Tuesday, 24 March
"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
"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
Monday, 23 March
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
Rising LA-based label Body High, founded in 2011 by Samo Sound Boy and Jerome LOL of Lol Boys, has been building its crew through a series of succinct EP-length statements on club sounds past and present. Work Vol. 1 is the label's first official compilation, collecting together previously released tracks and fresh material, and it makes a great introduction to the various heads-down dance heavens Body High calls home. Alternately tinted in shades of Bmore, vogue and acid, it has a bit of everything along the contemporary house spectrum, with tracks more towards the classic 80s/90s end… Read more
Houndstooth collect Akkord's sickest EP to date, together with brand new remixes by Regis and Fis alongside grade A reworks by Vatican Shadow and The Haxan Cloak. In the original 'HTH020' Akkord ease off on the trickier elements in favour of focussing on sculpted, visceral sound designs done to powerful effect. The kerb-crawling half-tempo house pace and drizzly, sleazy atmosphere of 'Gravure' gives a brilliant opening for the collapsed 'ardcore structures of 'Continuum', splicing classic breaks and quasi-speed bass into a black void peopled by acephalic mentasms and iciest drones. By turns, 'Type… Read more
Killer 2nd batch of amorphous techno organisms from Xth Réflexion on the very watchable Aught label. Without resorting to kick drum assault or vicious noise, Xth Réflexion bypass current techno trends to investigate more fluid, minimalist modes in six parts owing as much to Basic Channel's beatless moments as T++'s steppers' techno dynamics, also finding certain points of compatibility with Vereker's Restraint output or Felix K at his bleakest. It's a striking sound; we urge adventurous techno types to check it out.
**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
Melancholic techno moods from James Kumo, who was last spotted on Dan Curtin's Metamorphic Recordings. 'Believe' appears in two mixes; a driving but atmospheric original, and subtly faded mix bringing the subs forward to warmer effect.
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.
Fracking heavy techno from the smart duo of DJ Deep and Roman Poncet. Straight-up club constricts for the DJs, building a right head on it with the unrelenting kicks and rasping shuffle of 'Hydraulic Jack' up top, and to tenser degrees with the jagged slam of 'Hydraulic Pump', whereas 'Artesian Well' hydroplanes beat-less.
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
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'.
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.
Talabot's !K7 mix exclusive, 'Without You' now teamed with sweet remixes by Melchior Productions, Oskar Offerman and Mistakes Are Okay. The original's blue Balearic chug is rent as an effortlessly supple, psychedelic tech-house play by Melchior Productions, whereas Offerman prefers a low-lit, late night house sound, and Mistakes Are Okay take it to Midnight with chiming marimbas and ghostly chorales.
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'.
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'.
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.
More old techno/house gold from the Parisian tape crypts of Iueke. 'Tape 5' yields a diverse trio of direct-to-tape recordings made in the early '90s, gently descending from padded kicks and cloudy kosmiche/new age vibes thru firm analogue house chug to the deliquescent ambient synth structures.
José Padilla returns to DJ Harvey's International Feel backed by a charming Telephones remix. 'Day One' dispenses your RDA of Ibizan sunshine in sonic form; Telephones really brings out the 'Sueño Latino' vibes with layers of chiming melody and added swing to the drums.
**Exceptional, unhinged "no vinyl" mixtape by some of Manchester's strangest creatures of the night. Includes 1hr 20 min mix plus 18 individual tracks** Future Cerberus Technologies present a phantasia of corrupted memory extractions from the unheimlich mind of Ste Spandex. Heavily inspired by the raw Chicago aesthetics of Ron Hardy and Jamal Moss, but filtered thru a chemically altered psyche in the depths of Cottonopolis, Volume 1 yields 18 re-discovered productions by semi-fictional names such as Montauk Boys, The Zest, and, our favourite, Licking Mirrors - all the brainch… Read more
**Exceptional, unhinged "no vinyl" mixtape by some of Manchester's strangest creatures of the night. Includes 1hr 25 min mix plus 18 individual tracks** Future Cerberus Technologies present a phantasia of corrupted memory extractions from the unheimlich mind of Ste Spandex. Heavily inspired by the raw Chicago aesthetics of Ron Hardy and Jamal Moss, but filtered thru a chemically altered psyche in the depths of Cottonopolis, Volume 2 yields 18 re-discovered productions by semi-fictional names such as Skanky Magic, Kindred Dicks, Licking Mirrors - all the brainchildren of Ste (… Read more
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
Patented deep house styles from Hamburg's Christopher Rau ov Smallville. Taking a trip out for Office Records here, he deals a superb slice of Sprinkles style body hypnotics with the nine minute 'Mehris Groove' plus some STL-alike jazz-house grit in 'Broke', and the faded ambient hosue designs of 'Im Sumpf' for dessert.
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
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
The Black Country's kinkiest does it with style for ESP Institute. 'Laurentian Abyss' seduces us to a slinky 5/4 coda wrapped up with milky synthlines and daubs of colourful, breezy pads for heady and bodily effect. The Nodge-y acid base of 'Emergency' sounds unusually quick by Mark's normal standards, but the layered arrangement is still measured with the sort of poise and mesmerising patience we've come to expect from his productions.