Thursday, 12 December
Tuesday, 10 December
In 2013 the best dancefloors flexed a spectrum of futuristic, colourful and uniquely syncopated grooves that didn't pander to the trend for beige tech house. As ever, the dynamos of Chicago and Detroit delivered deadly, advanced ideas, most notably in the kinetic energies of Footwork founder RP Boo on 'Area 72' or the twisted flux of Traxman's 'Manic', and Optic Nerve repped the rarest Detroit sound with the breathtaking 'Time Lapse (Time Displacement Mix)' by-passing pretty much everyone. Related, but twisting in divergent directions, Lotic and Lil Jabba applied individ… Read more
Monday, 09 December
It's true, everything's getting older - but good music has a way of transcending that. Ex-Arab Strap bloke Aiden Moffat and Scottish jazzy type Bill Wells have been working on this record for eight years now, proof if ever proof were needed that sometimes music doesn't need to be dropped in with a date stamp. Wells' production and melodies shouldn't be a shock to anyone who's come across his music before but the way it matches up with Moffat's distinctive voice and poetry is nothing short of a revelation. The first thing I noticed about 'Everything's Getting Older' wa… Read more
*Fourth instalment in this ongoing series* Searing, tormented darkside f**kery from Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty’s Demdike Stare on their rinse and run Testpressing series. On the A-side ‘Fail’ is a slowly descending panic attack of pealing hi-end frequencies and impending bass doom reaching a pit of noisy no return. On the flip, ‘Null Results’ bruks loose with a scything jungle attack; frantic 16th note hi-hats and cone-crumpling subs laced with a rudeboy mentasm to incite warehouse capoeira. Come test.
Brock Van Wey dons his loved-up house hat as Earth House Hold. He aims for the 'floor with two low-slung ambient house moves - the 110bpm vocal house chug of 'Back Where I Belong' and the dreamy 100bpm swagger of 'A Little Bit Late For That Now'.
Conny Plank's notorious and highly sought-after collaboration with Can's Holger Czukay gets the deluxe reissue treatment by Grönland nearly thirty years since it was last available. In 1980 the über-producer and long-time spar Czukay indulged their darkest sonic fantasies on a self-released two track maxi that's since become the cherished preserve of heads in the know. This reissue features the incredible studio processing of Holger's voice set to plonging bass and insectoid percussions in 'Biomutanten' and the even sparser concrète dub sound design of 'Menetekel'. Together they a… Read more
Wobbly triplet driven welter from Redshape. There's one track here and it's all you need to kill any crowd worth playing for, building a mouldalting head of acid pumped by powerful kicks and spun off axis with tripping cross-rhythms, all optimised with that Redshape touch.
The leftfield legend of the Hessle and Hemlock labels ramps up his oddball experimental credentials with perhaps his most eyebrow-raising release yet. The aptly named 'Punters Step Out' features a drop that will have you questioning your sanity. We won't spoil the surprise by describing it (just listen), but suffice to say that Joe turns it into the weirdest dancehall outing you've ever been lead to with promises that everything will be fine if you remain calm. The other side, 'Club Scared,' is a mad post-modern minimal house number that makes you wonder whether the track itself is talking to you (it is).
Ali Wells aka Perc's Submit label follows that ace batch of Einstürzende Neubauten reworks with a full frontal compilation of noise and techno hybrids. 'Feral Grind' corrals Prostitutes, Pete Swanson, John Olsen's Henry & Hazel Slaugher, Hive Mind, Burial Hex and Bleaching Agent along with lesser known but no less engaging artists such as Profligate, The David Russell Snake, Mincemeat or Tenspeed and Housefire, making for one of the most incisive overviews of the sound that's come to define underground bowel motions in 2013. It ranges from proper ear-flossers like Pete Swanson's… Read more
Louis Johnstone has carved out a distinctive production style from noisy, often heavily compressed but surprisingly subtle recordings under a number of aliases, such as Dem Hunger for Leaving Records. His Wanda Group releases have made him one of the more reliably fascinating names in freeform noise and electronics, with a spate of standout releases in recent months for the likes of Notown, Opal Tapes and Where to Now. This new adventure on NNA is especially changeable, a long, thin thread of sound environments phasing in and out of being. When did this field recording… Read more
**Oh man, it happened! Gentlemanly G, Dam-Funk, meets Snoop at his sleazy best on eight tracks of freshly starched West Coast slickness alongside Steve Arrington and Kurupt** Snoop says: “We're the babies of the Mothership… I’ve had funk influences in my music my whole career. Dam-Funk is cold. He’s keeping the funk alive and I knew I had to get down with him.” Dam says: "Snoop knew what I was thinking without me having to articulate it. That’s how you know when you gel artistically with someone… These beats were made for him and he laid down some of the smoothest harmonies and melo… Read more
Steven Warwick aka Heatsick cocks a unique and compelling perspective on contemporary dance music with his bold follow-up to 'Intersex', a gorgeous, layered work that those of you into DJ Sprinkles should check out without delay. Now woven with leaner dancefloor muscle, the deeply funked views of 'Re-Engineering' are characterised by the artist as a "cybernetic poem". We can take this quite literally in his use of spoken word in pieces such as 'Re-Engineering' with its Chris Morris-esque wordplay, and the alliterative suppositions of 'Speculation', or in more abstract terms on his sound p… Read more
Having been active in the underground with smaller offerings and his North Carolina label Hot Releases for four years, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Martin finally has a longplayer to his name with this diverse and intriguing collection of lo-fi landscapes. Martin mixes delicate songcraft and acoustic strumming with a tabletop cosmos of synths, or follows raindrops of guitar and keys falling in free-rhythm by rocking out in the red. Inner contrasts are explored when folky chords are paired intriguingly with harsh drum-machine hits as if from early eighties minimal … Read more
Slip on the gloves and headset and take a night flight over the dataplane with this latest hi-tech transmission from Zoology. The Amsterdam label have really got themselves an eye-opening sound going - neuromantic synth architectures of dazzling scale and complexity, with one foot in eighties cyberneticism and the other in burningly contemporary abstractions - and this is one of the most intense examples yet. Delaweare's sound is immersive and up-to-date, juddering and gleaming with obsidian towers and lit up lurid with laser grids. Witness mountains of data, rivers of information and a terrible m… Read more
Yung Delroy whips it proper with a highly anticipated follow up to his 'Heart & Soul' and '4 Club Use Only' bangers for L.I.E.S. On his 3rd 12" he lives up to an assumed role as ambassador for raw, kicking' old skool Chi-house house values with fervent relish. A-side he percolates the dusty, sticky zaps, claps and booty beats of 'White Owl' at an uncompromising 140bpm designed to really get the juices going, whilst on the B-side he nudges the tempo down for a tweakier, fruitier groove called 'The Fast Lane' and picks it up again with the gruff dancefloor grammar of 'Drop Dead' - another … Read more
'The Outermaze' EP is arguably one of Steve Summers' finest moments, new on LIES. The man of many names locks into robust and rumpy jack formation on the A-side ace 'Call Of The Wild', sending barely-hinged synthlines skidding across the groove in dissonant and arcane melodic hallucinations. B-side, 'New Surroundings' tweaks that feel for foil-biting metallic sourness on a throbbing bass chug, and the title track cuts loose with stereo-strafing synth shapes across another stodgy thud.
L.I.E.S.' run of aces shows no sign of abating with this bomb from Delroy Edwards. '4 Club Use Only' spans the A-side with proper, body-thumping bassline balanced by fizzing hi-hats and authentic deep space vibes reminding of classics from Eevolute Records and The Connection Machine. B-side 'Bells' hits a heavy New Jersey swing sound with badass toms and a trickling lead timbre that pushes the right buttons, while 'Love Goes On And On' departs on a deeply romantic technohouse note. Tip!
Svengalisghost makes a 2nd appearance on L.I.E.S. with three cuts of industrialised acid house in the 'Vicious Circle' EP. Nudging the label to ever tuffer avenues, his 'A-side 'Hidden Cities' is a relentless and unforgiving techno groove riding pile-driving kicks with a maelstrom of acidic synth noise in heads down form. B-side, he takes his foot off the gas for a more psychedelic, atonal jackers descent called 'High Heel Sleaze' polishes you off with the jagged, rasping EBM rhythms and masticated acid of 'Judged By Machine'.
After a succession of excoriating bangers, L.I.E.S. take it easy with three deep dub house soul rubs by Terreke. Top side, he comes off like a lo-fi Mike Huckaby with a languid dub house strider buoyed by effervescent hi-hats while swirling, tape-cosseted chords and ass-stalking bass beg your eyes shut and your body fluid. Turn her over and he sinks even deeper into the tape, leaving only tarces of muffled bass and filtered chords barely bobbing to the surface, beside one gorgeous piece of anti-gravity deep house skank sounding like a Main Street record as heard from within a thick feather duvet.
A couple of killer, demented hardware house cuts and a tunnelling groover picked out by the impeccable L.I.E.S. Torn Hawk really cuts loose on the A-side with 'This Is A Crime'; a halfstepped industrial anomaly coming from the same black hole as Jamal Moss with equally psychedelic impact. Marcos Cabral kicks off the B-side at a saner setting with the slow, gripping intent of 'Tio Rico', for Delroy Edwards to get on it like Steve Poindexter with the ghetto percolations of 'Feelings'.
L.I.E.S. doing it aciiid style with the grungy muck of Vereker. Originally based in the UK, now in San Francisco, Oliver Vereker purveys a particular brand of Chicago-inspired acid techno, playing out the tunnelling, tracky madness of 'Rosite' up top, and it's inbred relation 'Disconnect' on the flip, beside a warped sci-fi techno trekker named 'Falling'. RIYL Jamal Moss, Container, Legowelt!
Berlin-based Italian synth and minimal wave lot, Mannequin, review their first five year with twenty tracks spanning modern diamonds to smart reissues. Make sure to check for the stoic, haunted heartache of Tropic Of Cancer's 'It's All Come Undone', Tommy De Chirico's original, jangling wave pop piece, 'Close Your Eyes', the rare remixes of Mushy from Xander Harris and Soft Metals, and the Professor Genius 'Lost Girls' mix of 'Madi La Lune'.
Laurel Halo and Carl Craig clock in acutely contrasting remixes of 'Turn It Up' from Factory Floor's debut album. Carl Craig does his svelte C2 thing, reducing the groove to hypnotic, pointillist patter threaded with strobing, cut-up vocals, patiently building until a kickdrum watershed and some delicious darkside synth pads in the final throes. In stark relief, Laurel Halo hears the same elements as a dubbed-out, gritty piece of panning flux and globular stabs reaching a sweeter denouement of breathy pads.
**Severely destroyed and eccentric 'tronics** "Hoofus performs and records electronic improvisations from the undergrowth of rural Norfolk, using fuzzy analogue aesthetics and FM synthesized unease to create visceral ritual rhythms smeared with restless feral yearning and the distant hum of moss covered machinery. Drawing on notions of ramshackle existence on the edges of the wilds, he attempts to express ideas of Arcadian alienation and backwoods neurosis. He has always tried to re-invigorate attitudes to live electronic music by performing in a very physical tac… Read more
Limber techno from 50 Weapons' French ambassador. His 2nd 12" of 2013 for Modeselektor's label rides with a light-footed, swinging flex and effervescenet hook in 'Ignition', whereas 'Take It Out On Me' cuts deeper into the night with pounding bass and tight, skittish metallic synth gremlin that comes off like a weird, sci-fi haunted Regis cut from the late '90s. Aces.
Boysnoize pay tribute to Chicago's legendary Dance Mania label with twelve bangers by Bok Bok & Tom Trago, Scntst/DJ Scholar, Pipes, Feadz, Strip Steve Housemeister and more. There's also a CD copy featuring an exclusive DJ Funk weapon, 'High Frequency' for erm.. the freaks. Bust a nut.
An endearing release from the Australian sound and visual artist, generously stocked with delicate, exquisite audio jewels. Carchesio threads minute sonic objects of every kind into sequences: diatomic machines spinning in the abyss, toy depth charges, scrunches and grimaces of noise, pipette-blobs of this and that. Bringing names like Raymond Scott and Actress to mind, the short-form constructions on 32 Days are humble in proportion but gently powerful in effect.
Hood at his best on home-brewed M-Plant label. A-side he rides roughshod with corrosive, glancing hi-hats and escalating chords powered with rollicking bass; flipside plays deeper before unleashing a lip-bitingly mean metallic synthline morphing into a tribal trance-out.
Brand new solar funk rays from Funkineven backed with GB: The Abstract Eye's 'Reflexes', which was previously only available on the Eglo Records Vol.1 CD. It's a canny match between the like-minded artists; Funkineven's 'Egypt' feels out cosmic space between Sun-Ra's searching synthetic expressions and the freakiest sorts of Virgo 4 or Larry Heard journeys, whilst GB shuffles in hyperspace with techy latinate syncopation and beaming modular glyphs.