Barry Adamson – Let’s Steal Away (Mute)

Back with a new EP, Barry Adamson releases four new tracks to coincide with the launch of his recent autobiography ‘Up Above The City, Down Beneath The Stars’.

The release opens with the title song ‘Let’s Steal Away’, which mixes Spaghetti Western dramatics with a melodic chorus. The EP also has two tracks released as singles: ‘Broken Moments’ and ‘The Climber’. Continuing the Americana sound of the record, the former is an acoustic memoir with hints of country music and backing vocals while the latter contains soulful folk blues and a lyrically reflective composition.

The EP ends on the more abrasive ‘Sundown County’ which evokes Adamson’s live electric guitar performances; a rhythm and blues piece featuring a long guitar solo and croaking harmonica.

‘Let’s Steal Away’ is available on CD and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


A Certain Ratio – Loco Remezclada (Mute)

In a long series of releases this year, the band have revisited their studio album of last year, ‘ACR Loco’ with a remix album featuring various artists’ interpretation of the tracklist and a continuation of the dance-electro-funk direction the band is taking.

The album begins on the only track not on the studio album, but rather from the band’s first in a trilogy of EPs, ‘ACR:EPA’ with ‘Down & Dirty’, featuring the vocals of the late Denise Johnson remixed by Dan Carey, although the track doesn’t completely honour the high standards of the original.

’Bouncy Bouncy’ is remixed by LoneLady on keyboards and closely echoes the rhythmic vibe and funky bass of the original, further bringing out Johnson’s vocals in addition to all other parts of the band’s makeup such as percussion parts.

Not all tracks work as well, however, the drum and bass version of ‘Yo Yo Gimix’ by The Orielles does not heed any resemblance to the original ‘Yo Yo Gi’, which being one of the best tracks on the original album is a slight letdown.

However, as the record progresses some real gems emerge such as ‘Supafreak Massey Mix’ by Chris Massey, ‘Always In Love’ by Skream and, the best track on the record, ‘Get A Grip’ by Maps. All pay hommage to the original songs by bringing out their highlights in vocals and instrumentation through the mix. ACR’s single ‘Berlin’ is stripped down and remixed by Cosmodelica.

This album is another movement towards refreshening the sound of ACR, incorporating new genres and working with a multitude of other artists which keeps their sound so relevant for today.

‘Loco Remezclada’ is available on CD, vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


The Pop Group – Y In Dub (Mute)

The Pop Group and Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell launch a dub album as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations since the original release of their classic debut album, ‘Y’, which follows on from the reissue of the album in 2019.

The tracks are minimalist, more concentrated versions of the originals with a lot of the noisy background instrumentals removed, which works across most tracks, while also amplifying other elements such as Mark Stewart’s vocals in ‘Savage Sea’. The two singles at the end of the track listing, ‘She Is Beyond Good And Evil’ and ‘3:38’, are also extended and further experimented with mixed versions.

The other attraction of the record is it represents the updated sound of the current band and Bovell’s live dubbing, with an upcoming tour due in the near future as part of the album’s commemoration.

‘Y In Dub’ is available on CD, to pre-order on vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four  – Various (Gill Music)

Commemorating the band’s founding member and guitarist Andy Gill’s passing, the current band release this long awaited compilation featuring contributions from a host of artists who consider themselves fans of the band and the man himself.

Beginning on a cover of ‘Damaged Goods’ by IDLES, the record progresses through the band’s classic ‘Entertainment’, ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Songs Of The Free’ first three studio albums, with big-name collaborations from Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), HOTEI, Gary Numan, The Dandy Warhols and Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers).

Although not all cover versions work as well, some tracks particularly excel at celebrating the band’s distinct sound such as Gail Ann Dorsey’s ‘We Live As We Dream Alone’ and Herbert Grönemeyer’s electro-beat I Love A Man In Uniform’, which both retain the ‘80s vibe of the original tracks, and the latter also performed by Swedish band The Sounds is another standout.

The compilation ends on Killing Joke’s dub track of the band’s more recent single, ‘Forever Starts Now’, taken from another posthumous release, ‘This Heaven Gives Me Migraines’ EP, and finally a live Tibetan bell instrumental by Sekar Melanti.

‘The Problem Of Leisure’ is available on CD, vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


A Certain Ratio – ACR:EPA (Mute)

The first in a trilogy catalogue of EP releases dedicated to late artists, ‘ACR:EPA’ focuses on former band member Denise Johnson, who passed away last year, and through this release still remains an integral part of the band’s music posthumously.

‘Wonderland’ opens the record; it’s a chilled, psych, keyboard track with Martin Moscrop’s guitar wah wah effects and Tony Quigley’s jazzy flutters that produce something more unusual for the band and instead reminiscent of Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart.

Returning to the more funky territory that defines ACR, the record moves to ‘70s disco in ‘Keep It Together’ and the springy Bootsy Collins styled ‘Down And Dirty’; both tracks showcase Johnson’s unique recording talent which celebrate her solo artist capabilities beyond her work as a backing singer.

The last track on the EP sees Johnson’s sombre yet melodic tones with backing vocals from bassist Jez Kerr and Quigley’s free jazz instrumentals, another varied piece for ACR, signalling a period of experimentation and a taste of things to come.

‘ACR:EPA’ is available on limited edition coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


Gary Numan – Intruder (BMG)

The 21st studio album in his immense catalogue and produced with Ade Fenton begins with a link back to Numan’s last solo studio release, ‘Savage (Song From A Broken World)’, with two tracks of classic middle eastern instrumentals starting things off before things move into a new direction that continues for the rest of the album.

The two more melodic singles that follow, the fiery ‘I Am Screaming’ and primordial ‘Intruder’, appear early on and illustrate the album’s ominous key theme of climate crisis; although the latter retains quite a typical Numan song structure and synth instrumentation they still serve their purpose in appeasing long-time fans of his trademark sound.

However, deeper into the album there are even more exciting productions such as ‘Is This World Not Enough’, which has a futuristic, electronic feel broken up by ghostly backing vocals. ‘A Black Sun’ changes the mood to tragic nostalgia with a piano and strings combination, quietly echoing the tune from ‘I Am Screaming’; Numan is constantly evolving new faces to his musical ambition.

As well as its classical elements the album also contains a heavier industrial rock sound seen in single ‘Saints and Liars’. Another single ‘Now and Forever’ creates a far-off future soundscape, while final track ‘The End Of Dragons’ returns some of the middle eastern flavour combined with piano to make for a pessimistic ending befitting of the album’s message. Numan seems to be years ahead of other artists and producing releases that keep improving from the last.

‘Intruder’ is available on CD, vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


Cabaret Voltaire – Dekadrone / BN9Drone (Mute)

Following in the series of Richard H Kirk’s revival of the band with their first studio album release in 26 years, ‘Shadow Of Fear’, ‘Dekadrone’ forms the first in two drone album releases, the second ‘BN9Drone’, followed a month later.

‘Dekadrone’ is a circa 50-minute stream of frequency drone noise; it begins on disembodied voices, distorted radiowaves and white noise. A hypnotic, sirenic pulsating beat then takes over for the rest of the track, intercepted by high to low frequencies and other background distortion effects that overall create a dystopian sound.

‘BN9Drone’ is a longer drone noise track; it contains a sonar beat throughout, more radio chatter and stronger frequency pulses and power surges. These organic and uninterrupted pieces do well to bring the live performance element of the band to recording in what is a reinventive and productive period for the band’s remaining member.

‘Dekadrone’ and ‘BN9Drone’ are available on CD, limited edition coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


Alan Vega – Mutator (Sacred Bones)

In the first of a series of archival releases from the Vega vault, ‘Mutator’ was recorded in New York in 1995-96, fragments of an unfinished album discovered on lost tapes and posthumously mixed and produced by wife Liz Lamere and close friend and collaborator Jared Artaud.

Created during a particularly productive period for Vega, the material opens on ‘Trinity’ featuring a disembodied choir of backing singers, which illustrate his interest in religious iconography. ‘Fist’ sees a repetitive drum machine rhythm which is then echoed in the pulsating beat and synth hum of ‘Muscles’, both tracks showcasing Vega’s lyrical poetry.

The deep, urban industrial beat continues in ‘Filthy’ and ‘Nike Soldier’ – the tracks epitomise the urban glare of NYC, the buzz of traffic and the golden age of fashion branded hip hop. The release closes on the ambient synth inhalations and exhalations of ‘Breathe’.

‘Mutator’ is available on CD, limited edition coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


Front 242 – 91 / Live (Alfa Matrix)

Released as a deluxe vinyl boxset and digipack CD, this double LP live compilation was aimed at bringing some of the band’s live experience to their fans after the forced cancellation of their tours. It follows two digital releases from the band’s ‘87 and ‘89 European tours.

The recordings taken from the Belgian industrial, electronic band’s European and American ‘Tyranny For 1991 tour, spans 14 live tracks from various locations primarily taken from their ‘Front By Front’ and ‘Tyranny (For You)’ albums, featuring fan favourites such as ‘Rhythm Of Time’, ‘Masterhit’ and ‘Until Death (Us Do Part)’, ‘Headhunter’, ‘Tragedy For You’ and ‘Welcome To Paradise’. The record only leaves the visuals amiss, which attendees of the tour will remember as spectacular.

‘91 / Live’ is available on CD and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


K÷ – K÷93 (CADIZ)

K÷ was a joint venture between Killing Joke’s founding members Jaz Coleman and Geordie Walker and Joy Division and New Order’s Peter Hook that came together in Hook’s recording studio back in 1993, but the cassette was lost and only emerged recently.

Recorded during the time Killing Joke were on a four-year hiatus, the songs were created following the band’s 1990 studio album, ‘Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions’ and prior to 1994’s ‘Pandemonium’ release. However, the K÷ tracks have nothing in common with Coleman’s band discography other then subtle hints which makes them a rare exploration.

Comprising three tracks, the EP showcases a more pensive style of play; beginning on the synth soundscape of ‘Remembrance Day’, featuring  flashes of Joy Division-style guitar which at the end is overlapped by Walker’s beating waves, but still retains Coleman’s abrasive vocals that seem slightly adrift of the rest of the composition.

‘Giving Up The Ghost’ follows with a gothic folk song, combining church organ, electric and acoustic guitars and Coleman’s softer vocal set which still remains prominent against the instrumentals. The final track, ‘Scrying’, returns to Coleman’s more abrasive vocals, but against gentle acoustic guitar and synth tones with touches of Joy Division.

‘K÷93’ is available to pre-order on limited edition coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



Following the release last year of the band’s first album in 26 years, Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H Kirk releases a follow-up EP containing three tracks which incorporate aspects of the band’s live performance whilst also featuring a new drone sound due to appear on two upcoming drone album releases over the next few months.

The opening title track ‘Shadow Of Funk’ begins with a noisy, choppy static, it then combines elements of samba percussion with sirenic drones and, as an accompanying work to the album, it revisits similar sound effects from those tracks whilst also embracing the earlier band’s funkier side.

‘Skinwalker’ continues with the air raid sirens and develops into a dance track with vocal effects that share hints of a previous track, ‘Vasto’, on the last album. The final track ‘Billion Dollar’ is purely a stomping dance track and lacks the variation and experimentalism of the previous two.

‘Shadow Of Funk’ is available now on coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



The third instalment in his sequel of non-soundtrack albums, John Carpenter uses ‘Lost Themes III’ to return to his best known territory with ten ghoulish themed tracks, and as with the previous albums, it’s produced in collaboration with his son Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies who together have been working as a trio since 2015.

The record begins on single, ‘Alive After Death’, which contains a keyboard riff that’s in the same vein of a slowed down version of ‘Halloween theme’ building to an electronic guitar solo. A magical, nightmarish Japanese-style animated video by illustrator Boneface and animator Liam Brazier was also created for the track.

As is typical for Carpenter’s work, the album is full of contrasts: ‘Weeping Ghost’ unites stomping electronic drumbeats with grim guitar and spidery, scuttling keyboards, whereas ‘Dripping Blood’ creates a serene, mystical and ancient landscape.

‘Vampire’s Touch’ begins steeped in gothic mystery but later becomes grotesque and ominous, with alto keys building to a frenzied electric guitar finish. ‘Skeleton’ sees heroic synth landscapes echoed by guitar parts; ‘The Dead Walk’ is a pumping march-beat dancetrack interspersed with blunt, frazzled guitar chords.

Although this album doesn’t meet the standard of the first two instalments in its originality and somewhat lack of rich multi-instrumentation and can even be repetitive in places, it’s another showcase of Carpenter’s ability to create imaginative ‘soundtracks of the mind’ and an exciting and rare return to his horror background.

‘Lost Themes III’ is available now on CD, limited coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.