Monday, 17 February
Russell Haswell puts a donk on it for Diagonal in a compelling, combustible and personalised '37 Minute Workout' of fractured noise and techno deconstructions. Working under a title nodding to both the album's physicality and riffing on Paul Morley's idea that the perfect album length is 37 minutes long, it's a typically uncompromising session cocking a contrary view of the dancefloor. Rhythmically, it's by far the most "structured" album in Haswell's solo catalogue, consolidating the freeform, improvised approach and brutalist, visceral timbres of previous releases with an app… Read more
**After many delays' Brock Van Wey's epic, double disc, 3 hour ambient session is finally released** "It's been nearly 5 years since Brock's highly acclaimed "White Clouds Drift On And On" debuted on Echospace earning a plethora of critical acclaim including many coveted top albums of the year list from RA to The Wire. Brock returns in beautiful form with what he's said to us is his most personal and self defining moment in his fruitful musical career. This album however strikes on a very different chord from the last, rather than find contentment in repeating himself he's sculpted a unique so… Read more
Perc proceeds 2011's 'Wicker & Steel' album with a quintessentially English comment on techno and politics with 'The Power And The Glory'. From the track titles - 'Rotting Sound', 'Take Your Body Off' - to the ascetic productions values, the whole thing feel utterly gutted, leaving behind an ironically aware rhetoric that rings true with the producer's glum views on the UK's enervated state of affairs. Drawing parallels in opposition to so much cookie-cutter house in circulation right now, his choice of abrasive, visceral sounds more than just feels right; he's making a political sta… Read more
The Cyclist debuts his Buz Ludzha alias with two fugged-out boogie house duppies for All City. As opposed to the slightly more obtuse styles of his records as The Cyclist for LA's Leaving Records, both cuts here are guided squarely at dreamier dancefloor moments, coming off like Ron Hardy editing Boards Of Canada. A-side's 'Rave With Love' squashes a drippin' boogie bassline beneath rasping jack beats, sparse keys and ghostly, aciiiid-style hollers, culminating in a gorgeous, glassy synth refrain. B-side is a lip-smacking beauty called 'Basslines For Death', playi… Read more
**Digitalis debut from Koenraad Ecker, one half of Opal Tapes’ Lumisokea, highly recommended if you're into Vainio, Joachim Nordwall, The Haxan Cloak** Belgium's Koenraad Ecker swiftly follows his 'Apophenia' LP as part of the Lumisokea duo for Opal Tapes with a personalised invitation to his shadowy solo zones for Digitalis. Inhabiting space between slow techno and electro-acoustic dimensions, 'Ill Fares The Land' surveys similar soundscapes to Mika Vainio and Joachim Nordwall's recent 'Monstrance' LP and Senking's drowned space. Bolstered by extruded cello strings and serrated… Read more
R&S' legendary Apollo sublabel delivers a very special 12" by original rave spirit, James Leyland Kirby (The Caretaker, V/Vm, The Stranger). Consolidating a quarter century love affair with early Belgian Techno and New Beat which has deeply informed his oeuvre, it's safe to say that this 12" brings matters full circle. Together with close pal/mentor and V/Vm associate Acid Alan (who gets a shoutout on the runout groove), Kirby has long drawn much inspiration from the transcendent, subversive appeal of late '80s/early '90s rave and club culture which has been most strongly … Read more
**John Twells (Type) and Walker Chambliss return with their 2nd EP for Modern Love** Jack Dice scale up their ambition with heady success on a crackshot 2nd EP of whip-riding 808s, noisy harmonics and addictive raps by Stash Marina. Following their tentative 'Block Motel' debut, few outside their close pals coulda predicted where the duo of Type Records boss John Twells and cloud rap mogul Walker Chambliss would take the Jack Dice project, and even fewer would predict where it's ended up, us included. We're basically talking about the addictive centrepiece, 'Stash's Theme', a remarkable hip h… Read more
Pearson Sound continues the trajectory hinted at in his 'REM' 12" with two beatless electronic refractions on his own label. Split over two sides, the glinting hi-end melody and warm, slow-writhing Reese bass of 'Raindrops' have rightly been compared with Anthony Manning's 'Islets in Pink Propylene' by FACT, and also warrants comparisons with Actress' 'R.I.P' album tracks - basically it's a nice nod to classic electronica...
David Flores aka Truncate tailors his killer DJ tool-style techno cuts to 50 Weapons' schematics. The 'Pressurize' EP is loaded with four stripped-down, bare-bones groove tracks keenly tweaking out sinuous boom/clap syncopations no doubt influenced by Flores' Latino heritage and LA locale. 'Breakdown' rides a tight, fibrillating techno riddim burning up raspin' claps and electrifying synthline; 'Dial20' cools out on a dry, dub chord tip akin to Shed's Wax tools; 'Pressurize' is a roiling, tribalist kink; 'Bipolar' plays neat and tweaky with deft one note hook and shifty shimmy.
Nicolas Jaar's Other People label picks up new Russian name, Vtgnike (pronounced Vintage Nike dontyaknow) for a diverse debut vinyl album. 'Dubna' collects nine tracks shape-shifting between OPN-like chopped & screwed experiment 'Stimulate' through to Shackleton-esque polyrhythms and aqueous sound design in 'Panarama Bar Shitt', but the majority is given to a ghostly, detached strain of rave and electronica filtered through a mazy prism of Footwork rhythms and smudged, hypnagogia-inducing FX. It's not a sound you might typically associate with Nicolas Jaar and his label, and should come as little s… Read more
A new album from Vaghe Stelle for Astro:Dynamics following on from appearances on Modeselektor's Monkeytown label, Gang of Ducks and Aisha Devi's Danse Noire amongst others. Utilising vocal samples to craft bass and lead sounds, coupled with repeated use of Poly-800 and Juno 106 synthesizers, the label describes the album as "drifting from summoning the bleary-eyed glacial spasms of Wiley's devil mixes and an oddly Final Fantasy-esque emotiveness combining with the smudged electronic aesthetic that has come to define Astro:Dynamics over the past year or so". Although tracks like 'My B… Read more
Karen Gwyer returns to No Pain In Pop for an expansive and hypnotic follow-up to 'Needs Continuum' and her Opal Tape, 'Kiki The Wormhole'. On 'New Roof' she's all but abandoned any discernible traces of her vocals in favour of sky-scraping synth harmonics and deft drum programming in two extended, wide-open pieces which sandwich a shorter wormhole of woozy organ chords. They're incredible pieces of work, drawing firm connections with classic krautrock and cinematic new age meditations tempered by a crisply modernist sense of economy and space. We're most impressed by the 16 minutes of roilin… Read more
Proper party tackle from the UTTU mogul! Four bad-to-the-bone jack tracks bouncing between slippery New York house peak on 'Hey Now, Wait A Minute', to ruffneck Chicago-via-Sheffield-style bleep house on 'Dextrous', thru proper Yorkshire breaks 'n bleep pressure on 'Tell Me' and the rudebwoy scattering 'Hurfdy Jam'.
One half of MMM returns with "classy, bassline centred, 1990s Chicago school rooted Techno/House tunes".
Back to the future with Ghostly's '80s fetishist Com Truise, featuring guest vocals by Joel Ford. "Wave 1 is the first new transmission the world has received from producer Seth Haley since his gloriously futuristic debut album Galactic Melt. That album cataloged the genesis and evolution of Haley's alter ego Com Truise — the world’s first synthetic/robotic astronaut, as Haley described him — and this EP continues the character's journey into the outer reaches of the musical multiverse. In the process, it also builds on Haley's signature production style, one that's rooted in classic sci-fi sou… Read more
Milton Bradley puts his Alien Rain mask on for three pure, hypnotic acid techno expeditions. 'Alienated 4A' is the highlight, setting thrumming bass against tightest 303 modulations and arcing night-sky pads. 'Alienated '4B' is more monotone, jacking, with brain-burrowing acid tweaks. 'Alienated 4C' is the most reduced and mysterious of the set, with low key acid bass orbited by silvery pads.
Having sat through two full cd's of some of the most sublime, drifting piano based variations I've ever heard im not quite sure how to go about putting the experience into words. Whilst 'archival' may bring to mind dusty stacks in library basements, there's a slew of old material being reissued by labels at the moment that might just serve to extinguish this semantic connection. Latest to enjoy a digital reappraisal is American composer William Basinksi (of 'Disintegration Loops' fame), whose extensive 'Variations: A Movement In Chrome Primitive' is now … Read more
Composed way back in 1979, 'A Red Score In Tile' eventually surfaced as a vinyl-only edition in 2003. Made up of piano, this shows Basinski's patented tape-loop technique perfectly and still stands as one of his most affecting pieces of music. If you've heard 'Melancholia' you'll likely know what I'm talking about, piano notes are transformed into tones by the slowly disintegrating tape, and the loops become motifs all of their own. The beauty of Basinski's work is in its patience, and this early piece is a testament to that overwhelming skill, a skill that few others possess… Read more
Powerful techno trax from Vril proceeding 12"s for Giegling and Semantica and inclusion on Marcel Dettmann's Conducted mix. All three tracks are built for strobe-lit basements and cavernous club spaces alike, slamming out the frictional swing jack groove of 'Vortekz' and its tumutluous dub ont he A-side, and the peaking chords of y7/10' on the flip.
"Infatuated with the similarities between the hard driving gridlines of European dance music and the repetitious nature that binds disparate folk music from all corners of North Africa and the Middle East together, Parisian dance duo Acid Arab have sought to enlist some of the most innovative and forward thinking producers from their native France and beyond, to bring these sonic cousins together on their pulsating new Acid Arab Collections. The compilation loosely narrates, among its collision of east-meets-west rhythms and hooks, Acid Arab’s falling in love with the world of… Read more
"Luke Wyatt's looping night-rider trance-rock instrumentals as Torn Hawk often tend towards the moody/brooding side of Brooklyn's rhythm nation but for Through Force Of Will he's flipped the script, flexing his powers for hope not mope, for rallying through those final workout reps, ripping through the tape at the finish line, pumping fists to the sky over city hall. Triumphant guitar-shred blisters atop steady cardio drum machines and heartbeat synth-basslines, invoking a FX-scrambled montage of sweaty crunches, marathons through the mountains, and muscle beach dreamers keeping t… Read more
**Tidy mix of drawn-out synthscapes and tighter coldwave machine instrumentals from the Texan synth ensemble** "This much anticipated EP follow-up shows SURVIVE evolving inside the increasingly crowded world of analog synth worship. While not totally abandoning the beat-driven sound that made their debut so great, we find them now much more willing to break out of the traditional song structure. Side A is 10+ minutes of ambient composition that is a natural departure from their previous work. Side B is considerably more akin to their release on Mannequin, retaining the horror meets Knight Rider vib… Read more
Mark Kozelek is back with a new Sun Kil Moon album featuring Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, Jen Wood (who has worked with the Postal Service), Will Oldham, and Owen Ashworth (formerly known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, now of Advance Base).
Excellent debut EP of mesmerising, driven hardware jams by Farbwechsel boss S. Olbricht and his buddy Alpár. The 'Silf' EP is much cleaner and more charming than the last we heard from Olbricht on his 'Deutsche Amerikanische Tragödie' for Opal Tapes. Perhaps that's due to the influence of Alpár or maybe he just got some tape head cleaner - we're not sure - but these tracks are far more suitable for club use. There's still a ferric fuzz, but it doesn't dominate proceedings as much, instead providing a buoyant cushion for the acidic lattice and thrumming, skyward incline of 'Satellite Phone Blinks Red… Read more
Opal Tapes' S Olbricht returns with this excellent album for his own Farbwechsel imprint.
Another great instalment of deep, machine-driven experiments ranging from no wave house to noise and electronica from Hungary's Farbwechsel label. As they say in Football, it's a game of two halves; Route 8 offering four sublime pieces of throbbing lo-fi house compatible with 1991, Torn Hawk or Legowelt - at best in the slow-mo wade and solar synth flares of 'II' and the balmy balcony boogie of 'III' - whereas Danada Cry dices with mad, grotty, groove-driven no wave electronica in ten fractured, unstable experiments.
Sleazy, wavey machine groovers from Gergely Szilveszter Horváth aka Route 8 for the ace Farbwechsel label. From what we're hearing, Route 8 is the label's secret weapon, and on the strength of these cuts certainly due some wider exposure. He's got a proper, raw and rugged touch harking back to the baddest early Chicago jams and equally the loosest, moodiest Legowelt pieces, exemplified in the Larry Heard gone darkside vibe of 'CanYouFeelIt?', on the wiggly ace 'Slim City', with his Delroy Edwards-esque tracky jam 'Mental Murder' and especially on the 'Never Ending Journey'. Check also fo… Read more
**Percolating hip hop/electronic fusions from an Odd Future affiliate on his debut album for Stones Throw** "Pyramid Vritra is Hal Williams, prolific producer and rapper. He is recording an album for Stones Throw to be released in 2014. 22 year-old, LA-based Pyramid Vritra has been making beats and writing rhymes since he was just ten years old. When he was in high school in Atlanta, he founded the hip hop collective NRK (Nobody Really Knows) and subsequently linked up with Matt Martians of Odd Future after Martians heard NRK’s tracks on Myspace. When Pyramid Vritra and Matt Martians met, th… Read more