Synth

Doctor Fluorescent “Doctor Fluorescent” (Crammed)

2020-05-21T20:50:12+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Doctor Fluorescent’s debut album opens a door to a world of seductive, fresh electronic pop music, where things aren’t always what they seem: sophisticated musical clockworks often lie under the dreamy surface.

Although he is primarily a scientist and explorer, Doctor Fluorescent also plays musical instruments and uses electronic gadgets to express his ideas to the world. He is assisted by musicians Scott Gilmore and Eddie Ruscha, who sit back and merely facilitate what the doctor commands. Plug in a patch cable here, turn a dial there… whatever it takes to get the proper result recorded and keep the good doctor happy.

Back when Scott and Eddie began to create this music with Doctor Fluorescent, they utilized all manner of electronic and acoustic devices with no worries or concerns regarding their discoveries. They allowed the explorations to lead themselves where they may. Their experiments began to solidify into songs, and shortly after, stories began to take shape and the Doctor’s voice emerged (to be perfectly honest, the Doctor was born out of Scott and Eddie’s minds, but soon turned into an actual human being in every sense)

The music of Doctor Fluorescent almost reminds one of a private press electronic voyage album discovered in a stack of records next to Supersempft, Roger Powell and Wally Badarou. The album explores a wide range of sound, it’s experimental in many ways, yet each track still retains the semblance of a song. Each song is its own journey, often ending in a completely new place from where it began.
Scott and Eddie have already made many records themselves using old synthesizers and drum machines, making them the perfect helpers to bring Doctor Fluorescent’s musical visions to life.

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ADULT. “Perception is/as/of Deception” (Dais)

2020-05-14T23:35:45+00:00May 14th, 2020|

ADULT. make a triumphant return after their 2018 album This Behavior, dubbed “…one of the best records of their career…” by Ryan Lathan of Pop Matters. This chilling continuation takes the form of Perception is/as/of Deception, an anxiety fueled cyclone of pandemonium that only ADULT. would know how to harness. While This Behavior was recorded in the isolated snow-covered woods of northern Michigan, Perception is/as/of Deception was given life in a temporary space the duo created by painting their windowless basement entirely black, with the sole intention to deprive their senses, question their perceptions, and witness the resulting ramifications.

With over 23 years and a sprawling discography left in their wake, Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus have spent their entire career as ADULT. obscuring any defined genre or style. With a history as uncanny as ADULT., the pieces that make up Perception is/as/of Deception might be perceived as their most punk-infused and introspective work to date. The elements of frustration and apprehension that have consistently woven throughout their material are at full mast, although augmented by a strident and more “head-on” approach.

Tracks like Have I Started at the End successfully maintain the duo’s classic EBM signatures and synthesized aggression, cradled by a suspicious mantra that questions….what’s the point? Why Always Why offers a disorienting mutation of the heralded sounds of classic dance music, like a remix that escaped prison and is on the run. The dystopian anthem, Total Total Damage, comes in full force with an frantic energy which jolts any bystanders to attention, with only the defiant chants of Kuperus’ vocals outlining the ever-degenerating state of societal affairs. The dramatically glam synth parts scattered throughout the album, while at times ominous in nature, seem to also act as a merciful reminder that through the journey of Perception is/as/of Deception, one can still enjoy the chaos.

With the rampant sense of emptiness on the minds of many these days, there continues to be few attempts at scoring these common, unfortunate human qualities with pure sincerity. Thankfully, ADULT. has a long-standing reputation for creating the soundtrack for our insecurities, and Perception is/as/of Deception further solidifies their apprehensive position.

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Daniel Davies “Signals” (Sacred Bones)

2020-03-13T20:34:39+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Whether scoring a film or making a solo album, Daniel Davies thinks cinematically. Images and story – on a movie screen, on a canvas, or flashing through his mind – inform the shape of his compositions and the sounds he uses to bring them to life. For Signals, his first solo record for Sacred Bones, the inspiration for his musical narration was a collaboration with visual artist Jesse Draxler, whose otherworldly mixed media works grace the cover and the booklet.

“I had an instant connection to Jesse’s art,” Davies explains. “One of the main concepts for this album was working with the feeling of uncertainty. Jesse’s art illustrates that perfectly with his disruptive shapes. At first, they are foreign to the landscapes they live in, but over time we become used to them, we adjust. The foreign objects force us to evolve, to accept and live with the uncertainty they create.”

Using Draxler’s images as his jumping off point, Davies created eight richly textured compositions that created a soundtrack for the unsettling world of the artwork. “Musically, I wanted to capture that same contrast — melodies evolving out of drones, haunting beds of tension with beautiful shimmering melodies laid above. What were once conflicting emotions became harmonious.”

As the songs move through the landscape, Davies calls on whatever instrumentation he needs to serve their journey. He utilizes the warbling synths and slicing guitar that have characterized his soundtrack work, but he’s also preternaturally at ease when he busts out a harpsichord and a vocal synth on lead single “Phantom Waltz.” On “Destructive Field,” he leaves space for his Halloween collaborator John Carpenter to lay down his signature sound. With the exception of that passage, all the music on the record is recorded by Davies himself.

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Akiko Yano ‎”Gohan Ga Dekitayo” (Wewantsounds)

2020-03-13T20:35:13+00:00February 7th, 2020|

Double LP version. Wewantsounds present a 40th anniversary reissue of Akiko Yano’s Gohan Ga Dekitayo, originally released in 1980. This superb double-album was recorded with Yellow Magic Orchestra at a time when she was part of the group’s touring line-up between 1979 and 1980. The album is pure Akiko Yano featuring her superb singing and piano playing, enhanced by touches of YMO’s synth-pop sound (check her cult version of YMO’s classic, “Tong-Poo”). First album release outside of Japan. When Gohan Ga Dekitayo came out in 1980, Akiko Yano had been touring with Yellow Magic Orchestra for more than a year. She’d play keyboards alongside the three founding members — Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Yukihiro Takahashi — plus guitarist Kenji Omura and synth wizard programmer Hideki Matsutake (as part of the 1980 North American tour, she’d also feature in the group’s cult TV appearance on Soul Train for a memorable rendition of “Tighten Up”) and they are all present on Gohan Ga Dekitayo. The double-LP, whose title could be translated by “Dinner Is Ready”, was co-produced with Ryuichi Sakamoto and recorded at two legendary studios: Tokyo’s Alfa Studio “A” and Los Angeles’s Sound City. It was Akiko’s first shift towards a fuller synth sound following four studio albums mixing pop and jazz funk, including her landmark debut from 1976, Japanese Girl (WWSCD 017CD/WWSLP 017LP). A shift that would continue with the release of Tadaima in 1981 (WWSCD 016CD/WWSLP 016LP_, also featuring the YMO musicians. The fourteen tracks on Gohan Ga Dekitayo find Akiko in top form mixing her singer-songwriter’s sensitivity with the electro-pop sound of YMO. It’s interesting to note though that it is very much an Akiko Yano album even if the group is present on the album (interestingly they do also play analog instruments on the album). Akiko is clearly the one in charge with a string of beautiful compositions and the rendition of one of the group’s classics, “Tong Poo” which she reinvents as a slower, less metronomic-paced song adding her own lyrics. Other highlights on the album include “Dogs Awaiting…”, a hypnotic composition featuring fascinating electro arrangements or “Coloured Water” sung in English by Akiko accompanying herself on Fender Rhodes with subtle percussion by Tatsuo Hayashi and electronics by Ryuichi Sakamoto. There are many more great moments on this superb album which announces the further experiments of Tadaima. Remastered audio by Mitsuo Koike.

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Severed Heads “Clean” (Dark Entries)

2020-03-13T20:35:15+00:00February 5th, 2020|

Dark Entries’ first release of 2020 is a deluxe 2xLP reissue of Severed Heads’ debut 1981 album Clean. One of the longest surviving bands to emerge from the Australian post-punk independent music scene, they began in Sydney in 1979. Severed Heads is basically a nom- de-plum for Tom Ellard, who incorporates elements of ‘industrial’ noise-generation, tape cutting & looping and electronic sound synthesis. As the project developed song-structures and vocals were employed in a more-or-less recognizable mutant electro pop style.  Clean was amongst the first vinyl releases under the Dogfood Productions banner of Terse Tapes, previously a cassette-only label. For this records Tom used an array of synthesizers (Kawai 100F, Casiotone, Roland CR78+SH1+CSQ100), sequencers, tapes and occasional guitar and violin played by Garry Bradbury. Severed Heads have a language of their own, music that juxtaposes all sorts of noise, in all sorts of ways so that a structure evolves, (fragmented) melody and rhythm being almost a by-product. As one reviewer said in 1981, “It is an ugly album that you simply cannot ignore, it thuds and screeches and makes you stare just to wonder what kind of people would procure such an album.” For this deluxe reissue we’ve included a bonus disc featuring 13 songs, 5 of which have never been released before, culled from live performances, the Side 3 cassette and a Clean demo tape that only surfaced last year, plus “Food City” missing from previous reissues.  Each copy is housed in a gatefold jacket featuring black and white xeroxed artwork from the first vinyl edition. Inside the gatefold are liner notes by Tom Ellard plus photos and press clippings from the period. 25% of proceeds will be donated to the Australian Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities, that offers specific direct support to some of those communities with critical costs to cover expenses.

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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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Cass & Gianni Brezzo “Masala Kiss” (Growing Bin)

2020-03-07T06:53:13+00:00January 23rd, 2020|

“Emotional ambient, soft focus synthesis and pastoral programming from German duo Cass. & Gianni Brezzo on Hamburg’s Growing Bin. Hopeless romantic with GSOH seeks open minded audiophile for lifelong companionship. The style might change, but the quality remains the same in the Growing Bin. For this autumnal edition, the Hamburg label looks South West to Osnabrück and Cologne, home to Cass. and Gianni Brezzo respectively. Sharing an appreciation for emotive tonality and expansive texture, the two musicians make the perfect partnership on Masala Kiss, Brezzo’s timeless melodies only serving to intensify the signature sensuality of the Cass. sound. Despite the occasional polyrhythms, you’re hearing two hearts beat as one… Insistent and expressive, well-traveled opener ‘Jaybo’ joins the ethnic and esoteric with a new age optimism before giving way to the detailed ambience and good nature of ‘Umberella’, a brief pitstop on the road to the meditative ‘Imence Sense’. Alive with layered guitars, this opiated raga dances like hashish smoke in the evening sky, and then it’s up into the cloud forms of ‘Instabubu’ and ‘Autoscooter Love’, celestial serenades both off and on beat. Cass. and Brezzo set controls for the heart of the sun with the Friesean ‘Out Of Mind’, a cinematic exercise in precision sequencing and frequency control then start the journey home with the dewy bells and delicate waveforms of ‘Koli’. If you’re in need of a little new age funk for your poolside playtime ‘Helge’ and ‘Der Däne’ are on hand with the chunky bass and languid grooves, while a last-minute interlude provides a prenatal comfort and womblike warmth. I always cry at endings, and ‘Paterson’ provides pure emotional release in utterly Balearic fashion. Pensive guitar and euphoric synths meet on the waterfront as you stare over the ocean with all the people you love.” –Patrick Ryder

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Boreal Massif “We All Have An Impact” (Pessimist Productions)

2020-03-07T05:27:37+00:00January 9th, 2020|

Proper stunning 12-track LP of ruffneck, downtempo breakbeats, ultra-sparse electro and gorgeously melancholic, after-the-flood ambience from Pessimist and Loop Faction. Much like the Pess & Karim Maas album from earlier this year, We All Have An Impact is an Isolationist’s dream synthesis of low-slung trip-hop rhythms and suspenseful, blood-vessel-bursting dub-techno pressure – but the range of mood and tone and emotion is much wider here, moving up from the roiling depths of darkside into more numinous, ethereal, cautiously blissed-out climes…a kind of post-apocalyptic soundboy take on New Age?!

Perhaps. Certainly it takes the alternately crisp and MDMA-bleary sonics, and the edgeland pagan spirit, of classic “intelligent” techno – B12, Ross 154, Ae’s Amber, REQ, Future Sound of London’s Life Forms, etc- and brings it bang-up-to-date with cutting-edge drone-logic, field recording and heavy-ordnance sub-bass. More than anything I think it reminds me of Urban Tribe’s Mo’Wax-flattering The Collapse of Modern Culture, that incredible, futureproof cold-fusion of hip-hop and yearning, deep-space-Detroit blooz which still hasn’t REALLY been assimilated.

One of the albums of the year, for sure.

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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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Russell Haswell “37 Minute Workout Vol. 2” (Diagonal)

2020-03-07T05:27:44+00:00January 9th, 2020|

N0!zy blighter Russell Haswell returns to Diagonal five years after his label debut with a spontaneously combusting follow-up to 37 Minute Workout (2014) generated again from a mix of analog/digital synths and modular systems edited on a computer. It was inspired by a visit to CERN, The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, in Geneva; and dinner with Ted Nelson, whose theories of intersingularity and transclusion chimed with the direction recordings took. There are few artists who can genuinely make music that sounds like your needle and/or record is melting, but Russell Haswell is one of them. His second volume of extremely kinky calisthenics is a potent example of daring to be different in a world where exponentially increasing production options are leading producers of all stripes to the exact same conclusions. But, with thanks to Russell’s iconoclastic intent, restless nature and ascetic aesthetics, he still sounds quite like nobody else, and, even better yet, doesn’t give a shit if you like it or not. Since reincorporating his early love of freestyle electro and Industrial dance music into his patented n0!ze matrices circa the first volume of 37 Minute Workout, Russell has steered that rhythm-driven style into a string of fizzy bangers for Diagonal and even applied it to his production for Consumer Electronics with typically radical results. Russell’s 37 Minute Workout Vol. 2 is cut from similarly (but never the same) ragged material as the first batch, and spits, kicks and claws with equal amounts of seething, pent energy and rambunctiousness ready to jab the ‘floor in the eye or dissolve a party where needed. Crowbarring cues ranging from the Latin Rascals to Incapacitants and Jeff Mills into seven wickedly awkward designs, Haswell keeps his avant aerobics radically irregular as he hops from the tendon-twitching angularity of “The Wild Horses Of The Revolution Have Arrived Without Knight” to steel-hoofed clatter in “Central Crisis Management Cell” and the lacquer-eating dynamics of “Painful Memories From The Past Need To Be Acknowledged”, before toning a proper nasty acid special in the UR inversion “Dancing On The Head Of An Eagle”, and seemingly sucking your brain out through a straw with “Starting Something You’re Not Able To Finish”, with the dry witted, skeletal jazz-funk squirm of “Diplomatic Cocktail Circuit” closing the party down in style. Artwork by Guy Featherstone. Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Edition of 300.

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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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Dome “Dome 4: Will You Speak This Word” (Editions Mego)

2020-03-07T05:28:09+00:00December 13th, 2019|

With the demise of the group Wire in 1980, founder members Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis joined forces to create Dome. With the assistance of engineer Eric Radcliffe and his Blackwing Studio Dome took the ethic of “using the studio as a compositional tool” and recorded and released three Dome albums on their own label in the space of 12 months: Dome (July, 1980), Dome 2 (October, 1980), and Dome 3 (October 1981). A final fourth album, Will You Speak This Word: Dome 4 was released on the Norwegian Uniton label in May 1983. These albums represent some of the most beautifully stark and above all timeless exercises in studio experimentation from early 1980s alternative music scene. Personnel: G. Lewis and B.C. Gilbert – instruments, voices, production; Vincent Clarke – voice, Fairlight computer synthesizer, track 1; Deborah Danahay – voice, track 1; David Drinkwater – violin, track 1; Terrence Leach – saxophones tracks 1, 3, 4, and 6; Eric Radcliffe – engineer. Previously issued in the out-of-print Dome 1-4+5 box set in 2011. Floating-point re-master by Russell Haswell, August 2011. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering by Rashad Becker, August 2011. New artwork by Dave Coppenhall. Includes download card.

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Vatican Shadow “Kneel Before Religious Icons” (Hospital Productions)

2020-03-07T06:54:38+00:00December 13th, 2019|

Before another Vatican Shadow release appears on vinyl for the first time early next year, Hospital Productions reissue a killer 2011 tape release on a 2019 vinyl pressing after appearing on a long sold-out LP edition for Type in 2012 Remastered and slightly edited from the original 4 x tape boxset, ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ reasserts its place in the pantheon of Vatican Shadow’s prized early releases which, with the benefit of hindsight, arguably amount to one of this past decade’s definitive projects.
Originally recorded in 2010, the album’s eight tracks revolve some of the first material recorded by Dominick Fernow in this mode, aside from his then better known work as Prurient. At the time, Fernow was still working under cover of anonymity and this release in particular only aided in heightening the intrigue and fascination surrounding this project and the way it eerily resonated with the both the redrawing of geopolitical borders and those between industrial, ambient, noise and techno styles.
The album contains one of the most valued VS outings in Worshippers At The Same Mosque’, with its pall of synth pads, needly harpsichord and stepping drums patently influenced by Muslimgauze, while the parade ground trample of ‘Church Of All Images’ – which would form the basis for a now classic Regis remix issued by Blackest Ever Black – adds up to one of the project’s most militant numbers along with the scudding, bombed-out terrain of ‘Gods Representative on Earth’ and ’Shooter In The Same Uniform as The Soldiers’.
As an historic document of the time and a gripping album in its own right, ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ holds tight among Vatican Shadow’s most crucial and convincing communiques.

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Jeff Majors “For Us All” (Ice)

2020-03-07T05:28:22+00:00December 13th, 2019|

Private Press Spiritual Jazz from D.C’s Jeff Majors. Featuring harp, drum machines and synths. Jeff was one of Alice Coltrane’s students at the ashram. He also played in Brother Ah’s band. Each song on this album is an inspired vision of the personal and the devotional via the harps universal glistening range and Linn drums. Comes with info booklet.

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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.

Eye Nono “My Blue Horizon” (Bad Habitat)

2020-03-07T06:55:26+00:00December 6th, 2019|

Mad Habitat returns with a serene full-length from Eye Nono. Channeling the more progressive side of American New Age and 80s Public Access soundtracks alongside the rich tradition of Australian ambient music, the record is awash with dreamy melodies and drifting pads. Evoking days spent by the water along the coastline, the album is a beautiful synthesis of the ocean’s abundant natural beauty.

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Orior “Still Strange” (Demdike Stare)

2020-03-07T05:28:49+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Still Strange reaches back into the prized loft tapes of Jeff Sharp, aka Orior, following the revelatory discovery of his overlooked early ’80s gems on 2016’s Strange Beauty collection, as coaxed out by DDS dons Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty. Huddling another sublime, dusty set of analogue tapes freshly baked and remarkably well-restored by Andy Popplewell, Still Strange contains four gorgeous flashbacks to the era 1979-1983 surrounding and even pre-dating Strange Beauty, and then shifts focus to recordings that Orior made around the early ’90s. As with its predecessor, Orior is not alone on the material in Still Strange. From those feted early tapes, you’ll find Phil Hollis returning to lend jagged guitar on the drum machine sizzle of “Feels Like Summer”, while the mysterious synth player New Cross John makes vital contribution to “Invium”. Along with the aching synth sigh of “To Return”, which pre-dated all of these recordings, and the nine minutes of haunting bedsit strums in “Larbico Alt Mix” which came from the first batch, the early material is all arguably worth the price of admission alone for seekers of lost synth treasures — really this stuff is just so good. However, the album’s other six tracks expand knowledge of Orior’s work into the ’90s and also contain some extraordinary material. Salvaged from further loft tapes found in various states of degradation, and subsequently mixed down between London’s Goldsmiths College and Miles Whittaker’s Whalley Range attic (and elsewhere), they are decidedly more blunt and gloaming, especially in the Deathprod-like “Under Shadow” and the near static witching hour ambience of “Endless”, while shorter vignettes such as “Unknown Future”, “Gothic”, and “Another” point to pre-echoes of Board of Canada’s crepuscular scapes and even Bladerunner-esque sci-fi noir soundscapes. RIYL: Deathprod, John Bender, Boards of Canada, Vangelis. Restored from original 1/4″ analog tapes; Mixed by Miles Whittaker and Ian Gilbert; Mastered at Dubplates & Mastering.

Masonna “Shinsen Na Clitoris” (Hospital Productions)

2020-03-07T05:29:00+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Hospital Productions present a reissue of Masonna’s first full-length CD from 1990, Shinsen Na Clitoris, originally on Vanilla Records. The supreme voice of Japanese noise here on vinyl for the first time with audio preparation by Kris Lapke. What would become an inimitable explosion of energy and vision from Japan heralded in the glory days of ’90s alternative rock, death metal, and psychedelic synth music, Masonna surpassed all extremes with a full frequency violence that was as fast as it was psychedelic. Not once has any artist emerged with more intensity and focus in the history of noise. It was said onstage that Masonna has reduced the pure elements of classic rock, the guitar stack, the feedback, and the lead singer to an explosive few seconds of visceral feedback, metallic noise from the physical shaking and pressure of his fist around the shaker, processed through the self-described “harshtronics” and indeed ending in “exclamation!” If you have wondered where to start in the vast and increasingly difficult to find discography of this legend look no further. Presented in immaculate sleeve recreated original art with poster and insert.

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Slogun “The Pleasures Of Death” (Hospital Productions)

2020-03-07T05:28:55+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Hospital Productions present a reissue of Slogun’s The Pleasures of Death, originally released in 1997. From the austere and frightening cover with the name of forgotten killers to the monolithic washes of analog synthesized grit and dust cloud vocals of the id, this legendary album first released as a limited cassette of 100 on the cult Labyrinth Recordings from NYC (one of the all-time great NYC cassette imprints) and then famously reissued to wide distribution via cold meat industry sublabel Death Factory, The Pleasures of Death came to prominence in the minds of the same era of release entertainment and descent magazine and Alchemy Records and Bloodlust. Never has there been such an in-depth, caustic, intelligent and evil exploration of true crime violence. Slogun has managed to take familiar stories, untangle them and create deep profiles that leave the listener with unsettling conclusions that do not provide the answers we are commonly forced to accept. Set against the decline of America, the abstraction of the victim landscape is shattered with the brutal and disturbing lyrics faithfully reprinted. A classic of NYC radical art and true crime electronics. Wide spine sleeve; includes large-format booklet and poster taken from the original cassette version.

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Terry Fox “Linkage” (Etats-Unis)

2020-03-07T05:29:09+00:00November 29th, 2019|

Terry Fox was a first generation Bay Area conceptual artist. Beginning in the 1970s, he worked extensively with sound, especially the use of piano wires detached from their native instrument and anchored between opposing walls of the performance space. Linkage, Fox’s first album, was originally released in 1982 to accompany an installation at Kunstmuseum Luzern in Switzerland. The record would mark Fox’s first attempt to realize his groundbreaking and visceral piece “Berlin Wall Scored for Sound.” Side one links five ways of playing the piano wires: drumming, pulling, bowing, beating and scraping. The room itself acts as a type of natural resonator as Fox moves the wires with padded mallet, his bare fingers, violin bow, wooden shish kebab stick and rusted metal rod. The effect of such plain arrangements can be utterly hypnotizing. The second half of Linkage was recorded in the attic of Künstlerhaus Bethanien, West Berlin, in May 1981. A thirty-three meter long wire was held in contact with a sardine tin. Over the course of 20 minutes, pulsating drones dissolve into rhythmic patterns that sound almost synthetic in origin. As noted in the original LP pamphlet, all these sounds were strictly acoustic; the only electronics involved was the recording equipment. In an introduction for this edition, Marita Loosen-Fox and Ron Meyers write, “The desire to eliminate any barriers between the art and the viewer/audience connects all of Fox’s situations/actions/performances. The ultimate goal is to communicate as directly as possible, which finds its most concentrated expression in the artist’s works with sound.” This first-time reissue is limited to 750 numbered copies. Comes with booklet.

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Land Of Light “The World Lies Breathing” (Melody As Truth)

2020-03-07T05:29:21+00:00November 22nd, 2019|

After a seven-year hiatus since the release of their debut LP on ESP Institute, Kyle Martin and Jonny Nash’s Land Of Light return with The World Lies Breathing, their sophomore album for Melody As Truth. Written and composed over the course of two years, The World Lies Breathing reflects the pair’s shared development towards spacious, abstract composition crafted from a wide range of contrasting sound sources. Utilizing a combination of acoustic instruments, contact microphones and Martin’s self-built modular synthesizer The World Lies Breathing focuses on the space between sounds, conjuring up an organic yet alien landscape that exists on the edge of an unknowable void.

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Santilli “Surface” (Into The Light)

2020-03-07T06:56:36+00:00November 22nd, 2019|

For the latest release in their ongoing International series, Into The Light Records takes the listener to Sydney and the dreamy, softly spun musical world of talented multi-instrumentalist Max Santilli. Surface is Santilli’s debut album following years spent working alongside Jacob Fugar in Ken Oath Records-signed downtempo duo Angophora. It draws on a personal archive of home recordings made between 2016 and 2018 using a range of guitars, synthesizers, and acoustic percussion instruments. As you’d perhaps expect, it’s an intimate and personal set that wraps drowsy, slowly-shifting musical flourishes around gentle, sun-kissed rhythms and suitably spacey chords. Santilli offers subtle nods towards his various inspirations — think the mesmerizing ambient-jazz fusion of Michael Bierylo, Steve Hillage’s timeless early ambient works and the intricate acoustic guitar playing of Steve Tibbetts and Miguel Herrero — while forging his own distinctly lo-fi and otherworldly path. As a result, Surface is an album of impressive depth and diversity, held together by Santilli’s reflective, emotion-rich vision.

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Sarah Davachi “Let Night Come On Bells End The Day” (Recital)

2020-03-07T05:29:27+00:00November 22nd, 2019|

2019 repress. Recital present the newest record by Canadian composer Sarah Davachi. Currently working on her PhD in Musicology at UCLA, her trajectory has been unorthodox. Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, which, if you’ve never been there, doesn’t really scream “avant-garde” (Calgary is the rodeo capital of the world). It is important and interesting that she chose to study esoteric music; as Sarah could have easily been a cowgirl or a concert pianist had her ingrained love of synthesis and sonic phenomenology not taken the wheel. There are few people that have the diligence and resolve to take their time with music… especially in a live context. Recital label head Sean McCann: “The first time I saw Sarah perform, I presumptuously told her that her music reminded me of my favorite Mirror albums (the exceptional project of Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heemann). Sarah was not familiar with Mirror, so the compliment was initially lost on her. Years back I was in the same situation when a review compared my music to Andrew Chalk, who was unknown to me at the time. So I felt a kinship in our magnetic drift towards unspoken and clustered beauty.” Let Night Come On Bells End The Day follows the release of her “sound-wheel” LP All My Circles Run, which examines the isolation of different instruments. Let Night Come On, recorded mainly with a Mellotron and electronic organ, feels like a return to the nest. Burrowed in the studio, Davachi was the only performer on this album. She both splays her compositional architecture and re-contextualizes the essence of her early output. She chiseled careful and shadowed hymns; anchors of emotion. Two pillars of this album are “Mordents”, which may hints of her love for progressive rock music — and “Buhrstone”, comparable to a somber funeral march of piano and flutes. These two examine punctuations of early music, gently plucking melodies and movements. The three other compositions are tonal works, blowing slow jets of lapping harmonics..

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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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Dark Day “Darkest Before Dawn” (Dark Entries)

2020-03-07T05:30:35+00:00November 22nd, 2019|

Dark Day is the brainchild of Robin Crutchfield, a New York City based musician, performance artist, and writer. Robin’s musical path began in 1977 when he formed the no wave group DNA with Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori. In 1979 Crutchfield left DNA to pursue his more synthesizer-based solo project. He released the ‘Hands In The Dark’ 7” followed by two albums, ‘Exterminating Angel’ in 1980 and ‘Window’ in 1982. In 1984 he re-launched Dark Day as an acoustic chamber ensemble performing ethereal soundscapes and self-released two cassette albums “Obsession” and “Beyond The Pale”. ‘Darkest Before Dawn’ is a collection of 13 songs recorded between 1985-86, released on CD in 1989 that have never been pressed to vinyl before. The album is a lost medieval collection of pagan tunes for private ceremonies. Played on echoey pipe organ backed by saw-like rhythmic cello lines and melodic woodwind recorder, driven by the beats of rattles, bells, and drums. These simple, cyclical layered instrumental rounds owe much to the inspiration of Moondog as well as the efforts of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Dead Can Dance. The original press release stated, “Serious gothic organ works which cross Captain Nemo’s Nautilus pipe organ with the standing stones of Stonehenge and reminisce Babylonian battle hymns and Egyptian burial ceremonies.” All songs have been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in jacket featuring illustrations from Thomas Bewick’s ‘Vignettes’ and includes a double sided insert with photos and notes.

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Nef “Mais Alors!!?…C’est A L’Envers” (Ici Bientot)

2020-03-07T05:30:46+00:00November 15th, 2019|

Mais Alors !!?… c’est à l’envers is the first release by new French label Ici Bientôt (Here Soon …), launched by Paris flea market record shop Geminicricket. On the menu are suspended time, unsung heroes, hidden records, and next-door marvels. In 1983, NEF released their first and only album, Mais Alors !!?… c’est à l’envers. At that point, the band already had a long history, interwoven with that of various alternative movements from the late sixties to the early eighties. That’s what makes this record so special and able to conciliate styles like electronic prog, film scores, and new wave — while also speaking to DJs (Daniele Baldelli has often quoted it as one of his favorite records). The band’s destiny was tied to their native region, the south of France, an idyllic environment that attracted a number of musicians during the 1970s, allowing the group to attend many concerts or share the bill with several groups that went on to be well known: Can, Ash Ra Tempel, Magma, Catherine Ribeiro, Zao, Chêne Noir, and Art Zoyd. Founded in 1975 by Richard Lorenzi, NEF started as a kind of free rock band with multiple influences, going from prog to Musique Concrete, in which any method of making sound was good. The group were two musicians and a photographer, the latter a full member of the band who projected slides over the music and influenced their dreamlike universe. In 1978, Vincent Tronc came on board with his keyboards and synths. While the group had been influenced by electroacoustic techniques until then, Vincent broadened NEF’s horizons, bringing in a host of new influences: Ash Ra Tempel, Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze — the beginnings of electronic music. When this album was recorded in 1983, new directions were being taken; these changed NEF’s usual sound. First was the addition of accordion, and a new drum machine, the Roland CJ-5000. Of NEF’s first pressing, many were unusable since the records came out totally warped. Then, at the end of the eighties, the small stock of remaining records was lost in the flood of Nîmes. 2000 records were pressed, but very few survived. All the more reason to reissue Mais Alors !!?… c’est à l’envers, an unsung record, free and multifaceted, a quirky and daring musical UFO, transcending eras and genres, between synthetic Krautrock and film score, reminiscent of NEU! (with a red nose), François de Roubaix and Pascal Comelade. Includes four-page insert.

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Angophora “Scenes” (Ken Oath)

2020-03-07T05:31:09+00:00October 31st, 2019|

On the first long player release on Ken Oath records, we are proud as punch to step away from the dancefloor entirely and bring you a deep journey into the alfresco inspirations of life in the Australian bush. Sydney’s Angophora present Scenes, where resting pulses and humid atmospherics frame gentle percussion, warm synth work and tasteful guitar licks that take a note from the Balearic handbook but remain clear in their appreciation and respect for the sounds and colours of Australian nature. Music best listened with the ancient ochres of the Australian outback in view. So seamlessly will the sonic palette of Scenes fit your surroundings, you’ll begin to question whether or not these gentle surroundings are being emitted from the wax spinning on your plate or Eucalypts whirring in the wind around you.

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X.Y.R. “Robinson Crusoe” (Mixed Up)

2020-03-07T06:58:13+00:00October 31st, 2019|

St. Petersburg seeker Vladimir Karpov’s first ever release as X.Y.R., initially issued on a almost-private run of 30 tapes via his own Singapore Sling Tapes imprint back in 2012, is finally getting the vinyl treat it deserved, thanks to the Mixed Up label out of Italy. “Robinson Crusoe” takes its name and sonic prerogative from the infamous novel by Daniel Defoe, and somehow anticipated of some years the New Age revival explosion which we all have witnessed in the recent times. Here X.Y.R. established the fundamentals for a signature sound he has then developed over the years with massive release for the likes of Los Angeles’s Not Not Fun and London’s 12th Isle imprints, while also appearing in the unmissable Jon Hassell-inspired compilation by Optimo Music, alongside masters of ambient music such as Ariel Kalma, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Hassell himself. Listening to Robinson in retrospective is now refreshing experience, a different trip on its own: far from being just recollected as revival New Age music, and more comfortable with some strains of Italian Library from the ’70 (from the nautical atmosphere of Biologia Marina to the arid soundscapes of Il Deserto by Egisto Macchi) here Karpov fills both the island and the novel’s plot with a peaceful yet obscure pathos, mixing wild nature field recordings with some of the most beautiful, outspoken and bold melodies – as stated above, not just average “furniture music” for designers. The tracks sequence opens a full sensorial deprivation for the listener, who might casually finds himself caught between catchy motives and more abstract and transitional vignettes. Using nothing more than a vintage analog Formanta-Mini synth and a couple of pedals and loop stations, X.Y.R. has created one of the most singular ambient album of the this decade, now fully remastered from tapes and issued for public consumption. Get lost.

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Jake Hottell “Break The Chains” (Spacetalk)

2020-03-07T05:31:23+00:00October 25th, 2019|

It had taken him almost three years to record, but in 1985 Jake Hottell finally finished his debut solo album, Break The Chains. Inspired by his opposition to fracking, anger at government corruption and a series of profound spiritual experiences, a hundred copies of the album were pressed and given away to radio stations, friends and local business interests in Hottell’s home state of New Mexico.

The album would have remained an obscure footnote in musical history had it not been for the efforts of Jeremy Spellacey and Danny McLewin. Between them, they tracked down Hottell to hear his story, offering the former electronics engineer and Nashville-based music producer the chance to get his music to a whole new audience. Now, some 34 years after the private press edition was produced, Spacetalk is reissuing Break The Chains for the very first time.

Hottell began recording the album in 1982 after reading Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, a best-selling book by Dr Fereydoon Batmanghelidj about the health benefits of clean, purified water. Remembering the poisonous, methane-laden water that came out of his mother’s taps in the 1970s – a by-product of extensive fracking activity in the area around the family farm – Hottell wanted to create a set of tracks that registered his concerns, reflected his recent spiritual experiences (many of which he still finds it difficult to discuss today) and offered a meditative listening experience.

The resultant set is suitably cosmic and emotive, with Hottell cannily fusing gentle drum machine rhythms and dreamy synthesizer motifs – influenced, he says, by a love of the contemporaneous new age output of former jazz label Windham Hill Records – with his own glistening guitar passages, which sit somewhere between the homespun riffs of country music and the classical guitar solos that have long been a sonic staple of Spanish styles such as Flamenco.

Many of the tracks have stories attached. “Horizon” features a profound spoken word vocal from local man Darald McCabe – whose homemade purified water helped Hottell recover from serious illness – while “El Rio dos les Delores” was composed after discovering that fracking was taking place on a local Native American reservation. “The Truth Is All I Want”, meanwhile, reflects Hottell’s growing exasperation at the extent of corporate greed and government corruption in the United States. There’s also the unreleased track ‘Sapphire’ which came to light whilst discussing the album reissue with Jake.

This new edition of Break The Chains has been painstakingly re-mastered while extensive new liner notes shed light on the remarkable musical and personal experiences that inspired Hottell to create an obscure, overlooked classic.

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Roger Doyle “Thalia” (Dead-Cert)

2020-03-07T05:31:34+00:00October 25th, 2019|

Arguably one of the most important experimental records to emerge from 20th century Ireland, Thalia, as featured on the Nurse With Wound list, is coveted for its inventive, unpredictable, near-psychedelic brilliance, yet has remained scarce due to major label politics, meaning listeners had to fork out a ton for a second hand copy. Now readily available on its intended format, the keening, breezy logic and abstract theatric dramaturgy of Roger Doyle’s work on Thalia has been reshuffled to highlight its apparent surreality and frolicking apparitions. Combining his studious research and prep work at Utrecht Institute of Sonology (then home to Roland Kayn, Leo Küpper, Jaap Vink) and the studios of Finnish Radio (Yleisradio) Helsinki with a finely honed improvisational intuition at his home studio in Malahide, Dublin, the record yields a poetic diffusion of electro-acoustic phantasms meshed with politicized and unsettling field recordings, alongside a mad, experimental solo piano piece. The three-part title track is the biggest attraction on Thalia. Acting as a sort of shamanic extension of Gaelic bardic traditions, Doyle guides the listener through labyrinthine dimensions, vacillating tape FX with stark synth pulses, fragments of “Danny Boy”, and the unsettling sound of a woman wailing or even keening (a lament for the dead) in only the first minutes, the piece spirals over two sides between obtuse electronics and jump-cuts to melancholy strums, airborne melody, and rabid dissonance with the natural quality of Ireland’s ever-shifting interplay of sun, rain, and clouds. The relatively brief “Baby Grand” follows as a sort of playful solo piano palate cleanser for the LP’s purest electronic piece “Solar Eyes”, which surely recalls the iridescent expanses of Roland Kayn or Jaap Vink’s cybernetic music as much as Coil’s pHILM #1 as ELpH (1994). Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.

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Various Artists”Electronic Voyages: Early Moog Recordings 1964-1969″ (Waveshaper Media)

2020-03-07T05:31:42+00:00October 25th, 2019|

A big look for early synth and Moog geeks: ‘Early Moog Recordings 1964-1969’ collects rare and groundbreaking examples of the classic machine in use by Bob Moog, Ruth White, Max Brand, Herbert Deutsch, Intersystems and more in advance of a full length Moog documentary ‘Electronic Voyager’ from the same folk behind ‘I Dream Of Wires’

As you probably know all too well, Moog were one of the first companies to commercially manufacture and sell portable synthesisers in the U.S. Their kit was instrumental in shaping popular and modern music from the late ‘60s onwards, when everyone from the like of Wendy Carlos to The Doors, Stevie Wonder and Sun Ra would use Moog models to shape shed loads of pop cultural classics. This LP however focuses on lower key uses of early Moog models, ranging from a piece by the system’s maker Bob Moog, replete with his own vocals, thru to pulsating rock and psychedelic experiments by Paul Conly and co’s Lothar and The Hand People, Herbert Deutsch, Joel Chadabe, Max Brand and Intersystems, a.o., all displaying the machine’s formative application beyond the aforementioned mega classics.

In 2019, Moog’s cultural capital surely precedes it as one of the definitive music making machines of the 20th century, and equally it carries a lot of loaded connotations to wigged-out cats in the late ‘60s and coked-up prog-stars in the ‘70s. To be honest, a lot of Moog recordings sound corny to these ears, but that’s probably due to overexposure to its warm, wobbly tonalities, and not really the machine’s fault. This set probably won’t change our perception much, but it does contain some fine, inventive examples of the machine put thru its paces, ranging from Bob Moog’s playful 1964 demo, to the wispy alien abstraction of Joel Chadabe’s ‘Blues Mix’ (1966), and in more psychedelic style on ‘Changing Colours’ (1968) by Intersystems, the dreamy voices-in-your-head vibe of Ruth White’s ‘The Clock’ (1969), and a one brilliant exploration of the machine’s dissonant qualities on ‘Triptych’ (1969) by Max Brand.

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Minor Pieces “The Heavy Steps Of Dreaming” (FatCat)

2020-03-07T05:31:52+00:00October 25th, 2019|

‘The Heavy Steps Of Dreaming’ is the brilliant debut album from Vancouver-based Minor Pieces, a new songwriting partnership comprising acclaimed singer/composer Ian William Craig and newcomer Missy Donaldson, a singer and multi-instrumentalist. Retaining some of the textural play and experimentation of Ian’s solo material whilst channeling it squarely within the domain of tangible songwriting, the pair utilize guitar, modified tape decks, bass and synths to fashion deeply-felt songs with their beautifully matched male/ female vocals standing resolutely centre-stage.

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Erik Wollo “Sources (Early Works 1986-1992)” (Smalltown Supersound)

2020-03-07T06:58:50+00:00October 25th, 2019|

Smalltown Supersound look to early Norwegian ambient music with Erik Wøllo’s ‘Sources (Early Works 1986-1992)’, taken from previously unheard tapes and remastered by Helge Sten (Deathprod). Made using a Roland MSQ700 sequencer in real time with multiple MIDI synths and modules, Wøllo’s music inside ‘Sources (Early Works 1986-1992)’ was written off the cuff and never really intended for release. Now 27 years later, it will surely appeal to a generation nurtured on synth music, taking in 10 magnificent, icy vistas that sound like pre-echoes of music to come from Biosphere and Arve Henriksen.

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Floating Points “Crush” (Ninja Tune)

2020-03-07T06:59:04+00:00October 18th, 2019|

Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points has announced his new album Crush will be released on 18 October on Ninja Tune. Along with the announcement he has shared new track ‘Last Bloom’ along with accompanying video by Hamill Industries and announced details of a new live show with dates including London’s Printworks, his biggest headline live show to date.

Fresh from the release earlier this year of his compilation of lambent, analogous ambient and atmospheric music for the esteemed Late Night Tales compilation series, Floating Points’ first album in four years, Crush, twists whatever you think you know about him on its head again. A tempestuous blast of electronic experimentalism whose title alludes to the pressure-cooker of the current environment we find ourselves in. As a result, Shepherd has made some of his heaviest, most propulsive tracks yet, nodding to the UK bass scene he emerged from in the late 2000s, such as the dystopian low-end bounce of previously shared striking lead single ‘LesAlpx’ (Pitchfork’s ‘Best New Track’), but there are also some of his most expressive songs on Crush: his signature melancholia is there in the album’s sublime mellower moments or in the Buchla synthesizer, whose eerie modulation haunts the album.

Whereas Elaenia was a five-year process, Crush was made during an intense five-week period, inspired by the invigorating improvisation of his shows supporting The xx in 2017. He had just finished touring with his own live ensemble, culminating in a Coachella appearance, when he suddenly became a one-man band, just him and his trusty Buchla opening up for half an hour every night. He thought what he’d come out with would “be really melodic and slow- building” to suit the mood of the headliners, but what he ended up playing was “some of the most obtuse and aggressive music I’ve ever made, in front of 20,000 people every night,” he says. “It was liberating.”

Today’s newly announced live solo shows capture that energy too, so that the audience can see that what they’re watching isn’t just someone pressing play. Once again Shepherd has teamed up with Hamill Industries, the duo who brought their ground-breaking reactive laser technologies to his previous tours. Their vision is to create a constant dialogue between the music and the visuals. This time their visuals will zoom in on the natural world, where landscapes are responsive to the music and flowers or rainbow swirls of bubbles might move and morph to the kick of the bass drum. What you see on the screen behind Shepherd might “look like a cosmos of colour going on,” says Shepherd, “but it’s actually a tiny bubble with a macro lens on it being moved by frequencies by my Buchla,” which was also the process by which the LP artwork was made.” It means, he adds, “putting a lot of Fairy Liquid on our tour rider”.

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Eliane Radigue “Chry-Ptus” (Important)

2020-03-07T05:32:15+00:00October 11th, 2019|

Eliane Radigue’s Chry-Ptus is her very first piece for the modular synthesizer. It was composed in 1971 using a Buchla 100 which had recently been installed at NYU by Morton Subotnick. This double-LP was mastered by Golden and pressed at RTI for maximum fidelity.

From the original press release: “Chry-Ptus (1971). Originally two tapes which were to be played simultaneously, with or without synchronisation, which does not affect the structure of the work, but creates changes in the game of sub-harmonics and overtones. Three variations on this piece were performed at the New York Cultural Center in 1971, with variations of amplitude and location modulation as well as synchronisation. Realized on the Buchla Synthesizer at the New York University. The booklet contains a text by painter Paul Jenkins, who also realised the watercolor on the front cover, written on occasion of Radigue’s first concert in New York, April 6th, 1971. “It’s with the Buchla that I constructed Chry-ptus, a piece made up of two tapes with an analogue duration, 22 or 23 minutes, which could be played either simultaneously or with a slight time difference, so as to establish slight variations every time the piece was played. I spent the first months eliminating everything I did not want; I even used a notebook in which I tried to determine a writing system resembling chemical formulae.”

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SQÜRL “The Dead Don’t Die” (Sacred Bones)

2020-03-07T05:32:31+00:00September 27th, 2019|

The Dead Don’t Die is writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s unique, semi-comic take on the zombie apocalypse genre. As with his recent efforts Only Lovers Left Alive and Paterson, the film’s score was composed and performed by SQÜRL, the band Jarmusch and producer Carter Logan founded in 2009.

The score to the The Dead Don’t Die is a true expression of where SQÜRL stand at the center of a decade of sonic exploration. It is the culmination of their passion for analog synths, with guitar violence reverberating from the darker corners of Americana. It is at once a tribute to the classic sounds of horror and sci-fi, as well as a decapitation of traditional film scores. It is naturally supernatural.

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Vatican Shadow “Pakistan Military Academy” (Hospital Productions)

2020-03-07T06:59:59+00:00September 13th, 2019|

The best Vatican Shadow release, bar none, finally lands on vinyl for the first time as part of a long overdue remaster/reissue series for the project’s earliest, fêted releases Originally slunk out on tape in 2011, Pakistan Military Academy sees Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement) calibrate his night-vision goggles to scan the most potent, affective visions of dark ambient and militaristic techno in his war chest. At the time of release, only months after the capture of Osama Bin Laden by US Army SEAL “Night Stalkers”, the project really came into its own as a form of impressionistic reportage, daring to grasp the nettle of contemporary US geopolitics in a way that, as music and art history will only make starker, everyone else broadly avoided at the time. In place of literal lyrics, a mix of quotes from newspapers and official government communiques, together with evocative photo documentation, supply the song titles and narrative/aesthetic framework for what are essentially abstracted emotions related to American military and foreign policy. Depending on how much you read or buy into it, for us at least the music rarely fails to evoke the shadowy unease and precarity of that era, as the sound betrayed an underlying mood contrary to the positivity of Obama-era politics, and that also spoke to the realignment of borders between musicks and socio-economics. The A side is worth the cost of entry alone for “Whitewashed Compound Stealth Helicopter Crash”, a spine-freezing tract of arcing synth pads leading to one of this decade’s most memorable codas, but when we factor in the scudding techno-stepper “Staccato Bursts of Gunfire”, plus the haunting late period Muslimgauze styles of “CIA Contractor Freed Over Pakistan Killings”, and the deep systolic thrum of “Prime Minister Defiant As Pakistan Outs CIA Agent”, this plate becomes an absolute essential for any and all connoisseurs of modern industrial and dark ambient music. RIYL: Muslimgauze, Prurient, Alberich, Raime. Remastered at Dubplates & Mastering.

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Shabason / Gunning “Muldrew” (Seance Centre)

2020-03-07T05:33:04+00:00August 23rd, 2019|

Like many Canadians, Joseph Shabason and Ben Gunning like to untangle themselves from urbanity and disappear up north a few times a year. Unlike other cottage-goers, Ben and Joseph don’t while away the ur-time on jet-skis and lounge on docks reading pulpy mysteries. Instead, they bring a car full of synths, drum machines, saxophones, guitars, samplers, effects, and recording equipment to jam the days away in a cabin-fever inducing haze of wood smoke, cedar musk, hot wires and jazz sweat.

Muldrew, recorded on the northern Ontario lake by that name, is the culmination of several years of this collaborative tradition. Resisting their penchant for composition and arrangement, the duo embarked on this project with only an open framework that encouraged restraint. The result is a sparse and improvisational album, hung on enough structure for each song to evoke a distinct, albeit ambiguous mood. Space is paramount and even the most digital elements breathe with the resonance of the room and mingle with creaking floors. The resulting album is steeped in the placid stillness and northern ambience of a lake at dawn, and the emotive expanse of a forest at dusk. Imagine an ECM cottage-series, or Jon Hassell, Hiroshi Yoshimura, and John Martyn scoring a Bela Tarr film set in rural Canada. This is the future-proof music of metropolitan polyglot minds invigorated by nature’s mute refusal to follow a click-track.

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A Gethsémani ‎”Âme Triste” (Tunnel Vision)

2020-03-07T05:33:12+00:00August 23rd, 2019|

Reissued for the first time on vinyl.

Self-released in 1987, ‘Ame Triste’ was officially the first production of Bernard Odot aka A Gethsemane. This obscure cassette was stuck in the past for many years until recently discovered by Tunnel Vision Records. Influenced by new wave & synth-pop, Bernard made a unique and powerful piece of art using a DX7 Yamaha and his own material. The track ‘Cheree’, sung by his old friend Isabelle Morival is an hommage to crucial experimental Alan Vega’s band Suicide.

Artwork by Clément Bertrand.
Limited edition of 500 copies. With gatefold and special insert.

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Eliane Radigue “Vice-Versa, Etc…” (Alga Marghen)

2020-03-07T05:33:24+00:00August 2nd, 2019|

2019 repress. Alga Marghen very proudly presents a remastered version of Vice-Versa, Etc…, an LP originally included in the first 400 copies of Eliane Radigue’s Feedback Works 2LP. Vice-Versa, Etc… was originally a small handmade box, signed and numbered and released on the occasion of a show at Lara Vincy’s gallery in 1970. The box contained a reel of magnetic tape and the instructions for use. It indicates that all playback speeds are possible, forward or backward, as well as any combination of two channels, on several recorders, ad libitum. This LP presents two versions done by Emmanuel Hoelterbach following the indications of Eliane Radigue to the letter, respecting her composition methods. There is no doubt that Eliane Radigue’s vocabulary is based on observing and entering into dialog with the fundamental behavior of sounds: pulsing, beating, sustained, very light, a subtle and delicate evolution. When she moved from feedback sounds to the ARP synthesizer, she naturally continued the same music — a continuity where the original use of feedback sounds stands out for its cruder and more savage inner character. One could say that somehow it’s the very texture of the sounds, which leads the form of her compositions. At the same time, this approach favors an intense sensuality in the listening.

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Jason Letkiewicz “The Reflecting Pool” (Into the Light)

2020-03-07T07:01:12+00:00August 2nd, 2019|

Over the last decade, we’ve come accustomed to Jason Letkiewicz releasing material under a dizzying array of aliases, each utilized to explore a different side of his multi-faceted musical persona. Now, some 14 years after he made his recording debut alongside Ari Goldman as Manhunter, Letkiewicz has joined forces with Into The Light Records to release his first album under his real name.

“The Reflecting Pool sees Letkiewicz exploring the uncomplicated and uncluttered in the pursuit of pure aural beauty. While his recent album as Opposing Currents was dense, dark, urban and industrial, The Reflecting Pool is stripped back, quiet and melodious. The contrast between the two projects is marked, with The Reflecting Pool drawing more on Letkiewicz’s love of crystalline ambient, slow burn synthesizer soundscapes, early ’80s library music and the kind of obscure electronic new age music that has been a hallmark of Into The Light’s releases to date.

The set’s 12 tracks gently ebb and flow, with Letkiewicz making great use of dusty old drum machines, effects units and a range of vintage analogue and digital synthesizers. It’s a set-up that results in a range of complimentary mood pieces and interludes, from the delay-laden military drums and lilting lead lines of “Out of Body Experiences”, to the drowsy, sunrise bliss of “Sunspot”, the bubbling Tangerine Dream style shuffle of “Mind Awake Body Asleep” and the outer-space atmosphere of “The Kill Fee”. Throughout, Letkiewicz showcases his seemingly intrinsic grasp of mood, atmosphere and melody. It can be heard within the glacial guitar motifs, occasional beats and elongated chords of “The Reflecting Pool”, the rhythmic bustle of “Numb Drums”, the glassy-eyed melancholia of “Arhythmia” and the cinematic paranoia of “Burning Off The Morning Fog”. It’s also evident amongst the classically beat-less ambient of closing cut “Weightless”, whose alien electronics, effects-laden pulses and opaque chords recall established masters of the genre.

With The Reflecting Pool, Letkiewicz has provided us with a much-needed dose of stress-free musical escapism, at the same time offering hope that in these troubling times, love may still save the day.”

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Don Slepian “Sea Of Bliss” (Numero)

2020-03-07T05:33:39+00:00July 28th, 2019|

From 1970s Hawaii on to modern day New Jersey, Don Slepian has enjoyed a reputation as one of new age’s most respected and technologically-advanced synthesists.

Slepian’s 1980 landmark Sea of Bliss is frequently cited as one of new age’s greatest albums, and is one of the genre’s most legendary tape-only recordings. Two side-length Alles synthesizer tracks transport listeners to personal paradises for relaxation, rest, focus and reset.

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma “Tracing Back The Radiance” (Mexican Summer)

2020-03-07T07:01:27+00:00July 18th, 2019|

JEFRE CANTU-LEDESMA returns with his third full-length venture on Mexican Summer—Tracing Back The Radiance—a slow, delicate meditation, delving far afield from the pop drenched melodies which have defined his recent efforts. Grown from a few simple piano lines, a need for change, and an evolving process which fell somewhere between conversation, singular vision, and a wild game of exquisite corpse—Cantu-Ledesma acting as contributor, servant, and guiding force to the emerging album’s all-star cast of voices—JOHN ALSO BENNETT, MARILU DONAVAN, CHUCK JOHNSON, GREGG KOWALSKY, MARY LATTIMORE, DAVID MOORE, MEARA O’REILLY, JONATHAN SIELAFF, ROGER TELLIER CRAIG and CHRISTOPHER TIGNOR—the culmination takes a decidedly experimental turn—a vast, ambient landscape of abstraction, texture, and tone—open space punctuated by the restrained harmonics of vibraphone, processing, flute, pedal steel, synthesizer, piano, organ, and voice. With nods to historic high-water marks in ambient and electroacoustic music, as well Italian minimalist pioneers like Giusto Pio, Lino Capra Vaccina, and Francesco Messina + Raul Lovisoni, Cantu-Ledesma delves forward with one of his most ambitious, elegant, and exciting endeavors of his career, retaining every bit of the ease and openness in musical language which has guided him across the decades. A beautiful, immersive, melancholic, and contemplative balm for the troubled times in which it was made.

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New World Science “Osmos (Movements)” (Temple)

2020-03-07T05:33:57+00:00July 12th, 2019|

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

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Mark Barrott “Sketches From An Island” (International Feel)

2020-03-07T05:34:09+00:00July 5th, 2019|

Double LP version in gatefold sleeve; 180 gram heavy weight vinyl. Mark Barrott’s Sketches from an Island compresses this Balearic heartbeat into nine warm gems which paint a picture of the island, the people, and the magnetic beauty that pulses through it. Recorded in Ibiza’s northern hills using “weird percussion, some slide guitars and a few borrowed synths,” it’s a melodic and mysterious representation of a place seeped in a rich and rebellious history. Opening track “Baby Come Home” radiates with carefree tropical sounds and upbeat harmonies. The blues-soaked melodies of “Essene” perfectly navigates the tension between heart-bursting happiness and melancholy and “Go Berri Be Happy” is like Prefab Sprout gone to Ghana. Its color-smudged, hazy emotions swirl between Brian Eno, Penguin Café Orchestra and Compass Point vibes into a free-flowing cascade of live playing and synthesized sound, perfectly epitomized on the future classic “Formentera Headspace Blues.” Barrott himself is a man of serious musical pedigree. He founded the highly-respected International Feel label back in 2008, after moving to Uruguay, where his A&Ring tempted the elusive DJ Harvey out of studio retirement for his genre-defying Locussolus project and he followed it with new work from artists like Quiet Village, Gatto Fritto and the Italian cosmic disco-don Daniele Baldelli. Since moving to Ibiza, he’s continued producing and releasing music anonymously on his label as Rocha, Bepu N’Gali, Flights Of Fancy, Boys From Patagonia and The Young Gentlemen’s Adventure Society. The releases covered house, Afrobeat and proper downtempo Balearic and quickly sold out. “Sketches is inspired by those weird, unique little oddities that would turn up on early José Padilla mix tapes that he’d sell in the Las Dalias hippy market, before he even went to the Café Del Mar,” says Barrott. “It’s influenced by living in Ibiza year-round, and by the feeling of what I think Balearic sounds like.” It’s warm and widescreen music for the days when you need musical sunshine. Or as Café Del Mar’s José Padilla, says: “This is what I call Balearic.”

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Ellen Arkbro “Chords” (Subtext)

2020-03-07T06:11:11+00:00July 5th, 2019|

With Chords, the Stockholm-based musician and composer Ellen Arkbro returns to Subtext, following her acclaimed debut album For Organ And Brass. This new long-player sees Arkbro adopt a more minimalist approach, focusing on the immediate qualities of sound and elegantly expanding the tonal capacities of acoustic instruments using precise, subtle synthesis. Composed of a carefully selected combination of tones, Chords stretches, extends and obscures the timbral character of the instruments it is performed on. Across both tracks, Arkbro examines the sonic materiality and harmonic quality of chords. She considers how the compositions occupy space rather than time — transposing theoretical possibilities into the phenomenal realm. As a part of Arkbro’s systematic investigation of harmonic sound, Chords proffers a divergence from conventional ways of listening. “Chords For Organ” was first envisaged in Stockholm’s brutalist Västerort Church. With an interest in tuned intervals and chords, Arkbro sought out particular harmonicities before synthetically supplying additional harmonic content and texture. To pure fifths and octaves, she adds synthesized natural sevenths and thirds, creating a heightened sense of harmonic stability. While this incarnation of “Chords For Organ” was recorded in Malmö’s St. John’s Church, this work is site-specific, requiring Arkbro to seek out appropriate chordal orchestrations in registers and tunings on each respective instrument, when performing live. “Chords For Organ” has been adapted and performed in Martin Luther Kirche in Dresden, Civico Tempio Di San Sebastiano in Milan, First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn, Lutherse Kerk in Den Haag and Sint-Jan de Doperkerk in Leuven. In the corresponding “Chords For Guitar” Arkbro applies her process to a more widely accessible instrument. Employing a fine-tuned Karplus-Strong synthesis, she supplements additional tones to create a harmonically controlled blend of the acoustic and the synthetic. “Chords For Guitar” places the listener at the center of a cyclically repeating complex of harmonic strings in wave-like motion. Attention is synchronously fixed with the sound as this chordal harmony rises, vibrates, and purrs away, before rising again. As she transposes these ideas across organ and guitar, Arkbro teases out their affinities and dissimilarities, and, in doing so, effectively highlights the harmonic character of the work as a whole.

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Anadol “Uzun Havalar” (Pingipung)

2020-03-07T06:11:22+00:00July 5th, 2019|

Anadol’s third album, Uzun Havalar, recorded on tape by Kinship, is now available online and cassette format.

Recorded and mixed in 2015 the album is built around three long synth tracks referring to the improvised unmetric folk songs “uzun hava” in middle eastern music. You can hear drummers laughing and playing guitars, composers howling, screaming, record collectors playing synths, actors mumbling and tuning in to the geography of Anadol’s synth compositions.

Anadol is a traditional continuation of lone synth experimentalists like Bruce Haack and The Space Lady with their childlike curiosity for electronic sounds, pushing the boundaries of minimal equipment.

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Yutaka Hirose “NOVA +4” (WRWTFWW)

2020-03-07T06:11:29+00:00July 5th, 2019|

Double LP version. Gatefold sleeve: Includes liner notes in English and Japanese. WRWTFWW Records present an expanded reissue of one of the most fascinating Japanese ambient/environmental albums ever made, NOVA by Yutaka Hirose, originally released in 1986. The expanded reissue includes the album known as Soundscape 2: Nova, sourced from its original masters, as well as four never-released-before recordings over 50 minutes. Initially released in 1986 as part of the Soundscape series. Commissioned by Misawa Home Corporation for use in their prefabricated houses, Yutaka Hirose’s NOVA has grown to become a mythical piece of the Japanese minimalist/ambient/environmental scene of the eighties. Initiated around the enchanting landscapes of the two first tracks recorded for the project, “Nova” and “Epilogue”, Yutaka Hirose’s magnum opus serenely blends vintage synth with nature sounds, exploring soothing palettes and organic backdrops. For “Slow Sky”, Hirose explains he “went for a pointillism-like sound, and tried to express a scenery of awakening, where the portal of a heart is opening up”, while on “Humming The Sea”, he “tried to compose a kind of music that expresses the daily, lazy life of child-like innocence in a summer vacation in some small town.” The bonus material gathers four long unreleased pieces created around the same period of time for installations, described by Yutaka Hirose as “not music per se but rather sound sculptures”, and including the haunting “Shadow Of A Water Droplet” which was recorded for an Ikebana exhibition. All in all, NOVA + 4 is a transcendent experience of nature in the urban context, an oeuvre which, much like Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass or Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way (1999), holds the power to appease the soul in turbulent times. As one inspired YouTube commenter once said when describing Yutaka Hirose’s masterstroke: “I can’t tell if the birds are singing inside or outside! Thank you!” Includes liner notes in English and Japanese.

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Artistic Control “Walking In Love’s Shadow” (Dead Wax)

2020-03-07T05:34:43+00:00July 5th, 2019|

Kez is a mysterious yet very prolific Cornish musician whose extensive material has been kept unreleased almost in its entirety. His main project ARTISTIC CONTROL rose from the ashes of punk, experimenting with blending numerous forms of music and twisted electronics.Despite constant gigging and recording since 1980, only the cassette album ‘Bless it all’ was released in 1984. After Kez decided to go ahead on his own in 1985 and dive deeper into more synth based tunes, he recorded many songs on a 4-track cassette recorder with the only help of Karen Kay doing backing vocals.

None of these songs would have been heard by anyone nowadays if Kez himself wouldn’t have shared some of them through Youtube, creating a cult following instantly. We have chosen the ones that in our opinion best represent Kez’s awesome musical imagination and skills and have rescued the only surviving cassette sources for them, applying the most careful technical treatments to make them available on a physical format for the first time ever. Ten songs are included in the vinyl release; Three come from the mentioned 1984 ‘Bless it all’ cassette-only album, the rest being recorded between 1985 and 1987, with some of them 100% previously unheard. The digital download here includes FIVE ADDITIONAL BONUS TRACKS not on the vinyl.

We are excited to present you this selection of ARTISTIC CONTROL songs on an extremely limited, hand numbered edition of 165 copies, housed in a matt finish sleeve with insert (lyrics and credits) and including a download code.

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Bartosz Kruczyński “Baltic Beat II” (Growing Bin)

2020-03-07T06:11:37+00:00July 5th, 2019|

“Birdsong and bright mornings announce the arrival of spring, and Growing Bin celebrate the season of rebirth with the return of a hardy perennial. In the three years since he introduced the world to his Baltic Beat, Bartosz Kruczyński has traded dub techno, Berlin electronics and jazzy Balearic on a string of highly regarded labels. Now the Polish musician is back in the Growing Bin, ready to take us on another audio adventure through the meadows and forests of his native land.

Vivid LP opener ‘Pastoral Sequences’ leads us down the garden path, around the lakeside and across the train tracks, striking a cinematic tone as gentle piano and subdued synth tones drift around natural field recordings. Dip a toe in the stream and feel the breeze between your fingers as you stroll towards the Balearic brilliance of ‘In the Garden’, a carefree cooler built on a subtle bossa rhythm, serene chords and chiming mallets. Bartosz reprises the aquatic grandeur of his first Baltic Beat on the immersive ‘Petals’, a selected ambient work where Tangerine pads underpin interlocking electronics and stately keys. Guitars ring out, Reich’s mallets ripple and well tempered piano drift over a thick sequence as ‘Voices’ propels us to the halfway point with soft power.

The B-side opens with the delicate hypnotism of ‘If You Go Down In The Woods Today’, a modern minimalist masterpiece alive with circular mallets and sultry woodwind, before ‘The Orchard’ paints an impressionistic vignette from the same palette. Shifting focus but not feeling Kruczyński takes us home ‘Along The Sun Drenched Road’ in two stages; the first a gorgeous combination of the acoustic and electronic where hints of dub techno sit beneath languid piano notes, the second an eastern tinged reprise of the album’s opening and a welcome return home before the storm breaks.”

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Elisa Waut “Elisa Waut” (Numero)

2020-03-07T06:11:57+00:00June 28th, 2019|

Originally issued as a hand-dubbed demo tape in 1982, Elisa Waut’s icy debut gets its first vinyl issue. The Flemish trio of Chery Derycke and siblings Elsje and Hans Helewaut took new wave to its natural conclusion; trading Europe’s organic post-punk approach for the new cold war order of synth and rhythm box. Soviet paranoia, isolation, suicidal musings, and other miscellaneous bouts of young adult depression are covered in both French and English. A 28-minute minimal wave masterpiece.

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Jay U Experience “Abuja” (Left Ear)

2020-03-07T05:35:06+00:00June 24th, 2019|

Jay U Xperience’s Abjua is a 12” EP extracted from a lost ’93 CD only album. Modern technology meshes with timeless African Rhythms and the heartfelt influences of New York City.

Jay U Xperience is the pseudonym of acclaimed Nigerian musician Justus Nkwane.
His first release ‘Enough Is Enough’ was a heavy blend of psychedelic rock and funk epitomising 1977 and yet foreshadows Justus’ experimental and genre-spanning inquisitiveness. Justus wouldn’t record another album until 1993 while living in New York City. Here he emerged with ‘Ancestral Call’, an album that he describes as a “once in a lifetime event”, something from his “inner spiritual guts”.

Equipped with a Roland R-5 drum machine and a Roland U-20 synthesizer to extract melodies he was able to create tunes that encapsulated contemporary technology with timeless traditional African rhythms, creating a work that sounds just as relevant Today as it did then. Tracks like ‘Back To Motherland’ & ‘Ancestral Call’ personify this sound, while ‘Okokobioko’, is an onomatopoeic excursion in losing yourself to the rhythm, the EP is then rounded off with the title track ‘Abuja’, a ghostly striped back piece.

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Michael Rother “Katzenmusik” (Groenland)

2020-03-07T05:35:20+00:00June 21st, 2019|

On Katzenmusik, Rother moves more and more into New Age territory, mellowing out even further than on previous solo efforts. The blue sky, fluffy white clouds, and arcing jet-trail of the cover photo are well-evoked by the music inside. Twelve untitled, again all-instrumental tracks, with guitar and synth lines floating on air along to the tick-tock of Jaki’s drumming.

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Sarah Davachi & Ariel Kalma “Intemporel” (Black Sweat)

2020-03-07T05:35:26+00:00June 21st, 2019|

On Intemporel, Sarah Davachi and Ariel Kalma blend their strong individual personalities in a single trip on the edge of time. Their kosmiche music is pure, magnificent, and elegant, an intergalactic hypnosis that seems to tell of distant times, a millenary vortex of a lost era. In the first phase of departure, the mysterious song of the sax winds in archaic echoes, supported by the electronic inlays of the Arp Odyssey synth. Flowing between space rumbles and astral progressions, one sights high celestial bodies. When the infinite drones of the tampura start, one takes part in the night ceremonial, surrounded by deep harmonium and the Tibetan bell chimes. This music releases a sort of mythological warmth, secret codes of a lost purity, which lets one dwell in the labyrinths of a pyramid or in the sacred space of a cosmic pagoda.

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Suzanne Ciani “Flowers Of Evil” (Finders Keepers)

2020-03-07T05:35:53+00:00June 21st, 2019|

As a genuine vanguard of electronic music composition at the forefront of the modular synthesizer revolution in the late 1960s, Suzanne Ciani’s forward-thinking approach to new music would rarely look to the past for inspiration, which makes this unheard composition from 1969 a rare exception to the collective futurist vision of Ciani and synthesizer designer Don Buchla. In choosing to adapt the controversial prose of French poet Charles Baudelaire, Suzanne would join the ranks of ongoing generations of pioneering musicians like Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Serge Gainsbourg, Etron Fou Leloublan, Celtic Frost, and Marc Almond (not forgetting Star Trek’s William Shatner!), all equally inspired by the 19th century writer’s works of “modernité” (modernity), a self-coined term dedicated to capturing the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, best exemplified in Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers Of Evil). In her varied career that would combine art gallery installations, major film soundtrackings, and commissions for Atari, Suzanne Ciani’s earliest experiments remain some of her most challenging, beguiling, and timeless. Flowers Of Evil ticks all the above boxes and flicks switches that would power-up a new uncharted universe of her own musical modernité. For the many enthusiasts that have already drawn the parallels between Baudelaire’s writings and experimental/electronic music (a relationship rivalled only by the likes of J. G. Ballard and Aldous Huxley) some might instantly recognize an unconscious sistership between this recording and another 1969 electronic adaptation of Flowers Of Evil by celebrated female electronic composer Ruth White. An interesting distinction of White’s excellent version of Flowers Of Evil (released via Limelight records) is that its dark tone generation and vocal manipulation was created with a Moog synthesizer, the commercially triumphant rival to Suzanne and Don’s Buchla Systems. The fact that Ciani’s version was never intended for commercial release is also poetically reflective of the nature of Ciani and Buchla’s alternative perspective. The choice to present this extract from Flowers Of Evil in its intended French language further distances Ciani’s faithful reaction from some of its better-known variations. Having attempted to voice the poem herself, the multilingual Italian-American composer’s French accent did not meet her own standards, resulting in the request for a fellow unnamed French student who lived on campus at Mills College in Oakland to accurately verbalize the section of Baudelaire’s collection entitled Élévation.

Sarah Davachi “Pale Bloom” (W25th)

2020-03-07T06:12:09+00:00June 21st, 2019|

Pale Bloom finds Sarah Davachi coming full circle. After abandoning the piano studies of her youth for a series of albums utilizing everything from pipe and reed organs to analog synthesizers, this prolific Los Angeles-based composer returns to her first instrument for a radiant work of quiet minimalism and poetic rumination. Recorded at Berkeley, California’s famed Fantasy Studios, Pale Bloom is comprised of two delicately-arranged sides. The first—a three-part suite where Davachi’s piano acts as conjurer, beckoning Hammond organ and stirring countertenor into a patiently unfolding congress—recalls Eduard Artemiev’s majestic soundtrack for Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris. “Perfumes I-III” employs the harmonically rich music of Bach as a springboard for abstract, solemn pieces that sound as haunted as they are dreamlike. While the first half of Pale Bloom showcases Davachi’s latent Romanticism, the sidelong “If It Pleased Me To Appear To You Wrapped In This Drapery” reveals the Mills College graduate’s affinity for the work of avant-garde composers La Monte Young and Eliane Radigue. Softly vibrating strings rise and fall like complementary exhalations of breath. As the fluctuating pitches create overtones that pitter and pulse, the piece slowly and subtly evolves—suggesting a well-tempered stillness, yet without stasis.

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Les Rallizes Denudes “There’s No Heaven Like Hell” (Alternative Fox)

2020-03-07T05:36:10+00:00June 7th, 2019|

One of the strangest and most enigmatic groups in the history of rock n’ roll, Les Rallizes Denudes, also known as Hadaka no Rallizes or Hadaka no Rarizu, were a Japanese experimental rock band that is often cited as a pioneering force of the noise rock movement. The story of the band is as strange and difficult as the music they made and although much of the tale is shrouded in mystery, everything apparently begins around Kyoto’s radical anti-establishment communes of the late 1960s, where androgynous frontman Takashi Mizutani formed the group in November 1967 while attending Kyoto University. Hard facts are in thin supply and the band’s name employs complex punning that essentially equates to “Fucked Up and Naked” in Japanese, a slang reference to being high on drugs. Inspired by the Velvet Underground and other groups employing prominent, overamplified guitar, the band’s music was typically based on repetitive rhythmic patterns bolstered by Mizutani’s heavily distorted lead guitar, though the poor sound quality of early demos apparently turned Mizutani away from studio recordings, rendering much of their output in the form of live bootlegs, supplanted by the occasional leaked studio demo. Early performances were given as accompaniment to avant-garde theater groups, though the group was soon deemed too loud to be a mere accompaniment, and membership fluctuated frequently, with Mizutani being the only constant, though he retreated from public view following the 1970 Red Army hijacking of Japan Airlines flight 351, with the assistance of original Rallizes bass player, Moriaki Wakabayashi, who subsequently fled to North Korea; the band continued to sporadically record and perform under various guises until 1997. The two versions of There’s No Heaven Like Hell, presented here, was recorded on April 1, 1975 at Rallizes House in Fussa, a small town to the west of Tokyo, joining Mizutani with keyboardist/guitarist Taisuke Morishita’s experimental group Be, originally known as Yellow. The first version takes the form of an epic slow drone, featuring Mizutani on acid guitar, backed only by Morishita’s pulsating synthesizer lines; the second version is in full marathon mode, an hour-long dirge that sees the spacey duo joined by drummer Shunichiro Shoda and a plodding bassist in the latter portion.

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