PC Music lynchpin AG Cook covers Taylor Swift, Charli XCX, Smashing Pumpkins, Blur and loads more in a 49-track extravaganza
Gushed for lockdown, ‘7G’ sees Cook having a right lark, reframing formative and modern pop hits in a mutated vernacular of hi-gloss dance & pop sheen, late ‘90s drill ’n bass, and tart computer noise that he’s built a small empire on in recent years.
Their gurning synth-pop cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ indie-disco classic ‘Today’ is a big look, and we’re also feeling the crafty, prime-period Squarepusher nods in ‘A-Z’; the bittersweet rush of ‘Mad Max’; his floating ambient emerald ‘Green Beauty’; a killer distortion of Vangelis-style brass flares in ‘Overheim’; the gorgeous folk-trap oddity ’Somers Tape’; and of course the hyper baroque hardcore of ‘Polyphloisboisterous’.
Shanghai’s Hyph11e commits a debut album of brooding sound design and gnashing breaks to her home city’s Svbkvlt stronghold, following hardcore ballistics for Hakuna Kulala and a lead single prepped with a killer Kode9 refix.
Dragging UK ‘nuum dynamics into Shanghai’s impending, fast-fwd present, Tess Sun aka Hyph11e has carved out a fierce reputation with her shots found on the praised ‘Cache 01’ compilation and in DJ mixes by key players including M.E.S.H., Aïsha Devi, and Kode 9 & Burial over the past four years. On ‘Aperture’ she plays around the theme of holes, rupturing her own path thru rave spacetime with deft, barrelling breakbeats wrapped up in fluidly contoured synth schematics that probe mutant corners of the dance, somewhere between industrial breakcore tekno and junglist footwork, with bleak but sensually personalised soundcraft done in a mechanised outernational dancehall style shades away from her label mate 33EMYBW and Uganda’s Slikback.
Hyph11e sparingly lights up her music like scenes from a rave in strobing start/stop motion and with a knowing grasp of negative ecstasy - finding pleasure in the aesthetic and noumenal spaces between styles, time and space. She characterises this notion in the album’s brutalist bookends, ‘Encrust’ and the chemically overripe lushness of ‘Erosion’, while traces of electro-acoustic strings infiltrate the prowling stepper ‘Accretion’, and more traditional Chinese tonalities describe rangier Jungle Tekno landscapes in ‘Baily’s Beads’, and she summons wraithlike spirits from the fizzing industrial dancehall fissures of lead single ‘Barnacles’. At her most dextrous, proper UK hardcore is rinsed into labyrinthine warehouse variations on ‘Doppelgänger’ and ‘Get Out From Under’.
Anyone who suffers trypophobia may want to proceed with caution, but hardcore ravers of all stripes and futuristic leanings will sink deep into the ravishing style and puckered darkside discipline of this sharp, incredible album.
Cult ambient starlet DJ Lostboi lushes out alongside Torus on the yung Queeste label’s worthwhile follow-up to Haron’s sublime 2018 debut
Fresh from moonlighting as Malibu at the behest of Julianna Barwick on Joyful Noise Recordings, on her half of ‘The Flash’ Bordeaux-based ambient experimenter DJ Lostboi reprises a sound that captured our imaginations with ‘Got Lost’ (2017), dematerialising her soul into four pieces of gently diaphanous pads and harmonised vocal contrails strewn with bittersweet samples of voicemail messages, distant laughter, and gently incidental nudges of hyperreality.
There’s something about the way her music swerves tweeness and kisses the sky that gets us every time, recalling everyone from 1991 to TCF and Stargate. Torus meanwhile returns to these pages in beatless, ambient form after a string of mid decade bass workouts, leaving that sound for dust with four pieces of thizzing post rave feels that smartly reveal a sensitive atmospheric side to his music.
Sci-fi dramatic and haughty techno stonkers from Tygapaw, an NYC-based ambassador for CDMX’s NAAFI powerhouse on a killer debut album mission
Dancing on like the alien offspring of Green Velvet, DJ Rush and Orlando Voorn, Brooklyn’s Tygapaw gets some serious club traction in stacks of trax properly and patently skooled in classic ‘90s dance music. If you’re susceptible to this kinda thing, you’ll be having a quality knees up with this lot, with narrative-based interludes stitching together a high calibre haul of Chi-NYC-Detroit styled aces, from the lip-smacking quick trot and mean-ass mentasms of ‘Run 2 U’, the sleek darkroom beast of ‘Soon Come’, a trancey bucker named ‘Untitled Fantasy’; the rushing soca-techno missile ‘Magenta Riddim’; hardcore juke jungle psychedelia in ‘So It Go’; and a possible nod to Nkisi’s Congo tekno doomcore in the minor key trampler ‘Ownland.’
Godbless proper techno and all those that need a rave. This one’s a big bag of bangers that will scratch a very certain itch right now.
Loopy ‘90s techno fire from TN, US-based Max Watts on Entro Senestre’s excellent BANK Records NYC
‘Primal Spirit’ is exemplary of Max Watts' activities in party-turned-label Limited Network, showing the dancefloor a fucking good time between a cut of cantering percussion and disco stabs, a floor-churning techno ace recalling DJ Qu zingers, and a Grain-esque full throttle shakedown, plus Force Placement’s choppier remix on a late ‘90s Jeff Mills or Surgeon tip.