Contemplating viral infection


Every week the Low Company newsletter is supposed to go out on a Wednesday but it never happens. Every week there’s some excuse. Yesterday it was illness, me having come down with some kind of strangling summer COLD, but also, sorry, football - mainly I wanted to see how that all went because, well, I didn’t want to misjudge the MOOD OF A NATION. I needn’t have worried…normality has been restored, and we’re back to speaking our common language of disappointment and self-loathing, with an extra 2018 dose of numbness/anticlimax. Cool. We can work with that!

If you're need of some SOMETHING to lift your mood / start the weekend, come to the shop tomorrow (Friday 13th July) night for a low-key midsummer bacchanal with music from Bake, Biscuit (Good Morning Tapes), XVARR, Y-L Hooi and Tarquin Manek. 6pm-10pm, BYO, free entry...





F****g finally! First legit vinyl reissue of Taj Mahal Travellers channelling the earth’s most haunted vibrations in 1974, remastered by Rashad Becker, and pressed on actual vinyl (two LPs to be precise), in an actual sleeve (woiii!). Takehisa Kosugi’s intrepid, tree-whacking troupe has long ranked amongst Japanese out-rock’s most revered outfits, thanks in no small part to the cheerleading of Julian Cope, who memorably compared the experience of listening to TMT to “an acid trip I once took in South Wales, in 1981, throughout which I lay recumbent and immobile for six hours believing that I could hear the raindrops outside screaming as they hit the ground, each desperate to enjoy just one more millisecond of individuality before being subsumed into water’s vast eternity.” AYE. Perhaps more helpfully, he also invoked AMM, Anima and Kluster (all useful, if imperfect, signposts). To be sure, this is no flower-picking, dolphin-bothering early '70s psychedelia, but rather the most potent recorded document of the distressing, inward-facing journey music that the TMT pedalled throughout the 70s with the likes of Don Cherry and the attendees of their (sometimes all day) concerts on their legendary tour that took them across Asia and Europe - although it was recorded, funnily enough, at Nippon Columbia’s enormous Studio Number One. ENORMOUS is the word for this album, really: it’s an oppressive, all-consuming, all-saturating experience - less an album than a malevolent weather-system. If being trapped in 90 minutes of sinister, paranoid drone-muzak sounds like more than just a bad trip, you will find August 1974 to be one of the most substantial and invigorating and life-affirming interzones that exist between improv / free jazz, noise and psych. Really it sounds like nothing else on earth, but we'll file it alongside Sun Ra, The Curfew Recordings, and Michael O'Shea's Dome LP in our own bastard canon. Highest possible recommendation, August 1974 is one of the all-time greats, fully embodying a truth that the mind becomes adept at evading: YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!

NOT ON LABEL | LP | £14.99

**Limited pre-release of LP coming in Autumn/Winter 2018.** We’re extremely honoured to be distributing the first officially available material from the ultra-covert Civilistjavel! project - primarily active in Northern Europe in the 1990s, their work has never been properly documented outside of their own private tape/CDR-trading networks. Cold-world, dronal ambient techno and minimal synth, austere but full of nameless yearning - existential electronics of the highest order! Created mostly using Juno60 and Korg MS20. This one truly speaks for itself. Hand-stamped test pressing, 8 copies only.


VRYSTAETE | LP | £20.99

Getting harder and harder to think of new superlatives each time Dutch press Vrystaete offer 150 hand-stamped copies of some strange goodness you've never heard of. But this self-titled LP from Blessum is GORGEOUS even by the label's own out-of-this-world standard. The duo behind the record, Wouter Venema and Keimpe Koldijk (the latter was also half of hallowed DIY/minimal pop duo Bebe Fang, architects of another Vrystaete masterpiece), recorded on an church organ in situ built in 1659 in the Frisian village of Mariakerk, Blessum in Northern Holland. The recording is monstrous in its all-enveloping realism, capturing all the musical potential the 17th century had to offer and in its billowing, stately dialogue with guitar/fx the organ is clearly the star of the LP.  And though this is soft music, for contemplative listening do yourself a favour and play it LOUD. Windows (and the soul) will shudder. This meditative Cyclobe-cum-Earth explosion continues Vrystaete's impossible habit of hitting ridiculously high benchmarks and leaping over them with ease.


ULTRA ECZEMA | LP | £22.99

Lifers Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Dan Melchior join forces for the first time for this incredible meditation on zoned, suppurating hypno-electronics and corrosive, punk-acousmatic drone-goo. Yeah you ‘eard! Who knows what to attribute to who, but you get the impression that the more classically-minded Sigmarsson is the grounding force here, setting boundaries which Melchior continuously and gleefully sets about vaulting/vandalising (certainly Melchior's last solo record on Kye Home of the Blues, foretells the same sort of steel string and field recording provocations which shoot holes through Sigmarsson's moody minimalism here). The result is two longform pieces, 'LOCKED UP IN NOVEMBER DREAMING' and 'crepuscule with drunk wrestler,' both coming at you like fireworks pointed straight at your face (as if they hadn’t already nailed the metaphors). Moments of respite only give way to blinding, more lurid found-sound / synth dioramas, at times touching on the more frenetic sequenced recordings of Sigmarsson's group Stilluppsteypa (whose latest, Beach Yolanda, is also in stock and very well worth checking). Something like a masterpiece, this, taking us back to that brief moment when what eventually would be termed “hypnagogic pop” felt like a portal to another dimension rather than a prelude to half the moneyed west growing porno ‘taches and making concept albums about ALF (or whatever). Impishly psychedelic and heavily pregnant with possibility - this is one for the true believers! Btw also mpossible to imagine more perfect artwork than Dennis Tyfus’s - this is an album that sounds PRECISELY how it looks, bub. Edition of 300. 


RUBADUB | 12" | £8.49 

Beltin' set of neck-snap Weedgie rhythm trax from the Golden Teacher camp that manage to conjure all the FUN of a night on the tiles despite employing next to no melodic elements, relying fully on slow tempos, loose sequencing and a genuine air of frustration (presumably the kind of frustration that comes from endlessly punching commands into a drum machine). 

Make no mistake - Ludd do a LOT with a little across these four tracks, looping nauseating, novelty preset sounds (think “Ambient Bongo”, “Rap Kick” etc.) then mutilating until they become unrecognisable and DEADLY SERIOUS: as on “Marraskuu”, where the warring loops are forced into such a confined space that their only option is to begin to fold in on themselves and open up some kind of planet-inhaling wormhole in the process. 

A unique and intuitive take on the idea of rhythm tracks that still feels like it is giving a firm get-tae-fuck to the idea of being run of the mill DJ TOOLS. Only things that spring to mind in the same ballpark would be the ESP releases of 33.1402... or moments on that second Ninos Du Brasil LP. 

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