MAGIC MIX

house . techno . electronica . ambient . neo-classical

WEEK STARTING 21 Jun

Genre pick of the week Cover of The Lonely Machine by John Shima.
Hailing from the heartland of British techno, Sheffield’s John Shima is one of the leading lights of UK electronics. His beautifully crafted sounds have graced a host of imprints including Distant Worlds, Exalt Records and, of course, FireScope. It is to the latter that Shima returns with his long awaited debut album, "The Lonely Machine".

John Shima is a master melody weaver, with this first LP attesting to his deftness of touch. Celestial chords and star gazing synthwork permeate this ten track odyssey. The musical heritage of Shima’s hometown, the elegance, majesty and subtlety of British electronics, is invoked from the needle drop. A range of influences come to the fore in this 2LP. Skirting around the edges of astral ambience and tonal texture are nods to industrial history, the rasp and resonance of rhythms in “Empires”, with the inspiration of Detroit surfacing in the future funk of “Phase Distortion” and “Linear.” Dreamscapes are painted in delicate hues, the fragile movements of “Accepting”, with brooding works adopting thicker basslines and ruffled notes as with “Distrust.” Nevertheless, it is the incandescent brightness of Lonely Machine that truly shines. Radiant pieces of elating electronics, complex and joyful compositions that chime with unbridled hope and open-hearted optimism.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Anyone chatting to me over the counter or seeing me play records will know by now I'm a BIG fan of John Shima. Poised, elegant, delicate nuances pepper all his productions, each one an instantly recognizable, crafted masterpiece. Check you're a fan of RX-101, Reel By Real, Octave One, Radioactive Man etc. Wrought iron sonics, galvanized in Sheffield 4 our listening pleasure!

100 Hz

Whisper / Funkin

Released in 2000 on London's cult Oblong label, 100HZ's sublime "Whisper / Funkin" is back via Mint Condition. If you were doing the rounds in Soho back in the day, you will have undoubtedly copped some fine records from Berwick Street's Vinyl Junkies shop. The Oblong label was heavily connected to the shop and to Bushwacka's equally cult Plank record label. 100HZ were one part of a pool producers connected to these crews and the burgeoning tech-house scene that was making waves at the turn of the millennium in the capital. Deep, sparse, taut and melodic production, strange sounds and left-field sonics, these were the ingredients of these extremely inventive and original UK sounds. Elements of breaks, garage, Detroit techno and more all fused to create a truly groundbreaking sound. Since '89, 100HZ's Lee Renacre and James Chapman managed to craft a few classics, "Whisper" and "Funkin" are just two of them! The A-side is a sleek, melodic cut with phased, AM-radio vox, an internal monologue touching on the stresses of modern city life and escapism. Side-B is some ultra hyper electronic funk. Stripped back production, killer drum programming and THAT bassline sequece: the sound of gliding through a futuristic metropolis in cruise control! Highly polished and progressive late-night house sounds right here. Essential all round! The real sound of London circa the millennium. Check it.

A Sagittariun’s third album chronicles the journey back to Telepathic Heights; an expedition that encounters many obstacles along the way. The feuding parties of the two planets make for a journey of determination and self-discovery for our techno lone ranger that will ultimately deliver him to the sacred site on which Telepathic Heights stands.
Conceived as a space western soundtrack to the cinematic interpretation of this tale, "Return To Telepathic Heights" delivers ten chapters that journal the ultimate mission to reach the imposing tower of Telepathic Heights, where dream telepathy has become the primary communicative tool amongst its peaceful and harmonious community who have opted out of the planetary war that continues to rage, seemingly with no armistice anytime soon.
The score fittingly winds its way through the trials and tribulations of this journey, blending minimal and harmonic rhythms, industrial funk, dreamy synthwave and transcendental techno into the rich tapestry of music that documents the Return To Telepathic Heights.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: If you're one of the few lucky customers who bagged a Space Dimension Controller LP a couple of weeks back, or one of the many customers bearing a grudge, you should check this beauty from A Sagittariun out. Not only do you get plenty of bass synth squiggle, percussive snap and icy leadlines from this floor filling set, you also get the bona fide E-funk smash "Lazer Battle At The OK Coral".

Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratories

Portal - Original Video Game Soundtrack

The music to Portal by Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratories (Mike Morasky) is incredibly dense, featuring super atmospheric ambient soundscapes that you can literally get lost in, recalling such ambient pioneers as Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. It also features the incredible ear worm of 'Still Alive', an absolutely charming pop song that once heard is never forgotten! This limited edition record is housed in a deluxe, debossed, 'Magic Wallet' style jacket designed by design wizard Alan Hynes (Fight Club, Anomolisa).

"Chapter 1: The Black Godess (AΦOR)” is the latest work from the DJ and producer Blake (aka Will Blake) released on his new label Triton featuring the Detroit legend Scan 7.

Detroit artist Abdul Qadim Haqq (Third Earth Visual Arts), designer of historical releases of among others: Underground Resistance, Metroplex and Transmat, has conceived, curated and realized the entire artwork project.

If vintage Derrick May and Jeff Mills DJ sets are your thing, then the five tracks here are certainly gonna cause some commotion. After "Tribal Transmissions" first major breakdown, you're catapulted into an Axis-era techno trust. "Hysteria" also utilizing long, tension-fuelled breakdowns before that Motor City stream train comes juddering thru unabashed. Title track, "The Black Godess" carries on like some lost UR / Galaxy 2 Galaxy number. Musical as hell with elastic synthlines and rubbery bass perfectly moulded around swung drum machines and ethereal melodies before a soul drenched female vox takes us off into the stars. Scan 7 take time to remix this crowning glory, turning out a very Detroitian, stadium pleasing techno cut with killer handclap patterns and detailed bass part.

If you're a fan of vintage Detroit techno you need this in your life right now!






STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Phwoooar! I'd somewhat turned my back on Detroit of late, but Blake's reinvigorated my interest immediately with this authentic addition to the cannon... We almost lost Detroit? Well it's back baby!

Bufiman

Peace Moves - Inc. DJ Normal 4 Remix

    Piccadilly favourite, video game fanatic and former breakdance champ Jan Schulte makes his Dekmantel debut with "Peace Moves", an EP of percussive soul, that captures the Salon Des Amateurs resident in full, tribal swing. Blasting out the A-side with tough body moving breaks, rasping vocal idents and skewed synth riffery, the main mix of "Peace Moves" harnesses the 5 a.m. insanity of a mushroom fuelled romp, deploying a Tri Atma style 12 string riff to totally trip the hippie dancers out. Breakbeat king and previous collaborator DJ Normal drops by on the A2, taking the intensity up a notch with a 'back to the oldschool', 'carpark in North Manchester', 'pocket full of pingers' 'ardcore mix complete with nagging bass, synth strings and more energy than a whizzed up all nighter at R&S HQ, 1993. Over on the flip, Bufi brings the euphoria with a medicated, manipulated dream-house flip on "Peace Moves", infusing the OG with doped up sequences and sultry incense tinged pads. Saving my personal favourite til last, Jan hits us with "Graffiti Moves", a kaleidoscopic vision of cut up funk breaks, tribal percussion, ring modulated leadlines and well wonky fx abuse. Expect to hear this on the Talking Drums dancefloor very soon.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    12" Info: 1 COPY FOUND!

    Rob Burger

    The Grid

      R.I.Y.L. Harmonia, Roedelius, Cluster, Dustin O’Halloran, Goldmund, Popol Vuh, Brian Eno.. Rob Burger’s talents as an arranger, composer, and keyboardist have been nurtured by morethan two decades of contributions to a diverse roster of recognizable names, at the very least including John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, and Iron & Wine with whom Burger presently records and tours.

      His new album The Grid combines neo-classical soundscapes, ‘70s kosmische, and jaunts of 20th-century exotica into a completely unique genre-quilt that synopsizes his long musical trek through multiple cities, scenes, and sounds. A lifelong musician, Rob began learning piano at age four and would go on to study under jazz luminaries Max Roach, Archie Shepp, and Yusef Lateef at the University of Massachusetts. As if his formal education weren’t impressive on its own, his informal one consisted of frequent visits to New York City creative hubs The Knitting Factory, and The Kitchen, where Burger became a fly on the wall to the likes of Arthur Russell, David Byrne, and Laurie Anderson (Burger would go on to contribute to Anderson’s 2010 album Homeland). Anderson appears on The Grid’s ninth track “Souls of Winter”).

      With the avant-garde door having long been kicked open, Burger relocated to the Bay and made a lasting impression upon the area’s music scene with his group Tin Hat Trio, while furthering his session and film-score work adjacently. When that group disbanded in the early ‘00s Burger found himself back in NYC where playing a Neil Young tribute show would entwine his path with that of Sam Beam (Iron & Wine). From then on, Burger has been an inextricable component of Beam’s live band and discography. Somewhere in the interim the growth of Burger’s family and his yearning for quieter climes led him to Portland, Oregon, where he built a studio, amassed an enviable collection of vintage keyboards, and began sowing the seeds of The Grid. Burger’s mysteriously upturning chord-changes express depth and melancholy without ever fully straying from a sense of curiosity and charm making the somber moments believable and palatable, as indicated in the album’s first moments. The Grid rolls in on a cloud bank of old-world sorrow with its piano and accordion prologue “Alternate Star,” but by the initial note of the second-track “Harmonious Gathering” all the sonic elements, dusty drum machines, choral keyboard patches, and rubberized synth bass seem to be smiling in glorious unison. This song, as well as the title track that shortly follows it, hint at what it might sound like if Harmonia had stayed intact and were scoring A24 films. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Cosmic clear vinyl exclusive for indie stores only.

      Twenty years on the heels of their debut with 1999, established cornerstone of the French Touch sound, duo Philippe ‘Zdar’ Cerboneschi and Hubert ‘Boom Bass’ Blanc-Francard announce their fifth opus "Dreems". This album sees Cassius trawl their myriad influence - moving between dreamy electronic soundscapes to playful pop-house jaunts always with a keen and crisp ear for hi-def, radio-friendly production and shiny, polished sounds.

      Back to basics, then, both in the design and influences, they worked during long sessions spent at the Motorbass’ studio, where the disc was largely imagined. A magical place causing an organic heat into the sound power (with a new subtlety that the initiates will appreciate, the use of a Korg synthesizer, last acquisition of Zdar and Boom Bass).


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Remembering quite clearly when "1999" burst onto the scene all them years ago, it's nice to see Cassius return to that crowd pleasing formula for "Dreems". I can't think of any legitimate reason why the kids won't go absolutely crazy for them once again - and what's wrong with that?! Not everyone has to grow up you know... mega fun this.

      Coeo

      Tonic Edits Vol 6 (The Japan Reworks)

      Coeo have been travelling in Japan and discovered the magic of City Pop: That Japanese Disco movement of the eighties. Back then there were amazing dance tracks coming out of Japan. Some with Japanese lyrics others with American vocals. Often so perfectly played and recorded that it was hard to tell if the music came out of NYC basement studios or for real Asiatic studio musicians. Coeo found a lot of rare jams and did edits for their DJ sets. As at the Toy Tonics office everybody is always searching for the rare and unknown the crew was totally excited. And so the decision was made quickly: Put out a few of these rare jams & edits. Here they are.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Coeo take us on a trip to Tokyo on this volume of Toy Tonics edits, serving up a quartet of J-boogie, city pop and Asiatic disco reworks, including a mega female vocal version of Sakamoto's superb "Tibetan Dance".

      D.K.

      Distant Images

        Fresh off the back of an exceptional collaboration with Suzanne Kraft for Melody As Truth, the mighty D.K. returns to his usual Antinote haunt for a sublime LP of serialist textures, esoteric electronics and exotic ambience. His fourth release on the label, "Distant Images" sees Dang Khoa Chau heading deeper into his own sonic world, refining his palate, defining his palette as a unique blend of new age pads, fourth world influences and minimalist arrangements. Despite these heady influences and fractal obsessions, "Distant Images" is also D.K.'s most organic album to date - the most attentive ears will hear seagulls on the title track while rain falls softly on "Leaving" - and slightly departed from the digital universes that his
        previous records seemed to set in motion. From the most abstract songs, like the Reich-ian "Shaker Loops", to the most evocative ones, the five compositions on Distant Images are like stained glass, gently filtering natural light. It is therefore no coincidence if, of all the senses, the titles of the songs mostly refer to sight: close your eyes while listening to the cinematographic "Days Of Steam" and visions of an industrious city might appear before you. Put this on your player and let your mind be free, there's beauty in the world after all.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Simply put, this is breathtaking. Not only is it D.K.'s finest release, but also an arguable highlight of the whole Antinote catalogue. 'Distant Images' sees the Paris based producer combine minimalism, new age and 80s jazz into a kaleidoscopic slow listening masterpiece.

        It seems somehow fitting that on a day when we said goodbye to one of the disco house innovators (Philippe Zdar R.I.P.), Daphni returns with his festival-ready addition to the canon, "Sizzling". Built from Bermudan disco banger "Sizzlin' Hot" by Paradise, the title track of this highly anticipated EP races out the blocks with hot horns, nipple-high bass and plenty of polyrhythmic punch, looped to perfection for hands aloft summer fun. Soon enough the vocal, with its ever excalating energy joins the fray and we're merrily bopping along in nu disco mode - punchy enough to power up a party, but polite enough for the cocktail crowd. That is until Daphni drops a huge side-chained kick and takes us straight back to the pilled up summers of 1999 - MASSIVE! On the A2, "If" throws an early jazz piano feignt, before clocking us right in the chop with a slamming drum program a la Gemini or Paul Johnson. 
        Flip it and the frisky, frothy and frenzied filter disco fun continues unabated, as "Romeo" cuts through the crowd and begins to spin in the very centre of the dancefloor. Working up from the foundations of slick bass and a growling synth sequence, Daphni gradually lets loose with the dramatic, climactic and largely Latin strings and swoons of his source material, pulling the club through ballroom disco and into a narcotic sweat box. Finishing with a bang, "Just" takes us tired dancers into a world of hands aloft, heads high and hugs. Harps, flutes and vocal harmonies drift out of a jazz/folk/soul O.G. and cascade around reinforced percussion, providing a euphoric mood, which takes a deeper turn in the middle third before powering back towards the ecstatic truth for the finale. 

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Daphni is back with a banger! This summertime number is a red hot refix of Bermudian disco banger "Sizzlin' Hot" by Paradise, and it's coming to take over a soundsystem near you. Elsewhere the maestro takes disco, jazz and soul elements and samples at will, dropping festival friendly bombs throughout.

        Mark De Clive-Lowe

        Love Will Save The Day / Love Supreme

        Mark De Clive-Lowe gets busy with some classic soulful house action here, delivering two big cuts for the dance.

        "Love Will Save The Day" utilizes a disco-flavoured vocal part, pairs it with anthemic piano chords, twinkling keyboards and a MAW-styled B-line. The result - a hand-aloft burst of feel-good energy and maximum grins guaranteed. The kinda track you can pop out at the end of a long session to unite the whole crowd under an umbrella of endorphins.

        "Love Supreme" places a saxophone line at the focus of this expansive house jaunt while grand atmospheres and rushing sweeps add a captivating, almost cinematic quality. Abstract and just slight proggy, it's the kinda track big room DJs like Francois K and MCDE would use to devastating effect. 


        Firecracker’s dwarf constellation Unthank thaws down from a small cryogenic suspension and delivers its first 12”!

        Tracks from the vault from Cardiff’s DJ Guy (Other World Music / Cejero / All Caps) who’s been busy since 1992. All tracks designed to be played loud and with the dance in mind whilst taking in all sorts of melancholy, euphoria and pastoral, acid soundscapes. DJ Guy's production is instantly recognizable, - combining a plethora of vintage hardware with an M25-informed, free-party spirit; a renegade with a synthesizer and a dream.

        RIYL Dream 2 Science, Autechre, Unit Moebius, μ-Ziq, RX-101, vintage AFX etc.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Matt says: A mid 90s selection from Carfiff's Guy Evans. Brutalist in parts, harmonic in others; with a view to motorway bridges and abandoned buildings. Smiley face not included.

        Evans Pyramid

        Never Gonna Leave You - Joakim & Max Pask Remixes

        Joakim: "About a year ago, I had dinner with a special group of friends obsessed with food like me, we call it the Yum Yum Club. Max Pask is a member and while we were preparing a decadent meal, he played me that Evans Pyramid song « Never Gonna Leave You » that I didn't know of. It blew me away and I immediately tried to integrate it in my DJ mixes. But that proved to be a challenge as the beautiful song is very lo-fi in its production with very quiet beats. OK for a very end of a night, but I wanted to play it more than that, so we decided to make an edit with Max that quickly turned into something closer to a remix. Here it is now. There's a house mix for the pumping hours and a disco mix that is closer to the original. Very glad to introduce you to the amazing music of Evans Pyramid (if you never heard of him), a forgotten genius from Boston, the missing link between Shuggie Otis and Prince."

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: The absolutely amazing soul / funk / disco unclassic, Evans Pyramid's "Never Gonna Leave You" gets a resolution tweaking rework from Joakim and Max Pask, in two different variations. Finally the DJ has a definitive, high def version of this bomb to flip in the mix.

        Corroded digital shrapnel contained within an amorphous metallic groove pool with an acidic core. 
        Degraded and corrupted club tools for the adventurous DJ.
        All tracks recorded in Chicago, 2014-2016.

        Exael is Naemi, and all references to them should use they/them pronouns.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Matt says: Suuuuper tight, advanced dancefloor electrix here. Chi-town black voodoo, charged and refracted through the space/time continuum. Special.

        Fabio & Grooverider have been at the forefront of UK dance music for over 3 decades. This is the roots of their story told through music.

        The 2 London DJ's are part of the DNA of the global Jungle / D&B movement and they have remained relevant, cutting edge, authoritative and essential to this truly underground art-form since it's inception. RAGE could arguably be the ground zero of Jungle. The party was started at London's cavernous Heaven club by Fabio & Grooverider in 1988, at the height of Acid House fever that was making it's way up and down the motorways, slip-roads, fields and warehouses of the M25 and further beyond every weekend, troubling the nation, the police, your parents and the press as it went. RAGE was a different beast, it certainly channelled some of that Acid energy but pitted it against the new and exciting sounds emanating from Belgium, Amsterdam, Detroit, Sheffield, Essex and Hackney and in turn created a new style, a new sonic attitude and energy in the process. Rumbling bass-lines, narcotic synth rushes and roughly chopped and sped-up breakbeats all merged into a style that we now know as Jungle. Nothing like this had been heard before, this was a brand new style and it was coming out of London's West End and Fabio & Grooverider were the people firmly behind it.

        RAGE is approaching its 30th anniversary. Its sonic and cultural legacy is still being felt today, Fabio & Groove are still shutting down raves and festivals every weekend all over the world with their superior DJ sets and musical knowledge guided by their pioneering spirit. This musical selection you hold in your hands, the first of 4 parts, sees them delve into their prodigious memories and record boxes to select a true musical representation of the very beginning of one of the UK's most unique and influential musical movements of the last 50 years. Across a 2 x CD compilation we are taken on a journey through the sounds of RAGE, accompanied with personal track by track notes from Fabio & Grooverider. Music from London, Detroit, Sheffield and beyond features, with tracks such as 33 1/3 Queen's rave banger 'Searchin' sitting shoulder to shoulder with Debbie Malone's underground classic 'Rescue Me' and sublime Detroit Techno from Yennek (aka Kenny Larkin), whose 'Serena X' features. This will be a true masterclass in the sound of the underground, from the inside out.

        This is a masterclass in the old-school. The roots. There is no filler here, it's simply ALL killer. Lovingly selected and programmed by the masters - 'The Living Shock' & 'The Ladies Choice'. Produced in conjunction with Above Board distribution and Fabio & Grooverider. All tracks mastered from original sources and fully licensed. Mastering by Optimum, Bristol. Artwork and design by Atelier Superplus. 2019

        Floorplan

        So Glad / I Feel Him Moving

        What's this? MORE heat from Floorplan? the biblical father-daughter techno monolith that is Robert and Lyric Hood?! Yup, suurre is!

        Why change the formula when it yields such alchemical fire like "So Glad"? A steamtrain Hood™ groove ushering forth vocal chants from the church of Detroit while that rotary bassline just ticks over and over, tightly rooted to the factory line aesthetic that characterized early Detroit techno. Meanwhile, flipside "I Feel Him Moving" is harder edged and tracky with a tough Chicago twist under its preacher sampling. The release coincides with their first live show at this year's Movement in Detroit and finds the duo as crucial and urgent as ever. True ambassadors for Detroit techno past, present and future, Robert & Lyric Hood continue to fly the banner for Detroit innovation through techno.


        Emerging from the flourishing house scene in Århus, Forte is one of the most exciting producers to make his debut in Denmark in the past years. Having produced and released music under various monikers, Forte debuted in 2017 as Forte with the excellent mini album "Techne" on 12recs and the standout EP ”Away” onØEN Records. "Intermissions" is Forte’s first full length album. Composed and recorded in Århus during 2018, "Intermissions" consists of six tracks and five interludes and is a study of, and tribute to, intermissions.

        Across the albums eleven cuts, Forte effortlessly traverse between ethereal dreamy vibes, intricate electronica and bustling rhythmic explorations. Stretching far beyond the traditional house music boundaries, Forte’s layered and intricate compositions constantly balances melancholic and elevating atmospheres. Perfectly suited whether you are lounging in the living room, standing on a train platform or at discerning and esoteric dancefloors. 


        Scott Fraser

        Together More - Andrew Weatherall Remix

        Been a while for cult imprint Birdscarer, and with Scott Fraser and Andrew Weatherall fronting up number seven on the buy-on-sight series this is certain to cause a twitch in the circuit boards of all the robo-dancers and cybalearic lovers out there...

        It's another love to outerspace, as vocalist Louise Quinn mutters sweet utterances over a rotary, acid-flecked nu-cosmic chug. That familiar arpeggiated twinkle and gentle low end throb perfectly compliment the angelic phrasings of Quinn's ethereal vocal style.

        Wevvers is on hand offering up a remixed version; utilizing the vocal to its full potential but adding a darker and more nocturnal instrumental behind it. Top drawer stuff as always; get them orders in quick 'cos they always sell out! 


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Sil says: Weatherall signature all over the place on the B Side. You know the drill with this genre pioneer on this mega sought-after label. Balearic with a twist I say.

        The Gardener

        Views From My Shed EP

          After a run of club-ready 12”s, the fifth No Bad Days release slows the pace right down. On the "Views From My Shed EP", long-standing friend of NBD James Booth breaks in new alias The Gardener with an easy-going record inspired by nature and sure to inspire relaxed, repeat listens. A suite of biotic ambience and wonderfully bucolic atmospheres opens the EP, with "Lilac Moor"'s four parts fluttering on a garden breeze, gentle strings undulating against synthesized wind instruments and tranquil, serene musical scales. It's an absolute delight on the ear and totally transportative - you get instantly get the 'view from my shed' from where the title (and inspiration) for the EP comes from. On the flip, The Gardener gets a little more spring in his step, dishing out some fully synthetic soundbeds rich in meditative, calming frequencies and gentle, lapping grooves. There's even some elevating kraut arpeggio business to unravel the mind... Top stuff here, a fully realized EP beautifully executed. Recommended! 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Chilled out hazy garden vibes, full of pastoral charm and pseudo-balearic melodies. Percussive interludes break up the swooning synthplay before segueing into found-sounds and blissful scenic 'tron. Ace.

          Mort Garson

          Mother Earth's Plantasia - Reissue

          In the mid-1970s, a force of nature swept across the continental United States, cutting across all strata of race and class, rooting in our minds, our homes, our culture. It wasn’t The Exorcist, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, or even bell-bottoms, but instead a book called The Secret Life of Plants. The work of occultist/former OSS agent Peter Tompkins and former CIA agent/dowsing enthusiast Christopher Bird, the books shot up the bestseller charts and spread like kudzu across the landscape, becoming a phenomenon. Seemingly overnight, the indoor plant business was in full bloom and photosynthetic eukaryotes of every genus were hanging off walls, lording over bookshelves, and basking on sunny window ledges. The science behind Secret Life was specious: plants can hear our prayers, they’re lie detectors, they’re telepathic, able to predict natural disasters and receive signals from distant galaxies. But that didn’t stop millions from buying and nurturing their new plants.

          Perhaps the craziest claim of the book was that plants also dug music. And whether you purchased a snake plant, asparagus fern, peace lily, or what have you from Mother Earth on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (or bought a Simmons mattress from Sears), you also took home Plantasia, an album recorded especially for them. Subtitled “warm earth music for plants…and the people that love them,” it was full of bucolic, charming, stoner-friendly, decidedly unscientific tunes enacted on the new-fangled device called the Moog. Plants date back from the dawn of time, but apparently they loved the Moog, never mind that the synthesizer had been on the market for just a few years. Most of all, the plants loved the ditties made by composer Mort Garson.

          Few characters in early electronic music can be both fearless pioneers and cheesy trend-chasers, but Garson embraced both extremes, and has been unheralded as a result. When one writer rhetorically asked: “How was Garson’s music so ubiquitous while the man remained so under the radar?” the answer was simple. Well before Brian Eno did it, Garson was making discreet music, both the man and his music as inconspicuous as a Chlorophytum comosum. Julliard-educated and active as a session player in the post-war era, Garson wrote lounge hits, scored plush arrangements for Doris Day, and garlanded weeping countrypolitan strings around Glen Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” He could render the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel alike into easy listening and also dreamed up his own ditties. “An idear” as Garson himself would drawl it out. “I live with it, I walk it, I sing it.”

          But as his daughter Day Darmet recalls: “When my dad found the synthesizer, he realized he didn’t want to do pop music anymore.” Garson encountered Robert Moog and his new device at the Audio Engineering Society’s West Coast convention in 1967 and immediately began tinkering with the device. With the Moog, those idears could be transformed. “He constantly had a song he was humming,” Darmet says. “At the table he was constantly tapping.” Which is to say that Mort pulled his melodies out of thin air, just like any household plant would.

          The Plantae kingdom grew to its height by 1976, from DC Comics’ mossy superhero Swamp Thing to Stevie Wonder’s own herbal meditation, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. Nefarious manifestations of human-plant interaction also abounded, be it the grotesque pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the pothead paranoia of the US Government spraying Mexican marijuana fields with the herbicide paraquat (which led to the rise in homegrown pot by the 1980s). And then there’s the warm, leafy embrace of Plantasia itself.

          “My mom had a lot of plants,” Darmet says. “She didn’t believe in organized religion, she believed the earth was the best thing in the whole world. Whatever created us was incredible.” And she also knew when her husband had a good song, shouting from another room when she heard him humming a good idear. Novel as it might seem, Plantasia is simply full of good tunes.

          Garson may have given the album away to new plant and bed owners, but a decade later a new generation could hear his music in another surreptitious way. Millions of kids bought The Legend of Zelda for their Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1986 and one distinct 8-bit tune bears more than a passing resemblance to album highlight “Concerto for Philodendron and Pothos.” Garson was never properly credited for it, but he nevertheless subliminally slipped into a new generations’ head, helping kids and plants alike grow.

          Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him. “My dad would be totally pleased to know that people are really interested in this music that had no popularity at the time,” Darmet says of Plantasia’s new renaissance. “He would be fascinated by the fact that people are finally understanding and appreciating this part of his musical career that he got no admiration for back then.” Garson seems to be everywhere again, even if he’s not really noticed, just like a houseplant.


          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Coloured LP Info: Green vinyl.

          Justin Hopper & Sharron Kraus With The Belbury Poly

          Chanctonbury Rings

            A spoken word and music project by writer Justin Hopper and folk musician Sharron Kraus. It also features Ghost Box's own Belbury Poly. Based on live performances of Hopper's 2017 book The Old Weird Albion (publ. Penned in the Margins), it’s a poetical, autobiographical and psychogeographical account of his experiences at Chanctonbury Ring on the West Sussex Downs.

            The album is a blend of folk, electronic music, poetry, prose and environmental sound. Kraus’s electro-acoustic soundscapes and songs interweave with Hopper’s rich, intimate narration. Musically it moves effortlessly from the traditional to the avant-garde with Belbury Poly contributing music and production throughout and bookending the work with a memorable theme tune.

            Finding its spiritual home on Ghost Box, the project is reminiscent of a lost era of poetry and music albums, like David Cain and Radiophonic Workshop's The Seasons. It comes artfully packaged in a style that recalls a poetry and music for schools LP, with a nod towards 1960s Topic folk anthologies.

            Welcome to the deeper end of the Hugh Mane spectrum. Mane’s third outing on Running Back captures his love for the spirit of early Detroit techno, IDM’s ambient aspects, the philosophy of the acid house experience and a natural production flow. Four tracks for fans of Larry Heard, Jungle Sounds, Nu Groove and the very early British response to that. Emotions electric, vintage voodoo with modern spells. You need.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Matt says: It takes a super strong acid house pastiche to get me interested these days. But Hugh Mane's nailed it here, delivering four dusty box jams that growl, fizz and spit. A beauty!

            “Built By Humanoid” is Humanoid's second album, a mere 30 years after the debut, though Brian Dougans claims the first album wasn't really him anyway. Humanoid's classic acid house single, "Stakker Humanoid", highly regarded as one of the key tracks from the era (Richard James sights the Stakker project as a major influence), enjoyed massive success in 1988. Reaching No.1 for 5 weeks in the UK dance charts, performances on Top of the Pops, a John Peel session for the BBC and European tours eventually led to an album deal. Whilst all this was happening, Brian Dougans (one half of electronic legends Future Sound of London) claims he was returning to his squat in Kings Cross with no electricity or water. He not only became disillusioned with the business, but also became increasingly ill from the conditions he was living in. Around 6 tracks into the album, he left London and record label, Streetsounds, returning to Manchester to recover and regroup his thoughts. However, Steetsounds pressed ahead with the album and it was finished in Brian’s absence with guest performers.

            Brian left Humanoid behind and went on to create FSOL with Gaz Cobain becoming leading lights in the burgeoning ambient scene, scoring a top 10 album "Lifeforms" on Virgin Records. In 2003 Rephlex (Aphex Twin’s label) released a posthumous album of 1988 out takes compiled by Brian. Recently Humanoid tracks have been popping up on modern compilation albums (Touched Music / Gasman, etc) signaling a possible return. “Built by Humanoid” is a brand new nine track album of future acid cuts, breaks and electronics, a lot of which is credited to 2 synthesisers co-designed by Brian Dougans and English Electronics company Digitana. It is this innovation that has helped usher Humanoid back into the limelight and consequently the album has a rather new and unique sound and style. The track "Polymath" is created using a possibility / probability theory that results in a track which at no point repeats itself - 303 tinged acidic bubbles. Meanwhile "Traktion" is a break beat, pulse laden, bass heavy monster. "Fu*k It’ is the future sound of 303. Fast, frantic and beat driven. Whilst "Post Humans" combines thumping 909 and 303 into an acid hallucination. 


            Waella’s Choice return with their fifth release, made in Detroit, remixed in Melbourne and London.

            Adding to a growing stable of leading house artists who have already released on the London label, Detroit singer, producer (and dancer) Javonntte presents "Drumma EP", traversing the deep and soulful spectrum with two original productions.

            The title track has the same instant magnetism as Hanna’s "Stranger", which helped inaugurate Waella’s Choice in 2017. "Jazzpianodance" takes a more broken approach, incorporating Javonntte’s love for jazz fusion. Something that would have felt right at home in the old Co-Op dances at Plastic People.

            The B-side presents remixes from two young producers with a bright future. Melbourne-raised and now London-based, Crown Ruler member Winters follows up his 2018 debut for Parallel People with a low-slung RnB version. Touching Bass family Romaal Kultan ups the tempo with a weightier sucker-punch of breaks and broken percussion, primed for peak time impact.


            Jimi Bazzouka

            Volume 5

              Jimi Bazzouka AKA Joakim Bouaziz is back, packing nothing but heat on this weapons-grade platter. The savior of the international dancefloor community, Jimi laughs in the face of North Korean nuclear tests, shrugs at ferocious weather patterns and briskly unfollows even the most vicious internet troll. Volume 5 of his inimitable edit series sees the big man barrel through the soundtrack section, to serve up the sweetest synthwave hits, mechanical movers and future primitive freakouts. "Poursuite" starts the party with snapping synth drums, whooshing filter sweeps and a roving keyboard riff, eventually building into a little new-wave/jazz-funk glitz. Next up, "Brainwashing" bleeps and bangs its way through slow-and-low "I Can't Believe It's Not Detlef" territories, locking us into the Fairlights and mallets of an Asian-industrial winner. Flip it for "Countryman Pt.1" a tapey, mechanical funk cut which sounds a bit like a YMO B-side played backwards from the spirit world and "Countryman Pt.2" a percussive powerhouse tailor made for midnight in the mangroves. If you dug on Ruffy's "Midnight Sativa Dance", this one will be right up your strasse. Bag it!

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Patrick says: Joakim launches another dancefloor missile here, raiding the soundtrack section to blur the lines between synth-pop, industrial, new wave and proto-house. #moonlightmusic

              Jump Source (Priori & Project Pablo), kick off their new catalogue with a trio of tasty tracks.

              "Fabric Of Trust" glimmers and shines with a space dust, twinkling arps, darting fx-vox and laser beams all coercing us to get down in the cosmos. Add some lush pad sweeps and a banging beat and you've got a bit of a slammer on your hands...

              "Slip" shimmers with dub-flecked pad stabs, fluttering beautifully against a perfectly built dub-techno groove before adding reverberated 303 and a techy Juno preset into the mix - again, constructed beautiful and sounding super nice on the wax.

              "Radiant Shift" exudes that expansive, blissed-out vibe, closing off the EP with a bouncy beat, post-XTC exuberance and a come-down state of sedation that lends itself to all being sat on the sofa around 5AM, fist-pumping or body-gurning to the beat as the Sun breaks through the morning mist and the neighbors are wondering if you'll ever go to bed...



              The return of…KiNK. His first original record after the latest album and a few bits here and there, is an ode to the miraculous grip that a piano still holds over almost any dance floor. Unmistakably titled “Piano Power Ep“, the Bulgarian hit factory does what it does best: infectious melodies, moving bass and gnarly acid lines as well as the ill beats around. Born out of studio rehearsals for live sets, “2 love U” is a freestyle jam with regular collaborator Rachel Row (see Hand Made EP or “Follow The Step“): KiNK on keys and Rachel in the vocal booth results in pure positivism, energetic hooks and a certain pop magic. Think Rozalla, Bizarre Inc. or any other sign long and you are almost there. Instrumental included for the faint at heart.
              “I Remember“ on the other hand, which is also available as one of KiNK’s beloved video workouts, is presented here as a “303 Mix“ that loses the classic house sample of the first version, in favour of - well, another classic dance music ingredient - the squelchy sound that DJ Pierre invented.
              Last, but not least. “Raw“ is the kind of happy-go-lucky piano-bazooka that revokes the spirit of Baltimore’s production outfit Basement Boys in today’s pagan parties. Using the minimum amount of music tools (lack of effects, volume changes creating dynamics and no more than four instruments), it all feels like KiNK’s reply to Herbert’s infamous dogma. If the ingredients are good enough, you don’t need any spices.


              Sample based housey numbers influenced by 70’s NYC and the movies of that time. If you've liked recent Eddie Danielle & Bastien Carrara records, and in the past enjoyed Pal Joey, Harvey and the Golf Channel cartel, then this maybe the record 4 U!

              "Electric Drama" perrr-fectly loops up an orchestral disco groover that's smoldering hot and adds a tasty 'think' break for good measure! Seriously, if you don't catch yourself loosing it next to the speaker stacks, talking to wheelie bins (that's you Pharoah Brunson!) jiving to this joint soon - you're not spending enough time in the dance! Destined for extended plays and repeat performances this summer fo' sho'.

              "American Hustle" hooses up some more funky licks; guitar, clav and keyboard all working in tight unison to deliver to nocturnal, Loft-y disco bizniss - ace!

              "Tomorrow" concludes, ditching any allegance to 70s disco and instead re-alligning itself with late 90s house by sampling Armand Van Heldon's never-beaten soulful house classic "Flowers" (!!!). Skillfull blended with plenty other elements, this is a clever curveball with just enough whiffs of AVH's original number to keep us on the edge of our dancing shoes. So good!




              STAFF COMMENTS

              Sil says: Four cuts of disco house with some heavily recognisable samples. A loopy loop festival to dance the night away. By the way, the four tracks are superb, pay special attention to 'Tomorrow', a St. Germain cum Blueboy beauty.

              The Montgolfier Brothers

              Seventeen Stars

                After a short label hiatus, Caroline True Records bring US a limited vinyl edition of a classic Salford / Manchester album. The Montgolfier Brothers, Mark Tranmer (GNAC) & Roger Quigley (At Swim Two Birds) initially released “Seventeen Stars” on the Salford-based Vespertine label in 1999.
                Much critical acclaim & appreciation from pop dynamo Alan McGee led to a 2000 rerelease on his nascent post-Creation Poptones imprint.

                “So we ended up pressing records as usual. Our first record was Seventeen Stars by the Montgolfier Brothers, a baroque, cinematic classic that almost no-one has ever heard.” Alan McGee (On Poptones in “Creation Stories: Riots, Raves & Running A Label” 2013 )

                Since that moment, “Seventeen Stars” has gathered universal plaudits & affection, along with occasional live performances from the group. To mark the 20th anniversary of the original release, CTR have remastered this brilliant work for vinyl. The sleeve expands the original Vespertine CD release artwork to LP size. Beautiful, memorable, fragile ... An album that proves the longevity of great songwriting, tunes and textures that stay with you. 
                For lovers of Felt, The Durutti Column, Jacques Brel, Blue Nile & François de Roubaix

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Laura says: One of the real hidden gems of Manchester music history, The Montgolfier Brothers' debut album, originally released on Vespertine Records back in 1999, gets a much needed reissue. Their intricate melodies, combined with a cinematic lushness, and heartfelt songs were never easy to pigeonhole and consequently, despite being championed and re-released by Alan McGee on his Poptones label in 2000, this album never received the acclaim it deserved.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd LP Info: Fully Restored Vinyl Remaster & Restored Original CD Release Artwork For Vinyl With Memorabilia Assemblage Full Colour Inner-Sleeve

                Møzaika returns to Public Possession with another four track EP of varied dancefloor styles and musical moods. For the titular “Drive”, he collaborates with Australian Sui Zhen, who you may recognize from her previous work with Tornado Wallace, Andras Fox and No Zu. Together they produce a beautiful, mystic synth pop track, which sounds a little bit like The B52's soundtracking a John Hughes movie which only exists in Gwen Stefani's grade school daydreams. A dub version of that track completes the A-Side, splintering fragments of vocal over a beefier, DJ friendly variant of the title track. Over on the B-Side we find the mellow cowbell boogie / new age dance of “Crépuscule”, and the utterly ethereal “Never see You again”, which should be of particular interest to the Balearic DJs out there.

                Swedish producer Rudolf Nordström aka Mr. Tophat's debut album “Dusk to Dawn”, a three LP dark-disco odyssey that features live instrumentation from some of Sweden’s finest classical musicians (Mats Bergström, Per-Erik Adamsson) as well as appearances from his friends and collaborators Robyn, Axel Boman and Kleerup. “Dusk to Dawn” is an epic collection of underground disco and house tracks, synthesising Western classical with contemporary club music. It’s an album that rewards multiple listens, a sprawling, ecstatic climb to the sublime, layered and full. It’s an album that pushes out into new uncharted territories.

                To capture the sublime on "Dusk to Dawn" Mr. Tophat brought Sweden’s finest classical musicians into the studio. At the same time, some of the 25 tracks on the record are pure synth driven trance, while “Balearic Moonwalk feat. Kleerup” is on a pop-house tip. The result juxtaposes experimental textures with pure rhythmic momentum. On LP highlight "Hedonism" he collaborates again with Robyn (having first worked together on the "Trust Me" EP in 2017).

                Mr. Tophat was an avid clubber as a teen, way before making his name as a cult DJ; 'everything started when my childhood friend Kalle and I first visited Berghain. It was 2008 and we were 18 years old. We had found each other being two individualists with our own nerdy interests. Together we plunged into them, Kalle in hairstyling, me in electronic dance music, computer games and cyber-punk. With borrowed fake ID’s, platform shoes, blue-dyed hair and like our idols from 'Party Monster' we overdressed and started raving in the forests and clubbing in the city of Stockholm. Berlin and Berghain became a place we went and visited almost once a month during a two year period. Ever since those days I’ve always loved and felt a big passion for the rave and club scene. As a space where you can freak out, be yourself, queer and believe in hedonism. It shall and should be about freedom. I guess that’s why the scene and the music attracted me.'

                The hours from “Dusk to Dawn” signify a time when you can cast off your inhibitions and be free for Tophat. 'The history reminds me of why I’m even creating music, about my past, my feeling of techno-punk, then and now and everything in-between which has been of significance to this album and my artistry'. It’s this refusal to conform, working in tandem with his sonic perfectionism that makes “Dusk to Dawn” such a compelling, neo-romantic soundscape, a free-associating moon-walk through time and space. Thinking back to the time in Ibiza, Mr. Tophat remembers 'the turquoise sky and the coloured sea in peach were faded together into a seamless vision, the horizon was impossible to navigate; meanwhile the bright dusk was filled with hate, darkness and mayhem. Nature - so simple, but still so complex.' “Dusk to Dawn” tells the tale of those nights.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Matt says: Me and Barry both been feeling this. For me it recalls the delicate, ethereal brilliance of Moritz Von Oswald Trio or Carl Craig and Moritz' "Deutsche Grammophon" reworkings. Mr. Tophat issuing an incredibly mature and detailed LP that belies his still young age. Top marks.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xLP Info: Part III.

                3xCD Info: Part I-III.

                Modeselektor revived their Seilscheibenpfeiler Schallplatten label around this time last year, and have since delivered nine top drawer releases traversing new and vintage vibrations from the vast world of underground electronic music.

                Toronto based producer Graham Bertie aka Nautiluss returns for his second outing and the label's 10th overall release.

                Contrasting technically proficient, rhythmically intricate production with the kinda of tactile, body pleasing playfulness often associated with the label's leading duo, "Guccifer" is a fierce, whiplash breaks roller that's riddled with a gnarly attitude.

                "Snakes & Ledgers" is a dreadlocked steamline techno track, combining rastaman vox, jungle subs and incessant 4/4 to devastating effect.

                "Wi-Fi Oasis" cleverly deploys gated and panned stabs to create a shimmering jungle odyssey that's dreamy, cinematic and heavily indebted to Photek's vast songbook.

                "Moment Of Clarity" completes the set, a track with a unique rhythmic footprint, you can tell why Modeselektor would enjoy playing this out due to it's head-turning, attention grabbing form. Cerebral, evocative and picturesque, it could soundtrack many a moment of blissed out, serene conclusion; the crown joining together to reconcile the epic DJ that that's played out before it.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Sil says: Megatronic release here. A side is dancefloor bliss with its dark undertones and merciless bass whilst B side invites you to chill a bit still brandishing some industrial aesthetics. Highly recommended.

                Okinawa Delays Feat. Satoko Ishimine

                Nariyama Ayagu - Inc. Phil Mison Remixes

                  Blink and I missed it! After the highly sort after and supremely limited first run disappeared over the horizon, OBI strip and all, Claremont 56 take pity on schmucks like you and I with a plain sleeve repress of this serene Balearic beauty. Though it may not be the looker it once was, you'll be reassured to know that this gem sounds just as good as ever. Label favourite, Cafe Del Mar hero and all round top talent Phil Mison takes controls on the A-side, rewarding one and all with a pair of pure, ambient bathers. Celestial synthwashes wax and wane beneath gentle acoustic guitar, occasional piano chords ripple through the infinite calm and the fx laden vocal sings sweetly to the siren, leaving us to drift peacefully into a new state of mind. In dub form, Phil omits the vocal and lets his tranquil instrumentation take centre stage, rivalling the superb "69" on Growing Bin for untampered beauty. Over on the flip, original Okinawa Delays cut "Vibration" steps a nimble path between Japanese jazz, mature funk and city pop to take a place at the top table with Eri Ohno, Ruriko Ohgami and Sadao Watanabe. The mix of shuffling percussion, diminished 7ths and rubber-necking bass should keep your body loose and limber, while Satoko Ishimine's smooth vocal soothes your soul to perfection. This won't be around for a long time, so buy a copy and stay cool all summer long. 

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Ltd 10" Info: ONE COPY FOUND!

                  Old stalwarts of the edit, digging & comp'ing scene, Psychemagik are also a dab-hand in the studio - turning their hand to a whole manner of styles.

                  Here they express some naughty electronic dance moods a la Mr. Scruff, Two Lone Swordsman, Riton etc via the squelchy midtempo breaks roller: "Rattlesnake". A wubbing b-line directs proceedings on this baby while hazed drums and cyberpunk SFX dart around in the background. I can image it finding plenty of favour with DJs like Andy Weatherall, the aforementioned Mr. Scruff and Radioactive Man as well as the natural house and disco camps that already hail Psychemagik as superstars.

                  Two remixes to get stuck into. Magda Blotter Traxion remix further distills the elements in the aural test tube, resulting in a gurgling alchemy that fizzes and splurts like phosphorus on water.

                  Vyvyan on the other hand adopts a gliding bass-tek aesthetic; low register drones paired perfectly with a frenetic break and plenty other synthesized elements. Hard to pick a favourite between this and the OG, both are gonna destroy the dance... TIP! 


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Matt says: Warehouse-ready and rave bunker stable constructions here from the well loved Psychemagik pair. The remixes are mega to so lots to enjoy on this Pet!

                  ‘Atlantic Oscillations’ marks the return of world renowned British producer Quantic with his most cohesive and intricate album to date. Bringing together new players and concepts with a dance orientated sound that has enchanted fans and tastemakers across the world for nearly two decades, it showcases Will “Quantic” Holland’s artistry and rare ability to intertwine the electronic with the orchestral.

                  Embracing his own love of albums that travel, taking the listener on twists and turns, with the loss of the album narrative that has occurred in this day of streaming, Holland utilises the space created to explore more creativity as a producer. As he admits, “on the whole, the common theme on this record is that it is probably more intricate and arranged than previous records. I spent three times as long as any other Quantic record and spent a lot of time in the detail”. This meticulous attitude is apparent throughout; each track has been crafted to draw the listener’s attention, with elements of both musical originality and a sense of modernity.


                  Freedom To Spend’s first catalog wide deep dive into an artist’s career focuses on four albums from Rimarimba, beginning with 1983’s "Below The Horizon", followed by 1984’s "On Dry Land", 1985’s "In The Woods", and finally, the once-imagined, now-realized assembly of 1988’s "Light Metabolism Number Prague".

                  Somewhere out there around the turn of the 1980s, to the left of the post-punk crew, to the right of the minimalists, and surfacing with a friendlier face than the dour industrialists of the time – there existed, seemingly unbidden, an entire, networked, tape-trading community; a community that crossed continents and oceans, that relied on the postal service to do its bidding; a community full of humble visionaries and lost, misunderstood, or just plain ignored home steeped genius.

                  Exploring that thicket of weirdness in the UK wild, you’d likely stumble across labels like Cordelia, Hamster, and Unlikely; compilations like the should-be-legendary Obscure Independent Classics series, or the Real Time cassettes; and inexplicable one-offs like The Deep Freeze Mice, Jody & The Creams, R. Stevie Moore, Leven Signs, Jung Analysts, and Rimarimba.

                  Rimarimba was the project of Robert Cox, based in Felixstowe, on the seaside in Suffolk, UK. Rimarimba was not Cox’s first entry into the world of recorded music, but was the first time he explored, most perceptively, the parameters of a particular musical mode: one where minimalism is removed from its “highart” mantle, Cox inveigling its practices in amongst the do-it-yourself creativity of a burgeoning and beguiling underground, letting the music breathe – and most importantly, letting it play, gifting it with imagination.

                  On Rimarimba’s 1985 album "In The Woods", Robert Cox has made his music kit, an odd assortment of new and old technologies, lately fixated on the digital delay, and programming technologies, sing his own song at its most articulate clip. The songs seem more developed, fluent, like mini-suites in some sense. By his third album, it’s clear Cox has recognised just how liberating technology can be – “All these intricate layers of things that I was trying to play, and didn’t have the musical ability to play, I could suddenly program them” – but he also recognises that if you head too far down that road, dull perfection is your bitter reward. Human music intoxicated and lurching through a new forest of machinery.

                  Freedom To Spend’s first catalog wide deep dive into an artist’s career focuses on four albums from Rimarimba, beginning with 1983’s Below The Horizon, followed by 1984’s On Dry Land, 1985’s In The Woods, and finally, the once-imagined, now-realized assembly of 1988’s Light Metabolism Number Prague.

                  Somewhere out there around the turn of the 1980s, to the left of the post-punk crew, to the right of the minimalists, and surfacing with a friendlier face than the dour industrialists of the time – there existed, seemingly unbidden, an entire, networked, tape-trading community; a community that crossed continents and oceans, that relied on the postal service to do its bidding; a community full of humble visionaries and lost, misunderstood, or just plain ignored home steeped genius.

                  Exploring that thicket of weirdness in the UK wild, you’d likely stumble across labels like Cordelia, Hamster, and Unlikely; compilations like the should-be-legendary Obscure Independent Classics series, or the Real Time cassettes; and inexplicable one-offs like The Deep Freeze Mice, Jody & The Creams, R. Stevie Moore, Leven Signs, Jung Analysts, and Rimarimba.

                  Rimarimba was the project of Robert Cox, based in Felixstowe, on the seaside in Suffolk, UK. Rimarimba was not Cox’s first entry into the world of recorded music, but was the first time he explored, most perceptively, the parameters of a particular musical mode: one where minimalism is removed from its “highart” mantle, Cox inveigling its practices in amongst the do-it-yourself creativity of a burgeoning and beguiling underground, letting the music breathe – and most importantly, letting it play, gifting it with imagination.

                  For Rimarimba’s 1984 album On Dry Land, and third in our series, Cox advances along the terrain explored on Below The Horizon. It’s an enchanting album, one which, at times, seems to comment on its own practice; a picture of everyday life in the hobbyist’s, or part-time musician’s, recording studio. Some moments point towards the tourist-explorer aesthetic that would eventually coalesce under the banner of Fourth World music. Other moments where Cox seems to be channelling an otherness, a kind of hauntological reverie, the feeling of music that gives us an uncanny sense of déjà vu. Writer David Keenan’s description of Japanese naïve-pop group Maher Shalal Hash Baz’s music, that it “feels like sketches of places where we once were, places now made poignant by our absence” feels like an alternate take On Dry Land.


                  June Records presents their seventeenth release, "Diataxis" by Ioannis Savvaidis, which is comprised of 4 recordings and their accompanying texts.

                  "Diataxis" is an audio interplay between Optical Networks terminology and the main artwork of the release. The sound is transmitted throughout abstractly and emotionally structured spaces.

                  Recorded live in Savvaidis’ studio in Athens between July and December 2018.

                  Blanket thick atmospheres heavier than air smother the listener; whether its neutron heavy static, or red shifted solar winds, the result is far from ambient; impenetrable and haunting this is what it sounds like to be lost in space...


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: Bloody love a bit of dark dark ambient I do, and this one's a corker. Think of a beatless Biosphere, all glacial ambience and cold, crystalline drone mixed with the churning low-end and organic development of Tim Hecker or Fennesz, and you're in the right area. Huge pads and face-melting cosmic drift complete the trifecta, helping to round out the pieces into a multi-layered and multi-faceted exfoliating audio bubblebath.

                  Dead Horses continue with release number two. After the well received V/A debut, the label enlist Simba in for a solo EP and featuring the additional support of Aroop Roy.

                  "Love On Fire" kicks us off and is a perfectly formed early evening groove; effortlessly skipping between house and disco territories with a nice rotary bassline and tantalizing flanging elements. Add a well catchy vocal hook and you've got yourself a high voltage dancefloor magnet to reel em in with!

                  "Dory" adopts a beatdown house style, turning up the MPC shuffle settings and chopping up a soulful vocal sample. A few choice dusty keyboard motifs later and you'll be nodding along in appropriate fashion.

                  Sheffield mainstay Thatmanmonks remixes "Love On Fire", transforming it into a taut little house beast by adding "French Kiss"-esque synth stabs and suspended strings. Add some cranium twisting SFX and swirls, the odd warehouse vox and a winding lead synth and you've got all the drama and excitement of double dropping two UPS's at Wet Play!

                  "Kano's Fatality" concludes proceedings with driving deep house cut; pluming bass, chopped female vox and organic perx giving off a summery flavour that wouldn't sound out of place at any big rig outdoor celebration and certainly ensures repeat plays for this disc thru the party season.

                  Top follow up! - keep yer eyes on this label folks... 


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Matt says: Dead Horse got my beak twitching with their first release and with this 2nd drop they've really got my feathers rustling!

                  Smersh

                  M Appeal - Inc. Parrish Smith Remix

                    Back in 1981, bedroom autuers and rhythmic anarchists Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard founded Smersh as an experimental offshoot of their Pop Tarts day job. Operating with a strict dogma in place, the duo would rehearse every monday night, record their improvisations and never play live. Following their strict guidelines the duo went on to record more than thirty LPs and cassettes during the 80s and 90s. Now Amsterdam's Knekelhuis imprint cherry pick a couple of their favourite moments from that extensive discography, chuck in a remix from family friend Parrish Smith and whack the whole lot on a weighty 12" pressing.
                    "M Appeal" opens proceedings with a little percusso-weirdo a la drumbox, pinging and phasing away like a right ketmess. Solemn bass and mournful keys add a welcome level of musicality to this strange wave wonder, flirting with the funk but maintaining a miserablist distance. "Kiss Me Stupid" steps up the intensity thanks to a machine gun snare, squalls of guitar feedback and floaty sequences, attaining the same level of industrial pop brilliance as Propaganda or Cabaret Voltaire. Over on the flip our attention turns to Nieuwegein's most warped mind, Parrish Smith, who transforms "M Appeal" into a biting, buzzing, basement belter. The freaky beat is amplified and rewired, topped with bitcrushed bass swells and disembodied, mechanical vocals. Lurching hits of metallic percussion break up the dark and brooding tone, hinting at an afro-futurist dream which never quite materialises. It's not all about the k-hole though, keep listening and you'll feel the warm embrace of poppers-laced melody. One for the fReAkZzZzZ.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    12" Info: 1 COPY FOUND!

                    ’Hard Rain’ follows hot-on-the-heels from the acclaimed Ruby Rushton album ‘Ironside’, but whereas contemporary urban jazz was the focus there, Tender’s solo record marks a return to another of the multifaceted artist’s skills: dope house and beat music that oozes futuristic funk.

                    This sparse but perfectly-populated masterpiece takes inspiration from J Dilla and echoes elements of vintage Blaze, Larry Heard and Carl Craig. Warm and soulful, but also spacious and clean, Tender extracts maximum flavour out of just a few ingredients.

                    “Casey Jr.” kicks proceedings off with a neck-snapping bass heavy p-funk
                    monster, like Slum Village or Platinum Pied Pipers by way of Surrey and
                    onwards to south London. Real electro laced cosmic jazz funk keys and techno hi hats coalesce exquisitely on “Buffalo Gurl”, whilst the breathtakingly deep. ‘Hard Rain’ sounds both current and classic. “Low Tide” is an ambient jazz interlude that clears the palate, before “Another State Of Consciousness” trips the light on a kaleidoscopic discoball of pure synth ecstasy. Bumpy and blunted, the break-fuelled flute ride of “Aesop Thought” and LA style abstractscience of “Workin’ Me Out” shine a new light on trip hop, before the album closes with the smouldering, emotive brooder “Almost Time”.

                    After a long studio hiatus, this is a sign of good things to come from Tenderlonious and the 22a camp!


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Matt says: Peckham rises once again as the 22a firm display some more sonic wares from their locale. Tenderlonious at the controls for a mellow, smoked-out modern jazz / electronics composition.

                    A joint release between Natural Sciences and FTP, "Texas Terrortech Volume 1" is a combination of hyper-frenetic futurism with the gritty global sound of the streets, wherever it comes from. It's the pop music on the radio, combining that with innately adaptable, yet eminently absorbable form which evolved in these different little things, all compatible, yet closely related. When they are decoded from the genome of our global musical collective, their inter-relatedness becomes even more clear, and a new perspective can be gained.

                    The internet made everything smaller. It turned the territory into the map, destroying the physical borders between geography and genres, reducing it into digital code, breaking it into bite-sized bits. This is the sound of the phuture digesting the people.

                    This is the sound of the global underground.


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Matt says: Top release here by Natural Sciences and its, erm, 'natural' posterboy - Textasy. Forging a co-dependent relationship, both labels and artist seem intent on delivering the mutant hybrids of dance music's sordid history in fresh new form and flavours. This could be the Texan maverick's magnum opus! Do check it out if you're keen on wrecking the dance.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd LP Info: *Limited copies include free C-90 style mixtape from Textasy!*

                    A regular on our shelves, Frits Wentink reaches out to established firm Clone Royal Oak who unleash three spaced out n wobbly house cuts from the man.

                    Ranging from the deep, rugged house beats of "Filtboi69" and into the more anthemic, "Discosizer", primed for mainroom action. "Space Babe" is buoyant, moon-based house music with little gravity. "Stealth" concludes with a skeletal drum machine rhythm and eerie bell presets painting a haunting melody. Nice stuff from Fritz here...


                    Peter Westheimer

                    Cool Change

                      Not content with ruling the dancefloor via the oddball electro of Shahara Ja, those Antipodean reissue fiends at Left Ear are back in the house this week with a chilly retrospective of Oz Wave weirdo Peter Westheimer. An irreverent outsider right from the off, Westheimer spiced his unique brand of synth pop with Dadaist lyricism and Japanese tonalities, arriving at a future primitive sound which casually slipped between electronic, ambient, experimental and new age. When he dropped his debut LP, "Move" in 1985, Westheimer took the underground by surprise, blending his unique brand of synth work outs with a distinctly Australian aesthetic which coloured subsequent LPs "Sooner Than Laughter" (1986) and "Transition" (1992). This retrospective collects the finest moments of those LPs alongside 6 unreleased tracks, offering the casual listener a glimpse into the diverse genius of the NSW musician. Leftfield dancefloor cuts "Walking On The Edge" and "Elastic Smiles" groove their way into mutant disco territories, stumbling out the speakers like an ironic antipodean cousin of early 80s Peter Gabriel or Bill Nelson. "Rainforest" and "Circular Walkways" lay down some early markers for the casio tribal madness of Andras Fox or Young Marco while "Personality Change" is an afro-synth oddity worthy of a vintage Beppe Loda tape. Elsewhere Brenda Ray styled Balearic shufflers rub shoulders with Japanesque new age numbers, the whole set forming into a diverse selection all boasting a timbre which whispers Westheimer. 


                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      LP Info: 1 COPY FOUND!

                      Manchester's Yadava steps up to the plate for the next installment of the High Praise Edits series. A member of the cities infamous party collective So Flute collective, Yadava has steadily been making a name for himself as a incredible selector with productions to match (including recent release on the likes of Church and Banoffee Pies records). He also holds down the 'Expansions' show on NTS Radio alongside co-host Contours.

                      We've not really heard Yad turn his hand to the chopping board yet - so it's reassuring to hear that this expert DJ and producer is also a dab hand with the knife! As you'd expect from an acclaimed selector, the source material here is rare, under-presented (barring some Teddy P usage but we'll let him off for that!) but most important fun and incendiary. That first track especially, not only have I never heard it - Yadava perfectly galvanized this killer boogie jam with his subtle, house flavoured beats; giving it a new lease of life and certainly ensuring a proud place in Kickin' P's record nest! Recommended! 


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Matt says: Yad garnering some High Praise indeed round these parts atm... Deservedly so as this So Flute golden boy keeps rollin' out hit afta hit! Yeh boiii!

                      With the artists behind the music slowly being revealed on the labels website, artists such as Sagitario aka Juan Sanchez, Agents of Time, Francois V have now been uncovered. With music being the main focus you'll have to wait another 2 months to find out who is behind this latest release. The curiosity continues and the vibe rides high!

                      Serious, this is one cool ass label folks. Another four anonymous artists here contributing what can only be described as the filthiest, gnarliest and grittiest electro-techno hybrids around on the current market! Without famous artist names as reference, you're left with a completely unbiased reference point - adding to the allure of this groundbreaking, genre-stealing winners.

                      Head to their Instagram page (ig: cod3qr) for clues to the artist identities of Cod3QR001, 002 and 003!

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Matt says: This mysterious label goes from strength to strength. Each one's been mega but this one's faultless thru and thru! Be sure to check super emosh last track "Post Death" but tbh it's all kiiller on this excursion...

                      Fabio & Grooverider have been at the forefront of UK dance music for over 3 decades. This is the roots of their story told through music.

                      The 2 London DJ's are part of the DNA of the global Jungle / D&B movement and they have remained relevant, cutting edge, authoritative and essential to this truly underground art-form since it's inception. RAGE could arguably be the ground zero of Jungle. The party was started at London's cavernous Heaven club by Fabio & Grooverider in 1988, at the height of Acid House fever that was making it's way up and down the motorways, slip-roads, fields and warehouses of the M25 and further beyond every weekend, troubling the nation, the police, your parents and the press as it went. RAGE was a different beast, it certainly channelled some of that Acid energy but pitted it against the new and exciting sounds emanating from Belgium, Amsterdam, Detroit, Sheffield, Essex and Hackney and in turn created a new style, a new sonic attitude and energy in the process. Rumbling bass-lines, narcotic synth rushes and roughly chopped and sped-up breakbeats all merged into a style that we now know as Jungle. Nothing like this had been heard before, this was a brand new style and it was coming out of London's West End and Fabio & Grooverider were the people firmly behind it.

                      RAGE is approaching its 30th anniversary. Its sonic and cultural legacy is still being felt today, Fabio & Groove are still shutting down raves and festivals every weekend all over the world with their superior DJ sets and musical knowledge guided by their pioneering spirit. This musical selection you hold in your hands, the first of 4 parts, sees them delve into their prodigious memories and record boxes to select a true musical representation of the very beginning of one of the UK's most unique and influential musical movements of the last 50 years. Across 4 x 2 x 12"s compilations we are taken on a journey through the sounds of RAGE, accompanied with personal track by track notes from Fabio & Grooverider. Music from London, Detroit, Sheffield and beyond features, with tracks such as 33 1/3 Queen's rave banger 'Searchin' sitting shoulder to shoulder with Debbie Malone's underground classic 'Rescue Me' and sublime Detroit Techno from Yennek (aka Kenny Larkin), whose 'Serena X' features. This will be a true masterclass in the sound of the underground, from the inside out.

                      This is a masterclass in the old-school. The roots. There is no filler here, it's simply ALL killer. Lovingly selected and programmed by the masters - 'The Living Shock' & 'The Ladies Choice'. Produced in conjunction with Above Board distribution and Fabio & Grooverider. All tracks mastered from original sources and fully licensed. Mastering by Optimum, Bristol. Artwork and design by Atelier Superplus. 2019

                      Fabio & Grooverider have been at the forefront of UK dance music for over 3 decades. This is the roots of their story told through music.

                      The 2 London DJ's are part of the DNA of the global Jungle / D&B movement and they have remained relevant, cutting edge, authoritative and essential to this truly underground art-form since it's inception. RAGE could arguably be the ground zero of Jungle. The party was started at London's cavernous Heaven club by Fabio & Grooverider in 1988, at the height of Acid House fever that was making it's way up and down the motorways, slip-roads, fields and warehouses of the M25 and further beyond every weekend, troubling the nation, the police, your parents and the press as it went. RAGE was a different beast, it certainly channelled some of that Acid energy but pitted it against the new and exciting sounds emanating from Belgium, Amsterdam, Detroit, Sheffield, Essex and Hackney and in turn created a new style, a new sonic attitude and energy in the process. Rumbling bass-lines, narcotic synth rushes and roughly chopped and sped-up breakbeats all merged into a style that we now know as Jungle. Nothing like this had been heard before, this was a brand new style and it was coming out of London's West End and Fabio & Grooverider were the people firmly behind it.

                      RAGE is approaching its 30th anniversary. Its sonic and cultural legacy is still being felt today, Fabio & Groove are still shutting down raves and festivals every weekend all over the world with their superior DJ sets and musical knowledge guided by their pioneering spirit. This musical selection you hold in your hands, the first of 4 parts, sees them delve into their prodigious memories and record boxes to select a true musical representation of the very beginning of one of the UK's most unique and influential musical movements of the last 50 years. Across 4 x 2 x 12"s compilations we are taken on a journey through the sounds of RAGE, accompanied with personal track by track notes from us. Music from London, Detroit, Sheffield and beyond features, with a deep selection of tracks such as Tic Tac Toe's monstrous roller 'Ephemerol', Top Buzz's anthemic 'Living In Darkness' and the deepest Morales dub of D-Mob's 'That's The Way Of The World' . This will be a true masterclass in the sound of the underground, from the inside out.

                      This is a masterclass in the old-school. The roots. There is no filler here, it's simply ALL killer. Lovingly selected and programmed by the masters - 'The Living Shock' & 'The Ladies Choice'. Produced in conjunction with Above Board distribution and Fabio & Grooverider. All tracks mastered from original sources and fully licensed. Mastering by Optimum, Bristol. Artwork and design by Atelier Superplus. 2019

                      In 2006, the musical landscape was very different; there was no streaming, “shazam" was a word used by magicians, and "all-access” was not granted to the general public. Social media, as we know it, was in its infancy and today’s constant digital feed of interruptions, notifications, refreshes and “likes” didn't yet exist. Those with a thirst for the overlooked regions of the record store had to quench themselves in the climes of the online world's music blogs, and while that digital community was surely expanding, NYC’s www.lovefingers.org was something different. Not a blog but a daily unfolding mix — no opinions, reviews, or backstories were coupled with the music, no full albums or submissions from the outside — it was a mysterious watering hole in the burgeoning digital desert where rogue tracks from Wally Badarou rubbed shoulders with those of Holger Czukay, the drama of Sylvester juxtaposed with the quirkiness of Hosono, and countless other coveted artists’ unearthed gems melted in one pot, a digital space where $1 thrift store scores could easily breathe the same dusty air as cosmic holy grails, oddball psychedelics and proto-electronica b-sides comfortably cohabited with $300 private-press folk rarities. With 1 track per day, Andrew “Lovefingers” Hogge created a truly democratic and educated selection of music for our aural pleasure, and labelled them ‘Fingertracks' (numbered 001-999).

                      This was before most things we now take for granted were common on our dancefloors, radio shows or live streams. Those ubiquitous Euro Pop dubs, unclassics that aficionados play at the wrong speed, or private gems that have since been reissued to the moon and back? They very probably popped up on our collective radars via the medium of www.lovefingers.org first. Rightfully so, what started as a well-kept secret, became a go-to resource and mark of quality among enthusiasts, diggers, DJs, musicians and producers around the globe — the genre-bending mentality in turn re-coined the term “selector” — and inspired a generation the world over to delve further into record shelves, undoubtably contributing hugely to the wondrous, multi-faceted and open-minded musical language we now all speak fluently. While it remained niche, at its peak, www.lovefingers.org had upwards of 100K music freaks turning up daily, and ignited a global musical dialogue between people that were yet to be connected by today’s social technology. The site received countless letters of appreciation from rural kids with no access to record stores, acclaimed DJs, film directors, fashion houses, forgotten artists who were thrilled to feature among unexpected peers, soldiers who diligently tuned-in direct from their call of duty, even heroes of sample-scavenging culture like Coldcut who applauded, “…it just goes to show, when you think you’ve heard it all, you can always dig deeper.” The community around Lovefingers’ site was a call-to-action, gathering analogous minds and inviting them all to the same party, and on New Years Day 2010, after 999 Fingertracks and a plethora of (now classic) mixes, the site made a final post stating, “That's all folks!” The collective energy pivoted into the ESP Institute, a record label and art platform to champion new artists who emerged from this foundational community and as a catalyst to push the musical dialogue forward. Now, as the ESP Institute approaches its 10-year anniversary, we revisit the significant role www.lovefingers.org played in shaping where we are today.

                      'Fingertracks Vol : 1' is a snapshot of aural delights that were on offer to those of the leftfield persuasion, all who discovered the site and tuned-in for their daily shot of sonics proper — a lovingly selected handful of records that re-introduce the story of Andrew’s most influential and essential music resource. The track list is classic Lovefingers, an insight into the free-flowing nature of the daily Fingertracks, context-free but connected through creative threads and energies — lo-fi loner jams brush up alongside sleazed-out Italo powerhouses, Greek new age obscurities tussle against overlooked Hawkwind-related cuts — nuggets that may be more known to the heads now, but whose initial excavation can be accredited to Lovefingers’ site, and are essential to its story nonetheless. Rumor has it that this is merely the first volume in a series, so as it turns out, and gladly so, “That’s not all folks!”

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Patrick says: As far as I'm concerned, Fingertracks was the most influential blog..and it didn't have a single bit of journalistic content - just an endless supply of outrageous tunes from all times and genres. Total rarities, DJ favourites and daily discoveries for every head on the planet. In the years since, each of the tracks on this FIRST VOLUME (YES!) has become an algorithm classic, but you've never had them all in one place, from the man who first helped us discover them. This isn't a collector's item or exercise in nostalgia, this is one of the best sonic selections you'll have the pleasure to own.

                      Various Artists

                      Five Years Of Loving Notes

                        Over five years of vinyl endeavours, Antinote have gone from strength to strength, rising from the underground to become the first port of call for the forward thinking DJ. Menthol fresh, ever-interesting and way ahead of the curve, Antinote releases come and go quickly on the good ship Piccadilly, swiftly finding their ways into the most discerning record bags before soaring in price on Discogs. Comprised of 14 sketches - each reflecting one of the many shades of the label’s catalogue - "Five years of Loving Notes" places new names alongside those who've been involved with the label since it’s very beginning, like Geena or Iueke - responsible for the first 12” released on Antinote. Musically, the collection covers the broadest spectrum of mood and atmosphere, skulking from the dark and raw excursions of Tolouse Low Trax or Iueke to the lush instrumentals crafted by Nico Motte and Syracuse’s Antoine Kogut; Though disparate and diverse, the set seems to breathe as one; contrasting cuts all pointing in the same direction, seeking out the emotional response in all of us without relying on the trite cliches you might find elsewhere. Prepare to take a sensory trip, hurtling from the opening Latvian arabesques from Domenique Dumont to the Pink-Floyd-ian ending from Alek Lee, via Leonardo Martelli’s smoggy electro and Raphael Top Secret’s ominous talk-over. Long live Antinote.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        2xLP Info: ONE COPY FOUND!

                        It’s 1989 in Chicago, House is sweeping the world. Mickey Oliver, radio and club DJ star with the Hot Mix 5 and owner of the (now legendary) Hot Mix 5 Records decides to drop a compilation on M Records, a division of Hot Mix 5 Records he created in 1988.
                        “Sweet House Chicago” is the result - a perfect snapshot of Chicago in the late Eighties (all the way down to the front cover picture taken at one of Mickey’s gig). It features 8 incredible tracks produced by the who’s who of Chicago House at the time: Dj Pierre, Mickey Oliver, Phortune, Ralphi Rosario and more… The track “I Need A Beat” being an actual Larry Heard production that was made for Mickey Oliver.
                        So here it is, reissued for the first time by Still Music, on a yellow double LP - Chicago’s House has never been so sweet!

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Matt says: Part of the building blocks of the now global dance culture, these early blueprints from Chicago would go on to influence a whole generation of dancers, DJs and producers. Much like Fleetwood Mac and Chaka Khan are stables of many people's record collections, there's a whole group of music lovers who regard these as house hold essentials. Every home needs one!


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                        Some Sunday Hip-Hop / RnB classics @Outkast @fatbellybella aka Erykah Badu @djshadow and @TheDangelohttps://t.co/AWxtjDQKTF
                        Sun 23rd - 11:35
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                        Happy #newmusicfriday here’s your first batch of banners currently gracing our walls from @Raconteursmusichttps://t.co/v4UNddzB8D
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                        Just announced! The new @ThomYorke album on @xlrecordings. The deluxe version is super limited and looks amazing! I… https://t.co/ymQc8meox4
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