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Dices + AEM Rhythm Cascade – Thoughtstream


There’s something about the labels that come out of Glasgow. Diverse though they may be, the likes of Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, Tabernacle, All Caps, hell even Optimo and Numbers, are all bound together by a similar penchant for meaningful presentation and an assured conviction in the music they release. In other words, they’re all ‘proper’ labels, with an aesthetic you want to sign up to in a declaration of fandom, for no other reason than the fantastic job they make of being a label. 12th Isle comes along at a time when music from Scotland’s cultural capital garners respect like never before, and it immediately projects that same self-assured quality that makes you fill out another entry on your over-subscribed mental watch list for releases the label bosses haven’t even begun to imagine yet.

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Ma Spaventi – Isola Sommersa

Ma Spaventi comes from the same Amsterdam hub that has spawned labels like Delsin and MOS as well as a myriad of sub-labels and offshoot projects. There is no shortage of deep techno coming from these Dutch labels and through his mastering work, Spaventi is further invested in this scene. As a producer, he faces the major challenge of having to differentiate himself in a crowded field.

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Proto – Vitamin Tracs

Some music is so delicate it requires you to turn the volume up considerably, just so it can fill the space where something bolder or more brash might have been playing before. It’s interesting considering this when listening to Proto’s Vitamin Tracs, a collection of six tracks primarily aimed for cassette consumption. It’s a mini-album of clean, subtle, looping shapes for the most part, not least on Side A, and as such one imagines the mechanics of the format will inevitably become part of the music as a tape copy wears itself out.

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SFV Acid – DOep & Jazzchamber


Perhaps it’s the warmer weather tuning the mind towards such moods, but at the moment it feels like there is a strong current of truly lovely, danceable electronic music drifting out of studios the world over at the moment. The Mood Hut crew and Acting Press posse know where it’s at on the smooth scale, while those SUED characters can be dab hands at keeping things sensual, and it’s an interesting phenomenon to observe. In the realms of house (and other such rhythmically straight-forward styles), plush melodic content and an overall sense of warmth in music can often be a byword for bland lounge-ready muzak set to a beat.

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Michal Turtle – Phantoms of Dreamland


Another summer, another impeccable interpretation of the season from the increasingly masterful and ever-more distinct Music from Memory. The auteur this time is Michal Turtle, a Croydon-born musician and producer who spent the heart of the 1980s making subtle, enlightened music. The label unleashed Turtle’s Are you Psychic? earlier this year – I don’t know about you, but the ‘do bright lights bother you?’ whispered in a spooked-out domestic daze on the title has stayed with me ever since. Now here comes a full retrospective of his 1980s tracks which really does sound fresh.

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Tempelhof & Gigi Masin – Tsuki

Three years ago, few bar a handful of dedicated crate-diggers knew anything about the music of Gigi Masin. The artistic rebirth of the Italian new age/ambient pioneer has been a joy to behold, and has thus far taken in a string of timely reissues, a superb career retrospective, and the Gausian Curve project, alongside Jonny Nash and Young Marco.

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In Aeternam Vale – Pink Flamingos

As part of the French cold wave movement in the early-‘80s, In Aeternam Vale cultivated a particular sound, with their transgressive minimal synth experiments considered by some as ‘proto-techno’. Initially a group, Laurent Prot soon took full control over the project in 1985 and after long period of dormancy his career was revived again by Minimal Wave boss Veronica Vasicka only a few years ago. This brought forth a new dimension of his sound that’s still steeped in strict analogue traditions that he helped innovate, while clearly having a knack for contemporary aesthetics. Still staring to the future like he did as a young Lyonnaise punk some three decades prior.

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Steven Julien – Fallen

Given that he made his first appearance under the FunkinEven alias way back in 2009, Steven Julien’s debut album has been a long time coming. Of course, he’s hardly been slacking in the seven years since, releasing a string of 12” singles for Eglo and Apron – the latter a label he founded back in 2011 – that has seen him develop a trademark style that puts hardware manipulation, vintage synthesizers and spontaneous composition centre stage. Once Julien found his musical voice, there’s been a confidence, immediacy and percussive looseness about his material that’s rarely less than alluring.

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Objekt – Kern Vol. 3

A common theme for any review of a new commercially-released mix CD is to berate/mourn the viability of the format in an age where near infinite online variants are freely available. Objekt’s mix for Tresor’s irregular Kern series, however, reaffirms just how middling a lot of these online podcasts can be, exposing the lack of effort that goes into them and how we take that for granted.

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DJ Qu – Conjure

Always existing on the edge of convention, Ramon Quezada continues to be an artist that confounds with his singular vision. His musical identity has been forged on being stoutly unusual, and yet there’s something so very instinctual about his work that enables it to speak to all kinds of dancers. It’s fair to say that, whether in his lighter or heavier moments, there is an innate physicality powering the music that makes its way on to a 12”, but equally he has the depth and imagination to reach beyond when the situation demands it.

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Tadd Mullinix wasn’t joking when he told Juno Plus that the Bopside label would be “a vehicle for me to offer my art exactly in the way that I would deliver it”. Following on from a second Charles Manier album as well as an experimental LP under his own name, Bopside now presents a self-titled JTC set from Mullinix. In the past, the JTC pseudonym had been home to some of Mullinix’s finest releases, including Take Them Off for Creme Jak and the brilliant, brooding Like No One album for Spectral. Both of those acid-heavy releases appeared over eight years ago.

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Black Merlin – Hipnotik Tradisi

Throughout his career, Black Merlin man George Thompson has been welded to the dancefloor potential of percussive hypnotism. Since the rubbery, gently blissful positivity of his debut 12” on Bird Scarer back in 2013, Thompson has applied his repetitious, slowly unfurling template to a variety of styles. Yet while his solo releases have touched on pitched-down cosmic disco, synthesizer-led krautrock, EBM, bleak new wave and, most recently, pulse-quickening clandestine techno (see last year’s fine excursion on SORN), his love of drawn-out atmospheres and locked-in grooves has remained a constant. Like many fine producers, he’s been able to reinvent his sound almost at will, while maintaining a constant thread throughout his work.

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Brain Machine – Peaks

It’s a great time to be part of a synth-led group. There is, in electronic music, a prevalence for artists to be lone wolves, betrothed to the inner sanctum of their studios and generally better off working on their own, but since the upwards trend of hardware kicked back in with gusto it’s easier to envisage that classic band dynamic in the sexy blinking lights of sequencers and matted knots of quarter-inch jack cables. In terms of collaborative live performance, a bunch of screen-glare victims ignoring each other while jockeying laptops on stage just never seemed that convincing, no matter how worthy the process and sonic performance may have been.

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Dan Lissvik – Midnight

When former Studio man Dan Lissvik released his first solo material following the band’s break-up, he still seemed in mourning for their passing. Although 2014’s Meditation arrived two years after he officially parted ways with Studio partner Rasmus Hagg, it felt like a heartfelt tribute to a 10-year partnership gone awry. It opened with “An Ode To Studio” (complete with tear-jerking pianos), before sauntering through tracks that felt like they could have formed part of the duo’s brilliant – and critically acclaimed – 2006 debut album, West Coast. The band’s trademarks – glistening electric and acoustic guitars, languid dub basslines, freshly baked textures, space disco synths and krautrock style rhythmic hypnotism – were all present and correct. It was great, of course, but he’d clearly not moved on.

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Huerco S. – For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)

When Brian Leeds first emerged as a producer, his voice was just one of many lumped within the outsider house scene. The atmospheric club abstractions of Huerco S were strikingly emotive but not wholly unique. As the dust settled over the lo-fi scene it was unclear where he would go. Yet where others faltered, Leeds’ star rose. As the years passed his style grew more distinctive and defied easy categorisation.

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Floorplan – Victorious

No other electronic music artist has undergone such radical transformation in recent years as Robert Hood. From the creator of minimal techno and the author of its benchmark works, like Minimal Nation to the Floorplan project which honours the Creator, the Detroit artist has developed in an unpredictable manner. It appears that this shift has been as a result of changes in Hood’s personal life, which include him moving to a rural part of the States and becoming more actively involved in his church.

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Rhythmic Theory – Circulation

The opening track of Rhythmic Theory’s debut album, Circulation, could well soundtrack a spacecraft touching down on an uncharted planet in a sci-fi film. Hazy ambient textures resonate absorbingly throughout “Intro (to my imagination)” but with a touch of trepidation, and a distorted voice adds to the almost fraught sense of intrigue. It invites listeners into the world the elusive Bristol-based artist constructs over the course of Circulation, his longest and most fully-formed work yet.

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Wolf Müller & Cass. – The Sound Of Glades

Since launching last year, International Feel’s horizontally inclined mini-album series has delivered two of the ambient revival’s most enjoyable moments. They were notably different beasts, Len Leise dived head-first into woozy, new age waters, while CFCF popped down the beach to watch a Balearic sunset in the company of guitarists, accordion players and an under-used percussionist. But both proved the magical, life affirming qualities of the best ambient music. Given that the style is often clumsily mishandled – see Sasha’s recent soul-sapping effort on Late Night Tales, for starters – it’s heartening to see International Feel’s series start in such confident and assured fashion.

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Abul Mogard – Works


Electronic music’s brief history is full of entertaining myths and urban legends. From the one about Derrick May sitting in his apartment naked in tears after writing Strings of Life to the one about Aphex Twin playing a piece of sandpaper in a DJ set, the music’s largely instrumental, abstract structure requires additional story-telling to provide some background.

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Zahgurim – Moral Rearmament

Zahgurim was a short-lived ‘80s band, established by Paul Ackerley and William Vince. Together they released just one album, Moral Rearmament, before the founders focused on other projects. Mannequin, the label of choice for anyone with even a passing interest in wave and industrial curiosities, has now decided to shine a light on this fleeting but fascinating project. The modern audience’s senses are so overloaded with ‘artists’ – and in this context that word is fully deserving of the quotation marks – pedalling their team’s marketing tactics on social media that we tend to forget just how shocking and outright seditious music can be.

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