This week: delicious grooves, leftfield sounds and improvisational language

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Kelly Doherty, alongside contributors Emily Hill and James Hammond.

claire rousay, Morita Vargas, Maria Chavez, Valentina Magaletti, KMRU

Remotely Together



Rewire Festival puts out the first release of its new imprint. With collaborations between claire rousay and Morita Vargas, Valentina Magaletti and Maria Chavez and a standalone cut from KMRU, Remotely Together was commissioned during a series of remote residencies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Each track is an exercise in textures, making for a hypnotic collection from some of sound art’s finest.–KD

Loren Connors and Alan Licht

At The Top Of The Stairs

(Family Vineyard)


At The Top Of the Stairs comes in celebration of Loren Connors & Alan Licht’s 30-year-long collaboration and the duo’s recent 2-night residency at Café Oto, London. Locked into their shared improvisational language for these spellbinding performances in London, this LP finds the pair in similar form during a performance at Union Pool, Brooklyn, with both stoking the flames of a spontaneous and visceral set. Leaning towards the atonal and working reverb abstractions into potent swells and overspills, this is another fine document of the unique sounds that appear when Connors & Licht share a stage.–JH

Thomas Buckner Sings Robert Ashley

Spontaneous Musical Invention



The legacy of Robert Ashley’s approach to opera and speech as music continues to resound in the present and this 2LP set finds Thomas Buckner, a core member of Ashley’s storied ensemble, voicing a set of Ashley compositions. With Ashley’s operas flourishing from North American vernacular, distinct metrical grids, and intonation of speech patterns that tilt the familiar into the musical, Buckner’s performances bring their own distinct elements and personal traits to a reworking of the material. With one-half of this set devoted to a sampling of the 10-hour long opera, Atlanta (Acts of God), and the other half to previously unheard Ashley compositions, this is essential listening for fans of Ashley and Buchner’s enduring and influential works.–JH


Lucky For You

(Sub Pop)


Alicia Bognanno’s solo project Bully returns for her fourth album, Lucky For You. Bully has been treading along consistently with her ’90s influenced brand of personal indie-rock. Lucky For You is one of her strongest outings to date, detailing personal struggles of grief, regret and personal growth through fine-tuned rock anthems. Despite the scuzz and feedback, Lucky For You is impeccably produced, offering clarity within the noise. A lovely collaboration with spiritual peer Soccer Mommy is the cherry on top.–KD



(Desert Daze Sound)


Zango sees WITCH return for their first album in 39 years, recorded at the very same studio as their 1975 album, Lazy Bones. On Zango, the Zamrock legend’s sole surviving original member bandleader Jagari Chanda, and a series of collaborators, reignite the fire of WITCH’s early releases. Filled with delicious grooves and celebratory rock melodies, Zango is a joyous listen. Ready-made for communal summer listening, –KD

Material Things


(12th Isle)


Cult label 12th Isle has crafted some of the finest obscure leftfield sounds since its inception back in 2016. Its latest slice of the pie continues to hit notes of pure excellence as it presents to us an anthology of co-founder Stewart Brown’s part-debut album, spanning work from 2015 through to 2020. 2015-2020 contains a weighty selection of features based on chance encounters, such as the Scottish artist Bob Theil and London based percussionist Pike Ogilvy. Heavily circulating already in the scene, the body of work is a reflection of Brown’s own personal life whilst touching on corners of the eclectic sonic sphere formed by the incredibly talented Glasgow crew.–EH



(Nervous Horizons)


After their sensational Hessle Audio release, Toumba returns with a fresh bag of tunes on London-based breaks and broken label Nervous Horizon. Nervous Horizon is known for its forward-thinking club-based cuts, helmed by TSVI, and boasts releases from object blue, DJ Plead, to name but a few. Janoob in Arabic is translated as ‘south’ and this is a collection of six tracks on the weightier end of the spectrum, a deviation from his previous releases. All tracks absolutely bang designed with a club system in mind.–EH