Friday, 23 January
Ok, this is more like it - a crackshot slab from the crackpot producer putting his computer controlled acoustic orchestra thru its paces. As promised or alluded to in various interviews around last year's 'Syro' LP, he's done a proper Pierre (Bastien, Henry, Schaeffer) and manufactured a whole mechanical band of things that hit other things - mainly pianos, drums and gongs - to make a very pleasing sound indeed. It's the sound of an artist exerting optimal control over his instruments but allowing for, or even cultivating the natural infidelities of sy… Read more
Tuesday, 20 January
Our semi-regular steppers' survey stalks some 20 years of motion from Digital's Metalheadz classic 'Niagra' and Torsten Pröfrock's 'Traktor Artists', thru techiest twysts by Clarity, Skeptical and Xth Réflexion. Splitting the difference between electro, dub, techno and jungle, these 14 tracks are some of the tightest examples of that technoid swagger that occurs between syncopated subs and drum patterns, playing out the kind of deft dancefloor gestures that don't really get a look in at mainstream dances. Peverelist's South-Western stepper 'Silvers' starts a session that … Read more
"You need people like me…" so says Tony Montana, and the sentiment rings true for yung Delroy Edwards. His 'Kickin Butts!!' EP opens with one of the most famous samples in cinematic history and pushes on thru four darker, trackier follow-ups to his addictive 'Can U Get With' 12". The raspin' rhythms and murky drones of the title track could have easily appeared on his 'Teenage Tapes' LP, while 'Die Motherfxxker' slips into Slowed Down Gangsta mode, and there's a pair of bucking raw house rhythms in 'Str8 Fuckd' and 'Insane In The Membrain' for the wall-bangers.
Monday, 19 January
Doublepack of fluid house from Vancouver's, BC's Mood Hut player, Hashman Deejay. Practically clipping the heels of his lush 12" for Berceuse Heroique, 'Sandopolis' marks his return to Future Times with six tracks tipping the tempo scale between slackened ambient hip hop and strident, heavily swung house with patented patterns of filigree, spiralling arpeggios and bouncing square basslines cuddled with a lovely analogue production. It's lip-smackingly sweet sh*t, channelling that sought-after Mood Hut vibe shared by Pender Street Steppers, Aquarian Foundation or Jack J into the deftly … Read more
Sean McCann completes his transition from ambient to classical & avant-garde musics with these ten breathtaking pieces realised over a four year period. Recorded throughout 2010 and 2011, assembled in 2012 and later committed to vinyl, they can be taken to document his maturation from shepherd of slow moving ambient clouds to an architect of steepled composition who graduated with 2013's 'Music for Private Ensemble', released on his Recital imprint. All but the stoniest hearts will be melted by McCann's tempered grandiosity and feel for weightless space in moments s… Read more
One of 2014's most hyped labels, 1080p, kick off 2015 with crisp and kinetic club functions from Max McFerren aka McFerrdog. Last spotted on SLO's Aery Metals label, here he's given room to explore his maddest, funkiest ideas across 12 tracks juggling ghetto house and ambient electronica with traces of Jersey club and vaporwave. Colourful doesn't start to describe it: this guy's beaming rainbows all over the dance; from the chromatic swirl of 'Bless This Mess' thru the clipped swing and garbled samples in 'Peak Of My Curiosity' to the lean but fruity club construction, 'Timeless' and j… Read more
Untold kicks off the Hemlock Black sublabel with two blown-out club constructions. Picking up where 'Black Light Spiral' left off, we can hear a rugged mix of modular tweaks and machine pulses, spitting, scratching and retching like some dosed-up Night Slugs club constructs. The dry funk of 'Doff' offers glimpses of sweetness in shards of palm wine-like guitar licks but the emphasis is on jagged concatenations designed "to interrogate the dance." B-side, 'Phive' inverts that formula, bringing fwd and frilling the guitar lick around warped bass and prickling percussion like some Ernestus or Shackleton joint gone walkabout at the fringe of the sprawl.
Dixon, Recondite, Tale Of Us and Dubfire tweak Plastikman's EX for the club. Dixon's 'Just A Different Mixdown Version' of 'EXhale' tenderises the tensile contours of the original with stacked acid harmonies and sweeping pads for proper dancefloor catharsis; Recondite clips and tucks 'EXplore' to an electroid shuffle with soaring breakdown; Tale Of Us concentrate 'EXpand' to a sort of whirring, bluesy tech-house for the first half, before turning into a Morricone-gone-to-Ibiza anthem; Dubfire plays the long game with a 13 minute take on 'EXposed' building to a panoramic trance-house peak.
Anthony Parasole lines up alongside Silent Servant and Marcel Dettmann on a banging new single from The Corner. Poised for the big rooms and writhing masses, Dettman plays out a stealthy sort of tension with the burning intensity of 'Take One'; Silent Servant yokes darkside EBM synthlines and brooding chords to a muscular techno-house canter with drily emotional climax; Anthony Parasole rallies the room with a concentrated tribalism entitled 'Intel'.
*The seventh and final instalment in the Testpressing Series for the time being* Hands-down, #7 is the best Testpressing yet from Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty's Demdike Stare. Landing almost two years since the series began back in 2013, and six months on from their last raid, it's a dichotomy of dancefloor devilment, going hard for it on one side, and running ragged emotions on the other. A-side 'Rathe' opens the doors of perception to a show-stopping bloom of heavenly voices and halfstep jungle, ratcheting the levels to heart-in-mouth effect with panoramic har… Read more
Tipped as TNBT by Modeselektor, Berlin's hardware-weilding Fjaak trio do that breakbeat techno swerve with class on 50 Weapons. The busted breaks, submerged kicks and rusty filter treatments of 'Oben' could happily sit next to your Shed/Head High killers or that sterling Skee Mask 12" on Ilian Tape - a big look for the dancers - while 'Unten' follows suit with a deeper, tantric techno play riding the kicks and hi-hats with aerated chords. Take us to the 'floor, now.
The Chicago Bad Boy in e-f-f-e-c-t on a crucial reissue of his 1991 bomb, 'Chaotic Nation'. Six aces to choose from, but the best have to be the Detroit-esque, latinate body shuffle of 'Happy Stick' with it's killer rimshots and busy hi-hats, or the steppin' techno-house of 'Mental Problems (Bonus Track)'.
Class techno session from the master. 'When The Music…' follows Brinkmann's Guy Martin-dedicated EP with four sleek bits of dancefloor momentum ranging from the full flight of 'Odecca' to cruising house in '8 Ba' and the oil-spattered razz of 'Moto', taking a slower off-road vibe with 'Step a Nova'.
Jimmy Edgar squeezes out an 18-track showcase of taut, jackin' electro-techno-house on Fabriclive 79. Laden with selections from his Ultramajic label, including 6 of his own productions and collaborations, plus fine picks from fellow house sleazer Kris Wadsworth, plus home-town Detroit cats, Patrice Scott, DJ Godfather & DJ Starski.
"With both Evil Blizzard and Mamuthones making music that is challenging and visceral, it only seems fitting that they are to be joined on a split EP. The release is the fourth instalment of Rocket Recordings’ Collisions series that has previously seen The Heads, White Hills, Oneida, Mugstar, Shit & Shine and Gnod come head to head. Mamuthones are an experimental, psychedelic post-punk band from Padova, Italy who create music in the most unembellished but avant-garde and invigorating fashion. Joined by Preston’s Evil Blizzard they will be sure to conceive a pulsating and g… Read more
**Maudlin man, Amen Dunes presents the companion piece to 2014's critically acclaimed 'Love' LP. Includes a cover of Tim Buckley's 'Song to the Siren'* "Amen Dunes’ Love took close to a year and a half, 16 musicians, and five different studios to complete. It was a song cycle that required broad experimentation before it was clear what was essential underneath the surface. In that process, much of the sound that might have made it onto the album was lost. There was just too much to say for one record. Cowboy Worship is an attempt to give life to some of the music that didn’t make it pa… Read more
A marriage made in a sick techno dream: Dave Foster aka Huren/Teste meets Orphx's Rich Oddie as Ontario Hospital (O/H). 'Future Ready' is one of the strongest Opal Tapes session in ages, pitting Foster and Oddie's hard bitten dancefloor credentials in a British Murder Boys-style mastication of EBM techno gristle and industrial electronics. The rabid title track comes off like CH-BB meets Skinny Puppy in dub, and 'Consumer Report' leans on a gothic industrial halfstep lacerated with yelps of "fxxking sh*tbag", or something to that effect. 'Perfect Skin' is even more miscreant, futur… Read more
As Gondwana, Lumisokea's Andrea Taeggi traverses expansive, imposing sound spheres for Opal Tapes. 'Aum' explores semi-organic, electro-acoustic sound on seismic, tectonic scales, crushing and sublimating ambient and industrial techno structures into spectral topographies and a sort of elemental psycho-geology permeated with crooked rhythm fissures and slow-moving, transitional tones morphing thru various stages of de-and-re-composition. The effect, at times, reminds of a more tempered take on Ben Frost's epic inclinations, a less academic relation to Kassel Jaeger's most recent GRM output, or a da… Read more
Sick, stringently minimal D&B for 2015. Skeptical killing it right here with the tightest drums and soundbwoy-burying subs, operating at totally-crucial levels with the Muhammad Ali-step and digitally distorted B-lines of 'Playground Chat Back' and the pendulous, droning dancefloor stare-down, 'Delusions Of Grandeur'. Check also for the neo-Shy FX tribalism of 'Imperial' and the spring-loaded tension of 'Instant Reflex'. BIG tip|!
Marcus Marr returns with another pair of surefire dancefloor tricks. His 'Brown Sauce' bogles on some UK-style blend of tweaky 303s and bristling drums warmed-up with supple synthlines and floaty pads in a see-sawing arrangement bound to bring the 'floor up with you. 'Peacemakers' is slower, helmed by funky Fender Jazz bass guitar licks and poppin' drums.
Ninos Du Brasil step up to DFA with a pair of virile, snaking batacuda techno riddims following on from their brilliant 'Novos Mistérios' LP for Hospital Productions. The duo, Nico Vascellari and Nicolo Fortuni have at once refined, loosened and expanded their sound here, tilting technoid pulses thru mazy time signatures to resemble the soundtrack for a Sepultura after-party set in "the bushes of Queimada Grande (Snake Island, Brazil.)" Named after a genus of stinky frog found in the Amazon, 'Aromobates NDB' is a viscous reduction of triplet-driven techno and phantasmic forest voi… Read more
"Between 1979 and 1982, The Universal Togetherness Band tracked unearthly portions of their sprawling songbook for bewildered students in Columbia College’s audio engineering program. Storming the gates of Chicago’s premier recording studios, the erudite party band explored permutations of soul, jazz-fusion, new wave, and disco with little regard for studio rates or the availability of magnetic tape. Universal Togetherness Band captures the brightest, never-before-heard moments from this visionary group’s 5-semester recording bender."
Bronze Teeth's Richard Smith aka L/F/D/M reveals a bittersweet side of radiophoniq techno and EBM for Not Waving's Ecstatic label. Weaving between snake-charming techno and surprisingly elegant, melodic motifs, it's all much freakier and freeform than his debut 12" for Optimo Trax. Cutting from sawn-off synth experiments to dusted Sleeparchive bleep styles on 'Insect Cylinders', and jiggy, atonal techno with 'Sun Shape'; he carves a course of salty waltz with 'Book of Five' on the flipside, leading to the banging EBM highlight of 'Black Shadows' with its sampled intro of some lass recalling… Read more
"In the wet heat of a Japanese summer, legendary musician Ryuichi Sakamoto was joined on stage by Taylor Deupree and the duo of Corey Fuller and Tomoyoshi Date, known as Illuha. The Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media hosted the event as part of their 10 year anniversary which also included a captivating installation by Sakamoto called Forest Symphony. The days surrounding the concert brought the artists together for food, talk and exploration. Informal but meaningful moods that prepared them for performing together. The performance, an improvised set for piano, … Read more
1995 Dance Mania bangers reissued for the digital era. 'The Big Band' sounds like electroswing with nads and it missable for precisely that point, but the cut-up horns and string stabs of 'Hydro' are on the money.
Steve Spacek at his best as Beat Spacek with a moody distillation of darkside soul vibes in 'Modern Streets', taken from his highly promising new album of the same name.
"Belle And Sebastian return with their ninth studio album, ‘Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance’. The album opens with ‘Nobody’s Empire’, which Stuart said “is absolutely the most personal [song] I’ve ever written.” About the beginnings of his lifelong struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which led to his first forays into songwriting, it is easily one of his most musically and emotionally epic songs. Produced and mixed at Maze Studios in Atlanta by Ben H. Allen III, best known for his work with Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective and Raury, among others, the band … Read more