Thursday, 16 October 2008
*INCLUDES BONUS MATERIAL!* The Echospace label returns with another endlessly deep transmission from the vaults, emerging here with some vintage material culled from old tapes recently discovered by label head Steve Hitchell from mysterious artist "Intrusion". 'Intrusion dub' is simply classic Echospace, with all the requisite elements of sonorous bass, inpenetrable analog crackle and well crafted techno and house rhythms filtered through the minds of two dub souls. Steve Hitchell's cv313 mix is a muted affair, boiling the track down to a glowing residue of padded kicks and vinyl s… Read more
*INCLUDES BONUS MATERIAL!*Seems that we're getting blessed with new Echospace/Deepchord related material on an almost weekly basis at the moment - but when the quality is of this calibre it doesn't detract from the sense of excitement round these parts. "DBMX" is another rumbling low-end shuffle with all the swing and soul you'll have come to expect from Hitchell and Modell over the last twelve months. The hi-hats offset the sheer weight of the bass drum, making for a classic Berlin session in warmest analogue style. The CV313 reduction on the flip takes a more rugged stance, the upper registers a… Read more
Shackleton returns to the home of some of his finest releases, Mordant music, for two more trips to darker sonic territories. 'El Din' is Shackleton in archetypal Skull Disco mode, all dislocated Middle Eastern melodies taking a magic carpet ride around uniquely syncopated rhythms that cause the most possessed reactions on the right dancefloors. 'Olde Wobbly' from Mordant Music on the flip slots together blank-eyed pads reminding us of Shed's 'Estrange', with an arpeggiated Italo synthline and rolling percussion for an absolute brain melting cosmic tripper that defies belief. Absolute sickness. Recommended!
Now here's a mighty tome for you. Released as a limited edition double-disc volume, The Chronicles compiles the 12" series of the same name, delivering 21 tracks of absolutely legendary quality from the mighty Kenny Larkin in remastered form. You could hardly ask for a more fully-formed body of work, and this collection offers a brilliantly rounded portrait of one of Detroit's finest. From the opening electroid shimmer of 'Northern Lights' to the experimental screeches of 'Lifeforms' Larkin shows he's capable of a broad range of styles, sounding equally at home serving up the flutteri… Read more
Predictably immaculate productions from Berlin techno mavens Move D and Benjamin Brunn, released on the Smallville imprint as a companion piece to their Songs From The Beehive album. 'Moskow Arkestra' begins with strange, almost Radiophonic blips and twitches that morph into a jagged and jazzy holding pattern, before 'New Horizon' launches into a more full-bodied arrangement, held together by minimal, finely engineered beats, soulful chords and gently melodic stabs. Finally, 'Jacktrack' is filtered and modulated to perfection, resulting in something far more elegant and complex than its title might lead you to believe. Awesome.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
*ONE OF THE VERY BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR - FINALLY AVAILABLE FOR DIGITAL DOWNLOAD* In recent years Stephan Mathieu has composed some of the very finest examples of what the microsound movement has to offer: most recently 2006's Hidden Name (Cronica) with Janek Schaefer, and before that 2004's Pieces Of Winter (Sirr) with John Hudak. Until now, the release of The Sad Mac on Japanese imprint Headz was the most recent solo recording from Mathieu, and deservingly, it found him a good deal of acclaim in the press, but Radioland sounds like a real step up for the composer and is without quest… Read more
Friday, 10 October 2008
Four new pieces from Finnish psych-folk drone-weaver Uton, who's bang on form: each of these untitled compositions is entrenched in vaporous sonic murk, composed of elements that make oblique references toward a disembodied kind of Eastern harmony. The first track is like a shimmering ghost raga, lined with rough, jangling percussion and echoing voices as if they were street noises from some undisclosed, far off location. The next piece is a good deal spookier, sounding like a sinister wind conveying sounds from a nefarious ceremonial rite being carried out a half-mile away. … Read more
At last delivering a proper follow-up to his universally acclaimed I Am A Bird Now, Antony Hegarty returns with his Johnsons for a splendid five-track EP. It's nice to hear Antony returning under these circumstances, having spent a good two or three years being a larynx for hire on projects with Bjork, Hercules & Love Affair, and a litany of others. 'Another World' resumes form, marking a return to the kind of intimate balladry he was channelling when last we heard from him, although there's some welcome dissonance soaring in the background, destabilising the sheer elegance and … Read more
One of ambient music's true legends Harold Budd teams up with fellow composer Clive Wright for this new collaborative outing, boasting tracks recorded live at both composer's homes plus one or two slightly less obvious locations like the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The opening piece poses quite a challenge, exceeding a half hour in length it's a composition for synthesizers and electric guitars that runs at a stately pace, with Wright's delay-heavy guitar lines bringing sheen and sparkle to Budd's drifting chords. From there on the album condenses itself … Read more
Pristine dubstepXtechno depth from France's finest exponents of the good stuff, 7even recordings. In the space of only four releases the label has fast become something to get excited about with a deep and driving dubstep aesthetic closely aligned to the styles of Peverelist, Scuba or a more technofied Martyn. This is the first release from F and it's a certified winner, shaping two tracks of chords driven 140bpm dub techno with skipping garage movements and full sunken dubstep subs that's an absolute pleasure to bust a flex to. If you're into this stuff, do yourself a favour and get one nabbed. Killer.
In recent years Morr Music seems to have been on a trajectory that's found the label continually encroaching on outright pop music. It's been no bad thing either: we've had the likes of Seabear, Benni Hemm Hemm and Masha Qrella all contributing some absolutely cracking material to the Berlin label's estimable catalogue, and now It's A Musical, a duo made up of Ellinor Blixt and Robert Kretzschmar continue in this fine tradition with a collection of highly memorable pop ditties driven by largely traditional, non-electronic instruments, with only a handful of tracks ('You Mak… Read more
Thursday, 02 October 2008
Latest issue from the Caravan camp, with October taking duties on two complex tech house movers. 'Listen, Move, Dance' contains enough ideas for two tracks really, as it moves through various tripped breakdowns formed from stuttered vocal edits and upbuilding synthlines but eventually settling into a effective tech house rhythm, while 'Houston (extended version)' on the flip is a long playing DJ tool ripe for multi layered mixes with the right gear. Crafty stuff.
"Turn the Car Around" is just a brilliant four and a half minute pop song that takes an impressive line in inventive self-production and an effortless and incredibly catchy songwriting style. Fans of Radiohead will find much to draw them into the title track, with references to both the opening of Paranoid Android and the drum machine/guitar interplay of 'In Rainbows' immense opener '15 step', while the lyrics suggest an admiration for the melancholic wanderings of Elliott Smith. It's the same inventive yet focused production style that makes David Sitek's work for… Read more
Tempa's blinging Ltd series initiates with remixes of their biggest seller 'Midnight Request Line' from Hot Chip's synth maestro Joe Goddard and electro house hero Switch for maximum audience reaching potential. The Hot Chip mix would have to be our pick of the two, with Goddard outdoing himself with thick layers of synthline punishment that should so suitably overbearing on all the correctly trendy floors, while Switch's edit goes for the populist jugular with a straightened 4/4 electro house bouncer that the likes of Diplo, Sinden, Kissy Sellout and their crew will be hammering to bits. Gargantuan.
Madlib joins the long list of contributors from Pete Rock to J Dilla for a mix selection on the always on-point Beat Generation series from BBE. Uniting a heavy crates worth of cuts from his own Beat Konducta productions with party bumpin' efforts from Guilty Simpson's 'Blow the horns on 'em', to Prince Po's clappin soul edits and new collaborations with his brother Oh No under their The Professionals alias it's a hot load of primest HipHop goodness from a true legend of the scene. If you were feeling the 'Mind Fusion' series but fancied something a little more earthbound, you're in for a treat. Boom.
Tempa's Headhunter provides a killer refit of hardcore D'n'B headz Kryptic Minds & Leon Switch's 'Minor Nine' with a severely darkside Bristolian vibe cutting through a powerful riddim formed from a rolling bongo line and spacious, warehouse ready synthlines. Kryptic Minds & Leon Switch's version is an evil stepper, departing from their usually fierce D'n'B sound for a more muted and menacing approach which works wickedly well.
Black World came out originally in 1979, on the Wackies' imprint Hardwax. (The original cover commemorated the first year of Honest Jon's new reggae shop Maroons Tunes, Bullwackies' UK distributor.) It's an unbelievably sick album, with Sibbles guiding the selection as well as sharing bass duties - there are versions of his classic composition Guiding Star and stylish Wackies heavyweight, This World; and Tribute To Studio One reworks Heptones Gonna Fight / Hail Don D. as modern steppers, with the kit-drums - as throughout this album - supplemented effectively by the latest e… Read more
Secret Rhythms seems like an apt title for Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit's music, focussing on the road less travelled when it comes to clamping down on those off-beat percussive narratives. Liebezeit's drumming style seems to drift further and further away from western conventions, aligning more closely with the instrumentation and patterns indigenous to Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures. Friedman's slick dub-influenced production fits in with this cross-cultural aesthetic exceedingly well, and there's something truly unclassifiable about the end product. While… Read more
The infallible Mojuba records celebrate their 10th release this week with a reissue of a highly sought after house muzic gem from Bernard Badie. 'Time reveals' was originally released in 1994 on Chicago's aptly named Night Club Records and Time reveals found it's way into the boxes of all the best house DJs at the time, and was probably best known for it's inclusion on DJ Hell's X-Mix-5 set. The title track comes in a slightly updated Club and Original versions and also includes the two cool breezin' B-side cuts from the original 12", sounding like prime studio offcuts… Read more
Thursday, 25 September 2008
On this second full-length for Matador the New Mexico-based duo of Rachael Hughes and Nathan Shineywater boast a greatly evolved sound, though it's no easier to categorize. These two tend to drift off into trance-inducing, slowed down, soulful psych grooves, all glued together with a production that's directly derived from vintage dub and vocals that are hazy and somehow divorced from the corporeal realm. In addition to the more prolonged, groove-based excursions you'll find one or two more concise, focussed numbers thrown in to break up the album sequence. 'Oppressions… Read more
**INCLUDES 'HUSTLE' - A BOOMKAT EXCLUSIVE TRACK** Another superior instrumental hip hop emission from One-Handed Music, this three-pronged digital outing eschews current trends dominating the field and in the form of the title track delivers a strange prog-rock sound, led by complicated Argento soundtrack synth lines and decidedly un-hip hop vocal clips. Next comes the more direct 'We Want More', reminiscent of DJ Shadow's 'The Number Song' in its driving, pressurised dynamics, and benefitting from a hard and heavy beat construction, breaking out over the course of a supercharged th… Read more
Mogwai seldom do much wrong when it comes to their LPs. You'd be pretty hard-pressed to find a dud amongst their previous five studio albums (or six, if you include the Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait soundtrack) but the band are hardly prone to deviating too far from their own, massively influential blueprint. Following on from the 2006's Mr Beast, The Hawk Is Howling does however feel like a more sedate, contemplative affair, and despite the thunderous riffology of single 'Batcat', many of this album's most memorable moments arise during quieter passages: 'Danphe And The Brain' soars… Read more
Indie rock pin-up and Rilo Kiley frontperson Jenny Lewis makes a most welcome return to her solo work, which has clearly moved on in leaps and bounds since the rose-tinted country and western of Rabbit Fur Coat, which although a triumph in itself, never quite reached the creative heights found on this full-length. Acid Tongue is a far more delicate and sophisticated affair with Lewis' voice in brilliant form, morphing from the elegant frailty of 'Pretty Bird' to the full-throated attitude of 'Jack Killed Mom' with all shades in between. Further adding to the sense of depth and variation, … Read more
Soft focus hiphop soul from Slakah The Beatchild for BBE with 'The soul movement vol.1'. Over 20 tracks there's various shades of shimmering Rhodes, velvet cushioned basslines and pillow talking vocals from Drake & Hazel, Melanie Durrant, Ray Robinson & Divine Brown, Jason Simmons and loads more. The bossa nova of 'The answer' or the slowfast beats on 'A way' do it for us, but this is largely a long playing soul set for lights down loungin and impressing that honey you just caught at the club. Unbelievably smooooth.
Taken from his K7 debut, 'Remember The Good Things' is a prime example of how refined Michael Milosh's soulful, ultra glossy electronic song craft has become, all reinforced with tricky, elaborate beat constructions. The Daedelus remix puts a very different angle on the song, whilst maintaining the vocal and structure. The whole track sounds that little bit dirtier, and suddenly the pristine electronics of the original are substituted with crunched up samples. Next comes a 4/4 revision by Lanark, who reshapes the song into a melancholy techno production. Finally, album opener 'Awf… Read more
One of the most talked about, most hotly anticipated albums in any genre this year, TV On The Radio's 'Dear Science' follows up the immense Return To Cookie Mountain, and to cut to the chase, it delivers by the bucket-load. 'Golden Age' was the first track to widely reach the listening public, and while as a single it did more than enough to get us sufficiently hot and bothered, it's not - as many blogging types have been keen to point out - in the same vein of 'Wolf Like Me', offering a direct, stand out moment to tower above the other album tracks as an attention-dominating outburs… Read more
A massive return to form for original dubstep head MRK1 on this week's offering from Tectonic subsidiary 'Earwax. MRK1 releases have been thin on the ground in recent times so it's great to hear the man back making killer cuts like 'Get out clause', a stripped heavyweight riddim with an industrial halfstep snap morphing into a tough dubstep jack motion halfway through, while B-side 'Infection' finds the perfect balance of strafing darkside bassline manouvres and razor cut hi hats for a patented MRK1 mover. Dubsteppers, don't sleep!
Newly remastered for 2008, this digital sampler for The Golden Hour Of The Future stretches back to the very origins of The Human League - as far as 1977 and their days spent under the name The Future. Half the EP is taken up by different versions of 'Dance Like A Star' (five, no less), but there's enough variation within those renditions to warrant their inclusion - I guess we can thank good old analogue technology for that. Far removed from the proto electropop for which they're famed, pieces like 'Treatment' and the lengthy 'Last Man On Eart… Read more
Wonderfully tuneful instrumental shenanigans from XL oddballs Ratatat, who lift 'Shempi' from their excellent and similarly uncategorizable third album (stoically titled LP3, in fact). It's a nifty piece of midtempo electronics, the sort of rare triumph that straddles the worlds of dance music and all-out pop without watering down either element. The Zongamin remix is more of a serious, club-centric affair, held together by loosened up percussion and house-themed beats.
Terrence Dixon returns to his timeless Population One project for Frantic Flowers with a brilliantly esoteric and affected deep techno composition on 'View From above', and inviting Ovatow to provide a classy halfstepped dub tech variation on his Re-Clocked remix. On the B-side the trippy harmonics of 'Radius' and the submeged techno of 'Episodes' seal the deal for an emotional piece of Neo-Detroit sublimation. Head techno.