Staff Picks - October 2019

Staff Picks - October 2019

Written by:

Dragoș Rusu & Victor Stutz

Published:

November 5, 2019

It seems that October has been one of the most fruitful months so far in terms of music being released. If you're wondering when are you going to listen to all these 45 albums, you're on the good path. Since the winter knocks at the door, get ready with a comprehensive selection of new music, as well as reissues. Anything from ambient to psychedelic, experimental, ethnic/world, electronics and beyond.

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.

2. From Amulets to Artifex

Apichat Pakwan - Esantronics (Animist)
Apichat Pakwan - Esantronics (Animist)

Acid Arab - Jdid (Crammed Discs)
Jdid (meaning new in Arabic) sees Acid Arab taking a giant step forward on their path, and deepening the dialogue between the northern, southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Throughout the album, club-oriented beats are taken for a ride, from suburban warehouses to smoky basements of Oran & Istanbul, from wide expanses of desert dunes to landscapes of concrete and metal, and are regenerated by the fresh breezes and the inspiring musicians encountered along the way. Jdid features contributions by Algerian vocalists Radia Menel, Sofiane Saidi, Amel Wahby and Cheikha Hadjla, by Turkish artist Cem Yildiz and Syrian keyboardist Rizan Said, as well as tracks written in collaboration with Tunisian/Belgian producer Ammar 808 and with Les Filles d'Illighadad from Niger.

Amulets - Between Distant And Remote (Beacon Sound)
Exploring narratives of longing, dislocation and rediscovery, the album Between Distant And Remote invites you to dive in and break down the boundaries between yourself and the world around you, reaching into the past to deconstruct the present.

Andrew Liles - Moral Nihilist Part Two (At One with Nietzsche)
Andrew Liles is a prolific solo artist, producer, remixer & sometime member of Nurse With Wound and Current 93. He has been recording since the mid 80's & has appeared on well over 200 releases. This album is the second in an ongoing series of guitar orientated releases which will appear under the moniker ‘Moral Nihilist’.

Apichat Pakwan - Esantronics (Animist)
esantronics [‘isɑntrɔnɪks] is a hybrid music style equally composed of traditional and contemporary music originating in the Northeast region of Thailand, also known as Esan, and electronic sounds and music genres originating in Western cultures. This is the debut album of Dutch-Thai group Apichat Pakwan. The creation of this album started with an unusual passion for and interest in the music of Laos & Esan by Dutch composer/producer Olivier Schreuder. The music comprises a mix of the traditional music with local instruments like the kaen (a mouthorgan), phin (stringinstrument), pi phu thai (flute), a wide range of percusssion and analog and digital electronics. All on a bassheavy foundation of dubbed-out hiphop beats that evolved to a new music they call themselves ‘esantronics’.

Artifex - Ouverture Fantastique (Pampsychia)
Artifex is an improvisation sound duo formed by Luca albrecht Praussello on vocals and Julyo Fortunato Masagaky on electric double bass and effects. Artifex as a project was born in December 2016 with the participation in the centenary of the Dadaist movement. This anachronistic duo represents a Totally out of time, fascinating, dreamy ratio between Osaka and Genoa.

Bad Tracking - Widower (Bokeh Versions)
Known in town for upsetting local MPs and licensees with their live performances as ‘naked technology sex slaves’ [think cassette-induced self-harm, total nudity, blood from ears], Bad Tracking are the most visceral thing we’ve seen in this new wave of Avon experimental - a breath of life into the longstanding tradition of industrial performance art (and an antidote to idle Bristol club culture). Lyrically touching on censorship and tech // sonically they use feedback as a punishing instrument of anguish and expression. Widower EP is truly chewed nail sonics, more human than all your noise records, genuinely scarier than your edge lord power electronics nonsense.

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3. From Dengue Dengue Dengue to Erik Levander

Dengue Dengue Dengue - Zenit & Nadir (Enchufada)
Dengue Dengue Dengue - Zenit & Nadir (Enchufada)

Danyèl Waro - Bwarouz (Buda Musique)
Poet and composer Danyel Waro is one of the living heroes of La Réunion and the foremost voice of Maloya, the rebel blues music of the Indian Ocean.

Dengue Dengue Dengue - Zenit & Nadir (Enchufada)
Dengue Dengue Dengue continue expanding their carefully created aesthetic on their new album ‘Zenit & Nadir’ by diving into the deep and rich musical history of Afro-Peruvian music, already hinted in the first single ‘Ágni’, which is the inversion of the traditional Afro-Peruvian rhythm Ingá. The ongoing exploration of the vast and rich musical heritage of the descendants of the former African slaves in Peru has become the main focus of their new album. Their interest in Afro-Peruvian music has led them to meet and record extensively with several members of the Ballumbrosio family, a renowned musical dynasty in Peru that has kept Afro-Peruvian musical traditions alive, masters of rhythms like landó, festejo and crioullo music, with traditional dances and instruments such as the iconic quijada - a rattling percussive instrument made out of a donkey’s jawbone.

DJ Bishop - Vol 5: We Up, Undaground Doesn't Stop (Natural Sciences)
From the shadows of the Dungeon Rap release, DJ Bishop hits back with his debut album 'The Undaground Doesnt Stop' featuring collaborations from MC Holocaust (Doomshop), Apoc Krysis, DJ Southrobbery, Mobsta Mane, RXXDEVTH and Noahkess187. More heavy noise, mutant electronics and codeine-addled goon rap from the heart of the Ukranian underbelly. You can't make money sitting on your ass.

Erik Levander - Inåt (Forwind)
Swedish multi-instrumentalist Erik Levander presents a dynamic speaker filling five tracks material. The album title 'Inåt', translating 'Inwards', refers to the introspectiveness of the compositions, drawing inspiration from personal struggles in everyday life. The track titles and music cycles point to another layer of context with the ongoing pattern in politics, and of people turning inward, being somewhat inescapable.

Final Cop - A Structure of Violene (Clan Destine Records)
German Army side project Final Cop lays down some blackened and noisey synth punk for us.

VA - Forever (Haunter Records)
Musician and visual artist Nicola Tirabasso (VISIO), together with Haunter founders Daniele Guerrini and Francesco Birsa Alessandri called for a collective effort. A compilation of 33 artists, each contributing in their own peculiar style, adding their own blends to the palette and exposing the lineage of their work. It is precisely to state that the perennial immanence of difference is what constitutes the basis for true unity, that the curators have grouped an utterly diverse cast of contributors, whose output strikes a vastity of moods and textures, and grows out of very distinct intentionalities and backgrounds.

4. From Kink Gong to Los Pirañas

VVAA - Interactions: A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music (Buh Records)
VVAA - Interactions: A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music (Buh Records)

Hermetic Brotherhood of Lux-Or - Sex and Dead Cities (Boring Machines)
Sardinian hinterland is something else in comparison to the idyllic postcards of the high bathing season. It is something else also from what you see in the folklore documentaries about the Sardinian traditional masks. Sex and Dead Cities is a reflection, a meditation, a testimony of an area left to itself to rust, where living it's difficult if not unbearable.

VVAA - Interactions: A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music (Buh Records)
This compilation brings together 27 works by more than 30 artists from the current experimental music scene in Switzerland, in a variety of sounds, ranging from free improvisation, ambient and industrial music, to synthesizer music, sound collage and more, which gives an account of an intense activity of the Swiss underground that runs through cities such as Zürich, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Basel, Biel, Chiasso and Lucerne.

Johan Carøe - Zenmetal (No Technique)
28-year-old Johan Carøe released his first solo release, ‘zenmetal’, a seven-track EP filled with minimalistic synth improvisations, tape loops, and sparse string and organ arrangements. While working on ‘zenmetal’, the Copenhagen-based composer and electronic musician sought a refuge from anxiety - escaping into music performed and constructed on intuition and a spontaneous whim, as opposed to the more premeditated and meticulous way of writing music for film. The result is a series of unassuming sketches that pave way to a deeper level of meditation in his music.

Ka Baird - Respires (RVNG Intl)
Tapping the ecstatic energy and cathartic experience of Baird’s live sets, pushing the extremes of psychological and physical release, Respires represents an unquestionable leap for an artist already out on a limb. Largely written and recorded across the length of 2018, the eight pieces align as a series of visceral actions, captured, culled, and intricately shaped by Baird, then expanded with contributions from Zach Rowden (bass), Max Eilbacher and Andrew Fitzpatrick (synths), and Greg Fox (drums).

Kink Gong & Li Daiguo - Dali China (Akuphone)
Kink Gong (aka Laurent Jeanneau): ”We met in Chengdu playing in the same venue Jahbar in the capital of Sichuan, but it s later on when Daiguo became my neighbor in Cai cun (village by the lake Erhai outside of Dali old town) in Yunnan province, that I recorded LI DAIGUO performing the PIPA, CELLO, ZHENG in my home on a day easy to remember : 11/11/2011. From that day I started to transform the sound of the pipa and collage it with voices I recorded mostly in Yunnan province.”

Los Pirañas - Historia Natural (Glitterbeat Records)
The three members of Los Pirañas can all remember when they were in high school together in Bogotá, Colombia and just beginning to play music. Back then, the joy of a riff, the heavy beat and a ripple of guitar noise were all they needed to make life worthwhile. Twenty-five years on and they’ve become internationally well-known musicians, spread across different bands, traversing multiple continents. But together as Los Pirañas they’re about to release Historia Natural, their third album, recapturing the spirit that moved them as teenagers. Yet it’s a record that’s anything but basic.

5. From Los Siquicos Litoraleños to Million Brazilians

Odd Okoddo - Auma (Pingipung)
Odd Okoddo - Auma (Pingipung)

Los Siquicos Litoraleños - Medianos Éxitos Subtropicales Vol. 2: El Relincho Del Tiempo (Hive Mind Records)
The unique and magical sound of Los Siquicos Litoraleños (The Psychics of El Litoral), fermented in the rural north of Argentina, land of gauchos (Argentine cowboys), mate tea, chamamé folk music and Psilocybe Cubensis. In this remote region, cut off from the fashions of the city, Los Siquicos were able to nurture their obsessions, hone their craft, and develop a singular style that takes the traditional chamamé folk music of rural Argentina, then throws it in a blender with Latin-American cumbia and chicha, the tropicalia of Os Mutantes and Tom Ze, the free music of Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart, The Residents, UFO conspiracies, radical philosophy, and a strong dose of the absurd.

Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis (Constellation Records)
Says Roberts: “As an arts adventurer dealing w/ the medium of sound and its many contradictions I am most interested in endurance, perseverance, migration, liberation, libation, improvisation and the many layers of cognitive dissonance therein as it relates to my birth country’s history. I speak memory, I sing an American survival through horn, song, sadness, a sometimes gladness. I stand on the backs of many people, from so many different walks of life and difference, that never had a chance to express themselves as expressively as I have been given the privilege. In these sonic renderings, I celebrate the me, I celebrate the we, in all that it is now, and all that is yet to come or will be... Thanks for listening.”

Miguel Flores - Lorca: Lost Tapes (1989-1991) (Buh Records)
Buh Records presents a new album by Peruvian composer and musician Miguel Flores. Lorca: Lost Tapes (1989-1991) recovers recordings made for stage works inspired by the life and work of the great Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca. It is an atmospheric and minimalist album, where we find flamenco airs, Andean and Afro-Peruvian sounds, vocal experimentation and various sound effects, all stiched together in a simple but creative studio montage, which turns these pieces into a dreamy landscape.

Million Brazilians - Strange Oasis (Nonlocal Research)
In 1925, Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett disappeared in the indescribable jungles of Brazil during an expedition to find the lost city of Z. The city not only represented a sort of El Dorado, but also a state of consciousness in which the traveler and the jungle became a single being. Strange Oasis by Million Brazilians is in sound what Fawcett dreamed to find. Loaded with layers of tribal percussion, far-out atmospheres and exotic melodies, this record achieves to gather lush and mystery in a tangible fabric of sound.

Nigel Ayers - Painted by Spirits (Self-released)
Nocturnal Emissions' Nigel Ayers has continued to work with a strong underground of cult support, avoiding music industry fashions, and following his own creative path he concentrated on creating a strong sense of a wilderness identity through sound. Harmonium, Melodeon, Bagpipes, Bells, Guitar, Violin, Ukulele and other Electroacoustic instruments played by Nigel Ayers.

Odd Okoddo - Auma (Pingipung)
ODD OKODDO is a Kenyan/German duo consisting of Olith Ratego and Sven Kacirek. The two artists met in Kenya about a decade ago, when Sven Kacirek was recording his "Kenya Sessions", an album that put Kacirek on the map of outernational producers. Ratego writes the lyrics and vocal melodies while Kacirek composes, records and produces the arrangements of all nine songs on AUMA. They create a colourful, dynamic sound which is defined by both Ratego’s enormous vocal compass and range of timbres as well as Kacirek’s outstanding skills as a sensitive percussionist.

6. From Plants Dub to PYUR

Oiseaux-Tempête - From Somewhere Invisible (Sub Rosa)
Oiseaux-Tempête - From Somewhere Invisible (Sub Rosa)

Oiseaux-Tempête - From Somewhere Invisible (Sub Rosa)
This is the fourth studio album and seventh release on the Belgian label Sub Rosa, 'From Somewhere Invisible' of the free-rock collective Oiseaux-Tempête. The music comprising this album unfolds as a twilight and prophetic orchestra around G.W.Sok's punctuated voice. The poems of Mahmoud Darwish, Ghayath Almadhoun and Yu Jian question the modern man and his double, the strange and foreign, the fragmented real, the violence, society and its mirror.

Only Now - Captivity (Discrepant)
Captivity is the next highly anticipated extended EP by Kush Arora aka Only Now, following a triptych of self-released output in 2019. Continuing the project’s ever evolving engagement with themes of time and existence, Captivity encompasses versatile synthesis, mutant kuduro, widescreen sound design, turbulent cold fronts of power ambient and melodic undertones of black metal.

Plants Dub - Music From The Trees (Pregnant Void)
Plants Dub is an art project of the homonym collective based in Lecce - Italy formed by Maria Teresa Santoro art historian and light designer, Francesco Andriani De Vito aka Dubin dj and producer, and Andrea Presicce aka NoFinger Nails dub master and producer. They work in Plants Dub project in a mutual exchange of skills so as to be able to research in a way where art and science has no borders.

Pelada - Movimiento Para Cambio (PAN)
Movimiento Para Cambio is the full-length and debut for PAN from Montreal based duo Pelada. An urgent, headstrong body of work, the LP uses the music as a mechanism for delivering ideas central to the group’s moral and political ethos. They explore themes of power, identity, surveillance and environmental justice atop a raw mix of rave synths, acid basslines, breakbeats and dembow rhythms.

VA - Pour Me A Grog: The Funaná Revolt in 1990s Cabo Verde (Ostinato Records)
In the ‘50s, a few young men, known as Badius, embarked on a nearly 2,500-mile (4000 km) journey from the northern rural interior of Cabo Verde’s Santiago Island to the island of São Tomé off the Atlantic coast of central Africa. Incredibly, they made the arduous journey not to earn a better living or send money back home — but to simply buy an accordion, locally known as a gaita. The gaita masters marriage to a hard-won instrument gave birth to raw Funaná music, undoubtedly a trans-Atlantic sibling of Colombian Cumbia. Their music was outlawed under colonial rule, with strict curfews monitored by the ever-watchful eye of Portugal’s secret police to prevent gatherings since Funaná was dance music meant for large crowds, centered on one of the many star gaiteiros. Yet, naturally defiant, Badiu Funaná continued unfazed at the risk of arrest, detention, or worse.

PYUR - Oratorio For The Underworld (Subtext Recordings)
Munich’s PYUR (Sophie Schnell) makes her Subtext debut with “Oratorio for the Underworld”, a nimble odyssey through vivid, otherworldly dreams. Growing up immersed in her family’s work as shamans, Schnell draws on the techniques and stories of her upbringing, through which ephemeral forms, stories and colours seep into her sound—a synthesis of hyperreal sound design, dramaturgy and classical composition.

7. From Rizan Said to Stefan Fraunberger

Spiritczualic Enhancement Center - Me And My Students Have Reached Higher Levels (Akuphone)
Spiritczualic Enhancement Center - Me And My Students Have Reached Higher Levels (Akuphone)

Rizan Said - Saz û Dîlan (Akuphone)
After "King of Keyboards", released in 2016 by Annihaya, this new release brings the most exciting Kurdish-Syrian dance music. Surrounded by young local singers, Rizan offers his own interpretation of the modern dabke through eight original uptempo compositions full of energy. Rizan Said is a composer, musician and producer, responsible for hundreds of Syrian recording industry productions as well as compositions and themes for television and cinema.

RMP/Wahono - Dehumanisasi / Dealienisasi (DIVISI62)
DIVISI62 is a sound and visual arts label aiming to reach new heights in the continual construction of the Indonesian identity. Emphasizing the cross-wiring of world heritage, DIVISI62 is initiating homegrown narratives into global consciousness. Singular and plural.

Rova Saxophone Quartet - Saxophone Diplomacy Live (hat ART 1985; reissued 2019)
Rova: a group that can move you the way an Eastern European choir of voices can move you, but also a group with force that can feel as if its tearing the walls of the listening space down, or one of nature’s wild phenomena, or conversely, the almost-silent overlapping sound-patterns heard with eyes closed in a field in the wilderness. Since 1978, dealing it, and surprising listeners worldwide. This recording is dedicated to Alexander Kan, whose 1982 invitation to perform for the Leningrad. Contemporary Music Club was the first step of many that eventually led ROVA to Russia, Latvia and Romania.

Seasons (pre-din) - Distortion Of The Cell (Forwind)
The Manchester based artist is probably most commonly associated with his work in the ambient and drone fields, having released a string of well received albums on his own Thy-Rec imprint, Mystery Sea and Type. Distortion of the Cell continues down the darker paths explored on his 2012 release Lesser and Still and 2017's hiatus ending Kill-Sweep. The latest addition to the mysterious Mancunian’s catalogue is a varied release that takes in several stylistic approaches while remaining a coherent listen. Roughly half the album is focused on a meld of post-punk and dingy club influenced beats propelling the atmospherics that range from warm and engaging to full throttle and abrasive.

Spiritczualic Enhancement Center - Me And My Students Have Reached Higher Levels (Akuphone)
This ”ever-morphing spectral-jazz album” produced by eight outernational musicians, once originating from Iran, Israel, America, Russia, Romania and Germany carries a distinct centrifugal force. With their new album out, Spiritczualic Enhancement Center beautifully (and fearlessly) dives into the unknown and provokes the mind, adding another brick to their (already) distinctive music catalogue; imagine an exotic island fuzzed with bananas and psychedelic sounds, twisted harmonies and an overall feeling of time suspension. Watch out.

Stefan Fraunberger - Quellgeister#3 Bussd (Morphine Records)
Stefan Fraunberger's Quellgeister#3 Bussd is recorded entirely on an abandoned church's organ in the village of Bussd, Romania. The album is the third installment of the series by Austrian artist and composer Stefan Fraunberger. His research on the influence of nature on culture touches on time, periphery, memory, and transience as evidenced in his Quellgeister research. The album is an archeological sonic research on the deteriorating organ discovered in the Saxon church in Transylvania.

8. From Tasos Stamou to Vazz

The Clandestine Quartet - One for the Fossa, Two for the Wolverine (33-33)
The Clandestine Quartet - One for the Fossa, Two for the Wolverine (33-33)

Tachycardie - Probables (Un je-ne-sais-quoi)
Tachycardie is Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy, a French drummer from Tours. Probables is his first album under the Tachycardie alias, although he’s been playing in various bands and projects since a while now. Here’s a very deep journey through hallucinatory soundscapes.

Tasos Stamou - D.A.D. (Discrepant)
Recorded between 2015-2018 as an homage to both his Dad and the more commonly used tuning on the Greek Bouzouki, D-A-D, Greek musician Tasos Stamou delivers 40 minutes of music that explores ancient and modern languages, while crossing his unique instrumentation with celebrations of new/old folk, field recordings and electronics. In his music, there’s a constant flow of ideas that defy standard tonalities and the conception of “traditional”.

The Clandestine Quartet - One for the Fossa, Two for the Wolverine (33-33)
Thirty Three Thirty Three is proud to present the debut LP from the Clandestine Quartet, bringing together Alan and Richard Bishop with Michael Flower and Chris Corsano. Invited to perform in London as part of the St John Sessions series, Alan Bishop rounded up this quartet of underground stalwarts with a deep history of collaborative ventures – the Bishop brothers making up two-thirds of the legendary Sun City Girls, Richard Bishop and Corsano comprising two parts of psychedelic juggernaut Rangda, and the Flower-Corsano Duo having wowed audiences for over a decade with their face-melting brand of eastern-tinged free shred.

Upperground Orchestra - Euganea (Morphine Records)
Upperground Orchestra is the hybrid Jazz band of Rabih Beaini and his fellow musicians Tommaso Cappellato (drums), Piero Bittolo Bon (woodwinds/electronics) and Alvise Seggi (Bass / Oud). After a long hiatus, the band returns with a new LP, a killer 5 tracks album recorded during the Musica Veneta residency. Euganea comprises pieces that merge deep roots of original fusion (tape music, electronics and synths, processing) with the unique free spiritual jazz sound of Upperground Orchestra.

Vazz - Cloud Over Maroma (Stroom)
Vazz were from Glasgow, Scotland and existed in the mid-1980’s. The group consisted of Hugh Small (all music and instruments) and Anna Howson (all voices and lyrics). The Belgian imprint Stroom released the follow up collection to 'Submerged Vessels & Other Stories' - 'Cloud Over Maroma' which featured five tracks from the 2012 'Whisper Not' LP on Forced Nostalgia, as well as the band's first single 'Breath' and more recent instrumentals and piano pieces.

Vivien Le Fay - Ecolalia (Boring Machines)
Vivien Le Fay is a multi-disciplinary artist who mixes her sociology studies, her classes with Alejandro Jodorowski, dance and photography classes until the traces of the different expressive styles are lost in her personal path. Her interest in music started with orthodox new wave, passing through the physicality of hardcore until the discovery of the latest generation of electronic sound designers. She started working as a guitar technician for noise bands while deepening her knowledge of the sonic spectrum working on local radio.

Yīn Yīn - The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
After two remarkable singles on Les Disques Bongo Joe, Yīn Yīn are back with The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers. Made of groovy tunes and dance killers, this album could be the crazy soundtrack of a 60s hippie village on the South China Sea. Highly recommended!

Zatua - Sin Existencia (Second Circle/Music From Memory)
Using predominantly analogue equipment, ’Sin Existencia’ is the final outcome of an extensive exploration into the unique sonic ranges and musical fascinations of the various members of the band. Taking influence from Indonesian psychedelic music from the 1970’s and 80’s the album presents a fascinating glimpse into contemporary Indonesian electronic music with a nod to its little known but rich past.

ZU - Terminalia Amazonia (House of Mythology)
For the past four years the band’s members have regularly visited an undisclosed indigenous village on the Ucayali River close to the border between Peru and Brazil. They’ve immersed themselves in the local Shipibo-Conibo culture’s ancient knowledge, teachings and rituals, some of which stretch back millennia. Still, Pupillo emphasizes that this is not an anthropological, ethnographical, or even a political project. First and foremost, Terminalia Amazonia presents a personal story of descent and ascent, the burden of dreams and the need for new discoveries: “it contains a subjective narrative, shaped within our own Western, Mediterranean consciousness. There has been enough appropriation and exploitation of Shipibo culture by outsiders and we don't want to add to that. We don't want to wear another people's clothes. The band is Italian and our psyche is and will always be rooted in Mediterranean mythology. The descent and the way back to the surface will for us always be connected to Demeter and Persephone, the Eleusinian mysteries that shaped the form known as tragedy,” he says. Tragos, the goat, will always be at the door.

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Dragoș Rusu & Victor Stutz

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