Thursday, 16 May
*Includes two newly remastered Fela albums in one package*
*Probably the most sought-after of all the Fela albums, newly remastered and reissued*
Monday, 13 May
**Upfront Exclusive** Deft dancefloor excursions from Laurel Halo, instrumental all the way and taking inspiration from UK club gear, continental techno and digital dancehall. ‘Throw’ sounds like a Bok Bok production routed through Jammy’s studio circa ‘85, irie piano chords peeling off a grimy snare attack, all extraneous crenellations sanded off for maximum club impact. ‘Uhffo’ is on a kind of introspective, quasi-tropical house tip, daubed with glassbowl percussion and deep blue comedown synths; this wouldn’t have sounded out of a place on an Irdial B-side back in the day… Read more
Outstanding debut album from Kevain Wayne Space, aka Footwork's founding father, RP Boo. Originally known as Record Player Boo, RP cut his dancefloor teeth as member of Chicago's House-O-Matics dance crew in the '90s, where, under the tutelage of Ghetto House pioneers DJ Slugo and DJ Deeon, he hatched an accelerated form of Dance Mania's already frenetic styles in order to fuel the city's increasingly demanding competitive dance scene. Armed with a display copy of a Roland-70 drum machine loaded up with beats by the store's previous customers - unnamed producers from Chicago - he coined a hyperacti… Read more
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
Compilation of contemporary cloudiness from newborn London label Cleaning Tapes, originally intended as a VHS release but reconfigured for cassette (Ryan Lumley’s film component can be found online) and now download formats. The sounds are murky, degraded and dreamlike, representing a new generation of bass-heavy, internet-fatigued Isolationism for whom BoC are effectively God. Wanda Group impress with the clotted, chugging, Actress-ish ambience of ‘OVERR AREA’ (yet another contemporary track anticipated by Reinhard Voigt’s underrated Sturm project years ago), and hapti… Read more
*30 minute EP follow-up to Miles' recent 'Faint Hearted' album for Modern Love, mastered by Matt Colton* An addendum of sorts to his recent 'Faint Hearted' album, Miles' returns with a half-hour EP more squarely aimed at the floor with four darkened, robust variants. 'Blatant Statement' is up first, slowly emerging from a rough alignment of metallic percussion and abrasive stabs not a million miles removed from the kind of racket you'd most likely associate with Vatican Shadow, before the almost-clipped rub of those super-warm bass stabs shifts the perspective to a different kind of environment … Read more
The first taster of Stella Om Source’s upcoming LP for RVNG Intl., Joy One Mile, ‘Elite Excel’ comes backed with a fantastically brooding remix from Kassem Mosse. Christine Gualdi’s vision of electronic music has expanded since we last checked in; tantric analogue drone sequences have given way to more rugged future-city constructions inspired by her investigation of the roots of New York electro and Detroit techno. ‘Elite Excel’ begins in a nocturnal cruise mode reminiscent of early Carl Craig, before Gualdi unleashes an ebullient barrage of retro synth arpeggios and c… Read more
Ghost Box co-convenor Julian House is back to haunt your waking dreams with a new album of imagined library cues, test-tones, telly themes and yellowed sound-postcards from a 70s childhood you may or may not have endured. This is his first solo album as The Focus Group since 2007's We Are All Pan's People, though of course in 2009 there was the magickal, expansive Broadcast collaboration Investigate Witch Cults of The Radio Age. In the best possible sense, it's a return to business as usual: a deviant collector's collage of ersatz soft-psych, pastoral jazz, public informatio… Read more
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
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