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Civil Duty – Civil Duty

by on at 09:33am

With Shawn O’Sullivan based in Brooklyn and Beau Wanzer in Chicago the opportunities to work in the same room with the same gear just don’t present themselves all that often, so Civil Duty was born of jam sessions whilst meet-ups or tours were happening – the pair just utilising a ‘machines on and go’ improvisatory work technique where they sweat the equipment for fifteen to twenty minutes until they hit a sweet spot to start recording. An extremely limited tape caught the approach in its primal state from a live ‘showcase’ set in the LA music store Mount Analog last year, and a single track slotted between solo O’Sullivan tracks on The Corner in 2013 hinted at the pace and trajectory they’ve been exploring. For most however, this LP - recorded in just two major sessions split over the last couple of years – will be the first contact.

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Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Sounding Lines

by on at 16:47pm

Fluidity in line-up doesn’t exactly directly translate to a lively, liquid form of music, but when dealing with jazz – or a jazz-like or jazz-inspired infusion – and improvisatory work there’s a certain expectation for work that toys with and breaks down a grid through exploration, especially within a rotating assembly. Moritz Von Oswald Trio have understandably taken a particular care to explore how frames can break or morph in the last couple of years, the core team of Sasu Ripatti, Max Loderbauer & Moritz Von Oswald (plus more than a handful of supporting acts including Tobias Freund & Carl Craig) as thoroughbred a techno heritage as you can find, and their records has always married rhythm with spontaneity in fairly equal measure.

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Der Zyklus – Biometry

by on at 09:01am

Following on from the re-release of Drexciya’s back catalogue on the Deep Sea Dweller series, Clone now focuses on one of Gerald Donald’s solo projects, Der Zyklus. Originally released on Clone affiliate label DUB back in 2004, vinyl copies of Biometry go for up to 30 pounds online, so even on a financial level, this release is welcome. However, the main reason Clone deserves praise is for shining a spotlight on a project that doesn’t have the same kind of high profile as other Stinson/Donald aliases.

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Ruf Dug – Island

by on at 09:32am

Despite his penchant for cheerful genre hopping, there’s no denying that Ruf Dug has a sound that he can call his own. While it’s taken him some time to really flesh it out – it’s six years since his debut release on Popular People’s Front, fact fans – you can now spot one of his colourful, analogue-heavy jams a mile off. While he’s still a fan of stylistic shifts and audible nods to a multitude of genres – be it Latin freestyle, melancholic synth pop, Larry Heard style deep house, electronic dub or breezy Balearica – the Mancunian’s tracks ripple with melodious positivity, whilst retaining a raw dustiness that reflects his love of battered cassettes and cheap recording equipment.

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General Magic & Pita – Fridge Trax Plus

by on at 09:33am

Considering the monolithic presence Editions Mego commands in the field of noise and experimental electronica, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how the Viennese label started out. As the operation reaches twenty years of service to unwavering excursions on the fringes of what can be called music, a spirit of stocktaking is naturally in the air. Having never personally ventured far back into the foundations of the label when it was simply called Mego (the label was disbanded and reformed as Editions Mego in 2006), Fridge Trax Plus brings a pleasant sense of context to a label that at times feels impenetrable.

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Peder Mannerfelt – The Swedish Congo Record

by on at 09:24am

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Along with the infamous blonde wig, it seems Peder Mannerfelt wears many hats as an artist. Whether it’s his intense live solo act (wearing said hairpiece), the imaginary soundtracks with Malcolm Pardon as Roll The Dice, or his former time with Van Rivers as The Subliminal Kid (known for producing such acts as Fever Ray and Blonde Redhead), he certainly keeps busy. It comes as a fitting installment then that he unveils one of his most ambitious projects yet on Peter Van Hoesen and Yves de Mey’s experimental label, Archives Intérieures.

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Barnett + Coloccia – Weld

by on at 09:28am

Even in the throes of the 21st Century’s so-called power ambient and it’s contemporary landscapes of really very interesting electronic despair, it’s quite rare to find an album that sounds inescapably present yet firmly engaged in a relationship with the past. Also rare is the album that comes shrouded in a crisp, glossy, HD electronica which still remembers sincerely the feeling of the epic. It’s uncommon to find a true sense of occasion these days, a certain formality, or people who know how to indulge things without self-indulging. After 2013’s Retrieval, a discreet, even shy glimpse into what were clearly going to be much bigger things, Barnett + Coloccia return to Blackest Ever Black for their second LP which delivers all of the above.

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Suzanne Kraft – Talk From Home

by on at 09:37am

For much of his career under the Suzanne Kraft alias, Diego Herrera has delivered delightfully warm, loose and baggy fare. Roughly 50 percent of this has been lightly aimed at sticky, humid dancefloors – see the boogie-sampling, Balearic house loveliness of the Running Back released Green Flash EP, or the eyes-closed bliss of Horoscope on Young Adults – with the rest being concerned with the horizontal desires of post-club listening. This was how the Los Angeles based producer began, after all – see the 2010 mini-album Missum, which was deservedly reissued last year by Running Back, or the more experimental, new age inclined Tracks For Performance 12” – and in some ways it remains his strongest suit.

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Various Artists – Sounds Of The Universe: Art + Sound 2012-15

by on at 09:20am

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Sitting down to review a new compilation on Soul Jazz conjures up feelings of nostalgia for me. It’s a label that contributed to my own musical education over the years in a time when compilations were the best conduit to uncovering new avenues to explore. Many open-minded collectors and DJs born in the 1980s will probably have indulged in at least one of Soul Jazz’s releases, with the 100% Dynamite series leading to more personal examinations of Tenor Saw, Prince Buster, or Sister Nancy. That late-‘90s period of musical discovery was fuelled, in part, by hopeful punts on compilations, with one, maybe two recognisable names. Soul Jazz also played their own unwitting part in one of my most bittersweet memories; whilst I was in Milan DJing during an ill-fated visit to stay with an Italian girlfriend who dumped me midway through the week, I gifted some local dub obsessives my freshly bought copy of Studio One Dub.

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No More – A Rose Is A Rose

by on at 09:39am

Dark Entries continues its copious and eclectic 2015 with an adventure into some of the most legendary stuff to pour out of the German 1980s. Hardly a sunny record, No More’s A Rose is a Rose compiles the band’s early discographic output, the EPs A Rose is a Rose, Too Late and the Suicide Commando 7’’, into a tightly-packed, luscious whole. 50 minutes of succulent, protean, and paranoid goth-synth-post punk guaranteed to add spikes to any kind of glossy early summer fantasy you might be having. The period chronicled here covers the very early 1980s, when the German trio (Andy A. Schwarz, Tina Sanudakura, Christian Darc) developed a rough, jittery sound equally at home with the post-Kraftwerkian minimalists and with the most infernal, angst-ridden, youthful goth-punk.

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Various Artists – All

by on at 09:28am

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For a record label to last 15 years it has to have something, right? Some continuity or lasting appeal that stretches beyond that simple artistic need for a base to release music from. For Dial that might be the stability of the roster it has slowly, carefully built itself. Lawrence, John Roberts, Carsten Jost, Efdemin, Panthu Du Prince, Pawel. This is a stable of house and ambient lovers that have tended to remain deep, well composed and artistic in terms of their approach as well as their output, and the continual curatorial concern has always translated into work that can be taken as a long-term investment. With the right mood classy, continental deep house is always a relevant currency, and few have done it so well for so long.

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Nozinja – Nozinja Lodge

by on at 09:27am

It’s not too often a musician comes along who’s managed to craft something that’s completely new, but still with an unshakable backbone of tradition. In Nozinja’s Warp Records debut, however, the Sowetan artist shows a deft hand in bringing together contemporary electronic sounds with the warmth of traditional South African music. Nozinja, widely recognised as being responsible for bringing the Shangaan Electro movement to a global audience, has already spent years crafting satisfyingly frenetic tracks that blend Western beats with the sound of his homeland. Combine that with the trademark bone-shaking dance moves that are an essential part of any Shangaan Electro performance, and you’ve got something that’s a genuine spectacle.

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Vito Ricci – I Was Crossing A Bridge

by on at 12:35pm

Vito Ricci is not a name many people will recognize, yet highlighting the work of forgotten or overlooked artists is rapidly becoming Music From Memory’s raison d’etre. While Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller and Tako Reyenga’s label has not shied away from releasing fresh material – see last year’s superb Gaussian Curve album for proof – it’s their constantly on-point retrospectives for which the Amsterdam-based imprint is rightly renowned. Bar a smattering of heads and crate diggers, few had heard of Gigi Masin, Leon Lowman or Joan Biblioni until they got the Music From Memory treatment. All were musicians with a knack for making beautiful, emotive music, whose undeniably obscure records were criminally overlooked on their initial release.

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Various Artists – Pas De Deux

by on at 10:19am

After various efforts dedicated to unearthing the weird and the wonderful of the Iberian decade of anxiety, Barcelona-based Domestica Records play a strange and quite seductive mirror game for their latest release. A reissue of a compilation made in Spain, grouping artists not from Spain, and throw it right back out to the world outside. A famous compilation, it has to be said, one that has been circulating undercover for the past thirty years surrounded by a cloud of angular, avant garde allure. 500 copies then, 500 copies now. Once more, with feeling.

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Nochexxx – Plot Defender

by on at 09:28am

Cambridge dweller Dave Henson has led an interesting life in music, having contributed to the murky world of 90s post rock as part of Bella Union-released outfit Gwei-lo as well as amassing a respectable discography in his electronica guise Ascoltare. In recent years though his productivity has mostly been felt under the name Nochexxx, notably coming to light with the excellent and decidedly unhinged Ritalin Love 12” on Ramp Recordings back in 2010. He swiftly followed that up with a single for Werk Discs, which should give some indication of where his abstractions on the house and techno formula lie. Last year he cemented his relationship with Ramp via the Thrusters LP, which came staggering out of the speakers in a drunken melee of grungy electro synth tones and erratic beat management.

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Patrice Scott – Euphonium

by on at 09:16am

It’s no surprise or coincidence that there is a large, unidentified planet on the cover of Patrice Scott’s debut album. While the euphonium is a brass instrument -  albeit one that comes from ‘sweet-voiced’ in Greek -  the veteran producer is following the well-documented Detroit obsession with exploring outer space and the cosmos. Scott’s small but flawless catalogue of work on his Sistrum label certainly sits at house music’s most esoteric end, in sharp contrast to the gritty, steely swing of Omar S. As an interviewee, he exudes the same kind of distracted aura as Juan Atkins, like all he wants to do is stare out the window in anticipation of the first encounter.

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Marcos Cabral – Buried Alive Twice

by on at 09:11am

In some ways, it’s hard to marry the glassy-eyed exuberance of Marcos Cabral’s prior work, both with Jacques Renault as Runaway and the raft of solo strobe lit basement edits he has been responsible for, with his current creative direction. Cabral’s sporadic output for L.I.E.S. over the past few years has been characterised by a fuzzy dustiness and curious loneliness. His 2011 debut for the label, the now highly sought-after 24 Hour Flight EP, was a study in dancefloor melancholy; a bittersweet fusion of subdued but hypnotic rhythms, dub techno influences and sighing melodies. There was a poignant sadness, too, at the heart of the 2013 Capri Social EP – even if the distorted beats were a little more forthright – while the Long Mixes EP that followed had a grim intensity totally in keeping with Ron Morelli’s often unsettling narrative.

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Fockewulf 190 ‎– The First & Second Side Of The Mystic Synth

by on at 09:15am

A step in the darkest heart of Italo disco. The persistent handsomeness of Fockewulf 190 gave us the gorgeous hits “Gitano” and “Body Heat”, but we have a plethora of other treasures to thank them for. The martial epic disco anthem “Eagles in the Night” released as a solo by Dario Dell’Aere, the hard-edged wave of Ice Eyes’ “No Sex” or, for the connoisseurs, the tropical melancholia of Frank Tavaglione’s “Tumidanda”. Recently the more private side of Fockewulf has emerged; versions of the glacial “We Are Colder” appeared on Spittle compilations, and a full reissue of remixes and demos was delivered by the band and Vinyl on Demand in 2011, under the name Microcosmos 82-86. And it is Vinyl on Demand which – as it so often does – now teaches us how little we knew of the group’s rather massive output, and sets the record straight through this release, out on its sublabel Pripuzzi.

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Dasha Rush – Sleepstep

by on at 10:31am

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Dasha Rush’s career over the last 10 years has built up steadily and she’s showing no signs of slowing down by delivering a full length album on one of the most discerning experimental music labels in the world. Sleepstep: Sonar Poems or my Sleepless Friends for Raster-Noton is a gargantuan effort spanning 16 tracks that are full of paranoid and claustrophobic, yet undeniably seductive compositions. It’s the first album the Fullpanda boss has put out since I Run Iron I Run Ironic six years ago, and it showcases new dimensions to her continually expanding aesthetic. There is a moodiness and experimental edge that goes far beyond the dancefloor oriented brand of industrial techno Rush has become synonymous with, both under own name and as LADA with partner Lars Hemmerling, and as the album’s title suggest, poetry plays an important role.

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Lifted – 1

by on at 09:46am

Is 2015 PAN’s marmite year? First the reissue of a rare trip hop/illbient tape, now a contemporary acid jazz record. The label has a gift for disobeying rules and expectations, and for celebrating the avant-garde in distinctive ways, but illbient and acid jazz are much maligned genres. Both were more or less abandoned to their specific moments in time. Lifted has grown out of a productive conversation with Max D and Co La, but this album also feels a modern take on the idea of an ensemble. The two spearheading a campaign of collaboration and improvisatory meshing that often found a musician recording their part individually and forwarding it to be mixed in or written around. Performers credited include Jordan GCZ of Juju and Jordash, Dawit Eklund from burgeoning Washington DC label 1432 R, Jeremy Hyman of the band Ponytails, Motion Graphics (I don’t know), and the current apple of everybody’s eye, Gigi Masin.

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