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Music Of The Month: Albums/EPs On Bandcamp We've Loved In April 2020
The Quietus , May 1st, 2020 08:43

With Bandcamp today (May 1) waiving its fees on all sales through the website, tQ's staffers come together to share some of their favourite music from the last month that you can buy

In March, as the worsening COVID-19 pandemic forced many countries around the world into lockdown and shut down gigs, club nights and festivals for the foreseeable future, Bandcamp lent its support to music-makers who'd seen their main source of income disappear. Waiving its usual 15% cut of sales made via the website in the 24 hours of March 20, the move resulted in the sale of nearly 800,000 items, according to figures shared by Bandcamp, across physical music, merchandise and digital downloads. That amounted to total sales of $4.3 million in just 24 hours, a vast increase on the roughly 47,000 items typically sold on an average Friday.

I'm telling you all of this because Bandcamp is yet again extending that gesture today (May 1) to those who use the platform to sell their music, for a 24-hour period starting from 9am BST. That means that all of the money you spend today on Bandcamp will go in the pockets of artists, with Bandcamp serving as one of the most direct ways that you can support music-makers during this pandemic and anytime beyond it.

On the first fee-waive day in March, some of tQ's trusty writers came together to share their tips for recent music that they loved, and you can read that back here. To accompany today's latest fee-waive action, and because today coincides with our usual end-of-month round-up of our favourite releases, tQ's office team have picked out some albums and EPs released over the last four weeks that we've enjoyed and are available on Bandcamp. You can find those selections if you scroll below, while we've also collected them all together in one place via this handy Buy Music Club list.

Below those picks, we'll also be doing our best to keep on top of some of the releases that have been made newly available on Bandcamp today, be they EPs and tracks, albums, compilations or any other format, from artists we love. The list will be regularly updated throughout the day. If you have any tips that you think we might have missed or should be checking out, do feel free to let us know via social media – we'll be doing our best to keep track of that through the day too.

If you find something you like below and also find that you've still got some cash to spare after supporting these artists, if you're so inclined, you can support tQ through these equally uncertain, bleak months by heading here. A near complete drop-off in advertising revenue (particularly as a result of event cancellations) will very potentially be disastrous for us, so if you can spare the price of a pint or two as a one-off or regular donation, it'll always be gratefully received and put fully back into keeping the site running. We'd like to make it very clear though that we absolutely do not wish to take attention or support away from the many other causes that are on everyone's minds right now, and appreciate that many people are struggling as a result of COVID-19.

Happy virtual digging, and stay safe!

Christian Eede

Albums/EPs

Shabazz Palaces - The Don of Diamond Dreams
(Sub Pop)

While Shabazz Palaces have in the past resisted attempts to label them as part of an Afrofuturist continuum, this album does feel as though it has emerged from an alternate timeline, borrowing and toying with various genres – p-funk, jazz and trap among them – without being fully beholden to any of them. Take the opener, 'Ad Ventures'. It's a gorgeous, playful track that feels like it's been beamed down from a flying saucer. Its narrator is someone for whom "moonlight is my guide," who also knows "the secrets of the Earth," yet is imagining all of this while "singing on the night shift." It's a fable of both the mundane and the extraordinary, set to perky bass arpeggios and snare rolls. 'Wet' is equally peculiar and oddly haunting: a shuffling beat met by a woozy bass line, over which Butler sings "I just like the water cos it's wet." As on many of their tracks, the beats are so minimal that the tracks feel barely tethered to anything. But in fact the opposite is true: the scope of the album is vast, part dreamscape, part soundtrack to an imaginary voyage.
Adam Quarshie - read the full review here

DJ Python - Mas Amable
(Incienso)

New Yorker Brian Piñeyro, AKA DJ Python, regularly describes his sound as "deep reggaeton." Past releases for labels such as Proibito and Dekmantel, as well as his 2017 debut LP Dulce Compañia, have seen him blend the low-slung dembow rhythms of reggaeton with breakbeats and wistful melodies. It's a deeply hypnotic combination that only grows more entrancing on his second album, Mas Amable.

This is partly down to Piñeyro's decision to pull the record together as a continuous piece. (The album has eight tracks but no separations between each.) Opening on five beatless minutes of lush synths and field recordings, Piñeyro soon finds a downtempo 92 BPM groove which he maintains for the remainder, the rhythms occasionally contorting as the LP enters a new movement. Various melodies and vocal snatches snake their way from track to track, growing ever more hypnotic with each passing minute. It's a hugely rewarding full listen and its dreamy nature seems perfectly suited to more reflective lockdown listening.
Christian Eede

MXLX - Serpent
(Kindarad!)

As Serpent progresses, there is a feeling of self-reflection going on. This isn't the same MXLX who released Documents Shredded // Communications Ceased in 2016 or Kicking Away at the Decrepit Walls til the Beautiful Sunshine Blisters Thru the Cracks. He has mellowed, slightly. This is evident on 'Fuckin Had it With You Lot'. A monotone synth drones on in the background as Loveridge rambles on about losing his confidence in people and being sick of it. The final third of the song grows to a distorted crescendo before abruptly stopping. Then the album's standout moment kicks in. On 'Being a Bomb', MXLX just lets rips. It's sheer noise from the beginning.
Nick Roseblade - read the full review here

Vertical Foliage - Love Is A Grasshopper Nearby
(CAMP Editions)

Given I've spent March 2020 fixed by government ruling to the same couple of square kilometres of God's good earth I've been seeking out music that seems to stretch perceptions of geography and time, and the pick of my personal bunch is this record from Vertical Foliage, released on CAMP Editions. (The label has been founded by the CAMP musical residencies, which take place at the top of a remote valley in the French Pyrenees, a few kilometres from the Spanish border, and has its roots in Huddersfield's FUSE art space and the Trans-Pennine/Calder locus of New Weird Britain.)

Vertical Foliage is a collaboration between composers Heloise Tunstall-Behrens (who studied under Eli Keszler during a CAMP residency) and Gryphon Rue that sits just on the right side of a woo woo refraction from the cosmic prism. Recorded in the strangely warm resonance of an abandoned police facility in Mile End, the album might be an attempt at channelling pre-modern vocal and rhythmic exertions, especially on the title track and the excellently-named 'Translucent Cromlech'. 'Pylon Shadow Stenness' has the sort of esoteric rattling Liars summoned on They Were Wrong So We Drowned's interlude tracks, while 'Ancestral Realm' and 'Rutilant' are satisfying arcane drone. Throughout, Love Is A Grasshopper Nearby glistens with hallucinatory, summer atmospheres, a space in which to dream.
Luke Turner

Satan - Toutes Ces Horreurs
(Throatruiner)

The Grenoble four-piece have been going for ten years now, evolving from shrieking grindcore to a sound they call 'possessed punk' – a combo of full-throttle aggression, darkly chiming arpeggios and spidery lead lines. Toutes Ces Horreurs means 'all these horrors' if you want a further idea of what you're letting yourself in for. 'Confiture Pour Cochons' is an unusual intro which blends a tribal folk sound with free-jazz sax and a spoken-word vocal. Then 'La Guerre Lente', with its surging chorus, arrives at a gallop, and the 'Le Sang Du Poète' hits at an even more blistering pace. 'Triste Soeur' fuses spiralling melodic sections with hypnotic riffing, while 'Zone D'Inconfort' clearly wraps hardcore punk in a black metal fog, veering into a blast beat spree midway through, and is finally overwhelmed by the wave of distortion that dominates the next, rather abstract number, 'Peinture Au Plomb'.
David McKenna - read the full review here

Sven Wunder - Eastern Flowers
(Piano Piano)

At the final night of his long-running 'Content Provider' show at the Royal Festival Hall in 2018, the comedian Stewart Lee pointed out that during the show's two year run, it wasn't the jokes about Brexit or Boris Johnson that had aged but instead, a gag about Turkish funk – there now being such an interest in records from the 1970s which blended Turkish folk with Western pop as to warrant a book about it (Daniel Spicer's The Turkish Psychedelic Music Explosion: Anadolu Psych (1965-1980)). Now, artists such as the stellar Altın Gün and Sven Wunder are re-imagining this very music for themselves, with modern electronics and increasingly athletic percussion. A guitarist from Sweden, Wunder released this record as Doğu Çiçekleri last year on Piano Piano, which was finally given a wider release by Light In The Attic this month. The grooves are hard, the guitar lines are sweltering and each track is conceptually part of the bouquet. Tulips, red roses, hibiscus, hyacinths, chamomile, magnolia, daisies – nothing but flowers.
Fergal Kinney

Menzi - Impazamo
(Hakuna Kulala)

Impazamo comes as the breakthrough release from young producer Menzi. One of the pioneers of the Gqom scene as a part of the Infamous Boiz, his work as a producer for South African acts Babes Wodumo and Moonchild Sanelly has occupied his creativity thus far. Now, Menzi dissects the Gqom scene and pastes it back together again. His own coinage of "futuristic gqom" is deeply fitting for the nexus of industrial and techno electronics on this six-tracker. Designed on FL Studio, cult factory for Gqom godfather DJ Lag’s raw thuds and pulses, the propulsive EP celebrates the anti-space of its essential nature.
Esme Bennnett - read the full review here

Blóm - Flower Violence
(Box Records)

It's hard not to feel a little sorry for a band like Blóm. Their debut album feels so urgent and expressive, so wonky, joyous and personal, that it deserves a proper release – its energy more or less demands it's played live. Signed to Box Records, the label of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs frontman Matt Baty, and produced by his fellow pig Sam Grant, they were due to support the porcine riff-masters on tour to celebrate the record's launch. Nevertheless, listened to on record, it's still a whirling, dizzying piece of brilliant noise, laced with psychedelia, peppered with punk rock and fronted with straight-up brilliance by charismatic vocalist Helen Walkinshaw, who addresses queerness, feminism, gender identity and Dostoyevsky. Squalling semi-improvised epic 'Übermensch' is a standout, not only of this record, but of the year so far.
Patrick Clarke

Mike Parker - The Devil's Curators Vol. 1
(Spazio Disponibile)

Mike Parker is what you might consider a psychedelic techno lifer. His work of trippy, wormhole techno for labels such as Tresor, Semantica and his own Geophone, stretches back more than two decades. On his latest record for Donato Dozzy and Neel's always reliable Spazio Disponibile imprint though, Parker experiments with lower tempos than the techno you might usually associate him with. Tapping into a halftime groove, tracks like 'The Demon's Platform' and 'The Melting Mask' are Parker at his head-spinning, hypnotic best. Opener 'Chronogram' is a beatless vortex of full-bodied, drone-y synths, while closing tracks 'Living Colossus' and 'Grey Morph' pick up the pace slightly, hovering a little north of the 100 BPM mark – their menacing synth patterns only pull you in further.
Christian Eede

Bobby Barry - Meccano Club
(Bloxham)

Meccano, if you weren't already aware, is an educational engineering toy, first designed and built in Liverpool 120 years ago by Frank Hornby, it's name being a contraction of 'make and know'. Each pack comes with a selection of brightly-coloured, die cut metal plates and girders along with fully functioning gears, axles, wheels and motors, out of which the construction of model vehicles, machines and the like can take place. Meccano has long been a creative dynamo to those who came under its spell in childhood. Over in France (where Meccano is still produced in a specialist factory in Calais) Pierre Bastien, an avant garde composer and instrument maker built his own music making machine out of Meccano very early on in his unusual career.

Closer to home, before co-founding the BBC Radiophonic Workshop with Daphne Oram in 1958, Desmond Briscoe was a member of his local Meccano Club as a schoolboy. Our very own Bobby Barry playfully draws lines between some of these points to create a dynamic sound collage which utilises an electric shaver, three radiators, a kettle, one scouring pad, a pencil and sharpener, a pestle and mortar and two music boxes as sound sources – but unfortunately, no Meccano. On top of field recordings made in Bắc Kạn, Vietnam; Victoria, Australia and London, 'Physics Out Of School Hours' features the voice of Desmond Briscoe, recorded at his home in 2006.
John Doran

Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi
(Nuclear Blast)

Whilst the influence of dark, minimal pulsing electronica seemed to echo around the edges of Värähtelijä, it's been brought into a sharper focus on Mestarin Kynsi, with opener 'Ilmestys' welcoming the listener with waves of throbbing synths and stark, repetitive rhythms like Cluster's evil twin. 'Kuulen Ääniä Maan Alta' hides a thoroughly malevolent riff behind sparkling John Carpenter-style melodies and a stuttering, techno-inspired drum beat before it finally erupts into a blizzard of filth. 'Uusi Teknokratia' is even more bizarre though. It dashes madly through cascades of erratic bleeps and pulsating keys, what sounds like a skipping Neurosis CD played at an uncomfortably high frequency, galaxies of twisted Lustmord-ian ambience and sparse dubby basslines, and a crazy lead passage that sounds like Ron Asheton cracking open the Ark of the Covenant and peeling out one final ear-bleeding solo before he melts away. It is wild, and manages to flow really organically and confidently, as disorientating and obtuse as it undoubtedly is.
Kez Whelan - read the full review here

Memnon Sa - World Serpent
(Holy Mountain)

World Serpent, the fourth album by Memnon Sa – the London producer Misha Hering – portends disaster. Its doomy, droning soundscapes are ambient music for the daubing of large pentangles in red on chilly marble floors. It's an initiation ritual to an event that I would not want to attend. Or the event that we're all, right now, attending? I listened to this for the first time on a Sunday, on my state-approved walk, and it was the first time during lockdown that music has felt entirely congruent to the low-level but ever present dread of the streets. Sonically, it aspires to that strange mutation of the spiritual found on the early '70s Popol Vuh records, and certain parts of 666 by Aphrodite's Child.

Merida Richards from Virginia Wing does an excellent turn incanting spoken demands – this record feels in many ways the hidden reverse of Hering's work with Virginia Wing, using the same ingredients that conjured that band's sonic utopia to summon its very flipside. But by the time we get to 'Golden Ram of the Sun', something else entirely is happening, A militaristic drum beat propels the glowing synthesisers towards something uplifting, transcendental even; it's a real pay off.
Fergal Kinney

Aisha Orazbayeva – Music for Violin Alone
(Self-Released)

As taut and tender playing works by Bach as it is deft and wild playing John Cage, Aisha Orazbayeva's violin is a sweet revelation on music from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. But it is on the newest works, here, that it most fully comes alive. On 'Circular Bowing Study' by Angharad Davies and Orazbayeva's own 'Ring' (both 2020), the instrument seems to breathe, pulsing and shuddering with sounds more animal than strictly musical, in any traditional sense. In these twin susurruses, bookmarking this most intimate of recitals, a whole world of sounds opens up, like clouds you can pass through and get lost in.

Said to be recorded as "a response to a loss of work and a way to be heard again", Music for Violin Alone is the fourth solo album by Kazakh violinist Orazbayeva, a musician know for her work with Apartment House and Ensemble Neon, her collaborations with the likes of Tim Etchells and Peter Zinovieff, her fearlessly experimental approach to work from Telemann to Scelsi. It has been three and a half years since her last release, a dazzlingly inventive take on the Telemann Fantasias. Let's hope this record marks a return to more regular recording and releasing.
Bobby Barry

New Releases On Bandcamp Today (May 1)

EPs/Tracks

!!! - 'I'm Sick Of This' / 'So We Can Fuck'
Blood Everywhere - Songs For The Dark Outside
DB1 - Sparse #3
DJC (Jam City) - DJC Vol. 1
Emika - Chaos Star
F&E - Sparse #4
Homemade Weapons - Dust
JD Twitch - May Day EP [100% of proceeds going to Glasgow food banks]
Ka Baird - Bespires
Kode9 - Memories of the Future Instrumentals: Lost Dubs Vol.3 [2006]
Lawrence English - Lassitude
Loefah - 'Midnight' / 'Woman'
Loraine James - Bangers and Mash
Loscil - Faults, Coasts, Lines
Surgeon - Rare & Unreleased 1999 - 2008 / THX​-​1138​/​9
Zenker Brothers - Mad System
ZULI - Trigger Finger (Remixes)

LPs

Cloud Nothings - Live Recordings
dBridge - Inhibited
Deerhoof - Surprise Symphonies
Elysia Crampton - ORCORARA 2010
Eyvind Kang - Ajaeng Ajaeng
GNOD - Gestalt
Hiro Kone - Under My Feet. | Live London
Klara Lewis - Ingrid
Klein - Frozen
Land Trance - First Seance
M. Geddes Gengras - Time Makes Nothing Happen
Mogwai - ZeroZeroZero
Moor Mother - CLEPSYDRA
Oliver Ho - Archives Vol. 1
Peder Mannerfelt - Live At Atonal 2015
Pocket Signs (Sly & The Family Drone's Matt Cargill and UKAEA's Dan Jones) - Signs of the Times
Sarah Davachi - Five Cadences
Sunn O))) - Life Metal Rehearsal Demos [Available today only, 100% of proceeds going to the Global FoodBanking Network]
Susan Alcorn - The Heart Sutra (Arranged by Janel Leppin)
The Soft Pink Truth - Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?
William Basinski & Richard Chartier - Something From The Pink House

Compilations

L.I.E.S. - An Easy Way Out For Those Who Can't Escape [Includes music from Broken English Club, Marcos Cabral, DJ Overdose and more]
Mana Records - In Order To Care [Includes music from Nicolás Jaar, Sa Pa and more]
Manchester & Salford Save Our Scene Collective - BRB (Be Right Back), Sounds From The Rainy City [Proceeds to be split equally between featured artists and Manchester & Salford Save Our Scene campaign]
Optimo Music - Hidden In Plain Sight: Dancefloor Deep​-​Cuts From The Optimo Music Catalogue [Includes music from Lia Mice, The Golden Filter and more]
Qu Junktions - Hope You're Well [Includes music from The Bug, Colin Self, Xiu Xiu and more]
R&S Records - In Order To Care [Raising money to help supply much-needed PPE to NHS workers]
Sacred Bones - What Is This That Stands Before Me? [Label artists cover Black Sabbath tracks]
Samurai Music - Outliers: 1 [Includes music from key label artists such as Homemade Weapons, ENA and ASC]
Windmill Brixton - Live at The Windmill [Tracks recorded live at the London venue from black midi, Goat Girl, Meatraffle and more; proceeds to be split equally between the venue and Brixton Soup Kitchen]

This list is being regularly updated

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