Emotional Especial return with a release from Romanian duo Khidja that comes packing some excellent remixes from senor Fairplay and Juju & Jordash! Brought to the attention of EE thanks to Hardway Brother Sean Johnston, who returned from a Bucharest DJ gig singing the praises of two young DJs, Khidja's productions are as impressive as their selections on the evidence here. "Mustafa" is more immediate with shuffle percussion, swirling sirens and acid bubbles leading to a perfect horn break. In the hands of Mr Fairplay, the track takes on anthemic qualities; the stabbing bass and build have allegedly seen howls of appreciation when it's dropped at A Love From Outer Space. "Abdul" finds Khidja in a more calming mood reminiscent of Art of Noise, though the kick and bass ensure there is plenty of rhythmic emphasis, whilst the Juju & Jordash remix edges towards a Balearic digidub vibe.
Loops Haunt, aka Dundee-based producer Scott Douglas Gordan, has been cultivating his own brand of crepuscular electronica for the past five years, with his intermittent output finding a home on Bristol label Black Acre. Gordan seems to have gravitated closer to the album format with every release, 2012's five track Zenith was somewhere between LP and EP, so it's little surprise to see his latest Black Acre release fully embracing the album format. Some eleven tracks long, Exits is apparently designed to be listened to in one sitting, and we presume with the curtains drawn and some stiff Scotch for company.
Back in 2011, Gerd Janson's Running Back introduced many people to the music LA producer Diego Herrera makes as Suzanne Kraft with the Green Flash EP that was as vivid in presentation as it was in tone. You'll be hearing a lot from Diego Herrera this year, with some high profile collaborative releases with Secret Circuit on the way; an album as Blase on ESP Institute and an Odd Numbers hookup with Willie Burns for Rush Hour's No 'Label'. Before all that, Gerd Janson welcomes Herrera, er, back into the fold with this vinyl issue of the Missum CDr that introduced the Suzanne Kraft project back in 2010. In contrast to the disco-tinged house music of the aforementioned Green Flash EP, the seven tracks on Missum take on a more experimental tone, with beats largely absent in favour of some heavily textured ambient soundscapes produced with a Tascam 464 Portastudio four-track recorder.
Breaking out of his musical (comfort) zone and touring schedule as one half of Kompakt Records stars Walls, a deeper side to Alessio Natalizia's music oeuvre was shown on the excellent Not Waving debut, Umwelt, before then going on to compile the killer "Mutazione" compilation of Italian New Wave 1980-1988 for Strut Records. Spanning 9 tracks Human Capabilities takes the sound of Umwelt and the subsequent super limited cassette only "reinterpretations" of Redacted and mixes harder percussive tracks alongside explorations of melody through ambient pieces. On titles Mathematical Man, Double Blind and Defensive Function, industrial and kosmische percussion is pushed to the fore, while Power Source Above Beam Line is the closest thing to a club track Alessio has produced outside of Walls. However, it's the more melodic Future Rain, Etosha Pan Aderci and the closing Satie homage, Conscious/Subliminal that a new side to the project can be heard. Having been named after a This Heat song, Not Waving is developing beyond that to go as far as the album title suggests.
There's something suitably awesome about listening to fluid, live, jazz-inspired music played entirely by robots. That's exactly what's on offer here. Music For Robots sees a team of Japanese-designed "music performing system" (that's robotic musicians to you and me) playing tracks composed by Squarepusher. It's a brilliantly far-fetched idea, but staggeringly it works well. While there's a programmed stiffness to some of the guitar playing - though the impressively high-speed jazz licks on "Sad Robots Go Funny" sound like Pat Metheny on speed - for the most part Music For Robots is surprisingly loose and fluid, with distinctive piano motifs acting as a central focal point. It sounds a little like a Steve Reich composition in five parts, and there's no greater praise than that.
Along with Raime, Dalhous are one of the few constant acts on the ever shifting Blackest Ever Black. Originally debuting on the label as Young Hunting in 2011, the duo of Marc Dall and Alex Ander moved from a soundtrack-inspired sound to a more fractured, sample-based electronic palette when they re-emerged as Dalhous at the tail end of 2012. After delivering a fine and rather under-appreciated debut album last year, Dalhous now return with Visibility Is A Trap, and it's seemingly the solo concern of Dall now. Featuring four new originals written and produced by Dall that reflect his "continued interest in the language and imagery of self-help, R.D. Laing and the anti-psychiatry movement", this EP shows a further progression in the Dalhous sound. Karl O'Connor returns for one of his irregular BEB appearances with a Regis remix of "He Was Human And Belonged With Humans" from last year's aforementioned LP.
Brett Naucke, otherwise known as Catholic Tapes boss or Face Worker in his less docile moods, is simply a great electronic artist form the States and it's no wonder that Spectrum Spools, the label renowned for picking up on people like Container and more recently reissuing the Aquaplano Sessions by Donato Dozzy and Neel, have picked him up for an LP. We wouldn't really call it noise but it's not exactly ambient, rather, a beautiful eight tracks of sonic experimentation. "Luau" is one of our favourites, with its glitchy shreds of sound skipping hastily into a rickety groove, but the whole damn work is outstanding and works gorgeously as a whole piece of music. Spectrum Spools have done it again - class!
Even by the standards of celebrated experimentalist Jan Jelinek, this is a fabulously enticing project. It sees Jelinek don his Farben guise to remodel, rework and remix the work of similarly leftfield sound collage artist Dennis Busch, AKA James Din A4. The resultant 10 tracks are as intriguing and entertaining as you'd expect, with Jelinek putting his own sludgy 4/4 twist and wonky electronic stamp on Busch's dense field recordings and glitchy concoctions. Highlights come thick and fast, from the organ-laden off-kilter swing of "Kader Dolls" and chiming oddness of "Powerbaum", to the smack-jazz soundscape of "Rettung" and hypnotic, experimental techno bump of "Krieghelm Hundewasser".
A day with a new Kerri Chandler EP is always a good day, especially if it comes out on the impressively on-point Watergate. The Berlin dance institution is famous for its varied DJ mixes but they're started dabbling in full-blown releases, and we couldn't be happier. The NY house legend steps up with two new tracks, backed by two killer remixes. "Mama" is a peak-time, piano house burner featuring Jerome Sydenham, while "Think of Something" is the proper ripper here - one hell of a hook and a filthy, pouncing bassline. The remixes comes from the likes of Voyeur, who dishes out a real belter, and La Fleur, who goes for a retro kind of vibe on the synths. Highly recommended!
Ralph 'Bass Clef' Cumbers is gaining ever more respect and notoriety as a modular synth wielder of note, and especially with this more experimental side project of his. The snappily titled LP moves with the playful animation of Cumbers' live sets, consciously inhabited by a dubby spirit but largely focused on classic electronica as a frame of reference. The melodic notes range from drawn out wails undergoing processing harassment to punchy bleeps and blips, commonly anchored to sizable rhythmic instruction but not bound by it. There are dreamy, mysterious moments on "Music For Trepanning" while "The Magpie On The Gallows" comes from the same mathematical motion mentality as early Autechre. If you enjoy the odd blast into the wild country of fringe electronics then this album will undoubtedly appeal to you.
Valcrond Video presents the next work by sound and image artist Luke Wyatt, Songs From Bad Kid School.
On a high desert plain, inside a cinder block compound, a prank squad is incarcerated. Between fiddling with ninja stars and leafing through back issues of Fangoria, they find time to scrape out the soundtrack of their escape.
On the first track, heatsick guitars and steel wool beats suggest a landscape strewn with abandoned car carcasses, old Camaros left for dead in the sun, used for shotgun practice.
The B-side leads off with the beat-less, articulated sprawl of "Saline Flats". Here is the story of a desert search for water: figures warping mirage-like on the horizon as they make a confused journey over dunes, ending with a cathartic drone that suggests the mirages resolving into a real oasis. Though it is just as likely that the bad kids have expired from thirst, and ascended to the sublime.
As one of the more gentle parts of the Brainfeeder family Teebs can always be counted on to deliver heartfelt pontifications of a distinctly pastoral quality, and he's on fine form with his new album Estara. The likes of "Hi Hat" may feature more distinct beats, but by and large the album drifts along with the percussion pushed to the back of the mix so that grand sweeps of dusty old melody can come breezing in, shot through with that nostalgic quality that has always existed within Teebs' work. With some choice guest spots from the likes of Prefuse 73 and Lars Horntveth thrown in for good measure, it's another triumph for the more sensitive one from the leading bunch of brain-feeding beat smiths.
Given the artists assembled to rework Blondes when their debut album was released two years ago, it's unsurprising that this EP of remixes is of a similarly high standard. Of particular interest is Huerco S's version of "Wire", which delivers a clanking, murky, industrial and frankly chilling ten-minute trip into fuzzy techno territory. Almost as impressive are the versions of the same track by Function (deep, spacey techno) and Claro Intelecto, who surprises by delivering an intricate, organic-sounding rub full of winding chords and melancholic intent. As if that lot wasn't enough, there's also a great deep house-meets-dub house revision of "Swisher" by Simian Mobile Disco.