Minami Deutsch crushes negativity, sorrow, and depressive energy on their new Hoga Nord Rekords release, ‘Can’t get there’, a five-track EP. The Japanese psych-scene is being kept vital by picking up all the best influences from all the best psychedelic music and mixing that with a delicate touch of Japanese music tradition. On this EP, you hear all that you love and miss from the 70’s krautrock bands plus a cover on cult band Index’s song ‘Israeli blues’ from 1968. Also on this record are two remixes of the title track by HNR household names Jamie Paton and Mythologen. Listening to this, you get the feeling of leaving half your brain in a Volkswagen down an endless Autobahn in 1972 and one-half lost in the astral plane as boundless light, above space and time.
This latest collection for Artificial Dance comprises three freshly unearthed iterations coming from Hypnobeat. Spearheaded by James Dean Brown (also known from Perlon’s Narcotic Syntax) and Victor Sol, and featuring other rotating members, Hypnobeat is a true product of the open-ended spirit of DIY music that proliferated in the 1980s. The prescient project championed deft, machine-powered rhythm programming as its modus operandi long before the practice would become a dominant global cultural form. Since Hypnobeat was revived in 2012 with Helena Hauff joining JDB on stage for improvised live performances based on one 707 and three 808s, there have been a string of archival releases shining a light on the early and more recently recorded works of this forward-thinking venture.
Aggelos Baltas is a veteran of the global electronic music scene, responsible for a handful of celebrated EBM 12”s as Dream Weapons, and a particularly heady and open-ended brand of krautrock as Fantastikoi Hxoi. His newest project, Anatolian Weapons, was conceived as a way to bring together these two seemingly mismatched concepts, with the polyrhythmic percussion and wailing tones of Greek folk music serving as their unlikely bonding agent. “To The Mother Of Gods” is Baltas’ debut album for Beats In Space. Created in tandem with Greek folk musician Seirios Savvaidis, it is a work of simultaneous collaboration and subtraction whose meticulous construction becomes more apparent with every listen. An album-length exploration of what happens when the principles of dance music are applied to pre-digital musical modalities. Savvidis contributed stems of ten songs, which Baltas deconstructs and rearranges with appreciation of the ancestry of their lineage and of the deceptively ancient eerie, droning qualities inherent in the style. Occasionally augmenting Savvaidis’ recordings with his own, Baltas treats these elements as if raw materials for an architectural process. It is a record of psychedelic folk music.
Pete ‘Bassman’ Bain, one of the founding members of the UK cult psych rock band Spacemen 3, formed Alpha Stone after Spacemen 3 and his other band The Darkside split up in the mid-nineties. In 1996 the band recorded the album ‘Stereophonic Pop Art Music’ and it was released on Bomp! Records on Compact Disc. The album hasn’t had a ‘proper’ vinyl release until now, 2018, when Hoga Nord Rekords continues their collaboration with Pete Bassman by releasing the album. You can clearly hear that Pete Bassman was the driving force behind Alpha Stone; fuzz, synthesiser -sweeps, programmed drums and processed vocals are the cornerstones in Alpha Stone’s sound. Raga-like mantras, heard in Farmer C, lies track to track with more percussion driven grooves and psychedelic pop oriented songs. The album’s sound has obviously survived the 20+ years shelved in obscurity and proves the ‘Drugby’ sound still vital! It’s always hard to sum up a bands particular sound in a few words, but you could say that if you put guitar and bass, synthesisers, a drum machine, and Julian Copes record collection in the hands of an alien, you’ve got Alpha Stone.
Inversions announce their fourth record release – a further collection of unreleased tracks from Rodion Roșca’s archives, credited to his three-piece band Rodion G.A. The tracks are culled from several studio recording sessions, and one track recorded in Rodion’s home studio. The first sessions, at Radio Cluj over the period 1978-79, produced the basic instrumental backing for what would become “Nu Tu Vei Fi,” “Ore,” “Bătrânul Cais,” and “Moment.” Rodion applied the triplicate vocals and effects that would transform them into the finished tracks at home on his Tesla reel to reel machine. When the last session was complete, Rodion asked the engineer if he could record the instrumental tracks directly from the mixing console on to his Tesla machine. A genius stroke, as he was subsequently able to create many further tracks using various repeated rhythms and loops from this same material, tracks equally individual and unrecognisable from the source, such as “Uneori.” This earned him the accolades “Orchestra Man,” and the “First One-Man Band in Romania.” The second session, at the radio station in Bucharest in 1983, was more straightforward, with the tracks “Tamburași, “Satul De Roua” and “Tic Tac” all finished then and there. “Singur Pe Drum,” although written in Rodion’s teens, was not recorded until 2010 in his home studio. The record is a collection of tracks with a slightly rougher garage or psychedelic rock edge than the more electronic sounding works that have re-surfaced on recordings in the last few years.
Ukranian lo-fi genius Vakula is back and if audaciously tackling Steve Reich wasn’t enough, he’s taking on possibly his most ambitious project yet with “Dedicated to Jim Morrison”. The title says it all really, in this brazen tribute to the sixties rock legend. On the first side you’ve got “For Jim” with its bluesy, boozy, typically sixties rock, while “The Canyon Road” is definitely the track on here to really channel the sound of The Doors. Then the acoustic country twang of “Mississippi Delta” carries off a southern charm. On the flip you’ve got “The Human Abstract” which is one truly hazy affair and features some of William Blake’s’ spoken word poetry recited by friend Andrei Dubinin. “Airolg” sounds like, well, Van Morrison’s “Gloria” (once famously covered by The Doors) and “Tien Beach” features sublime tremoloed slide guitar, sounding like riding off into a sunset. This album is Vakula’s thoughts in time and out of season dedicated to Morrison, the poet, the musician, the soft mad child, the great man. ‘Enter again the sweet forest, enter the hot dream, come with us. Everything is broken up and dances’.
Exploratory Lebanese imprint Annihaya presents a stunning debut album opus by Rabih Beaini aka Morphosis under his birth name. As Rabih was born in Lebanon it is fitting he shares ‘Albidaya’ – meaning “The Beginning” in Arabic – with a label from his home country, who provide acute context for its mixture of electronics, psych rock, folk and jazz. Impressively it was mostly recorded over the course of one day in 2012, wrangling myriad rhythms, tones and shapes from Rabih’s famous collection of vintage analog synthesizers and sequencers meshed with Eko Tiger Duo organ and guitar, and some assistance from Tommaso Cappellato on drums and Piero Bittolo Bon on woodwind and electronics (with additional credits to both Mike Huckaby and Donato Dozzy), and post-production done in Berlin and Rome.