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Jay L – Show Me

Since 2008, Jay L has been running Bristol’s Falling Up basement parties along with Andy Mac and Typesun – also superb producers nowadays – bringing sublime broken beat and deep house names to the city. All three have absorbed the great music they’ve pushed and after years on the DJ circuit they’ve slowly started to emerge as distinct, understated producers full of integrity. Jay L’s been in no hurry to get music out there either. I reviewed Jay’s first record back in 2012 for Little White Earbuds, and until now there’s only been 2014’s bumpy foot-stepper “Together” to break the silence.

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Final Cut – Deep In To the Cut

The dominant narrative about how Detroit techno came into being focuses mainly on Kraftwerk, George Clinton and the Belleville Three with some references to Electrifying Mojo thrown in for good measure. It largely ignores the influence of new beat and industrial – the impact of the latter form came from both sides of the Atlantic. This oversight is a shame, but the re-release of Deep Into The Cut provides an opportunity to demonstrate that especially industrial played a pivotal role in shaping the harder-edge techno that came from Detroit.

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Typesun – Make It Right

Of all the DJs in the Bristol-based Falling Up collective, Luke Harney was the first to cut his wares onto wax as Typesun some ten years ago. These days his fellow spinners Jay L and Andy Mac have all started to amass respectable profiles as producers in their own right, but one gets the impression Harney is a musician first and foremost ahead of his forays into clubbier realms. His own Root Elevation label, while centred on groove-oriented notions, has always leaned heavily on live instrumentation and jazz-informed composition, and the live band manifestation of Typesun is a dazzling hit of neo-soul that has a life of its own independent of the records.

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Khotin – Baikal Acid

Thanks to the combined efforts of 1080p, Mood Hut, Pacific Rhythm and Normals Welcome, few can have missed the continuing rise of Canadian electronic music. These labels, and the homegrown talents who record for them, have spent the past few years beguiling us with dreamy, raw, vividly colourful music that blends a range of late ‘90s/early ‘90s sounds – often made entirely on similarly vintage – with a hazy, almost horizontal approach to life. Many of the artists involved – think Pender Street Steppers, Florist, Lnrdcroy, Hashman Deejay, Cloudface and Aquarian Foundation – have become much-discussed underground heroes, with their cassettes and records exchanging hands for large sums of money.

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Maoupa Mazzocchetti – Laugh Tool

In an interview for French site hartzine last year, Maoupa Mazzocchetti declared all he wanted to do is play with drum machines and with chance. He talked of the liberating feel of working alone, when “mistakes only become mistakes the moment you decide they are”. It’s a satisfying reformulation of the meaning of proper experimentation: in the end, to refuse the notion of ‘mistake’ is to refuse the notion of a particular direction. Nestled deep in this refreshing love for dadaist procedures, Maoupa Mazzocchetti is becoming odder now, and more intriguing, and I wonder if his debut album marks some kind of turning point? The ripening of the route he began travelling since starting to make solo work for Unknown Precept, Mannequin and PRR! PRR!.

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Surgeon – From Farthest Known Objects

The last Surgeon album was 2011’s Breaking the Frame. While its title and sound showed that at the time, the UK producer was steering away from traditional or conventional techno tropes, this follow-up, nearly five years later, seeks, on a superficial level, to tell a different story. From Farthest Known Objects purports to be directly linked to transmissions from far-flung galaxies that the artist came into contact with when he was jamming on hardware.

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Various Artists – Bookbinders EP

There is a sense of mutual appreciation apparent between meandyou. and Workshop that has worked in the favour of the former so far. A relationship that began publicly with Kassem Mosse, Lowtec and Even Tuell playing meandyou. events has developed further since the Manchester collective branched out as a label. The debut meandyou. 12” featured Kassem Mosse, whilst an early live set from the Leipzig native at one of their Manchester parties was issued on tape last year. Workshop co-founder Even Tuell now features on this later split meandyou. 12” named Bookbinders to further honour the now-closed Manchester venue they used to throw parties in.

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Shamos – Road Works Part 1

Bursting forth from seemingly out of nowhere, Shamos appears on Steve Julien’s Apron label with little to no context to anchor his music. All we can go on is the identity of the imprint, which in this case has been making great strides to define itself in the past couple of years. Naturally a lot of that identity orbits around its founder’s projects Funkineven and St. Julien, but in looking at artists such as Greg Beato, Seven Davis Jr and most recently Shanti Celeste, it’s not hard to sense a pattern of sorts. Shamos appears from the mist and slots neatly into this loosely defined theme of brittle beats, scuffed sample triggering and brazen melody.

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Model Man – Hidden Waves EP

DJ Overdose’s Model Man project launched the Bordello A Parigi label back in 2011 and in the intervening years, it has become one of the most prolific and important labels in the revitalisation of Italo. Championing veterans like Fred Ventura and Flemming Dalum as well as newer artists like Machinegewehr and Ric Piccolo, Bordello A Parigi has enjoyed an enviable run of releases since that first Overdose record.

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Savage Grounds – Unpleasant Music For Unpleasant People

With hardware obsessed retroverts being dime a dozen these days, it sure does take a lot to stand out from the pack. Enter the latest record from Lux Rec, the Zurich label pushing the guttural lo-fi sounds of pawn shop synths towards interesting forms, not to mention their limits. Savage Grounds is the production collaboration of label co-founder Daniele Cosmo and Lux Rec mainstay CCO (Contra Communem Opinionem, just in case you were wondering) whose partnership was first ushered in with the 2014 12” Over Fences.

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LNS – Maligne Range

It seems appropriate that LNS should title her debut release after a mountain range located in the westernmost part of Canada. To the uninitiated, LNS is the alias of respected Vancouver DJ Laura Sparrow, who dispatched a sublimely mixed and emotive entry into the Trushmix series back in September. It’s plain to see why she has been winning over dance floors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

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Raw M.T. – Richard’s Revenge

Lobster Theremin is one of house and techno’s hardest working labels. Not held back by insecurities that appear to stifle the productivity of other outlets, Lobster boss Jimmy Asquith is a man who trusts his ears and wastes no time in bringing quality music to the fore. The label released 16 records last year, with a further seven coming out across newly founded sub-labels Distant Hawaii and Mörk. It was on the latter that young Italian artist Raw M.T. made his Lobster-affiliated bow last March with the La Duna EP of late-night house and driving techno.

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Borusiade – Jeopardy

Jeopardy may be Borusiade’s first release of her own productions but she’s been involved in music for 14 years already. Back in 2002, she started DJing in her home city Bucharest. There was very little in the way of underground dance music coming from Romania production-wise, with a focus on Eurohouse. Miruna Boruzescu was one of the very few female DJs contributing to the clubbing scene in Bucharest at the time.

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Bill Converse – Meditations/Industry

Meditations/Industry from Bill Converse marks something of a departure for Dark Entries. The San Francisco label spent 2015 in reissue mode, and the nearest its catalogue got to the present day was the Kittin & Hacker 12”. While Meditations/Industry is a contemporary album – originally released on tape in 2013 – Converse’s sound is rooted in the past, albeit shaped by influences not normally reflected in Dark Entries’ lexicon or indeed in its approach to re-issues.

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Cmd Q – Nine

Late last year we published a feature by Nic Tuohey on new Leipzig club, Institut fuer Zukunft, and it was there I first came across the term: hypezig. As Tuohey explained it’s the city’s newest nickname, a tongue in cheek expression directed at the amount of people moving there for cultural and commercial reasons. Before hypezig, though, there was Kann Records, a bastion of Leipzig’s music scene with a unique bent for melodic, melancholic and minimal house and techno. They throw a great party too.

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Batu – Bleeper Feed / April These

Batu makes a prodigal return to Livity Sound, reprising yet reappraising the understated adaptation of his style he applied to Spooked / Clarity for the verbally-inverted sublabel two years ago. Like Livity Sound founders Asusu, Kowton and Peverelist, Batu’s always had close ties to dubstep, specifically Bristol’s own incarnations and mutations. In 2013, Pinch put out Batu’s debut release on his label Cold, patching ruthless broken beats and dark, creaking bass onto dubbed-out, rolling foundations; “Ghosted” was even selected for Tempa Allstars 7, a continuation of dubstep’s foundational EP series that included early productions by Digital Mystikz and Loefah, among others.

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Mono Junk – State of Funk EP

Finnish techno artist Kimmo Rapatti, aka Mono Junk, seems like a strange choice to release on Rat Life. The Uncanny Valley spin off imprint has put out The Pagan Rites’ post-punk, Mick Wills edits and label owner Credit 00’s dance floor tools. While at times identifiable with the dance floor, Rat Life’s approach comes more from an edit/crossover perspective rather than the precise, crisp purism of minimal techno.

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Crash Course in Science – Jump Over Barrels

Listening to “Jump Over Barrels”, it’s not hard to understand the ongoing significance and relevance of Crash Course in Science. The US band formed during the late ‘70s, and are clearly a strong reference point for modern acts like Factory Floor and LCD Soundsystem as well as the Nation roster. Indeed, in today’s climate, “Jump Over Barrels” possesses a timeless feel to it and it is hard to reconcile the fact that it was recorded nearly 35 years ago.

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JT The Goon – King Triton

Instruments and machines are equally as important in creating music as the human beings that use them. The use (or misuse) of these tools by artists and musicians have helped shape the sound of multiple genres over the years. In grime, the Korg Triton and subsequent digital imitators have played an integral role in developing characteristic tropes like the synth bass that became Wiley’s trademark Eskibeat sound. JT The Goon’s debut album pays homage to this influential keyboard in more ways than the title.

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Dip In The Pool – On Retinae

There’s little doubt that Music From Memory has made a big impression since slipping out its’ first release back in 2013. While there has been the odd brand new gem – the Gigi Masin, Young Marco and Jonny Nash collaboration as Gaussian Curve, most notably – the label’s primary focus was to reissue the obscure and overlooked music that founders Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller and Tako Reyenega had collectively and individually discovered. While this remit leaves enough wriggle room for sideways moves – see the quirky lo-fi synth-soul of Napoleon Cherry, say, or the epic experimentalism of Michael Turtle’s brilliant “Are You Psychic?” – the label is often at its best when exploring baggier, looser, dreamier and more loved-up pastures.

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