801383, Earth Leakage Trip, Guilin, Banga, Scott Grooves, JX-Zoe, Josh Caffe, Planet Trip Records, R.E.E.L., Ian Humberstone, BFTT, Mx.Tactful, and Oui Ennui
Blah blah Bandcamp Friday. You know the drill. If the mail is too long don’t forget to hit “View entire message”, or just click the link up at the top. Edit: This didn’t send on Friday so I’m sending it again for posterity.
Gnarly, twisted acid that operates in a strange space between electro, darkroom techno and looped, repetitive experimentalism.
Another early ’90s release that’s been reissued, this time Psychotronic by Earth Leakage Trip. Originally the first release on the Moving Shadow label, run by Rob Playford of 2 Bad Mice, it’s gone on to fetch relatively big money on Discogs. Rather than the dreamy house heard last week from The New Age Orchestra, this is full-on bleep, with rattling drums, strange vocal samples and tinny, almost frustrating melodies. ‘No Idea’ features a vocal sample from a play for children — “the doors are where the windows should be, and the windows are where the doors should be” — yet it’s slightly detuned, rendering it utterly terrifying. It’s like The Orb gone mad(der).
More weirdness, this time on Lost Dogs Entertainment, whose stock in trade is “Weird doggy music”. It thumps, it thrums, it claps, it scares.
Two tracks of thumping yet restrained club music, somewhere between funky and gqom, with hints of traditional styles thrown in under electronic flurries and bangs.
Scott Grooves always has the goods but I listened the title track here a lot this week and I want to share it with you. It’s delightful. It kind of reminds me of the B2 on that Workshop Special from Even Tuell & Midnightopera, but with kalimba or something.
important! audio is a new Irish outlet dropping releases on the first Friday of every second month. This is one of them, from JX-Zoe. The artist found a tape with “a load of ancient Australian Aboriginal music” from the 1980s, and then fed the music into their mixer while responding in real time with drums and synths. It’s trippy.
Seriously good proto-house vibes from Josh Caffe on Phantasy. Sounds like something fresh out of mid-1980s Chicago when in fact it’s brand now and from London. Super.
The opening track on this compilation, ‘Symptoms Of Dub’ by Symptoms Of Love, is hypnotic and intoxicating, a woozy thump of dub that makes me swoon. The goodness doesn’t stop there, with drum machine delights from Paula Tape, italo-esque sounds from Jex Opolis, a wonderfully percussive jam from Mayurashka, and a stompy, jerky closer from Ivy Barkakati. Top work.
Heady and intoxicating, this set of longform pieces comes on Zona Watusa. R.E.E.L., or Rapid Eye Electronic Limited, is made up of Farmer Glitch (ex Hacker Farm, pHarmerz), Saxon Roach (IX Tab) and Matthew J Saunders (Assembled Minds / Magnétophone), and this release is fascinating. Think ’60s and ’70s soundtrack electronica, strange British horror films, ’80s synth music and acid innovation, recalling the sounds of the Radiophonic Workshop, Broadcast and Julian House, The Orb (them again) and place it in a modern context of digital freedom and online communication. That’s how I see it anyway. I’ve been delving into a lot of British film in recent months, inspired by Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror. Everything from MR James and Susan Hill adaptations to the thoroughly original Penda’s Fen. While there is no direct link between these and the album in question, I feel there’s a spirit that connects them all. One that seeks the strange and uncanny, exploring the space between this and other worlds.
Speaking of MR James, A Warning to the Curious was one of the films I watched last year. Not to go all spoiler-y, but the warning is basically don’t go digging up old crowns that are guarded by murderous ghosts. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Folklore Tapes did a crowdfunding exercise, and the top reward was a bespoke, one-of-one tape release (which you can see in the above image). Inspired by the treasure’s guardian, Ian Humberstone used unused elements from the 2016 release Black Dog Traditions of England and fashioned the strange and wonderful music we have here, which seeks to provide a sort of soundtrack to the titular story.
Out to BFTT! I was originally going to feature a single track from SoundCloud but here’s the whole thing. That track was ‘Rezalemass’, and it features a lovely sample from ‘Lovefool’ by the Cardigans. Slammer. The album opens with a short blast of sound before being plunged into silence, growing slowly but surely into ebbs and flows of that same sound. There follow squidgy blobs of percussion, eerie expanses of sound, incoherent samples and strange clicks and clacks. It’s both recognisably BFTT while showing new depths to this talented artist.
There’s a really cute story to this. Lara David (f.k.a. chekov) was in the dole office, and the person sat next to her was wearing an Autechre tee. They struck up a conversation and friendship and Mx.Tactful, the tee-wearer, uncovered some DATs from the ’90s. In her own words, they were inspired by Chiastic Slide and LP5, but after being ignored by the few labels she had shared them with, she shelved the material. A few decades later, David has released them on the new table jelly dishes label. The sounds are elastic and buoyant, pneumatic and energetic, with industrial heft and floating reveries appearing in equal measure. ‘Choral Drifen’ is a brief interlude into the ether, but on the whole the vibe is knotty and textured.
Oui Ennui is great. Great music. Great thoughts. Great blurb. There’s a fascinating document describing his thought processes on a lot of things (including calling a remote control a “converter”) as well as his observations on the fleeting nature of our existence. “For an eternity, prior to being born, we are NOT. We do not exist prior to existing. So shall it be when we leave this mortal coil. Again. NOT.” Maybe not earth shattering, but true. The music is a drifting swirl, darkness and light, joy and pain.