Since launching in 2011, James Healy’s Air Texture label and compilation series has become something of an institution within the ambient scene. As with its predecessors, the seventh volume in the series has been jointly compiled by two artists with an existing musical relationship, in this case Rrose and Silent Servant. Their selections are on point, drowsily drifting between academic ambient compositions (see Rrose and James Fei’s “For Bass Clarinet 8.97 (Rrose Version)”, uncomfortable electronic explorations (Ron Morelli, Anthony Child), modular movements (Not Waving), jazz-flecked deep space soundscapes (Luke Slater), horror-influenced throb-jobs (Phase Fatale, June & An-i) and 1990s style ambient electronica (Octa Octa, Function).
Yesterday we presented the preferences of our readers from last year, now this is a list of 20 albums from 2019 that made an impression on us.
We have three pure electro albums from E.R.P., Jeremiah R. and Plant43 and the new electro-synthy album of veteran David Carretta, his first solo album for ten years. On the darker side of the synth palette we have two EBM/synth-pop albums from Boy Harsher and Years Of Denial, the debut album of Kris Baha, the third album of Greek producer June, a new one from Jason Letkiewicz aka Steve Summers under his new moniker Opposing Currents and two more industrial albums from Autumns and Colombian Filmmaker.
On the other had we have two acid gems from DimDJ and Paranoid London, the first ever Gladio album, the second album from Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani and an experimental/ambient album from veteran Function on Tresor.
So, here it is compiled in chronological order.
For his new album Existenz, Function marks a clear step away from the corporeal techno of his recent releases. Pivoting around themes of religion, sexuality, trauma and healing, it is a work expansive and celebratory, a clear liberation from a deeply internalized past. Formed from a collection of recordings made in a period from late 2016 to mid 2019, Existenz takes the form of a creative outburst in reaction to a number of traumas – recent, childhood and throughout Function’s life. Life partner Stefanie Parnow assisted the production process in its entirety, providing inspiration, spiritual healing and featuring vocal contributions.
vinyl / CD
Damon Wild and David Sumner (aka Function’s) relationship dates back to 1991 at Lord Michael’s Future Shock, Limelight, New York City – when Damon was running Experimental Records via Northcott Productions. At the time, he first saw something in Dave and added him to Brand X, a record pool run by Moneypenny. But their bond is based around a period 5 years later when Dave had an apartment above Rogue Music at 251 West 30th Street in Midtown, Manhattan. It was during this time Damon developed him as a Synewave artist and released his first EP as Function in the Fall of 1996 – catalog number; SW-24. Falling in and out of contact over the years, across continents, the two have somehow remained on the same cosmic path. So it’s not a coincidence that now Damon has turned to Dave to release his first album in 13 years. This is where those paths cross again…21 years later, this Fall, Dave will release Cosmic Path on Infrastructure. The cosmic connection.
vinyl / CD
Second issue of Function’s recompiled series on Ostgut Ton’s reissue label A-Ton.
Damon Wild’s Synewave label is still going strong, plunging ever further into the hinterland of looped up techno and dragging your consciousness with it. On this new release Wild is pinging bleeps around the sequencer grid through the course of “Timelapse”, and highly immersive it is too. The “Timemachine dub” of the track is even more seductive with its Sleeparchive-style synth oddities and sparse arrangement. Function comes on board for an un-easier remix of “Timelapse” that veers towards the full-blown paranoid, and then Postscriptum drops a killer version to finish the EP off, all jagged off beat kicks and heavy textural swells.
Function retrospective landing on Ostgut Ton’s sublabel A-Ton. Essential techno selection. Recompiled I/II is the first of two vinyl-only releases of Function, which previously contained unpublished pieces as well as already out of print music. Function, one of the true techno-underground veterans, has been active as DJ and musician for over 25 years. He is a founding member of the Sandwell District collective, Berghain-Resident, operates the Infrastructure label and has been publishing Ostgut Ton since 2013.