Review: Ryuichi Sakamoto's latest collaborative release sees him join forces with Kukangendai, a Tokyo-based experimental rock trio who've been putting odd and inspired releases in their native Japan since 2006. A-side "Zureru" offers a perfect blend of both parties' styles, with Sakamoto adding trippy production and mind-altering effects to Kukangendai's loose, post-rock sounds, free-jazz drums and wayward vocalizations. Over on side B, we're treated to two versions of "Suuji": Kukangendai's hypnotic, wayward and ear-pleasing original take, and a sublime re-interpretation by Sakamoto that re-imagines the track as a slowly pulsing journey into intergalactic ambient territory, where ghostly vocal snippets and shards of re-contextualized guitar drift across the sound space.
Review: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: Tolga Baklacioglu's releases may not be all that frequent, but when they do arrive they're always worth a listen. Your Secret Face is his first outing of 2018 and sees him join forces fast-rising Russian artist Dee Grinski. The latter's stylish - and heavily distorted - spoken word vocals can be heard on the EP's opening and closing tracks, with the latter - an 11-minute experimental epic that could feasibly soundtrack nuclear Armageddon - also benefitting from her drowsy, improvised singing. No doubt she contributed heavily to the EP's instrumental cuts, too, which are bleak, fuzzy and industrial in the best possible way.
Review: Burial's first multiple-track release since "Rival Dealer" three years ago: "Young Death" takes the lead with weave of deep, scratchy and evocative human textures while soulful vocal shards yearn and flutter over soft faraway beats. "Nightmarket" takes an even more introspective meander through the shadowy unknown with fractured arpeggios, distant whispers and thick graininess that envelops almost overwhelmingly. As forward, unusual and unique as ever, Burial remains in a league of his own. Limited.
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras - "You Laugh At My Face" (Tobias version) (7:15)
Half Hawaii - "Watch The Flash" (6:07)
Review: For the latest release on his quietly impressive Foom label, Ben Freeney has secured the rights to release two killer cuts, both of which are significant in their own way. On the A you'll find a previously unreleased Tobias Freund remix of "You Laugh at My Face", an obscure late '70s proto-new wave collaboration between legendary disco producer Patrick Cowley and art-punk vocalist Jorge Socarras (best known for being part of San Fran band Indoor Life). Freund's version is undulating and evocative, with spacey analogue synth motifs and drowsy vocals rising above a pitched-down breakbeat groove. On the flip, German duo Half Hawaii return to action after a six-year break, offering up a slow-burn delight rich in drowsy, melancholic motifs, shuffling drums and dewy-eyed vocals.
Review: Plants Army Revolver debut on Avian. The Italian live act will join Avian for a five track EP showcasing the pair's breadth as producers. Working within the bounds of a carefully refined sound palette, Marco Ragni & Birgan Valentin look to the more muted, tentatively melodic end of loop Techno, with excursions into washed out Ambient & leftfield Electronica, placing the focus on sound texture & tone.
Review: The latest Emotional Response release provides something very special indeed, in the form of a new track from under the radar psychedelic rock musician Nick Nicely. Nicely has been making music from the 70s onwards, but his music has recently undergone something of a critical reappraisal, with the likes of Robert Wyatt and Robyn Hitchcock supposedly inspired by his work; "Wrottersley Road" provides the ideal entry into his music, a masterful piece of shoegaze pop filled with fuzzed out guitars and Eastern psychedelic tones. Remixes are provided by Invisible Hands, who provide a minimal 80's inspired electro-pop version, which comes saturated in radiophonic textures, and The Oscillation, who take the track into even more abstract ambient territory than the original, deep into a place where time seems to stand still entirely, drawing its rich textures out into infinity.
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: Marking the start of an exciting new collaborative project, Wolf + Lamb proudly share the debut release of The Waves & Us. Formed out of
a creative meeting of minds between Maayan Nidam, Markus Nikolaus and Louis McGuire, theirs is a sound that strengthens the storied
approach of a live band with the experimental thrust of analogue electronics. Pop and rock fundamentals lend an earthly hook to the
tracks, but these are anything but straight-forward songs.
Maayan has already forged a formidable career in electronic music, both under her own name and as part of Mara Trax, scoring releases
on such celebrated labels as Perlon. Markus performs his own solo project Cunt Cunt Chanel, while Louis is part of Ballet School, a band
releasing on noted indie label Bella Union. The whirlwind of creativity that has whipped up around the trio has yielded an album which will
follow this single, made up of one-take recordings that capture the energy and adventure that powers The Waves & Us.
Maayan's electronics provide the atmospheric backdrop to the songs, running modular synthesisers and drum machines through detailed
chains of processing and effects with an emphasis on a warm, charmingly rough finish. Markus' guitar undergoes a similar fuzzy treatment
while his voice calls out introspective, abstract lyrics to set the mind racing. Louis' bass underpins the music with a dubby sensibility,
bringing a necessary balance to the frequency range.
Making the most of their in-the-room recording approach, the singles will feature alternative takes of the songs that will appear on the
album, providing a little insight into the flutters and fluctuations that shape the development of this project. With their eyes fixed on live
performances and an arresting sound already formed, this is a vital time for all three artists and the people that listen to them.
Review: Gritty, abrasive and grey-scaled noise fluxions from Daz Quayle and Tony Snowden for the seventh instalment of the Aperture series. The mood is tense and the sounds are cold. It's six tracks of filthy machine noise straight form the gutter. Seriously though, apart from the usual suspects in the game such as Prurient, Kevin Drumm, Whitehouse etc, this is some of the best noise-driven techno music we've heard in a while. Each track brings something special to the picture but the stand-outs are definitly "Sub Clinical" for its menacing rhythmic roll, and "Blood On Your Hands" for its originality - an utterly wacked-out bassline amid all that percussive storm. Sick.
Review: London based producer Jules Venturini is up next for Whities, following up great releases by Avalon Emerson and Lanark Artefax. On the label's 14th edition, Venturini follows up some sludgy lo-fi techno/house derivatives on Polish label Brutaz with some more similarly rusty and dust covered aesthetics. Beginning with the 12 minute epic "Flying Kites" which channels early '90s British bleep IDM, until that fast hitting groove hits at just the right time towards the end. Lush ambient piece "Keep Me Close" works as an effective intermission of sorts on this grainy and saturated dream state captured to VHS. Finally, Venturini displays a more aggressive side as seen on his previous release with the gnarly and slow burning industrial electronics of "Trace Of Smoke".
Review: Whatever Makes You Feel Safe is a collaboration between Canadian producer and singer Marie Davidson and Berlin based Ukrainian sound designer Invisible Church. They met in Montreal during Red Bull Music Academy festival and shared the idea of exploring the concept of feeling safe both on a personal level and as a part of society. Quite different from what you'd usually associate with Davidson but still worthy of your attention all the same. Beginning on the A side with "Collage" featuring some chilling drone experiments over textural sound design and field recordings which allow Davidson's haunting vocals to carry the track further into the void. Sounds like a cross between OAKE and Lustmord. Next up "Never Release The Tension" delves further into pitch black territory on this contorted downbeat industrial thriller. Finally on the flip, we've got an epic 10 minutes of haunting esoterica in the form of "Ten Years" and features Theo Parrish on cymbals! The label recommends it as for fans the late Mika Vainio, Black Rain, CTI, and the Bladerunner OST. Pretty on point, if we do say so ourselves!
Review: The Poverty Is Violence stable are firmly established now as an essential conductor for rabid, rowdy and downright rasping mechanics from subterranean operators of all shapes and sizes. Anonymous but reportedly veteran Dutch producer XXX previously appeared on the label in 2016 with the wild Noorder Scannen 12", and now returns with a bludgeoning new release. There's a consistent metal grind to the percussion on Westzaan Doelen, while the synth tones in between tend towards the jagged and abrasive, there's space and poise in the arrangement to lift this out of knuckleheaded noise. "Don't Go After Her" reverberates with clamouring intensity while the beefy chassis of "Just The Two Of You" shimmers under an acidic glaze - this is full-tilt deviant music executed with finesse to match the grime.
Review: First making a splash several years back with their much lauded debut on Blackest Ever Black, Raime (the duo of Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews) return and inaugurate their new imprint. Developed as a blank page for the pair to to experiment on, the three experimental imaginary soundtracks featured here are described by the London based duo as 'perhaps a reflection of our bombardment based online culture.' This follows up another release this year entitled Am I Using Content Or Is Content Using Me? on Mumdance and Logos' Different Circles imprint.
Review: Hailing from the dark and mysterious world of Bunker Records, Shemale makes a welcome return after many years of silence with this fantastic release on Tabernacle. "Star Chamber Summoning" sets a powerful tone - this is ambient music that demands attention through its sheer force of presence. "Way To Hyperborea" actually taps up some kind of beat structure, but it still behaves like a wayward backroom track with its undulating bassline and gravelly, brutally submerged beat. "Shores Of The Western Sea" is all analogue soundtrack bombast of the finest B-movie kind, and "Wisdom Of The Stars" strikes a more nightmarish note in its use of discordant synth drones.