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UnicaZürn / Charles Bullen (live at Café OTO)

London 25 January 2017

UnicaZürn live January 2017Charles Bullen of This Heat fame was up first, ricocheting a rich stream of bubbling metallics from a specially adapted lap-steel contraption. A set of gamboling percussives and deep Balinese-like bounces drawn through a shanty town of effects. All very fragmented, his sparse trajectories sped off in doubling harmonics with the odd bit of accidental mobile phone surreally spluttering through.

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The Argonauts – Here Come The Argonauts!

Accretions

The Argonauts - Here Come The Argonauts!The Argonauts are a four-piece underground supergroup of sorts, surfing out of Japan with this high octane album of instrumental jams that shows all the players, guitar, bass, drums and keyboards to be in excellent form.

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Driftmachine – Radiations

Umor Rex

Driftmachine - RadiationsBringing together odds and ends, remixes and new studio work, Radiations takes it title from a track originally included on 2016’s Colliding Contours. While at first it might seem odd to repeat the track on a new record, the appearance of Shackleton‘s remix of the track on Side A means that it all makes sense.

In its original form, “Radiations” itself is a slow motion slab of reverberant modular dub, rippling and brimming with menace and electronic shimmer, almost febrile in intent and a piece that showcases Driftmachine‘s technique well. Here, the machines set their bright stars on course through a parade of trills, throbs and dubwise basslines, and it’s as good a track as any to use as an exemplar of Andreas

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Akode – North And South

Confront

Akode - North SouthIt’s a truism that free jazz and all manner of improv is best appreciate live, rather than on record, as it is when in front of an audience that a quartet such as Akode really come into their own. North And South therefore comes from that other great tradition of such music by being an oustanding record of one such outing, captured at Café OTO in London in 2014.

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Syndrome – Forever And A Day

Consouling Sounds

Syndrome - Forever And A DayPacking a lot into its two sides of vinyl (or one track on the CD edition), Forever And A Day finds Mathieu Vandekerckhove (Amenra, Kingdom and Sembler Deah) in a musical meditation on his relationship with his father, and the sculpture that he made for his son around the time of his birth. This bronze torso and head appears in close-up detail on the LP sleeve and provides a weighty entry point to the album’s shifting, slowly unfolding moods.

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Aidan Baker and Tomas Järmyr – Werl

Consouling Sounds

Aidan Baker and Tomas Järmyr - WerlWerl documents a supercharged powerhouse in action, one that came from the meeting of the guitars and FX of Aidan Baker (of Nadja and also Hypnodrone Ensemble, Caudal, etc) with the heavyweight percussion of Tomas Järmyr (from Zu, Barchan and Yodok in various forms). The album stretches to over an hour and half of music across eight tracks on two CDs, allowing the duo plenty of space in which to improvise among and around the frontiers of the known instrumental universe.

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Aidan Baker and Claire Brentnall – Delirious Things

Gizeh (CD) / Pleasance (Vinyl)

Aidan Baker and Claire Brentnall - Delirious ThingsThe title track pins you early on in fuzzy cushions and muted percussion, this elastic line of rhythm stitching the goods as vaporous panthers prowl the collaterals. Claire Brentnall‘s vocals make a brilliant foil to Aidan Baker‘s shoegazery sensibilities and pedal prowess.

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Richard Pinhas – Reverse

Bureau B

Richard Pinhas - ReverseAllons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé.” When the musical “Marseillaise” is sung, there can surely be no more fitting embodiment of Gallic savoir faire than Richard Pinhas. Philosopher, guitarist, innovator, electronic music pioneer – his visage is perfectly placed to flutter aloft on the bloody banners raised above the barricades.

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UnicaZürn – Transpandorem

Touch

UnicaZürn - TranspandoremSometimes, the press releases just absolutely nail it and I hate it when they do. This latest release from the band that fell from the belly of The Amal Gamal Ensemble came with a description that’s clearly trying to ruin my review before it’s even got going.

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Oriental Sunshine – Dedicated To The Bird We Love

Round 2

Oriental Sunshine - Dedicated To The Bird We LoveOriental Sunshine‘s sole album, Dedicated To The Bird We Love is one of those treats that come along rarely in our musical travels. A psychedelic folk album recorded in Norway in 1969 with a surprising Eastern influence, it received a release from Philips back in the day but sold poorly and sadly, the band spilt not long after, releasing nothing more.

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Simon Whetham / Bang The Bore – Drowning Electret / Twelve Tapes

Every Contact Leaves A Trace

It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was reviewing the last batch of ECLAT releases (and that was largely due to my tardiness), yet here we are in 2017 with another pair of releases. I gather that these were released fairly late in the day of 2016 because label-mogul Seth Cooke wanted to get them out that side of the new year. Check out the website for a bundle deal — all of them have lovely packaging and what could falsely be described as “copious” liner notes (there’s a minimum of information about source material etc, which is part of the label concept, possibly, of not giving the game away).

Simon WhethamDrowning Electret

Simon Whetham - Drowning Electret“Whetham

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Piano Magic – Closure

Second Language

Piano Magic - ClosureAfter twenty years of exploration, Glen Johnson (one of the tirade that first initiated the project and its lasting member) is closing the lid on and drawing a line under everything Piano Magic, and as the glissotronic swirls clear on the opening track, he’s straight in there voicing his opinion on the matter to lush orchestrated folds.

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Mike Wexler – Syntropy

three:four Mike Wexler - Syntropy This is Mike Wexler‘s third album, originally recorded in 2013/4 and thankfully receiving a belated release through the lovely people at three:four. It has the feel of being magically recorded in some sunlit glade hidden far from view; and as it it transpires, it was recorded in rural Vermont, the studio lurking in a wood there and that image pervades the whole album.

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Stereocilia – The Road To The Unconscious Past

Echoic Memory

Stereocilia - The Road To The Unconscious PastThis self-financed five-tracker from Stereocilia nails you to the spot cinematically. The sun-caught melodics of “River” holding you hostage with its Basho/Fahey sense of openness and fertile flourishes, as does that dissolving warmth in the loopage that emotionally flies off the handle at any given point.

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Moebius – Musik Für Metropolis

Bureau B Moebius - Musik Für MetropolisBack in 2012, Dieter Moebius was asked to score Fritz Lang‘s Metropolis and for that purpose produced some pre-arranged tracks to be played during the film which along with some live improvisation would suit the film as he saw it. One imagines that this would have been a roaring success, and therefore he had intended to prepare a recorded album of the results.

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