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Geena – On The Top Of A Deep Hearted Fern

by on at 15:46pm

There’s a lot to admire about Quentin Vandewalle’s Antinote label, not least his steadfast refusal to pander to DJs. That’s not to say Antinote records can’t be played in clubs – far from it, in fact. It’s just that the majority of the label’s dancefloor successes have come from records that eschew the tried-and-tested in favour of more left-of-centre thrills, like the wonky tribal rhythms of Albinos’ bizarre but brilliant Ritual House series, or the scratchy techno experiments of Iueke’s archival Tape 12″s. These aren’t records for DJs, but rather records DJs can play: imaginative electronic music to dance to, rather than out and out “dance music”.

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Anxur – Anxur Takes Vol. 1

by on at 09:24am

Donato Dozzy’s latest project is Anxur with fellow Italian Marco Shuttle on the London-based artist’s Eerie label. Unlike Dozzy’s previous collaboration with Neel as Voices from the Lake, Anxur Takes Vol. 1, the first in a series of planned records with Shuttle, focuses squarely on the dance floor. Irrespective of what the accompanying blurb to this release had claimed about abstract influences insinuating their way into the recording process, to this listener’s ears, Dozzy and Shuttle have succeeded in delivering two distinctive but ultimately functional tracks.

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S. Olbricht – A Place Called Ballacid

by on at 12:21pm

If you take a peep at Hungarian producer Stephan Olbricht’s discography, it reveals a sizable body of work issued forth since 2010, and yet this appearance on the ever-strengthening Lobster Theremin represents the first excursion he has had on vinyl (at least under this moniker). Instead the man from Budapest has been more concerned with cassette-based releases, including a decent salvo of LPs, for the likes of Opal Tapes and his own Farbwechsel, but it was the collaborative release with Norwell for Cleaning Tapes that flew him onto the radar of this particular reviewer. There’s no escaping the fact that Olbricht’s sound is a snug fit on spools of tape, with all the dusty trappings you would expect of a contemporary lo-fi producer, but with this latest release there is a sense that some consideration has been made to nudge at least some of the music towards a more public, shared experience away from the private trappings of his usual format.

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Plant43 – Scars of Intransigence

by on at 09:29am

Arriving soon after Jo Johnson delivered her fine debut album for the Further label, another Bleep43 operative, Emile Facey, returns with a second Plant43 long player Scars of Intransigence. While Johnson’s Weaving is a subtle, ambient work, this Plant43 album is a different matter entirely. Inspired by Facey’s beliefs about the state of the world, it seeks to raise awareness among the listener about issue such as privatization, the use of fossil fuels and the imbalance between the wealthy and everyone else.

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Andras & Oscar – Café Romantica

by on at 15:12pm

There’s no doubt that Andras Fox (AKA Melbourne-based producer Andrew Wilson) is on a roll right now. This year alone, he’s treated us to a slew of sinewy, seductive releases that variously touch on new age ambience with the brilliant Overworld LP under his alternative A.R.T Wilson alias, toasty modern boogie for Omega Supreme Records and  the classic deep house influenced instrumental Balearica of the Vibrate On Silent EP for Mexican Summer. All three of these releases – and the latter in particular – make great use of vintage synthesizers and drum machines, while focusing attention on Wilson’s superb use of melody and manipulation of mood. Put simply, Wilson is become a masterful exponent of electronic melodica – the kind of melody-rich, occasionally dancefloor-friendly music that mixes Larry Heard, Sound Source, Lamont Booker, Bobby Konders and Ben Cenac influences with echoes of Balearic synth-pop, Vangelis, Gigi Masin and soft focus ‘80s soul.

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Bass Clef vs Frak – Bad Trip

by on at 09:49am

Evolution has left us with some weird junk code over the years; goosebumps which mimic the rising fur of angered animals, ears that some of us can still wiggle, and the perplexingly useless yawn. While it may not be linked directly to the continuation of the human species, being able to sense when the atmosphere in a room changes is one that, inexplicable as it may be, many of us claim to possess. Pinning down the feeling isn’t easy – ask performance artist Marina Abramovic and a local reiki practicioner, and you’ll get two very different answers what affects the energy of a space. Ask a Hardwax employee, and the word “vibes” will likely find its way into the answer.

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Skanfrom – Postcards

by on at 09:06am

To anyone unfamiliar with Roger Semsroth’s work outside of the Sleeparchive project, Skanfrom could indeed come as quite a surprise. It’s fair to say that Sleeparchive commanded its fair share of attention throughout the peak of the minimal techno era, and is still held in reverence by those carrying a torch for the more creative manifestations of the genre. Skanfrom meanwhile predates those spacious and unsettling bleeps and bloops, although the project was put on ice in 2002 following a retrospective release on Suction Records (also home to the likes of Solvent and Lowfish).

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Various Artists – Permanent Vacation 3

by on at 09:03am

Back in 2006, the launch of Benjamin Fröhlich and Tom Bioly’s Permanent Vacation label wasn’t marked with a single from a new signing, but rather a taster 12” for the imprint’s first compilation. Few labels choose to begin life with an EP of licensed material, but in many ways it made a lot of sense. What better way to outline your new label’s approach than to gather together material that sums up your musical outlook? Certainly, the Permanent Vacation 12” and the full-length CD that followed did just that, gathering together evocative Balearic, nu-disco and deep house cuts from the likes of Maurice Fulton, Kelley Polar, Ilya Santana, Manhead and Lindstrom.

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Transllusion – The Opening of the Cerebral Gate

by on at 13:23pm

I interviewed Drexciya’s James Stinson twice. The first occasion was for the release of 1999’s Neptune’s Lair, the second was ahead of the original release of The Opening of the Cerebral Gate in 2001. Both interviews are no longer available; the first was published on a website that ceased operations in 2002, the second appeared in a print magazine that suffered the same fate around the same time. Stupidly, both pieces were on a computer that gave up the ghost and was not backed up.

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Bruce – Not Stochastic

by on at 09:18am

Bruce, let’s get this out of the way first; I’m a fan of your name. It has all the comfy familiarity that hooks into a long lineage of Hessle producers ousting pretensions and easy to roll off the tongue at a moment’s notice. Honestly, Ben, David and Kevin talk of being particularly selective and difficult to unanimously please when selecting which records make the cut for their label, sitting on records for months in order to see if they’re a fit for Hessle or not, but I think there’s a formula at play here. New producers – call yourself Dave or Terry and you’ll be on the fast-track to success. Probably. Possibly.

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Objekt – Flatland

by on at 14:05pm


Though his tracks as Objekt probably make most producers green with envy, writing music doesn’t come easy for TJ Hertz. He has spoken in the past about his tortuous production process, and each track he makes being comprised of “scar tissue” left by up to 80 iterations of the same track. His first record was something of an accidental hit, comprised of two dubstep pastiches borne out of being stuck in a techno rut. For better or worse, these frustrations and accidents are an intrinsic part of what makes Hertz’s music what it is; he’s very much the antithesis to stern techno functionalism, an obsessive producer who consistently creates the kind of intelligently jaw-dropping moments that are all too rare in the genre.

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Zennor – Never In Doubt

by on at 09:44am

For those used to the sharp edges and alien signals of Pev’s output, this collaborative release with fellow Bristolian Andy Mac will probably come as something of a surprise. Mac has already proven himself with the killer Everytime and Regular & Irregular releases on Punch Drunk and Idle Hands, leaning more naturally towards house tempos and grooves even if he’s shown a propensity for some intriguing textures and atmospheres along the way. Pev meanwhile has hinted at a house strand to his output in the past, most notably with his sublime remix of Typesun’s “Heart Maths”.

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The Loose Control Band – Lose Control

by on at 16:41pm

While Golf Channel has been consistently more interesting than the coma-inducing television network it garners its name from, the two entities do share some characteristics. After all, if there’s been one constant over the last seven years of Phil South’s New York-centric label, it would seem to be the way Golf Channel embraces relaxation. This isn’t a substitute term for ‘boring’ by any means – while often breezy and ethereal, there’s solid dancefloor sensibility inscribed in the best Golf Channel slow burners, which makes the drawn out culmination of Justin Vandervolgen’s edits or DJ Nature’s electronic ballads all the more satisfying.

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Pink & Black – Sometimes I Wish

by on at 09:14am

The reissue market is such a riot these days, sometimes you have no idea how on earth people’s imaginations get captured by certain records. It’s a riot, but it’s also a lot of fun: rather than kneeling devotedly before the monument of a record you’ve been hunting for for years, you get to listen through and go mmm, okay, and? My first encounter with Pink and Black’s Sometimes I Wish was, I must confess, one of those. I found it immediately lovely but I failed to see why it was important to hear it again. Then I listened again, and again, and again, and my conclusion is that precisely because it isn’t particularly memorable, or maverick, or rare we should listen to it. It’s sort of… ‘exemplary’. It’s a great example of what English synth-pop – and of what loads of English synth-pop – used to be.

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Bing & Ruth – Tomorrow Was The Golden Age

by on at 09:00am

Bing & Ruth’s RVNG Intl. debut Tomorrow Was The Golden Age was recorded in Yonkers, an inner suburb of New York City used in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and A Beautiful Mind (among others like Catch Me If You Can and Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy). Soundtracks to those Jim Carrey and Russell Crowe films were largely classical, minimal and ambient, so it seems for want of a connection with this type of music there’s one to be made with this part of the Big Apple.

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Various Artists – Spänningen Band 1

by on at 15:30pm

It’s still relatively early days for Swedish techno devotee Thomas Jaldemark’s YTA Recordings, having released just a low-key cassette and a 7” up to this point. Jaldemark is better known as one half of Fishermen, whose debut album on Skudge White (produced alongside MRSK) made for a powerful addition to the strong current of high quality edgy electronics emanating from Sweden of late. As such, it gives you some indication of what to expect when delving into this eight-track compilation of largely unfamiliar names. Fishermen naturally make a contribution, as does MRSK’s voodoo-inspired Smell The Flesh project and the burgeoning KEL moniker donned by Elias Landberg of Skudge fame, but elsewhere there is fresh talent to be admired.

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Jeremiah R. – Underwater Title

by on at 08:09am

In the Juno Plus label profile of Tabernacle last year, it was clear that the people behind the label have a deep and wide-reaching knowledge of and passion for various electronic music forms. Even a cursory glance at Tabernacle’s back catalogue makes it quite clear that they bring this passion to bear on their label. While some of their peers might profess a love of underground electro, few have the conviction to actually release it. In fact, most people running labels these days would probably view deep, esoteric electro as a form of commercial suicide.

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Doubt – Poor Dog

by on at 13:58pm

Hailing from Minneapolis and with a spread of aliases and releases behind him, Ian Lehman has only been operating as Doubt for the past twelve months, and after strong salvos of techno delivered on Mistress and Disposable Communities he’s now been snapped up by Don’t Be Afraid to throw down four tracks that see him pushing his sound into more distinctive realms. It makes sense really, as the UK label has always sought to coax out the more playful and intriguing characteristics in its chosen artists, and while the earlier Doubt singles showed promised they were also somewhat in thrall to more typical techno tropes.

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Beau Wanzer – Untitled

by on at 09:18am

Until now we’ve mostly gained a sense of who Beau Wanzer is, musically speaking, through a series of collaborative projects, not to discount his recent excellent solo forays for L.I.E.S. and Nation. The straight to tape, snake-like rhythm tracks of Streetwalker with Elon Katz, the perma-shifting Jakbeat of Mutant Beat Dance with Traxx and the power loop techno of Civil Duty with Shawn O’Sullivan. Collectively, these projects and others hint at Wanzer’s talents and influences without revealing much about the man himself. If a sense of uncertainty about letting the world in on his own individual sound was the defining force here, such concerns are unfounded on the basis of the qualities shown on this collection of archival recordings from Beau Wanzer.

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Nummer – Reach EP

by on at 09:02am

Judging any artist on the strength of their early releases is fraught with danger. While they may have spent years cultivating a trademark style prior to securing that elusive debut, they could just have easily struck lucky. A first 12” featuring four almighty cuts might be the sum total of their completed tracks, or at least the best of a largely mediocre bunch. Of course, such early explorations can hint at greatness, or at least suggest the producer – or producers – in question have, to coin an old cliché, “something about them”. It might be a keen grasp of atmosphere, a desire to mix things up, or an innate sense of what works on a dancefloor. By the same measure, it might be a glimpse of their influences or a sure-footedness about their production that most catches the ear.

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