Review: Long-serving Swedish producer Joel Mull, previously best-known for his club-focused techno sets, first started work on Nautical Dawn, his first album under his occasional Damm alias, over a decade ago. Inspired by the natural phenomenon of 'nautical dawn' - that point when the sun is not yet above the horizon, but bathes the sky in vivid colours - he wanted to make music for the break of dawn that combined home-made field recordings with suitably drowsy, opaque electronic motifs, slow-burn ambient chords, tactile aural textures and, when the mood took him, horizontal and hypnotic beats. It may have taken him a while, but the resultant set is little less than inspired: an evocative set of enveloping compositions that tease and tingle the senses.
Review: REPRESS ALERT!: Amsterdam-based duo Wanderwelle presents their fourth full-length album titled A State Of Decrepitude. Inspired by the many aspects of impermanence and facets of decay, the duo composed their most intrinsic and detailed production yet.
After two successful albums on Silent Season and a recent collaboration album with Bandhagens Musikforening on Semantica, Phil van Dulm & Alexander Bartels have applied their talents to create a mysterious soundtrack focussed on the countless faces of deterioration. Recorded in 2018, Wanderwelle's first electroacoustic album is an anthological approach to a theme that is inseparable from our current global crises.
Review: Detroit's Jay Daniel can no longer be referred to as a protegee. The Watusi High boss is very much a talent unto his own after forming a small but superb discography in the last few years. His latest outing is another exquisite mixture of his very real drum playing skills and an ability to coax real feeling out of his lush synths. After the ambiance of 'Muse,' 'Solo' sinks into a late night vibe with glowing pads and wooden hits making for a perfectly reflective mood. 'Dew' cuts more loose into ticketing drum work that is raw and off-grid, but again soften but those gaze-inducing pads, and 'Cherry' closes out with crunchy, dance floor ready grooves.
Review: There's real storytelling at work on this rather splendid double vinyl score, whether it's in hints of tropical birdsong, the fluid motion of rhythms built from water, or the waves of breezy synths that seem to blow past (or through) your ears. Everything feels like it's setting a specific scene, conjuring images that are both vivid and abstract - colours acting as characters, and feelings as locations.
Following on from V2.0-2.9 comes the logically titled V3.0-3.9, and the new release picks up where the last left off. Four sprawling tracks running between 15 and 20minutes each, there's density here in spades giving enough depth to throw, or lose yourself in. Despite the scope, though, there's something strangely intimate here, too, meaning quite where you wind up is nobody's business but yours.
Review: Since debuting on his own Simulacra Records imprint back in 2014, Todd Gautreau has released some seriously good ambient music as Tapes & Topographies. We attribute much of his success to a trademark style that blends fractured, heavily processed field recordings with opaque, comforting chords and melodies that are capable of winding their way into your subconscious. This trademark style once again comes to the fore on A Pulse of Durations, his first album for Past Inside The Present. Furnishing his usual fuzzy soundscapes with occasional melancholic piano motifs (see the gorgeous 'You Saw Nothing in Hiroshima'), swelling drone tones ('The Seashell & The Clergyman') and plucked strings ('The Modern Equivalent'), Gautreau delivers one of his most meditative and emotion-stirring sets to date.
Review: Having kept his silence for much of the past four years, Nicolas Jaar has finally broken cover to release not one but two new albums under his given name. Telas, which follows the highly personal and critically acclaimed Cenizas, was recorded largely in isolation and consists of four lengthy aural tracts strewn across four sides of wax. Almost entirely beat-free and ambient, it sees Jaar make use of all manner of custom-made instruments, squally jazz horns, unusual instrumentation (a bass clarinet features heavily on one cut) and his usual evocative electronics to create slowly-shifting epics that variously doff a cap to Reich/Riley/Glass style minimalism, Stockhausen-esque sound collage, the ambient works of Brian Eno and, most impressively, the 'Fourth World' sounds of Jon Hassell.
Review: Ole Mic Odd aka Michael Padgett is a hardware operator and DJ from Los Angeles and runs the wonderfully named label The New U.S. Government. Here he sweeps to power with four tracks across four sides of vinyl for the Zement label, two following a slower, punishing pulse that's like P-funk remade in a robot factory, only with tons of added bubbling acid, Drexciya-style filtering and Juan Arkins-like synthetic strings. The other two are way faster, Ice So Bright sounding like someone secretly spiked Kraftwerk's cocoa with something extremely sinister, sending them racing off on their bikes at treble speed. Echo Park has an even more distinct flanging acid flavour and hyper, hooligan electro foundations, again with those Model 500 misty clouds of synthesiser floating overhead. Absolutely cracking stuff.
Review: It's not everyday anything by Portray Heads finds its way back to the surface with us mere mortals. The mythical Japanese electronic punks have managed to retain a serious cult following among fans of a sound that's like synth pop squaring up to EBM, despite most of their back catalogue being buried somewhere in the depths of the best possible drum machine hell you could ask to be sent to.
Dark, weird, and absolutely one of a kind, Veronica Vasicka's famously exploratory Minimal Wave imprint and Bitter Lake Recordings will be understandably confident fans will be all over this one. Tracks like 'Industrial Eye' offered blueprints for a classic electro sound that hadn't really been heard when it was first dropped, in the mid-1980s, with the tune before, 'Generation Storm', a prime example of the epic synth work and tangibly sinister vibes that seem to define everything here.
Review: The latest drop on the consistently brilliant Kimochi comes from Eho Kates, a new project from Todd Gys and Brendon Moeller. While the names involved may be familiar, the resulting sound is something wholly fresh. Certainly, Moeller's rightly heralded instinct for dubwise processes is no great shock, but there's a playful sense of experimentation powering every element of this release from the scuffed, fractured rhythms of 'Anxiety Sensitivity' to the submerged echo chamber surrealism of 'Emotional Distress Endurance'. Inquisitive processes and otherworldly sound design shape out the whole record, shot through with the alluring mystery that defines Kimochi output overall.
Review: KM Editions and Pleasure Unit are proud to anounce the launch of Pleasure Wave. A new imprint to release special projects.Our first release "Tarnished Idol comes from the multi faceted g-Marie a friend of ours for over 20 years. This mini LP was concieved over the first few months of 2015 after various travels around Europe and Asia and then recorded at his home studio in South London.
Review: Vancouver has long been a hotbed for electronic talent, a city with a score that's as sharp as it is deep, noises that feel submerged in the post-rave, post-techno, post-ambient and post-whatever else underground we've now grown accustomed to as the melting pot of modern dance culture. Khotin isn't letting his hometown down here, nor Ghostly International, the label carrying this release.
The downtempo, space-y 'Heavyball' comes with a particularly pleasing sort of crunch to the beat. Its running mate, 'Groove 32', follows up with a low-stepping groove. 'Ivory Tower' briefly resurfaces into jazz-inflected, dusty house-influenced downbeat. 'Outside Light' takes us into complex, melodic ambient places perhaps most definitive of what this record sounds like overall, and certainly in keeping with its predecessor, Beautiful You.
Valeria Szervanszky & Ronald Cavaye - "Le Jardin Feerique" (3:02)
Sufjan Steven - "Visions Of Gideon" (4:09)
Review: You can trust Music On Vinyl to put out the very best soundtracks, from the least likely sources. That Blade Runner soundtrack reissue a few years back was an absolute treat for us, to cite an example, but this edition of the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack is even more leftfield. After all, it's no surprise because the film had an insanely on-point score that never made it onto vinyl format; songs from the likes of John Adams, Giorgio Moroder and Franco Battiato are a wonderful thing to own on wax, within the concept of this remarkable movie, alongside other great tunes from coveted producers like Japan's Ryuichi Sakamoto. All in all, a fine catch.
Review: Consisting of Dennis White, Charlie May, and Dave Gardner, Quiet Places is a new project by the UK producers focusing on vivid and wide-screen journeys. Between the three, their production roots go deep into some of electronic music's most important outputs of the last few decades. Be it performing live as part of Sasha's recent Refracted shows, their own individual projects such as Spooky, Sentre and Cosmonauts or remixing the likes of M83, The XX, Thom Yorke, Little Dragon or Elizabeth Fraser, they are no strangers to electronica.
Review: Billing themselves as an ethno-industrial outfit, French group Vox Populi! have more in common with the German kosmische movement than the sound of their own fair land. They came from serious stock, including Axel Kyrou's mother who was a musique concrete pioneer at GRM, which set them up to make a bold and challenging debut album Myscitismes, originally released on their own Vox Man label in 1985. Combining advanced studio manipulation and liberal FX treatments with a pastoral folk thrum, motorik synth work and a heavy dose of pan-continental mysticism, they created a stunning and forward-thinking work that sounds shockingly relevant in the here and now. Finally reissued after more than 30 years, now is the perfect chance to grab this trailblazing slice of sonic sorcery.
Review: Sevdaliza comes back with a seance album that capitalises on the critical reception of her first, exploring notions of good and evil through complex songwriting and enigmatic lyrics. Her stylised vocals are front and centre of each tune, with sombre chords and aching piano a consistent accompaniment throughout. She explores many shades of night and packs in plenty of very real emotion, despite the delicate nature of many songs. The gothic synths and post-trip hop beats are a fine vehicle for her musical messages, making this another vital record.
Review: Nick Turner is open about the traumatic period of time in which this record was made, in the run up to his mother's death. A painful experience, nevertheless the record itself feel hopeful, seems to celebrate beauty and hold its hands out to offer listeners a welcoming embrace. The most profound losses can often make people feel resentful, but this couldn't sound any more compassionate and warm if it tried.
Somewhere in a world between ambient and full drone, 'All We Have' is about the shimmer and flow of harmonious refrain, soaring chimes and choral accents. There are blissful moments, serene sections and an overwhelmingly peaceful and tranquil ambience. It's not afraid to show us what it is, it invites us to explore its depths, and the effort on our part is massively rewarding. A record that could really inspire strength, despite its delicate and fragile nature.
Review: While most celebrated in electronic music circles for his work as part of Yellow Magic Orchestra - not to mention a string of experimental solo works - Ryuichi Sakamoto has long been an acclaimed composer of music for the big screen. As the title suggests, this fine compilation gathers together some of his best soundtrack works. There are plenty of familiar favourites present - check the chiming, suitably cheery theme to "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence" and the swelling closing theme from "The Last Emperor" - alongside lesser-known gems such as the lilting strings of "The Sheltering Sky (Main Theme)", the simmering beauty of "Little Buddha: Acceptance" and the jazz-influenced bliss of "Femme Fatale: Bolerisch".
Review: Nicolas Jaar has been one of electronic music's most consistently hard to predict and innovative artists for a decade. The Chilean-American now offers up a full length on his own Other People label that he says is for inner battles. It is a work of masterful atmosphere that can be at times dense and gloomy, at others ethereal, and was written in isolation away from any form of stimulation-inducing drink and drugs. A constantly shifting sound means listeners are slipped in and out of reality as it plays out, making it tense, sombre and at times furious. This is yet another audacious record from the unrestrained mind of Nicolas Jaar.
Review: It's always difficult when a track has such an immense legacy everyone knows it decades on from its release date, and the release dates of the many movies that made it such an iconic tune. Such is the case with Yello's 'Oh Yeah', the breathy and bizarre 1980s electro-funk stepper we all love to forget the title of but can always chime in with the 'ch-ch-chas' at exactly the right moment.
This one moment of glory does not a legendary Swiss electro outfit make, though, and Yello's entire back catalogue is worth anyone's time, and this latest addition, their first new outing since 2016's 'Toy', is as good a place as any to begin. From the whispered house groove of "Core Shift", to "Arthur Speak"'s twisted cold wave chug, or "Hot Pan"'s epic, movie-scale acid weirdness, once again it's about whimsy, whit, precision and huge vision - a serious trip.
Review: Those with extensive knowledge of Nurse With Wound's gargantuan back catalogue will happily tell you that Merzbild Schwet is one of the industrial outfit's greatest albums of all time. It was recorded in 1980, when Stephen Singleton dispatched with his then bandmates to make Nurse With Wound a solo project - as it has been ever since. It remains an alluring and intoxicating affair: a kind of 50-minute sound collage in two parts crafted from a mixture of tape loops, borrowed spoken word snippets, discordant jazz horns, dystopian post-industrial field recordings, outer-space electronics and tons of special effects. If you're interested in experimental music, then you need it in your life.
Review: Under the BVDub alias, ambient, drone and electronica explorer Brock Van Wey has amassed a vast discography of full-length excursions, though very few of these have been released on wax. The American producer has therefore pushed the boat out for new album Wrath & Empathy, which comprises four lengthy tracks stretched across two green vinyl plates. It's a hugely enjoyable set inspired by what van Wey calls the "magical realism" of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. We're not well versed enough in Murakami's work to spot the sonic references, but there's much to admire, not least the San Franciscan's uncanny ability to create musical gold with little more than layered and effected instrumentation, slow-release ambient chords, gentle IDM beats, tactile aural textures and melodies that linger long in the memory.
Review: Kashual Plastik have offered little clues to the concept behind their latest compilation of experimental electronica and hazy ambient soundscapes. What we can tell you is that the limited-edition release comprises a single vinyl album and bonus CD housed in a screen-printed sleeve. More importantly, the music contained within is largely superb. There are nods to creepy horror soundtracks, '90s ambient, the Radiophonic workshop, the Buchla works of Suzanne CIani, mid-70s German kosmiche, sludgy post-industrial beats, discordant noise artists, bleeding edge electronica, sound collage and much, much more, all presented with love in the most pleasingly DIY of ways. It's a trip, and one you'll want to take time and time again.
Review: All three tracks here have a quality to them that suggests things could easily boot off at any moment, tension that rises and evolves and plays with intensity levels in very pleasing but never obvious ways. 'Psychedelic Frogs' is perhaps the best case in point, sending us spinning out into various cosmic realms that feel several planes above us. It's funk-disco-synth-leftfield business and we spent about an hour trying to come up with a more accurate, definitive description. We couldn't, which is indicative of what this sounds like.
Similarly label-defying is 'Gallium', a tune that seems to have been cut from the same cloth as 1960s spy themes and King of Woolworths productions. Closing out on the rumbling keyboard stabs of staccato builder 'Einstieg', it's not that they don't make them like this anymore, more that they have never really made much like this, period.
Review: Amsterdam label Music from Memory started their 12" series in order to present music that "was never available in this format but might just feel more at home there". The debut in the series from obscure San Francisco artist Joel Graham set the bar high, and we are happy to report this latest 12" featuring the work of UK artist Michal Turtle is just as good! A precursor to a wider retrospective planned on MFM, Are You Psychic? features two tracks from the early 80s Turtle improvised in his parents living room using various bits of gear and will delight anyone with a taste for discovering obscure electronic music from days gone by. B side track "Astral Decoy" is a particularly delightful production!
Blood Moon (Dawl & Sween Tone DropOut remix) (7:17)
Blood Moon (Violet remix) (5:56)
Review: Kim Ann Foxman takes a break from her own Self:Timer label to pop up on [Emotional] Especial. Her track "Blood Moon" hinges around rolling breaks and a globular monosynth bassline, but it's Foxman's vocals that give the track an electric, mystical energy that will cast a spell over the dance. Roza Terenzi takes the original and jacks it up, sharpening the focus of the rhythm section without losing the crunchy breaks. Dawl and Sween channel some bleeps n' breaks vibes of their own with a version that keeps things darkside and wiggy for the old-skool crew. Rounding things off, Violet's remix emphasises the acid as it plunges into the depths of the dungeon in a hooky, hard-edged style.
Review: You wait three years for a new Arca album and then two come along at once. The Barcelona-based, Venezuelan artist has already dropped 'Kick I' and 'Kick II' on his standard XL stomping ground this month, and has now decided to remind us why we fell in love in the first place. &&&&&& is the producer's seminal debut album, and it still sounds fresh today.
Occupying a space somewhere between techno, the proto-footwork and juke popularised by the likes of Addison Groove at the turn of the last decade, IDM and ambient, it's a difficult thing to get your head around, from the strange piano discordance of 'Mother' to 'Feminine''s suggestion of intense 140s and the submerged liquid downtempo of 'Anaesthetic'. A seminal moment in recent dance history.
Review: Coup d'etat is a collaborative project from Kane Ikin and Harvey Sutherland. Working from their respective fringes of electronic music and produced in moments of respite between extensive touring and recording commitments, the project offers a glimpse into the pair's mutual influences and inspirations; part Maurizio, part Moroder. Kane Ikin, a meticulous producer of abstract forms and polyrhythms, weaves percussive static and drone amongst Sutherland's considered syntheziser work - a leftfield turn from Harvey's brighter moments. Ikin also traverses new rhythmic territory and signals a departure from earlier ambient works. The inaugural release for new imprint CDT, the 12" was mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy and features full sleeve artwork from Traianos Pakioufakis.
Theme From Blue II/(Silence)/The Hills Are Alive (11:10)
Review: If anyone sees the mind-bending 1980 movie Altered States, tell it we have its soundtrack. Or not. Perhaps late to the sensory deprivation tank party, Coil made much of the music here to accompany filmed scenes of erotica, as the title suggests, although this is more about tantric suggestions of cheekiness and sensuality than most of the orgies you might have in mind.
All very New Age, its crystalline sounds gradually move into more rhythmic tracks, like the suggestively-titled hypnotic pop of 'Happy End'. Polished off with the added bonus of a few cuts taken from the band's work Themes For Derek Jarman's Blue, this is very much one of those archive collections that anyone who knows needs to own, and those who don't need to learn about.
Review: Trying to keep up with Danny 'Legowelt' Wolfers' many different aliases is like trying to stay abreast of the ever evolving UK Coronavirus lockdown rules. Impossible. Anyway, his latest offering comes in the form of this cult spyware album as Sammy Oso. It first came on CDR back in 2008 and now lands on vinyl in all its DX-7-drenched glory. Mysterious, packed with intrigue and all inspired by the landscapes of his locale in The Hague, it is a typically brilliant offering from the musical maverick that speaks of satellite surveillance, intergalactic space wars and creeping technological paranoia. It comes in a deluxe gatefold with extensive writing on each of the tracks, too.
Review: From the Label: "IN BLOOD" is the stunning 4th album from UK based multi instrumentalist, Sunset Graves. Following up 2015's acclaimed opus 'Love Pours Into Death', this brand new album goes deeper and darker with sonics for casual beat heads and intertwining textures to reward the deepest of repeat listens. This is Sunset Graves in widescreen, journeying through genres and landscapes, incorporating ambient, drum n' bass, glitchy rhythms, bass music, field recordings, sound design, tech house, chamber orchestra and even post rock. 3rd & Debut Records releases eclectic electronic music by Sunset Graves, the sample based Lo Grounds (as featured on Joris Voorns Fabric 83) and the more experimental soundscapes of tpique. IN BLOOD is our first full length vinyl release, presented on deep black virgin wax, black inner sleeve and a full colour insert. Supported by Earmilk, Textura and The Formant.
Review: When it comes to a reissue such as this it can't be understated just how arresting the work of Boards of Canada can be in the right situation. This EP, that came to light in between Music Has The Right To Children and Geogaddi, represents the enigmatic duo at their most powerful, channeling their energy into four long-form tracks that draw on all of their combined strengths. "Kid For Today" is haunting and dark but utterly heartbreaking, whilst "Amo Bishop Roden" heads into more mysterious territory. "In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country" is eerie in its titular invitation to join a cult, and "Zoetrope" tips its hat to Terry Riley et al in its looping phrases, but really there's no describing the magnificence of these gems, pleasingly reissued on vinyl to beat the Discogs chancers.
Review: "In Rainbows", Radiohead's seventh album, finally gets a physical release! It's one thing downloading this landmark album, but to actually hold this is something special. Not only do you get increased sound quality, but you also get the amazing artwork from Stanley Donwood. This album includes "Nude", a live favourite for many years that was originally written during the "OK Computer" sessions. More minimal that their "Kid A" period, "In Rainbows" does something that very few albums have done - its sound is distinct from previous Radiohead albums, but is still clearly Radiohead. Hail to the kings, they are back on top form. Get this album while you can.