With their debut album, Different Fountains reveal themselves to be an outfit capable of delivering on many different levels. The first half of Shrimp That Sleep, which comes to light on Belgian leftfield powerhouse Meakusma, is peppered with song writing sensibility and live band dynamics shot through with warm and lilting electronics. "Catch 23" has a whisper of The Whitest Boy Alive about it, with indie pop replaced by a more psychedelic undertone, but as the album progresses so the vocals dip and the content becomes more abstract. "Deep Home" works around a 4/4 framework with brooding atmospherics, while "Muybridge" makes for something of a highlight with its dubby approach infused with Eastern mysticism in a non-explicit way. As you can tell, it's an eclectic ride and yet a wonderfully cohesive one too.
Hailing from Pretoria in South Africa, DJ Spoko has to date only issued one EP on True Panther Sounds, but now he steps forward with a whopping great 20-track collection for Lit City Trax (previously known for DJ Rashad and Visionist releases) that will truly announce his distinctly African take on house and UK funky. It's a bright and bold cocktail that works soca rhythms into brash box beats, while the melodies fly in direct and catchy formations. What is most noticeable is how Chicago house traditions have been contorted to fit melodies and grooves more befitting of the geography, making for a distinctive blend of house music with a relevance to dancers and DJs the world over.
With releases on Mathematics and 100% Silk to his name already, San Franciscan producer Roche (AKA Ben Winans) has enjoyed an impressive start to his career. Here he continues his rise with a two-track salvo for hometown label Icee Hot. "Depths" layers fluid, Detroit-influenced synths and a humid bassline over tough but tactile drum machine rhythms. While robust, it has echoes of the new age-influenced positivity of the Mood Hut and Future Times labels. "Seers" is an altogether faster and more energetic affair, with alien synths and a pulsating bassline riding a locked-in 4/4 techno groove (think relentless handclaps, ride cymbals and crunchy snares). It, too, boasts melodies that seem to flutter in the Bay Area breeze.
I Don't Care About Death Because I Smoke - (4:47) 118 BPM
Daniel - (3:14) 142 BPM
Caroline - (3:31) 136 BPM
Hope Building A - (3:51) 92 BPM
Savior - (2:21) 124 BPM
U S - (4:45) 131 BPM
Remembrance - (3:56) 100 BPM
When You Sleep - (4:21) 111 BPM
Having previously impressed with his 2013 debut album, the cassette and digital-only Japan, Suicideyear (AKA producer James Prudhomme) delivers the follow-up for Oneohtrix Point Never's Software imprint. Remembrance is a fine set, all told, with Prudhomme exploring a range of moods and textures via an attractive and evocative blend of IDM rhythms, dreamy chords and often bold synthesizer melodies. While there are thrilling upbeat moments - see the cascading, picturesque electronics of "U S", or the reverb-heavy chimes of "I Don't Care About Death Because I Smoke" - many of the album's highlights are much more considered, bittersweet even. The hazy, futuristic church music of "Remembrance", for example, is simply stunning.
A one-woman force, Jennifer Lee (aka Tokimonsta) has been at the forefront of the Los Angeles underground for a number of years now. Producing the brand of fashionista-friendly club pop where retro '90s R&B meets goth-influenced slow jams, she has perfectly captured the zeitgeist. Of course her classical background has helped and is clearly in evidence on the sophisticated writing on "Desiderium". Highlights of this new mini LP include the Brandy & Monica-style harp-laden beats of "Drive", the chipmunk electro grind of "Steal My Attention" and the leftfield tropical swing-house of "Open Air".
Roska's Kicks & Snares imprint - or RKS for short - began life as a self-financed outlet for his own productions, but since 2010 has largely played host to EPs from like-minded artists from the UK bass scene. This shift is reflected in the make-up of this sixth anniversary compilation. While it does begin with a new track from the man himself - the deep and undulating "Whaaat", his first material for the label since 2009 - for the most part it showcases old and new material from some of the imprint's extended family of artists. There's naturally much to admire, from the surging, roughneck UK funky blast of Shox's "Well St", to the alien bruk-meets-kuduro rave-up of Beer Fridge Project's "Motorboat".
Lotide - "In The Deserted Bazaars" - (4:00) 99 BPM
MockSun - "Without Instinct" - (6:54) 139 BPM
Trinkkets - "Taint" - (5:23) 90 BPM
Shelley Parker - "Restrictions" - (8:20) 160 BPM
Wanda Group - "Enclave, Dome & Every Human Should Shut Their Mouth" - (7:27)
Emerging techno artist Manni Dee - known for his productions on Black Sun Records, 2nd Drop and Candela Rising - collates 16 tracks of leftfield electronics, ambient melodies, spoken word - and beyond. Aside from sourcing music from known producers WANDA GROUP, Shelley Parker and Rush Hour's BNJMN, there's a range of other fascinating music to unearth. Check out U's "Over" for some dense industrial techno mixed with Atari/Commodore 64 bleeps and the hazy murmur of a grime MC, while on the flipside of that there's the folky toy tones of Memotone's "Abbot Bromley Horn Dance" and the rainforest percussion of Alphabeat Heaven's "Mujo". There's a lot to discover here thanks to Manni Dee.
Emerging from the Midlands in 2007 with the telling-it-like-it-is Serious Wobble by Stylus, Ground Level has rapidly risen to the top of the bass leagues. Now to celebrate its seventh year of success, main man Andy McAllister has provided this sizzling hot mix featuring 13 bangers. It's quite a trip and some of our fave pit stops on the way include the deep 'n' jazzy baile-ton of Zap! Pow! Die!'s "Bounce (Fuck This Mix)", the ethereal dubby 2step of "It Feels So Good" by John Bradley and the beefy-bassed, hypno laser jam "Hula Hoop" by DJ Hero.
Kingdom Of Frogs (Daisuke Tanabe remix) - (4:45) 113 BPM
Stars (Kidkanevil remix) - (4:12) 120 BPM
Beer (Fulgeance Disco Aishiteru reprise) - (4:09) 95 BPM
Leeds label First Word drops another Yoshi Horikawa bomb on us after his thrilling debut LP for the label, and this time it's a remix affair of some tracks from the same Vapor LP, with three killer remixers moulding and mutating his beat science into new forms. First up, Daisuke Tanabe goes psychedelic for his version of "Kingdom Of Frogs", while Kidkanevil injects some gnarly half-step trickery onto the "Stars" tune, and Fulgeance Disco Aishiteru bring "Beers" down to a slow-paced, quasi-hip-hop groove for those pensive hours. Big!