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Reviewed this week
Come backs don't come any better than Caspa & Rusko's reunion. Since re-colliding last Autumn the pair have done nothing but drip feed us vibes. Not formulas, no expectations, just ace tracks that are made with such a buzz it's tangible the moment you press play. Having slapped us with authentic dub, grime and badboy 808 business the two titans lick up a breakbeat and massage us with tapepack vibes. If you haven't invested in white glove, whistle or horn shares by the end of the track you should probably seek help. Massive.
Glasgow's Alex Smoke, long-time techno producer who had released a heap of quality cuts for labels like Soma, Vakant and even Convex Industries, has just released an album on Belgium's mythical R&S Records. Love Over Will is great, but we're here to talk about its remix compilation, an eleven-track remix orgy bringing together the very best of talent from every notable corner of the house and techno domain. Just to give you an idea of what you're buying into, there's brooding pseudo techno from Lakker, wavy ket house by Tale Of Us, a Tessela bomb that fuses techno, bass, jungle and pure noise under one roof, and a myriad of Alex Smoke dubs. The latter group should not be overlooked because they are some of Smoke's best and most mind-opening material to date, diluting all genres and disregarding any sort of traditional structure. Highly recommended.
Sumach Ecks' music has come out primarily through Warp over the last seven years, and it's safe to say that he has become a pillar of the label's new-found success since 2010. That's because his Gonjasufi moniker is as sparse and immersive as you can possibly get in one single album. This new music on Callus might well be his best and most daring to date, where genres get mashed up and swallowed whole on every track. No one word can categorise this music better than 'leftfield'. Now, we know that doesn't tell you much, but how would you go about describing nineteen sonic experiments that manage to amalgamate noise, lo-fi, techno, and electronica? You wouldn't; you would just jump in and lap it up, which is exactly what we've done. This is our leftfield album of the week. Warmly recommended.
Solar One co-founder Robert Witschakowski has spent much of the past few years delivering "re-wired electro" as The Exaltics. Here, he changes tack, joining forces with fellow Solar One co-founder Nico Jagiella to re-launch the Crotaphytus project last seen back in 2010. Acanthosaura blends material inspired by the duo's love of soundtracks - think dark, moody ambience smothered in humid field recordings and the paranoid crackle of short wave radio - with similarly creepy electro, acid-tinged new wave chuggers, and trippy, experimental soundscapes. It's hardly a barrel of laughs, as you might expect, but it's certainly engaging, hugely enjoyable, and immaculately produced.
Russian trio Wwwings are back with their debut album and they've self-released the record this time, complete with their trademark graphic fonts on the front cover for maximum damage. Lit Internet, Lit Eyne and Lit Daw are the artist names of these three sonic deviants, and they are part of an emerging trend of Russian artists who like to do things their own way. By this, we mean that all the music on Phoenixxx doesn't belong to any particular genre and, instead, the outfit conjure their own violent sound that blurs the lines between techno and noise. These twelve gnarly slabs of electronic fury take the whole Container-techno style to the next level, where each new tune grows more tenebrous and foreboding than the last, leaving the listener - or dancer - to wonder who was at the helm of that speeding train that just ran them over and crushed them indefinitely. Tough, merciless techno infusions for the deviants.
The associations with LIES will always be there thanks to his breakout helium house burner "Feelin" back in 2013, but Florian Kupfer hasn't been afraid to showcase his DJ-friendly wares on other labels either. Dean Bryce's Technicolour division of Ninja Tune first asked for a Kup of Flo last year with the pleasantly diverse Explora 12" and the German artist returns for a second record on the label in the shape of Unfinished which has already got the Hessle Audio Rinse show seal of approval. Kupfer is on smouldering form throughout, bringing a sense of melodic incandescence to opening cut, "Elle," whilst "Erika" could easily be mistaken for a Terekke production. "Being Me" is blown out and boomy and totally fresh, whilst the title track sees Kupfer end proceedings on some sweeping ambient rife with spectral field recordings.
Harlem's Veronica Lauren aka VHVL is quickly becoming part of the Stones Throw massive, with one of her EPs already on their Leaving label and another album on the way after this. The artist herself has kept the description of Evn limited to "emotive melody and passion-beats stirred with distortion detail", and that is surprisingly close to how this fresh collection of tracks really sound. Think about it like this: you're not someone who loves the grit and clubbiness of techno but, at the same time, you love the wonder and mystique of electronic music, and sometimes don't mind a little bit of house in your life. You also enjoy a bit of electronica now and again, and hip-hop isn't a million miles away from how you feel right now. That's how VHVL's new album sounds like, and if you fall in that category, this will be the best thing you've picked up in a long while.
Eric C.Burton aka Rabit has been running the Halcyon Veil label since 2015, although it seems much longer than that given its already expensive catalogue and myriad of artists from all over the electronic sphere. Here we have a newcomer in N-Prolenta, who delivers three devilish slices of noisy surrealism starting with the satanic "NeoD" groove and all its foreboding glory. "Sizz" uses similar sounds but places them over a deranged glitch of percussion shots that seem to spew from all angles, and "Thingthing" is the closest thing to anything concrete or structured on this odd and refreshing EP of abstract sound morphing. A wild card.
Sardinian master trance inductor Claudio PRC teams up with Puglian hypnotic techno upstart Dubit for some dark industrial ambient escapades that soundtrack a one-way ticket to hell and back. "Pattern A" is not for the faint of heart: sixteen masochistic minutes of harsh textural abrasions pushing the same threshold as Shifted or Sam KDC have been doing in recent times. "Pattern B" on the flip explores sinister atmospherics of the cinematic kind much like Ryo Murakami's recent work. For fans of recent releases on Auxiliary or Hidden Hawaii, take note!
It seems like yesterday that the Clan Destine Records label set up shop but, it has in fact been five years now, and the catalogue is looking extensive and expansive from our end. Newcomer Ian Hicks steps up and delivers a fine mini LP that was originally a cassette; luckily for us, the tape hiss hasn't been lost in the mix and each of these six tunes sound as grainy and distorted as anything we've heard this week. There's plenty of sublime material on here starting with the opening mind-bender that is "Cede To A Rival", but the mood deviates to house and techno thanks to other cuts like "Repression & Rectitude", or the grizzly, pseudo electro of "Find Inside". It's the spaces between the dance tunes that make this release all the more special, however, and Ian Hicks is most certainly a welcomed addition to our world. Tip!
Another Dark Age is a dangerously overlooked industrial label. These dudes have been putting out nothing but fire over the last couple of years, always finding new and interesting talent from God knows what end of the glove. Another Waitress makes his or her debut here with the ominous "Ribboning", a sullen wave of electro-acoustic noise that breaks down and reforms on a continual basis. There isn't much we know about the artist because they've chosen to keep themselves in the shadows, but what we can tell you from "Pleats" is that the person behind this project has been doing this for a while; this ain't no amateur gear and the experimental aficionados will surely lap this up.
Thomas Klein and Sven Kacirek aren't your usual ambient artists. The former has previously released sketchy minimal tech-house for the floor, while the latter likes to vibe on balearica and downtempo in his spare time. They land on the Bureau B / Selekt affiliation with "Rhythmus I-IV", four gregarious beat tracks that have more in common with dub than anything drone-related. "Steyn", for example, sounds like an African Head Charge tune form the On-U sound era, whereas "Hollz" sways onto the dark side thanks to its subtle licks of drums and eerie atmospherics. "Methal" is the closest thing to 'minimal' tune that you'll find on here, and "Elekktrik" offers a sublime roll of beat-driven dub psychedelia in the same kind of mood as Mark Ernestus' recent work. Killahs!
Songs Of Remembrance was originally released on Drew Piraino's Psychic Troubles Tapes out of Port Ewen, New York in 2014, but gets an essential vinyl edition thanks to the newly-formed Pre-Echo platform. These 21 short but delightful shoegaze passages unashamedly keep clipping, full of tape hiss, saturation and degradation that just add to the dreamy and sometimes violently textured aesthetics. There's some classic sounds reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins, through to Pygmalion era Slowdive where they were at their most avant garde. Some moments even have some quite gloomy and cinematic mood lighting, eighties style: at times similar to Blackest Ever Black alumni Dalhous.
SONZEIRA - Tam Tam Tam Reimagined (Brownswood)
APHEX TWIN - Cheetah EP (Warp)



MONOLAKE - G M O (Imbalance Computer Music)
MISANTHROPE CA - Deathbridge (Dial Germany)