Antipop Consortium’s High Priest a.k.a. HPrizm drops a rugged batch of illbient hip hop instrumentals on New Jersey’s Don Giovanni Records
Only recently we had been wondering where the heck he’d gotten to, and now here he is, nearly 20 years since we first emerging with the pivotal APC, and still pushing a uniquely flavoured and crooked style of beat craft.
Pretty much picking up where our last memory of his work - the ace Airborne Audio project - left off, the vibe on ‘Catching a Body’ is in heady flux between vaporous drone dubs styles in ‘Knitted Crown’, skulky street corner at dusk feels in ‘Clearbody’, and a proper killer in ‘Asiatic’ recalling Mutamassik’s ‘War Booty’ zinger.
Includes the first new Universal Indicator (aka Aphex Twin) track in two decades as well as bangers from Bjarki, Nina Kraviz, Biogen, DEKA and more...
Nina Kraviz pulls together a heavyweight compilation of techno (and related) bangers revolving Bjarki, Universal Indicator and Marc Arcardipane among other on ‘Don’t Mess With Cupid, ‘Cause Cupid Ain’t Stupid’
In 10 parts the set delivers weapons grade gear in ‘Pitch-Hiker’ from the living legend Mark Arcardipane a.k.a. Pilldriver, and likewise with the highwire hardcore tenacity of Universal Indicator’s ’15 c7’, while Bjarki lives up to the label’s name with his mind-bending banger ‘3-1 Tap Lush’, and Kraviz keeps her end up with the high velocity pound of ‘OPA’, and Deka does the damage with the martial acid of ‘Pearl (Nikita Zibeline Edit)’.
Egoless weighs in wavy, stoned and skanking fit on their début with Youngsta’s Sentry Records
A.k.a Croat producer Ognjen Zečević, Egoless pairs succinct yet lush outernational instrumentation with spartan beats on the lurching halfstep of ‘Decolonize’, then opens out with the Balkan/Mid-Eastern strings and pipes over room shuddering subs on ‘Global’.
The coiled techno steppers of Mark’s ‘Integrier Dich Du Yuppie’ forms the precursor to his recent killer 12” for Berghain’s Unterton label
First dispatched in early 2018, Mark’s 2nd volley for Melbourne’s A Colourful Storm label effectively hits square between the eyes of Raime and Demdike Stare with a mutant take on jungle, techno and concrète electronics executed with a smart play between minimalist, grooving tension and foreboding negative space.
It shouldn’t be hard to hear why techno label Unterton took the unusual detour into non-standard styles, likely based on the strength of this EP.
Overlook plays deep into UVB-76 Music’s stark, rolling D&B sound on ‘All of Them Witches’, including a mardy-ass slow techno remix by Positive Centre
In the same vein as Overlook’s well-received debut solo LP ‘Smoke Signals’, its follow-up is greyscale in tone and defined by a razor-edge minimalism, firstly showing off his sound designer skills int he cinematic intro of ‘Spirits Moving Through Walls’, before controlling your rolling like a puppet master with the shadowboxing tekkers of ‘Magick’, while ‘Ritual’ works a densely squashed half-step pressure and the clenched title cut glydes with weightless broomstick momentum.
For the slow techno thuggers Positive Centre reworks album cut ’Travelling Without Moving’ with a grungy, decelerated heave.
Divine D&B rolige from Overlook, a visionary new skool producer leaving his mark on Gremlinz and Ruffhouse’s UVB-76 Music.
A-side; Nights Into Dreams goes deep and hard for a mix of 1997-into-2017 tech-step, arriving with widescreen pads and testy, serpentine breaks before the subs and snares subtly push forward in the mix your body is his for the duration.
B-side; Scarlett makes that Prototype/Renegade Hardware aesthetic even more explicit with a rolling, reductionist revision of flinty 2-step breaks and guttural subsidence for the strongback steppers.
Serena Butler returns with an EP for Stroboscopic Artefacts.
“We Want Neither Clean Hands Nor Beautiful Souls” is a four track recording of Butler’s personal juncture with the Queerverse and his engagement in queer politics, an elaboration on the alternate freedoms and minimal politics of alienation introduced with her 2016 release on Eerie. By bringing her mission of inclusion and diversity to Lucy’s Berlin based imprint S>H/E has found a kindred spirit in the pursuit of, what SA describes as, “an incessant accretion of new ideas and new formal elements that must transcend any self-limiting expectations of genres or cliques”. This release embodies the shared revere that Butler and SA have for the subversive power of techno; or, as Butler says, “the explicit, organized effort to repurpose technologies for progressive gender political ends”.
The EP’s path begins with the opener “If Nature Is Unjust, Change Nature”, a shadowy crescendo of whispered rhythms and minimal-synth leitmotivs from alt-clones of Rrose and Second Woman grafted memories. “Globular Hymen” is the club supernova of the lot; an interstellar blizzard of layered arpeggios, which hit like the wrath of a pantheon of angry goddesses. “Science is not an expression but a suspension of gender” lays on the feel of afterlife, a dubbed-out lullaby between lo-fi drums and subtle interference patterns of noise. This is the sound of Butler getting between you and your ears; reminding you to step back from certainty and imperative judgments. Last but not least, “And with fire came disparity” unleashes a vocal swarm of declaration and rebellion. Despite the straight-forward title, this is a true Demdikesterian mutant-techno stepper, with neither clean words nor a beautiful soul.”
Elephant Micah offer an alternative definition of ‘Americana’, which ultimately sounds the same, but with some detours into noodly electronics on their homemade “mutant” synth, alongside the usual laments and hoary guitars...
““What?” Indeed, “what” is the mantra of our moment. And Genericana aspires to be that moment’s soundtrack.
“WHAT is happening to our culture?” Americans ask themselves, in the era that sees entertainment, politics, and community life consolidated in a digital communications ecosystem. Responding, Elephant Micah has tuned its music to an appropriately disorienting pitch. For songwriter and recordist Joe O’Connell, that means remixing his own cultural experience, and questioning how “where we live” affects “what we sound like”:
“To me, ‘country’ music could mean any of the music we listened to growing up. When my sister and I were teenagers, in the 1990s, we put a lot of effort into trying to access alternative music. You had to steal Rolling Stone issues from the public library to find out about artists. Or stay up late when you could get in some different radio stations than you could during the day. I think of that whole experience as a ‘country’ music experience.”
In the place of “Americana,” the band offers Genericana. Evoking genealogy, genre, generic brands (and perhaps a bottled genie), the album title points the way to a different theory of what binds our culture together.
“I think Genericana just means ‘the stuff from which stuff generates,’” O’Connell explains. “It's a short hand way of shouting out to the stock elements that I'm mashing up in this music. I wanted this project to be sort of like a lucky mutation, that could lead to a heartier version of Elephant Micah for the digital world.”
Mining the aesthetics of the average compact disc collection, Elephant Micah makes room on Genericana to play with sounds for their own sake. O’Connell and company follow in the footsteps of songwriter-producers like Arthur Russell and John Martyn—artists whose descent into effects made their voices all the more poignant and personal. Frequently, Genericana also pays tribute to laid back club sounds, from dub to ambient techno--and to the resourcefulness of the producers who invented these genres.
“To make this record, we assembled a bunch of gear that was devalued or discarded,” O’Connell explains. “A cheap FM synth, some Hindustani electronics, and an old three-head tape deck to use as a ‘poor man’s Space echo.’”
At the top of this heap of equipment was something new. And in fact, there had never been anything quite like it before. Working from a series of manic band meetings and napkin drawings, percussionist and keyboardist Matt O’Connell brought to fruition a one-of-a-kind digital synthesizer. Its inspiration comes from the possibility of alternative playing interfaces—ways of interacting with digital instruments that aren’t based on techniques for existing instruments. Matt and Joe named this synth The Mutant, a title that’s right in key with the themes of Genericana.”
Gabe Gurnsey, the drumming dynamo behind Factory Floor, explores proper song-writing and dancefloor sensuality on his solo début LP ‘Physical’, including additional production by Phantasy guy Erol Alkan
Effectively offering a more fleshly take on the skinny asceticism of Factory Floor, ‘Physical’ revolves 14 disco and pop-toned pieces that vacillate between home listening and club purposes depending the user.
For the ‘floor, there’s some strong highlights in the darkroom acid sleaze of ‘Harder Rhythm’, the moodier Chicago/New Beat burn of ‘I Get’, and the darkwave EBM-pop pressure of ‘Night Track’, which all works as dance songs in their own right, but if you want to hear a cleaner break with FF forms, check for the creamy synth-pop shuffle of the lead single, ‘Ultra Clear Sound’, the druggy, grinding gynoid-pop of ’Temazzy’, and the muggy bass oscillations and Muslimgauze-like vibes of ’Sweet Heat’.
Effervescent deep house grit from Am Kinem on the ever fertile Out To Lunch label
A prime pick for Workshop fiends, Am Kinem’s self-titled 12” yields a gauzy yet gripping mid-fi sound in the same vein as Actress, Huerco S or Anthony Naples, schwanging from burned-out but blissed Fairlight brass and strings to whacked breaks and melancholic jazz chords, then coming off like KassemMosse jamming with Omar-S, and finishing with a colourfully plumed and uptempo stepper.
The Chosen Brother’s utterly haunting roots reggae classic - as championed and versioned by Rhythm & Sound - comes back ‘round on this new 12” edition, packing Dub and a previously unreleased Version on 12” for the 1st time!
The Chosen Brothers’ original was first issued as ‘March Down Babylon’ on ‘Wackie’s Selective Showcase Volume One’  and subsequently appeared on their 1st album ‘Sing and Shout’  and the ‘Reggae Goodies Vol. 1 & 2’ compilation. However, it’s likely best known for Rhythm & Sound’s 1998 version, retitled ‘Mash Down Babylon’, that was a highlight of the Burial Mix 10” series and later as a jewel in the crown of Rhythm & Sound’s ‘w/ The Artists’ compilation.
Now cut to 12” for the first time by CGB at D&M, who have capably handled all of the Wackie’s reissues since 2000, the OG sounds spectrally massive on this platter, casting a spiders web of FX over the steep valley of dread bass, mournful vocal and melting brass. Madder yet, the ‘Dub’ opens out with a succession of class wheel-ups before omitting the vocal and leaving a dancing skeleton of spindly drums and picked guitar in its wake.
BUT, the big number for any reggae or Rhythm & Sound collector is the B-side’s languorous Version, leaving the vocal out for a lusher take than the stark Dub, and making very clear the links between Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark sound, the in-house style of Lloyd Barnes’ Wackie’s label, and ultimately the Berlin vikings of Mark Ernestus & Moritz Von Oswald (Maurizio, Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound).
‘hej!’ is the hauntingly hyperreal first album proper by Felicita, for PC Music.
Arriving 5 years since Felicita’s beguiling ‘(>’.’)>#’ and ‘Frenemies’ releases took us by surprise with their lacquered textures and uncannily poignant arrangements, ‘hej!’ claims their place in the same dimensions as Arca, Sophie and 0PN with a highly personalised expression of hyperreal modernity.
Polish folk, trance, trap and and classical chamber music are melded into the same mutant body of music with deceptively effortless appeal that’s both pop-wise and avant, charming and at times unsettling thru its juxtapositions of new and old.
Warbling keys haunt much of the album, but in a way that swerves the poshness of, say Nils Frahm and co, for a more surreal and unreal effect, especially when he adds in snatches of processed Polish folk song, and then sharply switches to needling electronics, as with the vacuum sealed hyper reggaeton of ‘coughing up amber’, while the melodic couplet of ‘soft power I + II’ feel paradoxically timeless yet right in the pregnant here-and-now, though their pastoral field recordings came from a computer game, rather than the real thing.
The salty blatz of ’shook’ is a tart palate cleanser at the centre of the album, bristling with an outright aggression that contrast the rest of the set, particularly the eerie highlight of Caroline Polachek’s take on ‘marzipan’, an old Polish folk song reinterpreted with lustrous Reese-like bass and synthetic strings, while the sickening rush of ‘night soil (fade out)’ recalls the devil in the detail noise of Croww, and the closing ‘Mosaic’ elicits a most curious synthesis of emotions - ecstasy, fear, and romance in it’s fleeting choral cadence.
For the 1st time in over 30 years, The Chosen Brothers’ mellifluous roots reggae masterpiece ‘Sing & Shout’ returns, re-shuffled, abridged and re-cut to vinyl by CGB at D&M, Berlin
Most notable for the gorgeous ‘Mash Down Babylon’, which was versioned by Rhythm & Sound to classic effect in 1998 and now opens this new edition, ‘Sing & Shout’ is perhaps one of roots reggae's more overlooked efforts, but arguably also one of the most distinguished of its mid ‘80s era.
Recorded at Bullwackie’s studio in White Plains, NYC, by Douglas Levy, Sugar Minot and Bullwackie, ‘Sing & Shout’ blends classic roots lyrical themes and dub production with early traces of the digital drum machine and synth styles that would come to dominate the dancehall from this phase forward.
For this new edition, the now Berlin-administered Wackies deign to resequence the track-list, which now starts up with the evergreen original of ‘March Down Babylon’ (which has also been issued on a 12” with bonus dub + version this week) and the wickedly slow and easy digidub of ‘Jah Don’t Like That’ along with the mellow wooze of ‘Sing & Shout’ and the misty precipitation of ‘Dancing In The Rain (12” Mix)’, and comes to rest with woozy praises to Jah in ‘All Things (12” Mix)’.
Nice and easy definitely wins the day here. Unmissable!
Solo début Lp by Brandt Brauer Frick’s Paul. Features a guest vocal by Nina Kraviz
“Apollo welcome Paul Frick to the fold. Frick is a Berlin-born music composer primarily known as one part of the group Brandt Brauer Frick. Stunningly despite a 20+ year history of making music ‘Second Yard Botanicals’ is his debut album.
With BBF keeping Frick inspired and busy since 2009, other ideas had piled up until a temporary break allowed him to fully dive into them – “While it took so long until I made my first album, it took about two months once I started.”
Exploring a vast number of instruments, field recording and deconstructed breakbeats woven with undulating filters and gossamer melodies, the album sees Frick drawing on the world around him in a free associative style ; “A word I sometimes had in mind was „Alltagspoesie“, the poetry of everyday life,” he explains. “The thought that however small and unimportant things and people are, they – or we – all hint towards each other, if not to say towards the whole. The fact that half of the pieces on the record are short miniatures has to do with that. Throwing something in and hearing what it tells.“
‘Second Yard Botanicals‘ at its core is based on sonic collage, from a genre point of view it’s highly eclectic, remotely echoing Frick’s classical composition background as well as his hip hop / trip hop past – “which is how I first learned using sequencers about twenty years ago”.
While Frick is coy about direct influences on his music, non musical inspiration played a key role – such as the novel ‘Anniversaries‘ by Uwe Johnson, which is divided into the 365 days of a year and weaves a large nonlinear picture; „It’s among the things that showed me on how many levels a piece of fiction can be able to resonate without falling apart completely.”
Besides the actual recording of instruments like piano, guitar and percussion, Frick sampled heavily from his twenty year deep sonic archive of performances and field recordings. “Mostly they were from unused sessions, forgotten projects that I rediscovered or live recordings of my chamber music pieces, using them as samples to make something new,” he explains. „Also chance recordings on the phone like the boomy snares in ‚Church 5 Loop 2‘ which Daniel (Brandt) played during soundcheck for a BBF gig in a huge church, or rain drops in the gutter of our studio backyard, and more things like that.”
Recorded in the band’s shared studio space in Neukölln and mixed by bandmate Jan Brauer the whole project was kept in house.”
Trevor Jackson reveals hitherto unheard ambient aspects of his hip hop/breakbeat alias The Underdog with Y.O.U, his “lost” album as FROM, produced over 1994-1997 and initially intended for release between his production for UK hip hop crew The Brotherhood’s Elementalz  LP, and the debut Playgroup album in 2001.
NYC’s Forma regroup around iridescent axes of minimalist kosmische, ambient and techno tropes on ‘Semblance’, their playfully absorbing 2nd album for Kranky after a pair of early sides with Spectrum Spools
Revolving around George Bennett and Mark Dwindle with John Also Bennett (a.k.a. JAB and member of Jon Gibson’s live band), Forma continue in pursuit of a coolly intuitive and suggestively psychedelic sound on ‘Semblance’, meshing polychromatic harmonics with rolling, curling rhythms in a way that owes as much to Steve Reich as Alice Coltrane, Laurie Anderson and Jon Hassell, but with a disjointed sense of anachronism that time-stamps Forma in the flux of the present.
“Brooklyn trio Forma's latest LP continues their mission to "broaden the idea of what an electronic music ensemble can sound like." Semblance emerged from exploratory sessions at The Schoolhouse, the Bushwick loft where members Mark Dwinell and John Also Bennett live, then was tracked at Gary's Electric studios, where their previous album Physicalist was also recorded.
Inspired by polyrhythmic composition, the human voice, and conceptual improvisation strategies, the songs are striking in their textural detail and emotional nuance, alternately synthetic and sentient, futuristic and intuitive. Incorporating flute, piano, guitar, saxophone, acoustic drums and cymbals alongside an array of synthesizers, the record persuasively demonstrates the group's unique playing abilities and fluid chemistry - attributes they credit to "techniques we've developed to trick our electronic machines into mimicking the spontaneous character of live instruments."
Members George and John Also Bennett also cite as an influence their recent stint in minimalist composer Jon Gibson's ensemble, performing his 1973 proto-ambient masterwork Visitations. The long-form modal piece requires restraint and deep listening to execute, qualities especially apparent in the more muted moments of Semblance, such as "Rebreather" and "New City."
The group states the intent of the new album as "to be more direct and exacting", which it is. Over half a decade spent writing and recording together has distilled Forma's hybrid electro-acoustic interplay into an attuned and astounding language, capable of articulating impossible symmetries and reflective states.”
Mixmag presents a compilation of house and techno cuts selected by Peggy Gou
Following her recent Ninja Tune EP, the star of Mixmag’s current front cover gives a taste of her DJ sets, peppewred with cherry-picked pieces by friends and family.
Worth checking for the darkside heft of ‘Venom’ by Dorisburg, the snappy electro patter of Suzanne Kraft on ‘Moving’, and the subaquatic electro of ‘Harajuku’ by Pépe for Or:La’s Deep Sea Frequency.
Sharp Veins evacuates the contents of his HD with a massive 30-track, 2hr 24min album covering the wingspan of his styles, from bittersweet ambient to mutant R&B and grime, for UNO NYC...
In terms of both its variegated quality and expansive quantity, ‘Detritus Preterit Selections’ is inarguably Sharp Veins’ most significant release to date, and, like his colourful, prickly oddity ‘Bleeds Colours and Puddles’, it finds a perfect home amid UNO’s inventive roster, which already counts Arca, Chino Amobi and Aquarian in its number.
In his now distinctive style, SV moves freely in each track, often starting out one place only to end up somewhere quite different by the end of the cut, and with a grasp of off-kilter, bittersweet digital dissonance that watermarks these 30 tracks as his own.
DJs could do much worse than check for the strongly synaesthetic grime tang of ‘Televise Icarus V1’ for an ideal example of his electronica/grime hybrids, while lovers of stranger electronic pop should check out ‘Lets Wash Our Hands V3’ for something like a salty, technoid Panda Bear, and weightless seekers need to clock the curdled ambience of ‘I Care For What U Wish For V1’, and the pirouetting figures of ‘Drawing.’
Leathered-up EBM from the gimp-masked SΛRIN for Phase Fatale’s Bite label
Authentically skooled in the grease and spunk of classic EBM, SΛRIN takes what he needs from that style and leaves the rest to rot on his ‘Kuleshov Effect’ 12”, resulting four stripped-down and hungry killers aching for a dark room, smoke and strobes.
A-side spits out the clenched grind of ‘World Condition’ along with the dry, pulverizing drums and strapping 16th note arp of ‘Jigar’. B-side steps up the pressure with cold war samples setting the scene for a frozen, militant stomper that really sinks its teeth in, while the nihilistic ‘Nuke Me’ will put a rocket up the ‘floor’s collective ass.
Disco Vumbi jumps from ‘Boutiq Electroniq’ for Nyege Nyege Tapes to their Hakuna Kulala sublabel for alternately heavy and light-footed dancefloor styles
‘Jo-ducuroma roma’ generates an inexorable momentum from swingeing drums and bass, while call-and-response vox echoes out above in hypnotic effect. This one will dominate any situation it’s played!
On the other hand, ‘Wilobo Man’ is much more light hearted and twinkle-toed, working clipped soca-like drum patterns and mellifluous vocal harmonies into a frothy charm.
Trevor Jackson taps into his Underdog cabinet on ‘Of The Night’, a dark blue set of trip hop nocturnes produced c. 1994-1998
The Underdog has long been the place to go for Jackson’s ruder and deeper work, from remixes of UNKLE and dozens of others, to his coveted breakbeat volumes known as ‘The Attic Tapes.’
For the Of The Night selection he’s picked out some of The Underdog’s drowsiest nodders, with special highlights found in their most depressed moments, such as the heavily introspective slug of ‘Lapis’ and the desert-crawling country smudge of ‘Dawn Burn’, which should both appeal as much to DJ Screw as The Caretaker or Express Rising.
Isle of Jura’s new Temples of Jura offshoot pay dues to On-U Sound in fine style.
Melbourne’s Len Leise holds down he front with a balmy take on Mr. Sherwood’s signature flex in For Adrian, rolling and skanking around a hot-wired and humid sort of electro-acoustic mesh of dub, boogie and endearingly dippy ‘tronics.
B-side, Isle Of Jura take over with three mixes of Udaberri Blues, slyding from the boogie downstroke of the original to a more spaced out, bumping Dub Version lapped with ocean sounds, and a lushly suspended Space Version.
Upfront studies in abrasive computer music traction for tuuun’s Copenhagen-based FLUF from Bilbao, Spain’s Sarah Rasines
‘0016A’ is the gnarlier of the two, committing minutes of amorphous, gravelly grain before calving off into black hole sonics flecked with scurrying pointillist rhythms.
In stark contrast, ’0016AA’ is rhythm driven from the outset, with brittle dembow-like patterns chipping away over stereo-rolling concrète shapes in teetering meter for a wickedly abstracted dancefloor push ’n pull.
Renick Bell follows up the gloopy dynamics of his ‘Wary’ LP for Halcyon Veil with a more spacious and percussion-focussed sound in ‘Turning Points’ for the Seagrave label
Renick’s ’Turning Points’ are concerned with pushing structures to the point of breaking down. Ok there are some moments that could be compared with Autechre or Rian Treanor, but perhaps better compared to a modern antecedent of Funkstorung and Funkarma, or the complex explorations of Dalglish.
“Renick is a computer musician, programmer, and teacher living in Tokyo, Japan. He is a graduate of the doctoral program at Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan. His current research interests are live coding, improvisation, and algorithmic composition using open source software. He is the author of Conductive, a library for live coding in the Haskell programming language."
Killer jump-up jungle jams from anonymous, incognito sources
Infectious rave goodness on both sides, teeing off a ’95-into-’05-into-’18 sound with the A-side’s jungle and grime flex, then diving in with a lush re-fusion of bifurcated happy hardcore, deep and jump-up vibes on the B-side...
Ruffhouse follow-up one of the D&B tracks of ’15 - UVB-76 - with launch of a new label of the same name.
A-side loads up their classically styled hardstep remix of Aspect & Gremlinz’ Kilo, entering with smoky intro before fully rolling out dreadnaught breaks and murkiest dancehall subbass patterns.
On the other side, Overlook & Gremlinz sustain the darkness with a numb but nimble halfstep roller veiled in brooding grey atmospheres.