Electro . Synthwave . Electro-pop


Genre pick of the week Cover of A Downtown Tel Aviv EP by Various Artists.
Next up on Ivan Smagghe and The Ginger Prince's home for dark disco oddities and pulsing punk obscurities is this snapshot into the weird and wonderful world of Downtown Tel Aviv. After a few strung out trips to the city Ivan began to get an idea of the extensive and more importantly, quasi forgotten, wave and pop scene from Israel. Blown away some of the tracks passed on to him, He and The Ginger Prince thought it would be perfect start for the LDDLM reissues series, with edits and originals sought out and sequenced. "Gazolina" by Chromosome is one of those record hunters' holy grails. Fetching far too much money on Discogs these days and having been a DJ set staple of Red Axes for years, it was only natural that Niv and Dori got their hands dirty. Rather than using those modern tools to smooth the edges and polish the track up, instead their edit keeps the raw punk rage of the original and is all the better for it. Nosei Hamigbaat's "Birthday" was the track that triggered it all and appears on vinyl for the first time in 30 years (I strongly recommend buying the CD of their album on Anova, a label dedicated to excavating the TA underground). This is a heavily psychedelic romp, as if the 13th floor elevator had stopped on the 1983th floor, happened upon a cocaine fuelled jam between Grauzone, Mathematiques Modernes and Material and then promptly disintergrated in sheer excitement. This unclassic has been left untouched, in all its original beauty. The purists might take issue with the inclusion of Tova Gertner, as she was not technically part of the Downtown Tel Aviv scene, but we all know how boring being a purist is. Her 1987 single "Etmol" was a chart hit in Israel on its release, and the pop brilliance on show was too much for the label to let pass. Tim Paris and Ivan Smagghe are on It's A Fine Line edit duty and transform the song with that same queasy psychedelic bent they specialise in (see their edit of GB and the Tracks' "Woman"). They've even beaten us to it and made up a genre for it, Balnearic, the sound of the beach and the nose bleed - There may well be pianos but your hands aren't in the air, but in your pockets, searching for those empty wraps. Get ready for the super cool bit, this vinyl has a spiral groove, 'linking' the It's A Fine Line edit to the original, but still enabling you to play one or the other, call it a 'mix of two halves'. If ever you play in Tel Aviv I strongly recommend dropping it.

A new collaborative album from Brian Eno and Karl Hyde. The album is comprised of nine songs, composed and sung by Eno and Hyde together with a highly distinguished cast of supporting musicians, including Tessa Angus, Nell Catchpole, Marianna Champion, Will Champion, Kasia Daszykowska, Don E., Darla Eno, Fred Gibson, Georgie Gibson, Andy Mackay, John Reynolds and Chris Vatalaro. The release was produced by Brian Eno with 20 year old Fred Gibson, continuing an ongoing collaboration between Karl and Brian which sees the two together on a complete album for the very first time.

Pulling in a variety of directions, 'Someday World' takes in the the esteemed duo's previous incarnations and ambient, rock, electro and techno producers, and then goes about meshing all those ideas together. Opener 'The Satellites' is anthemic stadium tech-house with a motorik rhythm and blasting synth horns. 'Daddy’s Car' offers busy indie-dance. Hyde's poetic vocals are front and centre on 'A Man Wakes Up', which combines highlife guitars and jazz-rock rhythms. Featuring choppy 'Virginia Plain' piano, uplifting chord progressions and spoken vox 'Witness' is sure to be another festival winner. Aiming for the home listener 'Strip It Down' gives minimalism a pop twist. Brooding and beatdown, 'Mother Of A Dog' sounds like an outtake from 'Mezzanine'. 'Who Rings The Bell' brings to mind 80s rockers the Blue Nile. 'When I Built This World' switches between angular, arty jazz squiggles and propulsive krautrock, leaving 'To Us All' to fade us out on a tide of dreamy soft rock uplift...

Brian Eno:
“A lot of the nicer cities I know are cities built on hills, and the cities are beautiful because the buildings have a challenge to adapt to. They have to mould themselves around the geology that they've formed upon. And that always makes for very interesting buildings, because they can't just be blocks, they have to somehow morph around the environment. A lot of the constructions on the album were deliberately irregular and awkward. I had a big collection of 'beginnings' sitting around waiting for something to galvanise them into life, to make them more than just 'experiments'. That something turned out to be Karl Hyde.”

Karl Hyde:
“It's a bit like being nine years old again. You have no idea what you've just been given, the record button has been pressed and you're on. And then these unlikely patterns start to happen. The biggest surprise was discovering we both had a love of Afrobeat, Cyclical music based in live playing. When Brian played me these early tracks it was, 'Oh my god, this is home! Can I borrow a guitar?”

Optimo Music is usually known as a 12” label, but occasionally something rare and dangerous comes their way that compels them to release a full length album…

It’s not exactly a dance album, although there is music you can dance to on it. It’s more filmic in nature, with references to wonderful directors like Kubrick and Carpenter that will enthrall a film buff, particularly if they’re interested in electronica and dance music. There’s a sleazy and unsettling feel to much of the tracks (“Tina Weymouth” is a sleaze-floor monster groove…), but Optimo hope it will intrigue and delight!

The film references are directly relevant as Felizol and The Boy are film directors Yiannis Veslemes and Alexandros Voulgaris, who live in Athens, Greece and have composed music for numerous feature films. They also perform live in house clubs, heavy metal dungeons and hippy-friendly festivals…

They have this to say about their release: “We had a loose concept for this album and we compiled tracks that we've recorded the last 3 years that have to do with the cannibalism. Literally but also as a metaphor for the blessing and the tyranny of paying homage and influenced from music and films (and directors and musicians).

So these are songs about the agony of creating something new and personal when so much information and influences are fused in them.”

Craig Leon

Anthology Of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1: Nommos / Visiting

Craig Leon’s seminal synthesizer albums 'Nommos' and 'Visiting' are finally re-editioned in definitive form as the 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1' for RVNG Intl.’s archival series.

Issued respectively by John Fahey’s Takoma record label in 1980 and Leon’s Arbitor private press in 1982, 'Nommos' and 'Visiting' were the twin brainchildren of studio wizard Craig Leon. Leon’s production was pivotal in realising the debut recordings by Ramones, Blondie, Richard Hell and Suicide. While those albums broke ground in new worlds of sound, Leon’s own debut album was arguably, if not literally, more alien.

In 1973, the Brooklyn Museum hosted a comprehensive collection of sculptures by the Dogon of the Republic of Mali, a tribe whose religion is based in reveries and recollections of a visit from an extraterrestrial species they named Nommos. Years after experiencing the exhibit, Leon remained fascinated by the idea of alien visitors sharing not just stories of their home-planet, but musical traditions as well. For the classically trained Leon, a puzzle was presented and a challenge in place: what would music sound like if handed down from an ancient alien species? And how best to imagine it?

Upon meeting Fahey in the late 70s, Leon pitched the concept as an opportune time to employ the latest and greatest synthesizer technology available. An avant empathist and eternally free spirit, Fahey enthusiastically green-lighted the project for his Takoma imprint. After a secluded week in an Austin, Texas studio with his partner, wife and collaborator Cassell Webb, Leon returned with a collection of incorporeal melodies generated by the Oberheim OB-X, Roland JP-4 and Arp 2600 synthesizers propelled by primitive rhythms programmed on a prototype of Roger Linn’s nascent drum-machine, the LM-1.

Issued by Fahey with zero expectation of the same radio airplay Leon accomplished with his pop productions, 'Nommos' now stands as an innovative example of cosmic-synth composition that wasn’t made for its time or any other. For this edition, Leon has in fact re-animated 'Nommos' by re-recording the exact audio signals as preserved in the album’s original studio notes. Every patch, tape-delay speed and outboard setting was transcribed as first scored, materializing the best possible audio of an album whose masters were unaccessible to Leon due to a major label merger milieu from years ago.

Additionally, the re-master of 'Visiting' was supervised firsthand by Leon. As its title suggests, 'Visiting' materialized in 1982 as a conceptual continuation of 'Nommos'. The album is in equal measure more improvisatory and constructed than its predecessor. Both albums were intended to be listened to as a set in the first volume of Leon’s 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music' (the title was an homage to Harry Smith’s influential collection of folk music issued two decades prior). A creative evolutionist, Leon made subtle edits and compositional additions to both albums to enhance the connectivity and encourage infinite interpretation.

While reissues and bootlegs have appeared to relieve the demand for these records, this collection will stand as definitive versions authorized by Craig Leon himself. The vinyl edition will be housed in a 2xLP set that includes detailed artwork and two essays by Leon. The first tells the complete story of the stargazing Dogon people and their prescient understanding of cosmology. The second details Leon’s adventure in creating the 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1', an epic story bookended on this side of history as one seamless synth classic.

Brian Reitzell

Watch_Dogs Original Game Soundtrack

Following on from the phenomenal success of their Record Store Day 2014 release of FAR CRY 3: BLOOD DRAGON’s Original Game Soundtrack, Invada Records are proud to partner with Ubisoft Music and dive once again into the world of video game soundtracks with the release of Brian Reitzell's musical score to the highly-anticipated open-world adventure game WATCH_DOGS. With people around the world taking the day off work on the game's release, to play what is sure to be contender for 2014's most popular gaming title, this is a huge accomplishment for Invada to land this album and a chance to introduce their high production values and love of vinyl to a far wider audience.

Full of infectious beats and atmospheric, retro-futuristic synths, the score is a further achievement from composer Reitzell, who has previously written music for the highly-rated U.S drama series HANNIBAL as well as working on multiple scores with acclaimed director Sofia Coppola, the latter of which has featured collaborations with French band AIR and Kevin Shields of famed alt-rock band MY BLOODY VALENTINE.

WATCH_DOGS presents a dark and dangerous journey through an alternate version of Chicago, where ultra-hacker Aiden Pearce seeks to redeem himself after causing the death of his niece. Using the concepts of artificial intelligence and information warfare, the game brings technological relevance to a Grand Theft Auto-style open world in the tradition of the revered science fiction of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick.

To represent the varied challenges of the game, Reitzell brings an eclectic feel to the score, with thumping beats and off-kilter melodies of the club scene juxtaposed with the more ethereal and atmospheric synth and guitar, evoking the music of Vangelis and Brian Eno - ideal for a post-noir cyberpunk game. There's also an introspective and emotional feel to the score as required by the game's story, which is reflected in the album's sequencing, providing a well-rounded narrative-driven musical experience.


LP Info: Limited Blue splatter coloured vinyl.

"This is music written over the last year, whilst recording for my second album. Much of the music I released before my debut album was instrumental and I want to continue to share this side of the music I make. This series of tracks is titled 'Transitions'" - SBTRKT

The 'Transitions' series is released on three individual 12” records. Each one will feature artwork and 2D Moiré animation by A Hidden Place. When removing the sleeve from its inner casing it creates a unique visual effect the ties in beautifully with the effect created by moving the mouse on the Transitions website.

Leading the way on 'Transitions 001' is 'Gamalena', which as the title suggests, uses polyrhythmic Gamalen style percussion and flowing chimes over a punchy upbeat steppers rhythm punctuated with 808 blips reminiscent of Benga & Coki's all conquering 'Night'. An absolute killer for the forward-looking bass / future beats dancefloor. Flip it for the deeper, darker 'Hold The Line' which blends a dull bass thump with crisp machine drum patterns and brittle, cascading top-end electro synths a la Zomby / Rustie etc.


Transitions 002

"This is music written over the last year, whilst recording for my second album. Much of the music I released before my debut album was instrumental and I want to continue to share this side of the music I make. This series of tracks is titled 'Transitions'." – SBTRKT

The 'Transitions' series is released on three individual 12” records. Each one will feature artwork and 2D Moiré animation by A Hidden Place. When removing the sleeve from it’s inner casing it creates a unique visual effect the ties in beautifully with the effect created by moving the mouse on the Transitions website.

'Resolute' takes up side A on 'Transitions 002', opening with lush ambient, beat-less synths, before a sparse kick / snare drum track crashes the melancholia. SBTRKT then tops beats and synths with the kind of spiralling arpeggiated keyboard line usually found pre-bass drop on a gym music electro / hardstyle cut. Tethered to these slo-mo trap-esque beats and moody synths though, and the effect is less euphoric. 'Kyoto' heads to Japan's computer game industry for inspiration, firing off itchy chiptune sparkles over another head-nodding riddim.


Transitions 003

"This is music written over the last year, whilst recording for my second album. Much of the music I released before my debut album was instrumental and I want to continue to share this side of the music I make. This series of tracks is titled 'Transitions'." - SBTRKT

The 'Transitions' series is released on three individual 12” records. Each one will feature artwork and 2D Moiré animation by A Hidden Place. When removing the sleeve from it’s inner casing it creates a unique visual effect the ties in beautifully with the effect created by moving the mouse on the Transitions website.

And onto the final 'Transitions' installment we have 'Highs + Lows', doing exactly what it says on the tin, knitting together a seismic bass rumble at the bottom end with crashing dubstep drums and trance-like synth arpeggios sprinkled on like top-end frosting. Closing this triple EP series 'Stifle' rides out on a half-step, head-nod, wet-clap 3/4 rhythm peppered with junglist machine percussion, Boards Of Canada style woozy keyboards and spirited chiptune mayhem.

Soft Cell

Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret - Back To Black Edition

    The 1981 debut album from Leeds synth-pop duo Dave Ball and Mark Almond, aka Soft Cell. Featuring the smash electro-pop cover of Gloria Jones northern soul classic 'Tainted Love', the rest of the album is a far more sleazy affair, lifting the lid on an alternative, underground nightlife sign-posted in the LP title 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret' and tracks like 'Seedy Films' and 'Sex Dwarf'. Also includes classic cuts 'Bedsitter' and synth torch melodrama 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye'.

    Universal Music are proud to present the next batch of Back To Black reissues. Presented as exact reproductions of original LP artwork to retain authenticity, but now on 180 gram heavyweight vinyl.


    Ltd LP Info: 180g vinyl.

    Magic Feet boss Craig Bratley shows some serious sense of humour with this four track, various artists, remix EP. Since the ALFOS associate features on every single track on the record, he's cutely titled this release the "Vanity EP", and he has every reason to be vain. This release is aimed at the vinyl completist and features four remixes which have so far been unreleased or received a digital release. We begin with a couple of Craig's remixes on the A-side, a percussion heavy rework of Catalepsi's "Quartz Giaponese", which gradually builds into a chugging zero gravity groover, and a super slo mo sci fi acid version of The Souls' "Tonight" which has been a staple of Weatherall's sets for quite some time. On the flip, the sought after Sean Johnston remix of "Obsession" takes us into the deep darkness of the nightclub black room with it's evil sleaze and S&M synth work. The EP closes with a balearic acid chugger as Craig reworks Four Walls into a languid funk groove with squeeling synths and lysergic washes.

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