Monday, 13 May
Prime Numbers 17 welcomes three like-minded new artists to the label. Ahead of an imminent solo 12", incognito producer, Adesse, follows up his blink-and-miss edits white label with the lush grooving deep tech house of 'Baayi' on the front; Truss gives up the acid techno thunk of 'Redbrook' beside Massimo Di Lena's gritty, funked-up acid workout 'You Better Hear'.
James Blake’s uncommissioned Harmonimix of ‘Changes’ finally gets an official release courtesy of Mala’s own Deep Medi, three years after it first started getting heard and turning heads at dances. It remains one of Blake’s most effective and affecting productions, sticking close to the trudging halfstep lean of the source material but placing most emphasis on the bombastic brass, strings and vocal samples that figure only as scene-setters in the original. What starts out as minimal, discombobulated dancehall, nudged along by eski drum clicks, swells to a rousing, quasi-sympho… Read more
Review to follow shortly…
**Crooked avant-funk-rock and electronics with weirdly possessed vocals** "Listening to Denseland evokes shades of bygone music's and not: Lou Reed's Berlin period, Joy Division, Einstürzende Neubauten, the extended vocal madness of Roy Hart and Laurie Anderson, the distortions of the early Contortions, reduced Grandmaster Flash and John Carpenter. But Denseland's sound also exists in its own sealed universe - one spanned by sinister timbres of seduction, grooves of foreboding imbued with a sardonic, almost wicked humor. The tracks lure the listener in through an incessant, underlying, … Read more
Berlin's brilliant M=minimal label give credence to the largely unsung German "Grandmaster" composer, Ernstalbrecht Stiebler, with a collection of his works spanning 45 years. After studies in the late '50s at Musikhochschule Hamburg, Stiebler had more important lessons at Darmstadt between 1958 and 1961, including studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen which no doubt influenced his first reductionist work 'Extension 1', manifesting a clear departure from the Serialist trends of that era and towards a purer tonal minimalism. Two recent pieces included here, 'Ton in Ton' (2011), a 22… Read more
Canada's electro-wave comes correct yet again with Kontravoid's canny debut single for Minimal Wave's Cititrax subsidiary. Both cuts are impeccably authentic analogue constructs, giving up the kinda of juicy bassline and jagged arpeggios you'd expect from a 30 year old Ohama track, gelled with deadpan, distant vocals on 'Native State', and with darker, emotional impact in the Trust-like gothic vocal inflections and industrial thrust of 'Cleanse'.
Manchester-based, Eastern Bloc-affiliated Re:alignment Records makes maiden voyage with the D&B debut of Pattern (featuring Bane) backed with AnD's techno remix. The original 'Draft' is a lean, moody roller with shimmering liquid inflections and taut, mercurial drum edits; AnD's remix takes inspiration from recent Regis actions for a pressurised reduction of bass hydraulics and hovering drones.
**Quietly gorgeous and ghostly drone-pop from Istanbul's finest. RIYL Grouper, Jessica Bailiff, vintage Shoegaze** "Operating out of Istanbul, Ekin Fil is the solo project of Turkish musician Ekin Üzeltüzenci. Her music first came to the ears of many by way of “Language,” a 2011 cassette release on the Root Strata label. “Language” presented listeners with a fractured, hazy soundworld in which half-remembered melodies and wraith-like vocals cohered into dark and hypnotic masses. On this self-titled album, Ekin opens the curtains a bit, letting in some light and offering up an even more refined … Read more
Joe Goddard, AlunaGeorge and Falty DL buff up Dirty Projectors for the dancefloor. Hot Chip's Joe Goddard gives a proper posh dancepop backing to the original vocal, at times hinting at some kinda Rowland/Guetta big room moment; AlunaGeorge cosset the same vocal in bubbling hip hop beats and clinically quirky pitching; Falty DL has more psychedelic, lush romantic intentions, reorganising blooming harmonies and swirling synthlines to a bristling broken beat rhythm.
Brooding synth-gaze beauty introducing a London-based trio picked up by the night owls at Desire Records. Clearly informed by the dark pop mastery of HTRK, Depeche Mode and Cocteau Twins, 'Youth & Immortality' impressively absorbs and reshapes its influences to stand on its own in a crowded field thanks to the distinctive dual female vocals of Nathalie Bruno and Hélène de Thoury. Their elusively detached production mixes a certain, bleak Gallic elan with classic British wave melancholy to tourniquet-tight degrees. Get the brown in and shut the blinds, this is one to sink with.
"Isolated in an upstate, NY bedroom studio exists TSTI, a solo project by artist S. Smith described as ‘dark, hazy synthetic pop.’ Constructing musical landscapes that combine pounding drum machines with elevated melodies, TSTI stirs the echoes of his 80’s influences into a pot of contradicting emotions to establish a diverse yet familiar and powerful sound. The genesis of TSTI began in a 2003 but did not show its face until the summer 2011 with the self-released, 4 song demo “Black Envelope EP.” The first 10 months of 2012 TSTI spent writing, recording and mixing his full-length release “evalua… Read more
Detroit's Submerge institution rounds up eleven of the Motor City's most sophisticated Tech, Jazz and Fusion joints. That means classic such as UR's Galaxy 2 Galaxy anthem 'Jupiter Jazz' and the gorgeous beat-less excursion, 'Big Stone Lake', plus a handful of Mr. De' baby-making electro-funk aces such as 'Mr. De's Theme', the super-smooth vibes of 'The Wizard', and sublime inner city jazz moods by John Douglas Quartet.
Gloomily bewitching pop landing somewhere between Grimes, Salem and Zola Jesus. Four tracks hewn from assorted synths, delay pedals and vocals oscillating from ghostly glossolalia to mutant ghoul, leaning in with the screwed trap atmospheres and pop swoon of 'Negative Gemini' and most impressive in the suggestive gothic elan of 'Slit Show' or the earworming vocal comtrails and seductive avant R&B of 'Ghost World'.
Murkily opiated ambient dub from recording engineer/producer John Morand and his wife, artist Tara Morand. Using a DJX, druym machine, and turntable, the duo shape an etheric world strafed with poltergeist-like sonics and spooky, outnernational memes. Features live edit input from Stephen Vitiello, Molly Berg, Jonathan Lee, Bobby Donne, and Miguel Urbiztondo.
With remixes from Marcellus Pittman and Orphx.
Hardway Bros get down to a slow, thumping Belgian house sound for New York's Throne Of Blood label. We can't be certain, but we'll wager that the acid-laced chug and title of 'A/B Musique' is a reference to the legendary Ancienne Belgique, perhaps with a zesty Balearic twist, while the indust-realised 'Shorty' kinda emphatically backs up the '88 in Antwerp vibes. Remixing, Scot Fraser mellows and trips out the latter with hypnotic results.
Echo Park flip back to old skool hip hop principles on 'Muchos Animales'. The follow up to their appearance on Skream's Disfigured Dubz splits production duties between the group's own Brian Gibbs and two Chilean beat-breakers, Nais Williams and Jo$e Spaace, while east coast lyricists Light and Cor Stidak handle the mic alongside Mr. McFly. One for the Fly Lo, Madlib or Strong Arm Steady heads.
The master of entrancing tech-house seems to be leaving it longer between singles these days, but they're always worth the wait. His 'Automaton' showcases a kinkier, discoid style rippling with latinized percussion and tucked-up with his signature bass fills, earworming hooks and razor sharp edits. However, 'In The Stars' in archetypal MJ, all sweetly fluttering arpeggios and seductive late night groove ready for clubs from Ibiza to Berlin and LA.
**Acutely melodic electronica crafted with a sharp pop mind. RIYL MoM, Ceephax Acid Crew, MR76ix** "For Adventure's 2011 album, Lesser Known, mastermind Benny Boeldt dived deep into pop songcraft. Unlike Adventure's self-titled debut, this record was full of earworm vocal hooks - a big leap from the chiptune-indebted songs of his first album. Boeldt's third Adventure LP, Weird Work, remains in the same sonic space as Lesser Known but abandons its sing-alongs. The album veers from a Square Enix-style video game soundtrack ("Alone") to a strange lecture leaking from a high school's ceiling PA … Read more
Chemical Brother, Tom Rowlands unleashes two solo cuts via Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound. Actually, let's back up a second: this is his first single using his own name and therefore kind of a big deal for "clubland", eh? His 'Through Me' jacks up a party sound borrowing from classic Chicago, French electro and his own, hardly-rivalled studio nous; 'Nothing but Pleasure' nails a more seething sort of electro-house peaker guaranteed to have 'em pulling down the light fitting in your student house or spilling poppers all over box fresh blazers up in the club.
Uncompromising, EBM-infected techno from Canada's revered Orphx duo. Their 'Outcast' makes subtle virtue of pensively building arrangement reaching a lip-biting climax of distortion and sour synth discord shackled to bone-breaking kicks. 'vanishing Point' is stripped-down, optimised industrial techno with elemental dynamics, and 'Periphery' steps off into abyssal bass oscillations and low-slung industrial swing.
Oliverwho Factory deal in the rawest, most effective Detroit house on their 8th Madd Chaise issue. It's worth the entry alone for a remastered mix of their uplifting vocal banger 'Rain 5th Wave' (2003), and you'll also find more moody, spacewise gear in a revised 'Touch Me' (2003), and a sleek but noisy new throbber, '2Morrow'.
Lean, atmospheric tech-steppers from the master of his sound. 'Polemic' twysts out a moody 303 sequence with low-riding subs and pointillist hi-hats to guide your flex. 'Oracle' tilts forward with almost Mala-styled halfstep drum programming and sparingly used dub chords at fine slow/fast 'step.
Brighton's Let The Machines Do The Work quartet get busy on a pair of sleek and ornate UK house striders following up 12"s from Blacksmif for Blah Blah Blah. A-side 'One Love' is geared up for maximum swing come friday night, unloading populist measures of "soulful" vocal stab, old-skool rave vibes and thudding tech-house percussion. B-side 'Brighter Day' plays deeper with elastic electro jackin' bass, warm chords and crisp rhythms for the shuffling posse.
'Hollowed' is the carefully carved debut mini-album of Hip Hop and Bass fusions from Leeds-based beatsmith, Bambooman. For the past few years he's been cropping up with tracks and remixes issued by Project: Mooncircle and garnering acclaim from respected jocks, Gilles Peterson and Jon K. 'Hollowed' is a distinctive album statement, tweaking the contours of UK bass trends and wonkier American hip hop to his own futuristic funk blueprints and resulting seven precise, concise and curious beat constructions. Highlights have to be the brittle, concrète-textured fizz and pop of 'Stacks', the aerated… Read more
Total transformation of Animal Collective's 'New Town Burnout' from the former Digable Planet dude's Seattle-based, Sub Pop-signed Shabazz Palaces collective. iced out, Carpenter-esque atmospheres, shards of digital edit splicing and miasmic vocal spatializing in trippiest, syrup and skunk fried form.
**Francesco Tristano, Aymeric Westrich, Rami Khalifé indulge their proggier, glam and neo classical-tinted dance-rock tastes** "Original and unique album from an international trio of classically trained musicians. The band’s second full-length release, following their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in 2009. An audacious blend of contemporary classical, electro and improvised post rock…With two grand pianos joined by drums on stage, Aufgang’s live show switches on and sweeps away everything in its path. The recording of the album favoured live takes to post-production editing, c… Read more
Funked-up and camp disco NRG from Holy Ghost! in proper DFA style. Includes instrumental.
**Sweeping and rustically romantic neo-classical and drone flights seemingly dropped from the sky on the wonderful Students Of Decay label** "From the very first seconds of “Within/Without,” listeners familiar with the output of Aquarelle, the nom-de-plume of Madison, WI-based sound artist Ryan Potts, will find themselves in territory that is at once familiar and new. This opening salvo explodes into being with the surging, analog fuzz blooms and preternatural sense of rhythm that endeared many to “Sung in Broken Symmetry,” his prior Students of Decay full-length as well as his sterling c… Read more
"Aquarium Eyes is the second album by the Austrian duo, Ritornell. Their debut, Golden Solitude, was released in 2009 on Karaoke Kalk. Acoustic and electronic sounds merge on Aquarium Eyes. Paying great attention to detail, Ritornell recorded at various locations (the studio of Patrick Pulsinger being one of them). The results are gently woven into their very own world of sound. Defamiliarized by subtle electronic manipulation, instruments such as piano, double bass, vibraphone, kalimba, and accordion develop a surprising life of their own, only to be consequently swallowed up by the hiss… Read more