Portland-based Rob Burger is an accomplished keyboardist and composer whose storied career comprises film soundtracks and other compositional work, as well as meaningful contributions to the albums of artists such as John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, and Iron & Wine with whom he maintains an ongoing working relationship.
"Burger rightfully brings his skills and nuanced sensibilities to the fore on The Grid, an LP that recombines neo-classical soundscapes, Harmonia-esque kosmische, and jaunts of 20th-century exotica into a multigenre quilt-work all his own.
As a listening experience, the album ranges meanders gracefully between the jovially playful, the contemplative-- and occasionally the menacingly stark-- with masterful ease."
Delia Beatriz aka Debit gets down to rugged fundamentals on ‘System’, the bruising follow-up to her flashier ‘Animus’ album.
Asymmetric, astringent, aggy, ‘System’ finds Debit’s sound delacquered of gloss and delivered in gruff, textured tones in a wicked balance of gripping rhythmic sensuality and brutality, including a collaboration with footwork producer DJ Earl that stands up firmly next Jlin’s percussive ingenuity.
There’s barely any conventional melody throughout the album, but anyone with an ounce of bounce in their gruds will surely find lines to follow in the rhythmelodic cadence of Debit’s drum programming, where, in the classic style of computer-arranged reggaeton, she accentuates multiple snares and variants of other percussion that unfurl in reticulated tresillo rhythms.
In experimenting with these patterns, she often pushes her drums into pure, gravelly distortion, pointing to an effect that’s both atavistic and futurist between the primal growl and cold knocks of ‘The Alphabet’ featuring Javier Estrada and the outstanding churn of her ‘Numbering’ hook-up with DJ Earl, while giving up deadly strong highlights in the Slikback-compatible pressure of ‘My House’, and her knot of clenched rave stabs and sloshing groove in ‘Medicine.’
Blissed-out and highly evocative widescreen layerings from Rafael Anton Irisarri on this beautiful new album for Room 40, an immaculately constructed series of apocalyptically angsty ambient dreamscapes that sound like a gauzy HDR composite of The Caretaker, Talk Talk, William Basinski and Slowdive. If you're into any of the above, this one will push all your buttons at once.
With each new album Irisarri has managed to tweak and fine-tune his production to the point where 'Solastalgia' finds his now perfected swells soar to new heights. Although it’s a sound that's been tried and tested numerous times over the last couple of decades, and by many artists, Irisarri here manages to assemble perhaps the definitive article for this kind of quietly epic late night melodrama; where liminal dream states nod to classic Shoegaze, while submerged, shimmering melodies remind us of both Talk Talk ('Kiss All The Pretty Skies Goodbye’) and Fennesz (Coastal Trapped Disturbance).
The album is essentially about the sense of sorrow and despair at the environmental and socioeconomic disaster we all face, but ‘Solastalgia’ is ultimately a deeply personal listen, one that attempts to slow down time so that we might savour the beauty around us, if even for just an hour.
‘Eternal Children’ is the excellent, unexpected first vocal album by Equiknoxx; the hotly awaited follow-up to their pair of acclaimed instrumental albums issued by Demdike Stare’s DDS label over the last couple of years, featuring that signature and completely inimitable production style, but this time with added vocal contributions from the extended Equiknoxx crew.
Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica for their own Equiknoxx Music label, ‘Eternal Children’ is the first time all 5 members have appeared on record together, with all three producers - Gavin “Gavsborg” Blair, Nick “Bobby Blackbird” Deane, and Jordan “Time Cow” Chung - cooking up for their vocalist Shanique Marie, alongside the ruder styles of regular spars, MC’s Kemikal and Alozade. As such the album expresses the collective’s shared experience both at home in sunny JA, as well as on the road and their 2nd home in Manchester, home to DDS but where they’re also keenly supported by an extended family including Swing Ting’s Balraj Samrai and MC Fox, plus DJ Jon K, and their mastering engineer Nick Sinna.
The resulting 8-track album is a bounty of eclectic productions tweaked for good times. Cherry-picking from dancehall, hip hop and even pop ballads, they effortlessly balance experimental tendencies with classic forms in each song. Opener ’Solomon Is A Cup’ places Shanique Marie and Kemikal’s timeless, poetic storytelling in abstract sound design to absorbing effect, while two highlights ‘Brooklyn’, and the ear-worming hooks of ‘Manchester’, featuring Brent Bird and Swing Ting’s Fox, perfectly display the diversity of their bonds with the Caribbean diaspora.
Listeners snagged on the weirdness of Equiknoxx’s DDS albums will probably want to head to the album’s more wayward productions; namely their dark, scudding ‘Corner’ and the percolated pearl of ‘Good Sandra’, complemented by the witty pen of Kemikal and Gavsborg, while it all comes together most soulfully with Shanique’s blazing delivery on the rugged bounce of ‘Move Along’ and her balmy pop-soul duet with Bobby Blackbird, ‘Rescue Me.’
Overfunked disco trixx and house slammers from Daphni featuring Paradise on a sample-happy tip
Snipped from Daphni’s massive catalogue of personal DJ edits, you’ll find the pure wedding DJ and dancefloor exhibitionist gear of ‘Sizzling’ featuring Paradise next to bumpty house crack of ‘If’ up top. Down below he comes with the bathhouse spirit in the campy romp of ‘Romeo’, and a cantering lark called ‘Just.’
“Becoming Real is a UK born, Copenhagen based artist and producer. The 'Mist Face' EP observes him exploring the influence of vapour wave, grime and ambient dream music, paired with serpentine sound design that conjures fragmented scenes from empty future metropolises.”
Komodo Kolektif return with the follow-up to their 2017 EP “Sumantras”.
"With “Sundada” we see the group delve even deeper into hypnotic territory with an even stronger focus on their Indonesian gamelan instruments, wall-shaking basslines and trance-inducing percussion. A dual focus on tribal primitivism in parallel with a futuristic vision of the possibilities provided by their vast arsenal of electronic gear and processors, the overall outcome has produced something beyond 'world music' that is positively ritualistic.
Again aided by veteran Seattle-born multi-instrumentalist Jon Keliehor (James Brown, The Doors, Peter Murphy/Bauhaus, The Daily Flash, Emotional Response, Optimo Music) on suling (Indonesian flute) and percussion, Komodo Kolektif seem to have explored even more meditative and profoundly esoteric avenues than they did with “Sumantras”.
Much of the material is a refinement and distillation of what has been featured in their live shows for almost a year and a half and which has been met with rapturous applause at the likes of Convenanza festival in France to Sonic Cathedral & Ulrich Schnauss' Ambience Chasers in London.
Other pieces are the result of improvisations; experimenting with the Indonesian sarons, gendèrs and kempul at their disposal (courtesy of Gamelan Naga Mas of which two of the group are long term members) to create new patterns that resonate to both eastern and western ears.
Komodo Kolektif have received praise and plays from Hardy Fox (The Residents), JD Twitch (Optimo), Andrew Weatherall, Peter Power (Multi Culti / Voodoohop) and many more."