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Older articles

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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Micronism – Steps To Recovery

by on at 10:26am

It’s always a thrill to find yourself turned on to sounds from a storied individual with a diverse past, as one choice track opens up another myriad of investigative paths down which to head on the never-ending quest to hear all the good music there is to be heard. So it is with Denver McCarthy’s Micronism project, which is enjoying a reissue spot on Delsin for the 1999 EP Steps To Recovery. As a native New Zealander now living in Brisbane, McCarthy’s core spell of releases around the turn of the millennium clearly garnered a cult following, even if they failed to truly break across hemispheres into the more fruitful US and European scenes. That said, there are always a few switched on individuals who pick up on these treasures at the time, and so it is a torch held can light a fire and suddenly a record that could have been abandoned to obscurity can be sprung into countless record bags the world over, in no small part thanks to the considerable clout afforded by appearing on Delsin.

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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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Henry Wu – Negotiate EP

by on at 17:23pm

South London based producer Henry Wu has yet to break through in the same way as Mo Kolours and Al Dobson Jnr, but he seems to be making all the right moves. His vinyl debut, a split release with Jeen Bassa for 22a – the loose South London collective that also includes fellow Peckham royalty Reginald Omas Mamode IV and Thelonious – sold out in a matter of days, and has been nearly impossible to find since. Like his previous self-released EPs (still available on his personal Bandcamp store), it effortlessly blended J Dilla style dusty, soul-flecked instrumental hip-hop with elements of jazz, broken beat, synth boogie and Moodymann style deep house. To date, Wu’s productions have portrayed him as a slightly blazed, MPC-wielding beatmaker more concerned with wringing maximum warmth and soul from each beat, chord and melody, than fitting into any particular genre or dancefloor niche.

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Lily – Memory Jacket

by on at 09:33am

While aging is often portrayed through the rose-tinted lens of group trips to Cuba, cushy retirement funds and finally getting away from the anxiety-attack provoking stress of the workplace, there’s a lot of terror in growing old. Michael Haneke’s 2012 film Amour touched on the helplessness and powerlessness that accompanies the onset of dementia and Alzheimers, and new studies come out constantly linking depression, substance abuse and suicidal feelings to aging in isolation. It’s even on Drake’s mind, as he raps “My mother is 66 and her favorite line to hit me with is / “who the f**k wants to be 70 and alone?” on 2013’s Nothing Was The Same.

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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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Chris Moss Acid – Phantacy

by on at 09:52am

Nijmegen label Shipwrec does on occassion put out some fine, reflective work – see last year’s Scars Of Intransigence album from Plant 43 – but the recent record from The Exaltics and now Phantacy demonstrates their strong dancefloor focus. Chris Moss Acid is a UK producer who has released on the Mathematics label overseen by namesake Jamal – he also runs his own digital label – and specialises in making music inspired by classic tropes.

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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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Jeremiah R – Melancholy Fish

by on at 10:12am

Hailing from Rotterdam, Jeremiah R follows in a proud tradition of Dutch electro music makers and labels. Fellow travelers include Conforce’s sublime Versalife project and the Frustrated Funk/Harbour City Sorrow axis. However, in contrast to some of his peers’ output, Jeremiah R’s version of this classic US style is introspective and melodic, closer in sound and spirit to Gerard Hanson’s E.R.P project than the grungy electronics that appears on Panzerkreuz, Murder Capital and Viewlexx.

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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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Asusu – Serra

by on at 09:27am

It always felt like there was a need to hear more from Asusu once the Livity Sound machine really got rolling. Peverelist obviously already had a sizable legacy behind him, while Kowton was equally hitting his stride and has since gone on to a multitude of achievements independently of the record label the three artists call home. Now though Craig Stennet is branching out with his own Impasse imprint, which will hopefully provide a more direct conduit into his output and build upon the humble but rock solid foundations of his early Livity singles and previous outings on Immerse and Project Squared.

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Pukemaster Gehm – 303 Degrees

by on at 15:31pm

How do you stay relevant when the sound you are most associated with has been endlessly used, rehashed and watered down? That’s the dilemma facing German producer Andreas Gehm and pretty much every other contemporary artist working with the 303. Unlike many of his peers, however, Gehm has an advantage: his influences are not the early period Chicago house records that every second bedroom producer has sought to emulate, but the heavier techno-centric sound of artists like DJ Skull.

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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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Felix K – Tragedy of the Commons

by on at 15:34pm

Blackest Ever Black are still pursuing new iterations of that Holy Grail, Christoph De Babalon’s 1997 LP If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It. ’Bleak, bombed-out soundboy electronics’ could just as easily be the context for Raime, Killing Sound, Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards and December; but here, vividly, it’s applied to a label debut from Felix K that feels as much a visual score as any kind of dance-inspired musical exercise.

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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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