• Our 20 favourite 12″s of 2017

    By | 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    And just as 7″s no longer represent the year’s biggest chart hits, so has it been some time since 12″s were exclusively the domain of the dance floor.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


    20. Bicep

    Glue EP

    (Ninja Tune)

    Listen / Buy

    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


    19. Dazion

    Don’t Get Me Wrong

    (Second Circle)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    The Garden

    (Blackest Ever Black)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    (Sulta Selects)

    Listen / Buy

    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’

    (Hessle Audio)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Whities 013

    (Whities)

    Listen / Buy

    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’

    (Text Records)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Netherfield Works

    (Lowfold Works)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Shaneera

    (Hyperdub)

    Listen / Buy

    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


    11. Bufiman

    ‘Peace Moves’

    (Dekmantel)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Absolute Zero

    (The Vinyl Factory / Exodus)

    Listen / Buy

    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)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    ‘Sued 18’

    (SUED)

    Listen / Buy

    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)’

    (Pluto Records)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Idiom

    (YAM Records)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    (Ninja Tune)

    Listen / Buy

    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


    4. LAPS

    Who Me?

    (MIC)

    Listen / Buy

    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


    3. Objekt

    Objekt #4

    (Objekt)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    (Technicolour)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Sudan Archives

    (Stones Throw)

    Listen / Buy

    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.

  • The 20 best albums of 2017 so far

    By | 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

    Sampha

    Process

    (Young Turks)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Josef Leimberg

    Astral Progressions

    (World Galaxy Records / Alpha Pup Records)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Awa Poulo

    Poulo Warali

    (Awesome Tapes From Africa)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    jackie

    Mica Levi

    Jackie OST

    (Milan Records)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Visible Cloaks

    Reassemblage

    (RVNG Intl.)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Vangelis Katsoulis

    If Not Now When

    (Utopia Records)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    (Now-Again)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    (Smalltown Supersound)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    République Amazone

    (Real World Records)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Luka Productions

    Fasokan

    (Sahel Sounds)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Jlin

    Black Origami

    (Planet Mu)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    async

    (Milan)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    (Gearbox)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    Arca

    (XL Recordings)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Juana Molina

    Halo

    (Crammed Discs)

    Listen / Buy

    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

    (oscarson)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    LAPS

    Who Me?

    (MIC)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Kendrick Lamar
    DAMN.
    (TDE, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Yazz Ahmed
    La Saboteuse
    (Naim records)

    Listen / Buy

    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.


    Laurel Halo
    Dust
    (Hyperdub)

    Listen / Buy

    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.

  • The 10 best new vinyl releases this week (5th June)

    By | June 5, 2017

    Industrial RnB, Turkish electronics and deep jazz.

    This week’s new singles span the musical as well as the geographical map, with new music from Glasgow’s dubbed-out warped boogie duo LAPs, industrial-meets-traditional musics from Turkey and a real banger of a 12″ on R&S from Italy’s Michele Mininni.

    In the album section we profile seminal work by New York minimalist Tony Conrad, a five year retrospective for forward-thinking French electronic label Antinote and a new Coltrane-esque manifesto from London jazz duo Binker & Moses.

    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.


    Singles


    CitiZen of Peace

    Human Nature / Heart Dance Remixes

    (Music Conception)

    Listen / Buy

    While scarcity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality, it does tend to make a record all the more desirable. Lucky then that this latest limited offering from Calm’s Music Conception imprint lands with enough interplanetary magic to more than match its pre-release hype and hefty price tag. On the A-side the label head drinks deep from the ceremonial gourd to transform CitiZen of Peace’s ‘Humanature’ into a dreamy, drifting dance floor cut in tune with Claussell’s Spiritual Life releases. The flipside plays host to Kuniyuki’s zero gravity version of ‘Heart Dance’, a stunning fusion of the organic, synthetic and psychedelic which loves up the listener like their very first candy flip.


    LAPS

    Who Me?

    (MIC)

    Listen / Buy

    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 EP driven by the pair’s lush vocal interplay, from the dread RnB of ‘Ode To Daughter’ to the clipped euphoria of ‘Lady Bug.’ Unlike anything else out there and utterly essential. Check out their recent VF mix paying tribute to Cosey Fanni Tutti too.


    The Fireworks

    Dream About You

    (Opposite Number)

    Listen / Buy

    More indie pop but this time from veterans of the scene (inc former members of Aberdeen and Wedding Present). This is a confident three tracker of buzzsaw guitars and dreamy vocals reminding you that good tunes still make the world go round.


    Nene Hatun

    Metacommunication

    (Bedouin Records)

    Listen / Buy

    Nene Hatun is the pseudonym of Turkish Berliner Bestie Aydin, and this new 12” follows on from a cassette and 7” single in showing a keen ability for subtly solidifying a beat and bringing a broad sound palette into the mix. Utilizing prepared piano, samples and field recordings in combination with electronics and a pulse that takes in a certain industrial influence alongside the traditional rhythms of darbuka and davul, this one’s a very worthy cross-
    pollination of sounds and ideas.


    Michele Mininni

    Rave Oscillations

    (R&S)

    Listen / Buy

    This is easily one of the best electronic 12″s of the year so far. Italy’s own Michele Mininni strikes back on R&S (after releases on Optimo and Curle) with the two track magic of ‘Rave Oscillations’. The title track lifts some Silver Apples drums and twists them into some serious dance floor magic while ‘Vortex Stasi’ on the flip goes a little bit rougher. Both tunes are killer. Believe.


    LPs


    Binker & Moses

    Journey to the Mountain of Forever

    (Gearbox)

    Listen / Buy

    Prodigious young drummer Moses Boyd returns 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.


    Various Artists

    Five Years Of Loving Notes

    (Antinote)

    Listen / Buy

    France’s freshest imprint celebrate half a decade of unpredictable excellence this week with a well dressed double pack of brand new material from frequent collaborators and new friends. Keeping things as wide-ranging and forward thinking as ever, the set switches between the slow and low weirdness of Nico Motte and Tolouse Low Trax, the playful dub of Domenique Dumont and Alek Lee and the abstract electro of Iueke and Leonardo Martelli without ever losing its unique otherworldly identity. Here’s to five more years of one of the best labels around!


    Beach Fossils

    Somersault

    (Bayonet)

    Listen / Buy

    If you were to buy just one of the sunny indie-pop records on offer this year (Real Estate, Hoops, Horsebeach etc) then make it this one. The Brooklyn dreamers have hit a career high with an album of delicious jangling indie that makes you want to go and jump in the sprinkler.


    Tony Conrad

    Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain

    (Superior Viaduct)

    Listen / Buy

    Rejecting the status quo in equal measures of vehement dissonance and gleeful absurdity, conventional tunings were often a subject of Conrad’s scorn, and this lovingly presented 2LP set represents another Conrad masterwork in exploding the possibilities of sound. Recorded back in 1971 at The Kitchen in NYC with Rhys Chatham and Laurie Spiegel as choice collaborators, this one is certainly no crude bootleg and serves as yet another reminder of the “indelible mark” Conrad’s works made, and their continuing currency in the present. Much missed a year following his passing, his oft-understated legacy continues to bloom, and this release along with recent documentary Completely In The Present serve as essential voyages into Conrad’s vital craft.


    USA/Mexico

    Laredo

    (Riot Season)

    Listen / Buy

    USA / MEXICO are a devastating three piece from Austin, Texas made up of Craig Clouse (Shit And Shine), King Coffey (Butthole Surfers) and Nate Cross (Marriage). The whispers are true, their debut album Laredo (released here through Riot Season and there through 12XU) is a skull crushing blast of thunderous drums, heavy as shit riffs and in places, a tiny menacing voice. There really is nothing like this out there anywhere. Limited vinyl only.

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