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Nov. 19th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Kikagaku Moyo - Backlash

Here's more space rock magnificence from Kikagaku Moyo. Some of the guitar breakdowns are nothing less than pure early '70s acid blues, but that sense of them being musical cosplayers has long gone. On Backlash, the opening track from Stone Garden (2017), that's in no small part due to the lo-fi dirtiness that hangs over proceedings. The distorted groove is just filthy. What lifts it to the next level though is the drumming of Go Kurasawa, full of muscular curls and restless energy. Top rock noise, thanks.

Kikagaku Moyo - Backlash
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Nov. 18th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Circuit des Yeux - Brainshift

Some people have been listening to Haley Fohr sing for 10 years now. While I quite understand that you might resent them for their good fortune, sometimes it's better just to sit back and listen. No better place for that than with her most recent album, the 2017 release Reaching for Indigo. She's usually tagged as an experimental folk artist, but listen to the solemn minimalist drones here, and her deep, rich, declarative voice and it's hard not to think of her as a religious performer. Fohr could have been one of the great contralto performers of spirituals, and frankly I rather wish she'd give it a go. Brainshift is arresting and astounding. Don't go a day longer without it.

Circuit des Yeux - Brainshift
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Nov. 17th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Big Baby

The Canadian lounge/surf/punk outfit Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet didn't normally have vocals on their tracks. But then they didn't normally collaborate with underground comics artist Charles Burns, either. Big Baby is titled after the Burns strip of the same name, and shares much of the original's mixture of innocence and fear. If you're lucky, nothing will ever be as terrifying as your childhood, and this captures the horrors that the young imagination finds in a suburban setting. It's from the soundtrack to the film Comic Book Confidential and can be found on some versions of the Savvy Show Stoppers album.

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Big Baby
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Nov. 16th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Pauline Oliveros - A woman sees how the world goes with no eyes

Crone Music is more than just the soundtrack to King Lear, it's some of the most texturally rich drone music ever created. Pauline Oliveros' 1990 release has her treating her accordion with a wide range of effects pedals to produce the feeling of great dread and apprehension. A woman sees how the world goes with no eyes is the existential nausea equivalent of the ASMR tingle.

Pauline Oliveros - A woman sees how the world goes with no eyes
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Nov. 15th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette - You Know, You Know

If you only know Keith Jarrett from his acoustic piano and disconcerting groaning, you'd be hard pressed to identify the keyboard player on this. You Know, You Know dates to 1971 and comes from the album Ruta and Daitya which Jarrett recorded with drummer Jack DeJohnette. DeJohnette is rather more recognisable, there's something about the way he hangs around a cymbal to provide colour that no one else ever seemed to do. But this is the electric Jarrett, with a funky keyboard sound and digging deep into the blues for his jazz. He steps away from convention for a few audacious chromatic spells, perhaps a signpost for the player he was to become. But it's unfair to listen to this solely as a precursor to other music, and I have to say I really enjoy how far the younger Jarrett can take the tune away from where you think it's going, and how quickly he can bring it back again. No surprise that he was such a fan of Thelonious Monk.

Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette - You Know, You Know
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Nov. 14th, 2018

cyberinsekt

E Ruscha V - The Hostess

Sometimes you see a band name and immediately want to listen to them. I'm an unashamed fan of the artist Ed Ruscha, so anyone using his name was going to set off my radar. Turns out E Ruscha V isn't just using that name for music. He's Ed Ruscha's son Eddie, and the V is that weird affectation of wannabe dynastic American families.

That aside, The Hostess from the album Who Are You (2018) turns out to be genuinely great. It's a minor piece, slight and wistful, matching pellucid keyboard tones with lazy steel guitar. They feel like sounds plucked out of time; as they fade together into an electronic squall you feel privy to some sad decline, their sonic comfort gone to seed.

E Ruscha V - The Hostess
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Nov. 13th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sourakata Koite - Ha-Madi

Sourakata Koite is a Senegalese kora player whose album En Hollande is supposed to be getting a re-issue rather shortly. It was recorded in 1984 in a studio beside a dike, Koite having emigrated to Europe in the 1970s. Ha-Madi is a traditional tune, and he gives it great legs. None of your moody kora meanderings here, this is sharp and bright and zips along like nobody's business. You won't hear many better examples of West African polyrhythmicism than this. Genuinely astounding that it's just one guy playing all those crossing lines all at once. Deeply satisfying.

Sourakata Koite - Ha-Madi
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Nov. 12th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Thuja - All Strange Beasts of the Past II

Thuja was an improv group from the noughties that featured Doklands favourite Steven R Smith. It was a fine setting for his melancholy folk explorations, which here are a hauntological take on a Penguin Café Orchestra rehearsal session. It's the sound of dusty rooms and shuffling feet, the ambience of distant traffic and old tape decks. Nothing ever locks in place the way it could, and the awful pain of nostalgia never leaves the frame. An untitled track from the 2003 album All Strange Beasts of the Past.

Thuja - All Strange Beasts of the Past II
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Nov. 11th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Arca - Piel

Arca is the alias of Alejandro Ghersi, a Venezuelan producer and singer. Piel comes from his 2017 release Arca. It's the sound of holy suffering, as Ghersi sings in a counter-tenor against feedback whines and sinister keys. But he's unaffected by all of that. Spirit and body have been severed, self-flagellation is over and he's floating on a raft of endorphins. Introspection is always secretly creepy.

Arca - Piel
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Nov. 10th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Yussef Kamaal - Strings of Light

If this is the new jazz-funk then we are in a golden age. Yussuf Dayes (drums) and Kamaal Williams (keyboards) play an entirely modern, post-jungle take on the style. Williams plays with sonic washes that occasionally smear, and he's joined by spacecat trumpet and some particularly muscular electric bass. But Dayes is a complete fucking star here, loose and expressionistic, but with skins as dry as you like. I need to hear more by this London duo. Strings of Light comes from the 2016 album Black Focus.

Yussef Kamaal - Strings of Light
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Nov. 9th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Lea Bertucci - At Dawn

Now here's how you make minimal ambient music: Lea Bertucci uses only two notes in the entirety of At Dawn, but the electronic treatments and wide range of found sounds make for a piece of distinctive texture. Forget about ambient music being for relaxation, this is neurotic stuff. No answers are to be found in the held notes of this ominous cadence, and no comfort either. Five minutes of existential disquiet from the 2018 release Metal Aether.

Lea Bertucci - At Dawn
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Nov. 8th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Susumu Yokota - Uchu Tanjyo

Susumu Yokota was a prolific composer of electronic music. Some of it was was a sort of ambient new age techno, as perplexing as that might seem, heavy on the samples. Some of it was a lot more commercial than that. However, there's no denying that he was a tremendously musically literate guy, as you can hear on his standout albums Sakura (1999) and Grinning Cat (2001). Uchu Tanjyo comes from Sakura, and it's an elegantly constructed melding of wood drums and echo-heavy wobble guitar. Rather neat.

Susumu Yokota - Uchu Tanjyo
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Nov. 7th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Nomeansno - It's Catching Up

Nomeansno made some of the best punk records of the 1980s. I saw them once in a venue so crammed and hot that the stage became invisible in a haze of sweat vapour. It poured out into the surrounding streets and mingled with the fog. We became one with the weather that night.

It's Catching Up is full on slabs of sound crashing into each other at strange angles, and despite that it keeps a fearsome momentum. But then, when you're running from the horror that it yourself, you do need to keep a fair old pace. In a better world, this would be considered a classic. From the 1989 album Wrong.

Nomeansno - It's Catching Up
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Nov. 6th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Max Raabe - Mambo No. 5

I don't hold with the popular theory that Mambo No. 5 is the worst song of all time. I grew up the the wrong decade to hate on it with the necessary passion. Still, if you're going to loathe it then why not take revenge on the song by acknowledging the existence of a truly disrespectful cover version. Max Raabe & the Palast Orchester play cover versions in a camped up Wiemar cabaret style. Raabe himself sings in a style that's at once tight lipped and monumentally camp; everything enunciated and nothing taken at face value. Absolutely dreadful of course, but I do rather love it.

Max Raabe - Mambo No. 5
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Nov. 5th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer - Bell

Beautifully textured ambient electronics from one of the world's foremost audio mastering engineers and a visionary sound creator. Bell comes from their 2015 album Twine, and it features the bare minimum of melodic material, repeated over and over again like the gentle rocking of a boat. If you've been at sea for any length of time, you'll know how your legs adjust to the motion. So it is here, those notes become so familiar that everything else starts to come to the foreground: the amplified surface noises and what sounds like a buoy bell coming in through the fog. Exquisite.

Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer - Bell
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Nov. 4th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Cindy Lee - Last Train's Come And Gone

Lo-fi experimental doo-wop, accidentally heard through dappled light and hanging dust. A record plays in a distant room, but no-one is listening. Everything is slightly out of tune, worn down by time and pain, lost pop music of infinite weariness. That's what it's like listening to Cindy Lee, the band formed by ex-Women guitarist Pat Flegel. Last Train's Come And Gone is from their 2015 album Act Of Tenderness, and it sounds like a tape reel that's been sitting on a shelf since the 1960s.

Cindy Lee - Last Train's Come And Gone
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Nov. 3rd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Kemialliset Ystävät - Palava Puolukka

There's something fungal about the music of Kemialliset Ystävät. It's as if their records are simply the fruits of a giant underground mycological tangle. Many of their songs sound like fantastical clockwork contraptions built by small rodents. This is true of Palava Puolukka from the album Ullakkopalo, but this time the animals have built a malfunctioning homebrew amplifier to play everything through.

It's perfect.

Kemialliset Ystävät - Palava Puolukka
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Nov. 2nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Caterina Barbieri - Gravity That Binds

Here's some amazing modular synth work from Italian composer Caterina Barbieri. Gravity That Binds is the final track from her 2017 album Patterns of Consciousness, and it's powerful demonstrates of the uses of repetition. It starts with a simple pattern, subdued and rather churchy, and then starts to gradually modulate the timbre. By the time it's in full flow the sound seems to be crashing about everywhere, despite Barbieri's restraint with the number of active voices. It closes with a fade that lasts several minutes, like a piece of space junk floating away into the distance, still and peaceful and lost. A real emotional journey.

Caterina Barbieri - Gravity That Binds

Nov. 1st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Alfa Mist - Potential

Jazz has been cross pollinated with just about every other musical style over the years: ragtime, swing, blues, showtime, classical, soul, funk, rock and minimalism. It's how it has stayed contemporary over the years. Now we're getting crossover from hip hop and grime, particularly among the new wave of musicians working in London.

Potential comes from Alfa Mist's 2017 debut Antiphon. It's a thoughtful and rather melancholy number, the beat laying heavy over your shoulders, weighing you down and letting you spring back up. It's serious but hopeful, as reflected by the spoken conversation between Alfa and his brother that runs throughout. That in turn leads into a muted guitar solo that, in its pained chromaticism, is at odds with the luscious groove. A bit of rough in the diamond to end this absolute killer.

Alfa Mist - Potential
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Oct. 31st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Christina Vantzou - Glissando for Bodies and Machines in Space

A glissando is a long musical slide, rising or falling in pitch. That's exactly what you get here: a ghostly vocal slide is echoed by a rumbling electronic one, like the communication of two mismatched ghostly whales. It's sinister and atmospheric, and I'm impressed by the way Vantzou manages so much with so little. From her 2018 release No. 4.

Christina Vantzou - Glissando for Bodies and Machines in Space
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