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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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Maxmillion Dunbar – Drizzling Glass

by on at 09:42am

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Andrew Field-Pickering seems to have a 24 hour direct line available to feelings of wonderment. His work with Ari Goldman on the Beautiful Swimmers LP Son seemed to literally manifest the summertime if you closed your eyes while you played it – full of boisterous Balearic riffs, vocal clips extolling the virtues of smoking pot while getting erotic on a waterbed, and even some jazz-scatting thrown in for good measure, it’s impossible not to feel uplifted when “Swimmer’s Groove” comes on.

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Jo Johnson – Weaving

by on at 09:42am

The most recent Separate Mind column from this writer asked ‘what’s in a name?’ and for ambient producer Jo Johnson, it seems that her membership of the riot grrrl band Huggy Bear continues to play a big part of her public persona. This association was one of the first things that nearly every online news item about the release of debut album Weaving led with – despite the fact that it was over 20 years since she played with the band.

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Al Dobson Jr – Rye Lane Versions

by on at 17:12pm


For those of us who review music for a living, the laziness of both artists and labels can be a constant source of frustration. This is particularly true when it comes to the humble remix. So often an afterthought or a simple marketing exercise, the power of the remix has waned in recent years thanks to a combination of sound-alike versions, limp revisions and needless, big name tweaks. That’s not to say that inspired, next-level remixes aren’t being released – see Maxmillion Dunbar’s schizophrenic, juke-goes-jack revision of Adjowa’s synth-laden “Science of Soul”, or Cloudface’s inspired, pitched-down new age house take on Bantam Lions’ “Recollections” for recent examples – it’s just that they seem increasingly few and far between.

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Tin Man – Ode

by on at 10:42am

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Although at this stage he is ten years into his releasing career, most would agree that it is in the last couple of years that Johannes ‘Tin Man’ Auvinen has reached the wider electronic music consciousness, helped in no small part by allegiances to such respected institutions as Killekill, Pomelo and the Acid Test series from Absurd Recordings. Likewise his collaborations with the likes of Cassegrain and Donato Dozzy have contributed to this recognition amongst the house and techno cognoscenti, but really Auvinen’s success lies past these surface signifiers, instead emanating from his gifted reappraisal of one of the most well-worn sounds in electronic dance music. By rights acid should have hit a creative cul-de-sac a long time ago, and there is no shortage of artists flogging the same lysergic rave style for lack of a new path to tread, but Auvinen has always stood head and shoulders above the pack as a force for creativity and invention around the nexus of a TB-303.

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Bantam Lions – Recollections EP

by on at 15:30pm

With a few notable exceptions, record labels rarely get it right first time. In truth, it can take any imprint a little while to find its’ identity, develop a solid roster of artists, and really start hitting its straps. Once has label has found that place – be it the tropical fluidity of Mood Hut, the blistering intensity of L.I.E.S, or the star-gazing leftfield disco vibe of Beats In Space – then magic usually follows. With this release from hometown producer Bantam Lions, Liverpool’s Scenery Records may have finally come of age. It’s been nearly two years since the label launched, and in that time their releases have been steadily improving.

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Function & Vatican Shadow – Games Have Rules

by on at 10:10am

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For two artists whose records are characterised by dramatic flourishes, iconoclastic imagery and distinctive sound palettes, the Games Have Rules collaboration is a decidedly understated affair. While it focuses on a largely ambient approach, the album was conceived in and inspired by New York and is fuelled by a sense of quiet determination and undulating vitality that defines that city. If there are prior reference points in either producer’s back catalogue, they are traceable back to Dave Sumner’s releases. The former Sandwell District member has recently been engaged in a series of projects that brought him back to his roots since the techno collective closed its doors. First, there was his debut solo album, Incubation, which contained influences from the 90s output of Speedy J and Plastikman in its sleek rhythms and teemed with acid ticks and trancey synth bursts.

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Lee Gamble – KOCH

by on at 10:09am

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What you’ve got is a whole… miserable subculture“. Spoken by an anonymous voice, these words are the only ones uttered in the entirety of Lee Gamble’s KOCH. Given the London-based producer’s penchant for revisiting the past, the statement could easily be interpreted as ironic – maybe the clip has been plucked from archival footage in the ’90s, maybe from a news segment extolling the dangers of jungle music.

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LV & Josh Idehen – Islands

by on at 10:05am

After the runaway success of Routes in 2011, LV and Joshua Idehen have linked up once again to deliver a second long-player that fuses the playful electronics of the production outfit with Idehen’s dexterous and devastatingly poetic postulations on modern city living. Vibrant with originality, accessibility and unpredictability, the first album managed to place itself outside of standard scenic currents and exist as a singular artistic statement, and now its only peer is its successor. This isn’t a case of repeating the same trick twice however, but rather a logical continuation of the intriguing path down which the combined creative forces of LV and Idehen are heading, and it’s a damn fine trajectory to return to.

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Various Artists – Brasserie Heroique Edits Vol 1 & 2

by on at 08:46am

Given the label’s history of issuing gnarled techno and electro from Ekman, Gesloten Cirkel, MGUN and more, it’s something of a surprise to see Berceuse Heroique dipping its toes into the crowded waters of the unlicensed re-edit scene. It’s particularly surprising when you consider the ailing state of the edit game right now; with a few notable exceptions, the quality of edit singles has dropped dramatically since the days when the likes of Moxie, Todd Terje, Mindless Boogie and Dark & Lovely were ruling the roost. The disco side of things has taken the biggest hit, with quantized, filter-heavy reworks of obvious classics replacing oddball, delay-laden reworks of obscure cosmic and dub disco gems on record shop shelves. While sales of these kind of lazy edits are still surprisingly good, they’re hardly the kind of inspirational reinventions or pitch-perfect dancefloor tweaks with which the re-edit game was founded on.

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Surgeon – Surgeon EP

by on at 09:01am

Anthony Child recently revealed on his own blog, Back In The Grinder, plans to launch a six-volume Surgeon reissues label called SRX. Inspiration to create this new outlet arrived after rummaging through his personal collection of DAT tape music, and Child writes, “I was shocked to find how clear and dynamic many of my early tracks sounded, not the way I remembered them from the vinyl releases.” This first SRX reissue, simply titled Surgeon EP, finds the producer revisiting his debut record, the Magneze EP, released on Downwards in 1994.

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ImpLOG – Holland Tunnel Dive

by on at 17:13pm

Don Christensen and Jody Harris embarked upon a project called ImpLOG, after their involvement with James Chance’s seminal New York no-wave band The Contortions. Their first release, Holland Tunnel Dive, was released on the Lust/ Unlust Label, and found itself among the company of no-wave bands like Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, DNA and Mars. A short-lived project, ImpLOG managed to carve its own distinctive sound, removed from its peers and from their jazz/punk past with The Contortions. Christensen and Harris would later play with the Raybeats, a no-wave surf rock group that occupied their time for a few years, but before this development, they released a couple singles as ImpLOG. The other-worldly sounds of “Holland Tunnel Dive” along with an unconventional version of NY classic “On B’Way” can now be found as a reissue on Dark Entries.

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Massimiliano Pagliara – With One Another

by on at 09:35am

For all his undeniable synth-wizardry and clear production nous, Italian-in-Berlin Massimiliano Pagliara has always been keen on collaborations. His early productions for Daniel Wang’s Balihu label and Live at Robert Johnson were marked by an impressive list of guest musicians and vocalists. As his career has progressed, he’s maintained this approach, working extensively with Jules Etienne, Discodromo and others. While his productions have developed distinctive trademark sound – heavy on vintage synthesizers (lists of which regularly feature on the artwork of his 12” singles), intergalactic melodies, Vangelis influences and the arpeggio-heavy chug of Italo-disco – he’s not shy in working with friends and acquaintances from the Berlin scene. His 2011 debut album, Focus For Infinity, was packed with guest vocalists and organic instrumentation from a core group of trusted players.

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Alma Construct – RS1408

by on at 16:24pm

In a recent R&S Records profile, it was revealed that label founders Renaat Vandepapaliere and Sabine Maes quite literally gave up their careers for a pile of horse crap. Frustrated with the politics of their 90′s major label merger that transformed their passions into a suffocating 9-5 job, the couple escaped the tightening noose of major label bureaucracy by dropping everything and moving out into the country to breed equines (and shovel up after them). Moving out into the country might seem like an incompatible move for a duo that founded one of the 90′s most influential techno labels – after all, dance music has long been the sound of busy industrialism: New Jersey’s mechanical two-step garage house patterns, New York’s blaring bodega radio jams, and the soulful but repetitious thump of Detroit techno.

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Eric Copeland – Logo My Ego

by on at 09:22am

Eric Copeland’s template for solo diabolic disco has always been impressively subversive; applying his cut-up/fuck-up techniques to the sex-appeal of disco creates something which at first seems strangely solitary, then increasingly sordid. A privately kept kind of sex as antithesis to the prevalent lust-airing in his source material which, judging by the consistent use of pornography in his visual cuts and the “masterbator” title for his DFA record last year, he’s all too aware of. This is music of sticky keyboards, creased pages and slurred processing from a protesting hard-drive crammed full. If there’s a spin on this it’s probably a puerile one, seeing Copeland’s affection for juvenile delirium that always propelled Black Dice and a lot of his previous solo work, but it could be concurrent with dance music that no longer lives and works for dancefloor. For those who watch boiler room, have a wank, go to bed. Probably not though, I think he’s just mucking about having fun making sticky loops – as ever.

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Svaag – Sade

by on at 12:59pm

Sweden: so techno right now. Take in Abdullah Rashim and his Northern Electronics crew, Peder Mannerfelt, SHXCXCHCXSH and all that encompasses Planet Skudge (yes, another sub-label is on the way); these Scandinavians are creating a similar stir to what Italians Donato Dozzy, Dino Sabatini and Lucy did back in 2010. But Andreas Tilliander, a techno authority, has always been in the thick of it, most prominently of late making acid-lines and Roland drum machine sequence in new ways as TM404, or trawling the nethermost depths of atmospheric dub techno as Mokira.

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