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Steffi – JBW25

by on at 11:42am

Steffi Doms has established solid footing in Berlin’s music community over the last six years which means she’s pretty much mastered it all. Not only can she create propulsive, textured techno tracks to rival the devastating functionality of the rest of the Ostgut Ton roster, but she can also create uplifting results when she chooses to dip into the populist side of house balladry. Coming off a recent run of festival appearances, Doms has also mastered her first live set circuit, recreating her work with improvised tactility that responds to the needs of whoever’s in front of her. Doms’ versatility was part of what kept 2014′s Power of Anonymity engaging throughout; and while this writer’s favourite moments on the LP included the borderline goofy Prince-esque squelch of Virginia & Dexter-collaboration “Treasure Seeking”, the wake of the LP finds her revisiting techno, electro and IDM roots in the form of a set of remixes from Answer Code Request and Further Reductions.

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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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Black Rain & Shapednoise – Apophis

by on at 09:20am

There’s something undeniably fascinating about different generations of underground musicians collaborating, and we’ve certainly seen our fair share of late. There are the obvious ones; the force to be reckoned with that is Carter Tutti Void, bass frequency specialists Pinch and Sherwood and, of course; how could we not mention Surgeon & Starlight. Now we’re presented with a joint endeavour from New York City no-wave legend Stuart Argabright and sonic terrorist Nino ‘Shapednoise’ Pedone on the latter’s newly inaugurated imprint Cosmo Rhythmatic. Unlike Pedone’s other label Repitch, which he runs with fellow Italians Ascion and D. Carbone and is known for tough, functional techno for dancefloors, Cosmo Rhythmatic is said to be devoted to more outer limits sound experiments. This was seen on the first release by French avant-garde producer Franck Vigroux and this new offering treads the same musical territory.

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Bézier – 皆 (Mina)

by on at 14:16pm

Back in 2010, San Francisco’s self-styled “queer DJ/artist collective” Honey Soundsystem launched a record label called HNY Trax. Their first release, Honey Soundsystem Presents: Brotherhood, was a quirky, limited edition CD-R box set, containing a seemingly random selection of scaled-down artworks and music from “like-minded dance music producers around the world”. Tucked away in the midst of that 13-track selection was a synthesizer-heavy cut entitled “Serengeti Drive”, credited to Robot Hustle, a now long forgotten alias of synthesizer obsessed Honey Soundsystem resident Robert Yang. Since then, HNY Trax’s output from the likes of Stereogamous and Alexis Blair Penney has arguably been dwarfed by the successful rise of the Honey Soundsystem nights and the label went into hiatus in 2013.

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Ossia – Red X

by on at 10:46am

Wading through the deluge of Young Echo affiliated material, Daniel ‘Ossia’ Davies has come a round-about way to his first solo release proper, but at the point of making the Ossia debut on Blackest Ever Black he has laid some strong foundations underneath him. From starting out with the Peng Sound! parties in Bristol through to jointly running the Rwd Fwd cassette-friendly online shop, not to mention co-steering the No Corner and Hotline labels, Davies has shown a dogged determination to uphold un-digital, handmade, DIY ethics in music with an authentic conviction that is palpable in an age of ‘shabby chic’ and other such faux-aged aesthetics.

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Miss Kittin & The Hacker – Lost Tracks Vol 1

by on at 10:46am

Flashback: I’m back at a Mediterranean pool party in a miniskirt made out of a binbag having an incoherent conversation about how awful it is to work in the fashion industry when none of us ever worked in the fashion industry. Bravo, Dark Entries, for putting out records that are interesting nevermind how brutal the memories they conjure might be. Odd decision, to dig through the studio offcuts of Miss Kittin and The Hacker, but an interesting one. Following Josh Cheon’s mantra “if I like it, I’ll put it out”, as he told Richard Brophy on Juno Plus, there’s a certain logic to the move as well. I remember buying a CD compilation by INCredible called This Is Not The ‘80s years ago in an Athens record store which featured a number of Kittin and co. tracks and thinking mmm, yes well, this is not the ‘80s but it undoubtedly descends from there.

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Spatial – Emergence #1

by on at 09:44am

When Spatial first emerged in late 2008, dubstep was wholeheartedly entering its mutation phase, splicing cells with techno, electro and drum & bass to create the groundwork for what could only be described as a wonderfully amorphous electronic music scene as we know it today. The first of his own Infrasonics releases, with their crisp presentation and equally aerodynamic production rightly turned heads, seeming to tap into the funky possibilities of minimal techno and cheeky 2-step getting it on around the 140 bpm margin. The label branched out to include an early (and decidedly different) appearance from Ike Release, as well as the likes of xxxy and Jamie Grind, and it seemed as though a little of the needlepoint focus had perhaps been lost in a reflection of the dizzying new tributaries springing up away from that thrill of the new that dubstep brought about.

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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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Slack DJs – Glasshouse Mountains EP

by on at 13:31pm

On paper, this TTT collaboration between two of Paris’s more interesting producers of recent times seems a little unlikely. On one hand, you have L.I.E.S regular and Editions Gravats co-owner Low Jack, a producer whose distinctive output has blurred the boundaries between industrial-influenced stripped back techno, experimental noise, dirt-encrusted ambience and opium-soaked. On the other, there’s D.K., whose recent releases for Antinote have been almost the opposite: breezy, picturesque, warm and melodious, with clear Balearic and new age house influences. While his releases under the alternative 45 ACP alias have been a little on the dustier, more distorted side – particularly the Change of Tone mini-album on L.I.E.S – unfettered beauty and positive mood enhancement remain the foundation of his output.

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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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Acre & Filter Dread – Interference

by on at 09:33am

The dark can make structural forms invisible, altering our sense of perception. Blackness sometimes also enables an atmosphere of creation. You don’t see anything, but you can imagine everything. Individually Acre and Filter Dread have created sinister, fierce and frayed music caught between grime, techno, and UK garage and continue this path together on their first collaborative release, Interference. In case it is too dark in the club to see your hands in front of your face you will at least feel your body with these tracks.

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Koova – This Is Not My Future

by on at 09:56am

Koova, aka London Modular Alliance member Gavin Pykerman, has only a small catalogue of releases, but has put out music under this banner on some of the most respected modern electro labels, including AC Records, Abstract Forms and Brokntoys. Adding to that list is This Is Not My Future, which is issued on the acclaimed CPU imprint. While the Koova sound is rooted in classic electro and techno sounds, there is no sense of the frosty purism that often prevails on new school, retro-facing releases.

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Chemotex – Thulsa

by on at 10:08am

The Trilogy Tapes has become one of the most unavoidable and tight-knit forces in underground dance music. Will Bankhead’s continually inventive ways to present variants on the label’s TTT logo on fabric have been worn countlessly by producers and fans alike – meaning that even if you’ve not heard anything from their back catalogue, you’re probably still familiar with The Trilogy Tapes.

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Simo Cell – Cellar Door

by on at 09:40am

Dnuos Ytivil serves as a perfect name for Livity Sound’s sister imprint – it’s disorienting enough to make you stumble over the words, while also triggering some immediate, if unconscious association to the heavyweight Bristolian label. Dnous Ytivil releases share their purpose with the label’s name: Both re-enforcing the larger Livity mandate of creating tense oscillations between build up and thundering release, while also swinging the spotlight to leftfield names that don’t share the current stardom of Pev, Kowton & company.

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Reginald Omas Mamode IV – All Together

by on at 10:38am

Soon, the Deenmamode clan could become the most famous Peckham family since the fictional Trotters of Only Fools & Horses fame. Certainly, three of the brothers have already made their mark, playing a vital role in pushing forward the kind of drowsy, soulful beat-scapes for which the South East London borough has become famous for in recent years. While it is Joseph Deenmamode, under his now familiar Mo Kolours alias, that has undoubtedly made the greatest impression, siblings Jeen Bassa and, in particular, Reginald Omas Mamode IV are making huge strides in this regard.

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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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Marco Bernardi – Motionless

by on at 09:39am

There is no doubt that Marco Bernardi is a multi-tasker, but is there a danger that he spreads his talent too thinly? On paper, this could appear to be the case, with the Scottish producer putting out seven EPs and 12″s last year and already responsible for five records in 2015. However, the reality is markedly different; there is a big difference between the widescreen electro of his Never Ending Similarities record on Harbour City Sorrow from last year and the recent techno-oriented Miracle Sign release as MB, but they both share Bernardi’s skilful, detailed touch and dedication to a decidedly raw sound design.

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Mr Beatnick – Formed In The Stance

by on at 09:22am

Much has changed since Nick Wilson affirmed his status as a maker of high quality, melody-rich deep house as Mr Beatnick with the Synthetes trilogy. That set of 12”s charted his move from a soul-obsessed experimental beat maker to a producer capable of creating classically rich house music that paired clear Detroit, Chicago and New York influences with an instinctive, almost Balearic warmth. In the years since, his output has all but dried up, with last year’s Marshmallows EP on Tief a slim return for someone of his obvious talents. While undeniably enjoyable, boasting typically hazy cuts flecked by acid flashes, jazzy cymbals and his usual loose, MPC-programmed percussion, the 12” lacked the instant impact and timeless feel of his Synthetes-era Don’t Be Afraid output.

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Florian Kupfer – Explora

by on at 09:31am

The first minute and a half of Florian Kupfer’s new record is just a voice calling out into the darkness, the phrase “explore your fantasy…” etched with reverb, stretched beyond the limits of human vocal chords, pitched down to a satanic gurgle. Exploration has been a staple in the young German producer’s career. When Kupfer told Inverted Audio “I think I have to do something else than just hypnotising the crowd with 4/4 for six hours these days,” in an interview last year, it seems as if he unconsciously nailed his production ethic on the head.

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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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