Thursday, 29 January
"Jessica Pratt’s self-titled 2012 debut has been much-murmured about. People respond to the austere, pristine clarity of the performances, the gentle strength, marvelling at how much comes from so little: just a voice and a guitar or two. They remark on the timeless nature of the songs and the voice, scrupulously informed by the folk rock of ages past but sung without bags (none in hand, nor beneath eyes). They speculate on just who is the personality behind this Jessica Pratt? It is hard not to respond to the sound of her music, not to want more right away. Two years on and Jes… Read more
Milan & New York-based Italians, Hunter/Game put a gritty, live hardware spin on Kompakt's usual, vacuum-sealed aesthetic with the smart Speicher 83. Submerged to tape, both sides spill rolling bass and well-timed percussive developments gilded with bleeps and subtle pads, with 'Hexagon' coaxing the elements to a canny triplet swing and 'Bermuda' sailing out to more ghostly late night/early morning zones. RIYL Border Community, Pye Corner Audio,
Truth coin the Deep, Dark & Dangerous label with four burly halfstep moves. A-side features the ruff fusion of Fis-like stagger and stoned bars by Ill Chill, plus the hard-stepping accent of 'Last Resort'. B-side, 'Love Someone' sprinkles a nasty halfstep template with piano keys and strings for the sweetboys and girls, and 'Istanbul' bites the horns from Tim Taylor's hardcore classic of the same name (the follow-up to 'The Horn Track'). Need to have a word about those facebook and twitter logos on the jacket, though.
Lustrous ambient and slick, moody electro-house from man-machine Kurt Baggaley (a.k.a Scape One) on Netherlands-based Something Happening, Somewhere label. A-side is spanned by the beatless, oceanic arpeggios and black cloud pads of 'Former Self', culminating in a locked groove vocal intoning the track title. B-side, The Drifter remix fits a rustling tech-house groove to slivers of the original arpeggios with a darker sense of dancefloor romance; 'Far Between' eases off into brooding deep electro reminding of Ra-X's 'Opium Den' sessions.
Burial returns to Keysound nearly ten years after his underrated, KILLER remix of Blackdown's 'Crackle Blues'. Hurtling at +140bpm, 'Temple Sleeper' sounds like the theme to an episode of the BBC's Bugs drama set in a towerblock in South London, strafing '90s strains of trancey 2-step, hardcore garage and full tilt techno in just under 7 minutes. Dry your eyes if you missed the wax, this one's for U!
Tuesday, 27 January
These 14 pieces illuminate a broad cross-section of music that uses modular synth systems as a primary or prominent source, ranging from contemporary compositions by Frank Bretschneider, Some Truths and Martial Cantarel, to historical pieces by Gordon Mumma and Conrad Schnitzler. A dislocated sense of meter and tone is common to all 14 pieces, allowing for a finer, more chaotic harmonic spectrum and complex rhythms that are difficult, at best, to create on other machine systems. That's not to say that modular systems make it any "easier" to make wilder sounds, but … Read more
Monday, 26 January
Future soul star, Steve White, makes a keenly awaited return with his first release under the Beat Spacek moniker. 'Modern Streets' is his finest work since the last burst of creativity which yielded the ace Africa HiTech project with Mark Pritchard and the excellent Black Pocket sounds for his brother dBridge's Exit Recordings. In a fair reflection of the 'Modern Streets', it was created entirely on iPhone and iPad and even sends a daily update of his morning jog to your email account. That last bit is actually b******s, but the album isn't. Rather than a showcase of studio pre… Read more
To kick off their 20th year, Planet Mu present the widescreen visions of 'Sun Czar Temple', the 2nd EP by Berlin-based Scotsman, Claude Speeed. Steeped in all sorts of mannered loveliness, from classic American minimalism to cinematic post-rock and retro-futurist electronica, its intent is matched by its reach over five succinct pieces fanning out from the distorted dream sequence of 'Traumzeuge' to soaring synth scape 'R U Sorry?' via the curling chimes and zinging digital harmonics and binary cream of 'Dr. Liz Wilson', ascending to the crashing MIDI drums and longing vocal glossolalia of 'Fret'. RIYL Oneohtrix Point Never, Kuedo, Mogwai.
Air Max '97 follows one of 2014's sickest singles with three fluoro aces on 'Fruit Crush', including an exceptional hook-up with Strict Face. This is the new skool in full effect, twysting the genes of grime, kuduro and freestyle electro with vaporous 'tronics in sheer hyperspace. 'Fruit Crush' steps out first with a grimier analog to SOPHIE and PC Music styles, streaking mad FX around sharp electro stabs, chattering melodies and wobbly bogle; 'Shape Cut' resets to a slower roll nodding to Lisbon's taraxho sound, but with xtra subs and off-kilter, lilting licks. Best of all, 'Armour Form'… Read more
'Ghetto Madness' is another invaluable collection of classic Dance Mania bangers. Picking up where Strut's 'Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1995' left off, it focusses on the label's unrivalled early-mid '90s output, a sound defined by hyper BPMs and the rawest, butt-naked machine rhythms. This CD/digital edition creams 15 of the filthiest Chicago bangers you ever heard, setting the levels with Jammin Gerald's bare-bones 'Pump That Shit Up'; cycling thru a coupla Deeon killers, 'The Freaks' and '1112'; taking it back to roots with Steve Poindexter's 'Computer Madness… Read more
The preternaturally-attuned trio present the 2nd section of their amazing concert at SuperDeluxe, Tokyo on 17th March, 2013, which already spawned the 'Only Wanting To Melt Beautifully Away Is It a Lack of Contentment That Stirs Affection for Those Things Said to Be as of Yet Unseen'. Where that set was focussed on new instrumental configurations, this one sees them return to a signature line-up of guitar, bass and drums, documented in unflinching intimacy and entirety. The first … Read more
UK's baddest duo do it again with the '1 Sec' EP landing on XL after the blinding 'Take Time' 12" for Rinse. Mumdance makes the music, Novelist runs rings around it. This is the OG sound developed by BBE and Wiley accelerated with incredible vision, imagination and tenacity; bending your ear to the preternaturally observant, incisive lyrics of 17 year old MC, Novelist, while Mumdance's ballistic, collaged production slaps up from every angle. Both the title track and 'Shook' set the levels head-high for 2015, outmaneuvering all comers at every swerve, each near miss with a bus and in every rave-eyed bass stab. This is what music needs to sound like in 2015.
'Head/Body' is the exceptional debut release from Scottish hype®&B producer, Dressing Red. Ballin' a super bright sound concentrated with lush, feminine pressure on Glasgow's Astral Black label - home to DJ Milk Tray, Inkke, Jon Phonics - it's probably one of the sharpest fusions of new, vaporous electronics with cut-up 2-step and R&B vox that you'll hear in 2015. Matching the piquant clarity of Local Action's Drippin' with the warm, strange electro-soul of Mr. Mitch or label mate Inkke, he pushes all the right buttons from the smudged pixels of 'Our Love' thru spiralling trap gem, 'North … Read more
Curl a lip, drop a hip with the deadly swagger of Chunky's 2nd session for (Swamp) 81. Landing three years since his eponymous dubble-pack, the Manchester-based MC-cum-producer rolls with the craftiest, stripped-down swerve for Loefah's label, pitting years of experience at the head of the dance, both on mic and the 'floor. 'Oun_C' is a proper natty burner, juggling dubbed-out halfstep bass patterns with slinkiest hi-hats in the most fluid sorta new skool rolige; 'Call Me, Let's Do Lunch' tucks a similar drum palette to more laid back, liquor-laced effect, subtly shifting weight onto the other foot… Read more
Holy Grail territory here from Andy Votel and Demdike’s mighty Dead Cert imprint - here finally bringing you this incredible album of previously unreleased Industrial-themed recordings made in 1976 by experimental pioneer and Ennio Morricone cohort Alessandro Alessandroni. The concept itself is riveting enough: the guy who provided that infamous guitar riff for 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' providing utterly bent and synth-heavy recordings previously unheard by the wider world - but the material and execution is just nothing short of a revelation, unlocking an uncannily pre… Read more
Fresh from his woozy Amsterdam session with Gaussian Curve for Music From Memory, an oneiric solo debut from Jonny Nash on his own label, Melody As Truth. Classicist ambient meandering manifest on electric guitar, keys, synths and zither, seeking solace somewhere between Detroit Escalator Comnpany and Brian Eno. Dead lovely.
Youngsta and Truth on weighty remix session for Tempa. Rinse FM OG, Youngstar launches a nimbly technoid steppers take on Truth's 'Devil's Hand'; Truth refigures J: Kenzo's 'Invarderz' as a swooping halfstep heat-seeker.
Rabid, mongrel deconstructions of '90s dance classics by Roger West aka Somaticae. With nods to V/Vm and Actress, and analogs in the mutant creations of Basic House or The Automatics Group's 'Summer Mix', West's 'Wasted House' is an exercise in collapsing the putative timeline of dance music and re-imagining it as a "twisted uchronia" - a sort of impressionistic, alternate history open to more ambiguous interpretation. To be honest we can't pick out the original material, which is a great thing, leaving us grasping at and dancing to an array of refracted '90-s disco shrapnel and lurching… Read more
"Invisible Familiars’ ‘Disturbing Wildlife’ is the work of Jared Samuel, alongside producer Michael Leonhart. Guests include Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, Nels Cline, Jolie Holland, Stuart Bogie of Antibalas and Superhuman Happiness, Scott Metzger, Ryan Sawyer, Alex Holden and Andrew Borger. “Jared kinda sounds like Mark Bolan. I’ll just say it, cause you might think it. It’s science. When I asked him what record felt to him like how he wanted ‘Disturbing Wildlife’ to feel to me, he said ‘‘Cuckooland’ by Robert Wyatt’, promptly adding ‘and the first time I lis… Read more
Facsimile repress of an 1983 electro-funk shock by Sumy. A hugely sought-after cult favourite, 'Tryin to Survive' was recorded and cut on the Caribbean island of Suriname - a former Dutch colony, hence its connection with Amsterdam's Rush Hour. Nine tracks of squirting synth beams and tickled basslines licked up with Sumy's mad swagger. Expect more Surinamese digs from the vault in 2015…
Sabla's debut set of buckled, technoid texturhythms are arguably the best yet from Turin, Italy's Gang Of Ducks label. Backed up by smart reworks from Ital and the G.O.D. bosses, the four original tracks feel out freeform, roiling rhythms and rusted timbres in transtion somewhere between Andy Stott's knackerd crack, the whirring mechanics of Lukid, and Phork's staggered drum patterns. In the best sense, each piece sounds like two tracks in a battle to resolve their rhythmic differences, from the ragged techno lurch of 'Di Lei' to the crushed, Bellows-style dub of 'Spirits' and the thrumming undert… Read more
Roland Tings graduates from charming early singles for 100% Silk and Club Mod to this lush debut LP for Internasjonal. An impressionistic take on the golden era of late '80s/early '90s house filtered thru a pastel-toned Aussie heat haze, it swaggers across tempo zones from the buoyant, chirpy jack of 'Coming Up For Air' and the woozy piano house bumper, 'Who U Love', to the slow-building centrepiece 'Floating On A Salt Lake' before taking a downtempo turn with the chugging slow-house of 'Devotion' and the squashed strutter, 'Cultural Canal', and back deckside with the glorious 'Venus'.
Sleek and supple late night house from Virginia for Berlin's Ostgut Ton, with additional production by Steffi Doms. Firm kicks and floating chords drive 'Fictional' for the 5am swingers; 'My Fantasy' heats up a vintage late '80s Chicago/Detroit sound with her pleading vocals'; 'Never Enough' lends a dash of lissom electro funk to proceedings with elastic bassline and skidding synth stabs.
Fresh from sharing a slab with Lnrdcroy on Swiss label, L.P.C., New York's Solpara makes a low key and smart solo debut with 'Swing' for Nico Jaar's Other People. Arrviing stealthily with the swurling chords and padded kicks of 'The Descent', the session draws us in closer with spare, mesmerising minimalism of 'Swing', taking a tuffer tack with the dented, oxidised drums cadence of 'Vitamin D', finally spending his load proper with the frazzled tones and haphazard stabs swarming tcrack jak beat in 'Short Circuit'.
"‘Burn Rubber City, Burn!’ charts the rise of the music scene in the mid-West city of Akron, Ohio, at a time when the city and the rubber industry it was associated with was in deep decline. Featuring a fantastic collection of Akron groups including Devo, The Bizarros, Rubber City Rebels, Jane Aire, Chi-Pig, The Waitresses and more. The album follows on from Soul Jazz Records’ earlier ‘Punk 45’ albums about USA and British punk (‘Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself!’ and ‘There Is No Such Thing As Society’) as well as the … Read more
Quartet of tropical footwork/jungle hybrids featuring vox by Redders and a fierce Enei remix exclusive to this digital release. Binga's originals bounce the dancehall between sprung, double-timed bogle in 'Tek Nuh Chat', to the colourful Joker styles of 'Elastic', before 'Steppin' comes with volleys of jungle/footwork beats on a halfstep lean, and 'Chasic' rolls out big bad amens. Check the Enei remix of 'Lef Dem' for some proper, face-melting business.