Monday, 15 December
Strickly deeper bangers from Palace on Hot Haus Recs. A-side is a big winner called 'Vision' wurkin' with slamming kicks, skippy hats and blue, dubbed-out techno chords for peak time drive. B-side deals in more sensuous, scuffed garage with the plonging square bass shift of 'Solstice' and the light-footed, bubble-headed shimmy of 'Element'.
Roiling UK techno pressure from Makaton for Gent's Token stronghold. The 1st Makaton 12" in 5 years was worth the wait, breaching the 'floor with craftily spaced and rolling EBM drums and lip-biting string discord in 'Lead You Astray', galloping techno proper in the dynamic sound design of 'Night #1' or 'Spit To Lubricate', and an incisive balance of skipping rhythms and pensive drones in 'Dstabilise'.
Rugged, London-style house ravers in four parts. We'd advise drawing for the twisted modern electro-house funk of 'Tempest' and the infectious, darkside swing of 'Granulate' for the shape-cutters.
Lorca does his rolling, shuffly house thing with style for Breach's Naked Naked label. 'Calcutec' makes the first move with low slung groove underpinned by wide-style garage subs, built with a proggy arrangement primed for bigger rooms and London 'floors. 'Ndlamu' figures a more Afro-centric, jackin' sound with spacey dubbing and tribal momentum, and also in a slower, more rugged Alternative Mix.
Joker plays nice 'n nasty on his follow-up to the 8-bit bounce of 'Head Top', backed with Rustie, Bassnectar and Picard Brothers remixes. The original flips J-Lo into a tightly controlled dubstep-trap riddim laced with bitter electro synths. Remixing, Rustie juices it up with spiralling scales and glassy '80s boogie keys for the soul crew; Bassnectar charges it up for the biggest pleasuredomes imaginable; and the Picard Brothers follow remix worjk for Jessie J with the slickest slow/fast flex juggling trap, Jersey and overlarge EDM elements for the EP highlight.
Ballroom meets techno in Imaabs' banging debut for Trax Couture. Highlights for us are the dry, kicking club constrcution, 'That joint' with its metallic delays, sparse groove and sweetened drops, or the scuffed swing and parry of 'White Noise'.
Tightly coiled, darkside hybrids of halfstep, jungle and juke from a new producer on Om Unit's Cosmic Bridge. Four tracks carry weight from the scything, technoid dynamics of 'Posthuman' thru the desolate drones scapes and nervy drum attacks of 'Falling Inward' to tricksy tribalist triplet patterns in 'Broken Legs' and spaced-out vibes around the tangled skank of 'Sever The Heart'.
"Gerry Read returns with a new twelve for Aus, his productions remain liberated from conventional influence while keeping rhythmically charged enough to work effectively on peak time dance floors. The title track is no exception as it loosely wades through the mire gathering frazzled sine signals and synth blobs along the way. ‘Cosmoid’ pins shimmering melodies and off kilter samples under a tight, persistent groove before Nathan Fake weighs in with loose, restless drum patterns and a healthy measure of plaintive melody to add a further facet to 3 2 1 and round off another solid package from AUS."
Fresh from the House of Crazylegs, an achingly effective synthesis of catty Ballroom and ruffneck grime styles from Bristol's Gage and Philly's Kevin JZ Prodigy.
Raw, agitated dub house from Federsen backed with a strolling Tomas Rubeck remix. Check the original for a grittier, frayed take on the well trodden dub house format from Federsen, who was last spotted by us on Bristol's ace No Corner label.
Damn, Anòmia do it again, pulling out some proper tricks from behind the ear of Minneapolis' Eric Frye after aces by NMO, Helmer and Veiled in 2014. Manning a hybrid analog/digital modular synthesizer coupled with some software synthesis, Frye presents a suite of uncompromising, fractured electronics at once recalling the spattered tangle of Keith Fullerton Whitman's recent generations, the chess-like stratagem of Rene Hell and the incisive freakiness of Florian Hecker with twelve pieces ranging in scale from super-sparse 4 minutes of spasmodic bleeps to staccato rhythm blatz and deviant miniatures. ACE.
Gang of Ducks flash the winsome pop chops of DYD's Vaghe Stelle-produced 'GOD' EP from the frontline of the new Italian weird scene. In the Turin-based label's chronically cryptic style, the DYD trio and Vaghe Stelle bring the best out of each other, Stelle tempering his noisier proclivities in order to let the group's aching bleats and wiry funk out from the autotuned slink of 'Archistar' thru the stepping electro-pop-dub, '#Magic' to the whirring aerosoul bounce of 'Y Factor' and soaring, near beatless Vocal Tool Edit of 'Archistar'.
Outstanding side of modular experiments by London's Deas for Luke Younger's Alter label. 'String Studies' is, quite remarkably, the first all-electronic record from Cameron Deas. Recorded at home in February/March 2014, he uses his usually favoured acoustic guitar as a source to trigger dizzying displays of modular noise twisting out virulent, kinetic sculptures that sound like guitar strings physically twisted into complex circuits. We guess there are clear precedents for this music in the work of Keith Fullerton Whitman or Jim O'Rourke's electronic works, but there's also something wonderf… Read more
"The latest addition to 4AD, Australian resident Oliver Hugh Perry - creatively known as D.D Dumbo produces reverb soaked songs that erupt in thunderous rhythm and euphoric drone. Minimal in structure and complemented by Perry’s voice, they subtly reference traditional stylings from around the globe such as African desert blues, Tanzanian ilimba and transcendental Tuvan melody."
Darker disco-techno for strobe-lit big rooms. Agoria at the controls for the bleeping, arpeggiated builder, 'Hélice' and the low slung swing of 'Make It Real', which is given a deft, sub-heavy remix boost by ESS.
Alter return with this album of brilliantly unclassifiable doings by London-based enigma D. Shan, aided and abetted by Vindicatrix and D. Bolger (ov The Pheromoans / The Bomber Jackets). In our mental chart of madness from these shores in 2014, this one is right up there, expanding upon the audness of his 'Known Nonsense' 7" with a further delineation and deconstruction of eldritch avant-pop tropes. Comparisons could be made with Art Bears, the Cold Storage scene, The Residents and Ralph Records roster, but ultimately Acolytes are a unique quantity.
Monday, 08 December
J&J’s last album 'Techno Primitivism’ totally floored us here, finding a sweet spot between elements of dub, jazz and psychedelia within a tactile house and techno framework. This new album - 'Clean-Cut’ - left us a bit cold on first listen, taking a much straighter approach feeding off classic Detroit and swung Chicago styles, but in the space of a couple of listens it has completely earwormed its way deep into our heads and refused to let go. From that off-ish pan-pipe hook on the killer title track to the red-lining drums on "Wheeze Please”, the production details and exotic flourishe… Read more
Solid longform 2-tracker from Floating Points to seal off the year. 'Nuits Sonores' is great - nice to hear Sam Shepherd edging away from the coffee table for a mooch round moodier environs, delivering a 12-minute number that sounds like a smudged Paperclip People tangling with a bit of jazzzz as it builds. 'Nectarines' is again kinda indebted to classic Carl Craig and Main Street productions, although that floaty vocal towards the end is p'rraps a little too smooth. Still, his best for a while.
James Blake channels Prince on the title cut, actually much better then we could have imagined - nice production touches n'all. '200 Pressure' delivers micro-boogie styles riding massive detuned synths, while 'Building It Still' feels like it might go a bit, you know, softy walter at any moment but just about keeps it together. The closing, minute long 'Words That We Both Know' sounds like Position Normal having a chinwag with London Grammer...??. All in all, a solid EP, nice to see JB with a bit more of a stiff upper lip.
**2x140g vinyl mastered + cut by Rashad at D&M. Artwork by Bill Kouligas & Louis Reith** Easily one of our most anticipated LPs of 2014, Afrikan Sciences' 'Circuitous' transcends jazz, techno and hip hop with pineal Afro-futurist vision. Hailing from Saturn via Oakland, CA, Eric Douglas Porter aka Afrikan Sciences has carved an elliptic orbit thru the sonic cosmos with three albums and a string of 12"s for Aybee's Deepblak label, an empathetic home for his abstract, groovesome suppositions improvised on turntables, upright bass, and a matrix of digital tablets. Now taking flight with… Read more
The Advisory Circle return with a new album and a much darker sound with 'From Out Here', the enchanted follow-up to the pastoral ambience of 'As The Crow Flies'. Masquerading under this guise, Jon Brooks reveals what is quite possibly his strongest work to date; an 18 track suite drifting from brassy cosmic warning signals to ancient-futurist miniatures reminding of the fragile motifs in Actress' 'R.I.P.' album. The common theme is undoubtedly Brooks' exquisite sound design, uniting a series of individual themes that add up to what Ghost Box describe as "a Wyndham-esque scienc… Read more
Triple-disc set spanning 20 years, 33 tracks of seminal and influential Detroit techno by the maestro, Robert Hood. Alongside Jeff Mills, Mad Mike and Carl Craig, Mr. Rob Hood is a noted pioneer of Detroit's 2nd wave, first setting up Underground Resistance with the Mills and Mad Mike, before establishing the M-Plant label in 1994 as arguably the birthplace and incubator of minimal techno. This 'M-Print' collection is a cherry-picked and comprehensive survey of pretty much all you need to know about the label, ranging out from his timeless blueprint, 'The Grey Area'… Read more
The beastly '11-14' collects all of Powell's incendiary solo 12" club trax on 2CD for the first time. It arrives as the man-machine rides a crest of adulation for his recent live show debut at Unsound '14 and a string of ruthless DJs sets that have seen him put his mutant mechanics firmly into action for Boiler Room and clubs/warehouses across the world. Spanning 3 years, 18 tracks, including the searing 'Maniac' collaboration with Russell Haswell, it frames a singular, ground-breaking body of work that consolidates, without compromise, the intentions and effects of D&B, techno and industria… Read more
Only 15 years since their seminal 'Multi Ordinal Tracking Unit' 12" (reissued in 2012), Unspecified Enemies launch a sick 2nd 12" of hi-tech funk. Two London-based producers with a serious thing for Detroit, Unspecified Enemies are separately known as Simon Walley and Louis Digital. Together they craft some of the sharpest techno tackle known to mankind, exemplified here in the turbulent cut-up of 'Ms. 45' and the Lauren Hill-slamming booty pressure of 'Chip Mode' up top, while the iced shake of 'Liquid Floor' and gritty funk friction of 'Lifestyles of the Minidisc Era' get nasty wid it on the back. Premo gear, this.
Golden Püdel's Helena Hauff and F#X charge a rampant 2nd session of gristly hardware roil as Black Sites for PAN. Relentlessly bloody-minded and primed for strobe-and-smoke-lit 'floors, both sides give up some of the most damaged no wave/acid that we've heard all year. A-side: 'Unit 2669' locks lampin' kicks and mind-swilling 303s to a rusted thumb piano/cowbell motif for 12 minutes of noxious, incessant club fuel in the mould of classic Bunker/Acid Planet bangers. B-side: 'Mockba' is a different kettle of radioactive, three-eyed fish, fxxking the beats off in favour of pulsing S.O.S. signals and waves of tarry black noise with a chaotic rhythmic agenda.