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Music

Laraaji & Sun Araw: Professional Sunflow (2LP, W.25th, June 2016)

Laraaji is an ambient / new-age old-timer who’s been playing music (and collaborating with Brian Eno) since the seventies. Sun Araw (aka Cameron Stallones) is a Californian experimentalist who looks like he probably wasn’t born then. But they have produced a wonderful, effortlessly natural-sounding improvised collaboration here. Stallones does some wonderfully loose work on guitar […]

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Music

Africans With Mainframes: KMT (2LP, Soul Jazz, May 2016)

One of the things I really like about the shonkier end of Chicago acid is the way it sounds like the producers are just barely managing to stop everything descending into chaos. It’s really evocative of one of those moments on the dancefloor where everything is going really messy, in a good way. (Perhaps that’s […]

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Music

Colin Stetson: Sorrow (A reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony) (CD, 52Hz, April 2016)

In which Colin Stetson, as Eric Morecambe might put it, plays all the right notes — but not necessarily on the right instruments. This is a “reimagining” of the lovely lovely Symphony of Sorrowful Songs as part avant garde exploration, part drone metal intensity, part psychedelic wig-out, part 20th-century classical symphony (well, y’know…), and part […]

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Music

Thomas Köner: Tiento De La Luz (LP, Denovali Records, March 2016)

This is a superbly stately piece of ambient classical. It’s centred around piano and electronics, with a touch of strings (early music favourite the viola da gamba, I gather), brass, and tuned percussion. Köner thinks nothing of leaving a single piano note hanging for five or ten seconds, echoing into the ambient wash. From time […]

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Music

St Francis Duo: Peacemaker Assembly (LP, Trost Records, April 2016)

I don’t even pretend to be able to keep up with the output of Sunn 0))) main-man Stephen O’Malley. I happened across this, though, and it’s smashing. St Francis Duo are O’Malley and his old mucker Steve Noble. The LP consists of two tracks, clocking in at just under twenty minutes each, of intense, doomy […]

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Secret Boyfriend: Memory Care Unit (LP, Blackest Ever Black, February 2016)

A variety of synth stuff on this intriguing album. The Singing Bile is, as its title wonderfully suggests, kind of sludgy yet melodic, a murky but sweet ambient number. Little Jammy Centre has a sort of wheezing drone, an echoey but jaunty little melody which is sort of like pop at one remove, and towards […]

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Music

Giacinto Scelsi, Chris Watson & Joe Browning: Scelsi EP (LP, SN Variations, March 2016)

The first side consists of a Duo for Violin and Cello by Giacinto Scelsi, a drone piece with just a tiny leavening of melody, excellently played by Aisha Orazbayeva and Lucy Railton. It’s got a mystical power to it and it’s quite subtly uplifting, excellent stuff. On the flip side are two Scelsi-inspired works. Chris Watson’s […]

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Music

Dorisburg: Irrbloss (2xLP, Hivern Discs, February 2016)

The opening track here is a lovely bit of deep house with what sounds like maybe a bass clarinet noodling over it, which is obviously going to make me prick up my ears. Elsewhere, there’s are tracks reminiscent of Selected Ambient Works, others reminiscent of Artificial Intelligence, one fantastic shuffling melodic techy housey number which […]

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Music

Tord Gustavsen, Simin Tander, Jarle Vespestad: What Was Said (2xLP, ECM, February 2016)

I got slightly obsessed with this record, and I’m not quite sure why. I don’t normally get on with jazz, and know little about it; and I buy very little in the way of proper songs, especially by singers who sound trained in any kind of formal classical tradition. But this is amazing! I don’t […]

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Music

Brood Ma: Daze (LP, Tri Angle, February 2016)

I have to admit, this record frustrates me at times, as it doesn’t seem to be making the most of the producer’s obvious talents. But there are enough good bits here to make this a keeper. Presented as 13 tracks but effectively a 27 minute continuous mix, it manages to pull in grime, techno, industrial, […]