Review: Prins Thomas seems to have got this album making malarkey down to a fine art. Having taken what seems like an eternity to put together his 2010 debut album, Prins Thomas, he's now up to volume three in his self-titled solo series. Whereas previous albums had a crustier krautrock feel amongst the cosmic synths, Prins Thomas III is largely downtempo, delivering a range of atmospheric Scandolearic moments that recall his two full-lengths alongside pal Hans-Peter Lindstrom. As usual, there's much to enjoy, from the drifting downtempo fluidity of "Trans" and wonky leftfield disco of "Labyrinth" to the sparse off-kilter Italo of "Apne Slusa" and intoxicating Middle Eastern chug of "Arabisk Natt (Dub)". In many ways it's a muted set - by his standards, at least - but that only adds to its' lazy, hazy charm.
Review: Norwegian disco titan Prins Thomas returns to his regular stomping ground of Smalltown Supersound with this, his sixth solo studio album. Thomas is sounding as vibrant as ever, his musical ideas spilling forth in glorious arrangements of organic instrumentation and gentling bubbling electronics that melt into a mellow, groovy sonic realm. There are hazy, cosmic moments to be savoured on the likes of "Feel The Love", and more adventurous rhythmic trysts like the nagging, snaking percussive melee of "Ambitions". Thomas' studio proficiency is more than matched by his imagination and creative ambition - would you expect any less from such a titan of Scandinavian electronic music?
Review: Zurich's mighty Lux Rec return with their latest offering which sees Greek producer June debut his new Prosopo alias, which roughly translated means 'face'. Fans of Tsampikos Fronas's extensive work as June will delight at the Berlin-based producer extending himself on this eponymous debut Prosopo album which is something of a creepy, ghostly, unearthly delight. The six tracks are full of post-horror electronics, metallic percussion hits, dark electro rhythms, macabre techno throw-downs, and aural visions of the apocalypse. It's hugely entertaining stuff, all told, even if the odd tracks sounds like it was sent to the mastering studio via a mid '90s style dial-up modem and a crusty old phone line.
Review: Unknowns was first offered as a super-limited cassette bundled with a rare boxed version of Dominick Fenrow's 2017 Prurient album, Rainbow Mirror. Here presented on vinyl for the first time, it sees the prolific Fenrow join forces with Skin Crime man Patrick O'Neill (Hanged Man's Orgasm was an alias he used in the late '80s and early '90s), writer Scott Bryan Wilson and synthesizer player and all round studio don Kris Lapke. There are two 15-minute plus epics to enjoy, both of which mix dystopian noise and heavily processed samples with skewed synthesizer parts, '90s modem noises and barely audible excerpts of the ever entertaining Fenrow reading Wilson's expressive prose. For the record, it's the B-side cut that's the most apocalyptic.
Review: The Sub Rosa label does everyone a favour and reissues this gem of an album by Pseudocode from the 1980s annals of Belgian post punk history. Featuring Sub Rosa co-founder Guy-Marc Hinant amongst its numbers, Pseudocode were active and in an improvisational mood for just three years after forming in 1979. Europa is their most acclaimed works and you can really feel all the fresh sonic influences the trio of Hinant, Alain Neff and Xavier Ess had consumed in deciding to form Psuedocode, with the jagged attitude of punk present in the 12 tracks along with the experimentation of bands such as Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. A fascinating document of European electronics for both newcomers and experts to indulge in.
Review: On his third full-length outing for Ghost Box, Pye Corner Audio man Martin Jenkins offers up a sequel of sorts to 2016's "Stasis". While that featured music inspired by suspended animation, sleep and "cosmic exploration", "Hollow Earth" sees the admired experimentalist heading underground for a spot of "subterranean exploration" and "submerged psychology". Interestingly, while there are plenty of dark and immersive cuts throughout the album - see the John Carpenter style chug of "Descent", the quiet solitude of "Prismatic Gateway" and the clandestine throb of "Dancing Shadows" - it's nowhere near as pitch-black as you'd possibly expect. Instead, he plays around with melancholic melodies and quietly beautiful electronics, a blueprint that results in such poignant and picturesque cuts as "Deeper Dreaming", the bubbly "Mindshaft" and glassy-eyed "Surfacing".
Review: Ghost Box take us back to 2012 with this timely reissue. The narrative eruption that exploded after his Black Mill Tapes series, Sleep Games took us even deeper into a sprawling synthetic web of places both familiar and unfamiliar. From the spell-binding chimes and palpitating sensations of "Into The Maze" to the planet-leaping cascades of "Palais Spectres" via the Carpenteresque menacing slo-mo march of "A Door In The Dry Ice", Martin Jenkins leaves no corner of the map unexplored. With original copies beginning to fetch heavy numbers, this revisitation will come as good news to many. Don't sleep.
Review: The latest artist to delve into Conrad Schnitzler's vast archive of synthesizer sounds and Con-Struct new tracks is Pole, AKA dub-tronica stalwart Stefan Betke. In the liner notes, Betke admits to never warming to Schnitzler's brand of synthesizer experimentalism, despite respecting the German pioneer's vast body of work. Yet despite these misgivings, Betke has produced an impressive set which melds some of Schnitzler's trademark electronics - woozy, evocative, out-there and occasionally hugely challenging - with his own glitch-heavy rhythms and dub techno inspired textures. The result is a collection of finely tuned tracks that effortlessly joins the dots between 1970s electronica, '90s IDM, and Betke's distinctly dub-wise production style.
Review: Music On Vinyl has done the world a favour - or vinyl-loving ambient enthusiasts, at least - by offering up wax editions of Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook's work as Dark Side of the Moog. For the uninitiated, the German duo released a string of CD-only ambient albums under the alias over a 14-year period between 1994 and 2008. Volume six, subtitled "the Final DAT", first surfaced on Namlook's Fax label in 1997. It featured fellow ambient explorer Bill Laswell and features tracks that drift between spoken word-laden deep space soundscapes ("Part I"), trip-hop influenced late night shufflers ("Part II"), bubbly ambient trance ("Part III"), blissful ambient techno ("Part IV", with its sun-kissed guitar solos and spaced-out grooves) and widescreen electronic epics (the utterly sublime brilliance of 24-minute "Part V").
Review: Between 1994 and 2008, German electronic legends Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook recorded eleven albums as Dark Side of The Moog. Most of these were never released on vinyl, making this first wax edition of 1996's volume five - in which another legendary figure, Bill Laswell, also contributed - a must have for ambient enthusiasts. The set itself is typical of the pair's collaborative work, offering up a mixture of synthesizer-powered neo-classical movements, breathtaking ambient soundscapes, gentle rhythmic spaced-out epics, sunrise-ready electronica and deep space ambient dub. It's the sound of two true masters at work, offering up timeless electronic music that will never sound tired or contrived.
Review: Klaus Schulze and Peter Namlook's The Dark Side Of The Moog series receives a timely update on vinyl, having only been reissued a handful of times since its first release in the early to mid 90s. Much like the second volume, which should be bought in conjuction with this opener, you'll be stuck to find any better sources of ambient or drone on these charts. Yes, the modern kids might verge further into the heart of the rave, but this music has a way of lifting the soul that's rarely matched. Led by images of time and space, the legendary duo's music is truly capable of tele-transporting you into a higher state of consciousness; the best thing about it is how rich and fresh it sounds upon each new listen. Highly recommended.
Review: Pete Nalook and Klaus Schulze's The Dark Side Of The Moog project almost single-handedly crystalised the term 'ambient' to describe a genre of music where listeners could float carefree into a world of endless sonic possibilities, and free from the constraints of formats relying on dance needs. The second edition of the series first came through in 1995, and has remained as innovative in 2018, which truly marks these two as having been at the cutting-edge of music since they first came through. The latter, Schulze, is a legend in his own right, but Namlook's heritage is now a serious contender within the looser end of the electronic world. The twelve parts of "A Saucerful Of Ambience" are the deepest, most touching moments of beatless music that we have on our shelves, and we would recommend picking a copy up before it's too late. So much dreaminess onto two slabs of wax.
Review: Going back even further into their chest of treasures, all the way back to 1995, Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook's The Dark Side Of The Moog project is here with a reissue of its third instalment, from 1995, and it's crazy for us to think that we have two certified legends on our charts, across several reissues of the mother series, which should most certainly be purchased in unison. This is the source in terms of ambient and drone, perhaps even surpassing some of the work done by Brian Eno across his own illustrious career. This collection of words is shorthand for "purchase now!".
Review: The late Pete Namlook remains a giant of the ambient world. His vast catalogue of works has defined and redefined the genre over and over again, often alongside fellow greats from Move D to Richie Hawtin. In 2016, however, it was Klaus Schulze at the controls alongside his German countryman and together they cooked up this eight-part adventure into cosmic ambience and psychedelic sound design. Some parts reference Eno's seminal "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", some are more synth heavy, Vangelis-style epics, and some dip into Detroit techno for their cues. It makes for an album as expansive as it is excellent.
Review: Music On Vinyl continues to offer up fresh vinyl editions of albums from Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook's "Dark Side Of The Moog" series, a largely CD-only sequence of sets that brought together two of Germany's most celebrated electronic music talents. This volume - the seventh in total - was recorded by the pair in cahoots with Bill Laswell way back in 1998, and appears here for the first time on wax. While naturally rooted in the kind of intergalactic ambience that was always Namlook's forte, the various versions of "Obscured By Klaus" include audible nods to throbbing ambient techno, deep electro and '90s psy-trance. The standout moment, though, is pure slowly shifting ambient bliss: the near 20-minute voyage that is "Part 3".
Review: Unreleased recordings from Logos Foundation live sessions, with David Toop and Paul Burwell in Brussels, on May 7, 1977. According to Toop, they started playing together in late 1969, finding themselves wrestling with 'a new language of sound'. They studied under John Stevens in his improvisation classes at Ealing College (1971 - 1972) and also took classes at London's Africa Centre. They worked out an approach to free improvisation that expanded from simple structures and instrument combinations. Working together intensively, they explored techniques through which to 'de-condition' themselves from orthodoxies: devising exercises in listening and instrument building, studying esoteric organology, bioacoustics, environmental sound, raw music and anthropology.
Review: Few have done more for Norwegian electronic music than scene founder Bjorn Torkse and second wave hero Prins Thomas. It's somewhat of a thrill, then, to see them join forces in the studio for Square One, an album that draws deeply on both producers' love of trippy dub effects, krautrock, exotic Eastern instrumentation and African-influenced percussion. Sticky, humid and skewed, the set contains a few club-ready moments, but for the most part sees the duo create percussive, off-kilter soundscapes that sit somewhere between the loose wonkiness of DJ Sotofett (himself heavily influenced by Torske) and the krautrock end of Prins Thomas's output. Unsurprisingly given the pair's combined talents, it's a very impressive album.
Review: When it comes to the Sex Tags collective, the endless sprawl of monikers and aliases means that the real artist behind any one release could be just about anyone - even Sotofett or Fett Burger themselves. The Norwegians have truly created a catalogue that stands out from the rest over the last 10 years, and the Amfibia sub-brand is perhaps one of the more singular offshoots to come from their stable; instead of focussing on dance music, this imprint is reserved strictly for all things left of field. Vera Dvale's name has already popped up on a few Sex Tags joints, including one recent appearance for Sotofett's excellent Wania label, but Psykovarius is one we haven't heard before. Udu, this seven-track downtempo masterpiece, is a graceful abstraction into the deepest, most meditative corners of the synth world. But, crucially, this isn't some retro fest that attempts to recreate anything remotely 80s; the duo explore the vast frontier that is ambient, guided and framed in all sorts of sublime analogue keyboards that render it constantly surprising with each new listen. This is Sex Tags Amfibia.