Review: Once again, Music From Memory has dug deep for inspiration. Very few will have come across the original 1987 pressing of Ich Traume So Leise, a long-forgotten collaborative album that brought together trumpet player Heinz Becker, songwriter Karl-Heinz Stegmann, and poet Isabel Zeumer. Predictably, though, the tracks which the Dutch label has chosen to reissue are exceptionally good. "Mein Tanzlied", for example, features Becker's meandering trumpet lines and Zeumer's eyebrow-raising spoken word vocals seemingly drifting over an intoxicatingly funky, mid-80s dancefloor groove, while "Dir" is a seriously atmospheric chunk of beatless jazz poetry. Flip for the Balearic electro-funk of "Der Schnupfen" and the languid, new age ambience of "Abends".
Review: Music From Memory's first retrospective of obscure Brazilian electronic music, "Outro Tempo", was arguably one of the strongest compilations of 2017. There's a second volume on the way, with curator John Gomez this time focusing on music made between 1984 and '96. First, though, we get this taster EP featuring two previously cassette-only cuts. On the A-side you'll find Bruhaha Babelico's "Bruhaha II", a ghostly and mind-altering chunk of delay-laden new wave/industrial funk fusion full of fuzzy bass, echoing female vocals, dubbed-out electronics and psychedelic yelps. Turn to the flip and you're greeted by Individual Industry's off-kilter, outer-space synth-pop jam "Eyes". Like its predecessor, it's an unusual, intoxicating treat.
Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the work of short-lived San Francisco band Dub Oven. After all, they only released one 12" single way back in 1983, and that was a self-released, private-press affair. Happily, the dusty-fingered diggers behind Music From Memory are big fans and here offer up a re-mastered reissue. Amazingly, each of the three tracks explores different sonic territory. Contrast, for example, the Tom Tom Club-goes-synth-funk eccentricity of lead cut "Skin 'n' Bones" and "Dub Oven", a thrillingly spaced-out chunk of no-wave/electro fusion that sounds like it could have been beamed down from another universe. Then there's closer "Millions of Sensations", which sits somewhere between Japanese new wave ambience and the post-punk funk of Bristolian outfits The Pop Group and Maximum Joy.
Review: Earlier this year, Red Light Radio founder Orpheu de Jong stumbled across a cassette, originally self-released in 1984, from an unknown San Francisco musician called Joel Graham. On the strength of the two tracks showcased here, it would be fair to say that Graham was ahead of his time. Hypnotic and minimalist in the extreme, the drum machine and synthesizer workout "Geomancy" - apparently recorded in 1982 on pre-midi analogue equipment - sounds like a template for techno. B-side "Night" is similarly inspired, and bears an uncanny resemblance to pitched-down versions of some of the dreamy new age house and nu-Balearica currently doing the rounds. It's superb, and almost as good as the brilliant A-side. Another superb release from the guys at Music From Memory.
Review: The genius of Music From Memory has always been the label's ability to shine a light of sublime music that most will have missed. Certainly, very few will be familiar with the work of Geoffrey Landers, a Denver, Colarado-based multi-instrumentalist who recorded three albums and one single between 1982 and 1987. This superb retrospective contains material from all of these releases, deftly showcasing Landers' intriguing musical palette - a trippy mixture of vintage electronics, experimental new wave influences, strange spoken word snippets, occasional dub influences, effects-laden guitar passages, post-punk attitude, minimalist synth-funk and what would now be considered discordant art-rock. It's a stylistic melting pot that makes for wonderful listening.
Review: Music From Memory is a new label founded by Redlight Records duo Tako Reyenga and Abel Nagenast and fellow Amsterdam dweller Jamie Tiller and arrives with the mission statement "Giving overlooked and unreleased music that we love a second chance." Whilst there are plenty of labels going down the reissue path with varying degrees of musical integrity, its clear this trio have the best intentions at heart and their debut releases sets the bar truly high. The ocean loving Rhode Island based keyboardist and singer song writer Leon Lowman self released a series of albums in the early 80s dedicated to his hometown and the various women he tried to woo during this period. Executed as lo-fi beach funk and lazy synth jams in a manner that sounds way ahead of it's time, Lowman's work never received the wider acclaim it truly deserves and these albums have become highly sought after curios (check the Discogs listings for his debut LP Syntheseas) Material from both his 1980s albums features on Liquid Diamonds along with unreleased material that Lowman recorded at the time and this 12 track collection is likely to prove very popular with the musical historians out there!
Review: A warm welcome back to Gaussian Curve member and Melody as Truth founder Jonny Nash, whose last solo album of gentle, guitar-laden ambient explorations appeared back in 2017. Interestingly, "Make A Wilderness" is something of a departure from his trademark sound. While still gentle, ambient and evocative, it relies far more heavily on poignant piano work, heart-aching female vocalizations, field recording style aural textures, distant cello parts and ghostly electronics. There's much beauty to be found, but it's a far creepier and in some ways melancholic set than we've come to expect. This is no great criticism, though, because "Make A Wilderness" is superb from start to finish.
Review: Ever wonder where Music From Memory founders Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller & Tako Reyenga got the name of their label from? The answer is obscure New York musician Vito Ricci, whose diverse and quite stunning discography of private press releases is compiled on this wonderful retrospective I Was Crossing A Bridge. Active during the '80s musical heyday of New York, Ricci description as "one of the unsung heroes of New York's downtown music scene" is fully qualified on this 18 track double LP release, which contains such a dizzying array of musical styles it's tempting to call him a musical genius. The three strong suite of "Inferno" tracks in particular could easily be mistaken for the work of Container, and that Ricci was capable of that as well as some tongue in cheek coke boogie like "I'm At That Party Right Now" means Music From Memory should be applauded once more.
Review: Having introduced Spanish ambient pioneer Suso Saiz to a wider audience via last year's superb Odisea retrospective, Music From Memory has scored a new album from the long-serving musician and composer. Rainworks was recorded over a two-month period in early 2016, and sees Saiz evocatively joining the dots between Jonny Nash style guitar-led ambience, gently undulating, piano-driven mood pieces, evocative collages of found sounds and field recordings (see opener "From Memory & The Sky"), and ghostly, effects-laden ambient. He also finds time to pay tribute to Steve Reich style American minimalism on the cyclical brilliance of "They Don't Love Each Other".
Review: Having introduced Spanish ambient pioneer Suso Saiz to a wider audience via last year's superb Odisea retrospective, Music From Memory has scored a new album from the long-serving musician and composer. Rainworks was recorded over a two-month period in early 2016, and sees Saiz evocatively join the dots between Jonny Nash style guitar-led ambience, gently undulating, piano-driven mood pieces, evocative collages of found sounds and field recordings (see opener "From Memory & The Sky"), and ghostly, effects-laden ambient. He also finds time to pay tribute to Steve Reich style American minimalism on the cyclical brilliance of "They Don't Love Each Other".
Review: "Nothing Is Objective" is Spanish ambient and new age veteran Suso Saiz's second album of new material for esteemed Dutch imprint Music From Memory. It's every bit as beguiling as his previous outing, 2017's "Rainworks", though it does feel a little richer, warmer and more humid. At 16 tracks deep, it's something of an epic, with Saiz exploring a range of musical moods with the aid of undulating electronics, ethereal chords, meandering melodies, chiming sounds, droning aural textures and occasional sun-bright instrumentation. There are far too many highlights to mention, but we're particularly enjoying the loopy hypnotism of "Mexican Bells (For Jorge Reyes)", the delay-laden guitars of "Minimal Distance", the slowly unfurling movements of "Frogs In Love" and the Pat Metheny style positivity of "Meccano".
Review: Long before he became one of Japan's most revered deep house producers (see his effortlessly brilliant noughties albums on Mule Musiq for proof), Kuniyuki Takahashi produced dreamy, atmospheric ambient and new wave electronica. Up until now, much of this has remained unissued, sitting around on homemade cassettes. Happily, Music From Memory has struck a deal to release the best of the bunch, presenting them here on vinyl for the first time. It's a magical collection, all told, built around Kuniyuki's fluid and distinctive synthesizer playing, but also incorporating percussion hits created from homemade field recordings, curious samples, glistening guitar lines, dreamy vocals, occasional industrial textures and, on the standout "Signifie", crispy drum machine rhythms.
Review: Back in 2016 Music From Memory took a deep dive into the archives of obscure British multi-instrumentalist Mike Turtle, resurfacing with a fine double-album of largely previously unheard cuts. Two years on they've taken another stroll through Turtle's well-stocked vault, resulting in another essential collection of quirky cuts. Check, for example, the psychedelic patchwork "Reincarnation", where backwards drums do battle with exotic Indian samples, or the delay-laden, lo-fi synth-pop pulse of "Uiko's Return to Jeka", which boasts strange spoken word vocals from Turtle and South African style juju guitar solos. You'll find these kinds of imaginative experiments throughout; tracks that really shouldn't work, but instead entertain, excite and inspire in equal measure.
Review: The latest volume in Music From Memory's impressive 12" series of reissued obscurities takes us back to late '80s St Louis and the hard to find world of Workdub. Formed of Virgil Work Jnr. and Nicholas Georgieff, Workdub's output was restricted to a pair of highly limited albums recorded between 1989 and 1992. All four tracks are taken from these two albums, and offer a lucid, ear-catching fusion of early ambient house electronics, experimental oriental synth-pop, alien jazz breaks, spacey Detroit influences, and stuttering drum machine rhythms. It's a hard-to-place but wonderfully evocative mixture, arguably best displayed on standout opener "Island Breeze". That said, the curiously Balearic, Tangerine Dream influenced "Caravan" is rather tasty, too, while its' ambient alternative mix, "Caravan Revisited" is almost overpowering in its' simple beauty.