UK digi-dub veterans Alpha & Omega have taken on the task of remaking Om‘s track “Addis” from their recent Advaitic Songs album, transforming the original’s hypnagogic swell of doomy bass and mournful cello into a dub workout in two parts. Side A weighs in as “Ababa Dub,” Kate Ramsey‘s haunting vocal lifted into the echo chamber while the strings vibrate below, riding on a coasting undercarriage of sampled drums and bass.
Alpha & Omega snip out a syllable which sounds exactly like “Om” and send it bouncing off on a trail of delay while other sounds emerge as haunted sirens, and as far as dub mixes go, they could hardly have found better source material. On the reverse, “Addis Ababa” continues the meditative mood almost seamlessly (apart from
Continue reading Om – Addis/Gethsemane dubplates [...]
The Sound of White Columns
Unlike Star Trek fans, Can enthusiasts never have to choose between the two key vocalists of the Can oeuvre. Partly this is because Damo Suzuki and Malcolm Mooney both found idiosyncratic ways in which to interact with the rest of the band. It is also because Can enthusiasts are not necessarily Star Trek fans.
Mooney’s sojourn with The Can initially manifests as one and a half albums. Further material is revealed on (Un)Limited Edition and then later we were treated to a full album of Mooney-era material with Delay 1968, the slightly unfortunate Rite Time in the late 80s; and the recent unearthing of The Lost Tapes reveals more of the Mooney legacy. In spite of his
Continue reading Malcolm Mooney – The Sound Of White Columns [...]
Bringing together musicians who have worked together separately before – Burnt Friedman and Jaki Liebezeit have released several outstanding records of electronic dub together, among numerous other guest spots and collaborations; Irmin Schmidt and Jono Podmore made two albums as Schmidt & Kumo; and of course Schmidt and Liebezeit were Can members together, as well as collaborators since the band’s demise. Add in Podmore’s sterling work on editing The Lost Tapes, and it’s really no surprise that this début Cyclopean EP appears (via Mute) on the Spoon imprint either.
So much for the background. The self-titled 12″ may only contain four tracks, but they’re each marvels of intricate percussion and enveloping electronica, deep baths of bass humming and heaving majestically at the rhythmic end while swarms and swirls
Continue reading Cyclopean – Cyclopean EP [...]
Russell Haswell‘s Further 12″ opens with a burst of what could be fireworks, or might indeed be some kind of demented “Black Metal Instrumental Intro Demo” for that matter. The rippling bursts of reverbed drum machine splutter and brap with an apparent randomness which could just as easily be blasting into the sky as into an unlit, dank Norwegian cellar club with spasmodic arhythmia and no sense of blast beats being allowed to kick in. It’s this sort of toying with expectations, especially when if comes to track titles, which makes Haswell so entertaining. That and the crawling chaos of noise which he introduces into the mix; and as with all the best noisemongers, he knows how to judge when and when not to
Continue reading Russell Haswell – Factual EP/Scandinavian Parts (Immersive Live Salvage Supplement) [...]
Sometimes, smaller and quieter is better, is perfect. This slender little piece is 20 minutes exactly, a precise slab of (ahem) Lovely Drones that shows Stephan Mathieu at his serious, studied best. Beauty slowed down. The WK is legendary “quiet” pianist Wilhelm Kempff, whose 1927 recordings of Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 26 Les Adieux are used as some of the generative material here.
Mathieu’s process sort of sucks the DNA from the recordings, steals their soul and emphasises their tones, letting you hear history unfold. It really feels like he’s investigating the sound here, attempting some kind of forensic unpicking of where these sounds have been. His signature gramophone + laptop set-up works a little like Janek Schaefer or Phillip Jeck of course
Continue reading Stephan Mathieu – Coda (For WK) [...]
Rise Above (12″)/Coptic Cat (CD)
It was 1974 when Comus, after two truly blood-curdling albums (1971’s First Utterance and 1974’s To Keep From Crying), retreated to his woodland bower, lay down in a mossy hollow and went to sleep. Those recordings had been barely understood at the time, their power and strange attraction undeniable, yet somehow they remained too demonic, too priapic, to be embraced by those frightened of the twisted, leering face and the danse macabre melodies. The time of Comus had not yet come.
Before the decade was out, though, the landscape around the forest had changed beyond all recognition, whether through the angry thunderhead of Punk ripping apart Rock’s progressive trajectory, or the emergence of Chaos Magick leading away from the old
Continue reading Comus – Out of the Coma [...]
It’s got text in Amharic on the sleeve! I assume! It’s about single length! It uses exclamation marks to describe itself, and this seems awesome! Because the music is awesome!
… I remember when I first heard drum n’ bass, on Peel, sometime in the 90s. It was weird and scary and made me feel a little bit sexy when being sexy was a weird feeling but was also a little bit intimidating. This record’s a bit like that. It’s nothing like D’n’B though. It’s some great shuffly Ethiopian rhythms that make me want to travel around Africa drinking too much with amazing people who don’t seem to mind that I dance like I’m being controlled by particularly dense insects. It’s also got basslines that are straight out of the Mark
Continue reading Ililta! – New Ethiopian Dance Music [...]
A little sliver of electronic gargling from the man of the moment, Ekoplekz. If you want to know which moment, you’ll perhaps have to remember that Dromilly Vale is Nick’s imaginary recording studio, a hybrid of King Tubby’s on Dromilly Ave, Kingston and the Radiophonic Workshop’s Maida Vale studio in London. This is 1973 re-imagined uchronically; maybe Dick Mills and Lee Perry did hang out, swapping tape delays, pressing buttons that weren’t theirs; maybe John Baker just couldn’t stop putting some of his jazzy tangles all over Augustus Pablo’s melodica lines; maybe they swapped close-miked pocket protectors over Rum and Pineapple…
But if all that’s making you think this is just gonna lope along like a comedy walk then be prepared; this can get quite… noisy in places. “Jugglin’
Continue reading Ekoplekz – Dromilly Vale EP [...]
Lumberton Trading Company
As part of the Lumberton Trading Company‘s limited edition subscription series (others in the set include Glass Out – with vox from the late Jhonn Balance; the ever-crackly Main; Brian Conniffe, Human Greed and Jean-Hervé Péron plus guests) of 12″ singles, Cindytalk – (AKA Gordon Sharp) teams up with Phillipe Petit for a double-A side mini-album.
Taken together, the two sides of vinyl make for an environmental audio travelogue of lengthy proportions, one which rewards the use of both powerful sub-bass speakers and tweeters which can fully capture the higher tones; without wishing to be overly audiophile about such things – though here the benefits compared to an average home stereo setup are noticeable. A good set of computer gaming speakers or a home cinema set would be just
Continue reading Cindytalk & Phillipe Petit – A Question of Re-Entry [...]
For most of the twenty-eight years since Lustmord’s debut, the lot of a devotee has involved much twiddling of thumbs between infrequent releases and little chance of catching the man live – the portentous date of 06/06/06 seeing his first (and to date only) live appearance since the early eighties.
Happily, in contrast to most creative trajectories, the old contrarian seems to have grown more prolific during his third decade in the business, releasing new material during most years of the noughties. Startlingly, the past eighteen months have brought a further acceleration of output, with the [OTHER] album and its associated releases [THE DARK PLACES OF THE EARTH], [BEYOND] and [OTHER DUB] appearing in fast succession as well as a series of remixes for
Continue reading Lustmord – [TRANSMUTED] [...]
Label: Sonic360 Format: CD;CDS/12″/Digital Download
Mockery is the breathtaking début album from Littl Shyning Man, a.k.a. Christopher Haworth, which was originally released in 2005. To me it struck a chord with Mothlite‘s The Flax of Reverie – a huge symphonic sweeping spectrum of style: a mixture of electronics and instruments, frantic modernist string pieces, vocal harmonies, spoken word, raw buzzing noise, drum and bass joins folk in a shimmering clicking whir. And like Mothlite, Mockery has a quality that is very English. The name Littl Shyning Man comes from the book Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. Mockery is a sound track to this post apocalyptic tale. Christopher Haworth steers us through a landscape that is disjointed and fractured, melancholic and unsettling. The shards and embers of electronica and folk
Continue reading Littl Shyning Man – Mockery/Inchborough EP [...]
Label: Skull Disco Format: 12″
The debut release from the Skull Disco label, this double A side 12″ shows there’s lots of promise lurking between the drumming and dancing skeletons which are sure to become a sought after signature design characteristic of the label. Neither track references dub as a chilled out dope-nodding groove, instead distancing the bass and drum sounds, such as they are, from the body and drilling themselves into the darker parts of the brain instead with the subtle insistence of a paranoid delusion.
Shackleton‘s “I Am Animal” ripples with plenty of dubstep thrills and heavyweight bass explosions, set to an asthmatic sample which only heightens the sense of claustrophobia. The verge of panic is heightened by a gathering clutch of alarm sounds which sputter
Continue reading Appleblim/Shackleton – I Am Animal/Mystikal Warrior [...]
Label: Asphodel Format: 12″
Sub Dub‘s percussionist Raz Mesinai manifests here in his Bedouin guise, deplying five tracks showcasing his cultural heritage through a New York filter. “Final Warning” has a persuasively swaying main drum loop, topped with stretched ululations and sirens which lend a hallucinatory character to the cross-pollinated groove, while “Do We Belong” shows that bagpipes are not a purely Celtic invention. Badawi mixes pipes, chants and depth-charge dub bass expansion on “Bedouin Raid,” which is as energetic as the title indicates, while Simmie Sernaker‘s haunting violin drones and scrapes combine with the low-end rumble and swirling drum rhythms of “Yashar” to provide the EP’s highlight, a glorious combination of ancient and modern trance techniques.
The dark edge which haunts this EP separates
Continue reading Badawi – Final Warning [...]