Monday, 02 March
"The highest apex of psychedelia, be it art, music, drugs or literature, is to induce a prolonged consciousness shift that affects the consumer far beyond the time that they were privy to the act. Moon Duo‘s third full-length LP, Shadow of the Sun, was written entirely during one of these evolving phases. Working in a rare and uneasy rest period for the band, devoid of the constant adrenaline of performing live and the stimulation of traveling through endless moving landscapes, offered Moon Duo a new space to reflect on all of these previous experiences and cradle them while cultivati… Read more
Kompakt's Pop Ambient series comes of age with the first full length offering in its new album series (as opposed to compilations). Hand-picked for the job by series curator, Wolfgang Voigt, Argentina's Leandro Fresco returns to the Kompakt fold more than ten years since his 'Amor Internacional' 12", which hailed as one of the label's best ever releases by Michael Mayer.
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'.
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.
Tuffened dubstep/grime hybrids from the Rinse FM DJ and producer. The tensile half-step lurch of 'Technoid' appears one side, backed with an 'Urban Gorilla' vocal version starring Juiceman, and the skippy cyber-grime styles of 'Expansion'.
'Ecstatic Music of the Jemaa El Fna' captures an assortment of spectacular musical dramas presented live and unfiltered on the home turf of the world's most dynamic string and drum specialists performing and manifesting the ecstatic truth. Ancient mystical brotherhoods have been flourishing for centuries in and around the cities of Marrakesh and Essaouira in Morocco where the trade caravans have gathered from their long journeys across the Trans-Saharan Highway. This is some of the last great street music on Earth. A must-hear for string aficionados looking for in… 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.
Sawf London's Henry Wu makes his full debut proper with a crispy beat suite for Ho Tep. Giving equal room to show all strands of his style, the 'Negotiate' EP delivers sweetened soul ('Don't Want The Regular'), wheezing digi-dub jazz ('Expensive Ghetto') with Mo Kolours, and wavey rare groove ('Black Rigsby'), thru to blushed beatdown ('Just Negotiate' feat. Simeon Jones) and grubbing jazz-funk ('Joint Seventeen').
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.
It's like christmas in February with these Razor's Edge remasters! This one gives up Grooverider's dread '97 remix of Goldie's legendary 'Kemistry' - that 2nd half roll out, though, shhhhhh - plus J Majik's hyper-coiled remix of his '95 bullet, 'Your Sound'. 18 years old: key to the rave.
Debut shot of trunk rattling rhythms and hip hop chops from Druguse. Refracting Chicago footwork thru a prism of sun-dazed LA vibes results a crafty mix of frantic but rolling grooves; a smart balance of heavy pressure and woozy lean. Ouyr picks of the bunch are the squashed, sparkin' slow-fast ace 'ITS' and the turnt, brassy banger, 'Twenty Two'.
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.
Clockwork and Atavism with a gritty blend of techno and electronica, backed by Lucy and Dario Zenker remixes. The granulated techno groove 'Day of Riddance' gets down with some primal rolige, whereas 'Lintwurm' is more staggered, brukken up and smeared with gasping vocal samples and swelling organ chords. Check Lucy's remix of the latter for a straighter rhythm, and Dario Zenker's remix of the former for a disciplined dose of modern jungle-tekno rufige.
Class club trax by Italian producer Chevel for the Spanish label, Non Series. Skilled and damn effective 909 workouts steeped in Detroit and Berlin techniques but with a kink and parry all of his own style.
Chevel is one of the most distinctive new techno artists to emerge in this decade. 'Air Is Freedom' (2013) is his 2nd album and a fine introduction to his uniquely cracked but supple, grooving aesthetic. Imagine Bellows making techno with Kowton and Levon Vincent and you've almost got the measure of his style, which is best heard in the off-kilter throbs and crackling small sounds of 'Nightbus', the claggy acid swagger of 'Darios Diet' or the club-ready thwack of 'Entanglement'.
Venerable French synthesist, Bernard Szajner and his contemporary counterparts Rethink the man's classic Z soundtrack for Dune (the book, not the film). Szjaner features prominently on three out of the eight pieces, whether teaming with Almeeva for the trance-techno epic, 'The Dead Will' or solo in the viscous synthesis experiment, 'Oopsyloopsylotsylots (Szajner 2015)', while other highlights appear in the form of Scanner's scrambled 'Rethinking Szajner' remix and a widescreen ambient version of 'Shai Hulud' from Siavash Amini.
**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
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.
Amit throws down the bassbin gauntlet with four diverse D&B/techno mutations. A-side is loaded with the ravenous Bad Company-style synth attacks and molasses motion of 'The Hunted', plus the quaking 4/4 dub, 'Chalvey Town'; B-side he adopts a dubstep stance with the strongback step of 'Survivor' eased off by Rani's trip hop vocal, and 'Mind Over' dices with hard-ass techno traits, culminating in a neat locked groove.
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.
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'.
AI-style techno and machine groove experiments by Elastic Dreamer, A Sagittariun. The uptempo tilt and bristling tribal futurist elements of 'The Code Breaker' recall vintage HIA and B12 productions; 'Aruba' settles down to a slinky latin shuffle with a touch of Plaid about the drum programming; 'Triangulum' swings out with a crisp '90s trance-techno appeal.
Monday, 23 February
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
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
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
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
Bullion's Deek gang return with a lucent 2nd EP by dream-pop starlet Laura Groves. As with her enchanted 'Thinking About Thinking' 12" and contributions to Deek's Nautic project, 'Committed Language' is gilded with a classic pop magic that's clearly working its spell on us again. The titular opener is a beauty, finding Laura swooning all over floating, Sakamoto-esque chimes and flourishes of jazz-folksy Fleetwood Mac, while 'Dream Story' comes off like Grimes' in a parallel, '80s FM pop world. With 'Friday' they strip it all right back to deliquescent keys and synth staging Laura… Read more