**Unexpected new one from the hugely celebrated Canadian band. The amorphous, visceral and doom-laced mid-section is truly outstanding** "Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GYBE) returns with its first single LP-length release since the group's earliest days in 1997-99. 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' clocks in at a succinct 40:23 and is arguably the most focused and best-sounding recording of the band's career. Working with sound engineer Greg Norman (Electrical Audio) at studios in North Carolina and Montreal, GYBE slowly and steadily put the new album… Read more
Jam City flourishes a breathtaking pop sound with his not-so-difficult 2nd LP, 'Dream A Garden'. Phase-shifting from the sleek contours of his seminal 'Classical Curves' to a much grittier, slower and bittersweet style laced with his own vocals, he discerns a gap in contemporary electronic/pop music, and proceeds to boldly prise it open, casting coy glances at Prefab Sprout, Prince and Talk Talk from the midst of his finely-layered, swirling arrangements. It's the antithesis to the Club Constructions - themselves influenced by his own reductionist style - stitching a dis-affected heart t… Read more
DJ Nigga Fox goes hard on the heels of Nidia Minaj and CDM with his 2nd 12" for the amazing Príncipe label. Pushing arguably the most exciting dance sound in the world right now, Rogério Brandão aka DJ Nigga Fox is all about sinuous rhythms and mad technoid sounds, coiling the legacy of Angolan and Congolese drum patterns with up-to-date electronics in the styles known as Batida, Tarraxinha, Funana, Kuduro. They're dynamite on the 'floor, wrecking a body between the triplet techno tumble of 'Um Ano' and the incendiary builds and twysting vortices of 'Apocalipsiii' on the A-side, before… Read more
Numbers tick one off the booty bucket list with this invaluable set of ghetto house classixxx by the original DJ Deeon. Almost as well appreciated in Glasgow as they are in Chicago, they include the awesome Arthur Russell-sampling freak of '2 B Free', the irresistible 'House-O-Matic', a ruff-ass R&B throw-down in 'Freak Like Me', plus a proper pounding in 'The 604'. For the strippers, for the street.
**Upfront Exclusive** Wicked reassemblies of yung producer, Grovestreet, by M.E.S.H., Strict Face, Byrell The Great and Morcee & 199? for the burgeoning Tight Knit Records crew. Returning the favour from Grovestreet's 'Scythians' remix, M.E.S.H. rends 'Ground Zero' as bouncing para-techno bomb, metabolising ballroom, B-More and dub-tech inna gauntlet of gyroscopic b*tchslaps and nervy grooves. Struct Face heads way into weightless territory with his iced out mix of 'Altars', while Byrell The GReat makes a fierce introduction with a razor-sharp cut of 'Ground Z… Read more
Jlin breaks thru the Chicago footwork ranks with one of the scene's most fascinating, essential mutations in 'Dark Energy', co-presented by Planet µ and Jamie Kuedo's very promising new Knives label. It's quite possibly the most distinctive contribution to footwork since the RP Boo album and Rashad's jungle splices, and, in such a fast-moving (quite literally) and active scene, that's gotta be saying something. Keener Chi watchers may have previously checked Jlin's standout 'Erotic Heat' and 'Asylum' joints on the Bangs & Works Vol.2 compilation but, since then, the Gary, Indiana-based producer… Read more
**First release on a new label from Max Tundra featuring his first productions to surface publicly for over 7 years, fronted by manufactured millennial pop starlets Daphne & Celeste* There’s little doubt among anyone familiar with Max Tundra’s oeuvre that his early 2000’s releases for Domino kinda pre-empted the whole PC Music thing by a decade or so, all hi-sheen bubblegum pop rendered through obsolete digital technology, hooky as hell and just a little bit unsettling to boot. Having laid low since the release of 2008’s 'Parallax Error Beheads You’ he now resurfaces with a new label … Read more
Tessela leaves the boisterous big beats at home in favour of sickest EBM/electro-acid patter in 'Bottom Out', backed with a squashed and jagged Kowton remix. The original 'Bottom Out' picks up where Kowton's remix of 'Erotic Discourse' left off, rejecting kick 4/4 kick drums to focus on prickling industro-dub drums and acidic squirts with loadsa room to dance. Always a step ahead, Kowton's OTT remix extrudes those patterns with mind-bending phase shifts to a saltier, shiftier effect, neatly prepping for the tumultuous abstraction of Tessela's 'Total Music'.
A dream-team meeting of eminent Afro-futurists - for our money Actress' finest moment, bar none. OK, we're genuinely trying to sit on the hyperbole levels here but f**k that; this one is off the scale. Tackling the king of grime, Actress distills everything good about his oeuvre over the last 10 years or more - crooked metrics; THC-fuelled fuzz; bæroque melodies; that rarest late night s-p-i-c-e - inna collaged 7 minute masterpiece that floors us every time. It's like a scrambled Disengage transmission got lost in the æther, modulated with some Wiley… Read more
An absolute doozy from Workshop introducing four new names to the label. Uptown, Manchester's Willow makes her debut entrance with a deeply smudged slice of house soul in 'Feel Me' and Tapes totally blindsides with the perfectly blue R&B/digidub delicacy, 'Somebodies baby'. Downtown, UK electro survivor Steven Horne (Even Steven from Z-Bop) aka The Horn blushes the gorgeous 'Villager', and it's back to Manchester with some woozy NWAQ craic in the 'Lost Track' pearl by meandyou.'s Herron. Highly recommended.
Rhythmic Theory smite the deadly first blow for Ancient Monarchy - a new sublabel administered by Berceuse Heroique. Holding his corner at the juncture of rude techno, D&B and darkside electronica, both tracks sustain the near-impeccable levels of his self-released singles and 12"s for Idle Hands, Happy Skull. 'Lucid State' surveys a ruff technoscape churning up ruggedest tribal drum patterns streaked with late '90s Bristolian D&B pads - think Krust, Dom & Roland, Decoder. On the other hand, 'Shores of Caladan' is one for the aerobic mystics, rolling out with hydraulik bass pressure … Read more
**Upfront Exclusive** 'Expressions' is the lush 2nd album from Edinburgh's Linkwood on Firecracker. It's the sort of album you can spend a whole evening, or equally a whole lifetime with, perfectly crafted and sequenced for immersed listening and also to be broken down into DJ components - of which there are some super strong moments in the hypnotic Detroit disco-tech of 'Object', the sophisticate house stride of 'Expressions', and a sublime dub chord lather in 'Love Lost' to close. From Firecracker's own malty sales notes: "Ah, yes! Finally some real flavours to sink our teeth into. The n… Read more
Forward-facing but classically-styled disco house budge from London's Dauwd. Refreshing timeless templates with nimble flair, he grooves between dope and lush Detroit-meets-London filter-house techniques in 'Jupiter George' to the low-slung and supple jazz shuffle of 'Ritter Sport', and intimately soulful broken beat house with 'Take Four'.
"New York-based producer and texture collector Saffron (formerly Spirit Guide) paints vivid backgrounds and deep cafe situations via crisp, refined house on his debut under this name, a double release “Petra I” and “Petra II”. Saffron’s hybridized genre builds include trip-hop, moody downtempo, sturdy walking-paced house and crunchy IDM with low key cinematics drifting throughout. A multitude of textures protrude from a general coating of slick motion and moods that hover above meticulous bass grooves and piano lines, blending an undisguised sense of proficiency and surface-obsessed sensibiliti… Read more
Four-track sampler for Jamie xx's debut solo album due out in June via Young Turks. It features "Girl", "Sleep Sound", "Loud Places" (with the xx's Romy) and "Gosh".
Nice 'n nasty floor work from Bok Bok and his pal, Sweyn Jupiter. A-side, the Club Mix hits up a fresh blend of bouncing B-More/Jersey bass shot thru with late '80s/early '90s synth chords on a sophisticate swerve; B-side, the Sour Mix, eazes off on a halfstep roll, letting the drums and bass spark off each other in more open space, allowing room in the mix for a spot of synthy string romance. Sweet.
Important compendium of early works by London's unsung industrial pioneers, Bourbonese Qualk. In constant operation from 1979 - 2003 on the fringes of the breakcore/extreme electronics scene, this selection looks at a crucial phase in BQ's agitations, bang in the middle of the '80s, located in a South London squat/stronghold/studio amidst the The Miner's Strike, Falklands War, Thatcherism and Anarchism. They've always wilfully existed on the periphery, but haven't gone unnoticed, whether on their 1985 joint 'Pogrom' (included here) or their continued support for the a… Read more
Norway's Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) & Helge Sten (Deathprod) broach liminal ambient zones in their very keenly-awaited collaboration, 'Stator' for Touch. It's the 2nd time they've appeared together, following 1998's 'Nordheim Transformed', but the first time that they've actually collaborated. You'd be forgiven for assuming what ensues, as the duo plumb very closely to their signatures across seven tracks spread over 41 minutes. Entering with the unheimlich creep of 'Muses-C', balanced right on the biting point of phasing distortion and clarity, they cover vast tracts of ambient terrain… Read more
Reissue of this great twelve from '99, featuring "Night Of The Sagitarius", "Selector's Theme" and the super super deep "African Roots".
"Continuing Infinite Machine's UK club takeover, LTD Colours contribute the murkiest of the murky for our latest entry,which is odd, considering the hard-hitting duo (comprised of Riccardo Baldoni and Federico Nosari) are from Milan. Their extensive background in jungle and drum & bass production, however, explains their unwavering allegiance to Commonwealth pirate radio sonics. Operating in between that and the Italian scene's penchant for turning bass music on its head, it's no wonder their EP is titled "In Between", and it's no wonder it's as liminal as they come. Opening track "Und… Read more
Kink caters to Running Back's sexier aesthetics with four stylish party aces. He does that brooding Carl Craig or Redshape-style synth sound with the hunky 'Cloud Generator', and brighter, MDMA-triggering chord in the sweeter rave sound of 'Diversion', while the elegant acid of 'Pocket Piano' comes in stripped-down, melodic 4/4 version reminding of Pye Corner Audio, and a spunky breakbeat mix harking back to early AFX and Warp styles.
Superlative dark disco plays by a new, Frankfurt-based duo, backed with straighter remixes by C.P.I., Willie Burns and Cliff Lothar. The originals are both pretty special, working a palette of brooding doom voices and creepy neo-classical motifs around the slouchiest, stumbling triplets and head-turning vocals. 'Talking About Talking' comes off like a long lost dustbowl waltz between Cosey Fanni Tutti and Jhonn Balance, whilst 'Blackbird' really gets under the skin with frayed, smacky drums and exquisitely layered synths hinting at some kinda Goblin/Carpenter chimera. The remixes re-tune them for mor… Read more
Deadly, undercover operations from a North American source with affiliations to some of the hottest underground labels. The hypergoth hybrids of his 'Last Breath EP' appears on Body High, a promising new label administered by LOL Boys and Samo Sound Boy and slicing across the face of Bass music like a rusty machete. He comes out swinging hard but nimble with the strafing syncopation of 'Last Breath', while 'The Killing' imagines Zomby gone to Haiti, all shrill bleeps and voodoun Bass rhythms. Perhaps the deadliest dancefloor dedication is 'Bounce Dat', cross-pollinating juked Dance Mani… Read more
This '99 entry from Theo Parrish on Sound Signature is considered by many to be his greatest release - hugely soulful and moving House at the slowest possible pace, featuring swathes of trumpet and sax alongside the unforgettable vocal contribution from Green Pickles - a really quite mesmerising track. Essential purchase.
Pev & Kowton serve the first new, original material on Livity Sound in over a year. They return industrialised and eager with the fibrillating kicks and ECG bleeps of 'Signal 3' up top, holding a wicked tension between monotone rhythm 'n drone with gear-slipping chord changes that mark it somewhere between Levon Vincent and recent Beneath plays. Down below, 'Low Strobe' channels the pressure into thrumming, hydraulik subs while flanging notes stalk the scene, waiting for the shaft-of-light breakdown.
Rabit makes a crucial contribution to the current discourse between US and UK club/grime styles with his stunning debut for Tri Angle. Arriving hot on the heels of 'Heterocetera' by another Houston-rooted producer, Lotic, the 'Baptizm' EP presents Rabit's smartest, most concise productions to date; 4 tracks, just over 10 minutes of crystalline, piquant electronics feeding off elements of classical composition, instrumental grime and computer music. Much like Arca, he's a master of reduction and efficiency for maximalist effect, whether cramming lucid, violent detail into every millisecond of music… Read more
Fierce debut of f*cked and trippy ghetto funk from 18 year-old producer Nidia Minaj. Hailing from south of Lisbon via Bordeaux, Nidia is in possession of a genuinely astonishing and exciting sound, concisely crammed with levels of detail, colour and ruggedest dancefloor funk that make other, older producers seem boring by comparison. There's eight absolute treats inside, from the lush bump of introduction, 'Afro' to the auto-tune gilded crush of ghetto-dance-pop in 'House Kaliente' featuring DJ Olifox, and the tussle of sweeping string motifs and clipped, swanging drums in 'Sentimentos'. We'r… Read more
"New York-based producer and texture collector Saffron (formerly Spirit Guide) paints vivid backgrounds and deep cafe situations via crisp, refined house on his debut under this name, a double release “Petra I” and “Petra II”. Saffron’s hybridized genre builds include trip-hop, moody downtempo, sturdy walking-paced house and crunchy IDM with low key cinematics drifting throughout. A multitude of textures protrude from a general coating of slick motion and moods that hover above meticulous bass grooves and piano lines, blending an undisguised sense of proficiency and surface-obsessed sensibilitie… Read more
Soichi Terada presents a perfect entry point for any budding J-House connoisseurs with this compilation of slick aces off his Far East Recording label. Sought-after over there and everywhere else, they amount to a prime seam of early '90s house, with levels of plushness and seductive groove up there with the best stuff coming out of New York, Chicago or Detroit at that time. Best known to collectors and heads willing to shell out for originals, his sound has been championed of late by Ben UFO and Hunee, who're both known to slip his treats into their sets. But now everyone… Read more
Emir Ongun a.k.a. Gantz does it differently for Deep Medi Musik. His 2nd release for Mala's label showcases a tighter, unique brand of dubstep, juxtaposing samples and staggered grooves with unconventional style and pattern. 'Pseudooo' starts up with a jazzy sort of sub-aquatic, noirish stepper, giving way to the lissom harp licks and crooked lean of 'Witch Blues' on some hybrid Alice Coltrane tip. Bristol's Rider Shafique is embedded in the orientalist dubstep dream of 'Rockstar', and 'Supreme A' checks out with a mesmerising mutation of Oud (?) and harp licked into airborne triplets.
"Features classic sides from the peak of Jamaica’s roots reggae era, including such powerful and enduring gems as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s eerily beautiful ‘Dreadlocks In The Moonlight’, Culture’s rampaging ‘Two Sevens Clash’, Max Romeo’s ‘War Ina Babylon’, The Congos’ haunting ‘Row Fisherman Row’, Junior Byles’ ‘Curly Locks’ and The Heptones’ ‘Sufferer’s Time’, among others. A wonderfully sequenced compilation of the golden age of Jamaican pop music - no country’s pop music has ever been so ardently political as Jamaica’s was in the 1970s."
Burial returns to Keysound nearly ten years after his underrated, KILLER remix of Blackdown's 'Crackle Blues'. Hurtling at +140bpm, 'Temple Sleeper' sounds like the theme to an episode of the BBC's Bugs drama set in a towerblock in South London, strafing '90s strains of trancey 2-step, hardcore garage and full tilt techno in just under 7 minutes. Dry your eyes if you missed the wax, this one's for U!
Label boss Lucy leads the fifth 12" in Stroboscopic Artefacts' five year anniversary sessions. His 'Rema Rema Canoero' is an extended, subtly proggy techno play, whereas Donato Dozzy gets downt o business with proper EBM techno thrills in 'OZ Taped' and the PvH/YdM axis of Sendai twists out the precise hydraulic swing and shuffle of 'Inverse Array'. Smart.
"Since the release of Solo Piano II, Chilly Gonzales composed the best-selling book of easy piano pieces Re-Introduction Etudes, produced and released Octave Minds, the piano-meets-electronica album with Boys Noize and, most importantly, devoted himself to finding a modern take on chamber music. The result is "Chambers", an album for piano and string quartet (and a few surprises along the way). Inspired by the deepening relationship with Hamburg's Kaiser Quartett, the album re-imagines Romantic-era chamber music as today's addictive pop. Gestures from rap, ambient, easy listening and th… Read more
Ricardo Villalobos and Tobias. take Max Loderbauer, Claudio Puntin and Samuel Rohrer's Ambiq trio to the dancefloor. Adapting tracks from their eponymous album for Arjuna Music, Villalobos does a hypnotic tango with 'Tund', dancing around sloshing subbass and lilting, almost Moondog-styled rhythmelodies in the trippiest soundsphere, whereas Tobias. augments and rends 'Toxic Underground' to a pointillist techno pulse tunnelling thru ghostly electro-acoustic vortices. Tipped!
Dope, darkly tinted house trax hailing from Estonia, picked for release by Optimo's JD Twitch. It opens with the title track, a dreamy mix of druggy NYC swing and weirdly detached jazz licks which previously featured on a tape for Trash Can Dance. 'Falling' follows with an effervescent lather of keys and pendulous, booming groove but, it really gets going on the B-side with the bloody hard-to-resist swing and dip of 'The Addiction' there for dancers, and again on a deeper tip with the sparse but effective 'U Took My Love'.
Gearing up for a new album, Monolake yields a 2nd single in less than four months after leaving us hanging for years. Stepping up with the whirring techno mechanics and dramatic freefall collapse of 'Icarus'; sustaining noirish electro-techno pressure recalling 'Polygon Cities' styles with 'Alto.
"‘Carrie & Lowell’ is Sufjan Stevens' first album in almost 5 years and is somewhat of a return to the sparse, pared-back sounds of ‘Seven Swans’. While it sounds like a memory, it does not trade on pastiche or nostalgia. Each song begins with a fragile melody that gathers steam until it becomes nothing less than a modern hymn. The album accomplishes the rare thing that any art should achieve, particularly in these noisy and fragmented days - by seeking to understand, Sufjan makes us feel less alone…"
Inga Copeland flexes a new moniker and altered palette in the surreal chamber pops of 'RELAXIN' with Lolina'. At an avant intersection of R&B, dancehall minimalism and electro-pop, Lolina creates her own world of sonic oddity and nursery rhyme delivery. The self-titled opener sounds like Autechre's 'Piezo' given a lo-fi baroque pop make-over, while the MIDI keys and grubby bounce of 'Miss Understood' warp like a funfair mirror version of a Palmistry riddim. Most unsettling of all, 'Relaxx' hits stranger pleasure centres with deliciously discordant piano and disconcerting vocal reminding us of Carole Caroompas. It's really kinda genius.
Rounding up sterling ambient and minimalist modern composition, this selection is intended as a salve for sore heads and bodies. Ready for midnight consumption and after-after-party introspection, tracks were selected and sequenced for their sense of space and spectral presence, oscillating back and forth between passages of melancholic sweetness and more abstract, intangible emotions, steering clear of anything too obtrusive or shocking. Among them you'll find recently released material such as Nadia Khan's quietly breathtaking 'Nuuk' beside modern string and… Read more
A quartet of proggy rave boosters from from Warp. Ranges from super-bright breakbeat 'ardcore rush, 'Silver Sun' to the rattling techno of 'To Live And Die In Grantham', thru a buoyant chug-off 'Springtime Linn', to the widescreen sound designs of 'Unfurla Cremated'.
Kid Antoine shots a hyper-lucid set of ballroom/B-more/grime mutations with the 'Proximity' EP for Her Records. Graduating from the Her Records Volume 3 compilation to a full-fledged solo debut, Antoine sits very comfortably amidst the likes of Cyphr, Sudanim, and Fraxinus. From the top, 'Recon' bounces a piquant sci-fi take on B-more beside sparse elegance of the title track and the bittersweet tang of 'Motion Sensor', making connections between '80s Japanese digital ambient and modern grime. Likewise, the breezy clarity of 'Airburst' draws links between contemporary computer game melo… Read more
**Lighning Bolt take the skin off it with their 1st album since 2012 - recorded in a proper studio, too!** "Fantasy Empire, Lightning Bolt’s sixth album and first in five years, is a fresh take from a band intent on pushing themselves musically and sonically while maintaining the aesthetic that has defined not only them, but an entire generation of noisemakers. It marks many firsts, most notably their first recordings made using hi-fi recording equipment at the famed Machines With Magnets, and their first album for Thrill Jockey. More than any previous album, Fantasy Empire sounds … Read more
Our Mechaplex is populated by myriad mutants building future music from the deep topography of electronic music past. It's a transient layering of the psycho-acoustic geographies and mindsets of New York, Cologne, Manchester, Paris, The Hague, Toronto and Vittorio Veneto. Summed up in Bill Kouligas' tactile render of 'Fallen' by John Carpenter - a deeply influential figure in the early formation and definition of "techno" - we scan 13 farther visions of a sprawling, global techno future, taking in Egyptrixx's tellingly titled 'Discipline 1982' alongside the sonic fiction of… Read more
Body High expand their ace catalogue with a funked-up bag of booty crack from Todd Edwards. He's in killer form here, from the gospel-sampling, sub-heavy Ballroom styles of 'Shall Go' to the Soundhack-esque disco chops of 'The Stranger', mad, reggae-sampling carnival heat on 'This Generation' and more classic-sounding Jersey Garage on 'Hold The Faith' or 'Echo Of the Past'. TIP!
Oren Ambarchi caps a vintage and truly prolific year of releases with the pulsing, searching, 5-part narrative of 'Quixotism'. Underpinned by the pulsing truth of Thomas Brinkmann's computable drums, the session unfolds with a preternaturally hypnotic logic, consolidating a wealth of contributions from the likes of regular collaborators Jim O'Rourke (synth), Crys Cole (contact mics, brushes), Eyvind Kang (bowed gender & violas) and John Tilbury (piano) with new input from U-zhaan (tabla) and the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, plus co-production and engineering by Randall Dunn at Avast, Se… Read more
Emosh London dancefloor flex from the Berlin transplant XXXY. 'Last Dance' works out like the weepy cousin to Joy O's 'Hyph Mngo' on the A-side; 'Close The Door' shakes down a perkier house shuffle pointed with warm strings and juicy bassline bounce beside the shape-cutting squeeze, 'Behind You'.
Scuba returns with his 4th solo album, 'Claustrophobia'. Penned in convalescence following a bout of illness during 2014, it reframes the Scuba sound with moodier lighting and literal existential heft implied by track titles such as 'Why You Feel So Low' and 'All I Think About Is Death'. Essentially it's Scuba's Health Goth album, appropriating some traces of the collaged designer sounds associated with Total Freedom/HBA/Tri Angle to a palette of big room techno and brooding IDM/electronica signatures, leaden with industrial-referencing field recordings, like the Whitehouse-esque 'Family En… Read more