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Creating a maze-like world of soft instrumentation with a delicate pop sensibility, Julia Holter's fourth album proper Have You In My Wilderness is possibly the most realized view of her multi-instrumentation lead compositions yet. Having released various mini albums-of-sort and singles on a vast array of labels including Human Ear Music and NNA Tapes between 2006 until 2010 it wasn't until 2011 that she really broke through into the underground with her startlingly original debut album of ambient pop Tragedy for Leaving Records. This was shortly followed up with the break taking Ekstasis on Rvng Intl. which was shortly signed and reissued by Domino and lead to her Loud City Song LP last year. This all leads us up to Have You In My Wilderness which builds on the experimental characteristics of previous works but from the start of album opener Feel You showcases a more open and polished sound. The drums sound crisper and the space between each instrument; where previously was dusted over to gel together (in no bad way at all by), is more spaciously aware with each note hanging in the air with delicate ease. The ten tracks on show are finely crafted sculptures of pop-rooted, almost classical composition and each one a different window into the same world created within the album's length. How Long? is a string laden piece of soundtrack sorrow while Silhouette is a confident, jangly number in the finest traditions of self aware pop while live favourite Sea Calls Me Home gets a loving update with a fresh production job that breaths new life into the piece. Have You In My Wilderness has the power to both have you lounge in its quite sometime sadness but also yield the power to rejoice in the transcendent up lifting quality of its heart felt beauty, a truly unique recording from a truly unique artist.
Manbait is the culmination of the work from the figurehead in the central shadows of the caustic world of gothic high rise blocks and techno-rooted post-punk apartments built up around the Blackest Ever Black label over the past five years. That figurehead is none other than the near-mythical producer Karl O'Connor aka Regis. Having left his fingerprints all over the label's identity from his debut on the label's second release, the bar-raising 'version' of Raime's This Foundry which took the original's bone dry drums and the track's tense chilling spine and updated it with a subtle nod to the soon-to-be departed Sandwell District's pension for towering atmospherics and 7 am warehouse reduction. On Manbait we find the various incarnations of the Regis project and its umbrella reach of different guises, here we find the Regis that remodelled Ike Yard's no-wave track 'Loss' moving it from NYC's first and only Factory Record to downtown Berlin Factory minimalism, his lovesick grandeur of Dalhous and an alternative mix from the debut LP recordings from death-disco post-punk group Tropic Of Cancer. Topped off with the highly sought after remix of Vatican Shadow (which was a pivotal moment in the post-techno / techn-oise vanguard) and previously unreleased mixes of tracks from O'Conor's personal vaults 'Manbait (Regis Version)' and an array of visions of the breakbeat led Blood Witness this compilation flows remarkably well as a stand alone piece of music from the originator of post-punk techno. Manbait is a celebration of this most singular of artists, constantly evolving and refining his art, truly blood into gold.
Experimental techno producer Laurel Halo makes her formidable return with a double EP on Honest Jon’s Records. In Situ is her first release for the iconic London label, following her two grandiose albums on Hyperdub — 2012’s Quarantine and 2013’s Chance of Rain. It’s the latter that tricked us into thinking the scattered percussive elements of ‘Situation’ or ‘Shake’ could be erupting into hypertensive hardware techno any second, when in fact, these eight soundscapes are a much more introvert affair. Laurel Halo has refined her approach of confounding a genre that is obsessed with steady rhythms like no other: she breaches the structured by inflicting careful doses of abstraction, laying out her ideas like a fragmented mind map with no apparent audible hierarchy. But listen closely and ‘Leaves’ will turn into a jazz drum solo, uncover the underlying melodies arising from the sub frequencies throughout, the shy synths hiding on ‘Nebenwirkungen’ or ‘Shake’, ‘Focus I’ on the Fender Rhodes 7th chords, and you’ll unlock the key.
Bleep are proud to release the debut EP of a mysterious producer named Zap Francis. These beats first aired on Black Milk’s Boiler Room set about a year ago but other than that, not much is known about Zap Francis.
When Black Milk (rapper and producer from Detroit) was questioned on where the tracks came from, he answered: “Zap Francis gave them to me”.
With this debut E.P., Zap delivers 6 tracks of instrumental hip-hop that soundtracks journeys across intergalactic realms.
From the opening hi-hat of shuffle and bass and synth-line drops of ‘Scuffer’, you know what you are dealing with here. The soothing tones of ‘Spirit Felt’ shows a more delicate side to the mysterious producer. From the neck-snapping snares of ‘Chime End’ to the frenetic closing track of ‘Age Of’, the self-titled marks a new era of Zap…
Two greats of neoclassical music team up for their third collaborative EP. Recorded using two vintage synthesizers over a five-day period at Nils Frahm’s studio in Berlin, Loon was recorded and mixed live, straight to tape, and is imbued with a sense of warmth and nostalgia. Loon acts as a continuation of the ambient sound heard on their last collaboration, the Stare EP in 2012, but introduces new elements of dub into the mix, inspired by Frahm’s blurry memories of attending Goa trance raves when he was a youngster.
UK duo Darkstar return with their third album Foam Island, released by Warp Records. While their last album (2013’s News From Nowhere) dealt in tripped out, pastoral psychedelia, Foam Island sees Darkstar return to a more beat-driven style of electronic production that often recalls their early 12”s for labels like Hyperdub. It’s an expansive, cinematic album, where everything from the minimalism of Philip Glass, the carefree leftfield pop of Micachu, and the raw grime rhythms of Dexplicit are channeled into the duo’s sublime vocal songcraft. Interspersed throughout the album are interviews conducted by the band in West Yorkshire, expressing the political disenfranchisement amongst the area’s youth.
The album is released in the UK on 25th September and a week later in all other territories.
Nora N. Khan on artificial superintelligence
Liam Young on architecture for machines
Nick Srnicek on neoliberalism and aesthetics
Benedict Singleton on modern film archetypes
Interview with Walter Murch by Dave Tompkins
Fiction by Juan Mateos
Timothy Saccenti & Sam Rolfes
Published by Optigram
An introduction to After Us from the editor, Manuel Sepulveda
Expanding our language can help us better understand AI, argues Nora N. Khan; illustrated by Adam Ferriss
Architecture and infrastructures built for and by machines, and how they manifest on our landscape, by Liam Young
Travel around Lawrence Lek’s utopian simulations
Alternative politics needs to utilise art and technology to envision a better future, argues Nick Srnicek
New collaborative work from Timothy Saccenti and Sam Rolfes
Sounds of futures past with Walter Murch and Dave Tompkins; illustrated by Optigram
The first in a series by Benedict Singleton on modern archetypes in cinema and literature; illustrated by Alex Solman
Fiction from Juan Mateos imagining a new kind of family unit; illustrated by Patrick Savile
A cyborg’s culture, by Stathis Tsemberlidis
An absolute staple in the memory of anyone whose youth involved the 80's and big plastic cartridges full of dust. Koji Kondo's soundtrack for Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo NES was a groundbreaking recording of proto-electronica made on synthesized pianos. Here Andrew Schartmann takes you on a journey into the sounds captured within this most singular of games and an absolutely crucial read for anyone with a passing interest in Super Mario, electronica, and the interaction between video games and music.
The Detroit artist follows up to the Exhibitionist comes 11 years on from the original with a CD and DVD package followed by three accompanying EP releases. Exhibitionist 2 promises to be an observation about the art form of DJ-ing from a different perspective, and is an attempt by Mills to go behind the scenes and inside the mind of an electronic musician. The four tracks on offer from Part 1 of the project resonate with the Mills we are familiar with – deep, conscious and space probing techno.
The legendary Soul Jazz Records present us with a new range of colour ways for their record bags, a style that references the classic flight bags that were given to customers by airlines in the 60s. It is a perfect size for a curated collection of records, holding between 20-30 LPs.