Monday, 09 December
M. Ward is a Portland, Oregon based songwriter whose music seems to occupy a place that is uniquely “out of time”. A place that bridges the gaps between the roots of various American musical traditions—folk, country, blues and rock. Armed with a guitar, harmonica, sparse percussion and a tin-pan alley-esque piano, Ward spins timeless classics that seem to flow effortlessly. In composition and style his music has been compared to such luminaries as Tom Waits, Granddaddy, Sparklehorse and Howe Gelb (the Giant Sand front man has been one of Ward’s strongest champions, releasing the… Read more
**21-track compilation charting the rise of underground punk across the USA. Features tracks by Pere Ubu,The Zeros, X Blank X, Theoretical Girls, plus 35-page booklet with writing by Jon Savage, Geoff Travis, and Peter Saville among others** "Punk 45: Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself! The American Nation Destroys Its Young - Underground Punk in the United States 1973-80 is the first in Soul Jazz Records’ Punk 45 series of album releases coincidin… Read more
Thursday, 05 December
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'.
Tuesday, 03 December
The second of our 2013 round-ups intersects all manner of cosmic electronics, avant-pop and lustrous R&B. Rather than a definitive overview of this nebulous spectrum, we'd rather take this opportunity to highlight those pieces that might not end up on every end-of-year list, but rather quietly stood out as unique or affecting and stuck in the memory more than others. We've been smitten with Ensemble Economique's epic, defocussed soft rock number 'We Come Spinning Out Of Control' off his amazing 'Fever Logic' album, and can't help but return again and again to the breathtak… Read more
Monday, 02 December
Marcell Dettmann and Head High (Shed) take Modeselektor and Apparat's three-headed beast to the 'floor. In his raving Head High mode René Pawlowitz aka Shed retools 'Bad Kingdom' as a moody rave-pop anthem with a scuffed garage-techno chassis, making great use of the originals soaring chords and Sascha Ring's pleading vocal over gritty, swinging rhythm engine. Dettmann's remix is squared at peaktime use with a sort of industrial carnival techno momentum mauled with coruscating distortion for unrelenting effect.
Another tasty offering from 1080p, the label founded by the Rose Quartz and Altered Zones blogger Richard MacFarlane - a key player in the burgeoning hypnagogic pop and dance aesthetic of recent years. Mind Dynamics reflects this context, sluicing out a kaleidoscopic lo-fi flow for fans of the Skaters et al, but takes it further by applying a certain unique restlessness and energetic beats that range from caffeinated trills on the hi-hat to rivet-guns toted by angry robots. What you're hearing is the blissful, child-like warmth of hazy memories being eaten up and converted by … Read more
Outstanding darkside jungle rinse-out from Akkord's Liam Blackburn aka Indigo. The follow-up to his Apollo double pack and, of course, the Akkord LP, is arguably his finest solo mission to date. Three cuts exhibit a shocking display of junglist dexterity, from the taut halfsteppin' torque of 'Volta' to the wide-screen atmosphere and Amiga-mashed amen choppage of 'Spirit Of The Winds' with Versa, and the skittish, last-man-in-the-warehouse flex of 'Storm', whilst 'Condition' checks out on a weighty halfstep/slow-house tip.
*Extended Digital Edition* Mad techno / dubstep / jungle / electronica mutations from one of the current scene's brightest and most prolific. Killwatt's 'Bring Down The Walls' does just that, darting across a dancefloor no-mans-land into 4/4 techno, moody electronica and noisy bass experiments. It's a sound he's been hinting at on recent collaborations with Kryptic Minds and a remix of Paul Mac, but never explored quite so thoroughly as this. Up top he reels between sub-heavy slammer, 'Highway Hypnosis' to the industrial abstraction of 'Backed Into A F**ked Up Recess' via noise an… Read more
Atom ™, Kangding Ray and Ancient Methods revamp These Hidden Hands' album tracks for the 'floor. In Uwe Schmidt aka Atom ™'s hands, 'When Told' becomes a sprung, roiling techno weapon rent with dazzling spatial diffusions and streaking, Deathprod-like synthlines whilst saving that gloomy vocal for the most crucial moment. With 'Diesel' Kangding Ray flexes some brute, driving techno muscle, and Ancient Methods lock 'Isopod' down to a determined drone techno march...
Clipping the heels of their killah 'Genesis EP', Mumdance & Logos rinse off 2013 with two searing 'ardcore mutations for Tectonic. Recalibrating the genes of '93-style jungle with bootybass claps, pneumatic bass and razing mentasms, the darkcore dread of 'Legion' is tilted at the most delirious hours of the dance, whilst 'Proto' comes with a kaotic chemistry of Belgian techno hoovers, Detroit-style pads and timeless darkside swerve. Watch yer eyebrows!
Montgomery Clunk returns to Error Broadcast an altered, vowelless, cyborgian mutation as Clnk with the soundtrack-y 'Black Ecstasy'. Taking inspiration from more rugged, primitive forms of early techno rather than hyper-flash hip hop, the producer arrives at a bleaker, stripped down sound nodding to the post-punk era of West Berlin as much as early Detroit and UK AI techno. However he neatly sidesteps questions of nostalgic wallowing with a distinctly modern production palette, allowing everything to suspend in a strange, illusive hyperspace as though we're witnessing some flickering simulation in action.
"Vanessa (A Dreamer) is the second 12” from Brooklyn-based artist Divvorce on Fifth Wall, the imprint he founded last February with Hound Scales. Drawing influence from such pretentious sources as Franz Kafka, the early work of Darren Aronofsky, and a solitary walk through the streets of Paris during Fashion Week, the EP consists of two compact slices of techno(?) and two remixes. First is the meandering, dreamlike “Wander 7,” followed by the truculent but jubilant “Roquentin’s Release” and finishing with remixes by fellow Fifth Wall artists Physical Therapy and Unklone."
Synkro follows his Akkord aktions alongside Indigo with a return to his ambient/dubstep sound. Manos contributes breathy vocals to the lingering halfstep swoon of 'Lost Here' and the blissed out bass cuddle of 'In My Arms'; Synkro goes dolo with plush atmospheres and minimalist D&B rhythms on 'Nights Of Pleasure' and the taut, techy junglism of 'Fading Lights'.
**Goat play all their tracks from 'World Music', live at London's Camden Electric** "In August 2012 Swedish band Goat released their debut album, World Music.The record went on to become one of the most talked about albums of the year, topping many ‘Best of 2012’ lists and the following year, the band took the album on the road. Starting off a triumphant year of shows was Goat’s performance (or Ritual as the band likes to call them) at Roadburn Festival. A ‘packed to the rafters’ performance was the perfect warm up to their first proper tour, that saw them take on the USA. Footage, audi… Read more
Endearingly ruffcut UK soul bumpers from new, Peckham-based player, Reginald Omas Mamode IV. His debut EP, the follow-up to an inclusion on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Bubblers 10 compilation, is a product of his background steeped in his parents record collections of Northern Soul and Native Music and a love of rugged classics by Slum Village and the legendary Rawkus Records. On six tracks of hard-workin' drums, deft bass and nuff soul vibes he comes off like a quirky Prince variant, safely avoiding the cloying slickness of, say, Jamie Lidell, in favour of an effortless, original cool.
'Wunderland' is a dizzying example of 1983-84 digital synth exploration conducted by Ata Tak co-founder, Kurt Dahlke aka Pyrolator. As you may imagine froman album adorned in surrealist caricatures of mutant, hybrid animals frolicking and playing instruments, the music in 'Wunderland' is more than a touch eccentric. It was created by NDW pioneer Dahlke after moving to New York from Wuppertal in North Western Germany, looking for inspiration amidst the madness of a megatropolis fully adopting the plugged-in sounds of electro after early hip hop. But 'Wunderland' is light years away from elect… Read more
Sterling Sound Signature debut 12" from 22 year old Detroiter, Jay Daniel. Ruff, rugged, and driving, the 'Scorpio EP' yields four tracks steeped in classic 313 house styles, and blessed with an irrepressible vitality bound to work marvels on the 'floor. A-side 'No Love Lost' eases in with a tight blend of Omar-S like keys and bustling machine groove programmed with the itchy swing of Howard Thomas or Kyle Hall, and 'Brainz' knuckles down to a proper buck session a la Anthony Shakir, all noisy, tracky drums with nary a care for melody. B-side is a proper disco heater, 'I Have No Name… Read more
"‘Live from KCRW' is a live radio session recorded in Los Angeles in April 2013 & is the fourth official live album in the band's history. It features a stripped-down line-up performing classic Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds material alongside four songs from their recent global hit album ‘Push the Sky Away’. The tracks “Into My Arms” and “God Is In The House” are exclusive to the LP version*. ‘Live from KCRW’ album line-up: Nick Cave: Piano, vocals Warren Ellis: Tenor guitar, violin, piano, loops, backing vocals Martyn Casey: Bass Jim Sclavunos: Percussion, drums, back… Read more
Classy, timeless deep house done Berlin-style by Ji-Hun Kim and Julian Braun for the quietly consistent Just Another Beat label. 'Somewhere Else It's Going To Be Good' is a lovely debut album, mingling new versions of tracks from their two 12"s with a brace of brand new recordings tracing similar connections between brake pedalling deep house and electronica/ambient home listening. The pace rarely trouble the 120bpm barrier, tending more to the Balearic tempos with warm, padded machine grooves and dusty but lucid melodies recalling early AFX and Global Communications.
Andrea Parker's Touchin' Bass crew remerge for a proper electro showcase. The timing feels appropriate as everyone from the Swamp81 crew to James T Cotton are appropriating vintage electro tropes, perhaps in defiance of the term's bastardisation, or probably because they work so damn well on the 'floor. Either way, Andrea Parker's electro credentials are certifiable and she's picked a fine selection spanning veteran button-pushers and new skool electroids. For fans of that vintage '90s/early '00s sound there's plenty to check, from the Drexciyan darkness of Sonar Base's 'Last T… Read more