Montreal’s based Kindest Cuts is without any kind of doubt one of the actual world’s leading synthwave/synthpop acts. Perfect pop structures and outstandingly captive musical progressions in perfect combination with classical genre male deep lead voice, following the trace of early Depeche Mode or Camouflage.
Angel’s Flight is the new album from highly-acclaimed producer and composer Biosphere. It features twelve tracks based on Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 that deftly tread the peripheries of classical and electronic composition. Much of the music was initially composed for Uncoordinated Dog, a dance production by the Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt in 2019 that explored the personal, the ambiguous, exposure and beauty – which gives you a sense of what the album holds.
vinyl / CD
Created in Brussels in 2015, Azmari is a weaving musical odyssey that expertly fuses ethiogroove, dub, psychfunk and eastern sounds. Azmari, literally “one who praises” in Amharic, is an Ethiopian singer-musician, comparable to the European bard or the West African griot often accompanied with a masenqo – one-stringed fiddle or krar – lyre, two traditional ethiopian instruments. The nine tracks that make up debut album ‘Sama’i’, released via Sdban UItra, is a deeply hypnotic experience where mesmerising rhythms and winding improvisations send the listener in to a higher state of consciousness. From the magical sax of album opener ‘Zegiyitwali’, to the dubby template of ‘Cosmic Masadani’ and joyous horns of ‘Kugler’, Azmari seamlessly blend African and oriental melodies with effortless precision, providing a fresh take on the ethiojazz sound. Elsewhere, the heavy, rhythmic sounds of ‘Tariq Al Sahara’ and the mystical and cosmological ‘Azalai’ continue our sacred journey full of raging saxes and wig-out percussion, while the free-spirited, trippy ‘Kadikoy’ coming in at nine minutes in duration, lends a trance-like quality to proceedings where psychedelic jazz meets afro-funk.
vinyl / CD
Legendary Turkish psych innovators Moğollar grace the Artone Studios in Haarlem for a masterclass in the original Anadolu psych roots, cutting a compendium of their rawest hits and most-wanted psychedelic rock classics. Formed at the end of 1967 with five young musicians, Moğollar were the original Anadolu psych originators. They were the first Turkish pop band who tried to blend the microtonal folklore and traditional instruments of rural Anatolia with Western pop and rock; they were the first Turkish psychedelic band to achieve overseas recognition. More than fifty years after first forming, Moğollar materialised in the Artone Studios to give a masterclass in fuzzed-out folklore and Turkish psychedelic roots for Night Dreamer’s Direct-to-Disc series – a fitting follow-up to Night Dreamer’s BaBa ZuLa set, coming straight from the group who laid the foundations of the genre. For this Night Dreamer session, Moğollar spent two days in the Artone studios, recording sides A and B on the first day, and C and D on day two. With BaBa ZuLa’s Murat Ertel adding contemporary sonic punch behind the boards, the band revisited their most renowned hits to lay down energised new versions, and dusted off some of the most sought-after cuts from their enormous catalogue. The result is a showcase set by a band that are one of true pioneers in global psychedelic rock, and a masterclass in the true roots of the Anadolu psych sound: fuzzed-out, committed, and straight from the source.
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Strut present the first ever international reissue of one of the most sought-after albums from the Black Fire catalogue, Lon Moshe & Southern Freedom Arkestra’s life-affirming ‘Love Is Where The Spirit Lies’ from 1977. This first international reissue of the album features new sleeve notes including interviews and commentary by Lon Moshe, Plunky Branch and band members with original illustrated artwork by Mary E. Greer. Audio was remastered from original tapes by The Carvery. “Lon was creating his own path in his music life at this time,” remembers Black Fire’s Plunky Branch. “We had met in San Francisco and he had become an original member of JuJu during the early ’70s. He then wanted to pursue his own music, primarily in jazz; he was an avant-gardist and loved Tribe, Strata-East and Sun Ra.” For his Love Is Where The Spirit Lies album, Moshe drew from musicians within the Black Fire stable. Oneness Of Juju’s Jackie Eka-Ete sang and helped to write songs and members of Southern Energy Ensemble contributed, including their bandleader Marvin Daniels. “The band name, Southern Freedom Arkestra, was a proud declaration that this music was from the U.S. South,” continues Branch.
vinyl / CD
Dark Entries announces a deluxe reissue of Sexual Harrassment’s 1983 opus “I Need A Freak”. Lynn Tolliver, DJ/Program Director at Cleveland’s WZAK, adopted the pseudonym David Payton in order to keep his musical endeavors separate from his public persona. Sexual Harrassment (misspelled deliberately) was formed as a concept band, with members selected based on appearance and choreographic skill rather than musical ability. Tolliver’s explicit lyrics focused on the central themes of desire and sexual relations. Working at a studio in Akron, he recorded an album of quirky-yet-lurid electro funk, which was released on Heat Records. I Need A Freak is presented here for the first time on double LP, pressed at 45 rpm for maximum DJ-friendliness.
‘Psy Visionary’ is the latest outing by the long going Spanish techno producer ORBE. On his self titled imprint he’s been pushing futuristic and hypnotizing techno sounds since 2014. His latest collection of tracks is a full solo effort and comes as an expansive 4LP vinyl box exploring a wide universum of techno. Atmospheric and spaced out booming techno trips spread over 16 heavy cuts to showcase ORBE and his visionary sounds.
Continuing our past year briefing, after the readers top 3 and best giveaways, we present a list of our 20 favorite albums from 2020.
We have four albums more on the electro side coming from DMX Krew, Men With Secrets (Donato Dozzy and Retina.it), Nullptr and The Exaltics & Heinrich Mueller, while on the industrial/EBM side we have albums by A Civil Terror, La luna sotto il ponte and LBEEZE and impressive works from Black Meteoric Star, Ian Martin and Trenton Chase.
On the synthier side of music we have four albums coming from Das Ding, Linea Aspera, Newclear Waves and Jake Schrock, while for the Detroit lovers we have two Detroit influenced album by The Beneficiaries (Jeff Mills, Eddie Fowlkes and Jessica Care Moore) and The Nightstalker (Dan Piu and Martin Akeret).
Closing the list are the debut album of disco-don Franz Scala on Slow Motion, Obergman‘s acid album on Furthur Electronix, Anthony Collins with his album on Lobster Theremin under the Grant alias and Shifted with his first album on Avian.
The list is compiled in chronological order.
Continue reading “2020 Best Albums”
Baruch Williamson is the alter ego of Boris Willems, a Belgian artist member of a string of psychedelic rock acts like Aavon Durckheim, cosmic super weirdo, Hugs of the Sky and The Insect Soldiers Of The Sky. In 2019 he started to release a more electronic, experimental sound. ‘Sagittarius A*’ is his second album as Baruch Williamson (both release in 2020) and is inspired by metaphysical themes, a fierce experiment in pop composition and mixing. The album it’s released digitally by Wagonmaniac and on CD by Dream Museum Records.
Continue reading “Baruch Williamson – Sagittarius A*”
Danny Wolfers striking another album at the Northsea Institute For The Overmind. This time is coming under the Smackos alias, providing a 11 track album free to download / name your price on his bandcamp.
Montreal duo Biochip return to Central Processing Unit with their new LP Crux Alley. The pair of Melissa Speirs and Julian Kochanowski turned plenty of heads when they first rocked up on the Sheffield label back in 2019 with debut drop Synthase. Synthase found Biochip twisting up Braindance, IDM and electro to their own ends, and Crux Alley is an album which hits similar sonic sweet-spots. Biochip continue to mark themselves out as one of contemporary electro’s most exciting new acts with the Crux Alley LP.
Visitor, founded in 2017 is a two piece Canadian act comprised of Veronica Stefanuik and Philip Traikovski that seamlessly combines the best elements of old school EBM with new beat. The result is something out of time yet uniquely modern. Dark frantic beats and bass lines, Visitor will take over your body.
As head of Italian (centric) Slow Motion label (and international artist sister imprint, Wrong Era), and through his own productions and remixes, Franz Scala has been pioneering the retro-futuristic aesthetic of club culture weaving together elements of proto-house, wave and Italo for the nuovo contemporary dancefloor long before it’s current vogue. Now alongside Bordello A Parigi, and supported by Sameheads, Slow Motion presents Scala’s euphoric debut album Mondo Della Notte. A homage to the world of the night where Franz plies his trade. Solid production and understanding of the various references informing the contemporary dancefloor imbues this set with a quality of permanence. Each track clocks-in at around the seven minute mark accommodating all Scala’s retro influences providing the space for walls of sounds to expand and unfold along these infectious rhythm voyages.
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Transpac does not hide its love for Arpanet’s ”Wireless Internet” album in any way. ”Transpac is the name of one of the first computer networks. It enabled data exchange based on the X25 standard, the Minitel was one of the most famous applications of this network. This project pays tribute to the development of telecommunications in the 70’s and the creation of this network.”
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.
Berlin duo NNHMN – Lee and Michal Laudarg – creates moody and evocative music infected with dark synth sounds, eerie ambiances and mysterious female volcals. They return to Oráculo Records with “Deception Island” where fresh cold beats meets hypnotic techno and avant-garde of a ferociously experimental nature. We find Lee’s sultry vocals over synthwave classical bass and rhythm structures, from dark Italo Disco with touches of light EBM to classic post punk.
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J. Mono is back on Dalmata Daniel with the Redate II release, an emotionally filled journey of 12 songs, recorded between 2015-2018, all showing deep thoughtfulness of composition, mastering soundwaves and harmonies. There are no cuts or edits, all songs are live recordings from J. Mono’s home studio. The songs vary in tempo and genre, a unique mix of acid, idm and electro with pulsating bass and drums. – all of them filled with a range of emotions, melancholy and inwardness.
Phillip Washington (aka Cygnus) is an electronic musician based Dallas, Texas and is making
a name for himself since the early 2010’s with releases on Central Processing Unit, Breakin’ Records, Biosoft Records, Recondite and Icesea to name a few. Gentrified Underground is giving his first & sought after tape-longplayer “Cybercity Z-Ro” from 2012 a vinyl reissue and a total cover-art make-over by Walid El Barbir. These aquatic and futuristic compositions represent a seminal timestamp for Phillip’s discography and electro in general.
Immersive audio experience for both the dj and the collector, ranging across tribal voodoo rhythms, Coilish esoterism and musique concrete atmospheres.
“Crollo Nervoso” (Nervous Breakdown) is a collection of tracks recorded in Berlin Schönlein Strasse between 2018 and 2020 by Italian super-duo (and cousins) TANS & Mike Tansella Jr. as Sons Of Traders. This is their 2nd full album, with over 80 minutes of sonic mayhem from SOT mostly inspired by Genesis P. Orridge, 242, A.S.F., Esplendor Geometrico etc. in the Italian 80’s wave tradition. Additionally there are over 24 minutes of remixes by the likes of Chris Mitchell, Chupacabras, Elena Sizova, Jaundice, and Memory Clap Acid.