Monday, 20 June 2011
Since 2005 Mark E's productions have increasingly become the toast of a House scene looking for slower and more seductive tempos without losing the all important impact. Following two killer CD compilations of his celebrated 12" releases, Ghostly International serve his long overdue debut album. 'Stone Breaker' features nine forceful but funky mid-tempo productions primed for the 'floor. It's not really a home listening album, that is unless you've got a house full and everyone is lashed. It *almost* works as a DJ set in itself, striding from the scene-setting slow pound of 'Archway', slipping i… Read more
"When talking about Ska Music one group of musicians whose name always comes to the forefront of the conversation are The Skatalites. Formed around 1965 and named originally after the Soviet space satellite which was big news at the time and with a little help from band member Tommy McCook, making a play on the characteristic 'Ska'sound made by the guitar when following the 'after beat' of the music. The band would have a name to go with its distinctive musical style. The group had honed their skills by playing under various guises around Jamaica in numerous 'Hotel Bands'. When the big … Read more
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Vancouver-dweller Babe Rainbow is the latest in Warp's long and illustrious tradition of free associating beat-makers, and sure enough 'It's All Happening' - opening jam on this new EP - could easily be an old Wagon Christ or Prefuse track, all diced breakbeats and repurposed jazz flutes (the good kind); it's only the preternaturally swampy sub-bass and pin-sharp sound design that remind us we're in 2011. Wicked stuff, but a misleadingly frothy and backwards-looking start to an EP that's peppered with surprises and unafraid of the dark side: 'The Spill' is a kind of eldritch house interl… Read more
*Includes download code redeemable from the label* This is the one we've been waiting for!!! Following their ongoing exposé of Chicago Footwork, Planet Mu turn their keen ears to the 'floor and the sound of Bubbling; the hyper-futuristic Dutch dance craze perpetuated by the 2nd and 3rd generation descendants of Caribbean immigrants. We'll let the ever-knowledgeable Dave Quam explain the origins "At a party in the late 80s in The Hague, a local DJ by the name of DJ Moortje accidentally dropped a dancehall twelve-inch at 45RPMs, causing chaos in the audience. Not the kind of ne… Read more
*Limited vinyl edition - comes with a download code redeemable directly from the label* The indomitable Wiley has just dropped arguably his finest album to date. The gestalt '100% Publishing' is completely Wiley's: produced, vocalled and recorded by the godfather of Grime, and surely his most confidently varied set to date, too. Much of the lyrics and humour may only be decipherable to Londoners or Grime heads, but the fact that the production is pretty much solid and endearing throughout (unlike some other Wiley albums) means that they'll sink in over time due to the play-it-again factor. Like … Read more
Superb unter-pop pickings from Planet Mu's new signing, Clermont-Ferrand-hailing Matthieu Le Berre aka Vezelay. We'll be the first to admit that Planet Mu's dalliances with pop music haven't always hit the spot for us, but this one is a far simpler, and by turns a far more successful effort. Le Berre is ticking all the right boxes, hinting at BoC like harmonic wooze on 'Archetype', or Junior Boys-meeting-Autechre on the lovely opener 'Sedative', but we'd be more inclined to file his sound closer to Tri Angle's R&B/Soul sensitivities than anything else. The sparse ambient melancholy and svelte structu… Read more
Ghostleigh's gone and upped his game with the tenth release on his boutique self-titled imprint. Both tracks follow his recent trajectory into deeper, slower House and modern Disco zones with an increasingly sophisticated finish. A-side is lost to a lush Detroit dream, tracing padded kicks tipping to Omar-S or Theo, all enveloped by lavish synth chords and romantically sustained strings. We could almost hear the flipside dropped as a Running Back release, the hypnotic mid-tempo pace and clipped disco shuffle reminding of something from Roman Flügel or maybe like a more sensually smudged Mark E track. Debonaire black label styles for the connoisseurs.
Sumptuous rework of the underrated New Order classic 'Subculture' from a new alliance in Scandinavian House music, Jori Hulkkonen and Alex Nieminen, with vocals from Pet Shop Boys' Chris Lowe! Pals for nigh on 20 years, these pair of acclaimed Finnish House heads have gone back to their roots, explicitly referencing dancefloor pop music, but more subtly nodding to the New York, Chicago and Detroit influences which in turn fed into the music of New Order and so much European club/pop music of the late '80s and '90s. Chris Lowe's appearance is beautifully measured to a numb melancholy balanc… Read more
"Out 1, the debut album by Pierre LX, slinks elegantly around the peripheries of electronic music in a way that only a record made in London can. Not really techno, kind of like house, but certainly influenced by the UK's bass music scene, this is one of those albums that slips between genres into its own groove. His contemporaries, producers like John Roberts, Instra:mental and Pearson Sound, are on a similar wavelength. If you've heard Pierre play one of his regular DJ sets at Fabric, you'll have an idea of what to expect. Pierre's analogue jams are moody and sensuous, raw and sometimes jacking, an… Read more
Joel Nicholson's first album under the Butcher the Bar moniker since 'Sleep At Your Own Speed' came out three years ago now, and was a triumph of calm, bedroom-produced pop music. Elliott Smith is usually the name that comes to mind when talking about Nicholson's songs, but this time around he sounds invigorated and fresh, and 'For Each a Future Tethered' is a collection of his best songs to date. There is an air of distinct Englishness about his music, and at times when Nicholson loses himself I'm reminded of Nick Drake, which isn't a comparison I'm prepared to bandy about… Read more
**Includes digital download voucher redeemable from the label** "Milk Maid is Martin Cohen from Nine Black Alps. They were discovered by Jack Cooper of Mazes, who released a single on Suffering Jukebox before they were signed by FatCat Records. The whole album was recorded on Martin's 8-track in his flat in Manchester. Reference points include Mazes, Woods and the Woodsist label, The Shins, Guided By Voices, Oasis, Jesus And Mary Chain."
Monday, 13 June 2011
Warehouse-ready ruffige from the vaults of the late Ben Brydon aka Brackout. 'Unrequited' steps to it with dusted 'ardcore breaks lashed with mentasms and sparingly deployed subs. Flipside is his UKG remix of a Spewis vs Bass Invaders cut, techy-funk tucked tight int he pocket, next to the junglist roll-out of 'Damage Limitation'.
Thursday, 09 June 2011
Toro Y Moi hands 'Still Sound' from his 'Underneath The Pines' LP to Toby Tobias for plush mid-tempo disco reworks. His 'Moving Sound' version is a creamy confection of vibin' organ chords over melted bassline and dreamy drag House beats sounding not dissimilar to a dubbier Junior Boys production. The Deep Dub on the flip is more serene, while Voodoo Bears round up with a subtly spacious and twinkling, electro-edged remix.
The title says it all! Eveson lays down his best track since the lush 'Numbers', rolling out ruff & tuff breaks and wide, plunging bass but with a sweet atmospheric sensitivity on the outstanding 'Wicked Dub'. Fliside, 'Peace' is a more standard liquid jungle roller.
Another blast of superlative Berlin School kosmische reissued for modern-day space cadets and those who missed it the first time around. You need only look at the sleeve of You's Time Code - all mystic pyramids and spheres floating across airbrushed alien terrain - to perceive its relevance in the age of such new age revivalists as Oneohtrix, Stella OM Source and Dylan Ettinger. Recorded in 1982, using a hefty bank of Moog and Prophet synths and state-of-the-art digital sequencing, Timecode found the pared-down You line-up of Albin Meskes and Udo Hanten exploring the deepest spiritual recesses of man a… Read more
Milyoo grooves on a mid-tempo avant-boogie vibe backed with a swinging UK Garage remix from West Norwood Cassette Library. Further establishing his unique take on dancefloor electronics, Milyoo's 'Biogram V2' arrives via super quiet intro, setting spacious parameters for a slow jacking rhythm inserted with Akufen-style edits. Flip it and WNCL amp the 'floor potential with a lick of deep and swinging Garage rhythms.
Cyrus becomes the 2nd artist after Tunnidge to release a solo 12" on Distance's hallowed Chestplate label. He's in menacing, moody form here, perhaps feeling some nostalgia for meditative '06 styles on 'Looking Back', dropping the aggression of much of todays scene in favour of ballooning subbass and arcing searchlight synths primed for the depths of the night, pre-smoking ban daze, if ya get me? Flipside, 'Soul Seeker' is equally red-eyed and droning but with subtly dynamic percussion and humid atmospheres to enhance your groove. Heavy.
Exhilarating, bewildering and shocking side from two infamous improvisors, Okkyung Lee (Cello), and Phil Minton (Voice). The LP is accompanied by liner notes from Christian Marclay who scribes a long list of adjectives only to finish "Words are powerless when it comes to describing what Okkyung Lee and Phil Minton are doing here." and we've gotta agree with the man. He knows what he's talking about. This record is bonkers in the most best sense of the word. Braver listeners will be in their element. LP is housed in fold-over sleeve screen-printed by Midori Ogata & Anna Tjan, in an edition of 350.
Okay I’ll level with you, this ain’t gonna be an album for all of you, but if anyone out there has a love of Icelandic pop music AND a good sense of humour then there’s likely a great deal in here to latch on to. FM Belfast is apparently a ‘community’ of artists, so the less said about that the better, it’s far better to note the fact that ‘Don’t Want To Sleep’ is an unashamedly party-focused record. From the chipper rave stabs of album opener ‘Stripes’ to the cheery chant of “I’m gonna learn American” on ‘American’ there seems to be a general consensus from the band that they’re writi… Read more
Full spectrum bruk-out from Germany's No.1 Dubstep fusion band and the UK's Foreign Beggars. 'Raising The Bar' kicks off like Toxic Funk Berry on a bag of whizz, while the Beggars spit expletives your ma wouldn't like. On the remixes, Wascal flips it for the double garage crew, while Stray goes all-out Jump-up jungle and Nuphlo churns it up for the Dubstep mans.
Tuesday, 07 June 2011
**180 gram vinyl with digital download voucher redeemable from the label** "In a year full of bail-outs and bank failures, Secret Cities found themselves fortunate to occupy the basement of a recently abandoned bank in Kansas City, Missouri. Complete with bulletproof glass, functioning pneumatic tubes, and a giant vault, this space served as the band's studio as they recorded their sophomore effort, Strange Hearts. After recording their debut at a glacial pace over five years, Secret Cities decided to try something radically different. Working against a self imposed deadline, Strange He… Read more
Three deeper House tracks from Glasgow. A-side is occupied by Florian Muller's KDJ-debted 'Fusion Experiment #2', a tidy piece of rolling keys, lopped disco licks and plump, squidgy bass. Carlos Nilmmns goes a cut deeper on the B-side with 'Cielo (NYC)', a downpitched Techno roll dedicated to the legendary club, while 'La Derive La Nuit' eases into a more sensual, synth-layered groove. Hand-stamped white label.
Monday, 06 June 2011
Barry Lynn's fourth album for Planet Mu effectively sees him disengage with Dubstep and embrace the esoteric strands of Jazz, Techno and Electronica which always richly informed his music. It's no surprise really, given that his previous album 'Arecibo Message' and singles on Kinnego Records have been moving towards a finer balance of electro and acoustic instrumentation for the last few years. Worry not though, he's not lost his head up his arse with over-egged "experimentalism", the 13 tracks of 'The Dissolve' are still definitively Boxcutter, but now rubbed with that same pseudo lo-fi aesth… Read more
Thursday, 02 June 2011
Ahead of his forthcoming album, FBA drops two tried-and-tested Techno weapons for Tresor. 'Grey Summer' builds up crafty pumping rhythms to Trancy payoff reminiscent of older Mathew Jonson tracks or recent Psychatron moves, while 'Regurgitate' is more direct, revolving around a potent trance-techno hook and proper old-skool Tresor rhythms.
Slugabed makes his solo Ninja Tune debut with his most impressively organised release to date. Folding in factors from warped VHS music, lazer-guided R&B and destabilized UK Bass, he's clearly on a proper orbital trajectory with the 'Moonbeam Rider' EP. His sound has become increasingly cleaner since the 'Ultra-Heated' EP on Planet Mu and successive remixes for the likes of Eprom, Starkey and Eskmo, managing to stealthily control the chaos without compromising his off-key agenda. That title track is a beaut, diffusing chromed-out R&B and dynamic in some 3D geometric cy ber-space, while 'He… Read more
Party-ready double pack of vocal dubstep collaborations with Riya, Phephe, and Mr Lager. Styles range from Junglist/Boogie hybrids on 'One Day' to halfsteppin' Jungle on 'You're The One', and dubbed-out rollers sounds on 'Asap'.
**9" Blue Vinyl for the collectors** DFA accompany their extraordinary album release by Planningtorock with two album tracks, 'Doorway' and 'The Breaks' on a special vinyl pressing. The Bolton-via-Berlin artiste has undoubtedly made a lasting impression with her album 'W', one destined to sink in for years to come. Album highlight 'Doorway' introduces the sharp contrasts of her sound, manifested in the tension between blurting monotone sax and flash synth stabs with her vocals pitched similarly to former collaborator Fever Ray aka The Knife's Karin Dreijer. 'The Breaks' is more epi… Read more
Has it really been six years since 13 & God's self titled debut album? That record, the fruition of a long-term collaboration between Anticon lads Doseone, Jel, Dax Pierson and Jordan Dalrymple and Weilheim poppers The Notwist was an oddity in anyone's record collection. A deeply strange blend of Anticon's patented dark blend of grubby rap and The Notwist's similarly distinct German electronic pop, the album was a triumph in both its originality and its strange ability to lock itself away in the deepest recesses of the mind (seriously I still hum some of the songs...). It's been far too long a … Read more
Prolific French producer, Kolombo turns up on Kompakt with two sophisticated modern Disco-Tech trax, backed with a Michael Mayer remix. The slower posh-trance vibes of 'Waiting For' are tastefully lush, contrasting with the sleazier mid-tempo disco throb of 'Rescue Me', and Michael Mayer's raved-up remix of 'Waiting For'.
Bossa isn't a genre of music that usually crosses my messy desk, that's for sure. Telebossa are unafraid to go full steam ahead into the genre, and the results are surprising and electrifying. There are simple tales of love and loss set to a backdrop of Brazilian sun, and this only gives the compositions more weight. The sheer variety on show here is what strikes me the most, and I get the feeling that the music here has been so meticulously thought out that it's hard to pick fault.