Staff Picks - September 2022

Staff Picks - September 2022

October 20, 2022

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Autumn is here again, and September has been a very busy month in terms of new releases. Check out a selection of 32 albums and compilations released last month, comprising electronic music, experimental, ambient, psychedelic, free jazz, improvisation, both new and reissues.

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 Al-Qasar to Alvin Curran

Ansambl Mileta Petrovića - Veseli Romi (Radio Martiko)
Ansambl Mileta Petrovića - Veseli Romi (Radio Martiko)
Alhaji Waziri Oshomah - World Spirituality Classics 3: The Muslim Highlife of (Luaka Bop)
Alhaji Waziri Oshomah begins his sermon before a dancing crowd. His lyrics warn about the vice of jealousy—how it causes hypertension, and even kills—but the congregation is here to get down. We’re in a small part of Edo State in southern Nigeria called Afenmailand, which is known for being a harmonious region where Muslims and Christians live—and dance—together. The atmosphere is one of enjoyment, excitement, and pleasure, because to see Waziri perform is to be addressed, body and soul. He's the creator of a unique dance music that's fused with local folk styles, highlife, and Western pop, and imbued with Islamic values—and he's the greatest entertainer in all of Edo State. They call him the Etsako Super Star.

Al-Qasar - Who Are We? (Glitterbeat Records)
The band Al-Qasar comprises Thomas Attar Bellier (electric saz, guiters, keys), Jaouad El Garouge (vocals, awtar, karkabou, tbila, bendir, claves, caxixi, cowbell), Guillaume Théoden (bass, sub bass), Nicolas Derolin (darbuka, daf, bongos, bendir, shakers, saget) and Paul Void (drums). Middle Eastern psych-rock collective Al-Qasar’s debut album is an explosive mix of heavy Arabian grooves, global psychedelia and North African trance music. The band calls it "Arabian fuzz." Brazenly electric and deeply connected. Guests include Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) and Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys).

Alvin Curran - Drumming Up Trouble (Black Truffle)
Black Truffle presents Drumming Up Trouble, the first release of previously unissued music by Alvin Curran on the label. Collecting works recorded between 2018-2021 and a side-long epic dating back to the early 80s, as the title suggests, Drumming Up Trouble, focuses on a hitherto almost unknown aspect of Curran’s encyclopaedic and omnivorous musical world: his experiments with sampled and synthesised percussion.

Amelia Cuni - Mumbai 04.02.1996 (Black Truffle)
Following on from the stunning recording of her 1992 performance at the Berlin Parampara Festival (BT079), Black Truffle continues the documentation of the work of Berlin-based Italian singer Amelia Cuni, one of the great contemporary exponents of dhrupad, the oldest surviving style of North Indian classical vocal music. Recorded in concert at Vishweshwarayya Hall, Mumbai, 04.02.1996 presents expansive performances of three ragas stretching across four sides and almost one and a half hours of music.

Ansambl Mileta Petrovića - Veseli Romi (Radio Martiko)
In the early 80s, the Ansambl Mileta Petrovića was formed in Nis, in the Serbian part of the former Yugoslavia. Mile Petrovic and his band were pioneers and modernised Roma music by replacing the accordion and brass with synthesizers and guitars. The result is a psychedelic cocktail of traditional rhythms and spaced-out sounds. As Veseli Romi or The Happy Roma they promoted their irresistible dance music, recorded between 1986 and 1991.

V.A. - Anthology Of Contemporary Music From Greece (Unexplained Sounds Group)
"In ancient Greece, music played a central role in all areas of life, both public and private. We can only imagine how this music sounded. But there are many visual sources that can tell us who was playing which instruments and in which settings, as well as showing us that there were often people dancing together." Raffaele Pezzella
Champeta, Terapia Criolla y Socca - Son Palenque (Kaine Sound Band) Itan Pa loyo (Palenque Records)
Champeta, Terapia Criolla y Socca - Son Palenque (Kaine Sound Band) Itan Pa loyo (Palenque Records)

From CC Sorensen to Dan Kurfirst

Authentically Plastic - Raw Space (Hakuna Kulala)
As both a DJ and a producer, Authentically Plastic is drawn to the idea of chance as a creative tool - to push against the idea of the all-knowing genius, and approach artistry instead as a facilitator, unraveling parallel mismatched rhythmic events. Their musical process is to start with chaos, then attempt to mold those fleshy structures into polyrhythmic mutations, pulling influence from East Africa's innovative musical landscape and augmenting it with an exploratory sense of surrealism.

Brackenbury Bianco - Wayward Mystic (Discus Music)
Brackenbury Bianco is a duo comprising Faith Brackenbury (violin, viola, vocals, effects pedals) and Tony Bianco (drums, percussion, keyboards), and this is their latest release on the Sheffield based imprint Discus Music.

CC Sorensen - Phantom Rooms (mappa)
CC Sorensen was reflecting a lot on their childhood home in rural Kansas, USA while working on this music. The album could be characterised by a familial, chamber feel and both of CC Sorensen’s brothers, Ryan and Nyal Ruehlen, make an appearance on ‘Phantom Rooms’, among other instrumentalists. Using a wide palette of sounds – CC Sorensen alone in charge of keyboards, software instruments, voice, electronics, percussion, trumpet, guitar and field recordings, in addition to guests on pedal steel, voice, chimes, saxophone and drumset – the American musician crafts music as mysterious as it is inviting.

Champeta, Terapia Criolla y Socca - Son Palenque (Kaine Sound Band) Itan Pa loyo (Palenque Records)
Son Palenque presents a new reissue of an album from back in the days, bringing a great musical treasure to all its fans in the world. This album was recorded in 1986, the group Son Palenque recorded it under the name of Kaine Sound Band. This is one of the pioneering albums of the Champeta genre, and proof that Son Palenque, like Ane Swing at that time, are pioneers of this musical language.

Dan Kurfirst - Arkinetics (Neuma Records)
Drummer/composer Dan Kurfirst has been studying the drums, rhythms, and their combined effects on the body and mind. His new recording, Arkinetics, provides a fascinating encapsulation of his study of global rhythms, free improvisation, and engaging production.

Edward Enman, India Gailey, David Potvin - Breathe In, Breathe Out (self-released)
"Breathe In, Breathe Out is a collection of music built on human connection. It’s meant to bring us together and to connect us with ourselves. Dreams, physical connection, thoughts becoming reality, hope, curiosity, heartache, and searching are all themes throughout the album." Edward Enman
Nyati Mayi & The Astral Synth Transmitters - Lulanga Tales (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
Nyati Mayi & The Astral Synth Transmitters - Lulanga Tales (Les Disques Bongo Joe)

From Hiss Sound to Misha Sultan

Embryo Issue #2 / Black Zone Myth Chant (Natural Sciences)
Embryo Issue #2 comes with new material from Black Zone Myth Chant after underground hits on Editions Gravats and Winged Sun.

Hearn Gadbois - Rara Avis (Abstrakce Records)
Here’s a compilation of Hearn Gadbois' tracks, published here and there along the years (1983- 2020); most of them are home recordings with very little or no diffusion, so this release tries to shed some light on these amazing compositions. A sound related to Hassell's 4th world but developed in a very personal way (he even designs & makes some of his instruments) that feels different and goes far beyond. Using mostly acoustic instruments, Hearn combines a love of traditional trance/ecstatic rhythms with the sensibilities of an outsider artist, creating a music that is both archaic and post-modern.

Hiss Sound - Taraf (Animist)
Hiss Sound's debut album is a profound and exciting sonic journey on the crossroads of Indian & electronic music. Soaring synthesizer melodies and basslines intertwine with expressive, moody dub chords and Indian classical instruments like the bansuri, tabla, sarod and sitar without compromise.

Max Loderbauer - Petrichor (Marionette)
Petrichor distills the elements of Loderbauer’s work that are fundamental to the initiation of the label. With his Buchla, modular synth, and Haken fingerboard, Loderbauer’s improvised studio manoeuvres dilate into imagined journeys from glacial peaks into the exosphere.

Merope - Naktės (Stroom)
The collective Merope is a prime example of Lithuanian folk influences finding a firm place in the global ocean of experimental world sounds. It represents a very contemporary understanding of the shared roots of all musical creation and promotes a pursuit of transcultural unity that escapes narrow-minded cultural seclusion. Aside from music, Merope also addresses other global concern such as the state of the ecosystem and our reliance on energy, for instance, they recorded their debut album in a natural setting in Spain using only solar power.

Misha Sultan - Translucence (Patience/Impatience)
Misha Sultan offers a twin set of deeply mystic shapeshifters for his outing on Patience, entitled Translucence. On both sides Sultan mines the depths of the mystery to summon two unique cuts both earthly in origin but stirring with an undeniably cosmic energy. Incorporating sounds arising from the Far East of his Russian origins, Sultan displays an affection for the esoteric and a mastery of instrumentation that, combined with a deft grasp of contemporary production, makes for a lush, beguiling trip out of time.

Nyati Mayi & The Astral Synth Transmitters - Lulanga Tales (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
Two travelers, in the eclectic and evolving musical underground in Brussels, their paths having crossed over many years, finally seal the deal and record a deep, emotional, jazztronic Afro-bomb of an LP that has no respect for genre limits and mines the crannies of both players’ musical taste. The name might suggest a bigger ensemble, but Nyati Mayi & The Astral Synth Transmitters are currently duo Nyati Mayi & soFa elsewhere, who weave the electronic and acoustic yet with a stark rhythmic punch, rendering heartbreaking vocals (sung in no specific language) across six delicious tracks.
V.A. - Pingipung XX. A Record Label Turns 20
V.A. - Pingipung XX. A Record Label Turns 20

From Odd Person to Samuel Rohrer

Odd Person - Myths of the Crystal Plateau (Nonlocal Research)
Odd Person is a lo-fi electronic and imaginary world music project of August Traeger, and this is his new release on the Chilean imprint Nonlocal Research.

OFF! - Free LSD (Fat Possum Records)
OFF! is a quartet from Los Angeles, California, comprising Keith Morris, Dimitri Coats, Autry Fulbright II and Justin Brown and this is their latest release on Fat Possum Records.

OM with Urs Leimgruber, Christy Doran, Bobby Burri and Fredy Studer - 50 (Intakt Records)
The band OM wrote history from 1972 to 1982 combining the energy of rock music with the power of free improvisation. With enormous vitality they bring together the experiences of a young generation electrified by Jimi Hendrix, fascinated by John Coltrane and inspired by free jazz.

V.A. - Pingipung XX. A Record Label Turns 20
The German record label Pingipung celebrates its anniversary with exclusive tracks by a fine selection of artists from the label roster as well as new names. Instead of looking back at the classics, Pingipung chose to compile a kaleidoscopic preview of possible future directions for the label. The line-up features playfully melancholic songs by Museum Of No Art, Peter Power or The Notwist, an excursion to the desert by RVDS or a psychedelic take on Dub in Tolouse Low Trax’ remix for the Ainu singer Umeko Ando. Artists such as Anadol, Y Bülbül, MD Pallavi & Andi Otto, M.RUX, Sven Kacirek, Schlammpeitziger, Peter Presto and F.S.Blumm are already well known to the Pingipung audience. They contribute exclusive new tracks, adding to their existing output on the label.

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Patience Of A Traitor (Other People)
Tehran-born, NY based brothers Mohammad and Mehdi collaborate with Ian McDonnell, a.k.a. Eomac on a new record entitled Patience of a Traitor. Inspired by the traditional bath houses in their native Tehran, the brothers say: "This record speaks to preserving the things that are timeless, through revisiting the past. The traditional Persian bath house — its architecture, the role it played in keeping, building community, the bathing rituals — served as our ultimate symbol. Now we drink from one cup, and fill the jar with the other."

Samuel Rohrer - Hungry Ghosts (Arjunamusic Records)
Samuel Rohrer continues to quietly, yet confidently, make a name for himself as a genuinely unique figure within the European electronic music realm. His latest solo album, Hungry Ghosts, again shows the high quality of sonic design that can be achieved by conceptualizing musical passages as living, breathing entities rather than as signposts to some still distant reality. Maybe more so than any of Rohrer’s solo records to date, Hungry Ghosts is the one that most unambiguously displays the artist as a kind of inspired sound “cultivator” or landscaper rather than just a straightforward “producer”.
Ustad Noor Bakhsh - Jingul (honiunhoni)
Ustad Noor Bakhsh - Jingul (honiunhoni)

From The Bug to Yara Asmar

Stiletti-Ana - Automat musik (self-released)
Stiletti-Ana (born Ilari Larjosto) is a producer, musician and sound engineer from Helsinki, Finland. "Automat musik is my first release that is not composed, produced and maxed out. Why wouldn’t I just focus on the fun side of the things and turn the brains off? That’s what I did with Automat Musik" says Stiletti-Ana.

The Bug - Absent Riddim (Pressure)
"17 versions of the same beat + an extremely eclectic crew of vocalists as the new Bug album = commercial industry suicide.... 17 versions of the same beat, mutated, modified and sometimes mutilated to suit each guest i invited, to jump this heavyweight rhythm. So if you arent feelin the beat, you may as well jump off from the get go.. And trust, this album is an absolute tribute to the dancehall one riddim albums that endlessly emerge from Jamaica, and in fact hooked me since the mid 90's, as a black wax addict." The Bug

TOT ONYX - Senno I (iDEAL Recordings)
Senno I is the solo debut album by Tot Onyx aka Tommi Tokyo, who has been a founding member of the Japanese performance art/live electronics duo group A since 2012. Adept at bending expectations, both live and recorded, the band’s formative early work echoes the experiential vocabulary in which Tommi continues to develop today. A practice in the rejection of tradition and cliché, which in Greil Marcus's words, "share the principles of negation, rebellion, destruction and détournement".

Use Knife - The Shedding of Skin (Viernulvier Records)
The Shedding of Skin is the first album of Use Knife, a new musical outfit in which Stef Heeren, Kwinten Mordijck and Saif Al-Qaissy unleash their love for analog and modular electronic machinery, invoke fierce Arabic percussion grooves and sermon vocal energies. Use Knife coincides Western underground music with traditional Arab music culture into a genuine melting pot of unique musical current. Their music is composed around propulsive electronic rhythms, ricocheting sequenced melodies and samples and vibrant Arabic drum rhythms. Use Knife is collaborating with Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem in My Heart, Hotel2Tango) to produce their debut full album and with Youniss Ahamad for live visuals and scenography.

Ustad Noor Bakhsh - Jingul (honiunhoni)
This is the debut solo release of Benju maestro, Ustad Noor Bakhsh, from the Makran Coast of Balochistan. The album is named 'Jingul', after a bird that often frequents Noor's house, and whose songs inspired the last track on this release — an original by Noor. The album was recorded live on location, over a memorable sunset on the Shadi Kaur creek, close to Noor's village, near Pasni, Balochistan. Noor plays an Electric Benju, amplified using an old pick up and Phillips amp that he found in a market in Karachi three decades ago. The Benju, is said to have once been a Japanese children's toy called the Taishōgoto. At some point in the 20th century, it was modified and naturalised by Baloch musicians who made it in to a refined folk instrument for themselves.

Valentina Magaletti & Yves Chaudouët - Batterie Fragile (unjenesaisquoi)
La Batterie Fragile is a sculpture conceived by Yves Chaudouët, made out of porcelain under the expertise of Marjorie Thébault and Justine Nicolas (ESAD-Pyrénées), Jessie Derogy, Guy Meynard and Hadrien Venat (ENSA-Limoges). The music is composed and performed by Valentina Magaletti.

Yara Asmar - Home Recordings 2018 - 2021 (Hive Mind Records)
Yara Asmar is a 25-year-old multi-instrumentalist, video artist and puppeteer currently living in Beirut with her cat, Mushroom. Hive Mind releases her debut album of music she recorded at home on cassettes and on a mobile phone over the past few years.
About the Author

Dragoș Rusu & Victor Stutz

Dragoș Rusu is co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic, sound researcher and allround music adventurer, with a keen interest in the anthropology of sound.

Victor Stutz is a sound adventurer and music selector from Bucharest – currently based in Barcelona - with a background in anthropology.

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