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Reviewed this week
You can count on Honest Jon's to provide the more provocative electronic release around, but we weren't expecting this new EP at all. A collaboration between Shackleton and Ernesto Tomasini was simply too much to envisage: the former is one of the few true pioneers of UK dance music and the latter is an ex-Cabaret dancer who delves in post-industrialism. There are four segments and, thanks to Tomasini's voice, Shackleton's music is transformed and teleported onto new territories, sounding something like a space dance from a long, long time ago. HJ themselves describe this as Shackleton's 'most hallucinatory music to date' and that may well be, but what is certain is that it's very much different from all the other gear he's put out. Recommended.
The latest volume in Music From Memory's impressive 12" series of reissued obscurities takes us back to late '80s St Louis and the hard to find world of Workdub. Formed of Virgil Work Jnr. and Nicholas Georgieff, Workdub's output was restricted to a pair of highly limited albums recorded between 1989 and 1992. All four tracks are taken from these two albums, and offer a lucid, ear-catching fusion of early ambient house electronics, experimental oriental synth-pop, alien jazz breaks, spacey Detroit influences, and stuttering drum machine rhythms. It's a hard-to-place but wonderfully evocative mixture, arguably best displayed on standout opener "Island Breeze". That said, the curiously Balearic, Tangerine Dream influenced "Caravan" is rather tasty, too, while its' ambient alternative mix, "Caravan Revisited" is almost overpowering in its' simple beauty.
The career of Cleveland's John Roberts has certainly gone from strength to strength since his incredible debut album Glass Eights on Dial back in 2010. Since then, 2013's Fences LP delved deeper into the exotic and abstract as did the Orah and Six EPs on his newly inaugurated Brunette Editions imprint. His first full length offering for the new label, the Plum LP continues on with Roberts' fascination with stunning percussion styles, oriental aesthetics and inventive use of sampling. All the tracks are quite short, lasting on average about three minutes, but have just the right amount of impact. There's a diverse range of moods on offer; from the 80's Japanese action film vibe of "Glue", the woozy steel drums workout on "Dye Tones" to the dusty Balearica of "Gum". It's all quite brilliant really.
Que sonzeira! This is Gilles Peterson's most ambitious project to date... Last year he shipped himself and various key creative producers to Rio to build a document that celebrates every quarter of Brazil's broad sound by way of 18 original productions. Working the likes of Floating Points, members of 2 Banks Of 4 and local maestro Kassin, they sourced some the country's most authentic, exciting imaginative performers to create unique compositions that transcend any idea of homage to become their own entities that speak a universal groove language. The other-worldly rain forest flute-wheezing mists of "The Plum Blossom", the star-gazing lullaby harmonies of "Estrelar", the weeping chord phrases and soft whispers "City Saints", the scruffy dubby loops and percussive insistency of "Where Nana Hides"... While most Brazilian collections rehash or reboot the original source, this has created its very own. The fact it's the first release on Talkin Loud in over 10 years makes it even more special.
The latest release on Hamburg label Dial is the debut album from Misanthrope CA, a new project initiated by co-founder David 'Carsten Jost' Lieske in conjunction with artist and photographer Robert Kulisek. The pair graduate to Dial after first introducing the black metal-influenced endeavour on a limited tape last year, and Deathbridge makes for a compelling addition to the label's recent catalogue. Imagine the sonic crawlspace between The Caretaker, Tryptych-era Demdike Stare and Tropic Of Cancer and you are in the right frame of mind for this crepuscular ten track collection from Misanthrope CA.
Earlier this year, Red Light Radio founder Orpheu de Jong stumbled across a cassette, originally self-released in 1984, from an unknown San Francisco musician called Joel Graham. On the strength of the two tracks showcased here, it would be fair to say that Graham was ahead of his time. Hypnotic and minimalist in the extreme, the drum machine and synthesizer workout "Geomancy" - apparently recorded in 1982 on pre-midi analogue equipment - sounds like a template for techno. B-side "Night" is similarly inspired, and bears an uncanny resemblance to pitched-down versions of some of the dreamy new age house and nu-Balearica currently doing the rounds. It's superb, and almost as good as the brilliant A-side. Another superb release from the guys at Music From Memory.
Oddgrad only made his debut last year and already the enigmatic producer is sounding as if he could easily take on the big boys of noise and power electronics. This new EP for Gang Of Ducks is helmed by "Non Ho Niente Da Nascondere", translated to "I Have Nothing To Hide", and it's a fitting name due to its total neglect for any sort of concrete sound or melody - distorted flutes meander across cinematic sonics like a liquid gel that expands and contracts. "Non Sono Un Criminale" ("I Am Not A Criminal") is equally cacophonous but the flutes are dissolved into a looser sort of ballad that intertwines with plenty of other raucous noises and hissing tape loops. Weirdo gear, and the best kind there is...