Review: The well regarded Whities label invites you deep into a darkened world of coldwave soundscapes on its next 12". There are Arabic overtones to Carl Gari's music here, both explicitly in the meditative vocals from Abdullah Miniawy, but also in the exotic synth drones that hang heavy in the air. It makes for a spiritual eight track affair that has a beautifully bleak and spiritual feeling: tracks are largely empty, absorbing affairs with only suggested rhythms moving you forward. Part organic and human, part mechanical and synthetic, Whities 023 is a bewitching and otherworldly listen of the highest order.
Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
Review: Master of ambient spaces and far out places, long-time Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti (aka Vladislav Delay) blesses us once again with another release, this from his 'Visa' period of unreleased tracks.
The first track out of the gate is a recognizable Vladislav Delay piece, but instead of gently flowing rivers of sound, instead we have a series of stiff, machine-like rhythms applied to his classic infinitely deep pads and ambient environmental sounds. It just continues to pile in more elements until becoming almost indistinguishable from his natural, organic flow. From there we move into somewhat more familiar territory but still unusually stripped down and mechanical for a Vladislav Delay joint. It's fascinating to see such an intricate songwriting process laid bare in such a way, often exposing each individual, nearly bottomless sound in isolation.
Deeper into the album, things veer into decidedly more abrasive and synthetic territory, at times becoming an almost unrecognizable artist for a moment, only to be eventually subsumed under layers of shifting ambience that could only be Sasu.
This austere minimalism makes these tracks some of the most hypnotic since the early 90s excursions, but at the same time seems to have left its organic, analog roots and melded with the harsh gridlocked modern sequencer. ~Clint Anderson
Superdiscount Presents Air - "Soldissimo" (Etienne De Crecy remix) (5:26)
Guts - "What Is Love" (3:47)
Alex Gopher - "The Child" (radio edit) (3:39)
Kazam - "Swag On" (2:13)
Flume - "Holdin On" (2:32)
Chinese Man - "I've Got That Tune" (4:08)
Deluxe - "Pony" (3:27)
Fakear - "Morning In Japan" (3:06)
Bonobo - "Terrapin" (4:40)
Nightmares On Wax - "Les Nuits" (radio edit) (3:31)
Review: Thanks to Massive Attack's recent anniversary reissue of their touchstone "Mezzanine" album, trip-hop is back in the headlines. While we don't expect a full-blown revival just yet, it's always worth dipping into the style and its hazy, dub-flecked and sample-heavy sound. This triple-disc genre retrospective from Wagram should be an essential listen for both confirmed trip-hop heads and newcomers alike. It contains plenty of well-known classics - see the contributions from I Monster, Tricky, Smith & Mighty, Kid Loco, Moby, Boards of Canada, Kruder and Doefmeister, Tosca and Nightmares on Wax, for starters - as well as under-appreciated underground hits and lesser-celebrated selections (Sabres of Paradise's remix of Red Snapper's "Hotflush" being the undoubted highlight).
Review: "The Practice Of Love" is Jenny Hval's seventh full-length, and it's the sort of listen that can wash over you while you get lost in a reverie, or take you on a deeply involving inward journey if you tune in to the lyrics. Her voice is angelic, and muses on subjects like growing old, our place in the world, and the notion of intimacy. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the fantastically strong title track with its vulnerable and tender spoken words, folky synth lullaby "Thumbsucker" and "Accident", which could well be a rave comedown with its lilting trance chords and dreamy keys. Quite the trip.
Review: New York's Blank Forms Editions welcome back Catherine Christer Hennix for a second album in quick time after her widely acclaimed debut last year. This one manages to hit even harder than that debut across four twenty minute suites that defy many western musical conventions. It is drone music with a difference, weird synth sounds drawn out and contorted before your very ears. It's caustic, challenging listening that plays out like the soundtrack to a horror movie in your own mind. Experimental music as occult as this truly sounds as if it comes from another planet, and tuning into it is a real thrill.
Etron Fou Leloublan - "Le Desastreux Voyage Du Piteux Python" (10:43)
Jean Cohen-Solal - "Captain Tarthopom" (3:03)
ZNR - "Solo Un Dia" (3:01)
Red Noise - "Sarcelles C'est L'Avenir" (15:22)
Pierre Henry - "Generique (Theme De Myriam)" (2:20)
Horrific Child - "Frayeur" (8:42)
Jean Guerin - "Triptik 2" (2:19)
Dashiell Hedayat - "Fille De L'Ombre" (5:47)
Review: French post-rock group Nurse With Wound famously noted a number of artists on their legendary 1979 debut. This fascinating compilation on Finders Keepers finds band member Steven Stapleton chronicling them all, and it makes for an often intense story full of noise experiments, soot-black guitar playing and haunting atmospheres. Rarely less than peculiar, tracks like Jean Cohen-Solal's "Captain Tarthopom" sounds like a curious fairground ride, Red Noise's " Sarcelles C'est L'Avenir" is the stuff of nightmares and "Triptik 2" by Jean Guerin is as weird as music gets. As dark nights and spooky season approaches, this is a perfect go-to.
Review: "Say Yes To No" is the debut record from iDEAL Recordings label head Joachim Nordwall, aka the iDEALIST. It is an experimental affair couched in dub but run through with a sense of dread and plenty of noise. Expertly manipulated sound characterises each track - the distant drone of a factory floor, the hum and fizz of machines at work and the lumpy, loopy drums of automation. Fans of Adrian Sherwood's brain frying, punk influenced work are sure to lap up this most dark and dystopian dub exploration, and arresting vocal appearances from John Duncan and Jamaican poet Nazamba only heighten the whole experience.
Review: As Suburban Cracked Collective, Australian experimentalist and ex-Castings member Shaun Leacy has released a handful of CD-R and cassette-only albums. Here he makes his vinyl debut with an album of weary, becalmed compositions that join the dots between percussive free-jazz, drowsy drone textures, out-there ambient and fuzzy, off-kilter electronica. It's an intriguing and quietly impressive sound soup, with Leacy densely layering elements and smothering most musical motifs in copious amounts of delay, reverb and noise. The whole thing comes to a dizzying conclusion via "The Bird Ceased To Be Articulate", a 16-minute noise piece that sounds like the cavernous, echoing free space inside Donald Trump's head.
CIA Contractor Freed Over Pakistan Killings (9:56)
Prime Minister Defiant As Pakistan Outs CIA Agent (9:48)
Review: When Dominick Fernow first donned the Vatican Shadow alias for the politically charged "Pakistan Military Academy" album back in 2011, he had no intention of releasing the set on vinyl. Instead, it was offered up as a limited double "C20" cassette offering. Eight years on, he's finally decided to release it on wax. It remains one of Fernow's most poignant and picturesque sets under the now infamous alias, with three of the tracks delivering neo-classical style movements (played on synthesizers, rather than by a string quartet) and evocative, ear-catching ambient chords. Fernow smartly moves through the gears as the set progresses, ending with a blast of gnarled, rhythmic noise and more tear-jerking electronics. A must-have.