A little ostinato

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The road sighs. In a wilderness of barely-perceptible groans it adds a little bass to the proceedings. Sensing their cue, the crickets trill a little ostinato.

You always had a flair for the dramatic. Things are going to be OK.

Plankton Wat – Empire Mines

The Rain Parade – No Easy Way Down

Teeth gritted, pockets jangling with guitars and errata, eyes lost in the horizon. As long as we never remember how to speak, everything is going to be peachy.

Buy Drifter’s Temple by Plankton Wat

(photography by Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs)

 

All immaculately-designed machines

Featuring : Isolde Touch

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Isolde Touch is film-maker and sound artist Asha Sheshadri. She is influenced by Robert Ashley, but has the crisp beats and concepts to rival Fatima Al-Qadiri. She weaves vocals and revolving sound patterns as deftly as Holly Herndon. (Not trying to set up false oppositions here, just trying to let you know what calibre of company she keeps.)

Total new music crush. A lot of Asha’s pieces take one central grid of sound and grinds it into thick scars of repetition, while melodies drift through like passing protons.

Stasis Deux is one example of this:

Isolde Touch – Stasis Deux

Though she has many more. All immaculately-designed machines, though somewhat isolated and lonely-sounding in the cold demarcations of Soundcloud. Like they’re longing for narrative. She’s working on an album now – it’s going to be really special.

Follow Isolde Touch on Soundcloud

(photography by Anton Park.)

Intraestellar

Featuring : Bing and Ruth + Bugskull

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We write this after learning that Philae, the plucky explorer our species sent to meet asteroid 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it hurls at 340,000 miles per hour through the solar system, has gone to sleep.

We aren’t surprised. One could be forgiven for feeling a little dozy after travelling 4bn miles in space, and in a sense, millions of years back in time, to study the origins of the solar system and life itself.

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We would like to use “Here is What You are Missing” by Bing & Ruth’s City Lake album as our tribute and lullaby to Philae and its effort.

Because it sounds like Steve Reich sailing in the placid pond connecting the shores of conscience with that forest where the trees are dreams, and this is appropriate.

Because its piano keys tinkle like the throbbing of stars, and because its plasma clouds of ambient noise simmer comfortingly, perhaps a coda to the magnetic ballad that 67P has been singing for its exhausted guest.

Sleep well Philae.

Bing and Ruth – Here is What You are Missing

Bing and Ruth came to our attention via the exceptional Tomorrow Was The Golden Age LP recently released by RVNG, which we haven’t featured yet but we will soon. No matter, go and get it here because it is one of the albums of the year.

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Some might be tempted to see Philea’s premature slumber as a failure, for isn’t its sleep indistinguishable from death?

We disagree. Even leaving aside that Philea has already done the bulk of its work, the fact that it undertook the most epic of journeys and arrived at its destination is already a triumph, and an illustration of all the features of our species that make it worthy of being admitted into the galactic federation.

It gives us hope, and reminds us of what Carl Sagan said in relation to another cosmic adventure (Voyager): this is a message to ourselves, as much as it is to whoever might be out there, listening.

And of course, as Philae comes closer to the sun like 67P’s spindly stowaway, it might well be woken up by the intensified solar radiation.

Imagine an Icarus whose wings grow mightier as he soars further in the sky, and that could be it. That should be us.

Bugskull – Icarus Rising

Bugskull’s Collapsed View was released by Digitalis earlier this year. It contains a wonderful set of Pacific pastoral music and utopian drones (Demapped was a frontrunner for the role of Philae’s lullaby). Also Icarus Rising’s zenta stomp, one of those songs that sounds like acid goblins massaging your cerebral cortex.

We think it is a great representation of the epic chutzpah of going on an odyssey to stand at the edge of time, which is what Philae, its mothership Rosetta, the PhD warriors who created them, and the human species gazing in awe from beneath their shoulders all just did.

Don’t mourn, rejoice.

PODCAST: Katie Gately

Featuring : Katie Gately + Podcast

This week’s podcast comes in the shape of a deeply lovely surge of sound comped together by Katie Gately.

If you missed our guest feature by Prayer (aka Joe Houpert), where he interviewed Katie on animals, biodiversity and monster worlds, then you should read it RIGHT NOW.

Katie Gately – Red Wine mix

If you think you know the tracks in Katie’s mix, then ID them in the comments section! It’s a game, sort of.

Buy Katie’s Pivot 12″ here

(art is Splatter Painting 1983 by Hermann Nitsch)

Everything repetitions

Featuring : Kara-lis Coverdale

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Constellations of tones blinking on and off in the purest and most simple patterns. Singing as soft, slow breathing. Everything repetitions.

One day – after innumerable attempts at planetary destruction and utopian/dystopian rebuildings – this is what our night sky will be like. Full of gorgeous post-nuclear light pollution and atmospheric tics.

Kara-lis Coverdale – A479

This sound soothes irradiated internal organs. It should be available on prescription. Even in our pre-armaggedon history, there is little other music this immersive, necessary and soulful.

A479 is from Kara-lis Coverdale’s A480 tape, available from the mega Constellation Tatsu

(gif is radialgrad_06.gif by Abill Miller)

Just some pretty techno: Eight early electronic listening music tracks chosen by Dan Selzer

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Dan Selzer is a renaissance dude.

He runs Acute Records, where he has re-released and reissued amazing no-wave and art punk material by Theoretical Girls, Glenn Branca and Ike Yard among others (Discogs).

Together with Mike Simonetti, he created the 4th RVNG Presents Mix (Crazy Rhythms, a.k.a. one of our favourite mixes ever).

Today we celebrate his Strategies release in Golf Channel Recordings, as New York Endless.

Strategies contains three electronic tracks that satisfyingly close the loop between the mechanised and the emotional (cf. Interstellar’s ‘we surround ourselves in metal and pump ourselves into space, but at the end of the day, we are just looking for love”).

Instead of posting a song from it as usual (you can get the record here; check the spectacular ‘Scale Those Heights’ at Pitchfork), we are instead going to feature a selection of early techno tracks picked up by Mr. Selzer himself, where we clearly detect the ‘intuitions of the post-human from the modern’ blueprint which are so manifest in the wonderful New York Endless.

In his own words: “It is a selection of old songs, some from that whole Artificial Intelligence/AI period, some tangentially related. Just some pretty techno that I was into when I was first starting to get into electronic/dance music beyond easily accessible rave compilations and commercial stuff, and before I went further back.”

This selection follows up from this wonderful blog post about Warp Records Artificial Intelligence series and IDM.

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Long Ago – A Relic

The Europeans taught me about techno and it was an European compilation that introduced me to Detroit. The Transmat Relics compilation opens with this Derrick May track…I don’t think it every appeared anywhere outside of Relics and an associated EP. A perfect opener of this comp and of minds, swelling synths, heavenly Detroit strings, funky and chaotic synth percussion, changed me.

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The Black Dog – Techno Playtime

According to the liner notes of the Warp Artificial Intelligence series, these guys are from somewhere in the South Pacific and they love Silent Command by Cabaret Voltaire. I think they used to have a BBS system that I tried accessing from the vax terminals in Oberlin’s computer lounges but never got through.

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Fuse – Dimension Intrusion

Amazing that Richie Hawtin is where he is now and awesome to remember that he’d write something as sublimely beautiful as Dimension Intrusion.

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Heard through shared releases with B12, favorites of the UK IDM with Detroit roots class. VCF has a lo-fi quality that is charming. Lo-fi doesn’t have to mean distorted and noisy, it can be raw and sweet.

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Cusp – Drone Um Futurisma

During the early 90s techno-craze when malls across America were filled with cash-in rave compilations, it was a miracle of distribution and some people somewhere with taste that Artificial Intelligence made it through, as did the omnipresent Probe Mission USA CD, which included Mark Gage’s Cusp (and one of my all-time faves 0733’s Loner). Psychedelic and trancey (but lets still call it techno), that moment 3 and half minutes in when the melody comes in…so good.

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Stefan Robbers – Mistified

Robber’s Eevo-lute, definitely more of the best Euro-Detroit. I seem to be drawn to these techno b-sides/final songs on an ep that are the more “ambient” counterpoint to the club track flipside.

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Wladmir M. – Goin’ South

Another from Eevo-lute, actually never heard this till recently. Truly epic and odd and powerful stormer of a song. The little Kraftwerk sample makes it for me. Europe Endless, right?

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Richard H. Kirk – Feeling (Of Warmth and Beauty)

I came to techno from a post-punk/industrial background and Cabaret Voltaire were long favourites. Kirk is crazy prolific but this album has it’s own vibe that pretty much ruled my first year of college. This song is a bit triumphic, really crowd-pleasing moments as each new part come in. A long time personal fave.

Sad/Comforting/Creepy

Featuring : Five or Six

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Things XXJFG has learned this week:

  • Nicholas Fairbairn, the Tory politician that labelled Throbbing Gristle the “wreckers of civilization” (and thus inadvertently named the wonderful book on COUM and TG) has been implicated in historic child sexual abuse.
  • The Contino Sessions by Death in Vegas is worth a few quid on Discogs.
  • Around five years after the Prostitution show at the ICA that caused Fairbairn to protest too much, we were fully into Post-Punk (not literally – this XXJFGer was barely alive).  And a group called Five or Six were putting out a 7″ called Another Reason.
  • About 18 years later Death in Vegas would be sued (according to Wikipedia) by Five or Six for nicking various bits from Another Reason for their the first track on The Contino Sessions, Dirge.

Five or Six  – Another Reason

Another Reason is all phase shifted Americana bar room haze and sing-speak London accents.  There’s an end of the world/pier feel to the piano that stalks alone throughout.  Much like its late(r) twentieth century namesake, it is a dirge; a fall through muted confused rooms.  It’s a mood Portishead would latch onto, that gloriously sad/comforting/creepy element of faded power that the British have made their specialist subject.

You can grab the 7″ off Discogs or go all in and get the Best Of… compilation from Cherry Red right here.