Review: Following on from the excellent "Scene In Mirage" reissue that broke O Yuki Conjugate to a whole new crowd, Emotional Rescue return to the archives over-looked Nottingham 'dirty ambient' outfit. Their second LP "Into Dark Water", originally released in 1987, is just as powerful as the first - a hypnagogic journey fuelled by a global stew of sound, feeding into elegant, evocative pieces. Fans of classic Jon Hassell will find much to enjoy here, but equally those appreciating the exotic post punk undercurrents of 23 Skidoo et al will easily find themselves drawn into the likes of "Ba-makala". Stunning, borderless musings from a hidden treasure of the UK's post-industrial heritage.
Review: Since the dawn of the decade, A Winged Victory For The Sullen has delivered occasional albums for Erased Tapes that effortlessly blur the boundaries between ambient, electronic experimentalism and emotion-stirring neo-classical music. "The Undivided Five" marks their first appearance on mighty British independent Ninja Tune, and as a result seems a little more grandiose in scale and ambition than some of their earlier outings. It was recorded in eight different studios around Europe, with the pair combining atmospheric orchestration and traditional instrumentation with occasional glimpses of modular electronics. It feels like a stunning soundtrack to a movie we've not yet seen - unsurprising given that they have previously composed a number of scores - and genuinely gets better with each successive spin.
Review: Rene Pawlowitz is without a doubt one of techno's most defining producers. The Berlin based producer known for powerful and emotive warehouse anthems under such guises as Head High, EQD, WAX and Seelow returns for his third full length album as Shed; the first in five years since 2012's terrific Killer LP. All the hallmarks of his distinct sound are on display once again; on the brooding "Black Heart" or the bittersweet "Taken Effect" there's rusty, dusted down and broken up drums big enough to fill a stadium and backed by those mesmerising and hypnotic pads. It's beautiful in all its sinister rave glory. By contrast, interludes such as "Extreme SAT" introduce yet more gorgeous pads and shimmering arpeggios on this simple yet effective exercise in ambient: one of several beatless journeys on the album. "Call 32075!" romanticizes the heyday of early '90s techno, effectively bridging the gap between elements of Detroit hi-tech soul and British IDM; Peacefrog style. Immaculately programmed rhythms, powerful bass pulsations and emotive/life affirming elements all combine wonderfully and in a way that only Pawlowitz can.
Review: Rather than flooding the market with constant batches of releases, Terekke has opted for the quality over quantity option, a decision to which we?re very much partial to. Aside from a handful of releases for several fledgling imprints, the producer has mainly stuck to his native LIES label, Ron Morelli?s powerhouse. Much to our pleasure, both parties seem to be veering more towards the ambient space, and Plant Age is very much an expression of that, gliding majestically between new age and house, constantly morphing and shape-shifting with each new track. This LP is Terekke through and through, touching down with all sorts of airy, tropical aesthetics that are wonderful both on their own, and as one whole piece of music. Dreamy and ever-expanding, this is outsiderism at its best, and surely puts the imitators in their place. Here is the contemporary maestro.
Review: Ever wonder where Music From Memory founders Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller & Tako Reyenga got the name of their label from? The answer is obscure New York musician Vito Ricci, whose diverse and quite stunning discography of private press releases is compiled on this wonderful retrospective I Was Crossing A Bridge. Active during the '80s musical heyday of New York, Ricci description as "one of the unsung heroes of New York's downtown music scene" is fully qualified on this 18 track double LP release, which contains such a dizzying array of musical styles it's tempting to call him a musical genius. The three strong suite of "Inferno" tracks in particular could easily be mistaken for the work of Container, and that Ricci was capable of that as well as some tongue in cheek coke boogie like "I'm At That Party Right Now" means Music From Memory should be applauded once more.
Review: Out of Australia Andy Hart's Voyage label has been drawing up a new picture of exotic new age and electronic sounds since 2014 with a highlight of releases from Uluru, Albrecht La'Brooy, and most recently Rings Around Saturn. The label now introduces the sweet, sublime and subtle ambient sounds of newcomer Huerta in what could be considered a crowning release of the label so far. This superb debut album presents a swathe of sweet, twinkling synths and mellow undertones of warms pads and smooth leads that dive into an unknown world of wildlife flitted with sketches of house, breakbeats, percussion and tribalistic dub. Take a trip into the undergrowth a new age future music.
Review: We've come accustomed to Marc Romboy delivering fine, full-length excursions that join the dots between techno and house. Voyage De La Planete, though, is something totally different: an intergalactic exploration of ambient, electronica, and seductive downtempo compositions. It's a blueprint that guarantees hazy, head-in-the-clouds thrills, from the Nils Frahm style piano motifs of "La Lune Et La Etoile" and dark, clandestine throb of the Black Merlin-esque "Phenix", to the Namlook style bliss of string-drenched closer "Nocturne" - with its gently undulating beats and sweeping orchestration - and picturesque, break-of-dawn sumptuousness of "Atom De Danse". We're not quite sure why Romboy has decided to go in this direction, but we have no complaints: fundamentally, Voyage De La Planet is a superb set.
Review: This new album from Kevin Martin's band of enchanting doom-mongers forms part of a new series that pits King Midas Sound against various collaborators. In this instance, Martin and vocalist Roger Robinson were moved to link up with Austrian ambient champ Fennesz, whose laconic guitar tones lend an ethereal, orchestral quality to the haunted dub that KMS have always been known for. The ballads linger in an uneasy tension, both gentle in application but unsettling in tone, while Robinson and Kiki Hitomi once again share mic duties to round out the affecting situation in an unexpected but utterly magnificent meeting of minds.
Review: Fans of A/V pioneer Amon Tobin were thrilled when he broke a three-year silence with an exclusive Record Store Day release of Dark Jovian last month. However not everyone was able to get their hands on the luxuriantly packed double vinyl set, so now a digital version has surfaced to keep everybody happy. It's a stunning five-track cosmic soundtrack inspired by Tobin's obsession with space exploration movies and an attempt 'to interpret a sense of scale, like moving towards impossibly giant objects and planets turning'. Also included are haunting reworks by Lee Gamble, Logos and Eprom!
Review: Wolverhampton based duo Richard Roberts and Andrew Harber aka Letherette return on Ninja Tune with their new full length: a 40-minute mix of previously unreleased productions have been unearthed in conjunction with their recently released second album for "Last Night On The Planet". This collection which explores ambient and deeper beats territory was originally released on a limited run cassette, but will see a digital release in 2017. Harber has stated that the tracks were "saturated onto cassette (Marantz CP430) a number of times to give it a crusty, aged and brittle edge, the playlist was conceived on a typically bleak night-bus ride through Birmingham."
Review: Traditionally, the UK's Nathan Fake has been closely associated to James Holden's eternal Border Community imprint, a label that has unapologetically stuck to its particular strain of house and techno over the last decade, and a quality that has certainly contributed to its constant success. We've always been great admirers of Fake's dreamy, progressive style of house music, and we see his recent collaborations with London's Ninja Tune as the perfect move for both himself and the mighty record label. Providence, his debut LP for the imprint, stretches the realms of his style to the limit, providing us with 12 highly diverse and explorative slices of IDM-filtered pseudi-house. In reality, there is little to none pure house music in here, but Fake manages to retain a certain momentum that renders these experimental tunes both danceable and enjoyable outside of the bedroom. Deep synths collide with glowing shards of percussion and deep, hyper-space sonics; even Prurient features one of the darker, looser tunes. Recommended!
Review: if there is one collaboration that we have bowed down to over the last few years, it's most certainly this new found friendship between London's Kevin Martin aka The Bug, and American doom metal guitarists, Earth. One wouldn't immediately make the connection between inner-city future-grime music and suburban stoner rock, but the two styles were in perfect unison, and this is because they're both fascinated with dark, looming clouds of bass. Whether that's through virtual synths or badass bass guitars, it doesn't matter, because the mood is mightily present. Concrete Desert is the alliance's debut LP, and it's all guns blazing from start to finish; tunes like "Snakes vs Rats" or "Metal Drone" represent exactly the sort of freshen-up that each respective act needed - on the one hand, The Bug could have done with some more external influences to the melodic constructions, while Earth needed a new framework to enter the minds of a new, European audience. We've dubbed this style 'metal drone', and we're pretty sure that it's gonna stick after you've hit the ol' play button. Top quality stuff - highly recommended!
Review: 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.
Review: In the period since the release of his late 2012 album Hardcourage, Drew Lustman has founded his own label as well as dropping singles on Swamp81 and Ninja Tune, slipped out the odd remix and kept up a busy touring schedule. Where he managed to fit in the studio time for a fourth album In The Wild is not clear but a new FaltyDL long player will always be welcome. At 17 tracks long, In The Wild is Lustman's most comprehensive display of his production palette by some distance with the Brooklyn based artist using the afforded space to really go deep into his various creative impulses. It's a lot to take in immediately, but tracks such as "Frontin'" and "Ahead The Ship Sleeps" feel like FaltyDL on top form.
Review: London's corpulent Ninja Tune returns with a follow-up from Lee Bannon, another LP in a similarly washed out and ambient-heavy guise. Pattern Of Excel is positively abstract the whole way through, where watery shades of drone meet sparse bleeps and glitchy sonics. Many of the tracks within contain an almost free jazz feel to them - check "Good/Swimmer" and "Artificial Stasis" - making the whole album a long a complex journey into electro-acoustic treatment and experimentation. This is one you want on during a session of heavy meditation. Vast, wild and recommended.
Inspirations From The Mental Realm - (16:36) 68 BPM
Variation On A Pentatonic Motion - (11:41) 108 BPM
Menetekel - (2:21) 82 BPM
3C 123 - (19:26) 80 BPM
Yin-Yang - (5:00) 111 BPM
Rhythmic Desert - (5:54) 90 BPM
The Quantum Jump (Bonus) - (18:03) 110 BPM
Review: Andreas Grosser was considered an underrated hero of German synth music in the early '80s and based off only a couple of albums - a collaboration with Tangerine Dream/Ash Ra Tempel's Klaus Schulz in 1987 and of course 1981s Vinite Visum, that's reissued here on Running Back. All tracks were composed and performed between 1976 and 1980, when the East Berlin synthesist was inspired by the West German cosmic scene. He was rumoured to have made many hours of music, which he duplicated to cassette recordings for anyone that wanted them. Presented here is a collection of psychedelic ambient oddities, conjured from celestial synth sounds and other assorted classic machines.
Review: Following on from appearances on Kaleidoscope and No Pain In Pop, patten makes his way onto Warp with his stubborn brand of fractured collage music, revelling in drunken rhythm and delirious sample placement to create a hypnagogic long player rich with homespun charm. There is a consistent distance to the way patten places his sounds, whether it be a heavily treated horn or a scuffed drum hit, with everything dangling just out of reach, not least on borderline-beatless moment "Here Always". There are more tangible incidents as well, such as the gentle whir of "Drift" with its nudging bass tones, but by and large this is an album to get cast asunder by, and it does that casting very well indeed.
Review: We all know and love Mark Pritchard. The Cornish producer has been one of Warp's finest artists since the '90s, and he has produced nothing but excellence from day one. We don't need to go into his history, as you should bloody well know it given the fact that you've landed here, but we will give you a little taster of what is at the heart of Under The Sun. The sound is definitely one that is shifting in shape, and while he has been known to make everything from techno to futuristic jungle, this LP is much more about mood and vibe, something that is clear from the appearance of Radiohead's Thom Yorke on "Beautiful People". That is not to say that the album is in any way too delicate or soft and, in fact, there are plenty of dark and foreboding moments that have rendered this dude's musical career so illustrious.
Come Let Us (feat Gregory Whitehead) - (2:56) 80 BPM
The Arched Window - (3:03) 76 BPM
SOS (feat. The Space Lady) - (3:13) 70 BPM
Parkstone Melody II - (3:04) 60 BPM
Men-an-Tol - (1:32) 74 BPM
The Four Worlds - (4:35) 79 BPM
Review: UK electronica legend Mark Pritchard returns with his new album The Four Words, further exploring the sonic worlds first encountered on his 2016's album Under The Sun - which featured guests such as Thom Yorke. Once again, he collaborates extensively with acclaimed visual artist Jonathan Zawada, who made a 13-minute film to go along with the LP. The visual element builds on the imagined worlds the duo created previously. A collection of eight lush electronic landscapes featuring collaborations with veteran Gregory Whitehead and The Space Lady aka Susan Dietrich the San Francisco, based outsider artist.
Review: Emotional Rescue unearth yet another pearl of curiosity from the mists of the 80s here, kicking off a series looking at the work of guitarist Carl Weingarten. This album is a fine place to start, as Weingarten teams up with Walter Whitney for an engrossing exploration of ambient synth work merged with careful use of slide guitar and more besides. It's very much of its time, originally released on Multiphase in 1985, and it's as charming and naive as it is accomplished. There's a new age sweetness to the harmonic composition, but the sound palette is deceptively deep, not least thanks to Weingarten's multifaceted approaches to his instrument. Dreaming In Colours sets a promising tone for what the rest of the series holds.
Review: Spanish multi-instrumentalist and producer Luis Paniagua gets the Emotional treatment here with the reissue of the stunning 1987 album "Neptuno". It's a joyous album that revels in global musical traditions, and its accomplished finish is a marvel considering he recorded it with Luis Delgado in his Madrid attic within just a few days. From the treated string swells and sitar lilt of the title track to the lively percussive tumble of "Gacelle" and on to the bell chimes of "Aqui Y Ahora", this is a stunning record executed with talent and rich with the many wonderful tones to be enjoyed from a whole world of instrumentation.
Movement 1-3: In The Beginning / Toto, I've A Feeling We're Not In Kansas Anymore / Wherever Two Or More Are Gathered - (23:08) 159 BPM
Movement 4-6: Life In The Gravity Well / As The Earth Kissed The Moon / Something's Moving - (22:01) 158 BPM
Review: Emotional Rescue is honoured to reissue the benchmark in new age ambient music, Michael Stearns epic Planetary Unfolding album. Out of press on vinyl for over 30 years, here is Stearns masterful electronic symphony in 6 movements, recorded using his Serge modular synthesizer at the Continuum Studio in 1981.
The culmination of years of exploration in "space" music, Stearns journey, to the album's release, was one of learning and application. Involved in music since his teens, he graduated from guitar bands in the late 60s to an increasing interest in the principles of electronic music synthesis and the physics of musical instruments.
He moved from Tucson, Arizona to Los Angeles in 1975 where he performed live during movement meditation classes at the Continuum Studio. He released his first cassette album in 1977 before going on to record 7 albums during this formative period.
With Planetary Unfolding, the musical ideas that Michael performed on the Serge developed into this 52-minute masterpiece of music, six movements, three on each side of the LP. Based on the idea that the universe is made of sound held together through resonance, where atoms, cells, oceans, plants, animals and humans, all are part of a complex orchestration - the Earth as a being of sound.
Having first approached Michael in 2013, his uncertain response that the album could be rereleased in a way that the music would be given justice via vinyl, the idea was never forgotten. Gaining discovery, appraisal and prominence when "As The Earth Kissed The Moon" appeared in edited form on the "I Am The Centre" box set from Light In The Attic, this excellent window into the world of Private issue new age music, superbly compiled by Douglas McGowan, further increased the interest in Michael's and others, such as Laraaji, music.
With the likes of Matthewdavid's Leaving Records and Jonny Nash's Melody As Truth pushing the ambient curve beyond a post club, chill out fad, classic albums can rightly sit alongside this 'new age of the new age', so that ambient music again has a gravity and place of it's own. This specially re-mastered version by Bob Ohllson features the original artwork by Leilani Bost, liner notes by long-term friend and fellow musician, Gary David, as well as the photography of Ron Peterson, together bringing this wonderful album to life once again.
Review: After much ado, it is finally time for the second offering by Vermont aka Danilo Plessow aka Motor City Drum Ensemble and Marcus Worgull of Innvervisions who delve into all things exotic and balearic on this sublime 12 track journey where they take a break from their more club oriented music respectively. Mostly a beatless affair, these tracks are full of shimmering vintage synths, gentle arpeggios and even more traditional instruments like bass and slide guitar that make a perfect accompaniment for drifting or road trips alike. Features the recent, gorgeous single "Nordeney" alongside a brilliant collection of many other sublime cosmic/psychedelic/ambient cuts.