Monday, 20 April
Italy's Herva drops a stack of crooked 'floor tricks on Semtek's Don't Be Afraid label following his aces for Delsin, Kontra, M>O>S and All City. As we've come to learn, Herva's a bit of a free spirit, always keen to buck the grid and feel out for uniquely sensual, visceral thrills. With 'Dreamers of Unknown Tales' he follows suit into a unstable world of electro-acoustic tones, shredded breaks and mutant acid, twisting the lines from beat-less concrète zones of the title track to a sort of desiccated, nervy funk attack with the spitting drums and fuzz-junky dip of 'From The Ins… Read more
'Paint En pointe' collects ten pieces for dance by Sydneyite Eugene Ward, who's probably best known as TTT and Opal Tapes' Dro Carey or Tuff Sherm. They were written with the choreography of Patric Kuo in mind, intended for a variety of ensemble performances from solo to groups of up to 16 dancers. Judging from what we've previously heard by Ward, this release stakes out his most experimental territory, exploring the intersections of his formal compositional practice and the requirements of dancers beyond the conventional 'floor/head-space. We can hear him reference everything from t… Read more
**Upfront Digital Exclusive** **Exceptional psych-o-tronic trips for fans of Mordant Music, Bellows, The Stranger or BEB!** Berlin's Another Dark Age label claim an idiosyncratic nether ground with LST's aleatoric enigma, 'Th Duo'. Staking a unique position just behind the ear, right at the back of your bonce, Melbourne's Tarquin Manek (a.k.a. half of BEB's Tarcar) quietly mines his very own "lo-sci-fi" style in this series of nine corrupted memory implants meshing frayed nerves and fragmented, extra-terrestrial frequencies. The process of 'Th Duo''s creation, junked together from recordings made on … Read more
Three outstanding, abstract deep house cuts from the man. We're truly spoilt for choice here. Uptown he comes with the writhing, jazzwise 'Dance Of The Medusa', nudging his drums and bass to the edge of distortion while Sun Ra-esque synth chords, jagged keys and sax spumes tumble in astrospace beside the dusty Afro-futurism of 'Bubbles' with its scratchy, Jamal Moss-like hi-hats and bleeps purled to glutinous bass strafes in the knottiest, hypnotic phunk. But if we're picking favourites it's gotta be the incredible downtown joint 'Ambalamps'; eight minutes of super-heavy, bumpin… Read more
Deadboy makes super nice on Local Action with the 'White Magick' EP. There's a mini-epic's worth of ideas and vibes inside, playing out like the soundtrack to a sci-fi short about occult computer hackers in the ends or, equally, some new age grime romance (we'll leave the casting to your imagination). From the crystalline synth blooms, angelic chorales and roto-drums of 'White Moon Garden', he 2-steps into lush 4th world dimensions with 'Inner Palace' and the beatless R&B sim-stim serenity of 'Rye Angel', all rendered with meticulous attention to hyperreal details. At the mid-point, the amb… Read more
Brilliantly demented avant-House trips from the Det/Chi master - finally available on download formats. Cutting up some high-kicking, wrist-burning Shaolin movie samples on a bumpy-as-hell rhythm, 'Any Other Styles' possibly betrays a return influence from Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup's off-the-grid escapades on Trilogy Tapes - well, possibly not, but listen to that jabbing, psychotic arrangement and tell us we're totally wrong?! Flipside there's a shorter, condensed version, and a naked, riddimic instrumental called 'Beat Those'. Recommended!
Type reach inside the box to present Nochexxx's newest devilment of Drexciyan electro and grubby bleeps, 'Plot 'Defender'. Steadfast at the fringes and fronds of UK electronica since the late '90s, Dave Henson a.k.a. Nochexxx has previously done the do for Ramp Recordings and Actress' Werk Discs over the last few years, forging a sort of eldritch, radiophonic cyberpunk that frankly sound like f**k-all out there. OK there are plenty of artists working with cranky, heatsick synth and drum machines right now, but few others do it with such an unhinged grasp of groove and feel for intricate s… Read more
"'Summoning Suns' is James Blackshaw's tenth studio album and the first recording to feature his voice and lyrics. Drawing inspiration from 60's and 70's singer-songwriters, baroque/orchestral pop and folk music, while still sounding contemporary, 'Summoning Suns' is Blackshaw's foray into more traditional forms of songcraft. Blackshaw sings in a gentle but assured voice, occasionally reminiscent of Harry Nilsson, Jim O'Rourke and Elliott Smith, while his words combine his personal experiences, neuroses and fantasy through many layers of abstraction, poeticism and dark humour.Whil… Read more
Drew Lustman escapes his Falty DL alias with this dizzyingly ace album under his own name. 'Crystal Cowboy' is quick and loose but flush with all the funky tricks and crafty soul that has endeared him so much to heads the world over since 2007 and a sterling run of IDM-into-breaksploitation antics. He approaches the project with X amounta humour and guile, brilliantly indulging his Anglophilic tendencies with nuff hardcore/jungle roll-outs interspersed by instinctive nods to his home city's jazz, house and R&B heritage. It was apparently written on-the-fly, freed of any conceptua… Read more
The amorphous mass of Gnod indulge their psychedelic instincts in the nearly two hour-long 'Infinity Machines' for Rocket Recordings. Since their last major group release, 'Ingnodwetrust' (2011), they showed much promise by largely ditching guitars and swerving toward all-out electronics and nuanced songwriting in their component units - 'Gnod Presents.. Dwellings & Druss', Negra Branca's 'N B' - but here they return to a more-is-more approach, roping in crucial additions from Sam Weaver (modular electronics) and David MacLean (sax) among many other vibes and voices from the residents of … Read more
Full Strength house music from the inimitable DJ Qu on his own label - home of his best works. A-side plays it steady driving but with gruff bass offset by his signature shuffles and strafing synth sweeps to cream the 'floor. B-side plays out the funeral keys and ghostly vocals of 'Sadness In The Static', setting the stage for a welting acid weapon called 'Sweaty One'.
The Square one returns with his 14th album in 20 years and shows no sign of getting mellower with age. 'Damogen Furies' could be considered the club after-party for the stadium-collapsing antics of 'Ufabulum' (2012), still riding a wave of stage adrenalin into equally, if not more, demented and eccentric funk acrobatics. Peaking from the opening bars of black midi-style melodic intensity with 'Stor Eiglass', he fakes left with the melancholy chimes of 'Baltang Ort' which somehow strobes between tranquil serenity and nosebleed funk. The EDM kids will be pulling all sorts of Skrillex f… Read more
Back for '15 with a '95 jungle flex, Quinoline Yellow a.k.a. Tap Throw kills it on Yellow Machines. Drawing on similar references to Sully's acclaimed 'Blue EP' - think Steve Gurley, Rob Playford, Hyper-on-Experience - but with an airless tension recalling VHS Head or his other Skam label-mates, the 'Dip Switches EP' carves up classic samples, subs and breaks in a complex, graffiti'd maelstrom executed with stylish precision and skill.
Danny Wolfers spins the warehouse dizzy in his latest Legowelt mission. Doing it for Ninja Tune's Technicolour series this time, he presents some really dope gear following suit from smarts by Kutmah, Hieroglyphic Being and BNJMN. Best of all is the darkside Chi finesse of 'Evaporate With Me 2 Infinity', yoking a gutter EBM/acid bass to stern drums and magickal synth glistens, and likewise with the slinkier breakbeats tucked to windswept filters and fizzy-bonce keys in the title.
Absolute panic in the darnce with Royal-T's relentless shoot-'em-up starring P Money and Footsie. Landing 4 years since his last solo 12" on Butterz, 'Shotta' hears the South Coast's dopest grime producer stick to a simple and deadly effective formula, crafting an entire riddim outta guncocks and shots. It's maybe not recommended for dogs or those of a nervous disposition but, the vocalists are undoubtedly in their element, P Money blazing bars from the hip and Footsie coming off like a proper hungry gunman. To counter the violence, he tests out a more sensitive side in the pensile, Reese-load… Read more
Richard Chartier's Line label is at its best with Triac's gorgeous 2nd album of diaphanous drones. 'Days' could be taken as a measure of time, or equally as a pun on the lush effect of their music, presenting a barely-there suite of near-baroque melodic gestures that seem to float in mid-air, as though either moving very slowly or as a midnight mirage conjured by some gauzy mind. Within its seven pieces, ranging from pop-ambient temporality thru ten minute trips, they seem to capture the resonant, lingering after-thoughts of their instruments - Rossano Polidoro (laptop), Marco Seracini (piano, synth)… Read more
Crazylegs windmill into new territory with the fractious, forward GrIDM designs of Island's 'Nokia' debut. Coming off like a Hud Mo show-down with Spaces and Oneohtrix Point Never, it refracts the best of modern Warp styles with a playfully colourful sense of arrangement according to a more-is-more maxim. In headphones it feels like R'n'G ju jitsu for Air Max-clad astronauts training in a gyroscope, spinning the senses with an accelerated sense of fun and organ-churning pleasure.
Rrose presents two expanded, alternate mixes of her take on James Tenney's pillar of American minimalism, 'Having Never Written A Note For Percussion', on Seattle's Further Records. The original composition, a favourite of Rrose's, revolves a simple concept requiring the performer to play one percussive instrument constantly, taking it from the quietest point to the loudest and back again in a close exploration of volume, tone and decay. Rrose does so with a 32" inch gong in two very different environments: the first is recorded in a studio and thusly sounds visc… Read more
'Marhaba' shares the fruits of Floating Points and James Holden's collaboration with gnawa maâlem (master) Mahmoud Guinia on their recent trip to Morocco for the 5th Marrakech Biennale. Both producers give prominence to Guinia viocals and hypnotic guembri (a sort of 3-stringed lute) in their respective mixes, Floating Points buoying the syncopated claps with subtly feathered synthlines in 'Mimoun Marhaba', whereas Holden really vibes out on a modular set-up in three further, looser versions, including two not found on the vinyl edition.
Dope cut from Mexican Summer's recent 'Pausebreak' compilation. It's a fine introduction to Ben Zimmerman, whose strange fusion of skittish late '90s tech-step and gauzy, ethereal ambience recalls Teresa Winter's recent use of similar elements, although here it's with a trip hoppy appeal, as opposed to psy-pop. Intriguing…
**Includes 50-minute track featuring texts written and performed by Alexandra Kennedy & Campbell Irvine. RIYL Muslimgauze, Demdike Stare, Ninos Du Brasil** Exceptional take on techno tribalism from yung Australian producer, Campbell Irvine. Picking up where Shackleton left before he went psy-trance, Campbell runs with a proper dread techno vibe on two extended walkabouts strafed with duppied voices and urged by layered, syncopated percussion and deep subs. We're particularly feeling the scratchy swing and shuffle of B-side 'Reunion Of Two Bodies', which sits somewhere betwe… Read more
EPM present two definitive aspects of Detroit techno. Robert Hood offers one of his signature minimal techno propulsion systems with the tunnelling, darkside 'Shaker', before boosting the energy levels with an organ-burning Floorplan 'Ritual' in his gospel-techno guise.
Where To Now? present two sidelong trips into a lysergic avant-techno otherworld by Daragh Monaghan a.k.a. Baba. "‘Odd Potion’ manages to create a world that is aesthetically always referencing a fantastical vision of imagined mystery, yet allowing the real history of dance music into this otherworldly space. Daragh cites Jeff Mills as an influential figure, in terms of his ability to allow his genuine interest in Sci-Fi and space into the DNA of his music - it’s success lies in it’s clear passion for other subjects, as Daragh notes about his own music “I guess i’m not too interested in the grit… Read more
**Noisy techno beat-offs** "GDL is the work of 21 year old Washington DC resident Garret Littler. This self titled debut release takes its cue points primarily from the 80’s underground German electronic DIY tape scene - kickstarted by the likes of DAF, Der Plan, Palais Schaumberg, Grauzone etc, and whilst such influences are certainly prevalent throughout, there’s also an undeniable nod to some of the more recent works of those operating on the fringes of underground techno and noise. Yes, the world of GDL is brutal, uncompromising, and at times full of chaos, and it’s this direct, and more importantly… Read more
London's Jonny Nash spins a glistening web of ambient mediations on 'Exit Strategies' for his own label, Melody As Truth. Taking solo time away after sterling contributions to Gaussian Curve's charming 'Clouds' LP and that epic 'Spirit Bear Mezcal Ensemble' 12", he presents a suite of balmy, crepuscular vignettes owing as much to The Durutti Column as Vangelis or Robin Guthrie and finding contemporary parallels with the likes of Bullion/Nautic or even recent Jam City in the achingly lush slow dance, 'Exit Six'. Mellow magic.
The best from Constellation Tatsu's latest batch is a creamy kosmiche trip from Shin Buchikama a.k.a. Portopia '81. Gazing at classic Kraftwerk and YMO thru the rosiest of tinted gegs, he takes flight with six deeply charming synth fancies, scaling giddy, breathless heights between the satin arpeggios and vocoder navigations of 'Jet Stream' before diving into the tranquil silicon pools of 'Sparkling Constellation', free-floating in the 'Sea of Clouds' and scanning the melting skies of 'Distant Horizon', eventually slipping into the sweetest reverie of 'Strange Dream' and pirouetting in slow motion between the syntherzones of 'Light and Shadow'.
Synthesist, Sarah Davachi follows up her lovely 'Baron's Court' LP for Students of Decay with this suite of ominous, mystical drone composition for Constellation Tatsu. They're slow moving unfolding and quietly intense pieces, poised with a chamber music-like elegance and folk-wise simplicity, perhaps at best in the uncurling fronds of 'Flowers and Other Voiceless Things' and the curdled, keening harmonics of 'Praha'.
Tommy Four Seven boots up his 47 label with a forceful techno session. The boss twists out a raging stomper called '131' beside the rolling industro-dub of Kwartz's 'Locked Target', a bleeping missile from Killawatt, and the bruising, dank techno reduction of 'Obsid' by Isolated Lines.