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The Ici Bientôt label arm of wonderful Parisian record store Geminicricket returns with another gem plucked from the world of uncategorisable 80’s French private press records, following up Nef’s ‘Mais Alors!!?... C'est À L'Envers’ with a welcome reissue of Nyssa Musiques’ 1985 percussive deluge ‘Comme Au Moulin’. Their sole self-release is a breathtaking and staggeringly wide-referencing avant-jazz masterpiece, smelting down varied strains contemporary minimalism, spiritual jazz, Indian classical, traditional gamelan and traditional Central African folk whilst retaining an unbelievable sense of cohesion and not confining themselves to a specific genre tag. It’s no surprise that members of the group studied and graduated from one of the most prestigious musical schools in France - the playing and musicianship is sublime - maintaining consistency and rhythm through complex marimba passages that draw obvious comparisons to Midori Takada’s work with Mkwaju Ensemble whilst other members fill the spaces in between.
Elsewhere the group evoke Steve Reich with the use of repetition to build tension and climax, whereas the rainforest atmosphere and track titles ‘Route De Sumatra’ evoke worldly inspiration and an obvious 4th world approach. Genuinely one of the most amazing records of its kind - huge tip for fans of Polish group Osjan or the recent ‘Balafon Sketches’ LP from Contours.
Nyssa Musique – Comme Au Moulin
Musica Elettronica Viva, or MEV for short, was formed in 1966 in Rome by Allan Bryant, Alvin Curran, Jon Phetteplace, Carol Plantamura, Frederic Rzweski, Richard Teitelbaum and Ivan Vandor. From the very beginning the group was based on musical freedom and the shunning of convention. Using contact microphones to record and manipulate sound wherever it could be found – from box springs to vibrators – and improvisationally combining those recordings with tenor sax, homemade synths and the very first Moog to trek cross the Atlantic, MEV made some of the most imaginative and abrasive sounds of the time.
Recorded in live performance at the Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste) in Berlin on October 5, 1967, Spacecraft is made up of a single piece of the same name – a slow building, jarring and disquieting work that reveals the entire MEV ethos in its lone half hour. As group member Alvin Curran put it "The music could go anywhere, gliding into self-regenerating unity or lurching into irrevocable chaos - both were valuable goals. In the general euphoria of the times, MEV thought it had re-invented music; in any case it had certainly rediscovered it." Our Swimmer is pleased to present this first ever vinyl issue of MEV's Spacecraft, an early piece from the most free-spirited group of the 20th century avant-garde.
M.E.V. (Musica Elettronica Viva) – Spacecraft
Latest in a standout line of collaborations between Japanese dynamo Haino, ingenious synthesist O’Rourke, and limitless shredder Ambarchi, was recorded on the night that Hideo Ikeezumi - a titan of Japanese psychedelic and experimental music, and long-term collaborator with Haino - passed away in February, 2017. In effect a bardo-like soundtrack of sorts, the results can’t help but remind us to Gaspar Noe’s use of Jean-Claude Eloy’s music in ‘Enter The Void’ as much as their own reference to David Behrman’s ‘Wave Train’ as the trio follow their nose along the axes of ‘Each side has a depth of 5 seconds A polka dot pattern in horizontal array A flickering that moves vertically’ to plumb deeply psychedelic, other dimensions and planes of existence.
The album is dominated by the sidereal scope of its side-long ‘Introduction’, where each member elides their respective electronics into an insoluble fluid mass of roiling white noise and starscreaming timbre where it’s difficult, and unnecessary, to pick out who’s doing what. However Haino takes the lead on the other side’s three-part suite, proper; piping up with spine-tracing effect on the suona (a Chinese double-reed horn) over O’Rourke’s descending synths and Ambarchi’s Leslie cabinet amp hum in ‘Part I’ and steering them into shattered bleeps, before the more concise ‘Part II’ erupts with angular free jazz drum machines and wrenched guitar squall, and ‘Part III’ passes out into space music recalling Rafael Toral.
Presented in a deluxe gatefold sleeve with artwork and design by Lasse Marhaug and an inner sleeve with live pics by Ujin Matsuo.
Black Truffle, 2021
Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, Oren Ambarchi – Each side has a depth of 5 seconds A polka dot pattern in horizontal array A flickering that moves vertically
It appears that the award-winning composer is here joined by their Curl collective in ‘Blue Alibi’ for an album that almost preternaturally collapses the vernacular of grunge rock, free jazz, indie-pop, rap, and chamber music, into scenes limned with the skill of a proper soundtrack scorer. At this point we’re just going to refer to this style as Mica Music, because for all intents and purposes, there’s just nobody making anything quite like it in the modern sphere. It’s the type of music that would puzzle a computer tasked with classifying its taxonomy, all asymmetric, bittersweetly discordant and metered off-centre in a way that defies categorisation.
While there’s no explicit mention of lockdown fuckries, aside from Brother May’s “middle finger to Boris Johnson and all the cops now” on the album’s bitterly puckered ace ‘Om Om Om Om’, the album’s sore blue pallor certainly feels like it was sculpted by the experience, or is implicitly realised as a salve for it. From the scratchy, free-jazz Company-isms and deadpan vox of ‘Whack’, to the mumbly introspection of ‘Rose’, thru the Sub-pop styles of ‘Liquorice’, and exquisite nap anxiety ambient in ‘Monk’ and ‘Blue Shit’, or the devastating torpor of ‘Waves’ and biley reflux of Flying Nun-esque guitars in ‘Outro’, it’s an ideal soundtrack to miserable, locked down times.
Mica Levi – Blue Alibi
Since it first appeared in 1976, King Tubby's dub-wise reworking of tracks by Yabby You's Prophets project has become a sought after item amongst reggae aficionados. Remarkably, it has never been reissued before, making this first vinyl edition in 23 years a must-have for those addicted to weighty bass, heavy riddims and echoing effects. There's much to enjoy from start to finish, including the delay-laden horns and gentle grooves of "Fair Lady", the surprisingly cheery skank of "Tear Gas In Waterhouse", the seductive solos of "Tradition Skank" and the low-slung, bass-heavy throb of "Serious Rebellion", a stripped back dub straight from the top drawer.
Pressure Sounds, 2020
THE PROPHETS – King Tubby's Prophecies Of Dub
Bunny Lee recorded a massive volume of remarkably consistent music in the 70s. This compilation brings together rare and unreleased cuts that put the listener bang in the middle of a typical recording session, complete with false starts and studio banter.
Linval Thompson is represented by two unreleased tunes, and is also heard in the runup to 'Tommy's Vibration'. Once the 'flying cymbal' sound had taken off, Bunny often recorded a 'flyers' and a straight version of the same rhythm: 'Tommy's Vibration' is a classic but little known Tommy McCook instrumental on the flyers cut of Linval's 'Jah Jah A The Conqueror'. 'Ethiopian Rock' is a total scorcher, the only recorded tune by the deejay Jah Smile, before Bunny persuaded him to turn to singing and changed his name to Barry Brown.
In a healthy spirit of competition, Bunny often tried out different singers on tunes that he thought would hit, hence Ronnie Davis's soulful take on Johnny Clarke's 'Every Knee Shall Bow', Johnny's version of Horace Andy's 'Better Collie', and Johnny and Horace sharing vocals on 'No Man Is An Island', all unreleased until now. 'No Babylon Shall Escape In This Time' has Johnny Clarke and 'Bongo' Herman Davis recorded over the original version side of Johnny's 'None Shall Escape The Judgement'. 'Life Of My Own' is a beautifully constructed lament by a singer who neither Bunny nor various expert ears have managed to identify: at Bunny's suggestion he is credited as 'The Raver'. 'War Zone' and 'Keep On Running' are examples of Tubby's mixes that have had further effects dubbed on elsewhere; sound systems and foreign record labels occasionally did this to manufacture their own specials from existing mixes. 'Jamaican Fruit Of African Roots' has recently been the subject of the fascinating documentary 'Shella Record: A Reggae Mystery'; the Lennox Brown cut here has only just been discovered. Also included are two stinging dubplates by Cornell Campbell: the first is aimed straight to the head of Arrows sound system, while the second, recorded in the early 80s, sums up the vital partnership of two of Jamaica's musical giants
Produced by and under licence from Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee Recorded at: King Tubby’s, Randy’s Studio 17, Harry J’s, Dynamic Sounds, Treasure Isle, Channel 1 Studios Engineers: King Tubby, Philip Smart, Pat Kelly, Prince Jammy, Sylvan Morris, Errol Thompson, Sid Bucknor, Carlton Lee, Stanley ‘Barnabas’ Bryan, Ernest Hoo Kim Musicians include: Drums: Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis, Lowell ‘Sly’ Dunbar, Carlton ‘Carly’ Barrett Bass Robbie Shakespeare, George ‘Fully’ Fullwood, Earl ‘Bagga’ Walker Guitar Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Tony Chin, Jerome ‘Jah Jerry’ Haynes Keyboards Winston Wright, Robbie Lyn, Ossie Hibbert, Keith Sterling, Bernard 'Touter' Harvey Horns Tommy McCook, Lennox Brown, Bobby Ellis, Val Bennett, Herman Marquis, Vin Gordon Flute Tommy McCook Percussion Noel ‘Scully’ Simms, ‘Bongo’ Herman Davis Photography: Adrian Boot Artwork: Teflon aka John Sims Tape Transfers: Newton Williams and Diggory Kenrick Mastering: Dave Blackman at Hiltongrove Sound Restoration: Andy Le Vien Sleeve Notes: Bunny Lee and Diggory Kenrick Special thanks to Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee, ‘Little Striker’ Lee, Chris Flanagan Album Co-ordination: Pete Holdsworth
Various Artists – When Jah Shall Come
If any one individual can be credited with being the catalyst for English reggae and dub then Dennis Bovell is that man. From the mid seventies onwards he has been at the centre of the English reggae scene. Pressure Sounds have now gathered sixteen of Dennis' must have rare dubs and instrumentals as well as a couple of outstanding vocal tracks on one essential album. 'Decibel' brings together some of his heaviest productions out for the first time since their original release in the mid-seventies on Dennis' 'Rama' and 'More Cut' labels. Dennis also produced many dub plates and specials that have never been heard outside of sound system dances and several of these dubs are also featured on 'Decibel'. At the same time as he was producing and playing bass on these records he was doing the same in the band Matumbi and also produced the UK National number one 'Silly Games' by Janet Kay.
Dennis Bovell – Decibel: More Cuts And Dubs 1976-1983
Unbegrenzt is the third in an ongoing series of archival records of the unheard music of Swedish composer Catherine Christer Hennix, co-released by Blank Forms Editions and Empty Editions. It follows Selected Early Keyboard Works and Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku (named the #1 archival release of 2019 by The Wire), in addition to a two-volume collection of Hennix’s writing titled Poësy Matters and Other Matters.
Recorded in February of 1974 and featuring Catherine Christer Hennix (recitation, percussion, and electronics) and Hans Isgren (bowed gong), Hennix’s realization of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Unbegrenzt” (German for “unlimited”) from Aus den Sieben Tagen is an elaboration both rigorous and radically different from the canonical 1969 recording issued by Shandar. The collection of 15 text pieces written in Paris during May of 1968, Aus den Sieben Tagen, denies its performers notated direction and instead provides poetic cues that hinge upon Stockhausen’s conception of “intuitive music,” a Eurocentric perspective on improvisation antithetical to the vernacular forms Hennix had engaged with as a young drummer performing in Stockholm jazz clubs with musicians like Bill Barron, Cam Brown, Hans Isgren, Lalle Svenson, Allan Vajda, Bo Wärmell, and many others. While both Hennix and Isgren saw the formal prospect of Aus den Sieben Tagen as a productive development of and beyond La Monte Young’s event scores, she here steadfastly counters his rationalization of intuition with the Principle of Sufficient Reason. (Cf. Brouwer’s Lattice.) Eschewing the busy, conservatory-addled lapses into idiomatic citation of Stockhausen’s 1969 recording, Hennix’s alternative realization of the “Unbegrenzt” score’s instructions to “play a sound with the certainty that you have an infinite amount of time and space” is based on her concept of Infinitary Compositions, the trademark of her ensemble The Deontic Miracle which, at one time, considered adding Stockhausen, La Monte Young and Terry Jennings scores to its repertoire. Taking a mature, minimal iteration of Stockhausen’s compositional method of “moment-forming” to heart, her version’s dark, controlled feedback and amplified bowed gong subtly shift through an immanent sequence of formative moments, step by step. Its bubbling computer noise, percussion, and repeated ominous transient sounds of temple blocks over the bowed gong terminate with the integrated recitation of exotic text fragments from Hevajra Tantra which faithfully take Stockhausen’s score into deeper vistas of the unconscious and a more devastating opening to the unlimited time and space of a dreaming mind.
Audio restoration and mastering by Stephan Mathieu, with an essay by Bill Dietz as well as a conversation between Dietz and Hennix.
Catherine Christer Hennix (b. 1948) started her creative life playing drums with her older brother Peter, growing up in Sweden where she heard jazz luminaries, such as John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Dexter Gordon, Archie Shepp, and Cecil Taylor perform from 1960 to 1967. Directly after high school, Hennix went to work at Stockholm’s pioneering Elektronmusikstudion (EMS), where she developed early tape music, incorporating computer generated speech done at the Royal Technological University (KTH), where she was an undergraduate student. After traveling to New York In 1968, she met artists Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles who invited her to stay at the Something Else Press Town House where she had the opportunity to meet, among others, composers John Cage, James Tenney, and Phil Corner. During the following years she developed fruitful collaborative relationships with many composers in the burgeoning American avant-garde, including, most significantly, Henry Flynt and La Monte Young. Young introduced Hennix to Hindustani raga master Pandit Pran Nath and she would later study intensively under him as his first European disciple. While Hennix continued to make music performing alongside Arthur Russell, Marc Johnson, Henry Flynt, and Arthur Rhames, she also served as a professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at SUNY New Paltz and as a visiting Professor of Logic (at Marvin Minsky’s invitation) at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. In recent years Hennix has led the just-intonation ensemble the Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage, which has featured musicians Amelia Cuni, Amirtha Kidambi, Chiyoku Szlavnics, Hilary Jeffrey, Amir El-Saffar, Benjamin Duboc and Rozemarie Heggen. She currently resides in Istanbul, Turkey pursuing studies in classical Arabic and Turkish makam.
Catherine Christer Hennix – Unbegrenzt
‘Exorcise’ is Yes Indeed’s bats debut: a death disco plate of syrupy bass, ratty violin and keys, stir-crazed vocals, and clobbered spinnet, magicked and minced by FX. London burbs’ Laurie Tompkins (composes, performs); Otto Willberg (improvises on basses) are long-time friends, and this 12” - their first release as Yes Indeed - departs from a clump of raucous and intermittent shows, and a 2016 live tape on Willberg’s Heavy Petting. The EP measures the pair’s clotted, foolish overdubs against a backbone of dubbed-out spinnet and pit percussion, played cosmic and blood-spattered by guest Aaron Parker. Laurie’s keys and violin are trapped and tart, Otto’s electric slinky and gruff, Laurie-Otto voice the fever dream of a train through Woking.
--- ‘Exorcise’ is available from June 2021 on the pair’s newly-minted Why Eye label as a 12” vinyl and/or download.
released June 17, 2021
---Paintings by Mio Ebisu. Music by Laurie Tompkins & Otto Willberg, feat. Aaron Parker. Recorded by Andrea Rocca at Baby Microbe. Mastered and pressed at Curved Pressings.
Yes Indeed – Exorcise
The first release by Transversales, a French label based in Paris founded by Sebastien Rosat and Jonathan Fitoussi, is the original soundtrack of the film Rock, composed in 1982 by Bernard Parmegiani (1927-2013).
Parmegiani was a major figure of electro acoustic music and member of the historic GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales) where he composed an important work of concert, among which is the masterpiece: De Natura Sonorum (REGRM 009LP). The work of Parmegiani, a virtuoso of the magnetic tape, is widely known to the public even without their knowledge, through the famous title he composed for the TV program Stade 2, for the French radio France Inter, and also through the jingle adopted by Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris (1971-2005). Bernard Parmegiani produced a large number of jingles, soundtracks, and indicatives, but Rock stands apart in his repertoire. He recorded it without any outside constraints in his own studio.
On listening to Rock, one is reminded of John Carpenter or François de Roubaix: a work which mixes the sounds of the TR-808 drum-machine, Synthi AKS, Farfisa organ, and Clavinet. Remastered from the original master tapes; Includes exclusive liner notes. Transversales specialize in the reissues of long lost tapes, rare original soundtracks, and library. Jonathan Fitoussi is a French composer residing in Paris. He works on minimalist and contemporary musical forms. He's also audio restoration engineer at INA and INA GRM. Sebastien Rosat is a French music supervisor working for films, TV, and advertising. He's also a member of French electronic duo Sommet.
Composed, Recorded, Performed by Bernard Parmegiani Artwork : Jean-Philippe Talaga Executive Producer : Jonathan Fitoussi & Sébastien Rosat Mastered : Jonathan Fitoussi
Transversales Disques, 2018
Bernard Parmegiani – Rock (Bande Originale Du Film)
Starting 2021 off with a bang, Transversales Disques is back with an absolutely stunning LP, 'Un Monde Lacéré', comprising a never before released, long-form work by Pierre Henry. A mind-bending example of the heights of Musique Concrète, by one of its most important pioneers, it remains years ahead of its time and challenges the perceived notions of how electronic music is understood to sound.
Over the last few years, the Paris based imprint, Transversales Disques, has set a remarkable standard for archival releases, bringing us a treasure trove of previously unreleased recordings by Bernard Parmegiani, Pharoah Sanders, Luc Ferrari, Igor Wakhevitch, Philip Glass, Ariel Kalma, François Bayle, Ennio Morricone, and numerous others. While by no means the limit of their focus, the imprint has offered special attention to works by French pioneers of electronic music, particularly those associated with Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète (GRMC) and Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM). This incredible initiative now extends to one of the most important composers of them all, Pierre Henry, with the stunning LP, Un Monde Lacéré.
Pierre Henry – Un Monde Lacéré
Black Truffle announce Ashioto, the first international solo release from Japanese drummer-percussionist-composer Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Active for over a decade, Yamamoto has performed and recorded extensively with artists such as Jim O'Rourke, Eiko Ishibashi, and Akira Sakata, as well as participating in innumerable improvised and ad hoc groups. Ashioto presents two wide-ranging pieces that combine Yamamoto's percussion work with piano, field recordings, electronics, and contributions from guest musicians Daisuke Fujiwara and Eiko Ishibashi.
Beginning with a passage of chiming metal percussion, the first side slowly builds into a rolling, open groove reminiscent of Yamamoto's work on Eiko Ishibashi's acclaimed Drag City LP, The Dreams My Bones Dream (2018). Spacious piano and synth notes, along with Ishibashi's spare melodic figures on processed flute, hover above this propulsive rhythmic foundation, the whole effect adding up to a more abstract take on the area explored on Rainer Brüninghaus's ECM classic Freigeweht (1981). The LP's second side opens up a cavernous space filled with ominous electronics and shimmering metallic percussion, which organically transitions into a passage of rumbling piano chords and mysterious concrète sound. Later in the piece, Daisuke Fujiawara's saxophone enters, playing melancholic melodic fragments that are looped and layered, creating a seasick swaying effect familiar to listeners of James Tenney's works with tape delay systems. Beginning as delicate bass drum pulses, Yamamoto's accompanying percussion eventually builds the piece into a raging torrent of free-improv splatter, processed sax and fizzing electronics.
Though grounded in instrumental performance, Ashioto is very much a studio construction, making inventive use of electro-acoustic principles in its editing and mixing. Together with its sister Ashiato -- a different take on the same "script" released simultaneously on Japanese label Newhere -- Ashioto demonstrates to an international audience for the first time the true breadth and ambition of Yamamoto's work.
Mastered by Jim O'Rourke.
Cover photos by Kuniyoshi Taikou.
Design by Lasse Marhaug.
Tatsuhisa Yamamoto – Ashioto
An F-bomb saturated hip-hop call & response club cut...from Sun Ra?! While the most renowned track in this omniversal opus is the atomic expletive-filled repartee 'Nuclear War,' there is so much more to this dark mysterious journey through the mind of Sun Ra.
The sprawling, suite-like 20-minute title track sustains a lyrical edge in spite of an open framework and textures, which encourage sonorities to surface and emerge from the band as if there was no human intention behind them. In opposition to 'Nuclear War,' Ra's organ playing here was built less on bombast and sonic terror than it is on whispers, stutters, shivers, and swells. Fireside Chat offers a wide stylistic array, as was the artist's intent, reflecting his eclectic, seemingly irreconcilable approach to compositional extremes. With Sun Ra you get everything... except predictability.
No personnel were listed on the original Fireside Chat with Lucifer LP. The following musicians are cited in Robert Campbell and Christopher Trent's The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra (2nd ed.) as having participated in the sessions that produced tracks for the albums Fireside Chat, Nuclear War and Celestial Love: Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute Walter Miller: trumpet Vincent Chancey: French horn Hayes Burnett (and possibly John Ore): bass John Gilmore: tenor sax James Jacson: bassoon, percussion Danny Ray Thompson: baritone sax , flute Samarai Celestial: drums Tyrone Hill: trombone, vocal (1) Atakatune: percussion June Tyson: vocal (1)
2014, Enterplanetary Koncepts All tracks produced by Sun Ra Recorded at Variety Studios, New York, September 1982
Sun Ra & His Arkestra – A Fireside Chat with Lucifer
One of Bert Jansch’s later recordings, ‘Crimson Moon’ is some of his finest work and sees the musician at the top of his game, with appearances from Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler and many more. Earth Recordings revisits the album on its 20th Anniversary with its first standalone cut to vinyl.
Originally released in 2000, there is a brooding resonance in ‘Crimson Moon’ centred around his accomplished guitar style that brings his contemplative songwriting to the fore. Traditional ballads have touches of jazz and blues adorned by contributions from guitarists Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler and Johnny “Guitar” Hodge along with guest vocals from Bert’s wife Loren Auerbach (‘My Donald’).
The addition of electric guitar subtly compliments Bert’s percussive fingerpicking bringing new depth to his compositions.
Title track ‘Crimson Moon’ is a take on traditional song ‘Omie Wise’ and was written about his wife Loren, ‘Caledonia’ conjures pastoral images of Scotland alongside covers of The Incredible String Band’s ‘October Song’, Guy Mitchell’s ‘Singing The Blues’ and Owen Hand’s ‘My Donald’. Otherworldly tale ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ sees a mermaid-like creature recount the death of her relatives from a poison in the sea. Passionate about nature, the song carries an underlying ecological message.
Released in his 60s, ‘Crimson Moon’ proves Bert Jansch to still be an innovator and a unique talent.
Bert Jansch – Crimson Moon
Nantes-based Australian drummer and percussionist Will Guthrie returns to Black Truffle with Nist-Nah. Like his previous solo record on the label, the abrasive hip-hop concrète of People Pleaser (BT027), Nist-Nah finds Guthrie branching out in a new direction, this time in a suite of six percussion pieces primarily using the metallaphones, hand drums and gongs of the Gamelan ensembles of Indonesia. The music presented here is grounded in Guthrie’s travels in Indonesia and study of various forms of Gamelan music, from the stately suspended temporality of the courtly Javanese Gamelan Sekatan, to the delirious, thuggish repetition that accompanies the Javanese trance ritual Jathilan, to the shimmering acoustic glitch of contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat. However, far from an exercise in exoticism, Nist-Nah develops out of Guthrie’s extensive work with metal percussion in recent years (as heard, for example, on his 2015 LP for iDEAL, Sacrée Obsession), where gongs, singing bowls and cymbals are used to build up walls of hovering tones and sizzling details. Though Guthrie is broadening his palette to explore Gamelan instrumentation and pay tribute to his love of this sophisticated yet elemental percussion music, the pieces presented here are equally informed by Guthrie’s interests in free jazz, electro-acoustic music and diverse experimental music practices, exploring long tones, extended techniques, and non-metered pulse.Nist-Nah presents a variety of approaches across its six pieces, from the crisp, precise rhythmic complexity of the opening title track to the droning textures of ‘Catlike’ and ‘Elders’. On the epic closing ‘Kebogiro Glendeng’, Guthrie offers an extended, layered rendition of a Javanese piece belonging to a repertoire primarily used for warmups, beginner’s groups and children first learning Gamelan, elegantly gesturing to his own amateur status while using the piece’s insistently repeated melody as an extended exploration of the hypnotic effects of repetition, falling in and out of time with himself to create woozy, narcotic effects until the piece eventually dissolves into a wavering fog.
Will Guthrie – Nist Nah
Lake From The Louvers is a new solo work for concrete sounds, electronics and instruments from Australian composer-performer James Rushford, who has spent the last fifteen years honing his singular approach to composition and performance through solo works and collaborations with artists such as Oren Ambarchi, Crys Cole, Will Guthrie, Graham Lambkin and Klaus Lang.Created primarily during a stay at the La Becque, an artist residency on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lake From The Louvers draws inspiration from the play of shadow and light on both the surface of the lake and the window through which Rushford viewed this lacustrine landscape. While the lake is itself at times directly audible in the form of field recordings, the image suggested by the record’s title is less directly represented than translated into sonic structures inspired, as Rushford explains, by ‘the passing of shadow through a fixed space’. The movement of light across these two flat surfaces, lake and window, finds its sonic equivalent in these eleven pieces, in which fragments and particles of sound – highly amplified crunches, synthesized squawks and pings, harp notes – ripple across the length of each track. Fixed sets of elements define each piece, often moulded into ephemeral ensembles in which individual voices consistently fade away and reappear.Rushford’s performances on various keyboards provide the unstable, wavering foundations of many of these pieces, with microtonal tunings adding a woozy, seasick edge to his stately, often stunningly beautiful playing. Each side of the LP ends with an extended keyboard work: the first for groaning, sighing church organ, the second for a psychedelic cloud of detuned synthesizer tones in which harmonic fragments sink into their own melancholic recollection. Elsewhere the record makes use of elements as varied as microtonal harp, skittering drum machines and synthetic marimba, establishing a sound palette remarkable for its breadth, as well as its sparkling, glittering quality. Where many of Rushford’s solo projects have taken the form of long works with a sombre cast, Lake From The Louvers is strikingly bright and accessible, a series of sonic glimpses in which, like a late Monet, the shimmer of light undoes the distinction between image and reflection, foreground and background, surface and depth.
James Rushford – Lake From The Louvers
The first ever retrospective in the west of one of Japan's guitar pioneers, Takeshi Terauchi. Charting his career from the surf boom, to groovy 60s instrumentals, fuzz freak-outs and funk rock. A must-have item for any collector of guitar 'n' beats from around the world or anyone with a curiosity for vintage Japanese and Oriental popular music. Big Beat International release, compiled by Howard Wiliams, previously held responsible for the Killing Melody album, a compilation of Japanese gangster soundtracks. Now venturing into the choppy waters of surf and electrified Japanese folk. Takeshi Terauchi was the main man behind the mid 60s Eleki (electric guitar) boom. A powerhouse of guitar pyrotechnics with an understanding of the circuit board; he made his own echo machines and the first Japanese-made PA system. With his two groups, The Blue Jeans and the Bunnys, he led the field and still plays today. The album Nippon Guitars is a sample of his huge catalogue, mainly focusing on hard-edged surf, adapted versions of traditional Japanese folk songs and 60s Japanese pop grooves. For beat scavengers there are breaks, backed with melodies in the Japanese pentatonic scale. Terauchi is also an 8th Dan in Karate, prepare to be battered.
TAKESHI TERAUCHI – Nippon Guitars
It’s been almost three decades since Japanese guitarist and songwriter Masami Kawaguchi first broke cover, with his group Broomdusters and their debut album, 23 hours 30 minutes (Purifiva, 1997). In the intervening years, Kawaguchi has maintained single-minded discipline, through his membership of some of the Japanese underground’s greatest groups (Miminokoto, LSD March, Los Doroncos, Usurabi, and his projects with Keiji Haino: Aihiyo and The Hardy Rocks); the exhilarating music made by his own band, New Rock Syndicate; and a small clutch of intimate (mostly live) solo recordings. But nothing in his history has been quite as distinctive, nor as singular, as Self Portrait. The title’s a strong clue, of course, but the real tell is in the consummate nature of the eight songs here – this is Kawaguchi articulating most clearly his vision of what rock music could and should be, and what it means to him. His first studio solo album, it’s both dedication and hymn to the music that keeps Kawaguchi moving. Deftly crafted and sweetly intimate, Self Portrait is bursting with great songs, shufting from gorgeous acoustic folk-blues melancholy – see “Visions Of Marianne”, and the dreamlike closer, “On The Rooftop”, which Kawaguchi describes as his answer song to the Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By” – to storming rock monsters. To that end, it’s a goddamn thrill to hear Kawaguchi and friends jamming on a James Brown riff through “Awake”, squeezing all the nuance out of its stop-start, staccato rhythms. Elsewhere, Kawaguchi lazily strums a psychedelic air, on the Syd Barrett-esque “Blindfold Blues”, and rifles through his backpack to find one of his earliest songs, the strung-out, levitating “Nothing”, which he wrote when he was nineteen years old. “Song For Golden Hair” pays tribute to the psychedelic sixties; “Drinking With Mr. K” remembers Japanese psych-rock legend Jutok Kaneko of Kousokuya. Kawaguchi’s been playing the long game, slowly whittling away at a unique and personal take on rock and the blues, one that’s equal parts reverent and forward-thinking, playful and deeply committed. Self Portrait is the clearest articulation yet of his dedicated vision. And it’s a total blast.
Kawaguchi Masami – Self Portrait