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Reviewed this week
Rene Pawlowitz is without a doubt one of techno's most defining producers. The Berlin based producer known for powerful and emotive warehouse anthems under such guises as Head High, EQD, WAX and Seelow returns for his third full length album as Shed; the first in five years since 2012's terrific Killer LP. All the hallmarks of his distinct sound are on display once again; on the brooding "Black Heart" or the bittersweet "Taken Effect" there's rusty, dusted down and broken up drums big enough to fill a stadium and backed by those mesmerising and hypnotic pads. It's beautiful in all its sinister rave glory. By contrast, interludes such as "Extreme SAT" introduce yet more gorgeous pads and shimmering arpeggios on this simple yet effective exercise in ambient: one of several beatless journeys on the album. "Call 32075!" romanticizes the heyday of early '90s techno, effectively bridging the gap between elements of Detroit hi-tech soul and British IDM; Peacefrog style. Immaculately programmed rhythms, powerful bass pulsations and emotive/life affirming elements all combine wonderfully and in a way that only Pawlowitz can.
We've come accustomed to Marc Romboy delivering fine, full-length excursions that join the dots between techno and house. Voyage De La Planete, though, is something totally different: an intergalactic exploration of ambient, electronica, and seductive downtempo compositions. It's a blueprint that guarantees hazy, head-in-the-clouds thrills, from the Nils Frahm style piano motifs of "La Lune Et La Etoile" and dark, clandestine throb of the Black Merlin-esque "Phenix", to the Namlook style bliss of string-drenched closer "Nocturne" - with its gently undulating beats and sweeping orchestration - and picturesque, break-of-dawn sumptuousness of "Atom De Danse". We're not quite sure why Romboy has decided to go in this direction, but we have no complaints: fundamentally, Voyage De La Planet is a superb set.
Traditionally, the UK's Nathan Fake has been closely associated to James Holden's eternal Border Community imprint, a label that has unapologetically stuck to its particular strain of house and techno over the last decade, and a quality that has certainly contributed to its constant success. We've always been great admirers of Fake's dreamy, progressive style of house music, and we see his recent collaborations with London's Ninja Tune as the perfect move for both himself and the mighty record label. Providence, his debut LP for the imprint, stretches the realms of his style to the limit, providing us with 12 highly diverse and explorative slices of IDM-filtered pseudi-house. In reality, there is little to none pure house music in here, but Fake manages to retain a certain momentum that renders these experimental tunes both danceable and enjoyable outside of the bedroom. Deep synths collide with glowing shards of percussion and deep, hyper-space sonics; even Prurient features one of the darker, looser tunes. Recommended!
Jacaszek's last outing on Matthew Dear's fine Ghostly International imprint came all the way back in 2011 but, then again, the artist doesn't exactly put out a vast amount of music. It's most certainly quality over quantity for this imperceptible producer, and we respect him for it. In fact, this is surely what drove Jon Wozencraft to land him on the sublime Touch label, and we take that as a sign that this guy is worth shouting about. KWIATY is a work of immense beauty, dipping and diving its way through dark and mysterious corners of the ambient domain; places that many other artists of this calibre rarely visit. For an album that is somewhat ominous by nature, there are plenty of uplifting moments throughout, and this is undoubtedly brought to the foray by the soulful voices riding high on the crest of solitary, hollow drones in the underbelly of the sonic sketches. It's an ambient album for people who are not into the genre. It's for those wishing to float and meditate to some beautiful melodic waves.
Up to this point, Marvin Horsch's output for Dorfjungs has provided a refreshing, light-heartred take on the enlarged ambient domain. In fact, it's almost an injustice to categorise his music as such, because there is plenty of movement and energy throughout his tracks and sonic arrangements. This new EP for the fledgling Film label, for example, is a sublime piece of hybrid electronica that touches many different genres and influences. The opening sequence, "Omnisession#1" feels like a journey through space and time, a sort of ode to acid jazz and Sun-Ra voyages, backed by a great percussion. "Sun After Rain" is a softer experient, guided mainly by placid chimes and solitary melodies, whereas "Negobebo#2" ups the mood with a glorious burst of starry synths and kinetic drum machine folds in a way that's highly personal to Horsch's improvisational style. Wonderful.
Cosmic Pint Glass has entered the scene with some gutsy moves over the last couple of years. We've now come to understand that we should expect absolutely nothing from the Norfolk-based imprint, and that we'll likely receive an intriguing blend of house, possibly a touch of bass, and plenty of weird, far-out electronic landscapes. Thesiskin is a newcomer, and we can't pretend to say that we know a lot about the producer. In fact, it might as well be Aphex Twin for all we know. What we know for sure is that this LP is nothing short of terrific and terrifying all wrapped into one; there is something subtly macabre about its hollow drone constructions, a certain type of aesthetic that makes us feel like we're in the deepest corners of Transylvania. This is some ludicrously fine ambient experimentation right here, and we recommend anyone with a taste for it to indulge. Just beware of the potential night terrors.
Mistry enter album mode with a remarkable body of work from Kailin. A quantum leap from the floors the label has been denting, Kailin explores the post-club environment with dense weaves of textures and ghostlike vapours. Ambient in its nature yet spiked with fractured club echoes, it's an ultimately physical affair best experienced being as unphysical as possible. Highlights include the throbbing mechanical palpitations of "Chatter", the clunky glitches and alien designs of "Fracture" and the warped trickles and blurred cascades of "Disintegration". An intense move by all concerned.