“LA-based label Sister City Limited sees its fourth release from two thirds of its label counterparts, Dean Grenier and Hej Fund. Dean Grenier, with singles on Tectonic, Symbols and Photek Productions, continues to move from his roots in American underground bass music into more techno-infused sounds. Hej Fund is James Campbell from LA, a student of percussion, who specializes in rhythm tracks, heavy drums and random synth experiments.”
“Powell’s knockout debut EP for XL sounds like nothing else. Club music in extremis.”
Ascetic House mainstay Jock Club releases more booming techno for the dancers and the djs. This time on Nashville’s Designer Medium Hardware with four heaters.
“UMFANG makes her debut on Ninja Tune’s Technicolour imprint with “Symbolic Use Of Light”. Previously sharing her analogue-based rhythmic excursions via videogamemusic, 1080p, Phinery and Allergy Season, the New Yorker is a co-founder of Brooklyn’s colossal Discwoman crew and resident at Bossa Nova Civic Club’s Technofeminism monthly.”
“Painstakingly written from pieces developed upon since 2013, the new record, titled ‘Serpent Music’, was initially composed as a soul record – based around delicate and emotive songwriting in various forms. It was a highly difficult project to undertake on both a creative and personal level, weaving thematic links through paranoia, social anxiety, and missing loved ones. “The songs come from a much more emotional and very vulnerable place… They’re very close to me and I’ve been cautious of how I would eventually present them to the world.” he explains.
The album spans sonically diverse and richly-textured pieces, formed from live, organic instruments, samples and various field recordings. Dreamlike lo-fi psychedelia sits alongside broken electronic experimentations, ambient compositions between abrasive noise offer insight into a haunting otherworld. From melodic choral vocals and soaring synths, to screeching guitar riffs, dramatic spoken word samples and live drumming, ‘Serpent Music’ evidently moves through a strange and intriguing personal journey.”
“Recorded in 2015 in Brooklyn, NY, McDowall’s synonymous modular synthesizer compositions are augmented by obtuse sampling cut-ups and contributions from Nicky Mao (Hiro Kone / Effi Briest) rounding out the lumbering sequential knot work that has become synonymous with McDowall and craft. All bundle orders ship with clear red vinyl.”
A. Sun Draw Water
Limited, hand-stamped white label 7″
Emotional northern ambient from Varg and Michel Isorinne recorded during the desolate Swedish winter.
Jonas Ronnberg aka Varg with a mini album themed around dominance and glamour. This is the statement of Penthouse Electronics.
icy live electronics.
A1 Blurred Perceptions Of Substance
A2 Reality Is What You Can Get Away With
A3 Whereabouts Unknown
B1 Without Tears
B2 Terrestrial Measure
Stunning downtempo ambient techno excursions.
A2 Ben_m (Tidal Fields Version)
B2 Bit Fragments
Book Of Eibon (Parasols Remix)
Absurd (Vercetti Technicolor Remix)
Die 7 Tore Des Schreckens (Xander Harris Remix)
Voices (Antoni Maiovvi Remix)
Sette Porte Dell Inferno (Mater Suspiria Vision Inferno Veneziano Remix
“For those not in the know Mater Suspria Vision are one of last remaining first wave of Witch House, proceed without prejudice, MSV were a truly bizarre one of a kind group. Combining Cosmic style with early Krautrock experimentation, bootleg VHS and a wild sense of humour, MSV have been one of our favourite groups for a long time. We’ve taken their last LP Antropophagus and run it through the Giallo Disco filter, featuring remixes by Xander Harris, Parasols AKA Ali Renault, Antoni Maiovvi and Vercetti Technicolor. Mastered by Alek Stark, Art by Eric Lee and Giorgio Anselmi”
Edition of 200 copies, 5 hours of music, Deluxe Box Set including 9 albums housed in a custom cartridge clamshell, including a download card for the full set. Pro-Duped tapes, on-body printing and fully remastered by Paul Corley in 2017.
Actress, real name Darren Jordan Cunningham, known to friends as DAZ, returns with a new album, now on Ninja Tune and a new music system called “AZD” (pronounced “Azid”), a chrome aspect journey into a parallel world. An artist who has always preferred to make music than to talk about it, in “AZD” he has achieved another remarkable landmark, one which is as resistant to interpretation as it is demanding of it. Following on from his previous albums, R.I.P, Splazsh and Hazyville, an epilogue poem attached to the press release for Ghettoville was construed by media, commentators and spectators that Cunningham had retired. This led him to conceptualise this mass of conclusion as the key to ‘Giving power back to identity.’
So a few pointers, or possible ways to think about “AZD”. The album is themed around chrome – both as a reflective surface to see the self in, and as something that carves luminous voids out of any colour and fine focuses white and black representing the perfect metaphor for the bleakness of life in the Metropolis as suggested by Anish Kapoors Cloud Gate.
Another way to approach would be through the art of James Hampton and Rammellzee (who inspired “CYN,” which Cunningham also sees as a vision of New York in reverse…) – both of whom, though of different generations of the African-American slave diaspora, created art through “Sourcing castaway materials from their environment and reinterprating them into absolute majesty given from the fourth dimension.” There is also the career-long influence of the Detroit techno pioneers, something which becomes clear on this album “there is a contrast in the type of glow or reflection”.
Alternatively, you could write your PhD thesis on Jung’s Shadow Theory and AZD: “Lots of ideas come from dreams, this isn’t new, but sometimes the conscious mind starts to meld into the universal consciousness through constellation tunnelling.” If that sounds too taxing then you could always fall back on Star Wars and, in particular, the Death Star: “It has a dark dystopian backdrop, with highly sophisticated technology, but it is fading into the ether, still holding on and emitting a powerful energy. The music remaking the embers, binding them together and pulling them apart again.”
Alternatively, just listen. That “glow” Cunningham talks about makes this in some ways more immediate than previous Actress releases. Take lead single, “X22RME” (pronounced “Extreme”) which elegantly plays between the lines of Oriental classic rave and Balinese warehouse Techno machined in a Rotherhithe lock up welding the grooves into a seamless cracked joint.
At the other end of the spectrum is “Faure in Chrome,” a byproduct or development from his collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra, in which he “repatterns” aspect of Faure’s Requiem into a piece which sounds like the very institution of classical music being encased in electronic ice and scanned through a high frequency bandwidth. In between are gems like “Runner,” a personal re-soundtracking of Blade Runner “its from the deleted Fade Runner scene where AZD in a Peckham Cafe realises his barber has over the years etched a faded scroll into his head using early 80s African synthpop as a vexing serum“, or “Falling Rizlas,” an alienated music-box ballad. It’s a remarkable piece of work, that harks back both to Actress’ previous productions and to earlier iterations of the (broadly conceived) “techno” project without being beholden to anything but Cunningham’s forward-facing, individual and disembodied vision.
The simplest you could say about “AZD” is that it’s art – the unique creation of a unique mind. There will be few more distinctive, brilliant or visionary suites of music released in 2017. Call him what you will, this is the year that Darren ‘Daz’ Cunningham – aka Actress, aka AZD – asserts more clearly than ever before his complete independence.