Review: My Neighbour Totoro is a 1988 critically acclaimed Japanese animated fantasy film, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli and Tokuma Shoten. The soundtrack, which has stood the test of time, is one of the contributing factors which makes the film so magical. Created by longtime Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi who is one of Japan's most prolific and celebrated composers, this soundtrack is one of the lightest in mood with the 20 tracks running in chronological order. Stunning, raw and powerful.
Review: It would be fair to say that this release is fairly significant. It showcases material recorded - but never released - by former Tangerine Dream and Iggy Pop drummer Klaus Kruger throughout the 1980s. Variously inspired by kosmiche, Berlin School ambient, the cyclical movements of avant-garde American minimalism, the polyrhythms of Africa and contemporaneous electronic music movements - think EBM and European new age electronica, for starters - Advanced Dance contains some startling and hugely enjoyable material. The album's genius lies primarily in Kruger's ability to not only balance acoustic and electronic instrumentation, but also experimental instincts and melodious intent. Remarkably, some of the material even sounds like modern modular techno. In other words, it's one album of previously unreleased material that you really need in your life.
Review: Contrary to what many may have initially suspected of Kurt Wagner when he first arrived on the scene some twenty years ago, his rootsy demeanour and country-tinged melancholy have always been tempered by sly innovation and a restless spirit. His main departure thus far may have been the soul-tinged 'Nixon', yet 'Flotus' - taking on board electronic textures and vocoder-enhanced melody of no little beauty - is proof that his experiments have paid off. These soundscapes may be the most melancholy and affecting this wry and unique songsmith has created yet, quietly beating Radiohead and Bon Iver at their own game with style and restraint to spare.
Review: Liaisons Dangereuses self-titled debut album was not an immediate success on its' release in 1981, but its' influence would spread far and wide. Almost entirely made up of synthesized rhythms, chords and melodies - with the addition of stylish vocals from all three band members - it would help define the "electronic body music sound". It quickly became a big record in both Detroit and Chicago, inadvertently helping to inspire the nascent techno and house scenes. Listening again to this reissue, it's amazing how well the music as aged. While heavy on stylish posturing, it still sounds thrillingly futuristic and alien. It should be an essential purchase for anyone with even the smallest interest in the history and development of electronic music.
Review: Time 'Love' Lee has been spinning tunes and kicking ass since the late 1980's, and his first productions date back from the early 1990's. That's when he started Peace Feast, among other imprints like Tummy Touch and Boy Scout Recordings, and that's also when he started pushing his own particular brand of loose outsider house. Although the first Peace Feast is from 1994, the label's releasing schedule has been rather sparse and this latest bombshell is only number twenty-four in the series! "Tingle" is a beautifully symphonic piece of music, barely held together by a playful percussion and well-mannered swells of bass. The flip, "E7000" is similarly musical and rich in instrumentation, a true expedition into the ether. Cop!
Review: Kicking cheerfully against the compression and conformity of the modern digital age, antique futurist analogue wizards metamono return with their finest, fittest album to date. Comprising Jono Podmore, aka Kumo and sometime collaborator with Can members Irmin Schmidt and Jaki Liebezeit, Paul Conboy and fine artist Mark Hill, the Crystal Palace based trio enchanted audiences during 2014 with their live soundtracks to Secrets Of Nature, early 20th century short films using new photography techniques to reveal the processes of the natural world including the lives of cuckoos and barn owls. Many of the pieces they wrote feature on the new album. It was an ideal fit for the metamono sound - organic, playful, basking in the joys of new mechanical possibilities.
Recalling the early electronic adventures of Raymond Scott, Brian Eno, Cabaret Voltaire, Cluster and acid house but always bearing their unmistakable bespoke signature, metamono are as unmissable live as they are on vinyl. Do not miss this!
Review: Back in 1996, Richard D. James and Planet Mu boss Mike Paradinas collaborated on a bizarre self-titled album under the name Mike & Rich. A cult addition to their respective highly-regarded canons that saw the pair applying their braindance template to easy listening and funk, the album soon came to be known as Expert Knob Twiddlers thanks to the excellent cover art. Newly reissued on Planet Mu, the album has been "carefully cleaned up, re-edited and remastered from the original DAT tape [and] put into a more fitting order." Some twenty years on the album remains a playful listen made all the more compelling by the addition of seven previously unheard tracks. A must for any fans of Aphex Twin and u-ZIQ.
Review: No one knows who One Day is. No one knows what the title of this EP is called. No one knows what the tracks are called. But we know that this is Office... And everything Baaz's Berlin-based label puts out has a great deal of detail invested in it and always requires attention. This is no exception as the mysterious vibe maestro takes us from warm, jazz-tinged chugging deep house to cascading aquatic ambience that bubbles and pops dreamily via fuzzy, springy downtempo. Who knows who's behind this masterpiece? Maybe One Day we'll find out...
Review: For fans of minimal wave and DIY electronic pop, Oppenheimer Analysis's self-released 1982 debut cassette, New Mexico - little more than an extended demo cassette - has become something of a collector's item. While it has been reissued digitally since, it never received a vinyl release. In tribute to Martin Lloyd (the other half of the duo, alongside Andy Oppenheimer), who passed away recently, Minimal Wave has decided to make New Mexico available on wax for the first time. While the sound quality is appropriately dusty (it was badly recorded in the first place, of course), the music remains magical - bubbling, evocative, left-of-centre leftfield pop created with home-made synthesizers, modular hardware and little else. It's no wonder many consider it a classic album (even if was never officially released first time round).
Review: Since bursting onto the scene via a series of bustling, bass-heavy and dancefloor-focused 12" singles at the turn of the decade, Pariah (AKA late developer Arthur Cayzar) has been surprisingly quiet. It turns out he was ridden with angst about the music he was making and unsure of which direction to take. As this long-awaited - and, we should add, rather brilliant - debut album proves, he's final found inner peace. "Here From Where We Are" is, first and foremost, a home listening album. It contains gentle, evocative and slowly shifting electronic soundscapes that largely look towards ambient, neo-classical, drone and dub techno for inspiration. There's no speaker-busting sub-bass explosions or riotous peak-time rhythms, just becalmed and stunningly beautiful compositions that are in turns spellbinding, melancholic and hugely poignant.
Review: Bernard Parmegiani was a French composer best known for his electronic or acousmatic music that passed away in 2013. Here Transversales Disques present a previously unreleased soundtrack of the 1982 film 'Rock' directed by Michel Treguer. Born in 1940, Treuger is a television producer, radio producer, journalist and writer also known for the popular early '90s television series 'Les compagnons de l'aventure'. Enjoy this limited edition remaster from the original tapes. Exclusive liner notes plus artwork by Jean-Philippe Talaga. Licensed from Claude Anne Parmegiani. Parmegiani has been cited as a major influence by the likes of Aphex Twin, Autechre and Sonic Youth.
Review: Swiss label WRWTFWW has scored something of a coup here, securing the rights to release two near mythical film soundtracks by legendary experimentalist composer and music concrete artist Bernard Parmegiani. The soundtracks themselves - together on one CD after recently appearing on separate vinyl albums in very limited quantities - were originally composed for a pair of experimental films (1972's "Les Soleils de L'Ike de Paque" and 1965's "La Brulure de Mille Soleils") whose hallucinatory approach to cinematography offered Parmegiani a chance to let his imagination run wild. The results are predictably out-there and inspired, sitting somewhere between the Radiophonic Workshop, Stockhausen and the cutting-edge pioneering electronica of American composer Morton Subotnick.
Review: Despite now being 25 years into their career, Plaid duo Ed Handley and Andy Turner show no signs of showing up. If The Digging Remedy - their 11th studio set - is anything to go by, their instincts remain as sharp as ever. They've always been capable of creating magical music that contrasts experimental electronic rhythms with picturesque melodies and mood-enhancing sounds, and The Digging Remedy is full of the stuff. Intriguingly, many of the tracks seem deeper and more subdued than previous explorations, with clear ambient and neo-classical influences amongst the classic electro and IDM flavours you'll find on the album's more up-tempo moments.
Review: Some of you may remember Ricardo Vincenzo from his 2015 debut Pororoca Transatlantica, a two-track missive that blended South American production with all the warmth of sun-kissed downtempo electronica. If anything, this belated follow-up for esteemed Finnish label Sahko is even better. Vincenzo begins with the farmyard animal samples, rolling tribal percussion, African chants and rich electronic bass of "Cabras No Elevado Quilombia", before chopping and looping a dusty old tango track on the mid-tempo house pulse of "Onna No Yujo". On the flip you'll find the low-slung, post-dubstep creepiness of "Haru", where exotic vocal samples drift across a sparse but heavy beat pattern, and the aural trip to Morocco that is "Excellent Drom".
Review: Primitive Brumbeat is the order of the day from Minimal Wave on this weighty seven inch presentation of early Karl O'Connor material. Recorded under the Sandra Plays Electronics banner, Her Needs presents two versions of the same track from different periods of O'Connor's musical development and provide further enticing historical evidence of one of techno's most illuminating figureheads. Those who indulged in the brilliant White Savage Dance 12" from Downwards from late 2011 will be all over the DIY odes to O'Connor's childhood heroes such as DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses here. The 1999 version in particular which originates from the same recording sessions that ended in the seminal Diversion Group release A Man Has Responsibilities.
Review: The sixth release of Amsterdam record label Safe Trip brings together a few dozen ambient tracks from Japanese twin brothers Satoshi & Makoto from Kawasaki. The whole album's beats, melodies and musical phrases come from the Casio CZ-5000: which gives the record its name. Label chief Young Marco discovered their music via YouTube videos, which the two musicians had recorded in order to illustrate the possibilities of the aforementioned instrument and most of the material was said to be influenced by acts like The Orb and Yellow Magic Orchestra. According to the label, it is largely of an ambient nature, positive mood and possibly alien origin.
Review: Blackest Ever Black first plunged us head first into the "small hour tape experiments, noise etudes and basement-mildewed pop" of Ryan Martin's Secret Boyfriend project in late 2013 with the release of This Is Always Where You've Lived. That album granted Martin his debut vinyl outing after a raft of cassette releases through his own Hot Releases label, and he's now back on the good ship BEB with a new album. Some six tracks long, Memory Care Unit compiles material Martin recorded for a Grovl tape boxset released back in February along with previously unreleased music recorded between 2013-14. A few minutes spent listening to Memory Care Unit proves that Blackest Ever Black's description of the album as "poignant, isolationist machine music" is most certainly apt.
Endless Memento/Regression/Wading Through The Underworld (14:23)
The Future Is Hurt/Dirt & Fields (15:43)
Hinter Der Vitrine (14:03)
Our Sharpened Blade/Rid Yourself Of The Parasites/Endless Longing (19:21)
Review: For his latest full-length, post-dubstep innovator turned dystopian soundscape specialist Shackleton has joined forces with British-German singer-songwriter Anika. Her drowsy, chilling tones provide the perfect foil for the producer's alternately paranoid and ethereal musical compositions; stretched-out pagan epics that sit somewhere between the soundtrack for The Wicker Man, the wind-swept ambience of Firecracker's Mac Talla Nan Craeg - compilation, and the experimental sound collages of the Music Concrete movement. It makes for a heady, intoxicating and at times otherworldly listening experience, even if it features numerous pastoral elements. Prepare to be thrilled and scared in equal measure.
Review: ** Repress ** If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word superb.