Icy exotica from SAD, a new name to the ranks of Moscow’s Gost Zvuk, slotting in neatly with one of the label’s most serene, jazzy, lilting sessions
‘Children of the Sun’ lends a tasty new stripe of flavour to a label known and prized for its typically brittle rawness. From the spring sunlight keys and thawing tones of ‘Desert Wax’ to the shimmering finale ‘Enye’s Mirages’ they explore a tenderly ripened sound blushing with jazz chords and new age mysticism that perhaps fits the current change of the seasons, reminding of Buttechno at their most subtle, sublime, or Pekka Airaksinen’s northerly take on jazz-fusion.
Multidisciplinary artist Jamie Krasner is back, finally, with a short set of dizzy soundscapes and gauzy electro-addled dreamwave.
It's been way too long since we last heard from James K. The New Yorker last burst into view back in 2016 with her debut full-length "PET", a keta-fizzed, romantic set of electronic ballads that sounded like Enya gone all vapor, or a bedroom pop Cocteau Twins. Now we've been blessed with five new tracks to remind us that we're still waiting for that sophomore album.
Unsurprisingly, they're absolutely gorgeous, with 'Ultra Facial' layering reverb-drenched vocals over frothy beats, sounding not a million miles from Jenny Hval's brill "Blood Bitch". Krasner takes a left turn on 'Everyrose', burbling through a voice-changer and sounding like a broken robot dressed in Sunday best. 'Subliminal Burn' takes things deeper into another forgotten crevice, introducing Bola-adjacent airlock beats but retaining Krasner's ethereal, twinkling vocals.
Turn back the clock a decade or two and step into an acid-folk bath with Ben Chasny and Skygreen Leopards' Donovan Quinn. Ah it was all a bit easier back then eh?
Back in the mid-2000s, we were locked in a psychedelic folk whirlwind and somewhere near the center was Ben Chasny, aka Six Organs of Admittance. Not far from him was Donovan Quinn, whose band The Skygreen Leopards released some of the most memorable folk pop of the era via Jewelled Antler, Soft Abuse and eventually landing on Jagjaguwar. The duo teamed up in 2014 for the first New Bums full-length "Voices in a Rented Room" and are now back, just in time to remind us of simpler times with skeletal, jangling songs that are effortlessly memorable.
It's really like time has stood still; Chasny's vocals echo into the ether as Quinn's songs ring out with a radio-friendly intensity without sounding bait. It's a real achievement - just check 'Onward to Devastation' or 'Wild Dogs', familiar like old friends you havent seen for a while.
Now the Foxy Digitalis zine is back (on Substack, natch) it feels like the perfect time to rediscover New Weird America once again. It's got to be better than current America, right? Jeez.
Heady collaborative drone workouts from Beirut's Ruptured Records stable and Stockholm's Lumen Project. Deep, dense material, from floatation tank soundscapes to blunted doom rawk.
Last year, Lebanese label Ruptured Records assembled a team of 14 local musicians and paired them off to prepare a series of "drone" recordings. The results are collected on this fantastic seven-track set, that investigates the possibilities of drone music as well as its application in Lebanese leftfield music.
Opening track 'Roots' is a disarming ambient dream pop jam from Fadi Tabbal and Julia Sabra, with airy vocals smudged over throbbing analog synth pads and loops. From there, we're taken into a chattering electronic soundscape from Anthony Sahyoun & Jad Atoui and Elyse Tabet & Jawad Nawfal's gloomy, glacial dark ambient workout 'Courbe Lisse'.
The best is saved for last, a collaboration between Liliane Chlela & Ziad Moukarzel that's as grim, transcendent and blissfully noisy as Steven O'Malley and Peter Rehberg's seminal KTL sets.
Harold Budd’s profound influence is absorbed deeply into Dialect’s zen-like debut bouquet for RVNG Intl., marking a very welcome return from the Liverpool-based composer after his 2018 LP on Forest Sword’s Dense Truth
Ever since the release of his 2015 album ‘Gownanus Drift’, and in particular the emotional punishment of its quietly blub-worthy standout ‘Ghost Of Red Hook’, it’s been a real pleasure to keep an ear on the movements of Andrew PM Hunt aka Dialect. His 4th album, ‘Under~Between’ now sees him blossom a gorgeously understated style of electro-acoustic ambient classicism every bit as restrained as it is enchanting, characterising a refined sort of honest emotional intelligence and knack for gently suggestive, ephemeral melody and harmony that speaks to his ongoing interests with Buddhism, and related ideas of interdependence and relativity.
‘Under~Between’ began life as a series of orchestral pieces commissioned for the Immix Ensemble some years back, but somehow the artist has managed to sit on the recordings until now. Their release is effectively the culmination of a long-standing friendship with RVNG Intl., and was prompted by the artist’s reading of ‘Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory’ by Joanna Marcy, whose thoughts on the Buddhist doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda gave Dialect the nudge needed to give these gorgeous works their wings.
It’s really not hard to hear the influence of Harold Budd’s arch pastoralist touch to the proceedings, but there’s also a vital sense of NYC minimalism, as well as wide skied Liverpudlian wonder, to the 11 works that should be correctly identified as Dialect-ical, and distinctly accented. They unfurl at a conversational pace, bubbling with a friendly energy and fizzing with detailed invention between the poetic title piece and lucid, eastern-inspired tonalities of ‘An Archipelago’, with his animist FM synthesis abilities fully in check on the folksy whims of his ‘Yamaha Birds’ works and the Visible Cloaks-esque ’Stacks’, and while Budd’s evergreen beauty informs the centrepiece of ‘Sentimental, Sedimentary’, and the likes of ‘Feathers Dance’ or ‘Avert Yr Path’ recall the evocatively timeless beauty of Ernest Hood’s ’Neighbourhoods’ as much as Budd’s sublime descriptive skills.
The well trodden path of the Silk Road unveils new secrets to David Shea, who turns years of research into a masterfully absorbing trip for his latest opus with Lawrence English’s Room40
Landing square between the third eyes of Michael Ranta’s focussed east/west experiments and the more impressionistic scenes outlined by KWC 92, ‘The Thousand Buddhas’ feels out an epic journey across continents in a searching side intent on creating practical and esoteric connections between the myriad cultures, regions, and belief systems that follow the Silk Road between China and Rome, linking the ancient realities of Africa, Asia, India, Europe, and the Pacific region.
It’s no new obsession for David Shea, whose dozens of releases sine the early ‘90s have returned to these themes, specifically on ‘Hsi-Yu Chi’, ‘The Tower of Mirrors’, ‘Satyricon’, and ‘Rituals’, which were all based on adaptations of myths connected to the world’s ancient trading routes. Decades later, in a time when China is keenly pressing ahead with Silk Road 2.0, Shea’s latest retun to the area is a multi-dimensional thing, plotting a steeply immersive course from fathomless layers of gamelan percussion, field recordings, and keys, that reach some astonishing heights redolent of Alice Coltrane’s spiritual jazz as much as Michael Ranta’s forays deep into Eastern tradition.
Aisha Devi's Danse Noir label reissues GMO's mindboggling combo of microtonal Balinese gamelan and screaming carnival gabber. Absolutely galaxy brain post-colonial hardfuzion free expression from one of the globe's most fascinating duos.
Originally released in 2018, Indonesian duo Gabber Modus Operandi's debut album "PUXXXIMAXXX" showed the world the artistic and political power of radical fusion. By bolting together trash culture, European hard dance hedonism, heavy metal/punk theatrics and Indonesian gamelan elements, Ican Harem and DJ Kasimyn came up with a "chaotic pastiche" that has by now surpassed its influences without losing its cutting sense of humor. If you heard 2019's SVBKVLT-released EP "HOXXXYA" then you should have an idea of where GMO's interests lie - "PUXXXIMAXXX" is maybe more raw, more unhinged and even more flamingly carnivalesque. From the very beginning the duo make their intentions clear, wielding a wavering trumpet loop before adding 400bpm kicks that roll like a tidal wave over traditional Indonesian percussion like it's nothing at all.
There's no hesitance in Kasimyn and Harem's resolve, they take risks here that should make most producers thoroughly embarrassed. Think the Danes are putting a fresh spin on hard trance? Well listen to 'Pariah', that takes the "festival somewhere in the distance" supersaw sound and slathers it over rolling gabber kicks before disintegrating into wobbly, ambient ritual magick. 'Jathilan Titan' might be even better, wrapping those same trance leads in beating Indonesian percussion without losing the 7am-on-a-mystery-drug-cocktail essence of the 'ardkore experience. By the time we get to 'Goroxxx' with its swung rhythm and dense, chattering vocal mangles, there can be no denying that "PUXXXIMAXXX" has something that's far beyond repetition, revival or nostalgia. While half of Europe is trying to recapture the sounds of a lost rave they never attended, GMO use the discarded shells of dance subgenres to cobble together a completely unique vanguard rave sound that doubles as a middle finger up to the dull, aggy purists.
Sleezy disco-funk avant sludge that drags itself thru decades of dance history - Chicago house, dnb, DIY techno, rave - and emerges seriously hung over.
Ravioli Me Away have been upsetting conservative listeners since 2013, and in 2019 decided to put together an opera, cuz why not. "The View From Behind The Futuristic Rose Tellis" was performed across the UK, with two sold-out shows in London, and forms the basis of "Naughty Cool", that rewires these operatic brain dumps as vintage club music. It's weird stuff too, from the discordant, Dubstar-esque breakbeat funque of 'Optimists Lament' to the Photek-cum-Bukem intelli-step of 'The Vanilla Alternative'. This isn't going to be for everyone, but those of you with a strong stomach for psychedelics and quirky musical theatrics are gonna have a field day.
Smurphy shines on Bokeh Versions again with angsty roller 'Summer Riddim', featuring three vocals from G Sudden, King Kush and RdL.
Mexico City-based producer Jessica Smurphy has been offering pure bottled heat to the Bokeh label in the last few months, and 'Summer Riddim' might be her moodiest beat yet. Duppy Gun vocalist G Sudden is first to the plate with a mind-bending mutant vocal that mirrors the cheeky charm of his blistering debut EP "Burnout Boss". King Kush throws down a dryer but no less impassioned take, chiming effortlessly thru Smurphy's woozy synths and pinprick finger-clicks, before Portmore's RDL rounds things up with another sing-along version, following an impressive turn on February's 'Streets'. Sci-fi dancehall transfigurations for adventurous headz.
Off-centre, minimalist techno experiments from Georgia-via-Berlin’s Irakli, moonlighting from his Intergalactic Research Institute For Sound on Hamburg’s ever reliable Dial
‘Major Signals’ is their debut album and most substantial solo payload since arriving on the scene as half of the I/Y duo with yac in 2013. It’s an unpredictable but coherent long player that speaks to all corners of their aesthetic, encompassing minimal techno traits and wistfully wandering asides familiar to Dial, but done in a looser way than one might have been lead to expect from the long-running label.
From Sun Electric-esque ambient coordinates of ‘Forever, to lissom slow acid reminding of Tin Man in ‘Blessing From The Future’, thru to chiming techno landing between Mills and Efdemin on ‘Major Signals’, ‘This Way’ and ‘Surface’ they prove equally adept at multiple modes, but it’s the album comes into it own thru its shapeshifting narrative via odder globules of techno that and starry-eyed ambient that make it more than just a collection of club cuts.
Aussie underground mainstay Eugene Carchesio returns to Room40 with another collection of off-kilter rhythmic studies. This is a weird one: insectoid, hotwired rhythmic patterns for fans of Goem, Thomas Brinkmann or Ryoji Ikeda.
26 (!) tracks here, from 30 second car-alarm-gone-wrong siren jams to 11-minute slowly-shifting beat exercises. It's an uncompromising listen too, striking in its minimalism - really there's only ever one sound source - but a fascinating study of synthetic textures and pulses. Basically, it's like a hyper-minimal spin on the Pan Sonic model - Room40 describes it as "ant sci-fi" and that's pretty spot on.
This second collection of synthetic experiments from veteran Australian artist Eugene Carchesio is less stark than its predecessor, exploring Radiophonic blips and sci-fi synth tones with expert restraint.
There's a charming dedication present in Carchesio's music. He's clearly inspired by the early electronic innovators who would release short-run private press records that simply experimented with a single synth sound or element, wringing out every bit of creative potential in the process. On "No Place II" he shows his confidence with his chosen instrument, allowing rhythms to cycle into the void and tones to cascade, bounce and squelch until nothing's left. Fans of vintage library music or the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's golden era will find plenty of head-wobbling, lunar cave-dwelling goodness here. Doctor Who sounds for days!
Bokeh Versions bursts out of the screen into four dimensions to present Mars89's immersive, uncompromising new EP.
'New Dawn' is Japanese dancefloor technician Mars89's headiest excursion to date - so much so that Bristol's Bokeh Versions have launched Bokeh.tech to present the record in a VR setting. The move is an attempt to bring back the immersive experience that listening used to allow with lavish gatefold vinyl filled with stories, artwork and info. Because "New Dawn" isn't a simple record, there aren't easily drinkable ADHD bangers that can be flipped through and forgotten - it's a grimy set of submerged beats and grotty soundscapes that rewards patient listeners.
Honestly it makes sense that the EP has been issued with a visual component, the set sounds like a continuous soundtrack to a doomed automated dystopia, painting a vivid virtual world. Opener 'Magnetic Ghosts' fires damaged subs thru cracking Space Echoes and haunted vocals before it disintegrates into disembodied screams and cursed foley on 'In the Shed'. It's like a mirror universe Demdike Stare, all ashen textures and the faintest traces of club formula left to smolder in punishing, warped doomscapes.
When beats do emerge - a grinding kick in 'Grotesque Reflections', acidic hats in 'Nocturnal Animals' and 'Body Collapse' - they're hollow signifiers of recognizable dance forms, like the dead remains of a world long left behind. Breaks emerge but are stripped of function completely, empty discarded husks to remind before rattling into the abyss. It's engrossing, expertly engineered stuff - somewhere between SVBKVLT's precise 4K club deconstructions and Space Afrika's noisy dubwise ambience. Big.
On-U Sound round up rare dubs and version excursions by the legendary rotating assembly, New Age Steppers, who have at various times counted Neneh Cherry, Ari-Up and Keith Levene among their ranks
‘Avant Gardening’ rakes back over the band’s tape vaults during their initial phase 1980-1983, plucking out gems from Japanese CD-only reissues, obscure 7” B-sides, and exclusive deejay cuts that add up to frame the seminal group at their sweetest and rudest.
We advise checking for their two versions of Chaka Khan’s ‘Some Love’ in the rugged ‘Aggro Dub’ and woozier ‘Some Dub’, while disco-dub players need to be clocking their plunging stepper ‘Izalize’, and lovers of early ‘80s post-punk dub mutations should be all over what sounds like Ari-Up channelling Klaus Nomi on ‘I Scream (Rimshot)’, and the teetering skank of ‘Wide World Version.’
Follow-up to Vegyn’s widely acclaimed debut album (‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’), supplying a warm, fuzzy hug of low-slung grooves and off-kilter jazz/electronica by the Frank Ocean and Haim collaborator
Now based in LA, Vegyn turns inspiration from tarot cards, depressive existentialism, and his circle of pals, into a positive experience on ‘Like A Godo Old Friend.’ After taking time out since his resoundingly well received debut LP, and following a chance encounter with a mate’s old piano, Vegyn finds his groove again in six nuggets that effectively split the difference between BoC, Mica and Arca, drawing on a naturally learnt (gwed check his dad’s discography!), but wonky pop sensibility and talents as a graphic designer, to articulate a gentle, playfully animated sort of daydreamy wooze that owes as much to deep house and beatdown as indie-pop and R&B. We’re most feeling the likes of his hazy blooz in ‘So Much Time - So Little Time’ and the fructose-boosted house at the EP’s fondant core, but the air-stepping, pill-belly energy of closer ‘Sometimes I feel Like I’m Ruining Songs’ makes for a close runner-up.
UNO NYC look under their noses for Dadras’ wild blast of sawn-off trap, techno, rap, and Jersey club business
His title tune coughs up a chunk of murky trap grot with buzzsaw leads, and ‘Nightcrawler’ locks into a driving deep techno groove somewhere between MoMaReady and Minimal Violence. ‘Austin’ feels out a hybrid of screwed grime/drill with glossolalic vox, and Heems jumps on the hard, snapping snares of ‘Buy The Water’
Berlin’s lowkey ambient wunderkind follows on the promise of his acclaimed albums since 2018 - solo and as half of OCA - with a completely lush study in Vibroacoustic therapy intended to help his parents sleep better.
The hour long suite stems from Florian TM Zeisig’s rare visit to his parents’ gaff in rural Bavaria a few years ago, where he discovered they had been using a vibroacoustic mattress - a mattress kitted with transducers or speakers - to aid them in getting some quality kip. Being a good lad, Florian wanted to help his parents in their quest, and spent the next few years developing this soundtrack; a serene 60’ of music resting on a rich bed of layered sub-bass frequencies that surely beckon users to the horizontal.
Most sensitively tending to this premise, Zeisig takes his role with requisite amounts of conceptual seriousness and gently witted pathos that have come to define his work, as on the critically acclaimed OCA album ‘Aging’ with Yo van Lenz in 2018, and in 2020’s deeply charming ‘Coatcheck’ soundtrack for cloakroom assistants. Working within the “vibroacoustic” framework, his results are typically gorgeous and user-friendly, playing into the space between new age ambient music’s putative therapeutic purposes and its well intended pseudo-science, with a warmly sublime conception of classic ambient music that beautifully resonates with records from Eno to Space Afrika and Midori Takada.
Parisian nutter, Emma DJ knuckles out 13 gristly chunks of mutant dance and gurning industrial electronics somewhere between DJ David Goblin and Low Jack on a cranky batch for Brother From Different Mothers
Like their tapes for L.I.E.S. and Collapsing Market, and collabs with VTSS in recent months, expect flavours for all ogreish ravers without a floor to call home right now, trampling around the no-mans-land between frenchtek, rap and dembow beats, and grimy warehouse steppers welding barbed digital glitches and teeth-grinding noise.
As far as we can tell this is the first full length collaboration between Mark Fell and his son Rian Treanor, a sprawling, incredibly detailed 90 minute opus that sits somewhere between pastoral/environmental music and plasmic Musique Concrète, recorded in and around their garden in Rotherham, South Yorkshire over the summer last year. We’ve listened to it countless times and still can’t fully get our head round it, we think its one of the most ambitious and intricate renditions of Quiet music you’ll likely ever hear - a huge recommendation if you're into Jakob Ullmann, Arthur Lipsett, Lambkin, Parmegiani, Rashad Becker, Marginal Consort and of course Fell & Treanor’s own work - one to immerse yrself in with zero distractions.
Fractal not fractional, these recordings weave Fell & Treanor’s signature palettes in previously unheard, unpredictable ways; incorporating their interests in the expressive intricacies of Indian Raga music with an inherent sense of Japanese wabi-sabi and a patina of location recordings, to realise a blossoming, allegorical sort of sound bath or sonic garden. The presence of Mark’s parents meant they steered clear of “dance” music or anything that attacked, tempering the sound to an ultra subtle flux of feathered, polymetric percussion, trickling keys, and glowing electronic tones sensitive to their shared family space. Its effect would gently lull Rian’s gran to sleep, and likewise exerts the same influence on us; convecting a zen-like balminess that aligns the chakras and is a genuine wonder to experience.
Time and place melt into an inception-like routine alien to normality, ultimately resembling the patterns of non-linear, cyclic time consciousness Mark had been reading about, and his music with Rian follows this logic; folding in and out of itself with a surreal quality. What start out as sections of location recorded snapshots - people milling in the background, a wind chime, gentle breeze, birds chirping - get slowly augmented by washes of electrostatic, filigree electronics, pulsing subs and sudden percussive bursts, enveloping your ears to transport you to unknown dimensions; somewhere between that Rotherham garden and the furthest reaches of your imagination. For a 90 minute piece of expressionism, what stands out about ‘Last exit to Chickenley’ is how remarkably architectural it is; detailed in every nook, resolved from every angle.
We’ll leave the backstory for you to read in the included liner notes, but in the meantime we urge you to give up a couple of hours of your time to fully immerse yourself in this singular, remarkable album.
D.K.’s adroit aerobic mystic suite, ’The Ancient Kingdom’ is inscribed to vinyl for the first time following its now sought-after tape release during the ill-feted summer of 2020. South East Asian-inspired beatdown, rude steppers, and dancehall-adjacent psychedelia that’s recommended listening if you’re into Shackleton, DJ Python, Horsepower Productions, Roska...
Hustling a handful of rhythmelodic nuggets informed by his Vietnamese heritage, the Paris-based Dang-Khoa Chau aka D.K. delivers in a sublime and slinky style that has become his hallmark over the course of four solo albums and a clutch of singles since 2014. Returning to Good Morning Tapes, site of his superb and already hard to find ‘The Goddess Is Dancing’, he reprises that record’s outernational psychedelic themes thru five ‘floor-ready cuts working adjacent to 100bpm dembow dancehall, beatdown house, and ancient-futurist UKFunky.
With bags of disciplined swagger, D.K. bends disparate styles to his will in each bit. On a slow, humid yet deft flex he rolls out reverberant gamelan patterns punctuated by slicing 808 rimshots in ‘Po Nagar Towers’, and follows a shimmering sort of dembow motion with fluttering lysergic motifs in ‘Cham Dance’, and a rudely dubbed-out variation ‘Five Wisdoms’, whereas the others keeping the tempo needle flicking upwards, as in the needlepoint stepper ‘The Ancient Kingdom’ recalling vintage Horsepower Productions, and in the pendulous UKF parallels of ‘Assault From Java’ recalling classic Roska.
Kosmische dub, faded soundscapes and sublime, haunted acid? Don't mind if we do.
'Spume & Recollection' is Berlin duo Driftmachine's sixth album, and fleshes out the pitch-perfect cosmic experimentation of their previous run of full-lengths with journeys into dilated bass musick and knackered modular techno. It's evocative stuff from beginning to end; Andreas Gerth and Florian Zimmer prefer to work in long-form, allowing their hardware jams to evolve slowly over ten minutes rather than chop them off before they've had a chance to breathe. The two producers are concerned with the small details rather than flashy tricks - there's a feeling that the music sits out of time, sounding like Rhythm & Sound, Deuter, Cluster and early Plastikman (particularly the sinister "Consumed") all at once.
'The Surge At The End Of The Mind' is an early high point, reminding fondly of Andreas Tilliander's TM404 project with squelching, acidic bass and brittle percussion that swirls in lysergic spirals, leaving empty holes where a kick drum might live. And when the album reaches its peak on closing track 'Soon I Will Disappear', mournful shortwave pads beam suggestively from undiscovered lands, decorating a shuffling inverted dubtekno beat that sounds like Deepchord at their druggiest. Wow and flutter.
Russian multi-instrumentalist Katya Yonder combines a love of '80s pop, Cocteau Twins and videogame soundtracks on her fourth album, singing in Russian, French, English and Japanese.
Learning the violin as a child growing up in Yekaterinburg, a large city on Russia's border with Kazakhstan, Yonder developed her music taste from digging through her parents' eclectic record collection. As she got older, an obsession with anime drew her attention to Japanese music, and made her consider her identity as someone on the border of Europe and Asia.
"Multiply Intentions" is an attempt to reconcile this wide-ranging influence, and Yonder achieves that by traversing languages and musical styles with curiosity, respect and skill. Her voice has more than a touch of Liz Fraser to it, and her productions have a synthetic simplicity that reminds of Michiru ōshima and Pentagon's delicate "Ico" soundtrack. One for the Enya crew out there, we see you.
The seminal, anthemic Moritz von Oswald and Thomas Kehlmann mix of ‘Die Kosmischen Kuriere’ rides head high nearly 30 years after it became a staple of the Detroit/Berlin axis
A prime example of loved-up Berlin dance music from masters of their game; deep, driving, and layered up with lip-smacking pads that can’t help but trigger your MDMA buzz, real or phantom.
A Krautrock-enhanced alternate version of NZ OG Roy Montgomery's recent long-form epic. Cluster x Popol Vuh x Spacemen 3 styles.
Roy Montgomery's recent "Island of Lost Souls" was a rare treasure, and 'The Electric Children of Hildegard Von Bingen' was its shimmering centerpiece - all Florian Fricke spirituality and that unmistakable New Zealand fuzz. This special "Motorik Version" adds a driving pulse which no doubt would have sounded out of place on the LP, but presented alone gives the track fresh life. Imagine Popol Vuh's "Hosianna Mantra" crossed with Cluster's "Zuckerzeit" - transcendent, basically.
A sultry change of pace from hotly-tipped, Manchester-based producer 96 Back; working a warmly personalised sound comparable with hypnagogic house gems from NWAQ to Actress and Sensate Focus
Slowing down his more frenetic, hyper sensibilities found on a stack of cherished shots for CPU and Happy Skull in recent years, ’9696 Dream’ dovetails with Local Action’s sweetlad styles across 10 cuts that roll, jack, and swing within the 110-130bpm bracket and leave much more room than usual for his melodic urges to play out.
Darewesay, it’s a more “mature” sound, but don’t take that to mean wine-bar-y. It’s all more in tune with the original Detroit. NYC, and Chi inspirations that hit the North hard when 96 Back was but a bairn, and would soon became twisted to UK tastes via the likes of Warp in his spiritual home city, Sheffield.
He covers many bases under that vibe, from quiescent beatdown on ‘Sat In’, to strutting deep techno in ‘Freepass For Them’, taking time out for beat-less reflection in ‘Phone’ and the lush ‘Friend Moment’ feat. Joe Paisan, before toying with Mark Fell templates in ‘Hide_NGroove’, and saving his more ADD tendencies to the hyper chromatic arps of the title tune.
Virtuoso, smoky jazz from young Norwegian firebrand Kjetil Mulelid. We know you're probably bored with solo piano albums at this point, but this is a cut above: more Keith Jarrett than you know who.
Rune Grammofon has been begging Mulelid to record a solo piano album for years now. He was hesitant at first, not just because there's a glut of mediocre to terrible piano records clogging digital dustbins everywhere, but because in jazz, the solo piano record has a lot of competition. It's notoriously challenging, but last year in lockdown, Mulelid found himself with time on his hands and isolation to maintain. In many ways, masterminding a truly next-level solo piano record is the perfect COVID pastime.
'Piano' is deceptively simple in its presentation, but even a cursory listen will reveal a startling talent. Mulelid performed the album at Athletic Sound studio on their unique 1919 Bösendorfer grand, and this lends the album a haunting texture. In Mulelid's hands, it sings with sadness, joy and cultural resonance, not speaking directly to our period of isolation and collapse, but speaking around it. Fans of Gonzalez's enduring classic "Solo Piano" will no doubt get a kick out of these sultry, swinging selections.
Brazilian DJ and producer Pedro Zopelar warps to the synth funk zone on "Universo", his slippery, lounge-core debut for Steven Julien's Apron imprint.
This one's a bit of an antidote to the glut of doom and gloom: "Universo" is an unashamedly sunny set of flickering synth funque, something like Dâm-Funk or James Pants, but in a sequined suit. Tracks like 'Cidade Jovem' and 'Funny Game' sound like Prince-esque Linn jams reworked for a Sonic The Hedgehog special stage. There's lo-bitrate claps, sliding analog synth and tightly-wound slap bass, but it's put together with a lighthearted 16-bit immediacy that feels nostalgic without resorting to clapped, self-serious melancholy.
Lead single 'Fire Pit' is a clear highlight, playing an acidic lead off neck-snapping funk rhythms and bass so sleazy it'd be refused entry into any self-respecting nightspot. Apron honcho Steven Julien turns up for a special megamix, curving selected elements into sweaty, widescreen ambient pop. If you're into lost VHS trash movie soundtracks from the early-mid 1980s, this one's gonna be a winner.
Underrated 1997 collection of soft-focus jungle and Detroit-influenced Plaid-adjacent bouncefunque.
Back in the mid-1990s, before Lee Norris went solo and started the Neo Ouija label, Metamatics was a duo with Dominic Kennedy, releasing a run of influential 12"s on the influential Clear imprint. "A Metamatics Production" collects those early plates and rattles through the duo's fuzzy take on '90s dance formula, fudging the edges of jungle, techno and electro. It's gorgeous stuff that still holds up decades later, mostly because it's out on its own; the most obvious reference point would probably be the duo's Clear labelmates Plaid, but Metamatics were more skeletal and undoubtedly funkier.
Spiking the essence of Bukem et-al's resoundingly popular liquid d&b, Norris and Kennedy carve out slippery grooves on jazzy low-enders like 'Swimmer' and 'Raytracks'. 'Skunk Me' and 'Two the Point' meanwhile point at the pad-rich Midwestern shuffle of Norris's Norken project with elegiac synth-house moods and fathoms-deep beatbox loops. The album is at its best though when the duo let their love of day zero electro and vintage electro pop to permeate the bedrock. 'Dope for the Robot' still sounds completely fresh, augmenting an almost Drexciyan robotic squelch with feather-lite melodies and clattering beats, and 'Piece it Together' settles into a sexy downtempo groove that lays the groundwork for Metamatics' next run of releases. Well good.
New York's Kush Jones continues his impressive run, smashing together tweaky techno, jungle, acid and blunted house.
Representing the Bronx, Kush Jones stands a few paces from his peers in the Brooklyn set, diving across the dance music spectrum giving approximately zero f*cks. His ongoing "Strictly 4 My CDJZ" series leaves no stone unturned, flipping haphazardly between footwork, techno, jungle and beyond with the nonchalance of a crate digger at A1, and this latest four-tracker shows a similarly lovable disregard for genre purity.
Opener 'Number 10' is a neon hued slice of feel-good jungle, with the fluffy pads of LTJ Bukem and the ruff razor-cut break editing of early Omni Trio. 'Right Out The Box' is a deeper cut, sounding like a tempo adjusted New York deep house belter (think Masters at Work on +8), but closer 'Dolo Shoutout' is our pick of the bunch, a munched, glitchy techno slow burner that sounds like it's one sandwich short of a picnic. Just the way we like it, then.
Precision tooled, ‘90s minimal techno from the London-based boss of Mosaic Records
O’Sullivan’s ‘Green Trax’ were all released between 1995-1998 and built natty, tracky for the DJs and dancers, with strong hints of inspiration from arch minimalists Rob Hood and Basic Channel.
The likes of his scudding chords in ‘viridi’ and the heady monotone pulse of ‘grin’ are prime examples, included along with unreleased extended mixes of two series highlights in the Surgeon-esque slink of ‘vert’, and the pace-setting pounder ‘hijau’, with ruder gear also recalling Steve Bicknell cuts in ‘a?dar’, and the rugged asymmetry of ‘zelenyy.’
Hakuna Kulala open their 2021 account with flaming, bruising rap dramas from Kampala’s Biga Yut and Lithium
Big, bashy and rude, ‘Vamparina’ chases up label heat from Menzi and Swordsman Kitala X Sekelembele with a return to hardass Ugandan road pressure echoing rap, grime and dancehall styles from the Black Atlantic diaspora, but delivered in gruff Bantu lyrics.
The title tune is an overproof example of current Kampala mutations, arriving with boda boda revs and crooked sound design before turning into a nexx level electro bashment madness with barking bars from Yut and Lithium, while ‘Motor Version’ runs the revs much wilder, punkish into swarming psychedelic groove. ‘Cash Boss’ is the more direct, bashy winner with grimy call-and-response set to panel-beating percussion, and ‘Kampala’ is straight up build for roadside raves with churning, uptempo dancehall energy.
Extremely beautiful neo-classical experiments from Kay Logan, a shapeshifting Scottish artist whose previous releases as Helena Celle and Otherworld were also blessed with a rare sorta magick like this one. Really, properly essential listening if yr into Leyland Kirby, BoC interludes, ferric bliss.
Crossing our paths as Time Binding Ensemble for the first time, Logan plays to her most compassionate, empathetic side with a humbly masterful suite of 24 parts that make for the most sublime 90 minutes of unanchored mind drift, comparable to a series of extended BoC interludes or a stained glass window imagined by Stars Of The Lid and weathered to bits.
Taking inspiration from St. Peter’s Roman Catholic seminary, a grade-listed, crumbling “modernist masterpiece” tucked away in Argyll and Bute, north of the artist’s native Glasgow, the music unfolds with a plaintive, enchanted quality, rendering an array of traditional instruments (french horn, bassoon, clarinet, oboe, violin, viola, and cello) at a gauzy mid-distance with fathomless webs of processing that makes everything prone to ample wow and flutter and coloured with a phosphorescent, twilight quality of light that we can really only ascribe to Scotland.
This stuff is highly likely to appeal to myriad chamber ambient and drone-pop romantics. Give a whirl and trust the feeling.
Editions Mego supergroup Innode tear through Krautrock forms with surgical precision, coming off like a siesmic collision of Radian and Alva Noto.
'Syn' is the second album from Innode, a project originally intended as a solo venture for Austrian veteran Stefan Németh. Now it's been expanded to include innovative experimental percussionists Steven Hess and Bernhard Breuer, whose rhythmic duels work as the album's foundation. Both drummers appeared on Németh's Innode debut (2013's "Gridshifter") but here they're a central facet, focusing each track to allow Németh to build a noisy, but razor sharp, backdrop of crackles, whines and glitches.
There are similarities that could be traced to Austrian band Radian - who Németh performed and recorded with early on in their career - but here Innode travel more pointedly into darker spaces. Guided by the kind of icy electronic minimalism that Raster Noton were pushing until they splintered, the album is as propulsive as Kangding Ray but with an organic drive that ties it to Tortoise and the wider Chicago post-rock canon. It's gloriously abstract stuff, without distracting riffs or melodies to divert your attention from texture, pulse and atmosphere.
Livity Sound’s new recruits return with a round of plasmic, lysergic bass rudeness after slick shots on their Mainframe Audio label
Where their pair of 2020 EPs flexed with a recoiling steeliness, the ‘SoulCity’ EP feels like its melting at the edges and dripping down your neck like psychedelic club sweat, working up a lip-smackign swang with the dextrous hydrodynamics of ‘Blobject’ landing between Pev and Objekt, while ’Softcore’ whips tuffer garage bass suspension under smudged spherical tones like a Pangaea riddim in the clutches of an acid tizzy. ‘LabBaby™’ follows with something like a scudding, subaquatic T++ ride into the nervy, trapped FX gates of ‘Speedrun’ like a Horsepower Production for future drowned worlds.
Theo takes his time on four Detroit style house strollers featuring a pair of pearls from 1997 b/w 2001's Dreamer's Blue's / Lost Angel.
No messing, fans of his legendary ‘Dance of the Drunken Drums’ needs to dash straight to ‘Dreamer’s Blues’ for some of that classic, stumbling Theo percussion and woozy chords to buoy your life, while ‘Lost Angel’ slips further along that line with a warm blanket of nuzzled keys recalling ‘Overyohead.’ Factor in the crankier funk of ’Smile’ and the wandering blue notes of ‘Lost Keys’, and you don’t need to think twice.
Utter dirt from original bezzerker Nihil Fist; 20 unrepentant hits of ‘Blastbeat Primitivism’ for the most insatiable ravers and wrong ‘uns. Blows the cobwebs away we tell ya
Veteran of the notorious ‘90s Berlin hardcore scene with stripes earned on core label, Praxis, the Nihil Fist project coughs up 20 extreme meat motors for Glasgow’s Clan Destone that will sort the weak hearts from the nutters. They hark to a time of more is more, when Berlin was still much more of wasteland populated with rebels, and before it turned into a massive ketty playground. Stylistic collisions were rife and, perhaps naturally, the hardcore tekno scene intersected the hardest metal music, resulting expressions of pure, blast beat driven, atavistic belligerence such as this lot from ’96/’97, years before Aaron Spectre and his Drumcorps would alloy the two. If you’re still keen, the first side is extra intense, but you’ll find more samples and ravaged synth noise textures on the B-side.
Dark and sharp grime/breastep mutation from Nomine, voiced by Macabre Unit’s 9er and reinforced with remixes from grime dons Boylan & Slimzee, D&B pioneer Digital, and Nurve
Three years on from the previous Nominee Sound drop, the mutant project makes its presence felt with the icy, mentasm-streaked breakstep of ‘Run From It’ rudely recalling DJ Scud & I-Sound’s Wasteland project. Grime originator Slimzee steps in with engineer/producer supremo Boylan for a harder remix on a 33-not-45rpm D&B tip - just like Slim used to do with Wiley at turn of the century - and you’ll also find a rare example of seminal D&B figure Digital doing 140bpm breakstep on his remix with D.K.
A transcendent 5CD set of unheard Basho material recorded between 1965 and 1985. American Primitive guitar / Fahey / Takoma / Six Organs of Admittance fans, pay attention.
Filmmaker Liam Barker discovered legendary guitarist Robbie Basho after coming across Tompkins Square's reissue of "Venus in Cancer" and what followed was an "incredible fact-finding expedition" that resulted in his full-length documentary "Voice of the Eagle : The Enigma of Robbie Basho". While he was putting together the film, he came across a treasure trove of unheard Basho material, which he's now compiled as a generous five-disc set.
Taken from across Basho's career, the 54-track set highlights the breadth of his skill as a guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. He's best known for bringing his interest in Indian classical music, Japanese music and Native American music into American folk and blues forms, and centering the steel string guitar, playing it almost like the Indian sarod. Here, that influence is obvious from the outset, as Basho hollers over an ethereal folk jangle on 'If I Had Possession' and becoming even more evident on long, spiritual jam 'Gypsy Rosary'.
Plenty of Basho's music has been reissued over the last few years as interest in the American Primitive style has surged, and while many of his records are uneven, this exhaustive collection should slake the thirst of any astral travelers thirsty for more. Fans of John Fahey, Six Organs of Admittance, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones et al, you know what to do.
Crucial early work from the Japanese master of digital minimalism - like Thomas Köner or Lustmord, but with more bass.
Ryoji Ikeda needs no introduction here - the Japanese composer and A/V originator has been impressing the world with his game-changing hi-frequency rhythmic loops and stark monochromatic visuals since the mid 1990s, and has never gone astray. This special Sähkö vinyl EP combines two of Ikeda's most important early pieces, 'Luxus 1-3' from his 1995-released solo debut "1000 Fragments" and 'Space (Altered Version)', from 1998's "Time and Space". Both pieces highlight why Ikeda is an enduring presence in minimal electronic music, but reveal vastly different sounds than you might expect if you've only peeped later material like "dataplex" and "Supercodex".
'Luxus 1-3' is beautifully deep, almost orchestral as it melts from pulsing, harmonic ambience into gloomy resonance, sounding as if you're trapped at the bottom of a gigantic steel drum. 'Space (Altered Version)' begins to sound more like the Ikeda we recognize, with trunk-rattling sub-bass stabs and ultrasonic glitches dancing around a doomy, dissonant drone that creeps ever closer. It's startling, essential work from Ikeda that bridges the gap between gloomy dark ambient and the glossy, iced-over hi-design minimalism of Raster Noton.
A Winged Victory for the Sullen, the collaboration between Stars of the Lid founder Adam Wiltzie and L.A. composer Dustin O'Halloran, return with ‘Invisible Cities’, the score to the acclaimed theatre production directed by London Olympics ceremony video designer Leo Warner and produced by Manchester International Festival, Rambert, 59 Productions and Karl Sydow.
"Premiering at Manchester International Festival in July 2019, Wiltzie and O'Halloran were commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Rambert, Brisbane Festival, Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival, Sadler’s Wells, SMG Live, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Cultural Centre (JACC) and Karl Sydowto to compose the music for the 90-minute multimedia stage show adapted from Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel. Centered on the tense relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and explorer Marco Polo, ‘Invisible Cities’ brings to life a series of fantastical places and disparate worlds through the medium of theatre, music, dance, design and visuals. Described by The Sunday Times as “a beautiful frenzy of movement”, ‘Invisible Cities’ was originally conceived as a touring project with its last performance in Brisbane, Australia before COVID-19 changed the world as we know it.
Transformed into 45 minutes of breathtaking beauty, ‘Invisible Cities’ opens with the numinous ‘So That the City Can Begin to Exist’, as Wiltzie and O'Halloran draw breath from distinctively enthralling and vastly expansive worlds. The ominous soundscapes of ‘The Dead Outnumber the Living’ contrast with the new beginnings that are presented in ‘Every Solstice & Equinox’, while the jagged and uneasy ‘Thirteenth Century Travelogue’ is one of tension and dread. Elsewhere, ‘The Divided City’ captivates and intrigues while ‘Only Strings and Their Supports Remain’ and ‘There Is One of Which You Never Speak’ are bold roars for survival before the choral ambience of ‘Desires Are Already Memories’ and piercing drones of ‘Total Perspective Vortex’ bring down the curtain on a spectacular and incredibly emotive body of work. Released on their own Artificial Pinearch Manufacturing label, ‘Invisible Cities’ comes as part of an agreement with A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s current label, Ninja Tune.
Releasing their self-titled debut album in 2011 (Erased Tapes), A Winged Victory for the Sullen has developed something of a cult status over the past decade and alongside artists such as Max Richter, Hauschka, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Tim Hecker, are the vanguard of the neoclassical and ambient world and can count the likes of Jon Hopkins as fans.
The duo has gone on to release two further studio albums; ‘Atomos’ (Erased Tapes, 2014) and most recently ‘The Undivided Five’ (Ninja Tune, 2019) and were asked to perform at the BBC proms in 2015 by 6 Music presenter Mary Anne Hobbs. A Winged Victory for the Sullen also scored the music for the independent film ‘Iris’ (2016), directed by Jalil Lespert.
Wiltzie is best known as founding member of drone legends Stars of the Lid, The Dead Texan and Aix Em Klemm and has scored multiple film projects including ‘American Woman’ (2019) starring Sienna Miller, ‘Salero’ (2016¬) and The Yellow Birds (2017). In 2018, he also scored ‘Whitney’ (2018), the estate-approved documentary about the life of the late Whitney Houston, directed by Kevin Macdonald. Elsewhere, his original music has featured in Hollywood films including ‘Transformers: Dark of The Moon’ (2011), ‘Godzilla’ (2014), ‘Like Crazy’ (2011) and acclaimed TV shows including ‘House M.D’, ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘Top Boy’. He also collaborated with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson on his scores for ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014) and ‘Arrival’ (2016).
O'Halloran, a self-taught pianist from the age of 7, began his musical life as a guitarist and formed the much-loved indie rock outfit Dévics with Sara Lov, releasing four albums on Bella Union. As a solo artist, he has composed music for numerous film and television projects including Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006) and Drake Doremus’ ‘Like Crazy' (2011) starring Felicity Jones. Demand for his film scores is high and in 2015, he won an Emmy for theme music for the Golden Globe-winning Amazon series ‘Transparent’, starring Jeffrey Tambor. He has also collaborated with film composer Hauschka on numerous films, including ‘Lion’ (2016), with the score nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe. Most recently, he co-composed the music for the film ‘Ammonite’ (2020) with Volker Bertelmann, directed by Francis Lee and starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan."
Totally unexpected and ruggedly compelling dark hip hop instrumentals from DJ Muggs - beat builder for everyone from Cypress Hill and Soul Assassins to Dizzee Rascal and Mobb Deep - debuting on Sacred Bones of all places with a stone cold, sampledelic and crushing sound somewhere between The Gaslamp Killer and Kareem’s Ramadan sides
“Dies Occidendum is a mythical voyage across fog-laden, scorched earth terrain from the original friar of dark hip hop, DJ Muggs the Black Goat. Known and revered as the sonic mastermind behind both Cypress Hill and his own Soul Assassins imprint, here Muggs sheds the MCs and presents his latest dark-soaked productions as an illuminated manuscript of sorts; a fully immersive, instrumental soundtrack to the mysterious Dies Occidendum. No one wields the Excalibur of sonic darkness quite like Muggs. Combining ingredients of psych rock, gypsy folk with modern elements of trap, forged together under layers of his signature sonic grime, Muggs has created yet another blueprint for the utmost sonic menace and macabre. The Renaissance is upon us. Long live King Muggs.
One of the original architects of dark hip hop in the early ’90s, DJ Muggs helped craft a singular sound that blended darker sensibilities of psychedelic rock and hip hop in a unique way that influenced many in its wake. As the primary producer of legendary rap group Cypress Hill, Muggs’ productions and sonic sensibilities are unmistakable and deeply revered by the truest of heads. Muggs’ own MC round-robin imprint, Soul Assassins has been home to countless productions, laying sonic drop cloths for everyone from Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Chuck D, GZA, Mobb Deep to MF Doom, Freddie Gibbs, Roc Marciano and Mach-Hommy.”
Portugal’s enigmatic downbeat entity Polido ushers the second of two corresponding suites of soundtrack cut-ups on Lisbon’s Holuzam after cropping up on vanguard labels Lynn and Bus in recent years
Following in the extra subtle style that left lingering vapours in our heads with 2017’s ‘Time Is When’ album, João Polido expands further on the soundtrack for ‘A Casa E Os Cães’ (‘Our Home With The Dogs’), a 2019 documentary by Madalena Fragoso and Margarida Meneses, with a more brooding counterpart to the first, using slow brittle beats and range of crisp, FM-styled, to murky electronics to smartly connote a dichotomous flipside to the breezy first part.
The feel is still oneiric, but more tinged with a slow burning febrility and furtive atmosphere, with some dead smart drum programming in the likes of his Hassellian drill bit, ‘Fuzil’ and woozily screwed nugget ‘A Fonte’, plus a dembow-type mutation sure to appeal to DJ Python nuts in ‘Rescaldo.’ He’s also joined by additional players on the suite’s more tender moments, with tingling highlights of Fado-like guitar wist in ‘Traz O Velho, Traz O Novo’ feat. Rudi Brito, and Pedro Gomez chiming in on the engagingly uncertain feel of ‘Rive’, and the work’s haunted closer in a way that recalls Mica Levi’s soundtrack work.
Touching, melancholy reflections on loss from Slowdive's Simon Scott. Field recordings, drones and the faintest melodies - extremely beautiful.
In April last year, just a few weeks into lockdown, Slowdive percussionist and sound artist Simon Scott received news that his father had died. Days later, he walked through a nature reserve in the Fens, a coastal plane in the east of England, and was struck by the sound of skylarks ringing through the landscape. Scott was moved to remember his earliest visits with his father to the Cambridgshire marshland, and was moved to capture the birds with his portable field recorder. A species in sharp decline, the skylarks felt poignant to Scott, and these recordings marked the beginning of "Apart".
Back in the studio, Scott composed a piano piece around the soundscapes, slowly melting the pieces together and transforming them into rustles, drones and rumbles. This is music that captures a time and place, serving as a meditation on time, life and memory. Scott uses his feeling of nostalgia and his profound sense of loss to sketch out faint, ambient poems that breathe with humanity. Somehow, it's not weighed down by sadness - in writing this music and processing his pain, the tracks almost sound like a celebration of life than a somber study of death.
Creaking drones, Badalamenti bass plucks and overdriven guitar - like Earth doing a Miasmah record with Bohren & der Club of Gore.
Atmospheric ambient abstraction here from ex-Swans guitarist Norman Westberg and double bassist Jacek Mazurkiewicz. The two agreed to collaborate after Mazurkiewicz supported Swans in 2014 and Westberg was impressed with the Polish soloist's fusion of acoustic and electronic sounds. A few years later they met again and headed into the studio to jam together and "First Man in the Moon" is the result of those fruitful sessions, edited, chopped and overdubbed obsessively by Mazurkiewicz.
The material is shadowy and weightless, guided by the two players' interest in texture and tone more than phrasing or riffing. Westberg's guitar comes in overdriven waves, building with measured, confident restraint; Mazurkiewicz meanwhile flits between plucked and bowed bass sounds and widescreen electronics, eking out a narrative from the jams. Needless to say, anyone into Erik K. Skodvin's Svarte Greiner material will find plenty of murky electro-acoustic surrealism to sink their teeth into here.
Portugal’s enigmatic downbeat entity Polido ushers the first of two absorbing, inception-like soundtrack cut-ups on Lisbon’s Holuzam after cropping up on vanguard labels Lynn and Bus in recent years
In the extra subtle style that left lingering vapours in our heads with 2017’s ‘Time Is When’ album, João Polido turns his attention to the soundtrack for ‘A Casa E Os Cães’ (‘Our Home With The Dogs’), a 2019 documentary by Madalena Fragoso and Margarida Meneses, reworking original and archival elements of the seven year-long production into a sort of plasmic lather of field recordings and gently smeared ambient textures.
The results bear a strong hypnagogic appeal, lulling listeners into a calming, oneiric headspace in his transitions and gentle jump-cuts between snatches of dialogue, warm breeze strings and synth pads that trace out glowing melodies and, at the very least, take this listener’s head out of a shit northern town to the Atlantic coast for the duration - the closest we’ll get to a low-key utopia for some time.
Glossy, rave-aware neo-dancehall that locks FDM's low-end wobble into an dubwise club template that should appeal to followers of Equiknoxx, Epic B and Nervous Horizons' own TSVI.
Montreal's SIM materialized back in 2019 with his wobbly af FDM-influenced debut EP "NEURAL GAIN". Now he's teamed up with London's Nervous Horizon stable, and continues his trek thru bass-heavy, skeletal club music with "Terminate".
Five tracks of icy, neon synth stabs and sparse, razor-sharp percussion, the EP sounds like a club-focused take on Kingston originals Equiknoxx's undulating alt-dancehall. But where Equiknoxx sit in a lineage of Jamaican pop and wyrd studio experiments, SIM approaches his tracks from a background of techno, dubstep and contemporary club music. Tracks like 'Stock Pile' and 'Fall' sellotape warehouse bleeps and stabs on snare-heavy percussive heaters, while 'Chased' and title track 'Terminate' offer a cheerful foil to the moody slither of SIM's contemporaries. Hard.
Effortlessly funked up, classic 1998 Detroit tekkers from the master, making us absolutely gag to get jacking under strobes and smoke
‘Black Man’s Word’ is pure 313 gospel, ticking up to a classic ‘90s pace and layered with signature strings and nagging organ code that can’t help but make us fling a limb. ’Sleep Is The Cousin Of Death’ centres the pressure with shark-eyed drive, offset with gasps of female vocal for proper, eyes-shut, heads-down body pumping, and ‘Hard To Kill’ holds that line with stereo-phasing chords wrapped around a clinically trim groove primed to be flicked in the 3-deck mix.
Ruskin barrels down the modular techno wormhole in a mode shared by likes of Surgeon and Blawan to place his first bootprint on 2021
Where the cursed 2020 saw him active in The Fear Ratio duo with fellow UK techno baldy Mark Broom, who he also knocked out the ‘Basement Sessions’ with, he gets back into the techno groove with the shoulder rolling swang and swarming synth noise of ’Shortcut’, next to the gristlier chew and streaking Detroit-via-London techno strings of ‘Hang Up’, saving a slithering payload of mouth-wateringly dissonant, curdled synth pads for ‘Drums Eyes’ that ranks among the best we’ve heard from him beyond club dimensions.
South African dancefloor scorchers from DJ Black Low, shared beyond the region for first time by the ever reliable Awesome Tapes From Africa
The internet is remaining tight lipped about this fella right now, but it ain’t hard to hear the serious dancefloor levels across ‘Uwami’, working to the side of Amapiano and Gqom styles with lip-bitingly tight Afro-house grooves darkened by gloomy pads, tested with electroid licks, and spiced by a selection of vocalists.
Run go check for unmissable bits in ‘Downfall Revisit’, sounding to us like John T. Gast doing Afrohouse; the stealthy build of ‘Jaiva Low’ starring Hapas Music; what sounds like a deep blue and ruder Donae’o in ‘Emcimbinii’; the hypnotic trills and wonky bass twang of ’Sbono ((Vocal Mix))’; a superb ambient Gqom flex in ’60 Days No Sleep’; and the straight-up trippy morse code melody and gurgling leads of ’Stiwawa Quitter’.
Top shelf tackle for the DJs and dancers.
Lo-light cyborg club mutations featuring a typically rainy Blade Runner-via-Burial remix from the unsurpassable Kelman Duran. Robots rejoice.
It's good, this one. Stryker impresses here with a short selection of after-dark club pressure that straddles reggaeton, ballroom, trap and (cough) deconstructed club. Android and eerie, "Regen" channels global club elements into a sealed airlock of pneumatic kicks, woozy grime leads and rolling clipped kicks. 'Prueba' is a clear highlight, all glassy staccato FM riffs and a sensual, lurching reggaeton-adjacent rhythm; even better is a version from Kelman Duran that removes most of the rhythmic elements, leaving a foreboding atmosphere and DSP-curdled vocals until a progressively more distorted kick takes center stage. Evil music fer dark times.