The expression of two years’ field recording on the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Lesbos — deep inside a network of caves, and in the teeth of torrential winter storms — with added strings, grand piano, live drumming and orchestral percussion, in its confluence of ‘modern classical, metallic drone, dark ambient, and fuzz’. Guided by Steve Reich, Mika Vainio and Henri Bergson, haunted and spurred by the refugee crisis.
Utter presents ‘The Saturn Star’, a score to an imaginary film by music producer and visual artist Jorge Velez. Inspired by The Third Ear Band, late-period Coil, Carlos Peron’s lurid soundtracks and European folk music, Velez’s score accompanies the evocative tale of a 16th-century physician-alchemist hunted down by The Inquisition in western Europe. Velez purposefully limited the amount of equipment he used to create a cohesive sonic environment, this time restricting himself to a Korg MonoPoly and Prophet 6. The music flowed quickly, with the entire project recorded and mixed within two weeks. The resulting work veers from moments of unsettling intensity to blissful beauty, underpinned by a lingering sense of mystery and paranoia.
There’s no denying that Blackest Ever Black has released some stellar music over the last decade, so it’s rather fitting that the London imprint’s final release is arguably one of its strongest for some time. To say goodbye, label boss Kiran Sande has put together a superb collection of poignant explorations of ambient, electronica and lo-fi pop that includes a swathe of label debuts. A compilation of new and recent music, either previously unreleased or until now unavailable on vinyl, by Bridget Hayden, Carla dal Forno, Lightning In A Twilight Hour, Scythe, Jam Money, Ian Martin, Unchained, The Fulmars, Hypnotic Sleep and Brainman.
Transdisciplinary NYC artist Gavilán Rayna Russom beautifully comes into her own with a distinguished solo debut album statement including the voice of Cosey Fanni Tutti and brass arrangements by downtown legend Peter Zummo. After decades exploring her sonic personality in various projects inspired by her deep immersion in NYC’s club and avant-garde scenes, Rayna uses ‘The Envoy’ as a vessel to firm up and convey her personal conclusions on intersections of gender and electronic music.
Under the E.R.P. alias, Gerard Hanson has been making some of the finest intergalactic electro known to humankind since the tail end of the 1990s. His catalogue is meaty and some of his older, out-of-press records are now frustratingly hard to find – hence this tidy double-pack from Frustrated Funk. It includes all three tracks from Hanson’s 2007 label debut, “Vox Automaton” – the body-popping brilliance of the title track, the Drexciya style underwater trip of “Nerve Play” and the deep electro lusciousness of “Parfume Persuasion” – as well as the trio of cuts originally released on the “Alsoran” from the same years. These are arguably even better, with the melodious, cinematic and futuristic title track, and wonderfully poignant “Irma” standing out.
In 2018 Konduku took everyone by surprise with his debut called Kiran. It doesn’t happen all too often a new artist emerges with such a developed and distinctive sound, delivering an album as debut. Now, a year and three EPs later, Nous’klaer Audio is thrilled to present his followup: White Heron. His singular sound of odd-groove based techno has aged into a sound that’s more mature yet still very playful. Konduku further refined his sound of snappy polyrhythmic blips by using a controlled sound palette focusing on the tensions in-between. Starting with the mesmerizing depth of Kenar to the stripped down halfstepper Hermitage, and from the synthetic beat patterns of Kobalt to the colorful dream fields of Belki – White Heron is an album designed to listen from start to finish, but more than anything else meant for the club.