We’re always up for the conceptual when ideas seek to overcome, stimulate and provoke. I listened to LSOS aka Seth Troxler and Phil Moffa’s first release from their debut EP with something akin to amazement. While a key element of the production feels plugged directly into Chicago or Detroit from a lost 1980’s – it’s the bassline which in ways drives this all forwards – it is also very much down to the wild and wonderful array of brilliant sounds that succeed in causing equal parts havoc and intrigue. Ever so slightly tripped-out, tearing at the edges noises which are precisely what music requires to keep on rejuvenating. And if further proof is needed gaze upon the accompying video, feeling your mouth drop open as words of disbelief explode forth – like a compilation of everything that ills the world, worse still you just know it already.
Another great release from M.E.M.O and one which ignites Mobilee all over again. This follow-up to ‘Tai Tai’ sees the artist delve deeper into rhythms that all at once satisfy and excite. The title track opens with sumptuous grooves resounding across the stereo as smoky vocals tease the airwaves still further. Always rewarding to hear vocals which define themselves alongside their own space as the accompying arrangement squeezes every part of soulful resonance out of the production, expanding the dancefloor’s scope in the process. Lo Unico, proceeds to roll out the rhythm section as atmospheric expanses gather pace, while synthesized motifs gain hold with voices again completing. Ormus, ends via shimmering keys and broken beats adding a compelling, probing feel to the final production.
Release: January 25
Processing the word FRAME together with a succession of recorded images was the original idea behind Eugenio Vatta and Andrea Benedetti’s sonic project which began in 1992. Since that beginning a wealth of material has been produced now reaching 2019 with this startling new collection of ten pieces set to be released on the excellent Glacial Movements. In ways the darker, low-lights of winter are the correct setting for these sounds to illuminate the panorama as each track focuses on a separate planet surrounded by its own infinite silence, however space creates uniquely particular aural distortions, while the environment is far from quiet. Listening to the successive compositions gives you a sense of pleasurable unease that strangely feels reassuring yet also suggests a totally unknown quantity. Somewhere between meditative bliss and science fiction at a guess. Working in the live field both artists have created a masterpiece of atmospheres and their work here will penetrate even the most hardened soul.
Release: January 30
Sometimes music is so joyous you just can’t ignore it. Lee Fields sings his heart out with a passion reserved only for a chosen few and aged 68 that blows most others out of the water. This song of yearning will strike a chord with anyone and everyone on the planet, comes punctuated by rolling rhythms, chiming guitar licks and cool, smoked Trumpet blasts. Perfect. It Rains Love, is the single from a forthcoming and no doubt explosively charged album of the same name. Produced by Leon Michels (Lana Del Rey, Adele, Beyoncé & Jay Z) the music resounds with a crunchy, analogue atmosphere that positively smoulders with a lost sense of Soul. Watch, look and listen below.
From the very opening bars of No Snare the stripped down yet resolutely beautiful trumpet by Leron Thomas intones a suggestion of what comes next. Of course this being Pan Amsterdam a nod to the past is employed and while you may recognise the vibe blown there is a timeless quality to both their definition of music and the words worked around that idea. The point for me is that you want to listen to what is being said, rather than it being shouted at you, there is much thought going on in the process. Tastefully crisp. Shinning bright like the low winter sun. Hit repeat.
Release: January 18
As the song said: Another year over, and a new one just begun. So what promise do we have for entertainment this year? Will Disco continue to occupy supermarkets and shopping centres just as it does restaurants and nightclubs? When will the culture of re-editing nostalgia for a bygone age finally devour itself, eating its own imagination? The flip-side to this is all the wonderful new music being created by artists exploring the electronic dynamics which wire themselves directly back to a discovery of synthesized, experimental sound. The third in this series navigates America and Canada’s output complimenting the existing UK and European editions. Beginning in 1975 what quickly becomes apparent is just how radically different these records must have felt at the time of their release. Perhaps rock n roll’s guitar flair has informed Data-Bank-A’s ‘Creators’ but when you reach Rhythm And Noise’s ‘Current Slaughter’, or Dark Day’s ‘The Metal Benders’ you realise that the rush of keyboards igniting future horizons was only something machines could truly do. Rhythmic structures aside the compilation also teases out more ‘difficult’ ideas from the likes of Smegma’s wonderfully titled Dancing Hairpiece Wears Two Left Shoes, while contrasting with the equally brutal, early industrial sounds by Lon C. Diehl ‘Intermission: POP’. A world of difference then excitedly opens up inviting you to experience four discs worth of sonic possibilities that doesn’t revolve directly around R&B. Drum machines pulse and chime, synthesisers frighten and exhilarate, as voices smoulder. But all the while you never quite know what’s around the bend. What to expect next. Names of people I’ve never heard of populate the collection – part of the beauty of music is of course discovery – while names like Laurie Spiegel whose brilliant Drums is a revelation, Terry Riley’s contemplative ‘Across The Lake Of The Ancient World’ from 1980, Suicide’s ‘Rocket USA’, Patrick Cowley’s scintillating ‘Primordial Landscape’ plus a whole host of others are all names that notably inform the timeline. The third CD houses some of the most abrasive numbers, although even this disarray is tempered by the atmospheres of Anode’s cinematically charged ‘Evening Thoughts’. By the fourth the more recent early eighties are represented by Ministry’s vigorously funky ‘Work For Love’ alongside Thirty Years proto Techno ‘Executive Slacks’ and this rich seam of music continues to play out its own consequences beautifully. Yet another essential, important release from Cherry Red and one which acts as much as historical education as it does musically – difficult, problematic or melodically otherwise. Introductory essay by Sounds and Wild Planet legend Dave Henderson guides you through and along the wild journey of abandon.
Release: January 25
Brothers in arms Marius & Fabian see in the New Year in explosive style as their hot debut for the highly impressive ZEHN has a flurry of percussion and soothing bass ignite the stereo. The title track, City of Belem explores a diverse set of influences and yet hits hard via its pounding grooves, alongside its probing Eastern motifs and colourful array of sounds. Tapana’s Kitchen, follows with a deeper refrain driving the heavy-duty arrangements which again breakdown into a musical feats of pleasures.
Release: January 11 2019
Although this has been floating around for a few weeks now, causing all sorts of sonic damage, the need is to make sure your attention is caught before the year ends. Two equally excellent tracks adorn this release from the label, which has been increasingly building up a stunning set of releases. Renastere, kicks off with an uncomplicated though defiantly direct sequence of filtered stabs, that are all at once addictive and uplifting, reaching out to a hefty nine minutes duration. Next, the more introspective Geneza is tastefully crafted with probing synths taking off amid impactful drums, creating warm yet tense atmospheres along the way.
Whether you find solace in music as escapism or something which charges you up this album’s scope of sights and sounds from C-Jay is quite something. Either way this collection of works generate awe-inspiring experiences to lose and then find yourself in. Avoiding the word ambient, although engaging irresistibly with ambience these terse arrangements reference Europe’s rich musical past, synthesized and futuristic, while providing moments and space to engage with it all. Ranging in length from the relatively short to the extended a sense of time gets lost as Adem provides an experience to be savoured and sought out in 2019. Exceptional.
Release: January 11 2019
Spotify link to the bonus track: Deep Listening Part 1 https://spoti.fi/2UYpsHX
A stunning release to polish off the year with. DIRTYBIRD pull out all stops with this resilient, piano led number that is all at once beautifully jazzy, and yet rolling with a tough undercurrent underpinned by Amp Fiddler’s spoken message exonerating the future tense. Excellent, provocative music – the way it always should be. The remix comes from label-head Claude VonStroke who adds extra punch to the production alongside brighter expectations, which accompany the sizzling arrangement of fiery dub effects and infectious rhythms perfectly.
Release: December 21