Kush Jones makes strong, deft moves at 160bpm on a six-track self-release
‘Strictly 4 My CDJZ 13’ sees him absorb some of the ambient tones and feels from his 2020 house/electro turn for Future Times into his more typical footwork styles with lush, hybrid results. The junglist crew will be all over his choppy, fleet-footed madness ‘Keeps Playing With The Breaks’ and the shudder of ‘Dissolving’ on a sorta ’93 Bukem tip, while making it super floaty nice with the plush, buoyant pads and weightless kick propulsion of ‘F Zero’, and bringing it down to 4Hero-esque breakbeat swerve with the whirring mechanics and gossamer jazz chords in ‘What The Dream Was Made Of’ and more quizzical electro jazz-funk of ‘Donations.’
Fizzing with nostalgic goodness, Ssiege’s follow-up to the cherished ‘Fading Summer’ album is kissed with a similar sort of brittly blissed serenity and melancholic appeal
Marking his debut with Knekelhuis, the five tracks on ‘Meteora’ join the dots between romantic ‘80s synth soundtracks, the kind of emotive post-industrial explored by Caroline K, and the eternally effective wooze of BoC or Bochum Welt, but articulated with a personalised melodic voice that really speaks to us, and maybe you, on this one.
Equally sharply poised between its precision tooled machine drum patterns and lissom arps, Siege injects a beautifully warm spirit to the album with a grasp of extended melody that wraps the record up in ribbons. On ‘Il Re Delle Mandorie’ he slips us into daydreamy reveries with searching arp leads and lilting guitar that sounds like Vini Reilly reworking BoC’s take on ‘Poppy Seed’ by Slag Boom Van Loom, and ‘Nebbia Spugnia’ shares a gorgeous sort of shoegaze-meets-sad rap air with the recent Sharp Veins album. ‘Il Peso’ follows to the EP’s slowest, brooding point recalling a desiccated adjunct to Pye Corner Audio, while the title tune shores up in witch house interzones like some Salem cut that could have feasibly appeared in 0PN’s soundtrack for ‘Uncut Gems’, or even one of the most aching moments on Made’s ‘Untitled’ album (which was crafted with vintage Æ synths.)
Timelessy effective, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Fathoms deep tape loop dirt from Muscut and Shukai boss Dmytro Nikolaienko. Properly faded tripbient zoners for fans of Jan Jelinek, Jake Muir, Andrew Pekler et al.
For his Faitiche debut, Nikolaienko excavated his tape archive, finding the most interesting loops and using his collection of analog machines to play the loops like an instrument. To make noise, he would create saturation, and to create flutter, he moved the mechanical head manually over the moving tape. So the tracks are blessed with the haunted flavor of mid-20th Century tape music, but constructed with a more contemporary ear for texture, timbre and trippy abstraction.
Decaying Basinski-esque ambient phrases are looped, carved up and distorted over bleeping arpeggiated sequences and clouds of sodden noise. Sizzling Cluster-esque guitar licks tumble over exotica synths and woodblock percussion, sounding like a collection of easy listening tapes melted into a broken car stereo. It's nostalgic, certainly, but doesn't dwell on bait feelings of instant gratification or fetishization - rather Nikolaienko abstracts his sounds into a deeply sensual cosmic slop of frayed synthesis and half-heard stylistic references.
There's a ton of tape-frazzled ambient music out there, but "Rings" is a thing of rare beauty and another essential addition to the Faitiche catalogue.
Anz finally mints her new label Otras Mitades, or OTMI for short, with two typically killer new productions.
A key catalyst of dance music in Manchester and beyond, Anz keeps it strictly for the ‘floor in both parts of ‘OTMI001.’ Following up 2020’s bout for Hessle Audio and a few for Finn’s 2 B Real, she pushes on with equal parts classic and futurist funk for the warehouse rave or your buddy’s bashment, laying down treacly purple G-funk leads and twanging boogie B-lines on the Afrobeats-y street rave flair of ‘Unravel In The Designated Zone’, while cutting for the peaks hours soused in sweat and fog on the 2-stepping brukbeat parry of ‘Morphing Into Brighter’ - think SUAD meets Dego at 4AM in the Soup Kitchen basement. Aye, v, v sick.
Soul-slapping deep jazz hearticals from a key player in the Chicago and IARC cosmos, joined by Angel Bat Dawid and Ben LaMar Gay who help make up his 11-part Black Monument Ensemble - So on-point, this one!!! RIYL KDJ, Theo Parrish, Prefuse 73
Revolving Damon Locks’ sampler chops and electronics at its core and periphery, it’s abundantly clear to hear the band are in-the-zone on ‘Now’, which is practically the epitome of how to do forward facing music jazz with a deep appreciation of tradition. In their seamless and jagged elision of electronic and organic sources a real magick bleeds thru that’s got us standing up to give it some proper appreciation, and we imagine it will have the same effect everywhere else.
The bookending works with clarinetist Angel Bat Dawit are, perhaps predictably, the highlights, with her spirited freeness lighting up Locks’ patchwork of samples and a sextet of vocalists driven by dual percussionists, Dana Hall and Arif Smith on the swingeing West African styled downstroke of ‘Now (Forever Momentary Space)’ from start to the spine-chilling end and final exhortations of “Whew!”, and again in the rug-shredding wriggle of ‘The Body Is Electric.’ They’re both serious dancefloor cuts in the right hands, and perfectly characterise the album’s grooving nature that snakes thru the Theo-esque bustling metrics and hip-shot sampler stabs of ‘The People vs The Rest Of Us’ and lip-biting swing and parry of ‘Keep Your Mind Free.’
Use your ears, trust your body, you’ll know what to do next. No brainer!
A decade since his transition from D&B to greyscale techno, Shifted dispenses a typically grim definition of his style in 5th studio album, ‘Constant Blue’
Perhaps a poetic metaphor for the zeitgeist, ‘Constant Blue’ dwells in starkest terrain unconcerned with the club, hewing to an impurely tonal palette of queasy low end frequencies and shatterproof upper register timbres that mirror feelings of stasis and unyielding twilight, or what he terms “caustic minimalism.”
The album’s 10 tracks manifest the most textural distillation of his trademark sound, shorn of dancefloor kicks and left to gloomy, isolationist introspection. Don’t expect it to put you in a good mood, but it may be good company for those times when one needs something that echoes their thoughts, as it holds a singular line from the immersive intricacies of ‘Slowly Counting Backwards’ to the nodding hypnosis of ‘The Weight of It’, and thru the spatialised declension of ‘Metronome’ to roiling bass and fizz in ‘Tradecraft’ recalling Frank Bretschneider’s work with old Soviet synths.
Grown-up Berlin rave kids Modeselektor translate the energy of their live set into a production mixtape format chock with exclusive material, including guest spots from Paul St.Hilaire (Tikiman) and Jackson & His Computer Band
Packing the thrills and spills of their stadium filling live shows - beloved of Thom Yorke, who has guested on their material, and vice-versa - ‘Extended’ brings the rave to your living room in a smartly tempered flow of 27 tracks tilted between punchy tressilo techno-electro, club-footed stompers, and more twisted arps than you can shake up a bockle of champers to.
They draw on set pieces crafted for specific sets such as ‘Butlin’s Minehead Interlude’ and ‘Bangface’ which make a nice couple, and no doubt nod to their Berlin ‘hood on the tunnelling transition ‘U8’ into the electrodub flex of ‘OHM’, with a standout moment in the appearance from Berlin royalty Paul St. Hilaire who graces ‘Movement’ with his haunting Dominican singjay styles as found on reams of Rhythm & Sound classics and has just reminded us of his ace ‘Fake Emotion’ with MDSLKTR back on 2005’s ‘Hello Mom!’ album.
Drums ‘pon drums for days, from Roska’s prized alias Bakongo, taking to Al Wootton aka Deadboy’s Trule label for the UKF fiends
Ripe to be rinsed in the mix by DJs that know, Bakongo’s latest keeps the grooves bare bones and syncopated for optimal swang and parry. Unlike his Roska workouts, there’s a notable lack of bass, but that’s where your other deck, or more simply your imagination, comes into play. ‘Thirteen’ tees up a rhythmelodic fuss of tumbling and crisply tucked drums set in spare air with occasional hollers keeping time.
The patented Roska kicks ’n snares are then fully effect on ‘Level Cowbell’, hingeing around the titular clank with a lip-smacking swagger, and practically anticipating appearance of a “Roska Roska Roska!” and subs that never come.
Crucial tripped smoove groove diversions from Jan Jelinek's "Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records" era; vibraphone and vinyl crackle heated slowly into a narcotic haze.
'ICE Compositions' was released in 2002 on the hyper-limited En/Of imprint, and came only moments after "Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records", perhaps still Jelinek's most beloved full-length. The smoky, after-hours vibe of that album still hangs around these four tracks, dissolved even further into psychedelic, abstract groans and drones.
There's plenty of artists at this point that have absorbed Jelinek's method, but few manage to capture the spirit of what he was doing here. The glitches weren't simply used for aesthetics alone, they add rhythm and texture to his eerie set of samples, fleshing out his concepts in three dimensions. Here, Jelinek's mind-boggling simplicity is in full focus: a cursory listen might reveal nothing at all, but the more you submit, the more you begin to hear. So damn good.
Rattling, slinky house variations from Nervous Horizon co-founder Anunaku, with bizarrely effective choral vocals.
Anunaku returns to AD 93 with another plate of left-leaning house, this time adding whispered vocals and church music to the mix, you know, just because why not? It works too, with the wavering monastic tones adding a fresh texture to the driving 4/4 on opener 'Spirale'.
Elsewhere, Anunaku throws down the euphoric techno gauntlet on 'Ninfea', sounding like Berghain at 3am, and goes for a '90s downtempo/side room shuffle on 'Luminosa'. Good stuff.
More bizarre and brilliant outsider funk from fine artist and latter day renaissance man Lonnie Holley.
Modern Americana pioneer Matthew E. White teams up here with sculptor, educator and later-life musical hero Lonnie Holley to rock through a set of eccentric psych-funk-gunk that should appeal to anyone who has been fascinated by Holley's last few records. Holley's idiosyncratic lyricism is the draw here, as he deconstructs the issues du jour - selfies, reality, outer space, psychedelics - with wit and undeniable style. But White's musical contributions make this more than just an odd aside, if you've enjoyed Holley's recent run ("MITH", "National Freedom") then "Broken Mirror" shows that Holley has more mileage yet. Not bad for someone who released their debut album at the age of 62 eh? Southern funk at its weirdest and wildest.
A milestone in Regis’ catalogue, the slow screw of 2010’s CUB project returns alongside its trotting re-edit
Essentially the seed of what would become developed into his ‘Blood Witness’ 12”, the original CUB cut plotted a new, sub-120bpm groove that pissed off loads of DJs who couldn’t mix it with Regis’ faster gear, but sounded brilliant when placed with compatible cuts. It effectively brought Brummie techno in line the sound of D&B played on 33-not-45 as well as the stylized swagger of the industrial rock and wave gear that’s formative to his style. An all time classic if you ask us.
Jangling, mostly instrumental bluegrass and country variations from Chicago-based acoustic guitar maestro Bill MacKay and Durham, North Carolina-based Appalachian folk player Nathan Bowles. Quite lovely!
'Keys' is MacKay and Bowles' debut, and is a plaintive horseback ride into American folk music. Both players have trad chops, and flesh out their playing with virtuoso flourishes giving their music a haze of Fahey-esque experimentation. But this is more melancholy and more immediate than anything Fahey ever meditated on - MacKay and Bowles aren't afraid of scratching the country itch and teasing out a tear or two.
Imagine Bonnie "Prince" Billy covering the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou!" soundtrack and you'll have some idea of where this one's headed.
Tehran's Parsa Jamshidi throws down the DSP gauntlet on "Musique Grossière", building uncomfortable hi-def soundscapes out of panic-inducing digital noise, screaming feedback and processed, microtonal blasts.
'Musique Grossière' means "course music", and there couldn't be a better description of this EP. PARSA is a gifted sound designer, and creates bubbling noise worlds from synthetic textures rendered with such HD clarity it sounds as if you could touch them. This is gross, unsettling stuff - visceral body horror soundtracks that speak to a contemporary era of cybernetic augmentation, social (media) disruption and surveillance capitalism. It's not pretty, but it's not supposed to be.
After a slew of popular releases on Lovers Rock, JINN Records, Disco Halal and others, and an album on Smalltown Supersound, genre-hopping dance producer Yoshinori Hayashi returns with another dense collection of off-kilter bangers.
"Pulse of Defiance" is Hayashi's second full-length and shows the Japanese beatmaker has lost none of his exploratory passion. It's undeniably hard to pin down, jumping haphazardly from brittle jungle ('Make up One's Mind') to DJ Krush-esque trip-hop ('Luminescence') and into rolling deep house ('Touch') without so much as a pause for breath. It's all expertly produced, bright-around-the-edges stuff, coming across like the soundtrack to an open-world videogame set in an parallel universe Tokyo. No doubt one where the clubs are still actually open.
Andrew Johnson (The Remote Viewer, Hood) unfurls his wings as A New Line (Related) once again on a brilliant, driving but delicate new album, his first to be released on tape.
A quietly persistent and much loved presence on these pages since our earliest days thanks to his work with some of West Yorkshire/Lancashire’s finest, Johnson continues to speak a musical language that resonates very deeply with us; all purring rhythms and glancing dimensions that we imagine are only enhanced by our deep affection for the man himself. His sound is made of simple elements but oozes warmth in a way that’s so much more than the sum of its parts - almost impossible to describe with its gentle play of shadow and light toying with our feelings.
The nine tracks on ‘Love in a unitary authority parts 1 - 9’ fade from almost pre-club anxiety ambience to svelte, Move D-like motion in Part 1, and variously drifting in/out of the crowd and his own thoughts between the muffled depths of Part 2, vacillating deep techno swing in Part 4’, with a dance of vaporous ‘Tender Love’-era SND chords in Part 5, exquisite strokes recalling Will Long ov Celer’s Longtrax on ‘Part 6’, and his pop sensibilities buried deep under the hood of Part 7.
We’re tempted to say that it’s a nostalgic sound that takes us back to a less complicated time, but in truth one of the virtues of Johnson’s minimalist production, with little concession to overly emotive melodies, is that it has a timeless quality that speaks as much to current dimensions as to the sort of thing we were listening to when we first heard his music well over 20 years ago. In other words - lovers of warm, generous, open-hearted, timeless electronic music of any colour would do well to dive into this one, it’s just so utterly lovely.
Reflective album of solo keys fringed with electronics and swaddled in ambient noise by New York’s master of liminal composition; Taylor Deupree
His first solo side since 2018’s ‘Fallen’ (and collaborations with Richard Chartier and Stephen Vitiello in between) takes hazy shape thanks to Deupree’s patented, texturised atmospheres which account for half of the message he’s trying to convey, while his expressively nuanced melodic content makes up the other half, luring us into hypnagogic headspace where time is out of joint and the days never seems to get going, just looping into themselves so that the meaning of any slight shift appears amplified from the norm.
“Taylor Deupree is an American musician and mastering engineer based just outside of New York. As a former member of the American electronic band Prototype 909, Deupree has had numerous collaborations with artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Stephen Vitiello, Alva Noto and Marcus Fischer. Curating 12k, a New-York based music label, is another aspect of Deupree’s career and brought together over one hundred releases since its beginnings in 1997. Having some similar artists in our catalog (Federico Durand, Will Samson and Steinbüchel for example), it’s safe to say that Deupree’s new release through Dauw will be in good company.”
Finnish future jazz eccentric Jimi Tenor collects a bevy of unreleased tracks from his fertile Warp era on this fun, free and funky set.
Between 1993 and 2000, Jimi Tenor was composing and recording music at an alarming rate. His bundle of Warp albums was honored on last year's "NY, Hel, Barca" set, and "Deep Sound Learning" goes deeper, exploring the Finnish multi-instrumentalist's extensive vault of unfinished demos and unreleased material.
Anyone who hear Tenor's classic run with albums like "Organism" and "Out of Nowhere" should know what to expect. Brittle tropicalia, leftfield jazz, sweaty library music funque, eerie Italian giallo vibes and slippery acid house. Tenor inhabits his own universe completely, not lifting music styles but folding them into his peculiar, effervescent and unashamedly passionate celebration of sound.
Debut full-length from Bala Club co-founder Endgame, who twists abstrakt club shapes into gaseous forms - like Burial, Felix Lee and Chino Amobi masterminding a soundtrack to a new Spawn movie.
'Surrender' has been a long time coming. Endgame has made a name for himself over the last few years both as a DJ and as a producer, hosting the legendary NTS show (and more recently, label) Precious Metals and releasing a slew of influential records on PTP, Infinite Machine and Hyperdub. Now his particular vision, a blend of dust-stomping club rhythms, heavy metal attitude, pop sleaze and sci-fi dystopia, has materialized in long-form and it's a trip.
'Fathless' opens things with a blast of atmospheric rainfall, hydraulic kicks and laser snares, bringing us into a Todd McFarlane-esque crumbled cityscape that's one part Blade Runner and one part Hellraiser. It's not all doom(core) and gloom though - Endgame's regular collaborator Yayoyanoh pops up on 'Barbed Heart' to raise the temperature and cut through the mood with sickly, tongue-twisting vocals that drip between knife-sharp percussion.
Somehow, the album managed to cram in all of Endgame's stylistic leanings - from hardcore punk to slippery ambience - without sounding busy or chaotic. It's a dark album, that layers contemporary anxiety and unease into syfy club forms, but it's not suffocating or indulgent. Using his own vocals to play against angular shards of noise and rumbling bass, Endgame creates music that's rich with contrast - as vivid and emotional as it is bleak and overcast.
Dirk Dresselhaus's Editions Mego debut is a post-dystopian electronic pop concept album that deals with reality and illusion, human and machine. Alright then!
Since the mid 1990s, Dresselhaus has been analyzing the relationship between pop and experimental electronic spaces, sometimes diving headfirst into one side or the other and sometimes finding a comfortable mid-point. "The 8 of Space" is his poppiest album for years, and uses familiar forms to reflect a "trans human sound world where biological and technical elements compliment each other".
So with modular synth, drum machines, guitars and vocals, Dresselhaus assembles slender songs that reflect his long, varied catalog and interests in heady sci-fi concepts. Using a robot voice he's named iBot, he gives a humorous lightness to proceedings, dipping in and out of electro-pop formula hinting at the past and the future simultaneously.
Bonkers collab between Hausu bossman Mukqs and free-associating Chicago legend Sharkula. Utterly singular and completely surreal - like an alien intelligence rapping over productions made by bio-organic AI.
Obviously we can't say for sure but we'd put good money on "Take Caution on the Beach" being one of the weirdest rap records of the year. Sharkula, for those outside of the Chicago metro area, is a well-known figure on the local scene having been observed grinding for two decades, handing out mixtapes and barking abstract rhymes to anyone who would care to listen. He's released over forty (!) albums and EPs at this point and like many of us, his work has been interrupted rudely by COVID-19 restrictions. It's hard to pass out records on public transport and in bars when everything's shuttered, right?
"Take Caution on the Beach" is the second collaboration between Sharkula and Hausu Mountain co-founder Max Allison and was recorded in a single take. Allison put together a handful of collapsing, surrealist beats (think El-P using a selection of Windows 95-era soundfonts and a broken groovebox) and Sharkula let loose, non-stop, connecting words and phrases together like X-rated Legos. There's a joy in their back-and-forth; Allison's productions show the respect he has for the rapper, and Sharkula pays back in kind with some of the most enjoyable rhymes we've heard in a minute. True outsider music.
French composer and multi-instrumentalist Christine Ott returns to Gizeh Records for her fourth album ‘Time to Die’ - a musical fresco in eight chapters, a sensory journey between the world of the living and the dead, for which the musician weaves a unique dramaturgy between contemporary classical and electro-acoustic music.
"The title track picks up the story where ‘Only Silence Remains’ left off ... Like it’s centrepiece; ‘Disaster’, the beloved cinematic text here is read by Casey Brown. Ott seeks to offer strong sensations, without artifice, whether by the power of her compositions on the piano (‘Brumes’, ‘Horizons Fauves’), or by intuitive arrangements mixing her unique practice of Ondes Martenot with a maelstrom of Jupiter8, Monotrons, Timpani and Tubular Bells as on the first track. In addition, Ott captivates us with her harp playing on ‘Chasing Harp’, by her aerial singing on ‘Landscape’, or even on the airwaves on ‘Comma Opening’, which ends a triptych of songs after the versions published on ‘Chimères (pour Ondes Martenot)’ (NAHAL 2020) and on ‘Volutes’ from her side-project Snowdrops (Injazero 2020).
This expressive and spontaneous impetus, leitmotif in her musical production, takes a new form within ‘Time to Die’. Through the notes disseminated in an endlessly reinvented minimalist heritage, the interpretation is the ultimate musical glue allowing the pieces to come to life, thereby making this repertoire and its composer-performer unique."
Cherry-picked remixers, Julianna Barwick, Evian Christ, John Beltran, and Kelly Moran re-work the ambient laments of Malibu aka DJ Lostboi with beautifully plush results
Evian Christ leaves a lump in the throat with his take on ‘One Life’, generating megawatts of emotion with a cathartic transition from William Orbit-like strings to stacked supersaws bound to reduce returning ravers to a lush mush this summer. Malibu’s keen fan Julianna Barwick also impresses with a gorgeous, restrained choral chamber rework of ‘Nana (Like A Star Made For Me)’, while John Beltran remixes ‘Camargue’, freshly rendered with billowing bass pads and synthetic raindrops, and Kelly Moran follows her Prurient split with an iridescent remix of ‘Lost At Sea.’
Happa joins the jungle craze with the 2nd volume of ‘Explorations in Music for Dancing’ on his PT/5 label after working with Shygirl and 96 Back in the past 12 months
Throwing back to rambunctious styles of Leeds’ free-party crew Terra and Headcleaner circa the late ‘90s/early ‘00s drill ’n bass and scuzzy warehouse scene, he steps out on a recoiling darkside D&B flex with the nerve-riding chops of ‘Digital Recall’, and reminds of Mike Paradinas at his wiggiest with the restless rhythms and daft melodic leads on ‘Fever’, but the one for us is ‘No Longer’, where his keen sound design tekkers come into play on the extraordinary vocal processing and its sense of metaplasmic weightlessness.
Bass futurist Etch returns to Sneaker Social Club with a flickering slice of Photek/Source Direct beat science for the break nerdz. Moody.
Etch continues to impress with this short four-tracker, moving from the glimmering sci-fi dystopian funque of top-notch opener 'Tyrant' into lean, jazzy territory on the minimalist 'Loose in the Asylum'. 'Shadows Passed By' adds a snippet of Burt Bacharach's 'Walk On By', giving the track an anxious, floating resonance that transports us to another era entirely.
Autechre's sublime, lifted rework of Seefeel's "Artificial Intelligence II" classic is available once more, remastered from the original DAT by Stefan Betke (aka Pole). If you've not heard this before you're in for a treat.
Fans of Autechre's enduringly influential "Anti" era - particularly the eerie, iconic 'Vletrmx' - take note. The Rochdale duo reworked 'Spangle' back in 1994 when the original track was released, transforming the original's dub backroom cloudz into a 12-minute synthetic meditation. Disembodied flute sounds hover around thin, wavering synth pads and the faintest brush of percussion; it's music engineered for out of body experiences and marks a fertile mid-point between Seefeel's emotive electronic post-rock and Autechre's comparatively insular robotic world-building.
Plenty of producers have attempted to recreate this sound - a virtual side-room in half-cocked musical purgatory - but few manage it with the grace or restraint that Autechre conjure here. To be fair, they never really hit this seam again either. Essential, flawless and completely classic.
Avant-garde ensemble Apartment House take on Christian Marclay's uncompromisingly random 1996 "street installation". The Guardian described a 2010-released recording of "Graffiti Compositon" as "offensive" so that alone should be enough reason for a look, right?
For "Graffiti Composition", Marclay wanted to challenge the idea of written music, so had 5,000 large pages of blank sheet music posted throughout Berlin. After some time, he returned to the posters that hadn't been covered over or removed and photographed them; each piece of sheet music now included songs, drawings or instructions that Marclay transcribed and assembled into a continuous piece of music. He made 800 photographs, and used 150 of these to create the score.
The resulting composition has been re-interpreted here by cellist and composer Anton Lukoszevieze's Apartment House ensemble, who add their joyful, exploratory twang to the bizarre piece. The flexible, ever-shifting ensemble are known for having performed work from Julius Eastman, John Cage and Cornelius Cardew, and sound perfectly at home sinking their teeth into a composition that treats randomness like its own instrument. It's not an easy piece to listen through, but rewards patience and close attention. Familiar melodies and themes erupt and disappear, interspersed by odd dialog and unusual sounds.
Sometimes a synthesizer might appear, or a penny whistle, or what sounds like a small toy. Each element wakes you up from the listening experience and forces you to consider what the score might have been indicating. It's a fascinating piece that Apartment House have managed to breath new life into.
Bonkers, granular "natural sound" manipulations recorded in Québec’s ethereal Boreal Forest. Deep and digital sound design-heavy scapes that sound like wood breaking while nanobots reassemble it in machine code. Properly spannered.
The post-laptop noise era is truly upon us. Taking cues from Mego greats like Farmers Manual and Florian Hecker, Canadian sound artist Louis Dufort pipes environmental recordings through software processes that belch out some of the more interesting DSP worlds we've heard in a minute. Not completely abstract, "VOLUME" offsets chattering metallic crunches with reverberating ambience, fashioning a world that's equal parts organic and digital.
It would be unfair to label this ambient, even if many of the tracks center the kind of ethereal pads that you might expect to hear on a Celer album. Instead, Dufort uses these atmospheres as the backdrop for his more challenging experimentation, bringing hard DSP elements into the frame slowly and purposefully to avoid alienating listeners too much. The result is an oddly cinematic selection of sounds best enjoyed on proper speakers or with a good pair of headphones. The laptop speakers just ain't going to cut it.
Fizzy synthetic folk music influenced by Scott Walker and Serge Gainsbourg that sounds more like Oneohtrix Point Never, Klaus Schulze or James Ferraro. We're not mad.
Marcel Sletten's second EP is a set of short, humming synth drones. The sound might be best described as between Kali Malone's sacred organ drones and vintage Oneohtrix Point Never - graceful and melancholy but plastic and unsettling. 'Jack Nance' is particularly inspired, folding a black metal influence into the mix but retaining the rest of the album's slow-moving drone mentality. Gorgeous stuff, honestly - we're not sure whether it's folk music but it's damn good.
Teresa Winter returns with a definitive new album of lush, feverish rave mutations, dream-pop and ambient noise that’s highly recommended if yr feeling Cosey, A.R. Kane, A Guy Called Gerald, Laila Sakini.
'Motto Of The Wheel’ is a supernaturally compelling, definitive opus providing a life-giving bounty of warped ‘90s rave mutations, dream-pop and ambient noise, enchanted by ohrwurming vocal hooks and saturated in ravishing colour and frontier air. It’s Teresa's most accomplished and significant album since she debuted in 2015 - its richly layered and psychedelic nature speaking to her experience growing up in Bridlington, on a key liminal zone of the East Yorkshire coast, where she was just as inspired by formative studies in classical music as the dance-pop tunes blasting from arcades and a fairground by the beach.
With the benefit and gauzy fidelity of hindsight, Winter typically draws on her nostalgia with a mix of raw nerve, penetrative observation and careful emotional intelligence to create her most spellbinding, personalised and expansive record; one adorned with artwork by her father, beautifully hung in place by Rashad Becker’s exquisite mastering, and cut to 2 x LPs.
Like a palimpsest of memories smudged with sun, salt, and sugar, the baker’s dozen songs to ‘Motto Of The Wheel’ follow up on Teresa's non pareil, inspirational reputation with a mix of ravishing ecstasy and end-of-earth melancholy that only she can pull quite off like this. Her kaleidoscopic influences from overripe ‘90s rave-pop to Eastern European folk and the post-industrial occult remerge in abundant variegations, entwining her trade as musicologist with her reading of radical love, and the tarot card for Goddess Fortuna, into a celebration of seaside life’s chance, ephemeral joys and belly aches - artfully identifying the way it plays a crucial, almost parasitic function or counterpoint to ideas of “urban” and “pastoral”, or “bright” and “bleak” in British culture - a site of escape, transformation/transgression, and flux.
Since her earliest works, Teresa’s practice poetically absorbs from myriad sources, and never more so than in ‘Motto Of The Wheel.’ From its introductory jungle-tekno headrush to passages of wind-whipped romance and headfreeze ambient beauty, Teresa’s poetic arrangements of vocals and sound design surely achieve a new high water mark in her catalogue. The street soul swoon of ‘Emptiness Is An Excess’ and spine-tracing extended melody of ‘Does He Love Me?’ are instant anthems, while her devilish playfulness bleeds thru in samples of kids tombstoning off Bridlington’s harbour wall into the cold North Sea, and the cosiness of UK TV gold, all gilded with original vocals that range from wind-wrenched, shoegaze-like to ecstatic, each blessed with her patented form of emotional punishment at its most pop-wise yet uncompromising.
For purposes of disambiguation, the motto of the wheel is “"WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!
PDP III is Britton Powell arranging parts recorded by Huerco S. and Lucy Railton over a session in December 2018 at Gary’s Electric Studio in Brooklyn, New York, subsequently assembled by Powell over the following two years. If cloudy, transcendent heat-haze abstractions, gong bath drone and peaceful, sibilant ASMR hiss are yr thing = this is tha bliss.
Swooping from vertiginous ambient designs to a head-wobbling 20 minute tract of abstract, gong-like noise, the results of those sessions have been marinaded and assembled by Powell who looked to transcend porous borders between neo-ambient noise, free-jazz and avant-garde interzones with an intuitive logic designed to lead listeners to deeply liminal spaces.
Something of a vanity project - basically Powell inviting two exceptional artists to record parts for him to make something out of - the result can be best described in terms of its physical presence and gauzy flux of emotions, climaxing on a 20 minute masterstroke of dematerialised but body-gurning gong reverberations in the incredible ’49 Days’.
"At the outset of these sessions Powell presented a series of compositional sketches anchored around multi-tracked electronics and acoustic percussion. These concepts were then used as the framework for collective improvisation, with the musicians working on instinct and layering as many as eight separate takes across a track. A portion of the record also reflects moments that are purely spontaneous – in-the-moment invention with Railton on electronics and cello and Powell and Leeds working on laptop computers. The composition process involved little in the way of overt instruction, instead favoring discussion on more abstract notions of feel and energy.”
Composer of lowercase concrète music, crys cole lends the Documenting Sound series one of its quietest, most nuanced instalments; an imaginary dérive thru her memory banks.
Forced to engage with a “surreal mix of calm and domestic routine” that paused her usually chaotic schedule in its tracks when the pandemic hit last year, crys found herself with a compacted setup that made her explore new ways and meanings through her creative practice, turning her kitchen table into a makeshift studio which served as portal to other lands, locations, recorded on her travels. Chiang Mai, Melbourne, Winnipeg became equidistant to her coffee pot, and all became part of the beguilingly intimate yet diaphanous fabric to ‘Other Meetings.’
Bringing outer space into her small surroundings in a manner recalling Ballard’s The Enormous Space’ short, crys innovated with what was to hand, poetically eliding the everyday domesticity of wilting flowers and a rocking coffee pot with a brukup old Korg DS8 and sources far more fantastic; from a meditation ceremony and deep-throated singing birds in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to fireworks in her native Winnipeg, CA. What came out is like a plasmic, rematerialised recollection of feelings, sights and smells, with eight individual pieces gauzily chained into side-long movements at a glacial pace.
As crys is, by her own admissions, “a slow worker” the results of ‘Other Meetings’ took a while to materialise, but their longer gestation lends itself to close inspection, where her filigree ephemera come to life with a time-slipping quality that’s deeply intoxicating, like a shaft of strong sunlight unexpectedly hovering over your eyes, forcing you to escape into your inner being for a minute... that can sometimes feel like an eternity.
Preeminent poet, writer, musician and vocalist Roger Robinson and his new band, The Black Space Quartet, deliver a knockout bout of heartical dub poetry and sultry R&B in a very special addition to our Documenting Sound series.
Highly regarded as the voice of King Midas Sound, and responsible for its frankly devastating lyrics, Roger Robinson is also a winner of the prestigious Ondaatje and T.S. Eliot Prizes - only the second writer of Caribbean heritage to ever win the latter. His poetry has also been commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate and The Barbican among countless others, and he is a co-founder of London poetry collective Malika's Poetry Kitchen with fellow poets Malika Booker and Jacob-Sam La Rose.
With production by LSN and Ruby Jones’ vocal spar to front The Black Space Quartet, Robinson and the band here channel feelings on life and love into piercingly moving songs redolent of KMS’ moon-kissing nocturnes, but just as much recalling Tricky’s little-known but untouchable Nearly God art-melters.
Last heard on 2019’s crushingly bleak ’Solitude’ album with King Midas Sound, which took on uncanny meaning during lockdown, Roger here once again exposes a downbeat stroke guided by, as he describes “a yearning for the intimacy of gathering, a reflection of the skins hunger for human touch and hymns toward hope.” But far from the stark spoken narrative of that bruising last KMS album, here Robinson channels the most soulful vocals we’ve ever heard from him, oozing emotion and harking back to classic soulful motifs that now somehow feel like a cherished relic from another era.
These are moving, memorable, poignant songs - a precious sound document from one of the most important writers of our time.
One of UK Bass music’s most poetic producers conjures a deft, lilting debut album exploring slower tempos and sultry vibes for Wisdom Teeth, the label he runs with K-Lone
As heard on his late 2020 lead-up single ‘Doves / MPH’, Facta’s music has gracefully grown more sensitive to touch and emotion with age, and ‘Blush’ finds him in possession of a timeless and spaciously fresh sound perhaps comparable only with likes of Parris in his field, so it should be no surprise that Parris lends his mutually low-key style to album highlight ‘Diving Birds.’
Perhaps cognisant of the fact the dance is dead right now, Facta keeps everything supple, sensuous, and at a strolling pace across the album in a way that’s primed for home use and your daily outdoors exercise allowance. Between the plinky melody and pastoral settings of ‘Sistine (Plucks)’ and the shimmering crystalline space of ‘Low Bridge (Lights)’, he suggests a sublime downtime soundtrack that takes in smudged beatdown (‘On Deck’) and beautifully buoyant broken beats (‘Verge’) along with the sleepwalker swing of ‘Diving Burds’ with Parris, and an exquisite slow jam ‘Blush’ to rudely burnish the album’s warm glow and appeal.
Just as one can never take too many baths, can one ever have enough bath time soundtracks? Early Fern supplies an ambient accompaniment to your next slip into the suds with a sensuous debut for Métreon’s new sub-label, small méasures - RIYL OCA/Florian TM Zeisig, Meitei, JD Emmanuel
“Music for Baths Vol. I is the debut album from former Georgia resident Early Fern, and the inaugural release from new Métron Records project/sub-label small méasures - which aims to donate funds to organisations and causes of the artists choosing.
Having recently quit their full time job and begun seasonal work on organic farms, Early Fern began a process of reconnection in their own life. Taking the plunge to move away from the stresses of 9 to 5, along with the depression and anxiety engendered by participation in that lifestyle, they began to find a new grounding in remote farm-stays in Florida, Texas, and New Mexico. It was during this process that Early began recording music that mirrors their attempts to become more calm, more present, and more connected to their natural surroundings. It was in these sessions that Music for Baths was recorded.
Baths are a place where people have historically visited to find restoration, both mentally and physically, whilst soaking in the tranquility of water. It thus seemed appropriate that this record be an homage to those moments of calm, and to the process of healing. Indeed we can confirm that these tracks are a fantastic accompaniment to a soothing bath.
Early wanted to use the profits from this release to support an organisation close to their heart. Seeding Sovereignty is an indigenous womxn led collective which seeks to dismantle colonial structures and policies in politics, agriculture, and justice. These songs were recorded on colonised land, and by donating to them Early seeks to undo some of the harm of colonial structures and, in a small way, offset some of the privilege from which they benefit in a colonised nation.”
MFM smoothly shift their frame of Japanese references to the CD era with a clutch of synthesiser jazz, ambient, and genteel Pop strokes including a bounty of Haruomi Hosono productions.
In the works for some years now, ‘Heisei No Oto’ corrals 14 leftfield Japanese pop charms created 1989-1996, charting a pivotal phase when Japan’s music market fully embraced the CD format over vinyl, and which also coincided with both the culmination of Japan’s rapid economic growth during the ‘80s, and the beginning of the Heisei era - marking the reign of Emperor Akihito until his abdication in 2019.
Compiled by MFM’s pals, Eji Taniguchi and Norio Sato of Osaka record stores Revelation Time and Rare Groove, respectively, and including nuggets picked by Chee Shimizu, the set spans those years in the wake of a wave of records that have resurfaced over the past decade thanks to YouTube algorithms; plunging deeper into the warm currents of post-new age and corporate ambient, taking in lilting home-grown jazz, ambient, and pop records of a rare, visionary calibre that have remained overlooked within and outside Japan.
Our ears are drawn to the quiescent FM fantasy of Jun Sato’s ‘Iorang’ at the front, and likewise to the tropical breeze of popstar Yosui Inoue’s ‘Pi Po Pa’, as well as the gossamer vocals and brooding wooze of ‘Nobody’ by Poison Girl Friend, or the steel drum sensuality of ‘Phlanged Vortex’ from Eiki Nonaka; but it’s plainly evident that Japan-o-philes and diggers of all stripes are going to be up to the gills in the good stuff here.
Brittle, DIY pop from the prolific, Glasgow-based experimental awk-folk icon. "Holograph" was assembled in just three days and stands as a testament to Richard Youngs' idiosyncratic sonic world. No comparisons cuz after more albums and collaborations than we care to mention, Youngs just sounds like himself.
Using a 4-track reel-to-reel machine, guitars, vocals and drum machines, Richard Youngs pieced together "Holograph", a brief and perfectly formed shimmer of micro pop that sounds like folk, tropicalia, comic rock and library music ground into fragrant, narcotic dust. The songs presented here might be split into individual movements, but melt into each other like candle wax, rhythms over rhythms and pained vocal into pained vocal.
Youngs' songs are built around light, pinprick beatbox rhythms and airy bass melodies. Over these core elements he drapes the expected jangling acoustic guitar strums and the voice we've been obsessed with since the early days of crucial full-lengths like "Advent" and "Sapphie". Gorgeous, singular stuff from a British original.
Trust Montreal's anti-capitalist post-rawk heroes to rustle up the ideal soundtrack to global collapse. It's their most charged material in years: raw, deliriously cinematic and rich with serrated urgency.
New albums from Mogwai and Godspeed in a matter of weeks? Is it 1998 again? We're not complaining - this flickering, silvery opus from GY!BE is among their most satisfying sets to date. "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!" finds the band in an awkward comfort zone, inspired by 2020's pandemic and subsequent global collapse to dust off their shortwave radio and compose a fuzzed-out response to the failure of the state system. It makes a lot of sense; since they debuted with "F? A? ∞" they've never been quiet about their anti-fascist, anti-corporate, anti-state views. With this in mind, "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!" is almost a "told ya" moment, or a euphoric apology for decades of prophetic post-rock doom-saying.
Weaved together with crackly snippets of shortwave hum, the album almost begins like John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness" with spine-chillingly indistinct chatter that signals isolation, desperation and media distortion. From there, the band allow their glacial compositions to hiss and crack through each distinct movement. At this stage in their career they have nurtured a rapport that sings as loud as any instrument, and twinned with their timely creative surge this has led to tracks that feel like a distillation of GY!BE's best qualities. The thrumming crescendos, Kraut-fed percussion, thick walls of layered feedback, near-classical compositional care and an unashamedly widescreen grasp of narrative. Godspeed sound heavier, tighter and more vital here than they have in ages. Who else could craft such elegiac, melancholy doom for the end of the world?
Damaged industrial noise techno experiments that sound like a collapsing cyberpunk dystopia. You already know! Think Pan Sonic, Pharmakon, Merzbow and latter-day Prurient.
Japanese noisemaker Yuko Araki was raised as a pianist, but as a teen found herself fascinated by the dynamic sound of metal and hardcore. After playing in rock bands for a while, she joined acid house duo Yobkiss on vocals and electronics; a few years later in 2017, she began experimenting with experimental music and noise, combining her love of sonic intensity and rhythmic pressure.
"End of Trilogy" draws a line under Araki's solo work, distilling her interest in prog rock and kosmische music into short vignettes that push at the boundaries of extreme music. The most obvious comparison would be to Mike Vainio's pioneering analog sound worlds, but Araki's unpredictable intensity isn't cold, nihilist or emotionless - it digs into almost surreal, hedonistic playfulness.
Manchester psych/sludge rockers Gnod traverse alternate universes on this trippy latest slab. One for the Les Rallizes Dénudés obsessives or the Can fan club.
'Easy to Build, Hard to Destroy' is the latest blessing from long-running Manc outfit Gnod, finding the band yet again diving into the sludgy psych rawk dungeon, fusing lysurgic feedback passages with the kind of motorik rhythmic push you'd more readily expect to find on a Neu! album. Rock 'n roll is the backdrop, and not the kind of rock that's been steadily sterilized each year, but the recorded-in-a-basement rock that birthed the punk revolution in the early 1970s. Everything on the album sizzles with an energy that seems to welcome failure - you get the feeling that at any point the power could be cut and everything would be lost, and in a digital world, that's refreshing.
From the magickal opening clank of 'Elka', through the wall-of-sound Grateful Dead-gone-Stooges frazzled of 'They Live' to the haunted spoken word and drone horror grime of 'Deadbeatdisco', there's a dazzling scope to the album. Gnod refuse to stay moored in one particular genre or other, they're dedicated to grit, and seem completely nonplussed about where that grit might take them. One moment the band is in Dusseldorf, the next NYC circa 1982, but the texture is the same - Gnod make sludgy jammers, and that's something to celebrate.
Post-Tim Hecker dronefuzz for you power ambient lovers out there.
'Emerging Threshold' is interdisciplinary artist Sébastien Robert's debut album and follows significant ethnographic research in Chile. The record takes its stylistic pulse from kosmische music (think Cluster or Conrad Schnitzler), but augments the rhythmic drones with disorienting snippets of trutruka, a traditional wind instrument of the Mapuche people of south-central Chile.
The result is disarmingly effective, sounding like Tim Hecker's more recent material without tipping into full-on power ambient. Rather Robert keeps things restrained, building sheets of fuzzy drone and walls of bass without allowing any element to overwhelm another.
Tranquil and crystalline beatless cello and synth transfusions for difficult times. Heady and personal but never self-serious; for fans of Richard Skelton, Arve Henriksen or even Laurel Halo.
"Blutt" strikes a delicate balance, manipulating heady ideas and alchemical compositional formulas to fabricate distinctly personal, light-hearted and vulnerable tone clouds. Cellist and composer Patrick Belaga is no newcomer, having spent the last few years touring incessantly and collaborating with and impressive list of innovators, from Lafawndah (he played on her brilliant "Ancestor Boy" LP) and Asma Maroof to Wu Tsang and Ioanna Gika. "Blutt" follows his 2017 debut "Groundswell", and was conceptualized on an Italian adventure as he wandered around small towns hearing muffled jazz and classical music in the distance. The result is a disarming commingling of classical instrumentation and electronic manipulation, where the core elements - cello, vocals, synth, pan pipes, field recordings - dissolve into one another lysurgically, mirroring the confusing, alluring architecture of a dream.
Belaga has plenty of experience scoring for movies and television, but to pass "Blutt" off as simply cinematic would do it a disservice. The album isn't so much evocative of a particular narrative as it is a set of emotions or neurological triggers. As he allows cello scrapes to dematerialize into a blurred haze or vocals to disintegrate, Grouper-style, into dense reverb trails, it's moods that spring to mind rather than visuals. That feeling of walking around a new place, awed by its history and fascinated by the capacity for stories; the sense that people are dreaming, loving, scheming, living around you at an incomprehensible level. Belaga reflects this by never overcomplicating his productions, deceptively simple recipes of few ingredients expertly cooked to perfection. Fleeting cello melodies, faded pads, dissociated drones - each track is sparse but refuses to leave you wanting. Our brain fills in the gaps, allowing each of us to build our own unique relationship with the music.
'Fantas' re-imagined eight times; there's pipe organ, singeli and blistering 'ardkore! You know what to do.
Italian modular icon Caterina Barbieri struck gold with 'Fantas', the delirious opening track from 2019's brilliant "Ecstatic Computation" that's been a staple of her live performances since its release. Now the fan fave has been bumped up and fleshed out with a suite of versions, but "Fantas Variations" is no ordinary remix compilation. Rather Barbieri asked a few friends to re-interpret 'Fantas' in their own distinct manner, and the results are far more interesting than a job lot of ambient shovelware or lo-fi house b-stock. Evelyn Saylor opens proceedings with a crystalline vocal version, working alongside the sublime trio of Lyra Pramuk, Stine Janvin and Annie Garlid, before Bendik Giske transports us into a loopy sax-led netherworld with his lifted, elegiac take.
It's Kali Malone's version that truly blows out our brain cavities out, though. A longtime friend of Barbieri's, Malone adds the weight of a dying world to her 'Fantas For Two Organs', summoning the melancholy power of a sad cathedral on a sad evening in Sadberg: tears were shed. More cheery is an extended singeli jam from Nyege Nyege's Jay Mitta, and LA veteran Baseck's 'Fantas Hardcore' that does exactly what it says on the tin, with the hoover sounds and overdriven hardbounce kicks to prove it.
The album closes by touching the sublime with a deft, economical take from Kara-Lis Coverdale. She strips the composition down to its key elements, recreating the memorable riff on piano and smudging the edges just ever so slightly. It's as spine-tingling a finale as you'd hope to find and the perfect end to a celebration of all things 'Fantas'.
In which Merzbow and Prurient sing their favourite Italian arias, or maybe not; ’Black Crows Cyborg’ pits the noise titans at their quietest and most concentrated in contrasting sides of pure noise magick
With stellar reputations that precede them, introductions to Merzbow and Prurient are surely not needed. However, it’s remarkable that this is their first collaboration, proper, after previously appearing on the same release multiple times, and playing live on the same bills over the years.
Written in isolation from each other, but sharing a mode of intensity, the two tracks are both unexpected and typical, subsuming their egos into a bleak mass of wrenched metal junk sounds over a wide and distant organ motif in the aptly titled ‘Part I - City Barbarism Melancholy’, before getting their hackles up on ‘Part II - Cylinders Return’ with gnawing buzzsaw drones and a shattered patina of atonal attrition delivered with a Ballardian vividness in its brutal sensuality.
Billowing, cloudy modular ambience from gearcore survivor Khotin. Like early AFX and more recent TM404 material, but more Canadian.
Last year, Dylan Khotin-Foote released "Area 3", a short album of modular sketches and meditations that added a new dimension to his output. "Amb" is its followup, and builds on its predecessor's pastoral landscapes, dripping subtle rhythms and sequences into the levitating cauldron of reverberating pads.
It's nothing particularly new, but Khotin's uncynical approach makes the record an enjoyable diversion, at the very least.
Influential Seattle-based ambient visionary Kerry Leimer returns with a crackly set of homespun electronics and placid ambience.
'Found Objects' is the umpteenth album from the prolific composer, assembled after almost a year of experimentation with studio serendipity. Built around glitchy recordings of piano, synthesizer and strings, it's a cloudy collection of whimsical ambience that reminds of Taylor Deupree or Machinefabirek, but retains a particularly individual sense of purpose. When skeletal drums appear on 'Opulent Lyricism' there's a breath of The Remote Viewer's City Center Offices material and that's no bad thing at all. Lovely.
Head-melting percussion abstractions that occupy a curious space between free improv and experimental electronics. Like Autechre and Mark Fell jamming with the Flower/Corsano duo. So good.
Drummer Will Guthrie and keyboardist James Rushford join forces here for a spontaneous studio session that took place in Nantes, where Guthrie is currently situated. With Rushford wielding a detuned pipe organ and Guthrie complimenting his wheezing dissonant drones with gongs, bells and cymbals, it doesn't take more than a minute or so to fully materialize in the Aussie duo's (real real) world. They balance on a precarious precipice, treading carefully between free improv ideas and the meticulous rhythmic minimalism that we last heard on Mark Fell's recent Guthrie collaborations.
But this is uneasy, organic material and situates itself far from the ice-cold rattle of the post-IDM set. It's not exactly jazz, but Guthrie and Rushford's distinctly spiritual back-and-forth reminds of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders at times, as if the duo are ruminating on duration, tonality and the nature of rhythm. As the album progresses into deeper, darker territory, we're treated to sax from Melbourne's Scott McConnachie, who throws horn screams over Guthrie's manic polyrhythms and Rushford's organ doom on 'Slakes'.
Ending on the gloomy, evocative 'Blue-eyed Boy', the album almost sounds like a Bohren und der Club of Gore record screwed and chopped within an inch of its life and doused in hot tar. Just the way we like it, then.
The National's Bryce Dessner explores tragedy with his second poignant collaboration with the Sydney Dance Company. One for fans of Kronos Quartet and Bang-On-A-Can.
"Impermanence/Disintegration" finds the award-winning composer in a reflective state, eyeing the aftermath of the Australian bush fires and the burning of Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral in attempt to frame these tragic events with heady orchestral flourishes. Ideas surrounding the impermanence of objects are central to Dessner's melancholy, whimsical pieces, that dance around a filigree rhythmic core that reminds fondly of his work with the influential (and underrated) Clogs project.
Dessner succeeds when he allows more structure to seep into the cracks: 'Pulsing' sounds almost like a movie theme, with melodramatic strings tiptoeing around keys, plucks and the titular electronic throbs. It's that ideal sweet spot between classical drama and the eerie minimalism of Michael Nyman or Steve Reich and feels like a fitting tribute to a solemn subject.
FDW sets it off on a rolling dub house and deep, percussive techno tip in a sturdy follow-up to his ‘Apparitions’ album for Livity Sound
Weaving his own way thru a rhizome of related rhythmic styles, Forest Drive West can’t help but do it with a properly in-the-pocket flex on the ‘Dualism EP.’ The title may refer to the chimeric nature of the EP’s sides or an eternal tension between the bass heft and deft atmospheric thizz of his style, but either way they’re all classically skooled in the manner that's made his productions a cult property over the past half decade.
‘Dualism’ rides out head high, eyes-down on a stepping techno motion shades away from Substance & Vainqueur, whereas ‘New Day’ loosens up the hips and opens out with lush choral pads. On the other side, ‘Ritual’ pares back to pure percussive patter in a subaquatic techno doe, and ‘Scorpion’ works a delicious groove of slippery, tabla-like drums sure to light up fans of Beatrice Dillon or DJ Plead works.