News

It's time for the defibrillator

 

Sanjay on holiday (again)

Hello!

Can’t think of any preamble that doesn’t make mention (yet again) of heat, or football, or Thai boys in a cave, so let’s just skip that bit. Our next in-store is a week on Friday - 13th July, that is. Come by for a few cans (BYO) and a cotch with some records played by Biscuit (Good Morning Tapes), Bake, XVARR (responsible now for not just one, but two, of the best records we’ve ever peddled), Y-L Hooi and Tarquin Manek (LST, F ingers ++). As usual, there’s a night-market going on in the year at the same time - so food and drink and listless babbling young-ish people will be in abundant supply. 6ish til 11ish. Hope to see you there! 

I’ll save the bake/biscuit gags for next week. 

Regards

LC


THE JUST MEASURERS
FLAGELLATION 

EMOTIONAL RESPONSE | LP | £16.99
 

How blessed are we to have this restive, roiling UK DIY/avant-punk masterpiece - a truly special and coveted record from the godlike trio of Chris Gray (Amos & Sara), Jim Welton and Lepke Buchvalter (under pseudonyms of course: out to Narki Brillans, C.D. Great and Yakko Banovic) restored to vinyl for the first time since its original 300-press in 1983 (an original in decent condition would easily set you back £200+)????. Answer: EXTREMELY BLESSED.

Rarity, however, is this album’s least remarkable feature. The playful, ad hoc, forever-on-the-brink-of-collapse M.O. of the trio’s better known projects - Homosexuals, Amos & Sara, L. Voag, Murphy Federation, Tesco Bombers, Milk From Cheltenham ++++ - is present and correct, but there’s also something brilliantly, malignly hypnotic about Flagellation; a psychedelic menace matched only in this milieu by George Harassment's Masai Sleep Walking. See, I dunno, ALL OF IT, but especially the chain-rattle minimalism of ‘Infiltration’, an ‘Petites Guirlandes’, an incredible piece of atmospheric, super-tactile reggae-concrete that out-manoeuvres General Strike.

As with, say, fellow travellers Officer!, DIY here is not shorthand for amateurism, so much as dogged individualism: the arrangements and playing are often madly sophisticated, at times edging into true Rock-In-Opposition/Recommended Records territory: ‘The Best Thing I Ever Did Was Give Up Smoking’, for instance, effortlessly bridges the gap between Brenda Ray or Vivien Goldman's scruffy, economical post-punk dub and the more high-minded, proggish huffings and puffings of Henry Cow. Like Amos & Sara's Endless Latino, this is also an album in love with GROOVE, casually parodying Ze-style disco-not-disco on the louche ‘Dinner Party’ and nonchalantly funky ‘Nioo Yiirk (The Big Time). The tuff rhythm section and spidery guitar lines are accented with fragments of music-hall piano, but the vibe is less pier-end jocular and more bedsit paranoia, almost Pinter-esque levels of smiling-man intimidation… The title, Flagellation, is apt - even at it’s most  larky and chaotic, ESPECIALLY at its most larky and chaotic, there’s a sort of violence driving the whole thing, a satirical rage that feels inwardly, as well as outwardly, directed. 

Yes, so, more ideas per minute here than most bands manage in a career, and of course it’s TOO MANY IDEAS - like all the best Homosexuals/It's War Boys-related stuff,Flagellation sounds like it could implode at any moment..but is held together by a sheer, mad, centrifugal force. It's totally unsurprising that the band dissolved after making it, how on earth could they have followed it up?! Just an amazing record that despite our best efforts defies any terrestrial description; the kind that throws into sharp focus the meagre talent, intelligence and daring of today's supposed avant-garde. Where have all the heroes gone???? 



 
VARIOUS ARTISTS
STALINGRAD VOL.1: DAS BESTE STAHL
BUNKER RECORDS | 12" | £14.99

VARIOUS ARTISTS
STALINGRAD VOL.2: BIS AM ENDE DIESER WELT
BUNKER RECORDS | 12" | £14.99

***White labels w/ inserts. Featuring Syncom Data, Rude 66, Legowelt, Subliminal Criminal, Schmerzlabor +++*** Outside of noise/P.E. circles I’ve never encountered anyone with such an interest in military imagery as Guy Tavartes (apart from this weird guy Gavin who was in year at my school. And tbf he probably has a noise project now.) This time around, back in 2005 to be precise, the Bunker general and his lieutenants set out to make a compilation, across two 12"s, of “extreme dark electronic music…about the human suffering at the battle of Stalingrad in '43”.

We’ll let Antony Beevor and/or a million angry ghosts judge whether they succeeded at a conceptual level, but in terms of the music, fuck me, it’s a broad and brilliant set that seems to capture the very essence of the label - transporting you to the heyday of Acid Planet and the Hague’s squat-nurtured/gnarled techno-punk rebellion. Relentless partying, wilful “mind-fucking”, wholesale rejection of society… the full deal. So rather than being a collection of burnt ends (as label comps so often are), Stalingrad feels like the definitive document of what Bunker stood for, with nary a dud across both volumes . In saying that, we have to broach the music at some point, and there will always be highlights: for us they come by  way of Rude 66’s acid-flecked, Unit Moebius-ish psycho-ANTHEM 'Die Starke der vernichtenden Schlage', and Kassen's 'Und der Schnee geduldig', a bleak, rhythmic piece of tortured machine music that feels (genuinely, unaffectedly) like an extended interlude on a black metal album. In fact that the whole comp is a reminder that Bunker nailed the "noise-techno" (yuck) thing long before its full flowering in the subsequent decade. Elsewhere on the comp you’ll come up against a horde of snarling, in your face acid jak trax, interspersed with paranoid, doom-laden soundscapes that basically make you feel like you’ve survived a heavy shelling but an enemy infantryman has raided your foxhole and is now applying slow pressure to your skull with his boot (easy Gavin!).

Deeply unsavoury, these records, and very special.

 
LEDA
JAPANESE KEY / THE SILENT CONTEST

I DISCHI DEL BARONE | 7" | £8.99

Picture-perfect cataclysm/muck from Leda (aka Sofie Herner) out on I Dischi Del Barone. It’s a no fuss two track 7” tiding us over till the next Neutral and Enhet För Fri Musik records (which can't come soon enough). Where there is something (darkly) dreamlike about Herner's contributions to Neutral, this solo outing (following on from 2016's 'City'/'Clear') topples over into the outright nightmarish. Vocals hardly feature on the clamorous 'Japanese Key'- which IDDB characterise as "slow-burning proto-industrial basement buzz", possibly downplaying how bleak, oppressive and forbidding it is. The kind of track that reminds you, in your enjoyment of it, quite how maladjusted you must be. 'The Silent Contest' comes from our favourite side of the Leda wheelhouse: sepulchral silence punctuated with distorted, barely-there chord progressions and ultra-frayed vocal melodies, Herner truly coaxing minimal elements into maximum effect.

So...a very heavy, engrossing record that belies its modest format, exuding that wholly unique industrial songbook quality that possibly has its its origins in NZ but today is broadcast most consistently and convincingly by the Svensks on IDDB, Omlott and Förlag För Fri Musik. If you dug Neutral and Enhet, you need to check this mouldy poison-postcard from the BLEAK, Leda-envisioned future. Each copy is hand-stamped with insert, edition of 200. 
 

ROBERT FLECK
SOFT FOCUS

WELL STREET | 12" | £8.99

Breezy, broken, dub-burnished minimal techno steppers in finest Well Street style... Best-in-show is the title track, 'Soft Focus': a smoked-out, lipo-suctioned dnb workout with deeply submerged, prowling Reese bass and echoes of classic SND and Hidden Hawaii's mighty QNS series; Gasometric Ruin's remix of the same is a loving Rhythm & Sound devotional which doesn't exactly innovate but certainly DELIGHTS. Strong 12" - can think of no better way to spend a hazy summer’s day than lighting up a badboy and sticking this on...INSTEAD I’M HERE, TALKING TO YOU :(
 

D'ARCANGELO
II

SUCTION | 12" | £10.99
 

Six-tracker of quality archival material from D'Arcangelo, most of it previously unreleased. This follows Suction's reissue of the perfectly po-faced Italian duo's 1996 Rephlex EP, and the label bill it as an "imaginary sequel" to that much-loved record. Personally, we reckon this is the superior offering: a stunning, consummate realisation of the duo's totally logical yet somehow never less than peculiar-sounding synth-pop/AI-techno fusions. 

The pure industrial electro hauteur of 'Callying Sybil', with its broken, blown-out, hammer-to-the-chest snares and looming strings, seems to shrink the distance between Christoph de Babalon and Amber-era Autechre; the ultra-alienated, minimal, droning avant-d'n'b of 'Qaballah' meanwhile is the sort of fearless-yet-rooted track that gives BRAINDANCE a good name.

The three tracks on the B-side basically constitute an extended love letter to The Human League, but whereas their best known stuff in this retro-futuristic vein always sounded a little twee to us (whether deliberately or not), these lesser-spotted examples are tough-minded, dead-eyed and ultra-addictive - check the RUDE arpeggiated bassline and clipped drums of 'Diagram V', or the metronomic, none-more-EURO-sounding robo-trancer 'XXIII' which feels like the true missing link between the bedroom-bound '80s minimal wave and the seamy dancefloor ecstasies of Nag Nag Nag etc circa 2001.

So f*****g good. With sweet picture sleeve depicting the boys in all their pouty android glory. 
 

UPSAMMY
WORDS R INERT
DIE ORAKEL |12" | £11.99

Ever get the feeling that “WORDS R INERT”?!!!??? Yeah, us TOO…language sure can be a blunt and clumsy tool for expressing THE INARTICULATE SPEECH OF THE HEART. It fails me every time someone asks “How are you?” and it certainly fails me NOW when I try to explain why Upsammy’s carefully crafted, bass-reinforced updates of (COUGH) intelligent ‘90s techno a la Black Dog/Redcell/Ross 154 style offer so much more than pastiche. But they really DO. Her ‘Another Place’ 12” on Nous’flaer was deservedly rated, and this 12” (titled, yes, Words R Inert) will certainly add to the little cult forming around her - although the vibe here is a little bleepier and bleaker, a little less lush and psy-fi melancholic, than on that previous record - culminating in the infeasibly RUDE, vacuum-packed, livin’-astro electro SPLACK of the title track. Recommended!

 



BACK IN STOCK

 
DE LEON 
DE LEON 

MANA | 12” | £15.99

**Re-press!** Accompanying the amazing, T++/DJ Scud-esque Diptera platter that Mana put out last week, a re-press of the MYSTERIOUS De Leon collective’s self-titled LP presenting “gamelan and capoeira in dub”. It’s a subtle one, this, so much so that you could easily overlook it - but trust us (who us?) when we say it’s one of 2018’s very best and you will regret not picking it up when you had the chance. Go! 
 
DIMBIMAN
ISO GRIFO

PAL SL | 12” | £8.99

**Re-press!** Reissue of a sought-after minimal house landmark from 1998. Way ahead of its time when first released on Baby Ford's Pal Sl imprint, Iso Grifo's slender, skippy but reliably serpentine steppers sound all the more visionary seventeen years on, especially in light of all that they helped spawn. Back then, Thomas Frantzmann was at a newly emerging vanguard of European producers bringing a supple, sensuous quality - and a palpable three-dimensionality - to minimal that had previously been lacking, while also intensifying its most zoned, trippy and alienated characteristics - a high-wire act that would later define Perlon's best releases too, but can be experienced here in its purest and most exhilarating form. The title track and the more linear 'Lava' are essential, but 'Round', impossibly louche yet deadly precise (gd mnml in a ntshll), is the unmistakeable highlight: broken drum programming that seems to mutate bar by bar without ever dropping a stitch, mischievous pop-concrète sampling that ear-kisses and unsettles in equal measure, and the whole thing swelling to a dub-deranged, space-time-distorting climax as pressurised and involving as anything you've ever heard in a club. Think I just came up on a pill I took in 2002. Listen loud, and file alongside peak Herbert, Studio 1, Brinkmann. What a 12". 
 
 NORMIL HAWAIIANS
MORE WEALTH THAN MONEY 

UPSET THE RHYTHM | 2LP | £16.99

**Re-press!** Bury us happy: the lost debut album from Normal Hawaiians, one of the great unsung UK art-rock bands, officially released for the first time some 35 years after it was recorded - and only an absolute bloody masterpiece. Cut in ’82, it never came out properly back then, after their label Illuminated was blacklisted by its distributor for unpaid debts (more wealth than money indeed). Most of us came to this South London outfit via Return Of The Ranters, their final album - also lost (careless lot, this), also salvaged a couple of years back by Upset The Rhythm. Here was a tight, texture-obsessed band that combined the terse and tense qualities of classic post-punk with a kraut-ish predilection for improvisation, hypnotic on-and-on rhythms and unorthodox song-structures, with intrepid use of strings, tape loops, echo boxes and home-spun electronics.

Hatched in the city, they would ultimately regroup in the isolation of rural Wales, where they lived together commune-style in a small cottage, gobbling mountains of shrooms and committing themselves fully to The Work. More Wealth Than Money, expanded here with an extra platter of contemporaneous demos and unreleased tracks, might be their first full-length, but it feels like their magnum opus: to call it a Pet Sounds of misanthropic UK post-punk might merit a slap, but in terms of musical breadth and soul-searching depth, we can do just that, and with a straight face: just listen to the the fearsome, fatalistic jangle of 'British Warm', the drizzle-pop perfection of ‘Yellow Rain’, the plaintive cinematic swell of 'Travelling West' and 'Left Alone With Her Pipe'. This is Big Music, with an expansive, windswept vision drawing on pastoral prog, haunting lapidary folk, dub, and a peculiarly British take on kosmische - with strong pre-echoes of the kind of shoegaze and post-rock that was still a decade away. Of its era, only Legendary Pink Dots come close, maybe bits of Astronauts (at a push). Completely bowled over. 

Generating Beef

 

 

Howdy from the Lowlands

Hope you’re enjoying the sun and all the pleasure and pain and suffering it brings. Sending this a little early (and at the same time a little late - go figure) on account of impending World Cup blah, so won’t stop to chat, only thing we should mention is our next in-store: Friday 13th July with XVARR / Biscuit (Good Morning Tapes) / Bake / and more TBA. BYO. THX. 

So much good stuff in this week that we didn’t try and shoe-horn into the newsletter - including re-stocks of truly magnificent rekids: De Leon on Mana, Normal Hawaiians, K2 on Vibraphone, Dimbiman on Pal SL, and many more… check the increasingly NAVIGABLE website for the full story. 

LC

 

TRIBE OF COLIN
LIONSPRINTCOMPLETE INTENTHOUSAND PRACTICESTHUS COMEONE
CHANT | 12" | £13.99


"A mysterious box arrived at the office labelled 'Tsho-Drong Zimpo'. Inside were incense sticks, a bubble wrapped DAT tape with a telephone number on it. We lit the sticks, ran the DAT and a call was made immediately." New six-tracker of paranoid, decelerated techno brut and bother from Tribe of Colin. You’ve got to be in zone for this. Wrong mood and its doped-out anti-virtuosity will piss you right off. If you’re still waiting for this shady character to start producing tighter, more accessible fare, forget it – LIONSPRINT... is even more rough-hewn and aggy than last year’s Wide Berth, and deconstructs a similar rag-bag of influences from Midwest techno, Isolationism, London pirates and the blunted, blackly comic DIY continuum that connects Homosexuals to Hype Williams. Along the way we get dumdum jack-tracks ('LSCITTPTCO', 'Opium'), oily, insinuating steppers (‘Guidance’, probably the closest thing to his Docile collab with John T. Gast), displaced African rhythm-and-chant (‘MMANWU’) , and murky, end-times minimal synth (‘Ascend to Terra Firma’) with sighing pads that hover free of the cyborg battlefield and offer PERMISSION TO DREAM. Colin’s tools might be crude, but man knows what he’s doing and what he wants...and it's summat only HE is bloody-minded enough to access. 


 

SPESIMEN
INFOCALYPSE
FRUSTRATED FUNK | 12" | £9.99


Highlights from the early SPESIMEN EPs that first crawled out the petri dish in '96 /’98. Although an immediate recommendation for anyone who shat their pants over the triple pack of SCOPEX material that came out on Tresor earlier this year, these tracks feel like the product of a far more contaminated laboratory.

Despite maintaining that classic, claustrophobic production style - with each element so tightly compressed it has to fight for its place in the mix - Spesimen veers away from the calculated, genetically perfected, now somewhat terrestrial sound palette associated with mid-90s electro. The kickdrums send shock waves through frustrated arpeggios, carrying all the energy and ATTITUDE of the rougher, West Coast sound; early Bunker / Clone projects like Cospagon or some choice Gary Martin cuts and at moments,  as on 'Satellite' and 'Harmonik Science', a certain Jamal Moss-esque boisterousness. Okay, maybe Jamal Moss on his best behaviour but still, think less white lab coat, modular fuckery and more a basement of freaks dancing on your copy of Gesamtkunstwerk that you left on the floor, out of its sleeve and swimming in club-muck. 

"Fypse funk from a past future.. Know your technos!" 

 

ARESKI
UN BEAU MATIN
SOUFFLECONTINU | LP | £18.99


Been a bit since we could really sound the horn about a SouffleContinu box arriving but Areski’s Un Beau Matin (‘A Beautiful Morning’) is undoubtedly worthy of LAVISH praise (The fact that it arrived with a merciful repress of Barney Wilen’s Moshii 2xLP...cherry on top.) Perhaps best known as collaborator (and beau) of her royal highness Brigitte Fontaine, this LP, originally released in 1970 on Pierre Barouh's Parisian avant imprint, Savanah, is the Frenchman’s debut solo work and is the kind of unbelievably lush yet minimalist, hypnotic, eccentrically orchestrated, chanson-delic masterpiece that DREAMS are made of. Comus, Wyatt and Hawkwind meet Gainsbourg and Pareninn somewhere over the channel, on an LP that surely deserves to be at least as well known as Comme a la Radio. Areski’s Algerian heritage (surname: Belkacem) is also front-and-centre, with the flute and cello arrangements adding to the far-flung mystic quality in Areski’s spoken word-style lyrics - that much more mystical, no doubt, cos we can’t understand French - which on ‘Chanson Pour Sa Mère,’ simply means zoning out to the vocal ayahuasca-pellas. Pressed on deep turquoise, transparent vinyl with gatefold and original artwork, this one is outstanding and rewards repeat listens.  

 
RAIME
AM I USING CONTENT OR IS CONTENT USING ME?
DIFFERENT CIRCLES | 12" | £12.99


THAT'S THE QUESTION INNIT????? Seriously though, this is a banging and revelatory record: Raime have radically overhauled their style, or at least switched lanes, pivoting away from their patented post-punk dread and drone-logic and towards lean, tensile, ultra-synthetic street-beats - foregrounding the snake-style garage/grime DNA that was always present, if obliquely, in their previous work. In some ways this EP for longtime allies Different Circles feels like the music they should've been making all along, or certainly its inevitable destination. There's still that undertow of existential angst (COURSE there is!), and despite the change-up it's still immediately recognisable as them (who else programmes drums and stabs like that?!). But essentially here they have a break from staring down the void and instead channel the acute, eyes-to-phone isolation/claustrophobia/frustration of contemporary London life'n'living into hard-hitting music that above all feels playful, free, and ripe for the DANCE (or else riding a rammed overground train in tropical heat). Essential purchase!  

 

DIPTERA
001 [ANTENNA]
MANA | 12" | £13.99


UK-garage-meets-musique-concrete is how this record was provocatively billed, and of course even the faintest promise of such a thing had me drooling (don't get out much, me). I suppose at this stage people have subjected techno to so many avant-garde stress-tests, it's about time that 2step got pulled through the grinder too. But again it's one of those situations where you think, did this need to happen? Wasn't this music avant-garde enough (in the most deft and direct and visceral sense) before someone decided it in acousmatic noise?!  Or, to invoke Masterchef: who wants deconstructed cheesecake when you could just have cheesecake? 

So, when it came to it, I was ready to be dismiss 001 [Antenna]. But actually, it's a pretty fascinating, if so far pretty opaque work - it only arrived today and I'd be lying if I said I'd got my head round it just yet. I suspect this is one of those records which opens up, and becomes properly comprehensible, at extreme volume. In the meantime, consider me intrigued... its swarming, granular intensity echoes T++ (who arguably perfected this sort of swarming, granular, unheimlich garage with 2010's Wireless) but in the main this is a far more erratic, anxious, stop-start, (deliberately) aggravating listen: the fly on the cover beings to make perfect sense. 

"A fly on the wall may face some adversity, so if you imagine a human hand in basic swatting motion, maybe you will also couple the image with an evasive manoeuvre of some sort; usually there is a moment of hesitation where the human is unsure whether their aim was true. 'Did I catch it?'" 

 

 
PETER GRAF YORK
12" SAMPLER
PLANET RESCUE | 12" | £12.99


Slamming, guileless, freestyle acid/beatdown/slo-mo techno for dehydrated B-boys/girls on this very limited 12” from the TBZ/Brew sphere, a 6-track sampler cherry-picking the best/bolshiest tracks from PGY’s self-titled 2017 tape. Very breezy vibe with intimations of something heavier - or at least a kind of stoned, endless-summer nausea/weirdness/romance - at the edges. Stamped white label with insert. The type of record to make you question why you’re staring gormlessly at a screen when you could be out in the sun doing literally ANYTHING ELSE. For fuck's sake yer not getting any younger!

I'M MAKING TIME

 


Hello! Hope you're doing good. What news? Not a lot. Everyone's back from their travels, which is nice. We’ve even got our shopfront sign back up again – so having become impossible to find, we return to being merely difficult to find. Woi!
 
Lots of tasty new stuff in, including the last available copies of Carla’s Top Of The Pops tour tape (see below), a batshit new Arcola from Ethiopian Records, perfectly dour dub-techno from Yugen Disciple on the always excellent YOUTH, and, marking the Solstice, and with further wanton abuse of all caps, the very welcome return of XVARR.
 
What else? Our most recent NTS show, recorded earlier this week, is available to stream here. The usual mix of new/upfront stuff (John T. Gast, Pessimist ++) and GOLDEN OLDIES; a little more wobbly than usual on account of an unexpected visit from Neneh Cherry (sadly the only audible evidence of this is me wibbling like a MANCHILD. Arf.) 
 
Have a good week!
LC








CARLA DAL FORNO

TOP OF THE POPS

NOT ON LABEL | CS | £7.99

Managed to snag a few contraband copies of this limited tour tape from our very own Carla-of-the-oven, pieced together for her recent US tour (aka her “HOLIDAY”). Consisting entirely of covers (The Kiwi Animal, Liliput ++), it’s a self-evidently playful entry in the dal Forno discography but hardly ephemeral either, showcasing, as it is does, her panache as an arranger, her versatility as a vocalist, and of course her impeccable TASTE. As interpretations, they range from the disarmingly faithful to the quietly radical; but all are purifications, rather than elaborations, of their source material. With the deftest of touches, and minimum fuss, she makes them her own. Classic CDF songs-in-space - whether essaying crisp, bass-driven pop propulsion (‘Lay You Down’), more painterly/pastoral folk-hypnosis (‘Blue Morning’), or the kind of ultra-sparse, turn-the-heater-on post-punk blooz (Manchester, so much to answer for>>>) that characterised her first LP. No showboating, then, but small, meaningful acts of devotion, dare we say not just celebrations of the songs themselves but of SONG ITSELF: exulting and invigorating the originals and compelling you to seek them out. These little fuckers won’t hang around…





XVARR
AEONS REVOLVE

TWIN WOMB | 12" | £9.99

We made no secret of our love of XVARR’s Beyond Illuminism LP and its intense, rarefied ritual/sidereal electronics – it had a weight to it, that record, and an obvious timelessness - one listen and you knew straight away you’d be reaching for it 5, 10, 20 years down the line.

The London-based psychonaut is back with a new 4-track EP, which also happens to inaugurate his own Twin Womb label, and, to our slight surprise and his tremendous credit, it’s not just more of the same. ‘Know Thyself’ sets the new, distinctly Teutonic tone: cut-glass, elegiac industrial dance – with some echoes of Chis Carter’s Space Between...just beautifully produced music that resonates across the full spectrum of existential techno, minimal synth/cold wave and real-deal TRANCE music. ‘Thought Forms’, meanwhile, is a gorgeous, tremulous piece of ballet statique that owes something to Con, and to Von Deyen and the Berliner Schule - with that perfect balance, or tension, between infinite drift and infinite propulsion. It's only on the concluding ‘Subliminal Bliss’ that we return to the expansive, droning astral projections of Beyond Illuminism, its planet-gargling gravitational pull reminiscent of Pete Namlook's Schulze and Hawtin hook-ups on Fax, or a more luminous, optimistic mirror-image of Lustmord and Rich's mud-slathered Stalker.

Another masterful effort - edition of 250.  





ETHIOPIAN RECORDS / የኢትዮጵያ

YE FEQER ADAYE  / የፍቅር እዳዬ

ARCOLA | 12" MLP | £11.99

Plenty has been said (not least by us) about Warp's newly revived "abstract dance" outlet in recent times, which this year has brought us stellar 12"s from Rian Treanor and Nkisi, among others. Seems like it's engines have fully warmed up cos it's now propelling disparate styles of modish electronic music into the world on an almost weekly basis - hard to keep up with but not unwelcome. This, one of their two latest offerings, comes galloping out of the stalls in frantic, percussive convulsions, a style that has been developed but is still very much recognisable from Endeguena Mulu’s previous releases as Ethiopian Records in 2015/16.

There are two main strung-out pieces that allow different elements of Mulu’s vast sound palette to take the shine: the opening five minutes of 'Makeda' and its demented time signatures that kick around a barrel of butchered, unidentifiable instruments and chants that make you feel like you’ve accidentally double-dropped and lost your shoes/wallet/friends/mind at a Principe party, then mellowing out with the delicate vocal samples that float around the latter half of 'Ye Feqer Edaye' forming some kind of misunderstood, sombre bedroom R&B collage. So yeah: Modern Club Music that's wildly psychedelic and totally unpredictable but at no point a chore to listen to. Full marks! 




VITAL IDLES

LEFT HAND

UPSET THE RHYTHM | LP | £13.99

This slice of jangly monochord bliss pressed to yellow vinyl from Glaswegiens, Vital Idles, is everything you wanted (and expected) after that tantalising, ebullient, instant-cult-classic 'The Garden' 7” on Not Unloved in 2016. It’s got The Clean and that Flying Nun/Dunedin-sound stamped all over it but Jess Higgins’ vocals has got this band shadowing but also early Kleenex with all their raw, lyrical squat punk genius or even that killer Patsy LP from earlier this year (for the more contemporary/LVEUM fans among us), while still managing to sound, more than anything else, TWEE AS FUCK. And though the label touts the ‘bigger budget recordings’ the studio clearly hasn’t ruined VI’s locked-on, monochord garage indie/punk sound. Even on the songs where you wish the stone-cold bass lines sat up in the mix (like on ‘Now & Again) you can’t resent the practice room aesthetic just for the sheer ear-worm song-writing. Some might find this debut album irritating with its it’s ultra-narrow dynamic range and though on some level they might be right, fuck those people - the streamlining is the f****ng point. The Idles don’t hide any part of who they’re are what they’re trying to do. If you dug the I Won't Have To Think About Youcompilation, The Feelies, Blue Aeroplanes and the Cananes this one’s for you. Again and again and again.





YUGEN DISCIPLE

LUXURY FLAT

YOUTH | 12" | £8.99

Sick new one one Andrew Lyster's reliably solid YOUTH label that's earned justifiable comparisons to Shinichi Atobe, DJ Sprinkles and Dozzy. The lush, linear hypno-techno of the A-side is all well and good, but it's pon the flip that things get interesting: 'Pattern Recognition''s bruised, melancholic electro that earns its title with a payload of Bridge Trilogy-grade, post-everything ennui, and the broken, bleep-fuelled bullet train of 'Shinkansen Blur' . It's an understated one, this 12", but it's a keeper... 

All my dreams are dead

 



Hello 

This newsletter brought to you in even more of a fevered Thesaurus.com-assisted stream of consciousness than usual, owing to, what else, a lack of TIME (ask Dan Treacy about that below) >>>>>. What’s the old saying? In some years you age a decade. This is my year folks!

So, without further ADO, this week’s picks… and a little more small-talk next week. 

Love,
LC

p.s. Sanjay is back from holiday, come hassle him! 






JOHN T. GAST

BTEC VERSION #1

NOT ON LABEL | 12" | £8.99

White label 12". Tracks from the ark circa 2013. 45rpm. ‘Angela’: mighty-in-battle UK steppers meets lo-NRG tekno / New Beat, synths craning for infinity in the age ov apathy...like some unholy congress of Public Relations, B12 and Disciples. Loneliest sound in the world. ‘Drith’: roots and destruction on a grimier/ravier flex, ratchet (!) and bassline pressure. Mastered by Amir Shoat. Ltd copies, no re-press. Cat#: ANGELAS13. 




VIOLENT QUAND ON AIME
VIOLENT QUAND ON AIME

KNEKELHUIS | LP | £15.99

Sick-in-the-head but ultimately pretty logical marriage of icy, super-alienated minimal synth and heavily tranquilised 90s hip-hop / gangsta / horrorcore vibes...from France. Reminding of nothing so much as Legowelt's Memphis rap counterfeits (and come to think of it the brilliantly heavy-handed espionage schtick is pure Strange Life), Lil Noid trapped on the set of Deutschland 83 (lol), or on 'My Love', like Timbaland forced to re-record his 'Get On The Bus' riddim using Bene Gesserit's studio (aye!). As these "comparisons" suggest, Violent Quand risk silliness in the pursuit of originality and fun, but there's enough self-awareness (not self-consciousness), and enough conviction, to carry the thing home. The most refreshing and irreverent take on ze cold wave in a LONG time, big up Knekelhuis as ever!





TELEVISION PERSONALITIES

PRIVILEGE (SPECIAL EDITION)

FIRE | LP | £22.99

***2018 REMASTERED EDITION ON B&W MARBLED VINYL**
"This time there is no happy ending..." Can’t help but feel a bit of pressure when a genuine all-time personal favourite washes up on LC’s grey and pebbly shore – a pressure to do the thing justice, to make a decent stab of explaining why it’s so good and why it might help you to navigate the choppy waters of LIFE. I don’t know if anyone other than me considers the withering, weltschmerz-stricken Privilege to be Television Personalities’ best album, but listening to it again recently in the context of the TVPs catalogue at large – which Fire have been reissuing diligently and more or less chronologically over the past couple of years – there’s no doubt it has a gravity and fluency that earlier masterpieces like And Don't The Kids Just Love It and The Painted Word quite obviously lack, and without shorting on WIT. It’s overlong – with a bit of judicious editing we would've been looking at the greatest LP ever made – but whatever.

Released in 1989, five years after their first break-up, Dan Treacy returns to the fray sounding like a changed man – ravaged by drugs and booze and penury, but wiser, clearer-sighted, more self-possessed. I mean, he’s never sounded more defeated or depressed either – insight is a bitch! But his crushing sense of LOSS is our GAIN – and where past TVP albums, however flippant, were all concerted efforts attempts to bottle TEENAGE LIGHTNING, Privilege is a requiem for the same...the sound of waking up feeling old and completely, irrevocably fucked. Simple as that. Like the man says: all my dreams are dead. Despite the heavy lyrical content, the music is lean and light on its feet: eschewing the dense, darkling drug-fug of The Painted Word, the band tighten up their attack and bask in brighter, crisper production (care of Phil Vinall): resulting in an ultra-vivid jangling misery-mod epic that's also the most mature, accessible and sustained "pop" offering in their discography (it must have been both galling and amusing for Treacy to see a younger generation of Brit-twits ride a heavily diluted version of this sound deep into mainstream consciousness little more than half a decade later). So yeah. It's quite something. In fact if you're unmoved by the plain-speaking genius of this FLAWLESS MASTERPIECE, I can only pity you. For the rest of us: essential purchase! 






LOIDIS

A PARADE, IN THE PLACE I SIT, THE FLOATING WORLD (& ALL ITS PLEASURES) 

ANNO | LP | £13.99

**Re-press!** KNOCKOUT 12” from Huerco S, the clips don’t do it justice - over 30 minutes of dubbed out minimal house (eek!) bliss. You know you want to. 


OSSIA
DUB HELL / DEVIL'S DANCE (RE-PRESS)

BLACKEST EVER BLACK | 10" | £9.99

Re-press (250 copies) in plain paper sleeve. Two tracks of tail-thrashing, sound-murdering dub-tekno/f*ck-punk...'Dub Hell' a sustained snarl of a DJ weapon that eschews smoked-out introspection in favour of a more direct and droogish 4/4 death-march: all industrial-strength drum-shudder, boneheaded rave vamps and plasmic, predatory bass-drones, like some kind of grim bio-mech death-racer built using parts stripped from old On-U/Maffia and the torn-off limbs of small children (gwan, Satan!)… ‘Devil’s Dance’ a more insidious, Isolationist nightmare, slower-acting and crueller for it - one for the committed sinners and Cenobites. Bad vibes the order of the day then, but also a certain sybaritic PLEASURE…negative ecstasy baby!

The People-Walkers

 

Hello! 

Anyone in London this Friday (8th June), we’re having an informal in-store thing, playing records and necking some beers w/ Nina (NO INTRODUCTION NECESSARY), her fellow Golden Pudeller Phuong-Dan, and Will Bankhead (TTT). Open late til 11pm, BYO, and there’s a night market going on in the yard to satisfy all your poncy food needs if you’re not the type to pack a ham sandwich. Come down! 

Carla, Sanjay and me are back from holiday next week, meaning Kenny can finally have a day off after 27 straight days of work (except he can’t, ‘cos he has to move house and then it’s his Nan’s birthday. Life HARD). But let me take this opportunity to SINCERELY thank him, Estelle, Meg and Jim for holding the fort over the past few weeks. Now we are seven...

Until next week then, keeping it brief--
xxxx




ACOLYTES

RUPTURE

ALTER | LP | £16.99

In a world which tends to reward the prolific, give it to the man who leaves it fully four years between albums. Acolytes’ (self-titled, camo-concealed, highly recommended) 2014 debut was a brilliant side of gnomic DIY, and we would’ve happily settled for more of the same; instead, “London-based enigma” (lol) D. Shan has overhauled his solo project, steering it into the realm of rhythm-based  computer music. Wait, come back! We thought we’d had enough of way-out takes on REPETITIVE BEATS as well (it’s been a long decade), but this is an utterly fresh and forcefully idiosyncratic offering that ignores all the rules of the game (OK easy) and basically comes up with better ones (nigh-on impossible, WHAT'S GOING ON). One of the tracks is called 'Autocannibalising Loop' and that pretty perfectly describes Shan's M.O. There’s no fucking about: the opening 1-2 sounds like Danny Weed got abducted by mardy aliens and only escaped an unceremonious probing by agreeing to conduct said Martians’ military marching band, while elsewhere there are echoes of Gabor Lazar’s hyperreal electro play-doh and Off World’s lunar tone-float, drums hanging off the grid like goo, but also, somehow, Twice Is Not Enough-era Whitehouse and The Shadow Ring, while ‘Aneurysm’ could be scrapings from Marc Trauner’s studio floor (compliment!): darkside tekno reduced to its beatless venomous essence and then spun out into droning, dub-crazed infinit-E. Fearless! Exciting! But also understated, unassuming! Is this the best record Alter have ever put out? Think so. And in a room dark and forgiving enough - even if that's just your troubled mind - you will DANCE to it. 





VARIOUS ARTISTS

COLUND1

COLUNDI | LP | £12.99

Whether or not you buy into the CULT of Colundi, there’s no denying that figurehead Aleksi Perala has used it to produce some boss techno over the past few years. This compilation - actually a sampler of a forthcoming 3CD (surely that’s too much Colundi for any0ne?!) sees eight new disciples using the feted tone sequence to make, well, a bunch of tracks that sound like Aleksi Perala. Only joking! Sort of. There’s actually a fair bit of variety on display here, and plenty o' intrepid drum programming, within the given parameters. Broadly speaking, the tracks that aim for some kind of upness or bolshiness don’t quite hit the mark, but those that double down on the atmosphere of Isolationist dread / gurning-your-trap-off-in-a-suddenly-quite-scary-seeming-stranger’s-flat are uniformly excellent. See especially: Tunnel One’s ‘Sundilundi’, WHRK’s ‘Extract V’, Marshall Applewhite’s 'Only’ (splitting the difference between Aphexian ambient and the kind of high-def soundboy trance you might expect to hear on Timedance or Hessle next week), and RAKFT's 'Tu123' (whose vocal samples bring an unexpected kinda DAF/Liasions Dangereuses vibe to proceedings). Essential tackle for any futurists and/or fuck-ups left in the room.





O$VMV$M

O$VMV$M

IDLE HANDS | LP | £14.99

Impeccably frayed, emotionally eloquent Bristol blooz, arranged in short, library-like cues: touching on smudgy minimal synth inna Strange Life style, lonesome R&B abstractions and duppy-stirring, dub-distressed grime. Can't help but feel O$VMV$M - Young Echo troopers Neek and Amos (also of Jabu) - would be far better known if their name was even just a LITTLE BIT easier to say/write/remember...we're FANS and we still have to Google it ever time. And not sure whether they've doubled or halved the problem by self-titling this, their third album (the final part of a trilogy they began in 2015)... but whatever, you should check it out, it's a very peculiar and precious set of instrumentals, and Idle Hands are right: in years to come it'll be considered among the very best music ever to have come out of the city. Essential! 





BARK PSYCHOSIS

CODENAME: DUSTSUCKER

FIRE | 2LP | £24.99

2LP gatefold. Chances are you're acquainted with Bark Psychosis's UK post-rock keystone Hex, but not with their less fawned-over follow-up: 2004's brooding, bloated, often brilliant Codename: Dustsucker. Having borrowed Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock's world-weary chamber-jazz palette wholesale for Hex, here they went one step further, enlisting Talk Talk's Lee Harris on drums - a move both logical and, you can't help feel, a little bit creepy (the musical equivalent of trying on Mummy's dress...). Anyway, his signature fluid, rolling parts are class as you'd expect, while Graham Sutton's semi-improvised, melody-shy vocals exude lethargic gravitas (think a drug-numbed, barely-bothered David Sylvian) where they once just sounded directionless, the use of electronics is subtle and powerful, and there are flashes of outright genius in 'The Black Meat' (shoegaze-goes-Sketches-of-Spain) and the deathbed Balearica / Maxinquaye-isms of 'INQB8TR'. In the end Dustsucker's many frustrations and imperfections might make it a more interesting record ultimately than Hex; either way, it's a fascinating swansong, not only for Sutton's troubled group but for modernist, textural, studio-as-instrument art-rock in general.






FELIX K

MOMENTUM

NULLPUNKT | 12" | £9.99

Forward-leaning techno weaponry from Felix K on his new Nullpunkt imprint. These are the kind of carefully modulated, deceptively simple rhythm tracks that mutate into something else entirely when put through a system, but even here, now, listened to at a meagre musn't-piss-off-the-neighbours volume, they are mightily impressive: the title track, with its tightly coiled breakbeats and dread, dub-scuffed ambience, is a peach, but the brutalist, BMB-esque kick patterns of ‘We Ran Out Of Food’ and the hench, dead-eyed 4/4 flex of ‘MSCL’ also hit the mark and then some. Great 12”!