Review: Back in 2015, jazz/electronica fusionists GoGo Penguin wrote and performed a live soundtrack to Godfrey Reggio's cult 1982 documentary "Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance". It was such a success that they have since performed the soundtrack live all over the world, and here deliver a fine mini-album inspired by their original "re-score". It's as vibrant, emotion-rich and stirring as you'd expect, with opener "Time-Lapse City" providing a dazzling mixture of intensely positive and restless pianos, bustling jazz drums and smooth double bass, "Ocean In A Drop" brilliantly growing in intensity throughout thanks to a superb new arrangement and closer "Nessus" sounding every bit as poignant and tear-jerking as it did when they first performed the score.
Review: This tasty 10" from Ukrainian label Muscut features skilled musicians Ganna Brizhata, Polina Matskevich and Ira Lupu. Together as Chillera, they make for an EP that is influenced by everything from psyche to soft rock, dub to funk. Each track brims with live and authentic musicianship that makes them that bit more essential: "Koblevska AR" is all twinkling keys and star-gazing chords while "Pro Fun" is a more propulsive bit of funky dub with knotted bass guitar and splashing cymbals. "Spielc" closes things down in romantic fashion with plenty of bendy pitches and wah-wah effects.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: It's been five years since Truth & Soul's octet gave us the incredible Wu Tang version album. It's been two years since they last dropped a single, too. However the band is back and their trademark cinematic soul is richer and more emotive than ever. From the instant the trembling flute and guitar open with the cuddly, ultimately positive "Kiddy Ditty" we're whisked on a largely instrumental journey that flings us through the wild west ("Little House"), soul's early JB chapters ("This Song For You") and straight up NY low-slung funk ("A Little Sloppy"). Climaxing with a Lee Fields featured "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", Loose Change is a kind reminder of just how accomplished and creative El Michels Affair are. No change there, then.
Review: Martin Jenkins dons the Pye Corner Audio alias once more, transferring to Death Waltz in order to deliver the soundtrack to an imaginary horror film. It's naturally an all-analogue affair, with Jenkins making the most of his impressive collection of vintage synths, analogue drum machines and effects units. There's much to enjoy from start to finish. Check, for example, the ghostly chords, foreboding bassline and spacey electronics of "Do You Hear Then", the creepy, Carpenter-ish horror-ambience of "It May Not Be Real", the evocative late night paranoia of "Descent" - which is similar in tone to some of Jonny Jewel's soundtrack work - and the clattering dancefloor throb of "The Spiral", whose bassline, beats and darting melodies are just begging to be played over a booming club soundsystem.