Review: Between the mid 1970s and the early '80s, legendary Factory Records producer Martin Hannett exchanged tapes through the post with Delia Derbyshire, one of the BBC Radio Workshop electronic experimentalists who inspired him most. The tapes contained cutting-edge synthesizer tracks and electronic soundscapes that were meant to form the basis of a joint album that never materialized. To coincide with the 40th birthday of Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" - one of Hannett's most groundbreaking productions - this album offers up those previously unheard compositions and collaborations. Variously weird, wonderful, quirky, cute and unbelievably creepy (Derbyshire did work on Doctor Who after all), the set is inspired and essential in equal measure.
A Word Event For Bici Forbes On The Word "environmentally"
The Text On The Opposite Page May Be Used In Any Way As A Score For Solo Or Group Readings, Musical Or Dramatic Performances, Looking, Smelling, Anything Else & /Or Nothing At All (mono version)
The Text On The Opposite Page May Be Used In Any Way As A Score For Solo Or Group Readings, Musical Or Dramatic Performances, Looking, Smelling, Anything Else & /Or Nothing At All (Eight Voice Cannon version)
A Word Event For Bici Forbes On The Word "bicentennial"
Review: It may be 30 years since the first Meat Beat Manifesto album hit record stores, but the Jack Dangers-helmed outfit is still going strong. "Opaque Couche", the first "MBM" album for two years, draws on many of Dangers' well-known influences and inspirations (think dub, breakbeat, industrial funk, early jungle, EBM, mangled electronica and '80s electro), fusing them together on heavyweight cuts that bristle with sub-heavy intensity and otherworldly charm. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the early Orb style ambient house trip of "C/2015 V2" and acid-driven techno hypnotism of "Present For Sally", to the rambunctious jungle revivalism of "Critical Soul Vibrations", wayward industrial-electro of "Moving Pulse" and the horror soundtrack creepiness of "Hailing Frequencies Open".
Review: Between 1980 and 87, Michele Mercure released a small but perfectly formed collection of cassette and vinyl-only albums that showcased her unique and ear-pleasing fusion of electronic and acoustic instrumentation. It's these albums - and those Mercure put out as Michele Musser - which RVNG Intl has mined for "Beside Herself", a superb primer on the Pennsylvania-based artist's little-known career. The genius of Mercure's work - aside from her firm grasp of mood and melody - was her innate ability to blend elements of Berlin School and new age ambience with elements of experimental electronica, surprisingly cinematic soundscapes (she often earned a living composing for TV, film and theatre) and more rugged industrial influences. It's a formula that makes for absorbing and hugely enjoyable listening.
Review: Back in 1996, Richard D. James and Planet Mu boss Mike Paradinas collaborated on a bizarre self-titled album under the name Mike & Rich. A cult addition to their respective highly-regarded canons that saw the pair applying their braindance template to easy listening and funk, the album soon came to be known as Expert Knob Twiddlers thanks to the excellent cover art. Newly reissued on Planet Mu, the album has been "carefully cleaned up, re-edited and remastered from the original DAT tape [and] put into a more fitting order." Some twenty years on the album remains a playful listen made all the more compelling by the addition of seven previously unheard tracks. A must for any fans of Aphex Twin and u-ZIQ.
Review: Having previously reissued Mkwaju Ensemble's inspired 1981 debut "Ki-Motion", WRWTFWW now turns its attention to their equally impressive follow-up from the same year, "Mkwaju". Beginning with a breezy chunk of Marimba-driven four-to-the-floor bliss, the album sees the Japanese trio - whose members included legendary percussionist and ambient artist Midori Takada - shuffle between hypnotic, Steve Reich-influenced minimalism ("Shak Shak"), melodious fusions of new age electronica and modern American classical ("Tira-Rin"), and glacial ambient soundscapes ("Pulse In The Mind"). Best of all, though, is "Flash-Back", a dense and intoxicating percussion workout that stretches out over 13 mind-bending minutes.
Review: Having previously served up new editions of a number of Midori Takada's solo albums, Swiss reissue specialists WRWTFWW have now turned their attention to her earlier work as part of the Mkwaju Ensemble. Ki-Motion originally appeared on legendary Japanese imprint Better Days way back in 1981, and saw the trio lay down a range of wonderfully breezy, melodious and life-affirming tracks that joined the dots between Glass and Reich style American minimalism, Berlin school ambient, Japanese new age bliss and gentle, proto-type electronica. It's perhaps not as rare or sought-after as some Takada-related releases, but it's still a delightful album: a melodious and sun-kissed affair that sparkles just as much as her sublime solo works.
Review: Is there a more forward-thinking and proudly distinctive outfit in contemporary electronic music than Modeselektor? Certainly, the German duo's latest album - their first studio set for eight years - suggests that they have few competitors for this crown. Underground but accessible, diverse but consistent thanks to the pair's fuzzy-but-polished production, the set sees them showcase a range of cuts that expertly meld club-friendly beats and sounds - think grime, techno, post-electro, acid house and the punchy-but-rubbery rhythms of UK funky - with skewed pop hooks, oddball vocals, hazy electronics and a big dollop of experimental intent. As you'd expect, the results are little less than superb.
Review: Back in 2014, German electronic legend Dieter Moebius joined forces with chamber music composer Tim Story and Jon "Wobbly" Leidecker on Snowghost Places, an album that explored the space between krautrock, ambient, minimal techno and experimental electronica. Three years on, the trio presents the follow-up, Familiar. It's a fitting title, because the album explores similar sonic territory, albeit in a myriad of different names. Across the course of the album's six tracks, expect to hear blasts of warped and manipulation Can style drums, glitchy and Autechre-esque electronic rhythms, acoustic instrumental samples wrapped around pulsing minimalist techno rhythms, discordant electronic sounds and otherworldly ambient workouts.
Penelope Trappes - "Carry Me" (Abdul Mogard remix)
Nick Nicely - "London South" (Abdul Mogard remix)
Becoming Animal - "The Sky Is Ever Falling" (Abdul Mogard remix)
Fovea Hex - "We Dream All The Dark Away" (Abdul Mogard remix)
Review: Although Abul Mogard has made some stunning albums over the years, in recent times it's his reworks that have been celebrated most. It's perhaps for that reason that Houndstooth has decided to offer up this retrospective of the shadowy artist's most admired remixes. The most notable inclusion is the producer's previously unheard revision of Becoming Animal's "The Sky Is Ever Falling", a stunning, stretched-out soundscape that re-imagines the song as a heart-aching ambient epic. It's almost as good as Mogard's jaw-dropping interpretation of Fovea Hex's "We Dream All The Dark Away", whose fragile folk vocals, ever-intensifying modular synthesizer cycles and layered electronic drones deliver a stunning climax to an impeccable collection of inspired ambient soundscapes.
Review: After years spent slowly building his reputation, 2016 has seen Monoloc - AKA Frankfurt producer Sascha Borchardt - hit the big time. This sophomore album - his first for four years - follows hot on the heels of well-received EPs on Soma and Hotflush. It's an undeniably atmospheric affair, with Borchardt smoothly moving between dark and evocative ambience, macabre techno, moody electronica, foreboding experiments, and creepy, post-dubstep bass explorations. While the overriding mood is naturally ghostly and occasionally intense, he finds time for moments of picturesque clarity, not least the wonderful, string-drenched IDM of "Gently Falls" and melancholic fluidity of closer "Ground Disorder".
Review: These days Steve Moore is better known for his film and TV soundtrack work than his dancefloor-leaning explorations for the likes of L.I.E.S. and Future Times. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that the producer's latest album - his first "non-soundtrack" release for five years - sounds like it could have been composed for the big screen. That's no criticism, though, because these five tracks are utterly sublime. "My Time Among The Snake Lords" comes on like an unlikely collaboration between John Carpenter and the Radiophonic Workshop, while the mesmerizing "Your Sentries Will Be Met With Force" has all the intoxicating urgency of Vangelis' "Bladerunner" theme. Best of all, though, is the sublime title track, a dreamy and life-affirming blast of hypnotic, mid-tempo dancefloor bliss.