Patrick Cowley Review

I recently wrote a piece for Juno Plus on the amazing Patrick Cowley LP that came out in October.

Patrick Cowley’s School Daze is brought to us by the joint efforts of San Francisco label Dark Entries and the city’s long running club night Honey Soundsystem, and draws from an enlightening cache of compositions that the producer licensed to gay porn films. Cowley is most known as a pioneering disco and Hi-NRG producer, with hits such as “Menergy” and “Megatron Man,” along with collaborations like “Do Ya Wanna Funk” and “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” with disco icon Sylvester. This release focuses on the weirder, more experimental side of Cowley’s work that is perhaps over-shadowed by his undoubted disco legacy. These eleven tracks were taken from the scores to Muscle Up and School Daze, from the Fox Studio archives; porn film soundtracks that that expose a shadier side of San Francisco in the 70s and early 80s.

Although Cowley is known for his disco productions, he showed an interest in electronic experimentation from a young age, studying music at the City College of San Francisco where he developed his synthesizer skills, and founded the Electronic Music Lab. It is the early music from Cowley’s college days that make up this release, which was then adjusted by the Fox Studio owner John Coletti, using a variable speed oscillator to synchronize the music to the scenes of the films.

“Zygote” starts with full force, in the same spirit as some of Cowley’s famous Hi-NRG disco workouts, but instead of setting the pace for the album, the track stands alone and is followed by a number of incredibly bizarre and far-out recordings. From the onset, synths are rich and earthy in quality, with bright cosmic tones that flicker above bellowing bass. “Nightcrawler” is as dark and mischievous as its name suggests, as tiptoeing synths meet oddball electronics.

“Seven Sacred Pools” is a stunning piece of music; patterns of repetition are topped with rugged bass, unexpectedly falling into a Tangerine Dream-like trance. “Primordial Landscape” brings forth synth reflections of murky trip-like quality, with sounds that are so strange, it feels like they must have been drug induced, whereas “Tides of Man” closes the album with carefully strung arpeggios that propel the track forth with rigorous strength…

Read the rest of the review HERE

Ekoplekz Mix

It was a pleasure to have a mix from EKOPLEKZ on Sunday’s show, I started the show off with the first 20 minutes of music and then Nick provided the mix for the rest of the show, including alot of great unreleased stuff alongside music from Exotic Pylon records,  Further Records and Modern Love.

Hacker Farm- Burlington
John Baker- Accentric
Matmos- Polychords
Mordant Music- Olde Wobbly
Ekoplekz Mix
Ekoplekz- Aviary Unheimlich (unreleased)
Canonbury- Bodmin Fence- Hacker Farm Remix (Exotic Pylon)
CHXFX- Untitled (unreleased)
Tlön- Truth in the 13th- Replekz (Birkhouse Recordings)
The Stranger- Where Are Our Monsters Now, Where Are Our Friends? (Modern Love)
Vales- Letter Beacons- (Further Records)
Dolly Dolly feat. Ekoplekz- No Stars (Exotic Pylon)
Ekoclef- Gamelan Powder (unreleased)
Thorsten Soltau- Shades- Replekz (m.m. label)
eMMplekz- AngloruM SaxonuM- edit (unreleased)

Pangaea Ultima

I reviewed Steve Moore’s excellent new LP for Juno Plus, here’s an excerpt…
Steve Moore’s debut release on Spectrum Spools goes by the name Pangaea Ultima, and refers to a potential super-continent formation, occurring sometime in the next 250 million years. This mighty fusion of land-mass is part of an ongoing cycle that saw the formation of Pangaea, 300 million years ago.
If anyone is up to the task of providing the music for this epic formation, it’s Steve Moore. No stranger to analogue electronics, he is perhaps first known for his role in Zombi, which formed in the early 2000s, taking influence from the likes of Goblin and John Carpenter, at a time when few bands were citing horror soundtracks as inspiration.
Since then, Moore has built a healthy solo career, with some of his releases even spilling over into the dance floor. Despite this, Moore does not come from a dance music background, nor did he start out DJing, or have any intention of making dance tracks; he came from a noisy post-punk/no-wave/metal background that saw him through his involvement with the band Microwaves back in 2001.
Pangaea Ultima starts with “Endless Caverns”, a track that steers the listener into a dazed abyss of electronics; momentum gathers with expanding synths, oozing into a steady stream of hallucinations. Decisively warm tones alight “Planetwalk”, providing structure over looming uneasiness. “Deep Time” is a highlight of the album, with a stark rigid introduction that prickles the spine, emerging into a skewed dance track that feels slightly ill-boding…
Read the rest of the review HERE

Kit Grill with Alien Jams

“Mirror Image is the debut album from Kit Grill. Building upon his previous EP Expressions, Grill has made a minimalist experimental record touching on ambient, techno and avant grade structures. Inspired by Phillip Glass and John Cage, repetitive harmonies build and fall throughout the 12 tracks with a cinematic vision running through the album, Mirror Image was made over 6 months during 2013.”

Me and Kit went b2b for the show, it was a good hour of music!  Kit ended up playing quite a few unreleased tracks, fresh off the production line…

Kit Grill- Firefly
Heatsick- Clear Chanel
Aphex Twin- Xtal
Patrick Cowley- Nightcrawler
Grey- Dan Asher
Cluster- Caramel
Kit Grill- Variations
Heatsick- Re- Engineering
Kit Grill- Untitled (forthcoming)
Main- III
Kit Grill- Untitled (forthcoming)
Steve Moore- Logotone
Kit Grill- Untitled (forthcoming)

Alien Jams with Alex Wilson

Alex Wilson from Public Information record label joined me on the show for the second time this year.  It was a pleasure to have Alex back in the studio, playing some records from his collection.

In Alex’s words, “a mix of ambient electronics, new age + other misty-eyed synth guff.”

 Paul Robinson- Some Enchanted Evening
Charles Cohen- Camera Dance
Anworth Kirk- Hexploitation
Ella Fitzgerald- Russian Lullaby
Kay Gardener- Prayer to Aphrodite
Finis Africane- El Secreto De Las 12
The Zodiac- Pisces The Peace Piper
Ethereal- Light is Knowledge
Transmuted- Transmuted
Angelo Badalamenti- Mysteries of Love
Motion Sickness of Time Travel- Auto Suggestion
William Bell- I Forgot to Be Your Lover
Lonnie Holley- Fifth Child Burning
Vera Hall- Wild Ox Moan
Rainer Veil- Struck
Steve Tibet- Any Minute
Galaxy- Oxygen
Magicabus- Journey
Pump- Drop
Soft Cell- Say Hello and Goodbye


 (Check out Alex’s previous Alien Jams show HERE)

Alien Jams with Michael D. Donnelly

 Michael D. Donnelly joined me on this edition of the Alien Jams radio show, ahead of his Exotic Pylon release.  Label boss Jonny Mugwump also popped by, it was great to have them both in the studio!
Here are a few words about Michael’s release, from the Exotic Pylon website-
“I’ve Come to Love You Forever is the strangely beautiful debut album from Michael D Donnelly (Delicate Awol, Rothko, Elite Barbarian) which melts down early Jah Wobble, Dickie Landry, Archie Shepp, My Bloody Valentine, Stephen Mallinder, Kevin Drumm, Autechre and a host of others to sculpt an addictively original, largely instrumental sound world. 
Utilising bass guitar (deployed in a variety of different modes), synthesiser, cheap kids keyboards, various percussion (cattle bells, thumb piano, glock) drum machine, sampler and found sounds the end result is a haunting slab of rust-coloured brittle cinematic post-rock – a lone British Tortoise rewired for a cybergothic post-Terminator landscape. Sinister, exploratory and spacious with a paradoxically clattering liquid production I’ve Come to Love You Forever sees Donnelly assert himself as a truly distinctive voice.”
 Michael D Donnelly – Mole man 
Mika Vainio- Docks
Biting Tongues- Fever House Soundtrack
Aaron Dilloway- Chained Balled
Ron Morelli- Fake Rush
 Michael D. Donnelly- The Bladebone
HTRK- Work That Body
Stephan Maller- Cool Down
Moebius & Plank- News
Keith Seatman- A Slight of Hand
Sam Prekop- Silhouettes
Michael D. Donnelly- Sane Man Pananoid
John Carpenter/ Alan Howarth- Engulfed Cathedral