The best music of February 2018

Come back of Island Of The Gods, complex debut album of Interchain on Hivern Discs, cosmic mutant 8″ on Mind Records, new In Flagranti label, old school breakbeat on Exo, Geena’s 12″ on his brand new label, lots of ‘holy grail’ reissues, Winnie The Pooh and Piglet samples on top of the industrial backgrounds and more highlights from this month.

Interchain — Plenum LP [Hivern Discs]

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Guys, here’s a big deal: one of our fave live acts from Russia debuts on Hivern Discs. «Plenum» is an ambitious project of Eugene Gorbunov and Andrew Lee, the album based on childhood memories about Perestroika, 1985-1991, the time when the whole country was witnessing the collapse of the USSR on state TV broadcast. The album is accompanied by “the guide” with photos and comments and everything starts from the infamous Soviet TV news screensaver. The fear of something inexplicable, fatuity of trying to change anything, the feeling of control, spy games, uniform clothing — these vague images pop in the mind along the listening process. The brutal atmosphere of punk aesthetics, grainy sound and pulsating narcotic rhythms, mutated radio noises, uncertainty and the freedom of expression demonstrated by the Moscow duo here make Plenum one of the most complex and unique albums of 2018 so far.

Crave / Lieu Noir — Split 8″ [Mind Records]

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This 8-inch record lovely “packed in beautiful half silver/half transparent sleeve” is an object you can 1) put in a capsule to save it for the next generations 2) launch into space to fly there along Tesla and be opened by the aliens. It is created by the Parisian artist Jonny Teardrop under two monikers with a support from one of the greatest labels on the planet Earth, Mind Records. The music here is “the most cryptic vantage point, the most animalistic and feral, indescribable in human language”, but we will try. Four tracks, diverse in style but with the same acidic, explosive flavour. Black metal and industrial with elements of experimental hip-hop and abstract slow-motion techno music. The temperature inside is red hot, the sound feels like a gun you’re afraid to grab. it’s like an airplane flying low above the ground and spitting bombs. You’re rushing to the finish in the Formula One Bolide. Grandiose 8″!

Buy it on Bandcamp
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Jonny Nash / Lindsay Todd ‎– Fauna Mapping LP [Island Of The Gods]

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The expert on special projects, Daniel Mitchell (formerly of LN-CC), is back after quite a long pause. He continued the “Island Explorer” series on his label Island Of The Gods with an album from the UK super duo: Melody As Truth master, Jonny Nash, and the wizard of Firecracker empire, Lindsay Todd. The artists were invited to Bali in December 2016, where Mitchell’s based now, to collect local sound and vibe and to transform it into their own music: “over the course of twelve compositions we find the pair utilising their recordings in a whole host of ways, avoiding the well-trodden cliches of the ‘exotic’ and instead attempting to achieve a personal interpretation of the ora, fauna and climate of the island”. The result is an impressive high-fidelity futuristic stereo experience. In some compositions, you can’t identify the natural sounds they are made from, but some are quite simple. For example, in “No Pigeon”, we find the percussion samples richly edited with flanger, rolling like sea waves over the listener. Or in “Fauna Mapping”, we see a boundless tropical storm with singing birds illuminated with some beautiful violet sonic structures. While “Dengue” is so well-processed and outlandish that you almost can’t find the elements of field recordings in it. The opening track is the same, it also reminds me the sound design of Lnrdcroy — Freedom For Antboy II. “Pipe To Pipe Bushment” is one of the most complex and crisp embodiments of the term ‘tribal’. Fauna Mapping is a deep, dreamy and fresh piece of music, a true masterpiece.

Buy it on Bandcamp
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Ciao Fellini — Rita!!! 7″ [Hotfoot]

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It happens not often when Italo-Disco band appears in our tops. But the ghost power who brought this record here is hidden even on its labels — In Flagranti. The DJ duo from Switzerland, well known for their edits, launched recently Hotfoot, the sublabel of their classic Codek Records. The concept of it is to release only “7″ records with a classic style song on side A and on B more dub/instrumental/freaky dance tunes”. So the instrumental version of Rita!!! from 1984 was a base for two Caribbean House mixes. The Drum Mix was spotted in the epic mix from DJ Sundae on January’s edition of Nosejob party. The massive percussion combo comes out like a pirate ship from the fog. Blurred noises, lots of echoes and a unique construction of the rhythm attract attention and move you through the whole track almost without any change in it.

Worldwide Zen — EP1 12″ [Worldwide Zen]

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Something interesting starts here: Antinote affiliate Geena launches the new label. After five solo EPs on Zaltan’s imprint, Parisian artist starts Worldwide Zen with his own record under the same moniker. It’s a bit lighter than his previous music with more party vibe. Imho, the best environment for this 12” is pool parties (in a good sense of the word) or summer festivals. It’s a really shaking, percussive record radiating life energy. It can put you in a positive trancey ‘zen’ state of mind. Three original Geena’s tracks are brilliant house moments full of dancefloor fun, plus there are two remixes — voodoo carnival from Too Smooth Christ and space ping-pong from Raymonde. What a start, Geena!

Pre-order it on Chez Emile
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Unovidual — Synthetic Solitude Cassette [Kontakt Group]

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Henk Wallays aka Unovidual is one of the key figures of Belgium’s minimal wave. Started as a DJ with his own show on Radio Caraad in the early 80s, he got in contact with the brightest ambassadors of the scene like Front 242, Red Zebra, A Blaze Color, Neon Judgement, Chris & Cosy, Andy Oppenheimer. So he released a lot of them on International Audio Communication tapes series on the label 3rio Tapes he founded with Magisch Theater (Sandy Nys) and Absolute Body Control (Dirk Ivens). Later Henk got into making his own music with basic equipment like synthesizer, drumcomputer and & 4 track tape recorder. The Unovidual project was born and some solo-tracks recorded in Aalter between 1983 and 1986 landed on Synthetic Solitude: club tracks with rigid rhythms and beatless Oriental beauties, synth ballades about loneliness and blurred abstractions.

Buy it on Bandcamp
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The Pilotwings — Pour Faire Pleurer Les Chomeurs 12″ [Brothers From Different Mothers]

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So after an extensive touring in 2017 and a little break in terms of releases, The Pilotwings boys are back with a single on their home label BFDM. The brand new EP sound like a logical continuation of their album in 2016: refreshing breakbeats, emotional pianos, big breaks, airy melodies. Synthetic sounds from a glass of hissing and sparkling Coke opens the record. Guillaume and Louis give you some hope in the development of synth lines and piano pads. The glass is overfilled with the nostalgia of summer in the end of Massilia Attack. La Reconciliation Des Intermittens is like a perfect start of the day, the first second you go out to the sunny street, the sounds of synthetic flute (hope I’m correct in naming it) reminds you something but you continue walking. Finally, Just Be (Ushuaia Mix), is simply a dream unfolding right before your eyes, something intangible suddenly takes shape and colors. The Pilotwings and their heavenly synths in full effect.

Suba — Wayang 2×12″ [Offen Music]

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Vladimir Ivkovic and his Offen Music label continue opening bottomless archive of Mitar Subotić to general public and another unreleased chapter of this story finally got a physical shape. The legendary Yugoslavian musician used Suba moniker for the Wayang album, the moniker he was using in São Paulo where he moved in the 90s and became one of Brazil’s most demanded producers of the time. Apocalyptic, a bit theatrical and cinematic feeling unites this music and Rex Ilusivii, here it got more orgiastic tribal quality of the sound. Around the end of the record, screaming strings and didgeridoo, dark synthetic waves of something unexplainable, reckless vocal samples and lazers create a soundtrack to the end of the world. But everything starts with very curious dub rhythms (Wayang 01), then moves to experimental downtempo with world music flavor (Wayang 02) and some primeval war songs (Wayang 03). Unique music from quite mysterious Brazilian period of Subotić work, when he released just one album, São Paulo Confessions, right before his death.

Wolf Müller & Niklas Wandt ‎– Instrumentalmusik Von Der Mitte Der World 2xLP [Growing Bin]

«Forget the healing frequencies of Growing Bin‘s ambient outings, this time we‘re dancing for mental health» (Patrick Ryder). Basso pulled a rabbit out of a hat: a double pack of a newborn duo by the two drum-obsessed, Wolf Müller and Niklas Wandt. Equipped with tons of gear and a live drum kit, boys created epic body of work, a kaleidoscope of sounds and emotions. From quite classic Wolf Müller ritual dances slowed to the extreme in Ahu to sort of modern hip-hop instrumentals in Aus Versehen Angetoernt and luminescent house in Traum 4. There are crazy library interludes like Kleiner Trommelbaum and funky day-long safari on distant lands like Welcome Zum Paradies or Expedition.

Eblen Macari — Musica Para Planetarios LP [Séance Centre]

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It’s a perfectly stitched reissue of a masterpiece by Mexican artist Eblen Macari. The music was created for weekly performances in the Luis Enrique Erro Planetarium in Mexico City and originally released in 1987. But the whole story started far earlier. Eblen was part of a big Arab community that arrived in Mexico after the end of the World War II. Started playing guitar in young age, Eblen at some point was moved by the power of Mexico’s own fascinating Pre-Columbian music, plus the music of Egberto Gismonti, Oregon, Ralph Towner, and intrigued by the possibilities of synthesizers and electronic music. Started following his own ideas in Trayectos and Glaciares albums, he finally came to the creation of his masterpiece, Musica Para Planetarios. Joined by the likes of José Luis Almeida, ethno-rock band Tribu, Arturo Meza, Olga Martinez and his sister (the great soprano singer Jeanette Macari) created an outstanding landscape, a dream, a visible state of happiness and enlightenment. This music was conceived for a planetarium in the city where you can hardly see the stars, it is a true interstellar journey deep in your mind.

Buy it straight from Séance Centre or on Juno:

MJ Lallo — Star Child 12″ [Séance Centre]

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There’s another pearl in Brandon Hocura’s Séance Centre catalog, the first maxi-single from a very special Californian artist. MJ Lallo is a singer, composer and voice-over artist who composed music for NASA, The Vatican Observatory, Hitachi and many more. In 1988, she self-released a cassette album “The Channeled Voice” (which was reissued some months ago on Full Spectrum Records), one track from it, “Deep Dreams”, appeared on the current 12”. The record starts from a relaxed dance number, shimmering summer boogie “Star Child Going Home”, the voice of MJ is flying along the wind bursting into the opened top of your car. Magnetic “Aquarius Blue” starts like some Oriental desert song diving under the water with the voice of MJ Lallo swaying on its waving surface. The B-side is an 11min piece of music pulled out of someone’s blurred dream. Can’t wait for a forthcoming 2xLP compilation!

Buy it straight from Séance Centre or on Juno:

Ludwig A.F. Röhrscheid — Velocity 12″ [Exo Recordings]

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One more new label here: the boy from Frankfurt am Main starts Exo Recordings with a touch of class. Velocity sounds vintage, like some secret weapon in the bag of likes Tornado Wallace or PLO Man. The design is also ace, for me, it feels in the same way as brilliant Acting Press releases. Three dancefloor cuts and the one track with sounds from ‘Exoplanet’. Light ultraviolet drum-n-bass in Velocity flies around some yummy percussions and 90s synth lines. Xenon is a pure house with leading bass and catchy highs. Helium is a life-giving breakbeat with natural sounds and dreamy pads. Appetizing slice of retro vibes that feels so necessary today.

Caron — Haunted Memory 12” [Brokntoys]

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Super focused and energetic 12-inch on unstoppable Brokntoys. Dutch man-machine Marcel Caron presents four tracks full of square rhythms and sharper than knife hi-hats. Palette of sounds is maniacally minimal to get the maximum effect. Precise dancefloor record with spooky backgrounds and ubiquitous TB-303.

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Philipp Otterbach — Humans 12″ [Tour Messier]

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Listened the first track several times and finally identified the voice from it. It’s a part of a dialogue about strange behavior of the bees between Winnie The Pooh and Piglet in the Soviet TV version of A. A. Milne story. Then these chat snippets about honey and bees were put in some dark cold (you can hear it from some liquid sounds) place and some invisible figures moving there around you. Trippy effect, right? It’s like The Upside Down from Stranger Things. Philipp Otterbach created some parallel dimension and put some flickering lightbulbs, electricity, abstract dub structures, lonely swing and squeaky rhythms there. «Humans» is not just the debut for Philipp but also the first release on Tour Messier label, which is focused on “personal listening, being connected to an intangible and endless universe through music.” So it’s a perfect start!

Elektro Dschungel — Kebab Und Andere Traume LP [Edition Dschungel]

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The first reissue we want to mention in this top is the 30th-anniversary edition of holy grail Elektro Dschungel LP. The original album was produced by social worker Winfried Nacke, who brought together multinational students from Wiesbadener Jugendwerkstatt to create and perform music together as part of a youth outreach programme. The result was privately released of 1000 copies, nearly completely sold directly to family and friends at the completely sold out release party, 19th of December 1987 in Wiesbaden. More than 15 members of the group brought different influences into the melting pot of exotic disco, Turkish pop songs, Iranian motives and German new wave. Edition Dschungel, the label reissuing Kebab Und Andere Traume today, is run by Tactile record shop from Frankfurt.

Neuzeitliche Bodenbeläge — Ich Verliebe Mich Nie 7″ [Themes For Great Cities]

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Another duo of Joshua Gottmanns and Niklas Wandt debuts on the cult TFGC. A shimmering new wave of “I Never Fall In Love” (“Ich Verliebe Mich Nie” in English) opens the 7”, labyrinth of retro sounds and mystique vocals grabs your attention. “Pfleg Mich” or “Take Care Of Me” on the flip side starts building slowly, bit after bit, into a mechanical hypnotic tango, blowing the curious dancefloors on its peak. Album to come?

Pre-order it on Phonica
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Basa Basa — Homowo LP [Vintage Voudou]

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First stumbled on this record three years ago in a feature of Tako sharing his favorite records on Resident Advisor. Today, Tako’s neighbors reissuing it on their own label, Vintage Voudou (the record shop with the same name is placed next to the Red Light Records). We had a luck to spoke with one of its co-founders back in 2013. So Homowo reissue is just a first release there, African holy grail from 1979, “a unique collaboration with Themba ‘T-fire’ Matebese, who propelled Basa Basa’s sound, inspired by Ghanaian traditional music, soul and afrobeat, into another dimension, adding disco elements, synthesizers and the production aesthetics of the next decade.” Organic grooves and unstoppable flow of energy, delicate arrangements and authentic warmth inside, every track is a winner. Lovely reissued record, a must-buy.

Buy it on Bandcamp
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Words Sasha Tessio.
Illustrations Turbo Mamba