Review: It would be fair to say that Ernest "Ernie" Hood was ahead of his time. During the early 1970s, he was one of the few musicians in Portland, Oregon to embrace synthesizers. He was also a keen zither player and in his spare time made nostalgic field recordings of suburban neighbourhoods that matched those he grew up in. All of these things came together on his sole solo album, "Neighborhoods", an obscure - but rather brilliant - set that still sounds miles ahead of its time. It has a nostalgic tone, but is as evocative and atmospheric as you'd expect given the sonic ingredients Hood spooned into the mix. This re-mastered edition expands it to two discs, too, allowing louder, clearer reproduction of Hood's far-sighted sounds.
Jhon's House Tune From GM Guide - Protection (5:35)
Spastiche (Basic) (6:46)
AYOR Master (It's In My Blood) (6:40)
Original Amber Rain (demo) (4:52)
Wir-click-Wir 1993 (2:07)
Crumb Tune (Master) (5:57)
The March Of Time (Extra version) (9:00)
Spastiche - The Night's Alive (Master) (5:25)
Kusnir Jazz (2:43)
Heavens Blade (John Balance Vox demo) (7:25)
Wir-click-Wir 1998 Mst Vox (18:37)
The Test Early Mst (2:17)
AYOR (Extra version) (4:29)
Elves (Master) (6:35)
Heaven's Blade (instrumental 1993) (8:25)
Melotron Song (Amber Rain demo) (2:52)
March Of More Time (Master 1993) (6:30)
Crumb Tune (4:20)
Simon (Extra long) (6:10)
Egyptian Basses 1993 (7:22)
Review: This is an absolute treat for fans of experimental industrial noisniks Coil. If you fit that description, you should already be salivating at the prospect of a triple-vinyl album containing previously unheard, unreleased material. "Swanyard" is in effect an extended trawl through the late John Balance and Peter Christopherson's archives, focusing in particular on a productive period between 1993 and 1996 that saw the pair release a trio of acclaimed albums. Much of the material could be classed as either demos or work-in-progress sketches inspired by Christopherson's vivid dreams, but such was the quality of the pair's work that it sounds much more eccentric, vibrant and "complete" than many comparable compilations.
Review: Since leaving Cabaret Voltaire in the early '90s, Stephen Mallinder has kept himself busy, first by starting a new career as an academic, and latterly by stints in bands including Wrangler, Hey! Rube and Creep Show. There was always one thing missing from his CV, though: a new solo album. With "Um Dada", he's finally ticked that box, delivering a set that smartly channels four decades of electronic music influences into nine vocal and instrumental mutant pop cuts. It's heavy, trippy, mind-altering and thoroughly absorbing, with Mallinder offering plenty of nods towards the Cabs' 1980s and '90s work, as well as more contemporary influences such as German techno/electro and the sub-heavy rush of fellow Sheffielder Crooked Man.
Review: Russia's Gost Zvuk label has long been a firm favourite here in the Juno office. Their glitchy, mysterious, futuristic music always makes for intriguing listening and now they celebrate five fantastic years with a compilation featuring a host of closely associated talents old and new. The bumper triple vinyl collection features paranoid experimental ambient that draws to mind covert spying operations, mangled machine music like INFX's "Damaged +dn", haunting modulated synth soundscapes from OL and skeletal techno rhythms that rewire your brain like Erofeev's "11bng". It all makes for a genuinely fresh and original collection of hugely provocative music.
Review: It's cult records and mythical artists like this that record collectors fawn over for years. Well this particular wait is now over as for the first time ever on vinyl you can now own two super rare 1980-82 tapes by Two Daughters. They were a mysterious pair affiliated with Throbbing Gristle and recorded all sorts of dark and haunting noise in Brixton for Nurse With Wound's United Dairies. This session is as freaky as they come, with muffled voices appearing out of the noise like apparitions. Hypnotic and daunting, droning and bleakly mesmeric, this music sounds to us like the shadowy corridors of an old lunatic asylum in the dead of a winter's night.
Review: Given that it's called "Coloured" and appears on shocking pink vinyl, you'd expect Adam Longman Parker's debut album as Afriqua to be a decidedly vibrant and kaleidoscopic affair. It is, of course, with Longman Parker offering up tracks that mix tropical-sounding electronics, glassy-eyed synthesizer motifs, processed vocal sounds and evocative musical flourishes with jaunty, interesting rhythms that neatly sidestep conventional genre rules. It's a mixture that makes for hugely enjoyable listening, with highlights coming thick and fast. These include - though are by no means limited to - the densely layered dancefloor cheekiness of "Shout", the minimalist ambient bliss of "Noir", the hypnotic, intergalactic oddness of "Native Sun" and the bubbly club warmth of "Jumpteenth".
Review: Tribe Of Colin have done a good job of keeping their identity unknown despite plenty of well received releases. Honest Jon's gets a fourth album from the enigmatic artist(s) that deals in sludgy techno, dubby steppers and pulsing electronic music that harks back to the streets of Detroit as much as hinting at a future London landscape long after humans have long gone. Twisted synths, shimmering percussion, dark chords and complex rhythms are interwoven with gritty textures and field recordings from around the world to make it a spellbinding listen. Fans of Actress and Andy Stott will love.
Last I Heard (...He Was Circling The Drain) (5:10)
Dawn Chorus (5:34)
I Am A Very Rude Person (3:52)
Not The News (3:57)
The Axe (6:58)
Impossible Knots (4:19)
(Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You For Coming) (4:57)
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Review: "The Practice Of Love" is Jenny Hval's seventh full-length, and it's the sort of listen that can wash over you while you get lost in a reverie, or take you on a deeply involving inward journey if you tune in to the lyrics. Her voice is angelic, and muses on subjects like growing old, our place in the world, and the notion of intimacy. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the fantastically strong title track with its vulnerable and tender spoken words, folky synth lullaby "Thumbsucker" and "Accident", which could well be a rave comedown with its lilting trance chords and dreamy keys. Quite the trip.
Review: Canadian composer Mort Garson enjoyed an eclectic career, though in electronic music circles he's most celebrated for a string of experimental electronic albums he produced using early Moog synthesizers. "Mother Earth's Plantasia" is a bizarre but brilliant beast: a 1976 set that was designed to be played to plants to help them grow (really) and was given away free at a Los Angeles garden store. As this first ever reissue proves it remains a dizzyingly far-sighted set. Sometimes symphonic, occasionally spacey and always intoxicating, much of the material is far quirkier than contemporaneous synthesizer-fired sets. Highlights include the pulsing ambient spaciousness of "Ode To An African Violet", the twinkling, cascading beauty of "Rhapsody In Green" and the jaunty cheeriness of "You Don't Have To Walk a Begonia".
Review: As the vibrant and colourful cover artwork makes clear, Moon Boots latest album for Anjunadeep - his second following well-received 2017 debut "First Landing" - is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic and positive affair full of cheery, dancefloor-friendly songs and picturesque instrumentals (see the twinkling "Trance & Dental"). The American producer is a master at blurring the boundaries between radio-friendly house, deep synth-pop and nu-disco, and much of "Bimini Road" is based around this accessible and summery musical intersection. There are a few pleasing curveballs dotted across the LP, though, including the title track's piano-heavy Balearic chug and the sunny two-step garage-pop of Gary Saxby hook-up "Gary's House".
Review: If you were judging Kieran Hebden's 11th Four Tet studio album merely on the way it's presented, you'd immediately think he'd spent the last two years immersed in early '90s ambient house albums. While it's unlikely he's done that, it's fair to say that New Energy does owe a debt to classic electronica sets from that period. For all the exotic instrumentation and subtle nods to post-dubstep "aquacrunk" experimentalism and chiming, head-in-the-clouds sunrise house, the album feels like a relic of a lost era. That's not meant as a criticism - New Energy is superb - but it is true that his choice of neo-classical strings, gentle new age melodies, sweeping synthesizer chords and disconnected vocal samples would not sound out of place on a Global Communication album.
Review: The best thing since Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful", Denmark and Norway's Aqua, to '90s R&B, Trance and '00s Dubstep combined is Sophie's Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides. With more meta-references than you can poke a brain at, the album and its hyper-array of sounds is set to light up the couture cosmo of New York City as much as it is a teenager's bedroom south of the border. In effect, Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides is one of the most colourful excursions through music you can have, striking off a plethora of pop music iterations, to rave, deep ambient and the most experimental of dance music. A seriously defining album by one of modern day music's greatest minds. Roll out the red carpet.
Review: These days, we're all familiar with Jan Jelinek's trademark brand of dusty, dubbed-out, jazz-sampling downtempo explorations. That wasn't the case when Loop Finding Jazz Records, his acclaimed debut album, first appeared back in 2001. It has since become an in-demand item, making this reissue more than handy. It remains a fine album; a blazed shuffle through a sonic world where dub techno, ambient, minimal house, jazz and downtempo grooves and seductive vinyl crackle merge into one intoxicating hybrid sound. It's not showy and over-the-top, but rather becalmed and subtly seductive. In other words, it's still a brilliant album and if you don't own already own a copy, you should add this to your cart sharpish.
Review: Leopoldo Rosa AKA Lerosa has been fighting against lazy categorization for years, offering up tracks that go way beyond the deep house sound he cultivated in the early years of his career. Those who still think he makes records like that should definitely check "Bucket Of Eggs", his long-awaited second album, because it's far more thrillingly wayward, off-kilter and alien-sounding than anything he's released before. It's rooted in house music - and twisted acid house, in particular - but also doffs a cap towards Rephlex style mutant electronica, turn-of-the-90s Bleep and Bass (the superbly weighty and spacey "Sheffield"), skewed electro ("Subterfuge") and even deep space electronica (killer closing cut "Don't Worry"). In a word: essential.
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: Warp's Boards of Canada reissue campaign reaches Geogaddi, perhaps the duo's most expansive (if not their most popular) record, presented here on a 3LP gatefold edition. Considerably darker than its predecessor Music Has The Right To Children, the claustrophobic sounds of "Gyroscope" and sampled spoken word in tracks like "Dandelion" and "Energy Warning" present a somewhat dystopian setting, filled with unsettling sounds, such as the light but eerie melodies of "Alpha & Omega" and "1969". Undoubtedly one deserving of reappraisal.
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".
Etron Fou Leloublan - "Le Desastreux Voyage Du Piteux Python" (10:43)
Jean Cohen-Solal - "Captain Tarthopom" (3:03)
ZNR - "Solo Un Dia" (3:01)
Red Noise - "Sarcelles C'est L'Avenir" (15:22)
Pierre Henry - "Generique (Theme De Myriam)" (2:20)
Horrific Child - "Frayeur" (8:42)
Jean Guerin - "Triptik 2" (2:19)
Dashiell Hedayat - "Fille De L'Ombre" (5:47)
Review: French post-rock group Nurse With Wound famously noted a number of artists on their legendary 1979 debut. This fascinating compilation on Finders Keepers finds band member Steven Stapleton chronicling them all, and it makes for an often intense story full of noise experiments, soot-black guitar playing and haunting atmospheres. Rarely less than peculiar, tracks like Jean Cohen-Solal's "Captain Tarthopom" sounds like a curious fairground ride, Red Noise's " Sarcelles C'est L'Avenir" is the stuff of nightmares and "Triptik 2" by Jean Guerin is as weird as music gets. As dark nights and spooky season approaches, this is a perfect go-to.
Review: Francois J Bonnet (a composer and electroacoustic musician) and Stephen O'Malley (the main man of metal band Sunn O)))) come together here for their first collaborative album. It combines O'Malley's doom laden guitar work with Bonnet's compositional skills to make for a dynamic soundscape that has the sort of grand ambient architecture that places you right at the heart of it all. Dark yet inviting, it is noise that nurtures and comforts you despite its rather foreboding overtones. Orderly yet alien, desolate yet filled with human emotions, "Cylene" makes for a compelling listen.