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.
Avant don Dean Blunt sweeps up 31 old and new joints spanning his earliest post-Hype Williams to under-the-radar offcuts and unreleased goodness from a scene-defining contemporary icon.
As good as a primer on one of most interesting artists to emerge in the past decade, ‘Roaches 2012-2019’ lays out a broad overview of Blunt’s highly personal conception of contemporary soul that highlights his wry, drawling observations on modern life and the various poles of his musical style - from new age ambient and lo-fi downbeats to psychedelic rock, noise and road realist sound art - in a perfectly sequenced mixtape mosaic that surely speaks to his influence over current waves of artists from Yves Tumor to Arca.
Pulling from drops you may have slept on (hands up over here) alongside never-before-heard gems, there are obvious highlights to note in the stark reminder of 2014’s ‘Trident’, written and issued in the wake of the Tottenham riots and providing some crucial background to the situation, while the breezy MIDI chamber suite of ‘Benidorm’ shares a proper synth soul with Actress, and it’s not hard to join the dots between his psych-soul turns such as the opening anthem ‘Felony’ and ‘Rozay 09 Type Beat’ with Yves Tumor - but for all the comparisons, the breadth, badness and variation of even his offcuts/oddities proves Blunt is just out on his own. It really is best consumed in one session to best let it seep in and get into his mindset. If you never knew where to start with him, start here on the fringes and work your way in.
‘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.
Following a strong, sorely slept-on debut album last year and a bunch of audio-visual collaborations with Klein and Lol K, LA Timpa returns with a standout second album of gauzy, avant-soul and dream-pop that comes highly recommended if you’re into Prince’s ‘I Wonder U’ or similarly blunted bloooz from A.R. Kane, Klein, Panda Bear, Smog, Yves Tumor, Micachu and even Smog.
After marking himself one-to-watch with ‘Equal Amounts Afraid’ for the O___o? label, run by underground LDN catalyst Koyejo Oloko, LA Timpa leads on from the diaristic vignettes of that amazing Wayne Phoenix album, issued earlier this year on Halcyon Veil, with a vulnerable, gauzy expression of outsider soul in ‘Modern Antics in a Deserted Place’. The “place” of his title could be practically anywhere during lockdown, and his music’s mix of textured collage, warped ambient, and hunkered songcraft surely fits the mood of frayed and brooding minds in gutted cities with a timely and timeless bedroom pop appeal.
The album’s nine songs unfurl in effortlessly beguiling shapes, poetically eliding cut-up rhythms and plaintive chants on ‘Quarterback’, while ‘Deaf in Three Corners’ mints an iridescent mix of pop and keening electronics a la Panda Bear that leans into the dream-pop propulsion of album centrepiece ‘Pomisea’, and the lush simulacra of street noise psychedelia and distress in ‘Common’.
Timpa’s asymmetric flux then settles down on the B-side with a heart stroked slice of close-mic’d songcraft from the Smog handbook in ‘Wicked’, and slopes off into the oneiric reversed loops and opiated murmur of ‘Best Friend’, and ’Spin’ touches on Lou Reed levels of dirgy drawl sprinkled with ambient fairydust that appears to curdle in the sore harmonic waste of his ‘Tongue Tear Drum’ kiss-off.