Review: Initially released in limited numbers back in 2016, Ash Code's sophomore set, "Posthuman", is now getting a wider vinyl release via long-serving American imprint and distributor Metropolis. If moody new wave and dark wave is your thing, it's well worth a listen. It's quite gothic in tone, sitting somewhere between throbbing, synthesizer-driven new wave, the "recorded in an echoing basement" darkness of early Joy Division, the 'screw you' sensibility of Chris Watson era Cabaret Voltaire and the brooding intensity of eyeliner-clad post-punk pop from the margins. There are few surprises, but then you wouldn't expect any: Ash Code has carved out its own niche and that should be celebrated.
Review: The legendary Manuel Gottsching restarted his seminal Ash Ra Tempel project upon invitation to the Supersense Festival of the Ecstatic on August 8, 2015 at the Arts Centre of Melbourne in Australia. He had quite the supporting cast too: not his original bandmates, but current heroes of experimental rock in the form of Ariel Pink (on vocals and bass) and Melbournians Oren Ambarchi of Editions Mego (gong) and Shags Chamberlain on keyboards and synths. It was Gottsching's wife, Ilona who came up with the idea of performing some Ash Ra Tempel classics and that is when the idea for the 'Experience' was born. He decided to perform pieces from the albums 'Schwingungen' and 'Seven Up' (both from 1972) and contacted the aforementioned artists: who much to his surprise were very familiar with his work and happily agreed to the project.
Review: For their latest must-check full length, Swiss ambient and jazz enthusiasts WRWTFWW have offered up a timely reissue of Satoshi Ashikawa's previously Japan-only 1982 album "Still Way". In some quarters it's considered a triumph of Japanese minimalism - an ambient set that was equally as inspired by Erik Satie as Brian Eno. The sounds are sparse, atmospheric and alluring, with simple harp, vibraphone, piano and flute motifs taking it in turns to rise and fall across the soundspace. It's intricate, soft-focus and hugely poignant, evoking memories of similarly lauded sets by Ashikawa's countrymen Hiroshi Yoshimura and Midori Takada. In other words, it's sublime.
Review: Attraktta is the new project of Brighton based Steve Hyland, who recorded under his birth name and Normal for Clone sub label Ai many years ago. Echo Principle is his second album that follows up last year's Massive Irretrievable Data Loss (on Touched - Music For Macmillan Cancer Support) where Hyland explores the outer limits of electro, IDM and techno across the album's half a dozen or so tracks. From the industrial edged offworld futurism of "Pulse Echo", the evocative "Distance In Ultrablue" that is reminiscent of early Autechre, through to bass driven futurist beats as heard on "McMurdo Sound" or the title track. All in all, Berlin's FILM imprint have offered up some timeless tracks by Hyland here.
Review: 21 years since its release and a good 15 years after its last vinyl repress, Tri Repetae's new vinyl revitalization is incredibly welcome news to fans old and new. Without wanting to preach to the choir but everything about this body of work remains ahead of its time and on its own. From those opening robotic purrs and mechanical breaks to those final tubular space echoes on "Rsdio", the whole album still sucks you in with such alien, otherworldly allure. How they made those sounds and arranged them in such a way with the technology at the time blew minds back then and blows even more in hindsight. A serious document.
Review: It's hard to over-emphasize the impact made by Autechre's debut album, Incunabla, on its initial release back in 1993. While they'd ruffled a few feathers already with their 1991 debut 12" - an explosion of off-kilter hardcore and techno - the album was an altogether different beast: a collection of timeless "intelligent dance music" numbers that skillfully fused far-sighted, Motor City electronics, teak-tough drums, metallic percussion hits, spacey ambience, and the kind of intense, off-kilter computer rhythms that would later become their trademark. Should you need persuading of its enduring brilliance, check out the feral thrust of "Basscadet", the bubbly, intergalactic hum of "Windwind", and the icy snap of "Autriche".
Review: A much needed repress for one of Minimal Wave's best and most impressive looking archival releases here. Originally issued four years ago, Synthesize pulled together some nine tracks from the archives of Autumn, aka Belgian duo Peter Bonne and Geert Coppens whose musical experiments together began in the 1970s and took full flight the next decade. This collection's inspiration comes from the 1981 &" of the same name that Autumn laid to tape in under seven hours, with both tracks featured and complemented by a further array of primitive electronics and supple synth experiments. It's worth it alone for the nervous energy of "Night In June" and "Laughter Of A Madman".