Thundercat is set to release his new album “It Is What It Is” on Brainfeeder Records on April 3, 2020, and shares the first music; ‘Black Qualls (featuring Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington)’. The album, produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat, features musical contributions from Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox.
“It Is What It Is” follows his game-changing third album “Drunk” (2017). That record completed his transition from virtuoso bassist to bonafide star and cemented his reputation as a unique voice that transcends genre. “This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,” Bruner says about “It Is What It Is”. “It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don’t necessarily understand… some things just aren’t meant to be understood.
The unruly bounce of new single ‘Black Qualls’ is classic Thundercat, teaming up with Steve Lacy (The Internet) and Funk icon Steve Arrington (Slave). It’s another example of Stephen Lee Bruner’s desire to highlight the lineage of his music and pay his respects to the musicians who inspired him. Discovering Arrington’s output in his late teens, Bruner says he fell in love with his music immediately: “The tone of the bass, the way his stuff feels and moves, it resonated through my whole body.”
‘Black Qualls’ emerged from writing sessions with Lacy, whom Thundercat describes as “the physical incarnate of the Ohio Players in one person – he genuinely is a funky ass dude”. It references what it means to be a black American with a young mindset: “What it feels like to be in this position right now… the weird ins and outs, we’re talking about those feelings… Part of me knew this [track] was where Steve [Arrington] left us.”
Thundercat forms a cornerstone of the Brainfeeder label; he released “Golden Age of Apocalypse” (2011), “Apocalypse” (2013), followed by EP “The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam” featuring the modern classic ‘Them Changes’. He was later “at the creative epicenter” of the 21st century’s most influential hip-hop album Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”, where he won a Grammy for his collaboration on the track ‘These Walls’ before releasing his game-changing third album “Drunk” in 2017. In 2018 Thundercat and Flying Lotus composed an original score for an episode of Golden Globe and Emmy award winning TV series “Atlanta” (created and written by Donald Glover).
Made primarily while on the road, the nine-track LP spans techno, electro, deep house and ambient. It’s Karmil’s second full-length on Smalltown Supersound, following 2018’s Will.
Describing his production process, the UK artist says, “I tended to record a little here and there when I could grab some time with my gear, and then do most of the arranging and choices while I was traveling about—until the end when I went to mix in one of my favourite studios, Cologne’s incredible The Brewery.”
‘Girl And Robot With Flowers’ is a thematic journey into the emotive and enthralling realms of cinematic jazz, seductive ambience and majestic drama. Greg Foat uses everything from brass bands and kettle drums to Moog synthesizer and harmonium to take the listener above and beyond the stratosphere of senses.
Gagarin Kombinaatti was Mika Vainio’s earliest band project in Turku in the early ’80s. This band was influenced by industrial groups like Throbbing Cristle, Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Department. Vainio compiled a this album from the original cassette recordings in 2015.
Ren Schofield’s work as Container has developed into a succession of complementary releases over the last decade. He’s released four aggressive noise-techno LPs, all simply titled LP with searing noise and grinding electronics providing grisly decorations for rigid, skeletal beats indebted to hardcore and minimal techno. While Schofield can wreck plenty of audio destruction, the rhythmic foundation beneath the chaos gives every track a throttling momentum.
Schofield’s latest album, Scramblers, offers some major and minor changes to his spartan formula, the most obvious being the release’s titular divorce from the LP series. On Scramblers, Schofield junks familiar elements while keeping the noise at a euphoric high. The eponymous first track opens as hardcore techno written for jackhammers and power drills before boiling over with an off-kilter synth arpeggio. “Mottle” sounds like it’s constantly on the verge of ripping itself apart, slowing, accelerating, and convulsing relentlessly. While “Queaser” deploys synths that feel ripped from an old video game sound-chip. When that song’s beat finally drops out, it opens space for a field-recorded collage of howling and hooting animals that seamlessly meshes with the following track’s industrial clangs. That transition is a perfect example of how skilled Schofield has become at sequencing his work, landing haymakers with something as subtle as a tracklisting. Container has always had a firm grasp on the nuances of both noise and dance music, but this album captures the thrill and fun of the hybrid in a way he’s never quite done before.
LP version. Eight early songs written and produced by Tase, recorded on 16-track tape machine. Neues Deutschland Studio 2010-2011. Tase is producer Sven Rieger. Co-founder of SUED, Rieger records under aliases SVN and Ixus and in groups such as AU, Département d’Éducation Psychique, Dreesvn, and S.P. Posse.
Electric Sewer Age’s »Contemplating Nothingness« is a lysergic tapestry culled from the deep end of the collective pop cultural unconscious. The project was originally started anonymously by the late Peter »Sleazy« Christopherson (of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV and, most notably, Coil) together with Coil affiliate and seasoned remixer Danny Hyde, who continued the project together with John Deek, who passed away in 2013. »Contemplating Nothingness« is the third release by Electric Sewer Age and the second one that Hyde finished alone. Having previously been only available on CD, it is now re-released by the Swiss Hallow Ground imprint on vinyl both as a standalone release and as a strictly limited bundle together with »Svay Pak,« Hyde’s 2011 EP under his Aural Rage moniker.
Hyde left his imprint on many of Coil’s seminal albums such as »Love’s Secret Domain«, co-produced Pop Will Eat Itself’s »Very Metal Noise Pollution« and remixed a diverse roster of artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Scorn, Chris & Cosey, Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia or Depeche Mode. With his work as Electric Sewer Age, he explores the vast open space between the dark psychedelic aesthetics that he has helped establishing together with John Balance and his long-time collaborate Christopherson with a postmodernist approach that is deeply rooted in studio practice and sampling.
On »Contemplating Nothingness,« disembodied voices mingle with subdued rhythms, muffled harmonies or menacing string themes. Over just a little bit more than half an hour, Hyde conjures up traditional and contemporary production techniques and genres like plunderphonics, Leyland Kirby’s V/VM project or early vaporwave, all while retaining his singular voice. Throbbing industrial gives way to jazz-inflected quasi-rap, autotune balladry and ethno ambient, before closing on eerily alienated synth pop sounds and a stunning exercise in psychedelic minimalism. »Contemplating Nothingness« is an album as surreal and beautiful as a half-remembered dream, constantly navigating through the liminal zone of the familiar and the great unknown.
Opium Crop Airstrikes is a Vatican Shadow EP with long-form industrial tracks in the style known from Jordanian Descent (2012). A portion of the proceeds go to AYOK civil society volunteer organization for earthquake relief in rural Mexico. Cassette comes in oversized package; includes fold-out poster.
Lose yourself in the circuitry of the original 1965 Buchla 100 with NYZ (Dave Burraston) as he utilizes Barbara Hero’s Lambdoma tuning theories to create two slow, deeply layered, subconscious, organic and meditative compositions. NYZ’s split 12″ with ELEH (IMPREC 477LP) will be released at the same time as Millz Medz. David Burraston is an award-winning artist/scientist working in the areas of technology and electronic music, operating Noyzelab as an independent art/science music studio since 1981. His experimental arts practice encompasses field recordings, landscape-scale sound art, chaos/complexity, practice-based research, sound synthesis, and electronic music. He performs, lectures, conducts workshops, and creates art installations in Regional NSW and around the world. David also designs and builds sound synthesizers based on his theories of chaos/complexity science. David has worked with many diverse collaborators such as Aphex Twin, Chris Watson, Doug Quin, Russell Haswell, Robin Fox, Oren Ambarchi, Sarah Last, Cat Hope, Garry Bradbury, William Barton, Alan Lamb, MIT Media Lab, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2014m he independently published the legendary “SYROBONKERS!”, the most technical and in-depth interview ever given by Aphex Twin. First pressing of 500.
Split release between ELEH and NYZ (David Burraston). Released alongside a full-length from NYZ via Important Records (IMPREC 453LP). ELEH: This side is possibly the artist’s most complicated electronic composition. It navigates myriad timbral, tuning, and temporal processes while winding itself to completion. It was composed/constructed over a period of months in early 2019. NYZ: Two crunchy microtonal drone meditations in mono, using techniques of digital FM and hybrid analog/digital modular synthesis. “FM60P::fbk1#03” is from a number of sessions recorded on a battered SY99 recorded from 2013 to 2014. As the name suggests, this particular session revolved around using feedback in the FM algorithm. “EML DRNPi” was recorded as part of the 2015 Plum Island Sessions where Burraton had a host of synths on loan from John Brien at Important Records. For the recording, he used the EML ElectroComp 101 and a 4-voice digital microtonal oscillator running a Lambdoma Matrix to make a hybrid analog/digital system. Heavy-duty sleeve; First edition of 500.
Mannequin Records present a new press of Decadance’s “On And On (Fears Keep On)”, one of the most iconic underground Italo-wave tracks ever. Produced by Franco Rago and Gigi Farina, the masterminds behind cult Italo disco projects ‘Lectric Workers, Wanexa, Expansives, Atelier Folie, Peter Richard, and many more, the single was originally released in 1983 by Proto Records. Permeated by a dark and eerie synths, a perfectly programmed Roland TR-808, and an outstanding analog production, “On And On (Fears Keep On)” belongs to dark Italo disco or Italo wave. Remastered by Rude 66, 2018, Berlin.
WRWTFWW Records present the much-anticipated official reissue of Japanese duo Inoyamaland’s quintessential ambient/environmental/electronic album Danzindan-Pojidon, produced by Haruomi Hosono and originally released in 1983 on his Yen Records label. Available outside of Japan for the first time, the new age classic comes as a limited LP with liner notes by band member Makoto Inoue. With Danzindan-Pojidon, Yasushi Yamashita and Makoto Inoue created what they describe as “a special place where the kingdom of summer vacation never ended.” Playful and magical, it’s a sonic landscape defined by tinkling synths, floating minimalist melodies, pastoral excursions, and mythical overtones. The ten-track adventure takes the listener on a joyful audio exploration of unknown but friendly territories, like childhood memories of an imaginary island where everything is vibrantly alive and peaceful. The original recording sessions for the album took place in an apartment filled with Inoyamaland’s “favorite things and friends” and the wonders that came out of them were handed to master Harry Hosono who added his undeniable genius touch. And thus Danzindan-Pojidon was born, an absolute must-have, sitting in the pantheon of all-time ’80s Japanese ambient greats alongside Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass (WRWTFWW 018LP/019CD/019LP), Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Green, and Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way (WRWTFWW 030CD/LP) — and holding that mysterious power of “music that makes life a little easier and happier.” 350gsm sleeve with selected UV high gloss varnish.
English electronic part-time music duo Global Communication released their second album 76:14 in 1994, one of the most famous and widely-loved albums in ambient techno. The title of the album corresponds to the record’s total running time in minutes and seconds, just like the songs are named after its length. This is an immense journey into early ‘90s ambient with a doze of techno. The music the duo creates takes you to another world, full of calm, relaxing and atmospheric rhythms and melodies. True to their “Global Communication” moniker, Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard crafted an album that speaks to everyone. This legendary album is available as a limited edition of 1500 individually numbered copies on transparent vinyl
The debut Peacefrog album from Kenny Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann originally released in 1998 is an album of truly epic proportions, a must have for any and all collectors and lovers of house music. Utilising soul, funk, gospel, and even hip-hop production techniques and alternating from mellowed-out disco dubs like “Mahogany Brown” and “Stoneodenjoe” to more raw and dirty tech-house tracks like “Me and My People’s Eyes.” Mahogany Brown delivers a slice of Black American music that affirms Kenny’s reputation as a major influence on house music today.
Hailed as one of the 50 best ambient albums of all time by Pitchfork, Vernal Equinox was the first commercially released work by Jon Hassell, originally put out by Lovely Music in 1977. It is also the debut of a pioneering new form of music that would become known as “fourth world”: a subtle blend of field recordings, electric jazz, ambience and global music influences. Hassell’s trademark FX-soaked trumpet is carefully embellished by a studio ensemble including the master Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos and David Rosenboom on synth. The result is a quiet, meditative and highly original work of outstanding beauty.
When С крыш наших домов (S Krysh Nashikh Domov), the debut album by Molchat Doma, was released in 2017, it announced a bold new voice in underground music. The album found a passionate audience on Bandcamp and other streaming services and was released on CD and cassette. Sacred Bones Records is proud to present the album on vinyl for the first time.
Molchat Doma (translated as “Houses Are Silent”), founded in 2017 in Minsk, Belarus, stands at the intersection of post-punk, new-wave and synth-pop. Dark yet danceable, and with a heavy dose of goth ethos, their music is reminiscent of the masters that predate them, but make no mistake: Molchat Doma creates a sound and meaning that is immediately recognizable as all their own.
The band is comprised of Egor Shkutko, who sings the Russian lyrics in his deep monotone, Roman Komogortsev on guitar, synths, and drum machine, and Pavel Kozlov on bass and synths.
The year is 2019, and Jan Schulte is spelling out his vision in simple terms. Within the first few of Albumsi’s hour-plus runtime, our host lays out the mat, and welcomes us to the ‘Galaxy’, just as he welcomed us to ‘Zum Paradies’ on Instrumentalmusik von der Mitte der World. There, he donned a Wolf Müller mask. Here it is nom de doof, Bufiman. The directive is clear: buckle up, as this trip advisor for countless left-of-the-dial dancers and deep thinkers alike is back in the hot seat.
True to his word, the first thing that hits is the drums. Across the album are samples that Bufiman has been collecting since he was a mere Bufiboy. Recordings culled from market stalls 20+ years ago and song sketches that lay dormant since 2006 get a facelift at the Wolf Müller Flanger Studio and walk into the world as finished articles. A proggy tribute to funk classic ‘Blow Your Head’ takes this updating job most directly, transporting Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s to the fringes of a Frankfurt rave with a decanter of spiked punch, doin’ the worm through a space-time wormhole as they go.
Sometimes those drums jive away steadily, and sometimes they boom and bap right under your n
Following a trip into the heart of Max Santilli’s Sydney studio, Into The Light Records’ ‘international’ series returns to Europe for an audience with former Peur Bleue, Versatile and Wisdom Teeth contribitor Benoit B.
The Berlin-based producer has previously won praise for his atmospheric and evocative approach to electronic music, which priorities melody, texture and vibe over form and function. “Notes of Love”, his first EP for Into The Light, was deliberately designed as a “soft journey for the ears”, with Benoit B opting to layer up only the most essential musical elements in order to guarantee sparkling, crystal clear sound and an overriding clarity of purpose.
Even so, the six tracks are still stylistically eclectic. Compare and contrast the sunrise-ready new age synthesizer melodies, bustling synth-bass, Fairlight style stabs and shuffling breakbeats of “2090”, the Vangelis Katsoulis style bliss of “Polar Nights”, the Art of Noise style ambient collage that is “Czechoslovakia” and the intergalactic, post-electro pulse of “Cowboy Dan”, whose rubbery synthesizer lines and electronic motifs somehow manage to be both funky and foreboding. Yet for all of these stylistic twists, “Notes of Love” is a coherent statement of intent from a producer whose personal musical vision remains as clear as ever.
It’s ten years since Joe Morris enjoyed his first release of original music. In the ensuing decade Joe has sharpened his skills indelibly, gaining a reputation with an ear for music with depth, emotion and feeling. Fitting then his tenth year in the studio sees him release his debut album. Designed as a 360 degree view of his kaleidoscopic musical palette, ‘Exotic Language’ is a nine song opus taking in deep house, new age, ambient and afro textures.
Opener ‘Firefly Island’ is a horizontal mood setter, washing over you with its gorgeous soundscapes. ‘Perfume’ sees a delightful collaboration with Private Agenda who lend their unique, dreamy vocals. ‘A Dance With Jupiter’ takes inspiration from classic Chicago house music while ‘Echo Station’ is an experiment in Dub. Things get spacey and ethereal on ‘Celestial Plantation’, ‘Dream Clouds’ is an ode to early Italian deep house. ‘Acid Safari’ is a wigged out slow burner and ‘Spirit Walker’ takes inspiration from Larry Heard and afro house. Final track ‘Milo’s Theme’ is a bitter sweet closer to the album, with a guest appearance by Joe’s nine month old son.
Bureau B present a reissue of Heldon’s seventh and final album of the 1970s Stand By, originally released in 1979. After the release of Stand By, Richard Pinhas focused on solo LPs before quitting music for around a decade. “It was the end of the tale,” he explains. “We decided to split for many reasons. The main one was that one or two of the other musicians wanted to stop. They were session musicians, mainly. At one point they said they didn’t have so much time to give. And it was a time when a lot of bands who had become reluctantly successful decided to split . . . Split at the top, not waiting to go down.” Heldon certainly went out on a high. Stand By’s mood remains urgent and gripping throughout, fashioned via immense synthesizer sounds, a plethora of interweaving drum patterns, spiraling guitar chops, and lurching riffs. It’s been likened to krautrock, yet Pinhas never paid attention to the German scene. There are other similarities to parallel innovations that John Carpenter was making in the field of sci-fi/horror soundtracks. The hazmat-suit-wearing figure on Stand By’s cover could have starred in such a movie. The album’s unearthly vocals were provided by Klaus Blasquiz of Magma. Some progressive musicians of the ’70s felt threatened by the rise of punk — Not Pinhas. As producer, he worked with French punk acts like Asphalt Jungle. No, Pinhas was more troubled by wider world developments. These miseries played their own part in Heldon’s demise. “We recorded Stand By in ’78, going into ’79. Politics had all shifted to the right with your Maggie Thatcher and, in America, that very bad actor. They started the bullshit of neoliberalism that we have to live with now, everywhere. We’re going to be in a very fascistic world within twenty years. Not even that long. The initiation of this change came with Reagan and Maggie. It started in the ’80s.” Stand By was recorded at Studio Davout, the Parisian home to recordings by everyone from Karlheinz Stockhausen to Johnny Hallyday. That, too, has fallen victim to brutal economics. It was demolished in 2018. “They destroyed the main historical studio in France to put up a supermarket!” says Pinhas. “It was a place where a lot of things happened. Musicians were working all night long. It could’ve been a museum for music.”
Gentrified Underground presents an interdisciplinary project tackling the sonic fiction and Afrofuturism of Drexciya. Thought as an extension to the Bubble Chamber exhibition happening at Mikro & UP STATE Zürich, Gentrified Underground releases a 2×12″ vinyl compilation and a booklet with contributions by Abdul Qadim Haqq, Charlie Mills, chukwumaa, Dominiqueh White, Gentrified Underground, Maïté Chéniere, and tracks by Xor Gate (Gerald Donald), Shawescape Renegade, DJ Dijital, Plant43, The Exaltics, Kuldaboli, Iko, Tom Ware, Luz1e, and Sansibar. The goal of this compilation is to showcase the reach and influence which Drexciya had on generations of electronic music producers while linking them together with compositional predecessors from the early ’80s. The musical timeline of the compilation starts from 1982 and reaches its contemporary end in 2019. The 56-page booklet contains unseen and unreleased Drexciyan drafts by Abdul Qadim Haqq, an interview between him and GU, contemporary art contributions by chukwumaa, Dominiqueh White, and Maïté Chéniere, and an academic essay by Charlie Mills. 56-page fanzine booklet; cover by Abdul Qadim Haqq.
Finnish composer and multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor has joined forces with Bureau B to release NY, Hel, Barca, a retrospective compilation spanning the years 1994-2001. The release features early works and selected tracks from his first six albums, long since deleted. Having disbanded Jimi Tenor And His Shamans, the artist embarked on a solo career in the early 1990s, recording his debut work Sähkömies on rudimentary equipment in a small New York apartment. The album was released in 1994 on the Finnish imprint Sähkö, who also issued Tenor’s sophomore work Europa a year later, expanding on the ideas articulated on the first disc. In spite of the experimental nature and free form of these early recordings, Tenor’s instinctive grasp of pop appeal, his spontaneity and whimsical sense of humor are clearly in evidence. On the back of a game-changing performance at the Love Parade in Berlin, Jimi Tenor scored his first hit with “Take Me Baby”, entering the charts and signing a deal with the seminal electronic label Warp Records. The three Warp albums –Intervision (1997), Organism (1999), and Out Of Nowhere (2000) — were touchstones in the electronic club music scene of the period. Effortlessly blending jazz, synthesizer sounds, Afrobeat, and drum machine dubs, Jimi Tenor created a distinctive sound which he himself rewired and renewed. Not that his compositions were overly academic, on the contrary — they often resembled free-flowing, sporadic sketches, with an infectiously irrepressible touch of the absurd. The 20 tracks on NY, Hel, Barca document key stages of Jimi Tenor’s remarkable creative path, underlining the prolific and varied nature of his artistic output. Then as now, he shines like a satellite hovering over the European pop landscape. “Backbone Of The Night” features Riga Symphony Orchestra.
Music From Memory announce a retrospective of an artist long-loved by the label, Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist Priscilla Ermel. Origens Da Luz brings together a selection of recordings drawn from a body of work that was originally recorded between 1986 and 1994. Priscilla was raised in a musical family in São Paulo and learned the cello and guitar at an early age. She then embarked on a deeply personal musical journey that would travel from origins rooted in Tom Jobim and Chico Buarque to recording the music of the natural world and the communities around her. A film-maker and anthropologist by training, Priscilla is a lifelong student of a universal music. Disillusioned with contemporary European classical music, she spent long periods living with indigenous populations in Brazil, collecting instruments that she would later combine with synthesizers and field recordings. After studying with the renowned Taoist master Liu Pai Lin, she integrated the slow-moving pace of Tai Chi into a music that connects intimately with a multiplicity of cultures at the same time that it unmistakably reflects her Brazilian soul. Combining sounds drawn from the history of Brazil with her own explorations of analog sound technology, Priscilla’s music opens up a mystical space, where ancient and modern evolves into a new language. Compiled by John Gómez and released on double-LP, Origens Da Luz offers a panoramic view of this artist’s unique and mesmerizing sound world.
“Beside Myself is the second full-length release from Canadian sound artist crys cole. Known to many through her extensive collaborative practice with artists such as Oren Ambarchi, Leif Elggren, and James Rushford, in her solo work cole uses contact microphones, voice, simple electronics, and field recordings to create sonic environments that linger uneasily at the threshold of perception. Demonstrating how cole’s work has developed and deepened since the relative austerity of her first solo LP Sand/Layna, Beside Myself offers two lushly immersive side-long pieces that explore ideas of compositional drift. ‘The Nonsuch’ is inspired by the aural hallucinations experienced in the hypnagogic state during the onset of sleep. Opening with scratching contact mic textures and unintelligible vocal murmurs, the piece threads together live and studio performances with field recordings of urban environments to create a texture that is at once seemingly consistent and marked by constant transitions. Individual elements rise up from the background thrum only to disappear just as we become conscious of them; heterogenous sounds and spaces succeed one another with the unassailable logic of dreams. ‘In Praise of Blandness (Chapter IX)’ also focuses on drift and transition, but in a much more single-minded way. Over a rich, slowly-evolving organ drone, cole reads a passage from the French sinologist François Julien’s book In Praise of Blandness (1991) exploring the concept of ‘blandness’ in the Taoist aesthetics of sound. Beginning crisp and clear, cole’s voice becomes gradually less distinct over the course of the piece, the spoken words blurred by resonant frequencies à la Lucier’s I Am Sitting in a Room until we are left with only the rhythm of incomprehensible speech. The text that cole reads acts a perfect description of her aesthetic project: ‘We hear it still, but just barely, and as it diminishes it makes all the more audible that soundless beyond into which it is about to extinguish itself. We are listening then, to its extinction, to its return to that great undifferentiated matrix’.” –Francis Plagne (November, 2019) Includes download code; edition of 300.
Following Slow Fade for Hard Sync (2009) and Location Momentum (2010), Living Space is Eleh’s third physical release for Touch. Seven years in the making, this new release consolidates the artist’s parallel narrative between a series of vinyl and CD releases for Important Records — where the emphasis is on a minimalist aesthetic — to a visual counterpoint that hints at the cinematic and painterly qualities of the music. Sound, as a healing force, is an idea as old as the medium itself. Inspired by the legacy and above all the spirit of John Coltrane, Living Space features five new compositions that seek to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape-shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique. If the ambition of Living Space is to reflect both personal and collective growth cycles, the experience of its audition has the effect of stopping time. Melodic and harmonic progressions are implied and not stated obviously, to enable listeners to apply their own emotions and feelings to the music. Using modular and analog synthesizers, piano, organ, bass, and symphonic chimes, Living Space stresses the promise of the albm’s final track — “Lighter Touch” — forsaking the forceful hand for an approach that mirrors the slower and softer exposures of plant life and leaf formations, slow moving waters, not flash floods nor forest fires. In counterpoint to the music, the 64-minute album is presented in a gatefold sleeve with Jon Wozencroft’s water photography extending the meditational pull of these new compositions. For those for whom Eleh needs no introduction, see if you agree. Anyone who has yet to experience the artist’s sonic alchemy, Living Space is the perfect starting point.
Athens of the north is not just here to release great music but to support our artist development and experimentation, to this end we always try to bring good people together to work on new music. This LP fuses two massive talents, for the first time to AOTN we introduce House and Techno legend Linkwood, joining him is one of the |UKs most respected Jazz Artists Greg Foat, who will need no introduction to AOTN fans
‘Linkwood & Foat’ is the first LP to be recorded in the new ‘Athens of the North Studio’, which was designed and built specifically for our artists so that they can create without the time pressures or expenses of studio hire elsewhere. With no fixed plans, no rules or expectations, the pair relaxed in the new studio and started making music. The result is very special indeed
Linkwood had just returned from walking in the wilds of an Ibiza summer and Greg had similarly been immersed on the sun drenched south coast of the Isle of wight. This freedom and sense of space saturates the grooves of the LP juxtapositioned against a deeper late night basement club feel they both love so much, the pull between nightlife and the freedom of nature. It’s extroversion and introversion, the freedom and escapism of the two seemingly opposing environments permeates this recording.
Sightless Pit may be a new name in heavy music, however its members are anything but, some of the most groundbreaking artist of the genre. Lee Buford (The Body), Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota) and Dylan Walker (Full of Hell) recorded their debut Grave of a Dog at Machines with Magnets with Seth Manchester (The Body, Lightning Bolt). Fans will recognize immediately Buford’s singular percussion and production, Walker’s venomous howl and Hayter’s virtuosic voice. The three share a bleak vision of existence and a willingness to follow each other into the musical abyss.
MHYSA started NEVAEH in the fall of 2017, shortly after the release of her debut album ‘fantasii,’ honing the albums sentiments while touring, recording audio notes and writing lyrics on her iPhone to de-stress. All of the tracks were then recorded in her flat in West Philadelphia, some with the input of lawd knows, a frequent collaborator on their Scraaatch project.
NEVAEH is MHYSA’s intimate reflection on the black femme experience from multiple vantage points ranging from sex and sexuality, self-love and self-discovery, black empowerment and lineage, pleasure and lack of it. She describe the album as “a prayer for Black women and femmes to be taken to or find a new and better world away from the apocalypse…NEVAEH is a safe space, a sort of negro heaven.” These ideas are declared from the opening skit where MHYSA reads out Lucille Clifton’s 1994 poem “won’t you celebrate with me”.
The album is deeply personal but easily relatable. The intimacy is heightened by scattered acapella moments, covers of classics such as Nas’ – ‘If I Ruled the World’ and a reprise of ‘When the Saints’; songs that reference black pop culture, interludes and drifts, where MHYSA’s delicate voice is laid bare and enhanced by spacious instrumentals. She describes tracks like ‘Brand Nu’ and ‘w_me’ as throwbacks to the melancholic R&B her mother raised her on, updated through a queer lens. “I wanted to really get into the form of R&B on this album which is also why it ends with a gospel track which I feel is quintessential R&B. ”
However it’s not all melancholic, the lead track, plus the mischievous ‘Sanaa Lathan’, and the skeletal ‘w_me’, where MHYSA uses her breath and vocals with a live druml, have found themselves in Kode9’s sets recently. MHYSA also explores sensuality in the build up to the apocalypse, on tracks like ‘before the world ends.’
On NEVAEH’s progression from fantasii, MHYSA says, “I wanted to be more vulnerable with my tracks and experiment with vocal range…I wanted to write more complicated vocal melodies that would be harder for me to do.” What’s more MHYSA’s production experiments with new techniques, live sounding digital instrumentation, playing keys, using her voice in new ways – much of which was self taught, in the tradition of the musicians in her family who came before her.
A unique album of outtakes from the classic Songs Of Praise and In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land albums, compiled by On-U archivist Patrick Dokter from the original tapes and expertly sequenced to work as an immersive listening experience. A companion piece to the acclaimed Return Of The Crocodile set from 2016 that took the listener on a version excursion through the early years of the group.
These are the dubbier and more out-there experiments mixed down whilst Adrian Sherwood was shaping the sound of the albums. Bubbling percussion lines skitter across the stereo spectrum, ghostly voices echo inside the machine and mangled guitar riffs beam down from Mars, whilst staying rooted in the tough tribal rhythms that form the bedrock of the AHC sound, this is music for the head and feet, take heed!
A new sub-label of the longstanding Canadian electro imprint Suction Records, Ice Machine — focusing on old-school wave/post-punk sounds — launches on Valentines Day 2020, debuting with this new vinyl reissue of Ceramic Hello’s 1981 minimal synth classic “The Absence Of A Canary.”
A long-time cult favourite among fans of obscure ’80s synth-pop, this LP remains highly sought-after, and is rated as one of the genre’s top 20 records ever made by Minimal Wave label head Veronica Vasicka, who calls it “a beautiful record, inside and out.” This is our 2nd edition of the LP — it was previously reissued on Suction Records in 2002, but even that reissue is now long sold out, and the interest in this strange, utterly unique DIY time-capsule has not subsided in the least. The reissue was transferred and painstakingly remastered from perhaps the last sealed copy of the original 1981 LP in existence. We are proud to make this Canadian synth classic available again.
Ceramic Hello hailed from Burlington Ontario, about an hour outside of Toronto, and comprised of Brett Wickens, who composed and performed the more synth-pop-oriented songs on the LP, with clear nods to early-Ultravox and OMD, plus Roger Humphries, who contributed the album’s otherwordly, classically-informed synth interludes. Shortly after the 1981 release of the LP, Wickens moved to the UK to work for legendary Factory Records-associated design firm Peter Saville Associates, where he created iconic LP covers for the likes of New Order, Joy Division, and Peter Gabriel. The Absence Of A Canary’s striking cover, an eerie silver-faced enigma, was Wickens’ first LP design and has become iconic in its own right — an enduring signpost in the minimal synth underground.
The LP contains 14 songs, and is housed in a recreation of the original silver jacket, with an insert/poster + 4-page-lyric-sheet and equipment list (a reproduction – this was originally available by mailing to Ceramic Hello in 1981 – scarce few copies exist and we were finally able to obtain a scan for this new pressing!).
Simulcast follows the highly anticipated release of Tycho’s fifth studio album Weather earlier in the year. Simulcast features instrumental versions of the album tracks. Tycho are the double Grammy nominated, electronic music project led by Scott Hansen as primary composer, songwriter and producer. The group is taking a step towards their previous output and signature Tycho sound. Simulcast will be available on Mom + Pop Music X Ninja Tune.
Look At Us Now Dad, Banoffee’s debut album, is an uplifting, optimistic journey that celebrates survival in the face of abuse and adversity. Featuring collaborations with SOPHIE, Empress Of, CupcakKe and umru, and co-produced by Banoffee and Yves Rothman, the music is a kinetic hybrid of experimental club sounds and earworm pop. “Each song uses human experience to talk about more complex concepts like addiction, obsession, heartbreak and resurrection,” says Banoffee. “Not to dwell in sadness, but to join hands.”
The album was written in the two years after the artist moved to LA from Melbourne seeking a fresh start after a mental breakdown. Meticulously studying what caused her collapse, Banoffee examined her life in order to reclaim her narrative and grow from victim to survivor. Look At Us Now Dad tells a story of triumph—over abuse, sadness, and loss—and is a testament to the possibilities of rebirth. As Banoffee puts it: “Each track is about a struggle and achievement that anyone could experience, the ones that sometime seem trivial. We’re all survivors for one reason or another.”
Title track “Look At Us Now Dad” is a bittersweet ballad addressed to her father that examines how trauma is passed between generations. In “Permission,” she directly confronts her abusers while singing in an auto-tuned glissando amidst haunting chasms of empty space. “Count On You,” a full-throttle anthem fueled by blasts of jagged synths and written at the peak of the #MeToo movement, is a relentless declaration of solidarity with survivors. “Ripe,” co-produced with SOPHIE, is a pop banger where Banoffee’s shimmering, angelic vocals plunge into a demented underbelly of flouro-synths and twisted club sounds.
Across the album, the production’s textural emphasis on crunchy sounds and smooth transitions serves as a darker, more experimental foil to Banoffee’s narrative-driven lyrics and hook-laden melodies. “It’s an exciting time for pop music,” says Banoffee, who relishes her position at the border between avant-garde art and above-ground sounds. The broadening of the popscape to include more radical and queer artists such as herself is heartening—and playing in Charli XCX’s band on the Taylor Swift tour taught her a lot about how commercial music brings people together. “Pop isn’t lyrically political like in the 60s,” she says, “but now, the existence of these avant artists is advocating for nonconformists.”
Felis Catus and Silence is a breakthrough release for Tokyo composer-guitarist Leo Takami, following the milestone albums Children’s Song (2012) and Tree of Life (2017). Takami counterpoints the soothing aesthetics of prime-era Windham Hill New Age guitar-heroism with meditative, intellectual compositions comprised of ambitious, process-oriented arrangements. While Takami largely wears his genre influences on his sleeve — jazz, classical, Japanese gagaku — the influence of ambient music is a tacit foundation of his work. Working diligently outside of any established communities for fringe musics, Takami conjures this association through a patient focus on generous musical intervals. Steady, kaleidoscopic unfolding of his compositions reflect Takami’s creative intent to “become aware of precisely the time and place I am living.” The unabashedly sweet, tuneful virtues of his music in concert with this reflective form provide an artistic relief of Takami’s thematic harmony. “Each song is based on birth and death, and moving onto the next stage…”
Leo Takami, born 1970, studied guitar under Hideaki Tsumura (aka Kamekichi Tsumura) and performs regularly in Tokyo.
US Born, Marseille based house producer and DJ, Grant returns to Lobster Theremin, with a 9 track album brimming with warm, melodic, deep house cuts. Fantasy Blues drops November 29th via Lobster Theremin.
Opener, Ephemeral Chase signals a cosmic journey, driven with four to the floor motive. Mind Space is spaced out, modern deep-house at it’s best. On the flip, Zarenzeit joins Grant on Amaranthine Profundity, while Finite Elements chugs into an ethereal, vocal cut. Manifest picks up the pace, note a welcome homage to London town. Previous collaborator, Dan Piu features on stripped-back roller, Boundless. Joining forces on Invisible Skills, Brooklyn based composer Emil Abramyan injects otherworldly influences to the album, followed by Melancholic wiggler, Lucent Eyes. The Road In Front Of Me rounds out the release on soulful, classic tip, with velvet vocals courtesy of Jenifa Mayanja. Blissful.
Ltd 2020 Repress – 250 copies only – CHI started in the late punk years in the early eighties. A time of change and mind-blowing albums. We started doing sound experiments in an old farm in Moordrecht (thanks to Jan van Rhee and Kees van der Veer). In the summer, all the doors and windows were open, birds flew in and out. In the distance we saw the highway to Rotterdam. In the winter we sat close together, no heating, only blankets, candles and brandy.
Huerta’s debut album for Voyage is a righteous journey along the coast of California; a psychosomatic blend of melodic rhythm, natural sounds and ambient textures.
Recorded throughout 2019, Huerta combines a blissful wash of west coast inspired ambient with the more affable, rhythmic house cuts he has been previously known for. Drawing on the surrounding landscapes of his upbringing, Huerta’s ode to the Juniper tree is an immersive and introspective experience; a long player capable of taking you to an elevated state of mind.
Composed, arranged and recorded by Steve Huerta at Diesel Studios Berlin, 2019