Review: British experimental musician Luke Younger returns to PAN following up 2015's difficult yet riveting opus "Olympic Mess". Composed in the Essex countryside, he once again shapes samples and field recordings into new forms. Movement is an overarching theme - sound collages are assembled and dismantled, and temporal and spatial boundaries fluctuate - on an album that questions the structures around us. We're enjoying the abrasive and textural sonic soundscapes on "Capital Crisis (Ne City Loop)", the droning and hypnotic slo-mo techno of "Leave Them All Behind" with its intoxicating effects, the musique concrete of "Toxic Racecourse" which treads more familiar territory of Helm's work - as does the avant-garde imaginary soundtrack "You Are The Database".
Review: New York's Blank Forms Editions welcome back Catherine Christer Hennix for a second album in quick time after her widely acclaimed debut last year. This one manages to hit even harder than that debut across four twenty minute suites that defy many western musical conventions. It is drone music with a difference, weird synth sounds drawn out and contorted before your very ears. It's caustic, challenging listening that plays out like the soundtrack to a horror movie in your own mind. Experimental music as occult as this truly sounds as if it comes from another planet, and tuning into it is a real thrill.
Extreme Love (with Lily Anna Haynes & Jenna Sutela) (2:36)
Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (3:10)
Evening Shades (live Training) (1:31)
Bridge (with Martine Syms) (2:49)
Last Gasp (5:13)
Review: When it comes to working with voice and voice alone there's few artists out there that can really dissociate speech and its connection with the brain. Proto is the third full-length album by composer and sound artist Holly Herndon, and it brings out on onslaught of sounds that will keep you rooted in your seat. Opener "Birth" for example sounds something like a poor soul struggling with the deepest of emotions and most spellbinding of speech impediments. The music embraces rave and extreme cut up techniques with bass music and a myriad of experimental beats, ideas and philosophy. Much like SOPHIE's music there are so many reference points to discover; with our best comparisons being Enya, Laurie Anderson's "O Superman" and the cluster of music coming out of experimental label PAN. The album also features a collaboration with Planet Mu's Jlin with the gnawing beatboxes of "Godmother". What a trip to redefine what we might one day call 'prototypical' - but for now, take a deep breath and dive into the multi-dimensional abyss.
Review: For their latest deep dive into the world of little-known electronic gorgeousness, Holland's Music From Memory crew has taken a trawl through the impeccable and largely overlooked catalogue of Japanese ambient musician Toshifumi Hinata. The essential "Broken Relief" draws on material recorded by the musician between 1985 and 87, joining the dots between gentle beat-scapes, inspired new age soundscapes, warm ambient explorations and glassy-eyed instrumentals rich in fluid fretless bass, twinkling pianos, shuffling rhythms and chords so tactile you might want to go to bed with them. It's an inspired set all told, with an impressive number of highlights. These include the evocative piano lament "Ikoku No Onna Tachi", the spacey ambient swirl of "Colored Air", and the undeniably Balearic grooves of "Atarashii Yuhbokumin".
Review: 30 years after ditching the Humanoid alias in order to form Future Sound Of London with Garry Cobain, Brian Dougans has decided to resurrect his rave-era solo project. The result is "Built By Humanoid", a delightfully skittish, off-kilter album of raw, ragged and mind-altering cuts whose wayward, out-there electronics were partially created using two custom-built synthesizers that Dougans co-designed. The resultant album is breathlessly brilliant and magnificently mind-mangling, with the veteran producer conjuring up cuts that giddily join the dots between Aphex Twin's most intense moments, the acid-fired "Braindance" of Ceephax Acid Crew, the doom-laden ambient and IDM oddness of Future Sound Of London and the sweaty breakbeat rush of early UK hardcore.
Review: "The Practice Of Love" is Jenny Hval's seventh full-length, and it's the sort of listen that can wash over you while you get lost in a reverie, or take you on a deeply involving inward journey if you tune in to the lyrics. Her voice is angelic, and muses on subjects like growing old, our place in the world, and the notion of intimacy. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the fantastically strong title track with its vulnerable and tender spoken words, folky synth lullaby "Thumbsucker" and "Accident", which could well be a rave comedown with its lilting trance chords and dreamy keys. Quite the trip.
Stanislav Tolkachev - "While You Are Drawing A Butterfly" (2:10)
Hoavi - "Aya Horizon" (3:57)
Review: Crimean label Krym Mryk returns with its sophomore release: a Various Artists collection putting the spotlight on several top musicians from Russia and Ukraine as well as a few newcomers to the scene. Highlights come fast and thick throughout; we're particularly loving the grinding cyclicality of Rim Menko's "Illusion", beatless yet hypnotic arpeggio workouts ("Amb Day Out" and "November Bad") by Pavel Milyakov (Buttechno), man of the hour Stanislav Tolkachev with slow-mo entrancer "While You Are Drawing A Butterfly" and Hoavi's "Aya Horizon", which closes the LP with its sublime ambience.