Thursday, 18 December
Shackleton triggers another tribalist chain reaction with 'Deliverance Series No. 2'. Shack presents two extended trips subtly refining his craft to a fluid, rhythmelodic flux sparking with vital, hypnotic energy. The eleven minute 'Dominion Rings' coolly charges up percolating drums and fizzing synth dynamics to a signature lather of lilting groove and keening pads linked with a lattice of dub-fried electronics to a staggered polymetric finale. 'Cast The Die' deals in a more worldly fusion of Eastern-gazing chant, Raga-like motifs and natty percussive patter with a queered eldritch quality that's Shackleton to the core.
Solid longform 2-tracker from Floating Points to seal off the year. 'Nuits Sonores' is great - nice to hear Sam Shepherd edging away from the coffee table for a mooch round moodier environs, delivering a 12-minute number that sounds like a smudged Paperclip People tangling with a bit of jazzzz as it builds. 'Nectarines' is again kinda indebted to classic Carl Craig and Main Street productions, although that floaty vocal towards the end is p'rraps a little too smooth. Still, his best for a while.
J&J’s last album 'Techno Primitivism’ totally floored us here, finding a sweet spot between elements of dub, jazz and psychedelia within a tactile house and techno framework. This new album - 'Clean-Cut’ - left us a bit cold on first listen, taking a much straighter approach feeding off classic Detroit and swung Chicago styles, but in the space of a couple of listens it has completely earwormed its way deep into our heads and refused to let go. From that off-ish pan-pipe hook on the killer title track to the red-lining drums on "Wheeze Please”, the production details and exotic flourishes ba… Read more
Including one of the greatest Drexciya tunes ever made, 'Digital Tsunami', plus three other cuts that didn't appear in his 'Harnessed The Storm' 2LP version (but did on the CD edition). The electro-techno surge of 'Digital Tsunami' is a stone cold essential, and B-side's 'Birth Of A New Life' one of his very sweetest. Highly recommended!
Carl Craig provides a smart re-model of Caribou's ubiquitous title, lending a more satisfying balance of brooding groove, radiophonical electronics and wry vocal processing backed with Caribou's original, jiggling shake-down, 'Mars', taken fromt he 'Our Love' album.
Deadly house traxxx from a funked-up Delroy Edwards for Gene's Liquor Store. While we've lately heard him do slick boogie as Rx, hardcore techno as DJ Punisher, and slowed down funk under his Delroy Edwards pseudonym, here he goes back to out-and-out party tricks with the G-funk-spiced breakbeat house throwdown, 'Can U Get With', next to an incredibly infectious piano house slammer, 'Always (Edit)' - almost guarantee you're gonna hear this everywhere! - and the fruity bounce of 'Untitled'. Recommended!
Warehouse discovery of some cheeky Chi trax, presumably made in the early '90s, but nobody really knows, or at least discogs doesn't. The work of DJ Ping and Tyree Cooper, there's two naughty house trax up top, and a trio of'Techno Problems' mixes on the B-side.
"LA/Detroit two-steppers Newbody keep the faith on their latest single. “Emotional” and the flip “Wut U Do” share the duo’s brisk vocal house signature: cooled garage energy, uptown piano, bass calisthenics, satin shirt soul. The remixes flex different tendons of the tracks: Emotion II Emotion pumps it to Jack City, piano stabs and discotheque horns over a lush, lewd bounce, while Cromie & Sage Caswell go more stereoscopic, dizzying the song into an abstract sunrise awakening. Also includes a radio edit of “Emotional,” to bait the Top 40 DJs on the fence. Mastered by Mark Pistel. Center label design by Trevor Tarczynski."
Lorca does his rolling, shuffly house thing with style for Breach's Naked Naked label. 'Calcutec' makes the first move with low slung groove underpinned by wide-style garage subs, built with a proggy arrangement primed for bigger rooms and London 'floors. 'Ndlamu' figures a more Afro-centric, jackin' sound with spacey dubbing and tribal momentum, and also in a slower, more rugged Alternative Mix.
**180g vinyl. Hand-numbered edition of 300** Double shot of deep and delirious house experiments from John Swing, EMG and Battista aka SPS. Their 2nd team joint flings farther into the jackin' zone with a pumping, swinging machine groove built from wriggly rimshots and filtered disco loops smudged with the fudgiest funk in the 'Conscio Mix'; B-side they scramble the senses with a dub-doused 'Inconscio Mix' spinning out into gyroscopic house space before finding its footing in a crumbling, dissolving groove taking the madness to its ultimate conclusion. Off it.
Klasse Recordings boss Luca Lozano follows his Optimo Trax session with a trio of rugged early techno-house emulations backed with divine DJ Fett Burger remix. There's a certain turn-of-the'90s vibe to Luca's originals, from the pumping Dance Mania flava and gritty drums of 'Mister Right Now', thru the sub-loaded and killer early hardcore/Belgian rave vibes of 'Come With Me', to the whirring, jacking R&S psychedelia of 'The Afterworld'. DJ Fett Burger's Orgonitt Meme Deep mix is icing on the cake, taking the vibe of 'The Afterworld' to New York City circa 1991 with big ol' Nu Groove-style B-line and drusm wrapped up with mad samples chatter and lush chords. TIPPED!
Delroy Edwards' LACR hard on the money with this issue of Gene Hunt's rare-as-owt '99 house banger 'Freddy's Dead', plus the tracky smack of 'Bong'. The Halloween themed title track was last found on the Gene Hunt Classics 2LP; is now remastered to make that rugged Italo bassline and drum programming cut like Kruger's blades. It's gotta be thee definitive mix of John Carpenter and Chicago house. 'Bong', on the other hand, is a properly stripped down tracky workout for the DJs and wall-bangers.
UTTU's king swinger takes to Creme with four cuts of jacking old skool style garage-house. DJ Haus' first foray beyond his own labels gives up some of his dopest material bestween the laidback swing and perc of 'Wurk It Gurl', the bumpty budge of 'Little Pieces' and the Essex-meets-Donkaster-via-Leiden pump of 'Feel The Powder' (track title of the year, anyone? OK just me, then).
As reliable as the changing of the seasons, Perlon serve three slices of suave tech-house minimalism from Thomas Melchior. His first 12" for the label since 2011 offers an extended groover on the A-side synching elasticated bassline to barely there-drums and ghostly oscillator, with crucial streaks of filtered strings luring us deeper into a rippling conga groove. B-side, he ups the energy levels with a perky, super-stripped number reminding of Wolfgang Voigt's Studio One classics, before switching tack again to knotted b-line and swinging claps with properly pensile late night/after-party vibes.
Yan Cook bangs out four proper techno welters for Delsin. Tuff tackle driven by thunderous kicks for bigger techno 'floors from the warehouse-gargling 'Gravity' thru the aerodynamic step of 'Flame'.
Clapped-out and super rudimentary machine music from Bunker's chief madhead, Guy Tavares aka Schmerzlabor. A pitching, ceramic bass drone stoically grinds across the A-side spiral; B-side is given to three pulsing, rhythmic noise jags, culminating in a proper slompy jacker.
London-based disco mutant Design A Wave takes to Chloe Frieda's Alien Jams label - spawned from her NTS show - with the skewed grooves of 'International Journey of Synthetic Emotion'. Following on from his 'A.R.M.' 12"s for Rush Hour's No 'Label', a trio of idiosyncratic arrangements unfold between the hyper footwork shuffle, hovering chords and electro-jazz runs of 'I' to a crafty slow/fast swing and warm, woozy pads in 'II' and the lushly deferred gratification of 'III', blossoming from four minutes of unanchored arpeggios and grubbing bass into a supple disco shuffle.
Monday, 15 December
Thursday, 11 December
Shifted takes a quieter, creepier tack towards cinematic industrial scapes and pulsing rhythms on 'Part 2' of his 'Arrangements in Monochrome' session. Dangerously opiated and out-of-reach, his sound here marks a subtle step forward/away in terms of sound design, and a more noxious reduction of his signature palette, guiding us from lightless drone and drizzle in 'The Incoherent' to urgently scan ocean floor depths in 'Arrangement In Monochrome II' and the bleakly gorgeous 'Second Wash', while 'Entartung' gets tangled in a flux of rusty aquatic rhythm and 'Lenine' leaves us stranded in alien space station atmospheres.
Shifted follows up his 'Under a Single Banner' LP for Bed Of Nails with his first new material for 2014. Part 1 of a twin 12" set, 'Arrangements in Monochrome' yields four mechanically worn-down grooves seeping from the oily, emulsifying drones of 'You're a Replacement' to the thrumming grey techno missile 'Arrangement In Monochrome I' and over to the viscous momentum of '6ft of Silence' or the ventilation shaft extrusion, 'The Velvet Rope'.
**Orange vinyl housed in clear poly sleeve with insert** Yves de Mey takes to AnD and Tom Dicicco's ISM label with four parts of brutalist tech-tronics as Grey Branches. Compared with the hyper detailed releases under his own name for Sandwell District and Opal Tapes etc., there appears to be a much noisier, tormented agenda behind these tracks, resulting in a darker, gritted sound between the salty electro-acoustic bogle of 'Exsolve', the mutant 110bpm slugger, 'Lower Bounds', and the crooked club gear of 'Binate', while 'Plangent' rings out with waves of white noise and shuddering sub-bass pressure.
Infectious, refreshing deep house and broken beat soul concoctions from Atlanta's Stefan Ringer. There's five tracks smudging the lines between garage house and jazz-funk soul to perfection, whether matching the loose genius of Gifted & Blessed in the fluid, sexy funk of 'Meagangood' and the bright swing of 'MYM', touching on a stoned soul buzz with the dope 'n icy 'Transitions', or square on the boogie-funk release valve with the killer broken beat pivots of 'The Fix' for fans of Falty DL, Karizma or Floating Points. Tipped!
**100% Silk darlings scrub up nicely on a much shinier return to the label** "When Cuticle’s asteroid techno shrapnel formations finally streak the sky, they’re immediately recognizable – the stark cubic mixing eccentricities, a clashing crosshatch of alien bass patterns and arcade synth fingerpaint, acid atmospherics dripped like candlewax, poems whispered through futuristic air ducts. Brendan O’Keefe’s phantom touch has been distinct since the project’s origin but Mind Holding Pattern feels even more defined and isolated than his earlier work, nine morphing textures charged with diffe… Read more
**Clear vinyl** Edit Select and Claudio PRC work deeper into Teste's 1992 classic, 'The Wipe'. Edit Select presents a super-wide remix version powered by thrumming bass and rending that buzzing top end to the peripheries, while the dub mix removes the shivering hi-hats. Claudio PRC's version on the other hand, feeds the original elements through a subtle, slinky gauntlet of piercing peaks and droning bass patterns.
**White wax** Sunil Sharpe puts the kicks down for Trensmat on his follow-up to that Tinfoil 12" and appearance on BROS006. Heavy machinery all round, hitting it hard from the incendiary surge of 'Jamm 1' to the Brum-styled jag of 'Stitches' and sloping slammer 'Late Drift' via something a little more electro-sexy in the pumping swing of 'Eyebrow'.
Bleaching Agent - outed as Al Matthews of Smear/FSG - gets down to mucky business on the 'Sun Spool' EP for Edinburgh's Tsar. Working a similarly soiled rut as Prostitutes or Container, but perhaps with a dash of UK techno swagger, a quartet of cuts bowl from the humping acid of 'Mack' to the knuckle'ead rave pound of 'Taktu' and over to the killer jakbeat torque of 'Mabli', closing with a coruscating, Afro-centric wiggler named, 'RGA'.
Only 15 years since their seminal 'Multi Ordinal Tracking Unit' 12" (reissued in 2012), Unspecified Enemies launch a sick 2nd 12" of hi-tech funk. Two London-based producers with a serious thing for Detroit, Unspecified Enemies are separately known as Simon Walley and Louis Digital. Together they craft some of the sharpest techno tackle known to mankind, exemplified here in the turbulent cut-up of 'Ms. 45' and the Lauren Hill-slamming booty pressure of 'Chip Mode' up top, while the iced shake of 'Liquid Floor' and gritty funk friction of 'Lifestyles of the Minidisc Era' get nasty wid it on the back. Premo gear, this.
Brooding, aquatic techno abstraction by Dronelock on the new Shadow Story label alongside remixes: Mark Broom gives a brukken, drily funked-up re-calibration; Rivet swings it into stranger, atmospheric territory; Ontal reduces and prods it into a tightly compressed shuffle layered up with glassy keys and spasming bass rolige.
The boss and his boys, Sawf, Truss and Drvg Cvlvtre ride out the 2nd of two 12"s marking a decade of Perc Trax in the field. Perc takes poel position with the lamping kick drum force of 'Hyperlink' and Sawf does that patented shuffle with the irresistible, uncompromising torque of 'Goves'. Truss cracks a can of noisy whoop-ass for the harder heads, and Drvg Cvltvre lends some mittel European poise with the acid bomb, '(I Don't Want To Die In) James Franco's House'.