Thursday, 14 February 2013
**Repress!!** Pure dread at 130 on Keysound from newcomer Wen, approaching the gulliest grime riddims with a cinematic lens and razor-sharp production. Fans of Beneath's fiendishly engineered rollers will be feeling 'Commotion' and 'Nightcrawler' but the truth is they're even icier and more minimal than that, the sound design more precise and punishing. It's no fluke either: the whole EP cuts like a freshly whetted blade: 'Spark It' turns on flightier, UKF-informed drum programming, but evokes the kind of widescreen rudeboy paranoia the likes of which we haven't felt since Loefah's earliest … Read more
Recently outed as a former patron of our auld shop, Pelicanneck, the (slightly less) mysterious SOPHIE follows up one of THE tracks of last year - a sparkle-eyed remix of Auntie Flo massively tipped by Jackmaster (and us) - with a debut trio of original peaches for Huntleys & Palmers. They're every bit as shiny and wholesome as we'd hoped for, brimming with a joyful essence that can't fail on the best 'floors. The big one is undoubtedly his vocal mix of 'Nothing More To Say', a sort of poppier answer to Jam City's neo-classical curves, all simmering big room hooks, haughty grunts and diva … Read more
**Swaggering Manchester 'otpot of dancefloor and psychedlia** "2013 is the debut album from Justin Velor, a vibrant Technicolor collision of styles ("you might call it a musical Dr. Frankenstein," he says) incorporating everything from Vangelis-inspired synth drones and nocturnal acid house rhythms to tender folk melodies and psychedelic flourishes, all delivered with a post-punk sneer. "I wanted to make a fantastical soundscape with colourful dynamics and a soul," he explains. Helping him with his vision 'Velor' called upon some of the finest of Manchester's rich alternative music heritage. Workin… Read more
*White Vinyl Re-press!* *Well, this could very well be our favourite record on the PAN label yet. It has a concept so brilliant and simple we can't quite believe it hasn't been done before, taking the burning embers, breakdowns and ambient interludes off classic Jungle mixtapes and re-assembling them into a ghostly ambient-not-ambient mix that's at once hugely nostalgic and totally forward thinking - so so good* 'Diversions 1994-1996' is Lee Gamble's chimeric recollection of jungle's golden era. Using samples sourced solely from his cache of jungle mixtapes accrued as a raving teenage… Read more
London's Boxwork debuts on LNUK with four tracks of deep and rude house deviations. Arriving with support from Mary Anne Hobbs, Visionist and Rinse FM's Seb Chew, Boxwork takes on house at its widest parameters, from the swinging Detroit styles of 'Specifics' to the kinetic jUKe styles of 'Barntom' on the A-side, and over to the sub-heavy, 2-step rufige of 'Leak' and the boogie thug junglist roll of 'You Only' on the flipside. Wicked!
**Thoroughly charming Ghanaian highlife and Afro-funk classic. Remastered reissue with obi-strip and download code redeemable from the label** "One of Ghanaʼs finest producer and arrangers, Ebo Taylor was involved in a lot of the afro-funk to emerge from the country in the 70s working with bands such as Apagya Show Band and fellow musicians such as C.K. Mann and Pat Thomas. Conflict was originally released in 1980 and is finally seeing a long overdue reissue on Mr Bongo, following a partial remake as part of Taylorʼs 2009 Love and Death album. The five tracks that make up Conflict are… Read more
While some listeners may have preferred the band’s early synthesizer experiments, it’s nice to see New York survivors Psychic Ills keeping things moving at a time when most are happy to let the scene whizz past them. Since 2003 the band have really been able to do what they like, and whether that’s collaborating with Gibby Haynes and Sonic Boom, or simply tracking an album of frazzled psychedelic pop music, it’s never easy to tell what’s gonna emerge. This time the band managed to rope in legendary dirt rock pioneer Neil Michael Hagerty, and the album pushes and pulls through the kind of … Read more
Tidy, blue-eyed electronic soul moves by Chris Ward as Tropics, making the move from Planet Mu to Svetlana Industries to release his first new material in two years. Fresh from the drawing board/bedroom studio, he's eying up the 'floor with the mid-tempo disco-bop and tender phrases of 'Popup Cinema', chiming "you're pulling at my heartstrings/you know I need you" to James Blake-like organ chords and trickling dance rhythms. Meanwhile, with its slap bass, keys and filtered vibes 'Invitation' sounds like it could be a lost Phoenix classic, and 'Ophelia' displays some seriously canny electro-disco… Read more
Introducing scene lynchpin, Kranky affiliate and producer for Grouper, LA Vampires and Zola Jesus, Brian Foote aka Leech, with four deviant and exotic acid house burners for 100% Silk. Wormholing through meta-jumbled sub-genres of house's thirty year history, we ride the offset oscillations and lushly crooked polyrhythms of 'Tusks' to a skronky house-not-disco-house number 'Ninao' on the A-side, whilst the flip guides us thru the crumpled acid bobble ov 'Sense Enjoyer' to the record's big highlight, a decelerated slow-jacker called 'Winehouse' coming off like the Acid Hall riddim reprogrammed by Tin Man.
Denmark's deepest export dallies with disco and Chicago house flavours on his return to Echocord. 'Parre' sounds something like Soundhack gone techno and 'Retro' injects a darkside Chi-town warehouse feel with brooding bass and raw drums. Then there's 'Until It's Over', a sweeter treat for fans of Kassem Mosse or Workshop's deepest moments.
**Re-press now available** Unless you've had no internet for the last three months, Lee Gamble's name should be quite familiar to you lot by now. In swift succession to his exceptional 'Diversions 1994-1996' LP we perhaps get a truer glimpse of his range and practice on its sibling side 'Dutch Tvashtar Plumes'; a substantially longer suite of computerised techno gems oscillating between Hecker-esque sonic illusions and the sort of post-Detroit/UK techno that Actress carved his name on. In contrast to Lee's challenging early work as co-founder of the CYRK collective and the sense of me… Read more
Thursday, 07 February 2013
**Limited edition of 500 2LP/gatefold copies, the fourth side features special on-body silkscreened artwork by Nico Vascellari** The intriguing Von Archives label delivers this beautifully packaged, fearless document of Prurient's ongoing collaborations with Italian contemporary visual artist Nico Vascellari. It includes a tortuous performance at Marina Abramovich Institute, San Francisco, and much the same at Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev. The two studio pieces especially are worth much of your time and attention, working with compelling samples of GG Allin and Klaus … Read more
**150g vinyl housed in old-skool tip-on style jacket** "Coming hot on the heels of his first full length, the self-proclaimed “most sampled artist of all time,” released the groundbreaking black concept LP Is It Because I’m Black (a full 13 months before Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On). Throwing away the notion of a sophomore jinx, Syl delivered this politically charged document. To hear him tell it, Syl Johnson could have been as big as James Brown or Al Green. #1 on the charts, top billing on the marquee, Hall of Fame inductions, tearful tributes... all within his reach, and yet never … Read more
Carsten Nicolai and Olaf Bender roll out another Diamond Version EP off their production line with an efficiency they're no doubt acutely aware, and proud of. Far from offering diminishing returns, though, this project seems to get more interesting with each 12" instalment: 'Turn On Tomorrow' eschews the hard lines and sharp corners we've come to expect from these producers in favour of something more fluid and amorphous, resulting in a slippery, stealthy electro bomb that reminds us of nothing so much as early Touchin' Bass productions. There's a return to S-M severity on … Read more
**Translucent Green Vinyl** Trusta and Policy set about remixing Belgian duo Goldffinch's biggest cuts. The highlight undoubtedly belongs to Trusta, who serrates and re-patches 'Funky Steppa' with a more spacious roll and itchy drum detailing anchored by bulging subbass. On a party-time tip, Policy gives up a strangely funny, slightly wonky take on 'Outer Twigs' revolving around jaunty MIDI brass melodies and dippy bassline.
Sonic Router's label top a fine debut annum with Hav Lyfe's first solo album of buckled beats and mid-fi 'lectronic wooze. He's previously shared a split tape with Wanda Group aka Dem Hunger, so you should have some idea of the unsteady ground he's treading; trippin' from Ssaliva-like bust-beats on 'Civivic' to the Hype Williams-esque boogie slant of 'My Man Kelly Moon From The Gavin' and taking in sublime highlights on the re-fractal OPN-isms of 'Mond' or moments reminding of Jan Jelinek on U Ain't Bout Dat Lyf'. Support from Baron Mordant, Matthewdavid, Ben UFO.
**Sophisticated, vintage-sounding Japanese lounge and soul grooves** "Shintaro Sakamoto begins a new chapter in his storied career with the release of his debut solo album, the otherworldly folk pop masterpiece ‘How To Live With A Phantom’. For over two decades, Sakamoto was the frontman and leader of Japanese psychedelic phenomenon Yura Yura Teikoku. While the group only ever played a handful of shows outside of their homeland, they achieved cult status throughout the world and saw several albums reissued in limited pressings in the US, including the critically acclaimed… Read more
**150g vinyl housed in old-skool tip-on style jacket** "Coming hot on the heels of his first full length, the self-proclaimed "most sampled artist of all time," released the groundbreaking black concept LP Is It Because I'm Black (a full 13 months before Marvin Gaye's What's Going On). Throwing away the notion of a sophomore jinx, Syl delivered this politically charged document. To hear him tell it, Syl Johnson could have been as big as James Brown or Al Green. #1 on the charts, top billing on the marquee, Hall of Fame inductions, tearful tributes... all within his reach, and yet … Read more
**White vinyl** Martyn and 2000Black (Kaidi Tatham & Dennis "Dego" McFarlane) give up fresh broken beat and house remixes of FaltyDL's loved-up 'She Sleeps' move. 2000Black's mixes - remix, instrumental, acapella - do that grown-up and jazzy thing to a reassuring extent, but if you fancy some muck on yer biscuit get down with Martyn's ruddier, electro-laced house stepper.
**Edition of 500 double vinyl in gatefold album sleeve** The Names' 1982 LP 'Swimming' is a bona fide cold wave classic. Recorded at Strawberry Studios by Martin Hannett, the original album is now re-issued with their Peel session of the same year (the first ever recorded by a Belgian band) and the popular singles 'Calcutta' and 'Nightshift'. Their blend of coldly impassioned vocals, romantic synths, driving drums and sophisticated songwriting is an archetypal Factory/Les Disques Du Crépuscule sound, and strongly recommended to fans of that heart-aching Joy Division style aped by so, so many in recent times.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Moiré makes a strong first impression on his/her Werk Discs debut, backed with a dope Actress remix and featuring vox by Heidi Vogel. 'Drugs' is the sound of a heavy night out, churning screwface bass beneath emotional Detroit synth pads and swinging claps like to come off like Lone's cousin who really knows how to get down. His 'Into' joint follows that train of thought with proper dancefloor finesse, inverting euphoric '90s vibes - diva wails, reese bass, disembodied synth voices - to a strangely squashed yet prodding sort of technoid disco, and 'Lose It' makes Heidi Vogel sputter… Read more
Beneath brings his murky dubstep and Funky hybrids to Tectonic in heavy style. 'Duty' sets up for the stagger and waggle crew with loose drums offsetting old skool Loefah-style subs and plangent synth shapes that open and envelope an uncoiling, industrial-strength steppers' groove. 'Texers' flexes out on a badboy rollers tip; elliptical bass and hardbody snares synch under darkside Ed Rush-style synthlines and a chirping early '00s grime hook that's got us by the balls.
Disko404 present the first Nubian Mindz gear in five years! As a favourite of Kode 9 and 4 Hero, Colin Lindo's broken beat alias is responsible for some defining moments in the UK bass 'nuum and can be hailed as one of the closest antecedents to the latterday sound of Kode 9 or 2562's more technoid constructions, working that sweetspot between Detroit techno, UK D&B, and more rooted, Afro futurist flavours. Here, he's well in step with current trends, taking in the fluid swing techno currents of 'Hacker Wacker' alongside the Theo Parrish-like bump and fuzz of 'Vox & Cymbal'
Portland-via New Zealand might seem like quite a long way to go in search of the perfect sound, but it seems to have paid off for Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson. A gleefully psychedelic mix of early Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine with just enough West Coast transistor radio rock 'n roll thrown in for good measure, Nielson has a sound few others are trawling right now, and it works in his favour. There's nothing pretentious about these songs, and in a couple of minutes he manages to get more heart and soul across than most bands manage in an entire record. Maybe… Read more
"Norwegian/Mexican Carmen Villain is the latest signing to Smalltown Supersound. She has spent the last year working on her debut album, resulting in a tempestuous, psychedelic and dreamlike set of songs with a defiantly DIY underground free-rock sound. This 12" features a remix by Prins Thomas, Limited to an edition of 500 copies."
Exotic Pylon make their most convincing move on the 'floor yet with six tracks of adroit bass work and unstable electronics from Ed Gillett's Shape Worship project. From the top, 'Mzunga' opens a heady space between early ambient techno and the kind of Afro-futurist grooves explored by Actress and the Diskant lot, and 'Concentration' runs that vibe to a swinging, celestial 2-step with shades of Laurel Halo shared in the brief, spiralling vignette 'Seaglass'. Things take a turn to almost pop-wise realms with the Four Tet-like construction of 'Air White Smoke Signal', and 'Quilt' comes off li… Read more
**Silkscreened sleeves in hand-painted and silkscreened heavyweight boxset. Edition of 145** Italy's wonderful Planam label presents Jason Meagher and Pat Murano's freeform 1996 recordings compiled on 6 LPs for the first time - the elusive 10 copies of the original triple cassette release have all but vanished into the ether. Effectively, these recordings present a more extreme and primal sound pre-dating and paralleling the duo's better known work in the revered No-Neck Blues Band, and act as a distant relative to the cryptic astrology of Murano's incredible Decimus series. Imagin… Read more