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John Beltran – Espais

by on at 09:45am

Although being a long term resident of Michigan capital Lansing, you would be forgiven for assuming John Beltran belongs among Detroit’s most legendary producers. With a lengthy discography dating back to his well received debut Earth & Nightfall on R&S in 1995, he has released several other albums on equally respected imprints such as Peacefrog, Ubiquity and Exceptional. The musical styles that he has covered have been as fascinating as they have been diverse, exploring everything from techno and house to classical and even Latin music. And not to mention the various other styles covered under monikers such as Placid Angles Sol Set and Indio.

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Mark Forshaw – The Fuck

by on at 09:55am

Rightly or wrongly, Liverpool DJ and producer Mark Forshaw has toiled in the shadows of his peer and occasional collaborator John Heckle. That situation looks likely to change with the release of The Fuck. While Forshaw has put out a small body of work on labels like Mathematics and Tabernacle, it is not hard to imagine his debut on Berceuse Heroique turning heads. This has nothing to do with Forshaw suddenly becoming the latest in vogue producer and everything to do with the radical approach he explores on this record.

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Black Point – EP 1

by on at 09:51am

Out To Lunch, Lowtec’s original label project, was a shining bastion for the alternative creatives that hovered on the fringes of the European minimal boom in the early ‘00s. In a style that has been concurrently carried through for the rest of his career, Jens Kuhn instinctively guided himself towards a different kind of reduced weirdness. Without needing to resort to the clinical mathematics of glitch and sidestepping the temptation towards cartoonish surreality, the Lowtec style has continued to be a rare and precious thing in the realms of house and techno that yearn for more than the lowest common denominator. After the label paused operations in 2005, Lowtec admittedly hit his stride in terms of profile, thanks to his part in the Workshop phenomenon and then by proxy appearing on Nonplus and breaking through to a much wider audience.

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Erdbeerschnitzel – The Attendants

by on at 15:47pm

It’s almost become a cliché to describe Tim Keiling’s work as Erdbeerschnitzel as “hard to pigeonhole”. Unfortunately, there’s a grain of truth in the oft-used phrase. While his releases have, for the most part, been rooted in deep house and far-sighted techno, his tracks rarely fall foul of the sort of functional formulas often employed by dancefloor-focused producers in those genres. His 2012 album on Mirau, Tender Leaf, is a perfect example. While it included many sounds familiar to those who keenly follow techno and, in particular, deep house – think warm chords, soulful vocal samples, woozy electronics, twinkling pianos and such – the rhythms were often jazz and off-kilter, as influenced by MPC style hip-hop beat-making and R&B as the metronomic pulse of dancefloor-focused grooves.

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Herron – The Night Garden

by on at 10:46am

The variance of Manchester collective meandyou. has meant an easy slip into label work from their Manc Soup Kitchen shows – the ‘various’ records with four artists (each consciously related, indebted, or otherwise foundational to the party line) has seen a natural extension of the founders’ natural promotional style, valuing growth through the meanderings of house residents and the relationships they throw up.

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Terepa – Terepa

by on at 14:53pm

“What do you get when you stick a bunch of noise musicians in separate rooms and tell them to play along with each other?” This sort of question might seem like the type of joke your uncle who doesn’t understand your musical tastes might make at a family barbecue, it’s also essentially the premise of Terepa, a project formed of Rashad Becker, Charlotte Collin, Lucrecia Dalt, Laurel Halo, Julia Holter, Kohei Matsunaga, and Grégoire Simon. Indeed, the core concept that brings these noteworthy experimentalists together is the idea that each of the seven performers scattered across the globe all begin to improvise a twenty minute simultaneously, using nothing other than intuition, years of musical knowledge, and, depending on your thoughts about swarm intelligence, maybe even some intangible telepathic powers.

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Smackos – The Age of Candy Candy

by on at 10:18am

Yet again Berceuse Heroique can take credit as a champion of the obscure and weird. Apart from supporting the brilliant Ekman, who at times sounds like Gesloten Cirkel on industrial strength steroids, the London label has now delved into the vaults of Danny ‘Legowelt’ Wolfers’ back catalogue to reissue The Age of Candy Candy. Recorded under his Smackos name and released on the Dutch producer’s own Strange Life CD-R label back in 2004, Berceuse Heroique is now putting it out on vinyl for the first time.

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DJ Guy – Ancient Future (1993-1997)

by on at 15:26pm

After his All Caps release helped announce his presence to the world, Guy Evans is now in the rather pleasant position of having a wealth of archive material the likes of which are being lapped up by those with a taste for classic UK techno and a love of genuine provenance. That all these tracks have been sat gathering dust on cassette tapes for decades only adds to the esoteric charm, and as long as the music mined remains this worthy then may the vinyl issues continue unabated.

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Karen Gwyer – Bouloman EP

by on at 14:00pm

Over time the layers and layers that comprise Karen Gwyer’s work seem to be getting thicker and denser still, pushing away from the airy accessibility of her Needs Continuum debut and towards a deeper, darker recess that cites Low Jack, other Opal Tapes artists, and harder forms of techno in general as its influence even as it wriggles away. 2014’s New Roof might be the most remarkable and accessible result of these interactions, a push away from using her voice as a leading instrument and into synth-focused elongated expressions with two tracks ‘Lay Claim to My Grub’ and ‘Missisissipippi’ each pushing a Villalobosian 17 minutes.

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House Of Doors – Starcave

by on at 13:30pm

Starcave is only the second full release from Layne Brown’s House Of Doors project, but it reinforces both the artist and label’s reputation at the forefront of modern deep house. At a time when that term has been hijacked and brought kicking and screaming to the stadium and festival main stage – let’s be honest, calling an act like Disclosure deep house is about as accurate as saying that Kanye West has a somewhat modest opinion of himself – Mood Hut and their constituent producers bring the form back to its roots.

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Sleeper Cell – Quality of Life

by on at 09:33am

Over the last year, America felt characterized more than ever by a barrage of death, tear gas, police violence and racism. From Ferguson to Staten Island to Baltimore to Charleston, the country’s news cycle played out every day like a nightmarish parody of the ideals of freedom, equality, and access to justice. These dystopian themes didn’t escape the attention of Sleeper Cell, a collaborative project between Earthen Sea’s Jacob Long and Ital’s Daniel Martin-McCormick, and a series of discussions about a sense of anguish in America served as the undercurrent of creative impetus for their latest music collaboration.

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Ford Proco & Coil – Expansión Naranja

by on at 09:43am

Alessandro Adriani’s label has done some excellent reissue work over the past few years, but this release is surely one of the most valuable pieces of archival trawling to feature on Mannequin. It’s even worth buying a copy of the basis of the back story alone. In the ‘90s, Mexican industrial band Ford Proco met John Balance and Peter Christopherson from Coil at an Orb gig in LA. Bizarrely, Coil then invited the band to star as extras in an Ice T video, after which these tracks were recorded.

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Jahiliyya Fields – Chance Life

by on at 09:03am

While much of the output on L.I.E.S. remains the kind of gritty, distorted and often wayward house and techno designed for murky basement spaces and barely-remembered after parties, Ron Morelli is happy to shake things up now and then. His experimental instincts are well known – his own music for Hospital Productions being the most obvious example of this – and many of L.I.E.S. most potent releases have been those that sidestep dancefloor conventions altogether.

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SPR – EP1

by on at 09:02am

Much like you are not supposed to feed your Mogwai after midnight in the film Gremlins, if you value your faith in humanity it’s best not to dip into the comments section in the corners of the internet that have them. Still, a recent reply to the news of Helena Hauff’s debut album on RA stood out. “Is it possible to write anything about Helena Hauff without beginning with ‘The Golden Pudel resident….’?” A fair question. For any number of reasons Hauff has become the figure most readily identifiable with the ramshackle Hamburg venue to the outside world. But there are plenty more people involved with the club doing interesting things. Hauff’s partner in Black Sites, F#X, is one such individual whose infrequent solo live set recordings are one of the best reasons to have a SoundCloud account.

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G-Machine – Primo Contatto

by on at 09:45am

Dutch label Bordello A Parigi moves into the album space with the release of Primo Contatto. The work of G-Machine, aka Italian producer Giovanni Damico, the album cover gives an indication of what kind of music to expect. Featuring a sports car reminiscent of the ill-fated Delorean models parked on the surface of a pink planet facing the earth, it paints a particularly garish but tongue in cheek vision of that very ‘80s obsession, futurism. The music that influences the album is in a similar mould and Damico mines the electro funk and Italo Disco of that period; reimagined for modern audiences, it now has a charmingly retro feel.

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Blue Russell – I Wanna Fly Away

by on at 09:55am

Another month brings another bright, full Italo moon from Dark Entries who spoil us with a trio of singles to accompany us into the glossy nights of the headiest of seasons. This time, we are given some of the rare offerings of power-couple Manlio Cangelli and Lorella Ghilardi; the former a session musician and composer for the early days of commercial TV. Boy can you hear that televisual smack in this gorgeous melody. Ghilardi was his wife, and a singer with a catty and magnetic voice, as well as a talented writer and performer.

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Various Artists – Mac-Talla Nan Creag

by on at 09:55am

Anyone who has visited the Highlands and Islands of Scotland will tell you just how magical they are. While the weather is often inclement – and prone to changing several times a day – there’s something profoundly moving about the region’s black mountains, becalmed lochs, luscious forests and windswept moors. Aside from a few outlying towns and villages, the area feels undeniably isolated, a factor that no doubt adds to the allure.

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Porn Sword Tobacco & SVN – Feels Good

by on at 09:51am

Introduced to me by the first of the collaborations with SVN on Kontra-Musik last year, Porn Sword Tobacco’s name and repeated past turns on IDM stronghold City Centre Offices (one of Shlom of Boomkat’s contemporarily lesser known ventures) displayed a kind of turned ’90s to ’00s ideological daftness that hasn’t aged all too gracefully. I had my reservations about Aphex-by-proxy loonyism. In truth, Complaints found the artist complimenting the reduced, pulsing techno palette of SVN with remarkable subtlety – Badalamenti chords so silky smooth and a constant minimalist pressure that Robert Hood strove for, albeit slightly gentler.

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James Mason – Dance of Life

by on at 11:20am

The rebirth of jazz-funk and disco musician James Mason’s career has been one of the more heart-warming stories of recent years. Despite enjoying limited success in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – firstly with the 1977’s brilliant “Sweet Power, Your Embrace” single, and accompanying Rhythm of Life LP, then later as part of Prelude-signed electro outfit Wuf Ticket – Mason’s career was almost over before it began. In the late 1990s, the short-lived Mighty Fine Records took a chance on releasing two previously unheard cuts recorded in the early 1980s, the slow-burn masterpiece “I Want Your Love”, and proto-house killer “Nightgruv”. That Mighty Fine Records release became an in-demand record, leading to subsequent reissues from both Soul Brother Records and, more recently, Rush Hour.

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LHF – For The Thrown

by on at 09:00am

When the LHF collective first reached the wider public consciousness via the Keepers Of The Flame compilation on Keysound, it felt as though the assembled throng of mysterious artists were actively carrying on the exploratory blueprint of what dubstep had started. In the tempos and textures of the tracks by Amen Ra, No Fixed Abode, Double Helix and Low Density Matter, there was much originality and atmospheric flair to delight in at a time when it felt like much of the 140 bpm sound had either drifted towards house and techno or into excessive cartoonish wobble and grind. That’s not to say that the content on Keepers Of The Flame was strictly dubstep, but by its very eclectic nature it called to mind the loose fit aesthetic of early DMZ, Hyperdub, Punch Drunk, or any other number of seminal labels.

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