Reviewed this week
Fake's Providence narrative continues with unique and innovative thrust as renowned experimental composer Olga Wojciechowska repurposes and re-orchestrates his most startling and original work to date. Rich, perplexing and full of drama, Nathan's signature abrasion is felt with even more emphasis and timeless scope as the eminent Polish composer works her magic. Also included is a breath-taking ambient twist from Konx-Om-Pax and live versions from Nathan himself. Providential.
Danish DJ and producer Rune Reilly Kolsch started out around 2003 and first gained success with his track "Calabria". He went on to efforts in the groups Artificial Funk and Enur together (with his brother Johannes Torpe) and then creating some big tunes in the mid noughties minimal boom, under aliases like Ink & Needle and Tattoo. The first material as Kolsch surfaced around 2010 and he's been a staple of the Cologne based Kompakt family ever since. With 1989, he presents the final chapter in a trilogy that started with an exploration of early childhood memories and influences (on 1977) and continued on 1983: which soundtracked his childhood travels throughout Europe. With 1989, we have arrived at his early teens. Kolsch explains it was "a difficult time in my life, where I mostly just remember the greyness of it all." It isn't all a brooding affair though, for the most part. From the sombre symphonic acid of "Serij", the pop inflected tech-house of "In Bottles" (featuring Aurora) to the epically euphoric style of dancefloor drama you'd usually attribute to the man like on "Grau" or the anthemic lead single "Liath". It's quite a story he presents here.
Norway's legendary Geir Jenssen aka Biosphere returns to action with a solid 2-tracker for his own Biophon household but, unlike his previous outings, this one has a beat-laded spin at its core. "Black Mesa" is reworked and anted-up by Spieltape, who takes the energy and charmisa of the original as the foundation for a techno platform composed of dusty, intricate percussion patterns. The man himself follows up with "Dignity Village", a predictably looser, beat-free excursion that is carried forth by gltichy, minimalistic hi-hats and a bittersweet sequence of bleeps. Lovely stuff, as always!
Music From Memory return, this time with four tracks drawn from Virgil 'Vincent' Work Jnr's little-known cassette only debut from 1987. This album reflects a more stripped back and raw musical approach from the St. Louis musician. The 'Fast Forward' sessions grew out of a series of late night jams with Vincent's brother Scott who was then living in Kansas. With nothing planned in advance and no written music involved in the final recording sessions, the songs that would form 'Fast Forward' very much evolved out of improvisation. As Virgil himself explains, the title of the album in fact came about because it felt "as if I had fast forwarded to a different sound". Although the album received a good response from local radio DJs and music magazines, the album sadly never gained enough momentum or demand for a further run of copies. Fast forward to 2017, exactly thirty years are their production, and Music From Memory are delighted to be able to finally make Vincent's music commercially available again.
Connor Camburn aka Lituus is back to his very best for the Avian label, except that this time you can marvel at his supremely grey-scaled electronics on your turntable. For people who might not have come across his music yet, the edgy industrial producer has been mainly putting hismaterial out on cassette format, so the opportunity to have him spinning on some decks is always welcomed. Much like his previous works, 2236 S Wentworth Ave is a cold and introspective wall of sound, coated in a noticeable layer of hardware unpredictability which stretches across the entirety of each framework. Attempting to quote the names of these seven segments would be too ambitious given the fact that they are composed of about 15 numbers, but that's precisely the point. Lituus' music is about abstraction and surrealism, or rather an existential world where music is the soundtrack to nothing. Verging on techno at all points, this mini LP is a marvelously fresh take on the extremities of power electronics, and the leftfield genre generally. Shape-shifting and immersive, as always from Lituus.
Amongst those that keep track of these things, German trio Hyonobeat are considered proto-techno pioneers. While it's not known whether Detroit's Belleville Three were fans, you could argue that Hynobeat's rhythm-focused approach pre-dated both techno and Chicago house. Thanks to this fine retrospective from Dark Entries, you can judge for yourself. The material included was all recorded between 1983 and 1986, with the wild, off-kilter polyrhythms and ragged TB-303 lines of "The Arumbeya Fetish", mutant electro of "Kilian" and high-octane thrust of the decidedly out-there "Mission in Congo" standing out. Remarkably, Hypnobeat would chain together drum machines and bass synthesizers to create their tracks - a practice that would later become common during the acid house era.
Australian electronic dealers F Ingers - made up of Carla Dal Forno, Samuel Karmel, and Tarquin Manek - return to London's Blackest Ever Black unit with their follow-up to 2015's Hide Before Dinner, which was in itself a sublimely tenebrous assemblage of drones, drums and jaded cold-waves. Awkwardly Blissing Out offers the listener plenty of room for exploration, with its six similarly balanced tunes bouncing from highs to lows at a constant pace; with glorious hints of something Balearic, F Ingers manage to retain a sense of light-heartedness about their cavernous sonics, which upon first impression might come across as dark and crestfallen. In reality, this is an LP about the light at the end of the tunnel, or rather, about hidden moments of euphoria within our every emotion. Excellent stuff - highly recommended.
Milan's Simone Trabucchi, whom we know by the name of Dracula Lewis, launches his new STILL moniker on Berlin's predictably explorative PAN stable. The result, however, is something we haven't been explored to before and, for Italian electronic music, marks a fascinating new journey into 'outernational' sounds. All of these 9 sonic experiments are made up of peculiar ethnic blends that span from Rastafarian culture to Pan-Asian influences; most of the are tagged as 'riddims', attempting to form new and visceral forms of futuristic soundsystem music for the next century. We're not kidding when we say that this is the first time in a while that we've heard something genuinely different, genre-blending an, in a sense, utterly off-the-wall. Dancehall is in all of these tunes' DNA, but the execution is peppered with all sorts of sci-fi-leaning tricks and electronics, making it the perfect sort of material for fans of both dance cultures. Don't sleep on this one.
Welsh techno brothers John and Paul Healy return with a new edition of their Somatic Reponses for Germany's long-running Hymen Records. While these two haven't always gotten the recognition they deserve, it would be fair to say that they have been responsible for giving techno the boundless frontiers that it now possesses, with the majority of their extensive catalogue - which dates back to the 90s - sprawling out onto experimental platforms on a constant basis. This new LP, Pattern Seeking, is no different, and it's clear from the get-go that they are in this to immerse the listeners into veritable journeys through sound; each tune permeates into the next one and, unlike many other techno albums, this feels like it was produced under one mindset. If you're looking for easy DJ tools, this might not be for you, but for all other sorts of electronic deviants there is much to discover.
Stonedwave presents the latest offering from Jochen Heym. Bridging the gap between hardcore, drill & bass and braindance on tracks like "Exit Vessel" and "Init Conversation", the artist creates Dadaistic piano arrangements that meet talking funk basslines while the tracks are still heavily rooted on the dance floor. Songs like "Winterlicht" and "Unreachable" connect the artwork taken by Icelandic Photographer Halldor Ingi to muted microtonal sounds and hypnotic piano loops. Inspired by his hiking trips to remote locations in northern Europe, Heym started to invent his own microtonal tunings which can be heard throughout the whole release and define his personal unique sound character.
Dark Entries reissue seminal Australian group Severed Heads sixth studio album originally released in 1986. A project revolving around Tom Ellard and joined by Garry Bradbury and Simon Knuckey. It was their first record to be released commercially in Australia, North America and Europe. Quite a few people still define the band by this period of 'industrial dance music' alongside other acts of the time like Front 242 and Frontline Assembly and they did well out of the tour they did with Canadians Skinny Puppy that same year. It also signalled a new direction, flirting with the dancefloor and pop songs. Like the original Australian version of the album, included are bonus tracks: three extended remixes by Sydney DJ Robert Racic, three B-sides from the 'Twenty Deadly Diseases' single and two additional tracks from the same recording sessions. All songs have been remastered by Tom Ellard,
Burnt Friedman and Oke Goettlich's Nonplace is back with some tribal percussion workouts courtesy of Cologne based Drums Off Chaos that's comprised of Friedman's touring bassist Maf Retter, Manos Tsangaris, Olek Gelba and Reiner Linke. Jaki Liebezeit of the legendary Can was a member also, until his death in early 2017. The group collaborated with local musician Jes Uwe Beyer for an album on Barnt's Magazine imprint in 2011. There's been a strong scene for polyrhythmic music in the city of Cologne and fans of Stefan Schwander, The Durian Brothers or Harmonious Thelonious will certainly find the entrancing rhythms on offer here quite interesting.
A captivating suite of meditative 'pulse Minimalism' from Japanese architect and sound designer H Takahashi. The Raum album takes its cues from a melting pot of closely connected yet wholly individual strands of the genre: from the Japanese works of Hiroshi Yoshimura and Satoshi Ashikawa, to masters such as Erik Satie and John Cage, and ambient leaders Brian Eno and Roedelius. Takahashi soaks this historical influence and rings it out through a modern filter to create a record of stillness, ethereal beauty and transcendent energy. He recorded the album over two years entirely on his iPhone.
Laraaji Nanananda, also known as Edward Larry Gordon to his nearest and dearest, is undoubtedly a part of the UK movement that has put the 'new' in 'age'. Historically a part of the All Saints label, to which he returns this week with this new LP - Bring On The Sun - Laraaji was kicking back with artists like Brian Eno, Jah Wobble, Jon Hassell, and the rest of the wider Opal crew back in the day. He's continued to be a fundamental pillar of the imprint ever since and, more widely, of the constant influence that ambient music seems to have on the masses. His particular strain is often referred to simply as 'Laraaji music', and this is once again true of this new album. While there is plenty of designer ambient out there, Laraaji's quality of drones seem to have something timeless abot them, where it's difficult to tell what age, what place and what sort of story lies behind them. Truly meditative vibes here. Hotly recommended, as always.
You might recognise Vancouver's Gabriel Mindel Saloman from his work under the Yellow Swans moniker, or perhaps even as GMS or Sade Sade. However you've come across him, the producer has been active on the experimental scene for over 15 years, and is certainly not part of the current trend of new Canadian talents that seem to surface almost daily. Thanks to releases for imprints like Miasmah, Trioniks and Not Not Fun, Saloman has racked up quite the reputation, making this new LP from France's Shelter Press label something of a special drop. Movement Building Vol.3 is a dark and cavernous piece of work which seems to get more intense with each new track; "What Belongs To Time" and "What Belongs To Bass" open the scene with subtle, echoing flurries of industrial dread, whereas "What Belongs To You" steps up a gear to unleash a grainy slew of power drums. On the flip, the same cycle unfolds, where steady drum shots and deep swells of electronics eventually evolve into sparse and dissipating walls of rhythmic noise. Heavy!
Amir Abbey's Secret Pyramid project has been a ray of light all along; ever since the man's first release back in 2010, his material has given the drone and ambient spectrum a different shade of grey, managing to balance something altogether much more soulful and bittersweet amid its illustrious waves of empty sound. This is the producer's sixth studio album, Two Shadows Collide, and it belongs to that rare category of beatless electronic music that nonetheless manages to lift and entertain with so little. Honestly, tracks like "Two Shadows", "Lost" and "A Dream On Third" make for some needlessly pleasing musical abstractions, taking them on a par with music that's composed of more instruments. Of course, there are moments of total surrealism, such as "Possession", but it's the ones like "Memory Within Memory" that make this album approachable to all sorts of listeners who reside beyond the niche electronic scene. Recommended.
John Saint-Pelvyn doesn't put out a whole load of solo material. In fact, the enigmatic artist perfectly embodies the leftfield stance both musically and humanly, which is something we always love to see from the artists residing on our charts. A Clerical Error In Shasta County Shouldn't Have To Ruin A Saturday Night is a strange and compelling piece of work that has the power to mystify and provoke thought; in a sense, each and every drone across this masterful EP could be described as modern, singular and at the cutting-edge of music but, as you'll no doubt discover, it also relies heavily on ancient forms of composition. That is, melodic constructions that recall generations past, the lives of others, and the acutely baroque. Like a chant to the Gods above, this new EP for Seeland is a breath of fresh air, from a generation lost.
NATHAN FAKE - Providence Reworks/Part II (Ninja TUne)
GREG FOX - The Gradual Progression (RVNG Int'l)
KOLSCH - 1989 (Kompakt Germany)