worriedaboutsatan, Morwell, M. Geddes Gengras, JWords, Quaid, Djoser, Grimalkin Records, Tr One, Kali Malone, BB84, Alister Fawnwoda, Suzanne Ciani, Greg Leisz, Suddi Raval, OUT.OF.OFFICE and more
Back in the zone again. I can hear that sample in my head but have no idea whose voice it is. Answers on a postcard or something. Big big edition today, you’ll probably have to click “read more” down below, or maybe click the link and visit the site. I’m going to be playing trance on my show on Sunday night, the sun has gone to my head.
Gavin Miller aka worriedaboutsatan’s This Is It Forever label marks its 60th release with Glass Infinites. Titles like ‘Say No To Yes’, ‘How Does It Feel, What Do You Think? Are You Happy?’, ‘Boomkat Industrial Complex’ and ‘Rejected Ambient Works’ offer signs of a sense of humour, so often seemingly absent in this line of work.
Morwell never misses. Never. The title track here samples a Mariah Carey song I never knew. The video features Meadow Soprano and Bodie from The Wire in a kind of four-minute summation of the singer’s parents’ lives. It’s an ultra-saccharine yet still meaningful ode to persistence and perseverance, and the snippets chosen for this track render Carey’s vocals mournful and afraid rather than triumphant. ‘Gudie and Protect’ doesn’t feature any recognisable samples (to my ears), though they could be lurking inside this choppy garage number, which seems to clank and dart like rave stabs created from the sound of children playing in the stairwells of the tower in the release’s artwork.
MGG and Hausu is a match made in heaven. Previous releases have been flabbergasting in their … I don’t want to say pomposity, but they’ve felt incredibly BIG. Heavy. This one is still rather epic, yet feels lighter, almost more wistful. Beautiful as always, whatever silly words I attempt to wrap around it.
JWords often makes dusty hip-hop but here she’s put together a short release of generally “dancey” sounds. ‘water waves~’ is fittingly floaty, not unlike the beautiful ‘mentalflow’. ‘reprogramming..’ seems to be a combination of Detroit techno and gorgeous house chords. All good, basically.
This is somehow both dungeon synth and tongue-in-cheek videogame music. Lots of dark and creepy and hilarious fun to be had. I went to Blarney Castle, home of the Blarney Stone, last week, and if it had been wet and dank rather than 22 degrees and clear, this would have been the perfect soundtrack.
More 80s-ish sounds, sounding like everything you’ve heard before but not quite, hence the title. It contains sounds that are hollow yet broad, where incredibly vast spaces can be found between each note. I’ve probably made this comparison before, but imagine that episode of The Simpsons where Homer enters the third dimension. This sounds like that.
Three crunchy bangers. That’s it.
Friend of the Cloud The Doll created a sample pack, which Grimalkin Records invited people to make tracks from this collection of sounds collected over a decade and a half. The result is a truly diverse selection of sounds drawn together into a this mixed box (not quite a mixtape). ‘33415’ by Genetic Memory Orchestra is a real highlight, but everything is of a very high quality. This is the first of such a project from Grimalkin, who will also be arranging educational workshops around music production. Exciting.
Tr One is someone I've mentioned many times, from his sumptuous music to his always entertaining Instagram page. He’s just released his debut album, From The Studio Of, and it’s everything you’d expect, and more. Most surprisingly, one might say is the rather sultry ‘Pitchshift’, featuring Elaine Dowling. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him use vocals before, and this is a welcome new approach. Tracks like ‘I’m Dreaming Again’, ‘What Kind Of Dreams Do You Have?’, ‘We Must Continue’ and ‘Flow Convert’ are excellent in how the are both driving, up-tempo techno numbers as well as being imbued with a real sense of melancholy. Top work from a top lad.
Two pieces of slightly unnerving beauty from Kali Malone, sitting on that album cover like a Bond villain or something. She’s watching you. She draws her power from minor chords and searing drones, unresolved tension and the strength of the organ.
“Ardnacrusha was the first large scale engineering project undertaken by the post colonial Irish government. The station harnesses the power of the River Shannon to generate electricity for most of the country. On this their first album, BB84 harness the power of the post industrial landscape to generate a large scale electronics onslaught of epic dimensions.”
How to follow that blurb. Field recordings, weighty concepts, noise, rattling effects. EEELLEECCTRRRRIIICCIIITTYYYY, as MIKE might say in Twin Peaks.
Last year Lina Filipovich really impressed me with her album Magnificat. This year she’s back, signed up to the always excellent Umor Rex label. I believe the title, BHFC, refers to some of the composers she’s chosen to interpret: Bach, Frescobaldi, Handel, Carleton and Couperin. The source material is used subtly. This is not a classical remix album. Instead, it’s a thrilling merging of sounds, with strange electronic pulses that could be used in a DJ set or powering your workout, but could also be appreciated in a darkened room from the comfort of an armchair. Looped organ sounds enter almost organically, while strange wobbles bely any notion of centuries-old material. Truly stunning and engaging work from a fascinating artist.
Someone called this “ambient country” and that’s pretty much it. Twanging guitar, lilting synth, beautiful vistas, imagine Tony Soprano taking peyote with this in the background.
Suddi Raval is a pioneer, taking acid house to the charts in 1990 as part of Together (no, not Bangalter and Falcon). He’s worked in video games, doing audio for various Lego titles (including The Force Awakens) but he’s seemingly back releasing music in recent years. The two tracks here are timeless electro jams, as deep in space as any Skywalker (sorry, couldn’t resist). You know that good electro that has all those familiar elements yet still manages to hook you in because it doesn’t sound tired and formulaic? That’s what we have here. Really excellent stuff.
Imagine Roland Clark’s ‘I Get Deep’ vocal over a rattling house version track led by the strings from Psycho. It’s an incredible blend that appears in the middle of this mix from OUT.OF.OFFICE. The whole mix is filled with spoken word and poetry, from Clark and Gil Scott-Heron to Suheir Hammad, in a mix that moves between celebratory and defiant zones in an instant. It closes with the artist’s own production, StayFloKnockin, sampling the late Pimp C’s ‘Knockin’ Doorz Down’. A mix for Juneteenth, and for Black History Month, it’s a treasure.
More slammin’ new electro, this time from Huey Mnemonic and D. Strange. Electro always sounds both retro and futuristic, coldly dystopian, yet these artists point to “an ever desolate present”. So many bad things, too many to name, in every country. This release doesn’t quite scream “wake up, sheeple”, but it tries to slam home a message of urgency at a time when we are increasingly desensitised by daily horrors. I featured that Quincy Jones rework a few weeks ago, and Huey’s ‘Red Alert’ features a similar siren, yet is riven with funk. Looking to the past, D. Strange’s ‘Drapetomania’ refers to a supposed mental illness that was hypothesised in the 1850s. Apparently, any slave who attempted to escape their bondage suffered from this illness, because only the insane would want to flee such a position. Unthinkable nowadays, yet 1850 isn’t all that long ago, in the scheme of things.