The Mythical Vulva

Featuring : Brice Catherin

This percussion piece is, Brice Catherin says, is “a tribute to an exceptional woman: baubo, the mythical vulva. former slave turned into a goddess of fertility in a time of matriarchy, baubo is our mother, our wife, our sister, our daughter. my piece is a pagan celebration that brings all of baubo’s children together: the composer, the performers and the members of the audience – who participate actively in the performance by playing small instruments. each performance uses three new texts offered to baubo: a poem, a paragraph from a novel, an article or even a recipe – whatever the performers feel makes sense.”

It rattles out like abstracted gamelan; poetry in tiny metallic hits.

Brice Catherin – 36000 years alongside baubo – ode to baubo from iakchos

Download Brice Catherin’s Best Hits – Recent Works for Percussion Ensemble for free from Pan Y Rosas

art is Caravaggio, Maria Maddalena in estasi (detail), ca. 1606

Om de Cologne

Featuring : Cologne Tape + Phew

Cologne Tape are an German experimental rock super-group involving people from Battles, The Field and Von Spar, as well as Jens Uwe Beyer and others. Although they are based in different German cities, their spiritual centroid (and the location where they congregated to create their latest record, Welt) is Cologne.

This is a significant fact. Can hailed from Cologne, and so do Kompakt records, and if these two things were to be somehow combined, you would obtain something along the lines of Cologne Tape, and Welt.

And what thing is this?

This is a very good thing indeed. Imagine Can’s wild trip into the heart of rhythm unfolding over a  tesseract whose granitic planes slide upon each other with minimal majestic force.

We know it’s hard to visualise. Try. Remember the kaleidoscopic capers in the Dr Strange film, and remove all the mystic clichés until a bare truth is revealed, a truth that comes from repetition, a truth that cannot be codified in words because it lives in the pattern of a drum, the swirl of a synth glyph, a piano melody refracted into infinity like shards of glass, like shards of Philip.

But why imagine when you can listen to Welt 3 (Magazine Edit)? A techno beat of beautiful brutality, synth lines unable to decide between religiosity and funk become both. A drop that projects white hyperspace lines through blackness, converging into the sweaty dance-floor a moment before things get messy.

God this is the kind of thing that really makes us wish we still ran a club.

Cologne Tape – Welt 3 Magazine Edit

Welt is coming out on the 31st of March in Magazine. Pre-order from Juno.

Today’s bonus is the self-titled 1981 debut by Japanese avant garde chanteuse Phew.

Its connection with the above, leaving aside pleasant visual symmetries in album artwork, is Can: Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit participated in Phew’s creation (and Conny Plank produced). The result is completely amazing, fresh as if Phew had travelled through a wormhole into the present, absorbed 30 years of post-punk-funk history, and gone back to the past to fuck with the minds of causality obsessed people like you and me. She has keys, and those keys open doors.

But then, Can always had Gibson’s touch: Anything they got involved with became modern, probably because they eliminated time with the primal power of their groove. Of all Phew, their presence is most clearly felt in Signal: in its cocodrillic guitar dirge, in the Fremen jazz drums and perhaps most tellingly, in a metronomic beep that keeps the whole thing from falling apart into another reality, and taking us with it never to return.

Phew – Signal

Inform yourself about Phew in Wikipedia and Discogs.

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)