Good times dynamo Finn slips into deep garage house mode for his classy first shot of 2021
As heard in his recent comeback DJ sets, ‘A Good Place’ sees him toggle the vibe to a halcyon vision of UK house as the sum of its US influences, replete with early Northern Soul samples, and a soupçon of northern UK melancholy, ‘cos that’s just how we like it - we may be giving away a secret here, but southerners might not know we have special backrooms where you can have a private weep and a Bovril, just ask for keys at the bar next time yr up on safari.
‘A Good Place’ sets it off with a cockle-warming, dubby distillation of deep piano house with memorable vocal idents, and ‘Getting Off (It’s So Good)’ gives a tender hybrid of NYC dream house and Sheffield bleeps, while ‘R U Well’ dials up the Northern Soul samples on a woozy garage house swang, and the warm sentiments carry thru to his twinkle-toed ace ‘We Better Make A Move.’
Following up 2016's ace 'Ragga Preservation Society', murky British Columbia collective SKRS revisit the project, liquefying Canadian-Jamaican jungle dubs and soundclash samples into mazy hi-velocity 'ardkore drips. One fer fans of Lee Gamble, Mark Leckey, Duppy Gun and Rhythm & Sound - featuring Second Woman, Roger Robinson, wzrdyAV and DJ Wundrkut.
With every dancefloor producer and their weed carrier attempting to shoehorn amen breaks and hoover bass into their tracks, it's refreshing to hear a crew doing it from the heart. Seekersinternational have been turning heads for years, and their latest full-length is a reminder of their attention to detail and commitment to excavating the rich seam between jungle and dub. Like its predecessor, the album looks to the past to chart a course into the future, re-aligning samples from the crew's collection of radio rips, Canadian-Jamaican ragga-jungle tape boxes and soundclash recordings, reshaping their source material into bonafide club electricity.
The album opens with an orchestra of samples that welds Basic Channel's looping dubwise textures to hoover blasts, atonal stabs and deejay shoutouts as if it's a proof of concept. 'Worldwide' subsequently mutates thru soundsystem forms with the plastique efficiency of Arca or the post-cynical surrealism of Dean Blunt. Beatless but not lacking rhythm, it introduces the album's palette without spoiling the rush of the first drop, a ratcheted break-led downtempo boom over a minute into Roger Robinson vehicle 'Kill-A-Milli'. It's at this point that you're made acutely aware of SKRS experience as selectors - there's no rush to reach for a track that'll show its cards immediately 'cuz they're building a narrative.
The album rarely stays in a single place for too long; as the ragga jungle blur of 'Kill-A-Milli' evaporates into sirens, eerie chimes introduce 'RingRingRiddim' with a digidub bassline and a looping vocal. 'SoundboyThunderbolt' glues both sounds together, lurching from loose ragga into tightly edited jungle and squelchy dancefloor rave saccharine. Second Woman, the collaborative moniker of Belong's Turk Dietrich and Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis, pop up with an assist on 'TrussUBad', augmenting SKRS' hi-contrast collage with fluttering electronics and airlock-ready algorithmic dub robotix.
SKRS save their most intense moments for the album's second half: 'JamFlexEdit, Pt. 1 & 2' is one of their most upfront hard-hitters yet, a rush of chattered rave samples, organ stabs and choppy breaks that spins full-circle into dada sound collage in the minutes before it fades into silence. Closing track 'SoundTekOva' is just as intense, alternating breaks in and out of focus as if you're dipping yer head in and out of water.
A dense, swaggering set, it plops us down in a front row seat for a firework display that demonstrates the permeating influence of Jamaican soundsystem culture on dance and experimental music.
Ferric x fried synthpop and post-punk that cracks open the fertile 1980s Mexican DIY scene. Alternate reality shit that offers a parallel view of a familiar stretch of time - so good.
While the synthpop era has been fully raked over in the US and UK, Mexico's innovative and eccentric contributions have too often been absent from the conversation. Most of the songs presented here were released in 2005 on CD, but Dark Entries has put together the first vinyl edition and added two extra cuts for the heads. It's revelatory material: unlike so much of the music being pumped from the Euro and US industry machine, this handful of tracks showed Mexico's eccentric DIY approach.
These bands used home recording techniques to mirror the shimmering electronic pop of bands like The Human League, Ultravox and Visage, dipping the sound in Mexico's 1980s cultural landscape and infusing it with politics, Latin percussion and dancefloor pressure. Avant Garde's opener 'Pesadillas' is frothy and upbeat, with ruff, saturated drums popping undereneath hi-vis monosynth sugar and raw Spanish vocals; Vandana's 'Cambios En El Tiempo' is brighter and more widescreen and will be familiar to Dark Entries heads, but drives the sound down a left hand path; while Artefacto's 'Mundo Sin Viento' is a real stand-out, adding NY freestyle drums and rolling digi bass.
New addition 'Alfabeto (Cold Version)' from Década 2 is a heads choice, all chugging, Euro rave-adjacent industrial electro, and Silueta Pálida's closer 'El Paso Del Tiempo (Versión Remezclada)' is a dreamy, percussive chunk of Latin pop. Remastered by George Horn, the set also features slick new retro-futurist artwork from Gwenaël Rattke.
Mark Gomes' fourth album as Blue Chemise is a dusty set of Satie-influenced piano études that reflect solemnly on Adolphe Braun's greyscale floral photography.
Braun's pictures evoke a feeling of trapped beauty, and Aussie composer Gomes uses well-worn production techniques to suggest nostalgia and charm in an attempt to recreate. The album is mostly assembled using just piano, drybrushed with carefully procured field recordings, creaking Mellotron pads and subtle drones. With these elements, Gomes assembles a still life that's ghostly but stylish - a sound that signals to the past but floats through various eras with lubricated ease.
Not quite neo-hauntology and not quite as stark as the solo piano work of Goldmund or Nils Frahm, "Flower Studies" is melancholy, cinematic and affecting. If it was snapped up as the soundtrack to a BBC documentary, we wouldn't be surprised.
Heady fusion of mystic South American tradition and contemporary electronic dance by drummer Brandon Valdivia aka Mas Aya, hitting square between the styles of Elysia Crampton, Christos Chondropoulos, DJ Plead and Ka Baird
‘Máscaras’ offers a lushly memorable introduction, where needed, to the world building sound of Toronto’s Brandon Valdivia, aka Mas Aya, whose name translates to “Over There.” In six parts he projects a mescaline strength vision quest of rich, live instrumentation and swirling harmonic colour underpinned by a mix of hands-on, and programmed drums that owe as much his South American heritage as prevailing currents of digi dancehall, trap and footwork, while also harking back to golden era Warp. In other hands this could be a box ticking exercise, but Mas Aya handles the disparate elements beautifully, harmoniously consolidating a world of influence in his craftily disciplined productions.
The opening whorl of flues and stumbling drums in ‘Momento Presente’ melts on the mind with a vibrant, radiant lushness that he toggles gently through the EP, from the keening pads and pendulous rolige of ‘Key’ to a highlight in ’18 de Abril’ imagining DJ Plead switching mode from Arabic to Incan. Its centrepiece ‘Villanueva’ presents the widest canvas for his thoughts to slosh over, and ’Tiempo Ahora’ weaves in a reverberating wordless lament from Lido Pimienta, while the beautifully buoyant ambience of closer ‘Quiescence’ surely recalls Ka Baird’s psychedelic tactility.
Flaty serves a gyring, vaporiszed antithesis to the brittle boned flex of his ace ‘Railz’ album
All bulbous subs, radioactive plongs and industrial air vent gasps, ‘Raltd’ takes on a very different shape to its jittery predecessor. The club is in the rearview and we’re placed in the middle of a Russian after-party sound, possibly in the boiler room of a vast former Soviet housing block, pipes clanking and surrounded by stern gurners on their haunches in oversized sportswear necking litres of voddy and cooking ket on an oil drum stove.
Generalisations aside, the proceedings really do evoke a cold and warped sense of space and place due to Flaty’s finely chiselled and physical brand of synthesis, which is variously bent and bifurcating with a sozzled sense of psychedelia between the cavernous dimension of ‘burnt chamber’, the roiling subs and hiccuping vox of ‘including (alt mix)’ and the shearing dissonance of ‘train stop feed’, before it all gets more metallic and fractured between the likes of ‘recap’, the scything flex of ’TIZO’ and the arrival of Matrix swarmbots in ‘falling p.2.’
Davy Kehoe (Wah Wah Wino), Ruutu Pois, Flegon, I:Cube, and Jordan GCZ reframe Gilb’R’s plush debut album tracks in subtly faithful ways
‘On danse comme des fous’ marked over a quarter century of skin in the game for pivotal Parisian DJ, producer, and owner of Versatile Record; Gilbert Cohen. His selection of remixers for the album reflect the diversity of his music’s bonds between oddball beatdown funk and thick-of-it club gear, spanning veteran and young artists alike.
Gilb’R’s own exclusive cut ‘L’inconscient rebel’ lends the set a skudgy psychedelic slant alongside two highlights from Dublin’s Davy Kehoe, bringing the Wah Wah Wino steez to ‘Triangle Days’ in the sublime ambient pop buoyancy of his ‘Vocal Mix’ and a cinematic remix, proper. Estonia’s Ruutu Pois brings a like-minded breeziness to his take on ’Super Spreader’, and he looks closer to home for a sultry flip of ‘Я не хочу знать’ by Paris band Flegon, with even the likes of I:Cube playing intuit rh downbeat feel on the spherical re-rub of ‘Reaching’, but we can trust Amsterdam’s Jordan GCZ to stock the ‘floor with an anxious overhaul of ‘Changa.’
ATFA on their A-game with a debut album of Amapiano aces by Native Soul, the teenaged, Gauteng-based duo of Kgothatso Tshabalala and Zakhele Mhlanga (DJ Zakes)
Arriving in the vein of ATFA’s arguably overlooked zingers by Teno Afrika and DJ Black Low, Native Soul’s efforts should be set to catch fire with a rapidly expanding global audience for Amapiano, or at least its fervent UK fanbase. The tracks are perfectly calibrated with that Amapiano dark/light suspension system, balancing the trilling bass below the waist with atmospheric pads that get up in yuh head and grip the dance like little else right now. The pace is of course locked to SA’s favoured mid-tempo deep house velocity (we’ve heard stories of SA turntables with the pitch locked off at +4, lol), which to be honest does sometimes feel unusual in UK clubs, but soon enough locks everyone into its lathering groove.
Native Soul’s take on the still evolving genre displays a reserved emotive intelligence mature beyond their years, holding it down and lip-bitingly restrained in the tightest style. We’ll maintain that the best dancers we’ve ever seen hail from SA, and it’s perhaps no surprise when they’ve got this kinda gear to practice with; coming with tendon-tuning nuance in the hip-shot string stabs and puckered torque of ‘Ambassador’ ft. Ubuntu Brothers, and tucking in tight in-the-pocket on the brooding ‘United As One’, and with pure pensile suss in the delayed gratification of ‘Way To Cairo’ while the furtive progressions of ‘Letter To Kabza De Small’ and belly tightening hustle ‘End Of Time’, like much Amapiano, feel really strangely attuned to the tension and efficient energy conservation themes of the times.
In other words it’s a fucking massive tip!
Fleet-footed soukous, calypso and funaná styles from Dutch producer Niels Nieuborg aka Arp Frique, lit up by a coterie of vocalists; Mariseya, Americo Brito, The Scorpios and Orlando Julius
Following his cherry-picked selection on the ‘Radio Verde: Cape Verdean Dancefloor Music’, and a pair of well received albums, Arp Frique taps into a classic sort of musical dialogue between the tropics and the lowlands , melding tight programming with bundles of soulful vocals and lithe instrumentalism. His recent single ’Nyame Ye’ opens the albums embarrassment of colourful, grooving riches, swinging from hip-house styles in ‘Way Ye Me’ and ‘Paa’ reminding of Teknokrat’s’ work with Les Choc Stars Du Zaire, to hi NRG zingers in ‘La musique du soleil’ and ‘Ecoutez’, thru vibes reminding of Francis Bebey’s synth bops on ‘Oi Quem Q’eu Nos Oi’, and SA bubblegum flavours in ‘Baba Love.’
Brittle boned breaks and gothic atmospheres from D&B renegade CDB, crossing paths with AD 93 for the first time
The follow-up to De Babalon’s ‘Teyas’ collaboration with WIDT picks up in equally bleak and dramatic terrain, following his instincts for a sort of theatrical breakcore style comparable with early Venetian Snares on Zhark.
There’s nowt like a bit of German opera to get the blood up, as with the scene setting chorale that gives way to gnashing breaks in ‘Kein Bild Machen’, while ‘Hung on a String’ comms with pebbledash drums and deathly, keening strings beside the bone-clacking breakbeat churn of ‘Swimmer.’ We’re best reminded of V Snares circa the ‘Salt’ EP on the EP highlights ‘Cool Priest’ and ‘What’s Wrong With Tomorrow’ while ‘Ether’ hits with more deviant drum funk a la a gothic Nucleus & Paradox.
Exhaustive survey of post punks Normil Hawaiians, charting their development from jagged rock to more melodic and funky inventions over a relatively short period, prior to their members playing on ‘80s Bowie records
“Dark World collects together choice material from Normil Hawaiians' formative early years of 1979-1981. Tagging along with the band from their peppy post-punk origins (so brilliantly debuted on "The Beat Goes On") into the looser, dubbier territories that laid the foundations for the group's landmark album More Wealth Than Money. Dark World gathers the group's energetic 7" singles on Dining Out and Illuminated Records, their metamorphic Gala Failed EP (Red Rhino) and a lively last-minute Peel session from 1980, alongside outtakes, rarities, and demos. During this feverish time, founding member Guy Smith was motivated to make music that reveled in always trying out different things.
Normil Hawaiians was a very fluid ensemble at this point, Guy often accompanied by Kev Armstrong and Jim Lusted encouraged saxophones, violins, synths, pianos and a select pack of female backing singers to take their post-punk sound into wilder directions. One of the earliest line-ups of Normil Hawaiians featured a 15-year-old Janet Armstrong on vocals alongside Guy, "Ventilation" best showcases her deadpan digressions. Janet went on to sing alongside David Bowie a few years later on his breathtaking mid-80s gem "Absolute Beginners". By this point Kev Armstrong was also guesting for Bowie on guitar duties too. Another guest to join the ranks of Normil Hawaiians during this fertile time of cross-pollination was Bertie Marshall (aka Berlin of the proto-punk Bromley Contingent). "Sang Sang" is a good example of how he was inspired to deliver his poetic treatises over the band's atmospheric, floating improvisations. Bertie's impressionistic influence helped the group uncouple further from rock tropes, as they became restless and more rhythmically-focused. "Still Obedient" fidgets, soars and careens across the dancefloor.
By the end of this transformative two years Normil Hawaiians had spun an exceptional chrysalis around themselves. The dark world surrounding wouldn't win out, they'd eaten-up the music and grown continuously, wrote and recorded rapidly, covered Zappa and even David Lynch and could feel the light beginning to shine through. Dark World is a snapshot of a band in flux, finding their feet, stretching their limbs. Normil Hawaiians cover an awful amount of ground in such a short time-frame on this record and these tracks document all the glittering debris from their magpie's nest. Emergent, hopeful and resistant in sound and ethic.”
Debut album of perfectly buoyant psych-pop/odd-fi dance with a real bedroom-built charm from Otto, chasing up a string of wonky pearl singles with his first LP for London’s PLZ Make It Ruins (Vegyn, Arthur).
Bubbling with an inventive, all-at-once optimism, rude club quality, and woozy melancholy that recalls Panda Bear or Bullion as much as AFX, Squarepusher and Yves Tumor, the sound of Otto is a delirious proposition that’s bound to catch due attention. He’s surely an enviably creative type with a swelling archive, with only two of his four singles and EPs’ tracks appearing among these 14 new ones, which all spill over with colourful ideas, bow-tied with chirpy IDMelody and kissed off with memorable vocals and hooks that linger.
‘Clam Day’ is a wee beacon of proper, outre poptimism in dark times, is what it is. From a low bitrate-smudged pop vignette worthy of Ariel Pink in ‘Jumping Jane’, to the eyedose acid-house-pop wink of ‘Crystal Hole’, thru deliquescent dill ’n bass pop a la late ‘90s AFX or Squarepusher in ‘Sprained My Ankle’ and ‘Rain Jacket and Shorts’, he proves uncannily adept at doing heartache indie-pop on ‘Guess My Crush’ and ‘Chlorine’, alongside the PC Music-gone-pastoral styles of ‘Spirit Theme’, while still making room for the exceptional intravenal ambient techno dynamics of ‘Microplastics in My Bloodstream’. Honestly we’re beaming, totally under his spell and in need of a number for Otto's acid dealer.
Livity Sound mark a decade of skin in the game with 2nd of two comps pulling focus on their roster of rhythmic misfits in 2021
Originally founded as an outlet for Pev, Kowton, and Asusu’s like-minded soundsystem techno oddities in 2011, the label’s scope has gradually expanded over the intervening decade to embrace an emerging movement of non-standard bassbin operators such as Batu, Hodge, Bruce and Simo Cell via the Reverse label (Dnuos Ytivil), and nowadays stands at a busy intersection of globally related styles loosely termed hard drum, or bass music.
Part 2 opens with a rare duo production of squashed dembow techno by Peverelist and Kowton, and spreads out between the ricocheting drums of Simo Cell to windswept trance arps and needlepoint programming recalling Oni Ayhun in ‘Grass Labyrinth’ by Surgeons Girl, taking in a skittish acid-arab jungle killer by Toma Kami, wonky dancehall from Cousin, and the typically breathless production and looping groove of Bruce.
Livity Sound mark a decade of skin in the game with first of two comps pulling focus on their roster of rhythmic misfits in 2021
Originally founded as an outlet for Pev, Kowton, and Asusu’s like-minded soundsystem techno oddities in 2011, the label’s scope has gradually expanded over the intervening decade to embrace an emerging movement of non-standard bassbin operators such as Batu, Hodge, Bruce and Simo Cell via the Reverse label (Dnuos Ytivil), and nowadays stands at a busy intersection of globally related styles loosely termed hard drum, or bass music.
Part 1 packs nine cuts that exemplify Livity Sound’s scope, racking up tentative slow-motion hustle from Azu Tiwaline alongside the pendulous UK styles of Forest Drive West, straight-jacketed brukbeats by Two Shell, a killer from DJ Plead, and Roska turning in a tight drum track under his Bakongo alias, plus flinty 2-step from Al Wootton (Deadly) and dembow-driven house thizz from Cando.
Proc Fiscal does his genre origami with grime, drill, jungle, footwork and vaporous ambient styles in a plush 2nd album for Hyperdub
In pursuit of the mercurial magick previously found on his string of acclaimed, daring 12”s and debut LP ‘Insula’ (2018), he returns with a charmingly effusive new volley of 14 cuts that sparkle with restless, fractious detailing and whirring rhythm mechanics. Like his label mates Lorraine James and Lee Gamble, it’s effectively IDM, as in he can’t help but go to town on his grooves and express a probing “intelligence” or curiosity in the embellishments. The results may be too busy for some straighter club heads, but fizz with ingenuity for others, and surely nobody can argue that he’s not got that classic Scottish feel for funk locked down.
In another time, ‘Siren Spine Sysex’ could have been prime Rephlex material, showing off a devilish mastery of inch-tight drum programming and non-standard electronic tuning in each part as the album cascades and skids between lilting downbeat opener ‘Anti Chesst’ and the salty noise convolutions of ‘Roman Fatigue.’ It finds him filleting drill’s glyding bass and hollow-tipped snares in aerial footwork styles on ‘Convaerge Iana’ and the skittish ‘Met Path Thoth,’ with a crafty cut of R&G vocal thizz in the centrepiece ‘8 Mgapixel See Thru Phone,’ alongside a warped, tangy take on Afrobeats in ‘Thurs Jung Youtz’ and ‘Her In.’ His playful wits are in best effect on ‘The Most Beautiful Irish Song,’ which sounds a bit like Todd Edwards doing a giddy jig, and comes complemented by the Carl Stone-esque levels of glitchy vocal processing on ‘Leith Torn Carnal,’ with the album’s sweetest treats coming in the relatively laid-back but mutant minor key drill swag of ‘Auld Peop.’
Enchanting, expert guided 24-track tour of Ecuador’s Caife label circa the ‘60s, flush with suave fusions of jazz and indigenous traditional styles running counter to post-colonial, Eurocentric styles. A real holiday for the ears
“A dazzling survey of the last, bohemian flowering of the so-called Golden Era of Ecuadorian musica national, before the oil boom and incoming musical styles — especially cumbia — swept away its achingly beautiful, phantasmagorical, utopian juggling of indigenous and mestizo traditions.
Forms like the tonada, albazo, danzante, yaravi, carnaval, and sanjuanito; the yambo, with roots in pre-Incan ritual, and the pasillo, a take on the Viennese waltz, arriving through the Caribbean via Portugal and Spain. Exhumations like the astoundingly out-there organist Lucho Munoz, from Panama, toying with the expressive and technical limits of his instrument; and our curtain-raiser Biluka, who travelled to Quito from Rio, naming his new band Los Canibales in honour of the late-twenties Cannibalist movement back home, dedicated to cannibalising other cultures in the fight against post-colonial, Eurocentric hegemony. He played the ficus leaf, hands-free, laying it on his tongue. One leaf was playable for ten hours. He spent long periods living on the street, in rags, when he wasn’t in the CAIFE studio recording his chamber jazz-from-space, with the swing, elegance and detail of Ellington’s small groups, crossed with the brassy energy of ska — try Cashari Shunguito — and an enthralling other-worldliness.
Utterly scintillating guitar-playing, prowling double bass, piercing dulzaina, wailing organ, rollicking gypsy violin, brass, accordion, harps, and flutes. Bangers to get drunk and dance to. Slow songs galore to drown your sorrows in, with wildly sentimental lyrics drawn from the Generacion Decapitada group of poets (who all killed themselves); expert heart-breakers, with the raw passion of the best rembetica, but reined in, like the best fado."
Awe-inspiring sedated slowcore meditations from prolific British underground legend Richard Youngs. Using trombone, organesque sine waves, a snare drum, and vocals, Youngs conducts an atmosphere that straddles the tranquil midnight chime of Bohren & der Club of Gore, Low, Alice Coltrane, Andrew Chalk or Black Truffle boss Oren Ambarchi. Monumental material, honestly - one of the must-hear albums of 2021.
‘CXXI' is Youngs' 121st album, and also the number of chord changes on 'Tokyo Photograph', the record's funereal opening rumination. Since the 1980s, Youngs has been a reliable presence on the British outsider circuit, licking thru pastoral folk, abstract drone, free improv and dense psychedelia while maintaining a level of quality that's seen him hoisted to exalted status. Only earlier this year, Jagjaguwar celebrated Youngs' 1998 album "Sapphie" with a 25th anniversary cover album that featured sparkling nu versions from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, with Moses Sumney, Perfume Genius and Sharon Van Etten.
But ‘CXXI' is a markedly contrasting proposition. It's a conceptual piece that employs a randomly generated set of minor chords, played by sine waves and spiked with a brushed snare on every change. Over this backbone, Youngs fleshes out a genderless body using wordless notes and expressive abstract electronics, fading in Yorkshire DIY mainstay Sophie Cooper's tape-damaged trombone tones. His resulting Vitruvian form is potent, purposed and proportioned in a manner that's only truly apprehensible after chewing over disparate artistic ideas and practices until the flavor has been completely vaporized - committed to memory for eternity.
There's a stylistic link to the Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise's 'Sycamore Trees' or the lounge jazz mutations of beloved German outfit Bohren & der Club of Gore, but sans any flourishes that would lead you towards the doom canon. Similarly, it feels lashed to Alice Coltrane's masterfully-paced meditation "Turiya Sings" (especially this year's controversial minimalist reissue) and Oren Ambarchi's breakout Touch-released opus "Grapes From the Estate". But Youngs sounds as if he's out on an island all of his own, etching his modest epics with a yawning knowledge of the wider world, but not with the expectation of reverence or relevance.
Really we can't get over how affecting ‘CXXI' is; it's a simple idea that's been executed with such skill and artistry that we're charmed all over again with every subsequent listen. It's classic minimalism, haunted jazz, low-key ambient, inebriated drone and none of this mess simultaneously. Youngs has sculpted an album that's like Michaelangelo's marbles: on the surface it looks almost simple, but that simplicity is deceptive, captivating and unforgettable. There's no doubt in our minds that it's one of the best of his career, and certainly among the best we've heard in 2021.
Elena Colombi, Eva Geist, Dama, Tyler Pope and Wilted Woman reshape Novo Line’s ‘Racconti’ album in mutant variants of chug fuel for Berlin’s Protofuture label
Leading on from the label’s Beppe Loda worship and unarchived Leo Young goods, the remixers tease out the crafty idiosyncrasies of Novo Line’s twin Atari-generated functions for the sleaziest neon lit ‘floors and darkroom phantasies.
Italy’s Eva Geist accentuates the cosmic drugginess of ‘La Biretta’ with an especially slompy turn, and label boss Andrea Dama keeps it on that squashed pace with a properly groggy acid dub treatment of ‘Copertone,’ subtly contrasting with its bittersweet, rudely textured revision by Wilted Woman.
Tyler Pope, guitarist to a generation of punk-funk and dance bands (LCD Soundsystem, !!!, Hercules & Love Affair) supplies the EP’s meatiest standout with a sturdy ‘80s proto-house overhaul of ’Sudore’ that best connects with the Novo Line’s aesthetic, and Elena Colombi draws for mid ‘00s saw-tooth electro-house synths in her trampling take on ‘Early Morning.’
Enduring psych-rawk survivors Ashtray Navigations continue their descent into the blotter spiral with this latest concoction, all overdriven e-guitar riffing, trance-inducing piano, doom organ, fuzzy electronix and Indian percussion. We can smell the incense from here.
Ashtray Navigations are a reliable proposition: if you're into their estimable, prolific output, you'll probably keep enjoying everything they scratch their initials into. "Before You Play This" is an enjoyably varied collection of blurry jams that veers narcotically from patchouli-scented riffing into cosmic synth jamming without so much as a pause for breath.
'The Tactic' is a post-Grateful Dead raga-rock drone-aut, but quickly transitions into 'The Blizzard', that sounds more like one of Tangerine Dream's soundtrack albums played on a melting car stereo. 'The Spectrum' meanwhile sellotapes cosmic synth arpeggios to a sloppy blues rock backdrop. The midnight lounge funk of 'The Case' is more to our taste, but there's really something for everyone here.
Hands up who wants/needs a cover of Sugababes on a Braindance-type beat? There’s all that and much more joyful IDM-pop in Otto’s ludicrously charming early volley for PLZ Make it Ruins
Doing fast, mentalistic IDM, but without its more po-faced afflictions, Otto keeps it hychromatic and POP in a style clearly influenced by the drill ’n bass of AFX and Squarepusher, but tweaked in a way he can safely call his own.
A big attraction of this EP from midsummer 2020 is his hyperglyding cover of Sugababes’ ‘00s classic ‘About You Now’, the fructose shot of goodness we all need, while we’re also well into the melting gurn face acid and pungent melodies of ‘Bathroom on the Bus’, the needlepoint programming in his hyper-happy-hardcore rush ‘Cannonball Style (Child Class)’, and the lip-smacking electro MDMA tang on his electro beauty ‘Massachusetts Cowgirl’.
Æthenor's Daniel O'Sullivan impresses again with a second set of off-kilter library music. There's no breakbeats here - O'Sullivan tracks across vast musical territory skirting Indian raga, dense electronic ambient, early synth music, psychedelic folk, choral music and plenty more.
Following last year's silky smooth "Electric Māyā", O'Sullivan's latest library excursion is a deep dive into his meditative realm. It's hard to imagine a lot of this music being used for TV, but that's what makes it better than you'd hope.
O'Sullivan is at his best when he sounds most angelic, like on opening track 'Perpetual Ascension', the choral 'Palo Sagrado' and the striking, church-bell led 'Head in the Bellfry'. Paper Dollhouse's Astrud Steeholder assists on the latter, and on the poppy 'Orgone Attenuation' that sounds almost like The Knife.
Weightless melancholy drones that almost bend time, recorded using harmonium, recorder, serpent, glass harmonica and cristal Baschet. 'Blue Rot' is mystical, mind-expanding stuff that sits very comfortably alongside meditations from Sarah Davachi, Kara-Lis Coverdale and Kali Malone.
If you've got ear fatigue from the onslaught of dusty nostalgic ambient music that's been clogging the fatpipes in recent years, 'Blue Rot' should work like Draino. Instead of using the requisite synth and tape plugin setup, Razen take a more traditional approach to create their drones, looking at the past to chart a course into the future. For 'Blue Rot' they've assembled an ensemble to play a selection of lesser-heard instruments that lend a distinct character and texture to the music that lifts it into a different dimension entirely.
The core duo of Brecht Ameel and Kim Delcour play prepared harmonium and monochord, and recorders and reeds respectively. But new band member Berlinde Derman brings along the serpent, an unusual 16th century wind instrument that's an ancestor of the tuba. Guest musician Thomas Bloch adds the final piece of the puzzle, playing glass harmonica - a musical instrument made from glass bowls pioneered by Benjamin Franklin - and cristal Baschet, an organ made from tuned glass rods.
The sound that the quartet produces is singular; rooted in contemporary drone - almost sounding electronic - but the unusual texture of the instruments gives it an unusual, archaic quality. There's always the sense of breath and tonal variation; the sound of glassy resonance or the ancient familiarity of the recorder grounds each composition in real world recognition, while we're quietly transported to another world entirely.
"Blue Rot" is deviously well conceived music that challenges expectations and evolves with still, contemplative ease = v, v good.
Optimo dig out the early ‘90s acid experiments of Khan (Can Oral) and Roger Cobernuss (Kerosene) for a reminder of more wigged out, innocent times
The H.E.A.D. project locates Khan in his NYC years, prior to moving back to Germany and becoming instrumental in the minimal house scene. Working with another prolific ‘90s producer, Soberness the pair cook up some tart and tangy acid mutations not really meant for the ‘floor, or at least peak times preferring a style of low burning and psychedelic exploration that loops the acid house sound back into a ‘60s sort of loose psych freedom.
Heady by name and nature, the eight tracks progressively gouch out from the cosmic interceptions of ‘EFS 3’ to a pair of extended trips tilting over the 17min mark in ‘EFS 5’ and ‘EFS 1’, by which point you will probably be rolling on the carpet. They very much like Vladimir Ivkovic’s Goa trance on 33-not-45 styles, especially in the longest work’s distorted and dubbed out acid gurgle, and do eventually brim up to a full acid house charge with the wonky strut of ‘EFS 6’, before slipping into what sounds like Plastikman meditating at Charanjit Singh’s altar in ‘EFS 2.’
Pretty, nostalgic and ultimately quite moving piano 'n tape compositions from Berlin-based Japanese artist Midori Hirano, following work for Sonic Pieces, Alien Transistor and Longform Editions.
Hirano was working on music for the film "Mizuko" when she stumbled upon the inspiration for "Soniscope". She was handed a still image of many Jizo statues - small stone statues made in the image of Jizo Bosatsu, the guardian deity of children and travelers - and began considering a soundtrack album of her own. Using her own personal stories, she began to sculpt a record that was as evocative and visual as her scoring work, but related to her own life rather than someone else's narrative.
As you might expect, it's melancholy, reflective music that's undoubtedly inspired by cinematic works, but feels more subtle and less grandiose. Hirano's piano carries most of the tracks, but she livens up the instrument by funneling tones through effects and blurring them almost beyond recognition. The most moving moments are when other instruments are raised into the foreground, like synthesized strings on 'Strings of Memories', harp on 'Inside' and driving percussion on 'Phantom Train'.
Maiden vinyl voyage of Thomas Köner’s seminal dark ambient album inspired by cosmic ephemera, available on wax and digital formats for first time since 1995.
Originally released by Barooni, who also issued Köner’s first trio of solo albums (and Roland Kayn’s titanic ‘Tektra’ boxset), ‘Aubrite’ checks into the German artist’s resoundingly dark, isolationist headspace a few years later for a profound meditation on the void. To be fair, it’s obviously “dark”, but more in a sense of its starkness and lonesome nature, rather than anything overbearingly gothic or cinematic, holding to a canvas of barely-there, near infrasonic inference and suggestion, and with a timeless fascination as evocative as the small achrondite meteorites that fell near Nyons in 1836 and lend it its title.
"Whoever hears the distortion of all sounds, will soon become Ultrablack. Whoever listens to this world, but has no affection for any of its sites, even to the place of Black Noise, may soon reach Ultrablack. Whoever understands the spirit of impartiality through ten thousand million partial tones, hears Ultrablack and can no longer be measured. No measures, no enclosures, no properties are the sign of ultrablack scores." Thomas Köner
Returning from the brink for the first time in 26 years, ‘Aubrite’ still imparts a message that’s best translated by atavistic instinct. Like Roland Kayn’s work, the level of scope and layered depth is just unfathomably cavernous and even on some levels unheimlich amniotic, yielding a series of quietly reverberating and sensational sort of non-musical events that suspend the senses and send its recipient floating thru richly imaginative deepsea, boreal, and cosmic headspace.
NYC shapeshifter Hiro Kone is joined by Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown Jr), travis (ONO), and Muqata’a for a more fluid navigation of electronics, dark ambient sound design, and chamber classical.
Crafted during lockdown, ’Silvercoat The Throng’ is Hiro Kone’s most personalised set of recordings yet, written under the title’s poetic directive to create “possibility, rescued from darkness” and also “resist the urge to fill the space". The results oscillate through cinematic routines and into weightless sensations that largely eschew the chewy rhythms that have typified her previous records.
Without a club or gig space to attend to, Hiro Kone has travelled inward to discover and better articulate her own sound, with results cloyed with horror/thriller motifs. However, those looking for her whirring rhythmic mechanics will find them lurking toward the 2nd half of ‘Mundus patent’, and in the insectoid detailing of ‘Reciprocal capture’ featuring DeForrest Brown Jr’s Speaker Music, and abstracted like a Muslimgauze dub on the title track starring Muqata’a.
Deadly strong debut album of darkside, technoid turbulence from UVB-76 co-founder Karim Maas and US stalwart Stave (Talker)
One for the atheist ‘ardcore kru, ‘Godless’ pits the duo in heavyweight, pugilist style around a shared love of Brummie techno and warehouse pressure, rudely imagining something like a collision of Regis with Scorn and JK Flesh. Originally rooted in a one-off collaboration for a label night in Bristol, the project takes its beastly form as an 8-track album showcase for their combined muscle and gristle, exchanging loops that grew up into a forceful collection of bombed out bass destruction and foundry percussion, all rendered with the kind of bilious noise that has come to define Karim Mass’ best work.
It’s arguably some of the strongest stuff in its field of recent years, keeping everything shark-eyed and sharply disciplined, and crucially without recourse to the swelling post-rock dynamics favoured by too many “industrial” experimenters. This stuff is built for locked in intensity that plays out superbly on headphones or in the club, holding it down from the Mick Harris-like crusher ‘Loop 002’ thru to a pummelling noise workout recalling Vereker in the title tune, with unmissable highlights in the cloven hoofed trample of ‘Project 1’ and the shoulder barging swagger of ‘Plan’, plus more squashed and CUB-like rolige in ‘D_A_T.’
Drexciyan emissary DJ Stingray gears up his Micron Audio label with only its 2nd release proper; 4 tracks of steely Detroit electro functions heralding more to come
Relaunched for 2021, some 10 years after its maiden 12” ‘Electronic Countermeasures’, Stingray’s Micron Audio picks up its mission to embody “a hub for a modern and futuristic electro sound” with four laser-guided torpedoes on the ‘Molecular Level Solutions’ session.
Hopefully leading to some sort of album follow-up to his pair of LPs with Rephlex of 15 years ago, these tracks are built as artillery for DJ Stingray 313’ sets across the Europe and farther afield, exerting some of his most obsessively detailed and intense production in each cut.
The nano-tight pulses and arcing pads of ’Bioplastics’ set it off at peak time vector, with ‘Construction Materials from Organic Waste’ shadowboxing in cold cavernous warehouse space, while ‘carbon Neutral Fuels’ cloaks his uptempo techno-electro hydraulics in shapeshifting dub chords and workshop noise, leaving ‘Enzymatic Detergents’ to rinse out the club with astringent synth noise and bone-swivelling electro syncopation.
Atlantic coast trio Niagara tend to their prevailing current of enigmatic, windswept ambient structures on a return to their Ascender label after 2020’s ‘Pais & Filhos’ album with Príncipe.
‘Veneza’ is perhaps the Portuguese group’s quietest and most intimate statement in six years of unpredictable movements. It revolves around a mix of seven succinct and sprawling works that find Alberto Arruda, António Arruda, and Sara Eckerson at their most low-key, eschewing their grittier dancefloor charms for an absorbingly textured and contemplative sort of slow burn sound; hashing briny new age synth exploits and playfully curdled kosmiche arps with sparkling contemporary classical strokes in a wandering style that has served them well thus far.
The effortless allure of their sound is in sweetest effect on the likes of ‘Dia 3, Parte 1, Música 5’, which recalls earliest 0PN synth meditations, while their knack for tactfully evocative textures and synaesthetic sensation is most appealing in the mise-en-scene of crisp, breezing air and distant, crashing waves that frame the melancholy analog synth wist of ‘Dia 2, Parte 1, Música 2.’ The avian chirrups and sylvan classical piano lines of ‘Dia 1, Parte 2, Música 3’ lead our mind to comparisons with CV & JAB’s lines of thought, which also applies to the album’s standout 14 minute closure, where they invite us into a serene room recording of a lonesome piano and sparing, aleatoric electronics, all subtly enlivened with incidental sound.
Much needed reissue of Porter Ricks’ 1997 follow-up to ‘Biokinetics’, plunging deep in the interzone between ambient, noise, and dub techno across its expanded and reshaped 2021 version
Re-floating an overlooked vessel from their 25 year voyage, ‘Same’ returns to the surface subtly resequenced to change its direction of flow, front-loading its rolling dub techno depths and pushing its mid-late ‘90s smoker-funk hip hop and D&B tracks to the back (to be fair they could have omitted them fully). Dodgy bits aside, what remains is a killer example of Porter Ricks’ patented subaquatic pressure in effect, oscillating waves of skanking and stepping groove with canny turns to funkier house and disco loop styles that acknowledge the era they were launched into.
Anyone smote by Porter Ricks’ preceding run of classics for Chain Reaction and Milel Plateaux will be in their element with this album’s dub techno dynamics, with wickedly offset grooves in the ‘Redundance’ parts at their skudgy best in the discoid grind of ‘Redundancy 3’, darker textural ambient scapes in ‘Redundance (Version)’, and a gorgeous scanner ‘Redundance 5’ surely laying the ground for Convextion’s album tracks. At its deepest point, ‘Scuba Lounge’ exerts 11 mins of menacing pressure, before the residual deep house throb of ‘Spoiled’ comes on like a rave heard from miles across dark sea, and ’Spoil’ cuts the filters to reveal a proper Chi-style disco-house loop in action.
Nostro Hood System boss Galtier's debut album is a meticulously constructed byzantine club space opera. With 'Blade Runner' synths and jerky, neck-snapping rhythms, he's managed to squeeze contemporary club music's dystopian world-building into a taught, album-length offering without sacrificing any of the weight. Seriously elevated airlock club bizz.
Damn. The Mexico City imprint's first vinyl offering in three years, "Pulchra Es Elementis" (Elements Are Beautiful) is about as epic as club full-lengths get, painting sonic vistas that bring to mind Frank Herbert's "Dune" or Kathryn Bigelow's underrated "Strange Days". Bristol-based producer Jiah Wells is a talented engineer - he's been releasing hard-hitting club music for a decade - but the album is far more than a loose collection of tracks assembled to show off his Berlin-ready kicks and eardrum-scraping snares.
Tracks like the percussive 'Bruised, but Not Broken' and the album's weightless title track are so richly visual and so obviously sci-fi inspired that it's tough not to get lost daydreaming about a cinematic accompaniment. Wells has fashioned the record like a prog concept album, and plots a rigid narrative; it fails to follow the established club pattern of pneumatic banger, ambient interlude - rinse and repeat. Rather, tracks seem to appear from the walls and ceilings like xenomorphs in James Cameron's otherwise underwhelming "Aliens".
Wells tracks through club rhythms with ease, there's no defined mode to slip into - he retains a tuff-edged dembow influence throughout, but glides fluidly between sounds without repeating basic templates. The focus is the atmosphere, and that's never better photographed than on 'Cavernam', a track that oozes thru hard drum minimalism, buffing in Eski's skeletal brilliance and stopping for gas with neon-lit swung 4/4 intensity before it squeals to a halt. Wells keeps up the momentum until the very final moments of the album, ratcheting thru grim doomscapes on pacey closer 'Shine Forth' with clattering drums and squealing synths that sound like "Mad Max" scored by John Carpenter.
Fantastic album - RIYL SVBKVLT, Rabit, Akira OST, Slikback.
FWM boss Stefan Ringer goes for the jugular with this sleazy set of carnal house and electro fer fans of Deeon, Parris Mitchell, DJ Assault and DJ Milton.
Sex music is tough to nail - excuse the pun. But since the days of Dance Mania and Electrofunk, there have been many imitators but few innovators. Atlanta's Ringer, under the Al Hype moniker, makes a solid contribution with "Toxic Times", slickly referencing the era's allergy to sleaze house jammers that might now be considered problematic. 'Ass Go To Work' starts as Ringer means to go on, with assertive spoken word affirmations ("move ya hips, work ya body") over a solid deep house groove; 'Work For Me' is weirder and starts to point in a more unique direction, layering R&B chimes and hypnotic synth arpeggios - pointing towards psychedelic funk?
It's 'Creamers' that's the one though, taking the spoken word to a half-speed crawl and stripping the pounding electro beat to a bare-boned slap. Then there's that Drexciyan synth pad that just hints at an emotional core without laboring the point. So well done, v fucking playable.
Essential hard drive dump from Istanbul sample scientist Grup Ses, who follows up 2011's "Beats and Pieces from Turkish Psychedelia" with a sepia-toned collage of dub'd funk drums and slippery Anatolian electronix. Fans of Madlib's Beat Konducta series should invest.
Since 2007, when he was cutting together breakcore mashups and assembling ruff 'n reddy V/Vm-style edits, Istanbul-based producer Grup Ses (Group Sound) has been developing a unique fusion of beat scene hip-hop and Turkish psychedelia. "Beats from the Vaults (2008-2021)" charts the beatmaker's development from then until now with a loose, chaotic joyride thru his archives, featuring snappy low-slung sketches ('Malikane'), developed bumping psych-folk-hop bangers ('Büyüleyici, Pt. 1') and woozy electro experiments ('Planet Ses, Pt. 2').
There's so much ground covered here it's hard to get into everything, but the unsettling early BoC via ATL rap styles of 'Mono' and the Selda-esque psychedelic bump of 'Damar Operasyonu' alone make this an essential purchase. Finders Keepers regulars or crate diggers/beat miners looking for fresh bleeps 'n breaks, don't sleep.
The Invisible’s lynchpin, Dave Okumu steps out with a suave solo debut album of jazz-sparked hip hop neatly incorporating piano chops by his peer, Duval Timothy and strong nods to J Dilla
After more than a decade of supplying his talents to records by everyone from Amy Winehouse to Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Tony Allen, Theo Parrish and Jessie Ware (he co-produced/co-wrote her Mercury nominated album, Devotion); Okumu plays it deadly cool and beatdown on his definitive personal statement to date. ‘Knopperz’ wears its influences proudly, with Timothy Duval’s slinky keys, and slompy drums and sirens patently hailing Dilla, but the rest is all him, hustling a hypnotically low-key and smoked out sound slanted to the twilight hours and beyond.
Keeping it fully instrumental and allowing his melodic personality to ooze thru the grooves and moods, the pacing is effortless, luring us in with the balmy bump and lyrical piano turns of phrase in ‘Son of Emmerson’ and coolly accommodating attentions between the groggy jazz-blues of ‘Ballpark’ to the melancholic sign-off ‘Don’t Die’, with his Dilla worship in evidence on the red-eyed nod of ‘Trouble’ and wickedly stumbling drums of ‘RTN.’
On his first outing of 2021 Call Super dances around glitchy electronic, Detroit techno and garage in his pried and nimble style
The 3rd release on his label after two link-ups with Parris, ‘Cherry Drops I’ catches him back in solo mode, following his nose for dreamy, imaginative stylistic fusions ripe for loved up and loosey goosey dancers.
‘Eye Wide Flow’ blossoms from a crystalline lattice of arps into a light-footed, aerial dancers like Rian Treanor gone Brazilian, and the gorgeous ‘bodiesinheaven’ dials in proper Detroit strings on a dembow deep house groove - think Derrick May meets DJ Python - before his title tune tucks the groove away in a lilting slow-fast dub style like an effervescent Thomas Fehlmann stepper or early Vladislav Delay workout.
Bristol’s bastion of gnarly bass host their first plate by US producer Sectra, skewing from 90bpm pressure to heaving techno and deathly dembow
Serving to diversify the label’s bonds after Fjaak’s turbo charged volley, the ‘Counter Culture EP’ tacks to a prevailing wind of dembow rhythms that have been steadily infection the Bristol water table, as everywhere else. Galvanised gritty electronic distortion, ‘A Demon in My View’ comes off like a ruffshod Shapednoise production with its structural stress tests of dembow rhythms, and the title tune rolls out clod hoping drums deep into the grey area. ‘Ashes’ drags the vibe back down to dungeon dancehall and the silty subaquatic drag of ‘Bedlam’ works a niche between autonomic D&B styles and Tectonic’s hard-bitten Bristol flex.
Mellow brew of Caribbean jazz styles from Costa Rican South Florida man, Josue Vargas
Arriving on Miami’s Space Tapes in the slipstream of ace joints by Nick León, Jonny From Space and Nicolas G. Padilla, ‘Purple Moon’ showcases viragos’ one-man band Lando & The Infinite sadness on a breezy and woozy one. ‘Elements’ pursues a warm and balmy sort of Afro-Latinate jazz suss with devilish drum work; ‘Bloom’ recalls turn-of-century vintage hip hop instrumentals from he Rice And Beans camp, perhaps with added Afrobeat horns; ‘Mirages in the valley’ turns up the percussive pressure with results in proximity o Squarepusher or damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble; and ‘Purple Moon’ brings it back down with a debonaire R&B jazz bump.
JTG’s dead early and limited CDr (100 copies) resurfaces to survey a raw cross section of his formative styles, post work with Hype Williams and circa his 2013 emergence on the Men Scryfa label
Now regarded among the most enigmatic in his field of electro-dub-mysticism and chthonic chamber music, John T. Gast is keenly watched around our ends. His 2013 album lays out a wickedly confounding and captivating entry portal to his sound, omnivorously drawing from myriad aspects of gunky hypnonoise, UK soundsystem relics, pulpy soundtrack music and avant-classical nous to send heads reeling into deep space or the dank side of the bucket.
Landing somewhere between the UK’s answer to James Ferraro, albeit raised on new age rave, and a druid dialled up from the dork ages, JTG brilliantly conflates and warps styles with his own brand of mediative melodies and a style of finely finessed drum programming that surely comes from many hours spent in the shadows of shuddering speaker stacks. Bilgy noise in ‘drudgery’ gives way to proper steppers’ pressure on ‘inna perfekt’ and its R&B variant ‘the blessing’, with ‘wmb’ moving shades away from Dean Blunt classics, while he makes room for his wildest noumena in the likes of of his ‘fugue’ parts and a dramatic hybrid of kosmiche, Italian prog and collage in ‘german subs.’
A lowkey masterclass in not playing it straight or easily quantifiable, but with play it again appeal.
Gabber Modus Operandi, Vessel, KMRU, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Caterina Barbieri, Tygapaw and plenty more offer their own interpretations of Lyra Pramuk's exceptional debut "Fountain" on this bumper remix album. Made up of both new compositions and direct remixes.
While Pramuk's meditative and reflective "Fountain" didn't need any additional assistance, this global collaborative effort is a reminder of its sparkling positivity. The Berlin-based auteur has typically opted for a left-field take on the remix album, offering artists the opportunity to create new work from the roots of "Fountain" or simply sink their teeth into a single track.
Kenyan-born KMRU, who's also currently stationed in Berlin, offers an early highlight with a cross-"Fountain" soundscape that glues Pramuk's elegiac vocals to his own tactile synth fizz and organ-esque low-end bump. And while Hudson Mohawke's expectedly beat-focused rework of 'Tendril' is an avoidable mood-breaker, Kara-Lis Coverdale's fresh composition 'Returnless' is long, lavish and unashamedly glorious, following Pramuk's lead with a trail of purple silk.
Caterina Barbieri also impresses, adding her cascading synth to 'Tendril', while Vessel builds new track 'Fountain (ars amatoria)' out of fragments. Ever the overachiever, Eris Drew contributes not one but two new tracks, the psychedelic, ambient 'Sugarcube Revelations' and dusty house banger 'Everything is Beautiful & Alive'. But it's Indonesian party-starters Gabber Modus Operandi who shuttle Pramuk's music into the most unexpected places on 'Kaca Bulan Baru', a disorientating hi-nrg ritual grounded in Pramuk's sprit-rousing screams.
Mexico’s Theus Mago shakes up a sort of post-Cómeme style of minimal house hustles
The co-founder of the Duro label, Mateo González aka Bufi returns to Glasgow’s Optimo to whisks Latinate rhythms and effervescent electronic arps into swingeing club cyclones, picking up with the pinging bleeps of ‘Bay Area’ and deftly cutting shapes on the Matias Aguayo-like frolics of ‘Papaya Vieja’, whereas ‘Ricrado’ turns inward to a gauzier mix of scrappy bleeps and groggy drones, and ‘Erdy Mesja’ comes to settle on earthy Cumbia-like rhythms displaced with alien hoots and acidic oscillations.
Janhui is Vegyn’s debut release of four non-standard grooves and spaced-out electronics, which some might find compatible with James Blake or Airhead productions.
Cancel Cancel is a playful thing built from whisked pointillist drum patterns and see-sawing electronics giving the dancers and DJs lots of options, whereas the keening cadence and frozen halfstep drums of BB feels more like early Japanese ambient music mixed with crispy minimal dubstep or trap. Smart shit.
On the flip he keeps the levels ticking high on Imran with a collision of louder, dynamic drums sparring with darkside B-more and Ballroom traits, enhanced by co-producer Iydes, and Trybl departs on a super clean, spare and punchy tribal parry.
Inch-tight halfstep D&B pressure from Dunk & Teej, making their first mark on Doc Scott’s legendary ThirtyOne Recordings
The ‘Portal EP’ illustrates the sound of Kent streets in four parts, shifting from the flinty drums and detained neuro bass lash of the title tune to whipsmart darkside steppers in late ‘90s Krust style on ‘Damage’, with subtle variations to the formula in their vacuum sealed ‘Body Boogie’ and the steel-tipped snares of ‘Scarlet.’
Ghostly, gaseous drone and piano meditations from Robin Fox, Sunn O))) and Mike Patton collaborator Anthony Pateras and computer music expert Rohan Drape. Longform experimentation that stops time, for fans of Cornelius Cardew or Room40's outer reaches.
Snipped from two live performances in Stuttgart and Melbourne in 2018 and 2019 respectively, "The traces of a mistake" shows two accomplished performers slipping into a steady groove. On the first two pieces, Pateras plays piano, allowing Drape's unsettling digital drones (and pipe organ on the second track) to accompany the slow-motion gestures.
On the third piece, the duo switch things up - Pateras uses the Revox B77 tape machine to generate drones, while Drape plays piano and two additional musicians join the fold: Maria Moles on percussion and Erkki Veltheim on faint, scraping violin. Each performance sounds like an exploration of space, time and instrumentation: the duo are careful and intentional with their notation and while it's minimal, there's always enough going on to keep your attention.