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13 May 13
Review: Making for a matching with hard-to-imagine results, Mala gets the remix treatment from James Blake in his Harmonimix guise and issues it forth on his own Deep Medi imprint. It's a bold treatment from Blake, who teases the track to life on a twee arrangement of music box chimes and tones, while a central vocal coos out the dominant melody. There's a mid-section with the only discernible slither of beat which sounds like familiar Blake territory, not least through the bluesy keys vibe that it carries. However, it's the monolithic brass-aping clarion call which comes steaming in to steal the show, trumping out its orders in a suitably epic fashion which is nothing if not rousing.
07 May 13
Review: It's another meeting of different Italian disco generations as cosmic disco veteran Daniele Baldelli and young(ish) hotshot Marco Dionigi team up for another joint EP. "Cosmic Efficacy" is a linear arpeggiated electro-disco journey to the stars, complete with electro-housey drum fills. In its "Slow Motion Remix" guise the tune is even spacier and highlights it's Moroder-isms even more. "Parallelo" on the other hand is much more abstract, with retro films samples woven over a coarse, electronic backdrop that resembles distorted cosmic interference. Far out!
06 May 13
Review: Returning to Nicolas Jaar's Clown And Sunset stable after his debut in 2011, Valentin Stip is delving into more of his folky electronica with excellent results. "Wit(z)" floats suspended in a murk of melancholic elements before a more discernable rhythm cuts through to bring the track into focus. "Hiathaikm" is a more low-slung affair that revels in mournful keys and a delicate beat, while "Angst" is a bold study of reverbs and the vocals that fuel them. Across the whole release, introspection is the driving force, reaching for a rich spread of instrumentation and sound sources through which to weave a sad but engaging tale.
06 May 13
Review: Whilst it might seem initially surprising that Actress has contributed these remixes for the new Jack For Daze release, Danny 'Legowelt' Wolfers has spoken widely about his admiration for Actress; calling his work "futuristic and advanced", it makes perfect sense that Clone should now extend an invitation to the Werkdiscs boss to remix material from Legowelt's recent album The Paranormal Soul. Actress has offered up two versions of "Elementz Of Houz Music," a track that perfectly encapsulates Legowelt's mastery of melodic, part-mysterious, part-cheesy synth lines. The first remix has Cunningham shuttling Legowelt's arrangement through a cloudy car wash of hissy mist, chopping up the original into his trademark cubist techno; this dovetails nicely with his second 12 minute offering. Markedly more drastic, this offering slows down the synths, kicks and percussion to a drunken stupor, with the results not unlike playing a 45rpm record incorrectly at 33rpm.
13 May 13
Played by: Tom (Shur-I-Kan) Szirtes
20 May 13
Played by: Posthuman
16 Jan 07
03 Jun 11
13 May 13
Review: The ultra-magnetic, ultra-talented trio, Factory Floor, team up with Peter Gordon for their second release on the sublime Optimo Music. Gordon is one of those guys who can play just about anything and "Beachcombing" is one of those sultry synth rides that'll leave your brain melted on the side of the subwoofer - aided herein by the additional contributions of Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Kolk Void - now that's a package! The ride is majestic as it is dark and mysterious, with waves of polyphony wrapped all over its ominous and crumbling arrangement - a marvel! "C Side" features Dominic Butler and takes a slightly lighter approach to things, combining a crooked half-step slant to more cheery pastures - a field of sax melodies and cascading synth bleeps! CHECK!
15 Dec 12
Review: The double header of Truant/Rough Sleeper is the second EP from Burial in 2012, and arrives with as little fanfare as the superb Kindred EP did early this year. Unlike that more dancefloor focused record however, this EP harks back to the producer's earlier sound. Of course, being two longform compositions clocking in at 12 and 14 minutes respectively, they're hardly conventional works; each utilises the same liberal use of spectral atmospheres, emotive vocal samples, hollow 2-step beats and nods to jungle as we've come to expect from the producer, but with complex structures that come across more like two sides of an old mixtape recorded from a pair of decrepit turntables. Of course being a mixtape from Burial, this is special stuff indeed - consider it an early Christmas present to yourself.
11 Dec 11
Review: Having spent most of the year pushing the fragile downtempo sounds of his maudlin debut album, James Blake makes a belated return to the dancefloor with a three-tracker for R&S. "Love What Happened Here", the lead cut, is his most floor-friendly concoction since "CMYK". Most importantly, its got some real funk, wrapping his usual mutated vocals and hymn-like melodic motifs around thrilling space funk synths and skittering beats. "At Birth" is a touch more mournful, but cuts through the pianos and fuzzy vocal samples with a solid 4/4 pulse. An excellent EP is completed by "Curbside", a sleazy old skool hip-hop instrumental given Blake's usual twist. Impeccable.
15 Apr 13
Review: Appearing with increasing and ever-satisfying regularity on the far reaches of the electronic music radar, Mark Fell's Sensate Focus project returns for the cryptically numbered Sensate Focus 2, marking the fifth release in the series for his eponymous label. The rules (if you can call them that) are much the same, plotting algorhythmic malfunctions through neon soul and finely diced percussion that snaps and whips with dexterity. However on first impressions much of the rhythmic irregularity that has made mixing earlier instalments a daunting task has been preserved for the lopsided vocal triggering, while the core groove itself comes on more tangible, at least for significant chunks of the roaming sides of this record.
02 Jun 09
20 Feb 12
Played by: Owain Kimber (Owain K), Cosmin Trg, Juno Recommends Leftfield, Vorres - Juno, Kereni, Victor Martinez, Jason Fernandes
Review: Given the broad spectrum of Hotflush's output, it's easy to forget Sigha's place on the label's roster, given that his concise productions have always been far more aligned with the concrete Berghain sound than the colourful palette of his labelmates. However, there's a warmth present in his sound that makes his place on the label appropriate, especially on this superb EP. "Something In Between Us" opens with an ambient flourish of warm chords - it's a stark contrast to "Where I Come To Forget" with its solid kick drum and dry percussion, but there's something about Sigha's production that coats everything in a subtle heat, free of the mechanical feel of some of his German peers. "How To Disappear" provides further warmth - rather than cold, hard edges, its hypnotic arpeggio ripples invite you in like a warm spring. Even though "Drown" which follows is a fairly bleak finish with only subtle clicks to carry it forward, it nevertheless envelops you in a blanket of crackly sonics. Highly recommended.
07 Nov 94
18 Feb 12
Played by: Chris Coco, Shadow Dancer, Eleven8, Deepchild, Dirt Crew, Alkalino, Night Tracks, Djs: Most Charted - Dubstep, Jesse Somfay, Liz-E, Alert, Slam Mode
Review: Given that his sound has now been referenced by countless imitators, it's testament to Burial's enduring appeal that the announcement of a new EP on a Sunday in February was enough to shake the online music press out of their collective stupor. As an EP it more than stands up to his previous work, and it may even be better than last year's Street Halo EP - where the brilliance of the title track left the EP quite top-heavy, there's no such complaints on Kindred. If UK garage was the touchpoint for his earlier releases, this EP sees Burial further developing a sound that has few obvious points of comparison, whether it's the savage, gnarled bassline of the title track, or the shambling house of "Loner", characterized by its hollowed out arpeggio and ambient crackle. But it's "Ashtray Wasp" that provides the most breathtaking moment, seeing the producer using the distinct musical language he's created and bringing confident melodic elements into play. Of course such descriptions seem trivial when trying to describe this EP - even for Burial it's far beyond what his peers and imitators could ever imagine making.
29 Apr 13
Played by: Cosby (Car Crash Set)
Review: Inspired by some time spent in Shanghai, the Hyperdub main man makes a long-awaited return with this no-messing two tracker that sees him venturing into ever more curious realms of rhythmic abstraction. "Xingfu Lu" shudders on a trap-like framework, sparse but heavy hitting all in the same breath. The melodies sport that oddly comforting sense of otherworldliness that has always characterised Steve Goodman's musicality even as the groove playfully fits and starts. "Kan" is a more feisty proposition, moving erratically between different motifs and getting even twitchier in the drums department while found sounds slip in between the miniscule cracks between the hats and snares. It's a bewildering effect that suggests interesting pastures new are in sight for Kode 9.
31 Jan 12
Review: R&S Records warm up on what should be another fruitful year with the first full release from recent addition Bullion, and what a revelation it is! There's always been a craft and ingenuity to whatever the London producer has released, be it that Beach Boys meets Dilla debut or the stunningly inventive and psychedelic almost-album for Young Turks, but Say Arr Ee fully reveal's Bullion's new found confidence in his singing voice. This addition to Bullion's arsenal was first revealed on "Ralph", his contribution to the R&S compilation IOTDXI, and is explored fully on the two tracks here. On the title track Bullion chooses to mask it amidst a typically sumptuous pop arrangement built around oven warm synths, it is however overshadowed by "What Does She Know", which combines Bullion's undeniable craft for hazy electronic psychedelia with an actual song and deserves to be appreciated on a level equal to sometime label mate James Blake.
09 Sep 12
Review: Otherwise known as Rob McAndrews, former James Blake collaborator Airhead is fast becoming one of the most interesting producers on the R&S roster since Blake's movement to more mainstream concerns. Taking a more explicitly rhythmic direction than previous release which concentrated on lush acoustic textures, "Pyramid Lake" combines rapidfire percussion, breathy vocal samples and lo-fi VHS textures to create the most unlikely club banger you'll hear this year. "Black Ink" meanwhile sounds like a maelstrom of kickdrums tumbling up and down a rubber staircase with stray hi-hats and handclaps thrown into the mix. Undeniably one of the best R&S cuts this year.
16 Apr 12
Review: One the finest exponents of the Eglo principles of music, Mizz Beats captures that tricky space between cutting edge groove and pure, heartfelt soul. You won't find a better example of this in action than on the slovenly boogie that is "Scientific Brainpriest", all sensuous bass and cooing synths, while the pads wrap themselves around your ears like finest satin. It's a corny analogy but it really does feel that good. "Pimpin'" meanwhile updates the middle ground between house and broken beat with a dreamy blue note affair that gets lifted by the bongo-heavy beat and truly feel good strings.
23 Mar 10
19 Nov 12
Review: Whereas certain trends and producers regress or digress at a moment's whim, ESP Institute remain steadily on their own unique stylistic path overseen by Andrew Lovefingers Hogge from his NYC base and propelled gently on the wave of critical acclaim afforded to the litany of diverse artists that release on the label. Following serene and sublime dancefloor emissions from Michael Ozone and Young Marco, ESP Institute invite you to bask in something even gentile with the self titled debut album from Land Of Lights. A collaborative project from ESP regular Johnny Nash and former Spectral Empire producer Kyle Martin that's been in gestation for some time, Land Of Lights comes with the advance warning that "if you don't have time to really listen, please do not buy this record. If your mind is not ready to unwind, please do not buy this record". "Flares" sets the tone that justifies this warning, laying down all manner of meditative textures before any discernable rhythmic force appears. While that opening track is undoubtedly the most expansive production from Nash and Martin, the subsequent five productions retain the sumptuous levels of production throughout and it'd be a truly angry man to reach the end of "Higher Love" in anything other than a blissful high.
25 Feb 13
Review: Mysterious newcomer Ferox steps up on Bristol's Black Acre, the label who previously brought us names like Dark Sky and Blue Daisy. We don't know much about the man, but Ferox is more than capable of making some nastiness emanate from his studio, such as the fuzzy, chugging and not quite hip-hop rhythms of "goD". Every track is as diverse as it is stupendous, like "Gargoyle", a seismic mash-up up of ominous vocal samples, rotating drum rolls and hefty doses of low frequency sound for you to ponder on, or the fast-paced, shuffly 808 jolts of "Critter", another certified neo-London monster for all you bass cats out there. "Beyond" also incorporates Ferox's individualistic sampling style but over some slower, more swaying two-step beats and bangs. This one is warmly recommended...
03 May 12
16 Jul 12
Review: Producer, DJ and budding travel almanac editor John Roberts returns with his first original material since that superlative debut album Glass Eights. The four tracks that make up Paper Frames are described by Roberts as "a wonderful journey into sound design, sample research and contemporary club music" and see him experiment further with preconceptions of what club music should sound like - something that was evident on recent remixes of Blondes and George Fitzgerald. The Opening short "Untitled II" retains all the mastery of delicate instrumentation shown on Glass Eights, though it's combined with jagged rhythmic edits and acts as a neat prelude to where Roberts goes on the subsequent title track. Perhaps best described as Roberts chopping up the sounds of a bull rampaging through a Denmark St music shop, it's an excellent track and the highlight of a welcome return on Dial
25 Mar 13
Review: After stellar contributions to the series from Bakey USTL and Vakula, Unthank swings back into action with a release from a producer much closer to their Edinburgh home, Lord Of The Isles. This Scottish producer has already graced some fine imprints such as Tusk Wax, Ene and American Standard with his music, while perhaps reserving the best so far to the excellent Hot Blobs EP released on his own Little Strong label. His contribution to the still fledgling Unthank canon improves on that release however, arriving in typically attractive cover art and described as "a journey of whiskey, analogue electronics, Scottish landscapes, nostalgia and underground parties". Musically the five tracks peak and dip between the differing emotions inherent in house music and sound as good as anything Firecracker have released to date.
02 Jul 12
Review: The Minimal Wave label present this two track accompaniment to Dub Under Brightness, the soon to be digitally released trawl through the cassette-only archives of their favourite French act of the 1980s, In Aeternam Vale. The full unedited 12-minute version of the title track is presented here and is complemented by "Highway Dark Veins", a brilliant example of proto industrial techno. If you are not familiar with the A Side, it presents the Lyon group led by Laurent Prot at their lolloping finest, a hypnotic sideways Minimal Wave throbber replete with cavernous and near indecipherable vocals and industrially charged synth waves. It's the second track that makes this release all the more special, sounding every bit like the paranoid Martian techno opus that inspired the Mills series Something In The Sky and was a definite highlight of Ron Morelli's descent into Industrial Nihilism on a recent Beats In Space show.
23 Jan 11