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Older articles

Various Artists – Hyperdub 10.2

by on at 10:07am

Think of Hyperdub, now think of a colour. What’d you choose? Pitch black? Murky grey? The pigment rotting leaves trapped behind a strip mall’s dumpster? While Kode9′s formidable now decade-old label has always had a reputation for innovation, sunny it ain’t. No one thinks of pastels or a breezy summer day summer day when they’re playing the latest Terror Danjah EP, and you don’t need to look far into the label’s catalogue’s to find sinister themes coursing through, with track titles like “Traumatic Times”, “Hysteria”, “Idiot”, “Madness” and “Broken Heart Collector” characterising their roster’s output.

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Alessandro Cortini – Sonno

by on at 15:52pm

It’s extremely difficult to articulate exactly what it is about the music that resonates with a listener at the deepest level. This is why providing a review of Sonno proved to be such a challenge for this writer. Before moving onto that task, a brief background about the album. It’s the work of Alessandro Cortini, one of the key members of Nine Inch Nails, and was recorded on a Roland MC 202 in hotel rooms, presumably when he was touring. According to the label, Cortini experimented with the sound of everyday items like taps, windows and doors, as part of the process. This was Cortini claims, a “very relaxing” way to make music.

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Al Dobson Jr – Rye Lane Volume One

by on at 09:02am


In this cynical age where nobody anywhere does anything new, ‘Successful club night launches record label’ is one of many well-worn narratives in music. However, there is plenty that’s compelling about this debut release from Bradley Zero’s Rhythm Section International. He may well be best known as one of the faces of Boiler Room, or a reluctant figurehead for lazy press features on the Peckham Is The New Cool campaign, but strip this away and you’ll come face to face with someone who possesses a real undying passion for music.

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Various – Pinch B2B Mumdance

by on at 12:48pm

pinch-b2b-mumdance

On paper, Pinch and Mumdance aren’t the most likely of bedfellows, but both have undergone recent career shifts that have seen them occupying the same musical space. Last year Dubstep veteran Pinch launched the Cold Recordings imprint to concentrate on contemporary sounds emanating from the hardcore spectrum, and Mumdance has moved from releasing questionable bangers on Diplo’s Mad Decent label to making innovative grime and hardcore fusions both solo and with Logos. Pinch B2B Mumdance is a unique experiment with the mix CD format, with the duo attempting to formalise their mutual interests. As Mumdance recently told Resident Advisor, it’s an attempt to “bring together a sonic which we both feel we have been working towards for a while, albeit from very different angles”.

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Dalhous – Will To Be Well

by on at 09:00am

Will To Be Well

With their first album An Ambassador For Laing only dropping last year, Dalhous return to their trusted label Blackest Ever Black with another long player. The duo of Alex Ander and Marc Dall first appeared on BEB in their Young Hunting guise, issuing forth a gloomy kind of ambience with occasional twists of chamber pop vocal worked into a gothic whole. Dalhous as a project allows in more rhythmic fare, although not at the expense of the seductively melancholic musicality the pair are clearly drawn to.

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Gavin Guthrie – Gavin Guthrie aka TX Connect

by on at 09:45am


With a name like Gavin Guthrie, this Dallas-based producer also known as TX Connect sounds like he should be making emasculated folktronica. The reality couldn’t be more different. This self-titled double pack is rooted in the sound of the early to late ’80s, taking in brutal EBM, Chicago house, early techno and a death-march dirge like the searing bass and cascading synth-led album closer “Haddonfield IL”. Crème also deserves praise for putting out this work; it would have been far easier, lazier and surely more lucrative to release identikit jack tracks, but Guthrie’s debut album only uses this sound as part of a suite of references.

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D.K. – Drop

by on at 16:42pm


Few who heard All Day Everyday, the debut single by Parisian producer D.K. on Get The Curse Music, can have failed to have been charmed by its dreamy, new-age influenced pads, hissing analogue rhythms and sun-baked synthesizer melodies. It was rather surprisingly overlooked on its release in January, save for a few heads who drew comparisons with the tropical house and new age techno promoted by Future Times and Canadian brothers-in-electronics Mood Hut. The comparisons were fair. The mysterious French producer’s use of dense, off-kilter analogue rhythms, fizzing cymbals and picturesque melodies echoed the likes of Aquarian Foundation, Pender Street Steppers and, most potently, Maxmillion Dunbar. The 12” even boasted a stripped-back dub that sounded not unlike Max D’s work for L.I.E.S. as Dolo Percussion.

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Various Artists – Paris/Berlin: 20 Years of Underground Techno

by on at 10:25am

As soundtracks go, the music to accompany Amélie Ravalec’s 2012 documentary about the techno underground in Paris and Berlin was hardly an afterthought. After all, it focuses on the same artists who featured in the film and as such is never frivolous or incidental. A cynic could argue however that it is ultra-serious in its articulation of an updated version of cyber-punk culture. There is no room here for V-neck wearing middle-aged men a la Michael Douglas getting down to T-99 during the Basic Instinct club scene.

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Quiltland – Quiltland

by on at 09:35am

While the name Quiltland may conjure imagery of a department store filled with endless aisles of comfortable bedding for some listeners, it means something very different for Swedish producer Frida-Li Lövgren. Speaking about her productions to a Czech blog back in 2013, she described the project as a multi-faceted outlet for complicated identity politics. “I am a guide for all the different musicians and artists that I make up and I can play their roles just as I want” she states. “There is one different artist responsible for each Quiltland track.”

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Various Artists – Brothers & Sisters

by on at 16:12pm


Since launching back in 2009, Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin’s Mister Saturday Night parties in New York have become the stuff of legend, and not only for their riotous, anything goes nature. There’s a hint of militancy about their no-nonsense approach to party promotion; famously, their “dancefloor rules” posters, slapped up around the numerous venues they’ve used for events over the years, ban people from taking photos, using phones, smoking and generally loitering without dancing. Many DJs and party promoters will no doubt empathize with their approach, which in essence boils down to “go hard or go home”. It’s a party, so dance like you mean it.

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PHORK – High End

by on at 09:12am

A screaming comes across the sky. It’s hard to tell whether it’s fireworks or distant explosions. People cheer – or maybe they’re yelling in panic – maybe both are happening simultaneously. The sounds that comprise “User Experience”, the second track on Neal Reinalda’s latest PHORK LP, are ones that teeter on that precarious edge between exhilaration and terror, the liminal space where celebration and city-levelling anarchy are near indistinguishable from each other. Reinalda’s work under his People’s Higher Order of Royal Kinship has often been fascinated by the contradictions coursing through Americana – song titles like “‘Shit Happens’ Bumper Sticker” and “The Spiritual Consumer” contrast capitalist excess with understated minimalism – it’s music that captures the beauty, bravado, stupidity and suffering of America.

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Innerspace Halflife – Astral Traveling

by on at 09:03am


A quick glance at the title of the debut album proper from Hakim Murphy and Ike Release makes it look like the Innerspace Halflife duo has conformed to the (out)dated techno convention about electronic music escaping to the cosmos or obsessing about other, unexplored worlds. After a few listens to Astral Traveling however, it’s quite clear that nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe it’s down to the Chicago duo’s working methods, but this long player is a journey, albeit one that’s reflective of where the artists’ own heads are at rather than where they want to go to.

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Roll The Dice – Until Silence

by on at 09:26am


With their third album proper, Swedish duo Roll The Dice are once again moving on from what they have done before. Peder Mannerfelt (better known as The Subliminal Kid) and Malcolm Pardon have never stuck to one formula with their collaborative project, moving from their delicate beginnings on Digitalis to the more rounded analogue synth work of their last album In Dust on The Leaf Label. It’s been some time since that release and in the mean time their focus has shifted to a more dramatic musical outlook, drawing on both orchestral assistance and political and social jump-off points to arrive at this ambitious statement of a long player. There are many stated issues to consider with Until Silence, largely focused around the existential crisis of humanity in the 21st century.

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VHS Head – Persistence of Vision

by on at 10:33am


It’s been a fair while since Ade Blacow last donned his VHS Head guise for an outing of deranged IDM-goes-electrofunk madness on Skam. In fact, the Blackpool-based producer’s last material of note – the skittering, warped electronic insanity of the Midnight Section 12” – dropped some three years ago. Given that it’s been four years since he wowed critics with the dense intensity and tongue-in-cheek charm of his debut full-length, Trademark Ribbons of Gold, this second album is well overdue.

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Martyn – The Air Between Words

by on at 09:10am


Its album number three for Dutchman-in-America Martijn Deykers, once again plotting the trajectory of an artist who has neatly encapsulated a particular corner of the electronic music zeitgeist since the second wave of dubstep lured him away from drum & bass production. Great Lengths was undoubtedly one of the first great albums of the wider dubstep community outside South London, blossoming just at the point when influences beyond garage and grime started to modify the DNA of the music, and likewise on the decks Martyn certainly represented one of those DJs that first started bridging the gap towards critical house and techno from bassier music forms.

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Aroy Dee – Sketches

by on at 09:43am


Aroy Dee’s label M>O>S Recordings has put out impressive long players from Morphosis and D’Marc Cantu. Now it’s the owner’s turn with Sketches – can he also deliver? One of the most notable aspects of Sketches is that it doesn’t deliver any surprises. It is informed by the same classic sonic sources as Dee’s other releases and at almost every turn there are references to Detroit techno’s sense of melody and melancholy, the rough drums of Chicago house and shimmering film soundtrack synths.

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Answer Code Request – Code

by on at 07:30am

There’s a distinct difference between Answer Code Request and Ostgut Ton’s big guns: Klock, Dettmann, Fengler and Function. Those four are inherently linear, whereas Answer Code Request’s music has by and large remained broken and syncopated. Before the Answer Code Request project took off, the Berlin producer was making music under his real name, Patrick Gräser, and as he would later find out, adopting a new production alias would prove to be a masterstroke.

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Sumerian Fleet – Just Pressure

by on at 09:00am

Together with Legowelt, Alden Tyrell was responsible for introducing the joys of Italo to contemporary electronic music. Tyrell tracks like “Rendez Vous at Rimini”, “Love Explosion” and “Disco Lunar Module” are modern classics and in a more just world would have attained pop star status for the Dutch producer. It’s entirely possible that his latest project may afford him that level of recognition. Working under the Sumerian Fleet guise with Mr Pauli and vocalist Zarkoff – who is named, we assume, after Flash Gordon’s doctor side-kick – Tyrell mines the 80s again and has put out singles for Crème and Clone.

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Inigo Kennedy – Vaudeville

by on at 07:45am

IMG_5892Techno masterworks of recent times that spring to mind are Terrence Dixon’s From The Far Future Pt. 2, Lucy’s Wordplay For Working Bees and Planetary Assault System’s The Messenger. Inigo Kennedy’s Vaudeville was one I hoped to add to this list, and on first listen there were moments where it sounded like it could really happen. But a masterpiece is after all a masterpiece, and while Kennedy’s fourth album falls just short of such praise, it’s certainly his pièce de résistance.

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VernoN – Watched By The Experts

by on at 16:56pm


Riding the vanguard of hardware fetishism like a wild-eyed cavalier, VernoN has risen to prominence through a close allegiance to Dixon Avenue Basement Jams with a sharply executed take on acid, EBM and new beat. Now the somewhat anonymous producer has been snapped up by the ever-reliable Dublin stable Apartment Records for what is being billed as a mini LP of six forthright jackers, and it might represent their strongest material to date.
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