A Waiting Room in Los Angeles

Featuring : YPN

Two things that spring to mind listening to YPY’s excellent album 2020:

Where to Now?, the label releasing this, have managed to maintain an incredible consistency across their experimental output.  Aesthetics in record label-ing seems to have fallen out of fashion — at roughly the same velocity as the money to be made from releasing music.  Yet, WTN? continue to put out record after record, made by people all over the world and they all just feel…right.

As a sort of wicked corollary to that, YPY’s album’s all over the place.  It veers from Noise, through EBM, segues into Industrial and eventually lands at today’s track, Soup.

YPY – Soup

Soup’s a moment of calm at the centre of the album.  Minimal Techno — shorn of that genre’s reputation for cold detachment — it feels like being inside the womb of a great, futuristic ziggurat.  The mass of humanity managing to only inflict itself on the internal surfaces: the micro; the macro remains unmoved.  But within the corridors and waiting rooms, a softness as the machinery of the building’s administration continues to hum.  What melody there is, appropriately enough, sounds like the pleasant sound of mainframes reporting that all is well.

YPY’s album, 2020 is out on Where to Now? Records…now.  You can get it direct (digitally and on vinyl) right here.

Awesome artwork by Nico Krijno

Anyone who had a heart

Last week, we told you about Alessandro Alessandroni, Morricone collaborator and whistler, soundtrack and library music composer extraordinaire, central figure in Italy’s 1960s and 1970s scene. Today we bring you Prisma Sonoro, apparently his personal favourite, an album which we haven’t managed to stop listening since we stumbled upon it a few weeks ago.

Prisma Sonoro could be the McGuffin in a remake of the Maltese Falcon set in the music nerd scene.It was a library music micro-press for the Sermi label. In it, Alessandroni was given access to a full orchestra and he went to town with it:

“The editor gave me total freedom, so I composed for a great orchestra with 16 violins, 4 violas, 4 cellos, it was truly fun. It isn’t often that a producer leaves you free to compose whatever you want.”

Words fail us as we attempt to describe this record. One could call it lounge, and imagine it playing in the backdrop of a jet-set party in a futuristic penthouse, though cigarette smoke and controversies about existentialism. But it is so much more. Like Burt Bacharach’s work (specially with Dionne Warwick) it is infected with transcendental innocence and melancholy, a psychedelia acquired not through filigree but through depth. Fly Basil Kirchin’s genius to the Italian riviera in a Learjet 23.  

We listen to it and feel the same sweetness we do when we look at photos of our parents when they were young and cool. Perhaps we miss the (nuclear eschaton-tinged) optimism of its times, perhaps we feel a vicarious nostalgia for its dreams and hopes, things that never came to be.

Perhaps we miss a world that gave up on itself so that we could be.

Alessandro Alessandroni – Personale

Prisma Sonoro was reissued by Light in the Attic some time ago but the older pressings go for $1500 in discogs, and this isn’t a market failure.

Although we know a few things about Toshifumi Hinata, a Japanese pianist / balearic composer we also featured recently, the Internet is silent regarding the history and meaning of Chat D’Ete, an album he released in 1986.

We have decided to post it today because, like Prisma Sonoro, it opens a wormhole into a universe that doesn’t exist anymore, a universe that perhaps didn’t ever exist, a universe that maybe can’t exist because basic physical constants don’t allow such perfect folding of coolness upon emotion.

To be honest, you could say that about most Hinata albums, seamless pot pourris of franco-phile piano, exquisite minimalism, pastel ambient and tracks like 異国の女たち (‘exotic women’), a stately synth ballad whose melody might have soundtracked Rutger Hauer’s terminal speech at the end of a version of Bladerunner scripted by Haruki Murakami and shot by Michael Mann in that impossible universe of blinding neon we alluded to above.

Toshifumi Hinata – 異国の女たち

More info about Chat D’Ete in discogs.

Saturday Mixtape: Grails

Featuring : Grails + Podcast

Today’s mixtape is brought to you by the amazing Grails.  In their own words:

Suicide Solutions are a recurring mix series that follow each Grails or Lilacs & Champagne release. Instead of a traditional mix, tracks are chopped up and new samples are overlaid.”

Warning: It contains Rosicrucian funk bangers for the latest skirmish in the Hermetic Wars.

Grails – Suicide Solutions

The tracklist is secret.

Grails will be playing with Majeure (50% of Zombi)  at Oslo in London, on the 11th of March. It is quite likely that the 20JFG family will be there in its entirety, and so should you. Get the tickets here.


Italian Body Music

Riccardo Mazza’s first release in Yerevan Tapes is called the Hierarchy of Being, and each of its songs is a document from a journey through tundras of abstract menace.

Imagine the albino geology at the beginning of The Thing, and the unspeakable things that happened there, and then…go there. Although the underlying feeling is whatever exists a moment before horror reigns supreme, the channels through which it arrives are diverse: we roam the dissonant mists of an Anselm Kiefer nightmare; we infer alien cultures from a tablet found in the ice, we jack to the heartthrob of the beast in an abandoned hangar.

In h.b.t., we rediscover a black slab with Severed Head’s lost remix of Liars’ They Were Wrong So We Drowned, the one that disappeared from their studio after that power cut when the shadows came alive, and a sulphurous stench engulfed everything. The synth arpeggio in this jam is the meanest thing we’ve heard since Golden Teacher’s Dante and Pilgrim, and we need to say no more.

RM – h.b.t.

The Hierarchy of Being comes out on the 22nd of this month on on white tape cassette limited to 100. Pre-order here.

Alessandro Alessandroni is a total legend. He was the twangy guitarist and master whistler in Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks for Sergio Leone’s Western trilogy. He himself has soundtracked everything – from horror to eurotrash to porn. He has created transcendental lounge wonders the likes of you you won’t believe…

…but we’ll tell you about all these things some other day. Today we stick with the theme of Italian Body Music, and bring you ‘Heavy and Light Industry’, an Alessandroni library music LP released in experimental label Coloursound.

In it, he creates the sonic backdrop for a hauntology of research and development and continuous manufacturing processes, its syncopated rhythms represent the march of progress and its materialistic cornucopia at their most terrifying, ending with the grotesque carnival in Karl Marx’ dance of commodities, where humans become machines and machines come alive.

It’s scary because it’s true.

And if Akira had been a 1970s defcon-2 spy-fest starring James Coburn, Work Cycle would have provided Tetsuo’s theme.

Alessandro Alessandroni – Work Cycle

More information at Discogs.

Saturday Mixtape: L/F/D/M

Featuring : L/F/D/M + Podcast

This week’s Saturday mixtape comes from L/F/D/M whose latest track we featured a couple of Friday’s ago.

i wanted to do a mix that seemed to slip from the club to a dream and then back again, i love it when things bleed into the hallucinatory, whether by hypnosis or juxtaposition
  1. Richard H. Kirk – Digital Globe
  2. Isaac Johan – Everytime i see your face
  3. Ligature – Figures
  4. Cyberchrist – AW ride
  5. Edgar Froese – NGC 891 (excerpt)
  6. Yasuaki Shimizu – Semitori no hi
  7. Merzbow – Shadow barbarian
  8. Size – Smaller
  9. Human Resource – Dominator (Frank De Wulf mix 1)

David Lynch presents: Big Wednesday

Featuring : Great Ytene

This post is dedicated to the sterling work of Faux Discx, a Brighton label we cover all to infrequently (sorry Dan!).  But today that changes, and that changes thanks to Great Ytene.  In particular their track Locus and their deadpan music video for the same.

Locus is a sort of narcotic surf guitar nightmare.  Like if David Lynch’s had gone straight from Eraserhead to Big Wednesday (the alternative timeline checks out — also RIP Revenge of the Jedi).  It’s the sort of stuff that if it didn’t exist, Pynchon would have invented it.

Locus contains all of that is essential to Post Punk: the fight between worlds.  The grime of Punk clashing against whatever calm can be introduced; dropped like ink in fierce waters.  If Punk’s essential trick was that it was pop music, Post Punk’s was that it was everything.

Here it’s a codeine slowed rhythm section and a sun kissed guitar line played against the noise.  It’s almost as if the twang of a guitar exerts a gravitational pull on the drums, slowing them from their natural Motorik impulse and allowing the cacophonous wails of their stringed siblings to slip through.

Great Ytene – Locus

You can get Great Ytene’s album direct from Faux Discx here.  You can check them out live in London at their launch show here.  And here’s the video for Locus…

May your travels never be interrupted by the guardians of purity, or the walls of fear

As the shipwrecked minds of nativism attempt to split humanity into ragged chunks of homogeneity harkening to back an eden that never existed, we celebrate the hybrid, the mongrel and the intersectional with two songs sitting at the crossroads of cultures and traditions.

We begin with Música Esporádica, an experimental band involving Suso Sáiz (who we told you about last week) his mates from another cool Spanish improv pop band, Orquesta de las Nubes, and some other people including renowned frame drummer and drum designer Glen Vélez.

When you listen to Música Esporádica’s 1985 s/t album for the first time, you have this uncanny sensation of space and time collapsing. They hail from a past which is another world, but sound fresh and of the present, peers and forebears of Gang Gang Dance and a myriad other Silk Road travellers (as well as the odd tourist).

Música Esporádica was their first and only album and in it they sound free and fully formed, like mysterious strangers arrived to the caravanserai after springing from the brow of a sub saharan zeus. They nod at you from the outskirts of the party before sliding into the shadows, you better follow them in this incredible trip.

We leave you with our favourite track in the album, ‘I Forgot the Shirts’, a crystalline Music for 18 Musicians-like palace of vocal harmonies hosting a surrealist house party jacked by an outfit of Luaka Bop funk renegades.

Música Esporádica – I forgot the shirts

Check Discogs for more information. While doing some desk research on the album, we noticed that Listen to This already featured them a few months back, demonstrating their pristine taste once again.

Music From Memory’s forthcoming Outro Tempo – Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil 1978-1992 compilation will be one of 2017’s album, and we will feature it here in due course.

In it, you can find Cântico brasileiro nº 3, a mind-blowing drum-trax banger in the same lineage as Secondo Coro Delle Lavandaie, 3rd Face’s Canto Della Liberta, and OOIOO’s Uma. The artist responsible for it is called Maria Rita Stumpf, and we have become sort of obsessed with her.

According to our Google-translate enhanced investigations of Brazilian music blogs, Maria Rita is an artist and cultural entrepreneur who, for a moment in the 1980s, came close to pop stardom. It didn’t quite happen. Perhaps her music was too strange, too intense, sounded too much as if arrived from a Herzogian jungle of the id, raw and perhaps scarred also by Brazil’s history of slavery and violence.

This is precisely why her songs mesmerise us, like Jeanette, like Zelda, like Mariah. They are plugged into a universal Chomskian pop-parsing framework which knows their language but doesn’t, every unexpected and misunderstood twist in their progression is a source of surprise and joy, also gratitude for living in a world with such variety of beauties.

Maria Rita Stumpf – Cântico brasileiro nº 1

More info in Discogs.