Review: Earlier in the year, Ghostly International outfit wrote and performed the score to "Over The Rainbow", a documentary film directed by Jeffrey Peixoto about the controversial Church of Scientology. Here that soundtrack is given a deserved release via Boomkat Editions. It's undoubtedly the Australian pair's most inventive and evocative work yet, with the 13 tracks offering a fluid, warm, hazy and becalmed trawl though synthesizer-rich ambient (often laden with atmospheric field recordings) and experimental electronica. It's perhaps a little more spacey and out-there than many movie soundtracks, but in a weird way that seems indicative of the film's source material; for non-believers, there's something particularly odd and off-putting about Scientology.
Shine On Through (feat Mountain & Karina Ramage) (4:11)
Kosa (feat Keeno) (5:58)
The Encounter (feat Bop) (5:40)
Miles Ahead (feat DJ Marky) (4:11)
Morning Sunrise (feat Danny Wheeler, G Force & Blu James) (4:55)
Tokyo '96 (feat SPY) (5:24)
Show Me How You Feel (feat Lorna King) (4:52)
Dive (feat Polaris) (5:42)
Liberta (feat Urbandawn) (4:34)
Living For (feat Paul T & Edward Oberon) (5:28)
Transparent (feat Whiney) (4:57)
Mystic Crystals (feat Technimatic) (5:16)
Nexus (feat Pola & Bryson) (4:13)
Merchant Blessing (feat MC Conrad) (4:31)
Review: Makato is often cited as one of the pioneering founders of Japan's drum & bass scene. He's now up to his sixth studio album and it finds his airy, rolling, sweet flowing beats all present and correct. "Tomodachi Sessions" derived from a series of collaborations with close friends who have all played a part in his 25 year career. DJ Marky, S.P.Y, Bop and MC Conrad all feature and lend their own personalities to an album that offers celebratory hands in the air tracks like "Shine On Through" next to more late night dancers like "Transparent" and melodic explorations like "Show Me How You Feel".
Review: It would be fair to say that Ernest "Ernie" Hood was ahead of his time. During the early 1970s, he was one of the few musicians in Portland, Oregon to embrace synthesizers. He was also a keen zither player and in his spare time made nostalgic field recordings of suburban neighbourhoods that matched those he grew up in. All of these things came together on his sole solo album, "Neighborhoods", an obscure - but rather brilliant - set that still sounds miles ahead of its time. It has a nostalgic tone, but is as evocative and atmospheric as you'd expect given the sonic ingredients Hood spooned into the mix. This re-mastered edition expands it to two discs, too, allowing louder, clearer reproduction of Hood's far-sighted sounds.
Jhon's House Tune From GM Guide - Protection (5:35)
Spastiche (Basic) (6:46)
AYOR Master (It's In My Blood) (6:40)
Original Amber Rain (demo) (4:52)
Wir-click-Wir 1993 (2:07)
Crumb Tune (Master) (5:57)
The March Of Time (Extra version) (9:00)
Spastiche - The Night's Alive (Master) (5:25)
Kusnir Jazz (2:43)
Heavens Blade (John Balance Vox demo) (7:25)
Wir-click-Wir 1998 Mst Vox (18:37)
The Test Early Mst (2:17)
AYOR (Extra version) (4:29)
Elves (Master) (6:35)
Heaven's Blade (instrumental 1993) (8:25)
Melotron Song (Amber Rain demo) (2:52)
March Of More Time (Master 1993) (6:30)
Crumb Tune (4:20)
Simon (Extra long) (6:10)
Egyptian Basses 1993 (7:22)
Review: This is an absolute treat for fans of experimental industrial noisniks Coil. If you fit that description, you should already be salivating at the prospect of a triple-vinyl album containing previously unheard, unreleased material. "Swanyard" is in effect an extended trawl through the late John Balance and Peter Christopherson's archives, focusing in particular on a productive period between 1993 and 1996 that saw the pair release a trio of acclaimed albums. Much of the material could be classed as either demos or work-in-progress sketches inspired by Christopherson's vivid dreams, but such was the quality of the pair's work that it sounds much more eccentric, vibrant and "complete" than many comparable compilations.
Review: Since leaving Cabaret Voltaire in the early '90s, Stephen Mallinder has kept himself busy, first by starting a new career as an academic, and latterly by stints in bands including Wrangler, Hey! Rube and Creep Show. There was always one thing missing from his CV, though: a new solo album. With "Um Dada", he's finally ticked that box, delivering a set that smartly channels four decades of electronic music influences into nine vocal and instrumental mutant pop cuts. It's heavy, trippy, mind-altering and thoroughly absorbing, with Mallinder offering plenty of nods towards the Cabs' 1980s and '90s work, as well as more contemporary influences such as German techno/electro and the sub-heavy rush of fellow Sheffielder Crooked Man.
Review: Russia's Gost Zvuk label has long been a firm favourite here in the Juno office. Their glitchy, mysterious, futuristic music always makes for intriguing listening and now they celebrate five fantastic years with a compilation featuring a host of closely associated talents old and new. The bumper triple vinyl collection features paranoid experimental ambient that draws to mind covert spying operations, mangled machine music like INFX's "Damaged +dn", haunting modulated synth soundscapes from OL and skeletal techno rhythms that rewire your brain like Erofeev's "11bng". It all makes for a genuinely fresh and original collection of hugely provocative music.
Review: It's cult records and mythical artists like this that record collectors fawn over for years. Well this particular wait is now over as for the first time ever on vinyl you can now own two super rare 1980-82 tapes by Two Daughters. They were a mysterious pair affiliated with Throbbing Gristle and recorded all sorts of dark and haunting noise in Brixton for Nurse With Wound's United Dairies. This session is as freaky as they come, with muffled voices appearing out of the noise like apparitions. Hypnotic and daunting, droning and bleakly mesmeric, this music sounds to us like the shadowy corridors of an old lunatic asylum in the dead of a winter's night.
Last I Heard (...He Was Circling The Drain) (5:10)
Dawn Chorus (5:34)
I Am A Very Rude Person (3:52)
Not The News (3:57)
The Axe (6:58)
Impossible Knots (4:19)
(Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You For Coming) (4:57)
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.
Review: Tribe Of Colin have done a good job of keeping their identity unknown despite plenty of well received releases. Honest Jon's gets a fourth album from the enigmatic artist(s) that deals in sludgy techno, dubby steppers and pulsing electronic music that harks back to the streets of Detroit as much as hinting at a future London landscape long after humans have long gone. Twisted synths, shimmering percussion, dark chords and complex rhythms are interwoven with gritty textures and field recordings from around the world to make it a spellbinding listen. Fans of Actress and Andy Stott will love.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Review: Given that it's called "Coloured" and appears on shocking pink vinyl, you'd expect Adam Longman Parker's debut album as Afriqua to be a decidedly vibrant and kaleidoscopic affair. It is, of course, with Longman Parker offering up tracks that mix tropical-sounding electronics, glassy-eyed synthesizer motifs, processed vocal sounds and evocative musical flourishes with jaunty, interesting rhythms that neatly sidestep conventional genre rules. It's a mixture that makes for hugely enjoyable listening, with highlights coming thick and fast. These include - though are by no means limited to - the densely layered dancefloor cheekiness of "Shout", the minimalist ambient bliss of "Noir", the hypnotic, intergalactic oddness of "Native Sun" and the bubbly club warmth of "Jumpteenth".
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.
Review: Om Unit takes it to the bridge once again. His label's first V/A collection since its evergreen "Cosmology Selections" in 2017, it's another vast plain ripe in sonic depths and textures from some of the most left-minded, boundary-fusing captains in the bass game. Featuring two crucial link-ups from the bossman himself with two kindred spirits Djrum and Synkro plus a whole cosmic cornucopia of voyages from the likes of Danny Scrilla, J:Kenzo, Vromm and stacks more, every track is a highlight in its own beguiling way. No label flares with the same level of dark vitality, there's more than enough for our brains to chew on right here.
Review: Canadian composer Mort Garson enjoyed an eclectic career, though in electronic music circles he's most celebrated for a string of experimental electronic albums he produced using early Moog synthesizers. "Mother Earth's Plantasia" is a bizarre but brilliant beast: a 1976 set that was designed to be played to plants to help them grow (really) and was given away free at a Los Angeles garden store. As this first ever reissue proves it remains a dizzyingly far-sighted set. Sometimes symphonic, occasionally spacey and always intoxicating, much of the material is far quirkier than contemporaneous synthesizer-fired sets. Highlights include the pulsing ambient spaciousness of "Ode To An African Violet", the twinkling, cascading beauty of "Rhapsody In Green" and the jaunty cheeriness of "You Don't Have To Walk a Begonia".
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: As the vibrant and colourful cover artwork makes clear, Moon Boots latest album for Anjunadeep - his second following well-received 2017 debut "First Landing" - is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic and positive affair full of cheery, dancefloor-friendly songs and picturesque instrumentals (see the twinkling "Trance & Dental"). The American producer is a master at blurring the boundaries between radio-friendly house, deep synth-pop and nu-disco, and much of "Bimini Road" is based around this accessible and summery musical intersection. There are a few pleasing curveballs dotted across the LP, though, including the title track's piano-heavy Balearic chug and the sunny two-step garage-pop of Gary Saxby hook-up "Gary's House".
Review: If you were judging Kieran Hebden's 11th Four Tet studio album merely on the way it's presented, you'd immediately think he'd spent the last two years immersed in early '90s ambient house albums. While it's unlikely he's done that, it's fair to say that New Energy does owe a debt to classic electronica sets from that period. For all the exotic instrumentation and subtle nods to post-dubstep "aquacrunk" experimentalism and chiming, head-in-the-clouds sunrise house, the album feels like a relic of a lost era. That's not meant as a criticism - New Energy is superb - but it is true that his choice of neo-classical strings, gentle new age melodies, sweeping synthesizer chords and disconnected vocal samples would not sound out of place on a Global Communication album.
Review: Leopoldo Rosa AKA Lerosa has been fighting against lazy categorization for years, offering up tracks that go way beyond the deep house sound he cultivated in the early years of his career. Those who still think he makes records like that should definitely check "Bucket Of Eggs", his long-awaited second album, because it's far more thrillingly wayward, off-kilter and alien-sounding than anything he's released before. It's rooted in house music - and twisted acid house, in particular - but also doffs a cap towards Rephlex style mutant electronica, turn-of-the-90s Bleep and Bass (the superbly weighty and spacey "Sheffield"), skewed electro ("Subterfuge") and even deep space electronica (killer closing cut "Don't Worry"). In a word: essential.