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Older articles

Killing Sound – Killing Sound

by on at 16:15pm

Although we’re certainly not short of releases from the various projects revolving around the axis of Bristol’s Young Echo collective, Vessel, El Kid and Jabu’s Killing Sound has remained the one collaboration frustratingly low on recorded material, with only one side of a cassette on the No Corner label to their name. Entitled “Real Love”, that early 18-minute foray into hardware exploration had much in common with fellow Bristolian Ekoplekz’ freestyle improvisations rooted in dub, hinting at a project that was prepared to go into much more nightmarish territory than much of the collective’s other work.

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Eric Holm – Andøya

by on at 09:04am

Ambient music doesn’t always have to be floating textures, light atmospheres and healing synths, it can be gnarly and visceral. That’s the route Eric Holm has trodden to create his snowy debut opus Andøya for Bristol’s Subtext label. As the story goes, Subtext Recordings released ‘two seminal 12″s’ by industrial grime pioneers Vex’d in 2004 and 2005 – the Pop Pop / Canyon and Lion / Ghost 12”s – and then disappeared. Since Paul Jebanasam reignited the label in 2011 it’s by and large become home to the music of Emptyset and Roly Porter, the latter one half of Vex’d.

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Paul Birken – Acid Youth Of Malibu Remixes

by on at 15:44pm

Finally, the lunatics have re-taken the asylum. The past few years have seen greater acceptance of hard techno and correspondingly, raised profiles for artists like Blawan, Perc and Truss. The repercussions of this development are significant, lending exposure to a label like Earwiggle that operates at techno’s fringes. Without suggesting that the aforementioned artists are bland or mainstream, it is nonetheless true that they present techno in a more digestible way than Sunil Sharpe’s label.

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Luke Vibert – Ridmik

by on at 10:12am

If you’d set out your electronic music predictions for 2014 last December, it’s fair to assume that Luke Vibert releasing a new album on Hypercolour wouldn’t have been one of them. On first glance, it certainly looks like an odd pairing. Vibert is, of course, a man renowned for taking eccentric turns – a producer just as likely to drop an album of drill and bass, revivalist jungle or eccentric rave-inspired hip hop cut-ups as a set of smooth, Metro Area-inspired electronic disco or intense 303 acid experiments. As for Hypercolour, their reputation has largely been built on pushing club-friendly blends of deep house, tech house and UK garage. There have been plenty of club hits since 2006, but few albums; in fact, this surprise full length from the Cornish producer is only the label’s second artist album. That said, Jamie Russell and Alex Jones’ imprint seems to progressively be widening its remit, and if whispers are believed we could be in for more surprises in coming months; either way, it would be fair to say that Hypercolour is finally coming of age.

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Various Artists – CO.LD (Computer Output Loop Dance)

by on at 09:08am

When Pinch announced his breakaway label Cold Recordings, it came with a purposeful statement of intent about embracing the darker side of dance music, tackling the glut of middle ground sounds that rose from the dubstep gene pool in search of something more stylistically weighted. While his original imprint Tectonic continues to broaden its remit as an electronic label in the bigger sense of the word, the move to Cold reflects the move Peverelist made in starting up Livity Sound. Their labels may have different characteristics, but in both cases the motivation is to have a platform on which to indulge in a more personal kind of artistic venture.

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Evian Christ – Waterfall

by on at 09:06am

Considering the hype around Joshua Leary has been at a fairly consistent level since uploaded a batch of anonymous tracks to YouTube at the tail end of 2011 under the name Evian Christ, it’s been frustratingly difficult to get a handle on what kind of an artist he actually is. Few would disagree that the level of praise afforded to him in the early stages of his career was probably somewhat out of proportion with the material itself, which, in hindsight, was little more than a slightly different take on the well-worn practice of chopping up acapellas and combining them with some 808 rhythms and soft synths. It’s probably for that reason that Tri Angle elected to release that material as the free Kings and Them mixtape, well aware that they were dealing with a promising yet inexperienced producer catapulted prematurely to the limelight rather than the finished article.

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Jorge Velez – Territories

by on at 15:06pm

Jorge Velez has seen his share of different terrains. Growing up around the blue-collar textile factories of New Jersey and the still-hopeful, pre-economic-crash American industrialism of the ’80s, Velez explained the importance of the smells, sights and sounds of those work floors to Juno Plus back in 2012. But despite the unique location of his upbringing, and a lifetime of travel (including a European tour with an experimental band he was part of in the pre-MySpace era), Velez’s music doesn’t seem restricted by real places. Instead, he seems most inspired when he’s conjuring spaces from the dark recesses of his mind. Take the Hassan LP on L.I.E.S, which found Velez weaving a wholly-imagined soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist – a film about an order of Persian assassins in the 13th century. Velez admits that it wasn’t created with a physical landscape of any kind in mind, but instead as a tool to get the listener immersed deep inside whatever landscapes their brains served up.

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A.O.T. – The Echo

by on at 09:12am

It’s not hard to tell that there’s a Swedish connection to Vosnos Records when listening to the first release by A.O.T. Coming out of Malmö despite being a subsidiary of Barcelona’s Subwax imprint, The Echo comes caked in gnarly sonic muck, trading on that Scandinavian knack for channelling industrial techno into a wildly creative and imaginative end result that takes as much inspiration from layers of rust as it does the hitting of metal objects. For from the pristine monotony of more standard jackhammer wares to be found in other parts of the world, Skudge, Kontra Musik and more besides have demonstrated that the tougher end of the 4/4 spectrum needn’t mean a trade off when it comes to interesting sound design and playful track dynamics, and A.O.T. seems fully attuned to this mentality.

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Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

by on at 10:07am

Glance at the illustrated Terje on the cover looking despondent in his leisure suit with a plunging neckline, fancy cocktails strewn about his piano, and it’s obvious that we are in the realm of parody. Todd Terje has always been a bit self-deprecating, placing himself willingly in the nu-disco camp (a genre-tag that many think has the same inherently negative qualities as a word like “hipster”)  and agreeing wholeheartedly at Norwegian state-funded radio’s  assertion that “Inspector Norse” sounds like elevator music. According to a recent interview, album opener Opener “Intro (It’s Album Time)” was chosen with “It’s Money Time” losing out as a close second.

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Henry Saiz & Pional – Uroboros

by on at 09:30am

At first glance, this collaboration between Spanish producers Pional and Henry Saiz might seem a little unlikely. While the former has built his reputation on creating unusual takes on deep house for Hivern Discs and Permanent Vacation, the latter is best known for his releases on Bedrock and Renaissance, where he joined the dots between chunky tech-house, hypnotic minimal techno and post-progressive house. While Pional represents the Spanish new school – cool, unflustered, open-minded and dedicated to the joys of analogue gear – Saiz is an old head with strong links to the mid-2000s “Iberican” tribal and prog house scene. Put in these terms, they make a very odd couple indeed.

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Wolf Müller – Balztanz EP

by on at 09:02am

At this point in time it’s a little tricky to discern the precise context in which Wolf Müller operates. Certain links suggest he is also Jan Schulte, part of the Vulkandance crew operating in Berlin, although he and Müller have separate performer credits on this second release for Themes For Great Cities. In a way the long list of musicians feeding into this record give the impression of a wider collective, where maybe Wolf Müller is in fact a kind of smoke screen under which a spread of artists operate. With the ties the label has to the Dusseldorf-based art space Salons Des Amateurs it’s a theory that makes just as much sense as any other.

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Omar S – Romancing The Stone

by on at 14:59pm

When Omar-S isn’t getting a kick out of trolling the Juno Plus editorial team by email correspondence, one can get the sense that he’s hermetically sealed himself away in his Detroit workshop, sitting on a mountain of unreleased material. Back in 2009, Alex Omar Smith discussed how his attention span with his music had been reduced, talking about getting “ear-drunk” on his own productions to the point of paralysis. “None of that shit to me sounds good anymore, nothing, not even my own music”, he pessimistically said. But FXHE’s busy release schedule suggests otherwise. Since that interview, Smith has put out some of his most anthemic material to date, and his recent 10 Year Compilation mix showed just how muscular the label’s discography has become: From L’Renee-featuring bedroom jam “S.E.X” to euphoric long-player “Here’s Your Trance Now Dance” to the crunchy space-synth of OB Ignitt’s “Oh Jabba”, it’s a catalogue that shows no sign of creative exhaustion.

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Legowelt – Crystal Cult 2080

by on at 10:25am

Crystal Cult 2080 is Danny Wolfers’ fourth Legowelt album in as many years, and ninth overall, so a cynic could ask do we really need it? Does it do anything that not been done before by Wolfers? The question may become even more compelling when you think of all the albums released under his other names. Cynics can go to hell, because the listening public need Legowelt more than Danny Wolfers needs us. ‘Why is that?’ you might ask, jaded music cynic. Firstly, Wolfers’ sense of humour, array of second hand jumpers, love of obsolete and knackered technology will always seem refreshingly human in the face of the self-importance that has stricken so much of electronic music. Furthermore, the Dutchman has spent years happily indulging his creative nature outside of wider appreciation, filling CDrs of material for his own Strange Life label and the likes of Bunker and Crème without any real concern for the notion of a new Legowelt transmission being reported as “being prepped for release” by the content farm.

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Anomaly – Red Clouds

by on at 09:29am


As anyone who has seen Fred P DJ at peak time will attest, the man isn’t afraid to embrace his inner techno demon. It can come as something of a shock to those enchanted by his deeper-than-your-average deep house, but when the man wants to flex some tough rhythmic muscle he can do so with the same assured quality that permeates his production. It’s a pleasure then to catch wind of his self-proclaimed techno side project Anomaly scoring a full 12” release, following a brief appearance on 2011’s C.O.M.E compilation. That track, “Above Below”, features again here on the B2 in recognition of the fact it may have been overlooked before.

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Mo Kolours – Mo Kolours

by on at 09:22am

Artists that genuinely defy categorization are, in all honesty, a rarity, and it’s become somewhat clichéd to describe a producer’s output as “genre-straddling” or “impossible to pigeonhole”. More often than not this is journalistic code for “surprisingly eclectic”, or a sly indication that the writer is simply lost for words in the face of the kind of musical fusions that baffle and delight in equal measure. Mo Kolours, though, does genuinely defy easy categorization. His music is refreshingly different, thoroughly eccentric and, with the odd exception, utterly brilliant. Describing tracks becomes pointless; it’s easier to reel off a list of obvious influences than it is to accurately reflect the warmth, depth, honesty and soul of his sumptuously scratchy sonic world.

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The Exaltics – Some Other Place Volume 1

by on at 13:06pm

THE EXALTICS

Feel that chill in the air? No, it’s not the latest bank of stormy weather coming in from the Atlantic, but the gloomy feeling that the latest Clone West Coast Series release invokes. After Serge decided to divide the Clone Empire a few years back into separate fiefdoms, the West Coast Series operation yielded the most impressive releases. It was the outlet for Versalife’s great Nighttime Activities series and also put out Legowelt’s brilliant, if overlooked Bayville Cove release.

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Luca Lozano – And It Was Good

by on at 09:39am

Before finding fame with Zombie Disco Squad (a project he’s no longer a part of), Luca Lozano was plain old Lucas Hunter, an excitable teenager from Sheffield obsessed with underground house and techno. He’d spend many happy hours in the Warp Records store on Division Street (long since consigned to history, following the influential label’s decision to sell up and move to London), flicking through racks of obscure early ‘90s house and techno records while influential local producers – the likes of Winston Hazel, DJ Parrot, Chris Duckenfield and Richard H Kirk – hung around the counter. At night, he’d tune into pirate station Fantasy FM, inspired by the blend of skuzzy rave music, Detroit techno, Chicago jack and good old Yorkshire “bleep and bass” drifting from the speakers.

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DJ Guy – AC004

by on at 09:15am

Even as the All Caps label presents its fourth release, it’s still tricky to work out what their remit is. There certainly seems to be an unhurried, instinctive quality to the signing of the three twelves the Glasgow imprint has yielded so far, and all from contemporary producers caught in the flux between the gritty techno renaissance and the production heft that still lingers on from dubstep. Given the approximate proximity of Alex Coulton, Helix and Kowton, it’s surprising to learn then that the fourth release comes not from another modern maverick, but rather a secret weapon of UK techno lain in suspended animation since the mid ’90s. Guy Evans may have reactivated his studio in the wake of the renewed interest in machine-driven electronics, but these tracks All Caps have chosen to release were recorded between 1994 and 1996.

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Szare – Lost Shapes

by on at 09:13am

Szare

They were part of a group of techno labels that favoured anonymity, but the Frozen Border/Horizontal Ground axis wasn’t content to just put out hand-stamped vinyl. Frozen Border put together the impressive Minutes in Ice compilation in 2012, and has now released its first artist album. Szare’s Lost Shapes marks a further development for the label; while the duo’s album is available in vinyl format, the accompanying CD, with the grandiose title Carved In Those Dancing Gravestones is the main focus. Szare explain via email that “the CD is, in many ways the album, while the vinyl is just six more tracks…. of course vinyl takes priority in shop listings and in the scene in general, but we wanted to put out a lot of our material which isn’t really suitable for vinyl, and a CD by itself would not have been commercially viable so we threw it in with a double pack to make the whole thing more appealing”.

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Various Artists – Uncanny Valley 20

by on at 09:28am

Collaboration, particularly within local scenes, has always been one of the more positive aspects of electronic music. Since the evolution of house and techno in Chicago and Detroit respectively, producers, musicians, label owners and party promoters have always joined forces to work together, put on events and showcase their sounds to the world. Chicago may not be the best example given the infamously cut-throat nature of the early house scene (feuds sparked in the early 1980s still rumble on to this day, in some instances), but there are others; the Yorkshire-centric feel of Warp during its earliest days, the Madchester evolution of Factory Records in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and the friends-helping-friends vibe of contemporary North American labels like Future Times, L.I.E.S and Mood Hut springs to mind.

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