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Caterina Barbieri: Ecstatic Computation (LP, Editions Mego, May 2019)

I was pretty excited to get my ears around this one. Barbieri’s Patterns Of Consciousness was one of my records of 2017, and Born Again In The Voltage was almost as good. So, how does this new album stack up? The thing that made me adore Patterns so much was its awesome precision. It had […]

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Caterina Barbieri: Born Again In The Voltage (LP, Important Records, September 2018)

Barbieri’s Patterns Of Consciousness was a thing of great wonder and one of my records of 2017. This record was recorded before that, in 2014–15, but released after — I’m not sure whether this was planned, or whether this one only saw the light of day owing to the success of her debut. No matter: it […]

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Caterina Barbieri: Patterns Of Consciousness (2LP, Important, April 2017)

Ooh, this is pretty special. There has, let’s be honest, been slightly too much modular synth music floating around recently, much of it seemingly produced as part of some sort of retro hipster trend thing and not having anything very interesting add to the genre. But this is really good: innovative and intricate and involving, plus […]

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Arushi Jain: Under The Lilac Sky (digital, Leaving Records, July 2021)

This was a love-at-first-listen album for me. The first track, Richer Than Blood, opens with this sort of ambient crescendo of creaks and hums, and then a delightfully smudged vocal (in, I think, some flavour of Hindustani) soars over it, and that’s me gone. Jain, who was born in New Delhi and lives in New […]

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Sara Berts: Ayni (LP, Gang Of Ducks, April 2021)

According to the blurb on the back, this record was born out of two experiences: a trip to the Peruvian Amazon, and the strict lockdown in Italy. Most of the sounds here were made on a Buchla Music Easel in the latter context; the former provided field recordings from the Mayantuyaca centre for Asháninka healing, […]

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My albums of 2017

Alright, then, popkids, time for my annual round-up… I listened to lots of great records this year, thanks everyone! My longlist included records by Aiden Baker & Karen Willems, Colleen, Duran Duran Duran, Hior Chronik, Kelly Lee Owens, Marcus Fjellström, Still, and William Basinski, but none quite made the final cut. I spent a long time with a shortlist of […]

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Quaeschning & Schnauss: Synthwaves (LP, Azure Vista, June 2017)

It’s 2017! Nobody wants to listen to a couple of middle-aged German dudes with enormous banks of synths!  This is what punk was sent to save us from, amirite? Well, sure, except that it turns out that I really like this. Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss are part of the most recent line-up of Tangerine Dream, although […]