Monday, 29 April
Stroboscopic Artefacts regular dishes out four thumping and bittersweet techno experiments. A-side, 'Tempered Inmid' chugs rugged kicks under a glacial patina of gloomy vocal samples and arctic melody beside the knotted chamber techno triplets of 'Dimen Andesso'. B-side features two smarter pieces: the grittier flex and swarming noise of 'Nuis Octury' reminds us of Ancient Methods and the EP highlight 'Ezerb Altren' sucks us into a warped vortex of fluttering synths and rolling bass drums.
High-intensity techno workouts from J. Tijn on Untold's Pennyroyal label. Following the course of his 'Jack 2' 12" he leaves no prisoners with an aggressive A-side pounding backed by one kinkier swinger and a brutal, Belgian-sounding stomper.
Tech-house minimalist Adam Marshall meets Toronto-based dubstepper Christian Andersen aka XI at the neat and crafty juncture of Graze. It's a stylish update of their respective forms, amplifying the garage and groove roots of dubstep and rubbing the often staid tropes of tech-house with rugged swing. It's a solid set from end to end, swerving between the Shake-like synchro-groove of 'Thesust' to the breezily aerated, lissom swing of 'No Save' and the 808 flux of 'Cathode Bias' to the skanking house special 'Ques' and the beautifully gutted ambient-techno-bass architecture of 'On Board'. RIYL Deadbeat, Martyn, Shake.
Whoa, even by EVOL’s usual standards this is a weird and wired experiment in sonic slime-slinging, mastered by Russell Haswell and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M. For the best part of three years Stephen Sharp and Roc Jiménez de Cisneros have been desconstructing rave music in novel and unorthodox ways, homing in on bizarre tropes in the music that we’ve glibly come to accept as generic, disrupting its regular patterns, drawing attention to its kinks and fissures, and generally f**king with our heads: a process they formally describe as Rave Synthesis. The music of Proper Headshrinker was o… Read more
Review to follow shortly…
Menche's 'Marriage Of Metals' is a visceral and captivating investigation of the Indonesian Gamelan's harmonic properties. Given full access to The Venerable Showers Of Beauty ensemble's rare and ancient gongs at Lewis and Clark College, Portland Oregon, Menche made recordings of their rich acoustic basses and resonant clangour which were subsequently processed into these two giant slabs of elemental din. The original source tones radiant at the centre of both pieces but their pealing wave emissions are transformed into dense, fuggy squall at an illusory distance creating a chime… Read more
Wannabe events planner Dan Deacon piles in with four manic versions of his tribute to the Congo's finest. If you IV-fed blue panda pops to a gang of ADD five years olds and let em loose with ableton for long enough, they might arrive at this sound.
"Metro Detroit frisky/risky dreamer DJ Coyote Clean Up serves up a heart n’ hardbody emotional saga with 2 Hot 2 Wait, his deep-debut full-length on 100% Silk. Hot-under-the-collar horniness (a woman simply counts to three on “Zebra Go Seek” and you start to undress), headphone-house grain (the fuzzy gut-bump on “The Least U Could Feel” is like warm breath whispering in your ear), skrewed RnB Freestyle strip-hop (stuttery layers give hopeful, life-affirming energy to the lover-lost “Awesome Luv”) and out-of-time mash-ups (“Double Dip” is a memory overlapping, with a classic ’95 dial… Read more
The third volume of electronics-savvy saxophonist Colin Stetson's New History Warfare album series, and if you ask us, the most pungent and poignant of the lot - thanks in no small part to the dab hand of Ben Frost, who recorded its 11 tracks in single takes and has done a splendid job of capturing the molten intensity of a Stetson live performance. Pre-release chatter has focussed on the presence of Justin Vernon, who handles lead vocals on four of the tracks: particularly noteworthy are the pulsating, cyclical opener ‘And In Truth’, which sounds like Ph… Read more
Freshest techno from Glasgow's up-and-coming Clouds duo for Brooklyn's Fifth Wall Records. As far as opening statements go, we're sold at the leaden thunk and kinetic noise dynamics of 'Drone Function', whilst the more mangled, insistent burn of 'Phantom Female' and the slinky weapon 'Tropical Fuck' strengthen their case as one of the UK's finest. Heavy sh*t for fans of Happa, Lakker, Blawan… Support from Tommy Four Seven, FSG, Randomer, Moerbeck.
Review to follow shortly…
There are flashes of excellence on this record, the work of a former model Carmen Hilestad, which is styled very much after post-grunge alt.rock, from Beat Happening through to Murray Street-era Sonic Youth, but approaches it with a contemporary Scandi-pop sensibility, a bit of early MTV / AM radio swagger and crisp production befitting its home on Smalltown Supersound. If there’s a criticism to be made, it’s that it never quite settles down in to one thing or the other - Hilestad doesn’t seem to know if she wants to be Kim Gordon or Chrissie Hynde, Carrie Brownstein or Lykke Li. This inde… Read more
**Another tape ace from the Reckno camp now available digitally: 30 minutes of Rephlexian electro-jazz-fonk with some serious chops** "Extracted from an old hard drive that contained over 200 tracks which had been abandoned by their creator. The surprise comes in how NOW/Timeless these pieces of music are. Over the course of 30 minutes you get: foggy synth tears, percussive Oriental electro, distilled beauty, restless jazztime beat placement and free electronics."
Review to follow shortly…
A welcome return for Akron/Family, proffering a potent and expanded vision of open-structured cosmic rock. According to the band, the album’s canyon-straddling, star-gazing scale is inspired by the landscape-obsessed, deeply American sci-fi imaginings of Frank Herbert,“the plots within plots of Dune mirrored in many layers of sound.” This is a proper epic, make no mistake, and the band sound more fucked-up, grizzled and committed than before; at the same time they’ve evidently matured as songwriters, performers and arrangers, delivering an album light-years-ahead of their early releases o… Read more
Monday, 22 April
The most keenly awaited entry in Fabric’s mix series for a long time is here. It’s over a year since Karl ‘Regis’ O’Connor, Dave ‘Function’ Sumner, John ‘Silent Servant’ Mendez and Peter ‘Female’ Sutton called time on their Sandwell District collective and label, but Function and Regis continue to use the name for their DJ/live incarnation - and it’s the sound of that battle-hardened tag-team which is captured on Fabric69, a 30-track rinse-out of high-torque techno broadcast from their bunker in Berlin. The first half of the disc feels like it belongs to Regis: his d… Read more
Kevin Martin and co's King Midas Sound get noisy on their first issue for Ninja Tune. 'Aroo' taps into a dreampop sensibility with rasping snares and posturing guitars against Kiki Hitomi's cute-but-i'll-cut-ya vocals. 'Funny Love' is more like the KMS we know; a midnight ambient night flight soaring over city scenes with wide-open synth pads and beautifully detached, opiated vocals.
**Upfront Exclusive** Another dose of outernational rhythm science from Burnt Friedman and Can sticksman Jaki Liebezeit. This is the fifth volume of Secret Rhythms and by now the interplay between the duo has grown near-telepathic, the serpentine grooves they generate - from drums, metal percussion and synthesizers - complex yet thrillingly reduced, free of any superfluous phrasing. Guest contributors’ guitar, bass and woodwind add some nice tonal colour to proceedings, but rhythm, always rhythm, is the focal point. Mark Ernestus remixed Friedman & Liebezeit jam a … Read more
The Vinyl Factory unleash the title cut from Dinos Chapman's debut album, backed with an industrialized Actress remix. Chapman's original is a highlight of 'Luftbobler', all staccato machinedrum aerations and gyroscopic electronic swirl with a real rugged bump. Actress's remix captures him at his moodiest, coming off like an uncannily near-relation to Hospital Productions' Alberich or a haunted CHBB.
Debut album of crisp dub-tech emissions from Djrum, new on 2nd Drop. It’s easy to see why people like Gilles Peterson and Francois K are fans of this British producer: though the reverbs are canyon-sized and the drums hit hard, the atmospheres evoked are slick, soulful, sophisticated. Check the jazzwise ‘Comos Los Cerdos' or the Nina-Simone-goes-DMZ swellings of ‘Honey’, all served up with melancholy strings, obscure soul and film samples and a generous blowback of hash smoke. The guest turns from female vocalist Shadowbox, a vocal dead ringer for Nicolette, only add to that sense of introspecti… Read more
On-trend and frequently exhilarating dancefloor machinations from Slava , RIYL Jam City, Rushmore, Machinedrum, L-Vis, MikeQ et al. At once more savvy and more stripped-down than last year's mellifluous post-footwork fever-dream, Soft Control, the tracks that make up Raw Solutions were all recorded in single takes on a Korg Electribe ESX, and it shows - tracks like 'On It' go right for the club's jugular and are shorn of all the fussy/flashy production tricks that plague most club music in 2013. The Russian-born, Brooklyn-based producer cites "pop, R&B, hip-hop, vogue house, British Bass and … Read more
A highlight of Opal Tapes' fifth batch is Holovr's debut mini-album, 'Lunar Lake'. It's a lo-fi and cinematic trip urged by rippling machine pulses and awash with gauzy chords and pads, and could easily be taken as a not-too-distant and rather mysterious cousin to 1991's 'High-Tech High-Life'. Our highlights have to be the extended part 'II', summoning soundscape visions for teary eyed cyborgs or the rugged, uptempo flux of 'V' with its rattling machine rhythms and lysergic synth melts reminding of everything from classic AFX to Marco Bernardi's 'Junkie Bastard'. Recommended!
Classy debut album of soulful deep house strokes from Bristol. In key with their 12"s for Immerse, Well Rounded Housing Project and BRSTL, Outboxx return to Idle Hands with a plush and wholesome long player nodding to the classic American modes of Ron Trent or Chez Damier with a dash of UK soul flavour.
Jamie xx edits two cuts by his world-taking band, The xx. 'Sunset' from 'Coexist' is boosted with dusty bass shuffle and electroid drum re-programming while keeping the song's sombre integrity. Bonus track, 'Reconsider' is subject to a beautifully noirish, Burial-esque revision revolving cracked and depressed 2-step rhythm, church-like organ motifs and subtle field recordings.
One of dubstep's finest & purest, SP:MC launches four dreadnaughts on Tempa. With 'Declassified' the MC-cum-producer serves mammoth subs and sparse 808 drums with lip-biting intensity whereas 'Airlock' and 'Kenshin' run with that sorta hollowed dread torque and feng shui syncopation practiced by Photek or Raime. BIG tip!
Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) meets Praveen Sharma (Braille) at a lush intersection of garage, jungle and juke with a healthy dose of feminine pressure on the latest Sepalcure for Hotflush. At the cusp of broken beat and 2-step, they open with the aerated latin shake of 'Make You' and follow a theme of pensile femal vocals and flamenco licks into the Congo Natty-style jungle breaks of 'He Said No'. Deeper in, Stewart's footwork tastes bubble up in the slow/fast flux of 'The Water's Fine' and to a more smudged, unstable sway accentuated by trembling vocals on 'Rumours'.
Stunningly heavy, focussed tech-step workouts from a deadly tag team. Yung blood Killawatt meets the experienced Kryptic Minds duo in some of their finest styles, playing it super restrained with the pendulous cool of 'Swung Operations' before coming off like T++ meets Fis with crusted textures and gyroscopic dub dynamics of 'Reaching Throughout' and the supremely adroit 'step of 'Cunning Juncture'. Total no brainer for those that know - massive recommendation.
**Includes a bonus selection of ClekClekBoom singles from the archive** French Fries' Clek Clek Boom label shows how they do in Paris with tracks of his own bundled with bass-wise Chi-house hybrid exclusives from Jean Nippon, The Town, Manare, Ministre X, and Coni. CD1: The bossman tosses his stepping, holo'd-out 'Southside' and c*nty consideration, ''Yo Vogue VIP' to the 'floor beside The Town's deft, dust-scuffed 808 dip and roll on 'Dice'; Jean Nipon goes grimy with the brass stabs and slicing syncopation of 'Coming At You', Coni locks down to … Read more
"Early in 2013, Error Broadcast released Soosh's critically acclaimed LP Colour is Breathe. Now the Scottish producer returns with the remixes album, a collection that offers ten fresh interpretations of standout tracks from Colour is Breathe. A quartet of established names reshapes "For You". UK-based rapper DELS and his producer Eli-T make it raw and lyrical, whilst Dam Mantle lends his trademark energy to the same track. US beat scene veteran devonwho pares back the song to its very pulse, leaving Synkro room to let it kick and snap. Slowwkid betrays his newcomer statu… Read more
**Upfront exclusive** Tech-trancey and swinging bass grooves from Rupert Taylor's XXXY for Swansea's Ten Thousand Yen. 'Progression' meshes a technicoloured moiré of arpeggios to snappy snares and round, precise sub pressure; 'Thinkin Bout' opens a folder of cowbells and downpitched vocal stabs in sharply contoured 2-step/house flux.