Reviewed this week
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".

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.
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.
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.
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.

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...
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.
Kraak is a Belgium based label and event from Ghent in the province of East-Flanders. They have previously released works by artists as diverse as Lali Puna, Pan American and Janek Schaefer. Jurgen De Blonde presents his seventh album for the label in the form of Kreis Plon which documents 20 years of sonic exploring. It's an album fusing the past and the future, of separation and reconfiguration, of mourning and rejoicing and of noise and peace. Kreis Plon is about geolocation; an exercise in linear and perpendicular coherence and devoid of any objective logic. In the middle of the album is an artist is envisioning his place in the now, questioning how or when he got there.
It's been nearly a year since experimentalist Tackle (AKA Australian exile Greg Steele) made his debut on Berlin-based imprint Another Dark Age with the acclaimed Benzedrine EP. This belated follow-up sees the producer transfer to A Colourful Storm in order to deliver two more eccentric assaults on the senses. with "Grondman" he crowds out homemade field recordings of Australian horse races with buzzing, Nine Inch Nails style guitars, fizzing electronics, dystopian textures and scattergun, thrill-a-minute breakbeats. "Smoke Point" is, if anything, even more robust and in your face, with Steele accompanying his usual fuzzy electronics and razor-sharp riffs with a hectic, techno style rhythm track.
With this latest release on his fine Offen Music imprint, Vladimir Ivkovic has pulled off something of a coup. Ma is the first collaborative release from Ivan Smaghhe and Rupert Cross, a composer and sound designer who is best known for his work with fellow score maestro Patrick Doyle. It's an interesting and unusual set, with the duo utilizing a range of acoustic and electronic instruments to create tracks that variously touch on Don't DJ style polyrhythms, ambient mood pieces smothered in evocative field recordings, eccentric drone soundscapes, krautrock influenced compositions, shoegaze moods, and creepy, soundtrack style workouts. It's the kind of album that takes a few listens to really get under your skin, but it's more than worth the effort.
Kirikoo Des aka NSDOS uses old audio converters, Gameboy emulators, pieces of metal dismantled and weld together giving form to surreal machines. Surrounded by his hybrid tools, NSDOS unravels the rectilinear anatomy of techno music. Textures are exploded, sounds mutilated and brought back to their essence. This sonic odyssey, NSDOS initiated in his native town Paris before exploring it deeper in Berlin. his new album intervenes as the completion of his organic vision of music. Inspired by meteorological stations and according to a principle and of biofeedback. Other influences include Japanese dance Buto, as well as his interest for biology and his experimental aura through industrial, sometimes nearly metal sounds. All these elements form the essence of whole new movement of which he constantly pushes the frontiers.
Gamelan Voices only debuted on Gong Ear back in March, and already we're faced with a brand-spanking new LP from the mystery artist; that means bass-driven ambient textures of the highest calibre. While many artists choose to go for the 'expansive' touch, Gamelan Voices constructs drones with movement clearly at the core of the equation. This album travels across nine rhythmic walls of sound, each one bringing through something different and effortlessly enchanting, and it's precisely this sense of quirky, kinetic energy that kept us wildly entertined for the entire trip. There's no room for boring, monotonous drones here; what's the point of anything else when so much fun can be had with so little?
Exclusives
T RAUMSCHMIERE - Heimat (Kompakt Germany)
BOLA - D.E.G (Skam)
DANNY SCRILLA - Ancient Musical Box (Cosmic Bridge)