Staff Picks - February 2023

Staff Picks - February 2023

March 16, 2023

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February comes with a selection of diverse albums, comprising adventurous psychedelic electronics, rock, jazz, improvised music, ambient, 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 Anthony Pateras to Avola

Alexander Tucker + Keith Collins - Fifth Continent (Subtext Recordings)
Alexander Tucker + Keith Collins - Fifth Continent (Subtext Recordings)
Ahl Nana - L'Orchestre National Mauritanien (Radio Martiko)
This album contains the first recordings of modern music from the Sahara and mark the birth of the genre that is known in the West as ‘Desert Blues’ or ‘Desert Rock’. Ahl Nana changed the folk music of the Sahara to modern, cosmopolitan music by using Western instruments like the electric guitar. They paved the way for artists like Ali Farka Touré, Tinariwen, Mdou Moctar or Bombino. Although the group is still active today, they only recorded 2 LPs and a handful of singles. All these recordings took place in 1971 at the Boussiphone studios in Casablanca.

Alexander Tucker + Keith Collins - Fifth Continent (Subtext Recordings)
Alexander Tucker has announced details of a new album, Fifth Continent, a posthumous collaboration with Keith Collins (1966-2018). The album, which pays homage to Keith Collins, his partner and collaborator Derek Jarman (1942-1994), and the Kentish headland, Dungeness – comes out on Subtext Recordings. An accompanying anthology, Fifth Quarter, comes along with the album. The book collates new and archive work by artists, photographers and writers reflecting on Collins, Jarman, one of England’s most unique landscapes, Dungeness and Prospect Cottage, their former home and sanctuary.

Anthony Pateras - Two Solos (Futura Resistenza)
Futura Resistenza presents the latest release from the prolific, restlessly creative composer-performer Anthony Pateras, two side-long pieces – one performed by Callum G'Froerer on double-bell trumpet, the other sung by Clara La Licata – in which soloists are accompanied by numerous pre-recorded tracks of their own instrument or voice, creating acoustic halls of mirrors where the distinction between live performer and recorded accompaniment becomes difficult to perceive.

Antonio Murga - Fantasmagorías y Ultratumbas (Gruppo Ungido)
Eight hateful stories by H. P. Lovecraft, ghostly fables by Étienne Gaspard-Robert, "Robertson", Stephen King's bloody stories from the depths of E. A. Poe's crypt. "A strange family, impure and gloomy east of hell." Grim sounds of relentless terror and a chilling catalogue of abominable and infamous creatures emerging from a ruthless and evil place called the underworld, crowded with mummies, zombies, vampires, werewolves and an endless number of corpses, spirits, specters and souls in pain.

Avola - Psykor (Sige Records)
Psykor is Avola’s most ambitious project to date: a collection of recordings created in the ongoing aftermath of a lingering global pandemic. The cavernous void at its center is a two-month trip Veronica Avola took to her birthplace of Rapallo, Italy in the spring of 2021 in order to help her mother sort through the belongings of her grandmother, who passed away from COVID the previous fall.

Bulbul - Silence! (Rock Is Hell)
Bulbul is considered an unconventional rock band with a penchant for the eccentric and a lust for experimentation. High energy and subtle craziness characterize their live performances - as well as their work in general.

Cheb Hasni & Cheb Abdelhak - Nsiti Hbibek (mlp-music)
Born in 1968, Hasni Chakroun aka Cheb Hasni, is one of the greatest figures of Algerian popular music. Precursor of the sentimental Raï, he was the voice of a youth disillusioned by the black decade. Assassinated on September 29, 1994, in Oran, he leaves behind him a huge legacy of several hundred songs.

Gravitsapa - Concert No1 '23.23' (For chamber duo with looper and Polivox)
Gravitsapa - Concert No1 '23.23' (For chamber duo with looper and Polivox)

From Farid El Atrache to King Ayisoba

Drew Daniel & John Wiese - Through Mazes Running (Difficult Interactions)
The second collaborative album by Drew Daniel (Matmos, The Soft Pink Truth) and John Wiese (Sissy Spacek), "Through Mazes Running" builds turbulent complexity from a real time cage match of no-holds-barred signal processing. Cross-multiplying tape manipulation and software, each processing the other into a writhing feedback loop, creating a volatile ouroboros of sound.

Ensemble Dedalus + eRikm - Fata Morgana (Relative Pitch Records)
The first part of the project consists of making audible, by means of an acousmographe, all of the sound spectra, including those outside the field of human auditory perception. These materials may be then used as other phonographies, such as polyphonic amphibian songs (recorded in Australia and Tasmania).

Farid El Atrache - Nagham Fi Hayati (Wewantsounds)
Wewantsounds reissues Farid el Atrache's cult album Nagham Fi Hayati another cornerstone of Arabic Music released in 1974 and the soundtrack of the eponymous film starring El Atrache and Mervat Amin. Nicknamed the King of Oud, El Atrache is one of the giants of Egyptian music with Oum Kalthoum, Abdel Halim Hafez and Warda. Composed of four tracks showcasing El Atrache's versatility, the album which contains the monster groove 'Hebina Hebina' happens to be one of Brian Eno's favourite albums. Reissued for the first time since the 70s, 'Nagham Fi Hayati' also contains a unedited version of 'Takassim Oud' highlighting El Atrache superb oud playing. The album has been remastered for vinyl by Colorsound Studio in Paris and includes new liner notes by Mario Choueiry from Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

Gravitsapa - Concert No1 '23.23' (For chamber duo with looper and Polivox)
This album was created during the War. This album is about the War. 23.02.2023 (one year and one day after Putin has shifted the War into a new phase) is a relevant and appropriate date for the release of an album, the main idea of which is the evolution of consciousness during the war.

Jef Mertens - No Mathematics (Kraak / Feeding Tube)
Geel-based Jef Mertens has been researching, documenting and subtly exploring the experimental music scene in Belgium and beyond for the better part of two decades. As a filmmaker, he’s dug deep in the realm of Flemish primitive fringe (Dronevolk) and chronicled the makings of giants like Sonic Youth and Borbetomagus. After running the now-defunct free tape label Dadaist Tapes, Mertens comes with a release of his own: No Mathematics, the first record collab between Kraak and Feeding Tube.

King Ayisoba - Work Hard (Glitterbeat Records)
Work Hard solidifies King Ayisoba's reputation as both a shamanic performer and a restless sonic experimenter. The album is a wild mashup of Ayisoba's frenetic kologo sound and musical deep dives from an exciting roster of Ghanaian producers and contributors. Curated and partially mixed by Zea, from post-punk legends The Ex.
Paketo Wilson - Praise Him (Arabusta Records)
Paketo Wilson - Praise Him (Arabusta Records)

From La Tène to Paketo Wilson

Langendorf United - Yeahno Yowouw Land (sing a song fighter)
This is the first double album by Lina Langendorf and her new band. The Swedish saxophonist (OK Star Orchestra, James Yorkston, Nina Persson & The Second Hand Orchestra) seems to be blowing in the lesson of the great sacred monsters of the instrument such as Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders or Archie Shepp, but revising it in a melting pot of bolder contaminations. The secret lies in embracing different musical traditions and genres in the flow of a futuristic, psychedelic sound in constant metamorphosis.

La Tène - Ecorcha/Taillée (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
Les Disques Bongo Joe announces the fourth album of La Tène. Ecorcha/Taillee is a two-track project in between drone, folk, experimental and occitan music. La Tène’s long, hypnotic, wordless pieces are built from traditional folk instrumentation, wild percussion and blurred, subtle electronic embellishments, and feel as ancient and earthy as those millennia-old artefacts – with all the metal, wood, dedication and craftsmanship they entailed.

Le Diable Degoutant - Fleur De Chagrin (Aguirre)
Pauline Marx, formerly of the fantastic duo La Fureur de Vouivre, seems like a being from another time and place; namely, an escaped marauder lurking in the forests of a Bruegel painting and integrating the surreal flora and fauna of a Boschian creation into the scenery and lore of deep Brittany. Her invented mythology is loaded with murky rituals and contorted mantras, backed by the surprising sounds and textures of terrains so earthly and so unreal.

Nitchji Oh Szperantza - Regele Soare (Omnicorp)
"Bucharest has gained another angel."

Paketo Wilson - Praise Him (Arabusta Records)
In September 1982, together with Trevor Davis, Paketo recorded and produced Praise Him, under the Child of God label. Recorded in just one day at Harry J Studio, the album mixes together roots reggae with a splash of lovers rock, singing of peace, love and unity, of enjoyment and upliftment, but also of the tribulations of ghetto life, of losing bredrins and friends. The mystical horns of Bobby Ellis and Headley Bennett carry us to a higher dimension, that same dimension from which Paketo wrote the lyrics to his spiritual poems, while the deep and overwhelming bass keeps us rooted to the ground.

Piper Spray & Lena Tsibizova - Leaving Memory (Patience / Impatience)
Leaving Memory is a searing distillation of the duo’s ouevre - it’s eleven prismatic electronic seances combining for a mind warping wormhole with its own internal (il)llogic, where pop, ambient, and industrial music convene beneath a rugged HD of digital processing and brain fog. Equally rosy with nostalgia as it is ominously forward looking, Leaving Memory defies easy categorization and makes for an astounding, confounding listen.
Roxane Métayer - Perlée de sève (Marionette)
Roxane Métayer - Perlée de sève (Marionette)

From The Necks to Volcano The Bear

Roxane Métayer - Perlée de sève (Marionette)
Roxane Métayer has gained a cult following with only a couple of releases to date. Following her debut album (Éclipse Des Ocelles) for Morc with a split EP and a limited cassette for Wabi-Sabi, Roxane now turns to Marionette with her intimate narrative based multi-instrumental recordings, a match made in the heavens if you ask us. With her violin, woodwind, voice and various effect pedals, Métayer takes the listener on a newfound journey into the ancient, medieval, and primordial.

Seljuk Rustum - Cardboard Castles (Hive Mind Records)
Seljuk Rustum is a Kochi (Cochin) based arts practitioner originally from Kannur, Kerala. He is a painter, musician, curator, producer, recording engineer and the founder and current Creative Director of performance space, Forplay Society. As a musician he plays alto saxophone, guitar, percussion and synthesizer with several bands and an expanding collective of like-minded artists. Being a self-taught musician, his sound work is an extension of his visual work, and his music is a mixture of joyful noise and simple naive melodies.

Tachypnea - Lissac 4 (Fantasy 1)
Fantasy 1 is the new label of Future Blondes plus related artists and projects of interest.

The Necks - Travel (Northern Spy Records)
Travel, the 19th studio album by Australian improvisational trio The Necks, documents their recent practice of starting each day in the studio with a 20-minute trio improvisation. The recordings offer some of their most ecstatic and captivating music cut to tape.

The Notwist - Vertigo Days - Live from Alien Research Center (Morr Music)
The band around the core trio of Cico Beck and the Acher brothers Markus and Micha usually takes its studio recordings as a mere starting point for their live performances, considering them to be possibilities that need to be explored further. This is especially true for Live from the Alien Research Center, a live record made under unusual circumstances. The band members rearranged songs from their ambitious 2021 album Vertigo Days in their studio in Weilheim to record and film a special performance. The songs took on a new life, becoming more psychedelic and intense when rearranged into a spontaneous, Krautrock-esque collage.

Void Ov Voices - Baalbek (Ideologic Organ)
"I started Void Ov Voices in 2006 to create ritualistic music for the moment, to play only live performances while capturing and interfering with the energy of the space and the time of the location." Attila Csihar

Volcano The Bear - Amateur Shakes
"Back in 2007 we were invited by Hans-Joachim Irmler to record at Faust Studio in Germany. The plan was to hopefully release an album on the Klangbad label. We arranged some dates in between a European tour to record. Subsequent tours, combined with visits to Faust Studio over the following years resulted in an album that was finished and ready. But the Klangbad release never happened and the album kept getting shelved. In 2013 we decided to purchase the recordings so we could release the album with another label. We then sat on it and 10 years on from us gaining ownership of the recordings we are finally releasing it as Amateur Shakes." Volcano The Bear

Zima Stulecia - Minus 30°C (Astigmatic Records)
The music of Zima Stulecia is difficult to label in terms of genre. It oscillates towards melancholic electronic music. For some it will be techno, others will hear elements of house, all accompanied by improvised synth and percussion music.
About the Author

Dragoș Rusu & Victor Stutz

Dragoș Rusu is co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic and allround music adventurer.

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

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