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Damon Bell – Blues For The Libyan

by on at 17:36pm

Since back before Deepblak became a vinyl label, Damon Bell has formed a significant part of the Oakland-born operation. Alongside label boss Armon ‘Aybee’ Bazile and Eric ‘Afrikan Sciences’ Douglas Porter, Bell has helped shape out a cohesive aesthetic of cosmic, jazz-powered house music from the outer realm. It’s certainly been a strong few years for Deepblak as the reputation of the label has grown not least down to the strong album statements made by Bazile and Porter both individually and in collaboration. Last year alone there were the Sketches Of Space and Circuitous long players amongst plenty of other releases, and so it feels like it is about time that Bell stepped up and delivered a more detailed message than a single can allow for. After all, in music such as this the space to roam is a vital ingredient in creating flowing, thrilling, otherworldly sounds.

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Not Waving – Voices

by on at 09:35am

Last year Alessio Natalizia issued a series of three self-released Voices cassettes under his Not Waving moniker exploring harsh textural abrasions, tape manipulated field recordings and ‘80s industrial music chic. Non-musical influences are said to have played a part too, referencing neurologist Oliver Sacks, social philosopher B.F. Skinner and Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. It’s far removed from the cosmic leanings of his more renowned project Walls (with Sam Willis) which disbanded earlier this year, or the slow-mo pop-inflections of his former solo project Banjo or Freakout. In only in a few years he has deviated drastically from the sensibilities laid out with those.

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The Host – Easlen Lectures

by on at 09:54am

In these retro-fetishistic times, there are certain aesthetic signifiers and inspiration sources from yesteryear that will hold constant creative allure, whether it be sun bleached photographs, VHS interference or 20th century futurist architecture. Of course all new ideas have an element of something prior in their DNA, but in this savagely fast age in which we live, the feeling of nostalgia for mediums and motifs from past decades grows ever stronger. On his first album as The Host, Barry ‘Boxcutter’ Lynn was able to create such a sensation through affectionate digs at the early days of mass home computing, with such knowing titles as “Neo-Geocities” and “Tryptamine Sweep” stirring up misty-eyed reminiscence in any ‘90s child with access to a PC.

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Carmody – Sleep On Mirrors: The 1981-1985 Tapes

by on at 11:13am

Just in case we hadn’t spent enough time dreaming of Italian wave this year, here comes another Carmody reissue. The truth is that for lovers of the scene you can’t spend enough time praising it, and a lot of these bands appear to have found fresh ears (generationally, aesthetically, and geographically speaking) for whom these records finally become the adored classics they deserve to be. After a year dedicated to Turin, what with the various Der Zeltweg and Musumeci reissues and reworks, Mannequin churns up another pearl in the first LP reissue of Carmody’s 1981-1985 works.

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John Beltran – Espais

by on at 09:45am

Although being a long term resident of Michigan capital Lansing, you would be forgiven for assuming John Beltran belongs among Detroit’s most legendary producers. With a lengthy discography dating back to his well received debut Earth & Nightfall on R&S in 1995, he has released several other albums on equally respected imprints such as Peacefrog, Ubiquity and Exceptional. The musical styles that he has covered have been as fascinating as they have been diverse, exploring everything from techno and house to classical and even Latin music. And not to mention the various other styles covered under monikers such as Placid Angles Sol Set and Indio.

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Erdbeerschnitzel – The Attendants

by on at 15:47pm

It’s almost become a cliché to describe Tim Keiling’s work as Erdbeerschnitzel as “hard to pigeonhole”. Unfortunately, there’s a grain of truth in the oft-used phrase. While his releases have, for the most part, been rooted in deep house and far-sighted techno, his tracks rarely fall foul of the sort of functional formulas often employed by dancefloor-focused producers in those genres. His 2012 album on Mirau, Tender Leaf, is a perfect example. While it included many sounds familiar to those who keenly follow techno and, in particular, deep house – think warm chords, soulful vocal samples, woozy electronics, twinkling pianos and such – the rhythms were often jazz and off-kilter, as influenced by MPC style hip-hop beat-making and R&B as the metronomic pulse of dancefloor-focused grooves.

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Smackos – The Age of Candy Candy

by on at 10:18am

Yet again Berceuse Heroique can take credit as a champion of the obscure and weird. Apart from supporting the brilliant Ekman, who at times sounds like Gesloten Cirkel on industrial strength steroids, the London label has now delved into the vaults of Danny ‘Legowelt’ Wolfers’ back catalogue to reissue The Age of Candy Candy. Recorded under his Smackos name and released on the Dutch producer’s own Strange Life CD-R label back in 2004, Berceuse Heroique is now putting it out on vinyl for the first time.

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Jahiliyya Fields – Chance Life

by on at 09:03am

While much of the output on L.I.E.S. remains the kind of gritty, distorted and often wayward house and techno designed for murky basement spaces and barely-remembered after parties, Ron Morelli is happy to shake things up now and then. His experimental instincts are well known – his own music for Hospital Productions being the most obvious example of this – and many of L.I.E.S. most potent releases have been those that sidestep dancefloor conventions altogether.

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G-Machine – Primo Contatto

by on at 09:45am

Dutch label Bordello A Parigi moves into the album space with the release of Primo Contatto. The work of G-Machine, aka Italian producer Giovanni Damico, the album cover gives an indication of what kind of music to expect. Featuring a sports car reminiscent of the ill-fated Delorean models parked on the surface of a pink planet facing the earth, it paints a particularly garish but tongue in cheek vision of that very ‘80s obsession, futurism. The music that influences the album is in a similar mould and Damico mines the electro funk and Italo Disco of that period; reimagined for modern audiences, it now has a charmingly retro feel.

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Various Artists – Mac-Talla Nan Creag

by on at 09:55am

Anyone who has visited the Highlands and Islands of Scotland will tell you just how magical they are. While the weather is often inclement – and prone to changing several times a day – there’s something profoundly moving about the region’s black mountains, becalmed lochs, luscious forests and windswept moors. Aside from a few outlying towns and villages, the area feels undeniably isolated, a factor that no doubt adds to the allure.

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LHF – For The Thrown

by on at 09:00am

When the LHF collective first reached the wider public consciousness via the Keepers Of The Flame compilation on Keysound, it felt as though the assembled throng of mysterious artists were actively carrying on the exploratory blueprint of what dubstep had started. In the tempos and textures of the tracks by Amen Ra, No Fixed Abode, Double Helix and Low Density Matter, there was much originality and atmospheric flair to delight in at a time when it felt like much of the 140 bpm sound had either drifted towards house and techno or into excessive cartoonish wobble and grind. That’s not to say that the content on Keepers Of The Flame was strictly dubstep, but by its very eclectic nature it called to mind the loose fit aesthetic of early DMZ, Hyperdub, Punch Drunk, or any other number of seminal labels.

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Hunee – Hunch Music

by on at 09:52am

There’s something rather refreshing about Hunee’s honesty. In a recent interview with Resident Advisor’s Aaron Coultate, he revealed that he stopped making music back in 2012 because he felt he had little more to give. He’d reached his peak, a conclusion arrived at following an aborted attempt to write the debut album many felt he’d be able to produce with ease. “I felt like I was just making some house tracks and everything was sounding the same,” he explained. “I was stuck”.

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René Audiard – René Audiard

by on at 09:30am

When Soren Jahan’s debut LP as René Audiard dropped on Supply Records in 2012, it’s safe to say to it didn’t get the recognition it deserved. As an exercise in dub techno it pointed the way for more imagination to be fed into the genre, while equally displaying a creative flair within the realms of minimal aesthetics that had long been absent from so many ‘stripped-down’ producers’ works. Since then Jahan has risen a little in prominence, not least for his involvement with Blank Slate and a healthy spread of projects under different aliases, in different places. This self-titled album for Berlin label The Double R is in fact comprised of music that was finished many years ago, and has since been waiting in the wings for the right opportunity to be unleashed. As such it’s hard to evaluate it in terms of artistic evolution, but rather needs to be taken on face value as a stand-alone body of work.

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Ptaki – Przelot

by on at 12:20pm

There is little new about crafting re-edits, remixes and original productions out of a vast number of samples. However, Warsaw-based duo Ptaki have an obsession with solely mining Eastern European music – and principally Polish releases – for inspiration that has given their material a freshness that’s often lacking in similar cut-and-paste exercises. To date, their releases have been frustratingly sporadic, but rarely anything less than impressive. They famously made a splash with two high-grade edits on the first Very Polish Cut-Outs 12” – the lolloping jazz-funk goes disco-house chug of “Krystyna” and the lilting loop jam “Marek” – before emphasizing their Balearic credentials further with the sublime Jak Ptaki 7”, which doffed a cap to hip-hop, jazz and easy listening on one side, before moving towards deep house and reggae on the other. Last year’s Kalina 12” for L.A. label Young Adults was arguably Ptaki’s strongest to date, flitting between sun-kissed downtempo jams and lilting dancefloor shufflers.

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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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