It's been a rapid rise over the past few years for Alejandro Ghersi's Arca alias. Following some years spent as Nuuro, his current project launched with aplomb on UNO in 2012 before moving on to Hippos In Tanks, and then last year shored up at Mute with the Xen album in a demonstration of true ascendance through the leftfield ranks. Now Ghersi returns to Mute with a new album Mutant, which sees further exploration of his detailed, unusual style touching on elements of noise, bombastic ambient and neoclassical. "Soichiro" lays down wispy threads of trap in amongst dramatic stop-start dynamics while "En" flirts with lingering piano and static interference in the most artful of ways, just two examples of an album loaded with surprise and intrigue.
Having recently stepped out with Mika Vainio for the Peau Froide, Leger Soleil album on Cosmo Rhythmatic, celebrated French guitarist and experimentalist Franck Vigroux has now linked up with British pianist Matthew Bourne for a track on Leaf that finds the pair covering Kraftwerk's "Radioactivity" for the Radioland covers compilation. In their hands the pioneering track drifts into star-gazing, hopeful electronics the likes of which have soundtracked optimistic cosmos documentaries for decades. With ebbing tides of arpeggios and iridescent blasts of chiming synths the pair chart an upward course on a grand scale befitting of the source material.
Are Szare trying to imbue techno with meaningful messages or merely injecting some fun into a musical form not known for its humour? This writer suspects the former is the case. While track names like "Crop Failure" suggest that they have an environmental agenda, the reality is that Rain God is a continuation of the stepping techno sound they explored so articulately on last year's Lost Shapes album. Tracks like "The Silver Number" and the aforementioned "Crop Failure" resound to percussive whirrs and robust, lurching bass tones. There are deviations from this sound on the more abrasive, snare-rolling "Buried Rails" and the rumbling, organic drums of "Overcharged by the Pump", but in the main this is skilfully executed techno served up with a wry sense of humour.
Zora Jones might be just a newcomer to you and I, but her tunes tell a different story. For starters, tunes like "Oh Boy" sound fit for almost any label that dabbles in a bit of experimental electronica, and her lo-fi feel remind us of artists like Hype Williams. However, on tracks like "Too Many Tears" or "Zui", Jones injects a clear dose of soulful UK vibes, and it's no wonder these tunes are getting playback on all of London's underground stations. Our track of choice on here has to be "Psilocybin", though, as we're kind of in to that wonky, psychedelic electro-grime. Definitely one to check!
Items 1 to 30 of 30 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.