Strict Face, BRUMA, Dufi, Nesa Azadikhah, Susan Geaney / David Lacey, BLACK GIRL / WHITE GIRL, residual energy boss, Helicopter Quartet, Machars Action, Gerald Cleaver, Throwing Snow, Jack Ward etc
This week has been interesting for me. I spent a lot of time doing various house-related stuff like cutting grass and clearing out the shed. I spent some time listening to new music but I took the time to listen to albums like Reasonable Doubt and also this DJ Premier mix I made a few years back. My 2-year-old son was home with me three days too, so my daytime listening was severely curtailed.
In other news, I’ve paused my Patreon page for now. I had high hopes for creating further content outside of the weekly mails but between all the things that have happened in and outside of my daily life it has not happened how I’d hoped. A few people have very kindly told me they’d like to continue supporting me and there is the option of paying here, the minimum I can charge is €5 per month for some reason. Why I can’t go lower I don’t know! Anyway if you would like to support me in any way that would be greatly appreciated. I guess one way is just to tell a friend!
Four rare cuts from Strict Face, including the elegiac ‘Alice’, which appeared on the 2015 Peace Edits 12” from Gobstopper (1 For Sale from €35.00). A sadder and more beautiful edit of ‘Better Off Alone’ you will not find, I guarantee you.
Another thing I enjoyed this week was The Rub’s History of Hip Hop mix for 1998. That was quite a year, with classics from Lauryn Hill, Big Pun, Canibus, DMX, Juvenile, Noreaga, Gang Starr (whose Militia also featured in my Primo mix mentioned above) and many more. I haven’t even mentioned Master P and No Limit. Hip-hop has changed in 30 years, naturally, and for many reasons I am not as up on things as I used to be. Seasons change, mad things rearrange. This mix from Porto-based BRUMA features modern-day artists like Rejjie Snow, Noname and NxWorries whose sound harkens back to earlier times, as well as old records from greats like BIG and Mos Def (now Yasiin Bey). The best of both worlds? Or is it all one world.
Speaking of old world sounds, this release conjures up imagined pasts, dance floors that never were. Organs and swirls, kicks and snares, squelches and guttural blobs of gated acid. One comment on the post reads “very rarely I decide to buy a record after 10 seconds of a snippet, but this might be the case” and I completely get it.
This is a mix from Tehran-based Nesa Azadikhah, who is the founder of Deep House Tehran, and it covers a huge range of what I can only assume is Iranian music. This seems to be everything from the titular deep house to indigenous pop, local hip-hop and more.
This new release on Fort Evil Fruit is magical, a slowly unfurling piece of music that demands deep listening and attention. Deep gong/bowl sounds, droning flute and melodica (I actually thought it was an accordion but obviously I was way off), it’s an exercise in calm restraint, hold and release.
Gorgeous sad lovely ambient inspired by Ursula K. Le Guin. It paired perfectly with this Nat Geo Earth Moods thing I put on Disney+ yesterday afternoon. One of many releases from the artist in the past month or so.
Crisp and minimally constructed techno from this Netherlands-based duo.
This is up there with the best woozy noisy droney fuzz you’ll find. “built around samples of the last couple seconds of some grunge tunes,” this is … chef’s kiss, if I may say so. FUZZ! MUTED HISSY FUZZ! FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES AT A TIME!
The Helicopter Quartet is a bit of a misnomer, in that there are only two members - Michael Capstick and Chrissie Caulfield. This is a pandemic album, in that it was recorded in a different style than their usual approach. Recorded in bits, sent back and forth, manipulated and refined etc etc. Wonderful to listen to all the same. As a parent of small children I appreciated the artwork too.
If you enjoy listening to radio tones and hiss and noise, then this is for you. If not, move along. Described on Twitter as “odd shortwave radio broadcasts from Australia to the Arctic Circle”, it’s a trip around the world in radio format. When I bought the tape last year there was a warning about very high frequencies, so be careful about playing it too loud. Apparently it’s quite calming if you have tinnitus.
This album starts off with weird, discordant modular tones. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it at first, but as I stuck with it I found a lot to enjoy. The music is strange and electronic, with unusual melodies and frequencies bouncing off against each other. As the album progresses, it moves from abstract improvisation into more, dare I say, “straightforward” “dance” music. While unexpected chords and frequencies abound, beats appear in almost pedestrian 4/4 fashion. Almost. It’s a trip. I don’t even think I have the right words, but any adventurous listener should embrace this with open ears.
One of the few things I listened to while I was out in the shed, this album attempts to merge the traditional with the modern, and does in many ways. Ancient rhythmic instruments are used alongside neural networks, with primal physical touches matched by digitally created images. The 12” even comes with three gorgeous prints. Does Throwing Snow succeed in his aims? If you took away the text it might be difficult to ascertain that such approaches were used. The music certainly rattles and bangs, as one would hope given the instruments used, but does it tap into that prehistoric or pre-modern world? Hard to say when you’re listening to it as you take apart a broken hose reel.
It’s been a warm and sunny week here in Dublin. Today appears to be grey but I was out walking earlier and it was pretty hot (by Irish standards, of course, like 22C). Jack Ward from Limerick made this “big gay mix” that starts off airy and ends in debauchery. We’ve got friends like Olive T, stars like Shangela and icons like Cher. Basically, fab.