Monthly Spins: August

July slipped by rather quickly and here we are with a new edition of Monthly Spins for August 2018. A rather light month compared to those recently. Still, a great deal of lovely music for you to check out. Enjoy.

Chancha Via Circuito: Bienaventuranza

File Under: Cumbia and electronic wizardry

This is what you want when someone decides to honor a traditional art form like Cumbia or Andean folk music, not a slavish field recording but bringing to a joyous and upbeat sound and taking it a few steps further. Pedro Canale is Chancha Via Circuito and works out of Buenos Aires with an all-star cast of featured singers such as Lido Pimienta, Mateo Kingman and Manu Ranks.


Pablo’s Eye: Bardo For Pablo

File Under: 90’s under appreciated collective

Originally recorded in 96 and 97 this reissue of the Belgian collective’s Bardo For Pablo still revolves around the real leader of the group and constant throughout the years, Axel Libeert. In this set the collective is down to to three members: Thierry Royo, Dirk Waschtelaer and Libeert and it’s a darker, more experimental outing.1993’s release called You Love Chinese Food (thanks Bruce!) was a revelation at the time and an album I’ve kept in my collection and listened to many times over the years. 1996’s You Have A Yearning For Perfection included the homage to Jaco Pistorus, which I’m going to include below. Bardo means an intermediate, transitional, or liminal state between death and life.


Chris Carter: Chemistry Lessons Volume One

File Under: master futurist industrial synth sensei

He was a a driving force in Throbbing Gristle, a band that quite well might have invented industrial music. But this is Carter solo and without his partner Cosey Fanni Tutti. It’s a master class in synth electronics and remains inventive and propulsive all the way through. Sometimes the geezers don’t lose it and keep getting better and better. Chemistry Lessons Volume One we hope will be followed by Vol. 2 and 3.


Melody’s Echo Chamber: Bon Voyage

File Under: French neo-psyche

It’s very French and laid back but for the majority of the album there is a light, exuberant touch, sometimes in English, sometimes French, but always exceptional even within the confines of this genre of psychedelic song crafting.


Tangents: New Bodies

File Under: jazz, post rock

We recently reviewed the 2016 album by these remarkably talented Australians because it was a real revelation and something I kept going back to many times. New Bodies is their contribution to 2018 and although it’s not strictly as improvisational as their first two releases it might be their best simply because of the level of expansion to the motif. More than one person has invoked Four Tet as a benchmark but these guys are extraordinary players such as the drop dead standout drumming of Evan Dorrian. With cello, bells, drums, keyboards, effects and electronics Tangents have made another nuanced and lovely album.


David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Plight & Premonition/ Flux & Mutability

File Under: reissue of double LP (1988-1989)

Another stunning reissue from two artists I never knew collaborated before. You can read David Sylvian’s own essay posted on The Quietus, which is an amazing document of how these two geniuses made music together, which was just as magical as the music turned out to be, Here these sessions are presented as one long double album of 16 to 20 minute takes. Sylvian supplied the Apollian tranquility while Czukay plotted and experimented sometimes out of sight. Czukay liked to record other people when they were just messing around on the piano, or getting tuned, taking the bits of unrehearsed ephemera and catching the musicians with their guards down, where intentionality is thwarted by the spontaneous. Czukay died recently in 2017 and this is a fitting tribute along with the monster, career spanning box set called Cinema that was released earlier this year.


David Keye & Thomas Harris: Patchworks

File Under: new composition, experimental, new jazz

I say hypnagogic but this is certainly not an ambient recording. It’s edgy and profound and not something that fades into the background. Two 20 minute takes: Side A and Side B are really an extensive journey filled with the possibilities of continuous movement and progression through space. “If I am rational,” a voice says, “I speak with the voice of ghosts.” Thomas Harris on acoustic piano, vocals, sythns, programing and David Keye acoustic piano, nord Rhodes, pads, programming with a sax thrown in at times by William Pettipher.


Container: LP

File Under: where techno meets industrial punk

Don’t be fooled by the title because Nashville producer Ten Schofield has a penchant for sticking with his guns and has named all his albums LP. I said techno but if this is techno and not some industrial punk minefield, then I’m certainly high from the five cold brew coffees I’ve had already today. And noise, not the concrete kind, but the harsh snap of a break beat at 150 bpm. Schofield started out in the Providence scene which has a tendency toward the hardcore and in this case Berlin might be the best city to reference. If you said let’s play some techno I’d say “Don’t do it.” Nit on this recent LP Schofield is taking as many cues from Zoviet/france as any rave zombies.


Mark Fell: Intra

File Under: microtonal intercepts

Xenakis commissioned an instrument he called the sixxen to produce subtle microtonal percussive sounds. He was never happy with any of the prototypes but the instrument survived and here Mark Fell writes for and directs Portugal’s Drumming Grupo de Percussao in a long set of eight pieces that are inspired by South Indian carnatic music systems. Fell has a long history of creating computer generated compositions in order to guide and inspire his musicians. The album’s subtitle is Computer Generated Rhythm for Microtonal Metallophones.


Zoë Keating: Snow Melt

File Under: new composition

Canadian born and now Vermont resident, composer and cellist Zoë Keating has created the perfect reflection of an oncoming Spring in her new Ep release Snow Melt. Using computer programs and live cello she manages to capture the delicate evocation of the changing seasons.


Notable Videos/Singles

ADA at Muffathalle

File Under: damned cool turning an entire room in a gallery into an artwork centered around an audience participation sculpture. The ball has hard Charcoal knobs and each person who touched it creates new patterns.


Ice Baths: Charnel House/Relic

File Under: for once a video that makes perfect sense.


Kitsos Harisiadis: Mirologi In Do

File Under: this month’s moment of Zen (whatever that means).


Hilary Woods: Container

File Under: high contrast


Youssef Kamaal vs Brownswood Basement Session

File Under: bring the funk back


Notable Book

Highway 61 RevisitedHighway 61 Revisited by Mark Polizzotti

It’s a lot of fun to revisit some classics, especially while reading as detailed and nuanced a book as Mark Polizzotti’s book length essay on Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited . There is a large and growing list of classics represented in this series of small paperbacks that have been released to honor, interpret and shed light on albums from the likes of Talking Heads to James Brown’s Live at The Apollo Theater. Remember the awful, relentless slog that was 2016? Well, one great thing did happen that year when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize and catapulted him from 60’s folk hero and much respected living bard into the pantheon of literature. Anyone who likes his music, whatever the period, has known that Dylan has already been a chameleon, shape shifting poet. Of course this is the pivotable album when Dylan went electric and stunned a blue-stocking old folk scene as the author states: “If Woody’s machine killed fascists, Bobby’s was set to steamroll anyone who got in his way.” It’s a great read because the book exposes the human side of a living person rather than the deified genius, an image that Dylan has always shunned and in his wily and slippery way has always managed to remain an enigma.


From The Archives

Buzzcocks: A Certain Kind of Tension

File Under: A classic from 1979

Just a little ahead of their time this album seems as fresh and vibrant today as it did the first time I heard it. I saw them play live at the Mudd Club in NY and they were tight and loud and they played a too short set and left the stage. Although this can be considered a pop record it is really just an extension of punk, when life in the bowels of a crumbing, Thatcherite nation created a biting sense of irony and glib despair. The fact that you can hum along with these songs doesn’t take away from their power. I think that as a statement and as a document this is the best record they put out with the song “I Believe” being the flat out classic and a song that resonates well into our world filled with doubt and uncertainty. Lead singer and songwriter Steve Shelly wrote “I Believe” and there is a crushing certainty and confusion when he sings “There is no love in this world anymore.”

In these times of contention it’s not my intention to make things plain
I’m looking through mirrors to catch the reflection that can’t be mine
I’m losing control now I’ll just have to slow down a thought or two
I can’t feel the future and I’m not even certain that there is a past

I believe in the worker’s revolution
And I believe in the final solution
I believe in
I believe in
I believe in the shape of things to come
And I believe in I’m not the only one
Yes I believe in
I believe in

When I poison my system I take thoughts and twist them into shapes
I’m reaching my nadir and I haven’t an idea of what to do
I’m painting by numbers but can’t find the colours that fill you in
I’m not even knowing if I’m coming or going if to end or begin

I believe in the immaculate conception
And I believe in the resurrection
And I believe in
I believe in
I believe in the elixir of youth
And I believe in the absolute truth
Yes I believe in
I believe in

There is no love in this world any more
There is no love in this world any more


  1. Chris Carter and Buzzcocks in one article! Thank you for taking me back to my misspent youth – I enjoyed the trip with some of my favorite travelling companions, 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Singles Going Steady!

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