Staff Picks - July 2019

Staff Picks - July 2019

August 6, 2019

Written by:

Dragoș Rusu & Victor Stutz

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Summer is rollin good, and so our monthly Staff Picks column. July was a fruitful month for new music, as well as reissues. Here's 25 albums comprising everything from ambient to psychedelic, experimental, ethnic/world, electronics and beyond.

What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, here's the monthly Staff Picks.

If you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

From Coil to Eleventeen Eston

Cigar for Castro - Cigar for Castro (Muteant Sounds Netlabel)
Cigar for Castro - Cigar for Castro (Muteant Sounds Netlabel)
Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah - Al Hadaoui (Habibi Funk)
The band Attarazat Addahabia was formed in 1968. The original line-up included 14 members, all from the same family. They played their first small concerts here and there starting in 1969. Later in 1973 they performed bigger shows for instance at the Municipal Theatre followed by the "Al Massira Show" at Velodrome Stadium in downtown Casablanca. Their first album "Al Ha- daoui" (the one you are listening to) was recorded at Boussiphone studios in 1972 and was never released before. Their shows sometimes could go as long as 12 hours, starting at 5pm in the afternoon, with an occasional break here and there.

Cigar for Castro - Cigar for Castro (Muteant Sounds Netlabel)
A trio from New Jersey rocking and it hard on their first release as a trio. Nervous space psychedelics to boost your confidence.

Coil - The Gay Man's Guide To Safer Sex +2 (OST) (Musique Pour La Danse)
This is Coil's unreleased soundtrack for the VHS only, pre-internet, sexual education documentary entitled "The Gay Man's Guide To Safer Sex" released in 1992. Members for this project are John Balance, Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson and Danny Hyde. The OST, to quote John Balance's interview for Compulsion Online, "is [a] slightly new agey, progressive house type thing".

Črno Klank - État des lieux (Syrphe)
Cedrik Fermont aka C-drík aka Kirdec is a composer, musician, mastering engineer, author, independent researcher, concert organiser, curator and radio host who operates in the field of noise, electronic, electroacoustic/acousmatic and experimental music since 1989, born in Zaire (DR Congo), he grew up in Belgium and resides in Germany when not on the road. Manager of Syrphe, a platform and label mostly dedicated to electronic, sound art, electroacoustic, noise (...) music from Asia and Africa, C-drík often performs across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. "Črno klank (or Crno klank) was the first project I started in 1989, back then a duo that quickly became a solo project and for a very short period of time a collective too, several tapes have been published during the 1990s, and few tracks on various compilations and one CD" - Cedrik Fermont

Eleventeen Eston - Delta Horizon (Growing Bin Records)
Originally released on a Not Not Fun cassette in 2014, Eleventeen Eston‘s evocative debut made it into the tape decks of the hundred coolest people on the planet, where it has remained ever since, stretched and slackened by constant play. Now remastered for vinyl by Sergey Luginin and reissued by Basso’s Growing Bin Records, Delta Horizon is ready to take over your turntable, its humid funk and sunkissed guitars the perfect conditions for a living room mirage. Blurry references to infomercial pop and arcade boogie flirt with vaporwave‘s nostalgic aesthetic, but Eston‘s sound is more heartfelt, even when it wobbles under the heatstroke. If Todd Rundgren suffered an LA ego death in 1974 and woke up on the Perth shoreline in the mid 80s, he‘d have tried to make music like this, but he wouldn‘t have come anywhere close to Delta Horizons.
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Tracing Back The Radiance (Mexican Summer)
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Tracing Back The Radiance (Mexican Summer)

From Elite Beat to Lea Bertucci

Elite Beat - Casual Rhythms Vol. 3 (Boomarm Nation)
Hot on the heels of the stellar collaboration with Mdou Moctar, Elite Beat are back with Volume 3 of the Casual Rhythms series!! With an all hands on deck approach to analog, DIY dub mixing, these tracks shine and bubble, patiently revealing layers of cosmic orchestration, and hypnotic repetition.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Tracing Back The Radiance (Mexican Summer)
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is a multi-instrumentalist, member of several bands and co-founder of the Root Strata record label based out of San Francisco, California. Cantu-Ledesma got his start in the band Tarentel. He was one of the founding members and is still a primary figure in the band's line-up. In addition, Cantu-Ledesma is, and has been, involved in a slew of other musical projects. His label, Root Strata, is highly regarded by the drone/ambient music community and has an extensive catalog that includes artists such as Tarentel, Grouper, Yellow Swans, Charalambides, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Oneohtrix Point Never, Barn Owl, Starving Weirdos, Gregg Kowalsky, and more.

Kali Malone - The Sacrificial Code (iDEAL Recordings)
Slow, methodical organ recordings on this major new work from Kali Malone; a quietly subversive double album featuring almost two hours of concentrated, creeping organ pieces governed by a strict acoustic and compositional code with ultimately profound emotional resonance.

Lea Bertucci - Resonant Field (NNA Tapes)
Resonant Field is the brand-new full-length album from New York-based sound artist and composer Lea Bertucci. Following up her critically acclaimed 2018 NNA full-length ‘Metal Aether’, Lea continues her devotion to the exploration of physical spaces by way of sound, channeled through her alto saxophone. Where her previous work investigated a variety of locations around the globe, ‘Resonant Field’ narrows her focus to one space in particular - the Marine A Grain Elevator at Silo City in Buffalo, New York. Using her horn, Lea awakens certain resonances within the space which have laid dormant and forgotten for decades. In this sense, ‘Resonant Field’ is the documentation of a human’s profoundly personal interaction with an inanimate space through the medium of sound.

Leech - Data Horde (Peak Oil)
Los Angeles-by-way-of-Portland/Chicago/Fond du Lac freak scene stalwart, veteran of all things acidic, and doting dungeon master to a sprawling enclave of analog, FM, and beyond synths, Peak Oil co-founder and dextrous DJ Brian Foote presents a data dump from his array of maxed-out hard drives of jams eternal. Data Horde is an LP that could only emanate from the core of someone so steeped in the minutiae of halcyon (and on and on)-era electronic music, refracting every last fragment of genre in on itself.
Michael Zerang - Cedarhead (Al Maslakh)
Michael Zerang - Cedarhead (Al Maslakh)

From Mai Mai Mai to Mike Cooper

Mai Mai Mai - Nel Sud (La Tempesta International)
The new LP by Mai Mai Mai, titled Nel Sud, continues to explore Mediterranean history yet does so with a different sense of ambition. A journey into the past of the Italian south, realized through original footage taken from Italian ethno-documentaries made during the 1960s and 70s, Nel Sud is intended as an original soundtrack and is mixed with sounds from the original films.

Michael Zerang - Cedarhead (Al Maslakh)
This package of live sessions was recorded between the 3rd and 14th of April 2006 at Bustros Palace in Beirut, Lebanon. It comprises seven long pieces by Michael Zerang (drums, darbuka and percussions), with Sharif Sehnaoui (acoustic guitar), Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet), Raed Yassin (tapes & electronics), Christine Abdelnour (alto sax), Charbel Haber (electric guitar), Jassem Hindi (electronics) and Bechir Saadé (nay). As Michael Zerang concludes, "I was told there are few cedars left in Lebanon. But there are at least 8 CEDARHEADS!"

Mike Cooper - Rayon Hula (15th Anniversary Edition) (Room40)
From Mike Cooper: "After several trips, beginning in 1994, to the Pacific and its Island Nations, Australia and subsequently to South East Asia, I conceived the idea of making an updated more ‘now’ version of some of the Exotica music that originated in 1950’s America[...] No-one was issuing recorded work by me, so I started my own DIY cd.r. label, Hipshot, and sold [music] via the internet. I was free to record whatever I wanted and I did, starting in 1999 with Kiribati. Kiribati is a Pacific Island Nation and was one of the last places to be settled by humans and will be one of the first to disappear as the waters rise due to Global Warming. Is music political that has no lyrics? I would like to think so."

Mukta-feen - the Journey of the Blue Light (BLTNM)
Mukta-feen is the stage name of Ahmed Zaghmouri, an audiovisual artist working in electronic music production, DJing, sound design, photography and graphic design. In addition to co-founding BLTNM, the first digital record label in Ramallah in 2015, Zaghmouri has worked on a number of cultural projects, exhibitions, underground events and art forums throughout the Middle East. This is the audio content of a multi-layered philosophical installation exhibition.

VA - Neither Vanquished Nor Disgraced: Three Fadista Women in Lisbon, 1929-30 (Canary Records)
Yet another wonderful historical compilation from Ian Nagoski's fantastic collection.
Papivores - Death And Spring (Hands In The Dark)
Papivores - Death And Spring (Hands In The Dark)

From Nicolas Gaunin to Scan 7

Nicolas Gaunin - Noa Noa Noa (Hive Mind Records)
Despite a 2018 release on the Italian imprint ArteTetra, Nicolas Gaunin's Noa Noa Noa album gets reissued by Hive Mind Records. Noa Noa Noa is modern Dada, a neon soundtrack to your most outlandish fever dreams. Nicolas Gaunin is the alter ego of Nicola Sanguin, part of the vibrant experimental music scene around Padua, Italy where he plays in outsider rock groups The Lay Llamas and Orange Car Crash. Nicolas Gaunin is his solo electronic project, a bright and playful cosmic mash-up that uses the rhythms of traditional African percussion groups and skews them slightly to create unsettling, off-kilter grooves.

Papivores - Death And Spring (Hands In The Dark)
Papivores is the new project that has blossomed from the minds of French violinist Agathe Max and British musician and producer Tom Relleen - half of the duo Tomaga and member of The CAN project. Their debut release Death And Spring is based around an intriguing experimental compositional approach, taking their inspiration from a novel by Catalan writer Mercè Rodoreda.

Richard Sanderson - Compass Rose (Linear Obsessional)
With no overdubs or processing, these recordings present the raw sound of the melodeon rendered as a melange of noise, feedback and free-reed dynamics - reminiscent at times of bagpipe music, John Cale's viola, or doom metal, and even occasionally folk music.

Scan 7 - Between Worlds (Deeptrax Records)
Scan 7 has its deep roots in the rich musical heritage of Detroit techno; this is their new album in the past 20 years, released by Deeptrax Records. Scan 7 is very close related to Underground Resistance and forms a mysterious Detroit underground collective. With this triple album, Scan 7 is back at the front with a varied style from Metroplex reminisced electro to stringing, banging techno and from deeper Detroit house to epic rooted galaxian jazzy vibes, bringing back the heydays of techno's most influential period ever.

SxCxFxDx ft. JuanitO))) - Face to Face (Nailed Nazarene Industries)
Sharp, blinding noise, a collaboration between Sexy Crocodile for Dinner and JuanitO))).
Unknown Mobile - Daucile Moon (Pacific Rhythm)
Unknown Mobile - Daucile Moon (Pacific Rhythm)

From Talibam! to Winfried Muhlum-Pyrapheros

Talibam! - The Marimba Files LPE2 (Talibam! Self-released)
This is the first installment of Talibam!'s "SIDE A / SIDE A" series where Matt produces one side of the album and Kevin produces the other side. The Marimba Files has two sides, but there is no SIDE B. This is also the second installment in Part Two of Talibam!'s Launch Pad series. The Launch Pad series was created by Talibam! to explore new sound relationships in the digital world. Using album releases by various musical artists as the launching pad, Talibam! feels inspired to paint and mold their music into a new species, blurring the lines between inconspicuous and conspicuous consumption/appropriation.

Unknown Mobile - Daucile Moon (Pacific Rhythm)
Vancouver based musician Levi Bruce made this album under the Unknown Mobile alias while he was recovering from a broken toe and collecting MIDI files he found in an old Geocities archive. It was finished earlier this year in Montreal with help from Mike Silver, AKA CFCF, who added plaintive guitar to complete the album's placid and stargazing style of ambient and downtempo music. The album takes its name from an old, obscure Canadian jazz song that Bruce describes as "pretty but also with a serious amount of melancholy," which could also describe his new record. In the vein of Pacific Rhythm label-mate Khotin's standout New Tab album, Daucile Moon comprises drowsy beats and spaced-out loops, referencing the pinnacle of early '90s chillout and ambient while infusing it with the dazed sound of Canadian electronic music in the 2010s.

Winfried Muhlum-Pyrapheros - Musica Nova Contemplativa (Blume)
Originally issued in 1970, this stunning creation of its era has, until now, remained among the rarest artifacts work of musical minimalism - echoing idiom’s roots in Fluxus and the raw temperaments of artists like Tony Conrad and Henry Flynt, threaded with touchstones in the work of Eliane Radigue, Giacinto Scelsi, and Jani Christou. Droning and tense, subtle melodic elements underpin sheets of tone and atonality, sculpting an incongruous sense of spacial ambience, the conception of Musica Nova Contemplativa, drew on a unique, unfixed compositional system, created by combining traditional musical notation with mobile and variable elements, expressed graphically as a system of coordinates which leave variation, interpretation, and improvisation up to the performer.

VA - WW Airlines (whitewater)
Here’s a new various artists venture into the depth of electronics, ambient, post melodramatic music compiled and presented by the Portugal based imprint whitewater. The package comprises ten tracks from a wide variety of musicians, including Valestine, Leisure Exports, Caligula, Horst Knab, SLF and more.

Wukir Suryadi - Industrial Mutant 01 Indiestrial Mutant live concert at Semeru Alt Space
Half of Indonesian experimental/metal duo Senyawa, Wukir Suryadi steps into the darkest realms of experimental music with this 30 minutes live session recorded at Semeru, in East Java, Indonesia. This is one of the most haunting and darkest sound exploration, for untamed ears.
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