This week: field recordings, club tools and melancholic splendour

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

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

Tom James Scott




On Nightshade, multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser Tom James Scott transports you to an expansive sonic world, enveloped by echoes and atmospheric tape loops. Nightshade is rich with deep, swirling sounds that surge and swell before disintegrating like a wave on the shore. A gorgeous, electroacoustic ambient piece that sets Tom James Scott apart as one of the most interesting ambient classical composers in the UK today.–AVD

David Toop & Lawrence English

The Shell That Speaks The Sea



As the title hints, The Shell That Speaks The Sea finds experimental maestros David Toop and Lawrence English looking towards sound’s material and immaterial suggestions. World-building around English’s field recordings of birds and insects, the duo extrapolates and engages with voice, and an array of sound-making objects and instruments on these vivid recordings. The results make for a series of sound worlds that readily take the ears along on a journey into the uncanny.–JH


everything is alive

(Dead Oceans)


Shoegaze heroes Slowdive return with their second reunion album, a spellbinding collection of songs towering in melancholic splendour. everything is alive contains a magnificent expansion of Slowdive’s signature sound: spectral layers of vocals awash in oceanic currents of echo and reverb and glistening electronic textures astounding in their haunting beauty. A remarkable follow-up to their 2014 reunion record—a testament to Slowdive’s enduring presence.–AVD

Channel One




Metroplex reissue the 1986 electro classic by Channel One, otherwise known as Juan Atkins and Doug Craig (aka Carl Craig’s cousin). The three-track EP Technicolor, remastered from its original tapes, is a playful take on futuristic techno with influences from Kraftwerk through to Atkins’ earlier electro musical project with Richard Davis, Cybotron. While the record was originally written without political intention, it has become an important benchmark in Detroit’s musical history and inspired a generation of producers and DJs alike.–EH


Eyoun El Alb



With a wide discography to Nagat al-Saghira’s name, Wewantsounds has rightfully chosen this distinctive cassette from 1980 for a first release on vinyl, and as a means to show off the breadth of her voice and approach. A legend of Egypt’s golden age of music, Nagat’s traditional works for orchestral settings are displayed on the two longer forms tracks here, yet the intrigue is in their contrast with the two other works that bring in bass grooves, synth lines and clavinet for a connection to the Arabic groove scene.–JH

Maija Sofia

True Love



Following her excellent debut Bath Time in 2019, Galway singer-songwriter Maija Sofia progresses on True Love. Where Sofia operated as a historian on her debut, True Love brings her own experiences into focus. The lyricism here is affecting, detailed and often surprising–Sofia’s tales of early 20s life offer moments of darkness and light through unexpected phrasing and a continual interplay between poetry and candour. True Love wraps Sofia’s distinct voice in an avant-pop shroud of playful pianos, lonely acoustics, and theatrical arrangements–all to a charming and intimate effect. Another excellent release from one of Ireland’s best new artists.–KD


Kifak Inta



Cult Lebanese classic Kifak Inta by Fairuz has its first-ever vinyl release via Wewantsounds, a label specialising in hard-to-find vinyl from around the world with a wide catalogue of international releases. Kifak Inta, recorded in the late ’80s and produced by the artist’s son Ziad Rahbani, was originally a cassette and CD exclusive in 1991. The release holds a rich collection of sounds from Brazilian tropicália, jazz, funk and Arabic music–all modernising the sound of the Lebanese diva!–EH

DJ bwin

Cell Phone

(First Second Label)


German duo DJ bwin returns to First Second Label, following their 2017 split EP with DJ OK. Cell Phone is a bass-heavy slab of club goodness. Propelled by its title track–a punishing, corner-lurking late-night excursion–the EP leans into its experimental side. A remix from the always excellent Cork producer ELLLL moodily drifts and changes gear before Cell Phone moves into its second act–the tightly wound shuffler “Psycho” and trap-adjacent closer “Frogger”. Four club tools ready-made for heralding the witching hour.–KD