We’re loaded to the gills with excellent records this week, with the deluxe reissue of John Elliott’s Imaginary Softwoods album towering above them all. It originally emerged on a triple tape pack a few years back and has since become revered as one of the finest and most sought-after of all the Emeralds-related side-projects. It’s bleak but majestic, sombre yet life-affirming scope is reflected in the double gatefold sleeve, with stunning artwork from Elliott and Witchbeam, plus mastering by James Plotkin and a cut at D&M. It’s a beautiful package and as limited as they come – first come, first served!
Not Not Fun continue a hectic release schedule with an absolutely prime haul of wares this week, the best of the bunch being Umberto’s ‘Prophecy Of The Black Widow’, a very canny appropriation of Carpenter-esque Giallo-isms with a slant towards Italo and early ’80s New Wave, kinda like a cheekily scuffed VHS version of Gatekeeper or Zombi. Also make sure to check out Ensemble Economique’s ‘Psychical’ for a trippier, a voodoo take on this sound, and Dylan Ettinger’s ‘New Age Outlaws’ for the drone-y Vangelis look with some really surreal twists.
Jane Birkin’s solo debut ‘Di Doo Dah’ is a certified Gallic classic. Light In The Attic give it a much needed reissue, including bonus tracks and original artwork supplemented with previously unseen photographs, and of course the sublime production and arrangements from Jean Claude Vannier and Serge Gainsbourg. Opulent doesn’t begin to describe it, which should deserves a space in the racks of any self-respecting Francophile or lover of sensuous pop music.
On a rhythm tip, Dam Mantle bursts through with his debut album ‘First Wave’, while King Tubby is given a beautiful 7×7″ box set. Dam Mantle has been making waves with his remixes for Gold Panda, Gonasufi and Au Revoir Simone, among others, but this is his defining statement, full of fractal arrangements and crooked juxtapositions that just work so well in their own psyched-out headspace. Fans of Flying Lotus, As Valet, or Becoming Real should check this pronto. And for the Dub heads, that Tubby box set is just crucial, collecting 14 of his finest riddims in a proper heavyweight casing, paying tribute to one of reggae’s most innovative auteurs in resplendent style and fashion.
We’re brimming with killer singles this week too, topped by Greatest Hits’ ‘Danse Pop’ gem for Olde English Spelling Bee. Imbued with the same crooked charm as Autre Ne Veut or James Ferraro, this is a f**ked-up brew of FM boogie pop and Pete Waterman-esque naughtiness that we won’t be forgetting in a hurry. It’s highly recommended!!! Taking to the ‘floor, Raster Noton drop an absolute blinder from Kangding Ray, reinforced with remixes from Alva Noto and Ben Frost. This is futurist Germanic avant-techno at it’s very best, reworking post-dubstep and technoid templates with enhanced production values and monstrous bass, and pretty much worth the cover price alone for Ben Frost’s overwhelmingly powerful remix.
From another angle, Mark Ernestus plugs into a tradition of Afro-Germanic fusions with two essential reworks of Konono No.1. For us, this is a dream come true, sounding exactly halfway between Basic Channel and purest Congolese dance music. Check the samples and watch your jaw drop.. For more traditional House and Techno, peep Space Dimension Controller’s most substantial vinyl release to date, the diverse and dazzling ‘Temporary Thrillz’, pressed on marbled purple double vinyl for R&S. FXHE also have two hot drops from Omar-S, one featuring a reissue of Roy Davis Jr.’s staple classic ‘All I Do’, backed with an immense tribal original from AOS and DJ B-Len-D, and the other featuring four tracks of grit-ridden tracky Detroit House by Omar in solo mode.
Elsewhere, we’ve got a sublimely rooted 10″ from Wareika Hill Sounds on Honest Jon’s (causing much consternation on the 33 or 45 ting), the deadly 2nd instalment of Modeselektion volumes, including next level beats from Shed, 2562, and SBTRKT, and that remarkable Space System 12″ on Optimo Music, doubtless one of the maddest electro-acoustic disco records we’ve heard all year, if that genre even exists!
And lest we forget, Not Not Fun also present the final transmission from Pocahaunted, placing Amanda Brown and co in a proper studio for the first and last time, resulting in three tracks of ritualistic pop music with all their strands of noise, post-punk dub, and desert pop revealed in not-quite-technicolor glory.
Other highlights this week come from Sven Weisemann, Boddika, Kontext, Subeena, Apparat, Hauschka, Peter Broderick, Marnie Stern, Warpaint, Dom Thomas, Recloose, Villalobos, Levon Vincent, Commix, Tom Ze, and a ruck of essential CD issues from Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti – don’t miss them.
have yourselves a fabulous week….