Review: Horishi Yoshimura was something of a pioneer of Japanese electronic music, particularly ambient. He came to create his first masterpiece, 1982 debut album Music For Nine Postcards, following a near 10-year spell exploring the early potential of computer music. The album has long been considered a "must-have" for ambient collectors, despite high second-hand prices and very limited stock. Thrillingly, Empire of Signs has decided to reissue it on vinyl for the first time. Entirely performed and produced by Yoshimura, it features a series of impeccable compositions rich in slowly unfurling electric piano motifs, spacey synthesizer chords, delicate organ lines and, on rare occasions, the musician's own voice routed through all manner of outboard effects. Simply stunning.
Review: Dark Entries has been at the forefront of the coldwave and synth revival that has slowly taken hold over the last decade. Next up they turn their attention to a reissue of an out of print EP from 1988 by Jordi Guber and Krishna Goineau as Velodrome. Villalobos has been known to drop cuts from it, which should give you a good idea of its musical style: freaky 80s electro built on steppy drums, with taut and twanging synths reverberating around the mix, as exemplified by the opener. "Glasfabrik" is a hyper-speed cut with a tongue in cheek vocal, while "Capataz" is the most well-known joint with its acid bass and crashing hits.
CIA Contractor Freed Over Pakistan Killings (9:56)
Prime Minister Defiant As Pakistan Outs CIA Agent (9:48)
Review: When Dominick Fernow first donned the Vatican Shadow alias for the politically charged "Pakistan Military Academy" album back in 2011, he had no intention of releasing the set on vinyl. Instead, it was offered up as a limited double "C20" cassette offering. Eight years on, he's finally decided to release it on wax. It remains one of Fernow's most poignant and picturesque sets under the now infamous alias, with three of the tracks delivering neo-classical style movements (played on synthesizers, rather than by a string quartet) and evocative, ear-catching ambient chords. Fernow smartly moves through the gears as the set progresses, ending with a blast of gnarled, rhythmic noise and more tear-jerking electronics. A must-have.
Etron Fou Leloublan - "Le Desastreux Voyage Du Piteux Python" (10:43)
Jean Cohen-Solal - "Captain Tarthopom" (3:03)
ZNR - "Solo Un Dia" (3:01)
Red Noise - "Sarcelles C'est L'Avenir" (15:22)
Pierre Henry - "Generique (Theme De Myriam)" (2:20)
Horrific Child - "Frayeur" (8:42)
Jean Guerin - "Triptik 2" (2:19)
Dashiell Hedayat - "Fille De L'Ombre" (5:47)
Review: French post-rock group Nurse With Wound famously noted a number of artists on their legendary 1979 debut. This fascinating compilation on Finders Keepers finds band member Steven Stapleton chronicling them all, and it makes for an often intense story full of noise experiments, soot-black guitar playing and haunting atmospheres. Rarely less than peculiar, tracks like Jean Cohen-Solal's "Captain Tarthopom" sounds like a curious fairground ride, Red Noise's " Sarcelles C'est L'Avenir" is the stuff of nightmares and "Triptik 2" by Jean Guerin is as weird as music gets. As dark nights and spooky season approaches, this is a perfect go-to.
Superdiscount Presents Air - "Soldissimo" (Etienne De Crecy remix) (5:26)
Guts - "What Is Love" (3:47)
Alex Gopher - "The Child" (radio edit) (3:39)
Kazam - "Swag On" (2:13)
Flume - "Holdin On" (2:32)
Chinese Man - "I've Got That Tune" (4:08)
Deluxe - "Pony" (3:27)
Fakear - "Morning In Japan" (3:06)
Bonobo - "Terrapin" (4:40)
Nightmares On Wax - "Les Nuits" (radio edit) (3:31)
Review: Thanks to Massive Attack's recent anniversary reissue of their touchstone "Mezzanine" album, trip-hop is back in the headlines. While we don't expect a full-blown revival just yet, it's always worth dipping into the style and its hazy, dub-flecked and sample-heavy sound. This triple-disc genre retrospective from Wagram should be an essential listen for both confirmed trip-hop heads and newcomers alike. It contains plenty of well-known classics - see the contributions from I Monster, Tricky, Smith & Mighty, Kid Loco, Moby, Boards of Canada, Kruder and Doefmeister, Tosca and Nightmares on Wax, for starters - as well as under-appreciated underground hits and lesser-celebrated selections (Sabres of Paradise's remix of Red Snapper's "Hotflush" being the undoubted highlight).
Review: Throbbing Gristle's second studio album is an essential work that conjures some of the most harsh and nauseating music you can imagine (not a surprise given "Hamburger Lady" is a piece about a patient burned from the waist up and forever contained in a hospital). It was pioneering in texture and technique, and mixes both live and studio recordings into one of the band's most stylistically varied works. Creeping and haunting, confrontational and challenging from front to back, the spoken word samples from children and mutated voices will probably haunt your dreams forever, so listen with caution.
Review: De:tuned are in the midst of a 10 part anniversary series, and this latest missive - the seventh in all - brings together a hefty selection of talents old and new on heavyweight vinyl. Jonah Sharp opens things as Spacetime Continuum and continues to fuse ambient, techno, and IDM on the absorbing cosmic adventure that is "Only One Sky." Scanner's "Mothlit" slows things down with a hip hop instrumental from outer space, and then the beats disappear altogether on Ross 154's suspensory ambient cut "Earth To Our Friends." Lastly, Leo Anibaldi's "Crion" will make your skin tingle with its deft and delicate melodies which float about like fireflies and leave gorgeous, glowing trails in their wake.
Review: Music On Vinyl continues to offer up fresh vinyl editions of albums from Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook's "Dark Side Of The Moog" series, a largely CD-only sequence of sets that brought together two of Germany's most celebrated electronic music talents. This volume - the seventh in total - was recorded by the pair in cahoots with Bill Laswell way back in 1998, and appears here for the first time on wax. While naturally rooted in the kind of intergalactic ambience that was always Namlook's forte, the various versions of "Obscured By Klaus" include audible nods to throbbing ambient techno, deep electro and '90s psy-trance. The standout moment, though, is pure slowly shifting ambient bliss: the near 20-minute voyage that is "Part 3".
Review: The late Pete Namlook remains a giant of the ambient world. His vast catalogue of works has defined and redefined the genre over and over again, often alongside fellow greats from Move D to Richie Hawtin. In 2016, however, it was Klaus Schulze at the controls alongside his German countryman and together they cooked up this eight-part adventure into cosmic ambience and psychedelic sound design. Some parts reference Eno's seminal "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", some are more synth heavy, Vangelis-style epics, and some dip into Detroit techno for their cues. It makes for an album as expansive as it is excellent.
Review: As the vibrant and colourful cover artwork makes clear, Moon Boots latest album for Anjunadeep - his second following well-received 2017 debut "First Landing" - is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic and positive affair full of cheery, dancefloor-friendly songs and picturesque instrumentals (see the twinkling "Trance & Dental"). The American producer is a master at blurring the boundaries between radio-friendly house, deep synth-pop and nu-disco, and much of "Bimini Road" is based around this accessible and summery musical intersection. There are a few pleasing curveballs dotted across the LP, though, including the title track's piano-heavy Balearic chug and the sunny two-step garage-pop of Gary Saxby hook-up "Gary's House".