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05 Dec 11
Review: The fledgling label left blank reach their third release, with Brighton based El Kid (aka Sam Kidel) at the helm. It more than maintains the high standard of their previous releases from Vessel, Visionist and Lorca, and it's become apparent that they are now a must check label for fans of esoteric house leaning bass music. "Hypnosis" begins with a curtain of acoustic samples fractured into micro loops, before moving into a wash of breathing hiss, making the UK funky style bass drop all the more surprising; but despite its similarity to that genre in terms of rhythm and synth palette, it's something much more complex, swathed as it is in a fog of reverb and radiophonic atmospherics. "Mud" continues with this swampy aesthetic; with its slower tempo and thick bass it is heavily reminiscent of Andy Stott's recent records on Modern Love, albeit with a housier swing. "Kachinja" meanwhile anchors its echo laden soundscape with an insistent tom pattern and searing bass, whilst the EP is rounded of by a remix of "Hypnosis" from Hyperdub affiliate Walton. Bringing the UK funky echoes of the original to the fore, he beefs it up considerably by sharpening its rhythmic focus.
19 Mar 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Leftfield
Review: After some highly impressive releases from Vessel, El Kid and more, left_blank offers up release number four and it's a beast of hybrid rhythms, found sounds and anti-conventions. "Suromna" especially comes on like a troubled tapestry of madcap ideas, moving from one section to the next with a foggy kind of grace. "Vesna" has a little more discernible groove to it, as a garage beat gets draped in all kinds of humid, organic finery while an R&B vocal hook gasps for air. Like the perfect mind-tonic, "You Can Stop Everytime" closes the proceedings with a fine trade in lilting synths and tender piano notes.
30 Apr 12
Review: With anticipation for his forthcoming album on Tri Angle still building, Bristol-based producer Vessel drops a second EP on UK imprint left_blank. Released on left_blank last summer, the producer's Nylon Sunset EP was one of 2011?s most original sets of dance tracks not necessarily aimed at the dancefloor, connecting the dots between Bristol's house, techno and dubstep scenes with an imaginative flair some of his more hyped peers in the city struggle to achieve. His second EP for left_blank, entitled Standard, follows a split cassette release with El Kid on Astro:Dynamics and a digital release for A Future Without, and sees him continue to develop his unique brand of house and techno, with the title track experimenting with the kind of narcoleptic sounds Andy Stott and Claro Intelecto have adopted on recent releases. "Merge" meanwhile comes across like a smudgy take on classic Detroit techno, whilst closer "Zero" sees his talent for abstract rhythmic structures come to the fore.
30 May 11
26 Nov 12
Played by: Lifecycle
Review: Newish London label left_blank's strong reputation for inventive leftfield productions continues on their sixth release. A stoic is defined as someone seemingly unnaffected by joy or pain, but Wife seem to be more inspired by the latter. This five tracker does explore the dark side but not in an off-putting way: "Bodies" is haunting, brooding and full of vinyl crackles (and reminiscent of late period Massive Attack), "Shards" is all skippy beats and sparse piano, 'Circles" is positively cinematic, "Trials" features whispered vocals and walls of scratchy noise and finally "Ending" wraps things up with skewed and warped garage-gaze (if such a thing exists).