Search Results for:


Richard Skelton


    Essential UK experimental composer Richard Skelton returns to Phantom Limb for new album selenodesy, interweaving his newfound love of electronics and synthesis with mastery of gritty organic texture.

    Skelton’s music has always been rooted in landscape, in the loam and grit of the earth: from his 2009 Pennine Moors-inspired modern classic Landings to his more recent Moraine Sequence of geological excavations, his work has been bound inexorably with the stark and untended wilderness of northern landscapes. With this new album, however, Skelton shifts his gaze skyward — in part the result of a move in 2017 to the countryside near the Kielder Observatory, and to a so-called ‘dark sky’ region of the UK. In this remote landscape, light pollution is minimal, allowing the austere majesty of the night sky to be seen with greater clarity.

    The resulting album, selenodesy, reveals a new, reverberant spaciousness to Skelton’s use of electronics. It marries the twin worlds of his previous Phantom Limb release - 2020’s These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound, and its abandoned-factory threnody - with the landscape-revering arcana of his earlier work, which saw him bury instruments in the soil to return months later to recover and record with them, newly imbued with the land they occupied. selenodesy was prefigured by a period of insomnia and the relief found in stargazing, during which Skelton tried to transcribe his hypnagogic visions: “much of this music came to me in the early hours, in that nowhere state between dreaming and waking. I’d look out the window and the night sky would be swirling with stars. Mars or Venus would be hovering in the corner of the room. I’d lie there and watch the Aurora Borealis dance across the ceiling.”

    In selenodesy, we find the lingering, distorted sine waves of album opener “Albedo” that thrum and fizz with an icy, foreboding moonlight, rays of subtle movement that illuminate and darken alternately. Next follows lead single “The Plot of Lunar Phases”, whose passive shrieks echo about a cold, yawning space, reaching an ecstatic crescendo of hissing sonics and swirling celestial drone. Its dynamic range acts like the light of a lunar passage, from utmost darkness to radiant luminosity. Elsewhere, the pulsing, precessional bass of “Faint Ray Systems” gradually opens to reveal mournful, elegiac synthesis that reaches high into the night sky with an unearthly beauty. It is as if, during those long months of lockdown in the Scottish countryside, Skelton tapped into a series of sidereal electromagnetic transmissions, and transposed them into musical form.


    A1. Albedo View
    A2. The Plot Of Lunar Phases
    A3. Faint Ray Systems View
    A4. Isostasy View
    B1. Hypervelocity View
    B2. Impact Theory View
    B3. Lesser Gravity View
    B4. Fallback View

    Loraine James

    Building Something Beautiful For Me

      Celebrated UK producer Loraine James joins Phantom Limb for breathtaking homage to vital NYC composer Julius Eastman, reinterpreting, reimagining and responding to key works for a brand new album.

      In 1990, the composer Julius Eastman quietly passed away, out of the spotlight, a young man. By his death substance-addicted, homeless and broke, he was unforgivably overlooked in his lifetime. Still, the legacy of creative work he leaves is far more befitting to celebration than destitution. Only a portion of his music remains - a deeply regrettable sidenote to an already heartbreaking story - but this work represents a glorious and beautifully hued depiction of a composer totally in step with any modern great we could name.

      Phantom Limb are long-term fans of both Eastman and Loraine James. Using their rare, fortuitous connection with Julius’ surviving brother Gerry, the label began this new project in summer 2021, hoping to continue the current tide of efforts to reinstate Eastman’s rightful place in 20th-century composition. Loraine was offered a zip drive of Eastman originals (courtesy of Gerry Eastman), Renee Levine-Packer & Mary Jane Leach’s illuminating biography Gay Guerilla (University of Rochester Press, 2015), and transcribed MIDI stems (courtesy of Phantom Limb A&R James Vella), and the resulting album Building Something Beautiful For Me carries the Eastman torch with finesse and sensitivity. Loraine employs samples, melodic motifs, themes and imagery, and inspiration from Eastman’s canon, slicing, editing, pulling apart and playing samples like instruments to craft a stunning album that venerates Eastman’s genius while adhering to her own.

      Speaking in similar tongues as young, gay, Black, independent creatives in a challenging environment, the two musicians are bound closely together, despite a six-year gap between their lives ever intersecting. James includes the original Eastman title in many of her tracks, appending the source material in parentheses to mark the lineage of the work - a clear, traceable thread from the heavenly to the sublime.

      Album opener “Maybe If I” riffs on Eastman staple Stay On It. Its arrestingly pretty central melody is reshaped into a living, undulating canvas on which James’ IDM-inspired beat production flickers and swirls. A repeated vocal line pulls Eastman’s towering work of modern minimalism towards reclassification as a “song”. Next follows “The Perception of Me (Crazy N–)”, channelling Eastman’s righteous anger and knowing reclamation of the brutally charged N-word into a quasi-ambient exploration of Eastman piano samples set to skittering beats. Elsewhere, opening side B, “Enfield, Always” acts as a creative response to our past master. While Eastman purposefully, slyly intermingled Uptown NY’s stuffy professionalism with Downtown’s loose fervour, Loraine is a London artist, bound into her locale with the same honour and justified sentimentality as Eastman was with his. And like Eastman, the track’s heady percussion and ecstatic arpeggios contrast intentionally with its austere backdrop.

      In keeping with key Eastman codes, Phantom Limb engaged Black creatives to complete the record, including acclaimed designer Dennis McInnes for the album packaging, which is inspired by Eastman’s marginalia on his own (surviving) manuscript pages: “we sought to visually convey the complexity of what we may see as beautiful, how beauty is misunderstood and often lies beneath the surface.”


      A1 Maybe If I (Stay On It)
      A2 The Perception Of Me (Crazy Nigger)
      A3 Choose To Be Gay (Femenine)
      A4 Building Something Beautiful For Me (Holy Presence Of Joan D'Arc)
      B1 Enfield, Always
      B2 My Take
      B3 Black Excellence (Stay On It)
      B4 What Now? (Prelude To The Holy Presence Of Joan D’Arc) 

      Kevin Richard Martin

      Return To Solaris

        Acclaimed UK electronic musician Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug, King Midas Sound) releases a stunningly powerful rescore of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal 1972 movie Solaris on Phantom Limb.

        In May 2020, British musician Kevin Martin was invited by the Vooruit arts centre in Gent, Belgium to compose a new score for a film of his choice. Having been long inspired by pioneering Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, Martin tells us that his 1972 masterpiece Solaris was the “natural choice”. The film is an unattested giant, not only of science fiction and Soviet film, but also in the annals cinematic history. And its original score, composed by regular Tarkovsky collaborator and early Soviet electronic musician Eduard Artemyev, is a magnificent work of haunting majesty, a key element to the film’s brilliance. Martin’s challenge was great: “it was with a certain amount of trepidation I stepped into such large footprints,” he writes. 

        The results - an all new score entitled Return to Solaris - are breathtaking. The film is intense, psychologically devastating and bleakly compelling. Interweaving themes of love, horror, sorrow, nostalgia, memory and dystopia, Martin’s score expertly mirrors this expansive breadth of psychic weight, from existential dread to heartbreaking poignancy, with immense emotional gravity. Drawn to its “narrative struggle between organic, pastoral memories of a lost past, and the harsh, dystopian realities of a futuristic hell,” Martin employs atonal noise, simmering waves of distorted synthesis, undulating drones and otherworldly, astronomic sound-design to crushing effect. Subtly submerged recurring motifs - reflections of individual characters - rise and fall amidst the fog, occasionally illuminating the doom like motes of starlight, before settling back into the density of space.

        Album opener “Theme for Kris'' begins with a shimmering, alien tone, mimicking a disembodied, metallic choralsong that creeps and snakes about an unsettling frequency range. Ghosts aboard a deserted space station. The hissing, technological dystopia of subsequent track “Solaris'' sends evaporating torrents of steam through bulging, clanging, echoing chords, while later on the record, “In Love With A Ghost” revisits these same passages of seething doom, but now refocused into billowing, droning clouds of noise.

        Determined that his score should retain the eerie, dreamlike mood of the film and authenticity to its era and origin, Kevin mined his analogue lab for suitable instruments and recording equipment, favouring antiquated, hands-on hardware over computer-based production techniques. With Voorhuit’s help, he acquired an original Pulsar 23 drum machine, created by cult Russian synth builders SOMA Laboratory. Appropriately, much of his rescore is centred around its spectral, strung-out sounds.

        The project represents many firsts for Kevin: his first commissioned soundtrack; his first composition to picture; his first work in his new Belgian home after a move from Berlin; his first live performance to film screening. On completion, he performed Return to Solaris to picture over sold out two nights in October 2020, in the beautiful Voorhuit concert theatre of Gent, Belgium. And, with huge personal significance, this was his first public performance of the Covid era. He performed to a socially distanced crowd, many of whom unaware of his existing profile, “which made the rapturous reception and incredible feedback to the performance all the more memorable,” he writes.

        Tarkovsky’s Solaris won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival and was screened for an incredible fifteen years uninterrupted in the Soviet Union. It is placed highly in “greatest movies of all time” lists published by Empire and the BBC, among others. Steven Soderburgh directed a Hollywood remake in 2002, starring George Clooney, and scored by Cliff Martinez.

        Kevin Richard Martin is a British musician, record producer and critically acclaimed curator / compiler based in Brussels. He is widely known for his recording alias The Bug, and has been active for almost three decades, producing dub, jazzcore, industrial hip hop, dancehall, and dubstep, and - more recently, under his own name - electronic ambient music. His band King Midas Sound features British-Trinidadian poet Roger Robinson and formerly singer / visual artist Kiki Hitomi, of Phantom Limb’s WaqWaq Kingdom. 


        Side A
        1. Opening Credits (theme For Kris. )
        2. Solaris
        3. Concrete Tunnels

        Side B
        4. Hari
        5. Together Again

        Side C
        6. In Love With A Ghost
        7. Weightlessness
        8. Resurrection

        Side D
        9. Wife Or Mother
        10. Rejection Of Earth 

        Quest Ensemble

        The Other Side

          London-based trio Quest Ensemble present a distinctive twist on the traditional piano trio format. A collaboration between three powerful performers/composers, ‘The Other Side’ sees musical styles woven together into a lyrical tapestry of sound, blending improvisation with co-created original compositions. A truly unique ensemble in compositional process and performance style.

          On 5th June, Quest Ensemble will release their sophomore album ‘The Other Side’. With nods to influences as broad as the contemporary minimalism of John Adams and Steve Reich, the experimental melancholic textures of Radiohead to the progressive jazz precision of Brad Mehldau, ‘The Other Side’ inhabits its own soundworld somewhere in the gaps between chamber, jazz, folk and contemporary classical music.

          From the emotive ‘Moments’, the elasticated melodies of ‘Pendulum’, to the fluid lines and compelling urgency of ‘The Boatman’ and ‘Pedal Down’, Quest Ensemble’s compositions fuse layered melodies and rhythmic patterns to create contrapuntal webs of sound. The process involves sharing improvised ideas, building up layers of music on each instrument to create a patchwork of musical themes with a rich vein of surging Reichian rhythms underpinning each.

          Fusing their backgrounds in western classical, Indian classical, jazz and improvisational technique, Filipe Sousa (piano), Tara Franks (cello) and Preetha Narayanan (violin) are all graduates of the Guildhall School of Music Leadership Programme.

          In May 2014, Quest Ensemble released their much-lauded debut album ‘Footfall’, a collection of part-composed and part-improvised original compositions, steeped in the sense of place that inspired the sound and imagination of their stories. From an ancient leper hospice in Oxford to a stark urban underground rehearsal space, each piece poetically reflects a moment in time, a passing footfall.

          Since 2009, Quest Ensemble have regularly worked with schools, colleges, youth and community groups across the UK, leading creative music projects with musicians of all ages and backgrounds, transferring their collaborative composition methods to community settings, enabling others to experience their way of working. Most recently, the trio were commissioned to create a show with visual artist Somang Lee that was premiered at Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal as a part of the Big Bang Festival 2018.


          1. Space Between
          2. Moment
          3. Pendulum
          4. Drops
          5. The Other Side
          6. The Boatman
          7. Land Of None
          8. Pizz Trance
          9. Pedal Down

          Latest Pre-Sales

          153 NEW ITEMS

          No thank you…..amazing vibes. Grab the new album here 👇
          Fri 31st - 10:07
          Brand new banners up today from @dmasmusic @EddieC @mrjamesholden and @acrmcr All of these albums are out today.…
          Fri 31st - 10:00
          🚨🏷️ SALE UPDATE 🏷️🚨 You can get any 3 SALE items for £30 🤯 - There’s plenty to choose from, come down for a dig.…
          Fri 31st - 1:30
          Weekly New Release Mailout Boygenius, ACR, DMA's, Eddie Chacon, James Holden, Altin Gun,…
          Thu 30th - 5:04
          E-newsletter —
          Sign up
          Back to top