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Tronik Youth's Nein is the go-to label for anyone who loves punky alternative electronic dance music. The anti EDM label if ever there was one, here they bring us Inside The Outside by the Berlin-dwelling Pardon Moi (aka James Brook & Thomas Freudenthal). The title track is a hauntingly stunning cold wave lament in the vein of early 80s band New Musik. Low Manuel turn the tune into a minimal electro-pop ballad and Dombrance fleshes it out with beefy beats and synth pads. Meanwhile "Hot" is pure late 70s analogue electronics that's given a glammy electroclash makeover by Aida.
After much ado, it is finally time for the second offering by Vermont aka Danilo Plessow aka Motor City Drum Ensemble and Marcus Worgull of Innvervisions who delve into all things exotic and balearic on this sublime 12 track journey where they take a break from their more club oriented music respectively. Mostly a beatless affair, these tracks are full of shimmering vintage synths, gentle arpeggios and even more traditional instruments like bass and slide guitar that make a perfect accompaniment for drifting or road trips alike. Features the recent, gorgeous single "Nordeney" alongside a brilliant collection of many other sublime cosmic/psychedelic/ambient cuts.
For Missing Tapes, Minimal Wave has managed to unearth a wealth of previously unheard gems from Dutch electro trailblazer Danny Bosten. Dark electro diggers may be aware of Bosten's early 1980s work, which was initially self-released on cassette, but has also been re-issued since by Minimal Wave and others. The material here was recorded in the same period and rediscovered some years back by the producer. It's similar in style, as you'd expect, with Bosten variously exploring otherworldly electro, sci-fi leaning Italo-disco, stylish, new wave synth workouts, and throbbing proto-techno. What impresses most, though, is the seeming freshness of the material; it might be 35 years old, but it still sounds formidably futuristic.
A new Carsten Jost album on Dial. Wow, this is a rather special treat, and we would call this a Juno weekly special. Apart from the fact that this dude makes awesome music, the producer has been purely busy running the mighty Dial label over the last 20-odd years, and this is his first solo LP since 2000's "You Don't Need a Weatherman". He's obviously though about this piece for a while because it is masterfully executed throughout, and there is little that Mr.Jost could have done to make it any better. That's because it is deep house made by someone who understands people, not merely dancefloors. In other words, these eleven tracks work in unison and, rather than making up a list of single, danceable tunes, he's decided to go for the journey approach, one which we've always got time and respect for. From moments of pure house magic, to downtempo chillers, and even subtle nuances of techno, this is the real deal. Another Dial masterpiece.
Larry McCarthy aka Bruce has previously released on Livity's offshoot and Hessle Audio, so it makes sense that he would appear on Hemlock. This three-tracker starts with the melancholic, downtempo "Before You Sleep", which sounds like it could have featured on a Portishead B-side, especially as it radiates low-end menace as it progresses. McCarthy gets down to dance floor business with "In Line". Frenetic rhythms and steely drums collide with dubbed out, filtered effects to create a tripped out dance floor roller. "Sweat" is another unexpected track, with McCarthy fusing haunting sound scapes with dissected, abstract rhythms.
Desire Records head honcho Ricardo Tobar is back but this time on Jennifer Cardini's unstoppable Correspondant; and why not right? The South American producer's penchant for classic 80s retro sensibilities of the synthpop, darkwave and EBM kind are right at home on this label given the niche its carved out in recent times. On "Red Sea", Tobar delivers something that sits somewhere between techno and early 90s goth; its tough four to the floor stomp supporting some soaring new romantic synth leads to stunning effect. "Eleven" goes all cosmic on us with soaring arpeggios and elevating analogue pads taking you direct to the stratosphere, while "Alvear" goes out all guns blazing with its grinding and resonating modulations: frantic, rapid fire 909 rhythms go off Plastikman style circa "Plastik".
The Empire Line is a new project that brings together two of experimental electronic music's finest practitioners, Northern Electronics co-founder Varg and Posh Isolation co-founder Christian Stagsgaard. The four tracks showcased on this debut EP were apparently recorded at Mayhem in Copenhagen, a renowned experimental performance and rehearsal space. The cuts can be divided into two distinct camps: the atmospheric noise-meets-ambient flavours of "Fragrance Arpege" and fuzzy, sprawling "Jewelry Armoire", and the percussion-driven dancefloor darkness of "Cafe Anglais" and "Syndicat de la Couture". The latter, with its meandering acid lines, hushed electronics and shuffling drumbeats, is arguably the record's standout moment.
Le Car is the side project of Ian R. Clark & Adam Miller: one half of Detroit electro punks ADULT. and co-owner of the seminal Ersatz Audio. Here Dutch retroverts Clone Classics compile some of the duo's finest moments over the years between 1996 - 2000 and believe us there's many. Where the project differs from Miller's main musical outlet is less emphasis on punk/cold wave aesthetics (as he did with Nicola Kuperus) and more focus on tougher/grittier Detroit electro-funk grooves. The dirty subterranean boom and snap of "Audiofileeight" from 1996 is as aquatic as anything Drexciya or Ectomorph were doing at the time, "#15" from '97 is where the synths get more wacky and dope sounding: like something out of Space Invaders on acid. Another great example is "Cinematic-Automatic" from '98 which is the best example of deep, dark and minimal electro in the same vein as homegrown heroes Dopplereffekt.
Manchester's Alex Lewis has been seen on a few local event posters over the last few years, but this is very much the man's debut release. The striking part of it all is that it comes through courtesy of one of the UK's most respected labels, the Boomkat-associated Modern Love. Turinn is the moniker he's riding under, and this new album, 18 1/2 Minute Gasps, the exactly the sort of raucous, off-the-wall material that the imprint specialize in. "Ovum" sets the scene perfectly with its jittery succession of roughed-up drums and sporadic bass shots, a raw and improvisational technique that's carried through on other dope joints like "Elba" or "1625" - the latter of which even tests the deep house waters with a little menace. It's a prototypical dance-not-dance album; a masterful 10-track affair that'll appeal to both the more gifted DJs, and the straight-up leftfield fiends. Excellent.
Unless you're of a certain age and/or musical disposition, it's unlikely you'' know of Simon Fisher Turner outside of his extensive list of releases for the mighty Mute label. However, the man was an influential figure in the late 70s synth-pop scene, and continues to cast a significant presence over modern labels, such as the present - and ever-impressive - Editions Mego, out of the USA. His new LP, Giraffe, is a wondrous, interdisciplinary excursion that merely uses the ambient framework to create room for the tonnes of field recordings guiding the tracks out of the darkness and into the light. At times, it's a tough, foreboding affair, but Fisher's style contains enough human elements to render the sinister moments strangely appealing and, it would be fair to say, almost beautiful. This is the perfect starter-pack for anyone wishing to blend the worlds of ambient and noise under one roof.
Portland duo Visible Cloaks present their debut album on NYC's RVNG ITNL. Comprised of Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran, they compile an hour of literal and figurative musical interpretations much in the tradition of their previous work. Divided into Day and Night sides, the former fuses Japanese music through deconstructed human voices plus contributions from peers and contributors such as Mat Carlson and Motion Graphics. The Night side 'bends introspective with choral music from the Eastern Bloc, Italian spiritual minimalism, and early software-based generative music experiments'. Incorporating an international array of virtual instruments to advance the idea of pan-globalism through digital simulation, tones and colors cohere into a living, breathing pool of sensorial experience in the duo's environs.
LUKE WYATT - Heretic (Valcrond Video US) - exclusive 17-02-2017
VERMONT - II (Kompakt Germany)
CARSTEN JOST - Perishable Tactics (Dial)