System Error (feat Moor Mother)
Two godfathers of underground music finally reunite, as Justin Broadrick (Godflesh/Jesu/JK Flesh) and Kevin Martin (The Bug/King Midas Sound) christen brand-new duo, ZONAL. Decades into parallel prolific careers in heaviosity, ZONAL sees these old bandmates fruitfully crossing paths with guest vocalist Moor Mother. All the key ingredients of a good Bug or JK Flesh track are here, and by this point they’re effortlessly deployed. That crunching, hefty beat; that leering sense of doom and dread; that throbbing bass that you constantly feel you’ve really gotta hear on a bigger system. What more could you want?
'A Barrel Of Monkeys'
Vienna-based Iranian artist Rojin Sharafi does a lot to veil the origins of her sounds on record, and live she can be seen bouncing ping pong balls around a desk and recording the hum of tube televisions. Whatever’s going on behind the scenes, ‘A Barrel Of Monkeys’ is a typically abstract electronic piece, dealing in defamiliarised bouncy noises to create a rich musical logic all Sharafi’s own.
Oliver Coates / Spatial
'Decouple ][ Series'
The latest split in OOH-Sounds’ 'Decouple ][ Series' of vinyl releases dedicates a side of wax apiece to extraordinary cellist Oliver Coates (Radiohead, Mica Levi) and far-out low-end experimental producer Spatial. Coates’ side is a 13-minute suite grab bag of glitchy soundscapes, achingly beautiful strings and bountiful beats, while Spatial challenges your turntable with minimal bass-heavy rhythms and atmospheric ambience searing with a serrated spirit.
I Jahbar & Friends
'Inna Duppy SKRS Soundclash'
The second collaborative 'Future Dancehall' mixtape between Bristol's Bokeh Versions and Los Angeles' Duppy Gun sees Jamaican vocalist I Jahbar (and some friends) remotely adding nutty vocal takes to even nuttier instrumentals crafted by a host of experimentalist US and UK producers. Sometimes sounding like a corrupt Prince Jammy mp3, sometimes sounding like toasting over Mario Kart, this mixtape always sounds fresh, full of energy and teleported from the future.
A newly remastered version of the obscure 1978 album by organist Mamman Sani is a chance to revisit a lost gem in West African electronic music. In Niger, Sani’s organ sounds blessed the airwaves for decades between spots on TV and elsewhere, but ‘Lamru’ demonstrates how his mix of ancient melodies with pioneering proto techno keyboard sounds was as deep as it was hooky, often resembling the likes of Martin Rev.
Taking inspiration from her experience growing up with shamans for parents, Pyur (aka Sophie Schnell) takes you on a spirit quest through a lush hallucination of rhythm, light and colour. There’s a '90s feel to these beats, albeit far more precise and overblown for any older technology to handle, one might think. It’s a rich five-minute trip, heading out with the help of a sliced up choir.
Pittsburgh-based producer W00dy makes 160+ BPM experimental dance to grapple with, “coming of age, coping with mental illness, grief and feeling a sense of belonging”. We don’t normally associate speedy breaks and high-energy beats with vulnerability, but listening to 'My Diary', it’s hard to imagine a better way to deal with self-doubt than going mental on the dancefloor. And despite getting heady, W00dy never ever loses sight of the dancefloor.
The Spectacular Empire
The first single from the debut EP by avant-R&B singer Gloria is a surreal piece of pop, embodying a sense of weakness and strength within relationships. The agony and ecstasy of infatuation, sin and forgiveness fire out of the singer’s powerful voice, slotting in around disintegrating bass trap-isms. Way more gothic than expected, she’s fleshing out the dystopian vision of Gaika’s young Spectacular Empire imprint.