Seppuku is a new label to 2014 with its first releases so far coming from two artists in Archane and Australia's Deepchild. This fifth release sees the label put out their first various artists EP; joining the label's regular two is Ashworth & Aggborough who contributed a remix to Archane's mini-LP Rooms Without Walls. Here the duo deliver the track "Fern" which sounds like the night time movements of an indoor glass house that's been frozen, while Archane's "American Idols" is similarly cold, only with more percussive knocks and lost vocals added. Deepchild doesn't heat things up either, instead injecting more cold bursts of breathy, ambient textures in to the EP with his contribution. Cold and lonely, but enjoyable listening.
Comprised of Kranky regulars Mark Nelson, Robert Donne and percussionist Steven Hess, Anjou make their debut on the esteemed Kranky imprint. The trio trade in a unique kind of ethereality, where tracks like "Specimen Question" take you far away into a melodic daze and bring you back to planet earth feeling shaken. Beautiful snippets of field recordings, enchanting voices and a little bit of hardware fuzz created by analogue machinery make up the album's core, and tracks like "Inclosed" feel both sparse and rich at the same time, a characteristic of all the tracks herein.
Patrick, Frank & Joe Are Chasing The White Rabbitoh - (4:04) 90 BPM
Names (reprise) - (4:09) 120 BPM
Lars "Anstam" Stoewe has long been part of Modeselektor's extended family of artists, releasing his first two albums on their 50 Weapons label. While those first two sets were characterized by a desire to blend punishing dancefloor rhytms with elements of IDM and dark ambience, Names - his third LP - is a largely more considered affair, with shards of light amongst the gathering gloom. Of course, he's not totally abandoned the skittering rhythms and maudlin basslines - see the sweeping chords and intense beats of "I Stopped Counting" and the rushing post-dubstep blast of "Fragments of the Good Old Days" - but these moments are countered by hazy songs and sweet soundscapes, with the superb "The Obvious & The Impeccable" standing out.
It's rare that an electronic album is the biggest album of the year, or at least the most hyped. That's certainly the case with Syro, Richard D James first official release under his Aphex Twin moniker for some 13 years. So, is it any good? For starters, it sounds like an Aphex Twin album. Listen through to the 12 tracks, and many of his familiar staples are present - the "Digeridoo" era rave breakbeats, the mangled synth-funk mash-ups, the intoxicating ambient-era melodies, the warped basslines and the skittish drill & bass style rhythms. There's madness, beauty and intensity in spades. In other words, it's an Aphex Twin album, and - as so many have pointed out since the album's release was announced - there's no-one else quite like Richard D James.