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CO/R – Gudrun

Joy Orbison producer Peter O’Grady is one of the UK dance scene’s biggest stars, with an impressive number of veritable club anthems under his belt. But what’s most surprising about his work, especially compared to other producers of ‘big’ tunes, is that he’s never locked into an identifiable sound. “Hyph Mngo”, “Sicko Cell”, “Ellipsis” and “BRTHDJTT” were all loved by dancers and critics alike, but barring their shared references to the UK dance tradition, they’re not that similar to one another.

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Dices + AEM Rhythm Cascade – Thoughtstream

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There’s something about the labels that come out of Glasgow. Diverse though they may be, the likes of Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, Tabernacle, All Caps, hell even Optimo and Numbers, are all bound together by a similar penchant for meaningful presentation and an assured conviction in the music they release. In other words, they’re all ‘proper’ labels, with an aesthetic you want to sign up to in a declaration of fandom, for no other reason than the fantastic job they make of being a label. 12th Isle comes along at a time when music from Scotland’s cultural capital garners respect like never before, and it immediately projects that same self-assured quality that makes you fill out another entry on your over-subscribed mental watch list for releases the label bosses haven’t even begun to imagine yet.

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Ma Spaventi – Isola Sommersa

Ma Spaventi comes from the same Amsterdam hub that has spawned labels like Delsin and MOS as well as a myriad of sub-labels and offshoot projects. There is no shortage of deep techno coming from these Dutch labels and through his mastering work, Spaventi is further invested in this scene. As a producer, he faces the major challenge of having to differentiate himself in a crowded field.

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Mount Liberation Unlimited – (Eerie) For Your Love

Ever since the early days of Chicago jack-tracks, live improvisation has been a popular pursuit for those who create house music with hardware. The benefits of the method to those who master it are obvious, most notably the attractiveness of creative spontaneity it affords (see the Magic Mountain High and Reagenz live shows for proof), and the energy captured in straight-to-tape performances.

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Various Artists – Blurred Angles

Brokntoys clearly believes in the power of collaboration, and Blurred Angles is its fourth split EP to date. This time though, the London-based label has engineered a different twist to the concept of ‘various artists’; each track on Blurred Angles is a collaboration between Luke Eargoggle and one of his peers.

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Proto – Vitamin Tracs

Some music is so delicate it requires you to turn the volume up considerably, just so it can fill the space where something bolder or more brash might have been playing before. It’s interesting considering this when listening to Proto’s Vitamin Tracs, a collection of six tracks primarily aimed for cassette consumption. It’s a mini-album of clean, subtle, looping shapes for the most part, not least on Side A, and as such one imagines the mechanics of the format will inevitably become part of the music as a tape copy wears itself out.

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Metropolis – Angstpolitiek

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Working together with Robin Koek as Artefakt, Dutch producer Nick Lapien explored the world of Detroit-influenced techno with The Fifth Planet on Delsin last year. The pair has just put out a follow up release, The Final Theory, on Field for those interested in acid and string soaked dancefloor techno. Artefakt forms the classic-sounding side of Lapien’s output, but it seems that when he works on his own as Metropolis, the production approach follows a less predictable turn.

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Mirror Man – Blood Is Truth

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Paul Du Lac’s Bio Rhythm label has shone over the past year thanks to a willingness to support some unusual projects and a genuine desire to push electronic music forward. First there were Mick Wills’ edits of the new beat act A Thunder Orchestra’s “Shall I Do It?” , followed by Wills and Du Lac’s edits of Italo trio Three of You. Then Bio Rhythm released Deviere’s Beyond The Celestial Gate, which featured some of the most unusual interpretations of deep house and techno heard in recent times.

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SFV Acid – DOep & Jazzchamber

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Perhaps it’s the warmer weather tuning the mind towards such moods, but at the moment it feels like there is a strong current of truly lovely, danceable electronic music drifting out of studios the world over at the moment. The Mood Hut crew and Acting Press posse know where it’s at on the smooth scale, while those SUED characters can be dab hands at keeping things sensual, and it’s an interesting phenomenon to observe. In the realms of house (and other such rhythmically straight-forward styles), plush melodic content and an overall sense of warmth in music can often be a byword for bland lounge-ready muzak set to a beat.

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Michal Turtle – Phantoms of Dreamland

Another summer, another impeccable interpretation of the season from the increasingly masterful and ever-more distinct Music from Memory. The auteur this time is Michal Turtle, a Croydon-born musician and producer who spent the heart of the 1980s making subtle, enlightened music. The label unleashed Turtle’s Are you Psychic? earlier this year – I don’t know about you, but the ‘do bright lights bother you?’ whispered in a spooked-out domestic daze on the title has stayed with me ever since. Now here comes a full retrospective of his 1980s tracks which really does sound fresh.

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Tempelhof & Gigi Masin – Tsuki

Three years ago, few bar a handful of dedicated crate-diggers knew anything about the music of Gigi Masin. The artistic rebirth of the Italian new age/ambient pioneer has been a joy to behold, and has thus far taken in a string of timely reissues, a superb career retrospective, and the Gausian Curve project, alongside Jonny Nash and Young Marco.

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In Aeternam Vale – Pink Flamingos

As part of the French cold wave movement in the early-‘80s, In Aeternam Vale cultivated a particular sound, with their transgressive minimal synth experiments considered by some as ‘proto-techno’. Initially a group, Laurent Prot soon took full control over the project in 1985 and after long period of dormancy his career was revived again by Minimal Wave boss Veronica Vasicka only a few years ago. This brought forth a new dimension of his sound that’s still steeped in strict analogue traditions that he helped innovate, while clearly having a knack for contemporary aesthetics. Still staring to the future like he did as a young Lyonnaise punk some three decades prior.

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Amato – Le Desordre et La Nuit

Some comebacks are ill-advised and cringe-worthy, whereas others are timely. The sight of Giorgio Moroder pretending to DJ or Nile Rodgers squeezing the life – and every last dollar – out of Chic’s back catalogue at most major music festivals over the past few years both make strong cases for some artists never to come out of retirement.

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Steven Julien – Fallen

Given that he made his first appearance under the FunkinEven alias way back in 2009, Steven Julien’s debut album has been a long time coming. Of course, he’s hardly been slacking in the seven years since, releasing a string of 12” singles for Eglo and Apron – the latter a label he founded back in 2011 – that has seen him develop a trademark style that puts hardware manipulation, vintage synthesizers and spontaneous composition centre stage. Once Julien found his musical voice, there’s been a confidence, immediacy and percussive looseness about his material that’s rarely less than alluring.

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Gonno & Nick Höppner – Fantastic Planet EP

When Nick Höppner released Folk, his debut solo album in a production career that spans more than a decade, the former Ostgut Ton label boss told Kaput that its title pointed to the similarities of the genre to techno and house, noting that they were all initially written with rather basic arrangements and equipment. In such simple creative environments, what draws the listener in is neither elaborate edits nor intricate sound design but visceral dynamism that runs through the fabric of the music itself. And this is exactly what you find on the Fantastic Planet EP, the result of a three-day session in Berlin where Höppner teamed up with Japanese producer Sunao Gonno.

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Various Artists – Moustache X

David Vunk has impressive form when it comes to discovering new music. The Dutch DJ’s Moustache label has championed artists like Ali Renault and The Problems, while the sub-label, Moustache Techno was one of the first platforms Gesloten Cirkel’s music appeared on. Now the garrulous label owner again casts his gaze wide for this split release, Moustache X.

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Greg Beato – Untitled

Over the years we’ve seen a number of L.I.ES releases tell a story; tracks carefully selected and curated in order to build a narrative. Records like KWC 92’s Dreams Of The Walled City or Marcos Cabral’s False Memories, both wildly different releases that tell their own particular tale. Greg Beato’s latest outing is no different, five tracks of deep and ominous techno that burn dark and twisted images into the imagination. Primarily releasing on Apron records, Beato previously put out PMA on L.I.E.S. back in 2013. This was one of four records that year which brought Beato’s deeply emotive and pounding techno to the fore.

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Objekt – Kern Vol. 3

A common theme for any review of a new commercially-released mix CD is to berate/mourn the viability of the format in an age where near infinite online variants are freely available. Objekt’s mix for Tresor’s irregular Kern series, however, reaffirms just how middling a lot of these online podcasts can be, exposing the lack of effort that goes into them and how we take that for granted.

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DJ Qu – Conjure

Always existing on the edge of convention, Ramon Quezada continues to be an artist that confounds with his singular vision. His musical identity has been forged on being stoutly unusual, and yet there’s something so very instinctual about his work that enables it to speak to all kinds of dancers. It’s fair to say that, whether in his lighter or heavier moments, there is an innate physicality powering the music that makes its way on to a 12”, but equally he has the depth and imagination to reach beyond when the situation demands it.

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JTC – JTC

Tadd Mullinix wasn’t joking when he told Juno Plus that the Bopside label would be “a vehicle for me to offer my art exactly in the way that I would deliver it”. Following on from a second Charles Manier album as well as an experimental LP under his own name, Bopside now presents a self-titled JTC set from Mullinix. In the past, the JTC pseudonym had been home to some of Mullinix’s finest releases, including Take Them Off for Creme Jak and the brilliant, brooding Like No One album for Spectral. Both of those acid-heavy releases appeared over eight years ago.

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