Monday, 13 May
Tectonic’s compilation series is always a reliable gauge of where dubstep’s at, and Volume Four suggests it’s in an open-minded place indeed. Most of the participating artists are familiar names: Guido is in fine form with ‘State of Joy’, his extrapolation from the ol' purple wow sound now approaching a kind of fine-tuned, psychedelic future-soul, while Beneath’s house creeper ‘Flight’ rattles the bones like an old Skull Disco track. Kryptic Minds’ ease off the snares on ‘Convoluted’ to produce one of the most serpentine, compelling tracks in their oeuvre, more darkling … Read more
Excellent hook-up between two generations of influential and explorative post-punks. The meeting was originally catalysed by an email from Factory Floor's Nik Colk Void espousing her appreciation for Gordon's 1982 classic 'Condo' as Love Life Orchestra (who variously counted Arthur Russell, Rhys Chatham and Laurie Anderson in their number at one time or another) which soon enough lead to demo swaps and these two aces for Optimo Music. The A-side, 'Beachcombing' is a beauty, some 14 minutes of plush, globular bass pulses and flighty sax lines feathered with Nik Void'… Read more
*Upfront Exclusive* Notts stalwart Kamal Joory aka Geiom tweaks out the electroid funky flex of '2-4-6' for Brighton's Well Rounded Records, backed with a ruggedly sprung Desto remix. Voiced by Terrible Shock, the original plays out a sort of lean, uptempo UK bashment bubble seared with strobing synthlines for the MDMA crew. The Desto remix cooly resets the riddim to a sparse 808 step 'n roll with bumping subbass and spacious sound design...
Pev linx with yung Bristolian, Hodge, for the first outing on his Punch Drunk label in over three years. Their 'Bells' manifest in two versions: the 'System Mix' is rolled up heavy for the rig with dense, plummeting subs, slicing percussions and minimalist synth trickles carving out cool and heavy headspace for those who dance near the bassbins; the 'Dream Sequence' eases off with a more spacious flex pushed by thick house kicks and lean subbass pressure to carry richer, plangent harmonics for those who like to dance in their heads.
Mr Beatnick's back in business with a third EP on Semtek's Don't Be Afraid label, his first since last year's ace Sun Goddess and arguably his best yet. The first half of the 12" comes over like Metro Area made over for London 2013: dubwise, richly melodic disco-boogie retro-futurism, and balm for tired ears. 'Savannah' in particular sounds breezy as anything, but - as with everything on this record - look under the hood and you'll find a surprisingly complex mechanism driving it. 'Symbiosis' is real class, wrought out of heartsore live string sounds, acutely funked-up synth lines and a c… Read more
Ramp Records herald Young Echo's incoming debut collective album, 'Nexus' with the gauzy Bristol pop futurism of 'Blood Sugar'. Far as we can tell, it's Jabu crooning like a yung Thom Yorke on this succinct midnight pop shot, oozing over the skeletal backdrop of fractured 2-step swing and wheezy synthetic accordion with a sort of ghostly, depleted but still glowing soul ectoplasm. Featuring input from each of the clan's individual members - El Kid, Vessel, Kahn, Zhou, Jabu - on the basis of this bittersweet nugget the album promises to be a big moment for the Bristol sound.
For the past couple of years, Copenhagen’s Posh Isolation label has become the focal point for a new wave of Northern European kids equally smitten with P.E./noise, hardcore, minimal synth and black drainpipes. Now label co-founder Loke Rahbek, who’s one half of the excellent Damien Dubrovnik and also plays in Lust For Youth, has teamed up with his old mucker and Iceage singer/guitarist Elias Bender Ronnenfeld as Var, delivering a debut album for Sacred Bones that is by some distance the most accessible and accomplished artifact to emerge from this scene yet. Recorded in … 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.
"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
*Bumper 23-track set with Deadbeat, Pole, Villalobos and Dabrye remixes, plus loads more* Dr. Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlman serve up their instrumentals to last year's Lee Scratch Perry-starring 'Orbserver In The House Of Dub'. Eleven tracks of heavy-troddin dub awash with the boffins signature studio trickery and backed with a wealth of remixes, highlights of which come from Villalobos and Max Loderbauer aka Villod, and Pole, both reshaping 'Soulman' in their own image.
**Includes Dabrye, Deadbeat and Mad Professor remixes** Dr. Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlman serve up their instrumentals to last year's Lee Scratch Perry-starring 'Orbserver In The House Of Dub'. Eleven tracks of heavy-troddin dub awash with the boffins signature studio trickery and backed with a wealth of remixes, highlights of which come from Villalobos and Max Loderbauer aka Villod, and Pole, both reshaping 'Soulman' in their own image, or Dabrye's organ-heated and super weighty take on 'Ball Of Fire'.
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'.
**Killer album of hypnotic mutant beats, EBM, proto-house psychedelia and basement pop. ** We bid a welcome return to Minimal Wave's cool-ass Cititrax sibling with Elon Katz and Beau Wanzer's Streetwalker debut. 'Future Fusion' was penned over the course of two years and laid down in the space of one sweaty weekend in Chicago's Minbal studio. Everything was played in live and by hand, bounced direct to 1 inch tape with no overdubs or MIDI, capturing the quicksilver handicraft of fingers on keys, knobs and faders in a way that digits and screens simply can't recreate. Stylistically the… Read more
Panorama Bar's resident Dutch DJ lays down a sensuous and emotional deep house selection for their fifth annual mix CD. Installed as a regular fixture at the notorious Berlin hotspot since 2007, Steffi has honed her DJ skills in tandem with an increasingly smart production portfolio including Ostgut label classic 'Yours' whilst lending her refined balance to The Analogue Cops' as member of the all-hardware Third Side unit, and still finding a moment to run the esteemed Klakson and Dolly imprints. All that, coupled with over ten years of party-organising experience, informs her pristi… Read more
Epic visions of cosmic North Americana from cellist Rebecca Foon, founder of Esmerine and former member of A Silver Mt Zion and Set Fire To Flames. Constellation bill her debut as Saltland as existing at the intersection of drone, no-wave, improv, dream-pop and minimalism, and point out that it was cut at her home-studio in Montreal, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is a washed-out, lo-fidelity set; it's quite the opposite, a bold, widescreen work, engineered by Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire), that feels like the work of a composer and musician at the heigh… Read more
Two giants of extreme computer music go head to head, and if you’re brave enough to put your skull in the firing line, there’s considerable pleasure to be gleaned from the pain. Never content to accept music technology at face value, both Haswell and his Japanese sparring partner have spent years developing their own generative tools, and finding ways to deconstruct, pervert and reinvent existing software, hardware and media. Haswell has explored the limits of DAT, Xenakis’s UPIC system and analogue synthesis, while Tone is probably best known for his Wounded CD … Read more
Third in Bleep's handsomely presented Green series pairs rugged space house from Redshape and darkly elegant warehouse techno from Steffi. On A-side, 'Focus', Redshape follows the astral vibes of his 'Square' album for Running Back with a squirming, knotty piece of acidic techno-house scattered with bleeps and revolving a lone, misty-eyed string refrain. B-side, Steffi presents her most technoid issue to date with the bucking bass and stern claps of 'Attacke' driving through cold, empty drone space.
Review to follow shortly…
Sophomore album of wracked, atmospheric, off-centre gloom-pop from Austin, TX trio Pure X. The origins of the album are pretty bleak: core member Nate Grace spent most of 2012 incapacitated by a serious leg injury, without the health insurance or cash needed for surgery, and further crippled by insomnia and anxiety; it was during this time that he percolated ideas for the record. Sounds like a hoot, right? But the result isn't a depressive or desolated work; rather it’s the sound of struggle, of striving to find hope amid hopelessness, beauty in ugliness. There’s a gravity, a profun… Read more
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.
Justifiably hyped debut album proper from New York scream-queen Margaret Chardier, RIYL Prurient, Wolf Eyes, TG, Swans, Gravetemple. At just 22 years old, Chardier is already a hugely respected presence on her native noise scene, bringing a confrontational yet deeply personal, diaristic intensity to her performances that’s as exhilarating as it is discomfiting. Abandon captures this volatile energy, but it’s not a live document, it’s a nuanced, atmospheric and ravishingly well-recorded showcase of Pharmakon’s infernal weaponry, traversing toxic power electronics, guttural doom chords, eldritch … Read more
Bruising tribal-industrial techno from Paula Temple on R&S, backed up with two remixes from Perc. This is Temple's first release under her own name in over a decade and, remarkably, the first ever R&S release by a female artist in its entire 30 year history; she pulls no punches with opener 'Colonized', which sits somewhere between the scrap-metal warehouse assault of Karenn or and J. Tijn and the hoovering Euro rave of early R&S. There’s a nice, cooing synth breakdown, but for the most part violence is the name of the game. Perc’s steals the show, however, with his … Read more
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.
UTTU buss out Ohm's killer 1992 UK house prototype, 'Tribal Tone', primed with new remixes by Capracara and Marquis Hawkes, plus Ohm's new outfit, Northern Souls. Most notably, the infectious Mo' Better Grooves mix is credited as the first tune to use that distinctive Korg M1 sound - the very same used on Robin S anthem, 'Show Me Love - whilst their Ruffneck Mix boosts the energy levels for the raving crew. Ohm's fellow Scots house player, Marquis Hawkes gives up a sub-soaked and kinkier reduction, and Capracara lends his dedicated dancefloor experience to a bassline-warping and raved up and horny speed Garage take.
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'.
Reel-skool Chicago/Detroit House from Marcus Mixx and Aaron "Fit" Siegel. Veteran jockey, producer and label head Mixx gives up his charmingly raw and skewed jacker 'Salute The Noize With A Laugh' on the A-side and Fit follows up that 'Tonite' anthem on FXHE with a minimal, hypnotic evolution called 'Kali' on the flip.
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'.
*10th Anniversary Edition now with bonus tracks featuring a full live performance from 2004*
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
With remixes from Marcellus Pittman and Orphx.