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Anablog Roundup - June 2020

Anablog Roundup - June 2020

The good people at The Analog Vault — the breezy selectors with the most immaculate tastes in town, Leon and Nick — have already got you covered over social media with their new arrivals.

Every few weeks, there’s always a new shipment of wax goodies to be discovered, and it’s no surprise that the choices cover so many bases that sorting through them all might be a tad overwhelming for some of you.

With this assumption, this is where I’ll be coming in, shining a light on just a handful of the stellar picks that the TAV team has brought in. If your post-CB budget is tight — whose isn’t, really? — this is exactly the place to be. (plus the store’s extended their 15% discount if that helps)

Ghostpoet – I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep | Play It Again Sam

It only feels like yesterday when a certain 27-year-old who went by the enigmatic name of Ghostpoet shook the UK with Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy, an unwieldy title for an album brimming with brisk and captivating wordplay, courtesy of Ghostpoet’s spoken word-style delivery.

Even till today, Ghostpoet refuses to go by genre — he once defiantly called it a “marketing tool”, and frankly he’s got a point there — but he’s been steadfast in waxing lyrical about despair and malaise in everyday life that rarely feels tiring.

While his early work is rooted in a charming late-night combination of fluctuating hi-hats and aquatic synths, with a persistent low-end punctuating each line of wisdom, his latest album I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep is driven entirely by the analog, with angular post-punk guitar work that has added a new dimension to his body of work.

Recommended if you like: King Krule, later-day Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Sleaford Mods, Radiohead (especially if you love In Rainbows)

Altin Gun – Gece

A country with a rich and deep trove of psych-rock treasures like Turkey has got record collectors and musicians worldwide entranced. Altin Gun has taken their niche interest into overdrive. They’re a beacon for a new breed of Anatolian rock, where dusty psych-rock collides with traditional Turkish folk music (if you want to dig further, archival label Finders Keepers is a good start to explore some of the genre’s high points).

Based in the Netherlands, Altin Gun places the spotlight back on Turkey’s folk songbook, with expressive new arrangements of songs frequently overlooked outside of the country’s borders. Gece is their second album, and the band draws upon an even more expansive palette of sounds: the percussive magic of ‘Leyla’ resembles most closely to the hypnotic grit that first inspired the band, but album closer ‘Süpürgesi Yoncadan’ is a propulsive and playful synth-pop ditty.

The only thing that unites these disparate sounds are their burning compatibility for the dance floor — while you’re still stuck in your bedroom, you might as well fashion one just for this album anyway.

RIYL: Selda, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Goat, Kikagaku Moyo

Greentea Peng – Rising | Different Recordings

 

Nope, it’s not Ice Green Tea (this joke must be tired by now so allow us to make it for the very last time, we promise), but Greentea Peng’s status has been brewing in the British R&B underground for a while now.

Since 2019, the name has been synonymous with a moody, playlist-friendly form of the genre, one that’s been given a robust platform through video series Colors (Greentea Peng’s appearance has raked over 5 million views alone).

Listening to the aptly-named Rising, it’s really not hard to see why: Greentea is remarkably skillful in allowing her voice to drift cooly overproduction that never overpowers her. Even as countless R&B singers attempt to project a detached presence to their work, Greentea never falters in making her intimate words sound impassioned. This long-awaited pressing on translucent green vinyl has only been out for a few months, but it’s unlikely to last on the shelves for long.

RIYL: ELIZA, Raveena, Kali Uchis, Jorja Smith

 

Against All Logic – illusions of Shameless Abundance / Alucianao

It’s no surprise that with 2017-2019 (also available in-store), Against All Logic has excelled once again. Beginning as an outlet for Nicolas Jaar’s scattered rhythmic blueprints, inspired by the bygone days of Chicago house and disco, the project is now an engaging facet of his ever-growing discography.

But unlike the nostalgic sounds of his first album, the AAL of 2020 is a much tougher beast, and this 12” single is the perfect launchpad into his harsh vision of the dancefloor. Featuring two original tracks, not included in the 3LP album, Jaar flexes his array of distorted, militant synth pads with the help of music iconoclasts Lydia Lunch and FKA Twigs, along with mysterious contributor Estado Unido.

Pressed on a generous 45rpm spread, this single alone will give your speakers a proper workout.

RIYL: Helena Hauff, Tzusing, VTSS, Skee Mask

Masumi Hara – 4 X A Dream | Numero Group

Over the past three years alone, independent labels all over the world have been generous in excavating master tapes of old Japanese albums for new reissues that rival $100+ original pressings.

This ongoing campaign has only revealed a sliver of the creative spark that thrived in the country from the 1970s to the present. The genre of “city pop” alone, first discovered by YouTube sleuths and vaporwave producers, has engaged an entirely new (and wholly international) generation of listeners, which we’ll get to in a bit. Meanwhile, artists instilling their own revolutionary takes on jazz, ambient, folk and new wave have been dutifully celebrated, but an artist like Masumi Hara stands as a unique example crossing these already-malleable boundaries.

4 X A Dream is a heady combination of chunky dub basslines, icy synths, ghostly tribal percussions and a commanding performance by the multi-media artist. It’s unlike anything you’ve heard, really, but Hara manages to be playful enough for these songs to be enchanting upon first listen. This masterfully-crafted reissue by Numero Group is the perfect gateway into his work.

RIYL: Yasuaki Shimizu, Nightclubbing-era Grace Jones, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Talking Heads. 

 

Coastlines – Coastlines | Flower Records

With the tumultuous events of now, it’s imperative to plug out once in a while for your mental health. You’ll need a proper soundtrack for these fleeting periods, and it has arrived in this intoxicating 2LP package.

A collaboration between two esteemed Japanese musicians, producer Masanori Ikeda and keyboard player Takumi Kaneko, this self-titled effort is immediately evocative of 80s jazz-fusion — behaving like a distant counterpart of the breezy Pacific — but with a pronounced sensibility for modern house and Balearic sounds, complete with steel pans and lightweight piano chords. Simply put, if Pacific was made for fancy yachts, Coastlines is primed for the beach clubs.

This is an album best experienced cranked up with the window open and a tropical cocktail on hand. Trust us when we say this album has the power to gently nudge off the weight of the world, even if it’s just for an hour.

RIYL: Seaside Lovers, Hiroshi Sato, Azymuth, the albums Pacific and The Aegean Sea.

 

VA – Pacific Breeze 2 | Light In The Attic

Japan going three-for-three on this list, unsurprisingly. And it is with Light In The Attic, whose ongoing Japan Archival Series have led the way in unearthing Japan’s heritage of eclectic and groundbreaking music.

The first Pacific Breeze compilation compiled treasures across the city pop spectrum — from infectious boogie tunes to offbeat studio experiments — and Pacific Breeze 2 is evidence that one release was simply not enough to capture its range. True enough, this edition tells a story of its own, beginning with artists like Bread & Butter and Eiichi Ohtaki — both rooted in the summery folk-pop sounds of the Laurel Canyon — who helped lay the foundations for the nebulous genre.

Across the board, there’s plenty to dig into. While city pop favorites like Anri, Kikuchi Momoko, Piper, and Junko Ohashi are present, the tracklist offer delights from Sadistics (who emerged from the ashes of Sadistic Mika Band, one of the country’s biggest glam rock outfits) and Mystery Kindaichi Band (a terrific one-off disco/funk project with little in the way of backstory), amongst other iconoclasts.

RIYL: If the first Pacific Breeze was your thing, this is simply unmissable.

 

Moses Sumney – Grae | Jagjaguwar

 

A distinct and unwavering vision is the calling card for Moses Sumney, whose debut Aromanticism found an immediate audience in 2017.

Grae is something else, a two-part project of unfiltered ambition — the old saying goes that artists have their entire lives to prepare for their first album, and 2-3 years for their second. Sumney evidently made every waking minute of those years count to pour his heart and soul into this. The list of collaborators is breathtaking too: James Blake, Jill Scott, Daniel Lopatin, Shabaka Hutchings, Thundercat, Nubya Garcia, FKJ, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart — and that’s barely covering the whole lot of talent here.

The album is full of broad strokes of musical delights, with a distinct art rock sound that shapeshifts with inflections of strings, flutes, synths, and even organs. If you caught Sumney at Laneway 2018 and saw a glimpse of his potential, trust us when we say it’s beautifully realized here.

RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Janelle Monae, Solange, James Blake

- The End -

Collector Series - Treasure Hunting with an Itch

Collector Series - Treasure Hunting with an Itch

There are many different motivations for Vinyl collectors out there from the purist who believes vinyl LPs reign above all, the librarian who loves archiving and finding the rarest, the casual who collects records every now and then or the musical conductor, aka the DJ who finds joy in presenting their valuable finds. Everything comes from the sheer love of music, and Ichiro (aka Itch) is all of the above in our opinion.

The motivation to do what they do as vinyl collectors give the musical journey a sort of focus, allowing one to learn from the chosen path. It can be broad, it can be zoned in or even both, no matter what there's always something to take away! So let's dig into the mind of collector DJ Itch and see where this mystical motivation comes from and leads to.

Hi Itch! Thank you for doing this interview, could we start off with just a little bit about yourself? 

Hi Analog Vault, thank you for asking me for this interview.  I’m Itch, a DJ and a vinyl collector, and have been actively collecting vinyls inspired by the passion for “local exotic funk a-go-go” music from the ’60s to early ’80s in Singapore, Nusantara, and around the region. The music genres I’ve been collecting are A-Go-Go, Hala-Hala, Melayu-Indo grooves, Chinese Disco, Pop Yeh Yeh, Asian City-pop, and so on.  My DJ set specializes in Asian sound and exotic music introducing forgotten local music gems from the past to modern listeners, and brings back nostalgic vibes for old-timers. My vinyl collection journey started from early 2017 when I visit Red Point Record Warehouse to purchase some second-hand Jazz or relaxing music vinyls.  But, the owner recommended me to listen to locally produced funky music, and when I listened to it first, it was quite an addictive exotic funky tune that I haven’t heard before. From that day, my digging journey of local gems has started.

* Treasure Hunting with an Itch - Photo Credit Rizman Putra 

Yes! we have always noticed your great collection of rare South-east Asian titles from attending some of your gigs! Could you expand a little more about this particular interest and what is your motivation behind this research initiative?

My interest came from after knowing about a Golden Era of Music scene back in 60s/70s Singapore.  For many years, I’ve been listening to many kinds of music, and always enjoyed listening to Jazz or Motown soul music in 70s, but I didn’t know much about the same era music scene in Singapore. This curiosity motivated me to start listening to those music from online or YouTube.  The vinyl collection of South-East Asian vinyls started when my DJ friend from Japan, Yohei Hasegawa, introduced me to vintage record shop in Singapore, which also helped me to open my journey of digging “local exotic funk a-go-go” vinyl records!

*Recent finds of SEA titles by Itch 

1. Saloma - Entah Di-Mana EP

*Recent finds of SEA titles by Itch 

2. Mahani Mohd & Jopie - 1000th Ku Nantikan

With that in mind, how do you go about choosing which ones go into your record bag and which ones remain when digging for SEA titles? Is there a particular mood or sound that you usually look for?  

Choosing vinyl is the most difficult part. When you start digging, I just look through the shelves randomly and check any title I’ve been searching for.  If I find it, those will straight go into my record bag!  If not, I sometimes ask the shop owner for any recommendation or new stock, then search from that stack.  But my budget is limited on one visit, so I just select those which can be used in the DJ event. The interesting part of digging is to find the dope groove music from the cheaper second-hand records!  I try not to buy the expensive one. When I go digging, I just focus on the music produced in 60s to 80s from around the region which can be used on my DJ mix.  Recently, I’ve been listening to soul and funk music from Malaysia in 70s, and there many wonderful covers and original songs.

We are also curious as to how you would organize them in your own personal space. Would it be by the era, style, mood, or region?? It's always nice to have a system in place for easier navigation especially for a DJ like yourself.

Never knew that my record collection can become so big in three years, and its always problematic to organize these records in my space.  Currently I organize by its region (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japanese, others), then after that will put those in alphabetical order or its musical style.  Otherwise, it’s difficult to remember where I put the vinyls.  But, usually I always keep my favorite vinyls in my DJ bag, so I can listen to it anytime!



Apart from that, we also realized your love for Japanese City-pop and Funk, where you also have your very own night called “NightCap”. Could you tell us a bit about what the style means to you and maybe one of your favorite City-pop albums for a much-suggested listening.

Yes, “Nightcap”, my monthly night at White Label Records, is a good platform to introduce some of my favorite Japanese City-pop music mixed with Malay Funk or Nanyang Chinese Disco. Am happy that this monthly event turned one in February! As an Asian rare groove DJ, and as a Japanese, I wanted to share some of my Japanese rare groove music collection (Japanese Funk & Japanese city-pop).  Some funk and boogie music produced in Japan have great vibes!  Tatsuro Yamashita’s “Sparkle” (included in the LP album ‘For You’) and Miki Matsubara’s “Stay With Me” (EP) have been played every time at “Nightcap”, and always happy to see the audience singing together!  My favorite City-pop albums will be Tatsuro Yamashita’s “SPACY”, Ruriko Ohgami’s “Typhoon Lady”, Taeko Ohnuki’s “Sunshower”, and so on…

2. Takako Mamiya - Love Trip


We are always fascinated with collectors who purposefully dig for old records that are super rare to find, it's almost like a treasure hunt. Could you share a little about your focus on your musical journey recently? Is there a DJ / Collector / or ethos that you are inspired by? Maybe one or two rare records that you’ve been wanting to find as well.

Yes, digging vinyls especially the old ones are like treasure hunt! Recently, I’ve been focused on more Malay and Singapore soul and funk from 70s and 80s; Ahmad Nawab, Uji Rashid, Rahimah Rahim, Sharifah Aini, Anita Sarawak, Carefree, Flybaits, etc).  Their music has wonderful soul, groove, and boogie with a bit of exoticness, and they can blend well with Japanese City-pop at my events.

I was first inspired by NADA, a sound duo comprised by Safuan Johari and Rizman Putra, who reinterpret Malaysian traditional music with modern technology. I learned a lot about 60s to 80s Malaysian music from them and inspired me to DJ.  Then, I always get inspired by music selection by my favourite DJs, Iramamama, Vinylheavy, Tiko Disko, Yuichi Kishino, Hibiki Tokiwa, Yohei Hasegawa, etc.. Their music help expand my music knowledge about Asian music!

To end it off, We would like to say that you are one of the rare music lovers out there with such a sincere and genuine approach. Each record probably brings its own memories and experience back to you. Could you maybe tell us what do these records mean to you at the end of the day and how does it gel into your everyday life? 

From these vintage records, each record has its own music culture history and these music brings back the vibes from those era into our daily life.  Besides the music, the design or fashion from those era can be seen from the vinyl record, which is interesting part of the vinyl digging experience!  Singapore has developed and changed very fast, but through the vinyl record I still can see how Singapore was before.  Each vinyl has its own history and story.

A mix by DJ Itch for our Mix series - Providing an all Vinyl mix, picking flavours from the South-East Asian Region, songs and melodies that are nostalgic to all of us here.

- The End -

Thank you Itch for taking your time off and shining some light onto some of these musical gems. By doing this interview it has inspired us to always keep the musical search going! So much to learn from the past and so much to look forward to at the same time. Hopefully through reading this, it will inspire you to go on your own musical search and continue to keep your curious nature alive. Keep the fire burning :) 

You can find out more about DJ Itch aka Ichiro via the mediums below! Please also check out his weekly mix that he has been doing during the Circuit Break era called "Stay Home Singapura". We Highly recommend to put them on for some time travels and spot on vibes. 

Mixcloud: 

https://www.mixcloud.com/itchirology/

Instagram: 

https://www.instagram.com/itch_sg/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/itchirology/

@Itch_sg

Top 5 Stay-At-Home Records

Top 5 Stay-At-Home Records
Staying home this week? We've got you covered! Here are 5 great records to put on if you're spending lots of time at home. We've selected different music for different situations - facilitating Conversation, Rest, Cooking, Exploration and Reflection. Have a read and a listen below! You can click on the title or the album art to purchase the LP right here on our online store.

Bill Frisell / Thomas Morgan - Epistrophy
   



Music for Conversation 
The perfect LP to put on to help foster a sweet environment for some conversation with your family and loved ones. With the current situation going on, its a good time to catch up with the people at home. By guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan, Epistrophy was recorded at the famous New York City’s Village Vanguard – capturing the rare empathy these two players achieve together in an intimate environment. Put it on, have a listen and let the conversations begin! 

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Music for Rest
  
Time for some rest and a moment to yourself – Komachi helps facilitate that with much grace. With the use of hypnotic sounds and carefully crafted textures, the music leads you to Meitei’s world of what he calls “the lost Japanese mood”. Truly an imaginative sound which inspires a sense of hope, and at the same time, some introspection. Plug in and allow it to take you into a land far far away. 


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Duke Pearson - The Right Touch 



Music for Cooking 
Dubbed as 'one of the finest recordings of Pearson's Career'  by Allmusic, this here is an excellent one to listen to while you cook something delicious up! The colourful frameworks and consistently challenging compositions led by the touch of Pearson's piano makes a great mood to slice, dice, fry, saute, steam, boil, whatever it takes to satisfy your craving. Get in tune with The Right Touch and touch your cooking the right way!   


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Music For Exploration
 

Here's a special one to put on if you're in the mood for exploration! Not too far out, but definitely not restrained either, it's an illuminating listen, especially when you read about the inspirations behind the music. 

“Polyhymnia” is named for the Greek Muse of music, poetry and dance, a figure that Ahmed describes as “A Goddess for the arts”. It is a suite of six movements that Ahmed dedicates to “six women of outstanding qualities, role models with whom I felt a strong connection”. 

A highly evocative and inspiring LP to put on as you sit down to draw, paint, sew, stitch, mould, and create.

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Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
(Used copy - Exclusively available in-store)



Music for Reflection 
What more can be said about one of the most iconic soul records of the 70s? We've once again found ourselves in very trying times indeed, it's as good a time as ever for this message to resonate. 

The Analog Vault - Top 10 picks of 2019

The Analog Vault - Top 10 picks of 2019
Here are some of our top picks of 2019! It was very difficult to narrow it down to just 10 but we managed to pick some based on what was popular amongst you guys who have supported the vault over this year. We added more tunes to our Spotify playlist so that some of these titles don't get missed out but here are our 10 picks, in no particular order! 
*A big shout out to all who came through and spent the year with us listening and discovering music together
1. VA - Pacific Breeze (Japanese City Pop, AOR, Boogie 1976-1986)

One of those compilations that you won’t want to skip a single song. A very good introductory to the world of Japanese City Pop and one of our best sellers here at the Vault. With its eye-striking cover painting done by Tokyo based artist Hiroshi Nagai, we’ve seen many head turners and questions asked purely based on its illustration. Many key City Pop players on here, from Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato. The music ranges from the playful emotions of City pop, its Machine like – Computer funk groove, right down to that distinct nostalgia which we all love from time to time. If City Pop is your thing, this compilation won’t disappoint!

2. Meitei - Kwaidan

Released on vinyl by local imprint Evening Chants, Meitei’s Kwaidan is a weird and wonderful journey into the spooky world of Kwaidan – a style of Japanese ghost stories. Using intricate sound collage as form, the lost Japanese mood is presented in a contemporary spin on this exceptional LP.  

3. Fauxe - Ikhlas

Our first release as a label! This wonderful beats album by local producer Fauxe was initially released on cassette in 2018, and we absolutely had to release it on vinyl. Fauxes exploration of the KL music scene is a story expressed through samples of traditional Malaysia music with Hip Hop as its vehicle. Inspired by an eight-month stay in Malaysia, this LP is a true modern ode to the sonic legacy of the country. Likewise, we are inspired by the man's love for music of all sorts and his Ikhlas (sincere) creativity.

4. Various Artist - Hydeout Productions - First Collection

A compilation album, the first of 2 released by Nujabes Hydeout Productions Label. Previously on CD, these beautiful songs have made their way onto wax for the first time. Featuring some major players such as Funky DL, Apani B-Fly Emcee and Shing02 paired with the iconic beats of the late Nujabes. Not much has to be said but this compilation helps to show how far his music has reached out, breaking boundaries and forming a unique vibe truly known to Nujabes. With his classic style of sampling and his known swing, the music here presents a colorful, wavering and watery flow that brings moods of both melancholy and beauty. 

5. Bombay S Jayashri - Shravanam

Time Capsule has knocked it out of the park with their fourth release, presenting the transcendental work of intimately spiritual Indian classical music by celebrated vocalist and composer Bombay S Jayashri. The drone of the tambura, intricate percussion and meditative chanting make up its deep musical landscape, truly engulfing any room this is played in; deservedly due to the incredible production. An incredible release by Time Capsule that will touch anyone with a spiritual charge.

6. Keith Jarrett - The Melody At Night

This LP is on rotation at the store most of the time as it fits the vibe of the store perfectly! If you have visited our store in the last 3 months, you probably would have heard it. Melancholic and beautiful from start to end with the solo piano work of Keith Jarrett, this LP is perfect for an after-work listen or just before you head to bed! First time on Vinyl from the good people of ECM Label, we highly recommend it for all music lovers and vinyl collectors :)  Perfect album to sum up the end of 2019.

7. Mort Garson - Mother Earth's Plantasia

First official reissue of this plantastic masterpiece made up of beautifully synthesized arrangements for flora and fauna. Surely one of the most popular reissues of 2019 with its iconic artwork along with some lovely melodies packed in here. It comes with a very creative seed paper download card - plant it and watch it sprout :) “Warm earth music for plants and the people that love them” – all melodies were created on the Moog, orchestrated by Mort Garson leading the instrument to speak a charming and subtle language. If you haven’t listened to this, we ought you to! Truly putting the synth in photosynthesis is the right tag line!

8. Sampa The Great - The Return

Melbourne artist Sampa The Great here with her debut album The Return. Truly unique rhythmic flow throughout with top productions and water like rhymes. Some key collaborations here as well such as Silent Jay, Jon Wayne and London Jazz collective Steam Down, giving it that extra flavor. Listening to it in its entirety is key here, with each tune touching different styles yet moving seamlessly as it progresses. Surely a must-listen for all hip hop heads and RNB lovers looking for that fresh sound. 

9. Resavoir - Resavoir

Chicago collective Resavoir with their first full-length album providing a very refreshing take on Modern / Contemporary Jazz. It features a suite of elegantly orchestrated jazz instrumentals filled with samples and interesting electronic textures. Loads of rhythmic styles on this one as well with that breakbeat, hip hop, house, and soul-jazz type rhythm. If you’re looking for something fresh sounding, Resavoir is a perfect LP to sum up that cross between Modern Jazz, Electronic and Ambient music.

10. The Comet Is Coming - Trust In The Lifeforce of The Deep Mystery

Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery is the second studio album by the English group, The Comet Is Coming. With Shabakka Hutchings leading the group with his high paced out style of playing the saxophone / Bass clarinet paired with lush electronic elements and a tightly pocketed drum groove – All the right elements for an interesting listen, definitely one of the freshest sounds in 2019, contributing to the ever-growing sound of the UK Jazz scene.

Catch you guys in 2020, Peace! 

Outin 014 - Guided Meditation + Daniel Peters [Selector Special]

Outin 014 - Guided Meditation + Daniel Peters [Selector Special]

The 14th edition of our intimate in-store series OutIn saw Guided Meditation (Nigel Lopez) and Daniel Peters take to our decks for a Selector Special. 

The last time these two got together was back in 2016, for the official Daido Moriyama exhibition afterparty at the Singapore International Photography Festival. They were joined by The Analog Vault Selectors for an evening of eclectic selections, making for a journey through numerous windows and alleyways of music throughout. If you've missed it, here is your chance to check it out! 

AV Mix Series -

For the 7th Edition of our mix series, we have Daniel Peters who has been writing about music for close to a decade, occasionally taking the reigns at parties to play a selection of dance floor burners and atmospheric jams. He’ll claim it’s eclectic, but it’s really just all he has.

AV Mix Series -

For the 6th edition of our mix series, we have Nigel Lopez aka Guided Meditation, founder of experimental label Evening Chants and indie label Middle Class Cigars. His moniker Guided Meditation is a channel for him to share his discoveries in the experimental/ambient/electronic side of things.

Have a listen :)

The Analog Vault Top 25 picks from 2018!

The Analog Vault Top 25 picks from 2018!
What a year for music 2018 has been! Here, in no order, are our top 25 favourite releases and reissues of the year: 



John Coltrane - Both Directions at Once

A recently discovered recording from 1963 - this brilliantly captures the intensity of Coltrane’s great quartet and hints at the boundary-stretching musicality to come.


Jon Hassell - Listening to Pictures



His first album since 2009, this LP is rich with melody and unbounded rhythms, exploring in a dreamlike manner but still grounded in its vision. One of our favourites from the Vault!⠀

 
Haruomi Hosono - Philharmony



This is the second solo record from the unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono, one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. Philharmony is a wild listen, veering from abstract ideas, to synth pop, to tight, funky tunes for the dancefloor.



Yellow Magic Orchestra - Self Titled



The first album by the legendary Yellow Magic Orchestra, made up of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yukihiro Takahashi and Haruomi Hosono. This boundary smashing debut from 1978 blends synth pop with early electro, hip hop and bleep techno. Seminal and  essential!


Ryu Fukui - Scenery



Unquestionably one of the most important Japanese jazz albums ever recorded! Scenery reveals Ryo Fukui as a miraculously brilliant self-taught pianist fusing modal, bop, and cool jazz influences for a very personal, dexterous and game-changing take on classic standards made famous by Bing Crosby and John Coltrane among others.


Sons of Kemet - Your Queen is a Reptile



A mainstay in our Modern Jazz collection, this emotionally and rhythmically-charged jazz album is definitely worthy of repeated listens!


N'Draman Blintch - Cosmic Sounds



One of our favourite reissues of the year - A synth-heavy, psychedelic disco record, with artwork to match, Cosmic Sounds marries the sci-fi boogie sounds of US and European dance floors with a Afro-funk grooves for an endless boogie.


Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth



Saxophonist Kamasi Washington's 2018 release is such a thrilling multi-genre journey through musical ideas, cementing his place as one of the Jazz greats of today. 

Various - J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969 - 1984



This amazing compilation is packed with obscure and sought after rarities that takes the listener on a wonderful journey. From deep spiritual jazz, post-modal Impressionism and dance floor material from artists & composers whose names are generally known to committed collectors of Japanese Jazz.



Various - We Out Here



An incredible compilation by Gilles Peterson's label Brownswood Recordings from earlier this year, this brilliantly showcases the UK's flourishing jazz scene. Spearheaded by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who is credited as musical director, and features sounds from Hutchings, Maisha, Ezra Collective, Moses Boyd, Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia, and more


Arthur Verocai - Self Titled



In this LP lies perfect doses of Bossanova, Samba, Jazz, Funk, Breaks and Psychedelic Rock. Listeners here can expect a 29 minute long LP of unique song arrangements and interesting sonic timbres. Perfect for a windy day and lovers of Madlib, as described as an album he could listen to every day for the rest of his life :) 


Various - Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were 1984 – 94



An awesome compilation selected by Millos Kaiser, one half of Sao Paulo's Selvagem DJ and digging duo. This LP features 16 rare tracks from the 80s & 90s, exploring sounds from Brazil. Packed tight with balearic rhythms, synth driven melodies and classic drum machine grooves of the 80s, this LP is a must have for both DJs and vinyl heads. Perfect for a samba-boogie and an ice cream while listening!


Nujabes – Metaphorical Music



After a long, long wait, this genre defining breakbeat album from the late great Nujabes has finally been made available on our favourite medium, vinyl :)


Various – Untinted: Sources for Madlib’s Shades of Blue



 Untinted contains the source material for Madlib's seminal 2003 project 'Shades of Blue' and is a fantastic intro to compare all the material from both recordings. It's a great dose of jazz in which Madlib focuses on the soul and jazz he used for the remixes. With songs by among others Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver and Donald Byrd the 12-track album gives you an indication of the way Madlib created his pieces. 


Alfa Mist – Antiphon



Perfect for a late night listen, an insight into Alfa Mist's journey as an artist. Here, modern jazz meets hip hop with style, finess, and tasteful musical vocabulary.


Nils Frahm – All Melody



Nils Frahm's 7th studio album is actually the first out of his works from his new studio in Berlin, painstakingly crafted over two years, deconstructing and reconstructing the entire space from the cabling and electricity to the woodwork, before moving on to the finer elements; building a pipe organ and creating a mixing desk all from scratch with the help of his friends. All Melody is born out of the freedom that his new environment provided, allowing Nils to explore without any restrictions and to keep it All about the Melody.


Weldon Irvine – The Sisters



Throughout the 70s, Weldon Irvine released a series of seminal albums full of deep, soulful, funky grooves. "The Sisters" is a collection of lost tracks and demos from his late-1970s studio sessions with fellow Jazz-Funk luminary Don Blackman. Soul-Jazz at its finest!


Jon Hopkins – Singularity



Moving effortlessly through acid house and ambient bliss, Jon Hopkins' first album since 2013 is a wonderful journey through electronic styles, constantly changing - his tracks feel unbound from the metronome, his style cemented and present, his emotions ever so resonant. Singularity is a keeper. 


Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today



Mixing jazz with hip-hop and dub production influences, Joe Armon-Jones - Starting Today features a band including Nubya Garcia (whose new solo EP Armon-Jones plays on), Moses Boyd, Oscar Jerome, and Maxwell Owin.


Charles Mingus – Jazz In Detroit/Strata Concert Gallery

 

A must have for Mingus fans - nearly four hours of previously unreleased live material by the legendary bassist, all recorded on a single night in February 1973 for Detroit public radio. This  is the glowing intersection of tradition and abstraction.


Mkwaju Ensemble - Mkwaju



The 2018 reissue of MKWAJU  (Midori Takada's first album).  Here Takada leads the ensemble with marimbas, vibraphone and other percussive elements blending Eastern and Western minimalistic traditions along with afro-latin rhythms to give a truly unique LP. The album covers a wide spectrum of sound, ranging from the spirit of Jazz through its improvisational qualities to hypnotic dance-floor ready percussive pieces, a beautiful listen throughout.


Abstract Orchestra – Madvillian Vol.1



A jazz deconstruction & re-imagining of the classic MF Doom/Madlib collaboration played live! A jazz album as much as it is a hip-hop album, Madvillain, Vol. 1 explores the reciprocal territory between the genres.


Mansur Brown – Shiroi



An integral part of the groundbreaking Yussef Kamaal album, (and also a contributor on one of the standouts on this year`s We Out Here collection), guitarist Mansur Brown comes into his own with his debut, Shiroi. Drawing on on percussive electronics, trap and jazz fusion, Brown's dextrous playing comes into full form on this one.


Carlos Maria Trindade / Nuno Canavarro – Mr. Wollogallu



On this fantastic collaboration,  Carlos Maria Trindade and Nuno Canavarro manage an enchantingly adventurous and sophisticated soundscape from a range of sources; disparate instruments from across the globe, synthesizers and samples melt into each other with the use of vintage electronic production techniques. Packed with distinct, contrasting elements, the movements make for a baffling, yet comforting journey. A lovely LP to get lost in.


Aphex Twin – Collapse EP



 How often does a late career comeback happen? Richard D James aka Aphex Twin is making some of the best music of his life right now. Joyous, meticulous, skippy, and smooth, Collapse has to go down as one of his finest. The joy is infectious, the programming and sound design ever virtuosic. A definite grin generator for any raver.


Vinyl Mix - The Analog Vault Selectors

A vinyl only mix by The Analog Vault selectors at The Hive (Carpenter Street) for Sights and Sounds 2018.

All tracks present in the mix are titles available at The Analog Vault - taking you on a journey through psychedelic selections and spiritual vibes. Featuring the likes of Dorothy Ashby, Minami Deutsch, Phil Ranelin, Midori Takada, Uniting of Opposites among others.