Review: Bohren & Der Club Of Gore has always been a unique proposition. Initially formed in 1992 by members of numerous grindcore, hardcore and death metal bands, they quickly became famous for creating their own dark, atmospheric and ambient influenced style of "doom-ridden jazz music". They've released umpteen albums since then, with Black Earth - a 2002 exploration of ambient jazz pastures full of horizontal intent - being amongst their most celebrated. Here it gets the reissue treatment, allowing a new generation to wallow in its fine combination of bleak track titles, foreboding chords, hushed percussion and gentle jazz motifs.
Review: While Bohren & Der Club Of Gore has always been renowned for making self-styled "doom-ridden jazz music", they've always been capable of delivering beautiful music. In truth, even their darkest moments were shot through with quiet beauty, and some albums were even relatively positive in intent. That was certainly the case with 2000's Sunset Mission, a hazy exploration of ambient jazz full of dreamy chords, snaking saxophone lines, twinkling electric piano solos and half-baked, early evening percussion. As this reissue proves, the album remains something of an ambient/jazz fusion classic, with the epic "Nightwolf" - here in its' full 16-minute version - standing out.
Review: In recent months, PIAS has re-released numerous albums from Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, a cult post-hardcore band that found fame by developing their own distinctive brand of "doom-ridden jazz music". The latest album to get the reissue treatment is 2005's Geisterfaust. It originally appeared three years after Black Earth, a macabre and unsettling full-length that remains their most celebrated work. The five epic tracks that make up Geisterfaust are a little lighter in tone, though still thoroughly absorbing and cloaked in the band's usual hazy atmospheres. At times the music tends towards the melancholic, with 20-minute opener "Zeigefinger" offering a near perfect blend of slowly evolving ambient jazz motifs and foreboding drum hits.
Review: Disco producer, synthesizer pioneer and Hi-NRG originator Patrick Cowley made a lot of highly sexual music. In fact, his muscular synth-disco productions were, for years, the soundtrack of choice in San Francisco's notorious bathhouse scene. It doesn't stop there, though. Unbeknownst to most disco aficionados, Cowley also provided experimental synthesizer tracks to soundtrack gay porn films between 1973 and 1981. Initially released on vinyl last year, School Daze has now been granted a CD edition by Dark Entries and gathers together the best of those productions. Arguably, the material here is amongst his best work. Free of the constraints of the dancefloor, Cowley let himself go, delivering avant garde synthesizer compositions that ranged from spaciously psychedelic ("Out of Body", like some lost Confused House record) and decidedly cosmic (the chugging "Journey Home"), to otherworldly and outlandish ("Zygote"). Recommended.
Review: Norwegian disco titan Prins Thomas returns to his regular stomping ground of Smalltown Supersound with this, his sixth solo studio album. Thomas is sounding as vibrant as ever, his musical ideas spilling forth in glorious arrangements of organic instrumentation and gentling bubbling electronics that melt into a mellow, groovy sonic realm. There are hazy, cosmic moments to be savoured on the likes of "Feel The Love", and more adventurous rhythmic trysts like the nagging, snaking percussive melee of "Ambitions". Thomas' studio proficiency is more than matched by his imagination and creative ambition - would you expect any less from such a titan of Scandinavian electronic music?
Review: Over the last few years, Henry Laufer's releases as Shlohmo have tended to be archival affairs such as anniversary editions of early albums and sets of unheard early works. It's for this reason that "The End", the American producer's first studio set for four years, is such a welcome sight. It's an intriguing excursion, too, with Laufer offering up crunchy, dusty, often lo-fi tracks that wrap arty, indie-rock guitars and bass around lopsided drum machine rhythms, weird electronic flourishes, mind-altering effects and ghostly synthesizer motifs more often found in straight-up IDM releases. It's an unusual formula, but one that results in a string of memorable tracks and one must-check album.
Review: Matmos Member Drew Daniel was inspired to set to work on this new album following the election of Donald Trump as U.S President, and what he sees as the creeping rise of fascism around the globe. Yet instead of making it a solo musical expression of sadness, anger and frustration, he decided to gather together a bunch of like-minded musicians (guitars, strings, saxophone, vibraphone, percussion) and vocalists. The result is a suite of two 20-minute-plus tracks that smartly blend elements of Steve Reich style minimalism, neo-classical, ambient, deep electronica and otherworldly experimentalism to create stirring, emotion-rich epics. It may well be his greatest work to date, and that's saying something.
Review: Melodious digi-dub evangelists Tapes and 7FO have been buddies for a fair few years, so it was little surprise to see them join forces for a special performance at the 2019 Meakusuma Festival. "Live: Electronic Aura Explosion" offers up extended highlights from that set, delivering 14 electronic, dub-wise concoctions that joyfully join the dots between 1980s digi-dub, ambient, new age and warm, sun-kissed electronica. With Tapes in charge of grooves and effects and 7FO manning guitar and effects pedals, the collected cuts - a mixture of new versions of Tapes classics and unheard collaborative works - achieve just the right balance between ear-peasing cheeriness, mutilated weirdness and spaced-out bliss.
Underworld & Ewen Bremner - "Eventually But (Spud's Letter To Gail)"
Young Fathers - "Only God Knows"
The Rubberbandits - "Dad'S Best Friend"
Blondie - "Dreaming"
Queen - "Radio Ga Ga"
Run-DMC Vs Jason Nevins - "It's Like That"
The Clash - "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais"
Young Fathers - "Rain Or Shine"
The Fat White Family - "Whitest Boy On The Beach"
Underwold - "Slow Slippy"
Review: While opinions remain divided about Danny Boyle's belated follow-up to legendary 1990s movie Trainspotting, most have praised the vibrant soundtrack. Naturally, it contains fresh updates of material featured in the original film - a pleasingly fuzzy, in-your-face remix of Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" by The Prodigy, a brilliantly evocative, pitched-down update of "Born Slippy" by regular Boyle collaborators Underworld - plus a swathe of specially commissioned tracks from Young Fathers and High Contrast (the noisy, indie-rock style "Shotgun Mouthwash"). To compliment the movie's nostalgic feel, you'll also find a dash of '90s chart-bothering house (Jason Nevins' remix of Run DMC), plus vintage cuts from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Blondie and The Clash.
Review: Two years ago, Joakim surprised us all by releasing a superb compilation of contemporary French ambient music on Tigersushi. Mixing academic ambient, neo-classical, music concrete and electronica, "Musique Ambiante Francaise" tapped into France's long and illustrious experimental music history while offering a decidedly 21st century perspective. This second volume offers up more of the same, fitting between meditative electronic minimalism (Fil Unique), trippy and dubbed-out weirdness (Krikor), sustained-note paranoia (67Yarc), gentle new age synth-scapes (Trypheme), Pete Namlook style intergalactic electronics (Smagghe & Cross), stark piano pieces (Numerous Aurus), freaky weird-outs (Bambounou) and much more besides. Some of it is more unsettling that chilled-out, but without fail each and every track is superb.
Review: 'Orchestral Studies Collectanea' consists of seven previously unreleased orchestral movements (Tracks 1-7) in addition to remastered variations of arrangements that originally appeared on, 'Orchestral Tape Studies' and 'Orchestral Tape Studies [Tyresta Reworks]'. Orchestral Studies Collectanea is a compilation arranged and produced by zake with additional production by close friend Tyresta. OSC is a group of richly layered movements of fragmented orchestral loops, paying homage to minimalist symphonic composers and orchestras. zake and Tyresta incorporate field recordings and faint drone billows to accompany these selected samples of orchestral loops. With an emphasis on tone and recurrent murmurs, these arrangements offer approximately 48 minutes of delicate repetition, reticent sound treatments, and subtle manipulations. OSC is intended for low-volume listening.