The playlist: electronic – Alice Glass, Helena Hauff, PLO Man and more

This month there’s exclusive debuts from Hamburg clubland stalwart Helena Hauff and moody duo Black Rain and Shapednoise, and a return to form for a post Crystal Castles Alice Glass

Helena Hauff – L’Homme Mort

Debuting exclusively here is this enormous track from Helena Hauff’s first album Discreet Desires. Known for her residency at Hamburg’s Golden Pudel club, she resurrected the liberated spirit of no-wave by blending harsh techno with synthpop, post-punk and coldwave; Hauff’s set would sound moody and even a little jaded, but confidently beckoned you from the daylight into darkness. She’s also been making a series of excellent productions, and L’Homme Mort is one of her boldest and loudest yet: snares arrive after one second, a kick drum after 15 more, and they hold a pair of synth melodies aloft throughout. It’s the album’s big crowd-pleasing centrepiece – make sure to check the whole thing out when it arrives on Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune on 4 September.

Black Rain and Shapednoise – Interceptor (Miles Ramen reshape)

Black rain and shaped noise indeed: on Interceptor, static is sculpted into rhythm and the mood is bleakly dystopian. It’s a collaboration between Stuart Argabright, also known for his work with excellent industrialists Ike Yard, and Nino Pedone, whose Berlin studio the pair hunkered down in to make a trio of tracks – each with varying levels of pre-apocalyptic anxiety. In another exclusive debut, Miles from Mancunian ouija-techno duo Demdike Stare gives Interceptor a bit more kick, with a propulsive hi-hat driving the track out of its curled-up fug and into the club.

Alice Glass – Stillbirth

On their best tracks – such as Air War, Not in Love and their remix of HEALTH – Crystal Castles took polite, even cute, digital sound and abraded it until it was scratched and scarred. Now following a tiff-filled split, Alice Glass has released a solo single, and that scarring is more raw than ever. Accompanying the release is a text describing her escape from a long-term abusive relationship, and the song is full of both the damage and the emancipation. Over pulverising, stuttering digital noise grenades, she opens with the helplessness of “I’ve been waiting for you to die” but ends up at “I want to start again”. All the violence done to her is turned out, and turned into noise. Proceeds from the song go to a charity helping victims of domestic abuse.

PLO Man – Type Damascus

One of the year’s best 12-inches is Geo Fi by CC Not, released on new label Acting Press. It received rapturous reviews (included in these pages) and its relative mystery propelled it to much salivation; now the label drops its second release, and it’s almost as good. It too is breakbeat house, only the chords are mournful, and the tracks stretch out into ambient repose rather than youthfully raving. But as on highlight Type Damascus, there’s still life in those old limbs, with the rattling beats full of determined energy.

Makoto Kawabata – Dos Nurages

With a shock of black curls like Slash and a beard like a shamen, Makoto Kawabata sits, both in terms of hair and music, somewhere between cock-rock god and serene spiritualist. As leader of Japanese psych troupe Acid Mothers Temple, his focus is on sprawling epics; on this new solo LP, the canvas is no less wide, but the picture more soft and contemplative. Gottsching-esque guitar loops spiral through sheets of ambient sound, stretching out for 40 minutes on the wondrous Dos Nurages. It’s one of those tracks that is so long you travel through wonder, comfort, indifference and then back again – a proper trip.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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