Staff Picks - February 2024

Staff Picks - February 2024

March 12, 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 techno, ambient, 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 Badawi to British Museum

BAUR - Pecundang (DIVISI62)
BAUR - Pecundang (DIVISI62)
Allison Burik - Realm (self-released)
Allison Burik is a saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, and improviser. Their music bends genres and draws from diverse influences like ambient, folk, avant-garde jazz and experimental.

Alphawhore - My Vegan Cabal (Zoar Records)
Alphawhore, the legendary trio comprising Gordon Beeferman, Kevin Shea and Chris Cochrane, known for sculpting debauched cultural detritus into a captivating collision of familiar sonic signifiers and dissonant cacophony, is making an unprecedented return with the release of My Vegan Cabal.

Ariel Kalma, Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer - The Closest Thing to Silence (International Anthem)
In August 2022, Australia-based, French born fourth-world music legend Ariel Kalma was invited to participate in BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction series of special collaborations. The program pairs artists who have not previously worked together to create new music cooperatively.

Badawi, Ghost Producer - Sonically Dismantling Western Imperialism (UPA Recordings)
"How can art reveal truth if liars represent it? To reach any sort of truth, we first need to review our own desires, intentions and focus. Are we seeking fame? Recognition? Money? Freedom? Not all desires are bad things, but for the “class A” artists, a term id use for those who aren’t antagonizing the colonial galleria, they are bad indeed, because their need for these things is only based in those things themselves. Fame for fame’s sake. Money for money’s sake. Recognition for the respect of your peers, but for others who need the last element, FREEDOM, the other options are actions needed to survive as a people. For Palestinians and others around the world affected by colonialism, these desires are needed because, as can be seen in clear view, the suppression of their voice, whether done from META or MOMA, is a violent assault not only on their careers, but on their physical bodies themselves." Raz Mesinai

BAUR - Pecundang (DIVISI62)
"BAUR appears as an opaque manifestation of this pressure. An auditory manifestation of petty and miserable thoughts. Beaten by the here and there, estranged from all sides – a delirious laughter to the crescendo of failure that aggravates the ears."

British Museum - Satan Is A Roof Over My Head (The Trilogy Tapes)
Wanda Group returns with his British Museum project. Satan Is A Roof Over My Head is released by the London based imprint The Trilogy Tapes.
Gonçalo Almeida & Pierre Bastien - Dialogues and Shadows (Futura Resistenza)
Gonçalo Almeida & Pierre Bastien - Dialogues and Shadows (Futura Resistenza)

From Church Chords to Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru

Cergio Prudencio - Antología 1: Obras para la Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos (Buh Records)
The work of Bolivian composer Cergio Prudencio (La Paz, 1955) is indissolubly linked to the project of the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos [Experimental Orchestra of Native Instruments] (OEIN), which he co-founded in 1980 and of which he is the emeritus director. It constitutes one of the most challenging adventures in the music that has emerged in Bolivia and Latin America.

Church Chords - Elvis, he was Schlager (Otherly Love)
This is Church Chords’ latest album, elvis, he was Schlager, out on Otherly Love Records. This striving, experimental post-punk album took some years in the making and includes numerous collaborators that songwriter and producer Stephen Buono brought together after the manner of a hip-hop producer.

Ecstatic Music Band - Neon Love Devotionals (Debacle Records)
The Ecstatic Music Band is a trance-psych collective from the US West Coast. For the last thirteen years, the group has been performing and recording long-durational, high-volume, maximalist dronewerks on amplified acoustic and electric stringed instruments, employing tuning systems derived from the overtone series.

Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru - Souvenirs (Mississippi Records)
In the 21st century, Emahoy has become known worldwide for her utterly unique melodic and rhythmic style. Commonly misinterpreted as “jazzy” or “honky tonk,” Emahoy’s music comes from a deep engagement with the Western classical tradition, mixed with her background in Ethiopian traditional and Orthodox music. These songs, recorded between 1977-1985, are different from anything previously released by the artist.

Gonçalo Almeida & Pierre Bastien - Dialogues and Shadows (Futura Resistenza)
Dialogues and shadows, the second recording by the duo of Gonçalo Almeida and Pierre Bastien emanates a distinct and intriguing sound from the beginning, inducing our listening toward a world that goes way beyond a succession of notes and timbres. We hear it and it's there, this mysterious matter that touches us. We hear a dialogue, a connection, and a shadow of luminescent presence.

Hieroglyphic Being - Quadric Surfaces (Viernulvier Records)
Quadric Surfaces is the new LP release by iconic electronic producer Hieroglyphic Being aka Jamal R Moss. It collects the soundtracks Moss wrote for ‘Parallel Spheres’ & ‘Figures in Mynd’, two parts of an abstract animation film by visual artist Gabriela González Rondon. The film premiered in October 2023 during Videodroom / Film Festival Ghent.

Negdedunn - Caribbean Studies Vol.1 (MATRACA)
Negdedunn - Caribbean Studies Vol.1 (MATRACA)

From John Butcher to Mike Cooper

Innocent But Guilty - Between The Lines (Lotophagus Records)
Innocent But Guilty is a drone ambient and electro from Bordeaux.

John Butcher + 13 - Fluid Fixations (Weight of Wax)
"Fluid Fixations places 14 highly individual players into a framework built from instructions that direct ever-shifting groupings, materials and relationships. Overall, the piece was informed by what I think of as psychological orchestration – imagining how specific people might respond to particular ideas, and to the sonic company they find themselves a part of." John Butcher

Kali Malone - All Life Long (Ideologic Organ)
Kali Malone's anticipated new album All Life Long is a collection of music for pipe organ, choir, and brass quintet composed by Kali Malone, 2020 - 2023. Choral music performed by Macadam Ensemble and conducted by Etienne Ferschaud at Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-L'Immaculée-Conception in Nantes. Brass quintet music performed by Anima Brass at The Bunker Studio in New York City. Organ music performed by Kali Malone and Stephen O’Malley on the historical meantone tempered pipe organs at Église Saint-François in Lausanne, Orgelpark in Amsterdam, and Malmö Konstmuseum in Sweden.

V.A. - Latent Sonorities (L_Klangkunst Werk)
What might the ‘traditional’ instruments sound like if their tunings were set free for different modernities? Where might the diasporas of trans-Asian sonics intersect and rematriate? Recorded on September 15th and 16th, 2023 this album features new compositions and semi-improvised work from 8 trans-Asian artists exploring Southeast Asian tonalities using traditional instruments, digitized tunings, and sampled recordings.

Mike Cooper / Scot Ray play Kika Kila (self-released)
"KIKA KILA is the Hawaiian name for lap steel guitar a guitar innovation invented at the end of the 19th Century by a Hawaiian school boy named Joseph Kekuku. He revolutionised the guitar and prepared it to take over 20th Century music worldwide. Joseph’s invention was to first of all string his guitar with steel strings, then raise the strings from the finger board by means of a raised nut, the place where the strings come from the tuning pegs onto the finger board, and to then, instead of playing the guitar in the conventional manner, he laid it flat across his knees and in his left hand he held a small metal bar which he slide up and down the strings to play melodies." Mike Cooper

Mohammad Syfkhan - I Am Kurdish (Nyahh Records)
Mohammad Syfkhan is a Kurdish/Syrian Singer and Bouzouki player, beginning playing music in 1980 while he was in college studying nursing. Mohammad’s own brand of ecstatic music takes elements from Middle Eastern and North African music to create an atmosphere of joy, love and happiness. The songs on ‘I am Kurdish’ have been recorded and mixed with the view to make them to suitable for listening to at a small get together or to be played on a big rig at night clubs.

Murkla - Leviata (Terrorific Rekords)
Leviata is the result of the latest project by tapeweaver Mattias Lagerkvist, who’s foray in to delayed drenched guitar and drone compositions under the name Ekolali has echoed for over a decade.

Negdedunn - Caribbean Studies Vol.1 (MATRACA)
Negdedunn is an artist of Haitian/Swiss origin born in Peru and based in Geneva. Caribbean Studies Vol.1 is a true gem of the Latin club and the first release at the Matraca label. Negdedunn, inspired by Haitian folk and Caribbean popular music, re-interprets and re-signifies his cultural heritage with strong doses of dembow, hard drum, electronics and bass, creating an atmosphere and landscape that is unique, as well as revolutionary in its kind.
V.A. - Wagadu Grooves: The Hypnotic Sound of Camara 1987-2016 (Hot Mule Records)
V.A. - Wagadu Grooves: The Hypnotic Sound of Camara 1987-2016 (Hot Mule Records)

From Murkla to Phurpa

Phurpa - Yan-Drub Ceremony/Ritual III (Zazen Sounds Publishings)
The Bon Masters Phurpa are breaking their Silence and they are offering in the dark genre a NEW Fresh and Vibrant Obscure Opus, serving the Art of Spirituality with their Unique Ritualistic manifestation.

Roma Zuckerman - Phenomenon of Provincial Mentality (Gost Zvuk)
The don of Siberian techno Roma Zuckerman made his debut double LP Phenomenon of Provincial Mentality on Gost Zvuk with a much-anticipated showcase of his remarkably diverse language of sound, from quickfire DJ tools to off-kilter extrapolations with a full stylistic diversity in between.

Scattered Order - Prat Culture Plus (Klanggalerie)
Founded in 1979, Scattered Order released three records in the early Eighties on M Squared, plus a few compilation tracks on various samplers. For this CD edition, the band have remastered the whole album and the Screaming Tree EP.

Slava Trio - Na Prityche 2 (ТОПОТ Ʇ TOPOT)
This is the debut album of Slava Trio from Moscow, which consists of prominent underground musicians: keyboardist Slava Burlakov (Vozmi Moe Hudi), bass-guitarist Anton Kolosov (ByZero, TOPOT Arkestra) and multi-instrumentalist Maxim Elizarov, who is responsible for beats and electronics (Motherfathers, Ninja Glam).

Sote - Ministry of Tall Tales (SVBKVLT)
Ministry of Tall Tales is an electronic music composition that reflects on hyperbolic orchestrations of political and social current affairs. In this work, notions such as misinformation/disinformation, biased mental states, bigotry, dogma and ultimately corruption are brainchild of Ata Ebtekar, better known as Sote, in order to achieve a sonic spirit in abstract form.

Techno Animal - The Brotherhood of the Bomb (2023 Remaster) (Relapse Records)
This is the reissue of the highly influential Techno Animal (featuring Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu, and more) & Kevin Martin (The Bug) album, The Brotherhood of the Bomb. Prior to this album, the project had already been championed/released by The Beastie Boys, collaborated with Alec Empire and the then - fledgeling Dälek, but remained in almost total obscurity. TECHNO ANIMAL had barely found an audience, yet on The Brotherhood of the Bomb, the duo had found their sound.

V.A. - Wagadu Grooves: The Hypnotic Sound of Camara 1987-2016 (Hot Mule Records)
The Soninke collective consciousness finds its origins in a founding myth, a blood pact: the legend of Biida and the decadence of the empire of Ghana or Wagadu (evoked by Léopold Sédar Senghor as a land of plenty in his poem Le Kaya Magan). From the 3rd century AD, gathered in the region of Sahel, on the edge of the Sahara desert, the Soninko ruled over their kingdom and its capital Kumbi Saleh. According to folklore, they were blessed with abundant rain and nuggets of gold could be picked directly from the ground.

Zimmermann / Lienhard - organ (Wide Ear Records)
organ is the follow-up album of the Swiss experimental duo Zimmermann / Lienhard. They have been active since 2018 exploring the similarities and differences of acoustic accordion and electronic oscillator sounds, playing with psycho-acoustic effects and blending in ways that leave audiences repeatedly astonished.
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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