house . techno . electronica . ambient . neo-classical

WEEK STARTING 26 Feb

Genre pick of the week Cover of Invisible Cities by A Winged Victory For The Sullen.
A Winged Victory for the Sullen, the composer collaboration between Stars of the Lid founder Adam Wiltzie and L.A. composer Dustin O'Halloran, release new album ‘Invisible Cities’, the stunning score to the critically acclaimed theatre production directed by London Olympics ceremony video designer Leo Warner. Released on their own Artificial Pinearch Manufacturing label, the album comes as part of an agreement with A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s current label, Ninja Tune.

Premiering in July 2019 at the Manchester International Festival, the duo was commissioned by Warner’s 59 Productions to score the music for the 90-minute multimedia theatrical stage show, adapted from Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel, ‘Invisible Cities’. Described by The Sunday Times as “a beautiful frenzy of movement”, it fuses theatre, music, dance, architectural design and visuals and brings to life a series of fantastical places and disparate worlds, centred on the tense relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and explorer Marco Polo. Originally conceived as a touring project, it’s last performance was in Brisbane, Australia before COVID-19 changed the world as we know it.

“Four months is not a lot of time to create 90 minutes of music for a production using classical theatre, dance, & high res video mapping on a stage the size of 2 football pitches. It was a pleasure to work with 59 Productions, unlike other producers, they left the micro-managing at home, and let us get on with it. Early on in discussions with director Leo Warner it was realised that the human voice would take a central role in the score as it was essentially the only instrument we could see evolving over 600 years with a storyline that would not have the listener screaming “its Zimmertime”…,” says Wiltzie.

Transformed into 45 minutes of breathtaking beauty, ‘Invisible Cities’ opens with the numinous ‘So That the City Can Begin to Exist’, as Wiltzie and O'Halloran draw breath from distinctively enthralling and vastly expansive worlds. The ominous soundscapes of ‘The Dead Outnumber the Living’ contrast with the new beginnings that are presented in ‘Every Solstice & Equinox’, while the jagged and uneasy ‘Thirteenth Century Travelogue’ is one of tension and dread.

Elsewhere, ‘The Divided City’ captivates and intrigues while ‘Only Strings and Their Supports Remain’ and ‘There Is One of Which You Never Speak’ are bold roars for survival before the choral ambience of ‘Desires Are Already Memories’ and piercing drones of ‘Total Perspective Vortex’ bring down the curtain on a spectacular and incredibly emotive body of work.

Releasing their self-titled debut album in 2011 (Erased Tapes), A Winged Victory for the Sullen has developed something of a cult status over the past decade and alongside artists such as Max Richter, Hauschka, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Tim Hecker, are the vanguard of the neoclassical and ambient world and can count the likes of Jon Hopkins as fans.

The duo has gone on to release two further studio albums; ‘Atomos’ (Erased Tapes, 2014) and most recently ‘The Undivided Five’ (Ninja Tune, 2019) and were asked to perform at the BBC proms in 2015 by 6 Music presenter Mary Anne Hobbs. A Winged Victory for the Sullen also scored the music for the independent film ‘Iris’ (2016), directed by Jalil Lespert.

Wiltzie is best known as founding member of drone legends Stars of the Lid, The Dead Texan and Aix Em Klemm and has scored multiple film projects including ‘American Woman’ (2019) starring Sienna Miller, ‘Salero’ (2016) and The Yellow Birds (2017). In 2018, he also scored ‘Whitney’ (2018), the estate-approved documentary about the life of the late Whitney Houston, directed by Kevin Macdonald. Elsewhere, his original music has featured in Hollywood films including ‘Transformers: Dark of The Moon’ (2011), ‘Godzilla’ (2014), ‘Like Crazy’ (2011) and acclaimed TV shows including ‘House M.D’, ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘Top Boy’. He also collaborated with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson on his scores for ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014) and ‘Arrival’ (2016).

O'Halloran, a self-taught pianist from the age of 7, began his musical life as a guitarist and formed the much-loved indie rock outfit Dévics with Sara Lov, releasing four albums on Bella Union. As a solo artist, he has composed music for numerous film and television projects including Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006) and Drake Doremus’ ‘Like Crazy' (2011) starring Felicity Jones. Demand for his film scores is high and in 2015, he won an Emmy for theme music for the Golden Globe-winning Amazon series ‘Transparent’, starring Jeffrey Tambor. He has also collaborated with film composer Hauschka on numerous films, including ‘Lion’ (2016), with the score nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe. Most recently, he co-composed the music for the film ‘Ammonite’ (2020) with Volker Bertelmann, directed by Francis Lee and starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.


STAFF COMMENTS

says: There are few experiences I treasure more than popping some slow moving ambient business on the stereo and sitting down, and there are few bands that do that exact business better than AWVFTS. One of my all-time favourites return for another gorgeous suite of swelling pads and tentative piano.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Dinked Edition LP Info: • ‘Deep purple’ coloured vinyl. *
• Alternate sleeve artwork. *
• Double-sided art print designed by Davy Evans. *
• Numbered edition. *
• Limited pressing of 600.
*exclusive to Dinked Edition.

Coloured LP Info: Pressed on standard weight transparent ‘beer’ coloured vinyl, housed in a gatefold sleeve, and is exclusive to indie stores.

LP Info: Pressed on standard weight black vinyl, housed in a gatefold sleeve.

More futuristic warmth from the AD 93 camp FKA Whities. Amandra (A. Eymery) is a French artist with a smattering of very different releases over a variety of labels. Occupying the same dark, coaital corners as Smagghe and Ivkovic et al; "035" is centred around hazed fractals, encroching tension and tribal to the point of ritualistic drumming. There's plenty reliance on the electricity that powers life on Earth whislt grasping for something decidedly more ethereal and intangible. Destined for late nite play when inhabitions are at an all time low; losing yourself in the smog never sounded so good

STAFF COMMENTS

says: If and when the clubs re-open there'll be a heady outpouring of energy I reckon - big piano tracks, mainroom bangers etc etc; but what happens post 4AM when everyone's in a writhing mess of xtc-soaked-eroticism?! You need tracks like this of course!

Black vinyl pressing of the now sold out RSD 2020 reissue.

The Amorphous Androgynous unite their award winning psychedelic compilation series 'A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble (Exploding In Your Mind)' with their symphonic new single 'We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal' (taken from the forthcoming album 'Listening Beyond The Head Chakra') to create this latest installment of the Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble series. Featuring a host of luminaries such as Peter Hammill -vocals (Van Der Graaf Generator), Paul Weller -piano and guitar and erstwhile members of the Spencer Davis Group / Ian Gillan Band And Soft Machine on lead guitar and sax among a plethora of other musicians (including the Chesterfield Philharmonic choir and a full string section!) alongside collaboration & remixes with a host of bands (Atomic Simao / Higher Peaks / Regal Worm / Cobalt Chapel plus others) to create one helluva progtronic psychedelic trip through the Amorphous Androgynous samplerdelic multiverse.

Culminating at 430m of altitude, mount Aïdour has been looking over the city of Oran for centuries. Legendary tales and myths are born in this place that have been inspiring writers through generations. It is there that the seeds and the roots of this record were planted, inspiring me to tell a story as well. 4 tracks about 4 destinations through a country of splendor. From North to South, East to West, from one century to another. Based on local field recordings associated with modern machines, this is the continuation of the legends started generations ago.

Bab is a member of French collectives 404 and Pardonnez Nous. He's currently making a documentary about Algerian Raï music which led him to visit the country multiple times recently and inspired him to do this dark and haunted EP, reminiscing of Muslimgauze.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: For fans of tribal electronics, shamanic shit and witching hour weirdness! Bab from 404 takes a little inspiration from Algerian Raï and early Muslimgauze to create the loose, lysergic and low tempo pulse of this solo EP.

Ever since he debuted on Origo/Apollo with the groundbreaking ’Microgravity’, now thirty years ago, Geir Jenssen has been a major force in ambient techno, steadily building a catalogue that’s rivalled only by few.

After three wonderful albums on Biophon (2018’s ’The Hilvarenbeek Recordings’, that has Jenssen samplng a broad palette of Dutch farm sounds is a total store favorite) the Norwegian maestro has now landed on AD 93 with a thoroughly unique album.

Originally composed in 2019 for Uncoordinated Dog, a dance production by the Norwegian Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt, It features twelve tracks based on Beethoven’s infamous String Quartet No. 14 - a piece that Beethoven himself considered to be one of the best works he ever composed.

Jenssen manipulates and morphs the classical masterpiece into something entirely his own, giving the string harmonies a thin veil of Northern light on the first four parts before catapulting the German giant into space on the fifth and sixth movements.

Proceedings get downright depressed on the heavy-hearted seventh movement ‘As Pale As A Pearl’ (which is, of course, not necessarily a bad thing), before Jenssen loops up some of the fourteenth most recognizable micro-melodies into two of the most striking pieces on the album in a way that resembles Akira Rabelais’ approach on the classic ‘Spellewauerynsherde’ and ‘Eisoptrophobia’ albums.

It’s those two tracks (‘Faith and Reverence’ and ‘Unclouded Splendor’) that form the heart of this ominous and at times pitch-dark album that has Jenssen successfully crossing over from Nordic ambient to avantgarde postmodern classical. And although ‘Angel’s Flight’ may not be for everyone, it’s one of his most accomplished albums to date and one of the most interesting albums to come out this year so far.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Stark & chilling ambiance from a well-regarded stalwart of the scene. Could have done with being released about a month ago if you ask me - when that Winter darkness is all-encompassing and impossible to escape. However, there's some neo-classical flurries here that should pair well with the rising optimism of Spring...

Blanck Mass

In Ferneaux

    What is the utility of pain? Can it do anything but fester? In Ferneaux explores pain in motion, building audio-spatial chambers of experience and memory. Using an archive of field recordings from a decade of global travels, isolation gave Blanck Mass an opportunity to make connections in a moment when being together is impossible. The record is divided into two long-form journeys that gather the memories of being with now-distant others through the composition of a nostalgic travelogue. The journeys are haunted with the vestiges of voices, places, and sensations. These scenes alternate with the building up and releasing of great aural tension, intensities that emerge from the trauma of a personal grieving process which has perhaps embraced its rage moment.

    An encounter with a prophetic figure on the streets of San Francisco presented the question of “how to handle the misery on the way to the blessing.” This is the quandary of the impasse we now all find ourselves in, trapped in our little caves, grappling with the unease of the self at rest – without movement, without the consumerist agenda of “new experiences.” The possibility of growth, always defined by our connections with others, held in limbo. Sartre said that “Hell is other people,” but perhaps this is the Inferno of the present: the space of sitting with the self.

    A blessing is often thought of as a future reward, above and beyond the material plane. With In Ferneaux, Blanck Mass wrangles the immanent materials of the here-and-now to build a sense of transcendence. Here, the uncanny angelic hymn sits comfortably beside the dirge. The misery and blessing are one.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: If you know Blanck Mass, you know that his uncompromising mix of hypnotic synthy OPN business oft turns into an all-encompassing wall of tectonic noise and spine-tingling euphoric washes. Those of you who don't will find exactly that here, but constantly and perfectly progressing in both timbre and scope. It's intoxicating and unmissable stuff, Blanck Mass is never anything but.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Magenta LP.

    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    “Do you feel what I feel too?” Brijean Murphy floats the question at the start of Feelings, the full-length Ghostly International debut from Brijean, her collaborative project with Doug Stuart. Guided by a lush mix of charismatic keyboard chords, grooving bass lines, and radiant bongo-driven rhythms, the “Day Dreaming” lyric doubles as an invitation and a statement of intention. Brijean want you to move, physically, mentally, dimensionally; this is dance music for the mind, body, and soul. With Feelings, they’ve manifested a gentle collective space for respite, for self-reflection, for self-care, for uninhibited imagination and new possibilities. The album cultivates a specific vibe, a softness Murphy has come to call “romancing the psyche.”

    Growing up in a family immersed in jazz, Latin and soul music, Murphy would become an accomplished DJ, session and live player in Oakland’s diverse music scene and one of indie’s most in-demand percussionists (Poolside, Toro Y Moi, U.S. Girls). In 2018, she began recording songs with multi-instrumentalist and producer Doug Stuart, who shares a background in jazz and pop in bands such as Bells Atlas, Meernaa, and Luke Temple. Following their first sessions, which resulted in the mini-album Walkie Talkie (released in 2019 on Native Cat Recordings), the duo continued freeform hangs in Oakland, inviting friends Chaz Bear, Tony Peppers, and Hamir Atwal. “We improvised on different feels for hours,” says Murphy. “Nothing quite developed at first but we had seeds. We re-opened the sessions a couple months later, after returning from tours, and spent a month developing the songs in a little 400 square foot cottage.”

    Aforementioned album opener “Day Dreaming” is a dynamic celebration of newness: the excitement in finding deeper understandings of yourself as you get to know someone, something, or somewhere new. “Wifi Beach” drops a pin in pure psych-pop exotica. With Atwal on drums, Stuart on bass, Peppers on keys, and Bear engineering, the group impro- vised the track’s intro sequence based on the vision of a lavish 1970s pool party. Establishing the scene is a mid-frequency drum kit disco shuffle augmented by tight congas and timbale effect, as Murphy sings in spurts: “I want to be / Deep in love / I want to be / Say you love me too / I want to be / Honey.” The stanzas cut between “reflective moments of wants and being overwhelmed by feelings of the present,” she explains. “A lot of the ‘love songs’ I write are to my psyche, self-reflections on how to encourage tender perspectives and make more time for the sweet stuff.”

    Though there is a loose, dance-oriented motif throughout, the material gives way to somnolent turns. On “Ocean,” Brijean’s anodyne lyrics, remi- niscent of Astrud Gilberto’s airy croon, float atop a brushed drum pattern, sparkling rhodes lines, and pittering and softly funky woodblock bops. The opening line sets up the rest, “In this gentle space we lay” — among the album’s propensity for movement, tracks like “Ocean” stand out by leaning back for momentary sways of blissful introspection. Murphy calls the charming “Hey Boy” a “psychedelic guide — the exploration of finding what feels good — through sorrow, anxiety, apathy.” This mentality ap- plies to Feelings on the whole: in these nebulous and verdant worlds of hazy melodies, feathery hooks, and percussive details, the songs simply want us to feel alive. They radiate in wonderful abandon and with a sense of devotion to the self.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Lava lamp - blue and pink swirl vinyl. Limited to 200 copies.

    Cabaret Voltaire is Richard H. Kirk and "Shadow of Fear" was the band’s first studio album in 26 years and was released in 2020 to critical acclaim.

    The single "Shadow of Funk" delves deeper into Cabaret Voltaire’s arsenal of 'vocal samples, harsh rhythms and threatening detonations' (Classic Pop).

    Industrialized dancefloor darkness for the shadow lurkers and futurist primates.

    Limited edition coloured vinyl with hi-def downloads as accompaniment.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured 12" Info: Curacao coloured Vinyl.

    Camera

    Prosthuman

      With the band’s tenth anniversary in their viewfinder, CAMERA release “Prosthuman”, their fifth studio album. As befits an age in which realities can change in the blink of an eye, from one day to the next, the Berlin band never tire of changing themselves, their music or personnel.

      As Karlheinz Stockhausen noted: “New methods change the experience. New experiences change man.”

      Taking this as their lead, Michael Drummer (the drummer) and CAMERA surprise us once more on “Prosthuman” as they reinvent and reformulate their sound without sacrificing the project’s identity which has matured over the past decade. Less surprising is the fact that some record stores give CAMERA their own section, alongside Krautrock pioneers like NEU!, Can and La Düsseldorf. “Emotional Detox”, the predecessor to this album, was distinguished by the presence of two keyboard virtuosos (Steffen Kahles and CAMERA founder member Timm Brockmann). Finding replacements for “Prosthuman” was, as Michael Drummer stresses, “a difficult process.” The two keyboardists had – in different creative periods – formed the backbone of a band structure otherwise prone to fluctuations. Decisive input came from an unlikely source: Tim Schroeder, who first teamed up with CAMERA as a performance and video artist on their six-week tour of the USA in 2017.

      Over the course of various jams and recording sessions, he was able to offer ample proof of his synthesizers skills. Alex Kozmidi, a musician and composer with a flair for experimentation, completed the triumvirate on guitar, with Michael Drummer adding his own guitar riffs here and there. Change and friction can be useful allies in pursuit of creativity, something to which Drummer has grown accustomed as the only ever-present member of CAMERA. The pleasures and pain of isolation – suddenly a mass phenomenon in pandemic times – are well known to the quasi frontman of the group. Over the years, he has spent many hours alone or with a shifting cast of co-musicians in the band’s basement studio, beneath a former factory site in a less than hip southern district of Berlin. Virus-induced social distancing and quarantine measures that came into force during the recording process (June 2019 to June 2020) thus posed no great challenge.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: It's always a delight when something hits the shelves from Bureau B. This time sees Camera revisiting their familiar heady kosmische groove, albeit with different staff. Drummer and Schroeder here perfect the warmingly organic duality of synthesiser and live percussion, resulting in a fluid but cohesive build and release narrative and a hypnotic, rhythmic nod.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      2xDinked Edition LP Info: • Orange vinyl *
      • Exclusive bonus 12” with remixes by Lloyd Cole, The Telescopes, Love-Songs, Dead Skeletons, Extnddntwrk (Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods) *
      • Neon orange print sleeve *
      • Limited pressing of 400 *
      * Exclusive to Dinked Edition

      Self-styled ‘house husband, record producer’, DMX Krew, continues his effortless stretch of releases that date back to the early 90s, with a new album for Hypercolour.

      His deft melodies and mechanical, electro-tinged beats have made for some classic albums in his repertoire, from his incredible run of albums for Rephlex Records, up to 2020’s ’Ghost Bubbles’ long player for Terrestrial Funk. And so ‘Loose Gears’ marks DMX Krew’s fourth album for British stalwarts, Hypercolour, and fans will not be disappointed.

      Armed with an arsenal of hardware, and a head full of futuristic visions, ‘Loose Gears’ collects eleven tracks of the customary quality we have come to expect from DMX Krew.

      From the funk laden ‘Solar Transit’ to bleepy chugger ‘Dejected Ambient Twerp’, the vibrant synths and spongy rhythms of ‘Torpedo Tube’ to the beatless wiggle of ‘Xpansion 2’, there’s much in store to be savoured on ‘Loose Gears’, as DMX Krew serves up another fine selection of electronic goodies.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: Producers as prolific as Ed DMX are a rarity; but often have the luxury of simply dipping into their hard drives when a label come knocking for releases. It's more a question of curation than actually mining for content. Here, Hypercolour have done an excellent job of sequencing a plethora of tracks across an extensive period resulting in a tasty double pack from this industrious workhouse.

      Frits Wentink & Erik Madigan Heck

      Safe Passage

      It is often said that the best art comes out of adversity, and so it is that producer Frits Wentink, photographer Erik Madigan Heck and actress Tilda Swinton have collaborated on Safe Passage, a fascinating audio-visual project born out of loss. Consisting of classical, choral, and electronic music in three movements, the gatefold album presented with a 40 page booklet of additional photographs and paintings.
      Dutch producer and renowned innovator Frits Wentink helms the Will & Ink and Bobby Donny labels, builds synthesizers and beautiful controllers, and puts out always experimental, left of centre house music that pushes at the boundaries. This project initially started out as him attempting to musically illustrate the photography of American visual artist Erik Madigan Heck. The internationally renowned Heck is known for a lavish and experimental use of colour that has won him the prestigious International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award as well as make him a regular contributor to high profile media such as The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar.

      Midway through the project, Eriks mother was hospitalised due to breast cancer complications before also contracting Covid-19. By her bedsides and as a means to ease her passage, he repetitively played the first portion of the score, and then, once she passed, he decided to commemorate the music's function as a soundtrack for her transition to afterlife by naming it Safe Passage. The involvement of Academy Award–winning Scottish actress Tilda Swinton has lent the music an extra dimension of spirituality: throughout the album, she interjects whispered fragments of Heck’s poetry, blurring the lines between one phase of music and the next.

      The music has three movements across two sides: Side A, Safe, has a sense of hope and reflection as it undulates from minimalist string and brass arrangements to ambient and dissonant classical piano. Side B, Passage, then depicts the start of the transition into the afterlife as the voices of a choral madrigal ensemble gradually diverge, then break down entirely before a grand tonal expansion leads into a frenzied crescendo of choral vocals, hardened dub techno and anxious rhythms that convey the violence of the soul’s exit from this world. Finally, a cathartic Epilogue resets and bids farewell with the gentle sounds of a piano.

      Because of the global on-going loss of life as a result of Covid-19, Safe Passage has become a soundtrack in which many people will find solace as they remember the sad transitions made from this life to the next during this unprecedented time in history.

      Black vinyl pressing of the now sold out RSD 2020 reissue. 'Cascade' was first released in 1993 reaching a chart position of 27. A whopping 26 years later FSOL rebuilt and created 10 new compositions inspired by the original to celebrate RSD 2020. Now, due to popular demand, this superb LP is back on vinyl - so don't miss out again!

      Horse Meat Disco grace Glitterbox Recordings with their first-ever full-length album “Love & Dancing”, a joyous, 14-track collection of the nightlife titans’ exquisite productions. The four-strong DJ collective of Luke Howard, Severino Panzetta, James Hillard and Jim Stanton started their disco shenanigans on New Year’s Day, 2004 at The Eagle, Vauxhall and over the 16 years since, their nightlife tenure has seen them become a global brand. With residences in Berlin, New York, Lisbon, and their London bedrock, as well as regular appearances at Glitterbox parties across the globe, the group has become one of the most revered and adored acts on the international club circuit.

      “Love & Dancing” is the culmination of seven years’ work, fashioned from the demos the four have been working on simply for the love of making music. Free of cover versions and lazy samples, it is documentary evidence that disco has a present and future every bit the platinum-grade equal of its storied past.

      Working with an array of A-List collaborators including founding member of Sister Sledge Kathy Sledge, acid jazz pioneer N'Dea Davenport, rising star Fiorious and the inimitable trio Dames Brown. Highlights from the LP include the adored Glitterbox anthems “Let’s Go Dancing” and “Falling Deep In Love”, the laid-back disco jam “Message To The People”, collaboration with The Phenomenal Handclap Band “Sanctuary” and the irresistibly soulful “Home” featuring Atlanta songstress Hadiya George. “Love & Dancing” is an album to get lost in, flawlessly arranged, produced and curated from start to finish.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: A pleasure to see these cats evolve into a global-adored sensation. They've produced a really strong album here; rivalling other pop-disco offerings from Roisin Murphy and Crazy P. Not only is it jam packed with collaborations and pleasantly loaded with tracks there's a depth and variety prevalent across the whole LP proving that HMD are here for a long time to come. One of those records your living room will thankyou for purchasing...

      Turbulent synths ooze and oscillate, roaming like searchlight beacons across darkened shores. The experimental and idiosyncratic sound of duo Inkasso explores the feeling of being cast adrift in disorientating, mechanical worlds. In the studio, the pair jam with drills, string instruments, field recordings and everyday objects to create a hypnotic cacophony. Hear the penny drop on ‘Asso,’ chains rattle on ‘Träume aus Draht;’ the junglist murk of ‘Tag der Imker,’ and the sharp, crystalline beat of ‘Punkervirtel.’ Inkasso invites you to get lost in the uncanny spaces between dub, drone and techno; static introspection and the primal desire to dance.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: I first encountered Inkasso through a couple of killer contributions to the essential Kashual Plastik imprint, and it makes perfect sense for the equally fearless Osàre! Editions to host their debut LP. Drifting between dub, experimental electronics, cosmic chaos and that next gen club shit a la Canomdomblé and OK! Spirit, this is what you should be listening to instead of those IDM reissues...

      Pointing a lubed middle finger in the general direction of Brexit, London and Amsterdam connect for this lush effin record! UK legend IG Culture brings some London bruk boogie to the mix of "Believe" as LCSM, the afro-futuristic jazz venture known as Likwid Continual Space Motion. Super smooth and shimmering with spiritual frequencies, this cut skips onto the dance floor, its carefree poise disguising the complex balance between persistence and sensitivity. A joint release between Dopeness Galore and INI Movement originator Shamis.

      “One for the real heads, made for dance floors in dim basements”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: 'Believe' is giving me life right now! Soulful vocals, jazzy keys and some gurgling bass for the Thundercat fans. Then you get the ace LCSM mixes for when you want a lockdown boogie. Perfect!

      Lord Of The Isles

      Skylark - Inc. Linkwood / Tourist Kid Remixes

      We often find there are two types of artists. One internalises their process, endlessly perfecting their work while finding the endpoint a massive hurdle, and in turn producing immaculate yet very little art. The other is continuously inspired, so full of ideas they can barely work fast enough to articulate them all.

      The art becomes by-product of their larger trajectory and not just a collection of endpoints. Lord Of The Isles a.k.a. Neil McDonald seems to be both. He’s always in an evolving state of process where work is constantly shed to make way for a new layer growing beneath, yet he holds his cards closely, cherrypicking when and with whom he releases that work into the world.

      Neil is simply prolific. In 2016 he shared with us a vast catalog of unheard beauty, which over a long span of time was collaboratively shaped into his debut album In Waves. In the span between the album release and now, Neil has performed on a number of ESP Institute label showcases from Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Berlin, and released a few efforts with our peers, but all throughout he’s been holed up working on his sophomore album [sigh].

      Though patience has become a sort of meditation during this global upsidedown, we couldn’t help but squeeze out an interim release to uphold the fantasy. So, four years after the release of In Waves, we’re proud to present a very long-winded follow-up single for the album’s monster track Skylark.

      Accompanied by a previously unreleased album cut entitled OmniMulti, the single also touts two glorious remixes; a sunkissed version by fellow esteemed Scotsman Linkwood and an atmospheric dismantling by Melbourne hopeful Tourist Kid. You see, good things come to those who wait.



      Lost Souls Of Saturn (Seth Troxler and Phil Moffa) launch their new label ‘Holoverse Research Labs’ as the hub for both LSOS’s audio transmissions and their adventures in media and technology.

      The first release [HRL 001] presents special interpretations of Lost Souls Of Saturn’s eponymous debut album by the legendary Pépé Bradock. ’Cycloned by Pépe Bradock’ finds Lost Souls of Saturn, in the words of Bradock, “Dreamed, Weighted and Micro-Waved”. This is the album shattered into pieces and brought back together into new forms as the parts and files fall. Deconstruction or reconstruction? It’s unclear. What’s tangible is that the new tracks are very special, with Pépé bringing his unique talents to the control room / operating table.

      “Bouillabaisse From Space Remix” is the sound of Pepe singlehandedly launching the French space program to find lost dance floors deep in our own cerebral cortex. “Pacific Limbo Bonus Beat” channels more of the same. This is head music for the dance floor. No amateurs.

      Further remixes of tracks from the ‘Lost Souls of Saturn’ album are to follow in March from Mathew Jonson, Freedom Engine and Carl Craig.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: House maverick Pepe B takes Lost Souls Of Saturn into deep space here, dissolving their debut LP and reshaping it into a nebulous house masterpiece. As ever, the sound design is simply unique as spheric bass, techy keys, choral vox and crisp percussion peer out through the celestial fog.

      Madlib

      Sound Ancestors (Arranged By Kieran Hebden) - Alternative Artwork Edition

        VERY LIMITED 180GM VERSION OF THE MADLIB ALBUM ON TEXT WITH DIFFERENT ARTWORK.

        Gil Evans to Miles Davis…. Holger Czukay to the ensemble known as Can….Jean Claude Vannier to Serge Gainsbourg on Histoire de Melody Nelson. That’s the only way to explain the specificity of Four Tet and Madlib’s collaboration, in this special album that showcases a two-decade long friendship that has resulted in an album that follows Madlib’s classics like Quasimoto’s The Unseen, Madvillainy and his Pinata and Bandana albums with Freddie Gibbs.

        “A few months ago I completed work on an album with my friend Madlib that we’d been making for the last few years. He is always making loads of music in all sorts of styles and I was listening to some of his new beats and studio sessions when I had the idea that it would be great to hear some of these ideas made into a Madlib solo album. Not made into beats for vocalists to use but instead arranged into tracks that could all flow together in an album designed to be listened to start to finish. I put this concept to him when we were hanging out eating some nice food one day and we decided to work on this together with him sending me tracks, loops, ideas and experiments that I would arrange, edit, manipulate and combine. I was sent hundreds of pieces of music over a couple of years stretch and during that time I put together this album with all the parts that fitted with my vision.” Kieren Hebden AKA Four Tet.

        Mouse On Mars

        AAI

          Mouse on Mars, the Berlin-based duo of Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma, approach electronic music with an inexhaustible curiosity and unparalleled ingenuity. ‘AAI’ (Anarchic Artificial Intelligence) takes their fascination with technology and undogmatic exploration a quantum leap further.

          Emerging from a primordial ooze of rolling bass and skittering electronics, hypnotic polyrhythms and pulsing synthesizers propel the listener across the record’s expanse. Hidden in the duo’s hyper-detailed productions is a kind of meta-narrative.

          Working with AI tech collective Birds on Mars and former Soundcloud programmers Ranny Keddo and Derrek Kindle, the duo collaborated on the creation of bespoke software capable of modelling speech; text and voice from writer and scholar of African Studies Louis Chude-Sokei and DJ/producer Yağmur Uçkunkaya were fed into the software as a model, allowing Toma and Werner to control parameters like speed or mood, thereby creating a kind of speech instrument they could control and play as they would a synthesizer.

          The album’s narrative is quite literally mirrored in the music - the sound of an artificial intelligence growing, learning and speaking. This exploration of artificial intelligence as both a narrative framework and compositional tool, allowing the duo to summon their most explicitly science-fiction work to date.

          Original artwork by Casey Reas, inventor of the computer graphics language Processing.

          Recently, Mouse on Mars received the 2020 Holger Czukay Prize for Pop Music.

          Mouse on Mars have been regularly streaming performances throughout 2020, partnering with organizations like Goethe-Institut, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Conditions of a Necessity and others and will continue these in 2021.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xColoured LP Info: Limited edition grey vinyl.

          Planningtorock

          PlanningtoChanel

            Collaboration between Planningtorock AKA Jam Rostron and Chanel sound director Michel Gaubert, the songs found on ‘PlanningtoChanel’ soundtracked the legendary Parisian fashion house’s Autumn-Winter 2020 show earlier this year.

            “I always felt that Jam incorporates operatic and cinematic elements to their unique sound,” Gaubert explains. “The Chanel show was inspired by French cinema from the 70’s and 80’s and Planningtorock blessed the show with their sound and gave birth to ‘PlanningtoChanel’.”

            “I love working with Michel. He’s a such legend with a brilliant ear for music and a very big heart!” says Rostron of the collaboration. “Creating the music for the Chanel show was such an exciting challenge. From the inspiring references that Michel gave me I set out to make music that had a sense of urgent elegance that was then punctuated with dramatic pitched queer voices driving the drama.”

            Patience, Violet ,and Pinky recorded their first Album in 1992. Knowing each other from the music scene, the back up singers turned friends teamed up with Emmanuel Diale and signed with Mob Music to embark on their music career as their own act. The first two albums were straight African Disco, A leftover sound of the 80's that some had still hoped to capitalize on. By the time they released their third album Why O Nketsa so Baby, loosely translated to "Why are you doing this to me Baby", Kwaito was still called either Disco or International House, and it was new sound that was taking over. The third album was influenced by the Shangaan sound made largely popular by artists like Penny Penny and Peta Teanet. Looking back now, at the time Mob Music was really leading the pack with this new sound. Being one of the last labels to have official releases with artwork and a group of young talented producers given full creative freedom they pushed the sound in a way only few other labels of that time can be given the same credit.

            For their fourth and final album on Mob Music they worked with legendary producer/songwriter Malcom "X" Makume. With three years of songwriting experience and stellar talent behind the desk the result was the LP "Malende". Eight tracks that would combine the early kwaito sound with the more uptempo International House topped off with productions heavily inspired by what had been slowly making its way from Chicago over the last 10 years. At the time they had some success and to this day are well known amongst the real heads.

            The girls would go on to record one final album once their contract with Mob was up and then after a 5 album catalog would hang up their matching outfits for work a in a newly free South Africa. They remain friends to this day.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            says: La Casa Tropical save you some serious haggling on the Tropical Record Sales group, lending PVP's butter smooth and soulful fourth album the reissue treatment. Varying speed between the low slung groove of kwaito and steady stomp of more traditional house, this energetic set combines the exuberant SA sound with superior songwriting, rightfully earning its place at the top of the collectors' wantlists.

            Smerz

            Believer

              Norwegian duo Smerz have announced the release of ‘Believer’, their forthcoming debut album that pushes Smerz far beyond their previous EP releases, 2017’s Okey and 2018’s Have Fun. Since releasing the ‘Believer’ trailer back in October 2020 followed by a video for the tracks ‘I don’t talk about that much/Hva hvis’, the duo of Catharina Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt have slowly revealed a new auditory world. The duo meld sonic touchstones from their youth, like musicals and classical music, with swirling, trance-indebted synth lines and hip-hop plus R&B vocals that is distinctly Smerz.

              Last fall the duo performed at Oslo’s Ultima festival; in early 2020 they scored a performance by Carte Blanche, the Norwegian national company of contemporary dance, as well as performed at Mira festival in collaboration with legendary visual maverick Weirdcore.




              Pauline Anna Strom

              Angel Tears In Sunlight

                Angel Tears in Sunlight is Pauline Anna Strom’s first album in over thirty years; an assemblage of music that refracts the expansiveness, and minutiae, of imagined realms while embracing the kaleidoscopic echoes of our distant epochs. The capacity to collapse time might elucidate the enigma of Pauline Anna Strom. A mystic force in music, emerging during the dawn of new age as the Trans-Millenia Consort, the pioneering synthesist channelled primordial energies into future-facing sound through a series of full-length releases between 1982 and 1988.

                Little was known about her, except by a constellation of devoted followers who saw a unique legacy forming amidst the (mostly male) synthesist canon of the time. Following the 2017 release of Trans-Millenia Music, an anthology revitalizing the most evocative parts of Strom’s catalog, the Bay Area visionary sensed the universe telling her to return to music. As with her work in the 80s, Angel Tears in Sunlight was composed and recorded in the same San Francisco apartment where Strom has lived for almost four decades in synthesis with her machines and “dinosaurs.” Populated by a compact array of modern instruments that streamline the sound of her analog past and her beloved iguanas, Little Soulstice and Ms Huff, the terrarium of her home forms an intimate yet limitless ecosystem that defies the constraints of the outside world. Within this sanctuary, Strom becomes lost in time, drawing on the ancient energies of her inner visions. Her hardware forms the crux of translating these ideas into sound. “It’s the only way this stuff can be pulled out of myself, the universe, Little Soulstice, an ammonite…,” Strom notes. “It couldn’t be done without this machinery, because there’s no other way to draw and capture these frequencies into sonic interpretation.” Strom’s process of recording transient live-takes enriches the mystery of her work. She renders the machinery a composer itself, a cohabitation with a living other. “Many musicians wouldn’t go that far because of ego,” Strom muses. “The equipment has to become part of you and your creativity.

                That’s how I think it all comes together.” Music-making becomes a harmonic language of intuition with an instrument, where Strom cultivates sound for a harvest that defies season. Shaped by circadian contours, Angel Tears in Sunlight is a celestial observatory of earthborn phonic mosaics. Strom uncovers a symbiosis between hardware frequencies and apparitions of nature in the record’s arena of organic tones, emulating the melodic pulses of primeval terrain. The album transcends both shadow and light, falling to hushed stretches of sound as if not to awaken antediluvian animals, before soaring through the treetops where ancient skies peer over reptilian traffic and unsparing rains. Where Angel Tears in Sunlight opens a new passage in the transportive power of Strom’s work, the synthesist also nurtures space for restorative listening. During her absence from composing, Strom turned to a practice of spiritual healing, which she recognizes to have deepened her understanding of music as “the connective link between the source and us.” Dedicating the album to her dear friend John Jennings who passed away during the making of Angel Tears in Sunlight, Strom titled the work to reflect the summation of processing life and loss, collapsed together in an eternal spectrum. “Sunlight represents what we’re coming into.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Limited edition clear / red / yellow swirled vinyl.

                Rian Treanor's "Obstacle Scattering EP" arrives in a flurry of disorienting rhythmic bursts and de-purposed rave hallmarks. The four-track EP follows the Yorkshire producer's acclaimed "File Under UK Metaplasm", an album that welded elements from the UK's sprawling dance music history with genre-breaking sounds from further afield. Here, Rian goes straight for the jugular with four tracks assembled specifically for the dancefloor. Playing with 'the idea of sound being an obstacle that you have to get your body around,' each track on the EP presents a suite of complications for adventurous ravers. "Obstacle 1" folds the influence of SND into a hi-nrg singeli framework, simmering lush FM synths in a broth of tangled kicks; "Obstacle 2" was written for Rian's set at 2019's Aphex Twin-curated Warehouse Project and distills his early obsession with Planet Mu in hyperactive squelches that deftly flit between brutalist glitches and ear-pummeling bass. Meanwhile irradiant chords continuously refract a bouncing 4x4 groove on "Obstacle 3", subtly shifting the focus as they alternate and interlock. Closer "Obstacle 4" switches things up once again, deploying the idea of pause and effect with staccato stabs that follow whirls of modulated synth. These four obstacles are DJ tools with spikes - selected grooves that don't fit anywhere except together, mapping out Rian's constantly-shifting relationship with both the club and the legacy of boundary-pushing dance music. They feverishly demonstrate the outer limits of a streamlined sonic palette, devastating speakers and dancefloors in equal measure.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                says: I feel like my head's been turned inside out, sandblasted, jet-washed and put through the tumble drier before being ironed back out. A cerebral-irrigation if you needed one. Fuckin' mega.

                Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan

                Interim Report, March 1979

                  “Interim Report, March 1997” by Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan is Gordon Chapman Fox’s hymn and homage to the brutalist beauty of Cheshire’s designated new towns of Warrington and Runcorn.

                  Chapman-Fox grew up in Lancashire, and having been a frequent user of the famous Preston Bus Station in his youth, he was struck by the enormous chasm between the sixties architects utopian vision for what new towns should be and the sticky-floored, piss-streaked reality. He explains: “The more I looked into it, the appeal of these visionary architects grew. It felt like perhaps the most visionary building projects of all post war Britain were some of the estates built in Warrington and Runcorn new towns, these twin towns on either side of the Mersey. The estates of Runcorn were space-age futurist with external plumbing, rounded windows and raised walkways. But as housing, they were a failure. Runcorn was the last great UK modernist, futurist building project built with a community in mind. “Interim Report, March 1979” looks at this interim, this gap between vision and reality.”

                  At the time of recording the album, he says, “It seemed like there were a lot of ersatz-soundtracks to lost John Carpenter films, or obscure giallo “classics”. I preferred to find inspiration from the surreality of the mundane, hence the creation of Warrington Runcorn New Town Development Plan. 1979 seemed the perfect point to be located in time, sitting on the razor’s edge between the post-war consensus and the dawn of Thatcherism. As the concept took hold, I tried to format the music according to the capabilities of a small, provincial recording studio in 1979. I limited the number of instruments available, the number of tracks available and so on. This really helped to shape the album and anchor the concept. As a teenager, I was into rock and looking for ever more extreme sounds - AC/DC gave way to Metallica gave way to Carcass. But by the 90s I heard Warp artists and that was me hooked. What they were doing could be far more brutal than anything by four sweaty long-haired guys with guitars. But it could also be funky, beautiful, ethereal, melodic and so much more.” It’s that ethereality and true sense of time and place that Chapman-Fox has captured so well here. “1979 marked a change in the political and wider culture of British society. The Warrington- Runcorn development marks the swan song of post-war urban planning in the UK – soon the ethos of building better communities would be replaced by Thatcherite “no such thing as society” and “Greed is good” mentality. And look where that got us…“

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Coloured LP Info: Ltd yellow vinyl with insert.

                  While festivals on grass are suspended, festivals on vinyl are in full swing. Filament brings you their third VA which recounts those summer moments as envisioned by Glowing Palms, Super Drama, Ghostwhip and their own Filament Deejays. Expect everything from eastern-infused disco & tropicalities, to woozy italo and UK garage.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  says: Tasty four track sampler from the Filament camp here - coming hot off the blocks with a MEGA Bollywood disco cut up from the label heads, before Glowing Palms and Super Drama drop show stealing excursions into exotic Italo and New Beat respectively.


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                  Don’t forget that @maximopark are doing their 4 hour marathon signing live stream tonight 5 - 9 and you still have… https://t.co/jayiyC3QU0
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                  A message from @maximopark about their new album which is out now on @prolifica https://t.co/LyB6d6GecD) https://t.co/Qo8Mp9jqQN
                  Mon 1st - 2:29
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