As part of a cultural exchange programme that found Floating Points and James Holden travelling to Morocco to take part in a unique collaborative week next to the pool at the Fellah Hotel. Working with Maalem Mahmoud Guinia and his band, the British artists turned in their own versions from the sessions with excellent results. Floating Points takes a delicate approach to the source material, slowly feeding in considered synth lines to accompany the traditional claps, chants and guembri. James Holden meanwhile offers up three different tracks which instantly fall louder, working more effects processing into the mix and capturing a rough and ready African production vibe that equally complements the music.
Given how damn prolific Tom Jenkinson is, it's hard to believe Damogen Furies is the first Squarepusher album in three years. Issued through regular hub Warp, Damogen Furies is the thirteenth Squarepusher album and in order to keep things fresh Jenkinson apparently decided to record all the tracks in one take without any subsequent edits. He's quoted as using words like brutal and visceral in the sales notes and those are definitely feelings that come up when listening to Damogen Furies. The opening two tracks "D Frozen Aac" and "Kwang Bass" which sound like Daft Punk pulled backwards through a vacuum and an arcade machine desiccated respectively, set the tone for the album as a whole. Very Squarepusher.
Having established a shared passion for 'drumless trance and broken riddims', Tiki Latex knew that Doline aka producer Maxime Prieur, belonged on his Sound Pellegrino label. This resulting single, the Elusive EP, bears testament to this musical approach with three tracks that don't conform to the current 90s retro trends - "Cus D'Amato" marries percussive crossfire with chiming ambient synth melodies not unlike Thomas Newman's 80s work, "Landeoff II" is trance, but not as we know it: all shimmering arpeggios glazing staccato beats and finally "Elusive" sees spacey 70s synthscapes evolve into slow, romantic electro-house. Powerful stuff!
Already an accomplished composer for film and television, Michael Price purposefully set out on a quest to make a more spontaneous record which has wound up as Entanglement. With a variety of processes including street recordings, modular synthesis, '40s magnetic disc recordings and collaborations with cellists and other instrumentalists, the eight pieces that make up this album for Erasing Tapes combine immediacy and improvisation with the highest end of studio practices to make for an engrossing listen. From plaintive piano pieces to swelling many-layered compositions, the mood constantly changes without compromising on the most exquisite musicality.
Like everything Rrose does, there is a strong concept and deep thought process behind Note. An original composition by 70s minimalist James Tenney, the Eaux boss delivers two new interpretations here. One of them was recorded at Dupont Underground, apparently a place for disused trolleys and you can hear random metallic sounds bashing and crashing away in the background as layers of droning noise hum gently to a finale. There is also a studio version, which involves more defined instruments and elements; cymbals crash and death pace drums underscore Rrose's washes of grey, blurry sound scapes. Further deserves kudos for putting out such a thought-provoking release.
There's a crazy story behind this new release from the killer Antinote crew out of Paris. Paki-Visnadi is two Venetian musicians, Paki Zennaro and Gianni Visnadi, a guitarist and electronic composer respectively who got together one night in 1984 to compose a set of music intended for local dance schools. The results were recorded to tape but never fully released with just ten copies handed out to friends. If it wasn't for a chance flea market discovery by the partner of Antinote artist and famed tape hoarder Iueke, it's likely the world would never have heard Imaginary Choreography. And what a shame that would have been as the five tracks are delightful, minimal compositions filled with interesting rhythmic kinks.
Daylight Curfew representer Jason Drake gets all star-gazey and wistful on his Plug Research debut. Opening with the deep-dream downbeat "Total Recall", it's an instant sandy-toed slice that's more Balearic than its LA origins suggest. Dig deeper for the warped, early '90s Weatherall-esque "Eighties Hacker", the toxically sludgy, dungeon-minded "Freshkicks", the staggering clicks and whirrs of "Scotch Tape Drum Machine" and the early Ninja triphop dynamics of "Radiotechnics". A barbed sojourn where the tunnel-end light is always achingly close, each of these cuts require close attention.
The concept for this collaborative project from Max Loderbauer and Jacek Sienkiewicz hinges on the mountain ranges that the German and Polish artists respectively live close to. Loderbauer is close to the Alps, while Sienkiewicz lives in plain sight of Tatra, and so the pair sought to create two long form pieces inspired by these monoliths of nature and the native inhabitants of the region. In a broad, sweeping form that uses slow and steady synthesiser hum alongside processed percussion and distant vocals, "West Ridge" moves through dramatic shifts of mood and colour without losing focus, while "East Ridge" takes a more playful tact with increased interference from erratic synth blips that punctuate the looming pads.
The work of two artists, Sal-Ocin and Marc Titollo, the Empusae project brings together the world of metal, goth and electronic sound scapes. It's an ambitious project, but it's one that the pair realise impressively. Opening track "Length Of Decay" is 13 minutes of searing guitars and bleak drones, while "Onzinnig Bestaan Van Vergetelheid" and "Verlies Van Het Licht" put a greater emphasis on the metal element, with screeching power solos unleashed over flailing drums. However, it's the closing track that really impresses. "Eindpunt Van Het Streven" features more of the same kind of dramatic guitar bursts that feature on other tracks. This time however, they are accompanied by soaring strings and synths that make the pair sound as epic as Sisters of Mercy, but without the pomp.
Rvng Intl's FRKWYS sublabel is focused on collaborations that bridge a generational divide, which has been marvelously demonstrated in the past with the crossover between M, Geddes Gengras, Sun Araw and The Congos. For the twelfth release in the series, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe of Om and other such highly regarded concerns travelled to the East coast of Australia to work with veteran ambient musician Ariel Kalma, which has resulted in this enchanting, organic album steeped in natural field recordings and harmonious melodic tones. From synthesiser pulses to cooing saxophone, Lowe and Kalma flow together in an incredibly natural way and the resulting record is a marvel from start to finish.
Fluorescent Grey seems to specialise in the album format, and his debut release for the ingeniously named Record Label came in the form of 10+ tracks ranging from moody electronica to bass-heavy ambient. This time, Mr.Grey returns to the same Record Label with a startling thirty tunes ranging from cavernous drones to watery soundtrack music and sci-fi-influenced noisedelicha. It's rather difficult to express the vastness and length of this work into human words, but what is certain is that this album is for lovers of electronics, modular programming and far-out sonics. Moreover, it's quite impressive to hear an artist so ready and complete on their softmore release.