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Jacob Korn – EP1

by on at 08:30am

jacob-korn-ep1-header

Between 2009 and 2012, Jacob Korn could do no wrong. The Dresden native started his recording career in fine style, delivering a 12” for Running Back – “I Like The Sun” – that blurred the boundaries between hypnotic deep house and hazy Balearica. Over the next three years, his productivity soared, with releases on Left of the Dial, Dolly and Permanent Vacation enhancing his reputation further.

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Herbert – Part Six

by on at 14:34pm

Herbert - Part Six

As a relentlessly forward-charging artist of serious critical note, it was with a sharp inhalation of surprise that long-time Matthew Herbert devotees greeted the news that the British electronica artist was returning to the refined and slender house music that he built his name on. Not only that, but with this fresh Herbert release titled Part Six it spelled out an addendum to the seminal series widely recognised early career peek, as immortalised in the Parts One Two And Three collection released in 1996. So, 18 years on, where is Herbert’s house sound at and can it live up to such a monolithic legacy?

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Bluntman Deejay – Esoteric (Real)

by on at 09:00am


Bluntman Deejay exemplifies the word “esoteric”, that is, intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialised interest. This could be true for the whole universe of Vancouver’s Mood Hut label, within which the anonymous producer also operates as part of the Dream Carpets and Aquarian Foundation monikers – perhaps he’s the totality of both of them, maybe just a member of a vast collective. Either way, Mood Hut’s aesthetic is another thing that could be described as esoteric – shaky line-drawings of stick figures playing Microsoft Word clip art, ying yang signs with weed leaves interwoven in the centre, and album art that seamlessly mimics basement-bargain house jams from the mid ’90s have all become defining characteristics of the label.

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Scientific Dreamz of U – Visionz Of An Abstract Plane

by on at 09:00am

Not content with launching the anonymous artist-focused Head Front Panel sub-label, Tabernacle have recruited Scientific Dreamz of U for a release on the mothership. The mysterious act has only one previous release to its credit, but is starting to carve out a niche with its tripped out, epic techno jams. The combination of the artist’s name and track titles like “Monopole Vortex Field {Dirac Sea Re-Immersion]” scream the word ‘trance’ at this reviewer.

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Dalhous – Will To Be Well

by on at 09:00am

Will To Be Well

With their first album An Ambassador For Laing only dropping last year, Dalhous return to their trusted label Blackest Ever Black with another long player. The duo of Alex Ander and Marc Dall first appeared on BEB in their Young Hunting guise, issuing forth a gloomy kind of ambience with occasional twists of chamber pop vocal worked into a gothic whole. Dalhous as a project allows in more rhythmic fare, although not at the expense of the seductively melancholic musicality the pair are clearly drawn to.

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Eomac – Monad XVII

by on at 16:22pm

A woman stands at the edge of a cliff. Looking over, she feels both an immense fear of falling, and, inexplicably, a terrifying impulse to purposefully throw herself off the edge. The complete freedom to choose one’s own destiny, to throw oneself off or to stay put, was what Kierkegaard called the “dizziness of freedom.” It’s also an applicable term for the dirt-caked rave sounds of Ian McDonnell’s stylistically nomadic Eomac project. McDonnell’s music skitters across the spectrum somewhat disorientingly – his recent Spectre LP showed that he could hop between sounding like an Irish counterpart to Function or Shed, while other times sounding much more reminiscent of _moonraker’s obtuse, nerve jangling rhythms. His fanbase seems equally varied, with support for Eomac comes from house staples such as Nina Kraviz and Anthony Naples, as well as a somewhat different corner of the dance music spectrum – most notably Thom Yorke and Aphex Twin.

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Retape – Signals on the Double

by on at 09:00am

retape-signals

030303 is not as high-profile as other Dutch labels, but Signals on the Double shows that it understands the art of A&R better than many. From Norway, Retape is a new signing for the label and, as this record shows, a strong addition to the roster. In some ways, it’s a strange move for 030303, which thus far has focused on acid and glitch-flavoured releases.

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Yør – Lack Of Beeing EP

by on at 15:00pm

lack-of-beeing

Is it just me, or has there been a noticeable rise in the number of long form tracks appearing on house and techno singles recently? Karen Gwyer’s excellent New Roof EP was a lengthy sprawl on both sides, Bass Clef went all-out for a 20-minute opus on his recent “Lower State Of Unconsciousness” and JTC throws down plenty of running time for “Veronja One” on his upcoming Escalator To Sorga EP. Just to clarify, we’re talking anything pushing well over the ten minute mark here, and while length should always be secondary to content, it does make an interesting statement on the kind of house and techno that edges away from club use and into the more esoteric ‘listening’ domain.

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ADMX-71 – The Redacted Files

by on at 09:00am

redacted-files

Since its inception, Ron Morelli’s label has released music from new or under the radar artists. The Redacted Files marks a change in that approach, with L.I.E.S. putting out its first record from New York techno veteran Adam X under his ADMX-71 guise. Hopefully it’s the start of the label’s patronage of established producers pursuing side projects. After all, there is a limit to the amount of lo-fi, tape-frazzled house any label can put out.

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Rawaat – Day Laborer EP

by on at 10:23am

day-laborer-590

Having steered the good ship Crisis Urbana for the past year through some choice cassette and digital releases, Detroit techno activist Rawaat makes his full debut with a release for Lobster Theremin, a label with a similar penchant for analogue house music on the fringes of tradition. As they would themselves describe Crisis Urbana, the main ingredients here are, “rhythm & noise”. Naturally the studio output of Rawaat makes for a neat addendum to the label curation work, occupying a similar space in which surreality looms large in amongst the drum machine rhythms and grubby tones.

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Faugust – Devotions (1984-2006)

by on at 15:22pm

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James Shaw has achieved recognition thanks to a series of singular techno releases on Avian, Blueprint and his own Our Circula Sound label under the Sigha guise. While they have allowed him to carve out an international reputation, this project sees him unlock a lot more of his potential. Unlike Sigha’s trademark purist grooves, Devotions is an abstract and nebulous offering. Occupying a grey area where electronic and guitar-based sound scapes coalesce, its frazzled, fuzzy guitar chords and evocative, melancholic synth tapestries form bluesy moods and understated pieces.

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Gavin Guthrie – Gavin Guthrie aka TX Connect

by on at 09:45am


With a name like Gavin Guthrie, this Dallas-based producer also known as TX Connect sounds like he should be making emasculated folktronica. The reality couldn’t be more different. This self-titled double pack is rooted in the sound of the early to late ’80s, taking in brutal EBM, Chicago house, early techno and a death-march dirge like the searing bass and cascading synth-led album closer “Haddonfield IL”. Crème also deserves praise for putting out this work; it would have been far easier, lazier and surely more lucrative to release identikit jack tracks, but Guthrie’s debut album only uses this sound as part of a suite of references.

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D.K. – Drop

by on at 16:42pm


Few who heard All Day Everyday, the debut single by Parisian producer D.K. on Get The Curse Music, can have failed to have been charmed by its dreamy, new-age influenced pads, hissing analogue rhythms and sun-baked synthesizer melodies. It was rather surprisingly overlooked on its release in January, save for a few heads who drew comparisons with the tropical house and new age techno promoted by Future Times and Canadian brothers-in-electronics Mood Hut. The comparisons were fair. The mysterious French producer’s use of dense, off-kilter analogue rhythms, fizzing cymbals and picturesque melodies echoed the likes of Aquarian Foundation, Pender Street Steppers and, most potently, Maxmillion Dunbar. The 12” even boasted a stripped-back dub that sounded not unlike Max D’s work for L.I.E.S. as Dolo Percussion.

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Various Artists – Paris/Berlin: 20 Years of Underground Techno

by on at 10:25am

As soundtracks go, the music to accompany Amélie Ravalec’s 2012 documentary about the techno underground in Paris and Berlin was hardly an afterthought. After all, it focuses on the same artists who featured in the film and as such is never frivolous or incidental. A cynic could argue however that it is ultra-serious in its articulation of an updated version of cyber-punk culture. There is no room here for V-neck wearing middle-aged men a la Michael Douglas getting down to T-99 during the Basic Instinct club scene.

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Helen – Witch / Zanzibar

by on at 16:25pm

Tis the season to return to the superficial pleasures of past Italian summers, and to dance all night in abandoned discotheques by the murky Adriatic sea. Bang on the summer solstice, Dark Entries bring out a strange and interesting trio of Italo 12’’s, which in a sense cater to whatever your preferred strand of Adriatic sound may be: Art Fine’s Dark Silence (tinged with the epic brushstrokes of dark wave à la Fockewulf 190), Peter Richard’s Walking in the Neon (a driving hi-NRG metropolitan affair) and this little gem, Helen’s extremely rare Witch / Zanzibar.

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British Murder Boys – Live In Tokyo

by on at 11:34am


To say that Karl O’Connor and Tony Childs’ British Murder Boys project was shocking is something of an understatement. For an Irish national, it brings back deeply unsettling memories of Thatcher’s cold-blooded shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. For a wider audience it makes reference, either directly or subliminally, to blasphemy, child abuse and state/military-led brutality and oppression.

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Quiltland – Quiltland

by on at 09:35am

While the name Quiltland may conjure imagery of a department store filled with endless aisles of comfortable bedding for some listeners, it means something very different for Swedish producer Frida-Li Lövgren. Speaking about her productions to a Czech blog back in 2013, she described the project as a multi-faceted outlet for complicated identity politics. “I am a guide for all the different musicians and artists that I make up and I can play their roles just as I want” she states. “There is one different artist responsible for each Quiltland track.”

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Shanghai Den – RS1407

by on at 16:57pm

It’s new talent time once again at R&S, as the veteran label invites hitherto unknown artist Shanghai Den to deliver his debut release with nowt to go on but a previous guest spot on Falty DL track “King Brute”. While there may be no frame of reference in which to place the artist, the music seems to be just fine with that, as this short but sweet two-tracker blurts out a wild and dizzying torrent of singular ideas and approaches that will be turning heads anywhere it gets played.

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Head High – Megatrap

by on at 10:30am


It’s been a year since Rene Pawlowitz’s last Head High missive and in the meantime, electronic music has been catching up with the German’s penchant for early ’90s influences. From the chart-invading success of retro house acts – witness Disclosure’s Glastonbury headline status and the trite Route 94 – to the constant reissuing of classic Chicago and Detroit releases – Derrick May and DJ Deeon records have been re-released in the past few weeks – it feels like that period between the explosion of acid house and the emergence of hardcore is being put under the cultural microscope. Who knows, maybe we’re only a few months away from a happy hardcore revival?

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Various Artists – Brothers & Sisters

by on at 16:12pm


Since launching back in 2009, Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin’s Mister Saturday Night parties in New York have become the stuff of legend, and not only for their riotous, anything goes nature. There’s a hint of militancy about their no-nonsense approach to party promotion; famously, their “dancefloor rules” posters, slapped up around the numerous venues they’ve used for events over the years, ban people from taking photos, using phones, smoking and generally loitering without dancing. Many DJs and party promoters will no doubt empathize with their approach, which in essence boils down to “go hard or go home”. It’s a party, so dance like you mean it.

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