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Adam X – Irreformable

by on at 08:55am

Over the past few years, Adam Mitchell has focused his efforts on the Traversable Wormhole and ADMX-71 side projects. However, as his latest album shows, his Adam X guise is the one that still plays host to his most visceral and thrilling music. Traversable Wormhole was a means for the US producer to link back into contemporary techno. It’s tempting to posit that Mitchell’s recent ADMX-71 release on L.I.E.S. meant that he retains a visibility among the new wave of American labels, but Irreformable is a far more brutal articulation of electronic music than any new school industrial/wave-influenced artist.

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Paul White – Shaker Notes

by on at 16:20pm

With one of those hefty discographies that could make the uninitiated tremble, Paul White has in five years marked himself out as a prolific and malleable artist. His long-time allegiance to One-Handed Music has given rise to four sturdy albums since 2009, while there are numerous singles released almost exclusively on the London-based imprint. Now though, R&S have called upon him to bring his crossover world of crooked beats, wonky pop, and blues-hued psychedelia to a different kind of crowd, and it could be the move that truly embeds him in the public consciousness.

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Gravats – Îlot

by on at 09:35am


There’ll always be something romantic attached to a 7” release. They’re cheap (and cheerful) to manufacture, and due to their smaller surface area there’s less music to hear – this still doesn’t stop garage rock bands from Melbourne squeezing what they can onto a record. And if it’s not rare funk, soul or dub, it’s going to be for the most part, at least in the world of independent electronic music, something creatively askew, often born out of budget restriction or artistic aberration.

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Tom Ellard – ’80s Cheesecake

by on at 16:40pm

Tom Ellard would probably object to a long review of ‘80s Cheesecake, considering his biography consists of the following brevity: “I was born, and then I was here. To be continued.” But what the Australian-born producer may lack in gab, he more than makes up for with ingenuity – though Ellard wasn’t one of the founding members of the Severed Heads (who went by the even-less-amicable name “Mr. and Mrs. No Smoking Sign” at the time of their formation), he saw the band through their transformation from 80′s proto-industrial before moving into experimental electronic synthpop and post-punk, and was ultimately responsible for both some of their greatest commercial successes and some of their fuzziest, most inaccessible oddities.

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Various Artists – Common

by on at 09:05am

It’s always interesting to observe well-established event promoters branching out into the label world. Quite often those responsible are in an enviable position, having forged real-world relationships with their guests over the years and as such being able to call up a favour to give a fledgling label the kind of kick start that can make all the difference in an ever-increasing world of 001s. It’s fair to say that Manchester collective meandyou were able to do just that in snapping up Kassem Mosse for their first release, and in truth he gave them an absolute beast of a track, but they offset that by showcasing lesser known talents as well as their own local heroes Juniper. It was a wise move to reach for a well-known friend, and the results were exemplary, but on this second release all bets are off as the curation draws on a list of lesser-known acts and as such places the music out front.

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Jordan GCZ – Digitalis

by on at 08:47am

Where to start with this record? If you are familiar with the work of Juju & Jordash and the various projects around them, then you know not to expect anything near staid, immobile, impeccably polished house or techno. But still it’s hard for someone with very little in the way of musical ability (hello, me) to quantify all the ideas and processes that have gone into these three tracks from Jordan Czamanski. Given the general fun loving nature of Future Times, Digitalis could be seen as quite a bold move, but who wants to see a label treading the same waters?

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Lukid – Crawlers

by on at 15:08pm

Two years is a long time in electronic music. In the 24 months since Luke Blair delivered his last record as Lukid – the Ninja Tune/Werkdiscs released Lonely at the Top LP – the musical landscape has changed considerably. In particular, Blair’s trademark sound – raw, distorted, unsettling and dreamy, with gritty textures and almost overbearing tape hiss – has become the norm, in techno and experimental electronic circles, at least. Where he could once have been considered a leader in this field, he is now merely one of many pushing a sound that contrasts melodious intent with redlined drums, dystopian textures and crusty production.

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Whirling Hall of Knives – Comminute

by on at 09:23am

There may not have been much good news out of Ireland in the past few years, but the health of the country’s electronic music scene has certainly been one of them. Despite or perhaps because of the recession – it all depends whom you believe – the small country that this writer calls home is seriously punching above its weight. From Lunar Disko’s Chicago and electro jams to Apartment’s leftfield house and All City’s psychedelic take on house and techno – do check the forthcoming LP from The Cyclist for the Dublin label – to Earwiggle’s extreme but individualistic take on harder techno and Lakker/Eomac’s skewed rhythms. Irish labels and producers are making some of the world’s best electronic music right now.

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Second Storey – Double Divide

by on at 15:55pm

It’s been a good long while that Alec Storey has been rounding out his own brand of electro funk. Formerly operating under the Al Tourettes moniker, his emergence has been nothing if not slippery, flitting between moments of great recognition before nestling back under the radar with his not-easily-defined musical character. From soundtrack turns on Black Swan to a fruitful partnership with Appleblim, playing drums for Will Saul to a thorough championing from Mary Anne Hobbs, there have been plenty of bouts of recognition for the skills the producer possesses, but this emergence of the Second Storey alias and the linking to Houndstooth feels like the most decisive step forward for the London-via-Norfolk-and-Bristol artist.

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Ekranoplan – Wing In Surface Effect

by on at 09:30am

Even though the All Caps label name might imply a certain aggressiveness (at least, that’s what this writer imagines ALL CAPITALIZED WORDS imply), the Glasgow label’s output has recently been bustling with what seems like a second wind of creative inspiration – a distortion-laced DJ Guy re-issue from 1996 and Bluntman Deejay’s smoked out Esoteric Communion EP are two releases which pushed the label in a slightly more experimental direction. That’s not to say that earlier releases by Helix & Kowton didn’t have their groundbreaking moments, but their functional, non-nonsense aesthetic and blistering drum patterns signified that they were, if not “for club use only”, at least primarily intended for crowded rooms of perspiring dancers.

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Guyer’s Connection – Portrait

by on at 09:13am

There’s something to be said for a certain purity, isn’t there? So often it’s the records that weren’t even expecting to be bought, the bands that never thought anyone would show up to see them live, the songs made as if nobody was ever going to listen that end up have lasting effects. And it isn’t only archival festishism – some albums, like this one, attest to the fact that solitary experiments sometimes become pivotal in the story of a music. Tibor Csebits and Philippe Alioth self-released Portrait in their hometown of Basel – even singing in the Basel dialect at times – when they were about fifteen years old. They liked synthesizers so they experimented, they wrote some songs, they had a lot of fun, and ended up defining a certain kind of minimal synth while they were at it.

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Stéphane Laporte – Fourrure Sounds

by on at 09:13am

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Quentin Vandewalle’s Antinote is a rare beast: a label that is almost impossible to pin down. Though the Paris label first surfaced with the archival proto techno of Iueke, Antinote has developed into an increasingly open-minded concern, hopping between the John Carpenter-inspired synth-wave of Nico Motte’s excellent Rheologia, the Future Times-ish tropical wizardry of DK, the cozy dream-pop of Syracuse, And that’s before we get to the dense and off kilter rhythms of Albinos.

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LAPS – Ladies as Pimps EP

by on at 15:58pm

The hive of activity centred around Glasgow creative space The Green Door Studio comes up trumps once more, as one half of Organs Of Love joins forces with a Golden Teacher to form LAPS for the latest slab of excellence from the Clan Destine label. As LAPS, Alicia Matthews of Organs Of Love is Sue Zuki and Golden Teacher’s Cassie Ojay becomes Lady Two Collars; any worry of this sounding like the makings of a discarded Mighty Boosh episode is however put aside, as the pair rip through seven tracks that throw elements from all corners of their musical influences into the mix with the odd bit of assistance from their friends and contemporaries.

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Austin Cesear – West Side

by on at 09:00am

For someone with reasonably limited exposure, Austin Cesear has managed to leave quite an impression with his releases thus far. It helps of course that his sound has found favour with those steering such vaunted ships as Opal Tapes, Proibito and Public Information, for whom he returns to serve a follow-up to his Cruise Forever debut, but such affiliations only speak to the quality of the music rather than some notion of right-place-right-time hype. His first long player on Public Information was certainly a striking affair that drew on all manner of house and techno abstractions to make its presence felt, with plenty of dubby sensibilities rubbed into its muscles and ample breathing room for experimentation. It’s a premise that continues with West Side, a six-tracker reportedly written in homage to the docks of Oakland, California; although music of this nature is fairly wide open to thematic interpretation.

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Various Artists – Rock The Box Volume 1

by on at 09:39am

There’s something refreshingly honest about the kaleidoscopic, drum-machine heavy retro-futurism of Benny Badge and Inkswel’s Hot Shot Sounds label. Hot Shot has never hidden it’s influences; it’s raison d’être is simple: to deliver synthesizer-heavy music inspired by “electronic soul” from the ‘80s and, to a lesser extent, early ‘90s. There’s not much more to it than that, meaning the label’s reputation rises and falls on the quality of the material; not so much whether it ripples with the aural trademarks of 1980s funk, soul, disco and electro – for the record, it usually does – but whether each track is good enough to stand on its’ own two feet.

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Richard H Kirk – Never Lose Your Shadow

by on at 09:24am

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Originally released in 2004 as part of a double CD Richard H Kirk retrospective called Earlier Later (Unreleased Projects Anthology 74-89) on the Mute archival label The Grey Area, “Never Lose Your Shadow” gets its first ever vinyl release courtesy of Minimal Wave. Label founder Veronica Vasicka has been playing the track in her sets and it does sound very familiar, but maybe it’s also because Kirk’s influence has loomed large over electronic music.

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JTC – Escalator To Sorga EP

by on at 13:45pm


Everyone’s favourite contemporary acid troubadour is at it again. Tadd Mullinix is a restless musical soul, whether turning out the sweaty, scatty box jams as James T Cotton, the bugging hip hop business as Dabrye or turning his hand to the rudest jungle as SK1. The ideas have always run ahead of the stylistic tributaries of Mullinix’s musical career, ensuring his output has been defined by a distinctive flair that leaves the competition struggling to catch up, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

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DJ October – Gate 2 Yesterday

by on at 09:33am

Consistency is an enviable trait, and in thinking of something to apply to DJ October’s signature blend of dub techno, five o’clock shadow house and ambient – and this review – it’s tempting to deliver that line and be done with it. I will always download an October release, always enjoy it. I like this new one too! Consistency sometimes seems such a backhanded compliment though; can’t think of much else to say, the records are always good right? Consistent.

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Manuel Gonzalez – Filth

by on at 15:59pm

It would be fair to say that Manuel ‘MGUN’ Gonzalez doesn’t fall into neat Detroit techno stereotypes. Despite hailing from the Motor City, Gonzalez’s taste in techno is altogether darker, bleaker and murkier than the city’s traditional far-sighted, sci-fi influenced futurist sound. Of course, Detroit has produced many techno titans who prefer their beats raw and pounding – Robert Hood springs to mind, with honourable nods to the darker material of Jeff Mills and Drexciya – but these have largely been one-offs; acts who swam against the general air of intergalactic positivity. Even Kyle Hall, a young producer capable of intense workouts that push the raw ideal to its’ very limits, made his name with relatively melodious, futuristic productions.

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Bruce – Just Getting Started

by on at 09:29am

As the Livity Sound sublabel continues its mission to draw in external producers that share in the particular vision of Pev, Kowton and Asusu, so they turn to a completely fresh proposition in the shape of Bruce. While he may be a young producer, his approach feels like a logical continuation of the path laid out by Alex Coulton, Batu and Hodge in furthering the distinct message Livity Sound is conveying. Weight of production and a soundsystem sensibility have always been key to the labels, and from the outset Bruce has those prerequisites in spades. On the increasingly fragmented dirt road between techno and dubstep both of the tracks on Just Getting Started draw on the energy of both camps as they impart the addictive, show-stopping fireworks that make a Livity track stand out in the heat of a loaded dance.

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