Monthly Spins: April 2019

Finally winter leaves us. I did enjoy one epic day of shoveling and I stayed up late one night to watch when a storm began coming down. I like the way snow obliterates and alters the landscape, a little different each time. Now it’s peepers and blooming again.


Dis Fig: Purge

File under: starkly refreshing dark ambient, illbient

This being Felicia Chen’s first full length I have to say that it has quickly become one of my favorite releases this month. It really is unlike anything else on this list—singular, fierce, and hypnotic. A cacophony of ambient, industrial textures with her voice stretched and reduced to a voice calling out to you from the dark. Heady stuff. An extraordinary debut. Imagine Portished’s debut monster “Dummy” being broadcast from inside a cave. What are the voices trying to tell us? What is the warning?

Ex:Re: Ex:Re

File Under:: Daughter singer goes solo with stunning results

The solo project by Daughter singer Elena Tonra is pronounced “ex-ray” and came out of blue recently. The production is stripped down and was done over a few days at the 4AD studios, which is a welcome change from the often overwhelming nature of her work with Indy-gaze adherents Daughter. What is left over is just what the audacious and talented lyricist Tonra possesses. It is so raw and intimate that it sounds like the early records of Angel Olsen or Sharon van Etten.

DJ Khalab: Black Noise 2084

File Under: Jazzish Futurist Afro Centric

At this point in the Afrofuturist revival call me a little skeptical at many of the critically lauded albums being spun out recently. Rarely does it seem as fresh and vital as that of dj Khalab’s Black Noise 2084. A long list of contributors and singers. Relentlessly probing outer regions of futurist space and always with a hard kernel of African rhythms at its heart. It doesn’t feel like something resurrected from the 1970’s. It is very much from the here and now. From the fabulous On The Corner label.

CMD: Obscure Worlds

File Under: electronic, idm, experimental

A London DJ that I can’t find any info about so will just have to go at this blindly and on the music alone. This is a dub planet from top to bottom. A gothic dub. Dancing is possible especially if the club is geared toward the industrial side of things. If you’re into what the folks at Stroboscopic Artifacts are up to then I highly recommend this.

Kirchhofer Anklin: Moto Perpetuo

File Under: cosmic percussionist, modular synth player

Here we find Swiss percussionist Michael Anklin, and modular synth maestro working together in a quest toward the impossibility of perpetual motion. A grand idea and one certainly worth exploring in a musical context.

Yves Jarvis: The Same But By Different Means

File Under: fascinating and refreshing soul/devotional

This is one of those records that just goes and goes, with short cuts of laid-back astro-soul put together simply and memorably by Yves Jarvis. Call it devotional but without a certainty of a specific creator in mind. Blissed out and blessed.

Planet Battagon: Battagon Symphony

File Under: taking on the complex jazz nowness

Another one from the On The Corner label. Smokin’. Swingin’. Savant jazz with a chaser of Miles, because, why not?

Santiago Cordoba: En Otros Lugares

File Under: Argentine DJ does just about everything on this record.

It’s a laidback Argentine vibe, bringing the entire world into context. It’s quietly persuasive and adept. You get it all, free-jazz, Kosmische, 2-Step, Latintronica, post-rock, cumbria and all the tangled shamanistic places between. The video below will give you a good idea of what he is up to, and that he can pull off this sort of thing live.

Andrew Bird: My Finest Work Yet

File Under: I believe the title to be ironic

I’m not that familiar with Andrew Bird’s prodigious output, but this album of new work is his
first lyrical foray into our current psychological and political situation. He is a lyricist first and
foremost and has always kept to a downtempo, simple sound that highlights this talent. In the video below “Bloodless” the chorus is “Bloodless for now,” as he asks “Is there no civil war?”

Mutamassik: Symbols Follow

File Under: Sa’aidi hardcore and Baladi breakbeats

Giulia Loli has an Egyptian mother and grew up in Italy. A North African hardcore with a decidedly female sensibility. When I say hardcore I don’t mean there is 150 Bpm or any overt screaming going on. For fans of Muslimgauze or DJ Rupture. “There born the excitement, from the loins of broken gear and deft midwife. Music for disinfection, in order to heal. To build a dream on.”

Colluouctor: The Search

File Under: a distinctly female jazz ensemble

“The album title refers to searching for a better way to exist in the world, but that could be emotional, spiritual or more simply a move to a geographically different place. The last track is called ‘Arrival’ and hopefully suggests something positive for us to aim for in these unsettled times. It’s an accidental concept album, the story of a journey. I didn’t start off with the intention of writing an album with a narrative theme, but as the music progressed the compositions naturally fitted together and there seemed to be a continuum between the pieces that developed into this story of a journey with a dark beginning and a hopeful end.”

  • Collocutor are;
  • Tamar Osborn – baritone & soprano sax and alto flute,
  • Josephine Davies – tenor sax,
  • Simon Finch – trumpet,
  • Marco Piccioni – guitar,
  • Suman Joshi – bass,
  • Maurizio Ravalico – various percussion,
  • Afla Sackey – djembe and Ghanaian shakers,
  • (Magnus Mehta on various percussion in the group’s live expression).

Sunwatchers: Illegal Moves

File Under: yes, we’re going to prog

Expect anything and everything. Wah wah pedals, psychedelic free-riffing, experimental blotto and a general all around intention to post-rock rather than mere revival. These guys sound like friends, not guitar and saxophone gods. There’s some freedom loving people in this group, who are tuned into each others proclivities and levels of nuance. Jazz and rock lovers will like this in equal measure. I hope Steve Hillage is listening.

Notable Singles/Videos

Nilufer Yanya, “In Your Head”

File Under: An album you might take the time to listen to.

Grimes, “Pretty Dark”

File Under: I still think her pop-masterpiece Art Angels is underrated. This single is from a new and as yet untitled album, her first in four years.

Robert Forster, “Inferno (Brisbane in Summer)”

File Under: Go-Betweens solo record

F*ck That: “An Honest Meditation”

File Under: I really did laugh out loud, but then again most of the Buddhist New Age stuff makes leaves me feeling meh.