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October – Black Body Radiation

by on at 09:19am

It feels like an album has been a long time coming from Julian Smith. After his early forays into production, his emergence as a techno subversive with his own Caravan label brought with it a sense of adventure and playfulness that yearned to be roaming outside the confines of the club 12”. It speaks volumes that his wayward sound has shored up at labels as diverse as Perspectiv, Misericord, Apple Pips, Aus Music and latterly Skudge, Soul People and Voodoo Down without sounding like anything you would typically find on one of those labels. In a sense his music has emerged in parallel to the growing pains of the post-dubstep diaspora, often reflecting the spirit of the time without kowtowing to it. Certainly by the time the L.I.E.S.-inspired hardware house revival was kicking off, Smith had already been losing himself in tape loops and delay chains for quite some time.

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Patrick Cowley – Muscle Up

by on at 18:30pm

Back in the autumn of 2013, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem joined forces to shed new life onto the largely unknown early work of one of disco’s ost unique producers.  Before the release of School Daze, a compendium of early, largely experimental 1970s synthesizer recordings that ended up forming the soundtrack to the long-forgotten gay porn flick of the same name, most listeners knew Patrick Cowley for his work with Sylvester, or the throbbing, high-energy electronic disco of “Menergy”, “Megatron Man” and his infamous 15-minute extension of the Moroder-produced Donna Summer hit “I Feel Love”. His take on disco – rugged, surging, highly sexually charged and seemingly crafted with the bath houses, saunas and gay clubs of San Francisco in mind – was unique and ground breaking, but occasionally too masculine for straight audiences elsewhere.

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Broshuda – Outlines

by on at 14:08pm

Creativity is not always about inventing something totally new. In contemporary arts and music it might be more about rearranging things, pulling together already existing pieces to form something new. Broshuda refers to that question with a wink when he labels his music ‘Eno-Grime’, ‘Glambient’, ‘Mindgaze’, ‘Synthkrust’ or ‘Post-Wonk’. On his latest release, the Outlines cassette for Sonic Router, the German producer gives an extensive insight into what this may sound like.

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Bossa Luce – Nel Salotto Degli Appestati

by on at 15:00pm

For the nth time this year, we’re back in Turin, and we can now declare ourselves almost totally caught up with the Bossa Luce productions of the elusive Mr. Vincent E.F.c., unless he shocks us with a further raft of unreleased material (which wouldnt surprise me). Shrouded in a thick veil of home-taped fog, Bossa Luce’s magnificent work has been released in limited cassete since the early 2000s and was brought to wider attention last year on Direct Cut’s stunning Cicli Siderali verso l’Annientamento (which was at no. 2 of my staff list of 2014 here on Juno Plus).

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Aardvarck – Co In Ci

by on at 09:16am

The last we heard of Mike ‘Aardvarck’ Kivits was earlier this year, when the Bali-based producer had rather cheekily sampled a track from Jochem Peteri’s Ross 154 project for his Thankxx Joch release on Voyage Direct. It seems that he is up to his old tricks again for this release on Skudge – more of which later – but his somewhat liberal approach to intellectual property does not detract from a fine, assured collection.

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Nomine – Inside Nomine

by on at 17:05pm

The slow, steady output of Nomine has tread the path of his tunes. A creeping succession of singles on Tempa since 2013 that suddenly solidifies, his presence in the prime of new-wave dubstep now assured through this debut LP that neatly combines everything accomplished to this point. Inside Nomine is clearly and unsurprisingly indebted to dubstep’s larger, longer-lasting behaviour, the producer merging contemporary technicality and a deeper, darker strain of production with the golden age and Tempa-sympathetic elements of the genre.

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Leif – Taraxacum

by on at 09:03am

The creative arc of an artist becomes much clearer once they start exploring the space afforded by an LP. Singles often capture quite a brief moment in time, with styles shifting from release to release depending on the label, presenting a selection that doesn’t necessarily have to hold together as a consistent thematic body of work. On a full-length it is unavoidable that the process leading up to the day of release is a more protracted, considered affair, from the production to the curation and so on to the listeners’ experience. As Leif reaches his second LP after Dinas Oleu landed in late 2013, his considerable progression as an artist is far more tangible from the svelte house productions of old through to his more recent, experimental fare.

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I.B.M. – From The Land Of Rape & Honey (The Suppressed Tapes) 1995-2005

by on at 09:40am

As anyone who was brave enough to listen to last year’s Eat My Fuck album will surely attest, Jamal Moss’ I.B.M. project is not for those who like streamlined electronic music. Short for Insane Black Man, that 2014 album saw the Chicago artist push the raw, jarring take on house music he releases under the Hieroglyphic Being guise into a place where distorted chaos rules. Collecting tracks from the Moss archive spread over a ten-year period, From The Land Of Rape & Honey is for the most part very much in keeping with the disturbed thought process that guided Eat My Fuck.

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Various Artists – Vibe 3

by on at 06:00am

Here’s a question for you to mull over: how did Future Times become one of the coolest record labels currently operating? It’s not through being prolific with fewer than 30 releases over the eight years the DC label has been active – though the Future Times quality control has remained constant throughout. For me it’s the unfettered enthusiasm for their craft displayed by Future Time founders Andrew Field-Pickering and Mike Petillo that’s proved integral to this rise. That and their endeavours to ensure things will be better in future times.

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Luke Vibert – Bizarster

by on at 11:18am

In case the return of his Kerrier District alias this spring wasn’t quite enough, Luke Vibert has bookended another particular active year with Bizarster. You could argue that every year is particularly active for Vibert: this is his seventh solo album under his given name (10th if you include his collaborative albums with Jean Jacques Perry, B.J Cole and Simmonds) and 24th album in total. That’s an album every eleven months, on average, since he emerged professionally in 1993. You could also argue that Vibert favours, and consequently suffers from, quantity over quality: for every seminal track such as “Mr Mukatsuku” or “I Love Acid” there are at least 10 less memorable, possibly even throw-away, cuts. But that’s always struck me as the producer’s vibe; he doesn’t over-think, over-labour or over-conceptualise his tracks.

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Moufang & Czamanski – Live in Seattle

by on at 15:41pm

West Coast label Further Records has had a great year, releasing Rrose’s conceptual Having Never Written a Note for Percussion as well as strong albums from Strategy, Innercity, Donato Dozzy and label owner Raica, and some sub-aquatic techno from Nautil. As the end of 2015 approaches, Further usher in a special release that truly captures the label’s charmingly ramshackle approach.

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The Green Door All Stars – Youth Stand Up!

by on at 09:34am

The Green Door Studio has an impeccable track record when it comes to delivering weird, wonderful and innovative music from the local Glasgow scene. This is due, in no small part, to founders Emily MacLaren, Stuart Evans and Sam Smith, who set up the studio with the admirable aim of broadening access to recording and music production. Put simply, since the studio’s foundation almost a decade ago, they’ve devoted much of their time to running free training courses, workshops and drop-in sessions for teenagers, and young musicians not in full-time employment or training. It’s a policy that has famously paid dividends, with Golden Teacher, Happy Meals, Whilst, Sons&Daughters and Shopping amongst the bands to have come through the Green Door system.

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Break – Simpler Times

by on at 13:56pm

Hard to search online, easy to love: Break is one of drum and bass’ most respected anomalies whose contrasts and characteristics helps to remind us why we fell in love with the 20 year old genre in the first place. While many of his peers devote a fair amount of their passing time on Twitter, Break refuses to subscribe to any social media behaviour. A certain faction of the genre may be employing decorated top line writers and featured vocalists from the world of pop, yet Break reminds us how vocal D&B tracks can be cooked up and coated with genuine soul. While many drum & bass artists chisel a sub-sub-sub-genre sound and seldom pop their peepers over the niche parapet to see what else is going on, Break embraces the full scene spectrum, amassing as many stripes in liquid as he has tech-focussed D&B.

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Mariah – Utakata No Hibi

by on at 09:32am

One of the joys of the Internet age is the opportunity it offers to discover – and celebrate – obscure or overlooked artists. For those in the West, Yasuaki Shimizu would fall into that category. A Japanese multi-instrumentalist, virtuoso saxophonist, producer, writer, arranger and fearless experimentalist who has been active since the early 1970s, Shimizu’s work has long been popular with those who regularly make crate-digging trips to Tokyo and Osaka.

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Ipman – Depatterning

by on at 09:38am

Pop songs are usually most recognised for their sequences of components like intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc. Dance music however often breaks free from these prevailing formulas and helps emphasises sound through bodily experience instead, with producers creating new structures to move to, to listen to, to feel. The title of Ipman‘s debut album, Depatterning, perhaps refers to Jack Gibbons’ attempt to dismantle existing structure.

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Earthen Sea – Ink

by on at 06:00am

Jacob Long’s Earthen Sea project is a venture that feels like it has led two distinct lives so far. Prior to surfacing on Ital’s Lovers Rock label with the Mirage 12” last year, Long had released a multitude of cassettes under the alias on labels such as Imminent Frequencies and Magic Bullet, stretching back to the mid ‘00s when there were far fewer tapes knocking about. Long has also spent plenty of time working alongside Ital, first appearing in their group Mi Ami that kicked off Lovers Rock many moons ago, taking part in the post-hardcore band Black Eyes and more recently starting up the Sleeper Cell project that has so far yielded a single 12”. This new wave of releases on Ital’s label feels like a concerted effort from Long, given contextual glue by all appearing in one place, and in that sense it seems separate from the earlier Earthen Sea material.

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Various Artists – Trevor Jackson presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics

by on at 07:00am

There’s an argument to be made that On-U Sound is one of Britain’s most influential and forward-thinking record labels of the last three decades. While it will, naturally, always be associated with the cavernous, delay-laden swing of dub, Adrian Sherwood’s imprint has always embraced new sounds and musical ideas. This was particularly evident during the 1980s, when Sherwood – then developing a formidable reputation as a producer-for-hire –used On-U Sound as an outlet for all manner of weird-and-wonderful records that defied easy categorization. With Sherwood acting as producer, mixer and engineer, the imprint’s releases touched on everything from post-punk fuzziness, industrial and beatbox electro to wayward boogie, synth-pop, and heavily percussive world music. During this period, On-U Sound’s output perfectly encapsulated the wild, musically free-spirited outlook of post-punk DIY culture, channelling it through Sherwood’s dub-addled mind to deliver records that, some 30 years on, still sound fearlessly original, out-there and inspired.

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Tomo Akikawabaya – The Invitation of The Dead

by on at 09:00am

I can’t remember where I read that the 1980s was the decade Japan had been ready for, aesthetically at least, for centuries; a country regarded as so postmodern we might as well call it non-modern. Whether we think it’s true or not, it’s interesting an interesting angle from which to hear the country’s minimal synth; as a genre so grounded in coupling melancholia and ideas of the future, it works particularly well where that future appears clearer somehow, whatever that future might be. While certainly not a societal record – it’s really very intimate and existential – Tomo Akikawabaya’s The Invitation of the Dead provides a profusion of future melancholia, completely unphased and unseduced by the technology at its disposal. Synthesisers sound almost natural to him, the obvious expression of a private despair which could be in the 1980s and could be anytime that ever was. Minimal Wave’s choice of title, as ever, proves apt.

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Dimitris Petsetakis – Endless

by on at 06:00am

When Echovolt boss Ilias Pitsios and renowned crate digger Tako Reyenga joined forces to launch Into The Light Records back in 2012, few others saw the potential for a label dedicated to unearthing overlooked Greek ambient music. Yet from their first release, the brilliant Into The Light compilation which gathered together a wealth of obscure new age, neo-classical and ambient material, it was obvious that the label had legs. The music they unearthed was rarely less than magical, and of keen interest to anyone with a passion for the mood-enhancing qualities of dreamy, evocative, electronic music.

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Laurel Halo – In Situ

by on at 06:00am

Having listened to this surprise new Honest Jon’s release from Laurel Halo several times over, there was a point somewhere in closing track “Focus 1” where some short sampled breathes first made themselves known. In amidst the supple piano tones, unpredictable beat down drum programming, and whatever other instruments used and deployed to wondrous effect, the appearance of this human element jutted me out of my becalmed state. This is just one example of the little details there are to uncover and explore within the eight tracks on In Situ.

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