NEW MUSIC: Ben Neill – Auricle

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Working at the junction of ambient, avant garde jazz and electronica, Ben Neill has just reissued his 1995 album Green Machine, an album that received widespread critical acclaim on its original release on the Astralwerks label.

The music on the album is performed on his self designed, electro-acoustic Mutantrumpet, skilfully navigating a netherworld between organic and synthetic composition and playing. This track ‘Auricle’ is the perfect example of that, in the way the sounds rise and fall, blending together in harmonic hypnosis.

Neill has recorded eleven CDs of his music on labels including Universal/Verve, Thirsty Ear, Astralwerks, and Six Degrees. His electronic opera The Demo, inspired by computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart and created with composer/performer Mikel Rouse, was premiered in 2015 at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall. Other performances include BAM Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cite de la Musique Paris, Moogfest, Spoleto Festival, Umbria Jazz, Bang On A Can Festival, ICA London, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Vienna Jazz Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival, among many others. Neill has worked closely with many musical innovators including La Monte Young, John Cage, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, Rhys Chatham, DJ Spooky, David Berhman, Mimi Goese, King Britt, and Nicolas Collins. Neill also leads concerts of La Monte Young’s The Second Dream with an international brass ensemble; performances have recently been presented in New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Amsterdam, Huddersfield, Oslo, Krems, Koln, and Warsaw.

NEW MUSIC: KIALLA – Kotton Kandy

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This Russian-Iranian duo KIALLA was formed in 2018 in the west-side of Chicago and their latest single is ‘Kotton Kandy’, a track that blends jungle breaks and a stoned 90s trip hop vibe. It works really well. We’re looking forward to hear more of what the pair have to offer.

KIA grew up in Tehran, Iran where he began his creative journey. Via was born in Siberia, Russia and became one of the few female pioneers in the Russian hip-hop scene. After meeting in Southeast Asia, the inspired duo moved to Chicago.

NEW MUSIC: Past Present & Tortusa – Black Mist

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Out of Norway comes this fascinating piece of experimental dubbed and smeared atmospheric jazz fusion from Past Present & Tortusa. The trio of trumpet, upright bass and live sampling is composed and performed by Simen Kiil Halvorsen, Alexander Hoholm and Tortusa respectively. Space is the key to what makes ‘Black Mist’ so compelling as the digital details flicker and dance around the edge of the music, creating texture and nuance quite wonderfully while the trumpet and bass deftly interweave ghostly melodies and rhythmic pulses.

‘Black Mist’ comes from the album Eternal Return:

“Eternal Return is a dystopian tale told in three chapters. It starts with the track ‘Nowhere’ representing a beautiful utopian dream, followed by ‘Black Mist’, where conflict and despair have become a norm, and the final chapter, ‘Dawn of Hope’, brings light and hope for a new and better future.”

NEW MUSIC: Squarepusher – Vortrack

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Photo by Donald Milne

Taken from the new album Be Up A Hello, here’s the latest glitchy, electro squelch from the mercurial musician and producer Squarepusher.

After a 5 year hiatus that has seen him delve into a range of diverse musical projects, Tom Jenkinson will release his new album on the 31st of January. Fans can enjoy a taster as the double-A side 12” ‘Vortrack’ will be released on the 6th of December, featuring Squarepusher’s Fracture Remix.

With this new album, Squarepusher has returned to using a bewildering array of vintage analogue and digital hardware, the same equipment that first helped him develop his sound in the early ’90s. Something of a 180 degree turn, these synths, effects units and even a Commodore Vic20 are in complete contrast to the tools he used to create 2015’s Damogen Furies – cutting edge software that Tom developed over the course of 15 years. The result is Be Up A Hello, an album that is celebratory with rinsing breakbeat tracks such as Nervelevers and Terminal Slam – classic floor fillers – as well pieces loaded with visceral atmosphere and melody in Squarepusher’s inimitable style. Darker moments such as Vortrack and Mekrev Bass illustrate Tom’s continuing fascination with finely balanced psychological overload. As such, Be Up A Hello gives a nod to the mayhem, joyousness and abandon of the DIY Essex rave scene that was a strong determinant in Tom’s work.

Squarepusher
Be Up A Hello
(WARP)
Street Date: Jan. 31, 2020

Track List:

A1. Oberlove
A2. Hitsonu
A3. Nervelevers
A4. Speedcrank
A5. Detroit People Mover
B1. Vortrack
B2. Terminal Slam
B3. Mekrev Bass
B4. 80 Ondula

 

NEW MUSIC: UK Apache with Shy FX – Original Nuttah 25

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UK Apache and soundman, DJ and UK pioneer, Shy FX have released ‘Original Nuttah 25’ – a re-recorded and re-mastered seminal anthem ‘Original Nuttah’ that shook dance floors back on 1994 with its hard-hitting seminal jungle beats. It still sounds gloriously heavy and madcap. The re-mastered and re-recorded 2019 version of the all-time classic features an original vocal from actor Idris Elba,

Shy FX says of ‘Original Nuttah 25’: “This record changed my life and I still can’t believe its 25 years ago! For the anniversary we wanted to do something special, so we re-recorded the ‘Original Nuttah 25’ version, added a speech from an actor friend of mine and called in a remix from Chase & Status to freshen it up in time for Carnival. And trust me they came through with the goods! Here’s to another 25!”

ALBUM REVIEW: Underground Lovers – A Left Turn

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Underground Lovers
A Left Turn
Rubber Records
★★★★

Underground Lovers are back with their ninth studio album, their third since they reactivated after a hiatus through the first decade of the 21st century. That return showed they were still in fine form with their blend of psychedelic indie rock and electronica and they’ve again produced a strong album that brings those elements together in perfect hypnotic harmony.

Their last album Staring At You Staring At Me focused on the guitar sound of the band, giving it more of a rock feel. This time around they’ve ushered their electronic explorations back into the fold, placing the album close to the work they produced on Cold Feeling at the end of the ‘90s. 

Early on, Bells sets the psych controls for the heart of the mind and just as viably, the dance floor, with its droning Krautrock sprawling across more than six wonderful minutes. They have the ability – like Spiritualized and Wooden Shjips, to find the sweet spot of a groove and ride it endlessly. Hooky ups the rock ante yet still in a warm embrace with the melodies of Glenn Bennie’s guitar and Vincent Giarrusso’s vocal incantations.

Shoegaze has always been another mainstay of the band’s sound and on Dunes and Lusher, Philippa Nihill sounds like a dream sister to My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins as the music shimmers, glows and gently shudders behind her. The single Seven Day Weekend is anthemic in its drum machine-powered rhythm and distorted see-saw guitars as Giarrusso trips out in full Shaun Ryder mode on the ode to carefree socialising. 

By the time we reach the conclusion of the epic nine minute closer Rocky Endings, there’s a sense of post-rollercoaster exhilaration in the wake of the album’s propulsive peaks and floating valleys. The song winds its wistful way for four minutes before taking off into the stratosphere on an interstellar space-rock mission of chiming guitars, pulsing bass and metronomic drumming that billows and expands gorgeously. A Left Turn is another sonic gem from one of Australia’s psychedelic finest.

Chris Familton

 

NEW MUSIC: Alaskan Tapes – Views From Sixteen Stories

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Last month, Canadian composer Alaskan Tapes (Brady Kendall) released his new album Views From Sixteen Stories. Check out the title track below, a warm, dream-like, swelling piece of music that rises and falls with a certain weightlessness. There’s sonic depth to it too. Turn up the volume and the richness of the bass tones resonate wonderfully through the track.

Hit the Bandcamp link to stream and buy the album on vinyl/CD/digital or stream on the other usual platforms.

Michael A. Muller – Lower River

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Michael A. Muller is a co-founder of Balmorhea who have released six albums over the last 13 years. ‘Lower River’ is the title track of his solo album and it’s a wonderfully immersive and hypnotic piece of ambient, droning music that hangs in the air, draped in resonating, melancholic chords.

The press releases describes the track as being inspired by his own remote travels throughout the US and Europe and the personal exploration of a meditative practice, it’s a sonic exploration of what it means to hear versus to listen, to immerse oneself in navigating the subconscious plane of pure energy and deep, immersive creativity.

Lower River is out October 25th on Beacon Sound (vinyl) + 1631 Recordings (digital).