A big black avalanche of good stuff in this week and last, with poll position inevitably going to Itchy Bugger's Done OneLP, the first release on our wee shop label (yeah cos the world needs more labels). As ever we're keeping the newsletter picks down to a digestible five, so let me to take a moment to mention a few things that aren't featured below: reissue of a brilliant, austere electro/breakbeat obscurity from Mille Plateaux-associated 4E, gamelan futuristix fromDe Leon on Mana, the long-awaited 2LP fromRezzetton The Trilogy Tapes,new 12" mini-comp on Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder labelworth flagging for the absolute driller-killer from LFT it kicks off with, re-presses ofWoo's full-on majesticWhichever Way You Are Going You Are Going Wrong(essential for fans of Eno, Flaming Tunes, Robert Wyatt, Dome, F ingers ++) andHuerco S's sprawling ambient opusFor Those Of You Who Have Never(or whatever the fuck it's called), re-stocks of several future-classic, reverb-smothered steppers from the Weevil Neighbourhood stable, and a very diverting 2x12" of improvised/pulverised techno sculptures fromFranziska Lantz. Yeah there really is some decent stuff doing the rounds.
Forgive me mentioning our 1st birthday party, this week and every week, but it's not far off now and we want to make sure everyone we care for knows about it. Friday 20th April at Bar A Bar in Stoke Newington, 10pm-3:30am, withJohn T. Gast(live) and theWah Wah Winocrew plus Kenny with Rubadub's one and only Mother Mark.Advance tickets available hereand/or in-store.
Lastly, good Christians that we are, shop is CLOSED on Good Friday and Easter Monday, so plan your visit accordingly... open tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday, and then back to godless normality from Tuesday.
“The freak's flyin solo.” Basically Josh from DIÄT and Heavy Metal wrote some songs and then recorded them on 4-track over a few loooong nights last summer with the help of a wheezing drum-machine and fellow HM mensch Robert. He made a tape of it and passed it to mates as a sort of leaving gift as he prepared to head back to Oz after a blurry half-decade’s stint in Europe. When we heard it we were blown away, and wasted no time in emotionally blackmailing him into letting us press an LP version. So here you have it, the maiden release on our softly-softly shop label (is it softly softly if you say it out loud?), which we started purely so we could give this incredible record the run it deserves. Musically, it's a wry, whimsical, oddly poignant DIY/jangle/part-time-punk micro-odyssey that feels like the introspective, acid-bleary yin to Heavy Metal’s cranked-up hooligan yang. If you’re familiar with Josh’s other bands then you’ll already know what an effortlessly gifted songwriter and guitarist he is, but this set is a world away from DIÄT and HM, actually, although it shares a world-weariness with both, his bittersweet lyrics - and half-sung, half-spoken vocals - perfectly evoking the beauty and banality of life on the lamb, Hearts in Exile, and a sense of reality/normality every day deferred if not defeated. Instead these brittle, self-deprecating but incorrigibly romantic songs put us in mind of Dan Treacy/TVPs, Swell Maps and of course classic fractured Oz/NZ pop from The Clean, Cannanes ++. The whole thing has a diaristic, unaffected, please-itself quality, as if it was made entirely for its own sake with no real audience in mind - which, essentially, it was. Tunes like ‘Baker Man’, 'Next Time I Fall In Love, Man' and ‘Good For Nothing Man’ have quickly become cast-iron anthems round here. Edition of not very many, with self-portrait picture sleeve and hand-stamped inner. Man.
Reissue of an INCREDIBLE, tranced-out Italian deep house EP from the vaults of the Vibraphone label, circa 1993. Originals go for an arm and a leg, and it's not hard to see why: Loss Of Gravity's four tracks have plenty of guileless early 90s flair - twinkly piano arpeggios, proggy-as-f*** one-note basslines, big rousing pads, quasi-operatic vocal licks - but were put together with an unusually far-sighted restraint, and a tendency towards tough, drum-centered minimalism that feels very contemporary. Seriously, compared to so much European house/techno from '92, this stuff is streets ahead in terms of production and all-round self-posession. The breakbeat-enhanced, tunnelist tech-house of 'The Journey' is a worthy headliner, but see also the ambient expansions of 'In My Garden' and the FSOL-esque 'Lrica', and the more downbeat 'CH 47' and 'Levitation' - it's all quality. Great record.
Following on from that ace and unexpected Leslie Winer x Jay Glass Dubs sets, Bokeh Versions outdoes itself once again - and goes back to the source, in some sense - with this maxi from largely unsung UK dub maverick TNT Roots. It's hard to sum up the seismic, metal-armoured, deadly-effective TNT sound, but Miles Bokeh gets it about right: "crippling bassweight, synthesized eski pre-sets, rootsy chimes and steppa vamps... [making] obvious an understated lineage flowing from 90s steppas down to jungle, grime, hardcore, darkcore, doomcore - all of the cores really." One half of now defunct soundsystem legends Earthquake, who Bokeh and like minds hold in the same esteem as Iration Steppas, Tony Roots has kept up a stream of solo output in recent years, mainly on short-run CD-R. The two tracks on this 12" - digickal wrecking-balls which frankly speak for themselves, listen to the clips - are presented with three alternate/dub mixes and packaged in a very smart screen-printed sleeve. Apparently this is the first ever official vinyl outing for TNT Roots - and it looks and sounds the part.
Sanjay says: "Caustic face-melting reissue ofHigh Rise II, made even more caustic by remastering (and subsequent additional mastering!) from the group’s founder Asahito Najo. Hard to overstate the enduring influence of High Rise - and this 1986 LP, particularly - on so much Japanses psyk over the last two decades including Mainliner, Acid Mothers and Masami Kawaguchi (core and rotating members of High Rise Nanjo, Manehiro Narita, Yuro Ujiie and Shimura Koji contributed to some of these and many other projects through the 90/00s). You’d have to guess that even Haino-san borrowed a lot of his distorted, free-wheelin’ psychosis from HR if if you listen closely to Fushitsusha and Nazoranai. But what makes this reissue infinitely worthy is its place in Los Angeles' Black Editions ongoing project to bring the legendary P.S.F. Records’ discography to a broader audience. If you know any Japanese artists from the 80s and 90s (including the ones mentioned here) chances are they had work released on P.S.F., whose founder, Hideo Ikeezumi, passed away four months before his partnership with Black Editions kicked off (with Keiji Haino’s classicWatashi Dake?last summer). This is the third in a series which seeks, admirably, to be definitive, and it's a cornerstone of the whole P.S.F. mythos. In fact, P.S.F. is an acronym taken from High Rise’s debut LP, Psychedelic Speed Freaks. You can’t get more foundational than that. Past, present and future classic presented in heavy Stoughton tip-on jackets and an insert with previously unreleased band photos."
O Yuki Conjugate are probably best known (to us anyway) for their late 80s and early 90s output: very weird, very drug-damaged ambient records, deep, dense Isolationist affairs that are very much their own thing but which sit alongside comfortably enough alongside contemporaneous stuff from zoviet*france, Coil, Muslimgauze and the like. But as this 10” from Emotional Rescue (preceding a reissue of their Scene In Mirage LP) shows, they were doing mad and interesting things with machines as far back as ’83. The previously unreleased recordings compiled here are really grimy, beat-driven industrial affairs, with surface-similarities to Solid Space, XX Commitee, Bourbonese Qualk, Smersh, early Cabs, etc - all uber-primitive synth lines, tape loops and drum machines that sound like they were dredged up from the floor of the Thames. It’s a sound that might feel a little overfamiliar to your spoilt 2018 ears, worn out by a decade’s worth of intensive post-punk reissue culture, but be smart and listen as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou advised… cos honestly, this is the stuff, and an important missing piece of the UK DIY’s maddening, unsolvable puzzle.