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Hodge – You Better Lie Down

by on at 11:23am

For us consumers of music, it’s always nice to witness the results of an artist revelling in a creative purple patch such as the one young Bristolian producer Jacob Martin is currently enjoying as Hodge. If you were to seek out that one sonic element that binds together everything Hodge has committed his name to in 2014, it’s an underlying sense of humidity. Records for Dnuos Ytivil, Tempa, and Hotline revel in a muggy feeling, almost as if Hodge has bottled the sweat dripping from a dingy basement club in Stokes Croft, broken down the molecular structure and fed it into his collection of hardware.

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Various Artists – Ten Cities

by on at 12:27pm

Epic is the word that immediately springs to mind when trying to describe the laudable Ten Cities project. Effectively a stab at grasping the global fusion zeitgeist by fostering links between musicians, DJs and electronic producers across two continents, its’ aims run deeper. While this kind of cross-cultural collaboration is nothing new, it’s rarely been tried on this kind of grand scale. Of course, it’s the musical side of the project that will rightly grab the headlines, with this sprawling compilation on Soundway Records being the conclusion of a three-year process of cross-cultural studio collaborations and suitably celebratory parties and concerts throughout Europe and Africa. Ten Cities also encompasses research and academic publications focusing on the distinctive club scenes in each of the selected cities. A quick glance at the project website confirms the sheer number of people involved behind the scenes – not just 50 or so musicians, DJs and producers, but a similar number of researchers, curators and project coordinators.

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Bodem – Het Sonisch Besluit

by on at 11:56am

This 12” by the hitherto unknown Bodem marks the second release on Delta Funktionen’s Radio Matrix imprint. With little else to go on, you can rest assured that the electro-techno style of the Dutch label boss has come to bear on the tracks and so if you were already a fan of that approach, there’s plenty to enjoy here. Quite simply, “Malfunktion” is a monstrous track with all those face-contorting qualities that make for true excitement in the rave, tempered just right so as to not become comical in its filthiness. There is of course a fine line to be trodden when dealing in sonic dirt; of course the most hyped-up EDM bass-weight juggernaut can be loaded with all kinds of studio fireworks to make the kids lose their shit, but to remain classy whilst getting nasty is not so simple.

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Manuel Gonzales – Full Frontal

by on at 09:51am

Listening to this latest release on Berceuse Heroique from Manuel Gonzales brings to mind the unfortunate passing of LFO producer Mark Bell earlier this year. Not in the sense that the producer or the label want to cash in on the death of Bell, but rather that it serves as a reminder of the period in the early to mid-90s, when Bell’s records, along with the music of Claude Young and Stacey Pullen, were mapping out new possibilities for the form. In particular, Bell’s Lofthouse double pack release as Clark on Planet E was a defining moment. It effortlessly combined Bell’s bleep background with the noisenik aesthetic of Landstrumm and the robotic angularity of a Detroit new waver (at the time) like Young.

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Alland Byallo – Dead Ringer

by on at 09:50am

Alland Byallo has been releasing records for a decade and since 2010 or thereabouts he’s remained a low-lying omnipresence in electronic music. The American’s foothold in a style of minimalistic house music suited to labels like Poker Flat and Morris Audio means Byallo’s recognised profile continually skirts a periphery between the underground and what music publications consider news or review-worthy. To these ears, however, this Dead Ringer 12” for his Berlin-based label Bad Animal is his best.

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Varg & Hypnobirds – Linje 19

by on at 09:50am

Ah, Swedish techno. If there is one phenomenon of the past few years in electronic music that has yielded nothing but quality, it must surely be that of the dark and alluring sounds emanating from that particular part of Scandinavia. There has been much said already about Skudge and their affiliated artists and imprints, Kontra-Musik, Frak, Abdullah Rashim and countless more besides. At every turn there seems to be a new artist with a unique style that fits perfectly into the bigger picture, challenging and satisfying in equal measure.

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Das Ding – Why Is My Life So Boring?

by on at 09:54am

New label Electronic Emergencies opens its account with an impressive first release. Dutch artist Das Ding aka Danny Bosten self-released a series of cassettes in the 80s before promptly disappearing back into obscurity. Championed by Minimal Wave, who released a retrospective in 2009, the new-found interest in his work appears to have sparked a creative fire in Bosten; apart from manufacturing his own line of sequencers and resuscitating his Tear Apart Tapes label, Bosten has also recorded this album for the fledgling Rotterdam-based Electronic Emergencies.

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Rivet – S.E.L.F.#2

by on at 09:40am

Keeping it Swedish as ever, Rivet makes just his second appearance of the year on this single for the Swedish Electronic Liberation Front imprint, following on from a strong first release for the label that featured fellow Scandinavian dirt-mongers Fishermen. With every release Rivet seems to reveal yet more sides to his multifarious sound while maintaining a dense and hard-hitting aesthetic. Increasingly (as was hinted at on his Bear Bile 12” for Kontra-Musik) he seems to be heading into a corner of techno more in line with early electronica than po-faced floor-focus, and it makes him all the more thrilling to listen to.

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Hashman Deejay – Sandopolis

by on at 11:55am

Until very recently, all the public had to go on about the existence of a certain Hashman Deejay was some whispered message board conjecture and the “Tangerine” EP on Future Times. On the label of that record, two pencil-sketched piercing eyes stare out at you, poking out from the brush of the wilderness. “Tangerine” imparted soothing rainforest sounds and subtly progressing drum patterns aplenty; but whenever this writer threw it on his turntable, those eyes gave a feeling of uncertainty; one was being watched. While some savvy internet use will connect the dots between Hashman Deejay, Tanner Matt, Aquarian Foundation and Vancouver’s sure-to-be-topping-some-’best-of-2014′-lists Mood Hut collective, this writer thinks part of the enjoyment of a Hashman release is allowing yourself to be swept away in the intrigue, the uncertainty and unpredictability of what’s inside.

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Tambien & Tiago – EP 01

by on at 11:23am

It’s not clear who came up with the idea of Tambien and Tiago joining forces in the studio, but as a concept it makes a lot of sense. Musically, they have a lot in common, from a shared love of sweaty tropical rhythms, percussion-heavy re-edits and downbeat, ultra-deep techno, to the wonky, do-it-yourself ethos of their respective labels. Apparently, the trio behind Tambien – producer Bartellow and Public Possession shop/label owners Marvin and Valentino – have long been friends with Tiago Miranda – a rapport that has seen the quartet share a DJ booth on numerous occasions.

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Grey Branches – Lower Bounds

by on at 09:35am

Belgian artist Yves De Mey is a hyperactive talent and Grey Branches is his latest project. While much of his output is experimental, he isn’t completely divorced from dance floor techno – check some of his Sendai work with Peter Van Hoesen – and this new venture seeks to unite those often incompatible worlds.

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Panoptique – Panoptique

by on at 09:25am

The Antinote train keeps on rolling as a one-stop shop for some of the most essential unearthed gems from the fertile underground of French techno and electro curiosities, and once again an unfamiliar name is presented to us in the shape of Panoptique. With but a couple of obscure compilation releases behind him, Bordeaux-based Panoptique makes a debut release here that more than steps up to the other shamanistic machine mantras that the label has dealt in thus far.

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Robert Hood – M Print: 20 Years of M Plant

by on at 09:24am

Everywhere you turn, techno artists and labels are celebrating anniversaries. This is no surprise; this sound has been developing over the past three decades and has the kind of longevity and worldwide reach as other established forms. Despite electronic music being made by producers all over the world, it’s important to understand where the music came from. In many instances, this process leads back to Detroit and to artists like Robert Hood and his M-Plant label.

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Floating Points – Nuits Sonores

by on at 09:20am

Any new Floating Points release is cause for celebration! Fresh material from Sam Shepherd may have been relatively thin on the ground in recent years, but what he has put out has been predictably strong. His sole 2013 release, Wires, was a gently unfurling modern jazz masterpiece – with the obligatory deep house influences, of course – while June’s King Bromeliad 12” – a typically rolling, Rhodes-laden deep house-jazz jam, was arguably his strongest dancefloor moment since the days of People’s Potential. While he may not have totally abandoned his jazz ambitions, Shepherd does seem to be paying closer attention to the demands of club-friendly records.

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Marco Shuttle – Visione

by on at 14:54pm

Though Marco Sartorelli has always stated that he perceives techno “as more of a musical expression rather than a tool to make people dance,” the majority of his output until now has killed two birds with one stone. When the drums on 2011′s “The Vox Attitude” double up on themselves, it makes even the smallest dancefloor feel like it’s plummeting down an abyss, and 2012′s “Don’t U Want” repackaged a First Choice vocal sample into a cavernously addictive record. And while recent work such as this year’s Fanfara EP saw him gravitating towards the dronier, abstract side of the techno spectrum, Visione continues that trajectory, moving him entirely away from four to the floor rhythms entirely.

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T.B. Arthur – 3

by on at 09:09am


There’s little information to be had on T.B. Arthur beyond the insinuation it’s the work of a forgotten US producer from the ‘90s whose plans fell foul to financial issues, and a Chicago area phone number printed on each of the three records. Dial it up and you’ll be met with an automated message informing inquisitive minds: “You have dialled a number that is no longer in use, but continues to receive many calls. Please check the number you want and dial again. You have not been charged for this call. Thank you”.

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Various Artists – Lovers Rock #6

by on at 09:22am

There’s an identity shaping out of Ital’s Lovers Rock imprint, and it’s making for one of the finest outposts for dreamy techno you could wish for. It’s not all mellow and wistful (although some of it definitely is), but even in its tougher moments a spirituality seems to emanate from the tracks that has resulted in every release thus far being utterly essential. After a string of more artist-focused releases, this sixth installment makes the wise move to invite a few more characters along and thus further establish the characteristics of the label.

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Various Artists – Vidal Benjamin Présente Disco Sympathie

by on at 09:21am

The explosion in archival disco and boogie releases in recent times poses a problem for those thinking on entering an already crowded compilation market. Where once you could get away with simply gathering together a mixture of classics, rarities and in-demand cuts, an increasingly informed public now demand more. In order to stand out, labels have to dig deeper, have a solid concept – something not seen before, ideally – and a track list that focuses on the sort of dusty, little heard tracks that will intrigue record collectors and casual selectors alike. If you can work with a renowned crate digger, that’s even better.

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Powell – Club Music Remixes

by on at 16:46pm

The UK label Diagonal rounds out a stellar year with remixes from one of its founders, Powell’s Club Music release. Somehow the label has managed to persuade Ancient Methods and Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H Kirk to rework tracks from the record with predictably impressive results. Now just a solo act, it sounds like Ancient Methods is channeling the spirit and sound of 80s industrial and EBM on his two remixes which seemingly contain source elements of all three tracks from Powell’s original record.

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Afrikan Sciences – Circuitous

by on at 17:06pm

Eric Douglas Porter has been on an increasingly prolific tip of late, gaining exposure for his craft while managing to be totally singular and independent of any particular movement or scene. He is of course affiliated to Aybee and the Deepblak stable, forming one of the central tenets of the Oakland label, but he moves in his own orbit much like the way Ras G holds his own space despite being an central figure in the Brainfeeder story. Even when he and Aybee collaborated for the sublime Sketches In Space LP earlier in 2014, Porter’s voice shone through true and tangible, arguably sending his collaborator’s reasonably loose sound out into the even braver frontiers in which Afrikan Sciences resides.

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