| HEATHER WOODS BRODERICK|
From The Ground (Limited Vinyl Edition)
FOLK / AMERICANA
LP // £9.99
*Very special vinyl edition cut at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin, includes a bonus track and a hidden locked groove, together with new artwork. limited copies!* The sister of office favourite Peter Broderick, Heather Woods Broderick steps into the limelight with this hugely impressive solo debut. On ‘From The Ground’, Heather is ably assisted by her multi-talented sibling, who records, produces and contributes various instrumental elements to the songs. These two are regular collaborators, appearing together in both Efterklang’s touring band and in Kill Rock Stars trio Horse Feathers, but it’s here that Heather’s songwriting receives the attention it deserves. Mixing beautiful post-folk ballads with moments of neo-classical ambience, From The Ground is a thing of tremendous sonic depth, but its success all boils down to the magic that happens when Heather picks up her acoustic guitar and sings: ‘Cottonwood Bay’ and ‘Back Room’ have a sublime, magical simplicity to them, and the piano-driven title track perfectly underlines the melodic astuteness of her compositional abilities. Through these pieces she sounds like a missing link between Cat Power and Hope Sandoval, but threaded in between are slightly more meandering, atmospheric outings like the dusky soundscaped epic ‘For Misty’ and the almost Satie-esque ‘Left’ – both of which are draped in Peter’s always-exceptional string arrangements. From The Ground might just be one of the year’s best debuts – one that establishes a considerable new talent, emerging from a family with no short supply of the stuff. Highly Recommended.
| FRANK BRETSCHNEIDER|
CLICKS / GLITCH
CD // £14.99
Raster Noton’s rhythmic auteur, Frank Bretschneider, presents his first album in three years, a “music-visual project based on the idea that fine art should attain the abstract purity of music”. ‘EXP’ is an attempt to assimilate the qualities of music, namely rhythm, movement, tempo, mood, intensity and compositional structure within the visual aspect. The music for the project is arranged from an array of generated and selected waveforms sourced from pure electricity, magnetism, light and other radiation. These sounds inform the visual animations, paralleling their changes in frequency, intensity and shape, attempting to exactly reproduce the audible occurences. Of course, that’s pretty hard to grasp without seeing the animation so we’ll just concentrate on the music. The album is divided between 35 tracks, each ranging between 13 seconds and nearly 3 minutes. Living up to his reputation as a master digital craftsman, Bretschneider uses his abilities to sculpt cochlea engulfing bass tones and ultra-visceral hi’s, occasinally arriving at moments where he creates the illusion of 3D electro-acoustic environments with spectacular depth perceptions. Between these hyperreal scapes and his avant B-boy beats this is a special album that should warrant repeat listens for those who really want to explore every nook and cranny of his artificial spaces. Very highly recommended.
| KONONO NO.1|
Assume Crash Position
CD // £11.99
As anyone who has experienced them live or on the seminal Congotronics LP will testify, Konono No.1 are truly one of the most exceptional, visceral bands in the world. With a distorted, hypnotic and utterly beguiling sound they’ve electrified traditional Congolese Bazombo trance music with a backline array of speakers salvaged from the Belgian colonnial era and amplifiers constructed from scrapped magnets and discarded electronics. In their home of Kinshasa, DR Congo, Konono are an in-demand ensemble, playing to weddings and wakes alike, upholding a folk tradition descended from septuagenarian band leader Mawangu Mingiedi’s roots in the Zombo tribe based in the hills on the Angolan border. However, their commercial and critical success outside their homeland far outweighs their reputation there. For ‘Assume Crash Position’, their second official album, they’ve worked with Belgian producer Vincent Kenis again to create an entrancing set of eight songs, some stretching out on a 12 minute locked groove, some sticking to an unusually brief slot. At the core of each track are the three likembes; modified and amplified thumb pianos set just slightly out of tune to each other plus relentlessly hypnotic percussion, and with this album an expanded line up of neighbourhood musicians from a young Konono covers band, members of Kasai Allstars, guitarist Manuaku Pepe Felly and guest vocalists. With Kenis’s production treatments, they’ve applied a subtle layer of gloss to the sound, which may detract from the rawness of earlier records, but we can assure you that the effect is still as bewitching and energetic as ever. From the serendipitous thrill of hearing a wall collapse in the background on ‘Makembe’ to the undeniable thrust of ‘Konono Wa Wa Wa’ the group play with insistent, innate and commanding power. Just so so good.
BEATS / DOWNTEMPO / WONKY
2LP // £13.99
Onra makes good on the promise of the ‘Long Distance’ 12″ with a full LP of greazily impressionistic electro-soul. If that taster 12″ was for the club, this album is for the ride to the club, whatever happens inside and the slow-roll home, packed out with 20 tracks of romantic boogie and pressurised slo-jamz. Adding to the funkmospherics we’ve got sexy vocals from Oliverdaysoul, Reggie B, and Slum Village’s T3, all sounding crisply authentic and colourful. The album opens with previous All City single, the badass ‘My Comet’, before swamping us in buttered bass slides, fizzing neon synths and very well-studied boogie soul scientifics. What sets this aside from many others jamming in this field is an intensely scrutinised attention to detail, creating crystalline early 80s environments with a slight psychedelic element, like hearing Geoerge Benson or Cameo reflected from a pair of heat warped speakers on Miami beach. Fans of the Lone album or Hudson Mohawke’s ‘Butter’ will love this – Highly Recommended!
| VARIOUS / SUB ROSA|
An Anthology Of Noise and Electronic Music: Volume 2
SOUNDTRACKS / LIBRARY / EARLY ELECTRONIC
3LP // £26.99
**Finally available on vinyl for the very first time – featuring exclusive and never before available material from the likes of Autechre, Tod Dockstader, Luc Ferrari and so much more – in a super heavyweight and deluxe gatefold package* This second volume of this excellent compilation series from Sub Rosa features an exclusive/previously unreleased Autechre track ‘Bronchus 1’ from 1991 – an alternate version of the track on ‘Incunabula’. A second chronology of pioneering sound artists covering 1936 to the present day, Including early pre-electronic music from Percy Grainger and Johanna M. Beyer, rare and unpublished pieces by leading electronic composers such as Vladimir Ussachevsky, Otto Luening, the amazing Tod Dockstader, Morton Subotnik, Hugh Davis and Luc Ferrari, as well as previously unreleased tracks from musicians who are part of the cornerstone of the modern electronic scene, including Scanner, Kim Cascone, and Yoshihiro Hanno, plus acid techno contributions from Woody Mcbride and Choose, industrial sounds by Laibach and SPK, a rare 1965 track from Sun Ra, and an even more obscure 1969 offering from Captain Beefheart. An essential electronic music document, full of detail and perfectly realised. Twenty one tracks – limited copies only!
| RAVEN CHACON|
At the point where the rivers crossed, we drew our knives
DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL
LP // £14.99
*Dark and harrowing drones and location recordings from this mysterious American avant-garde/noise composer – limited to 200 copies for the world* Following on from his incredible collaboration with William Fowler Collins under the ‘Mesa Ritual moniker, Raven Chacon returns with this super-rare vinyl outing after a string of releases on tape and CDR. The first side on this album is dominated by ‘The Totem of the Total Siren’, a harrowing piece using resonating snare rattle, bone whistle and nylon stringed guitar. The recording gradually builds on the snare’s nervous shudder, gradually turning into a swarm of subdued noise, coalescing with a low-pitched whistle placing us directly in the eye of a swirling storm. ‘La’ts’aadah’ is more intimate, a primitive piece for solo violin recorded close to the performer (Mark Menzies) with a worn-down microphone sounding like a dramatic, ancient middle eastern lament for a grandmother on her deathbed. Finally, a chamber piece for the Mary Washington Wind Ensemble entitled ‘Hasta’aadah’ layers sombre melodies into a thick drone, offering an eerily detailed composition, almost like Edward Williams score for ‘Life On Earth’ but with a far more sinister and chaotic arrangement scored for unconscious creatures. Limited to 200 copies only for the world and housed in a screen-printed cover by Jaycee Beyale – do not miss.
DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL
LP // £14.99
This sold-out-at-source LP comes from one half of Natural Snow Buildings, Solange Gularte, who makes her vinyl debut as a solo artist here. Modlitewnik introduces itself with a flourish of dream-scape drone folk and blissful psychedelia that just keeps on unravelling as the album progresses. Like a more rustic companion to the NSB sound, the material here seems a little more organic, calling upon blurry multi-instrumental tracts, Grouper-like evaporating vocals and a general sense that the fairy folk at the bottom of your garden are taking over. At times you might be reminded of the freeform sylvan musings of Fonal artist Islaaja, although undoubtedly the material here is far more musical and carefully crafted. The production is nicely judged too, never sounding especially lo-fi or murky, but by no means is it crisp or fully in-focus either. Instead the instruments seem to slightly dissolve into one another, only adding to the fantastical, uncanny quality to Gularte’s sound. Not only is the music exquisitely ornate and lovely, the accompanying artwork is a feature in itself, with the incredible inner-sleeve illustrations demonstrating that Solange is a talented visual artist as well as a fine ether-dwelling songstress. Snap up one of these while you still can.
| JEFF MILLS|
TECHNO / HOUSE
CD // £27.99
Jeff’s latest album is a Japanese, import-only, high-concept album about quantum physics. It originally emerged in the Jap market late last year, roughly coinciding with his special performances at Womb where he played an entire set from CDJs sunk into the stage, while kneeling down. Check youtube for proof! Anyway, we can’t fully elucidate on the time & space based concepts behind the album as it’s all Japanese to us (seriously, it’s not in English), but we can say that much like his previous CD only releases, this is a chance to catch Jeff at his most astrally esoteric. In keeping with his long standing tradition, he’s attempting to consciously create a musical language of prototypical techno harmonics and uniquely encrypted Afrofuturist programming in order to better communicate with the future, and however abstract that may sound, he’s bloody light years ahead of the rest of us. The tracks range from coded constellations of bleeps sans beats, to typically linear Millsian grooves flowing from pulsing space jack to intensely throbbing industrial arpeggios. Nobody does it better – highly recommended!
| CHRISTOPHER MCFALL|
The Body As I Left It
HOME LISTENING / MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT
CD // £9.99
Kansas City soundscaper Christopher McFall returns to the Sourdine label for a second outing, following up his 2008 album, The City Of Almost. For this collection, McFall set about his compositions using a piano, a broken phonograph and a selection of field-recorded or sampled material. Aesthetically, the early moments of the record bring to mind Philip Jeck – caking on the crackle in to the point where it sounds like an all-encompassing downpour. From all this static, bass-heavy, rumbling piano starts to chime and the piece eventually clears up, with only the grind of surface noise and worn-out vinyl grooves left by its close. The second track plumbs the depths even further, at first navigating its way around deep, dark clanking noises and the occasional muffled chord before eventually some Angelo Badalamenti-esque synth passages emerge. There’s a real spookiness to all this, and the stealthy introduction of melody undoubtedly adds to the immersive atmospherics of the album’s opening stages. The disc’s second half seems to rely less on interference and the residue left by faltering playback devices, and the more conventionally musical constituents start to resound with greater clarity. During the closing phases of the fourth piece, minimal piano phrases ring out from the middle distance, plotting a tentatively optimistic melody, while almost Satie-like passages emerge from the rubble of the subsequent piece. Limited to just 500 copies and arriving in a covert looking hand-stamped envelope, this album might not be the highest profile of releases, but the dense and multi-layered material housed inside its brown paper packaging should be sought out by anyone interested in the darker, more Lynchian side of cinematic ambience.