Club music's pre-eminent mutant, Powell, launches a daring raid on the mainstream with this screaming double header for XL. Marking his highest profile release to date, following the '11-14' 2CD issue and remixes for Nico Jaar and Daniel Avery, he unswervingly sticks to his modern No Wave mission with the tumbling, ravenous rhythm and noise of 'Sylvester Stallone' and 'Smut'. Operating at the extremes of the XL's remit, the Diagonal Records captain takes a hot-wired joyride thru techno badlands, colliding a cornucopia of reference points with a Ballardian sense of visceral, descri… Read more
Janus resident Lotic fracks the future with five expansive club visions in 'Heterocetera', his first vinyl release and debut for Tri Angle. Finding and opening fissures of possibility in the facade and body of current club music, his unique approach to meter, space and tone results a genuinely affective impact: it challenges the way we dance; probes and teases our pleasure centre's tolerance for off-kilter, oily tones and soured timbre. It's quintessentially queered to the core, all deliquescent structures and plangent harmonics, perhaps finding close analogs in the music of Arca or certain E… Read more
This selection spies 14 songs employing the studio as interface for psychedelic dialogue between dimensions. With focus on pioneering producers such as Joe Meek, Lee Perry, Martin Hannett, Pete Kember a.k.a. Sonic Boom (via Panda Bear), Conny Plank and Alessandro Alessandroni, we explore the "sonification" of music throughout the last 50 years. From dub to kosmische thru jazz and the avant-garde, there's a constant thread of inquisitive, innovative minds manipulating the spatial and temporal parameters of their music in search of an unquantifiable element. In their a… Read more
Diagonal pull another coup with 12"s of brute bitterness from Philip Best, Sarah Froelich and Russell Haswell's Consumer Electronics. With the spray of their blinding 'Estuary English' still wet on our cheek, 'Repetition Reinforcement' is a bruising, visceral reminder of CE's position on the periphery of extreme electronic music. Holding steadfast to the transgressive subject matter which Best has explored since the early '80s as part of Whitehouse and Ramleh, in this excursion he trades explicit rage for a much more reserved and creepily effective style of delivery… Read more
Kassem Mosse gives Simone White's timid folk songs from 'Silver Silver' a subtle but weighty overhaul. Primed for slower, woozier times, the version of 'Flowers In May' finds a tender balance between sunken subs, wooden drum knocks and White's trip-hoppy vocal; B-side, he tends to 'In The Water Where The City Ends' with funereal chamber strings and clanqing drums reminding of the recent AFX or Cylob's 'Industrial Folk Songs', and fades to close with the chiming, off-centre rhythms of 'Long Moon'.
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
The venerated German producer appropriates African musics in a long-standing Teutonic tradition on his latest for Hamburg's Dial. 'Black Towers' stretches out for nearly 12 minutes of effortless, subtly shifting groove repetition and awning, earthly synth pads; 'Sliced Africa' locks down to a percolated bounce with natty keyboard melodies reminding of recent Fiedel and MMM styles, 'Spiritual Enhancer' gets off on a sort of slow-mo mix of Roedelius and old skool electro.
Kai Hugo aka Palmbomen II drops one of the most distinctive entries to the proto and lop-sided slo-house discourse with this suite of sidelong, sidereal chuggers. RIYL High Wolf, Danielle Baldelli, Beautiful Swimmers… "Guided by voices hardwired into machines of dance productions past, Kai Hugo redirects the collaborative context of his Palmbomen project and escapes within to create the self-titled debut of Palmbomen II. Possesses the qualities of an artist slipping from one reality to the next, yet welcomes listeners to experience this transcendence in tandem."
We head back to the slow zone with 14 variations on a chugging 'floor sound. Embarking with the psyched-out thump of 'Congress' by Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland-collaborator, John T. Gast, the session scouts Kodwo Eshun-sampling slow vibes from U alongside industrial swing from ADMX and underground pop from Maria Minerva and Lust For Youth/Silent Servant. There's murky album cuts from Lee Gamble and Andy Stott rubbing shoulders with the Italian wave mutations of OOBE, Shape Worship, and Herpes-Z, plus sublime ambient styles from Donato Dozzy/Tin Man and Austin Cesear, and eve… Read more
Delinquent, deliquescent grime from Damu on return to Keysound. M.I.A. since 2013, his 'Holed In The Hovel' session reveals an even shinier chassis and curdled silicon aesthetic, in chromatic flux somewhere between SOPHIE and PC Music or the most lucent Her Records releases. 'iPolice' starts up like some Matrix sentinel, all laser scanning bleeps and wavey synths with a sci-fi agenda, while 'Whirlybird' rolls out like a mutant mix of Fis-t's 'Night Hunter'. At his maddest, 'Holed Up In The Hovel' wields wild claps and meter-melted Ballroom beats, and 'No Pain, No Gain' gives up frantic, frothing grime patterns infected with some mad computer virus.
Ata Kak's debut album of dibby Ghanaian hiplife, 'Obaa Sima' is the stuff diggers' dreams are made of. It's the cassette that sparked Awesome Tapes From Africa to life as a blog back in 2006, before it morphed into a record label of world-renown from 2011. Written and self-released by Ata in edition of 50 circa 1994 and subsequently re-discovered by ethnomusicologist Brian Shimkovitz at a roadside stall in Cape Coast, Ghana, in 2004, it would take nearly a whole decade for the Fulbright University graduate to track down and request official reissue permission from Yaw Atta-Owusu a.k.a. Ata. It… Read more
Nervy electro from the Hamburg native, taken from her upcoming 2nd EP for Werkdiscs / Ninja Tune. Much slinkier, crisper than her soggy acid bangers, 'The First Time He Thought, He Died ' is a shivering, skeletal piece of electro with brooding Bunker-style basslines and creepy gothic tronix.
Dasha Rush fully explores her latent ambient side with 'Sleepstep', her debut suite of tech-nocturnes for Raster Noton. It's quite a departure from her sleek, signature club sound, largely leaving the big kicks at home and heading towards dark, brooding scapes and skeletal rhythms perfused with her own vocals and icy-fingered melodies. The ambient/sound design aspect is a constant throughout Dasha's oeuvre, whether in the drone elements or expansive club track intros like LADA's 'Indust' or in her work for Fullpanda sub-label, Hunger To Create. But 'Sleepstep' is clearly her most expansive … Read more
*The seventh and final instalment in the Testpressing Series for the time being* Hands-down, #7 is the best Testpressing yet from Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty's Demdike Stare. Landing almost two years since the series began back in 2013, and six months on from their last raid, it's a dichotomy of dancefloor devilment, going hard for it on one side, and running ragged emotions on the other. A-side 'Rathe' opens the doors of perception to a show-stopping bloom of heavenly voices and halfstep jungle, ratcheting the levels to heart-in-mouth effect with panoramic har… Read more
2015 remasters and alternative mixes of Source Direct's seminal '97 session for Metalheadz's Razor's Edge series. Both certified classics in the jungle hall of fame, the originals marked a pinnacle of breakbeat science which have rarely, if ever been bettered for technical dexterity and body-wrecking effect. Their mix of Goldie/Rufige Kru's 'Dark Metal' remains one of the darkest D&B tracks ever, now sounding even heavier thanks to the remaster. But the real gold for any heads will be Jim SD's brand new Hokusai render of 'Stonekiller', which, if we're honest, sounds practically identical to the pivotal original, which can't be a bad thing. Essential gear.
Shifted follows up his 'Under a Single Banner' LP for Bed Of Nails. Part 1 of a twin 12" set, 'Arrangements in Monochrome' yields four mechanically worn-down grooves seeping from the oily, emulsifying drones of 'You're a Replacement' to the thrumming grey techno missile 'Arrangement In Monochrome I' and over to the viscous momentum of '6ft of Silence' or the ventilation shaft extrusion, 'The Velvet Rope'.
Shifted takes a quieter, creepier tack towards cinematic industrial scapes and pulsing rhythms on 'Part 2' of his 'Arrangements in Monochrome' session. Dangerously opiated and out-of-reach, his sound here marks a subtle step forward/away in terms of sound design, and a more noxious reduction of his signature palette, guiding us from lightless drone and drizzle in 'The Incoherent' to urgently scan ocean floor depths in 'Arrangement In Monochrome II' and the bleakly gorgeous 'Second Wash', while 'Entartung' gets tangled in a flux of rusty aquatic rhythm and 'Lenine' leaves us stranded in alien space station atmospheres.
A crucial force at the core of experimental music, Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke present 'Behold', their follow-up to 'Indeed' (2011) for Editions Mego. Recorded at the same Steamroom, Tokyo spot as their amazing live trio sets with Keiji Haino, this one finds them exploring the intersections of 4th world electronics, krautrock and classic minimalism in two extended and captivating widescreen tracts. With Ambarchi at guitar, drums (etc.) and O'Rourke on synth, piano (etc.), they oscillate earthly and kosmiche dimensions with free-flowing electronics, using field recordings to le… Read more
One of the UK's most virulent producers steps to Hemlock with a sack of coiled and heavy riddims. To date he's done the business for Berceuse Heroique, Punch Drunk and Tempa, among others, establishing a ruffneck take on house and techno riven with bellicose drums and alien tribal elements. 'HEK025' catches him at his most diverse, crafty, rolling out proper Bristolian artillery with the panicked strings, palpitating bass and brute grine of 'Blood Moon' up next to the ghostly bass buzz and furtive marimba lines of 'I Don't Recognise You Lately'. On a more stripped flex, the salted night slug of 'Re… Read more
HD-ready trap vapours from Rinse FM's new signing, Celestial Trax. Fresh from his special guest appearance on Tri Angle's recent Rinse show with Björk, he reveals a pyrex-clear mix of cloud rap signatures and Atlantan futurism in 'Stargate', unequivocally adept at working with American MCs Shady Blaze and Tynethys in the title tune's stately bounce, as well as UK singer, BBHollogramz in the Clams Casino or Evian Christ-styled trance arpeggios of 'Verticals'. On an instrumental tip, there's also the squeaky clean ace, 'Tru Love' juicing optimal emotion from brittle trap tics and ghostly synth chorales a la Visionist.
Faith In Strangers’ was written and produced between January 2013 and June 2014, and was edited and sequenced in late July this year. Making use of on an array of instruments, field recordings, found sounds and vocal treatments, it’s a largely analogue variant of hi-tech production styles arcing from the dissonant to the sublime. The first two tracks recorded during these early sessions bookend the release, the opener ‘Time Away’ featuring Euphonium played by Kim Holly Thorpe and last track ‘Missing’ a contribution by Stott’s occasional vocal collaborator Alison Skidmore who also a… Read more
Zombi's Steve Moore takes a celestial spin on Ghost Box's 'Other Voices' series. The space cadet who never graduated presents two earthbound visions of the cosmos painted in analogue synth, Hammond organ and vintage string machine; cutting the most melancholic figure across the sky with 'The Moon Occults Saturn at Dawn' and with more inquisitive, optimistic effect in the slow burning lushness of 'Val Sans Retuor'.
Mumdance & Logos scout anterior, avant zones of the 'floor with the very keenly awaited 'Proto' LP for Tectonic. Haunted by the extremities of rave's past, but yanking at its future, the duo serve eight anachronistic showpieces equally adept at razing big rooms and punishing scuzzy basements. A 100% proof distillation of Belgian techno, early '90s bleep and hard-bodied American club styles turnt with grimy British rave suss, 'Proto' sidesteps superfluous sounds in favour of the most effective, visceral elements arranged with style and swagger. 'Dance Energy (89 Mix)' is Beltram battered int… Read more
Akito twysts the lines of grime and ballroom in the 5th volume of Rushmore's 'World Series'. 'Dalston Dips' in two parts - a stripped, monotone version, and a duppied, darker alternative mix - beside the roadwise tribal swagger of 'Stratagem' and a screwed, radioactive grime mutation entitled 'Sordid Forfeit'.
Air Max '97 follows one of 2014's sickest singles with three fluoro aces on 'Fruit Crush', including an exceptional hook-up with Strict Face. This is the new skool in full effect, twysting the genes of grime, kuduro and freestyle electro with vaporous 'tronics in sheer hyperspace. 'Fruit Crush' steps out first with a grimier analog to SOPHIE and PC Music styles, streaking mad FX around sharp electro stabs, chattering melodies and wobbly bogle; 'Shape Cut' resets to a slower roll nodding to Lisbon's taraxho sound, but with xtra subs and off-kilter, lilting licks. Best of all, 'Armour Form'… Read more
Gyroscopic club shockers from scene-leading producer, M.E.S.H. proceeding the hugely acclaimed 'Scythians' EP for PAN with crucial incisions for Black Ocean. In M.E.S.H.'s hands, myriad dance musics become plastic and pliable, woven into fascinating new styles and patterns. With 'Infra-Dusk' he dissolves American club, Teutonic techno and UK grime tropes with amorphous dexterity, effectively creating the aural equivalent of the cloaking devices in A Scanner Darkly. On the other hand, 'Infra-Dawn' exhibits a smoother touch, holding tight to wavey contours and blended gradients punctuated with a stuttering new skool riddim grammar.
Jon Brooks meets Friendly Fires as The Pattern Forms for Ghost Box's 'Other Voices' series. FF's Edward MacFarlane lends his finest indie dream-pop coos and harmonised gasps to a creamy pastoral scene of flighty synths and strummed strings in 'Fluchtwege' - it's very well accomplished but the Panda Bear impersonations are perhaps a little cloying. Thankfull his bandmate Ed Gibson replaces him with an instrumental contribution to the airborne waltz of 'The Sacrifice', alongside Brooks' signature vintage zesthetics and piano provided by Will Dutta.
Killawatt's stylistic curve of evolution over the last half decade has been a pleasure to witness. With debut album, 'Emigre' he completes a transition from dank halfstep to a kinetic techno/electronica mutation compatible with everyone from Shackleton to Shifted. From murky, atmospheric abstractions like 'Poppin' Veins' and 'Blackhole Flamenco' he coalesces a mongrel helix of industrial techno, strobing club constructions and psychoactive tribalism, at best in the aggresive swagger of 'Excessive Hyperbole', with the modern Regis-style roil and noise of 'Onslow Road', in the twisted Radiophonic… Read more
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!
Beamin' straight outta Lisbon, CDM shake out a ruffneck ghetto sound for the good of your glutes. Following their contribution to Príncipe 005, Maboku and Lilocox, a.k.a. CDM, traverse the tempo scale over seven succinct piece; from pelting, NRGetic kuduro to the slow, bubblin' style of tarraxo armed with bold percussions, rude samples and stark dub FX. A firm sign of any great * new* music lies in its ability to physically make you move differently, and we're having loads of fun finding new shuffles for the marimba laced dip of 'CDM A Comandar' or finding a way thru the gauntlet of batida d… Read more
Killah consolidation of drone, techno and D&B from the Ruffhouse trio on their debut Samurai mission. A-side, the 18-wheel juggernaut 'Straight 9's' rolls with shuddering sub pressure and restrained, serpentine hi-hats wrapped to a super dense drone. B-side, oh my fxxking days! 'UVB-76' comes with a military-grade warehouse hard-step that makes up for all that went wrong with D&B post '98. Strongly recommended to those that know.
Pendulous and steppin' techno motors from Alex Coulton, backed with a churning, muscular refit by Function/Inland. Up top, Coulton's 'Freefall' carves out a super-wide swinging techno groove punctuated with woodblock snares and blooming dub chords, while 'Antagonise' jacks up a direct deep techno momentum rent with gauziest pads and sparky percussion. The Function/Inland remix of 'Freefall' excels with an intricately tucked style of techno rufige and radioactive synth burn making a smart follow-up to their 'Odeon' cut. Killer.
Feted new UK artist, Romare, scales his cut-up, Afro-American-centric sound to a family-sized debut album for Ninja Tune. Elaborating on the deftly woven tapestries of his two 12"s for Black Acre, he continues to pay tribute to Romare Bearden - the seminal American cut-up artist and painter whose work recently adorned The Roots' '…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin' LP - with eleven loosely syncopated and blues-wise grooves. Through the dusty disco of 'Rainbow', or gospel soul with the self-explanatory 'Nina's Charm' he perceives a coherent, if endearingly hazy, line from 20th century African Ame… Read more
Outstanding, otherworldly debut album proper by the Hype Williams collaborator known as Henny Moan and John T. Gast. An ambient enigma steeped in post-hypnagogic tristesse, 'Excerpts' is a cryptic hash of mutant dance music, lo-fi pop, and screwed lounge styles every bit as skewed and enigmatic as you might hope from someone who's worked so closely with Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland (he contributed to 'Black Is Beautiful' and 'The Redeemer' a.o.). Written and recorded early 2014 in South West England, it treats nostalgia and electronic romance with equal amounta shadowy ambiguity and screwba… Read more
**2LP in gatefold sleeve** Parisian Afro-futurist Bambounou projects a mystic, dystopian premonition of things to come with 2nd album, 'Centrum' for Modeselektor's label. Inspired by the sci-fi predictions of Akira and Dune, and operating in aesthetic orbit of Jeff Mills, Jamal Moss and Untold, we find ten tracks unfolding a cracked narrative of night vision synths and scuffed, semi-organic rhythms that seem to have a micro-life of their own. It works very neatly as a play-through listen, twysting between frayed, Afro-centric shuffle and Detroit-style electronics in 'Composer' and the polychr… Read more
Japanese techno tearaway Kouhei Matsunaga aka NHK gets lively on a killer, 5-track, 26 minute debut for Diagonal. Viewing classic dance tropes askance, 'Hallucinogenic Doom Steppy Verbs' follows his trio of 'Dance Classics' volumes for PAN thanks to a keener, almost aggressive thrust/lust for the 'floor, chucking up buckled variants of tech-step, acid, and garage-techno in the process. Making up for lost time since his last releases in 2013, he warms up with a spot of fractured tech-step before going hard with a febrile, 12-minute 2-step techno roller coming off li… Read more
Livity Sound's Asusu launches his Impasse label with four killah shots of Bristol techno rolige. More stripped and streamlined than Livity Sound, these tracks owe more allegiance to the Berlin-style tech-dub flux and atmospheres of T++, Monolake or Felix K than most of his UK peers, bar Pev. A-side is given to slippery hydraulic motions with the glancing drums and heavy subbass swing of 'Serra' matching that killer Skee Mask 12" for funked-up insistence; B-side is given to a trio of ambient excursions touring vaporous 4th world zones between the crystalline sculpture of 'Anglo Skin' and the recursive chords of 'Low Art'. Recommended.
**Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Photography by Joe Dilworth and artwork by Bill Kouligas & Kathryn Politis** Widely championed techno/electronica producer Objekt deposits his detailed and complex debut album on PAN. Since 2011 at least, the Berlin resident known as TJ Hertz has been a vital cog in the European techno machine, self-releasing some of this decade's most vaunted white labels, plus 12"s with Hessle Audio and Leisure System - including this year's great split with Dopplereffekt - beside his role as software engineer for Native Instruments. With 'Flatland' he takes the opportunit… Read more
Girl Unit goes Hysterics on a 2nd set of ballroom-slaying workouts for Night Slugs. Built on the foundation of his Club Constructions, these are fully fledged dance trax, juicing the essence of ballroom, B-more, techno and deep house with nutricious efficiency. 'Club Life' is a pressurised alloy of B-more and Vasquez-like house with a hardcore UK edge; 'HTRX9' feels like a future-steeled update of Anthony Shair or Titonton style breakbeat house. 'Eye Mask' brings the 'floor up with extreme, strobing filter dynamics amping the imagined potential of The Field gone Roulé, and 'Empt… Read more
Swinging modern rare groove by South London's Wbeeza. His first entry for 2015 errs to a stripped down, ascetic house style, dicing with Joe-style Afro-centric kick/clap syncopation with 'Can Of Worms', and minimal, gritty filter house in 'Circles' while 'If I Ever' gets on the boogie downstroke inna Moodymann style, and 'Upside Down' blushes a more romantic, uptempo house vibe for big people.
Remastered digital edition of Dillinja's 1996 Razor's Edge remix for the legendary 'Deadly Deep Subs'. Augmenting the 1994 original with extra drums, reworked breakdowns and warehouse-shocking sub pressure, Dillinja provides a tuffened re-lick of what is possibly his most outstanding moment, and a peerless masterpiece of modern dance music.
Hip-notic trance-house dancers from New Jersey's Joey Anderson. On return to Dekmantel after 2014's 'After Forever' album, he reveals a more insistent, psychedelic sound stacked with buzzing synth sounds: '1974' oscillates sparkling arpeggios and starburst dynamics yoked to roiling kicks in spiralling escalation across the A-side; on the other, 'Under Water' inverts the formula to droning, warped and brilliantly discordant effect, and 'Back Draft' puts the drums down properly for the dancers.
**Sterling dark pop and stark ambient noise somewhere between Grouper and Vatican Shadow** There's some genuinely dark magick at work in Paper Dollhouse's debut LP for Finders Keepers. The London-based duo of Nina Bosnic and Astrud Steehouder are in possession/possessed by a gothic, oneiric spirit which has previously been revealed on Jane Weaver's Bird Records - who also present a cassette version of this LP - and alongside Magpahi for Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. IV. But this is arguably their most effective invocation to date. Guided by black light they offer 10 concentric circles cro… Read more
Low-key and dreamy deep house trax by new producer, Aleksander Grozdanovski aka Herzel, backed with Palms Trax remixes. The Herzel originals are charmingly spacious, subtly shifty pieces of deep house for the wee small hours, working with rolling kicks and plangent, almost shoegazy harmonics in 'Daydreamer', feat. Jordan Kolevski's processed trumpet, while 'Closure' does a more breezy sort of garage-house abstraction with haunting organ, and 'Shades' eases off with percolated, Afro-centric and ambient house vibes.
Lee Douglas' indomitable An-i drops another deadly, mutant EBM session for Cititrax! Much like the outstanding 'Kino-i' 12", this one delivers exactly where it matters, shooting jagged, 16th note bassline from the hip around strapping kicks and searing synthlines. 'Gutz' does it for nine-and-a-half minutes with perfect 'floor control while 'Rut' pelts 6 minutes of haywire modular sequences and stomach-tightening groove replete with those white-out breakdowns, and 'Save Us' railroads rampant kick drum patterns with pent and explosive sytnh shocks. P-A-R-T-Y guaranteed.
Phonica start their 2015 schedule with a haul of deep and percussive house tracks by the Italo/Hispanic unit, S. Moreira and Xinner. Slow Life's Berlin-based percussionist, S. Moreira lends a loosely fluid patter to Xinner's lushly spacious electronic in the free-floating velocity of 'Through The Rings of Saturn' and the night-drive momentum of 'Communication Breakdown', before going dolo with the psychy broken beat cleft of 'Orbiting Around' and a woozy whorl of a 'Spacedub' for 'Communication Breakdown'.
After a whirlwind couple of years, Anthony Naples drops his debut album on Four Tet's Text label. Since 2012, the NYC-based producer has become a byword for fuggy, smushed house with a faded melodic fidelity, as heard in ace releases for Opal Tapes, Mister Saturday Night, TTT, and his own label, Proibito. With 'Body Pill' he explores that aesthetic at more obtuse angles, and with a broader range of tempos, vacillating woozy BoC-isms like 'Ris' with what sounds like Push Button Objects -gone lo-fi house with 'Abrazo', and Actress-style snoozy boogie with 'Changes' and the gorgeous miniat… Read more