Review: If music is for memory then the time is now for new ambient duality Suso Saiz & Suzanne Kraft. As they'll have it, the pair met while supporting Gaussian Curve in 2017 which led to a three-day session of 'almost-no-talking' in the studio. Three years later with the subtle overdubs, edits and refinements added, 2020 bears Between No Things, a soundtrack for quiet dreams above the clouds, none more than the title-track itself. An album that breathes with a sonic fidelity of sweeping textures, sustained chords and bluming atmospheres, its landscapes are tickled by the abstract, astral and acoustic percussion of plucked strings, experimental electronics and compositional charm. A true musical reflection of a new friendship between kindred spirits in its purest form.
Review: For the deepest digging label out there Music From Memory brings together a highlighted retrospective of songs from Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist Priscilla Ermel. Drawn from a body of work that was originally recorded between 1986 and 1994, it's the label's first release for 2020 which dives deeper into an epoch of music touched upon in the label's Outro Tempo II compilation released last year. Calling upon new age sounds of percussion, deep double bass and folky, experimental field recordings, this album combines a history of Brazilian music with Ermel's own explorations into retro-active music technology that opens up a mystical space between the ancient and new age that evolves into an emotive language of love, time, space and folk instrumentality.
Review: After 2017's first volume garnered widespread critical acclaim, Music From Memory present a second collection of "electronic and contemporary music from Brazil". We've moved a little forward in time, with this set focusing on the years 1984-1986 compared to the original's 1978-1992, but the general New Age ethos remains the same. May East's opener 'Maraka', a slab of slo-mo disco with almost Gothic-style female vocals, is a highlight but also something of an outlier, being one of the album's few dancefloor-oriented moments: elsewhere, more downtempo and ambient moods prevail. Chance's mid-80s cut 'Intro: Amazonia' is particularly worthy of attention, coming on like trip-hop about 10 years before the fact.
Review: Slo-mo, sleazy punk-funk is the order of the day here. In its Original form, 'Amerikan Dread' sports a very early 80s-sounding "I'm living the life" vocal that recalls the art-pop likes of Talking Heads, Was Not Was or Blancmange, but if that's not for you, don't worry - you've also got not one but three different dubs to choose from. Victor's own NYC Dub is big n' beefy, the Lipelis Extended Dub accentuates the 80s flavas while the most radical reworking comes from Androo, who takes the track on a tribal jazz excursion. It'll make sense when you hear it.
Review: Walkman was the third album by German musician/painter Guenther Beckers, which coincided with an exhibition around the same time circa 1982. Hailing from Aachen in Germany, he went on later in his career to tour as a guitarist with ECM affiliated Jazz musicians such as Alex De Grassi and William Ackerman, in addition to releases for Klaus Schulze's cult electronic imprint Innovative Communication. Throughout this album, Beckers implemented the 'Kunstkopf' or 'Dummy Head' technique: a 3D audio recording technology that uses two microphones which are mounted in the ears of a mannequin (hence the name in English). It is a method that exploits certain basic principles of human spatial hearing. For many years until now, copies of this album remained only in the hands of art collectors that were present at the original exhibition. It has now been made available for a wider audience thanks to the team at Amsterdam's Music From Memory imprint, upon a friend's chance discovery at their local radio station.
Review: Back in 2017, Tako and Jamie Tiller released Rainworks by Spanish composer Suso Saiz - composer, guitar player, producer and a pioneer of New Age music in Spain. They now look into one of his other projects. The Order Of Change is a compilation of ambient and world music works by Orquesta de las Nubes, with tracks taken from their releases between 1983 - 1987. Saiz joined Maria Villa and Pedro Estevan in the project, From the glistening operatic tones of "Vendran Lluvias Suaves", the blissed-out hypnotica of "Tiempo De Espera" or the brooding atmosphere of "Como Un Guante" this is a riveting listen from start to finish.
Review: Japanese producer Kuniyuki Takahashi has been known under many alises over the years, including Forth for dub techno/acid house, Frr Hive where he pursued downtempo/drum n' bass and of course Koss for techno - where he recorded several techno releases for local institution Mule Electronic/Musiq. Now Tako and Jamie Tiller at Music From Memory focus in on the veteran producer on this retrospective compilation. The first of two volumes, this release gathers together a selection of tracks from a small run of privately released tape only albums, highlighting selected moments in Takahashi's previously unknown musical output. At his home studio in of Sapporo, Takahashi recorded extensively between 1986 and 1993, experimenting with limited equipment he had gathered together. Driven to develop a musical language derived as much by an exploration of music technology and a desire to create, he was also looking to evolve the possibilities of what he refers to as a 'new Oriental sound'. Textured and glistening new age/ambient soundscapes for the most part featured here, but we really enjoyed the somewhat Tackhead/On U Sound sounding "Signifie" or the industrial beats of "Zero To One" reminiscent of early Chris & Cosey.
Review: Back in 2016 Music From Memory took a deep dive into the archives of obscure British multi-instrumentalist Mike Turtle, resurfacing with a fine album of largely previously unheard cuts. Two years on they've taken another stroll through Turtle's well-stocked vault, resulting in another essential collection of quirky cuts. Check, for example, the psychedelic patchwork "Reincarnation", where backwards drums do battle with exotic Indian samples, or the delay-laden, lo-fi synth-pop pulse of "Uiko's Return to Jeka", which boasts strange spoken word vocals from Turtle and South African style juju guitar solos. You'll find these kinds of imaginative experiments throughout; tracks that really shouldn't work, but instead entertain, excite and inspire in equal measure.
Review: Music From Memory's last epic compilation, 2017's Outro Tempo, did a terrific job in uncovering the dusty, rarely visited corners of Brazilian electronic music. Uneven Paths offers a similar service to those interested in the eccentric, often inspired fringes of European pop music. Of course, compilers Jamie Tiller and Raphael Top-Secret are not interested in run-of-the-mill or commercial synth-pop, but rather "deviant pop" - melodious, left-of-centre curiosities that some may describe as "Balearic". This is pop music from the outer limits, where tracks variously draw influence from spoken word, global rhythms, post-punk fusion, jazz, new age ambient and kosmiche. It goes without saying that the crate-digging duo's selections are spot on throughout, with genuine surprises around every corner.
Review: Terekke's recent run of form is more impressive as the weeks go by, with this new Improvisational Loops LP being the perfect follow-up to the recent Plant Age release. In truth, this is the sort of material which we love to hear from the man. Moreover, we're super psyched to see the producer on Music From Memory, an imprint which has been a constant source of pleasure for us over the last 5 years; the match couldn't have come at a better time. Holland's finest have really got the best out of Terekke, with this album expanding the borders of his musical palette further than ever before, and while he was known for dreamy deep house in the past, this new LP offers some truly stupendous soundscaping that offers the very best of the enlarged 'new age' glow. Cinematic, to say the least.
Review: Sapporo's Kuniyuki Takahashi, who has made a name for himself through the prolific Mule Musiq, should't just be seen as a house or techno producer. Far from it, the man comes from a heritage of experimental electronica, dabbling in ambient and drone since the late 1980's, and it's thanks to the ever-reliable Music From Memory that we are able to take a dive into his roots, and the core of his musical mindset. This first volume of Early Tape Works (1986-1993), are a bit of new age delight, shimmering in the wind like that first Spring foliage. This music is any synth addict's reverie, where slow-forming pads merge with organic instruments to swell up into something that is almost soulful in its approach. Enter the forbidden palace - it's an eye-opening experience.
Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the work of short-lived San Francisco band Dub Oven. After all, they only released one single way back in 1983, and that was a self-released, private-press affair. Happily, the dusty-fingered diggers behind Music From Memory are big fans and here offer up a re-mastered reissue. Amazingly, each of the three tracks explores different sonic territory. Contrast, for example, the Tom Tom Club-goes-synth-funk eccentricity of lead cut "Skin 'n' Bones" and "Dub Oven", a thrillingly spaced-out chunk of no-wave/electro fusion that sounds like it could have been beamed down from another universe. Then there's closer "Millions of Sensations", which sits somewhere between Japanese new wave ambience and the post-punk funk of Bristolian outfits The Pop Group and Maximum Joy.
Review: The genius of Music From Memory has always been the label's ability to shine a light of sublime music that most will have missed. Certainly, very few will be familiar with the work of Geoffrey Landers, a Denver, Colarado-based multi-instrumentalist who recorded three albums and one single between 1982 and 1987. This superb retrospective contains material from all of these releases, deftly showcasing Landers' intriguing musical palette - a trippy mixture of vintage electronics, experimental new wave influences, strange spoken word snippets, occasional dub influences, effects-laden guitar passages, post-punk attitude, minimalist synth-funk and what would now be considered discordant art-rock. It's a stylistic melting pot that makes for wonderful listening.
Review: 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.
Intermezzo B (Dazion's Turtle Maraca remix) - (6:11) 100 BPM
Funyaka (Androo's Romantic dub) - (5:48) 99 BPM
Veronika II (Tolouse Low Trax remix) - (5:50) 54 BPM
Veronika II (original mix) - (2:39) 105 BPM
Intermezzo II (Interstellar Funk remix) - (8:28) 118 BPM
Review: Having thrilled dusty-fingered crate diggers with a reissue of Denis Mpunga and Paul K's impossible-to-find mid-'80s cassette album Criola - an unusual but rather fine combination of post-punk and traditional Congolese music - Music from Memory has decided to give some of the tracks the remix treatment. As you'd expect, there's many more hits than misses. Dutch rising star Dazion delivers a wonderfully cosmic revision of "Intermezzo B" full of fluttering new age synth lines and drum machine polyrhythms, while Tolouse Low Trax turns "Veronika" into a woozy and dreamy chunk of dub-flecked, loved-up downtempo bliss. Late night dancefloor thrills are provided by Interstellar Funk's intergalactic tribal techno take on "Intermezzo 2" and Prins Emmanuel's tactile take on "KWEI!", which sits somewhere between dub disco, boogie and proto-house.
Review: Following last year's compilation of archival recordings by Suso Saiz, Jamie Tiller and Tako's Music From Memory present their twentieth release with an album of new works by this Spanish electronic music pioneer. Recorded in Madrid between January and February 2016, these are Saiz's first presentations of new music in nearly 10 years. Suso, his son Emil and pianist Raph Killhertz set out to explore a rather conceptual album where according to MFM it "became something of a mystical journey, drawing on aspects of minimalism and modernism." The music is embedded in textured natural soundscapes and spoken word passages, which were recorded and processed by Suso himself. Whilst it sounds very much like an electronic album, there were also many acoustic elements played in Suso's inimitable hypnotic way, slowly drawing the listener into a transportive state or lucid dream.
Review: Jamie Tiller and Tako's Music From Memory now present Gaussian Curve's second album entitled The Distance. Comprised of Amsterdam's 'Young' Marco Sterk on machines, Melody As Truth boss Johnny Nash on guitar and Italian ambient hero Gigi Masin on synths. The trio follow up 2014's wonderful Clouds LP with more dreamy and ethereal balearica ("Suspended Motion") by way of vague kosmic rock flourishes ("T.O.R.") and bluesy tones like on the lush "Last Breath". Much like its predecessor, the album had been recorded in a mere few days in Sterk's studio near the city's infamous Red Light District and this opus could potentially be held in such high regard by critics too. It's a superb effort from start to finish and highly recommended.
Review: Music From Memory has a reputation for doing the unexpected. It would be fair to say that few would have predicted the Dutch label's decision to release a collection "electronic and contemporary music from Brazil". As usual, the Red Light Records affiliated crate-digging crew has done a superb job with Outro Tempo, which was compiled by label affiliate John Gomez. Musically, it's predictably varied but always beautiful. It mostly focuses on tracks that fuse traditional Brazilian instrumentation, percussion and musical ideas, with elements of electronica, ambient, jazz-fusion and Reich style minimalism. The accompanying liner notes do a great job in putting the collection in context, explaining how the music was often inspired by political changes within Brazil during the 1980s.
Review: La Differencia, Dutch singer Hubertus Richenel Baars' 1982 debut, has long been considered something of a slept-on classic by those in the know. Charmingly lo-fi and homemade in feel, the cassette's 10 tracks - six of which are featured on this first ever vinyl reissue - brilliantly joined the dots between blue-eyed soul, spacey electro, disco, electrofunk and slap-bass wielding space boogie. As usual, Music From Memory has done a terrific job with the re-mastering; the tracks sound stronger than ever, if even they have retained some of the charming fuzziness of Baars' original production. All told, it's another essential reissue from Music Is Memory.
Review: Music From Memory has always been good at unearthing unusual or unheard music, with last year's Michael Turtle's single, Are You Psychic? - a madcap trip into outer-space electronics first issued in 1983 - being particularly revelatory. Here, they unleash a superb 15-track collection of the producer's work, which is entirely made up of music originally recorded in and around the time of the sessions for his sole solo album, 1983's Music From The Living Room. Thrillingly, only two of the tracks have previously seen the light of day. As you might expect, it's wonderfully hard to pin down, with turtle variously fusing dubbed-out electronics, spacey jazz influences, African rhythms, new age melodies, weird pop, undulating drum machine rhythms, and - most curiously of all - odd spoken word vocals.
Review: In typical Music From Memory fashion, their latest archival release shines a light on one of the UK's lesser-known bands of the early 1980s. The System released a lone single in 1981, followed by a now incredibly rare debut album, Logic, in 1983. Three of the cuts here are taken from that set, including the dreamy, downbeat Balearic-pop opener "Almost Grown" - a wonderfully evocative six minutes, all told - and the far-sighted, spacey, proto-techno shuffler "Vampirella". This single also includes one previously unreleased track, "Find It In Your Eyes", which was rescued from long-forgotten master tapes during the licensing process.
Review: Having introduced Gigi Masin to a wider audience via the brilliant Talk To The Sea compilation back in 2014, Music From Memory is now attempting to do the same with Suso Saiz. Like Masin, Saiz was a new age/ambient pioneer in his country (in this case, Spain), releasing a smattering of obscure solo albums between 1984 and the present day. The material on Odisea - dreamy, stripped-back, evocative, occasionally breezy and largely built around vintage synthesizers and his own, Steve Hillage-like guitar work - is taken from those albums, as well as an obscure cassette-only release. As usual, the Amsterdam diggers have also included a number of previously unreleased tracks, drawn from the musician's extensive archives. It all ads up to another must have compilation from Europe's premier Balearic archivists.
Review: Earlier this year, Red Light Radio founder Orpheu de Jong stumbled across a cassette, originally self-released in 1984, from an unknown San Francisco musician called Joel Graham. On the strength of the two tracks showcased here, it would be fair to say that Graham was ahead of his time. Hypnotic and minimalist in the extreme, the drum machine and synthesizer workout "Geomancy" - apparently recorded in 1982 on pre-midi analogue equipment - sounds like a template for techno. B-side "Night" is similarly inspired, and bears an uncanny resemblance to pitched-down versions of some of the dreamy new age house and nu-Balearica currently doing the rounds. It's superb, and almost as good as the brilliant A-side. Another superb release from the guys at Music From Memory.
Review: The latest volume in Music From Memory's impressive 12" series of reissued obscurities takes us back to late '80s St Louis and the hard to find world of Workdub. Formed of Virgil Work Jnr. and Nicholas Georgieff, Workdub's output was restricted to a pair of highly limited albums recorded between 1989 and 1992. All four tracks are taken from these two albums, and offer a lucid, ear-catching fusion of early ambient house electronics, experimental oriental synth-pop, alien jazz breaks, spacey Detroit influences, and stuttering drum machine rhythms. It's a hard-to-place but wonderfully evocative mixture, arguably best displayed on standout opener "Island Breeze". That said, the curiously Balearic, Tangerine Dream influenced "Caravan" is rather tasty, too, while its' ambient alternative mix, "Caravan Revisited" is almost overpowering in its' simple beauty.
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.