comps and reissues of the year 2012
As if from nowhere the Numero Group unveiled a beguiling compilation of rare and obscure electronic soul gems... uncovering a window into the electronic unknown, a place with infinite possibilities and an eagerness for endless experimentation. Compiled by Numero’s associate label Chocolate Industries and music journalist Dante Carfagna, they outdid themselves with a collection of unconventional electronic soul, born from the underground and played out in the fringes of the home studio – at a time where the affordability of high quality tape recorders, synthesizers and sample drum machines gave artists the autonomy to create their very own altered dimensions. An interesting play-off between the promise of new technology and the naivety of the human conjecture. From The New Year’s intoxicated, psychedelic proclamations, to Jeff Phelps’ primordial keyboard melodies, and Deborah Washington’s weirdo sex-funk, each and every track offered an intimate encounter with a world in a new state of flux, a music industry with stunning potential and an individual with eyes cast forward with innocent wonder. We can’t think of a more fascinating listen...
Last year, we started a project to explore the musical underground - a seemingly infinite amount of talented music makers yet to be discovered. Alongside partners Warp Records, SoundCloud, and Transition Mastering Studios, we eviewed over 4,000 demo tracks to get to this stage...
Included in the final release is 10 tracks (plus 2 bonus tracks only available on Bleep) - filtered and hand-picked especially for this compilation, spanning the length and breadth of the many sub-genres that make up electronic music today.
From the textured ambience of Hugo Frederick’s opening track, ‘Paper + Felt’, to the electro-bashment drum patterns of Corticyte’s ‘Impulse 101’, the glitchy rhythmic geometry of S_P_A_C_E_S’ ‘Apologies’, right through to the acoustic berimbau and heavily percussive compositions of imagineAM’s, ‘Slang’. It remains a diverse and fascinating insight into the new wave of yet-to-be discovered producers that the international electronic underground is comprised of.
The Lost Tapes
Spoon / Mute
Few bands can claim to have been as influential, as revered, as truly special than Cologne outfit Can (Czukay, Liebezeit, Schmidt et al), which makes this release all the more exciting... Cast those initial thoughts aside however, this “lost-tapes” set is much much more than a cynical cash in / re-packaging exercise, it is essential matter for any music enthusiast, whether schooled in the scorching art-funk, speeding psych-punk-motorik rock of Can or not. The story behind this sumptuous box, these sizzling never-before heard tracks, released by Mute is a long, fascinating one (30 hours of master tapes found while dismantling the band's studio) but all that really matters is the incredible, vital, energising music within. Buy. Now.
Founded in 79', New York City, the quartet of Kenneth Compton (bass/vox), Stuart Argabright (vox, piano, synth), Michael Diekmann (electric guitar, synth) and Fred Szymanski (synth, programming) were heavily influenced by the fiery vitriol of punk, avant-garde schooling of Cage, Reich, Young and obtuse no-wave noise. Plugging into a stack of analogue synths (Arp, EMS Synthi, Korg MS20/50, Buchla Modular) they crafted a new sound also informed by the Teutonic experimentation of Can, Neu!, DAF, the liberating improv of electric-era Miles Davis and the pulsing atmosphere of UK post-punk dub heroes PiL and Joy Division/Hannett. Indeed, Tony Wilson heard enough and made them Factory's first American signing.
The pieces on offer here have an aggressive, energetic dynamic - proto-techno drum machines beat and clatter against the sound of scraping metal, angular guitar riffs slash and rip through arpeggiated mid range synth patterns pummeling on top of sub-bass frequency matter, whilst strangled monochrome vocals swarm. This is music like little else, expressionist, radical, strangely groovy, definitely ahead of its era.
No Pain In Pop
One of the most beautiful records we have heard this year. Exuding a hazy no-fi dream haze from track one, Ramona Gonzalez and crew deliver ten tracks of sublime slow disco and spectral 'bedroom dance'. Peel back the dense, multi layered gauze of the 8 track recording process and Good Evening reveals itself to be a liquid pop album par excellence, echoing with the ghosts of Kate Bush, early Blondie, Glass Candy and the new wave of so called 'hypnagogic pop'.
The Minimal Wave Tapes: Volume Two
Volume One of 'The Minimal Wave Tapes' was an electrifying and completely essential foray into new wave and synth-pop from Minimal Wave label-founder, Veronica Vasicka, and Stone Throw's Peanut Butter Wolf. Volume Two, arguably more robust, traces the same blueprint with an exhilarating collection of rare and lovingly sourced material released throughout the 80s on limited edition cassette and vinyl. On this cross-continental selection of fourteen tracks, some artists from Volume One surface again – Ohama and Das Ding. Early DIY synth-wave aesthetics can be seen in Felix Kubin’s ‘Japan Japan’, Hard Corps’s ‘Dirty’ and Geneva Jacuzzi’s ‘The Sleep Room’.
Cults Percussion Ensemble
Cults Percussion Ensemble
Far from being associated with some kind of sinister sect, the Cults Percussion Ensemble is named after the Aberdeen suburb from which its members – 11 school pupils – originated. Assembled by percussionist Ron Forbes, the outfit had, at the time of recording, an average age of just 14. The LP was produced in 1979, and the children played music written especially for them on a delightful blend of glockenspiels, xylophones and timpani drums. The sounds created are remarkable- shimmering and celestial with chiming layers of rhythm and melody. The range and breadth of pieces played is exceptional - the Ensemble dart between the bossa shuffle of ‘Baia’ to the dreamlike wash of ‘Circles’ seamlessly.
TREVOR JACKSON presents METAL DANCE Industrial / Post-Punk / EBM : Classics & Rarities '80 - '88
Strut are thrilled to present ‘Metal Dance’, a collection of some of the material that has been a part of the numerous DJ sets and productions of Output Recordings founder Trevor Jackson’s lengthy and well-respected career. The compilation digs up the underground of industrial, post-punk and EBM at a time when these genres are enjoying another renaissance, and includes classics from Cabaret Voltaire, Jah Wobble, Analysis and Hard Corps. There’s the expected floor-friendly dub and club mixes, yet equally the unexpected – with tracks such as that from John Carpenter’s cult film ‘Escape From New York’. The only common denominator is the fact that these sounds have all undoubtedly influenced a wave of contemporary artists. Put your trust in Trevor Jackson as he selects some absolutely killer tracks.
Monotonprodukt 07 (2012 Edition)
Originally issued in 1982, this impossibly obscure album emerged, limited to a mere 500 copies. It has since earned 'holy grail' status in electronic music circles since a feature in The Wire magazine's '100 Records That Set The World On Fire'.
Future media obsessive, Konrad Becker, experienced the informative era of late 70's Kraftwerk and kosmische music and his creative mind quickly ran away with the romantic, utopian notion of this 'automated machine music' that his contemporaries were creating. The culmination of his creativity amounted to 'Monotonprodukt 07' (bypassing the the bionic, part human, part machine aesthetic of Kraftwerk) and his idea of "psycho-active automat music" was realised. Difficult to compare, the stark, methodical tones and isolated, synthesized atmospheres stir the work of no-wave pioneers, Suicide or Kluster's Conrad Schnitzler; and austerely designed sleeve art (based on the blank staff lines of an empty sheet of music) reveals the pure, unalloyed aesthetic of this highly original and unique piece of work.
Only 4 U: The Sound Of Cajmere & Cajual Records 1992-2012
Iconic Chicago house producer Curtis Alan Jones’s Cajual label celebrates its 20th birthday with the release of ‘Only 4 U’. Strut’s exclusive compilation of ‘The Sound of Cajmere and Cajual’ shows off some of the label’s finest epoch-defining tracks. Cajmere’s early material was stripped-back, raw house such as the infamous ‘Percolator’ along with ‘Brighter Days’ and ‘Dream States’. In addition, Jones operated under his flamboyant, neon-coloured Green Velvet guise. 1992 saw Jones founding the Cajual imprint to release his work, which went on to showcase increasingly polished work from the likes of Gemini and Glenn Underground, who are immortalised in the collection. This seminal compilation draws together for the first time the many shades of Cajual for a definitive label overview.