Fanfare For Effective Freedom
Baltimore quartet Horse Lords sure ain’t no average rock band. Their custom-built guitar and bass use just intonation tuning, giving their spiralling riffs a non-Western edge, somewhere between Arabic chaabi, Tuareg desert blues, and Balinese gamelan. The drums pound on with wonky motorik muscle here too, making this some of their most energetic music to date. After a hiatus of three years or so, the instrumental group’s radical politics are (unsurprisingly) more razor-edged than ever, this mind-bending globalist rock sounding like an ecstatic experimental anthem for a revolutionary utopia. Best of all, this is one ridiculously fun vision of the future.
'A Tracing Of A Single Tide'
One of the UK’s most consistently interesting experimentalists, Graham Dunning treats the world as his turntable here. ‘A Tracing Of A Single Tide’ was recorded on the Essex coast, using a stick and rope to make a large ‘stylus’, amplified with contact mics, and dragged along the high-water mark on the beach. He also recorded some waves lapping a pier, and ultimately added live synth for existential geographic drama.
Japanese producer Teruyuki Kurihara is purportedly trying to tell abstract character-based stories on his latest album, and there’s certainly some sort of sci-fi action going on during ‘Down’. This is jittery music, full of oddball syncopation and buoyed by a bubble tea of gentle arpeggiations and subdued bass. Despite the bang and slap of the beat here, Kurihara remains a subtle producer, his futurist world well worth slipping into.
Under her Golem Mecanique guise, Karen Jebane makes music based on sparse soundscapes she partially fills with earthen hurdy-gurdy drones, hanging organ notes, and most importantly, her gently intoning voice. Bridging the gap between ancient medieval France and modern American drone maestros such as Phill Niblock or Stephen O’Malley (this is his label after all), Golem Mecanique’s music is full of raw purity and a theatrical shamanic magic.
DJ and composer Susanne Kirchmayr focuses on the “spectral richness of iron and other metals” for her new record, ‘Ferrum’. It's comprised of recordings made with a variety of pieces of metal, struck, stroked, bashed, and goodness knows what else, their resonance then captured for posterity and sculpted by Kirchmayr into seven exploratory and alien-textured tracks. The metallic clanging and deep rumble of this material opens up a strange new world.
'Kulu Hatha Mamnua'
Taken from a new compilation documenting the Swiss experimental underground in the '80s, this track by Victor de Bros (aka Fizzè) exemplifies the idiosyncrasies of homemade tracks in the pre-digital era. A kind of childish exoticism informs the instruments, sounding like a mishmash of tribal and world music cliches over typically '80s histrionic drums and reverb, Phil Collins bashing over aboriginal field recordings with klezmer piping and violin screeches.
Yao Bobby & Simon Grab & Dhangsha
'L'ombre De Nous-memes'
The duo of Togolese vocalist Yao Bobby and Swiss bass-meister Simon Grab add Dhangsha (Asian Dub Foundation) to the mix for a new trio, taped live on radio. Recorded up close and hyper-raw, Bobby’s dramatic French toasting on opener ‘L'ombre De Nous-memes’ (‘the shadow of your former self’) gets ultra aggro in places, Grab and Dhangsha taking the bassy dub-delay cosmos to its limit behind him.
'Song Of The Foundling'
Taken from a new compilation of instrumentals by Manchester-born, London-based composer Alabaster DePlume, ‘Song Of The Foundling’ is an achingly gorgeous miniature epic of swooning and soaring music, elegantly orchestrated to include something from (seemingly) the entire goddamn universe. Sun Ra’s cosmos, Martin Denny’s exotica, Ethiopian jazz, Ennio Morricone scores, Celtic folk – it’s all discernible somewhere in this gentle two-minute overture of breathtaking saxophone fronting an epic grouping.