Jun132018| June 13, 2018
Inspired by the ancient Chinese Tao Te Ching text.
Laurel Halo is releasing a six-track mini-album on Paris label Latency this July.
Titled Raw Silk Uncut Wood, it features collaborations with Oliver Coates and percussionist Eli Keszler.
According to Latency, the album is inspired by Halo’s film score work with Dutch design studio Metahaven on a documentary called Possessed and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, a key text of Taoism. The artwork is ‘Prince S’, a 2017 painting by Jill Mulleady.
Raw Silk Uncut Wood follows last year’s Dust album for Hyperdub, one of our favourite records of 2017.
Listen to the title tune and check out the tracklist below ahead of its 13th July release.
1. Raw Silk Uncut Wood
4. The Sick Mind
Jun112018| June 11, 2018
Gospel rnb, IKEA techno and horrific synths.
Talk about DIY… This week’s new music begins with flat pack intensity and Bell Towers’ playful ‘IKEA Hack’ – an ode to the Expedit that might frighten you just as much as Death Waltz’ latest 10″ of Campfire Creepers, or Black Midi’s first ever appearance on wax with ‘bmbmbm’.
In the album’s box, we’ve got new music from Fourth World master Jon Hassell (so good he coined a whole genre for himself), nimble beats, video game idents and detuned dial tones from Proc Fiskal on Hyperdub, and a ravishing debut from Björk collaborator serpentwithfeet.
Scroll down for our definitive across-the-board rundown of the week’s new vinyl releases as selected by The Vinyl Factory’s Chris Summers, Patrick Ryder and James Hammond with help from Norman Records. 5 singles and 5 LPs every 7 days that are unmissable additions to any collection.
Bell Towers and Public Possession return for another killer collab, this time plucking ‘Ikea Hack’ straight off the S/S19 catwalk, and leading it to the dance floor. The Dance Mix finds a snug middle ground between ’80s synth and techno, while the Chillout Mix is a wry and playful Balearic floater, with a touch of Will Powers satire about it. XL homeboy Baba Stiltz provides the flat pack finish, with a deconstructed house rework on the flip.
(Rhymes of an Hour)
Lovely understated return from the slo-mo West coast duo. They might not be in any hurry to do anything in particular, but Mazzy Star always exist happily in their own hazy and sultry headspace.
(Death Waltz Recording Company)
As a Virtual Reality anthology horror series directed by Alexandre Aja and starring Robert Englund (aka Freddie Kruger), this soundtrack by Rob comes as a perfect fit in its pairing of current technology and production techniques with a look back to vintage B-movie aesthetics. Synth arpeggiations, choral voices and tense atmospheres abound on a sufficiently garish blood red 10” vinyl edition.
Here’s the first ever release on vinyl by Black Midi – and trust Speedy Wunderground to be the ones on it. Whipping up a mixture of angular post rock with some killer hooks, ‘bmbmbm’ is the perfect example of where this band are at right now. Who knows where they will end up.
Paris Edits Volume 5
Holy mirror ball Batman – cop a load of this! Flying the flag for longevity in an age obsessed with novelty and hype, G.A.M.M. have consistently delivered the goods for fifteen years now, racking up well over a century of floor-filling releases in the process. Their latest dance floor banger comes courtesy of Parisian producer Young Pulse, who decimates the competition this week with the finest disco edit I’ve heard in years. Taking two 30 second breaks from Billy Paul’s impassioned but sadly saccharine ‘Only The Strong Survive’, Young Pulse nixes the naff and gets creative to deliver a relentless disco-funk slammer à la Ugly Edits or Black Cock. Backed with a decent extension of Greg Henderson’s ‘Dreamin”, this is another platter that matters from the long-running label.
Listening to Pictures (Portimento Volume 1)
Listen / Buy
Jon Hassell coined the term ‘Fourth World’ music back in the early 1970s and has set about terraforming culture into new shapes and music ever since. This is his first LP in nine years and with Hassell now in his eighties, Listening to Pictures shows that his appetite for adventurous sounds has far from dulled. A welcome addition to a storied discography, here his distinctive sampling/resampling approach and singular voice on the trumpet weaves out another densely textured musical fabric of outernational sound.
Their bassist might be called Alex Bass, but don’t let that distract you from Lindsey Jordan’s intuitive songwriting and their pop-punk approach to indie rock. Snail Mail’s Lush shines like the sort of stuff we’ve been hearing in bands like Soccer Mommy and Bully.
Edinburgh’s Proc Fiskal puts the gun fingers in the holster on this debut LP, diverting the energy and angst of grime into a calming collage of nimble beats, video game idents and detuned dial tones. Embracing digital melodies, airy synth parts and skittering hi-hats, the 23 year old sidesteps any hint of stodgy sub bass, showcasing a light touch absent from many of his contemporaries. Detailed, nuanced and inventive, Insula is forward thinking electronica which splits the difference between Aphex, Visible Cloaks and Terror Danjah.
It All Worked Out Great
This is the first release on Idles singer Joe Talbot’s new label Balley. It’s a compilation of Bristol band Lice’s first two EPs, now cleaned up and glued together for your listening pleasure. Thank god for bands like Lice who appear to look to The Bad Seeds, Pere Ubu, P.I.L. and The Fall, but make a sound that’s all their own.
serpentwithfeet’s debut on Secretly Canadian opens with ‘Whisper’ – a baroque ballad of ominous intensity, that showcases the quivering depth of Josiah Wise’s voice (on ‘mourning song’ he laments that it is ‘way too deep’), which moves between registers with virtuosic ease. Wise’s gospel influences are on show on the bumpin’ organ driven ‘wrong tree’, supporting a righteous deliverance that is both as fragile as Moses Sumney, and assertive as Michael Jackson. Deconstructed arrangements, which hint at previous work with Haxan Cloak and Björk, are married to the theatre of Wise’s vocal trills across a wonderfully original album – a secular rnb devotional unlike anything else we’ve heard.
Jun042018| June 4, 2018
The label celebrates Japanese video game music with a new orange and green vinyl release.
Hyperdub has unveiled new release Diggin’ In The Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music, a compilation of hidden gems of game music.
The collection comes from Nick Dwyer’s documentary series of the same name for Red Bull Music Academy, which examines the impact and history of video game music alongside interviews featuring iconic video game composers and popular artists they’ve influenced.
Dwyer researched and compiled the collection alongside Hyperdub boss Kode9, with the aim of spotlighting the incredible electronic music made for these systems, often within strict technological limitations.
“Some of the greatest art is created within limitations, and often the most pioneering and influential periods in electronic music have resulted from artists pushing existing technology to its limits,” the label says.
True to that sentiment, the collection features music from classic consoles including the NES, SNES and Sega Genesis, as well as Japanese home computers such as the MSX, MSXturboR and the PC-8801.
Diggin’ In The Carts includes music from iconic games such as Thunder Force IV, Actraiser and the Gradius/Nemesis series along with more obscure titles such as Soshi Hosoi’s ‘Mister Divine’, taken from the Super Famicon mahjong game The Majhong Touhaiden.
The deluxe 2xLP album comes on orange and green vinyl, with 3×12″ inserts featuring the manga, the cover artwork, and the story of how the album was created.
Pre-order a copy here ahead of its 20th July release, and listen to Soshi Hosoi’s ‘Mister Divine’ below.
Apr232018| April 23, 2018
With accompanying “visual works” alongside the vinyl release.
Visual artist, filmmaker and producer Jesse Kanda has released a new EP on Hyperdub.
Luna follows his two-track doon kanda ‘Heart’ 12″, released in January 2017.
Last year Kanda’s photography also featured on the cover of Björk’s Utopia LP as well as longtime collaborator Arca’s Arca LP – two of our favourite albums of 2017.
Available digitally ahead of a forthcoming vinyl release later this year, the seven track Luna EP will also include “visual works” alongside its physical variants.
Head here for more info, listen to ‘Lamina’ and check out the track list below.
Dec052017| December 5, 2017
From essential track IDs to crafted EPs.
Having picked out our favourite 7″s and 10″s, we turn our attention to the 12″ in the second of our retrosepctive rundowns of the last twelve months.
And just as 7″s no longer represent the year’s biggest chart hits, so has it been some time since 12″s were exclusively the domain of the dance floor.
From the simple 2-track club banger to EPs that border on mini-albums, we’ve demanded that each 12″ offers something more than just an aggregation of the year’s best tracks.
Some though, like Objekt, Denis Sulta and Bufiman do represent the year’s most urgent dance music, or in the case of Bicep, Four Tet and Nathan Fake distil new albums in more forms.
This year, the 12″ has also been the friend of the UK’s burgeoning grassroots jazz movement, capturing the nascent scene as it grows and evolves, whether on Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin’s Idiom, Moses Boyd’s Absolute Zero or the improvised voyages of A.R.E. Project.
And finally, the 12″ was also home to several beautifully crafted EPs, cementing concepts and musical ideas – from Fatima al Qadiri’s provocative sexual politics to LAPS’ DIY dancehall – that circumvent generic boundaries for something true to the musical diversity of 2017.
You may have also noticed that we’ve changed the emphasis of our lists this year away from the tired, arbitrary and frankly over-used ‘best’, to the more openly subjective ‘favourite’. We believe this more accurately reflects the fact that these rundowns are essentially recommendations of what we’ve enjoyed most this year, as selected by our weekly contributors Patrick Ryder, James Hammond and Chris Summers, alongside VF’s editorial team, Gabriela Helfet and Anton Spice.
What were your favourites this year? Let us know in the comments below.
See the rest of our 2017 review:
Our 50 favourite albums of 2017
Our 10 favourite 7″s of 2017
Our 12 favourite reissue singles of 2017
Our 30 favourite reissues of 2017
Our 12 favourite soundtracks of 2017
Our 12 favourite record sleeves of 2017
Bicep may have dropped their long-awaited debut album, taking first place as the most track ID-requested producers of the year by a country mile in the process, but the audio pinnacle from this Belfast duo actually came in the form of their final release of 2017. The Glue EP delivered one of the LP’s finest cuts on the A-Side, plus fresh tracks which included the delightfully acid-tinged ‘DLR’ on the reverse. – GH
Don’t Get Me Wrong
This curveball dropped right at the start of 2017 and hasn’t left the record bag since. Lead track ‘Be A Man’ sashays across the dance floor with jasmin-infused disco pizzazz, lush synths and a belly-dance bassline underpinned by sharp-as-brass percussive shuffle. Things take a step down to Room 2 on ‘Rigola’, the groove staying in the pocket, with vibraphones to the fore. A triumph for the Music From Memory off-shoot that was heard far and wide this year. – AS
18. Carla Dal Forno
(Blackest Ever Black)
A VF favourite coming off the strength of last year’s debut full length You Know What Its Like and its accompanying singles, this year gave us four new cuts from Carla Dal Forno which made for more essential listening. An artist who sets out an alluring sound world of mysterious and uneasy pop music, The Garden carried on where her debut left off in its sparingly affective structures and ability to craft distinctive vocal hooks that work their way in with repeated listens. – JH
17. Denis Sulta
Nein Forteate EP
Glasgow homebro Denis Sulta launched his own label with two choice EPs this year, the highlight of which was its inaugural release, Nein Forteate, featuring ‘Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)’. The kind of synthy club anthem that Sulta is rightly becoming known for, its greatness lies about 3 and a half minutes in, when the track, seemingly at its peak, suddenly cuts out… Is it a mistake, a DJ faux pas, a power problemo? Nah. It’s Sulta bringing in a silky smooth “ohhhh yeah” vocal, before dropping the ole hook in back again to maximum effect. – GH
16. Beatrice Dillon & Call Super
‘Inkjet / Fluo’
One of our favourite collaborations of the year also appears on one of our favourite labels in sweet symbiosis, as Beatrice Dillon unites with Call Super for this Hessle Audio affair. As with many of the 12”s gracing this year’s list, the A-Side ‘Inkjet’ is a legit slice of aqua electronics, but it’s the flip – ‘Fluo’ – that we’ve been rinsing since it dropped. A soundtrack for the robot takeover to come, with Blade Runner-esque dial tones making way for exquisite saxxy breakdowns midway through. Proof, if ever you needed it, that no B-side should be left unturned. – GH
15. Avalon Emerson
Avalon Emerson returns to Whities for the follow-up to her Narcissus in Retrograde EP – one of our favourite 12”s of 2016 – on a different, but no less excellent, tip. With this catchy double-dose, she continues her well deserved ascent as one of the most exciting producers around: ‘One More Fluorescent Rush’ serves glitchy, spaced out feels, before ‘Finally Some Common Ground’ takes off on a Soichi Terada-esque, one-way trip to the intergalactic mothership. – GH
14. Four Tet
‘SW9 9SL / Planet’
Aside from a couple of split 12”s last year, 2017 marked something of a return to the prolific output we’ve come to expect from Kieran Hebden, releasing a handful of 12”s, a load of material via multiple Spotify aliases, some brilliant remixes, the year’s most ID’d edit ‘Question’, and a new full-length infamously made using just a laptop and a view over some unspectacular woodland. Thankfully, the album’s two stand-out tracks were also collected on this limited 12”. Propulsive, melodic dance music for the headphones or the dance floor, ‘Planet’ is Four Tet’s finest since There Is Love In You. – AS
13. Craven Faults
Elusive, evasive, but delivered with unerring authority, Craven Faults is one of this year’s wildcards. Arriving on a mysterious label with a soaring two-track EP of airborne krautrock, Netherfield Works pays its dues to ’70s Düsseldorf and the San Francisco Tape Music Centre and casts them to the English winds, forging two sprawling tracks from within a nest of patch cables in an old Yorkshire textile mill. A modular synth record that, like recent works by Kaityln Aurelia Smith seems to shed its machined origins to become something altogether more organic, Netherfield Works overflows across two sixteen minute tracks that will appeal to fans of Cluster, Steve Reich and the like. – AS
12. Fatima Al Quadiri
Few EPs set out to challenge norms and hegemonies like Fatima Al Qadiri’s Shaneera, which riffs on the English mispronunciation of the Arabic word for “outrageous, nefarious, hideous, major and foul.” Reconstructing snippets of Grindr chats, online drag and femme comedy skits, and Iraqi proverbs into a hybrid vernacular built from Kuwaiti and Egyptian Arabic, Shaneera is an intoxicating listen – all menacing dubbed-out electronic arrangements – and a self-confessed “love letter to evil and benevolent queens around the world.” – AS
Dekmantel celebrated a decade as a champion of left-field, dance floor meditations by delivering its strongest year yet, hosting an annual sell-out festival in Holland, a smaller soiree in Croatia, and releasing some of the label’s finest music along the way, including Dekmantel 10 Years 04 EP and Juju & Jordash’s Sis-Boom-Bah LP. However, it was Bufiman aka Wolf Muhler’s Peace Moves EP that best represented the weird af and wonderfully off-kilter sonics which have come to define the Dutch imprint. A seemingly bizarre combination of growling vocals and cranky, bent out of shape jack-in-the-box effects that sounds so wrong it’s right. – GH
10. Moses Boyd
(The Vinyl Factory / Exodus)
Drummer and producer Moses Boyd exploded into the wider musical consciousness with ‘Rye Lane Shuffle’ in 2016, and this EP, co-released between VF and his own Exodus imprint, was his much-anticipated follow up. Ditching the horn stabs for shimmering krauty synths, Absolute Zero was born out of Boyd’s solo live shows but has since been reintegrated into the Exodus band with which he has sold out the likes of Corsica Studios and Jazz Café this year. Underpinned by his live-wire drum sound, this EP swells with a restless ease, referencing influences as broad as grime, ambient and hip-hop, rooting this new jazz mode in an urban context. One of the year’s breakthrough artists, expect to hear much more of Moses in the coming months. As objective as we can possibly be, the soft-touch laminate artwork by Optigram may also make this one of our favourite sleeves of the year. – AS
9. Agnes Obel
‘Stretch Your Eyes (Quiet Village Remix)’
(Phonica Special Editions)
You don’t need us to tell you how great it is to share a building with a record shop, let alone one as consistently on point as Phonica. So when manager Simon Rigg called us into his office one afternoon last summer with news of an extra special 12” on one of the shop’s in-house imprints we knew it was going to be good. Here Quiet Village pull apart Danish singer Agnes Obel’s ‘Stretch Your Eyes’ into a dark and dubby chorale, backed by an eerie a cappella imbued with the same haunting longevity of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrops’. – AS
8. SW. / SVN
Who needs things like track names when the music can do the talking? Not SW. that’s who. The producer follows up a close-to-perfect 2016 LP (appropriately called The Album) to team up with SUED co-founder SVN. SUED 18 kicks off with Pepe Bradock-esque house heaviness on the A-Side, plus a knockout, subdued techno ride on the reverse. – GH
7. Floating Points
‘Ratio (Deconstructed Mixes)’
Though Floating Points debuted versions of the slow-rolling, emotional synth-filled ‘Ratio’ via live shows and DJ sets last year, it finally saw a long-awaited official release this October. Well worth the wait, ‘Ratio’ is a shimmering number that harkens back to Floating Points’ supreme ‘Myrtle Avenue’ and ‘ARP3’ fare. And though it may seem like a mere sales gimmick to release the track in ‘deconstructed’ parts, as he did on the B-side, it’s not. If you caught his live set this year, this seemingly fractured 12″ actually makes perfect sense because no live version of ‘Ratio’ was identical. An exciting hint that the best of his new material is yet come. – GH
6. Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin
A record that captures the jazz routes and roots coursing through London at the moment, tying together the convergent legacies of broken beat, house, 2-step and fusion that having been coalescing south of the river for some time. Aside from being assembled from a quintet of fiercely accomplished musicians (Armon-Jones & Owin are joined here by Nubya Garcia, Oscar Jerome and Jake Long), Idiom is a refreshingly playful record that never takes itself too seriously. With discrete improvisations woven into the fabric of each track, Idiom is greater than the sum of its parts, and a testament to the community that has helped elevate it. – AS
5. Nathan Fake
Providence Reworks – Part I
A primer on how a track, in this case Nathan Fake’s ‘DEGREELESSNESSS’ from his Providence LP, can be turned into (two times the) greatness, thanks to formidable edits. A-Side sees Overmono assuming the rework duties to craft one of the anthems of 2017’s festival season, teasing out the most euphoric moments of ‘DEGREELESSNESS’ across seven and half minutes. Meanwhile, a no less worthy of rotation revamp from Huerco S brings a psychedelic, Middle Eastern-hued séance to send you into a zen-filled trance. – GH
LAPS are Ladies As Pimps, the Glasgow duo and Golden Teacher affiliates forging an industrial dancehall sound that’s unlike anything else we heard this year. If there’s one big hit here it would be title track ‘Who Me?’, which finds a sweet spot between the sensual, the confrontational and the surreal we had no idea existed. It’s a trick ‘Edges’ manages too, before rounding off the EP with the fragmented “pyjama house” of ‘Lady Bug’. A charismatic record that pulls no punches, and a fine first foray into new music for 2017 label newcomer MIC. – AS
If in January someone had told us one of the biggest tracks of the year would be a slowed-down two-step garage beat-meets-techno superjam, we would have been rather confused about what the year held in store. But so it was. TJ Hertz’s first release since 2014, a 12” on the club-focused white label series under his Objekt alias, stormed dance floors far and wide thanks to its unexpected B-Side. ‘Theme From Q’ is the kind of track that works in sets of all shapes, speeds and sizes, because it’s just that great. – GH
2. Hieroglyphic Being, Sarathy Korwar & Shabaka Hutchings
A.R.E. Project EP
Arguably one of the UK’s most prolific and inspiringly creative musicians, Shabaka Hutchings leant his saxophone touch to a number of contenders for our favourite releases of the year, including the Comet Is Coming’s psychedelic jazz 12” Death To The Planet 12”. That said, A.R.E. Project, a unique and forward-thinking, improvised collaboration between Hutchings, Hieroglyphic Being and Sarathy Korwar was the obvious choice. Captured during a completely live, two hour performance aboard a studio moored inside a ship along the Thames, the EP sees cosmic sax merging with Indonesian folk music and space-age electronics for a truly one-of-a-kind result. – GH
1. Sudan Archives
One of this year’s most enchanting debuts came from violinist, producer and vocalist Sudan Archives, whose self-titled EP on Stones Throw takes the award for our favourite 12” of 2017. Channelling the bedroom RnB production that sustained her early forays into music into an outward-looking hybrid sound, Archives draws as much on North African melodies and instrumentation as Stones Throw’s storied left-field hip-hop tradition.
A self-taught violinist, she weaves finger picking rhythms into the fabric of her productions, and uses its sawing melancholy to lend a gorgeous nostalgia to each song. And while ‘Come Meh Way’ might be the track you’ll have heard most, ‘Oatmeal’ and ‘Goldencity’ exude the same singular clarity, marking out a route between the percussive, earthy RnB of opening track ‘Paid’ and the syncopated folk musings of final track ‘Wake up’. A modest record, both utterly new yet uncannily familiar, we revisited this EP time and again this year, and can’t wait to hear what comes next. – AS
Illustration by Patch D Keyes.
Jun302017| June 30, 2017
The year’s essential new albums for your collection.
Having rounded-up the 10 best reissues of 2017 so far, we turn our attention to new albums, rounding up the twenty titles that have been on rotation at VF HQ in the last six months.
Taken from our weekly recommended releases lists or from artists regularly covered on the site, this list should give a snapshot of what we believe are the most interesting and prescient new albums available on vinyl to add to your record collection.
As ever, this is a broad church and given that we dig widely, don’t be surprised to find new music from Mali alongside major film soundtracks, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. next to independent jazz from South London’s young pretenders.
As well as affirming what’s already known, hopefully you’ll discover something new along the way too.
Sampha returned to his roots after a year of high-profile collaborations with a tender, vulnerable solo debut for Young Turks. Process is a coming-of-age record born of difficult circumstances that is all the more beguiling for the hurt that’s on show. While the lyricism is as poignant as ever, Sampha’s experience as a producer shines through strongest here with tracks like ‘100% Plastic’ and ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ manipulating the silence and space between his words to devastating effect. A redemptive record bursting with ideas, confidence and the odd left turn.
(World Galaxy Records / Alpha Pup Records)
Stepping out from behind a who’s who of RnB and hip-hop collaborations that has seen him work with Erykah Badu, Funkadelic, Snoop Dogg and snag a credit on Kendrick Lamar’s masterpiece To Pimp A Butterfly, trumpet player Josef Leimberg released his debut solo work last autumn. Flying below the radar, Leimberg’s afro-futurist manifesto Astral Progressions has finally made it to vinyl and for-the-love-of-Sun Ra was it worth the wait. Featuring a cast of stellar musicians including Kamasi Washington, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Georgia Anne-Muldrow, it steers a gentle path through neighbouring galaxies of deep soul, tempestuous jazz fusion and buoyant hip-hop that will make fans of Robert Glasper, Sa-Ra Creative Partners and any of those mentioned above very happy indeed. Look out for the cover of Miles Davis’ ‘Lonely Fire’ and Tokio Aoyama’s Bitches Brew-referencing artwork too.
(Awesome Tapes From Africa)
Having notched up 10 years in 2016, Awesome Tapes From Africa kicked off its second decade with a reel of enchanting songs from the Mali-Mauritania border. Unlike many of the label’s projects, this release showcases Peulh singer Awa Poulo’s newest work, a dexterous pop-folk collection that weaves her incantatory vocals with acoustic flute riffs, shuffling percussion and the odd moment raking guitar distortion.
Mica Levi’s Bafta-nominated Under The Skin OST was a sensation for horror, a genre rediscovering its creative vim amid a flood of reverential reissues. For her second major soundtrack gig, the polymath scored the Jackie Kennedy biopic with a similarly stirring control. A hugely sophisticated and moving soundtrack from an artist growing into herself and shaping the form as she goes. Essential.
Everything RVNG Intl. put out is worth paying attention to. Their latest turn sees Portland duo Visible Cloaks explore high-res ambient tones and Japanese musical influences, heard on their popular series of Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo mixes. With guest spots from Domino artist Motion Graphics, Matt Carlson and cult Japanese act Dip In The Pool’s Miyako Koda, Reassemblage was the brittle soundtrack to the late winter and well worth revisiting.
If Not Now When
In 2014, Into The Light records released an acclaimed collection of early synth works from Greek composer and electronic avant-gardist Vangelis Katsoulis. Followed by an enchanting remix EP, the reappraisal catapulted Katsoulis to the top of the diggers directory. On If Not Now When we get a snapshot of where Katsoulis is currently at, combining a minimalist sensibility with an organic instrumental flair, whether on the motorik opener ‘All The Blue Skies’ or the Gigi Masin-esque dreamscape ‘Liquidity’. A rich record that should appeal to soundtrack heads and adventurous dance music fans alike.
Fabiano Do Nascimento
Tempo Dos Mestres
The Brazilian guitarist behind one of our favourite albums of 2015, Fabiano Do Nascimento returned to Egon’s Now-Again Records to stretch his virtuoso chops once for another melancholic, uplifting snapshot of contemporary Afro-Brazil as passed down from the elders. As with his debut, there’s so much to fall in love with here, with the gentle rhythmic majesty of tracks like ‘Baião’ and ‘Canto de Xangô’ vying with the yearning melodies of ‘Oya Nana’ for top spot in our affections. A stunning achievement, and one which we’ve returned to time and again.
Kelly Lee Owens
Kelly Lee Owens
Fleshing out the previously released 12″ homage to Arthur Russell ‘Arthur’ and a sublime collaboration with Jenny Hval on ‘Anxi’, Kelly Lee Owens’ self-titled LP glides effortlessly between baroque techno arrangements, soaring Björk-like hyperballads and sparser club tracks, before alighting at the gorgeous closer ‘Keep Walking’ (Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ anyone?) Knitted together by Owens’ astute, fragile vocals, this is about as poised a debut as you’ll hear all year.
Les Amazones D’Afrique
(Real World Records)
Few records have blown us away this year quite like the high-octane debut from all-female west African group Les Amazones D’Afrique. In the first instance, République Amazone is a protest record targeting the repression of women both on the continent and around the world – or as they said in a recent interview, “a love letter to men” – and one where the music is as fresh and urgent as the message. Produced by Mbongwana Star affiliate Doctor L (Liam Farrell), it seamlessly crafts a contemporary sound from fragments of the region’s traditional heritage, desert blues, syncopated synth-heavy funk and stack-rattling bass music. Quite possibly one of the most under-rated party records of the year, political or otherwise.
A tip-off from someone close to VF, we might have missed this first time round in January, but it’s been a record we’ve kept coming back to. Fasokan veers between Balearic dreamscapes, cosmic mantras and a fourth world weirdness that’s practically impossible to place in space or time. Afro-cosmi-ambient-new-wave? No combination of hyphenated genres really gets close.
In an explosion of skittish percussion and tremulous bass, Indiana’s Jlin returned with sophomore offering Black Origami via the evergreen Planet Mu. Keeping rhythm right at the forefront, the producer delivers a complex set of bass-heavy body music which sees the footwork framework refracted through the prism of globalised club culture. Boasting the aggressive exoticism of Lisbon’s batida and Durban’s gqomu alongside the shimmering sound design of trap, Black Origami is the vital sound of today…and tomorrow…and probably ten years in the future. You’ll not hear nothing like the mighty Jlin…
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s 16th solo record is well worth picking up for hardened fans and newcomers alike. Drawing upon the vast sound palette of piano experimentation, Satie-like motifs, pulsing synth and notions of ambient and fourth world sounds that he’s developed over the past four decades, here such ideas meet the influence of Andrei Tarkovsky as a soundtrack of sorts to an imaginary Tarkovsky film. A wide-ranging effort with many a hidden depth this one already sounds fitting amongst some of Sakamoto’s finest works.
Binker & Moses
Journey to the Mountain of Forever
Prodigious young drummer Moses Boyd returned for his second full-length of deep spiritual improvisations with saxophonist Binker Golding. Heirs to the Coltrane sound, the pair are just as content to groove in the pocket as soar to incantatory heights, as they do on the album’s superb ‘Intoxication From The Jahvmonishi Leaves’. Both powerful and extraordinary agile, Journey to the Mountain of Forever is one of the most exciting jazz records to emerge from the UK’s young scene.
Arca’s third full-length LP and the first to expose his sheer and brittle voice to record. Vulnerable and controlled, the album begins with the elegiac ‘Piel’, his voice echoing tenderly within the cathedrals of sound Arca-the-producer is so adept at creating. The track points to a shifting relationship that the voice adds to Arca’s work, where his maximalist, claustrophobic sonic structures appear somehow more distant and spacious, as if allowing his voice to physically inhabit them. As grandiose as Björk’s Vulnicura, to which Arca contributed, and heaving with operatic melodrama, it’s an album that somehow makes everything which came before seem incomplete. A self-titled rebirth, it’s as if we’re finally being introduced to the real Arca.
An absolute treat of a record from Argentine surrealist Juana Molina, who crafts a series of lush and beguiling miniatures for Belgian experiemntal outpost Crammed Discs. Built around the closely controlled softness of Molina’s voice, there’s a nostalgic, ephemeral air to tracks ‘Paraguaya’ or the drone-like ‘Lentísimo Halo’, in contrast to the live-wire electricity that courses through other stand-out ‘Cosoco’. A daring album, and essential for fans of Colleen, Stina Nordenstam or RVNG Intl.
Brigid Mae Power
The Ones You Keep Close
This Irish singer and multi-instrumentalist has the sort of swooping voice that could quiver at several paces. A lot of this short album contains nice traditional folk sounds backed by the lauded Peter Broderick but it’s when she stretches out to ‘Astral Weeks’ style sprawling jazz textures that the magic starts happening.
OK, cheating slightly, as this 5-tracker is more EP than mini-LP, but who cares? Golden Teacher’s Lady Two Collars and Sue Zuki from Organs Of Love unite as LAPS (aka Ladies as Pimps) for an anarchic slice of Glaswegian attitude, soaked in dubbed-out post-punk and industrial dancefloor machinations. While the heavyweight analogue production will appeal to fans of Optimo, Trevor Jackson et al. there’s a more soulful quality to the record driven by the pair’s lush vocal interplay, from the dread RnB of ‘Ode To Daughter’ to the clipped euphoria of ‘Lady Bug.’ Check out their recent VF mix paying tribute to Cosey Fanni Tutti too.
(TDE, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope)
The vinyl release may not have dropped quite yet, but King Kendrick’s latest still qualifies, because, how could it not? There’s little more to add to the discussion at this stage, especially in under 100 words, but it’s safe to say this will go down as another classic, more varied in style and attitude than To Pimp A Butterfly, but no less urgent. Battle cry ‘DNA’ and the Steve Lacey collab on ‘Pride’ are our personal stand-outs. Do your future self a favour and pre-order this on vinyl, so that when it arrives you’ve got no excuses not to revisit it again.
This new record from British-Bahraini trumpet player Yazz Ahmed was one of the great surprises of 2017 so far, a controlled and unpretentious jazz album that puts Ahmed front and centre of the UK’s young jazz scene. Synthesizing eastern themes with funk-laced Return To Forever fusion and spacious, almost soundtrack-esque modes La Saboteuse adds a mystic depth to the contemporary conversation. For more context, read Yazz Ahmed’s urgent editorial on the challenges facing women in jazz today here.
The freshest entry into this list, sneaking in even ahead of our weekly 10 best lists, Laurel Halo follows up 2013’s Chance Of Rain for her third and most accomplished album for Hyperdub. Returning in part to her treatment of the human voice from debut LP Quarantine, Dust has an almost virtuoso quality, tip-toeing light-footed across avant-garde incantations (‘Arschkreicher’), buoyant pop fragments (‘Moontalk’) and estranged RnB (‘Jelly’). Refusing to settle, Dust already feels like one of the more ambitious records of 2017.
May192017| May 19, 2017
Burial will release new 2-track 10″ ‘Subtemple’ / ‘Beachfires’ via Hyperdub next week.
With the surprise announcement dropping this morning (19th May), the 10″ is described as “sure to be William Bevan’s most widely praised recording since we all fell under the angelic garage spell of Untrue, a decade ago,” promising a brace of tracks exploring his individual brand of “ghost hardware urban ambience and Metal Gear Solid garage”.
Earlier this year, Burial offered up a remix of Goldie’s ‘Inner City Life’ which was released on Record Store Day, while late last year saw the release of most recent 12″ ‘Young Death’ / ‘Nightmarket’, which was sold accidentally on Black Friday before being made available on general release.
Pre-order the 10″ here ahead of its release on 25th May.
Apr202017| April 20, 2017
A collection of “loose and languid” songs.
Laurel Halo will release her next album on Hyperdub in June.
According to the label, Dust sees the artist return to songwriting after the abstract electronic sounds of her last few releases, such as 2015’s In Situ. The album features a collection of “loose and languid” songs, “sun-filled, melted and at times, heavy-hearted and obscure”.
While Laurel Halo’s 2012 album Quarantine featured her own vocals, Dust sees her collaborate with a series of guest vocalists including Klein, Lafawndah, and Michael Salu.
Recorded over two years at the EMPAC performing arts center in upstate New York, the album was recorded with the aid of live percussion, sub bass and electronics. Other musical guests on the record include Julia Holter, Max D, $hit and $hine’s Craig Clouse Eli Keszler, Michael Beharie and Diamond Terrifie.
Dust will be released on June 23 on LP, CD and digital formats. Listen to first single ‘Jelly’ above, featuring Klein and Lafawndah on vocals.
Photography: Phillip Aumann
01. ‘Sun to Solar’
06. ‘Nicht Ohne Risiko’
07. ‘Who Won?’
08. ‘Like An L’
10. ‘Do U Ever Happen’
Nov262016| November 26, 2016
Originally posted on FACT.
Update 28th Nov: Burial’s ‘Young Death’ / ‘Nightmarket’ 12″ is now available to buy direct from the Hyperdub shop.
Toronto record shop accidentally sells five copies of a new Burial single.
It appears Burial will be returning to Hyperdub with a 12″ featuring two new songs, ‘Young Death’ and ‘Nightmarket’, after copies of the record were sold by mistake during Black Friday at Sonic Boom Records in Toronto.
According to Pitchfork, copies of the record were delivered to the shop in a box marked “artist/title” and were thought to be a Black Friday secret listing with no indication that the record was not supposed to be sold. Blair Whatmore, a buyer at the shop, told Pitchfork Hyperdub contacted the store this morning to say they were not happy with the mistake.
A listing for the record is now up on Discogs and shows it bears the catalogue number HDB100.
Burial was last heard on the label earlier this summer in a collaboration with Zomby titled “Sweetz” and released as part of the latter’s Ultra LP. This new 12″ would mark the first solo Burial release on Hyperdub since 2013’s “Rival Dealer”.
Jun302016| June 30, 2016
Originally published on FACT.
The masked man finds a new label home.
Zomby has announced his fourth album, Ultra, set to be released on Hyperdub on September 2. The album will be preceded by a collaboration with the even more elusive Burial, titled Sweetz, due out on 10″ on July 29.
Ultra follows last year’s Let’s Jam EPs on XL Recordings and his collaboration with Rezzett, SYDF. That track is set to appear on the new album alongside the Burial collaboration plus tracks with Banshee and Darkstar.
The With Love producer has also lined up a string of summer dates, including a set at London’s Sunfall festival on July 9 and a show at the LA Theater on October 29.
See the album artwork and tour dates below and dig into FACT’s feature on Zomby’s huge archive of unreleased material.
Pre-order Zomby x Burial ‘Sweetz’ ahead of release on July 29 here.
09/07 London, Sun Fall
09/07 London, Corsica studios
15/07 Gräfenhainichen, Melt Festival
22/07 Barcelos, Milhões de Festa
24/07 Sheffield, Bungalows and Bears
06/08 Katowice, OFF festival
20/08 Hamburg, Dockville
23/09 London, Phonox
29/10 Los Angeles, LA Theater
May162016| May 16, 2016
We select the 10 most essential vinyl releases of the last 7 days.
You’ll need to act fast this week to grab Jack White’s collaboration with The Muppets on 45 and even faster to find a copy of Radiohead’s new single ‘Burn The Witch’ – which has been released only to indie UK retailers and select online shops.
Meanwhile May’s avalanche of big-hitting albums continues with Jessy Lanza’s sopohmore effort on Hyperdub, Omar S at his best and on quadruple vinyl, plus the new LP from ex-Anticon star Andrew Broder’s oddball Fog project.
Scroll down for our definitive across-the-board rundown of the week’s new vinyl releases as selected by The Vinyl Factory’s Chris Summers, Patrick Ryder and James Hammond with help from Norman Records. 5 singles and 5 LPs every 7 days that are unmissable additions to any collection.
Burn The Witch
Taken from their ninth album A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead’s first vinyl release in ages arrives in the form of this 7”. The anthemic, angular track ‘Burn The Witch’ comes backed with ‘Spectre’, the rejected theme to the last Bond movie. Available from indie UK stores and select online retailers only, be quick!
Jack White and The Electric Mayhem
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
(Third Man Records)
In the history of The Muppet Show they would often feature a guest star on song duty for each show. Luckily they have kept this going with the new series and this had to happen really; Jack White dropping by and adding his signature sound to the Stevie Wonder classic with the aid of the house band – The Electric Mayhem. Jack’s rawking out while Animal rocks the fuck out! Amazing. Be quick and you might find the limited green vinyl of this!
Copeland & Gast
Sisters of Control
7” white labels don’t crop up much on this list and here we have a stunner from Copeland and Gast. It’s been three years since they dropped a similarly low-key collaborative effort and with both having worked previously in Hype Williams, this is one that fans of that project and tranquilized doses of echo and electronics won’t want to miss. These have flown out of the gates but it seems there are still a few about so happy hunting.
(Bordello A Parigi)
Hot on the heels of a show stopping appearance on Red Laser Records, Parisian Italophile Alan Dente pops up on Dutch imprint Bordello A Parigi with a four track EP of synth heavy journeys into the core of the disco galaxy. A member of French DJ collective Les Yeux Orange, Dente brings the full weight of his dance floor expertise to bear on a spacey EP which harks back to the glory days of Daniel Wang’s Balihu imprint. Touching on boogie, synthetic house and Italo-disco, the Frenchman works his magic on a trio of floor fillers before closing the set in dramatic fashion with the slow and cinematic ‘Desert Road’.
Carla Dal Forno
Fast Moving Cars
(Blackest Ever Black)
Out on Blackest Ever Black this is a couple of slices of lovely hazy atmospheric pop that sounds like Mazzy Star caught up in a San Franciscan super-fog. The shimmering, spacey dubwise production and beautiful ghostly vocal also remind us of Tropic of Cancer’s reverb-drenched emissions.
Lanza follows up her Hyperdub debut with Oh No – a Yellow Magic Orchestra-inspired album that brings a refined focus and splashes of colour to her skewed sense of R&B. Borrowing cascading arpeggios, crispy drum machines and breezy songwriting from Japan’s electronic golden age, Lanza’s Oh No is replete with crisp vocal production courtesy of Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan. It might not shout as loudly but this one’s up there with May’s biggest hitting albums.
After teasing us with the CD release last month, Detroit don Omar S finally gets round to dropping this phenomenal set on quadruple, Ferrari red LP. Officially the most expensive Detroit house record ever released (take that Theo), this vinyl version features all eleven album tracks cut loud and deep for DJ play in the club. As ever with Omar S, the drum programming is on point and the groove is king, ensuring a party from start to finish.
Olivia Wyatt and Bitchin Bajas
Sailing a Sinking Sea
Here you have a chance to pick up the LP soundtrack along with a DVD of Olivia Wyatt’s enchanting film about the nomadic Moken people, and their seafaring culture. Wyatt previously released a film for Sublime Frequencies, and there’s certainly a flair for field recording on display here with some gorgeous aquatic sounds merging into Bitchin Baja’s synth flourishes. This LP wonderfully conjures the sense of other-worldliness that the sea so readily invites.
(Totally Gross National Product)
Let’s take a listen to ex-Anticon star Andrew Broder’s oddball Fog project. This latest opus needs you to work at it too, the fractured, drifting piano led compositions veer this way and that but if you hold tight you’ll get some Sufjan circa ‘The Age of Adz’ exploratory pop music, still with traces of hip-hop as standard.
It’s about time that the U.K. has a guitar band to be proud of and Yak are so it! After a bunch of excellent singles they drop their full length ‘Alas Salvation’ and it’s a banger from end to end. Produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey it’s a full on distorted explosion full of the best in noise rock, punk and damn straight fantastic tunes. They can definitely stand with their heads held high!
Mar232016| March 23, 2016
Jessy Lanza digs into her collection of ’80s Japanese records.
Released on Hyperdub in May, Jessy Lanza’s second album Oh No draws explicitly on the experimental pop philosophy of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the shape-shifting electro outfit of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi.
It was a philosophy drawn from the clean cut aesthetic of Kraftwerk, grasping, as Kraftwerk did of their German heritage, the musical codes and discourses of Japanese culture and remodelling them in funky, avant-garde pop music that was often playful but never naive.
Musically, Lanza has found inspiration in the cascading arpeggios, crispy drum machines and breezy songwriting from Japan’s electronic golden age, a period in the early-to-mid ’80s where synths and drum machines reshaped the nation’s reference points and laid the foundations its future-facing, tech-ready identity.
Drawing on the joyous sound of these records, Lanza’s Oh No is replete with crisp vocal production courtesy of Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan, crystal clear instrumentation and a new wave meets boogie sensuality that both references the YMO philosophy and yet remains very much rooted in contemporary electronic music.
Tracing those influences, we asked Jessy to pick out six records which have been by her side during the making of Oh No.
Words: Jessy Lanza
Haruomi Hosono, Shigeru Suzuki & Tatsuro Yamashita
I had trouble sleeping this past winter and would spend hours awake at night. Most of those hours were spent on the Internet and I came across this Hosono record that I’d never heard before which also features Sakamoto and seems to precede Yellow Magic Orchestra. I put it on and laid down and it helped me get to sleep. Listening to it is part of my bed time ritual if I’m feeling bad.
(Alpha Records, 1983)
Kode9 sent this record to me and I fell in love with it. Every song is amazing. Hosono’s production paired with Koshi’s voice is like magic plus it has Telex guesting. This record was a huge influence for me when we were working on Oh No.
Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto
(Better Days, 1978)
This is one of my favourite albums, again it precedes YMO. The songs are catchy without words – a very beautiful and weird pop album.
Ai Ga Nakucha Ne
(Japan Record, 1982)
I love her voice so much – like Koshi she is a huge inspiration for me. She blends the lines between jazz and boogie and funk perfectly.
Apogee & Perigee
(Yen Records, 1984)
This is another Hosono Koshi and Testpatten project that influenced Oh No. Apogee & Perigee are robots, and this is a various artist concept album or soundtrack to a musical that was never made that tells their story. The album credits Apogee & Perigee as performers.
Jeremy Greenspan introduced me to this record. It’s a combination of everything I love about music: poppy songs with weird chord progressions and unconventional sampling techniques. Yukihiro Takahashi was the third member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, alongside Hosono and Sakamoto.
Jessy Lanza’s Oh No is released on Hyperdub on 13th May. Click here to pre-order a copy.
Photo: Hollie Pocsai
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Registered in England and Wales under no. 04184222.