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Merzbow / Lawrence English - Merzbow Mix Tape (CS)
Merzbow / Lawrence English - Merzbow Mix Tape (CS)Room40
¥1,369
Masami Akita is one of the most influential noise artists of our time. Known as Merzbow, Akita has developed a recognisable sound with his harsh, confrontational and abrasive sonic emittance. Lawrence English is a curator of sound, vision and thought. As the founder of Room40, English has released countless records and has worked alongside some of the most notable and adorned sound pioneers of our time – in turn becoming one himself. To coincide with Akita and English’s involvement in issue 02, English compiled a Merzbow Mixtape of hidden gems from Merzbow’s expansive archive.
Merzbow - Triwave Pagoda (CS)Merzbow - Triwave Pagoda (CS)
Merzbow - Triwave Pagoda (CS)Elevator Bath
¥1,672
Merzbow is a Japanese noise legend who continues to advocate a thoroughgoing ahincer practice and experiment with alternative expressions that transcend the boundaries of "noise". Recorded and mixed at Munemihouse in 2021, this is the latest release from Merzbow. It's a powerhouse masterpiece, and I can't say enough about it. Don't miss it!
The Orb - U.F.Orb (CS)
The Orb - U.F.Orb (CS)Big Life
¥956
Deadstock cassette version of the masterful second album, released in 1992, which was hailed by All Music as "the commercial and artistic peak of the ambient house movement" and was #1 on the UK charts at the time. sealed with a small drill hole.
Carlos Truly - Not Mine (CS)Carlos Truly - Not Mine (CS)
Carlos Truly - Not Mine (CS)Bayonet Records
¥1,463
Growing up in Brooklyn, Carlos was a reserved adolescent who loved Beethoven and Al Green. As a teenager he sang his diary into a microphone. This project grew to become a critically acclaimed, collaborative touring group, Ava Luna. His early 20s were spent entrenched at the beloved DIY sanctuary, Silent Barn in Bushwick--making a living cutting hair and recording bands in a ramshackle studio inside an unrenovated mechanic’s garage. Since that time, he has cultivated a production career that includes credits from genre-expansive artists like Princess Nokia, Frankie Cosmos, Sneaks, Gustaf, Juan Wauters, and Palehound. Having ceded creative control of his band in favor of a fully democratic process, Carlos now explores his roots in a solo outlet, Carlos Truly. Navigating a multi-cultural family history with tracks largely produced by his real-life brother Tony Seltzer, Carlos sits in a charged, intimate space. His brother’s celebrated underground hip-hop sensibilities mingle securely with Carlos’s pot-smoking nerd energy. His vocals evoke the old soul singers his radio DJ father would spin at home, the irreverence and joy of NYC's DIY scene, and the heady sonic worlds of an imagination shaped by a lifetime in NYC. Out July 1, 2022
Lynn Avery & Cole Pulice - Belt of Venus (CS+DL)
Lynn Avery & Cole Pulice - Belt of Venus (CS+DL)Moon Glyph
¥1,939
Lynn Avery and Cole Pulice return with a new album of piano, synthesizers, tenor sax, wind synths and electronics. Following their excellent previous albums (Iceblink’s "Carpet Cocoon" and Cole Pulice’s "Gloam") the duo moves into otherworldly ambience that straddles acoustic and digital spaces, evoking an uncanny world both strange and familiar. “To Live & Die In Space & Time” began with an improvised set at the 2020 Drone Not Drones festival in Minneapolis that unveiled new worlds of sonic possibilities the duo wanted to reapproach. Lynn and Cole continued exploring this palette of sounds and ideas in the months that followed, a practice that continued as they relocated across the country and settled in their now home of Oakland, California. Lynn and Cole were not initially intending to create an "album" - instead, they were just committed to a regular practice of improvising, recording, forgetting, reapproaching, alchemizing old & new ideas, and allowing material to shapeshift. Eventually, something like an album revealed itself, which Lynn and Cole honed into “To Live & Die in Space & Time.” The sounds of TL&DIS&T are elegant, transportive and vast, like being wrapped in a blanket of stars, finding warmth and comfort in the unknown spaces of transition that don't immediately reveal meaning or purpose. In other words, the constellation of sounds on TL&DIS&T approach floating in "the void" as something less than ominous, perhaps even enchanting.
Omni Gardens - Moss King (CS+DL)Omni Gardens - Moss King (CS+DL)
Omni Gardens - Moss King (CS+DL)Moon Glyph
¥1,939
Omni Gardens is the experimental ambient/new age project by Moon Glyph head Steve Rosborough. Recorded at home in Portland during the early days of covid, "Moss King" is relaxed home listening for difficult times. The first Omni Gardens release, “West Coast Escapism”, was expansive with a broad selection of soothing synth tones and morphing samples. In contrast, "Moss King" is a smaller, more intimate affair, full of fuzzy new age moog drifters and self-captured field recordings. The tracks bounce between minimalist twinkling synth plucks, ocean-backed synth pads and ambient pop forms. Playful, serene and healing sounds for watching your plants grow.
Sam Gendel & Antonia Cytrynowicz - LIVE A LITTLE (CS)Sam Gendel & Antonia Cytrynowicz - LIVE A LITTLE (CS)
Sam Gendel & Antonia Cytrynowicz - LIVE A LITTLE (CS)Psychic Hotline
¥1,657
Sam Gendel and Antonia Cytrynowicz didn’t set out to make a record – it just happened. LIVE A LITTLE, a collection of songs resulting from one late summer afternoon in Gendel’s Los Angeles home, is less an album and more a moment. The ten tracks here were recorded mostly in one sitting, fully improvised, in the order in which they appear. It was the first and last time the songs have been played – a snapshot of an idea, an artifact of inspiration, at once both a beginning and an end. At the time of recording, Cytrynowicz was only eleven years old. The younger sister of Gendel’s significant other and creative partner Marcella, Cytrynowicz is an artist in her own way. She has no formal musical training, but is the product of a creative family and is someone who makes art the way many kids do – in the purest way, simply because they are moved to. On LIVE A LITTLE, she spontaneously crafted all the melodies and lyrics on the spot as Gendel played alongside her. Cytrynowicz’s musicality is sophisticated, strange, and other-worldly, and the resulting record is experimental jazz colliding with some sort of fantasy universe. Because of that, LIVE A LITTLE is a stand-out amidst Gendel’s extensive and varied catalog. Over the years, the multi-instrumentalist has been known for his prolific musical output as both a sought-after collaborator and as a solo artist. During 2021 alone he collaborated with Vampire Weekend, Maggie Rogers, Moses Sumney, Laurie Anderson, and Mach Hommy, as well as released Notes With Attachments with Blake Mills & legendary bassist Pino Palladino. In the same year he also released the 52-track Fresh Bread, as well as the follow-up to the acclaimed Music for Saxophone & Bass Guitar with Sam Wilkes. Then Mouthfeel / Serene, AE-30, Valley Fever Original Score, and singles “Isfahan” and “Neon Blue.” LIVE A LITTLE, though, exists on its own island. For one, the majority of Gendel’s work under his own name skews instrumental, but here the playfulness of his saxophone and nylon-string guitar work alongside the twinkle of Cytrynowicz’s voice. It’s the sound of unapologetic imagination running amok – and really, more than anything, the sound of having fun. Cytrynowicz is the ideal collaborator for Gendel, who throughout his career has remained largely unconcerned with the pageantry and presentation of the music business, instead focused solely on the music-making itself. Here, he found the purest sort of writing partner – he admires Cytrynowicz’ “supreme openness,” explaining: “Whatever is happening, she’s there with you. We really meet right where we are. She’s all ears, I’m all ears. I don’t even know how to explain what it is. It just works out somehow.” Gendel remembers first being impressed by her musicality one day while they were gathered in the backyard at her family’s home; she improvised a strange and fully-formed little composition. The melody struck Gendel - he pulled out his iPhone and had her sing into it, then later orchestrated an ornate, fully fleshed out world around the voice memo. It came easily and simply. The subsequent LIVE A LITTLE session unfolded naturally, too – no discussion, no plan, no ambition – just “let it rip.” They started when it felt right and ended when it felt finished, once the flow of ideas dissipated. Then they put it away without discussion and moved on to the next activity. For a week afterward, Gendel tinkered with the live recording, adding a part or three on top of the initial session, sculpting it into its final product; a moment of raw creativity condensed into a polished little stone. Then he brought it back to Cytrynowicz, who hadn’t heard it since that summer afternoon, and was floored by hearing what they had created. LIVE A LITTLE is a series of “what ifs” cascading into one another, off-kilter and experimental, a kaleidoscope of spontaneity and imagination. It’s a sweet distillation of the musical present, of daring to follow through on an impulse – what happens when a project is helmed by someone who doesn’t have time for second thoughts or self-doubt. “That’s why she and I can make music I think, because I don’t think I ever deviated from that approach - or at least, I hope I didn’t,” Gendel says. “I really think that’s the best way that works for me musically – that ‘no mind’ sort of thing.” And here they both decisively follow that intuition, chronicling the way an idea blossoms and moves through you. The moment is the thing, and LIVE A LITTLE just happens to capture it.
Mort Garson - Mother Earth's Plantasia (CS)
Mort Garson - Mother Earth's Plantasia (CS)Sacred Bones Records
¥1,633

In the mid-1970s, a force of nature swept across the continental United States, cutting across all strata of race and class, rooting in our minds, our homes, our culture. It wasn’t The Exorcist, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, or even bell-bottoms, but instead a book called The Secret Life of Plants. The work of occultist/former OSS agent Peter Tompkins and former CIA agent/dowsing enthusiast Christopher Bird, the books shot up the bestseller charts and spread like kudzu across the landscape, becoming a phenomenon. Seemingly overnight, the indoor plant business was in full bloom and photosynthetic eukaryotes of every genus were hanging off walls, lording over bookshelves, and basking on sunny window ledges. The science behind Secret Life was specious: plants can hear our prayers, they’re lie detectors, they’re telepathic, able to predict natural disasters and receive signals from distant galaxies. But that didn’t stop millions from buying and nurturing their new plants.

Perhaps the craziest claim of the book was that plants also dug music. And whether you purchased a snake plant, asparagus fern, peace lily, or what have you from Mother Earth on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (or bought a Simmons mattress from Sears), you also took home Plantasia, an album recorded especially for them. Subtitled “warm earth music for plants…and the people that love them,” it was full of bucolic, charming, stoner-friendly, decidedly unscientific tunes enacted on the new-fangled device called the Moog. Plants date back from the dawn of time, but apparently they loved the Moog, never mind that the synthesizer had been on the market for just a few years. Most of all, the plants loved the ditties made by composer Mort Garson.

Few characters in early electronic music can be both fearless pioneers and cheesy trend-chasers, but Garson embraced both extremes, and has been unheralded as a result. When one writer rhetorically asked: “How was Garson’s music so ubiquitous while the man remained so under the radar?” the answer was simple. Well before Brian Eno did it, Garson was making discreet music, both the man and his music as inconspicuous as a Chlorophytum comosum. Julliard-educated and active as a session player in the post-war era, Garson wrote lounge hits, scored plush arrangements for Doris Day, and garlanded weeping countrypolitan strings around Glen Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” He could render the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel alike into easy listening and also dreamed up his own ditties. “An idear” as Garson himself would drawl it out. “I live with it, I walk it, I sing it.”

But as his daughter Day Darmet recalls: “When my dad found the synthesizer, he realized he didn’t want to do pop music anymore.” Garson encountered Robert Moog and his new device at the Audio Engineering Society’s West Coast convention in 1967 and immediately began tinkering with the device. With the Moog, those idears could be transformed. “He constantly had a song he was humming,” Darmet says. “At the table he was constantly tapping.” Which is to say that Mort pulled his melodies out of thin air, just like any household plant would.
The Plantae kingdom grew to its height by 1976, from DC Comics’ mossy superhero Swamp Thing to Stevie Wonder’s own herbal meditation, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. Nefarious manifestations of human-plant interaction also abounded, be it the grotesque pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the pothead paranoia of the US Government spraying Mexican marijuana fields with the herbicide paraquat (which led to the rise in homegrown pot by the 1980s). And then there’s the warm, leafy embrace of Plantasia itself.

“My mom had a lot of plants,” Darmet says. “She didn’t believe in organized religion, she believed the earth was the best thing in the whole world. Whatever created us was incredible.” And she also knew when her husband had a good song, shouting from another room when she heard him humming a good idear. Novel as it might seem, Plantasia is simply full of good tunes.

Garson may have given the album away to new plant and bed owners, but a decade later a new generation could hear his music in another surreptitious way. Millions of kids bought The Legend of Zelda for their Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1986 and one distinct 8-bit tune bears more than a passing resemblance to album highlight “Concerto for Philodendron and Pothos.” Garson was never properly credited for it, but he nevertheless subliminally slipped into a new generations’ head, helping kids and plants alike grow.

Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him. “My dad would be totally pleased to know that people are really interested in this music that had no popularity at the time,” Darmet says of Plantasia’s new renaissance. “He would be fascinated by the fact that people are finally understanding and appreciating this part of his musical career that he got no admiration for back then.” Garson seems to be everywhere again, even if he’s not really noticed, just like a houseplant.

-Andy Beta 

Valentina Goncharova - Recordings 1987-1991, Vol. 2 (C45 CS)Valentina Goncharova - Recordings 1987-1991, Vol. 2 (C45 CS)
Valentina Goncharova - Recordings 1987-1991, Vol. 2 (C45 CS)Shukai
¥2,699
Following the unpublished works of the Ukrainian/Estonian musician Valentina Goncharova, Volume 2 of Shukai’s archival project sits in direct contrast to the solo works of Vol. 1. Spending her youth studying classical music first in Kyiv and then in Leningrad, Valentina began her musical career with rigorous compositional study and concert violin performance. This long player of duets as such casts a light on Goncharova’s experiences with early free jazz, democratic improvisation and introductions to pure electronic sound. Where Vol. 1 explored her home studio experiments and flirtations with musique concrete and new age, this volume seeks to give audience to similarly DIY recordings developed in collaborative environments away from the conservatoire. Properly documenting sessions revolving around smoky jazz cafes, art galleries, salons and theatre venues across Riga and Tallinn, these seven pieces add to the historical narrative of the soviet era avant-garde and show the broader spectrum of Valentina’s work. We begin in Riga with an adapted score for a delicately unfolding violin drone, voice and saxophone performance produced by Valentina and Alexander Aksenov. Describing the nineties as temporarily narrowing the content of cultural life and thus nullifying the interest of free improvisation in both Tallinn and Riga, Valetina’s bond with the multi-instrumentalist and theatre director Aksenov led to decades of close friendship and several demo recordings such as ‘Reincarnation II’. Their initial chance meeting at a jam session set in motion various cross-country performances and experimental theatre works. With its focus on extended harmony, it is perhaps ‘Reincarnation II’ that most recognisably follows on from Shukai’s first volume. Across the rest of the disc are collaborative duets with Sergei Letov and Pekka Airaksinan respectively, the three tapes with Letov an example of recordings as a ‘rehearsal process’. These evenings spent in Moscow apartments and St. Petersburg art studios challenged Goncharova’s preconceptions of musical expression; “I was surprised by his (Letov’s) artistic language. He composed here and now music that was so intellectually advanced that it was quite comparable to the compositions of my fellow students. Only, to achieve such a result, it took months for them. So, for the first time, I took part in free jazz collective creativity” (2020). Atypical violin/saxophone techniques and light, difficult to place percussive textures interplay across the three duets with Letov, the sense of spatiality alluding to the very nature of the recordings. They strike ultimately as private, freeform experiments with sound, never intended for the listener but documenting a practice which explores the dichotomy of improv’s ‘non-professionalism’ and its potential freedom from trained performance. Just one curious corner of Valentina’s musical path, they are included as a deliberate variance to the tapes with Pekka Airaksinen, an already well-regarded composer, early synthesiser fanatic and Finnish radical. At their time of meeting, Pekka had diverted his attention from punk-indebted noise and free jazz groups to a pursuit of spiritualism via contemporary electronic technologies. Already familiar with the ‘Buddhas of Golden Light’ LP, Valentina found in his work an attraction to the sacred and, after an encounter at a 1988 Helsinki festival dedicated to futurist art and literature, she prepared to visit his studio. After a failed attempt to record a joint album, fragments of the tapes are presented here, highlighting Goncharova’s first real experience of electronic music making in a compositional sense. The result is a marriage of stunning organ tones, processed violin murmurs and progressive minimalism a la Terry Riley or La Monte Young. Fragmented guitar and additional keyboard patterns push and pull through delay units in unison with Valentina’s two violins, at times mimicking the howl of the wind or even the human voice. Once again, the duality of the indistinguishable unfamiliar vs. the harmonic familiar. Recordings 1987-1991 Vol. 2 completes Shukai’s dive into the sound world of an important yet overlooked artist working within Soviet era electroacoustics.
kelz - 5am and I Can't Sleep (CS)kelz - 5am and I Can't Sleep (CS)
kelz - 5am and I Can't Sleep (CS)Bayonet Records
¥1,463
Kelz’s debut ‘5am and I Can’t Sleep’ delivers us a frothy dream-pop introduction to the mind of Vietnamese-American producer and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Truong. Written and recorded in the middle of the night in her Orange County, California home, these songs tell a nostalgic yet hopeful story following loss. For kelz, carefully looping beats, tinkering with synthetic waveforms, and interweaving guitar picking serves as a meditation--a mode of processing emotions and the inevitable passing of time. Front and center are her airy vocals, recorded in a whisper so as to not wake people in the other room. Each song folds in on itself like a wave’s undertow, reorienting infectious melodies from tracks previous. When asked about the tracks, kelz reflects on the process as “feeling like running towards something” but not knowing what it is. Escape with kelz on a long night drive with this effervescent electro-pop debut.
Misha Sultan - Roots (CS)Misha Sultan - Roots (CS)
Misha Sultan - Roots (CS)Hive Mind Records
¥2,355
Misha Sultan is a multi-instrumentalist originally from Novosibirsk in the heart of Siberia. His hometown's location, in the hinterlands between Europe and Asia provides a deep well of inspiration for his music. Hive Mind have been happy to work with Misha to bring you this stunning collection of recordings made between 2015 and 2022 which we hope will serve as a great introduction to Misha's unique sound which appropriates elements of Eurasian folk music, psychedelia, 90's chill-out, breakbeat, dub, and field recording to produce something stunning and singular. Whilst we were working on this release P*t*n invaded Ukraine and Misha was forced to leave the country quite suddenly. All money from sales of the digital album will go straight to the artist in order to help through this difficult time.
Gustavo Yashimura - Living Legend Of The Ayacucho Guitar (CS)Gustavo Yashimura - Living Legend Of The Ayacucho Guitar (CS)
Gustavo Yashimura - Living Legend Of The Ayacucho Guitar (CS)Hive Mind Records
¥2,355
Gustavo Yashimura-Arce comes from humble origins in the Ayacucho region of the Peruvian Andes. He started playing guitar in 1987 and 2 years later he travelled to Montevideo in Uruguay to study music at La Casa de la Guitarra. After spending some years playing classical guitar in Japan, Gustavo returned to Peru in 2004 and began his intense studies of the Andean guitar styles of the Ayacucho region. Later, in 2008 he found the perfect teacher – 80 year old veteran guitarist Don Alberto Juscamaita Gastelú, known locally as Rahtako. Through Don Alberto, Gustavo was able to learn songs and styles from across the Andes, though the main focus remained on the traditional styles of the Ayacucho region. The Ayacucho Province of Peru is mountainous and remote and mainly populated by indigenous people of Quechuan descent, with the main language remaining Quechua, or Runasimi ('the People's Language'). The Quechuan people of the Andes remained resistant to Spanish colonisation and fierce in their preservation of their culture but on this album you will hear one of those strange, hybrid artefacts that can arise when cultures meet. The Spanish guitar was taken by the Quechuan people of the Ayacucho region and employed as a new means to convey their traditional music. The melodies you hear are versions of the traditional Huayno melodies usually played on harps, Andean pipes, charango and mandolin. Gustavo is joined by Luis Sulca Galindo on second guitar and Greys Berrocal Huaya on vocals on 4 tracks on the album. We've been extremely happy to work with Henkel Bellido (Sounds of the Andes) to bring this beautiful music to light.
吉村弘 - Green (CS)吉村弘 - Green (CS)
吉村弘 - Green (CS)LIGHT IN THE ATTIC
¥2,372

Barely known outside of his home country during his lifetime, the late Japanese ambient music pioneer Hiroshi Yoshimura has seen his global stature rise steadily in the past few years. The 2017 reissue of his lauded debut, Music For Nine Post Cards, along with a slow building cult internet following has helped ignite a renaissance in his acclaimed body of work, much of which has never been released outside of Japan. Known for his sound design and environmental music, Yoshimura worked on a number of commissions following the 1982 release of Music For Nine Post Cards, including works for museums, galleries, public spaces, TV shows, video art, fashion shows, and even a cosmetics company. Originally released in 1986, GREEN is one of Hiroshi Yoshimura’s most well-loved recordings and a favorite of the artist himself. Recorded over the winter of 1985-86 at Yoshimura’s home studio, the compositions unfold at an unhurried pace, a stark contrast to the busy city life of Tokyo. As Yoshimura explained in the original liner notes, the album title in the context of this body of work is not meant to be seen as a color, but is rather used to convey “the comfortable scenery of the natural cycle known as GREEN”—which perfectly encapsulates the soothing and warm sounds contained on the album, although it was created utilizing Yamaha FM synthesizers, known for their crisp digital tones. This edition marks the first reissue of the highly sought-after and impossible to find album. It features the original mix preferred by Yoshimura himself, previously available only on the initial Japanese vinyl release (a limited edition remixed version of the album, with added sound effects, was released on CD in the US). Additionally, this release is the first in our ongoing series, WATER COPY, focusing on the works of Hiroshi Yoshimura.

Loris S. Sarid - Music for Tomato Plants (CS+DL)Loris S. Sarid - Music for Tomato Plants (CS+DL)
Loris S. Sarid - Music for Tomato Plants (CS+DL)Constellation Tatsu
¥1,348
A new ambient/new age masterpiece is born, a must-have for those who love Japanese 80's ambient music/ambient by Hiroshi Yoshimura, Satoshi Ashikawa, Gigi Masin, H.Takahashi, Mary Lattimore, etc.! Constellation Tatsu, a famous label from Oakland, California, has been pushing the new age revival from the underground cassette scene, along with Rotifer, Inner Islands, and Leaving Records. From Constellation Tatsu comes the debut album by Loris S. Sarid, a musician and sound designer from Rome, Italy, now based in Glasgow, Scotland. This is the arrival of an up-and-coming artist who has managed to keep Hiroshi Yoshimura, H.Takahashi and Joseph Shabason on his toes, and is even looking ahead to the future. This is a piece of "environmental music for plants," created as a musical tribute to a tomato farm, inspired by the small tomatoes I tended on the windowsill of my apartment this winter. This year, Leaving released Green-House's debut EP, "Six Songs for Invisible Gardens," which was based on the concept of "communication between plant life and the people who grow it. A work! It is described as "a tribute to the casual courage in simplicity, and the beauty and lightness of casual things".
Celer - Lightness and Irresponsibility (CS+DL)Celer - Lightness and Irresponsibility (CS+DL)
Celer - Lightness and Irresponsibility (CS+DL)Constellation Tatsu
¥1,348
Currently living in Japan, Will Long takes hold of each on-coming second and handles them individually with the care of a maker, a craftsman.. a mortal creator. Don’t plan on it.
voipetsu - Polymorph (CS+DL)voipetsu - Polymorph (CS+DL)
voipetsu - Polymorph (CS+DL)FOCUSONTHE
¥1,753
<# POLYMORPH #> Music by Voipetsu Artwork by Voipetsu

Ben Bondy (CS+DL)Ben Bondy (CS+DL)
Ben Bondy (CS+DL)Quiet Time
¥2,156
Out now on Quiet Time, prolific Brooklyn-based producer Ben Bondy presents a startlingly intimate and personal body of work worthy of the self-title. This collection created in 2020 captures a tender moment in Ben’s artistic timeline and listens like a diary - pain and remedy scribed in dust on pages of time folded over-and-over. Melodies wrung from tattered memories and broken voices, rhythms pulled from the earth, and spaces filled with traces of loved ones filtered through the hazy lens of hope. Even the light of the tiniest bits of beauty can fill a dark room. “Every sound on this record is a piece of my heart— moments I savor on the tip of my tongue— sweet, bitter, confusing. Something that made itself without me knowing it was happening. Something i had to look back on to taste.”
Karate - The Bed Is In the Ocean (CS)
Karate - The Bed Is In the Ocean (CS)Numero
¥1,633
A lingering guitar note. A cushion of a bassline nudging along a hushed cadence unspooling impressionistic poeticism one halting line at a time; the sparse snap of a snare providing punctuation. This is how Boston’s Karate opened their third full-length, 1998’s The Bed Is In The Ocean. Perhaps this was a reaction to the aggressive punk tones that marked their previous album, or maybe they hoped to capture the somnambulant dusk on one of those pristine fall days that make living in a town whose population swells when colleges welcome back students all worthwhile. Then again, Karate never made a point of chasing the same idea twice, and “There Are Ghosts” remains in line with the band’s stylistic intrepidness and unpredictability. Even the group’s lineup appeared constantly in flux. After expanding from a trio to a quartet and employing a dual-guitar attack with 1997’s In Place of Real Insight, founding member Eamonn Vitt hung up his axe to attend medical school. Karate soldiered on as a trio, with mid-stream addition Jeff Goddard’s bass work helping establish a sidewinding path forward through the smoky jazz melodicism and sun-beaten blues brushstrokes that hung in the background of the band’s catalog. In their short time together, Karate helped bolster the national punk ecosystem, a scene in which individual artistic vision was prized but rarely achieved. Their exacting precision and emotive interplay helped recombine the DNA of the dignified grace of slowcore, the hot-and-sweaty atmospherics of the blues, and the high-wire tension of post-hardcore to deliver drawling instrumental curveballs and a furtive riptide climax with a controlled grace on “Outside Is The Drama.” Singer-guitarist Geoff Farina frequently teased out the emotional nuances of each song, his worn-in voice shading in the complexities of his enigmatic lyrics; no matter how difficult it may be to parse his snatched-from-daily-life wisdoms, on The Bed Is In The Ocean Farina sounded like a guy who knew exactly the right thing to tell whoever may be listening. And with Karate’s snaking turns through quasi-punk reveries no one else appeared capable of mustering, it’s comforting to hear it accomplished by a band that knew exactly what they were doing.
Karate (CS)Karate (CS)
Karate (CS)Numero
¥1,633
Underground rock festered and splintered as it spread through the U.S. in the mid-’90s, the alternative boom giving rise to microcosmic regional scenes singularly focused on feral powerviolence or screamo songs about breakfast. Boston’s Karate emerged as a force that could grip a national youth movement whose disparate tastes still commingled in the inky pages of fanzines overflowing with florid prose and on concert calendars for volunteer-run DIY spaces, community centers, and bowling alleys. In this world, Karate’s music was an enigma, one equally inviting to sneering punks and highfalutin indie-rock aficionados. Their 1996 self-titled debut, issued on Southern Records, set the standard. Lasooing together white-knuckle posthardcore tension, sharply focused slowcore serenity, and resplendent jazz complexity, Karate eschewed settling in any one definiable style. But they certainly used the language of punk to get their point across; occasionally, guitarist Geoff Farina abandons his warm, hushed cadences for a hoarse shout that made him sound ragged, intensifying an aggression that burst out with every snaggletoothed guitar riff or drum snap that went off like canonfire. Few followed their path—but who could keep up? Karate could make pensive moods blossom into feverish rollicking (“What Is Sleep?”), gracefully tip-toe around aggressive punk explosions without getting bent out of shape (“Bodies”), and stretch out slowcore’s quietest reveries till their reflective notes sound ripped from an improvisational jazz session (“Caffeine or Me?”). Karate formally introduced the trio as a vital part of an independent U.S. punk scene stubbornly flowering in the face of the major labels’ ’90s harvest.
Hailu Mergia And The Walias Band - Tche Belew (CS)
Hailu Mergia And The Walias Band - Tche Belew (CS)Awesome Tapes From Africa
¥1,673

The acclaimed and highly sought-after LP by Hailu Mergia and the Walias, Tche Belew, an album of instrumentals released in 1977, is perhaps the most seminal recording released in the aftermath of the 1974 revolution. The story of the Walias band is a critical chapter in Ethiopian popular music, taking place during a period of music industry flux and political complexity in the country. Hailu Mergia, a keyboardist and arranger diligently working the nightclub scene in Addis Ababa, formed the Walias in the early 1970’s with a core group of musicians assembled from prior working bands. They played Mergia’s funk- and soul-informed tunes, while cutting 45rpm singles with various vocalists. While the Walias performed at top hotels and played the presidential palace twice, their relationship with the Derg regime was complex, evidenced by the removal of one song from the record by government censors. Decades later, Hailu Mergia was surprised to see the album fetching more than $4,000 at online auctions (it helped that the most popular of all Ethiopian tunes “Musicawi Silt” appeared on the record). Now everyone has the chance to listen again―or for the first time―to this timeless pillar of Ethiopian popular music.

Hailu Mergia - Wede Harer Guzo (CS)Hailu Mergia - Wede Harer Guzo (CS)
Hailu Mergia - Wede Harer Guzo (CS)Awesome Tapes From Africa
¥1,463

By 1978, Addis Ababa’s nightlife was facing challenges. The ruling Derg regime imposed curfews, banning citizens from the streets after midnight until 6am. But that didn’t stop some people from dancing and partying thorough the night. Bands would play from evening until daybreak and people would stay at the clubs until curfew was lifted in the morning.
One key denizen of Addis’ musical golden age, Hailu Mergia, was preparing a follow up to his seminal Tche Belew LP with the famed Walias Band. It was the band’s only full-length record and it had been a success. But his Hilton house band colleagues were a bit tied up recording cassettes with different vocalists. Still Mergia, amidst recording and gigs with the Walias, was also eager to make another recording of his instrumental-focused arrangements. So he went to the nearby Ghion Hotel, another upmarket outpost with a popular nightclub. Dahlak Band was the house band at Ghion at the time. Together they made this tape Wede Harer Guzo right there in the club during the band’s afternoon rehearsal meetings, with sessions lasting three days.
“My instrumental music was very in-demand and I could have waited,” Mergia recalls. “But I wanted to have a different kind of sound. I had done several recordings with Walias so this time I needed a different sound.”
Dahlak Band catered to a slightly more youthful, local audiences, while Mergia’s main gig with the Walias at Addis swankiest hotel had a mixed audience that included foreign diplomats and older folks from abroad. Therefore their sets varied included lighter fare during dinnertime and a less rollicking selection of jazz and r&b. Meanwhile Dahlak was known more for the mainly soul and Amharic jams they served up for hours two nights a week to a younger crowd.
When Mergia entered the Ghion hotel nightclub to record this tape he was teaming up with a seasoned band who were particularly suited to his instrumental sound. Ethiopian popular music at the time combined elements of music from abroad and Dahlak balanced Mergia’s traditional song selection with the modern approach of a seasoned soul band.
Crucial to the resulting collaboration were Mergia’s arrangements which replaced distinctively use vocals for melodies normally played by instruments. His arrangements conjured memorable new flavors out of existing songs already popular with listeners.
Before Walias Band’s successful gig as house band at the Hilton, Mergia was a young musician hustling from one place to another around Addis. After finishing gigs at the Hilton or on nights off, he would go to good bar where azmari—roving musicians who play traditional songs for tips—and he’d pick up ideas and inspiration. Late night azmari performances revealed for Mergia which songs were moving people in the city. He regularly attended clubs, bars and special private after-hours venues called zigubgn where azmari perform. For Mergia, it was crucial to feature songs he knew people would recognize.
Amharic music has a large repertoire of standard songs everyone knows, the original composers and lyricists of which are often unknown or forgotten. Many of the songs Dahlak, Walias and other bands of that era (including Ibex and Shebele) were playing came from the treasury of shared music, which helped ensure a good vibe in the air.
Mergia released Wede Harer Guzo (“Travel to Harer,”with Sheba Music Shop, which was located in the Piazza district but has long since shut down. Recalling the audience’s positive reaction to Wede Harer Guzo’s novel arrangements, he says it sold well and found many fans. However, as no trace of the tape can be found online, there’s no indication as to why the cassette appears largely forgotten until now. 

Hailu Mergia And The Walias Band - Tezeta (CS)
Hailu Mergia And The Walias Band - Tezeta (CS)Awesome Tapes From Africa
¥1,463

Hardly anyone outside Ethiopia seems to know Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band “Tezeta” exists. Within Ethiopia this tape has been impossible to find for decades. That’s about to change with this release, which makes available this epochal recording on LP, CD and Digital formats for the first time. From their genesis as members of the Venus club in-house band in the early 70s, Hailu Mergia and the Walias Band were at the forefront of the musical revolution during an era where modern instruments and foreign styles superseded the traditional fare to become the staple sound of Ethiopia. No one would argue that the Walias were the trailblazing powerhouse of modern Ethiopian music. They were the first band to form independently without affiliation to a theatre house, a club or a hotel; unprecedented and risky as they had to raise all funding for expenses by themselves including buying equipment. They were the first to release full instrumental albums, considered to be commercially unviable at the time. They opened their own recording studio, with band members Melake Gebre and Mahmoud Aman doubling as technical buffs during sessions. They were also the first independent band to tour abroad. In short, they were the pioneers every band tried to emulate; some more successfully than others. Odds are, any Ethiopian over the age of 35 who had access to TV or radio by the early 90s, will instantly recognize the sound of Walias. What is not a given is, how many would actually identify the band itself. Barely a day went by without hearing the Walias either in the background on radio or as an accompaniment to various programs on TV. This Tezeta album is the band’s second recording, released in 1975. Sourced by Awesome Tapes From Africa and expertly remastered by Jessica Thompson, its unique and funky renditions of standards and popular songs of the day are so quintessentially Walias, flavorful and evocative. Hailu’s melodic organ, unashamedly front and center in every track, makes even the complex pieces accessible. Profoundly engaging; it’s an immersive trip down memory lane for those of us getting reacquainted with it, while also an enthralling and gratifying experience for fresh ears. (text by Tessema Tadele)

Sleep - Dopesmoker (Light Green CS)Sleep - Dopesmoker (Light Green CS)
Sleep - Dopesmoker (Light Green CS)Southern Lord
¥2,497
In 2011, Southern Lord was contacted by Sleeps’ Al Cisneros about the possibility of releasing a deluxe version of the classic Sleep recording: Dopesmoker. Cisneros wanted to breathe some new life into the old beast and finally have the original vision of the album fully realized. Southern Lord was overwhelmingly ecstatic about the challenge of taking the reigns of one of the most important recordings in the history of Heavy Metal! The Lord version features brand new artwork by long time Sleep artist, Arik Roper, who created something specifically special for the albums’ rebirth. The biggest difference between this new version and the old releases is the phenomenal remastering job by Brad Boatright . His vision was to enhance the original recording without changing it drastically. What he has done makes this epic opus sound invigorated, more powerful with renewed clarity and all-around unbelievably mammoth. His work was enthusiastically approved by the band and considering how focused, vigilant and protective of their masterpiece the band is, that is nothing short of a miracle! Also exclusive to the reborn version of Dopesmoker, is a unreleased live track of one of the best songs the band ever did, Holy Mountain. The cd version of the album is sheltered in a digipac with embossed artwork. Includes unseen photos and a “riff-chart” the band created in order to follow the epic journey that Dopesmoker takes us all on!
Sam Wilkes - One Theme & Subsequent Improvisation (CS+DL)Sam Wilkes - One Theme & Subsequent Improvisation (CS+DL)
Sam Wilkes - One Theme & Subsequent Improvisation (CS+DL)Leaving Records
¥2,098
For his sophomore full-length album, LA-based Bassist/Producer/Composer Sam Wilkes is prompted with ten questions from Leaving Records community mentor & facilitator Carlos Niño.

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