Staff Picks - January 2024

Staff Picks - January 2024

February 11, 2024

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The monthly Staff Picks column is here, check out a selection of releases from last month. As usual, expect anything from electronics to jazz, experimental and beyond, both new releases 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 Brecht Ameel to Horacio Vaggione

Abu Ama - Luxxor
Abu Ama - Luxxor
Abu Ama - Luxxor
Based in Germany, Abu AMA has released a salvo of hazy, Arabian dub excursions on Neuropol, HEXX 9 Records, Bokeh Versions, Seagrave, Digital Dizzy, MahorKa, Dub ito, and Spiral Tribe's Artists in Action.

Brecht Ameel - Here (Original Soundtrack) (Hands In The Dark)
Earning praise around the globe for its vulnerable gaze and dreamy, instinctive portrayal of two strangers meeting, HERE has its official release in January 2024 - a timely moment to bring the film's soundtrack to the fore. As was the case in Devos' previous film Ghost Tropic (2019), Brecht Ameel's score is used in an unobtrusive way, occurring only briefly and sporadically, always complementing the sounds of city and nature: windblown greenery, summer rain, a train chugging in the distance, an urban landscape waking up.

Brûlez les meubles - Crayonnage (Circum-Disc)
Brûlez les meubles is a two-headed musical project conceived by Louis Beaudoin-de la Sablonnière and Éric Normand. In addition to enjoying improvising together, the two composers share a discographic binge and a passion for contemporary jazz, among other influences.

Dj Rata Piano - Cañonazos Picoteros Vol 3 (Palenque Records)
Dj Rata Piano is a star in the underground Champeta world, in Barranquilla. He’s been working with many Champeta Sound Systems doing remixes of champeta and African tunes, for his famous sets where he plays the CASIO SK 5 Piano Sampler, which is one of the most used samplers in Champeta Sound Systems.

Horacio Vaggione - ‘Schall’ / ‘Rechant’ (Recollection GRM)
A discreet but essential figure in the field of musical creation, Horacio Vaggione has been crafting an ambitious, precise and highly significant body of work for over the last fifty years, coupled with a demanding research activity.

Mai Mai Mai - Πέτρα / Petra (WV Sorcerer)
Mai Mai Mai - Πέτρα / Petra (WV Sorcerer)

From João Pais Filipe to Mike Cooper & Pierre Bastien

João Pais Filipe - Membrana (Ondes HXCX)
João Pais Filipe delivers three acoustic solo percussion works for Ondes HXCX. The tracks were originally recorded for an exhibition called "Membrana" which took place in a church in Northern Portugal, using only drums. Different odd time signatures were extensively explored on each of the tracks. 18/16, 19/16, 23/16 and for the first time, a technique called "omission" was also introduced. It consists of omitting notes of the Rhythm without changing it, creating a sense of illusion and changing the perspective of the Rhythm. Burnt Friedman, an accomplice of João's studies on odd rhythms focused on blending counter-rhythmic electronic elements into the 23/16 track.

L/F/D/M - Minotaur (Clan Destine Records)
L/F/D/M returns to Glasgow based imprint Clan Destine Records with an album of jungle, 92 hardcore and skewed techno.

Kioto Aoki x Takashi Shallow - Paper, not plastic Dubs (FPE Records)
Kioto Aoki is a taiko artist whose familial roots in taiko practice extend back to Japan's Edo period. Her musical expression through taiko drum, while fully informed by tradition, and honed since childhood, exists firmly in the present. Her style is characterized by both her own steady presence as a performer and shaper of sound, and her singular ability to bring her own tradition into collaborations with musicians steeped in totally different environments.

Mai Mai Mai - Πέτρα / Petra (WV Sorcerer)
Mai Mai Mai is an Audio/Video project, an idiosyncratic examination into Mediterranean and Southern Italian folklore, a dark journey into past traditions, made of blurred memories and hazy sounds. It can be considered as a 'Mediterranean Hauntology', one that avoids the pitfalls of nostalgia yet which reanimates the ghosts of a lost past, in the form of an evocative ritual.

Mike Cooper & Pierre Bastien - Aquapelagos Vol.2: Índico (KEROXEN)
This is the second thematic volume on the Aquapelagos series - a collection of split LPs where selected artists offer their own take into water surrounded cultures and communities.
Scotch Rolex, Shackleton & Omutaba - The Three Hands of Doom (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
Scotch Rolex, Shackleton & Omutaba - The Three Hands of Doom (Nyege Nyege Tapes)

From Mohama Saz to The San Lucas Band

Mohama Saz - Máquina de Guerra (Yai Yai Records)
The fifth album put out by Mohama Saz is a balance of primitive sound both organic and tribal with a flare of timeless psychedelic vanguard.

Russkie Uzory Ensemble of Krasny Zilim Village - As I Was Good at Spinning: Russian Songs from Bashkortostan (Antonovka Records)
The village of Krasny Zilim is located in the Arkhangelsky district of Bashkortostan, one hundred kilometers from Ufa. It was founded in the 1750s by migrants from the Simbirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Penza and Tambov provinces who came to work at a local copper smelting plant. The local dialect is close to that of the Penza region. Zilim is the local river, and the original village name was Russki Zilim ("Russian Zilim"). It was changed to Krasny Zilim ("Red Zilim") in 1929. "Russkie Uzory" translates as "Russian Patterns". The ensemble is also known as "The Grandmas of Zilim".

Scotch Rolex, Shackleton & Omutaba - The Three Hands of Doom (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
Both Shackleton and Ishihara have been on blistering form in the last couple of years, and 'Three Hands of Doom' feels like both a continuation and an extension of last year's 'Death By Tickling', weaponizing Omutaba's exhilarating playing into something that feels much, much more than the sum of its parts.

V.A. - The Heart of a Mangas: Intersections of Popular Greek Theater & Rebetiko in Chicago & New York, 1923-29 (Canary Records)
"The standardized narrative of rebetiko - the so-called “Greek blues” that flourished in the 1930s and was revived in response to political repression in the 1970s and has since become a cultural touchstone for Greeks - is that when a Greco-Turkish military conflict in 1922 led to a population exchange in which over a million Greek living in Turkey were sent as refugees to live in slums surrounding Athens, they brought with them a different set of customs and sensibilities. Traumatized and disdained by the existing, Westward-looking Athenian middle class, they formed a semi-criminal underclass that had its own style of music that grew out of the prisons and tekes (hash-dens) where many of the men spent frequently languished." For more on this topic, check out podcast series and listen to the special episode focused on rebetika.

The San Lucas Band - La Voz de las Cumbres (Music of Guatemala) (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
First reissue of these cult 1974 recordings of a Mayan brass band playing funeral dirges and popular songs in its distinctive extended harmonic and rhythmic style. The members of the San Lucas Band lived in the mountain village of San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, playing local events of both religious and social nature. The pride of its town since 1922, the band represented a fast-disappearing musical tradition when these recordings were originally released in 1975.
Tristan & Titania - Glyphs & Gods (Nonlocal Research)
Tristan & Titania - Glyphs & Gods (Nonlocal Research)

From Unglee Izi to Yvncc

Tristan & Titania - Glyphs & Gods (Nonlocal Research)
Enigmatic Belgian producer Tristan Vloeberghs (Ohm Meta, WAVradio, Friendship Tapes, Modus Operandi/ Out Innerspace) and Eva Van Deuren (Orphan Fairytale) allure listeners by way of illuminating drone and guiding harmonies that harkens us into movements of shimmering reverberation, bent horns of hallowed chambers, animal breaths, and voice echoes coming together into blissful sounding hazy nights like the the cicadas’ warming calls.

Unglee Izi - MUSIQUE de L'A.S.M.A._CHRONOS de TELEHOR et SPACE MODULATOR_Plan I, II, III, IV (Nashazphone)
Staggering new chapter in Unglee Izi's Musique de l'A.S.M.A. journey. 2 x 70 minutes long compositions make up this major milestone in the French artist ever widening sound exploration. Unglee Izi's mastery of textures and precision along with his singular DIY sound architecture offer on CHRONOS de TELEHOR et SPACE MODULATOR an absolute work of deep emotional electronic soundscapes, piano and organ.

V.A. - Witchcraft And Black Magic In The United States (Eighth Tower Records)
The 16th and 17th centuries were a time of great turmoil throughout Europe, as a witch hunting craze spread across the continent like wildfire. Thousands of men and women were accused, many of whom were executed in the name of religious zeal. The epic nature of the European witch hunt has been well documented and remains a topic of great discussion, whilst across the Atlantic in the New World, puritans who had travelled from the Old World, particularly Britain, were not averse to similar panics of their own.

Yvncc - I'm So Serious
Thomas Roberts (born June 14th, 1999) known by his stage name Yvncc, is an American rapper and producer from Oakland, California. This is his latest self-released album.
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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