Review: 2013's Das Heise Experiment album was one of Robert Witschakwoski's wilder efforts under the storied Exaltics alias. This belated second volume is perhaps not quite as intense - there are less acid-fired workouts, for starters - but it is just as impressively mind-altering in tone. Although rooted in machine electro, the 12 obliquely-titled tracks draw on a myriad of influences, resulting in a largely dark, moody and clandestine mixture of dark and paranoid ambience, panicked IDM, punchy, Drexciya-style missives, end-of-days mid-tempo techno and fuzzy, L.I.E.S/Vatican Shadow style lo-fi murk. As you'd expect, the whole thing hangs together brilliantly, sounding not unlike the soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi horror set on a haunted spaceship.
Review: Resurfacing Sun Ra treasures from the 1950s have become increasingly prominent and, by now, his younger fans can truly explore this legend's never-ending catalogue in its original vinyl format. Modern Harmonic are the ones responsible here, and reissuing "The Lady With The Golden Stockings is a great move on their part because it's one Ra monster that we'd been missing from our catalogue; the percussion, the sax and the general feeling of potential deconstruction at any given point make this a truly stupendous affair. "Spontaneous Simplicity" is calmer, more psychedelic and, if we're not mistaken, there's a very early drum machine rambling on in the lower end of the mix, while "Love In Outer Space" finishes this off with Ra's own voice backed by a more traditional sway from the famous Arkestra.
Review: It's been five years since Truth & Soul's octet gave us the incredible Wu Tang version album. It's been two years since they last dropped a single, too. However the band is back and their trademark cinematic soul is richer and more emotive than ever. From the instant the trembling flute and guitar open with the cuddly, ultimately positive "Kiddy Ditty" we're whisked on a largely instrumental journey that flings us through the wild west ("Little House"), soul's early JB chapters ("This Song For You") and straight up NY low-slung funk ("A Little Sloppy"). Climaxing with a Lee Fields featured "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", Loose Change is a kind reminder of just how accomplished and creative El Michels Affair are. No change there, then.
Review: AKO welcome long-timer Madcap. Oxford-based and on the scene for a good 20 years, he's been slowly building up a powerful arsenal on the likes of Good Looking, Soul Deep, Fokuz and many more for the last 10+ years. With the backing of Stretch, on his fast-developing 10" label AKO 10, this is one of the biggest moves yet. "Out Of Reach" is big and breezy deep jungle, loaded with space for the pianos to smoulder and the echoed vocals to waft majestically in and out of the mix. Flip for "Sunshine Dub" where you'll feel you've heard it all before... In the best possible way. Don't sleep on this one, it's a cheeky one.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: There's a truly unique story behind this latest discovery from DJ Amir. Another great find from his Strata master tapes licence acquisition, TJ was written on the label of an undated, unmarked demo reel. No other information besides the beautifully raw soul on tape. Literally nothing is known about who TJ was (or were). Similarities with Shuggie Otis or perhaps Darondo are strong as the stripped back lightly treated guitars and his hazy, yearning vocal technique come on strong throughout. From the full bodied soul funk of "Love Flower" to the looped faraway harmonies and simple guitar backbone of "Time Is Wasting", the music is as strong the mystery itself. Beautiful.
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Cosmic Echoes version) (4:51)
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Astral Wave version) (4:30)
Review: Like many drummers, Alex Puddu has long been inspired by the work of Tony Allen. He pays tribute to the legendary Nigerian sticks-man on "The Devil Made Me Do It", a sumptuous dose of groovy downtempo Afrobeat laden with Allen-style polyrhythms, Africa '70 horns and lashings of eyes-closed electric piano solos. On the flip you'll find two different interpretations from Puddu. The first, subtitled "The Invisible Cosmic", doffs a cap to the Afro-cosmic world of Daniele Baldelli while retaining much of the warmth and musicality of the original mix. "The Invisible Astral" version is an altogether more spaced-out dub, with Puddu smothering the drums and horns in copious amounts of tape echo.
Review: You could say that Kodiak Bachine is Brazil's greatest ever Brazilian electronic producer. That would not be an overstatement, it's just a simple fact. It was 1982 when he first released this EP, and it's been a classic, and a favourite of ours, ever since. In fact, "Electricidade" is so powerful because it sounds like it could have been made today; its tenebrous synths filling the airwaves from every angle, giving the track a strange sensation of lust and wonder. The flip, "Espirito Das Maquinas", is another enchanting ride through broken electric cables and abandoned power plants, a place where Bachine clearly thrives and surpasses all expectations. Highly recommend reissue!
Review: Prolific producer Arno Volker AKA Einzelkind returns with his first outing of 2019, this time in cahoots with regular studio buddy and Point of View label founder Giuliano Lomonte. Between them, the experienced pair has conjured up a couple of exceptionally strong peak-time workouts. We're particularly enjoying A side "Civil Stretch", a bounding and melodically attractive affair where bubbly electronic motifs, alien chords and jaunty stabs rise above a rubbery, hip-swinging house groove. Flipside "This N That" continues in a similar hybrid tech-house/deep house vein, with the duo bolting woozy chords and eccentric vocal samples onto bustling drums and a thickset electronic bassline.
Review: Maya's "Lait De Coco", a deliciously glassy-eyed chunk of mid-'80s Gallic pop with a decidedly Balearic bent, has recently undergone something of a revival is serious selector circles. Since copies of original 1987 7" copies have been known to change hands for eye-watering sums online, Attic Salt Discs has done the decent thing and offered up this tasty 10" reissue. Particularly alluring is the flipside Dub, which in true '80s instrumental style flits between spine-tingling ambient passages, delay-laden vocal selections, twinkling piano motifs and an even more glassy-eyed take on the warm and loved-up backing track. That said, the sax-laden A-side vocal version, the epitome of soft-focus European synth-pop goodness from the period, is also superb.
Review: New to Claremont but certainly not new to composing; Denis Leonvich has been writing for screen for over a decade and has amassed an impressive collection of heavier floor friendly cuts on the likes of National Techno. If these two rather warm and woozy Balearic debuts are anything to go by, his future cosmic output will be just as impressive; "Sunset Sparks" sways with a balmy mysticism with folk singing, an alluring hang drum and hazy pads while "Boma" takes a slightly darker route with psych sinewy arpeggios and a subtle but unforgettable brassy bass texture and sleazy guitar plucks. We look forward to Alterleo's next adventures...