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Reviewed this week
Glasgow's Alex Smoke, long-time techno producer who had released a heap of quality cuts for labels like Soma, Vakant and even Convex Industries, has just released an album on Belgium's mythical R&S Records. Love Over Will is great, but we're here to talk about its remix compilation, an eleven-track remix orgy bringing together the very best of talent from every notable corner of the house and techno domain. Just to give you an idea of what you're buying into, there's brooding pseudo techno from Lakker, wavy ket house by Tale Of Us, a Tessela bomb that fuses techno, bass, jungle and pure noise under one roof, and a myriad of Alex Smoke dubs. The latter group should not be overlooked because they are some of Smoke's best and most mind-opening material to date, diluting all genres and disregarding any sort of traditional structure. Highly recommended.
Come backs don't come any better than Caspa & Rusko's reunion. Since re-colliding last Autumn the pair have done nothing but drip feed us vibes. Not formulas, no expectations, just ace tracks that are made with such a buzz it's tangible the moment you press play. Having slapped us with authentic dub, grime and badboy 808 business the two titans lick up a breakbeat and massage us with tapepack vibes. If you haven't invested in white glove, whistle or horn shares by the end of the track you should probably seek help. Massive.
Songs Of Remembrance was originally released on Drew Piraino's Psychic Troubles Tapes out of Port Ewen, New York in 2014, but gets an essential vinyl edition thanks to the newly-formed Pre-Echo platform. These 21 short but delightful shoegaze passages unashamedly keep clipping, full of tape hiss, saturation and degradation that just add to the dreamy and sometimes violently textured aesthetics. There's some classic sounds reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins, through to Pygmalion era Slowdive where they were at their most avant garde. Some moments even have some quite gloomy and cinematic mood lighting, eighties style: at times similar to Blackest Ever Black alumni Dalhous.
Russian trio Wwwings are back with their debut album and they've self-released the record this time, complete with their trademark graphic fonts on the front cover for maximum damage. Lit Internet, Lit Eyne and Lit Daw are the artist names of these three sonic deviants, and they are part of an emerging trend of Russian artists who like to do things their own way. By this, we mean that all the music on Phoenixxx doesn't belong to any particular genre and, instead, the outfit conjure their own violent sound that blurs the lines between techno and noise. These twelve gnarly slabs of electronic fury take the whole Container-techno style to the next level, where each new tune grows more tenebrous and foreboding than the last, leaving the listener - or dancer - to wonder who was at the helm of that speeding train that just ran them over and crushed them indefinitely. Tough, merciless techno infusions for the deviants.
London-based John Chantler is back on Australia's Room40 with a new album of weirdo electronic sand sonic shapeshifting, and there could have been no other way to call it apart form Which Way To Leave?. Nothing is stationary here, no sounds are plain or overused, everything sounds fresh and compelling, much like the rest of this guy's catalogue. The opener "Falling Forward" is a masterful piece of sound processing and circuit bending, but there's calmer, more mindful moments such as "Fixation Pulse", or even totally abstract experiments like "All Visible Signs". What we love about Chantler's music is its ability to sound studious and loose at the same time, but also the fact that this is the sort of material that sounds different with each new listen. Our top choice among the experimental releases this week - recommended!
Sumach Ecks' music has come out primarily through Warp over the last seven years, and it's safe to say that he has become a pillar of the label's new-found success since 2010. That's because his Gonjasufi moniker is as sparse and immersive as you can possibly get in one single album. This new music on Callus might well be his best and most daring to date, where genres get mashed up and swallowed whole on every track. No one word can categorise this music better than 'leftfield'. Now, we know that doesn't tell you much, but how would you go about describing nineteen sonic experiments that manage to amalgamate noise, lo-fi, techno, and electronica? You wouldn't; you would just jump in and lap it up, which is exactly what we've done. This is our leftfield album of the week. Warmly recommended.
UMFANG is the production alias of techno-minded Brooklyn resident Emma Olson, who made her recording debut with 2015's 1080p-released cassette OK. This marks her first appearance on wax, and sees her joining the dots between fuzzy, polyrhythmic techno and otherworldly ambience. She begins with the intelligent techno-era acid lines and heartfelt synth-strings of beat-less number "Riffs", before heading skywards with the fizzing electronic riffs and wide-eyed rush of the similarly percussion-less "Force". Flip for two fine examples of her techno nous - the stomping, post apocalyptic "Ecstatic Layer" and polyrhythmic thumper "Spaces On Spaces" - and the deliciously weird ambient cut "Entrada".
Harlem's Veronica Lauren aka VHVL is quickly becoming part of the Stones Throw massive, with one of her EPs already on their Leaving label and another album on the way after this. The artist herself has kept the description of Evn limited to "emotive melody and passion-beats stirred with distortion detail", and that is surprisingly close to how this fresh collection of tracks really sound. Think about it like this: you're not someone who loves the grit and clubbiness of techno but, at the same time, you love the wonder and mystique of electronic music, and sometimes don't mind a little bit of house in your life. You also enjoy a bit of electronica now and again, and hip-hop isn't a million miles away from how you feel right now. That's how VHVL's new album sounds like, and if you fall in that category, this will be the best thing you've picked up in a long while.
Since their first release began to surface back in 2013, the Gang Of Ducks label has released some utterly spectacular music through artists like Traag, Ital, S Olbricht and One Circle. The label don't have any rules concerning genres per se, but they do like to keep things experimental and diverse with each release. This is a new compilation form them, the aptly named Paradisia, and it features all their top talents plus a few new names, too. Haf Haf's weirdo house is as murky as anything we've heard recently, then there's "Call Me" by house deviant Ital, a marvellous electronic abstraction by My Panda Shall Fly, more gold from S Olbricht, and plenty of added fire by the likes of Sabla, Shape Worship, and a final slice of krautrock-inspired goodness by Quicksails. Big release!