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SWITCH GENRE
 
Reviewed this week
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Amsterdam's Field Records is hardly renowned for its productivity; this compilation of music from the label's growing roster of artists - simply titled "Collection" - is only the imprint's 12th release since it launched in 2008. Given the renowned quality of their deep, woozy, Detroit-influenced offerings, that's something of a shame. Still, this is a real bonus for anyone turned on by their winding ambience, stargazing IDM, crackly minimal and floor-friendly Motor City style techno. Highlights include the surging analogue techno pulse of Viski's "A Star In Your Head", the bubbling, immersive ambience of SYS's "Radius", and the retro-futurist fun of Resoe's "Outer Dimension", but it's all pretty tasty.
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Nothing but gorgeousness seems to characterise the work of the Minimal Wave imprint over the recent years. It's a label that is both unpredictable and continuously elegant in its choice of reissues. This time, it's a wonderful unearthing of Soma Holiday's cult-hit, Shake Your Molecules. The Franco-American duo was part of Brooklyn's clique of artists throughout the 1980s, and although their sound is firmly representative of that era, the tracks are still ridiculously fresh and seductive both in their melodies and vocals. The title track is a sort of synth-pop tune gone wrong in a good way, where drugged-up lyrics meets morphing synths and metallic drum machines, whereas the Dub cut could easily be played in most techno DJ sets these days. On the B-side, we have the charming, atmospheric glow of "Too Many People" and "Art Dimension", the top pick in our opinion and one which is screaming to be be remixed into a contemporary house tune.
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Bill Youngman brings a cavernous and industrially-tinged dub techno sound to Killekill on his latest EP for the Berlin label, starting with a whirlwind of brooding atmospheres which make up the title-track "Levitate". Dub disappears for something synthier, broken and pleasantly melancholic in "Teardrops Turn To Solid" in a production good enough for a Stroboscopic Artefacts Monad release (if Youngman was to do one), while a stormy "Magnetic" sounds like an Ancient Methods and Perc collaboration. If only!
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Having lingered on the fringes of contemporary electronic music for some time (reworking the likes of Kuedo and being part of the group American Men), this album on LuckyMe is the first fully fledged solo release to be offered up from the one known as Claude Speeed. My Skeleton is an ambient album through and through, although it feels fairer to call it a classical epic that reaches to electronic devices as much as orchestrations. Every track is rich in harmonic progression as towering swathes of synths, strings and the odd touch of textural noise build into hugely atmospheric, arresting pieces. Individually they make for compelling listening, but even as a full-length release Speeed keeps the mind locked in for the duration.
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There's something about this EP of atmospheric, hard-to-pigeonhole electronica from Barcelona-based Sunny Graves that makes it strangely addictive. The thing is, it's rather hard to pinpoint exactly what. Maybe it's the spiraling synthesizers and wall-of-sound production of opener "Spring (Slow Return)", or the wide-eyed shimmer of the near Balearic "Bayou". It could be intense chords and restless cymbals of "Ghosts", or even the topsy-turvy, horror-influenced swoon and Space Dimension Controller style synth work of "Drawing Hands in Soft Light". In some ways, it doesn't matter. Whatever the underlying reason, the Bayou EP is well worth repeat listens. Given its quality, it's a surprise that Sunny Graves hasn't released more.
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Psychonavigation presents the third ambient album by Frankfurt-based Oliver Lieb. Lieb has been making music since the late 1980s, having produced a truckload of wonderfully diverse electronic music and has even remixed the likes of Moby, and these eight dense soundscapes are the perfect music to escape to on your headphones,tripping and seductive. It's one for the meditative state of mind, so stick it on and travel wherever you want to go. Recommended.
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After Young Echo issued a compilation of material on RAMP last year, one of the many splinter groups that make up the Bristol collective step out with some new material for the same label. Comprised of Zhou member Amos Childs and vocalist Alex Rendall, Jabu have been part of the multifarious Young Echo since its inception, making their official debut with the project on a self-titled cassette of delicate tape-loop miniatures for Astro:Dynamics back in 2012. As well as featuring on a split cassette for No Corner with the soundsystem murdering Killing Sound project, the duo last year released a 7" for the same label which took their material into more explicitly lyrical territory. Entitled Kwaidan, the EP sees the duo offer a further development in their US East Coast hip hop influenced take on the Bristol soundsystem aesthetic across seven compelling tracks.
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The announcement that Dave 'Function' Sumner was planning to lift Infrastructure New York out of its previously dormant state represented one of the most welcome surprises for techno fans so far in 2014. Brandishing a name that sounds like a Mad Men extra, Australian-born Irvine Campbell lines the second release on the reborn Infrastructure NY and offers an intriguing insight into how a classically trained violinist approaches techno. The industrialised and percussive "Thread Laid Bare On The Ground" which is very much in line with the music of Vatican Shadow's Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement project. "Control Through Prohibition Or Supply" is a dubby, militaristic march of watery textures, reverb and blurry Tablas while finishing this impressive debut are the searing Amazonian sounds of another great title in "Removal Of The Six Armed Goddess".
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Iceland's Soley returns to music after a three year hiatus. Her last work was 2011's We Sink LP, a varied and daring pop pastiche with its claws firmly planted in electronica, but she returns with this stunning EP for Morr Music. It's a bold statement from an artist who was producing quasi-dance music, while Soley now prefers to delve into the minds of her listeners with delicate improvisations of the piano keyboard. Silky, fragile and pensive, these tracks are a vivid representation of the artist's deepest emotions. Stunning and provocative.
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Jewels Of The Night return to Germany's Desire imprint with a gripping new LP! Genres can't really describe what these guys are doing, and their music can only be described in the sounds that they make. To give you a short round-up, everything from techno, electro and no-wave is in the cocktail. "Egyptian Eyes", although one of the oddest tracks on the LP, is actually one of their best songs to date, where broken shreds of percussion are eaten up by a wave of melancholic drones and utterly seductive vocals. "Deathwish" is another corker, this time verging more onto experimental hip-hop than anything else - blissful!
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Minimal Wave sister label Cititrax have been teasing fans with the prospect of a Further Reductions album from Shawn O'Sullivan and Katie Rose and the six tracks on Woodwork more than live up to expectations! Although O'Sullivan will be known to most for his industrial leaning techno productions for labels like Avian, L.I.E.S. and The Corner, the Further Reductions collaboration with Katie Rose dates back as far as 2008, formed to explore a vocal-led, contemporary take on the minimal wave sound. According to Cititrax, Woodwork combines the influences of classic techno and early house to create "super lush and atmospheric tracks that work both on and off the dance floor." There's something XTRMNTR era Primal Scream about "High End Basics" whilst "Void Of Course" sounds like gloopy acid house slowed down to a deathly crawl, the rest you should experience for yourself!
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After a series of jaw-dropping EPs for the Elemental Voices imprint, Arthur Tourenism returns with a spectacular LP of dubbed-out electronics and quasi-techno frameworks. The opener "Splatter Of Ethereal Clouds" is a gorgeous entrance to the rest of this work, and it's Tourenism's sense of depth which makes his stand apart from other producers in this line of work. If you're a fan of Andy Blake and the like, this is tailor-made for you. Deep, enthralling, with a dubwise twist.
Exclusives
JEWELS OF THE NILE - Pleasure (Desire Germany)
FURTHER REDUCTIONS - Woodwork (Cititrax)
SOMA HOLIDAY - Shake Your Molecules (Minimal Wave US)