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SMALLTOWN SUPERSOUND

Following 2017’s Infinite Avenue and 2013’s Sleeper, Both Lines Will Be Blue is Carmen’s first full instrumental album. A 7 track collection of cosmic excursions and dubby ambient-jams, the album is written, recorded, played, produced and mixed by Carmen in her Oslo studio. The soothing atmospherics are made up of tapestries of field recordings, synths, piano, drum-programming, zither and modular sounds. Throughout, Carmen’s music is colored by experimenting with different sounds and learning new techniques or by adding new instruments to the mix

"I’ve been playing around with instrumentals for a long time, and it was something I wanted to do more with after I finished Infinite Avenue,” says Carmen. “Leaving out my voice and lyrics got me out of my own head a bit, which I needed. Working with sound is to me the ultimate meditation and is a more unconscious way of expressing whatever is going on inside.”

The flute, played by Chilenean-Norwegian Johanna Scheie Orellana (formerly of Sassy 009), is a central part of this new album. Carmen got her in to the studio to both record melodies that she had written, as well as making plenty of room for impro/freeform. Prins Thomas also appears on the record, playing percussion on “I Could Sit Here All Day.”

“I made this track based on a Roland SH-101 sequence run through various processing,” says Villain. “The whole thing came together kind of like a jam, I wrote the flute in one take, and it just felt right. I wanted real flute on this, so asked Johanna if she'd like to come in, and we've been collaborating ever since.”


In just five years, the Norwegian producer André Bratten has established himself as a mercurial and uncompromising figure in modern-day electronics. Based in Oslo, the 31-year-old has, across a handful of releases, sketched out an enchanted vision of the world – a kind of psychedelic dystopia – as he seeks to fuel his lifelong obsession with sound. 'I’ve always been fascinated by how a sound can make you feel, without being something you can touch,' he says. 'I’ve always been more interested in sounds than music.'

Setting out his stall on the Oslo labels Full Pupp (with his debut LP "Be a Man You Ant" (2013)), and Smalltown Supersound (the "Math Ilium Ion" mini-album and "Gode" full-length (both 2015)), Bratten soon made a name for himself with a dextrous style of techno that seemed rooted in the avant-garde compositions of Giacinto Scelsi and the romantic pastorals of Boards of Canada. At the time, his live shows and DJ sets on the European club circuit added to his reputation as a serious performer with a dark, cavalier side. But this proved a distraction for Bratten and he chose to step away from the late nights and weekend flights in order to focus on his young family and studio work.

Two years ago, Bratten moved from the centre of Oslo to the suburbs. This change of scenery had a positive effect on every aspect of his life. It took him a year to build his new studio in his garden, and then another year to patch all the hardware together again and relearn his music-making process. The first tracks to emerge from his suburban base surfaced last year on Smalltown Supersound as a series of three 12-inches. These are lush, driving funk cuts swaddled in curdled synthesis that find Bratten exploring a new way to conjure the spirit of the acts he loved in his early teens: Boards of Canada, Autechre, and the late Drexciya producer James Stinson’s The Other People Place and Transllusion projects.

Three of the series’ softer tracks appear on his upcoming album "Pax Americana" (the title track he recorded the day after Trump’s election victory) alongside three new numbers which add a shade of menace to the record. Bratten deliberately produced these tracks in an old-fashioned, analogue fashion, restricting himself to an 808, an old sequencer, a reel-to-reel tape and a vintage mixer that once belonged to ABBA in the 1980s. Bratten bought the desk from a rockabilly musician in Norway who’d acquired it from a Swedish TV station. Describing the bubblebath boogie of "Pax Americana", he says: “I was trying to make a steady dance record without being swooshy. When I started listening to techno as a kid there wasn’t this melodic stuff, so the record is more of a vibe, a feeling.' 


Kelly Lee Owens

Let It Go / Omen

Shop fave Kelly Lee Owens releases a 12” featuring "Let It Go", a track made for her DJ set at Fabric in 2019 and now made available through the Adult Swim Single Series. It's a techy and upfront affair as a rambunctious, sharp staccato synth line judders through flatlined techno beatz; Kelly's voice, both ghostly and omnipresent, faintly hovers above the mix like a suspended angel. Wrought-iron tension for your next big release...

Flip and "Omen" is deep and dubby, skitting along with a gentle but quick paced drum pattern as submerged technoid elements converge on the aquatic mix. Nice! 


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Gwaan K-Lo! Former Piccadilly chart topper and synth pop phenomenon switches into techno mode here for two heads down heaters on Smalltown Supersound. Tight and tense interplay between the perx and vamps on the A-side brings us to a breathy breakdown, while B-side beast "Omen" takes us on an a subaquatic excursion into the Drexciyan deep.

"Ambitions" is Prins Thomas’ 6th album and his second solo album for Smalltown Supersound (plus two duo albums with Bjørn Torske and Bugge Wesseltoft). "Ambitions" picks up from were he left off with "Principe Del Norte". Still ambitious, but the tracks are shorter, more melodic and more concise. Prins Thomas also offers up his first vocal track, lead single "Feel A Love." Or to be precise, it's based around a sample of the track "Feel A Love" by one of the biggest pop-stars in Norway in the 70s and 80s, the late Alex (Naumik).

”The sun rises, the sun sets. This collection of new songs wasn't intended as an album at first. It gathers up loose ideas sketched down on my computer or hummed into my handheld recorder in the last 2 years with a shifting work environment, from hotel rooms in San Francisco, backstage in Osaka, on a plane from Miami to Chicago, my garden patio, and finally my B15 Studios in Asker.

The common thread was found later during overdubbing and reworking these sketches under the critical ears of label boss Joakim Haugland. Most of the tracks were finalized in the studio at the same time as my previous collaborative album with Bugge Wesseltoft. Bugge even kindly joins in on the album's closing track "Sakral".

Ambitions is my 6th album and I would like to thank the following people for their direct inspiration: Jon Christensen, Jaki Liebezeit, Haroumi Hosono, Daniel Lanois, Eberhard Weber, Shinichi Atobe and Ricardo Villalobos." - Prins Thomas, February 2019

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Quickly joining John Dwyer and King Gizzard (probably a real name) at the top of the 'prolific musicians we love' chart, Prins Thomas releases his gazillionth LP this week. A more succinct and potent set than his last solo outing, 'Ambitions' offers us cosmic, kosmische and Balearic jams, along with a surprising vocal number based around Alex's Norwegian pop hit "Feel A Love".

Giske’s mesmerizing debut takes listeners on a true journey through the euphoria and wanderlust of nights spent clubbing — using little more than his voice, his instrument of choice, and more than a few well-placed microphones. An impressively coherent statement that brims with purpose and energy, Surrender heralds Giske’s arrival as an artist unafraid to think outside the confines of his artistry and pursue the furthest-flung ideas with successful aplomb. Born in Oslo and splitting much of his adolescence between his home city and Bali, Giske grew up in an artistic household and took up the saxophone at the age of 12. As the years progressed, so did his comfort with the instrument, which inspired him to push the boundaries of what he could accomplish creatively with it.

After spending much of the previous decade racking up contributions to others’ works, including several albums from Norwegian performance artist NilsBech, Giske was inspired to conceive Surrender after a fateful trip to a notorious Berlin club. “I resisted—I felt like everyone was an idiot,” he admits regarding the experience, which he now regards as transformative. “At some point, I started embracing this culture, and I realized that this is where I wanted to be and how I wanted to create in this universe. The space really creates a parallel universe that takes a while to get into—but once I surrendered my self to it, I started experiencing my self in a way that feels more true.” Surrender as a verb is a key concept to Giske’s debut. “…the queer perspective is always there,” he states. “In gay culture, we have the terms ‘top’ and ‘bottom,’ with ‘bottom’ referencing an act of surrender and trust. This act of surrender gives you a different perspective on how you relate to the world—how you apply yourself and experience things.”

Recorded at Oslo’s EmanuelVigelandMausoleum, Giske and producer AmundUlvestad conceived of the method in which they placed tiny microphones over the saxophonist’s instrument and body, right down to being able to capture his breathing between notes.  Instrumental music is often at its best when telling a story within the notes it contains, and by that measure Surrender is an absolute triumph — an extremely relatable work of art for anyone who’s ever had a moment in a crowded room and felt themselves changing amidst the chaos of the world surrounding them.

Andre Bratten

Lim / Recreation 26B

Smalltown Supersound drop the first of three 12"s by esteemed producer Andre Bratten. "Lim" is a very techy growler, given a fresh outlook through an ingenious beat and advanced synthesis. "Recreation 26B" hits the nitros, thrusting up to 140BPM like it ain't no ting and deploying some rattling 909 snares and gliding metallic washes. Expertly produced and providing more energy than much of the UK's off-shore wind farms.

Officially NO represses on this series guys n girls, so get ya skates on if you want in on the action!


Bugge Wesseltoft & Prins Thomas

Bugge Wesseltoft & Prins Thomas

The Rainbow Studio in Oslo is a familiar name to anyone who follows the ECM label – many of its classic 1970s jazz albums were recorded there under the eye of resident producer Jan Erik Kongshaug. Bugge and Thomas booked a couple of sessions at the legendary space with Kongshaug at the controls, and improvised some tunes in the style and spirit of some of their favourite ECM moments, like the fresh, open sounds of Codona, Egberto Gismonti, Oregon and Kenny Wheeler. Bugge had previously done a remix of Thomas’s "Bobletekno" in 2015 but this is the first time they have worked together as active musicians. The results – also partly taped at Thomas’s home studio – fuse programmed rhythms, live synths and percussion, all captured in a sumptuously spacious acoustic.

For an even more authentic touch they called up one of their all time local heroes and one of Norway’s most famous jazz drummers, Jon Christensen, who’s been the go-to guy for Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Keith Jarrett and many more. At 75 years old he’s still pretty spry behind the kit, as you’ll hear on several tracks here.

Make no mistake, though, this is not retro pastiche but contemporary music, coasting on gently insistent programmed grooves and bubbling basslines. The whole thing feels not so much like a consciously hip fusion of DJ and jazz musician, more like two great musicians totally enjoying themselves. Which is exactly what it is.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Take one part Bugge Wesseltoft jazz, a generous helping of Prins Thomas Balearic and shake over ice until the whole thing starts to fizz.

Various Artists

Smalltown Supersound 25 (The Movement Of Free Spirit Mixed By Prins Thomas)

The Movement Of The Free Spirit liner notes

Trying To Be Like SST. Since 1993.

I started Smalltown Supersound in 1993 while in high school in Flekkefjord, a small town of 4,000 inhabitants in the south of Norway. There was obviously no supersound in our small town. It was just an ironic name I came up with to release some tapes with lo-fi/noise/bedroom recordings by my brother and his friends. The name was inspired by my hometown and the catalogue number STS was a homage to SST, a label I deeply admired at the time (and still do). Little did I know that I would have to live with that name for the rest of my life.

I started the label before I knew what a record label was. So I gradually learned it by doing. And it was part of me growing up. It might sound like a cliché, but in many ways the label is the soundtrack of my life. Thomas has now made it into a mixtape.

We all hate to see photos of ourselves when we were younger, the bad haircuts and the strange clothes. It is the same thing when you run a label. You constantly look back on things you regret. This mix makes me see the label from the outside in a way I don’t think I have before. And to my surprise the haircuts and the clothes weren't as bad and strange as I remembered.

I have to admit that when I listened to it the first time, I was moved. First of all, because of the deep and true love Thomas has put into this mix. Second, because some of these tracks I haven't heard in 20-25 years. It really felt like revisiting the past. And in a very good way.

Thomas has followed the label since the early beginnings. Back in the days I was always thinking: “He’s a house/disco DJ – why does he want my noise records?”. I realize now I wasn't smart enough to understand his scope. I didn't understand it until his mix album Cosmic Galactic Prism, which is one of my favorite mix albums of all time. So for me it was very obvious that Thomas should make the Smalltown Supersound mix. I just couldn't imagine that he would go this beautifully far with it.

Since day one I have tried to have a red thread run through the releases and the label's DNA. Most of the time I am probably the only one who sees it. And many times I don't even see it myself. Now Thomas has found the spiritual unity.

While I have always struggled to describe what the label is, only now – with this mix – I can finally say: this is what it is.

Joakim Haugland Oslo, August 2018 


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: It's practically impossible to give you an accurate impression of this comp through sound clips and sales notes alone. Thomas works his way through the fiendishly diverse STS back catalogue and creates an awe inspiring journey through ambient, neo-classical, psychedelia, disco, dub house and techno, tracing the history of one of the finest labels out there. A fitting tribute create by a total genius.

Even as we move from the heart of Autumn towards Winter, Smalltown Supersound keep the good stuff coming, this time via the debut album from Japanese producer Yoshinori Hayashi. Hayashi has studied under Japanese avant-classical composer Mica Nozawa. When not DJing, he works in a record store in Tokyo. If you've caught anything this cat's put out on Gravity Grafitti, Disco Halal or Going Good, you should know what you're getting yourself into; if not, hold onto your hats and prepare for some A-grade weirdshit. Sharing thematic and sonic predilictions with fellow countrymen Keita Sano and Ground (check the "Sunizm" LP on ESP), Hayashi takes a combination of knackered jazz LPs, studio gear, live instrumentation and library leanings, then twists them into an entirely unpredictable web of fx addled madness which constantly veers in and out of focus.  Hayashi presents his self-described “collage expression” throughout Ambivalence, which he produced and played in its entirety. Album opener, “Overflow,” is a club-not-club track inspired by Cecil Taylor. Its freeform nature sets the tone for the album’s cosmic, hypnotic, and almost ritualistic approach. Elsewhere "Palanquin Bearing Monkey" fuses Romare's sample jazz bounce with Vakula-meets-Reich weirdness, G-Funk synths and absolutely blitzed pianos - I feel like I've taken everything in Barry's "medicine cabinet" all at once. "Bit Of Garden" brings golden bursts of epiphany out of the dislocated darkness, "Double" fires the auditory hallucinations through an echo chamber for a man-meets-monkey drum slo-mo cut while "Geckos" goes into dreamier territories for the eso-Balearic crowd. On the C-side, "0208" swells from cinematic and skewed neo-classical to dream house to neo tribalism to peak time punch and bass bin wobble, each introduced via a new and freaky breakdown. Slow dancers, out of work MCs and xanax poppers should fine a new groove in the shakuhachi vs bell break madness of "Flexible Mono", "Spasm" takes a while to get there but finally reaches Pepe Bradock bass-house insanity territories, while "Geckos" closes the set with a wonderfully warped bit of library exotica for the downbeat dreamers.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Not only is this the maddest record I've heard this week, it's probably the most insane album I've ever heard. Twisted sound design, discord, unpredictable arrangements and a totally unique style result in a masterpiece of club-not-club weirdshit from Japan's Yoshinori Hayashi. I love this.

The performance artist and saxophonist’s mesmerizing debut takes listeners on a true journey through the euphoria and wanderlust of nights spent clubbing - using little more than his voice, saxophone, his instrument of choice, and more than a few well-placed microphones.

Giske finds a natural home in Smalltown Supersound as he cites Lindstrom’s arpeggio sounds and Evan Parker’s circular breathing as references, both of whom have released on the label. By combining the two extreme sides of the scale, he seamlessly fuses freeform jazz and club music. 'I take the building blocks of electronic music and play it live - without layering or looping, to the best of my ability. All the faults of being human come through. It’s an exercise in something impossible: to be a machine.'

Surrender as a verb is a key concept to Giske’s debut and the word itself takes on multiple meanings to him. 'I consider myself a queer performance artist - the queer perspective is always there,' he states.'In gay culture, we have the terms ‘top’ and ‘bottom,’ with ‘bottom’ referencing an act of surrender and trust. Creating these repeating structures, relying on muscle memory for these sequences, and seeing what happens - it’s also an exercise in the act of surrender.'

With breath, steel and muscle Giske is transmuting his clubbing experience through the saxophone.


Neneh’s new record pointedly asks the question; how do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood? It searches for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It’s a record that’s equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent music.

Work on Broken Politics began as touring wound down behind Cherry's previous full-length, 2014's Blank Project, and she felt a drive to continue creating after collaborating on that record with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet). "That last album was much angrier and forceful, whereas this one is quieter and more reflective," she states. "I haven't always been so good at getting things out so quickly, and it still took a while—but that's okay."

Cherry, writing partner Cameron McVey, and Hebden decamped to Woodstock, New York for a week-long recording session at the Creative Music Studio, a recording space founded by jazz pianist Karl Berger—who, in a stroke of providence, was a band member of Neneh's stepfather and Don Cherry as well as being friends with her mother Moki. "Being in a studio with them was like being in a familiar space. It was easy to reach into myself for the feelings I needed to be in tune with a song—and at night, Cameron and I would have dinner with Ingrid and Karl and they'd tell stories about my father. There were deep threads."

"It was one of the best writing periods I've had in a really long time," Cherry continues while discussing the creative process behind Broken Politics. "I got out of the waiting room and into the inner sanctum.”

"I'm very shy about taking on big themes with the airs that I've got a solution—who has the fucking solutions?" Cherry admits while talking about the album's title. "I like writing from a personal perspective, and the time we live in is so much about finding your own voice. People have been left feeling misheard, misunderstood, and disillusioned. What the fuck can I do? Maybe politics starts in your bedroom, or your house—a form of activism, and a responsibility. The album is about all of those things: feeling broken, disappointed, and sad, but having perseverance. It's a fight against the extinction of free thought and spirit."

"I have a name. You have a name. We're not just these faceless mounds you can put in the ground," Cherry proclaims when talking about her worldly vision that seeped into Broken Politics. "We're human beings with lives and stories." Art can often remind us of how it feels to live in the moment, and it can also be instructive in helping understand how to preserve that moment. Broken Politics finds Cherry at her most generous and benevolent towards a world that is often anything but. She puts it best in the chorus of LP track "Fallen Leaves," in her own defiant way: "Just because I'm down/ Don't step all over me.”

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Neneh Cherry's unmistakable vocal style and soulful leanings are harnessed here by the dreamy, otherworldly percussion and electronic momentum of Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) on production duties. His impeccable ear for sonic space only accentuates her flawless songwriting skills, making for a brilliantly listenable and absorbing outing.

Supersilent is Arve Henriksen (trumpet, voice and electronics), Helge Sten (electronics) and Ståle Storløkken (keyboards and electronics.). For fourteen albums they've pushed the boundaries of avant - minimal - drone music to its most visceral extremes. Gigantically epic, the fourteenth album from the quartet ushers in moods of sinking ships, tectonic collapse and the pitch black Arctic Winter. Discord and atonality feature heavily, as does the electronic manipulation of acoustic sound. It's at once bleak, arresting and destructive, and in such, is a storied addition to Norwegian dark ambient music.

Cosmic Nord Bjørn Torske, one of the enigmatic of our Scando-disco allstars, marks the 20-year anniversary of his solo career with "Byen", his fifth solo album and first in 7 years, out via Smalltown Supersound. Recorded over the past year at Torske’s home and studio in Bergen, "Byen" finds the veteran musician fusing two distinct sides of his catalogue - clubby, inviting house music, and side-long pastoral ambience. It continues to show his flair for fusing indelible melody with propulsive rhythms. Upward scaling lead single “Clean Air,” is a mountain-traversing track with piping synths and crisp backbeats laid over a warm, inviting bassline.

Since the release of his last solo album, 2010’s elegant "Kokning", Torske has kept busy with a steady drip of single and EP releases as well as reissues of his first two albums, 1998's "Nedi Myra" and 2001's "Trøbbel", and last year's collaboration with Prins Thomas, "Square One".

'Apart from having made this album entirely by myself, this was also more planned,' Torske states regarding the differences between "Byen" and "Square One". 'My collaboration with Thomas was pretty ad-hoc and messy in its conception, but this album is cleaner and more straightforward - more primed for the dance floor.' Whereas much of Torske's previous work (including 2007's "Feil Knapp") featured tracks that had been in gestation for years, "Byen"'s songs were recorded entirely within the confines of 2017.

'My original idea was to keep things simple and more driven by melodies than has been my want with the earlier releases,' he states regarding his thematic intentions behind Byen. 'Still, I am always considering myself to produce music for DJs, so there is hopefully some material that will find its way to select dance floors.'


When Matt Karmil’s music comes on in a club, everything around you slows to a crawl, and you focus on that one tiny detail – a bouncing earring or a frozen smile, the lights flashing through the smoke as slow as a distant lighthouse – before it all comes zooming back and everything’s jumping at normal speed again.  Karmil’s fourth album, "Will", is released on the Norwegian Smalltown Supersound label – the home of Lindstrøm among others. Even more than before Matt has managed to combine his love of the graceful forward motion of minimal techno beats with the deeply granular textures and meditative chambers of reverb and delay. Mastered by the careful hand of Rashad Becker at the legendary Dubplates & Mastering plant, this driverless vehicle takes bumps and curves with ease, but passes through enough scuzzy neighbourhoods to make the journey more memorable.

You can definitely hear the influence of Kompakt founder Wolfgang Voigt on Will – specifically the GAS project’s melding of billowy sound clouds and insistently pulsing 4/4 beats. Like the GAS albums, "Will" is presented as a continuous piece, even though it is a sequence of eight tracks. ‘It's mainly samples,’ Matt explains, ‘although usually heavily processed and decontextualised. I used a lot of my older samplers for this one - MPC 3000 and Akai S-612 basic edits and processing in ProTools.’

Before you get to the long ambient closing track, ‘Maffé’, "Will" contains its share of muted bangers like ‘Morals’ and ‘Can’t Find It (The House Sound)’. While these would vibrate well on the dancefloor, the experience for Matt is primarily a private domestic one. ‘I like to try to create a room to visit, and while it's nice to have details and look out the window occasionally, the fundamental is the room/environment itself – my personal enjoyment of music away from the club is often centred around long form and ambient works.’

With a studio established in Cologne, Matt made his LP debut with the well received (but hard to Google) ‘----‘, combining dusty samples and elegant tape hiss with scuba-diving grooves and minimalist vibes. In the same year he released the jubilant club anthem ‘So You Say’ on Tim Sweeney's Beats In Space label and remixed John Talabot and Axel Boman's (Talaboman) single ‘Sideral’.

Recent years have seen a raft of new releases from Matt, remixing X-Press 2 for Skint, the albums idle 033 and ++++, as well as 12”s for Yumé Records, Idle Hands, Endless Flight and Studio Barnhus, received with great reviews in publications from The Wire to Resident Advisor and beyond.

2016 also saw Matt much in demand for his skills in engineering, mixing and mastering, working extensively with Matias Aguayo for Crammed Discs, Kornel Kovacs for Studio Barnhus and Talaboman for R&S, among many others.

At the invitation of artist Christine Sun Kim, Matt composed a sub-20Hz piece for Bounce House at Sound Live Tokyo 2015, while his video collaboration with Boston’s MIT Media Lab, Time Moods, was premiered in late 2017.

Among all this activity Matt still finds time to make his signature tracks, sampling scraps of source sounds during his travels around Europe, then listening back with extreme care over long durations, documenting and trying to articulate the feelings provoked by them. Extended time is really the essence in this process: ‘I can easily listen to any of the ideas that made it to the record for five to six hours at a time,’ he says, ‘to really sink into the details of the textures and if there are any tones, or subtleties that I want to exaggerate or hide. I usually have a fairly disorderly looking working environment, wires and vinyls all over the place, then long walks while I listen to works in progress.’

By sheer force of Will, Matt Karmil’s music has entered sonic bullet time.

As much as is said of our current times being new lows, where things have changed for the worse and we're unsure of the future, it's worth returning to study the past to understand how steadily low we remain. "Nothing's changed," says a younger Barack Obama in a sample for the opening track for the second album from Tokyo-based, American musician, writer, and photographer Will Long. The album is released as three separate 12” singles, and CD. Since 2005, Long has produced ambient music under the name Celer, and is a member of the pop music band Oh, Yoko with Miko. He curates and manages the label Two Acorns, and is also involved with the Normal Cookie and Bun Tapes labels.

Third and final twelve in the tryptich. You know what to expect by now - a simple housey beat with atmospheric pad present weaving and winding through some hard hitting Barak Obama soundbites. 


As much as is said of our current times being new lows, where things have changed for the worse and we're unsure of the future, it's worth returning to study the past to understand how steadily low we remain. "Nothing's changed," says a younger Barack Obama in a sample for the opening track for the second album from Tokyo-based, American musician, writer, and photographer Will Long. The album is released as three separate 12” singles, and CD. Since 2005, Long has produced ambient music under the name Celer, and is a member of the pop music band Oh, Yoko with Miko. He curates and manages the label Two Acorns, and is also involved with the Normal Cookie and Bun Tapes labels.

Second 12" in this album series, split across three discs, we get more Obama tit-bits segued into a flawless skeletal deep house groove. Introspective and political, but with a delicate, sparsely populated sonic environment... 


Lost Girls

Feeling

    Lost Girls, the new project by Norwegian avant-pop artist Jenny Hval and multi-instrumentalist Håvard Volden, conjures sounds and moods displaced from specific moments in time, existing purely in the moment but tantalizingly just outside of one's reach. The project's inaugural release, the two-track “Feeling” EP, presents a pair of extended compositions, alternately contemplative and crackling with energy, that complement each other in sound and approach while offering a unique and cohesive vision. It is out March 2nd via Smalltown Supersound.

    Hval and Volden have known each other for more than a decade, the latter playing regularly in Hval's live band; in 2012, they released an album together as Nude on Sand, but instead of resurrecting that moniker, Hval and Volden opted for a fresh start, taking nomenclatural inspiration from the 2006 graphic novel by writer Alan Moore and comics artist Melinda Gebbie.

    The two compositions that make up the “Feeling” EP, "Drive" and "Accept," are the results of ongoing work that took place over the past three years. The first track, "Drive," is the final recorded version of an extended composition that's been a staple of Hval's recent tours over the past several years. "It kept changing because we were improvising a lot together," she states, and that shapeshifting nature is reflected in the track itself: over thirteen minutes, frissons of electricity and hand drums give way to a persistent beat and shimmering synths that are as menacing as they are strangely serene. Above it all is Hval's vocals, delivering meditations on the nature of performance, gender, and ownership of one's self and the material things that exist in our lives. The lyrics to "Drive" also underwent many changes during the track's living gestation. "I was using words to make sense of time and music—lyrics as a compositional tool—which I found really interesting, this interplay between words as meaning and words as something that could build musical structures."

    "Accept," originally recorded four years ago by Volden, is quite the left turn from the lyrical interplay and relatively formal structure of "Drive"; the eleven-minute composition is atmospheric bliss, with jagged guitar tremolo, free-jazz drumming, and intense synths puncturing pockets of silence as Hval's voice wordlessly snakes in and out of frame.

    Even though Hval and Volden have played shows in Oslo, parts of the material captured on “Feeling” won't—and, due to the pair's complicated recording setup in Oslo, for the moment can't—be replicated live: "This is the death of the material," Hval explains cheerfully, "and the transcendence from being something ever-changing to something we can give to others that doesn't belong to us anymore. It's also an opportunity for us to keep making things."

    Kelly Lee Owens

    Kelly Lee Owens - Exclusive Piccadilly Bonus Disc Edition

      THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2017.

      PICCADILLY RECORDS EXCLUSIVE:
      For a limited period only, buy either the vinyl or CD of 'Kelly Lee Owens' and get a free 3 track remix 
      CD bonus disc

      Without wishing to get too jackanory, I'm gonna start this review with a little anecdote. Way back in April 2015, when I was a little younger and lot lighter, Kelly Lee Owens strolled into our glorious establishment and casually inquired if we'd be interested in stocking her self-released debut 12". Always a sucker for something new, limited and hand labeled I took a cursory ten copies off her hands as she left for the train station. Approximately four minutes later, as the dreamlike shimmer of ghost-pop paean "Lucid" echoed through my headphones I called the number she'd left and asked if she could drop off another thirty copies without missing her train. 

      Fast forward two years and three Piccadilly Record Of The Weeks later and the Welsh wonder is back with a majestic full length on the excellent Smalltown Supersound. As she leads us through ten tracks of spectral techno, nebulous synth pop and squelching waveforms, Kelly meditates on anxiety, sadness and darkly-shaded ecstacy, pouring pure emotion into an expansive electronic landscape. Previous 12" tracks "Arthur", "Lucid" and the hypnotic "CBM" sound better than ever next to the brooding synth soul of "S.O." and late night mysticism of Jenny Hval collaboration "Anxi", while the bleep heavy "Evolution" is a sultry, seductive club cut for very late in the session. For me, this LP perfectly captures those moments when you get home from the club with a loved one and settle into that time honoured pre dawn routine. It's intimate, emotional, sexy and slightly blurred - in other words, midnight music at its finest. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: An absurdly accomplished debut, this is just about as Piccadilly as it gets, referencing our collective favourites and transforming them into something fresh and exciting. Harnessing the Cocteau’s, MBV and JAMC, as well as the rhythmic thrust of Chicago and Detroit, KLO trades in immersive, psychedelic pop music, as danceable as it is dreamy. Swathes of hazy synthesis eddy and whirl beneath crystalline vocals, lending the music an aquatic depth matched perfectly by the intimate, expressive lyrics. Fusing the outsider musings of Arthur Russell with Bjork’s cryptic poetry, Kelly meditates on anxiety, sadness, identity and ecstasy, pouring pure emotion into an expansive electronic landscape. A dynamic listen from start to finish, the LP ranges from the hypnotic thump of ‘Evolution’, ‘CBM’ and ‘Bird’ to the medicated daze of ‘S.O’, ‘Lucid’ and ‘Keep Walking’, constantly varying tempo and intensity on its way to sprawling closer ‘8’, a wonderfully blurred end to this nocturnal journey.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Deluxe LP Info: Includes a Piccadilly exclusive free CD bonus disc.

      Deluxe CD Info: This extended version includes 3 bonus tracks, "Spaces", "Pull" and "1 out of 3". Also includes a Piccadilly exclusive free CD bonus disc.

      After joining forces on the collaborative album “Square One” earlier this year, Bjørn Torske & Prins Thomas are now ready to share their brand new 12inch named “Arpa”. The new 12inch is the perfect continuation of the album. Prins Thomas explains:

      ”After the initial "Square One"sessions we felt that "Arpa" was less of a "teamplayer"and one that would be difficult to shoehorn naturally into position on the album. Where the album sounded more like breaking new(old) ground between the two of us, "Arpa"is the one that felt most like an expected outcome from these sessions. Purpose made for adventurous dancefloors, either on earth or in a parallel universe you'll find "Arpa"in 3 versions. The original with it's sparse BUT "all hands on the desk"arrangement, the chopped up and reassembled remix with it's static energy cranked up to the max and last but not least the "Plastikman BUT in the 60's..." version in "drum version". Once again utilizing a giant mixing desk for the arrangement, 4 hands(+ other free limbs), the percussive elements are let free to roam in what we call a "dj-unfriendly tool"”

      We’re all on our own unique emotional road trips. "Infinite Avenue" happens to be Carmen’s. Here she is, holed up in the Motel Nowheresville, unpacking a suitcase full of stories of guilt, desire, rage, apathy, love and friendship, loneliness, nature, inner demons and other tales of twenty-first century womanhood. Carmen Villain is half-Norwegian and half-Mexican, born in the USA and now living in Oslo, Norway, having moved back after living in London for a few years. She has a lot of stories to tell.
      A makeshift studio, an infinite avenue. Writing, recording and producing alone, Carmen’s intensely personal songs are entirely self-created, made up of tapestries of guitar, piano, programmed drums and synths, making the most she could out of her limited gear. Her music, her rules… Once she had arrived at enough tracks for a follow-up album to 2013’s Sleeper, some of them were mixed with experimental house producer Matt Karmil and "Quietly" was treated by noise improviser Helge Sten (aka Deathprod).
      Taboo-busting Norwegian artist Jenny Hval contributes lyrics and vocals on "Borders", a song especially relevant among today’s tightening frontiers in America and elsewhere. "Red Desert" is titled after the legendary Antonioni movie about a woman’s survival tactics in a surreal industrial landscape full of threats and existential crisis. ‘To me the movie feels like a perfect visual representation of what it can be like to be anxious and uncomfortable in your head sometimes,’ says Carmen. Musically, Infinite Avenue has a similar effect.
      With Infinite Avenue, Carmen Villain’s songwriting and production skills have taken a major leap forward, and on the final, ethereal "Planetarium" her voice shoots into the stratosphere, riding the comet tail of a Korg bass drone. It’s about acknowledging the immensity of the universe, while remembering that we’ve each got our own private constellation of issues to deal with down here. It’s a typically Villainous contrast of rapture and irony, with a murmured coda recorded as she was falling asleep one night. ‘Everything I write has to be true,’ she says, ‘even if I sometimes find it’s too confessional. Whatever was my truth at that moment.’
      The hollow-eyed lady on the cover, that’s Hollywood actress Gena Rowlands, partner of the late director John Cassavetes – a heroine of Carmen’s because of the way her face and body can so brilliantly express psychological states, nervousness, being stressed out, anxiety without necessarily using words. A freakish dream sequence in Love Streams, where she gambles with the love of her estranged husband and child and desperately tries to make them laugh with a bunch of practical-joke toys, is manic genius – and one of Carmen’s favourite film scenes. Ms Rowlands, by the way, personally approved the use of her image for this project.
      A famous movie maker once called film ‘truth at 24 frames per second’. With Infinite Avenue, you get an earful of truth at 33 1/3 revs per minute.


      After a session together in a Bergen studio 20 years ago which sadly only resulted in a distorted tape, Bjørn Torske and Prins Thomas finally get back together to make music. Bjørn Torske is a figurehead and grand old man of the electronic music scene in Norway, inspiring and laying the foundation for producers like Prins Thomas, Lindstrom and Todd Terje. Bjørn and Thomas' relationship goes back to the mid 90's when they first bonded over a shared passion for oddball disco, dub and detroit techno. This album is in many ways full circle with Bjorn and Thomas making music together for the first time. Square One is a collection of loose, abstract and freeform avant-disco jams, parallel world-disco maybe? Whatever you call it, this album is a labour of love. A sound they both have traveled towards for all these years. And here they finally are, at square one. The album was recorded live in Taakeheimen Studio, Oslo, in the spring of 2015 with both guys manning an instrument each in each overdub, piling the layers of sounds on top of each other. A year later they took the now edited tracks and mixed them down in live takes with all hands on the desk in Malabar, another Oslo studio. After a couple of rounds with some very blunt scissors the tracks became what are now included on this album. "Square One" is a meeting of two minds. Probably as close to their musical soul as you can get.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: The perfect alchemy of the Norwegian dreambeam’s diverse styles, ‘Square One’ offers dubby basslines, motorik rhythms, tribal vibes and trippy sound design. Far out!

      Various Artists

      Auteur Jams

        Every year/year and a half, Smalltown Supersound founder Joakim Haugland puts together a label compilation to see where the labels at and where it`s heading. To see it from the outside sort of. To find the flow, and the red thread. This year's compilation became a 2016 Best Of Compilation, with tracks from all of the albums and EPs released in 2016. 9 tracks from Biosphere, Prins Thomas, Dungen, Supersilent, Kelly Lee Owens, Lindstrøm, Mr Tophat & Robyn, Mungolian Jetset and Dan Lissvik.

        We hope you like these auteur jams!


        In between the release of Dungen’s most recent two albums (2010’s Skit I Allt and 2015’s Allas Sak), the beloved Stockholm quartet was asked to create an original score to Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 touchstone The Adventures of Prince Achmed, understood to be the oldest surviving full-length animated feature film. Inspired by the work and the characters – Prince Achmed, Peri Banu, Aladdin, the Sorcerer, and most of all, the Witch – the members of Dungen immersed themselves into the groundbreaking visual language of this landmark film.

        Häxan (translation: “The Witch”) is Dungen’s first all-instrumental album. Produced by Mathias Glavå, and recorded, mixed, and edited by hand to tape entirely in the analog domain, Häxan was sequenced away from the linear narrative of the film. This process helped to create a path of its own, fully capturing the rawness and spontaneity present in the sessions, as well as a loose, abstract, and fragmented collage feel. Dense with dissonant free-form rock-outs, haunting ambient passages, and gorgeously cinematic soundscapes present in the work, Häxan is a record that stands on its own outside of the presence of its primary inspiration. Moody, evocative, stormy, and brimming with life, Häxan provides both a tacit summation of the Dungen journey until now, and gives the beloved group a chance to stretch out like never before.

        Experience the possessed prowess of "Jakten genom skogen,” the first single from Häxan bearing all the marks — from Mellotron to mood — of a classic Dungen composition.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: From serene post-rock passages to lengthy psychedelic freakouts, and flowing jazzy interludes, Dungen pull out an instrumental stunner. Progressive and profoundly varied, this has something for everyone.

        You can’t accuse Supersilent of keeping the noise down. Ever since the Big Crunch of 1997, when Norway’s finest free music outfit came together for the first time, their unpredictable noises and rapturous textures have been heard all around the world – and maybe somewhere outside the stratosphere too. Currently a trio featuring Helge Sten, Arve Henriksen and Ståle Storløkken, Supersilent ’s album number 13 marks a turning point in the group’s two-decade career. After a dozen recordings under the umbrella of the diverse Rune Grammofon label, Supersilent have now signed to Oslo based Smalltown Supersound, where they join the likes of Lindstrøm, DJ Harvey, Prins Thomas and Andre Bratten as labelmates.

        Supersilent is a platform for a highly physical improvised electronic music, made by a trio that’s a kind of supergroup of Norwegian players in their own right. Arve Henriksen’s hypnotic trumpet has been heard with everyone from David Sylvian and Laurie Anderson to Jan Bang and the ice music of Terje Isungset, as well as releasing a string of acclaimed solo albums on Rune Grammofon. Keyboardist Ståle Storløkken has worked with Motorpsycho, Elephant9, Terje Rypdal, and the Humcrush duo with Sidsel Endresen. Helge Sten uses a complex array of homemade electronics, samplers, sound processing and analogue effects – cumulatively known as the ‘Audio Virus’ – in his solo ambient music as Deathprod, as well as having worked with Motorpsycho and producing artists like Susanna.

        Supersilent was born when Sten injected the audio virus into a pre-existing late 90s free jazz group called Veslefrekk. Originally featuring drummer Jarle Vespestad, Supersilent slimmed to an electronic three-piece core in 2009, with all three often handling their respective instruments as if they were percussion, stabbing buttons and keys in real time. Recently Supersilent threw the legendary Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones into the mix for a series of improvised concerts and recordings.

        Most of 13’s nine tracks were taped in an Oslo studio at the end of 2014. The band record everything live, while blasting their sound through a PA system, so that they can feel the physical air moving as if they were on stage. Tracks 1 and 5 date from 2009, immediately after their drummer’s exit. ‘They were tryout sessions to see how we should proceed,’ says Helge. ‘It was a kind of research for the band to feel how is to be three, not four, and to blow off some steam.’

        All of Supersilent’s music is entirely unplanned, with all three experienced musical adventurers throwing themselves into the moment and riding the emerging maelstrom. They always manage to surprise you, whether it’s the Indonesian ritual music heard from a Scandinavian mountaintop on the opening track ‘13.1’, to the demonic organ blasts at the end of ‘13.5’; or from haunting, pastoral atmosphere pieces (‘13.6’) to all-out splatter-improv (‘13.7’) and the compressed digital labyrinths of 13.9.

        The trio swap instruments with abandon: percussion, trumpet and woodwind, electronics and Storløkken’s collectable assortment of vintage keyboards. In this technologised environment, sounds are passed around, distorted and spat out again in tantalising splurges. ‘It takes time to shape a band from the beginning,’ says Helge, ‘but for us now the trio is working really well’. With Supersilent’s lucky 13, now you can be the judge of that.


        After teasing us with the "Shuvit" 12" in 2015, Smalltown Supersound treat us to a brand new instrumental LP from Dan Lissvik (formerly of Studio), composed in 2015, the year Lissvik became a father for the first time. The title refers to the time he would start his recording sessions after his wife and newborn baby went to bed. "Midnight" is filled with the Dan Lissvik signature sounds; gentle guitars, laidback bass, dubby disco, lush Balearic and sun-drenched psychedelics. The album was recorded at home with a stripped back setup of an analog graphic equalizer he found at a flea market, a bass guitar and a mic. He worked at night with a thermos of coffee, while his young family slept in the room furthest away from his studio. His process was to press record and let the midnight jams unfurl, resulting in a sound and mood that has shifted since his previous release, 'Meditation', under the moniker Atelje in January 2015. Ten years ago, Dan Lissvik was instrumental in kicking off the midnoughties Balearic revival alongside his partner in the group Studio, Rasmus Hägg. Both came from the frozen coast of Sweden (rather than Ibiza) and their debut "West Coast" was hailed as one of 2006’s best releases, and a true Piccadilly Records classic. Their sound was a blissful, effortless, laidback afrobeat-kraut-disco-pop and won a legion of fans. Now, ten years after the release of "West Coast", as the influence of Studio’s work reverberates up through a new generation of producers (Jamie xx sampled a beach-blissed loop from it for “Girl”), Lissvik’s "Midnight" is right on time.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

        Prins Thomas

        Principe Del Norte

        Nordic disco / house hero and Piccadilly Records favourite Prins Thomas is back, gracing Smalltown Supersound with his fourth solo LP. Here is a little message from Thomas about the album:

        "There's a certain risk some of you are already overfed, with the 'Paradise Goulash' still piping hot on the stove…but anyway, here it goes… I've known Joakim (Mr. Smalltown) professionally for quite a few years now and I've worked on many projects for him, mainly doing remixes like Nissenenmondai, Lindstrom, Alf-Emil Eik, Idjut Boys and so on.

        A couple of years ago he asked me to consider doing an album for him. At the time I was busy concentrating on gathering material for what would become my 2nd album (Prins Thomas II) on my own label Full Pupp and I was not entirely friendly to the idea of giving away my solo material to somebody else's label. However, the possibility of doing something different seemed an option but at the time I had no “different" in mind and I generally try not to force ideas.

        Then, roughly a year ago an Instagram-post and a recommendation of a posthumous release by Swedish producer Joel Brindefalk, sparked an idea. I likened his "Doobedoo Dub’e'dope" release under the moniker Ü’s to KLF's "Chill Out” and The Orb's "Peel Session EP". That had Joakim and me enthusing about those early 90s electronica releases. So I set off on the task at hand, making an ambient album, leaving conventional drums and drum machines out of the equation.

        So that's basically it, a few tracks loosely inspired by the braindance of the 90s and its themes and components reworked into slightly more danceable counterparts. The song "titles" refers to the sides of the vinyl version. Matching tracks up with their melodic partners is up to the listener. How you listen to this album is entirely up to you but I'd recommend finding center position in front of your speakers, a comfortable couch or chair and dedicate yourself to the music for a long hour" - Prins Thomas,

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Martin says: Thomas Moen Hermansen always drew his influences from a broad musical palette, even if at first he confined his genius to the seemingly oxymoronic Norwegian disco genre. It is no surprise then that Mr.Hermansen might want to express his talent in other areas - he has injected psyche and kraut rock into the beats in more recent work; in Principe Del Norte he explores more meditative electronic territories, although consistency is maintained here with nods in the direction of Harmonia, Manuel Göttsching and Cluster.

        “'Gode' is a personal album. It's the album I have always wanted to make” says André Bratten.

        The album was made between 2012 - 2015 in Oslo and Bratten sites artists like Giacinto Scelsi, Arvo Pärt, Gescom/AE, Brian Eno and Norwegian compatriot Biosphere as inspiration. “Gode" has a dual meaning in Norwegian. It’s a Middle English word that gave us the modern English word “Goad” (meaning to provoke or annoy). On the one hand it literally means “cattle prod”, a farming tool used to, er, prod cattle. But it also came to mean “a right or privilege” as the cattle prod came to symbolize the indentured labour of the Norwegian rural working class. The land owning aristocrats would exploit the people as if they were so much livestock. Like a stark black & white film, the record is a meditation on the darker days of Norway’s past, before the country discovered its oil wealth. From 1900 - 1939 it was one of Europe’s poorest countries, beset by illness and starvation even. Rural poor depended completely on their families and had more children to work the land. Only the privileged could afford to make art, and Bratten thinks of the void all the music and art from the poorest families that was lost. “Gode” is a hymn to those people.

        “Gode” is Bratten giving free rein to his imagination and further deepening his unique musical practice. His previous work was made with synthesizers, drum machines and computers but this album is recorded through tape machines, layered with field recordings, heavily modified piano, string arrangements and even vocals (amongst others Susanne Sundfør).



        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

        Dungen

        Allas Sak

          Dungen frontman/mastermind Gustav Ejstes has been making music for nearly twenty years—at first for himself, then eventually and inevitably for all of us. As a teenager in rural Sweden, he became obsessed with hip-hop and sampling. Digging through crates and searching for obscure source material provided him with an informal education in ‘60s pop and psychedelia, and soon he learned to play the bits and pieces he was sampling. He took up guitar and bass, drums and keyboard and even flute, then took to his grandmother’s basement to put it all on tape.

          When Ejstes recorded his first album, he released it in 2001 under the name Dungen, which means “The Grove”— a nod to his village upbringing or perhaps a deeper reference to American folk songs like “Shady Grove.” While his music has routinely garnered comparisons to acts like Love, Pink Floyd, the Electric Prunes, and Os Mutantes, he has always emphasized a strong sense of songcraft. The music has deep roots in the past, but it blooms in the present.

          With 2004’s breakout Ta Det Lugnt Dungen garnered an avid fanbase outside of Scandinavia. Only on the road did Dungen blossom into a full band, with a rotation of musicians joining Ejstes onstage and eventually coalescing into a fully democratic band that includes Reine Fiske on guitar, Mattias Gustavsson on bass, and Johan Holmegard on drums. Starting with 2007’s Tio Bitar and 2009’s 4, the band members helped Ejstes realize his own vision while adding flourishes of their own. As a result, Dungen grew into something bigger and more formidable: one of the best and most consistently inventive psych rock bands in the world.

          At the height of their powers, however, the band took a step back. It’s been five years since the last Dungen album, 2010’s Skit I Allt, which is by far the longest interval between releases for a band that proved especially prolific and inspired during the 2000s. Allas Sak picks up where Dungen’s previous album left off, but somehow it sounds bolder and livelier, feistier yet more focused. The quartet jam with greater purpose and principle on songs like the otherworldly instrumental “Franks Kaktus” and the stately “En Gång Om Året,” while the prismatic “Flickor Och Pojkar” and closer “Sova” reveal subtle nuances in the band’s arrangements.

          The band brought in “a good friend of ours” named Mattias Glavå to produce the record. In addition to helming records for the Soundtrack of Our Lives, Sambassadeur, and the Amazing, Glavå worked with Dungen on 2005’s Stadsvandringar, which made these sessions a reunion of sorts. “Mattias is a true wizard of analog sound engineering, but he’s more than a technique nerd,” says Ejstes. “He’s the ultimate hand between my vision of a sound and reality.”

          Glavå suggested the band work out songs before they entered the studio, rather than writing during the sessions. It was a different way of working, but one that Ejstes found invigorating. “He suggested we come to his studio with finished songs, and we did live takes directly to tape—the old-school way. It has truly been a quite different experience from the earlier records.” Allas Sak is about everyday matters: family, friends, the fine texture of life. Common but never mundane, these subjects anchor the music in the here and now, while the music lends a certain grandeur to ordinary moments. “Lyrics are very important to me,” says Ejstes. “These songs are my everyday experiences, my thoughts and stories from the life I live. I hope people can create their own stories around the music and maybe we can make music together, the listener and I.”

          The brainchild of DJ Harvey as a means to keep his multi-instrumentalist hand in, Wildest Dreams is a modern day equivalent of the LA wrecking crew. They (or more probably, just Harvey as one-man band) make music inspired by the landscape of LA and its surroundings for your road and acid trip. Forget Balearic, disco and techno, Wildest Dreams is Harvey's chance to ROCK OUT, which he does in spades across 10 tracks on this eponymous long player.  The album was recorded over a week a couple years ago and unearthed by Smalltown Supersound.

          DJ Harvey is a near mythical character whose musical style cannot simply be filed as eclectic or retrospective; he plays whatever he feels, as he feels it, but always for the crowd. He is an analogue loving DJ that utilizes reel to reel and effects all conjured live while not being afraid to also work new technology in the mix. He's respected and in demand all over the world. Best put by Rolling Stone when included in their "25 DJs That Rule The Earth," "If Keith Richards was a DJ, he'd totally be Harvey. A libertine Englishman turned California surfer dude, Harvey has been rocking dancefloors since the 1980s with his ocean-deep collection of rare disco, Pink Floyd-y space rock, off-kilter techno and anything else danceable.


          Wildest Dreams

          Last Ride / Call To Prayer

            THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

            This is the first taste of DJ Harvey's Wildest Dreams.

            Neneh Cherry releases her first solo album in 16 years - a collaboration with RocketNumberNine, produced by Four Tet, and featuring a guest appearance by Robyn. The 10-track album, recorded and mixed over a five-day period is, out on Smalltown Supersound. It follows 2012’s 'The Cherry Thing', a collaborative record with free jazz, noise collective The Thing, which featured new versions of songs by The Stooges, MF Doom, Ornette Coleman, amongst others.

            While her energy and demeanor may not have changed since the days of Rip Rig + Panic, musically, 'Blank Project' is a departure from anything Neneh has previously done, initially written as a means of working through personal tragedy. What stands out upon first listen is the album’s sparseness: loose drums and a few synthesizers are the only accompaniment to Neneh’s wildly poetic, sometimes-spoken, sometimes-screeching, soul-flooded and raw vocals. The space created by this minimal aesthetic leaves room for occasional pistes and flurries of rapid, yet throbbing and thunderous instrumentation. Featuring combined elements of beat poetry, avant-electronica and beautiful vocal melodies, it’s a record that uses simple ideas to create something entirely original. And despite the personal struggles Neneh was working through in writing this new material, the songs are far from introverted.

            With 'Blank Project', Neneh continues to arrive at moments in musical history when there is an opportunity to subvert ideas of popular culture. She is subverting once again, only this time, although this record is musically bold, Neneh sees the stasis she’s challenging isn’t musical or societal, but her own.



            STAFF COMMENTS

            Philippa says: Neneh Cherry follows her collaboration with Nordic free jazz noise collective the Thing with the intense electro-percussive album ‘Blank Project’, first unveiled at the Manchester International Festival. The guttural analogue synths and pummelled kit drumming of power duo RocketNumberNine (brothers Ben and Tom Page) provide the backing for Cherry’s distinctive emotionally vulnerable soul-flooded vocals, while Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden proves to be the perfect producer for the project, stripping tracks back to their essential elements. The first solo record Cherry has made since the death of her mother, ‘Blank Project’ is stark, bracing, brooding and reflective. There is anger and sadness here, but this isn’t a sad record. This is a life-affirming angry howl at the world, a cathartic blast of intensity that leaps from the speakers. In an era of often soulless synthetic emoting, it’s good to have some raw emotion back with us. Raw like, er, Cherry!

            "Grace," the poet Frank O'Hara once wrote, "to be born and live as variously as possible." Though early in his musical career, this ambitious but certainly worthy aspiration toward "variousness" might be said to be the defining characteristic behind the artistic output of Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp.

            After all, not many people can claim to have curated and performed at New York's downtown bastion of the avant–garde, The Kitchen (where Laurie Anderson, Glenn Branca and Philip Glass cut their teeth), to have been DJ'ed by NY underground disco pioneer David Mancuso (at his legendary party The Loft), to have soundtracked a Chanel runway show per Karl Lagerfeld's request and to have released an album of minimalistic classical music (Arp & Anthony Moore’s FRKWYS 3 [RVNG Intl]).

            Perhaps best described as a pop album by an avant–garde musician, MORE is an album that begins in one place and ends in another, melding bedroom art–pop with avant-garde composition to create a world of heady atmospherics and melodic song craft over its concentrated 46 minute arc. Played almost entirely by Georgopoulos, MORE reveals an impressive grasp of style and vision, following a distinct narrative, dipping into 70s art rock, autumnal baroque pop, musique concréte, minimalistic piano epics, narcotic gospel, sound library atmospheres, and delicate space folk.

            Although 2010’s The Soft Wave (a New York Times “Notable Album of 2010”) may be his most–heard album so far, Georgopoulos' 2010 collaboration with Englishman Anthony Moore may provide more appropriate background for MORE. Not merely content to espouse the voguish sounds of the day, Georgopoulos decided early in 2012 that he'd abandon his analog synthesizer–centric abstractions in favor of something he'd never done, write songs. The better to challenge himself. As such, with MORE, he has made his first album–length foray into song.

            The 12 pieces that make up MORE might best be heard as distinct scenes in a single film. And this being his first New York album, the city figures in significantly, both in scale and in character. “High–Heeled Clouds" locates its protagonist amongst the well–heeled, boutiqued mirages of Manhattan's 5th Avenue, a lilting waltz and a tale of delusional souls and refracting mirrors. "Judy Nylon" is all highbrow primitivism, chugging forward on an adrenaline rush of Phil Manzanera–like fuzz guitars and locomotive rhythm, picking up speed as it builds. The otherworldly, baroque atmospheres of "A Tiger In The Hall at Versailles" are a tale in contrast, with the tension of the harpsichord–led verses giving way to a lush, doe–eyed chorus, akin to a shaft of light breaking through a sinister scene. "E2 Octopus" is the first of three candy–coated morsels of musique concréte on MORE, revealing a love of innovators like BBC's Delia Derbyshire and Bernard Parmegiani and tactile field recordings. Moved by the premature passing of Broadcast chanteuse Trish Keenan, "Light+Sound" is a delicate, moving ballad awash in Mellotron and harpsichord, calling to mind the kind of softly psychedelic, autumnal atmospheres Robert Wyatt has specialized in. "17th Daydream" begins in the open air of the country and travels, by air and rail, to the rising steam of the city. The very New York–inspired, minimalist mini–epic "Gravity (for Charlemagne Palestine)” is an alternate Empire State theme, an ecstatic pull portrayed by an always–ascending pillar of sound chugging on piano, cello and spiraling guitars. "More (Blues)" suggests a stoned choirboy fronting a gospel church group, Georgopoulos' delicate delivery melding with the song's narcotic sway. The misty mix of astral folk and beach–influenced atmospherics of "Daphne & Chloe" is, simply, epic. Finally, closer "Persuasion" rides into the sun, a bookend in the form of overdriven fuzz guitars and Moog synthesizer.

            For RocketNumberNine, capturing the spirit of the music is paramount and with their debut album, 'MeYouWeYou', the London-based Page brothers - Tom (drums) and Ben (synths) - invite you into their tribal Chingford roots, taking music forwards to reach where it came from. This is hard hitting, modern dance music played live without a single click track in sight. With a name taken from a song by space jazz crusader Sun Ra and musical influences from Detroit to London to Africa and beyond, RocketNumberNine, have spent the last eight years shaping, breaking and squeezing their sound into what it is today.

            Let’s get this out of the way right from the start. Carmen Villain used to be a very successful model. Her face has appeared on the covers of Vogue and Nylon, and high profile cosmetic ad campaigns. But as the shutter clicks and the palm trees sway, what’s a cover girl really thinking? Most models are expected to remain mutely anonymous, mere ciphers of a commercial brand. But it turns out, behind the scenes, Carmen Villain (aka Carmen Hillestad) was channeling her frustrations into a set of songs with a defiantly DIY underground free-rock sound. Now at last, she’s stepping off the glossy page and emerging as a new songwriting voice and multi-instrumentalist.

            Carmen Villain was born in the USA, lives in London, and is half-Norwegian, half-Mexican - a cocktail of ice and fire that can be heard throughout Sleeper’s tempestuous, dreamlike music. Throughout this debut album, lyrics are plastered over loose, abrasive instrumental tracks, on which Carmen plays guitars, bass, drum machines, keyboards and percussion. 'Sleeper’'s distinctive production was halved between herself and Emil Nikolaisen (Serena-Maneesh), who also played drums and keyboards; and she also collaborated and co-produced one track with Prins Thomas, who sequenced the album. Most of the songs are about escaping an unsatisfying world, with references to sleeping, not being present, displacement, anxiety, feeling trapped, but longing for something more.

            Carmen draws on a lineage of sprawling, taboo-busting lo-fi rock: Sun City Girls, Sonic Youth, Royal Trux, Broadcast and Bikini Kill, but equally admires This Heat and the cut ‘n’ paste productions of J Dilla and Wu-Tang Clan.

            In a world in which trance DJs with names like Ferry, Armin and Tiësto plead for votes in the DJmag Top 100, it’s nice to know there are other, stranger, galaxies circling the more secular and mundane one in which we live. One such universe, Planet Idjut, is occupied by two otherwise unemployable characters called Daniel (Tyler) and Conrad (McConnell). It circles the other planets suspiciously, unwilling (or perhaps more pertinently, unable) to conform to the mores and habits of other mere mortals.

            They are, it is true, DJs just like the aforementioned Tiësto and company, but where most are happy to serve up a formulaic and entirely predictable menu to keep the happy E hordes of Ibiza content, the Idjut Boys play, as Conrad once quipped, “Whatever we can get away with.” That could include anything from 70s jock metallists Nazareth to Phil Collins interspersed with perhaps some Underground Resistance for light relief, swiftly followed by the Temptations, something which makes their DJ sets non-conformist, occasionally brilliant, sometimes floor-clearing, but always interesting.

            Amazingly, despite a 20-year career they have never produced an artist album. Until now. Those expecting formulaic disco-not-disco floor-screamers will be disappointed. Many months in the making, many collaborators in its gestation, this is what the Idjut Boys sound like strapped to an Eames chair, cheroot in hand, while their pet tiger Keith sits by the hearth fire. “What we’ve tried to do is make an LP, four tracks a side on vinyl,” reports Conrad. “You stick it on your stereo, have a cup of coffee and read the paper. When it’s finished you stick the other side on. So we’ve made an LP in the traditional way.”

            Although the album was made with the armchair rather than the podium in mind, their approach to music-making as not altered at all. Although neither plays an instrument, they use the mixing board as their Stratocaster or Rhodes, often adding effects live as the song plays. “We do lots and lots of versions and mixes,” says Conrad. “Then we edit stuff from one into another. We try and use as many different sound sources and lots of different musicians. We’ve tried to make this sound as good as possible, so we’ve gone all over the place recording things, like Oslo for Bugge Wesseltoft’s piano, our friend Andy Hopkins’ for the drums and guitar and writing with Sally and Steve from A Man Called Adam in Cornwall.”

            If this gives you the impression the duo have settled down, bought themselves knitted Arran sweaters, flutes and a subscription to Wallpaper*, you’d be wrong. Although the Idjuts are keen for the album to be a listening experience, they are already champing at the bit to start making dance versions (a “drum and bassy dub” of ‘Going Down’ is already in the can). “Hopefully enough of them will buy the LP and think, “Yeah I don’t mind wasting some more money on you fucking idiots.”” Or Idjuts, as the case may be. (Bill Brewster)


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            CD Info: Limited edition comes with exclusive URL link to a THREE HOUR 'Discolimone' online DJ mix.

            For a limited period both the vinyl and CD include a free 'Exclusive Bonus Tsugi Mixtape' CD.

            Five… four… three… two… one…With the latest album from dance producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm, Norway’s latest entry in the space race has been launched out of the wooded outskirts of Oslo. "Six Cups Of Rebel", Lindstrøm’s fourth solo album, is a super-sized cosmic disco rocket that burns up a galaxy of eclectic influences in its wake, from Bach to Deep Purple, from prog rock and arpeggiator disco to acid house, while sounding sleek and utterly contemporary. He may worship at the temple of godlike European DJs from the 80s like Daniele Baldelli and Beppe Loda, but the relentless, occasionally monumental scale of "Six Cups Of Rebel" has the power to move mountains all by itself.

            From the opening “No Release” - a five-minute coitus interruptus of cascading cathedral organ - to the pumping Detroit pistons of “Call Me Anytime” and the wah-wah stabs and fizzing 808 basslines of the title track, "Six Cups Of Rebel" acts like a star map of Lindstrøm’s own voyage to the outer limits of electronic music. When he holds back, as on the ten-minute “Hina”, it’s only to let rip with added propulsion, like a satellite using a planet’s orbit to push it to the next level.


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            CD Info: Initial copies include bonus mix CD.

            The "Sagara" project began life in 2009 when Diskjokke was commissioned to create a one off piece for top Norwegian festival Øya. He was given free reign as to what this project might entail, and he was given the resources to travel almost anywhere to find the right people to work with. He researched a seemingly endless list of genres before he finally settled on the Indonesian Gamelan tradition. Soon after he made contact with a group called Sambasunda (led by Ismit Rutchimat). Diskjokke then spent two weeks in Bandung, Java, staying in their studio recording traditional instruments, sounds and ideas. He recorded everything he heard, from the city noise to the pulsating hot mountain springs.

            The album was written, produced and recorded as music in Oslo, but a lot of the sounds used are recorded various places in Indonesia. Diskjokke says: "I have always been labelled as inspired by Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno, but to be honest I really haven't listened much to them until I tripped over them, as part of the research for this project. There is a guy I met on Bali called Gus Till, his ambient watermusic was the soundtrack of the first days in our daughter's life and she still recognises it as hers." On how he sees this album as part of his output; "I feel now in retrospect that this albumis a natural step from the last, but it is in no way a final piece - I have no idea where the next record will take me!"



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