A 1993 release on Cheap Records, which was releasing consistently brilliant twelves at the time. iO was a collective featuring Patrick Pulsinger, Gerhard Potuznik, Erdem Tunakan, and Herbert Gollini. Pulsinger and Potuznik were responsible for some of my favourite records at the time - especially the Porno LP, and the Florida Optical 12" respectively. This release was a double cd, and was mostly techno, although there were two inclusions that raised the profile of these Austrians when they were licensed to Mo Wax - 'Claire' and 'Libre', both of which are superb and fall under the downtempo/trip hop/electronica heading. The set kicks of with the appropriately named 'Monster' - a total banging and relentless acid-bass beast. The rest of the techno varies in levels of hardness and abstraction, with plenty of emphasis on the 303, which is always welcome.
2004 album by this Japanese collective. Ranging from drifting ambient space-scapes, through to full on syncopated prog heaviness, taking in rambling psych-folk along the way. Despite the stylistic variations, this hangs together really well. Featuring the full scope of classic 70s instruments - flute, mellotron etc, and obvious nods to Pink Floyd (both incarnations) and Gong amongst others, this could easily have been released in 1972. That does not diminish its excellence in any way.
A collaboration between two excellent artists in their own right, Cloudland Canyons and Lichens. This is a single piece, over half an hour long. A slowly morphing space journey, this takes influences from early German electronics through to Kranky labelmates like Valet. Slow and spacious, yet totally engaging, this will seep into your consciousness in a most agreeable manner. I also recommend Cloudland's Requiems Der Nature, and Lichens' Psychic Nature Of Being - both are excellent.
1995 album from one of Bernd/Burnt Friedman's early alias projects. This man is clearly a genius, and one of my favourite producers. The brilliantly trippy, warped flourishes that adorn his recent output show early signs on this dub influenced slice of electronica. He seems to effortlessly create a shimmering ambience as the backdrop to the beats and processed instruments that weave around in the front of the mix. Heard to best effect on 'Chilled #6'. He has been releasing on his own Nonplace imprint for quite a few years now - a slew of great releases.
Excellent 1996 album by Style Scott's heavy roots band. Mostly dub, with a smattering of vocal interjections, from I-Roy, Lee Perry, as well as some nice chorus touches. I had the privilege of standing behind Adrian Sherwood at the controls as he did the live mix for Mark Stewart and The Mafia a few years back. It was brilliant, and his production style is marvellous.
1997 Bill Laswell album, a combination of field recordings he made in India, and collaborations with Trilok Gurtu on tablas, Tetsu Inoue and Coil, amongst others. Also featuring spoken word by Lori Carson, in varying amounts from track to track. Unashamedly attempting to access the mystic and spiritual, this could have been a cheese-fest. Instead, Laswell reveals his mastery of texture and space, and the ethnic chanting is kept to a tasteful minimum. Lori Carson's voice works perfectly, and the album hangs together as a whole, despite the long list of contributors. A couple of the tracks consist of ambient textures, Carson's voice, and ethnic percussion. The last sounds more like a typical Bill Laswell track, with a thundering dub bass line. The real gem is Kála, the track featuring Coil. A total trip, which has soundtracked many an altered state for me.
Excellent 2002 instrumental album by Jim Thirlwell of Foetus fame. This is a very soundtracky affair - I can definitely see much of this backing a sleazy B-schlocker, although it's more like a collection of themes, however, as most of the tracks are too in-your-face to languish in the background. It calls to mind the genre mish-mash of Tipsy, and has lots of brash spy movie type motifs that seem to have leaked in, along with plenty of odd and disconcerting elements, composed in an often hectic mix. Good stuff.
From 1993, one of my favourite releases on Djax-Up Beats, and I had quite a few. Impeccably produced by three chaps who seem only to have done one other record together, the Tuned In EP by Dark Llama, which is also fantastic. This consists of two slower Detroit influenced tracks; a great acid belter; and a classic Chicago acid house track, wherein a disembodied voice decries the hardships of working for the man. 'Tired of working for the motherfuckers' indeed. The beat programming on this is magnificent throughout, with definite influences from Detroit electro.
Released on the cool Eat Raw label, home of some of my favourite electronica artists, in 1994. It says on the back 'This is not a compilation', although the tracklisting reads like one. Ethik II is more of a collective - a who's who of the German scene at the time, also featuring early work by Cristian Vogel. Chock full of the kind of trippy ambient beats that inhabited a space balanced perfectly between the techno dancefloors of the time, and the pioneering german legends of Cluster, Conny Plank, Klaus Schulze etc. The artwork and track titles nicely mirror the classic Kraftwerk meditation on the autobahn. Tracklist: 1 Twilight Zone (5:42) Producer, Written-By - Thomas P. Heckmann 2 Light On Glass (6:57) Producer, Written-By - Cristian Vogel 3 Continental Traffic Jam (4:34) Producer, Written-By - Pierrot 1er* 4 Drive-by Shooting (5:11) Producer, Written-By - Jörg Burger 5 Zabriskie Point (2:37) Producer, Written-By - Akustik Shift 6 Empire State Building (4:51) Producer, Written-By - Khan 7 Safety Check (5:27) Producer, Written-By - Jammin' Unit 8 Direction (5:24) Producer, Written-By - Akustik Shift 9 Lifelines (4:29) Producer, Written-By - Jürgen Paape 10 Somewhere Out There (4:08) Producer, Written-By - Bionaut, The 11 1000 Miles & Running (4:16) Producer, Written-By - M. Migher* , Sweet Reinhard 12 Still 150 Miles To Lyon (2:29) 13 From A Buick (3:24) Producer, Written-By - Bionaut, The 14 Womb (12:33) Producer, Written-By - Cristian Vogel
Germ was the recording alias of one Tim Wright, who provided some welcome mid-90s electronic weirdness which went down a treat with me and my chums. He should have been massive! Also worth a mention is his equally excellent GPR labelmate John Dalby, responsible for the fantastic Skil-N-Frank ep, which unfortunately I don't have an mp3 of. The title track here is a weirdo-techno epic, complete with live trombone.
Three tracks that appeared on the bonus disc with the original cd issue of the Moon's Milk set. 40 minutes of some of the best Coil. Transcendent, hallucinogenic genius. Spellbinding, and utterly brilliant, as are most of the albums available here.
A classic bit of techno, and still one of my all time favourites. I'm not sure if Laurent Garnier ever topped this, but he came close on many occasions. 14/04/2010 - Blimey, I'm just tidying up some of my early posts - I didn't write much about this one, did I? 'Wake up' is classic bit of deep driving acid, propelled along by some skanking triplet hi-hats. It pays homage to classic Chicago acid with pitched-down vocals intoning just the kind of phrases designed to twist your melons at 3am: "There's no turning around now; we've gone too far....no more sleep". Acid lines push and pull; advance and retreat, against some sweetly spaced out textures and a bit of restrained snare action to generate a brain mashing trance out for the final 3 minutes. Weirdly, I only experienced Jeff Mills DJing once, about 4 years ago, and was chuffed to bits when he played this near the end of his set. 'Breathless' is an epic and gorgeous beast. All the sibilant sounds are phased; the beat drops out momentarily; strings soar in the background, gradually coming forward in the mix; the beat drops out for small, perfectly formed phrases, while the surging, charging, euphoric synths gradually insinuate themselves. Deep, very spaced, and very beautiful, with a negligible cheese quotient. Listening to these tracks now, I'm still loving them as much as I ever did.
Great ep from the kings of repetitious space rock. I can't help feeling that Loop existed at the wrong time. Too hard, heavy and minimal for the indie crowd they were lumped in with; too artsy for metal crowds; too indie for any avant garde that may have existed at the time. I remember seeing them at the Reading Festival, standing motionless on stage with their heads down, and very long hair swept to one side by the gentle cross breeze, while they riffed away. A shame that live sound was so crap back then, as it's the only time I ever saw them. They dissovled into the Kraut-inspired (and superbly named) Hair And Skin Trading Company, and experimental ambient/drone outfit Main. John Wills is currently in a rather good duo with a fantastic vocalist called Pinkie Maclure, called Pumajaw. I haven't heard the new one yet, but I can thoroughly recommend the album 'Becoming Pumajaw' - check out this jaw-dropping version of the folk classic Rosemary Lane. This has two excellent version of Arc-Lite, driving grooves and punchy riffs, with the classic heavily reverbed vocals. Also, Sunburst, a 10 minute, slightly more ambient Kraut-ish affair, with lots of Neu influence.
I like black metal a lot, but there aren't many bands who I feel will fit into this blog. DSO are definitely one of them. This is a fairly early example of the sprawling progged-out epics that they are becoming total masters at. Check out their recent Chaining The Katechon to see the mind altering heights they have reached. This is also pretty awesome: 22 and a half minutes of their trademark disturbing ambience, queasy churning and grinding guitars and great vocals. Taken from the 2005 triple set Crushing The Holy Trinity, which is no longer available as far as I know. I've also scanned the relevant booklet page - check out my dodgy cropping!
Kieran Hebden's first solo venture outside of Fridge, this is a brilliant and audacious odyssey in sound. A single track, lasting 36 minutes and 25 seconds, this takes in electronica, trip hop, psychedelia and Krautrock: in both its motorik and collage incarnations. Also, there is jazz, live drums and glorious melody in this dubbed-out journey. Marvellous. It's just a shame the vinyl has to be changed halfway through! All his solo albums are worth purchasing.
I initially knew this as a mysterious white-label 12", on the excellently arcane Ash International label. Later on I discovered that it was a collaboration between The Hafler Trio's Andrew McKenzie, Einar Örn (of the Sugarcubes) and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson. Also, I luckily picked up the cd in the freebie bin of the record shop where I worked. This release contains two tracks. The first is a fairly long, brooding track. Beginning with ominous waves of low sequenced chanting, a beat gradually comes in, along with weird spacey noises echoing around the mix, and some more orthodox percussion/electronica sounds. A sense of unease permeates this 20 minute track, but it's also rather beautiful, with its little snippets of melody. The other track, 'Mindloss,' is even better - a low male chant of 'Oh what a wonderful world' fades in, along with a build up of a live percussion breakbeat, and dizzying off-beat samples. It breaks down into a strange pattern of brilliantly edited sounds, as the beat picks it up again with some tasteful orchestral stabs, and the kind of gamelan-y polyrhythm that Four Tet seems to like so much. A quality release of great spacey music.
For my first post, a personal favourite piece of hallucinogenic electronica. A 1993 release on Blue Records, by Khan and Kerosene. This album perfectly represented all the best elements of the Cologne scene, much like the finest work of compatriots and collaborators Air Liquide. Trippy ambience, composed of samples and radio noise, provides a background for bubbling grooves created on 808s, 909s and a plethora of vintage synths, with 303s usually involved somewhere in the mix. Many of these deeply acid-drenched releases were to find a perfect home when they were licensed to the revitalised Harvest imprint, the spiritual home of much of the greatest and weirdest 70s prog and psychedelia. Unfortunately the artwork never quite matched the brilliance of the iconic hipgnosis sleeve designs, but it was all about the music at the time, not the sleeves.