Sunday, 10 July 2011
The last we heard of Marihiko Hara's fractured minimalism was on a lovely Cotton Goods CDr back in 2009. He returns on Home Normal with a tenderly executed album of Alva Noto-like clicks and cuts interspersed with haunting drones and spectral apparitions.
Excellent spacey and avant-leaning synthpop reissued by the consistently trustworthy Minimal Wave label. Bar scarce cassette compilation appearances, these ten tracks, dating between 1979-1988, have largely remained the preserve of heads in the know, until now. Under the Hot-Bip handle Philippe created a curious world of angular electro and odder pop styles ranging from sinister-edged yet funky bits like 'Distorsion', to the incredible Chris Carter/Drexciyan electro of 'Système Clair', and a ruck of stunning EBM/Techno-Popp goodies such as 'Rapide 5', 'Le Temps Des Cerises' or 'Industrieuse 3'. Very highly recommended!!!
René Margraff is best known for his Pillowdiver releases on 12k and Under The Spire. As Two People In A Room he aligns with Michelle Hughes to follow up their 2010 cassette on their A Crash At Every Speed label. Processed guitars and samples are diffused into a languid mist of raga-like drones and crystalline ambience or gently coxed into more visceral shoegaze textures.
Spectral Sound serve the tender highlight of Mark E's 'Stone Breaker' album, backed up with a fantastic Prins Thomas remix. 'The Day' is Mark at his most melancholy, grooving heads-down to ululating vox and triplet bass rolls arranged with a keener pop sensitivity. 'Special FX' is exclusive to this release and features your man back in squashed boogie mode primed for fans of Tiger & Woods, Thriller etc. But, for many the highlight will be Prins Thomas' visionary remix, extending 'The Day' to eleven minutes of Nordic synth gazes, Balearic disco licks and beautifully heady dub treatments. TIP!
Sunday, 03 July 2011
**Only available to buy in lossless/FLAC format** Caribou and Jacques Greene take tracks from 'The King Of Limbs' for a melancholy dance. On the A-side, man-of-the-moment Caribou follows a brilliant stash of tracks in his Daphni guise with a liquidifed Tech-House groove more akin to last year's acclaimed 'Swims' set. The pace is languid, pushed by supple bass bumps quite compatible with recent Julio Bashmore rhythms, but Dan Snaith's a cannier composer, layering spindly flourishes of harp strings and Thom Yorke's vocal for a sort of baroque s… Read more
Falty DL continues his 2011 takeover with two dead smart sides for All City. It seems like not a week has gone by this year without at least one or two of his remixes catching our attention, and most importantly the quality has been consistently high. With 'Make It Difficult' he again nails that black art of syncretic groove composition: constructing rhythms that sound like a DJ synching two loose but compatible tracks. In this case, it might actually be a three deck mix, creating a swingsome lather of vintage NY House patterns and breakbeats with supreme dexterity. Flipsi… Read more
If you'd told us back in 2009 that Hype Williams would one day be releasing an EP on Hyperdub, we'd have raised our eyebrows, but a year or so later it actually makes sense - Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland's predilection for sickly-psychedelic synths, rugged beats and a sense of occluded urban dread making them a simpatico if still bold addition to Kode9's stable. Have they altered their sound for the bass-heads? Nah, course not, and nor do they need to - for all its lo-fi patina, Hype's music has always been heavy-as-f*ck on the subs. That said, opener 'Rise Up' is a pr… Read more
Return of the neo-goth princess, heralding her eagerly awaited new LP on Souterrain Tranmissions. As Stridulum II proved, Zola is a torch-singer at heart, albeit one who can bring uncommon grief and grandeur to bear on her performances. Given that, 'Vessels' is an intriguingly furtive number that captivates from start to finish without really properly revealing its hand. That heart-stopping, imploring vocal is obviously the focal point, gesturing as it does to a roof-raising, radio-ruling chorus but not actually quite delivering it; we mean this as a compliment, for it's this very restraint tha… Read more
NNF's latest sees Los Angeles' most respected label mistress flick through her rolodex for a new hookup to cruise the strip with. This time it's Daniel Martin-McCormick aka Mi Ami aka Ital, aka one of our favourite producers in the world right now. 'LA Vampires Goes Ital' is a slow motion hi-five of fugged-up strut beats put together from mushed tape loops, stray synthlines and waterstained vocals fed through a matrix of 2nd hand effects. The results are primed for the most dazed days of summer, bobbing from the sun-melted drone pop of 'Streetwise', to the sounds of an inner city… Read more
Editions Mego's Spectrum Spools offshoot, curated by Emeralds' John Elliott, has brought us some right gems to date, but none hit the spot quite like Bee Mask's Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico. Good folk that they are, the Spools are treating us to another album from the elusive American artist mere months later, and a double-LP at that. It's actually a selection of tracks culled from limited cassettes and CD-Rs released over 2003-10, personally chosen, "reimagined, reedited and remastered" by the artist himself, and, much like Mego's recent A Young Person's Guide To … Read more
Rachel Evans left many listeners stunned with her debut album 'Seeping Through The Veil Of The Unconscious', released on tape and vinyl to pretty much universal acclaim at the end of last year. Her follow-up proper, 'Luminaries & Synastry' is a divine, subtly dizzying descent from the heights of that album, catching Rachel cocooned in a feather-like freefall to more pastoral climes without ever actually touching down to solid ground. The simplicity of instinctively layered, ethereal vocals and seemingly infinite arpeggios make for a mesmerising take on pop music… Read more
'Videowave' marks the conclusion of phase 1 in Kuedo's oeuvre. Backed with remixes from Illum Sphere, Clark and Heterotic, he presents two brilliant new tracks conceived and executed between 2009 and 2011. His 'Take Off Remix' was (air)borne as a remix of a Slugabed track, but the original schematics were so far from the original that's it ended up here, and its techy arpeggios contrast quite sharply with his other new track 'Oh', whose flighty slowfast programming and sweeter melody almost feel like they're from a different artist. On the remix tip, Illum Sphere offers a symphonic rework of '… Read more
Highly accomplished LP of skinny house reductions from the mighty Tobias Freund, new on Ostgut Ton. Freund has been at the forefront of advanced Berlin electronic music for aeons now, chiefly as collaborator with Max Loderbauer in Sun Electric and NSI., and as engineer/co-producer for the likes of Margaret Dygas and Ellen Allien, but it's a real treat when he flies solo. His sporadic dancefloor-aimed releases as Tobias. are always tip-top - his 'Street Knowledge' is one the illest house cuts of the past decade - so an album's worth of the stuff is very welcome indeed. These new prod… Read more
Brutal Music serve an absolute ace from notorious digger and maverick producer, Cherrystones aka Godsy. 'Blacker Forest' is a beast of an A-side, leading us blindly into a dense electric storm of droning synths referencing the furthest reaches of Krautrock and Industrial music before a shaking Breakbeat bites your ass from out of the darkness and vaults through time-and-space-warping edit acrobatics, all the while this untamed synth threatens to crush your very existence. Deploy this at your own risk. Flipside, 'Lines' is a very canny edit of a wavey disco track by Eddie & S… Read more
What's this - Brian Eno making dubstep and techno?!! OK, it's only a clutch of tracks hat could possibly be described as such, but believe us when we say that Drums Between Bells, Eno's new album on Warp Records, is a significant departure from last year's Small Craft On A Milk Sea. The project has its origins back in the 90s, when Eno first collaborated with Rick Holland. Back then the collab came to nothing in terms of released material, but the duo resolved to work together again, and Drums Between Bells is the result of their renewed partnership. It's a tribute to the hustle… Read more
On this tidy 12" The Chain's Dan Foat and Nathan Boddy move away from the euphoric big-room techno of their debut single in favour of a dubstep-flavoured production style clearly informed by the R&S young guns - James Blake, Pariah and Space Dimension Controller - who regularly pass through their South London studio. Named after a wee town in Cornwall (if we've got our geography right), 'Lostwithiel' is an agreeably cheery dancefloor bubbler, with live-sounding snare hits and cheeky arpeggios smuggled over from more innocent times. We're keener on the more eerie, minimal dub, a proper li… Read more
'Pandora's Box' is an addendum to last years 'Crystal Republic', also out on the fine Hour House Is Your Rush label. It's *not* his debut album, but an eight track collection of wide-ranging House styles tied up with Tevo's trademark melodic touch and crisp drum programming. Highlights would be the Italo-tweaked 'Spend Some Time', the luscious 'Intersection' and his romantic jazz note 'Autumn Spell (Top Shelf September Mix)'. Top quality.
Taken from their recently released collection of archival material, Virgo's 'It's A Crime' is nicely overhauled here with remixes from Caribou and Hunee. After years in the cult margins, Caribou is virtually a popstar these days, and one of the reasons the sudden surge popularity is his increased propensity for making punchy, accessible house jams. Here he strips Virgo's groove down to its techy, box-banging essence, massaging its bassline into a sinewy electro riff and adding his own plaintive vocals to the broth; the results are gratifyingly raw and lo-fi, but also r… Read more
Lovely new album from Memory Tapes. Dayve Hawk's sepia-tinged early work presaged the hypnagogic pop and chillwave explosion, but for this, his second album proper, he claims to have drawn inspiration from insomnia, social awkwardness and a relationship meltdown. Not that you'd know it just from listening: for all its melancholy undertones, this is an album with a strong, bright pop sensibility; tracks like 'Wait In The Dark' 'Player Piano' are wonderfully hooky and direct, but still sufficiently strange and skew-whiff to reward listen after listen. 'Yes I Know' is just beautiful: with… Read more
New five-track EP from the artist formerly known as 8Bitch. The title track and opener is prime steppers' techno, accented with blissed-out vocal blurts, sparkling synth arpeggios and underscored with a nicely oily bassline: think 2562 with a feminine touch. ‘Night Bird’ ups the level of vocal manipulation, compressing breathy syllables into airtight computer funk, all pushed along by an unrelenting snare syncopation, whooshing FX and moody, morning-after keys. 'Bit Pony' teams a spry half-step beat with nuff squelches and gurgles, coming over like Anthony Manning if he'd hit his stride in … Read more
Cute pop music including stranger leftfield dancefloor remixes by DVA, Kid Specific, and Will Ward. Cornelia's original 'Aquarius Dreams' is a subtly uplifting confection of martial 8-bit beats and tickly piano, laying a sweet backdrop for even sweeter, child-like vocals. The highlight has to be DVA's Hi:Emotions Mix, full of achingly ace synth dissonance, spidery beats and abstract bass drops; probably the strangest and most wonderful thing he'd done to date.
Craftier riddims outta Bristol courtesy of Guido & Baobinga. 'Ballin' arranges flared R&B synth bursts and flickering Juke rolls in a crisp but rugged post-Dubstep framework. Meanwhile, B-side 'Bumba' fluctuates between references to '04 era Sino-Grime and Purple Dubstep with tricky rollers drum programming. Good stuff.
Three cosmically inclined, raw and soulful Deep House joints from Philpot's resident oddities, The Reboot Confession. 'Blacklight Chameleon' is their follow up to the strange forms of last year's 'Spirit Of The Planets'. The title track, touted by DJ Koze, no less, jams on some stoned astro-House vibes, while 'Rocket #3' touches down to a phosphorescing alien disco sound and 'Never Won't To Let You' tacks on a funky fractal jazz edit.
2011's turning out to be a productive year for Milyoo, who drops his fourth single of skewed Electronic/House styles after drops on Opit, Saigon, and West Norwood Cassette Library. Here, 'Colours' feels kinda like a doped Falty DL groove, replacing the friskiness with a more munted, squashed sense of funk and unpredictable arrangement. 'Games' also rolls with that cross-eyed drunkenness, patching odd hints of Toy Selectah's cumbia shuffle with weirder samples and 8-bit synth squiggles for a strangely seductive bump.
Optimised dread D&B futurism from Commix. The scene's premier players are in agile, deadly form here, displaying a darkened, dancefloor-hungry intent with punishing, organic-sounding but artificially-rendered drums and dynamically active mid-range/subbass fleshing out the bottom end to fill any worthy space with pure dread vibes. Serious.
Rising French Soundsystem star, Pupajim, follows his 'I Am A Robot' killah for Jahtari with a pair of digitally fresh riddims. With a vocal style recalling Sugar Minott, Pupa nices up two tidy productions from Disrupt.
Superb release from Red Rack'em for his own Bergerac label. Since slipping away from the Disco sounds of his Hot Coins project he's forged a classically organic yet forward-looking House sound as Red Rack'em. It's best heard on 'Feel My Tears', which sits neatly somewhere between Kassem Mosse and Caribou with a blend of loose, shifty drum programming and a wandering lead synth you'll be chasing all night. There's almost something of the Schatrax about the flipside groove, 'Courting', which is kinda funny considering he's also from Bergerac country, but we've not heard many Schatrax numb… Read more