“We Are Power”, Galaxian’s first album in over a decade, cuts a new path. On this Foul-Up and Shipwrec joint release, Mark Kastner presents a rumination on the confrontation and power clash between humankind, nature, the spiritual and mechanistic industrial growth societies. What is authentic power? What is granted power? What is innate natural power? How is power accessed, wielded, utilised, felt? On this album the blistering beats and razor-edged rhythms that characterise the Glaswegian’s productions have been softened, the menace melted, the angst soothed (well almost.) Across eleven tracks, distinct audio vistas are surveyed. This album is unmistakable Galaxian, it marks a high-point and brings with it a culmination of intense expression.
Karl O’Connor (Regis) and Simon Shreeve (Kryptic Minds/Osirus Music/Downwards) team up again for a menacing four song EP of broken beat electronics. The perfect amalgamation of O’Connor’s and Shreeve’s solo works merged.. absolutely heavy dubbed out dark Birmingham electronics. Distinct, singular and subtly soul crushing music from masters of an uncategorizable genre.
Ahead of the Meakusma Festival 2019, Don’t DJ and NWAQ did an artist residency developing new music together from scratch. Their resulting performance at the festival was a mesmerizing descent into the artistic perspectives of two singular artists active in off-kilter club music. Some of the eight tracks on this record were recorded live at the festival while others were recorded during the residency. All dwell in distorted and eccentric bliss and play around with rhythmic arrhythmic and post-rhythmic tension. There is happiness in dystopia although the subtle yet intense layering in the music hints at undercurrents that are far from bright. The joyousness of this record lies in the notable excitement Don’t DJ and NWAQ experience fusing their modi operandi coming up with a music that shines and distorts. As massive blocks of sound alternate with subtler disorienting parts repetitive vocals create an air of disparate acceptance. It uses club music’s template and pushes on.
Master synthesists Colin Potter (NWW), Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving) and Guido Zen reprise their supergroup for Ecstatic with a seductively serpentine follow-up to their superb debut from a couple of years ago. PNZ’s pulsing, twanging, expansive ‘Magari’ was recorded between 2018-2020 in the slipstream of ’Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out’, which is surely one of the strongest new kosmiche-related albums of recent years. Where that album refreshed classic styles of European synth music for modern ears, ‘Magari’ – meaning “I Wish” in Italian – adapts their style to the unique Afro-Latin lilt of Brazilian music with central use of the Berimbau; a single-stringed percussion instrument commonly associated with the elegant martial art/dance of Capoeira, which the band’s Guido Zen brought home from his travels in South America. Combined with their juicy, almost fleshly arps and Guitar pedal-generated computer voice, the results are wonderfully wide-eyed, embracing bouts of motorik rhythm beside vertiginous noise wormholes and mystic tone poems that speak to a cumulative experience spanning decades spent hunting for life between the wires.
Like their first LP, much of the recording took place remotely or in pairs, and rarely with all three present, before the parts were mixed down at Colin’s studio in Leytonstone. In its journey between the intricate meters and perpendicular vectors of ‘Too Much Traffic’, and their mesh of curdled tones with their phone recordings of a manic preacher in Camberwell on ‘Saved’, they variously recall Craig Leon’s alien invocations of Dogon folk tales as much as the heady dissonance of Alessandro Cortini; producing outstanding pieces of tangibly haptic substance in ‘Sergio’ and infectiously tip-of-tongue Berimbau twang on ‘Gennaio’, and for good measure, something like Phil Collins gently losing the plot after healthy dose of Ayahuasca in ‘Fill’, while ‘Ancora’ sounds like Basic Channel scoring Herzog’s Aguirre.
Uniformity of Nature, the second release on Prague based Detach Recordings, marks an exciting collaboration between Romanian producer DYL, Senking from Raster/Noton and DB1 from Hidden Hawaii. DYL pushes the bounderies of his sound beyond his 170 roots, with the powerful electronics of ‘Phrases’ and the electrifying team-up with Senking on ‘Destroyed City Lights’. Two tracks see DYL in the more familiar peripheries of D&B. The percussive ‘Words’, with its curious background atmospherics, and the driving, hypnotic collaboration with DB1 on the title track ‘Uniformity of Nature’. ‘Launch’ sees Senking slow the tempo down and delve into a more murky space, yet still highly-charged with razor-sharp sound design. DYL closes the EP with the abstract ‘Semantics’, a further excursion into experimental electronics.
Elsewhere MCMXIII is a 12 track journey of future retro oddities that navigates through different waves of electronic territories, all that with a taste for experimentation while being great to dance to. Put together carefully by DJ soFa for débruit’s ICI label, the track listing’s emotional depth balances between retro and modern, lo-fi and high end, warm and cold… make the listening experience an exciting, surprising journey. Genre-wise the music floats between borders of disco, new wave, synth-pop, kraut and trad elements.
Sensory Memory’ marks the second installment on Echovolt’s brand new series of mini-albums that has opened them up to more experimental fare. Kane Ikin is an experimental musician from Melbourne. Drawing from an isolated upbringing on the south coast of Western Australia, he creates music influenced by science fiction, broken synthesizers and endless horizons. Equal parts narcotic and kinetic, “Sensory Memory’ is built as an exploration in the genres and sounds formative to Kane’s sound.
Brand new triple LP pressing of rare and obscure oddities from Light Sounds Dark!
Blackest Ever Black have performed an interesting exercise in issuing this new 12″ from Tropic Of Cancer along with the Archive: The Downwards Singles collection; as it allows you to hear first-hand how Camella Lobo’s band has progressed musically in a few short years. This three track 12″ is her first new music since that excellent debut Tropic of Cancer LP, and finds Lobo working with Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv.
Blackest Ever Black serve up a double dose of Tropic Of Cancer goodness, with the fresh material from Camella Lobo complemented by this Archive: The Downwards Singles 12″. The smarter cookies out there will glean the content from the title, with Blackest Ever Black gathering together the earliest Tropic of Cancer material issued through the DO sublabel of Karl O’Connor’s Downwards label. These three tracks were recorded in Tropic Of Cancer’s original iteration of Lobo and Juan ‘Silent Servant’ Mendez, a time when the band was exploring a more explicitly bleaker, hazier sound. The motorik stomp and yelping Mendez vocals of closing track “Be Brave” remains a thrilling experience to sink into.
Nation starts off the year with brand new artists to the family from San Francisco from 2 ladies on a mission is to present the most emotional and artistic music that brings many moods and colors that equals timeless avant-garde paintings of sound. Abstract darkness from San Francisco. Red Light started as a pact between Kerri LeBon and Rachel Aiello in early 2013,though neither of them had any prior musical experience, they both were determined to dive head first into creating their first recordings…their music being generally angst and moody, the two girls sought to beautify their suffering through sound.
Journey through vivid sonic currents and states which might as well be regarded as Rashim’s magnum opus: the 006 release on ARR is a new height delivered as a mini-album. The more basic and primal spirit of this release encapsulates Rashim’s music in a way which makes total sense. Bound over six tracks, they all display a different perspective of this dramatic colossus.
Restless Idylls is the first full length album from Tropic of Cancer, the solo project of Los Angeles-based Camella Lobo. Lobo debuted in 2009 with ‘The Dull Age’/’Victims’, a 10” single on Downwards and the first of three collaborations with Juan Mendez (Silent Servant). Two years later came a second Downwards release (‘Be Brave’, remixed by Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H. Kirk), followed soon after by The Sorrow Of Two Blooms on Blackest Ever Black – the label’s third release and one if its most cherished. Since then there have been 12” releases on Mannequin, Sleeperhold Publications, Ghostly International (a Part Times Punks Sessions live split with HTRK) and a limited edition compilation, The End of All Things, compiling singles and unreleased recordings. Restless Idylls marks ToC’s return to BEB and consists of eight new recordings written in Los Angeles, with additional production from Karl O’Connor (Regis) in New York and London. Its themes? The usual: romance, devotion, pain and helplessness. Mixed up mortals struggling against the brute mechanics of fate, and proving unequal to the task. A forced retreat into private, precious idylls of longing, faith, mystery, even misery. The urgent motorik of lead single ‘More Alone’ is perhaps a misleading foretaste of the full-length, which is more lush, languid and extravagantly despondent than previous TOC material. Troubled hymns from an empty room, in a drowned world. A sensual and sepulchral psychedelia.
Long awaited album, “Imaginary Soundscapes”, from Jamal Moss brings nine breathtaking compositions of raw electronic goodness that only he can concoct. From soft atmospheric sound environments to banging warehouse beat tracks, this is pure sonic bliss.
Dro Carey offers his second release under the dilapidated tech-house moniker Tuff Sherm with this forthcoming 12” on The Trilogy Tapes. Admittedly, the sonics of Tuff Sherm aren’t far from works under DC – the grooves are less broken, the rhythms more hypnotic, but the textures are very much in line with Dro Carey’s dusked, dystopian palette. ‘Pharmacy’ bounces with swirling, nauseated effects, piling hollow percussion atop a thick soundscape heavy-laden with impending grooves. The brief ‘Hydlide’ does a great job of launching into a distorted, earthy loop, before smothering it under a filter to allow for looped melancholic stab to take over. As the initial loop rises to the fore, sandpaper samples rise with it – cavorting with the minimal melody like a maniacal tour guide purposely misleading his group through an abandoned factory. ‘Leg Man’ recalls the playful darkside of Dro Carey’s material, with a thick sub anchoring the track as wickedly off-balance samples peek through the compression, enhancing the swung rhythm of the tune.
Le Jardin des Chemins Bifurquants is the first full length album of Chicago based electronic music artist, producer and DJ Jamal R. Moss.Gritty futuristic meltdown of House, Free Jazz, New Age and Noise. For this record, Jamal worked with the concept of plants having a religion, and the question of what their way of worship would look like. This resulted in a dark deep-space overture with raw synth stabs, extreme pitch-shifted textures and hypnotic tribal rhythms—somewhat reminiscent of Sun Ra’s interstellar electric keyboard explorations. Le Jardin des Chemins Bifurquants is an unclassifiable tour de force that is oozing with profound cosmic meaning. For those not lucky enough to lay their hands on the genuinely rare full length album of Chicago artist, producer and DJ Jamal R. Moss, here is another chance to obtain this rare artifact.
This year has seen Tropic Of Cancer stealthily plot a successful course for total infiltration of our affections, with some well chosen releases laying down the foundations of expectation for the band’s much vaunted debut album, slated for release on Blackest Ever Black next year. This eminently collectable three track release for Belgian imprint Sleeperhold will no doubt jostle for first place with that wonderfully atmospheric 12″ on Mannequin and split HTRK release on Ghostly for best Tropic Of Cancer release of 2012. It’s “Children Of A Lesser God”, the final exquisite track that will floor most people, capturing Camella Lobo and company at their most powerful. Spartan drum machines and nerve tingling guitars form the backbone of this stunning seven minute track as Lobo’s undeniably plaintive delivery sinks ever deeper into the murky recesses.
This is his 5th album for Touch. FE3O4 – Magnetite was recorded in Berlin between 2011 and 2012. In contrast to the dark vistas of his most recent releases, FE3O4 – Magnetite oscillates between the two poles of silence and noise. Using his signature sources which range from radio signals to sine wave generators, Mika Vainio creates a unique emotional journey that moves from the serene to the unsettling, always challenging the listener’s comfort zone.
The Part Time Punks Radio Sessions 12″ by HTRK and Tropic of Cancer holds six sublime songs of desire. Comparable to a fly-on-a-wall Peel Sessions, the critically acclaimed Part Time Punks radio show is the sound of the LA underground, run by local icon Michael Stock. The limited split captures both bands live at the radio headquarters during HTRK’s first 2011 tour of the USA, accompanied by comrades in minimalism and melancholia, Tropic of Cancer. Flipping this vinyl sounds like two sides of the same cursed coin, and mirrors a high school dance playing an endless lustful waltz. BPMs bumped down to a psychic stalk. It’s a broken and beautiful memento.