Staff Picks - May

Staff Picks - May

Written By:

The Attic

Published:

June 6, 2018

This is what drew our attention musically during the month of May 2018. What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, if you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

2. From Baransu to Brian Case

Bicikl - Mnogoljetije LP (Balkan Veliki)
Bicikl - Mnogoljetije LP (Balkan Veliki)

Angelo Ioakimoglutitle - The Nireus Years (1995-1997) (Into The Light Records)
"The Nireus Years" is a rare selection of eight unheard home recordings produced between 1995 and 1997 by the then 16-year old Angelo Ioakimoglu in Athens. The album encompasses his most special productions ranging from bucolic new age to dubbed out midi electronics, jazzy r&b to Mediterranean ambient trance. Angelo's work, which can sometimes seem naive or surrealistic, is supported by his unique and surprisingly energetic approach, one that gives us the courage to continue something different.

Baransu - Noise Is Space (rohs! Records)
Noise Is Space is an experiment that wants to bring up the behavior of human perception thought different kinds of sounds and atmospheres. The evolution of the video/visuals, is the process that wants to reproduce on a visible layer the directory of the sound elements. No borders or genders, the time doesn’t have any importance, because the unique important element is the space. The noise is the sound object that represents and expresses the condition of absence of perimeters. Ambient atmospheres and open synths combined to minimal techno influence, dirty and noisy, are indeed some kind of elements that drive emotions in defined parameters.

Bicikl - Mnogoljetije LP (Balkan Veliki)
Bicikl operates in a chaotic atmosphere with frequent instrument rotations, where everyone plays what he/she feels like at the moment. There are over 20 instruments used on the album, ranging from east to west, acoustic to electronic, analog to digital etc. Consequently the style of the album varies drastically making it hard to fit into any genre. If a single name had to be chosen, experimental world music would be the most appropriate term.

Brian Case - Plays Paradise Artificial (Hands In The Dark Records)
Brian Case’s third album manages to compile and condense the best bits of its predecessors, and the magnificent viridian, glacial universe developed by Case since the beginning of his solo ventures is brought to the forefront. The Chicago artist centres his elusive, dehumanised compositions around two simple, minimal elements. Using just vocals and synths, he has created a simultaneously modern and post-apocalyptic soundtrack, where music exists as the final traces of the footsteps of humanity.

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3. From Carlos Giffoni to Japan Blues

Good Luck In Death - They Promised Us a Bright Future, We Were Content with an Obscure Past (Nahal Recordings)
Good Luck In Death - They Promised Us a Bright Future, We Were Content with an Obscure Past (Nahal Recordings)

Carlos Giffoni ‎- Vain (iDEAL Recordings)
Despite having release over 50 solo recordings and collaborations released, Vain is only Carlos’ 4th official full length LP release, following Welcome Home (Important Records), Arrogance (No Fun Productions), and Adult Life (No Fun Productions.) It is also his first release of any kind in 6 years. Carlos took off from New York in 2012 and moved to LA to take a break from everything and everyone and work on some secret projects. He continued to play music sporadically with collaborators, and finally started recording this new album on his home studio in Malibu during Summer of 2017 inspired by heartbreak and deceit, where all great art comes from. The 9 tracks on this record were created with a variety of analog equipment, with no computer effects or instrument overdubs. The final material was selected from dozens of hours of recordings, with final mastering touches by Al Carlson, who Carlos previously worked with on in his Software/Mexican Summer ‘Evidence’ EP.

Good Luck In Death - They Promised Us a Bright Future, We Were Content with an Obscure Past (Nahal Recordings)
Behind the ironic-prophetic moniker of Good Luck In Death are the duo of Parisian electronic producer Paul Régimbeau (Mondkopf, Extreme Precautions, Autrenoir, FOUDRE!) and Lebanese artist and performer Charbel Haber (The Bunny Tylers, improviser in the Johnny Kafta's Anti-Vegetarian Orchestra, Scrambled Eggs' guitarist and singer, and all 'round explorer of a new pan-Arab psychedelia with the ensembles Malayeen and Orchestra Omar). With the appropriately named 'They Promised Us A Bright Future, We Were Content With An Obscure Past' Good Luck In Death delivers an almost anti-futuristic and dreamlike manifesto that juxtaposes orchestrated minimalism against the luxuriance of dense melodic flights. Processed guitars played with the e bow, synthesisers and analogue machines casting shadows of their lazy kinetic journey, a dialogue in the strata of vaporous ambience.

hi.mo - urtìis (Pregnant Void)
Out-ER sub-label Pregnant Void releases hi.mo’s debut album Urtìis, a fantastically absorbing showcase of the Italian’s weird and wonderful fusion of various strains of sound from jazz to hip hop to classical. “The alteration of conventional musical patterns thrills me,” says the artist who is classically trained in piano and uses that knowledge to play with rules, structures and forms. Influenced by IDM, African drums, jazz and the interplay of chords, rhythm and harmony, hi.mo infuses his electro-acoustic productions with found sound samples and analogue and digital tools. The style of Flying Lotus, Fela Kuti, Miles Davis, Autechre and many more greats are audible in his music, and on his debut album the artist’s abilities to push the limits, overlap ideas, tease out new musical ground and generally take you on a trip are all laid bare.

Japan Blues - Sells His Record Collection (Japan Blues)
An atmospheric Japanese travelogue, taking in some underbelly tourist spots on the way. The self-released album's six tracks form an atmospheric Nipponese travelogue, with some underbelly tourist spots taken in on the way. The track-listing is printed on a lovely hand-made paper insert, to confound the download card fetishists.

4. From Jon Hassell to Macchiato Funky

Marc Edwards/ Mick Barr duo - The Bowels of Jupiter (Gaffer Records)
Marc Edwards/ Mick Barr duo - The Bowels of Jupiter (Gaffer Records)

Jon Hassell - Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) (Ndeya Records)
This is the first new album in nine years by Jon Hassell, a hugely influential figure in modern electronic music and creator of the ‘Fourth World’ aesthetic. Having collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Björk, Moritz Von Oswald and Carl Craig, in recent years Hassell’s own lineage of seminal solo albums has been cited by a contemporary wave of producers and labels, whether being championed in the DJ sets of Maximillion Dunbar, inspiring the future R&B sound of Lafawndah, or providing a jumping off point for the carefully curated releases of labels such as RVNG Intl, Palto Flats and Music From Memory. The release of this new album also sees the launch of Jon’s own label, Ndeya (pronounced “in-day-ya”), which will be a home for new work as well as well as selected archival releases, including re-presses of classic sides and some astonishing unreleased music.

Les Halles – Zephyr (Not Not Fun Records)
The welcome and wondrous return of Lyon musician Baptiste Martin’s aerial ambient identity Les Halles, following a year’s sabbatical from recording, Zephyr takes its name from a light westerly wind, which aptly evokes the warm, weightless, whispering spirit of these beguiling electro-acoustic designs. Working entirely with a computer for the first time, Martin’s sample bank swelled in both depth and detail, giving his compositions a crisper focus and finer grain. Slovakian fujara flutes shudder and shimmer, offset with rippling PVC panpipes, chimes, and gentle webs of delay.

Macchiato Funky - BUGELLA 20​-​50 (La bel netlabel)
Macchiato Funky are Michele Seggiaro (guitar), Massimo Ferretto (guitar), Nicolò Seggiaro (bass) and Adriano Bossola (electronics and production). The result of their juxtapose is an immediate harmony that gives birth to the album Bugella 20-50, a sort of concept album dedicated to their city of origin (Biella). The funk spirit of Michele Seggiaro, Nicolò Seggiaro and Massimo Ferretto marries happily with the electro-experimental sounds of Di Bos creating a sort of funkytronica with broad views.

Marc Edwards/ Mick Barr duo - The Bowels of Jupiter (Gaffer Records)
Mark Edwards has long been associated with the free jazz scene (Cecil Taylor Unit, David S. Ware), and Mick Barr has made his reputation playing avant-garde metal guitar in the experimental group Orthrelm. Both the structured and free-form improvisations on the album The Bowels of Jupiter are unexpectedly programmatic, although they remain uncompromising and unfiltered.

5. From Nur Jaber to Peshay

Monopoly Child Star Searchers - Make Mine, Macaw (Discrepant)
Monopoly Child Star Searchers - Make Mine, Macaw (Discrepant)

Monopoly Child Star Searchers - Make Mine, Macaw (Discrepant)
Spencer Clark created a sound phantasy with Skaters and after that he pursued a new alchemy under various aliases (Charles Berlitz, Fourth World Magazine, Monopoly Child, Typhonian Highlife, etc.) and projects (like Egyptian Sports Network, Tarzana or The Temple Defectors). Make Mine, Macaw (previously released in 2010 as a limited CDR on Pacific City label) references a large long-tailed parrot, common in Central and South America. Make Mine, Macaw is part of a trilogy about birds, Spencer's “Tropical Bird Romance Audio”, which also includes, Bamboo For Two (Olde English Spelling Bee, 2010) and The Garnet Toucan (Underwater Peoples Records, 2012). Spencer’s chaotic and mysterious approach to releases, made some really hard to find or listen to due to the nature of them and how they were made available. Despite his career not being very long and that the internet has made it easier to trace most of his back catalogue, in order to understand Spencer's work some archaeology needs to be done.

Nur Jaber - If Only - A State of Peace (OSF)
Nur Jaber’s debut Album If Only - A State of Peace tends to diverge from the typical club-focused EPs that we've already seen on her label. Focusing mainly on the Nord Lead 4, TR-09 & her vocals, the Berlin-based producer delivers 9 tracks influenced by IDM, Ambient music & a touch of Classical, showcasing a wide range of influences that has come her way along the years. The LP is paired with a remix package, out in June, featuring Dax J, UVB, Claudio Prc & P.E.A.R.L., some of the artists who have most inspired and supported her music.

Pali Meursault - Stridulations (Discrepant)
Pali Meursault is a sound artist, composer and sound designer. His electroacoustic and sound art research takes different shapes: compositions for records, radio works, installations or performances. Environmental sound recording is central in his work, which takes from Musique Concrète and the sonic exploration of soundscapes. For Stridulations, Meursault confronts recorded and performed sounds, composition and improvisation: field- recordings of animal communication (insects, birds and bats recorded in France, Japan and South America over almost ten years) mix and dialog with the ‘sonification’ of fluorescents tubes.

Peshay – Reflections (De:tuned)
De:tuned presents the return of one of the UK’s pioneering drum & bass producers, Peshay. ‘Reflections’ is Peshay’s first new drum & bass album in more than 10 years that looks back while pressing forward. Jazzy and acoustic flavours combined with deep bass and rolling drums will have you grooving from the get go. It’s that classic fusion sound that Peshay does so well, fully updated for present times and 100% future proof.

6. From Seabuckthorn to tabache

Space Afrika - Somewhere Decent To Live (sferic)
Space Afrika - Somewhere Decent To Live (sferic)

Seabuckthorn - A House With Too Much Fire (Bookmaker Records & La Cordillère)
Heavily influenced by mountain terrain after relocating to the Southern Alps, Andy Cartwright has experimented further under his Seabuckthorn alias with raw guitar sounds in bowing, fingerpicking & the use of slides, bringing a wider channeling of atmospherics & textures. Recorded in late 2017 and with the wood burner always in use, most song parts were captured in one take providing a spontaneous feel, focusing on loose, minimal improvisations which are apparent somewhat in Seabuckthorn’s live performances. With the new addition of banjo, clarinet & synthesizer to occasionally accompany the guitars, this release reflects the spatial surroundings in which it was created.

Soccer96 - Rewind (Slowfoot Records)
‘Rewind’ is the latest release from enigmatic synth and drums duo Soccer96, comprised of Danalogue [Dan Leavers] and Betamax [Max Hallett], also known for performing in and producing Mercury Prize nominated group ‘The Comet Is Coming’ [alongside Shabaka Hutchings], and follows their acclaimed 2016 album ‘As Above So Below’. With a nod to the beat tape aesthetic, 'Rewind' is a collection of newly discovered reel to reel recordings, live mixed on a vintage ‘Alice’ mixing desk in the Soccer96 analogue lab.

Space Afrika - Somewhere Decent To Live (sferic)
Ambient duo Space Afrika offer a bird’s eye view of the city centre at night with Somewhere Decent To Live; their keenly anticipated first LP on sferic. Unshackled from dancefloor needs, but still inspired and feeding off its spirit and romance, the pair respectfully acknowledge the undercurrents of Jungle, dubstep, ambient techno and deep house which feed into their home city’s late night economy, dowsing their tributaries back to dub and rendering the findings in a quiet, modestly lush ambient haze with a flawlessly anaesthetising effect. Taking gaseous form as a series of dark blue hues and electromagnetic subbass impulses, the vibe inside is delectably elusive. Unlike their previous transmissions on Where To Now? and Köln’s LL.M., the pair’s dancefloor urges are dissolved in favour of suggestively mutable ambient frameworks this time, leaving the kicks in the club whilst they appear to float overhead like the dead kid embarking his Bardo in Gaspar Noé’s Enter The Void.

tabache - Shelter in the Deep (Timeless Records)
“Shelter in the Deep” was born from long live sessions between 2015 and 2017 in Bologna.
The album wants to evoke the research of the Truth and the introspective journey to a better self. This is a sonic exploration from eclectic ambient to psychedelic techno.

About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and editor in chief of The Attic, as well as artistic director of Outernational Days festival in Bucharest, and allround music adventurer.

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