“New York City, 2069. A new form of crime has evolved. Only one hard-as-nails ex-cop has what it takes to get to the bottom of their plot and stop the new age outlaws from finding the alien artifact and destroying earth as we know it.” So the artist’s story goes – and as conceptual description, pretty much nail the sound on the head it does. An extensive exploration of fuzzy neon techno-soundscapes Dylan Ettinger’s New Age Outlaws is a leftfield modern bedroom psych equivalent of the Blade Runner, Terminator or even Streets of Rage scores; a retro-futuristic, 1980s sci-crime dream.
Not wholly surprisingly, III is the third album from NYC’s The Budos Band, and is a feast for fans of instrumental soul, funk and afrobeat. Written and perfected in weekly booze-filled sessions in Staten Island, the music was recorded in just 48 hours, produced by Bosco Mann and TNT at Daptone Records House of Soul Studios in Brooklyn, and played by a ten-piece unit made tight and efficient after approximately 150 gigs in the last two years.
Just as the previous album Trinity Rivers was a jamming form of abstract programme music attempting a sonic description of the specific landscape of the pair’s native Humboldt County, California, this release is not just named after but is informed by and grows out of the area surrounding the long bridge running between two coastal communities in the region, one of which is home to a municipal airport.
Y Niwl’s self-titled debut is the first Welsh surf-rock record as far as anyone can tell – and hardly surprisingly so you might say, bearing in mind North West Wales different climate and mood to that of 60s California. But then the influences cited by the band and who form the classic surf-rock sound – those like Dick Dale, The Surfaris, The Champs, Joe Meek and The Shadows – were by no means all tanning themselves on the golden sands of California’s beaches, so why not?
Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown played together previously in lords of atmosphere Coil, where Thrower was a part of the group’s seminal 80s/90s releases, and Brown was as part of the 21st century studio and live acts. Wounded Galaxies Tap at the Window is the pair’s third album as Cyclobe, recorded in amongst their work with other groups such as Amal Gamal Ensemble, Current 93 and Unicazürn and with contributions from friends and acquaintances like Thighpaulsandra (synthesiser/piano), John Contreras (cello), Cliff Stapleton (hurdy-gurdy) and Michael J. York (duduk/pipes), and it offers exactly the engulfing kind of deep-intrigue, psychedelic, ambient noise environments that you would want for and expect.
Glasgow’s cult art-rockers The Phantom Band are back after last year’s Checkmate Savage with the nine-track opus The Wants – a similarly diverse work. It’s a record of two halves however, with the opening tracks offering an incredible promise and some fantastic invention, but tailing off as the album develops into a sometimes more simplistic and sometimes less interesting second-half.
A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction brings together the entire 1990 debut recordings of Dylan Carlson’s influential Earth. Previously split and released separately across the initial Extra Capsular Extraction EP and the later Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitar the tracks are here presented together for the first time.
NY femme Frankie Rose is formerly of Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts but here strikes out solo, albeit backed by the Outs, and brings us a wondrous amalgam of 60s girl group fizz, shoegaze dream pop fuzz and garagey r’n’r – with her sweet-edged vocals sitting atop the meld.
Initially creating the idea of an album borne directly from that primitive original video game success PONG (added to by the simplistic album art, and the fact that there is a separate disc in the release including 3D-interpretations of the game by visual artists and software producers), Senking’s _PONG _is an album much wider in scope than its name might suggest at – and far more inventive and interesting because of it.
This collection of 17 tunes attempts to represent the 12-year history of BPitch Control on one disc. Two years in the making, it is likely to have evolved from the 10th anniversary of the label, and though 12 years isn’t the usual time to be releasing a showcase of music – in this case the Werkschau of the title – it is a fitting statement of the electronic music BPitch Control has become known for. All tracks are previously unreleased which ensures there’s no rolling out of a few oft-played classics fans already have and make for a fresh compilation with a diverse range of tuneage.
Opening with a high group choral “Fuck!” you know straight off the mark that Rose Kemp’s Golden Shroud isn’t your average record. Forging a sprawling experimentalism from lilting melodies and folk sensibilities with crushing doom, Kemp and her band offer three loud and expansive tracks full of vocal histrionics, inventiveness and dark, heavy riffery.
Modeselektor have been innovators of the electronic dance music scene who focus their energies on creating or challenging styles with one key element running throughout: plenty of bass. This new compilation series follows that trend by offering new and exclusive tracks by friends and artists the duo admire. Volume one of Modeselektions sees focus turn to dubstep with tunes from mainstays of the scene as well as techno producers getting in on the act.
Legendary dub producer Scientist has embarked on a special project for Tectonic. Taking 12 unreleased dubstep tunes from the scene’s top produces including Kode 9, Loefah, Mala and label boss Pinch, he’s reworked them by injecting them with his own unique dub sound. His manipulation of reverb, delay and filters sees them bass-loaded to best effect after a year’s worth of work. The ambitious project has produced compelling results.
Jim Sullivan’s disappearance in 1975 is still an unexplained and mysterious happening. Stories and rumours of him being murdered by the Mafia, committing suicide, getting lost in the desert or even abducted by Aliens were suggested and pondered over at the time and throughout the years since, but with nothing like a believable truth being found. What is true, however, but has just remained little-known for years, is how much of an impressive singer-songwriter Sullivan was, and thanks to Light In The Attic’s re-issue of his ultra-rare 1969 debut U.F.O. the man and his short career can receive a welcome re-assessment and appreciation.
Widely and better known as BBQ, Mark Sultan is a modern-day garage rock legend, frequently, but not always, to be found performing in partnership with the equally scene-defining King Khan. As BBQ or in other bands there have been many apearances and releases, though as simply Mark Sultan, only one record before this, 2007’s deliciously-titled Sultanic Verses, much acclaimed and a much more varied affair than the straight garage-rock thing.
Both tracks on this 12” from Chaz Budnick find catchy grooves with maximalistic production that retains nuance and exudes nous. But as the real appeal of Budnick’s more famous Toro Y Moi project is the mix of the feel-good club moods, bouncy bass and cool-synths into lo-fi indie songs, when untempered here in his Les Sins moniker, bolstered on a-side “Lina” by funk guitar, bouncing lead female vocals and four to the floor house beats, the major appeal is somewhat dampened.
H.O.S.H, aka German Holger Behn, serves up his debut long-player of underground house with ten tunes geared towards the dancefloor. It’s minimal stylings sit tantalisingly on a bed of layered texturised beats which transport you to a pulsing dancefloor, blending in dub, classical instruments and world music influences. Behn claims _Connecting the Dots” is aimed at building links between his music past, present and future and is intended as a lesson in house music’s evolution. It’s an astute effort, best heard blended into a mix than as an album start to finish.
Ed DMX lives in London where he makes music and runs his label Breakin’ Records – home to Bass Junkie, Mandroid and Ceephax Acid Crew. He’s also the whole of DMX Krew signed to Aphex Twin’s label Rephlex and one of their most active artists performing around the world. With such respected electronica acts around him, he’s influenced and been influenced by some of the best as he’s developed his electro-funk sound. Wave Funk brings together one CD of new material and another previously only available on vinyl for 35 tunes of ambient and experimental retro-synth sound.
John Carpenter stands out not only as master horror director but as an influential soundtrack-composer supremo in addition, with his seminal works in the decades of discussion thought of as peaks of the form and are rightfully and wonderfully celebrated here by French duo Zombie Zombie with their understated but dance-friendly approach.
Classically, psych music has often appropriated Eastern moods and modes for effect, experimenting with the meditative and trancelike musical sentiment accompanying the practices and ideas of Eastern religions. Prince Rama’s music is steeped in this tradition – the band grew up attending a Hare Krishna community in Florida and retain the feeling of those meeting’s spiritual freak-outs.
Cellist Erik Friedlander is probably most known as a long time part of the downtown NYC scene and for his collaborations with John Zorn. It was as part of the Zorn-curated “Aleph-Bet Sound Project” at The Contemporary Jewish Museum where this piece was premiered, then later recorded over one long day session at Kampo Studios in New York with Jennifer Choi (violin), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Mike Sarin (percussion) alongside Friedlander.
The record appears from the fact that both Bosshard and Grab, each of them composers/musicians/producers with leftfield/avant-garde leanings, came to experience being within a Magnet Resonance Imaging scanner and both delighted in its sounds. Taking samples directly from the machinery itself the pair crafted these sounds into arrangements with a view to impart a sense or feeling of the experience – both via live performances (featuring a multitude of speakers surrounding and within the audience) and this recorded release – available either on LP (including seven tracks and three endless sound loops) and on CD (including three bonus tracks and an 80-track-strong “Soundlibrary” of original samples of six or seven seconds in length).
A name synonymous with Ibiza, Sven Väth has been visiting the island since his teens, evolving his experiences into the Cocoon night now entrenched in Ibiza club folklore. Väth’s nights at Amnesia are celebrated affairs and for this mix of tunes bringing together the sounds of his eleventh season on the party isle, he delves into his record collection to provide a taster of its atmosphere as nearly three hours of music forms a musical diary featuring regulars such as Speedy J, Plaid and Jacek Sienkiewicz alongside newcomers like BDI and Kabale und Liebe.
Bang Face favourite The Squire of Gothos are a duo who echo the club night’s ethos of providing neo-rave Armageddon. Mashing up hardcore, dubstep, jungle and techno their bassline rave is awash with humour, the pair never taking themselves too seriously, resulting in a debut album full of dancefloor mayhem with all four of their feet firmly on the gas.
The opening stabbing shanks of bass on the a-side title track comes on like The Walker Brothers’ “The Electrician”, offering all of the same intensity, but instead of the morose croon, the track continues to stir with keys and guitar coming on almost orchestral over the drone, and echoing vocals appearing as another texture in the muddied, spacey sound, altogether like some garage psych band who’ve continued the adventure despite the downward nature of the trip – Bobby Beausoleil’s Free Doom Orchestra perhaps.