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Roman Flügel – Happiness Is Happening

by on at 08:58am

For an artist that has been prolific since the 90s from underground experiments to chart topping festival bangers, it was remarkable how much Roman Flügel’s first album under his own name, 2011’s Fatty Folders, affirmed his reputation amongst the upper echelons of electronic auteurs. It was perhaps one of the first chances to hear the German mainstay cut free of specific conceptual motives (from the refined minimal house of Roman IV to the rabble-rousing techno of Alter Ego) and deliver an album that seemed to come from a more personal artistic mindset. There was still a strong narrative to latch on to, but the expression within the music seemed to come from a more heartfelt place.

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Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty

by on at 09:40am

Regardless of the claims of critics and musicians, it’s increasingly rare to find a band, producer or collective that does something unique. While plenty of artists are capable of breathing new life into ailing genres, or drawing together disparate influences to create intriguing musical fusions, very few manage to produce work that not only defies easy categorization, but also leaves you desperately searching for a coherent explanation for what you’ve just heard.

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Pye Corner Audio/Not Waving – Intercepts

by on at 13:52pm

There’s something rather fitting about the concept behind this split LP from brothers-in-electronica Martin Jenkins (AKA Pye Corner Audio) and Alessio Natalizia. As the title suggests, it was inspired by the world of espionage, and more specifically the spy rings that criss-crossed the World during the Cold War era, with bed-hopping, double-crossing agents meeting at dawn to exchange information in dark alleys, non-descript cafes and hush-hush safe houses. It’s an era that has already provided ample fodder for authors and scriptwriters, so it makes sense that it would provide inspiration for a pair of producers whose instinctive takes on electronic music more often than not veer on the claustrophobic.

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FaltyDL – In The Wild

by on at 07:45am

Drew Lustman has always seemed like a man blessed with more musical ideas than he knows what to do with. A cursory trawl through the now sprawling FaltyDL discography seems to confirm this assumption. After starting life making skittish, off-kilter bass music informed by jungle, garage and early British rave music, Lustman settled on a style that delighted in confounding expectations. His first two albums, both released on Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu imprint, were particularly thrilling, offering vivacious, often kaleidoscopic blends of styles shot through with a rush-inducing dedication to dancefloor release.

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Marcel Dettmann – Fabric 77

by on at 09:05am

I’ve seen Dettmann play overtime to an empty club of 15 brave Australians (including bar staff) on a cold Thursday night in Adelaide. I’ve had him outlast me at Berghain, I’ve witnessed him power through 10-straight-hours of 130BPM techno with Ben Klock, and I just saw him play back-to-back with Luke Slater at this year’s Dekmantel Festival. If there’s a DJ I can trust to helm two turntables, some CDJs and a mixer, it’s Dettmann. With the future of the mix CD uncertain, it’s nice to know there are still DJs out there with the ability to rustle up excitement around the release of one. Fabric’s storied series has become the mix CDs main faculty, and Pangaea’s complete thrust into techno music and Move D’s housier edition have kept fabric’s tin packaging in production for another successful year.

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Various Artists – Masse Box

by on at 13:41pm

Why should electronic music producers be confined to writing solely for the dancefloor? For every dodgy techno ‘concept’ album, there have been a multitude of excellent projects  – witness alternative (in form) releases from Regis, Surgeon and more recently Sigha and sometime Nine Inch Nails band member Alessandro Cortini over the past year. It’s heartening to see Ostgut Ton supporting this kind of thinking. After all the label has been one of the most prolific platforms for modern house and techno, so its willingness to give vent to abstract compositions that provided a soundtrack to a ballet last year is welcome.

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Kline Coma Xero – Kline Coma Xero

by on at 08:59am

“We are just images now”. Tony Williams’ recently born project Kline Coma Xero self titled debut for the wonderful Seattle-based Medical Records dispenses such pearls of postmodern thought in large quantities. On other tracks, Williams disembodiedly croons that ‘we’re all mannequins’ (“Mannequins”), that we’re in a ‘casualty ward’ (“Casualty Ward”), that he’s ‘standing in the dark looking for an answer’ (“Silent Call”), or ‘alone in the darkroom’ (“Darkroom”), and finally that there are ‘no windows’ and that hence we are told to ‘turn off the lights / turn off the TV / turn off the thinking’ (“No Windows”).

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Severed Heads – Since The Accident

by on at 09:42am

It would be fair to say that Severed Heads are well-regarded in electronic circles, though there’s an argument to suggest that their back catalogue – particularly their pioneering work in the late ‘70s and early 1980s – is nowhere near as celebrated as many of their better-known contemporaries. This is something of a shame, because this early work – specifically those albums recorded between 1979 and 1985 – still sounds surprisingly fresh. Certainly, it stands up to comparison with the work of similarly minded acts of the period, from Chris & Cosey and Throbbing Gristle, to Coil, Nitzer Ebb and, most potently, Cabaret Voltaire.

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AL-90 – SCR

by on at 09:23am

Reckno, the label run by Chris Catlin and Peter St. John, has been one of the most prolific of all entries into the lo-fi cassette melee, although with its first releases reaching back to 2009, the pair arguably foreshadowed the current explosion even as their output has ramped up to reflect a flourishing interest in the wares they have to offer. The latest release on the label concerns itself with a hitherto unknown talent dealing in fringe electronica robbed of all airs and graces, all executed under the thoroughly cassette-friendly pseudonym AL-90.

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Aybee & Afrikan Sciences – Sketches Of Space

by on at 08:30am

The over-arching concept of Sketches Of Space feels like something of an inevitability. It’s perhaps the only time either Aybee or Afrikan Sciences, or indeed the Deepblak label as a whole, has served up something which can inspire sage, expectant nodding or some kind of internal “but of course” monologue, being as they are a creative force in electronic music that revels breaking new ground and plunging into the unexpected. Jazz and its boundary-less fringes has always served as a motivational point for Aybee and co. and yielded results both exciting and challenging along the way, and for this latest release they impart three years worth of live, improvisational jams undergone with the spirit of Miles Davis in mind.

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Craig Leon – Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1

by on at 09:42am

Wandering around the hallways of the Brooklyn Museum back in 1973, Craig Leon’s eye was caught by a series of sculptures from the Dogon of the Republic of Mali, a tribe whose stargazing artistic culture focused on imagining what otherworldly life might look like. Humanity has always been curious about what other life exists in the Universe, but that sentiment was especially potent in the mid-70s. During this time, Leon provided production chops for a series of artists who distorted the concept of what pop music could encompass: a then-emaciated and often shirtless Richard Hell, Blondie, the Ramones, Suicide. They were all extraterrestrials in their own right, and hearing their feedback-laden tracks on the radio must’ve been as shocking to some as hearing the 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds and thinking that aliens had actually landed.

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Kettenkarussell – Easy Listening

by on at 13:37pm

To understand Kettenkarussell is to understand Giegling. Herr Koreander (aka Konstantin) and Leafar Legov’s collaboration were responsible for the label’s first release, I Believe You And Me Make Love Forever. Since that record, Giegling has grown exponentially, but Kettenkarussell, with its childlike demeanour, will always remain the root from which everything grows.

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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


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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