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Reviewed this week
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Number three in the four part SchleiBen series from Emotional Response arrives with Don't DJ and Tropical Hi-Fi at the controls. The former is the current creative endeavour of Florian Meyer, founder of the Diskant label and one of the more experimental and academic producers to surface from Dusseldorf in recent times. He also forms one third of The Durian Brothers. Meyer's "Kosmose" is a 20 minute piece which explores the link between polyrhythmic percussion and brooding electronics; understandably, it's ripe with introspective qualities. Offering some contrast, Northern Australian producer Tropical Hi-fi turns in "Oceanic Mythology", a meandering journey through found sounds, psychedelia, folk music and more which sounds like listening to SUED B-sides whilst tripped out on acid.
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Master of the absurd and mind-shreddingly complex, Aaron Funk is back following his My Love Is A Bulldozer album for Planet Mu back in 2014. Considering how prolific he has been at times, this has been a recent quiet patch but the glorious racket of "Your Face When I Finally" puts paid to the peace with a fine display of the infinitesimal production style he made his name on. From lopsided time signatures and bewitching melodies to disgusting splats of noise and puerile sampling, noone manages to chuck everything in the pot with the same panache as Venetian Snares. There are calm moments, focused moments and utterly insane moments, representing a fine example of everything the sonic madman stands for.
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Alessio Natalizia's Not Waving moniker goes from strength to strength, even since ending his collaboration with Sam Willis in the highly regarded Walls project. Now focusing on the textured, modular workouts and cinematic synth journeys seen on the brilliant two previous albums Umwelt and Human Capabilities, he returns with his most ambitious outing yet. This double LP gathers together all the material Natalizia issued on the cassette series of the same name and is a must for those who like their electronics immersive to the max. From the retro futurism of "Witzelsucht" and "It Needs No Medication" to the brazen industrial attitude of "The Behaviourist Approach" and "Creating Capabilities" there are many moods of his musical identity that he explores here. But for most part its the beauty in the soulful mechanical soundscapes that he creates on this imaginary soundtrack, particularly on "Part of Thought", "Dangerously Well" and "Negative Reinforcement".
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The fourth and final edition of SchleiBen is an extra special one, bringing forth acollaborative project between Colin Potter of Nurse With Wound fame, Not Waving artist Alessio Natalizia and Brain Machine's Guido Zen. Furthermore the series ties with Dusseldorf remain, as Osnabruck based producer Niklas Rehme-Schluter lines the flip with the beautiful ambient touches of his Cass project. The two part efforts from Potter, Natalizia and Zen offer a perfect marriage of methods, with percussion hinting at and Techno, while the constant Drone influx and disintegration grab your attention, overlapping with rhythmic repetition deeper and deeper. The Cass contributions see tracks from the German artist's cassette only Hiding Place album presented on vinyl for the first time and fit snugly into the sonic ethos explored over the previous SchleiBen releases.
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Unicursal Hexagram, the debut album from Brooklyn-based experimentalist Jahiliyya Fields remains a highlight of the L.I.E.S. discography some three years after its release. The left-of-centre synthesizer soundscapes, droning textures and experimental explorations were astounding at the time, and it's an album you can revisit now and still uncover new depths. On Chance Life, his second album for L.I.E.S., Jahiliyya Fields changes tack a little with the 11 tracks a tad closer to the dancefloor. While there are still out-there moments (including a bizarre spoken word cut), for the most part the album pairs his throbbing synthesizers and crusty electronics with dense techno grooves, psychedelic tribal rhythms and humid box jams.
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Since his death four years ago, Conrad Schnitzler has been revisited in many different forms, from reinterpretations of his work by various artists to posthumous collaborations, which is where this release loosely falls. Pyrolator's Kurt Dahlke has little more he needs to prove in German electronic music, but here he lets rip with the archive of Schnitzler's sounds at his disposal, and so he sets about weaving dense, evocative experiences that range from clamouring synth layers to crafty percussive arrangements such as "287-13". With a diverse set of results from these experiments, Dalkhe breathes a very different kind of life in Schnitzler's sounds and that's a most worthwhile venture for a late music pioneer to be a part of.
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Phoebe Guillemot hails from Vancouver, from where she has snuck out two prior cassette-based albums of wonderfully delirious leftfield electronic tinkerings that delight the mind as they get the toes tapping. From Los Discos Enfantasmes and Pygmy Animals she now graduates to 1080p with a further eleven excursions into lush, vibrant soundscapes steeped in the exotic and earthly and then blasted into the cosmos. From the scratchy bongos and fluttering jungle noises of "Princess Of Cups" to the slow echoing enchantment of "Etwal", the stylistic tropes flow like emerald gloop throughout Houti Kush and the fairy tale sonics don't let up once. It's an evocative and complete artistic vision that should switch many more listeners onto Guillemot's wondrous sound.
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Based in Berlin and classically trained on the double bass, Yair Elizar Glotman has already achieved recognition in the increasingly bustling world of electro-acoustics and modern classical crossovers. Last year he released his debut album on Glacial Movements Records, and this has been followed up with a collaborative soundtrack alongside Subtext label boss (and one half of Emptyset) James Ginzburg. Now Glotman is going it alone with an album on Subtext that's rich in ominous string tones and atmospheric processes. You can hear the expression of his instrumental skills looming large, and there is undoubtedly a real world tangibility to the sounds he has captured and manipulated, making Atudes a gripping listen from start to finish.
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The sixth issue from Jealous God, and the first of what promises to be another year of intrigue for the label, pairs up visual director Juan Mendez with 51717, aka New York artist Lili Schulder. Any fans of Schulder's 51717 cassette for Opal Tapes or her Shadowlust collaboration with Svengalisghost will be excited by the prospect of some new music committed to wax and she's on wonderfully abstract form here. Listening to opening track "The Glove" is an experience similar to being slowly covered by a viscous liquid to the point of suffocation, with her barely audible spoken word delivery only adding to the sense of foreboding. Complementing this, 51717 provides two shorter but equally striking compositions with "Regard" especially chilling. It's a mood that seeps into the two Silent Servant productions with "Severed Union" ripe mixtape opener material.
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Samuel Kerridge has, by now, entered the UK techno elite thanks to several records on the likes of Regis' Downwards, the mighty Blueprint and Horizontal Ground, of course. His productions are fresh, forward-looking and don't rely on recycled ideas and strict 4/4 templates, which is why he's gone and started his own label along with Hayley Kerridge, the aptly named Contort. This latest 7" is number three in the catalogue; "Sonic Instruments Of War 01" is a raucous, slow-tempo jungle anthem with surrounding layers of noise and hardware feedback, while the second part, "Sonic Instruments Of War 02" scraps the beats and enters total oblivion thanks to an artillery of vicious, grey-scaled drones. Heavy stuff, both for the mind and the body.
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Drawn from her most recent album Vulnicura, Bjork has chosen to revisit "Lionsong" by bolstering it with additional vocal tones from the same choir that appeared on Biophilia, and then whacking an obscure old Untold cut underneath. "Flexible" originally appeared as a single-sided 12" back in 2009, and it brims with the madcap energy of early Untold beats, all woodblock percussion and scuffed found sound snippets. It's an unlikely partnership of sounds, but the legacy of Bjork's distinctive voice atop edgy electronics makes the whole wild cocktail go down smooth. Few would dare to think of the idea and few would pull it off, but Bjork has past form in such daring moves.
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