Staff Picks - April 2023

Staff Picks - April 2023

May 14, 2023

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A new month with magnificent albums has passed, and here's a summary. From jazz to psychedelic, field recordings, techno, experimental, 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 Bill Orcutt to Carrageenan

Carrageenan - Distorted Reality (Jollies)
Carrageenan - Distorted Reality (Jollies)
@c + Drumming GP - For Percussion (Crónica)
This album collects works created for or with Drumming GP, a percussion ensemble founded in 1999 by Miquel Bernat, a world-class performer and teacher. Drumming works across styles, from contemporary composition to jazz, from music for theatre and dance, to a timbila orchestra that explores the traditional African instrument in its traditional repertoire and contemporary compositions. Drumming has partnered with dozens of composers to create new works that have significantly contributed to expanding the contemporary repertoire for percussion ensembles. They have released multiple works, from monographic albums to collaborations with composers such as Jesus Rueda, António Pinho Vargas, José Manuel López López, Luís Tinoco, Joana Gama and Luís Fernandes, Vasco Mendonça, or Mark Fell.

Ale Hop & Laura Robles - Agua Dulce (Buh Records)
The Berlin-based Peruvian musicians Alejandra Cárdenas (AKA Ale Hop) and Laura Robles present their debut album together, released via Buh Records. With a foundation informed by decolonialism and organology, Agua Dulce is a radical deconstruction of traditional rhythms of the Peruvian coast, in which the cajón instrument plays a central role.

Bill Orcutt - Jump On It (Palilalia Records)
Jump On It is a collection of canonical, mature acoustic guitar soli to contrast against the fractured downtown conceits of previous acoustic releases. For those paying attention to the arc of Orcutt’s electric records, which chart a course from Quine’s choppiness to Thompsonian / Verlaine-ian flow, it should be no surprise that the ten-year gap between acoustic records should expose a similar underlying journey.

Brian Belott - Sound Scribbles (RVNG Intl.)
For many years, Brian Belott has scribbled on paper, making and showing his paintings alongside collages and sculptures. For almost as long, he has scribbled with sound, using his mouth alone to spill language into a pool of abstraction, humour and musicality. Sound Scribbles marks the first-ever collection of Brian’s multifarious work in sound and music, at times beautiful and repulsive, painful and calming, hilarious and disturbing.

Carrageenan - Distorted Reality (Jollies)
Distorted Reality is a new album by Matthieu Levet aka Carrageenan, Brussels based musician/producer, and Cold Moss label head. Raw and unapologetic, the hardware jams that comprise this twelve-track album serve as a meditation on the absurd nature of the world we live in.

Dali Muru & The Polyphonic Swarm - Murmur Of The Bath Spirits (Stroom)
A refracted audiobook soundtracking the bathing culture of the Ottoman Baths in Budapest, cut-up from Dalia Neis’ metaphysical thriller The Swarm.

Golden Hallway Music - Rules & Chance Vol. 3 (Not Not Fun Records)
Golden Hallway Music - Rules & Chance Vol. 3 (Not Not Fun Records)

From David Edren to Franz Hautzinger

David Dunn - At The Margin of The Sensate (Neuma Records)
"As a kind of summary of my 70th year, it seemed appropriate that the works comprising this large compilation be chosen for their diversity of genre and materials. These compositions span a forty-year period and give testament to the range of my interests and influences as a composer. I have never been interested in creating a readily apparent ‘style’ nor have I been able to intentionally emulate what is au courant. However, many of these works might be pigeon-holed as representative of various musical fashions that have come and gone over my lifetime." David Dunn

David Edren - Relativiteit Van de Omgeving (Not Not Fun Records)
Antwerp synthesist David Edren describes his latest solo collection in conceptual terms: a harmony of space and time, elements and environments, perception and impermanence. Conceived in the morass of 2020, he began envisioning a widescreen suite of electronic compositions connected to the hidden rhythms of what surrounds and affects us.

Dynasonic - Dynasonic (Instant Classic)
Polish independent record label Instant Classic will release the third album from dubwave trio Dynasonic. Clocking in at a little over 30 minutes, Dynasonic consists of four tracks blending dub, illbient, post-techno and even some industrial elements.

Ettab (عتاب) - Ettab (mlp-music)
A descendant of the Hausa (a people from the Sahel) born in Riyadh in 1947, Ettab was a celebrated singer, actress and activist — and perhaps the only female artist of Saudi origin of her time to claim an international career. This album, produced in Lebanon in 1992 by brothers Mahmoud and Ahmed Moussa for the label Relax-In, is a perfect introduction to her work. Resolutely modern in its pop arrangements with a finesse worthy of Curtis Mayfield, it takes Eastern classical music to new horizons. Ettab's undeniably beautiful voice is characterized by its original accent, which she refused to hide despite her exile to Egypt in 1980.

Franz Hautzinger - Gomberg III-V - Airplay (Trost Records)
This compilation released by Trost Records comprises solo works of the French composer Franz Hautzinger made between 2008 and 2018.

Golden Hallway Music - Rules & Chance Vol. 3 (Not Not Fun Records)
Manhattan’s resident innerspace organist Zack Tornaben centers the third installment of his ongoing Rules & Chance series on breath, tone, and the ancient Qigong practice "Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade". Working once again with the classic Golden Hallway Music palette – a pair of reel-to-reel tape machines, a 49-key Acetone combo organ, and an 80’s synth clone – everything was recorded live without overdubs in sprawling séance sessions, then digitally transferred for distillation into choice excerpts.
Gulab Afridi - The Colours Of Rubab (Worlds Within Worlds)
Gulab Afridi - The Colours Of Rubab (Worlds Within Worlds)

From Iztok Koren to Les Abranis

Gulab Afridi - The Colours Of Rubab (Worlds Within Worlds)
The Colours Of Rubab is the new album from Pakistani rubab master Gulab Afridi. Hailing from Peshawar, Gulab Afridi is one of the most celebrated folk and classical rubab artists of Pakistan. His style is rooted in the traditional music of the Pashtun regions of Pakistan, which is evident in his sparkling ornamentation, and the sound of the instrument itself, which is smaller than Afghan made instruments.

Horace Ferguson - Sensi Addict (Death Is Not The End)
Horace Ferguson's Sensi Addict was recorded for Prince Jazzbo's Ujama label and originally released back in 1987. Produced and arranged by the late great Jazzbo, the Sensi Addict LP pulls together a selection of vocals recorded between 1984 and 1987 at Michael Carroll's Creative Sounds studio in Kingston.

Iztok Koren - Praznina / Emptiness (Torto Editions)
Emptiness is the second solo record by multi-instrumentalist Iztok Koren, a member of the bands Širom, Škm banda and Hexenbrutal. A result of an outpouring of pent-up creative energy, the album came about after a last-minute force majeure cancellation of a Širom trip to Sarajevo, where the band was to make music for the theatre show Bordel Eden by director Mirjana Medojević. The musician decided to channel his blocked creative flow into new solo material and ended up recording Emptiness in a single day, May 7, 2022, at a secluded hut in the hills of the Zasavje region. The music from Emptiness was eventually used in Bordel Eden.

Keisuke s_d_ - Movement of Multiple Points (Pampsychia)
In this new Pampsychia release, Keisuke is bringing from Japan a mind-blending rhythm synthetic excursion. All tracks are made and used in max/msp to create a broken system that allows control and uncontrol. The sounds out of control are like living creatures, going through harmonies and disharmonies, so this piece contains a kind of life-like unpredictability and spirituality.

Kevin Shea - I Don't Want To Do My Taxes (self-released)
"Greetings, I didn't want to do my taxes today so I recorded this instead. Now I am going to do my taxes. Happy Spring, Kevin". Kevin Shea

Les Abranis - Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
The Abranis story begins in the mid-sixties, when two young Algerians crossed paths in one of Paris' bohemian neighbourhoods. Both were Kabyle, the Berber people from Algeria’s northern regions, and both had escaped the repression that began with Algeria's 1962 independence and the establishment of its new, conservative constitution. The two young men, Shamy El Baz and Karim Abdenour, shared more than a common background: they both loved rock music, and both were passionate about fostering a modern Algerian sound, as inspired by Kabyle rhythms and melodies as it was by western rock. Living in cosmopolitan Paris meant that they met the wider North African community, whose sounds would increasingly influence the Abranis style, together with the musical trends of the time, from prog to disco.
MC Yallah - Yallah Beibe (Hakuna Kulala)
MC Yallah - Yallah Beibe (Hakuna Kulala)

From MC Yallah to Parasite Jazz

MC Yallah - Yallah Beibe (Hakuna Kulala)
Born Yallah Gaudencia Mbidde in Kenya and raised in Uganda, MC Yallah has been involved in East Africa's rap scene since 1999. Alternating rhymes in Luganda, Luo, Kiswahili and English, her conscious, poetic and experimental style was slow to creep into Uganda's mainstream. Following a brief but necessary hiatus, she returned to the stage in 2018 with a new lease of life accepting her role as a central component of the Nyege Nyege/Hakuna Kulala family.

Me:You - Field Tapes In Der Trash (American Dreams)
From the co-founders of Mourning [A] BLKstar, Field Tapes in Der Trash is the brainchild of RA Washington, who leads the group, and LaToya Kent, who sings in it. Here, Washington sets Kent's vocals to music, with help from longtime collaborators Jah Nada and Laura B. The result dunks music in a swirling brew of drum beats, guitars, bass, synth, and tape loops, revealing an immersive world that only Me:You could create.

Model home - p cain 5 (self-released)
Model home is an electronic and vocal duo from the diamond district, experimenting in liberated sound and lifestyle. This is one of their most recent home recordings release.

Murailles Music - Où les observer, savoir les reconnaître (In-Paradisum - Murailles Music - La République des Granges)
Comprising seven electronic/experimental pieces, the album Où les observer, savoir les reconnaître was recorded and mixed by Manuel Duval at the Studio de la Grange Cavale in 2020-2021.

NOT399093 - Malta Orlata (Riforma)
Rooted in smog, urban mud and what NOT399039 calls "bored militia", Malta Orlata is an album of deconstructed club music cooked up with HD sound objects and gliding notes. A stack of dubstep, jungle and UK bass music, in its own digi-futuristic way.

Parasite Jazz - Parasite Jazz (Disques de la Spirale)
French non-jazz trio overflowed by Simple Music Experience’s funders Tamara Goukassova, Théo Delaunay & Alexandre Larcier, offering a 40mn of non-simple music madness, and navigating between a dozen of etiquettes from undecided space rock to motorik-infused-dub, medieval folk, cartoon trance; everything under the seal of psychedelia and half-improvisation. Built from drums, violin, springs, samples, reiterations, overdubs, trumpets, synths, distortions; and the appearances of L. Cedrón (Fiesta en el Vacío), L. Retraite (Ventre de Biche), K. Knapp (Deliluh), F. Mazzocchetti (Maoupa Mazzocchetti).
V.A. - The Oldest Voice In The World - Thank You For Bringing Me Back To The Sky (Six Degrees Records)
V.A. - The Oldest Voice In The World - Thank You For Bringing Me Back To The Sky (Six Degrees Records)

From Remo De Vico to The Dead Mauriacs

Praed - Kaf Afrit (Akuphone)
Swiss/Lebanese experimental duo Praed (Raed Yassin & Paed Conca) is back with a new blast. A band whose musical oeuvre can be described as a mixture of Arabic popular music, free jazz, and electronics.

Remo De Vico - Finally the Moon (self-released)
"A science fiction work, in which tapes and synthesizers create a lunar story. It's a melodic and noise work at the same time. We find ourselves catapulted into a desert, a metaphysical environment, a dark void. The moon is a mirror and puts us in front of our reflection. Will we be able to bear our true vision?"

V.A. - The Oldest Voice In The World - Thank You For Bringing Me Back To The Sky (Six Degrees Records)
Music producer and field-recordist Ian Brennan continues his acclaimed recording career with the first album ever made featuring the wisdom and voices of those over 100 years old. This compilation takes Brennan and his wife, Italian-Rwandan filmmaker and photographer Marilena Umuhoza Delli to the remote villages of the "long-livers" just miles from the Iran border. 22 pieces comprise the album with five bonus tracks featuring artists that Brennan has collaborated with over his acclaimed career: The Kronos Quartet, Tinariwen, Malawi Mouse Boys, Yuka Honda, and The Good Ones (Rwanda).

The Dead C - The White House (Ba Da Bing Records)
The Dead C's trio of LPs in the middle of their harsh 90's reality served for many as entry points to the band. Operation of the Sonne, The White House and Tusk received wider distribution than the band had ever seen before, and this was the first rays of them being considered amongst the most important rock bands of the 20th century. This trio of vinyl reissues capture their intensity and presence in a way that may even blow out the candle of the original pressings.

The Dead Mauriacs - Le Parc, rapport d'observations (Sublime Retreat)
The music and text that make up this record originate from repeated stays in Brussels. They were born from curious observations and daily recordings, which, when assembled and manipulated, became a kind of dystopian mirror game.

Tribilin Sound - Kumbia Intergaláctica (Terror Negro)
Peruvian imprint Terror Negro presents Kumbia Intergaláctica, an 18 pieces album comprising cumbia, electronica and experimental by Alvaro Ernesto aka Tribilin Sound.

Turbo Sonidero - Lowrider Kumbias Rebajada Por Sonido Dueñez (Discos Rolas)
The pioneer of cumbia rebajada himself Sonido Dueñez transforms Turbo Sonidero's Lowrider Kumbias into slow and low rebajadas. From East Side San Jose to Monterrey.

unperson - Spiritual™ (OOH-sounds)
Manifesting as a mock guided mindfulness experience, the work aims to highlight issues such as faux spiritualism, over-emphasis on competition and commercialism, critiquing the encouragement of self-sedation, self-pacification and appropriation of cultural values. Within self-help media discourses, these issues orbit around a reinforcement of the neoliberal status quo that positions stress as self-imposed. In SpiritualTM the role and employment of sound in mental health media are investigated and scrutinised. Careful spatialisation, superimposition and layering help to produce an immersive, hyperreal listening experience that highlights and satirises problematic facets of mindfulness media.
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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