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The Best New Music You Missed In June, Chosen By The Quietus
The Quietus , July 11th, 2016 09:58

Here at The Quietus it seems we're not quite the all-seeing eye after all — just a few degrees off of omniscience. And, with that in mind, sometimes we miss things. Our unquestionable omnibenevolence, on the other hand, well, that's got us trying to correct ourselves for your benefit

Music: it's the city that never sleeps — a kind of ludicrous, ever-moving nation state subject to rules simultaneously baffling, frequently ignored, and at odds with the rest of the world. Throw in the quasi-religious fervour it elicits (from excitable PRs to legions of fans poised for war at the slightest hint of criticism) and its sheer pervasiveness on a global scale, what you've got is something like The Vatican.

As ever, though, it's a question — the question — of sheer volume that's got us self-flagellating, and ultimately capitulating with this kind of revisionism: maybe we'll never be able to cover all the new music that deserves to be covered, but we can try, try a little harder, and shine the light a little brighter once a month to point you in the rightest of right directions in a world with no wrong answers.

Elza Soares – The woman at the end of the world (A mulher do fim do mundo)
(Mais Um Discos)

“Woman at the end of the world, I am, I go on, singing, till the end,” intones Elza Soares on the title track of the Brazilian singer’s 34th album. The tumult that her 79 years have contained is little short of head-spinning – having been born in a Rio favela, she was married at 12, widowed at 21, later wedding the footballer Garrincha with whom she was expelled from the country, and suffered domestic abuse, racism and seen her children die from malnutrition – yet her spirit, as this album attests, is one of emboldened resilience. Songs about poverty and hardship sit alongside paeans to life and friendship, yet its most striking feature is its sonic adventurousness. Samba rhythms are the beating heart of the record, but it’s bookended by a capella vocals, the opener ‘Coração do mar’ taking us down the Mangue canal to the chamber strings that underpin that title track and later resurface on ‘Solto’, which gets eclipsed by a furious serrated-edge noise swell, dropping away for a voice-only ode to her mother. In-between, the dense guitar lines and urgent drumming of her collaborators, Passo Torto, the São Paulo band, and producer Guilherme Kastrup among them, combine brilliantly on songs such as the lost-souls journey ‘O Canal’, making an album that rewards its own bravery. While there’s no doubt A mulher do fim do mundo is born out of personal suffering, at a time when the world seems to be eating itself, you’d do well to heed Soares’s song of overcoming.
Laurie Tuffrey

Wolf Müller & Cass. - The Sound Of Glades
(International Feel)

The third in International Feel’s ongoing mini-album series sees the master of madcap percussion Jan Schulte (working as Wolf Müller) come together with ambient producer Cass. to create something that leans more greatly, but not exclusively, on the latter’s established sound, with the title track built on a slowly ascending new age drone and layered under lush forest samples across 16 minutes.

Schulte’s deft hand at weaving expert percussive patterns and love of sounds that can only be described as ‘wonky’ comes through elsewhere however, such as on ‘Aiolos’ where the two’s individual touches can best be heard, meeting in the middle to prove that ‘Balearic’ doesn’t have to be a dirty term. The Sound Of Glades’s five tracks are free-flowing, a natural energy and spark between the two captured flawlessly in a way that doesn’t sound too rehearsed or polished - just two fine producers experimenting in the most enthralling way possible.
Christian Eede

Samaris — Black Lights
(One Little Indian)

Being wrong is easy: all it requires is that you say something stupid — and, as it turns out, more often than not that's actually the most obvious course of action in any given situation. And so, here we are; in the awkward but not unexpected situation of recommending Samaris' Black Lights, an album that just a few weeks ago ranked as "painfully dull". The Icelandic trio have taken their cues from Missy and flip reversed it: pretty much all of the ingredients that seemed to add up to tedium now forming the better, or at least more interesting, parts of their fourth studio album.

It's a release that feels sluggish at first. But, on closer listen, the shrug of "We can't be bothered" feels more like the depths of a kind of unconquerable lethargy, with Þórður Kári Steinþórsson's (admittedly sometimes slightly too) Massive Attack-y trip-hop beats counterpointing the sedateness of Jófríður Ákadóttir's vocals and acting as a reminder of expectation that can't be reached. And "reach" is the operative word where Black Lights is concerned: "yearning" is too strong, requiring as it does a high emotional benchmark as its starting point, whereas what we are presented with is a platform of numbness — a kind of emotional Year Zero, underpinned by Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir's clarinet, used less overtly than on their previously releases. It's a kind of pleading look in musical form, with songs like 'Gradient Sky' and 'Tempo' ("I can't be your tempo") seeming to say "I want to, but I just can't."

Black Lights, then, is a summer album for people who just aren't sure if longer days are really something they want to be dealing with right now.

Helena Hauff — In Session

In anyone else's hands it might be considered rather gauche or naff to use the peak moment in a mix to ram together a megamix of Nitzer Ebb, Front 242's Headhunter and the theme from 2001 - A Space Oddity. Yet Helena Hauff gets away with it with aplomb in this absolute ripper of a session for Mixmag. While her own productions still aren't quite up to the panache of her live sets, it seems reasonable to consider this excursion through barely-known sounds of late 80s and early 90s Frankfurt the be a stand-in, and a work in its own right. Just as is the case with the Hauff uniform of a sensible buttoned-up shirt, the dour intonations throughout bely just how this is about the most fun you could have with your clothes on in the strange month of June. Even better, celebrate this celebration of European toughness with 'em off.
Luke Turner

Jute Gyte - Perdurance

Well, this is fucking horrible. Staying true to the original philosophy of the Nordic second wave, Adam Kalmbach of Missouri’s vision of black metal is of something horrific, monolithic, dislocating, avant garde and essentially unlistenable to anyone bar the most tolerant and desensitised 1% of music fans. NB. I’m not making any claims of good taste or discernment for fans of this racket, as it truly is abysmal when judged by most reasonable criteria. This said, few would be able to deny how impressive this is though. His dedication to formal experimentation (in terms of tempo, instrumentation and microtonal tuning among other things) means there is actually great variety in the sound of Jute Gyte - something of a rarity in black metal by and large - while never giving any quarter to loosening up on the horror and intensity. Their music - to paraphrase John Peel talking about The Fall - is always different; but always like having your face pushed into a belt sander.

The pop scientist Marcus du Sautoy has just published the self-explanatory What We Cannot Know: Explorations At The Edge Of Knowledge, which tries to map out the various borders at which (he claims) science cannot progress usefully beyond. For example at the macro scale, he says, there are objects so far away from us in cosmological terms that we will never see them, as the light will never reach us; while at the micro level there seems to be no limit to how many layers of depth we will find inside the atom… but to what end? As we remove each skin of the Russian doll each new layer we discover makes less sense to us than the last. Kalmbach is interested in similar musical outlands; in taking us up to the logical end point of black metal and then across this border until it falls apart.

At times, such as during the concluding segment of ‘At The Limit Of Fertile Land’, the experiment between running two similar tempos (seven beats to the measure and eight beats to the measure) simultaneously, literally does make the song fall apart into sounding like a fuck up by a DJ who has left two channels open accidentally, letting two tracks clang together (almost) in arhythmic disharmony. But we are led out by our hands to that point and shown: beyond here is just chaos and horror. Here are the outlands of what is just about tolerable.

The most “standard” track on this, by equal turns, thrilling and disgusting bandcamp LP is ‘Palimpsest’ which still manages to sound like Godflesh, Gescom, Blut Aus Nord and King Crimson all falling foul of some terrible legal high, which turned out to be much more potent than anyone involved had planned for.
John Doran

Compilation Release

Nurse With Wound — Dark Fat

“Being a reliably awkward band, [Nurse With Wound’s] Dark Fat isn't quite a live album in the regular sense, but is formed from recordings of their shows and rehearsals, all meticulously collaged together by Stephen Stapleton and Matt Waldron into a generous two-hour dose of brimming excitement, equal parts danger and delight.”
Russell Cuzner

Jambinai — A Hermitage

"This is music reaching, by virtue of its alternating ferocity and tenderness, as far in all directions as possible."

Blood Orange – Freetown Sound

"Freetown is a cosmopolitan album: one could easily argue it’s just as fitting a soundtrack for the streets of Sierra Leone as it is for New York or London."

Steve Gunn – Eyes On The Lines

"It's the sound of Gunn smiling in sunglasses, staring out from on high to who-knows-where."

Huerco S - For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)

"Previously, Brian Leeds made music that you could dance to. Now he makes music to lose yourself in."

Aleksi Perälä — The Colundi Sequence Vol.1 "The Colundi Sequence may not bring about pan-religious world harmony but it has given us one of the most intriguing, emotional electronic music albums of the year. And maybe that’s enough."

Grumbling Fur - ‘Acid Ali Khan’
Family Atlantica - ‘Okoroba’
Pearson Sound - ‘XLB’
HELM - ‘Olympic Mess (Beatrice Dillon Remix)’
Blood Orange – 'Augustine'
M Craft – 'Chemical Trails' Blood Orange – 'By Ourselves'