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Black Devil

The Last Cut Is The Deepest

    To follow the astonishing and final installment in the Black Devil story, it seemed fitting to ask two of the deepest and individual of producers to pay tribute to the Black Devil legacy.

    The result is a spectacularly immersive release.

    Pye Corner Audio is known for his otherworldy take on italo disco and nocturnal explorations into dusty electronica. His version of Berliner Atoll envisions a club scene filmed by Dario Argento, wreathed in smoke, lost in mirrors. Propulsive, dynamic and irresistible.

    Abul Mogard excels himself with a gorgeous voyage into the abyss. Nearly 10 minutes of weightless psychedelic exploration. Utterly absorbing and the perfect soundtrack for taking LSD in a flotation tank.

    Black Devil

    Lucifer Is A Flower

      Lucifer Is A Flower is the final album from the legendary Black Devil. His story is as deep and strange as the music itself. His first album ‘Black Devil Disco Club’ is one of the most enigmatic electronic masterpieces ever made. So ahead of it’s time that no one could believe it was made in 1977 (released 1n 1978). Many thought it was a hoax and that the music was made by Aphex Twin or Luke Vibert but when Lo Recordings released the ‘28 After’ album in 2006, the truth was finally revealed.

      Black Devil was the alter ego of Bernard Fevre, a French composer of electronic library music including the magnificent ‘Strange World Of Bernard Fevre’.

      Bernard grew up and worked in Paris, and it was the African clubs and rhythms that inspired him to make the ‘Disco Club’ album. With only a small arsenal of electronic keyboards, a vocoder and looped conga drums he made music that transcends time.

      Fast forward to 2020 and the final Black Devil release. ‘Lucifer Is A Flower’ is every bit as enigmatic, inventive and inspiring as it’s title suggests. A kaleidoscopic ride into the mind of a musical master. Beautifully packaged with design by Non Format that includes pictures of the devil as a young man, it’s a fitting tribute to a career that has spanned over 40 years of divine and diabolical genius.

      This year marks the 5th anniversary of Susumu Yokota’s departure from this world and yet he is very much still here. His music always had a timeless quality and this new release is a perfect example. It was conceived following the discovery of a DAT tape by Mark Beazley containing unreleased tracks and early sketch versions of tracks that formed ‘The Boy and the Tree’. Mark had worked with Yokota on the Rothko/Yokota collaboration EP ‘Rivers Edge’ but had no recollection of why or when he was sent the tape. Mark sent the tracks to Jon Tye who ‘decided to do my best to honour the spirit and legacy of Yokota’s work by completing the tracks in a way which I thought he would approve’.

      ‘I only met Susumu once but communicated with him many times and always felt a strong connection with him and his music, it all came together swiftly and flowed from start to finish without thought or question. I hope what I have created is a fitting tribute. It was a privilege to enter the world of Susumu Yokota and spend time with his spirit. Many of the titles and the quotation below are taken from the book ‘Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown’ by Alan Watts, which I was reading at the time the tracks were mixed’.

      Searching For The Hermit In Vain

      I asked the boy beneath the pines,
      He said ‘The masters gone alone
      Herb-picking somewhere on the mount
      Cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown

      Chia Tao (777-841) Trans. Lin Yutang

      Private Agenda

      Île De Rêve

        Île de Rêve is the first full length album release for Private Agenda, after EP releases on International Feel, Needwant, Nu Northern Soul and Nightshift.

        Focusing more on the deeper and mostly instrumental side of things, the album is a deep meditation, an Immaculate conception that takes inspiration from island spaces and the stories that emerge from them.

        An expansive collection of blissfully surreal, downtempo tracks. The opening tracks Bounty and Sea Life echo the motion of waves splashing onto the shore of an idyllic atoll. Ultramarine meanwhile invites us to dive beneath the waves – a sort of musical immersion therapy. Monsoon is a lonesome lament, the sound of rain trickling down the window as you peer longingly into the distance in cool, darkened room. Solitude continues the theme with its warm, sparse piano chords separated by the cold, ambient space which seeps in-between. Malanai finds solace in the intricate beauty of stargazing as pathfinding before P.S.R. (Point of Safe Return) completes the journey. An escapist cruise at high altitude, it’s a heady end to a deeply transcendent trip into the cosmos.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        CD Info: The CD version of the album also contains tracks from the Aura EP.

        Grasscut, the duo of Andrew Phillips and Marcus O’Dair, return in May with Everyone Was A Bird, their third album and first to be released on Lo Recordings. The band’s most live and organic album to date, Everyone Was A Bird sees Grasscut’s cinematic and immersive mix of electronica, post-rock and song augmented by live strings, drums, piano and guitar. It comes with liner notes by Robert Macfarlane, author of Landmarks, Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places and The Old Ways. The album is a search for identity and meaning, both through closely observing the places in which we live, and through digging around in the landscapes of our ancestors. Islander is set in the Jersey where Phillips grew up; The Field and Snowdown in the Sussex Downs, close to his current home in Brighton.

        The other songs are based in and around the Mawddach Estuary in mid Wales where his family comes from, and where he continues to spend much of his time. The album’s title meanwhile comes from the Siegfried Sassoon poem Everyone Sang. It concerns a moment of release in the World War One trenches, in which everyone bursts into song, and also reflects the album’s own journey from the landlocked Islander, via first single Curlews, to the soaring closer Red Kite. Grasscut’s music has always been deeply rooted in a sense of place, expressed through Phillips’ vocals and also a host of other voices past and present, sampled and live: WG Sebald, Hilaire Belloc, Ezra Pound, Robert Wyatt, James Mason, TS Eliot, Gazelle Twin, Philip Larkin, Kathleen Ferrier. Everyone Was A Bird again features many voices: Phillips is joined not only by Crowley and Nygård but also Hilaire Belloc, Sir Basil Spence and Siegfried Sassoon.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: An enchanting and enthralling mix between the precise glitched electronica of The Notwist, and the serene atmospheres of Post-Rock, with languid vocals, jazzy interludes and beautiful harmonies. A brilliantly conceived and produced journey through alt-indie, electronics and instrumental rock, and brilliant it is too.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: Gatefold LP with booklet & Postcard.

        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Here on Planet Earth Grovesnor is Rob Smoughton, drummer for Hot Chip and student of the old school who loves a good tune and a crisp rhythm. 'I always try to write songs with strong melody and harmony, and with an underlying narrative, but I also own a pair of dancing shoes and love to boogie' he says. Although undeniably influenced by the pop music of the 70s and 80s there’s something supremely modern about the music of Grovesnor. Yes there are echoes of Hall & Oates and Steely Dan but also Daft Punk and The Flaming Lips. Grovesnor’s is a unique blend of future pop - check the ticking drum machines and chill wave synths on "Taxi From The Airport" or the dubstep machinations of "Nitemoves" with its Joe Jackson-on-poppers new millennium vibes. If you're looking for a pop album to soundtrack your summer, add this to your list.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        CD Info: Limited edition includes bonus remixes CD.

        As it says on the wrapper to this CD 'A quintessential compendium of cosmic disco' not my words but ones I will echo throughout this review, because here we have pretty much everyone who counts on that scene from the magnificent Danny Wang, through Quiet Village Feat. Godsy (exclusive track) on to Studio and winding up with Six Cups Of Rebel (exclusive track). Basically it's all you need to get your swirling disco dancing friends heated up into a frenzy without having to get behind the one's and two's, and that's always a blessing when you're feeling a bit ropey after the club's ended.

        Susumu Yokota returns with one of his most engaging albums to date, with every track a gently glowing gem. The set features the vocal talents of Casper Clausen (Efterklang), Anna Bronsted (Our Broken Garden), Claire Hope (The Chap), Panos Ghikas (The Chap), Nancy Elizabeth, Caroline Ross and Kaori. Yokota creates an album full of great songs within a mesmerising web of sound made of subtle rhythms and deep tones. From the almost soft bossa vibes of "Love Tendrilises" to the fractured folk of "A Flower White", the electronic jazz of "A Ray Of Light" and the Twin Peaks beauty of "Meltwater", this as an album that repays deep and repeated listening.

        Tracklisting
        1. Love Tendrilises - vocals by Casper Clausen (Efterklang) & Anna Bronsted (Our Broken Garden)
        2. Breeze - vocals by Nancy Elizabeth
        3. A Ray Of Light - vocals by Nancy Elizabeth
        4. A Flower White - vocals by Nancy Elizabeth
        5. The Natural Process - vocals by Caroline Ross
        6. Reflect Mind - vocals by Nancy Elizabeth and Kaori
        7. Inside Foresighted - vocals by Kaori
        8. Meltwater - vocals by Caroline Ross and Kaori
        9. Tree Surgeon - vocals by Kaori, ClaireHope (The Chap) & Panos Ghikas (The Chap)
        10. Suture - vocals by Casper Clausen (Efterklang) & Anna Bronsted (Our Broken Garden)
        11. Bonda - vocals by Kaori
        12. 12 Days 12 Nights - vocals by Nancy Elizabeth
        13. Warmth


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