MAGIC MIX

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

WEEK STARTING 30 Mar

Genre pick of the week Cover of Deeper by The Soft Moon.
Luis Vasquez never intended for The Soft Moon to reach the public’s ears. For him, music has always been about self-actualization rather than selfaggrandizement. Nevertheless, the bleak, hushed sounds he created years ago in his small Oakland apartment bubbled to the surface and 2010 saw his debut album, ‘The Soft Moon’ (released on Captured Tracks), rise to critical acclaim.

Pitchfork’s 8.1 review of ‘The Soft Moon’ stated that Vasquez made “oblivion seems like an enticing prospect” and, indeed, listeners were immediately drawn into his murky musical wasteland, swathed in the moody atmospheres of jagged dark wave and wayfaring postpunk. For them, and for Vasquez, there was no turning back. The ‘Total Decay’ EP and ‘Zeros’ emerged soon after and now Vasquez returns with The Soft Moon’s most introspective and focused album to date: ‘Deeper’.

With eerie, immersive tracks like the dogged ‘Far’ and slow, beautifully melancholic ‘Wasting’, the album is a penetrating portrait of Vasquez as he wrestles thoughts of suicide, vulnerability and what it means to heal. ‘Deeper’ may have delivered Vasquez back to the waking world but it willingly drags us further into The Soft Moon’s dark, euphonic universe once more.

Björk is a rare artist - a true original, a non-conformist with wide appeal, an extraordinary genre-busting musical individual who speaks to the heart, the head and the feet. She is the quintessential modern musician, ceaselessly innovating and completely multidimensional in the way she uses performance, technology, fashion, video and art to complement her music.

Björk’s new album, her eighth studio record ‘Vulnicura’, serves as an exploration into the themes of love and heartbreak, a stark contrast to the abstract context of her last record, ‘Biophilia’.

‘Vulnicura’ was written, produced and recorded in collaboration with Venezuelan producer Arca (Kanye West’s Yeezus, FKA twigs’ LP1, his own Xen) and British musician The Haxan Cloak (Tri Angle, Aurora Borealis). The combination of sumptuous orchestral strings (all arranged by Bjork), dark, brooding electronic soundscapes, the glitchy beat patterns of alt-R&B and Bjork's distinctive swooping, soaring vocals make for a unique, intense "break-up" album.

New York’s MoMA will be hosting a mid-career retrospective exhibition starting in March which will chronicle Björk’s career from ‘Debut’ to ‘Vulnicura’.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd CD Info: Limited run deluxe acetate artwork CD digipak edition.

Daniele Ciullini

Domestic Exile Collected Works 82-86

Ecstatic presents an expanded reissue of Italian mail artist Daniele Ciullini's 1983 self-released cassette Domestic Exile. Hailing from Florence, Ciullini was part of the forward-thinking TRAX collective and its pan-European art and music collaboration network. When asked about the title, Domestic Exile, Ciullini explains, "The music in this cassette was born in a very difficult period of my life. A period marked by a rift with the world. 'Domestic Exile' reflects a time of recession, entrenchment within the walls of a tired soul. Most of the songs are improvised on the spot. Listening to the music today I think this aspect was perhaps naïve. But I enjoyed realizing something very close to my inner state at that moment." Ciullini's music is as sharp and controlled as his elegant photographic images of decadent marble statues, mannequins, and deserted Art Nouveau architecture. The B-side of this reissue consists of tracks originally released on compilations between 1982 and '86, some of which Cuillini describes as "sonic polaroids" in which synthetic sketches and keyboard voices sit side by side with vigorous electro-industrial rhythms and metronomic modified drum machine pulses. His music presciently fuses ambient and industrial, and echoes the synthetic alienation of 8-bit micromusic, the melodic wave sounds of Young Marble Giants, and even proto-shoegaze guitar ("Soft Marble"), as well as hints of drone music (the magmatic loops of "Bloody Machine"). Made with Boss DR-55 and Roland TR-606 drum machines, EMS Synthi AKS modular synthesizer, Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer, Yamaha CS-5 and Casio VL-1 synthesizers, Teac A-103 tape deck, Akai 4000-DS MK-II reel-to-reel tape machine, Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, and Pioneer MA-62 mixer. For fans of Chris Carter, Merzbow, Suicide, Minimal Wave, Cabaret Voltaire, Mika Vainio, Tasaday, and Nurse With Wound. This edition includes extensive liner notes by Vittore Baroni, TRAX co-founder, musician, journalist, and active figure in mail art circles. Mastered by Not Waving.

Darkness Falls

Dance And Cry

Justly feted for their debut album ‘Alive in Us’, a string of exquisite live performances and the single ‘Hey!’ - the most played tune on Danish radio in 2011 - Copenhagen-based duo Darkness Falls return with ‘Dance And Cry’, an album of atmospheric pop noir that - even this early in the year - will surely stake a claim to be one of this year’s musical highlights.

Defying convention, Josephine Philip and Ina Lindgreen effortlessly blend a host of rock and pop influences, the textures and structures of electronic dance music and the haunting atmospheres of arthouse cinema soundtracks to produce an album of deep longing and icy cool, all drawn together by impeccable vocals that embody a decidedly glamorous melancholy. It’s an album that will tick all the boxes for a diverse range of listeners; as they themselves put it: “In our music, there is something for the mind, something for the heart and something for the feet too.”

From the plangent drama of ‘Liar’s Kiss’ to the electro-tinged instrumental of ‘Thunder Roads’ via the pop drama of single ‘Hazy’, simply everything is a highlight. Forthcoming single ‘Dance And Cry’ best captures the album’s emotional core, a scene from an urban life tinged with loneliness and heartbreak but also the empowerment that comes from living life to the full. As its title suggests, it’s not a question of either / or but rather both. ‘Dance And Cry’ is a dizzying whirlpool, drawing in a dazzling array of influences: The Jesus And Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Nite Jewel, bedroom pop, widescreen expanses, basement rock, church choir ethereality; each listener will bring their own personal touchstones and inspirations to mind.

‘Darkness Falls’ was traditionally a phrase used in old plays, shorthand for indicating the ending of a scene: the moment where the drama is given over to you, to hold, to contemplate, to languorously enjoy. ‘Dance And Cry’ couldn’t be more fitting in these terms: an album of great richness in which you’ll want to immerse yourself.

‘Dance And Cry’ will be released on hfn music with the brilliant artwork of multi award winning Peter Funch, a Danish, New York-based photographer / artist, while all of the songs have been produced by the band with Adrian Aurelius (The Raveonettes) and Lasse Martinussen (Rosemary), except ‘Hazy’ which was produced with Anders Rhedin (Dinner, Choir Of Young Believers).

8:58 (Paul Hartnoll)

8:58

Paul Hartnoll (Orbital) is 8:58. Featuring a very impressive cast list of Robert Smith, Lianne Hall, Lisa Knapp, Ed Harcourt, The Unthanks and Fable.

After a very successful reunion in 2008 that included sell out tours, headline appearances at festivals around the world, special guest Matt Smith as Doctor Who at Glastonbury, the Paralympics opening ceremony with Professor Stephen Hawking, and not forgetting the highly- acclaimed album ‘Wonky’, brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll have decided to bring down the curtain on Orbital’s remarkable 25 year career.

The title of the album ‘8:58’ comes from Paul’s fascination with the theme of time. ‘I’ve always had a thing for clocks and for time as a powerful force - but also the way it oppresses you,’ explains Paul. ‘It’s one of those things I keep coming back to. For me, 8:58 is a moment of choice. It’s almost 9 o’clock. Are you going to school? Are you going to this job you hate? Everybody faces that decision now and again. 8:58 am is when you’ve got to make up your mind.’As Cillian Murphy says at the very beginning of ‘8:58’: brace yourself for freedom. Now.

8:58 (Paul Hartnoll)

8:58 - Deluxe CD

    Paul Hartnoll (Orbital) is 8:58. Featuring a very impressive cast list of Robert Smith, Lianne Hall, Lisa Knapp, Ed Harcourt, The Unthanks and Fable.

    After a very successful reunion in 2008 that included sell out tours, headline appearances at festivals around the world, special guest Matt Smith as Doctor Who at Glastonbury, the Paralympics opening ceremony with Professor Stephen Hawking, and not forgetting the highly- acclaimed album ‘Wonky’, brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll have decided to bring down the curtain on Orbital’s remarkable 25 year career.

    The title of the album ‘8:58’ comes from Paul’s fascination with the theme of time. ‘I’ve always had a thing for clocks and for time as a powerful force - but also the way it oppresses you,’ explains Paul. ‘It’s one of those things I keep coming back to. For me, 8:58 is a moment of choice. It’s almost 9 o’clock. Are you going to school? Are you going to this job you hate? Everybody faces that decision now and again. 8:58 am is when you’ve got to make up your mind.’As Cillian Murphy says at the very beginning of ‘8:58’: brace yourself for freedom. Now.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLtd CD Info: Double CD with 10 additional tracks. Comes in hardback book style packaging.

    "Madonna’s 13th studio album Rebel Heart will be released on Interscope Records. “Rebel Heart explores two very distinct sides of my personality, the rebellious renegade side of me and the romantic side of me,” commented Madonna recently in Billboard. The new album features collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Nas, Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson and was recorded in NY, LA and London. Producers include Madonna, Diplo, Kanye West, Billboard, Avicii, DJ Dahi and Blood Diamonds, Ryan Tedder, Toby Gad, and Ariel Rechtshaid. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP Info: Double album with gatefold sleeve.

    Piccadilly Records

    Logo T-Shirt - Heather Navy

      The latest Piccadilly Records T-Shirt featuring our new logo, complete with snazzy 'PICCADILLYRECORDS.COM - MANCHESTER' sleeve print.

      Printed on a Gildan Softstyle Adult Ringspun heather navy T-Shirt.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      L Info: To fit chest size 42/44".

      M Info: To fit chest size 38/40".

      S Info: To fit chest size 34/36".

      XL Info: To fit chest size 46/48".

      Portico

      Living Fields - Indies Only Bonus Disc Edition

      Where do you start talking about a suite of recordings so concerned with the commonalities between beginnings and ends? You could start by saying that Living Fields is an album of catharsis and redefinition, born of a desire to create newness out of loss and change. You could also say that the band Portico themselves have undergone a process of ending and re-beginning, but none of this quite captures what you will hear.

      The best thing you can do is listen. Portico make music which moves forward towards distant places while offering rare intimacy as well, arriving somewhere between structured pop songs and a disintegrating ambience, a unique blend of the sublunary and the celestial. Reverb drenched piano meshes with swathes of studio noise while vocals float high above a world of textural atmosphere.

      Drum machines crisply puncture the air around shimmering arpeggios of synth and electric bass.You can be untethered, detached in space only for a moment of detail to rush into focus. Melancholia and euphoria sunk into each other. The effect is profoundly emotional without ever needing to emote.

      Portico are Duncan Bellamy, Milo Fitzpatrick and Jack Wyllie. Previously they were three-quarters of the highly successful and critically-acclaimed Portico Quartet. But Living Fields is no continuation under a shortened name. As far as the band are concerned this is a debut.

      There are three remarkable singers on this record:Jono McCleery, Joe Newman (Alt-J) and Jamie Woon. These are not just guest performances and it shows. Woon shared a house with Portico in East London when they were writing and recording the album that would become Isla and he was working on “Mirrorwriting.” Joe Newman is a childhood friend of Wyllie's and Jono McCleery was introduced to Portico by Jamie Woon and has opened for them in the past. These existing relationships allowed for a consistency of thought and expression which makes this a truly remarkable record.

      Where do you start talking about a suite of recordings so concerned with the commonalities between beginnings and ends? It doesn’t really matter so long as you listen.

      Continuing their exploration of indie-electro-guitar-pop-weirdness, Reptar returns with their second full-length album “Lurid Glow”. A diverse amalgamation of sounds and styles characterize the music of Reptar, culminating from the band’s disparate array of influences. Comparisons can be made to bands like Talking Heads and MGMT, but Reptar simultaneously showcases musicianship in the heritage of Frank Zappa, Rush, Mike Patton, and Tortoise - creating a blend of party music suitable for music nerds.

      The band’s 2012 debut, Body Faucet, was characterized by Pitchfork as “Afro-tribalelectro-twee-pop” for college kids who “seriously like nothing more than to throw the fuck down” (3.0 out of 10). Now in 2015, Reptar is back to deliver on the hype. Lurid Glow is an expansive, artful development for the band, as catchy as it is difficult to classify. Building upon their party-wielding instincts, Lurid Glow fuses arrangements of horns, keyboards, guitars, and much more into compositionally refined, booty-shaking anthems. Whether it’s the pulsating “Ice Black Sand” that transforms effortlessly from droning arpeggios to gorgeous pop choruses, the simple steel drum serenade of “Amanda”, or the 80s-prog-tinged “Cable”, Lurid Glow is a compelling statement from a band on their own unruly trajectory.

      Giancarlo Toniutti

      La Mutazione - Bonus CD Edition

      Black Truffle is proud to present 'La Mutazione' on vinyl for the first time since its original 1985 issue. A landmark release, its influence is still being felt throughout the dark corners of experimental music to this date.

      A milestone originally released in 1985 on the legendary Broken Flag label, Giancarlo Toniutti’s ‘La Mutazione’ is renowned in certain circles as a classic and with good reason.

      The album comprises of two subtle and haunting side-long explorations of dark cosmic electronics akin to Klaus Schulze, Cluster, Tangerine Dream and Conrad Schnitzler filtered through the lens of MB, Whitehouse, Nurse With Wound, and The New Blockaders.

      At the time, Toniutti had just enrolled at the Conservatory of Venice with a heady amount of education in Stockhausen, Schaefer, etc. These three musical poles come together in this beautiful and unsettling construction of layered static, analog synth explorations, concrete sounds and field recordings.This limited edition reissue is an exact replica of the original Broken Flag LP release, with remastered audio and an inner sleeve containing archival photos and sketches from the period that the work was created.

      Additionally this reissue contains a bonus CD of unreleased material from Toniutti’s cassette archive featuring a collage of sound sketches recorded during the same time period, thus giving the listener a wider view into the soundworld that helped form 'La Mutazione'.


      Jane Weaver / Tender Prey

      Don’t Take My Soul / Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Of My Heart

      From an unassuming, self-sufficient musical micro-industry in the north of England comes more finely tuned fastidious femme pop from Jane Weaver and her growing Bird Records imprint with a new split single.

      Having garnered unanimous acclaim amongst critics, bloggers, radio programmers, likeminded artists, gig promoters and record shops alike, Jane’s 'The Silver Globe' LP has managed to top multiple end of year charts in 2014 and is still commanding the attention of new found fans on a daily basis - a feat deemed almost impossible for an artist with five previous albums to her name and a fervent loyalty to the independent anti corporation she has cohabited for the last 20 years. With this mindset (plus good taste and talent) blooms independent pop music as it should be - adventurous, free, visionary and exciting - 'Don’t Take My Soul' the Liverpudlian-born Manc dweller has achieved just that. Combining domestic synth pop with falsetto melodics and 10cc sounding prog pop arrangements Jane depicts a theatrical electronic pop character that fuses Kate Bush karaoke with a J-Pop Erykah Badu whilst retaining her own very distinctive songwriting, conjuring images of neon arcade machines and shabby 1980′s Euro roller rinks.

      An absolute favourite on our Piccadilly Records coveted Album Of The Year, 'Don’t Take My Soul' features extra production duties from Andy Votel and ends with a guitar solo from Badly Drawn Boy which sounds like a cryogenic experiment from his pre-'Bewilderbeast' days.

      True to her co-op mentality Jane’s first vinyl single from the LP (following a limited cassette single of the Dave Brock co-write 'Electric Mountain') shares vinyl sides with label mate Tender Prey (aka Laura Bryon) who brings her inimitable drummy saccharine tinged pow-wow punk to the fray with the effortless 'Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Of My Heart' ripped from the forthcoming 'Organ Calzone' cassette and download long player released later this year. Based in Cardiff with countless road miles shared on tour with H.Hawkline and Cate Le Bon (another Bird school alumni), Laura has stolen the hearts of unknowing live converts via support slots and Marc Riley endorsed radio sessions motivated by her own self-propelled god speed.


      Following the release of their ‘Simple Science’ EP in August last year, Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns, better known as Zero 7, announce they have a new EP coming this Spring. As a nod to their very early, pre-major label days and the very first music they released; ‘EP 1’ and ‘EP 2’, this new EP is entitled ‘EP 3’. Speaking of the new music, the band said, “Late last year we finished a couple of stray songs we'd been working on and have been trying to find a suitable home for them since. As they didn't really fit with much else we were doing at the time, they were put aside while we thought about what to do with them…. To us, they seemed to share something with the Mark Hollis cover we did a while ago so we've buddied them up and thrown in a little instrumental for good measure and come up with the imaginatively entitled it 'EP 3'. Hope you enjoy.” Once again, the band called on some previous collaborators to feature on the EP Australia’s Danny Pratt features on lead track ‘400 Blows’, which finds the duo in exquisite form, positioning soft electronics, alongside some gorgeous piano passages, all stitched together with their wonderfully atmospheric, cinematic production. On second track ‘The Colour of Spring’, London’s Only Girl lends her luscious, dulcet voice, complimenting the song’s dark, brooding soundscapes perfectly. ‘Last Light’, the third track on the EP, features the inimitable José González, delivering an unmistakable vocal performance. Next is ‘Crush Tape’ is a wonderful, experimental electronic instrumental, closing the vinyl EP in excellent fashion.

      And the good news from the Zero 7 camp doesn’t stop there and it seems ‘EP 3’ is a taster of what’s to come, with a full album, their first in five years, planned for Autumn release. The band comments, “We are currently working on new tracks and will let you know about release plans as soon as we have them. There will definitely be more to come in the summer!”


      Another on point project from Berlin's creative record store hub OYE! Following a sun soaked day on a trip to Tel Aviv, OYE counter culturist Delfonic wandered into an intriguing spot called Kuli Alma. Coincidentally Berlin based Tel Avivian Moscoman was playing at the club that very afternoon. Call it fate, call it afternoon drinking, call it sun stroke - whatever the reason, after a mind-blowing track dropped, he asked Moscoman about its origin, and not so long after, Disco Halal was born. This fresh label dedicated to Middle eastern and Oriental sounds, is gonna hit us with a string of originals and edits from artists such as Acid Arab, Memhet Aslan, Red Axes, Naduve, Autarkic and Moscoman himself, so make room in your collection! Volume 1 features a trio of edits alive with those hypnotic and psychedelic touches which are so central to middle eastern music. Acid Arab kick us off with the blistering electro-tech and 303 sequences of "Le Gaz Qui Fait Rire", a mindbending collision of tradional folk violins and vocals with all out club filth! On the flip Autrakic calms things down a little with the bordeline Balearic dub of "Palgey", a lilting lullaby with a touch of synth strings which could only come from the coast of North Africa. Last but not least, Mehmet Aslan drops "Yasadim", a beefed up house rework of a traditional Turkrock groove which balances a thumping bottom end with the high register strumming of the Baglama Saz. Exotic, inventive and addictive, Disco Halal looks set to make an instant impression on the dance music world.


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