The Observatory & Koichi Shimizu – Demon State [MNSXLP004]

The Observatory is one of those last few bands that can change and become your life. Stuck in Singapore, the wilful outlier of Southeast Asia, this ever-shifting group stubbornly evolves past its roots, most recently in an more improvisational, instrumental, and noise-adjacent territories in an EP with collaborator Haino Keiji. In “Demon State”, Dharma and Cheryl Ong plus Yuen Chee Wai continue The Observatory’s bold partnerships, this time with electronic musician Koichi Shimizu. Together, they finally reach this long-gestating, total (yet I’m sure temporary), and rhythm-focused, electronic reinvention of The Obs—while briefly nodding to their past. The road is long; “Demon State” is one pit stop in glorious hell. Partly stemming from a casual, improv studio session with Koichi in early 2020, the eight tracks on “Demon State” – their first release on the Midnight Shift label – were formed from a gradual accumulation of sonic layers; they were foraged, recycled, and pieced together remotely also from solo bedroom recordings, a historical sample, nonhuman beats and effects, as well as journals and junk.

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The Observatory & Koichi Shimizu – Demon State [MNSXLP004]

Tapan – Novi Svet [OFFEN023]

Belgrade’s Tapan debut on Offen with an EP that has been a long time in the making but finally arrives in grand fashion. It is an exotic and intoxicating take on Balearic music with ‘Missing’ defined by snaking and hypnotic synths and tumbling drums. There is brilliantly loose drum programming and tons of echoing hits on ‘Samo Prolaznost’ that make it impossible not to shake your limbs to and ‘Rain Dance’ is a ten-minute slow-motion workout. ‘Novi Svet’ closes with more crashing drums and intense dance floor feels.

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Tapan – Novi Svet [OFFEN023]

Deepchord – Functional Extraits 1/2 [SOMA626/SOMA632]

Detroit’s deep techno master, Deepchord, makes a more than welcome return to Soma after 5 years. With a brand new album dropping, Rod Modell delves deep into his ethereal sonic world to bring ‘Functional Extraits’. Built in a way that only Deepchord can, he transports you to different realms with lush soundscapes and perfectly processed electro-acoustics giving you an insight to the mind of the unique artist.

part1 / part2

Deepchord – Functional Extraits 1/2 [SOMA626/SOMA632]

Interstellar Funk – Live at Muziekgebouw [AD018]

Artificial Dance founder Interstellar Funk releases Live At The Rest Is Noise – Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. Limited to 150 cassettes, the recording documents Interstellar Funk’s performance at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw concert hall in October 2021. The 45-minute set ebbs and pulses, leaving behind Interstellar Funk’s penchant for hardwearing club sounds in favour of melody and texture. Some passages mirror elements from the studio album Into The Echo (Dekmantel, 2022), but the live setting allows Interstellar Funk to expand and explore richly detailed sonic spaces that highlight his skills as a composer-performer.

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Interstellar Funk – Live at Muziekgebouw [AD018]

Geier Aus Stahl – Strapazen Und Genesung [KH043]

Geier aus Stahl is one of the many artistic guises of Leonard Prochazka. No superfluous elements take away from the core experience of his sound. Somewhere a statement from David Byrne crossed our path, able to highlight something of the essence of Leonard’s art: “No matter how alienated the subject or the singer might appear, the groove and its connection to the body would provide solace and grounding. But the edgy, uncomfortable stuff was still on the foreground”. The debut album ‘Strapazen und Genesung’ takes us to an exciting world that twists, squeaks and creaks, yet is grounded by an unmistakable groove.

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Geier Aus Stahl – Strapazen Und Genesung [KH043]

Genetic Factor – In Deadly Wet Dreams [AD016]

Artificial Dance announces the full archival compilation of work by Richard Zeilstra A.K.A. Genetic Factor. Recorded in different parts of the world, at different times – we hope this will give the world a glimmer of the mind of Genetic Factor. A mind that has been behind a variety of very influential operations during the years; including a string of radio programmes (Radionome & Spleen a.o.), working at Boudisque and running Barcelona’s first compact disc store. The songs featured are not an attempt of making a coherent ‘album’ but much more trials of interpretation of his world into ‘music’. His strong believe in non-musicianship makes it more thrilling than conventional musics, yet these recordings are not result of amateurism – they form a consistent reality of what excites him. Take a dive in the realm of the Genetic Factor…

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Genetic Factor – In Deadly Wet Dreams [AD016]

Midori Takada – You Who Are Leaving To Nirvana [WRWTFWW061]

WRWTFWW Records and MEG Museum (Geneva) announce a new full length album by celebrated Japanese percussionist Midori Takada (Through The Looking Glass), in collaboration with Buddhist monks belonging to the Samgha group of the Shingon school of Koya-san, led by Reverend Syuukoh Ikawa. “You Who are Leaving to Nirvana” is a majestic work combining a suite of six Buddhist liturgical chants and a musical creation by Midori Takada. After supervising the recording of the Buddhist chants, Midori Takada added her own compositions, with subtle layers of percussion and the melodies of her beloved marimba, giving full life to the sacred texts.

vinyl / CD

Midori Takada – You Who Are Leaving To Nirvana [WRWTFWW061]

Tasos Stamou – Balkan Express [AKULP1038]

Contrarily to the rest of Tasos Stamou’s experimental discography, the musician’s latest album “Balkan Express” has a more obscure electro-folk approach. It consists of seven pieces, all recorded with seven different vintage electric keyboards from Stamou’s own collection, blended with oriental acoustic solos. Since Stamou grew up in the Balkans in the ‘80s, he wanted to pay homage to the essence of the sound of the era that unintentionally shaped a whole culture. It was when these inexpensive, available-to-all electronic keyboards with synth sounds and drum machines replaced traditional Balkan folk music ensembles. The acoustic instruments solos and melodies of the album were influenced by local traditions and the heritage of the Ottoman music. “Balkan Express” is meant to be a time capsule taking the listener to the folk-wave retro-Balkan subculture.

Tasos Stamou – Balkan Express [AKULP1038]

Versalife – Night Time Activities LP [CWCS006LP]

The original Versalife tryptich on Clone West Coast Series. “Night Time Activities” is taking us down deep into the night. Versalife is creating a setting with sounds radiating the midnight atmosphere that reflects the twin peak-esque life on a almost deserted windy Dutch coastal island where the clouds rush through the dark night time skies projecting all variations of grey and black on the mystifying dunes. Futuristic electro techno tracks with emotive synth work created with exploratory imagination. Dark, sinister and intense!

CWCS006.1 / CWCS006.2 / CWCS006.3

full album

Versalife – Night Time Activities LP [CWCS006LP]

Noda & Wolfers – Tascam Space Season [NW033][FREE DOWNLOAD]

Something special on Nightwind Records: Last December Danny Wolfers met up with Japansese digital dub legend Taka Noda aka Mystica Tribe to produce this Far East style heavy digital dub album. Custom made lo-fi oozing echo effects transform synthesizers and drummachines into a comforting mist of arcane sludge, laced with Taka Noda’s enchanting melodica playing.

Noda & Wolfers – Tascam Space Season [NW033][FREE DOWNLOAD]

VA – Polyphonic Cosmos: Sonic Innovations In Japan (1980-1986) [C&D002]

Ever since he made his first trip to Japan to DJ, Optimo Music founder JD Twitch has been bewitched by Japanese music, and particularly the vibrant, imaginative, and often far-sighted sounds which emerged from the island nation during the 1980s. Now he’s put years of digging in Japanese record shops to good use on Polyphonic Cosmos, the latest release on his compilation-focused Cease & Desist imprint. Eight years in the making, Polyphonic Cosmos provides an endlessly entertaining musical snapshot of Japanese music of the early-to-mid ‘80s with all of the open-minded eclecticism and sonic twists that you would expect from the Glasgow-based DJ.

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VA – Polyphonic Cosmos: Sonic Innovations In Japan (1980-1986) [C&D002]

James Asher – Shaman’s Almanac [SLPR015]

James Asher is known for his individual and and distinctive approach to creating tribal drum music. He combines a confident grasp of fusion and worldbeat with a crystal clear audio production style. For the first time since Asher`s best selling releases “Feet In the Soil” and “Shaman Drums”, Sleepers Records are delighted to be the first purveyors of his work in vinyl form, with six dazzling tracks which are earthy, grounded and compelling.

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James Asher – Shaman’s Almanac [SLPR015]

Nezzy Idy – Unveiled [SOF08]

The current transmission from the Squirrels On Film universe is Nezzy Idy’s full-length album presented on glorious magnetic cassette tape. Emit Idy, along with the rest of the Oakland based Katabatik collective’s music, events & DIY community ethos have been a consistent inspiration for many in the Bay Area electronic music scene, & The Squirrels are delighted & honored to bring this album to the wider world. From the sonic miasma of opener “Ateh,” with its banshee wails & scrap metal synths, into the kaleidoscopic boogie of “Hallow” & “Prometheus,” Idy explores early Industrial, Cold Wave & Acid House textures. “Contumacy” & “Nyquest” add elements of Electro to the cauldron, conjuring spirits, emotion & drama from his vocals drum machines & synthesizers. “Teeth” goes full-on Warehouse Rave, evoking the sweaty late night illicit undergrounds that once drew wide-eyed revelers from all over the Bay Area to the seemingly abandoned industrial dark corners of a pre-gentrification Oakland, California every weekend. “Y Is The Sign” & “Systemic Volume” are hallucinatory funk workouts & “Xiolin” comes full-circle back to the radiant sound-collage of the opener.

Nezzy Idy – Unveiled [SOF08]

Sea Of Disillusions – Part II [BLESSYOU006]

Part II of the Sea of Disillusions project by Youcef Debbihi, another assortment of beautifully produced atmospheric, dubbed out downtempo techno. Yousef Debbihi does it again, another perfect collection of tracks, mandatory for any tasteful DJ bag roaming in the fields of contemporary produced dancefloor business. A crafty display of his mastery in the studio, this EP gives full perspective on Yousef’s oeuvre and capabilities. If you got part I, this is mandatory, another tasting in the downtempo cosmic domaine – no regrets guaranteed.

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Sea Of Disillusions – Part II [BLESSYOU006]

Fashion Flesh – Ambidextrous [SOT007]

“Ambidextrous. The electro-plasticky sculptural sonic opera that invites you in & out & in again. Presented in first-person, at other times in third but always out-of-body. Like a beat up stroboscope slamming into a Walt Disney number, raggedy abstracted cartoonish characters are pumped, plumped & squashed into the adhoc scenery. A tree is now a paint tube or maybe a shoe horn but only because it has to be until it isn’t, or maybe it never will be for you. Very filmy, sometimes flimsy and on occasion chunky; presenting to you, actual variety. Definitely not a tidy digital affair…you can hear the tape bias deep breathing & hasty splices popping with an immediacy that does not waste time to tinker. Shattered bronze becomes the glue, the glue becomes your dinner companion as well as the plate & window seat. Not unlike a Goldilocks and the Three Bears scenario, depending on your moody attention span, you may find certain characteristics to be too something or not enough something but perhaps just right. Open for interpretation & again for re-interpretation – this monument gives what you take. Hidden naked in plain sight under the raincoat of Fashion Flesh is John Talaga. His homemade concrete-conceptual sounds & visions have been pilfered, snubbed & consciously left unmentioned by many unmentionables. FF’s breathed the same dank air & marked his territory in rooms & on records with brave battered pioneers like Momus, Ian Svenonius & Alexandra Cabral (Escape-ism), Ann Shenton, etc etc…leaving a trail of recordings on far-out labels like Unknown Precept, est. 83 (Fit Sound) and Jacktone to only name just a few. Keep listening.”

Fashion Flesh – Ambidextrous [SOT007]

Galaxian – We Are Power LP [SHIPLP09/DOWN6]

“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.

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Galaxian – We Are Power LP [SHIPLP09/DOWN6]