It's rare that an electronic album is the biggest album of the year, or at least the most hyped. That's certainly the case with Syro, Richard D James first official release under his Aphex Twin moniker for some 13 years. So, is it any good? For starters, it sounds like an Aphex Twin album. Listen through to the 12 tracks, and many of his familiar staples are present - the "Digeridoo" era rave breakbeats, the mangled synth-funk mash-ups, the intoxicating ambient-era melodies, the warped basslines and the skittish drill & bass style rhythms. There's madness, beauty and intensity in spades. In other words, it's an Aphex Twin album, and - as so many have pointed out since the album's release was announced - there's no-one else quite like Richard D James.
With their debut album, Different Fountains reveal themselves to be an outfit capable of delivering on many different levels. The first half of Shrimp That Sleep, which comes to light on Belgian leftfield powerhouse Meakusma, is peppered with song writing sensibility and live band dynamics shot through with warm and lilting electronics. "Catch 23" has a whisper of The Whitest Boy Alive about it, with indie pop replaced by a more psychedelic undertone, but as the album progresses so the vocals dip and the content becomes more abstract. "Deep Home" works around a 4/4 framework with brooding atmospherics, while "Muybridge" makes for something of a highlight with its dubby approach infused with Eastern mysticism in a non-explicit way. As you can tell, it's an eclectic ride and yet a wonderfully cohesive one too.
Postal Service member Jimmy Tamborello has always had a knack for manipulating sound. Sometimes, this has meant subverting accepted genres - lo-fi rock, for example, or IDM. At others, his approach is much more melodious, mixing skewed sounds and popping electronic rhythms with elements of pop. Human Voice, his first album in two years, continues in the latter vein. By and large, it's a thoroughly positive affair, with cheery electronic melodies and cut-up, pitched down vocal samples riding cheeky rhythms and slack-tuned drums. As a result, Human Voice is hard to pin down, being neither straight up ambient or IDM. Regardless, it's a wonderfully evocative and entertaining set.
The Essence Of The Earth As Arch As Arc - (4:30) 152 BPM
Bodycells Fortress - (4:42) 89 BPM
There With The Boxer The Fog & Pale Queens In White Panties Dance - (3:19) 96 BPM
Blind Guide Killing A Lioness - (2:36) 89 BPM
On The Roads A Message Of Home - (2:22) 150 BPM
Her Prints Will Light The Path - (3:01) 90 BPM
Birthnight - (13:57) 140 BPM
Prince Of The Immortal Woods - (4:17) 157 BPM
With a mind-bending array of releases behind him, largely on cassette, it's not easy to get a firm grip on what Hans Dens' Innercity project is all about, but then that's not necessarily what it's about. In the same spirit of adventure that possesses the likes of Ekoplekz, the music on A Lion Baptism is a chaotic blend of noise and drone studies with a nod to Musique Concrete in the manic and detailed deployment of samples. At times this can reach discernible musical peaks, only to be manhandled by another barrage of sonic grot wielded with a thrilling impulsiveness. The diversity on the release will keep your brain on its toes, touching upon so many different tones and moods across the eight track savagery.
I Don't Care About Death Because I Smoke - (4:47) 118 BPM
Daniel - (3:14) 142 BPM
Caroline - (3:31) 136 BPM
Hope Building A - (3:51) 92 BPM
Savior - (2:21) 124 BPM
U S - (4:45) 131 BPM
Remembrance - (3:56) 100 BPM
When You Sleep - (4:21) 111 BPM
Having previously impressed with his 2013 debut album, the cassette and digital-only Japan, Suicideyear (AKA producer James Prudhomme) delivers the follow-up for Oneohtrix Point Never's Software imprint. Remembrance is a fine set, all told, with Prudhomme exploring a range of moods and textures via an attractive and evocative blend of IDM rhythms, dreamy chords and often bold synthesizer melodies. While there are thrilling upbeat moments - see the cascading, picturesque electronics of "U S", or the reverb-heavy chimes of "I Don't Care About Death Because I Smoke" - many of the album's highlights are much more considered, bittersweet even. The hazy, futuristic church music of "Remembrance", for example, is simply stunning.
Not much is known about Ueno Masaaki other than he's a Japanese artist that's debuting on Raster-Noton with a burgeoning new sound. It's a cutting edge sound that fits in perfectly with demeanour of Raster-Noton and all tracks on Vortices sound like dry, micro-loop reductions of Aoki Takamasa's music. Masaaki's inclusion to the label's Unun series follows previous releases by Mika Vainio and Emptyset - and if that's who label founder Byetone wishes to associate the Japanese artist with than we can expect great things in the future.
Lotide - "In The Deserted Bazaars" - (4:00) 99 BPM
MockSun - "Without Instinct" - (6:54) 139 BPM
Trinkkets - "Taint" - (5:23) 90 BPM
Shelley Parker - "Restrictions" - (8:20) 160 BPM
Wanda Group - "Enclave, Dome & Every Human Should Shut Their Mouth" - (7:27)
Emerging techno artist Manni Dee - known for his productions on Black Sun Records, 2nd Drop and Candela Rising - collates 16 tracks of leftfield electronics, ambient melodies, spoken word - and beyond. Aside from sourcing music from known producers WANDA GROUP, Shelley Parker and Rush Hour's BNJMN, there's a range of other fascinating music to unearth. Check out U's "Over" for some dense industrial techno mixed with Atari/Commodore 64 bleeps and the hazy murmur of a grime MC, while on the flipside of that there's the folky toy tones of Memotone's "Abbot Bromley Horn Dance" and the rainforest percussion of Alphabeat Heaven's "Mujo". There's a lot to discover here thanks to Manni Dee.
Kingdom Of Frogs (Daisuke Tanabe remix) - (4:45) 113 BPM
Stars (Kidkanevil remix) - (4:12) 120 BPM
Beer (Fulgeance Disco Aishiteru reprise) - (4:09) 95 BPM
Leeds label First Word drops another Yoshi Horikawa bomb on us after his thrilling debut LP for the label, and this time it's a remix affair of some tracks from the same Vapor LP, with three killer remixers moulding and mutating his beat science into new forms. First up, Daisuke Tanabe goes psychedelic for his version of "Kingdom Of Frogs", while Kidkanevil injects some gnarly half-step trickery onto the "Stars" tune, and Fulgeance Disco Aishiteru bring "Beers" down to a slow-paced, quasi-hip-hop groove for those pensive hours. Big!
Items 1 to 38 of 38 on page 1 of 1
Tell us what you think... We are always looking for ways of improving Juno Download - if you have any ideas about how we can make it better, please let us know.