Applehead de Applehead
SOUNDTRACKS / LIBRARY / EARLY ELECTRONIC
Pre-Cert Home Entertainment
LP // £9.99
*Second limited edition transmission from this Demdike Stare / Andy Votel orchestrated boutique imprint. 400 copies for the world*Pre-Cert Home Entertainment return from the vinyl pits of Manchester and much further abroad to present a compendium of clues exploring the semi-fictitious and quasi-symbolic qualities of Applehead. With sublime references to Roman Catholicism, Politics & Agriculture, corruption, fairy-tales, Horrotica, Post-war European Surrealism and fumetti/giallo crime fiction Applehead’s first LP is presented within the aesthetic context of cold modernist-pop and Italian and Spanish horror film music featuring randomized spoken word segments and concrete compact tape experiments. It’s a seriously absorbing trip. Their sonic seed trails lead to seemingly dead ends which turn out to have secret trapdoors into yet more catacombs of references to the belgian surrealism movement, the films of Lucio Fulci, the outrageous prog ideals of Franco Battiato and a hive of sounds homaging Carpenter, Oram, Massiera, Simonetti and Besombes among them. By the end of the record, when the miasma begins to recede you’ll be clearer as to the essence of Applehead’s macabre mediterranean folklore and his connections to the industrial North West. Until then, you’re in the dark. Album features subtly disturbed artwork from Anworth Kirk and vinyl was cut at Berlin’s D&M. Limited to 500 copies and highly recommended.
| BEE MASK|
Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico
LP // £13.99
*500 COPIES ONLY* Bee Mask’s mind-melting ‘Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico’ was released in 2010 on a c30 cassette through Gift Tapes. Editions Mego’s John Elliott-helmed Spectrum Spools label has given it a vital vinyl reissue, faithfully remastered by Rashad Becker at Berlin’s Dubplates & Mastering. To say we’re excited by the potential of this label is a given, but let’s deal with the incredible album in question first. Chris Madak aka Bee Mask’s music exists in a continuum of musique concrète and tape experiments stretching back to the earliest emissions of Pierre Henry through more recent sounds captured on The Lovely Music label and the present day hypnagogic/synth noise of Emeralds, Rene Hell or Oneohtrix Point Never. However, unlike the improvised, “one-take” stream-of-consciousness approach preferred by many today, ‘Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico’ has been meticulously sculpted from a range of sounds (listed here as Synthesizers, percussion, piano, tape, and voice) recorded, mixed, and edited between 2006-2010 in Cleveland and Philadelphia. The result is a highly structured and often breathtaking confluence of contrasting sounds arranged with a magnetic mystery and a cryptic logic which will reveal itself in due course. Bee Mask already counts the likes of Autre Ne Veut (who included a large chunk of this LP in his Altered Zones mix) and Will Bankhead (who released ‘Frozen Versioning (Hyperborean Return)’ on his The Trilogy Tapes label) as big fans, and no doubt your good selves, soon enough. Frankly, this release is unmissable for anyone on the hunt for exceptional new electronic music – Essential Purchase.
The Criminal Minds
2LP // £11.99
Killer drop from Rephlex, compiling the hugely sought-after early 12″s by legendary UK HipHop unit The Criminal Minds. While at college in 1985, DJs Halo and Chase 1 formed TCM, incorporating DJ Spatts and MC Iceski later on. As the story goes, DJ Halo sold his decks in 1990 to fund their first release, the ‘Guilty As Charged EP’, and soon after were joined by MCs Safe D and CMD before producing the ‘Tales From The Wasteland’ EP in 1991. They were limited to runs of 300 and 500 copies respectively, hence the cool asking price of £800+ for originals nowadays. After the ‘ardcore explosion of ’92 the group went on to produce a string of jungle records for White House including the notorious ‘Baptised By Dub’, but these discs are solely concerned with that pair of visceral early releases, featuring ‘Urban Warfare’, ‘Just Check It’, ‘Police State’ and ‘Section 12 Paragraph 0’ from 1990s ‘Guilty As Charged’ 12″, plus ‘Systems Overload’ and ‘Illegal Procedure’ from their 1991 12″ ‘Tales From The Wasteland’. The crunching breaks, the ruffneck scratches, the wildcard samples and most of all, the fierce, rocking attitude which just can’t be touched. Listening to these tracks you’re hearing the birth of ‘ardcore, jungle, and D&B and the kinetic energy and discipline which would influence everyone from Autechre to Demdike Stare, the raw and basic ideas of the original UK HipHop invasion feeding forward into today. Essential purchase!
SOUNDTRACKS / LIBRARY / EARLY ELECTRONIC
LP // £9.99
Gray was the downtown “industrial sound” band started by Andy Warhol acolyte and avant-garde HipHop legend, Jean-Michel Basquiat. ‘Early Works’ is an astonishing collection of their first creations, reissued in a silk-screened sleeve bearing his distinctive crown motif (the same which adorns Ramelzee’s classic ‘Test Pressing’ sleeve). Named after the medical bible, Gray’s Anatomy, Basquiat, together with Michael Holman formed the group in 1979 and would later be joined by Shannon Dawson, Wayne Clifford, Nick Taylor and a young Vincent Gallo to operate at the core of New York’s downtown scene, playing shows at the Mudd Club, CBGB’s and Hurrahs amidst the likes of Talking Heads and Blondie. But Gray were quite a different proposition, playing ethereal, abrasive industrial “sound effects” music on scaffolding, synths and whatever machines they could lay hands on. One of the tracks here, the spectral, sloping, dread dubbed ‘Drum Mode’ has appeared on a number of compilations over the last decade, most notably on Gomma’s seminal ‘Anti NY’ comp, but the rest are about as rare as a pube in the queen’s soup. There’s the echoic industro-dub collage of ‘Wig’ for starters, next to the ritualistic, Oriental workshop atmospheres of ‘Eight Hour Religion’ and a scratchy, lysergic episode of tape loops, free-psyche drums and textures in ‘Figure It Out For Yourself’, all assuredly ahead of their time. This music forms a vital chunk of art and music history and should be considered an absolutely essential purchase, we reckon.
A Sort of Radiance
LP // £13.99
*500 COPIES ONLY – First release on this hugely exciting new label from Emeralds’ John Elliott and Editions Mego.* Chicago-based, Ohio-bred multi-instrumentalist, Matthew Mullane inaugurates the Spectrum Spools label with the spellbinding voyage of ‘A Sort Of Radiance’. This is his debut album, and first release on vinyl but he’s previously released cassettes in small runs on Fairchild Tapes and Stunned Records. The fact that he’s skipped much of the ferric initiation/screening process should tell you that his music is of a more distinguished character than many trapped in the tape dream. He’s capable of initiating vast astral dialogue between his machines of choice (we’re not quite sure what he uses here – guitar and computer, possibly?), inviting us in to a “multi dimensional organism of sound that has perplexing depth and astounding detail” according to the label, and sublimely immersive if you ask us. Its structured around five longer compositions and slightly fewer vignettes, or palette cleansers for the epic sections. Those epic sections rove from dense, skin-tingling ultraviolet fog and cascading arpeggios of ‘Leaving The House’ to the HD synaesthetic phenomena of ‘Light Float’ and stereo-spiralling columns of synth movement on ‘Soft Disconnect’, all vividly rendered and deeply detailed while the shorter pieces allow for more condensed, dynamic ideas like with the woozy stereo swirl of ‘Control’ and the abrasive space-grit textures of ‘Left’. Cut by Rashad Becker at Berlin’s D&M, January 2011. RIYL Emeralds, OPN, or Rene Hell – don’t miss!
| BRIDGET HAYDEN|
A Siren Blares In An Indifferent Ocean
LP // £12.99
Probably best known as the violinist for free-noise pioneers Vibracathedral Orchestra, I was pretty sure I knew how ‘…An Indifferent Ocean’ would sound before I’d even sat down to give it a run through. How wrong can a guy be? This is pretty far from the wailing post-psych of Hayden’s previous troupe, and far closer to Grouper’s early, singular haunted drones. With saturated tape sounds forming the backbone of ‘…An Indifferent Ocean’, Hayden throws down gloopy guitar notes and pained vocals to create a barely-heard haze of songs. There are songs there, sort of, but they have to be reached by climbing through a syrupy mass of white noise and shimmering, cavernous reverb. It’s all too easy when making this sort of music to end up with a record that can’t be enjoyed, something that just crosses the line between harmony and dissonance, but Hayden knows just when to reign her compositions in, and manages to come up with an album that is punishing but also deeply enjoyable. These songs could almost sit comfortably with any on the Miasmah roster, such is the creepy, drone-heavy mood pushed forth on the record. And that, as any followers of the label will know, is high praise indeed. Recommended listening.
LP // £14.99
**Limited edition of 200 hand-numbered copies** Engrossing new Senufo Edition from Oreledigneur, a collaborative duo of Giuseppe Ielasi and Renato Rinaldi. Between 2004-2009 Rinaldi followed filmmaker and photographer Armin Linke on the shooting sessions for his film ‘Alpi’, recording on-location sound for the film which was then edited, sound-designed and assembled into this LP by Oreledigneur. With the whole sound archive at his disposal, Ielasi remained relatively faithful to the original material by editing and composing without any additional processing but the end result bears little resemblance to the final soundtrack. It’s a vivid montage of acousmatic sound, removed from their source and rarely evocative of their subject, The Alps, aside form a few distant cowbells and a very un-natural sounding snow. Instead we hear the sounds of artificial ski tracks, maintenance machines, scientific laboratories, tunnel resonances, military academies and broken equipment, clashing the generally perceived image of the Alps in literature, movies and TV with the modern, anthropized Alps full of tourists and recreational areas. Essentially, there are some incredible sounds on here, from ultra-vivid HD explosions to curious, microscopically detailed rhythm textures, all arranged with jarring juxtapositions and a seriously uncanny sense of space. It’s certainly one of the most intersting Senufo Editions so far and comes very highly recommended.