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The Best New Music You Missed In October
Karl Smith , November 21st, 2016 19:09

Better late than never, in a month that could use more than a little good news, we've collected all of the best new music that might have slipped under your radar this October — and right some wrongs with the one's we missed ourselves

In 2016, this most heinous of years, looking on the bright side in the face of all clear evidence – searching for positivity where, objectively, there is none – seems, at best, to be the folly of the naïve; a luxury afforded to the privileged, for whom the creeping dread is either existential rather than imminent or simply nonexistent. At worst it’s the last refuge of the complicit. Either way, it’s no longer so much a case of looking for that silver lining as gilding a house built exclusively from fire and faeces and trying to muster a smile when it catches the light in just the right way for two seconds twice a day.

But, that being said: here we are, in that smallest of sunlit windows – better late than never – to right our wrongs and bring the smallest semblance of joy to your lives with the best of October’s new music that somehow slipped through the cracks.

Oren Ambarchi - Hubris
(Editions Mego)

Over recent releases busy busy bee, Oren Ambarchi has created fascinating work using Krautrock and techno as jumping off points. On Hubris, the Australian guitarist takes his opening cues from a much stranger source however. The opening track ('Part 1') showcases his apparent love for the (extremely fresh, ultra-poppin') 1985 Wang Chung OST from William Friedkin's To Live And Die In LA (which despite the Ambarchi seal of approval is arguably neither the new wave duo nor the director's finest moment). What he has wrought (with the notable help of Mark Fell on electronic percussion and Jim O'Rourke on guitar synth) sounds more like Bush Of Ghosts era Byrne and Eno going 80s new age synth disco. The standout track however is 'Part 3', which hits a darker and much more satisfyingly demented vein of skronk, via Keith Fullerton Whitman's misfiring synths, Ricardo Villalobos' smooth electronic tones and Arto Lindsay's brutalist guitar strafes over a rattling car chase funk rhythm laid down by Joe Talia and Will Guthrie, before everyone concedes the floor to Ambarchi who revels in an epic, copper-bottomed axe freak out. It is essentially Weather Report, Massacre and the Live Evil rhythm section doing Jan Hammer's 'Crockett's Theme'. And don't pretend you don't want to hear what that sounds like. John Doran

Bully Fae - Defy A Thing To Be
(Vague Terrain)

Later this year, Matmos' Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt will get in a van and travel up the coast of Trump's America with their washing machine and Bully Fae squished in the back. The Quietus first encountered Fae when Drew Daniel requested a track from the LA-based rapper and artist for our Krakow Quietus Hour Special. Fae took up the dictaphone before she picked up the mic, and this debut album is a strange, witty and brilliant exercise in minimal rap, coming across as sketches over abstract thoughts as much muttered as rapped about "abjection, seduction, addiction, and queerness" and invoking, as she puts it in one live performance on YouTube, "the stylish witch of petulant quips who grins like a homosexual technology". 'Somnambulist Music ("we" spirit terminal performance climate)' is as minimal as they come, Fae's tripped-up flow over backing woozes. 'Sissy Fatigue' is the banger, about as perfect a song we've heard that goes on for less than 90s seconds involving bleach and chlamydia all year. Dirty, austere, queerly fun this is the sort of defiantly odd underground record that's going to become ever more important in this new dark age of America. Luke Turner

Georgia - All Kind Music
(Palto Flats)

New York-based Georgia’s recent 12” released via Charles Drakeford’s F T D label saw them take in an assortment of animated, warped melodies, be it the plucked harps of opener ‘Planned Dialogue’ or the skewed vocal cut-ups of ‘Pey Woman’. Having already released an album via Belgium’s Meakusma label, their second LP finds them turning up on New York label Palto Flats and branching out their lively, avant-garde electronics ever further.

Opener ‘Petwo, Reality Souf Broker’ recalls the excellent percussive work of their F T D-released ‘Longry’, while album highlight ‘Ama Yes Azume’ is punctuated by the vocals of Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, her voice fluttering over tinkering pianos and soothing pads, until at the half-way mark, it turns into a curiously odd percussion jam eschewing any real rhythm. On All Kind Music, Georgia combine new age and Japanese ambient influences with more simple song structures, in relative terms, such as that found on ‘Slow Dance’, marking it out as a fitting end to an excellent year for both the New York pair and Palto Flats. Christian Eede


That it's been a big year for British hip hop is hardly something you're likely to have missed: Skepta not only finally released Konnichiwa, the follow-up to 2011's Doin' It Again, but also managed to beat off Bowie's Blackstar to claim this year's Mercury Prize and, as the genre's unofficial standard bearer, was instrumental in facilitating grime's transatlantic success in 2016 (even if some might say, not entirely incorrectly, that it was all a little too late). But, while Skepta may have the Tunes — and subsequently you're perhaps less likely to hear GAIKA on the soundtrack to Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's HBO sports drama Ballers — but SPAGHETTO, GAIKA's first release after signing for WARP, continues the work of its predecessors (MACHINE and SECURITY) in pushing against the parameters of in-vogue British black music.

Perhaps the most successful thus far, and further testament to Dazed's labelling of the musician as "electronic music’s answer to Basquiat," SPAGHETTO creates a two-way permeable sonic membrane allowing for a constant flow and interplay of ideas. These eight tracks are an intense commingling of dancehall, sparse, ambient quasi-gothica, and dark electronics that form a murky, dystopian soup at once disconcerting and addictive — as fit to usurp Richard Wagner's prominent place in Lars Von Trier's Depression Trilogy or Clint Mansell's place on the soundtrack for Ben Wheatley's High-Rise as for the club. Karl Smith

Shirley Collins — Lodestar
(Domino)"Lodestar sees Shirley Collins creating a boundary-pushing, exhilarating work by doing nothing other than what she does best: reanimating the folk songs of Britain with all the respect and veneration she feels for them." — Danny Riley

Laura Cannell — Simultaneous Flight Movement
(Front and Follow)"Comparing Simultaneous Flight Movement to either of Laura Cannell’s previous albums would be inappropriate because her body of work needs to be taken as a whole broken into chapters rather than a series of missives, but it represents another step on a fascinating, rich and unique musical journey." — Joseph Burnett

Acid Arab — Musique de France
(Crammed Discs)"Musique de France isn’t an indiscriminate smash and grab of appropriation, it’s a wonderfully organic and experimental and occasionally psychedelic record that will take you to interesting places if you’ll let it." — Jeremy Allen

Kuedo — Slow Knife
(Planet Mu)"If Severant felt like a musical reflection of the teeming plazas from the anime version of Metropolis, Slow Knife is a walk through the perpetual rain in Blade Runner’s Los Angeles"

Tracks of the Month

GAIKA – 'Glad We Found It'
Elmo Crumb – 'I Man A Canary Bird'
Mica Levi & Oliver Coates – 'Barok Main'
Kuedo – 'In Your Sleep'
Membranes – 'The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light' (Clint Mansell remix)
Sex Swing – 'Karnak'