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.
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.
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.
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".

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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