Reviewed this week
More than a few eyebrows were raised when Sasha returned last year with an album of previously unheard ambient and IDM cuts recorded over the course of his lengthy career. Here, that set gets the remix treatment, with a mixture of scene stalwarts and rising stars behind the mixing desk. While there are some gentle dancefloor revisions - see Max Cooper's melodious and atmospheric tech-house interpretation of "Channel Deq" and Matthew Dear's hypnotic, late night take on "Pontiac" - many of the most rewarding and entertaining remixes are those that take a more horizontal approach. In this category, you'll find Sasha's own rising, near symphonic version of "Pontiac" and a stunning, standout mix of "Abacus" by Warp Records veterans Plaid.
People often forget that the widely-praised Robert Johnson club is actually from Offenbach and not Frankurt, a small town situated about 10 miles out of the city centre. Over the last few years, there's been a resurgence of talent emanating from the town, such as DJ Slynsgshot and his Yappin collective and associated artists like the Vincent Feit who opens the clubs thurd instalment of the Lifesaver series with a naughty little house melter called "X04". Across the comp, other RJ casuals appear, such as Massimigliano Pagliara with "Forever What", an aptly tropical house excursion, or Philip Lauer, Fort Romeau and the lesser known Felix Strahd. All in all, this is about the best house/techno compilation we've received all year and, like everything else the club does, it is an excellent addition to their catalogue. 10/10.
Despite featuring what appears to be a refugee camp viewed from the other side of a fence on its cover, Vatican Shadow's "They Deserve Death" is one of its author Dominc Fernow's most mellow, introspective moments. Its layered guitar textures recall The Durutti Column's eponymous album and early New Order. Shifting the tempo and style for the title track, the author surprises again with what sounds like his approximation of jacking Chicago house, albeit with a man groaning away in the background. Completing what is one of Fernow's most unpredictable releases is the tunneling techno groove and layered, distant shrieks of "Weapons Inspection".
Bitter Music is Ali Wells's third studio album and manages the rare feat of combining experimentation with a focus on the dance floor. It means that the husky, breathy vocals and found sound ambience of "Exit" and the spooky tones of "Wax Apple" both sit next to the panel-beating techno of "Unelected" - possibly another one of Wells' political references - the eerie, rumbling drums of "Chatter" and the low slung menace of "I Just Can't Win". On other occasions, Wells articulates his ability to straddle both worlds in one arrangement, audible on the deeply disturbing shrieks of Aja Ireland over the gnarly rhythm of "Spit" or the tape dub cut up groove of "Rat Run". Ali Wells has matured as an artist but as Bitter Music shows, in the process he has lost none of his bile-laced anger.
For the second release on his new eponymous imprint, David Kennedy serves up some more infectious oddball grooves that you have come to know from the man. On the brilliantly titled "Robin Chasing Butterflies", Kennedy does deep electro breaks with precision and style. Same goes for "Heal Me", but this one is even more hypnotic and ethereal in its melancholic grace. "Eels" on the other hand sees the formerly influential UK bass producer create a wonderful ambient soundscape conjured from the magic of analogue and modular machines to rather fascinating effect.
French producer Maelstom released on labels like Zone before setting up RAAR. After a number of Eps on his his own platform, he takes the next step with his debut album. Eyes is very much an expansive work that is designed for home listening. While Maelstrom's dance floor approach can still be clearly heard on the punchy electro funk of "Woman Training For A Republican Militia", the industrial banger "Escaping from Malaga" and the surpising, minimal house infleunced "Hotel Florida, Room 108", the album largely focuses on the abstract and atmospheric. That said, Eyes is no easy listening experience; from the spaced out "The Murder Of Jose Robles" and "Throwing Grain Into Air" to the eerie synths and shrieks on the closer, "Snow Falls (Across the Border)" it is an intense ride.
Berlin native, Shitkatapult founder, and all-round house freak T.Raumschmiere has been a solid member of the Kompakt cartel since the early 2000s. He's back on the infamous Cologne imprint after a lengthy hiatus, but has returned with a fully-kitted album of washed-out sonics and methodical, structured IDM. In all honesty, this is looser than material by the likes of Autechre, but there's a similar sort of vibe in the air; the colours and impressions left by these sounds linger in the same sort of territory as the very best downtempo material from the late 90s/early 00s, and will be a delightful surprise to fans of Bukem and the whole Good Lookin' sound. A surprise and delight - don't miss it.
Any new release from reclusive Norwegian ambient colossus Geir Jennsen is cause for celebration. The Petrified Forest was inspired by a 1936 movie of the same name, the plot of which revolves around a world-weary British writer meeting a fellow idealist in an isolated diner in the middle of the Arizona desert. Jenssen's music has always been cinematic in tone - think widescreen visions with multiple related movements, sitting somewhere between icy loneliness and comforting homeliness - so it's little surprise to find that The Petrified Forest regularly hits the mark. Evocative, atmospheric and quietly melodiousness, it's a mini album chock full of brilliant downtempo electronica.
It's been a long time between drinks for Darrell "Bola" Fitton, a long serving IDM explorer who released five fabulous albums on Skam between 1998 and 2007. D E G, his first album in a decade, is a predictably beguiling and atmospheric affair. Beginning with the sumptuously spacey ambient sweep of "Fhorth", Fitton delivers a master class in hard-to-pigeonhole electronica. While some tracks are reminiscent of some of Autechre's more melodious moments (see "Herzzatzz" and the acid-flecked "Pelomen Vapour 2"), others draw influence from Rephlex style braindance (see the sharp synth riffs and bustling beats of "Landor 50X2"), spaced-out post-dubstep electronic folk ("Evensong") and ghostly, post-apocalyptic ambience ("Pelomen Vapour 3"). Throughout, it remains a hugely entertaining affair.
Well, this is rather exciting. Some 20 years after the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop closed its doors, original members Peter Howell, Roger Limb, Dr Dick Mills, Paddy Mills and long-time collaborator Paddy Kingsland have recorded a new album. Made up of four long improvisations stretched across the album, the set was partly inspired by Francis Bacon's unfinished utopian novel/poem New Atlantis (a portion of which used to sit on the wall of the Workshop's studio, having been placed their by co-founder Daphne Oram). Typically, it's a woozy, trippy and mind-altering affair full of dystopian ambience, wayward modular electronics, intergalactic movements and deep space weirdness. In other words, it's the Radiophonic Workshop record we've been waiting for.
Glasgow based composer Iona Fortune presents her debut release inspired by Eastern philosophy and said to be the first in an eight album series exploring the symbols of the I Ching, Her music is influenced by oriental sounds and features a palette of instruments that includes the Guzheng, Gamelan and Synthi AKS. The overall effect is a singular and beguiling sound that loosely fits in with Jon Hassell's Fourth World concept. Fortune also contributed a track to Optimo Music's new Fourth World compilation entitled Miracle Steps earlier in 2017. The initial vinyl edition will come on a trans lucid pressing with inside sleeve and original artwork by the artist.
Although a prolific music-maker and contributor to countless collaborative projects, Posh Isolation co-founder Loke Rahbek has traditionally been reticent to release music under his given name. City of Women is his debut solo album, and sees him bring his brand of fluttering, experimental soundscpaes to Editions Mego for the first time. Taking electronic drone textures and field recordings as a base, Rahbek delivers a string of tracks that flit between dystopian, industrial-tinged creepiness and blissful, almost overpowering positivity. Just as you think you've got the album sussed, hel'll throw in a curveball, such as the heart-aching piano figures of the Nils Frahm goes lo-fi exploration that is "A Word a Day".

Junto Club kicked off Snap Crackle & Pop late last year, and now the label returns with the debut solo release from London-based outfit DEEDS. While Rollo and Kiri Inglis may have previously popped up on an obscure compilation on Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, this record should see their coldwave sound shoring up with many more adventurous listeners. "Video Dreams" is a beautifully melancholic slice of electronica while "Unknown" reaches for euphoric heights. Remixes from Bezier and The Field round the record out as a wonderful exercise in emotive home listening electronics for sensitive souls.
After completing a quadrilogy of Mecanica releases for ESP Institute inspired by "opium dens and whorehouses" earlier in 2015, Serbian artist Nenad Markovi brings his 33 10 3402 project to Music From Memory offshoot Second Circle. If you indulged in anyone of those Mecanica EPs for Andrew Hogge's label you will be all over this Bura EP with Markovic channelling similar depths of rhythm and texture across the four tracks. There's enough semblance of rhythm on display in cuts like the title track and the dubby machine funk of "Syg" to intrigue the more adventurous DJs out there whilst "P-Tok" could easily be mistaken for a forgotten Borft B side. A superb record.
Russia's Monokle has been one of the most promising talents to come out of the wider electronic sphere over the last 10 years, but the artist seems to have largely remained in the shadows. Whether this is due to personal preference or something else it's certainly surprising given his far-reaching talents behind the production board. He's up on Terminal Dream this week, bragging a delightfully meditative album that stretches the term 'ambient' to its maximum potential. The opening "Remembrance Of Things", for example, is a wild and diverse playing field of rhythmic synth sounds and drone waves, while the more mechanical structures of "Outside" add a subtly industrial flavor to the equation. "Last Dawn" is open and nostalgic, sounding a bit like AFX in his more pensive moments, and "Lagoon" offers a rougher, more noise-laden journey straight from the source. Wonderful.
UK duo Patten are responsible for some of the most most groundbreaking IDM we have heard in recent times and the last several releases they've given us on Warp have been nothing short of amazing. For their latest offering entitled "Requiem", be prepared for yet more highly sophisticated sonic warfare, starting off with the brooding and mangled epic "Amulet" before the contorted and breakneck jitter of "Zoning" gives you a good slap about the head. Finally on "Rails" and "Swarm" they serves up some deep industrial beats that'll be perfect for a modern horror film soundtrack.. or a lonely early morning pursuit by a stalker down the back streets of EC1.
Some lovely vocoder pop courtesy of London duo Alexander Keefe & Joakim Kristiansen aka Teachers: actually real life teachers in fact. One of the guys released previously on WT as Tagwell Woods and the label claims that this "works at home or in the club." True that. This is convincing '80s synthpop from the machines right through to the methodology and recording techniques (it seems!) and even hints at taking influence from legends such as Erasure, Pet Shop Boys or Stephin Merritt's Magnetic Fields project. Comes with colour picture sleeve with photo realistic painting by Gabe Benzur.

Munich's Danny Scrilla (ZamZam Sounds/Amar/Civil Music) returns to Cosmic Bridge Records with a full length project inspired by a desire to experiment outside of club conventions. Cosmic Bridge label founder Om Unit has long been a fan of ambient and synthesizer music and this 16 track effort offers a current take on the format. Packed full of lush electronic compositions and meditations, the album was written over the past year as a direct reaction to the artist's frustration with club music and the inevitable cynicism that can sometimes arise from prolonged contact with scenes, styles, and genres. Ancient Musical Box is the sound of a producer remembering that the best ideas are the simplest and in the process he is pointing to new directions.
Oliver Peryman aka FIS seems like a perfect name to match with the rising, uncontainable talent of the looming Rob Thorne. They're artists made of a similar cloth, both experimenting with the subtle lines now separating drone and ambient with techno. Roly Porter's Subtext imprint also seems like a fitting home to this new LP, Clear Stones, which spans across the entire electronic domain that sits on the left of field. Without a doubt, this is a work of subtlety and continuous expansion and retraction, often building up with massive crescendos before falling over and over again into a long abstract pool of sonics. The movement is present and palpable, however, and marks these two producers as being specialists in forming grooves without the use of beats. Oh, the power of noise...
Originally released in ultra-limited quantities back in 2012, Moon's Milk in Final Phase was originally recorded by Electric Sewer Age members Danny Hyde (once of Psychic TV) and Peter Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle, Coil) in 2007, three years before the latter's untimely death. Here the EP of evocative, classical-influenced ambient works gets a deserved reissue on Soeleilmoon. There's plenty to admire, from the ghostly electronics and fizzing melodies of "Moon's Milk: Waxing" and drifting paranoia of "Moon's Milk: Waning", to the bubbly, early morning shuffle of "Moon's Milk: Passing". Arguably best of all, though, is epic closer "Moon's Milk: Dark Passing", a pitch-black trip into clandestine ambient territory.
Exclusives
T RAUMSCHMIERE - Heimat (Kompakt Germany)
BOLA - D.E.G (Skam)
LUTTO LENTO - Dark Secret World (Where To Now?)