Monday, 13 May
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.
**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
Surely the closest Kranky are likely to get to a straight-up rock band, Chicago's Disappears could probably comfortably rub shoulders with the likes of Wooden Shjips and other such space-rock devotees. Thus far the band has self-released a clutch of material: two singles and a limited live album, making this new Kranky album their first 'official' (whatever that even means anymore) release. 'Gone Completely' might just have you dreaming up a sludge-rocking, Stooges-loving version of fellow Kranky-ites Deerhunter, but then Lux goes on to provoke a number of comparisons: there's the Motorhead-goes… 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.
**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
Dalhous deliver an engrossing debut for Blackest Ever Black. 'An Ambassador For Laing' is the Edinburgh-based duo, Marc Dall and Alex Ander's 2nd LP together - they've previously recorded one as Young Hunting - and continues to exchange their more melodramatic inclinations for richly filmic atmospheres and intricate, rhythm-driven and song-like arrangements hinting at a dreamy jazz noir and IDM-esque feel. Employing a rigorously refined palette of keys, harp, vibraphone, guitar, woodwind, strings and synthesizer, processed in layers of frictional harmony with heavily treated vocal… Read more
Each of the French artist’s precious LP offerings have represented a further deepening and refining of her craft, getting closer to some kind of spiritual essence. On a so-so day, she makes music that you feel privileged to hear, and on a good day she makes music that cleaves your heart in two. It’s been a long wait for new material - her last album, Les Ondes Silencieuses, is now six years old - but 'The Weighing Of The Heart' doesn’t disappoint, despite a considerable burden of expectation. The oneiric shimmer of her music has its contemporary analogs in the likes of Grouper a… Read more
Raster-Noton/Mego veteran Ivan Pavlov returns to the latter with “a work of profound playfulness”, one that explores the interzone between terse electronic minimalism and whimsical electronic pop with aplomb. Putting most modern-day synth records to shame, COH’s arpeggiated constructions are three-dimensional, pinsharp and thoroughly progressive - think early Human League or Yellow Magic Orchestra dubbed-out and processed by Mark Fell using technology that hasn’t yet been invented. Other references that come to mind are Dopplereffekt’s Calabai Yau Space or Squarepusher’s wildest Tron-ic imaginings… Read more
August post-punk survivor Gordon Sharp aka Cindytalk returns with A Life Is Everywhere, surely his most volatile, lyrical and consuming work since his creative re-birth on Editions Mego a couple years back; here he gravitates away from the dawn-treading digital ambience of his recent sides and towards a noisier, more expansive destination, whilst also exploring some of the most beautiful, accessible harmonic themes of his entire career. ‘On A Pure Plane’ is the purest, plainest example of this fusion: it collages elegiac string pads with curdled, corrosive power electronics, stakin… Read more
Warp's quietest operator grows his sound with organic effortlessness on his seventh album in nearly as many years. From humble beginnings as purveyor of washed-out, BoC-style folk-tronics, Steven James Wilkinson has pruned and tended to the Bibio sound with increasing aptitude, arriving at a fully fledged sort of pastoral pop referencing Canterbury classics as much as the elusive Scots, and presenting the sweetest, semi-real analogue to others such as Four Tet or Gold Panda who've also circled around this sound. Taking concrète location recordings from his back garden and weaving them with… Read more
LA's Bestial Mouths follow up an excellent debut LP for Dais on this satisfying split with recent Downwards and Mannequin contributors, Deathday. The Mouths' ride Boudica-like with Sioux hollers over scorched gothic EBM rhythms and synth noise on 'White Eyes' and continue to spill blood with a battery of martial toms and explosive snares against a bellicose backdrop in 'Hollowed' - big tip for fans of Lydia Lunch, Light Asylum, or Diamanda Galas. Deathday follow an aforementioned appearance on the 'So Click Heels' comp and split with The KVB in the maudlin punk trudge of 'Dead Voices' and intense, uptempo drama of 'Parasitical Slurps'.
'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
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.
**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
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.
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'.
Further Fit and Omar-S mixes to one of the year's hottest deep house trax. A-side's OG mix stars both cats working out a glyding, rolling bit of Detroit house with mesmerising vocal and body-gripping rhythms for the club. Flipside, Omar-S goes dolo on the deeper DD mix, playing with star-twinkle synth keys and reserving L'Renee's vocal for more poignant moments. Sterling stuff.
Thursday, 09 May
+ Free MP3
*30 minute EP follow-up to Miles' recent 'Faint Hearted' album for Modern Love, mastered and cut by Matt Colton, initial copies on transparent wax* 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 perspect… Read more