Finally, Hospital Productions unveil the long awaited vinyl debut from the elusive Salford Electronics, backed with killer remixes by Ancient Methods and Vatican Shadow. Tipped if yr into Burial, Regis, Silent Servant...!
Plucked from right under our noses, Salford Electronics appears to be a handle for David Padbury, whose credits for industrial units such as Death Pact International and The Grey Wolves stretch back to the ‘80s. Under the SE mantle however, Padbury pursues a stealthy, menacing blend of industrial ambient, rolling techno and even Burial-esque 2-step that cannily resonates with styles you’ll hear any given weekend at Salford venue, The White Hotel - aka the best (and coldest) venue in the world right now.
The Salford Electronics sound is every bit as grim as its moniker implies. Opener ’Shadowfall’ conjures imagery of light dying over Salford’s jagged squarewave horizon of high-rises, Satanic mills and media citadels, before that atmosphere bleeds into the stark negative space and clenched techno tumult of ‘Deconstruction’, streaked with shortwave radio chatter and unheimliuch proclamation from the murk, only to end with a dry echo of Burial’s melancholic 2-step in ‘Breakdown’. And yes, we’re as surprised as you are.
Flipside, the effect is compounded by killer Ancient Methods and Vatican Shadow remixes. First spotted in his RA.645 mix, AM’s take on ‘Deconstruction’ is insanely dead-on but pendulous, driven with hungrier bass and whelmed with waves of biting point noise, while Vatican Shadow comes into his own with a tract of zombied, blank-eyed techno gloom.
Shadow-flitting, dubwize and organic electronics from Bristol’s Sunun, making her debut proper on Cold Light following a 2018 introductory 12” with Bokeh Versions
Working in her own world between a nest of wires and a 20-track mixing desk, Sunun wrangles five cuts of crackly, lower case dub mutation in a tender, low key and absorbing style, tripping from the dreamtime skank of ‘How Not To Use An MPC’ to get lost in a maze of filtered jungle break chicanery on ‘Away’, before stumbling into skeletal dub inversions recalling Jay Glass Dubs on ‘Don’t Fuck With Pluck’, and wrapping up with the aqueous balms of ‘Msg Inna Stab’, and ‘Z.0.’
Overlook makes a pivotal switch to slower, hypnagogic modes as Lucid Dream for UVB-76 Music with results recalling Tropic of Cancer or HTRK if they came from ‘90s Bristol
Track for track, ‘Stonetapes003’ is one of the most impressive about turns we’ve heard in ages. After chasing a D&B muse as Overlook since 2012, Jason Luxton’s metamorphosis into Lucid Dream signifies a major change in direction, not quite leaving D&B entirely, but redressing his style with a new wardrobe of dank post-punk and trip-hop styles much in key with Pessimist’s turn from D&B proper to slower dread vibes with Karim Maas.
A neatly wrong-footing intro of burning arps firstly gives way to ‘Black Tar’, where Manuela Marchis’ plangent vocal channels Camella Lobo over breaks and guitar worthy of prime period Portishead, pursued by the exquisite drizzle and nervy, noirish post-punk steppers push of ‘Doppelgänger’. Locked under his spell, the B-side’s ‘Totemism’ kills us cold with a blend of CUB’s slow techno swang and fiercely depressed jungle breaks, leaving the cinematic aside of ‘Intuition’ and the chest-swelling vision of ‘Hallucinogenics’ to confirm to obvious - this is a f**king deadly plate.
More of this, please.
Carla dal Forno’s keenly anticipated 2nd album pays dividends on the promise of her debut, returning a gorgeous, stately suite of chamber pop that certifies her among the most vital songwriters in her field. Tipped to fans of Nico, HTRK, CS + Kreme, Dome, Julee Cruise...
Forming an exquisitely pruned bouquet of midnight wildflowers, ‘Look Up Sharp’ makes the shrugging pop of Carla’s debut LP ‘You Know What It’s Like’  feel almost naif by comparison. With her vocals cleanly poised high in the mix, as though throned in a wide, high-ceilinged room lofted above the city, Carla speaks to a sort of resigned state of mind, coolly coming to terms with a sense of impending doom that resonates with early post-punk concerns over nuclear war and how the old world informs the present.
It’s perhaps best seen as an exercise in snatching relief from the jaws of misery; an idea is conveyed in the plaintive reserve of her vocals and the urge of the album’s title, and arrestingly enunciated between the album’s most immediate standouts, from the driving gothic succour of opener ‘No Trace’, to the elegant self-realisation of ‘I’m Conscious’, leading her to similarly downbeat but not beat conclusions as HTRK in the smoky shuffle of ‘Took A Long Time’ and the quietly optimistic closer, ‘Push On.’