Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May 4th 2010 Releases

White Box Recordings CD

WHITEBOX005 - Richard A Ingram 'The Melioramentum' by whitebox

- 'Consolamentum is a mature, cohesive and powerful work a world away from Ingram’s day job' (Mapsadaisical)

- 'a fascinating piece of experimental work, which, despite its minimal settings, is rich in textures. He is here very much in control of his music and of the moods he manipulates, and convincingly assembles them to carry his narrative from one end of the record to the other' (The Milk Factory)

Richard A Ingram's 'Consolamentum' is a bold body of work and a fearless statement of intent. As guitarist in Manchester-based rock outfit Oceansize, little in Richard's day job suggests either the genesis or the source of this album. This music comes from somewhere else entirely, some undefined centre; organic and ever expanding, fiercely powerful compositions, tonal explorations and melodies, with Richard himself as its source, rather than any vague sum of 'influences'.

Following a self-released CD-R EP, 'Consolamentum' is Richard's debut solo album. From its opening moments the ambition of Ingram's work is immediately apparent; where did this come from? Words really cannot do this music justice, if only because the assuredness of the music speaks for itself. Using electric and nylon string guitars, piano, a variety of tape recorders and assorted electrical equipment, 'Consolamentum' casts an oppressive shadow over a distant and very dark horizon, a vision of bleak futurism.

While Richard admits to taking inspiration for the track titles from the history of the Cathars, he is adamant that 'this is not a fucking religious concept album'. There is an unstated narrative in the album's six track titles, but it is the sequence and flow of the music which creates its own narrative. 'Consolamentum' is not 'a score for a film not yet written', nor is it ambient 'drift' designed to soundtrack some nebulous void between waking and sleeping - current and lazy 'ambient music' tropes are inapplicable to this (and any) music so demanding of attention. 'Consolamentum' could be classed as some form of 'acoustic doom', perhaps some form of drone based music, but it is none of these things; it exists entirely in a realm of its own.

Despite its title, the opening track 'Kll Thm ll…' presents a cautiously optimistic entry point, and is something of an overture for what follows: melody emerges from a backdrop of machine hum, where curious tonal phases suggest something unfamiliar yet exultant. Then comes the statement of 'de Montfort', its sustained, opening (treated) piano chord planted with determined finality. Creeping piano segments and washes of static tape hiss create a tension that builds and builds, until it finally resolves back to its opening piano chord, bringing everything full circle. The beauty is in the simplicity of the parts - Ingram's expressive playing and economical approach to the pieces, at times lo-fi, at times presented like field recordings, is the key to these stunning and peculiar arrangements. Take for example, the lurching, emptiness of title track 'Consolamentum', its drunken, hazy detuned guitar phrases, low and sustained, submerged under an ever present silence…the result is deeply unsettling. Melancholic throughout, Ingram's music does not let up. 'Beziers' exacerbates the tension further, and, as the longest track, acts as a kind of centrepiece, embodying all of the above while never losing sight of where the track is heading. 'The Melioramentum' and then '…Gd Wll Rcgnz Hs wn' feel like mournful recapitulations of the four tracks so far, but there is little consolation offered, as the album comes to a close with the sound of all the machines slowly being switched off, until there is just hiss, and then it ends.

'Consolamentum' is the work of an assured artist; it is as at times as stark as the grim Manchester skyline of the cover picture, and probably won't entertain any listener seeking a bedtime ambient soundtrack. However there is still an undeniably euphoric core to 'Consolamentum', but one which feels more closely related to that point at which pain is surpassed and becomes pleasure - like something pushed beyond its point of maximum tolerance, way beyond the threshold, transforming negatives into positivity.

A. Togetherness
AA. Horizons (Asusu Remix)

Immerse 12"
(IME 017)

Bristol's Immerse label is on something of a roll at the moment and whilst still basking in the glory of the incredible debut LP from Russian wunderkind Kontext, they set force with the imprint's debut single from Asusu. Asusu christened Craig Stennett hails from Gloucestershire in the west of England where he has been developing his own twisted take on infused sounds of dub and techno.

The A side of this single comes in the shape of 'Togetherness' a brand new recording from Asusu that tears down the walls between techno, garage, house and dub. Broken garage inspired drums and intense deep bass notes provide the undercarriage for a heady mix of rich synth lines and warm washes of ethereal pads. 'Togetherness' is an instantly engaging and highly inventive piece of electronic music that immediately marks Asusu out as a production talent to watch.

The flipside is an Asusu remix of Furesshu's recent release for Project Squared, entitled 'Horizons'. Here Asusu manages to beautifully gel an upbeat rhythm section with a deeply entrancing soundscape of off kilter Detroit inspired sythns. This is heads down hypnotic techno of the highest quality and goes to show the breadth of ability that this young producer has to hand. 'Horizons' (Asusu's Strip Lit Mix) is a surefire late night winner and is certain to find it's place at the core of many twisted early morning sets in the months to come.

Immerse continue their blatant disregard for genre pigeonholing and acutely passionate dedication to quality electronic music at every step, this single is yet another marker in the ongoing history of a great British label.

A. Razor Boy
B. Broken Soul Music

Reduction 12"
(RDCTN 004)

Long-anticipated return of the excellent Reduction label out of Bristol town. Funk Ethics are welcomed after a very well received debut tune on the Destructive/Pitch Black compilation series 'Our Sound' . 'Razor Boy' treads a knife edge most delightfully, mighty sized subs add significant low-end weight to a mighty original riddim, its plucked motif is particularly redolent of some of the recent developments from the likes of Kowton, XXXY, Indigo - you perhaps begin to get the picture....but this is deepest soulful electronic club music. 'Broken soul music' - well, the clues rest in the title - stone killer low end boogie music. Another highly imaginative flex from the Reduction camp, as it gathers some serious momentum - watch out!

26th April 2010 Releases

Corrupt My Examiner
3By3 CD
(3BY3 005)

- 'It's playful but sick. Like a puppy with extremely sharp teeth' (Justin K Broadrick AKA Jesu / Godflesh)

- 'Heavy like Cloaks but a little more groovin at the same time. Metalstep.'
(Kid Kameleon)

Rollin', batterin', FUBAR-steppin', maxed-out, funky-ass bastards. That's who Dead Fader are. If the sound destroyin' processes of Cloaks aren't enough of that type o' violent (adopt Clay Davis tone) 'shiieeeett' for your sick head, 3BY3 come correct again, and drop this unrelenting abomination of a record. On first impression it's hardly a production sound you'd associate with the backdrop of Dead Fader's home base, Brighton. This sounds more like it was born out of some grim industrial slum on lockdown, all pent up anger and a serious need to party hard; 2-step garage from a Hair Police state.

Dead Fader's hybrid of distorto-death grooves, limited-to-hell wonky-not-wonky productions, sound like Distance playing though Slayer's back line…bit-crushed by inhuman hands, 2-step gets rammed face first through analog chains, that speakers (and ears) simply weren't designed to handle. Like Sunn O))) say, 'Maximum volume yields maximum results' - apply this to Dead Fader and you're likely to have your neighbours ASBOing your righteous ass all the way to the seaside. Pretty it ain't! But grooves??? 'Shiieeeett…'.

It's not all sour-faced noise ethics either. There's enough playfulness in the low-end and cheeky industro-funk mischief going on throughout 'Corrupt My Examiner' to keep it from becoming 'metal kids discover 2-Pac and create Franken-Durst', if you know what I mean. Oh yeah, check out the rewind on 'No Thief' (2:50) for a serious bit of DJ tackle! We can't wait to hear that one destroy the floor…yeah, we'll '…see you in the club…' you chump. An unrelenting sound, (over)loaded with hooks, 'Corrupt My Examiner' is an example of new forms emerging in heavy beat driven music. The identifiable stems of Dead Fader's influences are pretty evident whilst at the same time totally obliterated by their fresh approach. It's a balance of production, chops and attitude that define the style.

Dead Fader are that band you leave your kid alone with the CD for five minutes with, to discover the child has put the CD on, and for some reason decided to set fire to their bedroom. Dead Fader will likely make you break things you were previously quite protective of. Go home and burn that laughable bunch of Skinny Puppy you have on tape that your friend who still wears that SS style jacket he's had since you decided he wasn't really your friend but a bit of a dick who likes people to think he's kinda weird but in fact is an ACTUAL dick, copied for you - you should have killed that shit back in the day. And you know it. Too late for that now - it was NEVER good enough.

The Thorns of Love
Caravan CD

Antoni Maiovvi's "The Thorns Of Love" is a Liebes-Arie to a broken heart. An embrace of Italian drama and euphoric fear. His music exists somewhere between Patrick Cowley's Hi-NRG epics, Arthur Russell's melancholic beauty and John Carpenter's traumatizing soundtracks. Antoni Maiovvi is the name by which Anton Maiof unleashes his bastard offspring of disco and psychotronic horror and here with "The Thorns of Love" he has produced a deeply personal symphony to a lover lost and the sanctifying power of the dancefloor. Following the release of the highly acclaimed eponymously titled album from emptyset, Caravan Recordings steps into the ravine of heartache to shine a light on Bristol's underground disco hero Antoni Maiovvi.

Antoni Maiovvi is a nefarious creature of the night, a figure of twilight opulence and the love child of Evelyn Thomas and Lucio Fulci conceived in the lurid backrooms of the Boccaccio Club. The sweatbox is in his DNA, throbbing analogue circuitry courses through his flesh like rivers of blood and where his heart once lived there is now only yearning for the alchemical marriage of sex, death and technology. From Naples to Frankfurt he has stalked the dancefloors of Europe planning this moment and at last in this compendium of unbridled fist-clenchers his time has come. Now he will stop at nothing to bring his arpeggiated talisman down onto the souls of men, squeezing out that last breath of humanity in a pulsing Dantean dance-macabre.

"The Thorns of Love" (Antoni's 3rd album) takes a unique muscular and cerebral approach to electronic dance music bringing together the Italo love explosion, spine-tingling Euro-horror and the melancholic proto-techno musings of early Model 500 and ShareVari. Maiovvi takes the helm of this noir-tinged Trojan horse carving out a dancefloor machine with commanding synth-work, operatic drums and mind-bending atmospherics. As the album climaxes and the smoke pours across a crowded room he steps out from the shadows and delivers his final eulogy to 20th Century hedonism, preaching with the unhinged vocals of a coked up Bryan Ferry. Love may be the drug but for Maiovvi death can be the only future.

Hum+Haw CD
(HAHCD 001)

Alex Smoke returns with the release of 'Lux', his eagerly anticipated third album on his own Hum+Haw imprint. It has been almost four years since the release of 'Paradolia' and in this time Alex has expanded his studio to incorporate more hardware to fully push the parameters of his sound.'Lux' is the result of his hard work and delves into more abstract and experimental territory whilst retaining the melancholic musicality and cohesion of its predecessors. The development of his own Hum+Haw label has been pivotal in giving him the freedom and opportunity to realise his creative vision and to solidify his reputation as a true electronic music innovator.

Since 'Paradolia' his approach to production has changed significantly and on 'Lux' he has devised his own techniques and programs for sound creation. Upon listening to 'Lux' this progression is evident and he has crafted a consuming and haunting album that weaves modern classical harmonies with angular technoid rhythms and intricate electronic abstractions. Alex continues to be active in classical production realm and recently composed the entirely orchestral piece 'Akesis' for the renowned Scottish Ensemble. He is currently working on a new project with them at the moment. The melancholic Smoke sound prevails throughout 'Lux' and deep techno variants nestle alongside evocative electronica. Alex formulates a dense and original atmospheric piece that invades your soul and melts your mind.

The tracks range from the introspective beauty of 'Nothing Changes', 'Physic' and 'Filla' to growling floor fillers such as 'Blingkered' and the mighty orchestral 'Paracelsus'. The defining title track 'Lux+' is a next level Alex Smoke production in which he twists and warps his own vocals beyond recognition. The result is an alien scrambled lullaby that has been drowned in a miscreated voodoo pit of symphonic gloom. With 'Lux', Alex Smoke has achieved his most accomplished and forward thinking work to date.

19th April 2010 Releases

Fox Trot Mannerisms
Tectonic MLP/CD

1. Pressure 2. Start Somethin
3. Mr Softee 4. Shabaps
5. Whisper 6. Tweezers
7. Cosy* (*CD exclusive)

Sassy, soulful, funky - original and deep, but above all bumping music that will stand up proud aside the classics of Erykah Badu, Madlib, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Jay Dilla, Sa Ra, even Nick Martinelli's eighties' production. Expect to see Pursuit Grooves more than hold her own amongst a too hot to handle select group of likeminded musics in 2010: dig the new breed of auteurs for hot buttered beats - Fly Lo, Kyle Hall, Ras G, Actress, Cooly G, Shuanise, Nosaj Thing, Illum Sphere….

'Pressure' drops like a lost Badu & Madlib collaboration, Miss Smith's vocal here is even a little reminiscent of Erykah's considerable stylings and watch out girlfriend, she flows with the best in a style somewhat similar to Bahamadia.'Start Somethin' rocks the downtempo beatdown harder than most, and is the most electronic feeling cut on this album - vicious fuzz basslines, filthy claps, oiled snares and block-rocking cut-up beats. Drop this in a dj set and watch all crew get busy. If you had to pick a single highlight then 'Shabaps' might well be it. A heavyweight hip hop roller, all luscious bass frequencies and cosmic synth drifts, that keeps an upful tempo for maximum bugging fully on lockdown. 'Whisper' dubs it heavy like a feather, all bubbling Mantronik style 808 beats with melting jazz piano drops and sweetly mysterious, softly spoken vocal. 'Tweezers' adds a 2-step electro flex to an LA / Detroit hip hop feel - mind blowing stuff on headphones, only still built for the biggest systems. 'Mister Softee' is perhaps the most traditional sounding hiphop cut - turn out the lights because the delivery here is world class '010, we reach the outro refreshed by a cooling breeze on a mad hot summer day.

Altogether it makes the best soundtrack to midnight inner-city motoring and yet will work brilliantly at beats driven club situations with its effortless production science to the fore. Unexpected and yet somehow perfectly at home on Tectonic. Props to Pinch for his consummate A&R skill sets, though no doubts this would also bless labels such as Motown, Stones Throw, Hyperdub or even Rush Hour's Beat Dimensions series, where Ms Grooves debuted. In these times of overhyped one-trick, nu-jacks it's a rare blessing indeed to discover such an accomplished and original artist with a vision and flow to ignite flames for all the true school heads and still bring new ears to this stylish music.

12th April 2010 Releases

Mindtours 06 Limited Edition:
A1: LEIF 'Contentment'
A2: LEIF 'Greenfutures'
B1: STEEVIO - 'Ty (pure sinewave)'
B2: TOM ELLIS - 'Dancing Drum'
Mindtours 12"

Deepest techniqual house music on this cult classic from the Mindtours collective, the minds behind the summer's excellent Free Rotation festival. Lief, Steevio and Tom Ellis all deliver the goods on this release. Lief 's two cuts push percussive house sounds with deep chords and plenty of groove, sounding like prototype uk funky manouevres from their original release way back in 2003. Steevio and Tom Ellis both deliver a track each on the flip delivering more deep driving percussive house grooves, for fans of early Cadenza music, Roska, Perlon and Drumpoet Community

Civilized Savages:
A1 Savage Life
A2 Far From The Average
A3 In The House
B1 Ill Rhyme Skillz
B2 Set It Off
B3 Keep Me High
Chopped Herring MLP (CHBU5H 01)

"Pro Celebrity Golf by 2004 was spending half his time in London and the other half in NYC digging for wax to sell on Ebay. He'd been hittin up some NICE collections in the rotten apple, one belonging to Rawkus owner Jarret Meyer, one to D&D studios, but in the summer of 2009 he was introduced to Evil Dee and Mr Walt of Da Beatminerz through Bronx digger and MC/Producer Nobs. Golf cut a deal with Da Beatminerz on their record collection.

"He was also introduced to Crazy Dj Bazarro, producer of little known Brooklyn Hip Hop crew Da Dysfunkshunal Familee. DDF had released two records in 1994 and one in 1997 and had guested on the Fondle'em Fossils album on Def Jux records. Apart from those releases and some elusive demo tapes from the late 80s there was little of their music commercially available.

"Golf was given free reign to choose from both previously released material and unreleased cuts. He chose 3 tracks from the incredibly rare early EPs as well as 3 other unreleased tracks from the shelved 1994 Da Dysfunkshunal Familee LP. The limited vinyl release was sold through underground Hip Hop forums as a preorder-style release. Also check part 2 in the Bushwick series incoming, as Chopped Herring Records release another Da Dysfunkshunal EP of unreleased material from 1996 entitled 'Mixed Emotions '96 Demo EP'.

"Da Dysfunkshunal Familee's significance in the New York scene should not be underestimated. They had been making Hip Hop since the late 80s and ran parallel (and often in competition) to Da Beatminerz' produced projects such as Black Moon and Smif n Wessun. While Black Moon were recording for Nervous Records, Da Dysfunkshunal Familee were dropping wax independently on Crazy Dj Bazarro's own label using their connections in the NYC music industry to get their voices heard. It is only now that they are getting props they were due 20 years ago. Read Crazy Dj Bazarro's own breakdown of the tracks released on the Civilized Savages '94 EP below for an insight into the workings of Hip Hop's lost heroes."

Words from Crazy DJ Bazarro producer of Da Dysfunkshunal Familee:

“You guys have me being very grateful and excited that you love a sound I made up in a cold basement with no real equipment..It almost bringing tears to my eyes because of the memories I had recording these songs. You guys have kept the music alive and resurrected me as a producer to try to keep that same sound alive..90's style...I appreciate all the support and compliments...All I can say is Wow!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

5th April 2010 Releases

Miasmah CD
(MIACD 012)
Miasmah limited edition LP
(MIALP 012)

The latest addition to the Miasmah roster is Oslo based musician FNS aka Fredrik Ness Sevendal. A veteran of the Oslo experimental scene, Sevendal has been associated with several bands over the years: DEL, Slowburn and Kobi. Additionally his previous work has involved collaborations with Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple), Mitsuru Tabata (Zeni Geva, Marble Sheep), Mark Francombe (ex-Cranes guitarist), and Bill Wood (1/3 Octave Band).
For his Miasmah debut, FNS treats us to a spectacular excursion into the world of psych-folk instrumentals, with a collection of semi-improvised multi-layered pieces, primarily for acoustic and electric guitar and voice. These lo-fi home recordings capture a sense of astral travel, though explorations into drone, raga-styled melodies and layers of guitar feedback. The immediate allure of FNS’s spectral sound is in the understated nature of the performances – it recalls the magnetic interplay between Tom & Christina Carter’s work in Charalambides, the playful free noise of Sunburned Hand Of The Man, the ethereal blues of Loren Connors, and a variety of subtle but undeniable influences from the 70’s progressive UK folk scene. FNS’s sound is a sorrowful sound – a death-fuzz, a hazy wailing wall of cavernous guitars, doom-freakout and swirling psychedelia, melded into one then drowned in echo and haze. FNS fires forth cosmic transmissions for the mind and spirit…the result, is nothing short of an aural treat. Miasmah was set up by Erik K. Skodvin of Deaf Center and Svarte Greiner in 2006 and have to date released albums by artists including Greg Haines, Jasper TX, Simon Scott, Elegi, Kreng, and Rafael Anton Irisarri, Encre, Gultskra Artikler, and Jacaszek.

Transformed In Dub
Sufferah's Choice CD
(DUBK 011CD)
Sufferah's Choice LP
(DUBK 011LP)

"With the success of last year's Transform I by Dubkasm, the arrival of the versioned album was highly anticipated and it does not disappoint. Building the tracks in Brazil producer Digistep draws from the deep well of his local roots, layering elements of samba, batucada whilst back in Bristol, UK DJ Stryda pulls in rootical heavy weights such as Dub Judah and Tena Stelin to imbue the tracks with some righteous authenticity to produce one of the finest of the finest home-grown dub albums for many a year; and it's an album that stands repeated listens through the whole set as against cherry-picking the killer tracks, but There's A Dub is beautifully constructed in an early 1980s style with judicious use of Syndrum, plangent plucked guitar and lovely loping rhythm whilst the final track This Man Was Born There is an unadorned Dub Judah vocal except for sounds of the weather and forest with nyahbinghi drums."

(Steve Barker, The Wire Magazine)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

22nd March 2010 Releases

Entropic City
Time To Express CD
(T2X 011)

'...amongst techno's most compelling stories to date'

(Resident Advisor)

'As with Pan Sonic, and particularly Mika Vanio’s work on Sahko, Entropic City seems to connect with some older, pre-technological view of electricity – as a primal, unfathomable force, something fierce and untameable. Van Hoesen’s tracks crackle and spark together, as if they’ve been pulled beyond human control'
(FACT Magazine)

Since his 2006 techno debut 'Increments' Peter Van Hoesen has been finetuning his intriguing interpretation of electronic dance music. His former experimental disguises Object, RM and Bent Object all saw albums released between 2001 and 2005. After a remarkable run of 12'' singles in 2009, Peter now presents Entropic City, his first full-length techno album. Entropic City is released on his own Time To Express imprint as a ten-track CD and digital album. It follows the release of ''Entropic Minus Six'' which contains four of the album's tracks on 12'' vinyl. instead of indulging in a nostalgia for classic sounds and patterns, Peter has set out to create his own template. He brings forward his love for solid, sweaty techno, while at the same time opening up towards a slower, stretched-out sense of composition. As a result this album sums up nicely what techno in 2010 could be and should be about: distinctly forward-looking and simultaneously aware of past achievements.

Nature Data
Interval CD
(IL 05)

'Without a doubt, hers is the most original compositional voice to emerge in Ireland in the last 20 years'
(Michael Dervan, the Irish Times)

Voice – Breath – Signifier; Walshe’s debut release on Interval Recordings signifies the temporary hidden space, the interval, just about to be revealed. ‘Nature Data’, the album’s title, captures Walshe’s unique voice in the field of sonic arts and performance; as a becoming-animal, becoming-nature, her voice, breaths and all occurrences in between, audible and not, signifies that data, as nature, as presence.

Artist Biog:
Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1974. She studied composition with John Maxwell Geddes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Kevin Volans in Dublin and graduated from Northwestern University, Chicago, with a doctoral degree in composition in June 2002. Jennifer’s work has been performed throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada by ensembles such as Alter Ego, ensemble récherche, Ensemble Resonanz, Apartment House, ensemble Intégrales, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Schlagquartett Köln, Crash Ensemble, Musica Nova Ensemble and many others. In addition to her activities as a composer, Jennifer frequently performs as a vocalist, specializing in extended techniques. Many of her recent compositions were commissioned for her voice in conjunction with other instruments, and her works have been performed by her and others at numerous worldwide festivals.