William Burnett, the producer behind this Black Deer album, claims that the alias is a patriotic one, reflecting the true nature of being an American. If venturing through the great sonic unknown is an integral part of being an artist from the USA as opposed to driving a pick-up and swillling on Bud, then Burns and this project perfectly fit the bill.
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Just before the release of A/B til Infinity, his second album as Egyptrixx, David Psutka contributed the fourth entry into the Night Slugs mix series, and its tracklisting showed just how much his interests have changed since he emerged in 2008 making bass-heavy party tunes. Wolf Eyes, Planetary Assault Systems, Perc and Blackest Ever Black duo Moin all went together in a mix that also incorporated the more vivid club styles of himself and fellow Night Slugs producer Hysterics (aka Girl Unit). In a sense, this mixtape heralded A/B til Infinity better than any press release ever could, neatly encapsulating the combination of dark moods and occasionally brutal rhythms that make up this album.
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Since his debut album The Second Son fully heralded his arrival on the scene, John Heckle has represented nothing less than a fist-pumping power station within the hustle and bustle of global house and techno. His releases have been plentiful, but moreso his presence in the live arena has been hard to ignore. Certainly not one to shy from putting the work into his performances, his live sets are a jackhammer machine opera constantly steered and manipulated by his own hands, while his DJ sets sport additional drum machine action thrown into the mix lest we all lose focus with the searing blend of acid, proto house and techno he throws down.
This may be hard to take for anyone schooled on “In from the Night” and “Booster” or who discovered Planetary Assault Systems via the Temporary Suspension comeback album, but for his debut L.B. Dub Corp long player, Luke Slater has made an excellent and in places 90s-referencing house music collection. Unusually for the UK producer, it sees him bring his British identity to bear on his work, drawing on the legacy of sound systems and Ragga MCs.
There’s a point about two minutes into the first track of Logos’ Cold Mission, where you’ll probably think: “What the hell am I listening to?”. By the time you get to the fourth track, the spinback heavy musique concrète that is ”Swarming,” you’ll probably still be asking yourself the same question. For those utterly alien 12 minutes, you’ll feel like you’re floating in a sensory deprivation tank, while a combination of the sounds of Bernard Parmegiani, Vangelis and early ‘00s pirate radio broadcasts all bleed in from the outside world. The repeated sound of a cocked pistol, smashed glass and synths that tinkle like wind chimes are some of the alien sounds that drift by during that time, while the kick drums – those precious few that there are – seem there to simply explore what effect their frequency will have on the isolated vacuum of space the producer seems to have created for himself. It’s an even more lonely place than that created in last year’s Kowloon EP for Keysound, which seems practically mainstream by comparison.
Lock up your daughters, the enfant terrible of abstract techno has unleashed his debut album and he’s sure to leave a trail of destruction in his path. Or will he? While there is no doubt that Samuel Kerridge is a talented artist and his work is far more rewarding than the runt’s litter currently passing for industrial techno, it’s also hard not to arrive at the conclusion that he’s having a bit of a laugh too.
As a duo making improvised “one-take” techno jams on a variety of analogue hardware, Australian act Gardland fit one of 2013’s key narratives perhaps a little too snugly; given the prevalence of this kind of material of late, it’s little wonder the words “raw analogue techno jams” have started to fatigue fans and journalists alike. Of course it’s not a given that this kind of music should be inherently unimaginative, just that it lends itself to being thrown together in a haphazard manner. The origins of the Gardland project, supposedly borne out of a ten day drug-fuelled psychedelic bender in the Australian outback, is not exactly the kind of story that inspires much confidence in the quality of their sound.
Backstories don’t get much better than Saâda Bonaire’s. The band was founded in Bremen in 1982, the brainchild of DJ Ralf Behrendt. The outfit orbited around two vocalists, Stefanie Lange and Claudia Hossfeld, but the pair was augmented by a group of attendees at the immigration centre at which Behrendt worked. The band signed to EMI shortly after their inception, and quickly cut “You Could Be More As You Are” with Dennis Bovell. The track was intended to be their breakthrough hit. Two years later, with the release of the single impending, Saâda Bonaire’s A&R was ignominiously sacked. The track was released quietly, and the band was dropped shortly thereafter.
Ron Morelli is known as the driving force behind the ultra-prolific but always engaging L.I.E.S label. The challenge now facing the straight talking DJ and occasional producer is to step from behind the shadows of the behemoth he has created and to carve out his own identity. Surfacing on Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions label, Spit is Morelli’s own statement, but it is one that remains inextricably linked to the aesthetic that underpins L.I.E.S.
With a single-minded approach that has won him a wealth of admiration amongst lovers of ethereal electronic music, anonymous producer A Sagittariun has carved a distinct niche for himself. Releasing solely on his own Elastic Dreams imprint and reaching out to like-minded remixers such as October, Marco Bernardi and Mike Dehnert in his MD2 guise, A Sagittariun’s remit lies somewhere between the heyday of early 90s electronic listening music and more modern house and techno concerns. As such, this long player was an inevitable point to be reached, the extended running time affording the kind of space required for a producer such as this to fully explore his own curious sound world.
Since her emergence in 2010, Laurel Halo’s music seems to have been torn between two modes. Her first EP, King Felix, explored a kind of vocal pop music with an accompanying electronic backdrop that saw her voice set among soaring electronic vistas that owed much to half-remembered ‘80s musical culture. Its follow up, Hour Logic, was something of an about turn, largely ditching the vocals for a collection of tracks that seemed like more of an attempt to engage with the dancefloor. The not entirely successful nature of these two experiments was somewhat resolved with the earnest vocal delivery and neon-spattered dub of her debut LP, Quarantine, but the EPs that bookended it have been resolutely club-focused. This push and pull has made it difficult to get a handle on what Halo’s grand plan is. Is she a pop artist trying to make club music, or is she even interested in the club at all?
Who wants their music to be easily signposted all the time? As Aybee’s Deepblak label gets ever bolder in exploring paths less trodden in rhythmic electronic music, so Afrikan Sciences returns to deliver an inimitable concoction of spanners in the works, conjuring up a wonderfully disorientating sonic experience in the process. His previous long player set the tone for abstraction hovering on the fringes of house and techno, shot through with the kind of ethnically rooted beat instinct you might find in Brainfeeder’s Ras G. While there are plenty of producers that can work with polyrhythms and syncopation in their methodical arrangements, it’s a different beast to authentically channeling the lilt and roll of hand-drummed, multi-limbed percussion.
Originating from a live performance by Peter Van Hoesen at a Time 2 Express label night at Tresor in July this year, Life Performance captures the energy that often evades techno artists when they sit down to record a studio album. Attribute it to the fact that Van Hoesen was toying with a new live set-up on the night or put it down to the Belgian producer’s general ability to push the techno envelope, but whatever the explanation, Life Performance teems with fresh ideas and glistening, futuristic rhythms, all segued on the fly and in direct response to his audience’s needs.
It seems somewhat fitting that Jaime Fennelly created much of his work as Mind Over Mirrors on a remote Washington island in the Salish Sea. When The Rest Are Up At Four is the fourth Mind Over Mirrors album in three years from Fennelly, his first for the Chicago label Immune, and feels strangely distant, while also rooted in the organic sounds of surrounding nature. As a founding member of Peeesseye, which formed in 2002, Fennelly lived in Bushwick, New York until he decided to relocate to island life in 2007. The move was a shift that coincided with his development as a solo artist, work that was created under more isolated conditions.
Mr Beatnick is one of London’s most consistently entertaining DJs. Known to Revenue and Customs as Nick Wilson, Mr Beatnick has, over the course of the last three years, moved from cult capital selector to Sonar concern, playing sets that shift fluently between classic house, London techno, and the more thundering hinterlands of r’n’b. As a producer, Wilson makes the sort of luxuriant house music that comes on like warm swaddling. His productions are in thrall to the very fundaments of house, boogie, and, although it might not shout its presence so loudly, hip-hop, reconfiguring classic sounds into tracks that hum with analogue glee.
A fascination with imagined landscapes seems to have been evident in the work of Daniel Lopatin since the beginning or his career – and probably since before then. Betrayed In The Octagon, his debut as Oneohtrix Point Never, seemed to create towering crystalline structures out of its drifting arpeggios and indistinct chords, placed within an landscape that seemed to exist within a vast alien dimension filled with violet skies (something perhaps best represented on the cover of the Rifts LP which collected its tracks). In 2010’s Returnal, this space became more turbulent, rocked by rougher textures. 2011’s Replica took a different approach entirely; taking samples from 1980s commercials and forming them into a unique musical language. It was an occasionally claustrophobic album inverting his usual space into something much more concentrated. Rather than a panoramic listening experience Replica was introspective, seemingly designed to muddle the brain and force the listener inside their own imagined space rather than one of Lopatin’s design.
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Luke ‘Helm’ Younger’s Alter has been quietly trundling out work of exceptional quality since 2010. While the label’s most prominent record may be Hieroglyphic Being’s Electronic Belt 12”, Alter has been responsible for a series of fascinating releases from artists as diverse as Damien Dubrovnik, Liberez, and Helm himself. Basic House, otherwise known as Opal Tapes founder Stephen Bishop, is the latest addition to the Alter stock. Oats, his third release of the year, consists of some of Basic House’s most forthright work, and feels significantly less abstracted than, for example, Cryptid Binaries or his excellent recent split with Prostitutes on Opal Tapes and Blowing Up The Workshop.
Rashad Harden’s devotion to Chicago is unwavering. Serving as a Godfather-esque figure in the game long before footwork was catapulted into a worldwide spotlight, he’s been releasing hypnotic tracks for a decade alongside the likes of 90′s juke legend DJ Deeon. He’s been DJing parties since his pre-teen years, and despite being an institution of the genre, he’s humble about his perseverance. In a recent interview with Electronic Beats this summer, Harden uses the phrase “we just kept going” three times in two paragraphs. It’s an appropriate mantra for Harden’s seizure-inducing syncopated dance tracks, which seem to stretch the very fabric of time with their crisply fractured repetition – making a track that repeats words hundreds of times throughout pass in what feels like seconds. They just keep going.
For a label whose whole existence centres on providing new and compelling interpretations of dance floor techno, Frames of Reference is quite a leap. Recorded over a period of years by UK artist Ø [Phase], the album’s direction is at times in stark contrast to the advanced yet functional approach that Token favours.