I was going to write a blog post about the supposed crisis in music journalism but plenty of other people have put it better than me. Instead I've written quite a lot this week, as I've found myself getting pretty passionate about some music, new and old, for you.
Xqui - Reverberation EP
I keep deliberately misreading this as Reverb Nation. I think that might be fitting, as this is a collection of different types of droning sounds, each different from the last but following similar flowing patterns. Eerie found sounds, undulating synths, strange voices, they each play a part across the release's intriguing four tracks.
bergsonist - put them to shame(Edit of newmissy)looking for a show in PARIS october 14 to 19th avail
The title of this says it all. Bergsonist has done an edit of one of Missy's new tracks. It's a rocker. She's taken a few choice lines and added her own brand of percussion to make a wonderful rework. She's going to be in Europe soon and is looking to fill some dates. Can you help her out? Surely I know SOMEONE in Paris willing to book a wonderful artist...
Bora - Noyée
Bora is a French artist and this is her first release, coming on First Terrace Records (who are having a banner year). It's a beguiling, powerful record, her vocals meshed beautifully with a range of sonic interventions. It's dank and cavernous, but its sounds ripple and pulse with weird electronics. Her vocals are manipulated to the nth degree, as well as appearing as they are for your ears. It's haunting and soothing, confusing and welcoming. It's one I've been returning to a lot yet with no greater understanding for it.
Garage Hour: Alex T - 26 August 2019
Leeds record store man and top-notch DJ Alex T throws down an hour of slick UK garage.
Jaclyn Kendall - Lumbering Towards the Prophet
Anything I've heard from Jaclyn Kendall before has been quite raucous and punchy. This is a different approach, opting instead for deep sounds at a slower tempo. In ways it could be a vibrant techno belter at 33 but it's more complex than that would make it seem. Voices in caves or dank halls speak unknowable utterances, a thumping on-beat kick drum lending power and ominous vibes. The track really does seem to lumber, a grand darkness permeating throughout. Even a soft, gently sung melody feels terrifying.
Aurora Halal - Liquiddity
This came out of nowhere! Unless you were scouring the distributors, where it was sitting quietly for some time, or at least I'm told. ANYWAY. I bought the record as soon as I saw it on Juno, almost by accident, and then it popped up on Bandcamp. If you've ever heard an Aurora Halal release or set you'll know what to expect — yes, this is to some extent more of the same, but when it's this beautifully silky and powerful, I say give me more. Swirling, hypnotic melodies over careening synths and pulsating drums, these tracks ebb and flow and build into one another with grace and terror. Perhaps 'Nasty II' is the most unexpected, with starker drums and the occasional siren blast adding further anguish. The deep and dark rhythms of 'Eternal Blue' get the double remix treatment from Wata Igarashi, fresh from a wonderful release on The Bunker. The Crossing Remix is a thunderous roller, while the Crushing Remix is a tad less frantic but just as excellent.
Mallo - lil' boxes
This is a solo experiment from Bombay artist Mallo. It combines beeps, bleeps and modulations with a shruti box and a guitar. It's got lovely melodies as well as ethereal, spacey sonics floating overhead.
EDWIN № 80 - Bruce (Bruce's Starless Night Mix)
I was thinking recently that I hadn't heard much from Bruce lately. Of course he's got his radio show and he's a touring DJ, but nothing specific jumped to mind. So I was delighted to see this pop up. He posted about it on Instagram, saying: "For anyone feeling the weight of summer's fun catching up with them and are in need of a moment to reflect, maybe on a long walk or snuggling loved ones, stick on this soundscape/mix I did for @edwineurope 🌆" He said it's mainly ambient, but with "steep dynamics high and low", adding that it was "recorded during a sombre time earlier this year, it was a very cathartic process; its nice listening back now, a warming reminder that time heals all wounds 🌒". Ah Larry. There's a moment of silence 25 minutes in that follows some ear-splitting noise. It rebuilds itself into a strange barrage of choppy noise, that's completely at odds with some of the lush swathes of sound. This very contrast is what makes it so special. Enjoy, in all its darkness, light, emotion and catharsis.
Employee / Delta Rain Dance - Hypno
Delta Rain Dance, who did a guest mix for Bandcloud earlier this year, comes through with even more delicious polyphony on this split release with Employee. Think plenty of lumpy and dainty modulated sounds, metallophonic memories, percussive jaunts, that kind of thing. There may be a collaboration in the works? Who knows.
FACT mix 720 - Barker (Aug '19)
Andrew Ryce tweeted this week that the recent run of FACT mixes has been utterly stellar. That is true, but for me, this one stands out, if only because I've been returning to it again and again. I'll be honest, I didn't know anything about Barker until Objekt tweeted about his Debiasing release last year. Since then I've pounced on everything he's done, especially his 12" on Ostgut Ton and his forthcoming album for the Berghain label. This mix, wow. It's built around exclusive material from recent live performances, and it's sublime. Someone compared the lush sounds of his album to Sasha's 'Xpander', but for me this evokes the pristine electronics of Airdrawndagger. It's jaw-droppingly gorgeous, it builds from simple tapped melodies to huge swathes of sound, pausing for breath with jumpy interludes before racing through time and space for heads-down delight. The closing section reminds me of 'Wavy Gravy 4DJS', an ongoing throb of sound and feeling.
Cool Uncle - Forget
This is the latest release on a label called Patrúin. They put out Blusher's Tren Rezno Album last year. What first grabbed my attention was the fact that the sax on this one is played by Conor Whelan. We both went to the same music school. He's a much better sax player than I am. It's great to hear him over electronic beats. Slightly jangly sounds and shakers dance about while this languid sax literally floats about overhead. It's great.
Ron Trent "Tribal Affair" (Braxton's unreleased 326 edit)
Ivy Barkakati tweeted a link to a track on this guy's SoundCloud and I went snooping. This is an unused version of Ron Trent's 'Tribal Affair'. It's slightly different to Braxton's 326 Mix that appears on the Love Affair record; it's also two minutes longer. Sexy af.
SooFire - Hollywood gqom [Wile Out]
This actually caught my eye because the label has the same name as a Zinc track. That's a phrase though so it's probably older than 2009. Anyway. This is a clattering gqom-style remix of rap artist BIA's 'Hollywood' jam, which rolls in a half-tempo trap style. SooFire, a Ghanaian DJ based in LA, really amps things up here.
KF - 4AM (PUSS)
This is a super fun track from Karima F that's wilder and even more playful than what she's released up to now. There's a kind of yelp at the end of every bar that feels incredibly joyous, and the syncopated beats are thoroughly rattling. Then the gorgeous synth melody comes in, only for it to build up on steel drums (synthesised or not, who's to say). It's fun and swirly and banging.
Leonce - Penetration Testing EP
I featured Leonce a lil' while back for his Kelela remixes. This is his latest EP, the beginning of his label Morph Tracks. These are four percussive tracks built for the club, crisp and rich in intricate sound design but no less full of groove because of it. It feels like a proper mix-up of classic drum machine sounds and novel synths. The melodic lead that appears towards the middle of the opening track is so rich and expansive it feels like a tangible presence between your ears. 'Werkk' is a choppy, stripped-down number with a straight-up melody and searing hi-hats. 'Ricochet' and 'Vesper' sound like two emotive sides of the same coin, with the former opting for synths, rattles and bleeps while the latter squawks its way over maudlin chords. Excellent work all round.
ψ - Aleph Nath
Weird kinda scuzzy noise stuff. It's got a pulsing beat but who knows if this would ever hit a club, it might scare the dancers too much.
Eve Defy - Lodge 2019
Finally this week, here's an hour of "story telling for earthly survival ~" recorded at the Lodge, a party in the woods south of Seattle. Beautifully soothing, it's also unsettling and unnerving at spots, with weird noise and blissful ambient coming together brilliantly.