MAGIC MIX

synthwave . electro-pop . alt-R&B . minimal wave

WEEK STARTING 15 Dec

CONCEPT: On this new album for Ghost Box Records, The Advisory Circle (aka Jon Brooks) explores darker territory than on 2012’s more pastoral As The Crow Flies. This time Brooks hints at a Wyndham-esque science fiction story, where bucolic English scenery is being manipulated and maybe even artificially generated by bizarre multi-dimensional computer technology.

SOUND: Brooks’ strong sense of melody and composition is still evident as are his renowned sound design and production skills. Consequently the album is a rich and rewarding experience that subtly showcases a wealth of musical experience. The usual analogue synth sound palette is augmented with found-sound from antique tape reels and Brooks’ ever growing tangle of home built electronics.

BIOG: The Advisory Circle is one of the core acts of the Ghost Box collective. Originally inspired by library music and the sound-world of British public information films, Jon Brooks has developed this aesthetic through four albums over a period of nine years. During that time he’s also released a wealth of material under his own name (and as Georges Vert) on several other labels. His mixing and mastering skills are much sought after and he is responsible for some of the more challenging sonic restoration work for the re-issue label, Trunk Records.

FORMAT INFORMATION

CD Info: The CD version includes three bonus tracks.

Ltd LP Info: The 180gm LP comes with a free download code.

Album Cover Frame

Black - 4 Pack

    A clear plastic fronted black wooden album frame. Just like a standard picture frame, with the sleeve held in place via metal clips on the back.

    Accomodates single record sleeves to the size of 31.5cm x 31.5cm (please note; does NOT hold gatefold sleeves).

    Perfect for all your favourite record sleeves.

    £12.99 for one frame, so buying 4 saves £8.


    Album Cover Frame

    White - 4 Pack

      A clear plastic fronted black wooden album frame. Just like a standard picture frame, with the sleeve held in place via metal clips on the back.

      Accomodates single record sleeves to the size of 31.5cm x 31.5cm (please note; does NOT hold gatefold sleeves).

      Perfect for all your favourite record sleeves.

      £12.99 for one frame, so buying 4 saves £8.

      Azar Swan

      And Blow Us A Kiss

        Zoo Music is pleased to announce the second full-length album by Brooklyn two-piece Azar Swan. Formerly the core members of Religious to Damn, Zohra Atash and Joshua Strawn (Vaura, Blacklist) changed gears in 2012, turning their multi-member, organic chamber ensemble into a drum-machine-minded, electrocentric duo.

        The shift was sparked by the realization that coordinating multiple musicians often slowed the writing and performing process, and by a mutual revived interest in electronic music and hip-hop beats, pulling influences from acts like The-Dream and These New Puritans as well as classic industrial artists such as Front Line Assembly and Coil (whose former member Drew McDowell remixed Azar Swan’s single “In My Mouth”).

        In the last two years, Azar Swan released a single on Pendu Sound and the Dance Before the War LP on the independent label Handmade Birds, as well as several covers and one-off free digital releases. Notable shows include direct support for Prurient, White Lung, King Dude, Tamaryn, and J.D. Samson & MEN.

        Björk

        Biophilia Live

          “A dazzling audiovisual spectacle that benefits from the full cinematic treatment... an imaginative stand-alone artwork.” - The Hollywood Reporter

          The critically acclaimed documentary film which captures the multidimensional concert centred on Björk’s eighth studio album, titled ‘Biophilia Live’, will be released on audio-visual formats via One Little Indian Records.

          The film documents the intimate ‘Biophilia’ performance at London’s Alexandra Palace where Björk was accompanied by unique musical instruments, collaborators and visuals. Shot by directors Nick Fenton and Peter Strickland and produced by Jacqueline Edenbrow / Gloria Films, the film also features science and nature archive and found footage inspired by the themes of the album, as well as animation which has been augmented with the music of ‘Biophilia’.

          The infinitely creative journey presents a culmination of work that represents one of the most original musical endeavors of a generation.

          The DVD and Blu-ray formats also feature extra content filmed during Biophilia’s residency at Japan’s Miraikan Museum and the options of stereo and 5:1 surround sound.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          3xLP Info: 3xLP+DVD.

          Happy Meals is the Glasgow-based duo of Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook, life-partners since high school finding expression in cosmic form. Originally from the Scottish borders, Rodden and Cook (also of The Cosmic Dead) began Happy Meals in a flurry of experimentation at Glasgow’s creative hub The Green Door Studio. Initially the result of a free music production course, 'Apéro' sees the pair embark on a blissful voyage into a love-fuelled, outward-looking hedonism. Both artists operate machines and sing but it’s the dominating Franco-Scottish lingua-franca of Suzanne Rodden that imbues a sense of seductive fun to the album.

          Their first recorded statement, 'Apéro' is an instant rush of Kosmiche-disco, utterly addictive and inviting. The epic 'Crystal Salutation' welcomes the listener in with analogue synths delayed into the horizon before 'Electronic Disco' ushers in distorted drum machines and Rodden’s disco-at-sunset vocal. Album stand-out 'Altered Images' is a pop-masterpiece, mixing French / Italo disco, acid basslines and a sense of Scottish optimism. 'Age Of Love' is unabashedly the feeling of being up until day-break, with layered synths climaxing all-around. Retro-futuristic visions abound on the beat-less 'Visions Of Utopia' before closer 'Le Voyage' reprises back the cosmopolitan disco, playing out the perfect club night in ecstatic fashion. It’s an enchanting, inclusive vision; everyone is invited, the future is bright. Just say yes.

          Heart Kill Giant

          Diamond Concubine / Drive In

          For their latest release ‘Diamond Concubine’, Heart Kill Giant have taken a darker route and further explored their electronica edge of the first EPs. This has given rise to an "acid folk" sound which features a steady, muffled 4/4 kick, pulsing, morphing 303 bassline (on the acid side) and ethereal vocals and reverbed acoustic guitar (on the folk side). On the flip we're treated to another brand new track, ‘Drive In’, which offers a super slo-mo dub / industrial techno sound (a fluid 303, clanking metallic echoes), before evolving into an electronic cinematic nightmare with creepy ice cream van / music box tones. Both tracks have been produced by Johnny Aux of Paranoid London.


          Profligate

          Finding The Floor

            Philly trawler Noah Anthony’s pulverized industrial designs under the black Profligate flag have grown increasingly caustic and cracked, culminating in the eight misery beat clawhammers comprising his sophomore full-length, Finding The Floor. What’s particularly impressive given Anthony’s history in form-frying outfits like Form A Log and Social Junk is how deft and purposefully these pieces are arranged – asylum weaponry fashioned from scavenged hardware.

            Of the record’s eight cuts, only “Can’t Stop Shaking” has seen release before (though the LP version is a fresh edit); the rest rip through variously frenzied frequencies of slaughterhouse techno, basement desperation, maniac minimal wave, heavy breathing, and shattered glass dub. Only the closer, “We Can Have It All,” hints at an escape hatch, glassy synth-pop bliss pinned against a Belgian new beat rhythm. All in all a slaying, sleek selection by one of our favorite heads in the game. Electronic body music as existential prison break: “Can’t stop shaking / can’t stand myself.” Mastered by Alex Nagle. Sleeve design by Noah Anthony.

            "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." A modern-day revenge tragedy in four parts. Symmetrical, finespun, almost courtly; but quick-tempered with it, and far from blood-shy. A picture emerges: domestic disturbance, pissing on the compost heap, noise complaints from hateful neighbours. Sulking, pouting, goading. Cold leaves and Christmas. Body-clocks betrayed, seasonal adjustment disorders. Collecting bottles to smash in the carpark across the road. Marijuana and make-believe. A flaming bower of unbliss. Recommended for fans of AC Marias, Brenda Ray, General Strike, The Poems, Robert Storey and other master purveyors of shut-in, fitfully serene dub dysfunction. Created by C. dal Forno and T. Manek. Mastered by Dan Elleson and cut by Matt Colton. Edition of 300.

            Ultravox

            Vienna

              When John Foxx left the band in 1979 after their final San Francisco show, to embark on a solo career, it seemed to signal the end for Ultravox. But whilst collaborating on the Blitz Club guru Steve Strange's Visage project , Billy Currie asked Midge Ure to join the band. Midge had been in Slik and Glen Matlocks The Rich Kids with a couple of successful singles to his name.

              For the recording of the subsequent Vienna album, the band again used Systems Of Romance producer Conny Plank. The German who produced Bowies German trilogy of albums Low, Heroes and Lodger, plus Kraftwerk the pioneers of the sythn sound, brought the sound to life and the resulting title track, inspired by Carol Reeds 1949 film The Third Man gave the band their biggest single success to date. The single got massive airplay on BBC Radio and shot up the charts getting to No2 and gaining the infamous award of 'The Best Record Ever Not To Be No1'.

              Although synth based, which holds the album together, diversity does abound. The opening instrumental ' Astradyne', a major risk for a mainstream act, is a complex affair, sweeping along with majestic synth arrangements throughout and Curries superb violin well to the fore. The choppy 'New Europeans' is followed by 'Private Lives' which ushers in Curries classical piano background, then the first two singles to be taking from the album 'Passing Strangers' and 'Sleepwalk'.

              Side 2 though is where the album really takes off. Written as a sequence (this was for vinyl remember) it resumes with the more simple, harsh 'Mr X' which saw drummer Warren Cann take a rare lead vocal, its leads into 'Western Promise' a frantic rollercoaster of a ride which decends to a single beat that ushers in 'Vienna'. 'All Stood Still' then brings the album it to a close.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Ltd LP Info: Pressed on 180g vinyl and with initial copies on white vinyl. The album comes in a heavyweight sleeve and inner bag with full lyrics and the bonus 7 inch single includes live recordings of 'Sleepwalk' and 'All Stood Still' at rehearsals at Londons Lyceum Ballroom on 17th August 1980.

              Unknown Artist

              Lady's In Trouble / Night Train

              'Lady's In Trouble' should connect with Ariel Pink and Connan Mockasin fans, and hopefully beyond as the songwriting has a timeless feel. Very Arthur Russell in terms of voice and storytelling, particularly the 'Love Is Overtaking Me' collection. 'Night Train' is a dancier cut from the (forthcoming) album. It's a bit Hot Chip, or Tonetta (if anyone's familiar with the reference) in it's lo-fi erotic disco-house ambitions.

              Grab yer pith helmet and flak jacket, we're heading into a warzone with the inaugural offering on new label Contort Yourself. No label named after a James Chance And The Contortions was ever gonna trade in easy listening, but this various artists EP deals in the pitch black end of the dark wired sound. Parrish Smith opens the EP with "Revolution Will Always Be Televised", a synthesised goth recital which retrofits the Suicide / Fad Gadget mantra with a corrosive acid line. Filling the frequencies out with groaning chants and ceremonial drums, this little horrorshow could soundtrack a mass murder. Far from forgetting their roots, the Glasgow label follow Smith's acid assault with a trio from Italian EBM pioneers Pankow, including a remix from Golden Pudel resident Helena Hauff. The two original tracks, "Das Vodkalied" and "I'm Food For You" both featured on the group's 1983 cassette LP, "Throw Out Rite", and showcase two different sides of the EBM sound. "Das Vodkalied" is an uptempo but downcast stomper based around an ever changing drum sequence, chopped and scuffed vocals and the occasional blast of pounding synth. On the other end of the (admittedly small) spectrum, "I'm Food For You" pushes the synth sequence to the forefront and replaces, strips the drum machine back and opts for the kind of sung / shouted vocals DAF employed so frequently. For her remix of "Das Vodkalied", German acid expert Helena Hauff straightens out the beat a little before layering additional synth melodies and bass heavy drones on top of that snarling synth part from the intro of the original. Machine expert Perseus Traxx rounds the EP out with the super deep acid roll of "Get Away", which sees the producer top a rolling acid track with aggressive spoken lyrics. A storming debut from the fledgling Glasgow imprint which is certain to get a spin at the next Barbed Wire Kisses.


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