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Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty

by on at 09:40am

Regardless of the claims of critics and musicians, it’s increasingly rare to find a band, producer or collective that does something unique. While plenty of artists are capable of breathing new life into ailing genres, or drawing together disparate influences to create intriguing musical fusions, very few manage to produce work that not only defies easy categorization, but also leaves you desperately searching for a coherent explanation for what you’ve just heard.

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Jack J – Looking Forward To You

by on at 18:17pm

The concept of hype in electronic music seems particularly skewed right now, a burden that labels and artists have to carry that is generally generated, measured and dissected by others; be it general shifts in online editorial coverage, views on YouTube or hiked up prices on Discogs. In the case of Mood Hut, this seems especially true with claims of ‘hype’ out of sync with their low key approach; when was the last Q&A you read with Aquarian Foundation or the last monotonous list dripping with the bitter taste of content from the Hashman Deejay used as a means to promote an upcoming release?

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Talaboman – Sideral

by on at 09:01am

Deborah Eisenberg’s short story Twilight of the Superheroes gives us a glimpse into the life of Passivity Man, the world’s most passive aggressive superhero. He sleeps when he’s stressed, chain-smokes constantly, and sports the dismal catch phrase “but, like, what am I supposed to do about it?” as if it means something. Eisenberg is trying to show that it’s much harder to believe in superheroes in a world riddled by inequality, terrorism, Ebola and suffering, and her writing seems like an oddly apt descriptor of Talaboman, who sounds like a cape-sporting vigilante in name only. Instead of providing humanity with something to believe in, the duo of Axel Boman and John Talabot are much more concerned with lurking in the shadows of dingy dancefloors worldwide; mixing a prickly dystopian discomfort with unexpected adrenaline-inducing moments of energy. If the duo were a superhero, it’s much more likely that they’d be some scraggly, unshaven incarnation of Doctor Strange than a do-gooder like Spiderman.

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Pye Corner Audio/Not Waving – Intercepts

by on at 13:52pm

There’s something rather fitting about the concept behind this split LP from brothers-in-electronica Martin Jenkins (AKA Pye Corner Audio) and Alessio Natalizia. As the title suggests, it was inspired by the world of espionage, and more specifically the spy rings that criss-crossed the World during the Cold War era, with bed-hopping, double-crossing agents meeting at dawn to exchange information in dark alleys, non-descript cafes and hush-hush safe houses. It’s an era that has already provided ample fodder for authors and scriptwriters, so it makes sense that it would provide inspiration for a pair of producers whose instinctive takes on electronic music more often than not veer on the claustrophobic.

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Anthony Naples – Zipacón

by on at 15:09pm

One of the chief joys of a TTT release is that the reputation and ‘avant’ status hovering as a marker above the label often infers that the producer involved – even highly-esteemed or established ones – will be presenting a slightly different aspect of themselves. Take Anthony Naples; often included within a set of contemporary producers marketed for their roughened and experimental edge, it wasn’t until El Portal for Will Bankhead’s label last year that the tendency first started to actually show.

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Poshgod – HOT003

by on at 16:31pm

If there’s one thing that London’s House of Trax parties have nailed since their inception, it’s the deceptively hard task of making a good flyer. Utilizing rough-edged aesthetics from late ’80s Brooklyn house label art and borrowing images from Robert Crumb and Keith Haring, their art thrums with a vibrant secrecy -  much in the same way that finding out the local Vietnamese dance studio in your city actually doubles as an after hour club gives a certain thrill. It’s a party whose imagery is familiar enough to be recognizable, while simultaneously promising you something that you haven’t experienced before -  It’s the same feeling one gets when flipping through a used crate of records to find a white label adorned only by weird marker scrawls or a fading handstamp.

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FaltyDL – In The Wild

by on at 07:45am

Drew Lustman has always seemed like a man blessed with more musical ideas than he knows what to do with. A cursory trawl through the now sprawling FaltyDL discography seems to confirm this assumption. After starting life making skittish, off-kilter bass music informed by jungle, garage and early British rave music, Lustman settled on a style that delighted in confounding expectations. His first two albums, both released on Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu imprint, were particularly thrilling, offering vivacious, often kaleidoscopic blends of styles shot through with a rush-inducing dedication to dancefloor release.

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Marcel Dettmann – Fabric 77

by on at 09:05am

I’ve seen Dettmann play overtime to an empty club of 15 brave Australians (including bar staff) on a cold Thursday night in Adelaide. I’ve had him outlast me at Berghain, I’ve witnessed him power through 10-straight-hours of 130BPM techno with Ben Klock, and I just saw him play back-to-back with Luke Slater at this year’s Dekmantel Festival. If there’s a DJ I can trust to helm two turntables, some CDJs and a mixer, it’s Dettmann. With the future of the mix CD uncertain, it’s nice to know there are still DJs out there with the ability to rustle up excitement around the release of one. Fabric’s storied series has become the mix CDs main faculty, and Pangaea’s complete thrust into techno music and Move D’s housier edition have kept fabric’s tin packaging in production for another successful year.

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Various Artists – Masse Box

by on at 13:41pm

Why should electronic music producers be confined to writing solely for the dancefloor? For every dodgy techno ‘concept’ album, there have been a multitude of excellent projects  – witness alternative (in form) releases from Regis, Surgeon and more recently Sigha and sometime Nine Inch Nails band member Alessandro Cortini over the past year. It’s heartening to see Ostgut Ton supporting this kind of thinking. After all the label has been one of the most prolific platforms for modern house and techno, so its willingness to give vent to abstract compositions that provided a soundtrack to a ballet last year is welcome.

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Kline Coma Xero – Kline Coma Xero

by on at 08:59am

“We are just images now”. Tony Williams’ recently born project Kline Coma Xero self titled debut for the wonderful Seattle-based Medical Records dispenses such pearls of postmodern thought in large quantities. On other tracks, Williams disembodiedly croons that ‘we’re all mannequins’ (“Mannequins”), that we’re in a ‘casualty ward’ (“Casualty Ward”), that he’s ‘standing in the dark looking for an answer’ (“Silent Call”), or ‘alone in the darkroom’ (“Darkroom”), and finally that there are ‘no windows’ and that hence we are told to ‘turn off the lights / turn off the TV / turn off the thinking’ (“No Windows”).

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Inkke – Crystal Children

by on at 16:14pm

Glance at the cover of Glasgowian newcomer Inkke’s first EP on Local Action Records, and you may be struck by a bit of deja vu – after all, the image of a crumbling subway station taken over by nature moss and grass certainly owes a lot stylistically to London’s Night Slugs crew, who’ve often made the contrast between brutalist architecture and uncontrollable organic growth the focus of their aesthetic work (see the eerie trailer for L-Vis 1990′s Ballads EP featuring a city block submerged in water, or the sectioned-off wilderness of the “Melba’s Call” video).

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Imre Kiss – Raw Energy

by on at 09:13am

It’s always dangerous to assess the quality of a label on the basis of a handful of releases, but so Lobster Theremin hasn’t put a foot wrong since launching last year with Palm Trax’s brilliant Equation EP. Indeed, you could say Lobster Theremin has established itself as a must-check imprint not afraid to shake things up at every opportunity. In the last 18 months, the label has various delivered murky, acid-flecked techno from Snow Bone, the hazy, sub-aquatic deepness of Steve Murphy’s largely overlooked Relax EP, humid, new age-influenced goodness via Route 8 and wonky, bass-heavy, pitched-down Detroit techno from Crisis Urbana’s Rawaat.

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Beau Wanzer – Power Outage

by on at 09:42am

Beau Wanzer goes back to Traxx’s Nation imprint for his latest 10″ Power Outage. The Chicago native has stayed loyal to the Nation cause since his appearance on the 2008 Modern Electronic Element EP, gracing various follow up releases, as well as developing the Mutant Beat Dance project with Traxx. Power Outage is a release that offers the same kind of hefty analog rhythms and mechanical precision that might be expected from Wanzer, but this time with a more experimental edge than some of his (equally excellent) dance-ready cuts on L.I.E.S. and Russian Torrent Versions as well as his Streetwalker project.

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Dual Action – Auto Body

by on at 13:59pm

In the early days of digital downloading, some net labels used to release vinyl versions of tracks that were popular online. While the same approach does not apply to Avian’s re-release of Auto Body – originally available as a limited cassette edition of 42 copies on Hospital Productions – it does nonetheless raise the question about whether increasing numbers of cassette-based releases will eventually make it onto wax.

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One Circle – Transparency

by on at 09:03am

When Italian trio One Circle first appeared on left_blank last year with Flight To Forever, it was difficult to know where to place their music. Brandishing an experimental sound somewhere between abstract dubstep and melodic Border Community-style techno, the trio’s hard-edged yet woozy sound could perhaps be best loosely described as “trance”, something that makes sense in relation to the respective solo projects of its members. Lorenzo Senni for example made an album of “deconstructed trance” for Editions Mego, Vaghe Stelle is becoming increasingly known for his lysergic high definition melodies, while soundtrack composer A:RA arguably added a touch of baroque atmosphere to their sound.

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Shackleton – Deliverance Series No. 1

by on at 13:30pm

With the usual lack of fanfare that accompanies Shackleton’s missives on his own Woe To The Septic Heart! imprint, here a new series is birthed with no specific outline of theme or concept, other than the title Deliverance. Whether it conjures up some kind of spiritual salvation or an ill-fated back-country expedition is entirely in the mind of the beholder, and there’s no doubt the man at the controls would prefer to keep it that way. Instead, we’re left to draw conclusions based on nothing but the music, and as ever the musical evolution of one of dubstep’s true auteurs finds him progressing gracefully, following the thread set out by the Drawbar Organ EPs and this year’s previous Freezing Opening Thawing while avoiding the trap of repeating the same trick twice.

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Void Vision – Sour

by on at 10:11am

Void Vision appeared from the murky filigree of 2010 in which we kept getting great records from the States and wondered what on earth was happening over the Atlantic. You may even recall an article in the Guardian (!) attempting to figure out some sort of socio-cultural background to what appeared to be a New York-based revival of an extremely European death-drive. At the time Void Vision were just another duo from the Wierd scene. They released In Twenty Years on Blind Prophet – a strong, nightmarish tune – and disappeared back into the darkness they came from. After a forgettable split with Vice Device last year, it seems Void Vision – now a solo female artist, and swept up by the more muscular ways of Mannequin Records – might finally have her time.

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Severed Heads – Since The Accident

by on at 09:42am

It would be fair to say that Severed Heads are well-regarded in electronic circles, though there’s an argument to suggest that their back catalogue – particularly their pioneering work in the late ‘70s and early 1980s – is nowhere near as celebrated as many of their better-known contemporaries. This is something of a shame, because this early work – specifically those albums recorded between 1979 and 1985 – still sounds surprisingly fresh. Certainly, it stands up to comparison with the work of similarly minded acts of the period, from Chris & Cosey and Throbbing Gristle, to Coil, Nitzer Ebb and, most potently, Cabaret Voltaire.

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AL-90 – SCR

by on at 09:23am

Reckno, the label run by Chris Catlin and Peter St. John, has been one of the most prolific of all entries into the lo-fi cassette melee, although with its first releases reaching back to 2009, the pair arguably foreshadowed the current explosion even as their output has ramped up to reflect a flourishing interest in the wares they have to offer. The latest release on the label concerns itself with a hitherto unknown talent dealing in fringe electronica robbed of all airs and graces, all executed under the thoroughly cassette-friendly pseudonym AL-90.

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Various Artists – Nautil Series

by on at 16:23pm

What must it be like working at Hard Wax? Do records suddenly materialise on the shelves like something out of a Harry Potter movie? It seems so. Last week there were four, Shackleton’s Deliverance Series No. 1 and three Hidden Hawaii 12”s, all appearing out of thin air. It’s spectral releases like these that refreshingly give fans and followers the contingency to draw interest to the music, not PR campaigns or the media. Samurai Music head Presha is one such example, expressing on Twitter how much he loves the way Hidden Hawaii releases “just pop up out of nowhere,”.

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