Persian piano, new age bliss and an unfiltered WPNry dance floor.
This week’s recap is by VF’s Will Pritchard and Lazlo Rugoff, alongside Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.
(Catch Wave Ltd / Ergot Records)
The word esoteric gets used a lot these days, so we’ll spare you the chance. What we have here is something beautifully unique: compositions that are almost childlike in their curiosity and sweet wanderlust. Piano, chimes, Wurlitzer and the occasional vocal whisper all in quiet, respectful and humbly complex conversation with each other. Dominique Lawalrée’s songs are not so much soothing as they are invigorating in their unassuming embrace. –WP
Ploy pays homage to one of London’s finest clubs – Venue MOT – with their latest EP, Unit 18. Drawing heavily from soundsystem and rave culture, this three-track EP was cast for the wee hours at unit 18. As Ploy puts it: and ripples, vampires chase their victim through a crowded rave, before feasting on flesh. Expect to hear “Stinky” rocking the dance floors all summer long. – L/R
Selected Improvisations from Golha, Pt. I
(Death is not the end)
Broadcast on Iranian National Radio as part of the station’s Golha cultural showcase, these time capsules embrace the period 1956-1965 and feature the work of pianist Morteza Mahjubi. A formidable improviser and instrumental innovator, Mahjubi tuned his piano in a way that allowed him to play in the microtonal ranges of traditional Persian music and fluidly recall the instrumental style of Persian instruments such as the tar, the setar and the santur. Haunting and idiosyncratic, this is a unique collection charged with Mahjubi’s lifelong dedication to musical form and expression. – J.H.
Touching Bass Presents: Soon Come
(Touch the bass)
With the release of their latest compilation, come soon, Touching Bass are proving to be one of the UK’s most exciting independent labels. Led by Alex Rita and Errol – two stalwarts of South London’s thriving music scene – come soon celebrates the creative vibrancy of their community, featuring local talents such as Wu-Lu, Nala Sinephro and Demae, as well as international collaborators like Clever Austin of Hiatus Kiayote. Combining break-beat, neo-soul and jazz, come soon swings between dancefloor-friendly bangers and seductive, hazy grooves on 22 wondrous tracks. A precursor to the summer compilation. – AVD
WPN-1 / WPN-2
Kristian Jabs, aka Pessimist, the versatile Bristol-based DJ and producer, returns to UVB-76 with two furiously fast bass cuts, “WPN-1” and “WPN-2”. After frenetic tribal drumming on side A, things get hardcore on the fly as he drops the tempo from 170 to 130 with a breakbeat-inspired drum pattern. Both tracks are incredibly well produced. A promising and truly triumphant return to the label for this highly regarded producer. – E.H.
Valley Of The Sun: Field Guide To Inner Harmony
Another stunning compilation from Numero Group, this one featuring the boundary-pushing production of Valley Of The Sun – a Californian New Age label dedicated to realizing a “vision of inner harmony music”. While critics have long ridiculed new age music as dishonest and contrived, this compilation reframes it as a truly transgressive and experimental genre. valley of the sun approaches the path of inner harmony with a sense of adventure, veering off into unexpected terrain; think Haruomi Hosono’s pulsating synth lines alongside field recordings of the wind. This compilation is a feast for the ears: full of otherworldly hypnagogic beats and celestial choirs that climax and crescendo with jaw-dropping power. – AVD
Brooklyn-based Korean-American superstar Yaeji is re-releasing two of his most famous works from the very beginning of his career. Collectively titled as EP 1 + EP 2, the resulting album features the club’s iconic anthem ‘Raingurl’ – a playful tune that has brought smiles to faces the world over in the roughly half-decade since its first appearance. This body of work reflects Yaeji’s diverse abilities when it comes to storytelling, spanning explorations of the anonymity of the dance floor before morphing into online musical experiences. – E.H.
Aquatic and other worlds
Compiling key works from the period between 1983 and 1989, Aquatic and other worlds is the first release from Venezuelan synth pioneer Oksana Linde. Despite having produced work for television and theatre, the extensive production archive that Linde has compiled in his Caracas-based studio has remained unreleased – something Buh Records is fixing with this welcome vinyl release. Exploring Linde’s approach to world-building and story-driven composition, these tracks layer and interlock electronic forms, moving away from purely textural experiments and keeping a strong sense of musicality at the forefront. – J.H.
Layout: Sound Design Works 1986-1989
WRWTFWW are truly the kings of Japanese ambient reissues. Turning their gaze to the work of Yutaka Hirose, Layout: Sound Design Works 1986-1989 brings together eleven unreleased tracks on two discs. Across 11 tracks, Hirose weaves a gassy ambient tapestry with delicate chimes, aquatic sound design and cloud-like electronics. – L/R
(Sneaker Social Club)
Bristol’s Low End Activist, aka Patrick Conway, puts grime in a broken mixer on this guttural 15-track. Mez, Killa P and others all show up to bring the heat of the pirate radio era to the microphone, but the real intrigue is in tracks like “Cold” and “Bodysnatchers” where Conway extends his model and his inspiration in new areas. It’s the best kind of studious musical homage. That it’s so much fun is also a bonus. –WP