MAGIC MIX

synth-pop . alt-R&B . cold wave . industrial

WEEK STARTING 15 Jun

Genre pick of the week Cover of Elsewhere MMDLXXVI by Various Artists.
Compiled by soFa, the second instalment in his recent series ties together eighteen artists, each venturing down their own musical path, to produce an audio atlas that transverses not only styles but also cultures and continents.
Disparate musicians come from far and wide have been brought together across two slabs of beautifully mastered vinyl and, somehow, someway, found a jittering, skittering and juddering balance.
Tracks from Puma & Dolphin and Khidja conjure up images of thick jungle scenes as tribal rhythm patterns hypnotise and mesmerise alongside shamanic samples. The heady exotic aromas and tactile textures of the East are on display with Zatua traipsing through baked dunes and deserts before arriving to the shamanic organized chaos that is Bear Bones, Lay Low.
Darker moods loom and lurk, skulking in the alleys of Konsistent or in t-woc’s lurid tones. These duskier elements are countered by the brightness of Velvet C’s future disco sounds or the laser synthwork of Rony & Suzy. The buzzing Chicago inspired sounds of Weird Dust, the dawning pulses of Twoonky and the triumphal charges of Föhn blur the lines between mystical places and the cruel reality of the modern world. A double vinyl ticket to eleven engaging and evocative destinations.A trip into the fantastical. An Oyster from Elsewhere…


Ambienti Coassiali

Vol. 1 - Room 1-6

Ambienti Coassiali began in the '80s as a parallel project of Capricorni Pneumatici, in Milan and surrounding areas. Ambienti Coassiali's debut release, simply titled Vol. 1, was self-released as an incredibly limited cassette in 1988. The compositions were recorded solely with a Yamaha DX7 and two track Revox A77 tape machine, creating straight-to-tape minimalist ethereal FM synthesis compositions. Both the name of the project and the title of the pieces, numbered 1 to 6 corresponding to as many rooms (stanze), recall the concept of ambient music that underlies Vol. 1 - it is music that gradually reveals itself in its surreal development, and aims especially at the subconscious of those who do not listen carefully.
Parallel to the musical project Ambienti Coassiali, a video project has developed - not by chance called "Empty Heads" - which is based upon the same concepts. Originally prepared as ambient "video wallpaper", the video project incorporates synthetic images generated with analog electronic television equipment. Empty Heads participated in video festivals around the world in the late 1980s and the project has evolved over the last 30 years, realizing the finished Ambienti Coassiali Vol. 1 visual project in 2017. Remastered and issued on DVD, the Vol. 1 video project will be released for the first time in its entirety through Incidental Music.
With the release of 2017's Spare Rooms on Italy's legendary Artisti Del 900 (ADN) label, Incidental Music's 2018 vinyl re-issue of Vol. 1, and the forthcoming Vol. 2, Ambienti Coassiali continues to surprise with new compositions nearly 30 years later.

The album was the first (and only) The Art of Noise album to spawn two UK top 20 hit singles; “Peter Gunn” and “Paranoimia”.

The original album is remastered and this reissue features 17 extra tracks above the very original vinyl LP edition of In Visible Silence. The second LP features some previously unreleased tracks.

All tracks are taken from the original master tapes and the remastering sessions were overseen by Anne Dudley, JJ Jeczalik and Gary Langan.

It’s beautiful packed and we went full out for this one: gatefold, coloured, numbered, 4 page insert, 

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xColoured LP Info: 180g audiophile vinyl, gatefold sleeve, printed innersleeves, 4 page booklet. Remastered and expanded edition of 1500 individually numbered copies on transparent blue vinyl.

Cleveland

Tusk / Aku

Cleveland is forever in search of the brown note. This is his second offering for the ESP Institute. Side A’s "Tusk" is a beautiful paradox—rhythm programs that churn like the inner workings of a grandfather clock, unmistakably mechanical, yet fashioned through muted analogue instrumentation that paints a deceptively organic picture. The crystallized jangle of FM synth voices toy with the softened drum patterns and vibrant animal-like chord gestures over nearly seven minutes of splendor. On side B, "Aku" digs further into mysticism, manifesting digital jungle themes, cleverly abstracted through erratic bleeps, distant tribal drums, atonal flutters and synthetic bird calls. The cinematic quality of Clevelands production shines through both tracks, but its "Aku" that sweeps us from reality to embark on a moonlit expedition in search long lost treasures, proving Cleveland a virtuoso skilled in building complex narratives with sound. These two songs will modulate your frequencies.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Cleveland's back on ESP with more ritualistic business for the club, skirting round the fringes of minimal techno and micro house to offer something hypnotic, exotic and esoteric that we like to call rainforest house.

"Detroit Rising..." is an unprecedented project created by universally respected musicians, including current and original members of the archetypal funk band Parliament-Funkadelic, along with a selection of world class talent from across the country—is going to bring a new style of funk to audiences this spring.
The hybrid jazz-funk and R&B-flavored album is a collaboration between highly sought after young P-Funk artists and writers, and is supported by legendary industry veterans, including members that have performed with artists such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Theo Parrish and Red Hot Chili Peppers, in addition to their regular work with Parliament-Funkadelic. Key figures in the group also played regularly with late, great artists such as Prince and Miles Davis, among others.
The 10-track album—conceived and overseen by creative producer David Schwartz over the past three years—opens with the saxophone and keys-heavy “Lashing Out” followed by “Little Bit,” one of multiple tracks that musically stretches out over nine minutes in length. Elsewhere is the soulful “Rocket Love,” the sexy ode of “Gorgeous” and the groovy unity-themed anthem“With Peace & Harmony.” *See below for the full track listing.
DETROIT RISING was recorded live at the world famous Motown affiliated United Sound Studios in Detroit, as well as at renowned studios in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Swamp Funk studios in Florida, and mixed and mastered by some of the best engineers in the business, including Richie Beretta (Beyonce), Tatsuya Sato (A Tribe Called Quest) and Mark Santangelo (Childish Gambino). The result is a highly skilled, vibrant and progressive album that combines elements of funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll to capture a live sound that genuinely represents the next best thing to having the full band performing live in front of an audience.
After years of honing their performance skills on worldwide stages, the current touring musicians of Detroit Rising now take center stage, performing original compositions that shine a light on the true extent of their talent and creativity.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: LP pressed sea green colored vinyl.
Extra heavy print board, metallic ink jacket.
Comes with digital download and extra tracks, instrumentals, dance remixes, ability for DJ’s to remix.

Melody’s Echo Chamber’s second album finally arrives more than five years after Melody Prochet’s debut, and it’s certainly been worth the wait. Bon Voyage is a mind-blowing mini-opus full to the gunwales with surprises. It’s a capricious trip that builds majestically upon what Pitchfork in 2012 called “enchanting, psychedelic-tinged pop with just the right amount of thematic darkness”. Made up of seven expansive new tracks, it marries Melody’s breathless soprano to the wildest sonic excursions, always pinned to an emphatic, clattering groove.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Brilliantly effervescent indie-pop from MEC, sporting chunky melodic riffage, bright soaring solos and stunningly perfect production. Amazing stuff.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Heavyweight violet 180g vinyl, comes with bonus phenakistiscope insert.

LP Info: Comes with bonus phenakistiscope insert.

Miss Kittin & The Hacker

Lost Tracks Vol. 2

Miss Kittin & The Hacker are the electro duo of Caroline Hervé and Michel Amato from Grenoble, France. The pair met during the early 90s at a rave and soon after bought turntables and began DJing. In 1996, they started writing music heavily influenced by 1980s synthpop and post-punk bands like Fad Gadget, DAF, Liaisons Dangeuresues, and Yazoo, as well as Italo disco. Bored by the techno scene at the time, they set out out to lighten the serious tone and bring a campy sexiness to the dour musical landscape. Upon hearing their demos DJ Hell signed them to his Munich-based International DJ Gigolo label and released their first 2 EPs in 1998 and 1999. Their debut album ”First Album" was released in 2001.

“Lost Tracks Vol. 2” contains 4 previously unreleased demos recorded between 1997 and 1999. The duo fused 80’s European new wave / Italo disco with 90’s Detroit electro acts like Le Car and Dopplereffekt. By utilizing verse-chorus structures, they playfully shook up the loop based hard techno and electro that was popular at the time. Their studio set up at the time was a Korg MS-20, Roland SH-101, TR-606, TR-808, Siel DK80, and Boss DR-660 drum machine. The songs are direct, spontaneous, seemingly improvised in places. Miss Kittin sings about falling in love in the new millennium, snuff movies and controlling the unknown trip to death, all in her cheekily derisive French accent. All songs have been transferred from the original DAT tapes by the band and remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The vinyl comes housed in a glossy jacket featuring a black and white photo of the duo taken in 1996. Each LP includes a postcard with liner notes from Miss Kittin and The Hacker designed by Eloise Leigh. As Miss Kittin says of these demos, 'We were naive, innocent, adventurous and we didn’t expect anything in return'


Johannesburg's best known vinyl spot continues its evolution into essential label here with a mega six-track anthology of South African singer Ntombi Ndaba, featuring 2 songs from 3 of her solo albums, "Mina Ngiljaji" (1988), "Mama Nature" (1989) and "Why Me" (1991).
Ntombi Ndaba first rose to fame in 1985 with Ntombi & Survival, becoming one of the most popular singers of the bubblegum era. After setting up the independent label Anneko with her producer A.T. ‘Rubber’ Khoza in 1988, she went solo. Following Khoza’s death in the early 1990s, Ndaba never recorded again.
Kicking off with the in-demand banger "Tomorrow", the six tracker serves up humid synthlines, infectious rhythms and smooth bass, all topped by Ntombi's mega vocals. Incorporating elements of early house, late disco and bubbling electro funk, this piece of SA dancefloor history is every bit as essential as it ever was.


The conjectural wedding band OTTO is expanding its organ soundtrack madness. With its third record, it delivers sonic solutions for all sorts of moods, ranging from dark and stormy to smooth and suave. “Rhythmus” stands out with abstract, repetitive vocals in German, ready to land in a club somewhere near you. This project is supported by Orgaton, the society for the promotion of organ music.

FORMAT INFORMATION

12" Info: Insanely limited tackle from cult cosmic heroes OTTO. Don't sleep!

The franchise goes one cut deeper as Parasols AKA Ali Renault and Antoni Maiovvi team up on this dark as hell during an eclipse set of grime soaked grease sleazers. Parasols throws forth two sharp as blades numbers with a guest appearance by the one and only Unit Black Flight with his first ever remix. Antoni Maiovvi closes things with something from the vaults, the 808 and sub bass sleekness of Shivers, remixed by Black Metal EBM overlord Equitant. Guaranteed nightclub nightmares as we put on the gloves one more time…

Pharaohs is a live band from Los Angeles including blossoming producers Suzanne Kraft, Ale Cohen (from the legendary Dublab) and surfer / synth-geek, Sam Cooper. One might assume these lot are in search of their sound, dabbling in various sub-genres, loosely citing a mixed bag of references… but any listener with a refined palette will acknowledge these three as Renaissance Men of the highest order. They simply know what sounds nice and strive to execute their vision with taste, regardless of what inspiration fuels them at any given moment. Side A leads with "Ahumbo" (named after Sam's dream beach in Zanzibar), blending a dry and simplistic rhythm section with swelling synth chords, a cheeky vocal and a vibrant surf guitar. Following "Ahumbo" is the title track "Island Time," a bouncy jungle vibe with chant about tropical fruits, a reminder that its always Summer somewhere! Last, but not least, Side B doles out "If It Ever Feels Right," a percussive House jam that is literally a JAM… Its on this track, with its live percussion, saxophone and drum programming, that the band capacaity of Pharoahs shines.

Piccadilly Records

Slipmat - Cityscape

    Piccadilly Records logo and white 'Cityscape' print on black felt slipmat. Designed by Mark Brown (markbrownstudio.co.uk), the design is a features a graphic representation of the Manchester cityscape, which also looks like an electronic waveform created by music.

    Dark wave techno / goth / electro-punk business here from Poison Arrow on the seductively named Pleasure District. A-side tracks, "If You Don't Love Me" and "Casa Show" both pair skeletal drum machines with gothy, pitch black female vocals and eerie metallic washes. A little Chris & Cosey, a little Massive Attack and a little Tropic of Cancer all thrown into one heady, black eye-linered muse.

    Side B sees two remixers, Konrad Black and Razor take turns on the lead track. KB keeps "If You Don't Love Me" deeply in the sex dungeon, soaked in amyl nitrate and scarily carnal. Meanwhile, the Razor dub of said track sees it strung out into a highly taut bubbler, smothering the vocal in tape delay and allowing the various elements plenty of room to make their impact.

    Causing an immediate stir around Piccadilly HQ this afternoon this is a beautifully dark and arresting record and one that should more than stand the test of time. Highly recommended! 


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd 12" Info: 12" with full picture sleeve.

    Forest Flame is the debut solo effort of the Texas-based Shea McGilvray. His previous works have been featured in compilation and remix releases on labels such as Echovolt, Shimmering Moods, and Bokhari’s Swamp Tapes.

    Second release from the KP-approved Online Conversation and a different vibe this time round. Polyrhythmic, neo-tribal vibrations are delivered on EP opener "Redsky Porch" which sees a meandering, echo-drenched lead wind its way through a series of interesting perc hits and tuned metallics. "Terra" sees a swirling, hazy soundbed converge on shuffled lo-fi hats and a half-time kick. The very epitome of shadow-sculling, outsider house; blunted AF and groovy as hell. Yes mate. Title track "Forest Flame" sees deep atmospheres peppered with reverb heavy drum hits, hinting at some evocative and cinematic moods. Final track "Manzanita" sees another heady whirlpool of influences, somewhere between Deepchord's "Hash Bar Remnants", Anthony Naples Proibito output and the delicate poise of Ricardo Villalobos.

    Already getting support from Best Available Technology and Will Lister.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Big label currently on my radar drop record number two. Ditching the lo-fi jungle and uptempo house bangers for a more sedative, hypnotic and shamanic affair. One for the smokers as much as the dancers this one...

    Various Artists

    Interferencias Vol 2

      In the early 80s, futuristic music existed that triumphantly anticipated another musical era for a number of groups that worked on alternative circuits in Spain. Tradition, trajectory and future: these three words sum up a movement that was castrated at birth and sought to bring plurality and nuance to a monolithic cultural scene that was too predictable, commercial and stale.

      The musical texture of synth pop, experimental electronic music and the incipient primitivist industrial sound of groups like Esplendor Geométrico or Orfeón Gagarin came up against a lack of social participation that supports a popular and broad-based culture. The living soul of those pioneers was extinguished forever, and now it's time to recover unreservedly the compositions created by these largely misunderstood groups. Both volumes of "Interferencias" seek to do their bit in the odyssey to disseminate rarities from the Spanish musical heritage dating from the 80s, when the dictatorship was over.

      In this era, there was a conflict between those who wanted to break with the past and those who preferred designer camouflage. In this second volume of "Interferencias" we continue to explore the interest and attraction of the new sounds back then, which were a kind of pressing need for these embryonic gurus of techno pop, who held on tight to their next-generation instruments as if they were symbols of the post-Francoist advance party. These bands appeared in the middle of the transition to democracy, a strange small breakaway movement, but popular with the minorities on the margins of the dominant and official artistic system. This new movement was anointed by one key idea, namely, moving beyond the discrimination surrounding the use of synthesizers in order to recreate emotions. Adopting a modern attitude, they hung out outside major record label circles but keeping an eye on the media, which was already putting their music out there, exemplified by their sporadic appearances on television programmes such as Musical Express or La Edad de Oro. The dynamism of these groups who were dominated by foreign musical aesthetics was clear to see.

      "Interferencias" closes this analytical search for our synthetic and minimalist musical heritage; adopting a respectful, historically accurate, heterodox and undogmatic approach. These sounds embody the perplexity, paradox and confusion of those years, which disconcerted audiences through the use of innovative musical language and discourse and provoked a lack of understanding and enthusiasm in equal measure. Thanks to some of the groups included on this collection we can discover a universe brimming with stimuli and meaning, living matter capable of releasing the energy needed to breathe new life into us and supply us with substance in order to reinterpret and understand the world of popular music from the last few decades.

      There's a lot to reclaim, or better said, to explore, in this parallel history of underground mystery that has been hidden for the vast majority of people and which, for various reasons, was deprived of becoming the true electronic pop germ sown in Spain with talent and rebellion. Nevertheless, this music did reach completely uncharted territories for thousands of young people at that time.

      Sometimes the most beautiful song is sung in a language we're not familiar with, and this is also true of sounds. For this reason, I invite you to enjoy and engage by listening to this "feast" where the most succulent sonic delicacies are not necessarily laid out in front of us on the table. "Interferencias" is a wonderful soundtrack that guides us down the back streets of memory and oblivion, mindful that memories can sometimes be worth their weight in gold.

      Sergio Sánchez.


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