Reviewed this week
Ali Kuru took a decision some years ago not to seek publicity, preferring instead to let his music speak for itself. Egzotik, his long awaited debut album, seems to have a fair few stories to tell. Smothered in evocative field recordings made around his home city of Istanbul, the album is notable for fusing exotic Persian instrumentation with grooves and sounds more readily associated with cosmic disco, krautrock, dub, Balearica and Detroit beatdown. On paper, it's an unusual combination that should sound forced or contrived. In reality, it's a brilliant example of an artist with a singular artistic vision achieving his goals. Put it this way: it's amongst the most inspired and enjoyable debut albums we've heard this year.
Apologies for banging on about this, But Session Victim's recent Listen To Your Heart album is one of the best Balearic-minded house sets we've heard this year. It goes without saying, then, that this third sampler EP is packed full of playable goodness. While they've naturally included an obligatory slow jam (wonderfully dreamy Balearic beats cut "Castle For Sale") and a rush inducing, gradually building Balearic soundscape (EP highlight "Thermal Explorer"), the other two tracks jostle for position in the "best for peak-time plays" stakes. Choose between the tactile nu-disco/deep house fusion of "Head Over Heels" - all sweeping strings, bubbly synth bass and twinkling piano flourishes - and "Almost Midnight", a wonderful trip into disco deep house territory that's as rich and musically expansive as they come.
Mallard was once a frequent face at Bradley Zero's Rhythm Section parties. After dancing hard on countless occasions, the trainee jazz double-bassist eventually plucked up the courage to hand over demos of his bedroom productions. It's those - reworked, polished and professionally produced - that make up the bulk of this debut EP. As first releases go, it's a bit of a doozy. Highlights come thick and fast, from the floatation tank chords, loved-up new age melodies and languid broken house beats of "Aquitaine (606 Lake Mix)" and the drowsy, horizontal bliss of "Marco's Mango", to the sunrise-friendly house breakbeats and fluid chords of "Track 4 (Breaks)" and the modern ambient house warmth of closer "Verte".

Having thrilled dusty-fingered crate diggers with a reissue of Denis Mpunga and Paul K's impossible-to-find mid-'80s cassette album Criola - an unusual but rather fine combination of post-punk and traditional Congolese music - Music from Memory has decided to give some of the tracks the remix treatment. As you'd expect, there's many more hits than misses. Dutch rising star Dazion delivers a wonderfully cosmic revision of "Intermezzo B" full of fluttering new age synth lines and drum machine polyrhythms, while Tolouse Low Trax turns "Veronika" into a woozy and dreamy chunk of dub-flecked, loved-up downtempo bliss. Late night dancefloor thrills are provided by Interstellar Funk's intergalactic tribal techno take on "Intermezzo 2" and Prins Emmanuel's tactile take on "KWEI!", which sits somewhere between dub disco, boogie and proto-house.

International Feel boss Mark Barrott steps away from the the Balearic sounds he has been exploring of late to take a journey back to territory first explored with Bepu N'Gali back in 2012. "The Pathways Of Our Lives" is slo-mo (and very lo-slung!) Afro soul that continues Barrott's fixation with African polyrhythms and 70's style Philly strings. He has worked with a full band: The Grunewald Quartet return to string duties after collaborating on Barrott's Sketches from an Island 2 album last year. Second offering recorded live during one of his spring meditation sessions in Northern Ibiza, with India's Vishnu Quartet performing a 2 hour piece: be prepared for Jon Hassell style Fourth World aesthetics: very nice.
Throughout his career, Be Svendsen has largely been associated with hypnotic and atmospheric tech-house. For this three-tracker on Earthly Delights, he's decided to do things differently. Opener "Decoy", an exotic mid-tempo chugger full of Persian instrumental flourishes and throbbing post-punk style bass, sounds like the sort of thing you'd hear Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston play at A Love From Outer Space. The same could be said about "Nabia", whose lilting swamp guitar licks and undulating electronics are almost psychedelic (despite the presence of drums straight from the tech-house playbook). The real killer, though, is "Hide", a gentle Middle Eastern/Balearic hybrid that attractively bobs and weaves for 15 minutes.
When not repeatedly appearing on the Roam label, San Francisco's JP Soul (aka Jason Peters) has been found on disco edit labels like Whiskey Disco. Here though he gives us "A.L.E." on the mighty Nein Records, and as one might expect with this imprint, the tone is typically slower and darker. The title track track is nearly seven minutes long and features 303 squelches, light, cascading synth bleeps and beguiling melodies not unlike Guy Gerber. Two Mamarrachos also strip it down into a sparse and trancey odyssey. "Take Me To Your Leader" meanwhile is a spacey electro-house ditty that gets worked into a more pulsating disco/new beat hybrid by Montcosmik. Ace!
Finally on digitsal. Rotten City based in Madrid, is overseen by partners in crime Alvaro Cabana Juliana Leyva, and born to maximize synergies between different music scenes, breaking barriers to get to a common factor: quality music without pigeonholing. Nein Records man Tronik Youth handles the debut release from Rotten City, backed with remixes from the esteemed Red Axes and Richard Sen. Guided by the force of synths, "Malice Of Absence" is an intense voyage to the depth of strobes and flash... For their remix, Red Axes steers the listener towards a Balearic sunset governed by the melodies of Art of Noise, the horizontal flights of Vangelis and the spiritual calmness of Mr. Fingers. Richard Sen rises the speed gently and resolves the equation that the German cosmic exposition has deposited under a mirror ball of The Loft in a space with a life of its own.
Summer is here and it's time for the Sunday Paper compilation, featuring some of the more horizontal and forgotten corners of their catalogue. There are two exclusives with Bergen's Keyboy making a return to the label and the wondrous GladLaks i Galaxen. Plus, Leftside Wobbles' unreleased space dub of Leon Sweet's "Sunny Bigler". Add in artists new and old like Jamie L, Crazy P, Maxx Mortimer, Steve Cobby, Flash Atkins, De Fantastiske To, Kahuun and many more. It's sunshine all the way! So crack a tinny, roll a fat one, stick the kettle on, crank the BBQ and dive in.
Matanza member Rodrigo Gallardo has long been interested in the "folkloric traditions" of South America, and in particular his native Chile. El Origen is his attempt to incorporate these traditional sounds, rhythms and instrumental tropes into a contemporary electronic music setting. His original productions - all fluttering flutes, gentle acoustic guitars, warm electronics and evocative vocals - are showcased on the A side, with pal and fellow Chilean Nicola Cruz providing his own interpretations on the B-side. Naturally, his revisions tend towards the more cosmic and dancefloor-friendly, but also retain enough elements from Gallardo's original tracks to not be too revolutionary. Crucially, all Cruz's versions are superb.
On their new EP, Fejka wants to show 'the development process of dream music into dance music.' Whereas the first two songs are chilled out and slow, "Moonlight" and "Ghostlight" respectively represent a certain state of hypnosis and trance. The key song "Twilight" is a unique combination of both worlds and said to be really important to the producer because it perfectly describes their musical taste. It took me a long time for Fejka to to complete the project but in the end very happy to have created music which combines everything in absolute purity of musical perception.
Copenhagen's Music For Dreams label has cornered a place in the market for providing the world with a new wave of dreamlike new age music. Here they present The/Human/Tree, the second album by fellow Dane Troels Hammer. A classical-style pianist, his music veers between lounge, dance, ambience and electronica. There are 11 works on this here LP, all demonstrating a world music influence, primarily from Africa, each composition being softer and gentler than a whole packet of Andrex. Highlights include the moody tribal rhythms of "Waves Of Cape Town", the Balearic beats and glacial synths of "Mockingbird" and the sparse melancholia of closer "View Of Wisdom".
Ambala is comprised of the legendary Phil Mison with Thomas Schulz. With a bit of help from disco dons Laid Back they served up some deep and bluesy lounge business on "Walk With The Dreamers" for Copenhagen based Music For Dreams. It now gets a series of great remixes by fellow disco/balearic royalty in the form of the The White Isle's finest: Leo Mas who is joined by fellow Italians Fabrice and Giorgio Li Calzi. We personally preferred the lo-slung balearic goodness of the "Dreamers Dub" which is perfecting for drifting at Cafe Del Mar or Cafe Mambo this Summer on the island.
Beyond all the clubbing action, another often forgotten tradition of the 90s was the post-club 'all back to mine' session. The air thick with 'smoke', a curated chillout mix by an established dj would sort everyone out. The Late Night Tales series continues that tradition and here we have a new volume curated by Canadian quartet BadBadNotGood. The album features 21 cuts from their record collections woven together in a hazy nocturnal fashion. Highlights include the psychedelic electronica of "Oh Honey" by Delegation, the seductive 60s folk-soul of "Kaes On Aeg" by Velly Joonas and the campy synth-boogie of "Disco Dancer" by Kiki Gyan.
Having set his stall out via a string of quietly impressive singles over the last two years, deep house producer Laurence Guy is ready to unleash his debut album. Saw You For The First Time is a typically rich and hazy affair, with the Church regular making use of various dusty, jazz-flecked samples and analogue-sounding electronic instruments across a ten-track set that mixes rolling, club-ready fare with occasional bouts of downtempo introspection (see "Claudi", "Into" and the deliciously saucer-eyed "Orchard Road"). Guy makes great use of guest vocalist Steve Spacek on the sumptuous space jazz warmth of "Drum is a Woman", while Ishmael makes his presence felt on "Anchor", where twinkling pianos and dreamy chords ride a fluid, floor-friendly deep house groove.
Released last year, Christian Loffler's Mare was the long player that the acclaimed German artist had been threatning to make for a long time. His ambition is to connect a 'gloomy spirit' with 'a warm sincerity' and he perfectly achieved that balance on the record. Here we continue to see LP tracks get the remix treatment, starting with Aparde's take on "Youth" which starts ever so gentle and unassuming before blossoming into a warm rush of organic minimal house. Also included is Christian's own rework of "Pigment" which features a soft kick, various hums, buzzes, piano plinks and plonks. Smart.
When the New York composer Vito Ricci produced a handful of experimental pieces in the 1980s, he probably would not have expected that a popular reissue label would bear the name of one of his albums: Music From Memory. This is his first album in 30 years, released via the new label Intelligent Instruments. Ricci has composed a lot over the decades, but this LP is completely composed on a Commodore Amiga; using the Music Mouse - developed by avant garde Composer Laurie Spiegel. The album turns out to be a timeless, fresh perspective of ambient music. With its new-age drones, hypnotic percussive loops: the different tracks do not sound unusual given the instrumentation and restriction. Between Ricardo's distant guitar and the alienated vocals of his wife Lisa Vachon: it is detailed, fascinating and perfect music conjured from obsolete music technology to tremendous effect.
As resident DJ at infamous Italian disco Cosmic Club, Baldelli pioneered the slow chugging grooves that evolved into both Balearic and Belgian New Beat. Here he teams up with DJ Rocco for the impressive "Poouli". The track is a super cool slice of moody early 80s new wave dance music - all moody tropical vibes, not unlike Jamaica Running by The Pool. Private Agenda's "Sunrise" mix adds ecstasy to the mix for a shimmering masterpiece and Sare Havelicek turns in a stunning, warped-chillwave style jam. Gig Masin meanwhile opts for a beatless, chiming coda. Not a dud in sight on here!
Moa Pillar returns with his second LP on Karelian label Full of Nothing. Offering up five tracks of transcendental heavy bass and beats, Fedor Pereverzev merges authentic folk, tribal music, electronica and techno. Refusing to follow conventions, Pereverzev produces soul elevating sound art, with eclectic textures and sounds. Each track challenges the traditional meaning of its namesake. Even the meditative "And the Moon Stopped" has an undercurrent of darkness, offering itself listening like a sacrifice to the higher energies. Pereverzev states that his music is all about the spirit, above energy or physics. He first rose to prominence in the Russian beats scene, circa 2009. Outside of Moa Pillar, Pereverzev is one of Russia's leading sound designers and co-founder of audio-production studio, Monoleak - who have recorded music for corporate clients such as NASA and Mercedes.
Top Labels
New State
Music For Dreams US
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music US
Wax N Soul Germany