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Yazz Ahmed new remix EP out 3 August 2018

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EP release: 'La Saboteuse Remixed' by Yazz Ahmed
Release date: 3 August 2018
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website

  • Shares new remix featuring Hector Plimmer
  • Announces new remix EP featuring DJ Khalab, Blacksea Não Maya and more
  • See the premiere via The Vinyl Factory here
  • Hear/share via Soundcloud here

We are witnessing a burgeoning jazz scene in London, a resurgence that looks set to give us a return of the jazz filled 20s once again. One of the driving forces at the heart of this tidal wave of compelling, new music, is British-Bahraini composer and trumpet player, Yazz Ahmed, who has been cited as ‘redefining what jazz means in the 21st century’. La Saboteuse Remixed is her latest offering, released on Naim Records this summer. 

Following the 2017 release of 'La Saboteuse', her highly acclaimed psychedelic Arabic jazz album, this remix EP brings together three of Europe's eminent electronic DJs. This confluence of individual artistic visions creates music of deeply saturating polyrhythms, placing the listener into a curious state of relaxed tension. The sense of a personal narrative runs through all of Ahmed’s work and here is no exception. La Saboteuse as a whole is a journey of self-examination and with this remix EP, the reflection continues in both linear and abstract directions.

Ahmed’s symbiotic collaboration with illustrator Sophie Bass also continues, in celebratory style. Above a familiar desert landscape, dripping with symbolism and intrigue, the ever present fish soars high in a galaxy of stars, overseeing the eternal dance between the demonic Saboteuse and the spiritual creative force of the Sufi. Harmony and balance is restored through the natural healing power of water. 

Produced by Noel Langley, the original album paints a sinuous far reaching soundscape. The reevaluation of the inner well of self doubt as a strength, a resource to be celebrated, to take nourishment from, is heavily sewn through all the tracks. Three pieces from the original album have been reimagined. Meaning and substance, borrowed from the source tracks, are filtered through an alternative perspective, each collaborator adding their own strand to the unfolding story. These virtual conversations between the artist and the remixer, with the addition of her own creative response to this process, result in four stand-alone pieces, which together will extend the listener’s journey through a mystical land of snakes and desert sands. 

Remixers:

Hector Plimmer
Hector Plimmer’s forte is the combination of visual and auditory arts. Around for a little while, he had a track released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers label compilation in 2014. The recipient of the prestigious PRS Steve Reid InNOVAtion Award in 2015 this led to tutorship by Four Tet, Floating Points and Gilles Peterson. The South London based DJ and graphic artist, released Sunshine in 2017, his full length debut, on Albert's Favourites, earning industry distinction. Following this release Plimmer conducted a full self-remix album of both the tracks and artwork, leading Subtempo to say, “It's hard to improve an original piece of music as good as the album itself, but with these remixes, this rises to a new level.” An Escheresque tessellation of shapes form the basis of the album artwork, splintering across the page while retaining a cohesive shape. With The Lost Pearl, he shows us yet another facet to his art, deftly sculpting a mesmeric original into a rarified groove to get down to. 

DJ Khalab 
The Italian self proclaimed ‘Afro-Futurist Beatmaker’, has had releases on close collaborator Clap! Clap!’s Black Acre and in 2015 produced the eponymous DJ Khalab and Baba Sissoko with Malian master musician Baba Sissoko. The weaving, electronic substrata of the album is imbued with tribal drums and fervent synths, creating mesmeric, complex and layered musical structures. With Jamil Jamal, Khalab takes Ahmed’s original track, suggestive of a caravan traversing a vast desert, and morphs it into a more frenetic examination of space and time. Starting with suspicious circumspection, the restless progression of the track is buoyed midway through, with the power of Shabaka Hutchings’ bass clarinet. Occasionally pausing in suspenseful anticipation, before descending again into an agitated world of overgrown jungle, whereby, at the end of the progression, Yazz’s horns are morphed into a myriad of whirling synths. 

Blacksea Não Maya
Straight outta Lisbon, represented by Portugal’s chief dance music label PRÍNCIPE, Blacksea Não Maya are dedicated representing the fundamental realities of life in the suburbs, projects and slums of the city they call home. The trio is formed of brothers DJ Noronha and DJ Kolt, and their long-time friend, DJ Perigoso. They have been collaboratively developing their talents since 2009 and were picked up by PRÍNCIPE in 2012. Since then they have aimed to share their wish that all can “live every day in the festive ambience of Lisbon”. Their dynamic tunes exemplify a vast range of persuasive dance music within each release, coercing and cajoling the listener into a rapturous state. Their phantasmagorical rejig of Al Emadi, Ahmed’s tribute to the ancient Arabic tribe of her forefathers, is transformed into a club banger. 

Ahmed/Langley
In the whirlpool of global excitement and glowing reviews surrounding the release of 'La Saboteuse', Ahmed had her interest piqued by comparisons made to the work of Jon Hassell & Brian Eno’s Fourth World project and the output of Flying Lotus, music which she had not encountered previously. Inspired by these new discoveries and the concept of collaborating with remixers, she decided to contribute a new track of her own to close the EP. 

In creating the haunting track 'The Space Between The Fish & The Moon', Langley and Ahmed had already begun experimenting with self-sampling and deconstructing existing compositions to make something new. This is the same approach that they used here, taking elements from Spindrifting (La Saboteuse Chapter Three), a few groovy bars of Corinna Silvester’s riqq, fragments of Lewis Wright’s bowed vibraphone, re-worked and re-orchestrated to form a flugelhorn melody. Disparate elements used as material for a collage, endlessly rearranged and reshuffled until the music began to discover what it wanted to be. This is the way Ahmed and Langley work together, things evolve, elements are added, elements are discarded, new material is layered over old, improvisations are developed, themes emerge. Samuel Hällkvist was invited to respond to the work in progress, adding the pulsing guitar arpeggios and Yazz felt this was the right time to reveal her longstanding collaboration with Jason Singh, the voice sculptor and sound designer, incorporating material from one of the soundscapes he had created for her. 

'Spindrifting' is a rich, dark tapestry of timbres and moods, almost orchestral in places, underpinned by a deep fragmented undulation. It intriguingly points to one of several possible future directions that Ahmed might take with her next full release….

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First Hate new single and video out now

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Single release: 'Fallen' by First Hate
Release date: Out now
More info: Band Soundcloud

Rising from the snake pit into the international spotlight; the journey continues for First Hate. It all began with the self-titled debut EP ‘First Hate’ (Bad Actors Inc., September 2014), which featured hit singles 'Girls In The Club' and 'In My Dreams', music that transcended genres transforming the Copenhagen underground scene. It was a steady climb for the two Copenhageners, who have spent time on the road with Trentemøller, Communions, Iceage and Lust For Youth. Summer 2015 was spent in the studio producing their follow-up EP ‘The Mind Of A Gemini’ (Escho, March 2016). Sold out headline shows at Lille Vega, Copenhagen and The Waiting Room, London proved the band's popularity was now hitting a wider more mainstream audience with singles 'White Heron' and 'Trojan Horse' getting heavy rotation on national radio.

The rest of the year was spent on the road touring mostly throughout Europe with additional tours in China and North America. A key festival highlight was the triumphant headlining set on the Countdown Stage at Roskilde Festival. Spring 2017 saw the release of their highly anticipated debut album ‘A Prayer For The Unemployed’, which was released May 12th 2017 via Escho. It was  produced by First Hate with guidance by Troels Damgaard Holm and Malthe Fischer.

Now, the duo share the visuals for their latest single 'Fallen', which you can watch HERE

Press support for First Hate

“Alongside their arrogance there is empathy and the feeling that First Hate want their music to reach out and actually mean something.” – Pitchfork

“First Hate is a compelling balance of beatific and elegiac pop” – The FADER

 “You’d have to be made of stone not to fall for the elegiac wonder spun by Copenhagen duo First Hate... This and the rest of their back catalogue mark them out as an exciting new voice in the burgeoning nostalgia-tinged comedown-pop scene” – The Guardian

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Bob Holroyd new album due 9 March 2018

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Album release: 'The Cage' by Bob Holroyd
Release date: 9 March 2018
More info: Artist website

The new single 'Inner Mind Sigh' premieres with Clash.

Ranging from ambient minimalism to world music, modern classical to jazz, Bob Holroyd’s music is often hard to pigeon hole. With eight studio albums and six remix albums to his name, Bob’s eclectic and texturally cinematic work has been recognised and remixed extensively by a huge range of artists such as Coldcut, Nitin Sawhney, Four Tet, Francois K, Mogwai, The Album Leaf, T. Williams, Lemonde, Loop Guru, Steve Roach and more, and has been used prominently in mainstream TV and films such as The Dark Knight, Lost, True Blood, The Sopranos, Panorama, Coast and many more. Now Bob is set to release his ninth album ‘The Cage’.

Over the course of his musical career Bob Holroyd has pioneered music that crosses musical and cultural boundaries, and as a result his music is influenced by a diverse array of sights, sounds from around the world. Bob's music includes influences from extensive travels in Africa and Asia, and ranges from intense walls of percussive drumming - as on his cult club classic 'African Drug' - to delicate atmospheric soundscapes, such as the beautiful 'Looking Back' - a track recorded for the 'Sanscapes' project to highlight the plight of the Kalahari Bushmen, with whom he collaborated with. Similarly, he also recorded the Islamic Call to Prayer at Regent's Park Mosque, writing a moving and dramatic piece around the haunting vocal by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens).

With more recent releases such as the critically acclaimed ‘Blueprint’ and ‘Beachcombing’ Bob looks to himself for inspiration. Citing work in therapy and exploring the complex textures and emotions that make up every moment of our lives as well as exploring the creative process itself as key elements of stimulus. The new album ‘The Cage’ delves further into Bob’s poignant introspection.

“‘The Cage’ is where I have subconsciously imprisoned myself emotionally for years” says Bob, “By keeping out ‘negative’ emotions I have felt safe, but ultimately made myself unapproachable to others, and myself. I had the idea that instead of trying to escape this Cage I should enlarge it to include all emotions, feelings experiences and people - if EVERYTHING is in the Cage then I am more free than if I were keeping all influences out.”

Bob has reflected on this when constructing and recording the album, instead of going into the studio with a set of well-rehearsed and fine-tuned ideas, he has opted for a more organic approach, recording on what felt right on that day. Speaking about the process Bob says, “it has taken a long time to finish some tracks, and there are various other pieces at varying stages of completion, but I have found it incredibly liberating to do only what immediately ‘feels’ right without the constraints that I have put myself under in the past.”

This raw and beguilingly honest take on his new album can be heard instantly in the music itself. There are transcendent ambient cogitations throughout ‘The Cage’, which is made up of twelve tracks of deep emotive encounters, from ruminating to wistful to uplifting and even a little perturbing at times. There are beautifully woven atmospheric textures of light and space, which coalesce to form something, which can only truly be described as minimally complex. Fans of Eno, Laraaji, Max Richter and Peter Broderick will find much to love (Bob also names the likes of David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel, Arvo Part, Nils Petter Molvaer, Radiohead, Tavener and more as further influences).

As Bob Holroyd delves further into his own psyche, as well as the world and influences around him, his own brand of quiet sound collages grow not only in their multi-faceted compositions but also in their intelligent and thought-provoking non-verbal prose. Despite any potential preconceptions, Bob creates incredibly personal records, which are free from self-indulgence and pretension, ‘The Cage’ is not too complicated to absorb, it’s not boring or forgettable, but for many, not to mention for Bob himself, it will ultimately be very rewarding.

Press reaction to date

"a beautiful example of the sheer artistry that drives Bob Holroyd's work."
– Clash

“At his best Holroyd is Massive Attack, Mogwai, Simon Fisher Turner, David Toop and Future Sounds of London in an intelligent globally-tinged reflective collaboration. Electronics flutter and strings caress our emotions without it descending into self-indulgent sentimentalism” – DJ Mag

“stunning” – Resident Advisor

“Massive Attack style broody stalking sexiness” – Mixmag

“quite simply the gentlest, most emotionally potent, enveloping piece of electro-acoustic ambient music I’ve heard in a very long time” – Hypnagogue

 

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Memnon Sa new album out 29 September 2017

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Album release: ‘Lemurian Dawn’ by Memnon Sa
Release date: 29 September 2017
Label: Aurora Borealis
More info: Band Soundcloud

Memnon Sa premiere new single 'Ahura Madza' with CVLT Nation.

Following the release of their acclaimed debut ‘Citadel’ in 2015, Memnon Sa return with ‘Lemurian Dawn’, a cosmic journey through space, time and myth. Much like ‘Citadel’, the primary element of the new album is its carefully constructed atmosphere. Whilst the overtones of doom metal have subsided the sense of dread and mystery remain, the new album is more Sun Ra than it is Sunn O))).

The guitar driven sound of ‘Citadel’ has been replaced here by a myriad of analog synthesisers, ancient world instruments, throat singing and strings. ‘Lemurian Dawn’ channels New Age meditational works, film soundtracks and cosmic jazz from the 70s and 80s. The result could be the soundtrack to a lost 1970’s European sci-fi film, warm analogue sounds that hint at cosmic foreboding and sinister forces unseen. Instead of ancient psychedelia and shamanic rituals, "Lemurian Dawn" conjures up images of a binary sunrise on forgotten worlds, of terrifying unidentifiable objects hovering over sacrificial pyramids in lands forgotten.

This is accentuated by the influences behind the album, sonically there are still nods to kraut rock artists such as Popol Vuh and Ash Ra Tempel, as well as some of ‘Citadels’ darker sounds, but Memnon Sa’s sound has evolved to become far more cinematic. You’d be forgiven for comparing the record the likes of an Edward Artemyve soundtrack (Stalker/Solaris) or films such as Phase IV or Prometheus when drawing references.

Speaking about Memnon Sa’s progression, Misha Hering says, “I wanted to keep the core of the first album intact. The atmosphere, cinematic scope and mystery, but take it out of an ancient, medieval, primordial setting and into the world of science fiction. That's one of the reason I scrapped guitars and any sort of significant metal influence. It seemed incongruous with the images I wanted to conjure up in people's heads. Ultimately though, I just wanted to tell a different story, with a different setting. Hopefully, the music, along with the cover art and short film that will accompany the release, will transport people into the world that I've been imagining in my mind’s eye for the past year.”

The album was recorded over a month and a half at Misha Hering’s Holy Mountain Studios in Hackney, London, and mixed using almost exclusively analog equipment to 1/2 inch tape. It was mastered by legendary mastering engineer Dave Cooley at Elysium Masters in LA (Flying Lotus, J Dilla, and Animal Collective). Moving away from Pyramide Noire, ‘Lemurian Dawn’ will also be released on the estimable Aurora Borealis (Jesu, The Haxan Cloak, Conan and Grumbling Fur).

‘Citadel’ was drawn from a niche world, and was incredibly accomplished in its ability to traverse and transcend a vast range of musical landscapes. ‘Lemurian Dawn’ expands on this even further, diversifying Memnon Sa’s depth, dynamics and creativity, to encompass that same ceremonious, alien and spiritual sub-current, and develop it into something new and intriguing.

Press reaction to date

"a swarming, all-encompassing sense of the sublimely atmospheric." 
– the Quietus

"The effort is doom/drone colliding with post-rock, ambient, dark folk, and other styles to create a new 42-minute effort that emphasizes mood above all, and to astounding affect." – Noisey

"a hulking great slab of paranoid noise." - CLASH

"inhumane, cold and fearful." - GoldFlakePaint

"It’s an all engulfing and intimidating, yet fulfilling journey" - Louder Than War

"a giant leap forward" - London in Stereo

"electronic synth textures expand and swell from chilly nothings into supersonic infinities. It's the psychedelic of the supermassive." - Shindig!

"Citadel is one of those albums you can simply lose yourself in. Memnon Sa can so easily manipulate all these different aspects of their sounds and come up with something that is so fluid and trippy, it is just insane." – CVLT Nation
 

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Andrew Weatherall new album due 29 September 2017

Album release: 'Qualia' by Andrew Weatherall
Release date: 29 September 2017
Label: Hoga Nord Rekords
More info: Hoga Nord website

The aural collusions of Weatherall, Walsh and an old accomplice and sparring partner in Legrand (11/11/65 - 22/11/11), 'Qualia' is a quandary, a question mark and maybe, just maybe, his finest release in years. It's also a record best defined in the words of Mr Weatherall himself:

"Mr Brackstone, my psychic shepherd, when confronted by the facts would probably say it was cosmic synchronicity but then again he would because he's Jung at heart. Others may cite mere coincidence. These are the facts. I'll leave the metaphysical debate for another time...

It's all about the black notebooks as memorial device and 'The Black Notebook' and 'This Is Memorial Device'. At the same time as reading Mr Modiano and Mr Keenan I was ensconced in the Woodleigh Research Facility investigating a method of composition sparked by a random event too prosaic for the telling; unless of course we go back to 'The Red Book' and see the hand of Jah [the D.M.T molecule that steers human existence] at work. After all it was him/her/non-binary that sent me the "shave your beard off" message. And the "don't buy any more drugs" one. 

Whatever your leanings the music on 'Qualia' is the result of images, feelings
and thought processes stirred up by Monsieur Modiano and Mister Keenan channeled through the medium of a sonic noteboook - in itself the memoir of somebody else's life/fiction.

My own black notebooks, like Jean's [Modiano's protagonist] stir the silt of
memory and birth as many mysteries as memories. They also provided the track titles."

Andrew Weatherall. The Woodleigh Research Facility, July 2017.

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Aaron Holm – album 'The Boy' out 29 July 2016

Album Release: 'The Boy' by Aaron Holm
Release date: 29 July 2016
Label: Dissolve Records
More info: Artist website

Aaron Holm is a Seattle-based producer and musician writing and performing experimental ambient and electronic compositions deep in the depths of the Emerald City. His fascination with ambient came during 1996 travels throughout Southeast Asia, where he listened to tapes of Future Sound of London, Scorn, and Shinjuku Thief while riding on trucks and longboats in Vietnam and Laos. Upon returning to Toronto, he put together his first electronic music studio in a warehouse above a furrier in Chinatown. 

Aaron’s field recordings of the birds of the Pantanal and other tropical sounds are blended into his first album, 'Still Dreaming...' while his later ones, simplifying the accompanying textures, capture his travels through India and Pakistan. He’s also been deeply influenced by ambient and electronic pioneers such as Brian Eno, Future Sound of London, Richie Hawtin, Aphex Twin, Bjork, Massive Attack, and Loscil- who all feed indirectly into his work. 

Holm took a decade break from music to focus on software and started three high profile technology companies over an 11-year period in Miami, New York, and Seattle before re-engaging with music and founding Dissolve Records in 2013.  He sits on the Boards of several technology companies and Youth in Focus, a non-profit organisation that empowers urban youth through photography. 

His ethereal mixes of real and imagined worlds continue in his organic new album, 'The Boy' in which Aaron explores the violence and isolation of the inner city boy as he grows, detaches and himself becomes a father. Pulsing, warm washes of sound in 'Little One’ explore the emotional push and pull of abandonment and a boy taken in and raised by all mothers. The woman’s voice represents the voice of the ocean calling to love and care for the boy. 

Other tracks of note include, ‘Catch a Falling Star’, the story of a father’s love for his child and his heartbreak on hearing of the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown.  On this one Holm says: 

“On the morning of the shooting, my daughter’s first grade teacher sent out a recording of the children singing ‘Catch A Falling Star’.  The recording is heard at the track start.  As I heard the news of the school shooting, first graders were the victims, I pulled to the side of the road and cried.  The voices in this track soothe broken hearts and the loss of innocence and brings the boy full circle from childhood to fatherhood.” 

Sitting in the same space as contemporary artists like Taylor Deupree (who also mastered The Boy), Susumu Yokota, and Jon Hopkins, this haunting yet beautiful new album is filled with sonic solace, calmly bewitching the listener into a state of pure tranquillity. 

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Ed Scissor & Lamplighter new album our 15 July 2016

Album release: 'Tell Them It’s Winter' by Ed Scissor & Lamplighter
Release date: 15 July 2016
Label: High Focus Records
More info: Label website

Ed Scissor’s new LP 'Tell Them It’s Winter' ruminates over life and love. The LP settles on the notion that every human being is on the hunt for the same thing. 

A key player in the Brit rap renaissance, renowned live performer, acclaimed wordsmith and expert storyteller, Ed Scissor’s development tessellates strongly with his ever-blossoming relationship with Glasgow-based producer Lamplighter. The pair have developed into one of the go-to partnerships in the alt-rap soundscape ever since their debut 'Better.Luck.Next.Life' was released to critical acclaim back in 2012 (even though they rarely find themselves in the same room as one another). 

Fast forward four years and the duo’s nu-classical compositions are wiser and more profound than ever before. The camaraderie grows more expansive and ear-opening with every song; the music is rich, expansive and rewarding at every turn. 

Lamplighter squeezes life's emotional and existential essence into a box marked ‘hip hop’ before it bleeds back out, leaving a trail of nihilistic retro-futurism and romance. His music makes friends of techno, modern classical composition and synth-led film scores before reducing them down to a solitary minimalistic entity. The result is a window into the way he sees the world - past, present and future. 

Scissor writes lyrics that extend beyond the realms of reality into a strange left field. It feels like an alternate reality in his head, fuelled by a heady mix of fantasy and reality, umbrella’d under a now customary gothic shroud. 

‘Tell Them It’s Winter’ is the next (and quite possibly final) instalment and both Ed Scissor and Lamplighter are super excited for you to hear it. 

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Town Portal release new album, 'The Occident'

Town Portal

Album release: 'The Occident' by Town Portal
Release date: 25 May 2015
Label: Small Pond Recordings
Listen / more information on: Bandcamp 

More than two years have passed since the riff-forging Danes of Town Portal released their debut album Chronopoly; a cult favorite among math connoisseurs and nerdy alt. rock fans alike, but a well-kept secret to most. May 2015 finally sees the release of the follow-up The Occident, honing familiar expressions into a refined, darker aesthetics that merges adventurous complexity with measured temperance. 

The road to this album has been long: an increasingly intense and, at times, seemingly directionless excavation of musical feedstock from the depth of three geeky minds; a group of weathered fishermen angling in the musical ocean to see what deep-sea dwellers they might pull to the surface, lest they be pulled down with them. While decrypting and rearranging the continuous haul of musical fragments reeled in, the band witnessed both the beginning and completion of an artificial alpine skiing slope and vast residential constructions now surrounding the small portable cabin in the outskirts of Copenhagen, in which the album was composed and finally recorded. The challenge however, wasn’t the lack of inspiration or vision but the abundance of ideas and ambition. Thankfully the result honors these efforts.

Where Chronopoly was an album obsessed with the abundant, the eccentric and the bombastic, The Occident expands and inverts the subject of fascination. Rather than fixating a gaze at the fireworks in the sky, this album toys with the magical potential of even the dullest object that, if turned to reflect the light in different ways, inspires fundamentally different perceptions. The rhythmic complexities that have come to characterize the band’s efforts are not less adventurous, but have taken on a grounded, heavily synchronized and almost tectonic quality that allows heavy head bobbing even to the most intricate of systems. The harmonies and melodies explore themes of repetition, monotony, sequence and patterns, yielding new, darker expansions of the melodic palette of the band, without ever resorting to widely favored romantic post-rock chord progressions. Instead The Occident sounds more like a record translating the influence of bands like Shiner, Hum and Polvo into a drop tuned and heavily syncopated realm of almost Meshuggah-like stringency. Rather than creating something merely alienating, the aim has been to strike the perfect balance between unpredictability and listenability and to develop narratives capable of transmitting something other than grandeur or solemnity.

The ability of instrumental music to convey readily decipherable meaning is limited. However, the context of ideas and themes in which songs are created can permeate the music, making it the carrier of more abstract notions of meaning. On Town Portal’s second album, that notion is the Occident. Not as a political comment on colonialism or as the geographical or cultural counterpart to the Orient, but as a look at our western culture through the imagined viewpoint of a cyber-archeologist in a far distant future piecing together a picture of an era from random artifacts pulled from an overflowing data ocean. A legend based as much on spam-email, pop-ups or mindfulness-pamphlets as on the cultural beacons of our time. 

The Occident was recorded by guitarist Christian Henrik Ankerstjerne and mixed/ mastered by Carl Amburn (Riddle of Steel, Traindodge, Self-Evident). It releases digitally and on vinyl through Small Pond Recordings (UK) and Subsuburban (Denmark and the rest of the world) on May 25th 2015.

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Rubik to release new album, 'Tone Poem', on 11 May

Tone Poem

Album release: 'Tone Poem' by Rubik
Release date: 11 May 2015
Label: Domestic Records
More information / listen on: Domestic Records website

London based producer/songwriter Rubik is also known as Shaun Yule, founder of the exploratory, left-field imprint Domestic Records. Responsible for the discovery of esteemed success AxxoN N, as well as releases by the likes of Atki2, Gnaw Their Tongues and Mink Freud, he set up the label in 2007 as a way to fulfill his experimental passions without limitation. Rubik’s new album Tone Poem is his fourth album, and the 19th release on the label.

Partly inspired by Alex Ross' 'The Rest Is Noise', Tone Poem is a menagerie of samples accumulated by a deterministically random process - an exploration into the landscape of late nineteenth and twentieth century classical music via a cathartic endeavor to compose his own personal opera.  

Expressing method in perceptible madness, Rubik has long been compelled to make an album as a product of almost entirely stochastic processes. After deciding on a stylistic theme he sourced the backing tracks from a selection of 10 classical CDs from his personal collection. Assigning numerical values to specific elements of these works, he picked numbers from a bowl to determine sample length; the point in time from which the sample was taken; and CD/disc/track number sampled from, etc. All samples of a certain length would be used on the same track and thus a tempo derived. Notes were then manipulated within the samples for a more expressive and ‘musical’ result and additional instruments and solos were ‘bent’ to fit the backing track in the same way.

Initially the lyrics were meant to be sourced in a similar way, particularly via love letters. As the project progressed he used less of this in order to write from the heart, with the odd phrase taken from existing poetry or lyrics. Although he’d admit to struggling with vocal limitations Rubik embraces them for what they are and even employs them almost New-Romantically to articulate the sometimes difficult and personal nature of the album.

Lyrical themes include religion, aging, paternal relationships, death/transcendence, acceptance of self, break-up(s), masculinity (and lack of perceived ideal), alcoholism, change.. Applied to musical influences including various classical genres, pantomime, experimental music, noise, black metal, grime and torch songs, Tone Poem might be considered to be part of a group including Dean Blunt’s ‘The Redeemer’, or James Ferraro’s 'NYC, Hell 3am' – conceptually and thematically linked yet dissonant portraits of flux.

The melodic, albeit slightly off-kilter, classical overtones provide some semblance of alleviation for any challenging listening, as if Billie Holiday’s ‘Lady In Satin’ had been warped in dystopia. Consider Rubik a more mortal David Sylvian or Krzysztof Penderecki, a twisted Sondheim, or merely a contemporary of L.Pierre or Hype Williams. And consider Tone Poem a nightmarish Disney production telling of one man’s everyday existence in Tottenham.

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Mutiny on the Bounty: new album "Digital Tropics" out 26 May 2015

Mutiny on the Bounty - album artwork

Album release: "Digital Tropics" by Mutiny on the Bounty
Release date: 26 May 2015
Label: Small Pond Recordings
Listen / more information on: Mutiny on the Bounty website

Following on from their last album ‘Trials’ released in 2012, Luxembourg post-rock quartet Mutiny On The Bounty are ready to release their new album ‘Digital Tropics’. The new album comes in the wake of signing to new up-and-coming Brighton based record label Small Pond Recordings, and a UK tour in December 2014 which saw the band play alongside the likes of Maybeshewill, Flood of Red, Dialects and Polymath.

The new album sees the band fully embrace their instrumental side which was heavily championed on their last album. Of the new album the band say: "Digital Tropics englobes all the facets of our personalities going from rock, to electro and more varied influences such as 80's pop or even hip-hop. It gives a wider range of emotions and we believe that it's a powerful album. We're really proud of this album and can't wait to share it with everyone."

The appropriately named lead track ‘MKL JCKSN’ is the perfect introduction to ‘Digital Tropics’, with reverb soaked and groove-infused staccato melodies from the guitars dancing around a technical and mechanically intricate rhythm section. Elsewhere tracks such as ‘Telekinesis’ infuse slightly heavier riffs and driving rhythm with guitars that sound closer to keys or synths than strings, giving the track a diverse and uplifting feel. This is where the inclusion of new influences can be heard, at times you can almost hear elements of Kraftwerk, whereas other areas are closer to bands such as ASIWYFA, Faraquet or Battles. Similarly this can also be heard in ‘Ecliptic’ which darts between the realms of electro, math-rock, and Vangelis/Brad Fiedel-esque moments of euphonious orchestration. 

MOTB are a band that have soared from strength-to-strength with every album by delving further into their individual personalities to explore new sounds and composition techniques. In doing so the band have reached new territory exploring a more deceivingly moody soundscape than ‘Trials’ which is both technically challenging yet entirely danceable.

‘Digital Tropics’ is a work of relentless convergence and exploratory disposal that reaches to the heart of both emotional and creative expression. The result of which has created MOTB’s most diverse and accomplished album to date.

Previous praise for Mutiny On The Bounty

  • “…a must-hear for anyone who enjoys their technical, melodic rock” – Rock Sound (9/10)
  • “…Mutiny On The Bounty’s wild time signatures and eclectic post-hardcore yelps invite the desire to listen again and again” – Kerrang! (4/5)
  • "…with careering riffs and electronic blips, this is a band that are intent on transporting you to another world” ­– Big Cheese (3/5)

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The Acorn reveal first new track in nearly five years

The Acorn

Track release: "Influence" by The Acorn
Release date: available now
Listen / more information: The Acorn website

"Off The Acorn's upcoming album Vieux Loup, "Influence" opens with an infectious acoustic guitar riff and hollowed synths that float in tandem with Klausener’s barely audible vocals, creating a sound that is entirely minimalist in its execution." – Noisey

Experimental indie-electro band The Acorn have revealed their first new music in nearly five years. The recording project of Ottawa-based musician Rolf Klausener, The Acorn will release their new studio album Vieux Loup this spring on Paper Bag Records. 

"What started as a character study on privilege, became more of a treatise on effortless confidence: like Don Cheadle strutting down the street high-fiving his worst enemies," says the band's Rolf Klausener about 'Influence'. "It was written around this lilting vocal improvisation that had no discernible verse or chorus; I wanted the melody to float from bedroom to bar, happily lost, immune to stink eyes."

Speaking to Noisey, Klausener says "I never stopped writing, but in practical terms, I didn't want a rebound," says Klausener. "The period around our last record No Ghost contained some significant break-ups, both professionally and personally. I wasn't ready to commit to anything, musically or otherwise. I'd lost perspective of the project's place in my life, and felt saddled to a horse I didn't recognize, or even know how to ride. By 2014, all distractions were exhausted, and so was I. So, I walked my ass to a cottage to root through four years worth of unfinished demos and make a lot of congee. I came home feeling like I was ready to reclaim my pony, even if she was called The Acorn." 

The Acorn will be performing as part of the Paper Bag Records SXSW Showcase at The Parish Underground (214 East 6th) on Friday, March 20th.  The Acorn will be joined by Grey Lands, Elliott BROOD, Frog Eyes, PS I Love You, and Princess Century.

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"Wissenschaftslehre IV or Opinion Crisis" by Sharks' Teeth out in March

Sharks' Teeth album artwork

Album release: "Wissenschaftslehre IV or Opinion Crisis" by Sharks' Teeth
Release date: 17 March 2015
Label: Paco Tapes
Listen on: Sharks' Teeth website

Sharks’ Teeth began in 2009 as an outlet for the solo recordings of Tyler Scurlock, songwriter and guitarist of New Orleans indie band, Sun Hotel. Six years and six synthesizers later, and Sharks’ Teeth are ready to release their 17th album ‘Wissenschaftslehre IV or Opinion Crisis’. The new album will be the fourth instalment in a sequence of ambient collections known as ‘Wissenschaftslehres’.

Borrowing its name from the German Philosopher, Johann Fichte, who used the term to mean something along the lines of “this is the way I think”, ‘Opinion Crisis’ comes to us in 22 tracks of pleasing yet dark, and dejected synth waves, maintaining a sense of otherworldly beauty across the board, with gorgeous pads and arpeggiators making their way across the stereo field in a hazy, oxymoronically lo-fi, cassette-recorded fashion.

True to its heritage ‘Opinion Crisis’ is philosophical in its execution. There is something almost cinematic in its design. Scurlock says “I think about how when the score enters a film, it can make a scene of an everyday task such as grocery shopping, folding your laundry, or just staring out the window appear to be an emotional and deeply meaningful experience, depending on the musical tones”.

Lead track, ‘Jade Oscilloscope Screen’ exemplifies this perfectly by blending dark, melancholic and swelling drones, with beguiling piano and subtle sweeps, which seduces the listener into forgoing any distractions and gives them a bespoke feeling of significance. It’s soothing, accommodating, and at times it is evocative of an outer body experience allowing the listener to inspect every element of their own mise en scène. This is more than just an album of pleasing synth driven tracks, it’s a collection of emotions and moods bestowed on to the listener for his/her own subjective delineation.

‘Wissenschaftslehre IV or ‘Opinion Crisis’ will also be the first release to feature the use of Scurlock’s very own design for a light operated delay device, the ‘Alter-Echo’. This unit, designed and distributed by Scurlock’s small time circuit bending operation kindinstruments.com, gives the tracks on ‘Opinion Crisis’ a new quality, made possible through a new way of controlling the expression of tone. These unfamiliar textures reveal themselves in the warped strings of opening track ‘Reader’s Digest Go Unread’ and in the bending and bouncing melody of ‘Gray Court’.

‘Opinion Crisis’ is a lush experience, with flittering electronic haze and minimal vocal work, seeming to allude to leisure and faith. It’s when explicit structure reveals itself from this record’s reverb-y fog that makes this the kind of record worth paying attention to the little sonic details.

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New single from Meltybrains? coming in February

Meltybrains

Single release: Donegal / IV (double A side) from Meltybrains? 
Release date: February 2015
Label: Meltylabs?
Listen / more information: on Bandcamp

“Confounding categorization, loaded with an almost intimidating energy, loads of humour, and some awesome wig out moments, these boys have some serious talent and entertainment chops.” - The Irish Times

Meltybrains? is an exercise in electronic creativity doused with charm. Completing the full line up of bass, drums, electric violin, synthesisers and effected vocals, are five individuals, each more curiously charismatic than the last, with a sound progressing far beyond their already striking influences.

After playfully throwing out various tracks over the years (inspired by hip-hop, IDM, rock and contemporary classical music among other things), the band’s first full EP ‘Free Kyle’ recognized their own brand of stringed electronica and a distorted vocal technique which could rightfully be claimed as their signature. This first EP was the real beginning of their industrious endeavours, but a second closely followed, ‘Attention! Now That We Have Your Attention’, prophetically establishing the band as an act to be taken seriously. 

With a strong interest in working with visual arts and by ingratiating their live audience with everything from choreographed dance moves to freely distributed painted masks (an institution for the band now, after having created a fearsome force of splattered Meltyclones), the quintet’s live performances are a major part of their appeal. An early achievement for the band was the ambitiously crafted show at The Unitarian Church in Dublin, featuring live visuals. Ever the proactive types, Meltybrains? later put on a co-headline BYOB gig, with Alarmist and visual artists Slipdraft, turning out to be their biggest show to date with 400+ packing into the warehouse. Word quickly spread throughout Ireland and they were subsequently booked for the main summer festivals: Knockanstockan, Castlepalooza and Electric Picnic.

Far from being limited to the shores of Ireland, the Melties have already succeeded in a self organised, self promoted American tour. A FundIt campaign laid the groundwork for this, with rewards adhering to the general Meltybrains? aesthetic; including “we will have tea with your granny”, “you get to appear on a Meltybrains? song”, “join the band for 3 months” and “Brian will get a piercing of your choice”. The campaign, understandably a raucous success, led to a wealth of US gigs being solidified. The tour was made up of shows in San Diego, LA, Austin, Nashville and Cincinnati, through a mixture of support slots, and headline shows. A largely ambitious venture on the bands part, with no outside backing, proved to pay off. Without fail, in each venue, the band was invited back, with the offer to help organize and promote more gigs the next time.

New single ‘Donegal’ features an exemplary occasion for their remarkably celestial dance grooves, and extra opportunity to gather the pack with its primordial howls. Not forgetting the elegantly undulating soundscapes of adjoining A-Side ‘IV’, the strength of these tracks alone will surely allow Meltybrains? to embark upon a prosperous 2015.  

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Experimental four piece Eyes & No Eyes release debut abum

Album release: Eyes & No Eyes (self-titled)
Release date: 31 March 2014
Label: Willkommen Records
Listen: on Bandcamp

Experimental four piece Eyes & No Eyes met at art school in Brighton and developed a shared passion for explosive noise, surreal lyrics, folk-rock, driving motorik beats and free improvisation – whilst never forgetting to keep a solid song foundation.

The band have spent the last year recording their debut album and racking up tours and shows around the UK and Europe with the likes of Do Make Say Think, Gravenhurst, Damo Suzuki and Sons of Noel and Adrian.

The self-titled debut album was recorded live to capture the energetic interplay between the four members – guitar, bass, drums and cello – with some extra analog synths and warped electronics added to thicken the textures by the band and collaborator / co-conspirator Woodpecker Wooliams.

Other sounds were collected from far-flung corners, including overdubs recorded in various cities whilst on the road with Gravenhurst, field recordings of fireworks punctuating the dystopian soundscape of album closer The Drowned World, and even shimmering grand piano ripples recorded in Sydney Opera House.

Piece all that together and you have an album that features unpredictable songwriting and arrangements like those of This Heat and Portishead, delicately walking the fine line between noise and pop drawn up by Sonic Youth and Liars.

The album will be preceded by a 7” single in June featuring the tracks If No One Else Saw It and Flying Machine. The two tracks were recorded during the album sessions, showing the more grand and atmospheric side of the band’s sound. Both tracks seem to stagger into being, stuttering and stalling before beginning to gain pace, eventually taking off, soaring with transcendent grandeur, before being unceremoniously swallowed by an Italian tape echo unit named Melos.

Eyes & No Eyes are also putting the final touches to an electronic side project EP exploring the extinction of birds, fish, languages and technology. The EP is more in the conceptual tradition of Matmos and Kraftwerk, using keyboards, drum machines, found sounds and samples.

Eyes & No Eyes will be released on March 31st via Willkomenn Records and can be pre-ordered here.

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