Everyone’s favourite bijou imprint Good Morning Tapes finally make a first-time vinyl edition of this sought-after tape release by pivotal Parisian producer Dang-Khoa Chau, aka D.K. - a gorgeous, 40 minute new age ambient tribute to ancient Vietnamese spirit possession rituals that comes highly recommended if yr into Ramzi, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Iona Fortune, Move D.
Arriving in the wake of Good Morning Tapes' prized vinyl editions from Jonnine (HTRK), XVARR, Anthony Naples, Tapes and more, ‘The Goddess Is Dancing’ is an extended trip that revolves around lilting, rhythmelodic percussion and aqueous atmospheres expressing D.K.’s imaginary interpretation of music used in Vietnamese ritual music. It unfolds as a ceremony in five parts honouring the mystical goddesses of Forest, Water and Heaven, with music both relaxing and energising in a way that’s intended to aid dancers’ transmogrification from human vessels into spirited beings.
The results are some of D.K.’s lushest in a catalogue that now stretches back to 2014 and takes in mystic club music and sanguine home listening for everyone from Antinote to Melody As Truth and 12th Isle. In careful progression, the EP moves from the deliquescent shimmers and breathy choral synth spirits of ‘The Three Realms’ to the exquisitely poised dream motion of the title track and the hypnotic percolations of ‘Going Into Trance’ on the A-side, before stretching out on the B-side into slow, balmy elegance of ‘Forest Palace’, and ultimately dissolving any remaining tensions with the dematerialised, 12 minute design of ’Summoning The Spirits’. In a current field awash with new age ambient references and a searching sense of spirituality, D.K.’s offering is exceptional for the execution of its never cloying, timelessly enchanted appeal.
Proper club potential from Martyn Bootyspoon, working it up for Finn’s 2 B Real bootique after their blink ’n miss Michael J. Blood turn
The freak funk levels are high on this pearler, packing on the nervy energy and soul you expect from the 2 B Real stable (Anz, Finn, Gerry Read), but ratcheting the filth and party flavours to only make you miss the club harder. If you copped their turn for Zora Jones and Sinjin Hawke’s Fractal Fantasy or twisted tonkers for Model Future your ass will surely be twitching for this lot already.
The big bad title tune gets at it like some hard bodied thing from SOPHIE’s ‘OOEPUI’ remix album, all snaking acid and laminated kicks, while ‘Airdop’ rides the rimshots and cowbells with a slippery P-Funk Jit smarts, and ‘Resonant Freq’ clenches a mutant sort of cunty grime hustle. Our Percy is definitely the electroid ghettofunk banger ‘Ice Cream Mane’, where his vocals really come into their own, but to be fair it’s a toss up with the searing trance licks of ‘KEYGEN 2 MI H3ART’, which agin kicks that SOPHIE-like style with extra bags of slippery, syncopated funk.
Scandalously good, this.
After a 7 year gap, E.M.M.A. drops a stunning 2nd album of drill-tipped chamber synth music that advances on her recent soundtrack work for Gucci and Chanel to really tap into a dreamy, darkly romantic-cinematic vein shared by Caroline K, John T. Gast, Novo Line, Kuedo, and arguably even Talk Talk or Kraftwerk.
Acutely aware of up-to-the-second rap and R&B styles, but stylized with a timeless and melancholic ’80s futurism, ‘Indigo’ renders the sharpest definition of E.M.M.A.’s already crisp style while finding new room in-the-mix for ever finer expressions of machine soul. Splitting the difference between Dungeon synth and drill instrumentals, mid-late ‘80s synth-noir soundtracks and puckered classical chamber tropes, E.M.M.A.’s compositional chops have arrived at a new apex of her style and arranged in a none more achingly evocative way that’s pushing all our buttons right now.
Aside from working on notable runway soundtracks in recent years E.M.M.A. has also been dead busy helping to run workshops for females getting into electronic music. While maybe best known for a unique variant of melodic UK club bangers, on ‘Indigo Dream’ she tends more to the melodic side with remarkable results, following extended lines of mellifluous thought across 9 tracks that make a pretty much perfect album.
Emotionally contoured and shaded with a masterful melancholy/negative ecstatic ambiguity from the tentative fanfare of ’Into Indigo’, thru the stoic grandeur and cheeky daftness of ‘Ryan Gosling In Space’ and the hair-kissing finale ‘Ballad Of Janet’, she’s nailed the best blend of deadpan, curbed enthusiasm and cold trance rushes, turning up vital spins on UK drill in ‘Gold’ and ‘Shell’, and chin-up classic pop chuftiness in ’Echo’ and ‘Glitter’ that all tie this into a real gem of a headphone listen, ideal for pondering modernity back-pedalling into a new medieval age.
Special Request shelling down all three 'Modern Warfare' EPs as part of XL's rave pack including Powell, Mumdance and Zomby.
You know the styles by now - proper '91 - '93-style 'ardcore sample packs galvanized and batared into action for 2015, following the lead of HATE and Millie & Andrea before him, and of course all the OG early '90s UK heroes.
Don't leave without checking the shuddering blow-out 'Damage' or the Burial-esque Reese-bassed stepper, 'Elegy', and your bomber jacket natch.
Fractal Fantasy co-founder Zora Jones commits a dazzling debut solo album of animated arps, alien melody and razor-trimmed trap patterns with ‘Ten Billion Angels’, leading on from her ‘Vicious Circle’ co-production with Siniin Hawke and Spanish-French trap star La Zowi
The result of four years encased in headphones and staring at a laptop screen while on the road, ‘Ten Billion Angels’ entwines Zora's fascination with CGI tentacle erotica and human emotion in a slippery suite of restless creations. As a visual artist responsible for the label’s hyper upfront artwork, Zora brings a visual aspect to each tune, while human emotion is rendered through her tremble-jawed synthetic vocal cut-ups that hark back to Kanye West’s earliest sped-up soul chops and happy hardcore, malleably tempered into a range of giddy, ravishing flights and also more plaintive downbeat moments.
Everything from grime to orchestral rap, Jersey house, trap and drill and whatever else that sparkles and moves bodies in the modern age gets filleted and spun out into a spectrum of candyfloss thizz and hypeR&B, tilting from airborne pirouettes in ’Shadows To The Light’, thru fluctuating turns of the soul-biting ‘Paranoid’, to the rugged trap gravitas of ’Sisters Blade’, silver grill-flashing club gear in ‘Low Orbit Ion Cannon’, and Rian Treanor-esque twiss-up in ‘Revenge of the Bitch’, before settling into lusher reggaeton on ‘I Wanna Lose You’, and recalling Björk or Arca in the neon-lit ballad ‘Come Home’.
‘It Is What It Is’ follows up one of the past decade’s biggest jazz albums, ‘Drunk’ with a deliriously wide-angled sound spanning a rainbow of jazz fusion vibes from psych to soul, funk and cosmic synths.
Thundercat’s new album feels far more coiled and ready to pounce than the sprawling, proggy maze of ‘Drunk’ that ended up on so many EOY lists in 2017. It’s a properly groove-driven affair this time, switching up the percussion as much as his chord and key changes across 15 tight tunes exemplified by the likes of his colourful flight ‘I Love Louis Cole’ and the album version of his single cut, ‘Black Quails’ starring ‘80s funk and soul legends Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington, and exclusive vocal by Childish Gambino.
The all-too-short but rampant bass fretting in ‘How Sway’ nods firmly to Squarepusher, and ‘Funny Thing’ feels like a squashed Prince offcut. Packed in with sweeter downstrokes such as ‘King of The Hill’ and the R&B blush of ‘Fair Chance’ featuring Lil B and Ty Dolla $ign, ‘It Is What It Is’ strikes us as a satisfyingly concise listen that doesn’t outstay its welcome.