12 highlights from 2016 that I selected for Thump, Australia.
Ondo Fudd – ‘Blue Dot’ (Trilogy Tapes)
Call Super aka Joe Seaton releases his second 12″ on TT. The first of the 3 track EP is a rhythmic but beatless piece with sporadic chimes, pulsating synthesis and a signalling clarinet. The title track “Blue Dot” channels contemporaries like Jac Berrocal and Pierre Bastien (whose release Blue as an Orange on Morphine Records was another highlight of 2016).
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – ‘Rare Things Grow’ (Western Vinyl)
Kaitlyn has mastered the Buchla easel and showcases this on her second album for Western Vinyl. The Buchla has the “most human sound” which she plays with during an 8 track excursion where the synthesiser meets effortlessly with her processed vocals and lush arrangements. Kaitlyn’s creativity shines and this album marks her as an important figure in contemporary music. This year we also saw her collaborate with pioneer Suzanne Ciani where the stellar Sunergy came to life via the FRKWYS imprint.
Heurco S – ‘Hear Me Out’ (Proibito)
This album will make a lot of end of year lists and rightly so. Heurco S delivered his second full length album, diverting from the sounds of his 2012 LP Colonial Patterns, offering an array of beatless and fragile recordings.
Sugai Ken – ‘Denden’ (Lullabies for Insomniacs)
The debut release on Lullabies for Insomniacs came from Tokyo artist Sugai Ken. On The Quakefish is a collection of sounds that were inspired by Ken’s nocturnal experiences.
Jonathan Fitoussi – ‘Aquarius’ (Further Records)
Parisian based composer and engineer Jounathan Fitoussi creates his gorgeous album Imaginary Lines using the EMS Synthi Aks and the Yamaha YC45D. This LP would would nicely next to your favourite Innovative Communication records.
Sova Stroj – ‘We Dance When The Sky Turned Red’ (Testtoon Records)
Luxembourg producer Michel Flammant’s (Sova Stroj) debut album Silent Earth traverses into a concentrated space of dark atmospheres.
Unearth Noise – ‘Redemption’ (Lullabies for Insomniacs)
Roger Berkowitz aka Unearth Noise puts it nicely: “An ounce of weed will cost you around 400 bucks. You have to travel far and wide for Ayahuasca or Peyote and you may never return. Oxy is running around 40 bucks, and street heroin, well don’t mess with it, but the good news is my new heavy-weight double LP is available for pre-order on LFI records for only $22, and it will get you very stoned with no side effects. That I know of. Come on, folks, baby needs a new pair of shoes…”
Milan W – ‘Contender’ (Jj Funhouse)
Top notch album from Belgian producer Milan W who first came to our attention on the Ekster compilation. Looking forward to hearing what’s next.
Legowelt – ‘Wild at Heart’ (BAKK)
“Wild at Heart” was released on a lovely 3 track EP by The Hague label Bakk. Legowelt is a master of the analogue studio. Here he shares with us a glistening piece that evolves over 11 minutes at a hypnotic pace. The crew at Bakk once again bring us a beautiful package with a screen printed sleeve made using “a carpet that lays on the ground of my girlfriend’s grandmothers place in Warsaw. It’s a super nice carpet.”
Synth Sisters – ‘I’m Calling You from a Distance’ (71853 Records)
The debut album for Japanese duo Synth Sisters has been described as “a womanly twin incarnation of Terry Riley.” For the listener there may be similarities, for instance the use of repetition to create a deeply immersive experience. The Synth Sisters head for incorporeal status with this live recording of them improvising using synthesisers, their voices and effects. It originally came out on CD in 2014 but was given a vinyl issue this year on Chee Shimizu’s label 71853. The album also features the mind bending track “A.u.b.e.”
Wilson and Tanner – ;Sun Room’ (Growing Bin Records)
“69” was made soon after Australian musicians Andrew Wilson (Andras Fox) and Johnn Tanner (Eleventeen Eston) first met. The sincere recordings transport you a mid summer’s Australian day whilst bathing on a deserted beach, a gentle breeze brushes your sun-kissed skin.
Baleine 300 – ‘Heroica (Ambient mix)’ (Vlek)
What struck me first was the beauty and detail of the packaging; embossed, stamped, and etched as an edition of 350. After listening, there was surprise–Heroica makes up the entire B side, its swirling synths and processed vocals are infectious and will make you smile. The A side features 6 quirky, off-kilter pop tracks with catchy melodies and lyrics by Japanese native Jun Kamoda.