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Reviewed this week
The new album Wonderland is Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty's first LP as Demdike Stare since 2012's Elemental and arrives a year on after the completion of their Testpressing EP series for Modern Love. Starting out with the demonic and guttural body basher "Curzon" where you know right away that this album will be one wild ride. "Hardnoise" goes from industrial noise to sub bass heavy techno to blissful IDM over its epic 10-minute duration. Elsewhere, "Sourcer" tackles a mangled form of late '90s techstep while the beautiful closer "Overstaying" is a glorious exercise in hypnotism that sits somewhere between minimal techno and deconstructed electro.
It's amazing to think that Jay Daniel is still only 25. Since making his debut five years ago, the producer has been responsible for some of the finest house music to emerge from Detroit in recent times. Interestingly, he's slightly modified his woozy and gently soul-flecked blueprint on this hotly anticipated debut album. For starters, many of the tracks - standouts "Paradise Valley" and "Knowledge of Selfie" included - feature live drums, played and recorded in his mother's basement. This rhythmic adjustment gives Broken Knowz a far looser and warmer feel than his previous work, in the process elevating his deliciously rich and musical deep house to a whole new level. In other words, it's an impressively assured and entertaining debut album.
As well as being a resident at Moscow's Denis Simachev bar, Leonid Lipelis has been slowly making a name for himself as a producer for some time. There's a whole raft of Lipelis remixes for the nu-disco set dating back to 2006, but it feels like the Russian producer has stepped up his game of late. Inbetween some killer edits for LIES and an upcoming Public Possession 12" as TMO, Lipelis dons his Beard In Dust guise for the latest release from the mysterious Bahnsteig 23 label. If you were a fan of that aforementioned LIES release or any BAH 12 it's highly likely you will dig the four cuts here with Lipelis drawing for some obscure sources with eminently danceable results.
We've definitely seen our fair share of interesting collaborations of late, where new heroes of electronic music have called upon legends of the industrial scene for collaborative mayhem. Here's another one to add to this list and be assured that it's as curious as ever! The Border Community affiliated artist Nathan Fake; most famous for mid noughties anthems such as "The Sky Turned Pink" and "Outhouse" calls upon industrial noise terror Dominick Fernow; more commonly known as Prurient. On "Degreelessness" The Hospital Productions boss delivers his harrowing and stern monologues (drenched in delay and distortion) over Fake's majestic arrangement full of rusty vintage machine drum rhythms and dreamy/swirling arpeggios and it's quite reminiscent of Fernow's work as Vatican Shadow. The second offering "Now We Know" is quite a departure, but undoubtedly more in the usual domain of Ninja Tune's M.O. In this case, the track is a dreamy electronica journey with stuttering keys and hypnotic pads dancing atop of an infectious broken beat.
Oscar Mulero's Polegroup label closes the year with a mammoth compilation that defines the current state of the techno nation. As Unknown Landscapes shows, it is a diverse place. There's droning ambience from Daphne RXX, while Reeko, Reggy Van Oers and Mike Parker deliver bleep-heavy, hypnotic groove that draw on the influence of F.U.S.E and Sandwell District. Heads-down loopy fare is also catered for - with the spiky percussion and bleak filters of Jonas Koop's "Fu Factor" standing out - and the form also revisits the rough, analogue sound of the 90s thanks to Karl Bult and American scene veteran DJ Hyperactive's contributions.
Straight off the back of a release for Barnt, Crato and Jens-Uwe Beyer's Magazine imprint, the mysterious Jaures returns to Oliver Hafenbauer's Die Orikel imprint with a load of cacophonous, left of field electronic experiments. "Hindernis Und Folge" makes the nuttiest of power electronics tunes seem lifeless thanks to its utterly disjointed beats, and foreboding swarm of sonics. The bizarreness continues on "Zustand Des Zweifels", a dirty electro smasher that takes the Drexciyan school of thought to new, more industrial territories, while "Ursprung Des Irrtums" takes a sip from the techno chalice and heads deep into a 4/4 wormhole of no return. Do not underestimate the power of Jaures.
Rashad Becker's new full length album Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. II is a continuation of his highly-acclaimed first volume, released in 2013. Incorporating more instrumental-sounding components, the Berlin based musician and mastering engineer is well known for his attention to detail across his work. As label PAN best describe themselves, Becker's "unique techniques and expressive manipulations of sound are laid bare in an exhilarating new form, stylistically distinctive and uncompromising." Indulge in this series of warped and challenging soundscapes that explore unusual and inventive methods of the signal chain, offering some rather curious results.
Peter Van Hoesen and Yves De May are easily two of the very best techno artists out there. Just to clarify, they are excellent at creating true techno music, not the sort that looks to the past; both producers have been pushing the boundaries since they got into the scene, and it's no wonder that they've been associated to labels like Sandwell District - now sadly defunct - Tresor, and Dekmantel. Here, they reappear on the excellent Editions Mego with Ground & Figure, an album that explores all corners of the term 'techno', from the more beat-centric to the utterly abstract, and drone-like. Tracks like "Porter Swiss" provide a minimal, almost skeletal strain of dance music, while others like "Perfect Boulevard Exclusive" are lean, stripped and devoid of anything dance-related. The important thing is that these two are conjuring their own sound, a dark and ritualistic aesthetic that provides the listener with something fresh, compelling and provocative. Sublime.