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Older articles

David Borden – Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments

by on at 10:03am

Spectrum Spools has always worn its influences on its sleeve, but it’s been rarer to find the label actually reaching backward to highlight the artists that shaped the sound so closely attached to John Elliot and the Cleveland set. 2012 saw a reissue of the undersold, now hopefully classic record Flux by Robert Turman, followed by a repress of Sensation Fixer Franco Falsini’s mellow soundtrack to a film about cocaine called Cold Nose. Both are heady, semi-ambient affairs, combining experimentalism with motorique persuasiveness and an eye for sequenced electronic music as an inwardly psychedelic and progressive movement – which obviously plugs into the contemporary work put out by Spectrum Spools.

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L’Estasi Dell’oro – I Look Upon Nature While I Live in a Steel City

by on at 09:10am

I Look Upon Nature While I Live in a Steel City by L’Estasi Dell’oro is one of the most hyperactive techno long players you’re ever likely to hear. The brainchild of American producer Christopher Ernst, the album ranges in sound from funereal ambient textures to raging industrial rhythms. It’s an artistic departure for both Ernst, who heretofore has focused on deep techno and ambient, and for Dutch imprint Field, whose split releases provide the platform for producers to make more introspective tracks than usual.

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Linkwood – Expressions

by on at 10:27am

It would be easy to cast Nick Moore in the role of deep house’s forgotten man, after all it’s been some five years since he impressed with the debut Linkwood album, System, on Prime Numbers. Moore may have since dismissed the album (he told Australian website The Orange Press in 2013 that it “pissed him off” and “didn’t sound like me”), yet System remains a set brimming with ideas that somehow managed to draw together many disparate musical strands while making perfect sense. While there were references to his early releases – notable for their ability to join the dots between soul, disco, hip-hop, jazz, boogie and deep house – it also introduced the deeper, woozier and altogether dreamier brand of deep house with which he’s subsequently excelled. It seemed to mark the end of one chapter of his career, and the beginning of another. In truth, it was more of a full stop.

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Model 500 – Digital Solutions

by on at 10:05am

It’s unrealistic to expect that an artist whose early releases provided the blueprint for a whole musical movement could return 35 years later and deliver the same level of innovation. However, these are the precisely the kind of expectations that Juan Atkins faces in delivering his first Model 500 album in 16 years. Anyone who buys Digital Solutions in the hope that it’ll contain a game-changer like “Clear”, “No UFOs”, or “Jazz Is the Teacher” or hoping that it’s on a par with 1995’s Deep Space album will also will be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for sleekly produced Detroit electro, with a few surprises, some pleasant, others not so, then Digital Solutions is worthy of your attention.

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Romare – Projections

by on at 09:10am

Romare’s debut LP is a reminder that sampling is an art, not a privilege. It’s also a statement that dance music doesn’t have to be soulless, offering up something that feels far more believable than the glossy, impersonal production that’s come to signify so many contemporary club tracks. Projections may borrow from the voices of others, but tracks aren’t just treated as an opportunity to shoehorn samples in; instead they’ve been put together as complex, musical palimpsests.

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Soichi Terada – Presents Sounds From The Far East

by on at 09:24am

When Rush Hour decides to give an artist or label the retrospective treatment, the results are rarely less than excellent. In recent years, the Amsterdam power house has treated us to must-have collections focusing on the work of the Burrell Brothers, Elbee Bad, and Virgo Four, as well as persuading Chicagoan legend Gene Hunt to share some highlights from his collection of unreleased early Windy City house gems. Their dedication to the early years of deep house, in particular, is impressive. Even so, the vast majority of their collections – and reissues, such as 12” singles from obscure British act New Age Dance and the impeccable Dream 2 Science – have focused on material from the United States and UK, at the time arguably the most developed dance music scenes around.

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Levon Vincent – Levon Vincent

by on at 09:13am

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By now everyone that wants to hear Levon Vincent’s debut album probably already has done. In a move that echoes earlier release decisions, Vincent offered up an MP3 download of the entire LP days before the vinyl was due to go on sale. There’s no shortage of people trying different approaches to disseminate music in the digital age, but in Vincent’s case it feels like a specific kick back against the particularly feverish second hand market value his records have attained at times in his career. While he made a concerted effort to repress the most sought after of his early singles, this particular gesture feels like a move to jump ahead of the illegal download trade and ensure that, at the very least, his tracks will be heard as they are intended to be and not brutalized by dodgy rips or low bit rates.

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John T. Gast – Excerpts

by on at 09:34am


John T. Gast has forged a career from being illusive. He may have previously worked with former Hype Williams pair Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland, co-producing their Black Is Beautiful album, and released records under the Henry Moan and S. Bronze aliases, but we know little more about John T. Gast. There’s not enough out there to create a watertight hypothesis about his influences, aims and working methods.

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Die Form – Die Puppe

by on at 14:09pm

Dark Entries describes this reissue of Die Form’s 1982 LP as “unable to fit into any genre,” and believe Die Puppe to be ”in a class of music all of its own,”. For once, that statement is 100 per cent true – true of Die Form but especially true of this album. I remember a feeling of pride when picking an ‘elegant’ digipak reissue around the turn of the century when returning home on a Saturday night eager to listen to it. High on the project’s mid-’90s productions, “L’Ame Éléctrique” and “Suspiria de Profundis”, I expected to find in this first album proper from Die Fom the seed of what haunted me in their later work: this filigree of fuzzy electronics and a distorted operatic female voice. This wasn’t quite the discovery I hoped for, so I moved on, back to their earlier material, and Die Puppe currently rests on the bookshelf of my parents house. From it, I think I wanted something I already knew, and Die Puppe can’t offer that: you don’t get to decide what you want from Die Puppe, it’s Die Puppe that sets the rules.

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Future Brown – Future Brown

by on at 09:17am

Future Brown, widely touted as a modern day supergroup, have put together a super-compilation album for their debut full-length release, which borrows on an impressive array of musical influences. Referencing dancehall, reggae, grime, hip hop and more, it’s clear the band members are well versed in the multi-genre nature of today’s dance music. With Chicago rap living easily alongside UK grime, and ultra filthy dancehall popping up next to Kelela’s silky R&B ballad, this album is a unique patchwork.

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Anthony Naples – Body Pill

by on at 09:35am

With just six 12”s to his name since his emergence on Mister Saturday Night in 2012, the more critical minds might question whether Anthony Naples is at the stage where he should be releasing a debut album. It seems Naples himself didn’t originally intend to present Body Pill in such a way, revealing in an interview it was recorded as a “mixtape sort of thing”. It was Kieran Hebden that persuaded him the music was strong enough to be presented as an album proper, and here we have Body Pill. Lasting less than 30 minutes from start to finish, Body Pill is somewhat refreshing in a current climate where many electronic artists think in grand scale when it comes to the long player. Hell, some 12”s last longer!!

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Aquarian Foundation – Mind Miniatures

by on at 15:22pm

This mini-LP follow up to Aquarian Foundation’s 2013 debut 12” for Going Good has been a long time coming. A 30-minute portion of Mind Miniatures was in fact trailed by the label when announcing Silent Teaching, offering up a curiously dusty, otherworldly snippet taken from a recording of a rare live show at an “undisclosed location”. According to the story circulated by Going Good at the time, this live recording was rediscovered on a “discarded cassette”, to be readied for future release. Other details were, and remain still, thin on the ground.

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Zenker Brothers – Immersion

by on at 09:42am

It’s been an intriguing journey for Dario and Marco Zenker to get to where they are today. The former carved out a name for himself in the peak of the minimal techno boom, getting into twitchy grooves on Vakant, Unfoundsound and Telegraph amongst others, while Marco made his first steps on their own Ilian Tape imprint a little later on. With firm foundations underneath their feet, in the past year or so the combined efforts of the Munich-based siblings have garnered ever more praise, as their sound has naturally edged towards a more full-bodied techno approach with their appreciation of sound design and crafty detail intact.

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Vercetti Technicolor – Black September

by on at 09:27am

Putting out disco records that are inspired by cult movies is one thing, but providing a soundtrack that is meant to accompany cinematic portrayals of a real-life atrocity is another matter entirely. This is the challenge that Giallo Disco co-founder Vercetti Technicolor set himself when he decided to compose Black September. Named after the Palestinian terrorist group that took 11 members of the Israeli Olympics team hostage and subsequently killed them during the 1972 Games in Munich, this work aims to soundtrack both the 1999 documentary and Spielberg’s subsequent dramatization, Munich, about the massacre.

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – A Year With 13 Moons

by on at 13:50pm

In the quest for total musical enlightenment, nobody’s journey ever becomes complete. Prior to being wholly consumed by this album, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma was an unfamiliar name to this writer; the only binding link being Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo, a series of mixes of Japanese electronic music posted on the blog affiliated to his label Root Strata. But those mixes were second hand recommendations without any mention of Root Strata the label, or indeed Cantu-Ledesma, who runs it along with the equally grandly named Maxwell August Croy.

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Various Artists – Der Zeltweg: Italian Tapes Industrial Music 1982-1984

by on at 09:28am

Oh Turin, Turin, city of anarchists and aristocrats, city of industrialists and industrial action, snow-covered grey city with the FIAT factory coughing in the background, city of neo-classicist rigour and angry squats. Oh Turin! City of toxic fumes, punk fumigations and cosmic fumaroles. Turin which gifted us unforgettable feelings through a whole range of shadows in the mid to late ‘80s takes centre-stage in Mannequin’s archival reissue of some forgotten works from the Der Zeltweg label run by one of the label’s stars of the last two years, Musumeci.

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Various Artists – Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing

by on at 09:16am

There always seems to have been a clear sense of purpose about Discodromo and DJ Boris’s Cocktail D’Amore parties. The Italian duo and Berghain resident first decided to put on monthly events to offer Berlin’s gay community an alternative to the city’s techno-dominated scene. In practice, this meant offering a richer and more varied musical palette, albeit with a strong undercurrent of melodious deep house, alternative disco and sleazy jack-tracks. Dancefloors were caressed and teased, rather than overloaded with overtly masculine rhythms and guttural grooves. Sure, the parties get sweaty, but that’s a product of the fundamental ethos behind Cocktail D’Amore; it’s about having a good time, after all.

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Liaisons Dangereuses – Liaisons Dangereuses

by on at 09:38am

In the long and winding corridors of the archive there are things which we should listen to because they’ve been forgotten and things we should listen to precisely because they haven’t. Liaisons Dangereuses is one of those projects which has stayed with us, their crazed, infanto-weird battlecry “Los Niños del Parque” paving the dancefloors of any kind of underground clubbing experience ever since its release in 1981. What is it about that track that keeps generating, generation upon generation? What’s so special about it?

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Various Artists – Music For Machines

by on at 14:04pm

Call it ambient, new age or whatever you want, but Music For Machines sees John Beltran compile a collection of beautiful tracks that allows the listener to tune out from everyday life. It marks a change of role for the US producer, who is better known for his gentle, evocative electronic releases for labels like Delsin, Peacefrog and R&S. Like his own music, the artists that Beltran has collected on Music For Machines make tracks that are of a similarly reflective and contemplative nature.

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Etienne Jaumet – La Visite

by on at 09:42am

Take a trawl through Etienne Jaumet’s slowly expanding back catalogue, and you’ll start to spot recurring themes. While he’s touched on many styles over the years – either through his admirable solo work or as one half of Zombie Zombie – Jaumet’s influences and distinct musical ticks remain constant. So, while his work encompasses everything from krautrock, creepy synth-pop and tech-jazz, to dub disco, punk funk and Detroit techno – his references rarely change.

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