Continuing Black Acre's fine tradition of worldly beats in the more adventurous realms of hip hop tempos, Clap! Clap! present their own unique twist that channels African folk traditions into low-riding rhythms. Opening track "Elon Mentana" is largely focused on squelchy beats with occasional smatterings of tribal background noise, but "Tambacounda's White Magic" is where things get really interesting with the lively shuffle of flute and hand-played percussion running rings around an arresting voca trill, working a club ready beat into the mix only when the time is right, and doing it with panache. "Tambacounda's Black Magic" is a more subtle affair that plays down the modern ingredients and makes for an even more enthralling listen.
Over the last few years we've really seen the emergence of a very unique kind of retro R&B revivalism. It's chiefly one that seems to remember the early '90s as replayed on a broken cassette player - all slowed down and watery. This has resulted in the hitherto unnoticed beauty of this music coming to light. Here Blackbird Blackbird deliver two delicious slices of this luxurious sound; "This Is Nowhere" being beautifully multi-layered other worldly soul whilst "Hold On" goes all cascading soulful electro-house-pop on us. Divine.
Digest Music is the label run by Mr Goju, whose Migrations Radio show beams the finest in nu-disco, modern funk, soul, swing and jazz from his base in Montenegro to every far flung corner of the earth. Here he compiles a new EP with Mr T delivering the tight piano, guitar and flute lockdown of "Nova Style", the jazzy and beguiling slo-mo R&B of Loop Maffia's "Happy Daze", the deep synth-washed heaven of Elpierro's "How I Feel" and the laid back electro funk jam "Super Nova" by Echolocation. A hazy, lazy joy of a listen.
Of all of 2012's widely-lauded releases from the L.I.E.S. battalion of unusual suspects, it was perhaps Unicursal Hexagram by Jahiliyya Fields that stood out, quite because it sounded like nothing else around. The work of Ron Morelli's close friend Matt Morandi, Jahiliyya Fields now makes a welcome return to L.I.E.S. with the less comprehensive but no less mind warping sounds of Pleasure Sentence. This record also differs from Morandi's previous L.I.E.S. release in incorporating more clearly rhythmic elements; the four tracks still sound resolutely like Jahiliyya Fields though and quite like nothing else. "Anon Anon" is perhaps the best example of this as Morandi utilises a solid 4/4 rhythm wrapped in animated analogue tendrils that ripple with gentle energy over its 15-minute running time.
Electronica wizard Lars Leonhard appears on France's Ultimae with a stunning addition to his fast-growing discography. The guy can do just about anything - drone, ambient, shoegaze, you name it, and this time he's in a rather feisty mood, combining sparse beats with twisting drones and meditative sound effects. Check the title track, though - it's the crowing jewel.
Having forged his name in grubby lo-fi sonics with a strong pulse of post punk running through it, through some proactive A&Ring by Mike Paradinas Ekoplekz has been coaxed out of his abstract bolt hole and delivers an album of wild electronics shot through with classic machine soul. The synths that appear on tracks such as "Trace Elements" or "Pressure Level" would never have made it on to earlier releases, but they gel perfectly with the predominant Ekoplekz sound, enriching the listening experience rather than knocking the project off course. It's a fine continuation of both an artist, and the wider tradition of quality leftfield electronica, of which Planet Mu has been a major instigator.
Berlin's Life And Death drops a hotter-than-hot EP by Italy's Dead Heat trio for another fine slice of techy house deviations! "Bosco" is a mid-tempo, 4/4 tune with luscious vocals and a beautifully organic feel. Techno maverick Lucy is on the remix duties and produces a watery, stripped-back reinterpretation of the original. "The Dam" is another floor scorcher with straight kicks and winding melodies, while The Field's remix is almost beatless, allowing hi-hats to soar freely above sunken atmospherics. Ace.
Following on from appearances on Kaleidoscope and No Pain In Pop, patten makes his way onto Warp with his stubborn brand of fractured collage music, revelling in drunken rhythm and delirious sample placement to create a hypnagogic long player rich with homespun charm. There is a consistent distance to the way patten places his sounds, whether it be a heavily treated horn or a scuffed drum hit, with everything dangling just out of reach, not least on borderline-beatless moment "Here Always". There are more tangible incidents as well, such as the gentle whir of "Drift" with its nudging bass tones, but by and large this is an album to get cast asunder by, and it does that casting very well indeed.
A respected figure within the world of visual arts, which has seen him exhibit in numerous galleries across the world over the last two decades, Russell Haswell is perhaps best known for his prolific work in the realm of experimental noise. Brandishing a discography that dips back into the late '90s and features a raft of releases across Editions Mego, iDEAL and Warp. Haswell's latest solo album comes courtesy of Powell's increasingly essential Diagonal Records imprint, and sees a shift towards more overtly rhythmic material, with influences including Autechre, Aphex Twin, Adrian Sherwood and Napalm Death. As you'd expect, it's a bracing affair, and one that does a better job than most at connecting the dots between techno and noise.
Fusing noise with dubwise electronica, Bolder sees the pairing of Martin Maischein and Peter Votava for a lengthy EP that explores a worthwhile meeting point between drone and rhythm. "Extraterrestrial Deactivity" sums this up perfectly as it starts on a single chilling tone which seems unlikely to head elsewhere, only to be side-swiped by a slow half-step beat embellished with reverb. Indeed there's plenty of compositional action going on that repositions the more ambient scrapes and swells in amongst crafty productions not afraid to get into a groove. "Morbid Funk Ride" lives up to its name with gusto, while "Passive Aggressive" stalks forth on a malevolent bassline and broken techno pulses.