MAGIC MIX

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

WEEK STARTING 18 Sep

Genre pick of the week Cover of Jumping Dead Leafs by Tolouse Low Trax.
This is Tolouse Low Trax’s 4th solo album Jumping Dead Leafs.
A 38 minutes exorcism, dionysac sexyness fueled with romanticism, made of mechanical incantations mixed with spectral vocals of forgotten imaginary tribes, words from a physicist (Incomprehensible Image), and mystical breathings… To remind you that music is demanding your soul and body, fully. A master irritator, disclosing this talent all the way, down to every chosen title, for the album itself and all of its components (would you put Milk in Water ?). As repetitive or minimalist music may already make some of you feel nervous, it seems more accurate to talk here about primitive music - notwithstanding a non violent anarchism. But those are only words and vain attempts to attach TLT to a region or a family. Neither the burden of classical European music legacy, which eventually lead to pop music, seemed to interfere with his wild mind, and if it is no surprising to hear Bach in German electronic music, there is here a clear statement that you are out of this sirupy prison… For D.W. is a sorcerer. He’s been empirically learning the speaking of trance with years of touring and experimenting with all kinds of audience and venues, from clubs to museums, from Mongolia to Brazil, from his performances with his bands Kreidler or Toresch to solo ones, sustained by a steady limited set up, as the one used when he’s recording : one MPC, rudimentary synths, few effects and a mixer. No sound engineer on stage as only he knows his secret language… Raw dubmaking, leaning towards
hip hop, indubitably underlining here a significant distanciation from his previous industrial inspirations. The bewitchment of this record is operating with no warning from the very first seconds until the last epiphany of Sales Pitch. He is using his knowledge of techno, psychedelism (Inverted Sea), UK bass (Jumping Dead Leafs), only to bring you out of it. We all tend to be slaves, without even being conscious about it, and a balance must be existing between being a slave and showing off. Mr. Weinrich’s answer is unsettling because it is an utter call to this balance, in our world of black and white and political correctness. There is no morality in music… Don’t expect anything else than an unaccountable liberating immediate experience. Don’t expect any kind of music because you are already in the past or the future… From his recording technique mainly relying on one takes, his adoration of mistakes and jeopardy, to the core essence of repetitive music, it is all hereabout being in the present. No ears no glasses. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Dusseldorf's dance floor Derrida comes correct with his first solo album in six years, providing a little club deconstruction for the fringe DJ and haunted home listener! Frankly, no one sounds like Detlef, and as this LP blazes its hazy trail through warehouse smog, dislocated dubspace and an entirely crepuscular strand of psychedelia, it becomes increasingly clear how much we've missed him.

Over the past few years The Magic Movement have coolly secured a place at the top table of consciousness shifting club tackle, and their latest release continues to fuel the shamanic dance. Fresh from a debut LP on Random Collective, Anatta arrives with tribal throwdown "Fields Of Play", along with a trio of mesmeric remixes from Noema, Tolouse Low Trax and Carrot Green.

In the original mix, Anatta invites us to discover a sonic world between pitched down UK House and future-primitive downbeat.
Rough Drumbeats, quirky synths, and catchy vocal chops guide us through a sophisticated arrangement with unforeseen twists and turns.

Salon des Amateurs resident Tolouse Low Trax delivers the 'Knights & Wheels Remix' in his signature style: While a hypnotic vocal loop hooks you up from the very beginning, minimalistic and dreamy synths slowly submerge the listener into a jam of stripped-down Lo-Fi funk.

The 'Beat Mix' by Rio de Janeiro's sound wizard Carrot Green and long time family member of the label, speeds up the tempo, and puts together a groove of classic electro boogie vibes with a P-Funky bassline that sounds like a futuristic liaison between Afrika Bambaataa and George Clinton.

Increasing the UK house vibe with strong drums and a wobbly bassline, Noema's 'Acid Ghetto Style Remix' works the mysterious vocals of Anatta into a delicious hook and creates a highly animating and fun dancefloor monster.

And now, let's get weird!!!

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Fifteen releases in and The Magic Movement continue to deliver the high grade dancefloor psychedelia. Now Empire Market's down, I'd suggest you light a candle and embrace the shamanic shakedown of the Tolouse Low Trax remix here.

Beesmunt Soundsystem / Cooper Saver

Bredius 1998 / Walk On Water

The Hivern split series was born as a platform for club-ready tracks that don't require a broader sonic context to express themselves. It's also as a way of generating an unplanned dialogue between artists in the label's orbit, connecting the dots amid them in spontaneous and almost unconscious ways. The third installment of the series brings together Beesmunt Soundsystem and Cooper Saver. Their two tracks share a similar approach, deconstructing ethereal sounds over dark rhythmic foundations to reach the same kind of narcotic transcendence. The visual concept of the series has been developed by Manchester's own DR.ME. Vinyl-only.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Beesmunt bring the post-apocolyptic attitude in spades on the A-side, turning out another techno-pagan growler at a gremlin friendly 110ish. For the flip, Cooper Saver lock into the prog revival with an amphibian trance dancer.

Charli XCX

How I'm Feeling Now

    Over the course of her trailblazing career, Charli XCX has earned critical acclaim for her forward-thinking musical output and refreshing entrepreneurial spirit that has seen her carve her own lane on the global pop circuit. A singer, songwriter, video director, documentary maker, radio host and record label boss, Charli’s story is one of an artist continuing to succeed without compromise.

    Now in 2020, Charli is already breaking boundaries - this year has seen her first BRIT nomination for British Female Solo Artist, marking a huge moment of validation from a mainstream audience that Charli has built on her own terms. In reaction to the global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Charli has proven herself to be one of the most adaptable artists working today; initially providing programs of Instagram live sessions that invited various guests to spark conversation, share insight, or simply entertain fans across the world who are currently practicing social distancing. Charli’s vision then expanded further, leading her to announce ‘how i’m feeling now’ - a new album to be written, recorded and released in 39 days, completely in self-isolation. The creative process was also to push her collaborative stream in a unique way; opening up the recording, writing, artwork, music videos and more to fans for feedback and contribution - she also further inspired her fans’ creativity, allowing them access to song stems to create remixes and greenscreen footage to be edited using their own imagination.

    ‘how i’m feeling now’ has given further spotlight to Charli’s status as one of the most adaptable, exciting pop artists working today, and through it’s uniquely collaborative approach, provided a shared space for those who listen to feel safe enough to express themselves however they wish at a time when they need it most.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Exclusive, 140g Neon Orange 12” vinyl.

    Harmonious Thelonious is the solo project of the Düsseldorf musician Stefan Schwander. His works combine American-influenced minimal music with African rhythms and European melodies.

    "I was busy experimenting with noisy rhythms when Bureau B asked me if I would like to release an album on their label. I was aiming for a more industrial sound; backwards cymbals, loops generated from non-musical sources such as slamming doors, and had the feeling that this would align nicely with Bureau B’s own story." Stefan Schwander’s new album Plong is something of a hybrid in the discography of Harmonious Thelonious, drawing on his existing strengths plus a sense of adventure in a mix of all his musical predilections. Dipping into the music, Middle Eastern elements can be heard on "Original Member Of A Wedding Band" and "Mumba", whilst tracks like "Höhlenmenschenmuziek" are characterized by more pronounced bass structures. Tuned down xylophones, evocative of ritual drums, sub bass and electrifying basslines catalyse the idiosyncratic sound of Plong: hypnotic, danceable, irresistible. A powerful head of steam builds across the nine tracks, with subtle changes in harmony ("Geistertrio Booking") or unexpected cameos such as a new wave bassline on "Abu Synth" shaking things up before the album hurtles onward with renewed force. Take "Interpretation de reve" as a case in point – floating sequences and themes sweep ashore in wave after wave of melody; analogous to dreams which enter the subconscious in episodes, their apparent randomness gradually shifting into a correlative pattern. "Totentanz" closes the album in a homage to the Basle club of the same name, a place which played a decisive role in Schwander’s musical socialisation: "I was lucky enough to see bands like Liquid Liquid, Gun Club, Jonathan Richman and a very young Aztec Camera there".

    Harmonious Thelonious comes off with an exceptional work in the genre of electronic music, successfully embracing the physical power of a club night soundtrack whilst exploring the dramatic depths of sonic worlds to create an intensive listening experience in total solitude.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Durian Bro and Dusseldorf sorcerer Stefan Schwander gets industrial and middle eastern on this Bureau B LP, translating his usual sonic manipulations into a hypnotic set of trance dancers for the alternative club kids. I'm gonna buy like 5 copies of this!

    Macintosh Plus

    Sick & Panic

      Deluxe Hi-Fidelity vinyl picture disc. All music & art by Macintosh Plus aka Vektroid. Limited edition including digital download. Where have the alienated masses gone after vaporwave? Producer Ramona Andra Xavier, aka Vektroid, Macintosh Plus, Laserdisc Visions, New Dreams Ltd., and a few others, is a good resource, being a reliable throughline from the genre’s peak to our current moment. Since her most recent studio album Floral Shoppe in 2011, Xavier has travelled further and further away from slowed-down R&B samples, challenging and complicating her own production style. But “Sick & Panic (First Mix)” is her first return to the Macintosh Plus name since 2011, and it sounds almost entirely unlike the curious complacency of Floral Shoppe. This new twelve-minute track breaks apart a few key components of vaporwave, but more readily takes influences from glitch music and the freeform design of a DJ set. But by calling this a Macintosh Plus record, we’re forced to see it with a strangely human face. Between the hundreds of interrupted thoughts and microscopic silences, something organic is growing. This is the sort of music nobody is really built for, but that one learns out of idle curiosity. While we may not be androids for a few more years, this compact, biting music speaks to some metaphysical data analysis we’re hardwired to be fascinated by. In a twelve-minute span, it has more than exhausted every notion and idea. It’s a tactical deployment of thoughts too scattered to fit into their own slots. Which is where it wraps around again to vaporwave, because nothing ever changes. 

      Anna Meredith

      FIBS

        Fibs is heralded by the release of ‘Paramour’, its first single and spectacular accompanying single-take video, and a song that forbids you from turning away - its sweeps, jerks and wrong turns pinning your ears to the speakers whilst heading for warp speed at a blistering 176 BPM before rounding the journey out with an (utterly unexpected) tuba-led half-time rock-out. Arriving three and a half years on from the release of her Scottish Album of the Year Award-winning debut studio album Varmints, Fibs is 45 minutes of technicolour maximalism, almost perpetual rhythmic reinvention, and boasts a visceral richness and unparalleled accessibility.

        Fibs is no “Varmints Part 2” — the retreading of old ground, or even a smooth progression from one project to another, just isn’t Meredith’s style. Instead, if anything, it’s “Varmints 2.0”, an overhauled and updated version of the composer’s soundworld, involving, in places, a literal retooling that has seen Meredith chuck out her old MIDI patches and combine her unique compositional voice with brand-new instruments, both acoustic and electronic, and a writing process that’s more intense than she’s ever known. Despite Meredith’s background and skills these tracks are no academic exercise, the world of Fibs is at both overwhelming and intimate, a journey of intense energy and joyful irreverence.

        Fibs, says Meredith, are “lies — but nice friendly lies, little stories and constructions and daydreams and narratives that you make for yourself or you tell yourself”. Entirely internally generated and perfectly balanced, they can be a source of comfort and excitement, intrigue and endless entertainment. The eleven fibs contained on Anna Meredith’s second record will do all that, and more besides.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: As some of you may well know, i'm a fan of a nice cheery arp, and 'Fibs' is RAM-PACKED with them. Half way between the 16-bit rave aesthetic of Anamanaguci or the brooding, soundtracky synths of Konami Kukeiha Club and high energy synthpop (Kristin Kontrol, Tegan & Sara etc), Meredith has crafted a completely unexpected and thoroughly exciting fusion. Stunning.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: White vinyl.

        Coloured LP 2 Info: 'Winter Wind’ Coloured Vinyl

        Notorische Reflexe was an experimental band, art form and a film performance group from West Berlin. Existing from 1982 to 1986, they were part of the early 80s Berlin art scene along with groups like P.D., Die Tödliche Doris, Einstürzende Neubauten or Malaria. Their only LP – originally released in 1985 – is an impressive outburst ranging from minimal electronics to more experimental takes with some jazzy/ethnic touches. Now reissued on LP featuring a bonus track, extended artwork and liner notes by Mark Reeder. 

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Total grail of the German underground this! Falling somewhere between NDW, tribal electronics and avant jazz, this killer LP balances ethno-industrial freakouts and noise experiments with absolute floor fillers for the weirdo dancefloor.

        Hot new edit drop here from Israeli duo Rabo & Snob, who explore the forgotten jams from the outer limits of Tel Aviv's 80's scene on this super fine EP. While the sounds of new wave and synth wave mainly dominated in the clubs of the city at that time, some artists also experimented with Italo music. On this EP Rabo & Snob pay tribute to those early pioneers of a new and different Disco-inspired electronic sound, and sprinkle some of their own magic dust upon it to make it both interesting and fresh.
        "Inn Yan" embraces the weird dance by fusing a smooth and buoyant boogie groove with some serious atonal brass and unexpected looping. If you dug on the spiritual synthesis of Alice Coltrane's 'Ecstatic Music', that gives absolutely no indication of whether you're ready for the Italo pump and vocoded Krishna consciousness of "Hare Rama", but if you have ears and a pulse, you’ll probably love it. B1 bomb “Ego Incognito” comes correct with a little synth pop meets Euro disco camp, frothing away with cooing female vocals and cold wave style brass before percussive closer “Tik Wah Hood” stomps through a little ethno-core tribalism perfect for Multi Culti fans.

        Enjoy the trip. 


        The debut offering from Shakey, a new project from Silvia Kastel and Lizzie Davis (Wilted Woman). Shakey, then, is a syncretic meshing of both artists sensibilities, encompassing both’s love of digi-dub, jungle, musique concrete, and the fusing of ambient textures with abstracted rhythms.

        So if you've as much as caught a passing snippet of either Silvia Kastel or Wilted Woman, you'll be correct in your assumption that this collaboration is utterly certifiable. Take opener "Crayscandens" for instance - a dash of jazz fusion, Rephlex braindance and deconstructed dancehall, which sounds quite a lot like a soundclash in Boomkat HQ. Next to that BPM blending mindfuck, "Slappy" sounds perfectly sane, though the bleep test synths, dislocated voices and steppers rhythm might twist your melon all the same. Things continue to weird the fuck out on the flip, as the eerie fourth world haze of "Dischidia" gives way to the whacked out electro (in its loosest sense) of "Moth". All that remains is for us to float away in the aquatic electronics of "E Ocean", another baffling but brilliant bit of creativity from these collaborative cats.

        Smalts / Human Flesh

        Periodiciteit / En De Stad

        "And the city opens up its streets to me again.Gloomy and damp, walled by wet surfaces, Which the pale glow Bouncing off a languishing moon. She shows me her reddish bars without any embarrassment, Where the sex yawns against the black decor."

        Soft Cell

        Magick Mutants

          Entitled ‘Magick Mutants’, the exclusive EP features four previously unreleased tracks: three brand new re-workings of the early Soft Cell classics ‘Bleak Is My Favourite Cliche’, ‘Science Fiction Stories’ and ‘The Girl With The Patent Leather Face’, alongside a cover of the late Fad Gadget’s seminal 1979 single ‘Back To Nature’, and the EP release is also dedicated to Fad Gadget who studied alongside Marc Almond and Dave Ball at Leeds Polytechnic.

          In order to preserve audio quality the four tracks on the vinyl EP are all edited versions, however all purchasers will receive a code which will allow them access to downloads of the four full-length tracks, as well as the edited versions.

          Intended as a sequel to 1980’s ‘Mutant Moments’ release, the new EP features artwork by the band’s Dave Ball, also who created the ‘Mutant Moments’ sleeve.

          TVII SON's self-titled album is a glorious concoction of local and global, and combines rich immersion in music history and in-the-moment immediacy with uncanny ease. The trio of Florian, Mika Shkurat and vocalist / writer Lucy Zoria make, essentially, a kind of stripped-to-the-bone industrial dub, fizzing with white noise and quivering with soundsystem bass – but given a glorious pop infectiousness, thanks to the earworm phrases and phrasing of Lucy's vocals.

          The name was chosen purely for how cool the letters look on the page but conceals intriguing lyricism (it means "your dream" in Ukrainian), and likewise their sound's simplicity hides deep intellect and emotion. Their roots are deep in both Kyiv and Berlin, with a sprinkling of extra cosmopolitanism from Lucy's part-American upbringing. Beneath the surface simplicity lies an intellectual and musical richness that belies all three members' backgrounds in punk / alternative scenes, and their immersion in everything from 90s WARP records to anime soundtracks. And there's both a vivid expression of Berlin's deep rooted electronic music culture and a proud sense of increasingly confident Ukrainian identity, still carrying the energy of the 2014 revolution even as its optimism has mutated into something darker and perhaps more determined.

          The trio's history is tangled – seeds were sown when Mika worked on some visuals for Florian's modular synth band Driftmachine and a lasting friendship was forged. Mika and Lucy didn't meet till much later, despite having many friends in common – but when they did formed the trio Nisantashi Primary School. Florian fell for Lucy's unique style and when Nisantashi played Berlin in 2018, a new collaboration was forged.

          Over 18 months, they built their frameworks of abstract sounds made into immediate rhythms, with Lucy's style adapting to the grooves until the total sound you hear now had coalesced. You might detect hints of King Midas Sound in the dub spaces, a little Pan Sonic in the crackle and hiss, some classic electroclash in the sass of the songs, even a bit of cheeky dancehall and grime in the sprung rhythms of “Simple Ends” and “Kilang” – but most of all you'll naturally focus on the totality of those songs. It only takes one listen for Lucy's memorable phrases like “clinging to what we love as it slips out of vogue”, and “give me your chastest kiss” to fix in your mind, and a second listen for the songs to become old favourites. The roots of this record might be tangled but its effect is brilliantly, beautifully direct.

          Another win for the Glowing Pin as Müller & Wandt drop a fresh new age groover on a killer club dub tip. Elsewhere Phazer Boys, Suzanne Kraft, Philipp Otterbach and River Yarra remix the pscht out of their favourite tracks from ‘Instrumentalmusik..’. Expect Goan hits, cosmic trips, loved up rave and chilled out wave on this flawless five tracker.

          Growing Bin becomes Glowing Pin for the most anticipated rematch of the century. Back at the beginning of 2018, Wolf Müller and Niklas Wandt went head to head for a box office smash, throwing a high school percussion tray, wall of hardware and voodoo skull into the ring for the tribal trip of ‘Instrumentalmusik Von Der Mitte Der World’. Now the multi-instrumental duo face off once again, but this time it’s a royal rumble with Phazer Boys, Suzanne Kraft, Phillip Otterbach and River Yarra all bringing the noise to the Glowing Pin.

          Müller and Wandt dominate the action on the A1, playing loose with sampler vox, serene pads and future primitive rhythms on the unreleased ‘Fun Dub’ of the also unreleased ‘Dub Dub’. Imagine Ferris Bueller’s trampoline tumble trading Chicago to the Weissenhof and you’ll sense the mood of this New Age groove. Germany’s number one party dudes, those freaky Phazer Boys take a break from dropping killer Candomblé cuts to reach for the lasers on the A2, taking ‘Ahu’ to another dimension. Dripping in neon body paint and armed with fire poi, the Düsseldorf duo power up progressive house sequences, didgeridoo bass and thumping tribal house percussion for a wall-shaking, speaker-breaking remix.

          The B1 belongs to synth whiz Suzanne Kraft who revels in glistening, gliding glory on an expansive remix of ‘Auflösung’. Sleek, serene and futuristic, the track shimmers like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, free from inequality and rendered with the 5D(ub?) majesty of a DMT breakthrough.
          B2 hears Salon associate and serious talent Philipp Otterbach take over on a stripped back and psychedelic post punk dub of ‘Expedition’. Angular bass by Süne Große and a stuttering rhythm underpin astral flourishes and the hazy vocals of Lucas Croon before the African elements begin to move to the forefront.
          Last man standing is Australian outlier River Yarra, who leads us into the Krautback with a chugging dub of ‘Weltraumsandalen’. Lent a lysergic sparkle by a percolating one-note bassline, this slow motion stunner masters perpetual motion amid the eerie echoes of the bush, organic percussion and electronic animal cries fading into the night. Let the pins glow again.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Patrick says: Not content with turning out the hottest LP of 2018 (back in stock now!), Wolf Müller & Niklas Wandt swap Growing Bin for Glowing Pin for this remix spectacular. Calling on Phazer Boys, Suzanne Kraft, Philipp Otterbach and River Yarra, the drum-loving duo serve dub-not-dub, wavey pop, prog house, post punk and cosmic wobble, all with the required amount of weirdness. Essential business for the fun loving DJs of the world!

          Szymek Lawik and Maritn Lefteri’s regular party and NTS show, Feel the Drive, turns record label with a debut release that takes you through the gears.

          Spending their lives digging up the very best Italo, New Beat and EBM delights, a record label was the next logical move for Szymek Lawik and Martin Lefteri. The perfect distillation of their combined tastes and determination to search the globe for new music, the four-track debut EP features big hitters from Franz Scala (Bahnsteig 23, Tusk Wax, Cocktail d'Amore), Anatolian Weapons (Beats in Space, Dark Entries), Furor Exotica (Bordello a Parigi, Sprechen) and the label bosses themselves under their Ondata guise (Red Laser, Night Noise Music).

          First up is Franz Scala, with “Sabrina”. A pulsing, new beat thrum bolts out of the gate, setting the pace with heads-down conviction. This straight-ahead velocity soon leans into guitar licks and Italo horn stabs and, before you know it, you’re transported - hugging the curves and corners along with the motorik rhythm.

          Next, we shift down a gear and head east for “Ela” as Anatolian Weapons lights up the skies with a slow-burning intensity delivered with complete conviction. Exotic synth melodies, impossibly dextrous string playing and rolling acid lines carve out a unique path through the terrain, leaving no choice but to follow in its slipstream.

          Argentinian duo Furor Exotica pick up the pace with “Fat Training”, an arpeggio-supercharged dancer guaranteed to lift the spirits and recharge the batteries come 3am. This is a track that carries its momentum up front and its boogie in the back. There’s a nod to the old new beats, but with wide eyes facing resolutely forward.

          And then it’s time for the last lap. “Kolossos” is an apt moniker for this no-nonsense, heads-down, full-force monster. It’s a neon-lit tunnel late at night – unfamiliar, alien light throwing repetitive, yet slowly shifting shapes against sheer walls as you move through. “It’s not as bad for humankind to be dominated by me than to be dominated by others of your species” a voice intones as we reach our destination.

          It’s metal machine music to save us from ourselves.

          Can you believe it's five years since Invisible, Inc. started releasing records?! Run by GK Machine, the label's been pivotal at unearthering lost, digital-only tracks from cult underground artists and re-issueing them on vinyl; alongside a plethora of incredibly strong new music from the current underground, often by artists with very little profile. Who knew such a formula would proove so popular (we did! - ed) but five years on and the label is a mainstay here at Piccadilly Records as well many other establishments who embrace the 'wierd shit' catagory with open arms.

          Focussing on artists who provided much of his favourite music of last year; for the fifth anniversary of the label GK Machine has enlisted people like Anatolian Weapons, Youkounkoun, Puma & The Dolphin, Golden Bug & In Fields and TCB, alongside acts that have been the backbone of the label from the beginning: Sordid Sound System, Secret Circuit and Double Discone. It's a brilliant snapshot of this truly great label five years into fruition and still as vital as when it was first conceived.

          For newcomers, expect immersing dips into modern kraut, voodoo percussion workouts, digital sonic shamanism and technicoloured, over-flowing Balearica. It's a magical listen, captivating and transportative in equal measure and probably one of the strongest releases we've got in this week! 


          STAFF COMMENTS

          Matt says: Sick label this; celebrating five years of ingenuity and passion. A great snapshot of what they're about and featuring pretty much the whole roster of artists. Nice.


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