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Slackk – Backwards Light

by on at 09:13am

The growth of instrumental grime can be measured by the ongoing interest from genre-crossing labels. Late last year saw Mr. Mitch issue his debut album through Planet Mu and now is the time for one of his fellow Boxed residents Slackk, who debuts on R&S with new EP Backwards Light. The label had a huge impact on dance and especially rave music in the 1990s and developed an additional softer side after its revival in 2006. From that point on the label also had a heart for bass and breaks while keeping its fingers on the pulse of techno music.

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Suzanne Kraft – Talk From Home

by on at 09:37am

For much of his career under the Suzanne Kraft alias, Diego Herrera has delivered delightfully warm, loose and baggy fare. Roughly 50 percent of this has been lightly aimed at sticky, humid dancefloors – see the boogie-sampling, Balearic house loveliness of the Running Back released Green Flash EP, or the eyes-closed bliss of Horoscope on Young Adults – with the rest being concerned with the horizontal desires of post-club listening. This was how the Los Angeles based producer began, after all – see the 2010 mini-album Missum, which was deservedly reissued last year by Running Back, or the more experimental, new age inclined Tracks For Performance 12” – and in some ways it remains his strongest suit.

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John Heckle – Blues for a Red Giant

by on at 09:56am

It’s hard to believe that Blues for a Red Giant is John Heckle’s debut release for Lunar Disko. The Liverpool producer and the Dublin label share a lot of common ground and Heckle himself has spent a good deal of time in the Irish capital in recent years. And yet this five-tracker isn’t typical Heckle or Lunar Disko. Sure, it is rooted in the Chicago-influenced style that he has made his name with, but it also includes many surprises along the way.

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HVL – Away From Everything We Know

by on at 15:29pm

Organic Analogue bravely founded itself under the banner of retro-futurism in 2013, but amongst the dense web of nostalgic dance-throwbacks of that year its first release, Jeremiah R’s The New Wave, felt a glossier solution to pushing and pulling between old and new. His classic and innocent electro sound seems engineered from particularly high quality parts and tonally remains a wide-eyed and remarkably easy to swallow selection of music. OA promised a quick follow-up, but for one reason or another went dark for a year instead.

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Various Artists – Sounds Of The Universe: Art + Sound 2012-15

by on at 09:20am

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Sitting down to review a new compilation on Soul Jazz conjures up feelings of nostalgia for me. It’s a label that contributed to my own musical education over the years in a time when compilations were the best conduit to uncovering new avenues to explore. Many open-minded collectors and DJs born in the 1980s will probably have indulged in at least one of Soul Jazz’s releases, with the 100% Dynamite series leading to more personal examinations of Tenor Saw, Prince Buster, or Sister Nancy. That late-‘90s period of musical discovery was fuelled, in part, by hopeful punts on compilations, with one, maybe two recognisable names. Soul Jazz also played their own unwitting part in one of my most bittersweet memories; whilst I was in Milan DJing during an ill-fated visit to stay with an Italian girlfriend who dumped me midway through the week, I gifted some local dub obsessives my freshly bought copy of Studio One Dub.

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MB – The Miracle Sign

by on at 09:37am

Marco Bernardi is one contemporary electronic music’s unsung heroes. Although he has been releasing for over a decade, he maintains a low profile, despite releasing on labels like Clone, Crème Organization and the electro imprint par excellence, Frustrated Funk. Despite having a work ethic that would put a presbyterian widow to shame – he released six EPs last years and this record is his fourth to date in 2015 – part of the reason why Bernardi isn’t better known is because he has a rare ability to turn his hand to a range of sounds.

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No More – A Rose Is A Rose

by on at 09:39am

Dark Entries continues its copious and eclectic 2015 with an adventure into some of the most legendary stuff to pour out of the German 1980s. Hardly a sunny record, No More’s A Rose is a Rose compiles the band’s early discographic output, the EPs A Rose is a Rose, Too Late and the Suicide Commando 7’’, into a tightly-packed, luscious whole. 50 minutes of succulent, protean, and paranoid goth-synth-post punk guaranteed to add spikes to any kind of glossy early summer fantasy you might be having. The period chronicled here covers the very early 1980s, when the German trio (Andy A. Schwarz, Tina Sanudakura, Christian Darc) developed a rough, jittery sound equally at home with the post-Kraftwerkian minimalists and with the most infernal, angst-ridden, youthful goth-punk.

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Stellar OM Source – Nite Glo

by on at 09:04am

Sometime around 2011, Christelle Gualdi discovered the delights of the dancefloor. Up until that point, her career under the Stellar OM Source alias had been a tale of self-released oddness, experimental electronic jazz, fluorescent ambience and analogue-heavy drone. What pushed her towards the pounding, distorted rhythms of techno and ragged electronics of acid house is unclear, but she embraced it in a big way. After releasing the throbbing Image Over Image 12” via Rush Hour No ‘Label’, she duly signed to New York’s admirable RVNG Intl. and delivered her most accessible set to date, the acid and intelligent techno powered Joy One Mile. Typically raw – you’d expect nothing else from someone who has long been an advocate of outboard hardware – the album flitted between moments of intoxicating intensity, scattergun dancefloor dynamics and joyously colourful fusions of bright synthesizer melodies and snappy machine percussion.

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The Hieroglyphic Being Experience – Methods Of Transfer Book I

by on at 08:31am

Tabernacle has had a relatively quiet 2015, but that’s set to change with the release of a number of releases in the coming months, the first of which is Methods of Transfer Book 1. Comprising music that was improvised during a performance in New York, this release also sees Jamal Moss’ original productions re-interpreted by like-mind John Heckle.

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Japa Habilidoso – Funk Do Sindicalismo

by on at 09:28am

Funk Do Sindicalismo is a record which boasts some notable firsts. Not only was this the first Future Times release of 2015, but it’s also the first time these two tracks – initially released as a CD-R by a small Brazilian label nearly two years ago – have been available on vinyl. Issued as a 12”, they’re accompanied by artwork from Lale Westvind so killer that it’s been made into a t-shirt. That’s not bad for a name which will be unfamiliar to so many. Blame it on the increasingly unwieldy internet or perhaps even blame it on geography, but unless you happened to have stumbled upon a particular Bandcamp page or are particularly clued in to the scene in Rio de Janiero, Gabriel Guerra and his various projects may well occupy an unexplored corner of contemporary music.

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Various Artists – All

by on at 09:28am

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For a record label to last 15 years it has to have something, right? Some continuity or lasting appeal that stretches beyond that simple artistic need for a base to release music from. For Dial that might be the stability of the roster it has slowly, carefully built itself. Lawrence, John Roberts, Carsten Jost, Efdemin, Panthu Du Prince, Pawel. This is a stable of house and ambient lovers that have tended to remain deep, well composed and artistic in terms of their approach as well as their output, and the continual curatorial concern has always translated into work that can be taken as a long-term investment. With the right mood classy, continental deep house is always a relevant currency, and few have done it so well for so long.

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Mix Mup – Beach Hotel De Haan

by on at 09:36am

For someone with a discography that reaches back to 2002, there hasn’t exactly been a deluge of material from Lorenz Lindner under his Mix Mup alias. I think many would agree that we have fellow Leipzig-dweller Kassem Mosse to thank for a more recent flurry of activity following the much vaunted MM/KM 12” the pair worked on in 2012, but considering the open-floodgate approach many artists seem to take these days Lindner appears to have exercised a considerable amount of caution in how much of his music gets disseminated.

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Iglew – Urban Myth

by on at 17:03pm

Grime is alive and keeps growing broader whilst maintaining its core vibe, and what figures like Wiley, JME or Skepta helped establish in the early 2000s still flourishes today. Producers, DJs and MCs remain close and they’re forming a community based on collaboration. The ongoing attention of music media at the moment, however, canalises it attention towards producers who are making tracks not necessarily meant for MCs to spit over.

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Drvg Cvltvre – Grauwvuur EP

by on at 12:07pm

You can always tell a Vincent Koreman record apart from other techno releases. The Dutch producer’s music is dense, unpredictable and most of all raw and grimy, the polar opposite of electronic music’s creeping sterility. Nearly every track that bears his name sounds like it has been dragged backwards through a sewer from the studio in some kind of bizarre post-production ritual. Certainly it’s apparent that Koreman followed a unique method to make Grauwvuur sound murky, and in the process, idiosyncratic.

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Nozinja – Nozinja Lodge

by on at 09:27am

It’s not too often a musician comes along who’s managed to craft something that’s completely new, but still with an unshakable backbone of tradition. In Nozinja’s Warp Records debut, however, the Sowetan artist shows a deft hand in bringing together contemporary electronic sounds with the warmth of traditional South African music. Nozinja, widely recognised as being responsible for bringing the Shangaan Electro movement to a global audience, has already spent years crafting satisfyingly frenetic tracks that blend Western beats with the sound of his homeland. Combine that with the trademark bone-shaking dance moves that are an essential part of any Shangaan Electro performance, and you’ve got something that’s a genuine spectacle.

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Severed Heads – Big Saints Reward (88-90 Dubs)

by on at 09:27am

By the tail end of the 1980s, some of the leading lights of the post-punk industrial scene were beginning to embrace the still nascent sounds of Chicago house and Detroit techno. Having influenced a whole generation of American producers, the likes of Chris and Cosey and Cabaret Voltaire were now producing synth-pop created with the same drum machines and samplers that had spawned dance music’s most exciting new genres. While there are undoubtedly hints of this exchange of influences on albums from the period (particularly 1990 Cabs LP Groovy, Laidback & Nasty, which featured contributions from various Chicago house greats), it was on the 12” singles created with clubs, rather than radios, in mind that it really came to the fore. It can be heard in the exotic, bubbling house-funk of Chris & Cosey’s “Rise” single, and in remixes of the Cabs from Francois Kevorkian, A Guy Called Gerald and Sheffield bleep pioneer Robert Gordon.

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Mosey – Tuff Times

by on at 09:26am

Future Times continues to be a label loaded with surprises, as the Washington DC label shapes out an identity that seems to be rooted in little more than outboard experimentation and unconventional grooves. There has always been a dance music thrust to at least some of the material on Andrew Field-Pickering and Mike Petillo’s esteemed imprint, but it’s rare that the music ever conforms to a DJ/crowd-focused functionality when it could be charging into more psychotropic lines of enquiry. Last year was their most active to date, thanks to choice offerings from Hashman Deejay, Jordan GCZ and Protect-U amongst others, and now they leap into 2015 with yet more intriguing and heartfelt electronic music.

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Skymn – Doctrine

by on at 09:22am

With the wealth of pitch-black techno out there how do you decipher the difference from what’s good and what’s not? A start is to cast your mind back to the originators of the Euro-centric sound which stems from artists like Lory D, Leo Anibaldi and Donato Dozzy (and Canada’s Teste), and if you want further source material on the matter read Todd L. Burns’ great feature, Italians Do It Darker. The aforementioned created a wake for contemporary operations like Prologue and Northern Electronics to develop their own prospering slant on lowly, bassline and loop-centric techno, however, with legions of aspiring artists and labels chasing this sonic, more than most miss the mark when it comes to adding true originality and soul to a decidedly niche sub-genre.

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The Pagan Rites – Every Mauser & Browning

by on at 10:10am

The Rat Life subsidiary of Dresden’s Uncanny Valley isn’t a typical label; for its first few releases, it put out sample-heavy house – including a track from its boss Credit 00 – and obscure ’80s material, reworked by Mick Wills and Nation boss Traxx. For this, its fourth release, there is a marked change in focus.

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Vito Ricci – I Was Crossing A Bridge

by on at 12:35pm

Vito Ricci is not a name many people will recognize, yet highlighting the work of forgotten or overlooked artists is rapidly becoming Music From Memory’s raison d’etre. While Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller and Tako Reyenga’s label has not shied away from releasing fresh material – see last year’s superb Gaussian Curve album for proof – it’s their constantly on-point retrospectives for which the Amsterdam-based imprint is rightly renowned. Bar a smattering of heads and crate diggers, few had heard of Gigi Masin, Leon Lowman or Joan Biblioni until they got the Music From Memory treatment. All were musicians with a knack for making beautiful, emotive music, whose undeniably obscure records were criminally overlooked on their initial release.

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