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Surgeon – From Farthest Known Objects

The last Surgeon album was 2011’s Breaking the Frame. While its title and sound showed that at the time, the UK producer was steering away from traditional or conventional techno tropes, this follow-up, nearly five years later, seeks, on a superficial level, to tell a different story. From Farthest Known Objects purports to be directly linked to transmissions from far-flung galaxies that the artist came into contact with when he was jamming on hardware.

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LNS – Maligne Range

It seems appropriate that LNS should title her debut release after a mountain range located in the westernmost part of Canada. To the uninitiated, LNS is the alias of respected Vancouver DJ Laura Sparrow, who dispatched a sublimely mixed and emotive entry into the Trushmix series back in September. It’s plain to see why she has been winning over dance floors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

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Bill Converse – Meditations/Industry

Meditations/Industry from Bill Converse marks something of a departure for Dark Entries. The San Francisco label spent 2015 in reissue mode, and the nearest its catalogue got to the present day was the Kittin & Hacker 12”. While Meditations/Industry is a contemporary album – originally released on tape in 2013 – Converse’s sound is rooted in the past, albeit shaped by influences not normally reflected in Dark Entries’ lexicon or indeed in its approach to re-issues.

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JT The Goon – King Triton

Instruments and machines are equally as important in creating music as the human beings that use them. The use (or misuse) of these tools by artists and musicians have helped shape the sound of multiple genres over the years. In grime, the Korg Triton and subsequent digital imitators have played an integral role in developing characteristic tropes like the synth bass that became Wiley’s trademark Eskibeat sound. JT The Goon’s debut album pays homage to this influential keyboard in more ways than the title.

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Nico Motte – Life Goes On If You’re Lucky

Like many of electronic music’s most interesting labels, Antinote has always been comfortable embracing the contrast between dark and light. The Parisian label has managed to find a balance between moody, murky electronic darkness – see the releases by Stephane Laporte, Albinos, and some of Iueke and Geena’s more robust moments – and releases that reach-out towards the afternoon sun with all the hazy enthusiasm of a newborn child. In fact, many of these more obviously picturesque moments – particularly D.K’s wonderful album, Drop, and Domenique Dumont’s stunning mini-album, Comme Ça – could be considered among the imprint’s finest releases to date.

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Broken English Club – Suburban Hunting

To speak for the likes of Oliver Ho is not possible without tracing the trajectory of one exceptionally prolific career. For two decades now, the London-based artist has released using over half a dozen aliases spanning techno, occasional forays in house, drone rock/noise and, more recently, modern post-punk reinterpretations. Throughout these many phases, he’s seemed to abandon the projects, be it the seminal Meta imprint, short lived electro-pop outfit The Eyes in the Heat or his more well-known Raudive project, once they’ve reached a creative peak, only to return reinvigorated under a new alias. His new project Broken English Club project first appeared in 2014, as the fourth release on Silent Servant’s Jealous God imprint.

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Fred P – Modern Architect

Modern Architect is a collection of tracks from Fred Peterkin’s studio that have only previously been aired in his the US producer’s DJ sets. According to a note from the newly formed Energy Of Sound label, this is the first in a series of releases, so it seems that Fred P fans can look forward to more such albums in the future. Modern Architect turned out to Peterkin’s second album of a productive 2015, but stands in stark contrast to his 5 album as FP-Oner on Mule Musiq.

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CP/BW – Untitled

As the bleak mid winter marches on, and we take stock of the past twelve months worth of music in an attempt to draw some kind of moral from it all, I stand on the threshold sending you best wishes with a copy of this Corporate Park and Beau Wanzer album under my arm. And it’s terribly fitting: between ripples and waves of archival releases and collaborations, Beau Wanzer has been one of the protagonists of this black-lit, and backlit, electronic circus of a year, and this third release on his own label seals his reputation as one of the great madmen of our times.

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D5 – Sides of Space

Techno that doesn’t either pummel the listener into submission or rain down sixth-form misery on its audience is often the subject of harsh criticism. Labelled ‘intelligent techno’ during the early ‘90s, this style was picked apart for being by turns, too bland, not aggressive enough, too pretentious and exhibiting too many auteur-like qualities that placed it in proximity to progressive rock. In short this music was deemed just too smart and cleverly made for the average bald-headed, roll-up smoking techno raver who wanted to get it on all night to some proper music of the people like gabba or ‘ardkore.

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Peter Scion – Through My Ghost

Music for love, music for oneself, music for exorcism. When Swedish musician Peter Scion was still cloistered in the internet underground of his blog, publishing his many albums online following the interest of those heroic suspects such as Mutant Sounds, he wrote an entry to his 2000 album Through My Ghost in which he described the record’s emotional environment as follows: ‘I was a bit like a ghost to myself, and the album is the sound of that ghost performing.’ The meander through Peter Scion’s ghost is uneasy, shifting, yet delicate. You tread on autumn leaves and you race through cosmic landscapes. There’s violence and there’s warmth.

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Petre Inspirescu – Vin Ploile

It was back in 2007 when a young Romanian collective emerged, seemingly out of nowhere with [a:rpia:r] 01. They brought with them a fresh sound that adhered to the key principles of what always made the minimal techno sound so edgy, before, to quote Oli Warwick, “it became self-conscious about its reductionist values.” Stripped and hypnotic grooves that focused on the raw essence of house music, defiantly unreliant on elements like vocals, big melodies or swing. They weren’t reinventing the wheel per se; there’s no doubt their sound was as much indebted to Perlon or Playhouse as it was to Max.Ernst or even Accelerate.

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The Explosion – The Explosion

In May 2014, Chateau Flight released Terry Riley Covers, a two-track 12” that saw them deliver fresh interpretations of two works by the great American minimalist, with the assistance of new wave French electronic explorers Cabaret Contemporain. As collaborations go, it was a rip-roaring success, with both tracks taking Riley’s works in fresh directions whilst retaining the original spirit and ethos of his compositional method.

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Joey Anderson – Invisible Switch

When some artists turn to face the daunting prospect of their second album (or first, third, or any other for that matter) it can be viewed as an opportunity to dig deep and draw upon some new musical idiom they’ve not tackled before. No doubt some feel the pressure of expectation, not least if they have a fan base and supportive press that generally laud everything they have done before. Even if we don’t know how Joey Anderson felt as he worked on the follow-up to 2014’s After Forever, those aforementioned stereotypes of ‘album approaches’ don’t seem valid when considering his music at all.

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Various Artists – Exo

There has been a steady murmur for some time now about a prevalence of exciting electronic music emanating out of Belgium. Forgetting the heady days of New Beat et al, there are times when the country’s most ambitious artists get overlooked in favour of foreign counterparts, but that murmur has started in recent times to turn into a rumble. From the well-established presence of Meakusma to the more recently noticeable Bepotel and Vlek, it’s a strong time for daring sounds emanating out of the centre of Europe, and Ekster has done plenty in the past couple of years to add to that notion.

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Basic Soul Unit – Under the Same Sky

Under the Same Sky is Toronto-based Stuart Li’s second album as Basic Soul Unit, and it suggests he has his sights set on the big room or festival main stage. The hook-up with Dutch label and party organisers Dekmantel will facilitate the realisation of this ambition, but so too will the album’s musical direction. The thing that hits the listener first are the kick drums; loud, heavy and pounding, they re-cast Li as a techno force rather than a house producer.

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Charles Manier – American Manier

Like that other great contemporary US producer, Beau Wanzer, Tadd Mullinix is a restless, prolific artist. Not content with putting out searing acid as James T. Cotton or glitchy hip-hop as Dabrye, he launched a third alter ego, Charles Manier. While the first release under that name was back in 2002, the Manier project really gained momentum with the Untitled album on Traxx’s Nation in 2013. That debut long player was inspired by the now-deceased Chrislo Haas, formerly of D.A.F. and Beate Bartel, a founding member of Einstürzende Neubauten. The pair had worked together briefly as CH BB during the early ’80s and had released a series of highly prized cassettes under that name.

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October – Black Body Radiation

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

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

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

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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