Mille Voix (Infinite version - bonus track) - (12:46) 96 BPM
Palo Alter Reality (bonus track) - (3:31) 76 BPM
Review: 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.
Review: 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.
Review: Last year, David Moore's Bing & Ruth project - an ever-changing chamber music ensemble dedicated to blurring the boundaries between classic American minimalism, neo-classical and 1970s ambient - pitched up on RVNG INTL with the brilliant Tomorrow Is The Golden Age full-length. It was such a success, in fact, that the esteemed New York label has decided to reissue the group's hard-to-find 2010 album City Lake. They've thrown in a trio of tasty bonus tracks, but it's the original album - an emotion-rich mixture of Reich, Riley, Cage and Eno influences, cyclical themes, stretched-out builds and hauntingly distant vocals - that really sets the pulse racing. It truly is a thing of rare beauty, capable of stirring the sense through little more than subtle shifts in musical emphasis.
Review: Hopefully the people from the Trading Standards office never catch up with Blondes, because the US duo's latest effort could hardly be classified as an EP. Instead, they unleash a 50-minute long track, available on cassette and now digitally. As befits its length, "Reins" is an epic, sprawling affair. Starting with dense, abstract percussion and waves of sound, it leads into clattering rhythms, dense claps and then an eerie, atmospheric synth scape. That only covers the first ten minutes; for the remainder of the track, the pair then veer into Aphex-like melodies, tribal drums, discordant techno and finally finish off with an eerie ambient outro.
Review: When they first developed their distinctive brand of off-kilter live techno, Sam Haar and Zach Steinman would regularly get together for jam sessions. Since then, most of their tracks have been composed this way. Things change, though, and the three tracks that make up the Persuasion EP were instead composed in the studio. Aesthetically, they explore similar themes to the duo's previous work - see the L.I.E.S influenced darkroom pump of "Inner Motive", and the dub-flecked late night hypnotism of "Son" - whilst trying to push things on further. That's best demonstrated by "Persuasion", which is almost psychedelic in its intoxicating effect
Swisher (Simian Mobile Disco remix) - (9:23) 122 BPM
Wire (Claro Intelecto remix) - (7:05) 120 BPM
Wire (Huerco S remix) - (10:32) 116 BPM
Wire (Function remix) - (8:07) 160 BPM
Review: Given the artists assembled to rework Blondes when their debut album was released two years ago, it's unsurprising that this EP of remixes is of a similarly high standard. Of particular interest is Huerco S's version of "Wire", which delivers a clanking, murky, industrial and frankly chilling ten-minute trip into fuzzy techno territory. Almost as impressive are the versions of the same track by Function (deep, spacey techno) and Claro Intelecto, who surprises by delivering an intricate, organic-sounding rub full of winding chords and melancholic intent. As if that lot wasn't enough, there's also a great deep house-meets-dub house revision of "Swisher" by Simian Mobile Disco.
Review: The New York-based RVNG Intl has been partial to the odd left turn over the course of its ten year release history, but nothing they're released is anything like the music of The Body, the extreme doom metal project of Chip King and Lee Buford. With interest apparently piqued by the combination of classical choral harmonies and industrial weight sonic loathing shown on The Body's acclaimed second LP All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood, RVNG Intl boss Matt Werth sought out Buford and King to gauge whether they'd be interested in working with an electronic musician. Choosing Tri Angle artist The Haxan Cloak, whose music has ploughed similarly dark depths, the resultant LP I Shall Die Here is just as visceral a sonic experience as you'd expect.
Review: RVNG Intl's FRKWYS series continues to bring together like-minded artists from the past and present for a series of immaculate collaborations. Here, veteran British blues-folk guitarist Mike Cooper - whose first album dropped back in 1969 - and new school guitar virtuoso Steve Gunn join forces for an album of glistening, Portugal-inspired downtempo sketches. Touching on Americana, blues, British folk, Balearica and the classical Spanish guitar stylings of Pierre Bensusan and Isaac Guillory, Cantos de Lisboa is an evocative and engaging set that simply ripples with sun-kissed beauty. Highlights are plentiful, from the glistening brilliance of "Saudade Do Santos-o-Velho", to the fuzzy, string-laden experimental lo-fi stylings of "Song for Charlie".
My House Of Equalizing Predecessors - (6:32) 66 BPM
OPB - (4:40) 82 BPM
Preponderance Of The Small (Bonus Track) - (4:58) 64 BPM
Review: Queens' Greg Fox is getting more and more noticed these days, with a European tour on the horizon and, luckily for us, one nearby at London's Cafe Oto. The RVNG Int'l imprint has helped him gain exposure to younger and more dance-minded audiences, which is never a bad strategy, so he now resides on our electronic charts instead of the jazz ones. The Gradual Progression is a crazy little EP with the man's percussion at the core of every tune, such as "Earth Center Possessing Stream", a jazz-driven number with an electronic edge, or even "Catching An L" with its organic breakbeat formula. Tunes like "OPB" provide yet more rhythm, manifested through a wild, cosmic drum journey that remains genreless in our minds. Yes, Mr Fox.
Fuck The Ghetto / Think About Outer Space - (5:15) 60 BPM
Universe Is A Simulation - (3:59) 60 BPM
Pussy Thumper - (5:35) 100 BPM
CimetieIre Des Innocents - (4:52) 109 BPM
Roof Of - (4:41) 69 BPM
We Are Not The First - (18:38) 88 BPM
Review: Billed by the label that is releasing it as an "11 poem epic", First pushes Jamal Moss from noise-obsessed acid freak into jazz-frazzled modern day beatnik. Working with J.I.T.U. Ahn-Sahm-Buhl, Moss delivers a series of drum-heavy, sax-laden workouts like "Civilization That Is Dying", "Cybernetics Is An Old Science" and "Brain Damage". There are some echoes of Moss' 303 fixation on the evil bleeps and abstract techno of "Universe Is A Simulation", but the emphasis here is on freeform jazzy sounds; this is most audible on the odd flutes of "Cimetiere Des Innocents" and the jittery rhythms and Sun-Ra style complexity of "Root Of". If this is poetry, it's TS Elliot rather than Pam Ayers.
Review: It would be wrong to say that Seattle-based electronic explorer Kerry Leimer made his name in the late 1970s and early '80s, as few picked up on his work at the time. Of course, this may have something to do with the obscurity of his albums; he famously put out just a trickle of cassettes and LPs - mostly on his own Palace of Light imprint - during the period. Thankfully, RVNG are fans, and here present a 30-track archive of previously unheard material recorded in his home studio - mostly using tape-loops and cheap synthesizers - between 1975 and '83. For those interested in ambient, experimental electronica and new age, it should be essential listening, containing as it does thrillingly fuzzy but wonderfully melodic sketches influenced by Eno, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and acid-friend 1960s pop.
Review: When it comes to the term 'leftfield', there is no better place, no label more credible and worthy of praise than the USA's RVNG Int'l. Moreover, there's few labels out there who know how to piece together a standout collaboration, which is exactly what is going down here with this shared EP by electronic experimenter Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and contemporary classical goddess Suzanne Ciani. The latter has been active since the early 1980's, so it's great to see a much younger artist collaborating with an artist who has so much of the right kind of experience. "A New Day" opens with a calm yet sparkly selection of atmospherics circling with the right amount of freedom around a glorious backdrop of soundscapes, and "Closed Circuit" evolves these sporadic sounds into a more concrete set of melodies driven by a clear rhythm. "Retrograde" is the most kinetic of the three, a warm, docile blur of electronics that sail to a subtle pace in mid-air. This is some truly impressive material, and it certainly comes tipped!
Review: RVNG Intl's reissue series has been the jewel in the label's crown this year, with K Leimer's A Period of Review and Craig Leon's Nommos both offering killer retrospectives that put many other labels to shame. The third and final subject for this year is Ariel Kalma, a French-born musician who found inspiration in India's sacred music traditions on a trip to the country in the '70s. An artist whose minimalistic style is comparable to Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Charlemagne Palestine, An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings 1972 - 1979) collects unheard material from the artist's archives, and is essential listening for fans of psychedelic floatation tank sounds.
Review: Kate Shilosonova, otherwise known as Kate NV, is breaking through the mould as we speak. Her opening releases have been a revelation, particularly her debut LP for Orange Milk, a lovely synth-wave deviation called Binasu. She returns this week with her follow-up LP, FOR, which we had a preview EP for not too long ago. The vibe and aesthetic are more improvisational here, relying less on known formulas or tactics and, instead, allowing freedom and experimentation to enter her domain. In fact, there isn't much that is predictable about this album; the only way we can describe it is 'tropical', offering gentle waves of euphoria at every turn. Imagine the rainforest in the future, or in hyperspace, and you're one step closer to appreciating Kate NV's vision of rhythm.
Review: And just like that, the sublime RVNG Int'l come up with a solid beat of new hear, the sort of cosmic, outer-space stuff that really gets our juices flowing. It's newcomer Mikael Seifu with five songs, not tracks, that span the very edges of reality and structure - a sort of sonic wormhole with a lo-fi edge. From "The Protectors", through to "Soul Manifest" and "aaaa", this is pure music for the bedroom DJ, and it is bound to go down a storm with lovers of the subtly tropical, glitchy sonics heard on NTS radio shows such as Knee Deep, Pipe Down, and Reverie. A gorgeous slice of emotion and experimentation.
Review: Pink Skull's impressive 2011 album Psychic Warfare - a triumph of trippy electronica/alternative rock fusion - gets a welcome re-release. The original album - a thirteen-track assault on the senses that variously touches on krautrock, psychedelia, space rock, stoner pop, spacey electronica and industrial funk - is here accompanied by a swathe of bonus cuts. Of these, it's the 15-minute, deep space ambient epic "Geos" that really stands out, though the jangly, swirling instrumental "Sphinx Proof" is also impressive. The accompanying remixes are largely impressive, too, with Ray Mang's punk-disco dub of "Summer Reading", Worst Friend's hazy Balearic rework of "Human Hair Disco", and Brassica's thrillingly quirky revision of "Bee Noise" all hitting the spot.
Review: RVNG come up trumps once again, delving much deeper into the Kerry Leimer archive for a most compelling collection of works the Seattle based musician released under the Savant banner during the rich 1980s period. Calling on a cast of local musicians, Leimer created Savant as an 'artificial band' if you will, using the project as an outlet to explore a wilder style of music to the loop-based minimalism he was focusing on in solitude. Some 14 tracks deep, Artificial Dance is a most compelling listen, with a series of odd percussive sketches and strange new age compositions that will leave a similar impression as the Byrne-Eno classic My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. A must if you enjoyed the Leimer retrospective on RVNG last year. One wonders what other Leimer-shaped treats the label has in store?
Review: Agata Melnikova is Sign Libra and in her utopian vision we are given 'Seas' of tranquility, serenity, knowledge and cleverness not Orwellian ministries of truth, love and plenty! With So much 'conceptronica', as it's being tagged these days, suggested to come from the social and political angst of many experimental electronic producers at the moment it's comforting to know there are still visions of peace to find. Sea To Sea, Sign Libra's second album, docks with RVNG Int'l and brings with it tales of a future exotica from the far east and beyond!
Review: Led by John Mills-Cocknell, and tied together by saxophonist Doug Principle, percussionist Allan Wells and drummer Malcolm Tomlinson, Canada's Syrinx project received a brief but monumental acclaim in the early 1970s. Their two albums from that era, the self-titled Syrinx and Long Lost Relatives, have become cult, synth-pop classics, and it's thanks to the RVNG Int'l label that we now have them recompiled into one gorgeous album. The music speaks for itself here, and we wouldn't be doing this magnetic piece of work any justice by trying to decipher its quirky, oddball beats and sounds to you with a list of adjectives. What we can say, however, is that as synth-pop goes this is a total winner. Also, you get a noticeable level of jazz and krautrock influences at its core, a feature that is usually missing from many synth-pop releases. This is one for the instant DL - warmly recommended.