A new name on Livity Sound
I-III plays deep into the label’s signature, rolling style with the rippling, Afrocentric drums, Detroit chords and subtle electrical disturbances of Dolce designed to enhance your hustle, then Bun So Nude heads down a slippery wormhole of almost Indian-sounding drum cadence synched to proper, bulbous subs and not much else, but that’s all you need!
Nearly 10 years since meeting Mica Levi as Kwesachu, and 5 since his début LP ilp, Kwes. charmingly reminds us of his modern electronic soul on Songs For Midi - a 6 track EP written in dedication to his young niece, Midori and cousin, Connor, who both helped out on the artwork.
Clearly a personal endeavour, and very much inspired by an image of youthful innocence, Songs For Midi expresses, nay exudes, a bright optimism that really can’t be sniffed at. Kwes. gestures that it’s an effort in finding his own musical voice after working in the studio closely with everyone from Bobby Womack to Solange and Kelela in recent years, and we have to agree that he’s definitely located and rounded up his idiosyncrasies inside.
Popping with chromatic colour and beautifully freed of fixed meter, Songs For Midi is a brilliant study on the vividness of youth, as seen and heard thru a personalised prism of modern electronic jazz fusion. In freehand strokes and with balletic lightness, Kwes. keeps us rapt from ribboning sino-esque scales of Midori thru the off-kilter tangggg and pastoral lushness of Ungry/Milk, to the superbly curdled 99flake and the head-spinning Blox/Connor with its strobing pop chops and swallow-diving strings.
RIYL Mica Levi, Cy An, Maxwell Sterling
SOPHIE lights up 2018 with ‘Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides’, an exhilarating début album of upfront dance-pop, epic ballads and shocking electronic production that grasps the modern zeitgeist with jaws and both fists
Landing some 6 years since her ironically titled debut Nothing More To Say, over which time the artist has produced records for Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples (among others), Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides renders a full frontal experience that’s set to define the scene for years to come.
SOPHIE’s understanding of the links between avant-garde and pop cultures is dramatically in force across the album, matching the hyperreal pop stun of PC Music chop for chop, but also pushing the prism farther in favour of her own, equally hyperreal image. The results are comparable with Autechre and EVOL records as much as Taylor Swift or The Pet Shop Boys, veering from warped pop perfection to brutalist electronics and breathtaking rhythmic energy often in the space of a single track, brilliantly embracing contradiction as a tool of expression in a way that feels bang on the money right now.
Her trifecta of lead singles, It’s Okay to Cry, Ponyboy, and Faceshopping gild the album’s entrance with some of the strongest pop sensations felt in recent years, before matters take a dramatic turn with a plunge into the beatless trance ballad Is It Cold In The Water?, and the subsequent chest-bursting R&B gospel of Infatuation, which both appear to massage the senses in preparation for the album’s shock-out 2nd half.
In Not Okay, she pairs knock-out electronics with the sheerest rave mentasms in delirious 3D, before utterly gobbling your swede in the breathtaking, atonal wormhole of Pretending, and promptly spiralling into the vacuum-packed banger Immaterial, then embracing the Whole New World/Pretend World in a kill-‘em-all 9 minutes of endorphin-rushing dance-pop genius that’s effectively the 2018 anthem we were all waiting for.
Boy wonder Bryan Müller a.k.a. Skee Mask comes of age with Compro, a dreamily sensual 2nd album tessellating ambient techno, jungle, IDM/electronica and breakbeat science for his Munich-based crew at Ilian Tape.
Cadging cues from classic Aphex Twin as much as Basic Channel, the 12 tracks on Compro cycle thru a plethora of styles with the innocent agility and explorative freedom of the early-mid ‘90s wave of producers who arguably established the patterns that we all dance in and around today.
However, with the benefit of hindsight and the relative ease and tactility of modern production methods, Skee Mask feels to evaporate and render those patterns with a finer grasp of spatial dynamics and layered textures, ultimately manifest in the vaporous designs of album opener Cerroverb, and resulting unique highlights in the cloud dynamic ambient ‘ardcore of 50 Euro To Break Boost, which sounds like Fennesz doing breakbeats, or in the sublime weightless percolations of Vi Sub Mids, and particularly on the elusive rush of Soudnboy Ext. and the very Tom Jenkinson-esque closing couplet of Kozmic Flush and Calimance (Delay Mix).
Joy O approaches 10 years in the game with a diversified EP smartly marking the distance travelled from his acclaimed debut ‘Hyph Mngo’ back in 2009.
Spanning shadowy UK electro-bass, weightless trance, and deep blue house styles, the ‘81b EP’ follows Joy O’s collaboration with sax player Ben Vince for Hessle Audio to render a definitively mature self-portrait of his sound in 2018.
On the A-side he tees off with the slunky lust of ‘Seed’ on a sci-fi electro tip, mixing gynoid vocals with shifty UK-style subs into killer 2nd half Reese drop, whereas ‘Coyp’ is more stripped down to ghostly rolige, and ‘Tennov6teen’ locks into a roil of entrancing arps.
The B-side is much warmer, fleshly, stretching out with the offset, Kassem Mosse-alike bubble ’n squeak of ‘Belly’, before ‘Sin Palta’, a highlight of his Dekmantel mix, appears in a more dubbed out mix, and ‘81b’ curls up at the end on a slouchy after-party bent.
Objekt returns with Cocoon Crush, his first LP since 2014’s Flatland. Over the past four years he has continued to challenge conventions with his club output, while maintaining his reputation as a DJ who deploys impeccable technical finesse in crafting elaborate narratives from a diverse and challenging palette of electronic music.
"Written between 2014 and 2018 in Berlin and on the road, Cocoon Crush once again sees the producer jettisoning the functional requirements of the dancefloor. Marking a further evolution from the youthful exuberance of Flatland, Cocoon Crush explores a more introspective side, with themes of human interaction resonating throughout the record as it ruminates on a spectrum of complex moods rooted in 4 years of sometimes turbulent personal experience.
Cocoon Crush represents an aesthetic departure from Flatland’s largely synthetic tonality, drawing from organic source material and natural textures to illustrate perplexing and unfamiliar sceneries in photorealistic detail. In Cocoon Crush, Objekt diverges further still from his musical influences to craft the purest manifestation of his own musical personality to date: an intriguing and enigmatic album whose reference points are hard to pin down, in which ghostly synth passages weave through mind-bending, weighty drums, and ASMR-triggering foley collages scrape and sparkle.
Through meticulous sculpting, Objekt traces a rich and impressionistic journey through claustrophobia, hope, guilt, anxiety and joy, nested in layers of sonic detail which reward with every listen."