Review: In 1979, Cabaret Voltaire - then consisting of all three founder members, Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson - recorded a soundtrack for an experimental film "for two projectors" by Babeth Mondini. 40 years on, that soundtrack has finally been given a release. It's similar in tone to some of the Sheffield experimentalists' other soundtrack work from the period, offering discordant, unsettling and otherworldly sound collages that fuse heavily modified and processed instrumental parts (guitar, bass, drums, clarinet, saxophone) with tape loops, sampled dialogue and the band's ever-present electronic tones. Whether you're an obsessive Cabs fan or not, it's well worth a listen. This is, after all, a slice of previously hidden musical history.
Review: In the summer of 2017, New Order returned to Granada Studios in Manchester - the site of their first TV appearance - to perform a special concert. With the accompaniment of a "12-piece synthesizer orchestra" and a stunning, ever-changing stage set designed by Liam Gillick, the legendary Manchester band delivered an extended set featuring radically reworked versions of tracks from their back catalogue. This evocative live album presents the recording of the concert in its entirety, with Bernard Sumner and company mixing bona fide hits ("Shellshock", "Bizarre Love Triangle") with album tracks, lesser-celebrated songs and the odd stunning soundscape (a particularly beautiful version of "Elegia"). As you'd expect, it's superb and a cut above most live albums.
Review: Krautrock legends, visionary iconoclasts and one of the most influential bands of the last half century they may be, but not many folk would have had Can pegged as a singles band, given that their origins in the kaftan-clad realm of the late-'60s and early-'70s tended more to full-length explorations in which the full force of their expression could be unleashed. This triple vinyl compilation not only rubbishes this preconception but offers a glimpse into the full spectrum of sound, from the sky-kissing serenades of 'Future Days' to the dancefloor-filling swagger of 'I Want More' and even the unlikely Christmas carol 'Silent Night'. A life-affirming compilation from a gang of longhairs like no other.
Review: The 21st Century has been quiet thus far for New Order, with only two full albums to date, and only an out-takes compilation in the last decade. Moreover, 'Music Complete' marks their first album to date without founding bassist Peter Hook, and the return of Gillian Gilbert to the ranks. Yet from this turbulence and inertia they've somehow managed to create a collection of songs that rank as their strongest set since 'Technique' in 1989. VIbrant, upbeat and colourful, yet driven by the same mix of electronic experimentation and effortless pop suss that characterised their '80s heyday, 'Music Complete' is the sound of a timeless and unique force newly revitalised.
Review: Following the break up of an acclaimed and iconic band, the solo ventures that then follow tend to show interesting new directions, and Lee Ranaldo's work since the disbanding of Sonic Youth has gone from strength to strength. 'Electric Trim' sees Ranaldo in fine form both as guitarist and writer. Though there isn't much of the screeching and howling guitar work we're used to with his previous band, the move from noise rock to alternative Americana sees Ranaldo applying his signature strangeness and unusual guitar tunings more subtly. With the trippy psychedelic leanings of 'Let's Start Again' and the frantically layered passages that fall away into stripped back alt-rock on closer 'New Thing', Ranaldo appears to be comfortable experimenting and making the most of this new-found freedom.