Tuesday, 16 September
This week's selection parses bold, recent electronic mutations twysting traces of grime, R&B/hip hop, trance and electro-pop into beguiling, avant shapes. Exemplified in the WTF-ness of SOPHIE's incredible, divisive 'Lemonade/Hard' single for Numbers, there's a wave of bright new producers who revel in the sheer sensation of HD electronic texture and supposedly "naive" production styles. Between the pirouetting, pointillist trance optimism of Lorenzo Senni's 'Elegant, and Never Tiring', to the pandrogynous discord of The Knife, thru Mykki Blanco' camp, trap beats … Read more
Monday, 15 September
Remastered (by Matt Colton) reissue of Juan Atkins' (and Marty Bonds') sought after ambient techno gem, originally released in 1992. 'The Passage' is a classic piece of Detroit breakbeat techno science flush with celestial synth arrangements and powerful electro/breakbeat techno torque buffed up for 2014 on the A-side. Flip it for the darker techno-pop drive of 'Mind Changes' and the midnight sci-fi mission, 'Vessels In Distress'.
Punch Drunk's 'Worth The Weight Vol.2: From The Edge' documents the 2nd wave of Bristolian bass mutations in the wake of dubstep's innovative eruption in the mid-late '00s. It does so thru the prism of Peverelist's ever-evolving yet rooted tastes, cannily reflective of - and influential upon - the contours of contemporary London and Berlin dancefloor trends. Yielding cuts from Kowton, Hodge, Tessela, Kahn, Andy Mac, Zhou, Bass Clef, Ekoplekz and Peverelist on CD for the first time, it covers a broad spectrum of styles within its niche, manifesting that Bristolian thi… Read more
Brilliantly unexpected pop/house from Paul White, heralding his hugely promising album for R&S. Bolstered with a neat Andrés remix, 'Where You Gonna Go?' features White dicing with a more populist dancefloor sound to captivating effect. On the original he yokes signature palette of bright, tropical drums to a swinging 4/4 kick/bass and Jamie Woon's wounded/haunted soul vocals with the sorta class that should make this it a Radio 1 anthem. Similarly, 'Peace It Together' tempers his craftier beat skills in favour of plush, exotic instrumentation rent in gorgeous, electro-dubbed widescreen. On the remix, Andrés rolls some of his butteriest, soulful Detroit house.
Anjou is the beautifully enigmatic reunion of Labradford's Mark Nelson (Pan American) and Robert Donne with fellow Kranky star, percussionist Steven Hess. The result of four years writing and editing, it marks Donne and Nelson's first collaboration since Labradford's 'fixed:content' (2000) and the first meeting of Pan American's Nelson and Hess since 'Cloud Room, Glass Room' (2013). Now older, wiser, quieter, the trio offer a subtly involving, hazily detailed ambient suite gleaned from an intricate process of modular synthesis, Max/MSP programming and live instrumentation. Essentially it takes the t… Read more
Keysound's most rooted unit return with a lean suite of broken beat and Afro-centric mutations on 'Islands'. Tied together with Josh Idehen's observant, poetic narration, 'Islands' follows the much-loved 'Routes' (2011) LP with a bright, spacious haul, flexing from wicked breakbeat and bass agitations to eerier ambient interludes. It feels constantly in flux between an omnipresent urban dread and moments of elation, tracing the underground/overground, hyper-capitalist/realist topologies and analogues of London town itself, from the deft bounce of 'New Pen' to lonely, solemn close of 'Is… Read more
Humid, post-D&B ecosystems from Fis, backed with killer Kassem Mosse and Oren Ambarchi remixes. The first release on Loopy, a new label administered Sam Strang, 'Speech Spirits' follows on from the 'Iterations' 12" with two cuts of unquantised riddmic roil, staggering from the bomber-streaked drunken-master styles of the title track to the plangent percussions and duppied atmospheres of 'Knecht' - not a million miles from his early ace, 'Love, Drama, Stress', only without the vocal. Remixing, Kassem Mosse returns to the spiky (machine?) drum palette of … Read more
One of Bristol's most interesting artists returns with an ace, oddly organic 2nd album for Tri Angle. 'Punish Honey' cements Vessel's unique position in modern electronica, not least as the first artist bestowed the honour of a 2nd full length on Tri Angle, but also due to his kink for a queered, oxidised alloy of organic and electronic tone, texture and timbre. In it, he uses electro-acoustic/concrète techniques and process to embody a unique voice and character, rather than towards any academic purposes. Employing sheet metal as percussion and sawn-off bicycles as flutes, he arrives at a r… Read more
**Ships Friday** **2LP. Printed inners. Embossed PVC jacket contain art insert** One of Techno's slipperiest operators presents his debut album statement in the subtle but lush structures of 'Suzi Ecto' for Fabric/Rob Booth's Houndstooth. Over the last four years the London-based musician has garnered the respect of everyone from PAN's Bill Kouligas to Ben UFO and Objekt, exemplifying his artistic versatility and aptitude for transcending cerebral and club dimensions. With 'Suzi Ecto' he opens a lucidly gorgeous space between the 'floor and our imagination, sweeping us thru eleven concisely… Read more
As promised, The Bug presents a heady sniff of his additional EP of material not used in 'Angels & Devils'. Following her appearance on album highlight 'Void', Liz Harris aka Grouper lends another ghostly vocal presence to the sublimated chamber dub silhouette of 'Black Wasp', working almost closer than ever as the spiritual twin to her namesake, Liz Fraser in the process. Strong stuff this.
Fist taste of Dean Blunt's keenly awaited 'Black Metal' album, his first for Rough Trade, following the critical success of 'The Redeemer'. Shoegazing ambient guitars and dry drum machine loop and lope underneath a male/female call & response dialogue in which Dean laments the loss of a girlfriend who won't take him back. Of course, being Blunt it's all mixed uncomfortably askew and ambiguously ethereal to keep you guessing for days.
20 years since completion of their foundational 12" series, Basic Channel present a full 14 minute version of 'Q-Loop' backed with first ever vinyl cuts of 'Q 1.2' and 'Mutism' - previously found on the 'BCD' (1995) and Scion's 'Arrange And Process Basic Channel Tracks' releases. Need we say any more?
**Gorgeous solo piano works and subtle ambient scapes by a master of his art. Warmly recommended** "Jane 1-11 is at least among Harold's very best work and may be his all-time best. Start to finish, this is Harold at his most inspired and most tapped in to his unique gift. There is no other Harold Budd record on which he so strongly expresses his singular avant sensibility. --Mr. Darla. "It's simple. I broke out and broke back to my earlier days: A triangle of risk, improvisation and joy -- as I say, very simple. My rules to myself were: No plan, no notes, no ideas, no microphones; excep… Read more
As Howling, Ry X + Âme's Frank Weidemann indulge in a tech-house cover of the Nirvana standard. Pure tourist fodder.
Matthew Herbert turns out four lop-sided house grooves on 'Part Seven'. The EP ranges from percolating, wooden drums and breezy vocals of Hejira's Rahel in 'Bumps' to the hydraulic house swing of 'Suckers' on the A-side, to a tuff but quirky techno chug reminding of Wolfgang Voigt in 'Pretty Daddy', and daft, loopy funk on 'Get Strong'.
Brooding big room tech-house/techno tackle from Berlin's Recondite. In 'Caldera' he applies massive reverbs to spooky chords and welting kicks with signature delicacy; 'DRGN 2' is darker, driven, with a room-razing synth drop in the third part.
Gritty but well mannered electronica from the Erased Tapes stable. Rival Consoles in control over six tracks of fuzzily motorik groove with uplifting arrangements ranging from the kosmische flutters of 'Sonne' to the ruddy slug of '3 Chords', thru the noisier, sun-dazed elation of 'Helios', spindly spectral trance notes in 'Haunt', and lovely, chiming electronica on 'Think Tank', or at best in the free-moving geometries of 'Recovery'.
Raw, hard-wired house deviations from Pxshdog on London's Trax Couture boutique. After a couple of killer 12"s from Rushmore consolidating Footwork, Ballroom and Chi House, they go shades tougher here with Pxshdog's debut striking a throbbing vein of tracky goodness. Uptown he balls between cowbell-stung Bassline garage-meets techno on 'Juicy Chocolate', blocky buck in 'Akira's Drift', and fierce filter house on 'Nubian 124'. Downtown they play nice 'n nasty with the darkside Dance Mania of 'Dancin N Shit' and the electroid slammer 'Tittytron'. Well aye we're dancing.
**Idiosyncratic boogie-techno-dub** "Diskotopia co-owner BD1982 eases the transition from the sweltering summer heat of the Greeen Linez Izu King Street album to a brisk and concise single in the form of Operratorr. The three tracks represented here were built with an immediacy reminiscent of BD1982’s Throw Shade released earlier this year on the split DSK020 EP with A Taut Line. Taking initial cues from a classic smooth slice of R&B, Operratorr whirs into gear sounding like a lost cut from The New Dance Show in an alternate universe. A taut synth lead cuts through intrepid percussion and dubw… Read more
Rugged deep house mysteries from the analog supremos MarcoAntonio Spaventi and Gijs Poortman aka Crystal Maze. Driving thru heavy tape fog at 117bpm, 'Twilight People' is a classy piece of crepuscular house for the connoisseurs; 'Off The Grid' steps up with more kinetic, urgent drum programming shrouded in gloomy ether voices; 'Encounter' closes this chapter with a dazed, noirish stagger into sleaziest slow-house zones.
Superb archival transmission from unknown sources on Mordant Music. The label's latest cassette neatly slot into the folds of time between early AFX, Portion Control and Urban Tribe, shaking a leg and melding minds between cuts that remind of Polygon Window's remix of Soft Ballet's 'Sand Lowe' thru to the lush electronic romance of The Connection Machine. It's yet another treat from one of the most staedfast, restless British labels around. The Baron speaks: "Pyramids of Space…an excavated MMusty broadside from Cornwall circa 92-96 replete with misty provenance…a nebulous col… Read more
Industrialized D&B from Finland's Lightless boss, Fanu. Frontside fires up the spot-welded metallic drums and haunted atmospheres of 'Paracosm' for the heavy steppers; flipside leans in with pendulous subs and skittish tribal drums accentuated with wailing vocal for mystic effect.
‘Ices’ is a celebration of flight, levity and the conviction that you can leave Earth. You take wing in an aeroplane, you go to real places when you dream, you have out-of- body experiences, you get high, you lose yourself in someone else. In Lia’s own words: “This recording session became a two year music and spiritual retreat with my psychic twin brother, Eliot. A private journey during which we abandoned old habits and familiar sounds. We got really geeky and experimented in our studio. We obsessed over sympathetic magic, ‘Ancient Aliens’, and the NBA. We allowed everything we loved to find i… Read more
"The so called "Krautrock Guerilla" is back! After touring the world for two years the Berlin threesome CAMERA recorded twelve new songs: Motorik-driven, energetic stretches laced with psychedelic overtones rise up from keyboards, drums and guitars. Hypnotic beats. Shimmering elegance, forceful bursts of garage rock, a gentle flow, spherical flight. All on CAMERA's new album "Remember I Was Carbon Dioxide"."
**Debut LP of brooding neo-classical/noise composition built from deconstructed instrumentation fed thru computer software and analog hardware by Sophia Loizou. Mixed & mastered by Paul Jebanasam. Edition of 100 designed by Alex Digard. RIYL Roly Porter, Ben Frost, The Haxan Cloak**"Astro:Dynamics return with Sophia Loizou's debut album, and indeed debut release, in the form of Chrysalis. It is an exploration of conflict and balance. Using a unique set of sonic transformations, synthetic materials and archival recordings of life both natural and mechanised, the work depicts forms across … Read more
Tracky house and sensuous, technoid boogie from Todd Osborn. Returning to Running Back after 'T-Rhythm Trax Volume 1', Ann Arbor's finest nods to Running Back's 'hood with the driving EBM momentum of 'Put Your Weight On It (Frankfurt Mix)', and a kinkier Chicago Mix that was recently picked by Erol Alkan for inclusion on his Fabric 77 mix. On a slower flex, 'Medium' brings some slickly hypnotic boogie swerve, and 'Market' makes nice with stellar Detroit house vibes.
*Expanded Digital Edition* The Berlin-based Italian disco/house expert weighs in a lustrous, lucid dream of a 2nd album for Live at Robert Johnson. 'With One Another' is clearly all about the joys of a shared dancefloor experience, ripe with lushly tiered, trancing synthliens owing as much to the heritage of his homeland as the mittel European legacy of the Robert Johnson and Frankfurt, or Berlin's flouncing dancefloors. This vinyl version flaunts eight sparkling gems ranging from the sneaky kosmiche lift of 'A Dream I Get Stuck In' and the kinky c… Read more
**Includes a digital exclusive remix by Jack Dixon** Low Concept in control for the 3rd single from London/NYC's White Asega label, backed with a ruddy good Alex Coulton re-step. The originals carve between sodden, gritty techno a la Happa or Blawan in 'Bugz' to low-riding, blown out electro with New York swagger on 'The Prick'. Alex Coulton's remix blows both of 'em out the water, resetting 'Bugz' to a Mala or Kode 9-esque dubstep lean swarmed with a menagerie of bleeps and dread gremlins and dubbled-up Footwork drums.
Bittersweet, knackered electronic soul woozers from Photay on his debut EP for Astro Nautico. To the side of the same pastures as Bibio or the Border Community lot, Photay operates in a colourful little world of its own with a six track suite of keening harmonics and crushed grooves owing to boogie hip hop and IDM, at best in the salty soul bump of 'Reconstruct' featuring celestial vocal by Seafloor, or in the grinning jazz-funk queso of 'These Fruits, These Vegetables', and the Afro-centric wobble and shuffle of 'Illusion Of Seclusion'.
*Featuring Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick, Gyda Valtysdottir and Shahzad Ismaily* "Currently based in Belgium, Dutch-born Chantal Acda (b. 1978) has worked under the Sleepingdog moniker since 2006, making three acclaimed albums that closed on the With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields (2010) album for which she collaborated with Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen). They toured the UK and Benelux with Low in 2011. After all this, it was time for her first real solo record. Playing in various formations had made her conscious of the pattern… Read more