The UK's Patten duo have already appeared on London's timeless Warp stable, but this latest album truly feels like their most accomplished work to date. That's because this particular style of experimentalism is full of direction, nothing is used for the sake of it, and all their sounds are perfectly balanced with another. It almost feels like a mathematical ride through the deepest, most convoluted corners of UK bass music, an aspect of these tunes that we love. Moreover, they make total sense as one whole unit of sound and, rather than being disparate slices of leftfield, they move and evolve with each other for the whole duration of the album. We won't go into details because this is music to be interpreted freely, much like the majority of this label's never-ending pit of goodness. Recommended.
Veteran deep house producer John Daly first released material as The Smoke Clears back in 2013, delivering a deliciously evocative fusion of ambient and IDM tracks for Further Records. Three years on, he's finally finished the follow-up, an eponymous LP for All City. Taking cues from Selected Ambience Works era Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Pete Namlook, HOLOVR and John Beltran, The Smoke Clears is a sublime collection of beat-less and gently percussive tracks that are variously picturesque, life affirming, bittersweet and mournful. Naturally, it's all beautifully produced, with the shimmering IDM sparkle of "In Time", and the intergalactic ambience of "Heaven Sent" standing out.
When it comes to the term 'leftfield', there is no better place, no label more credible and worthy of praise than the USA's RVNG Int'l. Moreover, there's few labels out there who know how to piece together a standout collaboration, which is exactly what is going down here with this shared EP by electronic experimenter Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and contemporary classical goddess Suzanne Ciani. The latter has been active since the early 1980's, so it's great to see a much younger artist collaborating with an artist who has so much of the right kind of experience. "A New Day" opens with a calm yet sparkly selection of atmospherics circling with the right amount of freedom around a glorious backdrop of soundscapes, and "Closed Circuit" evolves these sporadic sounds into a more concrete set of melodies driven by a clear rhythm. "Retrograde" is the most kinetic of the three, a warm, docile blur of electronics that sail to a subtle pace in mid-air. This is some truly impressive material, and it certainly comes tipped!
London-based electronic artist Karen Gwyer has kept on impressing us over the last four years. With releases for labels like No Pain In Pop, Kaleidoscope, and Nous, Semtek's Don't Be Afraid seems like a natural fit to her improvisational take on techno. "Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase" is a stunner, a nine minutes' techno journey that's spans the whole length over nine minutes with its loose, aqueous groove barely held in place by raw, analog drum programming. "And Again Those Eyes" sees the artist return to more familiar territories thanks to a broken sway of beats and melodics, whereas "Meiosis Gametes" is a harsh, menacing techno swing with an electrifying buzz running through its groove. Solid, as per usual. This material comes hotly recommended. She's one to watch out for in 2016 and beyond.
Icelandic techno upstart presents his first full length album on Nina Kraviz' Trip label, the very label which presented this rapidly successful producer's style to the electronic music community in the first place. The Lefhanded Fuqs LP showcases many diverse sides to this producer, proving that he can perfect much more than your standard peak time techno DJ tools. The album presents a wide spectrum of sounds, from the slamming electro funk of the dynamic opener "Fimm Atta Atta Fimm Fimm Tveir Tveir", experimental hip-hop like on "+4531704090 2", fiercely cerebral IDM that takes its queues from Aphex Twin ("2366262lhkjdgh"/"Ghentleman Render 2") and of course some noisy and adrenalised techno bangers like on "Gory Ryebread" or "Basketball Smile (Bbbbbb mix)".
Gobby's 'crack house' opus No Mercy Bad Poet was released earlier this year on James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy's celebrated DFA imprint to much fanfare. Now we are treated to some equally curious remixes by a bit of a current who's who on this edition. Starting out with North Carolina duo Edaan Brook and Brint Hansen aka Earthly who deliver a bass heavy, breaks driven rendition of "The Alcoholic" which sounds like an early 90's rave record on -8. Label staple and Black Dice man Eric Copeland delivers a clattering and typically lo-fi makeover of "Hometown" while Hype Williams' Dean Blunt also steps up to the challenge to provide a rather curious remix for "The Dishwasher".
Gary Howell, otherwise known simply as the enigmatic GH figure, features on several different labels under several different aliases, but this particular material for the might Modern Love imprint is arguably his best and most intriguing. This is his first album under the GH moniker, but already we can hear that his thoughts neatly shaped into one single-minded vision of noise and industrial music. For much of Housebound Demigod, the producer only uses beats to add to his abstract shapes; freeform sounds that manage to create enough movement with the simple and minimalistic components that they're constrained to. Drones and distortions sound full of life and direction, with little attention devoted to making them as full a possible, and instead on how to make them sound as interesting as possible. A wonderfully executed piece of experimentalism.
On his newest release for avant electronic powerhouse Editions Mego, German minimal techno legend Thomas Brinkmann. Brinkmann digitally recreated the timbre of a grand piano and then subjected the synthetic sound to a brutal MIDI workout. Also of inspiration were airport terminals, or as he named them 'no-places', and their sterile surroundings devoid of any personality or soul which informed the track titles. The album sits somewhere between mystique concrete, glitch and death metal drumming, if you can imagine such a thing.