Thursday, 23 June 2011
Kevin Martin (a.k.a The Bug) cherry-picks the first of two volumes comprising cutting-edge electronic riddims from the likes of Diplo, Harmonic 313, and the Bug himself, plus radical Digi-Dancehall innovations from a posse including Lenky, Steely and Clevie, Dave Kelly and many more. The hardcore pickers will no doubt know many of these tracks, but the blend of outside producers and straight-up Dancehall may not be familiar to all. On the authentically JA side, we've got some total heavyweights such as Steely & Clevie's 'Streetsweeper', Ward 21… Read more
**Centre labels on some copies may be mis-printed** Soul Jazz's Stuart Baker cherry picks the second volume of '...Mysteron Killer Sounds', culling a clutch of Digital wickedness from King Tubby, Firehouse Crew, Jammys, South Rakkas Crew, Fat Eyes and many more. In contrast with Kevin Martin's selection on volume 1, certified expert Stuart draws for the weirder, wilder and more shocking end of the post '85 Jamacian Dancehall spectrum with some genuine nuggets to be found. King Tubby's 'Fat Thing' is one of the earliest computerised riddims on … Read more
We were well impressed with Pursuit Grooves' 2010 EP Foxtrot Mannerisms, which at the time seemed like an unlikely offering to come from Bristol's dubstep stronghold Tectonic. For her debut album proper (following two self-released CDRs), Frantically Hopeful, the New Yorker seems to have absorbed more obviously UK influences into her grounded future-soul sound, but overall the vibe is firmly in keeping with that of her hometown's musical melting pot. 'Revolutionaries' is the kind of scuffed steppers' house you might expect to come from Pangaea, elevated by Grooves' oak-smoked croon,… Read more
Ever since he wheeled out his synthed-out, weed-sick styles on that Hyperdub EP back in 2008, we've been waiting for a proper full-length from Samiyam, and now it's finally here, on the Brainfeeder label operated by his old mucker Flying Lotus. There are a lot of cats in California repping this broken, zoned-out but reassuringly bottom-heavy hip-hop aesthetic right now - Matthewdavid, The Gaslamp Killer, and Gonjasufi, to name but a few - but for us Samiyam offers one of the most convincing and distinctive takes on the sound there is, all the while retaining a charmingly sketchy, skunk-infu… Read more
Ever since he wheeled out his synthed-out, weed-sick styles on that Hyperdub EP back in 2008, we've been waiting for a proper full-length from Samiyam, and now it's finally here, on the Brainfeeder label operated by his old mucker Flying Lotus. There are a lot of cats in California repping this broken, zoned-out but reassuringly bottom-heavy hip-hop aesthetic right now - Matthewdavid, The Gaslamp Killer, and Gonjasufi, to name but a few - but for us Samiyam offers one of the most convincing and distinctive takes on the sound there is, all the while retaining a charmingly sketchy, skunk-infuse… Read more
Completely brilliant, brain-boxing suite of piano minimalism from Seth Horvitz, inspired by the works of James Tenney, Ligeti, Charlemagne Palestine and Conlon Nancarrow. The aim of Eight Studies was apparently to use simple computer-aided compositional pieces to "test the limits of human perception and machine precision"; it was performed by a Yamaha Disklavier C7 without the presence of a single human being, and recorded live; indeed, it's a work that questions the very nature of "live". It's pointless to go into too much depth about the techniques deployed - the curio… Read more
Heavyweight, nicely sequenced and mixed collection of live versions from the don, Robert Hood, centered around tracks from last year's 'Omega' LP. 'Omega' was inspired by Richard Matheson's end-of-the-world novel (and subsequent movie adaptation) The Omega Man, and for 'Omega Alive' Hood has decided to give an extra "post apocalyptic" burnish to his productions - as if his steely, aerobic minimal techno sound wasn't dystopian enough already. As ever, what separates Hood from his legion imitators is his supernatural grasp of funk, and his ability to wring that funk out of even the most brutally … Read more
The debut album from SBTRKT on Young Turks is here, and it's a strong set, managing to infuse the sounds of London's dance underground with a poppier essence. It's a vocal-heavy affair, with mic duties largely handled by formidable night bus crooner Sampha, while the rhythms are rooted in swinging, post-dubstep house, albeit with nods to various staging-posts in British soundystem culture - the masked producer's affection for both ragga-jungle and El-B style dark garage comes to the fore in the romping sub-bass of 'Right Thing To Do', while the excellent, almost gospel-flavoured 'Sanctuary' teams shuffli… Read more
"'There Is No God' / 'God Is Love' is the new single from Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and features the musical talents of Emmett Kelly, Ben Hall, Pete Cummings, Peter Townsend, Billy Contreras, Cassie Berman and Rachel Korine."
'Sagara' was borne as a carte blanche commission by the Norwegian festival Øya for Diskjokke in 2009. Effectively he had a return ticket anywhere in the world to work with some musicians and settled upon Bandung, Java, to record and make music with the Sambasunda Gamelan group (good choice, fella!). After two weeks recording everything from their traditional instruments to city noise and "pulsating hot mountain springs" he returned to Oslo and created this sumptuous album. These six tracks (perhaps unknowingly) nod the the expansive nature of classic Global Communications, Brian Eno and Tangerine Drea… Read more
Not Cluster, or Kluster, but Qluster, a project which sees Hans-Joachim Roedelius collaborating with Onnen Bock rather than his usual partner Dieter Moebius. Bock is a musician and sound installationist who has played in Zeitkratzer (the avant-garde ensemble known for their work with the likes of Carsten Nicolai, Keiji Haino and Terre Thaemlitz), and he's been exchanging musical ideas with Roedelius since 2007. Existing fans of Roedelius needn't worry: his gorgeous analogue keyboard improvisations are very much at the core of Fragen, but Bock really brings fresh character and emotions out of them by s… Read more
For 'Canta Lechuza', Roberto Carlos Lange (aka Boom & Birds, Epstein, and half of Savath & Savalas with Prefuse 73), took to a wood house with 400 acres of land in winter 2010, and turned out a remarkably lovely and idiosyncratic album. In the best sense, there's no comfortable category for this guy. His spirited music absorbs and a rich Hispanic language and culture, along with elements of ambient pop, electronica, HipHop and something clearly unquantified, magical and sensitive. He delivers ten songs, each featuring tenderly harmonised Spanish vocals diffused between kaleidoscopic avant-po… Read more
Taking time out from composing film scores with Irmin Schmidt in the south of France (news to us too!), Justus Köhncke and Jennifer Cardini present a seamless blend of tracks (and some of Justus' own edits) by Hot Chip, Human League, Rusty Egan, Bottin, Space, Hiem, Pocket, Baxendale, and more. The mood and groove are sophisticated, primed for laidback listens with a cocktail or two.
*Lurid yellow wax!* Kurt Dahlke (head of the legendary Ata Tak label, formerly of Der Plan and briefly DAF) revives his Pyrolator alias with two modernist Techno tracks after a considerable hiatus. 'Am Ufer' suggests he's been spending some time hanging out with the Kompakt set, delivering a matrix of crisp, rolling bass rhythms and fluttering synthlines organised on a Monome (as used by LFO, Fly Lo, Daedelus etc). 'Myrtle & Knickerbocker' is more impressive, dubbing minor key piano chords over aquatic bass roll and well-timed, hands-in-the-air breakdown. It's perhaps not what you might expect, but an neat update of his sound.
**25 tracks selected from the CD edition** "Watch The Closing Doors: A History of New York's Musical Melting Pot is a six volume, double CD series, by renowned journalist and author Kris Needs. This ambitious project is released throughout 2011 via Year Zero and it is aiming to capture the fast-vanishing magic of New York City while documenting major musical landmarks and developments, from post-war New York of the mid 1940s through to 2000s. The first volume focuses on the 1940s and 50s, setting the scene for a further five… Read more
Monday, 20 June 2011
Heavyweight, nicely sequenced and mixed collection of live versions from the don, Robert Hood, centered around tracks from last year's 'Omega' LP. 'Omega' was inspired by Richard Matheson's end-of-the-world novel (and subsequent movie adaptation) The Omega Man, and for 'Omega Alive' Hood has decided to give an extra "post apocalyptic" burnish to his productions - as if his steely, aerobic minimal techno sound wasn't dystopian enough already. As ever, what separates Hood from his legion imitators is his supernatural grasp of funk, and his ability to wring that funk out of even the most bru… Read more
Ultra-heavyweight burner from Floating Points - finally available on download formats. 'Sais Dub' was originally released for Record Store day but in our virtual world every day is record store day and we've got some bonus copies for the connected cats. Your boy is in outstanding form here, deploying the bass to dangerously low depths while the drums seem to skip and pop in their own artificial air pockets. It's like Theo Parrish gone 3DX2-step. Seriously stimulating.
Really strong, hugely hyped new album from John Maus - sounding something like a cross between Autre Ne Veut and Joy Division - with a bit of Joe Jackson and Visage thrown in for good measure. And if that all sounds a bit lazy - all we can say is that it's just one of those albums, it reminds you of something else almost constantly, yet leaves a smudged mark all its own on your psyche. One of the albums of the year - and a big recommendation to any of you with a penchant for anything with the word Wave in it, or if you're just into good, joyous, melancholy - all-round affective pop music.
More swinging future-tech heat from Cosmin TRG on Modeselektor's 50 Weapons imprint. 'Fizic' is a tranced-out, arpeggio-driven dancefloor arrowhead, flecked with acid and delivered with an ineffable bounce and elasticity that betrays Cosmin's background in dubstep and UKF derivation. 'De Dans' will cause mayhem on any self-respecting dancefloor - a sinewy, box-banging techno cut propelled along by scuffed claps and sky-scraping 808 drum builds the likes of which we haven't heard since the early days of Plastikman. Like recent heavy drops from Blawan and Boddika, this is effectively old-s… Read more
Fresh from dropping their justly acclaimed 93 Million Miles LP, Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek ram their righteous message home with an absolutely stylin' single, transforming footwork-inspired album track 'Out In The Streets' into a jump-up junglist anthem with unmistakeable juke accents. With its high-suction sub bass this explosive VIP reminds us instantly of Undercover Agent's classic rudeboy roller 'Oh gosh!', but the slinky keys and battery of ping-ponging FX bring things bang up to 2011; best of all, they've kept the anthemic vocal refrain of the original shiningly in… Read more
Ossie makes his long-awaited Hyperdub debut with three highly infectious House wrigglers for the connoisseurs. For the last year or so his 'Tarantula' anthem, released relatively recently on Lightworks, has been a staple among the London House set, from the Circle types through to Marcus Nasty and players like Kode 9. This 12" reconfigures the ever-evolving Hyperdub schematic to encompass a more sexy, sophisticated sound with 'Set The Tone'. But this ain't no blandbag House music, those drums are made for movers with something to show and the vibes are just masterfully controlled with a dex… Read more
**Superior industrial techno ruffage from Perc, backed with devastating remixes from Ancient Methods and Chris Carter!!!** It's been gratifying to see Perc getting some wider recognition of late, having long been a watchword for stylishly brutal techno among those in the know. Though his recent drops on CLR and Stroboscopic Artefacts have been well up to scratch, we can't help but feel the Londoner saves his best wares for his own Perc Trax imprint, and this new 12" does nothing to dispel that impression: 'My Head Is Slowly Exploding' is a total barns… Read more
Ever since she first pinged our radar last year, we've been following Laurel Halo with interest, but nothing could've prepared us for the clock-melting brilliance of this new EP for Hippos In Tanks. It's the kind of record that defies easy categorisation, but suffice to say Laurel has honed and expanded her sound into a kind of dizzying psychedelic techno that we just can't get enough of. 'Aquifer' sets the heady tone - beginning with Moomin tones that'd make both Scratcha and Conrad Schnitzler proud, it builds into a surging 4/4 stepper, decorated with cascading strings and opalescent … Read more
The consistently excellent Analog Africa turn out a reissue of the stunning debut LP by cosmic Ghanaian funk legend, Rob! 'Funky Rob Way' was originally issued in an edition of 500 copies on the legendary Essiebons imprint in 1977 and copies trade for silly money these days. But it's so easy to hear why. This gear is firing hot, combining the amazing talents of ambitious front man Rob, a trained pianist, with the army band, Mag-2, lead by the talented Amponsah Rockson. Together they hatched afiery, deeeeepl y funky sound blending a blazing horn section clearly nodding to the JBs, with spaced-ou… Read more
Expectations are sky high for Justin Veron’s sophomore album and, thankfully, he’s managed to deliver a follow-up that doesn’t ape the high points of its predecessor, yet manages to be just as great in its own way. If ‘For Emma…’ was indebted to The Red House Painters, this eponymous record owes just as much to Bruce Hornsby and early 80s Genesis. From the light electric piano flourishes of ‘Beth/Rest’ to the twinkling synthesizers and horns that drape most of the tracks, the album is Vernon’s answer to soft rock, and it's a canny move. Sure it might not be the coolest genre, especially since t… Read more
Vancouver-dweller Babe Rainbow is the latest in Warp's long and illustrious tradition of free associating beat-makers, and sure enough 'It's All Happening' – opening jam on this new EP - could easily be an old Wagon Christ or Prefuse track, all diced breakbeats and repurposed jazz flutes (the good kind); it’s only the preternaturally swampy sub-bass and pin-sharp sound design that remind us we're in 2011. Wicked stuff, but a misleadingly frothy and backwards-looking start to an EP that's peppered with surprises and unafraid of the dark side: 'The Spill' is a kind of eldritch house in… Read more
The indomitable Wiley has just dropped arguably his finest album to date. The gestalt '100% Publishing' is completely Wiley's: produced, vocalled and recorded by the godfather of Grime, and surely his most confidently varied set to date, too. Much of the lyrics and humour may only be decipherable to Londoners or Grime heads, but the fact that the production is pretty much solid and endearing throughout (unlike some other Wiley albums) means that they'll sink in over time due to the play-it-again factor. Like any great or unique art, its surreal nuances and introspective quirks will be reveal… Read more
The Millions Of Moments label cement their affections for post-Burial UK Bass music with the launch of MOM UK. The first release funnily enough comes from an Estonian producer, Bisweed, and Ukraine's Lostlojic, displaying the far flung influence of Will Bevan's moody 2-step soul. Their sound is deeply beholden to him, but executed with more than enough spectral space and attention to detail to warrant the comparison. Rush'd opens with a wide-open skied remix of 'Emptiness', underpinned by half-steping bass and scissoring hi-hats next to the tranced-out keys and chiming melodies of B… Read more
Sorry Bambu is the one-time leader of the legendary L'Orchestre Kanaga De Mopti, whose ace 'Kanaga De Mopti' was recently reissued on Kindred Spirits. 'Volume One 1970-1979' focuses on this period with the Orchestra, including a clutch of his previously unreleased and highly sought after recordings of vintage Malian music. Sorry's father was a noble, and a veteran of the Emperor Samoury Touré's army. In Mali's caste-based society, this meant that he was forbidden to play music, an art reserved for griots. However, after being orphaned at a very young age, he turned to music for s… Read more
**64 minutes of advanced electro-acoustic vibrations, new on Taylor Deupree's esteemed 12k imprint!** New Yorker Kenneth Kirscher's brand of minimalism is breathtakingly focussed and attuned to detail, but its ramifications are huge; we can think of few modern composer/producers whose delicate interventions seem to mess so absolutely with the fundamental physics of sound. This latest collection recording, released on his old sparring partner Taylor Deupree's 12k, provides almost four hours of music across three discs for you to immerse yourself in, beginning with the clustered bells … Read more