains 14 songs, and is housed in a recreation of the original silver jacket, with an insert/poster + 4-page-lyric-sheet and equipment list (a reproduction – this was originally available by mailing to Ceramic Hello in 1981 – scarce few copies exist and we were finally able to obtain a scan for this new pressing!).

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Void Vision “Sour” (Mannequin)

2020-03-13T20:34:41+00:00February 7th, 2020|

2020 version; black vinyl and alternative cover. Originally released in 2014. Void Vision is a Philadelphia based solo female minimal synth/cold wave project from Shari Wallin. Already included by Rough Trade in their seminal Synth Wave compilations, the single anticipated her full-length Sub Rosa for Mannequin Records. “Sour” was featured in the acclaimed Wild Wild Country Netflix series in 2018. Music supervisor Chris Swanson about the track: “We were having a hard time finding a song for that scene, actually. We had a Future Islands track originally in that scene, I think, but I remember we were having a hard time getting the tone right… because there were objectives with regards to the narrative… we wanted a good beat, a sense of time but also conforming to the time. I think of all the songs [in WWC], the Void Vision song is the one that stands out… because it was different yet it sold the story that we were trying to tell.” Remix by Vanzetti & Sacco, aka Jos Van Galen with the Otto Kraanen, the boss of the acclaimed Bordello A Parigi from Rotterdam. Edition of 500.

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Pauline Oliveros “Deep Listening” (Important)

2020-03-19T20:09:49+00:00January 31st, 2020|

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Deep Listening, Important Records offer a definitive double-LP combining the classic, complete original 1989 release with selected tracks from the Deep Listening Band’s 1991 album, The Ready Made Boomerang. Recorded in a cistern, this double-LP reverberates with brilliant sonic clarity and masterfully improvised performances combining live electronics, vocals, trombone. and accordion. Deep Listening is a classic in the fields of improvisation, minimalism, ambient/drone, and modern classical. Listen with attentiveness, listen while lying down, listen with headphones — as recording engineer Al Swanson entices the listener to become a virtual performer in selecting the many different ways to perceive these phenomenal tracks. Whatever you do, listen deeply. Packaged in a gatefold sleeve with original and updated recollections from the performers, the engineer, and a mesostic from John Cage, to whom these recordings are inextricably linked.

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Void Vision “Sour” (Mannequin)

2020-03-19T20:09:50+00:00January 26th, 2020|

2020 version; black vinyl and alternative cover. Originally released in 2014. Void Vision is a Philadelphia based solo female minimal synth/cold wave project from Shari Wallin. Already included by Rough Trade in their seminal Synth Wave compilations, the single anticipated her full-length Sub Rosa for Mannequin Records. “Sour” was featured in the acclaimed Wild Wild Country Netflix series in 2018. Music supervisor Chris Swanson about the track: “We were having a hard time finding a song for that scene, actually. We had a Future Islands track originally in that scene, I think, but I remember we were having a hard time getting the tone right… because there were objectives with regards to the narrative… we wanted a good beat, a sense of time but also conforming to the time. I think of all the songs [in WWC], the Void Vision song is the one that stands out… because it was different yet it sold the story that we were trying to tell.” Remix by Vanzetti & Sacco, aka Jos Van Galen with the Otto Kraanen, the boss of the acclaimed Bordello A Parigi from Rotterdam. Edition of 500.

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Men With Secrets “Psycho Romance & Other Spooky Ballads” (Bunker New York)

2020-03-07T06:07:32+00:00January 23rd, 2020|

Sometimes you want something so badly you don’t even know to ask for it in the first place. Like Adam and Eve stumbling upon the fruit of knowledge — or psychedelic techno wizards Donato Dozzy and Retina.it (aka Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono) producing a pitch-perfect, vintage-styled minimal wave record, filled with icy synths, shuddering bass, and anthemic vocals, sounding like a lost gem unearthed from 1982 for the first time. Except it’s not — this record is brand new. The three Italians first came together under the moniker Le Officine Di Efesto, releasing an EP of murky left-field techno on Dozzy’s own Spazio Disponibile. They quickly discovered a shared love of classic post-punk, wave, and synthpop, and not long after, Men With Secrets was born. “Men With Secrets” might sound like an old-school synthpop act you’ve never heard of, but the name is actually borrowed from Richard Bone, an early New York electronic musician and minimal pop pioneer. The trio’s name is but one of their many homages — Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League, New Order, and even Dopplereffekt are additional reference points — but this album is neither imitation nor rehash. It’s just as carefully and ingeniously produced as you’d expect a record from Donato Dozzy and Retina.it to be, except it’s filled with poppy hooks so brilliantly catchy they’ll stick in your head until you hit repeat and find yourself singing along. These Men With Secrets clearly have their tongue placed firmly in cheek: check the record’s title and artwork for proof. But the music is deadly serious. The drums hit hard, the synths soar to emotional heights, and the vocals intone rhythmically. All of it’ is coated in the warm fuzz of analog tape. Not many records on The Bunker New York are as likely to be played in goth clubs as they are by adventurous techno DJs, but then again, this is not your average Bunker New York record. Mastered by Peter Van Hoesen. Cut at Manmade Mastering.

A Produce “The Clearing” (All Night Flight)

2020-03-07T06:53:56+00:00January 9th, 2020|

Hark! A Produce’s disgustingly rare and sought-after, ultra-brooding minimal pop epic The Clearing available on vinyl for the first time since its original release in ’88.

A Produce was the late Barry Craig, who formed the Trance Port and Trance Port Tapes labels to showcase his own work as well as that of John Lafia, Afterimage and a select group of other L.A.-orbiting techno-dreamers, and was active well into the 2000s. While exhibiting plenty of the deep ambient trance sound that Craig and TPT would become best known for, The Clearing, released in ’88, is equally indebted to classical American Minimalism and to new wave / synthesized art-rock. ‘Ashes of Love’ is the most potent coming together of these various strands, beginning as uptight, angular pop, complete with Sylvian/Ferry-ish vocals from Afterimage’s Daniel Voznik, before unravelling into a second, instrumental movement of Reich-meets-Global Communication-style tidal ambient drift.

Other personnel include Scott Fraser (Kronos Quartet) and Scott Marc Becker, and there’s a connection to the Independent Project Records scene via Bruce Lichen, who designed the album’s sleeve (and is it just me or does Becker’s death-surf guitar on ‘Farming In Arabia’ have a whiff of Savage Republic about it?). T has a bittersweet, existential quality, full of the stylised dread and hard shadows of an LA noir / film soleil, its sunken drum-machine pulsations refracting shards of ambient guitar shimmer. Along the way we were reminded of My Life In The Bush Ghosts, Mick Karn’s Titles and Dalis Car, Fripp & Eno, Nooten & Brook’s Sleep With The Fishes… but with none of the dodgy bits! I genuinely struggle to think of a single ’80s auteur who made an LP as cohesive or coolly controlled as this “album of conceptual space”. Very special record.

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Vilod “The Clouds Know” (Mana)

2020-03-07T06:54:21+00:00December 20th, 2019|

Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer as Vilod, with their second full-length album following 2015’s cult classic Safe in Harbour on Perlon. Housed in a stunning gatefold sleeve. “Cryptic, twilight emissions from Villalobos and Loderbauer; their synthetic compound of electronics and ouroboros jazz has walked from ECM and Perlon over to Mana. Developing a sound that tends to drift along as otherworldly atmospheres and strange fusion, Vilod evade easy categorisation, even compared to Villalobos’ already experimental and genre-twisting solo minimal offerings. He and Loderbauer pull away the backbone inherent to the structure of that dance music, and The Clouds Know refines a deft and subtle musical noir built on ambient cues, sparks and claps of electricity, brushed drums, black voids and subterranean bass swoops. There’s a twinkle in the eye and moments of deadpan levity, but the overall mood here is sober and introspective. Emotions run deep. Through studio mastery and an enigmatic language, the album forms a fascinating sonic and sensory work with few compromises. With erratic rhythms notably submerged — techno remains as an irregular pulse in the belly of the beast — fields of crisp, uncanny detail expand greatly. Humid environments appear, dense with the chatter of synthesized insects and the gentle rain of drums and whispering cymbals, enchanting the listener in focus or sublimating into layers of ambience depending on your disposition — and the quality of your stereo field.”

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Nine Circles “Early Days” (Onderstroom)

2020-03-07T06:07:50+00:00December 20th, 2019|

Early Days maps out Nine Circles interpretation of cold wave and minimal synth. Unbelievably the tracks are mostly from a brief time period, ’80-82. Alienation and uncertainty course through the double-LP, with heavy Yamaha chords, metallic machine beats, and brittle vocals. Nine Circles was formed in the early ’80s by Peter van Garderen and Lidia Fiala. In 1980, there was band called Genetic Factor. This band split up when the three members got girlfriends and they started to make music together with their girls. So, at that time there were three bands living together in one house. One of the couples were Peter van Garderen and Lidia Fiala. Lidia had been writing lyrics since she was 15 years old. Nine Circles was born. Within two years they wrote about 60 songs. Also living in the house was Richard Zeilstra, who had a job at the VPRO radio, hosting a show called “Spleen” where he gave new wave bands a chance to play. He asked bands to send tapes to him and the best band would have the opportunity to play live at the radio and also got the chance to be on the Radio Nome compilation (1982). Peter and Lidia sent their tape to him and were the only ones of this house to be on the show. Richard knew their music was special. Nine Circles never played a live show, only this one concert live at the radio which is also featured on the LP. Two years later Peter and Lidia split up and Nine Circles subsequently disappeared. In 2009, Lidia’s son googled her name just for fun and found a lot about the band Nine Circles. Lidia was surprised, she never knew how popular Nine Circles have been over the years. She got herself on Facebook and since then she got in touch with many people and decided Nine Circles should come back! Peter was not able to join the band these days, he has a different life and he is happy but he is supporting Lidia and likes that she enjoyed doing music again. Peter still had all the old recordings and sent Lidia a lot of the music they made back in the days. The best tracks are collected on this double-LP. Together with Per-Anders Kurenbach, Lidia continues Nine Circles. Together with Per-Anders Kurenbach, Lidia revived Nine Circles. They recorded new material (released on the album Alice) and played live until Lidia had to stop playing live for health reasons in 2016. Nevertheless, they’re working on a follow-up album called Emerge which is planned to be released in 2020 and hopefully Lidia will be able to go on stage again soon.

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Raime “Planted” (RR)

2020-03-07T06:54:28+00:00December 20th, 2019|

Raime explore exquisitely honed rhythmic instincts with scintillating results on the second release on their RR label. Where the London duo’s 2018 EP and RR debut We Can’t Be That Far From The Beginning (RR 001EP, 2018) evoked a meditative mood from the info overload of their home city that left acres of space to the imagination, the Planted EP rejoins the dance with four tracks that icily acknowledge strong influence from Latin American and Chicago footwork styles in a classically skooled mutation of hardcore British dance music. In four, fleetingly ambiguous dancefloor workouts they carry on a conceptual theme exploring the digital subconscious with persistently invasive, alien ambient shrapnel — half-heard voices, aleatoric prangs, and tag-covered signposts — woven into and through their tightly coiled and reflexive drum programming. Uptown, “Num” flexes tendons and hips like a Leonce riddim that danced all the way from NOLA and ATL to the wintery dawn of a LDN warehouse, while the lip-biting tension of minimalist 160bpm jungle/footwork patterns and jibber-jawed vocals in “Ripli” suggests the Alien film’s protagonist lost in a mazy rave space, chased by H.R. Giger-designed face huggers (or gurning energy vampires). Downtown “Kella” then catches them on a grimy dub-tech bounce, cocked back and straining at the harness, before “Belly” shuts down the dance with invasive, demonic motifs exploding over dark blue chords, and palpitating jungle subs with impeccable darkside style. RIYL: Leonce, Kode 9, Demdike Stare, Lee Gamble. Edition of 500.

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Sam Mallet “Wetlands” (Musique Plastique)

2020-03-07T06:08:00+00:00December 20th, 2019|

Sam Mallet could have pursued a career as a French literature professor in Paris, but decided his true calling was to remain in Australia, dedicate himself to his music and find the plateau; a word he used to describe the sensory worlds residing in music. Under the influence of Eno, Jon Hassell, Arvo Pärt, John Coltrane and Robert Fripp, Sam explored a wide variety of musical styles and put them to service soundtracking the time based works of his peers. He crafted spatial ambience, somber jazz, and drum computer driven rockers for short films and experimental video works, television shows (including the original Australian Wilfred series), feature films and live theatre. The avant-garde Anthill Theatre, known for its departure from conventional staging practices and having a keen eye for talent, enlisted Mallet to provide soundtracks for approximately 40 productions throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

Wetlands is the product of countless hours spent with this archive by Rowan Mason (Sanpo Disco) and Tony Remple (Musique Plastique), offering a dynamic survey of Sam’s work, and housed in a jacket evoking the minimal design and colour palette of his earliest cassette releases. Two selections of Sam Mallet’s music were featured on the compilation Midday Moon (also produced by Rowan), released last year by Bedroom Suck Records. Along with Left Ear Records’ Antipodean Anomalies, Midday Moon has served to highlight outlier musics and scenes from Australia and New Zealand, and Wetlands plunges deeper into the catalog of this obscure yet groundbreaking artist.

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Skatebard/Crystal Bois Conga “Live at Skurkeklubben” (Sex Tags Mania)

2020-03-07T06:08:09+00:00December 20th, 2019|

15 YEARS OF SEX TAGS MANIA! Established in Bergen 2004 and ran by DJ Sotofett & DJ Fett Burger the first 4-5 years as one of Norways only labels consistently releasing House & Techno on vinyl. Since about 2008/09 it’s been operated by DJ Sotofett. Skatebård’s ”Conga” has turned to be one of the most sought after releases from the Sex Tags Mania catalog with it’s sparse pressing of about 2-300 copies – though most of the original stock was given away as the record gained minimal interest in 2005. The original record was cut with excellence by Lawrie Immersion – and pressed in his own plant – the now defunct Curved Pressings. MANIA 30 – the repress of ”Conga” has as close to original sound as possible and it also carries a new B-side – the Crystal Bois live version of ”Conga” from 2007, featuring Skatebård on male vox!

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Ruth Rich “Calming Signals” (Plant Life)

2020-03-07T06:54:57+00:00December 13th, 2019|

MICHAEL RICH RUTH has composed ambient music for a long time. After a break from years touring with different bands, he spent his free time in a small home studio in North Nashville. The blueprints for Calming Signals began to emerge through a more dedicated focus on the diverse traditions of ambient, new age, spiritual jazz, and minimalist music. The ideas became realized pieces when Ruth started to collaborate with friends. These players transformed the material into something much more lush and unpredictable; pairing repetitive, droning synthesizer movements with organic improvisation. Calming signals is a term that refers to the way dogs communicate stress and use certain mechanisms to calm themselves or reset. Ruth relied on the creation of this music to find peace and balance amidst trauma. One summer morning while he was recording the album, Ruth was held up at gunpoint and carjacked by two people outside of his home. The following weeks were spent working on Calming Signals with a new layer of angst and emotion. These compositions became a means for him to work through this personal struggle and organize his anxiety into something constructive. Features contributions from CALEB HICKMAN (tenor saxophone), CAMERON CARRUS (upright bass), REUBEN GINGRICH (drums), JAMES GREEN (flugelhorn), SAM QUE (baritone sax). Mastered by MIKEY YOUNG. Edition of 450 copies.

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Steve Hauschildt “Nonlin” (Ghostly International)

2020-03-07T06:55:09+00:00December 6th, 2019|

Chicago-based contemporary electronic musician Steve Hauschildt has composed panoramas of synthesized sound for over a decade. First within his former band, Emeralds, an American touchstone of 2000s home-recorded psychedelic noise music, and later across a steady and critically-acclaimed stream of solo releases spanning ambient techno, arpeggiated electronica and post-kosmische styles utilizing synthesizers, computers, and digital processing. In 2018, he extended a collection of rich, visceral tracks titled Dissolvi, his first release on Ghostly International and his most collaborative work to date. Just a year later, Hauschildt returns with Nonlin, an album that’s freer, leaner, and looser, both structurally and conceptually; less linear compared to its predecessor, but still captivating. Developed and recorded in several studios during and around the edges of tour — Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Tbilisi, and Brussels — this material emulates an alienating encounter with a smattering of places, a replicant of culture shock, a solitary and stark experience with uncanny environments, melody and dissonance as oblique locales.

Nonlin finds Hauschildt evolving his palette of tools, integrating modular and granular synthesis. The improvisatory and generative nature of modular systems, when paired with his signature grid-oriented and hand-played techniques, guides these compositions slightly out of line to hypnotic effect. Opener “Cloudloss” permeates the mix with an unsettling smog, which reappears and all but engulfs “A Planet Left Behind.” On cuts like “Attractor B” and “Subtractive Skies,” pockets of air rest between sequenced pulses, whose crumpling and flattening folds build into a restrained rapture of crisp frequencies and milky reverb-swallowed coruscations.

The album’s title track and centerpiece logs on to a foreign network, a fractured percussion signal that modulates and stutters into static amidst curious melodic sparkling in the hazy bandwidth. “Reverse Culture Music” casts an elegant and brooding stream of strings, pizzicato and churning bow from Chicago cellist Lia Kohl, against chiming minimalist synth frameworks. A surprising pattern emerges in the taciturn systems at work. Hauschildt continues to expand his already horizon-wide repertoire, here exploring the effects of corrupting coordinates; a flight subject to the collapsable abilities of time in remote spaces, a smearing of the axis to elegiac ends.

Metric System “Studio 440” (Kontakt)

2020-03-07T06:08:24+00:00December 6th, 2019|

Kontakt brings back two sought after minimal-dubtechno tracks by Metric System, which was one of many aliases used by Thomas P.Heckmann in the 90ties, where he explored the sounds of the legendary Sequential Circuits 440. The original recordings have been carefully restored and officially re-mastered by Thomas himself. Limited coloured vinyl.

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Jessica Ekomane “Multivocal” (Important)

2020-03-07T06:08:29+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Jessica Ekomane’s debut LP, Multivocal, is brilliantly original, and will appeal to fans of Caterina Barbieri, Alessandro Cortini, Shasta Cults, ELEH, and the strand of minimal electronic music that runs through the Important catalog. Multivocal is a polyphonic maze that unfolds to both the body and the mind. A generative take on rhythm and spatial perception, it presents the same events in different configurations. The two pieces of the album, “Solid of Revolution” and “Never Odd or Even”, mirror each other with the same principle in different musical scales: steady pulses with one millisecond difference in tempo start beating together, then slowly phase organically and progress into ever-changing rhythmic patterns until they finally return to unison. Multivocal emphasizes shifts of attention in the listener’s experience and plays with the expectations that frame it. Originally conceived for quadraphonic sound, the pieces reveal the many different aspects and modes of perception that can arise within the same sequence of notes. In this way Multivocal is influenced by concepts of gestalt psychology such as multi-stable perception — a term describing ambiguous patterns that offer multiple interpretations at once. The minimalism and repetitive quality of the music also refers to trance-inducing and collective music practices, driven by the strong bodily affects induced through the use of rhythms. Those two compositions were recorded live during Ars Electronica 2018 at the occasion of the sleeping event “Sonatas for Sleep/less”, curated by multimedia artist Shu Lea Cheang and cultural theorist Matthew Fuller. First pressing in an edition of 500.

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James Ruskin “Point 2” (Tresor)

2020-03-07T06:08:34+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Tresor present a reissue of James Ruskin’s seminal Point 2 album. First released in 2000, it marked a fine debut that entrenches the minimal sequences, utilitarian funk and eerie hypnosis found within Ruskin’s body of work. As Tresor’s relationship with the UK sound grew stronger across the course of the ’00s, it was Ruskin, the label owner of Blueprint Records, who played a critical part in this. Throughout the trio of LPs released over that decade, inspirations of the sci-fi minimal Detroit sound lie abundant, rendered through corporeal slammers typical of the UK vein. Point 2 was the first of Ruskin’s trilogy for Tresor, and brought a direct and uncompromising vibrancy to the fore, from the aquatic symphony featured on “From Over The Edge” to the pinpoint gaze of “Subject”. Gurning loops beat against alien samples, drained into refined abstractions of pure techno. Newly remastered and featuring two tracks previously not cut onto vinyl, this upfront and bold classic is set to span dancefloors once again. New mastering, new cut, two tracks previously uncut on vinyl, new artwork. 180 gram; includes download code.

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Yoshio Ojima ” Une Collection des Chainons II: Music for Spiral” (WRWTFWW)

2020-03-07T06:56:03+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Volume Two. WRWTFWW Records announce a reissue of both volumes of Yoshio Ojima’s superb environmental music project Une Collection Des Chaînons I And II: Music For Spiral, originally released in 1988. The twenty-track opus is sourced from original masters and includes liner notes in English and Japanese. This marks the inaugural release from the Esplanade Series by WRWTFWW Records, which focuses on the works of Ojima and friends. Une Collection? gathers selected music pieces conceptualized and produced for sound-designing the Wacoal Art Center in Aoyama (Tokyo) also known as Spiral, a hub for a wide range of sophisticated cultural proposals spanning visual arts, theatre, music, design, fashion, and lifestyle. Spiral is a monumental work of architecture by Fumihiko Maki, designed according to the principles of Metabolism, a movement advocating evolving designs and constructions, adapting to human needs naturally. The first volume flows from the eerie and levitating “Entrance” to the quirky “Esplanade (Live)”, the gentle and reassuring “Flius”, and the measured and ravishing escalation of “Mensis.” On the second volume, the nanoscopic neoclassical lullaby “Les Trois Grâces” brings attention to the importance of small details, “Pulse at Soothe” starts with the minimalism of a Satoshi Ashikawa piece and slowly drifts into mystical landscapes and cavernous echoes, “Entomology” and its melancholic artificial forest evokes a Twin Peaks mirage, and “Atrium” literally feels like a floating visit of a gigantic open space structure. Sitting alongside Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass, Ashikawa’s Still Way, Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Green (1986), or Yutaka Hirose’s NOVA, as a pivotal work of Japanese environmental/ambient/minimalist music, Une Collection des Chaînons (which translates as a collection of links) is a delicately laid out sonic landscape connecting space and emotions, architecture and humanity, adjusting and transforming through the ears of the listeners. A note from Ojima: “Please listen to this album at around the same volume as daily life sounds such as air conditioners and refrigerators.”

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Yoshio Ojima ” Une Collection des Chainons I: Music for Spiral” (WRWTFWW)

2020-03-07T06:55:44+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Volume One. WRWTFWW Records announce a reissue of both volumes of Yoshio Ojima’s superb environmental music project Une Collection Des Chaînons I And II: Music For Spiral, originally released in 1988. The twenty-track opus is sourced from original masters and includes liner notes in English and Japanese. This marks the inaugural release from the Esplanade Series by WRWTFWW Records, which focuses on the works of Ojima and friends. Une Collection? gathers selected music pieces conceptualized and produced for sound-designing the Wacoal Art Center in Aoyama (Tokyo) also known as Spiral, a hub for a wide range of sophisticated cultural proposals spanning visual arts, theatre, music, design, fashion, and lifestyle. Spiral is a monumental work of architecture by Fumihiko Maki, designed according to the principles of Metabolism, a movement advocating evolving designs and constructions, adapting to human needs naturally. The first volume flows from the eerie and levitating “Entrance” to the quirky “Esplanade (Live)”, the gentle and reassuring “Flius”, and the measured and ravishing escalation of “Mensis.” On the second volume, the nanoscopic neoclassical lullaby “Les Trois Grâces” brings attention to the importance of small details, “Pulse at Soothe” starts with the minimalism of a Satoshi Ashikawa piece and slowly drifts into mystical landscapes and cavernous echoes, “Entomology” and its melancholic artificial forest evokes a Twin Peaks mirage, and “Atrium” literally feels like a floating visit of a gigantic open space structure. Sitting alongside Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass, Ashikawa’s Still Way, Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Green (1986), or Yutaka Hirose’s NOVA, as a pivotal work of Japanese environmental/ambient/minimalist music, Une Collection des Chaînons (which translates as a collection of links) is a delicately laid out sonic landscape connecting space and emotions, architecture and humanity, adjusting and transforming through the ears of the listeners. A note from Ojima: “Please listen to this album at around the same volume as daily life sounds such as air conditioners and refrigerators.”

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Alessandro Cortini “Volume Massimo” (Mute)

2020-03-07T06:08:50+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Surely well known to you lot for his trio of LPs with Important and a duo for Hospital Productions between 2013-2015, ‘Volume Massimo’ marks a more pointed, melodic evolution of Cortini’s sound without losing sight of what made his solo work so gripping in the first place. It’s also worth noting the striking resonance of this new record with his work in NIN, as the relatively tighter, pop-wise arrangements feel to condense the wider arcs of his previous records into more concise structures that strongly recall the band’s harmonic aura, while the addition of textured guitars and pulsing undertow make it all sound a bit like NIN wrung thru a psych folk filter and produced by Pye Corner Audio.

Leading on two years from Cortini’s ‘Avanti’ LP and following a pair of 2018 collaborations with Lawrence English and Merzbow, he strips it all down to fundamentals on ‘Volume Massimo’ with a typically precise approach to the qualities of tone and texture in his music. In eight parts he coaxes his classic analogue synths and Fender and Ibanez guitars to copulate in loving, writhing formations of rhythmelodic cadence where melody and rhythm are inseparable, equally balanced sides of the same equation.

The LP’s first side lures us into this intoxicatingly dense yet minimalist aesthetic with the quietly engrossing synth chatter of ‘Amore Amato’ , which builds to a heart-swelling peak before calving off into the furtive cinematics of ‘Let Go’ and a massive highlight in the bittersweet romance of ‘Batticuore’ at the album’s core. That song feels like watershed for the rest of the LP, as ‘Momenti’ stealthily brings the underlying, lysergic folksiness to the fore and in a jangling coda, while ‘La Storia’ pushes that rustic ruggedness farther into a sort of kosmiche wilderness, and, ultimately, to crawl thru the cave systems of ‘Sabbia’ and the burned out sleep tone of ‘Dormi.’

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Comix “Comix” (Spittle)

2020-03-07T06:08:55+00:00November 22nd, 2019|

Spittle Records present a reissue of Comix’s self-titled album, originally released in 1981. One of the most treasured French minimal wave records is back on vinyl. Comix, a duo of guitarist/composer André Demay and DJ/singer Natan Hercberg, are a one album project. Their first single “Touche Pas Mon Sexe”, recorded in 1979, has been refused by several record companies, but duo finally found home on French branch of Virgin. They released two singles and one full-length LP in 1981, and appeared on the compilation BIPPP: French Synth-Wave 1979/85 (BORNBAD 002LP, 2012) a few decades later. The music was composed by André with a legendary Roland TR-808 (Marvin Gaye, Kraftwerk, and Afrika Bambaataa used the same drum machine for their hits at the same time). Natan wrote the lyrics, filling comic speech bubbles. Their production was somewhat different to mainstream “nouvelle vague” artists: much more positive and ironic than their chart mates. However, Comix didn’t have much success with their songs in ’80s, but they were rediscovered in 21st century with the strong resurging interest in original minimal wave/cold wave artists. Here they are again, young and bold, as nearly 40 years ago. Includes CD.

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Anthony Moore “Pieces From The Cloudland Ballroom” (Wah Wah)

2020-03-07T06:09:00+00:00November 15th, 2019|

British experimental musician, composer, performer and producer Anthony Moore was a founding member of Slap Happy and has worked with Henry Cow, Kevin Ayers, and Pink Floyd among other great names in the British scene. In 1971 he moved to Hamburg, Germany, and worked in the boiling experimental scene of the city. As a result, two LPs were issued on Polydor in 1971 and 1972, right before forming Slap Happy with old school pal Peter Blegvad and Dagmar Krause.

“Pieces From a Cloudland Ballroom” is the first of those early solo LPs by Moore on Polydor. It was released in 1971 under the production of Uwe Nettlebeck and featured Anthony Moore on conduction, Ulf Kenklies, Glyn Davenport and Gieske Hof-Helmers on vocals, plus Werner ‘Zappa’ Diermeier on hi-hat.

Pure minimalist experimentation with echoes of Richard Young’s “Advent” or even Moondog, done just a month after Faust (who included Werner ‘Zappa’ Diermeier) recorded their first LP. The missing link between British “art-rock” and the German “krautrock” scenes!

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Serge Blenner “La Vogue” (Bureau B)

2020-03-07T06:09:10+00:00November 8th, 2019|

Bureau B present a reissue of Serge Blenner’s La Vogue, originally released in 1980. Music for the apocalyptic eighties Deutschland state of mind. When Serge Blenner left his native France for Hamburg, West Germany, neither he nor anyone else could have guessed that he would inadvertently compose a soundtrack for the Cold War. But his dark, monotone synthesizer album La Vogue turned out to be just that. Blenner was born in 1955 in Alsace, the easternmost region of France. He studied composition and harmony at the Conservatoire de Mulhouse. He loved listening to electronic music from the Berlin School: Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel/Manuel Göttsching, whom he got to know when they played in Alsatian churches and chapels. Blenner the proselyte had seen enough to realize: it was time to move to Germany, whence this music came. The year was 1975. He soon began experimenting with electronic music himself and graduated to live performances by 1978 and finally settled in Hamburg in 1979. One of the most important electronic music labels of the period, Sky Records, was based in Hamburg. Within the space of six months, Blenner had recorded the tracks which would become La Vogue and sent them to Sky Records. A deal was done and La Vogue was officially released before the year ended. The record was a resounding success, some tracks even made it onto the radio — crucially, aired at hours of the day when significant numbers of listeners were tuning in. The longest track on La Vogue by far clocks up to nearly nine minutes, a rarity in Blenner’s oeuvre, well outside his usual range of three-to-five minutes. La Vogue is an album of two halves. Through the first four tracks, Blenner still seems to be searching for his own style, beginning with the minimalistic, rather somber fanfare of “Phrase I” built around a single melodic pattern. Next up is the almost poppy, harmonically rich “Phrase II”, followed by the spherical “Phrase III” and the crystalline, chiming “Phrase IV”. If the first four cuts are linked only by heterogeneity, tracks five to eight are very much of a piece. Together they represent a frosty, menacing soundtrack worthy of the apocalyptic mood which hung over the early 1980s, particularly in West Germany. With Cold War angst at its peak, many people feared a Soviet nuclear attack was imminent.

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