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Bruce – The Trouble With Wilderness

Larry McCarthy is irrepressible. In an interview with The Quietus, the producer known as Bruce revealed he had an epiphany during his last year of university: “I didn’t think about anything else other than getting releases on the labels I’d dreamed of being on.” Cue a powerful pair of records for Hessle Audio and Livity Sound’s Dnuos Ytivil sublabel. Now, right after his second Hessle release, he reveals a dubby mix of techno, dubstep and ambient sounds for Idle Hands. This is a trio of distinctly formed tracks, and each has an interesting novelty that’s hard to describe, a quality in-keeping with his previous material. One of the first things you notice is that the rough distortion you associate with Bruce productions has temporarily disappeared.

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Project Pablo – Priorites

Project Pablo’s debut album, I Want To Believe, won a lot of hearts. Though composed of familiar elements, his chunky blend of warm house grooves and rich instrumentation was curiously singular. It still stands as one of 1080p’s best releases to date. Since then he’s put out some new material on Church, featuring on a V/A 12” and a collaboration with Wolfey, but neither quite recaptured the impossible balance of chill and funk of his debut. Now Pablo, who walks the streets as Patrick Holland, has arrived on Lone’s Magicwire label with Priorities, and he’s at the top of his game once more.

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Sam Kidel – Disruptive Muzak

During the late 1940s and early ‘50s, America’s Muzak Corporation established a program known as “Stimulus Progression”. Rather creepily, this existed to develop music designed to alter behaviour, be it enticing shoppers into longer, slower browsing sessions, or making factory workers more productive. While the “Stimulus Progression” program was abandoned decades ago, its’ principles continue to drive the development of piped mood music.

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EDMX – GYRORIDE003

One of the more positive developments of recent years has been the manner in which new labels have championed the work of Ed Upton. Known primarily for his DMX Krew project, under which he has just put out a fine new album on Hypercolor, the UK producer has also released as EDMX for Shipwrec and Power Vacuum. It’s under this alternate alias that Tabernacle has recruited him to release on its Ride the Gyroscope sub-label.

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Trux – Trux

It’s hard enough keeping up with latest developments of your umpteen favourite artists and labels and collectives and scenes and sub genres and so forth, without even batting an eyelid at the more ambiguous or downright anonymous entrants into the great unending modern music surge. A casual pause for thought about the amount of hot new shit by first time artists coming out on little known labels is enough to send a devoted music lover into a mouth-frothing frenzy, haunted by the thought of that cult pressing being snapped up by perma-connected internet seekers, soon to be an ultra-rare classic of rarified perfection.

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Leo Anibaldi – 94-96

UK label Future Primitive launches with a serving of Roman techno history, reimagined for modern times. Anibaldi, along with Lory D, was one of the driving forces behind electronic music in the Italian capital during the early ’90s. He was mainly associated with the ACV label, the  formed pop turned Italian techno label that also attracted producers like Robert Armani and Dave Clarke. While Anibaldi eventually ended his relationship with ACV and moved over to Rephlex  – which released “Evocation Part 2”, also on this release –  Future Primitive has caught a snapshot of the Roman scene in the mid-90s by digging up “Aeon Fusion 1”.

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Neuroshima – Rave Archive

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Despite not yet hitting double figures in releases, All Caps has built a reputation as a taste-making label, showing a willingness to take risks in its output. The Glaswegian imprint handed debut solo outings to artists such as Alex Coulton and DJ Guy, who was excavated from the depths of SoundCloud obscurity by co-founder Bake. And at a time when the name Mood Hut might have been mistaken for a back-alley legal high vendor in the UK, All Caps brought Bluntman Deejay across the Atlantic to become the first of that talented crop of Canadian Riviera producers to release on a label based in Britain rather than British Columbia.

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Muslimgauze/Unterspreche – Optimo Trax 18

Following re-issues of more seminal work by Australian legends Severed Heads and a brilliant double header by up and comers Morgan Hammer and Golden Filter (on Optimo Trax 15 and 17 respectively), J.D. Twitch curates a curious meeting of old school versus new school with legendary Mancunian producer Muslimgauze and emergent Italian outfit Unterspreche joining forces on the label’s newest release.

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Various Artists – Compassion Crew Presents… Compassion Cuts, Tapes & Acetates

In an age when finding obscure music is easier than ever before, you have to admire those who go that extra mile to unearth hidden gems. In theory, anyone with an Internet connection, disposable income and enough time on their hands could discover long overlooked “buried treasure”, but very few then take the time and effort to track down the music’s creators in order to license and re-issue these forgotten releases. Congratulations, then, must go to Irish DJ, producer and record collector Compassion Crew, an artist whose previous releases for Running Back, Dolly and Horn Wax outlined an eccentric, atmospheric and left-of-centre approach to house and techno productions.

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Microworld – Orange Sun

Microworld isn’t the kind of artist who pops up on your social media timeline or is constantly generating headlines. The Australian producer, real name Philip McGarva, has put out just five records, including this one, over the past 17 years and is still best known for his debut release, Signals, on Derrick May’s Transmat back in 1999. Despite the passage of almost two decades, McGarva, like many of his peers, continues to craft the same kind of deep, widescreen techno that he originally gained recognition with.

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Four Legs – Clarky Cat

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Underground house and techno labels often rise to the top with an expiry date. After a handful of exciting releases, media buzz and inflated Discogs prices, many simply disappear. Those that don’t vanish tend to settle into a groove, picking the most successful attributes of their previous releases and continuing to plough the same furrow. Labels like L.I.E.S, Unknown To The Unknown and Lobster Theremin are solid examples – they continue to put out great music, but now seem somewhat unadventurous by their own standards.

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Three Of You – Drum Electronic Sound

Italian act Three of You had a short life span, releasing just two singles, New Life and Grace, during the mid to late ‘80s. Both original pressings sell for hundreds of euro each, so it was fortuitous that Bordello A Parigi reissued both tracks together on the same record back in 2013. Tucked away on the B-side of that release was “Drum Electronic Sound”. Unlike both of their signature tracks, it’s an instrumental track, leaning more towards the emerging sound of electro rather than the fey mixture of new wave and Italo that they were known for.

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Duckett – Balsamic State EP

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It’s not always easy to pin down the music of Ian Duckett. This is a relatively new concern for many, as his music was distinctly out of the limelight after a flurry of activity in the early-to-mid-‘00s. In some ways the two eras of releases feel like quite distinct entities, and while that’s not to dismiss his earlier work, there’s a truly magical quality to the relatively recent missives on UntilMyHeartStops (UMHS) and the salvo of live sessions that have surfaced online so far this year. Quite how the music came to be, where it’s from and where it’s heading is hard to fathom, and that’s what makes it so appealing.

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Various Artists – Lifetime Subscription

For some labels, maintaining a steady release schedule seems more important than the quality of the music they deliver. This is not an accusation that could be leveled at Leipzig’s Mikrodisko Recordings, whose releases are sporadic, to say the least. Since launching a decade ago, Mikrodisko – run by a group of friends and music-makers, with close ties to the city’s Homo-Elektrik collective – has put out just nine 12” singles, supplemented by low-key cassettes. In fact, their most recent vinyl outing, Mix Mup’s Drive By, dropped way back in 2012.

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Gavin Russom – Psychic Decolonization

Electronic music too often shies away from taking a stand or making a statement. It seems like Gavin Russom is an exception. On his 2014 release, Telemetry / The Beneficent, The Merciful, he took inspiration, albeit subconsciously, from the Islamic devotional music he came into contact with during his childhood. On his latest release, a debut for Zurich label Lux Rec, he dedicates the four tracks to two people.

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Omar-S – The Best

There is no doubt that Omar-S has had a transformative effect on Detroit’s scene and by default the global electronic music landscape. His FXHE label has supported and nurtured new house music talent like Kyle Hall, Marcellus Pittman, Kai Alce and O B Ignitt while also providing an outlet for his own distinctive sound. Most impressively, he has achieved all of this without the benefit of PR campaigns or by persistently whoring his wares on social media. Instead, he reaches out to fans and DJs alike, selling both vinyl and digital through the FXHE website. He also benefits from that most authentic technique that few are capable of – and simply lets his music do the talking.

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Disco Mantras – Disco Mantras Vol. 1

Over the last 12 months, Vancouver’s Mood Hut collective has subtly begun to shift its musical focus. Famously, the label’s runaway was built on delivering dusty, undeniably baked music that drew influence from early analogue deep house, vintage new age music, and the morning after pulse of early ‘90s ambient house. It was a refreshing approach, but rather unsurprisingly has inspired a raft of imitators.Their answer was to widen their approach.

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MGUN – Gentium

After a flurry of releases during 2012 and 2013, Manuel ‘MGUN’ Gonzales took a few steps back. The US producer’s last material was out on Don’t Be Afraid in 2014 and he didn’t put out any records last year. This silence could be due to concerns about burning out, but it could also be in preparation for the release of Gentium, his debut album.

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Dorisburg – Irrbloss

‘Irrbloss’ is Swedish for the natural phenomenon known in English as a will-o’-the-wisp, a ghostly light that hovers over swampland. Heavily referenced in folklore, it was thought to be a fairy or undeparted soul acting as a fickle beacon for travellers, leading them to safety or to a murky demise. In a recent interview, Dorisburg said, “I am attracted to that which lies on the border between the beautiful and the unknown.” His music is located in this liminal space where beauty is inextricable from danger. The folkloric slant hints at the undercurrents of mysticism in his sound.

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Kettel – Wingtip

Despite a bulging back catalogue stuffed full of melodious electronic treats, IDM veteran Reimer “Kettel” Eising has struggled for wider recognition. While this may be a reflection of the obscurity of the labels he’s released on – one 7” on Planet Mu aside, he’s largely worked with imprints run by friends from the Dutch electro scene, such as Sending Orbs and Djax-Up-Bitch – it’s still a little surprising given the undoubted quality of his material.

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