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Reviewed this week
Up to this day, Nomine has been heavily associated with the mighty Tempa crew out of London - perhaps the most important home to dubstep music - but this time his brooding head-nodders are here on his own Nomine Sound label. "Nomine's Path" is the perfect opener, a mid-tempo drum roll that dilutes perfectly into the steadier kicks and Eastern vocals of "Peace Please". "Lost Girl" is a dubby wave of Space Echo trickery and aqueous chanting, but "Nomine's Mantra" is the final gate to the portal, a mystical bullet of wizard wailing and sparse drum beating. Tip!
Given that Warp Records has described this set from ambient legend Brian Eno as "almost as much musical novel, as a traditional album", it's perhaps fitting that this limited edition comes housed in a hardback book. The album's narrative unfurls slowly across the album's four tracks, picking up pace during the 26-minute "Fickle Sun" suite of tracks. Predictably, it's all hugely atmospheric and attractive, featuring a mix of dreamy electronics, twinkling pianos, poetic spoken word extracts and, according to Eno's own notes, "three-dimensional recording techniques". Perhaps most intriguing of all, though, is closer "Fickle Sun I'm Set Free", which sees Eno paying tribute to the hazy, psychedelic pop of Harry Nilsson.
Contort Yourself has once again gathered the best and boldest from past and present for its fourth EP. To begin with we have the grimacing visage of Volition Immanent, an intense live act made up of Parrish Smith and Mark Van de Maat (Knekelhuis). Behind rawkish distortion, splintered beats and acrid bars screams a boiled anger; a track spitting on the divides of punk and electronics. Nastiness is taken up a notch as noise ne'er-do-wells Zombies Under Stress take over. Static is bent and doubled across thick chords and collapsed clap in the 1986 "Maan Zal Zijn" before the raw and raging battery of "In Onze Tijd." L.I.E.S. regular Svengalisghost grapples with "Maan Zal Zijn, channelling the original's rage into a mechanical monster. The 12" is bookended with bite as Mark Forshaw (Tabernacle/Berceuse Heroique) closes with the tortured and torrential thump of "Submission." A callous, caustic and fervently cruel EP.
We like it when an artist debuts with an album; it demonstrates an inherent confidence and a bursting desire to get one's point across, a clear and coherent idea demonstrated through music. Parc En Ciel are exactly that, and Glasgow's Lucky Me has taken them on in all their starry-eyed glory. Path Integral is a voyage album, ten shards of sonic experimentation that never stick too closely to one genre - or even subgenre, for that matter. Simply put, it's space music, a sort of new-age age that is played by tribes on Saturn. An interesting, wide-eyed release that is definitely worth a listen...or two.
Berlin via Brooklyn experimental imprint Root Strata is back with a brilliant debut by Portland, OR based trio Matt Carlson, Michael Sterling and Doug Theriault. Supposedly "derived from live improvisational performances" there's some truly gorgeous and entrancing drones which delve deep into the exotic on "Misha Bhairavi", transporting you deep into the unchartered territories of the east. The spiritual enlightenment continues on the transcendental glory of "Clouds Into Mindnight" complete with evolving pads, synth chime melodies scattered about the place and a life affirming mantra which carries away over the top. Fun fact: Sterling is a disciple of late Hindustani Master Pandit Pran Nath and a student of the great Terry Riley!
Boost is Future Times boss man Andrew Field-Pickering's third solo album under his familiar Max D alias and the seven tracks stand up as a fine example of the musical freedom currently running through the DC-based artist's veins. Like us, you've probably played the crushing, freeform 808 cruncher "Rhythm Operator" to death on the FT SoundCloud but we are happy to report the other six tracks are just as daring! As impressive as previous long players for RAMP and RVNG were, Boost feels bolder, a fuller expression of Field-Pickering's undoubted musical talent and less beholden to any particular dancefloor trope. Mood Hutter Jack J, Jordan GCZ, Motion Graphics and Benedek all contribute to Boost, but what really shines through is Max D's beaming smile behind those drum machines. Ps we hope this album is named after our favourite chocolate bars!
Berlin-based Melbournite Carla Dal Forno, one half of uber cool duo Tarcar and one third of F Ingers, strikes out on her own for the always impressive Blackest Ever Black. Aimed as a taster for a forthcoming solo album, Carla Dal Forno presents two tracks of reduced goth tendencies on "Fast Moving Cars", with her gorgeous vocals backed by a bare bones rhythmic arrangement, subtle synth swells and a raw bassline. Things get even gloomier yet on "Better Yet", where her haunting vocals assist you in drifting away to a dark and lonely place, sounding reminiscent of early Sisters Of Mercy or The Cure.
Canadian musician Tristan Douglas first made his name with a slew of digital releases for netlabels like Cocobass and B.YRSLF Division under the name Margaret Antwood. A clear pun on the celebrated poet from his homeland, Douglas has perhaps wisely chosen to lose the Margaret and move forward as Antwood. Getting picked up by Mike Paradinas, Douglas delivers his debut LP as Antwood in Virtuous .scr and delves into the darker recesses of the internet. AI is a central theme to the album's 12 tracks, specifically the idea of whether or not an AI can have a set of ethics, whilst sonic reference points could be video game music and anime soundtracks.
Eugene Carchesio's output has been exclusive to Australia's Room40, and the label have done a marvellous job at keeping this talent on their roster; we love everything about Carchesio's musical bric-a-brac, and each time one of his new LP's drop, we're eager to hear what sort of tip this beat wizard is on. The best way to describe his music would be to reference the infamous Sahko label and artists such as Mika Vainio, because although this is predominantly experimental music with an abstract feel, the beats and rhythms are powered by a distinctive sort of minimalism which hailed from Finland in the mid 1990's. The Planets is a glorious addition to this guy's already stellar discography, and we recommend it to all those looking for a futurist rush in their lives. TIP.
it's time for some of Ohal's breezy, chilled-out balearic fizz on Styles Upon Styles - just perfect for the Spring months and, as always, a much welcomed arrival onto our leftfield charts. However, this time the Balearic binge gets a further twist, a placement onto the Cancelled Faces film soundtrack, a heady, independent neo-noir from Korea. Ohal goes all out here, with "Cancelled Faces" itself being a starry, mood-filled synth journey boasting a delicate percussion stroke, and there is more brooding winds elsewhere, such as on the desolate drones of "Swans", or the Eastern vibes of "Meeting Emperor". Get your OST fix right here - recommended!
The Gasman is a bit of a worrying talent, to be honest. This is because he seems to drop quality whatever the genre he goes for at any one time, and each and every album that he's released on Planet Mu has been more than memorable. This time, however, he experiments new pastures on Onomatopoeia for the label's 16th instalment, and he's got 12 cuts of supreme balearic-driven machine funk. Preferring to keep to the hybrid formats, Aeriform does't deal in concrete genres, and tunes like "Trip", Zports", or "Inventions" could be played by anyone from Lovefigers, to Theo Parrish, or even Skream, and that is exactly the sort of album we're into. Sickness y'all!
Exclusives
BIBIO - A Mineral Love (Warp)
TRUX - Trux (Office Recordings)
THE GASMAN - Aeriform (Onomatopoeia) - exclusive 29-04-2016