MAGIC MIX

house . techno . electronica . ambient . neo-classical

WEEK STARTING 15 Feb

Genre pick of the week Cover of Structures And Solutions: 1996-2016 by Various Artists.
James Ruskin and Blueprint are two names synonymous with British techno. Ruskin has never really put into words what makes a Blueprint record, but the label has one the most distinctive catalogues of its era. Aside from the music's excellent production quality and propensity for detailed sound design, a defining characteristic might be the creeping tension in many of its releases, or the visceral head trip they guarantee.

Blueprint has maintained its identity through a few phases. There were the '96-'99 years, when Ruskin and Richard Polson were releasing as Outline and Oliver Ho's funky tribal sound was emerging, and then the '00s, when Polson left Ruskin's deep and driving style to crystallise. Polson's sudden departure in '06 caused both Blueprint and its owner to take a break, but since 2009 they've returned with a clear sense of purpose. The label's most recent chapter has abandoned its exclusivity in order to widen its purview, bringing on board artists like Lakker, Sigha and Samuel Kerridge. Blueprint has also become a place for old friends like Surgeon and Oliver Ho, and a platform for Ruskin's collaborations with Regis (as O/V/R) and Mark Broom to bloom.

Cue "Structures & Solutions: 1996-2016". Not only does this compilation see the current roster (Lakker, Makaton, The Fear Ratio, Rommek, Rumah & Progression) hitting their strides, but it also includes a track from Steve Bicknell, whose Lost club nights, says Ruskin, were highly influential to Blueprint - and a relentless solo production from Regis. Some of the non-affiliated artists make an effort to colour within the lines, albeit without compromising their own sound. Take Tessela's funky tribal "Rub": it's still a bit ravey, but with a dose of early Oliver Ho about it. Blawan's "Passer By" is submerged, dreamy and mesmerizing in its own way. Randomer's "Sheen" and Truss's "Wonastow" form "Structures & Solutions" destructive side.

For a chilly groove check Ruskin & DVS1's "Page 1"; for classic Blueprint with a twist, Luke Slater's "Pull" does a great job. Bicknell's "Disguise of Beings" could kill or save a dancefloor, and is one of the best inclusions for it. Play Ruskin's "6teenth" for nostalgia and Oliver Ho's "The Serpent Devours Itself" for a Broken English Club-style view of the future. 20 years on and Blueprint are as significant as ever, and this compilation is proof that they're not going anywhere.


Performing throughout the 1980s as Art Carnage to the gloomy hipsters of Portland, Attilio Panissidi III decided he needed a vacation. The result of his creative escape became Art Takes A Holiday, an album of fabricated FM synthscapes and MIDI environments that embrace elements of smooth jazz, new age, and pop.

Attilio had been playing in bands since he was thirteen, and had opened live shows for countless acts, from The Shangri-Las to Bruce Hornsby. The experience of producing, performing, as well as years spent writing for local music magazine The Downtowner, earned Attilio a gig to score a commercial film for a home security systems company. The opportunity allowed him to explore softer elements in his writing, and he created a suite of songs much deeper than the commission warranted. These instrumentals caught the attention of Marlon McClain (Gap Band, Shock), who invited Attilio to produce and release the music on his fledgling Nu-Vision label. Thus "Art Takes A Holiday" found its commercial release on cassette and CD in 1989. Although originally intended as soundtrack music, the album retains its own momentum, narrative and evocative imagery that betrays Attilio’s years of crafting songs. Attilio found a perfect ambience on this mythic retreat, somewhere between William Aura’s summer cottage on Half Moon Bay and DJ Alfredo’s Balearic island getaway.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Originally released in the era when New Age and new technology found a perfect synergy, “Art Takes A Holiday” is a killer set of exotic synth suites, future primitive grooves and esoteric dancers, each of which could have graced the soundtrack of a late 80s film about cops, surfing and computer systems.

I have enjoyed deep house since my tender years. I still love it and even more when newcomers keep it sweet, original and making the most of the new technology available. This release is as deep as they come with 'love' as the theme that underpins the four tracks on here. 
 
A theme touched by many deep house producers since the beginning of time, no doubt. On A side you get 'The Strings' and guess what is at the centre stage of this scorcher? Some hot string sample a la Pepe Bradock - although without wanting to offend anyone, this is no 'Burning'. It is a great dancefloor warmer though. 
On 'The Only One' things focuse on love - more precisely on its carnal version of it. This is made clear on the steamy vocals. The beat is very sensuous and punchy, the synth is delicate and suave making this track the one for me. 
 
Flip it and you get another version of 'The Strings', as good if not better actually. And for dessert you get 'My Love' - here we leave carnality aside and we get more philosophical and we ask ourselves, what is love really? Is it an innate feeling, is it a societal construction, a survival instinct? Who defines love? Well, I do not have the answers to such introspective questions but if you listen to 'My Love' and its beautiful piano you may find the answers. Do please share them with us! 
 
A well-rounded release with a limited press so if you snooze, you may lose. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Solid release on A-Z as it is the norm with this great label. Deep house at its finest that should be in your record bag for many moons to come.

An expressive electronic album filled with sadness, yet one with the sort of positive, stirring resolve that leaves you feeling utterly comforted, Bjarki’s new album "Happy Earthday" is influenced by his home country Iceland as well as environmental issues. 'Maybe you can feel the melancholy of my life, the nature overall. Volcanos and the lava flowing down the slopes, the frightening noise of the ocean beating the land, the strong wind in the mountain passes and a glimpse of the first ray of the rising sun over the glacier. Now that is the dawn of a new day.”

Having released bodies of work on Nina Kraviz’s label трип and his own label bbbbbb, Bjarki views "Happy Earthday" as his proper debut album; he feels it’s a more coherent and conceptual body of work that finds him offering up music he never thought he would release. 'You can consider this album a window into my head and even my soul,' says Bjarki. 'For me it is a bit odd, sharing like this to the world. As a very private person I am not used to opening my door so completely. It’s a little scary for me. ‘What if …’ I wonder, expecting all kinds of everything.'

The album contains very personal material written over the last decade during fragile moments of introspection. And because of that, 'releasing this album is also a kind of a farewell to music I made in a certain period in my life. It’s like I’m saying farewell to a grown-up child which is now ready to leave the nest.'

There are skeletal rhythms with sombre chords lingering in the air, downbeat drums with heavy moods, and moments of more uplifting optimism along the way. Throughout the album - made up of comparatively short tracks that help the whole thing move at an engaging pace - Bjarki always manages to make his machines sing with real resonance; they ooze genuine pain and a stunning sense of melancholy that is comforting even when the tempo is raised and drums come to the fore.


Shanti Celeste & Hodge

Soba Dance

Oh yeah, papi, toma temazo! Hodge and Celeste team up to produce what I understand to be and unapologetic banger but let me be clear, fellow reader, it is a banger in my books! To be banger and in my books it has to be solidly off the beaten track and not able to please the masses - just the literati. Are you in? Surely you are. 'Soba' with its galloping rhythm and misty pads encompass my definition of... banger masher. So does the more trippy journey and slightly sombre corners displayed in 'Pips' and the irrevocably great 'Alula' - a true dancefloor destroyer. 
 
This is the record that finds Shanti and Hodge teasing new ideas together whilst retaining dancefloor magic and sensibilities. Did I say 'Oh yeah'? Well... oh yeah to myself then! 
 
If you are short of dough, make this the only 12" you get this week. No regrets. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Dancefloor realness that it has been much needed through all my prelistenings this week. Hence I get extremely excited and I even start to shake my aging hips. But who would not with this 3 scorchers that see Celeste and Hodge kill it with such elegance? Top draw wax.

Cucina Povera

Zoom

    Zoom is a verité collection of situational recordings made by Cucina Povera - aka Finnish-born, Glasgow-based sound artist Maria Rossi - in intimate spaces full of acoustic or ideological intrigue, primarily using a capella voice. It is a document of different locations and moods that interested the recorder, a postcard look into the stream-of-consciousness processes of an artist developing her own language.

    Using little else other than a Tascam Zoom recorder and loop pedal these are highly personal recordings originally intended as notes for future compositions that ended up becoming the purest rendition of this first phase of Cucina Povera's music to date. Originally presented as WAV files named simply ZOOM---, these on-the-fly compositions are a perfect distillation of Rossi's practice. With no augmentation, not even a song-title, these bare, beautiful tracks become a materialist document of the wonder of the every-day.

    While Rossi's previous album, Hilja, was a sculpted whole that at times used post-production techniques and electronic instruments, Zoom presents acoustic sound as a source of joy and discovery largely without artifice. Rossi's voice is used a searchlight, shining into the crevices of a room's dark corners, or as on ZOOM0005, projected into a Coke bottle aperature, for an almost Shakuhachi texture. Voice dissapates into texture, with rhythms created by simple hissing sounds and the interweaving of loops. ZOOM0001 interlocks 4 different a capella melodies to create a chorus, an improvised solo hymn that seems to rise and rise. ZOOM0010 uses staccato vocal bursts, like Meridith Monk huffing out Steve Reich rhythms, while the soloing Rossi expertly ducks in and out of the frame.

    Like the most celestial moments of her debut Hilja it is a religious experience but rendered more powerful in its naked, secular form. Indeed, there are shades of Hilja in the sounds, with some strains resurfacing from that album, insinuating that Rossi's practise is a continuing form, a series of sentences in the artists' personal language that mutate over time, bending into new shapes. On Zoom, Rossi’s minimalism is fully stark, a process fully transparent and all the more celestially powerful because of it.

    Interesting release here. Why? We do not get many electro records. Why? Well, it is not a 'major' genre we sell loads of or it could also be that our customers do not feel the warmth of electro enough. Good news is I do feel the warmth of electro - when it is how I like it and this D.I.E. guy, although oozing dark energy with such alias, his music is the ideal soundtrack for a stroll in the paradise discotheque. 'Never Ending Beats 2' is a very inviting, soothing, pleasant on the ear 'soft' electro number. Once you are in, 'R U Married' kicks in with some odd questionnaire dropped onto some lady on this considered Detroit legendary track. Funny. Odd. Funny really. It is electro and a bit techno in a way, but not as obvious as what you hear on the flipside. 
     
    Things get a bit harsher on 'Not R Fault Live Version'. In fact, imagine playing Missile Command on the NES and this is your soundtrack instead of the crappy 8bit one that this game comes with. Perfecto booster for your shooting orgy.
     
    Closing act is 'My House'. I thought it was going to be a homage to the house genre. It is not. It is electro with great vocals and a punchy bassline. 
     
    That is all folks. That is my reading on this one. Definetly one to give a listen to!


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Sil says: Great electro record here with some surprises and with a bit for everyone. Softer side and harsher side of the genre are reflected on this 12". Worth a listen. Hopefully you will concur.

    Danilo & Pablo

    10 Years MCDE Recordings

    It's been 10 years since the very first Motor City Drum Ensemble records came through. I remember the occasion like it was only yesterday! But since that we've seen label head Danilo Plessow become somewhat of a demigod amongst the house fraternity. Alongside Pablo Valentino (Creative Swing Alliance), who he started the label with, they contribute a brilliant double header for the label's 10th anniversary.

    "Don't You Ever Change" sounds like vintage Rotating Assembly, with pluming Rhodes alongside that MPC rich, Sound Signature-esque drum palette and flurries of Amp Fiddler-approved keys. "Loops For Eternity" keeps with that OG Detroit house flavour, sounding like a lost Moodymann cut through its tasty samples and swirling cut-up sections. Add some tense strings and you've got a cut that wouldn't sound out of place on "Black Mahogany". We've only got a few of these folks so don't delay! 


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd 12" Info: Super limited 12" release.

    Delta Rain Dance is an experimental artist and label project delving into contemplative, and melancholic states, with a record that blissfully glides between ambient and delicate moods into more percussive and electronic states. A hybrid puzzle of melodic cuts, DJ tools and drum tracks, that can be mixed together to create new amalgamations of the source material.

    "Trancemission/Transmission" showcases a musical narrative that transcends genres and moods, switching between flashes of dubbed techno, abstract percussive electronica, and stark downtempo vibes.

    A record structured around progressions, heavy on sound design and imagination. It takes the listener into different astral planes, from tranquil moments of temperate melodies, to off-kilter periods of electro. Ghostly radio transmissions, dubbed out Rhodes, underwater frequencies, and broadcasts from beyond the digital ether. It is a modern take on "Music for Airports", albeit written for a post-millennial audience, one that grew up on Dilla, Vatican Shadow, Grouper and Digital Mystikz. Drum tracks, locked grooves, and sparse sketches of melody and reverb soaked harmonies. "Delta Rain Dance" has produced a body of work that exists in two halves; the trancemissions operating as celestial, ambient skits; moments of dreamlike serenity, while on the flip, carefully programmed beats infer moments of Detroit, dubstep, and IDM, gently providing the framework to the album’s intricate, grainy basslines, and saturated overtones. The two halves of the record can be mixed together, and like a puzzle that needs to be solved, tracks fit together perfectly, creating an interactive musical game, in which the DJ can create new sonic interpretations of the album.


    E-Versions #1

    Kahn / Mingo

      After a string of heavy duty remixes in 2013, Mark E enjoyed a winter break spending quality solo time in the studio to launch the E-version series on Merc. The inaugural release sees Mark making his return to the world of edits he took by storm in 2009. On the A-side, he applies a punchy, peak time rework to Chaka Khan's peerless anthem of female empowerment, "I'm Every Woman". True to form, he rocks a pounding looped intro, subtly dropping conga and bongo rolls, guitar licks and vocal snippets to tease the crowd into a frenzy ("R+B Drunkie" style) before letting loose with the anthemic vocals. The production is perfectly balanced, powered up and filter to make a killer peaktime groove. On the flip, Mark offers something irresistable to the techno crowd in the form of Mingo. A persistent bass loop is driven on by the rapid fire ride, while the smudged and pitched down vocal forms a trippy duet with a depth charge synth note. Just when the intensity is about to take its toll, the Merc man stitches in some rattling ethnic percussion to offer a moment of respite before twisting the beats out again for the close. 


      Infiniti (Juan Atkins) / Reel By Real

      Techno Por Favor / Sundog

      To lovers of that OG Detroit techno sound, there's few names conjure up as much excitement as Juan Atkins and Martin Bonds. Individually the two producers pioneered and developed the first incarnation of the sound; taking cues from Kraftwerk, Parliament and the darkening mood of inner city Detroit and contrasting it with an optimistic, futuristic vision guided by machines. Together, under the Reel By Real moniker they also made some of the finest blueprints of the genre - that mechanized funk, sci-fi outlook and technologically focused production leaving many listeners entranced and other producers scratching their heads.

      The two tracks here were both released on Atkins' Metroplex Records around '90 & '91. Re-mastered and repressed by the Music Preservation Society and now collated on one, essential twelve inch.


      Ishmael Ensemble

      Severn Songs 3: The River Feat. Yazz Ahmed

      Hot-on-the-heels of their performance on BBC 6 Music, for Gilles Peterson's ‘UK Jazz Special’, at the hallowed Maida Vale studios (alongside Nubya Garcia, Joe Armon-Jones and Fatima), Ishmael Ensemble bring their Bristol-inspired "Severn Songs" project to a triumphant finale. "Severn Songs 3" pays homage the mighty river itself, in both title and mood. Field recordings from the banks of another iconic river - the Ganges - made by keyboardist and co-writer Jake Spurgeon meander in and out of focus, whilst celestial percussion ushers in the full-bodied tone of celebrated jazz trumpeter Yazz Ahmed's horn. The track climaxes in true Ishmaelian fashion with a whirlwind of pulsating synthesizers, crashing drums and hypnotic brass flurries, before easing back into the dulcet rhythm of oars lapping through water.

      On the flip, a reprise takes the listener on a much gentler ride. However, the tension and dynamics of this twin version are still very much apparent. Throughout the release, an array of new instruments open up in Cunningham's armoury; most notably bass clarinet, alto-flute and the sarod – leaving the listener just a few strings shy of a full orchestral experience.

      As a whole, the "Severn Songs" project has seen Cunningham develop an already diverse palette into something more focused. Tiptoeing between the current British jazz boom and Bristol's rich musical ancestry, the group have found a truly unique and refreshing voice.

      "Severn Songs 3" follows media praise, radio airplay and DJ support for the first two 7”s in the series from the likes of Dan Snaith (Caribou), Gilles Peterson, Tom Ravenscroft, DJ Mag, Complex, Self-Titled, The Vinyl Factory and XLR8R.

      Musicians:
      Pete Cunningham: saxophone, synths, keys
      Jake Spurgeon: modular synth, keys, sarod
      Yazz Ahmed: flugelhorn
      Ross Hughes: bass clarinet, alto flute
      Rory O'Gorman: drums
      Stephen Mullins: guitar
      Jackson Lapes: percussion


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Emily says: The Ishmael Ensemble craft a hypnotic groove with rich brass motifs, crashing drums and shimmering percussion. While reminiscent of middle eastern tonality and the spiritual jazz tradition, the undulating synth lines bring it firmly into the realms of new UK jazz.

      These lush Liverpudlian Belters have been supported by Gerd Jason, Michael Mayer and the Innervisions lot thus far; and with good reason! The impeccable label deliver a quadruplet of melodic technoid musica from Jemmy, whose previously released via Mule Musiq.

      "A Cherry Valley" starts the adventure with a truly elasticated low-mid section, pulls and contorted a bendy synth array around rising strings and plinky-plonk tek beats; landing somewhere between Innervisions, Four Tet and Auntie Flo. "3 Stars" deploys an intriguing sound palette, mystic in colour and mood and coerces it into some kind of triplet-based exotic house romp. "Perfect Rose" opens side B with more thrusting bass pressure achieved again through some seriously rubbery low end - loud n wobbly just the way we like it! "Angel" closes off the EP with a beatless excursion; drifting into a thick swamp of plucked strings, keys, pads, celestial sounds and morphing filters.
       

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Sil says: Suave techno a a la Innervisions drenched in musicality and lollipop flavours. Not bad at all. Is it a belter? You are to decide! Worth a listen though!

      On The Corner follow up a well received but truly out there debut record with another maverick release. Khalab's "Black Noise 2084" received bare plaudits last year for its beguiling mix of electronic and tradiitonal elements. Now the label enlist a trio of modern music pilgrims to reinterpret three of the tracks. "Chitita" is handed to Chicago's experimental dance demigod Jamal Moss, who dons his Hieroglyphic Being moniker and churns out a tribal, morse code bleep n bash symphony that's become one of his defining trademarks over a vast career. Hong Kong's Blood, Wine & Honey are new to the field, but display fresh legs and creative input as they remix "Dense" into a futurist-afro jam rich with UKF flavours and a weighty low end. Finally Afrikan Sciences aka New York's Eric Porter Douglas shows just why he's so in demand at the moment thru a tasty take of "Black Noise" which mixes his typically chaotic percussion elements around discord and harmony like no other - the ultimate juxtaposition of electric and humanoid; and a great insight into the mind of this highly experimental producer.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: On The Corner follow up their impressive debut with another brilliantly oddball curation. Three cutting edge producers drafted in to remix the wonderfully electro-esoterica of Khalab.

      Well they got the title right on this one didn't they: "Confuse The Marketplace" brings together the three CD bonus tracks from "45:33", but all have also been previously released on vinyl too - yes, you knew you'd seen them somewhere before. The EP kicks off with the brilliant "Freak Out" (on the flip of Harvey's mix of "All My Friends") - a better tribute to Edwin Starr's "Get Up Whirlpool" you will not find. Here's the difference though, where as the original mix was blended into "Starry Eyes" here you get a little break so the drum solo won't mess up your mix. Over on side-B we have the Onastic Dub of "North American Scum" (previously promo-only) and last up is the absolutely brilliant "Hippie Priest Bum Out" ("North American Scum" B-side cut). Out of press for a decade, but still fresh as it gets. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Long live LCD. Just days after I had the pleasure of their recent "Electric Lady Sessions", New York's finest repress this classic EP of B-sides and remixes. "Freak Out / Starry Eyes" is as good as anything they've recorded, that Onanistic Dub is a triumph of kraut-laced nu-disco and "Hippie Priest" is full on live-jam Fall tackle. Ace!

      Mahbunzi Nahgo Pihndi

      D Ebando

      Following a run of sought-after releases on cassette from artists including Anthony Naples, Xvarr and E Ruscha V, Good Morning Tapes switch to vinyl for their latest offering by Mahbunzi Nahgo Pihndi ("All the Healing Green Leaves of the Forest”) aka Brian Close, one half of New York avant-garde duo Georgia:

      “This record is an extension of a foray into trance ritual music. It is structured as a companion for film, meditation, vision seeking & sound rest. It is by nature a nature worship record, combining acoustic percussive improvisation, sensory foley, vocalized staccatos, and a specific brew of physical / metaphysical sound relations... mind hush / thought flush / spirit rush / sun rise. Inspired by an initiation ceremony of the Bwiti / Fang people of Gabon. This collection relays a fragmented branch of timings of this ceremony and proposes other paths for the sacred (Mougongo) instrument.
      Recoded + Restructured + Reflected as a time capsule, with fullest respect / blessings to breeze the Bwiti understandings through the current climate." 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Perilously dark neo-shamanism here that kicks off a new spellbook of sonics. Quite terrifying in parts - I advise caution when consulting with The Other whilst on entheogens.

      Anthony Naples

      Take Me With You

      Anthony Naples returns with his second full length album, "Take Me With You", arriving first as a ‘Mixed Version’ cassette inspired and commissioned by the Good Morning Tapes series, followed by this vinyl edition that's just arrived here in the shop.

      Originally conceived as a mixtape dedicated to friends and the time spent with them in the morning hours, after the party is over (or beginning) - it quickly morphed into a soft focused meditation on all things warm and intangible.

      "Take Me With You" fires off in all styles - the opening triptych of the extra-cosmic “Alto”, post-rave pianos of “Goodness” and slow-dance-inducing “Drifter” bring the attention inward - taking cues from a host of personal favorites including: “Space” LP by Space, The Theater Of Eternal Music, Panda Bear’s “Person Pitch” , Atlas Sound’s “Let The Blind Lead…”, Arthur Russell’s “World Of Echo”, Suzanne Ciani’s “Buchla Concerts: 1975”, The Microphones “The Glow Pt. II” & “Mount Eerie”, A mixtape of Krautrock from DJ Ivan Berko and most definitely Holger Czukay, “Take Me With You” is a fresh turn for Naples as he ascends into a blend of his most personal work to date - touching on trip-hop, psychedelic pop, ambient house, and much more along the way.

      Make no mistake - “Take Me With You”’s message is undoubtedly about escapism, given away by its happy-abductee cover art done by the legend Biscuit - but first and foremost it reflects on that lingering feeling one gets when walking away from the ones they love.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Awarded a 'Best of 2018' accolade by Resident Advisor when released on tape. Now available on vinyl: a digitally enhanced, 'abductee fantasy drama' from no other than Anthony Naples - you know what to do!

      Payfone

      I Was In New York / A Prayer For Maya Angelou

      Payfone bring a double header of NYC styled heat for the inaugural release on their newly launched Otis Records. Marrying modern boogie and classic R&B, with cosmic leanings and Balearic touches, Payfone manage to keep all the essence of the early days whilst bringing a contemporary swagger to the floor.

      Each element in "I Was In New York" gets the space it deserves. Palm muted guitars and sashaying synth echoes flutter over the top of a strutting slap bass courtesy of Giulio Granchelli. A simplicity that sings - simultaneously giving your mind the space it needs to drift off into a daydream of sunsets over cityscapes. Introspective, meditative and innocent, Dayna Talley’s spoken word vocals lull listeners into memories of tranquil times. Set to be one of 2019’s standout songs, its refreshingly original and sure to cut through the noise.

      The B side, "A Prayer For Maya Angelou" takes a Balearic boat out across calming seas. Gravitating around a metallic, pulsating synth, modulated to bounce at points and brood at others, mystic flurries drift in the distance, as pads wash across the horizon. Len Xiang’s melancholic tale reverberates throughout, with those sweet sax sounds from Billy Brooks Paul and a spring reverbed guitar riffing off into the ocean - elevating this into pure paradise.


      Hollow Earth is the new album from Pye Corner Audio aka Martin Jenkins, his third for Ghost Box. It’s conceived as a sequel to 2016’s Stasis. Where Stasis played with notions of outward cosmic exploration and the idea of suspended animation and sleep, Hollow Earth takes subterranean exploration and submerged psychologies as its theme.

      It draws on Berlin school synth improvisations, New Age reveries and the ghosts of 90s house euphoria to summon up images of vast, awe inspiring spaces and claustrophobic chambers. It sustains an atmosphere of wonder and adventure throughout, and like its companion piece, Stasis, it works equally as a soundtrack to physical as well as mental exploration.

      Pye Corner Audio specialise in majestic, cinematic electronica that evokes sci-fi soundtracks, dystopian futures and the sound of haunted dance floors. The discography to date includes eight full length albums and many more singles and EPs across several labels. There are also remixes for John Foxx, Mogwai, Mark Lanegan, Stealing Sheep, Knightstown, Not Waving and most recently Dolphin Midwives.

      Pye Corner's Martin Jenkins (aka The Head Technician) is a veteran live performer, and has played shows and festivals all over Europe, Canada and the USA. Most notably he has supported Mogwai on several tour dates, played the Mutek festival in Montreal, the Mugako Festival in Spain and Barcelona’s Primavera Club.

      Pye Corner Audio pieces appear in the soundtrack to Adam Curtis’s 2016 film HyperNormalisation and the 2018 Shudder TV series, Deadwax. More TV soundtrack appearances are due to appear in 2019.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Another absolute killer from PCA for the legendary Ghost Box, very much serving as a follow-up to Piccadilly top-5 album of 2016, 'Stasis'. Where the throbbing, machinated pulses of stasis still held elements of light, 'Hollow Earth' is very much a product of the unsure times we live in, dark vocal abstractions (don't worry, it's vocoded), fractured rhythms and saturation as standard. It's completely hypnotic and every bit as superb as you'd expect. Completely brilliant, and ALREADY album of the year material for me.

      Conceived as a kind of sequel to 2012’s Sleep Games, there’s an epic sensibility to Stasis. The haunted concrete caverns of the earlier album give way here, to vast, awe inspiring spaces. The album has a strong narrative flow that can be read either as the soundtrack for an interplanetary voyage under suspended animation, or the exploration of vast inner realms under some other form of technologically enhanced sleep.

      Martin Jenkins' unique production sound is unmistakable: Carpenter-esque slow kosmiche disco and ambience, woozy synth melodies and somnambulistic grooves with soft, rich textures.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: One of our albums od the year 2017, and one of my favourite albums OF ALL TIME is once again in stock ahead of the stunning new PCA LP, 'Hollow Earth'.

      An absoultely stunning, electronic odyssey. Still just as incredible as the day I heard it.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: The lavish CD and LP packaging is designed by Julian House. The 180gm LP includes a free download card.

      Techfunkers

      Techfunkers The Album: Techfunk Is Where It's At (Vol 1)

      Sex Mania return with another killer, under-the-radar reissue. These guys are smashing it at the moment!

      DJ Duke aka Techfunkers' "Techfunkers The Album: Techfunk Is Where It's At" was originally released 1995 in three volumes and sounded reassuringly ahead of its time; melding techno, electro and a Chicago mindset. The first volume is repressed here with three breath taking tracks, stylishly constructed and effortlessly cool; it's makes just the kind of statement and impact you require when taking over the 1s and 2s...Inabit everyone else! Hard to pick a favourite, "Looking 4 Da Perfect Beat" are tougher jackers, but I can't resist the sensual bass glide of "Techfunk Revenge". Fabulous!


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Another one from 1995 that's escaped my radar up until now. Not sure if I'm a) genuinly devo'd at myself for not doing enough homework or b) mega buzzed that I get a chance to play it out now. Oh the quandary!

      The Chi Factory

      The Mantra Recordings

      Dedicated to the life and work of Robert Lax (1915-2000), the American poet who lived on Patmos, Greece, as a self-exiled hermit since the sixties. Jack Kerouac called Lax 'one of the great original voices of our times, a Pilgrim in search of beautiful innocence'.

      His great minimalistic poetry became a source of inspiration for the "Mantra Recordings". His life on Patmos was far away from public attention - quiet and always surrounded by the skies, seas, cats and birds. Lax was a real dreamcatcher.

      As has become the norm for Chi Factory on Astral Industries - a veritable smorgasbord of all things esoteric, ambient and ritualistic, gelled together with a chloroplastic binding that emanates a natural, biotic nature. If you've ever wondered what'd be like to visit the region in Terrence McKenna's 'True Hallucinations' novel, this could well take you halfway there... Recommended. 


      "ALL" is the first album to be recorded at Tiersen’s new studio, venue and community centre, The Eskal, built in an abandoned discotheque on the island of Ushant, a small island positioned in the Celtic sea between Brittany and Cornwall, Tiersen’s home for the past 10 years. The album, mixed and co-produced by Gareth Jones, continues the themes of environment and a connection to nature first explored on EUSA, incorporating recordings from outside of Brittany, such as the redwood forests of California as well as field recordings from Tempelhof airport in Berlin (on ‘Tempelhof’), plus guest vocalists.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Since the Amelié soundtrack, i've been in love with Tiersen's work, and this is most certainly the culmination of all of his previous works. It's a stunningly delicate, but beautifully emotive collection, more classically focused than Arnalds or Frahm but as tender as either (i'm not throwing shade here, i'm mad for a good pianist). Beautiful.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      2xLP Info: Heavyweight 180 gram vinyl, Side D etched.

      2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Alex Virgo drops the first release for his brand new Label "Pomme Frite", an imprint influenced by his love of disco & his keen ear for sampling in house music. If this first release is anything to go by, then it's the classic, loopy, 'French Touch' style of house music that Alex Virgo is looking to update for the new millennial.

      Main room AF and possessing that incendiary energy that should ensure repeated plays at all the global dance hotspots, three tracks of peak time house pleasure that conjure up vivid memories of catching DJ Sneak, Thomas Bangalter or Cassius at Manchester's Red Light club night. Funky house became such a dirty word as the noughties progressed, but these three tracks demonstrate just how mega the combination of catchy and killer disco loops, mixed with the most kinetic house beats can be. Word! 


      Lenny Williams

      Changes - Joaquin Joe Claussell Edits


        Joe Claussell is at it again, always searching for that groove and that re-edit that has yet not been discovered. Always going for under the radar stuff that deserves to be amplified and retouched. 

        On A side you get the original with plenty of soulful disco to fill that big room in that mega cool club in your home town, five minutes of blissful craftmanship that Joaquin is gonna extend to a whopping 9 minutes affair on the B Side. Here the focus is on the break for me. A groovy, hypnotic and very organic attack on the original take. If edits are your thing, you know that there are good ones and bad ones. This one is in the former camp and not just because it is a Claussell one but because it inmensely improves the original track. 

        The price tag is dear but this track is worth every penny and it will become a rarity in its own right. Bravo, mr Claussell once again!

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Sil says: So far, Claussell has not failed. There is not an edit that he has not mastered and nailed. This one here is no exception. Let it go at your own peril!

        Various Artists

        Cuneiform For Pumapunku

          ** NEW LIGHT SOUNDS DARK!!! - Act now or cry later! 

          Keeping with their theme of late, it's a minimalistic, ambient, drone-like curation of none-hits that plunge deep into wormhole, scrap up all the interstella detritus and cough it back up through a phlegmy, alien oesophagus.

          Two sides of wacked-out, voodoo discharge, electrostatic ambience and general creeping sense of doom. Like watching Event Horizon on your own on 4aco powder - incredibly terrifying but certain to re-programm your synapses. 

          SERIOUSLY limited quants on this one folks so don't dilly dally! 

          Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series continues with Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990, an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyō ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres.

          In the 1970s, the concepts of Brian Eno’s “ambient” and Erik Satie’s “furniture music” began to take hold in the minds of artists and musicians around Tokyo. Emerging fields like soundscape design and architectural acoustics opened up new ways in which sound and music could be consumed. For artists like Yoshimura, Ojima and Ashikawa, these ideas became the foundation for their musical works, which were heard not only on records and in live performances, but also within public and private spaces where they intermingled with the sounds and environments of everyday life. The bubble economy of 1980s Japan also had a hand in the advancement of kankyō ongaku. In an attempt to cultivate an image of sophisticated lifestyle, corporations with expendable income bankrolled various art and music initiatives, which opened up new and unorthodox ways in which artists could integrate their avant-garde musical forms into everyday life: in-store music for Muji, promo LP for a Sanyo AC unit, a Seiko watch advert, among others that can be heard in this collection.

          Kankyō Ongaku is expertly compiled by Spencer Doran (Visible Cloaks) who, with a series of revelatory mixtapes as well as his label Empire of Signs (Music For Nine Postcards), has been instrumental in shepherding interest in this music outside of Japan. Together with Light In The Attic’s celebrated anthologies I Am The Center and The Microcosm, Kankyō Ongaku helps to broaden our understanding of this quietly profound music, regardless of the environment in which it’s heard.


          STAFF COMMENTS

          Patrick says: Now, while the Japanese ambient revival has been going on for some years (check out essential reissues on Palto Flats, WRWTFWW, 17853) Light In The Attic steal a march on their competitors with this sublime compilation of obscurities from the Land of the Rising Sun. Wonderfully packaged, presented and curated, "Kankyo Ongaku" is a fitting companion to "I Am The Center" and the "Microcosm", exploring the New Age and ambient sounds of 80s Japan. Minimal, relaxing and utterly beautiful, this music is almost heavenly.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xDeluxe CD Info: 2xCD housed in a custom 7”x 7” hardbound book.

          3xLP Box Set Info: Triple black vinyl LP with deluxe Stoughton “tip-on” jackets and slipcase.


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