Cucina Povera and Ben Vince’s debut full-length collaboration deploys an engrossing suite of noirish nocturnes based around Maria Rossi aka Cucina Povera’s muzzy vocal loops and Ben Vince’s accompaniments on saxophone, synth and piano. Born out of wonder, innocence and creative discovery, it’s the sound of two exploratory collaborators swimming into each other’s ideas, from Terry Riley-esque transcendence to late-night sax swirls shrouding Rossi’s distinctive voice in dimly lit psychedelic smoke.
Potter Natalizia Zen – Magari [ELP054]
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.
Gavilán Rayna Russom – The Envoy [ELP047]
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.
Not Waving – Futuro (Music For The Waldorf Project) [ELP040]
‘Futuro’ is Not Waving’s sublime synth/ambient soundtrack to one of the world’s most intense art/theatre experiences: Sean Rogg’s radical immersive artwork ‘The Waldorf Project’ – fusing choreography, spatial design, music and performance into a cohesive experience.
Sterile Hand – Sterile Hand [ELP035]
Juan Mendez a.k.a Silent Servant finds his ideal EBM vocal foil in Ori Ofir under their Sterile Hand moniker. The duo’s first vinyl round for Not Waving’s Ecstatic label is a dark and sleazy run of deviant industrial techno and pugilistic EBM cuts made over the last year.
Potter Natalizia Zen – Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out [E034]
Colin Potter, Alessio Natalizia and Guido Zen regroup along the percussive vectors of ‘Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out’ for the Ecstatic label. Three years in the making, taking cues from German synth rock, cosmic disco, abstract EBM and obscure library sounds, the trio head for seductive new horizons of pulsing rhythms and floating ambient dub tones. The six hands control the mission with masterful skill and sleight of hand, prompting routes for the user rather than signposting the way with cliché. Of course, it’s hard to escape some sense of homage or reverence for the original forms, but they do so with such sensitivity to the material and “the journey” that the results simply transcends that heritage, to arrive somewhere, timelessly, out there.
Novo Line – Movements [E024LP]
Berlin’s Nat Fowler renders his meticulous Novoline project to Not Waving’s Ecstatic with an inimitable marriage of automated electronic process and live improvisation on his 2nd album, Movements, continuing a lifelong quest for esoteric knowledge and a love of archaic computer hardware. Modelled with mis-used software, run on two separate Atari ST’s using only era-consistent hardware Yamaha FM synthesis via MIDI, pitch tuned to a pure 3:2 ratio Pythagorean scale centred on 432hz, Movements is the compelling, awkward result of obtuse production techniques and painstaking trial and error; basically experimentation at the service of discovering a sound he is genuinely warranted to call his own.
Not Wawing – Redacted [ELP023]
Forever a label willing to revisit previous tape-only wares if the demand is there, Sam Willis and Ale Natalizia’s Ecstatic turn their gaze to one of the latter’s earliest Not Waving documents. Originally issued on highly limited, gold cassette way back in 2012, Redacted was produced during Walls downtime by Natalizia and expanded on the “classified” themes of his Remote Viewing-inspired debut LP Umwelt. Fans of the most recent Diagonal-released Not Waving LP, Animals, should be thrilled to see how far Natalizia’s project has developed in just four years with the prevailing mood on Redacted a sort of murky and brutish EBM that is wholly satisfying.
Head Technician – Zones [E022LP]
Ecstatic label catch Martin Jenkins (Pye Corner Audio) in Head Technician garb for a slippery set of slow, plasmic acid workouts that were originally issued on a super-limited tape, and now sit heavy on wax. Over the years Jenkins has used the Head Technician alter ego as a sort of evil engineer Hyde analogous to his day-to-day Jekyll, a sort of hyperstitious studio partner in a time-honoured tradition of sleeve credits ghost chasing. Where Pye Corner Audio’s pieces may tend to be lustrous, optimistic, the Head Technician’s Zones LP hems to the shadows of the ‘floor with a furtive, noirish quality that works a treat in the right situations, whether soundtracking gaslamp-lit raves or midnight street patrols seeking out ne’erdowells and laudanum dealers.
Fired on a classic trinity of Roland TR-606 drum machine with an MC-202 (a beast to program, he admits) and TB-303 to sequence his baselines, it clearly makes explicit reference to the early days of Detroit techno and UK bleep ’n bass, but the vibe is more anachronistic, out-of-time, possibly thanks to his patented, lagging basslines and slowly unfolding arrangements, bridging that imaginary, dilated gap between fuzzy dancefloor head melt and curtains-drawn next day gouch out.
The Tapes – Selected Works 1982 – 1992 [ELP017]
In addition to his prolific output as Not Waving, London-dwelling Italian Alessio Natalizia has developed quite an interest in profiling the vast archive of music that surfaced from his motherland in the 1980s. After Strut tapped him to curate the Mutazione compilation back in 2013, Natalizia has taken to square his focus on more specific artists, with this Tapes retrospective following a similar profile of Daniele Ciulini last year. Selected Works 1982 – 1992 spans a decade of recordings from Tapes, aka brotherly pair Giancarlo and Roberto Drago whose style of industrial music absorbed the counter-cultural influence of William Burroughs or Throbbing Gristle, and the sci-fi dystopia of J.G. Ballard and John Foxx. The 21 tracks here will delight anyone with an interest in the obscure annals of European primitive electronics.
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Daniele Ciullini – Domestic Exile: Collected Works 82-86 [ELP009]
Hailing from Florence, Daniele Ciullini was part of the forward-thinking TRAX collective, whose pan european art/music collaboration network acted as a proto-social network decades in advance of the internet. This compilation collects Ciullini’s self released ‘Domestic Exile’ cassette (1983) as well as selections from a series of other compilations(1982 to 1986).
Gavin Russom – Telemetry / The Beneficent, The Merciful [ETX002]
On his new release, Gavin Russom explores the possibilities of layering his homemade analog processors, trying to create an evolving and changing repetition. Pulsing and deep, this limited edition 12” will hypnotize you into a cosmic lull. Although not founded in religious beliefs, still excellent for starting off your Friday afternoon prayer.
Pye Corner Audio / Not Waving – Intercepts [ELP006LP]
Intercepts is a split album between Pye Corner Audio and Not Waving. Drawing inspiration from the shadowy world of espionage both producers embark on a voyage of forward thinking yet backwards compatible, cosmic tinged, techno excursions. Pye Corner Audio leads off with ‘Perfect Secrecy Forever’, centering on a progressive, doddering synth pattern paired against muted thuds whereas Not Waving opts for something a little more direct with ‘Protecting The Revolution’ oozing with dark, italo disco vibes owing to it’s dominating, feral arpeggio. The clandestine spirits permeate these eight tracks of dreamlike industrial techno, impressionist synth burbles, fragmented post-modern ambient and cosmic sci-fi adventure.
Gavin Russom – The Purge / Entropy [ET0001]
Entropy Trax, is the new sister label to Kompakt’s Walls helmed Ecstatic imprint. Expect limited edition hand artworked white-label 12”s from a variety of artists, focussed on experimental dance floor sounds. The debut release comes from DFA’s Gavin Russom (The Crystal Ark/Black Meteoric Star) with a titanic double-header that announces the first of a series of releases for the label. Recording under his own name for the first time since 2011’s ‘Night Sky’, this material finds Russom creating visceral and hypnotic dance floor tracks.