Glorious third album by Call Super; his first for Anthony Naples’ and Jenny Slattery's Incienso, following the label’s amazing DJ Python side with an immersive suite of shapeshifting sound design and needlepoint rhythm programming that occupies a sweetspot somewhere between Beatrice Dillon’s knockout ‘Workaround’ album, Mark Fell’s pointilistic signatures, or Sylvian & Sakamoto’s ‘Bamboo Houses’.
In the works for three years, or roughly since ‘Arpo’, Call Super’s third album moves his production tekkers to the next level. It incorporates stronger influence than ever from prevailing outernational rhythm currents, as well as stark modern classical and post-rock styles, to feel out a lushly organic and emotionally personalised sort of ambient dance ecosystem, one teeming with detailed and bedevilling production which gives voice to his most curious and inventive musical urges.
The level of nanometer-tight, obsessively filigree detail to his work here is just dead impressive, leaving no second sparing for movement in 10 succinct parts that add up to an ingenious, fractal mosaic of all his previous ideas, and then some. This new approach can be summed in the title and aesthetic of album opener ‘An Unstable Music’, where shards of metal guitar, icy piano droplets and bursts of concète texture set scattered coordinates for what’s to follow; taking in crystalline 2-step in ‘Pleasure For Pleasure’, and a tight dembow mutation of shine-eyed ‘90s AI in ‘Opperton Swim’, before it turns deep with his murky collage of chamber-like strings and strung-out vox in the ‘Mouth Bank Bed’, and the likes of ‘Sleep All Night With Open Eye’ push into a gloomy but humid sort of phantasia that sweetly contrasts his radiant webs of insectoid patterns recalling Beatrice Dillon’s amazing ‘Workaround’ album in ‘Ekkles’, and the switch between deliquescent arps and frayed vocals that wrap up the album in a wickedly puzzling knot.
Taking reference from the rave energy that has passed through decades of UK dance music and combining influences from harder, noisy, industrial tropes that carry a similar raw approach, Ploy (Timedance, Hessle) delivers his debut LP "Unlit Signals" for L.I.E.S. Records.
"Across these eight tracks we move through contained intensity and stifling darkness met with flashes of light and space, reflective of the darker pockets of the grubby dance floors of which this record is aimed at. This body of work represents the space Ploy has found himself occupying over the past couple of years, an injection of dishevelled closing hours delirium, applied across a spectrum of bpm.
Rhythmically taking influence from elements of broken beats, soundsystem music and organic percussion as opposed to a straighter Techno template, 'Unlit Signals' captures the visceral energy that is much needed and often missing in genres at the forefront of the dance music world.Moreso this LP is reflective of the grim state of current social climates, and the artist's experiences looking for the darker, introspective ends when hitting the nightclubs. Heads down as opposed to hands up, Unlit Signals puts forth an ominous sonic dread that works the system with texture, low end and militant drum play.
Similar to previous Ploy releases it's nomadic in terms of styles and never really slots into one category easily, which ends up being the true beauty of "Unlit Signals".
On his first solo mission in 2 years, Parris pedals between stepping house and swanging ambient brokebeats in a lush new addition to his prized discography.
Leading on from last year’s tracky duel with Call Super, ‘Polychrome Swim’ sees Parris in wonderfully ebullient, buoyant mode, deftly throwing his weight with the Cooly G-esque UKF roller ‘Harajuku Girls’, before slipping into a sort of slipstream between DJ Python’s ambient dembow and late summer West London broken beats on ‘Yūrei’ and really opening up and out into arcing pads and thizzy breaks on the excellent ‘Aqua Serge’.
Manchester’s Queen of Clubs comes with her 5th annual production showreel, throwing down 35 unreleased dubs in just under 1.5 hours of fresh rave frolics - proper jawmelter.
The last 30 years of rave music are fair game for Anz’s magpie eye, whirling thru styles from deep soulful garage to boisterous electro, Jersey-meets-Afrobeat jams to whistle-blowing hardcore and UKF mutations, ghetto-tech and jungle, all with the quicksilver flow and focussed, yet polygamous style she’s come to own over the past few years.
As anyone who has raved to an Anz set will testify, she simply doesn’t know when to let up, and that force of nature is in full effect again on ‘spring/summer dubs 2020’, stirring up a spectrum of sweaty rave feels bound to bring baying hordes to her agent to book her when those scuzzy temporary autonomous zones finally reopen their doors in 2021.
THE game-changing mixtape of the 2010s is finally re-pressed on vinyl and - for the first time - available as individual digital tracks via PAN, who’ve just made a lot of heads very happy.
Originally issued by the pivotal Hippos In Tanks in 2013, and self-released on vinyl in 2014 via her own website, Arca’s &&&&& has cast a strong, if cultish, influence over contemporary dance, pop, and electronic experiments during its life to date. Tiled from what are now disclosed as 14 individual components, its mazy mosaic of fractured ideas and curdled hooks blew our minds at a time when so much dance music was either going retro-vintage or, ahem, “future” garage, and would provide anyone listening with oodles of inspiration for new directions influenced by the Latinx and club cultural shifts pioneered by likes of Elysia Crampton (then E+E), Total Freedom, and TCF.
7 years after its debut release, &&&&& is still one of our all time percies. That sticky, diffractive flow between her convulsive ‘Knot’, the sighing gobs of ‘Harness’ and the spine tracing chorals of ‘Fossil’, and thru the melodic late ‘90s Ae/AFXisms of ‘Obelisk’ still burn. With hindsight it’s easy to hear this mixtape as a crucial bridge between her earliest rudeez on the two ‘Stretch’ volumes (which shockingly slipped most people’s attention at the time) and the way she would bloom in the following years, from production for FKA Twigs, Kayne and Björk, to her none more beguiling solo albums and holistic embrace of a mutant futurist a e s t h e t i c.
‘Codigo De Barras’ is the exceptionally tight first album from Lisbon-via-Manchester’s cult batida producer P. Adrix - now operating as A.k.Adrix - an LP bursting with shockingly sharp-cut but breezily animated dancers from the top shelf of kuduro, all fire this one!!!
Making good on the promise of P. Adrix’s incendiary 2018 debut EP, the Angolan-Portuguese producer’s first album as A.K.Adrix slickly recalibrates the whirring percussive mechanics of his acclaimed early works with a richer melodic tone in eleven tight, tempered productions. It’s a significant and confident advance of his style into a more supple, melancholic form of instrumental songcraft, following suit with slicker recent moves by Nídia and Blacksea Não Maya on Príncipe with outstandingly fresh contributions to one of the world’s most vital dance scenes.
The raw electric club buzz of Adrix’s early zingers is still present, only now more refined and betraying a craftier emotional intelligence and sensuality that’s beautifully apparent across the album. From the mix of haunting choral motifs and field recordings with Derrick May-like strings in opener ‘Ambiente Spiritual’, to the album’s standout centrepiece of gently hypnotic flute arps and tumbling tabla drums meshed into tarraxho rhythms on ‘Espuma Nocturna’, or the wide-eyed wonder of ‘Desenhos Animados’ with its impish woodwind and woodblock drums; it’s a rare pleasure to witness Adrix get deep inside his sound and really come into his own.
Anyone looking for the rude stuff will get it in the more raggo charge of ‘X50’, the thumping subs of ‘Hottttttttttt’, and the martial swag of ’Settings’, but the album’s dextrous and intricately efficient push/pull of energies between the club, personal sentiments, and naturally avant leanings, is perhaps best compared with Beatrice Dillon’s stunning ‘Workaround’ in the 2020 field.
Overmono play around with bittersweet tunings in a set of trancey-tempered glyders marking their return to XL
The supple techno roll and twirling lead of the title tune, and the brooding flight of ‘Aero’, roll out like Kieran Hebden getting smudged on K - a bit Four Ketty, if you allow - while ‘Clipper (Another 5 Years)’ swangs out with bustling garage-techno breaks and warped bassline tunings recalling Thom Yorke strong solo works, and ‘Verbosa’ tilts off with intricately woven ambient electro-techno patterns not a million miles away from Call Super’s recent album.
Hessle Audio catch Laksa on a deep trek into post-jungle UK ‘nuum no-man’s-land in the wake of an ace for Timedance
Dancing alongside heat from Anz and the label’s Pearson Sound and Panagaea in the label’s 2020 run, the ‘Fire Kit EP’ sidewinds along a scale from the reticulated 2-step and recursive synth ballistics of ’T’s Tent’, to twisup proper percussive voodoo and bone-splintering edits in ‘Belly Brocka’, before settling into the cranky electro dancehall churn of ‘Fire Kit’ with its swollen grouchy bass twysting somewhere sweeter, DJ Python-like by the track’s end.
Charli XCX’s lockdown pop riot album follows up 2019’s acclaimed ‘Charli’ with some of her sweetest and most nerve-dancing songwriting, with a naturally experimental pop lean abetted by PC Music’s AG Cook and Danny Harle.
Dished up with a video for each track at the start of lockdown, 'How I’m Feeling Now’ echoes feelings of confusion and frustration in her typically direct, incisive style. Bleary-eyed autotune ballads share space with pricklier electronic mutations of current global movements, kicking off the imaginary rave in killer shots like ‘Pink Diamond’ and ‘Anthems’, and late ‘90s AFX doing bubblegum/TNT vibes in ‘Detonate’ and ‘c2.0’, alongside her nippy, brittle and vulnerable 2-stepper ‘I Finally Understand’, while ‘the likes of ‘Party 4 U’ and ‘Forever’ are straight-up blue pop ballads for the times.