Review: Shoegaze dream pop duo Molly - out of Innsbruck, Austria - deliver an alpine coloured CD to compliment the elemental themes of their debut album. It follows two previous singles in 2016-17, respectively, suggesting that last year was spent entirely in the studio. As it turns out their studio sits atop their native alps and laced throughout this LP are field recordings of their chosen summit which only offers more space to an already expansive, glacial and epic sound. With the 15-minute album opener "Coming Of Age" a mountain of production in itself, Molly right now are hitting their peak.
Review: The tireless Emotional Rescue dig once more into the well of cultish music from days gone by with a fully remastered reissue of Whichever Way You Are Going You Are Going Wrong, the debut album from brotherly duo Woo. Originally released back in 1982, this thirteen track set finds Mark and Clive Ives delivering a hugely ahead of their time exposition of hard to categorise electro acoustic folk. This hugely prolific pair was once described as "sounding like the music the Durutti Column would have made with Penguin Cafe Orchestra if produced by Brian Eno" and whoever came up with that obviously had Whichever Way You Are Going You Are Going Wrong in mind.
AR & Machines - "I'll Be Your Singer, You'll Be My Song"
Deutsche Wertarbeit - "Deutscher Wald"
Dzyan - "Khali"
Missus Beastly - "Geisha"
Alex - "Derule"
Agitation Free - "In The Silence Of The Morning Sunrise"
Georg Deuter - "Pearls"
Michael Bundt - "The Brain Of Oskar Panizza"
Popol Vuh - "Ja, Deine Liebe Ist Suber Als Wein"
Novalis - "Dronsz"
Broselmaschine - "Schmetterling"
Neu! - "Neuschnee"
Between - "And The Waters Opened"
La Dusseldorf - "White Overalls"
Klaus Weiss - "Constellation"
Achim Reichel - "Tanz Der Vogel In Den Winden"
Roedelius - "Lustwandel"
Pyrolator - "Die Haut Der Frau"
Cluster - "Hollywood"
Streetmark - "Passage"
Niagara - "Rhythm Go"
Michael Bundt - "Neon"
Review: If you're in the market for a beginner's guide to krautrock and "kosmiche", then the first two volumes of Soul Jazz's Deutsche Elektronische Musik series should be essential listening. This third volume - the first for four years - should be on that list, too. It arguably goes deeper than its predecessors, combining cuts from pioneering electronic and art-rock bands like Neu!, Cluster and Popol Vuh with tracks from lesser-known artists such as Michael Bundt, Dronsz and Achim Reichel. Musically, it's also far more diverse than its predecessors, containing as much space-rock and proto-punk as early electronic experimentation and droning alternative rock. As ever, the accompanying sleeve notes from author David Nobbs expand on the story in brilliant detail.
Review: Over the course of their lengthy career, Animal Collective have put out a steady stream of albums that veer between experimental, post-rock soundscapes and skewed, left-of-centre indie-pop. Tangerine Reef, their eleventh and latest set, sees them back in experimental mode, delivering a range of fluid, liquid soundscapes inspired by their work with art-science filmmakers Coral Morphologic. All of the album's music was written to soundtrack a film by the latter duo, which can be watched in full on Animal Collective's website. Aurally, the album is indicative of the slowly shifting visuals - built around time-lapse style footage of coral growing - and tends towards the dreamy, otherworldly and drowsy.
Review: The unveiling of an Apparat album is always cause for commotion with the artist influence enough to push radio stations to stream his music 24/7 upon release. Long passages of streaming synth-textures underline the loose and sparse percussive effects of Apparat's jazz and minimalism. The artist's signature bass pulses hit the sweet spot throughout the albums entirety, always inspiring a well of heavy feeling when they do. Touches of the artist's Bpitch Control days remain as does Apparat's always inspired approach when merging instrumentation with outboard gear and technology, beat making and sound design. A sound to cherish once more.
Review: Since leaping to more electronic ground with 2015's 'Dilate', Vessels' futuristic latest offering 'The Great Distraction' sees them plotting a course through neon-lit, industrial flecked music with its feet firmly in both post-rock and IDM, ambitiously drawing from and blending elements of the two. Highlight single 'Radiart' burns slowly, stacking up pulsating and hypnotic layers akin to Immunity era Jon Hopkins. Other tracks, such as opener 'Mobilise' and 'Position' take a more intense and polyrhythmic approach, repurposing their previous math-rock work. The production goes from feeling cavernous to incredibly close, and these deft shifts in space succeed in highlighting the build-ups and the peaks that punctuate the album. Though Vessels' sound may have changed lanes, this is an engrossing and panoramic album by a band not content with resting on their laurels.
Review: The Canadian post-rock instrumentalists return with a demand for revolution, soundtracked by just shy of 45 minutes of orchestral aggression. As with all of their work, GY!BE convey their ideas articulately through evocative wordless music. The opener, 'Undoing a Luciferian Towers' sets a tone for the album with a monolithic and militaristic march. Passages of feedback open out into anthemic expanse on the three parts of 'Bosses Hang'. 'Fam/Famine' balances between harmonic assonance and dissonance, ramping up the tension before the final triptych 'Anthem Of The State' takes a more optimistic tone, with the movement away from noise providing some glimmers of light in the abyss. 'Luciferian Towers' is an impeccable and polished record, and possibly Godspeed You! Black Emperor's finest to date.
Review: The Messthetics is a new instrumental trio project formed of Fugazi rhythm section Brendan Canty and Joe Lally, and Washington DC based experimental guitarist Anthony Pirog. This self-titled debut was put together from live sessions recorded at Canty's rehearsal space throughout last year, with very little overdubbing. The coupling of exploratory jazz-based experimentation with the bristling post-punk sensibilities makes for a consistently interesting listen throughout. Lead single 'Serpent Tongue' highlights this musical duality, written in unusual time signatures but underpinned by fuzz-drenched power chords and relentless bassline. The first full-length featuring Canty and Lally since Fugazi's hiatus in 2002, 'The Messthetics' is an aspirational debut from this new venture, and a must-listen for any fans of the aforementioned band's off-kilter punk sound and Pirog's rich and textural guitar work.
Review: Some four years have passed since Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley last donned the Sunn O))) alias. Given that the Seattle duo is also approaching 20 years as a working partnership, "Life Metal" - which also includes significant contributions from bassist Tim Midyett and Icelandic composer (and former Pan Sonic member) Hildur Gudnadottir - seems like a timely release. An epic track given to each side of vinyl, this album acts as a precursor to a sister album called Pyroclasts that will be released later in 2019. The ensemble cast brilliant layers up fuzzy, elongated guitar riffs, droning, effects-laden feedback, clandestine ambient textures, electric cello and occasional spoken word vocals. The album peaks via a 25-minute closing track of breathtaking intensity and mind-altering execution, but the journey to get there is equally as impressive. It's a wall of sound that only the safe ears of Steve Albini, produced entirely using analog tape, could deliver. An eighth studio album that's a beast of nebulous lustre.
Review: Seismic drone and progressive rock specialists Earth return with their first studio album in some five years, It's both "Datura's Crimson Veils" and "She Rides An Air Of Malevolence" that, as would be hoped for on an Earth album, goes the distance in reminding us just how brooding and journeysome an extended instrumental with them can be. With "Descending Belladonna" stemming from a live project of soundtrack work too, the album itself is full of cinematic quality. Break downs, vamps and progressions add all manner of drama to compositions in tracks like "An Unnatural Carousel" and "The Mandrake's Hymn", with the LP overall delivering the very the best in monolithic basslines, crashing Zildjian cymbals and distorted guitars of epic rock and refrained minimalism.
The Outpost (unreleased single A-side, Feb 1983 - bonus track)
Quiet Village (unreleased single B-side, Feb 1983 - bonus track)
Oggere (album outtake - bonus track)
The Fog (Eddie Waring mix - bonus track)
Alice (album outtake - bonus track)
Louise Michel (live At DOK, Edinburgh, Aug 2017 - bonus track)
Big Lies (live At Cafe OTO, London, April 2016 - bonus track)
Review: It's no secret the love that London promoter and record label Upset! The Rhythm have for the ever rotating cast of musicians that is Normil Hawaiians. This latest reissue of the English band sees the label complete its retrospection of Normil Hawaiians following reissues of More Wealth Than Money and Return of The Ranters LPs. The band's music is the real deal when it comes to raw and emotional UK post punk and wave. This album in particular, which failed to take off in 1984 due to label and liquidation issues, sees its 2019 release arrive with a collectors edition of bonus tracks, including live cuts, album outtakes and unreleased B-sides. A 'o ia!