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Xosar – BOP004

by on at 09:34am

When Sheela Rahman first emerged on Rush Hour, L.I.E.S. Records and Créme Organization, she seemed to be carving out a particular niche as a purveyor of sweetly melodic, warm and inviting hardware house that sparkled as much as it pumped, sharply produced and easy on the ears. After keeping relatively quiet release-wise through 2014, she’s left it until now to unveil two releases that smartly rip that perception to pieces. Her appearance on Luke Wyatt’s Valcron Video imprint is a strung out excursion into hazy techno and drone, while this album for Black Opal turns the heat up with a selection that leans more towards aggressive and wildly distorted bangers far removed from the work she made her name on.

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Cylinder – Disco Engine

by on at 09:42am

In the eight years since the last (and possibly final) Metro Area 12”, members Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani have enjoyed differing levels of success. While Geist took time out to record a solo album, the mixed bag that was Double Night Time, before scoring an international hit with Storm Queen’s inspired “Look Right Through”, Jesrani’s work has been altogether more low-key. A DJ career has flourished in the face of production outings that have been sporadic at best. Collaborations, remixes and occasional singles have come and gone which for a man of Jesrani’s talents is a relatively thin return.
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Gavin Russom – LIES-025.5

by on at 09:22am

It’s no exaggeration to say that Gavin Russom is on a roll. The US producer released two of 2014’s finest records on Entropy Trax and now he follows them with this white-label number for Ron Morelli’s label. Loosely based on house and techno conventions, L.I.E.S 025.5, like the two Entropy Trax releases, shows that the US producer’s work has the kind of depth and attention to detail that is sadly lacking in most modern electronic music productions.

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Batu – Cardinal / Domino Theory

by on at 09:22am

Omar McCutcheon has taken his time in unleashing his sound. He was off to a very strong start in 2013 with releases on Livity Sound’s sister label and Pinch’s Cold Recordings in a matter of months, prised straight out of a music degree with a snappy sound that complemented the emergence of murky hybrid dance music as is now readily associated with those imprints. Since then things have been relatively quiet, bar the occasional dub floating about in mixes from particular selectors, but now Batu is stepping up with his own imprint and a sound that takes threads of his previous appearances and bolsters them with some new ideas.

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Diamantener Oberhof – Diamantener Oberhof

by on at 09:25am

Vrystaete is a new division of the Dutch Enfant Terrible operation, which already numbers the Gooiland Elektro label among its ranks. According to its manifesto, this new label addition to the Enfant Terrible roster is ‘founded to release free spirited music’ and to provide a soundtrack to ‘a world where time is not defined by a clock’. It certainly sounds like Diamantener Oberhof is living up to Vrystaete’s ambitious brief. The work of German artists Brannten Schnüre and Johannes Schebler, who is behind the Baldruin project, Diamantener Oberhof is a reflective, at times introspective work that provides the soundtrack to a world of their own making.

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Palmbomen II – Palmbomen II

by on at 09:25am

Kai Hugo has forged a career out of creating music that matches his longing to escape the grey, concrete surrounds of the European cities in which he’s lived. Rooted in cheap synthesizers, chugging Italo-disco style arpeggios, hallucinatory ‘60s pop, Kraftwerk and off-kilter film and TV soundtracks, the Dutchman’s music is rarely less than humid and colourful. Many critics have called his work as Palmbomen “tropical” and there’s some truth in this, though it’s a far dirtier, dustier and imaginative approach than Peaking Lights or Secret Circuit. But then neither of those acts grew up in Amsterdam, surrounded by body music obsessives , Italo-disco collectors and selectors, and the nearby influence of Legowelt and The Hague.

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DKMD – Sacrificio

by on at 10:09am

There are a few reasons why Giallo Disco stands above most of its peers. Apart from the music, every release feels like an event. From Eric Lee’s ornate, movie poster-style artwork, to the great back story that Giallo write and the efforts that the label’s owners go to track down artists and make their projects become a reality, there is a yawning chasm between the average disco/techno/house label and this sprawling, unpredictable experiment. The latest chapter in the Giallo Disco story is DKMD, a collaboration between veteran producer David Kristian, who has worked in a variety of musical fields and has released on Crème Organization, and poet Marie Davidson.

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VC 118A – Propulse

by on at 14:58pm

There are many facets to Samuel Van Dijk’s creative endeavours; he’s a multimedia artist, with an eclectic CV that includes stints as a photographer, graphic designer and, most notably, as a filmmaker. His short films – some for commercial projects, others for fellow musicians – are undeniably eccentric. Often unsettling, visually bleak and curiously drowsy, they feel like visual interpretations of the creeping darkness and otherworldly murkiness that often manifests itself in his music. Not all of his music projects share this aesthetic, but for the most part his records are dusty and atmospheric, with deep electronic grooves or beatless passages that slowly unfurl, as if produced in slow motion.

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David Borden – Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments

by on at 10:03am

Spectrum Spools has always worn its influences on its sleeve, but it’s been rarer to find the label actually reaching backward to highlight the artists that shaped the sound so closely attached to John Elliot and the Cleveland set. 2012 saw a reissue of the undersold, now hopefully classic record Flux by Robert Turman, followed by a repress of Sensation Fixer Franco Falsini’s mellow soundtrack to a film about cocaine called Cold Nose. Both are heady, semi-ambient affairs, combining experimentalism with motorique persuasiveness and an eye for sequenced electronic music as an inwardly psychedelic and progressive movement – which obviously plugs into the contemporary work put out by Spectrum Spools.

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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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