New releases – October 2019

Aragorn23 – Selected modular atmospheres vol. 1 (digital, self-released)

South African composer and improviser Aragorn23 presents eleven algorithmic pieces for modular synthesizer.
As the title evokes it, the music is quite ambient and relaxing, each piece developing its own little world. While some pieces would remind of late 1970s and 1980s minimalist ambient music, others sound more contemporary. (cdrk)


Various artists – These Are Our Friends Too (digital, FORWARD)

A project worth to support !
“This album is brought to you by Musicians Unite to End FGM (MUTEFGM) and Tse Tse Fly Middle East. These Are Our Friends Too is a unique album that highlights the work FORWARD does towards ending FGM (female genital mutilation). The album continues FORWARD’s These Are Our Friends project, a collection of poetry from young people from London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham that responds to the themes of FGM and its consequences. The first stage of the project resulted in a book of the same name that features more than thirty pieces of work, a short film made with Media Trust, and this new collaboration sees nineteen of the poems re-imagined.

Tse Tse Fly Middle East hand-picked a selection of female artists and musicians, and each one was given a spoken word recording of one of the poems read by members of the FORWARD team and poets from the book. The artists then composed and recorded a sonic background for their designated piece, with the resulting spoken word and experimental music compositions making up this new, nineteen-track set, These Are Our Friends Too.

The album features contributions from some of the foremost female proponents of noise from Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Serbia, Bulgaria and Sweden, as well as UK-based collaborators. And the visceral, uncompromising and unsettling tracks that result reflect the disturbing nature of female genital mutilation.” (Tse Tse Fly Middle East)


Yan Jun & Bani Haykal – Rats in the bright southern sky (vinyl & digital, whereisthezeitgeist?editing office)

These tracks were recorded at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Residency Studio, in Singapore by prolific composer, poet and organiser Yan Jun (no-input feedback and contact microphones) and Singaporean researcher and composer Bani Haykal (text, voice and coding), then edited by Yan Jun.
The result of this collaboration is an electroacoustic music album in which voice loops and experiments navigate between waves of noises and feedbacks ; high pitched tones and incidental sonic glitches remind of some Toshimaru Nakamura‘s No​-​Input Mixing Board works while Haykal’s voice brings new elements to this form of onkyokei. (cdrk)


H.Takahashi – Sonne und Wasser (vinyl & digital, Where To Now? Records)

Dreamy minimalistic ambient music at the age of new age, tiny melodies, slow tunes made in Tokyo.
Takahashi tells : “I wanted to express the plant that was slow, quiet, powerful, and full of vitality. In an attempt to express the world of one plant, the four songs that make up this album are all based on the first one, ‘Nymphaea’… The melody, chord and tone throughout become familiar, and each change of scene is expressed by subtly changing the arrangement and development of sounds. This is intended for when you want to feel like a plant, or as an indoor soundtrack – I want the music to be played so that it decorates the plants within a room.”


Ouwan Itaru – Conceptual Works  (digital, equnatrecord)

There’s Goh Lee Kwang in Malaysia who releases zillions of tracks per month and then Ouwan Itaru in Japan who releases an insane amount of tracks too.
Free improv noise, very wild drums, guitar, distortion and noise. (cdrk)


Goh Lee Kwang – OnTheNight (digital, self-released)

Long improvisation for electronic, hypnotic, somehow noisy but not on the harsh noise side. (cdrk)


Hiroyuki Ura – Ghost Note (tape & digital, Zoomin’ Night)

If you are familiar with solo drums compositions of Morihide Sawada, this might be of interest. Track one is a half an hour solo for snare, track two for cymbal.
Both minimalistic pieces are performed gently, unlike Ryosuke Kiyasu‘s wild performances for snare. (cdrk)


Yang Haisong – Fictional film music (tape & digital, Zoomin’ Night)

Very repetitive ambient experimentation by Chinese composer Yang Haisong.
“Yang Haisong is lead singer of P.K.14, one of the top legendary indie rock bands from China, and he is also the CEO of indie rock label Maybe Mars. Beside these main roles, he also has some side projects including Dear Eloise, After Argument, Blonde Eskimo, collaboration with Xie Yugang (Wang Wen), and his tiny label Share The Obstacles. Yang is a poet, a novelist, and also a music engineer/producer. His work could be found in many Chinese rock bands’ debut album. In these two or three years, Yang involved in some film music projects, but for this cassette album, it does not belong to anyone. In the recording, Yang talks about a fictional movie as while as real life’s concealing and uncertain.” (Zoomin’ Night)


Slikback & Hyph11E – Slip B (digital, SVBKVLT)

I’ve been following parts of the bass music and rhythmic electronic scene in China for a while now and the Kenyan one for a shorter time in the recent years too. I now and then thought that musically speaking there were connections between the work of several of those artists such as Zaliva-D (China) or Slikback (Kenya) for example. And here we go. Here’s a beat-oriented collaboration between Shangainese composer and dj Hyph11E and Nairobi based composer Slikback ! (cdrk)

“SVBKVLT invited Kenyan producer Slikback to China for a 3-week tour and residency in April 2019. During these 3 weeks, Slikback performed in 5 cities (Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing), spending time in the studio with artists throughout the tour. The results of these studio sessions are now being presented in the form of two EPs, to be released simultaneously across the two labels Hakuna Kulala (Uganda) and SVBKVLT (China)”


Slikback / 33EMYBW / Osheyack / Yen Tech – Slip A (digital, Hakuna Kulala)

Released at the same time than Slikback & Hyph11E – Slip B, this release features three pieces of beat and bass music by Slikback & Yen Tech, Slikback & 33EMYBW, Slikback & Osheyack. The musicians started to compose the tracks in China and then finished remotely between Nairobi and Shanghai and present a nice mix of all these artists’s styles. (cdrk)


TENGGER – Shikoku (tape & digital, self-released)

Following a pilgrimage on Shikoku island, the South Korean-Japanese project delivers us a double cassette (contact them for ordering it) that, to my knowledge, doesn’t sound to any of their previous recordings. While the duo (Itta & Marqido) performed a mix of noise and psychedelic improvised music at its very beginning (back then called 10) and dived deeper into (partly electronic) psychedelic music, this new release first four tracks are made of field recordings of people (praying at a buddhist temple ?), bells and so on, pitched in some cases ; the five other ones are very minimalistic and meditative recordings of bells (I suppose tsurigane) and silence. (cdrk)


СРАНЪ & brokenchelust – Split (digital, self-released)

СРАНЪ, a Russian punk and grindcore project from Tolyatti, Russia shares this release with noisegrind artist brokenchelust from Baku, Azerbaijan.
Expect a lot of distorted sounds. (cdrk)


Rey Sapienz – Mushoro (tape & digital, Hakuna Kulala)

While Congolese artist Rey Sapienz tends to be hip hop oriented live, his second release on the Ugandan label introduces us to a lot of instrumental pieces (but a few sung tracks are also included, sometimes more sung than rapped), slow beats with various influences from mutant dancehall to electronica. This release could be a modern version of Noir et Blanc this electronic afropop gem published in 1983 by Hector Zazou, Bony Bikaye and CY1. (cdrk)


MC Yallah x Debmaster (tape & digital, Hakuna Kulala)

Amazing collaboration between Ugandan-born, Kenyan-based MC Yallah and French distorted hip hop composer Debmaster.
Live or in the studio, MC Yallah is simply amazing, her voice, flow and energy – it is only unfortunately I don’t understand Swahili ! The release explores distorted and industrial hip hop, as well as electro hip hop and bass music, dark deep and slow but heavy beats. (cdrk)


Yao Bobby & Simon Grab – Diamonds (vinyl & digital, Lavalava Records)

Togolese -Swiss collaboration by Yao Bobby and Simon Grab who have collaborated in Togo and Switzerland for 15 years and this release is a blast : industrial hip hop and that will change your view on dancehall, feedback and no-input mixing desk, distorted bass, political lyrics sung in French, English and Ewe. And the EP includes… two remixes by Asian Dub Foundation (yes, the 1990s band) member Dhangsha aka Dr Das and Churulian (who also joins them live for the best !). (cdrk)

New releases (June 2019)

Yikii – Flower’s Grave・花之墓 (digital, Genome 6.66Mbp)

Japanese project Yikii presents an album that includes elements of distorted techno dark ambient and above all horror film sound track, like a fairytale gone wrong. (cdrk)


KMRU – OT (digital, self-released)

Joseph Kamaru aka KMRU is a field recordist and ambient artist from Nairobi, Kenya. OT is a three-track release based on a same theme that include ambient strings, field recordings and minimalistic glitch and melodies. (cdrk)


Kenji Kihara – Dawn (CDr & digital, eilean rec.)

“Kenji Kihara is a Japanese musician based in Hayama, in Japan, a place surrounded by nature near to the sea and mountains.”
His electronic and ambient works are truly inspired by the sound of nature. His music oscillates between ambient and new age. (cdrk)


Aken’s Sleep – Beauty in Decay (digital, self-released)

Ambient guitar composition by two Egyptian composers : Ali Soliman & Mohammed Ashraf (aka Pie Are Squared), melancholic drones, subtle distortion, and a tiny touch of techno by the end of the release. (cdrk)


Edwin Lo – Field Recordings Archive: The Days in Queen Pier (digital, self-released)

“The recordings speak for themselves on the construction of Central–Wan Chai Bypass.” (In Hong Kong)


維度本身的結構 – Zukunft (digital, Shanshui)

維度本身的結構 one of the monikers of Chinese musician Sun Dawei aka Sulumi. Known for his techno and breakcore projects, Sun Dawei introduces us to a more intimate atmosphere : ambient guitar and electronics. (cdrk)


Don Zilla – From the Cave to the World (digital, Hakuna Kulala)

Two drastically different pieces by Kampala’s composer Don Zilla. The first track explores a dark side of Ugandan bass music, the second one is a twelve-minutes dark ambient piece that sounds like a soundtrack made in a submarine. (cdrk)


Jeritan – Chaos EP (digital, self-released)

Indonesian solo project Jeritan introduces us to a world of harsh noise, glitch and epileptic micro-loops. (cdrk)


Various artists – in his knotty ears, the donkey’s bells would jangle (cassette & digital, AqTushetii)

“in his knotty ears, the donkey’s bells would jangle’ is a selection of music either performed live, bootlegged, composed, or partly developed at AqTushetii artist residency & festival, summer 2018. Mirroring the diversity of the residents that took part, this compilation is an eclectic mix of genres and styles — musique concrete, computer music, Ashiq music, Circassian folk, post-industrial, modular synthesis, electro-acoustic music, tape collage, noise, drone, ambient, audiobook — from different parts of the world: Georgia, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, North Caucasus, USA, UK.”
Georgian artists include Mess_montage, Vo Ezn, VAZHMARR, TeTe Noise, etc.


Various artists – place : georgia (digital, place)

“place : is country specific – electronic music compilations where the proceeds are donated to local human rights groups. Highlight the local producers, and bring awareness to the social causes that are important to the creative community there.
In May 2018, Georgian police raided multiple popular clubs in Tbilisi, using excessive force against workers and guests. The officially stated reason for the raid is due to recent drug-related deaths and accusations of drug trafficking.
Proceeds from this release will be donated to the Georgian organisation Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC).
The compilation includes a lot of Georgian artists from the local electronic music scene, mostly techno and ambient : Hanker, Benvol, Natalie Beridze, etc.
More information about the protest that happened in Tbilisi following this link The first protest expressed through massive rave to electronic music in Tbilisi (Georgian Journal).


Theo Nugraha & Tesla Manaf – Sikap Eksploratif (digital, Noise Bombing)

“This composition uses an improvised practice approach. Each artist responds to the sounds that are present and explores the possibilities.”
Sound collage influenced by Indonesian popular music, electroacoustic, free improv, noise, tape experimentation, electronics and film samples. (cdrk)


Dharma – Electric Animism (cassette & digital, self-released)

Dharma, member of famous Singaporean band The Observatory, is a brilliant guitar player, his new release composed with electric guitar, effects and objects i a powerful adventure into drone, free improvised and industrial music. (cdrk)


TENGGER – Spiritual 2 (CD, vinyl & digital, Beyond Beyond is Beyond)

“TENGGER is a traveling musical family, made up of Pan-Asian couple, itta and Marqido, who create their brand of psychedelic New-Age drone magic through the use of harmonium, voice, and toy instruments (played by itta) and analogue synths (played by Marqido). The duo originally started out with the moniker “10” but since the birth of their son RAAI (who joins them on tour and often on stage) in 2012, have called themselves TENGGER (meaning ‘unlimited expanse of sky’ in Mongolian) to mark the expansion of the family. It also means ‘huge sea’ in Hungarian.”
This new album is probably their most ambient and psychedelic release.


Various artists – Peninsula Volume 1 (digital, Liquid Frequency)

Liquid Frequency is an Indian label known for its psy trance releases but this time Yidam selected ten artists and duos who play ambient and new age music, among them, drill┼mallo, Subhas Mazumdar, Shivacult, and Coma Conscience. Field recordings, minimalistic atmospheres, drones, electronica, a lot of relaxing music. (cdrk)


Yan Jun – Plays John Cage (cassette, digital, foreign lands)

“Yan Jun is a musician and poet, based in Beijing. His work involves performative music, experimental composition, field recording, improvised music, experimental electronic music and relative presentation of exhibition.
He uses non-musical materials such as the body, blankness, in-situ conditions and everyday noise.
In further, he experiments on structure and concept of music.”


Koeosaeme – OBANIKESHI (vinyl, digital, Orange Milk Records)

Yoshizawa Ryu “Koeosaeme”‘s album is a very nice and diverse composition between collage and modern electroacoustic music that blends violin, sound design, glitch, deconstructed electronic beats and the likes. (cdrk)


aragorn23 – Desert Meditation Drone (digital, self-released)

South African artist aragorn23 aka Asqus composes generative music with modular synthesiser. Desert Meditation Drone is a 23 minutes long ambient piece. (cdrk)


Omar Fadel Hadi – The Room (digital, self-released)

Four compositions by Iraqi musician Omar Fadel Hadi. Mostly ambient, with a touch of post rock for the third track Minimal. (cdrk)


Farouk Adil – Continuum (digital, self-released)

Farouk Adil is an very prolific musician from Iraq who mostly works in the field of ambient music, sometimes techno or electronica and organises small events in Baghdad.
Continuum is a collection of field recordings, a project from The Institution Of Fine Art in Baghdad. (cdrk)


Hüma Utku – Gnosis (vinyl & digital, Karlrecords)

Turkish musician Hüma Utku aka R.A.N. just published her second vinyl on Berlin-based label Karlrecords. Far away from her electronica composition, she now composes hypnotic and ritualistic beats and dark ambient. (cdrk)


Izumi Kawasaki – Moromi (cassette & digital, Gerpfast Record)

Izumi Kawasaki is a Japanese multidisciplinary artist active since the 1990s whose noise career started in 2018. Moromi is her first album. Expect harsh noise and syncopated distorted loops. (cdrk)


Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective – Degradation (digital, Flaming Pines)

Composed and produced by Zach, with instrumentation by Lam Lam, voice by Lý Trang and Harvey Stauss and engineering by Đỗ Tấn Sĩ, the international project Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective, based in Ho Chi Minh takes a more abstract direction than their previous album Libyan Circle Voice Simulation. Glitch, ambient, heavy basses. (cdrk)

Back after two years on hold !

Hello,

After two years and a half on hold, too busy with other projects, I decided to reactivate this blog. This website will be run in parallel with the newsletter of Syrphe that is being sent at least once per month. Running the label, radio shows, composing music, doing some research and writing, as well as organising events keeps me very busy, so publishing or forwarding news, events, and releases here is time consuming for me hence, I’m looking for a collaborator or two if you think you could help, at least for posting some news and short reviews, interviews or new releases from artists from Asia, Africa and perhaps Latin America, feel free to contact me (preferably if you are from or live in Asia/the Mid East/Africa/Latin America), send me a few words about you and what you’d like to do. Reviews/news, perhaps articles would be published in English but could also be bilingual if you master another language such as  Indonesian, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Swahili, French, Spanish, etc. There is no money involved, unfortunately, I do this without any budget, I don’t pay myself and buy a lot of the music I speak about, each time I can.

cdrk

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