Rewind: It's 2008, D&B is enjoying one of its many golden era (the rise of Sigma, Brookes Brothers, Chase & Status and many more modern day heavy hitters) and Dutch don Seba consolidates a decade of 12" scuds with his debut album. A heady jungle homage with traces of jazz and deep tech, it was one of the year's most critical D&B documents. Now fully remastered, it's just as impeccable and densely textured now as it was seven years ago: from the blissful brush strokes of "Silicone" to the snarling Headz-hurting "Special Ops" by way of the Bukemesque majesty that is "Forever", this remastered re-release is perfectly timed for D&B's current era... Which may well be noted as golden in years to come.
More from the rapidly expanding - and always impressive - Melbourne music scene, as self-proclaimed "slo-mo disco" four-piece Speed Painters unveil their debut single for Cutters. There's much to admire throughout, as the Tig Huggins helmed outfit take us on a trip into deep space territory. Making great use of hazy sci-fi synths, deep grooves, ambient chords and intergalactic electronics, the quartet delivers a quintent of original productions that variously throb, shimmy and cascade from the speakers. As well as doffing a cap to pitched-down Detroit techno and ultra-deep house, they also offer up their take on Italo-disco on the excellent "Decided". The EP also boasts a deliciously jazzy, warm and soul-flecked rework of "Australian Boy" from the brilliant Harvey Sutherland.
On Blurse, his first album, Dario Tronchin aka Chevel pushes the boundaries of techno music. In places consisting of little more than microscopic beats and hammered out morse code - "Loop 42" and "Flippant Remark" - in other places incredibly complex, eg on the lithe drums and labyrinthine jazz textures of "Loop 33" and "Down And Out", it's clear that Blurse isn't just another techno artist trying to flex their muscles in the home listening section. "Low Roof" resounds to a recoiling jungle bassline and at the other end of the spectrum, "Heimweh" descends into a discordant, noisy mess. It's a brave, bold debut.
Grime hybrid label Coyote pulls Letta out of the woodwork, a newcomer on the block who has been so bold-faced as to make his debut an LP. Given the variety of the bass scene nowadays, we have classed it as that, but the album is rather difficult to describe in words; each track offers something different, a new take on the UK hardcore continuum with each track. There's also plenty of organic instrumentation in there, and Letta doesn't solely rely on electronics to get his low-ends across. From gentle chimes, to watery swells of dub, this is a dense and vast listening experience...with a healthy presence of low frequencies.
Dutch duo Weval have already impressed with a pair of EPs - released in 2013 and 2014 respectively - that successfully blurred the boundaries between minimal wave inspired synth pop, swirling ambient, glistening electronica and vintage Detroit futurism. Here they return to Kompakt with two more hard-to-define chunks of ear-pleasing electronic goodness. The title track sets the tone, impressively blending aquatic jazz rhythms, spaced-out vocals, stretched-out organ chords and skittering, fleeting bass music references. "Grow Up" flips the script, delivering the kind of deep, off-kilter synth-pop jam - blessed, of course, with vintage synthesizers and drum machines - that's capable of making listeners go weak at the knees.
Hyperdub mainstays LV - Si Williams and Will Horrock - step on Gilles Peterson's Browswood consortium for the first time, bringing through their sophomore album, a mesmerising journey through deep electronic jungles coated in a jazzy atmospheres. Out of the 14 tracks, this leviathan of a release explores pretty much everything there is to explore within the nu jazz circuit, and we particularly love when the duo blend soulful piano keys together with slow-burning electronic beats, such as on "Ruiselede", or "Quick Return". There's also plenty of stepping sci-fi beat science in the form of tunes like "Transition", "Broken Movement", and "Balance Spring". The LP can be enjoyed both as a mood piece, and as a deep listening experience; whichever suits you best.
Hafendisko reign from Hamburg; the name translating to 'Harbour City'. There's no doubt that this youthful energy and enthusiasm is what drives the label and its roster of emerging artists. It's more of the same quality modern deep house here on offer here from HOLTOUG, he's actually from Copenhagen and delivers some delightfully dreamy deep house with gorgeous vocals that fans of the poppier output of Kompakt will just adore. Acid Pauli delivers a brilliant remix of said track on the more proggy tip and keeps the vocals, utilising them well. For something a bit dirtier, "Yannick's Loveshuffle Mix" uses a sick and wobbly bassline and sombre strings taking things on a much darker journey.
Japanese artist Teruyuki Kurihara makes his first outing on Blue Tapes with this expansive collection that was originally released across three cassettes. The music reaches to many different places, from the calming ambience of the twenty-six minute epic "1969" to strange orchestral experimentation on the trio of "Untitled" tracks. There is even a tender house moment to enjoy on "Last Manday" in amongst the more experimental fare, although it still fits right in with the reflective melancholia Teruyuki seems happiest exploring with his guitar and electronics combo. For a diverse listening experience that in some ways echoes the Shinichi Atobe album on Demdike Stare, Blue Three is well worth investigating.
Berlin's excellent PAN imprint returns with yet another stunning LP of daring electronics and harmonic, hard ambience from Visionist. The London-based grime futurist has made a name for himself since his debut back in 2011, and he's released on everything from Ramp to Lit City Trax in the process. His debut LP is a wonderful amalgamation of electronic r&b and UK bass, where dance tracks retain a soulful edge and more soulful tune contain a dance sensibility. It's a surprising addition to PAN at first, but given Bill Kouligas' passion for UK music, it's not a shocker. In fact, it fits in ever so well. Big!
Having first joined forces last year to lend a hand of Massimo Pagliara's collaborative With One Another full-length, Benedikt Frey and Nadia D'Olo present their debut full-length under the Init alias. It's a thoroughly atmospheric, clandestine affair, with the duo delivering a dark-wave opus that tips a hat to early Depeche Mode, minimal wave, Detroit techno and the ambient soundscapes of Brian Eno. D'Olo provides the vocals, though for much of the time they're utilized as textures, rather than the central focus of the duo's shuffling, slowly evolving synth-scapes. As an album, Two Pole Resonance is initially attractive - albeit in a stylized, late night kind of way - but really comes into its' own after repeat listens. It is, though, definitely worth the effort.
It seems DJ Deep and Roman Poncet are simply unstoppable at the moment. The former being a legend of the Paris music scene for nearly two decades, the latter fast making a name for himself in recent times with releases on Figure, Tresor and of course DJ Deep's own Deeply Rooted. Not content just joining forces on The Adventist project, they now present us with Sergie Rezza, exploring an eclectic array of styles incredibly well. Anyone lucky enough to catch these tracks played live at Berlin Atonal 2015 will know what we mean. There's the gorgeously aquatic bliss of "More Basile" and "Wof" through to the uplifting deep house of "Reborn Sounds Of Childhood" and the African tribal drumming of "Toucan". Don't worry, there's some great techno on here too, such as the all immersive "Mask" and the brilliantly hypnotic 13 minute epic that is "Trial Of The Lake".