Staff Picks - June

Staff Picks - June

July 4, 2018

Written by:

Dragoș Rusu

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This is what drew our attention musically during June 2018. What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, if you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

From Aaron Moore to Bombino

Alanis Obomsawin - Bush Lady (Constellation Records)
Alanis Obomsawin - Bush Lady (Constellation Records)
Aaron Moore & Erik K Skodvin - Instead of rain I bring a hat (Hands In The Dark Records)
"Instead of rain I bring a hat" is a long-distance collaboration between the UK’s Aaron Moore (Volcano The Bear, Gospel Of Mars, duo with Alan Courtis) and Norwegian Erik K Skodvin (Svarte Greiner, Deaf Center, B/B/S), taking its full form over 6 years. The project began with e-mail exchanges of fragmented sounds and ideas - on the piano, cello, drums, harp, vocals, homemade and electronic instruments. Their experimental correspondence eventually blossomed and grew into an exquisite, fully-fledged album of brooding cinematic compositions. Through 7 songs, Moore and Skodvin lead the listener through complex, haunted, minimalistic pieces. They are surreal, sonically fascinating and deeply moving.

Aaron Martin - Touch Dissolves (IIKKI)
Touch Dissolves is the result of a dialog between the artist Yusuf Sevinçli and the composer Aaron Martin initiated by IIKKI, between January 2018 and May 2018. The complete project works in two physical imprints: a book and a disc. It should be experienced in different manners, the book watched alone, the vinyl (or cd) listened to alone and then the book and the disc watched and listened to together.

Alanis Obomsawin - Bush Lady (Constellation Records)
Bush Lady is the only recording ever made by Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki First Nations and best known as one of Canada’s most accomplished and decorated documentary filmmakers. Less well known is that Obomsawin began her artistic career as a singer-songwriter in the 1960s, part of a broad movement of Indigenous artists from across North America rallying in new assertions of cultural consciousness, political rights, and reckonings with oppressive colonial history. She was invited by Folkways to perform at Town Hall in New York City in the early 1960s and spent that decade primarily identifying as a singer, channeling traditional songs hand-in-hand with modern composition. Twenty years later, amidst her burgeoning film career, Bush Lady was born of sessions sponsored by CBC Radio in 1984. Unsatisfied with these recordings, Obomsawin reclaimed the master tapes, remade the album, and issued it on her own private press in 1988.

Baransu – Kosmos (H.O.H.A. - Host Original Handmade Artefacts)
Baransu is an audio-visual project based on the union and mutual influence between graphic designer and visual artist Michael Barteloni and musician and sound designer Matteo Gualeni. The album defines kosmos as a sound experiment that has the purpose to highlight and at the same time lead, through the use of the sound perception of listening, towards a state of greater awareness of ourselves, creating a dimension without gravitational points, allowing in this way the coming up of the characteristics of the event/sound object modeling and building the surrounding environment. The cognitive process has tried to become the method of composition and orchestration that made possible the use of the sound design not only an explanatory model of this, but material itself.

Bombino – Deran (Partisan Records)
Bombino is an internationally acclaimed Tuareg guitarist and singer-songwriter from Agadez, Niger. His music frequently addresses Tuareg geopolitical concerns and is sung in the Tuareg language of Tamasheq. Deran is Bombino’s (Omara "Bombino" Moctar) follow up record to 2016’s Azel. The LP was recorded in Casablanca, Morocco and released in May 2018.
VA - Cosmographia Vol.1 (International Cassette Culture) (Domestica)
VA - Cosmographia Vol.1 (International Cassette Culture) (Domestica)

From Diamont Dancer to Donato Dozzy

V/A - Cosmographia Vol.1 (International Cassette Culture)
The first volume of Cosmographia (International Cassette Culture) comprises a selection of tracks originally released on cassette in the late 80s plus some never published ones by three European acts: Idee du Femelle (Barcelona, Spain), Genetic Factor (Amsterdam, Holland) and Collectionism (Frankfurt, Germany). Their common link is the “non-musician” concept as originally stated by Brian Eno, also to be found in Kraftwerk, Can, Cluster and some modern classical composers like Ligeti or Cage. All three were deeply involved in the live scene and the self-distribution ethics of their time. All of them innovated in aesthetics as well as music itself and that showed in their live performances, working with artists from other fields to create a sound-and-vision experience recaptured on this release.

Diamont Dancer - Shapes (Canoa Snake Records)
The first album by the duo Diamont Dancer titled “Shapes” will be released this fall on the new ambient and experimental label Canoa Snake Records. Spanish musicians Nacho Marco and Pau Roca, both with an extended music career, have joined forces to create this new music project. Their first LP consists of seven songs and comes full of endless melancholic melodies, processed guitar loops and evocative analog synth drones. They were very influenced by Fripp/Eno, Steve Reich and John Carpenter. The painter and designer Artur Heras has been in charge of designing the album cover.

Donato Dozzy - Filo Loves The Acid (Tresor Records)
Rome based production maestro and DJ extraordinaire Donato Dozzy is unanimously considered as an illustrious leading light in all techno art forms. Along his long career and extensive discography, Dozzy has proven to use his instruments most interesting ways, always re-inventing his music, always presenting new approaches to both the deeper and the more rhythmic forms of electronic music. It was self-evident to Tresor Records to enroll Donato Dozzy’s talents for this assignment, a nod to the seminal Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer. The result is a relentless collection of radical, propulsive and bleeding-heart acid tracks.

Etran de L'Aïr - No. 1 (Sahel Sounds)
Etran de L’Air is a Niger band based in the town of Agadez, an urban center renowned for the electric guitar and the Western named "desert blues." In the Sahara, this electric guitar genre is intertwined with social function. It's a lucrative commerce, and gigging bands make their living in weddings, baptisms, and political events. Etran de L'Aïr is one of Agadez's longest playing groups on the circuit. Yet they are also a band that has remained on the fringes, stars of the Agadez working class.

Gonçalo F Cardoso - Impressões de uma Ilha (Unguja)
A site-specific recording sporting a straightforward approach of Gonçalo Cardoso. Combining found sounds, sparse playing and field recordings he creates a world that both invokes Treasure Island, and An Essay On Exoticism. Indeed questions are raised. But especially certain emotions are shared. Cardoso acts both like the journalist and the aesthetic. Sometimes he just registers, as being the observer at the sideline, sometimes he alters and collages the material into new worlds.
Only Now & Orogen - ST (Discrepant)
Only Now & Orogen - ST (Discrepant)

From Innsyter to KATE NV

Heroin in Tahiti - Casilina Tapes 2010 | 2017 (Boring Machines)
Heroin in Tahiti is a duo from Rome, playing a variety of cheap guitars, analog synths, drum machines and pedals, achieving a dirtiness which is tragically lo-fi and out-of-time at the same time: a “Spaghetti Wasteland”, as they call it. When mentioning Italian Occult Psychedelia, Heroin in Tahiti seems the best choice to sum up the sound and the references that stay at the core of this all-Italian scene. Casilina Tapes is their latest output, comprising a collection of unreleased tracks recorded in their basement studio in Rome in the last seven years while building up their thematic albums.

Innsyter - Magnetic Healing EP (Contort Yourself)
Brazilian producer and December collaborator Innsyter presents the new Contort Yourself release, channeling that same wild, DIY bedroom studio spirit across nine individual recordings. The mini album comprises industrial dub punk trying to channel early Cluster or Moebius and strangely succeeding, subaquatic electro and twisted lo-fi minimalism with bonus eerie monologue samples. The one recurring theme on Magnetic Healing is Innsyter’s clear love for mournful, post-punk inspired melodies, coming across loud and clear on almost every track yet never sounds tired.

KATE NV - для FOR (RVNG Intl.)
Kate NV’s для FOR is a body of ten symmetrical pieces scored to NV’s native Moscow environment with just enough whimsy to gurgle through the city cracks and grow psychotropic foliage. Moscow is mythologized for its grandeur and gravity but its parable pleasures offer splendor and even absurdity. On для FOR, each sound assumes its own personality, moving through the album metropolis like miniature, mutating molecules viewed from NV’s apartment window. Inspired by casual moments of ephemeral sound from within and beyond her apartment walls, для FOR has a clarity arrived altogether and from right under Kate NV's nose. Recorded at home, NV says it was as if the music was not written by herself, but her chair. Animating objects is essential to the album. Like a surreal still life, each piece is an alien arrangement of common elements that extend the everyday ritual into an eternal landscape of unconscious activity.

Los Siquicos Litoraleños - Medianos Éxitos Subtropicales Vol. 1 (Artetetra Records)
Los Siquicos Litoraleños (The psychics of el Litoral) is an Argentinian collective originally from Curuzù Cuatiá: a city of northeast Argentina in Corrientes, an area known (not by chance) el Litoral, whose inhabitants are known as Litoraleños. The group developed their unique language, slowly building their own aesthetic in the shape of a surreal mythology and vivid mind-bending folklore. “Medianos Éxitos Subtropicales vol.1” is a pun on cumbia greatest hits records (“Grandes Éxitos Tropicales” aka “Great tropical hits”), that really deserve Mark Gergis' definition of “multi-fi post-post-post- post world music”.
Unearthing The Music ‎– Notes From The Underground (Experimental Sounds Behind The Iron Curtain)
Unearthing The Music ‎– Notes From The Underground (Experimental Sounds Behind The Iron Curtain)

From Oiseaux-Tempête to SØS Gunver Ryberg

Oiseaux-Tempête - طرب TARAB (Sub Rosa)
The collective Oiseaux-Tempête has stretched its electric arc over musical genres and borders, imposing itself in a river of tours and releases like a wild UFO within the hexagonal indie scene. Navigating instinct, as attracted by disorder, the music of Oiseaux-Tempête has always increased tenfold in live performance. طرب TARAB (in literary arabic - euphoria, secular exaltation, ecstasy), their sixth release on the demanding label Sub Rosa, is the result of live recordings captured during the AL-'AN! Tour. Hypnotic in pulsation, TARAB is a meeting of the Parisian founding members Frédéric D. Oberland and Stéphane Pigneul, electronic sound wizard Mondkopf, G.W.Sok from The Ex, Sylvain Joasson of Mendelson, videographers As Human Pattern and the Lebanese musicians Charbel Haber, Abed Kobeissy and Ali El Hout (aka Two Or The Dragon). Marrying free-rock, organic electronics, traditional instruments and unbridled electricity, TARAB, far beyond the vibrant testimony, is a generous invitation to experience, to meditate and to share.

Only Now & Orogen - S/T (Discrepant)
"Unearth I and II" carves tunnels of resonance which mimic the cosmic proportions and monolithic movements of exoplanet existence. As the compositions grow on into side B of the cassette, the zero BPM landscape slowly transforms into cycles, distinctly organic and tribal, slipping out the very last, or the very first primitive signs of life on a planet, not of our own. Only Now (Kush Arora) and Orogen (Lucas Patzek) grew up together in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have been collaborating on ambient and experimental sound projects for 19 years. In high school they began manipulating and arranging audio from minidisc field recordings, first-generation software synths, hardware samplers and FX pedals, and homemade contact mics. The sonic innovators that inspired their early work include Zoviet France, Brume, Lustmord, Alio Die, Haujobb, and Hafler Trio. They were drawn to the occult music scenes of California and beyond, and performed together from their teenage years through their 20’s at a variety of venues, from outdoor music festivals to artsy fashion shows.

SØS Gunver Ryberg - Solfald (Noise Manifesto)
The Danish composer, performer and sound artist SØS Gunver Ryberg appeared on the second chapter of the Noise Manifesto Decon/Recon series together with Aïsha Devi, Rrose, and Paula Temple herself. ‘Solfald’ is her own solo EP for the label including six original tracks, some of which have evolved from her captivating live performances. SØS Gunver Ryberg creates genre-defying electronic music, sound installations and stage performances. Her characteristic style is recognized for challenging your state of consciousness by transformative music experiences with insistent rhythms, combined with a meticulous exploration of textures and timbres. Raw sounds created from synthesis and processed field recordings are framed by symphonic forms and create a unique expressivity.

Topdown Dialectic - S/T (Peak Oil)
The dissociative electronic designs of incognito American producer Topdown Dialectic originated as a set of software strategies, rather than compositions in the traditional sense. The recordings are captures and edits of various nonlinear sound-systems, shifting conditions, and reactions to internal changes. Despite such a conceptual basis the music is hyper-sensory, evocative, and emotive, meshing the impossible sonic geometries of early UK warehouse bleeps and IDM stutters with the gritty spatial abstraction of Basic Channel to chart dynamic and diaphanous electronic topographies, at once decentralized, parallel, and environmental. The eight identical-length tracks comprising this self-titled vinyl debut demonstrate the breadth of the Topdown sound world: shuddering, circuitous, textural, kinetic. This is compelling, composite music, instigated as much as created, like obscure machinations occurring deep in the labyrinth of a server somewhere.

Unearthing The Music ‎– Notes From The Underground (Experimental Sounds Behind The Iron Curtain)
This double LP compilation is a meeting of musicians and artists that never happened. Mostly active in the 1970s and 1980s in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Hungarian People’s Republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People’s Republic of Poland, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the German Democratic Republic, the groups and individuals who feature on this record were often divided by the insular and paranoid policies of the communist states in which they lived. Some of the music was recorded during energetic public concerts; some of it was laid down in home-made studios, and some in state recording facilities. This compilation signals the coming together of four different projects which have been covering overlooked histories and alternative art in the former Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia in the second half of the 20th century: Germany’s Major Label and Zonic platform, Poland’s Notes From the Underground exhibition and Portugal’s Unearthing the Music project.
About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic and allround music adventurer.

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