MAGIC MIX

avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 18 Sep

Genre pick of the week Cover of Tautology by El Ten Eleven.

El Ten Eleven

Tautology

    RIYL: Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, Do Make Say Think, Mogwai, Russian Circles, Minus the Bear.

    Experiencing an unexpected tragedy or loss often provokes a period of self-reflection, a time to contemplate one’s own place and purpose in the world. That was true for El Ten Eleven’s Kristian Dunn. When a beloved family member passed, Dunn found his own reflections on life emerging in the music he composed. Those expressions led to the creation of Tautology a sonic meditation on the arc of human life, composed in three parts.

    Over the course of three discs, Tautology is, in Dunn’s words, “a representation of life from the teenage years, through middle-age, until the end of life.” The sounds on the album echo Dunn’s own experiences, veering from aggressive metallic riffs to blissful ambient soundscapes. And while there are shared melodies and harmonies through all three records, each one has its own distinct qualities: Tautology I, which represents adolescence, is angsty, aggressive and occasionally depressive; Tautology II is head-noddy and mid-tempo, and represents middle age; while Tautology III, quiet and ambient, represents one’s golden years.

    Tautology is not a typical rock album, and El Ten Eleven are not a typical rock band. For seventeen years the instrumental duo of Dunn (bass/guitar) and Tim Fogarty (drums) have flourished outside the accepted norms of rock orthodoxy, releasing eight full length albums and four EPs, and performing over 750 live shows. Utilizing inventive arrangements and a masterful use of looping, El Ten Eleven create a sound much bigger than the sum of its parts. Joyful Noise Recordings will digitally release each of Tautology’s three discs, individually and in sequential order, beginning May 1st, with a physical 3LP release on September 18, 2020.

    Dunn explains there’s no right or wrong way to listen to Tautology, suggesting that a deep dive into the full project will yield rewards. “I think someone could listen to any one of the discs by themselves and have a really great experience—even if they didn't know about the others. But if they do want to go deeper, I think there will be a lot of interesting stuff to discover. It works symbolically and it all connects. I think this is the best record we've ever done.” 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Having been at the forefront of two-man post-rocking for some time now (their self titled debut was, and still is one of my favourite albums), it was a delight to see this triple LP covering all the ground they've touched on in the past 10 years or so. Starting off a lot more driven and gradually rolling towards tender, shimmering post-rock,this is a true impression of just how varied El Ten Eleven can be. Lovely.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    3xColoured LP Info: Limited to 1000 Ultra Clear Vinyl is for Indies only. Deluxe triple Gatefold packaging and comes with a download card.

    Cool Tiger

    Junction White 003 - Inc. AQXDM Remix

    Junction returns with 3 tracks by label owner Cool Tiger blending techno, breakbeat and bass music together, plus one mind-boggling remix by AQXDM (Aquarian & Deapmash).

    "Hide & Seek" opens the EP with a combination of hypnotic vocals, unstable rhythms leading to a blast of breakbeats. Aquarian and Deapmash join their forces again as AQXDM for delivering a high-intensity ravey and atmospheric remix that defies catagorization with its break-neck acceleration and half-time swagger. On the flip-side, "I Feel You" provides the most club-focused track of the EP before the grand finale "Slave" which will plunge you into a dystopian world.

    Artwork by Lucie Corbasson. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Marmite record and dare I say it, a little bit tooo wild for some of our listeners. However that AQXDM remix of "Hide & Seek" is defiantly lovable - a pneumatic drill of rhythms crushing thru impenetrable light fractals. Would absolutely demolish any main arena.

    Sarah Davachi

    Cantus, Descant

      The new Sarah Davachi record is an 80-minute, 17 track double album meditation on impermanence and endings, framed by minimalistic organ études and careful harmonic layering. On two tracks the artist’s own vocals are also heard for the first time. This is the first release on the artist’s own label, Late Music.

      The title of the record - ‘Cantus, Descant’ - has both literal and metaphorical meaning and is something of a concept album that addresses the relationship between the two. In medieval music, the Latin ‘cantus’ was used as a general term for unadorned singing or chant and by the end of the Middle Ages it came to represent the highest voice of a polyphonic choral texture, often improvised. ‘Descant’, at that time, was used in part to denote the structures of polyphony and counterpoint, the harmonious play of two or more voices against one another.

      The instrumentation is predominantly organ-based, a combination of electric organ, reed organ and a pipe organ based on a 15th Century design. These arrangements are embellished with tape-based technologies like the Mellotron and echo devices.

      Davachi comments: “The pervading effect on the album is one that gives reverence to the suspension, the epoché, a space where we welcome and attempt to reconcile impermanence. It is an opportunity to go inside - oneself, one’s sound - in order to simultaneously commune with our comforts and that which we mourn, perhaps not unlike the function of a hymn.”

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      2xColoured LP Info: Limited edition clear vinyl.

      2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Kuroi Ame

      Sacred

        Another killer outing, with Manchester's own Pure Life recordings this time teaming up with US label VILL4IN for a vinyl release of 'Sacred'.

        Dreamy, engrossing swells of synthetic ambiance and organic, shapeshifting instrumentation. 

        We see a perfectly formed collaboration between Panta Rhei and CMD094, under the nom de plume Kuroi Ame, mixing throbbing percussion beneath euphoric pads and swirls of noise, before periodically launching into a snapping dancefloor IDM, drowned in a wash of reverb and echoic modular flickers. 

        This is hugely inventive, eminently listenable and perfectly executed electronic music. An absolute gem. 

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Blue vinyl

        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.

          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."

          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.

          Valium Aggelein

          Black Moon

            Just as Duster’s landmark debut album Stratosphere was making its first orbit, Clay Parton, Dove Amber, and Jason Albertini tracked a largely improvised companion capsule under their Valium Aggelein alter ego. An ode to ’70s Kosmische, Hier Kommt Der Schwartze Mond is a skeletal space nap for the prozac generation. Remixed and remastered from the original 16 track analog tapes, the 1998 album has been adjoined by 15 period-appropriate bonus tracks. A fuzzy masterpiece, hidden in plain sight, by the most important slowcore band of all time.


            Can confirm that this is a great record housed in a great sleeve 🙌 https://t.co/8Oh9TEafby
            Mon 21st - 5:36
            💙 be quick people 🙌 https://t.co/nMeS1x3cfQ
            Mon 21st - 5:26
            💫 COMPETITION 💫 @idlesband are back with their latest album ‘Ultra Mono’ out Friday. Pre-order now to be in with a… https://t.co/CyweDMt0KV
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            Happy Monday everyone ☀️ We’re OPEN as usual today 12 - 5 for browsing, purchasing and ‘click n collect’ orders. Se… https://t.co/MkhZyXFNDz
            Mon 21st - 11:10
            Glad you could make it in and well done on getting that one ⚡️ https://t.co/ozuMIqLa2y
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