Reviewed this week
Three years on from his first Talamanca System collaboration with Tuff City Kids duo Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer, Mark Barrott gets the gang back together for an album of typically loved-up excursions. International Feel's eccentric press release describes it as "a sunburned imagination of a day and night spent on Ibiza during a moment in time that probably never was". Given the album's repeated nods to baggy, piano-laden Italian house, the saucer-eyed, sunrise-friendly brilliance of 808 State's "Pacific State", sun-kissed post Italo-disco chuggers, percussion-laden tropical workouts and head-in-the-clouds ambience, it's actually rather an apt description. It's shamelessly Balearic from start to finish, but pulls it off with an authenticity that others could only dream of.
Earthboogie - aka London soundsystem owners Izaak Gray and Nicola Robinson - make their wax debut with three raw, groove laden disco blends. Digging deep into both afrofunk and Italo roots, there's a universal musical language that grabs you physically across all three cuts. "Mr Mystery" sits between Booker T & The Mgs and Daniele Baldelli while "Route Ten To Interzone" is an energetic township jam with added synth sheen. Finally we're seduced by the Balearic weaves, ripples, twangs and horns of "The EB Theme". A rainbow of vibes from start to finish, this one's hard to put down.
On his sixth album, Berlin based DJ, label owner and producer Oliver Koletzki presents his remarkable vision of contemporary electronic music. The Arc of Tension speaks to its listener as a singular, self contained work, which communicates by way of its natural flow and arc of suspense. The latter is mirrored not only in the multifarious narrative of the actual album, but can also be understood as evidence for its creator's long musical history. While Koletzki focused on a diverse range of vocal collaborations on his previous long players, he now moves on to a different form of storytelling, rooted in the quiet confidence of a veteran musician, as well as the hectic lifestyle of a globally in demand DJ. The Arc of Tension is the 'psychoanalytic' journey through the various continents of Oliver's consciousness.
Superpitcher's third full-length studio album, The Golden Ravedays, is an autobiography that exhibits the skill, feeling and style that the artist has honed over a period of 40 plus years. An epic album of 24 tracks that was released in January 2017 and will stretch over 12 respective chapters during a one-year period. The fifth piece of puzzle is released here on Hippie Dance: the label he runs with Mexican counterpart Rebolledo. Number 5 of the series introduces two further tracks of the sound adventure that Aksel Schaufler is taking us on this year. The djembe drum on the cover and the two titles of the tracks hint that this edition could potentially include stuff that was inspired by the rhythms and melodies of Africa - a sound legacy that is of great importance to this artist that is a staple of the Cologne electronic music scene.
The 14th release on the fast-rising Play Pal imprint comes from Skelesys, whose previous outings have been on the techier side of house. This time round, the Beunos Aries born, Berlin-based producer has decided to flip the script. Opener "Nebula" is a pitched-down chugger laden with heavy analogue bass and warped electronics, while "This is Our Favourite Day" wraps stylish, post punk style guitar solos around a Nein style psychedelic nu-disco groove. There are more eyes-closed guitar solos to be found on "The Path", a dark and foreboding number full of incessant drum machine handclaps, wonky electronics and twisted bass. Of the three accompanying remixes, it's Peza's sparkling, Italo-disco influenced re-make of "Nebula" that stands out.
Nicola Cruz polishes off a trippy tryptic of cult releases for Multi Culti with the Espiritu LP. As folklorica's chosen lord, Cruz has shepherded the masses from the church of high tempos and brought trance-formed revellers down to earth with his fusion of crisp electronics and organic, indigenous vibrations. "Espiritu de Proteccion" is a deeply esoteric tribal groove that's geared for some life affirming moments on the dancefloor. The "Multi Culti Flute-A-Pella" up next does exactly what it says on the tin hereon this quirky and psychedelic journey into the exotic.
Multi talented UK Jazz Pianist Greg Foat has teamed up with Mercury Award nominated multi instrumentalist Warren Hampshire to collaborate on a new LP drawing on their diverse musical influences. Classic British library music, 60s Italian soundtracks and lost Americana combined with touches of modern classical, minimalism, jazz and folk. Featuring many members of Greg and Warren's previous bands and one of the U.Ks finest Jazz drummers in Clark Tracy. The LP also features an Edinburgh orchestra and soloists who were hand picked and scored Foat and Hampshire themselves.
More than a few eyebrows were raised when Sasha returned last year with an album of previously unheard ambient and IDM cuts recorded over the course of his lengthy career. Here, that set gets the remix treatment, with a mixture of scene stalwarts and rising stars behind the mixing desk. While there are some gentle dancefloor revisions - see Max Cooper's melodious and atmospheric tech-house interpretation of "Channel Deq" and Matthew Dear's hypnotic, late night take on "Pontiac" - many of the most rewarding and entertaining remixes are those that take a more horizontal approach. In this category, you'll find Sasha's own rising, near symphonic version of "Pontiac" and a stunning, standout mix of "Abacus" by Warp Records veterans Plaid.
LA synthpop producer Turbotito (aka Filip Nikolic)'s fey indie take on the genre has seen him recently collaborate with Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier. Here he's back with a new three track EP. The title track features urgent chugging rhythms laced with sugary synth chords and sing-along vocals and "Different" (which features Baby Alpaca) evokes memories of 1980s 'sophisti-pop' acts like Black. "Don't Talk" meanwhile, is moody, slow Eurodisco like that made by David August. The title track is also turned into cool electro-disco by Mondowski and cool deep house by Max Pask. There's even a Turbotito remix of a dreamy Baby Alpaca track too!
For those keen on early '80s jazz-funk explorations, the first EPfrom Mike Collins' Sun Palace combo, 1983's hard-to-find Winning, has long been at the top of the wants list. Happily, BBE has decided to make the in-demand B-side, "Rude Movements", available again via a tasty, Record Store Day 7" single. To fit the restricted playing time of the format, Collins has expertly split the original into two parts, subtly re-editing a few parts in the bargain. The results are sublime, with the glistening guitar solos, spacey synths and lo-fi drum machine hits of "Part I" just edging out the hazier "Part II".
Nicolai Kornerup and Hannah Schneider were originally 'companions' before looking to each other with artistic intentions in their eyes. The result was an improvisational electronic act called AyOwA. Following a summer spent experimenting with vintage synths, reel-to-reels tape machines, and Schneider's ethereal voice, they came up with a series of dreamy, fuzzed-out arty synth pop songs. Quickly snapped up by Music for Dreams in the US, we now the six tracks of "Eremit" to swoon over, and frankly, we've fallen head over heels...just as you will too!
Glasgow based composer Iona Fortune presents her debut release inspired by Eastern philosophy and said to be the first in an eight album series exploring the symbols of the I Ching, Her music is influenced by oriental sounds and features a palette of instruments that includes the Guzheng, Gamelan and Synthi AKS. The overall effect is a singular and beguiling sound that loosely fits in with Jon Hassell's Fourth World concept. Fortune also contributed a track to Optimo Music's new Fourth World compilation entitled Miracle Steps earlier in 2017. The initial vinyl edition will come on a trans lucid pressing with inside sleeve and original artwork by the artist.
Following his 2015 release entitled s/t, Berlin's Ant Orange is back with more groove-laden goodness. With his latest one on local imprint Karaoke Kalk, Orange shows the wide range of styles he has to offer. The Arkupe LP is loaded with some of the mellowest vibes you're likely to hear all year. This fine album has all you need right here: from laid-back beats and bass-heavy jazz breaks. Each track oozes soulfulness, featuring Fender Rhodes, downbeat afro rhythms plus nonchalant guitar riffs and synth lines. There is even a bit of sun-drenched slo-mo house for good measure. A great and cohesive whole and worth a listen!
Coyote's wide-reaching assortment of post-balearic disco sounds never ceases to please our demanding eardrums, and the duo have done it once again with this tidy EP to launch the Eclectics imprint. "Too Late To Be Scared" travels majestically from start to finish, swaying its groove with slow, liquid-like synths that melt over mid-tempo house drums; there's a Dark Drift mix which ups the tempo a notch and lands on heavier 4/4 territories, while the ambient version revels in an airy, almost angelic wave of sounds that bounce along with the help of subtle subbass injections. A class outing.
Edinburgh's Hidden Orchestra are back on Tru Thoughts with that fine jazz-ambient crossover, a particular strain of pseudo electronica that pretty much no one else has ventured down. This is primarily because this kind of stuff is rather complex to put together - a tune like "Still" requires you to appreciate the intricacies of jazz drumming while still being in tune with the looseness of drone and sparse sonics. There's a tougher edit which follows, and a total ambient mix without drums! Beautiful.
Junto Club kicked off Snap Crackle & Pop late last year, and now the label returns with the debut solo release from London-based outfit DEEDS. While Rollo and Kiri Inglis may have previously popped up on an obscure compilation on Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, this record should see their coldwave sound shoring up with many more adventurous listeners. "Video Dreams" is a beautifully melancholic slice of electronica while "Unknown" reaches for euphoric heights. Remixes from Bezier and The Field round the record out as a wonderful exercise in emotive home listening electronics for sensitive souls.
Some lovely vocoder pop courtesy of London duo Alexander Keefe & Joakim Kristiansen aka Teachers: actually real life teachers in fact. One of the guys released previously on WT as Tagwell Woods and the label claims that this "works at home or in the club." True that. This is convincing '80s synthpop from the machines right through to the methodology and recording techniques (it seems!) and even hints at taking influence from legends such as Erasure, Pet Shop Boys or Stephin Merritt's Magnetic Fields project. Comes with colour picture sleeve with photo realistic painting by Gabe Benzur.

Top Labels
Wax N Soul Germany
New State
K7 Germany
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music US
Music For Dreams US