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Reviewed this week
Matt Karmil is an artist of many talents, and his adventures in sound have taken him across techno, disco, and even ambient explorations. He makes his return herein to Bristol's Idle Hands, coming through with a new album that spans just about all his skills, and can only be described as a musical mind drift - a sonic reverie, if you will. Throughout, we're presented with everything from glitchy, broken down hip hop, to shady shreds of house, and even odd and rhythmic blends of drone and Balearica. It's been on the office stereo all day here at Juno, and it might just be album of the week, in our opinion!
Hamilton, Ontario's finest are back with a new album and we're sure excited. There's something about the Canadian industrial town that creates such visionary people like Dave Foster or Jessy Lanza; there's something in the water? Jeremy Greenspan and Mat Didemus offer us another serving off pop inflected electronics and the soundtrack to broken hearts yet again. There's the bittersweet and irresistible "Over It", the psychedelic nu disco vibes of the awesome title track and the fabulous throwback Hacienda vibes of "What You Wont Do For Love" amongst a bunch of other gems that command your attention.
There seems to be a huge amount of Material coming out by Mike Cooper of late and whether they are reissues or new material, this guy has been consistently impressive throughout his career, and always able to reinvent himself and keep himself in the cutting-edge. This new mini LP is all about exploration and the moulding of abstract sounds, with the likes of "Te Lapa Phosphorus" spread across exotica, drone, and noise. "Bendigo To Kyoto" flutters its bird sounds and odd bleeps at all angles, but Cooper manages to unleash tidy grooves of sound - totally beret of beats - but still packing a tight melodic bundle. We love this guy - highly recommended.
On previous full-length excursions - including a number of superb soundtracks to documentaries and independent films - Blair French used the Dial 81 alias. Here, the Detroit-based producer finally breaks cover, delivering a set of typically evocative ambient, experimental and downtempo electronica tracks for Delsin. Seemingly capable of teasing great beauty from droning textures, soft-focus samples and perfectly placed piano lines, French is clearly a talented producer. Through The Blinds makes for superb listening as a result, thanks in no small part to a succession of tracks that don't try too hard for attention. Melodious and blissful, but occasionally unsettling, French's take on ambient is up there with the best the genre has to offer.
Gagarin Kombinaatti was one of Mika Vainio's early projects back in the 1980s, a time when techno hadn't truly discovered itself, or broken off form the industrial / post-punk scene. In our books, this is perhaps one of the most interesting and exciting era for electronic music. This compilation of tunes isn't really dance, but it isn't totally removed from the warehouse scene, either. Tunes like "Vartioparaati", which have more in common with noise, still retain a sense of movement and rhythm, and the same goes for the metallic, lo-fi jams like "Ukaasi" or "Alkupera". The sounds are a mixture of analogue and the organic sound effects that these dudes played with back in Finland. Oh, and did we mention it's on our favourite label, Sahko?
Some 31 years after they were first conceived, the cuts that make up Anna Homler and Steve Moshier's Breadwoman & Other Tales remain thoroughly odd, out-there and entertaining. During the duo's mid-1980s collaboration, performance artist Homler channeled the spirit of a character she'd created called Breadwoman, delivering bizarre vocals - half sung, half spoken, in some kind of made-up dialect - she referred to as "divine speech". These were worked into musical pieces by experimental composter Moshier, who utilized cheap drum machines, battered analogue synthesizers, and chamber music players to create hypnotic, otherworldly tracks that remain hugely charming. The story of their creation and performance, told in great detail in the accompanying liner notes, is also fascinating.
NYC songstress Lafawndah makes her big label debut on Warp with some killer jams produced by Night Slugs lynchpin Lvis 1990. "Town Crier" is bass driven urban dance with her sweet soaring vocals backed by stuttering and clattering industrial textures. "Ally" is a full frontal and funky bass assault with exotic middle eastern instrumentation infused throughout as she declares "I'll take you like in like a firefly". "Tan" is the most restrained and stripped effort on here, with massively reverberated drums carrying the track wonderfully while "Crumb" is the most chilled track: it's pop inflected and will take you on a journey with its immaculately programmed steel drums. Big things!
London's Erased Tapes are back with another compilation of their current roster's talent and it's all quite awe inspiring actually! Nils Frahm's "Ode" is as emotional and bittersweet as you would expect from him. As are the rich symphonies of A Winged Victory For The Sullen's "Atomos VII".Frahm appears again with current partner in crime Olafur Analds on the gorgeously sombre "Four", Arnalds appears again as Kismos with other partner in crime Janus Rasmussen on the dark and moody journey track "Looped". But "The Edge" by London's Douglas Dare is particularly haunting with its dusty and heart breaking vocal delivery over rich grand piano passages. Great music here.
Nuel aka Manuel Fogliata has been Donato Dozzy's partner in crime on the Aquaplano Sessions project over the last ten years, and he's easily one of Italy's and Europe's greatest when it comes to both hypnotic techno and abstract ambient soundscapes. He's up on America's Further imprint, home to Dozzy's own recent albums, and Hyperboreal is an work of many layers and texture, jumping from rhythmic drone patters such as "Steppin' Stone", to the noisier, more surreal flutters of "Polaris" and onto glacial synth explorations through the title track "Hyperboreal". "The Rest Is Noise" is another work of subtlety and hedonism to bring this sonic whirlpool to a close. Excellent and top of our list.
The second volume in Leaving Records' MNA (Modern New Age) series comes from Gifted & Blessed, a man who's no stranger to creating inviting soundcapes and drowsy, synthesizer-heavy epics. Emotional Topography sees the L.A-based producer return to the droning textures and slowly unfurling ambient electronics first explored on his superb 2009 set Healing Tones: Inverted Listening. Predictably, it's a wonderfully intoxicating and horizontal set, from the slowly shifting, almost ecclesiastical chords of opener "The Witness", and cheery new age synthesizer workout "Presence", to the Terry Riley-isms of "Non-Duality" and Gigi Masin style fluidity of "Love Activator". Music to zone out to, beautifully executed by a master of mood and melody.
After a string of wild and diverse appearances for Get Some and Gaia Sound, respectively, the multi-talented enigma of an artist, that is Ling, lands on PAN and Visionist's ever compelling Codes for something totally different to his previous works, and very much up our end of the block. "Thuril Whir" is a mechanical sort of beast that sits somewhere in the middle of bass, broken beat, and noise, and "44 Blue" jerks and stutters its rattling shreds of percussion all over the place, before being swallowed whole by a sea of meditative sonics. "Jezmonite", on the other hand, is murkier and that little but more sinister, whereas "Canthem" is an ode to grime, or rather a completely new and exciting interpretation of the genre. Sick.
There seems to be a huge amount of Material coming out by Mike Cooper of late and whether they are reissues or new material, this guy has been consistently impressive throughout his career, and always able to reinvent himself and keep himself in the cutting-edge. This new mini LP is all about exploration and the moulding of abstract sounds, with the likes of "Te Lapa Phosphorus" spread across exotica, drone, and noise. "Bendigo To Kyoto" flutters its bird sounds and odd bleeps at all angles, but Cooper manages to unleash tidy grooves of sound - totally beret of beats - but still packing a tight melodic bundle. We love this guy - highly recommended.
Exclusives
VARIOUS - Erased Tapes Collection VII (Erased Tapes)
MATT KARMIL - Idle033 (Idle Hands)
LAFAWNDAH - Tan (Warp)