Girl Unit delivers a ravishing debut album in ‘Song Feel’ for Night Slugs nearly 10 years since he debuted with ‘I.R.L EP’ on the pivotal London label.
Save for a couple of compilation cuts, Girl Unit’s been noticeably quiet the last few years, but ‘Song Feel’ makes up for lost time with some of his slickest chops, full of air-brushed R&B vocals and exacting feminine pressure emphasised by guest appearances from Kelela, Taliwhoah, Thast and Ms. Boogie.
Running thru ‘Song Feel’ you get the distinct impression this is the record Girl Unit has always wanted to make. From the sweetly polarised versions of ‘WYWD’ feat. Kelela in R&B and house mixes that bookend the set, thru the lush ’90s-style swerve of ’Stuck’, to the direct rudeness of ‘Pull Up’, the chart-ready brim of ’24 Hours’ and his rolling raver ‘Pure Gold’, Girl Unit plays to the full spectrum of his abilities in hyper colourful, rude and rugged style bound to resonate with heads on both sides of the Atlantic.
Breakcore hero/weirdo Bogdan Raczynski coughs up his first LP in over a decade with ‘Rave Til You Cry’ for Disciples, following their two Black Lodge releases.
Back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Bogdan was a staple of the drill ’n bass scene, one a number of artists using tracker software to make the fastest, wildest breakbeats after D&B peaked and went pure neuro 2-step. He was also, and presumably still is, very fucking tall.
Many years later, he’s hardly changed, as ‘Rave ’Til You Cry’ catches him in gymnastic form across 18 tracks of kinetic rhythms and strange electronic atmospheres comparable with a fusion of Aleksi Perälä’s odd tunings and Christoph De Babylon’s brittle jungle styles.
Late ‘90s/early ‘00s style hip hop meets ‘80s Turkish film soundtrack samples and gritty Turkish rap.
“A side captivates by its voracity. Hi-tech and fierce beats drop with the sharp voice and flow of Ethnique Punch, delivering 14 – yes, f-o-u-r-t-e-e-n – short and punchy tracks. The diggin’ liveliness of Grup Ses is well present in the samples used, manufacturing beats that serve well the fast paced and nocturnal voice of Ethnique Punch. The first part of “Deli Divan” is pretty much a straight story. A good one.
But then comes the surprise. The other side. The same fourteen tracks without voice, just the beats. And here “Deli Divan” tells a completely different story. It loses the emergency, darkness and robustness of the A side, specially because the beats float on a limbo without a voice. But that limbo reveals the straightforwardness of the beats created by Grup Ses for this record. There’s a hidden narrative here, without the voice the short tracks connect like an outer world radio broadcast. But there’s no narrator. Just time-travelling beats that interlink past, present and future, synthetizing complex ideas in short bursts of 1 or 2 minutes. Delight it is.”
Impeccably slunky, slow and sexy ambient dance turns from Philipp Otterbach, an OG Salon Des Amateurs resident and co-organizer of the Substance club nights with Vladimir Ivkovic
Drawing upon decades of experience DJing between Düsseldorf and Berlin, Otterbach paints a singular worldview of dance music in ‘The Rest Is Bliss’ for Amsterdam’s Knekelhuis. Teasing the senses with fragrant traces of exotica in his opening ‘Interlude’, the trip soon becomes more ambiguously seductive/menacing with the hard-to-resist, insectoid syncopation and sci-fi sound design of ‘Dark Side of the Møn’ - those subs are proper! - before ‘The Weak Song’ turns another sharp corner into a strange ambient acidic dramaturgy pairing an enigmatic, lamenting female vocal with yearning 303 plongs and offworld electronics to totally beguiling degrees. Following this slow, mazy logic, the two parts of ‘The Roamer’ see us out in low key, shadowy style with thicc subs and stealthy, noirish gestures worthy of Bohren Und Der Club of Gore or Portishead in the first part precipitating a deliciously glassy, sparse closer recalling moments of Diego Herera’s ace SK U Kno LP.
Hyperdub’s Danielle Mana really comes into his own with the illusive animations of ‘Seven Steps Behind’, his debut LP and 2nd release under his own name, following years of work as Vaghe Stelle, and alongside Lorenzo Senni in One Circle
Twisting synthetic instruments to resemble semi-acoustic, chamber-like abstractions of grime and deconstructed club musics, Mana’s music now, more than ever, possesses an expressive electronic quality perhaps best compared with the work of Arca, or his former collaborator Lorenzo Senni.
From the proggy trance hymn ‘Myopia For The Future’ to the autotuned avant-synthpop of ’Soaking In Water’ Mana distinguishes his sound from the hyper-contemporary fields with big highlights such as the queasy, weightless R&B of ‘Talking / Choking’, and utterly unique pieces like the unpredictably morphing ‘Swordsmanship’, and the chromatic nose-drip reggaeton of ’Solo’. For our money it’s one of the stranger, more fascinating Hyperdub album in recent memory.
IDM/electronica-geared techno, grime, and futurist hardcore with ADD composerly tendencies
“Xao returns to Astral Black with his new eight-track LP, Eternal Care Unit. Created after relocating to Germany and distanced from the UK sounds and scenes that had influenced his previous work, ECU sees Xao further explore the ethereal futurism displayed on 2017's Alloys EP. In keeping with the title (Eternal Care Unit is a medical slang term for the morgue), the release soundtracks the transcendental shift from the physical to the spiritual realm.
Over the course of the record's thirty minute running time, Xao traverses through the hauntingly beautiful soundscapes of tracks like the opening 'Embryno' to the sonic brutalism of 'Corvid Tendencies' and 'Vent Jockey', interspersed with the driving off-kilter rhythms found on the likes of 'Bernet Franca' and 'Blades//Savants’.”
Sublime private spiritual jazz-funk/fusion album, now hard to find. Finally available again, fully licensed and remastered, with original artwork.
"Led by saxophonist Daoud Abubakar Balew who studied formal classical music and received instruction from Frank Mitchell (Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers) and Jackie McLean (Blue Note records), Ambiance incorporates Brazilian and Latin flavours with a righteous and soulful Afrocentric jazz edge.
This amazing and sought after LP beautifully starts with the haunting "The Clavicle" sampled by MF Doom on the Special Herbs beat series and contains other gems like the so fresh call for celebration, Fiesta composed by Gato Barbieri, the insane spiritual jazz fusion track Gida-Gida, and the killer modern soul cut 'There Is A Love' featuring the beautiful voice of Syreeta wright. This album is magnificent in its entirety, no fillers!"
Psyk gains some serious techno traction with 2nd LP ‘A Moment Before’ on Tresor
Arriving half a decade on from debut LP ‘Time Foundation’, its follow-up offers eight rollin variations on a furtive, slinky, minimal theme prefaced by an ambient intro.
Picks of the bunch are the buzzing subaquatic missiles ‘Deep Breath’ and ‘Waves’, also the gritty 303 flow of ‘Acid Test’ and the electro-trance wriggler ‘Artemis’.
Gladkazuka hit a strong seam of EBM/New Beat/proto-techno/wave-pop styles for Cómeme
Stripped to sexy, bare essentials ‘The Drop’ fires six slinky heat-seekers with highlights in the perky instrumental synth-pop/EBM of ‘Flancing Track’, the stately Dirk Desaever-like air of ‘The Drop’, and on an Elektroids tip with the hard-to-resits cruise of ‘El Coral’, while the coiled and slippery wave-pop of ‘Doblan’ comms in tight beat mode and a fluid ‘No Beat’ version.
‘Another Odyssey Of Waiting’ renders 38 minutes of barely-there presence from visionary droner Kevin Drumm
Self-released in late 2018, it’s a super quiet tract of peripheral, almost shimmering tones that seem to hug the walls of its imagined space like an organic film of bacteria, that eventually mass in choral harmony for occupant of said space.
Kevin Drumm’s self-released series offers this stealthy, glacially expanding, asymmetric drone passage
Rising from gauzy low end frequencies up the scale to quivering higher registers with incremental subtlety