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.
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..
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.
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.
When science fiction turns science fact the effect can be truly momentous. The state demands that no-one wants an unlicensed machine-hum from an outbuilding; no-one wants clever prose mapping the future, no-one wants “music” that is attention-seeking, soul-defining, beneficial, Biblical, baroque and beautiful. No-one told Jane Weaver that.
Jane Weaver’s multi-layered synthetics evolved into a welcoming slew with 2014’s The Silver Globe, continuing through to 2017’s Modern Kosmology. Loops In The Secret Society is a re-imagined journey through parts of both albums, with new ambient pieces primed and polished; with new tangents explored in a lab-friendly blossoming of the Weaver vision that travels yet further into the psych of our future. A continuous experience with one-line observations set in glorious sense-stimulating sound.
That source material was then united in an expansionist experiment in late 2018. The Loops In The Secret Society tour fused unrelated sounds set off against sympathetic new textures, tones and drones ; hot-housed into an idealistic soundscape that formed the conducive parts of the imminent album of the same name.
Co-conspirators include Henry Broadhead, PJ Phillipson and Andy Votel. Renegades all, headed by the enigmatic Weaver – all under surveillance.
2LP – Double Black Vinyl in Silver Foiled Gatefold Sleeve.
British experimental musician, composer, performer and producer Anthony Moore was a founding member of Slap Happy and has worked with Henry Cow, Kevin Ayers, and Pink Floyd among other great names in the British scene. In 1971 he moved to Hamburg, Germany, and worked in the boiling experimental scene of the city. As a result, two LPs were issued on Polydor in 1971 and 1972, right before forming Slap Happy with old school pal Peter Blegvad and Dagmar Krause.
“Pieces From a Cloudland Ballroom” is the first of those early solo LPs by Moore on Polydor. It was released in 1971 under the production of Uwe Nettlebeck and featured Anthony Moore on conduction, Ulf Kenklies, Glyn Davenport and Gieske Hof-Helmers on vocals, plus Werner ‘Zappa’ Diermeier on hi-hat.
Pure minimalist experimentation with echoes of Richard Young’s “Advent” or even Moondog, done just a month after Faust (who included Werner ‘Zappa’ Diermeier) recorded their first LP. The missing link between British “art-rock” and the German “krautrock” scenes!
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.
Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie make a bold return as A Winged Victory For The Sullen on their new album The Undivided Five. On The Undivided Five they rekindle their unique partnership for only their second piece of original music outside of film, TV and stage commissions, creating an album that channels ritual, higher powers and unspoken creative energies producing bold new work built on their foundations in ambient and neoclassical.
Their fifth release (following their debut album, two scores and an EP), they embraced the serendipitous role of the number five, inspired by artist Hilma af Klint and the recurrence of the perfect fifth chord.
The album was also shaped by the breadth of locations in which it was created, helping to shape its nuanced sonics. In addition to O’Halloran and Wiltzie’s respective Berlin and Brussels studios, the record took shape across six different sites. They recorded orchestral samples in Budapest’s Magyar Rádió Studio 22, re-recorded album parts in Brussels’ Eglise Du Beguinage’s unique, reverb-heavy surrounds (where Wiltzie has performed with Stars of the Lid and, in 2018, organised a tribute concert for Jóhann Jóhannsson), experimented with overdubs in Ben Frost’s Reykjavik studio, and recorded grand piano parts in a remote woodland studio in northern Italy. The duo pay close attention to the micro-level of sound, and each of these places was chosen for the qualities which could enrich the finished product. And it’s in Francesco Donadello’s studio in Berlin, where all of the previous AWVFTS material has been mixed, that the album was run through the studio’s analog board, binding the record’s different parts together.
The album is their debut for Ninja Tune, and comes as change is underway for O’Halloran, moving from Berlin – hence the title of Keep It Dark, Deutschland – after a decade in the German capital. He’s headed to Iceland, the country where the pair shot their latest press photos and which is an important locale for both of them. The wide-spanning connections which have shaped the record are testament to their deep roots as artists. This album’s powerful energy is driven by the deep-rooted bond between them.
Bureau B present a reissue of Serge Blenner’s La Vogue, originally released in 1980. Music for the apocalyptic eighties Deutschland state of mind. When Serge Blenner left his native France for Hamburg, West Germany, neither he nor anyone else could have guessed that he would inadvertently compose a soundtrack for the Cold War. But his dark, monotone synthesizer album La Vogue turned out to be just that. Blenner was born in 1955 in Alsace, the easternmost region of France. He studied composition and harmony at the Conservatoire de Mulhouse. He loved listening to electronic music from the Berlin School: Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel/Manuel Göttsching, whom he got to know when they played in Alsatian churches and chapels. Blenner the proselyte had seen enough to realize: it was time to move to Germany, whence this music came. The year was 1975. He soon began experimenting with electronic music himself and graduated to live performances by 1978 and finally settled in Hamburg in 1979. One of the most important electronic music labels of the period, Sky Records, was based in Hamburg. Within the space of six months, Blenner had recorded the tracks which would become La Vogue and sent them to Sky Records. A deal was done and La Vogue was officially released before the year ended. The record was a resounding success, some tracks even made it onto the radio — crucially, aired at hours of the day when significant numbers of listeners were tuning in. The longest track on La Vogue by far clocks up to nearly nine minutes, a rarity in Blenner’s oeuvre, well outside his usual range of three-to-five minutes. La Vogue is an album of two halves. Through the first four tracks, Blenner still seems to be searching for his own style, beginning with the minimalistic, rather somber fanfare of “Phrase I” built around a single melodic pattern. Next up is the almost poppy, harmonically rich “Phrase II”, followed by the spherical “Phrase III” and the crystalline, chiming “Phrase IV”. If the first four cuts are linked only by heterogeneity, tracks five to eight are very much of a piece. Together they represent a frosty, menacing soundtrack worthy of the apocalyptic mood which hung over the early 1980s, particularly in West Germany. With Cold War angst at its peak, many people feared a Soviet nuclear attack was imminent.
Berlin’s producer, sound designer, and composer Sven Weisemann’s fourth full-length as Desolate arrives on Fauxpas Musik. Entitled Exceptionalism, it features 11 tracks melting the ’90s. The tracks are intelligent down-tempo with a touch of ambient. 180 gram vinyl.
It’s a bit like a time capsule of expression,” says DJ and producer Baltra of his debut album. “It started out as an idea lacking focus – to just release an album – but took on greater meaning when my father passed away somewhat unexpectedly. He was the rock in our family and I wouldn’t be who I am today without him. I’ve titled the album Ted in his honour.”
Whilst an unexpected tragedy may have shaped the trajectory of the album and given it a sense of purpose and meaning – whilst also tinting it with sadness – musically the result feels more rooted in triumph and elation. As grief can often do, it plunges one deep into themselves, allowing them to connect to a deeper and more intimate level than perhaps normally possible. This has been the case on Baltra’s debut and the result is a deeply personal, intricate and stirring collection of electronic music.
Fusing subtle fizzing beats, gently whirring melodies, engulfing atmospheres and tracks that weave between dance floor euphoria and isolated headphone listening, Baltra explores th depths and nuances of electronic music. He’s made a record that delves as deep into tones textures and moods as he has into his own self. “The album went through many phases,” he says. “But in the end staying true to my emotions along this whirlwind of a ride seemed like the
proper way to do it rather than to conceptualize something that I couldn’t even put into words at the time. With this record I’ve aimed to really bring the listener into my world – into my audio landscape.”
The album gently glides between genres, subtle flickers of drum n bass nestle up against minimal techno whilst clouds of ambient coat tracks in a dreamy and immersive fog. As a result, this record feels less like presenting a singular exploration of genre and more a presentation of Baltra as a person; capturing his moods and feelings as they move, change and grow. “The vibe for me when creating music is to always stay honest with myself and how I’m feeling at that moment in time,” he says. “I find that this always leads me to being the most creative I can be in any environment. I can feel quite vulnerable but I tend to think that’s when I’m at my best and it’s something I’d like to share with my audience – emotional freedom and a connection through shared experience above and beyond spoken language.”
Despite the intimate and deeply personal nature of this record (with one of the tracks even going as far as sampling one of his own father’s songs) the music still explores a universality in music and a sense of community, capturing the magic, ecstasy and power that electronic music has in connecting people from different worlds. This is reflected by Baltra inviting South Korean artist Park Hye Jin to contribute on the lead track, which feels emblematic to the album’s ability to relate and connect.
Since so many European labels have been reissuing lost and obscure 1980s Japanese ambient albums of late, it was probably inevitable that at least one label would put together a compilation paying tribute to the sound. It turns out that Jazzy Couscous has won the race with Kumo No Moko, a superb double album that does a terrific job in putting Japan’s ’80s ambient scene in context. As you’d expect, the majority of the tracks feature either dreamy electronic sounds or a mixture of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, with nods to jazz coming thick and fast. There are naturally a couple of fairly well-known names on show, but for the most part the compilers have done a terrific job in highlight lesser-known tracks from unsung heroes.
The first album on Numbers from Complete Walkthru aka US producer Max McFerren, titled Scrolls, is out on 20th September 2019.
Scolls plays around with themes of privacy, disillusionment and personal development over eleven tracks, representing a transitional time in McFerren’s life. Through Scrolls’ early stages he moved from New York, where he was holding down a residency at Brooklyn’s Bossa Nova Civic Club and playing regularly in downtown Manhattan at the iconic China Chalet and the now much missed Santos Party House, to the open, rural setting of South Carolina.
The albums personality, and the thematic preoccupations underlying it, reflect the impact of this contrast. It’s sound textures cast widely into what McFerren describes as “the ephemera of the saturated digital realm” while moving through arcane rhythms, chiming melodies and expansive, metallically tinged ambient passages. First single Lean In, streaming in full now, is a dusty breaks-tight miasma of fragmented cyber-consciousness. There are playful, hyperactive refrains on Getting Ridiculous. Leavin’ Church Early is an expansive beat free meditation, while NYC’s dynamic momentum is a cityscape of bad-faith corporate aspiration.
McFerren refers to his motivations with Scrolls as being “anti-nihilism”, as reacting against a dark emptiness he perceives in certain forms of techno. Ultimately with the record, he is seeking the potential of centring joy in the present moment, in a conscious awareness of now.
The eighth instalment of Mike Dehnert’s MD2 series is another set of primo club tools from the Fachwerk boss. These tunes perfectly synthesise dub techno, minimal techno and Berlin-school tech-house. Generally the production here is crisp and elegant – this is particularly true on the first two tracks – but closer ‘MD2.8.3’ threatens to upset the balance with glitching loops and degraded bass hits. If you’ve been digging Levon Vincent’s recent Dance Music EPs then we suggest that you give MD2.8 a spin.
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.
Following up his pair of cryptically luminous EPs for Northern Electronics in the past years, Evigt Morker presents his debut album, Krona. With a shuffling atmosphere that’s hard to pin down, the album chronically fixates on the degradation and construction of rhythmic drills with finely rendered parts and patterns. Spiralling the listener through a set of stormy soundscapes, Krona keeps placing the horizon just ahead, and just out of reach. The unease that Evigt Morker invites us into is electrically charged and threatening to crack. For all its syncopation we are relentlessly swerving through the works, afraid of teasing an arcing static shock from the blistering commotion. The album’s propulsive tracks are settled against a pair of stunning ambient compositions that capture some of the tension from a distance. Technical dexterity and perfectly pitched intensity stakes out Evigt Morker’s debut album as an impressive statement.
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.
The wicked intensity of Toronto’s E-Saggila takes on novel limits for her new album for Northern Electronics. Constructed out of her live works, there’s a lack of restraint on ‘My World My Way’ that could only be forged in the moment. Following on from last year’s album for BANK Records NYC, E-Saggila has put together something that addresses the club and the headphones in equal measure. Taking the approach of a documentarian of our virtual landscape, there’s a deep motive that underpins the heavy digital signal processing. With plenty of storming mechanical rhythms that embark from gabber’s chaotic neighborhood, the samples of voices, conversations, and phone calls, all wind the listener around the desperation that’s embedded in the digital world’s seamless mediation of our lives. Owing as much to power violence and industrial as to Rotterdam, E-Saggila’s affinity for the extremes is as conceptually critical as it is stylistically present. Riding the BPMs high, and binding this all together with ambient music’s sensibilities, ‘My World My Way’ moves in sharp strides between a political statement and a dancefloor assault.
Very few albums manage to unveil their roots so honestly and at the same time succeed in creating something utterly distinct. ‘Of All The Things’ from Jazzanova is one of these albums. Originally released in 2008 on Universal, it now gets a luxurious reissue on Sonar Kollektiv as a 3LP with pop-up gatefold cover including previously unreleased instrumentals. This format corresponds perfectly with the elegant opulence of the music that shines even brighter eleven years after its initial release. At no time is it unclear that this album is a deep bow to soul from the 1960s and 70s as well as genres like jazz, brazil and pop music in the vein of the early Beatles. Along these lines, ‘Of All The Things’ is meant to be perceived as a tribute to the music that Jazzanova has been honoring affectionately in their DJ sets and which has always had a decisive influence on their own productions. At the same time, the Jazzanova guys have been successful in casually creating elaborate musical pieces which convey a deeply contemporary vibe – not least because of the multifarious references to electronic productions.
The path to this sophomore long player, which features the contribution of over 50 studio musicians, had been laid out beginning with Jazzanova’s first album ‘In Between’ from 2002. While the overall impression of their full length debut was more minimal and rooted in club genres like broken beat and acid jazz, it became immediately apparent with Jazzanova’s remix for Heavy’s ‘Wonderlove (for Minnie)’ in 2005 that the music collective was ready to progress towards utilizing the acoustic and electric instruments of studio musicians. Another fine step forward was the production of the soundtrack for ‘Belle Et Fou’ in 2006 with its sophisticated arrangements and live orchestra.
It could be said that ‘Of All The Things’ is the culminating point of a long developing focus on songwriting and orchestra arrangements. However, it is notable that the album doesn’t rest on indulging in its musicians’ skills. Instead, by retaining elements of electronic music production, Jazzanova always makes references to alternative ways of creating music. Particularly, methods such as sampling are very near and dear to Jazzanova: “We have tried to write songs that we would love to sample ourselves”, the DJ and producer collective points out. There was no mistaking the outstanding role of sampling on ‘In Between’ already. The further development of this technique’s utilization on ‘Of All The Things’ is that Jazzanova would like the music on the album to be read as samples – only that this time the guys have written all the samples themselves.
Combining the art of sampling with classic compositional practices and songwriting – that’s where this album excels while displaying the defining innovation of these musicians whose roots lie in DJ culture. What makes the songs on ‘Of All The Things’ even more exciting are the many features of renowned vocalists like Phonte Coleman who has been causing quite a stir in the R’n’B world together with Little Brother as Foreign Exchange. The album also features a duet from Detroit legends Leon Ware and Dwele, the unique voice of Blue Note artist Jose James and even a guest appearance from Fat Freddy’s Drop front man Joe Dukie. Furthermore, the album marks the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Paul Randolph – another Detroit legend who has gone on to become one of the leading figures in Jazzanova’s live band.
In this regard, it’s important to highlight that ‘Of All The Things’ also marked the start of Jazzanova as a live band: The band has been on tour since 2009, playing more than 250 concerts all over the world on almost every continent. So it seems very natural to celebrate the importance of this album as a vinyl reissue and to call to mind its relevance once again.
DeepChord’s Rod Modell meets Walter Wacasz for a brain-massaging 3rd album of sanguine ambient bliss under their Shorelights alias
Inspired by the Great Lakes of North America and the “psychotropic and interstellar activity surrounding them,” Shorelights limn a sferic soundsphere glowing with a gently decaying/departing but phosphorescent energy. Rod Modell’s celebrated, organically natural sound design talents are clearly on display, and guided by a conceptual and spiritual guidance from Wacasz
The piece unfurls over two sides that faithfully lend a pillowy, aerated level of tog to the listener, as orange/pink hued timbral horizons form the backdrop to the sound of shore-lapping location recordings and distant, half-heard voices that swirl across the foreground, drawing the user into a gauzy mid ground by the half-way point, where we’re beautifully reminded of BC’s ‘Radiance’ or classic Vainqueur, but fizzling away like a campfire in drizzle.
Ex-Terrestrial associate Richard Wenger – better known as R Weng – dons a new alias here, for an album that’s apparently the result of a “three-year experiment in minimal synth maximalism”. In practice, that means a hugely enjoyable trip through Radio Workshop style synthesizer motifs, hypnotic machine rhythms, 1970s style electronic music soundscapes, jaunty turn-of-the-90s IDM and occasional forays into decidedly dubbed-out, synth-driven grooves. It’s a hugely enjoyable collection of cuts, with Wenger providing finished tracks that sound like they could have been made in 1979 (or in some cases, ’69) rather than 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.
To celebrate the 90th anniversary of Luc Ferrari’s birth, Transversales Disques announce the release of Photophonie – Bandes magnétiques inédites, unpublished archives, spanning 1973-1992, revelatory collection of commercial, commission, and secret music by electroacoustic music pioneer Luc Ferrari. “Photophonie” (1989) features music for the photographic exhibition of Alain Willaume; “Il était une fois” (1973) was Commissioned by the G.M.E.B.; “Trans-Voices” (1992) was curated by the American Center, Paris; and “Leica” (1977) was used in advertisement for the Leica camera. Affiliated with French Radio’s Groupe de Musique Concrète, co-founder of the GRM with Pierre Schaeffer in 1958, Luc Ferrari (1929-2005) was a major figure of musique concrète and electroacoustic music, broke away to pave his own path of individualistic expressions of minimalist music, musical theater, field recordings, orchestral music and soundtracks.
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.
Platform 23 follow those ace “Alternative Funk” releases with a 4 EP collection of the music of Dutch producer Robbert Heijnen (Psychick Warriors Of Gaia / SUMUS) and his Exquisite Corpse project.
First appearing as a one off contribution to a Katharos Foundation compilation cassette and using only tape loops in 1986, Exquisite Corpse was resurrected in 1992, shortly before Robbert left PWOG to concentrate on his solo music.
Now equipped with a modest midi set-up, most of the Exquisite Corpse material was recorded with the aid of mixing desk master, engineer and friend, Tim Freeman, as well as with later contributions from partner Debbie Jones (The Mistress/DJ Venus). Released on Belgian label KK Records, the tracks included in these 12″s are taken from a furtive two year period that saw six EPs and two LPs released.
Starting with “Inner Rhythm (Higher World Mix)”, taken from 1993’s EP of the same name, Between Rhythms I starts with intent. Crisp percussion, relentless and interwoven sequences abound over a dark bassline, before the dub meet world sounds of “Kupuri” show the depth of EC’s outlook.
This is backed by the rawness of “X-Out” from 1992’s “Strange Attractor EP”. Recorded to cassette before Tim joined the project, the guttural bass and sharp percussion cross boundaries between house and techno. This deep tribal sound, full of pulsing drums highlights a sharper angle from much of EC’s output and as such, is a pure club machine.
The first EP closes with “Sitting In A Tree (Time Flies)”. The first track to be taken from their debut album, Dream Night Dance Music, the album is rightly considered their strongest, more rounded record, seeing it now trading at spiralled prices. With all 6 of it’s songs to be covered across the 12″ series, the ambient influences and yearning keys here make for a perfect, first ending.
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.
Yoshi Wada’s Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile, originally released in 1982 on India Navigation, remains one of the most remarkable flowers to grow in the rarefied air of American minimalism – akin to Terry Riley’s Reed Streams and Pauline Oliveros’ Accordion & Voice, yet with a wild, liberated energy all of its own. After graduating from Kyoto University of Fine Arts with a degree in sculpture, Wada moved to New York City in 1967 and quickly fell in with the community of artists known as Fluxus. In the early ’70s, he began building his own instruments and writing musical compositions, studying with La Monte Young and Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath. Recorded during an epic three-day session in an empty swimming pool in upstate New York, Wada’s first album brings together two of the oldest drone instruments – the human voice and bagpipes – to simple and glorious effect. A visit to the Scottish Highlands spurred Wada’s interest in bagpipes, which the composer integrated into these sparse, otherworldly sounds heard on Lament. “That swimming pool was quite hallucinatory,” recalls Wada. “It was another world. I felt it in terms of resonance. I slept in the pool, and whenever I moved, I woke up because of the reverberations…. The piece itself is an experiment with reeds and improvisational singing within the modal structure.” This first-time vinyl reissue is limited to 750 numbered copies. Comes with poster.
‘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.
Mamman Sani Abdullaye is a legendary name amongst Niger’s avant garde. A pioneer of early West African electronic music, for over 30 years his instrumentals have filled the airwaves. The instrumental background drones of radio broadcasts and instrumental segue ways of TV intermissions borrow heavily from his repertoire. The dreamy organ instrumentals drift by sans comment, yet are known to all.
Mamman first found the organ in 1974.
Mamman’s composes in technique that can only be called minimal, relying on the simplicity and space. It is a remarkable manipulation of sound that uses the silence to invoke the emptiness – a metaphoric desert soundscape. Unsurprisingly, his source material is folkloric Nigerien music, and many of the compositions on this record are reproductions of ancient songs brought into the modern age. Interpreting this rich and varied history of Niger’s dance and song for the first time in contemporary musics, Mamman electrifies the nomadic drum of the tende, the polyphonic ballads of the Woddaabe, and the pastoral hymns of the Sahelian herders. Accompany this repertoire are a few compositions, such as Salamatu, the deeply personal love letter to an unrequited romance.
His first and only album was recorded in 1978. Mamman stepped into the studio of the National Radio with his organ, where it was transposed and overdubbed in two takes. In coordination with the Minister of Culture, the album was released in a limited series of cassettes showcasing modern Niger music. The cassette project, unfortunately, did not progress as planned, and merely a handful were released. Today his cassettes are rare objects, highly sought by fine art connoisseurs and experimental music collectors in Niamey.
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.
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”.
Following 2017’s Infinite Avenue and 2013’s Sleeper, Both Lines Will Be Blue is Carmen’s first full instrumental album. A 7 track collection of cosmic excursions and dubby ambient-jams, the album is written, recorded, played, produced and mixed by Carmen in her Oslo studio. The soothing atmospherics are made up of tapestries of field recordings, synths, piano, drum-programming, zither and modular sounds. Throughout, Carmen’s music is colored by experimenting with different sounds and learning new techniques or by adding new instruments to the mix.
S U R V I V E members Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s score to Stranger Things 3 released on Double neon pink vinyl. This variant is exclusive outside of North and South America. The score comes housed in a deluxe heavyweight gatefold sleeve, with each record housed in a heavyweight board, double sided printed inner sleeve. The package features stunning artwork throughout designed by Kyle Lambert. Grammy Nominated and Emmy Winning composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s score to Stranger Things is perhaps the show’s secret ingredient. A mixture of icy new-wave hooks, spooky ambient textures and menacing drones which bring a spine-tingling ambience and a hauntingly beautiful nostalgia all at once.
140 gram vinyl; includes four-page insert with photos and liner notes. Three emotional years in the making, Be With and Efficient Space present Steve Hiett’s Girls In The Grass. Pressed alongside the long-awaited reissue of his one-shot masterpiece, Down On The Road By The Beach (BEWITH 001CD/061LP), these ten Balearic soul instrumentals are of equal necessity; unrivalled beauty rescued from the fashion photographer-guitarist Paris Tapes (1986-1997). While recordings unintended for release should often be approached with caution, this is a rare case of unheard material being assembled as an indispensable and coherent piece. Girls In The Grass is something super special. The light and shadow that defines Hiett’s music is arguably more compelling here. It speaks to us in a language that feels profound, yet entirely comforting and familiar. Girls In The Grass reintroduces Hiett’s languid electric blues boogie, crafted on Saturday afternoons with fellow art director Simon Kentish. Kentish would cook, pour some wine, and then utilize his arsenal of technology. He’d dial up a chugging rhythm, together with some ambient pads or keyboard textures, and anchor the weightless gauze of Hiett’s six-stringed touch. Hiett’s guitar sings with the same clean, crisp tone as Down On The Road, animated by a carefree weekend groove. Unlike his defining album which was boiled under pressure, these subsequent sessions have all the time in the world. The naïve melodies chart a missing link between Vini Reilly’s ventures into electronica and Booker T, sounding like sun-warped takes on wordless, fractured non-hits from his heroes The Beach Boys. Remastered from the previously unreleased, original masters by Simon Francis. These private moments are adorned with Hiett’s singular photography and feature typically idiosyncratic liner notes from Mikey IQ Jones.
140 gram vinyl; gatefold sleeve; includes 16-page insert with photos and liner notes. For the first time since its inception in 1983, Steve Hiett’s elusive Down On The Road By The Beach is finally made available outside of Japan. Most recognized in the fashion sphere as an English photographer and graphic designer, Hiett’s transportive audio portraits amplify his serpentine guitar to the infinite blue, recorded across Paris, Tokyo and New York. A career devotee of Brian Wilson’s groundbreaking harmonies, Hiett shot The Beach Boys for Rolling Stone — as well as The Doors, Miles Davis, and Jimi Hendrix — while establishing himself as a fashion photographer. Decamping to Paris in 1972, he began what would become 20-year collaborations with Vogue Paris and Marie Claire. In 1982, representatives from Tokyo’s Galerie Watari visited him to propose a solo exhibition. Asking if he could insert a 7″ of original music into the back of the exhibition catalogue, Hiett laid down “Blue Beach – Welcome To Your Beach” in a Parisian radio station, playing all of the instruments himself, and two more cuts in New York with Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers, and Steely Dan hired-gun, Elliot Randall. Once dispatched, there were requests for him to fly to Tokyo to record; it wasn’t until he arrived that he discovered CBS/Sony had facilitated an entire album. Heitt hastily gripped some petty cash, bought a guitar, and retreated to his hotel room to start writing. Entering the studio the following day, he was further surprised by a waiting room of session players known as Moonriders — one of Japan’s most acclaimed rock bands of the 1980s. Intimidated by their indecipherable sheet music, Hiett suggested Randall join them and with money being no object for major labels at the time, his wingman was on the next plane out of New York. Near-ambient arrangements that float in a space between The Durutti Column, Steve Cropper, and Ashra, Down On The Road By The Beach also crowns Hiett the master of recontextualization with his zero-gravity blues visions of “Roll Over Beethoven”, Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” and the 1967 Eddie Floyd soul hit, “Never Found A Girl”. Produced in coordination between Be With Records, Efficient Space and the artist, this definitive reissue is restored from original masters; extensive liner notes penned by Mikey IQ Jones.
Iona Fortune crystallizes and convects enchanting thoughts on the legendary I Ching in a keenly awaited second volume of Tao of I, following from her resoundingly acclaimed 2017 debut for Optimo Music (OM 010LP), where lustrous synthetic subbass met traditional Chinese strings with sublimely spirited and timeless effect. Issued by Ecstatic as the second of eight albums by Iona exploring hexagrams of the I Ching, or “The Book of Changes” — a 2,500-year-old Chinese divination text referenced extensively in religion, art, philosophy, psychoanalysis, science, and mathematics. Tao Of I Volume 2 sees the Glasgow-raised, Zurich-based artist refer to millennia of human experience through an electro-acoustic prism of Synthi AKS, guzheng, and Gamelan, newly expanded with erhu, kim, yanqin, zhong, and bawu. The wider scope of her palette allows a greater detail of airy calligraphic expression to her multi-dimensional microcosmos, channeling a wondrous energy in a fluidly melodic narration of mystic ideas made musically tangible. In eight parts Iona acts as conduit for extraordinary, invisible, and arcane forces. Inspired by the I Ching’s fundamental principles, her music resonates with a visceral and cosmic conception of human essence, infusing minimalist frameworks with finely tempered but lush emotive cues that bring to life the I Ching’s conviction that “music has the power to ease tension within the heart and to loosen the grip of obscure emotions.” Iona’s music most beautifully manifests this idea in concisely exacting forms and to contemplative ends, creating a slow, serene and harmonious music that coolly commands relaxed states of reception, best for mulling over life, and stuff. At once as light as a fleeting thought but permanent as an organism passing on its code, the music conjures mindsets comparable to Coil at their uncanniest, the post-erotica 4th world sensations generated by Jon Hassell, or the dark energy expressed in David Lynch films and their soundtracks. Most crucially Iona achieves this through a synthesis of self-exploration and instrumental actualization, employing an unusual composition strategy of inner cultivation and empathic performance to divine and realize a spellbinding, penetrative otherness. RIYL: Coil, Laraaji, Jon Hassell, David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti. Mastered and cut by Dubplates & Mastering.
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.”
Mark Korven’s original soundtrack for ‘The Lighthouse,’ starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, marks his second collaboration with director Robert Eggers (The Witch). “Robert [Eggers] and I were rather like the two wickies that went insane in The Lighthouse, musically speaking. We travelled to some very dark harmonic and textural places. We both enjoy not just breaking the rules, but blowing them to smithereens. The spirit of experimentation was always present.” -Composer Mark Korven “Composer Mark Korven and I developed a shorthand working together on The Witch. This made collaborating on The Lighthouse an incredibly enjoyable process. But it was not without its many challenges. Originally, I wanted a score with no strings at all. The Witch soundtrack was so string-prominent that I wanted a full departure. I only wanted horns, pipes, conch shells, concertina – things that sounded like the sea – or the lighthouse station’s ominous foghorn. It would be a minimalist aleatoric soundtrack with a nod to sea shanties and ancient Greek music. As Mark and I embraced the sound of big brass sections, it quickly became a maximalist aleatoric soundtrack. From the beginning, Mark thought that we might need some string textures to tell the story and that I was being foolhardy. As usual, he was right, but it took some time for me to hear that I was wrong. We eventually set up an experimental session with a cellist and a double bass player to create some strange, otherworldly sounds to use in moments of high tension, rather than relying on the tried and true Penderecki-esque string rises of horror cinema (although we still use a couple). These strings would be obscured and camouflaged. I was fine with that. To create the ethereal and monstrous sounds of the light itself, Mark experimented with the waterphone, glass harmonica, his famous Apprehension Engine – as well as friction mallets drawn across cymbals, wood, and glass. This beautiful work of Mark’s, combined with Damian Volpe’s sound design, does so much to convey the inner world of Rob and Willem’s characters.”
Blume present the first ever reissue of Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros’s Musica Nova Contemplativa, originally released in 1970. This stunning artifact of its era has, until now, remained among the rarest artifacts in the field of cross-disciplinary efforts known as the Artist Record: sonic adventures embarked on by artists primarily dedicated to the visual realm. Creatively challenging, ahead of its time, and unquestionably beautiful, its rare musicality sets the stage for alternate understandings of what minimalism was and came from, during its early years. Droning and tense, subtle melodic elements underpin sheets of tone and atonality, sculpting an incongruous sense of spatial ambience; the concept of Musica Nova Contemplativa drew on a unique, unfixed compositional system created by combining traditional musical notation with mobile and variable elements, expressed graphically as a system of coordinates which leave variation, interpretation, and improvisation up to the performer. Captured as eleven distinct movements, the work, in hindsight, can now be understood as a lost, freestanding work of musical minimalism, echoing idiomatic roots in Fluxus and the raw temperaments of artists like Tony Conrad and Henry Flynt, threaded with touchstones in the work of Eliane Radigue, Giacinto Scelsi, and Jani Christou. Born in Germany during 1941 and educated in philosophy and psychology, over the last half century the bulk of Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros’s artistic output has been largely oriented around painting, sculpture, and installation, each focused on the experiences of phenomena, environment, and light. Musica Nova Contemplativa was composed in 1964 as a graphic score, then it was interpreted and recorded by Mühlum-Pyrápheros on violin and Johann Georg Ickler on organ three years later in a Franciscan church in Bensheim as is a logical extension of the artists broader concerns: seeking further territories of inclusive and expansive environments of experience. Intended as acoustic extensions of his paintings, the collective contents of the album are a metaphysical and esoteric rising in sound. Out-of-print for almost 50 years, this edition represents its first ever reissue in any form, complete with an interview between Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros and Stefan Bremer conducted for the occasion of this reissue, and newly commissioned liner notes by Bradford Bailey. Includes printed inner sleeve and an original insert that functions as obi; Edition of 300.
Inland Versions is the electronic extension of the latest album Inland (IF 1050CD/LP) by the French pianist Vanessa Wagner. Five reworks by GAS, Suzanne Ciani, Vladislav Delay, Nadia Struiwigh, and Marc Melia. On the original album, released in May of 2019, Vanessa Wagner performed, with excellence, solo piano rare pieces from the minimalist repertoire (Moondog, Philip Glass, Wim Mertens…) to featured works from younger composers from the contemporary music scene (Bryce Dessner, Nico Mulhly). On Inland Versions, the pianist has invited established artists from the current experimental scene to transform her unique interpretations into equally fascinating electronic explorations.
The quietly magisterial might of ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ has been a gateway for many listeners to the world of late, great composer Johann Jóhannsson. The vinyl version of his 2nd album now arrives agai on vinyl via Deutsche Grammophon’s ongoing reissue programme for Jóhannsson’s peerless catalogue.
Originally issued by Touch in 2004 on CD, and on vinyl in 2011, ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ followed from the fractured mosaic of ‘Englabörn’ (2002) to reveal Jóhannsson’s sound in landscaped widescreen across eight durational arrangements for heavy electronic bass, glowing brass horns, and stately organ. It’s a sound that arguably evokes the tundra expanses and snowy mountain ranges of the artist’s native Iceland, while also clearly infused with a slow-burning warmth of spirit and natural curiosity that’s long been key to his work.
This abridged vinyl edition features four tracks from the eight found on the CD. Ranging from 14’ to nearly 22’ in length, they take the longview on a form of contemporary classical minimalism, distilling a 12 piece ensemble into a suite of a subtly melancholy but optimistic fanfare underlined by tectonic bass drones and outlined by meridian electronic timbres that gradually work their way from the liminal extremes and into the record’s pregnant lacunæ by the final ‘Part 4.’
Essentially ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ feels like a sanguine, telescoped vision of Jóhannsson’s’s future horizon, when he would emerge among the eminent film soundtrack composers of his generation. It remains a true classic in his catalogue, one of the strongest of the 21st century so far.
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.
Mika Vainio left behind a lots of unfinished projects and unreleased music.
This archive series is presenting some pieces which can be considered as completed works.
The first volume comprise of two selections from the 48:22 long untitled recording Mika Vainio did as Ã˜ for the radio project Ambient City at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki 1994.
Nils Frahm releases Encores 3 on September 20, 2019 — the third and final instalment of his Encores series. The three EPs will be available as one full length release titled All Encores featuring 80 minutes of music on October 18, to follow his masterful 2018 album All Melody.
Whilst Encores 1 focused on an acoustic pallet of sounds with solo piano and harmonium at the core, and Encores 2 explored more ambient landscapes, now Encores 3 sees Nils expand on the percussive and electronic elements in his work.
The 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.
350gsm sleeve with selected UV high gloss varnish; WRWTFWW Records announce the release of Irish ambient/minimalist producer Gareth Quinn Redmond’s Laistigh den Ghleo, a companion album to Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way (Wave Notation 2) (WRWTFWW 030CD/LP). “Conceptually derived from the work of Japanese minimalist composer Satoshi Ashikawa, I have composed an album which hopes to engage, enrich and reflect the listener’s surroundings, an Environmental Music” –Gareth Quinn Redmond. Working with Still Way as a base for inspiration, Gareth Quinn Redmond takes Ashikawa’s meditative sound designs to more dramatic and lyrical landscapes, gracefully instilling his personal touch into the master’s melodic patterns and presenting six pieces which blend and reflect the modern listener’s ever-changing environment. As Midori Takada explains in the liner notes, “Even though Gareth is deeply influenced by Still Way, he looks above, toward the air and the sky. He pays respect to Ashikawa’s approach, but adds bold elements from another dimension — Satoshi Ashikawa aspired to crystallize the sound structure of nature that exists in the environment. Gareth tries to capture what flourishes out of it.” Laistigh den Ghleo is released in conjunction with Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way (Wave Notation 2) reissue on WRWTFWW Records. Liner Notes by Midori Takada and Gareth Quinn Redmond. LP version comes in 350gsm sleeve with selected UV high gloss varnish.
350gsm sleeve with selected UV high gloss varnish. Liner notes by Midori Takada, Satoshi Ashikawa, and Gareth Quinn Redmond. WRWTFWW Records announce the reissue of Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way (Wave Notation 2). Initially released in 1982 as part of the Wave Notation series (which includes Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Music For Nine Postcards), Still Way is, without a doubt, a seminal Japanese environmental/ambient/minimalism album, often mentioned alongside Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass (1983) (WRWTFWW 018LP, WRWTFWW 019CD/LP) and Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Green (1986) as one of the genre’s most important pieces. “Like the moment of stillness, after the wind passes through the garden, when the rain stops for a brief second…” Notably inspired by Erik Satie’s Furniture Music and Brian Eno’s ambient work, Satoshi Ashikawa aimed to compose music “intended to be listened to in a casual manner, as a musical landscape or a sound object — not something that would stimulate listeners but music that should drift like smoke and become part of the environment.” The result is simply phenomenal, subtle minimalism and emotional elegance exquisitely orchestrated by Satoshi Ishikawa and his team consisting of his wife Masami Ashikawa (on flute), Midori Takada (on vibraphone), Yuko Utsumi (on harp), Tomoko Sono (on piano), and Junko Arase (on vibraphone). In conjunction with Still Way, WRWTFWW Records is releasing Laistigh den Ghleo (WRWTFWW 039CD/LP), a companion album by Irish ambient/minimalist composer Gareth Quinn Redmond, inspired by Ashikawa’s approach. Liner notes by Midori Takada, Satoshi Ashikawa, and Gareth Quinn Redmond.
For the better part of two decades now, Eluvium has developed and refined a kind of maximalist ambient music that is often as turbulent as it is transporting. The Eluvium moniker has become a vehicle for composer Matthew Cooper to expel and express his own thoughts and questions – some as big as our place in the universe, others as small as a child’s handprint – usually without uttering a word. His newest album, Pianoworks, explores the big idea of how we were, from when we were too small to know who we would become.
Pianoworks is Eluvium’s first solo piano album since his sophomore album, An Accidental Memory In The Case Of Death (2004). Inspired by the quiet thoughts and solitary observations of children – and the evolution/dissolution of that ephemeral, uncorrupted wonder of simple joy – Pianoworks begins with a song about children’s piano lessons, and culminates with an etude driven by the struggle to hold onto innocence and imagination as adulthood settles in. The record’s dramatic simplicity in both execution and expression is with purpose: Cooper wants the music to be simple enough to inspire children and novices to play, and the concept simple enough to resonate regardless of age or experience.
As any minimalist painter, poet, or architect can attest, it is oftentimes the profoundly simple art that proves to be the most time-consuming and torturous to produce. Pianoworks exemplifies this dichotomy, having been recorded, re- recorded, and re-re-recorded in the span of nearly a decade. Cooper exhausted every attempt to achieve a very specific, peculiar sound that is out of time – a sound not entirely lost in an attic, but also one not easily found in a playlist. The process to achieve this elusive sound was painstaking, but it has yielded a rare kind of music that is as uncomplicated as it is uncompromised.
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.
“Stop here!” exclaimed Robert Oumaou as we passed a mango tree on the side of the road just outside of Point-a-Pitre, the balmy capital of Guadeloupe. He filled a plastic bag with ripe fruit, and we set off on our journey across the small Caribbean island in search of musicians he hadn’t seen in years. On the way, we shared stories in broken French and English, stopping at truck stops to eat delicious fried fish. Robert took me to his hometown, and placed a mango and a flower on the grave of his teacher and mentor, a local poet. The seeds of Vwayajé (Traveller) were sewn on this trip, but shortly after returning home, I heard that Robert was ill, and he sadly passed away in 2018. This compilation was originally intended as a way to share Robert’s brazen work with a wider global audience, but it now also serves to immortalize his indomitable spirit.
Gwakasonné is the ecstatic articulation of Robert Oumaou’s artistic and political vision, a unified expression of his interests in American jazz, pre-colonial rhythms, Guadeloupian independence, and Créole poetics. Over the course of three albums, all released in the 80s, Robert piloted a revolving cast of musicians, a venerable who’s-who of Point-a-Pitre avant-jazz pioneers, to deftly intone his creative communal concepts. The songs on Vwayajé are compiled from these three releases, Gwakasonné, Temwen, and Moun, along with an electronic mantra taken from his 2007 solo album Sang Comment Taire. Viewed from our current artistic and cultural landscape, Robert’s work is exceptionally enduring, grounded in its declarations of freedom and foundational use of the Ka (drum) and voice, and prescient in its borderless explorations of protest folk, electronics, ambient atmosphere, music from the African diaspora, and spiritual jazz. The long-form hive-mind expression of the group has parallels with similar explorations by The Grateful Dead, electric Miles, Pharaoh Sanders, and even the Boredoms, but these are only oblique references for a truly peerless sound. Like other conceptual children of Gérard Lockel, the group was part of a progressive movement of like-minded musicians, such as Serge Fabriano, Dao, Erick Cosaque, and Gaoulé Mizik, who embraced Lockel’s modernist ideals, fusing Gwo Ka drumming and tuning systems with contemporary jazz and vanguard recording technologies. Robert’s ecstatic phrasings, embrace of electronic instruments, and daring lyrics set the group apart as the beatific expression of a sagacious soul.
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.
11 Items is the textured first album by Pontiac Streator and Ulla Straus for Huerco S and his pals at West Mineral Ltd. The album sees the American duo expand upon the hazy mindset of their Chat EP (OUEST 097LP, 2018) across a flux of ambient interzones where they transmute fleeting, everyday feels into a bouquet of ephemeral and organically unresolved scenes The expanded double-LP palette of Streator & Straus’ second release reveals a greater variegation of their overgrown, verdant electronics and free rhythms in a gently perplexing style of ambient inception. Each of the 11 Items feels like an exploration of dreams within dreams in a way that beautifully parses the poetic from the prosaic and cannily reflects a certain hyperaware yet hypnagogic state of modern ambient music. Recorded at 50 Wingz in Philadelphia, 11 Items convects a cool, communal sort of psychedelia from nose to tail, evoking the feel of friends in a room or a cabin communicating non-verbally. In the process it conjures the type of moments that lead to comfortable silences between familiar souls, and likewise has the capacity to stimulate and dissolve conversation with the babbling, forgot-what-I-was-talking-about flow and quality of MDMA chat between relaxed but frayed and buzzing minds. In an ambiguous style that has become key to West Mineral Ltd.’s aesthetic, the music is neither gloomy nor ecstatic but full of transitory sensations somewhere in between those poles. Each part feels pulled in multiple directions at once, resulting in a sublime schism between jazzy hustle and heavy-lidded electronics in “Item 1”, and a subtle underlying tension between layered dimensions of humid, dusky acoustics and congealed electronics on “Item 3”, while “Item 5” dices with urges to dance/lean back, and “Item 10” crystallizes this idea of alchemic multi-valency with an unmissable mix of fine grained mentasms firing like synaptic surges in iridescent grey matter. Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Edition of 500.
Agora is Christian Fennesz’s first solo album since Mahler Remix (TONE 052LP, 2014) and Bécs (EMEGO 165CD/LP, 2014). Fennesz writes: “It’s a simple story. I had temporarily lost a proper studio workspace and had to move all my gear back to a small bedroom in my flat where I recorded this album. It was all done on headphones, which was rather a frustrating situation at first but later on it felt like back in the day when I produced my first records in the 1990s. In the end it was inspiring. I used very minimal equipment; I didn’t even have the courage to plug in all the gear and instruments which were at my disposal. I just used what was at hand.” Fennesz uses guitar and computer to create shimmering, swirling electronic sound of enormous range and complex musicality. His lush and luminous compositions are anything but sterile computer experiments. They resemble sensitive, telescopic recordings of rainforest insect life or natural atmospheric occurrences, an inherent naturalism permeating each piece. He lives and works in Vienna. Recorded at Kaiserstudios, Vienna, August, September 2018. “Rainfall”: vocals by Katharina Caecilia Fennesz; “Agora”: field recordings Manfred Neuwirth, vocals Mira Waldmann. Photography and design by Jon Wozencroft. Mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye. Full color inner and outer sleeve. “Imagine the electric guitar severed from cliché and all of its physical limitations, shaping a bold new musical language.” –City Newspaper
Ami Dang fuses sitar, voice, and electronics to create east-meets-west, ambient/trance music. On the all-instrumental album Parted Plains, she draws inspiration from South Asian and Middle Eastern folktales, specifically, the four tragic romances of Punjab, Sohni Mahiwal, Sassi Punnun, Heer Ranjha, and Mirza Sahiba; Flora Annie Steel’s Tales of the Punjab: Folklore of India, and selected stories from One Thousand and One Nights. Galvanized by the Western interpretations of these stories, Parted Plains unfolds as a new sort of soundtrack for a yet-to-be written folktale that is neither Eastern nor Western, not traditional or contemporary–but somewhere in between.
Room40 offer a re-mastered, re-edited 2019 version of Rayon Hula, originally released in 2004. From Mike Cooper: “After several trips, beginning in 1994, to the Pacific and its Island Nations, Australia and subsequently to South East Asia, I conceived the idea of making an updated more ‘now’ version of some of the Exotica music that originated in 1950’s America. Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny were the two I mostly had in mind at the time, but I didn’t want it to sound like them and the two words ‘Ambient’ and ‘Electronic’ had to figure large. I was deeply influenced by the ambience of the places I was visiting (Australian biƒrds are scarily creative) and lo-fi electronics were something I had been working with in my free improvisation gigs since the ’80s . . . No-one was issuing recorded work by me, so I started my own DIY cd.r. label, Hipshot, and sold them via the internet. I was free to record whatever I wanted and I did, starting in 1999 with Kiribati . . . The summer of 2004 house sitting in Palombara, 40 minutes outside of Rome, at our friend Jo Campbell’s house, in the company of several dogs and numerous cats, I set to work outside in the shed with a Zoom Sampletrack ST-224, two mini disc recorders and a Tascam four track cassette machine; a pile of Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny CDs and my lap steel. My intention was to create a kind of music that I had hoped to hear when we visited Hawaii in the early ’90s (some kind of Hawaiian Futurism maybe?) which we never did. Rayon Hula appeared from the shed and was initially released as Hipshot c.d.r. HIP-007. I submitted it to the Ars Electronica awards in Austria and was very surprised when it received some kind of a prize. I think that David Toop had something to do with that, as he was on the jury (thanks David). It was picked up by Cabin Records, a new label initiated by Pete Fowler and Graham Erickson and released as a double 10-inch vinyl set . . . Although the idea was an homage to Arthur Lyman, it was also an homage to Steve Feld who introduced me to the concept of ‘lift up over sounding’ in his book Sound and Sentiment, a study of the Kaluli people of Papua and their relationship with their aural environment. From it I gleaned, among other things, the idea of looped sounds played simultaneously but out of sync. An idea which had in fact guided me from the beginning of the series.”
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.
Alga Marghen presents the new edition of Eliane Radigue’s “Jouet Electronique” (1967) for feedback on magnetic tape and “Elemental I” (1968) for feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape. This LP was first issued in 2010, and it’s now presented for the first time with its own specific artwork and layout. Both works were recorded at Pierre Henry’s Studio Apsome in Paris. Between 1967 and 1968, Radigue was Henry’s assistant, mainly for the editing of L’Apocalypse de Jean (1969). Henry also put her in charge of organizing his sound archive; Radigue enjoyed doing this work, even if it took a long time. She decided to set the machines of the studio to do some work of her own. “Jouet Electronique” and “Elemental I” were born this way during her time as an assistant; working with feedback is something that Radigue learned through Henry. Do you remember Henry’s Voyage (1969)? There’s that fluid part which is made of feedback constructed with a microphone. Everything had to be set at a precise distance from the loudspeakers because that is the specific problem with feedback; one has to be at the right distance. Afterwards, these high tone recordings were slowed down in order to discover the deeper character of their color. This work with feedback was in the end quite limited and the composer preferred working with two reel tape machines to produce sounds. The first was set on the recording mode while the other was playing and it was the accidents happening in this phase that made the feedback richer. Fine-tuning could yield beautiful results: low pulsations, high-pitched sounds (sometimes both at the same time), or long sounds. All of these could be slowed down or accelerated, which gave beautiful source material. With “Jouet Electronique”, Radigue had a lot of fun, hence the title. As far as “Elemental I” is concerned, it was the first attempt at something which was important to her based on the theme of the basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. Eliane had the chance to record in open air thanks to a small Stella Vox that Arman gave her in the beginning of the 1960s. Using it, Radigue built a minimal sound library, consisting of not more than ten reel tapes. This was the starting point; in 1968 she used these recordings for her work with two reel tape machines. New edition of 200, with liners by Radigue and portrait photos by Arman.
Double LP version. Kali Malone presents a new album featuring nearly two hours of concentrated pipe organ pieces governed by a strict acoustic and compositional code. It’s a major new work with ultimately profound emotional resonance. The Sacrificial Code takes a more surgical approach to the methods first explored on Organ Dirges 2016-2017 (ASCETICKALI). Over the course of three parts performed on three different organs, Malone’s minimalist procedure captures a jarring precision of closeness, both on the level of the materiality of the sounds and on the level of composition. The recordings of The Sacrificial Code involve careful close-miking of the pipe organ in such a way as to eliminate environmental identifiers as far as possible — essentially removing the large hall reverb so inextricably linked to the instrument. The pieces are then further compositionally stripped of gestural adornments and spontaneous expressive impulse — an approach reminiscent of Steve Reich’s words, “by voluntarily giving up the freedom to do whatever momentarily comes to mind, we are, as a result, free of all that momentarily comes to mind.” With its slow, purified, and seemingly austere qualities, The Sacrificial Code guides you through an almost trance-inducing process where you become vulnerable receptors for every slight movement, where every miniature shift in sound becomes magnified through stillness. As such, it’s a uniquely satisfying exercise in transcendence through self-restraint — a stunning realization of ideas borne out of academic and conceptual rigor which gradually reveals startling personal dimensions. It has a perception-altering quality that encourages self-exploration free of signposts and without a preordained endpoint — the antithesis to the language of colorless musical platitudes we’ve become so accustomed to. Features additional organ pieces performed by Ellen Arkbro. Art and photography by A.M. Rehm. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker.